Thank you, Dad, for showing me what a dad is and does.
Thank you, Kayla, for making me a dad and making me so proud.
Thank you, Bekah, for teaching me what being a dad truly is.
Thank you, Valerie, for walking beside me through life.
Happy Father’s Day 2010 to all of you dads out there.
For today, I only leave you with this quote which is one of my all-time favorites:
“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”
(Lifted from UnitedLiberty.org who lifted it from Brett Bittner‘s twitter feed.)
Believe it or not, my wife was asked this very question as she struggled to get both kids, all their assorted “stuff,” and herself into the car to leave a birthday party. Seriously.
A little background: Rebekah, our youngest daughter, is 18 months old and functioning somewhere around a 6-month level. This means she is the size and weight of an 18 month-old, but can’t do things that are usually taken for granted like walk, sit up, or even hang onto your arm as you carry her on your hip. In addition to this, she also deals with extreme sensitivity to cold/wind. Because of her neurological problems and developmental delays, we have a disabled parking permit for her.
I’m not sure what made this perfect stranger walk up to my wife and ask her this question. Who made her part of the disabled parking enforcement team? Is the legal, valid placard hanging from our mirror not enough for her? Obviously not, since her followup comment was something along the lines of, “Oh, because it was obvious you could walk.”
I’m actually somewhat glad I wasn’t there–I probably would have let my reactionary human nature share some not-so-nice things with her and regretted it later. My wife was much more gracious, but left completely and utterly flabbergasted that someone could be so completely clueless and callous at the same time. Even now, days later, I’m still somewhat stunned thinking about it.
So, dear stranger lady, I pray that you and everyone in your family may never have to go through what our family has experienced in the last year. And, if you and your family are ever are affected by having someone in the family with a disability like Rebekah’s, may you always be safe from ignorant busybodies asking you “Are you handicapped?”
For a while now, I’ve wanted an iPod Classic. I have a 2nd Generation Nano and it’s a great little device, but 4GB is just not enough. Not only that, but I really wanted something I can just sync my whole library to (about 28GB of music/podcasts/audiobooks) and not have to pick and choose.
In the past, I would have just gone out and bought it, but since taking the Financial Peace class from Dave Ramsey, I’ve been trying to be more responsible. After waiting for nearly a year, I decided to take the bull by the horns and put a bunch of stuff on eBay to make the money I needed. Combined with some Christmas money, I was finally able to order it (thanks for selling it $25 cheaper, Amazon) on New Year’s Eve and I’ve been loving it ever since.
Not only is it a great device that works exactly as it should, sounds great, and holds all my music and even a bunch of episodic TV shows (Firefly, Arrested Development, and Futurama, right now), but it means even more that I wanted it for over a year–waited, saved and sold stuff to get it–and was finally able to order it. I think that makes it an even more awesome device than it already is!
On a side note, I have been enjoying being an Amazon Prime subscriber. For those that don’t know, Amazon Prime allows you to get free two-day shipping on anything fulfilled by Amazon.com and for $3.99 per item, you can get something overnight. I got a 3-month trial when I ordered the iPod and I think I’m going to actually pay for the subscription ($79/year) when the trial runs out. I’ve been ordering more “necessity” items which are not only cheaper than at stores, but also ship free thanks to Amazon Prime.
Bekah is special. She has to work so hard for everything physical that she does. She especially has a hard time reaching up and out with her hands. Last night, she was sitting in her Bumbo seat and Valerie put a little piano book in front of her at eye-level (unusually high for her to reach). We were organizing Kayla’s room a bit and Bekah decided to start playing the piano. I grabbed Valerie’s iPod Nano and shot a quick video of her playing her piano. Way to go, Bekah!
Every season, they say, “this is the biggest group of Biggest Loser contestants ever.” This season, it’s true again! It’s another “Couples” Biggest Loser. They have a set of twins who, combined, are just 31 pounds shy of half a ton and one guy who is significantly over 500 pounds on his own.
I love this show. Not sure why exactly, but it’s one of the few TV shows we don’t miss an episode of. Seeing the transformations of these people over approximately 16 weeks (and then a few more before the finale) is incredibly inspiring. Some of them are almost unrecognizable by the finale.
So, who are your favorites this season?
I’m not sure if it’s because I think they’re too cliche or if it’s just that I would hate to make them and then not keep them (as 95% of people do), but I just don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Never have.
I don’t mind however, putting a few things down that I hope to get accomplished this year. Valerie wants me to do this 101 things in 1001 days, but I’m not sure I can come up with that many, so I’ve made this somewhat shorter list. I guess they’re “goals” of a sort. It breaks down into a few neat categories, so in no particular order, here it is:
- Figure out Kayla’s school situation. This is more of an early-in-the-year-necessity as Kayla will start Kindergarten in the fall. Ideally, I’d like to have her in private school. Financially, that may have to wait a year or two.
- Have semi-regular date nights. With a special needs child, it becomes both harder and more important to escape every so often. We need to find a reliable, adult (or almost adult) babysitter that we can “train” in order to feel comfortable leaving Rebekah. Ideally, I would like to shoot for a night (or afternoon) out without the kids once a month.
- Begin doing semi-regular family devotions. Kayla is at an age now where she should be able to sit and listen. I need to find an age-appropriate book or method to help out.
- Build up to 10% giving to our church. We were there at one point, but some unexpected things came along and we cut back a bit. I’d like to build up to that again. We’re not far off, so this should be doable.
- Halve our debt. We don’t have a huge amount, but I’d like to cut it in half. This will largely depend on what new medical expenses come our way for the next year, but I’m hopeful.
- Begin making a car payment to myself. The time is coming when I will have to replace my car and I don’t want it to sneak up on me. I want to 1) have enough to put down from making that payment to myself and 2) be able to just carry on with that payment to pay off a new(er) car in 4 years or less.
- Get rid of our storage unit. When we put the house on the market, we needed to de-clutter. Now, we are paying $85/month to store this stuff. Some of it we use and regularly go change out (winter/summer clothes, for instance). Some of it we don’t. I would like to sell or get rid of anything we can live without and refine the rest of it down to an amount we can fit in our attic storage areas in the house.
- Tame the yard. This is more of an ongoing, progress item. It will never be fully tamed, but I’d like to reclaim a bit more from the trees/scrub.
- Insulate. We really could use a few more inches up in the attic and it would be really nice if we could do something about the uninsulated finished basement (not my handiwork, the knucklehead who owned the house before us was responsible for that one).
- Bring my lunch. Once or twice a week would be good. Not only would it save money, but it would also give me time to complete some of the items below this one. My problem is that lunch is a social event for me. It’s hard for me to pass up that hour with friends to eat at my desk by myself.
- Complete some video games. I have a bad habit of getting partway into a game and not finishing it. Whether it’s boredom, simply not enough time to keep up, or the next shiny thing comes along, something pulls me away. I need to complete Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Torchlight, and Defense Grid. I’d like to make some progress on Elven Legacy, Sacred 2, and Civ IV as well.
- Read some more. I used to read a lot. I don’t have time to read a lot anymore, but I have a handful of books that I would like to prioritize to complete.
So, there you have it. My loosely organized list of goals I’d like to get accomplished in 2010. Here’s to a new year!
This has definitely been the most challenging so far of my 33-ish years on this planet. Most of you have probably quit reading or expecting an update from me since it’s been so long between posts. I promise, it’s not because I just got lazy! Some less-important things (including video gaming, blogging, reading, etc) just had to be set aside for a while. Here’s a little bullet list of 2009 (in somewhat chronological order):
- The year began in glorious fashion with our heater going out on New Year’s Eve. Thanks to Aaron and Steph, though, our family (including my visiting parents, sister, and their chihuahua) stayed warm until we could get it fixed. Add to that the necessity of digging up and replacing our septic tank line from house to tank (technically in 2008) and it made for a whirlwind family visit for the holidays!
- Our youngest daughter, Rebekah, was diagnosed with several neurological issues (microcephaly and lissencephaly) that have a drastic effect on her development and require a lot of extra care. These have led to CT scans, an MRI, eye surgery (for crossed eyes), lots of physical and occupational therapy, feeding issues, and our latest struggle, sleep disorders. We are still learning what it means to be parents of a special needs child (and, in fact, still coming to grips with that at times).
- We finally came to the realization that with everything else going on, we just couldn’t do the two-dog thing anymore and found a new home for our beagle, John T. Chance. We miss him, but it’s a huge burden lifted off our shoulders as he could be high maintenance at times. We replaced him with a beautiful Glo-fish named Ariel (can you tell who named her).
- We decided we’d had enough of keeping the house in tip-top shape and took it off the market. It didn’t matter anymore as anyone who would want our house, would never be approved for a loan without putting at least 20-30% down (due to the ridiculous amount of short-sales and foreclosures in our area).
- We celebrated 10 years of marriage in July. It’s so awesome to have my best friend with me every day, no matter what.
- I have mostly kicked a VERY long-lived habit of biting my nails. Still working on not biting around them, but I now have to clip them regularly which is a big thing for me. Thanks to my daughter, Kayla, for continuing to remind me not to bite my fingers.
- We found the church where God wants us to serve for this next phase of our life. It’s amazing to look forward to the next Sunday as much as we do and genuinely miss it when we don’t get to be there. Our small group is a huge support to us and we’ve made close friends with some great people.
- We successfully waged a battle against cuts to the state program that helps provide Rebekah’s therapy and she got to keep her aggressive therapy schedule.
- We have figured out that Kayla has a flair for the dramatic. She is quick at memorizing things, loves to sing (on key for the most part, though she does make up her own words), and is quite the little diva at times. So, even though that ballet thing didn’t work out well, maybe she still has a career on stage to look forward to.
- We were able to spend Thanksgiving with my parents in NJ. My 17 year-old sister who is well on the way to a career in dance was home for a few days from her boarding school in CT and my grandpa (who is now legally blind and lives with my parents) was there as well for us to spend some time with.
- Soon after Bekah’s therapy schedule was straightened out, we found out that we were approved for enrollment in a program that will help pay most of Rebekah’s medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. This is a huge blessing as her therapy alone was starting to add up to nearly $250/month.
- We closed out the year with some much-needed time off, a visit to grandma, aunts, uncle, and cousins in South Carolina, and some rest-time at home to get ready for 2010.
I am blessed to go to a job which, though it can be stressful at times, is challenging, rewarding, and stable. I am blessed to have two beautiful little girls who have me wrapped around their fingers. I am blessed to have family and friends who have been there for us when we needed them. I am blessed to be a part of a community-focused, Christ-centered church. Most of all, I am blessed to walk through life with my best friend, Valerie. I couldn’t do it without her.
Bring on 2010.