Monday, July 5, 2010

Love: Pure and Simple

Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. ~ Louis D. Brandeis

This week has given me much to reflect upon. There is so much that has cluttered my mind this past week that I'm surprised it hasn't inflated like a balloon and made me float away. The things that I have thought about and remembered have all been wonderful memories and thoughts that have poured into my head and flooded my mind. Its been so wonderful to have such blessings in my life, both past and present... and certainly the future holds plenty as well.

I felt like I had a stockade of memories, thoughts and feelings resurface and there are a few I would love to share.

I don't think I can truly express how proud I am of this country, especially during this time of year and what we proudly celebrate. I am grateful to those who selflessly set aside their lives for a time (and some do forever) to serve this wonderful land of opportunity. So many have given so much of themselves to help us truly enjoy the freedoms we have been able to enjoy throughout our lives. First on that list are immediate family members who, bless them all, have managed to come back unscathed from things the rest of us would rather not see... physically at least. I hope they know how proud I am of them and their valiant efforts to continue to preserve our freedoms. Thank you Sam, Greg and David. If the day comes that I too must do as you have done I hope that I can fill your shoes and lead and protect those I have charge over. Secondly I thank all those I have come to know and love and have served with since my inception in August of 2008. There are far too many of you to name  but know that each and every one of you are thought of and loved. Three come to mind that have helped bolster me and keep me strong in both faith and deed. Thanks Pray, Lorin and Clint.

My family means the world to me. I know I am far from perfect and struggle daily to be a better person but I am grateful to have enjoyed the family I was raised in. They inspire me and they help me grow through my constant struggles as I grasp the obstacles that I must overcome daily. My mother has been staying with my sweet family for the past week and she has been such a wonderful blessing. It has been great to have her in my home not only helping around the house but enjoying all the precious time she has with her two grandchildren. Caleb and Avery have certainly enjoyed having Granny in the home and will miss her as she leaves in just a few short hours to go back home. Thanks for all that you've done Mom and know that you leave with our love and appreciation.

The last, certainly not least thing, that has been tugging at me this past week is my darling family. I love them dearly and even though I tell them daily I feel it still just isn't said enough. I couldn't possibly imagine my life without the three sweetest people in my life being at my side on a daily basis. Katie, Caleb and Avery... thank you for all that you do for me and the constant blessing each of you are in my life. All three of you are my shining stars. I couldn't be a luckier husband and father and hope that I can teach you as much as you teach me.

Caleb was the one at the forefront of my mind this entire week. Something he said to me a few short years ago brought about a lot of emotion for me. Tomorrow will be 23 months since I left to go to basic training and a journey I would take that would keep me from my family for 11 months. Today is exactly 23 months ago that my sweet child, then only 2 years old, said something awfully profound to me in a very simple and child-like manner. When Katie, Caleb and I were lying in bed, just hours before I had to leave the following day, we knew my departure was imminent. Except for Caleb. He didn't understand what was going on but as he looked from Katie to myself that late night he repeated two little words that rang with so much love in his sweet soul for the both of us. Katie and I were both crying because we were both blessed with leaky faucets. Caleb was lying between the both of us and looked to his mom, then to his dad, then repeated the process a time or two more. To my recollection he then said in his 2 year old voice, "You okay?" To me it rang with the greatest love that a little boy could muster. It made me feel and still makes me feel to this day how we felt when we left our pre-Earth life and what things must have been said before our parting.

I couldn't be happier with the two little angels I have been given to raise as my own and to love without end. I'm grateful for a wife and best friend who finds ways to remind me how much she loves me and lifts me on her angel's wings and helps me lead and guide my wonderful family.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Garage's Echo

Katie got home a bit late tonight. She home schools a sweet little girl in her fifth grade class that has a heart problem and can't actually be at school right now.

After she got home we plopped on down to watch tonight's episode of Glee! Katie and Caleb treated themselves to popsicles from the fridge after dinner. Katie's was wonderfully cold and normal. Caleb's ended up exploding bits and pieces all over himself and me when he opened his. It was quite the sight. We both shared a silly little chuckle. Katie finished her snack quickly and Caleb handed me the rest of what he couldn't finish... which was most of it. The kid eats like a bird. Sheesh!

In the middle of "Sweet Caroline" on Glee we heard Caleb shouting that he couldn't throw the garbage away. These were his exact words: "Help! My arms aren't long enough. I can't reach the garbage can." I'm sorry if you don't find that funny but Katie and I were crying by the time I walked out there to help him out and throw my own popsicle stick away. He came in and we just looked at him and laughed again. What a silly kid.

In Caleb's own words I ask, "What's going to happen next?"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Maniacal Laughing in Bed

The adventures of Dude-apotamus continues...

A few weeks ago the three of us were laying in bed talking about all sorts of things. One of the topics that came up was about pregnancy. Katie goofily said to Caleb, "I had one heck of a hard pregnancy and it wasn't easy giving birth to you. What do you have to say for yourself?"

Without much of a pause Caleb retorted, "Excuse me!" I think the house shook with all the roaring laughter that erupted from that.

Katie then said, "You're funny. Do you have anything else to say for yourself about your birth?"

With a glimmer in his eye he chuckled, "Surprise!" I don't think the neighbors could sleep after all the laughing that Caleb was stirring up.

Katie, with tears in her eyes and winded from laughing, said, "I'll give you one more chance. What do you have to say now about it?"

Without any prodding he replied, "Special Delivery!" I'm sure you can all figure out what happened next.

Just so you all know, neither Katie or myself prompted or elicited these answers from Caleb. These all came from our darling three year old. If he keeps this up he's bound to be a very entertaining child. He's got a great start and plenty of time ahead to keep up with his slapstick humor and wonderful sarcasm (that he doesn't quite get yet). He's got a special knack for making others laugh.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Double the Trouble - Messes and Rubble

This past weekend was my "drill" weekend. Its the weekend that really isn't a weekend for me. I was elated to get home and enjoy a little relaxing time with them. Little did I know, or any of us for that matter, what we were up against and the messes that would follow.

I walked in the door to find Caleb fast asleep and burning up with a furious fever under a blanket. He woke for brief periods to talk to us and Aunt Marla who was visiting and over for dinner. Other than that he was out like a light for most of the evening. After he woke again, before heading to bed, his temperature continued to rise and he felt like he came straight from the suana. He was complaining of an upset stomach and didn't feel like eating a whole lot. Out of nowhere I realized that he needed to throw up. We raced from the family room into the kitchen where we managed to make it to the sink so he could take care of his business. After the incident his fever started to break and he was feeling a bit more like his old self again. The only thing that bothered him was the unpleasantness of his stomach's upheaval.

Shortly after that he decided it was bedtime. For one who likes to stay up as late as possible it was great to hear him say it was time to go to sleep much earlier than usual. I ended up changing the little stinker into his pullups downstairs and got him some apple juice for his sippy cup. We both affectionally ran up the stairs chasing and teasing one another. As we reached the top of the stairs I immediately knew something was wrong with Katie. We went into the master bedroom and found her leaning over the bathroom sink having tummy problems of her own. She ended up getting her B6 vitamin lodged in her throat and she had the same sudden disaster that Caleb had just a bit earlier. She was alright and just needed to really catch her breath by the time we arrived.

As the two of them crawled into bed I was left with the task of cleaning up another icky mess. I went downstairs, grabbed a plastic grocery bag and some paper towels and went to work. I was able to soak a lot of the liquid out of the sink but everything else managed to clog the sink. After I returned from a panicky rush down the stairs and out to the garbage can with everything in hand, Katie told me the little conversation that had transpired while I was outside. It went sort of like this:

Caleb: "Where is Daddy going?"

Mommy: "He's going to apply for sainthood."

Caleb: "At the garbage can?"

We couldn't stop laughing for the next little bit after that. Thankfully, in the end, we all slept soundly that night after all the aftermath of those events. Before we went to sleep though I had noticed water in the garbage can in the guest bathroom. I asked Katie what had happened and how it got there. She shrugged her shoulders and pointed at Caleb and laughingly said, "Ask him." I did just that and here's the response that followed...

Daddy: "Caleb, why is there water in the garbage can in the guest bathroom?"

Caleb: "Because Dezi was thirsty and needed a drink of water so I filled it up for her."

Another memory to fall asleep laughing to. Especially knowing that Dezi, the dog, does not have a neck like a giraffe which is what she would've needed to get the water at the bottom of that can.

To top it all off I went and bought Maximum Strength Drano at the store yesterday and cleaned up the leftovers in the sink and unclogged it too. Pretty disgusting things that had to be done by all of us... either throwing up or cleaning up the mess but plenty of memories and laughs had to always remember that Sunday night.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mr. Clean - Age 3

For anyone that knows our little man, he is a very sweet and kind hearted kid. He has a wonderful trait in him that will be useful, hoping he holds onto it, in the future. He loves going around the house to find things that he can clean all by himself. Yesterday was one of those days...

Earlier in the day I found him in the bathtub with a Clorox wipe trying to clean up after one of his messier/dirtier baths. When I found him he was singing a song to himself with toilet paper in one hand and a Clorox wipe in the other. What worried me is that I saw him playing with some of the chemical sprays/cleaners we use around the house. After we cleaned the bathroom up I told him that he couldn't use those cleaners because it could affect him in negative ways and do him harm. That sunk in... for the next five minutes. *sigh* What do you do with a self-propelled three year old trying to do his best to help clean up around the house?

For the next few hours he was appeased by hanging out with his mom, dad and dingy dog. We watched television and played around finding ways to keep each other constantly entertained. Constant wasn't the right word after a while. Caleb grew tired and went to watch Caillou on the computer and, later, sneakily snuck up the stairs to wreck havoc on the house again... unbeknownst to us.

Suddenly Katie calls from upstairs as I hear a child running down the hall with the loud *thump thump* that his feet make when he's off in a huge hurry. What I found next didn't make me too happy but I still find him the biggest sweetheart for doing his best, with his know how, to clean up. He had opened one of the spray bottles, Carpet Resolve for Pet Stains, and tried cleaning the stairs. Before he used it it was nearly full. When I got hold of it the bottle was completely empty and I felt like I was walking through the best smelling swampland in the world. The stairwell and upstairs smelled great. The only problem was taking the Bissell to the carpet and cleaning up the spilled contents for the next 15 or so minutes while Caleb and mommy had a talk at the top of the stairs. There was a huge puddle of spilled content on every step that I had to clean up. Good times. What made it all memorable is what Caleb said to his mommy before she called me to let me know what had happened.

Katie saw what Caleb was doing when she went up the stairs and said, "Caleb, what are you doing?" Remembering the earlier conversation between himself and daddy his eyes opened wide, he dropped the empty spray bottle and as he ran into the nursery to hide he was heard saying...

"I have to go hide now!"

What a little goober. I hope these cleaning tendencies continue on as he gets older. He'll be a great asset around the house... but he's a great asset even now too. =)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Marchin' Off to School

Today is a new chapter in Mr. Caleb's life. This was his very first day of preschool!

He is/was such a happy camper anxiously awaiting to scoot off with his new pack to make new friends and learn new things. What makes it even better is the fact that his classroom is literally just down the hall from Katie's 5th grade class.

Subject of day one: How to become smarter than your parents.

- I've got a feeling he's already nipped this one in the butt. I'm sure he's just formulating his masterplan of taking over the school, our home and then... THE WORLD!

I can't wait til he gets home with mom to report on his first day and how everything went. He was excited when he went and I believe he'll be just as excited to talk about it tonight. Hopefully friends made will be the #1 topic at the dinner table.

What I love even more about this preschool is that it is set up as a special needs preschool too. Not that Caleb is but he'll begin to understand at a very early age that not everyone is the same. Hopefully he'll have a better understanding as he grows up that everyone offers plenty of strengths and weaknesses no matter who they are, where they come from or what they look like.

I love you kid! Have a great time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Just the other day Caleb and I went to the store to pick some stuff up for Katie. She got to spend some time at home since she was feeling under the weather and enjoy some quiet time while the boys went out and gathered the dinner materials.

The afternoon was a bit blustery and Caleb was outside with a hooded sweatshirt on. As we were loading into the car I told him to drop the hood so he wouldn't get too hot in the car as we drove away. His response... "No Daddy! Leave it on. I don't want my hair to blow away!" Somehow the concept of hair being rooted to your head hasn't dawned on him yet. What an adorable little guy.

"Kids say the darndest things" - Art Linkletter