This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Gracie is here and I was working on an entry for over an hour last night when I lost everything I had written -- she is 10 days old today and I am finding myself at a loss for words -- most likely because I'm searching for something profound to say and don't want to miss anything -- Carrie has been doing a great job at updating Gracie's caringbridge site - When I find the time where I can think, I will recap our last 10 days -- she is in surgery as I type this and its all out of my hands -- I pray that things work out the way we want them to. I wanted to share a note I wrote to Carrie prior to Gracie's arrival - She is far MORE private and may not like that I passed it along, but I am unbelievably proud of my amazing wife -- she is way stronger than she thinks she is and I want to share how amazing she is with the world. Even as I sit here scared as I've ever been, I can't help but be so thankful for my amazing life, family, and network of support.
You don't need to be a marriage counselor to see how different we are – I'll admit there are times when I wonder how in the world we ended up together, but then, usually very soon after that, something happens that points out to me without a doubt why. Yes, we are different in a lot of ways – as with all couples, some of those things we just need to learn to deal with. But there are also many ways we differ that are a wonderful compliment to each other. I am sorry that I can be a pain to live with – I know I can make things miserable and can be impossible to please. I do not deserve to have you as my wife, but thank God everyday that I do. Speaking of God – while I've work through the arrival of Grace in my head, as we've been presented with her chances of making it, etc, I've naturally gone to God and asked for forgiveness for everything that I've ever done wrong -- It's a sad thing that a person waits until moments like this to realize that they can/should be a better person. I am especially sorry for times that I have made you feel less than the most beautiful, intelligent, strong, important person in this world to me. Having you, Lylli, and Gracie in my life have forced me to reflect on who I am as a man and I promise to try to make all three of you proud of me as time goes by. I can't thank you enough for everything that you do for all of us – you are the glue that keeps our family together and I do not tell you that enough – If I could take all of the bad off of your shoulders to carry myself, I would in a heartbeat. I give you a hard time about never knowing what to ask for on your birthday, etc – I joked to you the other day that I could think of 10 things for $1000 right now that I want – a person could learn a lesson from you – you know what life is about, it's not about a new toy, it's about being happy with what you have and making the best of it – I'll admit that I envy this about you ( this doesn't mean I don't want to remodel our place, some land in Balsam, and a late 60's bronco someday – but would you expect anything less?) Since we were told about Grace's possible challenges, you, without complaints have done everything you could to give her the best chance. You take care of her and all of us without complaining – you are such an amazing woman. It seems like she'll be here any minute now and I just wanted to let you know how proud I am that you are my wife. No matter what happens, you've done everything you could do – I know the added stress of our days to come could put a strain on some marriages – I vow to do my best to deal with this in a positive way and I just know that someday we'll look back on this as a time where we were very scared, but also as a time that helped us to better appreciate our marriage, our children, family, friends and we have little Gracie to thank for that.
I'll love you until I can't love anymore
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
I was watching the show Parenthood earlier this week -- there was a moment during a scene in a grocery store where there was a confrontation that resulted in the unpleasant fella in line referring to the boy with Autism as the r-word. The dad on the show slugged the guy – I became completely full of adrenaline. It was the first time I could somewhat relate to the dad on the show as a dad (to-be) of a child with a disability (and she's not even here yet!) - I'm not really sure what I would have done, but pretty sure the guy wouldn't have said it again.
My point is... I was reading the blog on www.deedahandme.com this morning and the following statement got me thinking about this:
"There are a lot of people breaking down walls for our children. One of the ways this is happening is the confrontation of the language used to describe people with intellectual disabilities–the battle to end the use of the r-word. "
They go on to mention the speech that I linked to awhile ago on my blog given by Soeren Palumbo regarding the use of this word (http://daddythefatty.blogspot.com/2010/08/very-well-said.html ).
I plucked this next sentence from a story online from the BBC (about the word gay) which explains it very well – Some words are "too often seen as harmless banter instead of the offensive insult that they really represent"
If you hear people using these words – Don't ignore it - say something! Also, if you use them yourself - think about how the way too common use of this word is very offensive and painful to many people - many of which are not even able to defend themselves. Not that it'll stop me from speaking, but I sometimes think I should refrain from saying some things these days as they become clearer to me as we begin the journey with Gracie in our lives because I do understand that there have been times that I've said and done things in the past without prior consideration of how truly offensive they could be to another person or group. There's nothing I can do about things I've said in the past, but I can change. That makes me think of something - In the past, as many immature males in my similar situation do, without giving it a second thought, I would say "that's gay" in reference to something that I didn't like or thought was un-cool. I am not proud of this, and will do my best from now on to speak without using words that offend. I understand this is not a perfect comparison to the r-word because the word "gay" is not a derogatory term when used alone like the N-bomb or R-bomb, but for my illustration, I'm talking about using a term in a statement that negatively generalizes someone or a group because of something they have no control over. "That's Gay" when used in society today is used to mean something negative but, for some reason most people, when they hear the phrase, won't even blink. My aunt is a lesbian and I didn't let that stop me from letting that phrase come out of my mouth every once in awhile when I was younger – no more – In all actuality, it's sort of ironic, because when I think about it - my aunt and her partner are two of the most amazing people and contribute way more to this society than most people I know – they are both beautiful, intelligent, and artistic. They are both passionate about their careers and spend much of their time at and away from work doing things that help many people – they both give way more than they take and I wish I was more like either one of them in so many ways. Being gay does not define either of them. It is a very small part of who they are, but it certainly is not negative. I mentioned that to illustrate that I do admit to have said things in the past without thinking that I am now ashamed of and to attempt to segway into something that happened yesterday. A very good friend of mine came over to help me with some work around the house – as we were BS'ing, he did something without thinking and said "I'm such an" r-bomb. I replied with a "hey now!" – he turned white as a ghost. The subject quickly changed – he called me later to apologize – I told him to not apologize to me and to just try and consider what he is actually saying – He is an amazing friend and the type of person, husband, and father that we all strive to be. He cares for other people and is honestly one of the greatest guys I know - I know for a fact he never uses that word and I'm pretty sure he will not do it again -- For some reason in most of society today, it's OK to use that word – but really it's not OK, it's as offensive, if not more, than any word that you can think of – so please, if you hear it, say something (be nice about it at first – I doubt an eye for an eye response will work in this case) and if you use it without thinking, please stop. It all starts with us.
Let me end by including something I took from the top of the www.rword.org website:
"Some people have mental retardation (intellectual disabilities). While mental retardation is not a bad word, when used to describe someone or something you think is bad or stupid it becomes another thoughtless hurtful word. People with intellectual disabilities are not bad. Their condition is not bad. The prejudice and discrimination to people with intellectual disabilities is BAD…and WRONG! Please stop using the word 'retard'. It hurts individuals and families of those with disabilities."
Monday, November 1, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
I am one muffin away from weighing 300 pounds. Judging by some recent pics, I'd venture to guess its one of those mini muffins. If I was 8 feet tall, I wouldn't sweat it, but at 5' 9", that's another story. The affliction that me and my ex-college teammates jokingly refer to as PAS (Post Athlete Syndrome) has gotten out of control. I imagine my insides are almost as fragile and on the edge of bursting as the button on my jeans. This past year has really got me thinking about my mortality. I tried to get into shape last year by training for the Twin Cities 10 Mile – I must have upped my food intake, because despite burning a lot more calories, I didn’t hardly lose any weight – On the day of the race I felt terrible. I showed up, easily the heaviest guy there, having next to no sleep the night before, my eye was in so much pain that I pouted and walked a good portion of my run – I’m pretty sure if you turned the results over, out of the thousands of people in the race, I would have been in the top 10. I ran the inaugural Twin Cities 10 mile several years earlier in just under 90 minutes – I know that is never going to break any records, but I would give anything for a 9 minute mile these days. That said, as many of you know, I started the year with a very painful eye issue -- Although the squinty right eye, scraggly beard, and salty attitude would've made it easy to pull off the pirate look -- It was a far cry from the Johnny Depp kind of pirate -- much more like the fat drunken turkey leg eating slob in the background that gets his head chopped off in an early scene instead of walking the plank (probably because they're afraid it'll snap) The side effects of the medicines and lack of activity, due to being miserable, caused me to balloon up (even more than usual). I was honored to walk my sister down the aisle with my dad this last January. They call tuxes monkey suits, but mine was more of a silver back gorilla suit with the 5X shirt they gave me to accomodate my prednisone swollen neck. I looked and felt like 10 lbs of bleep in a 5 lb bag -- That was not the way I would have chosen to celebrate one of the best days of my little sister's life. My eye has since gotten better and I pray that the eye issues are behind me. There were many doctors visits, blood tests, and a lot of pain - Picture the worst eye headache you've had -- that's how I felt from Sept ’09 - April ’10 -- I was miserable and it really got me thinking about how life is precious and short and I would not be giving my wife and children the respect they deserve if I continue to kill myself, one Supersized meal at a time. As my daughter grows older, I find myself having difficulties getting down on the floor to play with her or fitting inside her play house, etc. The internal Rich is a lot more playful and fun than the Rich people see today and I'm afraid a lot of it has to do with my weight issues. I don't want my kids to think that their dad can't do something - I want my girls to know a dad that will jump in the water with them or get inside the playhouse, sit on the floor, and have a tea party if that's what they want me to do. Not too long ago, I had a moment where I watched across the room as my wife and daughter looked at some recent home videos that we recorded on our little flip camera. My daughter kept saying, "I want to see Daddy". As I sat there watching them repeat the part of the video that I was in, I envisioned myself being dead of a heart attack and that video being the only thing that my daughter(s) could look at to see her(their) Daddy. It made me very sad. I recently went to a wedding -- My wife has given me a hard time in the past about how I don't dress up for occassions as I should (my apologies to those that have seen me at their event wearing cargo shorts) - Looking back on it now, I guess its kind of a defense mechanism. It was a wedding for her side of the family, and I do understand her point, so in an attempt to do the right thing, I got a haircut, shaved, and attempted to clean myself up. I wanted to look my best for her. In preparation, I looked through all of my clothes and found that I really have nothing nice to wear that fits me anymore. I went to the same store that I used to get my shirts because my arms,neck, and shoulders were too big -- and the years of squatting made my butt and quads too big to find normal dress pants. This time I had very different issues with the clothes I tried on. I spent a bunch of money to have some very large clothing tailored to fit. The outfit I got was very sharp looking in the store. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed when I actually saw myself in it and spent the night continually trying to keep the dress shirt tucked in that was being untucked by my belly every time I moved. I find myself in many situations these days that are embarassing to me because of my weight and don't want to spend the rest of what would most likely be a short life if I keep this up, not enjoying things like I'd like to because I have gotten to this uncomfortable size. I want to be able to go into any store and buy clothes or at least back the way it was where I'd have to ask the girl working by the fitting rooms if I looked like "that guy" because the arms were too tight on the shirt I was trying on. I'm sick of being afraid of collapsing my neighbors lawn furniture! Not too long ago, I was the big guy, that continued lifting weights well into adult hood - strong as a horse. Somewhere along the way, its changed to where I'm no longer the muscular guy with a gut, but am now just "the fat guy". I don't want to spend my life like this anymore and its truly time that I do something about it.
Over the last several years, I have come up some crazy ideas to try and motivate me to lose weight -- some have worked a little, but most have just resulted in me giving up and feeling even worse than when I started. On Thanksgiving, we are expecting our second daughter, Gracie. There are many obstacles in her way due to the fact that she has some pretty significant heart issues - most likely as a result of her Down syndrome. She will be born at Abbott and rushed to the NICU at Children's Hospital where a team of doctors will check her out and see if there is anything that they can do to fix her. Because of all of the uncertainties involved in her arrival, I often think about how much our life will change. Actually, Our lives have already changed a lot. I hate to even say this, but we are very scared that the doctors will not be able to fix her (And have been told that is a possibility). My wife and I are both extremely fearful of what's to come in our near future - it will most likely be very trying time for both of us. I cannot put into words how much I love my wife. It is selfish and unfair of me to put us in a situation where she has to worry about me too. The pending arrival of Gracie has forced me to rethink a lot of things. I have changed and continue to change, I feel for the better, on the inside because of it -- I want/need to change on the outside too. This time, I am going to do it -- I have to. Ok -- this is the part where I ask for your help. Yes, this is probably another one of Rich's crazy ideas -- but I think I've thought of a good one this time -- Something to keep me very motivated to get healthy and lose the weight and at the same time, raise some money for a wonderful organization.
So here's the idea -- this plan will generate donations for the Down Syndrome association of MN. I vow to weigh 240 or less before my birthday, Sept 14th, 2011 -- that is actually over 50 lbs. I will pay $10 per pound for every lb that I do not lose. That is $500 dollars if I lose nothing, however, I would love to raise a lot more than that. I am asking for people to commit to pledge in one of a few ways:
1. A straight contribution to the Down Syndrome Association of MN
2. A per lb donation for every lb that I lose regardless of whether I reach my goal or not
3. Or a per lb donation made only if I meet my goal - I'm hoping those that choose this option will make a larger donation, because I'm sure you're confident that I won't meet the goal in which case you would be out nothing
Whether you hate me or love me, are impartial, on the fence, or don’t even know me and just want to help raise money for a wonderful organization, I hope that by creating this long note, sharing my insecurities, and offering it to anybody that will read it, that you can see how badly I want to do this. I know that all of the points I have made should be motivation enough, but to help in this journey, I ask that you please consider making a pledge - even a quarter a lb would help greatly (and really, lets be honest, if you know me, you know that I'll probably be asking you to donate to the walk next year anyway ;)). All that I am asking right now is to send an email (to email@example.com) telling me what you will pledge and in return I will do my best to meet this goal -- I will not be collecting money until the end of summer 2011 – For those of you that saw the site for Team Walking With Grace for the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk this year - I intend to create another site next year for the walk and use that to gather my pledges from this challenge at that time. Thank you so much to those of you that donated recently to that site – please understand that I am not asking for money until this time next year – I am just asking you to pledge to this journey to be paid next year before the walk. My goal is to try and gather enough pledges to raise $100+ for every pound that I lose.
I am just in the inital stages of planning and I would really like to get the word out there -- I hope to get pledges from family and friends, but would love to also get pledges from corporations, friends of friends, etc -- so I ask that you please pass this along to anyone that may be interested in supporting this organization and/or help motivate this fat dad to get to a healthy weight so I can be there for a long time for my growing family.
I have a blog that I plan to use to document my progress - www.daddythefatty.blogspot.com (if you are reading this, you are most likely on it now) and have created a special email address for people to send what they plan to pledge as well as to send me notes of encouragement, etc. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org . If anybody has any ideas that may help me meet this goal or an idea on how to get this out to the masses for more pledges, please do not hesitate to let me know.
I will start my end of this deal the moment that I receive my first pledge and not finish until I reach my goal
Thank you so much in advance from myself, my wife, my daughters and the DSAMN
Wish me luck,
Friday, September 3, 2010
I've been involved in Dog rescue for many years. I've had many foster animals in my home. Carrie and I have played Santa and the Mrs several times for the pet rescue events over the years. I've even been a board member for group. About four years ago, I stumbled upon a puppy in
He is potty trained (maybe an accident once every couple months just because it's hard for him to get out by himself at our home). He loves everybody, especially kids - not to mention everybody that meets Bodey, once they get past the goofy gate, can't help but smile because he gets so excited to meet people. I have been struggling with what is the best for him for awhile now -- unfortunately, our home is not set up the best for him and I find that he often gets lost in the mix sitting in a corner because he can't get around very well - he does a bit better in the grass, but as he grows older, he is becoming less and less mobile no matter what the terrain. I wish we could pack up and move somewhere better for him, but given the economy and our current situation, moving is not an option. If it was just a matter of the physical environment, we could probably make it work – I mean, we have to this point. I sometimes wonder about his quality of life – I guess I had these grand illusions that he would just walk a little different, but still be able to get around – I wonder how he feels these days laying in the same spot for hours at a time until we pick him up to move him to the next spot that he will most likely lay in for several hours. He isn't a small dog either – so carrying him around is a bit more challenging than if he were a yorkie. I know that Carrie is concerned about the amount of effort it takes for her to move him while she is going through this volatile pregnancy – she shouldn't carrying him outside, but when I'm not there (she is the first to get home by an hour or two everyday) she can't just let him sit there after laying inside all day -- He's gotta go outside just as bad as the rest of them. I can't risk anything happening to Carrie or the baby.
I am so torn on what to do with Bodey – I've had to make decisions to have amazing animals put down because of owners that say they will give an animal a home and then decide because things change they no longer have a place in their home. We have three other dogs that we're not getting rid of – Bodey is the one with the most special needs. I think about the fact that soon, I will be the father of a girl with Special needs and will I love her any less because of it? Absolutely not! I feel like such a hypocrite considering sending Bodey to an animal sanctuary to live out his life? I just know that when Gracie arrives, we will be relying on family and friends to take care of our animals while we spend the many hours at the hospital – Asking them to Let the dogs in and out and give them food and water is much less demanding than asking them to carry Bodey out and in and if he steps or lays in his waste to wash him up and carry him back in.
"Home for Life" is an animal sanctuary in