I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.

This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkins, Ponies, Presents, and a Party

What a great weekend.   Friday night consisted mainly of running some last minute errands in preparation for Lyl’s birthday festivities.  We went to Costco to get her cake (of which I attempted to turn into a horsey cake by adding a couple of toy horses – hey, she’s two and in her eyes, in the end, it was a horsey cake).  Since we were going there, I bribed a buddy to stop by and help me load up the floor model treadmill that I bought the weekend before that ended up having a sheared off chord (I’ll save that story for another day, but I’m sure you can imagine my joy when I used up favors by having my step-brother and brother-in-law come over to help me get it out of the truck and into the basement  and as they held the backend as I tried to steer the front end through the door, I noticed the chord was cut off two inches out of the machine – sure I could handle the scuffs from being a floor model, but – no chord was a deal breaker – at least we didn’t get it in the basement before we noticed) – OK, back to this entry – after hitting up the food court at Costco, we then decided to make a “quick” stop at the party store for some birthday decorations.  What a wonderful idea that was – “Ok, we’ll just swing in quick” on the Friday evening before Halloween – I can honestly say the “My little Pony” birthday section had plenty of elbow room, but unfortunately, the checkouts were for the two year old birthday supplies AND all of the last minute Halloween costumes/decorations as well.     On Saturday, we did our standard pre-event scramble to try and make our house not look like a bomb went off until either we say, good enough or people start showing up.  Carrie’s mom and sister came early to help, giving me the chance to run up to the store for some last minute items – The usual suspects showed for her Cowgirl birthday party.  It’s so cool to see all of the good sports moseying on in the door in their cheesy western shirts, boots, and cowboy hats – Lylli got a cute little outfit sent to her in the mail made by Papa Mick’s sister Cyndi in St Louis.  She was definitely dressed for the occasion and raring to go.  She had been ready for that day for months so there was no getting her to take a nap before the festivities began.  Our little house was pretty packed, so it was nice that the sun made an appearance  - we were able to start a fire out back.  People had the option to step out into the backyard and the kids got to play on the play set, etc.  The menu consisted of sloppy Joes and other simple foods prepared ahead of time, so that pretty much took care of itself.  The party went off relatively pain-free and Lylli loved being the star of the show.  She got many wonderful gifts that she is very excited about and got to spend some quality time with many people that care for her.    We were also glad to be able to show off Gracie’s nearly finished nursery (as with most things I do, it turned out to be a little bigger project than we original talked about – but we like how it’s coming together and people seemed to like it).  Saturday was the extended family version of her birthday celebration, leaving the three of us to celebrate a little more low-key on Halloween, her actual birthday – we woke up, had some Denny’s-to-go, and spent the morning playing with her new toys –we also gave her a couple of gifts that we saved for her actual birthday.  Her Grammy and Pappy gave her a little Dora ATV – it was torture for her to have to wait the 18 hours for the battery to charge the first time – she spent a lot of time on that once we got it going – luckily it only tops out at 2 MPH because she enjoys riding on it so much that she doesn’t pay attention to the fact that she has to steer it.  She hit pretty much every chair, door jam, cabinet, in the house – Once the morning dew was gone, Carrie took her out into the yard with it so she could feel what it was like to go a bit before crashing into something.  After we finally got moving, we went up to Bunker Stables and took her on a pony ride – she was very excited and loved it, although we both agree that it won’t be long before a pony ride just won’t cut it for her – no offense to Troll – our little furry overstuffed pony who was an angel, but Lylli was quickly focused on getting on one of those bigger horses.  I guess having a dog the size of one of those ponies at home that she tries to ride everyday has caused the utility of a pony ride to not last as long as it normally would –  But it was a great success – she really loves being around all of the horse stuff and I was so happy that the three of us got to do something special on her birthday.  After the stables, we made our way back home and had some hot dogs – per her request.  We attempted to put her down for a nap, but she wasn’t having any of that.  At dusk we put on her horsey costume and brought her out trick or treating for the first time – she was so excited as we left every house to get to the next one, but as soon as someone answered the door and started talking to her, she went completely still, stared straight ahead, and didn’t make a peep.  She loved it, but after about 6 houses, the idea that she had a pack of fruit snacks in her little plastic pumpkin was too much to allow her to continue – they actually turned out to be animal crackers in the end – but it was chilly and that was plenty for her to get the experience.  That gave us the chance to go back home to greet the other trick or treaters.  As we waited for the Halloweeners to ding the bell, we warmed up some leftovers and ate – after dinner, we took out some of her birthday cake and ice cream, lit 2 candles and sang happy birthday to her again.  Those are the moments that I am most thankful for in my life.  As Lylli’s night ended, we put on her new Dora flannel pajamas and I laid beside her in her bed -  we talked about all of the things she did over the course of the weekend.  What an amazing little girl – As we were talking, I got a little sentimental and told her that it had been the best two years of my life – she thought I was sad, so she took her hand and rubbed my face and said – “It’s OK daddy, don’t be said, I love you”  - how does that saying go?  My Cup Runneth Over
I woke up this morning and realized that its November.   The month that we’ve been waiting for with so much excitement and dreading at the same time.  We both think Gracie will come early, but even if she doesn’t, her due date is just over three weeks away.  We are as ready as we’re going to be.  All we can do is wait and pray that things work out.  I hope everybody had as good of a Halloween as I did.   Please keep us in your thoughts this next couple of months.   

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