Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Megow Kids Q&A - American Pride



1) What do you love most about America?

Stevie –“ Because my friends are here. And I like the Fun Factory in the mall.”

Neela - “There are farms."

Titus - “I love helping people and I love Jesus. I like those things the most.”

Olive – “When baby animals get hungry, I take care of them in America.”

___________

2) If you had to rename America, what new name would you choose?

Stevie – “Poop under the rug”

Neela - “The Puppy Bed”

Titus – “I say ‘Place of the World’ or ‘Spy Club’. I can’t decide... * pauses in deep thought* Ok. I decided ‘Spy Club’. Everyone can be spies in Spy Club America… Wait… *pauses again, this time with a clear sense of worried concentration* Well, I don’t think there is enough trenchcoats and hats for everyone to be a spy. So I say ‘Place of the World’ now.”

Olive – “Mrs. Rose’s Cabinet”

____________

3) If you had to pick a new National Anthem, what would it be?


Stevie - “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”

Neela - “Who let the dogs out”

Titus - “Drive my Car” (By the Beatles)

Olive - *leans head back and gargles spit in mouth*

___________

4) Who was the first President?


Stevie – “George Washington”

Neela – “George Washington”

Titus – “George Washington”

Olive *holding up finger* - “My finger hurts”

___________

5) What important thing happened on July 4, 1776?

Stevie – “They invented chicken nuggets? … I’m just kidding. I know it wasn’t that. But I think the day they invented chicken nuggets is still an important day.”

Neela – “Jesus married God?”

Titus – “Is that the day I learned to snap my fingers?”

Olive – “I was asleep that day.”

___________

6) Who should the new president and why?


Stevie – “Ms. Cowart, because she is so pretty and nice and she loves cats, and the best teacher ever… Besides my other teachers... *pauses* … They can all take turns being president.”

Neela – “Dad. Because you have the nicest beard and are the most handsome.”

Titus – “Ms. Leslie, my speak teacher, is because she is nice and sweet. I think she would be a good president because she hugs me.”

Olive – “Mrs. Rose. Because then I can move out of this house and live with her.”

___________

7) Why America is called the melting pot?

Stevie *laughing* – “Dad, you’re hilarious. It’s the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Not a pot. Nice try daddy.”

Neela – “We go into a pot and the president boils us up and eats us.”

Titus – “George Washington had a pot and it melted.”

Olive - “Daddy, my finger hurts” *holds up finger*

___________

8) What does the word “Congress” mean?

Stevie – “Cons living in grass?”

Neela – “A concert with people riding on horses?”

Titus – “Dancing on a stage?”

Olive - “I am going to die if I don’t get a band-aid for my finger”

___________

9) If you had to pick a new national animal, what would you pick?

Stevie – “Dragons. Only greens ones though. Red ones are too mean.”

Neela – “Golden Bamboo Lemur. They are almost extinct so I can save them.”

Titus – “Shark”

Olive *laying on floor, pressing face into the tile, and holding up finger* - “I’m dead now”

___________

10) If you were president, what would you do on your first day?

Stevie – “Go on TV and say “Poopy pants”. Then the whole world will think America is the funniest because their president tells good jokes.”

Neela - “Humans have to wear tails on their butts.”

Titus – “Make people live with their parents and take care of them when they are old.”

Olive *after being given a bandaid for her finger and instantaneously being revived* - “Drink Koolaid and lay in daddy’s bed.”

___________

11) If you were elected president, what clothes would wear to give your first big speech?

Stevie – “A shirt with a cat and my shorts… so I don’t get hot.”

Neela – “Spiked Porcupine Suit, so I can kill snakes without using a shovel.”

Titus – “A plain red shirt and red soft coat and a cool hat and red gloves. Everything I wear would be red. Except my hat. That would be dark red.”

Olive – “Naked.”

___________

12) If you were elected president, what would your first big speech be about?

Stevie – “I would do an art lesson. I would show them how to draw a white cat.”

Neela – “Save the animals and the forest.”

Titus – “I would teach everyone my workout moves so they can be this strong.” *flexes muscles*

Olive – “Can we be done with questions now? This is boring.”


Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Seth

Monday, July 2, 2018

Megow Vacations - Then/Now

I’ve had the blessing of enjoying life in several ways. Happily married with no kids. Happily married with kids, and now happily a single dad. With it being summer and time for family vacations, I wanted to kinda dissect the different ways I’ve approached family getaways over the years :)

Hahaha. You can tell that I've gotten much more laid back as in my most current stage.


_______________________
Planning the trip 

No kids:
Let’s go somewhere beautiful that we can sightsee. Or somewhere with a lot of hidden trails for hiking! For sure, we need an awesome tucked away beach that no one knows about.

Married with kids: Ok. Let’s try to find somewhere that has a lot of activities and neat stores we can take the kids to! Maybe we can take them to swim with dolphins or go to Disneyworld?!

Single dad:
Well considering I have about $400 bucks to make this trip happen, I just need to find somewhere remotely close to a public beach with free continental breakfast and a pool….

*Reading reviews of motels that fit that criteria*

- “This place is a nightmare. Room was messy and staff inattentive.”

*Ehhh.. Not looking good… continues to scroll*

- “Grungy looking towels.”

*Crap. I dunno about this place. I’ll read one more review*

- “I got stabbed in the parking lot, but continental breakfast features a waffle making station.”

*A waffle maker!?! Books room* 
________________________
Packing 

No kids: “Let’s take some nice outfits so we can go to some fancy dinners while we are out.” “Also, let's bring some fun stuff to wear for at night since we can stay in bed as long as we like!"

Married with kids: “Hmmm…. I have two suitcases full of clothes, one full of crafts for the condo,

Single dad:
*Assembles children the day before departing for the trip*

Me: “Guys. Wanna pack your own bags for vacation this year?!?”

Children: “Yes!!”

Me: “Remember, pack the stuff you’ll need for an entire week.”

*Checks bags the morning of the trip to find a box of crayons, 48 Littlest Pet Shop toys, a “how to do magic tricks” book, 4 fidget spinners, a tooth one of them lost last week, 17 bathing suits, and shells they bought back from the beach last year.*

Me: “Ehhhh… Close enough. Grab your toothbrush before we jump in the van to leave.”

________________________
The car trip there

Before kids: “Isn’t it nice to take cute backroads and highways? Oooohhhh, look at that sign! A little local antique store that sells fresh boiled peanuts is only 20 miles off route… let’s go!”

Married with kids: *to spouse* “I’m so glad you loaded up the bags and mapped out the fastest route. I gave me time to make fun, little on-the-road bags.” and “Remember if anyone gets car sick, I’ll take over driving so you can sit in the back with a bucket and cold towel.”

Single dad: “AAHHH!! I know you are getting car sick! I can’t stop in the middle of the interstate. Here just throw up in the sand bucket we bought for the beach.” and “No we aren’t stopping for food, I don’t you guys to eat BEFORE we left. We only have like about 90 minutes left on the road… just eat some of those goldfish crackers you split in your cup holder last week.”

________________________
On the beach 

No kids: “Let’s go play in the ocean for a few hours and then we can come relax in our beach chairs under our nice cool umbrella. *Deep sigh* How relaxing…”

Married with kids:
*to wife* “I’m about to haul all of this stuff from the car to the beach. Pick out a nice spot!” and “Let’s alternate between one of us sitting in the sand with the younger kids and one of us out in the water with the older ones.”

Single dad: “AAAHHHH!! Don’t run out there! My hands are ful…. *drops everything* and sprints down the beach and into the ocean to grab the Olive (“almost swimmer”) from diving into the surf. *walks back to inspect dropped stuff* “Well, I hope you guys want all of our beach snacks covered and sand. Also, I think that’s our giant beach ball like 200 yards down the beach, wait it’s about to hit the lady in the face… crap! Ok no one in the water. Cmon! We gotta run half a mile down the beach to apologize to her… Well, I know you want to play in the water, but we have to apologize to that lady so let’s all go because I can’t leave you by yourself… There’s four of you and one of me. I can’t just leave you here… Wait! Where’s Neela!... Ahhh!!! That’s not our food basket sweetheart! Oh. My. Gosh. How much of those people's food did you eat?!? Ok, let’s find whoever this basket belongs to and pay them back for their food… One second Stevie… I’m looking for these people… One second PLEASE!!... ugh what is it?!?.. Titus is where?!... ”

________________________
Nighttime 

No kids:
“Let’s go out and see some local bands play! And then let’s go for a night walk on the beach!”

Married with kids: “How about we get the kids down and then we grab some wine and jump into the hot tub on the back patio?”

Single dad:
“Well. They are asleep. Maybe I’ll read my book I brou… *falls asleep*


________________________
Vacation Family Picture 

No kids: “Let’s get someone to take our picture at sunset on the beach.”

Married with kids:
“Well let’s get a good picture so we can share it with family. Let’s do it later in the week so we all have some sun and aren’t super pale. Also, let’s do it later in the evening so we can go to the beach in the morning. That way the kids won’t get their matching cuffed up jeans and white shirts wet from the ocean because they will have already gotten their swimming kick in for the day.

Single dad:“Just wear whatever you want… Oh you wanna hold that dead hermit crab you found on the beach?... I mean whatever. I don’t care as long as you smile.”


________________________
Headed Home

No kids: “That was a nice trip but I’m ready to get back to home. I miss the dogs.”

Married with kids: *to wife* “That was fun, but we need a vacation from this vacation. The kids are burnt out and I’m exhausted.”

Single dad: “Sorry guys, it’s the last day… No we can’t stay longer, we have to turn in the key this morning… I wish we could stay too... Well… actually we did bring the tent… State park here we come!”


Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Seth

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

You wanna marry my dad?


I've talked about this on my facebook before, but never really in depth. It's probably one of the sweetest things my kids do (and one of the most embarrassing). Last Christmas, my kids decided the best gift they could get me would be to find me a wife. Hahahaha. Clearly, they think I'm not capable enough for this task and need their assistance. Neela typically leads the charge, but the others are quick to give their advice/opinion on the matter. About 70% of the adult women we see in public get asked the question "Do you want marry my dad?"

Now keep in mind a large majority of these people are complete strangers. My kids literally have no shame. At first, this was jawdroppingly embarrassing. I mean, I would just stand & stare at my children making me look at a complete idiot. Also, earlier when I said the phrase "adult women", I was using that term loosely. "Adult" to my kids means anyone over the age of around 15. I literally cannot express to you the horror I have felt at certain times. Picture this: We are in the grocery store and we see a 6'5 man in full military attire (complete with mustache) walking with his high school freshman age daughter. Neela walks right up to the barely teenage girl and starts talking. I see this happening and immediately toss the frozen pizza I'm grabbing out of the freezer section across the isle while sprinting to break up this conversation. I don't make it. This is what I run up to...

Neela: "You're so pretty. My dad is handsome. I bet he would think you are so pretty. Hey! I got a great idea. You two should marry!! *turns around to me see right behind her and out of breathe from sprinting across the store* Great!!! Here he is!... Dad. Isn't she so pretty!?! I bet you are in looooove now..." 

As the blood drains from my head is shock and embarrassment, I notice the dad's knuckles turning about as white as my face. I try to laugh it off and yank Neela away from the situation. Of course, we literally are on one of those "isle twins" routines. Every time, we go down an isle who do we see rounding the corner. Grabbing fruit loops... isle twin. Looking a bag of flour... isle twin. Grabbing some chewing gum...isle twin. It was so bad. Finally, me and the kids just grabbed some fruit snacks and ate them in the toy section, so I wouldn't be stuck behind them in the checkout line. Later, we had a big talk about "age appropriateness". hahaha.

However, normally I don't mind too much. They ask college girls at work, women at restaurants, moms at the park, and even senior citizens who live at my grandma's retirement home. (Fun fact: Occasionally, some women smile at the kids and say "Sure!". However, at the nursing home, I tend to rack up with the potential spouse candidates ;)  Actually, one time one of the teachers at school told me that Neela had already given out "wedding jobs" to all of the elementary teachers (flower girl, priest, picture taker, dog sitter..."

Now to be honest, when they first started doing this, I was a little worried they were trying to fill some "mom void" in their own lives. I got nervous that I wasn't doing a great job of being both mom and dad. However, over months of conversations with them I've learned that they just really want me be happy. Although, I constantly tell them that I really enjoy spending my time with them, they just think I should have a partner. They might want me to find someone more than I do actually.

Tangent Alert: 
Pardon my rabbit trail.

This is just my opinion, but I think some people rush through the single parenting experience at times. In all honesty it's so much work and can be emotionally/physically draining, but once you get over the hump; get in the groove, it's just the most interesting life experience. Not only does it give you an amazing chance to bond with your kids, but it forces you to grow out of your comfort zone as a human. I've always been fun, carefree, and a little weird. So naturally when I became a dad I encouraged that in my children. However, over the past few years I've noticed flaws in my parenting and personal life due to the fact that I'm playing both parenting roles. I always like to compare it to the movie "Big Daddy". My kids were pretty much named Frankenstein, acting crazy, and dressed like this for school. In time, I learned how balancing social norms and actual etiquette along with the fun/crazy is ultra beneficial.

"Sure, you can wear a pot on your hear and paint the toilet with fingernail polish."


Also, there's just such a strong sense of value I've been able to pass along to my kids being a single parent. They know they are the most important to me. There's no competition between a woman. There's no questioning that I value my relationship and time with them above everything else. With them going through their abandonment issues, this has been such a major part of their healing.

End of Tangent ;)

So besides them asking women to marry me, they also like to give me tips on how to meet/impress women. Here are some of my favorite pearls of wisdom I've received from my children on how to impress the opposite sex.

- "Whenever you go in public, you should take off your shirt. Grown up women like a hairy man. And boy. you hairy."

- "Just do this whenever you see a pretty girl..."


 photo aRVXE__zpsza9lknyf.gif 

- "Dad! That girl is pretty. You should talk to her... Don't act weird like you normally do."

- "Take us to the ice cream store. Girls are always in good mood when they eat ice cream."

- "About taking off your shirt, you need to lose a few pounds in your belly before you do that actually."

- "I bet you would be more handsome without your glasses.... Take them off...  Nope.... Put them back on."

- "Dad. I bet there will be pretty girls there tonight. You should wear your tight pants!"


Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Seth

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My “Traditional vs Single” Parenting Truths



I’ve wanted to write this post since I started, but I never did for two reasons:

1) I didn’t want to offend anyone

2) It’s hard to put it into words

So considering that it’s impossible to never offend anyone (I promise I will try to do my best), and mentally I haven’t made any progress on how I should write this, I figured I would just sit down and crank this mamma-jamma out. Pretty much Seth is going to take the classic Calvin and Hobbes approach to life with this post.


First off, let’s just clear up a few things. One, I’m not the best parent. I think I try, but I know people that can parent circles around me. Take for instance the following example: Last night for dinner, I put my kids in bathing suits brought my kids out on the trampoline and gave them a “kids choice” dinner. This consisted of a cold hot dog and a miniature cupcake. Following dinner, I hooked up the sprinkler under the trampoline (with no safety net) and let them fight with pool noodles while bouncing. All this was happening while I was bleaching and scrubbing our family tent that a stray male cat apparently used is its personal urinal for the past few weeks due to my forgetting to close the outside storage closet properly. After cleaning the tent, I unhooked the sprinkler and gave everyone a backyard hose bath before sending them inside. :D #realife Soap Box Alert: Let kids are freaking kids. Growing up, our generation just played outside, did crazy stuff, and had fun. Parents weren’t insanely overprotective. They just told us how to be safe and gave us rules, and then sent us out to create fun. Hand making rope-swings from trees or just going off in the woods (filled with snakes, wasps, bobcats, etc.) was just part of being a kid. While I’m a big believer in overall safety and parental responsibility, it feels our society has made this giant push for “free range” animals, while simultaneously caging up our kids with a billion overprotective rules and unnecessary devices that tie down and limit their imagination, creativity, and need for exploring. Told you I was gonna Calvin and Hobbes this thang. Whatever comes out I’m just going to freaking type.  End of soapbox.

Ok, now that I have established my “non-pro parent status”, hopefully everyone can just take this for what it is, my own experience on both traditional and single parenting; nothing more or less. I understand there are probably 12,342,864,342 possible scenarios of co-parenting and single parenting. (Married/Un-married, full/partial custody, healthy relationship with other parent/unhealthy relationship, single and active co-parenting/Disney world dad and Mall shopping moms). Again this is my opinions as it pertains to me. 

For this post, I think I’m just going to stick with the idea of two people together as a couple/parent team vs doing a majority of the parenting alone. Whew!! I finally feel I can get started ;)

To be honest I feel like single parenting is one of those things that people can’t grasp until have experienced it yourself (like the loss of a loved one, divorce, being homeless, etc.). I used to have so much pity for my single parent friends. In my head, I constantly just felt sorry for them. Little did I know, my knowledge of their struggles were extremely out of touch. It was just drawn on snippets of stories they told, what I saw on tv, and my overall guess of what it must be like. Based on my experience as being a partner in a wonderful co-parenting team and my experience as a sole responsibility single parent, I can somewhat related to both groups. I have noticed that people that always belonged in one category sometimes have misconceptions of the other. Again, this is in no way a judgmental or “I know it all” stance, it’s just kind of how I feel about the subject based on the criteria I listed earlier.

Here are my two honest truths about Traditional vs Single Parenting:

1) The biggest and most draining element of Single Parenting is Loneliness/Isolation.
 I always thought the hardest part of single parenting would be finances, not getting “me” time, being overwhelmed, etc. I was wrong. In my opinion, it’s the isolation that’s the worst. Granted I work with amazing people and have amazing family and friends. Mostly though, I was gifted with the most amazing kids ever placed on this earth. Seriously, my kids literally shock me with how loving, creative, self-sacrificing, and hilarious they are. However, all of that that doesn’t fix on that loneliness issue. Granted, the biggest void in our lives can only be filled by God. That hole is filled in my heart, thank you Jesus! But I truly believed humans are wired to parent as a team; however, the roles and duties might differ as each partner from couple to couple. Not having that solid team mate can be soul crushing. As any parent can tell you, the responsibility of raising children can be mind boggling heavy at times. Doing it alone creates this unexplainable feeling of isolation. That feeling always hits me the worst at night, when all the kids are tucked in and asleep.  I feel like I’m a pilot flying a plane solo at night. There are no co-captains, no flight attendant, no air marshals, or crew… it’s just you. I think that’s my point, before I became one, I viewed the main struggle with single parenting as all of the turbulence that the plane is going through, but in reality, I feel the hardest part is being in that dark, tiny cockpit all alone. I can get through the storm, but not having co-pilot to help navigate, talk to, or simply scratch an itch on my back while my hands are tied to the controls makes life extremely bleak at times.

2) Traditional Parenting isn’t necessarily any less stressful
Some people might not agree with this one, but I honestly (at select times) feel less stress now as a single parent than I did with my previous marriage was rock solid and the partnership was amazing. Here’s why I think that… A true partnership goes all in. They help, build up, support, encourage, and trust each other completely. So yes, when I was married I didn’t have to do crazy things like bringing a giant quilt into Toy-R-us while Christmas shopping to cover the cart and ensure that presents stay a surprise since the kids are with me all of the time. It’s great having a helpmate! Having someone be able to clean or read with the children while I cook dinner is an amazing feeling! My argument on this issue is that while having another parent brings so much support to the table, they also bring their own issues, problems, responsibilities, etc. But these issues are also yours. Remember, we were one. That means good and bad. So not only are you managing children, but trying maintaining a healthy marriage. There is a profound amount investment of time and energy that has to be poured into it. Sometimes with kids, that investment gets overlooked and becomes a challenge. Even the best marriages take constant upkeep, nourishment, time, and sacrifice. So juggling the responsibilities of being a spouse vs parent can be freaking tough.

Also, I feel that we are wired to have stress in our lives. One, it’s impossible to escape it. Two, healthy levels of stress keep our minds critically thinking, our bodies physically working, and also teaches us how to express feelings and emotions in a positive manner. Basically, I think we are wired to take on as much stress as we can handle. This is similar to the idea “The more money you have, the more you spend and the less money you have, the less you spend”. When I was married, we had more resources (finances, free time, and a larger support network).  So naturally as I think we did what we are wired to do. We maximized our resources doing various things, bought unneeded items, took on extra responsibilities, volunteering, etc. I believe I also had different standards on the importance of certain things in my life. So I was running about an 80% stress level based on what I could handle.  Once I got divorced and became a single parent, I lost a lot of those resources. So naturally I made adjustments.  I began to limit and remove unnecessary stressors. I also re-evaluated my standards. By accepting realistic expectations for myself and cutting out extra responsibilities I did not have the time/mental capacity to handle, life began to balance out again. Even though I have more on my plate as an individual, I can still operate on an 80% stress level due to being freed up in other areas.

So in conclusion, by far, I preferred parenting with a partner. If all of the kids are screaming in the van, instead of being solo and getting frustrated, I could look over and see some equally wide eyed  and about to crack. Those always made me laugh and lightened my mood. But in reality, God is good. There are things I have been able to experience and bonds with my children I could have never established in a two parent situation. So be encouraged. Don’t always assume that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes the poop left behind by the other animal fertilizes the ground, which can grow some greener, better quality grass than before. Although… just remember that at first you’ll still have to deal with the smell of that crap they've left behind until it’s decayed. 

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Seth

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Top 10 List - Last Week of School Parent Activities



10) Make sure the snooze button works on your morning alarm because you’ve saved up enough extra tardy chances for your kids to be late every day this week and still avoid the truancy officer call

9) Duct tape the straps on their book bag and cringingly reassure them "you only have to use this for a FEW more days!" 

8) Carelessly watching your kid pack their own snack for school that consists of them digging through the lucky charms box to dig out all of the marshmallows and combining them into a zip-lock bag already filled with pizza flavored goldfish

7) Getting ultra pumped for all of the end of year artwork coming home soon!! (For real, this is seriously like Christmas!!)

6) Trying to rent a movie for Friday night that they haven’t already watched that week in one of their 4 different end of year school parties

5) Digging out a pen in the car from under the driver’s seat while waiting in the school drop-off line to sign all of the end of year activity release forms that you completely forgot about until you see the giant blow-up bounce houses outside of the classrooms

4) Being extra nice to school administrators to make up for all of the school fundraiser papers that mysteriously found themselves at the bottom of the pile of junk mail on the kitchen counter

3) Having to re-download the classroom notification app to your phone because your child deleted it to make storage room to record twelve solid minutes of her sister doing cannonballs in the pool the previous weekend

2) Thinking to yourself that your kids’ outfits look pretty good until you see them walking with all of the other kids, but realize it’s too late to change them and too late in the school year to care.

1) Thank Thank Thank the teachers!!!! Remind them they only have a few more days of enduring things like having to listen to your child’s only knock-knock joke for the 43rd time.


Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Seth

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Happy Mothers Day Momma!


Thad, Graham, Claren (and Ben), and I each contributed to do a write-up for you on Mother's Day! I hope you enjoy it. Others that might read this, I hope you can get a sense of how great our mom is! 


Thad
Hope bloomed as Momma pulled the minivan into the shopping center parking lot where Bemiss and Ashley intersect. For days I had been jawing about the carnival each time we'd drive by it, "ooOO look at the gravitron!". I could only look to her for answers, "Why are we here? Shouldn't I be in class?" She grinned as she answered with an unforgettable nugget, "People with perfect attendance lead boring lives."

Maybe she thought I needed a break from a stressful transition into a new school. So, after dropping off the rest of the Megow clan at Open Bible elementary, she played hookey with me and brought me to the fair. I remember feeling proud to be by her side as we wandered through the attractions together. She even consented to riding on the Speeding Bullet, a rather extreme carnival ride which slung us around and upside down in a little metal capsule. I burst with joy as we rocked back and forth in widening arcs. Momma screamed so loud while we were suspended upside-down at the apex of the swing! It was a perfect mother and son date. I cherish the gesture she made that day. -Thad

____________________________

Seth
Momma, there’s a lot I would like to thank you for: Endless driving to soccer practice/games, always cooking fresh from scratch dinners, buying raspberry sorbet just for you and I to share, attending every football game just to watch me march in the halftime show, etc. However  instead of spending this little write-up talking about all the sacrifices you made as a parent (which were and are literally uncountable), I want to talk about one main thing I’ve learned from you as my mom that has helped define me as a man and now father to my own kids. It’s my favorite part about you… you are 100% authentic and unapologically yourself.

I remember as a small kid going other places and hearing people talk about “Denise”. That conversation normally ended up with the person doing an impression of some aspect of you (your booming laugh, your slightly tilted head serious face, dancing at church, etc.). I remembered always wondering why people would do impressions of you when I was younger. As an adult, I think it’s because you were just so unique and different from the norm of society that people can’t really explain Denise. They have to experience Denise. You embody a type of zeal for life that few can even comprehend. Hahahaha. I love that.

Now as a parent, I try to pass that onto my own kids. I’m learning that I can’t just say “be yourself” or “embrace what makes you unique”. I have to actually learn about myself and embrace it. They aren’t going to accept their uniqueness, if I’m not doing it myself. However, it’s not really that hard for me to do, because I grew up with a mom that was always going against the grain. My entire childhood was shaped by a mother who still to this day, is the only person I can’t describe with words. By your actions and life, you’ve taught us to love Jesus, people, family, and passions with wild abandon.

The Dr. Seuss quote that always comes to mind when I think of you was a little saying you had taped to your bathroom mirror years ago:

Thank you for being you. I’m so thankful and blessed to have you as my mom. I love you. -Seth

__________________________________

Claren
My Mama is a very unique person. Her laugh is contagious and anyone who had hear it knows this. If us kids could not find her for whatever reason, we would listen for her laugh. She can be loud:)

I remember going shopping for my senior prom dress.  Mama and I drove down to Jacksonville for the day. In the car ride there we were just talking about what we wanted to accomplish that day and how long we could be gone since we had to be back by a certain time.

We went to the first store and we did not find anything. Then we went to another store. We found a few different dresses. I found one dress on the sale rack that I liked. So it was off to the dressing room we went. I tried on a few of the dresses and they did not look good.I tried on the dress from the sale rack. I loved it. I went to show her. She liked it too. She beamed. I got the side eye smile. If you get that then you know she is happy. It is hard to explain the side eye smile, it usually comes before the afore mentioned laugh. It is this look so full of love and joy. It can not done justice by mere words.  We got fancy shoes to go with the dress. When we got back home, we showed off the prom dress and the fancy shoes. We were both very excited about them. I remember we stopped for lunch on the way back home. We talked about how exciting prom was and how exciting it was get dressed up. The ultimate accomplishment of that day was the we stayed under budget.

 After my engagement, I knew I wanted her to be here to help me pick out my wedding dress. With the wonders of technology, we were able to Skype her in. I came out to show everyone THE dress . I heard the side eye smile. I know that sounds weird but I heard it:). Hopefully one day I will be able to give my children this special gift, the side eye smile.

There is no one like my Mama.

I realized that I am extremely blessed to call her my Mama. 
Love you,
Claren

__________________________________

Ben
Denise is a very kind and welcoming person, that made me feel at home when I first met her. I remember the confused look on her face when I asked if I needed to take my shoes off or leave them on as is the custom in Alaska when entering someone's home. She makes wonderful southern style food that I was able to have for the first time, even though it was a bit spicy for me, I couldn't get enough. (Especially the Mexican egg rolls that I can never get enough of even when I make them.) She is very helpful when I need recipes to cook for Claren  to give her something to remind her of home, even though I make it exactly the same as the recipe Claren says it's not the same and I have to make some changes till she says it's right. I remember she had said she never had reindeer sausage before, so when she came to Alaska for our wedding I made her some scrambled eggs and reindeer sausage which she enjoyed, so I gave her a package of reindeer sausage to take home.  I'm very happy to have gotten to know her and have her as a second mom, and look forward to keep getting to know her in the future. Happy Mother's Day. Love Ben. 

_________________________________

Graham
When I think about mama I can think of plenty of good things to say, but what is most impressive is her spiritual side. She has been a great example of what prayer can do. I remember she was constantly in prayer groups or praying at home. I never really understood why until many years later. I still don’t understand completely, but through her diligence I know it’s a path that I know needs to be invested in. I’m glad I’ve had her in my life to show me when to be stubborn and when to be humble. -Graham















Monday, April 23, 2018

Our Bucket Lists


Recently, I was talking to someone about bucket lists. I hadn't ever thought of making one myself so I made a little one. Then I was thinking how fun it would be to compare my life to a bucket list if I made one as a kid. So of course, I helped the kids made their own lists for them to have when they grow up. :D They are pretty fun. Enjoy!
__________________________

Olive
Go to the fair
Be a tiger trainer
Have the funnest day at school
Be friends with all of my teachers
Talk like a bear
Invent a phone and give it to poor people
Lose two more teeth
Plan a picnic
Live in a orange house with black stripes like a tiger
Be a cheerleader
Get married
Do all the fun things like go to the beach
Work with dad at his work
Call someone on the phone
Wear a fancy hat
Adopt a nice dog from the pound

Titus
Invent a teleporter
Get a robot that pays me candy every two minutes
Be able to turn invisible
Learn about sharks and be able to talk to them
Drive a Lamborghini
Live in a house that has secret tunnels in the walls
Be a dad
Do a magic trick that no one can figure out
Find a shark egg
Have a shark tooth necklace
Get a tattoo
Fly with jet packs
Be a professional basketball player
Grow a beard like dad
Have big muscles
Be a good husband

Neela
Find Douglas (our dog) a wife
Discover the first real dragon and ride it
Go on a road trip
Own and run a farm full of animals
Be a third wheel on one of dad's dates
Ride an airplane
Have five kids
Marry a husband who spoils me
To help Douglas live forever
Ride a horse instead of drive a car when I grow up
Be the funniest actress in a play
Go skydiving and bungee-jumping
Have two pet bald rats and name them Jeffrey & Heffrey
Have my kids sit at the table for breakfast when I'm a mom. I'm going to be making delicious pancakes, but when I go to pour the pancake mix I trip over my dog and I spill the pancake mix everywhere and it gets all over all of us. Then we all laugh. I think that's my dream moment.

Stevie
Live in Michigan with my best friend Josie
See snow every winter
Become friends with everyone I meet
Have 6 or more dogs
Have at least 12 mutts or mixed breed dogs
Save dogs from the pound
Have a swimming pool
Invent a bicycle for dogs
Go to the Atlanta Zoo
Make clay figurines
Be the first person to visit every planet
Invent sandwiches for dogs
Bring Douglas to visit my class at school
Help an animal give birth and feed the babies with a bottle

Seth
Write a book based on my blog
Adopt a Corgi
Get married to my best friend
Complete my PhD
Start traveling in festivals and have a booth that gives out balloon animals for free to kids.
Have daily walks with my wife in the cool of the evening and just enjoy each other's presence
Travel the country in one massive road trip
Design a mural of all of my favorite drawings my kids have ever done and get it tattooed on me
Ride on a sailboat
Get another vw bus
Write and illustrate children's books
Visit Europe by train
Plant fruit trees
Spoil the crap outta my future grandkids


Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Seth

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Dear Future Wife,"

No. I’m not dating anyone. Also, this post idea might seem a bit strange (it did to me which is why I’ve put off writing it for months). However as I’m going to discuss in this letter the longer I’m single, the more confident I’m becoming in God’s plan for me. I love as more and more phases of this plan unfold. It’s just an exciting unknown at each step. One unknown is marriage. God knows I want to have a spouse so bad; however, He also knows the exact person and time for that person to walk into that role. In this letter I talk about some pretty specific character traits. For so long, I’ve been feeling these things are just me being picky. However lately I’ve realized that I’m not really describing the list of my “wants” of a potential, God showed me that these are the traits that my future wife already has.  He’s picked out one person special for me. And He’s picked out me as the someone special for her. My favorite part of this whole “letter to my future wife” idea is that I confident that if she were to write a “letter to her future husband” that she would be describing me! :D Isn’t God the coolest?

*Grammar Disclaimer- I’m going to be jumping around between past, present and future tense quite a bit. Honestly I despise writing like that, but I’m not really sure how to word my thoughts otherwise. Also, I’m typing this thing up as it comes to me, so please pardon other grammatical/spelling errors.*


______________________________________________

Dear Future Wife,

Well, if you are reading this I guess that’s a start huh? Hahaha. Just letting you know that this little letter is pretty sappy. Hahaha. I think you'll enjoy it though. So... who knows how old we are or what stage in life we are in. That being said, it’s comforting to know that wherever that might be we are in it together. When I sat down and starting typing this out, I had so many thoughts and emotions rush to mind. So I’m going to try my best to type this out and stay focused without getting too excited and going down 43 rabbit trails about how great you are.

First is, I’m unexplainably glad I waited for you. At the point of this letter, I have been a single parent for about 4 years. One might think that the longer I remained single that I would become increasingly worried about ending up alone and lower my standards. As the years past though, I’ve matured as a man. Growing closer with God and being more self-aware has really opened my eyes to exactly the type of woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. I can’t exactly put my finger on how, but when I knew it was you, I just knew. There are not many things I’m certain of in this life, but this is one of them. Just as I have been praying for my kids each day, I’ve been praying for you. More importantly, praying for myself to be the man you need me to be.

Second, I love that you are unashamedly 100% you. We’ve all heard the saying that boys tend to marry someone like their momma. Hahahaha. Well in this regard that’s very true. You remind me of my mom in this way. She’s never going to mask herself in any situation. There’s no acting or fake emotions. She’s just going to be her honest self regardless of situation, just as you are. I like that about you. Also, I think that’s why my mom likes you so much too :) Now let me explain some of the parts about “you” that I absolutely love. (Side note: I’ve known these would be the traits I would love about you from way before I starting writing this letter. As I said earlier, God’s refined me enough to know my purpose in life, just as He has been refining you for your purpose. That’s why I’m confident in these things. Just as each of us has our own purpose, we also now have a joint purpose. In my mind, these traits are so important to our joint purpose)
     -Empathy- I’ve met so many people that are empathetic in my life. It’s my favorite human trait, because it just oozes Godly love and compassion. You, however, are on a complete other level. It’s a constant process with you. It’s almost like a super power. I’m still amazed how you can read and feel others so well and every. single. time you encounter someone, you show them love how they need it. I’ve literally never seen you dismiss someone. To most this character trait would probably be more than they could handle, but you show such grace in using it to love others, I’m literally awestruck.
    -Determination- To be quite honest, I don’t know of a stronger turn-on than a hard working, resourceful woman. And seriously holy crap, you get stuff done. Before I really got to know you, I thought I was a pretty hard working individual. Hahahaha. And then I spent a weekend with you in complete boss mode. Normally, people are either more big picture or detailed oriented. As I’ve stated in this letter and will probably say many more times before I’m done writing is that you are anything but normal. Not only do you have the skills to create these amazing, picture ideas, you are also an amazing planner and “get things done” kind of gal. Each time we are talking about doing something, you either come up with or contribute AWESOME ideas that blow any idea I have out of the water. You are out of a scale from 1-10 for creativeness, you are an 11!! And once we get started on whatever we are working on (project, craft, job, etc.), you can think about 17 steps in advance and predict what we will need to do now in order to be prepared for then. I seriously love that about you.
    -Deep Emotions- You feel emotions on a deep, raw level. Whether it be a good or bad one, you feel it 100%. You just have such naturally robust feelings that life is never boring. Like everyone, you’ve had hard times in life. However, you’ve truly felt such intricacy in that pain/sadness that you’ve learned more about yourself than most probably would. You’ve trusted God when things were dismal and grown in faith and integrity. Not only do I love your deep, complex emotions but I also love that your non verbals are extremely telling. Never do you act rude or attention hungry when you are down, you are still so very kind but it’s evident you are upset.  You naturally act extremely clear on what you need and how you need it. If you are sad, it’s so easy to tell you want your space or would rather me come give you a hug. Finally, you have felt so much of the emotional scale in your life that you’ve learned how to calm your soul regardless what the world throws at you. You have an irresistible Godly serenity. Whether things are up or down, you maintain this joyful peace that always makes me ear to ear grin.

Third, I love how you are effortlessly layered with so many seemingly not matching character traits and watching them unfold into the truest form of uniqueness I’ve ever seen.  You are truly an enigma in the most amazing sense of the word. You can get dirty and sweaty working outside in your garden; however still look radiant. You are seriously tough as nails in so many areas of life, but still have a rare delicate and gentle spirit. You constantly talk about how not funny you are, yet you make me laugh so hard. Seriously, I don’t know if there has ever been a moment in the time we’ve spent together where you have thought “I’m going to make Seth laugh”, but you do it effortlessly. You are extremely thrifty and practical, but you have such a giving heart.  I’ve seen you sacrifice something for yourself because it cost too much money (literally maybe just a few dollars), but turn around and bless someone with something twice as nice as what you didn’t buy yourself. You have a meek and reserved spirit, but give passionate kisses. You are one of the most intelligent people I know, but you never puff yourself up with pride. You can know more than anyone in the room, yet you have so much wisdom that you know when it’s better to keep quiet and simply listen to what others have to say. You are adventurous, spontaneous, and exciting, yet you feel comfortable and relaxing. Every time I’m with you, it just feels like home. So serene….

Fourth, you allow me space and grace to transition from single parenting. Yes. We are a team. Actually, more than a team, we’re one now. Yet even that doesn’t negate the fact that I have four children from a previous marriage. Although you seriously love my children as your own, you also allow me to pour into them individually. You give me the space I need when I want alone time when any and each of them. It’s a truly self-sacrificing love that I can’t really explain with words. Not only that, but I’m transitioning from being a single parent for a long time. You and I both have learned to be independent. I love that we are learning to co-parent together. You are patient and kind. I truly can’t thank you enough. Finally, you don’t make an effort to “be my kids’ mom”. They have a mom, and in all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never heard you speak anything but love about her. As I continue to learn more about the fall-out of divorce, you continue to support me as my wife. When I get overwhelmed or frustrated, you point me to scripture. I love that Crissy speaks nothing about great things about you. She constantly tells me and the kids how blessed we are to have you in our lives. That truly speaks hugely about your integrity and character.

Fifth and finally, you are my person. I’m just blessed to have you in my life. No matter how long we’ve been dating, engaged, or married I still get super excited at random times when I think about you. Seriously, whenever you pop in my head I always get happy. Even in the middle of an argument, I have this overwhelming peace that you love me. I’ve been left before, and to be honest it took me a long time to recover from that. I trust you completely, which is something important to me I can’t stress enough. At times after my divorce, I’ve felt that I wouldn’t find security and peace in a relationship. I learned to block that fact that I was divorced and struggle with insecurity. However you encouraged me to use my experiences to minister to others, just as you have ministered to others who went through similar heartbreak you experienced.
 You aren’t perfect. I am well aware of your flaws, just as you are aware of mine. But the neat part of God’s match, is that we were wired to strengthen each other’s flaws. For example, you have a little fire in your belly that comes out from time to time. Honestly, I love a little feisty in my woman, but there are times I smile and calmly try to diffuse the situation. ;) Hahahaha. To be fair, I tend to avoid problems I don’t want to deal with. You have learned to step in and lovingly give me a nudge to deal with these things before they blow up in my face. I’m thankful for those little nudges.

I’m thankful for the sunshine you bring into my life.
Seth 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Things That Make You Smile


My friend recently showed me a book very similar to this idea called "Happiness is". I read it and completely loved it! So this wasn't totally my original idea; however, I just wanted to make my own with a Megow spin on it :)


Being able to pick out our own clothes


Catching your first big fish


When you don’t feel well and your dog cuddles with you


Experiencing your first snow


Checking out books from the library


When you find the perfect present to give your dad for Christmas



A cold drink on a hot day
 


Using resources on hand to build something you need


Fun class projects at school


Winning a trophy


Someone throwing you a surprise party


Holding daddy’s hand


Board game nights
 


The 'Comments' section of the internet


Catching a monster bullfrog with your buddy


Organizing your crayon box by color
 


Holding a newborn puppy


Spending time with best friends


Getting past your ugly duckling stage


When your son accidentally makes an innocent birthday party family photo to PG-13


Finding/cutting down your own Christmas tree and seeing it come together into a magical sight


Sunday School


Surprise letters/blessings from strangers
 


When your dog lets you dress him up


Getting to hold a baby at work


Surprise visits with your grandma


Losing your first tooth


Rediscovering old, favorite photos of loved ones that have passed


Making unique self-portraits


Winning a costume contest


Drifting away into a peaceful and beautiful ice cream coma 
(Which apparently is common in our house, when looking for a picture I had MULTIPLE occasions to choose from. Hahahaha)
 


Creating the perfect holiday card


You and your Mimi giving each other makeovers


Going to your first monster truck show


Springtime flowers


The first swim of the year

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Seth