Sunday, December 27, 2015

Surviving about 4 hours of Walmart with 4 feral children

This morning started off like any normal Sunday morning. We were just kind of stirring around the house, eating breakfast, and getting ready to go to church, when Stevie walked up to me and said “Dad, we have a flat tire.” Little did I know at the time how much that statement would radically alter my day. So here’s a little recap on my van and how it ties into today.

My van is probably on its last leg. The past 6 months my little Megow transporter has been a trooper and gotten some much needed TLC (new battery, new radiator, new water pump, two new rear tires, and a few other small repairs), but it’s really a balancing act of deciding how much to put into it before I just light it on fire, make some smores, and look online for a new car.

Crap guys. I forgot to drive to the store to buy marshmallows before I blew up the van.

Seriously, my car has been through the ringer as of late. I spend a lot of time with Steve (Crissy’s dad and his crew) to stop it from overheating and pouring water out of the bottom. Well, we finally got that those problems mostly fixed. We were out there last night for the kids to see their grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. It was fun and Steve helped me fix one more thing on the van, so I was feeling really good about the current state of my automotive vehicle. Well, this morning I found I had that super flat tire. My plan was to put enough air in it to drive and get a new tire. (The hole was too big to patch, but small enough I thought I could make it a few miles to the store. I looked everywhere for my little portable air pump, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I texted a few people and the first one to respond and that was available was my buddy Nicole. (She’s so clutch and actually I mentioned her in a post recently). Funny story, I gave her this little portable tire air pump for Christmas like 6 years ago and I honestly think the only times she has ever used it was to drive over and pump up my tires for me. Hahahaha. We stood around for a little while waiting for it to fill up, but it never would fill up. After about 10 minutes, I felt around and felt this giant gaping hole in the backside of the tire. So I would need to change it out of for the spare.

So Nicole hung out with the kids for a minute and left, while I tackled the spare. Is it just me or does everyone else have the hardest time using those little crap car jacks to lift a car. It took me forever to get that thing lifted off the ground, but I finally got it and put the spare on. I felt so accomplished. When I was putting up the other tire in the trunk, I noticed the other front tire has a gash in the side wall and would need to be replaced as well. “Well that’s just great.” I thought. (The 85 degree weather didn’t help cheer me up.)

What you ladies think about that rugged man right there?

So I loaded the kids in the hot car and then this happened…

Yep, it wouldn’t start. It was getting power and it was a new battery, so I figured it had to be something with the starter. So Steve being awesome came over and helped me get it started. He explained the mechanic problem. Pretty much it’s just a starter issue and I don’t really feel the car is worth the investment of a new one. He showed me some redneck tricks to get it running if that ever happens again. I’m always down for some redneck innovation.

Megow Words of Wisdom- 
If man in overalls offers you advice, it’s probably best to take it.

Anyways, for sure we missed church. So we ate a quick lunch and loaded up to get the front tires changed. This is where the story takes on a whole new level of _______ (I honestly can’t think of a word to describe what happened after this).  It was around 2:15 when we left the house to go to get them changed. Well, my normal tire places weren’t open, so I figured we would just to go Walmart because I know they would be open and plus they have a good tread warranty. Plus there's a Walmart everywhere, so even if you go out of town, you can still use your warranty if you get a nail in your tire.  Here’s the timeline of our Walmart visit and the most trying few hours of my 31 years on this earth.

2:45 Arrive at the Walmart Tire Center. There are only two cars in the bay and it looked like no other cars waiting. I thought this would probably take about an hour or hour & a half tops. Well, I kept waiting for an attendant to come and talk to me, but they just stared at me. After about 15 minutes, the guy behind me walked up and seeing that I had four kids in tow agreed to walk around and find someone to help. Well after about 5-10 minutes he comes back with someone to get us in the system and our cars started soon. They lady was really nice and said it might take up to 2 hours. I could deal with that. It would be tough but it was possible.

3:15 We just sort of browsed around, and I let the kids look at the toys. I thought for sure this would be a somewhat manageable ordeal.

3:30 Neela decides she is about to pee her pants, so we run to the bathrooms at the back of the store. While waiting for Neela to get done, I take Olive out of the cart to get her some water out of the water foundation. I turn around to see Stevie and Titus playing “dogs” on the floor and about 3 workers trying to shew them out of the way so they can bring their pallets full of merchandise out to the store. I swipe up my “dogs” and Olive slips in a puddle of water from the water foundation. Finally, Neela comes out of the bathroom soaking wet. I asked her what happened. She has a blank expression and replied “It was the sink.” I just left it at that.

Me - After about one hour

3:45 We go to the little deli and I get the kids some popcorn chicken. They rip through this food with the intensity of a starving lion eating a young plump wildebeest.

“Dad, lions eat messy, so I need do too.
 Don’t worry lions aren’t worried about germs from food off of the floor.”

I’m starting to lose a little bit of my cool, so I sit down to text someone and they think up and record a video scavenger hunt for me to do with my kids. I’m not kidding, there aren’t many people in this world that can whip up something like that with such short notice. Props off to Elizabeth for being my rescuer today.

4:00pm We start the scavenger hunt. We are taking pictures and sending them back to verify we found everything that was required.

A big shout out to our scavenger hunt planners :)

7 types of Oil

Motorcycle Oil
Mystery Oil
Car Engine Oil
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Butter Flavored Spray Oil
Canola Oil

5 Types of Flour/Flower
Cake Flour
Spray Flour
White Flour
Fake Flower
Printed Flower

A kid in a large man’s shirt

3 types of corn

A kid in a large pair of women’s undergarments

A kid in a pair of men’s boots

Sing a song for a stranger
 (The theme song to the movie Titantic was requested, 
but we made the decision to change it to Let it Go)
This video won't upload. It was funny and people looked at us like we were super weird. 
Mission accomplished.

I added some scavenger hunt items as well…
See how much Star Wars stuff we could find.

Pretty much the entire Wal Mart was Star Wars, so this got old pretty fast.

Find a new non-human best friend.
Neela quickly bonded with Cherry Pie the Cherry Tomato. 
She’s actually watched a movie with him when we got home.

Act like animals to strangers. They loved doing this, so I made a little compilation video.

After this they got kind of tired of the hunt and we getting ansty to leave.

4:45 We go back to the bathroom and Olive has a meltdown because they have automatic toilets. I find Titus cooling off his head by sticking it under the water stream of the drinking water fountain. Side note: I’m raising feral children. I dried his hair off and then Stevie told us a little story about the poop she just took. It was very entertaining. 

5:00 I figured they are making some progress on the car, so we do a little grocery shopping before we go to pay for the van’s tires. The kids were super well behaved for our time at WalMart so I let them get two treats. Chips and some honey buns. We grab some milk, yogurt, and a few other things and check out.

5:15 We are arrive at the automotive section to find that our car has not even been pulled into the service bay. But about 5 other cars had been bumped ahead of us. If there was ever a moment my heart truly felt betrayed this was it. I felt like my heart was frozen in carbonite and the Walmart associate was Lando who sold me out.

You're as cold as ice...

Get ‘em Chewy (Neela “The Aminal”) hahaha

5:20 I walk up to ask about the van and they assure me its next in line. (I think they forgot. However, I wasn’t upset. They were short staffed and super friendly)

5:30 We walk over to Gander Mountain and have a picnic of honey buns in the parking lot. The kids were not impressed. We saw a deer decoy with a few arrows in it and my kids freaked out and we had to leave. (I guess taking them hunting is off the table for now)

It’s always a good time for a honey bun

5:45 We walk back to walmart and find our car being brought into the service bay! Praise God! We go check out the fish and do some weird stuff. By this part of the day, I’m sort of starting to become delirious.

 The kids are just kind of doing weird things like crawling around the floor like snakes and hissing at each other or just laying around in random bean bags or toy sofas and pretending to nap.

They also found a back massager in the automotive waiting room. I was too tired to explain how unsanitary that was. However, it was brand new and still had the tag on it, so I let them play with it and the only rule was don't stick it in your mouth or touch any open wounds. hahahaha

6:15 The Megows head over to the automotive area to find our car is just now being lifted. The carboniate in my heart freezes over just a little bit more. Just when I’m about to crack, someone I have never met before walks up to us and asks “So which one of you put the iPad in the Dishwasher?” We start talking and she introduces herself as Kristi Hammack. Her and her husband are music ministers at a local church and she was so kind. It was really a God thing, but I was about to crack right before she walked up. She gave each of my kids a quarter to buy a little toy or gum out of the vending machines. Mostly, I got to have some grown up conversation which was fantastic. She even offered to buy my kids some dinner, but I declined because I was confident we would be leaving any minute.

6:40 Hahahahahaha!!! Should have taken that dinner offer. Our car was still lifted up and didn’t have any front tires. By now, my kids are completely covered in dirt from the Walmart floor and their hair is sticky from honey buns. I had nothing left to offer the world. I kind of just melt into the pleather futon in the automotive waiting area while my kids are about to lose their minds from boredom and frustration.

Titus is a trooper.

6:50 Stevie is sitting on top of the couch with her face pressed again the glass like a pirate seated in the crow’s nest. Finally, she screams “The van is down and they are driving it!!!!” Titus yells “Praise Jesus!” We check out, load up, and drive home. The kids all fall asleep on the ride home, which I think counts as a nap for each of them.

Now, it’s currently 9:45pm and all 4 of my kids are wide awake and acting like crows J

Be Blessed

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Learning Humility as a Single Parent

This was not only a tough lesson to learn, but it’s hard to write about. I can tell embarrassing stories all day and I find it fairly easy to talk about other challenging things in my life; however, talking about humility is just hard. This is seriously the hardest thing I have ever shared. I don’t know if it’s a man thing or just part of my personality, but I don’t like talking about areas where I might need help. Now, I’m not talking about humility as in knowing I’m not the coolest or greatest. I have a firm grasp on that. I am good at putting others before myself. Mostly, I’m talking about having to accept there are certain things and areas in my life that I’m just kinda just getting by. Being a single parent of four young kids has really amplified the need to learn to accept help. That’s really what this post is about. How I embraced the gift of other people’s generosity and learned that I need help from time to time.

I absolutely love to help people. It’s my hobby and what I do for fun. It just makes me happy to bless people and to teach my kids to put others before themselves. I always thought that was true humility. Just always making yourself last. However, the current season of my life has significantly altered my view of that word. I think for a while, I kinda of tricked myself that I never needed help. I was fine. I would gladly put myself at the bottom because I was good with life. When I actually was overwhelmed, I felt God tell me that sometimes humility meant not just always putting yourself  at the bottom to serve, but it meant being open and vulnerable (Even typing that word is hard for a man). Being able to honestly look at friends and family and say “I need help” is tough. Which is why I struggle to do it. Hahahaha. That’s why the title of this post is “LEARNING humility as a single parent”. However, over the past year there have been certain needs in my life that almost sunk me, but I was too proud to ask for help. In my head, I was just acting as though everything was fine and working to help others. I thought that would be my answer. I was hard headed and would always deny the help I was offered. That soon started to change when I really didn’t the ability to tell people know when they offered me help. I would hang my head and accept the help. Like I said, as a man, but especially as a father, that junk will eat you up. Being a charity case or a giant pity party is the most emasculating thing on the planet. When people would give me things or do things for me, I was beyond embarrassed that not only did I actually ACCEPT the help, but since I would never ask, it was clearly obvious to people that I NEEDED help. It ate me up for a while. “Was I really that much of a failure of a provider for my kids?” I know I gave them love, confidence, and fun, but could I afford to give them birthday presents or someone to care for them while I was at work?

Luckily for me, my friends and family didn’t really care about my pride and pretty much said things like “Listen, you need this and I’m giving it to you.” Or “I know this would be a blessing, so I’m doing this for you.” For quite some time, I would get kinda mad at people offering to help me. “Don’t they know?! I’m Seth Freaking Megow. I got life on lockdown” hahahaha. God put an end to that hunk of crap pride with a quickness son. I learned just because I loved to help and put myself last, just meant I enjoyed giving and blessing. It didn’t produce Godly humbleness. It was really a trait I had to develop for my kids’ sake. They depend a lot on their dad. His stupid pride shouldn’t ever affect their lives adversely. Their wellbeing was a big motivator for me to quit being so proud and accept what people give happily and gratefully.

Lately, I have been a little more open to accept help and not as embarrassed. I’ve had people do things for me and the kids that literally made me cry. (Geez, this stuff is tough to write about.) I’ve just seen such selflessness is people that I’ve just been blown away. I had a need and “boom” it was taken care of. Now, I feel bad typing this because I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging or rubbing it in the face of other people in need. I’m really not at all. I’m just amazed at the giving and sacrificial heart of my friends and family.  For real, I needed a new fridge/freezer the other day Lowe’s showed up with a brand new unit from an anonymous donor. I was struggling to afford Christmas and I got an extremely encouraging letter in the mail from a blog reader I have never met. It really lifted my spirits and on top of that I found a large gift card in envelope to help with expenses.

Ok. Well, I think that’s about all I can type on that subject. I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that I’m still working through things on that topic... Right now though, I want to switch gears and kind of highlight some of the people that looked through my pride and arrogance. These are just SOME of the people that have given their time, money, resources, etc. to me and the kids. I honestly will forget some people in this list, if I do I’m so terribly sorry. These people are the unsung heroes of my little Megow family. I wouldn’t be in the place I am today if it weren’t for these people. I pretty much consider them all a part of my Megow clan (whether they think that’s a positive thing or not, hahahaha). I don’t know how many people and stories I will be able to remember, so again please if I forget you here on this post, know you’ve made a remarkable difference to me and the kids! Also, there is no order of importance or ranking here, I’m just typing whoever pops in my head first. Is it obvious I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings J Also, I’m not going to mention my parents because I’m just going to save that for another post.

Andy & Katrina Fletcher

The Fletchers pretty much took me in as their son. Andy and Katrina saw me at my worst and still loved and encouraged me. Not a wimpy type of encouragement, but the “stop whatever they were doing and drive over to my house” kind of encouragement. I won’t ever forget the impact those two people made on me. They were just pure love and support when I needed it most and they still are. Never in my life have I know two people more amazing than this couple. I honestly don’t know where my life would be today without them.

Martin & Aundria Collins

I really can’t say enough about these guys. I think I’m mentioning them and the Fletchers first is because they were pretty much the first to know anything was up in my marriage. I remember a Sunday morning after church in 2013, I walked up to Martin and just broke down crying about Crissy & I and the stress of balancing that with parenting, work, etc. You guys have no idea how many times I would call him for advice or just totally distressed. Him and Aundria  were the first people that tried to help with all this crap. I just love these two people very much.

April Southerland

I honestly don’t what to say about April. She was one of my main day to day supporters and cheerleaders for the past year. We have been friends for over a decade, but when it was just me and the kids, she kinda just made it a point to show me and the kids kindness and attention that we had been lacking for quite some time. Even at times when I was venting and just naming off the absolute worst things about myself, she would always smile and tell me how proud she was to call me her friend and how proud God was to call me a son. There’s just something serene and special about her that God used to touch parts of my life when I needed it most.

Luke and Megan Shiver

If anyone doesn’t know, Luke was one of my best friends growing up. One of those friendships that pretty much makes you brothers for life. We’ve stayed close throughout our entire lives; however, the past 18 months, I feel like me and Luke connected again. We might not talk every day, but him and his wife Megan were the first people to call me and say “I don’t care what you say, I’m going to help you. Deal with it.” I’m not trying to embarrass people or uncover their private support, but these two stepped into my life when I didn’t have much to offer anyone and loved and supported me and the kids. I know I made a good choice when I picked my kids’ godparents. These two are quality people who I admire very much.

Nicole West

Now Nicole is my buddy. We started working together about 5-6 years ago at Wiregrass GA Technical College (formerly Valdosta Tech). She was promoted and I was hired for her old job. Before she moved into her new office, she was told me and her would be sharing an office for a week or two. Well a week or two, turned into about 5 months. Just me and her sharing a tiny cinder block office with one desk and one computer for over 8 hours a day. After an experience like that, you’re gonna be like best buds or not be able to stand the site of each other. Fortunately for me Nicole is just too cool. Maybe more than anyone, she has seen the shift in the various phases of “Seth”. She was sometimes the first people I would call to vent and would be the first person to send me a fart joke when I was feeling down. She’s such a great buddy and I’m so grateful that she didn’t get offended when I joked about her greasy forehead or bad haircut ;)  One time, I was stressed about my lawn mower being broken. I came home to find out Nicole called someone right after we talked and paid for my grass to be cut. She’s just one of my best buds and one of my favorite people in the world. 

Zach and Emily Parker

These two are some other friends that kinda stepped in at my worst. We’ve been friends for a long long time. I met Zach in high school. He was super popular and I was a band nerd. However, we clicked for some weird reason and been best buds ever since. I met Emily a few years later and we kind of hit it off as friends too. It’s nice having a couple to hang out with that you just really enjoy both of their friendships. Zach helps keep me having “stupid fun” (see the 80’s dating video we made) and you can honestly thank Emily for what you are reading right now! She’s a freaking blog pro. I mean she is BIG TIME with like 4-5 million hits on her page. She was a super encourager of me about starting and maintaining a blog. She’s the first person I ask when I have a question about it and in my mind the definitive resource I use when making decisions about my own blog. Please check her out ( I done a guest post for her blog before which got me a lot of new readers, so thanks Emily! On a more serious note, these guys have been their supporting me from quite some time. They are the only folks that I do family sleepovers with. We’re tight like that ;) They accept me and my kids as being Unique Megows. They always encourage the kids and I and do things to make us smile.

My Work Colleagues 

Wow.  I can pretty much guarantee that no other place on the planet would have been and would continue to be as the administration/faculty/staff of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State University. I became good friends with a lot of these people and they made such an impact on my life. Seriously, I know I talk about how legit awesome my co-workers are, but let me just give you a few stories to explain how blessed I am at my job. Last summer, I was still kind of learning the reins of full time single parenting and working full time. I was simply trying to keep the kids happy, healthy, and loved while getting all of my other life responsibilities covered. Well when April rolled around, I kind of realized that I had to provide full time childcare for 4 kids for the entire summer. That junk is not cheap. I lost a lot of weight and sleep. It was seriously tearing me up inside. Well, one day at work my good friend Dr. Rebecca Green strolled into my office and informed me that she had organized a fund raiser for my summer childcare costs and that my co-workers had donated over $3000 in a week to help. Geez, I still tear up about that... Just because they wanted to bless me, they gladly gave and never said a word about it to my face. Another time, when I was stressing about school schedules and hiring afterschool care which I could not afford, my boss (Sheri Noviello- who was just promoted from interim to Official as the Dean of our college!!) just called me into her office, sat me down, and said “lets work out a schedule that suits your needs” and in about 20 minutes, she just lifted like a million pound weight off of my shoulders. Did I mention that she and her husband Kevin have showed up at my house with a car full of groceries before? What kind of boss does that? Just keeps an open door to listen to me vent about balancing work and single parenting and NEVER says one negative thing, but actively works to find a solution to add relief to my stressors. Ok, I’ll tell one more work story. Denise Sauls (one of my co-workers) and her husband Randy, just give like it’s no one elses business. Hahaha. Denise has pretty much been the reason my pantry has been stocked this year and more recently the reason I have gifts to give my kids this Christmas. Every time I thank her, she just gives me the sweetest smile and says “You’re welcome and you’re a blessing”.

Susan Megow Hoyt or (Susu)

I wanted to highlight my aunt because she pretty much has always been there. She’s the type of person that when I called her and embarrassingly stated that I needed a little financial help, she would simply say “How much and when?” and write me a check. She’s not rich, she just loves me like that. J When I needed someone to watch the kids, she would simply say “What day and time?” She moved to Louisiana a while back to be closer to her kids and grandkids. But I think about her often and just wanted to publicly acknowledge how special she is to me.

I literally could type for hours and hours about these people, but honestly, they are the type of people who would prefer no recognition. They are just humble and kind; they act out of love and never seek any kind of recognition. However I’m going to list off some folks that I have leaned on in the past or still do at times. If you see any of these folks, give me them a handshake and know you are standing in the presence of someone who has greatly impacted my life or blessed me and the kids in a sweet way:

Lyn Stalvey (My Memaw)
Will and Erinn Crane
Dell and Jill Young
Corrie Reese
Mellina Rykowski
Jane Murray
Roosevelt (DJ) Standifer  
Kynthia James
Dan and Connie Wells
Chuck Conner
Blake and Felicia Love
Elizabeth Maye
Kate Marple
Jon and Kristen Tanner
Adam and Nicole Steel
Danny and Autumn Orozco
Ben and Cami Buchta
LaGary Carter
Karen Sutton-Smith
Johanna Vrbonic
Zakk and Tiffany Cumbess
Lois Bellflowers
Lindsey Simons Frost
Sandie Delk
Brenda Houchins
All of my online/blog buddies
And to everyone else I’m forgetting in this moment… You guys are the best!!

Be Blessed

Monday, December 14, 2015

Surviving Long Distance Car Trips with Children

I see so many of my friends talk about their awesome road trip/holiday travel plans. Let’s just get this out there… The Megows don’t plan to have a stress free trip with organic healthy snacks and educational activities. Our goal is to more or less simply survive long trips in the car. I love this quote by Jim Gaffigan.

"Traveling with 3- and 4-year-old boys is like transferring serial killers from a prison. 
You have to be constantly aware."

Now to be clear, this post isn’t about a fun sightseeing trip with fun stops and little surprises along the way. This is about a “Point A to Point B” trip. The “Ok kids, we have 8 hours in this car together. Please no biting. If you feel the urge to bite, just chomp on your own finger. That will curb that desire quickly.” I’m actually pretty laid back and low stress about being locked in a metal box for an entire day with my kids. I think I’m just kind of a realist on this matter. It’s not going to be the best day in the world; however, if I go ahead and structure my thoughts and expectations, it might be kinda fun.

1.  The first thing I have learned is to expect my car will end up an absolute wreck. I love how everyone posts the car selfie of the family loaded up and headed out towards their destination. I’m guilty of this too. But I would love for people to do a before and after shot of their car on a long ride in the car with kids. Actually, let’s break down a photo I posted recently of a somewhat long drive in the car.

 Ok. This is clearly at the beginning of the trip. Look at my beaming smile. Hahaha.  Let’s look a little deeper on how this picture would have changed if it were a “just pulled in the driveway” after picture. See the empty space between Stevie and Neela in the back, that would have been filled with a giant pile of cracker wrappers, ripped coloring book pages, a upside down and spilt bottle of chocolate milk, 2 frogs, and possibly a few drops of blood if the fight over the sticker page escalated enough before I could intervene.  Do you see Titus’s clean face? Well, that would be replaced with a delightful smearing of a variety of every type of food that he refuses to wipe off because he is “saving it for later”.  Olive would no longer have her pink Minnie Mouse toy in her hand. It would currently be wedged between her car seat and the door. Since dad probably has a hemorrhoid forming from sitting for so long and the sheer stress of dealing with this trip, he didn’t feel like stopping to get said toy, she Olive has been crying the last hour of the trip.  

2. I am about to spend a crap ton of money at gas stations. Seriously though, I do pack a TON of healthyish snacks for about every trip we go on. 

My personal favorite car food.

Especially on a holiday road trip, you know your kids are about to eat nothing but gingerbread houses and Reese’s Christmas trees for the next few days once you arrive at your location. So getting some fruits, veggies, or something somewhat healthy would be excellent right?  Well unfortunately, my children have the appetite that little hot dog eating competition dude. 

"Dad! All you packed me was a bag of pretzels, two bananas, and granola bar?!"

About 45 minutes into the trip, they have eaten the entire days’ worth of snacks. So at our first gas station fill up, I let the kids pick out their own drink and a snack to share with their little seat buddy (Stevie/Neela & Titus/Olive).  My kids are convinced gas station snacks taste better. I think they can just taste the money. Hahaha

“So let’s see… 2 milks, 2 juices, 1 coffee, and 2 bags of chips. Ok that will be $28.45”

3. I am the sole source of sanity of every human in the car. Hahaha. My kids don’t do those little activity books, watch movies, sing songs for over 3 hours. You can load up every movie in the Disney arsenal, and you’ll still be having to entertain those little guys in the back. I know it’s not my job to entertain them for that long of a trip, but if I hate it this much, I know they hate it five times worse. We’ve actually spend a lot of time of the road just me and the kids. Knowing that the kids will probably kind of go out of their mind without your guidance is a good motivator to make it fun. I like to switch it up, making up songs about farts, then telling jokes about farts, then actually farting, back to some fart songs, then maybe mix in a few stories about “The fart who lost his way.”


 4. This is probably the biggest thing I have to come to grips with in my mind, my kids are going to climb their way over the mounds of trash looking like cast members of Survivor. With Christmas coming up, family will be so excited to see the kids when we pull in the driveway. I will give this disclaimer before I open the van sliding side door and the kids & trash kind of ooze out of the door, “Unless you want your shirts to be covered in ketchup and blue raspberry ring pop slime, you probably need to let them bathe or maybe just stick to a high five.” Seriously, I had no idea a human could get so sticky and filthy from sitting in idly in one seat for most of the day. In my mind there are four types of clothes in the hierarchy of dress:

I) Church Clothes 
“Look your tights match your dress!!”

II) School Clothes –
“You want to wear that? Your clothes don’t match... but they don’t smell bad. I guess you can wear it; however, if your teacher says something, just say your dad thought it was "Tacky Day" at school .”

III) Play Clothes – 
“No. I guess you don’t have to wear underwear.”

IV) Long Distance Car Trip Clothes – 
 “Wear whatever you don’t like because I’m just going to burn it all once we get there.”

I mean the only way I can describe lifting Olive out of a car seat after a long trip in the car is like peeling off a plastic Band-Aid after showering with it on. It’s not exactly stuck to your body, but it’s clearly adhering and is just kind of gross and goopy.  Also like a Band-Aid, dampening the general area will do wonders for the removal. Honestly, the last time we took a trip in the summer, I purposely put swimsuits under all of my kids clothes. That way right when we got to our location, they could strip down right by the car and jump into the pool; therefore cutting down on the amount of elbow grease I would need to remove the Laffy Taffy stuck to Neela’s chin.

Be Blessed,

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Big Girl Olive and Her First Megow Scheme

Olive has recently blossomed into a her own little personality. It’s so fun to see. For quite some time, she was just the “baby” of the family, never really adopting her own little interests and quirks. She (probably like most youngest siblings) just kind of did what everyone else wanted to do.

She’s 3 now and turning 4 in February and kind of rules the house in her mind at least ;) . Lately, she has been sort of taking the lead in playtime. Either she’s the princess and everyone else are her pets, or she’s Minnie Mouse and everyone else are her pets. Hahaha. She likes to be in charge and is pretty much my first diva.

Olive's ultra cute school portrait this year. 
Side note: Dad's got that side ponytail skills on point, son.

Out of all my kids, Olive loves school the most. I think this has to do with her coming out of her shell. She’s learning that people enjoy her little, silly personality. That is helping her make friends. Her maturing and developing her own interests has given her more confidence at home too. Before the kids just kind of viewed her as a little tag along ready to destroy anything sort of creation they made; now, they see more of her uniqueness and enjoy playing with her much more now.

Her speech and vocabulary have also really improved. It seems the past month or two, I find myself having actual conversations with her. It’s super fun J For so long, she struggled to express what she wanted to say. She’s been saying big words (for her) lately and I just kind of look at her like “Aren’t you a baby? How can you talk like this?” Here are some of the words she has used recently and the way she used them:

Romantic – “Daddy, those Christmas lights are so romantic.”

Internet – “The internet is where Minnie Mouse Clubhouse lives”

Crap (dad’s fault. I’m sorry world) – “Crap! This drink tastes good. What is this?!” (It was cranberry ginger ale, so I understand her strong reaction.)

Accessories – “I’m a princess and I need accessories.”

Speaking of accessories, she refuses to walk out the door without some sort of bling. She has multiple glitter hats, necklaces, bracelets, scarves, etc. She picks them out on her own everyday. On the rare occasion she forgets to put one on, she will just improvise. The other day she was at my office and forgot her bracelet in the car, so I found her drawing all over her arm with a sharpie. Hey kid, whatever floats your boat.

However, she's not opposed to a fireman's hat from time to time ;)

She’s also started helping out with little chores across the house. Her favorite job is to squirt people’s ketchup on their dinner plate. (Fun Fact: I can’t stand the smell, texture, or sight of ketchup. My kids know this and enjoy seeing me gag) She takes putting her shoes in the shoe basket really serious as well. Also, I recently did a massive cleaning/purge of my house, so now Olive can clean her own room. It’s not really used that much, but she loves running in there and putting her blocks up. She is so proud that she is doing big kid stuff.

It might also be that she got her hair cut recently. She got ahold of Titus’s ooze stuff and “washed” her hair with it. I tried to get it out for quite a while, then to save her from any more tears and me from any more headache, I just did a quick dad cut. It actually turned out pretty good, considering the only hair styling I have ever done is puffing out my afro, buzzing my head with clippers, or trimming my chest/stomach hair into fun symbols and patterns. But back to her hair cut, she just seems so much mature with her little bob style. I constantly get her and Neela confused now. 

Olive is just too cute. She knows it too ;)

So I guess I’ll end this little post with a fun recent Olive story. It’s a good example of her being a little ringleader. I’m for real; she takes charge in our house. It’s pretty hilarious to watch her.

So like normal, I use my late nights for cleaning, laundry, finishing up stuff for work, blogging, or doing random crap (Sorry Olive. I’ll try to stop using that word). Speaking of random late night activities, this is what I did last Friday night.

Doesn’t this make you want to cuddle with me by the fire ;)

Anyways, one night last week, I hadn’t slept much in a few nights and was trying to finish up a few different things. Well, I got to sleep around 3-4am. This hardly ever happens, but I woke up to a quiet house with just the sound of my alarm going off. Normally, I wake up everyday around 6:30am; however, I looked at my clock and it was 7:45! I sat there trying to gather my thoughts, then jumped up and sprinted into the living room to find all 4 of my kids all sitting around completely silent in the living room eating pop tarts. They were just sitting there smiling. I was a little frantic

Me-“Guys! What are you doing?! Why didn’t you wake me up? Why aren’t you dressed?”

Stevie is still the spokeperson of the group

Stevie (Nervously) – “Well, we were letting you sleep.”

Me – “No. You guys didn’t wake me up on purpose. You are never this quiet unless something is going on.”

Stevie (Still Nervous) – “Ok. Here’s what happened. I was going to wake you up, but Olive told me not to. She said we could watch movies and not go to school, if you didn’t wake up. She gave us pop tarts to eat.”

Seth (Looking at Olive) – “Olive….”

Right when I said this, Olive (who is actually butt naked) locks eyes with me, slowly slips her pop tart in her mouth, and then runs to her room laughing hysterically.

It was hard to be mad. I mean I did get upset, but I couldn’t be too mad since I’m the one who overslept. I keep that image of them “huddled together in their underwear being completely silent while taking slow chews of pop tarts to minimize chew noise” in my brain and it makes me laugh out loud every time. I somewhat love that Olive kind of planned her first Megow scheme.

As always,

Be Blessed and Remember You are a Blessing!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

80s Dating Video

The other night the kids and I went over to the my friends Zach and Emily's house for a Megow/Parker family sleepover. These are always fun. The kids have a blast and when they go down Zach, Emily, and I always do some weird random thing for fun.

However last night, we were a bit tired and just kind of hung out and looked on YouTube for funny videos. We happened to stumble across this 80's dating video and I have to say the men in this video look shockingly like me and Zach. It's probably the best thing in the whole wide world.

I think everyone will enjoy it. Side note, that Nascar guy seems like a major stud muffin ;)

I will be posting more about the awesomely cool Parkers in my next post :)

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Divorce - Closing the Book

Well, here's another personal post. I'll try to work some humor into it. As always, I'm just sitting down with not any thought of what I am going to write so we'll see where this goes ;) PS. I always just sit and type, hence the multitude of grammatical errors. Proofreading's not my thing.

Yup. I'm write and immediately "publish" kind of dude :D

"I'm not in love with you anymore".  I'm sure at some point in our lives, many of us have probably heard that. If you haven't Praise God and I hope that you never do. But for those of us that have, it's the worst. I've had a lot of people ask about my divorce. I tend to keep that stuff private. Plus, it would just be my side of things. So I don't think it would be a fair assessment or opinion to share publicly. However, I will say that the best way I can describe the feeling of having a spouse or significant other you have shared your life and most intimate parts of yourself with is similar to when I found out that I was going to be a father. Except the exact opposite. When I figured I was going to be a daddy for the first time, I my stomach was churning with emotions, nervousness, anticipation, and a ton of other feelings; however, I knew it would result in life and joy. On the other hand, when I figured out I was getting a divorce, I was suddenly filled with more emotions than I could even possibly fathom and I knew that the outcome was going to be the death of my perceived hopes and dreams for my future. I'm a big picture thinker. So I had already planned out our retirement plans (passing out free balloon animals and stickers at festivals. Side note, there is hardly ever anything free for kids anymore at those things) , grandparent names (Pootie and Nena), and my 50th anniversary wedding present. Having that ripped away was tough. I felt like I tried every single thing I could to make it work, but in the end, it just didn't.

So there I was a single dad of four kids. Not much family living near me and a whole lot of sadness. Side note: I really don't like when people tell people who don't have children going through a divorce, "at least you don't have kids." I couldn't imagine losing a child (it has to be the worst and more horrific thing on the planet). In my mind, that's like telling a parent who just lost a child "At least, you still have other kids." Divorce sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks if you have kids or if you don't. It sucks if you have been married for 1 year and sucks if you have been married for 40 years. I mean, yes in some aspects, I found some sort of relieve. There was many issues way out of my control. Cutting free from that was somewhat freeing. But there's just so much emotion, it seems impossible to find joy. You feel guilty for feeling relieve. You feel sad that you're not going to have that person by your side. You feel fear that you're not valuable as a mate. You feel anger that you've been wronged by that person. Seriously, it's just crazy trying to process it.

Granted my situation was a bit different, I had time to process many emotions during the last year of our marriage, I felt like the divorce would be easier for me. Was I right? In some ways, yes. Soon after that I found out I was really just kind of numb and still needed to process a lot of stuff. I think the best decision I made was going through DivorceCare. One it was nice being in a safe place to vent and be around people just as confused, sad, angry, depressed, etc. as I was. There little videos we watched that were surprisingly insightful, and then we had our discussion time. Everyone talked. No one really holds back, but everything is met with love, care, and practical advice. One of the biggest things I got out of it is that I was allowed to deal with these emotions. As I said in my previous posts about divorce, before all of this started I was pretty much the typical man. I didn't really feel much emotion and when I did, I did not know how to process it. Breaking down that barrier to actually feel things and understand them was a big step. Guys tend to just bottle that kind of stuff up. That really wasn't healthy for me. Because eventually those feelings would find their way out and that was never pretty because I had no clue how to control them. The class helped me lay all that stuff on the table and helped me deal with it head on. Another thing that really stuck out to me what the idea of really taking at least a year before jumping into any new relationships. Actually, I did develop feelings for someone during that year wait, but nothing ever happened from it. I'm glad it didn't. Staying single and focusing on improving me, my relationship with God, and my relationship with my kids was a life saver. You are trying to pick up the pieces of yourself and your life after it was pretty much blown to bits. Trying to build something new, before you have yourself complete is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. I learned I have to just love me for me. I had been married ten years, so much of my personality was tied to Crissy that it was hard for me to figure out who "Seth" was. For so long it was "Seth and Crissy", that I kind of needed a reminder that I'm still complete just being "Seth".

So it's been about a year since my divorce. I can honestly say I feel amazing. Yes, I'm completely unsure of what my future holds, but I can't explain how incredible it feels to be able to drive past places where we had our first kiss and not get sad or seeing a place that I've heard rumors about and not get angry. Mostly, it's nice not feeling numb. People tell me sometimes to "remember the good and forget the bad". Well, to be frank. That's just horrible advice, hahaha :D I can't make myself forget things. However, I can come to the point where when a memory like that comes up, I can just think how much God had his hand on improving my life from that particular point in my life and how much I have grown from that specific event.

Mostly, I thank God that He's stuck by me this long. I felt I've grown so much over the past year. (Note to past Seth: you can be kinda a jerk sometimes and you need to have more fun in life). Seriously, I can't remember being this happy in a long time. I think I'm really starting to find my stride here ;) Throughout my entire life, I wanted to know my purpose or calling. Like besides being a husband and dad. I never could quite grasp it. One thing that I feel was the "lightbulb turning on" was dicovering my depth of empathy I feel I was gifted with but never bothered to grow or focus on. Once I started to feel empathy towards people, it radically altered my life. I guess I got so caught up with my great marriage and awesome kids, I couldn't really understand the need for it. Now though, I love being empathic. I mean I'm not trying to sound braggy. I just feel it's one my the main ways I've grown. Everyone has gifts and strengths, we just have to find out what they are. I found mine through prayer and more prayer.

I love the fact that I love myself. I love the fact that I feel I make a difference by making people smile and laugh. Nothing feels better than giving an encouraging word and doing a small act of kindness for someone you can sense might need it. Back to my purpose, I finally found it. It's encouragement. As my papa liked to say "Brighten the corner where you are". People can sense true joy and contentment. I've had friends in my life that were bubbling with joy and I was so jealous of it ;) I wanted to just be "that happy". Well, I might not be there yet, but I do think I'm learning to be!

I feel like I've walked through the most horrific, waking nightmare, but I'm finally awake from it. I can talk openly about how I screwed up, how I got hurt, and how it affected the kids without spiraling back down into that dark place. I look forward to everyday now! I love seeing my co-workers and telling a stupid joke or helping fix a problem that might not be in the job description. I love staying up at night writing silly stories about me and the kids on the blog. I love seeing my friends who I have been hiding from because previously I was afraid I couldn't handle being around them because it would remind me of times Crissy and I hung out with them together.

My kids are happy and healthy. They have grown in ways that astonish me. Even at their young age, their compassion and love for life amazes me every day. Each of them have their own memories and views on how things went down, but at the end of the day they are confident that God, Dad, and Mom love them very much. While they miss mom, they truly love her dearly and I make it a point to keep that alive everyday.

Now that I found my way out of all the crap and my kids are healthy, here's the million dollar question... What's next in terms of adding another Megow (or several Megows) to our crazy little clan. I don't really know. For the longest, I constantly beat myself up about it. Who in their right mind would want to be with a dude who was divorced with four small kids? I think now that God and my friends have shown me who amazingly awesome my kids are and rebuilt me in a way that I can be proud of, I think who in their right mind wouldn't want to join our clan? ;) For so long, I had this little formula of different traits and positions in life, I thought I should be looking for. Well turns out Ole' Seth isn't the match maker genius he thought he was. About a month ago, I just told God that I'm through putting prospective women through all of my filters that I thought would work well into my family. I just verbally out loud told God "Geez, you've brought me this far. I'm sure you can find me someone who I can love, who loves me, loves my kids, and loves You. Also God, I dont want to be picky but I would really appreciate it if they had a cute smile, enjoyed poop jokes, loved having their feet rubbed at night."

So I guess that's all. I'm so excited to see what He has in store for me and my crew. Will I move somewhere or be single for a long time? Will I finally learn to hula-hoop or grow my afro back? Will I develop feelings for someone soon or maybe learn the art of ice sculpting? Who the heck knows :)

I know one thing for certain about my future...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I can get down with some prosperity and hope. So thanks God. He's awesome and if you're curious, I do think God loves to laugh and he probably cracked up at this picture just as much as I did :D

Be Blessed