Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The 5 Headed Hydra or The 5 Love Languages (Part 1)

Tonight, we went grocery shopping. I honestly think four kids aren’t that many nor is a single dad a crazy sight, but I guess the combination is a lot for some people. My kids were legit well behaved tonight. Just laughing, talking about costume ideas, and telling jokes. Stevie –  “Dad. Thanks for going under there.” Me – “Under where?” Stevie – “No thank you dad. I don’t want to see your underwear.” Hahaha

Anyways, tonight I got quite a few tag alongs as I like to call them. People just kinda watching us from around the store or just following us down each isle we walk. Normally, these people are just sweet people who think that us 5 are something fun to look at. But recently, I have noticed somewhat discouraging.  Well, not discouraging per se, just not ideal. When I only have one or two with me, people tend to focus on each child as an individual rather than a massive part of this 5 headed hydra monster walking down about 5 isles looking for pizza ingredients.

Excuse me mam'. Do you know what isle the sliced olives are on?

Just spending time getting to know each individual child (my kids are always ready to talk about their latest bowel movement or how their dad has a hairy “Santa” belly).However most of the time strangers just saying something like “You are brave to take them out alone. I bet you won’t be doing this again.” I just smile, crack some corny joke, and keep walking. Really, I’m not a big fan of those comments. Actually, I had three people tell me some version of that exact statement tonight. I don’t really mind those kinds of statements; mostly I hate my kids being grouped into a burden for their dad in some people’s minds, when in reality the shopping trip is way more fun with them there. Neela spend the entire shopping trip walking up to random strangers and saying “My dad has been talking about you. Do you want to meet him?” hahahaha. It was hilarious. Titus spend the entire Walmart trip telling me how he was going to brew some coffee when he gets home so he can stay up all night and style his hair. I know it sounds intense and out of left field, but I hate hate the idea of my kids awesomeness getting skipped over simply because there are four of them.

Another fun group of 4. Just not with as much personality as my crew ;)

That’s my rationale of parenting styles. I’ve heard about every single parenting tip, strategy, method, etc. there is on the planet.  I know about strict scheduling or just baby/child led scheduling. I’ve heard and read about the one million different forms of communication and structured time. I know the arguments for and against positive reinforcement parenting. Believe it or not, every though I’m a dad, I kind of get some of this stuff. All men are not that dumb. However for the most part, we are all at least a little dumb J But back to parenting styles, I say whatever works for you, just do it. If you want to read 17 books on co-sleeping vs their own bed, go for it.

Pretty much the only book I recommend to new parents

I think all of that stuff has to change overtime as families mature and age. There’s no one size fits all. So that’s why I am pretty confident in my parenting style. It’s the Megow method and I’m pretty sure as heck it won’t work for anyone else but us.

I’m well aware that my kids don’t dress the cutest, are somewhat weird, and have strange little socially unacceptable quirks specific to the Megows. That’s cool with me. I really just have one job. To love them and make sure they love others. It’s hard to do that individually since my schedule is so tight, so I sacrifice some things in order to make it work. Should I scrub my much needed to be cleaned bathroom or sit and color a picture with Olive, duh “make brownies and then color a picture with Olive”. Hahaha. I guess what I’m trying to say it I think my parenting style is just finding out my kids love language(s) and just piling on the love all over them as much as I can. There’s a difference between spoiling a kid and loving a kid. I firmly believe you can never love a kid too much. Like I said, I hardly have any free time or nor extra money, so I like to make a calculated effort on how to maximize time spend with my kids. I do that by really diving into their little worlds and figuring out what REALLY matters to them.

The love languages are “Kind Words, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch”. I’ve always known about these and enjoyed pinpointing peoples and trying to pour directly into their specific way of showing and receiving love. However, when my life kind of flipped upside down a few years back, I realized that chilling fact that I’m about all my kids have on a day to day basis. So I really paid close attention to their little quirks to figure out what theirs were.

Stevie - 1) Quality Time and 2) Physical Touch
There’s nothing in the entire world Stevie loves more than having “alone time” with Dad. I can’t lie; I adore how much she adores me. I know it won’t last forever, so I really try to soak it up while I can. Every. Single. Night. Stevie finds me and whispers that she wants to have alone time in my bed. So we both sneak off and just talk. She tells me little things and secrets. She tells me every day that she’s going to marry me when she grows up. Of course, I say “I would love that”. Stevie is secretly turning me into a big softie.

Some people might demonstrate their love in a different way they choose to receive, but Stevie’s pretty straight forward about that stuff. She loves to lay down face to face with and stroke my beard. I promise that girl would sit and do that all night. Hahaha. 

I’m pretty confident of this because she’s drawn to people who are sweet and calm. There are not many places she will spend the night away from dad, but the one place she agrees to every time is “Aunt April’s”. I think it’s because they have similar love languages. April is very calm and warm. Stevie loves to just sit with her and color or talk. I love that she has found an older woman she feels comfortable around again.

Stevie and Aunt April

I’ve been extremely protective of who I let her be around when it comes to adults. I’ve said it before, but she took mom leaving the hardest I think. Some of the other kids still felt some love through their love languages, but Stevie really requires one on one time and close personal contact. When she was robbed of that quality time, her little brain got pretty mixed up on the concept of a mom.  I think that’s why I’m so so intense about giving it to her. Honestly, screw the laundry. It will get done eventually. Playing with my baby’s hair while she lays on my chest is much more important that a pile of clothes.

Neela - 1) Acts of Service 2) Physical Touch
Neela’s a bit of a gambit of the love languages. Partly because Neela “can” be a little introverted at times. I know it sounds weird since she’s always talking to people and cracking jokes. But the more I sat and observed her behavior; she gets really energized sitting by herself outside and being around nature and animals. I think I can spot Neela’s act of service as of late pretty clearly. I can pretty much guarantee that if I’m having a bad day and am acting sad, the kids pick up on it quick and all do their little things they know will cheer me up. Neela is such a little do’er. The other day I was just sitting at the laptop working and feeling super overwhelmed. All of the kids were just playing with toys and running around the house while I worked. About an hour into my work Neela comes in and takes my hand and walks me around all the rooms she had just cleaned. She walked me around to the “clean” bathrooms (she cleaned the mirrors with baby wipes and the floor with glass cleaner, hahah) and to the dining room that she decorated with rocks from our ditch. Every time I think of Neela Grace (after I cycle through her bullfrogs and love of random, huge dangerous animals), I always think of all the times she has surprised me with doing something she sees me doing time after time. She’s currently the only one that has taught herself to fold laundry, use the steam mop, and sweep into the dustpan. Geez, I can’t even talk about how many times I was about to lose it or give up for the day, when Neela just surprised me with something so sweet, I just broke down crying. That’s the kindness I get scared people will overlook with they just see a big group of little Megow kids. Just pure love.

However, Neela is also a big cuddle bug. Hahaha. I might actually change this one if I could… I’m kidding, but this kid is like me. She’s a little sweatbox and loves to sleep with, on, or under me. At night, she’s pretty much like that little guy from  Total Recall under that dudes shirt. Hahaha. Like a growth off of my body. She sweats so much on me, I kinda have to peel her off my leg or back every morning. 

Neela, time to wake up.

I complain, but I truthfully love it. She loves having her back rubbed and holding hands when we walk as a family. If you ever watch our family walking into a store or just around town, I can pretty much guarantee she’ll be the only one not running ahead. My Neela will be right beside me holding my hand.

I’ll cover a little more about my parenting style and Titus and Olive’s love languages in the next post J

Be blessed

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Fun Facts 10/23/15

1)   The past few nights Stevie has been laughing out loud in her sleep. That causes Neela and either Titus or Olive to start laughing in her sleep. So I’m just sitting there watching everyone in my room laughing in their sleep. The last time it happened Stevie actually woke herself up from laughing so hard. Finally, I asked why she was laughing… “I had a dream a dog farted”. Hahaha

2)    We are doing Trunk or Treat at our church. Everyone always goes all out at Southland Church for their trunks; however, with making costumes, work, school, etc. I already figured out I won’t have enough time make it super awesome. Plus the van trunk is super junky. Yesterday, I opened it just to survey the damage. When I did, a load of crap just spilled out onto the driveway. Right when I was standing in a pile of junk an idea just hit me, I threw all of the crap back in the trunk of the van and shut the door. When it comes time for Trunk or Treat, I’m just pull up, park the car, give all my kids orange vests, open my car door and let the crap spill back out, and put up a sign that says “The Dump”. Trunk or Treat, done.

3)     Neela has decided that when she turns 7 years old, she wants me to drop her off in Africa to live with the “aminals”. She says she will come back to visit for her birthdays and when she needs a haircut.

"Thanks for the ride dad, I'll walk home in a few months so you can trim my bangs"

4)     Titus asked to borrow my phone to other day to take a picture of his turd.... I said yes.

5)    Olive has become obsessed with Easter Eggs. The kids always whine when it’s her turn to pick the TV show, because that means if they want to watch a show ,they have to gather around the laptop and watch YouTube videos of random family’s home movies of them hunting and opening Easter Eggs.

"Daddy! I watch eggs now?!"

6)    I made giant pot of taco soup recently. I keep it the fridge and just reheat when I eat it.  I mean me and Titus have eaten that junk for like 8 straight meals (see #4 above- probably the reason for the giant turd). I give the kids normal food and they eat that, expect for Titus. Me and him can survive off taco soup and green peas probably for a solid month. Anyways, the other night I woke up in the middle of the night to find Titus sleeping on the kitchen floor with an cold bowl of taco soup on the floor next to him. His face was covered in tomatoes and black beans. So I just went and got him a pillow and blanket, made him a pallet on the kitchen floor and sat down beside him and finished off the cold soup before going back to bed.

7)     My birthday is in about a week. My kids are awesome and asked what kind of party I want them to throw me. I asked for a “doing laundry and folding clothes” party; they haven’t brought up that topic of conversation again.

8)     Stevie officially has her first little crush. If you see her, please don’t say anything about it. The only reason I mention it is because the little boy she likes is pretty nerdy and quirky. Of course, I tell myself she just likes him because he reminds her of her daddy ;)

9)    I have my first white hair on my head. I’m escatic about this. My granddad had a full head of white hair; honestly, I’ve never been one for hair salons, but I’m tempted to go ahead and dye it all white right now. It’s so wise and dapper looking to me.

Mi Familia
I really miss some of the people in this picture :/

10) I showed Titus how to kill flies with the fly swatter. It's his new pastime.
     "Can we leave the front door open to let some flies in? I'm ready to swat."

11) My rule for these "Friday Fun Facts" lists is that I never exceed 10 facts.   

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Finding My Confidence After the Divorce

I’ve always enjoyed being around people and considered myself an extrovert; however, I was always kind of shy growing up if I was on my own. I think I really depended on my close friends or older brother to kind of break the ice for me. Being a shy extrovert is a weird thing. I love to entertain a crowd and just make people laugh in one on one conversations or groups. I was always just so terrified of the initial meeting; I think partly because I always just dove way too deep in a conversation or did something weird to break the ice and I always just came across kind of weird. So, I kind of just made a few close friends to have people to be around, but eliminated the need to constantly meet new people. Side Note: One of my best friends who I still talk to frequently, I met at the beginning of 9th grade. We immediately started a close and fun friendship. The fun thing about our friendship is that a few years ago, she told me that for the first few months of our friendship, she thought I was “slow”. Like mentally challenged and taking special classes in high school. I’m dead serious, she says, I didn’t think you were mentally retarded, just sort of Forrest Gump slow. You just smiled and waved alot." hahahaha. I told you I’m wasn’t good at first impressions.

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"Momma always said making friends was like a box of chocolates. 
There's always one that's a nut on the inside."

Anyways, I think one thing that really helped me really expand my horizons as far as initial confidence in new friendships was marrying Crissy. She can walk into a room of seven strangers and walk out with seven new friends. I think that’s one of the things that I really liked about her. I loved it too, because once we were married, we would kind of be the front man and meet all of these new people for us and I could kind of lay back until I was a little more comfortable and then kind of reveal my weirdness and awkward humor. For example, she set up this dinner thing (long before we had kids) with her high school friend and her new husband. We walked in and they hugged and did a little catch up session. Once they stopped, I looked at three of them, took a bouncy ball out of my pocket and said “Watch this” and just started chewing and eating the bouncy ball. Of course, I thought it was hilarious. Everyone else there… not so much.

Nice to meet you Jerry. Want to see something cool?

Being around someone so bold in meeting new people, I got comfortable in her doing our first impressions and me being the long term kind of friend. So I never really make myself grow in that area. Once we divorced and it was just the kids and me, I think that was the first thing I noticed. “Seth, you gotta learn how to quit being so shy and meet people.”

It was tough because I really love being around people and making them laugh. Being kids all the time is awesome, but I enjoy adult interaction from time to time. Now don’t get my wrong, I have a TON of amazing friends that I’m dying to get together with, but unless you’ve been divorced or separated after a long relationship to hang around my "Seth and Crissy friends", it’s hard to explain why that can be a bit challenging. I guess, I still always feel one of two reasons:

Reason One. People are trying really hard not to bring up Crissy. It’s awkward for them. Me and Crissy were tight TIGHT. We are still friends, but I guess I feel like I don’t want to pressure people into having to dance around the topic. I figured I’m moved on and eventually the thought of Seth and Crissy will kind of just fade away and it won’t be as awkward, but I do think it hit some of my close friends hard. Plus, I don’t like to talk about the details of our breakup. I don’t know what people have heard (truth or lies). I don’t want to have to discuss it, but I’m sure our old friends would like to know some kind of truth, It just feels like I’m putting old friends in an awkward place sometimes by coming around. I know my friends are awesome, it’s just something I gotta work out on my own.

Reason Two. I’m in major third wheel mode. I’m at the age where most of my friends are married. Not only that, but when you roll up to a friends house and your family resembles clowns unloading out of a car at the circus, that can be intimidating. When Megows show up somewhere, we make our presence KNOWN son. We roll up and roll up hard. Sometimes I feel like my parked van at a new place is similar to the opening scene of the first Jurassic Park with that velociraptor. Once I open this door, all craziness is about to break loose. That feeling combined with the third wheel is just too much at times.

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The Megows are here....

Even though I love my friends and think they are the best ever, I think I’m also kind of drawn to meeting new people that can understand my current situation. This is where I was horrible at. Meeting new people. With balancing work and the kids, I was kind of thinking I would just be a hermit for this season of my life. Not by choice, but I didn’t have that person to help me break out my shyness like before. Also, during my marriage I think I did built up some sort of confidence that I was pretty cool and funny. Once she left that really kind of messed up my self-confidence. I mean if the one person that you were closest to in the entire world just kind of lost interest in you, that junk can mess with your brain. When she left me, I was pretty much a wreck. We had been together so long and she knew every. single. detail. of me. I guess it was my worst fear trying to manifest itself in my mind. Especially, since that was kind of the reason I was always kind of shy my whole life. It was a tough few months at first.

However, I think I got tired of moping around. Also, I didn’t want my kids to see that dad wasn’t confident in the person God made him to be. I was afraid that lack of confidence might affect them as they got older. So I told myself, I’m just going to me and put myself out there, but it did practice. I knew I couldn’t just walk around with a pocket full of bouncy balls ;) I think I really tried to brainstorm about what my strengths were and use those to my advantage.

I kind of narrowed it down to few things. The first is kind of weird, but I have a good memory and can notice small details. Whenever I would meet someone, I would do a quick scan of their clothes, their car, their office, etc., just anything I could. Immediately, I would ask about something or compliment the first thing that stood out. Then I would pull every amount of knowledge I had about that subject. For example, if I met someone at church and noticed they had cool glasses, I would just start talking about how I like their frames and then talk about cheap ways to order glasses online. Or if I saw somewhere wearing a football team hat, I would pull from my very limited knowledge of football. I quickly learned that if you approach people with a smile and show them that you are actually interested in getting to know them and take time to notice little parts of their personality, they will typically open up eventually. Until you get that friendship off the ground, you’ll always have a topic of conversation to make small talk with (I’m horrible with small talk, so it helps).

I met this one guy who I thought seemed really interesting and smart, but wasn’t really having the goofy Seth routine. Finally, I heard him listening to some Motown. I knew I had him ;) We sat and talked about the Tempations, Otis Redding, the Chi-lites, etc. for quite a long time. Every now and then I’d email a song or we’d talk about a memory associated with a certain song. I guess I learned to approach everyone as a potential friend, I just have to find the connecting string, whether it be music, food, kids, body odor, or embarrassing teenage stories, there’s always something that connects everyone to any specific person. I just gotta focus on finding a detail to break the ice and hope I have enough stored in my big mouth to make a conversation out of it.

"You think you have bad B.O.?
Tomorrow, I'll skip my 12 minute application of Degree and we can compare smells."

Another thing I do to make friends is just be kind. Just being realistic, we don’t have time to help every single person we meet, but offering to care for someone’s pets while they are out of town or noticing they like taco bell and buying them a $5 gift card just because, can really go a long way. I’ve learned that I can get kinda of weird or intense, so to avoid over analyzing what I say, I kind of go with the Michael Scott approach to starting conversations.

Since I am aware of the fact that when I open my mouth I know something random or some corny joke will pop out, I’m pretty conscious to try to ground the friendship with something normal first. I think overall, it’s helped. I’ve made a lot of new friends and starting to reach out to my old friends that I miss so much.

This is pretty much me in every conversation I have.

Mostly, I’ve learned that I’m awesome. Everyone is awesome. If you don’t think you are, you’re lying to yourself. You are freaking awesome just being yourself and people would be super pumped to get to know you. And don't worry if you're weird, the best people are (and they make the most interesting friends and companions). 


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Decisions, Decisions...

It’s been a busy week. Decisions, Decisions. From little to big, life is just full of decisions. This post I want to talk about decisions and how decision making is handled in the Megow house.

One major decision I tend to face every night is “Do I stay up late and get everything set out and ready for in the morning or Do I get up early and get it in the morning?” 

The things I need to do are:
Find and set out school clothes, socks, and shoes
Pick out and iron my work clothes
Tidy up the kitchen
Wash dishes
Get school stuff together (homework, book bags, library books, etc.)

About once or twice a week, I do it all at night. I always feel bomb dot com on those nights. However, a lot of the time, I’m just too tired or have other things I need to get done at night, so I tell myself I’ll get up extra early, jump in the shower, and then do all of this stuff. Unfortunately, a lot of those mornings actually end up looking something like this.

I woke up around 4:30am like every morning. I go pee and get a drink of ice water. I double check my alarm. Yes, it’s set for 6am. That will give me enough time to get everything I need to do accomplished. So I try to maneuver between all of my children’s arms and legs to try to find somewhere I can somewhat comfortably go back to sleep.

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Trying to find a spot in my bed in the middle of the night
 is pretty much similar to taking on GUT’s Aggro Crag

So I found a somewhat comfortable position and fell back asleep. I normally always wake up before my alarm, so when my eyes cracked open without hearing an alarm I wasn’t “alarmed” (pretty sweet pun, huh?) Anyways, I keep my room dark with thick curtains over the blinds. However, Wednesday morning I felt sheer terror because when I picked up my head, I saw this little streak of light shooting out from behind the curtain. Every parent knows that feeling. Immediately, I jumped up and threw open the curtains. This was pretty much my reaction…

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Yep, I figured out how to put GIF's into my blog. Uh-oh ;)

I frantically searched for my phone to see the time and to figure out what happened to my alarm. I couldn’t find it. So I ran to the kitchen and looked that the clock… “7:34am”. I’ve overslept before but never that late. Suddenly, I hear my kids dying laughing over my shoulder. In my house, if the kids are laughing and super chipper before 8am, there are either two scenarios playing out.

Scenario 1) A baby fawn has found its way into our living room and is letting my children feed it baby carrots from our fridge.

Scenario 2) I’m about to find a giant mess

Unfortunately, there were no tiny deer in my living room on Wednesday morning. It was like slow motion, I turned my head to find Olive covered head to toe in chocolate frosting. (We were given a chocolate cake Saturday night, so I stuck it in the fridge and was slowly giving it to them piece by piece. Well, Titus thought “bump that” and just drug the entire cake to the living room carpet apparently around 6am that morning.) Titus who had already filled up on chocolate cake had moved onto being thirsty and you can’t have cake without milk. However this particular morning, he was apparently craving strawberry flavored milk. Since we didn’t have any strawberry syrup, he just dumped a strawberry Kool-Aid packet in our brand new gallon of milk I bought the night before. Again, this is just what I’m guessing happened. But I think when he dumped the Kool aid packet in, he was thrown by the narrow pouring spout of the milk jug. So he just decided to shake the milk jug around. I walked out to find him (butt naked) and my kitchen table covered in pinkish, grainy looking milk.

By now it’s 7:38. Since we live across the street from the school, we can leave the house by 7:52am and make it to school on time. We have 14 minutes. I run a shallow bath and put my two younger ones in. I finally found Stevie and Neela (playing on my phone) in their room. There’s where the alarm went… I’m gritting my teeth trying to stay calm about the importance of NOT playing with dad’s phone since it’s the alarm clock. I ask them to get dressed and brush their teeth… quickly! I run back to the bathtub. Titus and Olive have bathed themselves enough to avoid a phone call from the school social worker, so I quickly dried them off and run to put on the clothes I set out for them the night before. "Oh yeah… I didn’t set out any. Double crap. I didn’t set out any for me either." So I sprint across the house trying to find clothes for them while at the same time brushing my teeth and yelling across the house for the big girls to brush theirs as well.  I get Olive and Titus dressed and run to the laundry room frantically trying to iron something for me to wear. I glance at the clock “7:46- Triple Crap. I suck at mornings.” So I found a shirt and pants. I start ironing in the laundry room, while yelling for everyone to sit down and eat a quick breakfast like a banana and some milk. “Dad, this milk looks like barf”. Oh yeah, the Kool-Aid… Ok just drink something and eat something. “Dad, we’re not hungry. Titus gave us all cake for breakfast”, Stevie yells from the dining room. “Fine, just drink some water and get on your shoes & socks and get your book bags on”, while finishing up my ironing in the laundry room. I put on my clothes and sprint to the kitchen. “7:50! I can do this!”  Of course, Stevie is still in her underwear because all of the clothes in her drawer have tags and she does not want to wear them. I kind of just stand their completely stunned. I have Neela help Olive with her shoes, Titus round up book bags, and Stevie find some clothes and bring them to me for de-tagging. We rush out the door, jump in the car, and make it to the older 3’s school before the tardy bell. I turn around and Olive is wearing mis-match shoes. So I just drive back home, change her shoes, drop her off, and head to work. It was a good day J However, since Wednesday, I’ve been a little more motivated to set everything out the night before.

Also, I like to try to give the kids a choice when it comes to small choices around the house. Mostly we make the choice “Do you guys want to do grocery shopping or stay at home and scrounge around for dinner?” They always choose scrounge (expect for Titus. That boy ALWAYS is down for a trip to the store.) I like it too. It gives me a chance to clean out my freezer/fridge/cabinets and allows for creativity when cooking meals. Normally for dinner, I would make something regular like spaghetti with broccoli or breakfast for dinner. They have pretty simple tastes. I know I should press them to try new and exciting things, but as long as they eat somewhat healthy and actually eat the food they are given, I figure they will eventually expand their cuisine horizons as they mature. Shoot my best friend ate nothing but Jelly sandwiches and French fries growing up, now he’s a pediatrician and his wife cooks fancy, organic healthy meals all the time. I’m guessing he likes them. Maybe he fakes it. I bet Megan could throw down if he refused to eat a meal she prepared. ;)

Anyways, back to the dinner choice. I love the idea of “Apollo 13ing” dinner.

I have to make dinner...for my kids to actually eat... using nothing but this.

This is what we have to work with and this was what we have to create. Maybe it’s just the challenge of creating something I know the kids will eat, but it healthy and filling. I will say after my last for “scrouching dinner” attempts, I think they kids will start choosing going to the grocery store more. My last dinner creation kind of resembled this.

Just think “Shrek’s Wedding Reception Menu Item”

I try to teach my kids about decision making. One effective way I’ve found is letting them have complete control over their spending money. Blowing through money they have earned on cheap crap instead of saving it for quality things isn’t smart, but after a few crap rip-off’s they’ve started listening to old dad about saving up for one good quality thing rather than 3 el cheapo’s.

“Yes, Stevie. You can spend your money on that art set, but it’s not Lisa Frank… It’s more like Lisa’s deranged sister Linda Frank got commissioned by Dollar General to create a line of art sets.”

“Titus… dude. Please don’t buy this thing… Ok… So you had a dream you bought this toy?...
This is the coolest toy you have ever seen?... Ok man, it’s your money.”

1 hour later – “Dude, I’m sorry your toy broke… What?...
No. I cannot drive you to China to trade it out”

We all make bad decisions sometimes. But no matter what, let's just own them, keep smiling, and be the people Mr. Rogers knew we could be ;)

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Sunday, October 11, 2015


I think I’ve written and erased this post like 4 times, so I told myself whatever I type up this time, I’m just going to post. Tonight we are discussing budgeting/money. No, I’m not here to give you any saving tips or the best way to pay bills. I think we all have read about 17,000 articles about finance from the experts on facebook. We’ve all taken basic classes in school about money and saving. We all pay bills. We all have hobbies that cost money. This post is just going to be an honest, no frills look at the Megow’s budget and view on money and happiness.

Where to begin, let’s just say that my kids aren’t really aware of our financial situation at all, whether our bank account is busting at the seams or it’s somewhat tight at the moment, I honestly believe it’s not the kids concern. Their concern is to be kids. To show people kindness, learn about themselves and others, and figure out the little things in life that are important to kids (like you shouldn't eat boogers, buuuut if you do snotty boogers taste the best). Yeah, I teach my kids about budgeting and being smart with our family finances, but that is little to do with what our bank account actually looks like. At times, they might want or need something we can’t afford at the moment, so we just sit down think of a solution. For example, I love what my friends Danny and Autumn are doing with their kids to raise money for vet bills for a new kitten. The kids are making little crafts to sell. They are super fun little crafts. However, they are also teaching their children about the responsibility of caring for a kitten and building a ton of life lessons. I love this idea.

Ok. That'hummingbird is legit.
Message my blog facebook if you want to purchase some to help these kids get a kitten :)

Truthfully, that’s a lesson I’m still working on with my kids and pets. My kids love having pets, but don’t seem to recognize the hard work it takes to have one. This usually means my Spiderman suit ends up smelling like dog urine or one of our toilets turns into an ivory crematorium from time to time.

RIP: Goldie, Rudolph, Minion, Sparkle... 
ok I'll just stop before I get reported to PETA

But back to money and household budgeting, I really just wanted to focus on the day to day operations and little funny things about how the Megows operate. It’s really no guess that a single dad with four kids, with only one income means it can get a little tight. (Crissy’s parents built us a house a few years ago. So when we divorced, she got a large portion of the home equity. Since I couldn’t cut a check, we just agreed she wouldn’t have to pay child support until it’s paid off. It was a nice agreement). That being said, I used to think I could get creative about a budget, now that it’s a necessity I view it as a fun challenge.  Now I make a good living with my career and the kids are well taken care of. My main point is the kids and I have learned to cultivate interests and find fulfillment in things that are within our budget.  I never sat the kids down and said “We ran out of money this month.” Or “Since mom left, we can't do things like we used to”. I’ve never said any of those things. Mostly, my opinion of being a parent (especially when it comes to money), is kind of like people riding in your car and being with a good driver. They shouldn't even think about someone operating petals and steering. We all notice a driver who is constantly slamming on the brakes and doing sharp turns. The peaceful and good driver is the unnoticed driver. We just get our kids to point A to point B while they laugh and watch Titus take off his shoes and smell his feet. I don’t want my kids to be aware of bills that might be overdue or on the contrast remind them that we have a lot more money than their friends. I’m just the guy in the front seat getting our family where we need to be while trying to not puke while Titus’s foot odor is starting to become visible and beginning to stain my beard a light green color.  Hopefully that made sense. I told you I’m not restarting this post again. ;)

Don't be hatin' 
I'm just cultivating a manly musk.

If anyone knows me, hopefully they know I can’t stand giving unsolicited advice.  So this is just the way I kind of adapted the way we do family life based on our current budget.

Kids are kids. Kids like dirt. Dirt is free.
We are mega park goers. Outside time is the best. Yeah, my kids watch TV and play with toys, but nothing is better than getting dirty and poking around the ground with a stick. I’ve been working on instilling a fascination with bugs, plants, and just nature in general. 
Neela has really taken a shining to it. From bug hunts to frog catching, this girl is all about exploring and getting dirty. She loves anything and everything about animals. One thing I have learned about when my kids start to get into things is they have interest in, is most of the time, I have more fun watching them then they do playing. For example, Neela and her best friend Josie are both big time “aminal” and nature lovers. A few months ago, Josie spent a Saturday night with us.  She told us about how she found a hummingbird nest at her Nanny’s house. Neela was fascinated and we spend the evening talking about birds, eggs, nests, and incubating. The next morning we woke up and got ready for church. I was running around making sure everyone looked decent and then kind of loaded up and left in a hurry. Anyways, after church, Josie and Neela walked up and handed me this raw egg. I was pretty clueless about where they got this egg (which was very warm) at church. After talking for a few minutes, I found out Neela and Josie snuck an egg from our fridge and proceeded to pass it back and forth between them and keeping the egg in their underwear to incubate the egg during church. Hahahaha. While I explained to them the importance of not storing raw eggs in our underwear during church, I commended them on their dedication and not cracking it. Honestly though, I think I would be the proudest dad ever if I got called back to the nursery because my kid or her friend busted an egg during church while they were trying to hatch via Strawberry Shortcake panties warming method.

Chicken incubating panties coming to a store near you.

Use what you pay for
It’s why I don’t have cable or fancy hand towels. Our society is at a point where we just have way too much of everything. Even if I had the money to buy my kids a cute monogrammed clothing item or myself some fancy watch, I doubt I would. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But personally, I wouldn’t get the use out of it that I should spending that much money. It’s not a matter of stripping away everything I can and just making us use what we have left; mostly it was evaluating what was actually being used and just cutting the rest away. Stevie is probably my best little example of this. My Stevie Joy is a mega techie. She is ultra-smart and can pretty much figure out any device in a matter of minutes. She loves playing little apps on my ipad (when it’s not in the dishwasher ;) boom! title drop!) She would get into one little game and want to beat it or build her little character or city or whatever she was doing.  She’s never been one to really ask for a ton of things, so when she did I would spend $2 and buy her some little credit to get the hot tub for her zebra in her little game. However, I started to notice, she wasn’t really sticking with anything constantly. I mean I really wasn’t doing it much and hardly spending any money, but she wouldn’t really stick with one certain game. That is very unlike Stevie. She is a finisher. I finally realized, she just wasn’t vested enough. She started playing some online little ipad dragon game with my dad. Of course, I could probably buy the nicest dragon there is with about $5, but ever since I kind of let Stevie built her little game stuff alone and working with my dad to share dragons back and forth, she has really gotten committed to getting a “Rainbow Dragon”.  I know it’s just a game, but she really finds so much joy in playing it and collecting enough little gems to buy her stuff in the app. Although I despise giving advice, I love analogies if you can’t tell. I love really encouraging my kids to dive into what they are interested in. Instead of Titus constantly wanting a million different kinds of toys that would never be played with, he is really found an interest in one particular type of Power Ranger and is constantly tinkering with his little things to explore all of the different combinations and stuff he can come up with.

I will say I did have to make some tough little choices when it came to really maximizing what I pay for.  If you have girls, it’s a rite of passage for them to take gymnastics or dance. It’s somewhat expected of you to put them in something when they are little. Well, we just couldn’t afford it. Neela wasn’t too upset (she has severe stage fright). Stevie however was upset at first.  It was a really tough thing to tell your baby they couldn’t take dance this year, but she really took it super well. Seeing her sad because of my financial constraints was tough. However, we had a talk. It turns out, she does like to dance, but dances at home, school, and church so she wasn’t really upset about missing dance class or learning new dances. Mostly, she was upset about not being able to be in the recital. It’s little moments like that, when you kind of get a peek into your kids brain and heart.  She just wants to perform for people. We discussed a view different options (that we currently had access to) and she decided she wanted to start making videos and sharing them on YouTube. She and I have made quite a few together and she loves to see how many views she has. Honestly, I have asked her about dance a few times, but as long as she is getting the chance to perform and create something for a mass audience she is happy.  Plus, it’s really opened up her personality and increasing her confidence. She is always asking to make movies and you tube or “on our website”.  

She has a million of these things on her own.

Helping People
If my kids reflect on what they learned from dad when I’m gone I hope they remember “Love God and Love People”. We have always been busy bodies and doing to have fun.  But truthfully, when you don’t have money to go the Fun Factory as a family this weekend, it might be a blessing. We’ve really learned to be busy being blessings to people since we kind of couldn’t afford to fill our lives with a million fun things or shopping trips. It’s always the little things people do for each other that really make the biggest impact. Although the kids are small, I truly believe they are learning the importance of doing what you can with what you have to bless people. Helping people is always something fun and normally, you can work with your natural strengths and supplies. For example, I have a million various cables and tech parts laying around the house and the kids have paper and art supplies. Someone is always needing some type computer repair or someone is always sick. Taking an evening to fix a printer or deliver some kid-made artwork to someone who isn’t really well, is way more fulfilling than anything money can buy. Even taking a Friday night to spend it with someone who needs some love and company is so satisfying. Mostly, I find people are always buying things or spending money to fill time or create a memory. I love vacations as much as the next person; also I love my some sushi, so I get treating yourself. But there’s something really special about forging a connection with someone based on a simple act of kindness.

Titus is a card making machine up in this place

Sorry, my stories are kinda sappy sweet tonight, but it’s just what’s coming out. Also, this is my last one, I promise… One of my best friends is someone I actually met at church, but really got to know by stopping by with the kids and fixing her laptop and changing a light bulb. This person is my Memaw (Lyn Stalvey). She is the most kind and gentle person I have ever met. However, she is deeply rooted in her faith and our friendship. Fixing her laptop and changing that light bulb, probably took me about 12 minutes, but we just stayed and talked for an hour or two. It didn’t cost me a dime to do that, and sure the kids got a little restless. But I have been blessed far more than I could ever imagine by her or given more fulfillment in our friendship than anything I could buy. Let’s put it this way, I can’t really remember every time went out to eat or bought some new fun gadget, but I can remember every time Memaw and me get together. She’s always coming by to check on me, inviting the kids and I out to lunch, or simply just saving me a seat next to her at church. That’s why I think helping people is a financial plan. The kids and I have built so many friendships, but truly the simplest deeds not only that we have done, but those kind deeds that others have done for us, that I feel we don’t need a ton of money to have fun or be entertained, we have a deep bench of friends that came about by simply showing kindness.

Being presented with her "Most Excited about the Christmas Party" Award for the 3rd straight year.
 Don't mess with Memaw and her Church Christmas Party. She'll straight up cut someone

 Be Blessed

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Clothes Shopping

Most people seemed to really enjoy the post about grocery shopping (what’s not to like about a story of a grown man handing you the sexy male skimpy underwear that seemingly just fell out of butt). So I wanted to continue along the lines of that post with another shopping post. However, this one I wanted to talk about clothes shopping. So is everyone ready? I’m hoping to have you in “stitches” after reading this. Sorry for the clothing puns. My family loves puns, so it must be in my “jeans”. Ok, ok… the pun segment of this post is now “clothed”.

When it comes to clothing, the Megows stick to the F.A.R.T. system. It’s actually a pretty good system. Mostly though, I made it up about 30 minutes ago, so I could write the word fart a bunch…. Fart.

Flea markets
Wanna know why I like the flea market? Because it’s freaking sweet. Sometimes on Saturdays we go and just walk around. There’s two types of flea market vendors. The permanent fixtures. Some of them include the guy who sells CD’s of the latest musical hits from Mexico, the guy who is selling hand stamped leather belts, the farmer selling produce, and that one lady who is always selling laptops and tv’s from 2002 with a constant loop of “Spice World”

“Tell me what you want. What you really really want.”
Wait, let me guess, this 27 inch Apex Television with a built in VCR that weighs 83 lbs.

But my favorite type of permanent vendor are the ones who sell discount and knockoff brand stuff from China. A lot of people knock these guys, but honestly, I love walking around their little stands. It’s wear we find all of Olive’s glitter hats for only $4 bucks a piece. If you know any other store where I can buy a glitter hat, a plunger, Batman underwear for Titus, a self cleaning fish tank, a laser pointer, and a bamboo back scratcher for $17 bucks, let me know because I will amend my acronym to add it to my list.

This girl WILL NOT leave the house without a princess hat.

The other type is the weekly people. I love these people. It’s like a garage sale, but more flea market style. Don’t get me wrong, I love some garage sales. However, for the most part things are organized and generally make sense at garage sales. I love going to the flea market ones, because I have literally walked up to a man who got in the back of his truck and kicked everything out of the bed onto a quilt, then sat there with his ferret yelling at people to “name a price”. I love that kind of stuff. I’ve gotten a lot of fun clothes from those things. Granted flea market stuff might need to be washed, but if you look you might be able to find some good stuff. Plus Titus seems to always make a friend by doing some sort of power ranger move and people give him little junk trinkets for free. If you can’t do power ranger moves and have to actually spend real money, the secret is to go with all $1’s. So you can haggle down to the dollar without feeling like a jerk talking a man down from $7 to $3 and paying with a twenty dollar bill.

P.S.- Fart

Our attic is the vortex of all mystery. Who knows what the heck is up there. Although, you might not be able to tell, I’m not actually as organized as I seem ;) Seriously though, I have no clue what’s up there. However, this is about the time of year where it’s not 3274 degrees up in the attic, so I usually go rummaging around. The attic is fun because it's like a free store full of junk you threw up there because your family was coming into town last year and you didn't want your house to look like an episode of Hoarders. Last fall, I found all sorts of clothes I never even knew we had. Just big ole’ bags filled with clothes and stuff. I’ll probably head up there in a few weeks, estimate what sizes are in what bag, put the bags in the rooms I’m guessing they go in, and forget about unpacking them until Neela comes out wearing a 2T zebra stripe spaghetti strap top with a pair of camouflage cargo shorts:

 "Crap. I gotta do those clothes... Hey Neela… Well, I guess that’s fine. Dig around in the bag and see if you can find a sweatshirt… No you can’t wear that blue Olaf from Frozen sweatshirt covered in snowflakes; it’s fall not winter… Yes Neela… Ok…. Yes, you are right. Olaf does have a carrot for a nose… Yes, carrots are orange and orange is a fall color… Fine, just wear it; you look great. Now, go find your valentines day socks and put your boots on.”

The nice thing about having so many kids so close in age is they can pass down clothes. Another plus is Olive (age 3) is so big, she can share clothes with her 7 year old sister. I mean when people see her, they don’t believe that this is “baby Olive”. For real, she seems to be head and shoulders above kids in her preschool class. So if I find a bag of 5-6 shirts and pants, Olive can fit them as well as the big girls. The attic is like a sweaty treasure hunt where the treasure is a bag of clothes and 3 copies of the book “What to expect when you’re expecting.”

Olive, you gotta slow down with those Gummi-Vitamins.
So if the Megows are feeling ultra fancy, we get all fancied up and head to Ross. Mostly, I like Ross for getting work clothes, belts, jackets, etc. I can normally find some really good deals. My kids like it because they have toys there. I’ve trained my kids to enjoy window toy shopping. They think it’s fun to just walk around and look at toys and pick out things for the next holiday. “Dad, I know I just had my birthday and it’s not even Easter, but can I please get this pack of cat stickers for Christmas?” Off topic, sometimes on occasional Friday nights, our big treat is just to walk around Toys R Us and just browse. The kids know they aren’t getting anything, but they love it. I kinda view it like looking at the Sears Christmas catalog as a kid. I kept that thing year round by the toilet. Nothing better than being a 7 year old pooping and reading the description of a cyborg action figure that comes with a ride able dinosaur. Mostly, the main reason I like Ross is because they sell super delicious black licorice at the checkout. I’ll pay a few extra bucks for some dress socks I’m never going to wear (I don’t do socks) just to have an excuse to buy some gourmet black licorice that’s about to expire in 2 weeks.

They really do just like window shopping and taking pictures of toys.

Thrift Stores
Ok honestly, this is where we get most of the clothes. I just wanted to type fart a lot and had to think of some elaborate scheme to do it. Thrift stores are the lifeblood of the Megow wardrobe. And no, Goodwill is not a thrift store. I love the GW as much as the next person, but you think I’m paying four bucks for a shirt. Girl, you crazy.

The real thrift stores are the ones that have the clothes hanging on rusty racks and cracked concrete floors with a pile of random wooden crutches lying in the aisle. No color or size sorted things here. Just rows and rows of sweaters with shoulder pads mixed in the a bunch of 1994 Winter Olympics shirts. That’s the fun. Get your hands dirty and look. There’s a few around town, but our family has our absolute favorite. Last summer, I needed play clothes for the kids. I went in with 15 bucks and came out with each kid about 3 outfits of nice, name brand stuff. And no, I will never reveal my favorite store. I’ve gotten some legit jackpot finds there. I can’t afford for the secret to spill into the hands of the college kids. I have a weird passion for thrift store shopping. Mostly because the stuff is always rotating and I guarantee I can find pretty much anything about 97% off the store price if I really need it. For example, I needed a new iron and ironing board. I got both for $4. The iron was almost brand new and the ironing board was good too. Granted the ironing board legs were covered in Dora the Explorer stickers. I just love the feeling of being able to walk in with 50 cents and walk out with 2 new cool tshirts.

So I just realized, I haven’t really told one story this entire post. Well for those still reading, I’m about to spill one of my biggest secrets. I view my style as “hip nerdy grandpa”. That means I’m not super fashionable, but I like to think I’m hip. Part of my hipness is my cut off shorts. When I’m not working wearing my knit ties and cuffed up sleeves (my stable for professional dress), I’m wearing my cut offs.

Living the dream. Hiking in the mountains barefoot with my cut-off shorts.

I started wearing cut offs in high school and it just kind of stuck. However, I feel my palate has refined over the years as to what type of short I wear. Nowadays, I like good cotton or denim“ish” shorts. Honestly, I can’t stand big baggy shorts. One, I’m scrawny and they make my legs look like toothpicks dangling out of rigatoni noodles. Two, my dad loves to tell me when I was born the Dr. gave me a large dose of “Noassatall”. Big baggy shorts fall off my butt constantly. Even with a belt, they seem to slip off. So I like a little more close fitting and narrower short. They sell them in stores, but they are in style now and ultra expensive. So Ole’ Seth found a work around. One day I was just browsing some thrift store looking for some pants to cut off into shorts, when I found a super awesome pair. I tried them on and they fit, but the pockets were super funky. I took them off and looked at the tag, “Size 12”. Crap. These are women’s pants. Well they fit. Screw it. So I bought them, cut them off, and wore them. Now, it’s pretty much the only way I buy shorts. I think I’m secure enough in my masculinity to not really be embarrassed browsing a thrift store shelf next to an older lady and asking “have you seen any size 12 grey pants?” Besides, the pockets being TINY (I know why women use purses), there's not too much difference. I can usually find some normal looking stuff and I can buy them for a quarter a piece. I’ve only told a few people who each proceeded to kind of faint from laughing. So there you go world, that’s my secret. My cut-offs were once probably originally purchased in 1992 by a 52 year old women who bought these stretchy, brown denim pants at Kmart right after she finished watching Phil Donahue at her friend Barbara’s house.

Be blessed,

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Part 2 - Readers Choice

We've gotten a few new readers as of late, but about a month ago we had a raffle for some amazing gifts. Below are the winner presentation videos. I'm really not one to toot my own horn, but these little videos are pretty much my sense of humor in a nutshell. If you haven't seen them, check them out, I promise they will (hopefully) make you laugh and are about 40 seconds a piece. Also, the part below will make more sense if you watch them.

Raffle #1 - Prize and Winner

Raffle #2- Prize and Winner

Raffle #3- Prize and Winner


Now to the part everyone has been waiting for... the second part of the raffle was each of the winners had to take a selfie with their prize and sent it to me for the website. Now it's up to the faithful "Ipad in the Dishwasher" readers to vote for your favorite. The person that receives the most votes will receive a $20 gift card to the restaurant of their choice. So without any further ado, let's get to voting!!!

Christina Winters - Ceramic Sad Clown Face

"I think he has bad news, by the look of his face"

Jessica Mills - Full House Book "A Dog's Life"
"Our dog sure has loved reading all about the silly shenanigans that happen
in this book, 'A Dog's Life' "

Jeremy Corbin - Intimate Picture of Seth Megow
"I treated my initmate portrait of Seth to it's own intimate evening. 
We enjoyed laughs,glasses of wine, and a feline themed portrait session."

VOTE HERE! free polls

Voting ends Tuesday 10/6 at 9pm

Also, I won't make a post about the winner of this vote. I'll just post it on the blog's facebook page. 
So if you haven't already please click here to keep up with our FB page