Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Douglas's Day Out - A Hurricane Irma Tale

So I was cleaning off my laptop when I noticed a Word document that I didn't recognize. Upon opening, I found a story that Stevie, Neela, their best friend Josie, and I all wrote awhile back. It was during Hurricane Irma, and we had some friends staying with us because their house was around too many trees for it to be safe. There were A LOT of kids in the house, and we didn't have power for 3 days. So we started to get creative with entertainment. The kids really wanted to write a story on the computer. Luckily, my laptop was fully charged; I opened a Word document and just let them type. They thought of the idea of each writing chapters or writing them together and stitching it into one story. It sounded fun, so of course I wanted to participate.

I never read the story completely until now. I think it's so fun seeing all of the kids different writing styles. Probably my favorite was that Stevie went back and wrote a sign-off epilogue to the tale. She's so silly. Hope you enjoy this little light-hearted saga about our dog Douglas and his animal friends.

I'm going to keep all of the formatting the exact same as it was typed. Stevie spend a lot of time selecting how it looked. :)


              Douglas’s    day     Out     
Chapter One:    Mission  Douglas 
By Stevie
Once   Upon   A  Time  there  lived  a  dog  his  name  was  Douglas. He was  so sweet . He loved kids. But one day he felt as if someone else was out there .So he went out looking for the person or kid who he felt he was looking for he knew it would be a journey but his heart depends on it. He grabbed his coat and walked. This was only the beginning of his long journey.
Chapter  two:  The Journey 
By Stevie  
Douglas walked across the city there were lots of people “Hi  doggy ,” yelled one man. It was very loud in the city. There was a lot of signs. He read one . It showed the  direction to Georgia. “That’s where Charlie lives,”  said Douglas. Douglas walked and walked.  He walked for 1 whole week. He didn’t care if the journey was long but he wanted to see the person or kid he desired to see.
Chapter   Three:   The Attack Of The Stray Cats 
By Neela and Josie
Douglas ran into an alley as fast as he could. “ Dang it’s so loud in the city! I’ve never noticed. , “ said Douglas. Then all of a sudden  10 mean Ally cats came. Then the Ally cats sharpened their nails.  Then they ally cats striked. Then Douglas ran as fast as he could. Then the ally cats surrounded hi m. Then Douglas ran and beat up the cats and made friends with one named Yucky. 

Chapter  four:  The Stinky Forest Neela and Josie
By Neela and Josie
Douglas and Yucky walked into the forest. Yucky saw a baby skunk and thought it was a mouse. Then Douglas saw a sign . He tried to warn her but it was to late yucky got skunked. Douglas said pee u !they ran out panniked. They could not sleep for 5 weeks because of the smell.And finnaly they found toamato soup.

Chapter five: first dog on the moon  
By Neela                                                                                                                                
They saw a giant glowing bone .when they moved closer they saw a ufo . the ufo sucked them in. then then the alion took them to his planet puppypaws . then the alion inturduced himself he said my name is Jupiter . Jupiter showed him auround the looked cool. then the alions said goodbye and droped them off in gorgia .
Chapter six: snugglebug 
By Josie
4 days lator they ran into a party of animal they all said aw look how cute . they all piled on top of him and cuddled . then a big black bear came and scared the animals off but he wanted to cuddle to. But they managed to sqeeze away.      

Chapter seven:  Smartie Pants Dougie 
By Seth
Douglas had a dream that he went to school and loved it! So when he woke up, he packed his lunch box full of bones and doggie treats and headed off to find himself a school for dogs. After walking around town for about an hour, he saw one! The name of the school was “Pawllege: The College for Dogs”. He went in the front door. Right when he walked in a big black and tan great dane greeted him. “Hello” said the big dog, “My name is Professor McKrangleBerry. Welcome to Pawllege. Would you like to go to school here?” Douglas was so happy that his tagged wagged so fast that it starting spinning around like a helicopter! He barked “Yes! I would love to go to school here!”  He did to go that school, and he learned so much that he earned a pe“degree”.  Once Douglas was done with school he so tired. He went home when to sleep. He had a dream about being a firefighter calendar model, so he woke up and packed his lunch box full of bones and doggie treats and…

Chapter eight: douglas and Charlie meet 
By Josie                                                                                                                                              
The next day douglas saw Charlie on a walk Charlie barked at yucky she said hiss hiss douglas and Charlie where so happy to see eachother  douglas  and yucky spent a night with Charlie but the next day they went to the megows house nella  and stevie loved duoglas and douglas loved them douglas knew this was who would adopt yucky and him

By: Stevie, Neela, Josie, and Seth

(Epilogue: by Stevie) 

This story is not true. Yucky and Douglas are real so is Charlie. I hope you like the story if you want to see another chapter go to our blog: We might make Douglas’s Day Out 2 so keep your eyes out for that. Facts about the authors……Josie and Neela are twins not really they just think they are. Charlie is a Standaurd Poodle. Douglas is a small Terrier mix adult dog.  We got the title well I got the title from Baby’s Day Out it’s really funny you should see it one day if you have time. We did this story when we had no internet.  Maybe one day you will write a funny or serious story. I hope you enjoy this story. But before I go I’m gonna say a few facts about dogs and cats just because that is what the characters are. You can skip this part I really don’t mind. Fact 1# Dogs have tiny or thin whiskers we can’t see only some I think. Fact 2# oh and we are doing dogs right now. But fact 2 a pug is a toy dog. Fact 3# When a dog has a wet nose that means it is healthy and happy, but if it is dry that means it is sick sad or uncomterble. Fact 4# really tanish whiteish beagles are rare. Cat facts now. Fact 1#cats don’t always land on their feet. Fact2# cats have whiskers to feel around them self. Fact 3# DON’T GIVE YOUR CAT MILK! Only kittens can have milk. Fact 4#not all cats hate water only some it is just more common for them to hate it. Fact 5# Not all cats and kittens don’t  like dogs it is just very common for them to not like them.


EVERY THING IS AWESOME!      Peace,Love,Cupcakes and doggies  
Douglas says bye bye!
We are outta here

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Umm... Seth your floor is sticky.

Original Post Date: 9/15/15

I love when people are pretty much completely honest. I know some people prefer sugar coating. I think I like blunt honesty so much because it’s so refreshing. Plus it reminds me of my mom. (Love ya Denise :D ) The other day a friend was dropping off some little lunch bags for a project I was working on. She walked into screaming kids, a garbage dump of a house, and one super tired and stressed out Seth. Normally most people would have just opened the door and handed me the stuff and left. She came in stepped into my kitchen and said “Ummm… Seth, your floor is sticky.” I love when people are honest and just speak their mind. I have been replaying that moment over and over in my mind and just keep laughing about it. (Again, it reminds me of my mom, which always makes me smile). Right after that she offered to stay and help clean the house. Me being honest right back said, “I would never let you help clean this house.”

You never know what you going to find hidden in a closet or trapped in a door. Cleaning around here reminds me of Indiana Jones.

Don't open that closet door!!

Since I am being completely honest, I want to talk about the cleanliness of my house and the constant struggle to keep it right in the pocket of my sweet spot. That sweet spot is somewhere above the clean level that I imagine Honey Boo Boo’s house is kept but below the fancy pants level of using dusting spray. (seriously isn’t that the real use of baby wipes?) I don’t sugarcoat the cleanliness of my house. Honestly the other day I walked out and I swear I saw a cockroach and an ant fighting each other while both stuck in a now sticky puddle of spilled kool-aid. I just sat there and watched it for a minute. Just living the dream. Then I killed them and cleaned it up with what else, a baby wipe.

I view our house in different level of cleanliness. For the most part, our dishes stay pretty clean. I made sure to wash them daily and since all of our silverware, plates, bowls, and cups all magically disappear somewhere within a parallel universe, I have switched to using paper products. Don’t worry we reuse them as long as possible ;) But they always end up getting lost, so it’s a constant flow of new eating and drinking utensils. No shame in my game. The floors and counters I try to keep moderately clean. Mostly, just keep them not sticky. Would I eat off my floors? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Heck no! :D 

Are my floors clean enough to eat off of?

Then comes bedrooms... The kids do a somewhat fairly DFCS acceptable job of cleaning their own rooms. Mostly, it consists of stuffing every single thing they can find into their closets. About a month ago, I literally walked in the big girls’ room to see Stevie stuffing her ballet recital outfits into a bug collector container. She then stuffed that container into an Easy Bake Oven box that was already overflowing with Disney VHS tapes, and then all of that was piled on the mount of junk they like to “collect” and store in their closet. I was just watching and wondering how in the heck they were going to shut the closet door. My question was soon answered. I saw Neela pick up Sausage (her 6 foot tall stuffed giraffe), get a running start, and slammed the closet door closed with the giant giraffe like a battering ram.

She named him herself

I really don’t mind cleaning. I am not good at it (at all). But I don’t mind the work, besides laundry. Laundry is the devil. The kids for the most part hate very aspect of cleaning.  A typical cleaning day usually goes something like this. I finish up all my work, while I let the kids relax, eat a snack,  and finish up their homework. I normally try to do a bulk of the cleaning after that stuff and before dinner. So I’m normally cooking while all of this is going as well:

I normally start off doing dishes, sweeping, and mopping first, so I send the kids to their room to clean. Immediately upon hearing the “c” word, Olive literally screams in such terror comparable to a child seeing Santa Claus torching his sled filled with toys, eating their stocking candy, and puking up milk and cookies on the family’s dog. After a moment of intense screaming, she frantically runs to her room and slams the door. I can normally hear her pacing around her room quietly trying to convince herself that she will not have to clean today. With Olive barricaded in her bedroom, that gives me like 40 minutes before dinner is ready to get the big kids cleaning their rooms while I tackle the big projects. I kindly say, “Ok everyone. Let’s clean our rooms.”  They comply by slowly lowering their heads and just trudging to their rooms. Meanwhile, I’m running back to check on dinner and finish cleaning up the kitchen.  Suddenly after about 5 minutes, the screaming starts. (this following part is exactly what happened this weekend). Titus was putting books on his shelf to find one of Neela’s animal books in his room. Neela likes to cut corners when she’s cleaning (don’t we all), so she sometimes throws things on Titus’s floor for him to clean up. Titus was furious. He chunked the book from his room into their room. Of course it was an amazing throw and hit Neela in the chest. Neela retaliated by dumping out the toys he just cleaned up. So they were fighting now. The whole time I’m talking loudly from the kitchen “Guys, I’m cooking and cleaning. Please don’t fight. Just please clean your rooms” And here comes my oldest with her “broken leg” routine. She has this amazing power where she can break her leg and heal it within a matter of minutes. Both of these occur with only the power of her mind. I’ve finally got Titus and Neela calmed down to see Stevie literally dragging herself all the way from her room on her stomach using only her arms to claw and cling to any big household objects she can reach and pull from. She informs me that she has a broken leg and is in too much pain to clean. Trying to balance my frustration about the lack of actual cleaning that has taken place and the urge to bust out laughing, I tell her that she will still have to clean. She begrudgingly scoots her body around 180 degrees and slowly drags herself back to her room. 

So I finished up dinner and the kitchen (well, close enough) and go to start on the living room. However before I do, I perform a quick peek to  see the progress of the kids rooms. Granted it’s only been 30 minutes, but I’m hoping some progress has been made. I walk in Titus’s room to actually find it pretty clean. The floor is clean and his bed is made. Under closer examination, he apparently thought of a genius idea for cleaning. He dumped all of the clothes out of his dresser drawers and stuffed them in his toy chests and stuck his toys in his clothes dresser. He was super proud of how clever this idea was. “Dad, I can pick out my clothes so much faster now!” So I just shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and said “It looks great buddy.”

And then I walked over to the girls room, Stevie is literally still scooting around on her stomach. HAHAHA. I’m dying laughing as I type this because the image in my brain is too funny. Ok, what she is doing is picking up one pokemon card at a time with her teeth, then dragging herself across the room and extending her neck like a giraffe and stacking each card up one by one on her bedside end table. After 30 minutes, she had stacked 6 cards (out of about 200 on the floor). I had to walk out of the room so she wouldn’t see me laughing. Neela on the other hand is just staring out of the bedroom window. When I went back in the room I asked, “Neela, why aren’t you cleaning?” Her reply was “Dad! I see an ant on the window. Can I keep him. He is a digger ant and his name is Dylan.” “Well,” I asked again, “Why aren’t you cleaning?” Neela responded “Oh. I didn’t know we were cleaning today.” I just kind of walk away to check on Olive. Apparently, she dumped about a container of 1000 plastic beads and has been throwing the "too big to vacuum" beads into the carpet ever since this whole cleaning event started.

In closing, my kids have been stepping up their game as of late. The other day Titus walked up to me and whispered in my ear “Daddy, come follow me. I have a surprise”. He cleaned up both bathrooms and his room without being told. I was so proud. Also, the girls have been taking on more responsibilities as well. One of my favorite stories about my girls is that one day last winter I remember being absolutely exhausted. Like couldn’t stand up. It was still early in the full time work/full time single dad life, so I was still adjusting. Anyways, I remember after dinner I just kind of crashed on the couch. I didn’t mean to fall asleep, but I did. I woke up like 20 minutes later to see my girls cleaning and making me a “cake”. I asked what they were doing. They told me that they were going to take care of me that night like I took care of them so good. I still remember that moment so vividly. It was one of the moments that I knew that God was showing me I could do this and that my kids were the best ever.

Giving daddy a break

The "cake" they made. Grapes, Apples, and Baked Chip's floating in water.
 They are trying to keep me thin ;)


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Four Years Ago at Chick-Fil-A: An Open Letter to My Kids

I often wonder what the kids will think of the blog when they get older. I’m pretty sure they will enjoy it. It’s always fun to read about yourself as a child J Also, I’m the worst about keeping up with things. I can literally lose a 6-foot stuffed giraffe (That has happened. Twice. Hahaha.) So, that’s one of the reasons I chronicle our lives on here. A reflection of a time that will be special to us when they are grown and gone. I’ve realized that over the years that this blog has been around I’ve always written about my kids, but never to them. That’s what this is. Something for them to read when they are older. Granted there are many things I keep private and close to the chest for just the kids, but this specific story I want to share with everyone else too.


To Stevie, Neela, Titus, and Olive:

Last weekend, we were eating dinner with my kids at Chick-fil-A. It was such a pleasant, little peaceful meal. During the middle of it, a memory flooded over my brain... About four years ago, we were eating at the same Chick-fil-A on another chilly fall evening. The two events were almost identical. We were even sitting in the same area of the restaurant, same time of day, and identical time of year. My brain instantly started making connections between the two seemingly separate, but also connected events. Life for all of us was so different then. I want to share with you guys what went through my mind when comparing the two dinners.

Fall of 2013 was a heavy part of my life. I guess that’s how I would describe it. Me and your mom were still married, but the signs and symptoms of a failing marriage were beginning to surface. More and more, it was just you guys and me. I was completely overwhelmed. Little things I had taken for granted were presenting themselves. The shock of this new life was like jumping into an ice-cold spring in December. It was a struggle to simply not shut down. Even just small things seemed to overwhelm me. For example: Mornings. Getting everyone up, fed, dressed, ready for school/daycare, commuting these places was beyond difficult. I’m sorry for the many, many times I took out my frustration on you. It was so unfair to make you with my overreactions while simultaneously trying to figure out and processing what was going on with mom.  

So back to that Chick-fil-A meal. I had done things in the past with just you guys and me; however, I was going on a few days solo. I was extremely tired remember we having to run a few errands before dinner. Chick-fil-A was your treat. Your ages were 5, 4, just turned 3, and 1. We arrived at dinner, and you guys had kinda had it from all the business prior to dinner. You (and I) were all hungry and cranky. I was holding Olive with one arm while trying to remove shoes from the older three so they could play while I order food. I get that done and stand in line holding Olive waiting to order. Success. I was able to order, get the food to the table, get shoes on everyone, and pass out everyone’s dinner. Then it happened. I still remember it so vividly. Someone spilled their drink all over the food, your clothes, and the floor. There was a lot of crying in that moment. Then, I can’t really remember what exactly happened, but I believe someone hopped out of the booth, slipped on the wet floor, and got hurt. I was that parent at that moment. I’m sure onlookers were in shock at the total wreck of a dinner situation that was happening in our booth. I remember trying to make eye contact with someone to ask them to get me some napkins. Hahahaha, but no one would even look in my direction. It was at that moment that the truth of what single parenting might look like began to set in. It caused me to internally panic. It’s hard to explain what was going in my head at that moment. My brain was flooded, but I couldn’t muster a single thought.
Eventually, I gained my composure and herded us to the condiment station to get us cleaned up and of course Chick-fil-A gave us new food because they are the best. While you guys ate, I just sat there complicating how this was going to work and how long I could physically, mentally, and emotionally do it. Because remember, me and mom were still married. I was 143% committed to your mom. It wasn’t for over a year later, when I gave in and agreed to the divorce. I was convinced this solo parenting was a season. Things would eventually go back to normal and I would be able to sink back into my comfortable role as a “normal dad”. As I waited for that role to come back, I found myself being stretched/prepared for an even better role in your lives. The more responsibility was placed on my shoulders, the more I was forced to grow. I like to explain it as I was some old, dry play-dough being shoved through a mold.

Four years ago, I was simply clueless to what would lie ahead. In between the treasure hunts, art projects, fights, nature adventures, late night snacks, doctor’s appointments, arguments, and endless laundry piles, God has brought us together in the most amazing way. Am I glad your mom and I divorced? Of course, not. I hate you growing up with a split family environment. Do I believe God can and will use your life for good? Yes! You each have a light that radiates from inside you. As each of you grow older and learn more about mistakes both me and your mom made, I hope that you will continue to show that forgiving spirit that’s so evident in each of you.

Fast forward to last Saturday. It’s still just us five sitting in that booth eating our chicken and waffle fries. We laugh and talk. I study each of your faces to see how much you have all grown. There’s no more baby teeth, toddler curls in your hair, or diapers. However, I do notice one thing hasn’t changed. Wanting to hold daddy’s hand when we were walking into the restaurant. I’m sure that, like everything will change, but for now I love when you reach each reach out your hands for me to hold. And if there are no available dad hands, you will still hold onto my pants leg. I have grown to love the responsibility of being your caretaker. It gives me pride that you guys each feel safe and secure in being yourself.

With all the things I love and find joy in, I’m still so sorry for all you have seen and experienced. Those are things that no kid should have to go through. Somethings even as your dad, I won’t be able to take care of or shield you from. Remember to be open with your feelings and most importantly pray. I mean really pray. Kneeling on the floor, tears streaming praying. One of my prayers is that I can set that example for you.

Stevie, Neela, Titus, Olive, I’m so incredibly proud of you each. You’ve learned about and demonstrate forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and unity in ways that amaze me. You’ve seen the absolute best and the complete worst of me. You’ve been subject to my venting, yelling, and frustration that you should never had to hear. Even in the midst my screw-ups, each of you are full of grace and love. I just count myself blessed that I get to be your dad. I couldn’t pick a more fulfilling life for myself than to spend every day with each of you. I can’t wait to see the amazing teenagers and adults you will grow up to be.

I love you.