Challenger Weekend

2011 State Tournament

As most people know, Jesy and I coach a baseball team of kids with special needs in the Butler County Challenger League.  Jesy has been coaching for 4 years, but has been involved with this league for close to 15 years because of Brian playing as well and John and Carol coaching.  I have only been involved for the last couple years.

You see, it was a little bit more of a transition for me. I had not grown up around kids with special needs, except for Brian and that was only when I started dating Jesy when I was 21 years old.  And you  know what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks.  It was very tough for me to get comfortable around the kids.  So when John and Carol asked Jesy and I to coach a team 4 years ago, I couldn’t do it.  Jesy accepted and asked Matt to help.  I stayed away for the first year completely.  The second year I went to a couple games here and there.  And finally in year three I went to just about every game and started to help out.  This year I have even gone to coach meetings and tried to push myself to be even more involved because I was really starting to enjoy watching the kids play.

So what kept me away?  Fear, believe it or not.  I was afraid of interacting with the kids.  What do I say to them?  What do I talk to them about?  If they misbehave what do I do?  What if I can’t understand them when they talk to me?  I let all those obstacles paralyze me around the kids.

But over the course of a couple years the kids have warmed my heart so much that I don’t have the fears that I used to have.  Am I as good with the kids as Jesy and Matt?  No, but I’m much better and much less “scared” of the kids than I used to once be.  I was so excited after the tournament this year that I was already talking about next year this morning with Jesy while we were getting ready for work!

But before we can plan for next year I would love to share some moments from this past weekend at the 2011 Challenger State Tournament in Barberton, Ohio.  This was my second year at tournament and I had a little bit better idea of what to expect and how this was going to go.  It was a blast, not just for the kids, but for the coaches too.  I can’t explain how awesome it is to see the kids have the time of their lives and not just on the field, but running around the hotel with other kids that are in the same boat as they are.  There is no judging, no making fun of, just kids running around having fun…all weekend.

This is what happens when you try to organize 10 kids with special needs for a picture!

Some highlights include:

  • One of our players’ parents, Dale, emptying two of the ice machines in the hotel.  The other two were broken.  Dirty move sir.
  • Conner Fenton taking his job as the pitcher quite seriously.  Also discovering that Conner is a big Star Wars fan.  We actually got yelled at by Bev Fenton, Conner’s mom, for chit-chatting about Star Wars like two little school girls instead of paying attention to the game.
  • Perry Sizemore playing the “roaming fielder” position.  What is that you ask?  Well, in one inning I saw Perry at third, short stop, pitcher, outfield, first base and my personal favorite was when he sat in a chair on the sidelines, but once the ball was hit he ran on to the field and chased after it.
  • I saw Ethan Fullmer run.  I just wish I had a camera to prove that I saw it, because I doubt that anyone would believe me.
  • Jack Wojno getting to see the Purple Firetrucks of Barberton.  Also, I love watching Jack’s twirling swing.  It’s like he coils himself up and then when he goes to swing he unleashes a spinning attack that almost spins himself into the ground!  But when he makes contact, watch out!
  • Sara Reatherford having almost made the catch of the year.  She was playing first base and a line drive was hit right at her.  She held her glove up in more self defense than anything else and the ball landed squarely in the mit.  But Sara didn’t squeeze, except maybe her butt cheeks, and the ball fell out.  Even though she didn’t catch it, it was a spectacular play!
  • Also noteworthy: when pressured, Sara cracked and admitted to having a little crush on me.  The poor girl, I gave her hell about it all weekend!  The crush is either now over or twice as bad.  You would have to ask Sara to be sure, but I guarantee after this past weekend she will tell you she hates me now!
  • Logan doing his best John Kruk impression!

    I got more hugs from Logan Cox than I got hours of sleep over the weekend.  Logan  is new to the team this year, as well as tournament and man are we glad we nabbed him up!  I have never met a more affectionate kid other than perhaps Jessica Fritts.  Landon is always smiling and loves to give hugs, so if you are ever having a bad day, just hang out with him for 5 minutes.

  • Landon making his unprecedented 4th straight tournament.  Landon is the only player on our team to make it every year Jesy has been a coach.   Landon is always the team leader in unintentional bunts, he just kind of holds the bat out there and waits for the ball to hit it.  Not a lot of power, but they have yet to get him out at first!
  • Watching Bailey do her reverse upper-cut swing.  Have you ever watched baseball and noticed that there are some guys that have an upper-cut swing, where it looks like they are trying to golf the baseball out of the park?  Well Bailey is the exact opposite.  She starts her swing high and cuts right down to the ground.  It’s like she is mad at the ball and wants to hit it as hard as she can into the ground.  A bizarre tactic for sure, but Bailey makes it work.

Boyfriend and Girlfriend - Landon and Bailey

Overall, this year was heartwarming, fun and a reminder that despite all our differences we can always come together to celebrate these individuals that have over come so much in their young lives and deserve to have the kind of fun that I know they all had this weekend.

So let me speak for all the coaches and say THANK YOU to all the kids we coached this year.  You do just as much for us and maybe more than we could ever possibly do for you guys!  Keep having fun and reminding us that nothing is impossible and that everything is better when you’re playing baseball!

Let’s Talk About Sex!

I just hope Lefty doesn’t show up to burn down my house!

No, no, I don’t really mean let’s talk about the Salt ‘N Pepa song, “Let’s Talk About Sex!”  I meant let’s talk about the sex of my baby!  Yesterday was yet another HUGE milestone in our second pregnancy.  It was time to go in for the third ultrasound, the one that will reveal the sex of the baby.

Of course if you are reading this then you probably already know our story.  You already know that this was the point last time where Jesy and I got the horrible news that something was very wrong with our baby and that in all likelihood it would not make it full term.  And she didn’t.  So, as you  can imagine Jesy and I were feeling a wave of emotions as the witching hour approached.

  • Nervous – check
  • Anxious – check
  • Scared – check
  • Excited – check
  • Spaced out – check
  • Ready? – Double check

But this time we were going to do things a little different. I know weird right, George Herron wants to do something differently.  So we explained to the ultrasound tech that we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby, we wanted her to write it down and put it in an envelope. I’ll get to why in a minute.  The tech was more than happy to oblige after hearing our heart wrenching story from last time.

“Thumbs up mom and dad!”

Sarah, the tech, had to get all the boring stuff out-of-the-way first: checking ovaries, checking heartbeat, measuring the head…blah, blah, blah.  But it was actually great because as she was doing all that we got to see the baby move around and resist Sarah trying to take pictures and just be a kind of pain in the ass for her.  Yup, must be a child of mine.  But there was a point when Sarah was taking pictures and our little 13 ounce bundle of joy gave us the thumbs up, as if to say all is good in here, no need to worry!  (Thanks kiddo, it was a HUGE relief!)

Then it was time to find out the sex of the baby.  Sarah was great she gave us the heads up and we looked away and closed our eyes.  Sarah silently took the pictures and wrote what our baby was and put it in the envelope and gave no hint whatsoever as to the sex.

But who cares at this point right?  WE MADE IT!  We made it through the 19 week ultrasound unscathed and with a happy (I presume) and healthy baby!  For like an hour after the ultrasound and before the popping of the balloon I almost forgot that we still didn’t even know the sex of our baby.  I was just so relieved and happy that it was healthy and that we were going to make it to the finish line this time!

So, yeah, about having the tech write down the sex and put it in an envelope.  Jesy wanted to do something totally different since the last time we were at this point it was an awful, disastrous mess.  So we opted to throw a party.  A reveal party.  Most people do it with a cake.  They have either a blue or pink inside the cake.  Jesy couldn’t wait that long, she needed something instant, so we decided to have a black balloon filled with either pick or blue confetti and then we would pop it at the party with our friends and family.

Man, I bet those of you who still don’t know are DYING to find out, right?  Too bad, should have been at the party!  Looks like you are going to have to deal with some more build up on my part.  Just be thankful I’m not Stephen King, you wouldn’t find out the sex of the baby till about page 529.

Due to the fact that more people wanted to come to this party than we originally thought we had to move the party from  our house to the shelter in Gower Park in Sharonville.  It was awesome to see everyone there, and I’m going to try to do something that will be sure to offend someone.  I want to individually thank everyone that was there.  I’m sure I will forget someone, but it is important to me to recognize my peeps!

Thank you: Mom, Carol, John, Brian, Miranda, Matt, Jami, Mason, CJ, Sarah, Henry, Grandma O, Grandpa O, Jack, Sue, Beth, Doug, Tom, Teresa, Marian, Anna, Karen, Carter, Buster, Jane, Glenn, Sue, Joey, Jay, Lisa, Chris, Paul, Michelle, Kennedy, Sandy, Judy, Mary Jo, Dan, Jim, Natalie, Gayle, Jill, Sherri, Liz, Mike, Natalie, Abigail, Isaiah, Heather, Aayla, Lauri, Rick, Corey, Neil, Kat, Tony, Kendra, Sheldon, Mark, Lauren, Sam, Avery, Andrew, Erin, Owen and Emma! And for our remote users:  Dad(The Big Guy), Shari, Roly, Alex, Emma, Ro and Lauren.

That was all from memory, no cheating! Impressive right? (And sorry in advance if I missed anyone.)

Without you guys there with us it wouldn’t have been nearly as special.   You all mean so much to us and to see how happy and excited you all were made yesterday such a wonderful day indeed!  You all are the best.

just before the big reveal!

So back to the party.  Rick was a little later than expected with the balloon filled with either pink confetti or blue.  In all fairness, however we didn’t realize how hard it would be for someone to shove confetti in a balloon!  Once Rick arrived there was a hush over the crowd, and that is saying something considering the crowd we had! It was like someone had just died, or the priest was finally ready to begin mass.

The moment had arrived, it was time to find out if we would be knee-deep in pink or blue for the next couple months.  But first some more suspense!

Can you believe that I’m currently about 900 words into this mess and I still haven’t told you yet?  I’m such a bastard!

Alright, seriously, here we go.  After fooling around a while and making Jesy miss popping the balloon several times I let her go true.

POP!

Let me just say that for months now I have been sure it is a boy.  Positive.  Everything about this pregnancy was different.  Jesy’s mood was different, her cravings were different, everything.  So popping the balloon was going to be anti-climatic for me.  I just knew that as soon as it popped that blue confetti would rain down and prove me right, just like I was last time.

So yeah, POP!

PINK CONFETTI!

It’s a GIRL!

Wait, what?  Pink/Purple confetti?!  A girl?!  HOLY SHIT I’M HAVING A BABY GIRL!!!!!  Let me clear something up, it’s not that I was wanting a baby boy, I was just certain it was a boy.  Obviously the only thing I was certain of was being dead wrong.  But as soon as I saw the pink confetti fly I was just elated.  It was the icing on the cake after a great ultrasound visit earlier.  How very overwhelming!  How very awesome!

*Side note*  After the popping of the balloon a young lady named Abigail came up to me and said that the baby should have a name that starts with an “A”.  I was of course suspicious of her motivation, but I played along anyway.

I said you know what?  It does!

She was floored, but determined and followed up with, well I think that her name should begin with an “Ab.”

And I said well you know what, it does!

Flabbergasted and a little excited she was like, “No way, really?”

I said yes and then told her to sit down because I was going to blow her mind.  I told her that the little girl would be named Abbey!

Well she just about flipped out.  She was more than excited to hear that she would be sharing a name with my sweet little girl!

So here I sit listening to my playlist that I made for the baby a long time ago with an exhausted, goofy grin on my face reflecting on what a wonderful day yesterday was.  I can feel new emotions starting to creep up already.  Like being suspicious of every boy that looks at her, like wanting to make sure she stays a little princess forever and making sure she doesn’t inherit her mother’s mouth!

So now let the spoiling of Abbey Road Herron begin!

Special thanks go to:

  • Corey Thomas for his camera work and for getting the live stream of the party for all our out-of-towners that wanted to participate.
  • Rick Kreiner for getting the balloon and confetti together.
  • My mom, aka Grandma Bird for going down to the ultrasound with us and being there in case we needed the support.
  • Jami White for helping with everything before the party and covering my wife’s ass for not having time to prepare the mini hot dogs and for not killing Carson, although he probably deserved it!
  • Carol, aka Grandma for helping set up the shelter and bringing the cornhole game.
  • Brian for waiting to have his seizure until well after we popped the balloon.
  • John and Paul for getting beat in cornhole by Dan and I.  And I know John didn’t throw the game, he HATES to lose, especially to me.
  • Whoever brought skittles, awesome idea.
  • Sarah the tech for being patient with our demands and Jesy’s 5,000 questions.
  • And last, but not least my wife for having sex with me so that this whole thing was possible

Thank you again everyone, we love you so much!

Monty: A Tribute.

Monty and a young Carson. Monty was not pleased with this new annoyance!

Monday June 6th, one of my oldest friends passed away.  Monty, as true of a friend as you will ever find.

Monty and I have known each other since college.  The time in my life when I really began to figure out what kind of a man I would be.  He has been with me through heart break, true love, marriage, six different residences and countless number of nights when he was the only one that would listen.

Monty was a dog.  My dog, my first dog.  He was originally purchased, slightly reluctantly, by three housemates in college.  Myself, my co-writer at BattleForOhio.com,  Andy, and a mutual friend Jay.  The dog quickly became mine and Andy’s as Jay just didn’t quite have the patience for the destruction one puppy can cause.  Losing the deposit on the house after our senior year didn’t help matters either.  And after senior year Andy and I decided that it would be best for me to take Monty, so he became solely mine. Although he had been sleeping in my room, and going to the bathroom in my room, and destroying things in my room since we got him.

This would establish two things, I would be the primary care giver and that he would have to sleep in the bedroom.  Even later when he spent all his time at my parents he preferred to sleep next to the bed.  Sometimes even when the pain in his back legs was so great that he would stay on the same floor in the house all day, he would still struggle to climb those stairs at bed time so he could sleep next to the bed.

So as a special tribute to my old friend.  A friend that has known me longer than my wife even, I would like to share some special Monty memories.

  • Any of the times that Monty would crap in the house my senior year on Bell Street.  I almost always had to clean it up, but it was worth it to hear Jay yell and bitch and almost throw up because of it.
  • The time that Monty ran into the kitchen in the house on Bell Street and couldn’t stop on the tile floor and slid right into the oven and banged his butt.  He wouldn’t go back in there for weeks, so I had to move his food to a different room.  This also is what stems his fear of floors that have any slick surface.  If it wasn’t carpeted he hated walking on it.
  • The time Jay tried to ride Monty while he was intoxicated.  Monty, who wasn’t amused, simply sat down and Jay fell off and about halfway down the stairs as well.  Hilarious to everyone except Jay.
  • Seeing my in-laws faces the first time they saw Monty, it was like a mix of frightened, bewildered and amused.  Like, what is this magical slobbering beast?

Monty after a romp in the snow.

  • Watching Huckle, my in-laws previous dog, and Monty interact.  Huckle was generally smaller than one of Monty’s turds, so watching Huckle try to scamper around and get sniffs of Monty was quite amusing.  Watching Monty grunt and growl when Huckle got too close while Monty was laying down and susceptible to sniffing.  I think he even gave Huckle a seizure one time.
  • Seeing how scared a giant dog like Monty could get during a lighting storm.  His favorite place in the world was my parents bathroom on the lower level of the house.  Somehow it made him feel safe during the storms.
  • Anytime it snowed.  Monty loved playing in the snow, jumping around in it, burrowing in the snow and flinging it up in the air.
  • Lying to two different apartment complexes and telling them that Monty was simply a lab mix to make sure we could still get the apartment.  Well, I guess that isn’t a lie, I just omitted the fact that he is mixed with Newfoundland, which made him a HUGE lab.
  • Watching Monty get more action than I was getting on my first date with Jesy.
  • Watching a 5 year old Monty who had never had to share a house with another dog try to adjust to a rambunctious puppy named Carson.

    Turner and Hooch or George Sr. and Monty?

He was a 100 pound gentle giant.  The only thing that was really scary about Monty was his boisterous bark.  He was only really grouchy with my mom, which was both funny and confusing.  Rub his ears or his belly and he was your best friend, except for maybe my dad.  Nobody was above my dad as far as Monty was concerned.  Mainly because my dad did what any grandparent does, he spoiled Monty rotten. And he was pretty open and blatant about it.  They might as well have been Riggs and Murtaugh or I guess more appropriately, Turner and Hooch.

If you had stock in Bounty, I would sell it right now.  Monty and his never ending stream of drool have kept paper towels at a premium in the Herron household for ten years.

I loved Monty like a pet, like a dog, like a friend, like a brother, and like a son.  He will be missed.

Monty, you will get along great with Sam in Heaven’s dog park, but please be patient with Batman.  You remember how annoying Carson was?  Batman is similar, but he is a pretty dog, so he will be good with picking up the ladies, so you will have that going for you up there!  Good luck pal, I can’t wait to see you again.

Monty’s ashes will be spread in my parent’s backyard, a place that Monty loved to run around and chase anything from tennis balls to deer.  A backyard that must have seen 2 tons worth of dog crap and hundreds of gallons of dog pee.  A backyard that he called home.

There will also be two trees and a little stone memorial with Monty’s name on it in the front yard of my parents house.  Because death always gives way to new life and it was important to celebrate the life of a great dog and a loyal friend.

Things I Realize and Birthday Wishes!

House wife

Look, I'll wear an apron, whatever. And sure I guess I'll dye my hair red. But I will not wear lipstick and a padded bra.

I had an epiphany tonight at 11:30 as I stay up to bake brownies for Jesy.  It is kind of my gift to her so that she has gifts to give at work tomorrow.  Jesy loves to get other people things on her birthday, weird, I know.  But several things dawned on me while I did my best Cinderella impression over a hot stove.  Butttttt, it is her birthday tomorrow, so her strange requests do get a slight reprieve.  And this year she gets to be pregnant on her birthday which is special enough. I would guess that she gets baby “stuff” for her birthday, which should take her from a slightly grouchy mood lately to a very happy mood.  Perhaps another chance to help bond with the baby, that and from all accounts so far show a happy healthy, energetic baby.

But what, if anything did I really learn?  I saw a glimpse into the future tonight my friends, what I saw was me…the parent….up late….doing the finishing work on the last-minute project our child told us about.  And that job will certainly fall to me.  Jesy will have a strict bedtime of 10:00 pm for the rest of our lives, that is a fact.  Hard line.  Mark my words, due to not only my ability to stay up late, but also my slight perfectionism and OCD I know I will just have to stay up to help any and all school projects look “just right.”

Please don’t think I resent it, that is not the case.  It is only natural that it be this way.  It’s kind of a Zen time.  I don’t want to be too loud as to wake anyone up, so I just get to quietly drift off and think, or not think, and get stuff done, or just relax and finally unwind for ten minutes.

I also learned that since I will be the late night emergency parent it might come in handy to be ambidextrous.  In stirring the batter for the brownies, Ghirardelli by the way, and then pouring out the batter into the pan with the same arms doing the same things the whole time was exhausting.  I felt like I should look like Popeye after all that.  Seriously though, learning how to stir with both hands is a key!  But now I know and knowing is half the battle.  And I hope that Hasbro hasn’t copy written that phrase.  And I will take the 6 month window i have left and get some training in for ‘ol lefty.  Might mean more baking, who wants more brownies?

I know Jesy loves me for my OCD, if for nothing else.  Whether it was a calculated move on her part, or just luck on her part and since it was already almost 11:00 pm, not worth worrying about.  Either way with me being alone in the kitchen for that long it forced me to sit and look at the disaster it has become.  This can only mean that as soon as I’m done writing this, that I’m going to go pull the brownies out of the oven and then clean the kitchen.  OCD has left me no choice.

Happy Birthday sweetheart.  Enjoy all the warm blessings from all your friends and family and from the tiny little UA inside.

Three sweetest words: Everything looks Normal.

I guess he got his bitch knocked up!

Well, at this point the cat should be out of the bag.  We, and when I say “we” I mean she, and when I say “she” I mean Jesy, is pregnant again!  A little over 11 weeks to be exact.  For a lot of you this is new news and we are sorry we had to keep it  from all of you this long, but we were playing it pretty close to the vest after what we went through last time.  We know there have been a lot of you praying for us and sending us your well wishes and we wanted to make sure that we had something positive to report.  And we do!

For anyone that has multiple children once you get to number 2 things I’m sure get easier.  You know what to expect, you’ve been through it all before, and while it’s certainly not less exciting, some of the initial wonder and fear just isn’t there the second time around.  Unless you have had an experience like we had on our first go around.  As we have described it, ‘winning the anti-lottery.’

So again for this pregnancy we have been just as cautious and nervous and probably even more on pins and needles as we are approaching the 20 week mark.  And no matter what happens from now until that 20 week mark, I will still be a little nervous.  At 21 weeks and after we find out the sex of the baby will I finally be able to totally exhale and relax a little bit.

But yesterday was a huge step forward for us and the wee-little uterus alien.  Normally people do not get an ultra sound at 11 weeks, but our doctor wanted to make sure that none of the hyrdomas that had formed on our last baby were starting to form on this baby.  He said that they can begin to form around this time and he wanted to catch it early if indeed it had happened again.

So there we sat in the same room that we found out that something was wrong with our last baby.  Nervous, scared and wanting desperately to be reassured that everything was all right.  I even looked over at Jesy at one point and told her, “I hate this room.”  And I meant it.  I can remember everything about that heart breaking day.  Some people have a gift to be able to block terrible memories like that out.  I remember every detail.  I remember how quiet Jesy was on the phone when Dr. Caligaris called back, I remember my mind completely blanking like nothing was there, I remember the dead bugs back on the window sill, I remember a single tear rolling down my face as I looked at the expression on Jesy’s face and then hugging her and starting to sob uncontrollably still not even knowing what was wrong.  Yeah, I still hated that room.  Until yesterday.

The first good sign was seeing the baby of course.  But this time it was so different.  At 20 weeks last time the baby was very still, it had to be.  There was no amniotic sac and it was covered in hydromas.  This time at 11 weeks, as soon as the technician found the baby it was like there was a rave going on inside Jesy’s uterus!  The baby was moving and groovin’, flip-flopping around and having a great time.  It was so awesome, it was like the first time I saw a life that I helped create, it was that exciting.  I could have watched my future child bouncing around for hours, it was incredible.  I just sat there so quiet and watched.  I was staring at the screen like Rosie O’Donnell stares at a quarter pounder.

But the best moment was when the actual Dr. came in and said those sweet words that any future parent longs to hear; Everything looks normal.

Sort of looks like Baby Herron is waving at us!

I could have been the spokes person for Orbits gum the way I was smiling.  I actually had to consciously stop smiling because I was afraid that I looked like a giant creeper.  No hydromas and everything looked on the up and up.  HUGE RELIEF!  We just passed two really important checkpoints in one visit!  We are all but out of the first trimester aaaannnnnndddd by all accounts we have a happy healthy baby!  Whew!

Poor Jesy, she was a huge nervous mess the whole time.  And of course we process our nervousness in completely different ways.  I withdraw within myself.  I get real quiet and am busy running 500 different scenarios in my head.  Not Jesy.  She ramps up her already active mouth.  The damn breaks and questions come flying out faster than a rich skanky house wife to a camera.  It wasn’t so much that there were a lot of questions, just the same three or four questions over and over again.  I get it, she just wants to be reassured.  She doesn’t want to go through what she went through before.  She doesn’t want to have this strong bond and connection to a baby that won’t make it again.  So she just kept asking, “your checking the back of the neck right now, right?”, “You can see the heart beat, right?”, “Everything looks OK to you, right?”  She probably asked those same three questions 10 times.

So, now I can start to relax a little bit more.  I’m not all the way there yet and I might not be until the baby is actually born and I can hold it in my arms for the first time.  But this was such a huge step in the process.

Mom and dad couldn’t be happier and more excited and for the first time in a long time relieved.

Everything looks normal.

You’re damn right.

Things I realize

Ohhhh, that's why he is screaming like that. He managed to get out of the car seat and is now a decoration on my window!

My brother-in-law has been very sick for the past week. And because of this the family has pitched in and to watch Mason, his and Jami’s son, while Jami has been at work.  Jesy and I have helped out when we could and that has meant taking him last Friday night and also last night.  In doing this there are a couple of things that I have come to realize about having a baby around that I think I knew before, but really comes to light when you have a baby around all day.

  • Just because you think you are ready to be a father doesn’t mean you really are.  Ever since turning 30, I have felt ready (“finally” as Jesy would probably say).  I thought that I had gotten all the selfishness out of my system, or at least most of it.  I thought that I had learned how to control my temper enough to give a child a fighting chance, I mean I have to deal with Carson everyday, how much more trying can a kid be?  The temper still needs work.  It will probably be something I struggle with the rest of my life, I just hope I can learn to control it enough to not let it severely affect my child’s development.
  • My patience still needs a lot of work too.  What is that old saying?  There’s nothing in the world that’s better than the sound of a laughing baby?  Well conversely there is nothing in the world more aggravating than a screaming baby and no solution for what ails the baby. Twice now in the last few days I have gone to pick up Mason and steal him from the living zombie that is Matt and twice now Mason has screamed like he was being murdered by his car seat the entire ride to my house.  I thought kids loved riding in cars?   I thought car rides put almost any kid to sleep?  Not Mason, at least not for me.  And what could I do, I was driving, it’s not like I could reach back and shove the bink (pacifier*) in his mouth, although he would have more than likely spit it out anyway.  So I tried music, not too loud, although I wanted to just to drown out the screaming.  I tried The Beatles first, they have a lot of calming songs plus it was music that I would love too.  Of course the first song was Revolution, probably the least calming song The Beatles have other than maybe Helter Skelter.   I quickly changed the song, ahhh Blackbird, that is a good one, but alas the little man was still doing his best impression of a banshee.  After a couple more tries with The Beatles with no success I try a different tactic.  What is something he would be used to listening too?  Matt and Jami have pretty different tastes in music than me, but I do have some Ludacris on my iPod, so let’s try that.  Nope still nothing.  It wasn’t until five seconds before we pulled in the driveway that Mason finally ran out of steam.  It’s a long trip from Liberty Township to Sharonville with an angry baby.  Road-rage would have had nothing on me.  Situations like that are why people start smoking.  I felt helpless and the more helpless I felt it seemed like the louder he got, it was enough to make me want to stop the car and just get out.  By the time I got home and he had just stopped I just sat in the driveway with the car on letting him sleep and letting me regroup.  That is when it dawned on me that I need to keep working hard to get better with patience, it is still a long road, but one I need to travel.
  • Our house is still nowhere near ready for a baby.  We have nothing to entertain a kid, or worse to put a kid while he/she sleeps so that we can get things done while said baby is sleeping.  When Jesy was home we took turns holding and watching Mason while the other did stuff, doing dishes, making dinner, whatever.  We have no pack and play, no bouncer, no real toys, nothing that would entertain the baby that would give both of us the opportunity to get things done.  Likewise we have nothing to hold the baby or tether it to us making multi-tasking nearly impossible.  All we have is a high-chair, and while that has certainly come in handy it is not nearly enough.  You would think with as much as we have watched my best friends baby, Aayla, and now with Mason we would be better prepared, but we aren’t, and it was no more glaringly obvious than last night.
  • Jesy will make a superior mother.  Is there something better than superior?  Seriously, I was amazed, as I often am with the ease at which she takes on a motherly role.  It was like she was born to be a mother.  Despite the crying and screaming she was calm and did anything and everything to calm Mason down and he responded quite well to her on most occasions.  She also brought the best out in him.  He played with “us” for like an hour before he fell asleep and she was brilliant with him that entire time.  She found little things that he loved to do and would always be interacting with him and making him smile and “goo.”  I don’t know that I had ever heard a baby “coo” and “goo” like Mason was last night, it was incredible and Jesy was 99% responsible.  And I guess that is what makes what we went through recently even more baffling and upsetting to me.  There is not more perfect person to be a mom than Jesy and for her to have gone through what she went through is unfair to anyone, but especially someone who will be such a good mother as her.
  • Mason farts like his father and sleeps like his mother.  I was sitting several feet away and I could hear Mason farting like he was cast in a Fatties movie with Jack Black.   Some people have stream of thought, Mason has a stream of fart.  Is that an earthquake?  Did a train just go through our backyard?  Is there a T-Rex loose in our house?  Nope Mason is just farting….again.  The kid is a champion.  But lets face it, he’s just carrying on a family tradition, congrats my boy you are a Wenstrup.  And how a kid can feel rested after the way he sleeps is beyond me.  Half the time I was holding him while he slept he looked like he was trying to go ten rounds in a ring with Mike Tyson.  The kids arms were moving and swinging with a quickness that Ali would have been proud of.  I know Jami is more known for her conversations in her sleep, but it looks like Mason has decided to take it up a level and do some shadow boxing in his sleep.  I feel sorry for any future girlfriend.

I guess this works, but I'm pretty sure only girl babies should be sucking on it.

  • A baby is exhausting.  I know every mother will scoff when they read this and will just laugh it off as me being a typical man, but I had no idea a baby was so tiring.  How something that only eats, poops, and sleeps can wear an adult out was beyond me.  But then it dawned on me, this little human is relying on me for everything, so I’m constantly on and that is after working for 8 hours already today.  So calm down ladies, the light bulb just went on.  A special shout out to all the single mothers/fathers out there.  Wow, I have no idea how you do it.  Jesy and I tag teamed Mason pretty well last night (does that sound as bad as I think?) and he wiped us both out (yeah it does).

It would seem I have learned a lot in a couple of days, and thank God I did.  There are some things I definitely need to work on, I just hope I can be better.  It’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks.  The good news is that where I fail I know Jesy will be there to pick me up.  My only fear is, and it has been a fear for a long time, ever since we started seriously talking about having kids, will I be good enough?  Looking at Jesy I know she is ready and I know she is good enough, she will be fannnnnnnnnntastic.  I just hope I can do half as good, because I’m scared that I might not be able to be better and our kids will have a broken dad.

*This little footnote is about the pacifier.  How many names does that damn thing have?  Bink, binky, pacifier, paci, mouth plug, scream stopper, fake nipple, nuk, baba, nibbler, and Vin Diesel.  I’m sure there are 100 more as well, but these are the most common ones I have heard.  No wonder English is one of the hardest languages to learn, we give something like a pacifier 2,000 different names.  Good luck kids!

Rant over.

Living with a Organizational Nightmare

Jesy’s bedroom if not for me.

There are certain things that I have grown to learn that my wife hates to do.  Dishes is one of them.  She will let them build up until there is literally a mountain of dishes equal to Everest in our sink.  And she’s a hypocrite too, especially if she’s tired.  She will yell at me for not loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher, but she will do the very same thing under the guise of “being sleepy.”  It’s like her Kryptonite.

In all fairness I was never much better.  Growing up my mother can attest to the fact that I would avoid doing the dishes at all costs.  I have no idea why, it’s so easy to do.  I think it stems from a couple things; 1. My mom wanted me to do it, which of course meant that I didn’t want to, 2. It’s so easy to be lazy about, and 3. It was kind of funny to see how mad my mom would get over something as silly as the dishes.

But I have found a happy place in doing dishes, a Zen about it.  I throw on some music and just take the ten minutes and get it done when I get home normally.  It helps in letting go some of the crappy day that I always bring home with me, not all of it normally, but some.  Plus it is a good excuse to listen to music too loud.  That’s right I party when doing the dishes, what of it?  But during my last little “raver” last night I discovered a couple things that I thought I would share.

We have certain drawers that Jesy just likes to pile stuff in for no rhyme or reason.  And it was one of these drawers that I took the time in cleaning out and re-organizing, because while Jesy might be the poster child of organzation at work, she is the exact opposite at home.  Clothes and shoes are strewn about randomly throughout the house , mail and various papers are littered all over the dining room and office and of course the dishes she so hates touching.  I call her the human tornado.  But I digress, after doing the arch-enemy dishes I realized this was a good oppertuniy to take care of one of the clutter drawers.

  • We have a small army of spatulas.  Who the hell needs 18 spatulas?  Rachael Ray doesn’t need that many spatulas.  The entire cast of Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t need that many spatulas.  And how in the hell did we get that many?  Were the spatulas having sex and reproducing in the drawer?

The Army of Spatulas

  • We don’t have a full set of measuring cups or measuring spoons.  We have two sets of each and neither is a full set.  Measuring cups and spoons must be the socks of the kitchen, they just seem to vanish into some Twilight Zonesque wormhole.  I’m nearly positive there is a parallel universe that has all the stuff we are missing.  I mean how else does that happen?  Maybe there is a turf war between the spatulas and the measuring utensils in the drawer and the measuring utensils are loosing?  But where are the “dead bodies” going?

Ain’t going to win with this lack of a full house

  • We have two things that look like it came out of Richard Greer’s bedroom.  I know one is a wine bottle topper, in case you lose the cork (so I would guess the other one is too) but when I saw the wooden one, I was worried.  Worried because I had no idea what it was or what it was used for and then worried that this was something that had no place in the kitchen near things that might go in my mouth.  I mean look at it and as a man tell me what you would think.

I guess ‘ol Richard is going to have to go back to using gerbils.

  • I would also like to take a minute to thank Jimmy Baur.  A couple years ago you were attending a party at our house.  You had a little too much to drink and were upstairs pouring a Coke no doubt mixed with alcohol that you clearly didn’t need.  In doing so you dropped the Coke and syrupy goodness was spilled all over the counter and floor.  You never cleaned it up, I remember because I did.  What I never thought to check was the drawer that was right under where you spilled, the very same drawer I sought to re-organize last night.  There was years-old Coke that was now acting like a glue all in the drawer.  After several minutes of tendinitis educing scrubbing I got it clean.  Thanks again Jimmy.

Two hours later and after convincing Jesy to get rid of at least a third of the crap that we didn’t need or use, the drawer was put back together as God intended, in a neat and organized fashion.  The good news is that once something is organized Jesy has been a ton better about keeping it that way, she just would never take the initiative to actually organize in the first place, but I guess that’s why I’m here.

So my moral to all this is, if you live with a human tornado sometimes it is better to put your God-given gifts to use instead of fighting a losing battle all the time.  She hates dishes, I find some Zen in it.  She hates organizing, I like to organize.  She doesn’t always like the way I organize but tough shit. If it was really a concern of yours you would have re-organized years ago!

***Jesy’s Version***

I thought it was funny that George had let me know that he created a post about his organizing adventure last night because on the way to work this morning I was thinking that I was also going to write a post about his organizing too.  In his post above he mentions that once he re-organizes I do a pretty good job of keeping it organized and I do.  I absolutely LOVE when George gets the cleaning bug and goes to town on a drawer or cabinet in the kitchen.

You still want an Easy Bake Oven?

This happens every once in a blue moon and sometimes it is a calm clean (last night) and sometimes it is a scary clean which are the ones that start by him not being able to find something in my mess. I understand why he gets all crazy about not finding something but I also don’t get why he just doesn’t ask me where something is “hiding” because I’m pretty sure I’ll know where it is to be found in my organized chaos.

Regarding those lovely spatulas, where are my cooking friends on this one? There are times that during a course of a recipe that I will go through 2-4 of those darn things. Its just easier to grab a new clean one out of the drawer rather than cleaning just one off 4 different times, who is with me on this? Either way, I allowed Mr. Herron to put about 4-5 spatulas in the Goodwill bag.

I will also agree with the husband that there were some interesting kitchen utensils or gadgets that I have NO clue what they do or what they were intended for. I was young when we got married and of course looked to my mom during the registry for advice because I really had no clue how to cook at the time. I’ll take this moment to add a little jab – I didn’t know how to cook because my mother never got me an Easy Bake Oven when I was little. Now that I’m cooking way more often than 3 times a year I’m using more kitchen gadgets and I’ve been purchasing some over the years depending on the recipe, however we still have some that don’t have any use so we went ahead and got rid of them too.

Sorry Mom – had to add the jab! Note to mothers that have young daughters, please buy them an Easy Bake Oven!