Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kanakuk Bound!

Tonight is Andrew's last night with air conditioning, his own room, his own mattress, a computer, Guitar Hero, MLB on PS2, his Nintendo DS, his MP3 player, an ice-cold Pepsi, his dog Sonny, his sister and his parents...all the luxuries of his life...for an entire week!

He's trading all of that in for a thinly mattressed bunk-bed in a grafitti-walled cabin with about 9 other boys his age on the edge of Table Rock Lake, his life for the week packed inside a steel trunk, only knowing one other soul within 300 miles (his cousin is going with him), Sunday morning coffee cake, zip lines, a giant multi-colored blob, a couple of God-fearing college kids to watch over him, multiple evenings of exciting K-Life meetings, Mom & Dad's prayers for his safety, and more fun, new friends and fantastic memories than he'll ever be able to remember.

I'll miss him...terribly. But, I'm so excited for him. He's excited for himself! And that makes me happy.

It's late and we're hitting the road for Tulsa early. Good night.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why global warming is bad...

Enough said. (Thanks, Andrew, for telling me about this!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 is your day!

I've never met the kid, I don't know what he looks like, I just know his name, and he's probably making his entrance (or is it an exit?) even as I speak.

My little sister is having a baby today! I'm excited for her, I'm nervous for's weird. I know she's going to get to witness all of the joy someone can experience from pitocin. I called her husband, José, and told him how I talked Sara through the Pitocin Pathway.

For those who don't know, pitocin helps to induce or augment childbirth...but only if you're already pregnant. In other words, it takes a regular contraction and turns it up to eleven. Thank you, Spinal Tap. And speaking of spinal tap, if you know that pitocin is in your future, I suggest getting an epidural to numb as much of your body as possible. Not sure if it helps but I know I'd have that box checked on the option sheet with a big red Sharpie.

Anyway, once they had her connected to the pitocin drip and it started to perform it's evil contraction dance, I would warn Sara that a contraction was beginning because the red numbers on this machine next to me that she was hooked up to started to rise. Those were probably the most terrifying words I spoke to her every six or seven minutes because once I gave her the warning, she would totally get her game face on and withdraw into this inner sanctum of peace and strength. But, on that climb to the peak of the contraction, it didn't look very peaceful. And, it appeared that the lady behind the counter of the inner sanctum was rationing the servings of strength. It was kind of scary, and I really felt bad for Sara. Throughout the climb, I was NOT to say anything more until the red numbers told me that the contraction had peaked and was on the decline. Then, and only then, I told her that she was coming down. Once the contraction was over, and not one minute before, she would thank me. Yep, she would thank me for uttering just a few words of hope and promise during one of the most intense times of her life..."You're at the top" or "You're coming down"...she WASN'T thanking me for putting her in that situation. Let me make that clear.

Anyway, Sara survived, we were blessed with Andrew after walking the evil Pitocin Pathway and I expect my sister, Stacie, will do the same.

Good luck, Josè.

Isaac, welcome to our world! Your uncle Mike has a lot to share with you. Let's get together soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Coolest Thing I Did Today

I tucked Amber into bed and gave her a kiss and hug, right before Andrew gave me a big hug goodnight. That about does it. Nothing else can top that.

So what if I'm tender-hearted?

My friend, Dustin, forwarded this to me today. What a great story and a great video. I'll even admit, it made me want to cry...but I didn't.

I don't know why but it made me think of my kids and how they react when I come home at the end of the day. I'm really blessed with the family I have and really thank God for them. Sure, there are times when I'm frustrated by them, but in the end, I don't know what I'd do without them.

Even though they are only 11 and 6 (well, almost 12 & 7), Andrew is already talking about learning to drive and getting his first car and preparing for college. Amber is talking about getting Andrew's room when he moves out. My gosh! She's only going to be in the first grade. I didn't have such conversations until I was in high school.

Last night, I admit, I feel a little bad about. I had come home after working a couple hours late and set down to eat dinner. Everyone had already eaten and the kids were ready to play before bedtime. All during my dinner, they were trying to show me the magic tricks they had been working on. (Basically, hiding in a big box that Andrew's Kanakuk trunk arrived in and pushing items through a hold they had cut in it for a flashlight when they use it for a clubhouse.) They wanted to show me over and over and over again. I should have been thrilled that they were playing so well together and wanted to share their achievements with me. But I just wanted to relax and enjoy my dinner. Finally, after several repeat performances, I asked them to either go downstairs or outside so I could feed my face and purge my day onto Sara. And I don't think it came out that nice.

The four of us went for a walk after I finished eating, but that just irritated me more because my numb left foot (it's been over a year now!) was acting up so I limped through a 3 mile walk. At the end of it all, I was hot, my foot was sore, and I just wanted to get to my basement that is at least 15 degrees cooler and mess around on my acoustic guitar.

I won't say that I was a bad dad but I was feeling very human and I'm afraid that "humanity" was shared too generously with the rest of those in the house.

But, this morning, as I was getting ready to head to work, both of the kids gave me a hug without me asking for one...much like the lion in the video.

Being loved is wonderful. Being forgiven is even better.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Amber's artwork

Amber has proven to me (her dad) that she has "mad" artistic skills. She likes to draw and color and is really a very creative little girl. So, I thought the best way for me to preserve her work is to post it here. Sort of an artistic timeline or record.

This isn't her first piece of work but it's certainly a very good one. I think this may be the beginning of a career in calligraphy.

She says this is her autograph and she wanted me to have it. I have a feeling that this is not the last time someone will get her autograph.

Dumbest Valentine Ever

This was going to be my initial blog entry (make all the jokes you want. I realize it's a princess) but I got impatient and posted the other's first just to get the thing started.

I remember Andrew coming home with his bag of valentines he got at school from the rest of his classmates. There were some cool ones in there with sports stars and super heroes and the occasional cartoon character. Most of them had your typical Valentine's Day message like, "Be My Valentine", "Being friends with you is a slam dunk" (on the Dwayne Wade card) and other sentiments that a 5th grader might say to another within the confines of a classroom.

But this one is so lame that it's hardly worthy of giving to someone on a day when you're supposed to be at least feigning a friendship with everyone else in the class. This one is the equivalent of someone signing your yearbook with "Stay just the way you are because you deserve the best in life". What does that mean? Nothing. It means I couldn't think of anything original to say and I'm not creative enough to try, so here's what you get.

Here's what the valentine said when he opened it up:

Thanks for the Valentine's Day card, chick. Good-bye.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pickens Plan

The price of gas is ridiculous. Face it. It's not going to get any better. But, today I heard of a plan that makes complete sense.

Boone Pickens, a well respected oil man from Oklahoma (and graduate of Oklahoma State University) was on the news talking about how we, as Americans, can reduce our dependance on foreign oil. I did some more research, and found the following video on his myspace page. He really simplifies the problem and shows us the way out. It's like Moses leading the people through the Red Sea to the promised land.

If you have 5 minutes, please take a moment to watch this video. If you don't have 5 minutes, you should find the time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Now that it's born, let's name it!

As many of you know, I have a photo blog but I needed a place to just upload my thoughts on anything and everything having to do with my life. Not that you care about what I think or feel, but it's a great writing exercise for me and I'm sure it'll be good for my sanity at times.

I've been wanting to get this thing kickstarted for quite a while now but have been waiting until I have a good name for it. Here are a few I've come up with:

• The Other Side of Me
• Cut - Splice - Print
• Gov's Stuff
• Just My Type
• Splice of Life

I'm guessing "Gov's Stuff" will be the popular choice since it's in the URL for this blog, but who knows. Send me a comment on your thoughts, whether you prefer something listed above or have a suggestion of your own. Once I have a name, this blog will spring to life with opinions, artwork, music, and much more. You can vote in the margin to the right.

Thanks for taking an interest!