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Friday, March 30, 2012

C2 Turns 7.

Seven Years ago today my second son was born.

C2.

I don't even know where to start when I talk about my boy and how much I love him. I don't think I have enough time in the day or space on my blog when it comes to writing about how much my kids mean to me.

C2, well he is different. Different in so many ways. 

When you look at C2, he is a mirror image of his mother. The dark skin, the dark hair and eyes.

Hard to believe that he is Seven today. Seven.  I can remember when all he did was play with Thomas the Trains and now its all about Legos.

I can remember when he loved to watch The Wiggles and now he knows exactly what day and time Survivor and The Amazing Race comes on.

I can still see in my mind this awesome little baby that had just a little bit of hair.
Now I have a big boy that has so much hair it makes me jealous.

Love my C2


Now he is as long as the tub itself


Still asks for Mommy time at 7 years old


A phone in his hand. Imagine that.


Still have to sneak a pic of him to get a good one


He doesn't like his picture taken, see what I mean


Who is this kid with the short hair?


That's more like it. Now I smile,
Now I don't.


This boy is a sweat machine. I can see if from here.


Loves to be outside


See those teeth?  Now they are falling out.
Or being pulled out.


My C2.

I love this boy.

Happy 7th Birthday to you.


Kiss The Baby

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate Socks. My book review and Interview with Holly Durst

If you remember last week I announced I had some big news Big News coming up. Well the time is here.  I had been like a kid in line in Disney World waiting for my copy of  Chocolate Socks the new children's book written by Holly Durst. And guess what, it finally came.

Holly Durst who is known by some as the winner of the Bachelor Pad II has written this great, easy to read book for children.  This is a 32 page hardback book. Very colorful and when I say easy to read, I mean that my kids follow along with it and C3 has asked if she could take it to bed with her each time after we have read it.  It has the wonderful rhyming flow that carries you through the book from start to finish.  Yes, we have read it several times already. Nothing is better for four kids than a hardcover book. It will last and it will fit in great in the shelf where all the other children's books are. I see Chocolate Socks as a book that we will be pulling out to read over and over as time goes on.

So what happens when a little girl takes her two favorite things, Chocolate and Socks and puts them together? Well, guess you will just have to get the book and read it to your children and find out together.  But I can tell you this, you wont be disappointed.  This book is filled with a wonderful lesson.  A lesson that is much needed for some children these days. Whatever dreams you have in your mind, as long as you follow through with them, anything can happen.  Never give up or let go of your dreams, no matter how crazy or weird they seem, they are your dreams so stick with them.  The sweet girl in the book is so kind and caring that she also shares the reality or her dreams with her friends.  The book is filled with a story that will make you smile and as parents you will be asking your children for two things that they dream about putting together.  As a matter of fact I asked the kids what two things they would dream of putting together and this is what I got out of them,

C1- Lego Ninja + Gold = Gold LegoNinja
C2- Snakes + Samari Lego = Lego Samari Snake
C3- Chocolate + Nintendo Ds = Chocolate Ds
C4- Chocolate + Breastmilk = Chocolate Breastmilk


Along with receiving a copy of Chocolate Socks, I was also invited to do a phone interview with Holly. Let me say this, Holly was so kind and sweet enough to do this phone interview early on the morning.  She did inform me that she is an early bird and often rises around 6am and that might have been why she sounded so fresh at 8:30am. I was so excited to talk to her and to be honest I was very nervous, but as nice and down to earth as she was, she made it seems like we had been friends for so long.

Now I am a huge fan of the family of Bachelor shows so when I got the chance to ask Holly about being on the show, I had to ask but I wanted to get it out of the way and focus on the book Chocolate Socks since being a father and reading to the 4 C’s is way more important than chit chatting about the Bachelor and Bachelor Pad. So I took only a moment to ask her about her involvement with the reality shows.

Holly said she is so thankful for her time on the Bachelor and the Bachelor Pad but she would much rather be known as an author more than a woman that was on a reality show. I asked her if winning the Bachelor Pad helped push her in her dreams of getting her book finished and published and she said it most definitely was. Having that money helped her dream come true since a lot of the time writers have to purchase their own books.

If you have read anything about Holly and the story behind the book Chocolate Socks then you know how the book came to be. But with all the writing she has done and all of her other projects that are in the works, Chocolate Socks was chosen to be her first publication simply because, as she put it “All of my friends and family thought it was the cutest one.” And being that she comes from a family full of creativity its no wonder that she has been successful so far with this book and will continue to be in the future with her other projects.

She also gave me a little insight into one of her other books. “I Miss You” a book she wrote for some children that she used to look after while living in Ohio. As she moved on to California she had the idea of leaving behind something for those kids and it happened to turn into a book. She also told me that she loves the idea of the “I Miss You Book” because so many military families have told her they love it so much and it has helped them deal with some of the separation of kids to parents.

Among other projects she has in the works we talked about a novel she has been working on for the last 5 years or so and she is mixing some personal experience into that one as well. I would be very interested to see the transition from writing kids books to a novel, so I will be waiting on that one too.

I want to tell you that asking her about her upcoming wedding to Blake and the way she talked about him reminded me so much of my love for T. She told me that when they were on the Bachelor Pad together she was telling him about her writing and she read for him word for word the Chocolate Socks book from memory and she told me he loved it. She says she is not nervous at all about the wedding and neither is Blake. I did ask if Blake likes to write now and she laughed and said he just sticks to the dental practice but does accompany her to the book signings. For a man to be in any store with his fiance or wife for any reason at all, well that is true love. I wish Holly much success with her future in writing and I hope that she and Blake have a happy future together and maybe one day she can read my book to her children.

I had so much more I wanted to talk to her about and ask her and maybe one day I will get the chance to talk to her again. I have a dream of writing a children's book of my own, so talking to her game me some extra motivation but I could have talked to her for hours to pick her brain.

Want a copy of Chocolate Socks for your kids here is what you do, go to any of these sites and get your copy today, it is well worth it.

Amazon.com
Barnes And Noble.com
HollyDurst.com

Finally, thanks again to Holly and also Alison Storm at Ambassador International for letting me do this. It was a great pleasure.

Chocolate Socks was written by Holly Durst and Illustrated by Brandon Fall.

Kiss the Baby

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sticks and Stones...And Yes Words Can Hurt.

A few weeks ago a blogger that I have come to know over that past year or so http://www.icouldbefake.com/ left me a comment on a post asking me if I would tackle a certain topic. Me, not being one to back away from any topic said "Sure".  One of my goals for my blog this year was to write about more serious subjects and that would let the C's learn more about me as they got older and started reading my blog.  They would know how I felt about certain things and in turn they could start to understand why T and I try and teach them things we teach them and why we want them to grow up in the ways we do.

This was Penny's comment to me: "Controversial posts huh? How do you feel about the words "gay" and "retarded" being used as slang to describe something unpleasant or stupid? I would love your thoughts on that."

OK. So lets take this one word at a time.  Lets start with the word "Gay".  Gay is a word that usually refers to a person that is homosexual.  The words original meaning was "To be carefree and happy".  Over the years the word has become to be nothing more than a slang term used to refer to someone or something in an ugly manner.  I have to admit that back in my younger years I used this word. I used it in the context of saying things like "Man, that is so gay" or "That is some gay stuff your doing" and probably used it like this as well "Come on man, don't act so gay".  Now when I used to say those phrases, I wasn't thinking about others feelings first off, and I wasn't thinking about trying to actually imply that the person or thing I was talking about was a homosexual matter.  It was a word that I used in slang just because. No real reason.  As I got older and became more aware of peoples feelings and the ways that words hurt others, I began to see that it made no sense for me to say certain things.  It also dawned on me how stupid I must look for saying the word "Gay" and even using it as a slang term, just makes me look foolish. 

I have a guy that I have come to know from my blog and twitter and he is gay. Yes I'm sure he is happy and cheerful, but I mean he is homosexual. He is a very proud person and has no issues with who he is. I wanted to get some comments from him about this. I asked him if hearing people use the word in slang form offended him, or if he is just that much of a bigger person and not let it bother him.   He took a few  minutes to tell me how he felt.

Justin from Its Just Justin had this to say. - I'm not sure it's being "bigger than words" to not let gay or faggot bother me. It really depends on the context of the situation. Example, one of my best friends grew up in the time when "That's so gay" was just what people said. We were watching University of Missouri play our rival Kansas when a ref made a horrible mistake and called a foul against one of our players. My friend exclaimed one or the other of the above words at the television.  Immediately he shrank down into the couch, embarrassed and ashamed of what he yelled out. I on the other hand laughed at the situation. He didn't mean gay was stupid or "burn the ref at the stake". It was a moment of exasperation and it's what happened. I do not condone the casual use of these words but I am able to forgive them depending on the situation.

However, two weeks ago I was visiting said friend and his fiancĂ©e. She and I were about 25 feet away from the CVS when a group of guy yelled "Fucking faggot!" It was in that moment that I was three things. Scared that I might get beat up, surprised that this was happening and frustrated at people's ignorance. Someone calling me gay is rude but it doesn't scare me. I'm liberal and can take offense at people calling me such. It isn't really the word but the context.

So there you have it from a guy that has experienced it in all.  He has heard the word "Gay" and not thought anything of it, he has heard the word "Gay" and thought it only to be a rude gesture coming from an ignorant person and then he has heard worse and been scared for his safety due to things that have happened in his life to friends and loved ones also being hurt.

Next.  The word "Retard".  This is another word that I can not stand.  This word makes me sick. Perhaps more now that I have children and I know of parents that have children that may actually be in some way shape or form handicapped by something.  I for the life of me can not remember ever using this word. Not as a kid, not as a teen, not as a young adult and not now.  I know plenty of people that use it.  And the same people that use it would be the first ones to damn all others to hell if they had a family member or child that was in some way "retarded".  I mean that word doesn't even sound right. It just smells of disgust.  No matter what or how you use it, its sounds so disrespectful.

There is a woman that I have learned so much from on a certain topic of Autism and I know that she and I and others have had this conversation before about the word "retard" being used even in the slang form.  She also took some time to tell me her thoughts on this topic.

Amy from Not A Real Princess wrote this: Fact:According to the dictionary Retard (or Retarded) has several meanings:
1. Slow something down: to slow or delay the progress of something ( which is where the term "mentally retarded" started because the child/person was slowed or delayed cognitively).
2. offensive term: an offensive term that deliberately insults somebody with a learning disability or somebody regarded as unintelligent.
No matter how you spin it,  when you use the term to imply someone or something they did is stupid, the word is offensive. You can't please everyone, and society has become hypersensitive about political correctness. But we evolve as humans.We learn and grow and must also teach our children acceptance and empathy.  Do people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities go around calling each other retarded? Or do you ever hear them address one another by saying "What's up my retard?" ....Yeah I didn't think so. So stop using it.


See, that is what I like about Amy. She pulls no punches. She is a strong advocate for the use of the word "retard" or "retarded" to not be used anymore.  I agree with what she had to say to me about how we use other slang words.  Do some people go around using the "N" word? Sure, is that right? Not in my opinion, but its still done. So since that is wrong and people have such strong issues with that word, why cant people have issues and find it wrong to use the words "gay" and "retard"?  It may seem funny to some to be in your group of friends and say "That's so gay" or "Don't be a retard" but you know what?  You never know who is listening and who is around and those people may get their feelings hurt.  The other issue is when people say hurtful things to other and about others, you then are entering the area of being a bully, in my opinion.

So to clear it all up.  I hate both of these words. I have grown over the years to become more sensitive to others and their feelings. I think other could use that same lesson.

Thanks to Penny for presenting a great question. Thanks to Justin and Amy for their time and sending me their thoughts.  All three of these people are great people to know. Check out their blogs and go follow them on twitter. Penny @ICouldBeFake, Justin @Justex07 and Amy @lla_Princess















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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Great Pollen Attack of 2012

Today is the first day of Spring. Isn't that great.  So many things starting to bloom.  Flowers and trees are being brought to life and the colors makes us all feel so warm and fuzzy inside.  Love starts to rise from the frozen grounds around us.  And with the arrival of Spring that also means the arrival of


Pollen.  The fine to coarse powder containing the microgametophytes (?) of seed plants, which produce the male gametes (sperm cells). When pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone (i.e., when pollination has occurred), it germinates and produces a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule (or female gametophyte). Individual pollen grains are small enough to require magnification to see detail. (Thanks Wikipedia)

Now for the non scientists that most of us are, Pollen is the yellow stuff that is caked all over our cars, or decks, streets, and basically anything that is left outside for more than two minutes.  Now here in the Georgia area, we are getting hammered by the pollen. Today the Pollen Count is around 9,300.  That is a record and not the kind of record we want to be setting.  The normal pollen count for a comfort level is in the hundreds.  We talk about it being really bad when we see numbers in the thousands.  Yesterday the number was in the eight thousands.  So today with the count being in the nine thousands, it just makes it like we are having a light flurry or dusting of yellow snow.


A pollen covered car, after one day.

Ridiculous.  It looks like yellow snow dusting's.

See the yellow pollen spores hanging in the trees. Awesome huh?

For the life of me I cant remember having allergy problems when I lived in Texas.  But since moving to Georgia,  this stuff gets to me. All the time.  The headaches, the itchy nose, the watery eyes, the sick feeling that comes along with it. I'm not one for taking anything either so I don't really rely on the meds too much.  My kids cant handle this either.  I think it hits C1 the worst. His eyes swell up like a boxer that was just beaten.  C2, it doesn't seem to bother him too bad. C3 well, it is getting her right now and affecting her in the throat and eyes. C4, I'm not really sure how it hits him yet. Guess we will find out soon enough.  But having four kids that love to play outside makes it tough. Do you let them go out and them suffer later.  We kept them inside for most of the weekend.  Trying to keep them safe from the attacks of the yellow clouds that surround us all.

Well there you are. My weather - science post of the week. Hope you have enjoyed a look into our lives and what we deal with here.  What is it like in your area?


Send us rain.

Kiss the Baby

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Building Fun Times at the LegoLand Discovery Center in Atlanta.

On Sunday March 11 we were given the opportunity to go to LegoLand Discovery Center during the special advanced sneak preview that they were offering to only certain people.  Jennifer Walker who works for Brave Public Relations and the company Merlin Entertainments were kind enough to set our LegoLand at Phipps Plaza family fun day up.  Jennifer had contacted me a while back about the NEW LegoLand Discovery Center that would be opening and T and I are grateful for that.  Its safe to assume that the 4 C's had a great time too.


The moment you arrive at LegoLand Discovery Center you are greeted by warm, friendly people and legos.  I'm sure this place is going to have some massive long lines as they opened this past weekend on March 17th so having these pools of legos outside and inside next to the waiting area is going to make it a pleasure even before you get inside.
I know C4 was excited.

The moment we entered LegoLand Discovery we were surrounded by legos, legos and more legos. Some were little, some were big.

Our first stop was in the LegoLand Factory. In the Legoland Factory you will learn how the thing that my kids love is made. The kids were impressed and wide eyed as Master Builder Joshua Bohn explained to us how lego bricks are made.
First the colored plastic beads are mixed

Then they are heated.

Then they are put into a press where they
are molded into different shapes.

After learning how lego bricks are made we walked into an area called Miniland. Miniland is the area of Legoland Discovery Center where the entire room is made of legos and its made up of buildings, features, attractions, and things to do in and around the city of Atlanta.  Made up of almost 1.5 million lego bricks some of them moving with lights blinking and planes flying overhead, being in Miniland makes everyone feel like a giant.

C1 standing tall over the CNN Center

After towering over all the fun buildings in Miniland you make your way towards what may have been the most fun of all for the C's.  As you enter the big open area there is so much to do from rides, to builder workshops, to playing in the Lego Fire Academy which is the jungle gym area that every kid loves. You also have the Lego Racers: Build and Test area which lets you build your own lego car, race them down the track against other builders and even test your skills on the ramps.

This area had to be the C's favorite. All of them made cars
that won races and they were so proud.

C3 and C4 took some time to have a cupcake party
over at the Lego Friends area.

C2 who can leave destruction in his path on his own
tried to build a tower that would stand the test of the
Earthquake Tables.

We had a soaking good time watching the 4D
Lego Movie Clutch Powers.

Davio's was kind enough to serve food for everyone.
The food was good but what followed the food was
even better.

These mini lego cupcakes were AWESOME.
I hate to admit it but I think I ate too many of these.
The C's, yeah they loved them too.

After hours and hours of fun and watching the kids play and have the best time, well it was time to find the

Thats right the exit. The kids didn't want to leave. They would have stayed all night if they could have. It was a great time and T and I loved watching them have so much fun. We all built, played, ate, rested and then did it all over again. We had so much fun that we have already gotten our annual passes that will allow us to visit many times.  For us it was worth the hour plus drive. 

There were a few things that I would love to see LegoLand Discovery Center change.  I would love for them to add another race ramp for the Build and Test area.  That is where our kids had the most fun and it seemed to get crowded over there.  Also I think that the Fire Academy play area needs some kind of mat just outside the entrance area. The kids come flying out of that swing gate and with only socks on may go slipping on the floor.  The 4D movie, well I hope that they adjust the water pressure because the water that came out onto the audience was like an actual rain storm.  The last thing got to the kids more than it did us, trust me.  The lego shop was not open. The kids waited all day and were so ready to spend some money only to find out that when it was time to leave, they had to leave through the lego shop which was not open to purchase anything.  It left C3 repeating probably fifty times in the span of 30 minutes, "I wanna buy something".

Overall the time spent at LegoLand Discovery Center was great.  If I had to rate it on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 9.  I honestly loved it probably just as much as the kids.  So much for kids of all ages to do. From admiring the work done in MiniLand, getting a leg workout by pedaling the rides to move high above the ground to just sitting back and watching the kids have fun building and breaking down and building again this place is somewhere that I'm sure we will be making plenty of visits to.  Again, thanks to everyone that made it possible for myself, T and the C's to enjoy a Sunday at LegoLand Discovery Center.

I know THIS DADDY had a good time

and so did the

4 C's.


Kiss The Baby

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From the Mouth of a 5 year old girl.

SAY WHAT?



While at LegoLand Discovery Center in Atlanta this young girl could be heard for thousands and thousands of minutes repeating this:

"I wanna buy something!"

(She loves her some lego's)

And last night while we were watching the finale of The Bachelor, she heard the phrase "I'm Sexy and I know it"

To which she asked aloud

"Sexy and You Know What?"

(Guess I sing that song too much)


Kiss the Baby

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Monday, March 12, 2012

We may have lost an hour but we gained some fun.

I'm not sure losing an hour over the weekend can really make it seem like it goes by that much faster, but man this weekend seemed to really fly by. Guess that means we had too much fun?

Saturday morning, thinking that we always run late and knowing that we were stopping to get the kids breakfast before C2's soccer game, I made us get out of the house extra early and just like T KNEW we would be, we were VERY EARLY. Like REALLY EARLY. It was cold, wet and the kids ate then ran around and still had plenty of time before C2's game. So once again I was wrong, we didn't need to leave the house as early as we did.

C2's team won. He had a good game and he had fun.

Then it was time to go home and play outside. Weather was nice and we enjoyed a lot of outside time.

Yesterday was the much anticipated Sneak Preview of the Atlanta LegoLand Discovery Center at Phipps Plaza. The kids were excited and T and I were too. It was great to be able to get a chance to go to this before its even opened to the public. I will be doing a post and giving you a deeper look into the place but let me just say this, it was so much fun and the kids didn't want to leave.

It was a great weekend, even if we did lose an hour.

Kiss The Baby

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Fridays Final Thoughts 3-9-12....Food and Memories, Good Food and Better Memories


This Daddy's Blog

Fridays Final Thoughts

Memories, they are great.  We all have them. Some are good and some are bad. But this morning I did something that I have not done in YEARS and it made me think back.  It actually made me think back and remember two special ladies in my life.  Both of these women were very caring and were great examples of how to love and help others and take care of their grandchildren and great grandchildren.

One of them was my NaNa. And the other was mt MeMe.  Now my NaNa was my moms mother and she was awesome. I like to think I was her favorite, in fact I know I was her favorite.  She took great care of me when I was young.  T would have loved NaNa for the simple fact that she was just like MeMe.  MeMe became MY MeMe after I married T. This is T's grandmother and T was her favorite. That is what I was always told. She always took her own time to do for us, which is what made her a sweet lady.

So this morning I got up early, hit the gym, sat in the WORST traffic ever and then decided that I was going to get something to eat for breakfast. I pulled into a place that I have not been to in YEARS.  If you are from Ga. or have been to Ga. you know about

Martin's is awesome. They have the best breakfast biscuits. This was a throwback moment this morning for me because MeMe used to always bring me a biscuit when she worked with me. I mean she would bring me one EVERY morning whether I wanted one or not. So I was on the phone with T as I was pulling in to get my

and we both mentioned how Martin's made us think of MeMe
MeMe

Now, I don't have a picture of my NaNa (I need one from my mom), but as I was driving to work after I left Martin's my thoughts went to my NaNa and Chick-Fil-A.  I can remember when I used to live in Germany and I would fly to Florida every summer and my NaNa would take me to the mall and we would eat Chick-Fil-A.  I would get 12 nuggets. Every time. My NaNa walking with my little nerdy ass in the mall and going to eat at Chick-Fil-A, as she got the soup and I got nuggets.  NaNa was the best.  I think about her when I eat Chick-Fil-A sometimes.

Boy memories, they are great. These two ladies made a difference in every life they touched and in so many ways. Different ways. Big and little ways.  Both of these women beside feeding me and trying to make me a fat person, loved me.  MeMe loved our kids, would have loved to see how the C's are growing up and see the great mom that T is. My NaNa, boy she would have loved to see that I met and married a special woman and calmed my crazy ass down and had some kids. Some kids that she would have spoiled with love and hugs and kisses.

Both of these women would have spoiled the C's with food too.  We would have just had to make sure it was good food.  lol.

Kiss The Baby



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