Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!  For some of us 2010 was a great year and we hate to see it go.  For others, we simply cannot wait to turn the page.  As I sit here I want to hold onto the minutes and seconds as much as I can because come Monday it is back to reality.  I have enjoyed these past two weeks with out having much work to do but mainly spending it with my family.

I have a confession, I used to hate New Years.  I always thought the best aspect of the holiday was the song Auld Lang Syne (turn it up, a good version).  Even though most don't know the lyrics, it sounds good and it is always neat to see all those at Times Square singing the song at the same time.  For one moment, just one, everyone forgets their problems and embraces the moment.  Most importantly they embrace each other.  I used to sleep through the event- taking my fathers stance- that it is going to happen regardless if I watch it or not.  While he is correct, isn't that the case with almost every thing?  Every Super Bowl will happen, yet we will watch that.  Every UofL vs UK basketball game will happen, yet we will tune in.  While it still is amateur hour for those who don't normally party, I sort of have a new found appreciation for today's holiday.

Tonight, I will watch, filled with anticipation of what 2011 brings.  A new baby, a new home, who knows?  But I will be most appreciative for those who will make that journey alongside me.  I will watch the ball drop and when it does I will hug and kiss my wife (if she is still awake)- perhaps the greatest tradition of this holiday.  It is a sign of love, respect, and thanks for the person who stands by you the most throughout the year.  I don't think my girls will be able to stay up that late but before they go to bed I will kiss them too.  They are my greatest motivation and the main reason for my excitement for 2011.  I cant wait to watch them grow.

So whatever you do tonight, be safe.  Be with the ones you love, and keep the faith.  2011 will be a great year. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Season was Jolly.

As I fired up my computer tonight on the desktop is a picture of my family right before trick or treating on Halloween. I couldn't help but think about how that seemed like just yesterday. I remember going to the Mall the very next day after Halloween and seeing the Christmas decorations going up.  Wow, time really does fly when you re having fun.

I had, without question, the best Christmas to date.  One of the traditions my parents started not too long ago was going to the mall on Christmas Eve. We liked to go and sit and watch all the craziness. Brooke and I took the girls and to our surprise both Reagan and Caroline wanted/got their ears pierced.  It was the start of a day I will never forget. I should say I actually didn't get much for Xmas.  I opened  a total of 7 presents, 3 of which I knew what they were, 1 of which was incorrect.  When it came to gifts, I don't have much to write home about.  The best gift I got was one from Brooke.  She took some of my best SAE and Trinity T-shirts and had it made into a quilt. For a guy who used to obsess over opening gifts, I didn't care that I didnt have much to open.  I loved watching everyone else open their stuff.  Much of which I worked hard to get for them.  It is sort of like a home improvement project you did yourself.  There is more gratification in that.  I will say the best gift I got over all was having my folks at my house on Christmas Eve.  To share that time with them, to have them stay at our house, was truly a special gift.  To have Dad read Twas the Night Before Christmas to my girls, will be a moment I will cherish forever.  The next day, those girls were amazing.  Reagan had the best reaction you could ask for to every gift she opened.  Caroline desperately wanted a Buzz Lightyear.  Every time you got near the box he talked and she couldn't for the life of her figure that out.  When she heard it, she acted like it was God speaking to her or something.  Origin unknown. Baylor Grace took a while to get into the swing of things but by the time we got to the end of things she knew exactly want to do.  Baylor can oopen and hand out gifts with the best of them.  She got this motorized hamster and spent all morning yelling..."WHERERUUUU?"  (her first sentence) when it got out of sight.  By 11 she was totally worn out and ready for a nap.

We then went to Louisville for Dinner and had a great evening with Patrick, Sarah, and her father.  The girls was super excited to see them and play at MaMaws and PawPaws.  We woke up this morning, drove to Nashville, and the girls spent all afternoon playing with their Cousins.  After 4 gift opening sessions, they are knocked out cold- even Brooke is asleep.  It will be bittersweet when we get home to Lexington because the house will look like it did when we left it Christmas day, but it will be a long time again before we listen to Christmas music.  The girls will grow up even more, and with any luck there will be another girl to our family next Christmas.  Thankfully I will get another year of them believing and another year of magic.  I can only hope that the "through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow." 

I have learned a lot since becoming a father, a lot of my education is inspiration for this blog.  Every day teaches me something new.  The one lesson that I learn on a repeating daily basis is that I am extremely lucky.  Things that used to matter simply don't.  Things that matter now, trump everything.  So when the days get hard this year, when things go wrong, I will think about these past few weeks.  I will think of the music, the decorations, the songs (which the girls now sing), and the time spent with my loved ones. Those thoughts of the past and hopes for similar times in the future will get me through the hard times. 

Thanks to everyone who made it possible.  Most of all, I thank God for giving me the those in my life- they (you) are truly the best gift.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our day at Rupp-

Last night Aunt Brooke asked if I wanted to go to the UK game with them and bring Reagan.  It was during nap time but well worth the cost.  Reagan talks about her only game at Rupp like it is better than Dis-a-knee, yet another thing I love about her.  The problem with any invitation to one of the Ayers clan, you sort of have to invite them all.  I try and take the girls on individual dates, they each get to go somewhere of their choosing on their date with just their daddy.  No matter what, the other gets very sad when this happens.  It doesn't register to them that they will get their alone time too.  So, like with most birthday parties, I decided to take Caroline too. It would be her very first UK game period.

I knew both would have to miss naps, walk a lot, stay close to Daddy, and suffer through some traffic.  When I told the girls about it this morning they were super excited.  Reagan began telling Caroline about all the different foods you can eat at the game, obviously the highlight for her last time she went.  Her MaMaw would be proud.  So I loaded the girls up in the van at 12:00 for the 1:00 game.  Rupp Arena is only 5 miles away, at 12:45-sitting in traffic- I knew we were in trouble.  Brooke and Austin had gotten there first and bought the extra ticket (they only had four and we needed five) and were waiting on us.  There was not a place to park anywhere.  The problem was this was a rare game during a workday when most take place after 5 or on the weekends.  Parking was just atrocious.  So, I pulled up to Rupp and Brooke and Austin ran out and picked up the girls and ran in.  At least the girls were going to the game.  I drove around for the next hour to find a spot.  I could find spots but they were all sooooo far away there was no way the girls could walk there after the game.  I thought about going home but then I would just have to come back and pick them up, fighting the traffic again.  I was sort of in a pickle.  I would have paid $40 to park somewhere if they would have left me, or I would have sat in my car- with it running- if the cops would have let me.  Neither were an option.  So, about half time people started leaving and I found a spot reasonably close.  I parked the van and ran inside.

I did get to see the second half, and Reagan's face and excitement when I showed up made it all worth it.  She sat in my lap, Caroline was in Austin's and we got to watch the second half together.  The girls knew when to cheer, what to cheer, how to cheer, etc....they were ready for this.  I was one proud Daddy.  All the practice at home got them ready for their big day.  We had popcorn, hot dogs, ice cream, and all sorts of good treats.  Reagan said it was the best day ever and Caroline loved the cheerleaders and the army men.  I don't really care why, and it was much harder than anticipated, but I am glad they had such a good time going there.

ON, ON, UK.

Monday, December 20, 2010

He sees you when youre sleeping....

Meet The Elf on the Shelf, ours is named.....Elf-E.  Mimi gave this to us a few years ago and he has become a big part of the family.  If you don't know the story, I will fill you in.  The Elf is given to us from Santa.  He helps Santa watch the family and every night when they sleep he flies back to the North Pole and reports back to the big man.  The next day when they wake up they are to try and find where he is hiding.  He can't talk back to the girls, only listen.  The most important rule is that if you touch him he loses all his power and cant go back to Santa.  He is sort of like a creepy Gizmo with all his rules.

Anyway, he actually really works.  The girls cant wait to see him at Christmastime and race to find him every morning.  He is such a part of the family that he makes occasional trips back to our house throughout the year to check in on the girls.  They "hope" he comes on their birthdays and he almost always does.  Even Baylor Grace loves Elf-E.  We have told the girls that he has his own family back at the North Pole and his job, watching us, requires him to be away from his family just like my job sometimes requires me to be gone.  Throughout the year he watches over us via a snow globe so he can see the girls progress.  It has sort of become like an affair.  Lies on top of lies to cover up the true story but in this case, it is okay.  As if the behavior wasn't instantly corrected by saying Santa will find out, Elf-E is the great disciplinarian around our house.  To the point where the girls even say "Elf-E will find out" or " I am going to tell Elf-E."

To us its all very cute and a microcosm of the magic of Christmas.  The girls buy into the fact that every night he flies back to the North Pole and then back here before the day starts.  Why not?  Makes sense doesn't it? It is magic.  Most of Christmas is based on magic but the excitement, the emotions, the cheer are all very real. That is what is so great about the season.  The girls now sing along with the music, decorate the cookies, and understand the idea of giving.  Christmas really is better when you have kids- aren't most things though?

Friday, December 17, 2010

A video blog

Some may see me as mailing in my blog today. Trust me, if you know me, understand me, know what I do for a living- you will understand the emotion behind my video blog (vlog) today.

So please, turn up the volume and enjoy.

Im just too far from where you are, I want to go home.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Perfect Storm


Boy was I excited for this past Saturday. I had this day planned for over a month, Brooke and I were going to finally get away.  I thought what better for a night out for us than going to the recently re-opened Opryland Hotel.  The Opryland Hotel had been closed since the first of May due to the flooding rain (click here)  in Nashville.  This is not the perfect storm that I allude to in the picture above, that came this past Saturday.  I felt it would not only be a great night for us, it would be a good way to help support the hotel.  I booked this rather expensive room back in October and was hoping to give Brooke a great night of food and sleep.  I then, in a very Clark Griswoldian fashion, plan a night for my whole family down there.  We would go to the Ice Land, have dinner, walk around the hotel etc.  A fun Christmas night for us all.

I should have known this would not be the case when it took us an hour, in the pouring down rain, to get from the off ramp to the half mile away parking lot.  We then ran from the car to the place where the Ice Land was, in the rain, and got soaked.  It was a cold frog chocking rain.  We then waited outside, huddled under one golf umbrella, because there was a line to get in and no awning to protect us.  Once we got up to the door, we were charged an arm and leg (thankfully not mine) for everyone to go through this place.  The kids were free.    It was cool both literally and figuratively.  They carved ice to recreate the entire cartoon Santa Clause Is Coming To Town.  It was amazing, and there was an ice slide (sort of like the Christmas Story) that all the girls did.  I am not sure Baylor really wanted to but she didn't have much of a choice.  After that was over, we all ran back to the cars and got soaked again.  It is no wonder they are all sick.  Thankfully I was so pumped with steroids and anti biotic that I think I will be okay.  At this point Mimi and Pops thought it would just be best to take the girls home.  No walking around, no dinner together.  I agreed totally- i wanted to just sit and watch the game. 

We then go to the hotel, following the signs to the valet parking.  We have to wait in another line, at least this time we were in our cars and not getting wet.  We get to the first person and she tells us we cant valet because we aren't checked in yet.  I explain we have already prepaid our room and are staying at the hotel, why cant we valet?  She has us go talk to someone else.  He wont let me valet.  I have never almost punched a valet guy before but I was very close.  He told me something I didn't want to hear, I had to go wait in another line (at least in the car).  As I drive off, the window was still down and someone tells me to slow down.  At this point I told him to "f*ck off."  I was feeling a little perturbed. 

So we get in line and decide to ditch the car at the self park and run into the hotel.  Which we did, getting soaked again.  We then walked all away across the hotel, a hotel that was elbow to elbow with people, to check in.  The lady behind the desk was amazing and very sympathetic to our situation.  She bumped us up to a Junior Suit and off we went.  Walking back to our room, I thought the chaos was close to being over.  Our room was on the outside wall of the hotel, first floor.  The shuttle line was right outside our room and since it was poring down rain, everyone was waiting right outside our room.  As Brooke goes to use the bathroom and I sit down to watch the game and through the screaming and hollering outside I see people looking into our window.  It was very much like that scene in the John Candy movie, Summer Rental.  In fact, it was exactly like that scene. This would not do.  So we load up and walk all the way back to the front desk (tired, hungry, and wet).  Renee again moves us to the other side of the hotel (this is a huge place) to a very nice room.  Our nightmare was seemingly over.  We walk around a bit, trying to enjoy each others company which is becoming extremely difficult due to the amount of people who apparently have never seen a large Christmas tree in their life.  Also, we begin to notice that there are a ton of people with AFLAC shirts on.  That company was having a convention there and had rented out a large section of the place which shut off 4 restaurants to the public.  A wedding had knocked out another area.  I asked someone that worked there (with deep desperation in my voice) is there anywhere to eat here?  "We have an Irish restaurant and a few kiosks."  Awesome, that is what I envisioned for my wife, a kiosk of pulled pork.  The Irish restaurant had an 1 hour and 15 minute wait.  At this point everything was pissing me off, by the time we get back to the room Brooke was in tears.  She is a lot of things emotional is not one of them.  So for her to be this upset says a lot.  She jumps in the shower because it is about the only thing she can do to keep from losing it.  I decide to go ahead and order room service, at least we will eat and be done with it.  Besides on every page in the book it says "30 minutes guaranteed or it is free."  So, I call room service and wait on the phone for 8 minutes before they answer.  I tell the guy I would like to place an order and he says it will be at least hour.  Fine, shorter than the Irish restaurant, but he then informs me it wont be free.  Apparently that printed policy is for only when it is convenient for them.  I slam the phone down on him.  After cooling off, Brooke still in the shower, I call back.  Even if I pay- an hour is better than the restaurant options.  So, after the nice lady answered my call and I explained I knew about the hour delay she asked what I wanted.  Well Brooke will never turn down a Pizza.  I think if it was a good Pizza for one of her kids, she would have to think long and hard.  She is also a vegetarian, so I was going to order her a cheese pizza.  I tell the seemingly nice lady that I would like a cheese pizza...."I am sorry sir, we are out of pizza."  The phone was slammed down for the second time.  How do you run out of pizza.

I made a bee line for the front desk.  The night was done. The manager tried every way in the world to get us to stay but our night was over.  24 hours later Brooke and I could do nothing but laugh.  In the end, it wasn't the end of the world.  We did get a free night out of the whole ordeal and got home earlier the next day which was good because of the weather.

I am sorry to my wife, I really wanted her to have an easy, enjoyable night out.  Maybe in a week or two when we try again.  I love ya babe- thanks for sticking with me through this crazy rollercoaster ride. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This is what is important

Here SHE is.  Baby girl #4.  I think this is a pretty good profile shot of her, she looked very healthy. I am not at all disappointed in the fact the she is a girl, I sort of expected it all a long.  I am disappointed that if we have no more- and there aren't any plans as of right now to have more- I never had a boy.  The Ayers name will die with me.  No boy to honor my father with by naming my son after him.  I think back to the time we thought we lost her, I said I didn't care what she was as long as she was okay, I mean that.  It will be a crazy time in this house with 4 girls.  One of the problems with another girl is while we may have all the clothes, we are out of names.  Brooke just wanted ONE girl, now we have so many we cant think of what to call her.

Like I said, I always wanted a boy to name him after my Dad.  I refuse to even think about naming my imaginary son after me.  I think that is sort of arrogant, especially if I am the first in the line to do so.  However, yesterday as I was trying to make it through another brutal work week, I was hit by a thought.  What if I named my daughter after me?  Brooke and I couldn't agree on a name we liked, so I floated the idea of naming her Blaine.  Its a name that could sorta go either way, a name I never use, a name Brooke likes.

What do y'all think?  I don't want her to be tormented all her life for having the name Blaine if it is going to do so.  I do sort of think it might be a cool story though.

  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meet Bloody Anndi Coffey of the ship Lady Ntonia From The East


Last Wednesday I left for PHX on a work trip. I see a facebook status update from my wife saying she is in awe of Caroline.  I ask what Caroline did but heard no response and sort of forgot about it at that point.  After all, Caroline amazes us everyday.  With her humor or her outpouring of love, she is generally a pleasure to be around. 

I was caught by surprise on Sunday when the girls picked me up at the airport.  I said hello and gave big hugs to everyone and then took my seat at the front of the van.  I immediately say to Brooke "what the hell did Caroline do to her eye?"  Brooke informs me nothing, and that she has to wear the patch everyday for 6 months.  I did my best to hold my rant down and believe I got away with much of it due to the music and the layout of a minivan with the big girls in the back.  There was no way on earth my daughter was going to wear that patch everyday- kids can be mean and I didn't want my sensitive soul (Caroline) to have to endure that.  I was pissed Brooke didn't tell me, I was pissed it happened to Caroline, I was pissed that she would have to look like a pirate for 6 months.  I come to find out that Brooke took it very hard out the eye doctor, Caroline took it all in stride.  She was so cool about the whole thing- that is what Brooke was in awe about. 

As it turns out, looking like a pirate is pretty cool to most kids and according to the pirate name generator off the net Caroline is now Bloody Anndi Coffey.  She couldn't wait to tell me about all the different patches she got, and was upset because she couldn't wear one to school the next day.  Reagan-after a coming to Jesus talk from Brooke- was uber supportive and made her sister feel very comfortable in her patch.  It didn't take me long to come down from my initial anger and realize that this too shall pass.  Brooke is right, if an eye patch and ear tubes are the worst we have to deal with, we are pretty lucky.
I updated my facebook status right away that my daughter(s) showed more maturity than I was at that point and that I too was in awe of them.  I have tried very hard to be a good parent and do all the things a father is supposed to do.  Turns out, I not only teach lessons to them but every once in a while, they teach us lessons too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

They generally ARE who we thought they were.



AND WE LET THEM OFF THE HOOK

I wanted to write and dedicate today's blog to a very special person in my life.  He was always there for me, even before my own Dad was (sorry Dad I get it, just a day trip to Atlanta).  He was there when loved ones past, there when new ones were born, he was there when loved ones joined "the flock," and there when we had to say we were sorry for something.  He came over almost every Sunday, spent most of the holidays with us, and love my family more than his own.  In fact he explained to everyone that we were his family because it was easier that way. 

My friend had a very difficult last few years of his life, often times alone.  In fact the thing that pains me the most was that when he was called up to the big congregation in the sky, he did so alone.  That haunts me to this day.  I would often visit him the last few years and I was touched by the fact that in his new place he had one picture on his bedroom dresser, it was a picture of me.  When he was in Louisville there were pictures of our family all over the place.  When he moved to Florida, he kept the one.  I am happy that before he passed he got to meet Reagan, he would have loved my kids as they have grown, just as he loved watching Patrick and I.

His last few years were rough, worse than he deserved.  And I will never forget that when things started going downhill with our friend- Patrick gave me some great advice.  We were at a movie- I cant remember which one- but I remember what Patrick said.  I was very upset by the way things had gone down and Patrick said "Boomer- people are never what you think they are....but generally they are pretty close."  You re right Patrick, he wasn't what I thought,  but he was pretty damned close (hence my Youtube clip above).

My friend is gone now but he has continued to given more than we could have ever hoped for or even asked for.  When some of us needed a "Hail Mary" he came through, even from heaven.  I will never forget him and I miss him deeply.  Like most Sundays at our house, with life -he had to go back to his funny farm too soon. 

Thanks TPC, Rest In Peace, you deserve it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes it is for the better

Brooke and I love dogs.  We had two before we were married and rescued a third one right after we moved into our first home.  Kylie (pictured above) was Brooke's friend in Louisville when she didn't have that many.  Brooke was new to Louisville and a coaches wife.  That meant she spent a lot of time a lone.  As a result, she took Kylie everywhere and did everything with Kylie.  Everyday Brooke would walk to practice to watch me and almost everyday she brought her dog.  Kylie was a princess and spoiled rotten.  Then Reagan came.  Brooke's time was cut drastically for the dogs but Kylie suffered the most.  She was no longer Brooke's baby.  Brooke would still walk to practice and she would sometime still bring her dog but those times came less and less.  Then we moved, then Caroline came (and everyone knows how much time Caroline took), then I changed jobs that required me (the primary care giver to the dogs) to be gone, then came Baylor.  Brooke, working with three kids and a sometimes absent husband, just didn't have the time to take care of three dogs.  It didn't help that every time Kylie went out she would bark....at everything. 

The time had come to get rid of the dogs.  You know the story about Rory.  When I talk to my Mom and Dad I don't ever ask about Rory.  Not because I don't care but because I know she is living a much better life for her.  Flaget has her own room now, bed and padded floor- something the other dogs would never let her have.  However, I do miss Kylie and think about her a lot.  Brooke said she found a good family with young kids and a farm.  It had been a couple of months now and we hadn't heard anything. I asked Brooke to check in with the new owners to see how Kylie was doing.  They say a picture says a thousand words, the above picture verifies that comment.  It hurts that she is gone.  She always yodeled when I came in the room, loved to sit in my lap, and was a sweet dog.  But when I see the above picture it does make me feel better because I know she is living the life she deserves, she is once again a princess.  I wonder if she saw me again would she remember me?  Would she remember the times spent at Camp Four Paws?  Probably not, and maybe its better.  She is in a better situation now, I am sorry I failed her but am happy how it worked out.  I never got to say goodbye to her but I think that would have been too hard had I been here. 

Her new owners sent a couple of pictures and said Kylie has fit in great.  They love her so much and are so thankful to have her and apparently she loves being on a farm.  That makes me happy because she is a special dog. Sometimes the difficult choices you make as a parent or owner or for the better, no matter how much it hurts you. They said that the only problem they have with Kylie is that she doesn't get along very well with the cat....that a girl Kylie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thats because it sortof is Patrick.

Tomorrow we will host essentially 5 families for Thanksgiving.  All of us will be connected by two things 1) Brooke or myself and 2) Love for each other.  It is sort of an inspiring thought when you sit down and try and take it in.  It fills me up inside.  When they all arrive tomorrow, some will come from as far south as Nashville others as far north as Wisconsin.  Many of us would trust our lives with the others, some will be new faces just getting to know each other.  We will range from babies to grandparents. 

Our house is already decorated for Christmas.  We do this for two reasons.  One, we have little kids and they LOVE Christmas.  Plus Elf-E (our Elf on the shelf and future blog subject) helps keep an eye on the kids.  Plus the girls love the magic of Christmas, so tough if you don't like it that we usher in the season the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The other reason is we want to have the house decorated for this day when everyone comes.  Patrick generally says "Christmas?  Its just now Thanksgiving!"  True, he does have a point but he sort of misses the larger idea.  For Brooke and I, this is all we could ask for on our Christmas list so in that sense, tomorrow sort of is Christmas.  Tomorrow we will all be here together, something that doesn't happen often.  Something that makes Brooke and I so very happy.  Christmas will come with chaos, rushing from place to place, time lost in the car.  Tomorrow is calm.  Tomorrow is sitting in front of the TV, fires in the fire place, good conversations, good drink, GREAT food. Tomorrow Patrick, is our Christmas. 

We will all have a great day together.  That is something to be so very thankful for.  Brooke looks like she swallowed a basketball, her trip to the Dr. yesterday gave us confidence of a healthy heartbeat.  That is something to be SO very thankful for. My parents have been married 42 years, that is CRAZY.  Brooke's parents (married forever too) are both Cancer survivors- that is so very fortunate.  There is much to thank the good Lord above for. We all have things we would like to improve on, issues that keep us up at night.  Maybe health, maybe money, maybe love in our life, but tomorrow we will all have each other.  And that is the greatest thing to be thankful for.  So no matter where you will be or who you will be with remember these two things 1) We have so much to actually be thankful for and 2) There are so many people who have less and would give anything to be in your shoes. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

If you arent a part of it, you cant understand. If you are, you cant explain it.

Originally I had a long blog about how much I disliked another team for their lack of respect year after year.  I then realized in true Coach Beatty style, I needed to keep my mouth shut and let the play do the talking.  We played St. X twice this year in front of a total of 46,000+ fans.   I know Mike G, I can hear you now in your raspy voice..." its all about the kids, they are still champions in my heart, the best team didn't win tonight yadda yadda yadda."  I get it.   I know Bob's 7 titles in 10 years (with a potential 8 in 11) are luck.  The fact that in 10 seasons Trinity made it to the state finals 9 times, is just luck.  Trinity's two wins versus X this year had a combined score of 83-7 were just bad nights for X.  I am thankful we were so lucky.  I am also thankful to have the greatest High School head football coach in Kentucky history in Bob Beatty (and Trinity already had one of the best).  A man who taught me a ton in my brief 5 years with him.  I am better at my job today because of Bob's mentorship.  I am thankful to have coached alongside Andrew Coverdale and see what his mind was like.  Sam Adams, who became a great friend.  I am appreciative I got to play for and coach with Coach K (an X grad nonetheless), to see the definition of a True Gentleman.  The list goes on in on.  While we may never be better than X (cough cough), I will cast my lot with those who wear the green and white any day.

While there is much to celebrate, I know right now, at this very moment, the staff and young men of that Trinity team are getting ready for Ryle next week.  No one pushes you to be your best like Beatty and his staff.   Sometimes that rubs people the wrong way but when they graduate, with multiple rings, and look back- they are almost all appreciative of the fact that there was a group of men who pushed them and held them to a higher standard.  Trinity may not always win but the staff will always prepare you for the game.  That is a great life /sports lesson.  A great staff/mentor/parent always puts you in the position to win and never does anything to hurt those chances.

There is a saying that sometimes in life it is better to be lucky than good....I guess X wouldn't really know what either is like.     

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aunt Brooke and Uncle Aus(h)tin



Sorry for my brief absence in my blogging.  I was up in CT on Friday and down to Auburn on Tuesday, so it has been a crazy week.  I wanted to dedicate this blog to two very special people in our lives.  It is sort of a long story so I will cut out what isn't important and leave what is.

I met Brooke (then Perrin) when I was a Dean of Students at UK.  She was in charge of the governing council of the sororities.  As a result, we worked a lot together.  Very early on she would come to me more than anyone else for professional advice.  I would like to think it was because of my classic good looks and southern charm my openness to help all at UK, but it was probably just because I was around.  Well after a while we became pretty close.  She knew I was married and had one kid, knew that I had another on the way, but there was no connection with them yet.  Then one day in March or April, (my) Brooke was in Lexington - she was still living in Louisville at the time- and she hadn't felt the baby (which would be Caroline) move in a while.  After I found out she was going to the hospital, I rushed over there to meet her.  Problem was Baby Reagan needed someone to watch her, so I grabbed the first person I saw in the office and said  "Brooke (UK Brooke) you re coming with me."  Since those words, Brooke has been right there with us through it all. 

Brooke started coming over to hang out with my Brooke. At the time it wasn't a great relationship because the Brooke's were in two very different places in their lives.  But soon Brooke started watching Reagan.....then she started watching Reagan and Caroline....then she started coming over to watch a weekly show...then she started coming over for no reason at all.  It got to the point where she no longer came over to see me, didn't really even acknowledge my presence.  She would come over, the girls would scream and go crazy for her, and her and my Brooke would have a good time together. 

Then one summer she starts telling us about this trip to Africa she was going to take to get some field work as a nurse.  Brooke (mine) and I were pissed about this.  She was going to place that had armed guards.  We were furious that she would go, risk her life, and risk our go to babysitter.  She kept saying she was going with some dude, but we weren't hearing it.  We were seriously upset and I told her if she was my child I would forbid her from going...seriously said that.  That is when we started hearing about this guy named Aus(h)tin (Caroline calls him Aus(h)tin for some reason).  I first thought of him, as any father does about his daughters boyfriend, I was very skeptical.  Brooke had become a big part of our lives and more importantly in my kids lives, I didn't want some dude coming in and ruining that for Reagan and Caroline.  I must say, Aus(h)tin took to my girls like a duck to water.  It has now gotten to the point where my girls no longer go crazy just for Brooke when she gets here, they want to know where Aus(h)tin is.  It has sort of come full circle and now Brooke and I are back to being friends... :)

Baylor Grace was about to arrive and it was Brooke that watched the girls while we were at the hospital.  A few weeks laters we went down to Gulf Shores two summers ago and Brooke, Aus(h)tin and his family were going to be there.  They welcomed all of us in with open arms and the love in Aus(h)tins family is evident.  He has a sister that immediately took to the girls, and even a high school aged brother who was great with the girls.  Most boys that age are punks or couldn't care less about kids, but not Carson.   We knew we needed God Parents for Baylor Grace and Brooke was the obvious choice.  She loves my girls as if they were her own, she is a nurse, and without being dramatic- she would give her life for those girls.  As a parent it gives you so much comfort to know you can trust someone outside of your blood in that fashion, with your kids.  Especially when your family lives in different cities.  The jury was still sort of out about Aus(h)tin though, should he be Baylor's God Father?  When you see Aus(h)tin read to the girls, they climb all over them, he plays the angry pirate with them, you can see how much he loves them too.  The choice became pretty clear to us. 

A year later it was time for them to get married Brooke and Aus(h)tin bypassed members of their own family so that Reagan and Caroline could be their flower girls.  Aus(h)tin asked me to be in his wedding as well.  We needed a place to stay and again, Aus(h)tin's family took us in. They had met us once before but you would think we were friends forever.  When the amazing week was over, my Brooke was almost in tears because she enjoyed being around them so much and wondered when we would see them again.  Aus(h)tin has an amazing family and we know that Brooke, who we love, is in good hands over there.  

So this blog is dedicated to Brooke and Aus(h)tin.  They have given us so much, including another part of our family, Callie (a once babysitter now family member to us.  Caroline LOVES Callie, she is the first person Caroline wants to invite to her parties). We trust our girls 100% with them and having a doctor and a nurse around is always comforting.  Most conversations end with a sincere "love you guys," and when Brooke and Aus(h)tin are around, you can see in their eyes how much they love my girls.  Thats really all I could ever hope for.  Without a doubt in my mind, they know our girls better than anyone.  I know someday Brooke and Aus(h)tin will have kids of their own, and I can see our girls babysitting their kids.  I also know that they will make excellent parents because I can see the way they are with my kids.  You are hard pressed to find better people than Brooke and Aus(h)tin, and this Thanksgiving and every other day, Brooke and I are thankful for them.    



Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Pops, Rojo, Dad-

I wanted to wish my father in law (who i will refer to as Pops in this blog) a Happy Birthday.  To me, Pops' story is really amazing.  I struggle writing this blog because i feel so much that I would want to add (to illustrate that story) was told to me in relative confidence and I do not want to violate that.  So I will do my best to tell a story to justify the guy he is and our special relationship. 

First off, I call him Dad.  A term I do not use lightly.  I am extremely lucky that I love my wife's family and in particular her father.  I understand that it is not always that way and in fact, most of the time you simply tolerate them.  This is by no means the case with me.  I invited my father in law to my bachelor party in New Orleans, an inviation I think he regrets declining to this day.  He is a friend, someone who I go to for advice, and a good time to be around.  In some ways he reminds me of my own father, but in some ways they are complete opposites.

My father grew up in a very loving, supportive family.  Despite the TB that my grandfather suffered through, he was always there for my Dad and they were very close.   I think that is part of the reason why my father and I are so close. My father wears his heart on his sleeve, he sings, he cries, and he loves with all the passion in the world- that’s the way he was raised.  Its too complicated to explain Pops childhood and even his earlier fatherhood years.  Eotionally, they were just totally different people.

I think a few things happened that changed my father in law and made him a different man today.  Pops had skin cancer twice.  The bad kind- not the kind they can simply cut away.  Anytime you are faced with that, it’s likely to change you.  I think he realize how precious life really is.  Plus, his kids grew up- his son became a cop, his daughter a highly successful college student.  At some point around this time, he realized that he had done a good job.  I would like to think I had an effect on him too.  When I came around he realized he had someone else to laugh with, tell sex jokes with, eat fatty foods with, cry with, and simply trust.  While Pops and I had a special bond- his relationships with my "kitchen cabinet" have become fulfilling for me to see as well.  My brother Patrick, Johnny C (who once impersonated Pops' son.  Now can you imagine a pasty, ginger 6 foot 5 guy with a short, Middle Eastern looking 5'7 son?  Shit that is a blog right there).  But most importantly I have been thrilled by the relationship between my two dads.  It’s funny because they are similar in the fact that they HATE people.  Yet despite the fact that they HATE people, they truly do love each other.  This means a lot to me- because I care so much about the both of them.  They HATE talking on the phone, yet they talk often and normally, they end the call (sometimes in tears) with- "I love ya man."    So, I think all of us have changed Pops a bit.

Despite his own struggles with Cancer- nothing is like hearing your wife has it.  All of us husbands/fathers say "I don’t care what you do to me but don’t hurt my wife/kids.  Mimi's battle with breast cancer was probably harder emotionally then his own.  It is times like that you realize how much your wife means to you and how dependent you really are on them. 

And then the grandkids came..and came...and are still coming.  Now, Pops is mush in their hands.  They have turned this once hard man, into a marshmallow.  Part of the reason is trust- he trusts us, part is because they are cute, all of it is love.  It may have taken him a few decades to get here but through his loving wife, devoted kids, extended family, and grandkids he has truly learned how to love.  That is an amazing lesson to learn- no matter what age. 

So Happy Birthday big man.  I wish I could be there with my girls to celebrate with you.  We could go to "Salad House" or something.  Unfortunately I am up in CT working...something I think you can appreciate and are okay with.  God help the guys that try to date my daughters, let alone marry them.  In reality, I pray the young men respect me as much as I do Pops.  I just hope they are slightly better behaved when they’ve had a little booze and are on a public beach.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanks for your service-

Meet Sarah.  Sarah is my brothers wife. Her life story is reads like a book and through a strange twist of fate, she finds herself right at home in Louisville with my brother Patrick.  There is much to brag about my sister-in-law but today I wanted to take the opportunity to brag about her being a Marine.  No she is not in active duty, but once a Marine always a Marine.  It is hard enough to be in any service, even harder to be a Marine, even harder to be a female Marine.  Sarah served 7 years in the USMC and I never miss a moment to tell my friends about her.  I'm not sure how she remembers her time in the Marines.  I have to believe it was more difficult for her than we could ever know...or want to know.  But no matter, I hope the longer she is out- the more positives she takes from her time there.  Time has the ability to erase some of the bad memories and replace them with only good and she deserves that. 

I take a lot of pride in my girls.  I swore I wouldn't be that Dad that talks about them every chance he got...and I 100% am.  The feeling I got when Reagan scored in soccer.  The joy I get from seeing Mayor Caroline shake hands and kiss babies at Seton.  The pure beauty I see in Baylor Grace's eyes, knowing she is going to be a knockout when she gets older.  You cant measure that as a proud father.  I also am proud (and lucky) to have my wife's brother to be a cop and my brother's wife to be a Marine.  I puff my chest out and swell with pride when it comes up in a conversation and I can tell people my sister in law is a marine.  Thanks Sarah.  She is a lot of things, fitness instructor, great wife, caring person but today I wanted to highlight that she was one of the few, one of the proud, she is a Marine. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Old Fashioned Fireplace.....

That is a line from a Frank Sinatra Christmas tune.....he "would trade the whole Manhattan skyline for an old fashioned Christmas (with an old fashioned fireplace) back home (who amongst us wouldn't?)."  Having a fire in the fireplace is a special event in my house.  As you can tell by the picture above, all my girls love sitting in front of the fire. When I was a kid, I did the same thing.  One of my favorite memories was a fire in the fireplace, and Christmas music playing the background.  We would have fires in the fireplace any time the weather was anywhere between 45- 15 degrees.  My parents used to say anything under 15 and it was too cold for a fire.  Never made sense to me but like most things I trusted them.  It was always more than a fire, it was part TV, part dinner table, part conversation piece, all family.  I couldn't begin to count the times we would just sit around and watch it, never talking too much.  I love the warmth, the sound, the smell.  When I have a fire, I think about growing up- it usually meant there was something good cooking in the kitchen and perhaps a guest was coming over.  Normally that guest was Fr. Tom.  When he moved to Florida for a few years we bought a VCR tape of a fire in the fireplace and gave it to him to watch down there because he loved them as well.  Of course we always had a great fire around Christmas and it used to be we couldn't listen to Xmas music until Thanksgiving night.  That is one tradition that has morphed in my house.  We have the house decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving, and Christmas music is played around Halloween.  I always loved Christmas as a kid (who didn't?) and Mom and Dad always thought it was because I LOVED getting gifts.  Honestly, I did (again who doesn't?)  But truthfully, It was so much more than that. I loved the decorations, the traditions, the candy, the food, the anticipation.   I would wake up with the horses on Christmas day (Patrick would have to strap me into bed) and I used to cry on Christmas night because it was over. To this day very mucha  kid around Christmas.  My wife, to her credit, makes the house look amazing during the Holidays.  She has taken many of the things I loved about Christmas from my Mom and adapted them to our family.  I think that is where my love for this holiday comes from, my Mom.  She, to this day, believes.

Having kids who understand this holiday makes it so much better.  We got the girls a pretty good tree for their room. I have never heard Baylor Grace really say "please" before.  All she said while we were decorating the tree was "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE" because she wanted another ornament to hang on the tree.  There really is something magical about this time of year and it is all seen in a child's eye.

Anyway, my thousands  eight loyal readers might have wondered what is behind throwing things in the fireplace?  Well it is actually a good story.  Brooke and I take to girls to Gatlinburg every December for a Christmas parade.  It is a tradition we started out of the blue and is one of our favorites.  This year we couldn't go because I have a work trip.  Well last year we rented a huge Chalet and both my parents and my in laws came.  Anytime my fathers get together it is always a good time.  Neither my Dad or my Father in Law (also Dad) like people.  They love each other- another blog another day perhaps.  I am lucky in that sense that my families get a long so well.  Anyway, my Dad wears things until they get holes in them, literally. Sometimes my Mom can patch them up, sometimes they just look like swiss cheese.  Well last year my dad brought a pair of PJ pants and boxers that looked awful but they were comfortable to him.  Much like my pillowcase in my previous blog.  Well after a little, and by little I mean bathtub, of Crown Royal (maybe even a braunschweiger)- we convinced Dad to get rid of those nasty clothes.  We expected him to discard of them via trash.  After going back into his bedroom to change, he comes back out and proceeds to throw his clothes into the roaring fire.  In very much an Irish fashion, we stood in silence, toasted the burning clothes, and watched them disappear.  When they were gone, we laughed and haven't stopped since thinking about that time.  For a moment, everything else fell away, and we all just laughed together.

So that's where the throwing my pillowcase into the fire came from.  If you re wondering, I actually didn't go throw with it.  Perhaps by God's work, I just couldn't bring myself to it.  This works out perfectly because Dad has something he wants to throw in there at Thanksgiving.  We can burn our things together.  Maybe, we are starting a new tradition.  So, if you are coming to my house for Thanksgiving and you have something old, something you hate, something you love- and you have been looking for a proper Viking send off.....we have your outlet. 

Just nothing plastic, we don't want to harm the environment.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Somewhere TAPS is playing.

Today is a sad day, somewhere Taps is playing.  I would never make light of the seriousness of that song, well I guess I sort of just did, but it is a sad day at my house.  Today, I made an adult decision that I had put off making for years.

Look at the picture above.  What do you see?  Most of y'all just see a pillow.  To me, I see history, my childhood- the past.  The pillow is one of my favorites I have ever had but that is not what is important.  To me, the pillowcase is the gem.  This pillowcase was once my brothers and by once I mean probably 15-20 years ago.  When Patrick got his first big boy bed (I cant remember the size of the bed) he got this set of sheets.  It was a black sheet with a gray pinstripe.  I never particularly liked the sheets but this pillowcase has been mine for years, like at least 7 or 8.  For that time period it is the only pillowcase I have used.  A few pillows have come and gone but the pillowcase has remained.  I lived in three different places, taken it on may vacations, and for awhile every night it helps me forget my problems.  It is faded, worn out, ugly, and now getting put out to pasture.

Brooke has tried to get me to get rid of it before, she has since stopped trying because she knows my attachment to it.  I can't explain it but it is a comfort thing.  I think maybe its because in some strange way it brings me back to one of the best times in my life was when I lived with my parents.  Something as a kid I said I would do forever, something Reagan says she is going to do forever.  Brooke and I lived there right after we got married (Mom and Dad did the same thing with Dad's parents) and there is just something always secure about going to your parents house.  Every time I spent the night there I knew that there would be fewer and fewer times to do so.  Life is precious, it is short, and it is numbered.  Now with bills, work pressures, getting old, families, etc- you always think fondly back of the time when you were safe with Mom and Dad.  No matter what.  Normally the longer you are away from things the more you forget the bad stuff.  Times in your life are generally never as good as you remembered them to be.  That isn't the case for my childhood or my parents.  In most cases it was the best and Mom and Dad did all the could.  I hope that I adequately relay to my kids how great their MaMaw and PawPaw were as parents to me.  I hope that I foster a similar environment for my girls so that they always feel safe, welcomed, loved, and fed, in my home.  Just the same way my parents did.

In the end, I hope that one day when my girls move out (it hurts to think about it at this point) they will take something with them- something they will have alongside of them - to remind them of home, their comfort, the love, of me (and their mom).  Probably wont be a pillowcase but sometimes a pillowcase is much more than something to cover your pillow. 

So next time we have a fire in the fireplace, I will retire this pillowcase in the proper Tim Ayers tradition.  I will throw it in the fire and watch it become one with the earth.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Did you vote?

Don't worry, I swore I wouldn't not get political and risk upsetting any of my 3 loyal followers.  My post today isn't about Democrats or Republicans- its about the process.  I enjoy voting and always triple check to make sure I voted for the person I intended to vote for.  That night and the following day I am always glued to the TV to see the results.  It doesn't matter which side is winning, I am fascinated at the country we have become.   I know most are very upset about the direction of the country.  I get that there is a ton to be upset about.  Some say we went too far, others say we didnt go far enough.  Unemployment around 10% (probably the real number is higher) is way too much- regardless of who is to blame.  But when you look at what happened from a historical perspective, every two years shows what a great country we are.

The election season is vicious.  Anything is fair game.  Ben Chandler(D) is the incumbent congressman for Lexington.  He has been running ads about Andy Barr(R) being a convicted criminal.  Sounds awful, who vote for a convicted criminal?  Want to know what the crime is?  He had a fake id when he as 18.  Seriously.  Why would anyone go through the process?  God forbid when the opposing candidate starts attacking families.  It gets very personal, very cruel.  But it almost never goes past that (minus a few stompings by followers here and there).  No matter how cruel and how personal the attacks are, almost instantly after its over the loser steps aside and pledges loyalty to the city,state, country, that just them no.  That is amazing.  The peaceful transfer of power is a microcosm of how great this country is.  It isn't that way everywhere and hasn't always been the case here (see the Presidential Election of 1860). 

Yesterday (as it does every two years) reaffirmed my belief that this the greatest country in history. We have people who will sacrifice almost everything to serve in politics, people who volunteer that are willing to give the 'last full measure of devotion' in order to protect us, and friends who can disagree about the direction but shake hands when it is all over.  Not because of the threat of violence, not out of fear, but out of respect and love for this great country.

Tomorrow is a brighter day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Patrick



I wanted to wish my big brother Patrick a Happy Birthday!  For those that don't know, my brother is 5 years older than me.  When I was graduating from 8th grade, Patrick was graduating from Trinity.  When I graduated from Trinity, he was graduating from Xavier- both times practically on the same weekend.  Point is, we were always in much different stages in our lives.  As a result, Patrick and I were never really close growing up- we weren't really "friends."  Maybe that's one reason why I'm happy to have my girls so close to the same age.  They will play with each other and be friends, something I didn't really have.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not at all throwing stones or blaming anyone for anything- it just was the situation. 

Now having said all that, while Patrick and I weren't close friends growing up, he ALWAYS was an excellent big brother.  In every facet of the game, Patrick was the best big brother you could ever ask for.  He always took up for me when I needed it.  He always taught me right from wrong.  He always watched out for me.  The thing he did that I am most appreciative of- is he always set a great example for me to live up to.  I see a lot of the way Patrick took care of me, in the ways that Reagan does to her sisters.  No matter where I went, teachers and parents expected more out of me because they knew Patrick.  Some little brothers might have shied away from that, I embraced it. I was already a few points ahead of my classmates and friends because of the outstanding groundwork my brother had built. 

Once I got to college, and even after college for the first time were more just friends.  I think he realized he didn't need to watch out for me as much and that I was a man just as he was. Patrick had done his job. While there are many differences between us- sometimes I wonder if we were raised in the same house- I know that any positive choice I have made, my abilities as a husband, my abilities even as father, are partially because of the leadership my brother showed me growing up.  Some big brothers may buy their younger brother beer growing up and that makes the older brother cool.  I'm sure that's all well and good for others but I didn't need or want that.  What I got from Patrick was much more lasting and had a much greater impact then a 6 pack of beer or a fake ID.  I got mentorship, I got guidance, and I got something to always aim for.   Patrick was very much the John Kennedy of the brothers and I was very much the Bobby Kennedy.   So on this Halloween I wanted to wish Patrick a Happy Birthday and say thanks!  You had more of an impact on me than you will ever know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Would you know my name......"

Please know that what I want to talk about today is going to sound morbid.  I don't at all want this to be depressing but this is something that I really worry about with my girls and when I do think about it, sorta upsets me.  One of the things my father always told me was to never go to bed mad at someone because you never know if you will see them again.  Always tell them you love them.

I know I am blessed to have my three girls and another kid on the way.  I am so thankful for those blessings and know that no matter what happens to me, THEY are my legacy.  Brooke and I had a talk tonight and I made her promise me one thing.  If something happens to me, make sure that those girls know how much their Dad loves them.  I worry that if my days are numbered (well I guess they are for us all) or something happens tomorrow, would my girls remember me?  I think it would be easier for Reagan and Caroline, although their memory would probably only hold on to the pictures of me they can  at least make those connections now.  But what about Baylor Grace?  I cant put into words the look in their eyes when the girls jump on the couch with me or go some place with just me.  The way they get so excited when I pick them up from school or give them the biggest hug in the whole wide world.  I think they feel that way because they know, with me, they are totally loved.  I was put on this earth to be their Dad, and of all the jobs I have had...Coach, Dean, Associate Executive Director, friend, brother, son, husband....Dad is the thing I cherish above all.  It scares me and saddens me to know that if something happened tomorrow that Baylor Grace wouldn't really know her father and despite her brief 18 months on this Earth her and I have had some amazing bonding moments together.  The new baby (Molly is the name of the day) would NEVER know her Dad which is bad enough.  But would Baylor know how she calls for me every time she wakes up?  Would she remember that she calls for me every time I leave the room, and in reality I am probably her favorite toy.  So I guess I have a favor for all of y'all.....God forbid something happens to me, make sure that Reagan, Caroline, Baylor Grace,and Molly know how much I loved them (another one to click, turn up the sound and listen).  How lucky I felt to have them, and how proud of them I was.  Hopefully this is just something we can always keep between us but in the event of an emergency, feel free to break the glass and help them remember....me. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

You were right Brooke....you were so VERY right!

I wanted to share with y'all one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.  It is something I carry with me every day and I look forward to the day I can tell her and get it off my chest.  Having said that, because of the pain and embarrassment that I do carry with me- i appreciate her hugs more, the looks she gives me, the gifts she gives me all the time. No one lights up like Reagan does when she sees me. What I am about to tell you is not at all funny, although now I see some humor in it.  I am not at all proud of it but I am proud of the positive change this event has done to me.

To be honest, I am not sure where to start.  It had been around 1890 since there was a female Ayers born in my line.  No aunts or uncles to speak of.  Dad was an only child, of an only child, who only had brothers.  The Ayers' were pretty much DUDES.  Fast forward to October of 2005 and Brooke and I were soon to confirm the sex of our new baby.  It would be a boy, I would name him after my father, and my last name would be safe.  I am currently the youngest living male Ayers.  I was super pumped to have a future Trinity Football player, future SAE President, future best bud to play sports with just like I had with my Dad and he had with his.   Of course I said all the right things, "as long as it is healthy, ten fingers and ten toes, yadda yadda yadda," but I didn't mean it.  I was having a boy.  Brooke had given up on ever having girls because she knew how things were...she would always say "I just want one (girl)."  So we go to the doctor, my chest is swelled with pride just like The Mighty Casey before he went to bat. My heart was racing as I stared up at the most beautiful thing I have ever seen but I looked, and looked, and looked, and saw that the baby on the screen was missing something VERY important.  I wanted to scream at the nurse...THERE IS NO PENIS (like it was her fault or something)!  There was in fact, a sideways hamburger (thats what it looks like sorry).  I think the nurse said that everything looks great, all organs were working, etc etc. but it was all a blur.  By the time we saw the OBGYN she could sense that all was not right with me.  It was, awkward.

I could barely get to the car before I had to let out my anger.  I screamed, hollered, punched, kicked, cursed, that car/wheel like you wouldn't believe.  I was such an asshole, that Brooke was in tears.  Brooke is a rock- she shows no emotion.  I knew I was being ridiculous but I was so mad, I didn't care.  I literally said- "FUCK YOU GOD!  I have done everything you asked.  I never got into trouble, kept the faith through the whole Fr. Tom thing, always treated women with respect, on and on.  The one thing I ask for and you give me a girl!  What the FUCK am I supposed to do with a girl!?  FUCK YOU!"  If you cant tell, I was pissed.  Brooke looked over at me, crying, and said words I will never forget..."this baby girl will be the best thing that ever happened to you."

I didn't know it then nor did I want to accept it but Brooke was absolutely correct.  You think of ALL the things that can go wrong with a pregnancy.  People try for years and can never have kids, or they can get pregnant and bringing it full term is a struggle.  I have friends who would give their own lives so that their wives could have a baby- even if it was a girl.  I had the perfect miracle and I was too much of an ass to realize it.   There is an old baseball saying around cut time that you never celebrate in a clubhouse because you might be doing so right in front of a guy who just got sent to the minors.  The same can be said for the OBGYN's office.  Who knows how many people were there because they were struggling to get pregnant, or later that day would get every parent's worst nightmare, the news that their little miracle had died.  I had every reason to celebrate and I just wanted to be mad. To be honest, I never fully realized how right my wife would be until the moment I held Reagan in my arms for the first time.  It is strange to go from being just a guy one minute, to a Daddy the next.  I cant explain it, a love so much it hurts.  It took me a good 4 months before I could actually look at her and not cry, I loved her so much.   To watch Reagan grow has been the greatest gift I have ever been given, Brooke was right.  I guess I thought I was a good man then because of the accomplishments and trophies I had.  None of that truly matters and I know I am a better man now because of my girls.  Apparently I am making up for lost time in the Ayers clan with Caroline and Baylor Grace but I can honestly say "thats okay."  I wouldn't trade my girls for any amount of money in the world, or that one boy.  As God is my witness.  It doesn't hurt me that Brooke was so right, what hurts is that one day I will have to tell Reagan how disappointed I was when I found out she was a girl and ultimately how wrong I was.  I only hope she has her Mom's maturity and forgives her old man for that unexplainable way I acted.

They say that when a girl is born you feel like a Daddy and when a boy is born you feel like a man.  I don't know if that is true or not and probably never will.  I am so thankful to have my girls, I will take being a Daddy any day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dinner is SERVED!

One of the things I enjoyed the most growing up was eating at the dinner table.  My family, at all costs, ate dinner every night we could...together.  Sometimes the TV was on, sometimes it wasn't.  When it was on it was because we were watching the news.  I think much of the reason I am who I am today (faith, politics, sense of humor, competitiveness, etc) is because of the conversations I had with my family around that table.  Most of the time was spent with laughter, some time was spent with slightly more than your normal inside voice, issues were discussed, issues were debated, my own thoughts were always encouraged.  The dinner table has meant so much to me that I have decided to help a good friend make my own dinner table (a future project and blog I am sure).  That way, no matter what happens, my girls know what was one of the most important pieces in our house to me.  Dinner was, always has been, is still, very special to me.

Being around the table is something I want to my girls to experience as well.  In fact much of our dinners are replicas of the dinners I had when I was kid.  We start with "prayer hands" and the Catholic Grace, then we all make the sign of the cross- in various ways of course.  We then eat and must eat pur food if we want a snack the rest of the night.  A glass of milk is encouraged but if you don't drink milk, water is the only other option.  Just like when I was growing up.  There are times when Brooke and I just stare at each other because the three girls, even the baby, are jabbering up a storm.  Despite the noise and the chaos, the importance of the action of sitting around the table is being instilled in them, perhaps without them knowing it.  "Get in your chairs," is one of the happiest moments of the day for the girls.  By dinner they are all starving and cant wait to get into their seats.  It is one of the happiest moments for me too and it has nothing to do with how hungry I am.  I hope that someday down the road the girls will go running to their chairs, not just because they are hungry, but because they look forward to talking with their parents.  Just as I STILL do whenever I get the chance. 

Yesterday was one of those great days.  Brooke cooked homemade beef stew in the crock pot.  The smell lingered throughout the house all day.  It was one of the best meals she has ever cooked and one of the best meals I have had period.  I teased her to see if she still knew how to cook, truth be told the new baby has gotten to Brooke more than the previous babies.  She has been off her feat a lot more and dinner has been more of a struggle than normal.   The good news is I can see a difference in Brooke lately, she is feeling much better, and because of her cooking last night- we got to do something I love so much.  So a big thanks to Brooke and Im glad youre feeling better.  While the dinner was awesome, I thank you for continuing something my Mom started (who is a great cook too) many years ago and is very important to me.  Cooking up the time spent together.  That fills the heart, while the food fills the belly.  We make sure to pass the food all in the same way and I don't have to eat the salmon croquettes.  Just like the old days. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey Its Good To Be Back Home Again


Wow- after a marathon week of driving to Greenville, Clemson, Nashville, flying to Chicago, back to Nashville, driving to Louisville, then home to Lex....it was great to sleep in my own bed last night.  Does anything ever really get you as clean as your home shower or feel as good as your home bed? I dont think so.  I amazed though that this entire football season I have yet to watch one NFL game start to finish and only one College football game to is completion.  That is just wrong. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big Red

Make sure you take the time to go see the movie Secretariat.  Brooke and I got away on a rare date the other night. We had some great pizza, good shopping, and saw a great movie.  If you like horse racing you should go see secretariat.  If you like good stories, you should go see secretariat.  If you are from Kentucky, you should go see Secretariat.  If you like horse racing, good stories, and are from Kentucky, GO SEE SECRETARIAT.  80% of the movie was filmed in Lexington or Louisville.  It was really great to see our state on the big screen in such a positive way.  I was real happy to see Keeneland in Lexington stand in for Belmont Park.  It makes you proud- and they made sure to have a scene with My Old Kentucky Home playing at the Derby.  It is a inspirational story about one of the greatest athletes of all time.  Diane Lane is of course hot.  John Malokvitz (no clue how to spell that one) is great, Fred Thompson is good, and Lafayette from True Blood is awesome. When it comes down to it though it is a story about the horse.  Secretariat put on one of the best shows ever,  his run at the Belmont is legendary.  We may never see a performance like that again in what many say was the greatest sporting performance ever.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pals-


I have always been a fan of Westerns- in fact I love Tombstone and Young Guns.  There are a lot of lessons to take away from those movies if you look deep enough.  One of the great stories in Young Guns is what is told right at the end of the first movie.  If you know anything about Billy the Kid- the one thing he believed in was loyalty.  He was loyal to those who were loyal to him- the thing he cherished most were his "Pals."  Legend has it that his one time best friend Pat Garrett eventually hunted Billy down and shot him in the back.  Further legend states that he really didn't kill Billy because they were too close- letting him go only to reappear in the 40's under the name Brushy Bill Roberts.  Regardless, the tombstone that was erected over Billy's grave had one thing carved into it.  It was simply the word "Pals."  No one knows who did it but whoever did it (if it was Billy thanking his friend Patrick for letting him go), knew what Billy stood for.
The second western, one that I think every man should own, is Tombstone.  It is a great version of Wyatt Earp and has one of the best performances of Doc Holiday I have ever seen.  Val Kimmer dominates the performance and steals the show.  Regardless, late in the move and near death, someone ask Doc the following and his answer is amazing. "Why are you doing this Doc?"  (please watch the link).  Great f*ing answer.

Well, like Doc, I don't have a lot of a friends.  Not because I'm an unlikeable guy (at least I don't think so)- i have a lot of acquaintances- just few I would consider a true friend.  Today, I want to recognize one of them and that is Tom Dement. He is the quintessential southern lawyer. I met Tom in the summer of 99 when I was an undergrad and he was working the SAE Leadership School.  I then ran across his path again when I was working Leadership School as a volunteer because I worked for UK.  Tom and I hit it off pretty quickly.  We have many of the same interests and I was very proud of him when he got elected to our Supreme Council. When I asked him if I should work for SAE he said "this fraternity needs men like you."  Well, I know this fraternity is better off because of men like Tom.  He has gotten me more interested in the history of SAE, I think I have gotten him more interested in the history of the South.  Watching Tom and I give the Etiquette presentation I believe really is a treat for those at the session.  I am proud to call him a brother, more proud to call him a friend.  When my father was initiated into our great order, Tom drove all the way up from Nashville just to participate in the ritual- because it meant something to him as well.  Tom's part in the ritual is very extensive and a part he has 100% memorized.  It made the evening all the more memorable that I could share that moment for my Dad with Tom.  That’s one of the best things about SAE.  Two guys, from different schools, different times, can become friends in the truest since of the word.  Tom is another one of those great men who I am lucky to be associated with.  He is by definition a "Pal."

Monday, October 11, 2010

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL

Still on a high from Reagan getting two goals on Saturday.  We went from soccer, to doing a full truck bed of mulch, Louisville for a great dinner, back to Lexington, waking up on Sunday- stopping in Gatlinburg for lunch, driving to through Cherokee NC, arrived in Greenville SC for a night in a hotel room together.  Today, I'm at Clem(p)son, tomorrow off to Nashville, Thursday Chicago.

What a week started off by Reagan's two goals on Saturday. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Mayor of Seton

This is my middle girl Caroline, as I have said before her personality is just like mine. Well she talks more than me. She wakes up talking, goes to bed talking, and even talks in the middle of the night.  I have NEVER met a person who enjoys talking as much as Caroline does. Truth be told I was worried this year as she started school. She is so sensitive and I was worried school might eat her a live.  For a while there she was having a hard time adjusting to people pottying in groups and not being able to get naked when she went potty like she does at home.  I was worried she would not do well with her course work, I was worried about damned near everything.  I was sad when Reagan left because she is my buddy but I knew she would dominate the work.  Caroline scared me to death, I wanted to protect her.

I realized today that Caroline is the Mayor of Seton Catholic Grade School.  It amazes me that one month into it she walks down the hall and everyone knows Caroline.  Caroline knows everyone's names as well.  She waves and says hello Ms. SoinSo to EVERYONE.  She shakes hands and kisses babies with the best of them.  We went out in the parking lot and there were three adult women, she went up to all them and called them all by name and started a conversation with them.  She waves at other kids in older classrooms.  She is a social butterfly, she is Mayor Caroline.

It has taught me a very valuable lesson, kids surprise you when you least expect it.  I know there will be bad days and days when she wont want to go to school.  But I can't tell you how good it makes a Dad feel when he was so worried about his Carolina and she passes the test with flying colors. I hope it stays that way for her. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No Name.

So my father thinks we should name the new baby Snotnose Megaphone because every time you come over there is a kid with a snotty nose and it is loud.  Both of which are true.  My brother Patrick thinks we should basically call the new baby Vasectomy.  We are still stuck on names.  It has gotten to the point where I have begged my wife to fight me about the name because I want it settled, I don't like not having a name for our baby.

Hadley Morgan is back in the lead. I have been calling her (E)liza Jane which I know is an old minstrel name. The point is I never thought i would be blessed with this many kids nor would I be blessed with this many girls.  We are really out of girl names.  Before you get there, no we don't know that it is a girl yet.  But we don't KNOW the sun is going to come up but it is just as easy to assume that it will (as it is that this is a girl).  So we are still taking suggestions.  Snotnose Megaphone- while accurate- is out of the running.  I don't even like talking about Patrick's suggestion.  So, if you have thoughts- keep them coming. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Its never too early part II

Monday nights are my time with Baylor Grace.  Mom takes the older girls to dance class, so its me and the blue eyed bombshell hanging out.  Oftentimes we go to the mall and walk around.  For me, Baylor Grace truly is a blessing.   All kids are but every day she amazes me even more.  It goes beyond the blonde hair and the eyes that are as blue as the Bonnie Blue Flag  She has such a great personality and really is a beautiful girl.  I love watching her because everyday it is something new to her and she enjoys so much of life.  Steve Miller would be proud because Baylor Grace is almost everything he sings about.  Well we went to the mall and as we walk through Sears we run right into their Xmas stuff.  You should have heard the yell that she let out when she saw all the Christmas stuff.  She was waving at everything, kissing everything, and was in pure heaven.  She really couldnt get over the Abominal Snowman from Rudolph. I wondered and would pay all the money in the world to know what was going through her head when she was looking at that stuff for the first time. There is no way she can remember anything from last year but she really did act like she was seeing a long lost friend.  Dare I say....she lit up like a Christmas tree.  It was a spiritual uplifter for me.  It makes you realize the joy of a child at Christmas- when they still believe- and makes me think of all the amazing Christmas' I had as a kid.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

It is never too early....

Yesterday was a big day in the Ayers (Southeast) house.  We got out all the fall decorations which means the house will now be decorated until well into January.  This was always one of my favorite times of the year.  Football is in full swing (did I mention we beat St. X 48-0), the weather is cool, trees are turning colors, and holidays are a time for families.  Of course I loved Christmas, but now that I have kids of my own- I can use Santa as a corrective measure for their behavior for the next few months. 

Yesterday was big but not only because of the decorations but we had our first fire in the fireplace.  The high yesterday was only 53 so it was well within the range of having a fire and for a long time yesterday it was roaring.  Reagan, Brooke, all really- were excited to see it.

Bring on the Fall!  (Lets skip Jan and Feb).