Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daddy, is this baseball?

I have blogged about the movie Field of Dreams before and I won't repeat myself.  I will say that it is my favorite movie, a movie that I can't watch without crying.  It always makes me think of the great relationship that I have with my dad and how much I have always enjoyed having "a catch" with him.  If you watch the movie, you know that actually the main character didn't have a great relationship with his father.  In fact, the movie is about redeeming that poor relationship.  That one more chance that whether your relationship was great, or rocky, you wish you had to tell your father how you felt about him.  To tell him that while there might have been issues, you know he did his best- whatever that was for him.  As a father to hear that you are/were appreciated, regardless of all your mistakes, is about all you can ask for.  Everyone who has lost a parent has that same wish... for one more conversation

This Christmas, Mimi wanted to get my father in law a blu ray player.  I knew that I had to get him Field of Dreams for his first blu ray. A special gift from me to him.  While the movie means something very significant to me, I thought it could mean something very sentimental (different) to him.  As I was watching it for probably the 100th time, I realized it had new meaning to me too.  Watching Kevin Costner talk to his daughter about sports (in the movie) is a conversation that I have had tons of times already.  When you have as many girls as I do, I find myself having the same conversation over many different times.  My girls are all very well educated in sports.  To me, this movie has always been about my father, now it sort of makes me evaluate myself as a father.

The other day I was watching a football game with Reagan and Baylor Grace. Reagan asked if the team that was playing ever played the Chicago Bears.  Reagan knows four teams right now.  1) UK 2)Alabama (she likes their colors) 3) Chicago Bears and 4) Trinity.  She doesn't understand how they don't all play each other.  So, I was trying to explain the difference between Pro, College, and High School levels.  We were having what I believed to be a very good father-daughter-football moment.  I was loving this conversation.  At the end of my explanation, I was feeling really good about myself and my ability to educate my girls,  Baylor Grace leans over....big blue eyes sparkling..."Daddy, is this baseball?"

Pop and I got some down time this afternoon and we decided to finish Field of Dreams.  I hoped he understood the reasons why I gave him this movie.  It is so much more than a baseball movie.  The final scene hit me hard and like always, I was crying.  I can neither confirm nor deny that  Pop was crying as well.  It was a great moment and I feel that he truly understood why I gave him that movie.  Mission accomplished.

One of the last few lines in the movie is when the father asks his son, "is this heaven?"  Throughout the movie (and even that time) the response is, "no, its Iowa."  Then the son looks around, looks at his wife, daughter, his house, his ability to forgive/make up with his dad, and he thinks to himself...maybe this is heaven?  I understand what he means.  Sometimes I look at my girls and think perhaps this is heaven.

I was lucky as a son because of my father.  I know that as a father myself I have a long way to go but I also realize that those girls are the greatest thing I have ever done.  Not every father/son relationship is good but every father/son/daughter relationship is so important.  Watching the movie tonight was a great opportunity for me to reflect.  I wish that more movies moved you like Field of Dreams.  It really is like "being dipped in magical waters."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We need an old priest and a young priest

Please watch this clip.  It pretty much sums up my entire Christmas Holiday.

Since this past Wednesday, all 6 of us have been sick.  4 out of 6 have thrown up, and now MaMaw is sick as well.  We have vomited in cars, beds, at the table, bathrooms, family rooms, just about any place you can think of. It has been at least 2 maybe 3 years since I have been sick and thrown up, but it got me hard two nights ago.  This version of Christmas isnt at all what we had planned.  The good news is at least we are all together.  I only hope that you are surrounded by people you love, and less vomit.  Merry Christmas and much love to all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An email for my Mom

As noted before, my mother knitted 400 scarves for service men and women in Afghanistan ( ) this past year.  She did 100 in honor of each grand baby, more than 1 a day.  To top it all off, she included a hand written note with each scarf, thanking them for their service.   Today she received an email from one of the brave men who got one of my Mom's gifts.

Dear Nina,
I recieved the scarf you made today.  I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for the scarf and your kind words.  It means a lot to the service men and women overseas to know that they are thought of, especially during the holiday season.  So once again I thank you and your family for keeping us in mind.  I wish you and your family the best through the holidays!
Semper Fidelis,
SSgt Bridges
3rd Bn 7th Marines

Mom, we are all so proud of you! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sorry for the delay.

Sorry for the delay folks, it has been a crazy few days. This past weekend was a great weekend.  Brooke and Austin left town and were nice enough to leave us their town home for the weekend.  My in laws came up for our last weekend in Lexington.  The main reason for their visit was on Saturday Hadley was getting baptized into the Church, something that is very important to me.  Plus, on Saturday night, the two big girls had a dance recital.  My parents came over, as did my brother.  We spent much of the day just laughing and hanging out.  It was like a whole lot of the weekends we were fortunate enough to spend together, when both her parents and mine were together.  However,  always in the back of my mind was the fact that I knew this may not happen too many more times.  What was seemingly something easy to arrange would be much more difficult in Chicago.  Regardless, it was a great time for all of us- despite UK getting beat in basketball.

On Sunday morning we had breakfast and Brooke's parents went South and we went north.  It was has been a 3 days of nothing but unpacking and reshuffling but the girls have adjusted amazingly well.  It is very nice to have every one up here finally.  Wednesday night at work the SAE Foundation had a Holiday gathering at the LMT, as a sidebar to welcome me into the new position.  It was an opportunity to meet new people, share time with old friends, and have my girls meet so many of the people that I talk about all the time.  It was a perfect storm where work and family merge into one.  I sort of think that is the best of both worlds.  When work is family, and your family is always welcome.  I am lucky I suppose.  I was so happy to have the girls there and of course, they were the stars of the show.  After the event I went to dinner at Fogo De Chow- an all you can eat Steakhouse.  This is a place my father-in-law would love, and a tradition I started 3 years ago.  It was a chance for a bunch of friends who don't see each other too often to reconnect over 12 different cuts of meat.  I ate way too much but I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

Its not too often where you can work and be with your loved ones at the same time.  Often SAE takes me away from the girls but last night we were brought together. 

On Thursday, after a long day at work, we had our much needed office gathering.  There, we awarded two women who work for SAE a newly created SAE award to recognize the women who help make our lives great.  It was long overdue and much deserved.  The gathering was a great time for all who came.  

Its been a long week and this weekend is much needed.  There is still so much work to be done but its nice to sit back and watch a little sports, a girl in each arm, and just relax.  I am so looking forward to the next few weeks and spending time with those that I love.  After all, that is what this time of year is all about.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A letter to Reagan-

This past weekend on ESPN Gameday seen here ,I was moved by a piece about an Oklahoma football player.  The players Dad had written him letters before every game since he was in the 7th grade.  The player died this past year and each game another defensive player has worn Austin Box's jersey.  One thing stuck out to me during the piece more than others.  Austin's father talked about how he feels that the letters showed a love that a father had for his son, and that the fact that his son had kept everyone of the letters shows how much respect the son has for his father.  My father always wrote me letters growing up.  It wasn't always game day, sometimes it was just a day that ended in y. The letters would come at all different times for all different reasons.  I don't have all of them, but just like Austin, I kept most of them.  Ive always wanted to be able to do the same for my girls as they grow, so in the event I am not here, they will have on paper how much their father loved them.  The good news is, Reagan can now read at an amazing level.  So my hope is that Brooke sits down with Reagan and allows her to read the letter below, 2011 style.

Dear Reagan,

I wanted to write you a note to let you know how much joy you have brought to your Mom and I.  Your PawPaw used to write me letters like this all the time.  First days of school, football games, big days, small days, or just because.  Now you are getting to the point where you can read, so I will do the same for you.  Reagan, I love you (and your sisters) more than life itself.  I would not trade you for anything in the world and I could not have asked for anything more in a child. I can remember the first time I ever held you in my arms.  I cried to the point that I couldn't even see you.  I was so overcome with emotion that both your grandfathers thought something was wrong.  From day one, you have been an angel. It hurts to watch how fast you have grown but there is an amazing beauty in that as well.  I am so thankful for what a big help you are when Daddy is away.  You are an excellent big sister, a beautiful little girl, a pure ray of sunshine.  You are also my best friend and I would rather hang out with you, than just about anyone else.  Nothing brings me more joy than giving you a big hug.  I never knew the power of love until I knew you.

All my love,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Get your affairs in order....

"Get your affairs in order" is probably one of the worst things a doctor can ever tell you.  It is their way of telling you that you are on borrowed time.  I used to dread and hate that phrase but after what has happened today, I have come to appreciate it more.

I got all three girls up, dressed, fed, and out the door by 7:20 (all by myself).  A task that I am proud of considering I had been up since 2:30 am thanks to Hadley Blaine.  When I got to school to drop the girls off, I noticed Baylor Grace's teacher was crying.  This teacher has taught 3 of my girls, in 4 years straight (Reagan had them two years in a row)- so naturally you become close to them.  I asked what was wrong and I was told that one of Reagan's classmates father had died (was dying).  He went into the hospital yesterday because of a headache, and was now brain dead.  Worst part is, Reagan's classmate didn't even know the entirety of the situation.  She asked for her class to pray for her Daddy because he had a headache and was in the hospital.  She didn't know he we would not be coming home.

I don't really claim to be this guys friend, I had to struggle to place his face.  I saw his wife almost every day when she walked their two girls to school and he and I would chat at the girls parties.  Again, Ive seen him now for three years in a row.  What hit me the hardest was that his daughters were Reagan's age and Baylor Grace's age.  Now the Mom will have to raise their two girls alone and they will never really know their father.  How do I explain that to Reagan?  He went to the hospital for a headache and now he is never coming home! I am positive that they would give it all up if he simply had the chance to get his affairs in order.  He wasn't even granted that "luxury." How do I resist the anxiety that comes every time I leave for work that I am never 100% sure I will see my girls again. No one loves the girls the way I do, the way a father should love his daughter(s).  Who is going to watch over them, teach them how to survive, if their Daddy isn't around? His death, or impending death, has really hit me hard and I am struggling to comprehend it.

Life is so precious, hug the ones you love.  Don't go to bed mad.  Forgive. Forget.  We are only here for a little while and we never really know how long that little while is.

In the words of the GREAT Jack Sparrow "Better to not know which moment may be your last. Every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Times they are a changing.....

I had one of the most amazing few days, I had to blog about it.  I wasn't sure I would get home on Wednesday, but after a two hour delay at the bridge, I finally pulled into the house for a long needed break with the family.  I should have known that it was going to be a good weekend when I get home to watch UK win in basketball.

Thursday really was  a great Thanksgiving.  We took the girls to play in the park and after naps, we were ready to eat.  Patrick came over and the girls were so excited to see him.  It was really neat to have my girls making dumplings with me and my father.  Three generations of Ayers' doing what is a tradition in our house, making dumplings.  Then Baylor Grace worked her magic when she asked PawPaw to sit next to her.  It was too warm to have a fire in the fire place but it was good to sit around in the family room with the family, watching football.

Friday was an amazing day for November.  We decided to go to the Zoo and had almost the entire place to ourselves.  By the time we left it was getting crowded, it is true that the early bird does get the warm.  Friday night my Dad and I went to the Trinity game.  Trinity is something we both share a passion for and we don't get to go to too many games together anymore, so it was nice to get there and watch our Rocks play.  Trinity is on an amazing run and is playing it its 11th State Championship game in 12 years.  If Trinity wins on Friday, they will win Trinity's first National Championship.  Absolutely amazing.

Saturday, Brooke and I went out to breakfast together for a mini date.  Later we went to the movies and saw the Muppet movie....or as Baylor calls them, the Puppet movie.  It was great for me to go there with Patrick and Mom as well, because many years ago they got me into the Muppets.  To watch it with my girls made me feel like I was passing on part of my childhood.  The theme of the movie really played into that as well.

Saturday was a great day because I got to watch a lot of football with Dad too.  INCLUDING UK's victory over UT.  This was the first time in 27 years that UK has done this.  I realized I was Reagan's age the last time UK beat UT in football.  I have been to so many games where my "sports" heart was broken by UK in finding a way to lose to Tennessee.  I honestly was not sure if I would live to see us ever beat them in football.  The longest active losing streak in NCAA football is no more.  Now there is a new longest active losing streak....unfortunately UK owns that one as well- you're next Florida. After the Tennessee game, we went on an amazing walk through an area I used to play at as a kid.  It was great to take the girls there too.  It was a pretty flat walk so no one complained and 3/4 of the crew made most of the walk themselves.  It was one of the best hikes ever, on a great weather day. The day ended with my girls helping MaMaw put up her Christmas tree.

Like all good things, this weekend had to come to an end.  The girls got up early and left to try and settle back in for our last few weeks in Lexington.  I stayed around at Mom and Dads, just to hang out.  Once they left, it was amazingly quiet in their house.  It seemed, big, silent, and empty, without the girls.  The three of us talked about life and you could tell things were changing.  Us Ayersmen don't do well with change and this one is no different.  With the move to Chicago soon, things will change.  We will no longer be a short ride from Mom and Dad's, an even longer ride to Nashville.  I think this hurts my Mom and Dad more than they are letting on- it hurts me too.  We are all excited for the adventure ahead, but it is bittersweet and I think it hit us today.  When I finally pulled out of the driveway their were tears in Mom and Dad's eyes which hasn't happened in a while.  It was one thing when we left Louisville for Lexington, this is something totally different.  When I looked back and honked like I always do, I could see them standing their waving like always.  After hanging out with their grand babies, I think they realized how important it is for them to make the effort to get up to Chicago.  Especially after Baylor Grace asked PawPaw to sit next to her at dinner two nights in a row.  Blowing him a kiss when she left helped too.  I think we all appreciated the time we shared a little bit more than normal because we know that it won't always be that way.  It was sad for me too, sad for the same reasons, and sad because I saw that look in their eyes.

I went to the mall with my girls later on Sunday, something we always enjoyed doing.  While we were at the mall we saw a mannequin with purple hair.  We had to explain to Caroline that people don't really have purple hair, it was just for show.  The next mannequin model had white hair.  Brooke told Caroline that people don't really have white hair either.  Caroline said "nope, I know someone with white hair.  It is a boy (pause) he is a grandpa (pause) it is PawPaw!"  Later on the ride home Baylor Grace said, "I miss MaMaw and PawPaw."We told the girls that  we can Skype if they want and that we will see them soon.

It was a great weekend and I realize that nothing will be the same.  Yes, things are changing, things will be different, but that doesn't mean they will be worse.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Brooke: Caroline, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
Caroline: My sisters, because I am never alone.

I apologize I haven't been updating my blog as much as I have in the past.  It is not for lack of good material, in fact I am at a stage in my life where every day something comes up.  The fact of the matter is, I have been so incredibly busy with the move, work, and family, that I haven't had time.

I got home late Sunday night from a work trip to Boston.  I woke up early Monday to take Hadley and Reagan to have surgery.  Both came out okay, in fact Hadley came out like a champ.  Reagan was/has been more of struggle but for the most part, all is well.  After a long Sunday and early Monday- I was ready to hit the road with the family and move our stuff into the house in Chicago.  Literally on our way out of town Brooke's car goes crazy and she can't go anymore.  This means we must load my truck in a parking lot and I am going on my own.  On my way up there, perhaps because of the rain, there is a massive wreck with multiple deaths.  It causes me to wait in my car for 3 hours.  3 hours.  As mad as you might get because of being stopped for 3 hours, driving by what was left of the cars does put things into perspective.  On Tuesday we got to move stuff into the house, pretty exciting right?  Well of course it would rain all day.  Then we had some issues with stuff left in the house, the day was not starting off well.  After seeing what was getting brought in off the truck, I could not believe the amount of stuff we had.  Much of it hadn't been touched since the last move.  Everything was so tucked away in the attic of the old house- we didn't notice it all.  After freaking out about the lack of space (even though this house is bigger) by about 4 everything was moved in and the unpacking began.  I didn't get finished with it all, not even close.  But with a little help from John Collias, we did get most of the kitchen done.  I look forward to getting back up there with the entire family and settling in.  There is still a long way to go but I am thankful to have a nice home up there.

I wanted to drive back today to be with the fan for Thanksgiving.  After a good half day at work,  I was making excellent time until I got 7 miles from the KY border.  I was stuck in traffic AGAIN for 2 hours this time. I was so close to home.  Thankfully, there were no injuries.  I don't feel bad about being upset at the wreck.  Finally making it home to say goodnight to the girls was reward for the 5 hours I spent sitting, stopped in my truck.  It as great to see them, even if for a brief second.

There is much to be thankful for and I am excited about spending the day tomorrow with my loved ones.  I will probably go to Trinity tomorrow morning to watch practice,  I will watch some NFL football, and eat a TON of food.  Perhaps there are even some Muppet's in my weekend plans, and maybe a trip to the zoo.  The weather is supposed to be real nice on Friday. Whatever your plans are this weekend, I hope that you spend it with people who you love, and in turn love you back.  I hope that you have plenty of food, and lots to be thankful for.  I know I do.  Its a crazy life, but its our life...and I love it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The first hard choice....

As I sit here and watch out stuff getting loaded into the moving truck, I am filled with all different emotions.  This house has so many memories, so many firsts, and so much love.  Our time here in Lexington has been amazing but now it is time to move on to the house in the above picture. It honestly feels like the last episode of MTV's The Real World, in the sense that the show always showed the people packing up and moving on, just like us. Baylor Grace walked up today and saw the movers putting some of Hadley's toys into the moving truck and she went ballistic.  I thought I was going to have to separate my daughter from the workers.  No Baylor Grace, they are not taking Hadley's toys.

These past few weeks could not have been crazier and the next few will be the same.  To top it all off, it appears that Hadley has a double ear infection, to go along with the surgery she is having next Monday.  Reagan is going under as well.  Our life is totally upside down.  There is light at the end of the tunnel and we all have hope.  But as the craziness engulfs us, I have done a lot of reflecting today, with a few thoughts about our future.

I understand its going to take more to get our family together.  Its going to take a greater effort for my parents and Brooke's parents to see us.  The drive is going to be longer, maybe even a flight.  It won't be as simple as jumping in the car and heading down the road.  You have to do it though, for all of us.  The responsibility of the job ahead of me is enormous.  I am not sure where to even begin.  I will tackle this head on and do the best I can to push forward SAE. However, I will need your help in order to do so.  

The first hard choice is ahead of us.  Do we send Reagan to public schools or the local Catholic school.  In Lexington and Louisville, there was no choice.  We had to send them to Catholic schools.  In the place where we are living, the local public school is a great school, maybe even better in terms of scores. Its newer, clean, etc.  But, there isn't a crucifix in every classroom.  Something that has always been so important to me. Reagan isn't the problem either, its Reagan + Caroline+ Baylor Grace+ Hadley, that's a lot of money.  When the alternative isn't good, its a no brainer.  But when the alternative is great- it makes it a really hard choice.  The money that would be freed up by sending them to a public school, would allow us to do more as a family and with these schools you wouldn't be sacrificing their education in the process.  With everything else going on, I am struggling with this choice the most.  It goes back to my grandmother (God rest her sainted Irish soul), to my Dad, to me, and thus far- to my girls.  It was always Catholic schools.  We will still have a crucifix in every room in our house. And the 100 year old Catholic church is  just a few blocks away from our house.  Trust, me it looks like a Catholic church, not some ski lodge like so many of the new ones.  I am thankful we have options but this is a tough call.  

Tomorrow is a new day full of unknowns, excitements, and unfortunately hurdles.  I will make it through it all, with the love and support of my 5 girls, family, friends, and brothers.  Today is a day for reflection of my time here in Lexington.  A chapter of my life that saw my family grow from one baby to 4, from a high school football coach to an Executive Director.  I will miss the Bluegrass State, and My Old Kentucky Home will have the same effect on me, as Ol Danny Boy does on the Irish when they leave Ireland.  

Thanks to all who made being here such a great experience for my family, we will always love our Ol Kentucky home.... no matter how "far way" it is.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11. Thank you.

To all my fraternity brothers who just got back from a patrol in Afghanistan, to all the people who have served....thanks for doing what you do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sometimes it is more than a table.

I couldn’t get the picture turned around, my apologies but what you are looking at is a well worn chair.  I have sort of a theme sometimes with my blog.  It started with my Dad's clothes in Gatlinburg, then a pillow case, now the chair.  Sometimes a chair is more than just a chair.

With a move that is coming way to fast, our lives are pretty crazy right now.  We are getting rid of a lot of stuff, selling a lot of stuff, and throwing a lot of stuff away.  One of the items we decided to give away was this kitchen table above.  This table is at least 20 years old.  My parents got this table sometime around the time when we moved to the house my Mom and Dad currently live in.  If you look closely at the chair you will see teeth marks where Dixie chewed the chair as a puppy.  As a matter of fact, almost every dog since then has.  My parents then gave me the table in 2001 when I moved into my apartment here in Lexington, and Brooke and I have used this table ever since.  At first it was our main table, then it moved to the dining room table.  In our house here in Lexington, we used it about twice a year to eat on, but every day I used it as my office.  It was wobbly, I had to constantly tighten the bolts on the legs out of fear it would collapse.  It was quite literally on its last leg.  We made the hard call to get rid of it, it really wouldn’t survive a 4th move.

Brooke and I love putting things for free on Craig's List.  It is amazing to us how quickly someone will show up and take it off your front yard.  We literally laugh about it.  Today, 27 minutes after we posted it, a lady arrived to take the table.  I figured it would be best for me to go out there and help her load it up since she was here by herself. She kept talking about how beautiful the table was.  To us it was a lot of things, old, worn out, beat up, chewed up, a relic, but it wasn’t beautiful.  She kept talking about how much she appreciated it.  She had been living out of her car and just finally got a place for her and her twin girls.  She didn’t say much else- just that it was a quick move.  I got the sense that there was a dark reason for her move, but I didn’t press because its none of my business.  So I loaded up the car with the table and the chairs and sent her own her way.  I thought about it and realized that this table which had seen so much in our lives, still had one life left.  It was going to another home and helping a lady and her family who couldn't afford much else.

Sometimes a table is more than just a table, it was to us, and now it will be to this lady.  When I thought about blogging about this table, it was simply to talk about the mileage we got out of it.  After the lady picked it up and told me her story....I realized this blog was about much more than that.  So whoever you are lady, enjoy the table.  It served us so well and I hope it does the same to you.  In life you must move on, don’t look back, but every once and a while you got to sit back and relax.  Now she has something to help her and her kids do just that

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Mom- our hero!

As a Christmas gift to my four young grand daughters, I promised 400 scarves, 100 for each grand child... I always say a little prayer for each person who gets one of my scarves, because you can never have enough people praying for you when you are in harm's way in any way, shape, or form. I consider being able to supply these little bits of "home" a privilege. Thank you so much for all y'all do. --Nina Ayers

Thank you Nina for expressing so beautifully how we all feel. My scarf helpers and I marvel every day at the tremendous generosity of so many people across the nation who spend countless hours and pour love and best wishes into each scarf and hat they so lovingly create to send to our heroes in harm's way.

I wanted to share the excerpt above from a website called Operation Gratitude that mentioned and complimented my mother for all the hard work she has done this past year.  I normally say things like "greatest Ive ever known," and "hero" when talking about my father.  Without question, the same can be said about my mother, proof above.

She has spent the past year knitting 100 scarves for each of her granddaugthers to be sent to the troops in Afghanistan.  That is 400 scarves....400 HUNDRED! Wow, I am so damned impressed and proud of my mother.  She has a lot of hidden talents.  We all know she is a great cook, but she is also a good painter, handy around the house, and can carve up some great scarves for our troops.  There are a lot of things you could (and should) do for our men and women over there.  This is such a unique and special item, I know there will be a lot of men and women who are positively effected by my Mom's hard work over the year.

Great job Mom, we love you and are so proud of you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A simple thanks

I started this journey over a year ago because I thought Brooke was pregnant.  I wasn't sure how long I would last doing this blog but I knew there were a few things I wanted to put down on my blog because they were so important to me.  It seems as though there was life event after life event, and now there is another.

I have been offered, and accepted the position of Executive Director of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and its three entities, the Fraternity, Foundation, and F&H boards.  This truly is a dream come true.  To think I was once a pledge whose chapter was about to get kicked off campus, to now where I will soon become our 13th Eminent Supreme amazing.  Without question this is a huge responsibility and a massive change for Brooke and I.  One of the biggest changes is the fact that we will have to move to Chicago.  For the most part this is a no brainer, but I can't help but be a little sad for a few things.

I first should apologize.  I need to apologize to my family for moving so far away.  It breaks my heart to know that we wont be an easy drive away from each other like we are now.  It breaks my heart because the distance is what saddens Brooke the most.  While we are all supportive of this and ready to make the move, it is still sad.  While I'm sure my loved ones understand, I am sorry.

I am sorry to Seton Catholic School.  Not only do the love Brooke as a teacher, they love all of my girls as their own.  I never worry a bit with dropping all three of them off at school. There the get a Catholic backed education and are with teachers that love them to the core.  I am sorry that their own teachers cried when they got word that they were losing Baylor Grace, Caroline, and Reagan.  I am sorry that Brooke cried when she had her talk with the principal about having to leave.  I am most sorry that Reagan will miss out on getting taught first grade by her mother next year.  Seton is an amazing place, where we had roots.  I will miss that school and the people there.  Thank you so much for giving Brooke the opportunity to teach, and teaching my girls in their most formative years.

I can't even begin to thank Callie, Brooke, and Austin enough.  They have become such a big part of our family here in Lexington.  From the first time I grabbed Brooke into service, to the first time Callie met baby Caroline and was afraid to hold her....they have been here to help.  The girls love them so much, Baylor Grace got upset today when I told her Callie wasn't coming to play with here.  You three have been blessings and no matter how far we go, you will always be so close to our family.

In case you are wondering about this house, we have sold it.  The inspection was Wed. and the contract is pretty good.  Anything can happen but it looks good so far.  We are desperate to have Thanksgiving here even though the closing will be hours after that.  Reason being, we want one more gathering with all of our family here at the house.  A house that has provided so many great gatherings.  To birthdays, to births, to baptisms, to holidays, to games, etc.  This is the house where all of my children learned to be mobile, most learned to talk, walk, hug, get up after they fell down, potty trained, etc.  This house was so much more than a house, it was a home.  And the ducks, how could I forget them?  Every April they returned and we would fatten them up so Momma duck could go have their babies.  I hope the new owner takes as much joy in feeding the ducks that come back every year, as we have.  So many memories, it is sad to think that there wont be another calendar change in this house.

I normally am good with words but I am at this point honestly at a loss.  I am humbled and excited about the opportunities ahead.  I'm proud to stand next to Brooke, and love our life together.  I am sad to leave Lexington behind, and put a few more miles between both sets of parents.  All you ever want as a kid is to make your parents proud, and I hope I have  Sometimes in order to do so you must take leaps of faith like I am, even if it means taking you further away.  They hope they have raised you well enough to do just that, even if deep down inside it hurts them for you to do so.

There are so many people I could thank for preparing me for whats ahead but I know if I start, I will leave someone I care deeply about, out.  So thank you all, its been a hell of a ride.  The road goes on forever and the party never ends.  I will keep this blog going because now, more than ever, it will be a way for my loved ones to keep up with my goings on.  You probably thought that I had always done this blog for me, but truth be told, I have done this for you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Win, lose, or draw....

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

There may be 7 words you can't say on TV but there are 4 you can't say in this house.

George Carlin was known for a lot of funny things, unfortunately by the end of his life he was known more for being a bitter old man.  However, when he was in his prime, one of the things he was most famous for was "the 7 words you can't say on TV."  Because I try to keep this a family blog and his 7 words rant is totally NSFW, I will let you youtube it on your own.  Well in honor of George Carlin, I wanted to let you in on the 4 words you can't say in the Ayers house.  We started this with Reagan, Caroline loved the rules, and even though we haven't really pushed it on Baylor Grace, she is the first one to call you out on it if you say these words.  Even if I am on the phone with someone from work, having an adult conversation.  She will remind me when I am off the phone that I can't say that word.  She will remind me the rest of the night that I can't say those words.  The looks from all the big girls if I say one of those dreaded words, cuts like a knife.  So what are those you ask?  Would they make a sailor blush?  Probably not, but here you go.

Stupid This word is probably the most violated word in our house (by me).  It is amazing how often stupid comes up in a normal conversation.  We instituted this rule because this word for a kid is often used in a nasty sense that ends up getting them into trouble.  We felt it was better to cut if off early so that they don't claim something or someone to be stupid, that might ultimately get them into trouble.  Stupid is the number 1 word you can't say in this house.

Hate Hate is on here for obvious reasons.  We never want to hear one sister tell the other, "I hate you!"  This has been said millions of times between and at family members with little true intent.  However, its still ugly and it is still hurtful.  We don't hate things in this house, especially each other.  No matter what context you use the word, it probably isn't worth it.  Hate is a banned word in this house.

Shut up Shut up (which I guess is two words) is not allowed to be uttered by our girls either. This is difficult to control when you hear a politician mouthing off on TV or a dog barking.  Regardless, rules are rules, and we cant say shut up in this house.  Again, our main point is we don't want the girls telling each other to shut up.  It is another way kids, and sisters, are just ugly to each other. 

No This word is sort of hit or miss.  We say no to the girls a lot, and I feel it is one of the better things a parent can say to their child.  We also want them to grow up and feel comfortable and confident enough to say no.  At this age though, they don't understand the proper context and one of the brattiest things a kid can tell her parent is NOOOOOO.  So, unless we are asking them a yes or no question- they aren't allowed to tell us no.  If we tell them to do something and they say no, they are in trouble.  I will admit, we let this one slide more than the others, but they must be cautious when they say this to us.

So while the words you can't say in my house aren't R rated and wont get you fined by the FCC, you must be careful...... if you say these words around these parts, you might get sat in the timeout corner.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Soothing to the soul.

I admit it, I have always been fascinated by snake charmers.  I don't want to be within 100 miles of a King Cobra in the wild, yet these men sit face to face with these deadly snakes.  I don't even like looking at them when I take the girls to the zoo.  I know there is glass between us but what if the glass maker was having a bad day when that piece was cut and it isn't as strong? What if the intern, who is coming off his weekend drug high, forgot to screw the lid on correctly?  Anyway, it is safe to say that these snakes give me the eebegeebees.  I am intrigued at the courage (or stupidity) these men show and the power they show as well.  They seemingly put the venomous snake into a trance and can sometimes even kiss the snake on the lips.  It is said that the snakes get in the coma like state because of the vibrations that come from the wind instrument the man is playing.  On top of the music/vibrations the charmer often moves, almost in a snake like fashion himself, to help keep the snake in the trance.  Now it is also said that often the fangs are removed, sometimes the mouth is stitched shut.  That does take a lot of the danger out of the equation but it is still interesting to watch the relationship between the man and the animal.

I have my own sort of technique with my girls that has become a ritual to help calm them down every night.  Reagan and Caroline sleep in the same room and ask me to sing to them before bedtime.  It is usually a combination of three songs: My Old Kentucky Home, Dixie, and Goodnight Sweetheart.  Lately I have been throwing O Danny Boy and The Old Man in there as well.  They love them all and can't get enough.  Each time I am done, I kiss them, tell them I love them, then they almost always fall into a deep sleep.  People are amazed at how our kids so easily go to bed.  There is a lot that goes into that for sure but Daddy's music charms them to sleep every night.   Baylor enjoys it as well.  She picks who she wants to sing, some nights its Mommy and Twinkle Twinkle, and some nights it is Daddy with Dixie. Some nights she cons us both into singing to her at different times because she is an abosulte stinker and its hard to say no to those blue eyes  she wants to hear both songs. Regardless, for the three "big" girls they all love to be sang to right before bed.

Hadley hadn't really gotten to that point yet, at least not until yesterday.  We were on our way home from Nashville and due to the festivities, they girls were passed out asleep for much of the trip.  This in itself is a miracle.  The two big girls almost never sleep in the car.  As good as they are about sleeping on the mainland, they fight sleeping in a car.  This wasn't the case yesterday.  About 10 miles left of the bluegrass parkway Hadley wakes up and is extremely pissed that she is still in the car.  She starts crying and fussing like you wouldn't believe.  At this point we were out of options.  We didn't want to stop again because we were so close to home, the other girls were still sleeping, and she didn't want her toys.  Brooke says to me "sing to her!"  She has been with us for six months and I (known as the singer in the house) had never done this.  She is crying and fussing, everything is wrong.  The moment I get two words out, she stops crying.  Like a light switch went off.  It was one of the more interesting and touching moments I have had as a father.  I don't know what it was but something about me singing to her, made her calm down.  As long as I would sing, she was silent.  So, there is still about 30 minutes left of a drive.  That was a lot of Twinkle Twinkle, My Old Kentucky Home, etc. to sing before we got home.  I actually ran out of songs to sing, had to look them (lyrics) up on my phone (yes while driving) in order to get her a new song.  You'd be surprised at the few songs you actually know the lyrics to when put on the spot and without the radio help.  I ended up resorting to Christmas Songs and closing out the concert with a powerful (at least in my mind) version of Silent Night. 

Perhaps that was just a fluke and once we got home she would be distracted or harder to sooth.  About 6:30 she got extremely fussy and so despite the fact it was a little early, it was time for her to go to bed.  She didn't really want to go to sleep, I had to go back in there a few times and she was fighting it, with her eyes closed.  So, I started to sing to her.  She immediately stopped fussing and went right to bed.  A few hours later, Brooke, Brooke, and I were downstairs talking and Hadley woke up again crying.  Daddy went up there on two different occasions and the moment I began to sing to her, she calmed down.  It happened a total of 4 times yesterday and Brooke commented on how I seemed to have the magic touch.

All in all, its a pretty good feeling that my voice has a soothing feeling for my girls. After all, I am Irish, that's what we do.  We sing at the drop of a hat, regardless how well we carry that tune.  Part of me knows that as they get older, it will take much more than a song from Daddy to make them feel better.  I know that there will be a time when they no longer want their Daddy to sing to them anymore. You hope as a parent they find ways (or you teach them positive ways) to comfort themselves so they don't need you anymore. Mostly so that they can stand on their own two feet, but also because there will come a time when you wont be around anymore to do what they need. Sort of the double bladed sword of parenting.

I have always been fascinated by the relationship between man and beast with the snake charmer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It really does a body good!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, today I would like to take time to thank something very special, very important to me.  That is my wife's breasts.  Now there are lots of reasons why I am and should be thankful for those wonderful objects, most of which I will not bother you with today.  The main reason why I would like to publicly thank them today is because they have nourished all four of my baby girls.  As I look at Brooke on the couch now feeding Hadley, I tried to think of how many times she has done this.  When Hadley is done breastfeeding in April, I think the number will be around 5000-6000 times she has produced a good wholesome meal for my girls.  Not once did Reagan, Carolina, Baylor Grace, or Hadley, ever take formula.  Not only has this provided my girls with extra health benefits,  think of the money saved as a result.  When nutrition was at its most important, my wife came through for all of them.  How many nights did she go without sleep while I drooled on the pillow next to her because my nipples don't lactate?  She has sacrificed so much of her body for these 4 kids that no amount of appreciation is truly enough.

My wife always had an incredible body, she is a great athlete.  When she was pregnant, you could never tell she was from behind.  She remained skinny as hell everywhere except where she swallowed a basketball.  After Baylor Grace, she didn't stay in the hospital 24 hours before she was home.  She really is strong in so many ways.  Having said all that, carrying and delivering babies is hell, and it has roughed up Brooke..... in her mind.  I can't convince her than you could never tell she had 1 kid, let alone 4.  While a little different in some areas, she still looks amazing in my eyes.  Some Mom's have their kids, then farm out raising them so they can go workout all the time, etc.  and get their body back to pre baby shape.  Brooke simply dove into being a Mom and works her a*s off to keep up with the 4 girls and as a result, looks better physically than the majority of Moms around.  So while carrying a baby might be hell on a stomach, and breastfeeding might be hell on other areas, you still look great to me Brooke.  While at times it may be difficult on you, I thank your boobs for feeding my girls so many times and you sacrificing your body, your sleep, and your sanity for them.   

Monday, October 3, 2011

What was your most memorable year?

Brooke and I were watching TV tonight and on the show they were talking about what was their most memorable year.  Brooke and I discussed this for a bit and after going back and forth, I knew what my answer was.

At first you would think 2003 would be my most memorable year.  That year had so many life changes in that it would generally be hard to surpass.  First and foremost, that was the year Brooke and I got married.  While I feel our marriage is much better off today then it was when we actually got married, it was still a life changing day.  She looked amazing, and I was so proud to be in that beautiful Catholic Church in Nashville.  Also, we won a state title in football that year that ended up being a major struggle.  We started off the season 0-4 and I learned about overcoming obstacles, keeping the faith when everyone is doubting, and I learned that it isn’t always as easy as our undefeated 2002 season.  I started my graduate work at Spalding that year and I also decided not become an officer in the Navy.  Being a teacher at Trinity was always a dream of mine.  It was a major fork in the road that had life changing implications.  Most of the time in life you don't regret the things you do, you regret the things you didn’t do.  I feel like I would have made an excellent officer in the Navy and sometimes wish I had done that.  However, I know that if I had done that I would not have the girls I have today.  Yes, Brooke and I would have had kids and who knows, maybe I would have had a boy.  Regardless- I wouldn’t change it for the world.   2003 was an amazing year, but it takes the silver.

Which leads me to the only year that could have passed 2003, and that was 2006.  2006 was the most memorable year for me.  It was my first year on the varsity staff at Trinity.  Trinity football is in my blood and still is today.  To be able to work my way up through the ranks to work alongside three coaches that I hold in the highest regard (Mike Wagner, Andrew Coverdale, and Bob Beatty) was an absolute treasure.  I switched sides of the ball which was sort of scary, but I learned more than I did in the previous 5 years, and really became a complete coach.  It was a season where we lost the first game in the last few minutes of the game, but won every other game. With all the wins that season- I also saw loss firsthand of the worst kind that season.  Mike Wagner's son- someone I babysat as a kid- was in a car accident.  You learn about someone how they handle success but I feel you learn more about someone when they are faced with adversity.  I will never forget the courage that Mike Wagner showed those few weeks.  He never hid, he faced every challenge, with his son in that hospital bed.  Not knowing what the future holds, there were days we thought Andy would pull through and days we werent so sure.  It was an emotional rollercoaster that I woudln't wish on my worst enemy.  I will always remember being in the press box the Friday after Thanksgiving (we were at Henry Clay), when the police came into the box looking for Wags because his son was fading.  Something like that sticks with you.  You might think that this would be something you would want to forget, put behind you.  For the most part you would be correct.  I can’t put it into words what I learned from Wags those few weeks.  He taught me a lot about football, going back to the days he coached me in grade school.  The lessons he taught me about life those few weeks, can never be matched.  He taught me to Live, to Laugh, and to Love.  I would do anything to not have had that lesson learned but it happened, and through it he made me a better person.  Also that year I decided to take a job at UK.  It was a major head fake that I never saw coming.  Taking that job had so many unforeseen ramifications and I don't regret it to this day.  While there are a few at Trinity who made the situation worse than it needed to be, it was a great opportunity for myself and my family.  If Trinity is what they say it is, they should have all been happy for us....and for the most part they were.  While I didn’t stay at UK long, it did lead me to working for SAE, something that never would have happened if I would not have left my comfort zone at Trinity.   Working for SAE has been a blessing and I feel a calling. We probably would have never had 4 kids, and Baylor Grace and Hadley would not have been part of my life.  I do not think it would have been feasible to have four kids if we would have stayed at Trinity.  That choice to leave has brought us to Lexington and allowed me to travel all over the world.....and might have even more changes in the future (a future blog).  It really was "the butterfly effect."  But most of all, 2006 was the year Reagan was born.  A father cannot put into words what it means to hold their child for the first time...particularly their first child....particularly his first baby girl.  I honestly believe that there is a reason that God has given me girls.  If today, I am anything positive, it’s because of those girls.  Everything changed that day in February, for I now have a love so deep that I had never felt before.  And of course, we can't forget that in 2006 we found out we were pregnant again with our Sweet Caroline.  All of that combined makes me feel like 2006 was the most memorable year for me.

In the comments section below please comment on this blog if you want, but also feel free in the comments section to tell me about your most memorable year as well.

(yes that is Reagan)

I am a creature of habit

The big girls had dance, so I thought I would take Baylor Grace to the mall and look what we found!  Originally, I was going to write this blog about how excited I was for Christmas. You cant say it is because of the gifts I get, because honestly I really dont get many anymore.  Which is fine, the way it should be.  Having kids around Christmas makes the holiday so much more amazing.  I even purchased my first Christmas gift tonight for a lucky girl.  Then I started thinking...wait a minute, I have seen this before.....

If you look back on my blog, look at Monday, October 4th.  You will see almost the very same thing, with the very same blonde hair, blue eyed girl.  One year ago, to the day, (well today is the 3rd and not the 4th but is Monday) I took Baylor Grace to the mall and we saw the same Christmas decorations.  The madness began on that day a year ago, and I suppose it starts again.  I then looked at the blog to the weekend prior and we had our first fire that weekend before...just like this past Saturday.  I truly am a creature of habit.

The years come and the years go by and at some point habits become traditions.  Some may think I am crazy and they would totally be correct. I am crazy about this time of year and crazy about the sparkle in their eyes.  Last week when Reagan was acting up, Caroline told her to be careful with what she (Reagan) was doing because God, Jesus, Santa, and Elfie were watching.  It wont be long now before Elfie joins us again. 

(Here is the picture from 10-4-2010. I see a diaper bottom too).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Its never too soon-

I do believe that it is never too soon to have a great fire in the fireplace. Also we are having a sleepover tonight as well.  We are having a good family night.  Yes that is a mini lightsaber in Caroline's hands.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What is this cold stuff?

What is this cold stuff? I am not used to these colder temps!

Beat St. X

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What a weekend

Nothing poetic to say today, I just wanted to make note of what a great weekend it was.  Not much happened and on Friday I was worried it would rain all weekend.  I heard stories of yesterday being rainy and cold in Louisville, but it was a gorgeous weekend here, all weekend long.

Yesterday Brooke and Austin came over and we had tailgate food and watched football.  Today, we let the three girls play by themselves in the back yard today for the first time.  Brooke and I would go out the occasionally, play baseball or whatever, we even had lunch out there. For the most part, the girls were on their own.  Brooke and I kept a close watch on them through our windows but they didn't seem to notice.  They played, and played, and played some more.  After dinner we went out front to run around some more and Brooke gave the girls a "manny" and a "peddy" and I laughed about how covered in dirt, food, bruises, and filth the girls were.  They have never so desperately needed a shower as they did tonight. 

We did showers, teeth, books, and songs- and I think the girls were asleep before the lights got dark in their room.  We didn't really do much this weekend, but man was it a good one. 

Beat St. X.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Circle of Life

Today after school Reagan had a birthday party to go to.  This was an invite from school and not from the Mom's group, meaning Reagan was the only one invited.  So, I had an afternoon with just Baylor Grace and Caroline.  Fridays are good days anyway because it allows BGA and Carolina time to play with each other while Reagan is at school.  I decided to take the girls to go see The Lion King at the movie theatre.  Now, we own this movie and I think I like it better than just about anyone else.  It isn't too high on the girls list.  They had seen this movie many times before, however this version was in 3D.  This would be their first 3D movie.  To see the animals fly across the screen, the grass move, etc. I knew it would be a great visual movie to see.  I figured Caroline would wear the glasses fine since she does already, I wasn't sure how Baylor Grace would do.  I knew that popcorn, maybe a twizzler or two, and being with Dad would be fine by them.

As we got there I was taken back by a memory of my mother taking me to see The Lion King in the movie theatre when it first came out.  I know we (as a family) went to the movies a lot,  but I don't remember going with just my Mom too often. This particular movie memory has always been a special memory tucked away in my mind.  I remember going to what was called Lowes Stonybrook and I can picture which particular theatre it was. I wondered how many times do parents get to do that? Take their own kids to a movie that their parents once took them to see.  While I was too big (probably too cool) to sit in my mothers lap during the movie, I did enjoy a wet Baylor Grace climbing on mine.  She was wet because she spilled her water all over her, then proceeded to spill her water all over the floor.  I couldn't help but think of Mufasa and his wife holding up the baby boy at the start of the movie in what I believe to be one of the better opening scenes of any movie (as seen above).  The music, the animation, everything is great.  Then the boy grows up, finds himself, finds some friends, finds a good wife, claims his throne, and has a baby at the end of the movie.  Turns out the baby is a girl.  Does this sound familiar?  I couldn't help but relate to a 17 year old Disney movie in ways I never thought possible when I saw it the first time, so long ago.  It was a shame Mom couldn't be there with us but I knew she would be proud.

We all shared popcorn, left our 3D glasses alone, Caroline sucked her thumb, and Baylor watched the movie.  It was a great time to spend with them while Reagan was at her friends birthday party. At their age they can't comprehend the fact that I was enjoying my circle of life moment with them, heck I just did at age 32.  My hope is that someday they have kids and think back to the times when their Daddy took them to see a movie.  A time when it was just them, no work, no distractions, a little bit of salt, and a little bit of sweet.  They had seen the movie lots of times before but never like this.   Truth be told, I guess the same could be said about me too.

It really is the circle of life. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just another day in paradise

A video blog or vlog for Friday.

Lets just say one of us in the Ayers Lexington house woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  I'm not going to name names, but whoever this guy was, he was a holy terror as the day started.  It was a classic case of any point he might have had was totally destroyed because he decided to go nuclear on his entire family.  Again, I'm not naming names, I don't want to call him out directly.  I heard this song on the radio today when I was out driving somewhere and it made me think of this morning and the stupid way that man (who shall remain nameless) acted.

I love music and often feel it speaks for me, sometimes through me.  I always wonder if there isn't some Divine intervention with the set list on the radio because there are times when it seems particular songs are played for a very good reason.  Maybe I am over thinking it but it would be sort of cool if that really were the case.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9-11 Part II

So last night at dinner we all sat together, including Hadley. Finally we were complete. The topic of conversation turned to fire safety because at school, Caroline is learning "stop, drop, and roll." The natural progression in the conversation was about what amazing heroes fireman are. We told her to always run towards fireman, not away (even if they look scary). I then reminded her of the show we saw on TV where the airplane was flown into the building. She said,  "yeah (in a somber tone) lots of people died." I told her that was true but there were lots of people who were saved because of the brave heroes, the firemen. Many people were running out of the burning building while the firemen where running in. She says yeah, they are heroes, like Ironman. Yes Caroline, like Ironman. Caroline goes "you know the people who did that to the plane? They were bad men." That's right Caroline, they were bad men. Reagan then chimed in and says, "yeah those bad men did that because they don't like America."  The answer shocked Brooke and I but that's right Reagan, they don't like America.

The conversation ended when Caroline said that when she grows up she could be a fireman. I was very proud of her for even thinking about that after we had talked about the dangers of the job and that many of those brave men didn't make it home that day. She didn't care. It's funny to think of Caroline being a firefighter with her being such a little peanut.  I told her she could be firefighter if she wanted, in fact they all could do anything they wanted to do.

I was proud of my girls last night.  I think because there is something innate in Caroline to love and help others, she said wanted to be a fireman. Baylor Grace, who had been pretty quite the entire time, decided to chime in and say when she grows up that she wanted to be an Oompa Loompa. As a parent, you win some and lose some.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The 9/11 lesson I wasn't ready to give.

I, like most people, have watched almost everything I could with the build up of the 10 year anniversary of 9-11.  I wont go into details of my day, I remember that day exactly... as do most Americans.  Almost everyone remarks/remembers what a beautiful day it was that day.  They said on TV tonight that it was something like 3600 + days ago.  I can't believe all that I have personally done since then.  Thankfully almost all my loved ones are still with me. I have grown, my family has grown, I have changed a lot since that day.  Also, I have taught many lessons since that day.  In the classrooms, on the fields, courts, chapter houses, and in my own own house.  There was one last week I wasn't prepared to teach.

I was watching something on TV last week and was getting emotional about what I was watching.  Both Reagan and Carolina picked up on it and they knew to tread lightly around Daddy.  An aspect of 9-11 I had never thought of until that very moment was how would I explain it all to my children.  Unfortunately, something caught Caroline's eye on TV.  She has always had a strange obsession with fire and when she saw a plane, fly into a tower, and burst into flames.... she immediately began to ask questions about what she saw.  I looked at Brooke who was cooking the dinner and she looked back at me.  Both of us froze for a second.  What do you say? How do you describe the most horrific day in America's history to two little girls?  As a history teacher by training, I could explain exactly what happened in great detail.  I could even include the geo-political factors that contributed as well.  None of that would make sense to a 4 and 5 year old.  You also didnt want to terrify them of every plane or big building they saw.  Caroline is afraid of enough things already we didnt want to compound that issue.   Brooke can do so many things well, one of them is talking to and relating to younger minds.  She began to explain with the prefect amount of detail exactly what happened, and in the perfect tone of voice.  That the men didn't bring a fireball onto the plane (like Caroline assumed), it wasn't an accident, and many people didn't make it home that day.  In the end, those who did it were very bad men.  After the explanation you saw the girls shoulders...slump.  And when the gravity of what happened hit them, it made me sad all over again.  Brooke totally bailed me out that day.  I didn't know what to say, how to say, or if I should even say at all.  She handled it with as much grace as you possibly could. 

On 9-11 a nation lost it's innocence.  In a small way, 10 years later, my girls did as well.  They still don't all the way put 2 and 2 together but when they see videos of that day...they know what happened.  It bothers me that the girls live in that world that none of us grew up in.  Scary thoughts of what might happen when we go to the mall or when their Daddy goes to work, are thoughts that never crossed our minds before that day but are a reality in today's world.  We all think of that day often. We will struggle with how to teach our children about that day for all the years to come.  We will never be the same.  We will never forget.   

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Never Forget.


Do me a favor, go to the link above and click play under
Listen to “Heaven 9-11″ the 2011 Remix.  They have followed a girl who lost her father in 9/11 from when she was 5, 10,  and 15.

Caroline O Caroline.

Those of us who are fortunate to have more than one kid understand what I mean when I say we all have that ONE kid.  That ONE kid is the one that will say anything.  They have no inner monolouge.  They are funny without trying to be funny, they are loving by nature, goofy, somewhat aloof, or perhaps even a space cadet.  They are smart when they want to be, sassy at times, they are all your other kids rolled up into one.  For us, that is our Caroline. 

Last night the girls has a long promised movie night, popcorn, and snuggle time.  Or as Baylor Grace called it  moooovieee night, popcone, and nuggle time.  The girls were watching the moive, BG and Reagan were nuggling with their mother, Caroline was off doing her own thing. She walks back into the room and says
Caroline:  Mom, I think I have popcorn in my nose.  (No explanation on how it got there- it was very matter of fact)
Brooke: Really? Did you put popcorn up your nose?
Caroline: I think so.  (probably something you would remember)
Brooke: Go get a tissue and I will help you
Caroline: goes and gets it, comes back and blows her nose- there was no popcorn
Caroline: There, all better.

So, I guess it is entirely possible that Caroline went to school today with popcorn up her nose but I don't think so.  We have never had anything shoved up a nose, nor flushed anything inappropriate down the toilet.  It would figure that Caroline would be the first to dip her toes in this pond and it would make even more sense that she did it to herself.

We are lucky to have our girls.  They are growing like weeds and I will miss the kid versions of them when they get bigger.  I hope they don't change, although I'm sure they will.  I pray that Caroline always keeps her happy go lucky attitude.  She is a true blessing and without question our Honey Bee. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kids say the darndest things....

So today Reagan goes to school with something VERY important to tell her class.  As they sit around in a circle, Reagan raises her hand as high is it will go.  This is odd because its not really the time for kids to tell stories.  They are actually supposed to just sit there and listen.  Mrs, Boaz calls on her and Reagan tells her that she has something "very important to say."  She then stands up and says its so important that she has to stand up to tell everyone.  Reagan then proceeds to her entire class that her Daddy has a birthday coming up and that she thinks they should all make him a birthday card. 

She has asked me a lot lately what I wanted for my birthday.  She wanted to spend some of her own money on my gift.  Despite me protesting, she insisted.  In fact I told her she needed to spend her money on something important (not me).  She told me "Daddy your birthday is important."  Reagan, you have done enough, you gave me the most perfect gift today at school.

Reagan, I love you more than all the stars in the sky and fish in the sea!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

These are her magic shoes

Sometimes the hits just keep coming.  Today, Brooke showed Reagan a new pair of sporty shoes for her to wear to school.  There could be a lot of reactions to these new shoes from Reagan.  Could be happy, could be thankful, could be a wide range of emotions.  What does Reagan tell her Mom and teachers? "These new shoes will help me run fast and catch the boys on the playground."

There are times as a Dad when you feel kicked in the stomach, without actually being kicked in the stomach.  This was one of those times.  When her teacher told me that, I wanted to vomit.  Reagan is 5, catching boys should not be on her mind.  That doesn't happen until she is like 25.  Her Mom doesn't understand why I flip out when I hear stuff like this, I don't think she ever will.  While she doesnt fully understand, I think she knows why.  Only the Dads of little girls will understand.  You know its going to happen, you know that there is nothing you can do to stop it, but it still hits you like a ton of bricks when it does.  You have this battle that rages inside of you.  Its an inevitable part of them growing up and there are parts of you that are thankful.  Thankful she is at a good school, thankful she is healthy enough to run, thankful enough she can see the object she is trying to catch, thankful enough that she isn't backing down.....even to boys.

Way to stand on your own two feet Reagan, deep down your Daddy is proud of you.  As much as I hate to see you growing away from me, I know that in some ways it is because I am doing my job as your Daddy.  A Daddy daughters relationship is very much like the story of The Phoenix.  Just because with each passing day you become your own person,  It still hurts and I'm sure it always will. However, I have something they will NEVER have, I loved you first.  There is no doubt in my mind that no matter how big you get, now matter how many boys you chase, a piece of my heart will always be yours.