Thursday, April 28, 2011

A simple wish....

When I became a Dad, I swore I wasn't going to be "that guy" who always talked about his kids all the time.  You know the type, they think their kid has some special power, is uniquely smart, or better looking than everyone elses.  I wasn't going to be like that.  The more my kids grow and the more kids I have, I find most of my conversations revolving around them.  Probably so much so that my friends would rather me talk about the Civil War or the SEC- which a few years ago they were sick of hearing about!

Anyway, last night at dinner I told my girls I would rather hang out with them over just about anyone else.  No offense to John Collias who drove all the way down here last night to see us.  But in reality, my girls are my best friends.  All 5 of them.  I have something for everyone with them.  Caroline cant wait to go so Captain America with me- she loves superheros.  Reagan loves sports and steaks.  Baylor Grace is my diva.  And while I haven't learned much about Hadley, her Daddy has magical powers to make her poop (which makes her belly feel better) and calm her with his singing voice.  Of course, then there is Brooke.  She does whatever we want and really is a great companion. 

With all the stress and uncertainty in the world (and in our lives), I find myself circling the wagons.  I take joy in little things that probably used to be sort of a pain.  For instance, the time I spend with Reagan and or Caroline in the car on the way to school is one of my favorite times.  I find myself not having much to say to the girls during this time other than "I love you."  I love giving them a kiss goodbye and a hug so tight before they leave for school.  It still tugs at my heart every time I do it.  They are getting so big.  I love the time with the girls at night where we are watching a movie, TV, or reading books.  Those times are some of my favorites.  Even shower time, which Brooke loathes, I have come to really enjoy. 

I find my prayers at night being much shorter, much simpler. The days for asking for so many material things are long gone.  Lord, all I ask is for one more day. One more chance to tell them I love them. One more chance to tell them how special they are to me. One more chance to hold them tight.  I have been blessed to have those girls in my life and I wouldn't change it for the world.  Just as the song says above, even with that one prayer all this just "leaves me wishing wishing still, for one more day..." 

Unplug the telephone, turn the tv off, hold you every second, say a million I love yous. What amazing advice.  How many of you would give everything you own for one more day, one more hour, one more minute, to touch a loved one, touch someone you miss so deeply?  Probably a lot of us.  Every day the girls go off to school, before I say my last goodbye I tell them "I miss you already." That is so true.  I cant wait for them to come home so I can tell them one more time how much I love them.  That is my wish, my prayers.  Just one more day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What an amazing week-

I feel like after the week we have had, this (the above picture) is about all you can do. I don't know where to begin and I know I wont be able to express what I am feeling adequately.

I began this blog last August when I knew that Brooke and I were trying to have another baby.  I wanted the blog to center around the pregnancy. I never imagined it would take the ups and downs that it did.  To have this pregnancy part of our family history I dont think has really sunk in yet.  I feel that I will probably keep blogging though because so much of my family is spread out and I don't get to share with them like I would do in a perfect world.  This is my way of doing so. 

This was, without question, one of the best weeks of my life.  It started on Tuesday when Brooke and I went to her doctor for her check up.  We were hoping that they would just check us in and induce the baby but it didn't like look it was going to happen.  They did want to check Brooke in and observe her overnight.  This was somewhat of a let down as we had to call the Nashville crew and let them know they didn't need to come up.  Later in the day they did an ultrasound and a second doctor thought it would be best to induce Brooke the following day.  So, we had to call everyone back and say that it was going to happen on Wed.  The Nashville crew came up later on Tuesday anyway so to be here for the birth on Wed and not take a chance of missing it.  After a back and forth day it ended on a great note with all the girls visiting their mother at the hospital and Mimi and Pops showing up.  We went out to dinner at a fine American establishment Dennys, before we all collapsed that night. 

The next day was THE day.  Brooke's blood pressure was still up and when they broke her water, it was apparent that Hadley had already pooped inside of her mother.  While this was a sign that we were doing the right thing inducing the baby, this did make things a little more complicated for the baby.  Then the epidural got messed up on Brooke, making things even more tricky.  Regardless, the baby was coming pretty fast. Both the OBGYN doctor and my parents showed up just in time.  She came face up but other than that, things went pretty well.  Our beautiful 8lbs 3 oz girl was finally here.  Both her and Mommy were doing well.  We celebrated that night with some Orange Leaf and White Castles. 

Brooke didn't get released on Thursday like she had hoped but for the most part it was a smooth day.  Friday she came home, and we were visited by both Patrick and Sarah, and Brooke (who was there for the birth) and Austin.  Saturday we took Hadley for her first trip to the mall, Brooke and her Mom got to have lunch together, Pops and I saw a movie, and we ended the day with great meal (which is a theme).   The Easter bunny came this morning and shortly there after Pops and Mimi headed back to Nashville.  They spent more time here than normal but it is all a blur.  I feel like I hardly saw them.  The disappointment of them leaving, was put at aside briefly, as MaMaw and PawPaw came for dinner.  They have been doing this a lot lately, and each trip is a great visit.  Now the girls are bathed and we are watching Willy Wonka, which is a tradition in our house.  Things are getting back to normal, as much as they can with a new baby.

It truly was an amazing week and I am so thankful for all those who were a part of it.  I am, however , sad now that this week is over.  We have been looking forward to a version of this week for some time and now that it is over, it is bittersweet.  Nothing is more important to Brooke and I than being with those we love and it seemed like that's all we did this week.  I (already) miss both sets of my parents deeply.  We had tornado warnings almost every day, watched endless hockey and basketball playoffs, even watched some old 8mm videos of Pops when he was a kid.  I think I did a decent job of not being wrapped up with work when I am supposed to be off.  I wouldn't change much from this past week.  I feel very similar to the way I do on Christmas night.  I think the greatest gift this week was just spending some time with my girls and not being too distracted.  I don't know that any of them have super powers or will ever be famous but those 5 girls mean so much to me and being with them this past week has meant the world.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be about the things that really matter.  This past week was nothing but that.  Thanks to all those who were a part of it, I love you all so very much. Onwards and upwards, to our next journey.  Come along if you wish.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hadley Blaine Ayers

You are loved, you are loved, you are SO loved. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

I AM a fortunate son, (and proud of it)

Back to my regularly scheduled blogging.  Yesterday morning was a big day for me.  We fly our flag every day outside of my house.  Not just on holidays, not just when everyone else does.  Every day.  Now occasionally my flag display might have a southern twist to it (no I don't fly the traditional Confederate flag) but sometimes I put appropriate flags on historical dates.  Most people who drive by would not have any idea what the additional flag is.  Anyway, I am very proud of the flag that I fly.  My father in law once replaced the whole set for me while I was gone on a work trip because he knew how much it meant to me to have a good looking flag out front.  Due to the weather and wind recently my flag got all torn up.  I imagine it looked a little bit like the The Great Garrison Flag that flew over Fort McHenry.  In fact I have seen that flag in did look like it.

So yesterday I made a big deal about the proper way to get a new flag.  The girls wanted to know why we didn't just throw it away, I told them because it "isn't trash, in every sense of the word." I went on to explain to the girls about how the flag must not touch the ground.  I gave Reagan one end of the flag and told her to hold it tight.  I then proceeded to fold it, explaining how each fold actually meant something.  I then folded the end in, talking about how it is supposed to remind people of the hats worn by the Colonial Army, specifically George Washington (they had heard of him at school).

I then made a big production about how we were going to take the flag to some Army men and they were going to do a big ceremony and properly destroy the flag.  After a longer than anticipated stop to Wal Mart to purchase a new flag, we drove across town to the VFW.  It gave us a chance to talk about the big ceremony and why it was so important.  I talked about how many men and women died to protect the flag and how their Great Grandpa and Aunt Sarah served for that flag.  Part of me smiled as I thought about those family members of theirs who once fought against this flag, but that is another lesson for another day.  There wasn't much other talk in the car, I got the sense the girls really knew something big was going to happen.  When we got to the VFW, I noticed each window in the front of the building had been broken on purpose.  I went inside and it looked just like you would think. A few bikers around a bar and they all sort of turned and looked at me at the same time.  I told them I was sorry about their windows and that I just wanted to make a big deal about the proper way to take care of a torn flag for my daughters out in the truck.  One of the guys came up to me and said that they just destroyed some that morning but will take care of it next time.  He then reached out his hand to shake mine and said "thank you buddy."  I said..."No thank you."

I then went outside and put the flag in the box where they belong.  Caroline wanted to know why I put the flag in the mailbox (because it looks just like a mailbox) which was a good question on her part.  I told her that is the special place where they go and the Army men inside would take care of it.  She said yeah, "with their special ceremony."

On the way home the song "Fortunate Son," came on my ipod.  I like the song but generally disagree with the song.  For the time and place the song came out, I am sure it had some very accurate meaning but not now, not in my house.  I was born to raise the flag and my girls will have Star Spangled Eyes.  I didn't have a silver spoon in my mouth but didn't need either.  While I never served, it doesn't mean I don't hold those that do/did in the highest regard. Nor do I want to go around fighting needless wars because I can be in favor of such, safely from my family room couch.

As a parent you are never sure what lessons will stick with your kids.  I am pretty sure Baylor Grace just enjoyed the truck ride with her Daddy (which is in itself a lesson) but I am hopeful that the actual lesson I tried to teach will stick with the big girls.  Reagan is right "Yea Army Men!"   

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I saw red...

So, I had something else I was going to blog about but then life happened.  I will shelve that blog for a later date to tell you about something that happened to us tonight.

We had an open house today- don't get excited, I am sure it wont produce anything.  After working hard to clean the house we went to Brooke and Austin's during the OH.  It started off fine but then it came time to decide on dinner.  Brooke and Austin suggested pizza- which normally is a for sure in our house.  The problem was we just had pizza on Friday and I don't think we were overly excited about it.  It was difficult to come to a consensus.  We decided on Subway, although the little girls were going to get a Subway pizza (which are really good if you have never tried one).  Austin and I headed out to Subway to get dinner.  Let me first say that the guy working at Subway had the worst attitude ever.  He looked pissed that Austin and I were there buying dinner.  I was up first to place my order and I attempted to order what my wife wanted.  They didn't have it, they were out.  I eventually attempted to order the pizza for Caroline and Baylor....they didn't have that either.  They were out of damn near everything my family wanted.  I didn't make a huge deal out of it, I would just go somewhere else.  I didn't really want to get the girls Happy Meals but at this point it was the easiest thing to do.  Austin took me to Taco Bell to get Brooke's dinner, then to McDonald's to get food for everyone else (this is the third place we have been to).

Now I understand that you don't need to be a genius to work at McDonald's.  I almost always respect the people that work there, regardless of their brainpower or hygiene.  I knew I was in trouble when the lady taking my order told me, after I tried ordering it three times, 

Lady:"we don't have the two cheeseburger meal. I can however give you fries and a drink with my two cheeseburger order." 

I proceeded to say "really? I have never been to a McDonald's that has not had the two cheeseburger meal.  Even if it isn't on the board, they have it, but whatever.  If you don't have the cheeseburger meal option, I will just take fries with the two cheeseburgers." 

She says "okay, you wanted two cheeseburgers(plain- I say, just to re-enforce the idea that I wanted them plain), a cheeseburger happy meal (again I specifically point out that I wanted that plain too), two chicken nugget meals....with apple dippers???" 

"No mam, I don't want apple dippers (I had told her twice I wanted Apple Juice drink box), I said I wanted apple juice boxes with the Happy meals."  I then look up and see on the board that the meal option #4 was the two cheeseburger meal I wanted the entire time.  I made the mistake of pointing that out to the PhD. candidate who was taking my order.  "Mam, #4 on the board right there is the two cheeseburger meal." 

She replies..."oh you wanted the meal?"  I was getting testy at this point. 

"Yes, you even stated you didn't have the cheeseburger meal, that's all I wanted."  She was looking rather confused.  "Mam, just give me two cheeseburgers plain, I don't care what else you give me with it,  a plain cheeseburger happy meal, and two chicken nugget happy meals with apple juice boxes to drink."

I then paid, checked the ticket (which was right), grabbed my food and left.  I noted that I got one juice box and two soft drinks for the Happy Meals. This was not what I ordered but I didn't feel like going to prison, so I took it and got out of there.  We arrived back at Austins and I placed the food down on the table.  Everyone was confused because we agreed on Subway but there was food from three places.  I said to everyone.... "don't ask."

Brooke walks upstairs looks at the food and says "You got them Happy Meals?"  Now, it wasn't just what she said- it was how she said it. She saw Happy Meals and proceeded to yank my chain about it. I looked at her and said, "Brooke don't say a fucking word." I admit, that probably wasn't the best choice of words.  But with all the stress of work, trying to run this household because she physically can't, trying like hell to get food for everyone, I didn't need her yanking my chain because I got the kids Happy Meals.  Which were becoming less happy by the moment.  In retrospect, I then proceeded to take a page out of my father's play book.  I pounded the three Happy Meals and proceed to storm out the door. Had I been at my place I would have thrown them out in the yard.  I looked for a garbage can and couldn't find one so I got in the car and drove away. 

About a half an hour later I drive back to the house to pick the girls up and go home.  Brooke gets in the car and proceeds to try and apologize.

Brooke: I didn't know what I said was going to be so sensitive.

Now, all this did was throw me into a deeper rage.  That wasn't what needed to be apologized for (in my opinion), I wasn't really sensitive about anything.  I was pissed that after all I went through to get them food the first thing she did was get all over my case about something I didn't have a lot of control over and went through hell to get.  Had she asked what happened I would have explained.  I didn't want to get them Happy Meals either but I did the best I could.  So, after saying a few things that probably shouldn't have come out of my mouth, it has been a quiet night around our house.

After watching AFV with the girls, Extreme Makeover:Home Edition came on.   Tonight's episode featured a family who had an athletic father that was paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident in which one of his three girls was driving.  At one point in the show he was crying and asked his wife to wipe his tears away because he couldn't.  It immediately put things into perspective.  As mad as I was at Brooke, as justified as I felt I was, it really didn't matter.  In the end, it wasn't that big of a deal.  I can still hug my girls (something the Dad wanted desperately to do) and I can still crush the "Happy" Meals when Im mad.  Most things aren't worth getting so worked up over, something I had done a great job at keep in perspective.  Tonight I did not.

And for the record, the cheeseburger Happy Meal, the one I specifically asked twice to make sure it was plain for Reagan, came fully dressed.      

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


(watch the video people)

Dear Hadley,

For a long time now I have considered you part of the family.  Well actually the moment we found out Brooke was pregnant, you were part of this family.  I wont recount the horrible week when we thought we lost you.  Just remember, when you turn 16 I get to smack you for that.  Anyway, I have watched you grow (and grow) in your mother's belly.  To see you move, kick, hiccup, and come to life inside of her is an amazing treat.  Last father's day the girls gave me a bracelet to wear when I am on the road, one with their initials on it.  Not too long ago, Brooke made a new one and included yours.  When people ask "how many kids do you have," I instinctively tell them, "4." I don't mean to count my chickens before they hatch, but lets be honest, I'm totally excited for you to be here.  I have NO idea how I am going to pay for college or the 4 weddings.  I keep hoping that the government pays for all those things by the time y'all are 18 (yes that is a joke...sort of).  We already have your first vacation planned, we are going to a place where I spent many of summer vacations at when I wasn't much older than you.  We took Baylor Grace to the beach when she was 7 weeks old, you will get to do the same.  Let me tell you, if anyone is more excited to see "Baby Adley" than me, it is your big sister Baylor Grace.  She walks around holding babies, and rubs your mothers belly, kisses it, etc.  She is totally excited for you to come.  We all are, and I want you to know, no matter what- you are so loved.  You have been from the moment we knew you were here with us.  The waiting room will be filled with nervous anticipation but that will be masked with the love that so many people will have for you.  And I just want you to be prepared, I will probably cry.  We are so lucky, so blessed to have another girl.  I don't know if your hair will be brown or your eyes blue.  To be honest, I don't at all care.  Just be safe and come out in good health.   I wasn't sure I was going to make my last round of work trips due to your arrival.  Thankfully you held in there but I am home now.  So Hadley, please proceed with your arrival whenever you are ready.  You, and your sisters (your mother for that matter) are truly a gift from God.  Thanks for making me be a better man. 

Love always and forever,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Up in the Air??? Due Date?

Before you continue in this blog, please take the time to watch this trailer.  I know many of my loyal followers (i.e. Mom and Dad) sometimes do not watch the videos when prompted.  I sometimes feel like my life is a mix between two movies, Up in the Air and Due Date.  Two different movies, two have very direct parallels to my life.

In Up in the Air, (I believe I have blogged about this before)George Clooney is like the "Angel of Death" for the workforce.  He travels from city to city because he can properly fire people for a particular company.  It isn't a pleasant job, a job he has to be detached from because if not it will drag him down with it.  No one wants to be the barer of bad news.  That is very similar to my job.  If I show up at a chapter, that is not good news. I am there because someone (or group) did something very bad.  Generally speaking, I am the "no fun guy" because I educate the chapters about all the things done bad, and all the rules and regulations.  I suppose I have the ability (like Clooney) to deliver difficult messages in a way that the chapter can embrace the idea and adapt the right way to do things.  Doesn't always work, sometimes the message goes in one ear and out the other, but it is what it is.  As a result of all of George's travel he knows cities simply by their airport code, hotels, and has become elite status in almost every reward program.  This too is very much the same as my life. Travelling used to be exciting and seeing new cities.  I now find it just as easy to stay as close to the airport as possible in many of my destinations.  Please don't confuse anything I am saying with complaining.  I am very thankful to have a job and generally feel happy with the work I do.  Having said that, road warriors are best served by single, fatherless men (or women).  The underlying aspect of all this travel is that I leave my girls at home and miss them deeply when I am gone.  Thank God for Skype.

Due Date- is another movie that closely follows my life.  You never actually know what Robert Downey Jr. does for a job but he seems successful, has a "good hair line and strong jaw."  Things I'd like to think relate to me.  He is madly in love with his wife (again relatable) and can't wait to get him for the birth of their child (again...relatable).  Because of a comedy of errors he is placed on the no fly list and the movie becomes a modern day version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.  RD Jr. tried every way in the world to get across country to make it home in time for the scheduled inducement of his wife.  As I sit here in the airport at PHL, I would give anything to be able to click my heels and be home. I know that once I get back to Nashville, I have a three hour drive on top of that.  Today is a big day at work; I will get some news from a U about a situation that occurred back in Dec.  While I am thankful to finally get some word, the entire situation has caused more stress than I ever desired to have.  Regardless, the light at the end of the tunnel is that I know sometime today I will be home to the screams of three girls and a great hug from their Momma.  And to top it all off, with any luck, I will make it home for the birth of Hadley which was a great concern of mine leading up to this trip.  Just a few more hours.....

Monday, April 4, 2011

A very moving piece

Please take a second to watch this video from CBS this past weekend.  It really puts things in perspective.  Considering where Brooke and I are at right now, I ask that you take a moment to say a prayer to your God for Brooke and for Hadley.  Most would think that its all smooth sailing at this point for us but this video is testament that it isn't always that way.  The strength I pull from this video will help me find peace these last few weeks. 

Yesterday was a great day- full of sunshine- full of family.  We spent a lot of time outdoors working in the yard, the dog, the girls, and me. We got a new lawmower that came in a good sized box.  The laughter that Brooke and I had over the girls infatuation with that box.  They literally just sit in the box and play with the top closed for hours on end. Brooke and I even had a chance for the two of us to sit and talk about life, about the future, etc. We talked of love, where we are going, new life, and the ending of another.  Last night (all day really) Brooke cooked an amazing meal and "Aunt" Brooke and "Uncle" Austin came over to eat with us.  We threw some baseball, some football, Brooke X2 gave the girls their shower and the didnt leave till the girls went to bed.  Reagan and Carolina kept asking "can you stay longer, can you stay longer?"  It was a great day.  

I don't know Hadley yet but I already love her so much and to think we thought we had lost her very early on.  The wonder of what she will look like, who she will act like, is all consuming. The anticipation is palpable.  I just beg the good Lord that she comes soon and that everything is fine for her and her Mommy so that someday down the road, those sunny Sundays will have one more set of happy eyes to play with the other three.  Strength in family, strength in friends, strength in love, strength in God.   

Saint Gerard Majella is a Roman Catholic Saint whose intercession is requested for children, childbirth, expectant mothers, motherhood, falsely accused people and so on. All Pregnant ladies can seek the intercession of St. Gerard for a safe delivery.

This life you have given us
is so tiny, fragile, and vulnerable,
safe in the womb of flesh and hope,
yet subject to danger and death.
O God of love, creator of life,
hear our prayer.
We want this baby so much.
Please grant this child of ours
a full term of nurture,
the joy and mystery of life,
and the blessing of your love.
Grant us the fulfillment of our dreams,
a baby to cherish and protect,
a child to teach and guide,
a blessing to our family.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It was a great season.....

And next year we are going to be even better but this needs to be played at the Wildcat Lodge on repeat..... 4-12 from the free throw line and we get beat by 1 point.