Monday, May 30, 2011


If you log onto my blog at it shows you how many times my blog has been viewed.  I just passed 8000 views in about 9 months...somewhat of a milestone for me.  I suspect that of the 8000, 7000 are from me and my mother and father.  It seems as though they are the only ones who post anymore on the comments sections leaving me to wonder if there is anyone else out there?  Its been a long, not great Memorial Day for me.   Regardless, its been a better day for me than Jim Tressel's.

This is Memorial Day, a day we are supposed to recognize not just those who serve (that's Veterans Day in  November) but those who served and gave the "last full measure of devotion" for our country.  Thankfully going back to the war of 1812, all of my family that went off to war came back.  But not all of those that came back, came back whole.  So tonight, I honor "One Armed" Hardy Caldwell from Tennessee.  Hardy was my GGGGreat Uncle who lost his arm a Vicksburg.  He then rejoined the Confederate Calvary after he healed up and continued to fight through the duration of the war.  The truth is, anyone who has gone off to battle,  leaves a piece of themselves on the field either figuratively or literally, sometimes both.   Here's to you Hardy and all those brave brothers in arms, especially those who never returned home.


Friday, May 27, 2011

When the shoe is on the other foot....

I learned something new today, when the shoe is on the other sucks.  So much of my life and job (as blogged about before) is getting into a rental car or boarding a plane.  Its fine, Ive come to terms with it and it doesn't really bother me that much anymore.  In fact, Ive gotten pretty good at it.  It almost is numb now- leaving my girls behind.  I have trained myself not to think about it too much so that I don't get depressed when I am in a cold hotel room by myself.  There are of course perks to traveling.  I get to see some great places and meet some great people.  I also build up a lot of miles.  So much so that the hotel on the way down and the way home on my vacation in a few weeks will be free of charge.  Having said all that, the shoe was on the other foot this morning.  This morning we all woke up very early to get Brooke and Hadley to the airport.  The only logical way to get Brooke to Massachusetts for her Grandfather's funeral was flying her and Hadley up there.  That requires me to see her, with her luggage, walk through those sliding doors to the oblivion of an airport. This is something she has done with me in reverse a thousand times.  It is very hard for me to not be up there in Central Mass. this weekend for a lot of reasons I wont go in to.  Being there would also be hard for a lot of reasons that we can all imagine.  Funerals are never easy and the better the man/woman was, the harder it is to say goodbye.  All that considered, I think that one of the hardest things this weekend was seeing Brooke walk away with Hadley this morning.  The "big" girls and I will do the best we can this weekend and have full run of the house. I suspect if Mimi and Pops stop and think about it...well I don't think they want to think about it.  :)  We will do our best to keep things here in good order.  We will still shower, eat, sleep, brush our teeth, etc.  Not having Mom around is tough never realize how much someone means to you until they are gone for a few days.   I don't at all claim to be as important to this family as Brooke is but I will think about that next time it is my leaving on a plane.  The bottom line is I wish none of this was necessary.  I wish that Grandpa was in good health, Mimi and Pops are here in Nashville, and we are all having a Memorial Weekend together.  Life is what happens when you make plans.  It would appear that we have been given some lemons, but is there a better time for lemonade than the start of summer?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Matthew 25:23

Grandpa (Brooke's Grandfather)-

What can I say?  People knew you were sick when you stopped going to your Catholic church.  That is so powerful and in my opinion says so much about who you were.  Death is sad for those who are left behind but I know today is one of your best days ever.  You are finally feeling good and no doubt dancing again.  None of these earthly chains are holding you back.  Today is a good day for you because you finally get to be with your beloved Stella again, hold her hand, kiss her goodnight.  And she too is in good health.  Yes, we will cry, and we will miss you.  I know you wouldn't want that and I can picture you saying "Dont be sad, I only hope you have as many great years as I had." Grandpa I regret I can't make it but I have to stay here with the big girls so that your only granddaughter can pay her respects.  Its going to be a sad day for us but this is a good day for you.  Not only are you healthy again, not only are you dancing again, not only are you with your Stella again, but today you get to meet our Lord.  I have no doubt he was waiting for you and I can picture him saying to you  "Well done good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of your Lord."  Yes, it is a sad day for us, how can it not be? You were one of the best and someone we should all try and copy.  A sad day for us no doubt, but a great day for you.  Rest in peace Grandpa, you certainly deserve it.

All my love,

P.S.  If you see a tall, lanky, dark haired, big glasses, southern guy come up to you- its okay.  Its just my grandpa Burbon, y'all would get along great.  Say hi to him for me, we miss him down here too.

I get by with a little help from my friends....

Having 4 kids is like trying to control a tornado.  Once you have 4, girls no less, you just run for the most secure room in the house and commence praying.  Truth be told, we wouldn't have it any other way.  Brooke and I find peace in the chaos because we know it wont be like this for long.  Some day Brooke and I will have to beg the girls to hang out with us.  It is nice on that rare occasion for Brooke and I to get away for dinner or a movie.  When we do get out by ourselves, we almost always end up talking about the girls.  For a brief moment  though it is like we are dating again before the weight of the world was on our shoulders.  Sometimes work gets in the way and we need to have someone watch the girls so we can do our jobs. A chapter calls me somewhere else in the US and Brooke has to run and do something at Seton.  Neither instance, the date night or the work day, would be possible without the help of two very important people.

Brooke Ward-

Brooke and I met when she was a big timer in the Greek Community at UK.  It really was a relationship formed by fusion.  My Brooke had been in town and was having issues with Caroline, who at the time was still in her Mommy's belly.  So, knowing we had a little Reagan at home who was going to be at the hospital as well, I looked at Brooke who was in my office and said "you re coming with me (to watch Reagan)!"  I guess she has been along ever since.  She became our go to girl for house sitting, dog sitting, and most importantly, baby sitting.  When the Brookes first met they were in two different parts of their lives.  My Brooke was new to a town, professional, wife, mother.  The other Brooke was holding on to the last few party years in college, single, and not sure where she wanted to go in life.  While Brooke Ward enjoyed watching my kids, the friendship part wasn't as prevalent.  Brooke Ward then started coming over to watch shows on TV, the girls started to get real excited to see her, Brooke found herself a new man, soon she would graduate and become a nurse, and yes we were expecting again.  By the time Baylor Grace came around we knew that there was no one who knew our two girls better than Brooke.  She became Baylor's Godmother and in many ways, all of the girls Godmothers.  At her wedding, it was our girls she asked to be the flower girls bypassing some in her own family.  Brooke never leaves our house without telling them that she loves them.  When Hadley was born, Brooke was the only one in the room with us.  She is every bit a part of this family as someone can be.  She is going on vacation with us next month.  We love her with all of our being and putting aside the fact of the total amount she has helped my Brooke, the joy she brings my girls cannot be measured.

Callie Hays-
Callie is Brooke Ward's friend from her sorority and valedictorian of her nursing class. The funny thing is, the first time she came over she was afraid to hold Caroline.  She didn't know Brooke, never seen Reagan or Caroline, and barely knew me.  It wasn't long after that, that Callie started coming over as well.  She is better with the kids than just about anyone I have ever known.  My girls truly love their Callie.  She is one of the first people invited to all the parties and she almost always comes.  The girls get so excited when Callie comes to play.  I've watched her with the girls too because sometimes she comes to help me while I am working.  She walks the perfect balance between being a friend and being a Mom.  I have no doubt that someday she will make a great mother of her own. Until then, she has become a second (or third) mother to my girls.  I honestly think that my Caroline loves her Callie more than anyone.  She gets so excited to be around Callie and lights up when Callie comes in the room.  Callie has been there to see a lot of personal family moments- like the crazy family concerts at the family gatherings- and joins right in.  She has seen us laugh, she has seen us cry, she has seen good times, and bad.  I am thankful for Callie.

They say one of the first things you need to do when you find out you're pregnant is find a good babysitter.  Brooke and I are lucky we have two.  And in reality, they are much more than just the babysitter, they are family.  I hope we do all we can to stay in each other lives forever.  I can see my girls watching their kids when they get older.  Who knows where our roads may lead us but Brooke and I are so thankful that the good Lord brought them into our house. I wouldn't wont to begin to actually calculate the tab we owe them for all the freebies they gave us watching our kids. We love you girls (Callie and Brooke) you mean so much to our family. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Swing for the fences Reagan-

I hate soccer; I hate it with every ounce of my body.  I have come to really enjoy coaching Reagan's soccer team.  As much as I hate the game, I like being out there with her and her friends.  I think they like me too and that is evident by the way they climb all over me.  I like being able to push Reagan harder than the other girls, I like being able to see Reagan improve, and I like being able to see Reagan compete.  This weekend though I was reminded of a time when I was a kid and my Dad was my coach in the same way I am now Reagan's.

I peaked as a baseball player when I was around 8 or 9 during adult pitch.  I was generally a good athlete but I always did better when my Dad pitched to me- as opposed to the other coach.  In adult pitch, one of your two coaches throws you the ball to hit unlike normal baseball where the pitcher tries to get you out.  I remember having a particularly good season one year and it had come my turn to bat during a game.  Dad is pitching and on the mound, he says to me..."Boomer if you hit a home run, I will take you to Children's Palace and buy you anything you want."  I hit the ball all the way to the fence and while it did not leave the park, I ran as fast as I could and achieved an inside the park home run.  Most would be excited about helping their team win, others excited about accomplishing a very athletic task, I was just excited because I could go to the largest toy store in Louisville and get anything I wanted.  An inning or so later, I was coming up to bat again.  This time I looked at Dad and say "if I hit another home run, can I get any two things I want?"  Dad said sure...that ball still hasn’t landed.  It became very clear that I was a reward motivated person.

This past Sunday Reagan had a soccer game.  It was a cold and rainy day- which sums up most of the season.  Last fall was a much better season for Reagan but she has been coming along and doing some real nice things lately on the field.  As much as I hate the game, I loved being out there with her and  just messing around.  You can't coach a 5 year old much; you just try and help them not get hurt.  After a rainy game on Saturday, no one wanted to go to one on Sunday under worse conditions.  I had to wake Reagan up form her nap at the very last minute to get the game. She was not wanting to waking up and not having anything to do with playing soccer.  She begged me not to go.  So picture this...a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, I am begging my daughter to go play soccer, she is begging me not to go.  Talk about a twisting of roles.  After much drama, protesting, and consternation I got her in the car and we were off.  On our way there I remembered one of my Dad's coaching techniques when I was about that  same age.  I said Reagan, all I ask is that you perk up and play hard.  You do that and I will take you to Orange Leaf.  Immediately I saw a smile across her face.  She went out there and never once complained about the cold rain like every other girl did.  She was ready to play.  She started very well and had a breakaway to an open goal when one of her teammates ran her over, took the ball, which her teammate then missed the shot....  I was proud of my restraint.  After that, she actually did a slide tackle to take the ball away from the other team...very impressive.  Before long she banked her first goal in off the post, it was a thing a beauty.  Then, she later got the ball all the way down by her own goal, dribbled the length of the field using both feet to control the ball, and took a real nice shot right into the goal.  Two goals, great defense, and a big win.  I was a proud Daddy, for a lot of reasons.  You know the Daddy that hates the game of soccer.

After a weekend of a dance recital and soccer games, I realized that when you become a Dad you will end up doing a lot of things you didn’t want to do, don't like to do, or every dreamed of doing.  That’s okay because to see the looks on their face when they are on stage, or when the score the big goal, it makes it all worth it.  Swing for the fences Reagan, sometimes you may not hit the ball out but you might just hit it far enough to do what needs to be done. Regardless, I will be waiting cheering you on, just like my Daddy was for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Look Back

Today, I have a blog dedicated to "The Look Back"  and the two different phases it has taken on in my life.

College- I have been with Brooke now 11 years and its been two of the best years of my life (just kidding Brooke). I do recall my days before Brooke and even when I was courting her.  I fancied myself as a True Gentleman and always tried to maintain a great reputation with the sorority community at UK.  Probably did a decent job at this, since it was the Sorority Council that nominated me for Homecoming King.  Anyway, I can remember going on many dates and always looking for one clue as to what the future might hold...that clue was the look back.  You know, when you drop her off for the first time and she walks towards her door...does she look back one more time before disappearing?  If she looked back, you were money and she was interested.  If she didn't well perhaps that was the end of your relationship (yes I know some girls don't look back on purpose because they play games).  Generally though, those that were interested in you would look back one more time.  Maybe she even includes a smile with her look back.  It can be an amazing feeling in some ways better than the first kiss.  You know if she looks back that there is a real chance and that she is interested.  It is an amazing feeling of excitement and gets you through the downtime till the next date.

Fatherhood- I have talked about dropping my girls off at school a lot on this blog.  I used to not do it as much but since Hadley Belle is here, I do it every morning.  That way Brooke and Hadley can sleep.  I have also said that the last thing I tell the girls when I am kissing them goodbye is that I miss them already.  That is 100% true.  No matter how much I do this, no matter how many times I drop them off- I still cant get over how big they are getting.  It still hurts a little to drop them off.  Today, Reagan gave me a hug and held on a little harder/longer than normal.  She started to walk to the classroom and turned right around and ran back to me to give me another hug.  It was a great feeling, I told her to have a great day and I will be waiting to see her when she got home (and again that I missed her already).  It was me, trying to put on my bravest face.  I stood there and watched her walk down that long hallway, something I have done so many times before.  Then, right before she was swallowed up by her classroom, she poked her head back our the door to see if I was still there.  Shocked, I smiled real quickly at her and she shot me back a smile, then she disappeared into her room.  For some reason it was like that look back from college.  I was on cloud 9.  I hadn't fell like that in a long time, it felt like VICTORY.  I don't know why, I can't explain it.  But when she looked back it made all my sadness disappear.  I think for her too.  We reassured each other.  When she looked back I knew that she was telling me that she loved me, she will miss me, and that she will be okay.  When she looked back and saw that I was still there, it reassured her that I will always be there for her, that I loved her, and that I will miss her.   It was pretty damned cool.

Turns out the look back still gets to me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

I want to dedicate this blog to the three Mothers in my life.  Thank you all for what you have done and what you continue to do.  There are no words to describe how important you are to all of us and we can never adequately tell you enough how much we all love you.  You are our rocks and our better parts.

I have only known Mimi for about 11 years and it would be easy to say we have a love/hate relationship. We love to hate each other.  In reality, there is nothing but love.  Mimi was raised in a very love filled, Yankee, Liberal, Catholic family.  I always wanted to marry a Catholic, something that was very important to me.  But as love tends to do, when I met Brooke, I didn't care much about that anymore.  I just wanted to marry her.  I will never forget the moment Brooke told me she WAS Catholic. I thought she had to be like the only one in Nashville.  She got that from Mimi.  I appreciate the fact that her mother raised her in the Church and without Brooke fully appreciating it, that aspect has become a major pillar in her life.  I also wanted to marry a Republican, she got that from her father.  Mimi cleans all the time, you can literally eat of the floors in her house. I have done this before, as have my girls.  She cleans before she leaves on a trip and cleans as soon as she gets home.  When all else fails, she cleans.  She irons her T-shirts, and she cooks almost every night.  In short- as much as we tease her, she runs a house we all aspire.  Brooke learned a lot from her, Mimi has been a great example for all things for Brooke. She truly is a wonderful person.  I won the in law lottery. I tease her, I fart, I make sex jokes around her (well I do that around everyone), I take pride when my girls burp, all things that drive her crazy yet, I think in some wild way it endears her to me.   For all of our differences, we have one thing in common and that is our love for Brooke.  I think, in the end, that is what Mimi loves about me and what I love about her the most.

Well I have already blogged about MaMaw before.  I can't very much write about her without getting emotional.   I  don't mean to repost but I feel it that strongly. Mom was always the one who held things together.  Mom, is our family's glue.  Mom, is our Rock of Gibraltar.  Through good times and through bad, Mom always kept us together.  To this day, I love going home because she always makes me feel welcomed.  No matter what stress is going on, no matter how minuscule of a notice I gave her, she wants to drop everything to take care of her baby boy.  She has been loyal to my father for almost 50 years.  She was there day after day.  While Dad busted his ass at work, it was Mom who who shaped us the most.  She got the nickname "Iron Mother," but to be honest- I am not really sure how??  I honestly don't remember her being that hard.  Sure she spank us if we needed- but it never seemed to get that far.  She used the line "if you don't stop crying, I will take you out to the car and give you something to cry about."  A line I used today, but I don't remember her doing it that often.  She had the Vulcan under arm grip that I am trying to perfect but she never used it much.  She was like the perfect Ninja Mom.  A Ninja doesn't have to show other people they are a bad ass- they don't have to kick ass to prove that they can.  People just fall in line because they know.  That was sort of my Mom.  And of course she knew the line that worked on me the most "Don't make me tell your father."  She knew I didn't want to let down my father. 

As I got older, I changed.  Mom did too.  She became more emotional- more caring.  She knew she had done her job- hopefully well.  She knew she needed to mold us less and love us more.  And I held the magic ability to make her cry at the drop of a hat.  After all, I am her baby boy.  I learned a lot from my Mom but I think her greatest lesson to me was that of how to be a great parent.  She gave a lot for Patrick and I but I think her greatest gift was that of loyalty.  She showed Patrick and I what it means to be the glue to hold a family together.  A glue that all families need.  If they do not have that glue, they will not succeed.

I said the best word for Mom was glue...I was wrong.  The best word for Mom, is love.  And you know what, she makes one hell of a MaMaw, if you don't believe me- just ask Caroline.

Wow, what do you say about a woman who has given you the greatest gifts.  She has given me my four girls.  Brooke has sacrificed her body and well being for my girls.  For 9 months she gave them safe and wonderful home and no matter what else was going on in our world, she protected them in theirs.  She put her life on the line for them before she ever knew them.  However, the greatest gift she has given me was unconditional love.  She puts up with my moods, my bs, my bad qualities, my ticks, and despite all that she still loves me.  I don't know why but she does.  This isn't about me though, its about her as a mother.  As everyone knows we have 4 girls under the age of 5.  With all due respect to the other mothers out there, I think our kids are the best behaved out there.  Seriously.  To have 4 kids that young, who are all so regimental they sleep anywhere, don't get out of bed, use pretty good manners, care about other kids, who are so well behaved when we go out to eat, don't throw fits, etc. it is amazing.  I am reminded of this all the time when I see them with other kids.  Our kids aren't perfect but Brooke has done such a good job raising them that even at their young age they are really good, caring,  kids.  They always look very well dressed, their hair is done, etc.  Brooke, to a fault, puts everyone else first. I would like to think I am a good father but I know that if that is true it is because of the lead I follow from Brooke.  While some of the most feared words in our house is "do I need to get your father," it is Brooke who really keeps things on the straight and narrow. I could write a blog about her if the subject was best friend, best wife, but this one is about her being a mother.  She is only 5 years into it but what a home run Mother she is.  (P.S. I made her cry with the card I got her).

Thanks to all the mothers in my life who have shaped me and continue to sacrifice for your kids.  To all the Moms who are no longer with us, we miss you, we love you, we will see you again.  There are a lot of jobs you can have in this world, none greater than being a Mom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Baylor Grace

Happy Birthday Baylor Grace- I love you so much and everyday I thank God that he blessed us with you.  You are an amazing gift and are as beautiful as an angel.  I hope you have nothing but joy and hapiness. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poor Caroline

Mondays and Wednesdays are always interesting mornings around this house.  Both Caroline and Reagan go to school on these days.  With Brooke and the baby sleeping, I am trying to do everything SEAL Team Six style.  Very covert, very silent.  Well I should have known that today was going to be a difficult one for Caroline from the start.  From the moment she got out of bed, or should I say fell out of bed, I had to keep pushing her.  I finally got her dressed and sent them downstairs to get their breakfast.  Both girls know the routine enough and started to get their breakfast out while I was getting changed upstairs.  The problem was Caroline was talking up a storm and I can hear her all the way in my closet where I was changing.  She was endangering the mission by waking up everyone including Baylor Grace.  So I came downstairs and got on her case for being loud, her last instruction from me prior to going downstairs was to be quiet.  So, I get downstairs and it is time for phase two of breakfast- their tradition yogurt tube.  I wanted to check my work email before we left but the last instructions I gave them was sit at the table and don’t get it on you.  As we hurry to get out the door because we were running behind and I notice that Caroline had yogurt all over the front of her.  I didn’t lose it but I was rather perturbed.  So I rushed her upstairs and changed her into some outfit so we could get to school on time.  She knew her Daddy was upset but she just said "that's okay Daddy."

I sent her downstairs again and told her to get her jacket so we can go.  I picked up Baylor (who was up now) and came downstairs into the garage to get going.  Caroline was out there, sans jacket.  I said "CAROLINE get your d*mn jacket!"  Her response was, with a smile, "oh sorry Daddy."  I was so pissed and yet she wasn’t bothered at all. So we get there and get out and she doesn’t have her jacket on, she can't get it on her by herself.  Her sister who is two years younger gets dressed by herself, yet Caroline doesn’t.  So after another blow up by me, I calm down and put her jacket on for her.  All is okay, we are walking into school, and everything is good.  As I am talking to the girls about the weather, etc. I reach for the school door and hear a splat.  I don’t think much of it until I hear Caroline crying a very unsettling crying.  Now she cries all the time (don't know where she got that from) but this sounded a little different.  I turn around and she is laying face first flat on the ground.  I pick her up and notice that she had done a face plant....on the very flat sidewalk....only Caroline.  Only Caroline would not catch herself, probably because she was sucking her thumb.  Her glasses are now scratched up and she had a strawberry on her forehead and nose.  At this point I was ready to give up and it wasn’t 8 AM yet.  I contemplated very seriously about turning around with Caroline and going home.  She was a mess and the last thing she wanted to do was go to school.  However, I brushed her off and made her go in.  After the furry of the morning, I started to feel really bad for her.  She is hurt by the fact that she is bookend by two very independent, self reliant, sisters.  Both Reagan and Baylor Grace are very mature for their ages and can do most things on their own.  Both are pretty head strong.  Caroline is a different girl and sometimes I forget that.  You want to treat them all the same but in reality, you can't.  I always felt as a coach I had a pretty good instinct on figuring out if a player needed me to push them verbally, or if a look was all it took.  Kids really are the same way.  When I keep reminding myself that I can reach Caroline better than anyone, probably because only I know how her mind ticks.  Only I know why she reacts the way she does, reason being: she is exactly like me.  Her mind works the same way mind does.  So while on the surface this morning wasn't her best morning, in reality it wasn’t mine.  I let her down as a parent this morning; it probably won’t be the last.  We always joke that she has a "double dose of Focker," in her (from the Little Fockers movie above) but in reality I think she just has a double dose of Boomer in her.