Our Modern Family


February 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

It seems pretty amazing to think that one year ago Jenn and I were finishing our adoption classes, preparing our profile book and just waiting to see what would happen next.  Now we will have a 9 month old in one week.  To say it has been a crazy year would be an understatement, but it has been a great one.

I have always felt lucky to have Jenn in my life as I would definitely have to say I married up.  See when we got married, she was almost blind so I probably looked like a pretty good catch.  Then she got eye surgery, her vision is now almost perfect and fortunately for me I think she just felt like well I have already invested this much time, so its too late to stop now. Luckily I have a charming personality and some pretty sweet dance moves to keep things interesting, but all in all I would say I did pretty well.

I’ve been so concentrated on being a parent these days that it can be easy to forget to thank and acknowledge your partner, the one who helped you get to this great place in your life.  But the truth is that Jenn is the foundation of our family.  She is still the person that I am excited to spend time with everyday and the one that I love to watch walk into a room (unless of course it is to ask me to hang up, fold or put away the laundry then the excitement level goes down a notch or two).

We are not the couple that you will over hear at a party saying I love you poochiekins or some other ridiculous pet name.  In fact when I told Jenn that I was going to celebrate our love by posting on Facebook that she was the fire that danced in my soul and the reason that my eyes shine, or that she is my inner strength, my being and my core (and not like the P90x core that I have worked so hard to get rid of) she had a look of pure panic and simply said please don’t because people will think you are serious.  No we are not romantic in that way.  I think it is something a little more different.  It is in the way that we desire to be around each other and be a part of one another’s life.

Last night I was once again reminded of this as I did my best to get some sleep.  Nolin had been feeling a little sick and while he slept he just kept making this moaning sound.  Finally Jenn got up, tried comforting him for a bit and then brought him to bed with us. We have been talking about how we need to stop that habit of allowing him to sleep in our bed, but at the same time I thought to myself, yep that is what I would have done.  And that is why it works.  If it is possible to truly meet your better half then I know that I have.

This Valentine’s Day for us wont be celebrated with a big fancy dinner, or another stray dog (at least let’s hope not, I don’t know how much room we have left in our bed before I get pushed onto the floor).  Instead I am sure it will be a simple dinner, playing catch with Nolin and maybe singing him a song or two (now besides Bob Marley, I think he is a fan of Cee Lo Green the edited version obviously) and simply being thankful that my Valentine said yes.

The Difference Between Mothers and Fathers pt. 2

As I mentioned a few months ago this would be a topic that I am sure comes up a lot in our lives as there is an inherent difference between a mother and a father.

This morning I was getting Nolin ready for church and Jenn asked me to get his blue sweater outfit for him to wear.  Sure, no problem.

I also proceeded to find a coordinating blue onesie to match…now that is fashion forward thinking for a dad I told myself.  With a slight pat on the back, Nolin and I headed downstairs, got in the car and made our way to church.

It then became Jenn’s job throughout the entire service to try and keep Nolin’s sweater buttoned.  Apparently she didn’t really think that a onesie stating “WOW the ladies keep checking me out” was very appropriate for Sunday mass.

What Jenn failed to realize is that they say church is a great place for singles to meet.  Nolin, you are lucky you have me becuase I guess I am just a little more fashion forward than your mom.

A Year Full of Pancake

Today marks one year since Pancake became a part of our family.  It is crazy to think exactly how far we have come since that time.  We were just finishing up our adoption classes that would bring Nolin into our lives and we were about halfway through our year with Axelle.

It was cold and raining that night when I left work.  I stopped by Target to pick up some dog treats and toys on my way home.  I remember walking into the house expecting to see a dog that look liked Fergie the English Springer Spaniel that I grew up with, instead I found a little lap dog with a smashed face that looked like he had been through a carwash.  He got down off of the couch and started hoping around on his 3 good legs and you couldn’t help but think he was pretty cool.

We put up signs around Jenn’s school and only ever received one call but it was for a different dog.  I often wonder if Pancake’s owners are out there wondering what happened to him and if they would laugh at some of the adventures that we have had.  He is still a crotchety old man who loves Jenn and Nolin and secretly loves Teresa and I when no one is looking (he has a reputation to maintain after all).  For whatever reason he loves to get frisky with new houseguests that come over…it is sort of his signature handshake.  And he loves to run, not to get away, but just really to get you to chase after him.

While he isn’t exactly the dog I had envisioned when I thought about owning a dog, he has definitely found his place in our family.  We are not exactly sure how old Pancake is (we think he is probably about six), but I guess today we can officially say he is one year old.

Independence Day

This is the story of our two boys who have both discovered their independence in different ways.

We’ll start with Pancake.  His story began one day back in September.  Don and I were unloading a box truck and Pancake was supervising as usual.  That is until Pancake decided we no longer needed his supervision and took off.  It was about 10 minutes later when I realized he was no longer around.  I made a mad dash out the door looked left, then right, and left again to see if I could tell which way he may have gone.

Right about that time, a car pulls up and asks if I am looking for something…I guess it was probably pretty obvious.  I told her yes, my dog had gotten loose.

Is it Pancake? She asked.

Well apparently he has made a name for himself.  Hopefully it wasn’t in his typical greeting in which was recently described by Jenn’s second cousin as piggybacking on my back. I told her that I was indeed looking for Pancake and she nicely informed me that he was in her car.  It was at that moment that the New Jersey came out of her in a big way.  She took the next two minutes to scold me on why I shouldn’t let him loose, how the number on his collar should be answered at all times, and why it was irresponsible that I was not actually at my house because had she gone there and no one was home, she would not have known what to do. I bit my tongue and thanked her again for finding Pancake.

The next day as Pancake and I were walking around the neighborhood, Jerseylicious’ car again stopped me and said “Hey, I helped you find your dog the other day, and it inspired us..we’re having pancakes for breakfast this morning.”  I gave her my uncomfortable laugh, and thought to myself that is actually kind of twisted.  I thanked her again and kept walking.  Jenn and her parents thought I was exaggerating both encounters.

That is until this past Friday, when Pancake pulled a Houdini once again.  This time on Don & Teresa’s watch.  Once again it seems our favorite New Jersey Housewife did not need to travel far to bring Pancake home.  She knocked on the door and proceeded to tell Don & Teresa how they should be taking car of a dog.  She also informed them, that if they didn’t know how to take responsibility for Pancake than she would.  It was at that moment that I think Pancake realized his new-found independence may not be such a good thing.  I am pretty sure that even Snooki couldn’t live with that woman for a day.

Next we have Nolin.  He is growing up way too fast and asserting his new personality more and more every day.  He has now taken to climbing stairs, pulling up on everything and pulling everything out.  If he wants it, he will get it.  It has become quite the game for him.  He will look over give you his little smile, and then quickly turn around and take off like a race horse.  I just hope that he does not one day run off towards Ms. Jersey Turnpike’s house…I can only imagine the scolding we would get at that point.

Nolin has also decided that he no longer needs you to hold his bottle for him because he is plenty big enough to do it himself.  This is the one that may be the most difficult to accept.  Up until now he has relied on Jenn and I for everything.  I would be lying if I said that the first time he held the bottle himself I didn’t feel like this was this beginning of him becoming his own person.  You can see his personality forming right in front of you as you look into his eyes and see him just making sense of everything around him.  It is so exciting to watch him grow up, but maybe we could get just a few more years (like 30) before he decides that we are no longer cool and he gets to become too independent.

Empire State of Mind

I sat down, buckled my seat belt, exchanged a few text messages with my sister as the flight attendant did her best to usher people in quickly over the intercom.  Then it all came crashing down, similar to Lindsay Lohan’s career after her recent grand theft scandal.  The last two weeks have been crazy.

The day after Nolin’s baptism, I boarded a plane for Norfolk with my parents and Nana for a quick three day business trip. After two days of meetings I made the Wednesday night flight back home just in time to feed Nolin, hang out for a minute and then put him to bed.

Friday morning it was back to the airport bright and early for me.  This time I was heading to New Orleans for a previously planned guys trip.  I met up with several of my old college friends and quickly realized I am not as young as I used to be.  There is nothing about New Orleans that screams nice relaxing weekend.  We never hit up any of the scenic tours that Jenn had suggested and I left New Orleans having a lot of fun, but feeling like a tired old man.

That would have been ok, except for the fact that in about 18 hours I would once again leave for the airport this time for a last minute conference in New York…yeah I have a very understanding wife.

So the plan was get in, get out and get home.  As is typical with most things I do, it didn’t quite go as planned.

As soon as I got on the plane, all everyone was talking about was the next big snow storm that was coming to New York and how it was going to mess up all of the flights.  I just kept thinking thank God that I am flying out at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning. It was later Tuesday when I got the text message that my flight the following day had been canceled…What?!  Its not snowing nor is it very cold out.  I made last minute attempts to try and reschedule flights to no avail.  Looks like I was staying in New York one more night.

Jenn encouraged me to take the opportunity to actually explore around the city versus trying to switch flights getting stuck at the airport with delays and cancellations…again I have a very understanding wife and as usual she was right.

I took the time to walk over to Central Park, 30 Rock (ran into Juliana Hough…literally ran into her), 5th Avenue (apparently I was a baller on a budget), and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  It was nice to actually take the time to be a tourist if I wasn’t going to be able to get home as soon as I had planned.

Finally, Thursday came and I was ready to make my way home after a few conference calls.  This turned out to be a comedy of errors.  It started with a very long and jerky ride through traffic to the airport.  It was a trip of 0 to 30 to 0 and then back to 30 about 5 times every minute. I was starting to feel car sick and figured well it can’t get worse than this. With the New York traffic the ride to the airport took a bit longer than expected, but hey that’s New York…no, it’s actually the shuttle service taking you to the wrong airport.

With an hour and 10 minutes until my flight, I started back across town in the middle of rush hour traffic to the correct airport…seriously how did this happen?!  It was t-minus 30 minutes when I got into the screening line, but after being run over by an aggressive crotchety old woman in a wheelchair, I was able to make it through.  I was out of breath and completely stressed out, but luckily in LaGuardia the flights are always delayed.  So now it was off to my next destination my connecting flight in Baltimore.

Since we were delayed I now had 10 minutes to get off this plane and on the next flight home to Orlando.  I just made it, only to find out that we would now have an unscheduled plane change in Pittsburgh.  That doesn’t ever make you feel comfortable and to top it off the plane was filled with Pittsburgh fans chanting Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers…awesome!

About 45 minutes later we landed in Pittsburgh and changed planes.  Here we were greeted with the news that the passengers going through to Orlando would get to pre-board because of the plane change.  So I was about the 8th person on.  No exit row seat but I got an isle seat.  Then an older man asked if he could sit by me…yeah no problem

The only problem is the six foot five 325 lb man right behind him came and sat in the middle seat.  Really?!  There are at least 15 completely open rows, and several other isle seats and this guy decides to sit right next to me for a two hour flight…once again awesome.  Then the chants started.  This time it was Pittsburgh is going to the Superbowl, here we go.  I just told myself this really can’t get any worse.

Luckily it didn’t.  The guy sitting next to me actually wasn’t too bad, and was even trying to help me strategize on my intense Angry Birds battle.  We landed only 15 minutes late, and as I walked out to the curb the shuttle was waiting for me.  It was 11:40 and and after almost 11 hours I was home.

As soon as I got in the house I walked into Nolin’s bedroom just to let him know I was back…he wasn’t there.  I walked into our bedroom to find Jenn and Nolin fast asleep in our bed.  Jenn had brought Nolin into our room, so I would have a chance to put him to bed when I got back…finally I was home.

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