Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.
~ Mike Myers
That was a perfect quote I found last Father’s Dayabout being a Dad.
And if you couldn’t tell by my Valentine’s Week post, I really enjoy being a Dad to my two little, or not quite so little girls. They are so much fun and I enjoy being a kid again with them. Somehow we have developed a loving family , despite all the daily drudgeries going on. And I feel so blessed with these two gems.
Mom has instilled a love for crafts in the girls and they have really taken off with them. Skye loves to paint while the other likes to draw and create things. When this is combined with a holiday and a loving, sweet, happy child these days are priceless!
I bet I received a hand-made Valentine card almost every day for two weeks before Valentine’s holiday from my oldest daughter, Dylan. And she gets into it so much, trying to do her best to show everyone how much they mean to her.
Heaven help someone if she sees one of her cards in the trash can. She will get upset and tell you about it. I left a hand-made Valentine’s bag (present) of knick-knack snacks in front of the trash can and she questioned me about it and told me I couldn’t do that. She really made me feel bad. But in my defense, I only have so much room on the refrigerator door for these treats. Right? But .night after night she really puts her heart into each and every creation.
How can a Dad not feel good about a good happy child like that?
Want to see what I am talking about? Here are some treats from my first grader. This is the outside of one V-Day card …
and then this was on the inside…
Kinda neat although I appear to be a doctor dressed in a green smock that day. Here is another favorite sample…
See all the detail and thought that went into the dress she was wearing? (yes that is supposed to be Dylan on the card, if you couldn’t guess) She then got a little creative with stickers on the other side of the card.
Here is another one that touched my heart a week ago….
A tribute to singing songs on the way to school in the morning. I’m so modest…
Yes it did.
Yes it did.
Yes it did.
Its taken from one of the songs we sing on the way to school that Dad occasionally ad libs on. Know what song I mean?
But you can see the love and passion Ms. Hallmark has in making her cards. I have to guess this isn’t unusual for some kids. But is sure nice to see her be so passionate about something so nice, especially since I am often the receiver of these works of art.
We have built a very special relationship. Yea, Fatherhood’s pretty cool!
At school Dylan’s teacher uses a ‘clip-up ‘ chart of various colors designating students’ good behaviors for the day. Last week Dylan was on the highest color 4 out of the 4 days of school. Mommy has told Dylan anytime she can get 4 ‘Purple’s in a row she can have a treat. Dylan said she wanted another “Daddy Night“.
So, on a good night to go out, Dylan and I negotiated and agreed on a restaurant to go to when I got home from work. I just asked her for a few minutes so I can put my things away and transition from work to home.
In the meantime, Dylan ran upstairs and put on her favorite Sunday dress for our dinner date (It was at the Cookout). I was flabbergasted! She put on her favorite nice dress to go out on a dinner date with here Dad…..
And then covered it up with her jean jacket to keep warm, like a lady of the south.
We had a nice time. I opened and closed the car doors for her although she confessed, “Daddy, I can do it myself“. After we got home she changed out of her fancy dress and asked if we could do her most favorite thing in the world, Wrestle!
And we did. And I won, She has yet to beat me although that doesn’t stop her from trying amongst all the tickles and tosses and body locks.
This past Friday she had two hours off from school in the morning due to the temperature being so cold (its true). I was getting ready for work as she woke up and walked in my bedroom. She asks, “Daddy, Can I come to work with you? I don’t want our nanny to take me to school today. I would like you to. Can I come with you to work?”
I spent all of three seconds considering my options. “Of course you can Dylan. Go get dressed warm for school.”
I wouldn’t, couldn’t miss a second of my greatest thing.
There was a time, not to very long ago, that Valentine’s Day meant vacation. We didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day too much at our house. No, no Valentine’s Day here!
You see she’s allergic to flowers. We still have tons of chocolate leftover from Christmas. And what better gift of love could there be where you can celebrate it close to the equator wearing as little as possible in the dead cold of winter?
But now we have two adorable little girls and we hafta gladly exchanged a trip to the tropicsfor smiles on our cherubs faces.
Vacation? Not so much now. This morning, after I handed out all the Valentine’s cards to the ladies in my family, I was unexpectedly ambushed on my bed with two wide-eyed girls. They jumped and body slammed their dear ol’ Dad until I was forced to defend myself. I subsequently wrestled them into submission and then tickled them until they begged for mercy.
And then we did it all over again!
But all these Valentine’s Day shenanigans did not suddenly Sprout up Valentine’s Day. Saturday was just the culmination of a week-long Valentine’s Day of love shared in our family. My girls probably had a pent-up need to release and share their kind of Valentine’s spirit by jumping on dear ol’ Dad….
Valentine’s Week began with CHOCOLATE! Mommy made a chocolate fondue for our girls, a Christmas present from this past Christmas.
Happy Valentine’s Day Week girls!
The truth is Mommy had to go out-of-town for a few days on business and this was her way of bonding with the kids before she snuck out in the wee hours of the morning the next day.
Don’t worry girls, you are stuck with left in Dad’s capable hands. Try not to get him in trouble!
With Mom out-of-town I needed to come up with some kind of dinner for the girls we decided to have OUR Valentine’s Day Dinner Date at our favorite restaurant, Carrabba’s. I told the girls if they behaved themselves in Mommy’s absence they could have dessert.
The idea had a coupla merits, besides getting Daddy out of the kitchen after a long day at work. 1) YOU do NOT want to go out for a Valentine’s dinner on Valentine’s Day or weekend. Speaking as an ex-restaurant manager it is very hard to create a memorable dining experience with chaos going on in the busiest day all year in a restaurant. 2) Bribing my kids for good behavior usually seems to work. Hurray for Dad’s parenting skills!
Daddy is such a push over…
Wednesday night turned into Movie Date Night for my two precious Valentines. I took them to the movies (in our home cinema) to see their most recent favorite movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Why is this their favorite movie now you ask?
It’s because they know all the words to the songs by now and get to sing out LOUD to the songs like Pina Colada, and they get to dance their crazy dances with Dad at the beginning and the end of the movie:
Lots of fun!
Thursday saw the return of Mom from out-of-town but also Valentine’s Gifts appear in the mail. Mom took a back seat to the girls opening their gifts and reading their Valentine’s Cards. They were so enthralled evidently that they didn’t take time to read the instructions…
No, the other way…
They absolutely loved their gifts in the mail (some Valentine’s jewelry) and the sentiments behind the cards from their grandparents admirers.
What does yours say? Did you get any money?
Valentine’s Day Eve our nanny called off I decided to take a very special day off from work to spend with my two lovely Valentines. I took them to a Valentine’s Brunch at Chic-fil-a (oh how they hate that place!). Dylan, my ultra perceptive oldest child and well on to my parenting skills asks, “If we are good can we get dessert?”
yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!
Did you ever notice these at Chic-fil-a? They recycle their Styrofoam cups? I really have mixed feelings about this attempt at Reuse…
I wonder who else has used my cup?
Later that day, during nap time, I had a very important doctor’s appointment. We ALL ended up celebrating with dinner that night!
We went to our favorite pizza joint followed by their favorite ice cream parlor.
OK, it was a celebration, maybe not THEIR celebration, but one just the same.
We invited a neighbor who has selfishly help me wash my car the last two or three weekends. Funny thing, we found out he is grounded, he said, due his grades (sounds really familiar) so his parents won’t let him go out with his friends….. but they did with me and my family…. 🙂 . But he is a great young man and this old man welcomes his help anytime!
We all had a great time, at now the end of a special week, so this Valentine’s party really started to build and the craziness took off…
Gosh, I really look young there, don’t I?
…all ending up with my getting walloped in bed this morning as my two Valentines clobbered me as I ‘peacefully’ rested in bed.
So Valentine’s Day recap for my sweethearts:
Movie Night Date
Valentine’s cards and gifts (jewelry)
Wrestle with your Valentine(s) Valentine’s Day
Check, check, check, check, check!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!
Oh, my doctor’s visit?
It was with my Urologist. It was my quarterly check-up to test the PSA’s in my blood, the detection for cancer used. For the record my PSA’s have now gone down from a 7.5 pre-cancer operation to .03 as of yesterday. While I was thinking this may be my last appointment, the my Urologist wants to milk my insurance company see me one more time to see if my PSA can get to a .02, which was his goal.
To those one of you who guessed the donut reward for a positive doctor’s visit, Congratulations! And Thanks for following so closely to 3D.
I have a FREE one year subscription to my blog for your grand prize!
Now here is a question for you, for all of you out there that ask the question, “What can I get my loved one for Valentine’s Day that is something different but still something they will like very much?”
Well my Doctor U. had the answer to that!
While I was waiting to be seen at the end of the day I could vaguely hear my doctor in the room beside mine go over his patient’s options enough to hear the words Viagra and Sample and Valentine’s Day all in the same sentence. Hmmmm…
What a thoughtful Valentine’s gift, or gesture I thought to myself
….not that I need any for Valentine’s Day! Having the time to spend with the ones I love after my cancer scare is living enough for me! But I did like this doctor’s beside manner…
Yes, Valentine’s Day, my lovely girls in my life, and Dunkin Donuts keep me running!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!
I hope it is a great, big and long-lasting one with lots of memories for each one of you!
This is a reblog from my friend Luanne at Don’t We Look Alike. Last January she invited me to do a story about all the love ours girls receive over Christmas for her readers. Christmas is always a special holiday for the girls, as are their birthdays. As a parent it really touches me to see our kids so loved.
I didn’t reblog the post at the time as I did not want to burden my readers here with another ‘feel good’ story about our kids, like I subjected you to over the Holidays. Plus, I feel like I take advantage of our two wonderful birth families enough, trampling awful close to there privacy many times. You know we love you!
But I thought, today is the day for love. See? That’s the third time I used the word so far! So if you are looking for a love story this Valentines Day, here is a very special one for you.
FOUR GRANDMOTHERS FOR CHRISTMAS
When my wife and I decided on adoption to start our family, we did not have any preconceived ideas on how. We first considered International but the time was not right for that. So we researched Domestic Adoption agencies, deciding on Bethany.
We loved how the birth mother could pick her forever family. It seemed more like destiny or fate somehow. Not only was she choosing a family similar to her lifestyle, the reverse would be that she, and her child, would be similar to us. While that was not a deciding factor, we thought it would help in the transition success.
During our first adoption we met a quiet pretty young lady and her mother. The birth mother, having difficulty with this life-changing decision, wanted to be assured she was making the right decision. She wanted pictures and open communication to help set her mind at ease. We had not considered open adoptions, pro or con, prior to that. We just wanted knew we wanted to start a family.
What a blessing that decision turned out to be. We never looked back. That first year we were surprised time and time again by the love and thoughtfulness coming from the birth mother and grandmother. Gifts would appear for Christmas. And then again for our daughter’s first birthday, along with attending her party. Then came Easter, along with signed cards and frequent calls and emails the entire year. We saved and dated these cards for a later time.
Opening a card from a special Grandmother
Two years later we were ready to grow our family with a second adoption. We went through Bethany’s process and were lined up with another potential birth mother.
Once again we were met by a lovely young lady, her mother and sister. The difference between this meeting and the first was we we hoped for a second open adoption, based on the love and how well our first one went.
Once we met this family in person it was a done deal. We never knew if this second birth family had considered staying in touch or not after the adoption. We pretty much acted like this is how we like to do things, since we had one adoption under our belt already. And by the looks of things so far, I believe they have no complaints about our decision.
This second family has been such a blessing to our family as well. They call, email and send equal amounts of packages in the mail, all filled with love. And, while it might be human nature to send love for their own child, each family sends gifts in the mail for each child knowing they are now sisters and ‘family’. It is really touching to be a part of all this love and never in a million years would we have thought adoptions could be like this. What could be better to a child at Christmas than four loving grandmothers?
Every Christmas has been the same. First one huge package shows up in the mail and then another. This Christmas was was no different. The Friday before Christmas one huge box arrived in the mail. Then Saturday another huge box arrived at our front door. And then again, Christmas eve, our girls got to open another generous gift box that got lost in the mail the week before. If a box ever shows up on our door step our girls just naturally think it is for them. And they are usually right.
We try to film and photograph each ‘opening of presents’ so we can reciprocate the love by sharing (back) the gift opening experience with thoughtful the birth family. Take a look:
The love these birth families send practically doubles our girl’s Christmas. They enjoy the gifts. They enjoy the attention. They love that somebody is thinking about them. Last year when I was unemployed over Christmas these girls had the most lucrative Christmas yet. They didn’t suffer at all.
We are always amazed at the packages from these families. The best and coolest clothes our girls own came from these birth families. Each gift is individually wrapped. The box is stuffed full of presents. And the gifts are usually covered by all the mail peanuts for fillers. As Mom and Dad, we really look forward to the opening of every box as they are always full of surprises. It’s as much fun for us as it is for them (almost)
The kids have to dig to see if they found all the presents. We just watch their faces light up. Its a lot of fun! One year I got home early and let the girls open their gift box with their nanny, before Mom got home. I didn’t hear the end of that poor decision for weeks!
Watch their faces light up…
Last year our second child’s birth family visited us for Christmas. We all had lunch at a favorite local restaurant. We talked and laughed. This wonderful family just held and hugged and smiled with our daughter the whole time, usually with our 36 month on their lap; even while they ate. As parents, we loved so much to see the huge smile on our daughter’s face all afternoon. You have to be happy to see your child so happy and loved.
When we went to the parking lot and said our good-byes the birth grandfather snuck off to his car. He returned with two life-size gift bags, one for each of the girls. We were awed! How can you not love to see your kids so happy? And not love this family in return?
Forgive the bravado here, but you have to actually see what’s inside these packages! These bags aren’t filled with candy and trinkets they just bought the weekend before. The bags are filled with the most beautiful clothes and dresses you can imagine for a couple of toddlers. Check out the smiles and the riches from this wonderful afternoon:
What could be better than four grandmothers at Christmas? The more love the better!
Now some of you may be wondering how are we going to handle this in later years when stories of adoptions and birth mothers are shared, given the history from these birth families?
We are very clear each and every holiday. When the girls receive gifts from the birth families we tell them who they are from and that these people love them very, very much. We save and date each card received to show the history of love. We look forward to any visits from these families so our girls can attach an actual face to the names we tell them.
We tell them the gifts are from their birth grandmothers and their daughters, just like family. And that’s the way we consider these ladies. These ladies are their grandmothers both figuratively and literally. They love our kids every bit as much as we do. And we love these families just as much. Going back to the beginning of this tale, we feel we have been blessed to have such wonderful people placed in our lives via the Bethany process. Destiny. Fate. An act of God.
Some people may be leery or scared of an open adoption; to have the birth family so close. I would say, first, it would depend on the situation, the nearness and nature of the birth family. We feel very fortunate for our adoptions to be tied to two such wonderful families. We were blessed in our situation.
My blog is one way I try to stay in touch and show the development our girls with family and friends. If you have ever read my blog you would know that there is very little that I don’t share. Its one way to reciprocate some love back to our birth families. Hopefully, they won’t spend any long nights wondering; any more than any family would do.
I don’t know if it works or not as I can never put myself in their shoes. This past December we received an email from one of our birth families inquiring about our schedules over Christmas and Christmas wish lists for the girls. This email contained a super little Christmas gift for my wife and I this time. This is part of their message, word for word:
” I look forward to reading it (the blog) everyday. I love the pictures and the videos of the girls. I feel like I’m a part of their lives even though I’m not physically there. You both are great parents. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I don’t think anyone else is doing a better job than you both are. Enjoy the rest of your holidays, tell your parents hello! We love you all.”
Wow! Merry Christmas to us! How can you repay that? How can you not love four grandmothers at Christmas?
***And the hits just keep on coming! Ironically, the day DWLA published this story our girls actually received a package in the mail that same day. And this past weekend I called Mom to let her from having our taxes done, Dylan gets on the phone and says, “Guess what Daddy? There’s a package in the mail with my name on it!” Then she put Skylar on and she said the exact same thing. As there was. There always is.
And I invite you to share the love with Luanne and Marisha at Don’t We All Look Alike? They are doing a great job offering great adoption stories and education in their end of the blog-o-sphere. Thank Ladies!
Merry Christmas to you! We hope your holiday was filled with great treasures and memories. I know, depending on families, it can be a peaceful day with some well earned rest or something more like the 4 Christmas and races to get to other places. Either way, I hope yours was tops!
In reflecting back to our celebration I have to say I am going to get all sappy one last time before I return to Mr. Sarcastic in 2012. I am afraid I am losing my rep…
This year we had a unique perspective (to us) on the Christmas season. You see earlier this year our family was reduced to a one income family. It was quite a shock to us but we are going to be OK. But this year we could not really participate in all the trading of gifts however, which has led us to this view.
Every year we have always participated in the gift giving, as most people do. If you are over the age 16 I really believe you look forward to the ‘giving’ and less to the ‘receiving’. And that’s OK. It is the spirit of the season. Its what we all do every year.
We / I always look for the special gifts, the gifts to make others happy, the gag gifts, the gifts you can’t wait for someone to open. It’s the season for giving and it is fun. And we look forward to the opening of gifts and spreading OUR good wishes in hopes they are received with the spirit and love that was intended.
This year we were largely reduced to a spectators in this holiday gift giving unfortunately. It was almost like we could step back and watch the spirit of Christmas from the bleachers. You know what? What an amazing game to watch!
This year we could witness and absorb all the love that others actually put into the Christmas season. We could witness the love, the thought process behind the love, and see how others plan to spread the ‘season of giving’, instead of just getting caught up in our own giving. We could taste it, smell it, and see it. It was quite a show!
We were visited by as many as 6 or 7 real live Angels this year. And our kids had their best Christmas ever. See for yourself….
Well as ‘Best Ever’s go it was only their 4th and 2nd Christmases respectively. But they had fun. And we had fun. But I won’t drill home the details for fear of starting to sound like some TV Christmas special. But I would like to leave you with one thought.
Sometime between now and the new year, block out all your wonderful giving and generosity moments this year and take a few quiet moments to consider what others have done for you. Consider the gifts of time or distance traveled, packages or maintaining endless friendships. Take time to notice thatOthers Rock!
I want to thank all the Angels in our life for making it special this and every year.
PS: I finished this post in under 30 minutes this morning as both of our girls are upstairs playing with their Aunt Sue. The gifts just keep on coming….