Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Great Father

I had a wonderful Dad. He was everything our family needed and more. Although I miss having him here in person, his spirit guides me daily. Father's Day is not a day that makes me sad about his is actually a day that reminds me of beautiful memories.

Today, as we celebrated Jason and his father, both truly great Dads, I thought about how rare and special it is to have a great Dad in your life. I look at my husband and I don't think there is one thing more he could do to be a better Dad. He is a rare find.

So.. feeling warm and fuzzy about all that he does for our children and this family, got me thinking about the measure of a great father. I came across this neat list of 100 Ways to be a Great Father and what should be no-brainers are sadly often missed by too many busy or uninvolved parents. It seems a fitting list for moms too. I know I sometimes need a reminder and I wanted to share it here in hopes that we all stay fresh on the ways we can be better parents to our children. Yes..feels like a "The more you know" parenting PSA and I must tell you I chuckle that as I was reading # 2 my kids were screaming at each other and I could not imagine one word of praise at that moment. But alas I found # 32, a tool employed regularly around here!

1.Be present with your children.
2.Heap lavish amounts of praise on your kids.
3.Focus on the positive when speaking to your children.
4.Say I love you. A lot.
5.Don’t be afraid to show your emotions to your family.
6.Work on improving your relationship with your wife or partner.
7.Take time out from work for family time.
8.Laugh at yourself. Regularly.
9.Listen to your kids with all of your attention.
10.Learn new things by teaching your children about them.
11.Start a personal journal.
12.Hold your kids accountable for their actions and words, but don’t use punishment to teach.
13.Leave your watch and phone on your desk sometimes.
14.Make a meal for your family.
15.Do something wacky and unpredictable in front of your kids.
16.Spend some time one-on-one with your child.
17.Get moving. Have a fitness plan in place and get your kids to join in.
18.Take more walks, and leave the car at home.
19.Fall in love with your wife. Again.
20.Admit you’re wrong when you are.
21.Forgive your dad for any grudges you hold against him.
22.Teach a new dad what you’ve learned so far.
23.Take time for yourself, so you can bring that sense of fulfillment with you to the family.
24.Remember what you hated to hear from your parents as a kid and vow to be different.
25.Read out loud to your children.
26.Leave your work issues at your job. Don’t dump on your kids because you had a rough day.
27.Drop your change in a jar each day. When full, open a savings account for your child.
28.Once in a while, ask your kids what you can do better. Then do it better.
29.Hugs and kisses are golden. Be generous.
30.Let your kids make their own choices. Sometimes.
31.Get out in nature with the family.
32.Count to 10 before you react to your children’s actions.
33.Remember that kids mirror our actions, so watch what you say and do around them.
34.Parenting is a shared responsibility. Jump in and do something mom normally does.
35.Learn from your elders—ask them what they’ve learned as fathers.
36.When a child does something not so nice, separate their actions from them in your mind. A child is never bad, even though their actions may be.
37.The next time you feel like giving up on something, do it anyway and use it as a teaching moment.
38.Remember that everyone is somebody’s child.
39.Listen to yourself. Do you sound like your dad? Is that a good thing?
40.Give yourself a break. I haven’t met a father yet who doesn’t make mistakes.
41.Unplug the TV and pretend it’s broken once in a while. Or hide it.
42.Go with your child to school once in a while. Meet the teacher and ask how you can help.
43.Make your health and fitness a priority so you’ll be around for your kids for a long time.
44.Teach the value of service to others by volunteering in your neighborhood, church, or school.
45.Write love notes and leave them for your kids to find.
46.Read a book about fatherhood.
47.Write a book about fatherhood.
48.Make some snacks for the kids as a surprise.
49.Speak as one with your wife, so your kids don’t play you off on one another.
50.Do you say yes all the time? Use no when you mean it, even if they don’t like it.
51.Do you say no all the time? Say yes once in a while.
52.Snuggle with your kids.
53.Show your wife respect always. Make sure your kids do also.
54.Take the time to really explain things to your children. Don’t just say “because I said so.”
55.Ask for help if you need it. Don’t suffer from excess pride.
56.Accept who you are, but don’t settle. Strive to improve yourself every day.
57.Smile at your children and your partner.
58.Make amends when you’re wrong or grumpy or harsh with your kids.
59.Periodically assess your life and change course if needed. Don’t be unhappy just because you think you can’t change.
60.Take a class or learn a new skill with your kids.
61.Act as if you’re the best dad ever.
62.Imagine you’ve only got one week left to live. How would you treat your kids? What’s stopping you from doing that right now?
63.Let your kids see you cry.
64.Explore every park in your town.
65.Once in a while, take a day off and spend it with your family.
66.Find out about your family history and start sharing it with your kids.
67.Give high fives for each tiny accomplishment they make.
68.Get out of debt as quick as you can, and teach your kids about the value of being debt-free.
69.Take a big leap; teach your children about trust, faith, and the virtue of following your dreams.
70.Get down on their level and try to see things as they do. Chances are, you’ve forgotten what it’s like.
71.Learn some really corny kid jokes and use them often.
72.Hold a family meeting and get your kid’s input on important decisions.
73.Don’t just give your kids the answers to questions. Show them how to find the answers.
74.Remember, they’re never too old for piggyback rides.
75.Have patience with your children. Don’t expect them to be perfect.
76.Don’t insist on conformity. Let your kids follow their dreams, not yours.
77.Hold their hands, literally.
78.Remember to let your children save face. Embarrassing them in front of their friends is not cool.
79.Keep your relationship issues between you and your wife. Don’t let your kids take on all your crap.
80.When your children were babies, you gushed over them. Do the same thing for them now.
81.Don’t gossip around your kids.
82.Stand up for the weak, the oppressed, the underdog.
83.Grow a beard. (Actually, I just put that in to see if you were paying attention.)
84.Take your child to work with you and explain what you do for a living.
85.Make something by hand with them. Don’t worry about perfection, just enjoy the process.
86.Once in a while, give them a “get out of jail free” card.
87.Tell your children how much they mean to you.
88.Follow through on your promises to them.
89.Give your kids responsibilities.
90.Speak to your children as your equals. Give them the respect you ask for.
91.Plan surprises for them and keep them guessing.
92.When speaking to other adults, act as if your kids were listening.
93.Play games with your children. Let them win sometimes, but don’t make it obvious or easy.
94.Before you walk in the door from work, take some deep breaths and leave your work outside.
95.Give mom the day off once in a while, and get the kids to help you pamper her.
96.Be generous with your time, your energy, and your money. Give freely to those in need.
97.Cultivate your Fatherhood Superpowers.
98.Don’t let other adults get away with unacceptable behavior around your kids.
99.Remember the Golden Rule. It applies to your children as well.
100.Find your center and define what truly matters to you. Make that your inner retreat when life throws you a curve ball, and share that with your kids.

As for status around here..we are back home after a week with family due to loss of our air conditioning system. In the meantime, Sam has learned to completely get up onto all fours and is even trying to take that position to a sit position. He had one brady episode after a long day, but otherwise.. a good week.

He had gained more weight at his Dr appt and is now 19 lbs 9 oz..still small for his 15 month age but his Dr is so excited and thinks we may actually be on the growth curve chart by end of summer at this rate. So Very Happy and Thankful! The other big step is that Sam is now feeding himself tiny puffs with his own fingers. This is huge since his dexterity and fine motor have been a challenge for him, not to mention the feeding steps this represents. He still has some periods of struggle with it and these are quite dissolvable foods, but slow and steady wins the race.

God Bless- Amanda

Monday, June 13, 2011


Selfishly, I have stressed over an air conditioner breaking down this week and having to transport our family and all of Sammy's medical junk to stay with family while we work out the problem.

Then I went online tonight and was so saddened by the news that the families of two very special children are shifting to Hospice care. Eithene and Zach, and their families, need your prayers. Both effected by Mitochondrial Disease and multiple complex health challenges, are incredibly brave fighters and are so greatly loved by amazing families.

I can't imagine fully what they are going through. Lord, lay your hands over them all and give them peace in this difficult hour.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Friday, June 10, 2011


This summer I wanted to be sure my kids did not sit around and miss some real hands-on adventure. They have enjoyed the usual suspects of swimming and popsicles on the patio, special nights over at grandmas and barbecues with out of town visiting family, but it can be easy to fall into the samo, samo rut and it is in those little adventures (some not even that involved) that we form our most prized memories.

One day last week, we took up a friend's offer to join them in driving up to a few u-pick farms in the north part of the county.. the not-so florida-ish, not beachy part of our area. We headed up early on a mission to pick blackberries, blueberries and peaches and although the sun was bright, they had a ball.

It was a fun outing and reminded me of summers up at my grandparent's house in North Alabama, picking from their extensive garden. Our days were so free back then, filled with shrieks of joy, imaginations run loose, red clay-stained bare feet and the adventures of a team of cousins in a treehouse or hiking in the woods. We were free to be pirates and princesses with our only decisions surrounding what time we would break for lunch and our only dissapointments at having to take a nap after lunch. We challenged eachother in our little red wagon, to ride faster and faster down the hill of my grandparent's driveway, over the bridge covering the dark gully, which we thought was really a moat filled with snakes and dragons. The sounds of crickets and cicadas, the wood screen door slamming behind you as you raced out to catch some lightening bugs in an old jam jar... such vivid memories! I would do just about anything to escape to that old porch swing creaking in the breeze while I rested my head in Mimi's apron, her soft voice.."I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.."

So to my girls: I wish to help you make many summer memories and I will know I have done my job if you look back one day and feel tingley remembering the warm sun on your neck, the prickle of blackberry bushes at your ankles, the sweet peach juice slipping off your chins and can appreciate my quiet joy looking back to find you napping in your carseats.. lashes resting on sticky little cheeks.

As for an update on Sam, he is doing pretty well this week. One of his nurses lost her mother and so they are in our prayers. Sam had Jason and I to himself last night as the girls got to stay with thier grandparents. He seemed to take notice of the quiet.. maybe even missing them a bit. But he is quietly napping as I type right now (see pic below) and seems content to enjoy a rare, quiet morning with no sissys running all around.

He is trying to eat some new things but with each step forward there are days that seem to step back. We are taking it slow. He is doing some new things with his movement. He is trying to get his knees under him, but pulling up his carriage is no easy task. He is rolling all around, his way to crawl I guess. This morning, he tried to do itsy bitsy spider with me and almost ended up clapping his hands.. it won't be long. He needs a cooling vest to get out and enjoy more activities as the Florida heat is just a little much for him. They are not cheap and so I am researching this. He has been in the pool twice now and seems to get alot from the weightless feeling. He wants to push out from me and glide across the water to his sisters. The pool has been a blessing for widening his experiences. It is only the start of the summer and already seems promising..

Lord, thank you for the adventures of summer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lost Trust

A story of lost trust...

Mom and Dad bring complex baby home from hospitals.

Mom and Dad get unwanted, hands-on emergency medical training in handling acute events... over and over.

Events happen spontaneously. They live in fear.

Mom and Dad live on-guard at all times. Mom sleeps very little.

Nursing care arrives like a dream come true after a year of nightmares.

After swinging door of nurses, finally they have a dependable, routine established with knowledgable, caring professionals.

Mom and Dad finally sleep in peace. AHHH.

Last week: Mom has pangs of concern over a series of odd circumstances but believes the best of caring night nurse.

Mom hears baby crying in the night and not clearing airway well of secretions.

Mom enters room. No Nurse.

Mom searches house. No Nurse.

Mom looks outside. No Nurse or Nurse car.

Nurse eventually comes in sheepishly. Mom breaks down.

Where was said Nurse? Nurse says he took a walk to stay awake and has done this for quite some time. Nurse says it will never happen again.

Mom is astounded. All trust is lost.

Baby's life was not important to Nurse.

Agency says no other nurses are available and that after they reamed said Nurse, no such events should happen again.

Mom finds herself researching Nurse and finds odd statements online by Nurse that they feel empowered with past Hospice cases by the ability to call time of death.

Mom feels sick. Mom can't sleep.

Mom and Dad live on-guard yet again. New worries fill their heads.

Mom and Dad pray about what is best.

That is all I can say about my state of mind this week..