One Lucky Guy

It was either this, or the football player.
I have considered myself a very lucky guy for a long time. Whether it was good or bad, it always seemed to work out.  I do think I’ve worked hard for my luck, but either way, I am pretty lucky.

I distinctly remember the first time I felt like I was lucky (get your mind out of the gutter). I was sitting in Mr. Bowman’s science class in 7th grade. I have always considered myself a smart kid, even when I lie about my past. I sat towards the back of the room, and we were going over the periodic table of elements. The textbook we were using (remember those?) had the table spread over two pages right in the middle pages of the book; so the  binding was visible, and a slight space appeared vertically down the center of the elements. 

Now, for all of you that haven’t looked at, or thought about, the periodic elements since that day in Jr. High, there are also a group of elements that were separated and moved below the table as man-made elements (I’m not looking this up by the way, my wife can vouch. Pure memory, and probably wrong). 

Added photo after text was written. I think I was right...
So Mr. Bowman was talking the Charlie Brown teacher talk (c’mon: wah wah wah, wah-wah wah wah); and I was probably just starting to pay attention when he asked the class if there was something odd about the periodic table. There was some silence. I looked, raised my hand and said, “This is easy. The table is split down the middle.” Of course, Mr. Bowman said I was right. I think you can see where this is going. I thought it was split oddly because I had never seen it split vertically before. He thought (or at least played it off as) that I knew the bottom elements were the man-made ones. I got lucky.

But my luck didn’t stop. Oh no, it kept getting better. I was lucky enough in high school to have people that wanted me to succeed. I was the sportscaster on a TV News team that won the All-State competition. I wasn’t considered rich growing up, but I got by with what we had. For the news broadcast, I didn’t have a sports coat, or even a white button down shirt. I did have a black shirt and tie though (used sparingly throughout high school). The judges at the competition said our newscast stood out because of our commercial, and it was hilarious. But he also made a point to say that the sportscaster took a chance and stood out by wearing a black shirt and no coat. Sometimes you remember the little stuff.

Just getting into college was luck for me. But I got there, and after semester one I needed to get my act into gear if I wanted to stay. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. And I had a good crew in college that were more focused on academics than not. And that support was beneficial. I ended up in a great place because of it.

I also remember in college when my luck wasn’t so much good. Long story short: I lost a “bar fight” with the glass from a fire extinguisher case. I had the pleasure of spending the night in the tank. But, it led to some good. When I went to my broadcasting class later that week (and the beginning of Triple Threat TV at ISU) a cute girl was eyeing me. I found out later that she was trying to figure out if I really was the kid from the paper she read about in the blotter. Good news for me, she liked me anyway, and now we are about to celebrate our 5th year of marriage together (June 2nd). And you know how we’re celebrating? We’re going to run a 20K in Des Moines. I have a feeling I’ll be lucky to finish.

Now with Faith almost 2-years-old, I decided it was time to get rid of the pacifier. We had talked about it anyway when I was out of school. But it was just as big of a crutch for Nicole and I as it was for Faith. So, last night, when we were on our way home I got stubborn, and pretty much told Nicole we were going to go sans-binky right then. Cold Turkey.

She said that I would be the one in charge for the night. And I got lucky. It initially took about 10 minutes to get her to calm down. We have a giraffe that makes music, and so I decided that would be her replacement. So when she was upset, I wound it up and made sure to give it to her, then rub her back. Then she was out. She woke up once at 5am, for just a moment. I repositioned the giraffe and she was out again. And that was it. She woke up at 6:30 (about normal) and was ready to rock and roll. Nicole gave her presents for making it as a “big-girl” and our day has commenced.
Duck, Duck, ALLIGATOR!
You know the expression, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” right? This was night one. We still have two long car rides today - and probably nap time too. But, I’m lucky. We’ll see I guess.

By the way, I didn’t mention being on (and winning) Wheel of Fortune, falling into a wonderful career (I literally replied to a newspaper ad that said, “Tired of your current job? Did you always want to become a teacher?”), getting to jump out of a plane and tell about it, visiting Ireland, and a myriad of other moments in my life. 

The family with ISU women's basketball coach Bill Fennelly and his 2028 recruit. Oh, and yellow skinny jeans.

As I often say (to anyone who will listen), I am the luckiest guy I know.

Being a Mom

Last night Faith and I spent the evening just the two of us while her dad attended his first grad school class. In the mere three hours we were together, there were a lot of ups and downs (such is the life of an almost two-year-old I guess). To paint a clearer picture:

I got my usual reaction when I picked her up from daycare. She runs and jumps into my arms, gives me a bear-hug and says, "my mommy." - UP HIGHLIGHT

Faith and I split an apple on the drive home. Each time I handed her a bite, she said "Tank ouu, Mommy!" - UP (Manners are the cutest!)

When we got home, she climbed in the driver's seat while I was unloading groceries and refused to get out of the car. - DOWN

She yelled "NO!" every time I tried to walk down the hallway where she was pushing her baby stroller. When I reprimanded her, she burst into tears. - BIG DOWN

I made her dinner, which she ate, and then when I sat down to eat mine, she wanted my sandwich and asked for more "Yettuce." - BIG UP, even if I got hungry around 9 p.m. (She willingly ate a veggie!)

She was jumping off a stepstool and "tooted" as we say in our household. When I asked her if Faithy tooted, she replied, "Nooooo." When I died laughing, she giggled right along with me and let out another toot. - HILARIOUS UP

She stopped in the middle of everything and said, "Where Daddy go?" -HEARTBREAKING DOWN. (We both missed him.)

We had a tickle wrestle match. Faith is the worst tickler ever, but it's fun to watch her try. - UP

She accidentally fell, scratched herself or bumped into something about three times and got an owie. - DOWN

We rocked and read books together before bedtime, something I hope she never gets too old for. - UP

While I was recounting our night to Rob, I realized it was motherhood in a nutshell. There was joy, disappointment, heartbreak, pride, love, discipline, sacrifice, bonding, independence and fun.

I wanted to be a mom since I can remember. I wanted to bring someone into this world who was created out of love. I wanted the responsibility of raising someone who will make her own positive mark on this world. I wanted a baby because, long after I'm gone, my legacy will be what I left behind, and what better to have left behind than a purposeful life and the lives that follow. I wanted to be a mom because I wanted to give Faith a childhood. How awesome is it to get to experience childhood twice, once as a kid, and then once through the eyes of your daughter. I wanted to be a mom because I knew my mom would be a great grandma and she hasn't disappointed. I wanted children because I didn't get to live with my siblings growing up and I always longed for a partner in crime. I hope we can give that to Faith someday. But I think I mostly wanted to be a mom because of my mom. The bond we share is such a gift to me that I couldn't help but want to share it with my own daughter someday. Being a mom is by far the most meaningful thing I have done and probably will ever do. Sure I doubt myself sometimes, I am exhausted by 8 o'clock each night and my house looks like the inside of Toys R Us on the day after Thanksgiving, but I would not want it any other way. Being a mom is everything to me. Do I worry too much, sleep to little and have a body that will never be the same? You bet. But did I ever imagine how much fun it would be to hear Faith learn to talk...did I envision the conversations Rob and I have in which we marvel at her, did I ever think I could love anyone like her? Not for a second. I hope someday Faith will share in the amazing, challenging, but mostly amazing experience that is motherhood.

Four generations...kind of :)
I hope all the mamas out there had a very Happy Mother's Day. I awoke to this:

Followed by brunch at Pitch and a trip to the zoo! What an unforgettable day :)

Big Girl Panties

I wish this post were about Faith and potty training, but alas, it is about her mother and her need to quit being such a Sally (poor Sally, not sure how she got such a bad rap) and Take Away The Pacifier.

We were inching toward this goal, hit a bump in the road with Pneumonia and then began driving in reverse full-speed. Faith can now demand the binky and does so quite frequently. Out of the bath, during diaper changes and just any other time she damn well pleases. Yesterday, she found one lying around the house and stuck it in her mouth for .3 seconds before I took it away since it wasn't nap or bedtime. I thought my taking it away would result in what resembles a dance party on the floor, but with crying, however, instead she just moved right along. Like a junkie who just took a hit that could tie her over until the withdrawals kicked in again.

It's time.
I can do this.
Waking up 3 times a night to put the pacifier back in her mouth is ridiculous.
I can do this.
Can I do this?

Reasons to take it away:
I hate that she tries to talk with it in her mouth.
We never upgraded to the +18 months ones, and Rob won't let me buy any more, so technically, they're too small for her mouth
It has to happen sometime.
She is getting MORE dependent on it, not LESS.
Cleaning them, when Howie is constantly coming out with one from under the crib, is getting old.
Packing them to go somewhere -- also getting old.
I'm tired of binky pics.

And just for good measure...

Reasons to keep it forever:
They comfort her.
Naptime and bedtime in our household are a breeze. (Please don't hate me).
I don't like to hear my daughter cry.
She falls back to sleep in .2 seconds after we plug one of em in circa 3 a.m. So do I.
I'm not into sleep deprivation.
She doesn't have any speech problems -- girl's a talker.
I never like Big Girl Panties anyway.

Help! I'm at a crossroads between "She's only a kid for a short time - let her keep it" and "Dear Lord, Woman -- this binky business in nonsensical."

Can someone tell me which way to turn?

24 things at 22 months

My little Faithy,
This is probably my last 24 things letter to you. I've written them for 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 20 and now 22 months. I have a special surprise for your second birthday that will serve as my 24 things for 24 months post and then I just want to post updates like these more often, when they happen, so I don't forget a single detail. You are growing up so fast! I am so proud of you. That may sound silly to say to or about a 1-year-old, but everything about you makes me proud to be your mom. I've never loved anyone like I love you, so thank you for your sly smile first thing in the morning, one-of-a-kind, topple-me-over hugs after a long day at work and holding my hand in between. I love you!

24 things

I love to make you laugh. I do this thing where I smell your feet and when I smell the left one, I pretend it smells like roses, but when I smell the right one, I say "Yuck" or "Ewwwww" and make a funny face. It never gets old and you always say "gin" as in "again, mommy?"

You are becoming so independent. I have tried to let you drink out of a cup a couple times, but we've had some spilled milk (and we both cried). I picked you up from daycare the other day and you were drinking out of a glass like it was no biggie. I'm trying to get better about not underestimating you.

you can swing by yourself, too!
 Colors are not as much of a mystery to you any more. You can now identify pink 100% of the time. You also know white (which I don't think is even a color) and blue, though sometimes you think yellow is blue. We're getting there!

This one is random, but you do this thing with one of your (many) electronic toys where you say something to the effect of "zibaz" and then wait for someone to respond. We started pretending like you were a waitress taking our order so we say things like "I'll have three hotdogs and two french fries." You then look at the next person and wait for them to order. Papa Stevie ordered a beer from you and when he asked where it was a minute later, you said "It right here" and handed him a stuff "bear."

Dogs love you. You are great at "petting nice" now and even Howie doesn't run away from you anymore.You love to hold the "yeash" on his walks.

Faith Lindquist, you are the next American Idol. You are great at putting your own spin on songs. For example, the ABCs. They now go "ABCDHIH" and repeat several times. H is by far your favorite letter.

Maybe it's because your dad and I never shut up, but you are a talking machine. Some of your sentences include "I walk." "What dat noise?" "Mommy, I find your phone." "Shhh, baby sleeping." "My daddy coming?" "De End" (at the end of a book). "Where Howie go?" "Howie home." "Gammy home." "Papa home." "Faithy turn." "I have it." "Howie, stop bockin," -- not sure why you sound like you're from Jersey on that last one.

Whenever a door is closed you say "Knock Knock." And when we say, "Who's there?" You respond with "Faithy door."

I think you think your name is Faithy and not Faith. We are trying to teach you Janna and Lindquist.

We are also trying to teach you "Booo Hawkeyes" and most recently "Ewww Huskers." The other day I said, "Booo Hawkeyes" and you said "Goooo Kikones." (C's are hard!) I think my Pavlovian training is working on you :)

Potty training is going.....nowhere. You LOVE to just sit on the pot for 20 minutes throwing little bits of toilet paper into the toilet. You usually whine and cry when I tell you time's up. We say "bye bye poopies" even though there's nothing in the toilet but a lot of Charmin and then wash our hands. You did poop on the potty once purely by timing. I gave you 75 stickers and danced a jig so I'm not sure why you haven't done it since.

You hate brushing your teeth, but LOVE swallowing your edible toothpaste. One day you wanted Mommy's toothpaste so I gave you a tiny dab. After you tried to eat it you said, "I don't yike it!" Sorry about that.

Sensative much? Anytime anyone remotely reprimands you (after you've turned off the TV for the 100th time) you turn on the waterworks. It works for now.

Days of Our Lives is reserving a spot for you since you're so good at fake crying too. "Biiiiiiinkkkkyyyy." When we fake cry with you, you bust up laughing and that's how we know you're for sure faking. We're trying to get this on video and send it to America's Funniest Videos so we can put $10,000 in our vacation fund your college fund.

Apparently you like the Easter bunny better than Santa, according to your reactions when sitting on their laps. Speaking of Easter,you also recognize pictures of Jesus now, which makes mommy proud.

Sesame Street is still your fav and will be the theme of your birthday party in a couple months. You ask to watch "BiBird" and when we count to five you say, "Ah Ah Ah" just like the Count after each number.

You finally like fruit again. Out of nowhere you just started munching on strawberries (without ice cream on them!) and requesting bites of apple from me while I'm driving. You also ate brocolli (yes it was covered in cheese and Ranch dressing, but you ate it)! You're still kind of a messy eater.

Our bedtime routine is still my favorite part of the night. After sharing a fudge bar with dad, you brush your teeth, we pick out 3 books or so and read them, and then I turn off the lamp and you turn and give me a hug. I hold you in my arms over your crib and recite the "Lovely Lady, dressed in blue" prayer and then lay you in your crib. You tuck two giraffes under your arms, roll over and go to sleep. I cover you up with a blankie, say "Goodnight Faithy, God loves you." and walk out the door. I am getting choked up typing this. What is wrong with me?

I forgot about the part where I hand you your Binky and all is right with the world. I REALLY want to take it away, but I know you won't be a baby/kid much longer, so I let you have it. Sometimes you try to talk with it in your mouth and it reminds me of a chain smoker, especially when you're shirtless and your little potbelly is hanging over your diaper.

can you spot Howie?

You weigh approximately 24 pounds -- a lightweight by most chart's standards, but your parents aren't exactly giants, so I don't worry about ya anymore,...well, your weight anyway.

Daddy likes to tease you sometimes. He yells, "Who's crazy?" and you raise your hand all excitedly.

My child, you are OBSESSED with jellybeans, also known as j-beans. You'd eat them for breakfast if we let you. Thankfully, the Easter season is over, but I blame you're honorary aunt Cari McClannahan for this one. (Thanks for the Easter basket, Cari :)

Perhaps, the best day of my life was when I dropped you off at daycare, you gave me a smooch, a hug and then said, "I yike you, Mommy." I yike you too, Faithy!

That brings me to #24. For those of you who know my kid, I'd love for you to share your own number 24 in the comments, so when we print this someday, she'll have it forever. (She'll be driving before we know it!)

 If you don't have a Faithism to share, I'd love to hear a funny story about your kid. Please, make it embarrassing :)