Post Coma Baby #1

I promised you that I would share something really, really good that came from the crash and the coma…

The good was the beginning of our family that we started just six months after I woke up.

Nine months later, one month and one day before our 2nd anniversary…

In spite of the fact that it was a BIG surprise and I was not and am still not qualified to be a mother…

Our son was born on September 9, 1989.

He turned 19 yesterday.

He was an absolutely delightful baby.

He was a sweet big brother when I brought home twin sisters just shy of his 2nd birthday.

And another darn sister when he was almost ten years old.

He was a babe magnet from his early days.

Grunter1

I won’t reveal the identity of the girls he was surrounded by but hopefully they will enjoy seeing themselves on the internet.

Neighborhood girls were everywhere. Across the street, next door on both sides…

GrunterTwo

Things were a little too easy in those early years. I knew it wouldn’t last.

He was a popular kid and this got him in a bit of “hot water”…

Grunter3

We told him this better be the first, last and only time we find him in our bathtub with five naked girls.

He outgrew the delightful baby stage too soon and things became more difficult.

PhilBillPaul handled some cross-dressing issues well.

Grunter5

Um, yes, that is a swimsuit top. And his sister’s hair bow. It was hard being surrounded by females all day.

I knew he would grow out of it eventually so I didn’t make a big deal about it.

Until he and Roger Leroy started sharing clothes.

Grunter6

But you just have to pick your battles so I let it go.

Side note: She still won’t wear dresses but I’m glad to report he no longer wears them either.

He’s actually very well-rounded, artistic and played different sports through the years.

GrunterFourA

Then we had eating issues.

Maybe you remember The Cocoa Krispie Nightmare?

And hair issues.

Grunter7

This is what happens when the Humphreys children get a hold of hair gel.

And please don’t forget, pot issues.

Oh yes–he used pot right in front of us.

From Barney to Batman, we have loved our Boy through all the great times and the challenging times.

GrunterEight


He graduated from high school
in May and completed his first year of college during his senior year. We are so very proud of the man he is becoming.

Though most days, he is still The Grunter here at home.

We were very excited to see his new haircut last week.

Grunter9

We haven’t seen his eyebrows in at least 5 years!

In honor of his birthday and with his permission, he said I can reveal his real name on the blog.

But I’m going to let Grandma’s card (and Hallmark) do that for me. Because we all share a warped sense of humor and this card is now in my Top Ten of our family card competition…

Grunter10

Come on, that’s funny.

Grunter11

Good one Grandma! Grandad James Everett is looking down and laughing!

Everett James Humphreys…

Grandad Jimbo would be proud of you too.

Happy Birthday Pumpkin!

I love you to the moon.

xoxo

Mom

Never Enough Syndrome

At our house, we call it the “Never Enough” syndrome. It seems that no matter what we buy, give or do, it’s “never enough.” If we say yes, they ask for one more thing. If we say midnight, they say “12:30.” If we say pick one, they say “two. If we say pick two, they say “three.”

Okay, you get the idea. Anyone else relate to this syndrome?

Reflecting on a quiet Mother’s Day yesterday and keeping focused on my job as the mean mom with Scary Baby grounded for the day and the teenagers all working, I thought of one of my favorite Erma Bombeck writings. I know it has made its way around the internet email forwarding system many times. Often without proper attribution.

My kids actually read the blog from time to time and I wonder if they’re still too young to really “get it.”

Fellow mean moms get it.

Erma got it.

It’s really worth reading again.

You Don’t Love Me

“You don’t love me!”

How many times have your kids laid that one on you?

And how many times have you, as a parent, resisted the urge to tell them how much?

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother I’ll tell them.

I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom, and what time you would get home.

I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money that we could afford and you couldn’t.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your hand-picked friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way with a bite out of it to a drugstore and confess, “I stole this.”

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me fifteen minutes.

I loved you enough to say, “Yes, you can go to Disney World on Mother’s Day.”

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust, and tears in my eyes.

I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or your bad manners.

I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask your forgiveness.

I loved you enough to ignore “what every other mother” did or said.

I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt, and fail.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for you own actions, at six, ten, or sixteen.

I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned, but forgave you for it … after discovering I was right.

I loved you enough to shove you off my lap, let go of your hand, be mute to your pleas … so that you had to stand alone.

I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.
–Erma Bombeck

I hope all you mean moms (and nice moms) had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

And I hope and pray that my kids know that I have always loved them enough even when it seems like it is never enough…

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High Alert: Man on Board Blog

I am well aware that this site is read primarily by women. I’m fine with that.

In fact, reader comments are 98% women strong.

Yesterday that became 97%.

Rarely, if ever, will a comment become an actual post. That would be redundant.

But I also assume that many of you may never go back to an old post and read the comments.

Am I right? (I know I shouldn’t assume…)

In this instance, I felt deeply compelled to be sure you all didn’t miss this award-winning comment.

Okay, maybe not award-winning, because that infers there was a competition or a contest and there wasn’t.

If there was a contest, this is the blog badge I would bestow on the winner.

Wiener Award

The winner could put their award badge on their blog to celebrate and brag about their achievement.

If there was a contest, the winning comment would be found…where else but here…

Wiener Dog Monday!

Instead of a contest and because he doesn’t have a blog…

I’d like to introduce you to Command Sergeant Major Daniel Bowman.

Dan

He also happens to be the husband of my wiener dog-loving friend, Ann.

He wrote this comment and to say I was surprised would be a huge understatement.

I have thought long and hard how to contribute to this insightful place on the web without emasculating myself. All of the pseudo pink/purple hues that border the home page have made me swear not to tell the fellow members of my man world a thing about it. Sorry Sherra.

But having close ties with a contributor and a real feeling that life lessons need to be shared, I’m jumping in. It’s funny how we (or maybe it’s just me) learn things. Take friendship. Oh, not the friendship you find in a pick-up basketball game or a friendship you make at work, a real deep friendship that is closer and more real than I can fathom. I have friends and since my return from my tour of duty in Iraq I have some VERY close friends, but not the type of friendship that I have observed between my wife and the author of this web site.

Sherra, I’m jealous. Maybe jealous is too weak of a word, but I can’t think of another. I’ve never heard two people laugh so hard or talk so long on the phone about who knows what. How can two college sorority sisters who met over 26 years ago be so emotionally close to each other? Heck their relationship is closer than the one my wiener dog and I have with my wife and the three of us sleep in the same bed!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m a man of few words and anytime that massive verbal trail of every detail of my wife’s day and menstrual cycle can be directed to someone else’s ear, it’s a “praise the baby Jesus moment” for me.

I do wish I had that. Not the menstrual cycle, but the ability to share every detail of my life with someone (who’s not my spouse), who doesn’t judge or get paid for acting like they care. A true unselfish friend. When I look back to when I was away from my family for 15+ months I remember how my concerns were turned upon myself and my Soldiers.

I left my wife to fend for herself four thousand miles away, paying bills, raising our children, calling a plumber, and scratching the dog’s back. I only had 15 minutes on a phone every 2-3 days, that is if it didn’t go dead in the middle of a conversation and very limited email access. No time to discuss those details of the day, only enough time to verify that I was still alive and kicking.

Thank God for Sherra. She filled in for me and I owe her my thanks.

There’s a saying within the Military; “America isn’t at war, the Army’s at war, America’s at the Mall.”

My version is a bit different “America isn’t at war, the Army and its Soldier’s families and FRIENDS are at war…”

Thanks Sherra.

I can assure you Dan (and any other men who are lurking here) that you did not emasculate yourself. Women love words and Ann & I both loved yours. You are speaking our love language, dear!

It was my pleasure to be there for Ann while you were in Iraq serving our country with pride and honor. Thank YOU, Dan.

xoxoxo

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P.S. Now don’t be a weenie…go tell all your manly friends that you were featured on a girly blog 🙂

Words of Affirmation

PhilBillPaul is a man of few words. It takes him some quiet time to form full sentences. He’s always been like that. It’s probably what was attractive to me in the beginning of our relationship. Because he was quiet, thoughtful and low-key.

You all probably know what once was attractive can become rather frustrating as our years of wedded bliss have flown by. Four kids and a wife who all need words of affirmation living with a man who doesn’t can be stressful. Praise and positive reinforcement do not come naturally to him.

He does try. He really does.

After a cross country banquet at school, Roger Leroy brought home a gallon jug of sweet tea that was leftover. No one drinks tea in our house except PhilBillPaul. It was a nice gesture on her part. (And somewhat freegan-like even though this was before we learned she’s on the verge of becoming a freegan!)

The best part though, was his reaction, after the tea was gone. He uses gallon jugs for his aquarium obsession hobby.

As he filled it with water to add to his aquarium, he said (in a very animated voice), “Roger Leroy, this is the best thing you’ve ever done!!”

Roger Leroy: What?

PhilBillPaul: This clear jug is great. I love it.

I felt is was only fitting to document that moment with a photo.

Here is THE BEST thing Roger Leroy has ever done.

RogerBestJug

Life Lesson (LL): Take what you can get. (As in Roger Leroy took the jug and took the awesome praise from her dad.)

Share a Life Lesson (SALL): Any little ways you find to praise your children and build up their self-esteem? I’ll pass on stories on to PhilBillPaul who always appreciates insight from others.

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Husbands and housework

Have you heard? Groundbreaking news about the relationship between men and a mop and their universal primary love language:

Physical Touch.

I hope our tax dollars weren’t used to fund this report. They could have just asked PhilBillPaul. He learned the value of mopping the kitchen floor and doing laundry early in our marriage.

1991 was a banner year for us when I made a few suggestions that I felt would really benefit our marriage:

  • Relax and decompress on your drive home in traffic, by yourself, in a quiet car with no one saying “Hey Daddy Hey Daddy Hey Daddy.”
  • Walk in the door ready to grab one to three babies and spend quality time with your children.
  • Be grateful that I am here to provide childcare for you all day while you worked hard outside of the home because I was working hard all day inside the home. (aka the hardest job on the planet.)
  • If you don’t agree with any of the above suggestions, please leave and go live in your car because I don’t need a grown-up baby to take care of and I’m keeping the house.

He decided to stay.

He’s a great dad.

He cleans. He cooks. He does laundry. He is tired.

But who isn’t? This parenting gig is hard work for all of us.

We parent together. Because that’s our job since we *planned* to have four children.

If you have a husband, this article might interest you.

Click here to read more about housework and a happier marriage.

If you have a husband and need reinforcements; this book was mentioned in the article, could be helpful and even better, it is written by a man.
I haven’t read it but I like the title…

The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework

Forget perfume and roses. Give me a man in an apron with pine-sol and a toilet bowl brush. Woo-hoo!

Let me know what you think and I dare you to comment on how the housework division of labor is going at your house…

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The Black Hole, Part Three

I went home from that appointment and I’m pretty sure I crawled into bed and took a long nap. Sheesh, it was a big day for me–showering and driving to the doctor and all. I might have had to stop and put gas in the car. I can’t really remember.

I spent another month in bed considering taking the pills but knowing if I just got a little more quality sleep time, I would snap out of this and everything would be okay.

I made weekly appointments for some talk therapy. I went. The therapist gave me words of affirmation and quality time (my main love languages).

Side note: If you haven’t ever read Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate I highly recommend it. It has been extremely helpful in all my relationships, not just marriage.

Okay, I do know she was getting paid to give me quality time and words of affirmation are really part of her job description. But I did feel better for at least an hour or two. She also thought I should seriously consider taking the medication.

I went home from those appointments and climbed back in bed to sleep because I was exhausted from actually going somewhere. And not sleeping at night.

Another month went by and nothing much had changed. So I made the decision to try the pills.

Please understand my hesitation in taking the pills was not because I am anti-meds. If it works, give me two! My hesitation was in my previous experience of taking a short six month ride on another anti-depressant when my dad was dying and Scary Baby was just 8 months old.

That prescription certainly took the edge off and kept me functioning at a time in my life that I really needed to be “present and accounted for.” But it also made me very, very flat. I am the first one to admit that I like to FEEL my emotions–I love to laugh and I’m not opposed to a good cry. With the drug, I did neither.

Side note: I was very, very agreeable and PhilBillPaul liked that a lot. He could barely get me to argue or squeal about anything. Very sad for me. I missed that part of me.

So I decided to make the commitment and started to take the pills as instructed. It takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to get the drugs into your system at the proper dosing.

Nothing…no change. Except I was more tired which seemed almost impossible. Not being able to sleep at night, I was staying up till the wee hours of the morning and then having vivid, 3D dreams that were not peaceful or soothing in any way.

That was the single most disturbing side effect because even though I’m aware that I have many, many issues–sleep was never one of them. I could get a job as a professional sleeper. It is a skill I have carefully honed. I know I need a minimum of eight hours with a nap or two if possible. I’m the person who can sleep standing up if there is no place to lie down.

Except then I was freaking out because I was not getting any uninterrupted sleep. It was much, much worse than the “new, crying baby, no sleep” mode. Why? Because I was a lot younger then. And my babies were put on an excellent sleep schedule and adhered to it. And because if there was one time I was a really good mother, it was when they were infants.

Ten weeks later. I’m not sleeping, I’m farther down in the black hole and it was time to call the doctor again.

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To be continued…

If you missed part one or two…

The Black Hole, Part One
The Black Hole, Part Two

Or to read more of the riveting story that I probably should just turn into a free ebook…

The Black Hole, Part Four
The Black Hole, Part Five
The Black Hole, Part Six
The Black Hole, Part Seven

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