Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Rachel

This blog - Fatherhood Matters is about my children. But my children dont happen without their wonderful mother. Mom celebrated a birthday today. She is an amazing woman, friend, and community leader. November 26 also happens to be Abigail's 1 month birthday. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pokeno & Happy Feet

Thanksgiving Day was spent at my sister Kate's home. Kudos to the OLeary-Vandaloo recipes. One of the reasons I love my sisters is because they are attune to family tradition. This year they purchased the game Pokeno. My sisters and I played Pokeno when we were young at our Italian family gatherings. We played literally for pennies with my Poppy, Nana, 5 aunts & 3 uncles. My sisters have now passed the Pokeno tradition down to my children. Jaclyn had a blast reading the playing cards ("Joker of Spades!"). Jaclyn even won a round. David seemed to have fun placing chips on the Pokeno card. JP was found throwing chips at Bailey (the family dog). It is surreal looking across the table at my daughter playing cards.

Today our family of 6 went to the Movies. I am not sure what to make of the movie, "Happy Feet". My gut reaction is I wanted more fun (ala Madagascar) and less thinking (the movie made me think of David). Beyond the initial fiasco of seating arrangements, the kids were great. At the end, with credits rolling - JP broke into dance (JP's dancing is really more of an intense running in place). While he continued his joyful stomp, I looked at Rachel with glee and said, "Happy Feet?!?!"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stoop Ball - The Evolution

When I was young we played a game called Stoop Ball. Mostly I played with Mark, Paulie, Vinny & Matteo (can you tell where I grew up?).

JP and I played stoop ball yesterday. We dont actually have a front stoop. We played in the basement (using the stairs leading up to the 1st floor). It was fun as JP yelled "Stoop Ball!". JP was giggling as we threw the ball off the stairs. We caught it, dropped it, chased it and repeated. As we were playing and chasing the ball, JP kicked the ball around the basement. He stopped looked at me with those eyes & said, "Dad, this is Stoop Soccer!". Ah, urban life meet suburban life.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy 5th Birthday to David

It is 5:15 am in the morning. I am baking David a birthday cake. Why? I LOVE HIM. David's recent daily ritual is to wake up EARLY & come into our bed. Fun for David, not so fun for Mom & Dad who desperately need sleep. Today, I HOPE DAVID WAKES UP EARLY. I want to spend time with him before work.
Our goal 3 years ago was for David to attend mainstream Kindergarten (without assistance). I am happy to say we have met that goal. My honest assessment is that David does need assistance (an aide) at school - we are fighting for that. He needs most help with his social interaction (interacting appropriately with other kids) snd staying on task (jacket in cubbie, participate in music class). I am worried he is an outsider right now, going through the motions without being able to jump into the "real world". Why? His strong intellectual ability overshadows the details of what he really needs.

I love you David. Happy Birthday Buddy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Highlights from the Past 10 Years

I ran into a great friend, APKJr, whom I have known for 7 years (pre-kids). We talked life and a comment came about "kids aging you".

For you parents out there, would you agree how wonderful your children are & how you could not picture life WITHOUT your children. It is the most intense roller coaster ride. I would not change a thing.

On the way home that night, I thought of the past 10 years of my life.
1996 - Job Change & Dedicate life to Christ
1997 - Job Change & Engaged
1998 - Married (Rachel accepts 24x7 JohnnyO experience)
1999 - Mom diagnosed with cancer & Rachel Pregnant
2000 - Jaclyn born (WCW Baby)
2001 - Buy 1st home & David born
2002 - REST (I think) & David diagnosis
2003 - Pregnant
2004 - JP born & Job Change
2005 - Job Change
2006 - Buy 2nd home & Abigail born

I am sure I am missing something. But, you get the picture. My mom often encourages me through tough situations by saying, "You have nothing to fear, you have been through the worst by losing your Dad". He died a week before my 18th birthday.

So does the above list scare me? Nah. Does it scare you? LOL. My competitive nature says, "Bring it on Life!". So yes, I have aged but hopefully like a fine wine.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kudos to Aunt Kate

My sister finished the NY City Marathon today in 5:23:36.
This is a major accomplishment and I am very proud of her.

It was on my heart to take 3 of 4 kids to cheer for her. Unfortunately, David's neck, the cold weather and having a 9 day old baby (with recovering mom), we stayed home. Our plan is to ask Aunt Kate to do it again next year.

Jaclyn, David and I watched portions of the marathon on TV.
Jaclyn and David pulled their chairs close to the TV screen.
I asked Jaclyn, "Why are you moving your chairs so close to the TV?".
She answered confidently, "We want to get close so we can see Aunt Kate!"

Correction, not only am I proud of her, but we all are proud (especially her neice and nephew).

Friday, November 03, 2006

One Week in my Life

One week ago, Abigail was born. I find her to be amazing - very strong, intense eyes, focused on her goals (feeding time). I find my wife Rachel to be amazing too - in fact, because of the above traits. Thinking about birth, I continue to be amazed of the strength of women including Rachel.

5 things we learned in the past week (Abigail arrived home Saturday):
Sunday - We learn at noon that last night was Daylight Savings Time.
Monday - We learn Abigail is cool, is a good eater and a good sleeper
Tuesday - Jaclyn and I learn that Halloween is AWESOME on our street
Wednesday - I learn that deep inside I do love Max (dont ask about his vet bill)
Thursday - I learn that parenthood is a 24x7 job.

Get Busy Living

Strange things inspire me. Rachel said to me one time - "you have a wonderful gift, you are a self motivated person". I am motivated to do a lot of things in my life at this time. The biggest motivation is to positively fight for my son. David has torticollis. The day Abigail was born, David was fighting a rash and fever. When those symptoms went away, he ended up with a stiff neck (turned to one side). Turns out this kink is torticollis. Tomorrow - physical therapy.

I now officially put my life under the category of "I can't make this stuff up". I plan to positively fight, inspire and battle life. I have a wonderful immediate and extended family. I have wonderful friends and coworkers. I am going to get busy living knowing that this too shall pass. Bring it on life - JohnnyO Bulldog is here........ with a smile.