Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Where Has Halloween Gone?

I may be the only one that feels this way, but Halloween just doesn’t seem to be fun anymore. I dread neighborhood kids coming to the door. It’s not that I don’t like having to buy three $20 bags of candy, I just don’t like having to hand it over to kids who aren’t from my neighborhood or are too old to be trick-or-treating to begin with. And of course, their parents are standing right behind them like it’s perfectly fine! Really? How about me and some of my adult friends dress up and come to your neighborhood and knock on your door? Uh, oh. I’m starting to sound like that guy.

Lilly at CarnivalAnyway, I found a very interesting website. In this day of “sexy” this and “naughty” that, it’s kind of hard for a girl or woman to find a really cool costume. But, Take Back Halloween aims to fix that by giving girls of all ages ideas for strong female characters. You get historical, mythological, and literary figures to draw from and if a guy tries hard enough, he can get a few ideas for his own costume. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ramblings and Wishes

I don’t know why I do it, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. How I found the first video I couldn’t tell you, but before I knew it, I had watched about ten Daddy-Soldiers-Reuniting-with-Their-Kids videos. I guess I wanted to see someone get their parent back, when I know that Lilly and I won’t. It’s okay, folks. I’m not going mental. It made me feel good. And it cleared my sinuses.

I got in the photos that I had printed. Most of them are from the memorial, but I added some of Lilly and family members. I wanted to have them to put around the house, so that Lilly and I will have reminders in front of us. When they’re on a computer, you have to voluntarily search them out, but if they’re on a wall, you see them all the time.

I was thinking one night while I was out about all the things that Carroll and I didn’t do. Not big trips and the such, but little things like going out to dinner. The few times that we got a baby-sitter, we didn’t know where to go. Here’s our date would go:

Silence for the first 10 minutes of the drive and then we look at each other. Carroll: smiling “I want to go home and pick her up right now.”

“I do, too, but we’re not. We’re going to go and enjoy ourselves. Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know. How about you?”

“I don’t know. You decide, because you don’t always like the places I pick.”

“I do, too!”

“Okay, Pappadeaux’s.”

“That’s Cajun. Everything is too spicy, even the chicken.”

“Ha Ha, see? So, how about some place we’ve never been?”

“I don’t know any places.”

And so on . . . . .

While I was out one night a few weeks back, I stopped by Barnes & Noble and then hit this little pizza place with a patio. The weather was perfect. I got a pizza, sat on the patio, watched traffic, and thought that Carroll would love this place. Of course, now, I’ll just have to tell her about it, but while I sat there, I thought why couldn’t I have found a place like this before and then we would have a place to go?

My only answer to that was something that I had heard before. You have to plan. If you don’t plan, then it doesn’t happen. Even little things like dinner with your spouse have to be planned. Especially, when you both are fighting a disease together. But this doesn’t have to just apply to the sick. You healthy folk could use a stress reducer like this. So, plan your date. Write it on a sticky note and put it on the fridge or the back of the front door. Then, when a miracle does happen and you get a free night, it’s already planned.

If it ever comes a time, and you’re the only one enjoying a great pizza, you won’t feel so guilty.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

National Brain Tumor Walk 2013

Carroll Head ShotIt’s fund-raising time again and the date has been set for the 2013 National Brain Tumor Walk at Trinity Park in Ft. Worth. I lost my wife, Carroll, in February after a three-year battle with the disease. She never lost hope and never lost that smile and I want to continue to wage the battle, so that no one else will have to go through what we did.

It’s so easy to help, too. You can join us in the walk, donate, and spread the word by going to the Team Kiwi site. Once you are here, you have several options and I go over them in the videos below. The team goal is $10,000 this year and I think it is very doable. Our goal was $2,000 last year and we beat that by a few hundred dollars.

So, I ask. Go to the site. Register to walk with us, if you can. If you can’t, donate and help spread the word.

Video – How to register to walk

Video – How to donate to team or team member

Video – How to set up personal page to fundraise

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2-year-old is walking again!

This came across my web this morning and I just had to post it. It started with a most horrible accident, but ends in hope. In April, the father of little Ireland was mowing the yard on a riding lawnmower and backed over her. She lost both legs below the knees.

Now, I’ve had to come to terms with death when I lost my wife back in February due to brain cancer. There is a big hole that will never be filled and I deal with it daily. I know that it will get easier; it’s a long hard road. But this father has to see his little girl everyday and be reminded that he was the one that was in control when the accident happened. I don’t know if that would ever get easier for me.

I’ve actually thought about things that could go wrong here at the house. Things that I have control over. I put a lot of thought into a task before I ever start doing it, because I couldn’t live with myself if I ever hurt my child. I think that’s the most stressful part of being a parent, worrying about the safety and health of you child.

I’m like most parents. I think “what was she doing in the back yard when he was mowing? She’s only two for Pete’s sake! Where was Mom?!” But, you know what? We don’t know, so we shouldn’t be judgmental. I’m sure he wasn’t hot-rodding around the yard with a blindfold.

The good news is that little Ireland got her new prostheses and took to them like they were the genuine deal. Check out the video and see what I mean. I love the cape with her initial on it. The story goes on the way it should, living happily ever after.

Do you torture yourself over what-ifs? What are some weird fears that you have that might befall your little ones? Do you know of any little superheroes like Ireland?

Watch how easy she makes it look.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rising & Shining . . . . Somewhat

I've found a new way to get the Kid up in the morning. Actually, it helps me get out of bed in the morning, also. The problem originally was that it took a long time for both of us to finally wake up, then get dressed and make it out the door to school. When I wake up, I turn the TV to Disney Junior and then take a shower. By the time I'm done with the shower, the Kid is awake because her favorite shows are now coming on, and I will admit the Disney Junior has some cool shows.

At 7 o'clock, a show called IMAGINATION MOVERS comes on, and it's about a group of guys who work in a warehouse and their whole job is to come up with creative ways to solve problems. It's right down my alley. It's got a lot of songs, which I now know by heart. At 7:30 AM, it’s CHARLIE AND LOLA and is about a brother and a sister and their relationship together. It's a really cute show, and it teaches a lot of good lessons.

Doc McStuffins   Online Activities and Fun   Disney JuniorI find the Disney Junior channel is much better at teaching lessons than other channels such as Nickelodeon, Qubo and the like. The Kid’s favorite of favorites is Doc McStuffins. It's about a little girl who has a special stethoscope that makes her stuffed animals and toys come alive, and she goes about fixing said stuffed animals and toys. In addition to teaching the general lessons, it also shows children how not to be afraid of a doctor and may even encourage some kids to think about being doctors. By the time Charlie and Lola comes on, the Kid is awake and awake enough to get dressed, which usually means she's watching TV and I'm just putting clothes on her. 8 o'clock rolls around, I turn the TV off. She's almost fully dressed or brushing teeth and headed out the door. Not a bad routine.

I've definitely had to watch what I'm watching around the Kid lately. I can't watch any news programs. She seems to pick up on the negative, really, really quickly and brings it up in conversation. Not in the “Why did they do that?” type of conversation, but as in the “Is that going to happen to me?” type of conversation. It scares her more than any horror movie could think of doing. Matter of fact, it does that to Daddy sometimes. I will usually record the news and just watch it when she's asleep. If I really need to read the news, I have a channel set up on Facebook and Twitter to where I can see all the local news as it happens.

What are different ways that you wake up your children to get them off to school in the morning? Can you wake your children up with a good “Rise and shine”, or do you need to spray cold water on them. Also, what are your TV viewing habits with your children? Do you pay attention to what they’re watching or do you even watch TV around them? If you do watch TV with small children, what are some of your favorite programs to watch?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Joy of a Mailbox

My grandmother Carmon has always been a letter writer. My brothers and I would receive cards in the mail for birthdays, holidays, and days that I think my grandmother made up just to get rid of the cards that she had stockpiled.

Well, now Lilly gets cards in the mail and Great Grandma Carmon sends cards filled with stickers. Any kind of sticker that looks pretty or interesting will get sent and Lilly loves to put them in her coloring books, regular books, notepads, or just blank sheets of paper. It gets to the point that she will walk with me out to the mailbox to check it expecting an envelope and if there isn’t anything for her, she’ll comment, “I need to write Great Grandma Carmon and tell her to send me more stickers!”

“I think Great Grandma Carmon would love to hear from you, Toot.” May be why Great Grandma Carmon slips up every once in a while, is to get that phone call?

National Geographic Kids MagazineSo, I thought that it would be cool to set up something where she did get mail on a regular basis. No, I’m not getting a credit card in her name. Though, that is a . . . .  Any way. I go to Half Price Book Store and will get those National Geographic Little Kids magazines. Then I got to thinking, why not get a subscription and have them mailed. I’m still paying about the same price after subscription discount and she gets something in the mail.

Another that is for her age group is Highlights High Five. I’ve never read this one but it’s a younger version of the Highlights Magazine that you always found in the dentist office, so it can’t be all bad.

Do you have any favorite kids magazines? Give me some titles so that I can pass them along.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ve come to find over the last five to six weeks, how much I took my wife for granted. All the little things that she did of which I was oblivious. From taking care of Lilly to jobs around the house, and most of it on her sickest days. I offer up an apology every day to heaven, knowing that she hears me and that she forgives me, but knowing that an apology is not enough.

I have to go forward and keep up the work that she left behind. That means raising Lilly the way the Carroll wanted, getting healthy so that I can be here for as long as Lilly needs me, and keeping Carroll’s memory alive and introducing her to new people though she is gone.

Valerie Harper of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and RHODA fame, that is if you are a child of the 70’s, announced in her book and on TV that she has terminal brain cancer. She, like Kiwi, has survived her expiration date, but knows that the end is inevitable. And, also like Kiwi, she doesn’t let that stop her. In her words, “You can die with cancer, but not of it.” It’s basically a choice. You can let just the thought of cancer go ahead and put you in a bed and you wait for it to happen, or you can go out and live your life until it does come for you. That is what Carroll did. She said that when it gets here, she’ll be ready, but until then, come get me.

So, with the will to live that my wife exhibited, I step forth with some changes in my life. My child will be my first and last thought everyday, just as my wife was, but with a renewed sense of empowerment. I will teach my child that every day is a new day and that we are not dead until the dirt is put over the top of us. We will wake up every morning and think, what can we do to make our world a better place or how can we help someone else who may not have it as well.

Carroll and James Cruise CloseupWe will also learn how to be healthy. The day that Carroll passed, one of the last things she said to me was, “get healthy.” Meaning, give up the cokes and the eating out and make sure that you are here for our daughter. So, I will start by cutting down (I can’t do cold turkey) on the cokes, eating out once a week as a treat, and walking more.

I miss my wife so much, but it hurts less when I’m doing things of which I know she would be proud. So, here’s to the changes and keeping a smile on my wife’s heavenly face.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Visit to the Gaylord Texan and ICE! featuring MERRY MADAGASCAR

We were treated to the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Texan the last day of the show and had a blast. The theme was Dreamworks’ Merry Madagascar and the sculptures were just amazing. What was really cool was to watch one of the 40 artisans repair a sculpture right before my very eyes. Very skilled people! I think the temp was somewhere about 10 degrees in the building but the heavy coat they provided actually caused me to sweat a little. The only parts that were frozen were my hands and face and by the time we were exiting was just about the time I would have cried “uncle.” If you get a chance to go next year, do.

Constructing a finger out of ice.