Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Below are pictures from Benjamin's birthday party, enjoy! We had a great time, and unlike Emily, Benjamin actually got into his cake!

Guess branding does sucker some people, they sold me!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

8 Years

May 19, 2001, Leslie and I were married.  Let me take you back to how it all started...

We met at an inter-collegiate honor band in 1999 in Tulsa.  Both of our directors at our respective schools had urged us to attend, even though we both expressed hesitation before going.  "You never know who you might meet," we found out later both of our directors said to us.  I remember seeing her for the first time, acting "cool" (wow, at least I realize now how un-cool I've always been...), and her using my mismatched socks as an excuse to talk for the few days we were there (yup, that's the reason I still do it today).

I remember walking away as the event ended, stopping myself, and literally speaking out loud, "you have to do something before you leave.. you have to do something.."  Which is when I bumbled myself through a way of asking her if she ever made it from Ada to Norman.

"Yeah, to see my boyfriend," she responded.  Oops. 

"Oh, right.. yeah.. okay.. so.. by then."  But I still couldn't just leave it.. so in a way only I could, blurted out, "well, maybe I can... so, if you want to talk ever.. maybe we could... PHONE"

"That would be great!  Do you have a pen or paper?"

"Uhh (never gotten this far before, unknown territory.. mayday, mayday).. no... But, awww.. don't worry, you're on the ECU directory right?  I'll just email you."


And that was it for a few weeks.  I stewed over it, thought about it, then finally got up the nerve to try to email her.  So, yeah, back in the "day" there really weren't directories online at campuses (LOOONG before IM, twitter, facebook, blah blah blah.. all you whipper snappers don't know how good you've got it!), so she wasn't listed.  Did I stop there?  Nope, went into full stalker mode pretty much: I emailed the webmaster at the ECU website and asked if he/she could send along word to her.  He/She responded (I don't think they were too trusting), and wouldn't you know it, a few days later received this:

Hey, Pete I tried the other day to find your e-mail adress but you
>weren't in the OU directory.  You can send e-mail to 
>How are things going for you at OU?  Times are pretty rough right now
>for me.  The guy I have been seeing for about a year, he and I just
>broke up.  So things are a little tough but getting easier each day.
>Well now that you have heard my sob story How are things for you?  Have
>you seen the movie She's All That?  The main character reminds me of
>you.  I am not sure exactly why.  I think he looks a little like you.
>Well I am going to go eat dinner.  Talk to you later.  HAPPY VALENTINES
>                        Leslie

Ah yes.  So sad for her and her boyfriend.  That email turned into many, then many more trips to and from Ada (more for her.. but come on.. Ada?  Seriously..) which turned into a proposal (I'll give that story sometime.. it's another good one), then a wedding, then Emily Ann, then Benjamin Aaron.

My life with Leslie has put all things in perspective: family, love, and happiness.  I say it countless times, and I still believe the look I get is, "yeah right" when I say it, but when anybody asks me if there's anything I want for birthdays, celebrations, or whatever, my response is always, "Is Leslie okay?  Are the kids okay?  I'm good." 

I will tell you, there are still surprises in our relationship for me.  Specifically, the one I've noticed more lately, is the progression of how we interact with each other.  In the beginning, there was that awkward talk (mostly from me), with the hesitant looks.  Then, as our relationship grew, we became very close, and I found a complete comfort when I looked at her, and didn't mind doing so for hours (even if she knew I was doing it).  Then, as we "settled" into our marriage, we got more comfortable with each other, could read each other much better, and I found ourselves talking a little less, but still knowing what we were each thinking.  What's interesting now is that I find myself looking at her, and becoming shy again if she catches me... Weird moments, too.. like when she's talking on the phone, or doing her hair.  She'll glance over at me, and I find myself the bumbling idiot I was when we first met, trying to find an internal excuse for what I was doing, OTHER than looking at her..who knew after 8 years?

Every time I look at Emily or Benjamin, I see Leslie, and thank God for all that I have in this world.  I've become weepier as I've grown older (as you all know), and most of it centers on how truly blessed and lucky I am to have found her.  She's put up with me for 8 years, here's hoping for 80 more..

And, to celebrate, we're going to Terminator this weekend.  Here's still hoping for 80 more :)

I love you Leslie, happy anniversary.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Outside El Chico

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

As the end of the school year approaches...

While I'm certainly aware at how sparse posts have been as of late, last night and today are definitely worthy of one, so here goes... Before that though, I've gotta ask, is there such a thing as blogger's block?  I become more hesitant to post here as each day passes, so much so that lately it's been a battle, that the blog has been winning :)

Now, before I begin, I would ask you don't judge too harshly.. 

So, last night I woke up around 10:20.  It was one of those 'why am I awake' moments; you know, when you wake up when a noise has happened, but the noise really didn't register with you, but it was enough to wake you up.. Yeah, it was one of those.  I instinctively looked over at my phone, and sure enough, I had received a text from my mother (now, the fact that I now receive texts from my mother is worth a whole separate post, but I won't do that here.. let's just say... strange.. Not that I don't like it, but.. strange)

So anyway, the text read: "Are you up"

I replied, "Yes, why?"

"Tornado warning"

So, I reached over, opened my drawer, pulled out my ham radio, flipped it on, and turned on the television as well.  I noticed big red areas heading toward Norman, and on the radio I began hearing things like "rotation near Norman."  I found it interesting at this point that Leslie was sleeping through everything.  That was to change soon..

As I continued listening, it started looking and sounding worse, and just as I got up to go put my shoes on, the siren went off.  I looked over at Leslie sleeping, and I noticed her experiencing the same kind of wake up as I did.. She really didn't know why she was waking up... yet..

Then I saw in her eyes the realization of what was happening.  I don't think she even sat up; she went from laying flat to instantly standing straight up (cool trick.. have to learn that one later) and went straight for the closet and started moving things around.  I told her to calm down (this would be the ONLY moment of the evening when I appeared to have my wits about me.. again.. don't judge) and that it didn't seem too serious yet.

Then I started hearing street names on the ham radio that were within a block or two of our house.  That's when my insanity began...

I told Leslie to grab Benjamin, I had Emily (who wasn't really happy to be awake in the first place) and away we went to the car.  I jetted out of the driveway, and headed to the only basement in town I had access to at that time: school.

Now, in retrospect, there are quite a few things I could have done other than that, but there we were, rushing toward school.  We got there, headed downstairs, and sat there for about 45 minutes or so, talking to dad on the phone, getting reports online and on the radio, and I think through the entire event heard maybe two or three thunder claps..  good..times...

So back home we went, and finally off to bed.

Now, this morning was much more fun.  Today was Father's Day Celebration at Emily's school.  When I arrived with the other dads, the class performed a couple of songs for us before we got to join in and play.  My moment of glory came with the first song.  The kids began to sing, and Emily was looking right at me:

"Shimmery dinky dinky dink.. Shimmery dinky doo... (wait for it..) I.... Loooooooove... you (as she made hand gestures, then pointed at me on the 'you').. So, that was it for me.. tears streamed down my face for the next three verses, and during one of them I took the time to scan the room.. yup.. only one crying... nice.  After that (and after I collected my blubbery self) we sang and danced a song together, then played outside.

Now maybe when Benjamin is screaming at levels unkown to humans.. I can just insert the words of that song, and pretend he's just singing the I love you song in his own way... maybe...

Sportin' my new tie at dad's day with Emily!

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At my father's day party with Emily!

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's about to start! Star Trek!!

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Few Items

1. With Facebook, Friendfeed, Jaiku, Twitter, Picasa,etc, etc, etc... (list goes on, and on, and on, and on) is there a need for blogs anymore?
2. Can't remember #2..

Anyway, at least a couple things worth mentioning here.  First was Leslie's run to the urgent care the other day.  I walked in and she was hunched over the sink in the kitchen, and as I opened the door to enter I heard Emily asking, "mommy, do you need a bigger bandaid?"  So, after looking at the blood streaming out of her finger, we decided to take a quick trip to the doctor.  They ended up bandaging it up, and giving her a shot (she loved that part..)

I posted a pic from "back stage" at Emily's puppet show.  Now, while that probably seems like something I'd be begging to do anyway, it was not by choice I was back there.  Per the norm, as soon as the puppet show began, Emily began spinning out of control, crying herself into a pretty good frenzy.  We kept telling her to head back over with her class to get started, and she finally did, but cried through the first show (involving some of her classmates).  After the first one was over, she went sprinting back over to us, and I took her outisde the classroom.  I, as you can imagine, don't have a lot of patience for this side of my daughter, but I tried as best I could to calm her down ("stop crying. stop crying. stop crying" -- yeah, in retrospect, probably could have been a little more thoughtful) then I told her she needed to go in and participate.  Her response,

"Will you come with me?"

Lots of previous battles flashed before my eyes, and at that moment, my priority was to get her to do the puppet show, so I caved and said yes.  So, there I go with Emily, walking back in with the other pre-k-ers, and ducked down beneath the bookcase as far as I could while they started singing.  While I thought that was going to be good enough, not so with Emily.  She grabbed my hand, and forced it up with hers while she held her puppet frog over the edge.  While this was happening, I managed to get one picture, which was posted.  So, there's the story behind that pic :)

Benjamin still doesn't feel like using our names yet, although he says "What is it?" or "What is that?" All of the time.  No, I don't think he knows what he's saying, but it's pretty funny to listen to.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

At Bart Connors for a birthday party!

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At Chilis

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Friday, May 1, 2009