Sunday, November 30, 2014

In A Span Of Two Years

In a span of two years, my wife Meghan and I have had two children. Our oldest, originally baby owl and now big girl, is just over two years old. Our youngest, originally baby moby and now little guy, is almost six months old. I'm not sure at what point time jumped to warp speed, but every day seems to be a little treasure that comes in the form of pictures, videos, or memories. At some point, it would be nice to say we have a time capsule and will bury it to open it up again in the future, but the very thought of doing something that would take so much time makes me feel a little sad to pull away from the moments I might be missing with my wife and little ones. Granted, it would be easier to dig in the summer when the ground isn't so hard, but that's not the point.

I guess I love the moments I have with my family so much, especially the fewer ones with my kids because of their sleep schedule and when I get home from work some days, I often think of the days that have already passed; last week, last month, a year ago. It's sometimes how I make up for lost time when I look at photos on my computer. I often think about how much my daughter has changed over the span of two years, how much my son has changed in the span of six months, or how similar they are or aren't at similar points.

I don't post pictures of them, unless it's on my private social media pages. Maybe I will someday, but I guess I feel a need to keep them protected even if it's unnecessary. Heck, I didn't post pictures of myself until recently. Maybe it was the thought of anonymity that made me feel safer or it's somewhat of my nature to be more closed off until I get to know people.

Fortunately, I feel I've made some pretty cool connections online. I love to talk about my kids, and my love of food and movies, but it's so fun to share how they are doing. Even saying it now, I probably still don't do it enough. I know I don't brag enough about my wife either. She works full-time as a teacher, picks up the kids and takes care of them until I get home to help, and finds time to take care of our meals, clean up the living room, and whatever else she somehow finds time to do.

I have found as I go further along in my life as a husband, father, and writer, I like to (when I find time) to post online about my family, respond to other people's comments of their families, movie watching, or dining experiences, or just try to post simple comments that my wife or I find funny. Maybe I'm the only one that really thinks they're funny...hmm.

In a span of two years, I have loved my wife more than I thought was possible and I have loved two children more than I thought was possible. I knew that I loved my wife far before we got married, but the love she has for our children and they love they show back make it so easy to be grateful she said yes. My children; how wonderful they've made my, our lives. I expected a gaping hole to be filled when I married Meghan, but never did I realize there were other empty spots that have been completely overflowed with love; love for them and seeing the love they have for us.

In my "social" life, I wonder what my kids' lives will be like in the future. Will they be open to others? Will they be apprehensive or guarded, but still be able to be completely free of any self-conscious thoughts? I hope so. It's something I try to do, so I can be a positive example for them. I want to interact with friends online. I want to tell people how excited I am about my family, or even progress on my next book, or how much I respect other writers, or even how exciting it is for some people to follow me on several different social media outlets; I can't help it, but it's really exciting for me that James Rollins follows me. He is such a good writer and it feels great, especially since I'm a writer. Check out his books, it's good stuff!

In a span of two years, I have realized how important my wife and kids are to me, but also how much succeeding as a writer is as well. I want to show them that living your dream is possible and sometimes it takes time to completely fulfill that dream. I am on the path to writing full-time, but I know the path will provide the example I want to show them one day. If anything, I want them to know that I will not expect anything less or reject any ideas that they consider their dreams. I want them to reach up, grab stars as if they only had to use a ladder, and ride them at light speed so their futures burn brightly.

I can only hope my tales of being and evolving my status as a writer will encourage them once they're old enough to want to strum a guitar, learn to surf, study anthropology, or wherever else their paths lead them, perhaps even using a particle collider.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Inspiring Writers for Me: Bonnie Burton

Bonnie Burton is a phenomenal writer. Her "I'm going to write and post every day" mentality (my quote, not hers), is one reason why she is on my list of writers who inspire me.

Bonnie's ability to write entertaining articles on a wide variety of topics not only increases her value as a writer, but shows a fervent desire to stay involved and share current events. Perhaps this passion, as well as her talent, explains her presence in so many different organizations; CNET, SFX Magazine, and Geek and Sundry to name a few.

Out of all of her articles, it wasn't her piece about Trent Reznor discussing his opinion on streaming music that got my attention. It wasn't her Fiasco appearance on TableTop. It wasn't even a very recent tweet sharing a video of Star Trek: The Next Generation outtakes. What got my attention and led me to the world of Ms. Burton?

It was a #parent episode, "Geek Crafting with Kids" on Geek and Sundry that made me realize the depth of her creativity. I watched the episode as it streamed live, which happened to be shortly before I became a father for the first time. I watched Bonnie and three others have fun discussing their creations and creative ideas to make wonderful crafts for kids. My first thought was, "How can I do these things?"

I want to be able to do something like this with my kids one day and the enthusiasm from this group made me realize it's the same mentality I want to bring to my parenting. Soon thereafter, I followed @bonniegrrl on Twitter and this eventually led me to the daily wealth of her writing. As much as I like her writing, it helps tremendously that she is genuine, funny, and an advocate for women and overall decency, which I believe translates in the tone of her work.

The writing is fun, easy to follow even with tech stories, and her good spirited nature makes it that much easier to continue following her stellar path. When I think of my kids growing up (now father of two) and looking up to people as role models, it's obvious Bonnie Burton is an individual that loves what she's doing and makes an effort to speak up on important topics; like anti-bullying. Sometimes it's the kind of person that enhances the appeal of someone else's craft, so it makes me hopeful my kids will have someone like this to look up to one day.

As a writer, I sometimes wonder when my next book will be finished, whether I'll blog about my favorite TV show or my life with my wife and kids, or if I'll find time to send a tweet. Bonnie's commitment to writing and ultimately having fun while doing it makes me hope for my own successes. She makes me realize why I put in the time to do what I do.

Bonnie Burton can also be followed on the following sites:


Monday, October 13, 2014

Come Here

So, I had a moment the other day when I was trying to get my daughter to follow directions and come by my side. We might've been at home or at the grocery store, but my voice suddenly transformed.

Did I get angry? Did I get frustrated?

Not exactly.

I seamlessly added a funny, grumbly kind of voice that mimics a character from Mortal Kombat and said, "Come here."

My tone was gravelly, rumbly, and I had a smile on my face. She smiled. And I couldn't help but laugh and she laughed and repeated my words in a gravely, rumbly, gremlin-like voice.

Yeah, I briefly questioned whether or why I would do something like that, but it just came naturally. A voice, a tone, and a smile, which turned into smiles and laughter...and now the phrase is being repeated in my household.

For the life and love I have for my family, come here!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Parenting 101 or 10something

In some cases, I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin, because I'm so worried that something will happen. Perhaps I should start by saying I'm a parent. I'm a father of two little ones; big girl is 22 months old and baby moby is two months old. So where was I?

Oh yeah, sometimes feeling like I'm going to crawl out of my skin. Let's say, as a parent, I have to move beyond that paranoid, worried, or whatever word to describe my "sometimes" OCD and helicopter-syndrome parenthood. If she falls, could I have caught her? If he spits up, could I have held him up longer? So where does this notion of moving beyond the paranoid come from?

Because sometimes, many times, I feel like a super hero. I feel like my glasses are my super powers. And perhaps that's because since big girl was younger, I would tell her to watch as dada put on his super powers. It was a way to let her adjust to a somewhat subtle change in my appearance, but with her knowing it was still dada.

What's it like to feel like a super hero? Perhaps it feels like a 30 something adult (with a bow in his hair) on all fours as his daughter tries to climb on his back. Perhaps it feels like having the perfect rocking mojo to swing baby boy to sleep. Perhaps it's knowing you can still make your wife laugh when she's had a long day. Fortunately, I have the right one by my side to help me become the parent I want to be.

I take my parenting like I approach my writing. I think I'm good, but I'll never think I'll be great or perfect. It's knowing that all I want to do is be better than I was the day before or at least be as involved as I was the day before. So I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin. So what.

Perhaps it's that feeling that makes me want to try so hard. Perhaps it's that feeling that makes feeling like a super hero feel so damn satisfying. All I want to do is be the best father, and essentially the best husband to a fantastic wife and mother, because I know the relationship with her will hopefully translate to my children.

So sometimes I am a super hero. As long as I always try to protect and provide and feel the need to show them how much I love them so, I will always be a super hero. And I must never forget that.

Perhaps that is lesson 101.

Monday, June 16, 2014

+ 1

My family has increased in size. Our baby boy, "a peanut compared to our daughter" according to my wife, was ten pounds and one ounce. He was a mere three ounces shy of his big sister. This "little" guy we've nicknamed baby moby. We created nicknames for each child before they were born, so it made it easier to talk about them with our family and friends without sharing their names. Baby owl is our daughter; baby moby is our son.

Although baby owl has turned into big girl owl at 20 months old, I already wonder what baby moby will be at that age. It seems like we were traveling at warp speed during this pregnancy, with only glancing moments as we pass by each day.

We've got to feed the cat; one day. We've got to take the trash out; another day. The trash was supposed to go out last night; crap. The days, weeks, and months included room preparations, additional baby product purchases, and getting big girl ready for being a big sister and having a little brother.

It's amazing to see the differences and similarities between our two children, especially during these first two weeks. They have similar facial features, but different hair color and cries. It's a non-stop ride and I never want to get off. We're getting into a routine slowly, but he's already getting decent chunks of sleep at night.

And baby girl is doing such a wonderful job with him. She always wants to go over to him and give him a pacifier, blanket, or one of her toys. It's such a wonderful feeling to have both of them in our lives. I hold them whenever I can, I read to them whenever I can, and one day I'll chase both of them around the house. For now, I don't think he'll mind that it's just her.