Little Baby/Big Feelings

 

Have you ever tried to put huge emotions in to words? I mean, I must have started writing this twenty times but ended up erasing it because I can’t find the words that capture this moment:

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That was the moment.  The exact moment when I became officially a Father. Of course we had been preparing for nine months.  I had seen the ultrasounds.  I had read book after book after book.  But this is the moment that it became REAL.

The look on my face is one of joy. And panic. And happiness. And terror. And a flood of every other overwhelming emotion that you can feel all balled up into one moment.  I mean, he was so perfect.  SO PERFECT! I wondered how in the world I was going to manage not to totally screw this little man up.

Then I held him.

Suddenly I knew that my LOVE was enough.  I didn’t know in that moment how hard it was going to be, but I did suddenly realize that, hey, I am his Dad and I am going to rock at this.

Two more times after him I had those moments.  This time with my little girls.

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The moments waiting for your newborn to cry never get less emotional.  The relief when they finally let loose is always so amazing.  And then you get to kiss and hold and love and just be totally changed in one moment.

That is one of the reasons I love working with Pampers on Father’s Day.

It gives me a chance as a dad to say to my kids #ThanksBaby.  Thanks for taking me on this amazing ride of Fatherhood.  You all totally changed my life. And I am so lucky that you are mine.

 

 

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad  and Pampers for this promotion.

How To Build A Pappy

Our home has a lot of memories. I mean, I know most everyone’s does, but the memories in these walls go back a lot further than when my wife and I moved in. My Pop helped build this roof we are living under, and he and my Grandma raised their kids in these rooms. The yard I work so hard in has been cut countless times by my Mom and her sister on hot Virginia days. My Ma was actually telling me the other day how they had a old crappy push mower and they would each cut a strip and back then the other would take the mower and cut a strip. They would alternate back and forth like that until they were done. I think of that story every time I cut my grass now, even though I am lucky enough to be doing it on an old red riding mower, which was also a hand me down from my Grandparents.

 

I loved my Grandparents like crazy and I spent as much time with them as I could get away with. During the Summer I would stay with them until my parents would drag me home. My Pop was a truck driver, so he was often gone for a couple of days at a time and it would just be me and my Grandma. Her legal name was Nannie so you can tell it was fate that she would be the most amazing Grandma that has ever walked the earth. We never got tired of being together and she would just take me along to complete her to-do list for the day. We were a team and we each thought the other one just about hung the moon.

 

Every morning my Grandma, being the amazing Southern woman that she was, would cook eggs and toast for breakfast. She wore long knee length T-Shirts to bed (she called them her gowns) that had funny sayings or bible verses written on the front of them, and she always wore them while she piddled around in the morning. It was the only time you would see her without every hair in place and her lipstick applied perfectly. She would warm up the homemade biscuits that were left over from the night before and she would fry us an egg.

 

Before we got down to the business of breakfast, though, she would brew a pot of coffee. Since I wanted to do whatever she did, I would insist on also having a cup. She collected coffee cups, so you never knew which one you were going to drink out of that day. She knew so many people and they all brought her mugs from where ever they traveled so one morning you might have a cup from the diner a couple of towns over and then the next day your mug would be from a city overseas that seemed so exotic and impossibly far away.

 

There was a particular mug, though, that I loved the most. I loved it because it had a hunting dog on it and I felt like it was a real manly mug. I mean, with my Pop on the road I was the man of the house after all. Well, at least until my Mom made me come back home. I can see my Grandma like it was yesterday, taking the mug out of the same cabinet that we keep our coffee cups in now, and pouring the black liquid in our cups. She used sugar and milk to transform my coffee into a sweet goodness that warmed me up.

 

We would sit at the table and talk while we drink it and I thought I was so grown up. She had the ability to make anyone she focused on feel special and those mornings I felt like she wouldn’t have chosen to be anywhere else.

 

As a Stay at Home Dad of three kids (the oldest just turned 6) I need my coffee in the morning. It makes me take a moment to center myself before the eggs go in the pan and the kids begin to rule the roost. When I smell the Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend begin to fill the kitchen it not only marks the beginning of my day, it also connects me to my past. There are moments where I know my Grandma is smiling down on me because I am fueling my mornings the same way she did for so many years.

 

As Father’s day begins to creep up on us, I feel confident there is a new mug in my future. Or maybe a French Press? Maybe something letting me cold brew? Coffee will be a part of it, though, and I know no matter what gadget I get to make it, I will be using Folgers Coffeehouse Blend to fill my cup. Since it is so versatile, you don’t have to spend a million bucks to have a different type of coffee for every style you drink it!

 

Are you like me and have a million coffee mugs? Each morning I spend a few moments looking over them and deciding who I want to be that day. Am I the mug with my kids on it? One from a trip long ago? Often times I am a double mug that says “Everything is bigger in Texas” that my In-Laws brought me back from a trip they went on? I would love it if you would share your mug with me! Click here and use the hashtag #ShouldBeOnACoffeeMug and let me know! What would mine be? Here it is:

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So on Father’s Day, and every other day, Folgers Coffeehouse Blend will be connecting me with the past and pushing me forward into the here and now. My Grandma would be proud.

 

 

 

 

 

“This is a sponsored post on behalf of J. M. Smucker Company. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.”

 

#LawnGoals and yard envy

The best thing about our house is also one of the things that creates the most pressure, especially when it comes to our yard. My Grandparents built this home and my Grandma had the greenest thumb that ever existed. Every year her flower garden would get bigger and more elaborate. When we moved in, no one had lived here for a few years.

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My family had done their best to keep the yard mowed, but the flowerbeds were overrun and it just didn’t look right anymore. We wanted to avoid her seeing it, in all honesty, because she would not have been pleased. But, she required full time care, so sometimes something just has to give.

 

Getting it all under control was a huge job. As we began to beat back the weeds in the flowerbed we were constantly laughing about the number of figurines she had placed among her flowers. There were seriously enough Stone Garden Animals that we had an entire menagerie. Even now, it makes me laugh.

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A few of them made the cut to stay amongst our flowers, though. There is a Gnome that I left where I found it next to her Rose bushes and I love that little piece of her that is still around, even though she passed two years ago.

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So, all of this is to say, that I feel very sentimental about my yard.

 

We have worked to make it our own, with our enormous sandbox and a huge play set for the kids and a tree fort built on a tree that my Mom climbed when she was a little girl.

 

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I have learned throughout my journey to reclaim this yard, and to transfer my Grandma’s #LawnGoals into my own, that in order to have that beautiful lush lawn, you have to have the right tools, and that is where, for my family, Cub Cadet (http://www.CubCadet.com) came into play.

 

 

Over the last few years, we have been able to slowly acquire the quality tools that make the time we spend in the yard working much easier!

 

But what this Daddy needs is this:

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I can’t be the only one who can hear their lawn crying tears of joy thinking about being cut with that, am I? Just me? Ok…

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Well, here is where things get really good! Cub Cadet has created an opportunity for one of you to WIN that glorious machine. I mean, really, think about how good your grass would look after those smooth blades did their work! I know I would be the envy of my little neighborhood if I got to ride around on that on Saturdays.

 

So how do you win? It is easy actually!

 

Here are your instructions:

 

  • To recognize those who take pride in bringing lawns to life, Cub Cadet launched the “Where Lawns Come to Life” contest, encouraging fans to share a picture or video highlighting their yard and why it is #LawnGoals.

 

  • To enter capture a photo or video of your yard, tell us how you bring your lawn to life and why your yard is #LawnGoals. Share the post on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #LawnGoals #Sweepstakes or visit XX.com and upload a photo.

 

  • If your entry is approved, you’ll be entered for a chance to win one Cub Cadet RZT L 42 KH Lap Bar Zero-Turn Rider (ARV $2,399.99), hotel accommodations for two, and two tickets to attend an NHRA event in the summer of 2017.

 

 

If you need a little more information OR TO ENTER you can also visit:

http://cubcadet.votigo.com/lawngoals

 

 

So now is the time!! Get out there and take pictures of you making those #LawnGoals come to life! Let that green grass make The Pappy proud!

 

 

 

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Cub Cadet for this campaign, but my opinions are my own.

 

There is no morning at Homeschool

Even on days when homeschooling makes me want to pull my hair out, there is always a positive…we get up when we want to.  We don’t have to catch a bus or make it somewhere before a bell rings.  There is no rushing in our house in the mornings.

It is a joke with other homeschooling families I know that if the government knew how often we do school in our pajamas, they would add a law that we had to get dressed before we started math class!

The beauty of a relaxed morning is always centered around breakfast.  The kids and I sit down at the table each morning to get things started, and although it seems like some old school cliche, beginning the day by actually talking to each other rather than watching TV or fussing at each other to hurry up helps put us on the same page. One of the kids might go out and get some eggs from the chicken coop or on a cold morning we might break out the oatmeal, but by and large, the kids ask for cereal every day.

The only thing about cereal was that I felt like all they wanted was sugary junk, and as I’m sure you can imagine, when you start teaching right after breakfast you don’t want your kid on some kind of sugar high. I try to ease into the day rather than having little ones bouncing off the walls.

Lately we have been eating a lot of Very Berry Cheerios. Of course we are comfortable with them because they are a brand I grew up on. And the kids love them because the sweetness of the berries makes them think they are getting a real treat.

 

Very Berry Cheerios is a new product from the most trusted name in breakfast.  So do as the Pappy says, and go out and get your own box!

When you do, share your #berrieseverywhere moment on your social media!  Give me a tag so I can see it!

 

 

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Cheerios for this campaign, but my opinions are my own.

Even The Meconium is Awesome

 

 

Three kids later, I look at my face in this picture and I can still feel the wonder of that moment.  Asher had just been born, Mecalah was holding this icky looking little boy, and the emotion that washed over me could never be put into words.  Usually moments that change your life are only obvious in retrospect, but at that instant I knew everything had shifted. I felt a joy that is the closest I have ever gotten to heaven on this earth but walking hand in hand with that joy was the more intense fear I have ever had.

Suddenly I was confronted by the fact that I was not the most important person in my life. I know that should have been obvious, but despite how unselfish you think you are, seeing this tiny human that you have complete responsibility for shows you how often you make decisions based on your own happiness and not someone elses.

And it is fair to be curious about how the human mind could possibly think all of these thoughts and change all these changes in the blink of an eye and the truth is that I have NO IDEA! But it happens.  And I’m not saying that this is how it worked for everyone but this is how it worked for me.  Nothing else in the world mattered in this moment.  My wife was safe.  My baby boy was born. Life was amazing!

And the most shocking things bring you total bliss.  For example, the first time your kid poops it is a super gross greenish black sticky as tar poop called meconium. You can hardly get their little butt clean, but as you put on a new Pamper you are so full of pride.  On one hand I wanted to vomit, sure, but mostly I was just like “Look at my boy! He can poop! This must be the most impressive poop in the history of poops! I am so proud! He is an achiever!”

That sounds ridiculous, but I feel confident I am not the only parent to ever feel that way!

When a man becomes a Father something changes.  The birth of your kid is the day you are reborn as a Daddy.  Your vision is expanded and your purpose in life changes.

 

That video is so amazing, because Pampers manages to sum up so well what it can look like to be a Daddy. And, yes, we should shout HAPPY FATHER’S DAY from the roof tops, but during your celebration, take a moment to look at the little one(s) that made it all possible and tell them #ThanksBaby.

Thank you for changing my life.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for letting me be your Dad.

Join me in Tweeting why you are most thankful for your kids using the hashtag #ThanksBaby.

While you are at it, send @Pampers a big thank you for all of the ways they are supporting Dads of all kinds!

 

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad  and Pampers for this promotion.

Sweeeeet Summer Time

FINALLY! I wait all year for everything to get green and warm and bright. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have seasonal depression, but I am much more at peace when it is warm outside.

Winter is so much work. Keeping the fire burning. The six hours it takes to bundle up in order to go anywhere. Tiny amounts of snow that make everyone who lives around here totally freak out.

Summer, though, is easy! Slip on some flip flops and go. Heck, you don’t even need a shirt half the time around here in the country.

The kids are happier too. All they need is a water hose and life is grand.

Breath it in. Hope it lasts forever.

Memories that burn

We have a new Apple TV since we “cut the cord” and my favorite feature on it is the screen saver. I listen to music and just let it run all day.

We are slowly loading photos from the past on it (I think we have almost 600 on it and we aren’t even to the birth of the third kid haha) but to watch those pictures cycle through is so beautiful and a little painful.

It is amazing how fast our kids grow and how much they change so quickly. Choosing pictures from our files has brought tears to my eyes more than once.

I am revisiting times that were painful despite our smiles and noticing times that were so happy we forgot to take pictures.

In these photos my Grandma is still alive. 

We live other places. We have other friends. Our big kids are babies.

Maybe this has you wondering why I like this slideshow so much. It is because I can’t watch it without being confronted with how dang awesome and blessed my life is. I can’t watch it without admitting the good always outweighs the bad.

Life is painful. And lovely. Amazing. And hard. But so very worth it.

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Lately my family has been in the midst of a revival. 

It is a beautiful time that I really feel is a time of reward from God for walking faithfully with Him while times were tough.

I feel that it is time for this site to reflect those personal changes and the man of Faith that I am.

In the past I haven’t been very outspoken about my relationship with Christ because I didn’t want to deal with the judgement and the criticm that comes with it.

However, today I was directly told by a Brand and a PR company that they were not interested in working with me because my faith was offensive. They didn’t like that scripture appears on my Facebook and Instagram. They openly said they don’t wont to work with someone who follows Jesus Christ.

That is fine with me. If they are so against God then I would prefer not to work with them. I can’t help but wonder, though, if they would have been so open about their reasons of rejecting me if it was because of my gender, skin tone, or orientation.

I am not sad it happened though. Their treatment of me actually has spurred on a complete refocusing of my website.

In the next few weeks I will begin a weekly Bible study posting. I will become more transparent about my prayer life. 

It is an exciting time, in my opinion, and I hope you will stick around for the next incarnation of The Purposeful Pappy.

~ Michael

I really hope you will hop over to http://www.facebook.com/thepurposefulpappy so you will be notified when to join me again after the reboot!

A little mascara doesn’t hurt…

When I was a kid my parents bought me a Cabbage Patch Doll.  He had a super chubby face and he was wearing camouflage clothes. It may sound like a small memory, but he is actually pretty infamous in my house and, of course, I am going to tell you why.

One day I was playing with him and it seemed to me that he had a little problem. His clothes kept him hidden from the enemy but there was nothing to help him hide his face from them as he snuck through the make believe jungle in my mind. So in order for him to be better hidden, I went into my parent’s bathroom and got my mom’s mascara. I used it to camouflage his face. Basically I was saving his life. Or ruining his face. It all depended on your perspective haha.

Long story short, my Mom did not see my little makeup job as something that my little stuffed buddy needed.  She was ticked.  That day my doll went to live in the top of a closet where he remained until I  rediscovered him when I went to move out to go to college!

If I had been a girl, it probably wouldn’t have seemed like I was defacing my toy. I would have just been making her pretty or more presentable for her Prince.

I tell this story not to laugh at my Mom, but to talk about how boys and dolls have always gotten a bad wrap.  Dolls weren’t traditionally seen as something that boys played with, but as time has moved on, we see how important it is to teach our boys to be nurturers.

When Mecalah was pregnant with Harper, one thing we did to prepare Asher for the new baby was to get him a doll.  We worked on him being gentle and how to hold a baby.

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But one thing that I feel like Asher is lacking in the toy department is some kind of doll that he can connect with as a little boy. Something more rough and tumble that can make it through being dragged outside and into his tree fort and through the general carnage that his toys seem to go through.

A few months ago I came across an Instagram for a company called Boy Story that seemed to have something that could do just that.

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(Here is where I need to let you know that I am NOT contracted with them or being compensated in any way to write this.  This is coming from my heart because I feel like what they are trying to get started is awesome and important.)

Boy Story’s Kickstarter is launching tomorrow. They have developed what they are calling Action Dolls.

If you are a regular reader of my site, you know I have never come to you with something like this.  But I really think y’all need the chance to get in on this on the ground level and also get a great deal on these dolls.

Here is what they look like:

And this is one of the myriad of things that make them different:

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They are

bendable

poseable

dirtyable

dragable

and

mangleable.

Basically our sons need these.

If I had not been sold on them at first look, after talking to the sisters that are trying to get this company off the ground I would have been. Katie and Kristen (neither of which I have a prior relationship with) are beyond passionate about this project.  They believe in what they are doing. This Pappy does too.

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Tomorrow at 11am their Kickstarter will go live and I will post a link to it.

I really hope that you will want to get involved with Boy Story in some way. The creators deserve it.

But most of all, our sons deserve it.

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