Vroooom Vroooom y’all!

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I was kind of a jerk the day I got my first car.  So, my #FirstCarMoment begins with my Ma fussing at me in line at Golden Corral.  Not a Golden Corral Buffet.  Just the regular kind. Because we are classy like that.  It all kind of happened like this…

Before we left to go to my 16th birthday dinner I was convinced that a car was going to be outside the house. I am not sure why I was so sure about it.  Ok, actually I do know why.  Because I was spoiled.  I can admit that. But, please don’t tell my kids because I am not nearly as generous as my parents are.

So, when we walked out and there was no car my balloon instantly burst.  I tried to hide my disappointment (I think…) but when we drove by the bank that was selling my dream car (a 1993 Calypso Green Mustang) and it was no longer parked in front I am sure I was pouting like a bullfrog.

I got it together and we ate and had a pleasant time. After we left dinner, I was driving of course, my parents suggested we cruise through the used car lot in our little town.

As I pulled around the building I couldn’t believe that my little Mustang was parked right there.  Talk about adding insult to injury. (Man, I was I little jerk!)

I slowly drove past it, when I noticed a huge banner that said Happy Birthday and it was full of balloons. (Yes, my childhood was directly from an 80s movie except way more countryfied.) I couldn’t believe it! I jumped out and jumped into the car. Actually, that isn’t totally true because the movie soundtrack playing in my head at the moment (probably something like Take My Breath Away…) was interrupted by my parents being unable to find the key. Still, though, I was like a movie star.  At least in my own mind.

I loved that car and I drove the crap out of it.  I went parking in that car. I cruised my town in that car. I grew up in that car.  It was my baby and I washed it by hand and never let it go through the car wash, since my God Father Rod told me that it would damage my paint job.

Eventually my senior year of high school I traded it in for this:

Although, I loved the feeling of the wind through my hair, I never loved my Cavalier like I did that first Mustang.

There is just something sweet about your first car that you can never recreate.  That moment of freedom you experience when you pull out of your driveway all alone the first time. Suddenly the world seems all yours.

My Cavalier was amazing and reliable. Until it wasn’t.  Although that was totally my fault.

I was driving down I95 between DC and Richmond when I blew that baby up.  Not because I was driving too fast, but because I didn’t maintain it.  The engine was totally out of oil and I was totally out of a car.

I look back to those days of being young and dumb and I am shocked at how much I took car maintenance for granted. I guess I thought my Dad would do all the work forever.

Now that I AM the Dad, I have traded my sports car days in for keys to an SUV.  I mean, how else is this family of five going to be able to get around?

I think of Asher getting behind the wheel and although that is at least 12 years away, I hope he will be more responsible than I was.

I had no idea that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is seen as the 100 most dangerous days for teen drivers.  I can’t say I am surprised though! I think of all the risks I took and I count my lucky stars. And that was in the days before the distraction of cell phones were even added into the mix.

With around 12% of the millions of accidents each year being attributed to tire issues I see that I need to do more to insure my family’s safety on the road.  I live on a four lane highway so, trust me, I see first hand horrible accidents every so often.  We have to make sure that our families aren’t part of them!

I check the tire pressure on my wife and I’s cars every Sunday afternoon.  That is something that my Dad has drilled into my head to do.  And I will make sure my kids do that as well. I need to, however, be more vigilant about the tread on my tires.

Often, we look for the best sale on tires, but there are certain things you can’t evaluate just by price. Michelin has been in the tire business for 125 years (say what!??!) and they are all about preventing the around 125,000 accidents that occur due to inexperience drivers having tire issues.

My #FirstCarMoment was amazing and I want my son’s to be as well! So I will trust only the experts with my tires.

After all, keeping these three safe is one of my biggest jobs as a Dad!

  • Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion.  I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own.
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The Pappy and Mamalode are at it again

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I had a chance to read a heartbreaking memoir by Chanel Brenner for Mamalode. It was hard to write about because each page hurt my heart to read. It is so powerful.  I hope you will click the picture above and see what you think about the book.

Winter Winter Chicken Dinner

I would like to say that life here in the country is ticking toward Spring, and I guess it is, but we have had some of the coldest weather this winter in the past couple of weeks.  The kids enjoyed the biggish snow, but the Wife and I could certainly do without it.  It was obvious we live in Virginia since the other day it was 70 outside and I had all the doors and windows open in the house, while we were simultaneously in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning for the Sleet that was to come in mere hours.

Spring in our house, though means baby chicks! I was at Tractor Supply and couldn’t resist them. Of course that was just what we need…an almost 4 year old, an almost 2 year old, and an almost newborn plus some baby chickens!

Speaking of a newborn…we are weeks away from welcoming Bellamy into our lives.  We are thrilled, scared, excited, apprehensive…all of it. No matter what though, she is coming! I hope the kids are preparing themselves because things sure are about to change.

The Pappy and Mamalode are at it again!

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I am still flying on cloud nine every time I open this month’s PRINT edition of Mamalode and see my story in it.  Seriously? I feel like I have made it to the big leagues.

Many of you have asked when you would get to read my piece and I have good news for you! That day has come!

All you have to do is click the picture below and you will be taken to Mamalode.com where you can read it.  And while you are there, why don’t you order yourself a copy?

Wooohoooo!!

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Winter time is here…..

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I used to dread winter time. I struggled so hard with Seasonal Depression that I swear as soon as the leaves started turning I would want to take to my bed and stay there until it warmed up again.

This winter is different though.

I’m feeling good. And it is all because of my wood.

Double entendres aside, knowing that you are going to be able to keep a warm house the entire winter season when your bank account is too low to fill up your propane tank does a lot to put a smile on your face.

Another thing that has been a lifter is the time that my Dad and I spent together stacking this wood.  It was no small task, and it took even longer because we talked nonstop the whole time, but growing closer to him is a blessing.

So when my fireplace is burning bright I will remind myself to smile, even though the days are short. My joy can still be long.

 

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(Not shown is the HUGE stack by the house!)

 

Trying to be a #healthydad

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We are still pretty blown away that we are expecting our THIRD kid.  It seems a little overwhelming still.  Every time Mecalah has said she was pregnant I immediately clean out our cabinets and go on a health kick.  There is just something about creating life that makes me question my mortality I guess.  I want to know that I am going to be able to be there for my kids and be active and vital for as long as possible.

We had actually already been making some lifestyle changes and I will happily brag about them for a moment.  In the past 90 days I have lost ten pounds and my blood pressure is the LOWEST it has been in FIVE YEARS! I won’t tell you what it is (haha) because it is still high.  But, like I said, we are making progress.

I am lucky enough to be working with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield at the moment on their #healthydad campaign.  As part of it, I wanted to share a couple of tips with you about how you can become a more #healthydad.

The next three tips are things I have been doing recently to be more healthy.

My first tip is to skip that late night glass of wine.  The Pappy loves his Red Wine.  That is certainly no secret and I used to drink an extra glass around bedtime because I felt like it helped me go to sleep.  After doing some reading, though, I have discovered that isn’t totally the case.  Yes it may be helping me go to sleep, but it isn’t helping me STAY asleep.  As my body processed that alcohol and extra sugars it was lessening my REM sleep! I have slept much better cutting that glass out!

Secondly, dump those canned veggies!  This was easier this summer because I could simply walk outside and pick from my garden what I wanted.  But even as it gets colder I am determined not to go back to the cans!  I was shocked how much salt they have in them!

My last tip for today is to schedule your “Well Daddy” visit. Your insurance company now covers your once a year check up!  You wouldn’t think of ignoring the fact your kid was do for their “Well Baby” visit would you? So don’t ignore yours!

We are all super busy and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has a new program called LiveHealth Online!  You can video chat with a Doctor, so basically telehealth is the new house call.  Even if you and your kids are sick, there is no reason you can’t chat with your Doctor. Seriously, you can’t beat that.

Before I let you go, I want to let you in on a contest that we are running right now also!  YOU CAN WIN CASH MONEY! All you have to do is make a #healthydad video like mine below and submit it to the facebook page!  You can find the rules and more about the contest here: www.facebook.com/healthydads

The Pappy would love to see one of y’all win!

I want to say a big thank you to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield who is sponsoring this post. They are not, however, affiliated with the #healthydad video contest which is sponsored solely by XY Media.  Anything written above by me is simply my advice as a parent and should in no way be used as the advice as a medical professional.

The Very Worst Day of the Year…

http://mamalode.com/story/detail/a-common-mission-my-experience-at-ground-zero

My story is appearing today on Mamalode… I will do my best to update this page with the link today, but frankly, today just really really sucks for me.

I did have two pictures I wanted to share with you.

First is a picture of a gift from the Firefighter I delivered water with around Ground Zero. (I seriously would love to talk to him.  Are you him? Do you know him? If so email me at thepurposefulpappy@gmail.com)

He said that this Beanie Baby that he said his daughter had given him.  He told me to hold on to it and to remember him always.  Trust me, I will NEVER FORGET.

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Next is a picture of a Rosary that was given to me by a Chaplin at Ground Zero.  I am not Catholic, but I have a deep and abiding faith.  There is power in it.

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I have so much more I want to say, but right now I just can’t.  Never Forget those who died.  Never Never Never Forget.

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Ground Zero and Me

Days after 9/11 I traveled to New York to work with the Red Cross and ended up volunteering at Ground Zero.

I can honestly say I was never the same after being there.

On September 11th Mamalode will be featuring my story, but here in the coming days I am going to post some lead up to it.

I often have trouble putting my experiences into words during this worst time of the year.

I want to begin with sharing something that I have kept to myself all these years.

These two rocks were wedged into my shoes when I got home from Ground Zero that day.  I have held tightly to them ever since.  Other than my family, they are the first thing I would save in a fire.

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