Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bad Dog

Over the weekend Anne and I traveled to the nation’s capital to meet up with family.  We decided to head up Saturday morning and come back that evening, which from Lynchburg, Va. makes for a pretty long day.

Our biggest dilemma was our puppy Mason.  We had just purchased a new couch and we weren’t about to leave him at the house unattended.  We dropped him off that morning with a friend who had agreed to watch him, which is no small undertaking.  It didn’t take long for things to go downhill. 
Just as we parked and were heading onto the metro to take to the National Mall we received a frantic phone call.  Mason had escaped and was galloping through the neighborhood heading for the main road.  There was a search in progress, as a growing party of concerned neighbors was combing the yards and streets.  Feeling helpless, we discussed heading back before realizing that it wouldn't do much good.
The next call eased our worries somewhat; Mason was lying in the street but not letting anyone near him.  As we are sitting in a crowded subway car, Anne starts to whistle into the phone.  And then, in her sweet Mom voice:
Come here Mason, Mason!  Come here boy! Come on Masey....come here!
At this point people were starting to stare as my wife tried to coax our dog into a house that’s four hours away via speakerphone.  I slid down in my seat and stared out of the window, distancing myself from this crazy woman sitting beside me.
Our third phone call brought better news, Mason had been captured, but the damage was done.  Our sitter, who has two young children and a dog of her own, informed us that she would never again watch our little monster. 

He would spend the rest of the day on a leash inside of the house. Our friend (hopefully still) had spent two hours looking for him while she was suposed to be at a birthday party.  Mason, the dog that only a parent could love, had just lost his first sitter.  We can only hope that our child will fare better.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today is our one year wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe that a year has already past since saying our vows on a very hot July afternoon. Tonight's celebration will be extra special due to our circumstances. It also may be the last anniversary spent in a restaurant without a babysitter!

So much can happen in a year's time. My wife has been incredible in our first year together and I can't imagine my life without her. She will be an amazing mother to our child and I look forward to this next chapter in our lives together.

I hope we will be able to find time for each other even as we begin our journey into parenthood. As our lives turn into a blur of sippy cups and diaper bags and we begin to question what we have done on those sleepless nights ahead, I hope we can open our eyes and stare at each other with that special look, the look that only parents can understand after bonding through the experience of childbirth, that says we're in this together through the good and the bad, the look that screams....It's your turn, get your butt out of bed and feed that baby! I'm sure it's different for everyone, so we'll just have to see what works for us.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Looking Ahead

As my wife enters her second trimester, I have no shortage of things to keep me worrying. Between health issues, finances, my first diaper change, and that terrifying Honey Boo Boo show on TLC, I’m sure there will be plenty of topics to keep me up at night.
I can’t help but to look ahead.  Of course we don’t know what the future holds, but I would like to think it will include some good times.  I hope to embrace fatherhood and enjoy the precious moments with my child.  I hope to teach, to instill, and to inspire, but I also hope to have a little fun.
There’s always been an inner kid inside of me, and now I have a reason to enjoy kid stuff without all the weird looks; I look forward to playing with toys again, pirates, monsters, superheroes, dinosaurs, cars and dump trucks, trains, boats, or whatever else. I’m up for anything. 
I’ve always enjoyed sports, so playing catch or tossing the ball around outdoors is something I look forward to. (No ball in the house, as my mom used to say)
What if it’s a girl you ask?  Ummmm…Okay, okay, I can deal with that as well.  Let’s see, I suppose I could play princess or tea time.  That could be fun, maybe. She could be a tom boy right?  Maybe she’ll like basketball or even, gulp….soccer. 
Boy or girl, we can build forts and go exploring in the woods, enjoy family trips, and the movies, have you seen the kids movies these days?  Now I’ll have a great excuse for going to see these without being the creepy guy sitting in the dark theatre by himself.
Halloween will be a great time, dressing up the little munchkin for trick or treating will be lots of fun, as will eating the candy that “doesn’t pass inspection”. 
Okay, I need to slow down.  I understand we have a long way to go before any of this takes place, and at this point we’re just hoping for a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby, as it’s not called a miracle for nothing.    But that’s the exciting part for me, the opportunity to be a father.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mason and the couch


My wife recently informed me that she refused to be pregnant on our old couch.  I joked that she could be pregnant in the kitchen and almost got my head taken off in the process.  So of course we bought a new couch.  Our thinking was that she would be home this summer and supervise our highly energetic and at times destructive puppy, Mason.  After two setbacks, the couch that we purchased in early June, will—barring yet another setback---arrive tomorrow.
To say our old couch needs to be replaced is an understatement, we are almost too embarrassed to put it out on the curb.  Let's see, there's the exposed foam, multiple rips, tears, and worn spots that may have been on the cushions since the late eighties.  A tattered couch cover does little to hide hideous object that we use to sit on.

With two dogs it can be difficult to keep anything clean.  But I have many great memories that go along with that old couch.  What can I say?  I'm a sentimental guy.....I’ve spent many a Saturday watching football on that sucker.
So as we start the second trimester with a new couch we begin the waiting game.  How long until Mason chews it up?   I think (pray) Mason's past that stage but I’ll definitely be holding my breath for a while.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


People mature at different ages.  Some people due to circumstance, others seem to be born responsible.   I’ve definitely taken the scenic route to maturity; it’s been a long winding road with plenty of stops along the way.  There were no shortcuts taken on my journey, which  I might add, is still in progress.
I’ve always been amazed at young parents and the sacrifices they make for their children.  Many are kids themselves. 
So let’s take a quick look back and see what I was doing and why it was a blessing that there were no children involved (Or severe injuries).  Was I ready for children at:
17? – At seventeen I remember handcuffing my 8 year old brother to the dining room chair.  Not ready for children.
19? - At nineteen I spent a night in the drunk tank after leading campus police through a chase that involved a bowling alley at a small college.  Nope.
21? – I spent my 21st birthday at a dead end drinking Southern Comfort and smoking cigarettes with friends.  Not parental.
23? – At 23 I moved into my mom’s basement after breaking up with my girlfriend.  Winning!
25? – This is getting embarrassing.  At 25, after celebrating Cinco De Mayo, I fell on my face and broke my front teeth.  Not even close.
27? – Beginning to see the light.  By 27 I slowly began to think about getting older.  What's next?

30? - The big 3-0.  I believe this milestone was spent at $1 beer night at the local bar.  Like I said, slowly.
32? – Got married, got divorced….let’s just forget about that year all together.  Wow, that was stupid.

33? – Met an amazing woman, we decided to take it slow.  I’ll bet she would make a wonderful mother.
35? – Married that amazing woman, life is good.  Why did I ever go out?  There are a few extra bedrooms in this house...hmmm.
36? – Amazing woman informs me she’s pregnant…..and I couldn’t be happier.  Me a dad?  Awesome!
So there you have it.   I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life, and I would like to say I learned something along the way (mainly that I’m an idiot).  Now maybe if there had been a kid along the way it would have brought me to maturity a little sooner, but I couldn’t be happier with the way things are turning out.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about men with pregnant wives gaining sympathy weight.  There have been many articles published about this phenomenon, which actually isn’t very difficult to comprehend.  If there is food in the house, we are going to eat it.
I started to contemplate this theory, and relate it to everything.  Perhaps I’ve been tired lately due to sympathy.  Lazy, sympathy as well, mood swings?  Ditto.  How much can I get away with here?  I think I’ll call into work tomorrow due to my sympathetic irritable pms-like symptoms.  This may be pushing it.
But back to this sympathy weight thing, I’ve been wondering just what is my role in this pregnancy, besides of course, what I’ve already done.  Now I’ve found a way to help, pack on a few sympathetic pounds!  This way my wife can look over at her fat husband and think to herself….yep that’s my guy, the father of my child, dipping his pizza crust into the mayonnaise jar.
While I’m at it, perhaps I can go the extra mile and quit showering and walk around the house in my boxers.  Chalk it up to sympathy smell.  For my spare tire, I will have to drink lots of beer, but then I may suffer from the occasional sympathy hangover.  My hangovers may contribute to my bad mood, and also my sympathy headaches, until I get the much needed sympathy sleep.  I’m sure my wife would appreciate my efforts, but I think that I’ll just ask what I can do to help.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Taking a look at some of these pics over at Awkwardfamilypictures.com, I'm pretty sure I speak for both my wife and I when I say that I don't think we'll be dressing my wife up for pictures when she's 8 months pregnant. Granted, it would be hilarious but still, I don't think we need further proof that we are complete dorks.

Can you image some of these pictures, framed and sitting on the mantel, especially when the kid is a teenager?  Actually that may be all the more reason to do it.

Some of these are a little hard to believe, I'm not sure how anyone could take these with a straight face. And the photographer, what is their role in this? Okay guys, looking good, now you, stick your finger in her belly button...that's it....great...got it!

Now I don't want to rule out props for us as a possibility, but the chances are slim. For the sake of this blog I will try to talk her into it, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Friday, July 20, 2012

That Smell...

I’m not quite sure how to put this….my wife has gas.  I understand that this isn’t groundbreaking news, she has had gas before but this.....this is different.  The dogs seek refuge under the bed as the cat leaps from the window while I, coming into the room from the kitchen, am blindsided by what has come out of my beautiful wife.
Perhaps it’s payback, I’m used to being the stinky one in the house.  But now, this baby, if indeed that’s what is in there, has changed all of that.  When we first started dating we would hold in whatever may be going on in our bowels, waiting until we were alone before relieving ourselves.  Maybe this was a good idea.  In all seriousness it’s not that bad, well it is but still, she’s pregnant, what’s my excuse?
Overall,  I'm getting used to all of the changes happening with her, like the other morning when I came in and she was rinsing a dish at the sink while stripping off layers of clothing because she was suddenly hot.  Another thing is that her face has become super sensitive to everything…including me..at least that’s what she tells me.  But we’re nearing the end of the first trimester so that’s progress, and progress, as bad as it may smell, is good right?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Best prank ever....

My dad used to do things like this all the time, I can remember one in particular from when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old.  He and my stepmom were having a beer with another couple at the house.  Getting up to grab another, my dad headed to the kitchen, motioning for me to follow.  Rinsing his empty can out, he filled it with water and asked me if I wanted to play a joke on our guests....of course I did.

We headed back out into the living room where our guests were waiting.  My dad, holding the water filled beer can, took a swig and then, to the horror of the couple, offered it to me.  I turned it up and gulped it down as fast as I could, while my dad howled with laughter. 

 After they were able to pick their jaws up off the floor, my dad mercifully let them in on the joke, and I think they laughed....I know I did.  I was so proud to be a part of my dad's prank.

Friendly Advice...

Get used to it...
As one of my coworkers was heating up his lunch today--as he always does when everyone else goes out to lunch--I asked him about his kids.  With two boys of his own, at 8 and 11, he has more than his hands full.   I told him my big news and he quickly congratulated me.   As he started to laugh at my naivety, he was more than willing to offer some advice.
Your time will cease to exist.  You will eat, sleep little, and take care of the crying baby.  He explained that he and his wife worked in shifts, so the other could sleep. 
Eating out is a thing of the past.  With childcare, diapers, clothes, and insurance, getting used to leftovers is a necessity.  At home, he explained he and his wife had eaten out maybe once in the past year, I may have openly cringed.
Getting to work on time is a miracle. – At least when you have to get the kids to school on time.

Diapers are expensive - He made sure I understood this.  Diapers are expensive.  Got it  He also let me know that I would get used to changing diapers, it becomes second nature....you don't really have a choice is how he put it.
Our talk was brief, I started to sense that work was his escape from kids and home so I decided to changed the topic to our usual subject, sports.  He seemed happy to change gears, as the tired and weary look on his face perked up at the mentioning of football and away from what must be his chaotic home life. 

I’m thankful for his advice and at the same time confused as ever.  Oh well, I’ll learn soon enough. Everyone has their own way of doing things; I’m just trying to take it all in. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Kind of Dad Will I Be?

Here's an article I wrote over at Hubpages:

My life is going to change in a big way. Not too long ago, after coming home from playing basketball, my wife casually looked at me and told me she was pregnant. Disbelief turned into confusion, and then from confusion to joy, but a hint of fear sat in.

Finding out that my wife is having a baby is both exciting and scary. I’ve always thought I would be ready to welcome a kid into this world armed with life lessons and a vast knowledge worldly advice to offer, I would be a human fortune cookie of sorts. But the older I get, I've realized how little I know. Am I ready? Are we ever ready? I have so many questions!

I want to be prepared for what’s coming, but I have no idea what’s coming (besides a baby of course). I've become accustomed to my free time over the years, from what I gather that will be a thing of the past.

My outlook on life has suddenly changed, and life has a whole new meaning. I've never given a second thought about things such as a will or life insurance. It may be time to get my act together.

I will turn to my dad for advice. He was a great dad and is still a role model for me today. Those are huge shoes to fill; he always knew just the right thing to say. (He also has enormous feet)

I will look to my mother as well. We can still learn a lot from our parents. I've never understood new parents that don't trust their parents with their child. They raised you!! Or is that why you don't trust them?

As I prepare for this major life altering event, I will ask my friends for pointers. Most of my friends have at least one kid by now and some have teenagers. I’m going to be an old dad; I had better start taking care of myself.

I've never been good with babies. Will it come naturally? Will I just pick him/her up and know exactly what to do? Doubtful, but I’m more than willing to learn, I’m going into this wide eyed but eager. I've never changed a diaper in my life, but I have a feeling I’m in for many firsts along the way.

As crazy as the world seems today, how will I prepare a baby for what’s out there? These are chaotic times; I have to prepare for the worst. And have you seen these college tuitions lately? Better work on that jump shot….can you say scholarship?

I will have to get used to saying no. I’m sort of a push over. The dogs can attest to this, they’ve never been grounded.
What if we have twins? I recently raised this question and found myself in serious trouble for this line of thinking. (Luckily the ultasound showed just one baby)

I do look forward to this major change in my life, as hard as it may be at times. My wife is an amazing woman, full of kindness and patience; she’s going to need it, being the only adult in the house.

Ultimately, the answer to my question lies with me. Only I can be a good dad to my child, willing to make the necessary sacrifices and commitments. To always be there for my son or daughter will be the most important job of my life, and one that I must take seriously. I'm sure I will make mistakes along the way, but it won't be from a lack of effort.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Change

The other night my wife's best friend and her two kids came over for a birthday dinner. I've noticed that I seem to pay much closer attention to children these days. It used to be that while I tolerated children at the house, I actually wished the parents would find a sitter before coming over.  But things seemed to have changed over the past few years.

The sound of kids running through the house was comforting, even the occasional fussing didn't bother me. While before I would play with a baby briefly, once the crying started it was my cue to move on.  If the diaper was heavy forget it,  I wasn't going near the monster.  I'm still not going to be changing any other kid's diaper--I'll get a crash course with my own soon enough--but I guess knowing that I will be a dad soon kind of changes my perspective.

Another thing that's going to take some getting used to is the kid shows. I can deal with a good kid's movie but these shows are brutal! I'm told you get used to it, that you sort of become immune, but I'm hoping my kid likes The Office.

Friday, July 13, 2012

In Your Dreams...

So my wife has become quite the dreamer.  If I remember correctly, last night’s dream involved a Mexican drug cartel and Doritos.  Now tell me that doesn't sound like the recipe for a blockbuster movie.  

The best part was when she woke up asking me just who is Sheila?  I don’t know honey, you made her up in that very realistic dream of yours.  Apparently Sheila and I were confiding in each other while my pregnant wife was being abducted south of the border...and so the plot thickens.  

Other dreams have included me doing a less than spectacular job changing baby's diapers, which in my defense would be rather difficult considering the baby is only 11 weeks old.  I'm scared to imagine the dreams she has not told me about...

To Sheila, whoever you are, it just wasn't meant to be.  I don't need this extra drama in my life right now, have a nice life, I've got to go find some Doritos or I'll have some questions to answer.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Balancing Act...

So a pregnant wife is not necessarily an emotionally stable wife.  Many may laugh at the fact that I’m just now figuring this out.  Perhaps I’m a slow learner but I knew we had arrived at pregnancy-land when my wife started crying over a commercial. 
I fully understand that her body has a lot going on at the moment, and I'm trying to help out in anyway possible.  Massaging legs and feet every night is what I've been told will help, at least by her.  I will try to keep this in mind and not complain, she's the one doing all of the work... 
I do have to make sure to choose my words carefully around the house.  A playful tease can quickly take a turn for the worse as hormones and emotions are tangled and intertwined into a fragile web of which sanity is caught and hangs delicately in the balance.  I will tread lightly…

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well hello there!

Yesterday, my wife and I went for our first ultrasound.  I had no idea what to expect but words can't describe the feeling of seeing that little peanut on the screen.  We watched as he (or she)  bounced around in there with a healthy little heartbeat of 160 beats per minute.  I'm still in awe and haven't stopped looking at the pictures.  We won't find out the sex for another two months, but at this point we're just hoping for a healthy baby.    The rest of the visit was not as exciting, at least not for me, but I had the trusty scans at my side to keep busy.  I was unable to pay attention as the nurse went through routine questions with my wife.  I did manage to learn a few things however, and it doesn't look like I'll be getting off the hook on the nightly massages.  I also found out that my wife's constant night time peeing is normal and will most likely continue..  At eleven weeks now, we're almost in the 2nd trimester, I wish we could speed things up!

I have a lot of preparing to do before I meet this little guy (or girl), but after yesterday's experience, I'm all the more eager to get started.   As excited as I was when my wife told me she was pregnant, yesterday it all became real.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Me, A Dad?

Finding out I was becoming a dad was a day I will never forget.  I arrived home, sweaty and tired from playing basketball. Walking in to kiss my wife, I was asked to sit down, there was news.  Uh oh.

At first I didn't believe her, and then I was excited. I'm going to be a dad!  She told me to take a shower. Over the course of the next few days, I was nervous, I became anxious....I was scared.  What do I know about being a dad?

I don't want to mess this up.  A life is at stake and it's my job to make sure that life is brought up in this crazy world with just a bit of sense.....this scares me.

I jot things down.  Funny things about my wife, my life, my work, and what's always on my mind these days, the baby.  I'm not a perfect writer, or a perfect husband, and I'm sure I will make plenty of mistakes as a dad. 

So here I am, 37 years old and preparing for my life to be turned upside down.  And in those 37 years, meeting my son has been my greatest accomplishment

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to laugh at my neurotic thoughts, illogical rationale, and idiotic ramblings.  I'm a work in progress, and progress is slow.

To contact me, please email: shwnfanning@gmail.com