Family Traditions

Traditions and rituals are more than just repetition… they often tell a story. A family sets it’s foundation on traditions… from the small of a secret handshake with your son or the big of a thanksgiving feast with all your relatives. On the macro level, traditions can teach children where their family came from or give them insights into their cultural or religious history. On a more micro level, traditions can serve as reminders of events that have shaped your family or reminders of great friendships.

There is irrefutable research that shows families hat engage is “traditions” have a stronger connection with one another. Traditions can be particularly effective during times of change or grief. When we moved and he had to go to sleep in a new room, Jax knew every night we would read a few books and “count the stars on his ceiling” before I kissed him goodnight. It provided him with a sense of security in a new environment.

Jax and I have our secret handshake: (Shout out to Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson who were the inspiration for this). But, Oliver and I were still searching for that father-son tradition.

That was until I realized we need search no more… we didn’t need to find one, because traditions aren’t just thought up one day. They are created authentically and often times are the moments that you don’t even think twice about. It was there right in front of our faces!

Every night before he goes down to sleep, Oliver climbs up on me and settles his head on my shoulder and says, well he doesn’t really say anything. He isn’t really talking much at this point. But, I know what he’s thinking… he’s thinking he really wants his dad to sing him to sleep… a lullaby, a beautiful, calming rendition of his favorite song… Hush, Little Baby.

This is our tradition. Jax never really took to my singing (probably because it sounds like multiple cats crying). However, Ollie… he loves snuggling with dad and listening to the smooth, sweet tones of his father’s voice whispering one of the most well-known lullabies as he drifts off into dream land.

The best part of this… I have no idea, literally none whatsoever, what the lyrics to this song really are. I’ve tried everything. I rhymed real words and made up words… I’ve tried looking up the lyrics, but I can’t remember them in the heat of the performance. I feel like I do when I’m in the car belting out Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing… apparently it’s not, “smelly wine and sheep perfume.” Then there’s anything by Notorious BIG (including the ever confusing), “Birthdays were the worst days/ Now we sip champagne every Thursday.” I know a few words and the rest are completely made up.

That brings us to the greatest tradition our family knows… dad and Oliver’s version of Hush, Little Baby:

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word, Daddy’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird don’t sing, Daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

And if that diamond ring don’t shine, Daddy’s gonna buy you an air freshener that smells like pine.

And if that air freshener doesn’t smell right, Daddy’s gonna buy you a dragon kite.

Different lyrics… same tradition… and it puts the kid to sleep… EVERY.DAMN.NIGHT.

Doesn’t matter where… when he hears Dad’s version of Hush, Little Baby.., he’s out cold

2014: A Year in Review

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I guess the first thing we can all admit is if it weren’t for the Jackson this blog wouldn’t exist.  There isn’t a doubt that he is the greatest thing to happen to me and Steph… both this year and in our lives.  (Although catching Jordy Nelson in the end zone during a Lambeau Leap is a pretty close second… see below even though it wasn’t this year).

We’ve had some highs and lows this year… as Im sure everyone has, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an amazing year:

January:  We had just found out we were having a boy and “revealed” it to everyone via a (step’s idea) cake with blue filling.  January become the month when are credit card bills skyrocketed due to the insane amount of boy’s clothing and room decor that began to fill the empty nursery.

February:  Valentine’s day and Steph’s birthday along with an expecting baby can be a challenge for any guy.  Im no different.  I struggled to balance the amount of power that was seemingly shifting from slightly in favor of Steph to completely in favor or Steph.  February usually belongs to the ladies… add in the fact that Steph celebrates a birthday MONTH and you’re going to have some issues.  Top that all with a mom who is expecting her first child, and I might as well have just thrown in the towel.  Luckily, Steph is the kind of girl who doesn’t like to be spoiled (HAHAHA).  But in all reality she deserves it and she actually was pretty well behaved the entire month!

March:  We were coming down to the final months of Married WithOUT Children.  Steph and I attempted to keep things relatively normal.  As normal as possible with a nursery that was being completely rebuilt (a nursery which we were not allowed to see until completion in April, a nursery which had new locks).

April:  Pretty uneventful month if I do say so myself… well I guess uneventful if you don’t count the nursery being completed (it was amazing, Chronicles of a New Dad blog debuted in its earliest form on Tumblr… and ohh yea… a baby being born.  Jax came two weeks early which is surprising considering his parents are never on time for ANYTHING, let alone early.

May:  Paturnity leave is non-existent, so good thing I never use sick days.  I had enough to take almost two weeks to not sleep, change tar-like poopie diapers, get peed on, not sleep, get puked on, enjoy every second of our new baby boy.  Buster and Max were still not totally sure what this little thing was that moved into their house, but eventually warmed up to him!

June:  Jax got his Hogwarts acceptance letter and I literally cried with happiness and joy at the sight of his Hogwarts Express ticket.  I also had a birthday somewhere in there, I just don’t remember it, I was never a big birthday guy… but this one is where I started to realize, I was no longer the center of attention in a room anymore.  Hugh Hefner’s wife started following the blog on twitter… interesting.

July:  Jax first time in the pool (crying), Jax first time on a boat (crying) and his first vacation (crying)… actually, I think the only one he really cried during was the pool… and that’s fine for me because I hate the pool too.  This was also the month the blog started to gain some attention.  Parent Magazine retweeted and favored some of the blog entries I posted up to twitter.  Huffington Post Parents also followed our antics.

August:  Our Anniversary, Jax first solid food, fantasy football draft, preseason football with the Packers, and I think we started to perfect our BATH, BOOK, BED nighttime routine.

September: Jax and his Godparents were blessed at his baptism. This was the first time the WHOLE family got together. It truly is amazing how a baby brings everyone closer. We also got to go to Yankee Stadium for his first baseball game… as an added bonus he’ll be able to say he saw Derek Jeter play before he retired.

October:  October was a great month, between Halloween and the craziness of being back into the swing of things for another school year I feel there was hardly time to breathe.  Then there was the blog… the traffic the blog was generating during October was tremendous.  Between the posts about Ebola (https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/your-move-ebola/), Hip Hop Advice (https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/advice-for-jax-taken-from-90s-hip-hop/), and about how life has changed since Jax came along (https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/ocd-and-yuck/) and (https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/life-at-100-mph/) I began to toy with the idea of moving the blog to my own site.  Wordpress was perfect for what I was looking for and Chronicles of a New Dad found a permanent home.

November:  November brought Thanksgiving… what more could I be thankful for?  I have an amazing and beautiful wife and the coolest son in the world!  i was on cloud nine (I also started a new job at a new school and am so happy with where I am).  The only thing that could improve my spirits was hanging out with a famous Hall of Fame Baseball player… my idol… Rickey Henderson…  Ohh yea no big deal, Rickey and Jax are now BFFs.

December:  December is always one of my favorite months.  I hate the snow and the cold, but I love the time to reflect, to sit in front of the Christmas tree with some old school Christmas carols on and think about how lucky I have been over the past 12 months.  Steph, Jax and I got to hang out with our favorite photographers at Pink Elephant Photography again for a fun filled shoot, Jax met Santa, Max and Buster ALMOST got their wish of eating the mailman and the blog was generating over 2000 hits and gaining followers.  I was also selected as the Featured Blogger of the Month on the Love all Dads website (www.lovealldads.com).

This year has been great.  I’m looking forward to growth and maturity levels developing (Jackson’s growth and maturity develop as well).  Im looking forward to the development of the blog and hope that you all stay with us on the journey… but most importantly I’m looking forward to spending each moment with my family!

Expect our New Year’s Resolutions to be up tomorrow morning!

2014

 

 

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Jordy Nelson and the Lambeau Leap

OCD on December 26th

As I sit here (finally) after six
hours of cleaning I am reflecting on how having a child completely changes your outlook on everything. First of all i really actually… For the first time ever completely and utterly did not care about one present or gift for myself.

I never really cared how much or what I got or was given, but it’s still cool opening your gifts and seeing what people thought you’d like. Plus it’s always nice to open something you really, really have been dropping hints about, but would probably never buy for yourself…

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And then there is the mess… This is an OCD’s W.O.R.S.T. Nightmare. There is literally STUFF everywherrrrrreeeeeeee!! I didn’t even see half of this stuff yesterday. Who the hell bought my son a freaking toy toaster!?!! Who bought him this creepy bear (that looks like Ted’s evil brother) that plays peekaboo with a handkerchief? As an aside Jax apparently loves making toast and playing peekaboo considering he’s been giggling at both of those toys all morning.

There is more cardboard in this room than at a baseball card manufacturing plant. The amount of wrapping paper and tape that is still stuck to every piece of furniture and the wood floor is extraordinary. Plus I’m not one to keep 657 snowmen decorations up too long after Xmas. It looks like Frosty threw up all over our first floor!

Time to get some of this organized! (I wish I got a cleaning lady for Xmas!)

Tree stays. Mantle stays. Other crap… Peace out ✌️