Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sometimes it is really hard to get out of a rut

I love a rountine. I work best when I have a schedule to follow. My Palm Pre is my security blanket. I have all the kids schedules on there. I have access to all my important phone numbers. I have access to the internet at any moment. It makes me feel good to have this with me at all times. This keeps me on my schedule...I don't have to think, because my planner does it for me. In fact, it even reminds me when things are happening.

This very organized schedule on my phone, allows me to stay focused...and stay in a rut. What is a rut? To me it is doing the same thing, over and over and over again. It means not trying anything new or leaving your comfort zone. This rut serves me well...most of the time. When it gets me in trouble is when staying in the rut is more important than the needs of my wife or family. Luckily, I have a great wife that reminds when I am getting too deep in the rut and helps to tow me out.

About a month ago, the kids were on Spring Break and we decided to get away for a family vacation. Of course I say this like it was a very collaborative between my wife and I, but that is really giving me too much credit. I could talk about this for awhile, but isn't the main story today. Today, I really wanted to focus on the importance of getting away as a family.

We decided to take a trip to Missouri. We saw Kori's college, University of Missouri, which she hadn't been back to since she left in 1991. We all loved hearing her stories and visiting parts of her history. I can't forget to mention our trip to the student bookstore where we stocked up on enough Mizzou stuff to hold everyone for awhile. We then headed down to Lake of the Osarks to a friend's rental property and spent 3 days there.

We hiked a lot, explored a cave, went minature golfing(I won), ate good food, shopped and did some site seeing. It was a great trip, but not because of any of those things I just mentioned. It was a great trip because we were together as a family! Kori and I joke about creating memories, but it is true. What this trip was all about was creating memories for our family. These are the times and the trips that our kids will remember. They won't remember the numerous soccer practices that they went to or meetings we had to attend or dad's continual forgetfulness(I hope). They will remember the times we spent together as a family! They will remember how dad made them walk 2 extra miles because he missed a sign. They will remember that we let Austyn pee outside at a National Park instead of waiting until we got back to the car and the bathrooms. They will remember getting soaked by the rain and taking a picture under the natural bridge. These are the memories that will stick with all of us. These are the memories that will keep us all close. These are the times to remember when you get stuck in a rut. It doesn't matter what you do or where you go, but every once in awhile, change it up. Do something you don't normally do. Create memories for your kids. Don't worry, your schedule will be there when you get back. And it won't take long to get back in your rut. I think it is time for another trip!

Here we are at University of Missouri and at Bridal Cave
Kedzie took the top picture...we made her. The other picture shows where Mike should have stopped the hike
This shows where we ended up after the hike...soaked and the other photo shows the kids at the end of the dock at our rental place

Last day we went to a water park. Had to throw this on in here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Everyone needs a little time away

My apologizes to Brian Reid for such a lapse in blogging. Mr. Stay at Home Dad blogger gave me the good advice to blog on a reoccurring basis so followers could get used to reading at a certain time. Well...that hasn't happened! It is now over a month since I have blogged and I can't believe how fast time has flown by. Time to get back into it.

Last month I got a weekend away from my family. It is a yearly event that I refer to as "The Boys Weekend." Once a year a group of us get together up in East Lansing, MI. for a fantasy baseball draft and also a little of reliving our past college days. It is something that each of us look forward to for various reasons. For me it is all about camaraderie with other guys. It is knowing for one weekend, I can let loose and just be. I don't have to worry about soccer games or dance competitions. I don't have to think if I have everything I need in the car for piano lessons or the band concert. This weekend, I just have to think about what I need. It is a good feeling...for a short time.

In years past, I have regretted how I have acted during this weekend as I was stupid and drank too much. That doesn't even touch on how I left things at home. In recent years though, I have learned from my mistakes and I now stay in control. I make up for my controlled drinking with a total lapse in calorie counting. I eat enough calories during this one weekend to probably not eat at all the entire next week. This allows me to have the same amount of fun without any of the regrets on Sunday, except for the fact that my jeans are a little tighter. I know that when I come home from my weekend that I have to be ready to reconnect with the family. There is no checking out or being tired because I am hung over after being away for the weekend. That is a very acceptable tradeoff for my time away.

Ok, so we now know how much I look forward to this weekend, but I also know the sacrifices this weekend places on my wife and family. In past years, when I wasn't so mature, I would just take care of my needs for the weekend and leave everything else at home to my wife. One year, I even forgot to buy groceries for the family and thought she could do it while I was gone! I have learned over the years what a responsible stay at home dad should do when he leaves his family for the weekend. This leads to a much better weekend for all.

I am very thankful that my wife gives me this time! It rejuvenates me. It helps me stay connected with other men. I am passionate about fantasy baseball and it lets me continue to play a game I enjoy. It gives me some freedom that I otherwise freely give up for my family.
I think every spouse needs some time away to just be themselves. It, in the end, will be a benefit for the entire family. When I come home, I am more attentive to my wife, I am more even tempered with my kids and I feel better about myself. This weekend makes me realize all the gifts I have in my life and how lucky I am. my wife, Kori...Thank you for giving me this weekend every year. This weekend makes me a better dad and a better husband. This weekend illustrates to me how great my life is and how fortunate I am. This weekend is about so much more than "The Boys Weekend," it is about me, something just for me. I can't wait till you start taking your weekend too. Hopefully you will get to experience all that I do and why it is so important to me. Maybe I will change the name of my weekend to "the me weekend." That seems more appropriate. I love you Kori!