Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Surprise to Remember...

November 2013 Catch up continued.. 
We hosted Thanksgiving for the second year in our new home.  This year we missed having my sister-in-law and crew, they had several places to visit during the day of festivities, so it is completely understandable.  I did miss them for sure though.  Just in case I smoked two turkey breasts this year since we ran out the year before.  My traditional turkey came out better than it ever this time.   My mom and grandma brought over the hors d’oeuvres for pre-meal.  Sara’s dad and Katelyn made yummy deserts.   It was a great feast and I enjoyed every bit of it.  I love to cook and it is great to have a house big enough for everyone to be comfortable and enjoy each other’s company.
November, even though I worked the most of it turned out to be the best month of the year, but just when I thought to myself it couldn’t get any better, my wife surprised me for my 40th birthday.  My birthday is in January, but in order to pull off the ultimate surprise you must do it in advance and she did not disappoint at all.  I did not suspect a thing.  Since I had been working so much, we planned a date night.  Generally how we do date nights, one of us comes up with the plans for the night, depending on whose idea it is to have a date night.  Since it was Sara’s idea, it was hers to plan, however being extremely nervous to give away the surprise she was finding it hard to come up with a way to get me to the destination. 
Luckily she had Andie in her back pocket to help because she would have definitely given away the surprise.  Andie had text me that morning to see if we had something going on, but Jackson had my phone…watching trash truck videos.  So naturally I was not responding to the text, so in panic mode Sara found a way to leave the room and get Andie to call me.  Oblivious to everything it was not hard to convince me to go to the destination as I have been there a few times before, Kirkwood Station. It has a huge key element for me, it’s a brewery and it has great food.  They also have an 80’s tribute band that performs once a month and for years I have wanted to see them, so that was an added bonus.  We set a time to meet there for dinner and the night was planned. 
We had someone coming to the house to be with the little man and Sara’s mom was going to come by later to pick him up.  What didn’t make sense to me was why someone was going to watch him for an hour before going over to grandma and grandpa’s to spend the night.  My darn logic was planning a takeover and I obviously did not know the plan was so they could be part of the surprise, opps… so in fear of blowing the surprise Sara canceled the short (which was really not a short) in-between babysitter.  Like any night Sara and I go out, Sara has a wardrobe catastrophe.  So while I am trying getting ready she is in search for a specific shirt and can’t find it.  She goes in to panic mode and Jackson is clearing our dresser of items, then coming into the bathroom and clearing the sink, going from place to place.  Sara is near panic attack mode, I think most ladies can relate to this feeling.  Instead of handling it like I should, I blow up and take Jackson downstairs so Sara can find her shirt.  After looking in every place she could think of, she is giving up hope and is almost in tears.  So I have her come down and take a watch over Jackson to go find this missing shirt.  After a few places, I find it…but the house is now completely turned upside down.  I go back down, hand Sara the shirt to she can go put on her face to match.  To this day I am not sure if this was stall tactic, or just a typical get ready because this happens a lot when we do go out. 
We head out to drop Jackson off at the grandparents.  I was a huge jerk over the missing shirt and nervous about being late.  Sara thought perhaps we could get pre-drinks somewhere before meeting up with Andie, but we were running too late for that.  We dropped Jackson off, but Sara was trying to stall a little bit while we were there. I am still not catching on to anything because this fairly routine for going out on date night, I am not suspicious at all…after 20 minutes of going over Jackson’s night routine and the going to bathroom twice.  Sara wants me to stop at Quick Trip to get cash money and a red bull and, we are finally on our way.  I am chomping away at a piece of gum because I get nervous going to restaurants, it’s my thing.  I am also nervous because Andie is always 15 minutes early and I figured she would be waiting for us.  I used to be 15 minutes early to everything myself, but then I met my wife and then we had a son that has the “mosey”, so I am learning to adjust to being late to everything.  I still have a long way to go. 
It is the weekend after Thanksgiving and football-wise Mizzou vs. Texas A&M, so I spoke to the parking Gods all the way to the destination because Saturday nights in Kirkwood bring in lots of people without special events.  The Gods answered giving me a great spot, but this made Sara nervous because she was afraid I would recognize some of the cars, again though…I was more worried about being late so I wasn’t paying any attention.  Kirkwood Station was packed with Mizzou fans.  Andie and Christie met us at the door, I was worried that we wouldn’t have a table with how crowded the place was, but Andie eased me as she said she had one in the back.   I paid our cover, which apparently was already paid for, however they were able to hide that from me as well.  I am ranting to Andie about our adventurous evening as I think I see a friend at the bar.  I slowly start to turn to Sara to tell her, hey…  “I think Donna and John are here” when blamo tons of people turn around and scream “SURPRISE!”.  I grabbed Andie by the arm in shock and said, “Who the F*CK is this for…, what the hell” and in true Andie fashion she answered, “You, you big dumb a$$!”  In complete shock I of course retaliated, “This is isn’t for me…  No… It can’t be.”  Then Andie pointed out the signs that were hanging around with my name on them.  I couldn’t believe all the people that were there as I panned around the room.  My family, my college softball teammates, my flag football teammates, my slow pitch ladies team, my co-ed team, childhood friends of the family, old co-workers…   It was crazy, it was overwhelming, it was amazing, and I felt like I was going to vomit.  I am not one to be the center of attention and everyone was looking at me.  Quickly Sara handed me a beverage and I am sure she needed one for herself with all that stress of planning the perfect night for me.  Every detail was thought off..  from ginger ale for my Jack, to the signs, to the cozies, to the 80’s band that would playing later.  If this is what 40 is, hot damn I am ready for it.
Some of the decorations

There was food and whiskey cupcakes, without planning the Honey Jack girls were promoting that night and bonus I got a free kick a$$ hat.  I was in too much shock to eat which did not help my cause, however much like this season of HIMYM where Lily gets “The Kennedy Package” I was never empty handed. “Thank you, Linus!”   The evening was much like my wedding night, a room full of people you love so much and want to talk to, but there doesn’t seem to be enough time to visit with all of them.  I am so grateful for all the people in my life and to have almost everyone I care deeply about to be in one room together it best gift I could ever ask for. It felt like the night was flying by too fast, and then That 80’s Band took the stage.  I seriously did not leave the dance floor and they played 3 sets.  BEST LIVE BAND EVER!

The night went on and people slowly left, it was late and I was good and drunk. I headed the restroom to pee and vomit, it was a great night.  Sara had already packed up the car and it was time to go. I passed out on the ride home.  I didn’t not properly thank my wife for a very well thought out evening, but managed to make it home before vomiting again.  Then next morning reminded me that I am not in my young 30’s anymore, holy hangover batman.  I was in bed for the majority of the day, so hats off to all….mission accomplished. The party was completely epic!

Watching the brand perform
Brandon, Emma, and Katelyn
Flag Football Gang

My Sophie

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Light at the end of the tunnel part 2..

July 2013 - We celebrated 4th of July at my parents’ house, it is a tradition to watch Poppy blow up stuff. Sara worked a BBQ cook-off fundraiser at the beginning of the day, while Jackson and I spent the day in my parents’ pool.  Usually the head index in the STL is 115 this time of year, but this summer has been so mild with temps dropping down to the upper 60’s overnight.  So I will say the pool wasn’t it normal 84 degrees…but it wasn’t too cold to enjoy it which was a good thing because Jackson was not getting out especially when his cousins came splashing in.  Since Fireworks a family favorite, it was easy to get the boys out of the pool and start drying off with the thought of being able to blow stuff up.  Jackson has never really watched or shot fireworks yet, but my nephews and sister had bought kid friendly ones.  Jackson loved them; Sara however did not like the larger fireworks that my dad was testing.  The issue that developed as time went on was when Jackson liked running towards his older nephew who lighting firecrackers.  It was exciting to watch Jackson’s face light up, but it was difficult to keep far enough away for safety concerns so Sara and Jackson went home before the big display.  I however stayed and watched the big display.   It has been a few years since I have been able to, but since we had two cars this year, it was nice to be able to watch because it did not disappoint.
I only worked 1 weekend; however I was sick as dog.  I blame the public pool for getting sick and I got the bronchitis….aint nobody got time for that.  I had to miss a softball game; those who know me well know I was really feeling really awful to miss a game.  Jackson came down with some sort of stomach bug and had a seizure. He came out of the seizure without emergency medicine, which was the first time he has ever done that. Jackson was running a fever, so we gave him some IBProphen which got the fever to come down and we gave him an anti-seizure pill, so scary.  We emailed EBK and called our STL neurologist.  EBK responds within 10 minutes, STL neurologist took two days to call back. Jackson seemed to bounce back from this event, he didn’t have any more seizures, and we took him in to get his levels checked. 
August 2013 – The softball season wrapped up and we placed 2nd in the softball league.  Other exciting news we got to have dinner with some amazing FX families, Cindy Roger’s, Mouse Scharfenaker, and Tracy Stackhouse. These amazing 3 ladies traveled to STL for a FX workshop which we also attended. I can listen to them a million times and learn so much every time.  After dinner we met up with our Kansas City FX moms for drinks because we can’t brag about our amazing kids enough and adult libations are fun.  It was fun going to the workshop tired and slightly hung over. I worked the following weekend, ugh is this project done yet?!? 

The St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame inducted Sara’s grandpa and we were able to attend the luncheon.  It was awesome to hear stories from the other dugout legends who were also inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame at the same time.  Jackson is doing really well in school, but they are concerned because he will stop bouncing for a few seconds and become non-responsive for a few moments, then he is back to himself, but seems tired. Sara picked him up one day when one of these episodes occurred, but he was completely fine when they were home.  A week later he seemed really tired, he took a nap after school and after dinner he wanted to take a nap again.  Shortly after dozing off he had a seizure.  We had to administer the emergency medicine to get him out of this one. We again got in touch with both his docs, same thing EBK responds right away and the STL doctor takes a day or two.  Two options we had were increase his dosage or switch medicine since Jackson has been on this type for over a year.  After much consideration we went with increase in dosage first. The first week make Jackson very sleepy in the morning and not his normal self at school, so we scaled back only added the increased dosage before bed.  Since then he hasn’t had any more seizures that we know about, the school reported another gazed episode in September since the increased dosage.  We have not seen these episodes, so we aren’t sure what is going on, but are monitoring it for sure.

September 2013 – I like this pattern of only working 1 weekend. This was a busy weekend month…I am happy to report that I was able to complete my stair project and get the French drain put in.  Of course our mild summer weather was completely gone and I swear it was the hottest weekend for me to complete this outdoor project, however it was the cheapest weekend to purchase all the mulch and drainage rock I needed. September is another big birthday month…my little brother, my dad, my nephew, and Sara’s mom all have birthday’s to celebrate.   
My nephew celebrated his 9th birthday Minion style and sister-in-law hosted a party for him; Jackson is so excited to spend time with his cousins.  It was also Sara’s best friend’s wedding month to which she was the maid of honor.   

Sara tossed Cray a fun bachelorette party that I got to DJ for. I haven't done that in years. There was a guest appearance by Sonny and Cher.  The night was full of surprises….I will leave it at that.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful and was at one of our favorite places for a weekend getaway at Overlook Farms.  We had celebrated our 5th anniversary there and were lucky celebrate our 7th anniversary there since the wedding fell on the same weekend. 

October 2013 – We attended a FX Symposium and Jackson’s teacher and aides attended with us.  It is a so great that his team wants to learn more about Fragile X.   

My dad and I traveled together to Bridgeport, CT to attend a memorial service for my cousin Carolyn.  We don’t get to see my dad’s side of the family very often.  It was really great to catch up with my aunts, uncle, and cousins although the circumstance was difficult. My cousin Carolyn was a kindred soul who touched so many peoples lives with her beautiful smile, amazing art work, and giving personality. The service was wonderful and Carolyn is much missed. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with my dad, something we don’t get to do 1 on 1 often enough.  It wouldn’t be a true Hamilton trip without a funny event.  I rented the car and was the driver for the weekend.  The first night we needed to go pick up my aunt Carol. Her flight was delayed and for a long while we thought we might be waiting at the wrong airport…but she finally came through the gates to which she announced a drink was in order.  We were about 40 minutes from our hotel, but I had noticed our hotel was near two liquor stores less than a block away each direction. Unfortunately they were both closed when we arrived, but I saw a bar sign that was lit up, so we went with that.  Walking into the bar they had very loud thumpa-thumpa music playing, so I turned to the bar tender to ask if that was OK if we took our drinks outside because the music was so loud when I noticed on the TV behind was a nude man rolling around on the beach.  I then quickly turned back to my family with an embarrassed look on my face to see they had noticed the same thing as their eyes got wider. I quickly asked them if they wanted to go outside to have drinks and they all politely said yes.  I could tell everyone tried to keep from busting out laughing at my mortified look when I asked them if they still wanted to have a drink.  My family is very excepting of my lifestyle….and I am so lucky to have that, but leave it to me to take my family to a gay bar with nude dudes on TV.  Aside from that October is special in our house because we have Halloween and Sara’s birthday on the same day.   

Sara tried to craft our costumes so we could be a family of mummies.  Between my working and traveling, the sewing machine acting up, and life…she did not get to complete our costumes to what she wanted them to be, but Jackson looked so good.  I started to come down with a cold, but I wasn’t going to let me keep that down to make the day special.  I hung up a peg board in the hobby room so sorry could hang all her crafty tools, got Jilly’s cupcakes, made my Jack chili, and this year we added hot Apple Rum Cider.
November 2013 – The first weekend I was so sick with the bronchitis again and sinus infection.  I slept the entire weekend and missed my BFF’s house warming gathering.  Last year I missed her birthday because of work, this year I miss her house warming because I am sick.  I feel like the worst friend anyone can ask for these days.  I also missed Flag Football Nationals and Hall of Fame ceremony where two of my teammates were inducted. Eddie and T-Rod congratulations I am so proud of you both, sorry I missed it.  I was able to provide some photos for the videos and I know I was there in spirit.  The following weekend I had the privilege to go on a mini vacation.  I was still getting over being sick, but I got to spend the weekend with my softball ladies on Dolphin Island in Alabama.  Tracy McFadden thank you for owning a house down there because I so needed a weekend get away from everything….actually I think I need a month, but I am very greatful for the weekend. Upon returning home I had to work two back to back weekends, but the good news is the project is OVER!! The month seemed long, but with Thanksgiving and an amazing surprise celebration it was easy to missing working 15 days in the row...

I have a few more exciting posts about November to write..  so stay tuned

Friday, December 6, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel…

So I promised my followers I would get better at blogging and catch everyone up with what has been going on with the Hamilton’s.  Well….I failed you all.  My last blog I was playing catch up and the goal was to bring everyone up to the present day.  Unfortunately work picked up instead of scaling back and the in-between weekends was spent on getting some house projects done, rest, or being sick.  Before I knew it a full year lapsed and it is November already.  Crazy how fast a year went by…  the good news is working weekends is only a week away.  The bad news is I feel like I missed out on so much and that I have let down my friends and family by not being able to attend to events like birthdays, happy hours, sporting events, or just be there.  

Quick recaps…

October 2012 – Bought a house, traveled a bunch of times to train field techs for my companies Windows 7 upgrade, Jackson started at a new school, and we celebrated Sara’s birthday and Halloween to end the month… you can read more details on my previous blog post.

November 2012 – Jackson had a seizure and we hosted Thanksgiving dinner.  Sara’s mom and dad came over and the Hamilton’s which includes my mom and dad, my sister and boyfriend-in-law, my grandma, my sister-in-law, nephews, and Josh (boyfriend-in-law).  This Thanksgiving rocked because our new house is much bigger, not that busting out of the seams of our other house was awesome, it was just nice to have elbow room at the tables.  I think my nephew Andrew loves my turkey because for second year he said, “This food is awesome…”  The holidays are still hard without my brother, but his boys are more and more like him each year.  There are more details on my previous blog post.

December 2012 - I worked back to back weekends and a full week on the Bridgeline, which made it difficult to shop for Christmas, but I managed to get some surprise gifts thanks to Amazon.  I missed my BFF’s birthday because of work; I was really bummed about that.  Then I missed my other BFF’s wife’s birthday, no LRC money for me.  We took Jackson to milk and cookies with Santa and he got to see Santa at our local fire house.  I am very proud that even though Jackson likes to pull hair, he leaves Santa’s alone. Christmas morning we went over to Sara’s parents to celebrate first.  Jackson had a great musical Christmas and got his first acoustic guitar.  It is always so nice to Sara’s brother and sister-in-law over the holidays. We spent the second half of the day over at my grandma’s house.  Jackson got a riding tractor which Poppy was so proud to give him.  It is going to take a lot of work to get Jackson’s motor skills up to par, but even though he didn’t get the concept of the pedal his smile was priceless.  I almost needed a trailer to get everything home.  

January 2013 – My softball ladies helped me celebrate my birthday at our favorite place Pizza-a-go-go.  They serve old school hand tossed pizza and you bring your own beverages.  Always fun to catch up with everyone after the holidays.  I worked my birthday weekend, then the week after.  I also migrated some of our home office executives so I could document the process moving forward for them.  It’s also my moms and Sara’s dads birthday month. Sara’s grandpa, the great Earl Weaver, passed away and she traveled to Miami for the funeral.  Around that time we were doing some adjustments to Jackson’s medicine trying to find a good balance between extreme Hyper-ness and Zombie land.

February 2013 – I worked two weekends. Saturday’s we are supposed to be done by 6:00 PM, but to avoid working on Sunday the project sometimes pushes us to work later. Unfortunately that caused me to miss Andrew‘s, my nephew, birthday party.  It breaks my heart to disappoint anyone in my family, it absolutely kills me.  I didn’t get off until 12:30 AM that night. Imagine having a phone to your ear from 8 AM until 12:30 AM, let’s just say I was exhausted and not a happy camper.  The only thing that pulled me out of that funk was my niece was born. My sister broke the boy streak bringing us a little princess.  I was so excited to go see her only a few hours after she born. The next day we had snow, snow, snow…. Man our new driveway is huge.

March 2013 –I worked two weekends, had a weekly Bridgeline, and migrated some of the execs. My team lead added a few more team members to the project to help relieve some weekends.  Sara traveled to Washington DC for FX advocacy day which gave me the opportunity to spend 1 on 1 time with Jackson and take a few days off.  The lawn mower started to stall out, so we had to buy a riding lawn mower.  I figured with my knees not getting younger and since Sara loves to cut the grass with her allergies it was a wise purchase. Plus the smile it brings to Jackson’s face when he gets to help me cut the grass is priceless.

April 2013 – The cycle was broken and I wasn’t scheduled to work any weekends, but did 3 back to back weeks of Bridgeline.  Since I had free weekends I thought it was a good idea to tear up carpet and start the stair project. My goodness my hands were sore for a full week.  We also painted and put together our front porch rockers.  We love our new house.  We celebrated Easter with both our families.  Sara and her family traveled to Baltimore where the Orioles celebrated the life their one and only “Earl of Baltimore”.  Last by not least my softball season started, I love my softball ladies..  

May 2013 – So much for the broken cycle….I worked two weekends and two weeks full of Bridgeline. For mother’s day I planted one of Sara’s favorites the Japanese Crimson Maple tree.  I also was able to put down a second coat of stain on stair project of 2013. I am sure there was more in May, just having trouble remembering the rest.

Fragile X Walk 2013
June 2013 – The month started off with the annual Fragile X walk.  Each year we gain new walkers and we continue to surpass our team fund raising goals.  I am so lucky to have supportive family on both sides and loving friends; I know next year our team will even be bigger. I can’t thank everyone enough for showing their support; it means the world to me.  Compton came over and helped me finish painting the second half of the basement, the man cave side. We also had our family vacation….we decided to take a full week to visit the amazing Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis in Chicago at Rush.  We stopped in Utica, IL on our way and stayed at Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort.  They have an indoor water park with a wave pool and a lazy river.  The key is to go in the middle of week because the rates are cheaper and when we checked out on Friday it was a complete mad house. So if you an anxious kid like we do….go during the week and it will be a great experience.  We came home from vacation to an awesome must odor from the basement.  It took us a week to figure out where the smell came from and found we had leak. Excellent!  The best way to find a leak in the basement is to walk around with socks on, Sara might disagree since she found it.  My mother’s day gift with soaker hose on a timer for twice a day contributed to the extra water.  I went out and bought a dehumidifier and we called our favorite carpet cleaners “The Griffin Brothers”.  I am glad we called them first because they were able to get everything cleaned up and saved us from calling someone to replace all the carpet and the walls.  They enzymed everything, set up a drying system with an industrial dehumidifier, and left it setup for over a week. Then they came back and cleaned up the carpets. Since we knew where the source was from, Sara and I dug a trench along in the front of our house where I would later install a French drain. My sister brought my niece over for a mini photo shoot; I can’t get enough of baby Emma.  Naturally since I had the first two weekends off I would worth the last two back to back.  The good news was we didn’t have any more leaking the bad news I am not sure when I will get to take care of French drain.  June was a super busy month….  I also have lots of pictures I need to dig up for this month that I hope to share later.

To be continued....