Monday, November 3, 2014


Sara and I were married in 2006 in our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  On our 5th anniversary I wrote about our engagement and wedding and you can read story that here:  Here is a picture from our 5th anniversary.  We found an amazing bed and breakfast near St. Louis in Clarksville, Overlook Farms.  It was an amazing overnight stay and a perfect way to celebrate 5 years together.

Unfortunately in 2006 the only place we could get legally married in the US was Massachusetts and you had to reside there in order to obtain/maintain a legal marriage.  Neither of us wanted to move away from our families, so we had a little ceremony in front of our family and closest friend followed by a celebration a.k.a. reception.  It was an amazing day that wasn’t legal, but that didn’t matter to us as long as we could make a life commitment to each other.  It was the greatest day of my life.

Shortly after we were married we bought our first house in 2007.  We were approved for a loan with Sara’s amazing credit and both our incomes, that wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be.  Once we were settled in we started planning for our 1st baby.  After 1 year and 5 tries Sara got pregnant; it was very emotional roller coaster.  I learned a lot of things about getting pregnant; it’s not that easy as one may think. We welcomed Jackson into our world in 2009, the second greatest day of my life.  

Unlike hetero couples who get married, have children, and automatically get rights…we had to hire an attorney to get all the legal documents to protect us if something were to happen to one or both of us.  Power of attorney, living will, name change, adoption…the list goes on. Since same-sex marriage is not recognized and we have all the “legal” paper work, a judge can still rule not in our favor or best interest if something were to happen to one of us.  Jackson is not biologically mine so we had to follow the Missouri laws on adoption.  It was another emotional roller coaster in addition to the costs of getting pregnant and attorney fees, but on Aug. 18th, 2010 I became Jackson’s second parent making it the third greatest day of my life. 
The US has come a long way since 2006 with 21 32 states legalizing same-sex marriage, but there is still a long way to go.  Missouri is now recognizing same-sex marriage established in other jurisdictions, but doesn’t issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples. In June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and required federal government to treat legally married same-sex couples on an equal basis with heterosexual married couples.  The economic impact of this ruling is huge for our family.  I still have state taxes coming out of my paycheck on health insurance that my hetero co-workers do not have to pay for their spouses.  It’s work in progress.

Wikipedia provides great resources if you are interested to learn more about marriage rights and benefits:  and same-sex marriage:

Fast forward to July 2014….our family traveled to Orange County, California for the National Fragile X Conference.   Sara’s parents traveled with us to also attend the conference.  Sara’s brother and sister-in-law live in Los Angeles so as an added bonus we were so lucky to spend some time with them while there.  The icing on the cake while in Orange County Sara and I got legally married.  I married my wife twice.  It was crazy emotional just like the first time. guessed it...the forth greatest day of my life. 

Instead of a reception we headed to the beach, not a bad substitute.  When we arrived at the hotel to get ready for the beach we were greeted in the hotel lobby by a friend of whom we have become very close with from a club we never knew we wanted to join, the great Holly Usrey-Roos.  She greeted us with a huge hug and surprised us with flowers.  It is very comforting to be accepted in our new found family in the World of Fragile X and we have been so lucky to meet so many amazing people in this journey.  I don’t even have the words to explain it, but it means the world to me and my family to be embraced whole heartedly.

Even though our honeymoon the second time around was attending a conference hosted by the National Fragile X foundation and we only saw the sun a few times while in California, I wouldn’t have traded it.  We continue to learn more everyday Living the Fragile X way. The conferences and workshops we attend provide us these great tools to help navigate through each day.  Through our Community Support Network we continue to meet other families like ours who have been there, done that, going thru that, and then some.  So far in the 3 years since Jackson’s diagnosis I have made so many friends who are more like family and for that I am eternally grateful.    

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The modern day Pat…

Ever feel like everyone is looking at you..   trying to figure out who or what you are?  I feel that way a lot. 

The sneers, the dagger gleams, the shooting beams, the awkward stares…   It pierces through my entire body, makes feel less confident, and creates an overly extreme existence of anxiety. 

The worst is when I have the urge to use the restroom; I hold it as long as I can when I am in public places.  Unfortunately sometimes nature wins and I have no choice, I must go.  The closer I get to the doors with the gender signs that read Men or Women, Boys or Girls, Gents and Ladies, my heart begins to race… my palms sweet…  it gets harder to swallow.  I take a deep breath, straighten my shoulders, and push my chest forward trying to reveal my barely B’s, my perky little breasts… just hoping if someone is staring or someone is on their way out…they see my booblets and not question, “Why on earth did “that” person open the door with a skirt on it!”  

If you really want to know… I sit to pee, I belong in here, I have all the right parts….but to many I just look like teenage boy.  Sure that might seem like a compliment in a way just turning 40, yup I get carded to purchase booze, but really it is awkward and uncomfortable. 

There are so many others…like me.  The ones that dress and look like boys.  I know I choose to dress the way and keep my hair short.  I always preferred slacks over dresses, boots over heels.  I am so comfortable being me, the tomboy next door and it hasn’t been easy.  

Growing up sometimes was hard; don’t get me wrong here I had a truly amazing childhood.  I played every sport I could, when the sun came up I was outside until my mom whistled for me to come home for dinner.  I explored caves, swam in the creek, and played army in the woods….I loved every minutes of it.  My brother got all the cool toys, the cars and the G.I. Joes, while I got the Barbies and the dolls.  I got cool stuff too, like my dirt bike, softball gloves, and whatever music I wanted to listen too.  I don’t resent my parents for buying me gender appropriate toys; I love them for supporting me and trying, and oh…let’s not forget cleaning up my wounds from playing rough like the boys.  I did play with my Barbie’s, just not as much as some of my other friends.  Barbie married G.I.Joe and not Ken in my fantasy world. 

When all my friends started to wear makeup and bras in middle school and I was still playing in the dirt and wearing wife beaters under my shirts.  When we had to start changing for gym class; I was shy, embarrassed, and underdeveloped to say the least.  I always waited for everyone to leave the dressing room before I started to change.  I was bullied for being a tomboy, for being different.  I started hating going to school and my 6th grade year I would come up with ways to come home sick.  I had very few friends back then, some of which stuck up for me when the other girls were mean to me.  I will never forget them for doing that…that had such an impact on my preteenhood  to teenhood, they taught me how to rise above the hate and the bullying, and that not all girls are mean. 

My tomboy awkwardness followed me into High School, but I found Track and Field, a sport where I could be an individual athlete and a teammate, exceling in both.  By trial and error coach finally placed me where I belonged and I was really good in my events…as a freshmen I moved up to varsity in the middle of the season.  This helped boost my confidence, but it didn’t take away the anxiety of changing in the locker room.  If I got there first I could change quickly, but if I got there when others were there I would change in a bathroom stall or I was late to the fields changing after everyone else left.  Track was like a huge family, they accepted everyone and their uniqueness.   I made so many friends and had the time of my life being a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. 

I went to a Baptist college where the student lobby was divided by athletes, religious groups, and book worms.  I wore my hair super long and in a ponytail back then.  I still was a tomboy that dressed in girl clothes, even had a boyfriend here or there, nothing serious. Believe it or not, I even wore pink, but I was so uncomfortable and didn’t understand why.  The best part about being a girl in my mind during the college years was ladies night at the night clubs where girls drink free.  I didn’t come out to myself until my junior year of college and it took several years after that before I came out to my family and close friends. You couldn’t be gay and live in the dorms at a Baptist college at the time, I don’t know if much as changed there since I attended.  So I stayed in my closet at school; only some of my cloesest friends truly knew….the rest just pondered or assumed. 

Right out of college I got a job for a small company thanks to my college softball coach.  I was very lucky…but I still wasn’t publicly out.  The tomboy in me was dying inside day in and day out as I dressed business casually for work in blouses and dress pants.  I don’t like wearing clothes that are tight or form fitting.  It’s not that I don’t’ like my woman parts.  I just didn’t like that I was a toothpick a stick holding up clothes, so skinny, some people even thought I was ill. I am a very modest person.  I like to wear clothes that are baggy, lose fitting.  Basically what I am trying to say is the grunge era was awesome for me.

During this time I played softball several nights a week.  Fast pitch, slow pitch, competitive, non-competitive, co-ed, womans… whatever softball team I could I find, I played.  I went through a lot short term relationships over those years, all the while not being out to my own family.  It wasn’t until I was in a long term relationship that didn’t work out, my heart was broken and I needed someone to share the experience with. That was when I came out to my family.  I was 26 years old, I just took a new job at a much bigger company, and I was going through so many life changes all at once….it was then I realized I needed my family more than anything.  It was then I also realized my fears of coming out to family were all for nothing, my family embraced me with open arms and accepted me in every way.  It was fresh start for me in so many aspects.  My grandpa asked me if I was happy, and even though I had just been through a bad break up and proudly answered “Yes”.  My grandpa grabbed my arm, pulled me close, and said, “That’s all that matters to me, you will always be my princess.” It was then I knew everything would be OK.

My new job was business attire; it was hard for me to shop for new clothes. Did I mention I am not a fan of wearing woman’s clothing? This make shopping for clothes really hard.  I started off at my new job keeping quiet about my personal life, but after a few happy hours and someone outing me to my team, there was no reason to hide.  Shortly after starting the job, we moved buildings and our attire changed to business casual, then shortly after that my team merged with a group that wore khakis and logo polo shirts.  Things couldn’t fall into line more perfectly to help me with my uncomfortable attire.   It was then when I stopped shopping in the woman’s department for everything except bras and swim tops.  Then…I turned 30 and it was time for another change.  I walked into a salon with a picture of Sharon Stone with short hair and said, chop it off.  The hairstylist was nervous, I would be losing 6 inches of long, thin, straight hair.  She said once it’s gone, I can’t put it back on.  I didn’t care, I wanted short hair.

I was completely comfortable for once in my life now sporting a hairstyle that suited me well.  It was about that time when people in the office who worked in different departments starting giving me strange looks, especially when I used the restroom.  I remember I was coming out the bathroom and this woman that was walking in asked me if I was finished in there.  I was confused as to why she would ask that, and then it dawned on me; I was in Khaki pants and a logo polo that means I must have been the maintenance man working on a broken toilet. 

Several years ago I changed positions within the same company and went from wearing uniform polo’s and khaki pants back to business casual again.  When I pulled up the dress policy for women, I cringed as I noticed it had not changed since I started there.  What am I going to do?  I went shopping for clothes; it was so hard for me.  Luckily I had Sara to help me out; she loves shopping and thinks I am hot in just about anything especially if I wear something form fitting, so it was fun for her.  I settled on a few woman pairs of slacks and blouses, grabbed a pants suit, and lady shoes.  I was terrified in these clothes and it showed.  When I showed up on the first day of my position a friend who was my coworker replied, “Hamilton, what the fuck are you wearing?” as soon as he saw me.  It took everything I had not to cry, I was already embarrassed to wear these clothes even though that was what I was supposed to wear.  I soon started going back to khakis and button up shirts because my management didn’t care what I wore and after a few years the company is now business casual.  I still don’t really fit in the woman’s category for casual wear, but its close enough. Even though I work for a strong LGBT supporting company and there are only 5 other women who work on my floor…I still have to stick my chest out when I use the restroom because woman from different floors come down/up to use our restroom.  Really?  Go back to your floor then I think to myself.

One would think after all the years of stares and sneers; I would be numb and over this fear of using public restrooms, but it is still there.  I don’t flinch much when someone calls me sir, buddy, or young man, but the bathroom is like a booby trap you know that there, but you can’t avoid it.

Two weeks ago we attended the 14th National Fragile X Conference in Orange County California.  So many wonderful families, doctors, therapists, even teachers attended this wonder event that occurs every two years.  Thanks to Facebook, blogs I follow, and many other opportunities I have met many of these amazing people who are living life the Fragile X way, just like my family.  I feel like I have known so many of these people for most of my life, they are like long distance relatives you get to see once in a while and wish you could see more often.  I have read several fellow bloggers posts on their take of the conference and the experience they had since the conference. They are honest and talk about the anxiety they had when meeting new people for the first time, how it affects them physically and emotionally.  They are excited because for one week they feel that no one is judging them when their child melts down in the lobby of the hotel because everyone there has been there, done that, or in their same shoes.  Love, ultimate support, validation for all that we do for children for one full week, it is a wonderful feeling and experience to share.  There were so many times I felt exactly that way during the conference, but not to take away from their amazing blogs or experiences there were so many times I felt the exact opposite.   This was our second conference, so I have met a lot of people in the Fragile X community before this trip. The love and support I received from those who already know me…know Sara…know Jackson far outweigh this feeling of judgment.  I hope you  know who you are… some belong to our support team in St. Louis, some our relationship has formed over social media, some I met you for the first time at this conference.  I cherish these friendships so much and look forward to getting to know more about each of you personally.  When will I see you again? Miss you already!

Maybe I am over reading things…maybe there weren’t stares or glares, but some of the facial expressions I received when making eye contact on the way in or the way out of the ladies room made it hard not to assume.  I encountered a mother and daughter in the restroom and the mother’s reaction was verbal between the stalls.  I am sorry if I scared the daughter, but I was not out of the bathroom before the mother made some very hurtful comments to her daughter on why there was a boy in the girls bathroom.  After this incident, I started going out of my way up to our hotel room because it was do difficult to deal with my anxiety.  I am not sure if this mother follows the Fragile X webring, but I hope that if she does, stumbles on my post, takes this experience as a learning experience, maybe judges less, and teaches her children acceptance of everyone.  This experience encouraged me to write this blog and I went back and forth about even posting it, worried I might offend someone.  

I heard from so many other parents at this conference that one of their biggest fears is their child being accepted by their peers or how they get anxious when people stare at their family when their child has a meltdown, or the mom has to take their teenaged boy in the public restroom because he doesn’t have the motor skills to wipe or pull up their pants all way.  I believe it is important to also hold ourselves accountable to accept those around us just like we want other to accept our children.  You don’t have to agree with my lifestyle choice, but know this…I am happy with my life, I love my wife, my son is my world, and I am proud of my choices.  If you have a question about why I dress the way I do, or why I have short hair, I will point you to this blog post or tell you in a different setting other than the bathroom I am having near panic attack in.  Over the years I have contemplated just going in the men’s room, it would probably be easier or more accepting of others....

Friday, June 27, 2014

Guess what day it is…

“TRASH TRUCK…  FRI…FRI…FRIDAY!!” says the little man as he wakes up with the biggest smile on his face. Friday is Jackson’s favorite day because we have not 1, not 2, but 3 trash trucks that come to our house.

That smile and excitement first thing in the morning is pretty much an every morning occurrence in our house. Jackson sits up in his bed every morning requesting “Faffles”.  Faffles in our house means Waffles in other homes. Before his love for faffles, there were breakfast bars. That pure happiness first thing in the morning is something you wish you could bottle up sometimes for yourself or share with those non morning people.  Jackson has always been happy in the morning.  We were so lucky to have a happy baby that slept good at night. 
I used to be a morning person in my younger years, surviving on 4 hours of sleep ready to take on the day.  I wasn’t a Jamba Juice or Starbucks barista in your face morning person, but the morning kind that wakes up with a smile fully refreshed, ready for a conversation…unless I was really hung over. Hey…don’t judge…you were there once too.  When Sara and I first started our relationship I learned early on that she was NOT a morning person.  Sara took time to wake up, have some breakfast, mabye some coffee before she was ready for a conversation. I sometimes forget that until the morning snapper head reminds me.  Teeheee…I love the morning snapper head with her hair all tussled out of place.  I think it was when Jackson turned 2 and sleep started to become a struggle for him was when I started to lose my morning person self. The long nights that came often of me walking him up and down the hallway facing away from me and then working in front of a computer all day started to take its toll. I think when my morning self completely left my body was when Jackson started having seizures at night. I developed a sleep with one eye open with awareness technique and that morning person was forever lost.   
Even with a bright cheery 5 year old first thing in the morning, it is hard for me to find the joy in getting out of bed, but I do look forward to the mornings he wakes up before I leave for work. That means I get a good send off with a sticky kiss followed up with, “WUV OOOHHH, DAY.”  Translation: I love you, have a nice day. 

Happy Trash Truck Friday everyone….

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nana's home...

I recently started a new project at work that is sucking my brain cells completely out of my head by the end of each day.  I sit on a Bridgeline all day assisting contracted field technicians through upgrading laptops for the top producers of the company.  My team wrote a script an app that backs up copies all the producers’ data (documents, pictures, settings…) and restores all the data to the new laptop. I wrote the document outlining every step from running the script app to get the data, unplugging the old equipment, and plugging in the new equipment with pictures to help them get through it all. The document is very basic, written so any audience should be able to follow it or at least I thought it was.  We used this same documented process for the previous project in which we migrated 30,000 plus machines, I just updated some of the pictures.  Unfortunately the document is not fool proof from some of these techs and at times makes me question my abilities in technical document writing.  I walk the field tech through each step reading them word for word off the document they have right in front of them. Apparently it makes more sense when they hear my voice reading aloud to them then when they read the words off the paper themselves.  It’s not fun like reading Pete the Cat books to Jackson while singing and do fun cartoon like voices, it more like reading a TV instruction manual over and over.  That gets real old having to it multiple times throughout the day.  Then you throw in the fact that these field techs can’t plug in displays, USB devices, or the power adapter without guidance. WOW!  It’s a head scratcher to me how some of these techs are qualified for this job. By the end of the day my brain is complete mush…add in the extreme traffic all the way home I am more gone than a very dead zombie.

I pull into the garage, turn off the car, and sit for a brief moment taking multiple deep breaths before entering the house.  I definitely don’t want to take this rough day into my loving home and I wish this nagging headache would just go the <insert expletive here> away. While entering the key into the door I can hear the dogs going crazy as their toenails tippy-tap on the floor.  I can also hear Jackson jumping up and down.  I open the door, the dogs are right at my feet making it nearly impossible to walk in.  Jackson is jumping up and down, flapping his hands, then falling to the ground. 

“NANA HOME, NANA HOME….eeeeeee….NANA HOME” Jackson says. “NANA HOME, NANA HOME….NNNEEEEE….” If I don’t respond soon, Jackson’s will get stuck in this pattern like a broken record. 

“Yes Jackson, nana is home...  are you ready for a hug?”

Jackson starts to stand up “NANA HOME, YES! HAPPY…” hands are flapping as he starts to jump up and down.  This…this right here makes that long day at work seem like a thing of the distant past and it jolts me awake from my zombie like funk.  

“Are you ready for a hug?” I ask once more.  The jumping stops and his arms reach up for me.  He’s ready.  I quickly pick him up, I squeeze tightly as he puts his arms around my neck and lets go just as fast.  “Kiss” I say.  He quickly leans towards my face; I get one quick kiss in, and set him down fast. If I hold on too long, I get a head butt to the lip.  I treasure these quick moments, they are the best part of my day. “Can Nana take the dogs out now?” I ask.

“Nnneeeee…YES!” Jackson responds with hands flapping rapidly just before he takes off sprinting towards the living room. 

Nana’s home….

Monday, May 5, 2014

Still Catching Up....

***Disclaimer: This post has been sitting on the editors table awaiting some pictures.  I am not sure if I will ever have time to sort through the pictures before the year goes by and this post is lost.  I want to get everyone caught up on the Hamilton household so I can get back to post more regularly.  So here is December...without pictures.***

December 2013 - Since I am not getting any younger….and I “point and click” for a living since my senior year of college, I developed a case of tennis elbow.  I had physical therapy for the month of November and it was wrapping up in the beginning of December.  The Windows 7 project and excessive overtime now behind me, it was time to get caught up on being with my family, friends, and rest…must needed rest.  Last year I was not able to do much shopping for Christmas because the project consumed all of my free time.  This year I was able to go with Sara to shop for our families.  I would say the majority of our gifts came from Target, a familiar place for Jackson to shop and it is one of his favorites.  He likes to try on the hats and asks for your phone to take a picture. I have tons of random pictures in my phone of Jackson wearing/trying on hats at Target.
We took Jackson to Milk and Cookies with Santa hosted by Life Skills' TouchPoint. Every year the event gets better for Jackson.  Not to mention Jackson’s communication has really taken off, so he can express what he wants and feels with words more and more everyday vs. pulling our hair or banging his head in frustration.  “Oh my Gosh Josh” was in attendance again this year, he remembered Jackson from the previous year and Jackson remembered him.  Sara and I have learned how to take turns waiting in line for each of the activities and bringing Jackson over when one of us reach the front of the line.  This year for the first time Jackson was able to get a balloon animal.  He requested a blue deer.  Jackson also got a candy cane tattoo on his hand and he really enjoyed the choir singing on stage.  We lasted longer this year than we have before and got an awesome picture with Santa.  We also attended our local firehouse with Santa event.  Jackson had a blast and was able to get a picture with both Mr. and Mrs. Claus. 
Sara and I attended the annual OBG Christmas party.  Kim and Jordan hosted this year and it was Mexican themed food.  Thanks to all those who make me a special side dish without onions.  We played an awesome game where there was this wrapped gift and each of us took turns rolling dice.  I can’t remember what you had to roll to get a chance to open the gift with oven mitts on, but it was a blast.  I think my abs still hurt from laughing so hard.  It was great night, filled with love, laughter, joy, cheers (lots of cheers), and of course Karaoke.
I took the two weeks off between Christmas and New Year’s.  Jackson helped decorate the tree this year; however it was more fun for him to pull the ornaments off and throw them.  We wised up and use plastic Christmas balls that we bought on clearance after Christmas the year before.  Christmas morning is still hard for Jackson.  This year Sara woke up with cold, Jackson had a runny nose…and mine had just started, not a great start to the morning. Even though Jackson is starting to understand the concept of presents, it doesn’t coincide with his typical morning routine.  We are still learning the best way to approach the day, each year we learn more.  First Jackson gets his morning bar with his yogurt filled with medicine.  Then we move to stockings.  Jackson is done with the excitement about half way through his stocking, and then he is wants to be in the living room with his iPod.  After bringing him back to the Christmas tree for what seemed like a million times, and picking him off the ground after he melted down to the floor, we moved the presents to where he wanted to be. Then we get ready to head over to Sara’s parents’ house.   Yay, mimosas and breakfast…yummy.  We made sure Jackson got as many breaks as he needed  during present time. After a few gifts, he was done so Sara and I took turns being with Jackson while the rest of the family enjoyed sharing gifts.  Jackson did really well through the excitement, having an iphone with Zac Brown available helped a lot. After all the gifts are done and the family phone calls are made to thank those who sent gifts from afar, we head downstairs for a tradition of game play.  Once the games are done, we pack up and head to my grandma’s for snacks, desserts, and more gifts.  We were on high alert as little Emma is becoming more mobile and my grandma has lots of little nick-knacks and collectables.  My dad saved the best gift for last; he bought Jackson a snare drum.  Jackson jammed on that, giving grandma a near heart attack.  Her reaction was priceless…it’s hard for grandma to understand boys even though most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren are mostly boys, she raised 3 amazing daughters. I am sure she slept for a week after our visit.  Jackson was excited to see his cousins and Auntie Tricia.  I think my favorite part get my niece to fall asleep in my arms.  Jackson’s favorite part was when Emma pooped and had to go lay down to get changed.  He still talks about it to this day… “Emma…POOP! Down…” followed by giggles.  The night came to an end and we were all exhausted.  Sara was such a trooper feeling as bad as she did.  We survived another Christmas.  LOL!
While Sara’s brother was in town we were able to go see a Clownvis show.  It was a nice night to get out and about after a week of being in the house nursing sick people, including myself.  We had a blast….

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