Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Encouragement... it's a good thing!

If you had told me, five years ago, I would be married with two beautiful children today I would of said "uh... yah right!"

But, here I am... happily married to my beautiful wife and we were lucky to have two amazing children. Mauldin just suprises me everyday! I sit on the couch and just watch him walk around, singing his version of ABC/1.2.3.... and it makes me wonder what we did to make him so perfect.
Then there is our pretty princess, Elle. She is just so happy! I have NEVER seen a little kid, a baby no-less, smile as much as she does. The amount of happiness she emits is intoxicating and you cannot help but grin from ear to ear when you see her.

Just the other day, as I was about to head up the stairs my wife let out a gasp!

"Are you okay?" I said quickly. I was standing, one foot on the beige carpet on our stairs as I had one hand tightly grasped the gray graco baby gate that was installed to keep Mauldin from falling up or should I say down that stairs.

"Yes," my wife, Laura replied. "Did you see? Good job, Mauldin!"

I look down and expect to see my son scribing his name on a pad of paper or from the sound of the gasp he may of cured cancer... I wasn't sure. I saw him sitting in the floor with a toy he got from his cousin Everett. The toy is a Red and Blue circular toy that has a yellow handle and different shaped blocks... I guess you could call it a "Shape sorter." He sat on our kitchen floor with four or five of the yellow shapes all around him.

"Watch what your son can do..." Laura said. "Go on Mauldin, put them back!"

Our son loves to put things in their place... if he has a sippy cup it must go in it's cup holder... and if it is on the floor, it must be right side up. He makes sure all the doors are closed because heaven forbid one be open. This is true about the fridge as well... you open it, he MUST close it!

Like she said, I stood there and looked at my little boy work out placing all the blocks into their place. I glaced from Mauldin to Laura to see her face beaming with immense pride.

"But, babe..." I started. "I've seen him do that before, he's been doin' that for a while!"

I headed over to my little boy and patted him on the back. "That's great, Mauldin." I interjected.

"What?" she said with a hint of shock in her voice. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't think it was a big deal." I calmly replied. "He's been doing puzzles for a while too... I just figured you knew!"

"NO!" she said while she clapped in Mauldin's direction showing her approval. "That's so amazing, Eric! That's really advanced."

"Yay!!! Yay, Mauldin!" I joined in on the clapping.

Mauldin looked up at both of us and starting clapping too! Well, that is all I needed to hear. As soon as anyone says something positive about your offspring... you just beam with pride, excitment... you know, all those good emotions.

I immediatley looked over at our little girl as she swayed back and forth in her exersaucer screaming in what seemed to be excitment for her big brother, although it could of been need for attention! I kinda felt bad we had put all that clapping and excitment into her brother so I felt the need to give Elle some encouragement and attention too! She had a paci in one hand and was grabbing onto a crunchy-sounding flower with the other. I crouched down and gave her a big grin. She responded with a high-pitch sound that could probably call some dolphins if we lived close enough to the ocean. At times we call her our little grasshopper... because of this commerical. It's really sweet actually because she always screams with a huge smile. As I went to stand up I felt something brush my side... it was Mauldin! He ran over and gave his sister a big hug... I guess he didn't want her to be left out either.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pride and applejuice

Kids are curious and funny , little creatures. Well, very little ones… ones that can’t really verbalize what they want and so when they are upset all you get is a whine, cry or all out temper tantrum. In our case we have two children that do this, but they just do it on different levels.

Our daughter is a little easier to read. Up until three or four months old babies usually need either of a handful of things… either it is their diaper needs to be changed, they are hungry, sleepy or perhaps they have a tint of gas or the hiccups. These are baby basics and easily subdued.

You would think it would be the other way around, but as they get older they have more issues! Maybe it is because I offer him juice and because I didn't magically have the juice ready, at the time I asked him if he wanted it... he FREAKS out! I'm working on my choice of words now... Also, we may have the wrong TV show or movie and he wants to watch Super Why rather than Mickey Mouse Club House? It is amazing, he will pick the same movie to watch - everytime if we give him a choice... 9 times out of 10 it will be the Incredibles! Although, there are times he picks up Avatar or X-men: United, but when we take it away.

"No Mauldin," we say... "this is not a Mauldin or Elle movie, this is a movie just for mommy and daddy." He doesn't like that answer and will begin to throw all the movies from the cabinet on the floor as his revenge for not getting to view the film of his choice.

Mauldin's temper is the same everytime... it usually begins with a short whine or whimper and is followed with throwing his juice cup or toy (in this case movie) on the floor.

“Mauldin,” I look at him, “that wasn’t nice, now was it?” He looks at me with his big, 16-month, blue eyes, sometimes with tears running down his face, and just lets out a large exhale. This symbolizes a non-verbal “done.” Like, I’m done with this conversation. Now, granted 90% of the time our little man is a perfect gentleman. He follows the rules we set for him… he puts away his toys and relatively never gets into “trouble.”

“What’s wrong?” I ask him, not expecting an answer because his total vocabulary consists of probably six words: juice, up, down, zap, daddy and done.

“Da!” he says with much zeal, as if he had forgotten he was crying! He then puts two fingers to his mouth and begins flipping them on his lips which give me the clue that he now has something else on his mind and is ready to play again. Whatever was bothering him is now over and he has now moved on. Taking that toy away was so two minutes ago dad… I’m sure that is what he is thinking.

My son has many levels… the more in-depth and harder to control tantrums usually begin with laying in the floor and banging his head against whatever hard surface he is near… the floor, a cabinet, chair, his bed railings, etc… which creates more crying… It’s a vicious cycle.

We usually just have to pick him up and take him out of the situation or he will lay on the floor and just… well lay there. This past Monday morning he had woke up in a foul mood and so after getting his diaper changed (on the floor of our bedroom) and his clothes half on, ready to take him to daycare, he cried through the whole process… I gave up with his lack of cooperation and so I decided okay, I’ll just leave him be and he will discover I’m not paying attention to his fit… and calm down… Well, calm down yes, but our son is a prideful little man. Fast forward, five minutes later, and well, I come back to peek in on him from the bathroom and there he was, still… same place, hasn’t moved from the hardwood floor… one green sock on with the other laying on the floor next to him, I could see the hint of the alligator stitching from where I stood, he did have a shirt on, but his shorts were lying next to the alligator sock. The child just laid there, one finger in his mouth and eyes fixed on Special Agent OSO.

No one can break my child’s pride.

Now, where does he get this from? This is still an unanswered question.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two perfect little people

In the midst of a week full work week it is amazing how I found time to sit down and rest, rest and not worry about bills, kids, or even work. I just took the time to listen to the waves crashing around me… the warm waves in the distance, I can smell the salty, Caribbean sea air and feel the warming sensation of the sun on my over-worked and tired body. I rub my toes together to knock the sand off. I feel a breeze on my face and peek one eye open to feel the cool shade from the palm tree above. The beads of sweat running down my sun-kissed, tan chest as I lounge in a white, beach chair just close enough to the sand that I can run my fingers gingerly through the rough, granule mixture of soft, white sand. I lay comfortable, calm, serene in this Corona-like state.


I hear my name being called. Is a waiter walking by, dipping his head down to whisper to me, not to stir me from my zen?


What service, what a life I have… it’s like a dream. I groggily turn my head over to the right and open my mouth to make my order for a fruity, Caribbean drink. I open my eyes and before I can order my drink the shadowed figure above looks stunningly familiar.

“Eric, hand her over,” my wife, Laura, says. “I need to swaddle your daughter.”

I look down and realize it was all a grand dream. I was, in-fact, home on my comfy couch lying with my daughter, Elle, secure in our Baby Bjorn, on my chest. It had been such a taxing and hard week and it was only Thursday! I forgot I had laid down after chasing my little boy around and before I knew it I was out like the light in our bathroom. Side note: Our bathroom light has been out for about two weeks and I keep putting it off from changing it, I swear to my wife that “this weekend, after I mow, I will change it. I look down at my little girl, snoring lazily with one of her little hands up by her face and the other dropped, idly by my side. I look to my right and see my son sitting down on the floor and trying to place two plastic blocks together. It seemed as if he was getting really frustrated because the yellow and green block wouldn’t connect so the anger in him rose and he threw it on the floor behind him. He then had his attention taken away when he struck up a conversation with his six dwarves. A mixture of “daa’s” and “doo’s” go back and forth from he and the dwarves. We are unsure of the whereabouts of “Happy” the dwarf.

It is amazing to see how much our son, Mauldin, has progressed in just sixteen months. I lay there with a six-week old baby on me and see my other child running around, playing and trying to put toys together. It boggles my mind that my child learns! I mean it is amazing to me!

“Bring me your football Mauldin!” I say enthusiastically! He looks as me with his glittering blue eyes and turns to find his ball. I know how elementary some things can be, but to me, “the dad,” I just feel as if my child is a genius!

I cannot believe my wife and I are parents of two children! I would say “how did this happen?” But, that would be kind of stupid, but in all fairness it staggers me to wake up and know I am responsible for two little people! Two perfect little people…

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome Home, Elle!

Our little princess decided to make her debut on June 22, 2010 at 4:51am.

Stats: 6lbs 7 oz / 19 1/2 inches long

Her big brother was so excited to meet her!

We were really excited to bring her home.

Welcome home!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A plague on all our house

Most people spent their Memorial Day weekend lounging around, frolicking at the beach or spending quailty time with their loved ones... Well, I certainly got some quality time, but quality was over shadowed by the immense plague that has surrounded the Skates household since last week.

Our little boy loves to play with his friends and unfortunatley his little friends like to share and that includes germs.

He has been so sick, he would just take turns lying on us napping... that is whenever he got comfortable and sometimes this takes a little bit of kicking and sometimes in the area that may cause us to not give him anymore siblings.

Now granted kids get sick, right? You know this... I know this. I am well aware. But, our son ended up with a ear infection...

"but how can this be?" I questioned the doctor at the Urgent Care facility. "We just got tubes put in his ears... shouldn't that keep him from getting ear infections?"

"Generally, yes" the doctor followed. "However, there are the instances where he can still get them."

Well, how-de-do, I had no idea, someone failed to give us that tip of information... we were told if he were to get one ... we would know from the gunk coming from his ears... In this case, however, no gunk. We had no idea what was causing our 14 month old son to have a fever of 102.

So, let me set the scene for you... the most inopportune time for our little boy to get sick... he does...

Fast forward to Saturday... we started the morning, 9 am, at the "urget care," (I referred to earlier)... our little boy had been up all night, coughing and hacking and squirming... we had no idea what to do besides administer motrin and tylenol! So, we knew we have to call the "urget care" and get there as soon as they opened their doors. After sitting in the waiting room, where our little boy ran from chair to chair and banging his head against doors we were called back... after seeing the doctor we paid the "urgert care" co-pay and was sent on with no Rx, but with a wealth of information...

"Call us, if his temp goes any higher," the doctor told us has he exited the room! Thanks doc!

Late Saturday afternoon, about 4pm, my wife and I discovered a lot of funk in my sons left eye, so we tried to find the eye drops from the last time he had pink eye... as soon as I hit the last kitchen stair and rounded the corner to the den I heard and a loud noise and scream from my wife. I immediatley turned around to find my wife sprawled on the stairs, with our son still in her arms. Please note, women nine months pregnant should not be taking the express option when taking stairs... I ran to her and in my frantic mindset all I could do was go from my son to my wife, who do I help first??? I felt such a sense of urgency and panic I looked for blood, I looked for signs of broken limbs... I...

"Take him!" Take him!" my wife exclaimed in sheer agony. I wasn't sure what to do!!! How was I to pick who was more important... I can't take that kind of pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!
Her arm was pretty badly bruised and considering I could already see the blue she had to of hit it pretty hard.

I grabbed our little boy who was whailing at the top of his lungs... his eyes were full of tears, his face red and snot oozing from his nose.
"Ohhh, ohh you're okay little man!!" I said as I bounced him up and down all the while looking at my wife lying on the stairs.. it seemed hours had gone by but only seconds. I saw the drops we were searching for on our brown, linoleum kitchen floor. It was a very, small, clear bottle with blue writing on it.

Laura slowly started to get up, "stop! Wait babe," I said "let me help you!"

I put our son, Mauldin, down and let him stand on his own, also to check to make sure his leg was okay. He took one tiny step toward my direction. I could tell then he hadn't broken his leg. He did have what seemed like a red carpet burn on his knee cap.

"I think his leg fell behind mine on the way down," Laura gasped. "Check him to make sure he is okay."

Mauldin stood there in his t-shirt and diaper, still sniffing, but the crying fit seemed to have subsided, except when I lost eye contact with him the crying continued, but this time at an even higher level. He was fine, but the fall and seeing his mommy lying on the floor I'm sure scared him a little.
"He is okay, sweetheart..." I reassured her. "Are you okay?"

I reached over to help my wife stand up from the stairs and noticed pieces of our baby gate all over the kitchen floor...
"Wow," I said "I wonder where that piece goes!?" I tried to insert some humor into the seemingly stressful situation.
My inital thought when Laura fell was, of course, her and my little boy's well-being, but then I also worried about Elle. Our little girl is still inside her mom's belly... and if she was asleep that was quite a wake-up call for her!
"Call the doctor's right now and see what they want us to do" I suggested to Laura as I held Mauldin in my arms. He continued to sniff and wimper all the while tugging on my shirt collar.

"Okay, hand me the phone." Laura said.

"I will call your mom to see if she can come stay with him." I replied.

One thing I didn't know was that Laura's mom and dad had been in South Carolina to visit Laura's sister, Amy and our nephew, Drew...
"We are in SC," replied a voice on the phone "what's going on?"
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" Mauldin screamed into the phone. I tried to talk as loud as I could, but his deafening screams were muffling my dialouge into the phone. I finally got him quite by the art of distraction... I gave him a plastic chicken leg to hold from his little play kitchen... but as soon as I stood up to talk on the phone again he banged his forehead into the "play" kitchen sink... let the crying resume!

"Call us back when he has calmed down," My mother-in-law replied "I can't hear you!"

My parents were on their way back from a week in Myrtle Beach, SC, at this moment. But, I knew they were headed home... so I called and did not get a hold of my mom... so I called my sister... no answer... I then tried my dad and finally got a hold of them!
"Now, don't freak out..." I said preparing them. "Laura is not in labor, but she fell down the stairs." I went on to explain the siutation.
Well, obviously today was not ideal for us to go into labor, much less have any other type of emergency...

The nurse at the hosptial suggested we come in and have Laura monitored... My parents were in Augusta and were still a good three hours away and I knew we needed to get to the hosiptal before that. Laura was to be monitored for alteast four hours!

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jenn and Paul, live just down the street, conveient for us when we are in a jam, but on this day our niece Annagrace was sick too and we didn't want our two kids sharing more germs and getting sicker than they already were. Who else? My brain was fried, I couldn't seem to focus on the task at hand... my mind was going from my wife to my son to my unborn daughter... what were we going to do? We certainly couldn't take him to triage with us with him being as sick as he was! I called our friends Amanda and Mike, a fairly newly wed couple, who I trust with my life and just hoped they were nearby and available.
"We are on the otherside of town," Amanda said. "It might be a little while before we can get there."
I was so frustrated... what were we going to do?!
"I have an idea," Laura said. "Let me call and see if Tori and Jeremy can watch him."

Tori and Jeremy are Laura's cousins, they live in our subdivision, so it would be so easy to take him there. But, could they watch Mauldin for the amount of time until our parents could arrive, that was the question! Thankfully, Tori said they could and I rushed to get all of his stuff together to head over there...

I wish I could tell you something more exciting happened, like it sent Laura into labor and we had Elle here already, but nothing like that happened at all... We did end up at the hospital, in the triage unit, for a little over four hours and mom and baby were just fine... well, Laura did end up with some major bruising, but luckily she fell on her toosh and so it softened the blow for our little girl.
To put insult to injury, whatever Mauldin had... he has now passed onto me and my wife. So, Mauldin I love you, but let daddy give you a lesson that sometimes sharing is a bad thing.

Lets hope for less eventful weekends from now on!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Celebrating Father's Day

Father's Day is coming up soon...

"Father's Day," is on Sunday, June 20th and this is such a special day because it is a day when us dads are celebrated and revered as the "best dads in the world!" It is a day when you get to have your family make a big deal over a role that is so easy and rewarding, but exhausting at the same time!

Oh yes, the day we Fathers, Dads, Pops, Papi, whatever it is your kid(s) call you, are celebrated and are given all types of grand and manly gifts.

Recently I stumbled upon a website,, it is an amazing website. If you have the kind of dad who has everything this is the site for you. Take a few minutes and look around and I am sure you will find something that "the old man" will appreciate. They have such a huge variety of things to purchase. In my case, I was looking for the dads in my life... (not to mention dropping hints to my wife) both my dad and my father-in-law. My wife and I looked and looked and finally found the perfect gift... wanna see it? Click here!

It is a family handprint frame... perfect for the dad who already has 100 ties, plenty of fishing gear and too many golf balls. Sometimes gifts with a personal touch, such as this gift, make it an even more special gift. The family handprint frame comes with the option to have a message engraved for dear ol' dad. The wood is strudy and doesn't feel cheap as some wooden frames do. It's a great way to get your kids involved in a family project... Today, I find nothing is more precious than time with your family. The frame comes with paint so you can make hand prints giving it the extra special customized touch. Don't you want the kind of gift that lasts and will cause a little grin everytime someone looks at it?

Act now and use this code: 10offred and save 10% off your order!!!
I can't wait to see what I am getting this year... it might be a brand new baby girl, if my daughter decides to surprise us and come a little early. What a unique Father's Day surprise that would be!
This year when you are looking for something to give on Father's Day... don't just buy something plain and everyday... visit the place for unique and personalized gifts,

Happy Father's Day to all the dads in my life... and to my fellow daddy-bloggers!
*Special thanks to one awesome and brave dad serving our country. We appreciate and miss you Charles.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spending time in the kitchens

"How was your day dear?" my wife asks me as I walk in the door.

"Great!" I say in a sarcastic tone, "how was yours?"

In the background you can hear the familiar tune of "A, B, C, D...." as our son stands in front of out fridge repeatedly pressing a button that plays the song over and over... yet he never lets it get to any farther than D.

"Oh, it was good..." she continues, talking as she rumages through our pantry, most likely looking for something to cook us dinner for that evening. "Just a few more days until summer starts..."

I am also excited about the idea of summer because this summer will be my first I can actually enjoy without the lingering and painful thought of having to register for another semester of school. I am graduating this May and am so very excited about the accomplishment. Now, I say this in hopes that I pass my three remaining classes and that the party my wife has been planning for a month will not go all to waste.

"Oh, I'm ready for some warm weather..." I say. "We really need a vacation."

A vacation is not in our near future, however, due to the bundle of joy that the stork is dropping off at our door step come the end of June. I see him on the radar getting closer every day whenever I wake up and see that my wife, Laura's, belly is expanding at an alarming rate.

"My back is killing me," says Laura. "I feel like Elle just can't get comfortable for some reason."

We have decided to call our little girl "Elle." You may be a bit confused, but it is pretty simple, it isn't pronounced, "Ellie" it is just like the magazine or letter! Her full name is Estelle Lillian, but we are going to call her "Elle" for short. Sweet, simple, classy... well, atleast we think so.

"Dadadadadada," my son says as he come toddling to me at a quickening pace.

"Boom!" Laura and I say in unison. He gets to going so fast he can't seem to stop so he inevitably falls face down. Then we wait, we wait for the cry or the laugh. Thankfully this time he became distracted by a toy he saw on the floor near by and headed that way over to "his" kitchen area that his Aunt and Grandmother purchased for him at a garage sale. It is a pretty impressive set up he has, however, I will say the lack of food in his kitchen makes it seem like he is in a baby recession. Maybe they sell the food and baby food stamps too!

"Oh that's the correct place for this," Laura says as she opens the little, silver fridge door.

"What is it?" I asked.

"His phone, he put his phone and a blue block in his fridge," Laura said.

"Well, maybe that's where he knew he'd find it!" I said. "If I remember correctly you seem to misplace things a lot nowadays!"

"It's because I'm pregnant," she continued. "I can't help it!"

She reached down to pick up our little boy who was quickly pulling everything out of the cabinets where we keep "his" bowls. The bowls were actually a wedding gift from, well, I actually don't remember, but we still use them to cook with, but due to the multicoloredness they seem to make for fun play items for a 13 month old.

"Da!" Mauldin retorted. His right arm quickly rose and he pointed in the direction of the stairs, no where near where "daddy" was standing.

"Mauldin," I said. "Gimme five."

He quickly patted my right hand and proceeded to clap as if he knew he had done something correct.

"Yay!" We all clapped to show we approved of his accomplishment.

"Okay, Mauldin, are you ready for bath time?" I asked as if I was expecting a competent "why yes father, I would appreciate you taking me upstairs so I can bathe this evening... and afterwards I would prefer a massage while you sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and we can end the evening with a rendition of my favorite story, Pat them gently.

Instead all I got was "Da!"

One day at a time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trust in a modern world

I have always worried, worried that I would not be able to teach my child important things. You may say “what kind of things?” Well, I am not talking about stuff like riding a bike, casting a fishing line or even running a mile. What I am talking about are life lessons… like “being a honest person,“ “being courteous,” or “going with your gut!” I have always wondered how does one actually teach this trait? It isn’t really learned in school, or the home, but more of a life lesson one learns as they grow up.

You see random acts of kindness here and there, but you go on about your day and never really think about them. For instance, my wife, Laura, and I were out at Old Navy, we had purchased over the amount we had intended to do. We were in line ready to check out and a lady, we will call her the “Coupon fairy” and she handed us a coupon that ended up taking 30% off every thing we bought! It was amazing… but we went on and never really told anyone about it.

I was thinking about it and wondered.. does my little boy truly trust anyone besides his mommy and daddy yet? I mean there are different levels of trust, of course, but what is going through his mind when he is playing at daycare with his BFF Ben?

The idea of trust can get you in trouble sometimes… but there are instances when you have a feeling about someone that allows you to step out of your controlled comfort zone and let someone else do something for you.

I walk into a large brick building in the middle of the KSU campus, I push through the large doors, walk in and stretch my neck around the corner, to the right. I do this every Monday/Wednesday right before my Econ class. I have a huge gap of time between classes so I want to make sure I get my spot at the same table because this is where I hook my computer up. The building doesn’t seem to have ample plug-ins so everyone with a laptop computer or dying cell phone have them monopolized.

As fate would have it someone is sitting at my table on this very day, this very moment and my dreams of getting a blog written are dashed to the wind… At first, I see my nemesis at the, no my table. She is a young, Hispanic chick wearing bejeweled sandals and her toes are painted pale pink. Do I engage in conversation in hopes she will invite me to the table? Do I ask her for the time so she will look over and maybe offer the empty spot across from her so I can boot up my low battery? What am I to do, how am I to proceed? What if this girl is a total bitch and/or thinks I am hitting on her? I must choose my words carefully and stealthfully… my computer’s life depends on this stranger with pink toe nails.

“Hi,” I say “excuse me.”

She looks over, her pony tail swings to the left. “Yes?” she smiles.

“Do you mind if I plug my computer in at your table?” I ask.

Her table? It’s MY table… but I must be kind or I could be sitting at a squatty, little table with no way to connect to the World Wide Web.


“Great,” I reply. “Thanks so much! I really need to study.”

The false statement just fell out of my mouth. I was intending to study, I wanted to write my blog! I’m such a blog whore.

The trust had been initiated, but my next step whet far beyond my expectation. I was not expecting to strike up a convo with this person... I don’t even want to know her name, but right now, at this very moment I need her. I need her to watch my computer so I can take about 20 paces in the opposite direction to grab a quick snack from the “Einstein Bros Bagel” Shoppe. I don’t like bagels per say I like their overgrown muffins… I should lay off of them because I am starting to get a muffin-top of my own.

“Hi,” I say after a short stint at the table. “How long do you expect to be here?”

As soon as I said this statement I wanted to retract it due to the response it may get. She probably thinks I am being an ass… she lent out her extra seat to a sad, college guy with no battery power and he already wants the whole outlet to himself. What a prick!

“Oh, probably 30 more minutes or so.” She replied with a hint of Spanish-heritage, like the Latin lady from Modern Family. (I love that show!)

“Great!” I continued. “Would you mind watching my computer while I run around the corner to the Bagel Shoppe?”

“No problem,” she responded. “Sure!”

Now remember, I don’t even know this girl’s name? All I know is she has conficasted my favorite waiting table and she may be hurtin’ for money and I will come back and all my stuff will be gone, including my computer which has the hard files with all my research for my Communication Capstone paper... then I don't graduate in May.. NO!

“What was I thinking,” I thought to myself as I stood in line at the Bagel shop.

“What would you like, Sir?”

I stood there thinking to myself, already having my phone in my hand ready to call campus police on the pink toed bandit who was waiting for me to gain my trust and take off with my HP Laptop complete with intel Centrino Duo chip!

“Sir?” the lady behind the counter repeated.

“Oh, a chocolate muffin please.” I said. “Oh and two waters.”

I went ahead and got another water for pink toed, Hispanic chick for watching my things at MY table.

“That will be $5.05”

I hand her my debit card and head back, quickly to the table hoping and praying she was still there and all my things would be there was well.

I felt like a total ass for doubting the kindness of a stranger.

I sat in my seat and reached over with the extra water.

“Thank you for watching my stuff” I said.

“Oh wow!” she replied. “Thank you!”

So, lesson learned, no matter how much life sucks and you feel like you can’t trust people… there are some people out there… some people who are nice, trustworthy people. So, whenever my little boy gets screwed over by a little friend at school I will be sure to tell him the story of the Hispanic chick with the pink toes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Time! There's never any time!

Sometimes I feel like "Jessie Spano" from Saved By the Bell...

Although, there are many similiarities I am lacking, but the things that stand out the most are how often I say...

Although, I never applied to Stanford... the amount of Starbucks I consume would probably be the amount of pills she was taking... I guess I am addicted to caffine.

I am constantly finding myself having to think three steps ahead because of work, school and family. It is really hard juggling everything and finding time to fit everything in...
Even finding a day to schedule getting my hair cut, having the oil changed in my car or running to pick up the dry cleaning has to be minutly scheduled due to everything going on...

I, thankfully, and hopefully, will be able to mark one off of that list come this May. I will be officially graduating from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. It feels like the day will never get here and tonight my wife decided to be the voice of reason for me when I almost skipped my Economics class...

I sit in my chair in my Statistics class and my professer tells us all he will see us on Wednesday... I reach down to pack up by red, Northface book bag. I put my calculator in the front, zipper pocket and proceed to stuff all the notes I so dilligently took during the class. I then reach over to my gray, Blackberry smartphone and proceed to text my wife, Laura...

"I will see you shortly!"

I almost immediatley recieve a message in return - BUUZZZZZ (my phone is almost always on vibrate.)


I start to wonder, why am I leaving class early? But, then I know it isn't just because my day had been hellishly long, or I was tired or even that I needed to go to the bathroom... I was looking for any really good excuse to leave campus... was I feeling sick, no. Oh! I wanna see my family. I want to tuck my little munchkin into bed and rock him to sleep before he gets to big for us to do that.

I text back, "B/c I said."

"Was class cancelled?" she replied.

I thought, should I lie? Do I tell the truth? The angel and devil were sitting on each side of my Black, Calvin Klein sweater... the devil kept turning my cap backwards and the angel was tryin to fix it back... I thought...I am an honest person and don't want to lie..

"No," I typed


I went ahead and called her and she played the "voice of reason" or "the bad guy" as she would call it. I wasn't mad at her... I was disappointed. Disappointed because I want to be finished with school... I want to be home.. I am tired of the whole college scene. I am too old for this.

I mean I wake up at 6am... am out of the house by 7am with Mauldin in tow and to work by 8am. My days feel so long during the week, but the weekends just seem to fly by as if they never even happened at all.

The amount of time I am alotted with my family is such a sad amount. I cannot believe how we all do what we do day after day. If you think about it... we all work so hard during our younger years dating... trying to find someone suitable to marry... then you either both work of just one of you, but no matter what you are still apart. The hours just do not justify... however, if we didn't work we wouldn't be able to have a roof over our heads, food, etc... the essentials to survive are no longer good enough. We all must have cars, enough money to buy nice clothes, etc... The vicous cycle goes on and on and all the while you are working to survive you work even harder to maintain the relationships you worked so very hard to find in the first place. A lot of people use their weekends for "girl's nights out" or "guy's weekends" away from their wives... Why? I barely get anytime with my wife and son as it is! I added it up and right now my wife and I actually get to spend, during the five-day work week, a total sum of 22 hours, waking hours to be with each other... even less I get to spend with my child! It's insane.

Now what is my whole point in this seemingly bitter diatribe? None, none at all... but isn't that what blogs are for? Thoughts on a screen...

Well, the only solace I gain from this is I am about to go to my Econ class and learn about the economy system in India. Really? May 5th hurry... please!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just say mommy!

Just say mommy…

Yesterday morning, upon waking up around 7:00 am (post DST), I strolled into my son’s dimly lit bedroom and saw him standing in his crib, his hair disheveled from burying his head in his bumper.

“Good mornin’ little man, did you sleep well?” I asked, as if I were expecting to receive an honest answer… I pause as I look at my little boy.

“Dada?” he says as he points at the pictures of us on his photo-memory board.

“Yes, there’s da-da…” I say. “And, there’s momma, and there’s Mauldin!”

He smiles a gummy-grin with a hint of two tiny teeth poking out of his bottom gum. "You wanna go see mommy?"

He points out the door, “Da!”

I look down and step over numerous books and colored blocks littering his bedroom floor… with Mauldin wrapped snuggly around my neck I head out the door.

As I round the corner to our room I see a light has been turned on and I hear water running…
I hear a voice and two large white doors open outward… it’s my wife!

“Good morning!” says Laura. She is wrapped in only a towel obviously ready for her morning shower.

“Did my little boy have a good night sleep?”

“Dadadadada,” replies Mauldin.

“Yes, he seems to be in good spirits despite..” I say, I reach over and grab a tissue from the box of Kleenex on our dresser.

“Here,” I say as I reach out to Laura.

“Despite his runny nose?” Laura said finishing my sentence.

“Yes, mommy, we have a runny nose.” I followed as I watched her wipe the nasty concoction of goo from our child’s nostrils.

Mauldin expressed his dislike by his face turning red and his sad pout.

We always try to occupy Mauldin with the art of distraction whenever he is upset…
“Mauldin, say mama!”

He looked at me with his sad eyes, filled with tears… one slowly moved down his cheek and he quickly responded with a coy little smile…


One day at a time...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ironing out the wrinkles

It is no secret that the economy has hit everyone hard in certain ways… Almost every family I know has cut back in one way or another.

We have done our share to save, for example, my wife fights her way through and the Sunday paper, on the weekends, to locate the different brands we buy. Luckily for us, this is the last month, for a while we will need to purchase any formula! I find it so impressive when we go to the grocery store and after all is said and done we have saved close to if not more than $50 off what our regular bill would have been.
Pinchin’ our pennies led us to forgo the fun movie channels on our Dish Network Satellite. We have since enrolled in Netflix and in doing so saved us about $60 per month.

We have resorted to ironing our dress clothes for work. I have numerous meetings I have to go to each week and so I need to have pressed and starched dress shirts readily available. We really like the cleaners we use. I drive up and they know me by name without even saying a word.
They are an asian couple, as most dry cleaners are and the wife has to be the nicest lady I’ve ever known.

“Oh hello, E-dic, how’s de baby?”

But, I certainly don’t get that type of reception when I drive up and the husband is there. I show up and he immediately goes to the cash register and heads back to get my clothes. He heads out, opens my car door (this is a drive-thru cleaners, by the way) puts the clothes in the back seat and hands me a receipt and tells me the amount I owe all without any type of salutation or greeting. I hand him my credit card, sign and am on my way. I can give “credit” he is pretty efficient without the banter of talking to customers. Maybe that’s just how his egg rolls!

Okay, I cannot take recognition doing our ironing, I have probably pressed three shirts in the two years my wife and I have been married, but I guess to her it is something she wants to do for her man. I wouldn’t want her out mowing the lawn. Don’t get me wrong, we are in no way making each other do certain duties, but this is how our marriage works!

I sit here typing this blog as my wife, so lovingly, sways back and forth in her long, gray pajama pants and blue school polo, hair twisted up in a sexy mess with her white pearl earrings still in her ears that she obviously has forgotten to take out from the work day. She painstakingly slides back and forth with her silver Shark iron in her right hand and a can of Niagara starch in her left. It seems just like yesterday that we received our iron as a gift from our wedding registry, we had no idea how much use it would of gotten.

“I like this shirt honey,” said my wife while holding a blue and white checked J.Crew shirt. “You should wear it more, it looks great on you!”

“Thanks babe,” I said. “You wouldn’t believe how old it is..”

“Well, I like it.” She replied turning and rubbin' her pregnant belly. “The bigger I get the more you should watch for this to end up on my side… Oh – Shhhed$#@!!!”

I turn and see the ironing board rocking back and forth in a swaying motion that of course set our very state-of-the-art iron Shark diving to the floor in a downward dive. Please understand we have hardwood in our bedroom and the end result to something like an iron falling on it cannot be a good one.

“Oh, are you okay?” I say while I look at Laura.

“Yes.” She replied, her face now a bit pink from the panic moment that just occurred.

I know I was hoping she was okay, but a large part of me was worried about our floor. Don’t get me wrong, I was so glad to know my wife hadn’t burnt herself, but I was almost equally curious if she had burnt the floor. The floor in our dining room has already been ruined from our dogs taking the opportunity to skip the outside pee route.

“How is it?” I carefully asked.

Laura is already sensitive from being pregnant, so I wanted to tread lightly and not make her feel any worse than she already felt. Besides, she was ironing MY shirts…

“It just left a little mark,” she said while bending down to feel the mark the Shark had gashed in our hardwood.

“Wait, what is that?” I asked.

“What?” she replied, “Oh…”

She bend down again, but this time her head went under the ironing board itself with the iron resting gingerly waiting to make another nose dive into our floor, but this time it would of gone right on Laura’s neck.

"It's just a white piece of.."

“Laura.” I said quietly and softly with my eye on hers.

“Yes?” she said while standing up and missing the board by the width of an American Express card.

“All I need for you to do is bump that, burn yourself, and we are off to the ER!”

She looked at me smiling that smile she usually gives me when she knows she has done something to irritate me.

We are certainly trying to save money, but my wife better be more careful or she may end up seriously injured from “The Shark!”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A mess is what my son does best!

The time has come… well it seems like it arrived via a terminal at Hartsfield International Airport. I never believed it when people used the cliché that “time flies,” but it is such a true statement.

In about 30 days my son will officially be considered a toddler. On March 21st our little boy will be 12 months old aka one-year old. How did this happen? I apparently haven’t been paying attention, but the months whizzed by without as much as a word, except for “da-da.” (“Mama is soon to follow).

Try to picture this: I sit around in our den, our once beautifully decorated den, and the floor is covered in a wide arrangement of toys and books. The hardwood floors are hidden by the soft and cushiony floor mats we bought from Target to soften the blow when our little boy plops his butt down on the floor from cruising around our furniture. I look at my wife as she is cooking us dinner in the kitchen.

“Remember what our house used to look like babe?”

“Yep, but at the same time I have almost forgot,” said Laura.

The coffee table coasters and side tables all have been stripped of the pictures that used to sit so effortlessly upon them showcasing our many travels and endeavors. We have to push back all the remotes, pictures and books we do leave out because MJ is tall enough now to reach. (He really enjoys changing the channels). The knobs on the drawers and cabinets are starting to disappear, but reappear in his lap while he sits on the hardwood and bangs with a sweet smile vying for our attention of “look what I did mom and dad! I can remove cabinet hardware!” All in all we have a long way to go when it comes to total baby proofing… ummm excuse me, toddler proofing.

We were working on my daughter's new room and Mauldin decided he needed to assist with unpacking the clothes we have for her... It was a mess and it took everything within me to just let him do it to explore, play and be a little boy. I think I did a pretty good job... I sit back a lot and just let him do what he wants, that is if what he is doing is safe!

There are a hefty amount of toys in our home as well… although, we do clean up as soon as he is put to bed, but like clockwork all the toys are back in full view by the time I set foot in the door. Not all the toys mind you because our son is a very blessed child and if all the toys were out then we wouldn’t have anywhere to walk! I can’t even start to imagine what our home will look like as soon as our sweet little girl arrives on the scene.

I have tried to accept the clutter of the toys and slowly I am, but it is hard to forget how great our home once looked before our little boy came into our lives. I will say though, the clutter sure is a small price to pay when I see our handsome little boy playing in the floor acting as if he is talking on his plastic, make believe, Buzz Lightyear cell phone. He holds the phone to his ear, upside down, and looks at you with those piercing blue eyes and utters “da-da” … and my heart just melts. I can’t help but reach down to the floor and place myself next to him and begin to play too.

Sometimes the smallest moments can change your mind about everything.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

But, I wasn't finished with that daddy...

“What do you wanna do today?” My wife says while our little boy sits so playfully in between us in our bed on a cold Saturday morning.

“Eric?” she obviously was talking to me and not our son, Mauldin.

“Oh, I thought you were talking to him,” I reply as I glance down at our little boy who is half way through his early-morning apple juice. He likes to drink his juice and watch Playhouse Disney. He is a multitasker, that’s just how he rolls.

“Well, I guess I kinda was talking to you both, but the only thing he can say is Da-da…” my wife says with a hint of sarcasm and glee.

As I think about the fun retort I just stop myself because our son may be only 10 months, going on 11, but he is pretty sharp and one day soon he will start repeating what we say… and my dirty thoughts weren’t something I want coming out of his toothless chops. As I reach down to grab his empty juice cup he looks at me with the saddest face and a frown that could melt the heart of The Heat Miser.

I'm sure I know what was going through Mauldin's mind - "But, I wasn't finished with that daddy!" The truth is he was done, he was sucking air... but I guess he likes chewing on the spout. Just as I start to laugh at this face I see a hint of white on his lower gum. Please understand our son, Mauldin is 10 months old and has yet to cut a tooth, but has been teething since, well birth. New parents please understand… even if your child is drooling a lot it doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is teething.

It is and has been for a long time a huge, huge and very large pet peeve for anyone to put their fingers in my child’s mouth. I understand when the doctor does it, or my wife or myself… but other people who have germy hands it is just something I cringe just thinking about. However, for this day it was something that had to be done and I took the opportunity to “feel around for evidence of some baby teeth.”

“So, do you feel anything…” my wife quickly asks.

“Well, I think, I think… I think I can feel something…” I replied.

“Let me check,” said Laura.

She picked up our little boy, still in mid-frown from the sippy cup being taken away and now one of his favorite shows, Charlie & Lola, is on and we are taking him away from it… I know, we are terrible parents.

“Oh my… goodness…” said Laura. “Our baby has cut his first tooth.”

I immediately went to turn on all the lamps in our room so I could get a good look at this so-called tooth.

“Do you not believe me?” said Laura.

“Yes, my dear,” I replied “but can I just look at it? I wanna see it too!”

I sat there and looked as I asked our little man to open wide, as if he actually knew what I was asking him to do.

“Can daddy check to see your tooth?” And, just like that I saw the little white rectangle sticking out of his lower gum as if it were there hiding all along and just waiting for us to discover it!

“Well, hello there my little friend… how long have you been there?”

So, there it is, like I said… the whole tooth and nothing, but the tooth. More to come, I’m sure!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is he asleep?

I cannot remember the last time I was able to get eight hours of complete and uninterrupted sleep. The idea that I used to sleep that much boggles every fiber of my being. I guess it has been 10 months, actually…

I used to turn over to my wife in the wee hours of the morning…

“How’s he doin’?” I whisper.

“He’s perfect.” My wife replies… “Go back to sleep.”

I hear the sweet lullaby music through Mauldin’s little monitor. The blue light illuminates our bedroom with it’s blaring, yet soft light… one wall bathed in a blue glow. I have gotten so used to the music that I barely hear it anymore. Although, I will notice if it stops.

“Did you put it on repeat?” my wife quickly asks.

“I thought I did,” I replied. “Crap!”

I throw the covers off and tiptoe on our cold, hardwood floor and make my way to the hallway. The carpet is a warm change from our room. I tend to have the ability to stealthfully enter his room, restart his music and walkout without stirring a mouse or a 10-month old boy.

The hard part is trying to get out of his room without stepping on and activating any of his toys!
“Mooooo!” or “whoo hoo!” would suddenly sound along with a few choice four letter words from my mouth. Luckily that hasn’t happened… my James Bond or Mission Impossible moves are pretty good.

Our son has graced us with the ability to sleep though the night without waking up, crying, wet or anything else that might cause a 10-month old cause to scream at 3am.

I haven’t known what to do… I used to wake up in the middle of the night for so long – I wake up now at 6am and don’t feel totally rested… why is that? I sleep yet I don’t feel rested? Ironic,
don’t you think?

I guess I should enjoy the uninterrupted snoozing because come June our lives will be turned into the late night feedings and rocking cycle again.

I thought the days or should I say nights of tired eyes was over… I was wrong, so wrong.
But, it will be so worth it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Where has the time gone?

Our little boy is growing up at an accelerated rate, so it seems.
“Mauldin no!” I say… constantly.

Where has the time gone? I feel like someone has taken a remote and pushed fast forward.

“Mauldin, what did we say?” I continue as he stops in his tracks on his way to the dog bed… as soon as I look away he turns his little butt around and heads right back to his previous direction of naughtiness. Our son has a weird fascination with our pets... he loves them. As soon as he heads their way our little Westie, Andy, runs in fear of being pummelled by a 18lb 10 month old!

I feel as if every day he accomplishes something new. Thankfully I have been around to see each one surface. I was there when Mauldin said “Da-da” as his first word, which I might add is one of the only things he says with a repeating vengeance.

“Mauldin,” I repeat and head over to pick him up and replace him away from the dog bowls full of water. “I said no to the dog bowls.” He loves getting into their bowls. I came home today and my wife informed me...

"Go say hello to your son and don't even ask me why he is wet!"

"What?" I retorted.

"I looked away for a second and he was "in" Andy's bowl," Laura explained.

The kid can officially climb the stairs with no assistance, he is cruising like nobody’s business, the child is eating solid foods and feeding himself, holding his bottle on his own and clapping! The boy claps, patty cake is a fun game he likes to play.

Not only is Mauldin about to have a birthday, his first birthday mind you, but we will soon be another plus one to the Skates family unit.
We are now coming up on the 20 week mark for our little girl… Elle will be here before we know it and we are so unprepared. It seems as if with Mauldin we had tons of diapers, wipes, clothes, etc… we have a couple of bags of clothes for our little princess, but her nursery is still a guest room, no bedding has been purchased, what is going on? We are usually so far ahead, we are planners, this is so out of our character, but the urgency just isn’t … I don’t know, around as much as it was the first time. We are so much more laid back with this pregnancy!

I guess the freakout with happen after we come home with our shiny, brand new, bouncing baby girl.

It still hasn’t totally hit me yet. I assume when it does you may find me on the floor.

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone.

"Mauldin what did I say about the dog beds?"

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's a girl!

I guess I should start saving... honestly, I don't know how...

1. I am going to handle my little girl dating and

2. I don't know how I will be able to afford her wedding.

Yes, it is official, the Mrs. and I will be having a little girl come this summer!

Epic. Here is a picture of our beauty, Elle.