Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Alone Time- Off Running!

 Guest post by Felicia Pittman

My favorite form of exercise is running. When I was in high school, I ran on the track team for three years, and cross-country for four. Nowadays, with a husband, family and a job, as well as every other form of commitment and errands, my time to run is limited. My running is centered around when my kids are in school, so I typically go after the bus picks them up. Since I work sporadically and different hours, my times change frequently. However, I always make sure that before I leave the house, I set my home alarm security system (ADT Home alarm offers). Then it is time to pound the sidewalks!

I try to run at least 3 miles when I go out. This generally takes me about an hour, although on a good day it can be much less. I jog leisurely, and then speed up for my workouts, so I get my heart pumping. I do prefer to run by myself, as it is one of the few times that I have some time to myself. It gives me a chance to not only get in a good workout, but to clear my head, as well. I like to run out to the small park that is about a mile and a half away, as they have a small jogging/walking trail that surrounds it. All in all, my runs are energizing and fun, and I look forward to the break I get from every day stresses.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Country Divided...yet again

We live in a society that just can't seem to get along and most of the blame lies within the media. On a day that the country should rejoice the capture and ultimate death of the most vile terrorist on earth, the republicans continue the blame game with President Obama. Hell, I don't support everything he does, but I at least give him credit where credit is due.
The praise of Obama giving the final orders is justified, but the glorification of Obama and Bush is misguided at best. We have far too many soldiers to thank for the painstaking work they have been dedicated to in order to eradicate the evil monster they call Bin Laden.  His death signifies the justice of 3000 innocent victims that he ordered murdered. His death begins the process of families of soldiers who have been killed to finally realize their death was not in vane.  We are a country still at war and we should never lose sight of the targets. We are a country, like it or not, that will be at war with terrorists for many years to come. We should never be complacent with the death of Bin Laden. The terrorists should shake in their boots because somewhere, somehow, someday, they will each face the same demise as their gutless, spineless now deceased leader.
Any moment, a Navy Seal, Green Beret, Delta Force man will slam open the door to a terrorists home and that terrorist will face the same grim prospects as Bin Laden. Hopefully, terrorists world wide will pay attention to the stealth and swift actions of our special forces and live in fear that today could be their last. Everytime a terrorist looks out his window he doesn't know if he will be alive another second to breath the air.  Talk about a major victory over terrorism.

Now, back on point. As a country we need to work together to solve the problems. I assure you the Seal Team members all came from different walks of life but when it came time to execute their mission, they did it as a team, no matter their differences.  Imagine what we as a country could accomplish if our politicians acted llike a team and worked together to solve a problem

So, Hannity, Limbaugh and all you other disgusting, vile, talk show hosts who continue to divide the country, I hope you learn one lesson from the brave soldiers in the armed forces. Put aside your differences and work together for a common goal.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stay Safe and Warm When Temperatures Drop

Stay Safe and Warm When Temperatures Drop

Contribution by Terrance Kirby

Winter is the most difficult season for people of all ages. As the temperatures drop, it becomes increasingly important to take care of your health and safety.

The first step to staying safe in the cold season is to make sure your home is prepared for freezing temperatures and occasional winter storms. Your house should be properly insulated. Winter drafts not only waste energy, but can also lead to reoccurring common colds. There are many materials available for insulating the home. If you are unsure of how to do it yourself, ask for help at your local home improvement store.
Another important household safety tip is to install a security system ( that will keep intruders out of your house. You should set your home alarm before leaving your house. Your home will be protected and you won't have to worry about anything going wrong in your absence.
When you do leave the house in the winter, always dress appropriately. If you are in a rush, you might be tempted to throw on a coat and head out the door. However, by doing so you may be compromising your health.
Always be prepared for winter storms. When a storm is approaching, make sure that you have necessities such as food and water. Do not drive in hazardous conditions unless it's absolutely necessary. If you have to drive, be extremely cautious.
Winter is a challenging time of the year. Remember to always be safety conscious during the cold season. Take extra care of yourself and those around you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Wth the media abuzz about Charlie Sheen, one has to wonder if this was the best acting he has ever done, or is he just that refreshingly honest?  Who really knows, but the fact of the matter is, you don't have to approve of his lifestyle because frankly, he is only an actor who brings his talent to the television.  It really is not the busineess of the public to judge him. Yes, it would appear Mr. Sheen brought the media firestorm to his own front door, but in the end, his llifestyle has no bearing on the average citizen.

Lets be honest, just because Charlie Sheen drinks and may have done drugs, certainly will not influence any adults to do the same. In fact, as adults, we have to understand Sheen is simply an actor hired to portray a certain role, which provides the public with entertainment. What he does in his personal life is not for you or me to judge. Sure, we can all have an opinion, but the opinion we may all walk away with has no affect on our life.  Sure, putting his kids on prime time television was probably not the bst momet in his career, but let us not forget, actors are narcisistic by nature and are self-indulging egomaniacs who look for the spotlight wherever they can find it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Right now, we are all facing a very uncertain future. No, I'm not talking about illness or anything like that. I am talking about the country as a whole.   We have a major problem in this country, and it is called being "dis-jointed". We have elected leaders in both the House and the Senate who simply can't get along.  We have Republicans on one side saying....cut cut cut....we have Democrats saying: Where where where.    Alot of mudslinging takes place with very few solutions.   What I find most amazing is how Republicans want to cut the budgets, but then vote to send money to Israel and other countries.  Hey, I am all for helping out, if the country was in a position to do so...problem is, we are not in any position to loan money or even give money to other countries.

Now, obviously, we know where a majority of the country's expense is really at. We know that funding the war is costing we the tax payers trillions of dollars.  Whether or not you support the war (or not), we need to take a good long look at the financial aspect. We need to figure out if the massive amounts of spending can be justified....or do we bring our troops home and truly tell them what a great job they have done.  See, this is the problem. The troops get caught in this catch-22.  If you say anything about ending the war, then you are anti-soldier. If you support the spending on the war, you are pro-soldier.   Why should this be?   People support the troops,but can no longer justify putting our troops in harms way when there really is no measuring stick for victory.  The troops need to be home with their families, where they can kiss their husband's, wives, kids, or parents good night, and wake up the next day without fear.  My opinion is, bring the troops home, give them as much love and support as possible...and stop spending billions on this war.  But, hey, that is only my opinion.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I am the last person anybody would consider a savvy shopper, but when it comes to deals, I tend to sniff out the competition and find the best possible deal available. For example, we fly to Florida every other year. I tend to get the best airfare, hotel, and rental car rates.  People always ask me how I do it and I tell them it takes time. Time is money, money is time.  I like to look for a deal while others are happy paying the status quo. One website I use is through Groupon There are so many tools you can use to research for deals, I tend to like web sites that direct you where you want to go.
Recently, when we visited Florida, I was looking for some fun odds and end things to do. We hung out on I-Drive (International Drive) and found a host of little known gems to visit. Just walk up and down I-Drive in Orlando and you will find just about anything you want to do. Walking around for quite some time tends to get me hungry. Well, there is nothing better than showing up to a restaurant and eating a meal….only to whip out a coupon that saves you money.  Of course, I am not one who likes to order my steak from a menu where instead of words; there are pictures of the food…because honestly, does the food ever truly look like the professional photograph? Of course not. So, why tease me with this fascinating looking dinner only to be disappointed the food does not look like it did in the picture?  Of course, that is not to say I have not been to a restaurant where I ordered off a menu of pictures…LOL  No no no, I tend to look for deals before I travel. You too can look up deals right here:
Ok, so you may think I am cheap. Fact is, I am thrifty. I mean really, who goes out to eat without looking for a deal? Not me. Then again, I don’t go out as often as I would like. When we do travel, whether it be locally or to another state, it is always nice to go out with friends or family. My wife and I were testers not too long ago for a steakhouse. We did the whole secret shopping thing. Well, all I can say is we ate for free and provided a great review because the service was excellent, the food was great…and…on top of it all…we had a night out away from the kids.  What more could you ask for?  LOL  If you want to save a little bit of money, entertain friends or family, then check out  If you are like me, you may enjoy saving even just a little bit of money. Then again, if you are like me, you just like saving money period…LOL.
Well, my family and I will be traveling to Florida in a few months and I can assure you, I will be seeking out deals ranging from discount Disney tickets (by attending a time share tour), to discount hotel stays, to discount rental cars.  All in all, if I can save a few dollars, enjoy time with the family, and call it a vacation….I guess I am one step ahead of others…LOL

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Wow. To think a state government wants to put the kibosh to collective bargaining is like waking up and realizing the Easter Bunny isn't real.  What a sad state of affairs when politicians feel it is within their power to end collective bargaining. Wisconsin is just one of many states that will try to invoke this crazy line of thinking.  There is a reason it is called "bargaining". When you bargain, you negotiate.  Is it the fault of the union members that the politicians in Wisconsin don't know how to negotiate properly?  No. 

While everybody agrees spending needs to be curtailed, doing it on the backs of hard working citizens is not the right way to go about it. Every time cut backs are announced, the cuts always seem to affect the middle class, the poor, and the elderly. When will politicians realize that cutting programs that aide low income or elderly people will only make matters worse, not better. Why cut the programs that do the most for people?  Why I ask....WHY?   Well, my theory is there are many today who do not want to be associated with the poor or the elderly. In fact, the way I see it, the Republicans like the Governor in Wisconsin don't want poor people to thrive in any way.  keep the poor ...poor.....and let the elderly move on by, all the while, the rich can keep their money, stockpile it, and get all the benefits of tax breaks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Every now and then you get news you probably don’t want to hear. Sometimes the news relates to a person, place, or thing. The news you never want to hear is when someone you know and trust becomes ill.  Well, today I found out a very special person has been battling some serious health issues and he is still fighting the good fight.  While saying I am worried is an understatement, I know that being the fighter that he is, he will prevail, no matter what the outcome.
In life, we all tend to get news we don’t want to hear. It can be something minor or something major, but regardless, we all get news at times that we just don’t want to hear.  I guess the reality is, how do we all deal with unwanted news? Do we bury our thoughts? Do we express ourselves? If so, how?  To whom? What do you say? How do you say it?  There are always so many questions and never enough answers.
I will never forget Thanksgiving in 2008. Our day started off like every other thanksgiving: tired…LOL   We went to the annual Thanksgiving day breakfast and football game. While at breakfast, my daughter noticed my dad just didn’t look right. He looked a little grey. He ate breakfast and was his typical social self. Of interest though, in hind-sight, he didn’t smoke his cigar and he didn’t eat all of his breakfast.  We all just figured he was full and just didn’t feel like stoking up the stogie.  Nothing really unusual…just another Thanksgiving day.   My oldest daughter and I left, headed for home where we would pick up my wife and my youngest daughter and head to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner.  My daughter commented that “Grampy looked tired” and I responded with….hmmmm….yeah, you’re right.  So, we went about our business, all the while, what we didn’t know was my father was in the emergency room being treated for a Heart Attack.   Yeah, right…my dad? A heart attack? Sure……

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hotels and Comfort

Traveling is nice, but staying in hotels and motels can sometimes be a bit much. We all enjoy the comforts of our own home, so wouldn’t it be a great idea if hotels would incorporate sheets and bedding that remind us of home?  Understandably this would possibly increase room rates, but, who really knows until you try.  Of course, the opposite could also be true…that some people like the material of hotel linens and want them for their own home. No matter what, I still feel that when traveling, it would be nice to have the comforts of home.
Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to see if there was really a market for people who want to buy hotel quality bedding, and sure enough, there is an actual market for it. Hotel bedding is offered and the quality is better than I would have expected. At , you can browse various home products, including Hotel Collection bedding. Of course there are many other home goods available, some of which I will have to buy soon because my daughter appears to be headed into her own apartment. Right now, she is looking at a Queen size bed and will need some sheets. So, while browsing, I went back to
I digress. Back to my former traveling experience. When traveling I enjoy the comforts of home and try to set up my hotel room in a way I am accustomed to. Problem is, moving a bed that doesn’t move can be quite tiring. I remember I was in North Carolina for a month. I had a great hotel room, great service, great everything. The problem was, it never felt like home. So, I went out and made a few purchases. I bought my own pillow, lamp, towel, and a few other miscellaneous items. I knew I was going to be there for a month, so I figured…why not. If you ever go lamp shopping, and those who have done this know what I mean. There are so many lamps, lights, wall mounted, ceiling mounted, standard lamps; you just never know which way to look. Then you have your hurricane lamps, regular lamps, tall lamps, short lamps…the never-ending maze can become somewhat overwhelming. So, I say if you want to shop for a lamp, do it on-line. It is easier to look at one or two pictures as compared to looking at hundreds of lamps all lumped in together.
So, how do you choose the perfect hotel? Do you look at the ratings on-line? Do you read the reviews? Do you wing it?  How do you pick the perfect hotel?  I don’t have the answer. What I can say is do not read all the overly positive or overly negative reviews you find.  Someone who is engaged in business with the hotel probably writes the overly positive reviews; and at the same time, relying too heavily on negative reviews could mean the person writing the negative review is in competition with the hotel.
When my family and I travel, I try to stay at name brand hotels. At least you know the service will be consistent. Some of the smaller hotels, however, do provide the one on one friendly service we all enjoy when we travel. So, big or small, I guess the hotel really does not matter, as long as you can feel, at least in small part, that your room has some of the comforts of home.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hollywood and Narcissism

Have you ever wondered why Hollywood is so hell-bent on celebrating themselves during award show season?  I mean, really. Do they have to have award shows every week in order for the Hollywood stars to give themselves the gratuitous pat on the back? Yes, we all know these Hollywood stars earn more money than god, but do they really need an excuse to dress up, walk down a red carpet, talk about themselves’ in the third-person, and describe to the viewers that they are wearing Dolce or some other unknown designer-wear?  
I was actually watching the Grammy’s the other night and yes, I too was sucked in to Ryan Seacrest and his Red Carpet gala.  When I saw Kim Kardashian walking the red carpet though, I asked myself….what has she done to earn the red carpet walk at the Grammy’s?  Is Kim Kardashian now some sort of hip-hop icon with a newly released album that I am not aware of? Really…..Kim Kardashian?  What exactly is her claim to fame anyway? I know she has a reality tv show, which yes, I will admit, even I have tuned into on occasion, but, why is Kardashian being hailed as some type of “Star” at the Grammy’s? What impact on society have any of the Kardashians actually had for the positive? 
This brings me to my next point. While it is nice for Ryan Seacrest to interview the “stars”, is it really necessary to ask them who they are wearing?  I am waiting for one star to turn to him and say “Fool, I’m wearing a tux with shoes?”  These stars today seem so hell-bent on self-promotion, I often wonder if they wake up in the morning and actually trip over their egos on their way to the bathroom. Do they rehearse their parade march in the hallways of their million dollar mansions? Do they actually find it necessary to spend 3 and 4 hours getting ready?
I am not completely against the award shows. I understand it is a way to gain attention to their movies, television series, or songs, but what disgusts me is the narcissistic manner in which many of the stars portray themselves. It is almost as if they actually forget that they are human, and not above the rest of society. Then again, with the amount of award shows out there, the so-called-stars probably can’t help but think they are actually better than everybody else.
So, next time you are nominated for an award, I say dress up in your most comfortable jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, and sunglasses, head to the red carpet and in response to the reporter asking what you are wearing, simply say: “I am wearing what I normally do: Jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, and sunglasses!”
Hey, it’s just my opinion and for the record, I do watch SOME of the shows.  I’m just sayin’.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


So last night, during the state of the union, the POTUS (President of the United States) gave his state of the union as he is constitutionally mandated to do.  I have watched many of these over the years and often left perplexed and felt the need to listen to the post Speech commentary so I could have a Republican tell me what I just heard, and then in response, a Democrat could tell me what the Republican said about the President.    Of course, neither party ever truly agrees on what was just said and they feel the need to “dumb it down” for us less than intelligent viewers who just watched the freakin speech.
Then we have the news networks with their political experts who come on the airwaves and not only tell us what we just saw and heard, but they put their spin on things….and now I am really confused.

So let’s just put this all in order: The President gives his State of the Union.  A Republican then explains what we just heard.  Then a Democrat comes on to tell us not to listen to the Republicans. Then the news media dissects each and every word spoken by the President, they put their spin on it and then dissect the Republican and Democratic response.    FOLKS, do we now understand why nothing gets done in Washington?  I mean, really, is it necessary to have a political party response to what the President just said? And now, we have the Tea Party response to listen to.   Oh MY God.  So we not only have to sit through the agonizing pep rally speech, but we then have to endure political interpretation of what the President just said.   That is a sad commentary on where we stand as a nation.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I often wondered what it would be like if people actually took the advice of safety officials and stayed off the roadways during a snow storm. I understand the need to work, hell, I am not rich by any sense of the word. What is bothersome is how many people are forced to show up for work, only to be sent home by their employer.  Will the employer pay for the employees car if they are in an accident and total their car? I think not.  Will the employer accept liability for forcing the employee to go into work? Again, the answer is no.  So the question of the day is: Why would a business force people to work when it is clear the snow and ice will place place an employee in danger of life and limb?  There is no clear cut answer other than business owners think their business is worth more than the life of an employee.
Today we have snow, albeit not too much. We are only expecting between 5-10 inches, with 1/2 inch of ice at the tail end.  I mean...really...It is very important that people clutter the roadways with their vehicles all in the name of business. 

Well, while the snow continues to pile up, I will sit here and ponder my question as I watch the local news and see all the traffic accidents piling up on the highway.  I will watch as motorists lose control of their vehicles, all in the name of business and money.  I certainly hope all who travel in such treacherous conditions drive carefully so each and every person can return home to give their loved ones a hug and kiss tonight.   Drive safe motorists and please adhere to the reduced speeds on the highways.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Call me crazy but somehow politicians resemble bananas in many ways. You see, when you eat a banana, you look at it first to make sure it is ripe. If it is green, you let it sit for a while so the banana can ripen up.  Well, today's politician is very much the same way. They go into Congress ,for example, with good intentions. They are still green and not ripe.  The longer they sit in congress, the more they ripen.  Well, once the banana is ripe, you have to peel away the edges to expose the actual edible portion to determine if it is really ripe.  The same goes for politicians. You have to peel away their phony exterior to see if they are truly ripe. It is only after you peel away the outer shell can you truly determine whether the banana is good or bad.  The same for politicians. You see, during their campaign season, they will tell you just about anything you want to hear.  We have Tea Partiers who will do and say anything to make themselves look intelligent. Unfortunately for tea partiers, they have it all wrong.  See, they coined the name "Tea Party" from the Boston Tea party where, as we all know, the tea was destroyed over the issue of taxation without representation.  Well, I hate to break it to the tea partiers, but we do have representation, albeit not very good representation.   I digress.

So, back to the banana. You have to peel the outer layer to expose whether the banana is ripe.  Well, as it pertains to politicians, it is unfortunate that we can not truly see what is inside of them or what really motivates them.

See, every time you hear a politician talk today, they talk about the House of Representatives being the "people's house" and the elected officials are there to do the "People's" business.   I tend to doubt these overpaid buffoons truly care about the "people". They care about their political affiliation and nothing more.  When we see leaders like Jim Boehner, who by the way looks like a wooden puppet, I begin to wonder....with his thousand dollar suits, exactly what "people's" business is he working on?   When we have  former Speaker of The House Pelosi using government exactly is that the "people's" work?

See, as we begin to peel away the exterior of these politicians, we see they are beyond ripe. In fact, we begin to see they are spoiled. All too often elected officials make these jobs a I guess that begs the question of, How are the career politicians truly doing the "people's" work if these elected politicians have made congress their career? you pause for thought.

I digress once again.  I must admit not all politicians lie. I am sure there are a handful of elected officials in Washington who don't lie and who, if you peel the banana, you would see, is ripe.  It is blatantly unfair to broadly paint a picture of an electorate full of liars...then again, the politicians have brought it all on themselves.

So, this week Congress will take up what is dubbed as Obama care.  Like it or not, this country needs some form of health care to help those who can either not afford insurance, or help those who are denied access to medical insurance.  I agree the plan is probably not the best, but at least this President kept his word. He did not cave to political pressure.  He angered the republicans and now they want to repeal the health care bill. Well, I hope they understand that by repealing health care, the message they are sending is that they don't care about the "people" who are either uninsured or under insured.  By repealing health care, the republicans are peeling back the banana of themselves and exposing themselves as an elitest political party.  Yeah, I know. The health care plan will cost money. It is already costing us all money. Every time and uninsured or under insured party receives emergency room treatment and can not pay the bill, the hospital writes it a tax deduction.  That means less revenue and more from you and I to help fund the uninsured.
So while the Republicans want to claim they will return to the "people's" business by repealing the health care bill, ask yourself one question: What exactly is the "people's" business?  We already know the health care repeal is a purely political posturing technique to show the President the Republicans control the house....nothing more , nothing how is this the "people's" work? It is nothing more than flexing some muscle that these congressmen amass in their private gyms that we subsidize for them....oh, I suppose the congressional perks are "for the people" as well?

Sunday, January 16, 2011


While driving to the store today I just couldn't help notice a nice BMW literally inches from my bumper.  I slowed down to see what the driver would do and he just stayed where he was. When we had the opportunity to have two lanes, he still rode my bumper.  Not one to advocate for road rage, it is people like the driver of this BMW who need to get a lesson in life.  I finally slowed down enough to make him drive around me...of course, he wasn't paying attention to the road. He was texting and drinking a coffee at the same time.  I just looked at him, shook my head, and thought to it really necessary to drive your car while texting and drinking coffee?   Sometimes I wonder how people make it through life with blinders on. They sail through life in their own little world, never stopping to look around to see other people actually exist.

He is probably the type who would sue the coffee manufacturer if his coffee spilled on his lap while maneuvering his fingers around his miniature cell phone key board and driving at the same time. 

Why are People so negative? If you don't know what to say, please say nothing at all...

Before leaving the NICU with Nicklaus, the doctors and nurses warned us about how Preemies can become over stimulated and shut down very quickly. They also warned us of any illnesses, such as RSV that preemies are susceptible to.  We were warned of what will happen is Nicklaus catches a cold, becomes stressed, or simply is subjected to over stimulation.  We tried to relay this to family and friends. While people initially understood our ground rules relating to Nick, we also had people who just never know when to shut their mouths.  No matter what we told people, they would make ridiculous comments about us being over-protective parents etc.  For example: Thanksgiving. We decided that because Nick was just released from the hospital, we did not want to subject him to a large gathering for Thanksgiving. While people claimed they understood, they really didn't because comments were made about how ridiculous it was that we were so over-protective. We had comments that were frankly rude and hurtful.  We tried to re-explain to those who did not understand, but we were consistently met with "Oh, the doctors don't know what they are talking about", "Oh, you two are ridiculous", and a whole host of other comments.  People didn't realize those comments not only frustrated us, but hurt us.  We had to endure the loss of one child and we were not willing to allow anything to happen to Nick.  Of course, people seem to have forgotten about Justin.  You know the saying, out of sight, out of mind....well, for us, Justin will never be out of sight or out of mind.

We had a relaxing Thanksgiving with our newborn son and our two beautiful daughters.

Next up: Christmas.  Here we go again.  Nick had his first check up with the pediatrician. We were again warned by the pediatrician that subjecting Nicklaus to a large gathering could be detrimental to his well being both physically and emotionally. We were strongly cautioned that if we bring Nick to a large gathering and he catches a cold, he would likely be placed in the hospital for 3 to 5 days due to the immaturity of his lungs and his immune system.    Of course, here we go again. Hurtful comments from the family once again.  The typical narrow minded comments from family hurts more than dumb comments from friends.  All along we agreed to play everything by ear.  If all is well on Christmas day, and nobody is sick, we will come to the family gathering. If anybody is sick, we will not risk it. 

Christmas day came...and all was well. We went to the family gathering. Within 5 minutes, Nick was stressed.  My wife put him in another room where he exhibited all the signs we were warned about. So, we let him sleep in the other room while everybody else was celebrating Christmas.  Of course, here come the comments.   People asking: "What do you mean he is stressed? All babies are stressed?"   or "You guys are ridiculous. Babies get stressed all the time."    Then, other family members wanted to come to where we were. MY wife adamantly told them no.  Why?  Because these family members recently had the flu, and in fact one of them had been hospitalized for it.   My poor wife got lambasted.  Needless to say, once again, people who have nothing good to say should just shut their mouths.  They have no idea how hurtful their words can truly be.

All in all Christmas was a success.  Nick was good, albeit stressed, but otherwise good. 

Now we have moved beyond Christmas and into the new year. Nick is gaining weight rapidly and he had his second RSV shot. You wanna know what...people still make STUPID comments to us.  They still don't understand why he has to have the RSV shots. They don't understand why we don't take him to large gatherings. They don't understand why we don't want them over if they have been sick.    We get the " You can't prevent him from getting sick forever" or "Well, what if one of you gets sick? What will you do with Nick".  Hello people: If we get sick, we can't prevent that. What we can prevent is people trying to visit Nick who we know are sick.  We can't help it if Kylie brings something home from the day care, or if I bring something home from work......they always miss the point.  People try to play expert but fact is, we know better than they do.   We also know we can't completely prevent Nick from getting sick, but if we can make every effort to avoid him getting sick, then we can avoid another hospitalization and possibly a severe illness. But, what do we know? We only spent 24 days in the NICU where our son almost died. We only spent the better part of a month following doctors orders and following their advice.    You know what:  Because of our listening to the doctors and taking all their advice: NICK HAS NOT BEEN SICK and it has been 2 1/2 months.  I would say to all the ney sayers in our family:  We do know better than you.  Nick has been healthy and we have been able to keep him that way. So, ridicule us all you want, fact is, our son have been healthy and that is all in part of us family likes to say : Overprotective.

We understand people will never truly understand what we went through.  We also understand that other people have had preemies and have not had to do the same things we have.  Every preemie is different.  We happened to have a preemie who was very very sick for the first 7 days of his life. We had a son who passed away a year, yes, you can call us overprotective, you can call us ridiculous, but in the end, just know that those words hurt us but will not change how we protect our children.

So, now MOM is back to work and I am the stay at home dad.  Things are hectic but manageable. Unfortunately, on my wife's first day back to work, I ended up very very sick for 2 days.  My parents, Abby (my oldest) and the in-laws helped us out tremendously.    Now, I am much better and ready to take the bull by the horns and enjoy this time with my son.

I can't help but look into his eyes and wonder though. I wonder....what if?  What if Justin were alive? Would they look alike? Would they smile the same? Would they have the same fingers, toes, etc.  I look into Nick's eyes and I cry sometimes....thinking of what could have been and what is.  I love my son like nobody can ever know.  I love him not because he is a boy, but because he will probably never truly understand how much of a blessing he is to my wife and I.   We love our kids equally, no doubt, but Nick kind of rounds out our family. He is precious in so many ways.

History (To my son Justin)

My name is Mike Porter and decided to blog just for fun. You might ask why, but I really don't have a solid answer for you other than I am just trying this out to see how it all works. 

Well, I am married to my wonderful wife Nathalie. I have 3 children: Abby (20), Kylie (4), and Nicklaus (2 1/2 months). I know you must be thinking....20 and 2 1/2 months?  Well, I was married before and divorced. Like every man out there, you think if you get divorced, your life ends Reality is, it doesn't. New opportunities open up and you end up being extremely happy.

I work full time in the criminal justice field. I also attend Law School part time evenings. I am currently in my second year and I love every minute of it. law School has many challenges, but the challenges of law school have been made moree difficult due to the loss of our son, the hospitalization of my wife for meningitis, and then, the recent birth of our son Nicklaus.  Everything happened during the fall semester of my first year, and then the fall semester of my second year.  Through it all, I prevailed with the help and guidance of my wife, family, and my fantastic law school friends and professors.

My wife is a working professional as well. She works for a health care facilitty.

My wife and I are blessed to have 3 amazing children who truly love us for who we are. We have suffered alot over the past couple of years, beginning with the loss of our son Justin in September 2009. He was born a stillbirth and this completely devastated us as a family.  While our youngest at the time, Kylie, did not understand, Abby, Nathalie and I were able to fully understand the reality of the situation. While the loss of Justin shook us to the core, we have been able to deal with our loss together. 
Often times, the loss of a child can tear a family apart. This is understandable. I remember many times feeling guilt or placing blame.  I learned, through counseling, that the guilt and blame is completely normal. I was able to focus on moving away from the guilt and blame feelings, to simply the feelings of the loss of my son. I never imagined how devastating the loss of a child can be until I personally experienced it.  Unfortunately, some people just never know what to say to us...and instead of keeping their comments to themselves, they say stupid things.  Here are some examples of things we heard:  "Well, it's time to get over it."  "Move on", "Well, it was God's plan" , "It wasn't meant to be".   Do people really think those words help? They don't.  Those words re-open a wound that we are trying to heal....then again, unless and until people experience this type of loss themselves, they can never truly understand the emotional toll you go through.

Then, 2 months later, my wife contracted meningitis. Wow.  A double whammy. I won't go into detail but she went from a serious medical condition to superb progress with the guidance of some spectacular neurologists.

Then, we decided to try one last time for a child. We always agreed that we would try for 2 children. In all honesty though, I was finished after the loss of Justin....but then I realized. Another child will not replace Justin. Another child will provide us with the fulfillment we seek. My biggest fear was having another son. I asked myself " Will I compare him to what Justin would have been?"   I was very torn.   So, my wife got pregnant...and my biggest fear came true.  We were having a boy.  I was so completely torn. I was afraid of how I would maybe compare him to Justin. Compare him to my visions of what Justin would have been.  I was torn.  As time went on, I began to learn how to control my feelings. I began to understand I will not compare our new baby to Justin.

On October 15, 2010, our lives came to a stand still.  My wife broke her water at 31 weeks. We immediately went to the hospital and expected she would return home on bed rest.  Weren't we surprised when the doctor informed us Nathalie has to stay in the hospital until she gives birth.  WHAT?????????????

So, my oldest is off at college, my youngest is home with me, and my wife is in the hospital. After 2 weeks in the hospital, my wife gave birth to our son Nicklaus at 33 weeks. Nick was born via emergency C-Section and was in very serious condition. When he was born he had a major infection. The NICU staff saved our sons life. My wife was released from the hospital and 2 days later, she was re-admitted to the hospital with a major infection as well. We were then informed that the NICU had to make attempts to place a PIC line in our son. The first 2 attempts failed. On the third attempt, the doctors and nurses were successful Thank goodness for that because the next alternative was a surgical procedure for the PIC Line.   After 5 days in the wife was once again released. Our son stayed in the NICU for a total of 24 days before being officially released.
WOW.  Another traumatic experience for us.   Now we have our son home. I finally have my wife home, my son home...and my family back together.  Now comes the tough part though.  I will explain this in my next post.

So, as of the day of this writing, my family is home. I have my wife and my 3 wonderful children all home. All the while, Justin sits in my heart and in my mind every single day.   Abby is returning to college from her break which now leaves a void in our home.  My wife returned back to work after her maternity leave ended and I am a stay at home dad for the next 2 months. I will return to work at the end of February 2011.