Finally, an Update

Looking at the last post, its been just over two years since I’ve posted, and reading an update from my friend Ryan about ‘What Do You Want’ inspired me to write-down a few things, this post will be an Update, the next my answer to What Do I Want.

Updates:

In the last two years I have:

  • Increased the family size
    • August 10, 2015 Natalie and I welcomed another girl to our brood. Kennedy joined us and over the last 15 months have figured out that all children are different, Kenna is nuts!
  • Natalie Stays Home
    • January 2016, we decided that it would be beneficial if Natalie stayed home for a bit and focused on the kids.  For the entirety of this year, she has done just that, and the kids are excelling on every avenue.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.
  • Ran a Half Marathon
    • February 2016- I ran the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon.  My goal was 2:10 and I hit 2:17 (i think)  I hit the wall around 10 miles, and I blame that on waiting on my friend Renee do his business around mile 7, standing around for 6-7 minutes was not a good idea and it caused me to seriously freeze up.  Will try again next year.
  • Remodeling the House
    • February 2016 – Lets open up the kitchen, knock down some walls and see what it looks like.   As of last week, I have permits and can start closing up the walls.  Progress pics here
  • Tried out for Microsoft
    • I thought about not adding this but I think its important as part of the story.  A friend invited me to interview for a Premier Field Engineering role at Microsoft, to which I interviewed.  Feedback indicated I was technically sound but didn’t have enough experience working with a team, which is baffling as I built the entire DBA team at my current gig.  I think the Army guy interviewing didn’t like that I was a Marine.   Not getting this was a blessing in disguise.
  • Lost Job
    • June 2016 – The company I was previously working was bought just 3 months after I joined,  hired a new CTO, and completely restructured the company, in the end shutting down the Tampa office, which was quite unfortunate, but I learned a great deal about my self during that time and hopefully can continue to grow from those experiences.
  • Started New Job
    • July 2016 –  I started a new job as database consultant for Taos.  I’m currently engaged in a multi-datacenter consolidation effort in which I am in charge of MSSQL and MySQL.  Brushing up on MySQL skills has been refreshing as its also brushing up on my Linux skills, which will set me up to take a look at Oracle in the future.  This position is work-from-home, which is awesome, since I get to see the girls throughout the day.
  • Started College…Again
    • I found a college that works well for professionals who can work at their own pace.  Western Governors University is working well for me thus far.  I was able to transfer some old USf credits as well as my Microsoft Certs in for credit.  In the last 4 months, I have been able to knock out 29 credits.  I have 2 months left in this semester and would like to knock out 4 more classes which is quite doable.

 

These are the major items that have come and gone since I’ve last posted.  Stay tuned for the next update, which I’ll add some short term goals I’m looking at.

 

 

Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan

Wanting to take a break from the more serious natured audio books I’ve been listening to recently, I found Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat in my recommended reading list.  Since I’m a fan of his comedy and wanted something a bit lighter, I added my namJim Gaffigan - Dad is Fate to the hold list at the local library (using Overdrive of course) for the audio book.

Starting off, I immediately recognized the narrator as Jim Gaffigan himself, an added bonus.  In this book Jim offers short chapters about various portions of being a new dad, figuring out the new additions as they come, managing  as a dad, and juggling life’s responsibilities after becoming a dad for the fifth time.  While I can’t relate to that level of mastery he has seemingly acquired with five kids, I recognized many of his struggles and oddities as those that I’ve faced with just two kids.

The whole books comes across, intentionally or not, as an extended ode to his super-hero wife Jeannie.  Jim, like many of us dads, assumes that the more attractive partners in our relationships have had special instruction in child rearing, but throughout the chapters in this book you see a story of a dad who figures it out, and makes it work, documenting all the idiosyncrasies of fatherhood along the way.

Any parent who has balanced work / life responsibilities while raising their little ones will likely find this audio book an entertaining reminder of the joys that we have been through, and the joys that our kids bring us. For  any expecting parents, this is the book of things they don’t tell you in official parenting books, give it a read to know what you’re REALLY about to get into.

Dad is Fat
Jim Gaffigan
Parenting and Family
May 7, 2013
Audio Book
288

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’sFatherhoodDad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

It Hurts to Look this Good

Matias and the Plyo Box

Simple DIY Plyo Box built with Instructions from EndOfThreeFitness.com

Ohh how I ache this morning..  Currently I am recovering from last night’s workout of: three rounds of  24 Switch Lunges,  110 lb Farmer Walk @ 200 feet and a 264 yard backwards run, but that’s not the story, lets talk about my garage gym that helped me feel these ‘growing pains’

About 18 months ago, I joined TNL CrossFit Tampa.  I lost my cookies on the first visit and I was hooked.  It was a bit pricey compared to a regular gym and the only time I could fit in the schedule was butt-crack early in the morning.  Anna was only a few months old, Natalie was just starting back to work, and right in the midst of it all, I changed to a job that required constant travel, so I stopped.

Last year I was running late at night, making quite the habit of it for some time.  I would help put the kids to bed, and go for a run.  It was good, I was feeling great, continually increasing my pace and endurance, then life happened and that habit died as well.

Earlier this year I hit a number on the scale that is OK for most guys my age and height, but for me, it was a high point I’ve never seen, and I wasn’t particularly comfortable with.  My clothes were tight, carrying the kids got me winded, and then I realized, this is not how you age gracefully.

A few months ago I started watching what I ate which helped me get back to a more reasonable weight, but still not to ‘sexy beast’ level that I was aiming for.  Since I am the worst person in the world to keep to my diet, I knew I had to find something to compensate the occasional doughnut or the late night cereal cravings, I had to get active again.

After evaluating the gym options, pricing, and location I decided that I should just build my own gym in my empty garage.  Since CrossFit style workouts work well for me, that was the type of equipment I would need.

Craigslist Weights

Go a good deal on a couple bars, kettle bells, and 250 lbs of weight from CraigsList

After coercing my brother-in-law, Wes, to join in my adventure, I started to procure equipment.  I found some on Craigslist, built a few items, and picked up a few  items from a local gym supplier.   For me, the accountability of having someone show up at your house makes it hard to allow myself to skip a day, and working out with friends/family is a good enough motivator not to slack during the workout.  It is a good setup for me.

So far I have built 2 PlyoBoxes, Pair of Parallettes, and a Pull up Bar.  I bought a set of weights, bars, and heavy kettle bells from a guy on Craigslist (pictured here) and we stole got a really good deal on a squat rack from Craigslist, and to round out the initial collection, I picked up some odds and ends from a local retailer called Valor Fitness (their prices are MUCH more reasonable when you go to their warehouse than those listed on their website)

So far, we’ve been going at it for three nights a week, for about a month or so.  There are a few other piece of equipment I want to pickup, but none are essential at this point.  We have a friend who does power lifting who joins us on Sunday morning workouts, as well as a friend who is a CrossFit coach who is scheduled to start joining us soon as well.  I get to squeeze in some people time during our workouts in great, as occasionally forget to do with our busy schedules. Life its good.

As an added bonus to being in better shape, I have met a few neighbors who also workout in their garages; building the community bonds through sweaty garages is awesome.

 

Life Happened… and it was Good

Having led a care-free existence since birth, I always assumed that kids were for everyone else.  While skilled in the art of making said creatures, I never settled on the idea of having my own.  Occasionally I would have the thoughts, but never really had the partner I thought would be compatible enough to attempt on that epic journey.

Just shy of five years ago, I met a young lady that would change my life, reel me in and make me the happiest I’ve ever been.  In that time we’ve made not one, but two of the little creatures referenced above.  We’ve been through good times, scary times, joyful times and just daily life times, all of those times I cherish.

What is so amazing to me, is what appears to a single man to be a complete upheaval of everything you consider normal in your life with the introduction of a child, is just that.  It is an upheaval, a madness, things completely new, but as it turns out, most of what was filling your time before was nothing more than empty fluff.  The true joy of life the people we choose to surround ourselves with.  It is watching my baby girl turn two today.  A little girl whom I struggle to say no to, a little girl whom I wasn’t sure I could handle two years ago, a little girl who holds every piece of my heart in her devilish little hands. This is life, and it is good.

While being  father does not define my existence, it complete me.  It has made me a better man, a better friend, and a better partner. Thank you Natalie for accompanying me into the next level of  adulthood.  I can’t wait to grow old with you to see what our little creatures have in store for us next.  Thank you Matias for all that you have and will teach me. Thank you Anna for spicing up our lives just a little more than we expected.

Pains of Parenting

I wrote this post a few months ago when Matias first got glasses and have finally gotten to a point where I can polish it up, complete my rambling thoughts and share it with you all.  So without further ado, lets discuss the hard parts of parenting.

Recently Matias got glasses, and while they are cute as can be to us adults, I worry about how harsh kids can be, and how he will handle any teasing he might receive.  I often wonder about the various interactions that Matias will have with the other kids as he grows, which kids will like him, which kids might pick on him and which kids he gravitates towards. There are days when I pick him up from school where he is sitting away from the group contently watching TV which make me wonder: Why was he sitting alone?  Does he sit alone because they don’t like him? Or maybe his friends have already went home for the day.

Last Friday the kid’s school had an Easter Party for each class.  I delivered the table-clothes for both of their classes that I had volunteered to take, but didn’t think to take baskets for either of the kids.  I didn’t think much of it, even after Matias shared his version of how his day at dinner.  It wasn’t until one of the other daycare parents posted pictures of the 3 year old class on the playground doing an egg hunt that I realized that I had forgotten to take his basket, as the pictures showed him not without a basket, but with a random basket they happened to have lying around the daycare.  It was in that moment that I got sad, to my core I was saddened that I had let my son down.  I had put him in a position to be at a disadvantage, whether he was aware of it or not is another story.  The fact that I had made him different, un-cared for in that moment or whatever other thoughts that might have run through his head, I was sad, physically sad for the pain I (might have) put him through.

Whether or not that he realizes it or not, Matias is smart.  It could be the way Natalie and I raise him, without baby talk, correcting his words on the spot until he says them right, making him define new words he’s using incorrectly, or just generally setting an example.  I’m not sure which part of our parenting has blessed us with this kid, but we have him (and his sister too)   He’s quirky, goofy, talkative, and very emotionally intelligent.   The last one is the one I worry about most.  He cares so much for others, I’m afraid they (or me) won’t meet his expectations and he will be crushed.  Luckily, with his emotional intelligence he is quite forgiving as well.

With the way he is developing, I would not be surprised for him to have a few very close lifetime friends.  I have friends, but not closes, talk to every day type of friends.  I think Matias will, he’s different from me.  With that said, I do hope that whatever we may miss as parents his friends will be there for him to round out that support system, which is important.  I don’t want to raise a mirror of myself, I want a better version, and I think he’s getting there.  Since his best-buddy Carter’s family moved to Michigan he has found a new friends that he talks about all the time Ivana (“Eeee-vaaa-naah dad, Eevaanah ,say it right” – Matias)  I can’t tell if he’s sweet on her or just friends, but either way I think he’ll be fine.

Yet  I still worry, its kind of my job.