My Divorce Vows

Recently, I found out that a good friend of mine had gotten a divorce.  My first response was, “I loved hanging out with that couple.  This is going to suck for me.”  All selfishness aside, it does sincerely effect me when I see a good family not work out.

The next chance I got, I spoke with my friend to see if he wanted to talk about it.  He was surprisingly up beat and optimistic.  He told me that even though they were divorced, it wasn’t an ugly divorce.  He and his wife still had the same goals of supporting and raising their kids, and they were both committed to help each other do that.

I know that everyone who gets divorced says that they are going to get along for the kid’s sake, but this couple really means it.  In fact, he told me that he and his ex-wife both moved out and got their own small place.  They didn’t think it was fair that because they couldn’t get along the kids should be punished and have their lives turned upside down.  It wouldn’t be fair for the kids to have to moved from home to home every few days to be with a different parent.  Rather, the kids keep their house, and the parents were the ones to come and go when it was their turn to visit.

One thing that I could say about this friend is that he is an all around good guy, an old fashion guy.  He is the kind of guy where a deal with a handshake means something.  If he gave you his word, you knew that he would stand by it no matter what.

Because of this, it wasn’t a surprise to learn that it bothered him that he took wedding vows and later on broke them by getting a divorce.  He took “till death do us part” seriously.  He knows that a divorce was in the best interest of everyone involved, but still, he felt like he went back on his word.

So he decided that he would update his vows.  He changed them from wedding vows to divorce vows, a new commitment he was making to his ex-wife.

When I heard about his divorce vows, it made me think about all the ugly divorces I hear about.  All the times there is spite and effort to get back at the person you once loved.  It made me wonder why so many end up that way.  Why is it that someone can give so much of their self to you, being willing to risk so much to marry you, and just because things don’t work out you make it your mission to hurt them, and take what you can from them?  It all seems silly when you say it like that.

I asked if I could share his divorce vows…

My Divorce Vows

I am grateful for the time that I was able to share with  you.  You gave me your hand in marriage for 11 years.  You gave me my 3 children.  For this I will always be in your debt.  I will always respect you as the mother of my children.

I promise to be mindful of you, and the sacrifices you have made and will continue to make for our children.

I promise to work with you to raise our kids the best way we know how.  They will never hear me talk ill of you.  They will not hear me complain about you.  I will not talk down about you to them or anyone else.

When I married you I committed to provide for our family, and for me, that role hasn’t changed.  Don’t feel like you have to fight for what you need.  Don’t waste your family’s money on lawyers.  Don’t feel like you have to go after me for child support.  I am happy to provide all that is required of me and more.  You can keep your car, and above that, I will always make sure that you have the transportation you need to be an effective mom.  Like I said, you gave me 11 years, and my children, it is the least I can do.

I married you because I saw greatness in you.  And I want you to know that the greatness is still there.  I know you better than anyone else.  I believe in you and will continue to support you as one of your best friends.  Because I know that you will accomplish great things.  You will find happiness in other relationships and contribute much to those around you.

Thanks for 11 years.

 

Saige2

American Girl Doll Review

My daughter was never really into playing with dolls, and I was totally okay with that.  Not just because it has been fun that she is mostly into things that I am into, but because it really disgust me what kind of dolls there are for little girls to choose from.

As we walk down the toy isle at the store, it seemed like there were 2 choices,…do you want a lame poorly made baby doll, or a skank doll  that looks like it is dressed to be a decoy on the show To Catch a Predator?  You know what kind of doll I mean, they look like once you open the box you get to learn what secret STD your doll has.  Or maybe it comes with a matching sticker tattoo to put on your lower back, just like your doll.

Seriously, do the toy companies really think I would bring one of these tramp dolls home for my 7 year old?  It was a sigh of relief that my daughter had expressed no interest.

Lillian looks through the options for Saige's new hair style.

Lillian looks through the options for Saige’s new hair style.

This last Christmas Santa brought an American Girl Doll, and I thought, “That will be fun for her for a few minutes.”  Boy was I wrong.  The American Girl Doll is the one Christmas present that Lillian still plays with 4 months later (Mad props to Santa on that one).  In fact, Lillian has been obsessed with it; taking her Saige doll everywhere, dressing like her, taking care of her, buying the things for the doll that the doll is interested in etc.

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Seeing the way Lillian takes care of her doll is impressive.  She means business.  It is almost like she has a pet, a very high maintenance pet.

Saige1jpeg

And as I dad, I am thankful.  Thank you to American Girl for bringing back innocence to a child’s doll.  It reminds me of the dolls my sisters would play with in the 80′s.  To them, they were real.  Back then, there was a special bond between girls and their dolls.  Thank you for bringing that back.  Thank you for providing a quality, fashionable, innocent product that I can share with my daughter.

Brandon Judd

FFFF

Father Forgets

This short poem was written by W. Livingston Larned.  It was first published in the Readers Digest but also appeared in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People which was written in 1936.  It is something every mother and father should take the time to read.


Listen, son:
I am saying this as you lie asleep,
one little paw crumpled under your cheek and
the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead.
I have stolen into your room alone.
Just a few minutes ago,
as I sat reading my paper in the library,
a stifling wave of remorse swept over me.
Guiltily I came to your bedside.

These are the things I was thinking,
son: I had been cross to you.
I scolded you as you were dressing for school
because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel.
I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes.
I called out angrily
when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too.
You spilled things.
You gulped down your food.
You put your elbows on the table.
You spread butter too thick on your bread.
And as you started off to play
and I made for my train,
you turned and waved a hand
and called, ‘Goodbye, Daddy!’
and I frowned, and said in reply,
‘Hold your shoulders back!’

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon.
As I came up the road I spied you,
down on your knees, playing marbles.
There were holes in your stockings.
I humiliated you before your boyfriends
by marching you ahead of me to the house.
Stockings were expensive -
and if you had to buy them you would be more careful!
Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember,
later, when I was reading in the library,
how you came in timidly,
with a sort of hurt look in your eyes?
When I glanced up over my paper,
impatient at the interruption,
you hesitated at the door.
‘What is it you want?’ I snapped.
You said nothing,
but ran across in one tempestuous plunge,
and threw your arms around my neck
and kissed me,
and your small arms tightened
with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart
and which even neglect could not wither.
And then you were gone,
pattering up the stairs.

Well, son,
it was shortly afterwards
that my paper slipped from my hands
and a terrible sickening fear came over me.
What has habit been doing to me?
The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding
- this was my reward to you for being a boy.
It was not that I did not love you;
it was that I expected too much of youth.
I was measuring you
by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine
and true in your character.
The little heart of you
was as big as the dawn itself
over the wide hills.
This was shown by your spontaneous impulse
to rush in and kiss me good night.
Nothing else matters tonight, son.
I have come to your bedside in the darkness,
and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement;
I know you would not understand these things
if I told them to you during your waking hours.
But tomorrow
I will be a real daddy!
I will chum with you,
and suffer when you suffer,
and laugh when you laugh.
I will bite my tongue
when impatient words come.
I will keep saying as if it were a ritual:
‘He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!’

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man.
Yet as I see you now, son,
crumpled and weary in your cot,
I see that you are still a baby.
Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms,
your head on her shoulder.
I have asked too much, too much.


This poem was written a few generations ago, but it is sure applicable today.  We may not be distracted by the daily news paper, but we are distracted by things like Candy Crush, social media, or reality t.v.

This is something that I am guilty of, and we all are guilty of to some degree.  I have expected my kids to automatically know what they were supposed to do.  I have expected them to understand instructions the first time they have been told.  And I have been guilty of sneaking into my kids’ room to spend time with them while they’re asleep because I wished I had been a better dad that day.

The challenge is to “not forget.”   Now more than ever, we have distractions in life that will get us to forget what is important.  So we need to establish constant reminders, things that will help us remember how lucky we are to have kids.  Remember how fragile they can be emotionally.  Remember not to expect too much out of them.  Remember that as fathers, we are responsible to set the tone emotionally in the home.  Remember to cherish our kids and the things that make them who they are.  Remember that they won’t be children forever, and soon all we will have of their childhood are the memories that we created.  Remember that we are the greatest deciding factor in what kind of childhood they will have.  Remember that it is up to us to help them build the confidence that they will need to meet the challenges in life that they will face.  Remember to prepare them emotionally for a successful marriage, career, and life.  We are our kid’s coach, mentor and teacher.  They deserve for us to give them our best.

So how do we do this?  How do we keep our focus on what is important and not become a “Father Forgets” type parent?

If you come to my house, but you didn’t walk through the front door,…you walked in through the garage (the way that I do when I come home) then you would see a picture of our family hanging on the wall right before you come in.  It is my very favorite family photo.  It may seem like a funny place to put a picture, because no one will ever see it there,…except for me.  But that is why it is there.  It is there for me.

The picture is there to remind me that I am coming home to the reason why I worked so hard.  But what is the point of working so hard to provide for your family if you don’t also provide for them emotionally?  And at the end of a day, it is easy to slip into an “I just want to relax” or “leave me alone for awhile” mentality.  But the picture reminds me that the most important thing that I could do that day, is what I am about to do with my family.

So, before I walk in, I take a minute to look at that picture, and think about what kind of day my wife had.  I think if there is something that I can do to make her day easier.  I think about my kids and what might make their day more exciting.  I am reminding myself how great my family is, but also I am preparing myself emotionally to be a better dad (You can’t build others up emotionally if you are in a poor emotional state yourself).  This helps me to be more patient, more understanding, and more able to give of myself.

I don’t want to have a “Father Forgets” type of night.

It doesn’t take much; giving your wife a break, wrestling with the kids in the living room and throw them on the couch a few times, go bike riding or throwing a frisbee around etc.  This are simple things that make a big difference.  The most important thing is the time that you give and the memories that you create.

What ideas have worked for you to help you to be more patient and understanding with your kids?

dad of year 2

Father of the Year

If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the picture below to watch the video of a very overly protective dad….

dad of year 1

And by overly protective, I mean overly protective of a free baseball.    A young dad is looking for the perfect spot to score a free souvenir and when the opportunity presents itself, he ditches his wife and kids in an effort to get it and ends up dropping more than the ball.  Unfortunately, he is slow and unable to beat the one other person in the area to the ball.  The son in the wagon is left to fend for himself and he begins to speed down the hill.  But if we examine the facts we may find that there is more to this 6 second clip than we realize.

1)  The kid seems to be a little too old to be pulled around in the wagon.  He is definitely old enough to walk on his own.  The wagon looks brand new so perhaps that wagon was initially purchased for his little sister.

2)  Mom is just a few steps behind with her arms full with a diaper bag and an infant.  Definitely a lot of weight to be carrying all the way around a baseball field.  Why wouldn’t the mom place the baby girl in the wagon to ride with her brother?  Why did she insist on having the baby in the safety of her arms?

3)  Lastly, why does the boy not seem to be shocked that he is rolling down the hill.  You’ll notice that he doesn’t wave his arms or yell for help.  The expression on his face is unchanged.  It is almost like he is used to the experience.  He face seems to say, “Here we go again.”

My theory is that this isn’t a freak incident.  This is a common occurrence for this family.  That is why the baby wasn’t in the wagon, and that is why the boy didn’t seem fazed by it.

Perhaps last week the dad was distracted by a shinny balloon at the zoo and the wagon rolled into the gorilla cage.  And maybe the week before that he was at the beach and stopped to admire the sea gulls as the wagon rolled off the end of the pier.

But even in the midst of all his epic fails, he is still a dad that is trying.  He is a dad that is building memories with his kids.  He is a dad that is there.  Which is more than a lot of dads can say.  He is a dad who is using his day off of work to take his kids to a ball game, and to the beach, and to the zoo to see the gorillas,…up close!!!  So good job to you dad of the year.

And even more importantly, good job to the mom of the year for keeping her baby girl out of harms way.  And good job to all the moms who have to be “on the ball” to compensate for all of us A.D.D. dads out there.

Friday Funnies

1)  90% of all automobile accidents happen with 10 minutes of your house.  If I were you, I would move.

2)  What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A Stick

3)  A cow ran up to the farmers house and said, “Let me in, it’s raining out here and I am wearing leather.”

4)  Why would snow white make a good judge?

Because she was the fairest in all the land.

5)  I hope that when I die, it is while I am asleep like my grandfather.  And not in a violent car crash like my grandmother who was in the passenger seat next to him.

6)  You’re mom’s so old, her social security number in 7.

7)  What do you call a monkey wearing ear muffs?

Whatever you want, he can’t hear you.

8)  What did the toilet say to the other toilet?

You are full of crap.

9)  I over heard someone say that they would die without their cellphone.  So I took his cellphone away and then pushed him in front of a bus.

10)  My mother never breast fed me, she told me she only liked me as a friend.

-Rodney Dangerfield

Credit ABC

Top 10 Awesomely Bad Quotes From Juan Pablo The Bachelor.

The Bachelor has been on air for 18 seasons, and as long as I have been married, it has been on the top of my list of shows that I don’t want my wife to watch, and here’s why.

I feel like I am pretty creative and do my best to romance my wife, but nothing I could do would compare to the exotic adventures on the show that they call dates.  Any episode of The Bachelor will make you feel like you are sitting at a traffic light in a 1985 Toyota Corolla with faded paint and a cracked windshield when a kid in a Lamborghini pulls up along side you.  You are going to feel a little inadequate.

You have been married to your wife for years, you work everyday to support her, you have dedicated your whole life to her, and yet, you are sitting on the couch with each other watching the first date of 2 people who just met.  They have no commitment to one another what so ever, and yet, they are on the dream date of a life time.  One that you will likely never be able to come close to providing for your wife.  

As you sit there with your arm around your wife, you think of your last date, which if you are like us, it probably mostly consist of running errands that you have been putting off because you didn’t want to take the kids with you.

You watch as they hop in a helicopter and fly to the top of a mountain on some deserted island.  The views are breath taking.  They land on the edge of a volcano where there is a picnic laid out and a string quartet playing music for them.

After they enjoy the picnic and a quick make out session they declare their love for each other and then hang glide down to the beach where The Bachelor laid out a love note in the sand with rose petals.  They frolic on the beach, kicking water at each other and then finally end the evening with some more making out while waves are crashing into them as they roll around on the sand.

You know exactly what you wife is thinking, and finally here it comes, “How come we never go on a date like that?”

“Really?  You really want to know why?”

“Well, why don’t we frolic on the beach like that?  We never frolic anywhere,” she adds.

“You don’t even like frolicking.”

“I like that kind of frolicking, you never care to ask what kind of frolicking I like.  What about the love note he wrote her.  Why don’t you ever do that?” she demands.

“I wrote you a love letter last week.”

“Yeah, but that was with a pen.  You have never written me a love letter with rose petals, or with a sky writer, or by carved it into the side of Mount Rushmore.  Don’t you know how I like my love letters?  I want to be romanced!”

These are the kinds of ridiculous expectations that husbands have been measured up against for more than 10 years thanks to The Bachelor.  But last night, Juan Pablo made it all up to us.

I think that I can speak for all husbands everywhere when I say, “Thank you Juan Pablo.”

On the season finale, Juan Pablo showed little reaction when the girls shared love letters, or their deepest emotions.  As the show went on he dug himself further into a hole.  He showed no concern for anyone but himself and didn’t even seem to want to be there.   He dodged questions and refused to share emotion or feelings and kept justifying doing this by saying that Nikki’s dad didn’t want him to propose if he wasn’t sure that he wanted to marry his daughter (in other words, don’t play games with her).  But that is what he was doing.  When others pointed this out he shocked the audience by getting overtly defensive.

For the first time, wives turned off The Bachelor and turned to their husband and thought how lucky they are not to be with that jerk.  We should all go high-five Juan Pablo for making us look so good.

Listening to Juan Pablo, I couldn’t believe what he was saying.  He wouldn’t answer questions and what he did say didn’t make any sense.  These quotes made me laugh so hard that I had to write them down.

They are quotes from the “After the Rose” segment where Juan Pablo was being interviewed.  He has a strong accent and doesn’t speak clearly, but I did my best to quote accurately.

                                       Credit ABC

Credit ABC

10)  ”When you are with somebody you don’t say that you love her or not. You are there or not.”

9)  ”Some people are going to get hurt and some don’t.  And I am straight forward.  Like I said before, I like to say that I am straight forward to you I am straight forward to everybody.  I don’t hide behind a computer.”

The funny thing about this rambling is that it came after being asked if he had any regrets.  Way to dodge the question.

8)  ”I enjoyed kissing these woman.”

7)  ”Why should I have a regret? I don’t know, I wasn’t here when you guys were watching it.  I don’t know what Clare said either.”

First, he should know what we were “watching.”  Next, so the only way you would regret something is if others know about it?

6)  ”Like I said to her dad, if I am not prepared then I am not going to propose.  We are going to have this big test of 4 months.  Today it’s over so we can go eat a burger.”

5)  Chris – “You mentioned to one of our network executives that you had a big surprise for tonight.”

Juan Pablo – “I would have a big surprise???  I don’t.  I talked to the executives and I keep my secret well done…”

Chris – “No surprise?” 

Juan Pablo – “You are talking about a surprise, no.” 

Awkward.

4) “I signed up to find somebody on The Bachelor.  And when I sign up, I never seen it before.  So I was myself.  I stay true to myself.  100% honest.”

When someone has to tell you that they are honest over and over, it seems like they are trying to convince themselves.

3)  ”It has been tough.  You guys have been boxing with me.  I am glad that I have a boxer and he taught me a couple of things.”

An attempt at a joke, I think.

2)  “Sean is different than me.  I say to people things to their faces.  And it is what it is.”

This was in response to what Sean just said to Juan Pablo, right in front of his face.

1)  “I hope it stays private because I am an adult and the ladies that were there were adults and you know.”

Corny Luke 3

Corny Jokes to Share with Your Kids

Want your kids to think you are the funniest parent in the world??? Use some of these corny jokes that kids will love.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell them that you didn’t come up with them yourself. But remember, it’s all in the delivery.

1) What is grey, has four legs and a trunk?  A mouse going on vacation.

2) Where do bunnies like to eat?  IHOP

3) What did the shark say after he ate a Clown Fish?   That fish tasted funny.

4) Why did the super hero flush the toilet?  Because it was his duty.

5) Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?  He was dead.

6) Why did the bird fall out of the tree?  He was stapled to the monkey.

7) What do trees drink?  Root Beer

8) Robbers successfully broke into the police station and stole all the toilets.  The police officers have nothing to go on.

9) What did the blind man say to the dog?   Here kitty kitty.

10) What did the blind man say to the microwave?  Why won’t this t.v. work?

Mason enjoys a little Sheridan's Ice Cream Cone.

Top 5 Places to go for Ice Cream

As my kids get older, I am noticing more and more that they share some of my personality traits, both good and bad; desire for attention, constant need for entertainment, and unique sense of humor that is often misunderstood, to name just a few.

But the one thing that I am most pleased that I have been able to pass on to my kids, is my love for ice cream.  I don’t count ice cream calories, because I don’t consider it food.  I have a spiritual connection with ice cream.  We are one.  Yes, I eat ice cream physically, but more so, it is feeding me spiritually.  Therefore, it’s calories don’t count.  

Last week another family invited us over for dinner.  The food was great and so was the company.  The kids enjoyed themselves, as did the adults.  It was nice that this family used proper entertaining etiquette and informed us that there would be a dessert course as we ate dinner so I didn’t stuff myself with meat loaf and not leave room for the dessert. 

When they mentioned that they planned to have ice cream after we ate, my kids started jumping excitedly in their seats and high-fiving one another.  I told them to settle down even though I was having the same reaction in my mind.

Then comes the bomb shell…

“It’s homemade ice cream.”

Homemade ice cream is the worst.  It is the Ginger Snap of cookies.  It is the Mushroom and Anchovies of pizza.  It is the Shasta of soda.  No real ice cream connoisseur would waste their time with homemade ice cream.

“No thanks,” I said.  ”I’ll pass.”

“What’s the matter, you don’t like ice cream???”

“No, I like ice cream.  I just don’t like homemade ice cream.”  Every time I run into this situation I hear the same response.  

“Well, that’s because you haven’t tried our homemade ice cream yet.  Ours is way better than store bought ice cream.”

I don’t get how people can be so delusional when it comes to the quality of their ice cream, and why is it that people not only try to convince themselves that they make the world’s best ice cream, but then they have this mission to convince me too.

It is the same with parents who think their kids are the cutest kids ever, even when it is obvious that they are not.

Or when you are taking a group picture and there is always one person who won’t accept the fact that they are over weight, so you have to keep retaking the picture until they magically look good.  

“Hold on, my face looks weird in this picture so we got to redo it.”

“Wait a second, this one makes me look like I have a muffin top.  Let’s do one more.”

“This one is no good, the way the light hits my face makes me look like Newman from Seinfeld.”

And I am a nice guy, so I stand there for 20 minutes until we get a picture everyone likes.  Just like I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so I eat the homemade ice cream that taste like iced milk and act like it taste good. 

After the whole experience, and being let down by the horrible homemade ice cream, I decided to take the family out for some real ice cream.  It was then that I got the idea to do an experiment with my kids.  I would take them to every ice cream shop in town and we would find out who truly has the best ice cream, every.  It was a tough job, but my kids were up to the challenge. 

Flash Freeze Dreamery

We went to every place we could think of to get ice cream.  I tried to stick to vanilla flavored ice cream cones for comparison, that way different toppings and flavors didn’t distract from quality (when I say ice cream, I also include custard and frozen yogurt).  Here is the top 5 list that we came up with.

5) Dairy Queen – Super good value and slightly creamier than McDonalds cones.

4) Burgerville – Cone was creamier than DQ but little options for Sundaes.  No nuts means no bueno.

3) Crispy Cream – Almost overlooked, but although I think their donuts have very little flavor, their ice cream was surprisingly good.

2) Flash Freeze Dreamery – Great place to take kids.  It is a bit of a wait because they freeze the ice cream to order.  But that makes it extra creamy and puts on a show for the little ones.

1) Sheridan’s Frozen Custard – Call it ice cream or call it custard.  I call it freakin awesome.  By far the creamiest, best thing I have ever had in an ice cream cone.  I just wish they had indoor seating.

Sheridan's Ice Cream Cone

Comment below your top picks…

Air Time

Making the Most of a Cold and Rainy Day

There are a lot of good things about living in Washington, but the winters aren’t one of them.  They can be long and are way too cold and wet.  I didn’t mind it so much when I was younger, but now that I have kids it is  definitely a pain.

Kids at their age want to be outside, they need to run around and get exercise.  But the grass is so muddy that even just a few minutes outside turns into a lot of clean up work.

This winter has been especially cold, and I have tried to find ways to get the kids to burn some energy and have some sense of excitement indoors.

So we made this video of what the Judd kids do when it is too wet and cold to go outside.

The first part is of me throwing Mason in the air as hard as I can, over and over again.  This is something that all my kids have loved to do, and I definitely get worn out before they do.

The next part shows them jumping off the fireplace mantel.  This may seem dangerous but keep in mind that I worked with my kids for a long time to get them up to feeling comfortable at that height.  In fact, I started working with them at a young age to learn how to do dive rolls, and the proper ways to fall.  Lets face it, when living an active lifestyle you can be sure that you are going to take a fall now and then, so why not train yourself to avoid injury if possible?

We started by having the kids jump from one level onto a mattress.  Then a little higher and a littler higher.  When they were comfortable at the top, I stood on the mattress and they jumped to me and I caught them.  We did this a number of times.  Next I pilled up some blankets to soften the landing.  They aimed for the blankets but I was still there to catch them enough to slow them slightly and make sure they were in the right position to hit the blankets.  Finally I stood next to the blanket pile as a spotter but let them jump all on their own, unless they looked like they needed help.

Luke was the first one to do it all on his own.  And I can’t tell you how excited he was when he made that that jump.  It seemed like something so impossible earlier that day, but now he was jumping without fear or hesitation.  It was a huge confidence booster for him.  Which I believe is important for kids.  It is important for them to grow up realize that they can do things, even if they thought it might be impossible at first.

Watch video here.

banana

Adventure Waits for No One