Archive for the ‘family life’ Category

Another First

October 8, 2010

Happy First Birthday to my little boy, Brendan.  He’s a happy kid, and he makes me very happy, too! 


Erin Is 4, And I Am Old

March 5, 2010

Happy birthday to my youngest daughter, Erin, who is 4!  I love you!

Brendan’s Journey

October 10, 2009

I now am the proud father of a baby boy!  Mommy and Brendan returned from the hospital today, and are sleeping in the other room right now.  I thought it might be neat, as well as informative, to write out a little timeline of the recent past so that everyone can see how things went:

9/31/2009 – Melissa visits doctor.  No dilation, nothing happening.  Melissa is ready to shoot doctor.

10/2/2009 – Melissa ends up in the hospital, thinking her water may have broken.  Doctor says no water broken, but dilated 3 cm.  Melissa is almost begging to be induced, but does not get her way. 

10/7/2009 – Melissa visits doctor again.  Doctor says she’s still at 3 cm, and makes appointment for the following week with the reservation that she’ll probably have the baby before then.


4:00 am – Melissa wakes up to go to bathroom, and mentions that she is feeling a little stronger contractions.  My eyes pop wide open.  I mention that maybe I’ll get up and take a shower.  You know, just in case.

4:30 am – Melissa tells me “Maybe you’d better hurry up and get that shower.”  I get up so fast I get dizzy, and careen into the bathroom to shower. 

4:58 am – Melissa calls my mother and father, and asks them to come over to watch the kids.  I call doctor’s office immediately after, leave message.  Doctor calls back, speaks to Melissa, and tells her to get to the hospital.  Contractions are now painful and 10 minutes apart.

5:25 am – My parents arrive.  I get her bag into the van, and make sure I have my cell phone and camera.  Melissa yells at me for not having the van started.  I start the van, pull it to the door to the house, and then wait until the contraction ends so she can get off the kitchen floor and into the van.

5:50 am – We arrive at the hospital.  I’ve averaged speeds about 20 mph over the posted limit, and blown two red lights and a couple insignificant stop signs.  I take wife to Labor and Delivery, and stay with her until the anesthesiologist arrives to give epidural.  I then go park the car and hustle my ass back up to the delivery room. 

6:45 am – The epidural is done.  Melissa instructs me to add the anesthesiologist to our Christmas card list.  Contractions are 1-2 minutes apart.

6:55 am – Hard labor and pushing begins.  Melissa crushes my fingers;  nurse advises me to only give her two fingers to crush at a time, and I appreciate the information.  I continue to hold Melissa’s foot while the nurse holds the other, and I realize that I am really and truly a part of this whole thing and I just about cry over the joy and privilege of being there.

7:00 am – Melissa is informed her mother is in the waiting room.  Melissa tells the nurse to send her in.  2 minutes later, Melissa’s mom sees more than she bargained for.

7:17 am – Brendan William McLaughlin pops into the world at 7 lbs. 10 ounces, and 20.5 inches. 

7:18 am – I cut the umbilical cord.  Brendan is officially on his own.

7:25 am – I move out of the way of the nurse, and as I back up I bump into something.  I turn to look, and it’s a small table with a plastic tray containing the placenta.  For the third time, I look at the thing they told me not to look at because lots of people get sick or pass out if they see it.  I nonchalantly turn away, unfazed.  Sort of.

7:40 am – I hold my newborn son for the first time.  Sweet. 

10/10/2009 – We leave the hospital at about 11:00 am.  I return home the same route we took to the hospital, not once exceeding the speed limit.

Fourth Time’s A Charm

May 28, 2009

Well, we went to the hospital for the sonogram the other day, and it’s official: My wife is pregnant with our first son! It’s a boy!  He’s all healthy, and due to hit the stage on October 13th!

Some random thoughts on this:

  • Knowing that the family name will live on for another generation is actually a weirdly huge deal. 
  • I get to buy toys that I would have played with when I was little, instead of feeling out of place buying dolls and princess outfits. 
  • There will be someone to hide out in the basement with when all the women in the house are screaming at each other (just kidding.  sort of.). 
  • Finally I can contribute a boy to marry off to one of my friends’ daughters.  Seems that the group I hang with and know has a disproportionately high number of girls compared to boys.  Kind of like my family.  🙂

More to come, once I think about it some more…

Day Of Reckoning

May 26, 2009

OK, so not exactly reckoning.  Tomorrow my wife goes for another sonogram, and this is the one where we most likely will find out whether we’re  having a boy or another girl.  My first hope is that the child is healthy, as always.  After that, well, I would sure love to even up the sides a little bit.  I have three girls, so a boy could help balance things a little.  But another girl would be pretty cool too.  Either way, I find out for sure tomorrow, and we’ll be a step closer.


May 13, 2009

It just occurred to me that I have not gone out for a round of golf yet this year.  I’ve never gone this far into spring without playing nine holes somewhere, or at least hitting a driving range.  I still have no plans to go, though I am going to try for next week some time.  By the way if there’s anyone that would like to get out there, let me know!

It’s amazing what life can throw at you.  Ten years ago I was of the opinion that golf was an inalienable right that I would be exercising every weekend from May until October, with a special emphasis on a week in Myrtle Beach or Phoenix at some point every summer.   Fresh sweet air, a noble pursuit, freedom from the annoyances of everyday life for a little bit, a few beers, friends, what more could one ask for?  

Then I had a daughter.  I got married.  Bought a house.  Had a couple more daughters.  Now I’ve got another kid on the way.  And I haven’t touched my golf clubs in almost nine months.  Life changes in many ways, and I can’t say that the changes I’ve experienced are bad.  I wouldn’t trade my wife and kids for anything, I managed to quit smoking and drinking and lost some weight lately and none of that is bad, right?  On balance,  I have nothing to complain about.  So this is not a rant, just an observation, maybe brought on by the beautiful weather and the quizk glimpse of one of my coworkers showing of their new driver this morning.  Oh, well.

But man, I miss golf.

Alice In West Seneca

May 2, 2009

This evening I went to a stage performance of “Alice In Wonderland” that a couple of my cousin’s kids were in. I didn’t quite know what to expect; my oldest daughter is still a little young to be in plays at school so I don’t really have experience at these events. 

Well, I was absolutely amazed at the ability of some of these kids to perform!  They acted well, sang well, and barely seemed nervous at all.  In fact, it some of the humor that they wrote into the production was the funniest stuff I heard all week.  In short, these kids had a ton of talent!  I shouldn’t be shocked by this, but I think I was just a little surprised maybe that it was that good. 

And then the whole family – me and my wife and three kids and my parents – went to Antoinette’s in West Seneca for ice cream.  Now that’s a good night indeed.

birthday girl

March 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to my lovely youngest daughter Erin, who turns 3 today:


Nice hat!

bleary eyes

February 9, 2009

One of these weekend nights I would like to be able to stay home and not have to deal with stress or drama.  I am not sure what it is that draws these things to my humble abode, but I’ve just about reached the end of my rope.  I left my house Friday night to enjoy the hockey game at my brother’s place, and I am not gone an hour before I get a call telling me that we’ve had an ambulance and two police cars at my house.  No one in my immediate family was hurt, but a family member’s boyfriend had a panic attack of some sort and now the whole neighborhood is probably wondering what the hell’s going in in our house. 

Saturday night, my eldest daughter was not feeling well, crying because her stomach hurt and she was feeling so bad that I had to take her back home to her mother’s house at 9pm.  She’s felt better yesterday, and came over for a few hours to play with her sisters again.  Last night wasn’t too bad except that the kids didn’t want to go to bed until 9:30pm or so, and it took a heroic effort to get them settled down.  Not to mention that they were too tired to cooperate with me in the tiniest matters this morning. 

Of course, all three of these evenings ended up with me overtired, and not able to sleep until the wee hours, and therefore not sufficiently rested for the next bit of drama.  Is it asking too much to be able to get the kids in bed at 8:30 and not have to worry about anything until the next morning?  Or is this the part where some of my elders and others with children tell me to shut it?

valentines day message

January 26, 2009

When I stopped at my parents’ house to drop off my little one this morning, my mother gave me a Valentine’s Day card that my 5 year old Sammi had made over the weekend for a boy in her class.  Here’s the message to the boy:


I’m not sure exactly how she settled on the number 5, but I do know that I’m going to have a talk with Mrs. Red about what kind of TV she’s watching with Mommy.

I was really hoping to not have to deal with this for a good 5 or 6 more years…and only then with my 8 year old Megan.  HA!

Good luck, Noah.

new year’s eve 2008

January 1, 2009

It was the most exciting one we’ve had in years.  Me, the wife, and kids all headed over to my good friend Paul’s house for the evening.  The kids got completely stoked on regular Pepsi, cupcake frosting, and the company of 9 or 10 other kids.  My wife spent the evening discussing me with the 3 other wives, while me and the other three husbands watched some VH1 top 100 list and reminisced about concerts, music in general, and the drunken indiscretions a few of us had shared in years past.  Funny how now that I have been sober for 4+ years all of that shit seems to make great conversation.

By the time midnight came and the ball dropped, most of the kids and couples had gone.  It was just us and the hosts and our kids, and I realized how lucky I was to be in the company of such wonderful people: one of my oldest and greatest friends, his wonderful wife, my beautiful wife, and our complement of well behaved though ludicrously wired children.  I finally had a New Year’s Eve that seemed really right; I enjoy being home with my family for the event but I’ve always felt that it’s an occasion to celebrate with others.  It was nice to be with other families and share it all with kids and grown-ups alike.  There may be a time when I want to leave the kids home and enjoy the night with my wife somewhere, but not just yet.

Surprisingly, we were home and settled in for the night by about 1:00 am.  I sat on the couch after the wife and kids were settled into bed, thinking that it’s about time we got this New Year’s Eve thing right.  I smiled to myself, turned the light off, and shuffled off to bed to rest up for 2009.

i want to be a loser

January 1, 2009

January 1 of any year is when a lot of people start self-improvement, often framed as resolutions.  Often, these resolutions are made in haste and abandoned just as quickly.  Lack of planning, motivation, realistic goals, or company is often the culprit.  I’ve been trying to avoid the resolution thing for a few years because I always fall into one of those traps. 

This year, I am resolved to lose weight.  I say that even though it’s not the product of an actual “resolution”, but rather the result of a cool idea that my cousin decided to try and has invited me to be a part of.  We’re going to do a sort of Family Biggest Loser.  Ten members of our family are going to participate at $100 a person, and we’re going to crown a champion in 5 months. 

The idea is that we all weigh in this Sunday, to begin.  Then we’re going to have weight-ins every three weeks or so, with cash prizes to whoever lost the greatest percentage in that span.  The rest of the cash will go to the two or three Biggest Losers at then end of the 5 months.  Notice that this will get us into the beginning of June, just in time for summer and right about the time many of us are breaking out shorts and swim stuff and wondering why the hell we have to go up another size in swimming apparel.

What’s awesome is that it’s not just the thirty-somethihngs that are participating.  The ages of the 10 of us are anywhere from 25 on up to 60.  We all have different circumstances; busy parents, retired grandparents, single folks, desk jockeys, skilled trades, former star atheltes, former band geeks, you name it.  Some will diet, others will exercise like maniacs, most will combine the two, and we’ll all probably feel a lot better about ourselves for this.

So this addreses a bunch of the “resolution” pitfalls:  It’s well planned.  It’s geared towards a long-term, realistic goal.  There’s real money to be won.  And there are 10 of us, so we’ll have a lot of company in our diet and exercise fun – or misery, however you look at it.  Hopefully, we’ll all be succesful, because that’s going to be the real prize for all of us.