The Shut In Life

Wow 2020 has come to us with vengeance. This year has brought something I never thought I would see in my life or something that I have only seen on the silver screen. .

COVID-19 has rampaged through the U.S. and the rest of the world and has left a terrible trail of death and carnage in its path. So many of us have been seeking shelter at our homes as our offices are forcing us to work from home or, for some of us, we are on the front lines serving the public and the infected as we all navigate through this pandemic.

We actually had an entire Disney vacation planned for the week of Spring Break and were super excited to head to Florida. Then everything was shut down and we were forced to reschedule our trip for September. We were able to recover our funds and actual reschedule our new trip for cheaper thanks to Disney for giving us our dining plan for free.

So what I been doing since being quarentined at home? Like most of you I have tried new hobbies, caught up on shows, and have added the title of teacher to my resume.

Here is what I have been up to…

I have picked up baking.

Like most of us I have turned to stress baking as a way to deal with all the recent changes and also eat my feelings. I know this is not the most super healthy way to live and is a recipe for disaster but I find it helpful in multiple ways. It is a great way to past the time with my 7 year old and also teach her something new that she may become interested in. It also gives me a chance to master a challenge and try something new at the same time.

I made some homemade chocolate chip cookies about two weeks ago. They were a little flat but eatable. My recent post on the gram was all about my lemon pound cake that I made from scratch. As it did look very good in the picture with all that tasty lemon glaze on it, I must be honest and explain that I left 1 and 1/4 cup of flour out of the recipe by accident and the inside was as dry as the Sahara and we ended up throwing it away.  I am still very happy with how it turned out and I plan on making another one soon… with the correct about of flour in it.

I started air frying everything! 

My wife and I decided to eat healthier a few months back( I know I just said I was baking but stay with me) and we both love fried food on occasion. A coworker of my wife suggested that we get an air fryer and try some of our recipes in it like fried chicken, nuggets for the kids, and cheese sticks. So after looking and looking we finally found one in our budget.

I must say…WHY DID I NOT GET ONE OF THESE SOONER? This appliance is a game changer and I love it! I made fried chicken in it on Easter and it was so crispy and juicy that even my kids ate it and did not complain. This was very much worth every penny and I am excited to make buffalo cauliflower soon in it.

I have become a highly UNQUALIFIED teacher!

Like all parents today, my kids school is closed and my wife and I have had the pleasure of entering the world of home schooling with our 1st grader. It has been both fun and difficult at times. Sometimes I find myself questioning my own intellect and if I really know what I am talking about. There are times where it gets frustrating and I have to walk away and then come back an hour later or I have to say to wait on Mom to come home to help.

It makes you realize that you take your kid’s teacher for granted and all that they do and for the little amount of pay and respect they get. If anything, the take away from this experience is to treat your kid’s teacher with more respect and to be there for them when they need help and be more involved in your kids education. This is something that at least with this school year I have dropped the ball on. Looking forward to changing that once this is all over.

I just hope that my ability to explain fractions to my child did not seriously screw up her future success in academics as I ate most of the example pizza.

One of the cool things about this is that my kids can still do their dance classes  and even a craft class with their friends via Zoom and I am impressed with how easy it is to set up. They made lava lamps out of water bottles yesterday in craft class and they do virtual dance parties and yoga sessions for the kids. I am so thankful for the digital age we live in.

I have watched a lot of TV and movies!

I think I speak for everyone on this when I say that the TV has become by best friend. I recently started binging both new and old shows. I watched the entire first season of Mystic Quest on Apple TV+  in one day and I am one episode away from being done with Home Before Dark. I have also started to rewatch Friends, which is always a fun show to go back to and it never gets old. I was not that young when the show went off the air(I was a senior in high school) so rewatching it lets me understand some jokes I did not pick up on the first time around. I watched IT: Chapter Two a few nights ago and I will say that I should not have waited to watch it at night.

I also downloaded Quibi and have become obsessed with Most Dangerous Game and Murder House Flip. Both are amazing shows and the best part is you can watch them on the go in under 8 minutes. They have a free 90 trial so if you want to try it then now is a great time.

I have also become obsessed with Disney+ and have made my Fridays dedicated to watching all the new content that has come out. I am watching the final season of Star Wars: Clone Wars, Shop Class, Be Our Chef, and Running Wild. I also binged watch most of the Disney Nature movies in one weekend like Born In China and Elephant. My kids love the original Ducktales and Gummi Bears which makes me happy as I loved those as a kid and rewatching them has been a joy.

I am always open to suggestions on shows so if you have any, please send them my way.

I have been running long distance again.

Since recovering from heart surgery I have put running on the back burner and started to pick it up slowly over the past 6 months. I have worked my way up to 5 miles and have been treading the pavement after dinner the past couple of weeks. I feel great and it feels good to be back at it again. My only complaint is that I wish the weather would make up its mind if it wants to stay warm or stay cold.

Other things include… at home spa days

Night time bike rides

A trip to the drive thru zoo.

Family game nights.

 

and fun trips to the outdoor pool when it is warm outside. 

These times are hard but one thing that I always keep in the back of my mind is that we all must be support one another. I am a believer in acts of kindness and how it affects people. So although we are all practicing social distancing, please remember that some people don’t have it as easy as you and we all must do our part to help one another. Even if is a cup of coffee,  taking care of your neighbors electric bill, or even providing a meal for family member. Kindness goes a long way.

Please stay safe out there and please wash your hands.

Much Needed Labor Day Weekend

It had occurred to me about a month a go that I had not taken any time off since Disney so I decided to take some time off. It also so happened to be Labor Day weekend.

So my wife and I took the weekend and spent time together as a family. It was nice to spend some time together. We went to a few shops, ate at some restaurants, watched Disney movies, cleaned the house, and even my wife did some crafts. It was great to take some time out of the usually day to day and just be a family and relax.

We took the kids to The Disney Store and they lost their minds. They always enjoy going and picking out a new stuff animal. Evie sometimes thinks she can leave the store with a handful of stuff. You have to watch her.

I got some good training in this weekend as it fell on my leg and push day. I am getting stronger heading into week three and my body is changing in ways I am loving. I really do believe I will be show ready on time.

Me and the kids got some much needed naps in.

We even had the nephews over and played with them to get us ready. We will be keeping them in two weeks. One house, two adults and four kids… GOD HELP US! Although I did find out they can be bribed with mashmellows

By the time Sunday rolled around we were tired and spent the day getting ready for the next four days of work and school but we found some time to take fun pictures.

Not a bad way to say goodbye to Summer.

Swolemates In The Making

It has finally happened folks. My wife and I are finally working out together!

Ever since I got into fitness I have dreamed of getting my wife to join me. I always saw couples at the gym working out together and that was always something I wanted for me and BrittWhitFun. She came up to ma couple of days ago wanting me to teach her things and give her some workouts.

Before I knew it she was starting to eat better and ask about how to lose weight and tone her body. So we researched and I gave her some stories from my own experience.

I explained that it is a journey and not an overnight thing. To keep trying even if you feel like given up. My body is no where I want it to be but I am getting closer everyday and I know with hard work and dedication and a super supportive husband she will be fine.

This is going to be fun.

Another Beach Day

I can’t believe it is July! Wow! Where has the year gone? We have spent much of our time in the car this year as you  could tell. We have been asked by a lot of our family where are we going this weekend? The answer this past weekend was the beach…again.

When my wife and I were dating we spent a lot of time on the beach. We love it. We don’t go down to eat at fancy restaurants or to shop. We go down there and plan our butts in a chair and stick our feet in the sand and relax. That is a real beach trip. This past weekend was no exception.

We decided to head down to Holden Beach. Its our families beach and we love every minute there. It is nothing special but very special to us. We came down and dropped our stuff off at Nana’s and headed to the beach.

It was crowded, being July Fourth weekend but we managed to find a great parking spot and walk to the beach access. The beach was crowded but we did not mind. We set up camp and let the kids go wild. The water was rough. VERY rough. It was so rough that it knocked you down. We still had a great time.

After changing in the parking lot we headed back to Nana’s house.

We went to the Seafood Barn because I wanted fish.

You also can’t come to Holden Beach without getting some ice cream.

I love these little trips of ours and I hope that even though our Nana is selling her place that we can continue this tradition of being little beach bums.

My Perfect Father’s Day

Just when I think my little girls could not surprise me anymore, they do. I had a great Father’s Day and thanks to my girls and my amazing wife, I was showered with love the entire day.

I woke up to “Happy Father’s Day” from K-Dub, which was followed by lots of hugs and kisses. After we got dressed they handed me their homemade cards. Nothing is better then a homemade card.

I was taken to my favorite breakfast spot which is Stacks in Waxhaw. If you ever go I suggest you go early as the line can get crazy. We stuffed our faces with pancakes, French toast, and hash browns and bacon. So good and so worth it!

After breakfast went on our usual Sunday Target run to get some things for the week and my wife bought me some new clothes. When we got home, I left with K-Dub and went to see Cars 3. It was a great time with just the two of us. I spoiled her with candy and popcorn and she soaked up every minute with me.

When we got home we went swimming for a couple of hours at the neighborhood pool and then went home where I made my famous Mac and cheese with fried squash and cornbread. It was yummy! Then I was treated to Pelican’s Snowcones in Waxhaw. This place is so good. They over 50 flavors and it is very affordable. I got cherry margarita and blue raspberry. So good.

I loved my Father’s Day. I got to spend it with my girls who I love more then anything in this world. Being a dad is the best job I could ask for and one that I never take for granted.

My Best Friend Dad.

This Sunday is Father’s Day. I am very excited but just like the past two years I am sad. It is hard to believe my dad has been gone three years this October.

It is a crazy feeling not having parents. You have no one to call and just talk to about things. My dad was a great listener. He would not give his two cents unless you asked. He would tell me if I was wrong, tell me it would be ok, and he always told me he loved me. He was my rock in many ways. Now I sit here and I catch myself listening to his voicemails and how he would always start them off with “Hey Tyler, Its your Dad!” like I did not know who I was talking to.

I read about the latest political scandals going on and all the things that President Trump is doing and I know that if my father were alive he would have a field day. I always told my dad to start a blog. It would have been a great blog full of his personal insight. My dad was very opinionated so his blog would have been an amazing read.

My dad always loved movies and he loved Marvel movies. Every time one would come out he raced to the theater on opening night to be one of the first to see it. Sometimes he waited for me to go with him. Going to the movies with my dad was one our favorite things to do together. It was our time to bond. Now I may not make it to opening night but I do go and see the newest Marvel every chance I get.

One of the things my dad had that he loved was his truck. He was always so proud of his truck. After he passed away I got it and made it my own but all of his things are still in it. Sometimes when I am driving I reach up and grab his hanging cross on his rear view mirror and say “Love you Dad”.

One thing he loved more then me was K-Dub. I don’t care what anyone thinks but he loved my oldest daughter more then anything. I am 95% sure she was his favorite grandchild. He always came and saw her to play with her. She loved him and still today, she asks me about him. I miss watching them bond. It was something very special. I know that if he was here today then he would love Evie. They would have been great friends.

As the years have come and gone I don’t think missing him ever gets easier. Its just around this time of year I miss having a dad to honor. I miss being able to pick of the phone and call him. He was taken from me so soon and I did not even get a chance to say goodbye. Life is not always far and things happen. People die and it is sometimes ones that are real close to you. My dad maybe be died but his memories are still with me. His advice still guides me, his love is still in my heart. Just when I can’t think of a better gift, he still there to remind me what is most important.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

K-Dub’s Concert

I have no idea why I did not share this a few weeks ago. I must have had a ton of other crazy things going on. A couple of weeks ago K-Dub had a concert put on by her school for the parents. It was her first one in the entire three years she had been there. I was actually pretty excited about going. What is more cute then a bunch of adorable kids singing? Right?

So we got her all dressed up. I left work early to ensure I was there on time. We got to the school and dropped her off at her classroom before going and taking our seats in the auditorium.

Soon it was time to start and the kids came marching in looking all adorable. Soon they started singing. I could not find K-Dub at first. I had to stand a little out of my chair and found that all the other kids were singing and she was standing there with her hands over her mouth. Only my kid. Take a look.

I was not made at her by any means but it was still pretty cute.

Exploring Charleston

As. you could tell from last weeks posts it was mine and BrittWhitFun’s anniversary. We decided that instead of taking the usually trip to the beach to go somewhere we both have never been. So after some talking my wife decided to book us a weekend in Charleston, SC. I have always heard that Charleston was a beautiful town that was full of local artist, good food, and some great local beer. I have to say that after a long weekend I have never been more sick of food and beer but it the greatest way possible.

We arrived in Charleston Friday afternoon. We were both starving. We decided to stay in Mt. Pleasant cause it was cheaper and there were plenty of stuff to do here also. The first place on our list was some good lunch. After some suggestions from our friends we ended up at Shem’s Creek Bar and Grill. I of course had to try shrimp and grits for the first time and it did not disappoint. We sat near the water and watched people paddle board in the creek. I tried an IPA called Damn Yankee that was very good.

After lunch we headed to Isle of Palms beach. This beach was cool. There were plenty places to park(for a $1.50) and lots of shops. The beach as amazing. The sand was so soft. My wife and I took a long nap on the beach and just relaxed with one another.

Soon it was time for dinner. We headed to our hotel and checked in and then went to Melvin’s Ribs and Que. It was a lot of food and I could not even finish it but it was good what I ate. Then we went to a bar and had some drinks and desert. before calling it a night.

The next day we got dressed and headed to Charleston. We stopped first at Another Broken Egg Cafe. After waiting for a table for an hour and another hour for our food we indulged in a cinnamon roll that was out of this world followed by a Hello Lucy. The food was worth the wait! So good and I wanted to steal there little cute mugs but my wife told me we did not need another one.

After breakfast/lunch we explored the market place. I loved this place cause it was nothing but local artist and chiefs. We bought a few gifts for some loved ones and ourselves and I did manage to get a nice coffee cup. We even found a cool Charleston Christmas store and bought some ornaments for our tree this year.

We managed to find a cool wine bar and sat down and enjoyed a couple of glasses before heading out to see some sites.

The first place we went to was Washington Square Park. This place was so cool and it had plenty of shade. It was behind this beautiful church. After cooling off we headed to Waterfront Park which had an awesome view of the water, a pier, two splash pads, and a water taxi. It was just so neat to walk through.

By this time we were tired so we got to our car and went to Starbucks and grabbed some iced coffees. I fell asleep cause according to my wife I can fall asleep anywhere. True story.

I had made dinner reservations for us at an upscale restaurant called Magnolia’s. So we headed back into downtown and made our way there. We had some great martinis to start us off. We then were seated and indulged ourselves in some fried Mac and cheese and palmetto chesse, which now that I am typing this makes it sound bad for my stomach. My wife got a salad and I got buttermilk fried chicken that was out of this world. I wish I could have stopped myself long enough to take a picture of it. So good.

After dinner we went to the hotel and chilled out for a little and then headed back to Isle of Palms again. This time we just got some ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s and walked on the beach and looked for shells. It started to get dark and we headed back to our hotel for some rest.

I must say it was a great vacation with my wife. It is not every day we get to have some alone time. She did a great job about being away from the girls all weekend. Sunday she was ready to get home and I really can’t blame her. I was missing them also. It was a great anniversary with my love. I still can’t believe we made it to six years and I can’t help but feel we are only getting started.

The Wedding

Here we are. We are finally at our wedding day post. It is hard to believe that this was six years ago and that so much has changed since then. Our marriage is far from perfect and everyday we strive to be better for one another and our children. We love each other very fierce and that has not changed in six years.

To my love, partner, and best friend… I love you and Happy Anniversary! Here is to many more.

The following is from a previous blog entry

Our wedding day was very busy. Brittney and I had a lot of things to get done and a lot of loose ends to tie up. I woke up and my groomsman and I headed over to my parents house for a much appreciated breakfast. My mom made me liver mush and for those of you that have not tried it, it is actually really good.

We then had to leave and meet my father-in-law at the park to set up the chairs and the sound system for the wedding. I waited there while Spencer and Chris left to go and get some cables for the sound system. I stayed there by myself and called my friend Cattie.

Once we were done with that I took the guys to get some lunch and then we headed to my apartment to get our luggage for our honeymoon. We then left there and went to the hotel and got ready.

Once we arrived back at the park, I saw tons of cars of our friends and families. My groomsman and I had to hide in the park bathroom to avoid Brittney and I from seeing each other. After praying with the pastor and having a moment alone with my brother, I was ready to do this.

I headed down to the gazebos where everyone was waiting. I walked my mom down the aisle and kissed her cheek as she took her seat. I had to have my back to the audience as the bridesmaids walked down the aisle cause Brittney did not want me to get a peak of her as she was getting ready to marry me.

I was told to turn around and saw the woman I love in her beautiful gown. It was better than I could have imagined it. I immediately started to tear up at the beautiful sight that was my bride.

After exchanging rings and vows, we were finally pronounced man and wife. We both had a very interesting journey to this day so it was awesome to enjoy this moment we both have been waiting for.

Our reception was amazing. We had great food and music. There was lots of dancing and cake! I remember dancing with my wife for the first time and how I told her that we finally did it, We were husband and wife!

We left our reception, with lots of hugs and kisses from friends and family. I remember looking back as we rode off together and thinking to myself that if I had to do it all again, I would in a heartbeat. Maybe not the same way.

 

How We Got Engaged!

 

In a continuation of honoring my wife this week on the blog leading up to our 6th wedding anniversary, here is the story of how I asked her to marry me.

The following is from a previous blog entry. Enjoy!

I always wondered how when it came time to officially ask Brittney to marry me, how I was going to do it. It was not a shock to our family and friends considering we had a wedding already being planned. I still wanted my future bride to have that moment where the one who loves her more than anything gets down on one knee and look her in the eye and ask the question. Will you marry me?

For sometime I was in the process of trying to finish paying off her engagement ring. I picked it out in May of 2010 but could not get it paid off till January of 2011. I finally just said “You know, I am ready for her to have this and make this official”.

I spent a few days trying to come up with the perfect plan. I was thinking of taking her out to dinner in Downtown Charlotte and then having our families and friends waiting for us at the restaurant, but the only problem with that was it felt kind of dumb cause everyone knew we were planning a wedding.  So then I decided to just let it be the two of us and got that Saturday night and just go for it on the streets of Charlotte.

I got the ring out of “ring jail” on Thursday, January 25 and was really excited. I went to show my mother the ring and she said for me just to do it today and surprise her. I thought it was a wonderful idea.

On the way home to meet her I called her dad and asked for his permission, which again was not needed, but I wanted to do the right thing. He told me to go for it and to have her call him afterwards.

I got to the apartment and told her that my Dad wanted us to look at a catering place for the wedding in Charlotte.  So with so much hesitation from Brittney, we got in the car and headed that way. It was so hard to keep the excitement in. I kept feeling my pocket and she kept looking at me. She later told me she knew I was acting weird.

We got to the heart of Charlotte and started to walk around. It started to rain and I was starting to get nervous looking for the perfect spot.  i found a fountain on the corner of the street. I stopped us and got down on one knee. She asked me what I was doing and I said I was tying my shoe. I then told her I hated the rain and she responded with then get up and lets go.

I looked up and said, “Or I could do this. Will you marry me?”

She was so excited she grabbed the ring from my hand and put it on her finger and said, “Yes!”

We kissed in the street in the pouring rain and started to walk back to the car. I later confessed everything over a cup of coffee while we were between calls to our families.