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Happy Friday

I'm off to the ATL in this rainy weather. Stay tuned next week when I reveal my discovery of Happy Cakes.


Go Cavs!

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Blogging For Dollars

This post sponsored by PayPerPost

I don’t know how many of you out there are familiar with Pay Per Post. It’s a great service that allows you to generate revenue from your posts. You do this by setting payment parameters per word and per link. This plus your blog’s category determines which advertisers approach you. There is an approval process, but I don’t recall it taking more than a week or two. I signed up for the service maybe 6 or 7 months ago, but never used it. The dashboard looked like that of a 90’s Mitsubishi --- busy, busy, and more busy.

Not anymore. PayPerPost v4.0 is now live. The layout is clean and simple, quite frankly reminding me of Twitter’s login page. You enter your username and password and it lists your opportunities and account on two separate tabs. That’s it. No fuss, no muss. See the screenshot below.

The downside to this simplicity is you can’t see any opportunities other than what you’ve been offered. Upon further exploration I learned that this program is currently only in Alpha. Few advertisers are on board. They insist that this will be rectified soon.

Check it out when you have a moment.

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Boy's Night Out

My wife and I will be in Atlanta tomorrow on business (hers). This of course required us to coordinate the who, what, when, where for our kids.

My son had his own plans that he decided to share with me yesterday when I picked him up from school.

"Dad, so I'm gonna pack tonight and after you drop me to school tomorrow you can take my bag to Grandpa's so I can just go there after school."

"Okay...wait, what? Why?"

"Because it doesn't make any sense for me to go home if I'm going to Grandpa's."

"You're grandfather won't be home until 11 o'clock tomorrow night. He's going to pick you up after his flight comes in." (He's currently away on business).

"Oh, he told me nine."

"Yeah, that's when he lands. But that's still late. What are you tryin' to do, just hang out here until he gets home?"

"Yeah, I can just do my homework until he gets home since afterschool (his tutoring program) isn't happening."

"So, you want to just hang out by yourself the whole night?"

"Yeah, why not? I'm just going to do my homework and watch TV."

"What are you going to eat?"

"I'll just make something or walk to the pizza shop."

(blank stare - mine) "I applaud your desire to have a night to yourself, maybe at 16, but not now."

"Why not?"

"Because you're 13."

"But, Dad ---"

"Ask your mother when she gets home and see what she says."

3 hours later, he asked my wife the same question.

"Uh, that'd be a negative," she said without even considering the line of questioning I pursued.

"Why not? I can take care of myself for the night," he pleaded.

"Because that's not your job and I want to see you before I leave tomorrow and your grandfather won't be in until almost midnight."

"But I see you people everyday!"

(Loud adult laughter)

"And you will until you go to college," I chimed in. "You'll miss these times when you're about 30."

"No, I won't," he said, half-laughing himself.

"We'll see," I said unfazed by his comment. I went back to watching the Lakers and Nuggets while my daughter began her descent into cranky, insanity that is our signal that it's time for her to go to bed.

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Strollin' The Stroller


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"Have Fun At Picnic Trip"

Last Thursday my son wrote the above title of this post on the white board just outside his room. The trip he mentions was scheduled for the next day. I thought it was funny that he would write down that he should plan to have fun on the trip, but then I got to thinking. In many ways he's in a far better place than us miserable adults who need to be entertained and typically expect the worst in most situations (can I get an Amen!) rather than making sure we have fun and find the good in whatever it is we are doing.

"Have Fun At Your Week This Week." At least give it your best shot.


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Slow Burn

Photo Courtesy of Photobucket.

My wife has a temper on her. When she goes (as well as all the other women in her family) she goes nuclear. You can see it for miles. Grab onto something tight, duck, or just walk away. No good will come of it, especially when it's directed your way.

But then it ends.

I have a temper on me. When I get angry I get quiet. I don't count to ten and then release it into the universe. Mine is clandestine, non-confrontational and polite for no one to see or take notice. I tuck it away somewhere in my soul where it smolders indefinitely.

So which is better, the fire that goes nuclear, leaving almost as quickly as it comes (barring fallout - there's always fallout), or the flame that burns long and slow...forever?

Someone with no age on them might believe the second kind is better, but in no way do the two even compare in terms of strength and intensity. The first is almost harmless in the face of the second, because it holds no grudges and doesn't keep score.

The other day my wife and I had a heart to heart where I did most of the talking. I confessed something she already knew: I've been drowning in my own anger for years. In the backoffice of this blog and the backoffice of my life I ride myself harder than any taskmaster ever could and when I make bad decisions (most of which I realize while I'm making them) I've been merciless with myself. As a single man it didn't matter, I was the only who suffered. But as a married man with a wife and a family things are so cut and dry, especially when in having a wife, a man is bound to run into a disagreement or two, and certain to be faced with a bad decision or two that either: a) he did not make; or b) he felt compelled to make for the sake of others (wife/partner).

I say all this to say I unknowingly harbored a serious grudge against my wife for one of these types of decisions since before we got married. I watched her walk down the aisle with it festering in my soul. We began our "official" lives together with it as a cloud over my head. And then saw the "I told you so" that I knew would happen unfold before me. Her anger although spectacular in production over various and random things, has been no match for the vitrol I spit when I'm finally pushed over the edge. I've laughed when she's said, "Why are you so angry?" or "You're coming off almost cruel." This is because I've been angry about only one thing no matter the catalyst --- be it dishes, garbage, the cat, the kids, or going out to a restaurant for dinner. I didn't know who she was talking about. Ironically, neither did she, which was the very point she was making.

For whatever reason I just "got over it" on my own over the past weekend and reached the end of my anger. Maybe it was the result of a prayer answered without realizing what I was actually asking for. I'm not sure. I spent a day putting my words together and I apologized to her for allowing my anger and inability to let go have a negative impact on our first year of marriage, and affect who I was as her husband and partner in parenting. I told her I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her happily and I said I was sorry one last time.

She told me it was okay and she loved me. And we both moved on.

I have no recipe for curbing, distilling, stemming, blah, blah, anger. That is less so my point than to say, once you identify it (whatever the cause might be), get rid of it, come clean with it, move beyond it. For the sake of yourself, first, your marriage, second and your kids, last (but definitely not least).

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. (So much for me keeping things light and easy - see yesterday's posts). And after you leave this page, please go over to:

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs
This a group of buddies of mine who blog about fatherhood (and mommydom) and all the stuff that comes with it. Dad-Blogs.com!

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Terminator Salvation - Bullets Over Brains

My son has been harassing me to see Terminator Salvation for the past seven days. Every day he asks me the same question: "Dad, we're going to see it, right?"

"Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad?!" [insert scream here]

Each time, I answer yes, I do so slightly more frustrated than the last time.

My wife came home from work yesterday to tell me that the critics said it was heavy on action thin on plot.

REALLY?...And the first three Terminator movies had layered, textured plots?

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Sometimes humor is the best medicine. There was a time when every post I published was reportedly funny. Then once I began to get a little serious and layered a commenter stated:

"That's it? I don't get it, where's the punchline?"

As if my life was some sort of joke. But, hey, that's what I was presenting.

For the time being the lighter side is where I need to be. To keep things fresh for myself and to keep things sane. A blogger (friend in my head) who's a star at this writes over at Hot Chocolate Caramel Mocha. Check her out. She's hilarious.

On to my discussion on Osmosis:

Two days ago I was watching the Laker game and don't remember blacking out just before the end of the first half. I was still recuperating from a weekend paintball match, and just happened to have a splitting sinus headache that erupted into a tension headache that made me run from light like my name was Lestat. Last I remember I was sitting upright, wide awake and the Lakers were down.

Midway through the second half my wife went to turn down the volume and I sprang up to say: "Don't turn it off I'm watching it!" She explained that she was merely turning down the volume.

I instantly went back to sleep. My head was tilted back on my neck, mouth wide open and I snored until I woke up at 1 in the morning. (The wife couldn't sleep that night so she working on her grad school applications in the dining room).

Here's the thing:
I don't remember any of this. I only found out about this when I read about it (taken verbatim here) on my wife's Facebook page. One of her friends commented that men are able to watch TV with their eyes closed and backs to the screen because they take in the game by some sort of osmosis.

...makes sense to me.

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Makes Me Wanna Holler Is A Community


I take it personally when anyone leaves me (this blog). I shouldn't at this point, however. I've stuck with this for a while (my longest stint ever with a blog) and seen quite a bit. Not to mention, I stop following people myself.

In the midst of all this I've created quite a little stockpile of ways to hang out here with me and check out the stories, pictures and happenings in the life of a random black dude with some random stories about his wife and kids. It's parenting and husbandry 101 because I'm learning every step of the way and loving the feedback from YOU the reader.

The following is a list of ways to get your daily/weekly dose of Makes Me Wanna Holler:

- this is the most direct way to stay on top of things here. You can subscribe by email and get brand new posts sent directly to your inbox or if you have a feedreader (most browsers do at this point) such as Google Reader you read me there.

GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT - in the right hand column of this page you'll see a bunch of profile pics sandwiched together. Those are followers who receive updates of when I publish posts. As a Google Follower you can click on the title and voila! You're here at Makes Me Wanna Holler.

TWITTER - I started on this a while ago but only recently did I "get it". If your tolerance and attention span only allows bits of information in doses of 140 characters at a time, then you can follow me here.

FACEBOOK (Network Blogs) - If you're on Facebook and you're into blogs, then this is the place for you. You don't have to leave their site to visit me, you can vote on stories you like, check out all the other amazing blogs on this service, and even leave comments, such as the gentleman who told me he loved my blog and in so many words went on to say I was a credit to my race...he meant well, God bless his heart.

FACEBOOK PAGE - If you're on Facebook and ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to download another application onto your page then you can read my updates and get in on discussions here with absolutely no strings attached other than clicking, Become A Fan.

- The supposed wave of the future and eventual death of the brick and mortar publishing industry has launched a subscription service for blogs. For those in the Kindle set this is the place for you! As this just launched I'm not sure what the outcome of this will be, but I'd rather be in on the ground floor than clamoring to get a seat on the pile a week from now after Oprah endorses it.

If you're a regular I hope I haven't bored you. If you're new to the site, I hope you'll stick around.


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Best of 2009...

...so far.

For new visitors and for not-so-new visitors I wanted to list my most viewed Posts of 2009 to make looking around the site a little easier. Check 'em out and as always thank you for stopping by!

I hope you enjoy reading. I enjoy writing it.

  1. I Hate Cats (this one just won't go away)
  2. About Me
  3. My Archive Page (not the most interesting page in my opinion)
  4. My Piano Keys - Her Mom Is NOT White
  5. 7 Things You Should NOT Say To Your Wife
  6. I'm Leaving My Wife
  7. The Power of Laughter
  8. Frat Life
  9. The Best Medicine
  10. Black Love?

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Wordless Wednesday

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Spring Love - A Lover's Playlist

Lately, I'm really in love with the wife. Over the weekend I played around on iTunes looking for as many (but not too many) songs that made me think of Spring romance and reigniting love anew. And so I came up with the following playlist: (you can download it here by clicking) Spring Love
icon - "a neo-soul collection inspired by Springtime love. Something you can listen to before and during a romantic dinner in, and on a long weekend drive with a lover..." or however else you want to.



Good Morning - John Legend

A Long Walk - Jill Scott

Dancewitme - Maxwell

Back in the Day - Erykah Badu

Cross My Mind - Jill Scott

Remy Red - Angie Stone

Me and Those Dreamin' Eyes of Mine - D'Angelo

Soul Sista - Bilal

Hopeless - Dionne Farris

I Belong to You - Lenny Kravitz

You Got Me - The Roots

Sobeautiful - Musiq Soulchild

Somekinda - Dwele & Antwan Gardner

Pretty Wings (Uncut) - Maxwell

Love Rain (Coffee Shop Mix) [Featuring Mos Def] - Jill Scott featuring Mos Def

You're the One That I Like - Raphael Saadiq

You - Raheem DeVaughn

Seconds of Pleasure - Van Hunt

Outside Your Door - Me'Shell Ndegeocello

Lady - D'Angelo

Honey Molasses - Jill Scott

Kiss Me On My Neck - Erykah Badu

Luxury: Cococure - Maxwell

Slow Dance - John Legend

Know You Now - Amy Winehouse

Pop Pop - Angie Stone

Baby Come Over - Hil St. Soul

Stay With You - John Legend

Love That Girl - Raphael Saadiq

If you don't have these tracks or want a few of them you can download Spring Loveicon on your iTunes account right now.

Check out my Mother's Day Playlist while you're at it.

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FREE Mars Brand Chocolate!

One of my fellow Dad bloggers, Coupon Dad, is hip to everything discounted and seemingly everything free. And I'm not talking about free bars of soap or pencils. I'm talking about albums, shopping sprees, and so on.

With that said, I figured I'd begin my week of blogging with some shameless pandering to the chocolate lover in all of you. Personally, I'm allergic and have no idea what it means to be a chocoholic so I have no problem sharing the following information about FREE Mars Brand Chocolate originally written by Coupon Dad on his site.

Every Friday through September, Mars is giving away FREE chocolate products of your choosing!

To receive your FREE chocolate coupon you need to be one of the first 250,000 people at this web site on Friday morning starting at 9:00 am EST. Remember this is every Friday through September.


Limit: one (1) Coupon per email address per Friday and four (4) Coupons per household during the Offer Period.

More details on this promotion can be found here.

Like any offer, I'd try to do this first thing in the morning. I'm sure the website gets flooded quickly.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

What a week! It got off on the wrong foot carrying baggage from last week. But it came to a close on a positive note yesterday. Now onto the weekend...

...but before I sign off for the week I figured I'd leave you with some words of wisdom from my littlest one as my biggest one is currently suffering all sorts of physical ailments due to the monstrous growth spurt he's currently experiencing and has been rendered completely useless.

Wednesday Morning

While driving to drop my folks off for their return trip home my daughter says:

"Daddy, I want you to buy me a little car with little seats and a little [steering] wheel, so I can drive my sweeties [her dolls] around."

"Okay, baby," I say weakly.

My mother laughs hysterically.


Wednesday Afternoon

Traveling home after picking my son up from school my daughter says:

"Daddy, I miss grandma and grandpa."

"You'll see them soon," I answer.

"I'm sad and I'm gonna go home and eat a Happy Cake."

[I have no idea what a Happy Cake is, and I'm certain she doesn't either.]


Thursday Night

After about the fifth Clash of the Children for the night my daughter runs down the hall after her brother and screams:

"Shut the eff up!" [I don't need to spell this out, do I?]

The resulting chaos that ensued was the stuff of television. Mom chased down her daughter like she stole from her and launched a Bad Cop interrogation that left said perpetrator dazed and crying hysterically. I followed up as Good Cop which also left her crying hysterically. And my son, the alleged victim? He didn't even hear what she said.

Real random: Does anyone out there watch Southland? Is this a great show or is this a great show?

Well folks, I'm off to doctors' appointments for the rest of the morning and plotting out the rest of my future after that. Happy Fatherhood Friday and Happy Friday.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs
After you finish reading (and commenting on) this post, check out the Dads that are doing it well, over at Dad-Blogs.com!

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Best Laid Plans

Thanks for the great comments on yesterday's post. They're still coming in and I now have a poll to go along with it, so please cast your vote.

I write on this blog, but in my heart and mind (if not in reality) I am a writer. I have a relationship with words. And with words as the Bible warns, I've learned how to create and destroy. But so much more than that, I dream with my eyes wide open through my words and I'm blessed to be able to do so.

'Nough said. Below is the first chapter of something that I don't have a title for right now. It's my gift to you folks. Some of it might sound familiar depending on how much you read this blog.


Chapter One: My Ten Year Plan Shot Straight To Hell

On the morning of my twenty-eighth birthday I woke up and realized I had been an idiot for the past twenty seven years of my life. A good amount of that time, it wasn’t my fault. I was growing up. But from twenty-one on, I had been a mess, thinking I knew stuff because got I good grades, went to an Ivy League university, and had a Master’s Degree. The reality was that I didn’t know diddly.

This was the day I became a man.

Upon becoming a man I had things to do, places to go, people (women) to see and meet and bed and experience. I figured I’d romp around the world with my twice-used passport and settle down in time --- my mid to late thirties --- to start a family at the age my father did, thirty-nine.

This new me was in stark contrast to who I had been --- romantic to a fault, needlessly trusting and stubbornly unwilling to let the past be the past when it came to relationships.

The new me was strong, brash and braggadocio. I had a swagger that said, “You can look, but you can’t touch.”

I’ll never forget a brief rekindling I had with an ex. I told her my plans. Baffled, she asked, “Well, what about getting married and having kids?”

I laughed loudly at the insanity of her suggestion.

“Check this out,” I answered, coldly. “I’m going to travel and be a student of life before I ever settle down again.” In my head I hoped to find the love of my life in a foreign country, just to make things extra spicy and sexy. I should’ve known I hexed myself the second I spoke these words.

Little did I know the love of my life was living in the same city as me in New York City’s Upper West Side. Little did I know our paths would cross only couple weeks after my fling with my ex. Little did I know that when I did eventually meet this woman, my ten-year plan would be shot straight to Hell.

On the day I met her, nearly eight years ago when I walked into Macy's Herald Square on 34th Street during my lunch break, I hadn’t managed to travel any farther than the Carribbean. A friend of mine, novelist, Bernice McFadden, was having a book signing for her latest literary offering. Bernice introduced me to the gentleman who set up her event, coincidentally a fraternity brother of mine from a chapter other than my own. I greeted him by announcing my full name thinking the coincidences ended there. Not even two seconds later a woman abruptly eased into our conversation, announcing herself as the man’s coworker and claiming to have the same last name as me. Before she asked me if we were related I knew we weren’t. My nose is a bit broad on my face and this woman's nose sloped at a perfect 45 degree angle. She told me her family hailed from Barbados. Over the years, I’ve been able to trace my origins back to the early 1800s and not a single family member ever originated or was settled in the Caribbean. From there the woman and I broke off from the original conversation into one of personal trivia. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a sly smile develop on Bernice’s face. In that moment she knew what I didn’t --- I had been hooked.

Her name was Nadja. She was beautiful, electric, articulate and feisty. According to her, I caught her eye and she sized me up quickly as a summertime affair, something she later confessed she fully expected to be over by September. Her next words to me after that were, “…I go to school at nights at Fordham University…and I have a five year old son.” Followed by a good minute’s worth of miscellaneous information I didn’t request. I looked her up and down and said, “Thanks for the rundown. I’m Eric.” She looked me up and down, visibly amused and hardly fazed by standoffishness. She let me know that she wanted to make sure I knew the basics before we started. Started what, I wondered. I wasn’t accustomed to immediate forthrightness, especially since this wasn’t my own style.

When it was time for me to return to work Nadja handed me a raggedy sheet of notebook paper with all her contact information on it. She explained that it was her first week on the job and she hadn’t yet received her business cards. I didn’t know if I should believe her, but she had all her teeth and there was something free and exciting about her. So exciting, that I walked back to work with a bop in my step.

It took me a few days to call as it often does with men. It was a Sunday night conversation that lasted long enough for her to decide to cancel her plans with the man she was dating at the time. It rained horribly the next evening and I spent most of it wondering if Nadja was home thinking about me the way I was thinking about her.

The next time we spoke, we made plans to see the sequel to the Nutty Professor on the following Sunday. The day before our first date I was a groomsman in a wedding where the bridal party had been arranged for the sake of matchmaking on the part of the bride and groom. Unfortunately for my bridesmaid, my thoughts were with Nadja and have been ever since.

In Nadja, I had potentially stumbled across the perfect girl to hang out with. Someone I didn’t work with. Someone I didn’t know through a friend. Someone I didn’t meet at a party. Someone who was fiercely independent and someone, based on this independence didn’t appear to be interested in sharing her son with me. Getting to know her was like chugging an energy drink for the first time and then jumping off a cliff (with a parachute).

But after a few short weeks of summer fun, Nadja quietly determined she had discovered a whole lot more than I had. Nadja had found herself a husband.

Seven years and counting, after a rollercoaster romance that included several plays I never thought I’d see (or wanted to) on Broadway, a whole lot of good food eaten on dates at top-shelf restaurants, lots of bad behavior, spectacular knock-down, drag out arguments, a year-long stint of unemployment after being laid off at work, an ugly separation and an even uglier reconciliation, a blessed “surprise” that would become my daughter, more vacations than I can remember, the beginning of a true friendship, a proposal adventure that was the stuff of sitcoms, the birth of my daughter, the death of my hooptie, a seven-month paternity leave (otherwise known as my second stint of unemployment, this time self-imposed) only two months after buying a brand new car, a bunch of random ups and downs in between called life and successfully flipping of my first property, I got married at an intimate wedding on the South Coast of Barbados, West Indies just before sunset..

Just add water. My insta-family was “official” on October 6, 2007, but it had been born long before then.

Now, as a newly married man the conversation, that often turns to debate, with my wife is not about where to eat or vacation, but rather what to do with my twelve year old boy who is almost as tall as me and a little more handsome except that he smells like onions most of the time. He believes he’s grown and has no reason to think otherwise because he’s growing out of control, wears a size 11.5 shoe, and has the retail and entertainment industries marketing to him as it markets to me. Then there’s the baby girl: a beautiful, gentle, kind, compassionate, demanding, outrageous two year-old evil genius bent on taking over the world and intent on bossing everyone around while doing it.

There are no decisions to be made about when is the right time to build a family. Been there done that, had no choice in the matter.

This book isn’t about innovations in the stroller market, although I admit I get excited over a hi-tech stroller when I see one. The same goes for sitters, activities to do with kids and all that other stuff. There are too many good and established writers already doing all that stuff. This is all about my take on being man, dad, husband and a few other things as I’ve tried to make sense of while not going crazy living and working in New York City. Oh, and did I mention I was black, or African American or whatever it is, depending on who’s saying it?

Managing all of this, all at once, is a bit much any given day of the week. Most days I wear it all like an “S” on my chest like Superman. But then there are those days when it really begins to pile up and it just makes me wanna holler.

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Honeymoon Quest 2009

Mother's Day aside, the last fourteen days have been extremely unpleasant for me. It happens to all of us at one point or another where everything comes crashing down all at once. Well laid plans go bust and dreams get deferred against your will no matter how hard you try. I am one who believes wholeheartedly in the idea of every setback being a setup, especially as a believer in Christian doctrine, a witness to miracles and a man who's faith has driven him through certain failure to success. But the last two weeks reduced me to a snarling, backbiting, hate-speaking mess of a man. And it all ended in tears in front of the one woman who knows me just about as well as I know myself: my mom. And the woman who knows me almost as much, my wife, helped me wipe away the tears.

In the midst of all this it dawned on me that in my wife and I's pursuit of a great life for our family we have consistently overlooked the fact that we never went on a honeymoon. Yes, we got married in Barbados, but we left right afterward, plugging ourselves right back into the belly of the beast that is New York and barely missing a beat in the parenting department as all of us with kids know we must do (I hope you know this).

But my wife deserves her honeymoon --- our honeymoon. And I'd like to include you guys in the planning if possible as I begin my quest do right by her in this regard. I had a sheet of paper where we listed our top choices and now it and the notebook it was in have gone missing in my house. I completely expect to find it after I publish this post. I do vaguely remember our options, but none of the specifics:

  1. Europe - Paris, Portugal, Spain
  2. South America - Argentina, Brazil
  3. The South Pacific - Fiji Islands, etc.
  4. A bunch of Mediterranean Isles (I think)
  5. Morrocco

All the places that are currently being decimated by war and are hardly safe for Americans were left off the list, so all of the Middle East is not an option, nor is India, and Egypt (my dream vaca).

Based on the above, where should we go? For those of you who love an anonymous poll you can vote at my Honeymoon Quest 2009 Poll.

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Mother's Day 2009

So what did I do for the mothers in my life on Mother's Day?

  • After being out until 3am at a friend's birthday party the night before I begged my wife to go to church with me. She yelled at me to let her sleep.
  • After she woke up, I gave my wife a Mother's Day balloon because she hates flowers then I took her to brunch at the neighborhood diner.
  • We went to collect our son from my mother-in-law (where he had spent the night) and then we went to the hotel where my parents are staying during their week-long visit and collected the baby.
  • We went home to get ready for dinner where I had a reservation for 13 at Brasserie Les Halles on Park Avenue.
  • I passed out cards and gifts to wife, mom and the wife took care of the mother-in-law. I gave a toast then we chowed down on some serious food. I had the Flatiron Steak with green peppercorn sauce (ate it in 5 minutes flat) paired with home cut pommes frites (of course), a mescelun salad and a glass of Shiraz that remained full no matter how many times I drank it dry. Hmmm....


At one point during dinner I asked my wife to take some pictures of me at my end of the table. Of course she said yes. Later when I went to review the pics she took I viewed a table setting, some people at her end of the table and this rich photo below of me not at the table at all (I was in the restroom).


Ah well, there's always Father's Day. But I believe I won't be in those pictures either.

All in all it was a great day! What did you do (or have done) for Mother's Day?

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Celebrate Mom - A Mother's Day Playlist

  • Play it first thing Sunday morning.
  • Play it for your wife as she opens her eyes and you're placing breakfast in bed in front of her.
  • Play it in the car on the way home from church.
  • Play it while everyone gets up for the day.
  • Play it as background music in the middle of the day while everyone's up and running around.
  • Sing along together with the songs you know.
  • Play it on Sunday after the kids go to bed. Try not to make anymore kids.
  • Just play it.

And without further ado, here it is:

  1. Lost Without You - Robin Thicke
  2. Good Morning - John Legend
  3. I'm Glad You're Mine - Al Green
  4. All I Do - Stevie Wonder
  5. Staying In Love - Raphael Saadiq
  6. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
  7. U&I - Emily King
  8. Heaven Must Be Like This - D'Angelo
  9. I Wanna Be Where You Are - Michael Jackson
  10. Sure Hope You Mean It - Raphael Saadiq
  11. I'll Always Love My Mama - The Intruders
  12. Lovely Day - Bill Withers

It's a nice mix of R&B/Soul classics from yesteryear and a couple of tracks that probably will be classic in the years to come.

If you already have these tracks, great! It's a great play, trust me. If you don't you can download the playlist here, appropriately and boringly titled: A Mother's Day Mix 2009.
icon You can download the mix here by clicking the appropriate and boringly titled If you don't you can download the mix here onto your iTunes account just as soon as the mix becomes live (this hasn't happened yet - not sure why). Check back here between now and Saturday for the link to this iMix. Feel free to add your suggestions and if they make sense, then I'll add them to the mix that (drumroll) once again will be downloadable from the iTunes store onto your iTunes account as soon as it becomes live.

Happy Mother's Day, Happy Fatherhood Friday and Happy Friday.

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Simple Kids --- Uncomplicated Parenting in a Complex World

I ran across a great website yesterday while I was swimming around in the madness that is Twitter. It's called Simple Kids --- Uncomplicated Parenting in a Complicated World. The title alone was enough to catch my eye as this is what I'm currently striving to achieve in my own life.

One of their recent posts stuck a chord with me: Seperating Yourself From Your Children's "Stuff". Please see the article that appeared originally on the Simple Kids blog, below:

Fans of Simple Mom know that her Spring Cleaning Party begins today. I’ve purchased and downloaded her e-book and I am ready to go. My home is in need of a clutter purge! And when it comes to the amount of toy clutter that sweeps across the floors of our home on a daily basis . . . well, it is enough to make me just want to lay down on the floor and give up. I’d have to clear off a spot amidst the blocks and books and baby dolls, of course, first.

In the chapter on decluttering and cleaning the rooms of your children, Tsh warns that when it comes to purging toys, parents can “prepare for some possible emotional battles.” My children are not quite yet to the age where they get a keep/toss/donate vote on each toy, and in fact, most of my toy decluttering is done while they sleep. Yet I find that the emotional battles that are the most difficult in sorting through my children’s toys are fought within myself.

I would not say I have superhuman memory powers, but I do have the uncanny (and when it comes to decluttering - inconvenient) knack for remembering where most every toy in our home came from. This makes the purging process particularly difficult for me. I pick up the blinking and bleeping toy laptop and remember fondly the occasion on which it was present to my oldest daughter by her grandparents. Nearly every stuff animal in the monstrous heap in which they all reside has some kind of fond story of a loved one attached to it. I find it to be almost physically painful to toss or donate these things which were lovingly chosen and given to my daughters. But the weed-out process is necessary if we don’t want to drown beneath a sea of kiddie clutter, so I’ve written out these steps to make the process a little bit less painful for me.

1. Mantra: Getting rid of a toy does not mean getting rid of a relationship.
Logically, I know this is absolutely true. Emotionally, this is where I struggle. I must focus on the fact that finding a new home for a toy given to the girls by one of their favorite aunts does absolutely nothing to damage the relationship they have with that aunt. Their relationship is not built on them receiving gifts from her. If she never gave them another toy, they would still adore her just as much.

2. Consider alternate “dumping grounds.”
My husband’s parents had already been grandparents for nine years when my oldest daughter was born, so their house has long been a fun haven for my children to visit. On the other hand, our oldest daughter is the oldest grandchild on my side of the family, and my parents have not yet collected an expansive toy collection for entertaining the little ones. This week, I’ll be packing up and taking several boxes of toys from our home to my parents’ home. This way, the toys that we have special attachments to won’t be gone for good, just gone from our toyroom.

3. Be realistic.
When a toy has been played with and loved on for a long time, I find that I want to tuck away and keep it in a special place for the girls to have and keep when they leave home. I think this is a fine idea, but I have to remember they aren’t going to want an extra large U-Haul box full of toys traveling with them from college dorm to first apartment to first home. How will I decide? I’ll probably just have to cross my fingers and go with my gut in making these decisions.

In the creative family, Amanda Blake Soule writes

When it comes to playthings for our children, I can’t emphasize enough that for creative play, less really is more in regard to toys . . . A sad product of our modern world is that our children are taught early on to overconsume and want more, more, and more.

I know the hearts of the people in our lives who love our girls, and I know they would not want this outcome for them. I know they would ultimately want the girls to have bright, organized, inspiring spaces to play - spaces that have just enough instead of way too much in the way of toys, even if that means finding a new home for something they gave to the girls as a gift. And I think I’ll find this to be the most helpful motivating thought as I attempt to invite more simplicity into our home this week.

Do you get emotional when you sort through your children’s toys? Or do you tend to be more practical? What are your best toy decluttering thoughts, tips, and strategies?

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Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

It used to happen to me repeatedly. Mother's Day would sneak up on me and WHAM! I was running around scrambling to find something for my mom, usually at a premium because I waited so long.

The Internet has since eased this predicament somewhat and over here at MakesMeWannaHoller.com I want to help out too. I've got some quick suggestions just in case you need something for the mothers you love --- the ones that birthed you and/or the ones who birthed your children.

If she likes flowers:

If she's a mom-to-be:

If she loves her iPod/music:

Hope it all works out!

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Failure Is The Mother Of Success

Remember this?

Remember him?

Remember the time?

Ahh...Da Bulls.

Happy Hump Day. Whatever your struggle may be...keep tryin'.

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Wordless Wednesday


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Like A Good Neighbor - State Farm Is There

My friends over at State Farm (a place where I worked during the late '90s) sent me the following:

State Farm Agents have been handling claims for years, and through the years there have been a number of stories that have caught their attention. From dogs eating car interiors, to glass eyeballs being insured, no matter how outrageous it seems these true stories give a glimpse of how State Farm Agents have delivered superior service. If they can take care of these cases, imagine what they can do on a regular basis! Proof that like a good neighbor, State Farm is really there.

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Maxwell - Pretty Wings

I figure I'd start the week off on the right foot with a song. Music is such an integral part of my life. It began with nursery rhymes, then church songs, Negro spirituals, songs on the radio, playing piano for 13 years (composing music for one or two years), embracing hip hop and R&B, getting swept up in Chicago House music and Deep House (disco for all of you not in the know), Queen (that's all I have to say), falling in love with jazz after college, and getting into Rock after Iron Man hit the screens last year, and in the midst of it I've LOVED neo-soul --- Jill Scott and 'em.

But this brother right here, Maxwell? Is on a whole ---- novah (voice rising) --- levahl (eyes looking skyward)! Friends, exes, a former boss (oops) and my wife --- I've watched all of them turn into boiling, babbling, moaning, panting sirens as soon as this man starts singing. And if you've been to his concerts (I've been to all of them) it's so much worse. [Side note: Sadly, my wife broke two toes on her left foot last week, but managed to excitedly hop on one foot over to the computer when she heard this song.] I can't hate cause it's always worked to my advantage by the end of the night. And truthfully, he's got it goin' on. Here's a guy, who from all outward appearances, seems to be all about love and romance. If we could all take a page from his book...

This is his new single off of what I can only hope is his God-awfully long to drop follow-up album to his last three joints. There's really no info out there other than this single. Let's hope it's soon! Click here Maxwell - Pretty Wings (Uncut) - Single - Pretty Wings (Uncut) to download it on your iTunes account now.

Happy week, y'all!

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Father Involvement

I've absolutely LOVE this video! It just sums things up, point blank.

When this spot first aired on TV my wife looked over at me and said, "That is so, YOU!"

I laughed and agreed.

Since then, everyone from my daughter's allergist to my coworkers have said the same thing. But actually he doesn't look anything like me. But maybe it's:

  • the bald head thing
  • the fierce cheer he's leading (and the moves)
  • the spirited sassy daughter thing
Or maybe I'm just a man who believes I need to love and entertain and be involved with my kids with everything that I have and everything that I am. This isn't motivated by fear for them, my past or anything at all (other than maybe upbringing). It's basic. You have kids, you're in their lives --- PERIOD (and their mother's too - who thankfully just happens to be my wife)! It's called Father Involvement. This should be a no-brainer, but we all know that it is not.

If you REALLY agree with me then you can show your support by sharing or embedding the widget below. But by merely viewing this page you've added your count to the number of people who've been exposed to information regarding the importance of father involvement.

On my LINKS page there are a couple of organizations listed that are excellent resources for fathers, if you're interested in learning more.

Happy Fatherhood Friday and Happy Friday.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs
After you finish reading (and commenting on) this post, check out the Dads that are doing it well, over at Dad-Blogs.com!

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