Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March 27, 2017 - Everyone's Sick and Looking for an Office Space

Family
Almost all of us were sick today.  Nothing too bad, just tension headaches and sinus problems.  It makes it quite difficult to function.  We made it through the day though.  Hopefully tomorrow we'll all start feeling better.  Makes it tough to get stuff done...but we'll keep pushin' through.


Work
Today I went to look for an office space for my lessons and for the band's business side.  Kind of excited about that.  The main place I'm looking is a place called the Second Floor which is located above a coffeehouse called the Paramount Cafe.  This place is a co-working space, which kind of makes me wonder if I'll be able to get approved or not.  They may not like the idea of having a little music running through there.  We'll see.

Monday, March 27, 2017

March 25, 2017 - Local Burger Joint and New Students

Family
I took the birthday girl on a walk to get Burger Inn (a local burger joint here on the west side of Cheyenne).  She loved having daddy time and it's still her birthweek so she got to pick where we got dinner from. 

They were about to close when we got there.  I placed my pretty big order and the guys looked annoyed.  I heard what sounded like a vulgarity muttered under the cook's breath (but maybe I misheard) that seemed to be directed at me.  My instincts were to say something to him about it, and I almost did.  But I looked at my 5 year old, I thought about how much spit could end up on my burger, and I thought about when I was 15 working at Taco John's and people came in at the last second.  So I tipped the guy a small amount and told him how much I appreciated them making my food so late in the evening.  They were so cool to us after that.  

I really feel bad that I was thinking about calling the guy out, but I am glad for my daughter's sake that I changed my mind.  Praise God.
  
Work
I had two new lessons today.  And it's a real bummer because they were so awesome and they seemed to really enjoy it...and we will be getting kicked out of this house after next month.  Heather is encouraging me to look into office spaces this week.  So I think I am going to do that starting on Monday.  We've found some for as little as $310/month.   I really want to keep my students.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 24, 2017 - Where Will We Live and What Will Happen to My Students?

Family

So, day two of not knowing where we are going to live.  The kids are handling it pretty well.  I think they see that we are doing ok.  We have faith that God will provide.  We went on another walk and the kids love that.  No freak outs, no crying...they must have faith as well.

This pic taken by the 5 year old on her new camera.
Work

One of the most difficult parts of all this is trying to figure out what we're going to do with all my students.  I've got 12 students and 2 to 4 new ones starting within the next couple of weeks.  We don't have a clue what to do to keep them as students.   I may be able to travel to their house, or find a public place that would let me do lessons.  Or if we end up hitting the road like we want to, I could do their lessons over Skype or FaceTime.  It would be a shame if I had to lose them.  I really like all of my students.  But I've got to figure out where we'll be living before I can come up with a plan for my students...

March 23, 2017 - Birthday and Eviction Notice

Family

Our 4 year old turned 5 today.  For her birthday, she wanted to walk to the mall.  Since our van is still dead until I get it fixed on Saturday...that was an easy request to fulfill.  We left early and it was a very nice day all day...until about 6 pm.  Then it became extremely windy...and we did not bring the right apparel for me or the kids.  So I felt like God was telling me to act...


Two little side stories.  First story, we got served with an eviction notice this morning, because we got our water shut off for 24 hours.  Yes, on our daughter's birthday.  And we have no clue how we are going to get out of this mess.  Second side story, we've been really looking into Ford Excursions to be able to tow a large enough travel trailer for our family.


Back to the main story.  When I ran down the street to Natural Grocers to get something for Heather, I realized that we shouldn't be walking an hour and a half home with the kids.  But we had no way of making it home other than asking for help.  I was praying and it just felt like God was telling me to prepare to ask for help with our bigger situation of being evicted by asking openly for help with this smaller situation.  We both have a lot of difficulty asking for help (older & only child syndromes).

So I threw it all out there on Facebook and we got an immediate answer from Preston, a friend of ours we hadn't seen in a long time.  He said he'd be there right away.  We went to meet him and lo and behold...what is he driving?  A Ford Excursion.  So we got to ride home in a vehicle that we have been drooling over for nearly a month.  If that ain't God trying to tell us something, I don't know what is.

I think we'll be ok.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 22, 2017 - Water Back On and Approved for a Grant from the State

Family

Water got turned back on today, thank goodness...you don't realize what you've got 'til it's gone.


We started our day out going on a long walk to the bank as a family to get the money.  Our vehicle is broken down, but we don't let that stop us.  We had a good time walking together, we live for these kind of days.  It would be nice to have our vehicle running right now...but you gotta make lemonade when you get lemons.  We're all outdoorsy kinda people anyway.

Work

The most exciting part of the day came when we made it home from the walk.  I checked our work email and WE GOT APPROVED FOR A GRANT FOR OUR PROJECT!!!  We'll get $750 to put towards a video camera that shoots in 4k!!  This is going to be amazing for our Facebook Live and Youtube series that we are starting in April, as well as a series of State Park inspired songs that we will be writing while we camp.  It will also give people a sense of legitimacy towards our projects that should make people more eager to help fund our projects.  We are going to run a campaign for people to donate to our Patreon.  This campaign will kick off our live programming.

It's going to start getting exciting real soon...

March 21, 2017 - Water Shut-Off and Pushing Through

Family

So we got our water shut off today.  Don't freak out, just a minor setback.  We'll be able to pay it tomorrow when we get paid.  We got a little behind since I had to miss so many lessons because of the hospital stay.  They called us to tell us they were going to turn it off, but we haven't been able to find the phone for days.  Of course this isn't the ideal situation to be in, but no one's really sweating it around our house.  We all know it's temporary.  It did cause us to want to get out of the house, we walked to the library and let the kids play for awhile.  We had a great time as a family.

Work

Interestingly enough, when I stopped by the water department to talk to them, I found out that my old boss from Taco John's (my first job) worked there.  She is awesome and was a great boss.  Looking back, she really was the first person in my life that taught me the value of hard work.  She taught me that if you work hard at something, good things will start happening.  I didn't really understand that concept until working under her at 15 years old.  I should tell her that when I go back.
That being said, it's days like these that test our patience as entrepreneurs and musicians.  But we will persevere and succeed.  We cannot and will not give up in the face of adversity.  We have come way too far to give up now.  We are committed, and what great successful entrepreneur story doesn't have a "got the utilities shut off" chapter?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 20, 2017 - Walking a Fine LIne and Creating Live Show Agendas

Family

I spent a bulk of the day running errands while the kids stayed home with their mom.  When I got back, the four year old (who turns five this week) decided to be mean to everyone.  Not a great idea in this house when your birthday is this week.  She now has to display near perfect behavior for the next two days or there will be serious consequences.  We don't put up with nonsense in this house.

My brother also came over.   He is going to be recording an album in December.  He is really excited about it.  He will be playing all the instruments for the album, 4 total if you include singing I believe.  I've heard some of it.  It's really good. 

Work

For Work today, I began creating Agendas for our various Facebook and Youtube live shows.  These agendas include pre-show preparation, show agendas, and post-show agendas.  This will keep us prepared, organized and maximize the effectiveness and reach of each live internet show we put on.  Now I just need to type the agendas up, print them out and put them in a folder.

I also bought batteries to our sound effect machine for the live online shows and batteries for a tuner that displays a countdown, both of which we will use for our live online shows.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 19th, 2017 - Outside Time and Going All-In

Family

We spent a large portion of the day outside today.   The kids were very happy with that.  Heather and I were busy doing yardwork...but the kids had fun digging for worms and collecting rocks.  It was great.  We are planning to spend a lot more time out there this summer.   In fact we are going back out all day again tomorrow...barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Work

Officially finished our first newsletter and scheduled it for delivery.   This is very exciting for us.  We have a lot of new stuff happening. 

I've decided to try to move all of my students to Fridays and Saturdays in order to group them all together and give Heather and I Sunday thru Thursday for working on the band.  I think it is officially time to put up or shut up.  It's time to put the pedal to the metal.  I really believe we have something with what we are doing.  I believe that we have the songs, the strategy and have gained the know-how to make this thing take off fairly quickly. 

During our son's hospital stay, I had a job interview.  We were getting anxious for income to replace some that we lost...and this musician thing takes quit a bit of time to come to fruition.  But because of the hospital stay...I had to cancel the interview and they hired someone else.  I really took that as a sign that I needed to make one last all-in push before trying to pick up work elsewhere. 

We'll see how this all goes down very soon I suppose. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 18, 2017 - Bike Ride for the Kids and Working all night again

Family

We went on another walk today.  Actually, we brought the kids' bikes and took them to my old elementary school to race in the parking lot.  Tons of fun for them and us.  The kids just rode back and forth while Heather filmed it and I drooled over the Ford E-350 bus in the parking lot. 

Poor kids again are just waiting for us to be done with all these massive projects.  Watching a lot of movies.  It shouldn't be too long before we are in a groove with all of our new stuff we got going on.  Then we'll be incorporating the content that the kids can be included in.  And those will be really fun!!

Work

Tonight Heather and I really put the pedal to the metal on practicing.  We added 3 songs to our set.  They are songs that we could already play months ago, but haven't practiced them since the baby was born.  Total of four we can play thru well now.  About 20 more or so to go.  Next is a cover.

I am staying up late again tonight.  I am scheduling a new live series on facebook live.  We are going to do a ukulele worship sing-along.  We are going to promote it to some Christian Facebook groups to try to get people to it.  It'll be free, and we are thinking about sending out the setlist and the links to the chord charts that we'll use a week before so that others can join along.  I've also got hangouts sessions that I'll be working on too for Patreon...among other things.

March 17, 2017 - Forgot about St. Patty's Day

Family

We completely spaced the fact that it was St. Patrick's Day today...and I'm Irish.  We typically eat Corned Beef and Cabbage and teach the kids about St. Patrick.  But not today.  We just worked, and that's about it.  No one wore green even. 

Work

Today we began working on the expansion of our set.  We played on facebook live yesterday in order to give us some accountability.  We've been working so hard on the business side of things that our playing has definitely suffered a little bit.  But, we'll get it.

I've been staying up practically all night every night trying to get as much done as possible...but I couldn't take it tonight.  We ended up just hanging out, watching movies and youtube.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow night.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 16, 2017 - Keeping My Word and Going Live...twice

Family

Yesterday I broke my word to my 4 year old, I told her I would swing her in a blanket and throw her on the bed (her favorite thing in the world for some reason).  When it was go time, I caved and said it was too late.  Today I made up for it.  I spent just 5-10 minutes goofing around with all of them and you know what...it made me feel a whole lot better than when I don't do that in any given day.  

I am also working on a series of teaching videos that will include the kids.  I've been weighing whether or not I should do these...we don't want to exploit the children...but I feel like instructional videos with how to teach them wouldn't be exploiting them.  If we start making them and I feel like they are, I'll just get rid of the series.  I really want to include them in all this though, and I think that this would be a good way to do that.

Work

We went live on Facebook for the first time today...in fact I went on twice!!  We started two new live series, one called "Gettin' Loopy at Lunchtime" where I just hang out with my viewers and create some sort of loop.  It was fun and I got a great response.  I'll be doing that one every weekday at 12:15.  The second one was "Live from the Practice Room", where we allow people to join us for our practice session.  This will be every Thursday at 8:30 pm. 

We got amazing responses from everyone who watched and it was very encouraging.  We are definitely going to continue doing it...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hospital LAST DAY!!: 2/22/17

FINALLY HOME!!!  FINALLY TOGETHER AS AN ENTIRE FAMILY!!!  After 18 total days at the hospital, our son was discharged at right around noon.  He’s looking great, he looks absolutely normal if you don’t look at the stitches and bumps from the shunt in his head.  He’s acting completely normal and happy.  You should have seen his reaction to his sisters…smiling and just overall content.

Hopefully we'll never have to stay here again.
Heather and I are going to stay up late, watch some mindless videos and relax.  We have had a heck of a time the last 18 days…and a LOT of work to do tomorrow…time to veg out for a few hours in between.

He's so ready!!  We're so ready!!
                                                   

Hospital, Day 18: 2/21/17 - Can't Sleep, Getting Discharged Tomorrow

I haven’t said that many days were great days lately…at least not in the last 2 weeks.  But today was a great day.  I think Heather would agree with me, if she were awake.

Right now, I am staring out this awesome window at this spectacular view of Denver that we’ve been blessed with, waiting for the Emergency Airlift Helicopter to return to the hospital.  It left about 2 hours ago…and it’s one of the last shots that I need for our music video.  I did manage to get a really pathetic video of it yesterday, but I think I can do better if I am prepared for it.  So I may not be getting any sleep tonight.

The view out of the hospital room.
But it also may be for no reason…we did leave the room for about an hour total getting other shots that we needed together.  The problem is we have no way of knowing how far away the helicopter went for the emergency.  More importantly, I hope the child that they went to get makes it here alright either way…but with the team they have on those choppers and in this facility…if they arrive there on time their chances are great. 

Little man's ready to go home.
On top of getting almost every video shot I need (about 5 or so are left for me to get here) we are getting discharged tomorrow morning.  For the first time in our nearly eight years of marriage, we have been apart for more than 3 days.  And that was before our oldest was born, back in 2010 as practically newlyweds.  But our now family of 7 finally gets to reunite completely after 18 days of being separated.

Once we get home, we will have to adjust to a son who has to live with an incurable (yet controllable) condition for the rest of his life.  It won’t be easy, but we are up for the challenge.  We will also begin recording the song we wrote for him, finish up the last of the video recording and putting together the pieces for the music video.  I am so excited for the next few weeks.

Hospital, Day 17: 2/20/17 - Brain Surgery On Our 7-Week Old

Our son had his surgery today.  Poor guy had to stop breastfeeding 4 hours before his procedure…only to have the procedure delayed by 3 and a half hours.  He was not happy, that’s for sure…and we were nervous wrecks (especially me).

  
The EVD...so glad this is getting removed today! (Click either pic to read more about it).
The other side of an EVD

 

They had to take out the External Ventricular Drain (EVD) from the top of his head and replace it with a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, which is basically a valve with a reservoir and a tube leading from his brain into his stomach.  This is in order to extract fluid from his brain that would build up in his ventricles if the shunt weren’t in place.  This is a process that most people’s brains automatically do.  His official diagnosis is hydrocephalus caused by a Vitamin K deficiency.
                        
It's so sad he has to have this, but at the same time we are so thankful it exists.  Click here to read about it.

The craziest part of all this is that his condition has no cure…it is just controlled, but almost all people who have had it controlled lead normal healthy lives.  60 years ago, we would have lost our precious little man.  
This is what could happen if hydrocephalus goes untreated.  It makes me tear up seeing this poor child.
He has been in a lot of pain since the surgery, and us being the natural minded people that we are, have a lot of hesitancy in administering heavy pain relieving drugs such as morphine and phentanol (or however you spell it).  But we also can’t bear to see our little tiny guy in such extreme pain.  This is where we think medicinal narcotics have their place.  Yet it is still a tough thing for us to do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrocephalus
Click the pic if you want to learn more about hydrocephalus.
I spent much of the day getting shots for a video that I am preparing for the song we wrote for little Mr. Dunlevy.  The working is keeping me sane…when I am settled enough to actually do it. 
 
Our little guy wasn't feeling too good after his surgery.
If all goes well overnight and tomorrow…we could be out of here by tomorrow evening.  Man I hope so…we all are ready for our lives to be back to somewhat normal.  Have I mentioned that already?

Hospital, Day 16: 2/19/17 - Better Together

Tonight I arrived at the hospital to see Heather and my son.  It's such a relief to be here with them.  Tomorrow is his surgery. It’s a routine one to the Doctors, but to a parent any operation on your child is a source of anxiety.

The surgeons are saying that we could be out of here in two days.  I’ll believe it when it happens, but it’s nice to hear.  We are both going stir-crazy…in our own separate ways.

Heather is sensory-deprived, I’m sensory-overloaded.  She sits in a little room with nothing to do but take care of her baby who’s hooked up to a bunch of wires (and who sleeps most of the day).  I’ve been at home with four girls 6 years old and under destroying the house while following me around asking me to do things for them (don’t get me wrong, they are sweethearts). 

This has all just been a testament to why the family is supposed to stick together.  Sure, we’ve survived this rough patch of our lives without each other…but I tell you one thing:



We’re better together. 

Hospital, Day 15: 2/18/17 - I Have Two Homes Now

Very excited to be going back home…I seriously just accidentally typed that…I meant going back to the hospital to see Heather and my son tomorrow.  Home is where they are.   But Home is also where my daughters are too, so I guess you could say that I’m leaving home to go home.

                                                       

I guess that could easily lead me into a subject that I haven’t yet addressed in this blog.  There are people in our life, who were very close to us until recently, that would love nothing more than to see our family broken up.  This is very apparent by their words and actions as of late (and several years ago as well).  Interesting timing that our son should happen to end up in the hospital for what looks like is going to be three weeks literally days after our falling out with these certain people.  I don't want to get too far into it in this medium...but the point is these people are only adding insult to injury, literally, and it sucks. 

                                            

My wife and I breaking has never and never will be in the conversation, but spending this long away from each other has emphasized to us how much we really need each other…and want to be together.  I have had a hard time sleeping alone…and keeping up with these energetic girls.  She has been exhausted being the 6 week old’s ONLY caretaker without relief and someone who isn’t a baby or a nurse to talk to.  The only thing that this experience is doing is bringing us closer together…and closer to God.


                                                     

I leave tomorrow at 4pm and it couldn’t arrive quicker.

Hospital, Day 14: 2/17/17 - Music Video & Ryan Seacrest Studios

Heather and I decided that we are going to do a music video for our son’s song.  We are making it a no budget video using footage from the hospital, pictures from home and of our son, and maybe even a couple of pictures the kids drew.  We are going to try to have it done by the end of our son’s stay in the hospital.

                                         

Which brings us to that point…it looks like his stay could be another week after his surgery before he’ll be coming home.  We all just want this to be over with, but we will be patient.  We found out that his condition was not even able to be treated before the 60’s.  Hydrocephalus, the fluid in his brain, would have killed him.  It is very difficult to think about, but on a good note, it is treatable now…and we will just be thankful having our son no matter how long our stay has to be.

We also have found an interesting opportunity because of our hospital stay.  Ryan Seacrest has some sort of foundation that is posted up in the Denver Children’s Hospital.  It’s called Seacrest Studios.  They broadcast various things into the rooms from their studio on the first floor.  Things like arts and crafts, exercise routines…and live music.  Every Thursday they invite people to play in their studio, we are thinking about playing the song I just wrote.  We just have to have enough time to practice it….

                                                          Image result for seacrest studios


Hospital, Day 13: 2/16/17 - Bad News All Day

Peek-a-boo
Tough day today.  Heather kept giving me news that I didn’t want to hear, that she didn’t want to tell me.  Leaks of fluid from our sons stitches in his head, a surgery on Monday to put in a permanent shunt (which means probably about a week more of Heather and my boy in the hospital), a doctor contradicting other doctors and nurses.  A day of total bad news all day, and then she called me on FaceTime.  I got to see my son smile at me over and over again.  After that I felt so much better. 
Little Man wants a hug
I didn’t get much done today, because I could barely think about anything other than my poor boy’s head.  I miss them so much.  By the time I got to see him smile, the day was pretty much over.  I felt like vegging out for awhile, so my friend Stefan let me borrow his NES and Sega Genesis systems.  I already beat my favorite Nintendo game, Bases Loaded 3.  I also taught my 4 year old baseball freak how to play, which was a ton of fun.


Image result for bases loaded 3Image result for bases loaded 3


All-in-all, I’m trying to make it through this difficult time, it’s not easy…but I can’t pretend like everything is normal.  A father is not equipped to take care of 4 girls 6 and under by himself.  But I am thankful that everyone in our family is healthy, especially our son after all of this.  We are going to get through all of this and get back on track.  I cannot wait.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hospital, Day 12: 2/15/17 - My Son's Song Is Finished

I finally finished my song for my son.  It was a very difficult song to write.  One because of the heart-wrenching subject matter, and two because I am watching all of the other 4 children.  It took me about a week, but I am really happy with it.  A lot of late nights with my ukulele and guitar pro to get this one worked out.  Next order of business is for both Heather and I to be able to play our parts.


As for the family, we are getting exhausted.  We really need each other.  We don’t know how much longer as the transition off of the shunt in his brain didn’t go well like we had hoped.  He started leaking fluid through the stitches in his head.  This means possible surgery.  We’ll see tomorrow, but if that is the case, what would have been a possible Sunday discharge will likely turn into another week.  It’s absolutely maddening, but we are trusting God through all this.  It is amazing what He has revealed to us through all of this.

                                                    

Hospital, Day 11: 2/14/17 - Strange Song to Hear from a Kid’s Toy on such an unusual Valentine’s Day

“This night is mine
It's only you and I
Tomorrow is a long time away
This night can last forever”

These are the lyrics to the Billy Joel song “This Night”.  You’re probably thinking that since this is a Valentines Day blog, that’s why I quoted them.  Well it’s not, it’s because the music from this song somehow ended up in a baby mobile that the hospital is letting us use to put our baby to sleep.  I heard it playing and was thinking to myself “I know that song.”  Once I figured it out, I thought “what is a song about a one night stand doing in a baby’s mobile?”.  Very strange indeed. 


Then I also got to thinking, thinking what a strange chorus to hear on a day like today (if you forget the rest of the lyrics).  Valentines Day, Heather and I hadn’t seen each other for 4 days.  Because of some great friends that we have, I was able to make a day trip out to Denver to get her some things she forgot and give her some much needed relief and company.  We’ve both been having some serious spouse withdrawal symptoms.  Here’s the alternate lyrics to the chorus:

“But this night you're mine
It's only you and I
I'll tell you to forget yesterday
This night we are together”

Couldn’t fit better.  But I haven’t been there of course, she’s been (and is again) alone with our son for what has seemed like an eternity, waiting for the doctor’s to give the okay to take the pump out of his brain.  All by herself with no one to talk to but a 6 week old.  Eagerly waiting night after eternal night for any sign of being able to finally pack up and go home to her husband and 4 daughters.

“This night is mine
It's only you and I
Tomorrow is a long time away
This night can last forever”

Kinda interesting, right?  Anyway, it was a great Valentine’s Day…if only because I got to spend time with the love of my life.  That’s the most important part of the holiday anyway.

Hospital Day 10: 2/13/17 - Divorce is Officially (Still) Out of the Picture

Another day of just me and the 4 girls.  I tell you, this experience is making me realize what it would be like if I were a single dad.  I was never even contemplating a divorce…I am a very happily married man…but this is just solidifying my decision further.  I would barely be able to survive one weekend a month by myself taking care of 4 kids.

Tomorrow I get to go down to see Heather and the baby.  I can’t wait, Heather and I are having withdrawals from each other and I really miss my little dude too.  I feel bad for Heather and really the rest of the family though…because I am the only one who is getting to see everyone of them, albeit at separate times. 

Work-wise, I began working on being able to sing at the same time as playing my lead part for Heather’s song “Heather Marie”.  The part I wrote for it is extremely difficult to sing and play, so I plugged it into Guitar Pro 6 and ran small portions of the difficult parts through the speed trainer.  It only took about 30 minutes for me to nail it.  Which is great, because I didn’t have a lot of time to work on it while taking care of the kids all day.

Hospital Day 9: 2/12/17 - Wife/Mom Withdrawals

I am having serious wife withdrawals.  Not sure how long it has been since I have been away from Heather for this long, but I am certain that last time it was a lot less stressful.  Less responsibilities, no injuries, etc.  I take that back, as I am writing I remember the last time was back in 2010 when Heather went to California for a week with her mom. I couldn’t wait to see her so I began driving east through Wyoming to meet her before she made it back.  On the way there I got a call from a friend telling me that my closest cousin drowned.  But that’s a story for another time.

I feel real bad for the girls.  They are stuck with a dad who is trying real hard, but is completely lost without his wonderful wife.  I’ve had these high aspirations of cleaning the entire house, getting it completely caught up.  But then the one year old started puking all over everything and my only goal became making sure that the house didn’t become overrun by misplaced bodily waste. 

I also have become very preoccupied with the song I am writing for my son.  I am very happy with it and have completely finished the song’s structure.  Now I just need to fine tune the transitions and iron out some of the repetitive parts by making some small changes.  Also, I made room for a solo, so I need to work that out and transcribe the vocals.  I am very excited to finish this one, hopefully before he gets out of the hospital.  At this pace, I may be done with it tomorrow. 

I may need to go back out to Denver tomorrow, Heather and I are both missing each other a ton right now, and she could definitely use some sleep (which will only come if there is someone else there to take a shift of taking care of the little guy).  I hope things get back to normal soon!

Hospital Day 8: 2/11/17 - Trying to Work

Family

Today was a pretty good day, considering our circumstances.  Our boy is looking and feeling better, his days and nights are beginning to switch back around to normal (while Heather and mine are switching around the wrong way).  He’s been awake most of the day.
 

We are still all eager to be reunited, the 1 year old especially.  She’s not handling not having mommy around very well.  Sad all the time.  Nothing makes her smile unless she sees her brother on facetime.

Work

Work-wise, Heather and I have been consistently practicing.  I’ve been working on being able to play a song I wrote for Heather years ago.  It began as just a solo acoustic guitar and vocal piece, then about a year ago I transcribed it for duel ukuleles.  It’s got probably my favorite and most difficult ukulele solo that I’ve written.  It’s also got my favorite lead part for the chorus.  I really love this song!!  And Heather likes it too, which is more important cuz I wrote it for her.

We also played a song together for our son, even though Heather’s in Denver and I am at home in Cheyenne.  I played my part while having Heather on mute so the lag didn’t screw up my timing.  Then she played to my part.  It worked exceptionally well…so well that it even put our son to sleep. 

It is difficult to be so far away from my boy and my wife, but thank God for technology…at least in times like these. 

March 16, 2017 - Breaking My Word and Finishing the Website

Family

Well, I blew it this evening.  If you read yesterday's post, I swung the kid's around in a blanket and threw them onto the couch.  I used to do this in Oklahoma all the time, and they all love it.  I told them last night that I would do it again today.  I backed out tonight.  So lame.  One of the things that my stepfather taught me was that I am supposed to be a man of my word.  I messed this up.   I've decided that no matter what, I've got to do this tomorrow. 


Work

Heather and I came up with a pretty solid plan to get our name out there.  If we can do this right, it could be huge.  I don't want to get ahead of myself and tell the world, but let me tell you it is very likely to work if everything goes right.  We spent all day refining the idea.  

I also reached another goal (at 4 in the morning) for getting caught up with our online presence.   And that just so happened to be the most important part...the website.  I did a total revamp and I am very happy with it.  It's not perfect...but it almost looks professional.  All I really want it to do is accurately portray who we are, and make it easy to navigate.  I think it does both of those things well.  We'll see.

Hospital Day 7: 2/10/17 - A Family Torn Apart

Kinda ready for this week to be over. Heather is in the hospital with the baby still, I am here by myself with the girls.  I had fun with them today, but I am a cleaning nazi, so they maybe didn’t have so much fun with me.  I did go and get ice cream and we are watching movies now.  So we are all enjoying that.  But it’s going to be a long week apart.

                                            

The baby still has the drain in his brain, but is out of ICU.  Which means Heather has to ask for a nurse’s assistance to pick him up, but the nurses are harder to find.  So we are enthralled that he is doing so well that he’s not in intensive care, but think that it will take a little longer to get him back to 100 percent when Heather can’t hold him as much as he would like.

                                            

Hard to do any work with all this going on.  I did practice some of our songs, and so did Heather, but that is about all we had time for, especially since there was some extended family drama that took up quite a bit of our time.
                          
                                                   

We are very ready to move on to the next season of our lives.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hospital Day 6: 2/9/17 - 9th Anniversary (of Dating) Spent in ICU

Family

Today was our 9th anniversary of me asking Heather to be my girlfriend.  Of course, we spent it at the hospital.  In fact, we didn’t even realize it was our anniversary until we were walking around outside talking about how it sucked that tomorrow was our anniversary and that I had to drive back to Cheyenne and couldn’t be with her.  Then we looked at our phone and saw that it was the 9th not the 8th.  We were excited that we at least got to be together for it.

My little buddy and his little owl buddy.
We typically do something special for all our anniversaries, but today we were treated with a little boy who just keeps getting closer to full recovery.  He had such a good day today, he even got moved out of ICU after I left.

Goodbyes are tough...but I am very happy that will be a short goodbye.
Leaving my son and wife at the hospital was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do.  I wanted to stay so bad to help them, but there were also my four little girls who needed me back at home.  But I know that in just a few days my boy and my wife will be back and our whole family will be reunited again.

Hospital Day 5: 2/8/17 - Much Better Day

Family

Today our boy is looking and acting so much better.  I’d say about 85% back to normal.  He had to have surgery to get a little device implanted on his scalp that extracts all of the excess fluid out of his head.  It is horrific to look at, but he looks like he feels 1000 times better, and he’s not arching his back as much anymore.  The last 4 days have been extremely scary, but we are very hopeful about his future.

                                     

I had to come back out to the hospital to give Heather some stuff today.  I’m staying the night out here with her, so we went on a little “date” night.  This “date” consisted of walking around a nearby mall talking about the baby, and eating at Subway (provided by a gift card from a few of my wonderful students) talking about the baby.  This is the last night I will see her and my son for several days, because the poor girls need me at home really bad.  The babysitters are great, but kids just need their parents, you know.  I absolutely cannot wait for our family to be completely together again.

                                                

Hospital Day 4: 2/7/17 - Nutty Day

Family

What an insane day.  I brought our 6 year old with us to the hospital, which was a terrible idea in one sense, although I really enjoyed her company.  It was a terrible idea not because of her, but because the hospital doesn’t allow children under 13 back into the rooms this time of year because of illnesses.  So Heather and I had to switch off watching her and going back with the baby.

On the bridge over the main road leading to the Children's Hospital.
Meanwhile, the baby was doing much better most of the day.  He was partially opening his eyes for me last night, and was fully awake with them wide open most of the day today.  He was doing so well that his medical team decided to move him out of the PICU.  The only problem is that we weren’t aware of how much we could pick him up once we moved to the new room.  So he was completely coherent, but was upset that we weren’t picking him up.  He threw a huge fit and caused some of his vital monitor alarms to go off.  They moved him back down to the PICU after that as a precautionary measure, where Heather will be transitioning into replacing the nurses as the main caretaker again.

Our oldest watching the marble machine in the Children's hospital lobby.
Also today, Heather called me in a panic after our attorney called us talking about the possibility of the DA pressing charges for negligence.  The problem is that there was no negligence or any trauma associated.  The cause of his incident was a Vitamin K deficiency.  Once the attorney realized this, he called us back and said it was a cut and dry case, then called us again to tell us the DA was not going to press charges.  Thank God. 

All three of the events in these previous paragraphs were completely intertwined and lasted all day with other bits of craziness in between!!

More updates on the baby tomorrow.

Hospital Day 3: 2/6/17 - Gifts from His Sisters & Writing a Song With My Boy

Family

I am sitting here in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) staring at my little boy.  He is looking so much better, but not completely where we want him to be.  I got to hold him for quite awhile, which was awesome…I instantly made him stop crying.  :) 

His big sisters had me bring him some of their drawings of him, a couple of stuffed animals and his big blanket.  I can’t wait for him to start opening his eyes, hopefully he will love his sister’s little gifts, I think it will cheer him up a little.

Also worth noting is that I found out that one of my new students has a child that has had a brain injury.  They have to come to this very same hospital in Denver every week.  I found this out because my student’s wife called to confirm his first lesson (which I had forgot about).  She instantly understood and told me the story.  They are coming tomorrow and are going to stop by to meet us for the first time.  Pretty interesting stuff.

There also is a family with a child who contracted pneumonia next to us who has a mutual friend with us.  That mutual friend’s kid is at our house watching our kids right now.  I haven’t met them yet, but they left us some snacks.

Work

As for working, I got to hold Zeke and work like I oftentimes do at night time.  I also began writing a song for him.  I am calling it “Big Plans”.  I unknowingly began writing it at the same tempo that the alert beeps at on all the vital sign machines.  I ended up finding the pitch of the alert note and incorporated it into the song.  I am very pleased with it so far, but I have a ways to go.  It is just nice getting some work done while sitting next to my little buddy.  I hope to have many more nights working with him, just with no machines attached to him.  :(

Hospital Day 2: 2/5/17 - Our Baby Boy is Still in the Hospital

Family

“I’ve never cried about something this sad before.”  That is what my one year old said to me this evening referring to her baby brother being in the hospital.  I cried holding my 4 daughters, harder than I’ve ever cried before.  We spent about an hour crying.  It’s very hard to write about right now.  The good news is that he is getting better, but I’ll explain when I know our boys going to be ok.  I can’t keep my composure long enough to write about it now.

                                       

Hospital, Day 1: 2/4/17 - Emergency Airlift to the Children’s Hospital

Family

Heather and I are sitting in the hospital with our baby boy today.  He was airlifted from Cheyenne to Denver.  I’m not sure how much I can really get out in a blog tonight, it’s 4:50 am and I have been up for nearly 20 hours.   We are trying to figure out what is wrong.  He was having seizures and bleeding in the brain.  This is awful.  But he is stable.  We are praying to God that everything is ok.  I’m sorry but I can’t think to write anymore.

March 14, 2017 - Strange Backpack Found, Pillow War, Grant App, and Playing Catch Up.

Family

We went on another walk this evening as a family…why not, nice weather…extra hour of sunlight.  But I stumbled upon something quite strange.  A backpack was laying in the middle of an alley.  I picked it up to see if there was any names inside so I could try to get it back to the owner.  I found a notebook inside.  I opened it to look for a name, and I opened it straight to a form from the Cheyenne Police Department.  It was a form for sex offenders to fill out.  I turned to the first page and it was an admission of this person sexually assaulting someone.  The whole notebook was entirely written in, but I couldn’t look for a name any longer, I just put it all back.  Kinda felt a little weird.

Other than that, I went to start a project that I had planned for myself to accomplish today…and I saw that I had actually already finished it!!  So with my free time I decided to spend it goofing around with the kids.  We had a Pillow War, then I put them each in a blanket one at a time and threw it them onto the couch.  It was the most fun with them that I’ve had in weeks at least.  I need to do that stuff more often.  Then we put them to bed late and they were upset with us because we didn’t follow our normal bedtime routine.  Parents aren’t allowed to win twice in a row. 

Work


I went to the Wyoming Arts Council today to talk to Rachel about the Grant I am applying for.  She is very helpful and I am extremely confident because of her attitude that I will be approved for it.  Then we will be getting a nice, new $750 Video Camera!!  I’m going wait ’til I fully celebrate though.

Tonight we are staying up late to catch up our blogs and Instagram Page.  We are going to be finally announcing to the world what exactly happened to our son.  We are far enough removed from it now that it’s not bothering us as much.  With that, we are changing the way we publish the blogs and the pics.  We are going to stop scheduling them for a week after everything occurs and post everything in the moment or within 24 hours of it happening. 

Things are about to start getting interesting…

March 13, 2017 Switching Days and Nights and Applying for a Grant

Family

Well, my nights and days have completely switched.  I blame the 9 pm coffee.  This is not a good thing for a family man…as the kids are awake before me.  I like to get up at 5 or 6 am, giving me around 3 hours to get stuff done before they get up.  But if they wake up before me, it is awful.  They will destroy the whole house.  Looks like it will be a busy morning tomorrow. 

I also need to mention that Heather officially started homeschool (which we had planned to do months ago) with the two older girls.  They were so cute when I got home from the library…they learned how to spell and write out spoon (among other things).

Work


The real reason that I can’t sleep (it’s not the coffee) is because I can’t stop thinking about work.  Mostly because it is crunch time.  We need this to start happening now.  So I am haunted by thoughts of going live on Facebook or Youtube.  I am contemplating doing so on a daily basis.  Call me crazy, I don’t care.  Heather and I came up with a weekly plan earlier for Thursday evenings to go live together and jam.  That will be awesome.  But I do think it would be wise to go live everyday, I’m thinking probably to improvise or loop.  It would drive content so well that way…especially if I could build a team to help me process the live videos into separate posts.

I also nearly finished an application for a $750 art project grant from the Wyoming Arts Council.  The crazy thing is that it’s almost the end of the fiscal year…and not all 14 available grants have been claimed.  I don’t imagine that is heard of in many other states.  We are looking to try to get a new video camera with that money.  I think I can get it.  Then, Heather can apply for a grant in May for the next fiscal year.  How crazy is that?

I need to go to sleep.

March 12, 2017 - Rethinking Crowdfunding (at this point) and Getting back on Mission.

Family

So we’re going through all these GoFundMe campaigns today and realizing that many of these people are going through a much harder time than we are.  We are going through quite a tough time with the baby and our financial situation, but it’s nothing like some of these poor people.  People who have lost their fathers in horrific accidents or who have stage 4 terminal cancer.  It is sad what has happened to our boy, we we know he is going to be okay and our finances will straighten out. 

Work

We’ve decided to focus more on getting our content out and preparing for the release of our album.  We want our work to bring in the money not making people feel sorry for us.  That’s not really what we’re about.  We would love to do some sort of crowdfunding campaign in the near future to invite people we know to help get our album off of the ground or something like that…but we want them to feel like they are a part of our mission…not just supporting people who’ve fallen on hard times.  We will bounce back fast if we focus on God and our band’s mission: To create a community around music that the whole family can appreciate and enjoy.

March 11, 2017 - Walk to the Park & Building a Crowdfunding Campaign

Family

We got out and went on a walk to the park today.  The kids didn’t last long on the playground…we brought the dog (Chance the Whippet) and the kids saw a tennis court.  This guy can run like the wind.  I’ve never seen a dog this fast. 

We are actively looking at options for travel trailers’s to move into.  We desperately need to save money on rent, and we need a travel trailer if we are ever going to make this professional touring musician thing happen.  I mention this in the family section because it will force us to be outside more.  We could use a little more vitamin D

Work

We also are looking at Ford Excursions with 7.3 Diesel engines.  We have a big family and will definitely need a powerful vehicle to tow a travel trailer that will fit all of us.  We have found quit a few options, but we are waiting for the money to come available to be able to do that.  Hopefully sooner than later. 

That brings me to my next topic.  We are putting together a plum fund…a crowdfunding campaign.  We are at a very weird point in our life.  We are ready to go with our music…the only problems are:

1.  We have all our music ready and business model formed…but no fan base

2.  We are completely broke.

This coupled with the fact that our son was hospitalized for 3 weeks, just days after losing a substantial stream of income.  We definitely need something to happen big time…and right now. 

We think our plum fund will go live sometime next week.  We are also going to release the music video for “Big Plans” shortly (within a month) after that.  We have a hard time asking for money for anything, but we feel our song may help other people who have had similar life-altering experiences…and maybe that is a fair trade.  I know one thing: It’s been a ton of work.

March 10, 2017 - Super Simple Day

Family

We’ve started a new tradition of eating pizza and watching movies with the kids on Fridays.  Today we watched a new show with Jack Hannah from the old Zoo Life show, and then a couple of DudePerfect Youtube videos.  Although, after the pizza was gone…the kids weren’t paying much attention anymore.  In fact they were just running around screaming for one of their little games for much of the movie (’til we busted out the brownies).

Work

Work-wise, I pretty much finished the taxes.  I had to run to the Social Security Office to get our boy’s number, and I had to wrap up the health insurance and a couple of other sections.  I also did two music lessons, one solo lesson and one with three people…all at the same time.  Pretty simple day all-in-all.

March 9, 2017 - Cabin Fever and New Student

Family

The poor kids haven’t been out of the house in over a week…and all they did all day was clean.  The weather has been cold and windy the whole time.  We all are going stir-crazy again.  But it should clear up outside this week and we should be able to take another walk hopefully.   We’ll see, but these kids are handling this pretty well.  One day, when we’re traveling around the country in an R.V., they’ll be outside all the time…the whole U.S. will be their backyard.

Work
Today I had a new student.  A guitar teacher’s dream student actually.  This kid has perfect rhythm, and he’s been working on his picking technique for 2 years with the only song he knows…”Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica.   This really has perfected his basic picking skills though.  Everything I taught him he was able perform within a matter of minutes.  He practiced slowly and evenly.  He also is interested in writing his own music.  And he is only 9 years old. 

March 8, 2017 - More Music Video Editing

Family

Not a great family day.  Nothing bad happened…the kids were good, everyone got along.  We are just still a little lopsided on work vs. family.  We need to get back into a nice even balance.  I will work on this and post on it again over the next few days.

Work

Still working on the music video. It’s tough to work on sometimes…it’s like reliving the whole hospital stay.  I’m trying my best to tell the whole story with it by piecing together the limited footage that I got while at the hospital.  I had to get as much footage as possible for this in the span of 36 hours and I really didn't want to…neither did Heather.  I saw one clip of her playing her uke in the hospital room where she got mad annoyed that I asked her to play through the part one more time.  That clip worked out great…I threw it into a part where I needed her to look miserable…learned a new filming technique I guess.   

This experience has been great for me.  It’s so exciting that I can now use the visual aspect to better tell the story of my songs. I have learned so many techniques for filming and editing from this go-round.  It does make me wish that I could re-film many of the shots from the hospital…but I know some new stuff for next time. 

March 7, 2017 - Game Night & Late Night working on a Video

Family

I played games with the kids for the first time since coming home from the hospital.  Boy those girls needed it too.  After dinner we played bounce off or whatever it’s called - the game with the ping pong balls that you have to bounce into the grid.  We played with made up rules…it was basically a free-for-all to see who could bounce all of their balls onto the grid first.  The catch was that we played with a point card underneath the grid.  So even though the oldest was the last one to get all her balls on the grid…she still won with the most overall points!!  It was fun.

We also played “Safetyville”, a board game that teaches little kids about safety habits.  Fun to play with them…too boring to explain to you.

Work

Work-wise…I’m sitting up writing this post at 4 in the morning because I’ve stayed up all night working on the music video for our song we wrote for our boy while he was in the hospital.  It’s quite fun…an addicting.  I have ran myself into a brick wall…I don’t know if it’s because I am in need of shooting more footage or if I just need to sleep to recharge my brain.  Probably a little of both.  Either way, at this rate I should have this thing done by the end of the week.  Then we just have to record the song in the studio.