We invented a parade

You know what an idea - combined with 6 balloons, 4 signs and 1 email - gets you these days?  A Halloween Parade!  Ashley and I were sitting around Starbucks with a few friends a few weeks ago wondering why no one has a parade on Halloween.  We decided it is the perfect time to show off your outfit, walk the neighborhood and bring community together.  Why don't we start a parade, the question was asked.  So - WE DID.

The idea originated from my friend Bob.  He started a parade years ago in San Diego (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw_x0qtedPo&list=UUs2hN5kzVkZFvai6I3VqpTw&index=12&feature=plcp) and it now is THE thing to do on New Year's Day.  It started with his family only - and now thousands come to be together.  I figured if Bob can do it so can we!

My creative and smart wife drew up 4 signs (they included a bat, a pumpkin and the essential info) and I was charged with putting them in areas that neighbors would see them.  So 2 went by the park that we were starting the parade from, and the other 2 went down in the neighborhood on some trafficy intersections.  We crossed our fingers as we sent out an email to about 12 families letting them know about our crazy idea.  People or not, we were starting a parade!

I guess the signs worked.  Over 100 people showed up!  As of 5 minutes before start time, there were 4 of us.  Needless to say - we thought our parade was going to be small and short.  However, they just kept coming.  And coming.  And smiling!  Kids were laughing, grandparents were happy and parents were excited.  It was such a great moment - the whole neighborhood, ranging from 8 weeks old to over 80 years old, came out in full force to join the parade.

We walked a few blocks, talked to as many people we could and enjoyed the fall foliage in our quaint neighborhood.  The stories evolved.  I met one neighbor who said she was longing for community within our neighborhood and was hoping someone would organize something.  She loved the parade and meeting new friends!  I met another family who had adopted a 7 year old boy who was looking for friends.  He ended up leading the parade with other kids.  It is amazing what the power of community does.  It galvanizes people and creates something that no one can take away.

I announced the crowd that this parade will be happening every year - 5pm at Fairmount Park on 10/31.  Everyone said they'd be back.  I can't wait for next year already - this could be huge!

The power of community is strong.  What can you do to fan the flame?  Does it mean inviting those neighbors you've never met over for coffee?  Does it mean starting a parade?  Does it mean starting something else?  You tell me!

Until next time, go out on a limb.  100 people might just show up.


The Invincibility of the Moment

Have you ever thought back to a moment in your life when you simply "knew something"?  It's that moment in time when things become clear, they become absolute. I refer to this moment as "invincible" because no one can take it away from you and no one can replace it.  And no one can understand what that moment means to you.  It is powerful and it is everlasting.

As most of you know by now, Ashley and I have had our baby boy Coleman Alexander Casebeer.  He's perfect.  He already has a personality and he looks like me!  The feelings that are introduced to parents at the arrival of the first child are interesting.  I think new life hits people at different times and in different ways.  For me, I had my "invincible moment" about 8 days after Coleman was born.  It didn't come immediately for whatever reason.  Don't get me wrong - I loved him from second #1 - but this moment struck me about midnight of day 8.

Coleman was sleeping on Ashley's chest and I caught her staring at him.  She didn't know I was looking.  At exactly this moment was when I know I had to lead this family.  It was absolutely invincible.  It was spirit driven and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know right then I was the leader of this family.

Coleman is doing great.  He's growing (almost 9 lbs now), on the verge of smiling as a response and is thus far OK with Ruby licking his mouth.  She's weird like that, goes straight for the mouth.  *Side note - Ruby has eaten the following: tube of lanolin, 2 plastic syringes, 3 pairs of Mama's shoes, the Kindle charger, half of a sharpie, the coffee table and probably so many things I don't want to know about.* Anyway, Coleman is adjusting to life as a Casebeer and is doing so great.  He is a pretty good sleeper and a great pooper.  Just the beginning. . .

Back to The invincibility of the moment.  Have you had one?  I hope you do.  You'll know.  It is God tugging at your heart and pointing you in some direction.  For me it was in towards Him, bringing my family along.  Until next time, live for the moment.


My dog ate my Bible

No, seriously.  Ruby ate my Bible.  This wasn't your run of the mill Bible either.  This was a J.B. Phillips translation, aka "the cook book", which hasn't been produced in decades.  I love this translation for a number of reasons.  It's human, it's pliable, it's relatable, and it's reality.  It's also no more!

Ashley and I came home a few weeks ago to this tragic mess.  All over the house.  Pages everywhere.  Leather everywhere.  And Ruby no where to be found!  Normally this wouldn't have been so upsetting, but that Bible had years (10+) of notes, thoughts, underlinings, bullet points, etc in it.  And now it has been eaten and pooped out.  Ruby literally was fed on the word of God. She digested it.  Maybe there is a small lesson here??

Every once in a while I go on Ebay and look for this very specific Phillips Bible and buy them if they are exactly what I'm looking for.  So thankfully I have a few backups of the Phillips.  Always have them on reserve, but mainly to give away.  Not this time!

So off to Oregon Bookbinding (http://www.oregonbookbindingcompany.com/) in Silverton I go.  Nancy has helped me a number of times and does an amazing job! Check out the pictures of before and after.

Anyway I'm ready to roll again.  Ready to mark up another one.  It's exciting in a way, getting to start over.  I wonder what thoughts, bullet points and underlinings will surface over the next ten years.  Time will tell.  But I'll tell you one thing: Ruby will never find this one!

Until next time, hide your valuables.  You never know who might snatch them!


Just days away...

We are just days away from life as we know it changing.  We are days away from going from 2 to 3.  We are days away from diapers!  We are days away from stress and days away from joy.  We are days away from tears and days away from sleepless nights.  We are just days away from responsibility!  We are days away from baby seats, car seats and toys.  We are days away from cuddles and days away from walks thru the neighborhood.  We are days away from Danny, Patti and Jamie becoming Papa, Pat Pat and James James.  We are days away from bottles (milk for baby and wine for us?).  We are days away from looking at each other and asking, "What should we do?"  We are days away from being Ashley and Alex to Mom and Dad. 

We are days away from meeting our baby boy and couldn't be more excited!

Until next time, enjoy what you've got...because you might be days away from something new!


Are you a connector?

The idea of being a connector has been on my mind and heart recently.  I love that word, connector.  It's an action word, it moves.  A connector is something or someone who links two things together.  It's also intentional, another reason why I like it.  As I said, I've been reflecting on this lately and have realized that I have been blessed as being a good connector.  I love linking two people up together and I love staying connected to people.  Over the years I have had great experiences and memories with people by just staying in touch, or staying connected.  And I've had people have profound impacts on my life after years of being connected.  So I ask you: are you a connector?

A few years back I met a guy named Tim.  Tim and I spent one weekend together as a part of a men's retreat.  He and I talked a lot about commitment and what that meant.  At the time, I was trying to figure out whether to move to North Carolina to chase my girlfriend around.  Tim suggested I commit.  So I did and 4 years or so later she and I are expecting our 1st baby.  We fast forward a few years and Ashley and I decide to move to Portland.  I let Tim know I'd be moving out (stayed connected!).  By staying connected, we ended up at Tim's house having dinner once a week, getting to know his immediate family and even living with some of his other family members (for free!).  Staying connected was HUGE. 

Another friend of mine Eric stays connected with me.  Out of the blue he'll send me a book, or a note, and it always seems to come at just the right time. It also makes me feel cared for and valued as a friend.  So by his staying connected with me, our friendship carries on and I am blessed by it.  Read more about him at ericscofield.wordpress.com  .

Staying connected is huge.  The Bible even talks about it in Hebrews 10:25 - "...let us consider how we may spur one another one in love and good deeds, and not give up meeting together..." .   In fact, Jesus tells us that if two or more of us meet together, God will join us (Matthew 18:20)!  It's just one more way of staying connector to our Creator - and each other.

You see, being a connector not only is good for you, it's good for them.  I love being a connector.  I love getting people involved with one another and staying involved with people.  It has an immense pay off!  So again I ask (and challenge) you: are you a connector? 

Until next time, call someone you haven't in a while and re-connect.  I dare you!


What I learned from Ashley's graduation

My brilliant, amazing, hot and pregnant wife graduated from Willamette University with her Master's in Education yesterday.  Quite the accomplishment!  In so many ways I am proud of her.  And I am so happy I was able to attend the ceremony because the commencement speaker really caught my attention.  Dr. Frank Serafini was his name. I had no idea who he was - turns out he is a very decorated individual in his arena of teaching - but I will tell you what he said made a whole lot of sense to me, teacher or not.  I took some notes.  After all, I was in a room full of teachers!

                              "Don't try to make lifelong learners and readers by making them do unrealistic things that lifelong learners and readers don't do!"
His example of this was pretty funny.  He asked the audience if we, after we are done reading a book, go get a shoe box and make a timeline of events of our favorite characters.  The answer is no!  So why do teachers make their kids do some of these (in his eyes) ridiculous things?  His answer to making lifelong learners and readers is to engage them in interesting and relevant activities and conversations that make them live it, not just memorize or imitate it.

                           "Advice is cheap. Wisdom comes from years and reflection".
I like this.  He understands how wisdom comes from looking inside yourself and reflecting on what made you who you are.  He warned the graduates to not just take advice from passersby, but to engage in wisdom-filled conversations and relationships.  Right on, brother!

                           "When you have a day where things just don't go your way, leave early and go wine tasting! (for those under 21, go play kick ball)"
He puts life in perspective.  Serafini warned the teachers not to take it too seriously or else they will get buried.  He is big on having fun, for sure, but also compartmentalizing his life.  He's a teacher.  But he's also someone who lives life outside of work to it's fullest, and in his eyes THAT is what is most important.

                            "The more interesting you become as a person, the more interesting a leader   you'll be".
I think this is my favorite of all of his statements.  How will anyone want to learn from you or follow you if you are a boring dud?  Frank says to teach yourself to become interesting and curious.  Read outside of your comfort zone.  Travel a lot.  Have real, deep relationships with people outside of your work community.  Go wine tasting or play kick ball.  Become interesting! I love this.

 Needless to say, I subscribe to Sefafini's way of thinking.  He gets it.  He understands what it takes to be a great teacher is to become interesting, to change your curriculum yearly, to engage kids IN the battle of learning, not to simply talk at them.  Frank was inspiring to me.  I can apply so much of what he says in my line of work and I will for sure!

So what do you say?  How are you going to become a more interesting person?  Until next time, learn something new and take a change.  You'll be more interesting because of it!


It's baby time.

A little while back I received a Facebook message from my friend Harry.  At first, it seemed pretty funny.  Actually, it still is funny, but now as Baby Casebeer is getting closer and closer I am realizing some of this stuff he said is true, or will be true!  Here it is:

"Alex Congrats on the new baby boy, because you are now going to be a Father you are immediately granted with the following Man-Characteristics.
1. You automatically have Fatherly wisdom in all aspects of life (Great Responsibility).
2. You automatically have old man strength regardless of age.
3. You automatically are the encyclopedia of all things regarding scotch, cigars, shaving, and boat fuel.
4. You have been looked up to, now you are automatically looked up to by wife and child."

Ok so some things in here definitely ring true. 

Number 2.  I am still working on this.  But definitely know about this alleged old man strength.  I've seen it in action before in older men.  It's impressive.

Number 3.  Ok I like cigars and shaving.  I'm working my way into being a scotch drinker, so give me some time on that.  Boat fuel?  Well I like riding in boats and don't know anything or care about the fuel that goes in.  BUT! I'll pretend like I know anything.

Number 1.  I accept the fact that I will at some point have wisdom in life.  And it is a huge responsibility!  But for now I'm just trying to figure this life out one day at a time, letting Jesus take the lead.

Number 4.  Ok this one scares me a little big.  While I do realize that once I got married, I was in a position of leadership.  My wife looks to me for decisions and at times guidance.  Now I will have a child looking for those same things!  Wow, this is huge.  And you know what?  I can't wait!

I recently read a great article on one man's take on parenting.  It goes along with a book I read also, so I am beginning to think there is a trend here.  Take a look at this quote from the article:
            "We can no longer guide our children by dictatorial or condescending lectures. They are not listening, but they are watching, and thus, like it or not, we must come to grip with the inescapable fact that the way we live our own life is the only appropriate influence we have on our children's lives. No lectures; no discussion; just do it. Just be it."

I love this quote on all levels.  Here is a guy who realizes that he is in a distinct position to lead his kids.  He understands that lectures aren't going to get it done, but that actions will.  Leading a life of whimsy and adventure (with integrity) will show them what it's all about.  And THAT is the part about parenting that I am looking forward to.

So September 2 this adventure begins.  Sure there will be sleepless nights in the beginning.  But who cares?  I want there to be sleepless nights later in life with them because we are out doing something crazy.  If you have any other advice, let me know!  I'm all ears.

Until next time, no more lectures.  Just go out and be it!


Lessons from the Auto Business

So I went to a sales training meeting today and figured it would be just like any other sales training meeting: energetic but the "same ol same ol".  It can be stale, boring, and viewed as a waste of time.  As a manager, I know that any training is, for the most part, good training.  But today's was a little different.  Here is what I learned.

You have to become a little uncomfortable to bring change. You see, we are going through a change in the way we sell cars.  We hate putting customers in a position of perceived pressure.  So we are changing.  We don't want it to be that difficult to buy cars, it shouldn't be!  We are changing the way we are doing things but change is difficult.  Change is messy but in the end change is good.  This concept also sounds a lot like life to me.  We are resistant to change, in general.  And when we do need to change something in our lives, it is uncomfortable.  We need to embrace that!  You have to become a little uncomfortable to bring change.

Make a big deal out of the small things.  Sometimes we (in the car business) overlook the seemingly unimportant things.  We are around cars all day, every day.  I realize that this car has 9 airbags, but how much does that matter, right?  This is a small thing to us, but can be a huge thing to a customer.  And we need to make these small things big!  We need to emphasize them.  I think in life we overlook the small things, too.  The old adage of "Stop and smell the roses" rings in my ears.  I think we tend to overlook the small things in our daily routine.  We forget to tell people we love them as much as we should.  We rush around possibly missing something amazing in creation.  But what I think is important is that every once in a while we should make a huge deal out of small things.  You never know who's day - or life - you might change.

Your attitude creates the perception.  Simple, but true.  My sales guys will never sell anything if they don't have a great attitude, all the time.  Once you have a positive attitude, you create energy.  Energy creates enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm creates an event that you will never forget.  That's exactly what we are going for here at my work - to create a customer experience like no other one in the business.  But you know what?  I believe the same thing about life too.  Attitude leads us down all sorts of paths that can become unforgettable - good or bad!  But we wake up every single day and have a choice: good attitude or bad attitude.  What is your choice going to be?  Your attitude determines almost every thing you do!

This is truly about relationships.  This business, in the end, isn't really about price, trade in value, or interest rates.  It isn't about thinking you scored or got taken advantage of.  It is about relationships.  I am in the distinct position of having the opportunity to be in this business for a long time, and possibly own it.  I know first hand that relationships matter.  We sell a car one day.  But if we treat that customer right, they will hopefully be a life long customer.  Our sales people don't necessarily realize that because they come and go, they don't care as much as I do.  But I am teaching them to.  I am teaching them that relationships matter and are crucial.  Treating people right is all that really matters.  Sounds like life right?  Sounds like Jesus too, to me.  Jesus is really only about relationships.  He just wants to be with us and us with Him.

The thing about the car business and life is that at times things can be applied here and there interchangeably.  I look for these things daily and more and more am finding out just how much I like this business.  I like the challenge of it and I love the challenge God has laid out for me.  Now I just have to take advantage and listen to Him.

Until next time, attitude, relationships, and small things.  What are you going to learn today?


Yo, Momma!

She was there on October 17, 1982 (when we gave birth to me!).   She was there when I broke my arm jumping over a couch in our basement and was there when I sliced open my hand opening the dog food can.  (ER, both times).  She was there when I crapped my pants countless times.  She was there when my beloved frog, Slimer, died.  She took me to every single modeling shoot I had as a kid and sat there for hours on end.  (I think she kept all the money.  But she deserved it!) 

She was there thru the awkward stage of my youth - braces, headgear, short shorts and high socks - and told me I looked good despite the fact that I was (still am) a huge dork.  She took me to middle school jazz band (even through I was in elementary school) at 6:15am every morning.  She let me play golf all day long and charge egregious amounts of food on the tab at Illahe.  She drove me from Salem to Klamath Falls, up the Oregon Coast and back to Salem for 2 golf tournaments to watch me play like garbage.  She flew to Colorado when I qualified for a big one because she didn't want to miss a step.  She flew to Hawaii to watch my brother and I compete in a music competition for 3 days (OK, not too impressed with that one...).  She has proved that she will truly go to the end of the earth for me.

She didn't let me to to AC/DC because George Carter fell through our ceiling while climbing around where we shouldn't have.  She taught me discipline on that one.  She buried my cat Karen in the front yard (had to fold her tail in half to make her fit in our man made grave...).  She cooked for and fed hungry teenagers just about every night of the summer for years on end.  She has short-sheeted my bed numerous times.  She went through the worst time of her life with just me, and made it out a better person.  Through that, she taught me how to grow up, love when it's ugly, and keep you eye on the positive things.  She took me on trips, just the two of us, until the year I was married.  I will forever cherish the Mom-and-me trips and hope I get at least one more!  Heck I hope I get like 10 more, she pays!

She taught kids how to play piano, how to sing and how to have fun in church choir.  She has impacted thousands of lives in Salem through her volunteering and time spent in the community.  She laughs a lot.  She kicks ass on the tennis court and runs marathons.  She is now a grandma.  She still cooks the best cookies and banana bread.

It's May 13, 2012 and she's enjoying life as wife, friend, grandma and mom. 

She's MY mom, and for that, I am so thankful.  Happy Mother's Day, I love you, Mom!


Morning musings.

Have you ever wanted a relationship with someone?  I'm not talking romantically.  I'm talking about maybe someone you've idolized from a distance, or think is really cool, or is new in town?  I know I have.  And sometimes when it doesn't work out, I  get a little disappointed.  But sometimes it does work out and it turns in to something really amazing and fruitful.  All it takes is a little persistence and sticking your neck out there.

There is a story in the Bible about a guy who was in this exact position.  He was someone who was not liked in his home town - he was the dreaded tax collector whom everyone didn't trust or like at all.  Well Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to town and wanted to meet him.  In Luke 19:2 it says that he was "wanting to see what sort of person Jesus was".  You see, he idolized Jesus from a distance.  Zac wanted to know about Him, what His life was like, and who He was.  Jesus rolls in to town and Zac climbs a tree to get a look at Him, thinking Jesus wouldn't realize he was up there.  Well Jesus is Jesus and He knew. He could feel that someone wanted to know Him.

So what does Jesus do?  He stops everything and invites Himself over to Zac's house for dinner.  All Jesus wanted to do was strike up a relationship with Zac and get to know him.  On his turf.  In his kitchen.  Over his dinner table. You see, Jesus is consistent.  He comes in to our lives and does the same thing.  He never forces him self on us and says that in order to know Him we have to go to church or be a missionary or go to Catholic school.  He just says "let's hang out every day and do stuff together".  He wants to go through this life with us, not above us.  Jesus just wants to be with.

My question to myself while I was reading this was two-fold.  I asked myself that if Zacchaeus wanted to know what kind of person Jesus is and I was living in his time, am I showing him with my life who Jesus is?  That struck a chord.  Am I living out what Jesus wants me to be as His follower and friend or am I doing my own thing?  Would Zac know who Jesus was if he met me?

I also asked myself, Am I walking through life, doing stuff, with Jesus everyday?  Or do I just invite Him to certain things?  You see, Jesus wants to be a part and THE part of everything!  He doesn't care.  He just wants to be with us and do stuff.  All of our stuff.  Not just the stuff that we want Him to see or know about.  I mean, come on.  He's God and knows about it anyway, so why try to hide??  Just let it all hang out and let Jesus in on the inside.

Lots to think about for me on this one.  Lots to do about it.  What about you?  Until next time, don't be afraid to seek out a new relationship.  You never know where it might lead you.


Pinched Nerve

Have you ever had a pinched nerve? What about in your neck? Let me tell you, it is no fun. I was working out 2 weeks ago doing pull ups (manly, I know) and all of the sudden I felt this incredible pain in my neck. Ashley must feel this all the time with me! Anyway, I initially thought it was a cramp but quickly realized it was much worse: pinched nerve. This puts you on the disabled list for about 2 weeks and it is no fun. Even a simple move such as getting out of bed hurts - you never realize you use your neck for nearly everything you do.

Time passed and I am fine now, but I did realize something about pinched nerves. They put you through something that you don't want to go through. They are painful. In the end, however, they probably make you a little stronger because you've built other muscles around it. They also strike you all of the sudden and don't let you forget about it.

This reminds me a little of how God works, I think. I think He pinches nerves in our lives. I think He puts things on our hearts that constantly remind us of Him. I think He pinches our nerves to get us moving, also. I have been pinched by God in a number of areas, and although at the time they seem painful and confusing, in the end He knows what's best. Sometimes He just has to pinch a nerve in me to get me to trust Him more or to love more.

What nerve is God pinching in you? Are you feeling the tug somewhere in your life to do something, love someone, go help someone somewhere? Are wondering what that is? Maybe it is God pinching a nerve in you to get some action, some movement, some more love. Because as my friend Bob says, love does!

 Until next time, don't do too many pull ups or you might pinch a nerve. Or is that a good thing?


Mercies in Disguise

I read that 3 word statement the other day embedded in some text and thought to myself, "Hmmm, that's interesting". And I think "Hmm, that's interesting" just about sums up "Mercies in Disguise". Agree? Disagree? I would also state inputting "blessings" for "mercies" works as well.

This world can be strange at times. Really strange. A while back I showed up to work thinking it will just be another day at work. I certainly did not expect what happened next. One of our salespeople was having an issue with child care and wasn't sure what to do. She came to me for whatever reason and we had a chat. After talking about some different things going on in her life, I was feeling the at-times dreaded "nudge" from the Holy Spirit. You know, the one that tells you to do something you don't really want to do? Well the nudge was to ask her if I could pray for her. I have no idea if she is a believer, if this will be totally offensive, but decided to go for it. That was definitely the first time I've ever prayed with an employee at work! I would call that a Mercy in Disguise.

Or how about making an outlandish bet with my sales staff (in front of the entire company) that if they hit a certain volume of vehicle sales I'd shave my head (in front of the entire company - on the showroom floor). Well they hit it. And I shaved. Not only did we have a great sales month, but the morale got a huge bump. It's amazing what buy in and a little shaving of the head does for the guys. Disguises are interesting. They are, at their core, designed to cover up something you might not want someone to see. You know, bandaids, ace bandages, wigs that men wear, and at times poor excuses. But maybe God disguises His things differently. Maybe He's not so obvious with things like grace and love. Maybe they come through the form of something else (mercies in disguise?), like truth, honesty and friendship. I don't know how He works, but I know one thing - He keeps us on our toes. And He keeps me wondering about what He'll disguise next. Until next time, keep your head up and heart open to what God is doing. He just might trick you into something amazing and adventurous!


I'm a huge dork

I admit it. I completely geeked out on something last week and I'm not ashamed. I'm also not in high school, which is a huge contradiction. But I stood in line for 2 hours, in the cold, at midnight, to watch the world premier of "The Hunger Games". OK, so I wasn't alone. I'm going to throw my wife under the bus on this one to! She came with, almost fell asleep during the first hour (I was riveted) but made it through to the end. I have to say, it was a pretty fun evening. We had a nice dinner with some other friends who came with us (I won't sewer them), bought a nice bottle of wine to share while waiting for the movie, and then hung out with a movie theater full of high schoolers, some dressed in full HG garb. My personal highlight? Started the slow clap as the movie was starting and got the majority of the theater to follow suit!

In other news around the Casebeer world, I am an uncle again! As of 10:30 on Sunday evening, Hammond Rain Casebeer was introduced to the world. Healthy, happy, and presumably hunger, Hammond is now a part of this crazy Casebeer family. Good luck little buddy, it will be a fun ride!

Aside from that, my prego wife is doing great! She's starting a show a little cute bump and claims to have felt little Casebeer last night! I'll verify this evening and report back! Other than that, things are smooth and we can't wait for the gender reveal. My gut feeling is PINK!

Our next big event? Jamie O'Dea's COLLEGE graduation. I met her when she was an 8th grader. Weird.

Until next time, live in the now! Enjoy what you have! And stay hungry, my friends!


Well that was quick!

Greeting friends! So much time has passed since I've last updated you on our crazy lives. Let's see. Since then (December), we had a great New Years, took a trip to Hawaii, got pregnant, went on a business trip to Vegas, and....

"Wait a minute. Back that train up. You got PREGNANT????"

Yes we did folks! Ashley and I are officially turning our family of 2.25 (Ruby) into a family of 3.25! 15 weeks along and doing very well, Ashley and I are extremely excited. The baby is healthy so far, Ashley has not experienced many sick days at all, and I have not freaked out more than 7.6 times. In fact quite the opposite. I am so excited to have a little buddy (guy or girl, who cares?) to run around with I can hardly stand it!

So what has this pregnancy entailed so far? Well, we had to cleverly hide this from many people. Ashley had to fake drink wine/champagne at New Year's, I've had to go buy Oreo Cookies more than once, and the jeans with the strechy front arrived. Pregnancy jeans? Preans? Jegnancys? Anyway, she'll still be lookin hot with those bad boys.

Other than that we are still waiting to see little Jerome (kidding) in the form of a baby bump. Nothing yet! I mean come on already I want to see something! Ashley still looks like the hot mama (pun intended) that I married!

Now what is next? Well, some doctors appointments, an ultrasound to find out the sex of baby Jerome in about 6 weeks, some reading, and lots of preparing to be parents. We are so excited and welcome any help and/or advice you have to offer!

Until next time, buckle up for the ride. It's going to be great!