What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting: Old, Tired, Pregnant and Surprised

Hard to believe we're adding one more to this posse.

When my wife and I first got married, there was no question that we wanted to have a child. However, that’s exactly what I wanted—a child. Caroline? She wanted two.

Turned out she was carrying the number we both wanted. Combined. Which, of course, tabled our debate. Thanks to my stepdaughter, the triplets meant a second, third and fourth child. And the only fifth we were interested in was in our liquor cabinet. You know, to occasionally calm the nerves which four kids were sure to rattle.

But you know what?

Read the rest at Man of the House (You kinda have to b/c it’s my birthday. Please?!)

A Blended Family, A Stepdaughter and Me

Pookie goofing off at the beach this past August.

Although we had gone to school together from 1980 to 1987, I hadn’t laid eyes on Caroline for nearly a decade. That is before I randomly bumped into her in 2004. Truth be known, I had always found her extremely attractive, even during the Carter administration when she was nothing more than a feisty little 6th grader equipped with the perfect blend of beauty and sass. And the all-grown-up version was somehow even more beautiful than I had remembered.

But in spite of our immediate chemistry, I knew a long-term relationship wasn’t in the cards. After all, Caroline was a single mom. And as a 34 year-old professional bachelor type, I had no interest in any of that. I mean, being a parent is hard enough. But being a stepparent? It’s downright impossible, a fact I understood all too well from my childhood.

Continue reading over at Babble

Bristol Palin, Dieting Babies and Elmo

Ah, Elmo. My old nemesis.

I promise that one day I’ll get used to the amount of writing I’m doing outside my personal blog and resume posting here as often as I once did. One day, soon, at that.

If for no other reason than because this is my favorite place to write. After all, it’s 100% me. That’s not to say I don’t like writing for other sites. I do. It’s just that at other places, I sometimes cover topics I may not have chosen to write about here.

However, much of what I write for other sites is stuff that I find interesting. What’s more, I think you might, too. So every Saturday, I’m going to (try to) put up a post here with links to my favorite non-JCO posts from the week prior. All of these curation posts, if you will, are categorized under “Babbling,” a new category you may have noticed in my toolbar.

Of the 10 posts I wrote at Babble this past week, three stand out. One of them has my favorite title, ever. Sadly, it’s about complete morons who subject their babies to diets.

Does This Onesie Make My Baby’s Butt Look Big?

Another is about an unlikely battle of wits. Bristol Palin versus Keith Olbermann. With a guest appearance made by the Situation.

Bristol Palin to Keith Olbermann: I’m Perfectly Qualified To Advocate Teen Abstinence

The third Babble post I liked? I poked fun at myself via a truly horrendous yuletide picture of my family taken last year.

Tis the Season for Awkward Family Photos: Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha, Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha

I liked my post at Man Of The House so much that I actually posted the first part of it here. It’s about my dad, who’s undoubtably enjoying his first holiday in Heaven with my sister Holliday. I’ve linked it again, in case you missed it.

Thanks, Dad: Determination, Strength and Dignity

And my efforts at the Good Men Project’s “Dad’s Good” (no so into the name “Dad’s Good”) are two oldies but goodies. One is a tender account of the night my 2 year-old comforted me for a change. If you read it, you’ll think I’m a woman.

Monster’s Scared

The other is a scathing letter to Elmo. If you read it, you’ll think I’m a jerk. Or that I hate Elmo. Possibly both.

Dear Elmo

My Late Father

Me and my parents a month or two before Dad died.

I was recently asked if I wanted to contribute to a series called “Thanks, Dad,” over at ManOfTheHouse. I jumped at the opportunity, even though I knew that in many ways, the exercise would prove to be a difficult and emotional one.

I was wrong. It wasn’t difficult. But I was also right, as it proved to be an extremely emotional endeavor. That said, I’m so glad I wrote it. I was happier still to share it with Mom on Thanksgiving Day. It was invigorating to feel Dad’s spirit as we sat around the table.

I hope you’ll take time to read it. I think you’ll like it. It may even spark some memories of someone you love who’s no longer with us. If it does, I hope you’ll share some of those memories with me via a comment. After all, it’s the holiday season. And there’s no better time than now to reflect upon the people we love.

Here it is:

*  *  *

Early one morning in 2002, my brother picked me up from the airport and drove me to the hospital to see my dad. He had been unresponsive since the afternoon before. His rapid turn for the worse was what had prompted the previous night’s phone calls urging me to catch a cross-country flight – if I ever wanted to see him alive again.

The second I walked into his room, I was devastated. So that’s what it looks like, I thought, with equal amounts of fear and awe. It was dehumanizing. Which made sense to me. What was happening to Dad is what sets our spirit free. And our spirit isn’t human.

I sensed that though he was still with us, he was gone nonetheless. But I was wrong. Dad came back to us later that very day. Shortly after he regained consciousness, he told Mom something she’ll never forget.

“I died last night, Martha Lee.”

read more at ManOfTheHouse

Leslie Nielsen, RIP

Leslie Nielsen, in October, 2008

In Leslie Nielsen, America lost a legend. Below is the funniest movie exchange ever. And yes, I’m like 15 years old.

The Million Dollar Question

The million-dollar question.

Yesterday was a big day. It was our first ultrasound. Technically, it’s still a little early. Lovie’s only six weeks along. But the nurse tech was nice enough to make an exception for us given how anxious she knew we were.

The last time Lovie was pregnant, I still owned the countertop business. And we were particularly busy at the time.  That’s why my wife suggested that I stay at work. After all, she knew that if I were to take a couple of hours in the middle of my day to accompany her, I’d be home that much later that night. And in those days, I was already coming home late enough as it was. So I skipped it.

When Lovie asked me if I wanted to come this time, I was quick to answer. “You’re damn right I do,” I began. “The last ultrasound I missed yielded triplets. Missing this one is a chance I’m just not willing to take.”

Since the moment we found out that Lovie was pregnant, the million dollar question on both of our minds has been How many? All our friends told us to relax. The odds were overwhelming that there was just one.

But when it comes to odds, Lovie and I have proven that we’re not afraid to land on the slim ones. In fact, for Lovie to even get pregnant without any help was extremely unlikely. It was that unlikelihood which served as the answer to yet another million-dollar question often asked to us by our close friends — If y’all didn’t want any more children, why didn’t you ever do anything about it?

It’s not like we never discussed it. A few days before her C-section for the triplets, I encouraged Lovie to get her tubes tied. “You know. Since the hood’ll be up, and all. May as well let the mechanic multi-task.”

“You’re a jackass. You know that?” she asked. “I don’t want to get my tubes tied. Why don’t you just get snipped?”

Simple. This jackass is scared of the knife. Plus, I hate frozen peas. The last thing I’d wanna do is sit on ’em. Various incarnations of this stalemate manifested itself over the past three years. And after each one, Lovie and I were left to take solace in the aforementioned unlikelihood turned million-dollar-question answer. Why didn’t we ever do anything about it?

Because we thought it was all but impossible for Lovie to get pregnant.

Of course, that notion failed to take into account one undeniable fact. Since the day I was born, I’ve been flat-out getting shit done, y’all. PERIOD. It’s how I operate. So in that respect, I suppose it should have come as no surprise.

But it was a surprise, and though we had gotten our hands around it to a certain extent, I was still completely and totally freaked out as I sat in the waiting room alongside Caroline yesterday, nervously tweeting a rhetorical question to my tweeps. Surely there’s just one, right?

I, in fact, was not so sure. My gut told me that there were two in hers. Possibly even three.

“I think I’d actually almost be happy if there were only two,” I said to Lovie while we waited.

“You talk like there’s a litter inside me,” she uttered while casually flipping through a magazine. “I’ve gotten good with it. No matter how many,” she said.

“Even if there’s three?” I asked.

“Well, yeah, even if there’s three. I mean, what are we gonna do, you know?”

“Honey,” I started, “I don’t know what you’re gonna do if there’s three. But I know what I’m gonna do. But before I tell you, I want you to know that this was an incredibly difficult decision. That said, if you’re pregnant with triplets, I’d have no choice but to leave your ass.”

She handled it rather well, responding to my shocking announcement with a simple question. “Oh yeah? What if there’s just one?”

“One? You’re good. One and I’m stayin’.”

“Oooh. Lucky me. What about two?”

I looked out the window and pondered that one. Funny I didn’t have an answer, given that my gut had us pegged for twins.”Two would be a game-time decision,” I finally concluded.

And as fate would have it, a game-time decision that I won’t have to make. Because the ultrasound revealed just one gestational sac. (Praise the Lord.) Of course, there could always be two babies inside one sac via identical multiples, but there was only one yolk and, most importantly, only one heartbeat detected.

And as I saw the pitter-patter of our little baby’s heart via the grayscale image on the GE monitor, mine grew warm with love. For the first time since I went into shock shortly after pulling out of the Dunkin’ Donut’s parking lot, the reality of the situation finally dawned on me. I could tell from the look on Caroline’s face that it had dawned on her, too.

After the ultrasound, we raced like kids into the parking lot, both wearing a grin from ear to ear, one that only got bigger as we squeezed each other tight right next to our car. You know what I think now? I think that on some level, Caroline and I were way more open to having another baby than either of us ever realized.

God willing, in about 34 weeks from now, we’ll be doing just that. And I wish I could somehow convey  just how fired up we are about it.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. This will be one of our most special ones, yet.

Photo: stock.xchng

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In the Spirit of Giving

This post is for my Ktown peeps, and it involves another of my Ktown peeps — Katie Allison Granju. She’s doing everything possible to further the investigation surrounding the brutal assault that helped land her son, Henry, in the hospital. And she’s asked for our help.

Please read below:


On Sunday, April 25, 2010, 18 year old Henry Louis Granju (pictured below) solicited aid from a citizen in or around the area of Mayfield Avenue at Winstead Street in South Knoxville, culminating in the citizen driving Granju to Joe Foster Park located at 1116 Drive D, Knoxville TN. This interaction took place in the early evening hours on that date – likely between 6:30 and 8:00 pm.

Our family would very much like to locate this wonderful Good Samaritan who reached out to help our injured son. We want to offer our thanks, and we also want to find out what this person saw or heard when interacting with Henry inmmediately following the assault.

Additionally, we would like to learn whether anyone in that neighborhood or traveling through the area at that time directly observed Henry’s assault, or saw him being put out of a car by his assailants at or near Mayfield Avenue at Winstead Street in South Knoxville.

If you have any information to share, please call Henry’s mom, Katie Granju at 283-0395 or email her at katie.granju@gmail.com

Please help us spread the word however you can to anyone and everyone in the greater Knoxville area.


The Granju and Hickman families

Katie also writes:

In the next week or three, I will be organizing a weekend-long, volunteer search of the entire neighborhood around Joe Foster Park, as well as the street intersection where the attackers told law enforcement they put Henry out of their car. I will ask as many friends, family members and concerned citizens who are willing to help me canvass a 5-15 mile area with flyers and house to house visits, trying to find this person.

Katie — whenever you get this organized, no matter what we have going on, I can assure you that I’ll be there to help. Please keep us all posted on your plan to canvass. Still thinking of Henry often, as well as of both of his wonderful families, which, of course, includes his beautiful and brave mama.

With love…

the Osborne family

It’s the Holidays — What Were You Expecting?

Wait, what?

It was Sunday, November 7, the first day of daylight savings time, and I was fired up about the extra hour. In fact, I stretched it to two by sleeping til 8 as opposed to my regular 7. True to form, Lovie did no such thing. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, the tiny trio were already finished with their breakfast and out of their highchairs, roaming about like diminutive tyrants as my industrious wife cleaned their royal carnage. The sweet scent of syrup told me it was pancakes the monarchs had devoured.

I felt like such a deadbeat for not being a part of the culinary efforts that I offered to assume full responsibility for two-thirds of our toddlers. With Pookie at her dad’s house, that would leave my wife just one child with which to contend. And one child? That’s a flat-out layup.

Biggs wanted to stay with Mommy, so I corralled Monster and Peanut and took them upstairs to the playroom where, by complete coincidence, there happened to be a television tuned to ESPN, thereby allowing me to preview all the day’s upcoming football contests. In front of said TV sits a blue couch — an extremely comfortable blue couch.

The table was set for some good ol’ fashioned multi-tasking via a controversial but effective supervisory technique known as sleep-parenting. I, um, read about it. In a book. Or magazine. Somewhere.

Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, sleep-parenting on the comfy blue couch in the bonus room with Monster and Peanut playing contently nearby (and quietly—which is critical for sleep-parenting), when Biggs stumbled in with the phone.

“Call Mommy.”

I quickly dialed her cell, concerned that my often misinterpreted sleep-parenting was about to be called under attack (yet again).

“Hello,” she said from the kitchen.

“What’s up, babe? You need something?” I asked, in my best wide-awake voice.

“I’ve been obsessing over something that I have to tell you about.”

“What’s that, honey?”

“I think I’m pregnant.”

Holy shit.


“I think I’m pregnant.”

Holy, holy, holy shit. As in the very most holy of shits — I’m talking Mahatma-Gandhi-type fecal matter, here. Okay, stay cool. Obviously a false alarm.

“What? Why do you think that? Are you late or something?” I asked, suddenly no longer worried about my voice. I was confident that it was far from sleepy-sounding.

“No. I’m not supposed to start until next week.”


“Stop worrying, then. I’m sure we’re good.”

“I don’t know,” she countered before continuing with my boobs, this and my body, that.

“Well what do you wanna do about it?” I asked.

“Take a pregnancy test,” she answered.

“HELL no,” I replied. “That’s WAY too much drama for a Sunday. I am NOT signing up for that.”

Twenty minutes later, my candy-ass was double parked in a blue handicapped zone outside of Walgreens while Lovie was busily be-bopping along the family-planning aisle. Only the three screaming toddlers in the backseat reminded me that we were planning no such thing. Neither one of us wanted to have another child.

“Sorry,” Lovie said as she got back in the car. “Couldn’t find it right away.”

“Did you take it?” I asked.

“Are you crazy?” she answered. “I’m not taking a pregnancy test inside of a drug store. I’ll wait til we get home.”

“No you won’t,” I answered. “You’re taking it now!”

“What? You’re the one who didn’t even wanna do it today to begin with.”

“True,” I began. “But since you overruled me, I’m all about finding out as soon as possible. So, chop-chop, Pooh Bear. Where do you wanna take your test?”

“You’re getting coffee, right?” she said.

“You’re gonna rock a pregnancy test at Dunkin Donuts?” I asked.

“What’s wrong with Dunkin Donuts? There’s usually a line for the drive-through. I can take care of business while you’re waiting.”

Which is exactly what my beautiful wife did. And it timed out perfectly. Just as we were pulling away from the pick-up window, she was walking out the door. And by the time the dust settled, I wound up with a large coffee (cream and sugar), a bagful of glazed donut holes, and…

and a fifth child.

In what can best be described as complete role reversal, for once, the triplets were quiet as church mice, kindly leaving the crying to Lovie and me, which we did as quietly as we could, stealing quick glances at one another and holding hands above the center consul, our soft sobs occasionally interrupting the sing-songy banter of Dora and Diego.

Another baby.

Onesies. Baby gates. Johnny Jump-Ups. Bodreaux’s Butt Paste. Those velcro things that attach to and dangle from the car seat handle.

Another baby.

Boppy pillows. Blankets. Diapers. Bottles. Burp cloths.

Another baby.

Gliders. Bouncy seats. Vaseline. Baby Bjorns. Rattles. Exersaucers. Those plastic, squeezy bugger-extracting dealies I’ve never seen anyone use.

Another baby.

Holy shit.

Eventually we pulled it together and went to a different Walgreens, one where we had understood we could get an actual blood test. But the pharmacist said we were misinformed. They had no such test there. She did, however, look at our pregnancy test and confirmed what we had suspected. It appeared as if Lovie was, indeed, pregnant. False negatives, she explained, happen from time to time, but false positives were exceedingly rare.

Three hours earlier I had walked into the kitchen feeling guilty for oversleeping. That moment, I was stumbling through a drugstore in a literal state of shock, watching silently as Lovie compared two different brands of prenatal vitamins.

Unplanned child number five. The one we thought was impossible to have. The one we thought could have only come about with the assistance of fertility treatments. The one our calendars say will arrive just in time for our 42nd birthdays. The one that…

Holy shit. What if there’s more than one?

The first ultrasound’s next Tuesday. I’ll make sure to provide y’all with regular updates as this is sure to be a wild ride. But I can promise you one thing. Lovie, Pookie, Monster, Biggs, Peanut, Briggs (our dog), and me? We’re up for it.

We’re good like that.


Photo: MorgueFile

Good Men Project’s Dad’s Good

I'm in great company at Dad's Good.

One of my favorite groups recently launched an awesome new site within their site. Yesterday, The Good Men Project Magazine founded by Tom Matlack and publisher Lisa Hickey, introduced Dads Good: The Best of the Daddy Bloggers to their readers. And I was very flattered (if not somewhat overestimated) to be one of the few they asked to contribute.

Others include Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy Files, Craig Playstead of The Blog of Craig Playstead, Derek Markham from Natural PapaDad Centric founder Jason Avant, Jim Higley of Bobblehead Dad and Ron Mattocks of ClarKKentsLunchbox.

Trying hard to be a good dad is very cool.

I’ve been reading the bulk of these guys since I started blogging last year. And while it’s important to note that I’m tough on blogs in general and writing in specific, I genuinely believe that these guys have serious chops. So I hope you’ll come check us out by clicking here.


Photo: MorgueFile

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Cam Newton, His Dad and Their Disaster

Cam Newton is head and shoulders above everyone else.

Anyone who knows me knows knows that I’m a huge sports fan—college football in particular. This season has been an especially exciting one thanks in part to one player’s extraordinary play.

Sadly, a story which surrounds that very athlete has put the season in jeopardy. At least it has for me it has. The player is Cam Newton, and at the center of his story is a man who should be keeping his son out of these types of situations rather than dragging him into them.

That man is his dad. I wrote about my take on the allegations involving Cecil Newton over at Babble. It’s one of the better pieces I’ve written for them. I hope you’ll check it out by visiting Babble.

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