With the birth of my little girl only a few days away, it is unsurprising that I’ve spent many waking hours thinking about purpose. While I’m not new to the parenting rodeo, I think it is natural to think about setting an example, and wanting your offspring to have a good role model. If I’m going to spend time showing my children how to be a good adult, I may as well figure out what kind of adult I am going to be. I’ll let you know when I have that figured out.

In the mean time, while I am working on figuring out my life’s purpose, I am going to spend some time thinking about the blog’s purpose. A few years ago, when I was training to run my first marathon, the theme of my blog was simply stories about running. That event was exhausting, and I had many accomplishments along the way. In some ways, the blog wrote itself in those days simply because of my sheer number of accomplishments.

A newer purpose in my life is to live out loud. This is something I am not good at, as I typically don’t share with people around me. When I got remarried, I only told two people from work about it. Most found out when I changed my Facebook status to married.  I’ve been less secretive about the pregnancy, but even then when work threw a surprise baby shower a dozen of my coworkers told me they had no idea we were expecting. Also, while just about everyone knows we are expecting, very few of my friends and acquaintances know how difficult it was for us to get pregnant. Vicky was told her AMH hormone level was too low to get pregnant with her own eggs, I had an uncommonly high level of defective swimmers, doctors wouldn’t prescribe fertility drugs, and her tubes were blocked. Things were not looking well. We went through several rounds of IUI before writing a large check and starting IVF. I gave Vicky up to 7 shots a day, she felt horrible, and we only had a 40% chance of this actually working. We caught a lucky break when it was time to harvest eggs, and we not only are pregnant from our parts, but have six (6) more blasts hanging out in the freezer just in case. The six months we spent with all the ups and downs were exhausting. Luckily, those six had a purpose, leading to the past nine months that we’ve spent getting ready for this little girl.

I am not planning on making this blog just about my little girl, just about my boys, or just about making a modern blended family work. I do intend to write about those things, as I intend to write this blog with purpose. I am going to write about my family, my job, my writing progress, my exercise progress, and my attempts to pull in some residual income. Here is an early step in living out loud, and making purpose a focus.

A girl is on my mind

11 days.  For various reasons,  the number 11 has always been significant for me.  I always appreciate when things appear in groups of 11, 11 days away, etc.  As of now, Vicky and I are 11 days away from our little girl’s due date.

I’m ready to get this started!  Let’s ditch all the nerves, worries, and medical dramas that my wife carries with her, toss the insomnia out the window, and get started with this new life.

I’m looking forward to this little girl.  I’ve had the boys for many years now, and I feel like I’m doing a good job with them, and having a girl will be a nice, new experience.  Without knowing her, I have many dreams for her already.  I’m hoping that she’ll grow to be strong, confident, smart, and capable.  I wish for her the opportunity to go after her dreams, to speak her mind without fear, to find those wonderful little pieces of magic in life that turn everything into technicolor.  I suppose my dream is that she’ll grow up in a world where girls aren’t told they can or can’t do certain things.  If not that, I want her to grow up knowing she can pursue anything she wants, and that those who tell her “she can’t because she is a girl” are idiots.

It’ll also be weird to be a full time parent again.  Vicky and I were hanging out with a group of co-parents a few months back, a group where everyone shares custodial time of their child with the other parent.  One member of the group looked at us and commented “wow, you’re going to have her every day.”  Growing up, I didn’t think I’d be in a place in life where having your child every day would seem new, strange, and different.  Here I am anyway, regardless of what I thought would happen.  Despite, or because of this reality, my life is good.  I have hope for the direction of my life, I have love in lots of areas, and I continue to be a life long learner.

Ultimately, this is what I want to little girl to be able to do.  Life doesn’t turn out the way we think it should, but she’ll be one of thsoe able to go with those bumps along the way and make it greater.

8 year old’s advice

This week, my eight year old started writing a book of facts.  Being ambitious, he promptly followed it up with a second book of facts.  These facts are lists of things to do that make a good, well rounded person.  I’d like to share some of these, then I’m going to challenge myself to achieve as many as I can this week.

1. Sweat is good

2. Eat your vegetables

3. Never watch scary movies

4. Trust snakes and sharks

5. Never cut down trees

6. Try to make movies

7. Never eat shark fin soup

8. Do not trust people that are doing something in secret

9. Be a friend

10. Do well in school

11. Play sports

12. Pet animals

13. Do art

14. Fight haters

15. Build a submarine

16. Climb trees

17. Write a story

18. Run a lap

19. Swim a lap

20. Keep track of time

21. Eat politely

22. Help others

23. Say please and thank you

24. Get a cat

25. Got milk?

38 and counting

As I write this, I am looking forward to another birthday this weekend.  This time, it’s good ol’ number 38.  I have the honor of sharing a birthday with that American tradition of eating tacos and drinking Corona – Cinco de Mayo.  In college, my birthday was a big hit in the fraternity earning such nicknames Drinko de Mayo, Drinko de Ed, or Cinco de Cuervo.  Earlier this year I asked my wife “what if I don’t want tacos for my birthday this year?” She responded with “that’s no problem, we’ll celebrate your party later, but we’re still having a party on Cinco de Mayo.”

Two years ago I had only been dating Vicky for about a month.  My birthday came at an opportune time as it coincided with a First Thursday Art Walk in Seattle.  I got to meet some of Vicky’s friends, she got to meet some of mine, and I started to appreciate Vicky’s appreciation of Art.  We’re obviously still together now, and it’s hard to believe that I’ve only known her for two years.

Since then, we’ve moved in, got married, created a step family, and are now days away from having our own child together – a little girl.  In that time I’ve also run one marathon, a couple of half marathons, completed P90X (twice!), gotten hired on full time at ShareBuilder, promoted twice, and created two Hansen family original movies (with more on the way).  We bought a mini van, refinanced a house, sold a condo, redid the backyard, and put in a retaining wall on the side yard.  We’ve taken trips to San Diego, North Carolina (twice), Chicago (by accident), Chelan, and Long Beach.  We even built custom furniture for the boys rooms, though I really can’t take credit for that.  I joined the PTA, and became the assistant Treasurer.

When I summarize just the highlights, it’s obvious that we’ve been busy.  I find it funny that I go through my days and feel like I accomplish very little.  It just seems that there is always more to do than hours in the day.  However, now that I take a step back and look at where I am now it’s clear that life is not static these days.

The other day, my family was eating dinner in the backyard, enjoying the first sunny evening of the Spring.  It was a bit chilly, but the breeze was nice and the setting cozy.  Vicky looked at me and said “your hair is really turning gray.”  Happy 38th.