Rowboat Book Club Book #80

This book is great. The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.

A big ol’ Samuel Update

We are on a countdown clock until the end of this month. We are moving to Denver, Colorado. My house is almost done. They finally finished the kitchen and I’m very happy. It came out perfect! I love the backsplash, the appliances and everything else. I love it. I really do. The pantry is done too so I can have both the fridges/freezers, and panty fully stocked by the time we get there. That’s going to make it so much easier. I will be flying out there the weekend before our move to make sure everything is ready. Especially Sky’s nursery. The kids’ rooms are priority number 1. We have been packing things up slowly. The important things that I didn’t want my movers to pack. So my part on this end is almost done. Thank goodness. We will be going to my downtown condo for a few days before the move to get everything finished up. That’s when all 3 of my vehicles will get trucked out to Denver. That’s expensive but worth it. I have a 4 car garage waiting so I have an open space for whatever new toy we might need.

This house is going to be SOLD SOON. One of my friends is buying it. He and his wife have always loved it. They live a town away and we came to a fair price. Of course they are getting a family discount but this way I don’t even have to list it or do any work. They plan on moving in the week after I move out. They will get their own cleaning service in and have their own inspections done. If all of that passes, they are writing the check and off we go. Otherwise it’s going to the next family on the list that wants my house. I’m getting way more back than I paid for it and plus all of the renovations I’ve done over the years, I’m good with the price. All of that money is folding into the new house renovation costs and the rest goes into my savings. I upgraded all 3 vehicles so I don’t really have anymore big purchases this year.

Baby Sky….she’s beautiful. It’s so much easier caring for 1 baby and now that my kids are a little older they all 3 help me with her. This is a breeze. I would honestly have more kids but I know I can wrangle 4 by myself. I love kids. I just can’t do it all by myself. When school gets cracking it’s going to keep me very busy.

My cookbook is going well. I’m into the recipe testing phase. This thing has taken since January to get going. I didn’t realize a vegan cookbook would be so much work. I am learning how to do this and can probably pump out a new cookbook each year until I get tired of doing it. I love it though Lol I get to try out all kinds of new kitchen stuff. I’m experimenting with new foods. Right now I’m obsessed by black cherries. Such a great flavor. I really like them in just about anything pastry or dessert. I even tried a few chopped into a leaf salad, not bad.

My newborn is great, my kids are having a great summer. As long as the swimming pool at the new house is ready for them, they will adjust just fine. And then the week after we move, they start school orientation and get ready for class. Peace gets a half day at a different school since she’s not hearing impaired. Lucky for me it’s close by the house so I can drop her off first, then drop off the boys and hang out with Sky until around noon. That will be a blessing. Peaceypie is really look forward to play with someone other than her brothers. And I really should start working on her not being so bossy but how do you do that Lol She’s too cute!

Our summer is winding down. I am so excited to move and start a new chapter. My life is perfect. Things are going very, very well I’m happy to report. How is your summer going? I know I had all kinds of travel plans that we never got it. We will hit it next year. There are some places I want to explore but not yet. We need to wait until next summer when Sky is ready to boogie around the world with us.

Church was amazing this morning. A very good sermon and even better bake sale afterwards. They do offer a few vegan options so we try to scarf those up quick. We got banana bread and cupcakes this time. I left the other 9 things for others. This banana bread though…..mmmmmmmm.

Hope you have a great Sunday! Enjoy the rest of your summer guys. Love ya’ll!

It’s a GIRL! Sky Lindsay is born!!

My new daughter has arrived in the world. I named her Sky Lindsay. Yes Lindsay is shocked and very honored I finally named one of my kids after her. She has been very upset I didn’t name Peace after her. She wanted Lindsay Lindsay and I said no, that’s way too much Lindsay Lol

I love the name. She was born very early in the morning on Tuesday, August 6th. Let me tell you how this all happened.

My adoption agency has called me 2 times about 2 different babies. I signed up for another adoption in January of this year. I had just assumed, well, it’s going to be a year or 2 of waiting. I really felt this wasn’t going to be the year it would happen. I wanted a daughter so that’s what I requested. I didn’t care about the race, health issues, any of it. I just wanted a girl to balance out what I have already. Gosh, it feels like ordering a kid I swear Lol That’s one of the perks of adoption though. You can pretty much get what you want. 2 times I wasn’t in a place to have the baby and I also wasn’t very cool with the circumstances that came with either of them. I know that those babies went to other homes and have their life started out. When they called this time I heard all of the information, the young girl was single, the ex-boyfriend already signed off on things and was willing to be a part of an open adoption. He agreed to providing family medical history and be available for genetic testing because that’s my preference. Same for the birth mom. The baby was due this week, if I want this to happen, she’s all mine. It’s a girl.

I said let me call you back in 5 minutes. I gathered up my kids and asked them if they wanted a new baby sister. The boys said yes. Peace has no clue but agreed because the boys agreed. I quickly prayed on it and in my heart it all sounded perfect. I called them back and said Yes, I want her. Where do I go?

She was in southern Illinois, so that makes it waaayyy easier to bring her home. I immediately rented the bus that I’ve used once before and they said they would get me a driver. It makes it much easier for me to pick her up, walk around a little bit, and make her more comfortable on the way home. I called Lindsay and Drew on speakerphone and told them to get ready, we’re doing it again Lol They are both so happy for me and my kids. They both know how much I wanted another girl. Then I called my family and then the nannies. Sarah said I’m packing my clothes right now, I’m going to be there and help.

Sarah does not get enough credit at all. I mean I pay her very well, but that’s not all her worth to me. She is an amazing human being and I love her like she’s my own kid. I mean, she drops everything for me when she can. She is just so sweet and helpful. I started crying out of gratefulness and honestly some relief. I now have help until we move.

I packed up a few days worth of clothes and then went to the baby store to get the basics. The hospital always gives me a baby bag full of things to last a day or so. My adoption agency also gives me a baby bag full of things to last a few days. But I wanted my own stuff. I had nothing. I went into a frenzy shopping spree and got her crib ordered, some clothes, baby things, and the essentials that I need right away and told them to deliver it all ASAP. I knew Sarah would set up the nursery. I mean she’s already done this twice before Lol She’s a pro by now.

Then I hit the grocery store that I know has vegan baby formula. I bought 6 cases of that and 6 cases of diapers and wipes and some extra bottles. I had the things I needed. I got back home and Lindsay had relieved my neighbor who came over to watch the kids. She helped me unload everything and pack up my new baby bag (It’s all pink floral) and get myself ready. A few hours went by and the bus arrived. The driver this time is Juan who I know from some other car service I’ve used (Same company) so that was fun. I know he’s a very nice guy and I would enjoy our chat all the way down to get my daughter and back home. I told him we will be gone a week or a little more because she was due but I have no idea when she would be born and he said he packed for a week which is perfect. Then I got a call from my adoption attorney who said she had all of the paperwork ready for me to sign and to take with me. I told her to meet me somewhere I would grab it on the way out of town. She gave me the name of my social worker at the hospital that would be helping me. The adoption agency has always handled that part because I have no idea how to do anything. I’m usually in baby fog and have no working brain cells from shock and happiness. I called my lawyer and told him what was happening. I have to give him a copy of all of the paperwork before I sign it so he knows what I am signing. Every state is different and every type of adoption is different. I’m all ready to go. I kissed the kids goodbye and then got on the bus. Lindsay said she would stay home to watch my kids and get the house ready. I knew Drew said his wife would be flying out that night to come help too. Her favorite part is helping with the nursery and holding the new baby Lol She loves it so much. I have to pry my child from her arms some times because she just loves babies so much. Drew said he would fly out Friday night with his kids to come visit and meet his new niece.

It took about 4 hours to get there. I checked into a hotel with Juan first. We got rooms right next to each other that way I can have his help if I needed anything. Super nice guy, I will do a Yelp review and give him a big shoutout later for the company he works for. He made me laugh and kept being very encouraging. He has kids so he knows the feelings. We went to get food and then I ate and called the hospital. They said I could meet up with them in the morning, be there around 10am to start filling out my half of the paperwork.

The birth mom went into labor that day but the hospital sent her home because she was much too early to come in. I didn’t even know about that part until I got there for the real birth. I went to bed praying it would be soon and just wanted both of them to be healthy and okay. I got a call from the adoption agency very early, maybe 4 hours after I went to bed. They said it’s time, get up to the hospital. I am allowed to see the baby after she is born but not allowed in the room while she’s giving birth. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in there during it anyway to be honest. That’s a little tough situation and I feel the birth mom needs time with the baby if she wants to without me being anywhere in there.

I waited and wait and waited and finally someone came in to tell me she’s here. They said the birth mom said I can come in so I went in and tried to be cool. I completely fell apart as soon as I saw my daughter. I met my new friend, the birth mom and just lost my shi**. I cried, smiled, laughed, I almost threw up, I mean it was all too much Lol I know I embarrassed myself but I didn’t care. I got to take some photos of the baby and I think I kept saying thank you over and over to everyone. They took her away to do somethings so I asked if she wanted me to leave? She said yes but come back later. She was so tired and wanted to talk to her family who was in the room a little while. I went out to the lobby and started making calls, and posting photos to everyone and everywhere. I hadn’t said a word on social media Lol So it caught everyone off guard. Surprise!

It’s all a giant blur, I’m back at the hotel. I’ve been able to feed her, change a few diapers and talk to the birth mom a little. I told her my whole life story plus all about my other adoptions. I told her how my open adoption works with my boys and asked what it is her and her family wanted. She said pictures, videos, and the chance to meet up with her when she’s older. She’s not interested in coming to visit for years, it’s too hard. I asked why she was giving the baby up for adoption? She explained her life and how she didn’t want to get an abortion because she doesn’t believe in it, but she knows this is the best choice for her baby. I tried to reassure her how much I want this child and how much she is already loved. I said I’ve been waiting for her for over 2 years because I’ve always known after Peacey pie, I wanted another daughter. I’ve written that on here a few times I’m sure. We got to know each other and exchanged info so we can keep in touch. She’s a sweet girl, really young, scared, a little lost she said, but she knows this is best. I told her if she did change her mind, which is her legal right for 72 hours I think it is, she can have all the stuff I brought with me. She said no, she had made up her mind months ago and has been prepared for all of this. She has been to therapy to get ready for it and said she will continue in therapy afterwards to help get through it. didn’t even know my adoption agency did that. How cool.

Everything is going fine here. I’m just waiting until tomorrow. I get to take her home! I’m so excited I can’t wait. I love her, I mean I really, really, love her already. She has the sweetest face, lots and lots of brown hair Lol I mean this is it. She’s my last kid. My last baby. I’m done! I have 4 beautiful, healthy kids. My dreams are all coming true. I couldn’t be happier.

I have been posting photos of her and a few that people have taken for me of me holding her. Some of you have those already or saw them on my social media accounts. If not, go check out our Family Facebook page! She’s here!

And on that note, I’m so very sorry to learn of the mass shootings. I have been praying for everyone involved and I did donate money to both city organizations that asked for donations for the families. I don’t know why these things happen but it hurts my heart to see the news and read the articles. Help by donating guys. Those families need money to pay for funerals, hospital bills, all of it. As always, I won’t promote who I think you should donate to, but pick 1 or more and help please. They need us. God bless everyone.

Peyton, I will call you today, I swear

Dinner with Peyton. Here’s what happened.

Damn she looked good. That kind of surprised me. The last time I saw her she was in a beachy summer outfit and not really fixed up at all. I wasn’t either so I’m not bashing her. She cleans up good. She looked great and very professional. She said she created a response team at her hospital and they sent her to a conference downtown to learn more about how to facilitate it, how to staff it, how to get support staff, and how to request budget, equipment, etc. How cool is that? She was pretty excited to tell me all about it. It was interesting to learn about. She even showed me the pamphlet they made today for her to kind of explain what it is.

We caught each other up on our lives. I showed her more recent photos of the kids and pictures of our new house. She said Vegas is close to Denver if we ever wanted to hang out some weekend, she could fly up. I said hmmmm and changed the subject. She dropped it from that point. She told me about how her family is doing, how work is going, those kind of things. We had a delicious meal. Wow, was that salad good. I mean I liked my entree too but that salad. I’m going to have to take the kids there before we leave. I bet they would love all the things in that salad. So at the end of dinner I had no plans to extend the evening. I was going to drive home and probably go to bed early. I was pretty tired from helping move out furniture and then rearrange the house all day. Well….

So we walked out into the lobby and she said do you want to come up so we can talk privately? I said come up where? She said to my room. I said no Lol She said then how about the bar? Okay. We walked into the bar and sat down in a booth in the back corner. It wasn’t a big room but it wasn’t full of people so it was a good, quiet, spot. She started in with she has been thinking about me for a while and this week I’ve been on her mind a lot. I said I have to go and started to scoot out. She grabbed my arm and said Let me say this please. So I sat back down and listened. She told me that she regretted not finding out how far our relationship could have gone and that she doesn’t want to get back together. She liked how well I treated her but I have not in anyway held her back from dating and trying to find love. She said she had a serious boyfriend but they broke up because he wasn’t honest with her about some big things. She said he was hiding things from her and she didn’t want that in her life. She said the age difference between us wasn’t that noticeable and she didn’t care. She hopes that I do find the love of my life, she knows it’s not her, and she really does wish me and the kids well on our move. I said we didn’t even have to have dinner for that we could have said that over the phone. She said well if there was a chance for us to start back up she would see it on my face or in my eyes. She said that I had made it more than clear that I’m not interested in her and that she just wanted a solid closure on us. I do understand that. I wished her well and said we can be friends. I told her maybe some time next year in the spring she could come up to visit. That would give me plenty of time to get moved in, get the kids in school and get through settling in. She said okay with a laugh.

Guys, I was sweating Lol I wasn’t sure where things were going and I didn’t want to be that guy that said “It’s not you, its me”. We didn’t have to go there and I’m glad. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings more than I probably already did.

She walked me out to the lobby. We hugged goodbye and I turned to leave. Then I turned around and planted a giant kiss on her Lol I have no idea why I did it other than if this was real closure, I wanted one last big kiss with her. She melted into it and I did the only thing I could think of. I bolted out of the lobby with no explanation.

Guys, I kissed and ran Lol It was a “walkby snogging.” If you have ever seen the movie that quote is from you would be proud I used that last phrase properly. I had 4 texts messages by the time I got my Range Rover and a missed call by the time I got home. I answered none of them. I know I will call her back some time today but not yet. I don’t know what to say Lol The majority of the texts were What the hell was that????? Do you want to start over??? Was that a goodbye kiss???? Hello????

I’m an idiot. When it comes to women I know NOTHING. I had a clean getaway, I had left things in a very mature, friend in the future, spot. I ruined all of it.

WTF am I supposed to say to her now? Hellllllllllllppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp!

It’s August 1st, 1 month to go!

Having my kids full time with no help has kept my pretty busy. I love it. My kids are hilarious. They say the funniest things and my gosh how smart they all are. Alex has finally hit the last of his milestones so he’s all caught up with Heston. Thank goodness. They are now the same height, within 2 pounds of each other, and have all the same abilities. It has been a lot of hard work for him and I’m so proud he stuck it out. I kept telling him he’s going to catch up soon. He was not listening to me but that’s okay. We are finally there! We had our checkups on Wednesday and I was able to see the growth chart since they were babies up until now. WOW! Just wow. A huge difference. I don’t know how I have survived all of this. I really don’t.

I feel like all of my food prep work with the kids in the morning with breakfast is helping us keep a semi-normal schedule for them. We have been out in the city going on adventures and exploring a lot of the kid friendly sites. We have spent more time down at Navy Pier than I can remember. There is so much for us to do. This weekend the nannies are taking the kids so I can have my first set of movers come in and help me pack up some of the spare rooms we don’t use. Mostly the nannies bedrooms. They did take all of their things over the past month so it’s just a shell of a room in each one. All of their furniture is going to a Domestic Violence recovery house. And all of my spare beds in my house and the guest house will also be going. Lindsay finally got the key to her new house (Cough cough mansion) and she’s out of here. She is so happy. She still comes over to eat with us because she’s not going to cook yet. She said she hasn’t had time to go get groceries so I told her I would take her to my club (Haha Sam’s club) this weekend and we will load up both of my Range Rovers with stuff for her.

I am really going to miss living in Lake Forest. This place has served as my home base for over 10 years. I have grown so much as a man and now as a father here. It’s home. I just need to move on though. Selling it will really be an emotional thing for me. I do have several friends interested in buying it and I’m definately getting back more than I paid for it. This month is going to be a lot to deal with.

But Denver…..oh Denver, Colorado. You had me at Mile High! It’s closer to Alex’s doctors and I really want his growth spurts to be monitored and we take all of the precaustions we can with him. It’s the best move for my kids and right before they start their main school. My goodness I’m going to have 2 kindergartners next month. What??? Their birthdays fall within range of them going in. They will be not the youngest in their class but it’s better I get them in early. I don’t want to make them wait another year. We did so much prep work last year to get them a really good start. Plus I really think they are ready. Socially they are both so friendly. They make friends very easily because the kids are amazed they look exactly alike. It’s hard the first week to know who is who but I put them in shirts that have their names on the back. So far they aren’t hip to the fact they can just change shirts. I know they will pull that one me when they are older Lol I hear almost all twins do it. Thankfully they are still my sweet little boys and I don’t have to worry about those kinds of things….yet.

Guys, my daughter is perfect. She is so sweet, so smart, and she runs this house. Whenver she’s upset we all 3 rush to her side to see what’s going on. The boys are already protective over her. Maybe too much so. I admit when the boys are in school I am absolutely going to love my one on one time with her. Last year we did the shopping and errands together. Or we would go have fun play dates and do fun things together. She’s so easy to take care of. I love every day with her. She’s much easier than the boys and I have to say it’s special bonding time I don’t want to give up.

That’s why I won’t be working. I will be available as a consultant. The offices can call me anytime but I’m no longer going to be making many decisions. It’s all on Lindsay. I trust her. Of course I do, I just gave her the keys to my empire. She is the right person to run things, she has amazing staffs and she knows how I expect things to run. Kindness, take care of our customers as we take care of our employees, and pay them all well. She has done a fantastic job and I’m so proud she’s helping me keep my businesses not only running but successful.

I want to raise my kids. I want to meet the love of my life and get married again. I have so many hopes for moving. It’s a fresh start and I can’t wait. I’m so excited.

How is your summer going, guys? Do anything fun? I just uploaded all of the photos and the videos from this week. Go check that out on our Family Facebook page. I hope you enjoy seeing my kids grow up. They are so happy. I’m doing the best I can to raise them up right, whatever that means. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you still coming here and reading about my life after all of these years. The trolls have gone way and crawled back under the rocks they live in. It’s nice and quiet and I love it. Life couldn’t be better. It’s boring just the way I want it!