What’s In A Name?

Picking out a child’s name can be a fun thing to do. If you’re like me, you throw out a bunch of different ideas, even if you don’t really like them. And because I joke around too much, I think of off-the-wall names that we really would have no interest in using and tell people that’s what we’re going with.

It’s been a joke since before we knew we were having a boy that if we did I’d call him Chaddeus. So we’d have Thaddeus and Chaddeus – Thad and Chad – our two little monsters, partners in crime, running around the house creating havoc.

Other names I’ve joked about just to keep people guessing might include Bob, Zaiden and Jermichael. Why? Just for fun, of course. I mean, let’s be honest. When I was in high school I wanted to name my son Neo Evan Ochsner because then his initials would be his first name. NEO! Yeah, I liked The Matrix, too. Me focusing on the initials got this response from Melissa, “You’re just lucky our last name doesn’t start with ‘S’ or I’d make our child’s initials spell ASS just because you pay too much attention to the initials!”

To get serious, Melissa and I talked about names long before Thad was born. With him, we just knew for a long time what his name was going to be. We had a boy and a girl name picked out and waiting. I know other people who are definitely the same way. They know the name right away and that’s that.

This time, we’re less settled at the moment. We think we have it figured out, but really there are four different names we’ve been throwing around lately. It’s true, we’re only 22 weeks along and should have plenty of time to pick one. Since we don’t have the name decided and etched in stone, we’ve got a couple of names penciled in the sand. I know people who were like this or even had no clue what the name was going to be until days before birth to a couple of days later. Evidently they ‘make’ you name the baby before you can leave the hospital, though. So you kind of have to pick something…

I’ve also known people who’ve had a name picked out for months and then when the baby arrives, they name it something different because it just didn’t look like the name they had picked. I’m not the best at that because there are adults that, to me, don’t look like the name they have. A child is a clean slate that can be named whatever the parents desire.

We didn’t tell anyone Thad’s name until after he was born because we didn’t want other people’s opinions to alter our thoughts of the name. We like it, it’s our child, that’s it. We also didn’t want to say it and then have someone else use the name before we got a chance – this is why we still aren’t telling our girl name. Not that we’re planning on having a girl after this child, but you never know. We’ll keep it quiet until we know we’ll never have to use it.

With this child, Melissa’s more interested in getting a few opinions and she has even suggested making a list of about 15 names, including the four names we’re thinking of, and sending it out for feedback. A test like this could open a can of worms with people hating and loving every name, and of course, could change our minds to the point of not using any of the four and starting over. At the same time, as the parent, it also seems like it could be kind of fun to get people’s opinions of names. But we’ll just keep everything quiet until that little guy arrives, just like we did with Thad. Even if it could be fun to crowdsource…just to see what the reactions would be.

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“Songs Are Time Capsules Of Memories.”

I read this quote on Facebook today and it got me thinking…

“Songs are time capsules of memories. Hearing one can bring me back to places I need not remember.”

The ending to that quote went the complete opposite of what I expected. I would have ended it by saying, “Hearing one can bring me back to places that I love to remember.”

Now, I’m not saying the first quote is wrong. That is very true. Somewhat pessimistic, but true nonetheless. I’m saying that when it comes to music, for me, it more often leads to a positive memory. Probably because my job in high school was a DJ and I had a lot of good times hitting the play button on the CD player and fading back and forth between songs.

I could go into a rant about how you shouldn’t be scared to remember your past because it leads to who you are today (damn clichés…), but I won’t do that because I’d rather talk about the music and the good times. There are plenty of memories I have that I’d rather not look back on. But today, when I look back on them they have different meaning than they did at the time the song was popular.

Pardon me for getting a little personal here, but songs like Alanis Morissette’s “One Hand In My Pocket” and TLC’s “Waterfalls” bring back memories of junior high dances where everyone waddled in small circles at arms length, if they even danced at all. And of course there was Metallica’s Black album getting me through the other fun times of junior high. Side note: more than 15 years later, I know my grandma was right when she said I wasn’t “dry behind the ears yet.”

How about we step it up to high school where “Footloose” reminds me being a dancin’ fool in Show Choir and loving every minute of it. You know, dancing like nobody’s watching. Only I was on stage with an entire group performing for judges. Or we could go for Will Smith’s “Miami” or “Wild Wild West” and watching my cousin freak out on the skating floor at SkateAway.

A lot of songs would bring me back to SkateAway – that’s where I was a DJ after all. Just a few songs would be Eve 6 “Inside Out,” Eiffel 65 “Blue,” Eagle Eye Cherry “Save Tonight,” Edwin McCain “I’ll Be,” and pretty much any N*Sync, Backstreet Boys and Brittany Spears song. What? They were popular and beloved by the little kids that were there all the time. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) There are many, many more, but I won’t waste time looking them up and listing them here.

Let’s not forget the good times jumping on the trampoline in the back yard while listening to Incubus “Stellar” and Cypress Hill’s “Rock Superstar.” Man, we spent a lot of time in my parent’s basement and hanging out in the back yard in the summer…

How about we skip to college. There were many different artists in that 5-year period that I listened to like Reliant K, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, Hawthorne Heights, Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate, etc. But what brings me back to Focko’s Barnyard – the nickname for the room Doug Noble and I shared in the Big House at the fraternity – is definitely The Spill Canvas, Anberlin and This Day and Age. The sappy, emo-esque tunes that we really enjoyed listening to. They weren’t sad as much as they actually made us happy. Then there’s the less popular Nutsnack. They are the group that proved we like to listen to anything funny that could make us laugh and smile.

We also kind of liked to dig for the next big thing, which led to us listening to a bunch of stuff that not a lot of people will recognize, like Straylight Run’s “Existentialism on Prom Night.” We did end up listening to Panic! at the Disco earlier than most people – which was later referred to, in a fantasy football team name, as Distress at the Opera. (Sorry, too funny not be noted here.)

During college, and right after, I lived in a couple different places, so naturally, songs remind me of those times and places. The entire Spiderman 2 soundtrack mixed with a little Yellowcard reminds me of the three summer months I lived in Phoenix. Boys Like Girls, JT (Justin Timberlake to the lay person) and Hinder remind me of my internship in Washington DC – my last day being the day Senator Johnson went to the hospital with AVM/Stroke symptoms. Boy did I learn a lot by being in his PR office that day…

Back to the music and on to married life, “Bless The Broken Road” by Rascall Flatts reminds me of proposing to Melissa and our wedding day, while “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas and “Ours” by Taylor Swift remind me of my wife being happy and silly either singing made up words (“Thursday, Friday, Yesterday, Tomorrow!”) or dancing and clapping her way around the kitchen.

Today, I listen to a lot of random stuff that people would definitely say is obscure and not mainstream, like Mariana’s Trench and The Dangerous Summer. It’s just what I jam to while I’m working. I listen to a lot of mainstream stuff and pretty much like anything with a good beat and good lyrics. Any goofy stuff like “Wobble” by Family Force 5 gets a thumbs up in my book as well.

In summary, “Yay music!” I look forward to the capsules of memories you bring me in the future with good things to look back on. One thing’s for sure, every time I hear “Wheels On The Bus” I’ll think of having to sing it a minimum of five times in a row to my little man, Thad.

In the future, what will today’s music make you think of? Hopefully something good!

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Behind The Creative Scenes

Here’s what really goes into creating a baby gender announcement at the Ochsner household…

"I don't wanna sit still!"

“I don’t wanna sit still!”

Because we all know that 1-year-olds like to sit still for pictures. We tried anyway. But Thad got scared of the little brother shirt right from the get go and wanted nothing to do with it. There went the idea of Thad holding the shirt and looking happy. So we decided to have Melissa put the shirt on her bump and have Thad sit next to her. Still not having it. Too close to the shirt.

In the meantime, I took a picture or two of Sophie acting sad like she never gets any attention – which isn’t true.

"Umm...I'm sad."

“Umm…I’m sad.”

"For real. Play with me."

“For real. Play with me.”

Then there was the idea of using the shoes with a balloon.

Already getting hand-me-downs.

Already getting hand-me-downs.

Then there was the idea of what else can we do with this balloon now that we have it? Other than scare the dog. For some reason Sophie is terrified of balloons…and the vacuum. But I digress…and give you the balloon in the bed!

Not bad, ehh?

Not bad, ehh?

Then there was the idea of “Screw it, we’ll just post ‘It’s a Boy!’ and call it good!” But in the madness and waiting and trying and scheming, Thad sat in the middle of the floor and with his back to me and started playing. He didn’t know I had the shirt with me. I subtly let Melissa know to get her camera ready. I held up the shirt and Thad somehow instantly knew what was happening. He freaked out, lunging forward away from the shirt. We were lucky that this picture turned out to be PERFECT for an announcement to our family. See, even with the best of intentions, dumb luck turned out to be better than the actual plan.

#NailedIt

#NailedIt

Moral of the story, you’ll have to be persistent and roll with the punches when it comes to trying to coordinate anything with a child. I guess they say “patience is a virtue.” Crap. There I go with the clichés again…

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A Trip To The Blizz Show

I went out for a crazy night on the town. Let me set the scene: It was a Friday, actually warmer than usual on this frozen tundra. I put on my Blizzard sweatshirt and Blizzard hat and set out to watch the local minor league hockey team in Brookings face off against the Aberdeen Wings – new home town versus old home town. Melissa and Thad stayed home to watch over the house (and to sleep) while Daddy was out for the night. Then things got crazy.

I made it to the game in time to watch the intro:

The Intro

The Intro

And also in time for the 2-for-1 beer special. Okay, so I had one in the first period and one in the second period and didn’t drink the entire third period. Super cray-cray, I know. The game was pretty good, until the third period started. No, not because I was out of beer, but because the score shifted from Wings up 2-1 to Wings up 6-1. Honestly, the Blizz were out playing the Wings the entire first two periods. They just fell apart down the stretch. Hmm…maybe I should have kept drinking.

A view from my seat.

A view from my seat.

A view from the beer garden.

A view from the beer garden.

Aside from the game itself, I did run into a few old friends from Aberdeen. Always nice to chat for a couple of minutes and catch up. Also met up with the local beer garden ladies to chat after the game. Melissa actually worked the beer garden for the Blizz a couple of years ago; they make some pretty good tips.

This was actually the first game I went to as a paying customer in the past two years. I was asked to help out fairly often last season either at the ticket counter or manning the goal light. Pretty exciting to sit that close to the action and be constantly looking for the puck to cross the line (completely, not just part of it).

Then, almost like Cinderella but then again not like Cinderella at all, I was at home by 10pm. Thad was already in bed and Melissa was finishing up a movie on Netflix. Let me tell you, that was a pretty crazy Dad’s night out! While not actually very crazy, it was still a little taste of life outside the house when you’ve got a 1-year-old.

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I’m Officially A Coffee Drinker

…Or am I? As I was watching the Super Bowl, I came across something that we in the industry like to call a Game Changer.

Let me digress for a moment. I grew up drinking a lot of pop. (Yes, in the midwest we call it pop, not soda, not coke, not cola. Pop.) All through junior high and high school, my drink of choice was Mountain Dew, or Mtn Dew as it is now called on the label. I guess I should say I’ve never really stopped. I did go the entire year of 2010 without taking one sip of Mtn Dew, just so I knew that I could. But after that, I fell off the wagon. Hard.

So in a recent effort to cut down on my Mtn Dew intake, I’ve joined the coffee group at work. Which basically means that about five people in my office share a large coffee maker and take turns buying the coffee for it. It’s cheap and everyone gets their caffeine fix. This is where that Super Bowl commercial comes in and BAM! – Game Changer. Mtn Dew Kickstart. (And if we’re talking Super Bowl commercials, this is easily my favorite. They were too depressing this year…for the most part.)

New Kickstart

New Kickstart

Okay, so Kickstart isn’t something new. I’ve been inclined to grab one every now and then, just to mix things up and keep my brand loyalty to Mtn Dew. The move to Kickstart from regular Mtn Dew was a calculated one. Mainly it has slightly less sugar and fewer calories. Enough to trick my mind into thinking it’s healthier for me. (Don’t worry, I know it’s probably still horrible for me.)

While it’s not something new, Kickstart did bring out new flavors. Just two new flavors. But also a different product. The can is smaller and this one is concocted for hydration purposes more than the previous formula. Another important fact, the cost of these is quite a bit less – $1.20 versus $1.80. Yes, smaller in size, but it will meet the caffeine addiction requirements of my body today.

The Orange Can Was My Go-To

The Orange Can Was My Go-To

So, I’m a coffee drinker…who cheats on my coffee group at work with a Kickstart every now and then. I don’t see a problem with that.

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Trip To The Big City

That’s right. To close out my blogging every day for one month, Melissa and I celebrated by heading to the big city – Sioux Falls! My parents are in town for the concert at the Swiftel tonight and they drove down with us to help us scour Target and Best Buy for a new TV. We’d done our research with our needs versus our budget versus our wants, so it didn’t really take too long for us to pull the trigger. Here it is in all of its glory (and packaging):

Artistic Photo Of TV Box

Artistic Photo Of TV Box

Sorry to those name brand lovers out there. We didn’t get a Samsung or a Sony. For a second TV in our basement we selected a 50″ Sharp HD LED TV (1080p, 120hz). We sort of nailed it on our price range with 120hz and a size we were both okay with. Next up, a new TV stand.

We then took a trip to Once Upon A Child where Thad received a bag full of clothes for $15. I guess they were having a sale, so we figured we’d check it out.

Once Upon A Child

While we were there, someone decided they were done with shopping for the day…

Thad Monster Tired, Thad Monster Sleep

Thad Monster Tired, Thad Monster Sleep

I’m sure I’m a little biased, but he’s pretty darn cute just sleeping away in his car seat right there. Actually, I think that’s part of a parent’s requirements. Yeah, I know I remember reading this in the handbook that came with the stork on the day Thad was delivered: “Think your child is cute above all else.” Something like that. And just for good measure, here is Thad trying to open the TV right away:

"It's taller than me!"

“It’s taller than me!”

All in all, I’d say it was a successful day. We made is safely to and from Sioux Falls, even in snowy, windy conditions on the way home. Pizza was delivered and devoured. Sophie got to jump up on the grandparents and wear herself out. The grandparents are at the concert. Melissa even got a mommy’s night out, even if it had to be in Brookings because of the bad weather spoiling the plans to hang out in Sioux Falls. And yours truly is relaxing on the couch with my feet up, enjoying a little R&R as Thad sleeps in his bed. Not too shabby. If everyone else enjoyed their day half as much as I enjoyed mine, then I enjoyed my day twice as much as you! (Yeah, sometimes I think I’m funny. I’ll try to keep that in check from here on out…)

"Please pet me Grandma!"

“Please pet me Grandma!”

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30 for 30: The Tale Of My Daily Blogging

Today marks my 30th blog post in 30 days. It’s been an interesting experience and it’s not over. I’ll have another post tomorrow to complete the goal of posting every day for one month. After that, I’m sure I’ll keep posting, but not every day. And my wife might join in as a co-author of the blog. (That’s an idea she’s had for about 6 months now.)

If I had a chance to set this goal over again, I would probably not want to post every day. I quickly ran out of ideas of what to talk about and the content of some of my posts definitely suffered as a result. Of course I had a few other topics in the back of my mind for most of the days I was blogging, so that helped. Sometimes I felt obligated or forced to spend time thinking of something to post. It was good because I came up with some good ideas but bad because if I didn’t have that idea, I struggled.

I also had a quick conversation during one of my guy’s group meetings that talked about journal writing and my blog. Initially, my first couple of posts seemed to sound almost like journal entries. I noticed that and sort of immediately tried to change it. My thoughts are that journals are more in-depth, private thoughts and personal reflections, sometimes even talking about one’s basic day-to-day activities. I, personally, don’t feel like a blog is the correct place for that. I view blogs as discussing any vast array of topics that interest people but without that private thoughts/personal reflections aspect.

I know I’m still sharing insights into my life and personal experiences. I’m hoping it’s in more of an interesting way that what I would think of as a journal. Or maybe I’m just splitting hairs on this definition, I don’t know.

This has been a great writing experience and a small insight into the world of blogging – I know I haven’t had time to put in all the necessary steps to actually make a successful blog. I’ve done this more as a hobby and just for fun. As long as it stays fun, I’ll keep blogging away.

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