My Family

Family Portrait

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 (Josh Hawkins)

Annual Family Christmas Photo


Waiting for the Family Photo to Start

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 (Josh Hawkins)


Morning Stretch in Cathedral Gorge State Park

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Cathedral Gorge State Park (Josh Hawkins)

Cathedral Gorge State Park


Lower Calf Creek

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Lower Calf Creek Canyon in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. (Josh Hawkins)

Lower Calf Creek Canyon in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Stella in Anniversary Narrows

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Anniversary Narrows in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside of Las Vegas, NV. (Josh Hawkins)

Stella, my Pit Bull, in Anniversary Narrows in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside of Las Vegas, NV.


Erin in Death Valley

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Erin in Death Valley in 2010


Stella on a Hike

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Stella hiking Anniversary Narrows in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.


Stella via the iPhone

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Stella, the loving pit bull

Stella, the loving pit bull


This is not the expression I’ll be seeing today

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Erin in Death Valley

This is not the expression Erin will be giving today. She may threaten to kill me though, repeatedly. Here's to hoping for a healthly day for all three of us.


Erin Chillin’

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Erin chilling on the couch from the iPhone

Erin chilling on the couch


Roxy

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My Boston Terrier Roxy.

My Boston Terrier Roxy.


Saturday Night on a Couch

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This is what a Saturday night at our house looks like.

This is what a Saturday night at our house looks like.


Silly Dog Looking Cute

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My Boston Terrier Roxy looks at the camera waiting to be able to go back to sleep.

My Boston Terrier Roxy looks at the camera waiting to be able to go back to sleep.


Shoes and a Ball

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My hiking boots and my boston terrier's ball, one of many.


Pregnant Erin on Mt. Charleston

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A pregnant Erin on Mt. Charleston.

A pregnant Erin on a hike on Mt. Charleston. It was actually a pretty light hike for us, which is of course more challenging these days.


I Miss You and I Love You

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The following is entirely personal, and largely depressing, if you aren’t interested or up for either of those things, I’d suggest stopping now and reading a different post.  Just want to make sure you know.

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It’s been a year since Erin and I lost Beanie.  We lost Beanie at 32-weeks of pregnancy.  It was, it was nothing we could’ve changed.  The problem that took Beanie from us was started before we even knew Erin was pregnant, and we knew before her period.  It was ultimately just bad luck, very bad luck.

Having said that, it doesn’t change much, it doesn’t really change anything.  I don’t know if I would change anything.  We could’ve found out sooner, maybe it would’ve hurt less, maybe it would hurt less now, but I wouldn’t have had those blissful months.  I’ve never had months that happy.  I think I will in the future, but those were wonderful times, and I don’t think I’d take those away.

Time has, as time does, dulled the pain.  I’m thankful for that.

Getting in the car and crying the whole time was just…it just was.  The car is my thinking time, and for many months if I was alone in the car, I was crying.  I think I can driver safer today, not crying.

But there is still pain.  I’ve found a peace with pain.  An embrace of it.  Crying, today, in some ways, it doesn’t hurt.  It feels honest.  It hurts to talk about losing Beanie, every time it hurts, but that’s not “bad”.  It just is.  I enjoy talking about her actually, at least on occasion.  I may cry while doing it, but it feels good to do it.  It’s something I don’t think people get, but they just need to trust me here.

I do think about her.  I think about her a lot.  Not everyday, not for days on end on occasion, but I probably think about her more days than not.  She’s my baby girl.  How could I not?

I do wonder what she would’ve been like, as a child, as a teenager, as an adult, I wonder.  I wonder, as is I think natural, about those lost potentials.  I miss that I’ll never experience those with her.  I would’ve liked too.

I’ll always wish I could’ve.  And that’s good.

At the end of the day I’ve learned somethings, they may very well be of no use to anyone but me, but that never stopped me from sharing before.  I’ve learned much purer versions of many emotions, namely love and fear.

I can’t say I know love like many parents know love, but I have an inkling of how little I know of love.  I love many people in this world, and many experiences, and many things, and I know I know very little about that word.  I just have a taste for how powerful it can be.

Maybe what I’ve learned more about, for better or worse, is fear.  I think I can pretty comfortably say I understand fear.  I’ve learned to understand fear in and out.  With this current pregnancy, oh, for those who don’t know, Erin is 24 weeks pregnant, it’s good stuff.  But with this pregnancy, Booger, I can feel the terror, shear terror.  Slight pains, slight things that the perinatologist is keeping an eye, and he is very confident everything is dandy for us, but I live in fear.  I’ve learned how randomly things can go wrong, horribly wrong, and I fear that moment, I fear that moment coming into existence.  Logic be damned, it terrifies me.

I’ve never been a person to live in fear.  I respect and listen to fear, it’s a good emotion, it’s an informative emotion, but it definitely has a much stronger pull in my life today.  I’m not unusually scared of climbing a cliff, I’m not scared of a car getting to close, I’m terrified of anything that happens to Erin and Boog, a slip and fall, a strange pain, anything, anything different that isn’t easily and quickly definable as “normal”, anything that could be “a sign”.  It’s an amazing, a powerful, feeling.

But for all this, let me again be very clear, I wouldn’t, even at the hardest of time, give up my time with Bean, as third hand as it may have been.  (As a guy, what else can we do but feel a stomach a move?  It is a wonderful feeling though.)  I don’t want you to think, after the previous paragraphs that I’m worse off for the experience.  I’m different for it, but I’m happy to have had it.  She was my baby girl.

I just wish I could’ve had a lifetime with her.  I never can, but I’d do almost anything too.

But it was what it was, and that can’t and couldn’t have been changed.  That much I know.  My job today, everyday, one of many actually, but the important one, is to, while honoring Beanie, to create a happy life for Boog to come into.  I can’t do anything for Beanie but love and honor her memory, but for Boog, I can do a lot for Boog, and I’ll do whatever that is, whatever that must be, because I want Boog to have a great life.

And I can’t provide a lot, but damn if Boog ain’t going to at least have the love of it’s Papa.  (Mama’s going to do the same I’m sure.)  I’ll at least make sure of that Boog is well loved.

And I can’t think of anything I’d rather do in this life.

But I will also always miss my little Beanie.  I love you girl.  You did have that, you always will have that.

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——

Later Addition, Erin, Mommy’s Post


Death Valley Ice

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Death Valley, Bad Water dry lake

This is Badwater, the lowest point in North America.  As it’s in Death Valley, average temperature of extremely hot, it’s dry most of the time.

As with other dry lake beds, this one’s surface is mostly salt.  The strange thing about walking across it though, at least for us Midwestern boys, is that in most ways, it’s just like walking across ice.

No, it’s not slippery, and as you can tell from the t-shirt Erin has on, it’s not cold, but it’s like ice.  It’s got that coloring, the color of ice with a touch of snow on top of it.  It’s got bubbles, not real bubbles, I think, I don’t quite know how to define them in two words, but those areas, largish areas where there’s a bubble and if you step on it, it breaks.  It makes that sound that old ice makes, that slightly cracking sound with every step.

I found the whole time I walked across it, I was afraid I was going to fall into some freezing cold water and die, despite the 90 degree temps.

A very odd experience, but also very beautiful.


Stella, My Loving Pit Bull Terrier

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Stella, My Loving Pit Bull Terrier

Stella loves her walks, no doubts about that one.  And she really loves her walks in new and strange places, which this wasn’t entirely, but it isn’t a common walk.  And perhaps most importantly, because it keeps Erin and I sane, it’s a longish, so Stella is tired for a day or two.  That’s bliss.


20 Mule Team Road, Death Valley

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Pit Bull In Your Face!

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Stella the Scary Pit Bull