Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lest ye think me an uncouth clod...

My Angel came into my life 8 years ago. She was perfect in every way. I thank God above everyday for letting me have the privilege of helping her to grow and learn in this life. When she was born, she had her eyes open and she was looking all around. She had a bit of a fight just making it into the world but when she came, she made everything more beautiful.

She has always been an active one. Frequently she has been so eager to explore new things that she sometimes forgets to finish the things she is doing. That's ok though, it reminds me of me when I was smaller. She definitely has my imagination. She has the most amazing ideas that she comes up with. There is usually some form of a princess involved but not always. How many girls do you know of that like to pretend to be dragons?

My daughter has what I call an honest smile. When she smiles, she is opening her heart right there and sharing it with you. She loves to spend time with friends and even her brother. She has no issue in taking charge though sometimes that can cause some small problems when what she wants differs from those around her.

I am thankful that she is part of my life. I hope that I am able to show her what a good man can be. That she can learn through my example how to treat those in her life as she grows. I try to tell her as many times a day as I can that I love her and I am proud of her. Some days I can't keep up with her, age and years and my emotions can take their toll on my abilities to run with her. It doesn't change my love for her and I try to let her know that even though I can't play, I still love her.


Thank you dear, sweet angel. Thank you for coming into my life and sharing your love with me. Thank you for showing me that life can be fun. Thank you for joining me and my wife and making us a family. Thank you for loving your brother even when he takes attention away from you. Know that even when I must focus on him and his needs, I still love you and I am proud that you are able to let me help him. Thank you for caring about your mom and I enough to want to help with your brother, even when we don't ask.

I love you Angel.


Friday, October 14, 2011

The Man Shining Inside

Tell me people, can you see the man shining inside? Can you see him there in the mists?

My son is an amazing boy. He has an amazing love of life. He wants to live every moment even when that means not going to bed. He has a heart full of love. Love for his Mommy. Love for his Daddy. Love for his Best Friend (his own words), his Sister. He tries to understand things and has no doubts about what he wants. He is excited by the possibilities of tomorrow even though he hates to wait. He is one of the happiest people I know. His frustrations can be strong when he can't understand why things don't work the way he expects but he is always willing to try again. My little man is growing up and making me so very proud. He doesn't always dance to the tune that others would have him dance to but that doesn't mean he can't. He just doesn't understand why he should need to sometimes.

I worry for him. I worry what the future holds for him and how he will cope. I hope he understands that I try the best I can to be a good father to him. I try to be loving and set a good example for him. I hope that his failings are his own and that I do not pass any on to him. I know he will have challenges but I hope that he can stay surrounded with people who love him and can support him. I hope that I can give him the support he needs to be ready when the time comes to face the world.

Some may look at him and then at me and wonder why I let him behave like that. They may ask themselves "what is his problem?" They may say to themselves "I would never let my child throw a fit like that." They may see the pained look on my face and take it that I don't love my child. They might even think I am angry with him at times. Do they know? Can they even understand why my son behaves the way he does? Can any of them see the man shining inside?

I wanted to be part of my son's life and for a while I couldn't understand how to do that. I have had to learn to accept the world that he presents me and integrate myself into that world. I have tried to be a steadying influence in his life. I have tried to let him feel my love. I want him to know that he can count on me and know that I will always love him and support him. I want him to feel comfortable around me and know that everything is ok when he is with me.

My son is autistic. I love him and everything about him. Some days I might wish I could go play catch with my son but then I get to play in the amazing worlds he creates to play in. I will always cherish him and be there for him. I know some days I don't make him super happy but then being a parent means saying it's bed time or no more candy. I think he knows that I love him despite these little disappointments that I give. I love that I get to help him find ways to deal with the world around him. I get to help him find his peace and safety. My son is one of the greatest gifts God has given me.

If you ask me what is wrong with my son, I will tell you nothing is wrong. Sometimes he just had a tough time understanding the same things that you or I do at the same speed. He can understand them, sometimes he just needs a little extra time. Is anything wrong with him? Nothing more than is wrong with you or I. My son just hasn't learned to hide what he feels from the world and that is difficult for many folks to deal with. Is it his problem? No way, it's theirs. I have learned to deal with my son and love him just the way he is.

I can see the man shining inside of him. He peeks out now and then and lets me know that everything will be alright. He is an amazing man and I know I will see more of him as my son grows. I look forward to the day that he doesn't hide from the world anymore.

Monday, October 3, 2011

DM Bullard Dual Carry Holster

Since I said that I would be doing some shooting and talking about gear from time to time, lets talk gear. When I bought my pistol I tried the original holster provided by Springfield Armory. It is a polymer paddle style holster. The pistol fits in there extremely well and it is relatively comfortable however, not what I wanted to use for long term carry. I began to search around for a good leather holster. You would think this shouldn't be too terribly difficult. You would be sadly mistaken. When you want to be able to conceal a full size pistol, the holster is everything. Many people give up on carrying a full size pistol and opt for a smaller, compact firearm in a smaller caliber because they cant find a way to carry comfortably. Thus the search began for a quality holster that would allow me to carry my full size pistol comfortably all day.

I began with general searches and looking at different types of holsters. I reviewed many different gun forums for recommendations. I narrowed my choices down to three different models; the Comp-Tac Minotaur MTAC, the Crossbreed Super Tuck and the DM Bullard Dual Carry. The Mtac and Supertuck are both dedicated in-waist band holsters. Both are made with a leather back that has a kydex holster attached and tuckable belt clips. The Dual Carry is an all leather holster that can be used inside the waist band or outside the waist band. All three are in a similar price range of $70-$90 plus shipping. At first I was very enamored with the MTAC and also impressed by the many, many glowing reviews on the Super Tuck. Both are solidly built devices. Both allow for various cant (tilt) adjustments on the the holster as well as depth of wear. I, being the multi-funtion guy that I am, felt that while both were good at what they did, they were limited to a single wear style.

I then looked more at the DM Bullard Dual Carry. This holster is all leather with metal belt clips. It is hand made in Azle, Texas. Many leather holster are out there but as I looked at them, I felt the workmanship that was used by Mr. Bullard was outstanding. The Dual Carry can be configured for IWB or OWB wear and looks good in both configurations. The metal clips can be swapped out with leather tuckable belt loops if you desire for a small additional cost. I did not go with this option as I was unsure if the holster would work for me or not. I finally ordered his holster and then began my wait. This may sound strange considering that you can walk into most gun shops and there are easily 50 to 100 holsters there on the shelves. However, when you want handcrafted it takes a little more time. Mr. Bullard, at the time I ordered, was essentially a one man shop working from his garage. He made each holster one at a time himself. His popularity meant that he was somewhat back ordered and there would be some lead time involved.

When the holster arrived I was not disappointed with the quality at all. It is made with thick saddle leather, has a re-enforced mouth and heavy duty stitching. The holster fit my pistol like a glove and has remarkable retention all by itself.

I tried it on and after a few minutes of trying in different positions settled for a 4 O'clock position. The holster came set up for IWB carry. This worked very nicely with my belt adding additional retention to the pistol. I then configured the holster for OWB carry. My pistol disappeared beneath my shirt, even when tucked in. The Saddle Brown color of the leather tanning is very sweet. The white thread used for the stitching is heavy gauge and very even. Even when worn OWB, this holster can disappear underneath an untucked shirt.

 The only tiny issue, and one that anyone familiar with quality leather products know of, is the leather squeaks a bit a first. This will reduce over time as the holster is worn more and broken-in.

As I don't currently posses my concealed carry permit, I very much enjoy the fact that I can still use this holster for open carry and that it looks nice when doing it. Once I have my permit, I am still undecided if I will use it IWB or OWB. Most likely I will be switching back and forth between the two (you only need a screw driver to switch it around). I recently checked on Mr. Bullard's website and was pleased to see that his company has done some growing. In fact his popularity has grown to a point where he has added an additional 6 employees to keep up with demand. I would highly recommend the DM Bullard company to anyone looking for a high quality leather holster for their pistol. As I saw on another site for some handmade leather bags, if it is a quality product, leather goods can be passed down. As long as my pistol still works, I hope to pass this down some day to one of my kids or grand-kids.

Play time with my kids

Well, the last few days I have availed myself of the opportunities to play with my children. I think we all had a lot of fun. I played ...erm...I don't know what you call it with my daughter. I guess it was playing pretend using figures. She does much as I did when I was a child, using multiple figures from different sources for the pretend session. As is her usual way, she tried to dictate how the play "program" would go. I of course, being the nut job that I am, failed to oblige.  :-)  My daughter has gotten used to this behavior somewhat and just decided to go along with it. I think that she had more fun because of it. I know I enjoyed seeing her laugh at me and my jokes and silliness.

My son and I also got several opportunities to play as well though for much shorter periods, but then again, he is only 5 and autistic. I had fun as playing with him tends to involve a lot of tickling. I just love his laugh. I also helped him to play angry birds and legos a few times as well. All in all, I think we all had a lot of fun.

I would have loved to have taken the kids for a drive in one of the canyons around here or gotten out to a park but things just didn't seem to work out. Still, as a father I cherish the moments I get to spend with my little ones, even on days that I get aggravated by them. I hope that I am giving enough of my time to them so that in the future we will have a strong relationship that they can rely on. It might sound greedy of me but since I can't seem to invest my money wisely, I figure I should invest my time wisely. If nothing else comes of this investment, I at least hope that my kids will learn that their daddy loves them and have a good example of how to live. I just have to wait to see how my investment turns out. I hate waiting.  :P