Thursday, December 22, 2011


As the end of the year approaches us and my family gets ready to celebrate our daughter’s 1st Christmas I can’t help but reflect on what a ride it has been this past 12 months.

The year started with my wife getting ready to enter her 3rd trimester with our daughter and with my family just coming off of its 1st Holiday season with my Grandfather. It was an emotional time for us all but my wife and I were excited about what the future had in store for us. January was a blur as that month just seemed to fly by but I got a raise at my job which was good news (but short lived). In early February my wife and I celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary at one of her favorite restaurants, the Macaroni Grille. I had surprised my wife with something special that night which was helped made possible by the wait staff and manager of the restaurant. It was a very memorable evening. The rest of February was filled with getting prepared for out little one’s arrival. March would be much of the same as we had new carpet and paint installed in our place and our daughter’s Nursery would be completed all decked out in Beatrix Potter motif. Of course there was also the quick approaching March Madness where my beloved Duke Blue Devils had a chance at repeating as National Champs.

March 19th, 2011 our daughter was born in Newport Beach, CA. We had a room overlooking the ocean and my wife’s labor took less than 8 ½ hours, particularly quick compared to some I’ve heard. We were challenged right from the get go as new parents as complications arose after Brooke entered this world. Without going into great detail all I can say is my wife and I prayed and prayed and for those first few minutes of our daughter’s lives and God really watched over us. After 4 days in the NICU we brought out daughter home and on that very evening the Duke basketball team lost to Arizona in a game that really didn’t matter quite as much anymore. Having a child puts a lot of things in perspective and really reminds you of what is important in life. That was kind of cool. The rest of March was a blur and in early April my Father almost lost his life as a result of Heart Attack. On top of being first time parents I was worried for my Dad’s health as well. May flew by and it was pretty cool to celebrate my wife’s 1st Mothers Day. That was fun and then came along June and I got to celebrate my 1st Father’s Day but not without a little more drama. My father had gotten an infection in and around his arteries by his new pacemaker and initially he was told he would be held up in a hospital for 4-6 weeks. Yes this is the news I received on my 1st Fathers Day. Luckily we found out he only required 2 weeks in the hospital and was home for the 4th of July.

In the middle of the summer as July 4th came around we celebrated by taking Brooke swimming for her very first time. Yes I know she was only 3 ½ months old but I gotta be honest, she loved it! The rest of the summer went by in a flash but we did take her to Disneyland for her 1st trip ever during the summer. Her 1st ever ride was the Merry Go Round. She was interested to say the least. In August I lost the job I had for more than 4 years abruptly, unexpectedly and quite unfairly. There decision to discriminate against me after the birth of my daughter being born is something I never knew that company would stoop to but they did and that was that. There is so much more that could be said about that but all I know is that it opened up a brand new door for me, one in which will give me the opportunity to get back east where my wife can be a stay at home Mom and where we can finally own a home and actually live somewhere that has “seasons”. I was very lucky to land the job I did and it was all God watching over me.

As the fall approached we were excited to see our daughter’s reaction to our Halloween decorations. We quickly came to learn that she is a fearless little girl who isn’t afraid of much and especially not any of the spooky animated decorations we had to show her. She loved them! On my wife’s birthday in September we all headed to Disneyland where she had her first meeting with Minnie Mouse. All captured on camera it was quite awesome. She also rode on the Little Mermaid ride and a couple of rides in It’s a Bugs Life themed area. All in all a great day. The rest of the fall went by so quickly but my wife and I did manage to get out to Knotts Halloween Haunt and of course enjoyed the Pre-Scare dinner – yumm! We also took Brooke to Disneyland a couple of more times and even took her on The Haunted Mansion Holiday, she loved it! We visited the Pumpkin Patch at Irvine Park as well! Later in October I even got a guys night out with the twins as we headed to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood. Fun night as well. After Halloween my wife and I decided to take Brooke again to Disneyland, this time for Daddy’s birthday. Another great day at the park and she even got to meet Snow White, The Little Mermaid (her favorite), Belle, and the princess from the movie The Princess & the Frog. A Montgomery family tradition is to get started on the Christmas decorations the first week of November. I was a little skeptical about this now having a baby and all but rest assured it started on time and the Christmas tree was in the house and decorated by Nov 5th. Damn skippy!!

In November I started my new job and since it is in a brand new industry there will be a lot of learning that needs to take place on my end. Having been in one industry the past 7 years it is going to be expected that it might take me a little bit to pick up this new industry but 6 weeks in I feel confident that I'm picking up on it fairly quickly. Knowing the future opportunities this company has to offer me is such a blessing. So basically November came and went by quickly but we enjoyed Brooke’s 1st Thanksgiving at my in-laws place and my wife decided she wanted to shop with me on Black Friday. A 45 minute line at Khols and 1 ½ hour line at Macy’s didn’t stop us as we got Brooke some wonderful Xmas outfits for 75% Macy’s! I even got my wife the best Christmas gift ever later that morning while online shopping. I love to bargain shop! As December approached the first thing I was looking forward to was taking Brooke to Disneyland during the Holidays. Even though Disneyland had their decorations up on Nov 14th we didn’t go until December but when we did she loved it!! We went on It’s a Small World Holiday and watched the Christmas Fantast Parade. Very fun!! This year my wife’s work Christmas party was on the Queen Mary so that was cool, you know it is haunted right? As our families were preparing for the upcoming Holidays we got word that my Uncle Dave had a Massive Heart Attack and 5 days later on December 9th he had passed away. This was very upsetting news for our family and my immediate thoughts and prayers went out to his wife, and his son and daughter and her three kids. It is so incredibly sad on so many levels and not something any family wants to go through during the holidays. What we can at least be comforted by is knowing that he is in a better place now not that it is any consolation to his family.

So as I sit here and think back to what this year has brought it has been filled with ups and downs and twist and turns but when I look at our daughter I can’t help but feel blessed in so many ways that for this Christmas, for the first time in my life I will truly have been given the best gift ever, our daughter, Brooke Ashley Montgomery who is now, for this holiday season, and will forever be our Gift from God. I wish everybody this year a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life is so Precious

Last November my Grandfather passed away at the age of 94. Two weeks ago my Uncle Dave, my Grandfather’s first born child passed away at 64. It does not quite seem fair that my Uncle’s father lived 30 years longer than he did. 30 years! That’s the entire life of my wife. As our family struggles to understand my Uncle’s passing all we can really do is be assured that he is in a better place. Having a Memorial Service in my Grandfather’s church just 13 months after his passing for my Uncle was not an event any of us planned. In fact the entire day with a Graveside burial just 2 plots away from my Grandfather’s was all too much of a reminder that our family had to deal with the loss of 2 family members so close in time. My Grandmother has remained strong as I cant imagine what it must be like to lose your husband of more than 65 years then 13 months later have to bury your first born child.

In the past 5 years I have witnessed death more so than in my previous 30 years of life. My wife and I have been connected to 10 people who have died in the past 5 years via being a family member or personal friend. Deaths that ranged from old age, to sudden illness, and even a father in his 30’s who left behind two young sons and a 90yr old who opened up her home to a stranger in need and was murdered. We have attended 7 Memorial Services together. Having dealt with this in the past 5 years has really made me think about Death more often. It makes me realize that is short and we must truly live it to the fullest. We need to tell those whom we love that we love them, each and every day. We need to not worry about the little things as much and realize we are not in as much control as we think.

During this Holiday Season I am thankful for my health and the health of my family and for all the God has blessed me with but I also think about those I have known who have passed. I pray for their families and friends and for God to watch over them during this time of year. It reminds me of how precious life truly is and how we have to enjoy each and every day and live it to the fullest.