A big thanks

Newmom’s grandmother had her 90th birthday this past week and we went to Arizona to celebrate with her family. While I was there, I stopped by the office of the company I used to work for and saw friends I had not seen in an extended time. Made me realize I really missed them.

But one friend I saw mentioned this blog and commented on the post about the slide. She also commented on the blog overall, saying it was nice to hear a male perspective on aspects of parenting. I was really touched by the very kind words. It has inspired me to pay more attention to this blog and post more.

Starting with a big thank you to Krystal!

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Another beautiful day.

I am truly blessed to call southern California home. Not too long ago I celebrated my 20th anniversary of moving here.

There were five of us in total, and I’m the only one who stayed.

It turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

Life lesson from a Slide?

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A couple of years back I was let go from a job that I had for 13 and a half years.  It was a punch in the stomach and an opportunity to teach our little guy some lessons about change.  Instead of Momma being around it was dada. In between looking for a new job, I got to learn a number of new life lessons about being a stay at home dad. I won’t lie, there are certain aspects I miss about it.

Fast forward two years and a new industry later, and I work in honestly the greatest job ever! Such a great company, for a great salary and awesome people.  One of the more interesting things in the office is a slide.

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Yes…

…you read that right, a slide. In our office. To get from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor, there is a stainless steel slide.  And it is FAAASSSSST!  I try to make sure I take it at least twice a day. Never have I been happier to have to go to a meeting on another floor.  This past Friday our little guy got to come to the new office for the first time. He rode the slide over and over and over again.  So what are the lessons here? What does a stainless steel slide teach us?

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The first that comes to mind, is that you are never too old to play. You are never too old to ride a slide. As long as you are physically able, take advantage of doing the fun thing. Take that slide, ride that roller coaster, ride that bicycle, play that game.

The second, and something I consider pretty important, work can indeed be fun. Love what you do and where you do it.  I am so blessed and fortunate to love where I work. Love who I work with, love what I do.   I know so many people who feel trapped and unhappy in their job. I want my little man to know that work does enable you to pay the bills, but it doesn’t have to be soulless.

I know there are going to be many lessons to teach him about life as we continue the great adventure we are on. but I hope these two sink in and I hope to be able to reinforce them over the years.

 

Wait, you did TWO events in 2017?

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NOTE: I started this post back in December of 2017, not long after this race. I am finishing it today.

 

I used to run.

Really, I did.  I promise.

As I noted in my previous post not long ago, I participated in my first running event in quite some time with the Halloween race.  Part of the reason we did it was because it is such a great event (as described in the post) and because my mother in law wanted to complete two 5K races by the end of the year as a part of her rehab for knee surgery she had in July.  We had run the Make Room for Santa Run back in 2014, and yes, it is another Renegade Race series event, and as it was three years ago, it was a lot of fun.

This is a great race to finish your year up with. It has a 5K and 10K option and both courses are flat (it is Irvine after all). There is also a 1\2 mile kids run (which our little guy did).  As Always Santa is there to take pictures with you and it is a good time for all involved.  As you would imagine with a holiday theme race, there are a lot of costumed runners (I have never ran in costume, know people who have and love it, but I don’t have that itch to scratch).

A very family oriented event that is the perfect way to wrap up your running year.

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I would definitely recommend it.

Some of the Positives:

  1. Course layout: you are not on any surface streets throughout the 5k or 10k which  is Great. The only downside is it is a little congested at the start, but I find that on many races.
  2. Course Support (water, aid): the water stations were well placed. If you see my review on the Halloween race, one of the things I noted was the placement of the water station on the course. There was more access to this course so there were more options.
  3. The Medal: always Christmas themed, I really enjoy the medal. Although I do have to say I liked the Halloween medal a little more this year.
  4. The Expo: loads of exhibits, opportunities to register for additional races, renegade does a GREAT job on this expo. It is also nice to see 361 shoes there as well.
  5. Shuttles: this race does not offer a ton of parking. You have to park and take a shuttle to the event site. The shuttles were running smoothly and we got to the event on time and did not have to wait long to get back to the remote parking.

 

If you are looking for a family oriented event and a great race to finish your year, please register for next year. Perhaps we will see you there!

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Milestone: Royals

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Sports. Kids.

Our little man loves to play. He loves throwing, catching, kicking the ball. ANY ball. He loves being outside, playing catch, hitting balls, scoring goals, any sport, anytime.

He has been blessed with actually being pretty good at everything he has tried so far.  So it came time to register him in his first organized league last year in the fall (I am wayyyy behind on these milestone posts, so bear with me).  We enrolled him in tee ball.

His first team was the Royals.  We we’re lucky and had a really good coach and dedicated assistant coaches as well.

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At this age there are not a lot of outs, and everyone bats. Everyone is biased about their child, but I do think our guy was one of the better players on the team. He really played well and enjoyed the game.

I thought his being a lefty would give him a little advantage, but it turned out that 9 of the 12 players were lefties! Drove the coach a little batty at first, more from disbelief than anything else (so many Lefties!).

At this level, most of the players had a parent out there with them. We did not particularly interfere with anything, but just helped keep the boys focused on the game.  So there were many times I was out there on the field with our little guy. Each game is about 4 innings and many times our little guy was just about done after three. There were a number of games where I had to tag out to Mom, who was able to keep him focused for the last inning.

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It was a totally fun and successful season.  Another benefit was the friendships that were started. Xavier is still friends with a number of boys from that team and new Mom does things with the Moms. These are relationships that we are hopeful will last his entire lifetime.

Renegade does it again (and does it well)!

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One of the unfortunate side effects of losing my job a couple of years back was the immediate stoppage of running events. No 5k, 10k or half marathon for me or the family.

This drought came to an end with the Halloween run put on a couple of weekends ago by our friends at renegade racing.  My mother in law had knee surgery earlier in the year and set her recovery goal of walking/running the 5k at this event. We ran it a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. So we all signed up for this year’s event and let me tell you, like every renegade event before it, it did not disappoint.

I did not really train for the event, and knew the 5k would be a nice way to get back into running.  My nephew who is 9 signed up last-minute for his very first ever 5k so I thought I would be with him (or trying to keep up) and new mom and mother in law would be with our little guy in the jogging stroller (which he barely still fits in).

Or at least that was the plan.

The course is at Salt Creek beach in Dana point, the start/finish line overlooks the ocean. It feels like it is not flat, but the elevation change isn’t as great as you would think.

We got to the park, got our gear together and made our way to the starting area, the weather was perfect for a morning run, overcast and just a bit of a chill in the air.

When the gun went off, my nephew was off like a shot, but our little guy wanted to run as well and *poof* he was off. I thought I was going to be chasing a 9-year-old, not my 5-year-old.  So off I went.

Although it was not the plan, it worked out GREAT! Xavier would sprint/walk and I got to do the entire first mile with just him and I (my nephew was ahead of us, but never too far ahead, I could see him most of the time). Another memory that I will cherish for years to come, the two of us, hand in hand walking then running the course.

Eventually the little guy tuckered out and new mom and mom in law caught up to us and he got in the jogger to rest. I was then able to run up to the nephew and run/walk in the finish with him. I am thankful I got to run in his first 5k together, more memories.

We then waited at the finish for new mom and company, and I saw them coming down the stretch, but our little guy was not in the jogger. I looked closer and he was tearing down the finishing stretch running full speed! I got great pics of him crossing the finish line!! Later, new mom would tell me that as soon as he saw the finish line, she asked if he wanted to run it in, and took off like a shot and finished strong!’

 

It was an amazing morning. After the finish, the boys changed into swim gear and went down to the beach.

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Now this is a post about renegade racing, right? I will tell you about the great work they did that day:

The good:

1) Course layout- this is a great course to run. Scenic views for a good part of it, not too flat, not too hilly, just about right.

2) The expo- this is a smaller race, but had a decent amount of vendors. Felt a little bigger this year than when we ran it a couple of years ago.

3) Course management- this is both a good and bad(see below). There were many people throughout the course directing people to stay on the right and keeping people moving and motivated.

4) The bling- the medal was fantastic. Renegade has seriously upped their medal game from the first event we did with them (many years ago).

 

The (only) not so good:

1) Course management- I know I said both  good and bad. I think the only  issue I felt was the placement of the one and only water station on the 5k course. It was very close to the turning point of the 5k course, which means you hit it pretty quick on the way back, and have over a mile before you reach it and after you leave it (the second time), which could be a challenge for some. In defense of the placement, all three courses have to be considered (10k and 10mile) and logistically, it really is the perfect spot as far as getting supplies to and from that spot.

 

…as you can see, I felt the event was as always, very well done.  We are always thrilled to run a renegade event, we know it will be a great one!!!

 

 

 

Halloween (all of them, so far…)

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Halloween.

Just the word brings visions and memories to us all. Memories of trick or treating in your old neighborhood, with your parents when you were young and then with your friends as you got old enough to go on your own.  Some years you had a great haul of candy, others were a little leaner. The disappointment when the house was dark, or you were met with a “sorry, we’re wiped out already. ”

It also brings images of skeletons, ghosts, ghouls, scary Clowns (especially this past year, with the success of the movie ‘IT’) giant spiders and spooky graveyards.

Halloween was always fun as a kid. I have a brother born the day before Halloween so my mother had his birthday celebration along with trick or treating. so I have many fond memories of Halloween.

These memories change obviously as you get older. Trick or Treating becomes a thing of the past, and Halloween parties become the focus. you try to have a great costume and have juuuuust enough fun.

Then it happens. Your own kids and you look at Halloween through your child’s eyes and you instantly revert to a child yourself.  Trips to the pumpkin patch, carving a pumpkin, picking just the right costume, and of course, TRICK OR TREATING!!!

Our little guy was born in April, so he was six and a half months old when his first Halloween rolled around.  New Mom knew right away that he would be Charlie Brown and boy, was he the cutest Charlie Brown EVER! (a very biased, but true opinion).  When he was one, he was a cute (notice a trend here?)  little Vampire.

After that, he was pretty much old enough to pick his own costumes. We have had Dash (from the Incredibles), Iron man, Darth Vader and a SWAT officer. I am always excited to hear about what he will want to be each year. This year he was pretty set on becoming a police officer.

Age: 6 months (Charlie Brown)

Age: 1 year, 6 months (Vampire)

 

 

Age: 2 years, 6 months (Dash)

 

Age: 3 years, 6 months (Iron Man)

 

 

 

Age: 4 years, 6 months (Darth Vader)

 

 

 

Age: 5 years, 6 months (SWAT)

 

Now of course I mentioned Trick or treating with your friends when you are old enough. But before that day comes for our little guy, we are blessed to live near new mom’s family, where he has all of his cousins that are close in age,  so we have been lucky enough to have trick or treat with them for the past few years. The past few years we have all gone to new mom’s parents’ neighborhood, but this year we hosted here.  It was an absolute Blast taking the kids out.

Sometime soon, they will all want to trick or treat with their own friends, but until then, we will continue to make memories and cherish them forever…

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Milestone: God Rock

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So our church has a tradition where new kindergarten students are given a ‘God Rock’. It is a polished stone with a cross carved into it. They are encouraged to place the rock in their pack or lunchbox so a reminder that he is with them is always there. 

I spoke to one of the long time members of the church and she said when the seniors are recognized in a separate service, it is not uncommon that they will have their rock that was given to them. 

Yesterday our little guy received his rock. It was a very nice moment. He has started kindergarten and I am pleased to know he will have that reminder with him as he continues through school. It doesn’t hurt to have a little something to remind us even as adults that he is watching over us and loves us. 

This is another milestone to write about. I am including a couple pics from the service and a picture of him with a couple of his friends, who lso received their rocks as they start their school careers.

I know I’m not going in order, there are other milestones to discuss before this, but I wanted to share this one.

Our little chatterbox

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When you have an infant it’s such a joy to see them discover their voice.  Then they start to form words. Then they move from single words (more, milk, ball, mama, dada) to short sentences. 

Observing this has been a great joy in my short stint as a dad (yes, five years isn’t exactly short, but it will be by the time it will be my time to go). Now his vocabulary is expanding at an exponential rate. He never ceases to amaze me with the words he is either learning or has learned, and it is not going to slow down, now that he is in school.

I will never tire of hearing his sweet little voice.

With that being said, we still struggle at times with him, trying to teach him to not interrupt us when we are trying to have a conversation. He has so much to say it sometimes feels like he will never stop. I know that sometime in the future he will stop speaking with us as much, and that will be a very sad day, so I will do my best to enjoy every conversation with him as well as not get too upset when he won’t let new mom and I have a simple conversation.