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.

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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.

Beach boys 3

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…

kids 2014kids 2015kids 2016kids 2017

 

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.

Joy list

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So I started listening to a podcast series by Jill Schlesinger. She has guests on to discuss various things financially. She had a guest on who talked about something he does every morning. He writes three things that bring him joy. He talked for a moment about how it really just improves his mood and gives him a positive start to his day.

I decided to give it a shot. I have a small notepad that I scribble notes in that I have dubbed my joy-book. This is new to me, so I will report back later how consistent I stay and any trends I discover.

It should come as no surprise that both my boy and wife have made the list every day.

Please comment with three things that bring you Joy today. I’d like to see your response.

Biking (not running)

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So it appears my favorite form of exercise these days is on two wheels. I have to say I am REALLY enjoying the biking.  I am not really riding with a group, as the matter of fact, only one ride I have been on all year has been with anyone. So it is just me, the bike and the paths that crawl throughout Orange County.

I do miss running though. One of the reasons I have not really been getting out there has been that it has been so freaking hot!  Now I realize I live in southern California, so the heat is really relative, but it has been more humid this year than it has been in the recent past.  Another is something that I noticed recently, and that is my friend Heather moved to Texas. I have just not been motivated to run.  I have on the other hand, been inspired to get out on the trails and see if I can set PRs on courses I have rode recently.

Now as I mentioned above, I do 99% of my riding solo. My running I did a majority of it solo as well, but a lot of runs with a groups or just a couple of select friends.  There was definitely a more social aspect to it.  I really enjoyed the comradery and I miss my friend (that is another post for another time).  I would like to hear what other people’s experience with this has been. I know there are a LOT of people who really don’t care for running at all, so this is a question for people who have done both.

 

I know I need to get back out on the trails (and on my feet, not two wheels) and will try to do just that over the next few days and weeks.

But I won’t give up the bike.

Milestones

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Time passes, it’s inevitable. We measure it in hours, days, weeks and years. We also measure it with milestones. I have done a poor job of keeping up with the many milestones our little guy has achieved and experienced.

I think I will spend the next few days and weeks writing about some of the ones I have missed.  The first one is Pre-school.

There was an awful lot going on at this time, as I had been laid off from my job of 13 plus years. We weren’t even sure he’d be able to go. But we were blessed with a generous gift that allowed him to go. 

There is a program called first 5 that focus on the development of a child in it’s first five years. I can’t agree more how important it really is. I believe that new mom and I have done a pretty good job reading to, encouraging and stimulating his senses and mind. I also saw the remarkable changes he went through while he was in Pre-school. It didn’t hurt that the school he went to is very high rated and has an excellent program. 

Here are a couple pics from his first day. Something I will never forget. New mom thought she would lose it when we dropped him off, but it was actually me. I couldn’t believe our little guy was actually going to school! 

Look at me!!

Meeting the teacher!

Another milestone soon!

Smiles and Hellos

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Today, the CEO of our company put the following on LinkedIn….

‘Smiles and hellos are free, amazing it is not given out more often.’

This really stuck with me the entire day.  Because it is amazing how true it is.  I am a transplant from the Midwest, and one thing I have noticed as long as I have lived here in California is this very thing.  There are so many times where I have said ‘hello’ and the person I have said it to almost looks offended.  I suppose some if it is cultural maybe?

It does amaze me that this statement is so true.  When new Mom and I take the little guy out for a walk or a bike ride we try to greet everyone we come across.  Their responses vary, but more often than not, we get a strained smile (like it is painful for them to provide a friendly hello back) or nothing at all.  How hard is a simple courtesy of a ‘hello’ with a smile?

As a dad I want to raise my son to be respectful of others as well as polite. So I will continue to set the example for him by saying hello, and trying to smile as often as possible while teaching him to do the same.