Wait, what do you mean its over?

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I wrote previously about the end of our scouting year, and in the post I noted that the scouting calendar runs parallel to the school year. So if scouts came to an end that must mean…

…the school year is over?!?!?!?!

It feels like it was yesterday I was taking this picture…

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aren’t those shoes the coolest? 

Yes, our little first grader is no longer a first grader!  That went wayyyy too fast! And in just a few short weeks he will be starting SECOND GRADE!  This was yet another year of two teachers, his teacher had a baby at the very beginning of the year, so we started with a long term sub (the same thing occurred in kindergarten) and finished with his regular teacher. Both were fantastic and we were blessed to have such great teachers helping with the little guy’s progress in his education.

We went to his end of the year open house and got to see some of the projects he had been working on throughout the year. Some of the highlights for me:

  • Seeing where the learning happens. The desks are so little! Seeing all the supplies, the art on the walls, it was just amazing!
  • There was a binder with work throughout the year, it really showed his progress throughout the year (more on this below) ESPECIALLY his penmanship!
  • This Picture…
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Self Portrait, age 6 (SO MANY TEETH!)

On top of that awesome piece of work, We got these two Gems as well.

 

 

His love of Rabbits (Bunnies) continues even in his art projects!

His handwriting has improved so much over the school year. We saw this happen thorough out the year as we were doing spelling homework. The spelling ‘tests’ he would do on weeknights we saw a drastic improvement in his handwriting and even saw him get frustrated that his writing wasn’t ‘neat enough’. Even with that, seeing some of the writing projects last July compared to the recent works, it was night and day!

He really likes math! This sends me over the moon, math is sooooo important these days. Every new unit he brought home we just seemed to grasp and master quickly! I couldn’t have been more proud.  I want to continue to encourage this behavior and see him continue to master math.

Watching this advancement, watching him be able to read more complex books, expand his comprehension and achieve educational milestones makes my heart run over. Knowledge is power, and I want to provide the little guy with the encouragement he needs to achieve all of his hopes and dreams.

So on to Second Grade we go. I know everything is going to change, with more homework, more complex work and new challenges to overcome, but I know we will address them together with new mom, as a team!

 

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We’ve been living with a Tiger in our house.

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A Tiger Cub Scout!  New mom saw a flyer for an interest meeting for Scouting. We went to the meeting together and we thought we would give it a shot. Try it out for a year, see how the little guy (and mom and dad) liked it.  So after paying the fees and getting his uniform and patches, we were off on a new adventure.

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The first year was a lot of fun. Now new mom did a lot of the den and pack meetings, but I participated in some of the events over the year.  To start 2019 the den came to assist with the Sandwich Ministry we do at our church in January.

 

This helped earn the boys one of their badges for the year.  They ended up earning a number of badges throughout the scouting year which parallels the school year.

Unfortunately we did miss a number of events due to scheduling conflicts.  There were a few events right towards the end of the Scout year that we did get to do.

The first event of the spring for us was Scout O Rama!  I think this event used to be the boy scout jamboree (I’m not sure), but it is a HUGE event where local troops, both cub scout and boy scout set up booths and exhibitions that show the skills they have learned throughout their journey as a scout. It truly was an amazing experience, to see everything these young boys have accomplished, everything they have learned. There were great exhibits throughout the park and I think it really opened the little guys eyes to everything scouting can be.

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Next was a nature walk at one of the local trails here in the area. It was a short hike on a very level terrain. The boys all had a “scavenger Hunt’ to complete while on the hike. They had to check off a list of items as they observed them on the trail. The boys all seemed to have fun. And the parents had a great time as well. We definitely will work hikes into our routine, we had a great time.

 

 

The next event is the BIG one. CAMPING.  I have never been a big outdoors-ey kind of guy.  As the matter of fact, I can only remember going camping once. New mom and the little guy have been looking forward to this for quite some time.  I think I have written before that I will try everything at least once for my son, so I tried my best to open myself to going camping.   After borrowing a number of items and supplies (to see how we liked camping before we invested into equipment) we went ‘camping’.  Now, this isn’t quite ‘Glamping’ but it wasn’t really “roughing it’ either.

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Years of Tetris pay off!

Years of

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Tent is up and ready!

 

We went to the Irvine outdoor education center that is a part of Irvine Park. The center has events you can schedule for your group so the boys did Archery, BB Rifles and a mining excursion.   They were all very well done and the instruction on the Archery and BB Rifle Range was very good.

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Now, there were some issues. We had a larger tent (6 person) and there were not many pads for larger tents. So we made due, found a flat piece of ground and pitched our tent there. A number of other families did the same.  And then over night, actually from about 1am to 5am, we had sporadic rain.  Enough to get the tent wet for when we had to roll it up. New mom and I were some of the first people up and we decided to get as much of our gear down the hill (oh yes, the sites were UPHILL (no fun dragging it up there, but there were a cart service that ran a couple times) as early as possible. We were quite the team, getting everything packed up and back down the hill before many of the families were even up and out of bed.

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we’re camping!!!

 

 

The temperatures were PERFECT, not too hot during the day, not too cold at night.  Learned a few lessons on how much to pack (it was only really one night) and honestly I had a lot of fun.  We are going to do it again later this year with some of our friends.

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Lets do it again!

 

To finish out the Scout year, our little man went through a transformation. He has moved from a Tiger to a Wolf.  The end of year meeting the boys moved to the next level and received their final badges of the year.

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Ready for Next Year!

 

Overall, scouting has been a HUGE success. We are very excited for him to continue his journey as a WOLF, getting new badges, learning life skills, making lifelong friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

Growing up, I was never a scout. My brother was the only one of us who got into scouting and I think he only did it a year or two.  I went camping one time, and we had a pop up camper. I have fond memories of that trip, but I also remember it not being something I was interested in doing over and over again. I am hopeful that the little guy will want to continue his scouting adventure and I look forward to the new experiences we will all experience together.

 

Closing in…

…on 10k views! I knew it would come in the first half of 2019. As I wrote earlier this year, I really didn’t think it would be this long to get there. But you gotta write to get views!

Here’s where I am today!!

That 10k number will be here before I know it!

The next big milestone I would like to see is to increase the number of people who follow me. If you haven’t read this blog, I encourage you to take a look at it. New or not, please use the widget to follow the blog!

Running? Did someone say running?

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When I started this blog, I was running regularly. Like multiple times a week regularly.

These days runs are very few and even further between. It’s totally my fault. I am not making the time to do it. I am paying the price for this. I’m heavier than I have been in years, my fitness level is at an all time low and sloths have more motivation than I do (and are probably faster too!).

So I am thrilled to write that I actually got out and ran again over the holiday weekend. We participated in the Laguna Hills Memorial Day half marathon and races. I told my family about this race early in the year and then kinds wrote it off when I found out it was the same weekend as the little guys Cub scout camping weekend. Then new mom told me her mom registered for it and was doing it alone. We were not going to let that be the case, for goodness sake I am the one who recommended it!

So after a sleep deprived couple days of camping (I will write about that soon!) We got picked up for the event by new mom’s parents. Yes, it’s another Renegade race event, and done as well as every other event they put on. I could go on and on about the top notch events they continue to produce (and I have many times in previous posts).

So back to the race. I was quite nervous about this one, I registered late, and I had done ZERO training for it. But a little stretching and we were in the starting chute. It was one of the better attended races we will run, so it was a little crowded (I have been in much more crowded events, but those are big national events, that to be honest, weren’t as well run as the renegade events). When the gun went off, new mom, my mom-in-law, the little guy and I were off!

Great turnout. Waiting in starting chute.

The first two thirds of the course are in a residential area and many of the residents were on the sidewalk cheering for the runners. It was very nice and motivation to keep plodding along. The last third is an up-and-down leading to the finish line at a community park. Along that final stretch there are signs honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. It was a lovely tribute to the fallen soldiers. I won’t lie, I choked up seeing that the oldest was only 24 years old.

The finish line and expo were well organized and fun. Activities for the little guy were readily available without long lines. The dark horse battalion was present with an armoured Humvee. They were very polite and respectful. New mom’s father is a Marine who was wounded in combat, he was thanked for his service to our country and enjoyed talking with some other vets helping with the expo booths.

The little guy and new mom’s father.

This year is the start of a series of medals. Each year for the next four years the medal will honor a branch of the military. If you participate in them all, there is a bonus medal which looks amazing. I am not afraid to admit, the medals are part of the reason we do it!

Well I don’t have anything bad to report about this event. The course (for the 5k) is challenging without being punitive, well placed water stations, great finish line expo, awesome medal. If you need a great way to transition from spring to summer, check out this event!

I hope this event is what I needed to get my motivation and running mojo back in form! My finish time wasn’t quite as ad as thought it would be, which is motivation to get back out there to get stronger and faster. Only time will tell.

Mothers Day (for my wife)

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Sunday was Mother’s day. Because our little guy was born in April, this was new mom’s eighth. I looked over the history of this blog and I was very VERY surprised to see that it appears I have never written a post specifically for Mother’s day. The closest I have come was This where I discussed the little guy becoming more mobile.

So I will correct this egregious error and spend a few moments talking about my better half and the little guys mom. Instead of just talking about one day, I will talk a bit about her.

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I have ALWAYS known that new mom would be an EXCELLENT mother. I am sure that I read somewhere that anthropologists say how we perceive someone would be as a parent is one of the many things that attract us to others. For a vast majority of my life I never wanted to be a dad. Looking back now ( hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20, every defense lawyer worth a damn will say that) I realize how tragic that would have been (for me at least). Being a father is one of the greatest joys of my life. New mom always tells me when we speak of my past wishes that ‘you just needed to meet the right woman’. Boy was she right. That is one of the many many things that are special about her, her ability to know when someone or something is ready for something. She knew when the little guy was ready to be weened from his pacifier, when we were ready to go to formula, potty training was fortunately a breeze for us (she just knew). She knew when he was ready to lose the training wheels as well. I really hope her supernatural sense of timing continues.

I can’t say enough about her compassion. How much love she is capable of showing and sharing. From the simplest touch to most passionate kiss, she is an amazingly loving woman. She is never thinking of herself first or selfish. She is caring to all she knows and doesn’t know.

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She was also instrumental in my reconnecting with my faith, never giving up on finding the right church for me and getting me to participate. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 comes to mind when I think of her. It reads:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Also if two lie down together they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? …

She is my two.  And without her, we would not be the family we are.

She is always watching out for both the little guy and myself.  She helps keep me in check from time to time, has been my rock when I needed her to be, and even at the times we are not seeing eye to eye is nothing but loving.  Happy Mother’s day to her, even though we only celebrate mother’s day once a year, every day with her is special!

The board

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So new mom made a board. I don’t know if she got the idea off Pinterest or saw it somewhere else, but it is a small chalkboard with permanent letters that say “I love you because…” and then you write in something.

The board has had MANY different things on it over the years. Messages to me, from me for sometimes mundane things, sometimes substantial things, sometimes innuendo. But always from the heart.

The messages can stay up for weeks or change multiple times in a day.  you never know why a new reason will be up there.

This week I saw something new. A message from the little guy. Yup,  the little guy got in the action for the very first time!! To make that even more epic, the message was specifically for ME!

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Now here’s the story behind this message. Not too terribly long ago I was in the front room of our apartment and hearing a strange noise in the kitchen. I originally thought it was our refrigerator. After closer inspection, it turned out it was our oven. Not wanting to mess around with natural gas, I notified our maintenance guy who has been here as long as we have, and he said he would check it out. I also asked about upgrading the flooring in our kitchen.  I got a call a couple days later saying he was going to just replace our oven and  then after the new oven was in he would just have new flooring laid down.  New mom and I discussed this and were happy to get these upgrades.

So this week I got the call that everything was done. EVERYTHING.  So after work I saw the results and it looked great. But I did not tell new mom or the little guy.  I wanted it to be a surprise.  I left for a small group meeting with my discipleship program I am a part of and got a text message from new mom “NEW FLOORS!”. I spoke to her and she said she really liked them.   The next afternoon I came home from work and saw the board with the message for the little guy. I was really touched. Like single tear touched.

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Later new mom said that the little guy walked into the kitchen area dramatically said “new floors! New Stove! Dad Surprised us! (add dramatic arm movements with the last sentiment!).   It was really great.

I am not going to make a huge deal out of this, but it is pretty big for me, because I am still battling the “mom do it” battle with him.  So I was over the moon that his very first message on the board was for me. One final note, new mom wanted to put ‘and momma’ on the board, but he was having NONE OF IT.

Now this board will be used hundreds, if not thousands of times over the years, but I will always remember this message.

thanks for continuing to read my adventures in fatherhood. Please use the follow widget on the left hand side of the home page to receive e-mail notifications of new material. 

Lazy day

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Today is a lazy day. A well deserved much needed lazy day. It feels like we have just been going and going and going (like the Energizer Bunny!).

We have had a very busy April with baseball and scouts and school and the church activities we have been a part of.

Yesterday marked the end of the baseball season, and it was a blast and we will miss playing, but at he same time, we are happy that it has come to an end. After the game it was off to the end of the season party with the kids and parents. It made for a long day.

So today we are doing…

… nothing. And it’s absolutely glorious! We all slept in this morning and we have done as little as possible and been enjoying every minute of it! So our little mini vacation will come to an end shortly to do some grocery shopping and start thinking about making dinner.

But until then, this lazy day is exactly what we all needed.

So when was the last time you had a lazy day? Please comment about it below.

Thanks for reading. I have a big milestone on the blog coming up and I want to increase the number of people who follow the blog. If you haven’t already, please use the widget on the left side of the home page to follow. You’ll get email when new content is published.

Perseverance (a lesson from an errant throw)

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Yesterday I saw something that was an incredible example of perseverance from my son.  I was arriving at the park for his final baseball game of the regular season and he was in the field for warm ups throwing with another boy.  As I was walking up behind  him, an errant throw glanced off his glove and clocked him right in the face.

This wasn’t just a toss between a couple of small boys, this was a throw, a hard one. It hit him just below the eye (we are lucky, a couple inches any direction could have been bad). The other assistant coach and I ran up to him and there were tears (heck, I would have probably had a couple tears if I took that shot as well) and some crying, but he calmed down.  My mother in law was there in the stands and got an ice pack from the snack bar for him.  I walked him over to the dugout and he sat for a few minutes with the pack on his face.

A few minutes later I returned to the dugout and there he was, pack under his eye and just sitting, alone with his thoughts.  I asked him how he was feeling and he said he was ok. I asked him if he was ready to get back out there and try again.

Without hesitating, he said ‘yes’ and grabbed his glove.

When we got back out to the field, he was right back into it, throwing with velocity! And he was not hesitant at all! He was throwing balls on target and HARD and not hesitating at all to get everything I was throwing back to him. It was fantastic to see him get right back out there, to show such grit.  After the shot I saw I would not have been surprised to see him a bit hesitant, but he was right back into it.  He even lost another ball and got hit again (a few more tears, but OK).

It was truly a learning experience for both of us.

I feel for him it was a lesson to not let an errant throw cause fear and hesitation. I  have seen other kids on his teams over the years become very afraid of the ball after taking much less of a shot. He did not quit or give up or let this stop him.  I don’t think it was a macho “I have to be tough in front of my dad” kind of thing either. I was very impressed, very proud of him and the way he snapped back.

For me, it was a lesson that there are going to be times he gets hurt. We are fortunate that in this instance it was not worse. But he took it like a champ. He also showed me true perseverance, he didn’t shy away from the ball after he returned, he got right back into it.

It was a good reminder to me, that we all take ‘a ball’ to the face from time to time, it is how we let it effect us.   Whether that ‘ball’ is the loss of something or someone, an illness or a setback of any kind, this is was a good lesson to learn.

 

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Well…

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When you woke up this morning, I am sure you were thinking ‘I sure hope a picture of new dad with a smoking pinata head comes my way’

Sometimes everything just falls into place. Remember, there’s a plan, we’re just not told what it is.

The little guy was responsible for the separation of the head from the rest of the pinata and I got the head. It will appear again later…

Mwsh ha ha ha!!!!