Just cause (a picture)

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I was looking through my pictures and I really liked this one of newmom and our little stormtrooper. This was taken right after we saw Solo, a star wars story.

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Roller Coasters!!

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Amusement Parks…

…Roller Coasters.

They really do go hand in hand.

Why am I writing about roller coasters on a blog about being a dad?  Because there is a direct link to roller coasters and my own father, and because our little guy rode two roller coasters last week with us.

First, how overjoyed I was to ride with our little man his first real full-sized roller coaster.   We have annual passes to an amusement park here in Southern California called Knotts Berry Farm.  It is a great park and a much more affordable option than the big “D” down the road in Anaheim.  He *JUST* made the 48 inch requirement to ride (they measured him for the 2nd coaster) so we know anything with 48 or under is good to go.  The wait was long for Ghost Rider but he was a total champ and waited it out. When we got closer, I think there were a couple of moments where he got a little nervous, but he really wanted to ride it, partially to show his older cousin he was not afraid (there is a history with this ride, where a couple of years ago the same cousin decided it was a little too intense (!!*as we were getting into the car*!!)). Ghost Rider is a classic, wooden rollercoaster that is REALLY fast and has some very intense drops (lets just say it was pretty intense for newdad as well!).

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He was a ROCK STAR!! Afterwards he said he liked it but didn’t want to do it again. But the story is he did it!  It was a good time for the entire family and in the end worth the wait. I was so proud of him for doing it.   We then went to another area of the park and rode another coaster with a shorter line, that was much less intense and he liked that one quite a bit better.

Now how does a wooden roller coaster in Southern California make me think of my dad?  If we go back in time, I used to be scared to death of roller coasters.  I honestly don’t know why but I did not want to ride them at all. Now I would eventually get over my fear of coasters and ride a number of them throughout the years, but going back to my childhood in Ohio, lets say I was very apprehensive.

Now Ohio is lucky enough to not have just one, but TWO great amusement parks in the state. We would go to the one in Cincinnati, Kings Island. For many years, it was the home of the biggest wooden coaster in the United States (maybe even the world), The Beast!

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We took family trips to the park and all I wanted to do was play in the arcade. I know now that my dad was pretty disappointed in that and really wanted a son that was fearless and would ride ANYTHING with him.  I remember one trip, I was trying to hit him up for more money to go back to the arcade and he offered me $50.00 if I would ride The Beast with him ONE TIME. I politely declined (I think there might have been some crying involved(on my part)).  They say hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20, but looking back, I now would have done anything to have changed that young boys’ mind and had him share that experience with his dad, who only wanted his oldest to ride a roller coaster with him.

A few years pass, and I am now enjoying the heck out of every coaster in the park. We even had annual passes a couple of years and would drive down at minimum of once a week every week we could. And we would ride from the moment we got there to the moment we left.   But when I think back on it, I honestly can’t remember ever riding The Beast with my dad. If I did, I just don’t remember it, funny, I remember NOT riding it, but can’t remember if we ever got that opportunity.

I will not miss that opportunity with my son. No matter how intimidating the ride may look, if he wants to go, I will be game as long as I am able.

Do you have a childhood (or adulthood) memory of overcoming a fear like roller coasters? Riding a bike? Driving Fast? Skateboarding?   Love to hear about it, comment below.

 

 

Fathers day 2018

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One of the main focus of this blog is where I discuss various aspects of fatherhood and being a Dad. Of all the labels I have attached to me, Father is one of the most important (along with Christian and Husband).  So you can imagine that father’s day means quite a bit to me.

Another reason it is so important is I reflect on my own father, and at times, his father as well.   My dad has been gone now for 5 Father’s day and even though I think about him almost every day, fathers day is never the easiest of days.

So this year I got to sleep in and watch Germany v Mexico in the world cup. It was a heck of a game and unlike many, I LOVE the world cup, and soccer(football) as a whole.  So it was quite a treat.  The little guy was pretty excited to give me a gift that he had made, a book about his dad.  It was quite the treat, and one of those keepsakes that I will keep for years to come.

 

After that it was off to Church.  Because we went to a later service that usual, the little guy was with us instead of at Sunday school class. He was super well behaved, we are very fortunate that he really is such a great little guy.  After church we were off to a late breakfast, possibly even ‘brunch’. After that we came home and I opened a couple of gifts (much needed clothes!) and packed up stuff for the pool.  Unfortunately it was a pretty cool day, not pool weather.  So we headed off to the in laws and I hung with the dads (my father in law and brother in laws).

To quote Ice Cube ‘it was a good day’

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I would like to talk about reflections now.

As I said before, I reflect on my dad, my grandpa, the fathers before me. I reflect on my own previous Fathers days (this was my 7th, and I reflect on all the amazing accomplishments my son has completed (walking, riding a bike, hitting a baseball, learning, reading, the list goes on and will continue to expand)) as a dad and what they have meant to me. Each year is a completely different experience, as he grows and develops, it is like a different boy every year.

Onto my dad. I think of the lessons I have taken away from him on fatherhood, husbandry, as an employee, as a friend.  I think of the sayings we heard growing up (if you had done it right the first time…),  the lessons we learned, some positive, some negative.

There is one experience with my Father that involved his father that I will never forget (or hope to never forget).  In 2005 I was working for an insurance company and it was an excessively rough hurricane season.  As a result, I was sent to Florida for 3 months to work with one of our Managing General Agencies in Tampa.   The good news about this is I got to stay with my Mom and Dad. During this time, my Grandfather (his dad) was going through a rough patch health wise and would eventually pass on.  During the time of his decline, my father and I made the drive south to see him in the hospital. My dad cared for him in a way I had never seen a man care for his father. He made sure he ate his meal, asked loads of questions to make sure he was comfortable, doted over him (doted is probably not the right word, but the one that immediately came to mind, so we’ll go with it).  It was very touching.  Not long after that visit, my grandfathers health continued to deteriorate and he passed away.

I wish I could say as my dads health was declining I was able to care for him the same way, but I can’t. But what I saw from him that afternoon still moves me today. As I reflect on these memories, I am once again reminded of the bond of a father and his son.

There are other memories and reflections I have of my dad, not all of them positive, but now, five Father’s day past, I still remember that October afternoon in a southern Florida hospital with what would eventually be three generations of Dads.

I would love to hear about your favorite reflection of your own Father, any traditions or special moments you would care to share, please feel free to share them in the comments.

A great break in the day

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Today new mom had an appointment. She asked me last night if I thought our little guy would be ok waiting in the waiting room for her with his leap pad. I knew that would not be an issue, it is a safe place and someone would have an eye on him the whole time. I suggested that he just be brought to my work, as it would be around my lunch break and my work is a pretty cool place, just see my post about the slide, I need not say more.

Well, instead of dropping him off, I met him at a burger place near new moms appointment…

…and it was awesome! Such a wonderful break in the day. He was very funny as we chatted about many things, including his upcoming entry to first grade and eating too much ice cream.

Made me realize I need to do things like this a little more often.

Who is your favorite lunch date? How do you takebreaks in the day?

‘Is it Blog Worthy?’

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Through his various sports teams, our little guy has made a number of friends. And New mom and I have made friends with some of the parents.  One of his teammates parents that we have become close owns a boat and took new mom, the little guy and I out to Laughlin to go boating and set up a shore side campsite for a day.  It was a blast.  I will write a full blog about the trip later this week.  Today I want to write about a question asked during the weekend.

‘Is this blog-worthy?’

We were set up on the shore, just eating lunch when somehow this blog came up.  Our friend looked at me and asked that very question.

The short answer is “hell yeah it is!’

The longer answer I will start here.  I am not really sure when or what I am going to blog about.  Sometimes I let a little too much time pass between entries, for various reasons, and I always kick myself when I realize how therapeutic it is getting my thoughts out.  it seems I constantly have an idea or three floating in my head for my next post.  And it’s fun as well. It is exciting sharing moments on this page, and one of the purposes for this is so the little guy can come back to this page in the future and reminisce, and read what his dad was thinking, observing and wanting to capture for him to view in the future.

But what exactly is ‘Blog-Worthy’?  That is a great question.  I have written a little over 250 posts since I started this whole thing, and the subject material has been diverse.  But I want the posts to be authentic and as real as I possibly can make them. There have been times where I have not posted because of the subject material or I may be expressing an unpopular opinion. I apologize for not being more brave and will try to overcome that fear.

I read a couple other blogs and every now and again have come across a couple from bloggers that have either followed or liked this blog.  One of them in particular has had a couple of posts recently about blogging that have really hit home. Find them HERE and HERE , they really kind of relate to this post.

Well, keep your eyes out for additional posts soon, including one about our trip to the river.

 

 

The weekend the little guy and I picked up chicks…

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Not THOSE kind of chicks, this kind…

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So I call new mom as I am getting ready to leave work on a Friday and new mom says ‘hurry home, we have a surprise for you’.  This always makes me nervous, I never have any idea what she has up her sleeve.

So I get home and find that container all set up.  After my initial shock I asked “what is that?”…

…’oh, those are our chicks!’

“Excuse me?”

“Those are our Chicks, we found them.”

“What do you mean ‘found them’   ???”

“They were on the side of the road and it said free chicks, so we got them.”

“You can’t keep them?!?”

“Yes we can, you said we can’t have a bunny or a puppy, you said nothing about chicks.”

“Chicks turn into chickens, we can’t have chickens in our little apartment.”

“We will just give them back to the farm when they have grown.”

That is when new mom couldn’t keep up the charade any longer. She could see the concern multiplying on my face by the second.  She laughed and explained that they were the little guys’ kindergarten science experiment. It seemed our little guy told the teacher we would have no problem watching them over the weekend.  New mom was pretty certain I would say ‘NO!’ but I surprised her when I said ‘cool’.

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It really was fun. we all surrounded the little pen throughout the weekend tending to them and just watching them. The little guy even wanted to sleep with them.

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There is a real peace and serenity just watching and listening to them chirp away. They were pretty easy to care for, and would eat right out of your hand. Let me tell you though, when it came time to feed, it was total chaos. Those little guys are just in it for themselves and will climb over, push, peck at the others for that food.

And they are so soft and cute. We were able to pick them up and hold them without them freaking out too much. And after we got them settled, they literally just closed their eyes and relaxed when we held them.

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It was a sad time when we had to give them back.  Everything went so well until late Sunday when one of them literally get trampled by his/her fellow cage mates.  We did not see it happen, but when we went to look in on them, there was one who was hurt. We made a call to the teacher to ask what to do, and she offered to come pick them up. We called a local vet clinic as well and they said they could not look at the little guy that night.   The teacher came and took the chicks back home with her, including our little wounded soldier.  We were very sad to see them go, and I am glad our little guy will have the memories and experience of watching the class chicks.

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PS, we got to see the chicks not even a week later when Xavier had his Spring open house and it was remarkable how much they changed in a week’s time. I am sure they no longer resemble these adorable little guys we had the privilege to watch for the weekend.

Memories, of a store?

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The ‘R us chain has filed bankruptcy.  This means all Toys R us, Kids R us and Babies R us will soon be no more.   over the weekend, as new mom, our little guy and I were out running errands, we happen to be a shopping center that had our local Babies R us in it.  They are probably in their final discount phase and we went in to look for a specific item.  It had been a while since we have shopped there, as now that our little guy is six our needs are more Target oriented.

When we entered it was quite the shock. Many of the isles once stocked to the top were completely empty. Entire areas of the store were closed and blocked off.  These aisles meant something to me, because it is where we did a lot of shopping for our little guy (when he was still little). We registered at that store. We redeemed hundreds of dollars in gift cards there (my old company had a recognition program where we could redeem points for gift cards and fortunately Babies R us was one of the places!). We purchased his crib from that store.

That store also saved us from our first parenting mishap!   When our little guy was just a few weeks old, one of Anna’s high school friends came out to see us. We all went out to dinner and we committed the infant parent cardinal sin, WE FORGOT THE DIAPER BAG!!!  We held out as long as we could, but it was clear that it was time to go! We loaded the little guy in the car and started for home, but he was getting crankier by the second, he was hungry and needed a change. We were not even a quarter of the way home when the Glowing ‘BABIES R US’ sign signaled our salvation. New mom got into the back seat, got him out of the carrier and started to feed him, and I ran in to buy a small pack of diapers.  I got back to the car, he was finishing up his feeding and new mom expertly changed the little guys diaper.

So you can see, we are pretty partial to the store and very sad to see it go. as for the other young parents who need to make an emergency stop, much like the newbies new mom and I used to be, sorry, this oasis has dried up, and you will have to travel a little further to find your beacon of salvation somewhere else!

Thank you Babies R us from all the parents you have assisted throughout the years and for being there in our own time of need.

 

PS. we made our final purchase from the store, a booster for the not so little guy as he is outgrowing his current car seat (bought from where else? Babies R us!)

Words hurt (a Star Wars story)

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Ok, this one’s a bit late, but has to be shared.

I am a big star wars fan. I am of the age where I have seen all the movies in the theater as they were released. I owned many of the toys that if I had them today would be worth a great deal of money. I collected the original comic books, watched the animated series. You get the idea. A fan.

As a responsible father, I have introduced our little guy to star wars as well, and he has really enjoyed it.

So May 4th is generally considered star wars day (May the fourth be with you). I was at work when the phone rang and I answered it to hear new mom and Xavier saying good morning. Xavier made certain to say ‘may the fourth be with you dad!’ he then explained that he had to wear one of his many star wars shirts and asked what shirt I was wearing. I had to tell him I had spaced (pun intended) and was not wearing a star wars shirt. Wait for it, here it comes…

…he says ‘Dad, you aren’t a true fan.’

Now our little guy has said some pretty hurtful things (especially when he’s not getting his way), but that one HURT! Questioning my fandom!?!?!? I suppose there might be an argument of poor wardrobe choices that day, but not my fandom!

Words hurt little man, they hurt a lot. I will never make that mistake again.

The fourth will be with him, always.

Running (ha! that’s funny)

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ok, so a portion of this blog is supposed to be about training, for my next run or event I have coming up.  But I have not been running recently. Ok, for a while. a LONG while.

But I did get out one day last week and it was amazing. I stopped to take the following picture.  It is amazing living here where I do, and sometimes I need a moment like this to remind me of that, rather than all of the negatives (cost, traffic, cost…).

 

Now, if I can just start getting out there a little bit more often…

Milestone: From four to two (and a perfect moment to boot).

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When I think of milestones when I was a child, here are a few that stand out. Lost teeth, starting school, first sports teams and so on.  Some of them bigger than others.  Recently we experienced one of those milestones.  We went from four wheels to two on his bike!

Christmas before last we wanted our little guy to get a bike. Our wish came true when there was a bright shiny new bike under the tree Christmas morning.  He was absolutely over the moon and rode it quite a bit that day and has ridden quite often since. There have been posts about riding with him, and he has always been a very solid rider.

Christmas Day, thank you Santa for the awesome bike!

 

 

He has always done well when it comes to riding anything. He took to the three-wheeled scooter right away at a very very young age and then without any assistance from anyone  took to the Razor scooter and rode it around, no problems.

NewMom has had an uncanny knack of knowing exactly when our little guy was ready for the next step in many different aspects of his life. She knew when it was time to ween off the pacifier, when diapers were done and other milestones, and knew that he was actually past time for the training wheels to come off.

So on Mother’s day this year, that is exactly what we did. We were celebrating at her mom and dads’ house, and they live in a cul de sac, so it is the perfect place for him to ride without any traffic or interruptions.  At the beginning, he got a little freaked out, but within five minutes, he was up on two wheels, riding without those pesky training wheels. and his confidence was growing with every pedal stroke.  Soon it looked like he had been riding for weeks or even months.  I was a very very proud dad.

 

Bye bye training wheels!

 

Now comes the perfect moment. I think I have talked about perfect moments in here before.  a perfect moment is that moment in time that you will have forever engrained in your memory. those moments that are so perfect that there is nothing that could ever take them away from you.  I had one of those that evening.  After dinner, our little man wanted to ride some more, so he asked if I would go outside with him so he could ride. I of course said yes. We were outside in the cul de sac and he was riding and I was just watching him. SO proud of his ability to pick it up so quickly, to get really good at it in such a short period of time. it was quiet, just the background noise and the sound of the tires tearing across the pavement.  The sun was shining into the cul de sac through the trees at the end of it, and it was just him and I.  At that moment I thanked God for the multitude of blessings I was experiencing at that moment.

 

A perfect moment…

 

So another milestone, this time, riding a bike for the first time without training wheels!! And another perfect moment that I will keep forever.