Sunday, September 12, 2010

Patriot Day

Today is Patriot Day.  It is a unique holiday because it was created out of a horrific event.  What do you say to people? Happy Patriot Day? Merry Patriot Day? Have a blessed Patriot Day?  How do you celebrate it? Wear Red, White, and Blue? Fly Old Glory on your house?

Might I suggest the following?  Today do two things: One, live your life.  Take your kids to their soccer games, go to the football game and tailgate, do your yard work and chores.  But while you are doing those things you MUST do the number two thing.  In the back of your mind give thanks and say a small prayer. 
You see today is not about us versus them.  It’s not about one culture better then another. And it is certainly not about burning holy books.  It never was and never will be.  Today it is about US.  The greatness that is our nation.  Nine years ago our backs may have been broken, BUT NOT OUR SPIRIT.  The soul of our country is in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.  It lives in the words of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  We heard it from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  And President Kennedy challenged us when he asked us “What will you do for your country?”
Buildings, flags, and planes will burn, but not the spirit and soul of our nation.  What I remember the most from 9/11?  How our nation reacted in the following days.  We wept but from our tears came resolve.  We mourned, and from this grew strength.  We hated, but from this hatred a surge of Patriotism was forged.  I remember many things from those days, but one simple thing will always be etched in my mind.  A simple thing, but part of our fabric.  Baseball.  I will never forget Yankee Stadium.   The first World Series since the attacks.  A full house.  NYPD and NYFD in attendance.  And I will never forget the reaction of the crowd when President Bush threw out the first pitch.  The crowd went wild. It was electric and magical at the same time.  And it was our country’s way of saying “America is open for business.”
Nine years later our nation is divided on many things and many issues.  But today let us all put those differences aside and bond together under one flag, under one nation, celebrating our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  So no matter what your religious, personal, or political beliefs are: I wish to say to you as one proud American to another.  Have a wonderful Patriot Day!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

They’ll Jump When They’re Ready

We just got back from a mini vacation in the desert. We LOVE the heat! So bring on the 100+ degree weather. This was a trip full of laughter and celebration. We celebrated another great school year for Isabella and Sophia’s first year in Kindergarten. I had a great Father’s Day with the girls poolside. And my beautiful wife Kristy turned 40.

Sophia is a very cautious little person. She is very methodical and thinks things thru before doing anything. Last summer we made her take swimming lessons. The fact that we have a pool made this a necessity. She ended up loving the lessons and ended up a decent little swimmer for a 5-year old (I was like 9 when I learned). She doggie-paddled, went underwater, and even opened her eyes without goggles. The only thing she refused to do was JUMP IN! I spent all summer trying to coax her to jump in the pool. No luck. Anyhow, we were swimming Sunday night at the resort pool and just out of the blue she jumped in. Then she did it again . and again . . and again . . . and again. Heck by the end of the trip she was doing cannon balls and 360s into the pool.

It made me think about life and how as parents we rush to get our kids from one milestone to the next. When they are babies and start to sit up, we put them on all fours coaxing them across the living room floor. Once they master the art of crawling we practically break out the Air Nikes to get them to walk. Then our little Angels grow up and find “the one”. Next thing we know we are asking questions about the big date. Finally our little one takes the walk down the aisle and we pepper her with questions about starting a family.

This summer I am going to make sure I soak in the small moments with Kristy and the girls. Life is too short and too fast. Why try to speed it up? Besides they’ll jump when they’re ready.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chocolate Donuts

Yesterday was my “last” day of the school year. B4 work I went to the donut store to get Kristy & the girls a little A.M. treat. They LOVE chocolate donuts with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles (this love for the cocoa must be in their female DNA).

As I was cleaning out my classroom the graduates of 2010 were returning from their Grad Night @ Disneyland. Man did they look exhausted! But w/a few of them I noticed a different look. I saw in their eyes a look of uncertainty and doubt. Because they couldn’t answer this simplest of questions: “What do I do now?”. You see, as many of them spend their day trying to rebel against school, deep down inside they embrace it. High School is the safe cocoon. They have a routine, friends, teachers they know. The real world (especially today) is an intimidating place.

How did this happen? Why so much doubt? Why no idea? Well we can point at many places but we have to begin with . . . MOM and DAD. As parents it is our job (not by duty, but by love) to make sure our sons & daughters are prepared for the challenges and obstacles of life outside of school. How many parents do you know say, “their older now, I can let them make their own decisions” or “they’re almost an adult, I am treating them like one.”

Well here’s a news flash, they are not almost adults. They are still kids. They are still the little girl that lit up your heart at the first grade Christmas Concert. They are the little boy who was beaming after he hit his first t-ball home run. When they were little, you went to every Open House, knew all their friends and teachers by name, and were there to tuck them in every night. Why did you stop when they got to high school? At a time they needed you most, you gave them more freedoms. At a time when the problems were real like sex, drugs, alcohol, ditching classes, peer pressure you hoped that treating them like adults would help them deal with these issues. You could have been there to guide them through the choppy seas of high school.

In my head I see that lone boy walk right by my window. I know who he is. He was in my class two years ago. Nice enough kid, average student. Never caused waves, just did enough to get by. Only reason I remember his name is he transferred from my high school Alma Mater to my current work school. He had the look of doubt and uncertainty. I yelled out the window, “congratulations on graduating, good luck in the future.” He quietly thanked me, put his head down, and shuffled across the quad to his life.

I wonder if he has someone to buy him chocolate donuts . . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On the Day You Born

Dear Isabella and Sophia,

This first letter is many years overdue. The days you were born were the happiest moments in my life (no offense Kristy). It is truly impossible to put into words what a dad feels on the day his daughters are born. But I am going to try. I remember driving with your mommy to the hospital, just the two of us, and realizing for the first time how much our lives were going to change. I think people generally think of hospitals as places where sick people go; but to me your birthing Hospital is a place of life and love. I can close my eyes and still recall the vivid image of both of you entering the world. I remember every color, every cry, every smell of the delivery room. I also remember that I couldn't take my eyes of you. I fell in love with you the moment I laid eyes on you. . . to be continued

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Painting . . .

is not so bad. Everyone in my family can testify that I really dislike painting. However we realized that after 6 years the girl's bedroom needed to be freshened up. So we chose a little bit darker shade of pink and I went for it.

I actually am a good painter, but in our starter house we tackled the entire house inside and out. I actually think I spent more time painting then teaching:) But in small chunks painting is not so bad. I made no mess, cut in the corners and trim, then knocked out the rest with a roller. Just in case you didn't figure it out, you're looking at a finished wall. Hey I'm proud of my work!

Gotta go, need to move the furniture back so Kristy and her mom can put on the new bedding for the girls.

The Bond of a Sister's Love

This is one of Kristy's and mine favorite picture of Isabella and Sophia. Our friend and photographer, Melinda Kim, took us to this great nature park in Seal Beach. Gum Grove Park is a hidden gem of meandering trails, tall eucalyptus, and mysterious shadows. She added the couch and the girls did the rest. I love the expressions on both girls faces, and I wonder what they were talking and laughing about. They will never remember the conversation, but we will all have the memory of a beautiful day.

It is absolutely amazing to see the girls together. They have an amazing friendship and love that will keep them bonded forever. They play amazing together, share food, clothes and toys. I love hearing them talk to one another carrying on like little adults. Their love and friendship is a testament to Kristy; who in my opinion is the most passionate mother I know.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter. What a beautiful day. As I sit and add to the blog today the sun is shining, I hear the birds singing, and there is a crisp to the air. Please take the time today to really appreciate all the gifts you have. Earlier this week, Angel pitcher, Nick Adenhart, was killed in a car accident. He faced great adversity on his way to becoming a Major League pitcher. If we can take one lesson from this senseless tragedy: life is too short and we should be thankful for life and all that we receive.

Today hug your kids a little bit tighter, exercise more patience with those who may test your patience, and savor the precious moments.