Archive for the ‘ family ’ Category

Out of order but here is my Christmas Eve with the kids

My Christmas was on 24 December.  I had the kids on Christmas Eve and then took them over to my ex’s house on Christmas day.  It started on the 24th with me getting my kids around 10 am.  I had told my ex where I was taking them but didn’t tell the kids.  My daughter had her hair done and was all dolled up and my son for the most part dressed up as well (as well as any 12-year-old will dress up when made to).  I showed up to get them and the curiosity was bubbling out of them incessantly.  My son wanted to know so badly where we were going as did my daughter.

I wasn’t ready to tell them yet what I had planned for them so I told them we were going fishing.  FISHING?!? they exclaimed.  How do you go fishing all dressed up?  I told them we were going “Fancy Fishing”.  Made up a whole story where you sit on kind of like a bleachers like seating on a fancy dock in Tampa and you get a 7 course meal served to you all the while you cast your line and try for some fish.  The kids wanted to know why you dressed up for it.  I told them that you do it because if you wanted catch a fancy fish (like an Ahi Tuna) that would be served in a fancy restaurant you need to dress fancy to catch it.  Of course they didn’t believe me but since our event wasn’t until 2 pm I had a lot of fun going into depth with my fancy fishing idea.  Hell that could possibly make money as a business maybe?

So onto the actual event.  I had purchased Orchestral level tickets for the Broadway Musical “Wonderland” for Christmas Eve at 2 pm.  It was awesome.  The whole concept is that this grown Alice who is a direct descendant from the original Alice who the “Alice in Wonderland” was written about is an author.  She had been thrust into fame with her previous book and because of it her personal life was falling apart.  Her husband was leaving her and her daughter never saw her.  She had the deadline for a new book looming over her head and just couldn’t juggle all the balls that fame brought with it.  She ended up losing her daughter into Wonderland and she had to chase after her making friends and enemies all along the way.  I won’t tell you how it ended but I just want to say that the Mad Hatter was probably my favorite Character along with the “Grown Alice”.

My kids LOVED it and it was a memory we had created together.  The tickets weren’t cheap but it was well worth it.  Afterward we came home to my place and opened up all the gifts.  I had convinced my son to get my daughter a remote-controlled car and I convinced my daughter to get my son the same remote-controlled car.  When we were at my grandfather’s place in Wyoming he had a remote-controlled car for all his great grandkids to play with and my son and daughter loved it.  We played with those things into the night and had a wonderful day.  So my Christmas had come a day early.  That didn’t make Christmas Day any easier, but those memories we shared on Christmas Eve were amazing.

I’m excited!!!

Tonight is my first weekday night with the kids, we had a home-made chicken pot pie and then my daughter helped me make brownies for desert.  While the brownies were baking she and I ran a mile for training (my son was at soccer with my ex at that time).  We finished with some quality time playing Castle Crashers on Xbox360 followed by both kids reading and then shower and bed.

Tomorrow we shall really see if I have my ducks in a row when I wake them up and get them to school.  I’ll be a bit late for work but will make that up by working later.  I know this is mundane for most but I am excited, I feel like every day that goes by I am closer to being the kind of father I wish to be.  I know my kids love me, but I also know that I am hardest on myself so any shortcomings I have are magnified in my eyes.

wish me luck for my morning and for all you single fathers out there I want to let you know that life is so much more fulfilling when you play an active role in your children’s lives.  I have a surprise for my kids on Christmas eve by the way.  I’ll tell you how it goes after the fact.

Training for a Race

I decided that the kids and I would enter this race (the St Pete Times Forum Bolt Run).  When I told my kids about this they were both shocked.  We will be running the 5K and for those of you who are not sure how far that is it is only 3.1 miles.  While my son was at soccer tonight I took my daughter for her first training run.  She made it most of a mile without needing to stop too often or walk much.  When we finished I asked her if she could do that 3 times and she said heck no.

That is where I began to explain, I told her how we will do that each week 1-2 times and when it gets to where she doesn’t have any side ache or need to stop then she will be ready to run a little farther.  Over the weeks we will keep going until she and my son can make it all 3.1 miles without stopping much (if at all).  I’m excited and ready to run my first race with my children!

Shopping, and have you ever done this?

So my kids and I were out shopping today and the mall was very crowded.  We didn’t really even get anything, just a waste of time really.  Here is where it gets worse, the waste of time we spent at the mall was nothing compared to looking for the stupid car.  I knew we entered near Game Stop and so upon exiting the department store nearest the Game Stop we proceed to look up and down each and every row near that department store.  This included multiple switches out with each of my 2 kids taking about a 20 minute ride on my shoulders (my son is 11 and my daughter is 8 so not small kids)…

I finally call a friend we had seen in the store after searching for such a long time.  She informs me upon picking me and my kids up in her car that there are TWO Game Stops in this mall.  Yes my friends, it was of course the other Game Stop we had entered near.  Needless to say we spent 2 hours walking around the mall parking lot.  I felt like a complete idiot for having to call for help.

Here are the photos leading up to our debacle:

The Kids appreciate the simple things

I have a simple (kinda expensive) treat for the kids this Christmas.  It will happen on Christmas eve (that is the day I get them) and I hope they enjoy it.  Related to that gift is a simple plan.  To work on my direct attention with them.  I already cook, play, and enjoy my time with them but how often do we as parents say our uh, huh’s and ok’s while checking email or TXT’ing on the phone?

I am resolving myself to begin to give my undivided attention to my kids’ stories and ideas even more so than I do now.  Now, that isn’t to say if your child is interrupting something important that you should drop that call to your stock broker and talk to your kid, but rather to allow your children to have their own time to let you know what is going on.  I have started this and you know what?  They see what you do and they start giving you their attention as well.  It creates so much more open communication and appreciation for each other.

Lastly, I want to let you know that I plan on being more open in allowing them to help in decisions.  Things like what kind of groceries should we get?  Or, if I give them a few ideas for the day and allow my two kids to come to their own agreement instead of regulating their arguing and bickering over who gets to pick.  You know what?  Giving them those choices allows them to develop some amazing skills that will benefit them later in life, negotiating (ie, my son says, “hey ‘L’ if we go to your movie then I get to pick what we have for dinner” or when my daughter said, “J, if you let me play your iPod Touch then I will go and play on the computer when we get home and you and dad can play Xbox 360 together.”

It is in those moments that I find I am the proudest.

Videos of me and my kids at Great Grandpa’s Farm (and Great Grandpa)


The Farm in Wyoming with my kids

Here is the farm I grew up on, it has some of my favorite memories from my childhood, everything magical seemed possible on this place.  I took my friends out here and even stopped by with my friend PJ on our senior trip across America when we saved up our own money to drive from Washington State to North Caroline one summer.

I had the opportunity to share this magical place with my children this Thanksgiving and thought you all might like to see some of those memories as well.

My Grandfather’s farm (the kids’ Great Grandpa) was over 2000 acres before he sold it about 5 years ago.  The name of the farm was Mantua Farms and he had everything from barley for beer to sugar beets, alfalfa, and cattle.  My grandpa is one of the most wonderful male influences in my life, he served in WWII, and raised 3 kids on his farm.  He was tough and loving all at the same time.

Grandpa, I love you

Cold day in Powell, WY this morning at 7 A.M.

So, we are still on Tampa time and we woke up at around 5:30 am here in Powell (7:30 am Tampa time) and stayed inside until we couldn’t stand it any more.  Damn, it is cold outside.  We went to check out my cousin’s cows and the Old Mantua Farms sign that hung on my Grandfather’s farm for many decades until he sold the farm about 5 or 6 years ago.  I just thought we would share these photos with all of you.

Oh, and all the winding roads here in Wyoming scream for me to ride my motorcycle down them, but we flew so that is a trip for another day…