Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Love Letter to my Dad

Hi Friends,

First things first, Happy Birthday to my dad (well, it's his birthday month)! I love my dad so much!

Here is my dad (mom, older bro Rick, and me) at the beach in South Carolina in the 1970s (check out those shaggy hairstyles  on everyone but dad!!!!):
 Here we are again many, many, many years later (same house, same family):
 Here we are at my high school graduation in Wiesbaden, Germany, in an Opera House (cool, huh?):
Here we are again at my college graduation (Elon University). And his mom, my nana, is in this photo too (white haired lovely lady). Do you remember those Ray Bans shades?:

And here we are at my wedding in Hilton Head, South Carolina:
As I shared in my love letter to my mom recently,
perhaps I was especially close to both of my parents growing up because we moved often (I counted 9 moves by the time I went to college) so I needed to rely on my family more than some kids might.
What I Learned From My Dad
I learned a lot of great character traits from my dad over the years. I wanted to share some of them with you today. I love my dad very much.
Here we go. ......
1. Passion
My dad is a passionate person. Whether it's about his career, golf, his beloved college (The Citadel) or watching sports (the Nationals and the Redskins), he fills his bucket with his passions. He is aware of what his passions are and makes time in his life to enjoy his passions. One of his past passions that he shared with me was running. When I lived at home for a couple of years after college (working as a nanny and attending graduate school), I started running around local lakes with my dad. This was a passion we could share together. I think it's very important to know what you're really passionate about and take time in your daily/weekly life to focus on your passions. Perhaps because I was single until I was 35 years old, I had a lot of time to be with myself and figure out my passions. I still love to run around a lake outside. I also love to read (another of my dad's passions too), craft/decorate, and listen to music. I thank my dad for being a great example of someone following his passions. I hope to support my own children in following their passions. Currently, my daughter is passionate about music and dancing. My son is passionate about riding his bike. Thanks for being a terrific role model who is passionate, dad!
2. Always Supportive
My dad is a rock. He is one of the most solid, stable people I know. He's the guy you want around in times of crisis. There are two times of crisis I can remember when my dad was there for me that I want to share with you.
First, when I was a freshmen in college my parents lived in Germany and I attended Elon University in North Carolina, America. The first opportunity that I got to go home to see my parents was for the Christmas holiday. As you can imagine, I was super homesick by that time of year and couldn't wait to see my parents and spend the holidays with them. The night before I was to board a plane and fly home, I realized that I did not have my passport. After calling my dad in Germany, we realized that he had inadvertently taken my passport back to Germany with him after dropping me off at college back in August (see, he was always taking care of things). I asked him what I should do. He very calmly said, "Don't worry about it. Just explain to the airline in the morning what happened. You'll get home." Well, honestly, since my dad was so calm and solid, I wasn't worried. Well, the rest of the story DID NOT go so smoothly. Let's just say that maybe the airline suspected that I was a terrorist, I don't honestly know. But, I do know, they were not letting me on that flight to Germany. After quietly walking into a bathroom stall at the airport and falling apart for a few minutes, I pulled myself together and called my brother COLLECT (this was the end of my first semester of college....I had spent all of my money! and this was before the time of cell phones AND credit cards! can you even imagine such a time?!!!!) at his college in South Carolina. I can't believe my brother was actually there and answered the phone...but we know sometimes that is how the universe works when we need it too. Anyway, I told my brother of my problem (stranded at an airport with no money and no one around that I knew and no way to get home for the holidays). My brother took down the phone number of the phone booth that I was calling from in the airport and promised to call my dad. I sat and waited by the phone. Many minutes later another phone from a different phone booth rang (either my brother wrote the number down incorrectly or my dad had copied it down wrong) where a taxi driver I had befriended answered it. My dad said, "Do you see a young woman who has been crying around there?" The taxi driver handed the phone to me. My dad calmly told me not to worry, help was on the way. A few minutes later, one of my dad's good friends arrived at the airport with his son to help me. My dad's friend went to the airline workers and must have worked some magic because I got on that flight home to Germany for the holidays. When my plane landed in Germany, my name was called over the plane intercom to come forward first. I was escorted off of the plane. I can honestly tell you when I walked down the airport corridor and saw my dad, I cried some very messy, happy tears. A lot of them!
Second story of how my dad is supportive. During my late twenties, one of my best friend's had her girlfriends travel to Maine with her to celebrate her bachelorette weekend (fishing, boating, eating lobster, relaxing, game playing, was great!). After flying back home and dropping off one of my friends from the flight, my car broke down on the side of the highway around midnight. This time I did have a cell phone and you know who the first person I called was....DAD. He didn't hesitate. Even though he had to go to work early the next morning, he drove to where my car was parked along the side of the road, and sat in the car with me to keep me company while we waited for the tow truck. That's my dad. You call. He comes. No problem.
There are many, many, many (so many!) more stories similar to these two. It's amazing how many times in my life my dad has been there for me. And he's been there for other people in his life too. What a great trait to have. I hope that I can try to be such a solid, stable, and supportive person to my family and friends. Thanks for EVERYTHING dad.
3. Hard Working
My dad is a passionate, hard working man. I have never in my life heard my dad complain about going to work. I am sure there were days when maybe he was tired or not feeling up to it but he didn't show it. He always was and continues to be passionate about his work. My dad taught me how awesome it is to find work that you are passionate about and want to do. I feel so blessed that I've been able to find my work niche in life that I whole heartedly enjoy. I wish that for my children as well, to find work that they are passionate about and that fills their bucket.
More pictures of my awesome dad-
I love you dad! Thanks for all of your guidance, support, and love!
Your almost birthday twin-
Your Little Angle (inside joke!)-

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Math Funny

Hi Friends,
How is your week going? Happy Wednesday! I thought this might be a great day to infuse some humor. I came across this video below on Facebook when a friend shared it. I work as a mathematics consultant traveling across the country teaching and coaching all around the subject of elementary mathematics so the content of the video was particularly hilarious to me.

See what you think:

I hope I brought you some laughs today. Thanks for joining me today friends.
Happy 4th of July-

Monday, July 1, 2013


Hi friends,
Today's post is all about J-O-Y! Boy, do I love joy! I dedicated a whole tab on my blog here for it. You know, I really don't care that much about happiness or being happy. I'd much rather focus on being filled with joy and being joyful. It feels so much more real and authentic to me to concentrate on joy instead of happiness. To me, being happy is a momentary thing usually based on some THING. Joy seems to me to be a kind of contentment and peace that radiates from within you not based on anything or anyone.

So, I wanted to share some examples of joy that I've been noticing radiate from my children lately. I think as their parent, one of the things that I truly want most for them in life (along with loving others), is to find and experience joy. Pure joy.

Here we go.

Last week, I dusted off my CATS musical DVD to share with my kids. I had no idea how much my 7 year old daughter Bryce would LOVE it! During the first showing, she sat mesmorized by the video. Then immediately after it was over she ran upstairs to make herself a CATS costume. She has since had her dad add the CATS DVD to her mini ipad. She has been watching it daily, often numerous times a day. Last night, I found her asleep in bed with the musical DVD playing and she was sound asleep.  She even has her 'favorite cat'. I think I've started something here! I gotta admit though, I love it! I am the same little girl who loved to dance and sing to musicals at home in the privacy of my home. Hey, maybe I still do. Maybe not, you'll never know! :)

Here's my little cat experiencing pure joy.....


Occasionally, Bryce gets her brother into the CATS action too. Here they both are dressed up and performing:

Here's another one example of pure joy.
My 5 year old son got a new bike for his recent fifth birthday. He rides that bike like the wind! He loves to push himself and pedal as fast as his little legs can carry him. I can also identify with him. I remember getting a ten speed for my 12th birthday and taking off on that bike on summer mornings in my neighborhood in Montgomery, Alabama and riding all around the neighborhood all day long- visiting various friends from my sixth grade class all around the hood. Such freedom! Such joy!

 What about you? How do you experience joy? I'd love to hear from you. I hope this blog post has helped you think about joy today and giving yourself the opportunity and time to put a little joy (or a lot! that's so much better!) in your week!

Here's to J-O-Y!
Take care friends,

Summer Fun Coupons for the Kids

Hi Friends,
How was your weekend? We had my parents visiting and were thrilled to spend time with my Dallas, Texas aunt and uncle as well (my dad's brother) who happened to be in North Carolina attending a conference.

Dad and Uncle Bob:

Aunt Charlene and mom:

You guys know that my daughter and soon to be son attend our local neighborhood elementary school which happens to be on a year around schedule. Several of you have asked me questions about how a year around school works. For our school, this essentially means nine weeks of school then three weeks off. There are 4 different tracks for the students to be on which determines when you're off and when you're in school. For us, during the summer time July is my kids' time off. We have a family adventure planned in California for a week in July which we are super psyched about but otherwise we're home until school starts up again in late July. I pity the poor principal who really never seems to get any time off because there are always kids in school!

I decided to come up with Summer Fun Coupons for my kids to let them have some say over how we spend our days together in July. I didn't want to be responsible for planning each and every day. I've taken the month of July off of work to hang out with them and have some quality time together. I made a template of the Summer Fun Coupons on my laptop (nothing too fancy), printed them off, and gave each child 4 of them. I told them to write whatever they wanted us to do together this summer on the coupons. Of course, some days are going to be lazy days where we just do what we want, when we want. Heck! Most days are going to be like that! At least, with the coupons we'll have a little bit of plans.

Bryce, who is a rising second grader, age 7 wrote:
1. Local Roller skating Joint
2. Bowling
3. Go see movie Monsters' University
4. Picnic in the Park

Brayden, who is a rising kindergartener, age 5 wrote:
1. Dinosaur Museum
2. Bowling
3. Go to Craft Store and Buy a Craft
4. Kids' Museum

This weekend was our first official start of summer so we decided it was time to let the kids start cashing in their Summer Fun Coupons. Bryce was insistent that her picnic coupon must include her daddy so since he works at a job every day (imagine that) during the week we thought Sunday would be an awesome day for a picnic.

Here are the kids plus Steve and I enjoying the day at a local park playing and riding bikes after our picnic:

I gotta say minus the fighting in the car (kids, not us) during the ride to and from the park, we had a great time. Being out in nature along a lake with a breeze got us super excited for our time together in California.

Monday morning we headed to the Craft Store for Brayden's first Summer Fun Coupon:

It's been raining off and on all day so it's been a great day to stay inside. At the craft store, Bryce choose a scrapbook journal kit that she's working on right now recording her memories of first grade with pictures as well (thanks to her teacher who took a lot of school pictures and posted them on Shutterfly). At the craft store, Brayden choose modeling clay to shape and model creatures out of. It's been keeping him pretty busy.

I hope you have a wonderful week friends. We hope to have some more fun and get some productive things done as well doctor's appointments, meet Bryce's second grade teacher at 'Meet the Teacher' and 4th of July.

Take care. Thanks again for joining me today.