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Day 335 – Thankful for Dominic

Yup, no suspense today!  Today’s blog is all about the kid who turned me into a dad, Dominic.

It is incredibly rewarding for me to watch to Dominic continue to grow up.  He’s mature beyond his years while maintaining a youthful exuberance and love of life.  I’m so proud of him for so many reasons, it’s tough to try to put them into words.

From the way he cares about his friends and family to his generosity to his incredible ability to shoulder responsibility I am in awe of him.  Throw in his competitive spirit, his willingness to help anyone anytime, his understanding of the importance of practice, his ability to pursue his dreams, his grit, his incredible intelligence (gotta be from Becky!), his passion for reading, awesome imagination, and his love of learning and I couldn’t be more proud!

It is crazy to pause and take a look at just how much he has grown over the years.  Here’s a pic from (almost) every birthday…

2005

His Birthday!  Just a couple of hours old in this picture…


2006

1st Birthday, having fun diving into his birthday cake.


2007

Hot Wheels were all the rage for a little while


2008

2008 – the year of the dinosaur cake(s)!


2009

Chuck E Cheese birthday party for his 4th birthday


2010

Hmm…  Pretty sure this place looks familiar…


2011

The joys of digital pics…  This was the best picture I could find of him from 2011, will have to check the other hard drive.


2012

2012 – Tough to tell, but I think we’re here again!


2013

Cool way to celebrate the day before your birthday, run a race, kick some butt, get a medal!


2014

Whew!  We’ve moved on from Chuck E Cheese…  To Shenanigans!


2015

Welcome to adulthood, birthdays aren’t a good reason to skip soccer practice!


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Today for his 11th birthday he went hiking with Becky and the girls.


2016

Happy Birthday FaceTime call with grandparents!

With today being his special day I am so thankful to have him in my life.  Everyday he opens my eyes to new things, sometimes about how to be a better dad, and sometimes how to be a better me.  When I coach and help him I catch myself giving the advice to me.  He brings back many of my childhood memories and always puts a smile on my face.  One of the best parts of my day is tucking him in bed (yup, I still give him a hug every night), telling him I love him, and hearing him say it back.  Is there anything in life better than that?

Happy birthday Dominic!!!

Thanks!!!

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Posted by on August 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 332 – Thankful for the Metaphor of a Shoebox Diorama

Today I’m thankful for the metaphor of a shoebox diorama.

For some reason I still remember bits and pieces of an elementary school craft project I made a long time ago.  I took a shoebox, built a scene using small toy dinosaurs and scenery made of construction paper and other materials, and put the scene inside the shoebox.  After that I cut a large hole in the lid and covered the hole with colored tissue paper.  I then cut a few holes in the sides of the box in random places.  Once the holes were all cut I taped the lid on and the covered the box in construction paper – leaving the holes open and the tissue paper uncovered.  The shoebox diorama was complete!  I could then take a look in the box from one of the holes and then look at it again from another hole.  While the scene inside was the same there were details that looked completely different from the new angle.  Colors were different, the lighting changed, and it just looked slightly different and had new meaning.  All these years later I still think back to how cool that was, so many different ways of looking at the same thing.


In one of his books, Jim Collins said that his books were all new holes cut into the box for different angles.  All looking at the same thing, but from different perspectives.  This metaphor was a new one to me and it was one that really made sense, it was one I could easily “see” in my brain.  It has stuck ever since, but has recently started to take on new meaning.

The metaphor to me has really started to sink in as I think of my life, situations I’ve encountered, interactions with others, and when thinking of others (like yesterday’s post).  It seems like each stage of my life (sometimes even each day) there’s a new hole to peer in if I take the time to look at it.  It helps me see situations from when I was a kid to see more of the big picture.  More holes showing me things that I either wasn’t looking for, had the wrong angle to see, or were hidden in the shadows.  Sometimes I just needed to see more of the picture to get the context of it.  Just as I start thinking I fully understand I realize that there’s still some unexplored views, something else that I haven’t quite seen or that I haven’t seen in the right way.  Maybe that’s wisdom slowly sinking in, realizing that I know just enough to know how little I probably really know!  

This metaphor has started helping me out, taking one situation and trying to put context to it.  It reminds me to look at life from other perspectives.  Sometimes it seems like the more life I experience the more holes I have to look in on, which is great and makes me think I’m making progress…  Until I realize that the more life I experience the more boxes I have to look inside of!

Regardless of the situation, event, interaction, or memory, I find that there are usually some very fulfilling answers when I take time to look in each eye hole and look at it from a new perspective.  Kind of silly, but yes, I seriously picture the shoebox diorama in my head every time I think of that metaphor!

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 314 – Thankful for Recalling Past Vacation Memories While Making New Ones

Today I’m thankful for recalling past vacation memories while making new ones. 

No doubt, this vacation was a great one!  As I’m already starting to file away some of the awesome moments for future reference I couldn’t help but be amazed at how many memories from last vacations came up over the past handful of days.  Amongst them were:

  • Camping with Becky on our honeymoon at the Rising Sun campground in Glacier.
  • Becky and I taking on a hike we really had no business going on in our first day in Glacier.
  • Road tripping with my college friends to Mexico – after we’d changed our plans to go to New Orleans literally less than an hour before heading out.
  • Hiking with the boys and Becky to get them to their first glacier last year.
  • Driving to the Twin Cities with high school friends as teenagers – only to find that all the hotels were booked, having to drive back an hour, sleeping in the Chevy Celebrity at a truck stop, and then heading back to the Cities the next day to watch movies at the Mall Of America.
  • Walking on a glacier in Canada with Becky and seeing the incredibly huge smile on her face that remains burned in my brain as one of the two iconic images of her smile (the other being the one at the wedding that made me fall in love with her).
  • Driving out west with my family as a kid on our first long distance family vacation.
  • Hiking with Becky’s sister Rachel and our family in Estes Park.  I even saw the exact rock formation that was the first one that the boys (& I) had to climb.
  • Exploring Mills Lake with Dominic while everyone else chilled by the side of the lake.
  • Stopping at the Dinosaur wall in Utah, living out of one of my childhood dreams.
  • Horseback riding with Becky and being completely sore afterwards.
  • An incredibly humbling hike to and from Iceberg Lake when I realized that my weight and lack of physical fitness was potentially going to prevent me from doing many of the things that I wanted to do.  I can still feel those tears rolling down my face and use them as motivation to stay active.
  • Hiking through Zion with the guys while it was snowing and it was warmer and sunny in La Crosse.
  • Playing poker in Vegas and how much the guys all helped me out with advice that I would’ve been absolutely crushed without.
  • Drinking beers with Steve, wearing a helmet made out of a cardboard beer box, and watching Thor.
  • Hiking up the Emerald Lake trail with Becky up in Canada.
  • Holding Gavin’s hand as tightly as I could while crossing a slippery spot coming back down from the glacier.
  • Getting stung in the ankle bone by a stingray in Mexico.
  • Driving to Florida with Becky, listening to Ananasasi Boys.
  • Driving back from Estes Park and enjoying the drive through the valley, only to see video and pictures of it, seemingly only days later, being completely washed away due to flooding.
  • The feeling of sadness as we pulled over on I90 to say goodbye to the mountains one last time and having Dominic get out of the car and enjoy the moment with me.
  • Seeing the smiles on the faces of Becky, Dominic, and Gavin many times on many trips, and how those smiles always warm my heart and almost being me to tears if I think about them too closely.
  • And many, many others that were brought up from a random moment, comment, view, or experience.

As the sun starts to set on this road trip some of the new memories are sure to brought up in my head in a similar fashion on future vacations:

  • Stopping the RV on two occasions to take pictures of the sunset over the plains and the moon over the Badlands.


  • Learning that while everyone else can drive without issues, there’ll always be the one guy who hits a bird and misses a badger and a coyote by only a couple of feet.
  • “Why don’t you eat your brat cold?  That’s how the cavemen ate their brats!”
  • Learning that bears can smell unopened cans of beer in coolers up over 7 miles away.  
  • Realizing that some coffee mugs have a metallic glaze on them that will cause sparks in a microwave.
  • Almost stopping at the wrong place and missing something awesome.
  • Driving by Carhenge…  Which looked as incredibly boring as it sounds.
  • Someone almost falling out of the top bunk, and being saved only by catching themselves by smacking their head against a very hard wall.
  • Realizing it is entirely possible for someone to stub different toes of the same foot on the same thing multiple nights in a row.
  • Chilling on a rock, in the sun, and staring at the mountain that was a missed goal, and not only being totally at peace with it, but enjoying the moment in a state of aloneness and presence that evoked happiness.
  • All the fun that was had in the RV as we road tripped, the games, the jokes, the stories, and the quiet moments when we were all lost in our own thoughts.
  • Finding out that thumbs are illegal in Nebraska.
  • Being incredibly sore after hiking 25 miles in 27 hours.
  • Sleeping in WalMart parking lots.
  • Eating Cajun while killing time in Loveland, waiting for several hours to get our food at a Mexican restaurant, eating pizza after Longs, and Chick Filet
  • Finally being able to understand the stories of Steve and Brian from their first trip to Longs.
  • Watching Brian stare down a marmot.
  • Waking up at 2am to be on the trail by 3:15 using headlamps.
  • Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches.
  • Having an incredible time with each other, always having fun and enjoying the moment.
  • And many others that will continue to bubble up as we talk about the trip and have future vacations that bring them back up.

I’ve been smiling the entire time I type this, each of these memories bringing happiness of all different types.  Today I’m so incredibly grateful to have so many memories of great times and so many wonderful friends who’ve shared in making them with me.  As this vacation ends and eventually another begins I’ll always be thankful for recalling memories of past vacations while making new ones.

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 210 – Thankful for Taking the Boys to the Rock Show

Today I’m thankful for taking the boys to the rock show. 

A client in Eau Claire told me about a rock and gem show that was going on this weekend in Eau Claire and I asked the boys if they wanted to go.  Becky was heading out to a winery with some girlfriends so we loaded up and went on a road trip.  My mom met up with us in EC and joined us for the show.

It was pretty awesome!  There were tons of crazy cool rocks including fossils, gems, And many other things.  The mixes of colors, patterns, shapes and textures were unbelievable.

While both of the boys were totally wasted from a very busy weekend they still had a great time.  Dominic was bound and determined to find something for Becky and spent a lot of time trying to find the right piece of amber or asking the vendors what they had or if a certain thing was amber.  He was very frustrated and disappointed but then found an awesome trilobite fossil for her.  Gavin was Gavin and was asking a ton of questions, moving a million miles an hour, was the loudest person in the event center and really enjoyed the stimulation of hundreds of thoisands of things to look at (most of them shiny).

For my mom it seemed like a trip down memory lane… Getting to see some things but mainly helping me run man on man defense to help keep me sane while laughing at the stuff that was coming out of the boys mouths (like Dominic saying we need to seriously talk about the amount of his weekly allowance… Currently $0).

On the trip there we talked and listened to an audiobook that Dominic was getting into (41 – read by G-Dub).  The way back involved snackage and more conversation.  Along the way we may have raided the EC Express office and pulled a small prank or two!  And what day with the boys would be complete without comment or joke about poop…  Here’s Gavin with some fossilized dinosaur poop, one of the greatest finds of the day!


The day was a ton of fun and I’m hoping it’s one the boys and my mom will remember for quite some time.  

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 145 – Thankful for Completing Childhood Dreams

Today I am thankful for completing childhood dreams.

Thanks to yesterday’s post I was thinking about something pretty awesome on and off since last night.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a paleontologist.  Dinosaurs were, by far, the coolest and most interesting things ever.  My parents got me an awesome Dinosaur encyclopedia that I read over and over again.  I loved it so much that’s kind of been with me forever and is now on a shelf in Gavin’s room.

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This page showed one of my favorite dinosaurs…IMG_8350.JPG

And in the book there was a picture of what I was pretty sure was the coolest place on the face of the Earth…

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Sometime either before or after I read that I saw a short special on PBS  (one of the FOUR TV stations we had as a kid) on Dinosaur National Monument.  It was amazing, a wall of fossils that you could see up close and even touch!  After I saw it I knew I HAD to go.  Unfortunately, no amount of pleading could convince my parents to take me there.  In their defense, look up where it is, there is NOTHING else out there.  Oh yeah, and I had (have?) a habit of dreaming big and obsessing over new things every 6 months or so.

So fast forward to a few decades later as we’re planning our trip to Colorado.  Becky makes a comment about how we should go.  My eyes lit up and I got a huge smile, but then Dad mode kicked in.  “It’s too far out of the way,” “It’d be a pain,” and “That’s a lot of extra driving” were amongst reasons why I said it was okay for us to skip it.  Becky relented and knew how big of a deal it really was too me.  I’m glad I caved!

So we drove a day or so out of our way specifically to see the place.  I was just completely in awe.

This is what we were looking at, and the pic doesn’t do justice to the size of this enormous wall of fossils:IMG_6224[1].JPG

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As the boys took off running to look at stuff I just stood there and couldn’t move.  My eyes welled up with tears and I needed a moment to take it all in.  While the place itself was completely unbelievably amazing, there was more to it.  There was this awesomely surreal moment where I realized that something I had dreamt about over 30 years ago had come true…  And it was even more fantastic than what I thought it would be.  As I stood there Becky came up from behind me and started rubbing my shoulder.  The smile on her face was beautiful.  It was the smile of someone who helped someone accomplish one of their childhood dreams.  I got myself back together and then we were off exploring.

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Today I am thankful for accomplishing childhood dreams, it was an even more incredible feeling than I ever would have imagined.  I’m also eternally grateful to Becky, of course for many reasons, but this one in particular has a special place in my heart.  Even though she didn’t know me as a kid she found a way to see the child I was as I stood staring at the wall of fossils I’d always dreamt of seeing.  She has a knack for bringing that awesome kid out in me and I absolutely love her for it.

Now I need to head off for Space Camp! 😉

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 85 – Thankful for a Walk and Conversation with My Best-est Buddy

Today I am thankful for a walk and conversation and with my best-est buddy.

So yesterday Becky went for a run with the dogs and Dominic went with while riding his bike.  Gavin and I decided to go for a walk and talk while they were gone.

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We had a blast!!!  That little guy cracks me up constantly!  Between randomly stopping to look at something shiny, stopping a conversation mid sentence to take it in a completely different direction, to randomly wandering in a crazy direction we had a great time.

After walking a mile or so we stopped at a beach and threw rocks high in the air to see if they would break through the ice in the river.  We did that for probably almost an hour while giggling and coming up with random stuff.

Amongst the conversation topics we discussed were:

  1. Gavin wants to become an inventor in order to go back in time to see dinosaurs and find a way to save them
  2. Iridium is the heaviest metal on Earth, 20 times heavier than water
  3. We developed a helium filled wing suit to help us both fly and walk on water at the same freaking time – awesome!
  4. Gavin can make a better salt that will melt ice way quicker
  5. The best way to tell if it is ice or salt on the ground is to taste it
  6. Jumping off the airport sign can result in a leg full of sand burrs
  7. If someone lost a wrench on Fanta Reed Rd, they can find it on top of an electrical box on our street corner
  8. If a tornado hit the electrical box just right the wrench would either be blown off or blown through the electrical box

As we walked home we had more crazy conversation and just enjoyed each other’s company.  At one point Gavin told me how much fun he was having just walking, talking, and spending time with his best-est buddy.  Is there anymore explanation I need to give on why I am thankful for this today?

He may drive me nuts sometimes but I absolutely love and appreciate that crazy little kid!

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Uncategorized