Monday, June 28, 2010

What is Your Favorite?

This past weekend we took the girls to a water park as a “last outing as a family of 4”. We really enjoyed watching the girls play, slide, and splash in the pool. While eating lunch I asked the girls what their favorite part of the day has been so far. Here are their responses:

Claire: “This is the best water park ever! I really like going down the super fast slides!”

Just how fast was it? It was so fast that Madalynn got stuck and had to walk part of the way down before reaching the end! I bet Walt Disney won’t like her answer since we went to Blizzard Beach in WDW last summer.

Madalynn: “Daddy.”

Of course this just melted my heart so I kept asking her the whole day and the response never changed…until she got Dip-n-Dots. FYI: I no longer like Dip-n-Dots; I believe they are of the devil. Just kidding. I think. In the midst of all the excitement Madalynn most enjoyed her Daddy. She didn’t get caught up in the frills and thrills of the park. She never forgot where I was. Her Daddy remained at the forefront of her mind. I realize that this might be the stretching limits of her rationale thinking but that’s what I would like to think.

So, once again I learned important lessons from my kids. If my heart melted by Madalynn’s response, how much more would God’s melt if we had that same attitude. I got to be honest; when I’m at work most of the time I’m not thinking how great it is to be with God. That is usually reserved for my devotions or time set aside just for that purpose. It’ a shame that we let “super fast” slides or even Dip-N-Dots cloud my view of what is really important.

As a reality check I’ve found myself as “What’s my favorite part of _____?” If it’s not being with God then I need a vector check. Anybody with me?

*Picture is taken less than 5 minutes after getting in the swagger wagon to go home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

There are a lot of reasons why I love summer. While the temps are unbearable at times summer is my favorite time of the year because of three words: Major League Baseball. If you want to be specific try Atlanta Braves Baseball.

Some of my best memories are from the trips I would take with my dad to and from Texas. Along the way whenever the Braves were in Atlanta we stopped to catch a game. Now this was during the 80’s when the team was absolutely horrible. We never pre-ordered our tickets as we always knew that there were some available. I grew up watching the old guys like Dale Murphy and Bruce Benedict end their careers while Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones grow into stars.

Baseball is also the only reason why I survived high school and college math. If it weren’t for realizing that all baseball stats can be figured out by basic math functions I would still be in middle school. My dad would make me do push ups for every missed question in math and seeing how I hated math I did a lot of push ups. His mantra was, “If you aren’t going to be smart you better be strong.” Fortunately he showed me how to figure one’s earned run average and batting average. Suddenly math became interesting. This logic even followed through into other course such as statistics, as I figured out statistically speaking when is the best time to call for a hit and run or sacrifice bunt.

Additionally our church youth group had a tradition of taking summer trips to see a Braves game and attend Six Flags the next day. While Six Flags was a lot of fun I would have been perfectly happy to attend another baseball game instead.
Here are some of my favorite memories that I watched. This doesn’t include the unbelievable historic moments such as winning the 1914 and 1957 World Series nor does it have Hank Aaron becoming the true Home Run King but these are the things that will always have me look forward to summer. Click for videos.

1. Sid’s Slide

2. The Catch by Otis Nixon

3. Glavine 1 hits the Indians in Game 6 winning the 1995 World Series

4. June 8, 1998 Braves get 6 runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Boston Red Sox. I was at that game, refusing to leave early even though we had the 4 hour drive back home. I can’t find video of the game but it was a blast. I had a chance at getting a foul ball but that would have involved pushing my mother off the ledge and down the tunnel. With only a split second allowed to make the decision I chose to not kill my mother. Let it be known that I made the right choice!

5. McCann’s triple on Chipper’s Birthday

And just for fun a little humor: “Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Pictured is Jason Heyward, Atlanta's rookie sensation. I'm sure he will provide many more reason why I look forward to summer!

Quote from one of the greatest baseball movie of all times, Field of Dreams: ”The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”


Friday, June 11, 2010

Guess I'm Not Cool Enough

Earlier this week Michelle asked Madalynn where she wanted to go eat for lunch without skipping a beat she replied “Chuck Cheeses”. Of course this stems from taking her there for her birthday but I had no idea she was that impressed. When we walked away I was a lot more stressed from the screaming kids and the futile attempts to teach Claire the proper way to drive the race car. My coolness rating for Chuck E Cheeses drop a bunch of levels but Claire and Madalynn on the other hand where in a euphoric bliss. Not surprising they were impressed and I wasn’t. Somewhere in my life some things no longer seemed “cool”? So here are my top 5 things that seemed a lot cooler when I was a kid:

1. Chuck E Cheeses – What’s not to like as a kid? Games…good, toys to win…good, Pizza…GOOD! As an adult I feel like I need to take the appropriate actions to rid myself of the possible lice infections and germs from this petri dish every time I go there.

2. Youth lock-ins – It used to be a great chance to feel like you are allowed to do something that parents have previously frowned upon. As I’ve grown up a bit, why in the world would I want to stay up all night long? I almost do that between work and school and it totally blows!

3. Toys in cereal boxes – They seem so awesome in the commercials and eating enough of the box to finally find the toy was half the fun. Thinking back I was never able to get my toys to do the same tricks the commercial kids had fun doing. While the cereal is still a lot of fun to eat the toys that come with it are still a complete waste of my time.

4. Jams shorts – Remember those? What kid wouldn’t want to have Hawaiian printed shorts to strut your stuff. I specifically remember wearing Jams while visiting my grandparents in Texas. I thought I was the coolest thing around. In the midst of cowboy boots, trucks and big belt buckles I was rocking my Jams. What was I thinking?

5. Big League Chew – I used to love this gum when playing little league baseball. It made me feel that I had a connection with the MLB players. Unfortunately the pros were chewing tobacco and not gum. A couple years ago I decided to bring back this flavorful memory just for fun; I learned my lesson on that one!

Note: Pictured is a minivan that I now own...except mine is grey. They used to be one of the things that I used to think was lame but now its down right awesome! I'm now a card carrying member of the Honda Odyssey club.

Is there anything that you’ve discovered failed to pass the “coolness test” now that you are older?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Semper Gumby

Semper Fidelis, the well known motto for the Marines, is Latin for “always faithful”. Taken from the U.S. Marine’s website, this motto “guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what”. This implies that Marines are to whatever it takes to get the mission done, even if the required task was not a part of your original plans. That is something I’ve been learning these past 7 months when it comes to following God. Therefore I’ve adopted another lesser known but equally as important motto for this stage of my life…Semper Gumby “always flexible.”

Since God surprised us with a third child, I've been forced to be flexible with our plans, budgets, timelines and even vehicles. I’ve always been a spontaneous person so changing things like dinner plans never bothers me; I actually enjoy the no notice change in plans. However buying a minivan with little preparation or moving up the timeline on when the basement needs to be finished is a different deal. It also means that our future home church in VA may not have everything we are looking for. We might need to go outside the church to fill the calling in our hearts. Overall I need to remain confident that all of these changes are just parts of God’s ultimate plan.

Have you learned to be flexible in your own plans in order to follow God? How did that turn out?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Everybody Has a Price

McDonald's has a limited time deal where you can get 50 nuggets. 50 nuggets are you kidding me? I’m assuming that its mean to be shared by 2 people but seriously 50 of them? I’m partial to Chick-fil-la nuggets but I’m pretty positive that you couldn’t pay me to eat 50 of them at one sitting. Of course I once got paid $5 in an economics class to have a pie thrown in my face. The lesson presented in the class was that everybody has a price where they are willing to do something. Apparently I valued $5 more than my classmates.

This reminds me of a recent blog post I read last week so I’m going to follow his idea. I’ll list 3 things that I really don’t want to do, but using the economic professor’s theory I’ll tell you how much money it would take for me to actually do them.

1. Be a jock-strap test dummy. On the “Sports Science” a guy volunteered to test out the latest jock-strap and protective cup by having a MLB pitcher throw a fastball into his family jewels. Surprisingly he lived to say that he felt nothing. Even with his survival, I’m not keen on this idea.

My price – $40,755, the cost of a fully loaded 2011 Honda Odyssey

2. Be a mall Santa. Having a gazillion kids, all with nasty colds and running noses putting their peed stained pants sitting you’re your lap does not sound enticing. Adding to that experience, you are forced to smile and try to get the kids to look at the camera for the whole day. This has got to be one of the worst jobs ever.

My price – $ 14,000, that’s about $500 for every day from Thanksgiving till Christmas Eve.

3. Become a vegetarian for one whole year. I love steak, cheeseburger, and chicken way too much to not touch it in a year. Sure I might lose some weight and even learn to like other foods (tomatoes, cucumbers, etc) but I think I would be real cranky during this time. Can I still eat fish?

My price – $ 950, no reason the number just sounds about right.

Curious what you your Top 3?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dr. Evil Doofensmirtz’s Evil Plan for My Day

Everything was going great until 0600…Claire got up early and went downstairs to convince me not to go to work. I finally got her to lie on the couch to watch Disney Channel, knowing she will be fall asleep if she is still. Five minutes past, she is still wide awake and asking for apple juice. I quickly responded to her request and urged her to be still and let Phineas and Ferb entertain you till Momma gets up. I was very tempted to call in sick and watch it with her but alas I have evil of my own to fight at work.

Little did I know Dr. Evil Doofensmirtz’s evil plans for the entire Tri-State Area has spilled over into the National Capital Region. His evil doings were felt immediately and apparently he knows what he is doing since has been quoted in say, "When it comes to havoc, nobody wreaks like me!"

I finally got all my stuff together and headed to the gym. It didn’t take long till I noticed that I left my blackberry on the desk. Due to the mass transit complexity I have no choice to press on. I still haven’t gotten over the feeling that catastrophic events are soon to come since I don’t have it with me. Seriously, what am I going to do without my life-link attached to my side? How will I know if the Carmen, the Christian recording artist, makes an unrequested comeback? How will be told that the BP oil spill is still spilling and those environmentalists are still raging mad? Thank goodness there is internet at work. (Come to think of it why am I so bent out of shape on this, I’m not even allowed to have my phone turned on when I’m in the office). Oh well, it will all be better once I get to the gym and run out my frustration.

I finally endure the always interesting slug experience and make it to the gym. I’m ready to put my new shoes to the test but I’m missing something…I know they are in here…I got them out last night just for this purpose…where are my shorts? Yes, I also forgot my shorts. I’m sure the gym has a rule making clothing mandatory so I had to pack everything back up and head to work. Now that my gym time is being pushed to this evening I started focusing the only thing that can make my day better lunch. But you guessed it my lunch isn’t in my bag where my blackberry and shorts are supposed to be. My run will now have to fit in somewhere between dinner, bath and bed routine, school and actually sitting down and talking with Michelle.

I think Claire had the right idea, lie down on the couch and let Perry the Platypus fight the good fight with Dr. Evil Doofensmirtz. It seems like he has much better luck in doing so.

On to solving the world’s problems, with no blackberry, shorts or lunch.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I believe that grilling, regardless of the weather, is always the first choice of cooking.

I enjoy any type of sports on giant HD plasma screen TV’s.

I think a man purse is still a purse.

My favorite movies include Lord of the Rings and Band of Brothers.

I love the smell of saw dust and gasoline.

I only see 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach is a fruit, not a color. I have no idea what mauve is.

I like to occasionally partake in drinking a Sam Adams and smoking cigars.

I can make fire with sticks and flint.

I can never have enough power tools even if I only use them once.

I take my coffee black.

However, God apparently has a sense of humor and felt that I needed to dial back the testosterone. In a big way. Michelle has scheduled her C-section for 8 July. That means I will be the lone man in the house with 4



Growing up I never imagined myself in this position. To quote the All-American family man Clark Griswold, “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.”

At any rate, I am beside myself with excitement, anticipation, and joy!

I am Man, but…

My best friend in the whole-wide-world is a girl (Michelle).

I can learn to appreciate dance recitals.

I already know all of the names of the Disney Princesses.

I cried when I watched My Girl for the first time.

I’ve been told that I am a good listener.

My truck will still be manly with pink car seats.

I’m not afraid to have my fingernails painted.

I will have a separate shotgun for each girl when they start the age of 45.

I will attempt to understand why beds need so many pillows.

I know how to make a quick impromptu pony tail.

…and my future man-cave will be bigger than your house. (Hey, I can dream, right?)

One step at a time,


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Date With Paula

I have a date with another women in March of next year. Before you get all worried, Michelle knows about it and supports me on this one. Heck she will probably cook the pasta dinner for the date!

In 2006 when a good friend and I decided to run the USAF ½ marathon…as fun…I found out I actually enjoy running. I haven’t’ been running as much as would like but I'm getting the itch to do something about it. I originally created a goal to run a half marathon in Wilmington NC at the end of the year however, typical with my current running schedule, that won’t happen. So, I’ve created a new goal: The National Half Marathon. I’m broadcasting this to the world so that you can hold me accountable. I’m not expecting to set any speed records, I just want to finish.

Now onto the date. I have some unfinished business with Paula Radcliffe. My original goal in 2006 was to beat the women’s world record for a full marathon. In other words I wanted to run 13.1 miles faster the 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds it took Paula to run 26.2 miles in 2003. The result of this goal 2:17:24…I’m slow! She beat me by 2 full minutes.

So on 26 Mar 11, I have a date with Paula. I will be the gentleman and pay for our race entrance fee but that's where chivalry stops. I will not let her beat me again. As soon as I’m victorious, I will have to find another victim to embarrass! Maybe Oprah in the full marathon. But being that I don't cheat on my wife I won't cheat on Paula so Oprah will have to wait!