I didn’t think these were going to be nearly as much fun as they were, but we were so elated with the results that we ended up buying considerably more of them than we were expecting!

Big props to Studio One to One in Brandon Town Center for helping us to capture the spirit of the season for Christopher’s very first Christmas … we’ll no doubt be seeing you again in 2015…

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Father’s Day #1

June 16, 2014 12:59am
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The BEST Plan

February 16, 2014 1:31pm
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The dragon plan.

I hope my kid ends up being as awesome as his cousin is … because I could seriously watch this video all day long! 😉

In Memory, a Lego Knight’s Legacy…

January 13, 2014 11:48am
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One of the things that I wanted to do while we were up here for my Grandpa’s funeral was go through my exceedingly large collection of childhood Legos and see if I could pick out a few of the ones that I used to play with at his house. Probably one of my fondest early memories of my Grandpa was when he would play Defender of the Crown on the Amiga, and before I was old enough to actually learn how to play myself, I would sit on the floor in the bedroom and act out the scenes with my medieval Legos as he fought to conquer England there in the game.

It’s funny because only this weekend I learned that the game was very much a family thing because not only are my cousins also super nostalgic for playing that game with our Grandpa, but we all always played as the noble swordsman, Geoffrey Longsword, too! 🙂

I’m getting ready to get on the plane back home here in a few minutes, and as much as the iOS port kinda sucks, I think I might play a little bit on my way back home anyways…

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Bye, Grandpa…

January 11, 2014 2:52am
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Today was my Grandpa’s funeral.

It’s kind of weird to look back and think that only six months ago we were all gathered here to celebrate his 90th birthday, and everybody remarked at what great health he was in and that for all we knew, he might have lived another 10 years without blinking an eye. I guess that makes me feel all the more glad that we made the trip up last summer to see him one last time…

After I heard about his death last Friday and before I actually got here, I found myself admittedly feeling a little jealous of the other people who had gotten to know my Grandpa better than I did. When you live within a 45 minute’s drive at best, you tend to see people more often for Christmas and birthdays and even just on random whims, whereas since I moved to Florida, I’ve probably been back home maybe half a dozen times at best over the last 10 years.

For what it’s worth, though, I do think that we stopped to see Grandpa every single time.

But then I spent a lot of time talking with my family and especially my cousins today, and also with my Dad over the last couple of days, and when I got home tonight I went through about half a dozen photo albums, too, and I knew my Grandpa even if it might not always feel that way when living so far away. Sometimes the details don’t always stand out to you right away when certain people have been such a constant in your life – I may not have gotten to see him as much, but he was always there.

Family Christmases, despite me and my cousins spending a good chunk of our time playing Nintendo in the back bedroom…

Going fishing with him and my Dad…

Countless birthdays when all of our family would come to the house for hamburgers and hot dogs and cake and ice cream…

More recently, I remember getting random messages on our answering machine when they’d have heard on the news that a tornado had touched down somewhere near us or that a hurricane was brewing out in the Gulf, and he just wanted to call to make sure that we were ok.

When I first moved to Florida, he gave me a loan for some money to help me get into my first apartment, which I paid back a year later with interest, along with what I like to remember was a pretty heartfelt letter about how I couldn’t have done it without them.

It’s strange to think about the one house other than my parents’ growing up where I’ve never had to knock on the door first before coming in – that it won’t be the same soon anymore. All of those memories on the walls, and from the fancy rug on the floor, and in that back bedroom, it’s time to pack them up and take those with us now to wherever we go next…

And yet in seeing the makings of our next generation run around that living room and chatting about old times with my cousins and even now seeing my sister’s daughter calling my Dad Grandpa, somehow I guess I see a little bit of both my Grandpa and Grandma in all of that kind of stuff because if there’s one thing they both seemed to love more than anything else, it was having family around.

It didn’t matter what we were doing or what the argument discussion topic of the day was … you could tell just by watching them watch everyone else around them that they were proud parents, and proud grandparents, and proud great grandparents … they were just happy to have a house full of people that they loved, all under the same roof.

At the end of the day, nothing else mattered except for family and both of my grandparents soaked up every last drop of it that they could – everything else would work itself out in due time…

Maybe they were on to something after all. 😉

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IT’S A BOY!!!!!

November 19, 2013 2:19pm
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Saw our little guy wiggling around in there and verified that indeed he is, in fact, a guy! Which is probably in my best interests because I’m currently up to G in the boys section of the baby name book and I’d hate to have to start all over because I picked the wrong gender…

It’s time to learn this very, very young, my son, that your Dad is an extraordinarily lazy man.  😉

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Fortunately, he’s still good for a few things because he spent some time this afternoon beefing up on a few Sesame Street videos in preparation of the bajillions of hours that we’ll spend watching the likes of Big Bird and Oscar and Cookie Monster together!

Because I learned much of my wisdom from these fair monsters, and now it is time to pass their knowledge down … to you … one letter and one number at a time.

It seemed like I should probably post at least a couple of non-Madelyn, non-cake-pop-related photos from this weekend’s trip, considering that the entire point of venturing up north was in celebration of my Grandpa’s 90th birthday in the first place!

Lunch was at Stafford’s – I’d never been, but the food was pretty good and the building was all historic and it had some nice views of Little Traverse Bay (Lake Michigan) in the background.

I think I enjoyed just lounging around on the porch afterwards the most … it was one of those relaxed afternoons that made me miss the part of living up north that I actually miss, having no particular place to go and nothing to do but enjoy the scenery and occasionally engage with people who are one way or another related to you!

In short, isolated bursts, it can actually be quite tolerable… 😛

Anywho, here’s a small collection of mementos to remember that afternoon by when I turn 90 myself.

I hope as many people will come to my birthday party as did for Grandpa… 😉

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Grandpa with his grandkids (featuring me!)

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Grandpa with my Aunt, Uncles, and Dad … you have no idea how hard it was to get them to all look up at the same time…

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Grandpa with his great grandkids … I’m honestly not even sure if this photo ever fully happened because, well, kids…

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Eventually we snuck down to the lakeshore to enjoy a bit of that majestic Lake Michigan charm that you’re always hearing so much about…

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…giant, majestic rock pile and all…

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There was also a pretty, little memorial garden nearby that we walked through…

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Proof that we got to see the rock pile … sorry, but I’ve honestly never tried to take “a selfie” with my iPhone before and the other two turned out even worse than this! At least Sara looks pretty…

a quick stop to visit my big sister…

September 14, 2012 12:30pm
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One last stop before hitting the road back on home to Florida – it makes me very happy to see all that Mom has done to keep Lisa’s resting place a happy one. It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s already been almost 2 years since we moved her from the original site to one closer to where we grew up so that Mom would be able to come visit more often, but needless to say, it’s very clear that she’s done a great job and has put a lot of time into keeping the place tidy and also making sure there’s plenty of color, just as Lisa would’ve liked.

Time to hit the road now – I’ve got 1,386 miles to cover over the next two days and Cleo’s not likely to do much of the driving herself!

Until next time – stay colorful, Northern Michigan… 🙂

Pride of Accomplishment (and also cake)

April 13, 2012 3:39pm
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Anyways, aside from fighting with Walgreens, this afternoon I’m cutting out a little early to go listen to my wife give the keynote speech at graduation for the university where she got her nursing degree a few years ago!

Pretty sweet, huh?!

I was kind of taken aback by it myself when Sara first told me a week or two ago – granted, at the time I think she was a little more petrified about public speaking than enamored at the idea of all that she’s accomplished, so I was happy to beam a little extra pride on her behalf.  Also, I wasn’t the one who had to stand up there behind that podium, so why not?!

But in all seriousness, it really sounded like a big career-milestone when she told me – here she had abruptly decided to change careers from teaching into nursing right around the time we first met 6 years ago, she dove head first into 2 years of nursing school, and then in her 3 years since has risen up through the ranks at her hospital from an entry level job on the night shift to now teaching (nursing, this time!) for the entire hospital … to now be asked to come back and talk to the new graduating class about what their own futures in this ever-expanding field are going to be like really seems like a huge honor to me!

Also, did I mention that there’s probably going to be cake???

What can I say – I’ve got a particularly awesome afternoon ahead of me today!  :mrgreen:

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