Tag Archives: time flies

It Was A Very Good Year-Lessons Learned As A First Time Dad Blogger

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While reading a dad blog that wasn’t mine, I stole the idea to do a year-in-review.  There is only one problem:  I don’t remember.  There are some highlights that I remember, but I don’t remember everything.  Maybe it is “Daddy Brain” that has been preventing me from remembering such high detail these days.

 

Nonetheless, there are some things I do remember.  

  1.  Dad Needs To Step It Up

First was how our family started off the year:  in a hotel.  Near the end of the year I found mold in our kitchen cabinets.  I cleaned it up, which is not what is advised, but it came back a couple weeks later.  I also noticed water on the outside wall of where I found mold.  The next day Tasha had a cabinet guy come check it out, he found a burst pipe, and the next day our homeowner’s insurance had us in a Residence Inn.  That was about January 3rd and that was cool for about three days.

 

We were there for two weeks.

 

The restoration company gutted our kitchen and the adjacent living room.  There was water damage in the floor and a lot of the dry wall.  The restoration company moved all of our stuff out in the living room and kitchen, removed all the kitchen cabinets and trashed them, and about half of the drywall in the kitchen and living room from floor to two and a half feet up was cut out and dried for three days.

 

The upside was that we got a new kitchen out of it, and the entire interior of our house was repainted.  In the process, my mother-in-law talked my grandmother-in-law into giving us a gift so that we could redo one of our bathrooms.  Since part of the house was already destroyed, why not destroy and make another part of the house pretty too.  That was a nice bonus.  That also worked out because it turns out the sellers of our house, who we suspect were trying to flip a foreclosure, did a quick redo of the shower in the bathroom we decided to redo and instead of building the shower with concrete they used dirt.  The contractor we used got that surprise when he dug up the shower.

 

People live in worse conditions, so I am definitely not trying to compare our plight with those who actually suffer in other countries.  It was an inconvenience, but we definitely had it taken care of rather quickly.  New cabinets and countertops were all done by mid-March.

 

Good first quarter.

 

The only reason why we had it all done so quickly is because my wife was in charge, meaning she gets stuff done.  She hates asking my opinion on things because I can’t make a decision.  If it were left up to me, we would still be deciding if we really need cabinets at all in the kitchen.  We could just stack stuff up and it would all be out in the open easier to find.  My decision-making was already bad.  Marriage has caused it regress even more since I don’t need to exercise it very much.  My wife would appreciate it very much if I upped my game and helped out a little more in running the house.  I should do that in 2016.

 

Guys, we can be really good at letting our wives run the house.  We think they like doing it, they won’t say anything, most of the time, until the situation comes to a boiling point, then a trigger that we pulled by not deciding something simple like what’s for lunch sets her off, then we end up standing there with our shoulders shrugged and palms out asking, “What did I do?!”  If she wants to take charge, she will.  You already know that.  The rest of the time, she’s waiting for you to take charge.  Help set the family budget, make the reservations and send out the invitations for your kids’ birthday parties, make the dinner schedule for the week.  Or start smaller by planning your date night for that week.  What’s date night?  Ok, pick the movie you and the family will sit down and watch together.  Flex that “Dad’s the Boss” muscle a little.  If you’re afraid she’s going to squash you if you flex too much, like I said, don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll squash you if necessary.  In the meantime, I’m sure she’ll be happy she’s not doing the heavy lifting.

 

  1.  Steady Eddie (but my name isn’t Eddie)

There is a lot I am missing, but life has been steady, which is probably why I don’t really remember it.  God has blessed us, there is no question.  Maybe the question should be, am I too comfortable?  Do I need to do more and step out?

 

Hmm.  Possible.

 

A lot of sermons at our church or sermons from podcasts I listen to have had a theme of stepping out of your comfort zone as a Christian and actually do the work God and Jesus has called His people to do.  Being a Christian is more than just admitting so when I am asked, going to church on Sunday, tithing a small part of my paycheck to church, or putting a fish on my car.  Christians are called to be a light to the world, and I think I am being called out of my comfort zone in that way.

 

I don’t know exactly how or where I need to do this.  Personally, I just need to be open to God’s voice and call, and I need to keep my eyes open (that’s not an Asian joke).  Sometime last year I would see a guy around the shopping center the girls’ preschool is in.  After seeing him a couple of times, it seemed kind of clear he had nowhere to go.  I never had the courage to talk to him or say anything to him.  Then I didn’t see him for several months.  Then he showed up again, and again I didn’t do anything.  I was paralyzed by my own fear of what he would think of me instead of worrying about what God thought.

 

It’s time to be intentional with my faith.

 

  1.  Karate Kiddos

Throughout the year Zoey has continued her karate journey getting all the belts ever.  I want to say she started the year as an orange belt, which means she started as a pee wee with a white belt, earned a yellow then orange.  So this past year she earned a purple belt and in November reached blue belt.  At her dojo, for each belt the students learn an open-hand form, or kata, a weapons form, and sparring techniques and earn stripes to add to their belts once they master each.  So Zoey has accomplished a lot this year, which is great.  With the blue belt she has to senpai (pronounced “sen-pie”) some of the lower level belts, which means she is an assistant instructor to white belts.  She is five and a half.  Tasha and I are going to have to start learning karate just to make sure we can defend ourselves from Zoey.

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Haley has also started karate, even though she is a little young.  The age limit is at least three and half.  She is only three, but the sensei has let her start since her big sister is there.  And they have been waiting to get her into class.  She’s been going and watching her big sister since she was an infant, and now it’s her turn.  She has done well and has earned her stripes to be promoted to the advanced pee wee class.  Early in December was the dojo’s Christmas tournament, and she earned a medal for doing her kata, Little Dragon.  Soooooo cute!  There have been a couple of Saturday sessions where she didn’t want to go because she doesn’t want to wear the karate uniform, the gi.  Now, can you guess why she, a little girl obsessed with Elsa and Anna, wouldn’t want to wear a karate gi?  Yes, that’s right:  because it covers up her beautiful nightgown, sweater, or pants.  To help accommodate this great concern of Haley’s, her sensei suggested that she find some sparkly pants or leggings to wear under her karate pants.  Got that done and the crisis of not being glamorous at the dojo was averted.  Although the next problem was the hair, and Tasha texted me a picture of Haley in karate class with a headband that had a flower attached to it.  Makes sense, and whatever it takes to get them out there.

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It wasn’t that long ago that Zoey was starting karate, and now she has earned four belts since then.  Tasha would tell me about the lessons since I was at work about how Zoey could barely stay awake during her first classes because they were during nap time.  Now both my kids are in karate and my older one is helping as an instructor.  It is such a cliche, but it is so true:  time flies.  Have fun while you’re in it and be there.  Be there in the moment.  You won’t get the time back.

 

  1.  Take In Every Moment You Can

One of the bigger milestones of the year was in August when Zoey started kindergarten.  She started reading a couple of months before that, and, in true Asian-parenting fashion, we got her a math workbook and started working on that during our vacation.  She’s kicking butt in kindergarten with most days coming home with a “Super Helper” pin or sticker.  And she keeps reading!  We tell her to stop or that she can’t learn anymore otherwise she goes to time out.  She doesn’t believe me, but I really don’t like all this learning.

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When I see her read, do math, or some other big-kid type of activity are the only times I wish she was still a newborn.  It just baffles me every day when I take a moment to look at my kids and see them turn into people, people I might hang out with whether or not they were my kids or not.  Remember because this, too, shall pass.

 

  1.  Look And Leap

Tasha and I both started blogs, although hers is part of a business she started.  She’s been in sales as a manager for most of her working career, and she has decided to start a sales coaching business for non-salespeople, or people who need sales skills but don’t have them.  Her first client:  me.  I need a lot of coaching.  Both of those things are not a joke.  I do need a lot of coaching, and before she built a website to reach out to others, she was kind of practicing her coaching on me and encouraging me to be a better person.  This was in an effort to improve on my communication and make me more promotable at work.  Then she helped me start my blog and has been coaching me on goals to work on turning my blog into a business.  Then she got a second client, a real client, which led to a third client, which has left me behind a couple of sessions.  However, she still keeps writing checks for “coaching” in the memo from our account to her business account.  Hmm…I need to talk to our accountant about that.  Oh, no: her mom is our accountant.

 

Well, her coaching business is doing well.  She started a podcast and has sales coaching materials out there that is slowly starting to get some notice, which is great.  You can check out her site at emergesalestraining.com, if you’re interested.  Like I said, sales skills for the non-salesperson.  Like if you’re in direct sales or network marketing but don’t have a sales background, or sales is not natural for you, she would be able to help you.  Or if you are a salesperson and maybe need help with referrals, she can help you out there.  Or if you need me to be a better person because I’m a jerk to you, pay her to coach me.

 

In an effort to really get her coaching business going, Tasha took of a leap of faith and quit her corporate job and became self-employed.  With the help of Dave Ramsey, the Good Budget app, faith, and good fortune, we saved up some money to cushion the blow of her not making money for a little bit while her business ramps up.

 

Faith has definitely helped both of us not worry about the loss of income for some time.  That also makes it easier for me to be supportive, knowing God is in control.  It also makes it easier knowing my wife is going to buy me an Aston Martin once she sells her business and/or franchises it.  That’s my reward for being the breadwinner during this time.  For the time she was the breadwinner, she has two kids, so don’t worry, the stakes are even.

 

And I, obviously, started a blog.  I had been wanting to write more since forever, but I am not always self-motivated.  Writing takes work, and playing video games, or just not writing, is a lot easier.  But then I complain that I don’t have time to write.  So Tasha, soon after starting her coaching business, encouraged me/made me as my coach to take more time out to write.  So if you don’t like reading my blog, you can blame her for encouraging me to unleash my thoughts into the cyber world.

 

So 2015 is in the rearview.  All is well the first weeks of 2016.  Zoey is going to take a break a little from karate and play roller hockey for a season.  The company I work for bought another company at the end of 2015, so that will be an interesting transition since I know some people at that other company.  So that will be…interesting.  The end of 2015 opens the door for some adventures in 2016.  I think that’s it for my Dad LIfe this year.  I hope 2015 was a good year for you, and I wish you a happy and bright 2016.  I guess.  I don’t think that is what people say to each other, but you know what I mean.  

 

Have a Happy New Year!

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Good Time Sing-A-Long Play Time Fun

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My disdain for pop music, or just music that I don’t like, is well documented in a handful of posts.  Among one of them is this one:  http://charliesdadlife.com/i-wish-i-could-just-shake-it-off.  It is also widely shot down as just personal opinion and not gospel, at least in my house, but I am, obviously, outnumbered.  The Frozen soundtrack is not on as heavy rotation as it once was, for example, but it has just been replaced somewhat with artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.  What makes that worse are the Kidz Bop versions of these songs.  Again, in my opinion, take a bad song, and then have a pre-pubescent kid sing it.  Golden-#sarcasm.

 

There is only one thing that could make a dad like me who has to hear these terrible songs over and over again happy:  hearing my kids sing along with them.  It shocks me a little more and more each time I see or hear my kids do something I would only expect an older kid or adult do.  We’ll be driving around listening to a Kidz Bop mix, and I hear this little voice from Zoey in the backseat singing along.  The first few times this happened, I would turn around and ask her, “How do you know this song?”  She would just smile, half proud, half embarrassed, and start laughing.  Zoey is five and half and she is growing up way too fast.  She’s already lost two teeth, for cryin’ out loud!  Haley is three and starting to sing along with songs as well.  It is weird and cute at the same time:  weird because she is starting to grow up along with her sister, and cute because she is trying and can’t quite keep up.

 

Some pop songs slip through my hate-filter.  One that is sometimes playing through the house is by Rachel Platten and the song is “Fight Song.”  A few of the times the song has stuck out to me have been sad: when something frustrating at work happens, an annoying email comes through, and I want to write back, “This is my fight song! Learn how to do your own job song! And nobody cares but me!”  I might be paraphrasing a little.  We explained to the girls what a fight song is and why someone would have one or sing one.  Zoey got pretty excited, we found the video on YouTube, and she got into it.  She was dancing around and singing along.  Then after two views she was on to the next thing.  Understandable kid behavior.

 

I do forget that they are just kids at times.  When I take Zoey to karate, she appears to be so grown up being able to do her different forms.  She started doing a weapons form with nunchucks recently, and then this past weekend she received her latest belt promotion.  Now she gets to help teach some of the younger kids, or lower ranked kids.  Yes, the “younger kids”.  You would think she is in the younger kids category.  No, she’s a big kid now, until you see her run alongside some of the 7-10 year olds in the classes.  Then you are reminded of how young and small she is.

 

Since they are still is kids, Zoey and Haley play together.  Some of the play time they would do their own versions reenacting Frozen.  One would be Elsa and one would be Anna, and then they would switch.  They would also play “house”, and Zoey would be Mommy and Haley would be the kid.  They would call each other “Sweetie”, pretend to talk on the phone, or pretend to go to work and then come back 10 seconds later.  Then leave again, then come back again.  It is cute to see them play together, which is much better than when they fight.  But it is cute watching them be “people”, like real people you see in the real world.  It’s just crazy to watch your kids grow up and develop personalities, and habits and preferences of their own.

 

At times, Zoey seems to be distancing herself a little bit from this type of play, but overall Zoey and Haley do play together a lot, which is great.  We had them close together in age so we could get it over with.  I mean…so they can play together and be best friends and leave us alone.  I mean…so they can grow up and be best friends and count on each other to be there for one another.

 

Many seasoned, veteran parents give their unsolicited advice of holding on and remembering your kids when they are young, because time flies by and you don’t get the time back.  They are right:  time does fly by.  Haley is three, and I can barely remember her as a baby.  I think all parents just try to survive when our kids are newborns and forget to savor the moments we have with them.  Parents are also just so excited to get their kids to that next step like that first smile, the first time they roll over, their first crawl, standing up , their first steps, their first words that being in the moment is tough to do.  Then, probably the best first is probably the first time you can stop breast feeding.  Am I right, ladies?  I mean, I guess.  I can’t really relate, but my wife says it’s a b…not fun.  I guess the one I was happy with was the first time I didn’t have to change a diaper.  There are still some accidents here and there, but not having to clean a blowout that ended up ruining your pants is a drinking-lunch day.

 

It is inevitable that they have to grow up and become their own person, but it is moments when you hear them singing along to their favorite songs that I wouldn’t mind going back to when they were newborns.  The diapers might be worth the nervous breakdown of watching them metamorphize into actual humans right before my eyes.  From there it is just a slippery slope.  Next is liking boys, then there are sleepovers where her friends come over and talk about the boys they like, then they wearing make up, then they are going on dates, and then I am waiting for her to come home sitting on the porch and polishing my gun. Watching your kids grow up is like a play in sports or crashing on your bike or skateboard:  it all happens so fast but in slow motion at the same time.  There are days where I feel like I’m going to completely lose it, and I can’t wait for Tasha to get home and take over.  Or it happens when Tasha is home, and I have to just lock myself in a room and put my headphones on to block out the world.

 

They do grow up too fast.  Kids spend so much time wanting trying to grow up and be adults.  Then they get to a certain age when they are adults and spend all their time trying to be young again.  Tasha tried to say she was 24 for 3 years.  Then 24 was too young to have two kids, so she was 27 for a couple of years.  Now she may have lost count.  I can’t believe I’ll be turning 40 soon but still have the mentality of a 13 year old.  Life is just weird.

 

But life can be cool too.  It is definitely helpful to have a fight song to sing to, and if you need some background vocals, I have two girls who can contribute.

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The Ever Evolving Dad

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Evolution is real.   I know there is a giant battle between Christians, non-Christians, and scientists about the age of the earth, whether humans descended from apes, how giraffes got their long necks, or how a big bang put the earth and the other planets into place.  I am a Christian; I believe God created the earth, not some proteins smacked together really hard; and there are some things that just require faith, so I don’t need to know how old the earth is.  Do your own research and come up with your own conclusions.  But that’s not the point I am trying to make.

 

I am talking about the evolution or progression of people, everyday people like you and I.  I used to be really dumb.  Now I’m only kind of dumb, because I say things without being very informed, mostly regarding politics, and I often don’t plan very well but complain that things didn’t happen the way I would have liked them to.  And when I say “I used to be” I mean when I was a teenager.  I think anyone now in their 30s or older would look back at their teenage years and ask “What was I thinking?” or maybe even “Why didn’t I think that one through?”

 

Well, this became apparent at Thanksgiving dinner.  First, earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, I put up the Christmas lights on the house with Zoey’s help, who is 5 and a half.  I was wrapping lights around a palm tree by collapsing the ladder and leaning it against the tree.  I let Zoey climb the ladder and put up some other lights on the house, and now she asked me to do the tree ones.  I said no because the ladder was not stable.  She was bummed, but I told her maybe next year because then she’ll be 6 and a half, which is close to 7, which is probably old enough with my help.  That’s when it hit me that Tasha’s cousin, who is now a senior in high school, was 8 when Tasha and I met.  And now Zoey is not that far away from that age.

 

Wow.  Mind blown a little on how time flies.

 

So at Thanksgiving dinner, the “kids” table happened to be Tasha, myself, Tasha’s cousins-the one I just mentioned and his younger sister who is a sophomore in high school-and some of their friends who are in high school, too, complain and moan about dumb teachers who are so boring, or don’t have lives, or make homework hard, or classmates who are dumb and spoiled.  It was a riveting and scintillating conversation to hear.  I was trying to be enlightened and watch Jay Cutler and the Bears get creamed by Clay Mathews and the Packers, but, alas, the Bears prevailed spoiling Brett Favre’s jersey retirement.

 

But I digress.  I also got to hear Tasha’s cousin “spit bars” and say he was going to skip college, make a mixtape with his friends and become a rapper.  I told him to Google Chet Hayes, who is Tom Hanks’ son who thinks he, too, can be a rapper.  He and Tasha’s cousin might have a chance of being a wrapper, gift wrapper that is.  Ha Ha ha!  I’ll be here all week!  Good luck, kid.

 

But wait a minute!  I was 15, 16, and 17 once.  Maybe I was like that too with, seemingly, absurd career aspirations?  Nah!  Or was I?

 

I was, and I realized that as I sat there listening to these teenagers ramble on about their classmates and teachers.  It’d be interesting to see in 10-15 years after a couple of more years under their belts having lived life away from home, hopefully, and possibly having started their first job, maybe started a family of their own, or, the ultimate burn, they are teachers themselves.  They might be thinking reading this (I doubt they’re reading this), “No way, man.  No way am I going to be a boring teacher.  I’m going to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer, or something cool.”  Yup.  Life is that simple.

 

Comedian Nick Swarsdon has a bit talking about what would happen if people had to become the very first thing they thought of to be when they grew up.  He says it would be crazy because there would be ninjas, princesses, and race car drivers running the world.  You can look up his stand up on YouTube on your own.  It isn’t exactly family friendly, so I am not going to post a link.

 

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being doctors, lawyers, or engineers, or ninjas, princesses, and race car drivers, for that matter.  And there is nothing wrong with dreaming to be any of those things, even rappers.  I remember being that age and having that perspective.  I think about that often when I talk to Tasha’s cousins:  that it wasn’t all that long ago that I dreamed similar dreams for my career, or had a similar perspective on my teachers, or had every word to say about my classmates.  In fact, I have every word to say about a couple of my coworkers without having the perspective of their point of view or taking any time to get to know them or walk in their shoes.  And when I was in high school, I didn’t want to be a rapper, but there was a period of time I wanted to be and thought I could be a professional snowboarder without putting in 10,000 hours.  Maybe not as far-fetched, but just as unlikely.  Possible but not probable, as a professor of mine would say.

 

Life is a process and a journey.  I hope this isn’t the first place you hear that the best part of life isn’t the destination but the process and the journey of finding out who you are.  I went to college with the aspirations of becoming a dentist.  I’m glad that didn’t work out.  I would probably have been okay at the dental work part, but the part of working with patients and the part of trying to get them to do the work they needed to be healthy would drive me crazy.  I would probably take it too personal and drill a little too hard.  It also wasn’t too long ago I thought about getting my Ph.D.  I’m glad that also didn’t work out.

 

So this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for personal growth, that it’s possible, that there’s a choice we can all make.  We all can choose to evolve with our circumstances or not.  Roll with the punches.  That in all aspects of life-mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual-we are all in process learning and, hopefully, learning from each other how to be human.

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