Looking back, I kinda regret the stress of always trying to make the shots perfect. As you can see here, they're not, but they're still really funny and cute, and their true personalities shine through. This was Halloween 6 years ago in 2010. Eliana's first. So cute as a bug and I love Evan's monster costume!
Mommy had some pretty creative ways of letting me know there was a new addition to the family. It was July 2009, and we were down at the beach in Cape May, NJ. Evan and I were playing in the sand enjoying a nice sunny day.
Look at that chunky baby! Me and Evan digging on the beach.
Then Mommy had Evan give me a card. What's this? Happy Father's Day? But that was three weeks ago!
Oh what a nice card, a picture of Mommy, Evan, Elvis, and Lucy. "Happy Father's Day from the FIVE of us." -Ok, that's cool, thank you!
Ohhhhh from the FIVE of us! Wait WHAT??? I look at Mommy and she has happy tears. Oh my GOD we're having another BABY? Wow, that was exciting news and made for the best belated Father's Day ever. E-L-I-A-N-A! Eliana was on the way!
The kids love this video of this incredible busking performance in the Union Square subway station by these two musicians who call themselves "Too Many Zooz." Wait for the sax player's circle dance. Well worth it.
Well this is old news now, but Evan and Eliana are back at school and have already had the St Dot's Carnival, Eliana had her class trip, and Halloween is only a few short weeks away. Eliana is now in 1st Grade and Evan is in 3rd.
First day of school. Eliana brought along her matching American Girl Doll.
Off to 1st and 3rd grade with fresh new backpacks!
Great first day portrait by Mommy.
Evan and his buddy Sean glad to be back at school.
Eliana has the same teacher that Evan did in first grade!
Matt Stairs holding the flag after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.
Back in early September, Evan had the chance to take batting lessons at the Philly Hit Zone with former Phillies slugger Matt Stairs, who was part of 2008 World Series team. Evan had some difficulty over the summer on his tournament team and really went into a batting slum and was starting to not enjoy baseball. I told Matt what was going on and he put his hand on Evan's shoulder and said, "Evan, during the 2009 season, when we were making another World Series run, I didn't get a hit for 2 months." He then helped Evan correct some of his mechanical issues and Evan started hitting the ball with confidence again.
Evan and Eliana: I love you guys more than you will ever know. I know you probably don't understand that much about today and what it means, not only to me but to the country, and probably the world but September 11, 2001 was a horrible day. I never want you to know how truly bad it was and I close I came to not making it out of there alive. Your father saw and experienced some things that he would rather forget, I was caught up in a really bad and dangerous situation, but the good thing is this; I made it out alive. I survived. Somehow I got out of there. And because of this, the two of you are here, and I could not be more thankful for that. Just know that no matter where my life or job takes me, I will be here for you. I am so happy to be your father.
I really wanted us to be a family together, living under the same roof. I think you both deserve that and then some. But the reality is, is that it is not going to happen. Ever. No family vacations with your Mom and Dad. No nightly dinners going over homework together. No Christmases or any other holidays for that matter with both your parents. And I think that really stinks. It stinks for all of us. I wish things were different but they are not. People can say what they want about me, but the one thing they can't say is that I didn't try. I tried really hard to turn things around and make it work but it's impossible. I want you both to know that I did try to work things out with your mother. I turned my life around, cleaned myself up, got in shape, and made myself the best possible person I can be, but in the end, it wasn't enough.
But know this; as sure as I survived the terrorist attacks on September 11th, I will survive this. I will continue to be the best Dad that I can be to the both of you. I will be with you as often as possible and be involved in your lives every step of the way. You both deserved better. You didn't get that and I don't think that's it's fair, but it is what it is. Life goes on. Was I to blame? Yes. But I did try really really hard to work things out. You were both so young when things fell apart that you didn't know what it was like to have two loving parents working together and it's a shame. I will keep my promise to move closer to you so you guys can come home from school to Daddy's house whoever you want. You guys at least deserve that. I love you both and I'm so glad to have you in my life. On this day when we mourn the loss of so many lives, I think about how close I came to losing mine, and thank God that I was able to see this day, and to see the both of you grow up.
Someday when your older I'll explained what happened on this day, but for now, I just want you to be young and enjoy life, school, friends, and time with your family, because in the end, that's all that really matters.