Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Home For A Day, Then Back To Work.

iPhone photos by Mommy 9/29/2010.

Happy to be working, sad to be away from the kids.

I was home for the day on Tuesday with the kids after a long day of traveling at the end of an 11 day road trip that took me all the way to Nebraska. Most of Monday, I was in the air. I left from this tiny airport in Kearney, Nebraska, on a tiny plane, and had to go west to Denver to catch a plane going east. (see last post, that's not me in the cowboy hat and boots by the way.) After the cross country flight from Denver to DC, I had to jump on a small jet from DC to Philadelphia. All in all, it was nearly 16 hours from the time I left the hotel in Nebraska until I arrived at Philadelphia International. 

So Tuesday morning, it was great to see Evan and Eliana after not seeing them for nearly 2 whole weeks. Mommy had to work, so it was just Daddy with Evan and Eliana at home all day. Evan ran up and gave me a great big hug. Eliana just gave me a big smile, she knew Daddy was home. The biggest difference in the nearly 2 weeks that I was on the road was not only how much Eliana has grown, (she's gotten really tall,) but how much she is doing. Genevieve sent me an iPhone video of Eliana pulling herself up on the ottoman and standing on her own two feet. I was floored. She's only 7 months old, so she's way ahead of the curve in terms of trying to walk. After returning from the long trip, it was back to making bottles and changing diapers. I've been away for so long, that I feel like I have to learn everything from scratch. It's not too long, however, before I'm back in the groove. 

Tuesday morning I got to see Eliana in action. She's not only crawling all over the place, but pulling herself up on all of the furniture. I think it's safe to say, she's going to be an early walker. We spent most of the day inside unfortunately because of the weather. It was raining on and off all day. I had planned to take them to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, but Mommy's car was in the shop getting fixed, it has the car seats in it, and by the time it was finished, it was too late to go. No problem though, we had a nice, quiet day at home. Evan and I went outside and played baseball, football, and soccer while Eliana watched. Won't be long before she's running around wanting to play with the boys. Evan already has a wicked left arm and loves to throw baseballs and footballs. 

After dinner, in the evening, we took advantage of the unseasonably warm night time temperatures, and went for a walk down to the local playground. You would not believe Evan on the playground equipment. He has become fearless. I used to watch his every move like a hawk because he wasn't that sure on his feet, but now he goes up and down the steps, and up and down the slide with little effort. He even goes up the old fashioned all metal slide, with the really steep incline steps with no problem whatsoever. Evan has informed me that he's "Not a baby, Daddy. I a BIG BOY." 

The photos are from today, Mommy took the kids down to one of the local parks. Thank goodness for the iPhone. Mommy sends me pictures whenever I'm away at work, and it makes me happy. As hard as it is to be away from my family, it's nice to know that the kids are safe, and having lots of fun. I'm in New York for a few days, but I'll be home during the weekend for the monthly portraits. Our babies are growing before our eyes, and we plan on enjoying every moment of it. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dispatches From the Road - Leaving Nebraska

This is the plane I got on in Nebraska yesterday, a Beechcraft 1900. One of the smallest planes I've ever been on. Flew from Kearney, Nebraska to Denver, Denver to DC, then DC to Philly. Long day. It's great to be home today with the kids. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dispatches From the Road - Iowa

I-80 in Iowa heading towards Council Bluffs.

I wish I had photos today, but it was rainy most of the way through Iowa. We stopped at a Buddhist Temple in Des Moines to meet with a Sepak Takraw team. (Think volleyball played with your feet.) Pretty cool, even got to try out kicking the ball a bit. I was surprised at how hard the ball is.  The ball I was using was made of plastic, but the ones they use in the game are made of Rattan, (think wicker.) It's woven together and hollow inside, but hard on the outside. It hurts your feet when you kick it, and hurts your head when you try to do a header. Ouch. Spent the rest of the driving to Walnut, IA, where we're overnighting, not far from Omaha, NE. Looking forward to getting home at this point.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dispatches From the Road - Chicago

Stopped in Chicago yesterday, didn't get a chance to see much of the city because the traffic was so bad. There were 5 ESPN Monday Night Football production trucks lined up in the parking lot next to our hotel. They're in town for the Bears/Packers Game Monday night. Since traffic was so bad, we just headed up to Milwaukee for our next stop on the trip. We stayed just outside the airport and the wind was insane, must have been 50-60mph gusts all night long. 

Pictures From Home (600th Post!)

Thanks Mommy for all the great iphone pictures you send me while I'm out on the road.
This is the 600th Post since I started the blog back in May 2008!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dispatches From the Road - Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Stopped at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday on our way through Indianapolis. I knew this place was big, but I had no idea how big. It was like being at an airport. A large airport. So this is where you enter to go into the center of the track area. When you make this turn under the stands, you actually go underneath the track. Once inside, the sheer size of the place is impressive. 

I got in trouble for taking this photo. I heard someone blowing a whistle. I turn around and there's this little old lady standing there blowing a whistle at me and waving at me to come over. Security. I was about 100 yards away so, it took me a little while to get there. "You can't go there! Didn't you see the signs?" Obviously, I didn't, I was sort of awestruck by the place and walked right past the the signs saying "STOP, Authorized Personnel Only." Oops. I apologized and went on my way to the Indy Hall of Fame. Glad I was able to provide her with some excitement for the day. 

I'm on the track!!! (This was part of the tour, I didn't run out there.) The tour was excellent. Only $5. Nothing costs 5 bucks anymore. They take you out onto the track in a little tour bus, and you go around the track at a blistering 35mph. Very cool though. Learned a lot on the tour. I was surprised that the Indy Cars make the 2 1/2 mile lap in about 38 seconds. They also told us on the tour that an Indy Car would have lapped us about 17 times in the time it took us to go around the track.

Face Time

We had a lot of fun with Face Time feature on our iPhones last night. It's one of the reason's I bought the iPhone for Mommy and me in the first place. So being out on the road was the perfect time to put it to use. I haven't seen the kids in a week, and was really starting to miss them. 

So the way it works, is that the phone has a camera in it, and it also picks up wireless internet. So to use Face Time, you have to be in a place where there's a wireless internet signal. Once the connection is made, you can see the person on the other end, and they can see you, and you talk via speaker phone. 
It was a little glitchy at first. My picture kept freezing up and Evan would say, "You're freezing daddy! You're freezing!" We lost the connection a few times, but all in all, it's pretty amazing technology. I grew up hearing that in the future, you'd be able to see each other on the phone. It seemed so far off and futuristic. For my kids, it will be a completely normal part of everyday life. Crazy. Evan and I mostly just made faces at each other and laughed. Evan had a toy hammer and was pretending to hit me, then I would fall down as though he hit me through the phone. He thought this was hysterical. I gave Eliana kisses and she gave them back. Worth the price of admission right there. 

I'm in Champaign, IL today, heading for Chicago tonight. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dispatches from the Road - Indiana

Made it into Indiana yesterday. Beautiful sunset. Grabbed dinner at an Outback and spent the night in Indianapolis. The trip is starting to get tiring and I miss the kids. Luckily, Mommy is keeping my spirits up by sending me updates and photos of Evan and Eliana from her iPhone.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dispatches From the Road - Athens, Ohio.

I arrived at a Super 8 last night in Athens, OH, and was surprised to see the building next door completely blown apart. As many as 8 tornadoes ripped through the area on Thursday and the building next to my hotel must have taken a direct hit. The roof looks like it was lifted up and came crashing down on top of the building.

The walls must have already been cleared, because they are gone. You can see where the roof trusses came down to the floor. Sections of the roof were upside down in the parking lot.

This is the the Super 8 that I stayed at last night. Several of the windows were blown out. What scares me is the 4 foot long gash in the wall just above the window. I can't imagine the force of the wind that caused debris to blast clear through the wall of the hotel. Last night when I was checking in, the owner told me they were without power until only a few hours earlier.

I was surprised to see the hotel's satellite dish laying on the sidewalk when I arrived last night. 

Dispatches From the Road - West Virginia

I'm scouting for a television commercial and have been on the road for the last few days with another scout. We arrived in Fayetteville, WV today to scout the New River Gorge Bridge, a popular tourist attraction, and favorite spot of base jumpers and bungee jumpers alike. Bridge jumping is only permitted one day a year, "Bridge Day," when the entire bridge is shut down to traffic and thousands of people gather to watch people take the plunge into the gorge below. 
The New River Gorge Bridge soars 862 feet above the New River below. One day a year, the National
Park Service allows base jumping and bungee jumping from the bridge on "Bridge Day," this year, October 16th.

New River Gorge. New River is actually the oldest river in the United States.

The bridge span is 3,030 feet across. 

Days 1 and 2; PA, MD, VA, WV, and OH. We covered 625 miles though some beautiful Appalacian Mountain Country in Virginia and West Virginia. Tomorrow we head to Columbus, OH to check out some Rowing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Last Days of Summer

Showing off his Thomas tattoo.

Evan got a free Ape at the toy store!


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Evan and I went to see "Thomas the Tank Engine" today in Strasburg, PA.

Evan on his first real train ride.

Evan and Daddy self portrait.

Meeting the Conductor.

Waiting for Thomas to pass by again.

Having our picture taken with Thomas.

We drove out to Strasburg, PA this morning, for "A Day Out With Thomas," It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive from where we live. Not a bad ride at all, especially driving through all of the scenic Lancaster County Farmlands and Amish Villages. The rain held off and we managed to make the second to last Thomas ride of the day. Evan got to see Thomas pull into the station. He seemed pretty thrilled. We were lucky we didn't have much of a wait in line, because I had heard it can be pretty chaotic when crowded. Not the case today. We took a nice, quiet little train ride, they take you out past some of the farms, the train stops, then just reverses direction back to Strasburg. Actually, come to think about it, I don't think we even left Strasburg, it was a rather quick trip, but fun nonetheless. I shot lots of video which I will upload another day. 

Monday, September 13, 2010


From Left to Right: World Financial Center Towers, another new building, Freedom Tower or One World Trade Center (36 floors completed,) and 250 Greenwich (replaced WTC 7.) The Freedom Tower will be nearly twice the height of the building to it's right. The 9/11 Memorial is scheduled to open on 9/11/11.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Dropping a rose at the reflecting pool.

Tribute in Light from Liberty State Park 9/11/2010

I worked at the 9/11 Ceremony near the World Trade Center Site on Saturday. My job was to help direct the musicians where to go, and to help direct the family members coming off of the stage after they read their list of names. So I spent most of the the morning directly behind the stage, dressed in a suit, with sunglasses on and a "surveillance" earpiece attached to my walkie talkie which kept me in touch with the stage managers. The security was the tightest I've seen in years, partly due to Vice President Joe Biden visiting, and partly due to the hoopla over the proposed mosque. Looking up I could see snipers on surrounding rooftops on buildings all around the stage. I saw Mr. Vice President briefly as he walked to and from the stage. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walked up and were standing right next to me. So close that I must have alarmed either Rudy himself or one of his security guards, because a New York State Trooper came over to me and said, "If you don't mind me asking, who are you with?" I was a bit caught off guard by the question, and stumbled to answer. Luckily, someone working with me came to my rescue and said "he's with us." I overheard Mr. Guiliani's wife or girlfriend say to him, "he's doing something else." It's not like I tried to high five the Governor or shake hands with Mr. Mayor, but I guess I alarmed someone. I guess I have to try harder to not look like Secret Service next time I'm working an event like this. 

As hard as it is for me to be there, it was good to be there. I've felt for along time that I lost the ability to feel emotion on 9/11. I think I go back there almost every year hoping to find it. Every time one of the reader's got to the part where they pay tribute to their relative, I had to fight back tears. It was good to see the relatives, and to be able to talk with them briefly. One man came off the stage and was visibly shaken. He looked lost. I went to show him how to get back to the families tent, and he stopped next to me and said, " I need a minute." For a second, I thought he wanted a hug, and I was mad at myself for not giving him one, because I really think he needed one at that moment. After a few moments, he went on his way, still looking lost. I felt terrible for not reaching out. I saw another young man, must have been about 17 come off the stage after reading his father's name, nearly collapse into his mother's arms. He was crying so hard. I imagined how old he would have been when he lost his dad, probably just a young boy. His father would have been proud.

I walked down to the reflecting pool at the World Trade Center Site and left a single rose. The one thing that was palpable in the air is how fresh these wounds are for the family members. Nine years on, and the emotions were so raw that you would think it happened yesterday. The site itself is unrecognizable from the last time I was there in 2007. No longer do you have to walk down a long ramp into "the pit." The site has been rebuilt up to street level, and The Freedom Tower now rises 36 stories above the site. It was good to see progress there, finally. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blue Claws Baseball

We got the the Blue Claws game in Lakewood, NJ nice and early. We had hear Foofa and Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba were going to be there. So we waited in line for about 45 minutes. Evan was great, although he seemed more interested in what was going on on the baseball field. 

So Brobee and Foofa arrived, and all seemed right with the world, Evan seemed excited.

Then we got to the front of the line, it was Evan't turn. I went to help Evan up onto the little stage that Brobee and Foofa were standing on, and I thought he fell, so I kept trying to lift him up by the arm, but I didn't realize he didn't want to go up there. He completely lost it. He started crying so hard I didn't know what to do. Thankfully, someone said, "Give me your camera, I'll take a picture!" So I went up there with Evan, but he was terrified. Epic disaster.

Minutes later he was fine. He wanted to go and sit down and watch baseball. So we got a soft pretzel and some french fries and he was happy as can be. He sat through the rest of the game and really seemed to enjoy himself.