Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bird Singing R2-D2

Listen to this bird. It's called a Budgie. Sort of like a parrot, it can mimic sounds that it hears. She does quite an R2-D2 impression!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

Evan showing off his super mega mastodon nerf gun.

Eliana and her American Girl "Wellie"

Awesome time with the kids yesterday celebrating Christmas. We had such a great time with the nerf guns and building Eliana's Lego set. Can't wait to see them again tomorrow!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Going through a really hard time recently and came across this message from my Mom. It was from a journal I kept when I was 9. I found it the other day in storage and opened it right to this page. It served as a reminder that she was always my number one cheerleader. Even during the absolute shitstorm that was my divorce, she rooted for me to succeed and keep the family together. She asked my ex the last time she saw her, "Is there any way you guys can work something out?" She said "Yes." Needless to say, we did not. Regardless of how bad I messed up, I think my Mom was most disappointed by our inability to turn things around and keep the family together. What I'm going to miss most is just being able to call her on the phone and talk to her. A year ago tonight I flew down to Florida and arrived at the airport just as she had passed. I stand with my brothers tonight in honoring her memory. Mom, we love you and miss you more than you could possibly know. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

So Good I Had to Share: Snowflakes Close Up!

Click on the link below to check out these super close up photos of snowflakes. It's amazing all of the patterns that they make. Some of them freeze in completely different shapes at different temperatures. Thought my little Science Explorers would enjoy this.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween - Evan and Eliana 2010

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!
Dad, can we go trick or treating now?

 Eliana's face.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Halloween - Evan in 2008

October 2008. It was Evan's first Halloween, he was only 4 months old, and when you're that young, Mommy and Daddy get to pick the costumes. Here's Evan looking cute as a teddy bear.
Why am I in this giant pile of teddy bears?

Evan at 4 months, a little larger than a big pumpkin. 

Not sure what Mommy said here to get him to make that face!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

How I Found Out: Eliana

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!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Favorite Videos: Too Many Zooz

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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Back to School

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! 

Evan and Connor.
Getting ready to enter the classroom.

Eliana and Kieran and some kid already yawning!

Batting Lessons with the Phillies' own Matt Stairs!

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 started drilling the ball in soft toss.

Posing with Matt after a great hitting session. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Some thoughts on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11.

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.



Monday, August 15, 2016

The Little Prince

I put this movie "The Little Prince" on for the kids on Netflix the other day and I thought it was a great story. One of the best kid movies I've seen in a long time. At the end of the movie, Eliana said "Daddy's crying," and Evan said "No he's not!" But the truth is, I was. I'm not entirely sure if the old man telling the story to the little girl was actually telling a story about himself and how he lost touch with the little boy inside him, but that's how I interpreted it. I think the trauma I experienced after 9/11 was the catalyst and everything else that happened in-between made me lose touch with the little boy inside of me. Growing up, I always had a vivid imagination, always played, always was creating, building, drawing, playing music, daydreaming, and just generally a happy kid. I see that now in Evan and Eliana. But for me, somewhere along the way, I completely lost touch with that part of me and I didn't even realize it until I saw this movie. I don't know what it is, maybe this is just what happens when you get older. Maybe it's the stress of a nasty divorce and all that's happened over the past few years. I don't know. For the last couple of years, I have had trouble playing with the kids and I hate that fact. It's not how I thought I would be as a father. It's hard for me to let go or reality for a few minutes and just "play" or "pretend." I'm so consumed with bills and making rent that I've completely forgotten how to take the time to have quality playtime with my kids. I'm not saying I don't play with them, because I absolutely do. I just remember how I was as a kid and how I thought I would be as a father are two different things. They're growing so fast that in a few years they won't want to play anymore. They'll want to hang out with their friends and I'll have missed out.  I wish I could get in touch with the kid in me, because I think the kids would really love it. 

Anyway, the movie is really great. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fun HOT Day in the Park

We went and check out one of the other parks in town that we hadn't visited yet. There is a basketball court and an old log cabin. 

We played basketball for a bit then had a lightsaber duel while waiting for our friends to come. Eliana here looking so big and very pretty. 

Eliana on one of the many tree stumps in the park.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Avalon 2012

Eliana refuses to touch the sand. LOL.

Avalon 2009

Evan now a year old having fun on the beach with his Dad.

Evan's Radio Flyer was perfect for the beach.

Daddy and Evan at Camp Lambert on the beach.

Evan and Daddy

Ice crystal rainbow over Avalon. Strange but I saw one of these in the sky today. (Uncle Frank's truck turning into the picture.)

Brand and Johnny. Cowboy Golf Champions.

Evan and Poppop walking on the beach.

Look at that FACE!

Lifting up Evan was not easy.

Our family in 2009 including Evan, a terrified Lucy, and Elvis. (And Eliana?)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Avalon 2008

Each day this week I'll be posting photos from past visits to the shore house in Avalon.

One of my favorite places to visit, was the Lambert's shore house in Avalon, NJ. This was 2008 and we were so proud of our brand new Orbit stroller and especially proud of our baby boy. Evan was just a little over a month old. Elvis and Lucy came with us, and Frankie was the same age as Evan is now.

Loved taking Evan for walks and Elvis and Lucy always joined us.

Mommy and Evan.

Uncle Ted and Evan.

Ava and Frankie with Evan.