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Weekend Moments on Wednesday

22 Jul

When I saw the crowds I thought this was a terrible mistake. We should have woken up earlier, we should have gone to some remote beach at daybreak.

But we wanted something different, something a little special. Nowadays little special somethings go a long way. The Great Outdoors has always afforded me an opportunity to do that, but because of the current pandemic situation, life has been limited.

Crowds are something that isn’t, unfortunately.

When you’re at a concert or game they’re great! You feel the vibe and energy. But when I was trying to find peace. Not so much. Even before the pandemic. Crowds burned me out. The beach. The Park. Morning runs. Lakes. I avoided them. Or at least tried.

So I was grateful for the long hike up the mountain, even though I wasn’t a fan of hiking, it proved to be a good step back, for a positive forward move. You see, not many people managed that. Most of the crowd walked a couple yards and stayed close to the road or parking. Half a football field, I guess. Their lack of exercise was my gain. As most people didn’t want to hike up the mountain and venture further up. The fact that they weren’t socially distancing or wearing masks was concerning. I thought this outing was going to be a disaster. But turns out the more we hiked the less people we found. The hidden nature escape appeared.

The Outdoors became the Kodak moment that made the day better. A recharging station for when your depleted spirit needed it most.

Something about nature turned it around. Especially when we discovered a surprise…

Waterfalls bring smiles. Especially on a 12th birthday.

The entire adventure helped bring about some wonderful firsts, like first time fishing in a river, first time losing the fishing pole and swimming against the current in the cold deep to retrieve it, first time hiking to a waterfall, and first time cooling off underneath it.

First time bucket list adventures with the kids stayed with me and granted us moments of gratitude that still linger.

Buen Camino, friends!

Too Many Words on Wednesday

15 Jul

I felt the weight of it.

Took 18 weeks, but I felt it.

The weariness of it.

After managing through distance learning with two kids and one computer, summer and the beginnings of a heat wave with no weekend beach trips, and the worst was yet to come. I felt the weight of it.

Coronavirus.

I’m not sick. I’m one of the lucky ones, but going through this finally got to me.

I was strong for about 18 weeks and just the foul mood of it all got to me and the day ended on a crappy note. I think it’s a matter of space. Being quarantined with your mother while trying to raise your kids and keep them on the positive tip, taxes every part of your being by dinner time. I have found that space is of the utmost importance.

Crucial.

Night time has become a welcomed friend to gather my thoughts or just rest from the anxiety of being with someone that’s not on the same page as you.

Yoga and meditation provide some needed Zen Moments when the goodness of the morning runs has worn off. But today it all got to me and I snapped. The headache came and my patience was lost as I yelled what all moms yell after a long day.

Go to bed!

And then some …

And so …

It was quiet and the guilt of yelling before bed hit me and of course I realized I needed more patience but had spent it all dealing with my mother and her ways.

So I remembered to breathe and allowed myself a little grace.

It was a rough beginning of the week, and it caught up with me on hump day.

Celebrating my daughter’s birthday, trying to find that special moment for her and all the vibrancy, creativeness, joy, and strength in her, while at the same time mourning my dad on the anniversary of his death makes for an epic emotional roller coaster weekend.

The mix of emotions spiraled.

And I knew it. I felt it.

I realized how fast my daughter was growing one day, trying to slow it down as I saw her smiling and how much I missed my father at the cemetery the next. Celebrating with S’mores Icebox cake, tide pool discoveries, unwrapping paints, canvases, sketch pads and a new bicycle with welcomed happiness and laughter one day, and then tears, heartbreak, and childhood memories the next.

Missing him on days like that weaken my spirit.

And then I realized why I snapped …

I know the days are one after the other. They’ve always been that way and I prepare myself but it just hit extra harder this year.

Having no space of my own makes an impact on emotional well-being.

But I was able to revisit a place that helped me find some Zen, some place to breathe.

Gonna be able to reset and do better tomorrow. Hope you do too.

Buen Camino my friends!

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Feel Good 5 Friday

10 Jul

He owned a dark blue Camero and rocked to songs of the 70s . I knew him my whole life. Since I was in pampers… there he was with bell bottoms. Uncle Erick.

It wasn’t easy growing up the way I did and where I did. But having Uncle Erick there made a difference. He was the brother I never had, and he died when he was 44 years old. Rare form of cancer.

His daughter was 10.

Damn cancer.

Heartbreaking when I think about the circumstances. Could happen to anyone and it sucks. I’m 44, and my son is 10.

It hardened me, as it was the first time someone in my inner circle had died so young. Not at 98 after a long and well-lived life. His was unfinished.

But I find pieces of him every now and then. My Dad and Uncle Erick are probably hanging out, drinking a cup of coffee somewhere out there in the universe because coffee was big in my family.

I heard one of his favorite jams and I hadn’t heard it in a while and it made me smile. I knew all the words and I raised the volume. It made me remember his dance moves.

Every time I hear Bill Joel I think of my Uncle Erick. He was a Billy Joel guy and any time this particular song made its way through the airwaves he got his Elvis dance moves twist and shake. He passed his love of 70s music and Billy Joel onto me.

Billy Joel’s got so many awesome tunes, Piano Man being in the top, but these in particular tunes make me think of my Uncle Erick, jamming in his Camero, busting out his dance moves on our brown shag carpet, or watching Bossom Buddies on TV. It makes my heart feel good and we need some of that today.

And while I was jamming to these tunes this week, I also rewatched one of my favorite movies, one I saw with Uncle Erick. This epic parade scene needed to be included in the Feel Good 5, it was a must if you’re an 80’s kid.

Billy Joel

It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me

Billy Joel

You May Be Right

Bill Joel

My Life

Billy Joel

The Longest Time

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Parade Scene

Buen Camino my friends!

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I Got Words on Wednesday

24 Jun

You got faded Polaroids of bellbottoms tucked away in albums, collared shirts still hanging in the closet, and his favorite Robert DeNiro DVD’s on your bookshelf. But there’s still a hole and something is still missing.

That never goes away. The “missing them” part. It doesn’t. Sometimes it grips you so strong you want to hug the picture but worry you’ll crumple it. Sometimes you can’t breathe when you cry and other times you crack up in the middle of the day at a memory that tears make their way to the corners of your eye.

Father’s Day.

Got a roller coaster of ups and downs this weekend but I managed through with stories from my childhood and his. This time I found myself at the empty driving range. Something I haven’t done in years, something we enjoyed doing together. Gold balls never making it passed the 200-yard mark but I didn’t care, was just hanging out and swinging away. Sometimes we didn’t have to talk. We were in the friend zone. Smiling in silence, or laughing at the ridiculousness of the shot shanking to the left. We didn’t even like watching golf on TV or cared who won The Masters. It was us. Hanging out.

Then driving home in silver Tacoma, listening to jazz and retelling stories. Sometimes there’d be a stop at 31 Flavors, just because. There were no Ben & Jerry’s. So rocky road was my jam. But he was more of a Haagen Dazs guy. Still he got ice cream. Sometimes he’d pick strawberry. Sometimes chocolate. He’d try something different. He’d say there are 31 but none of them tasted like Haagen Dazs.

And so this month, for my friend, and in his honor, I did the race. Normally I’d be scaling one of the tallest buildings downtown. 63 stories. 1,393 steps. Do it every year for him, raise money for the American Lung Association to help people with lung disease. But with Covid-19, it was postponed, then postponed again, then onto a virtual platform.

So without my racing bib, crowds of fellow climbers, and the claustrophobic staircases I made my way to The Great Outdoors, with an epic playlist and purpose. The gasping for air. The heart pounding. And the legs involuntarily shaking when I got to the tippy top and end of my climb. All of it was still there and so was my reason.

1,831 steps.

1,831 reasons why my dad was worth the effort.

Hope your Father’s Day was blessed with kids, BBQ, and Hallmark cards of dad on couches.

Buen Camino my friends.

Finding The Moments Adds Space

25 Apr

So in all this togetherness I’m beginning to realize that there’s not a lot of space left. Space for a breather, space to take a minute. Like to exhale. That only comes at night when everyone else is asleep. But the sun is gone and the mosquitoes are out so there’s no outdoor anything happening, not even to the small patio.

I can’t imagine what a family of five must feel like. Not any one … A working-class family of five. Oof. Or maybe just three kids under the age of five. Dude.

Parents out there … I feel you. I feeeeeel you. You have to tag out sometimes just for sanity’s sake. But what if you have no partner? What if you can’t just leave when you need to?

That’s a rough one, that’s when the grays start popping up and you immediately try to remember how to take deep breaths so as to prevent a heart attack, because you feel it rising up inside of you. The frustrations of parenting in this tight environment gets to you. I mean it makes the small space you inhabit even smaller.

Quiet always feels good to parents after sustained chaos. But I also hear that loneliness takes its toll if you’re single and don’t have the loudness surrounding you 14 hours a day. Company and conversation are missed as you can only take so much alone time or online meetings. Connection is missed. And your space feels small.

Everyone’s struggle is different. Sometimes someone else’s plate looks better. But that’s for everyone.

Hang in there parents …

So you just try to find a moment … something that made you laugh or something that ended up right after a whole lot of wrong. Dude.

Listening to good poets slam their beats and touch a heart string to create a smile. That felt good, even if it was just a couple minutes while the kids played Legos. Finding a funny sign and it making you laugh, not just smile, but laugh.

Planting a garden from scratch for Earth Day felt like an accomplishment. It will be a while before I see any results but we still took steps in the right direction.

Talking to friends on the phone in a video chat gave a few of them a very needed outlet of expression and relief.

Finding the little moments add up at the end of the day, or week … Homeschooling distance learning week three went well as all work was finished by Friday and the kids continued to learn something new not just go through the motions. Sparta and Athens. Fractions and order of operations happen in real life, like when measuring and baking banana nut bread muffins, and step two needs to happen before step 4. Clouds have names, like cumulus, and they mean something to the weather. Learning to play the Star Wars theme song on your saxophone. Recycling old crayons was the best surprise moment as it was something new and in the process we created art for Earth Day.

Baseball was still the funnest lesson as Abbott and Costello informed them on who was on first.

Finding the moments helps expands your space.

Buen Camino my friends!

🙂

Outdoor Fitness Fun, Bob Ross Art Breaks, 80s Dance Jams, Netflix, and Looking for the Last Toilet Paper Roll

17 Apr

Normally I would have been excited to have gotten two weeks of Spring Break with the kids. That opportunity never happens. We made plans for another Outdoor Adventure to see big Sequoia Trees, Redwoods, lakes and trails on a road trip that would have produced Rainman-like photos from in and out of the car.

I felt rejuvenated with the outdoor love as we returned from Colorado the month before, but just as with everyone else Coronavirus changed life and we found ourselves hanging at home and preparing for this thing called distant learning and searching for the last toilet paper role.

Yesterday marked the 30th day my part of the country hunkered down and tried to protect its people with social distancing and Stay at Home order. Our governor and mayor are rocking it, trying to help people stay alive, bend the curve, even if some aren’t smart enough to understand the severity of the situation. We are all chipping in and there are more highlight reels of Good Samaritans than of ignorance and greed. And that’s been positive and uplifting because even if some people in position of power can’t lead the regular moms and pops, young and retired are stepping up and hitting homers out of the park.

Moms or dads are educators now, they’re still in parenting mode in search of the last toilet paper roll, but now in addition to working from home they’re part time teaching. And that right there is a recipe for an 80s sitcom starring Jack Tripper as the dad or Laverne DeFazio as the mom.

That is my current state of existence. We just completed Week 2 of Distant Learning in The Guat household. And while a lot of moms who had big back yards, trampolines, pools, multiple electronics, siblings in different rooms, laptops, iPads and desktops complained about boredom in their houses and were suffering bouts of massive anxiety I paused for a moment…

Small apartment. One computer. Two kids. It would be epic.

And it was.

At least we had a patio. Legos. And enough sporting equipment to open up a Big 5 Sporting Goods.

I never really had much growing up, and my kids have more than I did but we’re not high rollers. However we’re not suffering hardships that many other families might be going through right now. Foster care. No jobs no income. Domestic abuse. No internet access. Language barriers. Coronavirus makes situations like these more intense.

So we make the most of what we’ve got and I’m always emphasizing life lessons and love. And even though I got my Zig Zigler vibe going on as we start the days, there are frustrations and whining episodes that add more gray hairs to my new salt and pepper silver fox look.

They miss their friends. They miss being part of a team. They miss walking through the hallways with construction paper art on doors and seeing the everyday faces of kids in the crowds. They miss laughing at inside jokes during recess by the red playground, or walking from their lockers and headed towards lunch with their friends. They miss playing in games. They miss high-fiving and hugging their teammates when they score. They miss the energy, the cheers, and the vibe. They misssssssssssss it.

But we get through it, through it with outdoor exercise breaks, indoor family fitness fun, books, Bob Ross art sessions, Mo Willems drawing workshops, old school home economics, Monopoly battles, 80s dance jams, Netflix, humor and eating breakfast in pajamas.

Week one was for setting up a routine, getting the hang of online assignments, moving into the groove of homeschooling and still searching for the last toilet paper roll. Week two revved up the material and tested my flow. But we’re fine. It’s more laid back than our regular schedule of massive homework with soccer, hockey, baseball, and softball practices. There’s no more GO-GO-GO-GO we’re gonna be late! Do your homework before we need to leave. Don’t forget about your report. We’ve got to be on schedule! That schedule that’s written in a rainbow of Sharpie markers on the calendar that all moms and dads live by because if you didn’t the whole day turns into a disaster of epic proportions!

There’s none of that now. No Sharpie Marker schedule. We have nowhere to go, nowhere to be. Things slowed down. And we’re okay with that. Today we’re okay.

Buen Camino my friends!

Kodak Moments and Oscar The Grouch at The Pumpkin Patch

28 Oct

I could have gotten the six-dollar pumpkin at the supermarket down the street, no need for the heat, the crowds, the parking lot battles, toddlers crying over the ponies, or random chickens everywhere. I mean a pumpkin is a pumpkin. I probably had a coupon for it.

But I didn’t mind driving the long windy road to get a giant six-dollar pumpkin at the farm. I mean of course I’d enjoy it if the farm was closer, but it’s a whole experience. It’s the vibe. It’s the Doreen Cronin books my kids grew up with that set the scene. Farmer Ted.

It’s another memory for the Jar of Awesome, the kind where my kids still seem to enjoy my company and hug me while we take a picture, even without me having to ask. I hear that trails off once the teen years hit. Crossing my fingers for the opposite effect. Maybe the pumpkin farm trips are what keeps the hugs going.

Even though my son entered the world of lockers, over-sized backpacks, six different teachers and hundreds of new students weathering all kinds of emotional outbursts, he still welcomed a family trip to the farm, where the little kid in him enjoyed the pumpkin patch and fall festival activities with his younger sister.

They enjoyed panning for fossils and gems, as well as, racing dune buggies on the dirt track, firing the green-tomato sling shots, and corn blasters. And … it was fun watching them get into the farm vibe try rope tricks and go on hay rides. One of the highlights being that my son guessed the exact weight of the ginormous pumpkin, and won his first farm prize ever. Another would be the fact that my daughter won her first mini pumpkin with the ring toss game. These Kodak moments I captured, but there is an event that I’ve come to admire year, after year.

Now every year I look forward to the giant tractor, the band at lunch, the corn maze, the pig races and eventually choosing our pumpkin. But one of my favorite activities has been discovering the pumpkin art contest. I hadn’t realized how creative these people can get. Most of the time, I’m making sure my kids don’t stab themselves as they’re cutting out the triangle eyes in their Jack-O-Lanterns. I hadn’t even thought of tapping into my childhood painting hero Bob Ross for inspiration.

But this particular farm does a good job of bringing out the creative artist in a lot of people and inspiring people like myself to think they can create something awesome as well. But, we’ll see.

For now I just admired the inventiveness of their imagination.

I’d say Oscar the Grouch was my favorite. I enjoyed Elmo and Big Bird on Sesame Street, they were my favorites, but something about Oscar the Grouch made me smile. This display always makes me take a minute. Even if we’re rushing to get in line, to sit and watch the band, or just to leave because I’m exhausted by everybody at the end of the day. This has become one of my favorite stops at the farm.

The family vibe sits with you, accompanied by the all the hay in your car, and long after you drive off into the sunset you feel good about doing a good thing … About going the extra miles to give your kids an experience you never had as a kid. You’re tired, and still driving back the long, windy road while they sleep, but you feel like the Kodak moments and Oscar the Grouch were enough for today. Today parenthood did not beat you down in the dumps with the difficulties of life and raising kids. Today you got this.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor

31 Aug

I saw myself doing it at one point in my life, don’t remember when I thought I could pull it off but I totally saw myself with the whistle and Coach Taylor attitude.

But I hadn’t committed myself … not until my daughter saw Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the screen during the World Cup and asked who are they?

Oh I’m playing soccer this year, she says. That will be my sport this semester.

Soccer.

The one sport in my entire athletic repertoire that I did not play. I watch it every four years and catch Vela whenever we can go to the stadium. I reported on it during my newspaper days. I know the ins-and-outs, but hadn’t played on a team before.

But there she was … inspired by World Cup fever and so I was left with a decision. I had my run-in with this AYSO bunch before … you know the disaster that happened with my son a few years back, so I wasn’t sure I could handle another logistical nightmare.

I had to think about this one.

You see, I had signed her up to play but she was waitlisted. You know the lies about the Wait List. I was like here we go again. And then I got the message … you know the one … ‘calling all volunteers’ but with an extra twist. If you’re player has been waitlisted we give priority to people who volunteer.

Priority.

And there it was … the trap. The offer I couldn’t refuse …

Coaching. Coaching your kid’s team, along with other kids you don’t know, who may not always listen, and whose parents might be THOSE parents, the ones that come out on the news brawling in a full on cage match because of a bad call on the field.

That gave me some pause.

But there could be positives …

Time for Jim Carrey’s YES Man to make his appearance. And he did. My perspective shifted and it no longer seemed like a trap but an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new with my daughter, a double journey.

Now I was a little hesitant because I come from the old school philosophy that you shouldn’t be a coach if you’ve never played the sport. But I already knew the sport, I was athletic enough to pick up some skills and vision was something I already possessed.

So I asked her would you be all right if I helped coach the team, and her response was you coach me all the time at home.

So there it was … I’d officially get a clipboard and whistle and help lead this girls 10-U team.

Let me tell you, some girls at this age aren’t as enthusiastic about playing soccer or should I say doing drills to help you get better at playing soccer. It was funny to watch the different personalities on the field. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out at our first game.

But I helped prepare them the best way I could … The Coach Taylor way. After all they’re still learning dynamics, skills, and team cohesiveness. So positive attitude and the ball movement we learned in practice is what I focused on. As the head coach led the offensive strategy and lineups, I focused on defense and mental state. Fun was an important part of the formula if the players were to last in the heat of mid morning.

And in the end … they did a great job. They hustled and ran hard. We won 5-1 and I was happy to see the butterflies go away and the confidence build up in my daughter and the other players. Step by step they found their way on field of dreams.

In the end, I was glad I wasn’t one of the parents sitting in beach chairs on the sidelines. I was the one running the sidelines helping athletes become better players, helping them gain their confidence.

I was a coach … for the first time … officially. Although I still need whistle.

Buen Camino my friends!

My Son is Kevin Arnold …

25 Aug

So the summer began with the end of fifth grade and the start of the unknown …

I mean, I knew it. I’d been to junior high … I survived 6th grade, but as an 11-year-old girl in the 80’s who took the city bus every morning at 6:45 a.m. I had a different set of issues and concerns. 80’s concerns.

Today is today and my son goes off into the Wonder Years. He is Kevin Arnold. I hope he finds a friend like Paul, or Winnie Cooper, or another Kevin. It makes the transition so much better, to have a friend … a good one.

I worry a lot because the dangers are different now, social media and phones allow kids to publicize harshness when in my time it would eventually, if you were lucky, phase out.

But there are so many other concerns or issues that stress me out about junior high, but I’ve been corrected … “It’s not junior high anymore mom, they call it middle school.”

And so middle school … my sweet kid is going to middle school and it’s a growing pain that tugged at my heart and tuned up the dial in my mom anxiety, because I’m gonna miss my little boy as he turns into a young man.

See ya later kiddo… to the one that used to sprint out of the dismissal gate with joy inside and sport the biggest smile as he’d charge into my arms for a hello-I’m-so-glad-to-see-you-I-love-you hug so powerfully strong that it would take down The Hulk. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that snuck into bed still in pajamas before toothpaste or toothbrushes made their appearances because he wanted a family hug and just five more minutes, five more minutes … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that giggles at corny jokes, cracks up with his sister, and dances to songs from commercials on the spot …any time of day, he feels the music he dances and doesn’t care if anyone is watching…I hope I see you again.

see ya later kiddo … to the one that was so cool he listened to Queen, U2, and the 80s, the kid that liked feel-good songs in the morning to jump-start his day … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to my sweet, sweet boy with a BIG heart who still loves StarWars, Avengers, America Ninja Warrior, Bear Grylls, and Legos… who likes to hang out with his mom and play board games, soooooo many board games, and baseball, and beach soccer, badminton … who is my daydream believer who gets lost in books, so many books, and thoughts … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one who loves sharks and wants to grow up to be a part-time shark conservationist, part-time hockey player, part-time baseball player, part-time firefighter. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that still wakes up for Saturday morning cartoons and can watch for hours … the one that likes pancakes and Honey Bunches of Oats … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo… You’re growing up. You’re a 6th grader the kind with lockers, P.E. Classes, nutrition instead of recess, and life changes that will involve deodorant. You’ll run into jerks who don’t know how awesome you are, and kind people who’ll know you’re magic. You may doubt yourself, but I hope you won’t because everything about you is incredibly awesome. I hope that even though your life is changing, you still hug me with that 10-second embrace, eyes closed tight because it feels like home. I hope your heart will still feel safe and big near me. I hope you’ll always remember how much I love you. You are the most amazing kid I know and I’m proud of you.

You’re my kid and you’re growing and I hope that when you’re in sixth grade and seventh and eighth and you turn 12 and 13 that you’ll still remember your 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 years … because they’ve been the best, with ups and downs they’ve been a good life. We just started year 11 and the adventures have been memorable.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

I love you, I love you, I love you …

Buen Camino …

Birthday Candles, Papa, and Trampolines

17 Jul

In the midst of the happy moments of jumping on trampolines, completing America Ninja Warrior obstacles, conquering the warped wall, and blowing out the candles on the birthday cake, I wished he was there.

He’d be the only senior citizen trying that warped wall and attempting to keep up with his grandchildren.

It’s always a mixed bag when my kids turn another year older, as there is a happy day full of good-times-and-noodle-salad moments and then a pang in my heart because it’s the day before my Dad passed away. He’d be a great witness to their lives and definitely enrich it on a daily basis with epic grandpa stuff.

His impact was missing, I knew it and it made me think that may be the reason why I try so hard. I try to fill the empty cups so that my kids don’t miss anything but it’s not always easy. Nothing measures up to grandpa, but I do my best to reach the top no matter how many obstacles get in the way.

Trampolines help with that I imagine.

It’s hard enjoying happiness when sadness creeps on in, but I take the moments I can get and hold tight as they get me through the sadness of the day. Because the sadness of losing someone never goes away, it exists with you, but at the very least some happiness can overpower it so you feel it less. I watch my daughter’s laughter as she zip-lined and soared into the pits, as she tested her grip-strength and arm muscles going through the mini challenges and the enjoyment on her face when she shot some hoops in the slam dunk area. I saw my Dad’s spirit. She’s got his playful personality and stubbornness as well.

I get home and open up his last bottle of musk aftershave, close my eyes, and smell. I’d never been into aromatherapy before but this was definitely bringing back memories and peace. And I felt his presence and a pat on the back. His cologne helps bring him back.

He saw my kid and knew that her strength was a good thing. He knows this new eight-year old rocked the sevens. This new eight-year old, who loves elephants, penguins, and hippos, drawing and painting, Bob Ross and every chef on the Cooking Channel, cooking and baking, cannon-balling into swimming pools and gliding through the water, will bring on a whole new bunch of excitement and gray hair into my life. His adventurous granddaughter who likes rollercoasters and hitting homeruns, will be trying one of his favorite sports in the fall … soccer. He’d like his granddaughter …

And she would have liked hanging out with Papa. Grandpas are cool hanging out buddies, they let you keep the remote control and watch penguin shows with you all day.

It was a tough one, but at least there was chocolate cake and someone else wishing the best of the best for this little lady .. this Ninja-Warrior-Artistic-Master-Reader-Kind-Hearted-Athlete-and-Bacon-Enthusiast Extraordinaire.

Buen Camino my friends…