Tag Archives: children

By the lake, Friday morning thoughts

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Last night, I grilled burgers and B and I enjoyed dinner together. Earlier, we’d planned to take the boat out and have fun boating, but storms rolled in and we covered the boat, put it on the lift, and came inside.

sunset. standing on the dock looking west in the sprinkles
sunset. standing on the dock looking west in the sprinkles

Done for the day.

B read on the couch, Ivy curled up on her pad exhausted from being in the lake all day, and I started dinner. It was a cloudy stormy evening along the lake in northern Michigan. It rained a little and then stopped. All we got was a little rain and thunder the heavy rain went south. I pulled the grill out and grilled the burgers. We enjoyed our dinner and finished it with fresh Michigan strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Perfect dinner. Continue reading By the lake, Friday morning thoughts

Pure: a photo challenge

I love my kids.

We have two: a boy, really a young man, and girl. They are W and O, respectively. Both are determined and focused, when it’s their time. Both play sports and both are good students, but more importantly good, solid people.

It’s summer and school’s out – for both me, and the kids. It’s also softball playoff season. O plays softball and has talent, pure raw talent. I’ve watched her grow as an athlete, and as a softball player. This year, she has really developed as a hitter and fielder, as well as positive leader on the field and in the dugout.

pure concentration, pure focus, pure desire
pure concentration, pure focus, pure desire

Continue reading Pure: a photo challenge

First day, again…

It’s the first day of summer, again. I’ve been looking forward to this day, I always do. This year is different, this day has been marked on the calendar for four years, maybe even longer.

my 'decades' selfie - living the fabulous Fifties for a day!
my ‘decades’ selfie – living the fabulous Fifties for a day!

Today, W graduates from high school. He’ll cross the stage and think this is it. Yet, it is only the beginning of a long journey.

Summer is like that. It marks an end, and a beginning. They, the ends and beginnings, tend to blur and meld over time. It’s a reboot, of sorts.

Each year, I have my own reboot. A time to reflect on what I’ve learned and where I’ve been, adjust my bearings, and chart a new course. And, for the last six years I’ve gone back and re-read what I blogged the year before at Making the Days Count dot org.

It had been six years since I began the journey at MtDC.org.

First Day Posts

And my first ever post – precisely one day short of six years ago.

I re-read those posts this morning and as I usually do when I read an old post, I edited a couple of them correcting misspellings, updating bad links, and a finding a new video to replace one which had gone private and was no longer viewable; and I remembered writing the words with uncanny clarity. Continue reading First day, again…

four more

It’s Saturday morning. The forecast is rain – by the time I finish writing it will be raining – and softball will be cancelled, again. O’s game Thursday was cancelled due to wet fields. It’s the same every year, April showers bring May flowers, and softball rainouts.

Last night, I stayed late at school and wrapped up the World War II unit. The WWII test is Monday and then we’ll find out just how much my students have actually learned about America’s involvement in the war. Since we returned from spring break it’s been more and more challenging to get their focus. Most of my students seem to be more focused on ‘four more’ and how many days are left than they are in making them count. It’s a ritual which plays out every year. It’s when I work the hardest.

truman_quote_WWII

April has been busy. We had our annual state testing the first two weeks right after break. After testing, we took a field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. It was excellent and it helped many of our students understand the magnitude of the Holocaust. We study the Great Depression and World War II in social studies and they all read Night by Elie Wiesel in their English Language Arts classes. The last two weeks we’ve been learning about the war – I’ve used video clips from The War by Ken Burns and Band of Brothers to help, but the most significant clip I showed, was yesterday when I screened the video below. The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

It’s staggering to watch. Continue reading four more

picture book

March 31. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 90th birthday. I remember celebrating his 70th and his 80th birthdays and several in between. We miss him.

We’re on spring vacation in the Keys. The Keys are a special place, it’s place he and his daughter introduced to me in 2002. B has fond memories of her time in the Keys – visiting with her folks. I had never been to Florida, outside of Miami International, until that trip. I fell in love with the Keys and we’ve been back several times – 2004, 2007, 2013, and this year. Each time I come here, I think of him and grandma and enjoy the sun.

The first time we came, they met us at the airport – it was B, W, and me. B was pregnant with O at the time, so I suppose you could say that O came along, too. Continue reading picture book

reminders

I have wonderful children and they teach me as much as I teach them, most of the time. Sometimes more. It’s been hectic this week, I’ve been Mr. Mom and Mr. Dad. B’s out of town helping her sister and I have been the only sheriff in town, so to speak. B’s on her way back tonight and we’ll be whole again tomorrow.

Dulles Jr. High Vikings - seventh grade gold - can you find me?
Dulles Jr. High Vikings – seventh grade gold – can you find me?

This afternoon, we were running errands and on our way home. O was talking about her day at school. I don’t know how it came up, but she was explaining what happened in math class. It went something like this……

“Dad, do you give your kids homework passes?” O asked.

“No, I don’t.” I replied. “Why do you ask? Continue reading reminders

Bittersweet Sunday

It Sunday morning. It’s a typical Midwestern January morning – cold and overcast. Yesterday was the same and tomorrow will likely be the same. It’s all right, cold and overcast January days are the rent we pay for the rest of the year.

W looks on and waits for his next match. I snapped this and texted it to him and got the reply 'go get me a sub' followed by 'thank you.'
W looks on and waits for his next match. I snapped this and texted it to him and got the reply ‘go get me a sub’ followed by ‘thank you.’

Jonas bypassed us. We’ve had storms come through and shut us down, but nothing as severe as Jonas. Since, I’ve been blogging we’ve had several snow days, one in January 2011 that brought 21 inches of snow and shut schools for two days. We’ve had bitter cold and severe wind chills and we’ve had torrential rains that closed our schools, too. In all that time, we stayed inside and waited. When it was over, we went outside shoveled snow and cleared our drive and our neighbor’s, too. It’s the rent we pay.

Saturday was a bittersweet day, it was sunny in the morning, then overcast, then the clouds disappeared in the evening to reveal a full moon.

It was bittersweet for more than the weather; it was W’s last wrestling match. W is my son, my favorite son, and he turns 18 Wednesday.

W was born late in the evening Tuesday, January 27, so late it was close to January 28. Like all parents, especially dads, I remember the moment I held him for the first time, I remember the moment well. I can close my eyes and picture myself holding him and feel the tears well in my eyes and roll down my cheeks. They still do, the tears that is. I remember his first of many things, I remember his first day of pre-school – 9/11. I remember his first wrestling match, a loss in less than 15 seconds and I remember his first win – in overtime. He was our first, and only, for almost five years, then O came along and I had another favorite – a favorite daughter. Continue reading Bittersweet Sunday

a frigid Monday morning

It’s cold outside, that’s why I am inside sitting at my desk in the basement. Yesterday, O, my favorite daughter, and I braved the elements and took off for the big city. She wanted to take the train in and I opted for the car. It was a good choice.

chicago_selfie2
a Chicago selfie – it’s colder than it looks, the lake is frozen along the shoreline

Saturday morning, she came downstairs to the basement and plopped down in the chair beside my desk proclaiming she an adventure and trip to the city. She wanted to visit the Shedd Aquarium and after listening to her plea, I decided Saturday wasn’t the day to go – I had too much to do and she didn’t ask until almost noon, too late to drive into the city. So instead, we planned and plotted for a trip Sunday.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day even if temperatures hovered near zero.

a Revolutionary War hero - Polish born Tadeusz Kościuszko
a Revolutionary War hero – Polish born Tadeusz Kościuszko

This morning it’s -1 F, or -17C; yesterday it was a five degrees warmer when we drove in to the city. It was still cold. The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill weather advisory for today because it feels like -21 F, or -30 C, and that is fine with me it’s safer and easier to stay inside and take care of business. I still have a lot to do.

Traffic was light on the expressway and the biggest hurdle was finding a parking spot close to the aquarium. We arrived just as another family was leaving and we took their spot.

It was a short walk to the aquarium but the cold and the wind in our faces made it seem longer than it was. The return trip seemed shorter a few hours later.

The Caribbean Reef exhibit
The Caribbean Reef exhibit

We had a good time. We both took pictures and took in the exhibits. O surprised me with her patience as she read about the exhibits as she passed them. We started with the Caribbean Reef and watched the diver feed the fish. The Caribbean Reef is in the center of the aquarium and in the rotunda with rooms shooting off like spokes of a wheel. Several years ago when we were in Florida, O and I visited the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. It was there we learned about the dangers sea turtles face as the human world intersects with the natural world. One of the biggest dangers to turtles are boat strikes. The boat strike isn’t always fatal, but it renders the turtle unable to dive as it creates an air bubble between the shell and turtle’ body. O and I watched as ‘Nickel,’ the Shedd’s green turtle, paddle around the aquarium with her rear pointing to the surface. O remembered our visit.

waiting for the aquatic show - lake Michigan and the Adler Planetarium in the background
waiting for the aquatic show – lake Michigan and the Adler Planetarium in the background

We took in several more exhibits and watched the aquatic show in the main aquarium facing Lake Michigan. Continue reading a frigid Monday morning

Happy New Year – 2016

I started a post writing yesterday, but I didn’t finish. We arrived at the cottage late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, depending on one’s perspective, and thus I woke up late, near 10 AM, which is much later than when I usually awake. I am often the first person in the family out of bed every morning. I usually rise before five in the morning during the week and I allow myself to sleep in to six, or half past six on the weekends. I quickly got busy in other jobs and didn’t write more than the first few lines of a new post.

Thursday morning's view of the lake - New Year's Eve 2015
Thursday morning’s view of the lake

Below is what I began to write,

New Year’s Eve 2015

I backed into the cottage driveway a little before 3 AM. I roused W, he grumbled when I shook his leg and called his name. It was cold and dark and I was tired. I roused Ivy, too. She was excited to climb out of the car and gently pulled at the leash. I opened the cottage door and she rushed inside waking B, my wife, before I clipped her to the tether and let her explore the front yard.

And, that is how far I got, I closed the lid on the laptop and didn’t open it until today – New Year’s Day. Instead of writing, I spent the day getting the cottage ready for our New Year’s celebration and cooking dinner.

Our menu for New Year’s was

New York Strip – grilled
Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
Steamed and buttered broccoli
Sautéed mushrooms
Green salad
Robust red wine
Chocolate cheesecake for dessert=
All homemade and home cooked, well maybe not the wine….

Our New Year’s Eve traditions took shape several years ago and they revolve around being Up North and at the cottage. We celebrate with two families whom we would otherwise never have met if it weren’t for the lake. We are blessed. I am thankful. Continue reading Happy New Year – 2016

Tuesday’s Tune: River of Dreams

Today’s Tuesday’s Tune post is a guest blogger – Eli Pacheco from Coach Daddy: fatherhood, futbol, and food.  The blogging world is amazing. I ‘met’ Eli several years ago and have been following him ever since. Last year, I realized we were travelling in parallel universes – he in the Carolinas and me in the Midwest. We both have children -he has three and I have two – and the oldest is a senior in high school and both are competitive athletes – making the two of us sideline supporters. We are both very proud of our kids and it shows in our blogging.  I am excited to have Eli here at Making the Days Count – because we are both making our way through life Making the Days Count.

guest post clay lede artphoto credit: I think this is the gear we’re looking for via photopin (license)

When you make the days count – what does it look like?

I envision life brimming with abundance and adventure. Family, wall-to-wall. All-out experiences that shun fear and trepidation. We make the days count in so many ways – so much positive, so much forward-leaning. It’s where joy bumps into bliss and amusement builds to euphoria.

It took a text message from a dear friend today to remind me that Billy Joel’s River of Dreams held a significant spot on my life’s playlist. She’d just heard it, right after leaving Five Guys Burgers. If that isn’t a sign from above, I’m really not sure what goes on in heaven.

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To the river so deep

A youth pastor at UNC Charlotte brought this song to our weekly lunch discussion. Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune: River of Dreams