Thursday, June 28, 2007

Friends Forever

This may sound kind of odd, but this one picture from Josh's party kind of depresses me. You'd think by the smiles on the faces of these kids, that it would be a picture that you'd treasure and carefully store away in the photo album so that one day you could look back at it with fond memories. But, after showing this pic to Josh, he shared with me that he and his friends here- Alex and Maceo- have all promised each other that they would be friends forever. Each morning as I dropped Josh off at school, little Alex would be there waiting for him- probably to take him aside to plot out which dragons they would slay that given day; and then in the afternoons, there would be Josh hanging with his other buddy Maceo probably stroking each other's Pre-K male egos and wondering what kind of mischief they could get into before the day's end....friends forever, such a simple wish.

I remember making those same promises when I too was in school. But as I look at my circle of friends whom I now hang around with, none of them are from my grade school days...and very few from my high school, college, and even early career days at Hoban- not exactly something that I'm proud of. As my life has changed and taken different paths over the years, so have the friends, who at the time I too thought would always be a part of my life. Now, they're all just distant memories depicted on a few photographs that I've kept through the years.

Having watched Josh open his birthday gifts over the past 6 years, I'd package them all away in a heart beat for the opportunity to give my son his simple wish to remain lifetime friends with these two little guys. The odds are against this ever happening, but Josh has a heart of gold, and it wouldn't surprise me if these 3 Pre-k musketeers stuck around each other for a while...or maybe even forever.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Birthday Bash

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The 6 Year-Old Rock Star

So I had been asking the little guy for the past few weeks what he would like for his 6th birthday. Interestingly, Josh didn't really have any one thing in mind- just the usual pre-k kid toys- action figures, water guns, Lego's, etc...The only thing he had asked for was a birthday party at none other than Chuckie Cheese w/ all his mates from school.

A few days ago, however, I took Sarah and Josh on a few errands including a trip to Guitar Center to pick up some new strings. Josh spotted this junior electric almost immediately and quickly put together a pretty convincing argument that this is what he would like for his birthday this year. At the risk of not really checking with mom for the ok...we made a quick dash to the car, with Josh's new instrument in hand.

So far, I'm pretty impressed with his technique and enthusiasm for learning. I'm planning on working with him for a year or so, and then I think I'll sign him up for some real lessons. In a shameless attempt to stroke my own fragile ego, I asked him if he wanted to learn to play someday like his old which he replied, "No, I want to rock like Dave" (our electric guitar guy from church)...grumble, grumble...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Josh, the Jake, and Me = Perfect Father's Day

If memories are the one thing that you can take with you when our time is finished here, then this is one that I'll treasure forever. The little guy enjoyed his first major league ballgame this afternoon, and I truly can't think of any other way that I could have enjoyed Father's Day more than hanging out with him at the ballpark.

We got up there a bit late- right around the 2nd inning. We stopped to have this photo taken, which was Josh's present to me. Next, we spotted the Tribe's mascot, whom Josh immediately recognized as none other than the infamous Slider. After a short hug from him, we then stood in line for what seemed like an eternity for some hot dogs and sodas. By the time we reached the front of the line, Josh looked at me and said that I shouldn't tip the guys working the concession stand because they were too slow! Anyway, once that was done, we headed for our seats.

I had warned Josh that our seats were in the upper deck, and that we would be fairly high up. The look in his eyes as we came through the tunnel and first saw the scoreboard was simply priceless. Josh kept asking me when "the song" was going to be played. All the way up to Cleveland, we practiced "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" so that Josh could belt it out loud and strong when the time came. By the end of the 7th inning, he was really getting into the game. The guys in front of us were beginning to heckle the Brave's pitcher- in a classy sort of way (thank goodness)- and soon Josh began to parrot them..."yeah, c'mon chump...walk the dude!" ("Hey dad, what's a chump?") and on, and on, and on...

And what would a great Indian's victory be if Borowski doesn't come out, give up a few hits, come close to loading the bases, and then finally squeak out yet another save. The short little fireworks display capped off for my son what was simply an awesome time. Thanks for a memorable day, Josh. I love you with all my heart, son.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

LeBron's Silver Bullet
for Game #4 of the NBA Finals

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Evel Knievel and the Biker Babe

Well, leave it to Marie to teach her younger brother how to tackle a bike with no training wheels. The day began with me being the bad guy by taking Josh's training wheels off early Saturday morning. We started out front going up and down the block with me tagging alongside the little guy helping him with his balancing act. I had forgotten how hard that can be on your back!

Anyway, after an hour or so, we had made a little progress, but he was still not set to take off by himself.

Fast forward about 8-9 hours/ bedtime. Marie took Josh outside in the backyard, and within a 1/2 hour or so, she had him cruisin' around the yard. He was so proud of himself, and I too was pretty impressed. I always wanted a moped as a kid, and I told Josh that once he conquered his bike, then we would talk about upgrading his transportation's just his mom that we'll have to work on!

I also took Ms. Sarah on her first bike trek...the helmet was a bit large on her, but she truly loved her time riding around the block hitched to the back of my bike. Not to mention, this will be good training for me as I try to get myself ready for the Roadrunner Marathon in September.

All in all, a great weekend with the kids.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Father Daughter Trip

Marie and I just got back from a two day stay at Cedar Point. For the first time, we stayed at the Hotel Breakers- located on the east beach side of the park. Having ridden the coasters all day on Thursday, it was nice to simply walk back to the hotel, shower, and pretty much collapse on the bed- only to wake early the following morning to do it all over again!

This was definitely a "coming-out" year for Marie in terms of the roller coasters. We rode em' all! The last five years or so, I had always gone to the park with either Josh or a young Marie, so I too had never ridden the big one- Millennium Force. I'm pretty sure that I witnessed my entire life rush before me as Marie and I plummeted down that first hill. The most terrifying part of the ride is simply the fact that you have no shoulder harness- just a small lap bar to brace yourself as you tumble down over 300 feet from the air- at an 80 some degree angle! Needless to say, after surviving the first ride, we rode it no less than 4-5 more times during the day. Very cool!

This picture is actually from the Mean Streak. You know the lines are pretty small when you can ride a coaster over and over again until you get that one picture that you truly think captures the moment. We actually had the entire train to ourselves when we had this pic taken. Cedar Point's new coaster- The Maverick- is also pretty awesome. (although we had to stand in line too long due to its constant mechanical problems that caused it to stop- over and over again.) It's a combination of the Corkscrew, a Magnum style roller coaster, and the rocket launch characteristic of the Top Thrill Dragster.

For me, it was a great get-away if for no other reason that I know the day is eventually coming- sooner than I care to admit- that Marie probably isn't going to want to hang out with her ole' dad once she hits the high school scene...not to mention those rotten, no good boyfriends who will invariably pop up into her life and have the audacity to actually want to date my little girl...ugh!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

My Good Luck Gals
Just one more win...oh please, oh please, oh please...

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Ridiculous Win

I actually didn't even watch most of the Cav's game since I had tickets to the Jake tonight. But, I got home just in time to watch the two overtimes, and I'm stilling shaking my head in disbelief. Hands down, the greatest performance in Cleveland sports that I've ever witnessed. Does LeBron have one more in him to close it out on Saturday...let's hope so.

As for the baseball game, Kenton and I saw another awesome offensive performance by the Tribe, especially from Grady and Pronk. After an enjoyable western/northern meandering drive to Cleveland (long story here) we stumbled upon a staple found at all sporting events- the infamous game-day scalper. Being a bit late to the game, though, proved to be fortuitous because within minutes, we struck a deal with this fine gentleman, and upgraded our seats to the Club Section- complete with an all you can eat buffet (you know the regular baseball grub...sausages, hamburgs, french fries, Chinese food, pasta, roast beef deli sandwiches, and of course what every true fan expects to see at the ballpark- roasted lamb- really, I'm not kidding...and the seats, of course, were amazing.