I Love Seeing My Kids Succeed

My oldest daughter started at a new dance studio today, and I got to take her to her first class.  She went with her mom last week to check it out and see if she wanted to switch, but today was her first class.

As she stood outside waiting for class to start I could tell she was a little nervous because she didn’t know any of the girls, and they had already been practicing their dance for a little while.

But being the brave little trooper that she is, she headed in and went to work.  About fifteen minutes into the class I could hear the teacher say, “This is Olivia’s first class and she is already doing it better than most of you.”

It made my daddy heart swell to hear something so positive about my daughter.  She really is a very good dancer, and I am glad it is something she enjoys so much. 

I asked her afterwards if she liked her new class and you could just tell beyond the words that she is so much happier.  She also told me it felt good to have the teacher say that about her.

It is so great watching your kids succeed at something they really enjoy.

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Every Boy (and girl) Should Have a Dog


We went and got a dog today.  We had talked about it off and on, but we didn’t really expect it to happen today.  

I grew up with no animals in my house because my oldest brother was allergic to everything, but since I moved in with a friend that had three dogs, two cats, a couple of horses, and a bunny, I have really enjoyed having animals.  They add such a beautiful dynamic to a family that I love.

My kids are also old enough now to do more of the caretaking of a dog than they used to be.  It was so fun today watching them get so emotional about the dogs we looked at.  My oldest actually started crying at one point because she felt so bad for the dogs with no home.


If nothing else I can be grateful that she has learned to love and respect animals.  I am excited for the coming months of getting to know our new dog, though I hope she gets over the sleep farting really quick.

I’m Grateful for My Life

It is amazing how close the line between happiness and misery is.  Maybe what is even more amazing is how much of it is a choice.

Sure I have struggles in my life.  I just got my first paycheck in a month and a half, I’m probably going to have to get a new roof in the spring, I have son with seizures and who knows what other issues because even though he is four, he can’t communicate with us.

But…

I have been able to pay my bills, I love where I live, and I have a family who loves me dearly.  I have the most amazing wife he loves me despite my crazy work life and schedule.  She trusted me that this move would be best for our family despite her very legitimate fears.  

I have a daughter that fights through painful feet because she would rather play hard that sit and feel sorry for herself.  I have a son that pretends he is super rough and tumble, but has one of the most tender hearts I know.  I have a sweet little daughter that just loves spending time with me even if it is just snuggling on a couch.  I have a son that 7 months ago had never met an American, cried for an hour at bedtime every night, and could barely walk, but now he runs after his siblings, smiles for most people, and will just melt your heart after he drives you nuts.

I stopped really caring about my birthdays probably about 20 years ago when I got my license since that was the last real beneficial age change in my life, but I will always be grateful for days that remind me just how blessed I am.  I don’t know what I did to deserve any of it, but I will always be grateful for all of it.

I Love Real Christmas Trees

Yesterday my Queenie and I took the kids up into the mountains by Reno and cut down our own Christmas tree.  It ended up being a ton of work courtesy of a dull saw, but it was still a good experience.

For the past two years we have had to utilize an artificial tree because live trees are not easy to come by in Japan.  They exist, but it is just not worth the hassle, or the cost.

This year it is so awesome to get back to having a real tree.  I just love the smell of a fresh tree in the house.  I love the lack of uniformity, and the character that each individual tree has.

We spent most of today decorating the tree and the rest of our house with other lights and decorations, and it is so fun to have so much festivity in the house.  There is just so much to be grateful for at this time of the year, which is why I think I love it so much.

Turning Off Electronics

I really hate how much time my kids spend on their electronics.  I wouldn’t care so much if they were learning or starting a multi-million dollar business, but they are just watching stupid YouTube videos.

So tonight I told my kids no electronics. They could read books or play games or anything other than electronics.  They did ask for music which I was okay with, and other than that they didn’t even complain. A very pleasant surprise.

What ensued was a little rumbunctiousness followed by the three oldest sitting in the playroom reading stories together. Ty even came and sat with me for awhile just relaxing and dancing to the music that was playing.

This may not be an every night occurrence, but I will take it for now.  Technology is wonderful in so many ways, but it is so stinking important to make sure we all get away from it sometimes.

My Queenie Playing the Piano Brings Me Peace

I have always loved how musical my Queenie is.  It is one of the things I always found very attractive.  Unfortunately, life often gets in the way and she doesn’t get to be as musical as she would like.

Today though she was listening to music with the kids when she decided to sit down at the piano and start playing and singing.  It always just warms my heart to hear her play and sing.  You can really feel how much she loves it when she sings and plays.

When she was done you could see a physical difference in her presence as she was so much more happy and relaxed.  Not only did I enjoy the moment, it is a good reminder to me of how important it is to take care of yourself.

Yes we have to take care of work and school and family, but we also need to just take breaks and relax.  We need to do things that are just fun and bring us joy.  This was a great reminder to me as I head into what will likely be a busy week.

A Warm House to Sleep in

Every winter as it starts to get cold, I remember how blessed I am to have a house to live in and stay warm.  While I started to write this with the thought of literal warmth on my mind, I am more grateful for the figurative warmth I have here.

I have four amazing kids that love me and fill me with their love everyday.  They are excited to see me when we see each other after work and school.  They make me smile with their creative imaginations.  They humble me with the simple desires of their hearts expressed in prayers each night.

I am even more abundantly blessed with the warmth if a wife who works so hard to take care of our family.  I have been the breadwinner for our family for the past 7 years  (we have been married for 10), but she is the glue that keeps us all together.  She keeps us clean and organized and fed.  That is not to say she does all of the cleaning and the cooking but I can honestly say that without her we would not be as healthy or as well kept.

I know I am not alone in this warmth I have at home, but I do feel that I am in an increasingly smaller number of people that is so blessed.  There is so much anger and hate in the world, even amongst people who should love and care for each other.  I may not be able to change that around the world, but I can do my part to recognize it in my life and do my best to spread that warmth to those around me.

We all have the ability to do that in our lives, but are we really doing everything we can to spread that warmth?