Category Archives: Celebrations

Time Out for Time Outs!

 

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Happy 2014! So many amazing things happened in 2013, but the one thing I resolve for 2014 is to take more time outs to stop and think and post. Didn’t have the chance to sit down and blog much in 2013. Going back to school gave me an excuse to take off from writing, but I realize that I can always take a time out to write if I need to… and I need to do that more. I am so thankful and grateful for all that I have and know that because of that, I have much more to give back. So thankful for having such a supportive family and network of friends and colleagues. Malachy continues to be a source of inspiration to be the best dad that I can be for him. Not so easy sometimes when the patience is low and lack of sleep is high. So, in 2014, I will need to take more time outs to:
1) Blog
2) Read
3) Spend time with family
4) Get Organized
5) Learn…

That’s just the beginning, as I could probably add 10-20 more things to the list right now… Time out… 🙂

Time Out for Father’s Day!

DSC06278It’s turning out to be one of my favorite days of the year… Father’s Day!

Celebrating Fatherhood!  One of the most important titles I will ever bear in my lifetime, the title of Dad.  It’s awesome!  I am so thankful that I have gotten to spend all the time that I have with Malachy.  I know so many fathers don’t have that luxury or haven’t had that opportunity.  Even my own dad, growing up, he had to work 12-hour+ days, and we only really got to see him once a week.  The one day he would have at home, he usually had to take care of things around the house.  I remember my mom constantly asking me to help my dad, but I didn’t really know how.  Perhaps, he also didn’t have a whole lot of time to teach me, so I learned by watching him.  He taught me a lot, not so much through words but his actions.

With Malachy, I’ve had the benefit of speaking with him, modeling for him, and just being present and being a Dad.  It’s been one of the greatest joys I could ever ask for, along with spending time with Shien and with family.  I want to show him that he could do whatever he puts his mind to.  He’s inspired me to do more than I have thought possible from myself.  We are learning together…

Time Out for KARATE!

Shien and I are really glad Malachy took up Karate.  It teaches respect, self-discipline, and the benefits of practice and hard work.  The more experienced ones help out the less experienced one, and everyone is there to help each other to get better.  They use a term, “OSU,” as a way of thanking each other and showing each other respect.  Malachy has used it at home every now and then with me, and says, “Dad, that means I really respect you.”  Very cool stuff.

Enter Malachy’s first tournament.  I couldn’t pass up signing up for it.  GUARANTEED trophy!  A couple of weeks before I found out about this event, Malachy had told me he wanted a real trophy, not just stickers.  I told him he’d get his chance… one day.  It would be the first one in our family.  I NEVER won a trophy.  I won a few ribbons in a Field Day once, got many certificates through the years, but NEVER a trophy.  My parents never put me into any competitive sports or activities, so the opportunity was never there.  I always dreamed of having a trophy in my hands, a REAL trophy.

Of course, I didn’t want Malachy to know there was a guaranteed trophy.  I told him he would have to earn it and that he had to do his best.  So, even though his Karate teachers (Sesei and Sampei) told him that everyone got a trophy for entering, and he even read it on the registration, I was able to convince him that there was no guarantee, and he bought my argument.  At the end of the day today, he was the one who told me, “Dad, it doesn’t even matter if I didn’t get a trophy.  I had fun, and I did my best.”  That’s my little Ninja with the big heart and the big mind.  I’m always trying to teach him stuff, and he winds up teaching me. 🙂

In the first event, Malachy was called first. I knew that meant he probably wouldn’t win. When they gave out the ribbons, almost everyone got one, because there were so many subdivisions in terms of belts, so there were many first and second places in this event. One kid was crying and needed to be comforted, but Malachy was fine. Then, came the next event… Freestyle. I knew Malachy would have energy, but didn’t know what to expect, as this was the first time I’d ever watched this one-on-one “no-contact” tournament. Plus, there were some much bigger kids in terms of size. I reminded myself that he would still get that beautiful trophy, no matter what. Well, before my eyes, he won Round 1, and then he won Round 2, and then came the Final Round! He was up against a Blue Belt, who was much bigger than him. Oh well, at least he was now guaranteed 2nd place! But no… he got first! Amazing! He saved some of his best moves for the last round. Later on, he said these moves were inspired by his fellow competitors. Unbelievable. When we got out of the train station, on the way home, he asked Shien, “Is this a dream, Mommy?” I think I was thinking the same. Proud of our little champ.

Time Out for the Tooth Fairy…

A Note to the Tooth Fairy...
Missing Tooth #1 and #2...

So, Malachy’s second tooth came out today.  It was super loose, and after school, on the way to piano, he was able to extract his own tooth.  The first tooth required some help from Mom, along with some tooth floss and some cheerleading from Dad.  For his first tooth, he received five Washingtons and a geode.  The geode was a last minute addition, and when he woke up that morning after, he was quite excited about the note, the cash, and the geode.  After hammering the geode, we were left with mostly crushed rock and dust.  It was a dud, and it left me and Malachy a bit unsatisfied. (Hence, the note he wrote to the Tooth Fairy today.)  A couple of days later, I had a special Ninjago delivery via the Tooth Ninja, but he didn’t buy it.  He knew it was from me.  But, as you can see from the note to the Tooth Fairy, he still believes! 🙂

So, Mommy wanted to buy time to get a gift from the Tooth Fairy, so she told Malachy we would clean the tooth out tomorrow and leave it for the Tooth Fairy tomorrow night.  We explained to him that the Tooth Fairy didn’t want a bloody tooth.  After all, he had cleaned his first one for her.  He went to bed and was fine with waiting one more night…

Right before we went to bed, I asked Shien where Tooth #2 was.  She said she thought Malachy left it with me, and I told her that he did show me the tooth but he had left it with her when she was cooking in the kitchen.  From the kitchen, I could hear the rustling noise of a plastic bag every now and then.  I asked Shien what was going on.  She tells me, “I think I might have thrown it away.”  I’m like, “WHAT?”

Turns out Shien had given Malachy a tissue for the tooth when she was cooking, so he could clean it out with her later on.  So, he left the tooth in the tissue on the kitchen counter.  Lo and behold, when Shien was cleaning the kitchen after dinner, she threw the tissue with the tooth into the plastic trash bag!  Thus, the rustling plastic bag.

When I went to the kitchen looked in the plastic bag, it looked GROSS!  Shien had poured out a 14 oz. jar of old hot chocolate powder mix into the trash bag (she once saw worms in another can of old powder mix), and since it got wet, the trash inside was covered and doused with wet and dry powder mix all over.  I got a flashlight and tried to sift through it by squeezing the bag and trying to feel for the tiny tooth, but no luck.  I even tried using another plastic bag as a glove to squeeze through some of the trash, but it just felt sandy and muddy from all the powder mix.

Shien suggested that we re-use Tooth #1 and just tell Malachy that she cleaned it out for him.  After all, he cashed in Tooth #1, so he probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.  That made me feel uncomfortable.  It felt wrong.  It wasn’t honest.  I know. I know.  The Tooth Fairy isn’t real, so why not just let him cash in Tooth #1 again, right?  I couldn’t go to sleep knowing that Tooth #2 was in the trash, and that we were going to give him Tooth #1 again for the Tooth Fairy! 🙁

So, I went back to the kitchen.  I got another plastic bag out.  I got a latex glove out.  The plan was to transfer the trash from the yucky bag to another empty plastic bag.  The question was what to do with all the dry hot chocolate powder in the trash, which made it impossible to look through the trash?  I must say the one good thing about the hot chocolate powder mix was that it took away any garbage smell! 🙂  I figured the only way to get rid of the mix in the trash was to dissolve it in water!

Next, I cleared the sink, made sure the sink strainer was in place, and proceeded to fill the plastic bag which was filled with trash and powder with water, in the sink.  Stuff started floating up in the plastic bag, and now, it looked like I had a huge bag of hot chocolate drink with floating trash instead of marshmallows!  I slowly transferred the floating debris into another plastic bag, and proceeded with emptying all the trash out of the plastic bag.  I found a few pieces of minced garlic that looked like Tooth #2, but I couldn’t find it.  All the dried powder was soon dissolved, but there was also coffe grinds in the trash, too.  That doesn’t all quite dissolve like the hot chocolate powder mix.  Ai ya!  Chicken bones, wet paper towels, tissues, rice, broccoli, oh my!  When the bag was almost emptied, I decided to just pour the rest out in the sink and soak it all out.  YUCK!  The latex glove got wet inside, so I decided to take it off.  Besides, wearing the glove made it harder to feel for the tooth.  So, there I was with my bare hands feeling through the garbage in the sink and scraps in the sink strainer, feeling for the tooth.  After a while, VOILA!  I found it!  It was mixed in with some of the trash and coffee grinds.  I made sure it wasn’t just another piece of chopped garlic.  It was indeed Tooth #2!  I cleared out the rest of the trash from the sink, and now I had a cleaner bag of trash, without all the hot chocolate powder mix!  Move over Toothy Fairy.  Tooth Daddy has come to the rescue!  Oh, what a night! 🙂

Can you see Tooth #2 on the counter?
Reunited!

Time Out for Flowers!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations, Wynne! Thanks so much to everyone for entering. Happy Valentine’s to all!

So, 1-800-Flowers.com reached out to me to offer my readers a chance to win a $100 1-800-Flowers gift card! AWESOME! Click here for a fun Valentine’s trailer they sponsored for Hot in Cleveland, starring Betty White.

Over the years, I’ve spent thousands on flowers. Worth it? As Malachy would say, “OF COURSE, DAD!” It’s cool that he’s growing up knowing that romance is alive and well. With Shien’s birthday and Valentine’s within a week’s span, we get to splurge on Mommy with flowers and jewelry! 🙂

According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, they found that 62% of girlfriends and wives reported to be unsatisfied with last year’s Valentine’s Day gifts. I love getting my wife technology gifts, but I’ve learned that if I’m going to give some practical tech gifts, I better accompany it with some flowers, jewelry, or something sweet. With electronics, she’ll usually say, I don’t really need that. The one electronic gift that she has enjoyed the most and used the most is her Kindle. I think for many guys (and some girls, too) flowers seem like a waste of money, because they don’t last. But, there’s something about nature’s beauty, and flowers really do brighten up any room and brings some romance, love, or appreciation, back into the relationship. Plus, the University of South Brittany study found that women are 30% more likely to accept an admirer’s advances when flowers are involved. There’s definitely a Flower Effect to many relationships.  Surprises are good!

Romance is definitely NOT about being practical.  I wrote a little more about it on Prime Parents Club’s site. It’s about appreciating beauty and equating your loved one with that beauty.  Your loved one deserves to be spoiled, right? 😉

HOW TO WIN: First, check out 1-800-Flowers.com’s Facebook page, by clicking here, and check out their new products, along with their Platinum Collection. You could order straight from their Facebook page!  Then come back to this page, and leave a comment about what products you liked, and how you’ll spoil your loved one this Valentine’s! I will select a winner on Sunday, February 12th, at around 12PM EST, using the random number generator (Each commenter is assigned one number).  I will then forward the winner’s information (I’ll e-mail you) to 1-800-Flowers.com, and they will get you your $100 gift card. That’s it.  Cool, eh?

Good luck, everyone!

Time Out for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. No need to worry about gift giving. If you can’t cook, you can just eat. Getting together with family and just being able to appreciate what we have. It seems with every Thanksgiving, I have more and more to be thankful for.

One of Malachy’s homework assignments was to write and draw what he was thankful for. After filling out two pages, he asked me to make another sheet for him. He really got into it, and that was awesome to see all that he was thankful for. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, ELECTRICITY was the first thing he wrote! With all the technology that surrounds us, I guess he sees how important it is in our daily lives. And without it… no iPad, no Kinect, no computers, no TV… Hmmmmm… Is that a good thing or bad thing? 🙂

Things Malachy is Thankful for (Part I)...
Things Malachy is Thankful For (Part II)...
Things Malachy is Thankful For (Part III)...
Things Malachy is Thankful For (Part IV)...

After writing about it, I decided to ask him about it. Just let the tape roll, and this is what he came up with. Priceless…

Time Out for Secrets, Stories, and Surprises!


Here’s a question. Which one is the most powerful – a secret, a story, or a surprise?

I’m not sure about the answer but this past month was super exhausting, because I had all three things in my possession at once. It was The Story of Gong Gong, narrated by Malachy. The story was born on June 22nd, finished on July 5th, and we had to keep it a secret from Gong Gong until August 4th, the day of his surprise party.

I found the artist, Graham Ogilvie, from Scotland back in May. How awesome the internet can be! I was working on an article about digital footprints, and “Google Imaged” it. I wanted to look for a picture that could capture the importance of taking care of your digital footprint. This is what I found…

I contacted him about permission rights, and he was so helpful about it. It was commissioned to someone else, who I e-mailed, and it turned out to be publicly commissioned, so anyone could use it.
Graham also gave me the link to his website, and I really enjoyed his work. I mentioned that maybe one day I might be able to hire him. Who knew? A month later, Gong Gong e-mailed his son a YouTube link to a creative storyboard drawing done by someone else, and that’s when I thought we should give it a shot with Graham. Within a couple of weeks, Shien formulated the story, and Malachy had a couple of practice readings. After some recording and sound editing, it was sent out for some sketches, and within a week after that, it was completed! I was really proud of Malachy and how he read it so naturally. So cool. It was hard to keep it all a secret (and at least we were able to show the video to others), but in the end, it was such a delight to see Gong Gong’s reaction that evening and the days after it. He absolutely LOVED it. Whew!

Time Out for Dining Out!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Bunny for winning the $45 Outback Steakhouse Dinner with Dad certificate! Thanks to everyone for participating! Happy Fourth of July to all!


Soon after my first giveaway, I was invited to host another! This one’s for a $45 Outback Steakhouse Dinner with Dad certificate! (Thanks, Outback!) We will announce the winner on the Fourth of July, Malachy’s birthday! It will be awesome for him to give away something on his birthday! 😉

I was asked to blog about dining with Malachy, and I thought that was a great idea. I’ve actually blogged about breaking bread together in the past. Malachy and I are blessed to have the best chef right at home… Mommy! So, we basically get to eat well together all the time at home, and that means so much. Watching Jamie Oliver’s, Food Revolution recently, with the single dad with two sons was quite touching. They showed how hard it was for him to feed his boys because he didn’t know how to cook and he felt like there wasn’t enough time. They wound up ordering out all the time and he felt like they were never really eating as a family. The ate for the sake of eating. Dining together is not just about eating together, but sharing together and spending quality time together.

When Shien has evening classes, it’s just me and Malachy. Once in a blue moon, we’ll open the kitchen and make something, but most of the time, we get to order Ming’s and share a meal together. We call it a “date night” and though we miss Mommy’s cooking during those evenings, we manage to make the most of it. In the beginning, that meant ordering way too much because I always thought we should have variety. Lately, I’ve scaled back and have to keep reminding myself that just because Mommy’s not around, it doesn’t mean we get to eat super unhealthy. That would be a bad signal to send to Malachy. The important thing is that we dine together and get to do some Daddy-Son bonding.

As for dining out, it’s always special because we don’t do it often. We do go to our local cafe almost every Sunday for brunch, but unless we’re on vacation, we seldom venture out. We do enjoy the occasional family gatherings at restaurants, and I can’t wait to share a meal with Malachy when we use our certificate for Outback. I have one great memory of eating at Outback Steakhouse. It was a Bachelor’s dinner where I was treated by my buddies, after playing a round of golf together. There’s nothing like playing golf and then having a nice piece of steak! 🙂 I look forward to sharing those moments with Malachy, and maybe he’ll start blogging about his Dinner with Dad experiences soon. I might even have him write about our Outback Steakhouse dinner after we venture out. To be continued… 🙂

So, how do you get a chance to win a $45 certificate to Outback Steakhouse? Just comment and share how you would use the Outback Steakhouse Dinner With Dad $45 certificate. DEADLINE: July 4th, 12PM EST. This certificate can not be used for tax, gratuity, or alcohol. It can be used to enjoy their signature grilled rib-eye, Kookaburra Wings, fall off the bone baby back ribs or anything else you crave from their menu. Getting hungry? 😉 Good luck, everyone!

To find out about more promotions from Outback, you can follow them on Twitter or Like them on Facebook!

Disclosure: I was moderately compensated with a Certificate from Outback Steakhouse in order to offer this promotion.