Category Archives: Inspiration

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… ūüôā

Time Out for Minecraft!

It’s been pretty crazy watching the world of MInecraft taking over so many households, including mine! ¬†Kids can spend hours and hours in front of their computers and/or tablets creating virtual worlds that they can take part in with others inside the game. ¬†At first, I just couldn’t believe kids could get into a game with such bad graphics. ¬†Then, the realization set in that my own son was swept up in it, and there was no turning back. ¬†As I watched Malachy play in Creative Mode and how he created different worlds and structures, how he watched YouTube videos to see how others used their inventories to create “new” items, I saw some of the positives in this game. ¬†We limited his playtime, but we saw how it took over his drawings, his writing, his conversations, his Lego Building, etc. ¬†There was even a New York Times article¬†talking about the obsession and some of the benefits of it. ¬†I was living it and witnessing it with my own very eyes. ūüôā

Recently, LaunchPadToys¬†came up with an awesome¬†Minecraft contest using their Toontastic App called Toon Academy: Minecraft. ¬†It’s like they read his mind when they designed this contest! ¬†After telling Malachy about it, I knew he would go for it. ¬†He’s already gotten so much support and encouragement from the online community, thanks to social media. ¬†Very cool!

His video presentation demonstrated to me all the vocabulary and skills he was picking up through the course of his play. ¬†It also made him really think about how to convey his message to others in a way they could better understand why he’s so passionate about Minecraft. ¬†It took a few takes, but it was all him, and he put hard work into it. ¬†It’s what engaged learning is all about. ¬†Impressive. ¬†Contest ends on Thursday (October 17th), so we’ll just have to wait and see… ūüėČ

Time Out for H20!

What an awesome day it was yesterday!  Thanks to NYC H20, who organized the event, we got the opportunity to go canoeing on the Pepacton Reservoir and learn something about the water that we drink everyday.  Could hardly feel my shoulders afterwards, but it was worth it.

It’s mind-blowing being able to canoe on the very water that comes to our faucets from 100 miles away! ¬†They do add some chlorine, fluoride, orthophosphate, and sodium hydroxide¬†to our water, but it’s UNFILTERED! ¬†Over 90% of our water comes to us in NYC through gravity, as it travels from the watershed in the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River Valley through reservoirs, aqueducts, pipes, and tunnels. ¬†More than 1.1 billion gallons of water to about 9 million people in NYC every day! Pretty incredible, eh? ¬†It was nice to share this learning experience with the family.

from NYC DEP

Another big lesson we learned was from the canoe itself. ¬†Initially, Shien was rowing in the front, and I was rowing and steering in the back. ¬†After lunch, we decided to switch, since I thought I could powerhouse it in the front. ¬†Boy, was I wrong! ¬†Being heavier in the front, I used more energy than ever, and Shien was having difficulty navigating in the back. ¬†We were going nowhere fast. ¬†We decided to make a switch in the water, where I had to lie flat on my back in the canoe, and slide to the back, while Shien climbed over, and Malachy stayed steady in the middle. ¬†Teamwork! ¬†After that, it was so much better! ¬†I learned that just because you are working really really hard, doesn’t mean you’re always doing a good job. ¬†You need to make sure you are navigating properly, or you’ll never reach your destination, wherever that might be. ūüėČ

 

 

Time Out for Bike Riding…

It’s one of those vivid ingrained memories in my head… learning how to ride the bicycle. ¬†I remember it being a big deal the day the training wheels finally came off! ¬† I don’t know how accurate my memory is, but I remember I was five and my cousin, Karmin (thanks, Karmin!) held on to my bicycle as he helped to teach me how to ride. ¬†First, he held on to the handlebar on the side, as I went up and down the block in front of our apartment building in Brooklyn. ¬†Eventually, he started holding on to the back seat of my bicycle, where he was out of my peripheral view. ¬†I remember that really well, because at one point I thought he was holding on to my bicycle, and when I looked back, he was halfway up the block! ¬†I was so shocked that I did it on my own that I went crashing onto the ground. ¬†The thrill, and then the agony…

I learned to look forward and to trust myself.  I learned that fear and dwelling on the past (looking back) prevented me from enjoying the ride and looking forward.  I learned that life is sometimes about learning how to fall.  I remember using this story of learning how to ride the bicycle in my college essay to Columbia almost 25 years ago!

35 years after learning how to ride the bicycle, here I am trying to teach Malachy how to ride! ¬†Amazing! ¬†Wondering how (or if) he’ll remember these days. ¬†I know my back will never forget these past 3 days! ūüôā ¬†It’s such a rush for him, though. ¬†I thought by day 3, he wouldn’t want to go back outside and try again (at least not 3 days in a row), and I know I wouldn’t have minded if he had said, “Nah, I’m not in the mood, today. ¬† Let’s take a break, Dad.” ¬†But instead he said, “Dad, I really like it! ¬†I want to try to ride by myself again!” ¬†Love his attitude!

So, there we were again today. ¬†Me yelling at him and telling him to focus and to concentrate, to balance, to stop leaning and turning and singing and cracking up. ¬†I know we both cracked up when he was able to ride for a few split seconds on his own. ¬†The thrill of getting it. ¬†It really IS cool. ¬†You don’t remember when you learn how to walk, but you can remember learning how to ride a bicycle. ¬†It’s a bit different nowadays. ¬†I didn’t have a helmet. ¬†And I remember falling over a lot harder and getting scraped and bruised. ¬†I get so tempted to just let Malachy go, but I don’t want him to fall down so hard that he’ll get too scared to try again. ¬†So, I hold on…

Eventually, I know he’ll get it, and I’ll feel proud that he learned and happy in being there with him! ūüôā

Time Out for Teamwork!

O2!

Back in 2009, I was looking online for a nice backpack for Shien, because her friend told us how important it was to have good back support when you’re carrying a heavy bag. A Google search helped me to find the best price for the North Face bag at O2 Gear Shop. I have been getting regular e-mails from them ever since buying the bag, and I recently “Liked” them on Facebook.

Yesterday, when I was checking Facebook, I saw that O2 had a contest to see who could think of the most creative way to represent “O2” using only hands and bodies, and post a picture on their wall. Winner would get a pair of their Marmot Glade gloves! They extended the deadline, so I was in luck!

I LOVE contests, because there’s always a chance to win, and you have to be “in it to win it,” right? Malachy has been my lucky charm, and it’s always been fun to have him participate with me in contests. Our biggest one so far was the Post-It contest that we entered before he was 2, where we were finalists, and we won a laptop!

By dinnertime, I was inspired to work up a design with Malachy. I knew the “2” would be the hardest part, and I wanted Malachy to be the “2” so I could make the “O.” With Shien’s and her dad’s help, we took a couple of pictures and posted one. I told Malachy it didn’t matter if we won, because it was cool to just do a project together. We high-fived. ¬†Teamwork!

This morning, I got the awesome news that we were chosen! When I got home, I showed Malachy the Facebook page that announced the winner. I had him read it aloud, and he was so excited when he got to the part that said we had won. It was so cool because he didn’t ask what we won; he was just excited that we were chosen. Thanks to O2 Gear Shop for the inspirational win!

Time Out for Poetry!

Recently, I entered a little poetry contest at Edutopia.org. The contest was to write a poem, in Haiku format, on how to improve education. So far, I’m in the lead by a few votes… ūüėČ

The first thing I had Malachy do today when he came home after school (after washing his hands, of course), was his homework. I wanted it to be done before dinner, so he could relax later on. For the most part, he hasn’t resisted doing his homework this year. WHEW!¬† I thought today’s assignment was simple enough. The sheet, although a bit cut off, asked him to think of words that remind him of spring and to use the words to complete the form. I just put the sheet down on the table, asked him to do his homework, and when it was dinner time, I asked him to put it away in his folder. I didn’t get to look at it until he had gone to bed. Expecting to just see a word in each blank, I saw that he composed quite the poem! ūüôā

He writes,

Spring is…

Spring is A time where plants grow
Spring is After Winter has begun
Spring is A time that snow has all melted
But most of all
Spring is Fun!

WOW!¬† He’s a poet and doesn’t even know it!¬† Every day, he manages to do something that amazes me.¬† So cool! ūüėČ

A Poet, and he doesn't even know it! ūüėČ