Category Archives: Thoughts

Time Out for Justice

News came out today that 8 U.S. Army men have been charged with the death of Army Private Danny Chen. I had the honor of teaching Danny in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten.

Today, Justice lays down her sword, puts down her scale, takes off her blindfold, and weeps. She can’t bring back Danny to his friends and family. She can’t take back all the abuse Danny endured from those who were supposed to be on his side. Peace, Hope, and Love try to comfort her, as Anger knocks on her door. Joy is far far away…

They say Danny is in a better place… Why couldn’t that place have been here?

When Danny was in Kindergarten
My First Kindergarten Class - 1997
Joy

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 Discoveries and a Dove Men+Care Giveaway!

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Cindy (Commenter #8) for winning the Dove Men+Care Giveaway.  Thanks so much to everyone for entering!

 

Thanks to Dove® Men + Care™, I get to host another giveaway!  I’m going to announce the winner on Columbus Day.  To me, Columbus Day is about discovery.  Yes, Christopher Columbus did discover something already there, but think about it.  No Facebook, no Twitter, no texting, no e-mail; yet his discovery became known to the world.  Pretty amazing.

In terms of discovery, Dove has brought men’s skincare for me to a whole new level.  Before, when I took a shower, it was just me, my bar of Dove soap, and an all-in-one shampoo.  That’s it.  Once in a while, I would use the soap to wash my face, but didn’t love how it felt.  After showering, it would be antiperspirant/deodorant time, some baby powder, and a weekly shave.  For me, that’s about all the care I had.

Well, the awesome kit that Dove sent me changed everything.  It included a Samsonite toiletry travel bag, two bars of Extra Fresh soap (which they call body and face bars), a Clean Comfort antiperspirant/deodorant (48 hours!), a bottle of Sensitive Clean body and face wash, an Active Clean dual sided shower tool (with great directions), and some great advice from dermatologist, Dr. Jeffrey Benabio (@DermDoc).

Dove's awesome line of men's skincare products.

The bar of soap (a.k.a body and face bar) smells good (in a manly way) and feels good.  I was able to use it to wash my face (with great lather), and it didn’t give me that dry and tight feeling that other soaps can give.  Also, one big problem I have with most other bars of soap is the shape.  The Dove body and face bar has an angular shape and is easy to hold.  Very cool!

I found the antiperspirant/deodorant to be just as good and even better than many others I have tried.  It was long lasting and left no irritation.  Again, good smell and not overpowering or overbearing.  Finally, using the shower tool with the body and face wash provided a whole new cleaning experience.  It forced me to clean longer and clean better.  Now, I can see why my wife uses her bath sponge everyday.  It’s a whole new world. 🙂

Dr. Jeffrey Benabio

The kit also came with some tips and advice from dermatologist, Dr. Jeffrey Benabio (@DermDoc).  I learned that some deodorants are too harsh, which can cause underarm discomfort.  Dr. Benablo says, “Choose a deodorant like you choose a mate.” 🙂

Make sure to check out Dove® Men + Care™ on Facebook and Twitter for more information, news, and tips.  They are also currently hosting The Rules for Men contest.  My rule? A happy wife = a happy life.  Always! 🙂

To enter this giveaway (US residents only), just leave a comment about why you or your significant other needs this cool Dove® Men + Care™ kit. One entry per person. Deadline: October 10, 2011, NOON.  I will announce the winner sometime on Columbus day. I will then forward your information to Dove so they can send the kit to you. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was compensated with a Dove® Men + Care™ kit in order to offer this promotion.


Time Out for After School Thoughts…

A Childhood...
GOT PLAYTIME?

I was the first to line up in front of Malachy’s school to make sure he got a spot for an after school program, the day after Labor Day (before the sun was up and in the rain).   After only one day (plus an orientation), we quit the program. It would have been FREE (thanks to Uncle Sam) every day from 3:00PM to 5:30PM. How could we give up such a coveted spot?

Just looking at Shien during the orientation pretty much made up my mind.  There was so much talk about getting “points” for good behavior or getting suspended for bad behavior.  For snack, they got some juice and graham crackers after school.  (Sugar and more sugar.)  And no, you couldn’t supplement with your own snack because all the other kids would want some.  Your child had to have a book at all times because there would be many times when he would have to wait for the next transition.  (Before the orientation started [right after the program ended], all the kindergartners and first graders were sent to another table and told to be quiet.  That didn’t happen.)  We had to sign papers and were told to go over the rules with our children when we got home, because they also had to sign the “contract” tomorrow.

Broken...

The thing was, we wouldn’t be able to pick him up early EVER. To be fair, you’re given three days out of the 180+, if you had a valid reason. I understood that it would be disruptive to pick your child up early, but to not have that luxury of picking him up when we wanted to or needed to was too much. Just today, seeing him break down much more easily than usual showed me how tired he was and how long a day it was for him. Multiply that by 180+ days, and I saw little good that could come out of that.

KID WANTED

I know that for so many parents, it’s not a choice, and that’s what greatly disturbed me today. Back in the day, my mom picked my sister and I up every day after school. We got to go home and have whatever snack my mom prepared. We did homework at HOME. We got downtime at home.  After we were done with our homework, we got to play, either inside or outside.

For too many kids and parents, it’s so so hard now. Some kids as early as age 3 are going to school from 8:30am to 5:30pm! That doesn’t even include travel time! It’s no wonder so many of our kids are burnt out and bouncing off the walls. What has happened to play time? What has happened to childhood? Our children deserve better…

As for the next child in line on the wait list that takes Malachy’s spot, I really really hope it works out for that child and the family…

Time Out for School

At School
Excited at School

Most of the time, when we ask Malachy how his day was, he’ll respond, “It was great!” I love that attitude, and he has inspired me to be more optimistic about everything. He reminds me to have a positive attitude and to really see all the GREAT there is all around. Hopefully, we can both keep it up! 🙂

He’s so excited about Kindergarten, and so are we.  He’s had two awesome years in pre-kindergarten, and we will really miss his old school.  How much he’s grown these last two years!

His new school looks like it also offers a great program with a fantastic philosophy of learning.  They call it “play-based learning.”  Sounds like learning will be fun!   🙂  That’s how it should be.  Plus, he’s going to alternate days in terms of learning another language.  One full day of English with one teacher and then one full day of Mandarin with another teacher.  We’ll see how that goes.

Life is GREAT! 😉

Feeling Great!
Life is GREAT!

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 Summer Vacation!

Time Out for a Vacation!
You would think summer vacation means lots of time off to relax and do your own thing. Not for this Dad. On the contrary. For the past two summers, I decided to take on the role of Camp Dad, while Shien finishes her course work. That means Malachy waking me up when he wakes up (i.e., no sleeping in) and planning activities for the day. I could easily just sit him in front of the television and give him the iPad, and he could probably be content the whole day, while I sit in front of the computer and try to get some work done, but that just wouldn’t be good for either of us.

So instead, we get some outdoor time, shop for food (lots of soup), play games like Yahtzee (with real dice or cards), jacks, and pick-up sticks, do some science experiments, give him some time to read and write on his own, take daily naps when we can, and of course, some tech time. I love Planet Fassa’s mantra of Opening Minds, Nourishing Hearts, and Strengthening Bodies. I remind Malachy that we have to exercise our body, mind, and soul. 🙂

When he goes to bed, then it’s time to work on my writing, planning presentations and webinars, reading, and some Bejeweled Blitz… 😉

What an awesome summer so far!

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.

Time Out for a Flashback and a Father’s Day Giveaway!

 

Oh, how I’ve missed you!

UPDATE: THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING IN MY FIRST GIVEAWAY.  MALACHY AND I USED RANDOM.ORG TO PICK THE WINNER.  THE WINNER IS MATTHEW! (Comment #24)  CONGRATULATIONS!

This is pretty cool, because thanks to Dad Central Consulting and Lands’ End, I get to host my first giveaway!

Drum roll please…  Introducing the new mesh polo shirt by Lands’ End!  A winner will be announced on Father’s Day, June 19, 2011!

Flashback

When I showed my wife my awesome Lavender Ice polo shirt for review, she said, “Wow, you haven’t worn one of those in a LONG time!”

This shirt brought back memories.  Once upon a time, before Malachy was born (almost five years ago), this city boy would go play golf with his buddies almost every single weekend.  The game taught me a lot about life and myself.  Patience.  Enjoy the moment.  Stop and think before you shoot.  Look forward.  Stay positive.  I can’t wait to share these lessons and more with Malachy, when we hit the links one day…  I’ll be saving this polo to wear on Father’s Day 2011. 🙂

During that decade or so of playing golf every weekend, I went through dozens and dozens of polo shirts made by various designers such as Polo, Ashworth, Greg Norman, Ping, Nike, Izod, and more.  Whenever there was a big sale, I’d buy one or two or three or more, depending on how big the sale was.  After several washings, many of these shirts just simply couldn’t handle the repeated washings.  Some always felt stiff and never got soft, some got very wrinkly, some took forever to dry, some of the buttons on them would break in half or completely come off, and some of the collars on them would start curling.

My Review

Looking at this new 100% cotton mesh polo shirt, it looks like Lands’ End did their homework to find out what guys like me needed in a nice golf polo shirt.  It doesn’t feel stiff; it’s strong yet soft.  It has strong etched buttons that are cross-stitched, and a collar that didn’t curl after being put through the wash.  It also wasn’t overly wrinkly coming out of the dryer.  One thing this shirt has that none of my other golf shirts had is a “jersey-taped seam” on the neck and shoulder.  The other thing that makes it really cool is a “half-moon knit yoke (that’s the heather blue part in the photo),” which really does “feel softer on your skin.”  That’s especially important when wearing it in hot weather.  The Lands’ End site provides even more details about the shirts.  I had to ask my wife what kind of blue that was.  🙂  They have a great 100% satisfaction guarantee for their customers.  Very cool!

The Giveaway!

Thanks to Dad Central Consulting and Lands’ End, one lucky reader of this post will win one of these polos shipped directly from Lands’ End!  All you have to do is leave a comment below and say why you would like to win a Lands’ End polo. My son and I will choose the winner on Father’s Day, June 19th, using random.org.  I will then e-mail the chosen winner to ask for their desired shirt size.

Deadline to enter a comment is 12PM (EST) on Father’s Day.  Winner will be notified soon after that.  Good luck, everyone! 🙂

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Lands’ End and received a polo shirt to facilitate my review, one to giveaway, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.