Day 575 – Thankful for the Ability and Tools Needed to Fit It All In

Becky normally does more than her share of Uber-ing the boys from event to event. Tonight was very different as a few things happened at once… She had a work event this evening. Gavin and Dominic both had a full slate of events located across the town and at different times. I am swamped and needed to get a lot of work done tonight sszso I’m ready for tomorrow.

As I headed off to drop Gavin off at soccer I called my mom for a quick pep talk. I knew she’d been here before and she always cheers me up when I’m feeling frazzled like this. Just like always I ways laughing as we got off the phone and it was off to the races.

I headed home and was able to crank out some emails before taking Dominic to Subway for supper before picking up Gavin. He and I spent some quality time talking in the car as we waited for Gavin’s practice to conclude.

Once Gavin was loaded up we headed across town to take Dominic to church. Afterwards Gavin and I grabbed supper (somehow he also chose Subway!) and we had funny talking and joking while we ate. There may have been Dunkin Donuts run after dinner 😉.

Gavin and I headed back to the church, parked, switched seats, and I fired up my laptop to start getting caught up as Gavin read.

It was about that time that the inspiration for today’s post struck me. How cool is it that my career choice allows me the flexibility to work like this? Sure, I’d already gotten in a full day of work and then some, but being able to get things done around the other life events is something I’m very thankful for. I didn’t have to run into the office after the kids were in bed and I didn’t have to lay sleepless in bed stressing about tomorrow. I have the ability and tools around me to accomplish the AND – be successful in work AND as a dad.

Thanks!!!

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Day 574 – Thankful for Playing Baseball Outside Until Mom Called Us In Because It Was Getting Dark

The boys never really got into baseball because they jumped into other sports instead. Imagine my surprise tonight when seemingly out of nowhere Gavin asked if I’d pitch him a few balls in the park.

No pics of us playing, we were too busy to pause for pictures ;)

Next thing we knew the boys and I were playing baseball barefoot in the park across the street. We were all laughing at how terrible each of us are at it, but that only added to our fun. Lots of laughing, smiling, taunting, and cheering each other on was happening as we threw pitches to each other. It was awesome!

We could’ve stayed out there all night, but Becky knew better and called us in when it was getting dark out. Of course we only stayed out for another 10-15 minutes afterwards 😉.

I’m not sure where this came from, but I’m thankful for Gavin’s sudden impulse to play baseball. Tonight was one of those crazy moments in which I was simultaneously totally present with the boys goofing around with them while also being flooded with memories of playing baseball with my dad and brother when I was a kid. There’s not a better way to explain it than this, it was a moment in which I was a kid and an adult, a father and a son, having fun playing an ageless game in a place where time doesn’t exist. How awesome is that for a way to wrap up a night?

Thanks!!!

Day 573 – Thankful for Another First, Dominic’s Track Meet

Tonight was Dominic’s first middle school track meet. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a track meet of any sort ever in my life. Seeing him compete was pretty cool, kind of like a cross country meet except on a paved oval.

Watching him run the 1600 was pretty sweet. He burned through four laps way more quickly than I would have! Before too long he’ll be running the 4×400 relay.

The kid never ceases to amaze me with his willingness to try new things! This was another one of those proud parent moments when I caught myself just sitting back and watching him with pride as he took on a new challenge.

Thanks!!!

Day 572 – Thankful for Realizing Dominic is a Better Cook Than I Am and a Project the Boys Worked On That Has Me Smiling Big

Day 572 – Thankful for Realizing Dominic is a Better Cook Than I Am and a Project the Boys Worked On That Has Me Smiling Big

Let’s just say that one of our meals today was FANTASTIC and the other was a dumpster fire…  maybe more of a grease fire…

Which of these meals would you rather have had today?  Dominic’s homemade chicken noodle soup with bread pudding and peaches for dessert…  or…

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my pathetic attempt at bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breasts on the grill?

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Tough call, right?  Thank goodness I still had time to run to Festival, grab some burgers and save a little face.  Regardless, Dominic’s meal was awesome and way outshined my attempt.  Pretty cool knowing we have an in-house cook!

Throughout the afternoon the boys were working on a very cool project that was straight out of a list of things I always wanted to do when I was a kid but didn’t.  They took an old battery operated car that they were both way to big for, stripped it down, and started re-building it with some modifications.  By the end of the night they’d gotten the frame together and were able to go for a test run!  The next steps for this include putting the steering wheel back in, adding a bit of a floor, and possibly asking for some advice on what would happen if we went with a slightly (or much) larger battery…  Who knows, there may be a hand controlled accelerator…  So many options, so little time!

I’ve been thankful for each step in the process.  They took it apart slowly as to not damage anything.  As they pulled it apart they’ve been able to learn some mechanical basics that should help power future inventions for them.  We even had some time to work on being a team and taking a deep breath when something wasn’t going well.  All in all, it was a pretty sweet precursor to a dream on my list…  building a car with the boys.  This was an excellent first step.

Thanks!!!

Day 571 – Thankful for a Dad Time Capsule

This morning we went through a couple of storage bins of Dad’s old stuff and it was an amazing time.  Saved in those bins were some of his hunting stuff, piles of old pics, and even some of his old report cards and yearbooks!

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Going through all of that brought back so many wonderful memories of time with Dad.  For instance, seeing a couple of safety harnesses reminded me of the time the two of us went to a hunting convention and had a great day together.  The old GPS and maps of his elk hunting spot in Colorado reminded me of the hunting trip I went with him on.  So many old pictures reminded me of other moments with him and of other stories he’d told me over the years.  It was an amazing time capsule of Dad.  Being able to share that time with my family made it all the better.

Over the next few weeks I’ve got quite the task in front of me, scanning many old pictures, newspaper clippings, and so on into an electronic format.  While that task may seem a little daunting I know I’ll be smiling the entire time.  How cool to be able to spend that much tie going through so many wonderful memories of my dad?

Thanks!!!

Day 570 – Thankful for an Awesome Teammate Who Made an Incredible Impact

Today is Carolyn’s last day with Express as next week she starts a new chapter and adventure in her life.  She will be greatly missed by many including her teammates, clients and associates.  As that reality sinks in today I find myself pausing to be so thankful for the time she’s spent with us over the past 3 years.

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When Carolyn started with us she was in a temporary role right after college.  She quickly showed us how talented she was and we moved her to our long term team.  After showing us even more of how she fits the values and culture we were building she was promoted to a sales role within our Eau Claire team.  Based on her performance and her quickly increasing leadership skills she was again promoted to manage our Menomonie team.

The office she took over was far from healthy yet she took on the challenge with a smile.  Working through all of the challenges and obstacles she built a core team who have continued to grow and flourish with her leadership and support.  That office has since become one of the strongest and consistently healthiest teams in our group.  Even now that team is poised to grow exponentially in many ways and continues to become stronger.

Did I mention that she did all that before 25?  So how did Carolyn do it?  She lives and embodies our values.

She is constantly learning and growing and lives the Growth Mindset.  Carolyn wasn’t afraid to try new things or to do things differently as she would learn from every experience.  If there was a training opportunity she was on it right away.

There were so many times in her career with Express in which Carolyn stretched way outside of her comfort zone to Grit something out knowing that it would lead to the long term successes and goals she had.  When others may have become afraid or nervous and quit Carolyn persevered and made awesome things happen.

Whenever a decision was made we could always count on Carolyn to Do Right.  This meant that she would take the time to make sure she was doing the right thing for our associates, clients, and team.  It’s not always easy to do the right thing, but she did, time after time after time.  She has an incredible moral compass.

So while of course I’m sad that our paths are splitting for now I can’t help but smile and beam with pride and gratitude for the time we’ve had together.  Because of Carolyn all of my teams are stronger.  Because of her help I’ve become a better leader.  Thanks to her leadership and coaching so many others have grown in their careers and are on a faster track thanks to her help, leadership, and inspiration.  We’ve got strong and sustainable relationships with more of our clients thanks to her.  As I look around our teams she’s had a positive impact on all of us, directly or indirectly.  How could I not be thankful for that?

Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing your time with us over the past handful of years.  Your impact will be felt throughout our teams for ages.  Thank you for pushing me to dream bigger and for the hugely powerful impact you’ve had no me!

Thanks!!!

Day 569 – Thankful for a Wife Who Just Gets Me

Earlier today I received a text from Becky which reminded me of yet another reason I am head over heals in love with her.  Her text with an idea of how to celebrate our 16 year anniversary shows just how much she gets me…

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Gavin had left me pretty frustrated after Cub Scouts today.  It was a long day of work and it was one of those days in which my To Do list grew more quickly than my ability to check them off.  I was wore out and ready to call it a night and start fresh in the morning.  Becky, sensing my mood decided to fire up a slideshow on the TV showing a picture of each of the National Parks.  We went through each one and tried to guess where it was.  By the time we made it through all 59 I was feeling much more relaxed and in a better mood.

I am so thankful to be with someone who just gets me.  Regardless of what I say she always knows what I’m really feeling and seems to find a way to cheer me back up and put a smile on my face.  In past blog posts I’ve mentioned that this blog could be called “Yet Another Reason I Love Becky,” but it is nice to write about other things I’m grateful for once in a while.

Thanks for always finding a way to cheer me up, you’re the best!!!  Love you!!!

Thanks!!!