Day 94 – Thankful for Bringing the Boys to Work

Over the past couple of days I’ve had a few memories from past years popping up on Facebook.  In years past when the boys were off of school for Christmas week we would have a few Dad & Son Days.  Due to my work schedule I had decided not to take time off with them this year and let them chill at home.  The more pics I saw pop up from past years the more I realized that I may have been wrong.

Knowing that I was only working a half day today I asked the boys on a whim last night if they would like to spend the day at work with me.  I was surprised and overwhelmed when they both immediately answered “Yes!”  It was pretty awesome and totally made my night.

So this morning I woke the boys up early and we headed out to the office…  stopping off at McDonald’s for breakfast on the road.  We enjoyed watching the sunrise paint the Mississippi River pinkish purple to our east as we headed north, talking the whole time.

At the office the boys helped me out with handing out paychecks and greeting associates.  After some good morning’s to co-workers as they came in the boys went into my office to help me out with some math.  They both helped me total up some info off of a report and we were able to learn some cool math tricks along the way.  After that they got busy doing some homework and reading.  For the most part it went pretty well, I only had to help Gavin focus a couple of times as I was getting things done. 🙂


It was pretty awesome to have them in the office with me hearing me on the phone, seeing what I do, and hearing me talk to myself as I worked on a couple of projects.  Even though we weren’t necessarily working together there was something very peaceful about having them in the office with me.  In a crazy kind of way I felt like I was more productive than usual because I wanted to set a great example for them.

As the day went on we headed out, ran some errands, picked up lunch on the road, talked on the way home, and then played a quick game before packing up to head out.  While it may not have been the most exciting Dad & Son Day ever, it felt great and I appreciated the time with them.  I’m glad I had enough reminders to help me realize how to really make it an awesome day!


Day 93 – Thankful for If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail again… In slightly different ways… Until you’re successful

Day 93 – Thankful for If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail again…  In slightly different ways…  Until you’re successful

The upside of failing is something that I am hugely thankful for today. 

Let me take a step back, today has been awesome.  Many great things to be thankful for ranging from awesome and unexpected compliments from team members, sharing in the successes of other team members, celebrating huge wins with other team members, working on projects to help my teams, having time for self-reflection, and spending time with my boys at home watching MythBusters while Becky gets a haircut.  Tons of good stuff!

So why talk about failing on a fantastic day like this?  Because failing is awesome!  Obviously, I’d always rather succeed, but it’s impossible to be successful at everything the first time.  Failing means that you tried something beyond your skill set.  You didn’t stay in a safe place or in your comfort zone.  You tried something you’d never done and took on something with a chance of failure.  You worked on growing.

The second part of failing is getting off your ass, learning what went wrong, and trying something slightly different.  You aren’t scared of failing again and you don’t let your fear stop you from trying again.  It is all about the grit!

Last year I failed in my attempt to be a TEDx speaker.  This year I’m trying a different approach to get in.  Maybe I’ll be successful, maybe not.  If not, I’ll brush myself off, try something different, and try again for a different TEDx talk.

Throughout the day there were several reminders of times that I’ve failed.  In some cases I’ve since figured out how to be successful.  In others I’ve failed again and I go back to the drawing board again, asking for help and coaching. 

The boys and I are watching MythBusters and the entire episode has been a lesson in failing forward.  Have a theory, try it, see what happens, fail, review the failure, re-design the theory or process, and try again…  Over and over, not getting frustrated, just continuing to look for ways to be successful until things work out.  How great of a lesson is that for the boys?

So today I’m thankful for if at first I don’t succeed, fail, fail again, in slightly different ways, until I’m successful.


Day 92 – Thankful for Monopoly with Gavin

It’s nice knowing that regardless of how crazy, busy, long, or stressful the work day will be there’s always my family ready to chill and spend time with me at home.

Tonight Becky took Dominic to futsol (indoor soccer) so it was just me and my best-est buddy.  The stresses of the day dissolved away and we were lost in enjoying an epic game of Monopoly!

We had fun, we joked around, we had some life lessons, and enjoyed each other’s company…  exactly what the doctor ordered.  True to Gavin form you’ll notice that he’s either totally hamming it up or in a blur in his perpetual state of motion!  How can I be in anything but a good mood when I’m playing a game with guy???

I’m very thankful to have times like this.


Day 91 – Thankful for Things that I Keep to Myself

Today’s blog probably won’t be the most viewed post ever, nor is it will it be one of the longest or most insightful.  Today’s blog is a very honest one, and one that I’ve put much thought into over the past 15 months.

There are a few reasons why I share this blog publicly as opposed to keeping it as a private journal.  It keeps me accountable to writing everyday, or at least it did…  Now it just feels like natural habit.  Another reason it is public is that I want to share some of these things that involve other people like my post about Rachel a couple of days ago.  It gives me an avenue to show my appreciation to those individual.  The last reason I share it is my hope that each day it sparks someone’s appreciation for something in their lives that they may have overlooked had they not read that day’s blog.  Knowing that there’s the occasional smile or happy memory remembered makes me smile.

So while I am almost always honest about what I mention as the thing I am thankful for that day there’s a day every once in a while when I really wanted to mention something, but for one reason or another I didn’t want to share it.  Maybe it was too private or too personal.  It might have been something that I just didn’t want other people to know.  Sometimes it may have been something that I didn’t want to bring attention to.  Whatever the case, it is for those things that I am thankful for today.

Today has held a number things that I am very thankful for that I would rather keep to myself.  That doesn’t mean I appreciate them any less, it just means that I’d rather appreciate each of them without sharing them.  My apologies for not sharing them, you’ll just have to trust me.



Day 90 – Thankful for a Productive AND Relaxing Day at Home

In the middle of the non-stop action that is the holidays it is a blessing to get a day that involves no agenda, no work, no anything.  Today was that day!

It was also made all the better by getting some homemade treats delivered by our neighbor Elaine.  There were a lot more on the plate when she dropped them off.  Thanks again Elaine!!!


Starting off with getting over ten hours of sleep and now ending with some time on the couch with Becky looking at future vacation ideas.  I was able to get a couple of projects done that were relaxing and yet rewarding.  The only time I left the house was to get some supplies from Menards, and the majority of the time I was able to work in peaceful quiet.

There was some family time mixed in, but it was nice to be productive, chill, and just have nothing going on that HAD to be done.  Tomorrow is back to reality and getting together with some friends, today was that nice peaceful oasis that I should remember to schedule into each holiday season.


Day 89 – Thankful for My Sister In Law, Rachel… The Crazy Cat Lady

Part of the reason I do this blog is that it helps me take time to be thankful for the wonderful things in life that I can sometimes take for granted.  Maybe it’s just me, but choosing something Christmas related is probably a little too obvious today.  There’s so much to be thankful for related to this holiday that it almost seems a little too easy.  Me being the occasional non-conformist that I can be, am going in a different direction.

The past few days at Becky’s parents’ house was a lot of fun.  While I had fun with everyone, I noticed that there’s one family member that just always goes out of her way to make fun happen.  Anytime that Rachel’s around you’re guaranteed to see her smiling and in a great mood.  She has a self-deprecating sense of humor that always cracks me up.  As a self-diagnosed crazy cat lady she owns the title and is the first one to give herself a hard time about it.  Any conversation that she is a part of is made better by having her in it, whether it is her cracking a joke or a one liner, or the extremely animated facial expressions that she makes!


While this weekend she kept me laughing and having fun, there’s so much more to her than that.  She’s incredibly giving and generous.  Her nieces and nephews are well taken care of by her (& her boyfriend Tyler) over the holidays.  But it’s not just generosity of material things, she’s very giving of herself.  She wants to spend time with her nieces and nephews and makes sure that they are having a good time.  Throw in the way she also serves her country and it helps emphasize the point.

So today I’m of course thankful for so many things related to Christmas, but I have to share my appreciation for Rachel.  She may be a crazy cat lady, but she’s one cool cat… see what I did there? 🙂  Rachel, thanks for adding smiles and laughter to the past couple of days for so many of us family members, it wouldn’t be the same without you!


Day 88 – Thankful for Epic Sled Battles

Day 88 – Thankful for Epic Sled Battles

As has been the norm for the past few Christmases, the boys had a lot of fun being pulled on sleds behind a four wheeler and a mule today.  I didn’t do nearly as well taking pictures as I have in the past, but this one from 3 years ago gives you the general idea.

This year the boys had fun as always!  For a while Tyler (Rachel’s boyfriend) and I manned the mule and were pulling Gavin and Nicholas. They would each start on one sled and then either try to knock each other off or try to get on the other’s sled.  It was a riot to watch them try to do that while we were swerving the mule all over trying do add to the difficulty.  Here’s an example of what it looked like:

After a while (& getting stuck a few times) Tyler and I tagged in and took the boys on.  It was awesome!  It was a non-stop exciting time as we dumped each other, tossed each other off of the sleds, and had the occasional snowball fight.  There were facewashes, snowballs, tripping, tackling, trash talking, and all the fun you’d expect from great time like that.

While I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun celebrating Christmas later tonight, I’m very thankful for the couple of hours we had outside enjoying the snow and having a blast!


Day 87 – Thankful for Being Totally Spoiled By My Mother In Law

This post is kind of tough to write, I’ve got a hard core food coma totally slowing my brain down right now.  All of my body’s resources are being used to digest some fantastic eats!

As I’ve mentioned before, I won the Mother In Law Lottery.  Last night Becky informed me that her mom was making lasagna for supper tonight, one of my favorite meals.  

With it being Christmas I’m pretty sure she’s going to have Napolean Cremes, on of my favs.  

Then when we get to their house Mary shows me the pan of apple squares she made, another favorite!

It is pretty awesome to visit and be spoiled with great food!  I’m very thankful for all the ways she takes care of and spoils me.


Day 86 – Thankful for Christmas Cards

Day 86 – Thankful for Christmas Cards

The weather outside may be frightful, but the door to our basement looks delightful!

This is the time of the year when, in addition to putting on several pounds, there are Christmas cards flying in at a breakneck pace. When I was a kid I really only cared about them when they were in a package along with some treats or if they contained cash or check.  I was obviously missing the point, but I have to admit, they look way cooler now than they did before.

That’s actually the reason why I’m thankful for them now.  So many of them are custom made and have pictures of the family and their escapades throughout the year.  Some are more traditional, some have letter, and some are just completely original.  In any case, it is great to read each and every single one of them.  Picking up the card and seeing the names always trigger memories of them and make me smile.

Thank you to everyone who’s put a smile on my face with a Christmas card this year!


Day 85 – Thankful for Opportunity

First things first, I thought this was supposed to be increasingly difficult as the days roll on.  When I started this blog I was trying to pay attention to every little thing I could be thankful for because I “knew” there was going to be a day I was going to run out of ideas.  As Dominic would say, “I’m LOL-ing” at that thought now!  Another day, another plethora of things to be thankful for.  It was a tough call, but what I am most thankful for today is opportunity.


There are our two knuckleheads, at it again.  Another night, a different activity for them to try out.  Over the past few weeks they’ve had archery, log rolling, scouts (of the Boy & Cub variety), swimming, log rolling, soccer, choir concerts, crazy home crafts, and orchestra concerts.  They’ve had a chance to try out so many things over the past year, it’s been awesome!

That’s what I am most thankful for of all of the great things that today brought, the fact that they have the opportunity to try so many different things.  It is crazy busy in our house and Becky and I get run ragged taking them to and from so many different things, but what an experience!  One of my passions is giving them the opportunity to try out just about anything to see what they really enjoy, helping them find their passion.  Who knows what things they’ll really enjoy as they continue to grow up, but it’s very rewarding to give them the opportunity to find that passion.  There’ve been many times that what I thought would be a passing fad (cello for Dominic, archery for Gavin) have turned into things they’ve continued to enjoy and there’ve been others that went the other way.  Regardless, I am just thankful that they’ve had the opportunity to try something new.

Who know what types of things 2017 will hold, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for other crazy thoughts.  My buddy Steve and I are conspiring a long weekend trip out to Colorado with the boys to help them summit a mountain, who knows, if they go with they might even have the opportunity to practice first aid skills on the two old guys!