Day 671 – Thankful for a Reminder of an Awesome Childhood Dream Come True

Day 671 – Thankful for a Reminder of an Awesome Childhood Dream Come True

Full disclosure, I’ve already blogged about this experience once before (Check it out here), but it really hit home for me again today. Five years ago today Becky helped to bring a childhood dream to life. I got a text from her of a picture from Facebook reminding her of this and it’s had me smiling ever since.

Dinosaurs were one of my favorite things in the world back in the day and I wanted to be a paleontologist in the worst way. My parents always supported all of my crazy dreams, no matter how crazy or short lived, and helped offer the chances for me to grow towards them. In this case they’d bought me a sweet dinosaur encyclopedia which I’m still pretty sure is the most read book I own.

Between that book and an old PBS show (possibly Reading Rainbow or something similar) I learned of a slice of heaven on Earth… Dinosaur National Monument. It is a huge wall of many exposed dinosaur bones that are slowly excavated and studied. You could even touch them! In the worst way I wanted to get there to see it, but our vacations never got us close to the Utah and Colorado border (and with good reason, there is nothing of note remotely close).

Isn’t it funny how much more we appreciate something that we’ve wanted for a very long time? It seems that we anticipate it more and our experience is even more heightened due to the delay. By the time Becky brought up the idea about three decades later the dream had cooled to an ember but quickly roared back into a blaze.

By the time we walked into the building and I saw that wall I’d dreamt about for thirty plus years my eyes immediately welled up as my heart was full of joy. It was a moment of my life that will never be forgotten. A moment of pure joy frozen in time. The waiting made it even more special. Even as I type this I’m wiping away some happy tears as I relive that moment. It still gives me the chills after five years.

While that moment was incredible, there was another moment that happened at almost the same time that also brings me much happiness. It was when I looked at Becky with misty eyes and saw the smile on her face as she watched the utter joy on mine. It was so awesome to see just how special she knew this moment was for me and the joy of knowing that she helped turn my childhood dream into reality. In that moment we shared smiles of pure elation and it was incredible. I am beyond thankful for her actions to make this happen. It’s amongst the favorite memories in my life. She gave me something so special that I can’t even begin to explain the feeling.

So on this five year anniversary of that moment I can’t help but focus on it again today. Becky and a wall of old bones brought the child out in me, and ecstatic kid who had just reached to the heaven me and touched the stars of his dreams… or in this case, reached towards the rock and touched history.

Mom and Dad, thanks for supporting my crazy dreams and ideas with books and positive thinking. You also taught me that we don’t always get what we want when we want it, but there’s always a way to get it eventually as long as we stay positive and work hard. Love you!

Becky, thanks for helping me close a circle of my childhood and for helping me reach a decades old dream. The joy you brought me through that experience is so huge I don’t even know where to start. You brought out the little smiling dreamer kid in me! Love you!


Day 670 – Thankful for the Life Lessons Learned from Shooting a Rocket

At one point last night Dominic made the comment “Rockets hate me.” He’s tried several times to launch a model rocket but for one reason or another it’s never quite worked out. At Scout Camp this year Sue Adams offered up the opportunity for him to shoot one off to start wrapping up a merit badge. Unfortunately he’d tossed the one that had failed several times so we headed off to Hobby Lobby yesterday and found a new one. He immediately went to work on putting it together.

From the process of putting it together through laughing it today I was thankful for so many wonderful life lessons he learned. While the emotions ran the entire spectrum there were so many little nuggets of wisdom for him to learn (and for me to remember for myself!)

  • When you get frustrated it’s a good time to take a step back and take a deep breath. At one point he was so angry at the project that he unknowingly was making life more difficult. It wasn’t until after he calmed down that he saw the solution and found the fix.
  • There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. When applying glue to hold the fins he added a bit much and they kept sliding. Once we cleaned it off and only used a little it worked great. More isn’t always better.
  • If at first you don’t succeed try again… using the lessons learned from the last time. When something doesn’t work, don’t give up. Earn from the failure and try again using that knowledge. If you fail again repeat the process until you have success.
  • Gratitude makes us all happier. As he was wrapping up the rocket he paused, gave me a hug, and said “thanks for the help Dad, I’m thankful for having a dad who’s so good at crafts.” He was beaming as he said it, as was I when I heard him say it. It put both of us in an even better mood.
  • Victory always tastes sweeter when it’s hard fought. He was smiling huge when he finally reached his goal, a smile that is much bigger than it would have been had success occurred right away.

So many lessons from one simple project, so many reasons to be thankful.


Day 669 – Thankful for All the Things On I’m Thankful for that I Didn’t Blog About This Week

It be fun to put you inside my brain once in a while to see where these blogs come from. Over the past few days there’ve been numerous times in which I have a topic picked and the blog is almost completely written in my head. Next thing I know something else has jumped into being that I’m grateful for and I start mentally writing that one. By the end of the day there are more blogs in my head than I have time to type. Quite honestly, that’s what I’m thankful for today… Having more things that I’m thankful for than time to blog about all of them.

I’ve had some time to think about them and here are some of the ones that I missed this week (in no particular order):

  • Re-reading The Shack
  • Listening to and changing my actions due to a great sermon
  • The enjoyment of seeing someone else’s passion ignited
  • Learning from old mistakes
  • Reminders of our past marathons
  • Those fleeting moments when the boys get along well
  • My first pedicure to take off the crazy layers of calluses on my feet
  • Having a summer that’s way too busy – because it means we’re having fun
  • Finding a project to work on while on the beach
  • Seeing some really cool progress on the first batch of rocks we’re polishing
  • Having fun with a great team
  • Seeing associates I placed well over a decade ago
  • Chilling on the water
  • Getting hooked on yoga with Becky
  • My ride to and from work everyday
  • Finding ways to add more time to my day (thanks Norm!)
  • Having the opportunity to make money doing something I love

I know there are many, many more things as well, by these were some of the ones that I’d already mentally prepped and was very thankful for in the moment. I am so grateful for all of the many blessings on my life!


Day 668 – Thankful for a Successful Boy Scout Camp for Dominic

We just picked up Dominic from Scout Camp and it’s great having him home again. He’s already headed down to the basement, but at least we had time to catch up in the car! 😁

While at camp this week he was selected for the Order of the Arrow, earned his Star badge, and earned a couple of merit badges and made a lot of progress on a couple of others. The smile on his face tonight tells the whole story of how much fun he had at camp. That sounds like a successful Scout Camp to this old guy!

Sitting at the fire bowl tonight reminded me of so many great past scouting moments. I’m so thankful that he’s having fun and making memories of his own doing something that will continue to help him through his life.


Day 667 – Thankful for Design and Create Time in the Workshop with Gavin

With Dominic at Scout camp one last night and Becky at Stand Up Paddle-board Yoga it was just Gavin and I at the house. I gave him the option of a bike ride or going up in the workshop and he snap called workshop time.

We had no set agenda or project in mind so we just started laddering off of each other’s ideas. Before long we’d decided to make a mini closet/locker for him to put his treasures and stuffed kiwi in. There weren’t any plans so we drew them up on the whiteboard and got to work.

By the time Becky got home we’d knocked out as much as we could do until we pick up some hinges. It turned out way cooler than either of us were expecting!

The best part of the night was spending time with my buddy in a place I have so many fond memories of with my dad and grandpa. I was able to teach him a few tricks and in return he helped out tremendously and gave me many new ideas, like the way he wanted the door panels cut. It felt awesome to spend time with him while enjoying something I love with him. Father and son time doesn’t get much better than that!


Day 666 – Thankful for Stretching Out My Legs with a Run Before a Long Car Ride & an Epic Hike 3 Years Ago

Whew!  It’s a good thing I’m not superstitious or else I’d freak out over the number in the title.

This morning we were up and at ’em early to get our run in.  While extra sleep would’ve felt great it was more important to get my legs stretched out this morning.  I was working our of our Rice Lake office today which meant that I had a two and a half hour drive on tap this morning (and again on the way home).  My legs were a bit stiff when I got them moving out of bed, but they felt much better than normal on the drive up north.  It also helped a lot to have my heart rate up a bit!

There were many things I was also thankful for today, but my mind kept wandering back to an epic hike we went on as a family three years ago.  On our first full day in Glacier National Park we took the boys on a long hike that took us to the base of a huge glacier.  It was so amazing!!!  The views were mind-blowing, the glacial lake cold and refreshing, and so many things to see out in the wild (including a bear).  Throw in some excellent family time and it’s a hike that I hold close to my heart.




Day 665 – Thankful for the Vacation Excitement of Others

There were multiple conversations over the past couple of days with teammates about past and upcoming vacations.  In every case there was a huge smile, tons of excitement, and loads of joy.  Some of the conversations were about where someone had just gone while others were talking about quickly upcoming trips, and yet others were still in the dream stages.

In each of those conversations there was an opportunity to connect with them.  There were many nuggets of what is important to them, what they are passionate about, and what drives them.  Once in a while I was able to offer up an insight or an idea of what else to see.  More often I was taking mental notes of new ideas for future vacations and plans for Becky and I in the future.

As I have some time to sit back and relax my mind is racing with ideas that I need to jot down for future trips.  Thinking about how excited each person was while talking about their vacations still have me smiling from ear to ear.  Funny how an experience for someone else can lead to happiness.



Day 664 – Thankful for Being Excited to Get Back to Reality (and Going to Bed Early)

Today was my first day back in the office since vacation and it felt wonderful to be back.  For reals!  I missed my teams and was excited to get caught back up with them.  While I saw or communicated with many today I’ll see the rest tomorrow and I can’t wait.  It’s a great feeling to realize that I missed my work family while I was away.

While I was out we had a curveball thrown our way that my team has rallied to respond to in style.  They had already put together the short term patch without me and they were all ready and willing to help out in anyways needed for the long term solution.  This is part of the reason I was excited to go back,  I knew they had already helped to stabilize the situation and were ready to help me out however necessary.

As I drove to work this morning I thought about the situation, smiled, and realized that it was up to me to decide if I was going to see this as a difficult challenge or an opportunity to improve.  I chose my attitude and the rest of the day followed suit.  It was pretty cool when one of my teammates pointed it out and said that normally I’d be visibly frustrated in a time like this, but this time I seemed calm and almost happy.  I couldn’t help but smile realizing that someone else had noticed my chosen attitude.

All in all, I was pretty excited to head back to “the grind” today.  It’s amazing how much I miss my work!

After a very full day I’m now pretty much exhausted from staying up late with my cousin last night, going for an early morning run, and a busy day in the office.  It’s time to head up to the workshop with Gavin for a little bit.  Before I now it I’m sure I’ll look like this picture of Skywalker from last night…


With that in mind I’ll be snoring well before 9:00pm, and that’s something I’m very thankful for!


Day 663 – Thankful for How Great Gavin is with Little Kids and Hanging with My Cousin Chris

We had dinner at one of Becky’s coworker’s houses this evening and they have a little guy who’s a little over a year and a half old.  With Dominic away at Scout Camp it was just Gavin along with Becky and I.  Gavin and Noah hit it off right away and they had a lot of fun on the wagon, playing with Lincoln Logs and goofing around.

What really struck me was how appreciative I am of how great Gavin is with little kids.  Sometimes he is a handful and full of a bit too much energy, but seeing him with younger kids is a stark contrast as he calms down and goes their speed.  Being with those smaller kids brings out a more mature side of him that I appreciate greatly.


Later in the evening my cousin Chris came over and I had an awesome time re-connecting with him.  We shot the bull until later than either of expected and laughed hard and often as we traded life, adulting, and parenting stories.  It’s not often that we both have time to hang out like this, I’m very thankful for this time together.  We’ll have to figure out a way to carve out some time to do this again sooner than later, and maybe even work on a project or two while doing it.  There was something about hanging out with my cousin late on a summer night that reminded me of so many times we’d done this in the past as kids.  It was a blast!


Day 662 – Thankful for Getting Home From Vacation on a Friday and Awesome Neighbors

When Becky and I planned this vacation we thought about going for a couple of extra days, but thought it might be nice to have a couple of days at home to get back into the swing of things.  Pretty much every vacation we come back from we both agree it would have been nice to have some time at home to get back into the swing of things.

Last night we got everything unpacked from our trip and were set up for a pretty excellent day today.  Becky and I got up early and hit yoga.  Afterwards we picked up the girls.  A quick brunch and we were off as a family on the boat (including the girls).  Get home and get a bunch of stuff done around the house.  Bike to church, enjoy a meal downtown, bike home.  Run a quick errand to the grocery store, maybe clip the garage door with the roof rack of the car (more on that later).  Now we’re chilling on the couch and relaxing as a family.  Tomorrow will be focused mainly on getting caught up on work and prepping for next week.


All in all I’m feeling ready to jump back in and I’m ready to go, and most of that is due to having a couple of extra days at home.  I’m very thankful for those extra couple of days!

As you may have picked up on before, I pulled a dumb one and decided to hit the garage door button a little too early while pulling into the garage.  Gavin and I were engaged in a pretty deep conversation and I completely spaced it and pushed the garage door opener a little too early.  Next thing I knew I heard the sound of crunching.

Thank goodness we have some of the best neighbors in the world, including a super hero who saved the day!  I am hugely grateful for all of the help from my neighbor Matt who helped get our garage door back up.  Amy was also a huge help over the past week as she helped to take care of our house and cat while we were out.  They are a couple of the best neighbors a person could ask for and I am very thankful for them!