Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"If I can make it there..."

...it'll be a miracle, since there are seven of us going! That's right, we've booked our family vacation back home to New York. This month is going to seem so long waiting for our departure. Angie and I are taking the kids back to New York at the end of July. We'll be staying at AMA's house (7 of us, plus her and my nephew Paul in a two story, two bedroom house) and it will be a little "snug", but reminiscent of our family sleep-overs when I was young. There will be sleeping on the floors, couches, and anything else soft.

I'm so grateful that she lets us come up to stay with her. Our vacation is like work for her. Maybe that's why we haven't done it since before Cassie was born (Thanksgiving week in 2001 - right after 9/11). All I know is that I can't wait. It is important that the kids get to know their family in New York and that my family in New York get to know the kids. Also, where can we go that we don't need a hotel, and that I can fly 3 of us for $1000 and use 100,000 miles for the others? Other than a rental and activities, it is a relatively affordable vacation.

On our agenda:
Block party at Jill and JP's house in Long Beach (we'll get to see everyone there)
Family get together at AMA's house (Fiesta Salad, here I come)
Beach (can't get to the shore in North Texas - at least not easily)
Great Adventure (called Six Flags down here)
Bronx Zoo
Day in Manhattan (with a special surprise for the kids)
Met Game (the FIRST place Mets, that is)
Visits with more family

All I know is that Cassie won't stop talking about seeing her cousins (Nat, CeeCee, AmandaMu, Katydid), her "Uncle" Paul, her AMA, her ACA, and everyone else.

I'm getting excited thinking about it. Is it July 28th, yet?


Sunday, June 25, 2006

House Cleaning

Why is it that we keep all of our junk? Are we so loath to give up any of our STUFF? It seems we just keep this crap forever, or at least until we decide that we have no more room, and then we either chuck it, try to sell it, or give it to good will. How can it be that we have so much, but still try to accumulate more and more.

Today, we spent most of the entire day cleaning house. It was a SERIOUS cleaning, especially on the second floor, where the kids bedrooms, the gameroom, and my office reside. By the end of this exercise, we had almost three full contractor-style garbage bags full of garbage. It is insane! I'm not saying that it's only the kids, either. A lot of my stuff was in those bags, too. I keep old receipts, old bills, old insurance papers, old notes from school - you name it, and I just don't throw it out.

The kids are bad, too. What makes it even worse with them, is that EVERYTHING just gets chucked to the bottom of the closets and under their beds. I am telling you, those days are over. Regular checking into the kids rooms to ensure that things stay somewhat orderly.

And me, well, I'm going to start throwing stuff out. But not that (it's important) or that (it's sentimental)....ok, this is going to take some work.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Tall as a Shark

Cassie's been looking forward to this week, as she was making a Father's Day craft for daddy. Like most kids, she couldn't wait until Sunday to give it to me, so she gave it to me last night. I acknowledge that I'm the only one who cares, so this blog is really for me (see my second post about people who talk about their kids).

The gift is a shirt and tie made of paper. The shirt has been colored in several colors of crayon. The tie is blue (my favorite color), and says "Happy Father's Day - I love you very much and miss you when you're in India. Love Cassie"

What is even more entertaining is the back, which has a form of questions to which Cassie obviously dictated answers. Enjoy:

My daddy is 26 years old.

My daddy is as tall as a shark.

My daddy is as strong as he can carry our coffee table.

My daddy is special because he is happy.

I like it when my daddy snuggles with me.

My daddy can do many things! I think he is best at coloring with me.

My daddy is smart. He even knows how to lift a frog.

Daddy always tells me funny stories.

I wish I knew what was going through her head sometimes. I don't know where she gets these answers, but they're fun - AND, I DO LOVE TO SNUGGLE WITH HER!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Day

Flag Day was originally started as "Flag Birthday" back in 1885. In 1916, Woodrow Wilson established today as Flag Day, and in 1949, Truman signed an Act of Congress marking June 14 as National Flag Day.

Unfortunately, today many people just don't seem to respect the flag as a symbol of our country. I would expect that many don't know the words to "The Star Spangled Banner". I don't know when it became cool to not show respect to your country, or worse, show blatant disrespect for this country and its symbols. That being said, I love this country because you are free to speak badly about it - but I am also free to disagree with that sentiment. That's why you'll find a flag flying in front of my home every day.

Major League Baseball has a clip available today that sums up these freedoms. It is from April 25, 1976, where Rick Monday of the Cubs grabs a flag from two protesters about to burn it in between innings at a Cubs/Dodgers game. It is classic. I don't know if the video will be available for long, but I urge you to look for it. What's amazing is that the crowd began to cheer, and spontaneously broke out into a rendition of "America the Beautiful".

If you cannot share my sentiment, look for the picture of the firemen raising the flag at ground zero. If that doesn't elicit an emotional response in you, I think you might be dead or possibly from France, or both.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Is it already June???

Where has this year gone? It feels like we just were wishing each other a 'Happy New Year', and 2006 is already half over. You can tell it's June in Texas, because we are at 100 degrees, and will continue to be for the next several months. The heat is brutal for this yank, and I'm in the middle of the suffering.

The good news is that Angie doesn't seem to be suffering too bad. She continues to recover very well. In fact, as we head towards the end of her third post-op week, I think she is getting antsy to start doing things. Her car has been in the shop getting an overhaul, and she is starting to complain about it. Hopefully, the CD I'm having installed for her should make the wait bearable.

Since it's already June, summer session is in full swing. I'm taking the second semester of Calculus, and man, is that stuff hard. It's so funny, but the course is Applied Calculus, which means that there is 'supposed' to be relevant teaching from the concepts to real-world application, especially for business. But, in all honesty, I've been in business a long time, and I've NEVER used Integral Theory, Area Under a Curve, or the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. I don't think I ever will either.

The kids are also busy with their stuff. Cassie started FROG camp and a nearby church. They do cool activities, have visitors from the neighborhood, learn about God, and do all the summer stuff. She is loving it. Dylan is going to Middle School Madness, which is day camp for middle schoolers, and Marissa is at VBS. (For the family back home - VBS, or Vacation Bible School, is day camp at church where they do many of the things that Cassie is doing in her camp). The kids love it, and it keeps them relatively busy during the summer instead of bored, which they can quickly become.

Lastly, I'm starting to really miss my family back home, so we are looking to see what our options are for coming up. Looks like a late July - early Aug trip to NYC. The Mets are home on Aug 4, so we might use that for planning. I can't wait to see everyone...it's been too long. What I enjoy most is that my Texas family gets to know my New York family. That's real important to me, and it's so enjoyable to watch while it happens.