I’ve stared looking at the year in review and all in all, it has been a good year. The family is healthy, spent a lot of time with friends and family.

So here are just a few of the highlights and they are not in any particular order.

  • Both boys are doing great in school. In fact, both have been recognized for achievements in learning.
  • Boy B was diagnosed with ADHD & has been doing great with both a combination of medication and also additional services to help him learn to cope with this.
  • We celebrated the life of my Grandfather this October. My Grandfather meant the world to me and taught me so many valuable life lessons. You can read more here.
  • We were able to meet our 1st financial goal that we set for the year and that was to pay off at least 2 major credit cards. 2 done and a few more to go. But, in all honesty, that was hard because we had an increase of medical bills due to my son’s therapy. Not complaining, but just a fact. But we are on pace to hopefully be in a better place in 2018.
  • My wife was in a major car accident this summer. I will never forget the feeling of pulling up to the accident and seeing the damage to my wife’s van and feeling how blessed we were that she was still alive. Her guardian angel was definitely there for sure protecting her.
  • We added a new addition to the family! Meiko aka The Meeks aka a great little puppy.
  • I started doing DDP Yoga, which is something that I never thought that I would do or even more importantly that that, enjoy.
  • Grateful that my family in Houston were spared any damage during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Cooked a whole lot and really started to broaden my horizon with cooking and taking some serious leaps with that. I also added grill number 4 to the deck. Which gives me 4 Grills and a smoker.
  • The boys just started martial arts and love it. And Boy A is starting to play basketball at the Recreation Department.
  • Work is, well work. Nothing really good or bad to say.
  • My wife’s job has changed a bit as well, so there has been an adjustment period there for us too.
  • My two favorite teams won championships, UNC Basketball and the Houston Astros.

All in all, life is good. We had our ups and our downs in 2017 but made a lot of great memories too.

And 2018 already has some bright spots. My wife and I will be celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and will be renewing our vows, with our kids there. And if all goes well, we should be able to really knock out a lot of debt in the front half of the year and being on our way to being debt free. And we already have at least 2 trips planned for the year as well, with many more to go.

So, from my family to yours, enjoy the moments and have a Safe and Happy New Year.

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It is that time again, time for Thanksgiving. But wow, what a difference a year has made.

This year, we will be enjoying the traditional with a twist. Because it is just my wife and the boys and myself, instead of a traditional large turkey, we will be having 2 turkey breasts instead. 1 of the turkey breasts will be baked and then the 2nd turkey breast will be cooked with the Joule from ChefSteps.

Since the boys are still not huge fans of certain foods, I am working on a roasted potato dish with rosemary and thyme, green beans casserole and yeast roles. And for dessert, apple pie and cheesecake. This year though, the boys get to help cook, which makes the day even more exciting for me.

We are going to also do something new, as Boy B has asked that when we have our lunch tomorrow, that we start with saying what we are thankful for. It honestly caught me off guard when he asked, but at the same time, really made me proud. It also got me thinking about what I was thankful for this year, so here goes:

1) I am beyond blessed to have a great family. This includes my sons, my wife, my parents & brother and sister as well. But it also goes much further into close friends too.

2) That my wife was not severally hurt in her car accident this summer.

3) Even though I recently lost my grandfather, I had an amazing relationship with him and my life has and will be forever changed because of him.

4) We got a puppy who really completed our family.

5) Both boys are doing great in school and to go a step beyond that, Boy B is doing is really excelling and has been learning how to cope with ADHD in school and how it effects his learning.

These are just a few of the many things that I am truly thankful for this Thanksgiving. As I finish my break from cooking, from my family to yours, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

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Happy New Years! Welcome to 2017, the year of something.

The great thing about New Years is that it is a restart, a new beginning. Out with the old, in with the new. But, unlike many, I have really decided to have resolutions that were more manageable, which in my humble opinion, is why so many quite their resolutions within the first 3 months of a new year.

So here goes:

  1. Be a better father and husband – Spend more Quality time and Quantity of time with my kids and my wife. Once a month, we take a family day and go somewhere for the day. And with that, once a month, my wife and I have a date night/afternoon lunch. I’ve already talked with our babysitter and she is giving me a list of dates for the first 6 months of the year.
  2. Continue to reduce our family debt – This is and will be a primary focus for the year(s) to come. At our current position, we have done a solid job with both eliminating debt and also not adding any additional debt. There have been factors that have slowed down our progress, but I’m hoping that we will be able to continue our progress and with a sizable tax return, that we’ll be able to dwindle down our debt. The goal is to get all of our debt, to include my wife’s van and student loan down in the next 24 months. The other part of that, is to be able to start saving for a down payment, as I’ll need a new Jeep in the next year, as I’m already riding on borrowed time with it.
  3. Weight Loss – Only those that don’t need to lose weight, ever put this one down. So yes, I need to lose weight. And with that, I just had my physical for 2016 for work and was down 5 lbs from the previous year. That being said, it was a start, but I’m ready to do more. I’m really ready to drop this weight and that will be a little of a challenge as with a bad knee, it knocks out running and some of the things that I would normally like to do to  knock the weight out. But, doesn’t mean that I can not work on eating better and cut out alcohol. The cutting out alcohol will also help reduce debt too, so a win win.

So as we wind down our New Years holiday and take some time to reflect, I wish you and your families the best new years possible. So far for us, we have only had 1 Urgent Care trip visit in 2017 and yes, we are only at the 2nd day of the year. So from my family to yours, Happy New Years!

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Merry Christmas! Well, the boys were up early this morning and had a blast and that is really all that I can say. We did a few things differently this year, but I will have to say, the boys absolutely loved the morning.

Instead of doing a lot of box store shopping, we shopped via Amazon and though it took a lot out of it, the convenience factor for my wife and I really played a big part in that. We also decided to cut back a little too on gifts and instead of doing for friends and family, that we would have people over for dinner.

As we get older and since I’m 7 years older than my wife, I’m more focused on time and spending quality time with someone than money on a gift. Throughout the past several years, we have lost someone before the holidays and it just seems that the reality that we will not live forever, just sinks in. Our first priority is and will always be the boys and making sure that they have a great Christmas, but everyone else will take a back seat and we will try to do something with people, not necessarily for them. For me, I would open my house and kitchen for anyone to come and spend time around the table and enjoy a meal with us.

For us, now that we have a bigger house, we are able to entertain more and have more people over and we really want the boys to see that there is more to Christmas than just gifts. So tonight, as we have wrapped up our second round of opening Christmas presents, we are home, I’ve just put the ham in the oven and the boys are playing with their toys. And my wife and I have agreed, that no more traveling on Christmas or Thanksgiving anymore, which almost made me cry and dance.

There has differently been a lot of reflection this year at Christmas, for a multitude of reasons. My Father in Law is getting remarried. The boys helped me put out luminaries last night, which for me, was my favorite thing to do at Christmas time. And honestly, the fact that the boys really understood Santa and the idea behind Christmas, that didn’t hurt either. I felt for the first time as a parent, that I got to really experience Christmas through the eyes of my kids this year and the innocence of the day.

So from our home to yours, Merry Christmas.

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Post Thanksgiving and we survived. This was the first time that we had ever hosted Thanksgiving for our family and I have to say, it all went off without any problems.

The boys did well throughout the day and didn’t really require a lot of attention and they even helped us get things ready. The boys all in all had a great day and it seems to have come and gone really quickly. And now that I’m working on cleaning up dishes and putting away chairs, I thought that I would just sit and rest for a minute.

Today, I am thankful for healthy little boys, who everyday seem to amaze me just a little bit more with their continue growth, but physically but more importantly mentally and personality wise. I am truly blessed to have two really cool kids, who in their own right, do really amazing things. Today, I am thankful that we have live in a great country, that has great military that protects our freedoms, both domestically and afar.

This post Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for so many things, to include a few minutes to type this up as the boys are downstairs playing. And now, we take today to regroup and rest and tomorrow, we head out to pick out two Christmas trees.



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Traditions are made to be broken, started, altered and passed down. And this Christmas was definitely hit on all of those this year. And all of my best plans for Christmas Eve, failed quickly, but taught me a really valuable life lesson.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the year. It represented a time of anticipation and innocence. Normally, I give my staff at work the day off and I man the office, but this year, I took the day off and planned on grabbing wings and a cold beverage, grabbing a few last minute things for my wife’s stocking and as a family, going to church and then getting baking cookies and putting out luminaries and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. Each of these things, minus going for wings and beer, were things that I did as a kid growing up and something that have and still mean the most to me about Christmas. But this year, things didn’t really work out like I had expected or even thought that it would.

On Christmas Eve eve, my wife was at work and called to say that she was going to the local urgent care and that she was pretty sure that she had strep throat. Great! Two years in a row of her being sick, last year was pink eye. BUT, that wasn’t the real concern, the real concern was the boys and it was quickly appearing that they too were sick with strep and that this was becoming a tradition of them being sick at Christmas.

So, my plans for Christmas Eve went from going out and having some downtime, to taking the boys to the urgent care center, only to have it confirmed that they too had strep throat. The problem, Boy B HATES medicine and oh right, he didn’t just have strep, he also had Scarlet Fever. After getting home and trying for a few hours to get medicine into Boy B, it was quickly apparent that he wasn’t going to take it. After a quick call with a friend of mine that is a Doctor, he advised us to take him to the ER and that Scarlet Fever wasn’t something to mess around with.

So, there goes my lunch of wings and a beer, shopping, and now Christmas Eve service, because my wife and son headed straight to the ER for our first ever visit. The medical staff was awesome! They not only took care of him immediately, got a dose of medicine, they were able to break his fever. And not only did they take care of him, the ER Doctor, took his hand and lead him down the hall to a toy closet, were he could pick out any toy that he wanted! How awesome is that (this will be a future blog story about the toy closet)! So what toy did he pick out? A Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet, not because he loves Star Wars, but because his brother does and he knew that his brother would want to help him color it.

RELIEF! He was on the mends.  Peace and a deep sigh of relief for a moment.

After a few hours in the ER, my wife and son arrive back home and within 30 minutes of being back he ate more in just those few minutes than he had in the previous 24 hours. He was back to being a little boy, that was smiling and excited at the arrival of Santa coming in a few hours. So, in a few hours before their bed, we still had time to bake and decorate cookies, we watched the Charlie Brown and then we put out cookies and Reindeer food. And as we were putting out the food for the reindeer, I remembered the luminaries.

Luminaries for me growing up, were the start of Christmas. I didn’t always have the best Christmas mornings, often time there was uncertainty if this was my families last Christmas together or if there was going to be a lot of arguing? But luminaries represented calm and peace in a sometimes difficult time in my life. And as I got the luminaries together to put out in front of the house, I had the boys to come over and I told them how this was one of the many traditions that I wanted to pass down to them and they really seemed to love the way that the luminaries lite up the walk way out front as a way to give Santa a landing strip for their house.

After the boys settled down for the night and Santa had come and gone, I realized that I was still able to keep some of my traditions and even pass some down to the boys. I was able to run out for a few minutes and get candy for my wife’s stocking and found her a few other little gifts. I was able to watch our Christmas Eve church service online (Love technology and that our church really leverages it and a cool way to stream church services) and I was able to have a glass of wine while wrapping gifts and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. But most importantly, my kids were feeling better and they got to for the first time, help me put out luminaries and got to see their expressions as I talked about the candles and how peaceful it was before Santa came.

Traditions are important. Traditions are made to be broken, expanded upon, altered, started and most importantly, passed down.  I most certainly hope that the tradition of being sick at Christmas is broken, but I really look forward to seeing how next years traditions grow and stick with the boys.



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Thanksgiving traditions have changed for me throughout the years. As a kid, as with Christmas, we always loaded up and went to my grandparents. We would eat lunch at one grandparent and then go to the other grandparent for dinner. But what I do remember is all of the riding. I remember to this day where all the bumps were in the road and sights were on the road and I remember being out on the farm and running around.

And as an adult, my Thanksgiving traditions changed when I moved to Houston, as for the first several years, I didn’t realize that I had family out there. But my traditions revolved around watching the parade, going to Luby’s for lunch and then finding a place to volunteer. But what I liked the most about those traditions, is that for several years, I didn’t have to travel. I could just stay within a 5 – 10 mile radius of my house.

Now that I have kids, my Thanksgiving traditions have once again changed. And I say that, because they are going to change again next year. But this year, my wife was called out for work, so the boys and I got up early and watched Star Wars – Return of the Jedi, then watched the parade and then we played and I also cleaned the house.  We did travel to have lunch with my wife’s family, but that was it. But it couldn’t be that easy could it? Nope. Today, after work, we’ll load the kids and drive for 3 1/2 hours for another Thanksgiving.

So what is the change for next year? NO TRAVELING! NONE. NADA. ZIP. ZERO. I’M DONE TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAYS!

I’ve hit my point in my life that I’m done with traveling, if family want to see my kids or me, then load up and come on over. I’ll take care of all the food and will have a cold beer waiting, but don’t expect anymore traveling. Traditions were made to be broken and I’m breaking this one. I don’t want my kids to remember the bumps in the road and all the little sights like I did. I spent more time in the back of a car going from place to place and honestly, I resent it. I resent that my parents didn’t stand up to their parents and ask them to come to us. Sure, later in life, driving wasn’t as easy and that I understand, but not when we were kids. And as soon as my wife starts talking about our travels for the holidays, my blood pressure shoots up.

So, this years Thanksgiving traditions stayed the same, but going forward, we are making new traditions and traditions that I hope that my kids can carry on as they grow up and start a family.

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Happy 4th of July everyone, even thought his is going up a day late. Life sometimes gets in the way, as many of you reading this can relate.

As many of families did on the 4th, we spent the day with our boys, we laughed, played and had fun. And later in the day, the boys and I fired up the grilled for our traditional American BBQ, hamburgers, brats and hotdogs. It is funny how as the boys are getting bigger and older, the more interested that they are becoming with grilling and cooking. As I’ve had conversations lately with my mother, she told me that my father never did any of these things with me and how happy she is that I’m teaching the boys these basic lessons of life and it got me thinking.

I really can’t think of a time that my dad fired up the grill. I really can’t think of a meal that my dad ever cooked, maybe scrambled eggs? And I never cooked, until I had to. And I have the boys now helping me grill, smoke and cook in the kitchen as often as I can. Yes, they are supervised and no, I don’t let them do anything dangerous, but they are learning about food safety, pairing of foods, types of woods that we use when we grill, etc.

So, last night as we grilled the boys and I were listening to music, I smiled and I watched the boys and realized how fast they are growing up. But the highlight of the day, wasn’t grilling out, but instead we took the boys to see fireworks for the first time. All day, fireworks was the topic of conversation and it is funny, I’m really protective over Baby B, probably to a fault. I was concerned that he wasn’t going to like the fireworks and hold his hands over his ears the entire time and miss out. So we had my father in law bring over ear muffs and as the fireworks started, for a minute, he used them. And then, something happened, he started taunting the fireworks, as if they were going to get him. He would say “come and get me fireworks, if you can!” and then he would laugh.

I was basically concerned about nothing and I’m having to realize that more and more the boys are growing up and becoming and more and more self sufficient. So on this 4th of July, the only time that the boys will be 4 on the 4th of July, I hope that everyone out there had a safe and happy holiday. I hope that everyone got to spend quality time with family.

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December 26th or as most refer to it, the Day After Christmas is here. Kids are playing with their new toys, many parents, like myself are back at work and Santa is resting and relaxing after a busy Christmas night.

As I sit at the office and reflect on Christmas morning, I had a few things that have continued to pop into my head that really stood out.

  1. The boys really did a great job of sharing yesterday morning. They each got completely different sets of toys, which I am asked a lot if we have a duplicates. We have really tried to avoid that, but it does happen occasionally.
  2. The boys really asked Santa for only 1 toy each and the reactions when they got those were priceless.
  3. I got to witness Baby A and his cousin last night have a conversation about Santa and the toys that they received. I just wished that I had caught the whole conversation on video, because it was priceless.
  4. Christmas day for adults is and should really only be about the kids. Nothing else matters.
  5. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of your children, there is no greater gift.

As I sit at work this morning, the day after Christmas, it is quiet. A much different than yesterday morning, to say the least. The boys had an amazing day. They are blessed more than they will ever know.

I’m going to take a few days off from blogging and enjoy some time with my kids.

So from my family to yours, have a safe and happy holidays!

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It is finally Christmas Eve and this year is a little different than previous year. Both boys work up around 1am this morning and both had pink eye.  There is nothing normal about pink eye on Christmas Eve and being sick.

We started the morning at our pediatricians office and both got antibiotics. We got home, the rested, took meds and ultimately Baby B ended up taking a nap.

I wanted to try and keep some sense of normalcy to our Christmas Eve as possible. Church was obviously out, but we could watch some classic Christmas movies. So we have watched Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph and Elf is up next. I made a Christmas concoction that smells great and smelt like Christmas. And now I am making Wassil.

I wanted to try to blend traditions from both my wife and my childhood’s for Christmas Eve for the boys. This year has been amazing, for so many reasons. This year, the boys actually “got” Christmas and Santa. So this has been a lot of fun for them, but also for me.

So tonight, as we all try to get better, my wife is now at Urgent Care being seen for pink eye, I ordered Chinese and the boys and I are watching Christmas movies.

We will eat dinner together, watch Christmas movies and read some Christmas books. And I hope that this isn’t a Christmas tradition being started with being sick.

Tonight, enjoy the moment. Enjoy the innocence of Christmas Eve. Enjoy the moment of seeing Christmas through the eyes of your children.

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