Father’s Day

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the Dad’s out there! Being a Dad has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Having the chance to help shape my two little ones lives is a blessing beyond belief. I’m just blessed in so many ways and I have to say that Father’s Day seems more about them than me. It is very cool.

And to my own Father, I know you know how important you’ve been to me! You’re not only an amazing Dad and Grandfather, but have been an amazing role model for me. Thanks so much and I love you!

Horsing Around

Horsing Around

On Being an Uncle

Early this morning, after nearly 20 hours of labor, my little sister had her first child. They named her Mia and she is absolutely beautiful. I am already an uncle many times over to children from my wife’s side of the family and I love them all with all of my heart — each of them are so different but are so similar. They are children and they carry with them a wonderful perspective and view on life … I am blessed.

For some reason it has been a little different with my own little sister. Seeing her last night working to get Mia into the world safely made me so proud of her. Then today seeing Mia and Kitt together was a wonderful sight. Amazing how perfect she seems when holding her … I remember when we were kids how she would take such good care of all her dolls and act like a little Mommy. Now here she is all these years later a real Mother, but still my same little sister yet transformed in an amazing way. Like I said, I am blessed.

Welcome to the World little Mia!

Supplemental Activity

So after my post the other day where I was lamenting the lack of opportunities I see for engagement in the school system I got a handful of comments telling me the same thing — “take matters into your own hands.” Good advice and it really got me thinking about some things. My wife and I have always spent time reading with our daughter … as a matter of fact, the little lady has always really been into reading, talking, singing, and all sorts of other really creative and engaging activities. She pushes us more than we push her and that is really cool. But, I’ve never really taken the time to bring my own interests, research, and perspectives home to her.

Night before last, she and I sat down at the kids’ eMac and opened up iWeb for the first time. I decided that I was going to find a way to work with her to create a digital portfolio, journal, blog, or whatever where she and I could spend time reflecting on the work she was doing in school, the things she was thinking about, or anything in between. The goal for me is to get her used to the idea of actively reflecting on her activity in an ongoing way. As a sidebar, I personally think it is an incredible opportunity to develop a life-long story about her intellectual development … that is, if it sticks.

So we created a website with iWeb and published it into a password protected space within my .Me account. Very easy and relatively flexible. The real win here is that with only a little instruction she is getting the hang of it. Last night, for example, she wanted to publish a story reflecting on her kitty, Misty. We sat at the desk searching for a picture at Flickr tagged Misty and she dragged it into iWeb. She then proceeded to dictate the words and I was surprised how she spent time really reflecting on what Misty had meant to her … Misty passed away almost two years ago. The time we spent reflecting was good for both of us. She talked while I typed, but then ran and got her Mother so she could read her reflection to her. She was really proud and I was happy to have spent the extra time with her.

The other thing we’re trying to do is capture some of her analog work and put it into her space. Two nights ago she was showing me a picture and the story she wrote to accompany it on a piece of paper. I grabbed the camera and snapped a picture of it. She helped me import it and drag it into iWeb. She then told me the story of how she drew it, what it meant to her, and when I asked her where the story came from, she looked at me at said, “from my mind.” I probably should have known that. Either way it is reflection and that is something I now can trust she is engaging in.

The Six Children

The Six Children

Change of Seasons

Spring has always been my favorite time of year. There has always been something about shifting out of winter and seeing the hope and promise of new opportunities. The new green grass, the buds on the trees, and the extended hours of daylight all seem to recharge me. Historically I’ve been less bullish on Fall. I always seem to dread the move from Summer into Winter, often ignoring the fact that Fall in PA is a wonderful time of year. But for the second year in a row I find myself really excited about the change of season … it never used to mean much to me, but I am strangely eager to see the leaves change. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

Yesterday I went to the opening PSU game and took my daughter along. We had great seats and unlike the game we attended last year, she made it well past the first three minutes. She seemed to look at it all with very different eyes this year. I think she is seeing the spectacle of it through new lenses … the energy of the crowd and the power of the student section in particular really seemed to perk her interest. At times I caught her paying quite a bit more attention to the fans and the surroundings than the game itself. But, since at one point she said, “Daddy, I only cheer when all the people in blue do” I figured the game of football hasn’t quite made it into her conceptual framework. No problem … Beaver Stadium is quite the place to take in the sights and sounds of the experience.

Pass Attempt

Pass Attempt

It dawned on me as I prepare to see her off to first grade this year that answering the bell in the Fall is one of the things I’ve started to look forward to. I tend to measure my life in semesters for the most part — spending two decades in school and now a third as a member of the higher education community, my view of time is influenced heavily by the academic calendar. Maybe that is why my interest in Fall has started to take over — I see huge promise in the start of a new year. Not sure, but I like it.

It also makes me realize that I am feeling a real sense of belonging … I am now more than ever convinced that my choice to be in higher education is the right one. If I am eager to hear the school bell ring at the start of a new year, I must be in the right place. I’ve struggled with this choice for quite some time, but feel proud of the fact I spend my time here. I am watching with great anticipation as my daughter heads off to public school to see how long her enthusiasm for school lasts. I hope it is a lifetime.