Friday, June 26, 2009

John is 9!

Today is John's 9th birthday and he decided he would like to spend the day at the zoo with his cousins. Andrew and Ellis are on the way so we are enjoying the statues and flowers near the entrance. Later on -- cookie cake!0626091049.jpg

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

IMG_2112There is no doubt that the most fulfilling part of my life is being a father.  I won't say it's always the easiest thing in the world to do, but it offers the most reward of anything I have ever done.  John and Emma do it all for me.  They wake me in the morning, they make me watch the clock at work, they thrill me with their accomplishments and they wrench my heart with their struggles.

To say that being a dad has its ups and downs understates things to a laughable point.  Everything about it is a balancing act.  Whether it's juggling the calendar around 8U games or keeping up with the ever-changing roster of best friends for a precocious little girl, putting them above me isn't that hard. 

Maybe it's odd to say, but these two kids have helped me grow.  I'm still a kid inside in a lot of ways, but they force me to make the tough choices, to teach, to correct, to develop and indeed to learn.  I assume it is this way with all dads, but who knows.  I'm too busy with my own to do much asking around!

We've had a lot of changes in the last year.  As a dad, it's been a time of growth and fun.  We've had some great times like celebrating the Phillies World Series, John's First Communion and Emma learning to read, and some tough moments as well.  Through everything, they fulfill me in a way that I never could have imagined in the days before they came into my lives.

While it's mostly my kids I am talking about today, it is being a father that I am thinking about.  I've got my new Wii Fit here and some beautiful school art projects from John and Emma.  Later today we'll head over to Delco for the Annual Father's Day Crab Fest.  We'll watch the Phillies try to break the streak against the Orioles and some of the action at Bethpage Black.

I'll be thinking about my dad and his dad as well as my mom's dad.  They were great examples to me.  I will also be thinking about all the kids who have lost dads though their service to our country, either here at home or abroad.  I can't imagine missing out on being a dad.  It's an experience I treasure.

Thanks Dad!  I appreciate all the sacrifices you have made and continue to make for me.  And I know John and Emma do as well.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TAA Falls in the Pinelands Classic Championship

The Hardware
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
The TAA 8U's took one on the chin tonight, losing to arch-rival Medford in the Pinelands Classic Championship game. John was 0-1 with a walk and run scored, but struggled at the plate for the second straight night.

The night started well as I was officially inducted in The Blue Cup Club and the skies brightened just in time for the first pitch. Medford kept the TAA big bats quiet though and the visitors touched TAA pitching for a big inning that effectively finished the game.

Last night was tough too, as John took the collar and felt very bad after leaving 2 teammates on to end the game. Tears were in his eyes as we left the field last night, which was tough for me to watch. He made me proud when he bravely accepted the kind words of the Southampton coach after the game, but I was silently wishing he didn't have to learn just yet how tough a game baseball can be.

New friend and Blue Cup Club president Rob Duff put things into perspective for me though, reminding me how lucky I was to be watching my son play on this team at all. He's right. These kids are working hard and have improved a great deal in the last month. Photos from tonight's game are up. I'll have the Southampton game up tomorrow.

Thanks to all the coaches for their hard work with the boys, all the dads for their tireless efforts on the fields and to all the moms for keeping us fed and hydrated.

I'm off to ice my knee. AJ got me good tonight!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

TAA 8U Moves On vs. Indian Mills

John and the boys rolled on yesterday, spotting Indian Mills only one run en route to a win in the rain. The game moved them into the championship game of the Pinelands Classic Wednesday evening.

My boy was 2-3 with a pair of nice hits and a stolen base. He also made a nice play in the field, backing up an overthrow and doubling a guy off at second base. Kevin had a few rockets and closed out the game in dominating fashion.

Thanks to all the tournament staff who worked through the 45 minute lightning delay and the subsequent downpour to keep the field safe for play. Also thanks to the moms for the comic relief!

All the photos are up, but I missed a few boys this time. Sorry for that, but I was busy drying baseballs!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Finally Friday

Today was one of those days that make all the hard moments of being a dad worth it.

Emma graduated from Pre-K wearing a pretty pink dress covered with a white graduation gown and mortarboard.  She enjoyed the party afterward and the fact that she drew lots of guests, but looked supremely bored during the ceremony.  Her teacher named her the hardest working student. I can't think of a better compliment!

John and his Tabernacle 8U team opened play in the Pinelands Classic Tournament with a 6-0 win over Northern Burlington.  NB won the Pinelands Classic last year, so this is a big win.  John was 1-2 with and RBI but didn't have a play in the field.

We wrapped up the evening with ice cream cake to celebrate a great day!

Now we're watching the third straight Phils extra innings game as they look to know off the Red Sox at CBP.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Fun Day

Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
When the kids headed to their mom's for the day, we headed to Manayunk for the 2th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Cycling Championship. I took some photos, hung out at Mad River with Bryen and the rest of Mr. Greengenes, and generally had a great afternoon.

Besides the race and the music, it was good to run into old friend Coach Rich Casey behind the bar at Thomas' Bar on Main Street. I finished the day up with a nice nap before the kiddos got home!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Manayunk Bike Race!

We are enjoying the great weather, the bike race and MRGG at Mad River on Main Street. Have a great rest of the weekend!0607091435a.jpg

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Friday Fantastic Four - Slightly Delayed

Ok, I know, I am late, but whew!  What a week!!!

I work in an office where most of the folks eat breakfast at their desk.  Some because it's all they can do to make it to work by 9 fully clothed, let alone having fed themselves.  Some because they spend the morning racing around getting kids to school or taking care of the animals, etc.  Some of us are just gluttons and eat at home and then again at work.

So let's do a breakfast-related theme for the week. 

What are your four favorite breakfast foods?

  1. Breakfast pizza - with scrambled eggs, cheese, Bob Evans sausage mmmm!
  2. Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries - I know, I know, but how great is this cereal????
  3. Waffles - With real fruit on top and some hand-whipped cream - perfect
  4. Cold Pizza - ok this is more of a 'back in the day' selection, but it;s perfect on a Saturday morning!
How about you?  What are your faves?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Keeping Digital Photos Safe

As I am sure you have noticed, I shoot a lot of photos.  My trusty Canon Digital Rebel XT body has over 30,000 shutter releases on it and is showing no signs of age. 

Back in the day, all 30,000 of those photos would have gone onto film and been processed using traditional the Kodak C-41 wet chemistry development process.  In my case, that's over 1000 rolls of film in the last 3 years!  Imagine the cost, damage to the environment and tons of wasted energy and money on all the bad shots.

These days, everything is digital.  And as inexpensive and simple as that may seem, it presents its own set of challenges.  What happens if your hard drive crashes?  Suppose technology goes against you and you're stuck with the Sony Betamax version of photo storage?

I've got some tips that were prompted by a friend who is just embarking on her journey of digital photography.  

  • First, you have to make sure you have enough hard drive space on your computer/laptop to download all the images off of the memory stick.
  • Second, I use to save/share the best of the photos.  It costs about $25 a year, but it's a great way to share the photos with family/friends.
  • Third, I burn all of all of the photos I take to discs regularly in case I ever have a hard drive failure.  It's a pain in the neck, but most newer laptops and computers come with software to burn DVDs.  Look on the door of the disc drive.  If it has logo that says DVD-ROM, you can burn the photos to the disc.  It just takes some patience!
  • Fourth, I use a back up drive called a Western Digital My Book to back up the files one more time onto an external hard drive.  Here's a link to a very roomy, easy to set up drive that is also fairly cheap:
  • Finally, print out the photos you really like.  Keep them where you keep your important papers.  You never know when somehting really bad is going to happen and your data will be lost.  If you do this, a few of your best memories will survive the fire/theft/whatever.  If you're using Flickr, you'll still have all those images too!

It may seem like a lot, but there aren't any negatives anymore.  grandma's photo album is a thing of the past.  You can't get another copy of a digital photo if you lose the data or it gets corrupted or you laptop gets stolen.  That's why I recommend all the extra steps.

If you've got tips or tricks for working with digital images, please leave a comment!