A letter to my son, on his first birthday.

My darling son,

Jacob, my sweet little boy, yesterday you turned a year old. In the time that has passed you have grown so much. As have I. It is a strange thing, being a parent. As we scroll through the endless rants and raves on social media, one could arrive at the conclusion that being a dad is chaos. The long, sleepless nights. Endless bumps, scrapes, and falls each day. But, my dear Jacob, that is not how I feel, at all.

While many prostrate themselves as their sails deflate when a child is born. I stand resilient in the tempest winds, and unfurl my headsail. You have been born into a family of strength. We work hard, so we can play harder. Being tough is part of our nature. Because of it, we grow, together, in all that we do. We regale in each other’s successes (even the small ones), and we shoulder the burden each time any of us fall. Individually we are great, but together we are amazing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When you joined our family, you came in screaming.

But, as a glimpse into your awesomeness, you cuddled, and looked around. You are a brilliant ray of sunshine. Piercing any darkness that may encroach, you radiate joy. Even when you have been sick, or teething, you bring peace with you. Somehow there was an imperceptible niche in our family, which you exposed and filled. You make our clockwork run smoother.

It is my hope to be the dad that you deserve and need, which may be lightyears beyond what I am capable of. But, between you and your siblings, I have all the reason that I need to stretch myself beyond my limits. The three of you are persistent wind that fills my sails, driving me to greatness. But this greatness is not for myself, it is for each of you.

Happy birthday darling. And thank you for choosing me to be your dad.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

Dear Zoey: A Long Overdue Letter For Your Birthday

My Darling Zoey,

This is a long overdue letter for you about the event of you turning five.  Please look past the few days that have past. You know, all too well, that things have been busy at home.

My little bit, I cannot believe that this day is here.

Time has flown faster than the speed of light since the moment you were born. There is a strangeness in this time.  For as fast as it has gone, I remember so much. Going back to the moment that you were born. Seeing you, this little, beautiful bundle of joy, and hearing your first cry. There was the long walk down to the NICU which felt like a lifetime in the moment, and a lifetime ago all at once. I often look back at this photo and feel my eyes begin to fill with tears.

Zoey in the NICU

I see you, my beautiful princess. Your smile, your little hand wrapped tightly around my finger. You had every reason to be angry in those days, hooked up to machines, getting poked, prodded, scanned and tested. Instead, you were happy. On your very first day with us you showed us how strong you are, and how joy can conquer every situation. We bonded. Instantly. Like a brilliant supernova cascading a radiant glow across the universe, you brought love forward.

Over the last five years we have sat through countless surgeries. I have seen this room more times than any should, knowing that once is more than enough for most. But each and every time, when you are done and back in my arms, you are at peace. We have laughed and watched countless movies while in in the PICU. I have told you fantastic stories to help you take your mind off the pain that you have felt.  All in some effort to cry out and take the pain from you, onto me.  You know that I would do this for you, if I could. But I know that you do not need me to. It is humbling to be your dad. To know that you can handle all that you are facing, with joyous grace.

Zoey and Jacob

As these years have passed you have become the ever doting big sister to two little brothers. The love and compassion that you have for them is visible to all who meet you. Just like the love that they have for you can be seen in their smiles.  You have loved the idea of being a big sister, and you take this title seriously. Far more so than I thought you would, and it makes me so proud.

Zoey and David

That is the thing that is the most important for you to know Zoey.

You make me so damn proud. In all that you do, with all that you have been through, and all that you are going through, you are resilient. You are one to follow your heart, but you listen to your brilliant mind along the way. You are beautiful. My sweet daughter, I will never grow tired of reminding you of how beautiful you are.

It is going to be an amazing adventure to watch you as you continue to grow, to see the woman that you will become. I do think that we get glimpses into this future you from time to time. But today, you are five. An age filled with exploration, learning, and fun. Just do not grow up so fast my little one. I will continue to do all I can to let you be a kid. To fight on your behalf. Using my deep and resounding voice to speak up for you. All while you hold onto my finger the same way you did when you were but a day old.

Zoey and her nails

Happy Birthday my sweet Zoey. May you continue to live big, love bigger and be kind, always.



Birthday Time

The kids had fun helping me mix a birthday cake for CranioDad on Friday. He’s not really into celebrating his birthday, but he can’t say no to something made by his kids. 😉

3 years ago today, this is how my journey into fatherhood began.

I pulled these out of the archive today… because I can.  Feel free to grab a drink, kick back and read all of them… if you have the time to do so.  

I have always been verbose in my writing… becoming a father, and subsequently becoming a cranio dad has only amplified this.  As I read back over all of these, there are tears, there are sighs, and there are smiles.  I am so honored and humbled to be the dad of such an amazing little girl, and boy.  Zoey is awesome, and I am still wrapping my mind around the fact that she is three.

Happy Birthday Zoey! 

I AM A CRANIO DAD, I am scared out of my mind, but today I push aside my fears and celebrate this beautiful little girl that I am honored to be called “dada” by.


The Long Update, part 1, birth story

So, let me start by stating that this message is going to be full of a lot of information.  We encourage all of you to read this, walk away and come back to read it again.  That being stated, let us begin in the beginning. 

On Monday night Kati informed me that she was a little worried because she had not felt anything from the baby in awhile.  So we consulted the on-call midwife at the hospital.  She informed us to have Kati drink some juice, eat something, and lay on her side.  After an hour she still had not felt any real movement.  So, at midnight the morning of April 10th we arrived to labor and delivery at MCV .  It took them no time at all to get us back to a room and to have Kati hooked up to some monitors.  We instantly could hear our little one’s heart beat; strong and steady as ever.  Our fears were quickly put to rest.  On a whim, I asked the midwife if she could check and see if Kati had become more dilated since our appointment on Wednesday when she was 2cm and 40% effaced.  She gladly obliged, and upon checking, her expression quickly changed… in a good way.  With a smile she told us that Kati was 5 almost 6 cm dilated, 90% effaced, there was a bulging membrane bag with a little bloody show, so we were not going anywhere.  Kati was not feeling any contractions at all, so they advised us to relax and give it a few hours.  They were certain that we would be having our little one that day.  They came in to reassess Kati around 3am and there was no major change.  So we discussed our options.  Initially, we decided that we would wait and see if there was any change by 6am.  All along Kati had wanted a natural birth, and as there was no danger we felt that reassessing at 6am was a sound decision.  We also decided that the next step would be to have them break Kati’s sac for her manually.  Well, 6 am came, Kati was still not feeling any contractions, but she was rather uncomfortable.  She had tried to sleep in vain.  They checked her again, and there was little to no change.  She had dilated to 6cm, and much to our surprise, she was actually having contractions every three minutes!  We decided to have them break her water for her, and so it began.  Instantly Kati experienced her first felt contraction.  From there, they never really stopped.  I must say that I am in awe of all that my wife did and went through to bring out our little bundle of joy into this world.  She never gave up.  Sure, there were a couple of walls that she had to work her way through, but at 8:24am on April 10th, after 2 hours and 24 minutes of intense labor, she reached down and pulled our beautiful daughter out and up to her chest.  Hearing that little cry melted me through and through.  It was at that very moment that I became a father, Kati became a mother, and we welcomed Zoey Kathryn Von Bank into the world.  She was 6lbs 6 oz and 17.9 inches long with blond hair and dark blue eyes.

This is where the story starts to get difficult.

Keep Reading:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


My beloved purchased an ice cream cake for my birthday, there will be pizza a beer! Also, season one of Good Eats! She is my everything.

Also, the kiddos helped make an awesome card for me.

I love my family.

I AM A CRANIO DAD, I am scared out of my mind and yes, I am now 33