Space: An adventure through little eyes.

The other night, we did something awesome.  We took our kids, to space!

For some time we have been all too aware of our children’s love for all things space. I can say that the rekindling of our childhood, for Kati and I, has not helped the matter. We have long felt that we would always embrace our children’s desires to learn.  Space, the final frontier. The wonder filled awesomeness that captures the hearts and minds of so many children.  Those that are lucky, this wonderment carries on into their adulthood.

My kids are in love with space. My three year old son can name all NINE (that’s right… #plutosnotforgotten) planets, in order. You can catch both David and Zoey outside, at night, just looking up at the stars. If the moon is out, it lights the smiles on their faces as they point and shout “MOON!” much to the chagrin of our neighbors.

So, the other night, we wanted to take our kids to space.

We rearranged the living room, brought out the projector that I use for Dungeons and Dragons, and set up for awesomeness. I searched for hours for something that was worthy of my kids. Something that would bring the similes and shouts long into the night. You might be surprised to find all the things related to space that exist out there. But, I wanted an adventure. I wanted my kids to experience space, the thing that the love so dear.

Secretly, my goal is to prepare them both for a trip to a planetarium.  I want to ensure that we do not get asked to leave within the first few minutes of the show starting. For me, there is nothing sweeter then the excited shouts of my kids with things that they love. It shows their desire to learn. Others, you know, adults, may not be as fond of it. After all, in an enclosed space (like a planetarium) their voices would surely echo.

But as I was saying, we rearranged the room. We prepared to launch our children into space, on the largest screen we could manage.

I settled on the first episode of Cosmos.

Cosmos: Space, it's whats for dinner.

I went with the Neil deGrasse Tyson reboot, purely for the visualizations for my kids. Trust me, as they grow older, there will be time for the original.  One cannot simply look at space and not think of Carl Sagan. For the next 90 minutes, they were glued. There were shouts of joy, and questions being asked. Both David and Zoey were fighting sleep by the end. They were sad to go to bed. However, there is something awesome about hearing your kids, in there room, singing the planet song. Even though they should be sleeping.

I cannot wait to surprise them with this again.

Ladies and gentlemen.  I took my kids to space… and it was awesome.

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

Thoughts on the movie Gifted: A spoiler free review.

As a point of clarity, I was not asked to write this review in exchange for the tickets to pre-screen Gifted.  I am writing this for you, because it matters.

Last night I was offered an opportunity to pre-screen the movie Gifted. In true form, my beloved bride and I turned this into a date night.  Things have been crazy for the last few months, so we made the best of it. We both got dressed up, had a babysitter lined up (thanks Mom) and headed out. Leaving our three kids under the age of five behind, we entered into the night.

It is an interesting thing that happens when parents get some time without the kids.  We talked about our little ones, and how things were going. We stopped by and grabbed a bite to eat.  One thing that was noticed was that there was a frequency of checking our phones.  No, not checking Facebook, Twitter or the like.  But making sure that we did not miss a text asking us to come home.

As the sun was setting we parked in the theater. We made our way in, and found seats.  We had watched the trailer a few times, and were equally excited to watch the movie. However, we were a little unsure as to what was to come. From the moment that the movie started, this capriciousness subsided.

From the moment that the movie started, we were hooked.  The characters were equally engaging and understanding. We found that we were able to identify with both the protagonist and the antagonist, throughout the film.  What unfolded before us was a beautiful story.  Much like picking up a good book, we were engrossed.  We were invested in the plot. Again, like a good book, with each turning of the page something awesome was revealed.

Yes, there were tears. In fact, there were points that everyone was in tears. Parts of this story strike deep into the visceral component of parenting, of love, of trust.  But, these sullen tears were balanced with amazing storytelling as well as fantastic, jovial, laughter. Time did not matter for this movie. From the opening screen to the rolling credits, everyone was hooked. There was not a single moment where we felt the actions on the screen were filler, everything mattered.

Gifted Movie Picture
Mckenna Grace as “Mary Adler” and Chris Evans as “Frank Adler” in the film GIFTED. Photo by Wilson Webb. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved.

As the movie ended, and the audience departed, we silently walked to our car. We made our way home, discussing the movie and what it made us FEEL.  We realized that if this were a book, it would make sense to have been written by the seven year old.  But not in a bad way. In a way that resembles the way children tell stories. Depicting the events as they unfold, starting with the big stuff, and then giving the backstory… because the backstory matters.

We made it home, took a deep breath, and walked in the door. The baby was fed, and I hugged the two little sleeping toddlers, kissing their foreheads and telling them that I loved them.

What are my final thoughts on the movie Gifted? What can I say, without spoiling it for all of you?

It is simply this.

If you are a parent, go see Gifted.

If you are an aunt or uncle, go see Gifted.

If you are a teenager, and cannot understand what your parents are doing, and think that you could do things better, go see Gifted.

If you are a grandparent, cousin, person, go see Gifted.

Gifted is now, nearly, at the top of my list for movies. The acting was amazing. The story will not leave you for want, but is full of emotional depth that grabs at your heart, and soul. We are planning on buying it the moment that we can.  Perhaps there will be another date night in our near future.  If there is, you can almost bet that we will be watching Gifted, again.

Live big, love bigger and be kind, always.

The Importance of Video for our Children

We live in a state where technology surrounds us.  It is a part of all that we do. Quicker access to take pictures, and video, of our daily lives seem trivial to some.  But, as we are getting back into the swing of things, this state is not lost on me. In fact, I noticed something last night that made me pause. Something awesome.

In the middle of archiving a video that we shot a few weeks ago, I decided to watch it. Normally, I do not do this. I just drag it to the archive, wait for the prompt to finish and move on. But, I double clicked, and it played. Having some time, I decided to sit back and watch the video play.  I listened as my beloved narrated the scene, and watched as Zoey and David played.  Their laughter filled my ears.  I listened as Zoey ‘spoke’ with David about the tower they were building. Upon hearing this, I was startled. I sat up and rewound it. Playing it over and over again. With each repeat of Zoey’s ‘speech’ a smile broadened upon my face.
Zoey building a tower for the videoDavid getting ready for a video about building a tower

Why did Zoey’s ‘speech’ on the video cause me to pause?

I reference Zoey’s speech abilities with quotes here because, well. Let’s talk about that for a second. Due to the structural issues that Zoey was born with, due to her Craniosynostosis, things like eating and speech have never come easy to her. We have been thankful that David, since very early on, seems to be able to understand her, perhaps even better than we do.

But that is the thing. Kati and I can often understand what Zoey is trying to say. We live in this world where many around us look to us with a perplexed smile as they wait for us to decipher.  We roll with it. But, we often lose sight of the advancement she is making.  Watching this video, I realized that in just the last few weeks some astonishing advancements have been made.

It caused me to reflect to the other night.  After cleaning up the dishes from dinner, I handed Zoey a bowl of ice cream. As I stepped away from the table a sweet sound came from behind me.  My daughter saying, clear as day, “thank you daddy”.

Why the video we take is important to us?

The videos that we are capturing are not for vanity. They are to show us the steps that our children are taking. They are moments in time, forever captured, to show where they are.  Down the line, we can reflect at where they have been, and see the huge strides they have made along the way. These videos are the archive of our successes, and failures, as we teach our children how to…

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

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired

It has been a rough couple of months.  For all the reasons that many of us her on the East Coast know all too well, we have been inundated with colds and sicknesses. I have watched as my family has gone from being leveled by an illness, to healthy, back to being sick.  The cycle has been vicious, and none in our house has been spared.

For me, this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to parenting. Dealing with wave after wave of sickness is a grueling practice.  For the older two we can give Tylenol for a fever, Benadryl for a runny nose or cough, and they get better.  We can give them juice, water, or Gatorade to drink to keep them hydrated.  Though it is painful to watch any child be miserable, we can deal with what we see.

However, this whole process is complicated when it also involves our youngest, Jacob. There is not medication to give him for his stuffy nose, and cough.  There is nothing to do but hold him, cuddle him, keep him upright, and let him know that he is loved. We know, from what we have experienced with Zoey and David that this will help to make him strong. Furthermore, we know when it gets too bad to take him to a doctor.  But that does not make any of this any easier.

Oh the Joy!

Being sick sucks. Being a sick parent, with sick kids… well that sucks even more. I feel like I am going to jinx myself (again) by saying that we are all doing much better than the week before.  However, thanks to this awesome weather (25 degrees Fahrenheit today… it was nearly 80 last week… 50’s by this weekend) I am certain that we are not done with this awesome ride.

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