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No Apologies

Denver

We are not rebelling against society, in fact it is exactly the opposite, we are trying to embrace it. I can tell you that I chased my daughter around every day of her life, carefully nudging her away from danger at every turn. I spent her entire infancy holding her hand on staircases, shooing her away from electrical outlets and discouraging her from climbing up tall bookcases or touching hot stoves. Ask anyone who actually knows me, and they would tell you that I am overly cautious with my daughter to a fault.

I have three kids. Penny is the first to have her pinky toe amputated, but not the first to suffer a painful accident. Accidents happen, that’s just life. It won’t discourage us from embarking on this road trip. The accident that occurred will only serve to make me more vigilant than I was before. I won’t shelter her to the point that she never gets to have any fun or take any calculated risks, we’ll just have a safety brief before we do things like this again.

Things like rollercoasters, skateboards, bumper cars, bicycles, petting dogs, catching spiders, climbing trees, climbing hills, crossing the street and all other inherently dangerous activities of which there are too many to list here. When this incident occurred, I was mortified. I was worried and scared for my daughter. All of the adults that were present and supervising her that day were. We all stayed cool under pressure, acted fast, removed her from any further danger and had emergency services there within minutes of it happening.

All of us shed tears, and spent the entire week trying to figure out how to deal with the aftermath. None of us enjoyed it. We just picked each other up and gave each other support and love. We grew closer as a family. This accident has nothing to do with our decision to travel. Anyone that takes the time to get to know us would know that we love our daughter and have provided her with a wonderful life filled with people who love and care for her. Our decision to take her out on the road wasn’t made lightly, it was carefully planned down to the last detail. That’s Maizy’s doing, she is an analytical Virgo accountant. She has a three-ring binder bursting at the seams, filled with itineraries, budgets, curriculum plans and much more.

We’re not stupid, we know what we were getting into when we started this, and we spent years getting ready. We started our life together in an upscale loft right behind Coors Field in downtown Denver, moved to a hundred year old craftsman home in the Highlands neighborhood and eventually ended up in a custom-built home on top of a mountain in Evergreen. We decided that we wanted to try a simpler lifestyle when we realized just how much money we were spending to live that life. When the public service bill was pushing $400, we decided we could do better. We made a conscious decision to downsize, moved back to the city  in a small apartment just a couple of miles from her work, and started saving all that money we were spending. We sold our gas guzzling SUV and started the arduous task of downsizing. It took us two years to get rid of almost all of our trivial belongings.

As far as Penny’s education goes, it’s kindergarten. We can handle it. We may or may not home school her after the trip and she will have the final say. If she chooses to go to school we will enroll her in one. We aren’t planning on traveling forever, just as long as it takes us to get to every state. We want to make a truly educated decision on where we decide to set down roots. The assholes who pretend to know what we are doing don’t know that, because they never bothered to ask. Penny is one of the most social kids you will meet. She makes friends with everyone, and is constantly lamenting my shy demeanor. It makes her crazy when I tell her to give people their space. She gets upset and frustrated with me. Rolling her eyes and sighing heavily she says “Dad, it’s okay to talk to new people.”

While this accident was heartbreaking and hard to deal with, there is also a silver lining. She made friends with kids who are literally dying. A young girl with a lung disease just fell in love with her. That girl has been admitted to the hospital 47 times in her life, she is maybe twelve years old at the most, but she has one of the most genuine smiles you will ever see and it makes me feel guilty for ever thinking that my life sucks. Penny is already better off just for having known her. That is just one example. My daughter is going to learn more than she ever would spending a year commuting back and forth to a half a day of kindergarten five days a week. And I’m not knocking kindergarten or traditional schooling or people who live your basic normal everyday life.

Our family just understands how precious and fleeting life can be, and we want to enjoy it to the fullest, and show our daughter the possibilities. It isn’t for the rest of her life, and while it might not be for everybody, we are giving it a try. Anybody who doesn’t like that can just fuck off as far as I’m concerned. I’m tired of explaining my decision and trying to justify it. I’m tired of feeling bad for being different. From this point on, we don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about us. We are living life with no apologies from now on.

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The Family Circle

Watching Children Grow

watching children grow

with unbelievable speed

cherishing this time

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Photography, The Family Circle

Wordless Wednesday

NO

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Life, Photography, The Family Circle

Children are a Gift

DCIM214GOPRO

oh sweet child of mine

how I wish I could freeze time

children are a gift

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#Explored

Every day Flickr’s magic elves flick on their “interestingness algorithm” machine and select the 500 most interesting photos to display on their “explore” page. It’s a little like getting an image on the front page of the website, except that you have to share the front page with 500 other people, and let’s face it, most people probably don’t scroll further than the first 50 photos or so. The reward for having an image make the explore page is basically exposure in the form of views and likes. So with tempered enthusiasm I would like to announce that this image was deemed to be the 4th most interesting image in the 24 hour period that was April 7th, 2014. #4 out of 8.6 million is at least worth some shameless self-promotion I think.

“Flickr receives about 6,000 uploads every minute — That’s about 8.6 million photos a day! From this huge group of images, the Flickr Interestingness algorithm chooses only 500 images to showcase for each 24-hour period. That’s only one image in every 17,000!”

I’m proud of this image because that is my daughter on that swing, a moment that I was able to share with almost 10,000 people. It’s nice to be appreciated by your peers. It feels great to experience these small successes, even if it is only to affirm that you aren’t completely wasting your time following your dreams. It’s nice to know that someone cares enough to look, and every once in awhile throw you a bone in the form of clicks, thumbs ups, gold stars, plus signs, happy faces, etc. Those little virtual high fives that say “Keep up the good work, I see what your doing and I like it.”

I usually stick to haiku because it’s short and sweet, but packs a punch if you use it right. That’s all I usually have time for. Being a full time student and stay-at-home dad means that private time to write and reflect has to be snatched up in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else in the house is in a deep enough slumber to ensure no distractions. By then I’m so tired, I’m just like, 5-7-5, cool picture, and Good Night.

Thank you to all of you who take the time to stop in and check out my blog. I love sharing the experiences that I have and the things that I see with you. Thank you for being a part of this amazing, collective, internet brain that we all share. I travel the globe daily through your blogs. I learn from your successes as well as your mistakes. I value your opinions and your friendship. Most of us will never meet in person, but you will all be a part of the experience that is my life. All you complete strangers cheering me on, rooting for me, sharing your kind words, thank you, it really means so much to me.

You make me a little bit better at everything! Success feels great.

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#Explored

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Following Penny

down on her level
the world seems more wondrous
the twinkling sea

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Following Penny

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rapidly increased

testosterone production

left hemisphere jolt

 

A particularly hard day has me wanting to reflect on the positive things in my life. Some days it feels as if the universe is conspiring against you. I was going to rant about the lady who cut me off on the freeway, or the refrigerator that is on the fritz, but instead I will choose to fill my mind with other things. My daughter Penny. Today, amongst all the angry thoughts, all the hustle and bustle of the world outside, all those adults racing around trying to make their meetings and lunch dates, we are all so oblivious to each other.

I glanced back at Penny in the backseat, she was bobbing her head to the music, staring at the world outside the window. She loves going barefoot, and kicks off her shoes whenever it tickles her fancy. To her the world is simple. She wants to watch some Handy Manny and go to the playground. She wants to play with other kids. I am an introvert and she is super outgoing. She has a soft heart, and loves everyone she meets.

Every parent knows that feeling of being bombarded in the supermarket by anyone and everyone because you are pushing around a little newborn, I loved and hated that all at the same time.  I just assumed that it would eventually go away, she would grow up, and people would stop noticing, and she would blend in with all the other kids and it would stop being such a big deal. Wrong. It is almost getting worse. I cant go to the store without having at leas three unwanted conversations with people that Penny puts me in direct contact with.

Penny is awesome. She challenges me daily and drags me out of my comfort zone regularly.  The routine usually goes like this: Penny finds a random family and just barges right onto their picnic blanket,table,tent, or whatever personal space you can think of. I rush in and apologize, a struggle ensues as Penny insists on hanging out with her new “friends”. Random stranger parent asks her name and age. Penny states her name and indicates she is three years old They reply: “Oh my, you are tall aren’t you?”… and Penny proudly agrees that Yes, she is growing really fast.

Half the time, I don’t even know what she is saying, I just let her go socialize until I get the vibe that the family doesn’t appreciate it, then I go and snatch her up. Today after a lady on the highway cut me off, almost killing us in the process, my brain went dark and I lost my cool. I cursed and shook my fists in anger. When it was all over, Penny asks me: “Daddy why did you say: Fuck?”, and I was just in shock. I never swear around her, I tried so hard to keep that ugly word out of her mouth, and here she is saying it with perfect clarity and pronunciation. I was so ashamed of myself. I instantly felt guilt and remorse. All I could think of to say was that is not a good word and daddy shouldn’t have said it. The cool part is, that seemed to satisfy her. She just dropped the whole thing and never mentioned it again for the rest of the day. Hopefully it doesn’t stick.

Being angry is no excuse, but I suppose that every once in a while in my life an F-word might slip out of my mouth when I am angry, I am a Marine after all. I guess I could try and train myself to say something like “You cotton-headed ninny-monkeys, you guys really get my dander up!” or something similarly goofy, but that just is not how anger works is it? It’s usually a knee jerk reaction that you instantly regret. I am grateful to have my daughter with me to remind me right away how pointless it is to let anger consume me. Yes, that lady on the highway cut me off, was driving recklessly, and put my family in danger. All of the terrible things that could have happened did not happen. I should just let it go, but some days that is more difficult than others. Penelope is my reminder to keep cool when adversity strikes. These are my thoughts of the day. Daughters are amazing, mean people suck, and life is beautiful.

 

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Anger Management

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Uncategorized

2 Year Olds

2 year olds.
They kick you
In
The
Nuts.
Constantly.

My daughter is actually 3 now, three years, three months, and seven days to be exact. Penny still has that certain ability to land a shot to my groin from virtually any angle you could imagine. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to death but the nut kicking has to be put to an end.

Since the big move back to the city happened over the weekend, I am finding myself depending on my iPhone for posts and photography because the Internet provider we chose us dragging their feet getting my Internet up and running. This is a shot I took using the iPhone and the hipstamatic app. I like putting my daughter in front of what I perceive to be a female role model that she is exposed too. I don’t tell her to pose, I just ask her to stand in front of the ad and look at the camera.

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