Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Daddy: It's Just the Water Dripping."

I get a laugh every time Madge gets out of the pool. She climbs up the ladder or the stairs. She stands on the side of the pool. A puddle begins to develop where she is standing. She notices that water is dripping from the lowest point of her bathing suit. The first few times this happened this season, she would ask, "Daddy, what is it?" I would reassure her that it was water dripping, as opposed to ... Anyhow, this evening at the pool as the puddle formed beneath her legs, she factually told me: "Daddy, it's just water dripping." Phew. So, it is.

A Year Ago Today...

Believe it or not, a year ago today we were getting ready for our Pita's birth. This is crazy. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday that she was born. In other ways, it seems like she has been a part of our family forever. June 30, 2008, was a Monday. Mary had her bags packed that night. Since we were leaving early the morning of July 1 for the hospital, Rebekah D. came by early in the morning to watch over Madge as she slept. Mary and I drove peacefully to the hospital. Oh, the peace of an induced delivery! We walked with our gear over to the birthing section probably around 7am. Because we weren't scheduled until 7:30am, they had us wait outside as they prepared our room. We watched with anxious hope as the nurses came out to call other couples into their birthing suites. Our turn arrived. I remember seeing the white board at the entrance of the birthing section with Mary's name and that of our OB-GYN. I don't remember the number of the room we had. (I do remember walking over the refrigerator to pick out some jello and popsicles for a ravenous wife. I can't say they tasted that bad.) So many happy memories!

Pita, you're not only a happy and beautiful little girl. You're a part of our family, a part of who we are. We celebrate your birth as a part of our evolution as a family. You've already made such a huge impact on our lives, and we love you for it. We love you for who you are. We love for the joy you bring us. We love you for your smiles and snuggles, for your romping and wiles. Just one more day to your first birthday, Little Girlie!

The Turnings

My Girls,
You will turn one tomorrow, Pita. Where has that one whole year vanished? I can tell you. It's in my heart. There are too many moments to count and recall to say something so simple, and so I will just say it now, I love you. I remember that first moment you laid on my chest after you were delivered. What relief. What happiness. What wonder to come. Thank you, God, for our beautiful girl.
My Madge, you turn three in less than three weeks. You know it too! You always say, "I'll be three. My birthday is July 17th." How many awesome moments I share with you. Our times together in Beijing, in Hawaii, traveling, those precious moments together. They're all shared. You are my beauty, my big helper, my Madge-Pie. Happy pre-birthday!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Climate Change Bill

As iterations of the Waxman-Markey bill pass through the house and the senate, it's worthwhile to call to mind the words of two alternative environmentalists:
The kind of technological revolution called for by energy experts typically does not occur via regulatory fiat. We did not invent the Internet by taxing telegraphs nor the personal computer by limiting typewriters. Nor did the transition to the petroleum economy occur because we taxed, regulated, or ran out of whale oil. Those revolutions happened because we invented alternatives that were vastly superior to what they replaced and, in remarkably short order, became a good deal cheaper.
I disagree with the author's next paragraph, stating that government-funded R&D is the way forward. But they make a good point on taxing technologies. We'll see how this all unfolds...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whence Thy Patience, Darling?

Maybe it's a sex thing. Perhaps, at least a component of it. Temperament surely has something to do with it. Undoubtedly, however, it primarily comes from lots of practice and strict discipline. No matter whence it comes, Mary's patience outshines mine as the sun does the moon.

Last night was one of those nights. For whatever reason, our sweet little Madge didn't want to lay down her curly locks on the pillow. She must have come out of the bedroom a dozen or more times between 7:30 and 9:00pm. (We were actually trying to watch a great movie about St. Rita--available via Netflix) Mary and I would alternate between the two of us the task of putting her back in bed. I typically don't raise my voice and we try to steer clear of physical discipline, but it was one of those occasions that tested my resolve. Every parent must take tests of patience while raising children: ultimately, some people pass and some people fail. It can be really hard! I also realize that exclusively-mothering women must undergo many, many more patience tests than their working husbands. I don't know how Mares does it. She keeps up a patience like none other! I suppose I can modify Jesus' prayer from "Father, may they be perfect as you are perfect" to "God, may I be patient as my wife is patient." Thanks for your example and commitment, Mares. I love you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To My Little Ones

Dear Madge,

This evening at dinner, you diplomatically asked Mom, Pita and me what the favorite part of our day was. You responded that your favorite part of the day was picking me up from the commuter lot. Despite an exciting day at the library and at the pool, your highlight was getting me! I was touched. Later at dinner, I asked you whether you wanted to get married or become a nun. First, you said that you wanted to become a nun. A minute later, you said that wanted to get "maddy-ed". (I think in your mind, since Mom (Mary) is "married", you would be "maddy-ed." Classic.

Also, I took you and Pita to the pool today while mom was at the fitness center. You were keen on jumping into the water. It was such fun catching you in the water. Yesterday at the pool, I was attending Pita when you jumped. On that occasion, I didn't catch you. You fell headlong into the pool. I scooped you up a second later. However, you had gone under completely. The great thing was that we turned the whole mishap into an exciting foray of dunking your head under water. You were so proud of yourself. You keep asking me to miss you and let you fall into the water by yourself. I would do it more, but it's hard to keep the situation under control while holding Pita in my other arm. You're my little jumper!

Dear Pita,

This evening you and Mom were playing chase around the house. You are such a passionate little kiddo. You get into every activity with gusto. So, when you were chasing Mom, you would literally throw yourself at her every time you caught her. Mom would catch you or else you would fall onto her legs. Such childlike trust. Later after rosary, I was lying on my belly on the floor. It became a romp session for the two of us. Your big sister was reading a book with Mom, so I had you all to myself. Again, you were throwing yourself on top of me and inviting tickles.

Your cheeky smiles and stubby-armed hugs captivate our heart.

My love and admiration for both of my girlies,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Father's Day Recap

We began Father's Day with celebrations starting on Friday. On that day, the 19th, we drove down to the city with a picnic dinner (and frisbee) packed. We enjoyed a walk along the Tidal Basin before settling in a nice shaded area with the Washington Monument as our backdrop and the Jefferson Memorial as our beautiful view with the Potomac glistening before us. After a lot of throwing, catching, and chasing the frisbee we headed south to get cleaned up for the Mass of the Sacred Heart at our parish. Bedtime was on the horizon for the girlies afterwards. What a nice start it was to the Father's Day weekend.
On Saturday we enjoyed our day together first at Mass for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and then later in the day headed to a beautiful park near Quantico for a big picnic with friends. Caleb enjoyed some volleyball, Madge climbed the playground toys and enjoyed the ebb and flow of the swings as well as the sand castle-building. Pita had a great time chilling in the wrap with Mom or the Snugli with Daddy. And, I enjoyed talking with friends and watching the families' kids attempt to dunk their friends in the dunking booth. Madge, good job with your throws!
Sunday was another wonderful day with a webcam visit with Pa-Pa in Taiwan, followed by Mass, coffee, and a pleasant walk at Fountainhead. The breeze along the way and the rustling of the trees with the sunlight peering amongst the branches was a recipe for a peaceful. We enjoyed a leaisurly walk along the dock where lots of early risers were fishing. Later in the afteroon, Caleb and Maddy enjoyed a date to the ice cream store. (Thanks for making that possible, Grandma Mimi!) When Daddy and Maddy arrived home, Daddy made Pita and Maddy into "sandwiches" (i.e. squooshing them each between two pillows! on the bed. Pita, you absolutely love being in on the action! So sweet to watch. By the evening we were ready to enjoy a nice Mexican dinner with lime slushes and a triple berry pie, all in Daddy's honor. We give God thanks for Himself and His Trinity, for all priests who father us on a daily basis, for our own dads and their sacrifices, love, and devotion throughout the years, for our family members who father their own, and our dear grandpas, living and deceased, who have left legacies. Grandpa, I see your picture daily as it hangs in the foyer, and I give God thanks for your hard work, your sacrifices, and perseverance on the banks of Normandy. For, without your life, I would not have Dad, your son. (The other night we watched Saving Private Ryan. Wow, how did you stay focused and go on amidts the crossfire and fear? May Jesus bless you and hold you safe in His arms. Pray that we will one day be there with you. We miss you. I remember crying for you when I was only about 5 or so. Although I did not know you well, I knew Dad well, and I knew how much he loved and missed you. How could I not miss the one that my Dad looked up to and leaned on? I also longed for being with a Grandpa so loving. Happy Father's Day to you, Caleb. You are a man of true love. How many times do you say, "How can I help? What can I do? Put me to work"? Always. Thank you for your love. Most especially, thank you for your goodness to our girls. They love you so, so much. Jinks. So do I!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tell me a story

Maddy is ever asking us to tell her stories of when we were growing up. She'll sometimes ask us to repeat the same story 3-4 times in a row! It really fascinates her. Well, picking up where we left off, the video below illustrates how she is beginning to spin her own yarns!

Good Night, Mimi and Papa

A Father's Day Poem for All You Fathers Out There

My boss just dropped off a copy of the below poem, as an ode Father's Day. While we currently don't have any boys, the sentiments such wonderful scenarios conjure are the same even with little girls. Being a dad is one of the greatest joys in a life. I thank God for this gift (and the grace not to botch up my job too poorly!). I opine that mornings are truly the best moments to spend with kids. Some of my best memories are in the morning bed or sipping coffee on the living room couch, observing the shenanigans all around. Here's, then, to all fathers:

This Morning in a Morning Voice

by Todd Boss

to beat the froggiest
of morning voices,
my son gets out of bed
and takes a lumpish song
along—a little lyric
learned in kindergarten,
something about a
boat. He’s found it in
the bog of his throat
before his feet have hit
the ground, follows
its wonky melody down
the hall and into the loo
as if it were the most
natural thing for a little
boy to do, and lets it
loose awhile in there
to a tinkling sound while
I lie still in bed, alive
like I’ve never been, in
love again with life,
afraid they’ll find me
drowned here, drowned
in more than my fair
share of joy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Corpus Christi Sunday Feast

We had a very enjoyable Corpus Christi Sunday together and ate up a yummy dinner in the evening with bread, wine, and angel food cake. What a gift we have in Christ's Body and Blood in the Mass, and what a delight it is to relive this incredible feast within our own home, our "domestic church," as Pope John Paul II called it. ("Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family - a domestic church." ~Pope John Paul II) Here are a few highlights from our dinner.

"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." (Jn 6:35)
"Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.'" (Mt. 26:27)
"Come all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you." (Mt. 11:28)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

To All My Aunties

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Love You

Every day I appreciate you. Every day I love you. Some days I need to be rocked off my spot to remember and be grateful for what a good spouse God has blessed me with in you. The other day when you called to tell me of the news that happened on 14th St., I immediately recalled just how fragile life is and how much you mean to me. That evening, I was so happy to have you step safely off the shuttle bus and step into our home where you belong. Your love for me humbles me. That night you brought out our nice massage table, a relaxing therapy for the end of a full day. You do all of these things on your own, and I love you. (I can hear you gettting our girls ready in the other room for the day, as I write.) Thank you for your love, appreciation, genuine attention to me and our girls. I look at you, and I see a glimpse of God's love for me. I see how much you love me, and I realize how much He loves each of us. If we are a glimpse of His love, how much more He must love each of us. How awesome it is for each of us to have our own banks of love in our family, our spouse, our network of friends. We are incapable of loving and giving everything to everyone (let's save that for the Biggest Lover of all), but I love the fact that we love what God gives to us so very much. Today, I give thanks to God, again, for reminding me of the goodness that is in my arms. I love you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A crime close to home (er, work)

Peopled are killed every day in every country around the world. Yesterday's Holocaust Museum shooting brought that message home to us. I work right next to the Holocaust Museum. I had been out for a jog with a friend from work around the time of the incident. As we closed our running circuit, we ran right past--within a fifty feet of--the Holocaust Museum. That was only about 5-10 minutes after the fatal scuffle. A portion of my building had to be immediately vacated, but I was not among that number.

A good reminder, however, to pray for those who are meeting their maker every minute of every day. Life is tenuous. I stand reminded of this message and of the importance of availing every day granted to me in this world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maddy da Vinci

I wanted to showcase some of Maddy's art work from the past week. It continues to improve drastically. Yesterday, I was impressed that she drew "a little guy." He had a body and a face, complete with eyes, nose, and a mouth. He even sported an elegant hat. Last night, she was drawing the letter B. (Mares, with her characteristic creativity and diligence, has been teaching Madge how to write a new letter each week or so.) It's neat to see how she is growing each and every day. I am proud of you, Madge-Pie.

By the way, Madge, when I was complimenting you on being such a good girl last night, you had the sweetest smile and replied, "thanks, daddy." You've got to stop melting my heart!

Legalized abortion exemplifies "morality meeting custom"

In a NYTimes article on abortion, the author justifies abortion by saying:

But the law is a not a philosophy seminar. It’s the place where morality meets custom, and compromise, and common sense. And it can take account of tragic situations without universalizing their lessons.

Unfortunately, he's right about the law in practice. I don't think that law should be this way, but so many of the laws in our country have internal contradictions. They are not based on sound logic or metaphysics. They're based on compromise. They're based not on principle but on what can pass muster in the legislative process. Empathy continues to trounce truth.

Look, Dad. No hands!

Yesterday evening, Madge and I were playing soccer in the hallway. "Soccer" for us means kicking the ball back and forth. A goal occurs when the ball makes it past one of us. Maddy has been making great progress in her kicking abilities. However, she has the habit of stopping the ball with her hands--hey, it must be easier that way, right? After she stops it with her hands, she sets it up for her next kick. Anyhow, I was trying to teach her last night that in soccer we don't use our hands. I demonstrated how one can stop the ball and position it with just one's feet.

She tried using only her feet only to stop the ball for a half-dozen times. I could see she was getting a bit frustrated and that she was thinking. The next time I kicked the ball to her, she stopped the ball by grabbing it between her fists. The next time, she scooped it up with her elbows. "Look, Dad. No hands!" No hands, indeed!

I love you, Madgey, and I love being your dad and spending time together.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Knotty" and Nice

This evening I was working my fingers through the shampoo at the ends of Madge's hair in the bath, trying to get rid of the knots. Upon asking me what I was doing, I replied, "getting 'knotties' out." (Due to the pain this can cause, I have to explain this process to Maddy every night at bath time...her little hair can get so tangled!) Madge said, "you're getting Sayeda's little friend? Nadia?" (I guess "knottie" and "Nadia" sound similar to her!) I had a good laugh. You two were definitely on her mind. We're thinking of you, Sayeda and Nadia: here's to no knots in your hair!

Beware the power of the pinky!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Just Hummin'

The other day Maddy was humming, and so I asked her: "Are you humming?" She replied, "No, that's not hummin'. That's singing." Then I asked if she could get something for me, and with her "hummin'/singing" voice, she responded: "Uhh-hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm," and went off to retrieve the thing I asked for. She came back, and I was trying to tell her what humming is and what singing is. And so, I asked: "What are you hummin'?" She said: "Summy-mee. We sing that at church." I think this song "Summy-mee" will be in the top ten next week on the radio. They just need to get these hits orgalized first.
I learn something new every day.

Let's Polka!

Yesterday evening we met our friends, the Dalys, at the Kennedy Center for some hard core polka. Mary and the girls picked me up from work around 5pm. We parked near the Kennedy Center and had dinner. Then we went to polka. There were lessons for half an hour and then live music. The little girls were dancing the night away. They danced to every song with the boundless energy characteristic of their age. Unfortunately, the camera battery died five minutes into this fun event. The photos are sparse, but here they are.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Comic Strip Dedicated to my Wuffy


I thought of you this morning as I read this comic strip in the newspaper on my way to work. I have always loved Pearls before Swine, but wordplay in this one is clever as ever.

You'll always be my "huffy wuffy," even if you don't provide free wifi! I love you and appreciate all that you do for me. I can't get over how much the little girls adore you. It's wonderful. You're the best. We'll have to hit a coffee shop this weekend in search of Pig.

Love you,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Sunshine

It's a real blessing to be so close to so many historical areas that are enjoyable to romp through. We were able to visit Mt. Vernon once again this past weekend, and what a ball we had visiting the gardens, walking the cobblestone lanes, and taking in the sunshine with the beautiful view of the Potomac River before us. The best view of all was the threesome that pounced before me.

Sunny Days

Another fun day at "Fancy" Park!

What Lies Beneath

Awesome article on reality, being positive and joyful, working together and loving one's spouse.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pro-Life Article of the Day

Thoughts from an ex-fetus

A good read (from a Canadian source, none less)