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What are you passionate about?

23 Aug

I was asked that question recently and I couldn’t answer it. Besides the obvious (and natural) answer of family and friends – I couldn’t think of anything else. I mean, I like a whole bunch of things but I’m not sure I really have a passion for any of them.

Some people are passionate about a cause. I don’t really have one. I’ve always been pretty wishy-washy. My heart strings are pulled over and over again but they are not tied to on any one cause.

I’m certainly not passionate about politics. Don’t get me started.

Some people are passionate about sports. I don’t play any. I run but I would not say I’m passionate about running. Most days, I whine and drag my feet before forcing myself out the door.

Books? I don’t have the awake-time for them.

I’d like to say I’m passionate about writing but I don’t do much with it. I write here and there with the hope of writing more. I just don’t have the initiative or the courage to push it too far. Passion fizzled.

I guess I just felt lacking after the question forced me to review myself because I wasn’t able to answer right away. Am I lazy? Does it mean I don’t care enough? Am I putting too much meaning on the word “passionate”?

Can you answer the question? What are you passionate about?

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Diamond Dreams

5 Jul

There you sleep, barely a wrinkle in the blankets of the hotel queen bed next to ours. You are so sweet and peaceful. Hours before you had batting practice at the cages, ate four pieces of pizza and pounded that kid-sized root beer while sharing a table with your team. After dinner, you played a “who could pick up who” game and begged to hit the pool “just for a little bit” before bed. We traveled two hours for this adventure. A chance to play in the Dizzy Dean State Tournament. You are an All-Star. You are seven.

What will you remember of this trip? Could this be the one time you experience something as neat as this? You were supposed to play your first game tonight. Instead, rain delayed your fun on the field and opened up another kind of bliss. Goofing off with the guys. Cannonball contests in the pool until the sky turned dark from night instead of storm clouds. Curiosity about what the other boys are doing as we headed back to the room for bed. “Where’s Bryte staying? Are they all still awake? When will we play tomorrow?”

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I’m sure they were all like you … eyes more than ready for sleep with baseball diamond dreams in their heads. Sleep well, Barrow County 7U All-Stars. I hope this is a weekend full of special memories for you.

Sleepy baseball boy

Sleepy Baseball Boy

Puppet Masters

19 May

I’m proud to be a card-carrying member of the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. We experienced our first visit and performance this weekend. “Brer Rabbit and Friends” had us all giggling, singing along and learning about how they put on the entertaining show. They are such talented entertainers – the person as an actor bringing the puppet to life. Such a unique talent.

After the play, the kids enjoyed walking around to see all the puppets on display – especially some of Jim Henson’s stars from the Muppets, Labyrinth, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. I also loved the Skeksis from the Dark Crystal. So cool (and still creepy all these grown up years later) to see up close.

The museum also offered us the chance to create our own puppets after the show – something both kids and adults found fun.

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Nate & Nia Bear Puppets

Happy Puppet Masters

Happy Puppet Masters

Can’t wait to go back! (I see Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are on the calendar!)

Orion’s Belt

20 Apr

I looked up at the stars the other night. It’s such a rare thing for me anymore that I had to think about the last time I stopped to take in the view. This time, I was running through my neighborhood on a clear evening. Instead of looking down at the ground so I don’t trip or step in a dog’s gift to the sidewalk or keeping my eyes forward so I keep moving in that same direction, my attention shifted toward the sky. Spotting the Big Dipper was as easy as it ever was. Like riding a bike.

I remember how much I used to love star gazing. Sitting on the front porch of my childhood home with a glass of my mom’s iced tea keeping me company. I felt so free being old enough to sit out at night by myself. (Sure, many nights I was hoping some boy I liked would drive by my house. On a rare occasion, that would actually happen.) For the most part though, I sat there and let the stars hypnotize me as I thought out love stories in my mind.

Starry nights used to have such an “An American Tail” feel for me as well. The sky was the one thing that I felt connected Andrew to me when we were oceans apart. I know it sounds cheesy, but I couldn’t help but think of the song “Somewhere Out There” when I was in Georgia and he was in Kosovo and Kuwait/Iraq. Although, I know he wouldn’t wish on the same star because he’s not into all that hogwash.

I’m not sure when I started taking the stars for granted. If it wasn’t for that recent run and Nia’s new knowledge and fascination with the solar system, my eyes would still be shooting straight ahead. Recently, she pointed at the sky and said, “There’s Orion’s Belt.” Something I never knew. I can’t wait for her to teach me more.

Solar System by Nia

Solar System by Nia

Made With Love … by Daddy

24 Feb

It seemed like a simple enough wish to help bring to life for Nia. “I want to make a Princess Leia sock doll and an Anakin doll for Nate.” Sure. Why not? After all, I just helped her a few months ago when she wanted to make a sock doll of Baby Peach (from the Mario Bros. game). However, (and it’s ok to laugh) here’s the doll I helped create:

Princess Peach Doll - made by Nia and Mom

Princess Peach Doll – made by Nia and Mom

Yes, those are yarn arms and an old Barbie dress. If I can do that, surely I can help with the new dolls. Besides, Nia loves her Peach. Even if she can’t cuddle with her because one of the crumbled papers that serve as hair may detach. (Have I ever told you I’m not the craftiest and I don’t know how to sew? I’m sure it’s obvious now!)

We got to Michaels craft store and started brainstorming the pieces we would need to create. Nia knew she wanted buttons for eyes and yarn for hair. Then, my suggestions started flying.

“How about a Styrofoam ball for a head?”
“Pipe cleaner for a mouth?”
“Felt for clothes.”
“We can just use some cotton balls for stuffing.”

Nia seemed pleased with these ideas. We loaded our basket as Andrew and Nate decided on a Star Wars model spaceship to build. At some point during our shopping, Andrew grabbed a bag of stuffing for dolls. It was almost like he knew he would have a bigger part in this project. In fact, he’s the reason the dolls came to life as wonderfully as they did.

My contribution? I stuffed a Styrofoam ball in one of the socks. That ball didn’t make the final cut though. It was replaced (rightly so) with cuddly stuffing.

Sewing Machine Daddy

Sewing Machine Daddy

I went to the grocery store and when I came home an excited Nia greeted me at the door holding a stuffed sock with sewn on arms and legs. It was a real sock doll. I came upstairs and saw Andrew sitting at the table focused on the sewing machine (with a beer beside it). “Shut up!” I said to him in shock and praise. He laughed. I was amazed.

He worked on the Leia and Anakin sock dolls for several hours over two days. The kids stuffed the dolls and gave guidance on how they wanted the hair and clothes. Nia also helped by making Leia’s belt. I helped by shouting compliments and joyful words like, “Unbelievable!” “Wow!” and “Those are the best sock dolls ever!”

Toward the end, sewing machine daddy scoffed at me when I asked if he was going to use a pipe cleaner for a mouth. “I’m going to sew it.” Know what else he sewed? The dolls’ yarn hair and the scar near Anakin’s eye. Incredible.

Made with love … by daddy. Something the kids will treasure for always.

The Creation of Andrew's Leia and Anakin Sock Dolls

The Creation of Andrew’s Leia and Anakin Sock Dolls

Loves her Princess Leia

Loves her Princess Leia

Loves his Anakin

Loves his Anakin

That Happened

7 Feb

There’s a weekend in February I cherish. It’s filled with family, friends and frolic in a city that has my heart. It all started last year when we traveled to Savannah to participate in the Tybee Run Fest.

The complete fest is five races. A 5K on Friday and then a 10K, Half Marathon, 2.8 Beach Run and Mile Run on Saturday. If you run all five events, you run a marathon. Andrew did that last year – and although he declared he would not do that again – he did. He was really ready for it this year though. He’s been on his run streak for almost a year and trained for two marathons during that time. Last year, he finished the Tybee Run Fest races and crashed. This year, he finished the races and danced.

Ready for More Running

Ready for More Running

This 5K was special to me. When I ran it in 2012, it was the first 5K I ever trained for and I wanted my past year of running to show improvement. I’m happy to share that it not only meant a better time for me (from 34:45 to 28:36) and the first time I ever ran 3 miles in under 30 minutes, but it also meant personal records for Ginger, Lee and Andrew. Team Brew/Drink/Run doesn’t mess. (And of course we enjoyed some beer after the race.) It was awesome.

Tybee Run Fest 5K

Tybee Run 5K, Part II

I still can’t believe my average was a 9:14 per mile. That’s crazy right there. I even felt so strong when I finished. My finish line photo shows me smiling and pumped. It cracks me up. I’m such a poser.

Tybee Run Fest

Finish Line Smile

The kids also enjoyed some racing fun during the Fest. Team BDR Jr. (Camille, Ellanor, Nia and Nate) took on the mile run independently. They each earned a medal and were so proud of how they ran. Andrew and Nate got to finish together in that one because they were on pace with each other. I love that.

Team BDR, Jr.

Team BDR, Jr. Ready to Start

Tybee Run Fest 5K

Andrew & Nate Finish Fast Together

Daddy & Daughter Runners

Daddy & Daughter Runners

This visit also meant another unbelievable first for me as Andrew, Ginger and I ran high above the Savannah River and across one of the most intimidating bridges I’ve ever experienced. The Talmadge Bridge is a sight to behold. Andrew and I used to sit on River Street and marvel at it as giant barges stacked with 18-wheeler trailers passed underneath it. The bridge has been the backdrop of many of our family photos. One photo of it even hangs in a matte showcase in our house from a July 4th night of fireworks on the river. I never would’ve thought that I would RUN across the thing. It was incredible and I’m so glad Ginger suggested we use it for our Sunday run route.

I still can’t believe that all happened.

Talmadge Bridge

My View from the Top

Talmadge Bridge, Savannah

On Top of the Talmadge Bridge

Running Bridge Luvahs

Running Bridge Luvahs

Bridge Running Buddies

Bridge Running Buddies

 

A New Star Wars Fan – and His Art

15 Jan

Nate experienced Star Wars for the first time over the Christmas and New Year school break and, of course, became captivated with the story and characters. He rooted for Anakin so much that he cried and cried at the end of Revenge of the Sith. I had to console him right up until he closed his eyes for sleep that night.

With that sorrow for Anakin, I’m wondering if I should be concerned Nate seems to favor the Dark Side characters. Based off his drawings, you can certainly tell where the Force is guiding him. The sweetness of his drawings makes it difficult to be too concerned though. Darth “Mole” doesn’t seem so bad through the 7-year-old eyes and ears of Nate.

"The Dark Side" as drawn by Nate, 7 years old

“The Dark Side” as drawn by Nate, 7 years old

Young Anakin as drawn by Nate

Young Anakin as drawn by Nate, 7 years old

Andrew loved the order they watched the movies too. He thought it was so cool how the kids were surprised at certain major plot points and their reactions made him feel like a kid again watching them for the first time. They watched the movies in this order: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, The Phantom Menace,  Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and then Return of the Jedi. It was a good plan.

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