THE POLISH SOAP OPERA and THE VAMPIRE BROTHERS

Ok, for starters, you have to know my family is a bit strange. There was a time I thought the things we did were normal, but my wife assured me that “no, normal people don’t do the things you do.” So with that said, I’m going to share a Christmas tradition my brother and I started. But the more I think about it, it’s something that was started well before we were even born.

When we were kids, there was this cassette tape floating around our house. It was a standard blank cassette tape from Radio Shack. Written on the label were the simple words “Soap Opera.” It wasn’t just a soap opera though; it was the Polish Soap Opera. The Polish Soap Opera was a tape my mom, dad, and uncle made when they were in their early 20s, sometime before my parents got married (that’s right, they knew how weird each other were and still got married). It was the story of Stash and Stella who were Polish mushroom pickers. Yes, you read that right. The story was a total of 5 minutes and half of it was fake commercials. It was ridiculous and made no sense to me, but it was pure gold!

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THE ART OF THE CARD

We love receiving cards in the mail at Christmas time. Seeing pictures of everyone’s families, the well-wishing notes, and the words of encouragement for the New Year to come. We like it all. We also like creating our own family card each year too. That’s one tradition we kind of fell in to, but cherish. There have been plenty of years when we were too busy traveling, moving, or just down right tired, but we always came through with something.

Aya loves the written word. I think it’s one of her love languages. Cards are important to her. They always have been. She has every card or letter she has received since she was in elementary school. I’m not joking. Moving back and forth between US and Japan, that’s how she stayed in touch with her friends. So for as long as I’ve known her, Christmas cards have always been a big deal for her.

When I was a kid, my dad was into photography. He had a fairly fancy camera, and he even had a dark room where he developed his own photos. There were a few years when he had a big idea for our family Christmas card. This was in the days long before Photoshop and Shutterfly. So all of the editing he did was in the dark room or was just set-up with the camera. I remember thinking these cards were the coolest thing! When Aya and I had kids, those ideas of doing something different were transferred to me. Continue reading “THE ART OF THE CARD”

OWNING IT

This summer I’ll be celebrating eight years of being a stay-at-home dad. It’s a role I’m good at. And within the confines of our home, I’m very confident in how I do it. I work with purpose and feel valued and appreciated at home. Content even. But as soon as I step outside the sacred boundaries of our family, I struggle with being “okay” with it. I receive signals from the outside world that makes me question my self-worth. Maybe this isn’t such noble work after all.

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TOOTH LOSER

It’s that time again. To have another magical mythical person/creature come into my kid’s bedroom in the middle of the night. It’s time for the infamous Tooth Fairy to grace us with her presence, again. To sprinkle her tooth glitter and magically collect some teeth. The Tooth Fairy was quite busy over here for a while with Ellie. She’s already lost eight baby teeth. But lately, Chloe has been dropping some teeth. To see Chloe so proud and so excited to have a visit from the Tooth Fairy is just so cute. She even had Ellie help her craft a letter .

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HAPPY NEW YEAR…

Happy New Year! It’s still January, right? Oh, it’s February already? MID FEBRUARY!?

Man, what a year so far. We kicked off the New Year in Japan with Aya’s family. We experienced the city, we soaked in the hot springs, ate fantastic food, visited with friends and had fun with family. The kids absorbed so much language and culture while we were there too! But all great trips have to come to an end. And just before the end, the day before we left, I got the flu. And then on the plane, Ellie got the flu. And when we landed and got home, Chloe got the flu. And after a few days of dealing with us, Aya got a bad head cold. And then she left for a week long business trip. Sooo, we spent the first two weeks back sick, miserable, jetlagged, cranky, and eating terrible. We went from going out to great restaurants eating fresh fish to eating Taco Bell on the couch. But finally, finally, that’s all over with and we are looking forward to a bright 2018! Well, at least trying…

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