Christmas Present

Decorating the tree brings a all kinds of memories of Christmas Past. Then until the presents are out in the open, there’s the anticipation of Christmas Future. In the middle of that, Christmas Present is the right now that maybe we lose sight of too often.

This morning, one child is sound asleep while the other is sleeping on a terrible painful ear infection. Our Christmas Present included a late night urgent care run and pharmacy conversation. Mama bear has been taking care of baby boy. Shopping is just about done, just a few more stops and some wrapping today. One family event down, a couple more tomorrow to go. Right now, there’s some hustle and bustle in our world but, honestly, it’s just life moving on.

I’m not a fan of sentimentality. Remembering and learning from the past is good, and looking forward expectantly is good. But there’s something about being in the moment, trying to be aware of what’s going on right now – that’s where I think we can listen and see the real magic of the season…

… and I think that magic is in the midst of relationships; in the waves of pain from earaches; in the smiles of kids watching Rudolph on TV and Linus reciting the scriptures; in the tastes and smells of sugar cookies and egg nog lattes; in the warmth of South Carolina “winter”…

There’s so much to look at, to talk with, to see together this year. I’m glad we’re not missing Christmas Present right now because right now is the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas.

Happy Birthday, Sweet

Today is Vicki’s birthday – and honestly, I cannot think of her any differently today than when we were both younger, both falling in love, both looking forward to a life together.

With so much to look back on, I still look forward to her youthfulness, to continued falling in love, and to much more life to be lived together.

Happy birthday, Sweet.

Wrapping Up Vacation

This is the final morning of my vacation before heading back to the office tomorrow. I might be wrong, but I think the ten day respite has been the longest in at least a year and a half. The story of the past eighteen months is a story in itself, but today I’m thinking more about what’s been happening and what’s just ahead back at my desk.

U.S.S. Constellation, Inner Harbor Baltimore, MD

We left for a student conference/competition in Baltimore, MD last Friday, driving that night to the NC/VA line. That left six hours to Fairfax, VA for Saturday’s drive through the foothills. Sunday was left relatively open for time in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Mall. The rest of the week was spent in Baltimore with 4300+ of our closest friends from around the country (and from Germany, which Vicki found to be exceedingly cool). The kids competed in various technology and creativity events, and in the off hours we walked all over our end of Inner Harbor. We found some great food, the most awesome Barnes & Noble ever, and lots of great photo opportunities.

And the Gamecocks won the NCAA Baseball Championship. Can’t leave that one out – had to watch and participate from afar, making me that much more grateful for friends on Twitter and Facebook sharing the excitement via social media channels.

We drove back all day Friday and the ginormous payoff was being able to sleep in our own beds, with my big plus being my own pillow. Having the full three-day weekend to recuperate is working out well: celebrating Independence Day with the family, small pre-birthday lunch (Best Buy gift cards – the gifts that keep on giving), and movies this morning.

So here’s Monday. I’ve grown to embrace the first day of the week, even more so with a holiday. I’m ready to head back, and the whole point of writing here is that I’ve been ready to get back for most of the week. I don’t mean workaholic-like – instead, I’ve kept up with work happenings and have read some good creative thought-inducing posts on social media that I want to put into play. We’ve enjoyed family time together, travel time away, and new adventures and memories that have been fun and exciting. And now, it’s time to get back into Life with that renewed vigor and excitement to keep doing what we’re passionate about in the marketplace.

I don’t want or need a vacation to recuperate from the vacation. This time away has been better than that. I’ll be ready for tomorrow morning’s alarm after enjoying the rest of today, and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the week has in store.

NOTE: as always, I reserve the right to change my mind when the alarm actually goes off tomorrow morning at 6am.

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Rest area in Virginia, resting

Weekend Whatever

This week, Vicki went though the hullabaloo of getting me a new upgraded iPhone 4. My former 3G phone is now hers, and I think it’s growing on her. But this new phone, for me, is such a huge improvement. Super fast, longer-lasting battery, new features, HD video, FaceTime – for all the naysayers, I say ppfftt! to you. Anyone can find things wrong with __fill in the blank__, but if it works it just works – at least til the next best thing ever comes along. I’ve never had problems with AT&T, only have a couple of dropped call spots around town. Otherwise, I’m a confident customer, consumer and user.

And did I mention that I love love love the new iPhone 4?

I’m off the World Cup soccer bandwagon. Team USA represented well, but now I’m going back to not caring about soccer. It’s a great game – easy to watch and pick up from afar. But it’s just not the same as football, basketball or even baseball. I don’t know why soccer has not taken hold here like it has so prominently everywhere else in the world. Whatever it is, it’s the same thing that makes figure skating only worthwhile once every four years.

Right now, SC Gamecocks are up 2-1 on Clemson for the second spot in the NCAA Baseball Championship series. Well, now it’s tied 2-2 with Clemson still batting top of the 7th. Story of the season, always making it hard but worth it.

We drove a few hours last night, about twice as far today, and now we are twenty minutes west of Washington, DC. Tomorrow: Smithsonian. I’m looking forward to walking through the museums and sharing my first time through with our kids on their first time through. So much of life is about relationships and shared experiences, or as we’ll come to call it, “Sunday”.

It’s SC 4 – CU 2 heading to the Top of the 8th. Back to watching the game in chillax mode.

UPDATE: SC 4, CU 3 – Gamecocks heading into the best-of-two with UCLA. Hoping THIS is the year- Go ‘Cocks!