The First Ride

October 19, 2019

We all seem to remember times in our lives whether they be special moments or events that changed us. These moments are typically ones which are the most important to us. Those moments in our lives like learning to ride a bicycle for the first time, our first kiss, and our first heartbreak. For me, memories of my childhood are vague at times, except for those few I listed above and in particular the first time I ever rode on a motorcycle.

Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle.

Hunter S. Thompson

Long before my parents bought me my first dirt bike and my first long distance ride across the country at 16, there is this memory I have of the first time I rode on a motorcycle with my dad. While I was brainstorming and thinking of all the things I wanted to talk about, I have several memories that seem to be seared into one. I know my very first ride was on the Honda Shadow, I do have several others of riding on the Goldwing as well. But this article is about the first time, the first ride, the first exhilarating time I felt the wind on my face and the excitement of it all.

Like just about everything I do, when I find a hobby or something I really like doing, I have to have all the best gear and I have to look the part, whether or not I am any good…it is all about the look! I laugh at how neurotic I can get sometimes from having the perfect running shoes, to the best helmet, or jacket or shirt. For over 40 years, this has never changed, not with any single thing.

So picture me, a snot nosed little 12 year old. I am short with this crazy hair, really big wire framed glasses, and crazy big teeth (braces would come later). I was so excited for that first ride, I had my black “members only” jacket, my white Nike tennis shoes, blue jeans, and this amazing royal blue helmet that sparkled. I can still feel the air on my face and the conversations I had with my father.

Riding the back roads of Michigan, this is where it all began. This is the quintessential moment when I became intoxicated if you will with the thought of this freedom. This single moment in time defined me in a way. I would become obsessed with riding. I believe we were on some two lane road winding through Coloma or possibly Eau Claire, all I can see are the fall colors. The yellows, the oranges, and the reds that made up the tree lines as they outlined the roadside and highlighted the path in front of us. If you have ever smelled fall in Michigan, then you know how the leaves smell, that subtle smell of dirt mixed with a hint of rain and the breeze that never lets you forget either of them. This is my first ride, this is my first experience, this is when I fell in love with my first girlfriend the motorcycle. This one in particular, a 1983 Honda Shadow 750. We took many adventures her and I, a few with dad piloting and a bunch with me at the helm. My Shadow, my sweet, sweet Shadow. We would later go on to places like Canada, Niagara Falls, New York City, Washington, DC, Cape Cod, and Sturgis. She would be a trust worthy old faithful for me, we even rode in the snow once, but that is another story for another time.

For this story is really not even about me. This story, is about my son, Asher and his first ride. While I did feel the need to give you some background context of my first ride, the details are sketchy as I grow older, the roads get longer, the leaves colors get duller, and quite possibly may have tried to crash us a couple times with my arms in the air thinking I was “FREE”. But I do know that ride influenced me beyond what I could have ever imagined.

While I do love ridding my motorcycle, I can tell you, convincing an 11-yr old to ride with you is somewhat of a chore. For a kid who sometimes acts and talks like he is 16, this 11-yr old is stubborn. Leading up to this day, I had asked him numerous times to ride with me. His Grandpa who first took me offered to ride him and all of us take an adventure. But up until this point, he has had every excuse in the book from “I’m scared” to “It’ll be boring” to “I just don’t think I would like it”. So how exactly do you convince a stubborn child to try something, just to see if there is a possibility of doing something fun…well you just take him. One thing I have learned is that Asher tends to not want to ever do anything. He protests and fights us, but when we actually get to what we are doing, he usually ends up having a great time and is very glad he went.

Well, I did it, I signed us up for the 22Kill and Maverick Harley Davidson ride and rally. Having a father who is a veteran, we love supporting causes, especially one like this. If you don’t know who 22Kill is, you should and you need to support the cause.

We were so lucky, the sun was shining on our faces and the temperature was close to 80* and off we went. I told him, the “struggle” of the ride, was going to be the highway riding we had to do in order to get up to Maverick HD in Carrollton. You see we are in south Ft. Worth and the ride was about 40 min of Highway riding. (My least favorite type of riding) But he was a champ, he put in his head phones on and listened to music and he told me he enjoyed the ride.

For a first ride, I know it was not the cool back road driving, curve taking, relaxing excursion, that I love to do, but the best was yet to come. I knew he would love the police escort (okay so they were not actually the police, but they still did a good job). Once we arrived at the dealership, we parked and waited. Killing time was easy, people watching, looking at bikes, and Harley Davidson paraphernalia did the job.

Once we were ready for the actual ride, we got in line, my big American Flag blowing behind us and next to us was Grandpa, with his big Flag and about 800 other motorcycles. We never really went over 45-50 MPH but I thought it was a fun ride. One of the longest escorted rides I have done, it took close to 45 minutes. I am not sure it Ash thought it was cool or not, but I always love it when the highways are cleared off and for about a mile all you can see are bikes on the road.

It was a really good ride, we actually went North on I-35 to Lewisville, where we took 1171 (Main St) into Flower Mound and then down 2499 (Long Prairie Rd) before taking Sandy Lake back to the Dealership.

Here the map of our route:

During our ride I did drop a tiny bit of knowledge on him about hand signals and how to get on and off the bike. I know, but baby steps. I will educate him more on the nuances of riding on the road and how to be the safe rider, but that will come in time. For now all he needs to know is that anytime he wants to go, we can, and we will.

One of my highlights was actually being able to listen to Asher have a good time. He used the GoPro and took video of the ride, took selfies, and even texted his friends during the ride! When we got back, he got his dealership poker chip, we ate, and looked at all of the vendors. Afterwards we hauled butt home and made it before dark. In total we went 122.9 miles for the day. I think I have a new riding buddy, he told me this was better than learning how to drive his dirt bike for the first time…that is a pretty big deal. What I think is even a bigger deal is that the person who was the hero in my first ride, was there again to share in another first ride, this time of his grandson. Hopefully I will get to experience this with Asher and his future children. Until then…the adventure keep rollin’ and with us, it is one mile at a time!

Dear Arizona – Month Eight (Family)

Dear Arizona,

Well dear, you are now eight months old. I can’t believe how much has changed since last month. This was such an exciting time for your mother and me, as we were able to celebrate your first Christmas with you. Although you will never remember it, it was truly one of the best Christmases I have ever had. (Don’t worry, dear ole dad took plenty of pictures to remember this!)

Before I start right in with telling you about how important I believe family is, I wanted to let you know about some of the things you accomplished this month. You had been eating solid foods, but your mother really stepped it up and you ate yogurt, bananas, chocolate pie (I know right?) and you started drinking water. Then you started talking more than just loud sounds and we will argue forever about if they were real words or not, but you are saying DaDa! I also get the occasional Daaaaaaad, sometimes you blurt out baba and nana but they are not really words, just sounds mostly. Still, it melts my heart when you say dada! Last but not least by any means, you started to crawl! It was so amazing to watch you crawl and I was there with you, of course capturing it all on video! Now that you are right at the 8-month mark, you are all over the place!

I titled this month “Family” for a reason. You see darling, I grew up in what I think was a very loving household. Now my dad was not always a big hugger type, but mom (grandma) was. This has rubbed off on me and I hug you and your brother a lot. I want our family to always be close. I want to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and special events. Yes they will be big deals! Along with that, we will be doing family activities as long as I am breathing. This will include adventures, sport activities, and doing things as a family. I believe this is important because because we get to bond, be close and enjoy each other. I want to avoid you or your brother sitting in your room on a computer or video game just ignoring the world. So when you grow up, when you get a family of your own, I hope you will understand and do the same with your family. I still have fond memories of all of the cool things we did and places we went. I want you to have those same memories.

With that said, this was your first Christmas in what I hope to be many in your lifetime. We did so much this year, not just because you entered our lives, but because we wanted to create memories for your brother with you and because it was just fun, cool stuff! Christmas is the ultimate time for family. So always remember that no matter what, we should always spend the holidays together no matter where we are living or how mad at each other we are. We are all we have, you, your brother, your mother, and me.

Your grandma (my mom) and I have had a Christmas tradition we created when she finally moved to Texas and I try to keep it every year. She loves looking at Christmas lights, so every year, we go drive around on Christmas Eve and look at lights and then go and eat. This year we had you and although you slept through the most of it, it was fun. We all crammed into the truck and went driving around Arlington. Then we went to downtown Fort Worth and saw the giant Christmas tree in Sundance Square. This year was special because we had both of your grandmothers with us.

We actually did a couple of new adventures, which may or may not become some of our family traditions, but they were fun. The first adventure was actually to head out to The Ballpark in Arlington, (yes the baseball stadium where the Texas Rangers play) and we saw more christmas lights. Your brother and I also went ice skating! It was a lot of fun and they also had man made snow we tried to take cool pictures in.

The next adventure we took was going on the Polar Express. Yes it is modeled after the movie (which we watched right before hand) and it was a ton of fun. You actually drank chocolate milk that Mrs. Clause brought us and you received your first ever Christmas Bell. By the way, the milk was special snow chocolate milk from the north pole made by Santa and his elves. After the train ride, we watched a show put on by Santa, Mrs. Clause, and his elves. I held you all night and you never stopped smiling!

The last adventure we took was to head out to Durango, CO and go skiing at Purgatory Ski Resort. We took a road trip from Dallas to Roswell, NM to pick up your brother and then we went to Durango the following day. Being 8-months old, it was quite a long trip for you in the car seat, but you as always, were just the best baby. Although you didn’t get to actually ski yet, we all did and we had so much fun. We made some memories we will never forget. These are the type of things I am trying to tell you to cherish and keep close to you for the rest of your life. We all laughed at each other, had fun and created memories I won’t forget.

Coming home you slept a lot and were such an angel, even though we stopped and did some funny things. We are a wacky family full of fun and spontaneous happenings. We stopped and took selfies in front of state road signs and we now have Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas added to the list. We also stopped in Amarillo, TX and saw Cadillac Ranch. It was not as cool as I remember, but we did get in more selfies and your brother managed to get his brand new white shoes full of mud.

You definitely had a busy month eight. More than anything I want you to know how much you are loved by everyone in our family. You have a brother who adores you and loves spending time with you, three grandparents who can’t get enough of you, a mother who loves you more than life itself, and me. Arizona, you are my baby girl, there is nothing on the planet that I would not give to you and nowhere I would not go to make sure you safe. I want you to know that I love our family and I hope you do to as you get older. I hope you grow up to love the weird, quirkiness of our family and the adventures we take. Family is the most important thing to me, please stay close with your brother. I know there is a good age gap, but as you both get older, stay in each other lives. Don’t wake up one day and have it been 25 years and you have not seen your brother in several years or just once a year. Be a part of each others lives. Talk on the phone, video call each other, spend time with nieces and nephews, and spend Christmas or at least Christmas Eve together. Create your own traditions and make them your own, pass them down to your children.

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Month Seven (Find Your Passion)

Dear Arizona,

Welcome to seven months on planet earth. Every month I tell you what a joy and pleasure it is to raise you and be around your infectious smile and booming personality. I never expected being a parent to be like this. So many things are happening, your first Christmas is just around the corner and we are decorating and very excited. This past month you really started eating foods, no more boobie milk for you, you quit cold turkey and went to the foods! You are getting so big! You are starting to get teeth and you have not complained one bit.

FINDING YOU PASSION

Last month I told you to be yourself no matter what and never change for anyone. Well this month ties into that just a bit. I want you to try everything! Find something you are passionate about and like Nike says, “Just Do It!”

I literally mean anything! I don’t care if you play sports (but I would love it if you did), became an actor or a writer, or play an instrument and play music. Maybe you do all of the above, maybe you become a runner like your dad, race cars or motorcycles, or become a photographer like your mother. The possibilities are endless, just find something you love to do and have fun doing it.

DAD’S PASSIONS

When you get older, you are going to think you had one crazy dad, because he loves to do so many things. But honestly, at the end of the day, I just like to have fun. I am going to tell you a few of my passions and interests and why I do these things.

When I was young, probably about 9-10 years old, I was a very small (height wise) kid compared to most kids. I feel like I was the last person picked for teams and I was never really great at anything. I played little league baseball but I was not the greatest. I was not allowed to play football until the 7th grade because I was so small. In fact I played flag football and I love football (you will come to know this!). But it was not until the 4th grade when I started wrestling that my life changed.

I ended up wrestling all through high school and my first two years in college. After college I started doing Judo because it was so much like wrestling. I also started coaching wrestling and I did so for about 8 years. You see wrestling is an individual sport and wining or losing was all on me, I had no one to depend on and it was all up to me. I loved the physical aspects of it, it wasn’t until I was a JR in high school that I finally hit my growth spurt and that sport gave me confidence in myself. Wrestling is one thing that I am so very passionate about, I love teaching others and helping them achieve the goals they set. One of my proudest moments was helping a young student overcome all of the odds, the weight issues, and the perceptions of others to be a darn good wrestler.

My greatest passion you will also come to see is my love for motorcycles. For me it started when I was 14, my father brought home dirt bikes for all of us to ride. Yes your Grandma B was a dirt bike rider and a Harley Rider! Riding dirt bikes is one of those things that I just love to do. It is challenging and at the same time a bunch of fun for me. One of the things I want most in this world is for you to love motorcycles as much as I do. I hope you love riding dirt bikes and along with your brother, we get to tear up some trails when you get older.

I also love traveling the country on motorcycles. I have been doing this since I was 16 years old. This is something that is in our family blood. Your Grandpa & Grandma B taught me and took me on my first trip. Now 31 years later and we all still go places. We have been everywhere and I can’t wait to tell you and show you. My greatest hope is that when you turn 16, we can go on a road trip. You, your brother, and your mother and I, all on bikes traveling to some great place on an adventure.

So your dear old dad, loves adventures, we also ski (your brother is a boarder), we scuba dive, we hike, and we do everything as a family. As you can start to see, I am one who’s passions are of the physical variety. I also love running and doing OCR races.

MOM’S PASSIONS

I m sure your mother will have more to add to this, but your mother does have most of the same passions as me, bit I will tell you that the differences are the reasons why I love her so much. You mother loves books and reading, you will soon realize this when you see our home library. Your mom also loves photography. She love it so much, she started a business doing it and one of the reasons we have so many awesome family photos in our home.

But you will come to know that what your mothers biggest passion is, is being a teacher of young minds. This is why it is so important that you find a job in life that you love doing. Because it won’t seem like a job at all. Your mother is amazing to watch in action as she helps students and teach others to be better. It is almost like she has this superpower at school and at home she is just mom. Have a passion like this.

ASHER’S PASSIONS

We are still trying to figure out your brother. He is one of the smartest kids I have ever met. He is athletic as he is smart. He can play any sport once and be good at it. Right now he is bouncing around trying to find that one true passion. But here are a few that he keeps going back to.

Writing…he wants to be a journalist. So he loves creating stories. He also loves to read. He currently reads about 5 grade levels above his current grade which is awesome. He has a dirt bike, so far he loves riding it, so we shall see if it sticks.

IMPORTANCE OF PASSIONS

Not all passions have to be something you physically do. You could become a champion for animals, fight child abuse, or love gardening. I believe that once you find that passion, it gives you a purpose. You have something to look forward to and it makes you a happy person. Before I met your amazing mother, I was in a place where most all of my passions were taken away because the person I was around did not like those things. For a number of years I didn’t dirt bike, downhill ski, run or workout, didn’t scuba dive, and was made to feel guilty or shamed almost for wanting to explore new places and find foods I like (Burgers, Pizza, and Pie)!

When you find that one thing or numerous things that make you who you are, the reason it becomes important, is because without those things you become a shell of who you are. With them, you will have the most joy in life.

Arizona, I hope you find lots of passions in life and enjoy them to the fullest.

I love you baby girl!

Love Dad

Dear Arizona – Month Six (Be Yourself )

Dear Arizona,

Hello my darling daughter! Time is going by so fast! I can not believe you are six months old already! This month we watched you bounce in your bouncer, you laugh ALL the time (you are the happiest baby ever!), and you started what resembled a crawl. You continue to amaze me beyond words. I never thought raising you would be so much fun.

I can’t help but show you this video. This is what I look forward to everyday with you. You already learn so fast and watching you laugh is about the greatest thing ever.

BE YOURSELF

So far up to this point, I have given you advice on how I feel you should live your life. Most of this is modeled after how your mother and I live ours. We have covered singing, kissing and hugging, laughing, exploring, and being kind so far. Most of these life lessons to you are all about being your true self.

We want you to march to your own beat, please don’t be afraid to be yourself because others don’t find that to be “their standard”. Wear the clothes you want to wear, listen to the music you want to listen to, and do the things you want to do. I want you to be a leader, not a follower. Be a trend setter (like your mom) and not a trend follower.

Don’t ever take crap from anyone that say’s you can’t “do” anything. Because I am telling you, you can do whatever you want in this life. While I will admit there are some things I would love for you to take up like your dear old dad, like riding motorcycles or wrestling, but if you find you have your own interests you want to pursue, then I will always be behind you 100%. Now if you feel you need pink hair or half a shaved head, then so be it…I may abject at times, but I want you to always be you.

You have the best personality, it is so vivacious and infectious, that people are going to want to be in your orbit, they are going to want to hang out with you. I can see it already.

BOYS

Boys are going to com into your life at some point. You will probably kiss a bunch of frogs before you find the prince you are looking for. I am sure I will also have my share of rejections for you (ha ha). But the one thing I really want you to remember is that you have to always be yourself and not change for anyone. I know it happens, it happened to me once, I totally stopped doing the things that made me, me. I became a version of myself that I didn’t like and I longed to do the things I had done my whole life. When you change for someone, it makes you resentful and bitter at some point. That is negativity you just do not need.

You mother is an odd duck. But I love that duck none the less. Because she is an oddball is why I love her so much. I don’t want her to be like every other person out there, I don’t want a follower of what I like either, we have the perfect mix and it also helps that we love most of all of the same things. You mother is one of a kind find and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Someday, I hope someone says the exact same thing about you.

Arizona, I love you. Be yourself.

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Month Five (Be Kind)

Dear Arizona,

My darling baby girl. You have become such a joy in my life it is very hard to actually put into words. Just a mere 5-months old and already you have captured my heart with your smile and your spirit is already such a pleasure to be around. Now I am sure once you turn 13, everything will change (I hope not) but you won’t think your old parents are as cool anymore. You already have such a beautiful soul, you are always happy and rarely fussy. I hope you stay this way forever and you grow up having a kind heart.

Well, you are starting to do real things this month! You ate some real people food, you are trying really hard to get up on all fours and crawl, and you are as vocal as ever! As for the family, you went to the Perot museum for the first time and you watched football with me! Yes I made you a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader for the day!

Arizona, I pray and hope that I am able along with your mother, to raise you to be the best version of you that you can be. With that being said, as with the title of this month, I want you to grow up and “BE KIND” to others.

KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS

Arizona, you are going to come across some ugly people in this world, not in the physical sense, but some truly unhappy people. They will do everything to drag you down to their level. If you are happy, they will have negative things to say to you. You will walk around the streets and people will be rude, mannerless, and appear to just be living a miserable life. When this happens, just smile and and be kind to them anyway.

Your mother is a master at this. Unfortunately you will encounter people who because they are miserable in their own lives, will treat you horribly. You mother is a smart, beautiful, and confident woman. Because of this, she is often times excluded and ignored by her peers. They talk behind her back about her and can be rude in front of her. But your mother will take it all in stride and say hello every day and compliment them.

It doesn’t take a lot to be kind to people. Hopefully you will have the same values and emotional traits like your mother and I do. We both love to help people and never (rarely) will ask anything in return. This has been one of those negative traits I have. Unfortunately, I get taken advantage of because I am too nice. It happens to me in business all the time. I know going the extra mile will pay off in the long run, but sometimes people are selfish and just take advantage of you for it. I have helped people build their events up both physically and with marketing ideas, only to have them sign a contract with a competitor and not end up getting any revenue out of it. Will I ever stop, probably not, because I still believe that is I help you be successful, then eventually you will remember it and help me in some way.

I hope you turn out being an extrovert like your dear ole dad (I talk to strangers) and say hello to people, wave at strangers, joke with the cashiers, and have conversations with your waiters. People always gravitate towards positive people, baby girl, I honestly believe people are going to want to be in your orbit. You smile is already so infectious, it will be hard for people to dislike you.

VOLUNTEER

One thing I want you to do in life is volunteer. I don’t care if you hand out food at the soup kitchen, hand out blankets to the homeless, build houses, I don’t care. I want you to volunteer some of your time to help others. Again, being kind to others less fortunate than you are. You mother and I have done this throughout our entire lives. If you find a cause you feel passionate about, then I will tell you to start your own charity if you have the means. I have long dreamt of starting my own charity, to date I have not had the ability to do so.

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

One last thing I want to leave you with my daughter. While you are living life and enjoying it to the fullest, I want you to do the following thing for me. Remember from time to time to just do a random act of kindness. Do this just because. Buy the person behind you in line a cup of coffee, buy the homeless guy a lunch, help someone cross the road, carry something, it doesn’t really matter what it is. From time to time just be extra kind to a complete stranger.

Your mother and I have both done this from time to time. We don’t usually post about it and most people rarely know when we do something for someone else. But deep inside it feels good to bring a smile to someones face.

Be Silly. Be honest. Be kind.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote pretty much sums up how I want you to enjoy your life.

Happy five month birthday sweetheart, I love you.

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Month Four (Laughter)

Dear Arizona,

Well girl you have made it this far, happy four month birthday. You have changed so much in the last four months, I can hardly believe my eyes. You are turning from a beautiful little baby to such a beautiful little girl. Everyday I’m amazed as I just stare at you. Your smile is so infectious and even when you are fussy, just a look at you and your smile and it’s hard not to fall even more in love with you.

4 month

Month four is when you started laughing. When I say laughing, I mean a full fledged belly laugh. Your mom was holding and playing with you and you straight up laughed. It brought her to tears and the onion ninjas were attacking me. We captured some video and you are priceless. Here you are laughing your incredible laugh.

quote-circle-round-512

A good laugh is sunshine in the house. — William Thackeray

Arizona, as you move forward in life, one thing I want you to know is that it’s okay to laugh. I want you to laugh, never stop laughing, and never let anyone take your laughter away. I firmly believe that smiling and laughing everyday improves your quality of life. You will come to see this as you get older, our family is full of life, love, and laughter. My goal is to make your brother and mother laugh everyday. You will soon find out your dear old dad is a silly, funny, goofy guy who plays jokes and tries to make you laugh a lot.

This is how I show love. Making those I love smile and laugh is a priority of mine. Life is entirely too short to be grumpy, miserable, or mean. I find joy in making others laugh and smile. I find joy in making you smile. I like to think your mother fell in love with me for my humor, because I’m so dorky I made her laugh…a lot.

quote-circle-round-512

Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being. —Stella & Blak

I want you to know that it’s okay to make others happy, it’s okay to be goofy, it’s okay to laugh. In fact I want you to not be afraid to talk to others. Say hi to strangers and smile at them as you pass them on the street, hold open doors for people and smile and say “hello” or “have a nice day” but also don’t get discouraged when they don’t say thank you or smile back. Just know you tried to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter.

There is an old saying I grew up with, it went something like this…”smile, it makes people wonder what you’re up to”. Live like that please. I want you to always sing, dance, and laugh and not be afraid to do any of them. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t smile while they dance or sing. So dance like nobody’s watching, your brother and I do! (When you are older, ask your brother about dancing in downtown Dallas for a bachelorette party on a bicycle bar)

I leave you with this Z, laughter cures just about everything and I want you to live your life with this in mind:

quote-circle-round-512

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Continue to learn. Play with abandon. Choose with no regret. Laugh! Do what you love. Love as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey

Love Dad

Dear Arizona – Month Three (Explore & Adventure)

Dear Arizona,

I can’t believe it has been three months already. I have to tell you that you are the best baby on the planet! I am not just saying that because you are my child, but you have been so easy. You sleep, you smile, and you are rarely upset about anything. You are growing like a weed!

Some of the things your absolutely enjoy doing are taking a bath and telling your stories. I know you are not talking yet, but you sure are trying. It is amazing watching you grow everyday.

I labeled this month Explore and Adventure because I want you to continue seeing the world, long after we stop doing it with you. One of the biggest bonding times on my side of the family was when we traveled. When I was younger it was in a car but a when I turned 16, I traveled the country on my motorcycle. To date I have probably traveled over 30,000 miles on motorcycles. That thrill of adventure has never left me. I have spent most of my life traveling and seeing things. My favorite are the wacky roadside attractions.

Why am I telling you this? Well I want you to travel and seek our adventures of your own. When I met your mother, I learned she loved to travel just as much as I do and together we have the most fun I have ever had exploring and finding new things. You are just a mere 3-months old and you have been to two different states already.

It was a busy month for sure. We traveled to Roswell, NM to visit your grandma (no she is not an alien) (yes that is another story when you are older). We then traveled to the Carlsbad Caverns and yes you went down in the caverns (I carried you!), we went to the Smokey the Bear Museum and learned the story behind him and forest fires. We hiked mountains in Albuquerque, NM and saw a rattlesnake. We went to the Billy the Kid Museum in the Lincoln State Park and saw lava at the Valley of Fires National Park. You also experienced Penny’s Diner!

Lincoln State Monument
Carlsbad Caverns
Valley of Fires National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Penny’s Diner

I hope you wanderlust like the sign in our living room says, I hope you love to see new things and obtain knowledge and the history behind everything. I hope you never stop exploring, never stop going on adventures, and never stop traveling.

Love Dad

Dear Arizona – Month Two (Hugs & Kisses)

Dear Arizona,

Two months and I can not begin to tell you how much you have changed my life. I will probably say this everytime I write a post about you this year, but everytime it will be true. I am still in awe of this little human I created with your mom and how you grow every day. I can’t stop hugging and kissing on you and when I am hugging you, I feel like I need to use my bear hug as a shield to protect you from everything.

img_9309

Wow…two months old and you are growing like crazy. It is hard to look back and imagine you being born at a mear 5lbs. It is the beginning of July and you already take after your mother and me. You love to be outside in the warm air and in the pool. You also love to be naked, which is probably par for the course because if it wasn’t for you kiddos, I would be too. Your mother and I love the sun also, we worship the sun in the summers and love the outdoors.

It’s been a busy month two for you, you ran with your mom in three (3) 5k races, finishing in 3rd place in one (age group), your grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and you were at your first Star Wars laser light show and orchestra. You even slept through the fireworks!

I titled this months words of wisdom “Hugs and Kisses” because I want you to know one thing; always believe it is okay to hug and kiss others, especially family and friends. I grew up in a fairly affectionate family. We hug a lot, I still kiss my mom when I say goodbye and I always tell my parents and your mom, your brother, and you, that I love you. I want you to know that it is okay to have your heart on your sleeve. Hug your friends and more than anything hug your family.

HUGS

When I grew up in Michigan, friends didn’t hug each other all that much. It wasn’t until I moved to Texas where it was socially acceptable to hug your friends. Especially for men to hug, it makes some people uneasy, but I don’t care and if you are my friend, I will hug you. I want you to have a family of your own one day and I hop you hug and kiss your children. I hope you always know you were loved and that we show you as well as tell you. I hope you never outgrow hugging your dear old dad or never get too “cool” to do so. I remember in high school after my wrestling matches, I would always go up in the stands and hug my mom. When I got my first dirt bike, I ran and jump into a bear hug with my dad. I hope you do these things things as well.

We have a family of love, we hug, we kiss, we cuddle during movies, and we always let the others know how we feel, especially when leaving for the day for school or work. Just know it is okay and never be ashamed or embarrassed to tell us in front of others. I hope you always feel safe when hugging me or your mom and I hope as you become a mother yourself, you never stop hugging your own children.

Funny story I have to share, on the day you were born, I could not wait to hold you. In fact I knew all about the skin contact and how important it was to bond with your baby. When they asked me if I was ready, I was in the chair, with my shirt off (yes skin to skin is very important) ready to go!!

KISSES

First of all I want to tell you that there is nothing, I repeat nothing wrong with kissing people you love. As you grow older, you will understand more of what I mean. Now, when your teenage hormone self re-reads this, I am not telling you that is it okay for you and Johnny-boy to be making out in public, no that is not acceptable. What I am telling you is that you should not be afraid to kiss your mother or me when you say goodbye. To date, I still kiss my mother, your grandma, every time we leave the house.

When I was in high school, after everyone of my wrestling matches, I would come off the mat and head up in the stands and kiss my mom. I think after a while it became a superstitious ritual for me, but I still showed her love in front of all my friends…and guess what? Nobody cared or thought it was weird. As a matter of fact, I think it brought more of the team together, they started loving on their parents as well.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this. I will kiss your mother anywhere, anytime, period. I love her more than the air I breath. I want you to always know, that when you are in love, kissing in public is okay. Again, I don’t want people thinking you are weird and “making out” is not acceptable, but, hugging and kissing will always be okay. Don’t let anyone tell you different and don’t let some jerk boyfriend of yours change you to think this has to be done only inside the home and out of sight.

I love you Arizona,

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Month One (Singing)

Dear Arizona,

There is so much I want to tell you. So many things I can’t wait to do with you. I know I’m rushing things just a bit, but I can’t wait until you start talking and eventually singing. By the time you are old enough to read this, you will no doubtedly wonder why I feel this way. Well I can tell you this, singing in our family is essential to our everyday life.

As you grow older, you will soon discover how singing makes our family a happy family. Your dad loves to sing, in fact you can tell what kind of mood I am in just by the singing alone. I have been known to walk around the house just singing songs. I sing in the shower, in the car, and when I married your mother, my bachelor party was at a karaoke bar! (That’s where adults go to sing)

Your brother LOVES to sing. He sings every song that comes on the car and when we play music in the mornings, you will find him singing as well. One thing I hope you take from your brother is the love of all music and all types of singing.

Your mother has the most angelic voice I have ever heard. She sings you to sleep and just hearing her sing warms my head. Your mom loves to sing as well, she loves to karaoke and even though she thinks she sounds horrible, I love it. One reason I love her so much. When we drive in the car she harmonizes with me and we laugh a lot.

All we wanted was YOU!

As I told you before, your dear ole dad is a songbird. For me it started when I was young, I’ve always loved to sing. In high school I was in choir and I had the lead role in the musical “Grease”. I think I sound good and I’ve been singing karaoke since my college years!

One of my favorite things to do is sing to you. You may not remember it right now, but I sing you to sleep most nights, I make up songs and sing classics. One of my favorite songs to sing to you is “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N Roses. While I do love the original version, I sing to you a slower version, much like this video. The lyrics just fit perfectly with our family. In fact when I first started singing to you, I would cry just looking at you out of sheer happiness and being overwhelmed that you actually came into our lives.

Here is a version I really like:

Here is another version I also dig!

I know this is a long letter, but most of all I want to tell you, if you love to sing, then sing. It doesn’t matter if you sound good or not, express your joy in the world through song. Some people will say they whistle while they work, well I do both, but singing out loud while doing anything is fun and makes me feel good. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to take that fire or passion away from you. And if you don’t like to sing, well that’s okay too.

Happy one month old birthday sweetheart, I love you.

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Hello; from Dad

Dear Arizona,

As the time grows closer for you to enter this world, I often think whether or not I will be a good father. I hope I am the man you need and I can live up to the idea I have in my mind of what a father should be. I hold myself up to a high standard and I hope that I live up to the expectations I have set for myself. While I know there is a sediment that most new dads want to live up to the standard their fathers set before them, in this new day and age, I want to exceed that standard and I know I will simply because we are totally different people. Our family hugs, we kiss, we cuddle, and we tell each other often how much we love each other. You are coming into my life and you have no idea how you are about to change my entire world.

I bet you are wondering what this letter is about or even why I am writing it. I have decided to write you something for your entire life. It may be just a note here or there or it might be a full blow letter. Maybe a life lesson or two or the background and history of our family.

So here is my first entry and I just wanted to say hello. Hello my beautiful daughter, this is dad. I am going to be your biggest fan, supporter, and champion you will ever have. You will never wonder if or how much I love you. You are my miracle, my greatest creation and the best thing I have ever done. I will protect you and I will never hurt you. I hope one day you will tell your children how awesome I was/am and as the saying goes, you will definitely be daddy’s girl.

I can’t wait to meet you, to kiss you, hug you, and sing to you every day. Hello Arizona, this is dad, I love you.

Dad

My Life, My Loves, My Adventures