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True Love

Posted on April 26, 2017 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

True Love Take 1
Going to Walmart at 10 pm to buy a burnable cd (when will schools learn about yhis thing we call the internet?) So you can burn a song for your daughter to audition for the elementary school talent show.

True Love Take 2
Doing dishes at 11 pm when you just want to sleep.

How Are You Supposed to Feel Right Before You Meet Your New Adopted Son?

Posted on April 25, 2017 I Written By

Crash Uncle is father to three amazing kids, a C-130 Navigator in the USAF, and Crash Dad's favorite brother.

Visiting Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City in the days before we met Ty.  The families behind us were also their adopting. We had a total of 17 families with us.

I have written a little bit about the emotional roller coaster that is the adoption process, but having just returned from China with our new son Ty, I have experienced emotions that I never expected to feel.  It is funny how often I think I know exactly how I will react in situations, but the older I get the more I am realizing I have no idea how different situations will impact me.

The one thing that I am convinced of at this point, is that the emotional ride is only just beginning.  I don’t know how many people that will read this are in the process of adopting, or might even be considering it, but I feel like it is something that I just need to share.  It may not help anyone else, but writing is very therapeutic for me so I am writing just to get it all out.

I already wrote about my feelings the night before our son arrived at our hotel so I will go ahead and skip that, but just the very next day presented a whole new range of emotions for me and my wife.

It is bit of a surreal experience standing in a hotel room waiting for your new child to be delivered.  If it sounds like we had ordered a pizza or something and were just waiting for it to be delivered, then you kind of understand the mix of emotions that I was feeling as we waited.  This may sound cold or emotionless but that could not be farther from the truth for all of the obvious reasons, the biggest being that we are talking about a human being having his entire life changed.  To top it all off, we were the ones changing it.

Crash Aunt and I have discussed a few times since then how hard it must have been on him, something that we can in no way comprehend.  Adoption on its own is a beautiful sincere thing where you are trying to provide a better life for an orphan (more on that word later) but I am not sure that I had actually considered how incredibly hard this event was going to be on him.  He is about three and a half years old, and for the last two years his entire life has been essentially one building with the same beds, and the same general foods, and maybe most difficult to leave behind, the same nannies.

While I am someone that generally enjoys change and looks forward to new experiences, my stuff, my bed, and most importantly the people close to me, namely my family, are things I always get to take with me to help me feel comfortable and safe.  While Ty no longer had an actual family that he knew, those nannies have been his family for more than half his life, and he will likely never see them again.  The thought of losing all of the people I know forever just strikes fear into my heart, and I was doing that to this sweet little boy.  But this sweet little boy was no longer going to be an orphan.

I can honestly say that I don’t think I ever connected my new son with the word orphan until right before we met him for the first time.  Obviously I was aware that he had been abandoned and had no parents, but for some reason the specific word “orphan” had just never been something that I associated with him before.  In the past when I thought of orphans I thought of the ones that you see in movies like Annie or even Cinderella.  Sure they had a tough life not having parents, but they always seemed so happy, and it ultimately worked out for them.  But when I finally did connect that word with Ty I couldn’t help but feel sad for him.  He had lost his parents and would likely never know anything about them.

I really just wanted to cry.

Those are the perfect feelings to be having right before your son walks through the door to have his life changed forever, but nevertheless they were my feelings.  Everyone reacts differently in these types of situations, and I have found it hard to be totally honest with people about all of the feelings I felt, but never was that more true than in the hours and days after we first met our son…

I’m Going to be a Dad Tomorrow…Again

Posted on April 9, 2017 I Written By

Crash Uncle is father to three amazing kids, a C-130 Navigator in the USAF, and Crash Dad's favorite brother.

I really find it hard to believe that I am actually where I am at right now.  I am laying on a bed in a hotel in Lanzhou, China anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new son tomorrow.  

These words may not trip you out as much as me, but in a lot of ways I still find it hard to believe.  It has taken about a year to get through this process that at times has felt like forever but the day is finally upon us.

I really can’t put into words what I am feeling right now, so naturally writing a blog post makes a lot of sense.

As a father to three other children I am not inexperienced with the anticipation that comes with the arrival of a new child.  With both of my girls I also knew the date they would come since my wife was induced.  My son didn’t feel like waiting for his induction date and came a few days early.

But obviously this one is different.  My new son is already three and a half and has developed some of the skills and abilities that you would expect at that age.  He does have some special needs that we will gain a better understanding of once we get him back home.  

Oh yeah, and he only speaks Chinese.

So while I have never been able to communicate with any of my other children on the day they were first in my arms, this one is going to try, and I will have no idea what he is saying.  It is hard enough as a parent when you are trying to love your child and give them everything they need but I worry about the struggles we will face as we all get used to each other.  

I know that it will all work out, and that there will inevitably be some bumps along the way but isn’t that what life is all about?  Moving forward in pursuit of what you know to be right.  Finding things that you can put your whole heart behind no matter how daunting the task may be.  Relying on those that you love most to fill in the gaps where you have weaknesses and working together to do something more grand and amazing than you ever could have imagined.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to stand on the Great Wall of China and wonder at the sacrifices and effort that countless people put into building that wall.  I wonder how many of them really understood what they were doing, and how they would have felt if they had known it’s full purpose.  With that being said, the work of those people has lasted thousands of years as a testament to their dedication and devotion to accomplishing something far more incredible and inspiring than they likely ever imagined.

So as I lay here wondering how this first day together will go tomorrow, other than the obvious waterworks that will be flowing from my eyes, I do have a certain sense of peace knowing that this little boy has the ability to change the world and leave a mark far more lasting than even a wall that is thousands of miles long and thousands of years old.  He will ultimately choose his path and determine what that mark will actually be, I just hope that I can play my role well when I enter his life tomorrow.

Seeing My Wife Get Out and Use Her Talents Is Beautiful

Posted on April 5, 2017 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

I recently had Pinot’s Palette reach out to me about the grand opening celebration of their new location at Town Square (They also have one in Green Valley and Boca Park). As part of the invitation, I was offered a number of free classes so I could experience Pinot’s Palette first hand.

My first reaction to this was “I don’t drink.” They noted that I could still paint even if I didn’t drink and that many who attended didn’t go to drink. Little did they know that I don’t paint. I love doing most things in life, but art has never been one of them.

Once I got over my own selfish desires, I had an even better idea. I should see if the Crash Wife wanted to go and do some art. She’s a fantastic artist and has an incredibly creative mind. Didn’t take long after I asked for her to reply that she’d love to go.

The amazing part of this to me is that I loved that she went as much as she loved it. There’s just something special and beautiful about seeing your wife get out of the house, away from the kids, with a friend doing something she enjoys. I really loved it and I can’t wait for her to go and do it again.

As part of Pinot’s Palette’s Grand Opening celebration on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8, participants can sign up for either of the two-hour 7 p.m. classes on Friday or Saturday for $39, with 100 percent of the painting proceeds to be donated to St. Jude. Guests interested in signing up for Friday’s class can register online and Saturday’s class registration is available.

I think we’re going to have more of the Crash Wife’s paintings around the house and that’s really exciting to think about.

Adoption is a Long Journey That is Worth the Wait

Posted on February 7, 2017 I Written By

Crash Uncle is father to three amazing kids, a C-130 Navigator in the USAF, and Crash Dad's favorite brother.

I’ve waited a long time to post about this because I really didn’t know what I wanted to say.  Now that we are nearing the end of the process I figured it was as good of a time as any to share a little bit.

If you would like to read about the whole process then please head on over to our adoption blog where we posted a lot of good information.

The short version is that after mountains of paperwork, and a seemingly endless wait, we have finally been paired with a child from China.  The name we have given him is Ty Drechsel Lynn.  He is about three and a half years old, and has some developmental delays that seem to have been improving since he has been in his orphanage.

I can’t even begin to tell you about the range of emotions that Crash Aunt and I have experienced over the last eight months.  There have been periods of tremendous amounts of excitement followed by months of anxiously waiting for paperwork to get approved.  In some ways it is like having your own biological child with all of the waiting, but on the other hand there is even more uncertainty as you wait to see the age, gender, and special needs that you know your child will have.

While we have been confident in our decision since the day we started, there have been plenty of days where the uncertainty just starts to wear on you.  At the same time, it is amazing how quickly a lot of that stress just fell away once we were paired with our new son.

It actually still trips me out a little when I type those words, our new son.  We have three kids already that each have their own unique arrival story, and Ty is no different than them, it is just an even more unique story.  I think part of the challenge has been the lack of physical change in preparation for his arrival.  With our other kids you could see the physical change in my wife that showed how close we were getting.  In this case the only physical changes have been with paperwork and the shrinking of our bank account.

Even with all of the challenges we have faced, and the seemingly never ending wait, I can honestly say that it has all been worth it.  We are now about two months from bringing Ty home and I couldn’t be more excited.  The thought of holding him in my arms and bringing him home just leaves me beyond words.

If you have ever considered adoption I would encourage you to go the distance and make it happen because each of these children need a special family of their own.  If you have any questions about the process please feel free to ask.

If you would like to contribute to our adoption we are running a T-shirt fundraiser and would really appreciate the support.

These awesome T-shirts turned out even better than expected. You should get some.

When You Discover Your Kids are Foodies

Posted on December 27, 2016 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday we were trying to figure out dinner. My wife was holding Crash Kid #4 when she sarcastically said, “I think we’re going to have a 5 course meal.”

Crash Kid #4 was having none of that (Although, it’s not clear that he knows what a 5 course meal really is). In his anger at her proposition, he said, “No…grrrr…I want a hot dog. Or Mac N Cheese.”

I can’t believe we would try and propose a 5 course meal when we could have a hot dog or Mac N Cheese. Seriously, what’s our problem?

Needless to say, we acquiesced and had Mac N Cheese for dinner. I added hamburger to take it to that next level of awesomeness. I know. We have very refined palettes. It’s tough being a father of children that are such foodies.

Who Would Have Thought Air Could Be Historic?

Posted on December 20, 2016 I Written By

Crash Uncle is father to three amazing kids, a C-130 Navigator in the USAF, and Crash Dad's favorite brother.

In the continuation of my family’s journey in Asia, Crash Aunt and I took the kids to Osaka (which was very cool) and then today to Hiroshima (which was cool for very different reasons).

Whenever we go places I really try and teach my kids about how important the places we visit are in the history of the world, and in this case there are not many places more influential in the history of the world than Hiroshima.

They have a very nice little museum with a lot of good information as well as numerous displays that really drill home the effect that the bomb had on the city.  It was fascinating to see the “shadows” that were created on all different structures as well as some of the before and after pictures and how completely decimated the city was.

Outside of the museum there were a number of little memorials and shrines for various groups of people including the Children’s Peace Memorial that was erected after the death of a young girl named Sadako who died from leukemia but was made famous for her paper crane making and the book that told her story.

As I walked with my family to the northern end of the park we saw a building now known as the A-bomb dome.  This building sits only a few hundred meters from the site where the bomb detonated but somehow lived through the blast and has been preserved as a reminder of the devastation that took place.

Looking above that building and imagining B-29s flying overhead and dropping the bomb that detonated about 600 meters above ground left me speechless.  It was unreal to look into that sky and realize just how historic that air was.

This experience reminded me of my visit to Ft. Sumter in South Carolina and being in awe at the historic air resting above that bay where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.  Who would have thought that air could be so awe inspiring?

While both of these events led to the loss of countless lives and altered the course of history forever, there was something surreal about both of these locations.  There was an incredible feeling of peace in both places.  This has been even more pronounced here in Hiroshima.  Despite the typical congestion and bustle of Japan, this whole city, and in particular the Peace Park by where the bomb was dropped, have a tremendous peace that is unmistakable.  My wife felt it and even some other Japanese people we talked to that were visiting the area said the same thing.

If ever there was a city to have a feeling of hate or anger or frustration this would certainly be it, but the exact opposite has been true.  The city that they said would not have a living thing for 75 years is now flourishing with industry and beautiful trees and happy people.

As we were walking away from the Peace Park we stumbled across a couple of men that were sitting there making paper cranes, and as usually happens with my cute little white kids in Asia, they were immediately drawn in and offered free cranes.  As we talked to them we discovered that they were both survivors of the attack but rather than bitterness or anger they were some of the happiest, kindest, most friendly Japanese people I have met during my time here.  They have lived full lives and have beautiful families that they were happy to show us pictures of.

I don’t know how many of our experiences here that my kids will remember, but I hope that at least some of the thoughts and feelings will stick with them and help them to better understand the world we live in.  And also the reality that we can find peace in some of the most destructive places in history.

Sometimes Life Works Out Like This

Posted on December 13, 2016 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

Today after lunch I went to grab a little treat from our remaining Halloween stash. When it comes to Halloween candy, we work on the consecration system. All the kids’ candy is mixed and we all eat out of the entire stash. Selecting the right piece of candy can be a challenge. Do I want chocolate? Do I want something fruity? etc etc I usually go for one of each.

When I went into the stash today, I saw one of my favorite candies of all time: Dots. I’m not sure why I’ve always loved them, but I do. It probably goes back to trips to the movies or this one time I was doing home teaching for my church and my older companion took me to the store and bought me this massive (at least that’s what I thought at the time) box of dots.

You know the excitement of opening your favorite box of candy. However, when I opened it, I discovered this:

dots-candy

I don’t want to be insensitive or ungrateful, but it was a disastrous result. If you’re a fan of dots, then you know what I mean. Yellow and green are the worst and this box was almost entirely full of yellow and green. Pink is the best, so at least the one that wasn’t yellow and green was pink. However, that hardly made up for all the yellow and green.

As I pondered on this situation, I thought “Sometimes Life Works Out Like This.” I really have nothing to complain about. Yes, it was a sad thing to open a box of Dots to almost all green and yellow, but if that’s the worst part of my day, then I live a pretty amazing life.

So, despite this extremely minor setback, I’m going to push through the day and hope that the next box I open in life will have a little better result. Plus, that Pink one was so delicious.

Note: Yes, it’s December and we still have plenty of Halloween candy. I guess that’s what happens when you have 4 kids and trick or treat at your church, school, and then Halloween night.

I’m Bored – Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

Posted on December 12, 2016 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

I’m seriously tired of hearing my kids say “I’m bored!” In fact, I shouldn’t even add the exclamation point to that statement. It’s usually said with such a drudgery that it doesn’t deserve an exclamation point. It trails off as if there’s no end to boredom. Unfortunately, I think that’s true. Sometimes I feel like my kids choose to be bored and no matter what they’re offered they’re going to say they’re bored.

What’s fascinating about “I’m bored” is that it’s always said after school. That’s right. I’ve never once heard my kids say that they were bored before school. In fact, quite the opposite. Before school, the kids always seem to have some project they’re working on. They literally are so not bored before school that they can’t be ripped away from their project in order to go to school.

I think there’s a lesson there about boredom.

This summer we “moved” to Hawaii for the summer like we’ve been doing for the past 4 summers. I can work from anywhere that has internet and so since the crash kids are out of school and the crash wife doesn’t work we take off to somewhere not so hot. You can imagine how “I’m bored” goes over when you’re spending time in the paradise that is Hawaii.

Ironically, our neighbors happened to be in Hawaii at the same time as we were there. So, we met up and hung out with them. It was great because they had 3 kids that could play with our 4 kids. When we were together, the kids rarely said they were bored. In fact, if you asked them what their favorite part of Hawaii was, they’d all say “playing with our neighbors.” How ironic is that?

This Christmas we decided to go on a Carnival Cruise with that same family. We’re heading down to Gran Turk and the Dominican Republic. Should be a lot of fun. I just hope I don’t hear my kids telling me “I’m bored.” Between all the cruise ship activities (especially the kids area) and their friends, I think we may be able to avoid the I’m bored comments for a whole week. That would be a Christmas present like none other.

Crash Kids IKEA Soft Toy Designs

Posted on November 12, 2016 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

It seems that my kids have plenty of my wife in them. They absolutely adore designing just about anything. So, when IKEA announced a plush toy design contest, my kids were all in. I’m not sure how the contest works completely, but it looks like it’s based on people’s votes. So, here are each of their designs and a link to vote for them if you like their design (or even if you don’t and just want to help them win). You can vote every day if you’re bored like that. Voting ends on 11/22.

Vote for Crash Kid #1’s Animal named The Kingikea-plush-toy-crash-kid-1

Vote for Crash Kid #2’s Animal named Daisy Dodoikea-plush-toy-crash-kid-2

Vote for Crash Kid #3’s Animal named Arnoldikea-plush-toy-crash-kid-3

I imagine it’s just my skewed father eyes, but I’d actually love to see all of these as stuffed animals. They’d all be pretty fun to have.