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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.

Memories From the Past Can Come Unexpectedly

Posted on November 4, 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.

red-hot-chili-peppers-logoIt’s so funny how the most benign things can bring back some of the best memories.

As I was driving home tonight I switched CD’s (yes my car only has a CD player because it is old, and yes I still have CD’s because I am old) and put on one of the discs from the amazing Stadium Arcadium album by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  As I started to listen to the music I was instantly reminded of a great memory from high school.

I had a good friend named Greg that had an old white hatchback Ford with a sound system that was likely worth more than the car itself.  Greg and our other friend Sam, who now has his doctorate in music, always had impeccable taste in music and opened my eyes to some of the great artists of all different times like Prince, David Bowie, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

One of our favorite things to do on weekend nights, in particular during the winter, was to drive around with amazing music screaming through the speakers, windows down, letting in the bitter cold Utah winter air, and the heater cranked up so we wouldn’t all freeze to death.  It was nothing ground breaking, or something that I thought would be particularly memorable at the time, but as I look back now I realize that it is those moments of simple joy that bring me the most happiness and inevitably put a smile on my face.

I know this often took place without me, or with our other friends Jon, Borsos, Naysahn, Mike, Thayne, Jamison, Mark, Jason, or the occasional female like Mary Jane, Liz, Erika, or Tricia, but it honestly didn’t matter who it was.  All that mattered was that a few teenagers were together making a memory that still puts a smile on my face even 15+ years later.

The older I get the more I realize how important memories like this are for one simple reason, they are about people.  I don’t regularly talk with any of the aforementioned people, and some of them I haven’t seen since we graduated high school, but that doesn’t matter either.  What matters is that these people were an integral part of my life during one of the most important times in any person’s life.  They helped me make good choices, and the occasional bad one, but I will forever be indebted to them for helping me become the man that I am today.

I did have the opportunity to see some of these friends a few years ago and it was so fun to see how all of our lives have developed over time and how quickly we just caught right up.  Even our children became immediate friends and had a great time running around my Grandparent’s old yard making their own memories.

So, as The Red Hot Chili Peppers serenaded me on my way home, I couldn’t help but turn up the heat, roll down the windows letting the cold air in, crank up the radio, and think back on some beautifully simple memories from my past.

Shouldn’t Alexa Have Every Song?

Posted on October 11, 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 as the kids were getting ready for school my daughter asked Alexa (It’s an Amazon Echo if you don’t know who Alexa is…and it’s awesome if you don’t have one) to play a Justin Bieber song. Alexa replied that there was no Justin Bieber in our library. After hearing Alexa’s response, my 7 year old son turned to me and said, “Shouldn’t Alexa have every song?”

It’s pretty striking how quickly our perception of reality changes. My friend recently posted on Facebook the picture of a walkman and cassette tapes. What a pain in the butt it was to rewind and fast forward through the tapes to the song you wanted. Not to mention all the mix tapes that people would put together. There was a real art to doing it. I remember when CDs came about it was awesome that you could easily skip from song to song. Then, the iPod which could store so much music in such a small device.

Now my kids don’t even know what it’s like to have to buy music. They just ask Alexa to play a song and so far she’s been nearly foolproof. Who knew it would take Justin Bieber for Alexa to open my kids eyes to the fact that Alexa doesn’t have all the music in the world?

One day when driverless cars and maybe the hyperloop are a reality people will look back at our current time and wonder how we traveled so primitively. We’re pretty close to the point where light switches are unnecessary. What will our grandkids think about those odd switches on the wall?

It’s a crazy world we live in. For someone who loves technology, it’s a fascinating world of opportunities. For my kids, it’s just the status quo. That’s crazy to think about.

When Your Son Wants to Change His Name – From the Mouths of Crash Kids

Posted on October 1, 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.

Tonight I took the time to lay down next to Crash Kid #3 (7 years old for those following along at home) and talk with him before he went off to sleep. The kid never ceases to amaze me. He’s so deliberate and thoughtful. It’s impressive.

While we were chatting, the conversation headed off in a surprising direction. It went something like this.

Crash Kid #3: Dad, at school I write my name as Micah Moo Moo. I really like that name.
Dad: Oh, that’s cool. Like on your homework or where?
Crash Kid #3: Yeah. Not on the stuff where I have to write neat or if it’s getting posted on the board. On the other stuff.
Dad: Interesting. Is your teacher ok with that?
Crash Kid #3: I don’t know…but there’s this girl in my class named Addison. On her papers she writes her name as Addie and the teacher calls her Addie instead of Addison. I write my name as Micah Moo Moo and the teacher still just calls me Micah.
Dad: (lol) Did you want the teacher to call you Micah Moo Moo?
Crash Kid #3: Yes.

There you have it. I guess Crash Kid #3 wants a name change. I did ask him if he thought the other kids would make fun of him if his name was Micah Moo Moo. He told me that they wouldn’t. He then told me he was going to write a song for me about Micah Moo Moo. Sadly the camera wasn’t rolling, but in case you were wondering it did say that Micah Moo Moo was a cow.

I told him, “Great, then we won’t have to buy any more milk.” He quickly replied, “I don’t like milk.” I guess it makes sense that Micah Moo Moo the cow wouldn’t like milk. I wonder if he’s a chocolate cow. I’ll have to ask him tomorrow.

Living the Dream in Alaska

Posted on August 23, 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.

No picture can ever do justice to the wonder that is Alaska.

No picture can ever do justice to the wonder that is Alaska.

Often times when someone asks me how I am doing I give the response that I am living the dream.  Oftentimes that is interpreted as a negative thing, and while sometimes that is exactly what I am trying to say, most of the time it is really just something quick to say in response than an actual indicator of how I am doing.  However, this last few weeks has been quite the opposite.

As I have mentioned in the past, by job often takes me to some pretty cool places.  As much fun as I have had in the Philippines, Thailand, and Guam, there is nothing that could really compare to my most recent adventure.  Alaska is just the perfect mix of so may of the things that I totally love.  I have literally been living the dream.

Watching the ground rush past you with another plane out in front of you is such a rush.

Watching the ground rush past you with another plane out in front of you is such a rush.

On the work side of things, the flying has been amazing.  I could do without the full day mission planning, but that is just part of the deal if you want to operate legally and safely.  It has been incredible to get back down to flying at only 300 feet above the ground at 250 knots raging through the mountains of Alaska.  I have been able to see moose and bears, and some of the most scenic views I have seen in my entire life.

Sometimes it is nice to take it slow and just enjoy the moment.

Sometimes it is nice to take it slow and just enjoy the moment.

On the flip side of flying, I had the opportunity to go out and explore more of Alaska in a Cessna 172 at a much slower speed and really just enjoy the wonder that is Alaska.  It was a sort of pleasure cruise in the air with a great aviator who made the experience that much better.  As someone who just loves everything about airplanes, it was amazing to explore this dream destination with my friend Chris, who is even more passionate about aviation.

One of the most spectacular things about flying in Alaska is the massive glaciers that are all over the place.  It is truly something to behold how immense these glaciers are.  They are so dynamic in their shape and color providing the bluest blues I may have ever seen, along with huge ice cliffs, and deep, sharp valleys.  There really are not words good enough to describe how incredible they are.

There are no words for the majesty of Alaska's glaciers.

There are no words for the majesty of Alaska’s glaciers.

To cap off this dream, I had the opportunity to get in some Alaskan fishing which was really the sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake.  Then I got to eat the cake, because what good is cake if you can’t eat it?  My first day down at the confluence of the Kenai River and Russian River started out great grabbing a couple of sockeye salmon for the first time, and then a couple of trout.  Unfortunately, one of those trout snapped my brand new rod and my day was pretty much over.

With an opportunity to see the silver lining on a very, very dark cloud, we were delayed from returning to our families (which totally sucked) I was able to make another trip down to the river with a much more amazing experience.  Having already literally snagged a few salmon, I returned to my favorite pastime and went after some trout.

Few things are more serene than a fly fisherman executing his craft.

Few things are more serene than a fly fisherman executing his craft.

It started out a little rough losing the first few through poor execution on my part.  Thanks to a couple of crucial tips from my fishing partners, I was able to start landing some gorgeous rainbow trout and dolly vardens.  I felt like a little kid reeling in the biggest fish that I have ever caught in my life.  There are few things more beautiful than a stunningly colored rainbow trout in the midst of a the majestically forested Alaskan mountains.

In recent months I have come to realize how much more important pursuing my dreams and having experiences is when compared with having things or other status.  That is why this trip to Alaska will always be one of my fondest memories.  I don’t know that I have ever been more honest than right now when I say I was living the dream.