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Getting Through the First Day of Adoption

Posted on May 29, 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.

As nice as it would have been to just hang out for the rest of the day, we couldn’t afford to waste any time in getting all of the paperwork done, or in some cases just started, so that we would be able to leave China on time.  So after having a couple of minutes together, we put Ty into the baby carrier and headed downstairs for our first of a slew of appointments.

We really didn’t know how he would respond to being in the baby carrier since he had likely never been in such a device, and if he didn’t want to be in there we probably wouldn’t have been able to force him as big as he was.  It actually was a little weird trying to put a three and a half year old into a baby carrier, but we didn’t really have much choice.  It is also important in the early stages of adoption to bond as much as possible, so we really wanted to be able to keep him close to us.  Fortunately, he didn’t seem to have too much issue with it so we put him in, and took off for our appointment.

Yes we bribed our new son with candy. You do what you gotta do to make it through. I should mention this was the only time in China Crash Aunt carried Ty. Guess who carried him the rest of the time?

This was a pretty simple appointment, or at least we thought it would be, as we were just supposed to get his picture taken for the passport application that needed to be turned in.  However, Ty was not really interested in getting his picture taken.  First we had to get a family picture taken and he did okay, though he really didn’t want to look at the camera.  Once the family picture was done we had to get a picture of Ty by himself, and he simply was not having it.

They have very specific requirements for these pictures in terms of being able to see all of his facial features including his ears which means he had to look straight at the camera.  If you think that would be challenging with a three and a half your old, you would be right, and it is even harder with a kid who is now being carried around by a bunch of strangers.  He started screaming, and squirming and refused to sit still at all.  I am sure this was very reassuring for the other family that was waiting to get their pictures taken.  We did ultimately get the pictures done, but it was not fun.

Then it was back to the hotel to try and get him calmed down before bed time and clarifying with our guide what the rest of the week would hold.  Our guide was kind enough to go and pick up some pizza for our dinner so that we could just stay in our room.  When she came back with the food she also suggested we take some of his clothes off so he would be more comfortable.  This may seem a little strange unless you understand what exactly he was wearing.

As you may have seen from the video in my previous post, Ty was wearing some super cute overalls and a sweatsuit.  What you need to know about Chinese people is that they always think their children are cold so they put lots of clothes on them.  (In fact, we got plenty of dirty looks while we were in China when we put Ty in shorts and it was only in the mid 90s.)  As we took off the overalls we could feel how many clothes he had on.  As we took off the first sweatsuit you could see in the video, we found another sweatsuit underneath, and you could tell he felt a lot more comfortable without so many clothes on.

He didn’t have much issue warming up to his new mommy, though it was a lot cooler with only one layer instead of three. (You see what I did there?)

It is always a bit of an uncertainty with how well adopted kids will eat initially, and as we have learned in the time since, those behaviors can change very rapidly.  Some kids just inhale everything and make themselves sick.  Others just cram it all in their mouth and try and save it for later which is called chipmunking.  Other kids refuse to eat anything at all, and you find yourself having to almost force feed them just so they get some calories in their body.  Fortunately, Ty ate like a champ that first night.  He enjoyed what was probably his first ever pizza and some chicken wings.  Apparently, he is not much of a connoisseur yet because Crash Uncle and Aunt did not enjoy the pizza nearly as much.

While we were eating, our guide went over our schedule for the rest of the week to make sure we understood when we needed to be where, and what paperwork to bring, and what we would actually be doing at each appointment.  Once that was all clear, she left and for the first time for more than five minutes, we were alone as a partial family since our other three kids were at home with grandma.

I should take a moment right now to thank Crash Grandma for staying with our other kids.  It was a great relief knowing that they would be well taken care of, and that we had nothing to worry about in that area.  I would venture to guess they enjoyed her more than us in some ways since her complete focus was on taking care of them and not work and other responsibilities that we have.  I am so grateful that my kids had this time with my mom to make some memories and bond a little more.  I only wish I had gotten more time with her, but you take what you can get.

As we finished eating and the night wound down, it came time to get ready for bed, which was the next big uncertainty.  Like most things, every kid is different when it comes to sleep, and for every different kid, their is a different self-proclaimed expert who knows how to get them to sleep.  Anywhere from co-sleeping to letting them just cry it out until they get so tired they fall asleep.  Co-sleeping is out of the question for us since neither of us would be able to sleep ever again, but fortunately we didn’t need to.

Don’t get me wrong, we had our struggles the whole time we were in China with getting to sleep, but once we got him to sleep he slept through the night.  Some nights it took an hour or more of talking softly and rubbing his back to calm him down and get him to fall asleep, but we always got there eventually and he would sleep through until 7-8 the next morning.  That was a huge blessing because despite all of the other challenges and struggles we would face, mom and dad were always at least relatively well rested.  A blessing that I know not everyone else in our group was so fortunate to have.  A common phrase that we heard, and used ourselves, was to just focus on getting home from China.  You may not parent the same way when you get home, but your number one priority is just to get home.  That meant a few nights of melatonin just to help him get to sleep, and it worked wonders.

As I think back now on that whole first day, it seems like moments of complete clarity surrounded by significant amounts of time that are just a blur.  I remember people talking, or things happening, but the whole thing was incredibly overwhelming.

I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it must have been for Ty.

I was at least still in control of what was going on, he was just thrust into the hands of complete strangers, granted we are incredibly awesome strangers, but he didn’t know that.  For all he knew we were just another pit stop in his life and he would be passed along to someone new.  He was sleeping in a new bed in clothes that probably smelled funny to him having just eaten weird western food with people that kept making weird noises and giving him hugs and kisses.  I am pretty sure his mind was about ready to pop.

For that matter, I don’t know that the overwhelmingness (that’s a real word, I promise) of the whole thing has even gone down for him even now.  I remember looking at him, and even many of the other kids, and being impressed with how well they handled the whole thing.  For the most part they were all relatively happy and taking in all of the change incredibly well.

Children are amazingly resilient little things.  It sucks that so many of them are asked to take on such trying circumstances, but I am always impressed by what they are able to handle.

Gotcha Day: The Most Emotional Day in an Adoption

Posted on May 5, 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.

Gotcha Day is a term that I had never heard before starting the adoption process.  Even when we started to research the adoption process and started to see the term it wasn’t immediately apparent what exactly it was.  Fortunately, the wonder of Google allowed me to quickly discover what exactly it was.

Gotcha Day is the day that an orphan finally gets to meet their new adopted family.

As you can imagine it is quite a big deal for everyone involved.  Lots of pictures are taken, sometimes videos, and memories are made that will never be forgotten.  Because many of the children don’t know their actual birthday for sure, Gotcha Day is often the day that many families celebrate instead.  It makes sense to me since it is the day that they joined your family, just like with your biological kids.

April 10th is now a day that I will never forget because that was our Gotcha Day with our son Ty.

The tension of Gotcha Day started the night before for us because we were told he was likely already in the city at another hotel.  In China, you have to come to the provincial capital to file the paperwork for the adoption, but the city he lived in was six hours away so they came the night before to make the day a little less stressful for Ty.  So there we were sitting in our hotel room knowing he was so close, yet still having to wait, after a year of waiting.

When we found out he was coming the night before, we were hopeful that we would get him early in the day, but unfortunately it would have to wait until the afternoon.  So we ate a nervous breakfast, and walked aimlessly around this lonely city of five million people as the minutes crawled by.  We tried to talk about anything other than Ty, but as you might imagine he was sort of on our mind at that moment.

I couldn’t help but start to wonder how he was going to react to the whole thing.  I know that we are good parents, and that we would love him as much as our other kids, and always try and give him the best of everything we possibly could, but how long would it take for him to feel and accept that?  What if he hated us for years to come and those were the first things he learned to say to us was that he wasn’t happy with us?

Then I started to wonder about how I would react to the whole thing.  Would I actually come to love him as much as my other kids?  Would I be able to give him everything he needs?  Not just physically or medically, but emotionally?  I am gone fairly often for work, and sometimes for long periods of time.  I already feel bad for the times I have to leave my kids, and he would need as much stability in his life as possible.

Stability, the reason that everyone joins the military right?  Holy crap, what was I thinking bringing a kid who needs as much stability in his life as possible into a military family, and on top of that an aircrew member whose job description literally includes leaving home and family on a very regular basis to fly all over the world for days, weeks, and even months at a time.

That is my problem when I have a lot of time to think, which we did in the hours leading up to his arrival.  I started to question my decisions.  I start to look past my generally optimistic desires and start to look for all of the reasons that something is a terrible idea.  A lot of us do this with all kinds of decisions and choices we make in life.  I guess you could call it a form of buyer’s remorse, only I hadn’t bought anything, and I didn’t even have him yet.

Finally, after one of the longest mornings of my life, made dramatically better by sharing it with my dear wife, we went up to our hotel room to anxiously await his arrival.

Our guide showed up at our room shortly thereafter to wait with us until the people from the orphanage called to say they had arrived.  If you go to YouTube there are tons of videos of Gotcha Days that you can watch, but be warned they will make you cry.  Oftentimes they involve a group of people all receiving their child at the same general time.  This is because there are often multiple kids from a province, or even from the same orphanage, getting a family on the same day so the families all wait together.

Not us.

We were literally in the middle of nowhere China with nobody else from our agency, in a city our agency hadn’t even sent someone to in years.  Fortunately, there was a family from another agency there at the same time who became an essential lifeline for us the day before this, and in the ensuing week.  I am so grateful for their presence, and the companionship and friendship they provided at this momentous time.

Sorry, there is just so much to say about this journey that it is easy to digress.  As I mentioned, Gotcha Day often takes place in a hotel ballroom or conference room where many families wait together for their child to arrive.  Because it was just us we were able to meet him in our hotel room which made the whole thing a lot more personal from my perspective.  So there we sat with our guide waiting for her phone to ring to say he was finally in the building.

After what seemed like an eternity, the phone did ring and she headed downstairs with our camera to bring them up to the room.  At this time I turned on my GoPro that was placed inside the room to get a little more of our perspective.  Crash Aunt and I couldn’t sit down or stop moving for what seemed like an hour but was probably more like five minutes.  We just nervously walked around the room talking just so that are nerves wouldn’t be accentuated by silence.  Then came the knock on the door.

We went to open it and there stood an adorable little man wearing two sweat suits (more on this later), and awesome little overalls.  As I type this I am actually getting speechless because I don’t know how to put into words what I was thinking or even what I saw.  Based on the video I know he just kind of stared at us for a minute, then came in and touched hands with my wife before turning around and walking back out.

In a lot of ways I kind of feel like that has been symbolic of exactly how the last three and a half weeks have been.  He gets closer and does better, and then walks away a little bit.  It’s okay though because I knew this would happen, and the getting closer is much more than the walking away.

I won’t give you a play by play of what happened after that because you can see that in the video below.  What you can’t see are my emotions in the first few minutes of him joining our family.  As much as I would like to put them into words for you, I don’t know that I can.  To help you understand, I would say I felt exactly the same way the first time I saw all of my other children.

For those first few minutes there was nothing else happening in the world.  I wasn’t worried about money, or work, or politics, or any of the other stressors I have in my life.  And just like the births of all of my other kids, all of those worries I had in the time leading up to it were blocked from my mind and all I could do was focus on this perfect little man that was changing our lives forever.

As anyone who understands the feeling that I am talking about can tell you, those concerns ultimately work their way back into your mind, but God has this incredible way of allowing you to see Heaven if only for a moment as you have these incredible life changing experiences.  It doesn’t have to be the birth/adoption of a child either.  It could be a wedding, or seeing a dear loved one finally recover from a sickness, or finding peace after a long struggle.  It is something I have also experienced when I have been standing on top of a remote mountain top gazing over the wonders of the world, that we are so quick to ignore and overlook, and also in deep valleys where the soft sound of a small stream speaks peace to your soul.

You don’t have to be religious to understand the feeling I am talking about, you just have to be willing to open your heart enough to experience it, and experiencing it is the only way to ever really understand what I am talking about.

I hope I don’t make anyone feel left out or excluded by saying that because it is by no means an exclusive club.  Anyone can experience the feeling that I am talking about if they are willing to do it.  You just have to be willing to get past your fears and inhibitions, and open yourself up to a truly moving and memorable experience.

I had originally intended to write about the rest of our day, but I think this is as good a place as any to stop.  I hope that reading these posts is as therapeutic as writing them because I am having the most amazing time writing them.

I think the reason I am so anxious to share this experience is because I am equally anxious to hear about similar experiences of other people to feel that deep emotional connection with even strangers.  We just don’t do that very often these days, much to our detriment.  So if you have something you would like to share I would love to hear about it in the comments.  If it is something more personal then please feel free to use the Contact Us button at the top of the page.

I know this blog is generally lighthearted and fun, and I promise, there will be plenty of that coming in the future, but I hope you enjoy a little more personal side as well.

I originally intended to edit this video, but I decided to just let the whole thing roll for your enjoyment.  We actually meet him around the 1:30 mark, and the rest is just us getting acquainted.

 

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.

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.

Things That Make a Daddy Cry

Posted on June 19, 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.

It is Father’s Day here in Japan, and by the time most of you read this it will be Father’s Day in the US as well. So first let me say thank you to all of the Fathers in my life.

I can’t begin to list the amazing men that have influenced me since I was very little. Each of them helped form me into the father I am today through their teachings and example. I have been blessed to know some of the truly great men of this world, and I hope I am living up to their expectations in some small way.

Rather than focus on my Dad today though, I would like to focus on the gems that made me a dad.

I have always been a pretty emotional guy thanks to coming from a pretty emotional family. I am not ashamed to admit that I got a little teary-eyed at the end of Toy Story 3 when all the toys almost died. Generally though, it is the amazing things that my kids do that get me the most emotional. I am just always blown away by how talented they are. I realized I am biased, but everything they do makes me proud.

Before one of my first trips here in Japan I told my son that he needed to look after his mom and sisters while I was I away. I explained that he was the man of the house so he needed to make sure they were taken care of. Now every time I go on a trip he makes sure to tell me that he is the man of the house before I leave. I am super proud of him for trying to be a big boy and take care of the girls, even if it means he tries to tell his mom what to do, because after all, he is the man of the house.

A few weeks ago my two little princesses had a dance recital which is pretty much guaranteed to make me tear up. You watch these videos and try not to have some tears of joy.

It is so rewarding to see your kids do something they love, and do so well at it. The youngest was just disappointed that she didn’t get a sticker after the dance recital like she does after class.

As much as I like to come off as a tough guy (I am sure Crash Dad, Mom, and Aunt just laughed a little, or a lot) I come to appreciate these tender moments more and more the older I get. Being a Dad is just about the greatest thing I have ever done, and I am proud to get a little emotional about it every once in awhile.

Kicking Off Las Vegas Summer Pool Side

Posted on May 31, 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.

One of the great things about being a Las Vegas blogger is that there are so many incredible activities for you and your family to do and write about. Yes, there’s the other side of vegas, but most people are surprised by how many family friendly things are available in Las Vegas.

When we first moved here about 10 years ago, it was shocking to think that Las Vegas had no waterpark. Something about the heat of Las Vegas and no waterpark didn’t sound right. However, over the past couple years, Las Vegas now has 2 waterparks. To kick off the Memorial Day weekend and summer, I was given some tickets for my family to attend Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas. Not one to pass up an opportunity to skip work and go to a waterpark, I jumped at the chance.
Wet N Wild Las Vegas
The Crash Wife and I were interested to compare Wet ‘N’ Wild to Cowabunga Bay in Henderson. I’ll admit that we haven’t been to Cowabunga Bay this year and so we haven’t checked out the new slides, but we both came away loving Wet ‘N’ Wild much more. The kids area was better. The flow between slides was better. The pizza was better.

In a pretty genius move, Wet ‘n’ Wild even offers a free sunscreen station thanks to Comprehensive Cancer Center of Nevada. Smart advertising for them even if they’re trying to prevent new customers. Consider all the white boys we have in our family, this was essential.
Wet N Wild Free Sunscreen Station

This next picture is what I call the Wet ‘n’ Wild Hammam. Crash Kid #3 loved the warm cement. The funny part was that I asked the Crash Wife if it was too cold to go to the waterpark since it was only going to be 90. #DesertRats
Wet N Wild Hammam Las Vegas

I think that my kids favorite part of Wet ‘n’ Wild was the cabana boy (Josh was his name). It was so funny to see them talk about Josh in the first person as if he was their friend or something. Josh had a hard job with so many people getting hungry at the same time. He was even nice enough to pose for this picture with the Crash Kids:
Wet N Wild Las Vegas Cabana Boy

Crash Kid #1 suggested that if I really wanted to show Wet ‘n’ Wild on my blog, then I needed to get a go pro and hold it while I went down a slide. I told him we’d have to see if we could do that next time. I’m not sure the lifeguards would have been too happy with me doing that, but I’d have certainly been game.

All in all, a fun time for the Crash Kids and me. Thanks Wet ‘n’ Wild for the tickets. I’m sure we’ll be back. In fact, I think the Crash Wife has purchased more tickets already.

Fighting the Battle Between Responsibility and Passions

Posted on May 13, 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.

I am not really sure where I am going to go with this, but I am hoping that putting my thoughts on (digital) paper will bring some clarity.

It is likely not a surprise to anyone that military life can be somewhat chaotic and uncertain.  That is sort of the nature of the beast, and something that I understood well before joining.  Even with all of the uncertainty there are still certain times when I get to be a part of the decision making process, like it or not.

The short version of this story is that I am a navigator on the C-130H that is being replaced by the C-130J which has no navigator.  In case you can’t do the math, that means I have to find a new job.  The real problem, as I see it, is that I have a few options and none of them stands head and shoulders above the rest.

I will spare you the specifics of my different options as it is not entirely relevant to my troubled line of thinking.  What is relevant is that my choices can largely be grouped into two categories: responsible rational choices, and choices that get me excited about the future.  The best answer would obviously be something that was a good mix of both, but if it was that simple I wouldn’t be grinding my mind over this.

So how does somebody find that good balance between responsibility and passion?

I was hoping that somehow an answer would appear after typing that, but no such luck.  I did stumble across this video today though which clearly leans towards one side of the debate:

I have seen multiple videos and stories like this recently and maybe that is my answer, but I simply can’t ignore the responsibility side of my life.  Then again, maybe that is just the doubt that the video talked about.

Feel free to share some insights with me.

I’m Glad My Kids are Patriotic

Posted on April 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.

I just got back from a long couple of weeks in the Philippines for work, and as usual it left me concerned about how my time away from my kids impacts them and our relationship.  It is always heartwarming to come home to their handmade signs and super tight hugs and kisses, which I guess means I am doing something right.

All of my other doubts aside, I know my kids are learning one thing that is incredibly important to me.  They are learning to be patriotic and have respect for the great symbols of our nation.

For those of you unfamiliar with military installations, there is music that plays every morning and every night.  I have seen different variations at the various bases I have lived at in terms of what music they play, but the national anthem is always a part of that music at some point during the day.  A fun addition here in Japan is that they also play the Japanese national anthem.  When the music plays you are supposed to stop walking or driving, and if outside stand with your hand over your heart much like you would at a sporting event.

This is our first time living on base so my kids were not super familiar with this tradition before we lived here, but I am proud to say they have learned quickly.

Just now my youngest was in the living room with my wife and I when the music started playing.  She immediately wanted to run outside, but we stopped her since she isn’t supposed to be running around while the music is playing.  Much to my happy surprise she said, “Fine, I put my hand on my heart.”  Technically she put her hand on her stomach, but we helped her find her heart and she stood there in the living room for a minute while the music played.

She is only almost three years old, but I am super proud of the fact that she is learning that respect already, even though I realize she doesn’t really know why she is doing it.  I am grateful for parents who taught me that respect at a young age as I think respect is one of the most important character traits we can develop.