Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgivvikah - Week 12

Happy Thanksgivvikah
Happy Hannukah and Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family.  How crazy is it that we are here in November and it is already the 2nd night of Hannukah?  Even crazier that we had latkes with our turkey and stuffing?  We were at cousins on my mom' side of the family tonight and we feel so fortunate that Harry and Sally's family has adopted us and Lisa and Howard Bash have welcomed us into their home for the last two major holidays.  While we miss being with our family it is always good to celebrate with familiar faces.

Last night for the first night of Hannukah we celebrated by going to Dairy Queen even though it was about 35 degrees out and raining.
We are going to be transitioning from ice cream to hot chocolate here as winter is coming.  The big family surprise this year was a new computer - an iMac!  I have to say that there is something incredible special about what Steve Jobs was able to build at Apple.  Taking any new product out of the box is a special occasion and even the styrofoam configuration is so well thought out and elegant.  I am such a huge fan of what they have created and our new iMac is beyond spectacular.  
Rachel is already having a blast with the Photo Booth and we welcomed the new computer in with a Hannukah FaceTime with my parents, Owen, Robbie, Homey G, Liadan and Mirren.

Hannukah Decorations
Beth and the kids outdid themselves this year as they went all out on Hannukah decorations!  Beyond the usual dreidel and hannukiah pictures, we have lights all over the house and Rachel took it one step further by making a Hannukiah out of legos.  Incredible imagination!!

I was in Indianapolis for a meeting with a client and took the opportunity to drive down to Bloomington to visit my nephew Jake who is a sophomore at IU.  Even though we did not get the best weather, he gave me a world class tour of the school.  There is no doubt he loves that school and it was evident in his passion for all that IU has to offer.  I was blown away by the architecture which was not only gothic stone, but also consistent throughout campus.

When it came to lunch I told Jake to make it memorable and it was.  We ate at Motherbear's Pizza where the pies were top notch and the brownies were a nice added benefit!  He was leaving that night for LA for break and I took him back to the airport with me where we ran into what seemed like most of his school.  Thanks again for the tour Jake - I will be back in the Spring when it warms up a bit!!

Ian and the Redskins
Ian had an interesting assignment this past week where he had to report on a current event and he chose an article about sports mascots and the renewed controversy over the Washington Redskins.  It was amazing to see his little mind absorb the concept of how offensive this is to Native Americans and I don't think he will ever look at his Cleveland Indians hat the same again.

End of Soccer - Hello Basketball
I had a blast this year coaching Rachel's soccer team, Club America.  The girls were an absolute joy to coach and Rachel had a great time where she made many new friends, including her buddy Kayla Solomon (no relation, but her dad is also named Mike, so we had fun with that).  The league really created a program that focuses on a low pressure but competitive environment where the girls can all focus on building foundational skills.  Then at the end of each week we scrimmaged with the another team for 30 minutes.

Ian's team wrapped up as well and I was real proud of how he adjusted this year.  From the time he first start playing, Ian has been a scoring machine, but this team needed him for his ability to stop the other team from scoring.  He really took that on this year and while the team did not have a great last game, they really grew over the season and started to really share the rock at the end of the season.  Once they did that they were able to beat some teams that would have cleaned their clocks earlier in the year.

Both of the kids are moving onto basketball next and there is no rest for them as that starts up in a few weeks.  Ian will also be playing indoor soccer and we are all happy to go indoors vs. having too many more cold Saturdays rooting them on.

A little snow...
While it has snowed a little here and there, I still feel like it has not SNOWED.  You know, waking up in the morning, looking outside and everything is white.  I am not exactly bummed about that as that means I need a shovel and have a morning of work ahead of me.  But it also means building a snowman, snowball fights and snow angels.  The kids are starting to get the hang of bundling up in layers and so far it has been no big deal to them.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Taste of Winter - Week 10

Jack Frost came for a visit this morning much to our delight!  When I stepped outside of the house this morning I figured it was just a little rain, but when I saw that tiny white flake come to a gentle rest on my black jacket, I immediately turned around, opened the door to our house and announced to the family that we had SNOW!!   Now, I was probably the only one in the office with an extra bounce in his step this morning, which made everyone basically say to themselves "he is the new guy from California, let's talk in February."  It is true that this really doesn't count at snow to a long time New Yorker, but to a kid from Cali, snow is snow and it is quite a wonderful sight to behold.

Revisiting Halloween
This was supposedly the first time in 3 years the weather cooperated and they celebrated Halloween on October 31.  Rachel was very excited to wear her costume which was a waitress from a 50's diner - Juniors.  I decided to compliment her outfit and went as a chef in her diner.  Ian went to the old standby, a football player.  Beth was a cat - another tried and true costume.  She took the kids trick or treating at a house that for the folks back home was similar to Ashley Oaks except they had platters of cheese and crackers as well as wine for the parents - a nice little touch!  When I got home from work, the kids got dressed up again and we took a lap around our neighborhood for a little more candy.

Fall Foliage - Got it just in time
By all accounts we moved back here during one of the best times a year and we were treated to quite a glorious welcome.  Most say this is one of the best Fall seasons they have had in some time.  You have to remember 2 years ago it snowed unexpectedly in late October before the trees had lost their leaves, which led to many falling trees on all sorts of things like cars and homes.  Then last October they had Hurricane Sandy.  Two weekends ago I had the sense this was too good to be true and on the afternoon of my birthday, we headed out to snap a few photos of the yellows, reds, oranges and browns.  It is a good thing we did as last weekend it was noticeably barren and day by day we are getting a better view of the lake nearby.

Chelsea Piers
We ventured out to Chelsea Piers last Sunday and after a game of bowling with the kids, we divided and conquered since there is so much to do there.  Ian and I went to the golf driving range and despite it being a little chilly, had a great time.  Rachel and Beth laced up their skates and went ice skating.  We finally all met back up at the batting cages.  Beth still has the softball bug from her Lair experience this past summer and Ian had a blast hitting left handed.

Anniversary Yogurt
Every family has these little traditions that have either lasted for generations or crop up out of nowhere.  Last year I had to catch a late flight to Phoenix for a client pitch so we had time for dinner, but not that much time.  When we got in the car nobody could make a decision and after debating it for 10 minutes I decided to do something out of the norm.  I pulled into Yogurtland and told the kids that today was their lucky day.  We are having yogurt for dinner and they could fill it to the top with as many toppings as they wanted.  No limits.  At first they thought there had to be a catch, but we were both like, "go for it - step up to the trough!"

Even though it was 40 degrees this year outside, the kids remembered what we did last year and wanted to do it again so we found a fro-you place in Park Ridge.  One year is a whim, but two years in a row is a tradition.  So we celebrated our anniversary with our kids, eating fro-yo and watching Flubber.  Not the most romantic evening, but fun was had by all!

Google - Dish of the week
I have been into brussel sprouts as much as the next person the past year or two, but it seems like I run into these little jewels almost every day at lunch and sometimes breakfast.  My favorite last week was a frittata that had goat cheese, brussel sprouts, and tomatoes.  What a great way to start a Friday.

Beyond the food, I am really starting to settle into the job and enjoying the challenge of meeting all the people at my new clients and agencies as well as educating them about digital marketing.  There are so many interesting and unique challenges at each one of my clients and for those that know me, I am creating a custom plan for each and everyone of them.

Movember - Donations Welcome Needed. Desperate for even a $5 donation!!
Well Movember is in full swing out here in the NYC Google office with over 50 guys growing mustaches to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer.  I am a full participant but had no name for what I wanted to grow until I saw it watching the Brooklyn Nets game.  I call it the Joe Johnson and even though he is on the downside of his career, I loved the look.

While the hair is growing, my personal fundraising is still bald as a baby.  So if you feel like supporting a great cause that had raised $500M in the last 7 years for cancer research, you can make a donation on my personal page by clicking here.