30 Years Calls for Two Parties

30 never really scared me. I have a wife and daughter who I love, a job that challenges me, and I live in San Diego. Asking for anything else is just greedy.
Because of that I didn’t feel the need to drink myself blind or jump out of an airplane to prove I still got it. Other family members may feel differently but it’s not my place to judge.
Since my birthday fell on a Thursday, and we were at the tail end of a busy month of celebrations, a low key day with no work and spending time with the family seemed the way to go. The 3 of us cruised up to Encinitas for a casual breakfast at a great little hole in the wall. After that we drove down PCH and hung out briefly on the beach at Del Mar (pictures below).
After Dayla’s nap our friends Rob and Julie babysit Dayla and we got to catch dinner AND a movie. I think this is the first time in 2 years we’ve been able to do that in San Diego. Throughout the day Ginette surprised me with several little presents; a couple books and gift cards to Starbucks and Chipotle. I made out pretty well.

Dayla being silly at breakfast. Between the salt and pepper shakers and packages of Knott’s jam she actually stayed in her seat.

At the beach. Momma and Dayla rubbing noses

Me kissing Dayla.

… and then we rub it off. Like men.

So that’s it right. 30th birthday come and gone and a pleasant time was had by all.
Not so fast.
My buddy Jason had emailed me earlier in the week asking if we wanted to come over for dinner at his place on Saturday night. We do this frequently so it didn’t seem suspicious. When we arrived the whole place was decorated and a bunch of my guy friends were there. Wow! Ginette had planned a surprise poker night/birthday party. The funny thing is Ginette thought I had figured the whole thing out days earlier and she was convinced I was just humoring her by being surprised.
You got me babe. I had no idea.
It was truly a guys night. There was plenty of beer and Jack. No wives or kids. And the snack table was stocked with all my favorites. For decorations, Ginette made cupcake toppers (see below) out of my recent Facebook status updates. It’s a bit of an odd way to define the “theme” of a person but I can’t argue with her logic.

Thanks to everyone who helped set up the party (liars), to all the guys who showed up, and to everyone who wished me well with cards, calls, emails, and yes… responses to my shameless request for comments on my Facebook page. Love you all.

Dayla is 2

(Big post!)
Two years have flown by. Everything I ever heard about parenting is exactly right. It is nothing like I ever imagined. It is the most challenging job I have ever had. It has taught me so much about myself. And it is the best blessing I have ever had. Below is a little window to our life….
Dear Dayla,
My love for you overflows. Each day that passes brings about new challenges, but each day I fall in love with you more and more. I love that you teach me so much about life, about myself, and most of all about God. I understand for the first time what a blessing it is to be called “a child of God”. The love I have for you, my child, is beyond what I could ever put into words.
At two years old you already have so much personality. I simply love the girl you are becoming. You have changed so much this past year that I would have no idea how to share it all, so I just want to share with you the beautiful girl I see before me now.
You wake up grumpy (like your mom), but we have learned that if we let you play in the crib, you perk up in no time. Usually when I come into your room you are jumping sky high in your crib and giggling your head off. Once you have seen me enter your abode, you either hit the deck and cover your eyes for a quick game of “peek-a-boo” or you rapidly start telling me about all the things you have been thinking about (your friends that you want to see or what activity you want to do).
I just love the way you tell stories too! You are so passionate! You look me in the eye and use your hands to punctuate each point. And when you play, you play with such thoughtfulness. I see you talk to yourself, like making a list, and then you pull out each toy with care. Sometimes an idea will pop in your head and you will stand up, point a finger in the air as if to say, “oh yeah!” and then you will run off to your room to collect whatever is suddenly necessary for play.
I feel like passionate is the perfect word to describe so much about you. We never wonder what you are thinking. We never wonder what makes you happy, or laugh, or frustrated or sad. Often we find ourselves having to “sell” you on whatever task is at hand. I think your dad and I both just love this about you so much. You are so smart and clever. I know you will continue to keep us on our toes!
You are already so independent. You have never been a child to cling to my pant leg. You love your friends dearly, and are fast to play, but also value your alone time too. You can walk off alone for days, and love to play alone too. I also learned many months ago that you know how to call my bluff. “Time to go Dayla, Mama’s leaving”. Then you turn and say, “Okay, bye Mama” and walk the other direction. I just cherish this independence and confidence and hope we can nurture it in you always.
I love the way you laugh. Not just a giggle, but a belly laugh. I love the way you make me laugh. Your joy is contagious and beautiful. I love the way you want to wear a dress everyday but abhor wearing any clips in your hair. I love the way you dance; like no one is watching. I love how you love your cousins. I love the way you nurture little babies and give them your toys. I love the way you love your friends. I love the way you are already showing your leadership abilities when you play with them. I hope that we can guide you and teach you how to be a true servant leader. I love the way you embrace life.
We love you so much Dayla bear. We can’t wait to see the girl and the woman that you will become.
Pictures from this last year that just show so much of who Dayla is to me:
1year old

2 years old

Happy 2nd Birthday’s!

One of the things we put on the top of our “blessings list” time and time again is our wonderful Young Families group at our church. Not only do we all have kids the same age, going through some of the same challenges in life, but that group is our support and has some or our dearest friends.
This year for Dayla’s second birthday we decided it was one of the only birthdays that we could make it low-key and not a big ol party. She is past the monumental “1st Birthday” and not quite at the “I want the day to be all about ME” birthdays. So we decided to do a joint birthday party with the other August birthday kids from our Young Families group (Dayla, Ellie, and Yzzy all turned 2). It was a small celebration, with a small guest list and no party hats, but it had cake! It was a wonderful day. Here are some of the pics:

We did a “picnic” theme…so there were ant cupcakes…

…and ants (of course)…and picnic basket party favors!

The Birthday Girls!

Dayla is a normal child…and enjoys cake.

More picture here


I’m a big sushi fan. That isn’t saying much in California since pretty much everyone likes sushi. On our street alone there at least 5 sushi restaurants. The problem is that sushi is expensive and I like to eat lots of it. Thankfully I found a great place to buy sashimi grade fish which allows me to make my own sushi at a fraction of the price. I’ve made it enough times that my sushi actually resembles the kind they serve in restaurants although nowhere near as pretty.
Dayla likes copying everything we do and has gotten a bit of a sushi habit herself. I take sushi rice and squish it into little balls that she can dip into her own soy sauce. Tonight we gave her a Philadelphia roll to work on. She promptly tossed the fish aside and dug out little fingerfuls of the cream cheese like a dog going after marrow. We had to take it away from her when she started picking the individual pieces of rice off the seaweed wrapper and making a huge mess.
Another first tonight was Dayla’s earnest effort to use chopsticks. She didn’t really understand how they work but I don’t fault her. I didn’t get chopsticks until I was 25.

Mike’s Birthday

We drove up to Irvine yesterady to celebrate my good friend Mike’s 30th birthday. He’s got me beat on age by a few weeks. He is moving out to Michigan in December with his wife and daughter so they can be close to his wife’s family.
There was another kid at the party a little older than Dayla that she made fast friends with. It’s amazing how kids do that when it’s difficult for adults to get past simple small talk.
I post the Chou’s family picture below with some reservations. Mike IS a good father and he only smokes occasionally. He is quitting and this birthday party was the last hoorah. I made them pose for this picture because I thought it was funny and he was smoking a respectable distance from everyone else before they gathered for this shot.

More picture here