Friday, June 29, 2012

Ray of sunshine

June has been one crazy month. My niece came to visit for three weeks, keeping Milo and me hopping. We had a lot of fun with her and it was a busy time.

Then, just a couple days after she left, a wildfire broke out here just outside town. The fire started in a canyon where my niece and I hiked a couple years ago.
She took this photo of me. I'm glad she saw it like this.

Now, it's gone.

While she was here this year, we hiked in Garden of the Gods. The authorities closed that park due to its proximity to the fire.  It's a blessing the fire didn't destroy this park.

But it destroyed much more -- lives, homes, businesses and a beloved Colorado Springs landmark. It's been a tough week for our community, one that brought out the best and worst in many people.

One day, I will tell Milo about this summer. I will tell him about the great fun we had with his cousin. I will tell him about our trip to the zoo, our visit to the aquarium, our hike. And I will tell him about the devastation the wildfire caused our town (and others across Colorado). I will tell him about the brave men and women who fought the fires. I will tell him about the other heroes, too -- the folks who gathered food and supplies, who opened their homes to evacuees and pets. I'm not sure how I will be able to bring myself to tell him about the people who broke into cars and looted evacuated homes and scammed good people into "donating" money, but I will. One day.

For now, I'm glad he won't remember the plumes of smoke rising above the mountains or the flames licking the trees and homes along the ridgeline.

 He has been a ray of light during these dark days. I will easily tell him that.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Daddy Talk

It's all on fire

Today in Colorado, the state is on fire. Currently, eight separate fires are burning in Colorado and it's only the start of summer as of last Wednesday. We have had two days of 100+ temperatures. The significance of that is that it has only happened four times in all of recorded history in Colorado Springs prior to this. Right now the closest fire is less than 10 miles away. The smoke is thick enough to taste. I know that it gives me a bit of a sore throat. I know it affects Pam and it definitely affects the boy. Poor guy is grabbing at his throat. We try to keep him sealed up in the AC while we soldier on but it's tough.

The heat is stifling for us. We are so far away from the fire but really it's right next door. It's almost in my favorite park, Garden of the Gods. It's burning the areas between there and Pikes Peak. It's still uncontrolled. There is a pall of smoke all throughout the city that won't be going away any time soon.  I know it's hard on us through the smoke and the coughing.  I know it's really hard on those who were evacuated from Manitou Springs and the West Side of Colorado Springs.  I know it's hard on the firefighters. It's hard on everybody here. We tried to do our little bit to help. We stopped by Costco and bought a couple of flats of sports drinks and snacks to drop off at Care and Share. I know they will go to the right place.

Man we really need to see some rain here.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy talk

Instructions not included

I decided a long time ago that I liked order, it's one of the reasons I became an engineer. Give me a set of instructions for a task and I will run that down. Today I put together a ceiling fan for the boy's room. It's one of those fancy ones that looks really pretty, maybe it would be better if I described it as more scientificy... I need to man it up for him. It's a globe with a space ship on the blades.

It wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my Father's Day, but it turned out to be exactly how I should spend my Father's Day. It gave me a real good sense of accomplishment in the way the boy looked up at it with a smile when I was done with it. (Some credit to our niece Kayla) I don't know if he noticed the ceiling fan before but he really does now.

I don't know if it makes him want to be an astronaut or a astronomer. I hope it makes him want to do something. It would be nice to know if that ceiling art leads to something because it makes me really happy to see. All this goes to the idea that there are no instructions for being a parent, let alone a good parent. The older I get, the more things I find out weren't good ideas when I was a kid. My parents were spankers I don't plan to be one. My parents let me ride in the wheel well of the car, I don't remember seeing a car seat until I was an adult.  I can't imagine not putting my boy in one. So many rules and so many things that have changed.

There are all these anecdotal things on how to be a good parent, but you could be the best parent in the world and come out with a kid with issues. It's all very confusing, hopefully I never get caught on youtube doing something stupid. I think I will keep building things for Milo and play the rest by ear.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

14 months

Dear Milo,

This past month has been so busy. We traveled to see your cousin graduate from high school and we brought another of your cousins home with us for a visit. Traveling threw off your sleep schedule so you're now getting up around 5 a.m. every day. We're working on the final stages of weaning, making nap time more difficult. Plus, we've been going out doing more to entertain your 16-year-old cousin.

We got to go behind the scenes at the as yet not open to the public elephant enclosure at the zoo. I think Daddy, your cousin and I were a lot more excited about it than you were, but you enjoyed the time with all of us together.

We've gone hiking and shopping and all kinds of other activities. You mostly enjoy our outings, until you get tired of being held or told to not grab things.

You are very communicative right now. You can't always tell us what you want, but you sure try. You've picked up lots of new words, including "bubbles," "belly button" and "down" (which you also sign). You listen and follow directions -- when you're in the mood to. You surprise me constantly with the things you know.

You are becoming a creature of habit. If we do something once, you seem to think it's something we have always done -- riding in the laundry basket, pulling apart the peonies in the front yard, talking a walk first thing in the morning.

As I always say, you amaze me every day. I may get frustrated with some of the things you do, but your smile and hugs never fail to melt my heart.

I love you, little man.