Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kids' Games (or the lack thereof)

Yesterdays sporting contests were a washout (literally).  Cami had a game Thursday night, and put a ball in play off a pitch and not just the tee.  She was very excited.  Also, for the second game in a row, the first thing she said when she saw me was, "I've got gum."  Apparently, her coach provides a bucket of bubble gum for the team.  I mean, why else would you play softball if not to chew gum?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sports Update

Griffin had two shots on goal that just missed, and played a pretty good game.  Lexi had one at bat and took three good swings, but unfortunately didn't make contact.  She made a nice play in the field, fielding a hit and throwing it back to the pitcher.  Cami hit two balls off the tee (the girls her age get six pitches, then the tee).  She also gets in a great stance as an infielder, but hasn't quite gotten in the habit of moving out of the stance when the ball is hit.  All in all, a fun day celebrating the kids.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Easter, Art Shows, Horsey Rides, and Sports (lots of pictures)

So, over Easter weekend Trisha and I went to Pittsburgh to celebrate the wedding of Trisha's (and mine) good friend Mandy (the former) Hamilton.  Our hotel was beautiful and was right across the Allegheny River from PNC Park (the Pirates) and upriver from Heinz Field (the Steelers).  We went on a dinner cruise up the Allegheny and the Monongahela (the Mon) on Friday, the walked the city Saturday morning and early afternoon, finishing with a trip up the Mon Incline (a tram-type vehicle).  When the wedding reception ended, fireworks from the Pirates game went off just outside our window.  It was a cool time.  Plus, I got to see Trisha interact with four of her good friends from college who I had only met briefly before.  I enjoyed seeing her in this new light.

PNC Park (Pirates)

Toni, Bethany, Shannon, and Trisha

We were this close!
Heinz Field (Steelers)
A Sub moored outside the Carnegie Science Center

The view from the Mon Incline
Over the next two weeks, the kids all had art fairs at their schools.  I can't believe I had a part in creating such creative kids.  They must be recessive genes.
Lexi's Weaving
Griffin's flowers
Griffin's Great Pumpkin
Cami's Snowman

Cami's Flowers

The twins also went on a field trip where they got to ride on a horse.
All business
Finally, tomorrow the girls have their first softball games and Griffin gets to play soccer game number 2 (last week we were thunderstormed out).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fearless by Eric Blehm

I the new future I'm going to be reading Fearless, the story of Adam Brown, a Navy Seal and member of Seal Team Six.  While you're waiting for the review, enjoy the book trailer below.

All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill - Book Review

I first heard about All Pro Dad from Tony Dungy.  I don't remember if it was in his books or an interview, but I found it very interesting.  I immediately signed up for the daily All Pro Dad email, because I figured I could learn some things for my journey towards being a great father.  Fastforward several years and Mark Merrill, the founder of Family First (the parent company of All Pro Dad) has written a book called, yes, All Pro Dad.

Merrill structures this easy and short read around the "7 M's": Makeup, Mind-set, Motive, Method, Model, Message, and Master.  Each chapter features anecdotes (personal and from others), lists, and suggestions all relating to the theme of the chapter.  Merrill shares stories from Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Truett Cathy, Michael W. Smith and others to help illustrate the importance of a father's role in his child(ren)'s life.  Finally, the chapters end with questions for dad's to ask their kids to spur discussions and communication.

All of the information is great for fathers, and it is presented in an easy-to-digest and non-threatening manner.  The book can be read straight through or in small chunks to allow for practice of each principle.  Overall, it was a good book with practical and possibly life-changing material, although I didn't really discover anything new.  If you have read other books on fatherhood, chances are much of this material won't be new to you either. 

I was provided a copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rate My Review

Please rate my review of Quiet by Susan Cain.

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Quiet by Susan Cain - Book Review

Confession: I'm an introvert.  I discovered this during grad school when I had to take a Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  It was like someone pulled back the curtain explaining why I liked to be a homebody and have downtime by myself; it also explained why large gatherings were sometimes overwhelming.

Fastforward to now, when I had the opportunity to read and review Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  After reading the book synopsis, I jumped at the chance. 

Cain's premise is that our society is structured for extroverts (a culture of personality), and often introverts get pushed to the side.  This can, and does, result in important contributions sometimes going unnoticed.  Cain set out to explain how introverts can function in this setting, and even thrive.  Along the way, she references multiple studies and anecdotes, some concerning herself and people she knows.  I found this book fascinating, basically reading it over the weekend (after a rough start with the first chapter, which is heavy on background).  Topics include The Myth of Charismatic Leadership (looking at Harvard Business School), When Collaboration Kills Creativity (how group work drowns the benefits of working by yourself), Is Temperament Destiny, Why Did Wall Street Crash and Warren Buffett Prosper, Do All Cultures Have an Extrovert Ideal?, The Communication Gap (really interesting in Introvert/Extrovert relationships), and more.

This is a must read for introverts.  It will empower and validate you if you tend to struggle with the typical introvert needs (alone time, feeling lost in a group, work environment, etc.).  It can be a valuable read for extroverts as well, particularly extroverts in leadership positions (your introvert employees can be a strength).

To link to Susan Cain's website, click here.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

Still recovering from a weekend trip to Pittsburgh for a wedding.  More to come soon, plus be on the lookout for a book review as well.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Break and Lexi's 8th Birthday

Well, tomorrow we all go back to school.  It's been a fun week, filled with lots of relaxation and family time.  We took a couple of family walks along the Pensey Trail and enjoyed the outdoors.  I got the trampoline up for the spring and summer (and a sunburned head).  We did a little shopping, getting ready for the summer.  Thursday night we ate dinner with our friends, the Van Osdols, and Griffin climbed his first tree.  He was probably 25 feet up in a big pine.  Fortunately, he was able to navigate his way down without falling.  Friday, Trisha and I took the kids to the Winter Jam concert, where we met Dianna and her friend David.  It was 10 bands for 10 bucks.  I wasn't as interested in as many bands as the Rock and Worship Road Show, but there were some memorable moments.  The kids really enjoyed Group 1 Crew again, with Cami and Lexi singing along.  But the kicker was Skillet, a Christian hard (and I mean hard) rock band.  The show was big, loud, and explodey.  One of the best performances I've seen.  They played for around an hour and never let up.  My favorite moment (other than the fact that Griffin managed to sleep through nearly the whole thing) was during the song "Hero".  The drummer and her kit were on hydraulics and were moved to the end of the stage.  The rest of the band joined her, and the drums and two guitar players were lifted up into the air on platforms.  The drummer not only went up, but started going around in a circle, like a carousel, all the while singing.  It was pretty cool.  Lexi got a little scared during the song "Monster" because the stage had huge red eyes that glowed in the dark and then were revealed to be the eyes of a monster-looking prop that shot smoke out of its ears.  I thought it was awesome. Oh, and Cami wanted to know if she could have pink hair (both girls in Skillet had colored hair, one red and one blue).  She said they were her favorite part.  I think I've got a little rocker chick.

Saturday, Lexi turned 8 and she wanted to have a family birthday party.  Tom, Donna, half the Reddys (some were sick), and Dianna came over for dinner, cake, and ice cream.  Lexi had a great time, and got a lot of gifts and a lot of love.