Family

Family Vacations: Now and Then

THEN:

As a kid, my family would take one vacation every summer. Each one would start out from the back seat of our Buick, not an airplane or a train. We could count on the air conditioning to be ice cold and the drive to be long. We packed trendy zebra shorts, long striped socks and probably a tank top worn by our older brother. My dad would start off the trip by predicting the exact time we would arrive our destination (I found out as a dad myself how much influence he had on his prediction). One item we did not pack, nor consider; car seats. In fact, my younger brother would call “hump” which was the arm rest between the driver and passenger seats. There might have been seat belts in the car, but I believe they were tucked behind the seats. Hell, I remember one time lounging in the back window above the seats for a stretch down the interstate.

The trips were long. We traveled to South Dakota, Niagara Falls, northern Wisconsin and Milwaukee just to name a few stops. We didn’t have games or iPods or traveling DVD players. All we had was each other and our imagination. Not great, but we survived. Needless to say, our trips are different now that I am dad and in the driver’s seat. Let’s take a look at an upcoming trip…

NOW:

My family and I just booked our vacation to sunny California for a late November trip to Disneyland. The drive is about 6 hours so I quickly figured; how many movies do I need on our iPad to entertain the kids? How many times will they want to listen to the ‘Lighting McQueen’ song? Can we get by with 1 potty break? One thing I don’t have to worry about is this conversation; Do not cross this line? or Stop touching me? or Get your feet off of me! These do not ring inside our traveling mobile because of one glorious, required item…the car seat.

The car seat keeps my kids safe and keeps them safe from one another. When they get a little older, I’ll remember to tell stories of how family road trips across country used to be. They won’t believe me and will wonder how we did it without whatever latest piece of technology is popular.

All in all, family vacations are about experiences. We’ll sing, laugh and have fun the entire time. Maybe we’ll even leave all of our electronics behind just to see how people in the ‘olden days’ used to do it. Nah…but it was fun to think about for a minute.

Later,

derek

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Family, Viewpoint

Apple in Education: My Take

Okay, so I am an Apple fanboy. I own all the products, I hate using my PC at work and I asked for iTunes gift cards for X-mas. Apple provides and engages my ‘geekness’ in all their gadgets and technology but to be honest they are only pieces of technology that make life a little easier. Today…Apple came out with iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U.

These 3 products will change the education world…forever. And in my opinion, not a moment too soon. Education is a laughable topic as it takes a back seat in funding and investment. Teachers rarely get the respect they deserve and do so much with so little. My family and I, unfortunately, live in a state which is ranked near the bottom in terms of education. This ranking is quite concerning for me as a parent of a 2 and 4 year old.

Apple’s product release today brings hope. Apple is putting curriculum building materials into the hands of author’s and teacher’s so they can build a new era of content and effortlessly bring it to students. I’m thrilled about these products as I, as a parent, plan to leverage these tools to help teach my kids even if not yet integrated into his or her school(s).

Check out the keynote speech here:

Apple in Education Keynote

Later,

Derek

Family

Reflection Time: 2011 and now 2012

All throughout the news, websites, television programs and even Facebook are timelines of 2011 and looking back at the year regarding all topics. I admit, I’ll look through them to see what kind of events are deemed “important” or worthy to remember. Some shake loose memories that were stored away associated with that particular moment in time.

2011 was a semi-big year for me professionally. Becky and I have what seems to be like big years since before we got married; house in 2006, married in 2007, Colton in 2008, Amelia in 2009, I don’t remember what happened in 2010 but just look at 2008 and 2009 and you’ll understand. Anyway, in 2011, I left my job at Apollo Group after 10 years to start another chapter at Medicis Pharmaceuticals. I have not looked back after the professional move and am now enjoying a higher quality of life. My time away from work is truly spent away. I now am focused on creating rich memories with Becky, Colton and Amelia.

In 2012, I am looking forward to the many experiences to be shared with my family. We will make plans to go on vacations and trips…but I have found some of the best moments are never planned. I’m now going to spend the couple days putting together a 2011 video montage that Becky and I can watch for years to come.

We popped the cork on 2012 last night with great friends. Becky and I are cleaning up the corks this morning and will enjoy a quiet day around the house. Here’s looking to 2012 to be filled with rich, quality and exciting memories!

Here are two photos; the first on January 1st 2011 and the second a recent one at Disneyland.

 

Adventure, Family

Disney does it right…

Vacations are always nice. They are a time to get away from the normal daily routine and step into an environment, city and frankly…another reality. This holds true none more so than Disneyland. We entered the world of Disney on Friday night after Thanksgiving. After a 6 hour drive, we checked into the Hilton and looked out over Disneyland park. I was immediately intrigued.

Now, Disney does it right.

Transportation – There are continuous shuttles going to and from hotels and stops around Anaheim all dropping people off in one centralized spot. Each post is numbered with your route and you never need to wait for more than 15 minutes. I found this a brilliant way to bring people to the park and ensure a consistent method of traffic.

Photography – Disneyland at Christmas time was a tremendous sight to see. Everything was decorated and created great shots for the family. At each well known landmark and staged setting stands a Disney employee

ready to take your picture. At your first photo, they provide a DisneyPhotoPass that is scanned and then each additional shot is added along the way. Viewing all the great photos when you get home from the trip provides another great reminder to how much fun was had by all.

Rides – The lines for “good” rides will always be long so Disney developed a FastPass to coordinate when the line will be shorter and you can walk right on. We didn’t partake in a FastPass and instead stuck with the rides in Fantasyland and ToonTown. We hopped on the train that went around the park as Colton LOVES trains. This was a nice relaxing trip and a great way to see the different stops throughout the park.

Food – Expensive, but not gross. Enough said.

Christmas Parade – The parade route fills up fast as there isn’t much space to sit and watch. We found a good spot at the end of the route at It’s A Small World. Colton and Amelia absolutely loved the parade and seeing all of their favorite characters. Well done.

Fireworks – Leaving a late dinner at Downtown Disney we caught the fireworks as we were leaving the park. The next two nights we enjoyed them from our hotel room overlooking the park. This moment was my favorite part of the trip as the kids peacefully watched the fireworks and expressed how much fun they had all day. Well done, Disney.

Friends – Dave and Kristen invited us to share in their Disney memories and we couldn’t be more thankful for their invite, knowledge of Disney and great company throughout the entire trip. They planned a Character breakfast, knew good places to shop and eat and helped watch the kids when an extra set of eyes were needed. THANK YOU!

So, Disney does it right. They have so much coordinated for you without you even realizing it was done. There were tens of thousands of people at the park, but throughout the trip, I often had the feeling that the park was all ours. Great memories that will last my and Becky’s lifetime…and hopefully the kids too.

Thank you Disney…you did it right.

Derek

Family

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is here and gone. I like to reflect a little on Thanksgiving for the wonderful family I have been blessed with. I enjoy every waking day I have to spend with Becky, Colton and Amelia (even Logan most of the time). This holiday season is expected to be crazy as usual because it always goes by faster than anticipated. Again, Becky and I didn’t start our X-mas shopping early because I didn’t get off my ass and take her recommendation.

Tomorrow, we head out to Disneyland to celebrate Amelia’s 2nd birthday and to enjoy some family time before the holiday season. The kids are 2 and 4 so we are hoping they have a blast at the parks. More importantly, I would like them to have this memory as my memory will be of them enjoying the vacation. I am very thankful for the opportunity to create these memories.

We had a blast today spending it with two sets of friends each who we enjoy their company and friendship. Our kids love all of them and the first thing they say in the car is “I had fun!”. We can’t always be with our first families over the holiday, but that doesn’t take away the joy of spending it with our second.

Here are some fun shots from Thanksgiving 2011.

  

Later,

Derek


Family

Birthday before a Birthday

We had a birthday party for Amelia 1 month before her 2nd birthday yesterday. Her grandparents from MA were in town and wanted to celebrate since they wouldn’t be able to next month. I thought this was a great idea as it created a memory for both Amelia and her grandparents. Who cares if it wasn’t her actual birthday.

Timing is nice when it works out or is convenient but when timing doesn’t line up you have to make your own time for these moments.

Here is a picture of Amelia enjoying her cake last night.

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Later,

Derek

Family

Capturing Thoughts in Time

Hi All,

This blog was inspired by a friend of mine who recently started a blog himself after he moved to Portland with his family. His words that stuck with me were, “he looked to capture his and his family’s life throughout time”. To couple this, I was also inspired by the Google commercial where a father sends email to his unborn daughter and captures her life as she grows up through pictures and videos. I believe a blog will be a great way to capture memories and moments in time that can be later shared with my kids. Finally, a blog allows me to share my thoughts on different topics and events that require more than a few lines offered through Facebook and Twitter.

With all of that said, I will be using this space to capture those many thoughts that cross us during our journey through life. Feel free to follow this blog or just click on the link as they display in my Twitter or Facebook feeds.

Later,
Derek

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