Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is success?

Typically, success is measured against an initial goal. However, sometimes we set our goals too high. For example, the motto in my G5 class this year was "Aim high, miss high."  We intentionally tried to do more than we thought we could. Students didn't always accomplish their goals, but I was often surprised by how much they were able to do.

As the school year ends, I have to evaluate students. Likewise, students evaluate me. Were we successful?

 John Wooden, an incredible athlete and coach, said, "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."

I kind of like this definition. When I play soccer, if I do my best and lose, I am usually still pretty happy.

What do you think about this definition? How do you determine success?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Best memory of 2010

Welcoming my son to the world is obviously the best thing I experienced last year. However, I would like to narrow it down to a single moment. To help you understand, I'd like to put it in context first.

I was extremely busy getting ready for Kai to be born. My head began to hurt so badly that I couldn't do anything at work. It was the first time I ever wanted to leave work early because of illness.

That night, when I got home, Katy went into labor. It was a week before Kai's due date, so there were a lot things I'd hoped to finish that didn't get done, including a huge paper for my master's program that was due soon (a constant weight on my shoulders).

The birth went well, but was still very stressful for me. Our stay at the hospital really nice. However, since Katy and the nurses did everything, I left the hospital without any experience or much confidence as a father. We also didn't sleep much during that time because Katy had to get up and feed Kai every couple hours.

Driving home with Kai in the car for the first time, through the snow, was very stressful. Then, changing his diapers and giving him a bath while he cried so helplessly, left my heart pounding. I felt exhausted,  completely overwhelmed, and there were still urgent things that I was in no condition to do nor I didn't have time to do them. It was at this time that my favorite memory happened.

My best memory:
The lights were dimmed. We were sitting on the sofa after Kai's bath. Kai fell asleep on my chest for the first time. I could feel his warm tiny body completely relax. I listened to his peaceful breathing. At that exact moment, ALL my stress left me. I knew that I could be a good dad. I knew that both of us would be okay from then on. I knew that everything else that needed done would get done in time. It was an incredible feeling.

Kai, asleep on my chest, continues to be a magical experience for me. He reassures me that everything in the world is well. That specific feeling is my best memory from 2010.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More fun in the snow!

Some good friends stopped by our house today. We decided to play in the snow. It was the perfect day for it.

We made a giant snowman.

We also took turns using the sled.
We even built a jump at the bottom of the hill.

Christmas cookies

Katy's parents are visiting. One of their family traditions is to make Christmas cookies. So, we made some, even though it is a little late.  I think we have eaten most of them already. They are really good.

Cutting out the shapes

After baking them

Adding icing (and playing with colors).
Adding sprinkles. They are ready to eat!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tracks in the snow

Whenever it snows, we like to go for walks and enjoy the cold, white, quiet countryside. We often come across animal tracks.
Today, we actually saw a few animals. These ducks seemed perfectly happy in the icy stream.

Staying warm

While I was staying at the hospital with Katy, Yuki H. shared some of her good cooking with me and  gave me a good tip for keeping our house warm. She suggested that I put bubble wrap on the windows!

When I got home, I tried it.  Now, the room is much less drafty and there isn't so much water on the glass. It is a great idea. Yuki H. is very smart. Thank you!

If you are renting a place with single-pane glass, I recommend you try it. The bubble wrap was pretty cheap at the hardware store.

A new headboard

When we were getting ready for the baby, we moved our bed. However, there was nothing to lean against. Reading before going to sleep was uncomfortable.
So, I decided to build a headboard. The top piece is made from a cherry branch that broke during a big snow storm last year. The rest of it is made from cedar.

The most interesting part of making this was figuring out how to make a straight grove in the round cherry branch to insert the cedar boards. I put the branch on a flat table and used a router to carve out the grove. It worked better than I thought it would.

It is very sturdy and it smells nice, too. It has been very useful.

Where do you usually read?

I am going to miss hanging out with pregnant women

Check out these crepes for breakfast!

This photo was taken before Kai was born. I want to have these again soon.

My new teacher

In three fast weeks, Kai has grown so much.   He is focusing his eyes. His face is getting chubbier and he is able to hold his head up for longer periods of time.

He is also a gifted teacher. During our time at home, I have learned to change a dirty diaper, give him a bath, and help him burp.

I think we both still have a lot to learn.