Posted by & filed under parenting, vacation.

A whirlpool tub like this jutted out into the hotel room.

A whirlpool tub like this jutted out into the hotel room.

Kaylee’s eyes lit up, she was so excited to see this giant bathtub in the middle of the room. We were staying at a hotel in Buffalo, New York, near Niagara Falls and apparently got the Jacuzzi room. There was a whirlpool tub right in the room (where a second bed would be).

This was going to be the easiest bathtime ever. All day Kaylee talked about the big tub in the room. At bath time, she was so ready she hopped in the tub while the water was still filling it up.

That was when I made a really bad decision.

I thought I could get my already incredibly excited little girl even more excited if she saw how this wasn’t just a bathtub but a Jacuzzi and that there were jets that blow bubbles in the water. I turned on the Jacuzzi.

The sudden starting of the jets would probably have been enough to startle Kaylee, but since the water was still rising and only just at the level of the jets, it turned out much worse. Instead of pushing air into the water, the jets pushed air across the surface of the water and upward – right into Kaylee’s face.

For those of you who didn’t know Kaylee hates having water in her face. She gets upset when it drips down her forehead when we are rinsing her hair in a nice calm bathtub. So you can imagine how ballistic she was going after daddy inadvertently sent what seemed like a fire hose of water directly at her face.

It was only a moment or two before I realized what was happening and shut the jets off, but it was too late, there was no going back. Kaylee started screaming and immediately wanted out of the tub. She continued screaming outside the tub for about the next 20 minutes and even after she finally calmed down, she refused to go back in. For the next three days of our stay in that hotel room she avoided even walking near the tub just in case it would start up again.

That moment will not be showing up on my Father of the Year highlight reel.

Posted by & filed under parenting, vacation, wedding.

Kaylee and Bodie at the wedding

Kaylee and Bodie at the wedding

Outside of three babies (Ginelle being one of them), my two-year old daughter Kaylee was the youngest person at my cousin’s wedding in Long Beach Island this past weekend. The next closest in age was a four year old boy named Bodie.

Bodie had met and played with Kaylee at another wedding back in December, and found her again early on. I was happy to let her go play with him again, but Kaylee would rather be held by her daddy.

I nudged her to play with Bodie, and after a few moments of shyness, the two of them were happy and smiling and running around the periphery of the reception hall, I was watching from a distance and thinking, they grow up so fast, I am not ready for Kaylee to start dating.

The two of them ran, giggled, played with light fixtures that got them both scolded, ran, picked leaves off the bushes, and sat on a bench side by side so adorably that people were coming up and snapping pictures of the two of them, and as I monitored and watched I thought, maybe I won’t have an instant dislike for whatever boy wants to date my daughter if he can sincerely make her happy.

We the parents had to separate the two of them to get family pictures with the bride and groom and a bit of time elapsed, the cake was cut and as I was sitting with Kaylee who was eating her piece, I noticed Bodie nearby with a very upset look on his face. I recognized the look of a toddler who was tired and out of sorts, and as I was registering that, Kaylee noticed him and got out of her chair to go see him.

He was facing the opposite direction yelling for his mom when Kaylee walked up to him. Bodie turned around, noticed Kaylee, and then walked away. Kaylee’s lower lip protruded and her shoulder’s slumped and she sulked her way back to our table. I picked her up and gave her the biggest hug and another piece of cake. What really crushed me was the realization that there is no way this is the last time my little girl is going to get her heart broken.

Thank goodness I have a long while still to prepare, cause I am not ready for my little girl to start dating.

 

Posted by & filed under vacation.

Kaylee loving the beach beach beach.

Kaylee loving the beach beach beach.

Spinning in circles as the waves splash over her feet, with a bucket in one hand and a shovel in the other, coated in suntan lotion and sporting a one-piece suit and a swim-diaper, my little girl, Kaylee laughs and cheers “I love the beach beach beach!”

She loved the ocean and the scared/excited feeling of standing at the edge of the water and the waves come in. She loved piling the sand into the castle-shapes and having Mommy flip them over to make tiny castles that she could smash. She even loved laying out her little towel and laying down for a short spell before getting right back up and splashing in the ocean again.

There are so many “firsts” for our kids, that sometimes it’s hard to remember when you are experiencing one. I dipped Kaylee toes in the ocean before she could walk and she road in the car starring out at the ocean for hours as we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway last summer. So, she’s been “around” the beach plenty, but she’s never had an opportunity to grab a shovel and bucket and go spend the day playing the water and on the sand.

That changed this past weekend when the family went to the Jersey shore to celebrate my cousin’s wedding on Long Beach Island. And as she was spinning in circles and laughing and smiling I realized going forward we’ll be making sure our summer vacations include opportunities for our little girls to enjoy the beach.

Posted by & filed under TV.

I am pretty sure Selena is just watching this show to watch this guy.

This does not look like a Hell on Wheels to me.

Selena has started watching some motorcycle show on AMC called Hell on Wheels. Okay, I thought it was a reality show about bikers.

Selena explains that it’s actually a really well put together period story set with the backdrop of building the transcontinental railroad. Hell on wheels, she goes on, is a term used for the small towns that used to pop-up around the railroad construction.

Sounds intriguing, but that name stinks. It’s too unintuitive and needs to be changed. I decided to brainstorm better alternatives, and Selena helped. I submit for your approval:

  • Transcontinental
  • Into the West (I think this one was just taken by another show)
  • Traintimes
  • All Aboard
  • Ticket to Ride
  • 1910
  • Duluth to Santa Fe
  • Denver to Little Rock
  • Five Red Train Cars
  • Bust My Boilers
  • Trembling Tracks
  • Cinders and Ashes
  • You’re Causing Confusion and Delay

Looking at the list, I see we devolved into two lines of thinking: titles that reminded us of the board game Ticket to Ride and quotable lines from Thomas the Tank Engine. Can you help? Leave your best submission in the comments below.

 

Posted by & filed under awesome.

Greg sporting a suit on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Greg sporting a suit on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

It’s not often that I have to wear a suit to work.  In fact, it’s never, except for this past Friday. I had to pull out the one suit I owned, pack in in a bag and take it up to New York City with me, because last Friday morning I had the very exciting opportunity to do something very few investors ever do. I was invited with a group from The Motley Fool to participate in ringing the Opening Bell of the New York Stock Exchange.

I did not ring the bell, that honor was given to the founding brother of our company, David Gardner. My role would be to tweet and Facebook post about David ringing the bell. I was there to help cover the event over our social media channels.

But first, I had to do some light event planning. Knowing we would have a host of Fools travelling up from DC, including the founders, my fellow social and community Fool, Katrina, and I threw together a member meet and greet at the midtown ING Café.

I do mean threw together, because we had less than a week from when we found out we were going to NYC to pull together an idea, find a location, find members to attend, and deal with all the last minute craziness to make it all work. In the end the members were appreciative, the partner, ING Café’ was fantastic – nothing but good things to say about them – and the hardest part was just getting through Manhattan traffic to get to the venue literally 2 minutes before our first guests arrived.

Our good friends Erich and Alex who live in Brooklyn stopped in at the end of the event and I think still got a lot of valuable investing advice from our team. It was great to see them and really great to see them absorbing all the information about Investing Better, which is the campaign that The Motley Fool is kicking off with the ringing of the Opening Bell.

And the NYSE really ran with our Investing Better theme. It was posted everywhere in their building when we arrived the following morning. We were ushered into a huge Board Room with a board table bigger than most Manhattan apartments, where we prepped for the bell ringing.

Once it was time, our founders and community members went up on the balcony, and I stood directly below on the floor of the exchange – right in front of the CNBC studio – looking up at the bell ringing and waiting for the crazy to happen. I have been playing the card game Pit for years, and I was excitedly ready to see some mass mayhem as soon as my boss rang in trading for the day.

It never came. The bell was rung and once we stopped our cheering, I looked around and saw there was nothing to see. No one was yelling, “I’ve got two, I’ve got two.”  No one was waving paper tickers in the air. In fact there was hardly anyone there at all, just a few traders starring at 2,4,8 screens at once. Apparently trading is all done with computers these days.

Posted by & filed under baby.

How can this little girl be ready for day care already?

How can this little girl be ready for day care already?

I can’t believe this little (not actually little for her age AT ALL) baby in my arms in this picture here is old enough to start going to day care. She just passed three months this past weekend and so when all the neighborhood kids were going out to the bus stops to go back to another year of school, Selena and I were packing Ginelle into the car to start her first day at the in-house daycare that Kaylee has been attending for two years.

I can’t believe Kaylee’s been there for over two years already. I can’t believe Ginelle is old enough to start. Time is really flying by.

Posted by & filed under TV.

Four hours of TV on Sunday nights.

Four hours of our favorite TV is on Sunday nights.

Selena and I discovered something this past weekend. There are only five TV shows that we are recording/watching this summer – Breaking Bad (AMC), True Blood (HBO), The Newsroom (HBO), Weeds (Showtime) and Episodes (Showtime) – and they are all on Sunday nights.

Since we seldom get the girls to bed before 9-10pm, and like to get to bed ourselves before midnight, that leaves only two hours for watching TV in the evening. I suppose that’s why we have a DVR, so we can load up on programming on Sunday evenings and consume in throughout the rest of the week.

By the way, any suggestions for something are we missing from our TV lineup?

Posted by & filed under family.

Anna, Vivian, Dean, Eddie, Greg, Kaylee, Ginelle and Selena

Anna, Vivian, Dean, Eddie, Greg, Kaylee, Ginelle and Selena

It certainly has changed over the years since I first met the Kangs, but I suppose all family change over time. This is the current 2012 Kang family. We were very fortunate to have the whole family together in early July to snap this photo. Dean had flown in from Japan for a week and both Eddie and Vivian were not travelling in China, (the rest of us have a higher likelihood of being findable to the DC area). We also were very fortunate that Kaylee gave us about 5 seconds of calm forward-facing smiles before getting distracted by something or other, scootching off my lap and never returning.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Kaylee coloring at the Family Night activities table at the Delaware Shakespeare Festival

Kaylee coloring at the Family Night activities table at the Delaware Shakespeare Festival

Nine years ago, when I was managing the Delaware Shakespeare Festival, I had two marketing ideas: let’s promote the Friday night shows as “Date Night” and the Sunday evening shows as “Family Night”.

Well, “Date Night” was a disaster, we put a two-for-one discount on tickets for couples and I forget how we were gatekeeping that but people quickly circumvented the efforts and abused the promotion. It never returned.

Family Night, though, was a success. The benefits weren’t in cost-saving at the box office, but rather starting the show a little earlier and we stationing an activities tent with coloring and crafts for kids in the back that stayed open through the show serving as an outpost to take rowdy kids who couldn’t sit still during the performance.

For the first time this past weekend I got to enjoy the experience I concocted so long ago. Selena and I brought Kaylee and Ginelle to the Festival. It was wonderful getting to bring the whole family, and having the confidence that there was enough activities plus room to wander if the kids got noisy or restless. Kaylee made a princess tiara at the activities table and colored some pages. Ginelle mostly slept but was taken on a stroll of the grounds of Rockwood at one point when she got too upset.

Six years ago the Festival was panned for being inaudible. Those technical issues have long since been corrected and as you wandered with kids around the back of the lawn or to the activities tables you could still see and hear all the action happening on the stage.

Family Night seemed like a good idea nearly a decade ago, and now attending as a family I can confirm it.

While last Sunday was the last Family Night of the season, there are still three shows left of this season’s production A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I highly recommend you catch a performance tonight or this weekend, more details can be found here at delshakes.org.

Posted by & filed under family, home.

The mercilessly mocked Black & Decker PHS550B 3.4 Amp Powered Handsaw

The mercilessly mocked Black & Decker PHS550B 3.4 Amp Powered Handsaw

When all the trees were downed all over Rockville in that weird intense storm (that I am told is called a deracho) that included a large number of large trees in my in-laws backyard. So I braved the 101 degree heat to go over and help out. I felt it was my obligation, and besides, I had the power saw.

I told them it was a power saw, but my father in law got it in his head I meant a chain saw. When I arrived with this little thing the look of disappointment on his face could not be masked. “Are you kidding me?” he asked rhetorically.

And that was the start of an afternoon of completely disrespecting the little power handsaw. From that first moment my FIL declared that it was not a real saw. I displayed how it would cut up the large fallen tree branches adequately enough, but he insisted he should use manual saws for that. He finally relented and offered that I should cut the smallest and thinnest branches with my little saw.

Throughout that afternoon, using my handy little power saw, I cleared out more than half the yard. Having to leave to attend the family, I showed my FIL the results and offered to leave the power saw with him for when he finished the job. He declined. (I left it anyway).

What I realized, driving home, is how fortunate I am. Sure my father-in-law had no respect for this tool I brought into his home, but that made me realize how fortunate I was that he didn’t feel the same way about the tool his daughter brought into his home so many years ago – namely me.

I have really great in-laws that both care and respect their son-in-law and welcome him into their home. They may get on my case, (justifably) for still not learning Chinese or for having tinker-toy tools like this saw I brought over, but I know that they respect the man their daughter chose to marry.

I’ll have to ask them how they did that, cause looking at my wonderful little girls right now, I find it hard to believe there will be some kid that I’ll accept as good enough for either one of them.