Posted by & filed under baby.

The Baby Dragon

The Baby Dragon

Kaylee is going to have a little brother or sister. We are very happy to announce that a new Robleto is expected in late May. This one will be born, by the Chinese zodiac, in the Year of the Dragon (just like their dad).

We do not yet have something to call this new bundle of joy. If you have any clever names to call the yet-unnamed yet-unborn child, please share. (Special consideration for dragon-themed names).

Posted by & filed under home.

Everyone seems to have that problem of a few sock casualties each time the laundry is done. Despite numerous hints from Heloise we can’t seem to develop a way to solve the issue. Until I discovered Greg’s method, which answered and raised a lot of questions.

Step 1: Don’t do laundry, ever.

If Step 1 is not an option, try Step 2.

Step 2: When finished with laundry, gather all clean, loose socks without mates and immediately place them back in dirty laundry hamper to see if they will find mates magically. Repeat cycle until socks are all paired up by magic. Doing this 6 or 7 times may produce more missing socks, as the socks without mates from the next batch will compile onto the current batches. Also, DO NOT try to look in drawers for any lost socks that wife may have come across and stored away for you. DO take wife’s socks and claim them as your own, even though they do not fit feet.

If Step 2, surprisingly, does not work, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: At this point, you should be noticing a difference in your laundry. Perhaps more socks are now going missing than ever now if you have been diligently adhering to Step 2. The final step is to take all the socks that have now lived in laundry purgatory for 6 or 7 washes and throw them in the trash. That’s right! Throw them away! This includes wife’s socks that you think are yours that may have mates appropriately living in wife’s drawers. Perfectly good socks that have been tortured by living in the laundry hamper have no use without their pairs. Again, do NOT check in drawers for possible large pile of single socks that will now forever be mateless.

This is the methodology I had accidentally stumbled upon one day doing laundry. While I can’t quite figure out a system myself, I didn’t think Greg’s running system was helping. Any suggestions of solutions from the blogosphere?

 

 

Posted by & filed under dc, discovery.

Greg at the White House

Greg at the White House

I was at The White House this week for their holiday Tweetup.

My friend and social media expert at The Motley Fool, Katrina, showed me an page on the White House site where you could submit your request for an invitation to a day of tweeting at The White House. There was a series of speakers in the morning who’s roles covered a huge spectrum from the National Economic Counsel advisor discussing policy topics such as jobs to the official White House Pastry Chef revealing how long it takes to make the official White House gingerbread house (3 months). It was a full morning and really interesting to get all these perspectives of people who work so close to the President and his staff. (It made me want to re-watch The West Wing).

Only one real hiccup with the White House Tweetup, was that the conference room was in the basement of the EEOB next to the White House and there was no Wi-Fi signal in there so no one was able to get onto Twitter. The irony was not lost on the positive and upbeat organizers of the event from the White House Digital Strategy department.

After a lunch (on our own), we were able to tour the White House. it was the same self-guided tour that Selena and I had taken a few years ago, only this time, being that they had just decorated everything for Christmas they welcomed taking photos.

I got whole lot of pictures, including finding the hidden Bo (the dog) that was hand-crafted each room – one was paper-mache, one was made of candies, one was made of buttons – that are displayed below and in the Flickr set here.

The morning briefings

The morning briefings

The first of 73 White House Christmas Trees

The first of 73 White House Christmas Trees

George says "Check out this tree."

George says “Check out this tree.”

Decorative ornaments at the White House

Decorative ornaments at the White House

Greg in the Blue Room of the White House

Greg in the Blue Room of the White House

Bo made of Buttons

Bo made of Buttons

Lincoln thinking about Christmas

Lincoln thinking about Christmas

The White House Gingerbread replica

The White House Gingerbread replica

A choir in the lobby singing carols

A choir in the lobby singing carols

 

Posted by & filed under holiday.

Kaylee had such a great time this Halloween.

It started on Friday when she, dressed as a ladybug, crashed the local day-care’s Halloween parade. She goes to an in-house daycare with only three other kids, so they don’t really do a lot to do for Halloween. When our neighbors who go to the bigger facility invited us to join them for their daycare’s Halloween celebration, we decided to go. She only participated in the parade long enough for us to snap a few pics then went and played on the playground and in the big sandbox.

Kaylee as a Ladybug

Kaylee as a Ladybug

Saturday, our good friend Catherine’s sister had a party for her one-year old daughter in Germantown. There was a huge inflatable bouncy-house. So while the snow was falling outside, the kids, all in costume (again ladybug for Kaylee) ate cake, played with balloons and bounced around in the oversize moonbounce.

On Monday, Selena brought Kaylee into my office where we do up Halloween right. I had already won the best pod decorating in my social media pod because we did some thematic decor (bats and such) and then set up a Tweeting photo booth, where we had co-workers sit beside a white board shaped like a thought bubble. They selected at random a pre-set tweet from one bucket which we wrote on the board and then a random emotion from another bucket which they had to display, then we snapped the picture and you say things like someone emoting sad with the thought-bubble saying “Me want cookie” or emoting angry with the words “I could really use a McRib right now”. It was a lot of fun.

Tweeting Photo Booth

And we even got one of Kaylee when she arrived in her now chicken costume saying “Why did I cross that road?”  Kaylee then went on to trick-or-treat througout the office and I was beaming with pride getting to take her around.  She didn’t really get what was going on, but quickly picked up the mechanics of picking something from that big bowl and putting it into her bucket on her arm. She enjoyed doing that.

Why did I cross the road?

Why did I cross the road?

She did have one minor meltdown at the office, when someone gave another little kid a piece of candy, and Kaylee decided it was also okay to reach into another kid’s bucket and pull out a piece of candy and put it in her own. I interceded and she didn’t take it well, belting her rebellious discontent across the whole office.

Following our quick exit, we headed home in time for Selena to make some caramel apples which she stayed on the porch and gave to our adult neighbors that we knew when their kids came up for candy. While Selena held down the fort at home, I took Kaylee around the block. She really was in the zone now, running from house to house, and running up to the door and through the door and into their living rooms (she didn’t really get that this was a front-porch transaction). We took her up and down our whole street and then drove her over to her grandparents to ring their bell as well. She just had a blast.

Here’s a picture of her at the end of the night, still giggling and laughing at the fun night.

Kaylee at the end of Halloween night

Kaylee at the end of Halloween night

 

Posted by & filed under awesome, vacation.

One of my friends I’ve known the longest is Michelle. She was my closest friend in high school and although since that time, our paths have seldom paralleled, we’ve continued to make an effort to stay connected. She and her family moved out to the suburbs of San Francisco about a year ago, so I was excited to get the opportunity to visit with them, and we planned the final weekend we would stay at their place.

Unfortunately, the kids were visiting their grandparents on the East Coast and Michelle’s husband, Mario, flew out to collect them the same weekend we were visiting. We did get a nice dinner with Mario and Michelle earlier in the week in Fisherman’s Wharf, but for the weekend in San Ramon, it was two days of the Robletos visiting with just Michelle.

They live in an amazingly beautiful house, only a few years old, in a town that wasn’t much older. Everything was new and fresh and well planned with ornate outdoor shopping centers that had water running through them where you could feed the ducks to parks with water-features for the kids to play in as part of the playground. In fact, water-features were sort of everywhere, even on sides of roads and at entrances to developments. We asked Michelle and she said “There was one builder for this whole area… and he liked water features.” Amazing. In my conversations with Luke W earlier in the week we were lamenting the futility of trying to maintain a holistic design for an entire website, and here was a sense of aesthetic continuity, at a much grander scale, it was an entire town. Incredible.

Speaking of water-features, Michelle’s home had a water-feature too, a huge pool in the back with a hot tub attached. We gave Kaylee her first soak in a hot tub (with the temperature significantly reduced) and also took advantage ourselves after Kaylee was asleep. It was so relaxing, and I’m sure the few bottles of wine didn’t hurt the cause.

Speaking of wine, living in San Ramon, about an hour south of Napa, they were in close proximity to some great wineries. We toured a winery called Wente and were educated in the art of wine-making and wine-sampling. We did a lot of homework on that subject as well while we were there after Kaylee went to sleep.

We also visited with Michelle’s parents, who moved shortly after Michelle and Mario to the same area, to stay close to their grandchildren (hint, hint, Mom and Dad). They have a beautiful house too. Unlike their kids who have a yard big enough for a pool and hot tub, they have the more common home for that area where you can stand in the yard and with one arm touch the house and another touch the fence. Yards are that small! The house takes up the bulk of the land. And that doesn’t mean the houses are McMansion size. They are comfortably sized, but could easily get overwhelmed by a collector of things. Minimalism is the key. I was inspired seeing those beautiful homes so well put together. I was determined to come back and do a great purge. I feel our home could be that nice, if we didn’t have so much stuff in it.

We left from the weekend with Michelle for the airport, a red-eye flight home culminating two weeks in California. Over that time we’ve been leaving destinations every few days, but it was really hard to leave San Ramon. I realized later it was because after seizing every minute in Los Angeles and San Francisco to see the sights and experience the city, we slowed down in San Ramon. We relaxed, drank some wine, lounged around, soaked in the hot tub and shared stories and laughs with a close friend. Selena said “staying with Michelle was like staying at a resort and spa for the weekend.” Yes! It very much felt that way.

Michelle and Greg

Michelle and Greg

Kaylee and her dad feeding the ducks

Kaylee and her dad feeding the ducks

Kaylee in the water feature in the park in San Ramon

Kaylee in the water feature in the park in San Ramon

The whole family in the water feature in the park in San Ramon

The whole family in the water feature in the park in San Ramon

Posted by & filed under awesome, vacation.

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being one of twelve people selected to participate in leadership training course internally at The Motley Fool. Every course lasts six week and is taught by a head of a department (CFO for Finance, CMO for Marketing, etc). We discuss their area of the business and take on relevant projects. In the end, after going through all the courses, we come away with a complete understanding of all the areas of our company.

There were also field trips out of the office to visit some other local companies in D.C. and one amazing trip to Austin back in June for a concentrated three days marathon of visits as a group with other companies. There is one more field trip that you have to make for yourself. Each of us were tasked with finding a company that we admire, and meeting with the person who does you role at that company. I went a little bigger, asking to go to Silicon Valley, which would offer me the opportunity to meet with numerous people, since so many great tech companies are right there. My proposal was accepted and our trip to San Francisco included taking Expedition in Learning.

Traffic was light getting to Silicon Valley from San Francisco so I stopped in and walked the grounds of Stanford. I will say now, that I approve of Kaylee going to this University, it was the most stunning school I’ve ever seen and combined with it’s impeccable reputation for success, I’ve made my new goal as a Dad to get Kaylee accepted.

Following my discovery of my parental mission, I drove to Sunnyvale to meet with my counterparts at Yahoo!  While it’s true that Yahoo! has had some difficulties lately, they still are a top tier internet company but moreover I love how well they integrate your profile into every one of their products. I sought to talk more about that cohesion and had a fantastic lunch with my friend Cindy and her Yahoo! co-workers. We discussing design synthesis across products and I found they were being a bit hard on themselves, thinking it could be better still. We also hit on staying passionate as designers while working in a big company as well as how they measure success. It was a great informative meeting.

I then got another perspective on Yahoo! as well as eBay and the general design landscape when I went to Mountain View to meet Luke, for coffee. He had a lot of insights about how different design teams and companies in Silicon Valley run, and he personally has experience leading a design team at a large internet corporations. Luke provided so much good advice on topics like design patterns and process but also on design’s role in a company, and where he’s seems some of the traps are with regard to support from the top as well as strictly data-driven design. I learned so much from that meeting, and really appreciate that Luke took the time to meet with me.

Rounding out my day, I went to LinkedIn and found the designer I was to meet was double-booked. Instead of just talking design, Michal invited me to join her. She was participating in a exhibition of great In(novation) Day ideas. She and a team took advantage of their day of autonomous time to develop an iPad-oriented slide deck / application for their sales team. It was elegant and polished. I hope it won the contest. I really enjoyed the unity of the company as they watched and submitted one great idea after the next to make the business better.

Between my visits while down in Silicon Valley, I also did a drive-by of Apple and Google and stopped in at a Computer Science museum which was way too nerdy for me. I’m not that interested in the history of the circuit board or who invented the mainframe.  What I am interested in, what always energizes me, is talking about the current and future state of the Internet and about design, and I was so thrilled The Motley Fool provided the opportunity to have those conversations with Cindy, Luke and Michal.

Greg at Stanford University

Greg at Stanford University

Posted by & filed under awesome, vacation.

Selena went to San Francisco about 10 years ago when in college and amazingly was able to do nearly a week’s stay for only $500 (flights included).  One way she cut costs was by taking the bus everywhere, (sometimes without bothering to pay) or by walking. This time around, we had a rental car. Somewhere around midday the first day “Wow, this morning alone we just saw everything it took me a week to see last time.”

We saw the Golden Gate Bridge, which is definitely impressive. On this day, the tops of the bridge towers were covered in fog, which both Selena and I commented make it look like a real world Photoshop gradient mask was applied to the bridge. We then did also comment that we are real design geeks.

We visited the Palace of the Arts, which, like the Getty Museum in LA, I loved not for the art inside (didn’t bother going in to see any of that) but for the architecture of the museum itself.. In a town that is hip and modern, I could easily see San Francisco green-lighting some over-designed modern expression to house it’s collections, something that seems gaudy and out-of-touch, like the Pompedeau Center in Paris, even before it’s completed and opened. But instead, they went refreshingly old-school to Ancient Greek/Roman style of classic columns and architecture. It was beautiful and a highlight of the city.

We also saw the Coit Tower on Nob Hill which overlooks most of the city and the bay including Alcatraz. Tickets for Alcatraz were unavailable so we didn’t get any closer to the famous prison than Fisherman’s Wharf. That first evening we went totally tourist and made our local friends Michelle and Mario ride down to the Fisherman’s Wharf on the cable-cars. I sat with Kaylee inside while Selena hung on the outside. It’s a fun experience that everyone who visits SF should try at least once.

Also on the try-once to-do list: drove down Lombard street, the windiest street in the world. It was like doing a downhill slalom in a car. That was pretty intense already, but it’s amplified by having to watch for tourists jumping out into the road for a picture.

We went to the Painted Ladies, which is this series of beautiful townhomes, each colored a different hue that I believe was used in the introduction to Full House.  Across the street is a park where Kaylee played for a while on the playground that is shaped like miniature versions of the townhouses. Very cute

We also ate some good eats while in San Francisco. We went to a restaurant that served nothing buy garlic called the Stinking Rose that was surprisingly tasty. We expected to get seafood in Fisherman’s Wharf but the Boudin Bakery smelled so good we went for bread-bowls instead. But neither of those places made Selena giddy like she was surrounded the aroma of decadent chocolate, with delicious sweet treats abounded in Ghirardelli Square.

When I booked our hotel, I noted it was on the edge of Chinatown, what I didn’t know was how expansive the SF Chinatown is. It goes on for so many blocks in all directions; it is the largest distinctively cultural area of a city I’ve ever seen. We made multiple trips for food and trinkets, and eating delicious snacks and meals. We caught up with one of my good friends, Sam who knew all the best shops and locations, and ate fantastic authentic Chinese food there. Selena loved that too.

And what did I love? Momentarily forgetting that I was on this planet and not o n the forest moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi when we were walking among the trees in Meir Woods, the closest Redwood Forest to San Francisco. Those trees were awe-inspiringly massive. It was stunning to walk among them.

Here are some pictures to accompany all the touristy locations we visited while in San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Selena and Kaylee at the Golden Gate Bridge

Selena and Kaylee at the Golden Gate Bridge

The Palace of the Arts

The Palace of the Arts

Kaylee at the Palace of the Arts

Kaylee at the Palace of the Arts

A happy Kaylee at Coit Tower

A happy Kaylee at Coit Tower

Kaylee scheeming at Coit Tower

Kaylee scheeming at Coit Tower

Selena at the Stinking Rose garlic restaurant

Selena at the Stinking Rose garlic restaurant

Selena, Kaylee and Greg hanging off the cable car

Selena, Kaylee and Greg hanging off the cable car

Dude who pretends he's a bush and scares tourists - he's famous.

Dude who pretends he's a bush and scares tourists - he's famous.

Selena and Greg in Chinatown

Selena and Greg in Chinatown

Greg and Kaylee at the Painted Ladies

Greg and Kaylee at the Painted Ladies

The family in the mini Painted Ladies playground

The family in the mini Painted Ladies playground

Selena at Ghiradelli Square

Selena at Ghiradelli Square

Greg on Endor, no that's Meir Woods

Greg on Endor, no that's Meir Woods

Kaylee looking over a bridge at Meir Woods

Kaylee looking over a bridge at Meir Woods

Selena and Kaylee looking up at the tall trees in Meir Woods

Selena and Kaylee looking up at the tall trees in Meir Woods

Posted by & filed under vacation.

After an unexpected night or trying to finish off all booze (unsuccessfully, there were at least a dozen bottles) with Katie and Susan and Jeff, we awoke groggily, had the last of our free breakfasts at the Doubletree in Los Angeles and hit the road for San Francisco.

It was my plan to take the Pacific Coast Highway north through Malibu and Santa Barbara and up the coast. It would take twice as long, but it would be scenic. Selena overruled this idea concerned for Kaylee’s ability to keep it together for such a long drive, and we took I-5 out of the city instead. It was pleasant nice drive most of the way to Bakersfield, but I was regretting not taking the coast road right about when the Interstate became an excruciatingly boring drive, which was the same point that we realize our timing would land us right in the middle of the Bay Area rush hour.

So, we were spontaneous and ventured off the Interstate back to the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). As soon as we were off the highway, we suddenly found ourselves in nowheresville California.  We were two hours north of LA, south of SF and near nothing at all except a sign, about 10 miles in saying that the road we were on was now closed.  We were about to double back when we saw another car skirt around us and the Road Closed sign and continue on. Selena asked what to do, and in a spirit of adventure, I encouraged her “Follow that car, drive on.”

We entered onto the closed road, and the next 13 miles were the most exciting part of the whole trip to California. That car I suggested following was long gone and we were along, driving down this empty road. There with potholes abounding but not a house or store in sight, and no signal on the cell phones. It dawned on me just how dire a predicament we’d be in if we blew a tire at this point, we couldn’t even flag down a passerby; we weren’t on a real road.

Selena’s anxiety was noticeable, but she overcame that tension and drove on, continuing to wonder aloud, as I did, why is this road closed?  Does it just end somewhere?  Is it privately owned by a rancher who will be unhappy we are here, or a government agency doing some sort of testing out here? My mind was racing through all the possibilities when finally we got an answer.

“Is it a mirage, or is there no more road ahead?” I asked. Selena confirmed, there was no road, just packed earth. In the last thirty feet before this road intersected back with the main road we wanted to get onto, there was no more road. It had been dug up to make way for expanding the intersecting road into a new four lane highway.

In another extremely risky move, we decided that we’d gone too far down this tense drive to back-peddle, so off-road we went. It wasn’t far and soon we were back on a main thoroughfare across the state back to the PCH. It may not sound like a big deal, but with baby in the car, gas low, a rental car you are not sure about, a lack of road, and no cell service, we were pretty frazzled by our series of risky choices.

The drive from there was to the Hearst Castle on the coast. Apparently the newspaper mogul liked camping atop this hills looking over the ocean but when he tried to build a little bungalow he remembered he was filthy rich and scope-creeped the project until he turned it to a gigantic castle. I would hate to have been the designer on that project.

We continued up the PCH to a brief stop for photos of a pride of sea lions lounging on the beach, then onward through Big Sur, which is one of the more beautiful and inaccessible places I’ve ever been, It is steep mountains on the right hugging the Pacific Ocean a cliff face below on the left, winding on and on for nearly 80 miles. It was an absolutely beautiful drive, a great recommendation from our friend Erin. There are three exceptionally tiny, blink-and-you-missed-them towns on that remote stretch of highway. Each had a gas station that was charging $5.50 for a galloon of gas.  Wow!

We rounded out the coastal trip with a quick trip to Monterey, then over to Salinas to see what Steinbeck was seeing when he wrote all his great works about that area of the country.  Night had falled by the time we reached the garlic-land Gilroy and continued north through San Jose, up the peninsula through Silicon Valley and finally late into the night we arrived at our hotel at the perimeter of Union Square and Chinatown in downtown San Francisco.

Kaylee wandering at Hearst Castle

Kaylee wandering at Hearst Castle

The sea lions near Hearst Castle

The sea lions near Hearst Castle

Big Sur

Big Sur

Big Sur

Big Sur

Selena at John Steinbeck's house in Salinas

Selena at John Steinbeck's house in Salinas

Posted by & filed under awesome, vacation.

Our last day in LA was the Monday after the wedding. Four couples (plus kids) stayed that extra day with the same intention. We’re going to Disneyland!

I have (literally) been in Disney’s theme parks in Florida hundreds of times, but this was also my first visit to either of the two California parks:  Disneyland and California Adventure. I made a point to get the park-hopper ticket so I could experience both. Since I  actually went to EuroDisney while touring around Europe in college, I am only one Disney theme park shy of completing the set. What I am missing is Disneyland Tokyo and we’re planning a trip  to Japan for next year to see Selena’s brother Dean now stationed there, so that bucket list item may just get completed.

This was also my first trip to a Disney park as a parent, and that’s a very different experience. I was now looking at it through the lens of what will Kaylee enjoy.  With that mindset we went on the Carousel, through Sleeping Beauty’s castle, watched some Princess stage show, rode the Snow White, Little Mermaid and Small World attractions.  By the way, some friends and I disagreed on this, but I very much enjoy that they have inserted Disney/Pixar animated characters into the appropriate lands of the Small World ride. I thought it would ruin the purity of the ride, but since they are subtle and done in the style of the other Small World characters, I think it is well done and enjoyed seeking out those Easter Eggs all along the ride.

We didn’t do all Kaylee rides thought, we split up at time and I took my opportunities to ride the Indiana Jones ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc, Muppets and Space Mountain. I will say this about Space Mountain, the LA version is darker, faster and more intense than in Florida. In Disney World it’s fun and all, at Disneyland, it was awesome!

For dinner we had reservations at the New Orleans themed Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. Then we went back into the park after dark to catch the fireworks. I was actually separated from the group and was ushered not towards them but on this infinite loop around at the main circle at the end of Main Street USA in front of the castle. I had to take two full orbits around that circle before, seeing  the Mouse ears that looked like a wedding veil and Katie wearing them, I ducked out of the herd and joined my family and friends.

The fireworks were fantastic and Kaylee loved them, which was surprising. (We expected her to be scared of all the noise). She loved so much of the day at the park, and will remember none of it – she’s not even two.  Which just means we’re going to have to go back and do it all over again. To a Disney fan like myself, that sounds like a great idea.

Kaylee at Sleeping Beauty's castle

Kaylee at Sleeping Beauty's castle

Kaylee and her Dad at Disneyland

Kaylee and her Dad at Disneyland

Selena being attacked by a Yoda backpack at Star Tours

Selena being attacked by a Yoda backpack at Star Tours

Kaylee and her Dad at the Matterhorn in Disneyland

Kaylee and her Dad at the Matterhorn in Disneyland

Kaylee riding the Carousel in Fantasyland

Kaylee riding the Carousel in Fantasyland

Katie and Jeff wearing their Wedding Ears

Katie and Jeff wearing their Wedding Ears

Fireworks over Disneyland

Fireworks over Disneyland

Kaylee loving the fireworks

Kaylee loving the fireworks

Disneyland and California Adventure

Disney's California Adventure

Posted by & filed under family, food, friends, wedding.

Following the beautiful wedding at the Wayfarers Chapel, the cocktail hours began at the Villa. The Villa was technically not a reception destination, but a lavish condo in the nearby Terranea Resort where Jeff and Katie and separately, Katie’s family stayed during the trip to LA. It had three bedrooms, a big open main room, dining room and kitchen and a bathtub large enough to fit the majority of the wedding party. We know, we took that bathtub picture, and a number of others while enjoying the food and booze, and between watching the great through-the-years slideshow and listening to the custom playlist that almost didn’t happen. I was responsible for the sound system and lost one of the cords – a male to male headphone jack cord. I was sure I killed the music, and was ready to give up. I couldn’t find it and who would happen to have such an obscure cord on them. Susan. Susan would. I was shocked, but she pulled the very cord needed right from her purse and the music played on.

The full-on reception was at the Point Vincente Lighthouse and Interpretive Center, just down the road, also on the water’s edge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After introducing the party, Jeff danced with his new bride to a song I was not familiar with, then Katie danced with her dads to another song I didn’t know called Daughter in the Water. I think having kids has made me sentimental and I tried to have a moment holding Kaylee watching a father-daughter dance, but it didn’t happen cause she squirmed and wandered off (did I mention she’s walking now) and I had to get my cousins to go chase after her cause all the wedding party was holding positions through the dances. My cousin then upon collecting Kaylee subsequently dropped her. Only a little, and still Selena and I held composure and didn’t move out of our spots watching the dances. But it made us punchy, so by the time the Mother-Son dance came on and another groomsman Jim started to sway and sing along we were on board. Kaylee was fine by the way.

The dinner was is a delicious blur to me, cause I was focused on what comes after, the speeches, including the maid-of-honor Gretchen’s, the matron-of-honor’s, Selena’s, and my own the Best Man Speech. I’ve had to give one Best Man Speech before and maybe it was cause it was one of a series of speeches from 3 best men, and maybe it was cause we were told keep it real short, and I don’t think I gave it my all, and years later I still regret that. I couldn’t let that happen this time around, especially after the incredible Best Man Speech that Jeff gave at my wedding (which I am still seeking a video or transcribed copy if anyone has one).  I set Jeff’s speech as the high bar to reach and spent a few weeks working out what I hoped would be a good balance of storytelling and advise, both sweet and funny, and addressing both Jeff and Katie. I felt confident going in and really was happy with the delivery. Here is the transcript that I ad-libbed from:

Thank you, so if I could have your attention, I’m Greg Robleto, I am Jeff’s younger brother and your best man for today’s festivities. I’ve been given a few moments to say a few words about the happy couple.

But before we get into talking about Jeff and Katie, I quickly want to say thank you to some very special people, without them, Katie and Jeff wouldn’t be here today. Quite literally. They have done so much to get us to this place today including raising two wonderful people that we are happy to celebrate today. Moms and dads, thank you.

Now back to the newlyweds, Mrs. Robleto, are we going with that? Right to share the same name with the kids. Future kids, calm down grandpa. Mrs. Robleto, you look incredible. And Mr. Robleto, you are looking pretty good too, even though I do believe you just copied my outfit tonight.

We used to dress alike all the time, granted it was when we were toddlers. I’ve seen photos. We were always dressed in the same outfits. I assume BOGO discounts must have been all the rage in the 70s.

But it was okay, toddler Greg was totally okay with it, cause he was in awe of his older big brother.  Toddler Greg would follow toddler Jeff anywhere. And then later, as I got older that hero-worship changed to genuine friendship, and while what can be greater for a kid with a ton of toys and a healthy imagination than to have a best friend who lives in the same house?

Growing up with Jeff was great. We’d spend hours playing, the two of us, in the unfinished basement of our Hockessin house, playing with all our Legos, and Transformers and our favorite, Star Wars action figures. I remember those days so fondly, how creative it all was, creating entire expansive worlds out of our shared imagination.

I’m trying to remember when exactly that period ended, but I’m not really great with names and dates. I tried falling back to Danaher Math, but I don’t see how knowing Grandpop Danaher fought in World War II in 1944 really helps pinpoint the date.

Please pardon me, that was kind of an inside joke, Danaher Math. One of many many inside jokes that I or many others in this room share with Jeff. It occurred to me that I could easily go down that path of referencing a bunch of inside jokes in this speech,  but I promised myself I wouldn’t. It would come off contrived working references to Phajze and Chicken-Chicken into this Best Man Speech. And No, busting out a Beep Bop Boop Bop Beep Robot Jeff impersonation wouldn’t make any sense to the majority of the guests. It’s bad form, I am not going to do any of that.

Where was I? Oh yes, I can’t remember dates and places. I’ve never really had to, because I could always just ask Jeff. He remembers everything. He’s a living database of his own personal history: past experiences,  events both large and small he can remember dates, times, places and who was there. I always enjoyed this trait about my big brother, because, one,  it meant I never had to remember anything “I don’t know, go ask Jeff.” And two because I took it to be a testament for how much Jeff cares about the moments in life that were special to him.

Jeff can surely provide some details starting from elementary or middle school,  but it’s high school and college memories, where he met so many of these great friends we have here today, where Jeff can provide all sorts of dates and times and places. And from the first time he met Katie. We’ll he could outdo a picture by providing at least a thousand words about the moment, where they were, what she wore, what he was thinking, what they ate.

I envy how much Jeff can turn-on his memory and take in moments he can tell are the big ones in his life. I’m sure every aspect of today is being properly recorded, because this is as special as it gets. So, Jeff, enjoy this moment, take it in, this moment right now with all the friends and family who have traveled great distances  to be here with you today.

And Katie now it’s your turn. It’s your turn to join Jeff in creating whole worlds out of your shared imagination, except you will be creating the vision of the world you two want to share: what you want to do, where you want to live, who you want to be; and as far as I can tell, creating that vision is the secret to a happy marriage: so you end up not just looking at each other, just together looking in the same direction and taking that journey together.  That and remembering that the journey is the fun part, no matter where you arrive. But I do believe, that whatever you two dream for yourselves, you will be able to achieve it cause you’ll be doing it together.

So, please raise your glass and share with me in wishing for Katie and Jeff a tremendous journey full of happiness and love.

Cheers!

And here is the latter half on a somewhat shaky but still discernable Flip-cam video captured by our friend, Erin. Thank you for sharing this, Erin.

Following the orating, we three speech-givers congratulated ourselves with a shot from the bar of something nasty, and that set the tone for a lot of booze and merriment and plenty of dancing, notably with my wife, my Mom and my daughter There was a great energy full of laughter and good times.

At the very end of the night, after my baby and my cousin’s baby were both tuckered out in our baby tent, I was giving tips on Jeff’s behalf to the DJ and caterers and in doing so saw the barkeep packing up the booze. “Where is that going?” I asked.  “I don’t know” he stated “it belongs to the bride and groom, who should it go to?”  “You can give that to me” I confidently replied, and with that I was immediately dubbed the host of the after-party, the after-after-party, and the following night’s party, the final night in LA party and a week later mini-party up in San Francisco.

Oh, did I mention as a gift for being a groomsman, Jeff gave us all custom bobble-heads of ourselves?  Here’s mine and a few more pictures:

Greg and Bobble-Greg with Greg's Dad

Greg and Bobble-Greg with Greg's Dad

Friends at the Cocktail Hour

Friends at the Cocktail Hour

Chicken-ChIcKeN with the Bride

Chicken-ChIcKeN with the Bride

Glasses were clinking

Glasses were clinking

Jill giving her new sister a bit of advice

Jill giving her new sister a bit of advice

Guests at the Cocktail Hour watching the through-the-years slideshow

Guests at the Cocktail Hour watching the through-the-years slideshow

Jeff at the Cocktail Hour

Jeff at the Cocktail Hour

The movie themed table settings at the reception.

The movie themed table settings at the reception.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

Jeff and Katie cutting the cake.

Jeff and Katie cutting the cake.

Two tired babies asleep in one baby tent.

Two tired babies falling asleep in one baby tent.