My son is a Special Olympian!

I have sold ice cream biked miles, and walked for Down Syndrome – now you can support me revisit puberty with polar plunge and a bunch of people.

It is important we celebrate and support our awesome Special Olympians.  They excel and impress globally, with their enthusiasm and sportsmanship.

My son is a Special Olympian!

He was born with Down Syndrome and has been an absolute blessing to our family.  He’s cheerful, loving, and works hard to achieve his goals.  I’m a proud father for this amazing young man!

This year I pledge my support to Special Olympics New Jersey by making a donation through my page.

You have the awesome opportunity to also support me, and I will in turn share pictures of a pale, freckled, ginger bearded viking plunging into the ocean.  It will certainly be an experience for spectators as my roar will echo along the Jersey Shore.  And no, it is not a blue whale mating call!

The process is fast, easy and secure. Thanks so much for your support… and please don’t forget to send this page to any friends you think might be interested in donating!

Visit my donation page and share your love – Polar Plunge 2018

I need Doc Hudson too

emotionsIt is strange how some movies can make you think and seriously review your own situation.  These hidden and less than subtle messages hit you straight in the ticker.  They really make you ponder about life itself.

It happens rarely, probably because I mainly watch movies with less important or real-life connections. But when it happens, it occurs when you least expect it and during the less obvious movie titles.

For me it happened when watching the iTunes release of ‘Cars 3‘.  So, only a few days ago really, but might as well have walked into a glass-door as it hit me completely off-guard.

Spoiler alert for those of you who have not seen the movie, or might not even be familiar with the stories of ‘Cars‘.  Yes, it is a Pixar animated movie, with many laughs and overloaded with feel-good moments.  No spontaneous singing like most Disney movies, but a good family movie.

Nevertheless, Lightning McQueen has lost his driving mojo and seeks out the track where his great coach started his career.  There he meets Smokey, who tries to help Lightning, who really isn’t sure what he needs help with.  He’s looking for the reason he loved racing and how he gets his mojo back.

Suddenly I realised, when watching Smokey talk about how much Doc Hudson loved to train and mentor the younger Lightning McQueen.  It was as if he was talking about me and my life.

I need that father figure and mentor, to put a hand on my shoulder to tell me I’m doing a great job, or gently guide me into making a change.  These little conversations that helps me shape into becoming an even better father, husband, brother and friend.

Since my father passed away, I have had a void in my life.  Not that we were super close or hanging out daily, but just with him being there for me.  He listened, talked and guided me.  It may not have helped me getting a better career or make more money, but I became a better person.  It also motivated me to enjoy things in life.

It may sound like as if I do not enjoy life, but that is not the case.  I love my family and friends, but I need to get acknowledgement and support.  I need a mentor that will help me grow and take on the next obstacle head on, or perhaps even help guide another person through their life challenges.

Professionally, I think I have lost my way a bit, and simply needs that fatherly guidance to help me make the right decisions, and help get my confidence back. It’ll come back I know, but takes a little longer than I had hoped.

Life decisions are hard some times, and having a mentor and father figure really helps in those situations.  Job sucks at times, but it is how you deal with those situations that makes you a better and wiser person.  Look at Gandalf, he really had a tough time and yet looked positively at things 🙂

I often look to the sky, obviously imagining that God’s Kingdom is up there, smiling at my dad.  I silently whisper for his help and guidance, and often get some signs.  But, I would do anything for a hug from my dad.  I miss my Doc Hudson!

dochudson

The Carmine Code

carminesFor those not familiar with Carmine’s, it’s an amazing Italian family restaurant.  It opened its doors back in 1990, and pride itself to for making any meal feel like an Italian American wedding feast.

Many of my colleagues had spoken about Carmine’s, and I have heard reference to it on the radio and even in a few movies

… I think!

It was one of those places we simply had to visit, but we rarely went into the City.  If we did, it was mostly my wife and I, or perhaps just for a few business meetings.

A few days ago, the opportunity came knocking.  We had planned a visit to Broadway to see the “King and I” musical, as part of a fantastic offer with TDF who organises autism friendly performances.

After the amazing performance, it was late in the afternoon and we needed to refuel our bodies with some lovely food.  I unlocked my iPhone, opened the OpenTable app and made a reservation at Carmine’s.  It was like a new adventure was about to start.  Something mystical and mesmerising.

It was a journey to Shangri-La of food happy utopia, where we would sample wonderful dishes in a great atmosphere and among likeminded food loving people.

cloudyThe place itself wasn’t something amazing on the outside.  It was merely a small shop front, which led into a small bar area, full of people.  Then a dark magical staircase to the other side – to the promised land.

As we ascended the stairs, we were greeted by numerous scents and flavours.  It was in reality a smack to the face of gourmet food, and I was almost knocked off my feet by the sheer vapour bomb of food smells …. lovely food smell.

The waiter placed us at a family sized table, comfortable seating all five of us.  I glanced around the room and was pleasant surprised that this was in fact only large families.  People were happy, smiling, laughing and eating.  My kind of place!

We were Carmine virgins.  At least that’s what I told the very friendly waiter, and he was enthusiastic about explaining us the Carmine Code.  It was simple actually.

"This is a family restaurant
We serve family sized portions
The table share the food."

We ordered a salad, veal steak w/ mash and mixed plate of pasta.  According to the waiter, this should feed our hungry family.

Half way through the salad, which made Olive Garden’s salad tray look like a starter, I realized that we might have ordered a bit too much.

Then the two main courses arrived and I must’ve arrived in heaven.  In front of us were two large sized trays, filled with food.  Enough food to feed our family for a week.

I had to sample every piece, and it was fantastic.  Not Michelin star food, but real Italian style food, almost as mama would make it.  And, that was despite the amount of people who were eating with us, how many had been before us, and how many were coming after us.

I hit the food brickwall hard.  It was not unpleasant, but I was disappointed with my own performance.  We had barely made a dent in the past samples, and still half veal dish left.

heart-cloudsThankfully they have an excellent doggie bag attitude, and placed all the left-overs in tinfoil trays and a large shopping bag.

It was heaven.  We had just witnessed a food revelation and had in an instant become Carmine followers.  This was an amazing experience, and thank you food God for letting us experience utter stuffedness.

Happy Birthday

12years
Breakfast w/ scones

Today is exactly 12 years ago since our coolest and oldest daughter arrived.  She was 5 weeks premature, but that has certainly not stopped her from being an awesome child.

I’m very proud we were chosen to be her parents.  It has been, and still is, an honour to see her grow up and become the awesome individual she is today.  I know she will continue to grow and become an amazing woman with all the possibilities ahead of her.

She is excelling at school, which is obviously good genes from her mother.  She loves games, outdoors and has great sense of humour.

Happy Birthday my little girl!

Disclaimer / Warning

I do wish to warn all boys that I have a small forest behind the house, with plenty of wild life and areas not often visited by by-passers.  If any you hurt my baby girl, break her heart for some foolish attempts to be her boyfriend and then dumping her, you will probably not be walking away from it. 

I have several friends who would happily share their protective gestures and outbursts, if anything emotional harm would be afflicted on her.  Just like I would support them if their daughter’s were harmed.

We hare the clan of proud fathers.  We have viking blood running in our veins, and some of my brothers are trained in the art of pain.

Goodbye Jaws

A perfect smile is worth millions and opens many doors.  A smile has magical powers.  A big smile gives the owner of the pearly whites a sense of pride and confidence.

When our daughter was born 11 years ago (almost 12) we were informed that she had cleft palette and would need surgery before turning 1.  That’s a lot to take in when this was your first child, but we also knew that she is special and will succeed in whatever she does.

Some kids born with cleft may also have some dental challenges.  Challenges we never encountered until we met a great dentist in the US.  She had developed an underbite due to her cleft, but were told that it could be addressed somewhat easily.

All she needed to do was to get braces, up and down, and that would correct her bit.

That was more than two years ago, and after being presented with a bill of $8000 (USD) – $5000 after insurance covered their part.  Perhaps not too bad of a price to pay to give her a smile she could be proud of – it’ll last her a life time 🙂

I had noticed that she was not fully confident and she failed to smile on many occasions. It was not her real smile we saw.  She never mentioned if her underbite bothered her, but as she started to grow and mature, it was certainly affecting her confidence.

$5000 and 2.4 years later, and it was finally time to get the braces off.  Day of reckoning and moment of truth.

She had suffered for a long time.  Missed out on some of her favourite snacks, such as popcorn, and the constant dental visits to get the braces tightened.

Getting the braces off was like be released from prison … according to her at least.

The change was phenomenal.  Goodbye underbite and hello Hollywood.

She was over the moon and soooooo proud of her new smile.  Teeth were the same, but the braces had really done an amazing job.  The pain, tears and months of suffering had paid off.  It was a delight to see her beaming of confidence.

We bought a big bag of popcorn, sunflower seeds and chewing gum to celebrate her release.

She hasn’t stopped smiling since, and why should she.  Be proud and show off your smile.

smile