Journeys

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Frankie and over the weekend completed a journey which we started last November. It was to watch all the James Bond movies in the order they were released in. Starting with “Dr. No” and winding up with “Skyfall”. We watched all 23 Bond movies ( we don’t consider “Never Say Never Again” an official Bond movie) .

I’ve watched all of the Bond films over the course of my life. Yet I had never watched them in the order they were released in. During the week, I see Frankie on Thursday nights. So our conversations always would turn to what Bond movies we were watching.

I asked Frankie of we should do something special to mark the end of this journey when we watched “Skyfall”. Frankie said to me, we should put on coat and ties “just like James,dad”. He was also the one that suggested we put a tie on Margarita, because “she is our ‘M’ ” . It was quite a special night.

Sadly my 007 or M did not make it to the end of the night. Both passed out cold somewhere in the middle of “Skyfall” . I wound up watching the end by myself.

Six months later, I can tell you that I can’t watch a Bond movie without Frankie around. It’s just not as much fun. I think the best way to have a root beer is not in a frosted mug,but in a martini glass “shaken,not stirred”.

We started watching Bond movies just as something fun to do. I never knew it was going to lead us a journey that took us everywhere and we never had to leave our living room.

Thank you Frankie for letting me take you on what I hope is the first of many journeys

A Good Day

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A Good Day is any day that you’re alive
– Paul Westerberg

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate having to take Frankie home on Sundays. I simply loathe it. Iam in a bad mood for the rest of Sunday night amd it’s best to stay away from me.

This past weekend we had a great time. The weather finally cooperated for the most part. I taught Frankie how to fly a kite ( i think I might’ve had more fun kite flying then he did). He rode his scooter that he got for his birthday everywhere.  And a weekend with Frankie is not the normal unless we watch a couple of James Bond movies.

I hate having to feel like I have to compete with his mother on “who does more for Frankie ” level. I try and avoid it all together as a matter of fact. I know I’ll lose every time as far as giving gifts. I tend to take a different approach. I try and introduce things into his life he’s not going to see when he’s with his mom
Flying a kite, James Bond, having a root beer in a martini glass ( shaken-not stirred), teaching him how to grill on the Smokey Joe. He loves to go take Margarita on a hike in the woods. I can teach him a little bit about the outdoors in the process. It’s fun because when he comes over he knows he’s going to do these things. And we are building a strong bond. It’s good for him and it’s good for me.

Frankie’s parting words to me today, were ” I had a blast this weekend, dad”. I’ve talked about my day of days, and my struggles the past four years. A comment like that makes it all worth while. It’s something that no one can take from me.

I’ve never claimed to be a perfect person or the “World’s Greatest Dad”. I pass the qualities that I value on to my son.  Be polite, be nice to everyone, have your friends’ backs, smile, hang on.

Today my son wore a baseball hat all day, told me he wanted me to take him to mini golf,  and the driving range. Last year he told me he did not like all these things. I call this progress. A truly great day.

I bitch about my struggles way too much sometimes. I heard the song “A Good Day” by Paul Westerberg  the other day. I am reminded why weekends like this one are important to me

Today was a good day. I am strong and truly blessed

Conversations with #5

Conversations with #5

What has been a really long week, was made a little bit happier last night by going out to dinner with Frankie and then cruising over to a play area at a local mall.

I am every amazed at the things that come out of my 6 year olds mouth, they sometimes just make me laugh out loud. Last night was no exception.

Dad, what are your favorite James Bond movies. I have to think about it, Frankie. Why don’t you tell me your favorite movies, I asked.

So here are Frankie’s favorite James Bond movies (followed by an updated list of my favorites)
1) Skyfall (he knows the words to the theme song also)
2) Goldfinger
3) The Man with the Golden Gun
4) Tomorrow Never Dies
5) You Only Live Twice

My favorite James Bond movies (complete with comments from Frankie)
1) Thunderball (I like the sharks, Dad)
2) Goldfinger (I like the Aston Martin, Dad. Can you get me one)
3) Skyfall (that’s my favorite movie. It can’t be on your list. Well, it’s not #1. Okay, Dad)
4) From Russia With Love ( I like trains, dad)
5) Casino Royale ( can you teach me how to play cards, dad)

The conversations you have with your kids.

Moments

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You remember certain moments as a dad. When the nurse hands you your child and says “congratulations, you have a son”. It’s a big moment. Your boy hitting his first home run in t-ball a big moment. I am one of those dads that remembers every big moment and every little moment.

Last night was one of those moment’s somewhere in between. Friday nights in our world are reserved for James Bond, popcorn, and root beer served in martini glasses “shaken, not stirred”. It’s what we do. Last night was also the second night of the NCAA Basketball Tourney.

Frankie is not a big fan of sports, he doesn’t wear jerseys or hats or anything like that. He doesn’t have a team he cheers for. He like his cars, trains, legos. He’s 6 and someday it’ll change.

Last night I asked him if he wanted to stay up a little later and watch the Western Kentucky- Kansas game. I would not have been stunned if he said no. To have him say yes,  made my day- made my week.

As someone that attended the University of Kansas, I am a big fan of the Jayhawks. I try and watch every chance I get. I know the pre game traditions , the history,  the players. I’ve got a lucky hat I wear during the month of March. I am ready to go.

I popped us some popcorn,  told Frankie to come sit next to me. And I gave him my hat to wear. Before tip off, I taught him “Rock Chalk Jayhawk”, he learned how to “Wave the Wheat”. He loved every minute of it. Not that he understood any of it, he liked the act of just doing it.

The game was more then a nail biter.  Kansas was actually down at half time. Frankie cheered and waved the wheat every time the Jayhawks scored. We high fived on a couple  of occasions. It was a great time .

Frankie fell asleep with about 10 minutes left in the game. His eyes just couldn’t stay open. I carried him to bed and he still had the lucky Kansas hat on. Kansas did eventually win, the rest of the game was not as much fun without Frankie.

This morning, I was awoken to “did the Jayhawks win? ” followed up by “when do they play next, dad” .

Life gives you these moments and you make the most of them. This was one of those moments.

Bond, James Bond

Some of my favorite memories of growing up were watching television with my dad. We used to watch all kinds of sports, the occasional sitcome, a good WW2 movie. My favorite thing we used to watch were James Bond Films. You see long before there were 900 different cable channels, ABC used to show James Bond movies on Sunday nights. My father was (and still is) a big fan of the Bond films. He’d pour himself a martini and we’d all gather around the television as a family and watch a Bond film. “Goldfinger” was the first one I can remember watching with him. “Do you expect me to talk. No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die”.  And from that moment on, I was hooked on Bond.

I have my favorites and not so favorites. I can tell you my 5 Favorite Bond films are

  1. ) Thunderball
  2. ) Goldfinger
  3. ) Skyfall
  4. ) Tomorrow Never Dies
  5. ) Casino Royale

It’s a great debate to have among people, along with who is your favorite Bond (Sean Connery followed by Pierce Brosnon). Much like your favorite Bond movies, there really is no wrong answer to that question.

If Thursday night is Martini Night in my world, then every other Friday night when Frankie comes for the weekend is James Bond Night. I started introducing them to Frankie last fall, and he loved them. First movie we ever saw together was  “Goldfinger”, then we saw a couple of more. I decided that in the New Year (2013) we were going to watch them in the order they were released in (which is something that I have never actually done).  We started with “Dr. No” and this weekend we will be watching “The Living Daylights” and “License to Kill”. It is one of my favorite traditions.

Frankie is such a fan of Bond, he has told me that he wants to go as James Bond for Halloween this year (I am not sure where I am going to get a white dinner jacket that small). On Saturday nights after he has dinner, we watch a Bond Film and he has his Root Beer in a Martini Glass (skaken, not stirred). He is a Bond fan, he will tell you what his favorite movie is (Goldfinger).

People have asked me as a parent, if I think it’s good that I watch James Bond movies with my son. The thing about Bond films is that there is no sex, no nudity, no swearing, no real graphic voilence. I’ve never gotten a call from his mother or school about it. So to answer the question, no I don’t think it’s a bad thing to watch James Bond movies with my son. It’s something that we do as father and son.

I live for Friday and Saturday nights with #5.

 

By the way, in case you wondered here are a couple more lists

My 5 least favorite Bond Films

  1. Moonraker
  2. Diamonds are Forever
  3. Quantum of Solace
  4. License to Kill
  5. Die Another Day

My 5 favorite Bond themes

  1. Goldfinger
  2. Skyfall
  3. Live and Let Die
  4. Thunderball
  5. James Bond Theme (Dr. No)

Weeknights with Frankie

I am off to see my son tonight from 6-8PM. It seems like forever since I’ve seen him. Somehow ever other weekend and one night a week does not seem like enough. It never is has been. Time flies by at a rapid pace.

We usually go to the library  and then I take him over to the local shopping mall to play in the play area. He seems to like that.  During the Summer we go to this park and feed to ducks and swans. Last Summer I was teaching him how to catch frogs. Sometimes he comes over to my house and we go swimming.  It gives me a chance during the week to find out how he is doing. Like I said, the weeknights fly by way to quick.

It’s fun to watch him interact with other kids. He really is a nice little boy (and I’m not saying that because I’m his dad). I feel like some of me rubbed off on him. If somebody falls down,help them up. Be nice. Laugh. Say please and thank you. I think being nice is just as important as being smart.

And no trip to the mall would be complete without a trip to the Lego Store,where he tells me that he wants “every lego in the world “. We talk a lot about legos. I am okay with that.

One of the things I’ve learned about being with Frankie is to make the most of the time I have with him. Be it for a couple of hours on a weeknight talking about legos or a weekend together. It goes by way to quick.

Toys in the Attic

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A very old and dear friend put this on Facebook today. It did get me to thinking about the things either our parents or ourselves save for our children. My parents saved everything of my sister and mine. My room growing up is now an exercise/ toy room filled with toys and board games of our youth. Something my mom saved was my legos. Frankie got into Legos last Summer and has picked up the Lego torch that I laid down many years ago. Part of what we do on Friday nights when he comes to my house, is we go to the store and buy a Lego set. When we first started doing this, he’d watch me, then he started building guys, now he hops right in with me. I am not sure who is more excited to build legos on a Friday night- Frankie or me. After a long week, I find building Legos to be incredibly relaxing. It’s something we bond over. The first Lego set we ever built together, he asked me that night before bed if he could sleep with it. And sure enough when i went in to check on him., he was sound asleep with his hand on the Lego. I think since the day Frankie came home from the hospital,he’s always had a car with him in one form or the other. Before Legos,we would go buy Matchbox Cars. I saved all my Matchbox Cars from when I was a kid. You had to see his reaction awhile back when I pulled out my Matchbox Car collection. It was like he had died and gone to heaven. We actually spent last weekend playing with Matchbox Cars and racetracks. It was incredible. I’ve saved some other stuff for him, my first baseball mitt and bat, my collection of MLB Hats. I’ve got something really special for him when he decides to become a Boy Scout. My first pocket knife my grandfather, who was one of the first Eagle Scouts, gave to me. Those are memories I look forward to sharing with him. To some they maybe just a toy or a hat or a bat. To me they are more then that, they are a memory. Something to look to the past and share stories about and then look to the future and build memories upon.