Six

IMG_3652

I’ve these dreams I’m
Walking home
Home when it used to be
And everything is
As it was
Frozen in front of me

Here I stand
6 feet small
romanticizing years ago
it’s a bitter sweet feeling hearing “Wrapped Around Your Finger” on the radio

and these days
I wish I was 6 again
..

– John Mayer, 83

 

Three

henry

Henry turns three today, and how fast have those three years gone:

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
But, honestly, won’t someone stop this train?

-John Mayer

Four

EmIt only took me one look to understand [Emmaline],
sometime I don’t know what she’s saying.
Sometimes I do,
Sometimes I don’t,
know what she’s saying.
But I know,
I know,
I know what she wants to believe.

Happy Birthday, Henry

Henry Andrew MaddoxA year ago today, Kari and I welcomed Henry Andrew Maddox to the world.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

It’s hard for me to believe that our little boy is turning one today. Those five hundred thousand plus minutes have gone by so quickly.

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

I can’t begin to count the late nights, the early mornings, and the need for more cups of coffee. But those aren’t the things I’ll remember the most. I’ll remember the curiosity, the babbles, the tenacity. I’ll remember him fearlessly crawling through the grass, pushing his sisters for a place next to the TV, and making sure that he wasn’t neglected at the dinner table.

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.

Are babies’ first years hard? Absolutely. But I won’t remember those parts. I’ll remember holding him late at night after he fell fast asleep on my shoulder. I’ll remember loving him and watching him grow up.

It’s time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

So today we celebrate young Henry and his remarkable first trip around the sun. Cheers, Henry; here’s to a great first year and many more just like it.

Basketball Dichotomies

After a difficult loss in 2013, the San Antonio Spurs regrouped and throttled the Miami Heat in a five game series, winning the final game by nearly twenty points.

The series was a microcosm of what we see the NBA — organizations like the Heat, Knicks, Nets and Lakers pay top dollar for elite talent pitted against  teams like San Antonio — organizations built on solid players who form an even better team As we’ve seen over the past four years, talented players win games and regularly make it to the finals. But on the other end of the spectrum, good players in a system can form great teams.

For other small market teams like the Timberwolves and Cavaliers, this series should serve as a reminder that the best talent and highest budget don’t necessarily equate to championships. Players who gel as teams, regardless of individual talent, are just as likely to win. Davids still beat Goliaths.

Email Marketing Pivot to Mobile

Below is an image with three marketing emails I received from Banana Republic this year. The emails are from April, July and August.

Email-Comparison

This series of emails illustrates evolving thought on email viewership:

  • The first features a complicated header with all of their navigation and social media links.
  • The second has a much simplified header with a four-link navigation. The social media icons are now lower on the page.
  • The third has been further simplified — three large navigation buttons and a very tall image. The social media links are also absent.

It appears that they have pivoted on email marketing from desktop-first to mobile-first. The large, simple nav and portrait-sized image speak to this. And although it’s not a responsive design, it is one that will work across all platforms.

For those of us without a large marketing research department, Banana Republic’s changing email design indicates where users are going: mobile.

Arrivals, Departures

Sometimes I stand amazed that so much has happened in so little time. Many arrivals, many departures.

Stop this train
I wanna get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t, but honestly
Won’t someone stop this train?

In three short years, I finished Grad School, Kari paused her teaching career, we left Houston for Waco, we moved twice, I started a new job, we bought a house, and we welcomed three babies into the world. Many arrivals, many departures.

This summer also marked the final departure of my grandparents. Some 13 years after Papa Curt passed away, his bride, Mama Donna, died in June at the age of 87. As a result, I am no longer a grandkid; my three kids alone possess that title. Many arrivals, many departures.

Don’t know how else to say it
Don’t wanna see my parents go
One generation’s length away
From fighting life out on my own

The titles have progressed one generation. Now a parent, I welcome wee ones into the world, hoping and praying for their future. The train keeps chugging along unaffected by the ebb and flow of life. Many departures, many arrivals.

henryThis summer, Kari and I met our third child, Henry. Our first boy, his fiery and sweet demeanor was evident from moment one. One of his first acts was knocking the doctor’s aspirator to the ground as if he were an accomplished pugilist. His general displeasure was soon replaced with a sweet calm as he cozily nestled on mommy. Many departures, many arrivals.

Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in
And don’t think I couldn’t ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly, we’ll never stop this train

Much of my grandparent’s generation has already departed after paving the way for us. That role continues with my parents and their generation, and more so than ever, to me, my wife, and our peers. Abby, Emmy and Henry know us simply as mommy and daddy. It is up to us.

girlsAlthough I can hardly believe that my little Abby is three, I wouldn’t change it for the world. And Emmy, our newly christened middle-child, is perfect as her curious and mischievous self. As for Henry, the baby of the family, he will be subject to much torment at the hands of his sisters, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life is not about arriving but is composed of departures and arrivals. Those who lit the way depart, leaving the world to us. Situations in life necessarily change, causing us to depart from what we once knew. But with each departure comes a new arrival, a new experience to enjoy and learn. We may leave a city for another. We may lose a role but gain another. From only child to big sister. From little sister, to both big sister and little sister. And from grandchild to just child.

The train doesn’t stop, so I plan to enjoy it’s departures and arrivals. I can’t imagine anything better.

With regards to Stop This Train by John Mayer

A Christian Response to Newtown

newtownPerhaps Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the news media are right about the Newtown tragedy. Maybe this is about gun control. Or prayer in schools. Or mental health. Or freedom to carry guns. Or something else.

But I don’t think any of this is appropriate right now.

The proper response is this:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

Debate the policy, but do it later. Nothing good comes while trying to take advantage of a grieving people.

A Trip to Galveston (Vacationing with an Infant & Toddler)

After traveling to Colorado last year, Kari and I opted to stay closer to home this year. After Emmy’s arrival last fall, we knew that traveling via car was a better option. Wise choice.

Like our journey last year, we learned much about traveling with kiddos. First, there is a big different between trips and vacations. Last year’s journey to Colorado was a trip masquerading as a vacation. It was fun, but there were so many cool things to see and do, and we were rushed the entire time. Since we have both been to Galveston (and Galveston is not be as beautiful as Colorado), we had no plans to sight-see and have a hectic schedule. Our plan was to get away and rest. It was a wildly different and just as wonderful.

Earlier this year, we upgraded from a small sedan (Honda Civic) to a minivan (Honda Odyssey). Although we managed to visit family and pack what we needed in the Civic, our needs have grown:

Lesson two: “needs” rise to the level of available space.

The ride down was great, and we stopped at Gringo’s for lunch. Lesson three: Waco needs a Gringo’s. We breezed through Houston with only one slowdown and were in Galveston early in the afternoon. The beach house was nice and only 1,000 feet from the gulf.

After settling in, we made an obligatory trip to Walmart. For some reason, we frequent shady Walmarts on trips (lesson four). After checking my pockets to make sure no one absconded with my wallet, we went back to the house for dinner and bed time.

Lesson five: kids who don’t nap fall asleep so quickly. With our crazy schedule driving down, neither girl napped much. As a result, they didn’t fuss at bed time. Win. For those of you with kids, you know that sleeping in weird places can sometimes be difficult. After putting the girls down, Kari and I enjoyed a little cable. Which brings me to lesson six: absence makes the heart grow fond. Since we no longer have cable at home, our 30 minutes of HGTV was very enjoyable.

On Tuesday, Kari’s parents drove down for lunch. We had a delicious lunch, and I made the terrible mistake of turning down dessert. Lesson seven: never turn down dessert when offered. Lunch was great, and it was nice seeing them for a little while. They departed at nap time.

Following naps, the four of us wheeled down to the beach for the girls’ first ever trip to the beach. They both loved it. Abby loved the water, putting her face into the surf and smiling from ear to ear. Emmy loved it too. That is until she tried to eat it. And rub it into her eyes. Lesson eight: kids who love the water hate getting out:

She calmed down rather quickly. The weather turned bad, so we packed up and headed back to the beach house. I see many more trips to the beach in our future.

The weather was mostly gray and rainy for the rest of the trip, but that was ok. In between storms on Wednesday, we went to the candy shop on the Strand. We also learned that suckers are a parent’s friend (lesson nine). After getting candy, we took the girls to the Rainforest Cafe. Abby loved the fish but hated the simulated storms.

The rain continued on Thursday, and we went through numerous storms on our way home. We stopped to visit some friends in Houston and eat at Smashburger (lesson ten: Waco needs a Smashburger). Our journey home was capped by a low-water crossing on HWY 6 just north of Hearne.

It was a wonderful vacation.