November 2014: Fall – My Favorite Season

The return of Fall each year is always special to me. Marked to the day by the birth of my oldest son, it is hard not to start off on the right foot. Will awash with smiles and joy as he’s surrounded by his favorite friends, family and free from the worry and concern that I blessed so graciously upon him 12 years ago. He took a bunch of his friends to Sky High Sports where they bounced and jumped on trampolines until they fell victim to the time limit and their adolescent hunger (the latter of which is hard to watch when that hunger is actually fed). We took in pizza at Empire Pizza where they were enamored with large volumes of pizza and the nice distraction of trivia. These 12 year olds did pretty darn good at 80s trivia to boot! Then to the tenuous sleepover. The same sleepover that each year we say we will never do again. The noise, the lack of sleep, the smells…But alas we braved it and guess what? It was pretty great. Behavior was largely self-regulated, bedtime was established within the group (trampolining had to have helped here) and no disagreements. Pretty dreamy as far as sleepovers are concerned.

Additionally, fall brings cooler temperatures which are always welcome when you drive a car that lacks air conditioning through a southern summer – looks like you get to stay one more year Mr. Saabie.  Way to be.  Lastly, colors go from bright greens to vibrant reds and oranges which still amazes me after seeing nothing like it my first 20 years of life in Florida.

The great part about this fall has been the amount of time we are spending on our new back porch with shade, fires, s’mores and family.  

Fall also signifies the start of school, soccer for Will and Charlie this year and a new season of the YMCA Fort Mill Adventure Guides group we started a few years back. Will’s soccer has really challenged him and conditioned him this year – he’s in fantastic shape and learning more about soccer than I ever knew existed. While he’s challenged, I really appreciate that he is enjoying the process of learning and improving. The amount of improvement both Will and his team has made under his coach has been incredible. These kids are playing 11v11 on a full-sized pitch (the actual name of a soccer field, who knew?) and learning formations, pace and control of play. It has been mostly fun, but admittedly, at times a bit stressful to watch. Charlie’s team was quite a bit less stressful and a joy to watch him run with a constant smile pasted on his face. He loves moving, running, kicking so soccer has been a great fit. He was a goal-scoring machine to boot! Ok, so maybe the lack of a goalie on the field helps that a bit…

When I think about Adventure Guides I am most proud at how much Stewart seems to enjoy it. One of my proudest accomplishments as a Dad (so far!) has been watching my only girl gravitate to nature. While I realize unlikely, her natural pull to play in the woods and dirt with her friends gives me hope that she may one day come to me and say these magical words: “Daddy, I think I am going to hike the Appalachian Trail.” At which point I’m going to smile my biggest smile and respond: “Would you mind too terribly much if your old man tagged along with you?”   Yes, I understand the chances here are low, but I appreciate the allowance to dream. And seriously, if it happens – life will just have to go on hold for those five months while I live out my biggest dream with that amazing girl! We are batting .500 this year with Adventure Guides camping – a trip to Westminster on the Catawba river was a huge success with over 75% of the Dads/kids attending. Our 2nd trip to the ASC Greenway was unfortunately rained out with 2 days of constant rain and 30 degree temperatures. I never like making a decision to bag the event but it was the right decision given the conditions.

This year Fall has brought on a couple of other good notables:

  • For the first time in my 41 years on Earth I got Red Cross CPR-certified! Six Dads from the Adventure Guides group took the course – feels good to be able to respond, god forbid, if needed. I can even use a AED Defibrillator.  The Red Cross has a pretty good website and set of documents to help here if you are interested in a quick tutorial or finding out how/where to get trained. 
  • I ran my 5th fastest marathon at St. George, Utah in early October. You can read about it here and see a log of all of my times here – caution – drowsiness/boredom can be encountered by clicking these links. If you ever want to run a race in an unbelievably majestic setting and on a super-fast course, then the St. George Marathon is for you. Additionally, I daresay you won’t run in a better organized running event – after 30+ tries, this group has perfected the art.
  • A rare work note here: My team spent the last 8 weeks planning an offsite. What’s an offsite you ask? This is where a bunch of Senior Leaders go into a conference location and hold an extended meeting “off site” from our normal work environment. In this case 75 leaders from around the world (e.g. London, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Costa Rica, etc.) met in NYC for 2 days where we produced a heck of a meeting if I do say so myself. 12 agenda topics, several speakers from the Executive Management team at our company, a hot dog stand brought into the hotel for lunch (huge hit!) and my favorite, a service event where the team (in our suits with aprons and camouflage shirts) built 25 bikes to donate to families who have a parent serving in the military overseas. The tear-jerking presentation of these bikes with the USO to the kids and their parent was one of the bigger highlights of my 20 year career!

 

So, that’s largely our life so far this fall. Thanks for reading – I realize writing on this blog is more for me than you, which makes me appreciate you reading it even more. Now off to pay the price of fall – leaf raking!!

Click here for a slideshow of other random November and October occurrences.  

Click here for a slideshow of some of the good things that occurred in the last 2 months.

Next posts:  Halloween and our Charleston Trip!