Happy Birthday Aviendha Shea Gilmore

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Happy Birtday Aviendha Shea

The sun rose twice on Monday, July 23rd, 2007 and the lives of everyone you have met has been brighter since.

You are a radiant being, who I consider myself lucky to have the honor of helping to raise. You have taught me to be a better father and person.

Never stop being you my dear.

The world is lucky to have you.

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P90X2-Asylum Hybrid Week 1… Turning 30

Well, that was fun. No workout tomorrow (more on that later) so today’s workout marks the end of week one of the P90X2-Asylum Hybrid we are currently undertaking.

One of the major reasons I was looking forward to another challenge was that I knew that I would be motivated to push myself harder than I would if I were just going through the workouts on my own.

This has absolutely been the case. Checking in with my Facebook group daily has provided me with the motivation necessary to push as hard as I can to achieve maximum results. So far so good, as I am feeling great so far. ur

I also turned 30 this week. I have had a hard time focusing my thoughts on what entering my 4th decade means. I was telling my students this week that if I go by how I feel, I am more like 20. I feel great and in my mind I am still somewhere in my early-mid twenties. It isn’t until I peek in a mirror at the lines that are etching their way across my face, that I begin to realize just how much time has gone by and how much I have aged.

That being said, I feel amazing and am surrounded by a life that is hard to put into words. Yesterday was one of those truly amazing day. With the temperature creeping up into the low 50’s, Danielle, myself, Jennifer (Avi’s mom) and her boyfriend Meade took Aviendha Shea skiing for the first time. I rarely (if ever) write on here about our non-traditional family (something that is bound to change when Jen and I begin work on our book about co-parenting a child through and after divorce) but I think today it is appropriate.

We had an amazing time, and it was great for Aviendha to see all of the adults in her life truly enjoying spending time together. I was worried about her first ski trip. I was afraid all it would take is one hard fall and she would be scarred off. Once again I under estimated Aviendha’s capacity for challenge (Jen and Meade have started taking her rock climbing and she is out climbing many adults).

Between Deftones Monday night, Skiing yesterday with our whole family, and my party next Saturday, this is definitely going to go down as one of the best birthday’s I have ever had (thank you Danielle).

 

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The President on the Daily Show

Part I:

Part II:

(The videos might now work, follow the links)
We are a few days out from the town hall debate and a few days until the third and final presidential debate of this election cycle.

I have had quite a few conversations following Tuesday’s debate and I want to share some of what has come out of those conversations.

As the President acknowledges in the first video above, there is a fundamental difference between his vision for how Government can be a source of good in people’s lives and the view of governor Romney. Likewise, there is a fundamental difference between the views of people who support the President, and those who do not. I am not here to change any minds and I don’t have any illusions of being capable of such. Just like Mitt Romney isn’t going to come to his senses on the issues that I think he is flat-out wrong about, people who support him are not. That is not my goal. This blog is for my thoughts and feelings. The comment section has blown up (I use blown up in a relative sense, as in, we barely had any comments, EVER, and this week I have hadmthree) with people disagreeing with me. I am all for the disagreement. I am an open-minded individual, who when presented with FACTS that run contrary to my accepted view of the world, will take the time to think about them.

What won’t shift the lens through which I view the world are links to Fox News articles.

A few days removed from the debate there are two things that are really bothering me. The first, and I heard this crap from the cast of Morning Joe on Wednesday was that the President failed to lay out a plan for the next for years. Go to any right-wing website right now and I guarantee you will find some version of this lie there. Johnathan Cohn of The New Republic put this crap to bed today. What part of what Obama said Tuesday was not a plan for the next four years. I have watched the debate three times in its entirety. Watch it again, read the transcript. The economy is recovering. Every available metric we have says so. He doesn’t need a new plan, the one he has works. What he needs is a House of Representatives that is willing to work with him (damn those founders and their separation of powers).

The second thing that is driving me nuts is that the conversation about the debate has transitioned from “Exactly how badly did President Obama wipe the floor with Romney” to parsing words between whether the President referred to the Benghazi attack as an “act of Terror” or a “Terrorist Attack”. Now, they are complaining that he took too long in his speech to say it. Read through the comments in the previous post, this is not the only place this farce is being discussed.

The real point is that Mitt Romney is trying (and failing) to turn President Obama in Jimmy Carter, and himself Ronald Reagan. By paining Obama as somehow “weak” on national security, Team Romney hopes to pull a repeat of the 1980 election. The problem for Romney is that the President’s record on foreign policy is incredibly strong, and the video tape of him the Rose Garden makes Romney’s debate performance look clownish (“Proceed Governor…”).

What the real story should be about is Romney’s attempt to politicize an attack on American citizens. Lets use our imagination for a minute, in the fall of 2004, can anyone picture John Kerry attacking George W. Bush as weak on national security because it was under his watch that 3,000 Americans lost their lives on September 11th? It wasn’t that John Kerry was a pussy and was scared to say it. It was that John Kerry understood that there are some places you simply do not go in American politics. Like showing an acceptable level of respect during a debate (my students in Government are really excited to see how aggressive Romney gets on Monday after our discussion of Tuesday’s debate). John Kerry had the decency to not use the deaths of Americans as an opportunity to score points against Bush. Mitt Romney is clearly not programmed with that directive.

It is clear to anyone watching with a critical eye that Mitt Romney is taking his marching orders from the right-wing blog crowd.

I honestly do not know how there are still undecided voters. There could not be a clearer distinction between these two candidates. Love or hate the President, you know where he stands on whichever issue it is that matters to you. And the same goes for governor Romney.

We are basically all sitting back and waiting to see how less than five percent of the population of Ohio decides to go. Who the hell are these people? We have 19 days left until the election. An election that is going to decide which direction this country is going to go for the next four years (and beyond).

Do I have enough time to go door-to-door in Ohio…

 knock knock…

“Hi sir or ma’am, might I ask who you are voting for?”

“Mitt Romney”

“Thank you very much, make sure you get out to the polls, voting is our most important duty as citizens in a democratic society”

knock knock

“Hi sir or ma’am, may I ask who you are planning on voting for?”

“President Obama”

“Thank you very much, make sure you get out to the polls, voting is our most important duty as citizens in a democratic society”

Knock Knock

“Hi sir or ma’am, may I ask who you are planning on voting for?”

“Actually… I not sure they both…”

PUNCH IN THE FACE

knock knock

“Hi sir…”

Get your asses out to vote. This is serious. We live in a democratic society, our government derives is power from the will of the governed. Men and women have fought, bled, cried and died for 225 years to ensure that we would have the right to choose our own national destiny. If you don’t like the candidates, next time pay more attention during the primary season. Participation in a republican democracy is heavy lifting. If you want all of your decisions made for you, move to Iran. Here we have a choice, here we have a voice.

There is no greater crime to the continuation of our democracy than someone who choses to silence themselves. I realize that this is running on, but this has been bugging me all week.

The next Facebook status I read where someone is complaining about the debates, or the election is getting unfriended.

Lets think about this for a minute… so we (the Facebook community) are supposed to care about pictures of your dinner, or your workout (I am guilty of this one) or the Yankees, or how your third trimester is going, or how many times your child woke up last night, or any of the other millions of things people post on Facebook about (let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with any of it, that is what Facebook is for)

But… we’re not supposed to discuss politics? The one thing that actually affects all of us. The Status-Police have decided that this is the one topic that is off-limits? Two people are running to determine the future of our country. That means the future for that unborn baby who is giving you heart-burn that you just posted about. That means our energy policy that will determine if your kid can drink the water coming out of the faucet. This stuff matters, and if we cannot use the best public forum that we have at our disposal to talk about, we are lost as a people and we all might as well disengage from the process and let the politicians decide it for us. That way we can plug ourselves back into The Voice.

I have rambled here…

My Reason

I found myself laying on my back in a pool of my own sweat this morning, chest heaving and legs on fire as I completed forty-five Jack-in-the-Box jump knee tucks at the end of P90X2 Base and Back (20 sets of Pull-ups-Plyo-Pull-ups-Plyo…) searching for the reason that I do this to myself.

I then remember this picture I took last night before Avi and I went swimming (something we try to do every week). This is the reason I do this to myself. This is the reason when my alarm goes off at 5:00 am, I don’t hit snooze like I used to. I don’t wait until 10 minutes before I need to be out of the house to jump out of bed, drink coffee and stumble through my day. This is the reason that I have pushed play, every day, for almost a year.

There were a few moments that stick out clearly in my mind that were my Lightbulb moments. One of them was a day that Avi and I were engaging in one of out many dance party/air bending/ninja fighting sessions and I had to stop and sit down, because I was so out of breath that I could not keep playing.

I decided then that I no longer wanted to be that dad. I want to be able to run circles around my four-year old. Not the other way around.

That is why I am eating right, that is why I am spending the money on Shakeology every month. That is why I don’t make excuses when I am tired, or sore, or just don’t want to work out. I have a tremendous amount of Momentum right now and I am not willing to sacrifice that by making poor food choices. It is why I am willing to put my money where my mouth is and invest myself in these programs that have literally changed everything about my life.

I know this all sounds ridiculously preachy, and for that I apologize. But a year ago I was 235 pounds, unhappy, a lesser father. I sit here this morning, eight days from my 29th birthday, 14 days from the 1 year anniversary of the day I decided to change my life and I feel better than I ever have in my life. Hopefully she is proud of me for it.

Father’s Day Weekend

I think father’s day is the most important day of the year for me (aside from Avi’s birthday) because it is something that I have earned. I work my ass of as a dad. There are days on the weekend where I am more tired from running with an almost-4-year-old than I am after working a tough 8 hour day at work. It is a different kind of tired, but it is tired none the less.

I had a long weekend with The Av-Ster and I wanted to make it something special. Avi and I went to the Spencerport carnival and parade Friday night and hiked the length of the gorge trail at Stony Brook Saturday. I didn’t really know what to expect from her little legs as far as hiking went. I can now say that this kid is a trooper. He hiked, we swam, we fell, he got cut knees. At one point the two of us were climbing up a big rock when it shifted under our weight, I lost my balance and stepped on Av’s shin. I was sure I broke it. Regardless of how much weight I have lost, I am still 200+ pounds. She was fine.

At one point on our way back, we got stuck above a waterfall. We had two options, we could backtrack 10 minutes and pick up the trail, or I could have Avi cling to my chest while I scaled the wall of the gorge. We chose the latter.

It was the best day I have ever spent with her. I love that we enjoy the same things. I love that playing, and hiking and running are all things she wants to do when I ask her what she would like to do tonight?

Her 4th birthday is approaching and I have a whole set of feelings about it that I am not ready to address yet.

Avi’s Birthday

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It was a weekend that was at once both wonderful and terrible. Aviendha turned three on Friday.

I was up until almost two am on Saturday, unable to sleep because of all that is going on with her. There are still times when this all feels like a dream, out someone else’s life.

Princess Avi had a wonderful birthday weekend that included not one, but two parties (a function of our situation).

We have raised an amazing little girl.

Busy, Busy June

Back from Lake George. Absolute awesome vacation. Camping with Aviendha is awesome. No doubt about it. The only problem was that we are waist deep in potty training, and anytime Av asks to go, we go. I want her to become used to the idea that if she needs to go, she has to tell one of us. That means that if we are 20 minutes past the last rest stop that she peed at, we stop again when she asks.

This added a ton of time to our trip, but in the long run will end up being well worth it. She was amazing on the trip. She took three-hour naps each day, and slept 12 hours every night. It added zero stress to the trip to have her there. Which was awesome.

It was an interesting experience for me in particular. Last year I took the same trip up there, with the same people. Biggest difference being that I did not bring along my two-year-old at the time. I partied hardy with my college friends. We stayed a few sites over this year from where I stayed last year. Laying in bed next to Danielle with Avi in the tent with us, we were separated by a hundred feet, a road, and what seemed like a lifetimes worth of change. At four am, as I was shouting out of the tent for Johny Fesco to “Shut the Eff Up”, I realized that was me just a year ago, drinking until 4 only to wake up at 10 and start all over again. It was a very surreal experience.

Lake George weekend kicks off what is going to be an extremely busy month for us.

Saturday is a big day in our lives. It represents one year from the day/night we met. I think I will have more to write about this later, consider this a teaser. Let me simply say this for now… I never imagined when I woke up on June 5th, 2009 that I would be meeting the woman who I would spend the rest of my life with later that night.

“I just want the girl in the girl in the blue dress, to keep on dancing…”

Wednesday is Dave Matthews Band at Darien Lake, which weather allowing is going to be an absolutely awesome time.