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We Don’t Celebrate Valentines Day at our house , Part V

Well as you may know by now, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day at our house. We haven’t for several years.

Each year we like to take off to someplace warm for a few days and thaw out from the winter freeze.

This year we had an interruption in our plans. Dylan was nominated by her school to be in the All-State Chorus for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Their big performance was, you guessed it, the long weekend over Valentines Day; a.k.a. our escape day.

That Valentine’s weekend she actually had to arrive for practice on a Thursday. Then, practice all day Friday with their final performance Saturday morning.

We were very proud and happy for her. Mom drove the kids up after school that day. I drove up and went in to watch them practice after work. I didn’t know what to expect.

What would you anticipate?

When I opened the doors of the First Baptist Church in Columbia, SC all I could think was Wow!

Wow! Some place special for a Chorus event.

What a huge church and what a spectacular choir loft! My whole church could fit in that choir loft I thought. I was impressed! What a cool site for this special gig for our kids!

And as I watched them practice I became equally impressed the Chorus Director. He coached. He taught. He was high energy yet patient. He spoke to the kids at their level and with some very bright ideas I thought. It turns out this was no simple choir director.

Henry Leck

Henry Leck is known world-wide for directing children’s choirs. (who knew?) He has his own children’s choirs in Indianapolis. His back ground and feats was quite lengthy and impressive! He was summed up in his introduction that day as a Rock Star in the field of children’s choirs.

And he had those kids on track!

I tried to get some on tape to remember but my worn out phone was overwhelmed. Needless to say, during the long day of practicing no child was bored or lacked focus and he brought things out of the kid’s voices they were unaware they had.

So here is the final presentation Saturday morning. Can you find little Dylan?

Hint, she’s in the second row.

In the center, 2nd row up, 5th in from the left.

In a chorus full of 174 talented young 4th, 5th and 6th graders from the state of South Carolina,

could you spot my favorite one?

Well she spotted me and my family.

And she somehow knew I had the camera up looking for her too.

Here is that picture close up….

See her now… with a big cheesy smile for her Dad

So it’s by no accident that I post one of my fav songs from the concert first, the last song in the event actually.

You see that morning, as I dropped little D off for her big day, I didn’t know how she was feeling so I offered some advice of just trying to be in the moment, enjoy it, and Have Fun!

Don’t be nervous or anxious (one child actually threw up during rehearsal on Friday). Just enjoy your day and have fun!

In this last song the kids were supposed to snap their fingers. I was kinda disappointed Dylan didn’t  join in right away. So I motioned snapping my fingers from my seat in the audience. She saw me right away and just mimicked me and snapped away!

So if you don’t think you can find little D among all these youngsters, look for the one up there swinging her arms, snapping her fingers and swaying her hips and having a good time.

That’s my lil D!

 Below is another one of my fav tunes, that actually had me tear up.

Mr. Leck was the one who chose all of the songs for the event and well-chosen they were! If you would like to see more go to my Youtube channel.

In the song below he introduces real well, especially in wake of the tragedy of the shootings in Florida that happened earlier that week….

Like I said, I didn’t know what to expect driving up for this weekend. I was their for support mainly. But the event really Wow’ed me.

Great job everyone!

It turns out this was the first time this event was held in this beautiful church with its wonderful acoustics. It was held in gymnasiums or auditoriums before. Also this was the 20th anniversary for the SC All-State Chorus. Mr. Leck directed the first one, the 10th one’ and now number 20. So I, or we all really lucked out.

Dare I say we, ‘Lecked out?’  🙂

But our Valentine’s getaway did not end there!

Next we were off to the Great Wolf Lodge; a hotel and resort built for the amusement of kids.

Oh god!

Mom told me I could hang at the gym or the bar if I got too kidded out!

And there were lots of them!

It too was a spectacular place! It reminded me kinda like a cruise. There was a massive check in Saturday, and everyone is herded into certain areas than shuffled off to other areas for other events at various times of the day.

But if you had a child, they were all smiles!

We were walking down the hallway one morning and both our girls were smiling so much they were practically gliding.

It was well done in a Montana type wolf lodge theme…

The rooms were pretty cool too. I guess they might by Suites be definition, as the kids had their own room, designed to look like they were inside a tent..with a TV (!!)

They have their own TV… I have mine!

Then, daily they had regular kid activities planned, mostly out in the lobby with the animated log cabin and a cast of characters and animals that would capture a kid’s imagination with an amusing story. Like the storytime I took Skye to that night.

She busted her way upfront and was completely engulfed in the robotics.

Skylar in the blue, front and center, waiting for the robot boy to talk again

They also have a pretty good indoor water park there!

That is the wave pool above. You can also make out some water-coasters too.

Yes, the resort may be for kids but the water Tornado was pretty exciting too as you glided half way up the walls in the down flowing currents.

swirling up the side of the Tornado

It was pretty exciting as you swirled around the sides, like riding in a giant toilet. 

But the genius part of the Great Wolf Lodge was the Magi and Shadow Quest games that turned the hotel into an enormous treasure hunt activity.

Trust me, there were lots more kids in these hallways than this.

You’ll buy, er, chose a magic wand, top it with extra powers as you find and capture certain magical runes. Then set off on a quest to battle Charlock, the evil dragon, once you have accumulated all the mystical powers needed. You immerse yourself in Vellara, a realm of enchantment, as you befriend the Treetop Pixies, to give them their magical powers back then return special gems to Ursa Major (in order) to restore that bear back to the constellations.

Well, Ursa is when we ran out of time.

We completed about 14 such quests to get to help Ursa, becoming Master Magi(s) status along the way.

You get to decide how much time you want to spend with Magi-Quest, depending on how many quests you undertake at a time. Play can last anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours, er, all evening, as you go for more and more mystical Runes with the aid of your magi-wand and deciphering the clues on where to find these powers. You can always take a break and come back later.

Using their acquired powers to defeat the dragon

Now these clues for each now Rune (level) were hidden or riddled on three different floors. You usually had to find 5-7 items (treasure hunt) in order to acquire the new power, or Rune. One crystal would be at one side of the hotel, the next crystal on the other side of the hotel, then upstairs to the other side for a painting and then across to the other….

It truly captured (dozens of) kid’s imaginations as they raced through the halls (with their parents) to find the next secret.

They would play, tirelessly, for hours at a time. There seemed to be no end to it.

Their imaginations would be captured any given part of the day and energies worn down to zero.. so they could sleep well through the night.

Genius!

making the Red Crystals glow with her Magi Wand. It actually needed to glow Green.. “the crystal glows green if you’ve found all that you need. IF it glows Red you can not proceed.

Add to it the instructions asked you not to use the elevator in the middle of the resort but the stairwells on the sides  (ahhhh!!!)

What a workout!

You had a list of clues on where to find all the crystals or amulets or paintings BUT not all information was given (like the Pixie Crystal above). Somethings you had to figure out for yourself!

Or ask the kid that was a step ahead of you what they did.

To defeat the dragon you needed a Powerful Shield, the Frozen Arrow, and the Freezing Spell; three items not easy to come by!

figuring out how to awaken and defeat the Dragon

The order of the Symbols is critical here.

Down the Forgotten Hallway you will find them.

Within a Great Painting these symbols appear.

You will be better served to mind them.”

But what they didn’t tell you is you had to offer these symbols in a certain order at the opening of the Dragon’s gate, plus one symbol not mentioned, to proceed just to wake him up to battle; otherwise he never knew you were there.

Genius!

Like I said, a great place to be a kid.

As for me, MY special delight was….. are you sitting down…..

DUNKIN DONUTS!!!

delivered right to your door in the morning for a breakfast!

This must be what heaven is like!

3D Breakfast…Donuts Delivered to my Door in the morning

So that is where we spent this year’s Valentines Day vacay.

Wonderful singing, fancy hotel rooms, over-chlorinated pools, magical story times, magical quests, and Dunkin Donuts delivered right to my door.

I think this beats Jamaica.

Photo Op ~ yes the kids were all smiles!

Have a great week knuckleheads!

I’ll try to do better next time!

Today only comes around once in a life time. Make it AMAZING!

Donuts for everyone!

Just came from Dr. O’s office. After waiting an hour for my latest PSA results, I walked up to the desk to let them know I was leaving. I had waited an hour already and it was 5 o’clock.

Could you please just call or mail me with the results?” I requested.

She agreed but first checked on them. She came back around the corner and gave me a casual thumbs up, “You’re good” she said.

Good?” I questioned.

She said, “Yes, your PSA’s are less than 0.1, you are good!

Ladies and gentlemen, my tests say I have no more cancer in my body!

Last test.

Last checkup!

Ladies and gentlemen….

Donuts For Everyone!

donutsExcept for my initial drop in my PSA’s, that was the biggest drop yet.

Know what?

I largely cut out my diet sodas for the last 6 weeks….I’m just saying.

But based on those tests I am cancer free!

…and back to working on my immortality!

So how do we celebrate great doctor visits at my house? (at least me)

With Dunkin Donuts...

And you all are invited too! I have plenty for everyone!

Know what?

Tonight I might celebrate a little bit more!

While I never ever felt sick from the cancer, I am feeling pretty good tonight!

beer

First round of donuts are on me!

Sláinte!

No, its not my time..

A Long Lasting Valentine’s Week

A four letter word for FamilyA four letter word for Family

There was a time, not to very long ago, that Valentine’s Day meant vacation. We didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day too much at our house. No, no Valentine’s Day here!

You see she’s allergic to flowers. We still have tons of chocolate leftover from Christmas. And what better gift of love could there be where you can celebrate it close to the equator wearing as little as possible in the dead cold of winter?

But now we have two adorable little girls and we hafta gladly exchanged a trip to the tropics for smiles on our cherubs faces.

No contest!

Vacation? Not so much now. This morning, after I handed out all the Valentine’s cards to the ladies in my family, I was unexpectedly ambushed on my bed with two wide-eyed girls. They jumped and body slammed their dear ol’ Dad until I was forced to defend myself. I subsequently wrestled them into submission and then tickled them until they begged for mercy.

And then we did it all over again!

But all these Valentine’s Day shenanigans did not suddenly Sprout up Valentine’s Day. Saturday was just the  culmination of a week-long Valentine’s Day of love shared in our family. My girls probably had a pent-up need to release and share their kind of Valentine’s spirit by jumping on dear ol’ Dad….

 Monday:

Valentine’s Week began with CHOCOLATE! Mommy made a chocolate fondue for our girls, a Christmas present from this past Christmas.

afondooIMG_20150207_184008111Happy Valentine’s Day Week girls!

The truth is Mommy had to go out-of-town for a few days on business and this was her way of bonding with the kids before she snuck out in  the wee hours of the morning the next day.

Don’t worry girls, you are stuck with left in Dad’s capable hands. Try not to get him in trouble!

Tuesday:

With Mom out-of-town I needed to come up with some kind of dinner for the girls we decided to have OUR Valentine’s Day Dinner Date at our favorite restaurant, Carrabba’s. I told the girls if they behaved themselves in Mommy’s absence they could have dessert.

Angels now

Angels now

The idea had a coupla merits, besides getting Daddy out of the kitchen after a long day at work. 1) YOU do NOT want to go out for a Valentine’s dinner on Valentine’s Day or weekend. Speaking as an ex-restaurant manager it is very hard to create a memorable dining experience with chaos going on in the busiest day all year in a restaurant. 2) Bribing my kids for good behavior usually seems to work. Hurray for Dad’s parenting skills!

Daddy is such a push over...

Daddy is such a push over…

Wednesday:

Wednesday night turned into Movie Date Night for my two precious Valentines. I took them to the movies (in our home cinema) to see their most recent favorite movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Why is this their favorite movie now you ask?

It’s because they know all the words to the songs by now and get to sing out LOUD to the songs like Pina Colada, and they get to dance their crazy dances with Dad at the beginning and the end of the movie:

Lots of fun!

Thursday:

Thursday saw the return of Mom from out-of-town but also Valentine’s Gifts appear in the mail. Mom took a back seat to the girls opening their gifts and reading their Valentine’s Cards. They were so enthralled evidently that they didn’t take time to read the instructions…

No, the other way...

No, the other way…

They absolutely loved their gifts in the mail (some Valentine’s jewelry) and the sentiments behind the cards from their grandparents admirers.

What does yours say?

What does yours say? Did you get any money?

Friday:

Valentine’s Day Eve our nanny called off I decided to take a very special day off from work to spend with my two lovely Valentines. I took them to a Valentine’s Brunch at Chic-fil-a (oh how they hate that place!). Dylan, my ultra perceptive oldest child and well on to my parenting skills asks, “If we are good can we get dessert?”

Me: (sigh)

yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!

yea, Dad likes dessert too. I have trained them well!

Pause:

Did you ever notice these at Chic-fil-a? They recycle their Styrofoam cups? I really have mixed feelings about this attempt at Reuse…

I wonder who else has used my cup?

I wonder who else has used my cup?

Later that day, during nap time, I had a very important doctor’s appointment. We ALL ended up celebrating with dinner that night!

We went to our favorite pizza joint followed by their favorite ice cream parlor.

vIMG_20150213_191138154OK, it was a celebration, maybe not THEIR celebration, but one just the same.

We invited a neighbor who has selfishly  help me wash my car the last two or three weekends. Funny thing, we found out he is grounded, he said, due his grades (sounds really  familiar) so his parents won’t let him go out with his friends….. but they did with me and my family….  🙂 . But he is a great young man and this old man welcomes his help anytime!

We all had a great time, at now the end of a special week, so this Valentine’s party really started to build and the craziness took off…

Gosh, I really look young there.

Gosh, I really look young there, don’t I?

…all ending up with my getting walloped in bed this morning as my two Valentines clobbered me as I ‘peacefully’ rested in bed.

So Valentine’s Day recap for my sweethearts:

Chocolate

Dinner Date

Movie Night Date

Valentine’s cards and gifts (jewelry)

Valentine’s Brunch

Wrestle with your Valentine(s) Valentine’s Day

Check, check, check, check, check!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!

Oh, my doctor’s visit?

It was with my Urologist. It was my quarterly check-up to test the PSA’s in my blood, the detection for cancer used. For the record my PSA’s have now gone down from a 7.5 pre-cancer operation to .03 as of yesterday. While I was thinking this may be my last appointment, the my Urologist wants to milk my insurance company see me one more time to see if my PSA can get to a .02, which was his goal.

But!

My PSA continued to lower hence my post last night and the reward this morning:

vIMG_20150213_173018799_HDR

To those one of you who guessed the donut reward for a positive doctor’s visit, Congratulations! And Thanks for following so closely to 3D.

I have a FREE one year subscription to my blog for your grand prize!

Now here is a question for you, for all of you out there that ask the question, “What can I get my loved one for Valentine’s Day that is something different but still something they will like very much?”

Well my Doctor U. had the answer to that!

While I was waiting to be seen at the end of the day I could vaguely hear my doctor in the room beside mine go over his patient’s options enough to hear the words Viagra and Sample and Valentine’s Day all in the same sentence. Hmmmm…

What a thoughtful Valentine’s gift, or gesture I thought to myself

….not that I need any for Valentine’s Day! Having the time to spend with the ones I love after my cancer scare is living enough for me! But I did like this doctor’s beside manner…

Yes, Valentine’s Day, my lovely girls in my life, and Dunkin Donuts keep me running!

vIMG_20150213_171248688

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!

I hope it is a great, big and long-lasting one with lots of memories for each one of you!

(Do Not Disturb)

Pop Quiz II

Pop Quiz everybody!

Now any one that has been following my blog for awhile will know what this is about but I want to test your knowledge in 3D.

What does the following picture mean? These have come to represent more than just 2000 empty calories. What significance does this pic represent?

vIMG_20150213_173018799_HDRSo do you know?

Take the quiz below.

The answers are forth coming in my next post.

PS: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have a sweet one!

Love Ya….

More good news…

In this season of preparing for the Good News to come, I ran into a bit myself last week.

It was check-up time with Dr. O. and the Oncology team. Dr. O. is the physician that orchestrated my whole green-belly, radiation, Bruce Banner, planting seeds in my flower garden thing.

Well the whole ordeal started with a simple blood test, PSA’s and the reading there of. You want your PSA to be low, near zero I understand. My initial PSA of 6.5 sent me to see Dr. O. and I had a PSA as high as 7.5 before my procedure.

Well last Tuesday the good doctor said my newest PSA registered a 1.5. (Yayyy!) I asked him what his target PSA, or my GOAL. Dr. O. says his job is to get it to a 0.2.

So I asked him his time frame for accomplishing his goal? He said over the next 1-2 years. He followed up that he was very excited with good news to start!

PSA Chart showing how 'Its Not My Time'

PSA Chart showing how ‘Its Not My Time’

But I tell you he was not the most excited one in the room!

With a little luck I should be around for a long, long time he says. And if I can just get the kinks out I can start working on my immortality; again.

But you see…I have kept this news largely to myself for the last week or so, really just to bubbling over with joy to do anything.

So I wanted to ask you, If YOU got good news, such as this what would you do?

How would you celebrate?

I can’t tell you what I actually did and spoil the survey!

Suffice it to say, I was the last patient of the day, it was late, and I pass right by  Dunkin Donuts on the way out of the parking lot.

REWARD!

I’m so boring!

But I can sing Auld Lang Syne a few more times!

OK, you got me.

I could never really sing that song anyway…

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