Monday, November 30, 2015


It's not Christmas without the love and spirit of my dear Aunt Ann, God rest her soul. I have so many pieces, handmade with shear talent and love for me as a child, hanging on me tree today. Such an artist, story teller, jokester and gem of my family. I miss her, and wish she could share a joke or two with my kids, they would love her. I wish we could share a Christmas cup of tea.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks Giving

This morning, Thanksgiving, was a bit crazy. Jenn and I are both stuffed up, so sleep and breathing is not the best. We woke to two kids full of, let's call it spirit, because calling my kids crazy at 6 am seems a bit rough on a holiday. Oh, never mind, they were absolutely crazy people this morning. Whining, crying, fighting, not listening, you name it. It was not the optimal way to wake up. I love my kids, but we cancelled Christmas three times this morning. Note to self, that does not work. Amid a hectic start to the day, I scrolled though my many feeds, and saw everyone posting notes of thanksgiving. After a shoer, some cold medicine and a couple cups of coffee I am ready.

I have a lot of things in my life for which I can give thanks. First is my lovely wife. She shows more strength than I can muster, and is the person I am lucky to spend the rest of my life with. Jenn is also the person that gave us our beautiful family. It was a long journey to get our house to be a home for our family, and we are blessed with a beautiful family. Our kids are the soul of our family now. Ruby too.

Family I am thankful for, the Miller and McDonough sides. The best part of our family is that they do not feel like three "sides," they are just all family.  The picture above was from our wedding day, one of the best days ever, and a great day to start out life together. This little kids in the picture amaze me with how much they have grown since then. We will pass the torch on to out little kids, who I am sure will look back at photos from Uncle Ian's wedding next year, and marvel at how little they were that day.

I give thanks to my wonderful group of friends. I have old friends and new friends, but no matter how you slice it, I have some of the best friends a person could ask for.

Hopefully you have some loved ones to spend today with, hopefully you have things to be thankful for. I am overwhelmed with the amount of things I need to give thanks for. So I give thanks today for my blessing named here, and those not named.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

You Never Know

You never know when someone is watching you. On Halloween I ran in the Dead Sprint 5K race in with a good friend. It was a race for me to shake off the rust from an injury, and fun to see all the folks who ran in costumes. I accomplished my time goal, and settled in for a post-race breakfast and pint of Guinness for some time to catch up with my buddy. While we were chatting a woman approached me and said "excuse me sir, I just wanted to say thank you." This took me back a bit, I didn't know her from a hole in the wall. She continued, "you kept me going in the race, I wanted to slow down and walk, but I could see your green jacket ahead, I just kept telling myself, 'keep up with this guy', and you helped me run a really good race." At some point I know she passed me, because I remembered her and I were thanking the police officers at all the intersections for helping out. I always try to thank the volunteers and officers during races, and she said she did too. The she added that she had just gotten off a long overnight shift at the hospital, and had no sleep. She went straight to the race, and was just hoping for the best. A little while later she came back over "hey, I placed third in the women's group for my age and got a medal! So, thanks again for the motivation!" While I did joke I would take some credit for her medal, it was so nice of her to let me know I helped without knowing.

This whole experience draws me toward the thought of how you act when no one is watching. Simply acting how you should when you are at work, in class or around friends and family is only a partial measure of who you really are. What you say you believe is just words. All these public events or statements are not the real test. The real test is when no one is looking, when you have the opportunity to compromise your beliefs, values and ideals to cut a corner, save some money, or just avoid a difficult situation. This can be as small an effort as starting the next pot of coffee at work, when you take the last cup, picking up some trash someone else left behind, or leaving an area cleaner than when you arrived. These are small examples of behavior that really set who you are and build your integrity. If you try your best when no one is looking, the times folks are looking will come that much easier, your personal integrity will shine through and be natural. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Get Grounded

Work, kids, wife, house, work, family, kids, cars, money, travel, packed calendar, friends, chapters, work kids, wife, running, eating well, birthdays, work, house issues, kids, kids growing too fast, soccer practice, family, chapters, committees, hours of sleep, friends, keeping updated, no time to relax, kids, work, wife, family, money, hobbies (ha, funny), eating, work, travel, wife, kids, family. 

These are all things I think about probably every hour of the day, if not every minute for some. There are times when you can get caught up in being too busy, too booked with not enough time in the day. These things can build up to be all encompassing f you do not take time to make sure you stay ground in what matters.

Recently, a good friend had some terrible news, the worst kind of news. He has been told by doctors he has a finite amount of time due to a terminal illness. When I heard the news, I was heartbroken, speechless, and did not know what to think. I immediately thought of how he must feel, and though of myself in that situation. I am not certain how I would handle this type of news. One thing is for certain, many of the items listed above became not so important in my mind. It was more like, family, wife, kids and health.

My friend handled the news with dignity and class. He is truly a model of a good man and Ture Gentleman. I know he must have had a lot of hard days and nights since the diagnosis, but outwardly, he is showing strength, class and helping his own family and friends along the way. He is an inspiration.

This moment was a time for me to be glad I have a friend like him. Treat every day as precious. Treat people kindly. Take nothing for granted. The job, the house, the money, the hours of sleep you get, hobbies, social media, feeling like you have no time. These things have a place in day to day life, but do they keep you grounded? I say no. It is your friends, family and faith that can help keep you grounded. Just make sure you take inventory of how far the important things have fallen down your list. Work to keep the important things high above the fray. Hit your knees and give some thanks. Work to stay grounded.

Monday, July 20, 2015

You Complete Me

This past weekend I had the joy of having the kids to myself. This does not happen often, as I travel a bit more than the wife.We had a blast for a couple days, played a lot, ate some "Dad" style meals, went to a comic book convention, swam at the Grandparents pool and watched a movie. It is very interesting to see how the kids act, or react, when both parents are not around. They both love Mommy fiercely, and often are attached to a leg of hers. They do not swarm on me as much, unless we are wrestling. After a day/night on our own, when they realized Mom was really out of town they settled in with the concept that I was their dude for the weekend. In all we had a blast, lots of laughs, very few tears, and great memories.

What I do know is that I do not know how single parents do this all the time. Every minute of every day for four days and three nights I was focused and in action with the kids, cooking, cleaning dishes, doing laundry with no break. I think I take for granted how nice it is to split the family duties up with my wife. This weekend made me appreciate two things, my kids, and my wife.

When J got home the kids freaked out, and were over excited and tired all at the same time. J was also really tired from her long weekend. The pic below summarizes how they all felt to finally be back together. I love this picture so much.

J truly completes us.

Monday, June 29, 2015



Four years has gone by so fast. Four years ago was one of the best most amazing days of my life, my daughter was born. I frankly do not remember the last four years, they have been a crazy and fun ride. She does not know it yet, well maybe she does, but I am fully wrapped up in this little girl. She just owns me completely. She is a little chip of my wife, so similar to her it's beautiful. Never in my life did I think I would love brushing a girls hair, especially really curly hair. But every time I do, I take care to enjoy it, for I know one day she will not want Daddy to brush her hair.Another significant event today was Jenn and my "Joe" plant, a Gardenia, popped the first flower in years today. Jenn has made it a point to take off for the kids birthdays, and spend a nice day with just them, no Dad or siblings. I do normally get a lunchtime stopover though. It's like our little Joe knew his sister would be in my office today to see the pretty flower. Lot's of crazy ups and downs when you start a family, and days like today make you appreciate them all. Love you kiddo.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Get On The Coaster

The kids went on their first little roller coaster this past weekend. It was a really fun experience. C$ couldn't wait to get on, and Dub was neutral. Once they walked inside the fenced area for the ride, lil' red freaked out, pushing away and screaming. I snapped her in the seat anyway. We definitely looked like parents of the year. The pic above is just before the ride started. One lap around the track and C$ cracked a smile, two laps, she was all in for the ride! Dub sort of never peeped, and just held on for the ride, bearing his head down.

Post ride, red did not want to get off, and Dub was sort of done. He wasn't scared, but one spin was enough for him. C$ went on two more rides on the coaster. Mostly because we had to go, and had tickets to burn, but she was ear to ear smiles. The shear childish joy on her face was on of the most sweet moments a parent can witness. To see your kid go from freak out tears, to loving the ride was really fun. Jenn and I could not stop laughing and smiling at each other. Our little angel was out there enjoying the heck out of her day, and we loved every second.

The analog is pretty clear to my life. The cliché is "life is a roller coaster." How true. As you age, you inevitably have more to lose, more you care for, more responsibilities outside your own, more people that rely on you. Stepping on and off the roller coaster becomes a much more measured step. 

I do not want to lose the ability to step onto the big bad roller coaster, step off the firm ground of comfort and certainty. I want to help other do the same. Whether you take one trip on a new ride, or want to go round and round, my kids taught a valuable lesson. Life will be up and down, and round and round. It is OK to be afraid to get on a new ride, it is OK to get off a ride you don't like. Just make sure as you choose your path, you look down at your feet and know if you have been standing too long.