Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Category Archives: John

What’s In The Box Doesn’t Matter

One of the truly wonderful things about having kids and becoming a parent is the authenticity you get to experience when engaging with your kids.  Yes, kids lie, that’s true.  But, ask a child if she likes the dinner you’ve plated, that’s based on some new recipe, and you’ll know the truth.  Ask an adult the same question and you’ll be met with a very politically correct answer.  Well, unless of course, you ask me 🙂

Christmas is one of those occasions where we seem to always try and out do one another, keep up with the Jones’ and impress with labels. Labels, you ask? Yes, labels. We’re all guilty of it, even I am. Under the Kmiec tree this year, there was no Louis, Jimmy or Tory.  Nada on the Prada, MK and Hermes.  Sorry, not a single item from Armani, Versace or Gucci – yes, we avoided the holy trinity. No Christian, Coach or Coco. Also, I must confess, there was no Lexus under the tree either.

Now, mind you, this is no assault on the wealthy, chic or stylish.  Without the label segment, we wouldn’t have people to gawk at, velvet ropes to envy and of course nothing to lust for.  And this isn’t me being above such items or brands.  I’m the first person to encourage purchasing 1 quality purse over 50 cheap ones.  Ditto on shoes, watches and umbrellas (trust me on this one).

No, this is more about the observation that kids don’t care what’s in the box, what the label is on the gift or the logo they’ll be displaying. And with good reason…they couldn’t tell you the difference between Coach and and Couch.  If anything they care more about the wrapping paper…or rather the joy of unwrapping their present. They’re equally as satisfied with 1 gift as they are with 100.  Seriously. I’ve watched this up close for 4+ years now.  It’s a really amazing thing to witness.  Honestly, it leaves me wanting to be as genuinely label disinterested as they are.  But, alas, though I’ve witnessed this authenticity and I’m a marketer, even I fall prey to label love…but I’m getting better!

There wasn’t a single present under the tree for me.  That’s what happens when you become a dad!  The likelihood your 4 year old is going to hop in the car, visit the mall and pick you a present that she paid for with her credit card…is…well…unlikely.  But, what I did get this Christmas was something much better than any company could provide:

John, Cora and Dad

I got to see those smiles and feel the real Christmas magic that we yearn for after watching a movie like Love Actually. Besides, if they were wearing a label it would say my name anyhow 🙂

The Things We Do To Our Kids

The kids got to visit with Santa yesterday. The enjoyed chatting with the jolly fellow. But, honestly these moments are more for us as parents than they are for our kids. Looking at it that way is the only thing that explains why we dress our kids up and bring them kicking, screaming and crying (well, not my kids, but several others in front of us) to “Santa.”

A Magical Disney Adventure

I just got back from spending 6 days in Disney World with the kids and the ex-wife. You might be scratching your head about “ex-wife” so let me explain. Cheryl, my ex, and I get along great. Unlike most divorces, there’s no hate, animosity or awkwardness. We’re two people that are great friends and realized we shouldn’t be married. Believe me, I know I’m blessed. When we were getting divorced we agreed that Disney was something we wanted to do together with the kids. I you’ve ever been to Disney then you know how monumental of an event your first visit is. Visiting Disney isn’t so much a trip or a vacation, as it is an experience. From how you tell the kids they’re going to Disney, to the costumed characters, to the themed rides, to the parades and fireworks…oh yes, it’s an experience.

We were blessed with great weather throughout. The sun was out every single day and the temperature was consistently between 68 and 82 degrees. In short, it was exactly what you’d want it to be. We agonized over when to visit and finally settled on early November. This was definitely the right decision. The parks were rarely crowded which meant the was it times for the rides were short.

Over 6 days we covered Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. I think 6 days was a day too long, but the price for passes was actually cheaper than a 5 day trip. Crazy. We spent most of our trip at Magic Kingdom and Epcot; Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were each 1/2 day experiences. There’s so much to see and experience; you never felt like you were repeating anything.

John and Cora had a blast. I was so proud of my kids. From how well they were behaved relative to other kids to how adventurous they were. For example, Cora rode the Kilimanjaro roller coaster at Animal Kingdom, TWICE, The Tower of Terror, Thunder Mountain and Test Track. Not bad for a 4 year old.

Of course the kids also wanted to see and visit with the characters. Over 6 days they met with: Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, Flick, Pinnochio, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Tigger, Whinnie The Poo, Buzz, Woody, Mike, Sully, Chip and Dale. Crazy, right? John even got a kiss from Tinkerbell!

I can’t say enough about how amazing the Disney staff were. There was always a smile and a bounce in their step. You don’t realize how impressive this is until you head to the airport and interact with the surly and grumpy TSA staff. Disney proves that you can operationalize core values to each and every employee. The only nit I have with the Disney experience is how poor the food was…which could be overlooked if it weren’t so expensive. Hey, no one’s perfect. There’s not much I’d change about the experience. I’m really happy that Cheryl and I were able to give our kids a life time of memories.

Here’s a few photos from the trip all taken with my Nikon D700:

John playing the drums at Animal Kingdom

Cinderella’s Castle

Cora after getting her face painted

John driving a car (I can’t even describe the laughter and pure enjoyment he had driving this car)

A caricature of the kids

Me with Tinkerbell


John’s 2nd Birthday

Technically, the birthday is Wednesday, June 15, 2011, but we decided to celebrate his birthday today.  Great day for the celebration.  In the morning it was roughly 60 degrees and overcast.  While that might not sound like perfect weather, it’s ideal for great photos.  The overcast sky means no harsh shadows or squinty eyes.  We headed over to the baseball field for some early morning photos and this one was easily of my favorites.

The rest of the day was filled with fun.  Great food, family and friends created a very memorable day.  John definitely enjoyed himself and that’s all that really matters.

A Child’s Imagination

I love Legos.  I think I love them more as an adult than I did as a child.  In fact, there’s really only one major Lego initiative I can remember undertaking as a kid.  My dad and I, over the course of about a month, built Disney’s Magic Castle.  It was hundreds of pieces. I wish I had a picture; I looked all over Google for it, but couldn’t find anything.  Bummer, because it was impressive.

My son, John, loves Legos.  Love might even be an understatement, because Legos seem to be a passion for him.  This past weekend, John and attended the Lego KidsFest in Minneapolis.  It was a blast.  Just awesome.  John was tentative at first.  I think the scale of the event was just daunting for him.  But, he quickly warmed up and got to work with building towers, buildings and cars that could be raced down ramps.

I mostly sat back and just watched him dream up idea after our idea.  There’s something cool, raw, interesting and exciting about watching a child create something.  There are no rules, no boundaries, no need to be uniform.  It’s all wide open.  It’s pure creativity, just like how it should be all the time for everyone.

When did we stop imagining like a child?  And why?

Merry Christmas 2010

This is what Christmas is all about.  It’s not about $600 purses, new cars, jewelry from Tiffany’s, expensive bottles of wine or any other material items.  Nope, this is what makes Christmas amazing…seeing these two faces after they’ve made sure Santa ate some cookies, drank his milk and shared the carrots with Rudolph.

It’s the little things that are the big things.  Merry Christmas.

2010 Believe

I love the Believe initiative by Macy’s.  For the last 3 years, my kids have participated in “writing” a letter to Santa at Macy’s and then mailing it to the North Pole.  For every letter Macy’s receives they donate $1 to Make A Wish.  How can you not be a fan of that?  I took the kids this year and it was so cool to see both John and Cora crafting their letters to Santa.

Eventually we all stop believing in Santa.  I never thought much about that idea over the years.  But, this year it really stuck with me.  I’m going to make sure Cora and John believe for as long as possible.  Why not?  Believing is a good thing and it just might help ensure they eat their vegetables.

In the movie Inception Leonardo Dicaprio’s character explains, “The most dangerous thing is an idea that takes hold in someone’s mind.”  In the context of the movie, I can understand why he chose the word dangerous.  But, let’s substitute dangerous for “powerful.”  That’s what the Believe project means to me.  It’s all about the power of the idea.  This Christmas, remember to let the idea…the meaning of Christmas take hold of you.  You just may see things a little differently and enjoy yourself a little more.

Merry Christmas.

Remember When

I’m stealing from myself with the following paragraph I wrote last December:

In one of the greatest episodes of The Sopranos, ironically titled “Remember When” Tony scolds Paulie for looking back and reminiscing. With such disdain he utters, “remember when is the lowest form of conversation.” When I watched this live on HBO, I recall thinking, “damn that was harsh.” But, the more I think about it, I tend to agree with Tony’s feelings…albeit for different reasons. See, I think the reason remember when is lowest form of conversation is because we should have been talking about the moment…while we’re in the moment…instead of waiting 20 years to talk about that moment.  Remembering the moment later on in life instead of giving it the acknowledgement it deserved while it was happening, cheapens the moment…making it the lowest form of conversation.

Well, that’s all fine well and good, but this weekend I got to look through some of my old baby photos and couldn’t believe I was ever this cute.

God, I haven’t aged well. On the plus side though, looking at these photos reinforces that John looks just like me!