Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Category Archives: John

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.

The Book – Working Chapter Names

Still, working on a title for the book, but I’ve definitely made some serious progress on the chapter names and even the actual content.  First, a little bit of background.  For as long as I can remember, my dad has been pushing me to write a book about the insanity I’ve observed and experienced.  I’m no, Bill Clinton, so writing an auto-biography of sorts always seemed silly.  But, after John was born I got the idea to write an advice book for my two kids – with the advice being slightly different for John than it would be for Cora.  Yes, there’s a double-standard; my daughter can never date.  It’s that simple!

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I could merge both of these topics together into 1 compelling story.  The advice I’d be giving my kids would be heavily based on my own life experiences (the good and the bad).  So here’s where we’re at with the chapter names:

  1. Thin Is In
  2. Mean Kids Suck
  3. Make Mistakes Often
  4. You Can Be Anything You Want To, Unless You Can’t
  5. Travel Far And Often
  6. The Soundtrack Of Your Life
  7. …And Eventually You’ll Discover The Beatles
  8. “Put On Side 1 Of Led Zeppelin IV”
  9. The Grand Gesture
  10. Never Take No For An Answer
  11. Why Star Wars Is Better Than Star Trek
  12. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
  13. Liquor Before Beer
  14. What You Wear Mattters
  15. Act Like You’ve Been There Before
  16. How To Tell If They’re Right For You
  17. “You Ruined My Life”
  18. Blood Is Thicker Than Water, Except When Love Is Involved
  19. 3 Simple Rules
  20. Take Time, To Make Time, To Soak It All In
  21. Quality Trumps Quantity
  22. Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists
  23. Negotiate Like A Terrorist
  24. The Bucket List
  25. Why I’m Always Right…And Why You’ll Always Be Right When You’re A Parent

Chapters 1, 4, 6, 8, 13, 17 and 22 already have first drafts.  My goal is to have a first draft of the whole book by March 1st.  I figure I’ll have a lot of time over the holidays to make a serious dent.  If you’ve got thoughts for a title, send them my way.  Who knows, maybe you’ll make the acknowledgments!

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!