Izzie Teaches Daddie-O About Art

I never actually learned to appreciate art or at least not in the traditional sense of taking an art history course or with frequent trips to the local museum. I had a fondness for drawing when I was in middle school and even won a small local prize for a pencil sketch of the Sioux holy man Sitting Bull. To this day I believe that my pure obsession with him as a leader is what shone through on the paper rather than my own physical talent as an artist. In my early 20s I gained an appreciation for Basquiat’s work. It was brutal, honest, and brave. It took me into another world and showed me that art has no boundaries.

Izzie and I make it a point to seek out the kid friendly activities that Los Angeles has to offer. Through some online research we learned that LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) has a program called NexGen. Any child (yes ANY) under the age of 18 can be issued a card allowing them and one adult free general admission to the museum. NexGen excludes paid exhibits, however, this not necessarily a bad thing. Currently Stanley Kubrick has work on display and even though I would love to have a look something tells me that initiating my two year old in the world of Kubrick could be a little premature.A little more research and Izzie and I learned that one of the things included in NexGen membership is daily painting in the Children’s Gallery. Thrown into the equation that LACMA is only three miles from the apartment, located directly across the street from Mama’s office (perfect excuse for midweek lunch date) and we were in! We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into on our new adventure.

We had previously downloaded and filled out the membership form prior to our first visit. We didn’t want to waste our time on paperwork while we could be painting and exploring new things. One of the things I love most about being a father is the many first time experiences you share with your child especially in the first few years. First time at LACMA was no different and was even a bit more special because even though I have lived in Los Angeles for eight years now I had never been to this particular museum. After a quick hello to Mama we checked in and we’re given our NexGen card and lanyard with IZYDOR printed proudly on the front.

I always forget how initially, the museum can be extremely overwhelming for the not so experienced visitor. LACMA is a huge campus featuring art from all over the world. Everything from an ART OF THE PACIFIC gallery to a boulder the size of Texas suspended overhead called LEVITATED MASS. As we made our way towards the Boone Children’s Gallery we stumbled across what has now become one of Izzie’s favorite go to spots at LACMA. Over 20,000 linear feet of soft yellow plastic tubing looming overhead form ALIGHT ANEW IN INDIAN YELLOW. There are between 2,000 and 2,500 of these tubes and I felt my heart sink the first time Izzie disappeared into the yellow abyss only to chase along and find her in the middle with an ear to ear grin. I believe most of the little ones think it is the greatest swing toy known to man which it very well could be in any other setting outside of the museum.

The Boone Children’s Gallery is located in the Hammer Building next to the Korean Art. As you enter Boone you are greeted by several workers eager to help you get your creative juices flowing. “Just one or two painters today?” one girl asked. “Two.” I replied thinking that it could possibly help warm Izzie up to the idea. I should have known she would need little to no coaxing. After a brief instruction period from Daddie-O I let her loose with her brush, paint, and paper. The basic mechanics were going to need some work, but one thing that would not was Izzie’s desire to create. You could see on her face that she understood the concept at hand. That on this paper with this brush and paint she was a creator of whatever she wanted. She wasn’t concerned with a perfect color scheme, technique or how much time it would take her to finish her work. She was just creating art.

We have made painting a regular activity in Izzie’s little life now. Actually, Izzie had made it a regular activity. I feel as if Stephie and I are just along for the ride. She has taken to painting in a way that is unparalleled to any of her other interests. Even some of her Christmas money from this past year went to setting up an “Izzie Paint Station” in our apartment. She paints nearly every day and visits the museum’s gallery usually once a week. “Izzie go painting at the museum!” she exclaims each time we head to Mom’s office. On our last visit to the museum I overheard a woman saying, “That little girl is really painting.” There are no words for what I felt in that moment as Izzie’s father. When she is painting there is a focus in her eyes that I know will serve her well throughout her life.

Our adventures to the museum have led us to amazing works like METROPOLIS II, LEVITATED MASS, ALIGHT ANEW IN INDIAN YELLOW, and THE LA BREA TAR PITS. An afternoon at LACMA with Izzie goes a little something like this. Run through ALIGHT ANEW 50 times while trying to determine whether or not she should actually try hanging from the soft plastic tubing followed by a good 45-60 minutes of painting in Boone. She then likes to go and watch the “trolleys” aka METROPOLIS II. If you’re in L.A. and have not seen this work by Chris Burden you are denying yourself a great pleasure in life. Izzie and I are obsessed with it. We will then scale the three story escalator and ride the panoramic elevator of the BROAD CONTEMPORARY building three to four times stopping briefly to appreciate ACTUAL SIZE. We’re still not done. All of this is followed by a run (yes she runs EVERYWHERE it seems) through the grounds of LEVITATED MASS and the LA BREA TAR PITS. At this point we are both (or maybe just me) in desperate need of a snack and some water. We’ll camp and discuss the display of the elephant family struggling through the tar. She likes to say that the daddy and baby elephant are helping the mommy. I love that version.

I am constantly learning from my Bizzie Izzie in new and exciting ways that I never expected. Before becoming a father I may have thought the idea of toddler actually creating or appreciating art a bit out there. However, Izzie has again changed what I thought I knew. She LOVES to paint. You can see it in her eyes when she is at work and she is always ready to tell you what she is creating. She paints everything from doggies, kitties, trees, oceans, hearts and everything in between. You can tell it brings her pure joy and that is such a blessing for Stephie and I to witness. So here is what Izzie taught me about art. We all have a desire to create. I believe it is written in our DNA on some level. The challenge is finding your own personal arena and realizing that you are the creative force in your own life. Something Bizzie Izzie’s actor Daddie-O will certainly keep in his heart.

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Out with 2012 and in with 2013

Another year has closed and I find myself even more blessed and thankful for all that the year has brought. Izzie ran(strolled) her first race, THE HOLLYWOOD HALF/10K/5K. We went home to Utah for the first time since our baby shower and Izzie met most of her Utah family including her beautiful cousins Tylie Jo and Seanelly Grace. We were fortunate enough to visit Vegas and several times and spend some quality party time with cousin Olivia Rochelle. I turned 30 and Stephie and I celebrated 5 years of our disgustingly loving union together.

We’re looking forward to the coming year and all that it will bring. I resolve to continue living this awesome life and my only clause to that statement is that I hope to document more text/photos here at Bizzie Izzie Days. I know they will continue to be even more and more bizzie!

Words

There are roughly 6500 languages spoken in the world today. 6500! It would be impossible to count all of the words in even one of those languages. Oxford Dictionary explains,

“Is dog one word, or two (a noun meaning ‘a kind of animal’, and a verb meaning ‘to follow persistently’)? If we count it as two, then do we count inflections separately too (e.g. dogs = plural noun, dogs = present tense of the verb). Is dog-tired a word, or just two other words joined together? Is hot dog really two words, since it might also be written as hot-dog or even hotdog?”

There are a lot of words floating around in our world. Many are insignificant while others seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Words can lift up or tear down. Praise or accuse. Forgive or condemn. Some words stand alone while many are woven into stories and moments that define our lives. Words have power and words can be powerless.

There is something incredibly interesting to me about words. It seems to me that words actually have no choice in what they say. Words cannot say, but rather are spoken. On some level, they must be created and structured in order to have any meaning. “Cat toy balloon Nassau tape” means absolutely nothing to anybody. “You’ve inherited $100,000,000!” clearly means “something” different to everybody.

We just celebrated Izydor’s second birthday. In the weeks leading up to her big day she would regularly practice her new favorite words,”IZZIE TWO!” while proudly displaying her two fingers. In the past 4 to 6 weeks we have watched and listened to her words and language skills completely take flight. She refers to me as Daddie-O (compliments of my beautiful Wife) and often instructs Stephie,”Mommie come!” when she is ready for her evening cuddles. When your child learns to communicate verbally what they are feeling on a  primal level it has profound effects on both child and parent. It has made me think carefully about the words I use not just in front of her, but all the time. I am not a professional but when I speak I notice that she is dissecting every word that comes out of my mouth. Tone of voice and body language also have huge roles in communication. What my movement and tone suggest while I’m playing with my daughter is completely different than when I need to discipline her. There is much to consider when communicating with one another and yet it all happens almost automatically. You could fill one book after another on communication studies, but we’ll leave to somebody else.

I have done things I am not proud of. Some I have been able to laugh about as time passes and others have carried profound consequences. I hope what I am about to share with you will go down as one of the times I will laugh at later in life. However, in the moment that if happened I felt smaller than an ant next to an elephant.

Traffic is always bad in LA. The 405/101 interchange is continually voted as one of the worst freeways in the world. Not just the country, but the world. I admit that I have been known to road rage. Nothing major of course. I have never tried to run anybody off the road and certainly have never opened fire on the freeway which I know many have seen in the national headlines. My style is more semi-aggressive honk while shouting an obscenity or two. Three is pushing it in my world. Plus it looks weird for  a thirty year old black guy to be shouting  profanity from his 30mph Prius with his two year old daughter in tow. Good thing being weird has never stopped me before.

To be honest I do not remember what actually happened that made me so upset. Perhaps I was cut off or somebody turned left in front of us causing me to swerve the car. That’s not the point. The point is that without a moment’s thought I honked my horn and shouted one of the original ultimate swear words. F!U!C!K! I’m not going to pretend I hadn’t done it a million times before. I had. And nine times out of ten it made me feel better. I’m not sure if it is the endorphins releasing or that I feel like I’m serving up my own personal justice, but swearing has been known to help me feel better when confronted by the d-bag vehicle operators of this city.

Lucky for me  my copilot was a beautiful and bright toddler who loves to hang onto every word her Daddie-O  says. She said it plain as day with no hesitation in her voice. “Fuck!” I thought that maybe if I pretended I didn’t hear it that maybe just maybe she would quickly forget. “Daddie-O, Fuck!” Nothing escapes the steel trap that is Izydor’s brain. How does one even go about correcting this situation? I can’t say to her that “only Daddy talks like that” because even she can smell hypocrisy when it’s steaming under her nose. I can’t not address it because then she will think it’s perfectly fine to run around yelling “Fuck!” every time she hears a horn honk. Which is precisely what she did for the next week. It didn’t matter if we were home or in the car. Every time that she heard a horn honk she would proclaim with an ear to ear grin “Fuck!” You could hear the joy and sense of accomplishment in her voice each time she let it fly. I could see it on her face too. For almost 2 whole years she has been learning how and trying to communicate what she feels, but also what she hears. And this one word she hit out of the park and boy did she know it. Her little face seemed to say “I can say fuck just like Daddie-O and it feels good.”

I have judgement written all over me. Some are probably thinking how could I even think of speaking like that in front of my child. Don’t I realize how much I could damage her? Others may be wondering why I ever put so much so thought into this in the first place. At some point we all must learn to communicate what we think and feel. Hopefully somewhere along the way we learn to value that our words are a way of  bringing both positivity and negativity into the world.  In that moment on Crescent Heights Boulevard I realized that I had learned and knew that difference. I can’t pinpoint when and where, but it happened. More importantly I realized that I want Izydor to know the difference and as her parents Stephie and I will be her most influential teachers.

I want Izydor to always have the freedom to express whatever it is that she feeling. A therapist friend of mine told me that she would be out of business if children were taught from a young age to freely express what they are feeling in a healthy manner. Lucky for her we don’t live in a perfect world and her practice will most likely thrive. I think it’s a valuable lesson to know that even if you’re feeling negative it does not mean that you have to further spread that negativity. Words, whether good or bad, are like toothpaste being squeezed from the tube. Once it’s out it is impossible to put back in.

Once Izydor heard the word of infamy she could not unhear it anymore than I could unsay it. I was embarrassed that in a moment of negativity she saw me push it even further into the world. Your own children have this way of making you see yourself through the most honest mirror you will ever know. In that moment I did not like what I saw.

Since the day of word infamy we have installed a new road rage system. Now when we must honk our horn we follow it with “SSSHHH!!!” I’m sure it’s a lot less intimidating and people are probably wondering why Izydor and I honk just to ssshhh them, but it’s a better solution than the one we had. We’re open to suggestions. In the weeks following she has added words to her vocabulary like “Cinna girl, alligator, newt, P Boots (Puss in Boots), and Izzie go to park.” There are new words daily and her sentences are becoming more complicated and complete. Her little sponge brain is soaking up all the information it can and releasing it back into the world. And eight times out of ten it is pure unfiltered positivity. She is a toddler so naturally there are times when she goes into tantrum mode and it seems that she has enough negativity stored for herself, Satan, and all their minions, but generally speaking Izydor is always positive with her communication.

I believe that it is natural for communication to be something that brings positivity into the world and even more natural is that every positive must have a negative. As Izydor and I continue to learn from and teach one another I hope to show her that words can be whatever we want them to be. Strong or weak. Simple or complicated. Love or hate. Funny or depressing. Positive or negative. I want her to know that with so many words flying all over our world  and all through our lives it is best that we choose and use them carefully and thoughtfully.

Run! Run! Run!

I have been a runner since I was eight years old. Early memories of the Hershey Track Meet held each summer are some of my most vivid as a young boy. There were several of us who had shown promise early as sprinters on our local baseball team and although I was never great at baseball I could sure run like a bat out of hell. My very first track coach, Coach Dean, had been a local legend at Weber State University. His specialty was distance, but he took the sprinters under his wing as well. My very first events were the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m relay. The 200m was always my favorite and I pursued it all the way through high school. Eventually I competed in the 400m and was floored by the level of strength and endurance it took to compete in that style of race. Even after high school I continued to run logging 2-3 miles 3-4 times per week. I learned very early that something as simple as my own two feet can take me the places I want to go.

I was worried that when Izydor came along that I was going to stop running. I had heard the horror stories of sleepless nights and barely even having enough time to shower, let alone enjoy a nice early morning run. And when she came that’s exactly what happened. Between work and the new baby I had to hang up the running shoes. Running time was replaced by bottle washing time, bath time, diaper time, sleep with my eyes open time, and many other various new baby times. To be honest I don’t think I would have made it through a run with my energy levels during those early months. Everything and everybody in the house was in an adjustment period. All working together to be a harmonious unit. It takes work and practice, but eventually everybody settles in and there is more sense of normalcy and less chaos.

In the early days that Izydor and I were flying solo after Mom returned to work one of the things that would always make her happy was to ride in the Ergo carrier and go for walks. I love to walk so I was more than happy to be outdoors with her. We live just North of a very affluent neighborhood, which is one of the few remaining gems left in this sprawl of a city. I would bring snacks and we would walk together for an hour or more almost daily. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Taking in all of the beautiful architecture of the homes. Trading the concrete and asphalt for trees and flowers. If you have been to L.A. you can appreciate that there was virtually no traffic on our route. Silence can be golden.

Eventually she grew out of the Ergo and into a stroller. Izydor has always sat up so proper and engaged while riding in her stroller. She’s not one to miss a beat. After a month or so in the stroller I decided that I had built up enough endurance and strength that I wanted to give running a shot again. Only this time I had a new running partner. From the first time we ran together Izydor has been hooked. She would giggle and smile for about thirty minutes and then lay her little head down and fall asleep. I added mileage every few weeks or so and eventually was logging 3-5 miles 5-6 times a week. It felt so great! It felt even better that Izydor and I were sharing this together.

I hadn’t ran a proper race since the State meet during my senior year of high school and I was looking for a challenge. I caught wind that they were having the Hollywood Half-Marathon, 10K, and 5K over Easter weekend. I thought we live in Hollywood and how great would it be to just run down Hollywood Blvd with not one vehicle to block your path. Before officially signing up I wanted to make sure that Izzie could ride the race with me. I knew that she would be riding along in her stroller through all my training so I felt it would only be right that she ride in the race with me as well. The race director responded back and said that would be fine, but we should start towards the back as not to block the people competing for faster times. I was excited at the answer and had to laugh at the thought of Izzie and I bolting off the starting line with people that were actually looking to win this thing.

For approximately twelve weeks Izydor and I trained for the race. And let me tell you, she is a phenomenal motivator and partner. She never complains and she is always smiling. I had been warned that she may not be happy by the end of a 10K distance, but I always responded that she loves running as much as her Dad. By now she was walking and learning to run herself. Most of our training runs were finished with a nice stroll around the block where I would let her out of the stroller and proceed to chase her while she took her turn running. I believe those images in my head will stay with me forever. By the time April 7 had come Izzie and I felt more than ready for our big day with our longest training run at nine miles.

We got up early that morning and made sure to get some breakfast in our bellies. Stephie and my Mother were coming along to cheer us on too. An interesting fact that I remembered later that morning is that my Mom has never missed a race of mine. Not one. She was there all the way from eight years old through high school. And she was here eleven years later. We found a perfect parking spot just two blocks away from the starting line and were there with just enough time to spare. There were hundreds of people running the 10K. Some serious and some just out for fun. I saw several other Dads like myself getting ready to have a nice morning run with their little ones as well. The gun sounded and we we’re off!

Izydor was so interested in everybody and everything about the race. We had done all of training runs just the two of us and it was quite amazing to see her connect that there were others out there like us. I could feel her already becoming part of the running community. I would point and say, “Runners! They’re runners like Daddy and Izzie!” and she would twirl her hair and smile. It was about 5.5 miles in when I started to hit a bit of a wall. I had been pushing myself a little harder than what my body had wanted and it was telling me to slow down. In need of a little motivation I glanced down at Izydor and there she was, fast asleep. And it hit me. Running brings her the same kind of peace that it brings me. She was so excited and engaged and then just like that was out like a light. I can relate. Running has always been a spiritual high of sorts for me. It has shown me that my body is capable of some amazing things. It allows me to escape the millions of voices going on in my head and focus on something as simple as my breath and the road ahead. Running has always taken me to where I want to be.We finished the race in just under an hour running along side another father and his son with Izydor still sound asleep.

I hope that as Izydor becomes older and life becomes more busy that she remembers how something so simple could make her feel so much joy. That it’s important to take time out of your day to get outside and move around. That your own to feet can take you anywhere you want to go in the world if you’ll let them. She is not only a runner but, a talker now too. These days while were out when we pass another runner she points and yells, “Run! Run! Run!” That’s right baby girl! Run! Run! Run!

Hope

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hope

There will be many good days
And plenty of bad ones too
If there’s one thing I could say
Keep hope alive in you

The sun will shine so bright
But darkness follows too
Turn your face to the light
And let hope guide you through

Mountains you will scale
And raging seas subdue
Our love will never fail
A new hope shining through

One day you’ll leave home
A new world to pursue
Your wild heart will roam
Our hope is found in you

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is here. I’m certain that the way each family will choose to celebrate their Dad is as different and unique as all the men themselves. The dictionary defines a father as the male parent.  Although, this is true it has been my recent experience as a stay at home dad that has led me to see the real responsibility in fathering a child. There is no manual, guidebook, or actual test to gauge your performance. Most advice and tips are given to us by our own parents and let’s face it, next to their new grandchild they think we’re the greatest thing since sliced bread and still probably have a hard time telling us when we’re off our mark. This isn’t a piece about how I have all the answers to being a great father. It’s quite the opposite actually. It’s a piece about how I am learning the most incredible things about life from the most unlikely of sources.

I would be lying if I said my masculinity wasn’t challenged when I lost my day job in November 2009. Our country was at the peak of the worst financial crisis we have seen since the great depression and I was out of work like so many others. Before I lost my job my Wife and I had plenty of money to do all the things we enjoyed as a new married couple. Trips, movies, fancy restaurants, concerts, museums, and a million other activities. We certainly had no problem exploring everything to be had in L.A. Young, in love, and living in one of the greatest cities in the world. When the bad news about my job was delivered my Wife thought it would be a good idea to finally give me the dog I had been expressing interest in. Chille, the most energetic Boxer you will ever meet came to live with us at Thanksgiving. For the next month Chille and I would spend most of our days getting to know each other on long hikes through Runyon and Bronson Canyons. To be honest, this was the first time I had been out of work since I was 14 years old and the freedom was a welcome change. However, little did I know my whole life was about to go through a complete 360 that third week in January 2010.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the moment you learn that you’re going to be a parent. Not to another pet as we so often refer to them as our babies, but a wonderful, wide-eyed, crying, laughing, spitting, screaming, cooing, cahing, pooping, joyful, completely change your life baby! A euphoric sense of panic, joy, excitement, and love all wrapped in to one is the best I can come up with and even there I am falling short of what I’m trying to convey. It’s unlike any feeling I have ever experienced. We were at a point in our marriage where kids had certainly come up in conversation, but we were not “trying” to make a baby. There had also been discussions about the way we wanted to raise our children. We both knew that it was important that one of us stay home in the early years of the child’s life. I have always considered myself an egalitarian, but looking back I always assumed my Wife would be the one to stay home with the kids.

To say Stephanie loves her job is accurate. To say she is good at her job is the understatement of the century. The girl kicks some serious ass at what she does. She came to L.A. from Illinois when she was 17 to chase her professional dreams and is hard working, ambitious, and skilled enough that she is doing just that.  Working in the field she has wanted to ever since music changed her whole life as an early teenager. After learning we were pregnant I went into a scramble trying to find work. Knowing the little one was going to be here in September I felt almost desperate for money. After a drawn out search the only position I could find was a part-time job as a food runner at a trendy sushi house in Hollywood. I traded my free days with Chille for late nights of the usual trendy L.A. restaurant scene.  I tried to fit in, but to no avail. I was never one for taking shots before carrying a 50lb tray of miso soup up two flights of stairs with music rupturing my eardrums, dodging the half-naked couple making out in the middle of the walk way, all while trying to avoid my cocaine addicted boss. I would always do the work, but hated every moment of it. I put in my time like this three to four days a week for about six months until a slightly better restaurant situation seemed to present itself. It turned out to be just as bad as the previous situation.

While Stephie was home on maternity leave I worked as much as I could. For some reason I had always equated how hard I worked with how masculine I was. I shut all my other interests out. I eventually stopped acting and writing to just focus on the work at the restaurant even though it was not something I truly enjoyed doing. I briefly explored the possibility of management which was a result of trying to make the most money I could possibly bring home. At this point we had agreed that when Stephie went back to work after the New Year I would adjust my schedule to nights only and take care of the little one during the day. A task that seemed more daunting with each day that brought Stephie closer to returning to work. Izydor was not too fond of me in the beginning or at least that’s how it felt to me. We would practice alone time while Mom would run errands or go to the store which nine times out of ten would result in Izydor testing her screaming and crying capabilities the entire time Mom was away. A few times it was a little more than this new Dad could handle and I joined this new version of the crying game along with her. Mom eventually went back to work, Daddy pre-season was over, and I was flying solo.

I would continue to work part-time for the next year. My days totally devoted to Izydor and my nights a shuffle between work, school, and my beautiful Wife. It’s true that strong families know when, where, and how to sacrifice certain things. As the days went and Izydor grew we became more and more comfortable with one another. The practice alone times that would often end with both father and daughter on the brink of melt down were replaced by days of father and daughter getting to know one another on a whole new level. I became less stressed about money and time and more engaged with my family. Everything I thought I knew was changing right before me. Stephie and I have always felt like we mind meld with one another. That even the unspoken between us is spoken in some form or another. I had been entertaining the idea of possibly quitting my job to focus solely on staying at home with Izydor, but was uneasy with the idea due to all my thoughts regarding being a man, masculinity, my time, and money. To my surprise Stephie while driving home one night said, “You know I think you should quit your job. You’re not happy there and it’s not like we can’t make it work financially. Sure, we’ll have to adjust our budget some, but I think we will be just fine.” I replied in the typical fashion of how I would like to stay home, but just felt like I needed to work. She said that ultimately she thought it would be good for me to stay at home and focus on Izzie and school, but that the final decision would be mine.

Growing up in a single parent home with a wonderful, ambitious, and hard-working mother, I have always known that I wanted to be the father that was not necessarily in the cards for me as a child. I want to be a father that is fully invested and committed to the life of my child. The one that brings her a feeling of joy, safety, and most importantly love. I want to be the father that allows her to stumble when necessary in order that she will learn from mistakes and the value of hard work. One that truly listens to my daughter and what it is she is trying to tell me. Above all I want my daughter and her mother to know that there is nothing that will break the bond of love I have for them. That it is my life force. My joy! It is my reason for believing that my life is beautiful and blessed. It was thinking on all of this that brought me to my final decision. That the things like money and work can hold no comparison to her little life. That it is a great honor in today’s age for my Wife to entrust me with such a noble task. When I took the time to really think I found that it took no thought at all. I had been fighting what the universe and everything in it had been trying to tell me over the past two years. That for now, I belong at home with Izydor, and within two weeks it became a reality.

Since we have taken the leap of faith and gone on to become a single income family things have become surprising easier. True, we may not have all the money in the world, but we certainly seem to have everything that we want and need. It has allowed us to focus on important things like the family dinner table, cooking healthy flavorful meals, and establishing a solid routine for Izzie. We have traveled to the Bahamas, Chicago and Izzie and I even ran the very first Hollywood 10K. Well, I ran and she cruised in her sweet Jeep jogging stroller. She is a regular at her local park and library for toddler story time and play dates. I’m convinced she is the world’s best dog walker and soccer ball kicker. She and Chille explore the hills of Runyon and Bronson Canyons together now. She is a constant reminder that I need to be my best self every moment of every day. That I am the living breathing example of what people should be and are in her little world. It has made our little family stronger and more in love than ever.

We are non-traditional and different and I have learned how to embrace and love every moment of it. For somebody as traditional as I once was it has taken this to truly show me what matters in life. These moments are fleeting and we can never get them back. In the end it took the two most beautiful women, the loves of my life, to teach me about true masculinity and being a man. That it’s not about how much money you make or how powerful you are. That your good looks will ultimately fail you and one day most will not even remember your name. It’s about commitment and showing up for the people in life who need and love you in the same way you do them. It’s about knowing that true love and strong families knows just when, where, and how to sacrifice the things that we think we want and need for something better. For me it’s about being for Stephie and Izydor what nobody else in the world can be, a loving father and husband.

So on our Holiday this year I would encourage all fathers and husbands to take a different approach. Remember it’s not about Father’s Day. It’s about every other day of the year when nobody is watching closely enough to see truly who you are as a husband and father. It is in those seemingly small unnoticed moments that we truly define ourselves as men. Happy Father’s Day to you all!