Thursday, August 29, 2013

A House Full of Windows

This is Kyler's Nana. This picture can't even put into words how much our son means to her. You see, Kyler is her first grandchild, and his birth was a bittersweet event for her. Let me take you back a few years and try to paint a clear picture...

Brad and I had been in the adoption process for a little over a year when we matched up with Kyler's mom when she was 4.5 months pregnant. It was actually late into her pregnancy when we confirmed the sex of her baby, and we were so excited to share our news with everyone in a creative way that we were having a boy. FINALLY! When we told Brad's mom and dad, I remember his dad saying, "I'm getting me a fishin' buddy now!" Brad's parents were very excited to say the least. That excitement quickly turned into tragedy as Brad's dad [Almon] was soon admitted to the hospital a few days later with complications from his previously inserted pacemaker.

Fast forward a few weeks and Almon was in ICU (intensive care unit) fighting for his life against an infection from the pacemaker that had spread to his blood. At this time, we were both in Albuquerque, New Mexico waiting for Kyler to be born. Kyler was born on Oct 2 to the delight of us all, and Almon was also showing some signs of recovery. Things were looking up. Then Almon took a turn for the worse and Brad's dad died a mere ten days after Kyler was born. Brad's mother, Debra, had experienced both one of the greatest experiences of her life andone of the worst....gaining a grandson but losing a husband.

Brad had flown to be by his dad's bedside a few days earlier...I stayed in New Mexico waiting for our paperwork to clear so we could leave the state with our son. It was hard times. Brad was torn up being away from his newborn son and also losing his father, and I was a new parent with a 10 day-old infant feeling elated but tired and helpless. To our relief, our adoption clearance came the day before the funeral, so I hopped on a the next plane out with my 2 week old son in tow...determine to be together as a family for the funeral of Kyler's Paw-Paw. We landed safely in the airport that night and made our way to the family's house at almost midnight. We walked in the door and Nana was waiting in the living room to meet her grandson. It was a moment I don't think any of us will ever forget. There was total elation slamming head-on into utter sadness at the same time. There was nothing but tears a'flowing as Nana cradled Kyler in her arms and rocked back and forth with him on her knees....both praising God for blessing her with this child and wishing to the stars that her Almon could be there to share this moment together. A special bond was created in that moment. A bond between that small child and this weeping woman. Her broken heart unfolded and, consumed with unconditional love, dedicated its existence to the happiness of her grandson.

A few months ago, Brad and Kyler went to visit Nana for a few days. During that time, Kyler went with her to Uncle Bob's house where he was able to go fishin' in the small pond behind his house. I think Kyler thought catching a fish was one of the grossest but coolest thing ever. He shrilled with delight and can't wait to go back fishin' again. I think Paw-Paw [Almon] was right there in the moment standing by Nana's side....watching their grandson fish for the very first time. Paw-Paw handed the reigns over to Nana to have Kyler be her little fishin' buddy and she had succeeded.

Nana has always said that Kyler was the very one thing that saved her through the events surrounding her husband's death.She has always heard that when "God closes a door, he always opens a window." Well, Nana has stated, "He opened up a house full of windows for me." She has treasured this boy from the very first second, and her words and actions live and breathe it every moment. This woman is strong. This woman is endearing. This woman is loving. This woman is Nana...Kyler's Nana,

I look at this picture above and it just swells my heart with such swirling and sadness. We love you so much Nana, and we all miss you to the moon and back Paw-Paw.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

We've Got the Media Buzzing @ My2Brads

Washington Post article June 16, 2013
We've been very fortunate how media has worked in our favor. After connecting with Kyler's mother via Facebook and then getting interviewed by Laura Evans and FOX 5 News during the holidays, The Brads have the media buzzing again.

Today, Father's Day 2013, the Washington Post ran an article on our family about how social media (specifically Facebook) played an amazing role in our adoption. Not only were we interviewed, but so was Kyler's mother.

Fast forward a few hours and we received a call from FOX 5 News to see if they could interview us at noon to be featured tonight at on the 6pm and 10pm segments. Uh, "hec yah!"   We hope to post that recorded segment on here somehow following the newscast. (see below)

What's next for the Brad's?  Well, we'd love to go even bigger and share our story across this nation. We'd love to be on Ellen or the Today Show to showcase the realities of the adoption process, how social media can play a role and, most importantly, how open adoption can be an amazing and healthy experience. After that, who knows what could be next ... maybe our own reality show - "My 2 Brads"   Whaddaya think?

Home video of the interview via my iPhone

The actual FOX page online that has the better quality video

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sharing Yourself: A Precious Gift

Take a moment and think about some gifts you have received in the past. They could be for your birthday, Christmas, wedding, anniversary, Mother's Day.....anything really. Which ones stand out to you?  Why do they stand out to you? It could be because of the occasion (maybe a wedding for example) or it could be because of the person who gave it to you....or even what the gift actually was.  When it encompasses a multitude of reasons, that's when you know you have a very special gift that holds a place in your soul that's with you for a lifetime. 

I recently came across one of these gifts as I was updating my iPod that I'd like to share with you at the end of the blog post.  Seems like an odd place to find a "gift" when you are on your computer. What I came across was a music file (.mp3) that is over 11 years old. I listened to this file on my iTunes and wonderful memories came flashing back to me, and I felt a warmness in my heart.  This is what a special gift that you cherish does to least in my book. I thought of the wonderful person who gave it to me, the special occasion in which it was given, and then just the overall preciousness of the gift itself. See....I was given the special gift of my very own song.

My best friend, Mike Nguyen, has a very special musical talent. He plays the piano and the cello....and it a master at both. For my 30th birthday, Mikey composed and recorded a piano and cello duet and played it for me before we had dinner at his house to celebrate my birthday. I remember that moment when I first realized what was happening. He sat me down on the sofa and told me he had a gift for me. I didn't see anything wrapped and it didn't look like he was making any move to bring forth some type of present hidden somewhere.  Instead, he pressed "play" on his electric piano where he recorded a song. How beautiful the music was....and it was specifically for me. I think I was so shocked, stunned, overwhelmed (you name it) after the first time it played that I made him play it again right away before I said anything.  Man I was moved. Actually, I think I cried a bit. Here was such an amazing talent sharing something so special with me.....himself. How do you put that into words?  I think it's incredible, don't you?

My deep friendship with Mikey has spanned over 12 years now. We have had so many wonderful memories together with our friends. Road trips, nights on the town, parties, weddings, concerts, dinners and countless other events. He truly is one of a kind and I love him dearly. If you know know exactly what I'm talking about.

I'd like to share this special gift with you via the power of the Internet which I really had no way of doing back then.  I think you will agree that the song is beautiful not only for what you hear, but also for what it stands for....friendship.  Here is my precious gift, entitled:   Brad's 30th

Much  love, Mikey!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pork, the One You Love

We had another dinner experiment tonight.   PORK!   I had a couple of boneless pork loins in the fridge that I was having a hankering for.....I looked at Kyler awaiting in his highchair and said, "why not? It's pork, the one you love!"   I had a plan to just tell him it was chicken. s-m-a-r-t

10 minutes on the Griddler and we had us a delish meal with peas and mac 'n cheese. He look one of the cut up bites and shortly grabbed for another. SUCCESS!  Then he shocked me by asking for some "dip"  (aka ketchup) and "musser" which I took as "mustard." Whoa!  Coming right up, my boy!!!!

We had a most amazing meal together and shared some laughs about pork. I was pretending to order to Chinese takeout of Pork Fried Rice (ala "Porr Flied Lice")...although I don't really think he knew what he was laughing about other than Pop's silly faces. It would have been perfect meal together had he not ripped a big ol' man-fart half way through dinner that we both laughed about. Actually, that probably made it just perfect now that I think about it. Oh well, like Papa like son.   Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrt  :) 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He Mustard Up the Courage

Just somewhat of a follow up from my previous post. I basically alluded to the fact that Kyler can be somewhat of a picky eater. He definitely knows what he does and does not like to eat. He is big ketchup fan for dipping almost anything in. 

Tonight was a breakthrough at dinner time for me. I asked Kyler if he'd like something different to dip his chicken nuggets in. Of course he said "yes" because I really don't think he knew what I was asking.....or intending. I had a plan to see if I could get Kyler to try and possibly like mustard. 

Now as you know.....mustard is very distinct taste. You either love it or hate it. I had a gut feeling that he was not going to like it, but I just had to try.  Why?  His Dada is a HUGE mustard fan and puts in on almost everything. I just thought it'd be cute if they both had a love for mustard. 

I put out his chicken nuggets and put the tiniest of dollops of mustard on the corner of the to the larger splat of ketchup. I told Kyler is was something different and that it would taste funny, and that he did not have to like it. The boy smiled and dipped his finger right in it and off into his mouth it went. 

I wish I could have captured the face. It was a cross between "what the hec's in my mouth" and "hey this is kind of fun."  He ended up finishing off the rest of the mustard dollop with a few of the nuggets and then switched to the ketchup. Whoooo-Hoooo!   I was half expecting him to spit it out or chuck his plate (yes this sweet angel has done that before, Nana)....but not this.  WOW!

I have to hand it to him....he sure surprised me tonight. My brave little man....mustard'ing up the courage to try new things.   It's all a Papa could ask for. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Battle the Veggie War and CRUSH it!

If you're like me, you struggle with getting your toddler to eat their veggies. I personally love almost all vegetables, and I want our son to love them as well. But if your child is anything like Kyler, he's pretty much limited us to peas, carrots and occasionally he'll surprise with a few swallows of potatoes. I've tried several times to get him to eat sweet potatoes (roasted with honey) and some other healthy alternatives, but I usually end up with the same result:  a huge mess and none of the veggies ending up anywhere inside my child.  UGH!   To save my sanity and provide the variety of veggies we desire for Kyler to have......we sneak. 

Thank goodness there are many products on the market that we lovingly call "crushers."  They go by different names:  pouches, veggie grabs, squeezies.  Whatever you call them, I hope you are in love with them as much as we are. They typically use apple sauce as a base (and sometimes some fruit, e.g. mangoes), but then they sneak in great veggies like:  sweet potatoes, spinach, squash and even rutabaga. I know they are meant to be for much younger babies that might be transitioning into solids, but not in this household!  They are perfect for those emergency snacks on the go, but they are a great supplement to a meal when you just need some veggie action in your child so you can go to bed with a clean conscience. 

You can see from this image with Ella's Kitchen, Kyler gets a nice heap full of sweet potatoes AND pumpkin with this crusher. Plus, the antioxidants the blueberries. WIN-WIN!

We'll continue our efforts of getting Kyler to explore with more vegetables, but we'll always know we can reach for these little pouches in the cabinet and CRUSH it!

Why don't they make these for adults? Or do they?  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Next Leap Into Fatherhood

Today starts a whole new journey in my quest for being a good father. Brad is going back into his show at the Kennedy Center for about 10 weeks. Combining the 8 shows a week he will do with his full-time day job makes for a very busy (and tired) Dada, but he is very excited to be back in theater where his true passion is fulfilled. I couldn't be more proud of him.

What this means for Pop (me) is that I have solo duty every night (except Monday) while Dad is in the show. I need to become Super Pop. Although it will be an adjustment, I'm really looking forward to it and the challenges I will face. Here is what I'm looking forward to:

  • forcing myself to leave work "early" every day at 5pm (most ppl call this normal departure time) to pick Kyler up
  • enjoying one-on-one dinners with my son and the conversations we will have
  • being creative with my ability to entertain a very energetic 2 yr old for several hours
  • seeing if I can still maintain sanity and balance
  • supporting my fiance with his passion and welcoming him home each night
Brad has had to be "solo dad" every time I have had a work trip, and I know how difficult it can be. Am I up for the challenge?  Hec ya!  Will I have some epic failures?  Ummm, hi, you know me?  If Murphy Brown can do can I!!!!  (actually, I can't believe I just referenced Murphy Brown)  Brad will still be home each night after Kyler is asleep and then again most of the day on the weekend. So no biggie, right? 

I know I can do this. I know so many positive things will come from this. I know I will grow from this experience. I know I will love my son even more. I know I can do this. I can take this leap.....this leap of faith. 

Watch me!