Pickie the Pixie

Tattoos have been around for centuries and getting a tattoo inspired by your children or your favorite book is nothing new. of course it’s no surprise a few of my tattoos are directly connected to my sons and Harry Potter.

My most recent tattoo is just as special to me as the other ones I’ve gotten that were dedicated to my sons. The first time I visited the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Stephanie and I were walking out after a long hot day and as we pass a shelf loaded with stuffed animals and other HP merchandise, Jax starts pointing and laughing uncontrollably. He was pointing at the blue Cornish Pixie hanging on the shelf… so of course we bought it for him. He still has it to this day… so I got his Pixie (that he calls Pickie) on my inner arm.

Im about 2/3 of the way finished with my Potter sleeve, with a few directly representing my sons.

I of course had some ink done dedicated to my first after he was born.  I decided on a meaningful representation of father and son taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [short story] “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” The story’s moral is that you should live life for the right reasons: love and those you love. The youngest brother in the story youngest brother was a humble man asked for a thing that he could use to live a long and happy life.  One in which he was allowed to see his child grow. He was given a cloak of invisibility. And thus because of this he attained a great age and passed The Cloak of Invisibility to his son. I was happy to get a tattoo representing a moment that every father dreams of… Passing down something (knowledge, skill, an invisibility cloak) to their child which will ensure he will live long, happy and successful live.

When I decided it was time to get a tattoo honoring my newest little man it was obvious it would be something related to his name, Oliver, and also had to have some connection to Harry Potter. The olive branch [above] has a very symbolic meaning which made it the perfect choice both references. The Olive Branch symbolizes a beginning of a new life and in the Harry Potter story, Oliver Wood is the first Quidditch player we meet, he’s the keeper and captain of the Gryffindor team and one of my favorite characters in the story.

Do you have a tattoo inspired by your child(ten) or of Harry Potter? Post in the comments!

Chronicles of a New Dad and Baby Jack and Company: A Magical Pairing

 

Almost 4 years ago to the day I started this blog as a fun way to keep track of my son as he grows. A couple of years later we had another son which created more memories and more shenanigans which generated more writing. The writing about my boys is what I love. Being able to tell stories about how amazing they are and how normal it is to screw things up as a parent is what I enjoy most.

The more writing I did, the more people noticed. The more people noticed the more I was asked to write for other people, which turned into more traffic and eventually a boom. (Pick up your copy of Letters From Dad: Thoughts on Fatherhood, Family and Life on amazon today). Then one day I designed a Harry Potter- Cupboard Under the Stairs themed reading room and things took off… interviews with Parents Magazine, interviews with NBC, as well as coverage from Mugglenet and newspapers from the UK, Central America and of course all across the US. Cumulating in almost a million hits, views, likes and shares.

Then my phone rang and on the other end Mikey Mouse offered me the chance to work with him and the Disney crew on an amazing project (well more Disney and less Mickey Mouse). The more I thought about it the more I realized it just wasn’t what I wanted my blog to lead too. It wasn’t the right fit. Yes I know what I’m saying… getting a chance to work with Disney is a great opportunity… but, honestly it just wasn’t the right fit.

I was very content where I was… clearly my first job of being a parent is the most important part of my life, but being a school principal is not far behind. If I was going to branch out it would need to be something perfect… but who knew that something perfect was sitting in my Cupboard Under the Stairs the whole time.

When I got the call from Kelley, owner of Baby Jack and Company I was sure I was getting “catfished”. There was no way this amazing company that focuses on the thing that my son loves the most… his taggie/lovey and that they also create educational toys, and have their own Wizard line… and now they want me? Like she actually wants me to join her team? And I’ll have an official title… Creative Director? This is too good to be true!

And the whole time one of her “Loveys” sat quietly in the Cupboard Under the Stairs… a gift from an amazing friend. I guess it was fate. They say everything happens for a reason… this isn’t Disney… but to me, it’s so much more. A company that focuses on what is most important to me, parenting, family, education and of course Harry Potter.

Hopefully with a little magic this company will take off even more that it has already and I hope that I can positively contribute to already phenomenally successful business.

Please check us out at https://babyjackandcompany.com/pages/babyjackstore

Check out our blog as well… especially since the picture they used of me came out pretty good! https://babyjackandcompany.com/blogs/the-magic-of-the-lovey/we-found-him-hiding-in-a-cupboard-under-the-stairs

Mini Monet V

Finally the genius, the minuture artistic savant of abstract painting has taken some time out of his busy schedule to paint himself something for once.  

No fanfare… no time lapse video… just the finished creation blending artistic vision and artistic ability with the fact that his parents think that everything he does is amazing and you have a genuine masterpiece: 

Survey Says…

Everyday is a sunny day because of you.

Those of you that read this blog religiously (hell let’s face it, those of you who have read this blog once or twice) know that my take here isn’t to publicize my opinions on the rights or wrongs on raising a child, nor is it for me to take a stand on recent events or political ideologies currently in the media… I’m more of a “can you believe this actually happened” kind of writer… a mediocre story teller if you will.

With that in mind, I recently read an article that was sent to me about the relationship between parenting and happiness. The article was based on two schools of thought. The first based in part on a 2004 study by Nobel prize-winning economist Danny Kahneman in which he stated that academia has long believed that parenting “is a driver of unhappiness.” The studies conducted and reviewed don’t necessarily say that parenting makes you unhappy, but that parenting doesn’t actually make you happier. Part of the study surveyed almost 1000 parents and found that child care ranked sixteenth in pleasurability out of nineteen activities. (Among things they preferred to parenting: preparing food, watching TV, exercising, talking on the phone, napping, shopping, housework).  HOUSEWORK!!!!!!

I mean don’t get me wrong there are times where I wish I could just binge watch an entire season of The Wire without having to hear my son tell me he wants to watch Bubble Guppies or that he wants some more apple juice. But to say that my life hasn’t been improved by having my son around would be ludicrous.

Maybe it’s not perfect every second, but as a whole, evaluating what my son has ADDED to my life is immeasurable. In a 2013 interview NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, says “there’s a difference between happiness measured on a moment-to-moment level and happiness measured at a larger level”. No cleaning puke and potty training does not rank up there with seeing your favorite band live in concert and certainly pales in comparison to eating ice cream out of the container and watching a whole movie on Netflix without interruption. But, according to Vedantam, parents report “significantly more meaning in their lives than non-parents even though on a day-to-day basis parenting may be a grind.”

I guess for me, I really don’t need any scientific research or studies to tell me my life is infinitely better since my son was born. Then again it’s nice to know that there is some consensus of how stressful parenting can be… but overall how absolutely rewarding it can be as well.

Elton John said it perfectly: “I hope you don’t mind… That I put down in words… How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

Credit: NPR.org. Does Having Children Make You Happier? February 2013.

The Value of Student Work 

Entering a new school is something so extremely challenging. “Students First” is a motto that has been at the forefront of my career in education. Effective educators are dedicated individuals, dedicated to one thing first and foremost… their students. Excellent educators are able to effectively build a positive and safe school environment; however, the main goal is to create a learning environment of effective teaching that meets individual students’ needs in order to help them become lifelong learners that are self-motivated and value the effort it takes to be successful.

I have worked tirelessly throughout my entire career to create a positive school culture. I know that entering a new building the first task will be to make sure that I can contribute to that positive culture and climate. As a school leader I know that I will face many challenges in a new building, but supporting a welcoming and positive school culture goes a long way in helping to bridging the gap between the already established school community and myself, “the new guy.”

It will be imperative for me to help create an environment where the entire school community shares the same set of norms, values, and expectations in order to support the emotional, physical and academic well-being of our students.For me this starts with making sure that our students feel that “this is their school.” The best way to foster that belief is by creating an environment where students’ work is valued, appreciated and rewarded through display in the school itself. When I walk through my son’s daycare it feels like a place for kids, by kids (and not just because there are numerous toddlers running a muck). There is art work, (scribbles and master-pieces, writings and photos of children working and having fun posted everywhere). The work depicts the students effort, not just something that shows that they are “smart,” but shows that their hard work, effort and process is valued as well.

This is the type of environment I want to be part of as an educator. An environment that values effort and process, not just the product that is being created by our students. I am excited to begin my new journey as a school principal tomorrow. A journey that will start with a model of what we will value… The work of our children. I’m excited to display some beautiful paintings done by my son.

That is until my new students create their own…

 

Mini Monet Part III


So another master piece created by the one and only JCF.  He is a sevant.  This kid is going to make millions selling his artwork, I know it… or he is going to stay in school and get a well paying job when he graduates.  Either way… It’s a win-win.

I have to say… And this isn’t just a typical parent response, but I like this kid’s artistic style.  It’s abstract… It’s colorful and whimsical… and it makes you happy. But that brings us to the million dollar question…

“When is your child’s artwork expendable?!!!???”

There is a very systematic approach to figuring out exactly how to approach this situation:

     WHAT IS IT?                          WHAT TO DO?

    Unidentifiable?                       Throw it away

Title Matches Pic                    Keep a week

I can tell what it is                   Keep a month

It says “I love Dad”                  Keep forever

Little man painted a beautiful work of art for Mima’s birthday… 


13227318_1052323378194975_659416416887001419_o

Check out Jackson’s other works of art below:

Mini Monet I https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/mini-monet/

Mini Monet II https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/mini-monet-at-it-again/

Weekend Thoughts

Sometimes when things seem so increasingly impossible to handle, all it takes is one smile to change the course of a day.   

Pancakes and a smile= breakfast of champions. 

 Big boy wearing his big boy shades… first day in his front facing car seat.  

  An artist’s work is always better when it is gifted to someone special!!! Jax ❤️’s you Mima