A Sky Full of Stars

I’ve wanted a tattoo in honour of Ellie for a while now and seeing how free and joyful Ellie is when she hears ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ was perfect for expressing my love of her in ink

Back in January, I went ahead and got my second tattoo. Whereas my first tattoo was for Marti, I decided that I also wanted one each for Ellie & Jack.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about exactly what I wanted to get that embodied Ellie and how I feel about her. One of my favourite videos that I have of Ellie is when she fell in love with Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars and she would rock out to the chorus when it came on. Every single time I watch that video, her uninhibited joy makes me smile. And every single time I hear that song, it instantly makes me think of her.

Ellie asked for a dance party

I knew that I wanted to use A Sky Full of Stars in my tattoo for her when one day I was vacuuming with my headphones on and A Sky Full of Stars came on. For some reason, I was overcome with emotion (to the point of falling to my knees and sobbing with joy, which has never happened before) thinking about how much I love Ellie, what a blessing she is and how one day she’s going to be a grown woman that I may have the honour of walking down the aisle. Continue reading “A Sky Full of Stars”

Coming to terms with Trump

Preface: I’m keenly aware that as someone who has no voting rights in the USA, my words carry little weight, however, I’m also raising children (most notably, a daughter) in this environment, so I’m exercising my voice on behalf of my children who will one day have the ability to shape the world in which they live.

I’ve very much come to terms with the fact that Trump will be the next President. It’s done and I accept that.

What is much harder to come to terms with is the fact that people think this town jester who:

  • mocks the disabled,
  • lusts after and assaults women like an immature and dangerous college student,
  • considers “religion” to be an appropriate factor in determining one’s suitability for entering the country,
  • perpetuated the longstanding lie that Obama was born in Kenya
  • adjusts his limp backbone based on the response he gets from the people,
  • claims business acumen when his wealth would be double what it is today if he’d have retired in 1982 and invested in the S&P500,
  • derides people based on their looks despite looking like an orange-tinted, wig-adorned, plump corpse himself,
  • etc., etc. ad nauseam

is someone that a (near) majority of the people consider to be fit to serve in the highest office in the USA. It’s an absolute mockery. Continue reading “Coming to terms with Trump”

Raising boys vs girls: 9 months old

I have both a son and a daughter and in many respects, they are like night and day.

When Ellie was 9 months old, you could hear the winds of change: she was starting to scoot about and explore, but nothing was in danger.

With Jack, it’s less like the winds of change and more like a hurricane. Destruction threatens your house at any moment and when the hurricane and floodwaters come, anything that you treasure needs to be at least three feet off the ground to have the best chance of survival.

In fact, if possible, you should suspend everything in your house from the ceiling, creating a three-foot clear zone at the bottom where only items that you don’t mind seeing broken, consumed, torn, licked, thrown or destroyed should go.

Another memorable Christmas

It’s been a pleasant and enjoyable Christmas this year. Ellie had her moments where the excitement got the better of her and her behaviour wasn’t up to scratch, but other than that, it’s been really nice spending some time with family, keeping it moderately low-key and playing some games.

Jack’s first Christmas

Ellie’s 3rd Christmas

We spent yesterday making a trip to Ikea getting a new bed frame to go with the new mattress that I got Marti for Christmas which was a lot of fun. While we ate lunch at the cafe (they have a lot of good vegan options!), we got this adorable picture of Jack:

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We ended the day by going to Hofbrauhaus in St Pete – a new German restaurant, which is a lot of fun. They have live music, vegan food (surprisingly good) and a lot of singing and dancing. Great end to the day.

The single thing that made me most attractive to women

I’ve never considered myself to be particularly attractive and I’ve never really noticed women taking much of an interest in me. But there was a clear difference in how women looked at me after one particular event in my life: having children and being a half-decent dad. Continue reading “The single thing that made me most attractive to women”

A realisation that’ll make you feel old in a heartbeat

Are you ready to feel really old?

I was born in 1985. As I was growing up, the music of the 80s was fairly current, 70s was a bit dated, but music from the 60s was really old. The 50s and earlier was prehistoric and I’m not sure that I really heard too much music that predates the 60s.

Thinking about this is somewhat bizarre because in reality, the 60s were as recent as just 16 years prior to my birth, but that segues nicely into my next point. Continue reading “A realisation that’ll make you feel old in a heartbeat”

Rethinking circumcision intelligently and rationally

This lecture gives an impartial and intelligent overview of circumcision and why we, particularly in America, perhaps ought to rethink whether it’s right for our sons.

Circumcision is a hot topic in the US. It’s a discussion that until I moved here wasn’t even something that I ever thought about. To me, it’s a bizarre practice rooted in either religious doctrine or bad medical advice that just won’t die and most people who are not American, Jewish or Muslim would tend to agree.

In the UK, circumcision is uncommon. Along with countries like Australia and Canada, the UK made a decision to stop routinely practicing it on newborn boys in the middle of the 20th century after medical research increasingly pointed to it being more dangerous than leaving the foreskin intact.

This excellent lecture by Ryan McAllister, a research assistant professor at Georgetown University removes the misinformation and emotions from the equation and just looks at the argument intelligently. Continue reading “Rethinking circumcision intelligently and rationally”

The completion of my family

With the arrival of Jack a few weeks ago, our family is now complete so these photos are the first of our whole family, causing me to ponder our little unit and the responsibilities of raising them well.

Following the arrival of Jack, my family is now complete. My beautiful wife Marti, my daughter Ellie and my son Jack now make up our little family unit of four, with no more room at the inn.

Jack will be the last of our children so these pictures are the first of our whole family. Even though I’m well aware of the fact that I have a wife and a daughter and a son, to see our family together in a photo somehow makes it seem that much more surreal. I actually have a complete family; it might seem weird for me to say that, but it really hits home that we’re now a whole independent unit responsible to and for one another. And we’ve got another couple of decades like this before we start to divide and multiply. Continue reading “The completion of my family”

A Valentine’s Day gift from Ellie

Marti got me a gift from Ellie for Valentine’s Day consisting of a keychain that says how I’ll always be the first man she ever loved.

This Valentine’s Day, I got a special present from Ellie. She gave me a little token to go on my keys. It reads:

You will always be the first man I ever loved. – Ellie.

I love it and I have to give props to Marti Ellie for being so thoughtful and getting this for me. It’ll live proudly on my keys. Continue reading “A Valentine’s Day gift from Ellie”

Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)

Today I turn 30, so it’s a great time to reflect on what I’ve done, how far I’ve come and what I want to do moving forward

30 years ago today, aside from the first ever episode of the most popular British soap Eastenders airing, I was born.

I absolutely couldn’t care less that I’m 30. I haven’t been dreading this day, nor do I attribute any sort of aging to it, any more so than any other day. However, a “n0” birthday is a milestone that only comes along once a decade so it seems like a perfect time for some reflection.

The last 10 years

Since February 2010 (the last 5 years), quite a number of things have changed in my life. I became a professional engineer, I became a father, I have another child on the way, I started my own business which is now thriving and I moved house 3 times.

In the last 10 years, even more has changed. In February 2005, I was in my second year at university, was single, living with my Mum in the UK and I was working for the NHS. Over the next 5 years, I would meet and fall in love with Marti, graduate from university, become a Christian, move to the States to be with her, get married 60 days later, battle 8 months of being unable to work before getting my green card, a job, my driver’s license, a car and our first apartment in the space of about 4 weeks.

Reflection on who I am

Me in December 2005 - the first time I ever visited Marti
Me in a decidedly emo pose in December 2005 – the first time I ever visited Marti

As I think about the man I am today, where I’ve come from and the boy I used to be, I’ve noticed quite a few specific observations about how I’ve changed in particular and more general observations about how we as humans mature (or don’t).

The first thing is that nothing is given. Not only is nothing guaranteed but you’ll change in ways and do things that you would have never believed, conceived or thought possible. Continue reading “Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)”