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The Miracle Bowl

December 9, 2010

For college football aficionados, especially those who are BYU fans, The Miracle Bowl represents one of the finest comebacks ever in the history of the college football—engineered by the great Jim McMahon. The Cougars had never won a bowl game coming into the 1980 Holiday Bowl, and the “experts” seemed sure they wouldn’t get this one either.

They were matched up against the Mustangs of SMU who boasted two of the best running backs in the game.  Nicknamed the “Pony Express,” Eric Dickerson and Craig James were picked to run roughshod over Brigham Young.

With four minutes left in the game, everything was turning out just as it was supposed to. BYU’s defense couldn’t handle SMU’s offense, and the Mustangs scored to take a commanding 45-25 lead over the Cougars.

But, like all miracles, the undoable found a way to get done.  Over the next four minutes, BYU found a way back.  Then, in the final minute of the game, now just down by six, The Cougs blocked a punt, and with 13 seconds left, ended up with the ball on the 41-yard line.  After two incompletions, McMahon threw a “Hail Mary” pass as time expired.  Due to an amazing catch, the ball found its way into Clay Brown’s hands for the touchdown.  With no time left, the miracle was completed as the extra point was good.  BYU took their first bowl win with a 46-45 victory. (To see a piece done on The Miracle Bowl, click here—or watch it at the end of this post)

This year, I had my own Miracle Bowl.  It was twice as amazing, and took my breath away in a way the 1980 Holiday Bowl never could.

It was the first weekend in November and BYU was playing at home against UNLV.  The night before, I had decided that I wasn’t going to use my season tickets, and just watch the game on TV.  It was supposed to be pretty cold, and UNLV was on a down year to say the least.

But, when I woke up the next morning, the weatherman was all wrong (big shock…right?!)  It was a beautiful day, with temperatures you expected to see in mid September—not the first of November.  Feeling like I couldn’t pass on such a beautiful day, I got on the phone and started making the rounds to see if I could find a second (Ko’s my usual game day gal, but things have been a little off this year…OK maybe more than just a little).

I called my brother, my brother in law, my buddy—all the usual suspects, and because of the late notice no one could join me.  Finally, sitting at the counter, I looked over at Cole and asked him.  He didn’t say no—frankly, he didn’t really say anything, I took that as a yes, and we were off.

We made the hour and a half trip brilliantly.  I was in the front of the van doing my pregame prep by listening to the pre-game on 1160 AM, while Cole was in the back getting all he needed from Donald Duck (said like it’s all one word, “Donalduck”).  We prepare for games very differently, but different strokes and all that

We got to the stadium where Cousin Jessie, who’s going to the Y, met us, and unloaded The Cole Man from his car seat.

Coleman with his cousin Jessie

Before I knew it, there we were, Cole and I taking in our first Cougar game together. We sat there, got some pics together, and with Cosmo the mascot, Cole saw his first touchdown (which we happened to get on video—you can see that below too) and even somehow enjoyed a hot dog together.  Which, I know may not seem like much, but when you have no use of your hands, partial use of your arms, and have your left hand side unable to help since it’s being used holding Cole, buying, unwrapping, and sharing a hot dog with a 22 month old takes real skill!

Cole meeting "Cosmo" and looking a little unsure about doing so.

Cole takin' time to talk to the ladies (Here he is with his friend Lauren)

Then, in the middle of all the cheering and fun (BYU won big), it hit me.

I’ve had those same seats for a long time; since ’89 when I was a freshman;  since before I knew Kolette.  I’ve been watching BYU play football from those same seats for 21 seasons now, and during those seasons I’ve seen a lot—a lot of football, a lot of fun, and a lot of fathers taking their sons to football games.  Through nearly all those seasons, I wondered if I would ever get to be one of those fathers.

Then, on the 6th of November, there I was—watching a game with my boy.  I was now the father.  I now got to make sure my boy could see the ball, meet the mascot and get a hot dog.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and streamed down my face, as I saw my Miracle Bowl.  For, I was reminded again, as I so often am, that Cole is just that—a miracle—the real thing.  Just like the BYU vs. SMU game, Cole proves that the undoable is doable, and that the “experts” don’t always know as much as they think they do.  It made me grateful to my Father in Heaven for this supreme blessing; for this incredible kindness.

It may not be the best game I’ve ever seen, but it was the most beautiful.

Me and my miracle man

I love you son,

Dad

The scoreboard after the TD

THE MIRACLE BOWL

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Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2010

A little JibJab rap to help y’all get into the Ghoulish Spirit – Yo!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Jh-

(Special Appearances by Aunt Kara & Cousin Ben)

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The Flight of The Stroller

May 27, 2010

With everything that’s been going on around the Hall House, Coleman has had to be on a multi-week sleepover at Grandma Hall’s and Aunt Carolie’s (click here and here for more info).

I miss the little guy, and go to see him as often as I can, but when I can’t I watch this little video.  I made it just hours before everything went south with Kolette, and it provides me the perfect taste of the energy the home is missing without “The Cole Man” around.

Jh-

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The Little Sucker

April 16, 2010

Cole loves many things, but of all the things he loves two that are at the top of his list are being where the action is, and visitors. Cole loves to be where the action is. When people are over, he wants to be around them and watch everything they’re doing, and every time the doorbell rings, this look of complete and utter joy covers Coleman’s face, as he runs to see who has arrived.

So you can imagine how he feels when my aides come over, ring the doorbell, and go back into my room to help me.  He’s so excited, he can hardly stand it, and the guy doesn’t want to miss a minute.

So any morning, or evening, the situation permits, there’s Cole—right in the middle of everything.  It’s been this way since he could crawl.  He plays in the bed, sits on my lap, and breaks my razor (the little turkey).

But, Cole’s favorite time is when I take my meds.  Every morning, and every night, I take my pills, and wash them down with a little Sprite.  Then, just like dad, Coleman gets a sip of Sprite too.

At first, it was just about trying to get the giant straw in his mouth like.  Then, it became all about having the straw in his mouth like I did.  But now, after a lot of work and patience, he’s figured out how to get himself a little taste of Sprite.

Now, he can’t do it all in one big suck.  So, he puts his little lips around that big ol’ straw, and the little sucker just sucks, sucks, and sucks, over and over, until the wonderful combination of carbonation, water, and sugar reaches his mouth.

When it does finally gets to him, his eyes water up, and his face looks confused.  Then the sugar waxes, the carbonation wanes, and a grin fills his chubby little face.

It makes me smile just thinking about it.  I love the little sucker!

Jh-

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Who Says There Isn’t an Easter Bunny?

April 4, 2010

The other morning, my mom called and asked if she could come over and spend the morning with Coleman.  In addition to her regular gifts of time and play that she so freely gives to Cole, on this morning she also brought my boy a present for Easter.

She came in the house to find Coleman giddy with excitement at the sight of his friend (Cole gets that way around his Grandmas). Once at the house, Kolette took off, not wanting to miss an opportunity to get in her morning run

After kisses and a proper hello (which usually means giggles and hugs), she pulled out the gift. I was sure that it was going to be some sort of candy treat or yogurt covered pretzel that little Cole loves so much.  But when the package was opened, much to my surprise it was not chocolate, or even a toy, but a set of blue bunny ears attached to a plastic headband.  As we sat there laughing at the present Grandma had found for her grandson, little did we know that the laughter had just begun.

Mom put the ears on Coleman, sure that he would pull them off the first chance he got.  But, we learned something about Coleman that morning—the kid loves him a quality set o’ bunny ears!

He walked around the house looking at us while we laughed, wondering what was so stinkin’ funny.  He’d look at us as if to say, “I’m wearin’ my ears…get over it.”

Just then, Ko got home from her run.  By her laughter, I think it’s safe to say the last thing she expected to see welcoming her at the door, was Cole wearing a set of blue bunny ears.

He kept them with him until his nap, and when he woke up they went right back on.  Now, some out there that believe the Easter Bunny to be a figment of peoples imagination, or the product of some tall tale.

To them I say, the Easter Bunny is real—and I’ve got the pictures to prove it!

Happy Easter

Jh-

And to further your Easter delight, I present to you the finest Easter commercial of ALL TIME!

PS Thanks to smilebox for making the collage so easy.

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Coleman and The Desk

March 29, 2010

This past Saturday, sometime before noon, Kolette decided to go for a run.  If you don’t already know, she’s working up to running in a local half-marathon on the 15th of May. (For more on the subject, you can check out her blog here.)

This meant Coleman and I were on our own.  She left, I played with Cole in the living room for a few minutes, and went into my study to make some progress on a project I was working on—sure that Cole would stay playing in the living room for a while.

It wasn’t but a few minutes later that Coleman, never wanting to miss out on the action, followed me into my den.

It was “Game On” from the very moment he entered my office.  He was everywhere.  First, he tried to grab the papers I was working with. I moved my chair in front of that part of my desk to block his maneuver.  No sooner were the papers back in order than Cole was trying to grab the keyboard.

When I effectively flanked his keyboard move, he shuffled to the end of the desk to make a second attempt at the papers.  Things went on like this for a few minutes.  Every time I was sure everything on the desk was out of Cole’s reach, I’d see him up on his tippy toes and working to make another snatch.

By this time, I was little surprised to look over and find him trying to pull the phone onto the floor.  I sped over to thwart that effort when he made his final move.

He reached up and grabbed the joystick that controls my wheelchair, and with both hands, pulled the control in his direction.

Now usually, I turn the power off to avoid this very situation.  But, because he had me moving back and forth in front of the desk, working to keep all my stuff from off the floor, the chair was on and in high gear.

As I saw him about to run himself over, I pushed his hands forward hoping to break his grip.

Unfortunately, I severely underestimated my boys grip—and unwilling to let go, my push forward hurled up both forward.

Coleman and I rammed into my desk sending it, and everything on top of it (i.e. My Mac, a desk lamp, the phone, pens, papers, books, etc.) crashing to the ground and into the wall.

When the cacophony ended, I looked down to make sure Coleman was safe.  I don’t know exactly when he let go, but it was definitely in plenty of time.  For, sitting on his little bum, he simply and innocently looked at the desk and then looked up at me with a quizzical look that seemed to say, “What’s next?”

About 5 minutes later, Kolette returned from her run to a home a little different than the one she left.  My office was in shambles, I was in shock, and Cole wanted to play catch.

The good news is that everyone is fine.  The desk and wall are on life support, but thanks to good neighbors like the Treasures, I think they’re gonna make it.

Never a dull moment………Never a dull moment.

Jh-

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Best Words In The Wide World

March 19, 2010

It wasn’t far into Coleman’s “Jibber Jabbering” that his first word found it’s way out of his mouth and into our lives.  Being the “Social Animal” that he is, it was no surprise to Ko or I that his first word was, “Hi.”

He’d cruise around the house waving his hands and sharing’ “Hi’s” with every Tom, Tammy, Dick, Dani, and Harry or Mary that came through our front door.

Just days after, “Hi,” found it’s way to the top of the charts. “Dad’s” and “Dada’s” started showing themselves into Coleman’s repertoire. He said the word everywhere.  It was music to my ears.  What I didn’t expect was the side effect hearing the words caused. My balance got all screwed up. (I went to the Doctor and he said I’d be fine once the pride curbed and I stopped sticking my chest out so far.)

But, as good as those days were the best and most verbally rewarding of my life came when Cole started combining his words.

It happens on a regular basis right now. I’ll be working in my office, keeping my mind on my work when all of the sudden, combined with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, I hear my big man’s little voice say, “Hi, Dad.”

I’ve received awards of note, been recognized by my peers, and presented in front of literally thousands of people, but it all pales in comparison to having my boy walk through my office door and say, “Hi, Dad.”

For me they truly are the best words in the wide world.

Jh-

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