Archive for the ‘Life at Home’ Category

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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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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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ReelDirector Makes You a Real Director

February 12, 2010

ReelDirector for the iPhone 3GS

One of the best things about being in an “iPhone State of Mind” over the last 13 months came in an addition iPhone made to it’s 3GS model–a video camera.

Catching Cole’s special little moments has been so much easier with a video camera in my pocket.  Kolette and I love our Flip video camera and use it often, but there have been a lot of great stuff that we would have missed if we would have had to go to find the Flip first.  (We love the Flip though. It takes great high-quality video for being such a small little camera)

So, with our iPhones at the ready Ko and I captured all kinds of video from Coleman’s life.  The problem was that the only way to do any editing, was to download the video to my computer and put the clips into a program that would allow up to manipulate the footage.

Now, thanks to the folks at Nexvio, “There’s an app for that.”  They’ve come up with an app that allows you to edit video on the fly and right from your phone.  It’s called ReelDirector, and it is so easy.  We just take the video, trim the clips, add transitions and titles, import audio if we like–and voilà.  Just like that a finished video that we can instantly text to all our loved ones (Grandma’s mostly).

In fact, just recently Cole’s Grandma Coleman who currently lives in the Dominican Republic just mentioned how she doesn’t feel so far away, because of all the video we’ve sent.

If you’re an iPhoner, I totally recommend it.  If you use another device with a video camera there’s gotta be something else like it out there.  It makes things loads easier, and keeps those you love close.  Just look at the way I chronicled some of Coleman’s best “walkin’ work” using ReelDirector.

It’s like I’m James Cameron on wheels……well let’s not get crazy!

Jh-

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The Magic of Christmas

December 24, 2009

Our little Magic Man with Santa

I will never forget the day that I learned the truth about Santa.

Being the oldest in my family, and a kid people would categorize as a believer anyway, I believed in Santa Claus far longer than most of my friends.  In fact, it was deep in the summer of 1982, when I was between the 5th and 6th grades, when I finally learned the truth.

I was down the street at the Petersen’s playing.  I remember it being a normal summer day.  We had our bikes flipped over in order to work on and repair them (which usually just meant pushing the pedals as hard as we could to see how fast we could get the wheel to go, a good cleaning, and a little oil on the chain if we were lucky).  But, there we were, in front of the Petersen’s working on our bikes, considering selling the lemonade, and just shooting the breeze when one of my friends said, “Can you believe we believed Santa was real for so long?’

I looked at him puzzled and said, “What do you mean.  Santa is real.”

He laughed and replied, “No he’s not, and everyone knows it!”

I remember chuckling inside at his foolishness and in a tone that had a little “listen ding-dong” attached to it, responded with, “Well, if Santa’s not real, then who brings the presents?!”

Sure that this argument was irrefutable, I folded my arms and waited for what I was sure was going to be clumsy response.  I had him, and I knew it.

Then, quick as a whip, he looked at me snickering and said, “Your parents bring ‘em.  No Doi .” “No Doi“ was part of the vernacular of the day, which translated correctly means, “No Duh”

I was flabbergasted.  “Could it be true?” I wondered.  With a wedge of doubt driven right in the middle of my before solid belief, I flipped over my bike and rode home to get an answer.

I walked into the kitchen where my mom was cooking and belted out, “Mom, is Santa real?”  Not expecting this question in the middle of July, and wondering when I was going to find out the truth on my own, replied, “Well, what do you think?”

Right then, I knew it!  My friend was right—Santa wasn’t real.  I went downstairs to lie on my bed.  It felt like all of the magic had been sucked right out of Christmas.  The whole thing was all made up.  I postulated that if Santa wasn’t real the chances for Rudolph and elves were slim to none—and forget about the Easter Bunny.

Somehow, I made it through and that Christmas was as wonderful as all the ones before.

Now, this year with our little Coleman around I am excited for the believing in Santa to begin again.  Even though he doesn’t understand, I’ve told him all about The North Pole, Santa and the Mrs., Rudolph and the rest.  I’ve sung him the songs, and even though he’ll be more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper can’t wait for him to open his presents.

I’ve also been reminded this year—more than any year in a long time—that there is magic in Christmas.  It’s all around.

It’s in the face of my little boy, in the feeling of giving, in the excitement of finding the right gift for Kolette and in the gratitude I feel for her knowing she spends hours and hours to give me something special.

It’s in the way people’s hearts change for these few weeks every year.  Regardless of religion or belief, there’s just more kindness, more love.  People find compassion they’d maybe lost before.  Smiles fill peoples faces because of the accompanied increase in joy.  People remember what they have and gratitude seems abundant.

But, more than anything, the magic comes in hope.  Whether it’s hoping for Santa or hoping for peace, hope is everywhere.  It fills the hearts of the young and old, and brings with it an optimism that somehow makes everything OK.  We hope for things to improve in the New Year.  We hope that things will be better for our own, and we hope that things will be better for those around us.

All we have to do is open our souls and let the season fill our hearts with hope—then allow it to be accompanied by love, joy, cheer, gratitude, peace and gladness.   When we do, will all rejoice in the Magic of Christmas.

Wishing you a Very Merry,

Jh-

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Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd!

November 23, 2009

From My First Steps.

Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd, is Happy Birthday in Dutch, and 62 years ago today my mother was born in the Netherlands.

I wanted to take the chance here to wish her a happy birthday.  God blessed me the day he sent me to her.  She has loved me, and cared for me unselfeshly for every single day of my life.  I have to agree with Honest Abe who said, “Everything I am today I owe to my angel mother.”

There are lots of young men who feel a special connection to their moms, but life’s circumstance have definelty made our relationship unique and priceless.

When I broke my neck in the summer of 1986, she stayed by my side, in the hospital nearly every day.  She championed my cause then, and still does today.  I comb my own hair, brush my own teeth, write on my own and feed myself all because of her encouragement.  Afetr my accident, I attended High School with my friends because she was willing to lift me 16 times a day.  She never worried about the detriment she was causeing her back, only the progress she was bringing my life.

She pushed me when it probably killed her to, but it’s what’s allowed me to be independent today. (You can read about one example here)

Now, as I watch her with Coleman, she is the consumate Grandma.  She loves him more unconditionally.  After he was born, as I came out to tell everyone in the waiting room that all had gone well, my eyes met hers, she ran to me and we cried together.  She was one of the few people that could understand the road it took from July 13, 1986 to January, 27, 2009.

I love her with all my heart.  I love that she loves Kolette like a daughter.  I love that she loves Cole as a son.  I love the way she always loved my friends (ask any of them, they’ll all tell you how great she is.) I love that she’s always been my friend. And I love that a loving Heavenly Father saw fit to send me to her. Whatever good ever comes from my life is as a result of her tender care.

So today, Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd, Mom!

I Love You

Jh-

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Through The Looking Glass

September 29, 2009

My Mom came back from seeing her new grandchild in Connecticut bursting with excitement about something she’d seen there—a video baby monitor.  My brother and sister-in-law had one and my mom said it was the best.  She couldn’t stop smiling as she told us about watching little Sienna, her newest granddaughter, on the monitor.

So, when she came to the house Monday to get some Cole time (she says she is there to see us all, but we know the score) she had one for us.  It was a Summer brand “Best View Handheld Color Video Baby Monitor.

When we put together our registry before Coleman was born, we saw the video monitors but opted against them.  Every time we looked at them we’d always ask ourselves the same question, “How long can someone watch a sleeping baby?”

That night we realized the answer was, “A whole lot!”

It was like “Must See TV.” Ko laid Cole down and then rushed into our bedroom where the two of us hovered over the monitor for nearly an hour. We watched as his crying whilst trying to fight to stay awake turned to him soothing himself by rubbing the satin edges of his blankets (one in each hand) against his face turned to him finding his comfortable spot, propped up on his left side, finally turned to sleep.

One might think it stopped there, but no, we continued to watch him as he slept.  His little chest moved up and down with each breath while Kolette and I reminded each other that, in our opinion, he truly was the most precious thing in the world.

With the battery nearly dead, we plugged it in to charge and talked about how this was the best TV programming either of us had ever seen. We laughed at his little mannerisms.  Chuckled especially at ones that were similar to our own, like the way he couldn’t sleep unless his blankets covered the bottom half of his face with just his eyes peering over the covers—just like his dear old dad. This continued until we finally went to sleep ourselves.

The next morning began the way the previous night ended.  Kolette grabbed the monitor and we watched the morning edition of Cole TV.  (When you say that in your head you can almost hear the bong, bong, bong of N-B-C…….you know like Cole-T-V) He was brilliant.  His morning show was as riveting as the one he’d given us in prime time.

As his father, I can tell you he’s brilliant.  The thing that’s really exciting, is that if he’s this good asleep, imagine the things he has to show us when he’s awake.  He’s the best entertainment I’ve ever known.  Two thumbs waaayyy up and five stars all the way—a blockbuster to be sure!

Jh-