Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Road ID

Emily and I are big fans of Road ID. If you haven't heard of them, please check them out. Basically, they're a cool company that provides bracelets, shoe lace tags, and even some clothing which offer your ID in an obvious location in case of emergency. No one likes to think that something might happen while out on a ride, run, or hike, but if you end up in a situation where you can't speak for yourself, your Road ID will do it for you. 

We've been using the wrist ID's for years now, but a few weeks ago I stumbled across their new app. It is sweet! You load all of your information into the app and then it literally breadcrumbs you while you go and train. The new training plan I am currently using is all by time, not distance, so when I go out for a run/ride I am free to go wherever I want. I don't have to worry about going ___ miles. Instead, I worry about running/cycling for ___ minutes. The downside to this kind of plan? Since I don't have to stick to a specific route Emily doesn't really know where I am most of the time. Until now. 

This new app tracks me wherever I am. If I'm fifteen miles from my house on my bike, she knows. If I'm down the road coming in from a long run, she knows. Before I head out on a run/ride I open the app and start my training. She receives a text letting her know I'm on the road which includes a link to a page that shows in real time where I am. You can even include more than one person in your text notifications, so I included my Dad. Mainly because I know he likes to cheer me on when I'm training. Using the Road ID app not only puts me at ease, it also helps family relax. Why?

Because there is also a 'stationary alert' setting. This means that if I don't move for 5 minutes they receive a text that pretty much reads, "Yo...I haven't moved in 5 whole minutes. Come find me because I am not well!" How cool is that!?  

Road ID is a sweet company. Their customer service is top notch. They're also pretty witty. I like to think that I can be witty from time to time, so we get along well. Just take a look at the email they sent me a few days after I downloaded the new app:

Hello Tony:
Thank you and congratulations on downloading the all-new Road ID app. As one of the first, you've made it very apparent that you are a wicked-smart pioneer, a trendsetter and all-around amazing human being.

First, it's good being "one of the first." I don't get first a lot. Second, even though they don't use the Oxford comma, I believe I AM a wicked-smart pioneer and ALSO a trendsetter, and HECK YES I am an all-around amazing human being. Thank you, Road ID. You are pretty swell, too!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Family's Adoption Day

Today we celebrate our family's Adoption Day! It's been exactly one year since paperwork was signed legally declaring what our hearts already knew; we are a family! 

Tony and Emily

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One year ago today - A Ugandan Village

A year ago today we walked through a rural Ugandan village for the very first time. With one daughter in our arms and the other by our side we began to absorb a bit of their culture. Our family's culture. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Anniversary of the Day We Met

Tony: It's hard to believe it has been exactly a year since Emily and I met our daughters Catherine and Norah. It was an incredible day we will never forget. In the moments before I first held them the anxiety and excitement of meeting my two daughters completely took over my mind. I forgot about how tired I was after travelling for more than a day to reach them. I forgot about all of the waiting, paperwork, and struggle Emily and I went through to get to that exact moment in time. I forgot about any other worry and fear in my life. All I could think about were the two little girls who sat in the van parked 50 yards away and how soon we would be face-to-face. 

One thing so amazing about life one year later is that thinking about seeing Catherine and Norah still does the same thing to me. I love coming home to them each day. They make me forget about everything tough I'm going through. All of my stress, my fears, and everything I am struggling with is suspended temporarily when I get to hug them. I am completely out of my mind when I see my girls. Today I remember that July 8th of last year was just the start.

Emily: One year ago was just the start. And how far we have come in just a year. Not all moments have been as blissful as the time we first sat together on Ugandan soil, but the good outweighs the bad sevenfold. The anxiousness and excitement we felt while waiting to greet our children for the first time quickly faded to pure joy as the meeting we had prayed over played out as if in our most perfect dream. 

Now let me acknowledge that the stories of first meetings are as varied and unique as the adoptive families that tell them and the emotions experienced during those initial interactions are all valid and normal. Pure euphoria and complete awe is not written into everyone's story. Fear, timidness and awkward conversation is as often present as joy and connectedness. Our back-stories and circumstances color our first meetings as they should be. Although there can be many similarities, each adoption story is one of it's very own. At the time of initial introductions some children are too hurt and fragile to embrace the love of a new parent(s) and some adults are still plagued by doubts that they can fully connect without the instincts of biology. I want to be among the truth tellers in adoption and say that this is NORMAL. No matter how that initial meeting goes you all push forward, because to quote Jen Hatmaker, "...when God said He sets the lonely in families, He meant it, and He doesn’t just transform the “lonely” but also the “families.” He changes us for one another. God can create a family across countries, beyond genetics, through impossible circumstances, and past reason."         

Our initial meeting is one that we reflect on with utter gratefulness. Tony and I stood under a large tree with tears in our eyes as the final seconds ticked down before we caught our first glimpse. I remember waving my hand in front of my eyes as if I could somehow dry the tears that pooled as a reprimanding voice inside my head muttered, "you're going to scare them". I took a deep breath as our girls came around the back of a van and into view. They looked amazing! In that moment I thought my heart would burst, and then it happened...our oldest, Catherine, began to run towards us with her arms wide open! You guys, I cannot even tell you what life felt like in that moment. We were living a dream. And just when I didn't think my heart could be any more full our tiny 3-year-old, Norah, who was carried over to where were stood, so sick and frail, the girl who wore a frown in almost all of her photos, reached out for me from the arms of a social worker. If there were not photographs to prove it, I'd say I imagined the whole thing. It was too perfect. I am in awe of the goodness that was poured onto our family that day.

We spent the next minuets getting to know one another and filling the air with simple chit-chat. I think we were all in awe of one another. I have shared with many people that there is one big thing I under estimated when envisioning our first meeting with girls. I knew that Tony and I loved our girls completely before we'd ever met them, but I didn't realize is that they were loving us with the same kind of love before they'd ever met us. I tell people it's a miracle. It is a miracle. 

Today we celebrated the day we first met the best way we knew how. With frozen yogurt! July 8th of this year did not contained any out of body experiences or so much happiness we thought we might faint; instead it was a pretty normal day for our family of four. And that makes me smile, because that miraculous day a year ago was the jump start to our family's togetherness. While we hope for more over the moon moments, life as a "regular old family" is feeling pretty good.

Tony and Emily

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Share It Saturday - TedTalks

Today we want to share 5 TEDTalks which have driven us to conversation and left us feeling more curious and inspired

TED: Ideas worth sharing

The antidote to apathy - Dave Meslin 

"How often do we hear that people just don't care? How many times have you been told that real, substantial change isn't possible because most people are too selfish, too stupid or too lazy to try to make a difference in their community? I propose to you today that apathy as we think we know it doesn't actually exist, but rather, that people do care, but that we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way."

The power of vulnerability - Brene Brown

"And shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection: Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won't be worthy of connection? The things I can tell you about it:it's universal; we all have it. The only people who don't experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection. No one wants to talk about it, and the less you talk about it the more you have it. What underpinned this shame, this "I'm not good enough," -- which we all know that feeling: "I'm not blank enough. I'm not thin enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, promoted enough."The thing that underpinned this was excruciating vulnerability, this idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen."

Massive-scale online collaboration - Luis von Ahn
"How many of you had to fill out some sort of web form where you've been asked to read a distorted sequence of characters like this? How many of you found it really, really annoying? Okay, outstanding. So I invented that. (Laughter) Or I was one of the people who did it. That thing is called a CAPTCHA."

Violence against women - it's a men's issue - Jackson Katz

"I'm going to share with you a paradigm-shifting perspective on the issues of gender violence -- sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children. That whole range of issues that I'll refer to in shorthand as "gender violence issues," they've been seen as women's issues that some good men help out with, but I have a problem with that frame and I don't accept it. I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I'm going to argue that these are men's issues, first and foremost."

Your body language shapes who you are - Amy Cuddy

"So social scientists have spent a lot of time looking at the effects of our body language, or other people's body language, on judgments. And we make sweeping judgments and inferences from body language. And those judgments can predict really meaningful life outcomes like who we hire or promote, who we ask out on a date."

Do you have a favorite TEDTalk? We'd love it if you shared.  

Tony and Emily