Math Test

I really don’t remember taking any tests in first grade, but I suppose with all the talk about assessments, common core, and the U.S. being so behind relative to other developed nations, I’m not surprised first graders are being challenged so early.

I’m not sure if it’s the teacher, grade, or the type of class he is in, but there has been a huge emphasis on mathematics this year. His teacher has him reading, writing, and self-assessing his own spelling, but math seems to be the big hurdle this year.

For the past two weeks we have been helping CJ with writing equations and understanding doubles facts. Grace and I weren’t sure at all how he would do on his first math test, but man, he did really well! I’ll take a 90 any day! We’re so proud of our son.

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Washington, DC [April 2017]

Long overdue. Way back in April during spring break we took a four day road trip to Washington, DC.

Grace and I were last in DC together probably around 2005 or 2006. This time we decided to leave our car parked at the hotel and take the subway in and around DC.

Although the Air & Space Museum is nothing to gawk at, all the museums are free so why not. Well, it was spring break so they were all very crowded.

CJ’s favorite president.

We severely underestimated the walk from museum row to the Lincoln Memorial and found ourselves a long distance away from the subway in all directions. This was a tiring day.

Day 2 we went to the DC Zoo which was surprisingly large and well stocked with all the major animals minus any dinosaurs.

Including a couple of kung-fu pandas.

Elephant poop.

Day 3 we went to the Museums of American History and Natural History.

This Museum of Natural History is much better than the one in New York City.

We actually had planned for a three day trip, but were able to squeeze out a fourth day. Unfortunately our first hotel couldn’t accommodate the extra day, so in between the third and fourth day we relocated across the street and stayed at this really nice Hilton hotel that gave us free breakfast buffet vouchers which was excellent.

We just kept pigging out.

On the drive home we decided to stop off in Maryland and visit their Children’s Museum.

Can’t get enough of them dinos.

We keep vowing the never vacation in cities until the kids are older, but we can’t resist, lol!

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White Belt Pro

Last week, after a month of training, CJ earned his first taekwondo white belt.

As always, we’re so proud of our son, especially for continually trying and not giving up. We want CJ to grow in grit and perseverance, and we’re hoping that taekwondo can build up his self-esteem and confidence and this white belt is the first real step in doing that.

So exciting.

With Instructor Michael.

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Kindergarten Pro

Grace and I so thankful that CJ has not only completed kindergarten, but did so so successfully. He’s learned and grown a great deal since ten months ago, we’re so proud of our boy, so very proud.

CJ’s self-portrait.

All the kindergarten classes getting ready to sing some songs.


CJ and EJ are growing so fast.

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Year 14: End

Today was last day of school and I have mixed emotions. I’m delighted and thankful to have finished my 14th year of teaching, and as always I am amazed at how faithful and loving God has been to me with my career.

Yet, statistically I didn’t do too well with my students, for a 43% regents passing rate isn’t something to be proud of. I feel like I let a lot of them down. I’m not going to give any excuses, but I’m resolved to work harder and be more dedicated to my new batch of students in the fall.

Well, time to move on to a much needed restful summer while tethered as to the program office.

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Champion’s Taekwondo: Lesson 1

My friend convinced me to purchase a $39 Groupon for 15 Taekwondo lessons and a uniform at Champion’s Taekwondo in Bayside. Since I do my own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, this was obviously for CJ. Of course, CJ was anxious going into this. He is very self-conscious and does not enjoy being put on the spot and being stared at. But I really wanted CJ to try something new that may improve his self-esteem. So although he was apprehensive about starting taekwondo, he was still willing to try.

For the first half of the 30 minute class, CJ hesitantly followed the instructor’s directions and looked as if he was ready to cry at any moment.

But he never gave up and seemed to warm up to Instructor Mike while also earning his uniform. What a relief, lol!

The class seems to be a combination of physical fitness and life discipline centered around taekwondo, which is fine. I suppose I can’t expect much from a class of five-year olds. I’m so proud of CJ because I never had to the guts to take any martial arts classes when I was young. Hopefully this will open the door to more activities that he’ll be interested in trying.

CJ ended up having so much fun that he’s been practicing the moves since we got home and can’t wait to return later this week. Ai-ya!!! And of course EJ now wants to join too.

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Happy 3rd Birthday to Captain Elyse!

Happy 3rd birthday to my cute little daughter! She gives me a lot of headaches, but she makes me laugh so much. I’ve always said I wanted one boy and one girl, and I figured the girl would be a typical girl, whatever that means, but EJ is far from the typical girl.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! She’s so bold, independent, and funny, I couldn’t have asked for a more unique and lovable girl than her.

I am amazed at how articulate and adamant she can be in describing and pursuing what she wants. And her punches and face smacks are a testament to her fierceness.

Too bad CJ cut her off.

I am so proud and joyful to be her father, and my single prayer is for EJ to use her stubbornness and sense of humor to love Jesus and courageously bring others to Christ. I love you, my daughter.

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Our 28 Hour Ten Year Anniversary Getaway

This past weekend Grace and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary with a quick overnight trip into Manhattan.

We stayed at the Marmara Park Avenue Hotel on 32nd Street.

With the top floor terrace it was probably one of the nicest rooms we’ve ever stayed in.

Too bad it was raining all day Friday.

The first thing we did was go out and get some Lady M dessert.

Then we had dinner at Victor’s Cafe, supposedly one of the best Cuban restaurants in the city. I had the skirt steak combo, but it came shredded with small portions. It was okay.

The seafood appetizer was very small too.

Grace’s jumbo shrimp was excellent.

We then went to see In Transit, a new acapella musical.

 The theater is very small so any seat would have been great, but we scored second row seats which were perfect.

We loved it. It was hilarious and was performed by some very talented and amazing people. One truly has to be a New Yorker to get half their jokes.

The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, a really great Belgian eatery.

We then rushed over to watch a matinee showing of Beauty & the Beast which was fitting given that I gave Grace a set of Beauty & the Beast Lego Brick Headz as part of her anniversary gift. I really enjoyed the film as it added some much needed depth to the backstory of many of the characters. I actually teared up a little at the end. I hope Disney doesn’t screw up the live-action Mulan film that’s next in line.

We then rushed over to the Painting Lounge to take a 2-hour painting class to paint Romance over the Stream.

We had a lot of fun, but the class could have used some more guidance or tips.

I suppose with all the amateurs in the room the teachers didn’t want to devolve too many detailed steps that would probably hinder and frustrate our artistic skills than bring them out.

I think we did a really great job given this was our first time canvas painting.

We only had 28 hours to spend together, but Grace and I definitely had a blast and enjoyed each other’s presence to the max! We hadn’t experienced such a fun time together since before CJ was born over five years ago. Although we definitely missed our kids, it was so relaxing and freeing to move about so quickly without them. We were able to have some really great conversations talking about how much we’ve experienced and what we have to look forward to. And we couldn’t have done all this if it weren’t for Grace’s mom who slept over Friday night to put the kids to sleep, and also for Kristen and Wesley for sacrificing their entire Saturday to play with the kids. We’re so thankful for the marriage that God has given us and hope to do this again next year, lol!

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10 Year Wedding Anniversary

Today Grace and I have been married for 10 years. T-E-N years! It seems like a long time from when we vowed our “I do’s” to each other, but it went really fast. From our 1BR apartment in Forest Hills to our house with two kids. Wow! I’m really speechless as I struggle to write this post. The ten year long journey fills my mind with too many memories of Grace and I for me to recall and count. We’ve experienced so much of our lives together that I am amazed at all the things that God has graciously allowed to fill our hearts with. Ten years is pretty huge as it is a testament to God’s abounding and overflowing grace to allow us to remain happily married as it is no small feat to have the lives of two sinners intersect and unite as one and stay as one for so long. Sometimes I still wonder why Grace wanted to marry me, but being married to her is the best thing I ever asked anyone to do. To come alongside me and walk life together can be scary, for the journey is not all sunshine and roses everyday, but it’s my life, my marriage, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I love you, honey. To another ten more years and beyond.

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Ice Thrower

I did not have fun today shoveling. I was waiting for the snow to stop, and it did after around 1pm, but that’s when it turned to sleet and rain.

The sleet and rain compacted the snow and made it heavier and more difficult for both my snow thrower and shovel. And to top it off the sanitation trucks plowed right onto my sidewalk. It was a very slow and heavy process.

And then I had to go out again because the sanitation trucks splashed snow once more onto the sidewalk. And then I salted. Fun times for a day off from work.

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