Thursday, December 30, 2010

Landon's Lunar Landing

I know that most of you have already read Cara's blog about Landon's birth, but I thought you might enjoy a proud Opa's insights from some of the behind the scenes of last week's "Birthday."


Here he is: I took this picture last Tuesday morning when he was only about 30 minutes old! Check out that hair! All 9 pounds 6 oz. and 21.5 inches of Landon Bruce Syers, born at 2:20 am on Tuesday Dec. 21. Wow, God is indeed good.

Barb and I got a text from Cara and Wes at about 10:30 on Monday night saying that she would probably be delivering fairly soon, so we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital. It was an amazingly clear and cold night and as we got into the car, I remembered that it was supposed to be a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice that night.... a very rare event indeed.

We ran upstairs and found Cara and Wes monitoring progress. Once again I was reminded why God has moms deliver babies and not dads. Way to go, Cara... you were amazing!
Abby arrived just a few minutes after we did and promptly showed Barb and me how much you really can hear through a door.
















At 2:20 am we heard cries and knew that Landon had arrived. He had a lusty cry from the first sound. Here's the proud Mama and Papa!

"Auntie Abby" stayed the whole time to help welcome Landon to the family. Now that's a happy smile! And Barb, sorry you were the photographer and we didn't get any pictures of you on our camera. I'll have to ask Cara and Abby to forward some.

And how wonderful is it to have a namesake. With the names Gerard and Bruce, I really didn't think there was a chance. But I think Landon Bruce sounds pretty good!

Later that night we took some more pictures of the moon. The nurses kept running to the windows to watch the progress of the eclipse. When it went full, it actually turned red, but we couldn't get a good picture of it. Maybe the red is a harbinger of Landon's hair color. But one thing is clear: There will not be another full lunar eclipse for another 80 years. So Landon, here's a first prayer for a long and healthy life so you can see it when you are 80. Now that would be something!
So congrats Cara , Wes, Payton and Brady. And welcome to the world little Landon!











Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dancing with the Stars


At times Barb reminds me that I have to learn how to say no... and last week was probably one of them. Last week, the German Club at my high school decided to organize a fund raiser for Alzheimers. Using the German theme, they decided on an evening event where they served German pastries and taught waltzing lessons.

That led to the idea of a "Dancing with the Stars" contest using several Performing arts students as the dance experts and staff members as the "Stars." And, you guessed it... I was asked to be one of the stars.

My student expert was Katie, a junior, who had just played a lead roll in our recent school musical performance of Beauty and the Beast. Very talented and ambitious young lady.

She had good ideas. She suggested a "Father/Daughter waltz using the John Mayer tune: "Daughters." She thought it would be cute to act out a daughter showing her dad her engagement ring which led to a father/daughter waltz. Good idea!

Her next idea was not so good and way too ambitious. She said: "Mr. J. You are a good singer. We should do "Bop to the Top" from High School Musical. Ryan and Sharpay do a real cute number and we should try to sing and dance it! Right. Google Bop to the Top to see what we were trying to emulate!

Anyway, we decide to try it. We practiced hard almost daily after school. Six other couples also practiced for the big event last Thursday night. One other couple, a counselor and a male student who will some day be a professional dancer were our main competition. That night, they danced both a waltz and a salsa that included several lifts and spins. They were good!

We also had judges who played the roles of the actual Dancing With the Stars judges. They gave us feedback and with their votes, Katie and I came in second after judging. The final votes came in after attendees placed money in baskets to select their favorite contestants. Katie's parents stuffed the ballot baskets and we won!

And I just know you are dying to see the main event! Here it is:

The Father/Daughter Waltz to John Mayer's "Daughters":


video

And we rounded out the evening with a rousing rendition of "Bop to the Top" from High School Musical:




video


Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Three Sons... "Natural" Champions!


"My Three Sons" was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. I think it starred Fred MacMurray. But this post is about my three sons...

One of my greatest joys of the past few years has been playing slow-pitch softball with Wes and Mark. This fall, now that Brad and Jayne moved back to Denver, Brad is playing,too.

A couple of years ago Wes formed a softball team with several of his and Mark's high school and college buddies called "The Naturals." This fall we added Brad and two of his former teammates. And they keep saying they need me to pitch so I get to play with a bunch of 25-33 year old guys... how cool is that?

This fall we finished in a tie for first place during the regular season and then entered playoffs as the two seed. This week Wednesday, we won the championship game 23-18 on a very cold 45 degree night. Felt like an October World Series game.... well, it did to us, anyway.

But this post is just about the chance to play with my adult sons. 8 years ago as many of you will remember, I was recovering from both prostate cancer and a heart attack just before Mark and Abby's wedding. So now to be healthy enough to play softball with my boys is such a gift! God has indeed granted this wonderful blessing, and not one game goes by without me giving Him praise and thanks...although, I do have to put up with my boy's constant coaching.... "Keep your back shoulder up, Dad," "Don't scoop your swing," Stop thinking so much, just pitch!"

Anyway, the picture above is of the Naturals in our championship T-shirts. Thanks for letting me play guys... and thanks for letting me play, God!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meeting Cohen

Barb and I have spent the past few days in California visiting Brad and Jayne and meeting our newest grandson, Cohen Mark. He is only three weeks old this weekend, but he has already stolen our hearts. What a cute little guy and hard to imagine Brad and Jayne without him!


Opa immediately took over diaper changing duties... yea, right!

Three generations!
We had to take a trip to the ocean. Friday we took a drive to Oceanside and walked by the state park. A beautiful day



Here's the star of the show:

We "think" he is smiling about his cool plaid shorts.


Jayne enjoying her first glass of wine "post baby". Goooood!

Oma has the touch and is loving this:


Hard at work building a swing for Cohen:


One happy customer: Check out the studly lamb ears:

Can you say plaid shorts?


Brad and Jayne on the patio looking good and so proud:



Brad's first Father's day with us and their friends, Paul and Danae Lapka at their pool. Brad teaches and coaches with Paul. Really good friends. It was a beautiful California day.

We are glad to report Brad and Jayne are doing well. Jayne is a wonderful Mom and is so loving of her new little guy. And Brad celebrated his first Father's day like a natural Dad. So good to see them stepping right in to this whole new world. Great job guys!















Sunday, April 25, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies and Flamingos?

Barb and I woke up this morning with one of the "Joys" of working with high school kids: Pink Flamingos in the yard? Our Technology Students TSA club has a fundraiser going: It costs $25 for the club to fill up someone's front yard with Pink Flamingos... and we were "selected" for "flocking" this morning. Neighbors were calling us with : " Are you aware that you have Flamingos in your yard?" Brad called me from California and said: "I heard you have Flamingos in your yard!" I asked" How did you already find out?" He told me that it had already hit Facebook from our neighbor Eddie Compoz. Great!
Can you say "Pirate Flamingo?"

I called Cara and she brought Payton and Brady by before church. They loved running around in the middle of the Flamingos!
Payton's outfit even matches!



I think that it goes along with our springtime yard colors.



Not only are the Pink Flamingos "beautiful" as Payton suggests, but our yard is really beautiful at this time of the year:
The Rhododendrens were quite something:

Tulips for a "Dutchman" are essential!


Tulips and primroses. There is nothing the speaks more of springtime!

Hope everyone is doing well.... and may you all enjoy the love of Pink Flamingos some day in your life!



Sunday, March 21, 2010

WalMart greeter hopeful

No big parties....at least not yet, and just an announcement that I have actually put in the paperwork to start my retirement process. My last day of official employment at Grandview will be the last day of June THIS SUMMER! I will start getting my retirement on the last day of July in 2010. Wow, that sounds final. However, due to a clause allowing me to work some in retirement, I will actually keep my current job through next year and work until the end of June, 2011.

After that Barb and I will be looking at some options. I know that I will work. Consulting? Blending a passion (cycling) with organizational skills into a job as a bike tour leader in Holland and the Colorado mountians? Wal mart greeter? Sales? I have always said that if I could "sell" nouns and verbs to 7th graders... I could sell anything.

So, if you have ideas for my future employment, let me know. I am networking. But Barb and I got a little taste of retirement this weekend. We drove up to Copper Mountain this Saturday morning and skied all day Saturday, stayed over night in Breck and skied again today. Two bright, sunny, great snow days in the CO mountains. So far, 60 is looking good!

Thanks for reading..... and eat your heart out, Kwas!
By the way... this is downtown Frisco after a wonderful day of skiing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Olympic Hopefuls!


In the spirit of the winter Olympics, Barb and I drove up to Copper Mountain for some skiing this past weekend. After two days and 8-10 inches of new snow, a bright, sunny yet cold day greeted us ... perfect winter conditions. A few runs in the morning. Coffee. A few more runs until a late lunch. One more run in the afternoon. (Our legs were dying as this was our first time up this year.) Quitting time at 3:00. A quick trip to our time share so we could sit in the hot tub in Breckenridge, and a glass of Cabernet before the ride home. Now that's a good day.

It is days like this that makes retirement look better and better all of the time.... and who knows... maybe they will start a senior division of the Winter Olympics. Barb wants the downhill. I'm thinking ski jumping!

Now check out this amazing footage of Barb... the speed... the grace.... the precision. Lindsay Vonn has NOTHING on this gal

video

And of course we have real time video footage of Bruce " Bode" Jansen on a daring Olympic run. Notice the commentary from the crack Olympic reporter! Not sure what she was doing with the creative camera angles, however.

video