Snow Soccer Practice

Things you will do for your kids. They got me playing soccer in winter under the snow. Luckily, it wasn’t as cold as it seemed. Lots of fun.

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Snow Soccer Practice

Things you will do for your kids. They got me playing soccer in winter under the snow. Luckily, it wasn't as cold as it seemed. Lots of fun.

I've been contemplating the idea of becoming a coach as my boys are getting older and are still sticking with soccer as their main sport. We practice together any time we get a chance, but I would like to dedicate some time to teach them the core basics.  Should they continue with this, I will probably have them join a competitive team and see how they handle it. Right now, it's more for exercise and fun time.

Nick and Ethan

Nick and Ethan

Last year, both Nicholas and Ethan played on a small church league competition and they both enjoyed it so much that they wanted to do it again this year. There are so many leagues where we live; it's hard to pick. But, the main thing is all about making sure that we can accommodate driving them back and forth to practice and to all the other activities that they will have to participate on. Should they join a team, I will make sure to update their progress here online.

In the meantime, maybe I will make a section in this webpage for some practice videos? Stay tuned...

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Bogota, Colombia

Despite Colombia’s violent history, modern Bogota is energetic, artistic and wonderfully chaotic. This is a city that I’ve fallen in love with in the past years, after spending almost a year going back and forth for business. This city has put a vision in my heart on what most of African cities could become with the support of their local government leadership.

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Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

Despite Colombia’s violent history, modern Bogota is energetic, artistic and wonderfully chaotic. This is a city that I've fallen in love with in the past years, after spending almost a year going back and forth for business. This city has put a vision in my heart on what most of African cities could become with the support of their local government leadership.

Hotel Anamichu - Colombia

Hotel Anamichu - Colombia

A culture similar to my own, I had no problem relating to the way of life in this city. Somehow, I found myself much more close to Africa than when I'm in the States. It could have been because of the beautiful weather  that Bogota gets to share with its population (one stinking big season of awesomeness! Subtropical weather), or the way the crowd interact with each others in a sense that only residents can fully understand. Or, maybe it was the delicious and mouth-watering meals that I got the chance to enjoy daily, reminding me of the African-style cuisine, filled with so much aroma that one's nose can be sent to a heavenly bliss. Most strikingly was the fact that everybody seemed happy doing whatever they were involved with.

Now, I have to mention that I did stay in the best side of town, and like any other city in the world, Bogota does have its rough areas that even Colombians themselves will avoid visiting if necessary. Yet, in general, I enjoyed this place a lot and promised myself to go back with my wife for an actual vacation  stay.

Things that I noticed

  • A strong women workforce. From the first minutes setting foot in Bogota airport, you will notice that there are lots of women working and in charge.
  • Most people in Bogota seemed fit. Lots of people walking from place to place rather than driving. After driving to Bogota, I would recommend public transportation or taking a cab. Forget LA traffic! Bogota is so jammed that they had to implement pico placa (regulations where automobiles are allowed in traffic on certain days depending on the last digits of the licence plates; odd or even).
  • High elevation! Bogota is about 8,660 ft above sea level. The first day in Bogota, walking on the street felt like running on a treadmill. I was constantly out of breath. But, eventually you adapt after a couple of days.
  • Seems like people are everywhere, non-stop. It makes Paris and London look like deserted island. Be ready to bump shoulders with strangers and duck through non-stop traffic. More than 6 millions inhabitants in that city.
  • Welcoming people and eager to share with you their culture. Whether talking to the taxi man, the lady selling goods on the busy street, the hotel personnel, or just random people in various areas, they all showed interest and kindness. Lovely people.
  • Beautiful infrastructures. mixing contemporary and old styles, preserving the beautiful Colombian culture while showcasing modernism implementation.
  • Last, but surely not the least: gastronomy heaven. I have to say, I've yet to find a Colombian dish that I did not like. The food was just awesome and cooked very similar to central Africa dishes. I made sure that ate different plate every day.

All the time I spent in Colombia, I visited various cities (urban areas included) and they all shared the same characteristics. The presence of the armed forces around key infrastructures did not bother at all once I got used to their presence. Overall, I had great memories there and expect to go back for some more in the near future.

Double Awards for Nicholas!

So, the kids received their report cards yesterday and I was so proud of them as they received great praises from their teachers.

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Double Awards for Nicholas!

TS_NickAward

Smart kid!

So, the kids received their report cards yesterday and I was so proud of them as they received great praises from their teachers. I have to say, for the amount of time they spend playing together, sometimes I wonder if they concentrate very well at school. But, I was put at ease by the teachers during parent-teacher meetings; nothing but great admiration for their work.

Ethan is reading almost three grades above his level and has been attending the Gifted program. His Math skills are unbelievable! I think I may just go ahead and add some additional courses on him!

Nicholas is the History and Science guy. He loves reading and grasps scientific studies like crazy. Today he received two awards (yeah, two!) : one for his grades achievements (he received straight A's on all his subjects) and the other award was on Character! Now, that one was a surprise, even Nicholas himself did not see that coming. I was mostly proud of this latter one, especially due to the fact that we've always struggled with Nicholas and his behavior at school. I remember when he started first grade, the teacher thought he was ADHD and I remember visiting the principle's office quite often. That continued until second grade.

But like I've always told his principle and the teachers, I knew my son did not have a behavior problem, but rather, a re-adjustment problem. Nicholas went straight from a daycare system to Kindergarten. He really did not know much about a structural education system, where things get done at specific times and specific places. He struggled with transitioning from one event to another. Unfortunately, his teachers did not notice that neither. We knew it very well and advised them about it, but in vain.

But with discipline (Yes, we, African Parents still believe in whooping your kids when they don't get it)  and love (lots of loving) from home and perseverance  at school, he finally got it during his third grade. His attitude started to change and we saw less and less issues. Deep inside, I've always known that Nicholas has a big heart, very compassionate and emotional guy, like his dad. So, he gets irritated when things don't go his way. But, he learned tolerance and mostly letting go of things that irritate him.

Congrats Nicholas!

Congrats Nicholas!

So, today's Character award meant more for us than the grades' award; we know he's very smart, but now, we're very happy to learn that his character has changed dramatically! Whatever it is (growing up? girlfriend? new environment?), it is working very well.  He reminds me a lot of my own self. I never liked school that much when I was little. I thought it was a waste of time since it took my time away from my friends, playing outdoor. Yet, everything changed when I met Colombe (come to think of it, it was also in my fourth grade!). Suddenly, I went to school earlier, made sure I never missed a day so that I can see her once more time. Now, our kids seems to follow the same path I guess lol.

I'm very proud of all my kids and thank God for them in my life. They are a bunch, but a very good bunch to have!

Meatloaf Recipe

I finally got a chance to try this Meatloaf recipe! Couldn’t be happier to how it turned up: very tasty! Cooking is a great way to distress and change perspective after a long day

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Meatloaf Recipe

First Meatloaf!

First Meatloaf!

I finally got a chance to try this Meatloaf recipe! Couldn't be happier to how it turned up: very tasty! Cooking is a great way to distress and change perspective after a long day; and sometimes, even when you have something running over your head. I guess it's because of all the instructions that come with the recipe on hand. Cooking requires following instructions, and expecting the end result to be the same as advertised.

I like cooking, but I like inventing most. So, I'm the chef that never follows instruction to the "T" as you may put it. I believe in surprising myself with different ways of doing things. Cooking will be boring to me if you follow every single instruction; it's an art. And art is never the same every time.

The next time you want to take you mind off whatever you're absorbed in, try cooking a meal for yourself or your loved ones. I promise you it is rewarding. Here is the recipe that I started with:

Pepper Jack Meat Loaf

1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 cup celery, diced
½ cup onion, diced
1 cup oatmeal or crumbled saltine cracker
2 eggs
2 cups pepper jack cheese shredded
¼ cup ketchup
1/8 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan.

Mix meat, celery, onion, oatmeal or crackers, eggs together well. Press half of the meat mixture into prepared loaf pan. Place cheese over meat mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture and press down to seal. Spread ketchup over top of meat loaf….sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper.

Bake, covered lightly with foil, for 30 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F, remove cover and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until edges are bubbling and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Let sit for 5 minutes then slice and serve.

Father’s Day

Thank you to my sons for the wonderful Father’s Day gifts: a great breakfast, gifts, and amazing cards. Love you guys!!! Thank you to my wonderful wife for a great day, celebrating me! Love you as always!

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Father’s Day

TS_Children

"Happy Father's Day!"

Thank you to my sons for the wonderful Father's Day gifts: a great breakfast, gifts, and amazing cards. Love you guys!!! Thank you to my wonderful wife for a great day, celebrating me! Love you as always! Thank God above all for the wisdom and love in my life. A great dad is the one that walks with Jesus everyday, knowing that without Him, there is no life. God bless all the fathers today, but mostly, God bless all the fatherless, because He is the father of all.

Week-end relaxation

Enjoying some R&R for the week-end.

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Week-end relaxation

Backyard R&R

Enjoying some R&R for the week-end.

Daniel Allan with his Grandma

Daniel Allan with his Grandma

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Daniel Allan with his Grandma

Daniel with his Grandma