DEAR NANCY ALLEN

Nancy Allen. A name you may have heard of, a face you’ll remember, a laugh and smile you’ll never forget, and one of the most influential people I have ever met.

For those of you who don’t know Nancy, she is Music Education Professor at Viterbo University,  founder of Platinum Edition Show Choir, an extremely talented musician, a dedicated and loving friend, and a mom to every student that steps into her life.

I have known Nancy for just over 10 years, and it all began on the campus of Viterbo University.  Within my time at that College, which I’ll be honest, I really only went to Music and Show Choir classes.  Sorry Mom and Dad…but it’s the experiences that make us who we are today right?!

But anyways, my time at Viterbo seemed to have one thing in common, Nancy.  Between singing in Show Choir, Barbershop Quartets, Choirs, A Cappella groups, dog walking Max, palm readings, and just having someone to look up to and have guidance from, Nancy would always be there supporting any and everyone along their journey.

So I just want to say thank you.  Thank you Nancy for leaving a footprint in my lifelong path of who I am today.  It is a blessing I am still able to work with you, and continue to see your work as you inspire so many students on a regular basis.

Below is the song “Season of Love” performed at Nancy’s 20th Anniversary Alumni Celebration show this past fall.  Among the performers are 13 of the original Platinum Edition Members, along with over 30 alumni that came back for this special 20 year event as well as the current Platinum Edition members.  Enjoy!

 

 

We’re Expecting!

Disclaimer…This single dad is not expecting any baby in the near future.  So here we go…

First off, thank God for family!  I mean seriously.

Secondly I have to state I probably have the worst memory out of everyone in my family.  Perhaps it’s the abundance of fun I had when growing up, or perhaps the creative mind that gets distracted too easily.  Either way my brother texted me tonight asking if I could send the link for the video I created several years ago to announce my youngest son’s birth to my family, and I had completely forgotten I had even created it!

So as most curious minds are, I set off on a mission to dig through countless files on my Mac, and finally found it!

It’s always fun to revive something created from the past.  It usually can bring back those lost forgotten memories which can be good or bad, but in my case, a very critical critic of my own work examining everything I shoulda woulda coulda have done.

But if anything, I can look back and relive the day I forced my family into the living room of my parents house to show them this video I created.  It was a fun moment in time, and all I can remember is that my mom was the last person to pick up on the message that we were actually having a baby.

So I hope you enjoyed!  Again…no baby for this guy anytime soon.

Happy 3rd Birthday to my Baby Boy

1,095 days ago Hudson was welcomed into this wonderful world.  His brother Bennett was so excited to meet his new baby brother.  Family traveled countless miles away to get a glimpse of his first smile.  And aside from the little scare that sent Hudson back in the hospital for about 10 days, everything worked out in the end, and the little champ pulled through like the rockstar he is.

Time flies so quickly when you have kids.  For those of you who don’t have any, it’s a feeling you’ll never understand until it happens.  So you may have to take my word for it.

There are many milestones I look back on.  Sitting up on their own.  Crawling.  Standing. Walking.  First words.  The list goes on and on…and just when I thought that Bennett would never be topped with his silliness and humor, in rolls Hudson and steals the show…well sometimes.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love BOTH of my sons equally.  I’d do anything for either of them, but what I believe most parents of multiple children can attest to is how different children who come from the same parents can be!  It’s truly amazing.  The personalities grow and evolve.  Traits from the parents, habits learned from their older or younger sibling. It’s just puts me an awe on different they become as they grow into themselves.

So today Hudson, Bennett and I celebrated Hudson’s wonderful 1,095th day on this earth.  We saw some aliens, we played games, we opened presents, and even ate cupcakes that dad baked.  *side note, I’m not much of a baker, but the little girl down the street said they were delicious.  So i’ll take that as a win.

All in all I’m one lucky dad.  I couldn’t ask for anything more than to spend the day with my two little show stoppers.  Happy Birthday Hudson.  You and your big brother will always make me proud.

Hudson Turns 3

 

Meet Dylan

So i’ll be honest.  I have no idea who Dylan is, until now. He came along with the Hanlon crew and had his game face on for some photos.

I few things I learned about him.  He’s definitely smarter than me.  He’s among the top 5 of his senior class, and wants to be a doctor.  And when you have him sit on a bench, he makes it look like it was made for my children.

See… it wasn’t as painful as you thought it was going to be. Great job Dylan! It was a pleasure to work with you and i’m glad you were along for the ride!

 

 

Meet the Hanlon Kids

There are many things in life that I am strongly influenced by, and family would no doubt be at the top of my list as the most influential piece in molding who I am today.

So this photo session with the four Hanlon siblings was even more special to me than usual.

Being the youngest of four brothers, I love to see other brothers and sisters interact.  Not a week goes by that I don’t talk to at least two of my brothers.  Our families are our rock, our foundations. There will be times in our life when great things happen and when bad things happen.  Times when you’ll argue and times when you celebrate.

But no matter what, you will always have that foundation to stand on.  You will always have their listening ear to share good and bad times.  Life is too short not to have them by your side assuming you’re lucky enough to have siblings.

I can see the bond between these four siblings and it is purely amazing and warms my heart.  Thank you for trucking through the fields and forest and allowing me to capture you four together.

 

 

Meet Aly

So for those of you who missed Round 1 of pictures with Aly, you can check it out over HERE.  Even though that night didn’t go as planned, she still nailed it with her smile and easy going personality.

Now on for round 2. Let me set the scene…

Same place, same time…I wait…The sun was peeking through the bare branches casting shadows across the peaceful minnesota fall colors that would soon paint the background of the photos I originally wanted with Aly.

I was a bit worried however because there were so many bare trees, and I wanted to make sure we got some of the beautiful fall minnesota colors that everyone strives for.  So after about 20 minutes waiting and wondering if we were going to have a repeat of Round 1, Mom pulls up in trusty mini van and unloads the car filled with kids.

They hop out and we immediately start walking the trails.  Little did they know I would take them on a mile long hike, but I wanted to make sure we got to a little bridge tucked way back on the trail before the sun fell off the horizon.

So all in all, it was a beautiful night with great people and I must give kudos to Aly for knocking Round 2 out of the park!

Get Dirty, Get Creative, Carve your Pumpkins!

Halloween is approaching soon, and what better thing to do?! Pumpkin carving!

So the boys and I set out on on another adventure. Typically I would have gone to a pumpkin patch and spent our time there walking the endless paths of the fields searching for perfect pumpkin as well as taking pictures, but heck I’ll be honest, I heard Aldi had $2.50 pumpkins, and I was sold!

I mean seriously, who has a flat rate for any size pumpkin?! Kudos to you Aldi 👍🏼

Anyways I digress…

So we get 5 pumpkins, pack them in the back of the SUV and then head to get our carving tools.

Pumpkin carving sure has changed since I grew up. You walk through the aisle and there are stickers to buy, little plastic potato head like arms and legs to stick into the pumpkin, and paint. And then you find the actual old school carving sets with the little useless spoon where you end up using your hand anyway to remove all the guts!

But my point is, what fun are the stickers and the pre-created arms and legs that you just stick in? Where is the want to stimulate the creativity of our children’s minds to create something on their own?  Where is the fun if by the end you’re not covered elbow high in orange gooey seeds from the inside of the pumpkin?

Now thankfully they have the stencils that you can get with the ideas of what to draw, because for someone like me, I need a visual to see before an idea pops in my head to draw. But the boys found pictures of what they wanted on their pumpkins, and “helped” as I attempted to trace their characters on their pumpkins.

Bennett was dead set on a Spider, and well Hudson…he wanted a mummy…which was way over my skill level, so then we went back and forth between a jack-o-lantern, a pirate, a ghost, Happy Halloween, a pumpkin, back to the mummy, and well, I’m pretty sure in the end he didn’t even care.

So what I thought would take a couple hours, turned into a day long event, but in the grand scheme of things it was worth it.  Even when I tucked the boys in to bed tonight, Bennett told me his favorite part of the day was grabbing the “yucky” stuff out of his pumpkin.  So if you have kids, rock it old school.  Get dirty, be creative, and waste a whole day staining your hands orange.  And better yet, if you don’t have kids, grab your favorite beverage, pick some pumpkins and make a date out of it.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

pumpkin4-1pumpkin-1-2pumpkin-2