Showing posts with label Jane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jane. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our last time together for some time...

One year ago today marked the last time I would see you for six months. I picked you up after school and brought you back to our condo in Palmdale where we had dinner.

I will remember forever our last moments together. After dinner, we were in your room next to the closet counting out quarters. I was teaching you how to divide them out so you would know when you had a dollar and then how to count those groups so that we would have enough "dollars" - we were going to get Jane from her room and walk to the ice cream stand on the corner and get some cones.

Only after a long struggle in the courts would I see you again six months later, on Nov. 9, 2012. As writing this, I continue to pursue your legal and moral right to see me. Because I love you, I promise that I never will retreat from my duty as your father to ensure your rights and needs are met.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Our last morning together...

One year ago today I took you to school on a Monday morning as you'd spent the weekend with Jane and me at our condo in Palmdale. It was the last morning we spent together for a year now...

While I got breakfast ready for us, you played with your toys in the living room and saw that one of the DVDs I had were the cartoon "Return to the Planet of the Apes". You got all excited and asked if you could watch it, so I put it in - It was one of my favorite cartoons as a little boy!

You were mesmerized by the opening scene and couldn't stop watching it! When Jane joined us for breakfast, I put the DVD on pause so we eat together as a family, and you told her all about the cartoon!

Afterward, I drove you to preschool where we played a little with some of the dinosaur toys there! They had some of the dinosaur play action sets that we did.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our last weekend together

A year ago today was the last full day and weekend that we've spent together. On that Sunday, we went in the morning to the Kirk Rocks (Vasquez Rocks County Park) where we hiked and played cowboys near the Friday's Child Rocks. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of that last adventure; they were on Jane's camera, and I never got them downloaded onto my computer before we separated.

After hiking the rocks, we went over to the country store in Agua Dulce and enjoyed some ice cream cones. I remember that you had mint chocolate chip, your favorite!

We also picked a roadside flower that we brought back to Jane, who was sleeping in that Sunday morning. You presented it to her when we got back to the condo, and the two of you put it in a glass of water. I recall thinking about where we would take Jane for Mother's Day brunch and deciding a restaurant we found in Agua Dulce would be fun.

The rest of the day is a bit hazy in my memory, though I do recall us tossing the football around to one another that afternoon. It ended up in the neighbor's balcony, and fortunately she got it for us!

You also spent the night at the condo, with me bringing you to school Monday morning.

Monday, April 22, 2013

One year ago today: Poppy Festival

A year ago today, you, Jane, and I went to the Poppy Festival in Lancaster, Calif. We started the day by going on the rides at the kid's carnival.

You asked if we could go on the Tilt-a-Whirl, and it didn't look so bad, especially as we'd gone lots of spinning Disney rides, so I said okay. Boy, was I wrong! We both got off the ride all green in the face and staggering. You turned to me and said, "We're never going on this thing again!"

In the picture, you might notice there's a big slide in the background. You and Jane went down it together several times. Then we went to have a little picnic lunch and looked at some of the displays, like the quilting club and NASA booths.

But then the day starting getting hot, as is usually the case during late April in the High Desert, so we headed home.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures form our time at the fair together!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our last trip to Disneyland together

Standing in line for Buzz Lightyear ride, April 15, 2012.
One year ago today was the last time we went to Disneyland together. You might recall that Jane and I had the condo in Palmdale, and the three of us went there as a family.

We showed Jane all of the cool places that we liked to go in Disneyland - like the Pinocchio restuarant, the tea cups, It's a Small World ride, and the Jedi Academy.

Then we went across the way to California Adventure. We tried to get onto the Monsters Inc. ride (Jane liked Sulley), but the line was too long, and we didn't have much time, so we instead went to the Toy Story ride. You and Jane went together in one car, and I went on the one behind you.

My one regret about the trip is that you asked to go to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, but it was getting late, so I said, "Next time." But there was no next time. How I wish I could take you there today to enjoy that playground...

Here's a whole bunch of photos from our adventure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Celebrating Easter one year ago today

Although this year we celebrated Easter on March 31, last year (in 2012) we celebrated the holiday on April 8 (which is one year ago today!).

We were living in the condo in Palmdale, and we had spent all day Saturday together. When you woke up Sunday morning, I mentioned that the Easter Bunny had left something for you at the front door! The Easter basket was a good mix of toys, candies and clothes that Jane and me had picked up for you just the week before on our drive from Wisconsin to California.

After a little breakfast, we went to the Easter Egg hunt and festivities at City Park in Lancaster, Calif. Following the egg hunt, one child had very few Easter eggs in his basket and was afraid that he wouldn't receive a reward for turning in the eggs (All the children received some candy and a little toy for turning in the eggs), so all on your own you offered to share some of your eggs with him! Jane and I was so very proud of you for being so generous.

Here's a whole bunch of photos from Easter 2012!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sorry that we won't see each other today

I was looking very forward to seeing you this afternoon, Kieran. I don't think I can express enough to you how much I miss you and long for the times when we are together. You're the kind of a son that every father wants, and I've always been very proud of you.

You need to know that I did not cancel our planned visitation today. You also should know that no reason was given by the visitation center as to why our visitation was canceled, and no offers were made by the canceling party to reschedule it.

Did you know that one year ago today I called you from Wisconsin! I had flown back to the Midwest to move Jane out to California. Jane and I spent the day getting together with people we hadn't seen in a long time, including Grandma and Grandpa Bignell.

They so wanted to see you, and Jane and me had tried to come up with a way to bring you on the trip. But we ultimately decided that it would be awful complicated to do, and the long drive back to California would get boring very quickly for you.

But I did promise Grandma and Grandpa Bignell that I would bring you back to Wisconson on vacation to see them. It's a promise I have yet to fulfil, but it is one I will keep - after all, I also promised you that one day I would bring you to their farm to meet them. And I always keep my promises!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Today we moved into our condo

One year ago today we moved into our condo in Palmdale...unfortunatley, our stay there was a short one.

You might recall that I didn't have any furniture as Jane planned to move in, and she was going to bring all of her stuff. So while we waited for Jane to arrive, the whole house was empty! I set up a table and chairs for me to work and us to enjoy our meals, and then moved in our toiletries, clothes and a few kitchen items. That made for a great playground! We had lots of space and used the whole condo as a giant playroom.

The place was quite pretty with some gorgeous trees outside, with the one by the stairwell to the main entry having purple blossoms. And who can forget the ice cream stand that was within walking distance!

Here's a whole bunch of photos of our condo!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Getting together on Wednesday nights

One year ago today we got to spend the evening together. It was a Wednesday night, and I picked you up after preschool. I was living in the house off of Avenue K in Lancaster at the time.

We had a great time playing with all of the new toys we'd picked up since Christmas; I remember us having adventures with the "Star Trek" action figures and the Sheriff Jack cowboy set we got at the Hart Ranch gift shop. We also built play lasers out of the old wooden and plastic tool kits I'd bought for you long ago.

While being with you always brightens my day, that night us getting together was particularly nice. Jane had just spent the previous week with me, and I dropped her off at the airport that morning so she could head home. It was a bittersweet morning, but at least I had you to look forward to later in the day. Thanks for being such a wonderful son!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Early morning drive to your preschool

A year ago today you woke up in a hotel room in Santa Clarita! You'd spent the weekend with Jane and me (We were staying in Santa Clarita so we could visit sights in L.A.), and we had to get you to preschool because Monday had arrived!

While I went down to get us all breakfast, Jane woke you up. I came back and got you all washed up, and we enjoyed some muffins and juice (well, I enjoyed coffee) while Jane got ready. While I loaded up the car, she dressed you for school. You looked like the coolest kid that day in preschool!

On the drive to Lancaster, you fell asleep in the car. We had to get up really early because your school was an hour's drive away! When we left, the sun was just beginning to come up.

After dropping you off at school, Jane told me what a great little boy you were and how much fun she had with you. I think she felt like the luckiest woman in the world that morning.

I know I certainly felt like the luckiest man, for I had a great girl friend and the best son one could ever wish for!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our trip to cowboy museum, L.A. Zoo

One year today we took a trip with Jane from our Santa Clarita motel to the Autry National Center of the American West and to the Los Angeles Zoo at Griffith Park in L.A. While you and I had been to both places lots of times before, this was Jane's first big visit to California, so we had a grand time showing her around.

At the museum, we spent a good amount of time playing on the Old West set (a picture of the area where you can apper in a film is shown here). Then we had fun playing in the bungalow house and the Chinese restaurant in the museum's lower level. You made Jane and me "lunch"!

After that, we went to the zoo, where we we saw flamingos, gorillas, zebras, giraffes, tortoises, chimps and spent some time at the playground.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our grand adventure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Our big weekend in Santa Clarita

A year ago today (Feb. 11, 2013), we spent the weekend in Santa Clarita staying in a hotel with Jane. We had a grand old time playing "Star Trek" with one another at the hotel, which had doors opening to the outside and was on two levels. You and I snuck around the floor and down the stairs looking for Klingons as we played with our phasers.

That evening, we went to Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant where the three of us enjoyed a big Italian meal of lasagna and your favorite, tiramisu. You might remember that we had a long wait, but you and Jane (who you'd just met for the time the night before though you'd spoken several times with her on the phone) got along swimingly and kept each other entertained. Watching you guys get along so well was a lot of fun for me!

One of my favorite photos ever was one taken of the three of us at the dinner table - you made the silliest face for it! The photo on this posting is the seocnd photo taken in the series; I have to unpack the actual photo and get it scanned in one day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Moving to San Diego and Palmdale

The night of April 1, 2011, your mother moved out of the green house in Lancaster. I had to go to court to get the right to see you, which I accomploshed on April 22. That allowed me to see you a couple of days a week unil I could get back in court on May 25 for it to order joint custody between your mother and me of you.

In late May of that year, I moved to San Diego for a new job. I worked at Business Leader Media, editing a suire of business magazines, and moved into the house in Encinitas. Thus began several months of us travling back and forth between the two towns on weekends and holidays.

By December, I'd finally got my business launched and went full time with it. At the same time, I moved back to Palmdale so that we culd spend more time together. That autumn, you entered preschool in Lancaster.

Then in March 2012, we moved into the condo into Palmdale, which Jane shared with us. That lasted until May, and brings you up to date on what has happened in my life!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Highest UWRF honor: Chancellor's Award

One of my proudest achievements during my college days was receiving the Chancellor's Award in spring 1988 at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

It was the highest award given each year to campus, and only a few students received it. You have to good grades in your classes and be involved in campus leadership to qualify for the award.

For the award, I received  a big, heavy medal on a ribbon to wear around my neck. I got to wear it at my graduation ceremony (of which I led the march of graduating students to the amphitheater in spring 1989).

Unfortunately, I no longer have the medal (though I do have the cerficate). Somehow in all of the confusion when Jane moved out of the condo, some of my personal belongings - including that medal - were in the boxes that ended up in her moving van.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Decorating your new room

Went shopping this weekend with your grandma and purchased some items for our new house. I'm gettting excited about making the purchase and decorating the place the way I've always wanted my home to look; in the past, I either was just out of college and so had no money to outfit a home or I was living with someone else and had to compromise with their tastes - not that I ever disliked any of those mutual design decisions, but I always had to go with my second choice on everything.

I'm waiting to buy anything for your room, though - I want you to have a say in how you decorate it, such as the bedspread and posters and bathroom fixtures (yes, there's a half bath for you - sink, toilet, shower stall). We'll have lots of fun looking for stuff and decorating it.

Your nursery was a Classic Pooh and very cute. But it mainly was decorated to please your mother and me. I have a few of the items from the nursery and some pictures of it packed away. When we lived in the green house in Lancaster, your room had Star Wars decor and was red, white and blue. Jane and I were going to decorate your room at the Palmdale condo in football decor; she had picked out (and even purchased) this wonderful bedspread, lamp and other items, but we all know how that turned out.

Anyway, I'm thinking football again - except you had asked for an NFL helmet design. But I'm wide open to whatever you might like. And if you can;t decide, I may go with a surfer look! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Drawings found in my backpack

Was cleaning out my backpack - the one I used to carry all of our stuff in when we went on weekend trips after we gave up the stroller - and found some neat things of ours tucked in an interior pocket, both from our time at Disneyland last winter.

First were two puppet bats that we could color when we visited Woody's ranch house. They were both ones I colored - a Captain Kirk and a Mr. Spock bat! The wings are the colors of their uniforms and have their rank braids on the tips.

Second was a color picture you'd drawn there of the three stars in our cowboy adventures - Sheriff Jack, Lone Ranger and Bad Bart. They're stick figures, but I notice you colored Bad Bart in a black clothing. The picture is dated Feb. 5, 2012 (I always dated your pictures!); that would have been the Sunday before Jane came out to visit the first time (You met her later that week at Barnes and Noble and we spent a couple of days in Santa Clarita).

I need to get a new printer/scanner as my old one doesn't allow me to scan pictures into my laptop (my laptop's operating system is too advanced!), but rest assured, I have the items in a tote for you to look at one day!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The real reasons we're being kept from speaking to one another

Another weekend has pased in which we didn't get to see - or even talk to - one another. I'm sorry, Kieran, that your mother is putting you through this. Under court order, you have the right to talk to me nightly by phone, so long as you initiate the call. Not surprisingly, your mother has not called once me during the past two months so that you could speak to me.

She will tell you that I am a danger and threat to you, but everyone who knows me will tell you this is just a cover argument, for they have trusted me with their children and have seen what a close, deep bond we have. I am no threat or danger to you and never have been. The unfortunate reality is that your mother is angry and bitter, bearing much resentment to me for my relationship with Jane, for our close bond, and for refusing to be with her anymore in marriage (When we are together again and you are old enough, I will explain why to you why your mother and I cannot be together - and know that the issue never was that I didn't love her when we were together). So, preventing you from speaking with me simply is her way of punishing me, as she knows you are the most important person in the world to me. The way to hurt me the most is to keep you and me part. What bothers me, though, isn't her anger toward me but how she is hurting you, denying you a relationship with your father who loves you so very much and who I know you love so much as well.

One day, though, you and I will be together and able to talk freely about all that has happened. Just as I instictively understand what your cries meant mere minutes after you were born, I am confident we will instantly connect again, providing each other with the love and nurturing we always gave the other. Today is difficult, for we are apart when we could be enjoying one another's company at the zoo or a museum or playing with toys with one another or me reading a book to you or us just talking with one anothr as we amble down a hiking trail, but know that I always will keep you close to my heart.

If your mother disagrees with my assessment as to why we she keeps us apart, then I ask her to prove me wrong. Allow us to speak with one another. After all, how can I be a danger or threat to you by merely speaking to you on a phone?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Places to show you in Wisconsin

I've arrived back in Wisconsin today, Kieran, so that I can better continue the legal battle to regain custody of you, to ensure you are protected, and so ensure that we can see one another again. While I will miss California and all we could do there - Disneyland any day we like, the ocean beach, Legoland, the mountains, the many aquariums and museums, the desert hikes, the festivals galore - so long as I am with you, it doesn't really matter where we are.

I always planned to take you back to the Midwest just to show you where I'd grown up but had hoped to wait until you were a little older so it all might be a little more meaningful. I grew up on three different farms in Wisconsin - one near Plum City, another near Elmwood, and the other close to Menomonie (this is where I spent most of my childhood, from second grade until I graduated fromhigh school, and is where your grandparents still live). I'd love to show you those places and the main streets and stores in Plum City and Durand and Menomonie where my parents shopped when I was a child, and to show you the "ancestral valley" where your great-great-great-great-great grandfather and his two brothers came to Wisconsin; they being among the first pioneers in the state. I want to show you where I went to school - elementary school in Elmwood and another in Knapp,  junior high and high school in Menomonie (yes, Jane went to school there, too), and on to college in River Falls. I'd like to show you the dorms I lived in during college and my first apartment in Red Wing, Minn. (where I held my first full-time job out of college, as a newspaper reporter covering Wisconsin news), and the newspapers I worked at in Red Wing and Prescott. I'd like to take you to all of the carnivals and festivals I went to as a little boy - the Durand Fun Fest and the Dunn County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair. I'd like to show you a thousand other places that I've been to and always wanted to go to but never did.

We will do all that and more one day. Don't be discouraged, my son - time is on our side.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some advice for you, my son

I know, Kieran, that you must feel a great emptiness not having a father in your life. I certainly feel a great emptiness without my son in my life.

When one feels such emptiness, often bitterness sets in, and to release those feelings, we lash out at others or their property. By doing so, though, we only hurt ourselves far more than we do the other person. That may not be apparent at first as the other person cries or their possessions lay broken, but in the long run we lose the love and trust of them when we behave this way. I speak from personal experience, and when we are together again, I will explain all of those incidences to you should you wish. The one example I'm sure you will be familiar with, though, is Jane, who we both loved very dearly but who through my anger I drove away.

Do not harden your heart, Kieran. I know that is easier said than done. But I will be there again to fill the void  that our forced separation has temporarily created in both of our lives - and I emphasize the word temporarily because each and every day I and your grandparents are working within the limits of the law to correct this egregious error that others have committed to harm our well-being. So remain strong and remain kind and loving to others - even to those who have done you wrong - for in the long run that will serve you far better than taking the easy way out, which is bitterness, anger and a hardened heart.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Your photo is online again, Kieran!

A picture of you appeared online today, Kieran - a pic of you on the cover of my first book "Hikes with Tykes: A Practical Guide to Day Hiking with Kids" in an article about that book for a Canadian magazine. The book cover photo is of you all ready to go on a hike at the head of the Manzanita Trail high in the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest. The trail starts at the location of an old fault line that's no longer active. On one side of the fault line is red, sedimentary soil (like what you're standing on), and on the other side is white granitic rock that is tens of millions of year old. It made for a great pic, especially with your terrific smile!

All of the anecdotes in the interview are about you. I'm specifically describing a hike you and I took through the redwoods in northern California (the diaper stuff) and one we took alongside Lake Piru (the bug crossing the road stuff). Photo albums of both hikes on on my Facebook page.

I remember well the telephone interview for this article. Jane and I had just spent the day before in Anaheim and were heading to Palmdale on the Pearblossom Highway. We were to pick you up that night for the weekend, and she was so excited to meet you for the first time! The sun shined brilliantly in the blue sky with the San Gabriels to our left ... the very same mountain range where this picture of you had been taken. The future held so much promise. It is a day I never will forget.