Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Heart of Mebbie


Can I tell ya what the world needs?

More Mebbie!

That's EXACTLY what this world needs these days!


Her smile radiates and is contagious.

Her empathy is deep and puts her in unique positions to really feel what is going on around her.

Her compassion is strong.

Her love is undeniable.

I cannot believe I get to be her daddy.

Yep... the world needs more Mebbie.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Weighted Ankle Eating Time


You're wondering, "What the heck is that title all about?"

Aren't you?

Well - it's just like it says... dinner time with ankle weights.

Hey don't ask me... I got done with my run and got this little gem texted to me on my way home!

Keep marching to YOUR drummer, Z-Dogg!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Growing Up


This guy right here...

Holy Moly!

He is growing up FAST!!!


It's like I blinked and he is twice as tall as he was yesterday...

(admittedly - half of that might be hair!)

I love the little man that he is becoming, but...

Don't rush outta childhood, Z-Dogg!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Mebski Love


We were shooting some senior pictures for a friend tonight - and we came across a pretty cool graffiti covered old rail yard...

I LOVED the visuals!


I said "Mebbie - gimmee your best album cover pose!"

And she knocked it out the park!


MC Mebski Love... album dropping soon!

Way to keep it gangsta, Mebbie!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Always


Every now and then ya have a day like today (we'll get tot hat at some point here...) that leaves ya just looking for something to make ya smile.

Ya pop the SD card from the camera in - just looking for something...

ANYTHING...

And this girl never disappoints!

There is always something on there that brings a smile to my face... no matter what is going on!

Thanks, Meron... for being full of dependable silliness and joy!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

POOF!


I love when this cutie lets her hair be all natural like this!


It tends to bring out the silly in her!


And it definitely highlights the beauty!

I see your God-given gorgeousness, girl!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Helmet Heads


Man... I totally love these two and the way they love each other!

Stay smiling, helmet heads!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The B-I-B-L-E


Came in tonight from the Y and found Mebbie on the couch reading her book... and Z-Dogg posted up in the chair with his nose in...

THE BIBLE!

Get at it, Zechie!


He absolutely loves the "Read with Me Bible - Storybook Bible for Children"

And I'm loving that he loves it!


The B-I-B-L-E... yes that's the book for Z!

Keep reading His word, Z-Dogg... keep reading His word!

You're honoring Him well, homie!

Monday, September 10, 2018

That Was Quick!


My people... I love this crew so much!


And in in a rare moment - I actually got to jump in a picture with them!

But what I LOVE the most is how quickly we could shift to this:


All it took was three little words:

"Gangsta poses, Hoffmans!"

And boom - there it was!

I love that silly resides right underneath the surface with this crew!

Stay silly and gangsta guys!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

His Beautiful Work


Man... I am one lucky dude.

I wake up every day to see His beautiful creations...


All around me... I can't help but take His handiwork in by just having my eyes open!


And those clouds and mountains are pretty beautiful too!

Thanks, God... for the constant reminders!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

"Way to Kick It In, Pele!"


Z-Dogg's first game of the Fall soccer season went down this morning...


And he was ready to get it going!


This little dude has always been a hustler...


But he stepped up his game this year!

So cool to see him out there running as fast as possible all over that field - he didn't slow down once!


Well - maybe ONCE - but it was all mommy and daddy's fault for sure!

We're ordering sports glasses this week for him!


We decided to go "NO GLASSES" for second half - and while we were worried he wouldn't be able to see...

He certainly found us and flashed a gigantic smile!


I ** THINK ** his team lost - but ya know what... it doesn't matter!

Good sportsmanship and fun are top priority for us (but a win is ALWAYS welcome!).

Way to Pele it out there, Z-Dogg!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Z-Dogg x 5


I can't believe another year is in the books and today we celebrated...

5 Years of Z-Dogg being in our family!

Woo-hoo!


This is one of my favorite pics of our entire family - it's our first "family picture" taken the day Zechie was brought up the escalator at ATL airport!

What day!

We were finally ALL together as a family!



Of course it wouldn't be a true "Zechie Day" if I wasn't showing off his incredible homecoming video because it is

AWESOME!


Zechie - you are a true joy and you bring so much life and happiness to the family.

We couldn't imagine our crew without ya!

Here's to many, many more Zechie Days!!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

This Is Us...


That's Zechie up there.

You know... Z-Dogg. Zechariah Yohannes. My bubba.

I love that little guy so much.

And so many of you guys claim to as well.

And it's you guys - the ones who really know us and really do love our little homie - who will understand this fear right here.

Each day that passes brings me closer to the potential of this reality...

IT COULD HAPPEN
He's 14 years old , it's dusk and it's getting cold,
He's running late, wasn't doing what he was told;

The game ran long - he knew he might be in trouble,
But sorta worth it - cuz he landed a triple double;

Friends are packing up, high fives and headed home,
He put in his headphones for the walk back home alone;

He paused for a second - questioning - as if "well should he?"
But it was dusk and he was cold so he pulled on his favorite hoodie;

He started walking, smiled and said aloud,
"Triple double!" Mom won't care but dad will be proud!

The route home was about a mile - long but nothing hard,
He could shorten it though - if he cut through a few yards;

He was running late - and the lock wasn't on the gate,
It made his path straight - honestly? No debate;

He ran through. Quietly shut the gate behind him,
"You're late" - a text alert from home just to remind him;

One more yard to go, Ms. Jones - she shouldn't care,
She always waved at him and admired his puffy hair;

But tonight he had in braids - Ms. Jones didn't recognize,
Saw him through her window - thought "he's here to burglarize!"

Rounding the last corner flashing lights bathed his street,
Cars parked, guns drawn, "Show us your hands and feet!"

Panic. All these thoughts ran through his head,
All the things his parents said to help him not end up dead;

Hands trembling. "Dad will help - and I know he's at home"
As he reached into his pocket to pull out his cellular phone;

And there he stood - drenched in streetlights feeling afraid,
Baggy shorts, headphones and a hoodie up over his braids;

He had already dialed as the phone came up near his ear,
"Dad... help!" - the last words his family would hear;

A judgment call was made. Or maybe a bias reaction,
Being brown, baggy and braided seems like the only infraction;

And that night... it was dusk and getting cold,
When 27 bullets ended the life of a 14 year old.


This is who we are... and these are the fears that we feel every day as we parent these awesome gifts from God towards an adulthood in a country that simply doesn't always see them the way we do.

So hate us. Protest the protests. Unfriend us, block us,turn your backs on us or stay dead silent on the whole thing.

But know that we simply cannot do that with you... because...

This is us.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bigfoot Riding a Unicorn


Okay, okay...

So it's no Sasquatch riding the back of a mythical one-horned horse creature... but it's CLOSE ENOUGH in rarity!

Break out the cameras - cuz this certainly doesn't happen often!

Way to show the love guys... fake it til ya make it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Believe in Something...


What a crazy and weird time is it to be alive these days, no?

I mean... I am sure every generation thinks "Man - these are the craziest times...." but seriously - we may own the true record.

But ya know what the silver lining is of being alive in the craziest of times?

We get to teach the goofballs ALL KINDS of amazing lessons in life.


And one of the bigger, more recent ones has been:

Believe In Something!

These guys have had a front row seat to the fact that sometimes - OFTENTIMES - you'll get put on blast when you stand up for something...

Do it anyways.

In the face of wrong... the face of injustice... the face of inequality...

Stand up for what is right!

Even if it means losing things. And you WILL lose things.


You might lose friends. You might lose fortune.

You might be mocked, laughed at and shunned.

Still... do it anyways.

Because when you stand up for what is right... when you create a voice for those not being heard... what you're doing is showing the world that your heart WORKS.

Your moral compass points in the right direction.

Your love for EVERYBODY shines through.

And ultimately - you bring honor and glory to HIM.

Guys... this world we live in is CRAZY and NUTTY and downright BONKERS sometimes... but you all can help set it stright!

Always believe in something - and know some things are worth sacrificing for!

Monday, September 3, 2018

We Survived!


Does she look tired?

Well - she probably is... and so was I because:

We survived 2.5 hours of math and science homework!

The Meronator missed some school last week due to a bug and she had some work to make up.

We hunkered down and a bunch of science and math later - we walked out of Starbucks... weary but alive.

I am really trying to find joy in some of the mundane things we're called to - and really to thank Him for allowing me these moments that will disappear so quickly and I'll never have again.

And today - it was pure joy to watch her lean in, struggle and then get it...

Watching her face reflect the moment something clicked in for her was one of the best things ever.

And as I watched that... it hit me... I GET TO DO THIS.

I don't HAVE to. I GET to.

The task is certainly a privilege and a blessing.

Meron.... your daddy loves you and is super proud of you!

Never stop learning, girl... NEVER STOP!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Not So Fast, Buddy!


I know it's tough to see with those big fluffy clouds in the way - but that BRIGHT WHITE stuff up on the top of that mountain is...

Snow on Pikes Peak!

That's what we woke up to this morning!

A peek back up there this afternoon showed it mostly to be gone... but it didn't matter...

The mountain was letting us know who was boss!


And while Mebski Love isn't hiding the fact that she is praying for a heavy snowfall this winter - mostly so she could ditch school and sled ride - even she wasn't feeling it this early in the game!

Come on Old Man Winter... can't ya wait until at least Fall is through?!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny 16125


I was born and lived in small town America for the first 14.5 years of my life.

And I thought by tossing the zip code on there it would make it hip and cool like "90210" or something... did it work?

I recently got the chance to go back for a quick visit (that was NOT a funeral) - and so I decided to take a run around town and snap some pics of my yester-years.


The town is kinda movie-esque... no?


I mean it looks like a studio backlot to me!


If I'm being 100% totally honest... I don't hold fond memories of this place.

I know a lot of them exist - but a lot of dark ones have clouded them out.

But I had to admit - the quaint little place is kinda cool in a weird, backwoods, small town kind of way.


The architecture all over the town is super impressive... like this church.


And this weird little house across the street!


Oh... and this CLEARLY HAUNTED house!


The "down town" has a pretty cool look to it...


With railroad tracks running right through some tight alleyways!


As I kept running - I came up on this brick road with this impressive building on it.

I love this building!


My grandfather worked at this Post Office and I actually DO have fond memories of running down the hall back to his office to visit him here.

He was a great guy... and the few fond familial memories I have managed to maintain typically involve him and my grandma!


I picked up the pace a bit but I had to pause at this spot...

See - Greenville was a railroad town in its heyday - and this was one of the spots where a large rail yard used to be.

But not anymore... now it's just empty. And kind of sad.


But they do have a pretty cool railroad park in town... yay for preserving memories!


Then I ran up on this school...

This used to house the fourth, fifth and sixth grades but JUST THIS YEAR has closed down as they merged those grades back into the elementary school.


Fond memory alert...

This spot here is where we used to lay down cardboard and break-dance before the first bell alerted us to get inside!

See? I've always been hip-hop!


This basketball hoop here - behind the above school - is SUPER SPECIAL to me.

I can't tell you how much time I spent just shooting hoops and kicking it right here with one of my very best friends - Tye.

More on him in a bit.


I kept on running and eventually hit the track that started it all for me - where I did my first Hershey Track and Field meets and fell in love with running!

Had to a do a lap around that oval for old time's sake!


I knew I couldn't avoid this spot - as much as my mind may have wanted to.

Bentley Ave. Where I grew up when i lived there.

I ran by the house we lived in - and honestly came back by maybe 5 or 6 times - but could never bring myself to take a pic.

I saw my old window in my room - and all kinds of feels came back... and not majority good.

I couldn't hang around long... so I kept on running!


Had to take a picture of my bus stop to show the goofballs!

Spent many a morning right here - just down the street from our house - waiting for the big yellow bus.


With all the unpleasant memories bouncing around in my head - I needed to see something that could bring a smile.

So I ran to the baseball fields.

So many games and so many rounds of home run derby went down right here.

PLAY BALL!


I also passed this building... this used to be our local hangout spot... the East Side Dairy.

You could get ice cream, penny gum and Swedish fish, pop, snacks, etc.

Man... we frequented this place a LOT.

Great memories but said to see it no longer a store...


No trip down memory lane would be complete without cruising up Chambers Ave. to see the spot where I spent CRAZY AMOUNTS of time!

This was the house of one of my very best friends and if truth be told... his family became more like my family - with his mom and sister and cousins and extended family embracing me to the core (God Bless them for that!).

It was running by here that I realized - yeah - I had some pretty poopy memories from this town - but I also gained some pretty amazing people in my life here too.

And most of them came from this house!


Like this gem of a lady!

That's Aunt Josephine... she's kicking it in her 90s and is as awesome as can be!

She keeps me laughing and keeps me feeling loved like only she can do!


And then there were these guys...

I've always stayed in touch with Tony... but I hadn't seen Eric or Chris in like 20+ years!

And we picked right back up where we were!

Some relationships and friendships can transcend time, space and distance... and that just amazes me!

So great to hang with these guys for a while and commit to staying in touch better.


And then finally... there is this.

I mentioned Tye earlier.

I can't be in Greenville and not go visit his grave.

His race ended WAY TOO EARLY on graduation night (for me - day before for him)... and I will ALWAYS have a tie to this place because of our friendship.

Look western Pennsylvania... I'm not gonna say I exorcised my demons on this trip - that didn't happen at all.

But for the first time... I did find it enjoyable to be there (not for a funeral... whew!) and am thankful for the little bit of love (well - more like "like") I uncovered for the beauty of your quaint little self.

Til next time Greenville... keep it real!