Monday, September 23, 2013


Tonight I called her "Slowy" instead of Zoey and I didn't think twice about it...until she came back downstairs in near tears and said, in a confident tone but shaken, that it hurt her feelings...that she didn't like it when I called her "Slowy."  And just like that I broke my daughters heart.

We mostly don't think about what we say...about the words that come out of our mouths.  I'm sure the majority of us never give a second thought to most of the things that topple from our tongues...until you break the little heart of the most important person in your world...then you decide that every word that ever comes out of your mouth for the rest of your life will be measured.

I've been a better Dad than I was tonight.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Janie Twohander...Girls, Lacrosse, Fairy Wings, Tutus...the Usual Awesomeness

LAX Fairy day!

When the idea of starting a field lacrosse program for the smallest girls I could find crossed my mind I had no idea how staggeringly fun it would be. It's toppled just about everything on my list of awesomeballs things. I've maybe never had so much fun....ever...and that's a lot of never.

  Telling the story of 'The Creator's Game' #janietwohander #lacrosse  #iroquoisnationals

Two weeks deep, without incident, and the photo ops are insane. This week was Fairy Night and if ours heart were on the outside of our chests we'd have all seen them grow ten sizes bigger. Turns out that fairy wings and lacrosse sticks are a great apples and juice boxes.

  Snacking spot #janietwohander #fairies #lacrosse

 It's mostly just fun and games, and I'm learning quickly not the place for ANY level of lacrosse drill, but the girls love their sticks, and they play hide and seek while waiting for practice to start, and there is giggling...loads of giggling. They think it's lacrosse practice. Good enough. And it's cute enough to hurt your head.

  Hide and seek

There's a faint whisper of structure...early on, but it fades rapidly with the minutes, and occasionally we tackle something skill-based, but mostly it's just trying to keep a dozen 3, 4, 5, and 6 year olds busy...which isn't easy. Maybe by week 3 we'll have a better system in place. For now, it's tutus and desperate attempts at keeping attention spans harnessed.

  What time is it Mr. Wolf?? LUNCHTIME! #janietwohander #fairies #lacrosse

 I've learned that "What Time is it Mr. Wolf" works wonders. Of course, so does just running around and screaming, so...there will be no coach of the year awards here...but there will be giggles. THere will be an abundance of giggles.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fairies Have More Fun...

Watching 'Secret of the Wings' and thinking if her fairy sister #tinkerbell #periwinkle

This week is "Fairy Night" at lacrosse practice...fairy night. Yup, you read that right. What? Like fairies can't play the fastest game on two feet? Of course they can.  Besides, how on earth could fairy wings and a tutu interfere with a fun hour of running around like crazy girls with pseudo-weapons in their tiny little feminine hands? There'll be no obvious problem with know, aside from me wearing a tutu and fairy wings too. Other than that, no issues whatsoever.

After just one week of watching these little girls giggle their way through half-assed lacrosse drills, and full on who-cares-about-anything-but-fun type running around with lacrosse-ish intentions, I'm sold on the indisputable simple enjoyment that girls get from sport versus the eye-of-the-tiger energy release that the same sports seem to be for boys.  Lacrosse schmacrosse...there were other girls to play with...good enough, seemed to be the prevailing philosophy, and it was remarkably refreshing.  Now I'm more excited about fairy wings and tutus than actual lacrosse drills, and that's enlightening all by itself. In the end this is about fun, and who has more fun than fairies?

I remember being in college and finding myself in Indianapolis with the Women's Swim Team for the Big Ten Championships...a last minute plane ticket slapped on the table in front of me, and specific directions to just shut up and go despite knowing nothing about swimming.  I went, and saw something that I wasn't familiar with. Those sincerely competitive girls, some swimming at Olympic calibers, had fun.  They laughed, and supported each other with hugs and boisterous enthusiasm and encouragement. They acted like twelve year olds with serious world class swimming chops.  They sang songs together, and cheered teammates with their arms wrapped around each others shoulders. They were embodying all of the good things that sports could and should be, and I was forever altered. I'd spent a lifetime around boys and men, all very intense, none very brother-like despite the claim to be....über-competitive, ultra-aggressive, shamelessly selfish and egotistical and angry. Very much win-at-all-costs alpha males. I'd never experienced sport outside of that realm. Boys sports were a frightening micro-example of the food chain.  Girls sports were less so, if at all. They were nothing like the big fish eating smaller fish world of male athletics. I was refreshed and inspired and changed. Girls were more fun.

Flash forward nearly twenty years, and I have two daughters of my own, and that's what I so desperately wanted, and almost as soon as the sports begin, the landscape changes...there are giggles and hugs, and cheering and singing, and I'm once again astonished at the capacity for most girls to turn sport into the purest of joyful exercises. Last week I even caught a little girl kissing her lacrosse stick, so obviously and overwhelmingly smitten with her new instrument of fun, that she couldn't resist the physical display of affection.  The smile nearly broke my face. We're different, boys and girls, but rarely have I seen a more overt example of that than on the playing fields of our childhood. It's awe inspiring. Girls have more fun. They do. They make more friends. They demand less from the enterprise. They give themselves over more wholly, with less trepidation than boys. They enjoy themselves AND they enjoy the people they surround themselves with more. They innately find perspective before competition.

This week is Fairy Night, and I've maybe never been more excited to play some lacrosse.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Afternoon Dance Party With Tegan and Sara

It's not just Dad that likes Tegan and Sara...the rest of the house is fairly smitten as well, and so when the girls catch an earful of whatever Tegan and Sara song is playing this is what typically erupts.  It's so cute it makes me nauseous.  I'm totally sending this to them 'cause who doesn't need to see small children dancing?  The obvious answer is no one, thats who.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is...and Other Good Places

Whoot whoot!!

If you were to ask most people who know me (and only those that like me) you might hear a broad range of descriptives.  Of course they differ from each perspective because to some I am a son, and to others a brother, to others still a husband and Dad, and others still, a friend. They might tell you that I work with kids...sometimes messed up kids. You might hear them say energetic, and creative...inspired maybe...hopefully.  You'd surely hear things orbiting around sports, and reading, and writing. You'd probably hear something about traveling and you'd absolutely hear about this blog, and all of the different ideas, and probably even something about luck and California and New York and Michigan, but what you wouldn't hear are the things that I reserve only for me.  Things like how badly I want to make a difference, and how desperately I want to have an impact.  You probably won't hear about how I don't want to do it like everyone else, and how I want people to look at whatever path I've followed and think, "wow, that's pretty impressive."  I want to be impressive, and you probably wouldn't hear that.

So when I printed off the business license this week, and for the first time on actual paper I read the words Jimmy Twohander, you know, on something so official, I smiled.  It's real.  This idea is an actual living, breathing thing now.  Jimmy Twohander...a means to a very impressive end if I can somehow muster the chutzpah to make something out of it.  What is it?  It's a manifestation (big words make everything sound better) of everything that I believe in.  It's a way to reach out to people and ask them to change the way that they see the world.  It's a way to change the way the world works, and that's no small task, but it's one that I've dreamt of for a long, long time.  Jimmy Twohander is company with a conscience, and a soul, and a pretty strong determination to change things.

What things, you ask?


Jimmy Twohander is a social enterprise disguised as a lacrosse company. If we do it right, it will be a Pied Piper of sorts, pulling kids out of the machine of organized sport and unorganized values, and inspiring the people who "have" to take care of the people who "don't".  Jimmy Twohander will sell t-shirts and experiences and hope.  It will assume a business model that most people might cringe at...that surely most people who know what they're doing might shake their confused head at.  It will take from those who have and make something out of nothing for those who don't have, and it will do so with energy and conviction and the kind of purpose that inspires people...I hope.

Jimmy Twohander will be hoodies and t-shirts and helmet stickers and summer camps and up-start community programs, and it will break as many rules as you can apply to it, and it will do it with a heart, and a hope that regular people can do exceptional things, if someone shows us the way.  So, with a little help and a lot of luck and hard work, Jimmy Twohander is hoping to show us all a new way of doing things.  I don't want to contribute to someone else's good ideas anymore.  I want to make real my own.

Sports shouldn't be out of reach of good people.  It shouldn't be a by-product of your socio-economic status, or your class, or place in society...not now, not with the infrastructure that exists today.  Sports has become a business, that's undeniable and unavoidable, but what if we made that business give, what if that business wanted to give back? What if that business' mandate was to take what it can make and turn it around to make something else...something that has previously been left to the grants and volunteers and do-good non-profits of the planet?  What if we changed the way people thought about sports, and what they can offer a child, and how accessible they can be, and as we do this we are engaging good people, and motivating disillusioned people, and putting sports back in the realm of possibility for many people who can no longer play on the field of someone else's dreams.  What if a company could take the game back and give it to the people that it belongs to?  What if someone could create something that truly was "the people's company?"  Jimmy Twohander wants to make that craziness happen.

Why a business and not a charity, or a non-profit?  Because in it's simplest form commerce is the one common denominator between us all.  We buy things.  We spend money.  We want the things that we see, and so rather than choose to make someone rich, what if by being a consumer we were making the world, even just a small part of it, a better place?  What if by playing on a lacrosse team we made it possible for someone else, who might never have been able to, do the same?  What if by buying a t-shirt we put a stick in a kid's hand?  What if by spending money on ourselves we could lavish others with similar satisfaction?  Jimmy Twohander wants to help people understand that we can help one another without even trying.  Buy a shirt, and a kid's Mom gets to see their son play a sport for the first time. Send your child to a camp, and a Dad gets to watch his daughter burst with the joy and pride of being a part of something.  Put a sticker on your helmet and some child somewhere slips their very own helmet on the first time.  And all you have to do is spend the money that you would have normally spent. All you have to do is play a game, and other people will be able to play that same game.  It's not noble, or bold, or unique as much as it is hopeful.  What if by investing in your own needs you inadvertently meet someone else's needs?  That would be a pretty brilliant endeavor.  At least, we think so.

So how does it work?  Well, first we get things rolling with a presence...a place on the web to call home, and we get a few teams and programs already in progress, and in need...and then we make things to sell...t-shirts, sweats, hats, shorts, bags...and we get busy selling them online and in person, at tournaments, and in stores, on your laptop and at your kitchen table...and then we organize some camps, and clinics, and then start tilting the ship to invest the profits in programs...we put sticks in kids hands...we make sure that if you come to the park to play, there's a stick there to play with...we start teams, and hold clinics...we give kids a place to go after school, and a reason to go to school...We do our best to make that Robin Hood ideal of robbing the rich to give to the poor a somewhat more palatable reality.  We don't really want to rob anyone, but as long as you're kid's going to lacrosse camp anyway, or begging for that hoody...why not make sure that the kind of commerce that normally lines pockets does a whole lot more than that.  You're getting fleeced anyway, your money might as well make someone happy instead of rich.

This isn't a lacrosse company, it's a social and sporting movement. It's what the inside of my head and heart looks like. It's something worth believing in.  It's the thing that will help make coaches aware of the need for mental health and substance abuse training, and the thing that inspires a kids club team to grow out of the ashes of their struggling community and compete with kids who have never known struggle.  It's the thing that evens the playing field...hell, that makes sure there are two playing fields to begin with.

If you were to ask most people who know me, I doubt they'd say all that...or perhaps they would?  Perhaps it wouldn't be a surprise at all?  Maybe husband and Dad and son and brother and Uncle and friend are just the beginnings of the descriptives?  All I know is that now I own a business and it better be one that matters. It better leave a mark.  It better be impressive.

Hey Ladies....

Whoever had the idea of putting a dozen 4-6 year old girls together on a start-up lacrosse team for the Fall was crazy!  It cost a decent dime to do it, and it's just about the busiest practice you've ever seen.  There's almost no sense in tackling structured drills because it's close to impossible to navigate twelve different attention spans, but my God is it ever fun!

We rounded up twelve friends and strangers alike, and gave them lacrosse sticks. Now we're responsible for their safety and enjoyment.  That's a heavy task. I think we're up to it but WOW...on the surface it looks daunting. Twelve little girls have a seriously intimidating amount of energy.  Sure, it's all giggles and random running and laughing, so not like a group of boys at the same age, but a little pink and purple bomb in fairy wings is still a bomb.

Tonight was the girls very first practice and it was all a guy could do to keep their attention, and kinda sorta teach a thing or two.  Mostly we just ran around in a state of semi-organization, and had as much fun as we could.  There wasn't one altercation between funsters.  We only had two girls too frightened or upset to play, and despite wind, rain, and cold, there wasn't a single registered complaint.  Not bad.  I think we may have pulled something very cool off.

The whole thing started as an idea to bring together girls in a girls-only game, and to introduce them to field lacrosse.  Some had played indoor, and others had never touched a stick, but lacrosse was the secondary thing...having fun and loving lacrosse practice was our primary goal.  I also wanted to make it something to combat the ridiculous cost of participating in sports these days.  Parents should be able to afford to give their kids whatever opportunities that organized sport can provide...nothing should be out of reach, so this program would be so accessible that it confused people.  It was.  Not a single parent paid a single dollar for their child to play.  We found the money to do it here and there, and then we kicked in some of our own, and bam...twelve girls with lacrosse sticks having the time of their lives.

Whoever had the idea of putting a dozen 4-6 year old girls together on a start-up lacrosse team for the Fall was crazy!  But it was SUCH a good idea.  Next week is fairy  lacrosse sticks and tutus.  I'm kinda speechless.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Weirdness

I've gone to bed two nights in a row at 9:30pm...I didn't fall fast asleep each time, but I was flat on my back in bed.  I never quit the day that early.

I've had dreams, weird, disconnected, strange can't remember a damn thing in the morning dreams.  I never dream.

I'm exhausted.

Maybe it's back to work...maybe it's the multiplication of distractions...maybe it's the sheer number of irons in the fire almost immediately after the summer ended...a new side gig, the start of something big, this evening gone, and that evening committed to this, or that...and before I looked up, BAM...I was crowding myself out of my comfort zone. shouldn't get too comfortable anyway I've been told.  You should push yourself a little...get comfortable being uncomfortable, they say.

Maybe I'm going to bed at 9:30pm because my body and mind are telling me to go to bed at 9:30pm? It's no big's helped me blog again...and I'm's just strange to go to bed a half hour after my four year old daughter.

Maybe I'm subconsciously amping up for something awesome and I don't even know it?  Or...maybe I'm just tired. Either way, the weirdness of it all can fade any time soon and I'd be okay with that.  It feels as though I'm living someone else's life each night and that's odd.  9:30pm...shameful...but the alternative?  TIgers baseball, I guess...mind numbing television that I don't care about, I suppose...exercise, no way.


OR...I'm just figuring myself out.  Who needs to get that grumpy laying on the couch and then dragging their carcass off to find bed at midnight?  Why wouldn't I dive into rest when my body hints at it?  Who needs prime time television when prime time television sucks mustard?  There are books to be read, and  blog posts to be written, and I never fail to smile when I first crawl under those cool sheets.  Maybe this is a good thing?  Maybe I've needed this...and needed this for a awhile?  Maybe this is normal?

Tell me, does everyone fall asleep before they can pick a movie on Netflix?

My Secret Shame...

I can't stop listening to Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors."  There, I've said it.  There are literally a million things that two daughters have swayed me to carve a bit of affection out for.  I like the color pink more than I did in 1986.  I hear what Taylor Swift is sayin'...Girl Power is very real to me, and I like Justin Bieber's Christmas Special.  I do. Ugh.

Beginning this week I'll be coaching a girls lacrosse team of 4-6 year olds...seriously.

What happens to a man with daughters is an incredible thing.  You soften, sure, but you also open your heart wide to the possibilities and wonders that have probably surrounded you your entire life, but that baseball practice obscured.  There's nothing wrong with dancing in public places, or tutu shopping...nothing.  What little I did know about myself before daughters is dwarfed by the flood of realizations that I've come to with them.


I like shopping for their clothes.  I like dressing them.  I have a renewed love of horses, and I can get as excited about a good hair day as anyone now.  Purple is an absolutely stellar color, and the buttons on that jean jacket, yeah, those were my idea.  I finally see things from Wendy's point of view, not just Peter's, and Hermione might just be the coolest character in the entire Harry Potter series.  It's astonishing what love can do to a guy.

I almost bought Nancy Drew books the other day.

My God what's happened to me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Easy to Get Distracted When Life is This Good...and It Is This Good

Hand in hand 2 - Brooklyn
Zoey being big sister in Brooklyn...Maggie doing a very respectable little sister impression.

How does one slip off to New York City, and be the blogging type, and then not write a single thing...not post a single photo...not relate any of the happenings to any of the lovely people who so regularly stop and visit us here?

Well, because it's awfully easy to get distracted when life is good, and it is. And, I decided that I needed a break. It's been five years of continuous blogging, and that's just ridiculous.  That's right, five years.  A guy can get plenty tired in five years.

Here's what I learned after taking a few weeks, okay, more than a few weeks, off.

I love this place.  I love the connection it gives me to a faceless, nameless world of people just like me.  I love the intimacy it gives me with people I've known most of my life but just never got around to loving as much as I should have.  I love that it serves as a venue for all of my hopes and dreams and sappy little everythings. I love how much it bothers people when I disappear and don't type.  I love how  much better of a father it makes me.  I love that someday my daughters will be able to read this and know exactly who there dad was as they were growing.  I love the giant chasm of expression that it filled five years ago.

I need to be more focused on satisfying myself rather than satisfying others, and that starts with chasing dreams, and following through with ideas, and living out loud, not behind any kind of curtains or protective shell.  That means being vulnerable for all of the right reasons, not just fear.

I've got a near perfect life.

I'm nowhere near being the guy that I think that I am, and in this particular case, I should probably start listening to what everyone else says about who I am.  It's a way better version.

You make your own happiness.  No one owes you anything, and the universe isn't with or against you. If you want to be happy, go find a way to be happy.

As we grow up we forget about the things that define us the most, that we innately found connection with when we were young, and that we probably no longer do.  Forget about how old you are for a minute and go back to what made you happy when you were fourteen.

My daughters are becoming who they will eventually be in large part by stealing pieces of their do you want your kids to be the best parts, or the worst? I want them to be fantastic.

The best people...I mean THE best people...let you know what you mean to them.

Things mostly just tend to work out as they should.

Take care of yourself.  No one else is going to.

Indulge yourself in positive selfish if it means being happy...invest in yourself.  The fastest way to lose yourself and years is to give them away.

Kissing is the best thing ever.

Sleep when you're tired.

Look up every once in awhile because it can be a long time between stargazing sessions, and they're just too awesome to forget about.

I don't like gardening.

Whatever culture you choose to live in is defined by the very people living in it, so if your values don't match those around you, it's no surprise that you're not enjoying the culture you're swimming in.  Find people who think the same way as you.

It all starts with people and conflict...that's the story of our lives...ALL of our lives.

Music can save your life.

Inhabit your feelings.  Don't dismiss them.

Create something that you can be proud of and you'll be surprised what that does to you. You'll be even more surprised what it does to others.

Look for those photos that you can take of your children that will someday be the ones that will make your heart swell.  Don't leave the camera at home, ever. Someday it could be all you have.

Return to Blogging Live Link Extravaganza

It's been a mostly quiet summer of avoiding all responsibilities, and that meant ignoring the blog for most of it...but now it's September, and now I'm excited to be typing again, and here are some links to kick things off.  Enjoy.

Awesome story about what's possible if you try.

If you see this backpack walking down the street, there's a good chance that it's attached to my lovely daughter. Doesn't it rock?  Yeah it does.

See this dude here...well he's 19 years old, just finished high school, and he just rode his bike across Canada to raise money and awareness about Parkinsons...he's my guy.  He and I hatched this evil plan to ride across Canada two years ago, mostly because his parents said he couldn't ride 125 km on his, we come up with a shoddy plan in a tiny little room in his high school, and then the kid just goes out and does it. Amazeballs.

Watch this awesomeness, and thank me later.

This is my life.

The best advice I could ever give you, I stole.

Zoey and I have decided to collaborate on a book, and just as we came to that conclusion, we found this. Brilliant.

When was the last time that you did something powerfully meaningless? Perhaps you should think about it.

Now this is the kind of book I want my kids reading.  There's a time and place for everything, even going wild!

I really wish this would find the funding it needs, but it's looking tight.

Welcome back. I missed you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Zoey Sakura DeWagner - The First Day of School 2013


It was supposed to be a big deal. It was supposed to be a tear jerker. By all accounts, it was supposed to rattle us into nostalgia over how fast time has flown by, and how big our little girl has gotten. Instead, we were just all so excited...Zoey, Mom, myself...that we left no room for sentimentality. We just enjoyed the moment. We walked to school. We lingered with good friends. We shuddered at the notion of having to deal with a Kindergarten teacher for the next two years. It was wonderful.


Zoey thought so too.

Neglectful is as Neglectful Does

ne·glectful·ly adj. adj.- characterized by neglect; careless; negligent. Aside from having no computer access in Brooklyn last week, we were just plain old neglectful with regard to updating the blog...last week...this general. Fortunately the blogging Gods are shining on us once again, and things are lined up and ready to be typed and posted, and given to the universe. Sincerest apologies. Now, hang on to your hat.