Type 1 Diabetes is no joke. I have it. My sister has it. I have a number of friends who have it. I know people who were taken from this world too soon because of it. There is currently no cure, but I’m hoping to help change that. I want to raise money to fund research for a cure, but first, let me share my diabetes story.
A lot has happened in the past 24 hours, and it got me thinking…
I once posted a note that simply said “Lead with dignity.” It is, in my opinion, a statement that is a no-brainer. I mean, who wouldn’t want to lead with dignity? This note, however, prompted someone to comment with...
Well, I have reached a new milestone. It has been 700 consecutive days of lunch notes! To celebrate, I thought I would give something back. I started posting lunch notes online as a way to hopefully build a community from which I could find inspiration. After a week of posting lunch notes, I thought I would quickly run out of ideas. I mean, how many different ways can you tell a 4-year-old to have a super day?
Today marks the 500th consecutive day that I have created at least one lunch note for my children. From the beginning, I simply wanted to bring a little joy to their lives and show that it doesn't take much to make a difference. While I truly believe anyone can change the world, not everyone does. I suppose one of the most important parts of changing the world is to define what that means.
Today marks the 400th consecutive day of creating a sketch for my children. Who knew that a few packs of sticky notes and some markers could have resulted in so much support from people around the world and so many opportunities?
This little project called Lunch Note Sketch has opened up tremendous opportunities over the past year. Sketching a note for 366 days in a row was certainly an accomplishment. Well, earlier this week I had the privilege of speaking with DaddiLife to answer a few questions about Lunch Note Sketch. This interview was for a new section on their website titled "Heroes." DaddiLife is a website that provides a series of articles, media and supportive community built specifically for the modern day dad. It is quite an honor when someone reaches out for an interview, but I feel truly blessed to be considered for an interview about dad heroes.
So, please head over to DaddiLife, check out the interview, and leave a comment on their site!
It has long been a goal of mine to include different contributors in the Lunch Note Sketch family. Contributors are individuals who simply want to add much needed creativity to the sketches LNS offers. One reason for including others in this endeavor is to add variety to our portfolio of sketches. Another reason for adding contributors is to allow parents a chance to showcase the work they create for their own children.
So, without further ado, I am extremely honored and excited to introduce Dominic Aratari as the first-ever official Lunch Note Sketch contributor! Dominic is an amazing artist, designer, and family man who currently resides in the Pacific Northwest. He is an award-winning Creative Director who has worked with organizations like CNN and Sports Illustrated. To add Dominic as a contributor to this site will only enhance the creativity LNS has to offer. I am also excited to say that Dominic has agreed to provide one sketch per week for the next 8 weeks!
Dominic’s first sketch is titled Stand Tall. After receiving his first sketch, I asked him a few questions to learn more about his work.
LNS: Why do you want to participate/contribute to Lunch Note Sketch?
Dominic: I wanted to participate in LNS because of how inspirational it was to see the love and dedication Luke brings forth to make his children’s day a little more special. The sketches do not take a whole lot of time and the payoff is priceless. It brings another form of imagination and positive messaging in a simple visual form. Contributing will allow me to add this same value and dedication to my children’s day and offer them this great gift of creativity.
LNS: How did you come up with this first sketch?
Dominic: After our recent relocation from NYC to the Pacific Northwest, it seemed a fitting theme. We’ve spent a lot of time as a family exploring nature and state parks here. It’s amazing how time outdoors ignites the imagination and free spirit in my young children, and I want to balance nature in our very tech focused society. I think this theme will inspire the first few, but I will look to evolve it based on the activities we do and just good life messaging like Luke has done so well with LNS.
LNS: What was your process for this first sketch?
Dominic: I broke one big rule on this first one: I didn't have any post it notes yet, but I did acquire a huge pile this week. For Stand Tall, I began by drawing a series on squares of paper and sketched out a few layouts before I arrived at the look I wanted. I then placed another piece of paper over that drawing to redraw it again, to clean up and define the lines more. I then took a photo with my phone and brought it into Photoshop. This is where I made paths with the pen tool over my drawn lines and stroked each path with a brush at various sizes to give a sense of depth. I left all my stroked lines on a top layer and added the coloring/shading below. It took about 3 hours total for this piece.
I want to thank Dominic for participating! Please show your support of his work by liking and commenting on his sketches when they get posted, or welcome him by adding a comment below.
The conference I have been waiting for is now only 7 days away! And it's only a short drive to Washington, DC! The Dad 2.0 Summit, an event aimed at dad bloggers, is “an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business ideas.” I am so excited to meet a ton of cool and influential people, learn new ideas on how to take Lunch Note Sketch to the next level, and play with drones.
I am really hoping to get a lot out of this amazing opportunity. It has all been made possible by the folks at Dad 2.0 Summit and the Miller Grant. I submitted an essay and was selected as one of 17 grant recipients to receive a free conference ticket and $500 for travel expenses. I am so grateful for the chance to really make an impact with Lunch Note Sketch and I hope to learn as much as I can from everyone I will meet there.
So, about those drones… there are a number of really great companies sponsoring the Dad 2.0 Summit and it will be great to interact with all of them. Best Buy is hosting a drone excursion that will take place at Hope Flower Farm in Northern Virginia. We will be eating barbecue, flying drones, and making videos. If that’s not an awesome experience, then let me tell you about another sponsor: LEGO. LEGO will be hosting a party at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s newly opened Innovation Wing for what is being called “A Night at the Museum.” Attendees will have access to a number of exhibits, as well as meet with a LEGO Master Builder, as we spend the evening playing with friends.
I plan on sharing a lot from this conference. So be on the lookout in the future to see/hear what I learned and how I plan to use my new knowledge. Let’s get creative!
It has been a few days now since we lost our beloved Bailey. She was such a sweet and loving 8 year old puppy. As hard as it was to say goodbye, we did the right thing to stop her from suffering any longer. I know your memories of her will be few—if you remember her at all—so, I wanted to say a few things about Bailey and how much she meant to our family—to me.
They say dog is man’s best friend. I never doubted that saying, but I now know it’s especially true because I am faced with an enormous heartache. In the past 72 hours I have been flooded with emotions and memories. I have, at times, stopped dead in my tracks because a random memory popped in my head and I didn’t want to simply brush it aside. Like when we were outside throwing snowballs, I stopped for a minute because I knew Bailey loved to catch them and eat them. There are so many other memories, too. Memories of times before you were even born. As a puppy she really loved to keep us on our toes. From the time I got home to find our doorframe had been chewed off to the crazy few times we tried to give her a bath on our own. I will miss having her follow us around when a storm comes through. She hated storms and would stay so close that we would sometimes trip over her.
I’ll never forget how much Bailey loved the water. The beginning of her life was filled with swimming at the lake and chasing ducks. Your mother and I just laughed as we reminisced about the time we threw a ball out into the lake and she veered off course because she thought she could sneak up on a duck. Once the duck flew off she was content to circle back around to get the ball and bring it back to shore. She lived in the moment. She was always happy, but she was happiest at the lake. Her favorite words were “Hey Bailey, wanna go to the lake?” We will be spreading her ashes at her favorite spot once the weather gets warm as one last tribute.
She was also a fierce protector of our family. I loved that she was hesitant around any new men that came around. Whether it was the delivery man, door-to-door salesmen, or even our landlord. She would bark and growl like the great guardian that she was. I thought that was going to serve our family well as you got older. At the same time, she was so affectionate. She would shower me with kisses whenever I’d let her. She was always trying to give you kisses, too. And she always wanted to sit in people’s laps. At 70+ pounds, she made things interesting.
One of the things we’ll miss the most is her ability to clean our dining room. It hit us in the past week, when Bailey didn’t want to eat, that we were blessed to have a living vacuum. Ever since you were eating food she was always there to quickly clean up any messes. For the first time in over 8 years, I had to vacuum the rug under the dining room table. And Luke, we would often just sit you on the floor after a meal and she would come clean you, too. I think that’s why you—Luke—loved Bailey so much.
The thing I will miss the most, though, was my bedtime routine. Before going to bed every night I would finish cleaning up and go around checking that the doors were locked and lights were off. Before heading to our room I would find Bailey sleeping on the couch. I would then get on all fours in front of her on the living room floor and put my head down as if to hide. She would happily jump off the couch and try to nudge me. She wanted in. She wanted to get her big head under me to be close. Without fail she would knock me over and we would either lay there for a minute or she would then get a ball to play. No matter what, I ended my night by petting this sweet dog. Now that you were in bed and your mother was asleep Bailey knew it was our time. She loved the attention. These late night memories are what I keep shedding a tear over. I laid on the living room floor the past few nights and for the first time there was no one there to nudge me. No furry animal to knock me over. No sweet loving Bailey for me to pet.
So, they say dog is a man’s best friend. Yep. No doubt. It was extremely difficult watching her condition deteriorate in just 7 days. To go from a once happy, healthy, funny dog to a dog who was in pain and couldn’t even eat. There was nothing like laying on the vet floor, nose to nose with Bailey, petting her head and holding her paw as she breathed her last breath. Talk about a surreal moment. I lost my best friend and I’m a mess. Her dog bed will probably sit at the foot of our bed—it’s rightful spot—for a long time. I cleaned her food dish and put it at the center of our dining room table as a reminder that she was a part of our family for just 8 short years. It’s going to take a long time to get over this. Some might say “geez, it’s just a dog.” That’s true, she was a dog. But she was our dog. A beautiful soul. She was my best friend who loved me—loved us—no matter what. And everyday for 8 years of my life she was there for me. I just hope I was there for her.
I wanted to write this letter in the hope that you would remember something about Bailey. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too. The one thing I want you to take away from this, though, is that we suffered a great loss to our family. Admittedly, I probably took it the hardest. All of the sadness I felt, and all of the sadness I will feel, is nothing compared to all of the love, loyalty, and fun times Bailey gave us over 8 years. I hope you have the opportunity to welcome your own dog—or cat, or horse, or whatever animal you want—to your family one day so you can experience the same fulfillment I got. Life is certainly better if you have an animal companion to share it with.
Rest in peace, sweet Bailey.