Happy 14th Birthday, Jax

We’re back, baby.

After spending last year circling the grounds of Exposition Park in the rain and munching on Red Lobster takeout at home, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has re-opened, and we’ll be back there today to celebrate Jaxson’s birthday. After, we will head over to Ruby’s Diner in Orange at the train station and meet up with family to bring our tradition full Circle (city of Orange joke).

Aside from his obsession of dinosaurs and love of trains, Jax was intrigued by Ghost Face, the villain from the Scream movies. He drew a picture of Ghost Face, which is tattooed on my wrist.

When he was 3 I let him watch the beginning of Scream, up until the part that the killer knifes Drew Barrymore in the back. He played the Scre4m mobile game on my iPad (in which one basically plays as Ghost Face and hunt down teens while avoiding the police). He begged to dress ups as Ghost Face for Halloween, but we said he had to be 8. When he asked how old he had to be to watch the rest of the movie, I told him 13. But deep down, I knew I’d let him watch it at 10. Questionable parenting aside, I couldn’t wait to watch horror movies with him.

So tonight, after we chug down some shakes for dinner and drop the kids off at home with grandma, the wife and I will head to the movies to watch the new Scream movie (Scream 5? I don’t even know), which came out earlier this month and has received good reviews. In my fantasy of an alternate universe where Jax didn’t die, we would have taken him opening night, or maybe with a few of his friends as part of his birthday celebration. That’s if he wasn’t too cool at 14 to hang out with his parents.

If you want to celebrate Jax with us this weekend, put together a puzzle. Watch Jurassic Park. Ride a train. Go see Scream. Smile. And maybe cry. Because I will.

Happy Birthday, Jax. My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Jax Remembrance 2017 – Cars 3 at El Capitan Theatre

jaxremembrancegraphicWe’re finally able to share the details the Jax Remembrance. We will be watching Cars 3 on Saturday, June 24 at 10 a.m. at the legendary El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.  Walt Disney Studios is reserving a bunch of seats for us at this show time. Tickets are $11 per person.

The past three years we’ve been fortunate enough to all gather at Angel Stadium and celebrate our sweet boy. This year, however, the Angels will be in Boston. But Disney (and maybe a higher power than The Mouse) scheduled Cars 3 to release the weekend of June 17, providing us a fantastic alternative to celebrate Jax and things he was passionate about. Which, no doubt, includes Cars.

Also, in the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up category, Cars 3 features the debut of Jackson Storm, a rookie to the Piston Cup race scene, and beloved Lightning McQueen’s new rival. How cool is that?!?


Jackson Storm

Please let us know by June 8 if you would like tickets.

Note about parking:  El Capitan will partially validate if you park at Hollywood and Highland. Bring your parking ticket with you to get validation, and then parking will cost you just $2 for up to 4 hours. 

It’s A…

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Today we unveiled to the kids the sex of Baby Tearz, and now, we share it with you. As you can imagine, Ellie wanted a girl, Gray wanted a boy, but they both really just want a baby, whatever gender it is.

Coming to you July 29, 2016. We’re open to name suggestions.


Happy 7th Birthday, Jax

Jax turns 7 today. I just got home from dropping the kids off at preschool, along with dinosaur cupcakes my wife made last night for their classroom. It’s a tradition she’s developed, bringing Jax’s preschool teacher cupcakes on his birthday for her class. Ellie and Gray have the same, awesome teacher.

dinosaur cupcakes

On the way home, Warrant’s “Heaven Isn’t Too Far Away” came on the radio. I LOVED it was a kid. I was 12 when it released and I MIGHT of danced to hit at a junior high dance. That part is foggy (too much aspartame). I thought about the lyrics, because anything with heaven in it makes me think of Jax. It’s cheesy as hell. But then “closer to it every day” hits. A moment later, I get this overwhelming feeling on repeat:

“I’ll see you soon, Dad,” Jax tells me. Three times. My eyes swell and the tears run down my poofy cheeks. He’s trying to make me feel better. Assure me that all will be okay. But I just feel more sad because I can’t squeeze him today. It’s his fucking birthday and I can’t hold him or kiss his round cheek. My stomach aches in despair thinking about it. A feeling of hopelessness sweeps over me. I’d really prefer to get drunk and fall asleep until today’s over. But then I think about that dead pigeon.

Actually death is typically a good sign showing us that an end to turmoil or pain is ending. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical death, just a metaphorical death. Perhaps you’re going through heartache of a break-up, perhaps you are struggling to find a job…this dead bird marks the end to your search and struggle. A new beginning is just around the corner.

I think about Jax trying to lift me up. Trying to make me feel better. I need to make today a good day. For my wife, for my kids. For me. I’ll wipe off these tears, jump in the shower and get ready to pick the kids up from preschool. As we did last year, we’ll visit the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, which is where we took Jax on his fourth and final birthday. And then we’re going to meet family at Ruby’s at the train station in Orange, just as we did on his final birthday. And we’ll bring some dinosaur cupcakes and sing to him.

It’s a day to celebrate him, right? Not to lay/lie (I can never get those right) in bed with a belly full of scotch.

I reread my birthday post from last year. Really, most of what I wrote is what I still feel today. So you should go read it. Because it’s really good. And, obviously, there’s no new pictures for me to post of him. And there are good pictures there, so you should go look at them.

And think of him today for us. Talk to him. Send him some positive vibes. Because it’s still his birthday.

And as a guy that sometimes writes once wrote:

My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Love you,


Happy Birthday, Jaxson William.

(T)GIF – In Memory of Hank Conger

The Angels traded catcher Hank Conger on Wednesday to the Houston Astros in exchange for a young pitcher and minor league catcher. This gif is for him.

Conger, the Angels first-round pick in 2006, is a local boy. He attended Huntington Beach High School and grew up an Angels fan. I’m pretty sure he’s going to go to Houston and find the bat that made him a top pick now that he’s out Mike Scioscia’s “catchers only catch” grip (see Mike Napoli).

Also, this happened last year…

Good luck in Houston, Conger. I wish the Angels gave you the at-bats to succeed offensively in Anaheim.

gif hank conger

(T)GIF is a regular Friday feature at Smiling Through Tearz. Know of an animated gif that makes you tinkle with laughter, cry or cringe that you think should be featured at STT? Let me know at seth@smilingthroughtearz.com.

Iron Jax Photos – CHOC Walk 2014

First of all, thank you to all the Iron Jax Walkers that joined us Sunday. It’s a pain to wake up so early in the morning, fight crowds and shuffle around like a herd of zombies, but Kristina and I are so happy you did!

We also want to thank everyone that helped us raise what is likely to be just under $7000 for our team. Officially, we’re at $6364, but that doesn’t include the Super Mex and Rubio’s funds. It is not too late to give! You can click here and donate until 10/31 and those funds will count towards Iron Jax’s 2014 total.

A big thanks to the talented Tim Willey for snapping photos Sunday, of which you’ll see below.

Let’s plan for 2015. Mark your calendar for the second Sunday of October. Hit me up with any fundraising ideas/suggestions/tips. Like marketing? We can use everyone’s help!

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