Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Than Meets the Eye

Movie Review

Transformers is rated PG 13. It was one of those that I would normally watch first and then decide on whether the kids could see it (or see it on DVD where I could edit it if need be). But I was a bit lax while on vacation. Overall, I think it's fine for the kids. It's not too violent. The effects are great. The action is plentiful. There were a few of scenes worth noting for the kids. One had a character being chased muttering the S word to himself a few times. Not too bad there. There was an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror in the guise of a bumble bee with the notation "Bee Yatch" on it. My oldest reads well and understood the reference. But he also knows not to use it. The harshest scene was about an hour into the movie. A mother bust thought the door of her teen age sons room and then proceeds to ask him if he was…..well you know what teenage boys do behind locked doors......and she asks more than once. Fortunately while the boys laughed, there were looking around wondering why they were laughing.

Dads, you will like this movie too. Action and effects, as noted above, are great. Then there is Megan Fox, new uber-hottie. Last name says it all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

These Are The Days

I had one of the best days ever with Caz today. From the moment he got up to the moment he put his head on the pillow, it was thoroughly enjoyable. He got up on his own, got dressed, came down for breakfast, ate, and got ready for baseball camp with plenty of time to spare. I was able to watch about half of camp today. He gave it a solid effort and played well. What really got me in the morning was this: On day one of camp, I gave him the "you're the older brother, so watch out for your little brother" speech. When camp broke, both the boys came right to me, and Caz and I started talking. Well, Coco hadn't seen me and started looking around, feeling lost. In mid sentence, Caz said, "Wait a sec, Dad.", walked over and got his little brother.

Later on, I was starting my home improvement project. I saw him walking in the back yard. He had heard two of the kids in Demi's daycare quarreling and went to mediate. He sounded like a grown up: "So what happened?", "Would you like it if someone took the ball from you?", "Please give the ball back." Problem solved and everyone was happy. Then with no prompting, he came over to help me out. And he was a big help. He put boards on the saw horsed to be but. He held the tape to help me measure. He held one end of the board while I put in screws on the other end. He held me for hours. So we took a break and I took both boys for a swim. After the swim I wanted to finish up. I had to borrow my Dad's pick up truck and Caz wanted to come with me. I didn't want to trouble my Dad and have him carry lumber with his bad knee, so I asked Caz to come. He helped me load plywood and roofing shingles, from the shelves, to the cart, to the truck, and from the truck to the work site. He was terrific.

After some well earned dinner, it was off to baseball. He tried really hard. Concentrated on the things we had talked about. After, he sprinted from the car, to the shower and got ready for bed. Just a fantastic, all around day. The kind of day that Fatherhood is all about.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Watering Hole

Recently, Caz and I were reading about Tom Sawyer and swimming in a watering hole. That reminded me to post this: Swimming lessons are a solid investment. Every child should know how to swim. I know Demi and I felt the kids needed to know how to swim because we are at the beach so much. My parents have a pool that my kids use almost on a daily basis in the summer time. Many of their friends have pools. Now of course, at six and eight the kids are still not out our site around water, but they can swim well. They can do laps to the deep end and back. The can jump in and swim back, safely to the edge. Demi has arranged for lessons, every summer for years now and it has really paid off. I can see improvement every time we get in the water together. Coco, who is our daredevil, always thought he could swim, had no fear and would want to jump right in. Now he can jump in and swim the length of the pool. I put it right up there with reading and writing. It's a survival skill.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Good with the Bad

A few weeks ago, Lefty said something to me that struck a chord. In a nutshell, he said he had been reading this blog loyally and was waiting for the post where I admitted to screwing up the boys royally. It was all in jest but still, I hope it won't go that far. I will have to read back through my posts to see where I allude to my parental deficiencies and self-doubt. I certainly want to portray a balance and fair view of things. I know I did include an initial disclaimer that I don't claim to be the best Dad and know what I am doing all the time. Far from it. I strive to be a great Dad. That was one of the motivations for starting this blog. I was hoping readers would post questions, suggestions, or comments. Start some real dialogues among Dads and Dads to be. We are all in the same boat. These kid things don't come with instruction manuals. We are all learning while we are going. Intense on the job training. Please do leave comments. And I will try to give you the screw ups more often.

Left also said he like seeing his name on the site. So I have him hooked for a while longer......

One World

"One world is enough, for all of us"

I noticed that the nightly News became more depressing by a factor of 1,000 after I became a Dad. I can't make it through one segment, commercial to commercial, without shaking my head in disgust. Your perspective on things change. It's hard to imagine you brought a child into the world, with the state the world is in. And there always seems to be a story about a crime involving a child. It makes me worry about the world they will grow up in. Watching these new stories places fear into you.

I always thought about the future while I was growing up, while I went through school, and while I went through college. I never dreaded it though. Even when I didn't have much money, I didn't worry. Or when I was single, with not much in the way of a prospective wife, I was not concerned. I mean, OK, maybe that is a bad example. I was blessed with the Vibe, that no mortal woman can resist (right Demi?). But you catch my drift.

And now I do have doubt about the future. My fear is for my boys. But it is fear none the less. I just take a page out of Caz'a book, and just look fear in the face. What else can you do?

Sick of it

Who gets sick in the summer time? I mean really now. I started out with such a good roll of posts for the month. And then....the summer time blues. But like Ahhnold...I'm back.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sun Safety

One of the best inventions in recent memory is the spray sunscreen. Putting sunscreen on your kids is a must. Not just at the beach. I struggled for years with the lotion (I held back from using a title for this post of - put the lotion in the basket - due to the children of course). You have to get the kids to sit still, while you rub it in. You have to be careful not to get it in their eyes. But don't miss any spots. Believe it or not I still see kids without sunscreen. I hope those kids keep their parents up at night complaining.

The spray stuff is fantastic. Now be careful. There is spray stuff that you still have to rub in. The spray mist, if you will, is the good stuff. It's expensive, but I'm willing to pay the extra. It is so much quicker. You do have to read the directions, hold it the right distance, and make sure you get an even coat. But, you are done in flash. At the beach, that is worth it's weight in gold. The old way, you'd risk rubbing sand in with the lotion (because the kids couldn't sit still that long an sure enough, fell or twisted or leaned and got sand on them) which is like putting the sandpaper to them. Not fun for anyone.

Link of the Week - 1

Barnes and Noble - Free shipping on orders over $25. If you can't find your summer reading on Overstock, come here. The site is user friendly. There are good sales too.

(Disclaimer) Not all the Links of the Week will make the blog Favorites)

Summer Reading - Classics

Top Ten Summer Reading Classics

10. Moby Dick - Purely by size it may take you all summer to read. Plus, big, white whale...beach....it fits the theme

9. The Shining - A contemporary classic. All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy!

8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - A journey on the mighty, Mississippi.

7. Great Expectations - Dickens makes the list

6. The Old Man and the Sea - Read it in Key West

5. To Kill a Mocking Bird - Oh, Nurse Rachet

4. Tom Sawyer - Takes you back to your own childhood days of summer and killing time...boy style

3. The Oddessy - The mother of all stories

2. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings - Another contempory classic label - a once a year must

1. A Midsummer's Nights Dream - Comedy and adventure. The Bard's best.

Honorable Mention: 20,000 Leauges Under the Sea

Monday, July 2, 2007

New Feature

Please don't miss the Links section at the bottom of the blog. I will be adding to my favorite links.

Let Freedom Ring

I mentioned in an earlier post that each family needs their own family traditions. I have my own fond memories of being a child, celebrating the 4th of July at Fieldston Beach in Marshfield. My grandparents had a beach house there for a long time and even after they sold it, the old neighbors would welcome us back on the night of July 3rd to watch the annual bonfires and fireworks. One of the neighbor's sons was a truck driver and on his way through runs in the South, would pick up fireworks. I remember one year that he boasted on spending $2,000 on fireworks.

I believe when Demi and I moved back to Duxbury, the town started some 4th of July activites at the beach including a bands, food, kid's entertainment, and finishing the night off with a bonfire. We started going a few years ago with the kids. We were joined by RJ and his family, and a few other friends and neighbors. Last year, it was like our own little cocktail party. We had all kinds of appetizers, drinks (including margaritas), and dinner. I was actually as sick as a dog with a fever, but I did my best to rally. This year, I just had the boys, since Demi was away. But still, we had some friends to hang out with, and it was a really nice evening. I look forward to next year.

As we celebrate our Independence, I would like to say thank you to those who ensure our Freedom in the Armed Forces. May good fortune smile on you and see you home safely.