Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fatherhood Fun Fact

As I only have boys, I only have this frame of reference. But a solid reason why I enjoy being a father to boys: I didn't have to rearrange a Friday night for the premier of High School Musical 2.......I kid. Well, not really. Truthfully, I would have been happy having a daughter or only daughters. But can't I enjoy the positives of what I have?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Circle of Life

I wrote a while ago, about the camping incident, where my Dad had brought the Marine duffel bag full of life jackets. Well, this weekend we finally used them. We bought an ocean kayak for the family. This past Saturday, we launched it on it's maiden voyage. I knew we had a few life jackets for the kids, but we knew Caz would have grown out of them. I also knew we needed life preservers for Demi and me. So? Over to Mom and Dad's to raid the store. Only 30 years later, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Socks

"The keys, Jerry"

One of the drawback from having boys is that our stuff is starting to look more and more alike in the laundry. More so, as they are getting older. Caz has decided he likes boxers, like the old man, and the hybrid - the boxer brief. Demi does the lion share (and then some) of the laundry. I went to get dressed for the gym one morning, at the usual time of 5 AM. I can barely open my eyes. I went to put my hybrid undies on and almost broke my neck. My calf got stuck half way in while I was balancing on one foot, which threw my off kilter, and I almost landed smack on my face. Fortunately, I was home and could pick out the right pair.

Now flash forward to the gym. I go to put on my boxers or socks. I would have to go all the way home to restock if I had the wrong size of anything. I keep a spare set of socks in the trunk of the car. One in the basic color schemes, khaki, grey, blue, and black. Just in case. The boxers? Well, I guess it's healthy to go commando ever now and then.

Recently, Demi thought she would be nice and buy me some socks. I bought black gym socks for my running days recently to keep them distinct from the boys. When Demi went to the store, she saw more black gym socks and grabbed for me. But she inadvertently bought a boys size. So rather than exchange them, she gave them to Caz. I haven't seen my black gym socks in weeks...............

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"To Sleep, To Sleep Perchance to Dream"

"Ay, there's the rub.."

It's one of those nights. I can't sleep a wink. I have been up since 1:30. I have been known to have random bouts of insomnia but it's been a long time since the last. I tried hard to fall back off but all I was doing was tossing an turning, and keeping Demi awake. So I rolled out of bed at 3:30 to start the day. The gym doesn't open until 5, so I have a bit of time to kill.

I did mull over some stuff for Caz's football team. Drills, practices, and even designed a few plays. I put his pad's together for the next day. I made some lunch for the next few days. But this is really the time I like to write. I do like being by myself when it's quiet and dark. It is a great time to think. What I should do is compile a list of topics for this blog.

I know I need to get back to lessons learned from my Dad. There are always anecdotes for either of the boys. There are the on job training bits, that Demi and I go through. But I really should organize a list of favorites.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The New Age

Well, the Forum just moved to the 21st century. I finally took the plunge and purchased a laptop and wireless router. I figured that this would allow me to post with more frequency. I can write from the couch or my bed. I am mobile, baby! Now.....I have to come up with the material.

I thought Summer would allow me to blog more. But where has the time gone? Demi and I just finished 3 weddings in 4 weeks, with a Fenway show with the Police sandwiched in there. Even this weekend, we had a Sox game with some friends, and a fund raiser for Caz's football league. Football. Summer's over. It took so long to get here. The third week in June had me coaching the kids' baseball games in winter jackets. Crazy. But now? It is 50 degrees at night. It was even cool doing the yard work today.

Alas, I do love fall. Football for one thing. But I love the cool weather. Don't get me wrong. I like the sun. But I don't like it too hot. 75 is great for me. Oh, and did I mention Football. I will be coaching Caz's team again. Coco already wants to sign up for next year. Talk about a busy fall, when that happens. But that is a good busy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Link of the Month - August

L.L. Bean - http://www.llbean.com/

LL Bean is the greatest store in the world. And not just because, I could hang out in the camping section all day. The camping gadgets are cool. You always feel like, "I must have that. It would come in so handy, while I am ascending Everest." But really, when is that going to happen? The customer service is top notch and the company stands behind their products. They make it easy to exchange things.

The kids stuff is really great though. The kids have almost always had a LL Bean winter coat. Those kids have always kept the kids warm and dry while out in the snow. Plus the coats have the patented reflective triangle for extra safety. You hope you never need that triangle, but it's good to have just in case. You should always surf the sale section because LL almost always has jackets, pants, boots, hats, or gloves on sale. I got a great winter coat for Caz years ago for $20.

LL Bean is also a part of Upromise, so you get a little extra bang for your buck.

The Boys of Summer

The summer is just about over. Seems wrong some how. Summer took so long to get here. It was the third week in June, when I was coaching Caz's baseball game in a heavy jacket and pants. It was cold. Now, with two weeks left in August, the night time temperature is getting below 50. Ridiculous.

The boys, Coco and Caz, are rolling with it. Beach, movies, baseball, the Sox, the Pats preseason, whatever it is, they are having fun with it. They have had spots of the summer doldrums, battling boredom. But not much of it. Part of it is their own creativity. But Demi and I work at keeping them buys. Camps and such can only cover so much of it.

We have had reading time in the hammock. We have had family kick ball games in the front yard. There was a Yahtzee tournament. Shrek the board game. You have to work to make family time. It's well worth it when you do. These are the time kids will remember when they are older.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Summer Reading Check In

Overall, the kids summer reading is going well. It's probably not the grand dreams I had at the beginning of the summer, but I can't complain. It is a time to relax a little and recharge the batteries. But I do like to show the kids that reading is fun, and that it's not just something for school. It is can be done just for the enjoyment and relaxation. The kids see Demi and me reading our own books all the time. That's more important than you think. It reinforces behaviour. It's leading by example.

I started reading the sports page with the kids. Box scores, batting averages, RBI's. It is stuff they can relate to. They now know that the newspaper is place they can get information. It's a resource. It's a beginning.

I bought the boys some books that they can read to me at night. So we do that. Coco's reading really seems to be taking off, which should translate well for a good start to first grade. Caz's keeps getting better and he really seems to adding to his vocabulary. Of course he correctly used "dissipate" in a sentence at 2. I know a few adults that can't do that. Ok, enough of the proud Dad, boasting.

I will see the kids with books in had on their own. Caz spent a few hours one afternoon in my hammock reading a book. Just like the old man. See what I mean about reinforcement? It pays off.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Boys Are Back In Town

Well, they didn't walk to the light. Actually, we met them in Lee, MA. Demi and I drove out there and met the kids with my sister in law, Martha. Martha had Coco and Caz all week between her house on the Island (Long Island) and her camper in Ellenville. Demi referred to it as a second honeymoon. It was nice, but I wouldn't go that far. I missed the little buggers. I knew I would. Despite all Demi's big talk about being ready for a break, it was all she could do to leave them and then got peeved that the boys didn't call her. We had to call them.

Breaks are good. This was too long for me, with a big fall vacation planned. But in general, some separation here and there is a good thing. I see kids and parents in Demi's daycare all the time that are never left separate. Period. Coming to the daycare is the first time. The parents are nervous wrecks about leaving them. The child picks up on this, at any age, and plays on it. They cry. And cry. And cry. Demi tell the parent to walk upstairs and go out the back door, rather than leaving by the normal exit. She tells them to listen at the regular door outside. By the time the parent gets there, all is quiet.

One parent has to sneak out of their house even leaving the child with the grandmother, who is around regularly. I don't blame parents, especially working parents for feeling guilty. I feel guilty for only seeing the boys for such a limited amount of time during the work week. I go the gym at 5 AM, so I have all night when I get home to spend with them until bed time. But some parent over compensate and give in the kids, all the time and let them get away with way too much. It's not good for anyone. The kid gets over exaggerated boundaries and then the parent gets frustrated and upset when it's time for them to pick up a room, or leave a place quietly.

You see it all the time in Demi's daycare. The kid is fine until the end of the day when the parent picks up. Then the kid goes into Showtime. A kid won't put their shoes on. Or says, "No, I am not leaving." Or won't get off the swing. The parent doesn't want a scene, so "One more minute" or "One more push". Demi's more gracious than I am. The business day ends at 5:30. We have our own family to take care of. Our kids need our attention. But these scenes drag on and next thing you know it's 5:40...5:45...6 PM. That's cutting into our time. But I digress. My point is balance. You need to balance some alone time, as an individual, and as a couple, with time with family and kids. The kid need their space too. No one should feel guilty about that. You might. I do. But I feel better with a good balance. I think the kids benefit too, because you are in better spirits and recharged.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Big Brother Is Watching

"You did not desert me, my brother in arms"

Caz was very excited to be a big brother, when we were expecting Coco. He actually coined the moniker for his little brother. No rhyme or reason for it. The new baby was going to be named Coco. End of story.

When Coco arrived, big brother was very curious. Caz immediately held the new baby. He talked to his little brother. He hugged his little brother, smiling the whole time. That lasted a cozy 15 minutes. I kid. We had a year or so of peace. I think things started on the down turn, right around the time Coco became mobile. Coincidence? I think not. Coco was able to get into Caz's schtuff.

So we reinforce the big brother responsibilities to Caz. I was one, so I would like to think I can relate and do a better job than most. I try not to do the things that irked me, when my parents laid that role on me. Don't get me wrong, they did a good job. I still feel responsible for my little brother. But we always think we can do things better than others, don't we?

It's still all about balance and patience. It's a long process. I won't see the results until many years from now. So I keep at. I explain the importance of being the older brother and how looking out for Coco, may actually benefit Caz down the road. You have to explain it at the right level and answer all their questions. Caz is a bright kid and asks some pretty good questions. But you answer what they can understand. You don't always harp on the subject. You have to feel it out.

But as I alluded to in a recent post, you can see dividends now. When Caz went after Coco at baseball camp when Coco looked lost, that was a prime example. So I don't worry as much with the boys away this week visiting Demi's sister and her family. I know Caz will look after Coco....to some extent....though he'll probably still dump a bucket of water on Coco's head.....