Wednesday, November 28, 2007


All kids need chores. Chores are important for both the child and the parent. It give the child some reinforcement with time management, prioritization, task completion, and a sense of accomplishment. For parents, it helps us get stuff done. It helps show us what the kids can actually do. They can surprise you with what they can accomplish independently. We have the boys documenting their chores daily on a calendar in the kitchen. Then we tally up on each Sunday to see what they have earned. So each Sunday, you have that family bonding time too. It seems to be working well so far. The boys get that sibling rivalry going and try to out do each other. That's good for production. More gets done.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. 4 AM store openings. Door prizes. Complete craziness. Once again, I find myself in a balancing act. Of course, I want the boys to be excited for Christmas and Santa. But I don't want them over saturated by the commercial hype. The usual commercials during cartoons are bad enough the rest of the year and my boys don't get to watch a whole lot of TV. Do I really need a blitz campaign to start the holiday shopping season?
Taking the kids to the football game on Thanksgiving kept them from seeing the Macy's parade and all the hype with that. So for Black Friday? I took the boys hiking. No, my main objective was not to keep them out of the stores. My goal was to spend time outside with the boys. But what a great fringe benefit. With an early Turkey Day, it's going to be a long wait until Christmas. The letters to Santa are being drafted as I write this. Ready or not....

Friday, November 23, 2007


Happy Turkey Day!

I hope you are yours have a good holiday. It is a great American holiday. It is a time for family. I love that we have our family traditions for times like these. Demi has really tried to own this holiday and set out family traditions in motion. Fortunately, that includes a trip to the game for Dad and his boys. The Game. I explained to the boys how lucky they are to live in a state that plays high school football on Thanksgiving. Not many do. Maine has about 4 schools that play on Turkey Day. In MA, all high school play. I loved it growing up. I explained to the boys about the size of the crowds, the holiday, and the last regular season game of the season create a fantastic atmosphere to play. I have great memories of my time playing for the Dragons in the Turkey Bowl. Of course I get to tell them that I was 3 for 4 during my high school career. That always helps. There's nothing like going to the game before sitting down to the holiday feast. It was a great day this year. T-shirt weather. It was supposed to be a miserable day. I was anticipating having to bundle the kids up in foul weather gear. I almost had to put them in shorts. It was a great game, going right down to the wire but the Dragons came up short. But sitting and watching with the boys was the best part and what it was all about. The boys were really into it. We talked strategy, plays, down and distance. And then we headed home. I hope every one's days went just as well.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Family Vacation

It was not exactly National Lampoon's Griswaldesque family vacation, but we did have some bonding time up in Bartlett, NH. We have really enjoyed time up there over the last few years. The last two years we have gone up in early November. It seems to be a great time of year for our purposed. It is in between fall foliage leaf peeping tourists and the beginning of the fanatical ski season. There is no time table, no schedule, and no need to have to do anything. We can play everything by ear. We had pool time. We had outdoor spa time with a view of Attitash. We had game time (Yahtzee). We even sat in our PJ's, had cocoa and then ordered a pizza for dinner. It was really great bonding time. Everyone got a vote. Everyone got to do something with the family that they picked. Dad got a BBQ dinner and microbrewed beer at the Moat (I recommend the Texas brisket). Demi got a shopping stint at the outlets. Just kidding, she's really not a big shopper. She got jacuzzi tub time alone with a book, while the kids and I were hiking. Caz got his pool time. Coco got his arcade time. We played some mean rounds of air hockey. We saw some really nice scenery while hiking, the Saco River, Diana's Bath (a really spectacular waterfall), Cathedral Ledge, and Echo State Park.
We really had a blast. Really good family time. Every family needs to take a break from everyday life and do some bonding. You don't have to be on a beach in Hawaii or the top of mountain in Aspen. We were a 3 hour car ride from family fun time (minus Wallyworld). Some might call it the middle of nowhere. For us it was paradise.


"Sorry folks, we're closed. The moose out front should have told you."

The art of the family vacation. The classic road trip in family truckster. The car games to pass the time. The kids repetitively asking, "How much longer?" or "Are we there yet?" The driver exerting superhuman energy to exercise patience. The bottle of Jack Daniels once you arrive at your destination. It's all a part of the family vacation experience.
I remember the trips I took as a kid. Even the solid hour to hour and a half trip to Nanny and Papa's seemed like an eternity. We had the classic, panelled, Ford station wagon. Car seats? Not likely. We could sprawl out in the way back and lay down. But of course we wanted to be entertained. Mom always tried to keep us occupied and pointed out the sites. The painted gas tanks in South Boston were always a major milestone. Then there was the tunnel (the now Tip O'Neil tunnel). I am sure Dad felt like the trip took forever. We usually played the licence plate game, trying to acquire all the letters of the alphabet.
Today, we have the SUV's and portable DVD's. The kids are strapped down to cars seats like a prisoner in a criminal psych ward. Of course we are smarter about safety now. But it was nice being a kid, lying about in the back. The portable DVD's are both blessing and curse. It is a good way to keep the kids occupied. But it takes aways from the family road trip experience. When we go to see the in-laws in NY, it is a solid 4 hour trip, without stopping. Factor in a few pit stops for the kids and Demi, plus the never ending construction in CT, the NY traffic, etc, and it can be a long day. The boys get to watch one movie. That's it. Otherwise, it is reading, drawing or playing games. We play I-Spy, or a couple initial games. I modified a college drinking game where you don't have to "drink while you think". You use famous people, or people we all know, since the kids have a limited repertoire. You have to used the letter in the last name, as the first letter of the name of the person you choose. A same letter first and last name like Mickey Mouse, reverses direction. The other initial game we use is just stating the initial and the rest have to guess the person. Sometimes it turns into 20 questions but it seems to work. That time is time well spent bonding. And it beats show tunes (the Sure Thing not withstanding).

Here's to the family truckster and the supermodels in Ferraris that follow them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

100th Episode

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me thy ears"

I figured I needed one classy statement for my centennial post. Not quite the 100th episode of the Simpsons or Seinfeld, but important to me. It's a solid milestone. I plan to keep plugging along as long as I know a few folks are checking in from time to time. I find that this blog is still very therapeutic for me. And if I can help someone out, where by actually coming up with some sage advice, or even just a chuckle, than that is a bonus. I haven't quite got the banter I was hoping for but that may still come. I plan to search out some Fatherhood websites and maybe they will offer my blog as a link. Who knows?
But to all the Dads and Dads-to-be, keep working to be the best Dad you can be.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

World Series Part Deux

The Boston Red Sox did it again. My boys just don't realize how lucky they are. I keep trying to explain to them that I had to wait until my 30's for a World Series Championship and that was on the short end of the spectrum for most of Red Sox Nation. My boys are 6 and 8, and they have now had two Red Sox championships. They are going to get spoiled. Probably just the way I was with the Celtics in the 80's. They have also had 3 Super Bowl Victories. That's far better than what I had. Don't get me wrong, 1986 was a magical year, but we ended up 1 out of 3, with one heart breaker of a World Series and a trouncing of Cinderella, turning back into a pumpkin, by the Shuffling Chicago Bears. At least it seem like some of the kids favorite players will still be around, unlike '04. Schilling is already resigned and a bid has been made to Lowell. Papi, Manny, Youk, Jacoby, Dustin, Varitek....all seem to be safe for now. That is always a hard thing to talk about with the boys. But you know what? These are the "hard" conversations I like talking about with them. I hope I get to revisit it again this February. And the way the Celtics are starting off, maybe June too? Is that too much to hope for?

JV Mites - Week Eight

Well, the last week of the season was certainly our finest hour. The boys played their best game of the year. What really got me was that they completed our goal, and got better, ever single game. We knew that we had our work cut out for us going in. We were playing a team that was a few divisions higher than us. We knew as soon as we say the other team get out of their cars, that we had underestimated just how much of a challenge we faced. That town decided to bring, and play, their Varsity kids. This meant that they were all a year older than our kids, out numbered our kids by over two to one, and were much bigger overall. To our kids credit, they weren't concerned with their size as much as how many of them there were. We kept telling the kids that the other team could only play 11 at a time, just like us. That seemed to resonate with them.
The other team thought they would have their way with us. They opened up with a pass. Now to give some perspective, if we threw the ball a dozen times all year, that might be overstating it. We held our ground. We gave up a first time but held them the next series. We moved the ball but couldn't sustain a full drive. Back and forth we went. It was a battle, but we were winning it. And late in the second half we popped one in the end zone. Final score Duxbury 8, other team's Varsity 0. Our sixth shutout of the season.
Unfortunately the dark side of youth sports was not just isolated to the varsity players being played. Their coaches were clearly mad. We found out later that they were complaining to the referees about our best player playing the whole game. First, there is no rule against it. Second, he did not play the entire game. I took him out to rest him three times on defense. I am just glad the kids didn't notice any of this. This kind of attitude is what is wrong with children's sports today.

Halloween Costumes

A hot topic this past Halloween was inappropriate costumes. I have to say, it's hard getting the Itzzaparty fliers in the mail this time of year. While one part of me enjoys picking out what looks better for Demi, the buxom Pirate Wench look or the lusty nurse, the other part of me has to remind myself to hide the mail from the kids. How can you have the adult costumes along side the kids costumes these days? And then on CNN they had a special about companies targeting these kiddie version of the aforementioned adult costumes for young girls anywhere from 10 and up. What parent thinks a 10 year old girl should dress up as a French maid? You would think that is common sense but obviously if the companies are making these and spending advertising dollars, someone is buying them. That probably gave me the biggest Halloween scare of them all. Add that to the list of reasons why I am fortunate to only have boys. I don't know how my friends with daughters are going to make it in this day and age.