Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve 2010

For the record, Dad and Coco made it up until mid night. Demi woke up with 5 minutes to spare. But she had hunkered down for a nap with Caz on the couch around 10 PM. It's great that the boys are self sufficient and old enough to take care of themselves at these events. Our friends and family are just starting out with parenthood and their kids were long in bed by midnight (as they should being so young). The boys were very well behaved. Coco watched football all night. Caz watched a movie. But we got to spend some time eating and talking before the naps. I think spending the holidays with friends like this will help them as they grow older. Maybe they will see the importance of being with loved ones during these special times. At least I hope so.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

I really enjoy the family time spent together on Christmas Eve. While I enjoy seeing my extended family, I really like it the most when it is the 4 of us, Demi, Caz, Coco, and me. We had a great time at a neighborhood party. But it was when we got home that I like the most. The boys exchanged presents as is the family tradition. They had each put a lot of though and effort into it. Coco got Caz a watch that he knew Caz had been eyeing. Caz got Coco a Tom Brady Fathead for his wall that he knew Coco would dig. They each got their Christmas pajamas from Demi. Then we settled in and read Twas the Night before Christmas like we usually go. This year I tried to add a new wrinkle. I had read Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales as a 5th grade class assignment. It stuck with me all these years later. I thought that the boys might enjoy it too. However, it was a bit longer than I remembered. The boys indulged me for a while, but I did cut it short. Best part of the night for me though. I hope it was for them.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas In NY 2010

The boys have such a great time with their cousins. They really enjoy being around them. They are the youngest of the bunch. But now the oldest cousin has a small boy belonging to his fiancee, who has been added to the holiday mix. My boys enjoy playing with him and pal-ing around. They played Foosball and bumper pool with him. They opened presents with him. It was a nice site to see. It's what the family holidays are all about.
The boys' cousins from Demi's brother were a site to see too. The girls gathered around the computer to watch film of Coco's football season. They were actually interested in seeing their little cousin run around in his football gear.
It's not a road trip that the family dreads, that is for sure. We always have a great time with that side of the family. So it doesn't matter that we celebrate before Christmas. It just matters that we are all together.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Road Trip Detour

This year's annual pilgrimage to the Island for XMas with Demi's side of the family could have really been a disaster. Actually, it was close to being over before it began. Last night, the house was in a bit of chaos when I got home. I was running later than normal, as it was the night of the annual company holiday party. Demi was being a good Samaritan and watching a roomful of kids for relatives of a friend that had had a death in the family. My niece, Daisy, was still here too. My brother was pulling in the driveway as I got home. Caz was helping Demi with the kids. But Coco was nowhere to be found. He was on the couch running a mild fever. We knew then he would not be going to school the today.
As I was packing the car for the road trip, Coco woke up and meandered down by me. He seemed to be perking up. And when he asked to play XBox, I figured he was on the mend. But when he went to have breakfast, he said he couldn't swallow. Demi walked in just then and called Dr. Bob. He is the best. He took us right in and did the strep test. When it came back positive, he got a prescription pronto. We got a dose into Coco as we left for NY. While Demi had Coco with Dr. Bob, I was picking up Caz from school. We divided and conquered. Coco was a champ. He never complained once. It took us 7 hours to make the 4 hour trip. He did his best to cover his mouth, wash his hands frequently, and keep to back seat. We let the family know about the strep but they had us come anyway. Crisis averted.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fantasy Football Year One

The boys have really gotten into our mini-Fantasy Football league. I thought it was a good way to do something amongst just the three of us. I figured it was a good way to to get the boys excited about football. They get into the Patriots. And we have general football discussions beyond the Patriots, but mostly in regards to historical facts and players. I think to appreciate the game, one's knowledge has to include more than your team and rooting loyalties. They got a taste of that playing Madden. But this interaction has really been fun. They get the free agent process, scoring, injury report, and thinking about match ups. Sure it's not the full exposure since there are only 3 teams in our league - we have very deep teams, but it works for us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Celebration Continues

It's been quite the week. The milestone birthday is being celebrated like Mardi Gras, not limited to one day and at least once a day there is cake and a party. I am not sure what I did to deserve it but hey, I will take it. The boys have really gotten into it. They have been on their best behavior. It could be the "Santa's watching you" effect (at least for Coco), but who knows?
The adult party is tonight. I am very much looking forward to have a few drinks with friends, getting my swerve on, and dancing up a storm. The band is a local cover band with a college alum in the mix. Coco will be staying with our cousins. Caz is choosing to spend the night in a unique manner - The Great Freeze Out. It's a scout overnight in the town forest. And oh yeah, the last few nights have seem temperatures around 11 degrees. It is supposed to warm up to the low 20's tonight, so it should be tropical. I have to say, I am worried a bit. I put my foot down with Caz. "You dress exactly how I tell you to, or you don't go." This was not a time for negotiation. And it was actually pretty nice this afternoon, especially when the sun was out. But when I go to drop him off there will be about an hour of daylight left. It seems insane to drop off my son to spend the night outdoors in the Town Forest with a handful of adults. But in the end, you have to start letting go a bit and trust that you have done a fair job at parenting thus far.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dad Turns 40

Not really the big deal folks make it out to be. It is just a number. I certainly don't feel any different. The boys and Demi were great though, making it a special day. Demi baked. That in itself is an event. Each of the boys picked out a present for Dad. Each boy bought it with his own money. Coco picked out The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. He knew I had read the other books. Caz picked out a Bruins hat. We had been watching the B's play recently. Both put thought into it, which of course is the important thing.
Hopefully, I will keep learning and improving at being a Dad now that I am in my 40's. I am anticipating some official membership card or something. I have gotten smarter though. I have no plans on asking Demi for this card.......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Vacation Weekend

The Griswalds got our family Christmas Tree this weekend. It started vacation style. We went to a new tree farm that was recommended by a friend. We found it with no problem. The farm either had trees not ready for prime time or past their prime. I mean they had some good looking trees, but it would have taken up the whole room and then some. You know that scene when Clark cuts the rope on the tree loose and the branches smash through the window? That's what would have happened. And oh yeah, there was no one working there. We could not find a soul to help us. So we had to pile back in Yaya's pick up and head to the place we had gone in years past. That place is so popular now that most of trees are not quite ready yet. We searched and searched. Eventually we found a nice tree. Not our best. A bit on the small side. We hucked it in a pail of water in the garage and then Caz and I headed to Gillette for the Super Bowl.
On Sunday, I played with Christmas lights oustide in the cold all day. I tried to figure out which lights in the network of lights on the porch, still worked. They had been there for some time, and placed in a unique set up. I am sure at the time i put them there it made sense but clearly the logic escaped me this day. I plugged in the sets to test them and nothing happened. I tried another outlet. Then I realized the outdoor timer was in the mix. Big dummy. It would have been dark the time I figured it out if I hadn't smartened up. Then I get a string where half would light, half would not. Or better yet, one with every third light would be on. I felt like having a Clark freak out session.
Caz helped me with the tree house. I needed to get up a trim board by the roof to finally make it look respectable in the front. What a pain that board was. I needed Caz to get on a ladder and feed it to me. Which he willingly did. The second part of the board made be get creative. I had to use a rope, throw it over the roof and around a tree to hoist it up. Hopefully that is something that will stick with Caz. It's helping like this that a boy learns from his father. How to solve problems. How to do some basic buidling and repair. And yes, how to make mistakes. I am probably lucky I didn't throw the rock with the rope tied to it, through the one glass window on the tree house. I remember the times I worked with my Dad. It wasn't as often as my brother. But I had my times and I do remember. I hope Caz remembers these times.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Super Bowl Saturday 2010

DHS was back in the Super Bowl today, completing another undefeated season. They are really quite a team to watch. Caz was really fired up to go to the game. Coco, for some reason, just wanted to stay home and watch it on TV. Caz and I went up with our cousins, the Garfields- Adie and James. The 4 of us had a really great time. It was an easy ride it. The atmosphere was electric, the weather was better than expected for this time of year. The game was exciting. The crowd was into it. And we finished up at 5 Guys. What else is there?
Caz and I, though, had a really excellent Father/Son day. He was so well behaved. So much so, I okayed a Mountain Dew and Nachos. He got to hang with his buddies at bit. But every good play, he'd turn to me and smile or high five. I just couldn't ask for a better day. I think he sensed it too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Tonight, I attended a very interesting lecture on youth sports in America by Bob Bigelow (former Boston Celtic and first round draft pick from MA). I cannot do the talk justice in one post, so you should really go here him speak, if you ever get a chance. He is really a dynamic speaker. His basic premise that USA youth sports are unique. The rest of the world practices Long Term Athletic Development. The basic premise is that you don't give up on an athlete. Kids develop at different times. He used a story about Michael Jordan, that most folks are familiar with, where MJ was cut from his high school basketball team. I actually thought about one of MJ's teammates, Dennis Rodman, about how he didn't grow until college. That is when he sprouted about a foot. But LTAD is not just about physical development. It is about mental development too.
I like to think that I coach using a lot of this. I make a concerted effort to coach to an age appropriate level. Kids learn differently at each age. So as a coach, I need to change each year. The kids get one year older each season. I need to change how I teach every season. I pay very close attention to what is being taught each year, and how the school teachers are teaching it.
It was very interesting from a parent perspective as well. He talked about how parents cheer, and in some cases, actively participate from the sidelines. So parents, not only coaches, should attend this lecture. It really puts youth sports in perspective and could help how youth sports exist today. As a coach, I can tell you, it's ugly. Some parents and coaches really get carried away. Attitudes do need to change.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis The Season

The annual kick-off to the holiday season begins today. Not Black Friday. Not Cyber Monday. Not with the changing of radio stations to 24/7 Christmas tunes, 4 weeks ago. Today is the day that I start reading Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol. It is an annual event. I enjoy reading this classic every time. It never gets old. It really serves as the gateway to the holiday season for me. I hope the boys develop their own traditions, similar to this. We have one amongst ourselves. Each Christmas Eve, we read T'was the Night Before Christmas. I always look forward to that as well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reading Into Things

The boy are on another reading tear. They always read but they have spurts where that is all they will do. Over the weekend they brought books to Thanksgiving dinner and a night out at a friends house. They both were tired on Sunday and spent much of the morning on the couch, curled up under blankets and reading. Caz has blown through his whole series of Percy Jackson books. Caz is reading the Landover series. Plus they are reading a bunch of choose your own adventures books as well. It's really something. Now Caz wants a Kindle for Christmas. While it's great he wants to read, the traditionalist in me cringes. I like the feel of books and newspapers. It just seems more natural. Talk about your generation gaps.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pitching In

The boys were really good this weekend. On Friday, they waited on me to come home, so that I wouldn't miss Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Demi said they had a great day. So we got them KFC on the way home. It doesn't always take much to show them appreciation.
On Saturday they braved the cold to move and stack firewood. They raked leaves and dumped them. They did the whole back yard. While not all that big, the gesture was appreciated. They earned some TV/Video game time.
Today, Coco cooked with me. We made Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce with Spaghetti. He did a great job peeling garlic and onions. The he diced the onions, garlic and carrots. He cooked the bacon, put the veggies in the pool to render them, added and reduced the wine, and added the seasonings, tomatoes, and tomato puree. It went into the slow cooker all day. We had a nice family dinner tonight. Salad, bread, and Sunday Sauce. Andre Bocelli was playing in the background. Quite a Rockwell moment.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day 2010

I am a traditionalist. So of course the DHS game at 10 AM is a part of the plan. The bonus is the Patriots game at 12:30 against Detriot. That is a lot of football. The DHS game was cold. Caz only lasted until halftime. And he was better off than his buddies. All of them (8 or 9 total) were in there Duxbury Pop Warner sweatshirts and windpants, lined up against the fence along the end zone. At least I knew Caz had a long sleeve shirt, another sweatshirt and fleece pants under all his gear. I was pretty layered up but my toes were still cold. My son went the concession stand ordered his own food, paid for it with his own money, and brought back his old man a coffee. In my mind, it was the best cup of joe I have ever had. In reality, it was sh*t in a cup. I told Caz how much I appreciated it but we should probably avoid concession stand coffee in the future.
We had a bunch of family time too. We played Scattegories during the first half of the Pats game. The game was on without sound, of course. It was really funny. The answers that the boys came up with were great. They are old enough now that they can really play.
Dinner was at my brother's new house. The boys were so well behaved. They didn't complain about getting dressed up. Quite opposite actually. They raced to go put on their new clothes. The brought cards and a few books. They were self contained and self sufficient. Demi and I could not ask for more.
It was really a great day. No indigestion. No bloating. Just a relaxed and calm day. Many more to come...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sleep Away Camp

Today is Yaya's birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!

Caz is going on a 2 night sleep over camp this weekend with Scouts. Demi and I scrambling (Demi mostly) since we have no information on it. We thought we were in good shape with a backpack, compass, first aid kit, knife, and sleeping bag. We know it's going to be cold, around 24 degrees at night, and the boys have choice of tents or cabins. But other than that, we have no information. After tonight's meeting, Caz's second, Caz started talking about money and mess kits. This was all news to us.
This will be Caz's first time out on his own. We are understandable a bit nervous. We don't know the scout leaders well. It's a lot of trust to ask. But Caz is so fired up for it that we need to move to get this going.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Scouting Out A New Activity

The boys have decided to have a go at scouting this year. Demi has been doing a ton of research about it. A lot has changed since I went through Cub Scouts as a kid. And Caz was old enough that he would have to start in Boy Scouts, rather than Cub Scouts. That is completely new territory. I know she's had to make a ton of phone calls. Today was Coco's second meeting and it's a 2 hour Father/Son event. I had no prep going in. It turns out that today's event was first run through for an all day competitions, the Klondike Derby, where the boys will compete as a troop. Today was a course in knot tying, knife safety and fire building/saftey. Fire safety would have come in handy earlier, when I turned my back on the chimenea for a moment. The fire spilled out, sparked the leaves on the ground and sent up my grandparents old porch swing. Oh the irony. At least, Coco and I had fun later tying knots the rest of the afternoon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So what do I do with all this free time that I have now that football is over? I take a day off. The boys were off from school. Demi had the daycare open. Seemed like a good idea to take off and spend a day goofing around with the boys. It ended up that Caz had a sleepover, so he's not around. Coco and I ended up going to a football game. A freshmen high school game. Why? Well,:
A) It's football
B) It's a rivalry - Hingham vs. Duxbury
C) Rooting interests on both sides - one of my old high school coaches on one side and one of my Mites assistants on the other
I picked up Caz and his buddy, then the 4 of us went to the movies. This was the first time that going to an animated flick didn't seem like a great idea. I think Caz had a moment of indecision and embarrassment that Dad was bringing him and his junior high buddy to a children's movie. They both briefly looked up at the board and muttered something about Saw 3D. They would have run out of that theatre screaming, the big fakers. In the end, I think they liked the movie - Megamind.
It was a good boys day off.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One and Done

Well, it was a good ride. Who would have thought that we would have made the playoffs at this time last year? Again, wins are the primary measure of success for kids this age. The fact is they improved from last year. They improved as individual and as a team from the start of the season to the finish. So I am not disappointed, here at the end. I do wish we could have gone out on a better note. Not a win, but just a better team effort. We just didn't' show up. But this playoff loss is just one factor in the whole equation. And the sum of all the parts equals a successful season. The kids and the coaches feel good at the end of the day.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Coach is worried. This was not a great week of practice. The kids were distracted. Great kids but come on! It's a playoff game. Duxbury just happens to be hosting the D2 playoffs, so even though we are considered the away team by virtue of our seeding, we get to play in our house. I know we have an uphill battle. I just want the kids to play as well as they possibly can. Not for me. Not for the other coaches. Not for the program. But for them. They have worked hard to get where they are. The last few games have not been our best. I want them to play their best. If that happens, no matter what the outcome is, things will be OK.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Hangover

The day after Halloween is the deadliest day of the year actually. At no other time of the year, will you see as much candy in the office as you will this day. Everyone brings their leftovers to work in order to pawn them off on their co-workers. The sabotage is actually pretty funny. We have one co-worker that keeps a candy jar at her desk. Folks occassionally leave money to fund candy runs. But today was like a post-BJ's shopping trip. Bags of candy, candy bars, pretzels, lollipops, etc just kept showing up at this desk. The group may not run out of candy until next year.
We talked to the boys about parting with some of their booty. They offered up a 1/3 to 1/2 to send overseas to the troops. I thought that was a good bargain. Get rid of a lot of the extra sugar for a good cause. It's a good lesson in sacrifice and selflessness. A very small lesson. But it is the baby steps like this that form the foundation of their character.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallows Eve

Costumes for the boys definitely got easier this year. Although I did enjoy making some of theirs over the years, I was OK having a break. Both the boys were into the nondescript costumes this year. Scary masks and plastic implements of death and destruction were the order of the day. At least until game time. Then Caz decided he wanted to go commando. Or as a commando I should say. It was definitely too cold to go commando. Caz borrowed one of Yaya's jackets from the Marines, to go with his fatigue pants, hat and Air Soft rifle. Those Air Soft guns are a whole different post. Caz briefly toyed with going as Jason. He even researched the clothes to go with the mask. He was a bit disappointed when we didn't partially burn clothes in the chimenea. I had to check myself when I thought back about watching Friday the13th at his age. No way Caz is ready for that. Or maybe it's me not ready for him being ready for that. Either way, he's not watching it.
This was also Caz's first Halloween going around the neighborhood without adult supervision. He had a new buddy come over and the two of them went around door to door. Caz, the poor kid, started with a mild fever in the AM and we worried that he was going to be sick for the second Halloween in a row. But he rallied and responded to the Tylenol. Coco had their cousin come over. This year Demi got to do the honors, while I manned the door here at Chez Chin. What a happy coincident it was that the Pats were playing at 4 PM game. It's amazing how that works sometimes.
The rounds through the neighborhoods were successful. That included Demi and my cousin too. The moms got to stop at a Halloween party for the grown ups while the kids went around that neighborhood. The candy exchange and inspection afterward was quite the scene with 4 boys. The bartering was almost at the level of the NYSE. Another successful year.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Sign

I think I received a sign that I am getting old. I went to Caz's practice tonight. I really wanted to work the kids on blocking. They all need it. We are getting no blocking. It doesn't matter if it is the offensive line or back. None of them can block. So I have a few blocking drills in mind coming into practice. On the last drill, one of mine, before we went to team and started scrimmaging, I saw The Sign. I caught a couple of kids, who had piled up on the ground and had started rolling towards me, out of the corner of eye coming behind me leg. I went to get out of the way. My foot stayed planted in the artificial turf. My leg went forward. As I did start to sprint out of the way, I felt what I can only imagine to be a gun shot to the back of my calf. White hot pain. At the time I thought I could walk it off. I would stretch it out and be fine. That was not to be. After getting home and sitting on the couch, I got up and couldn't walk. I tried to gimp but it was not happening. If this is the start of getting old, then I want no part of it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Win

In my mind, I could only see the headline from the Globe after Sox won the 2004 World Series: "FINALLY!!!!" It was almost 3 years in the making, but we finally managed win for Coco's football team. I kept hearing for weeks leading up to our contest with DY, that they were not a strong team. But a team of perennial O-fers cannot claim to be better than anyone until you beat them. I really had to tune that talk out. I didn't want to get my hopes up, let alone the team. Plus, I would never try to give a pep talk by deriding the other team.
The team was ready from the first whistle and owned DY today. They really played well in all aspects of the game. Though we practiced the Wildcat in pregame, it was scrapped since it was not going well. We could have just run up the middle the entire game. But we were actually able to pass. We ran outside. And we pulled off our first ever punt. Yep. A punt. Who'd a thunk it? To be honest the play call made me nervous at first. But I guess if you pull it off, then it's a good call, right?
The boys were really excited after the game. I thought they composed themselves well and didn't excessively celebrate. The showed great sportsmanship. I know I was smiling all the way home. It made that long ride very enjoyable. I was just happy that the kids got experience a win after all their hard work. They have really played well and up until today, didn't have a lot to show for it. They deserved a win. I couldn't wait to get home to upload the game to our website for the kids. I even put it on my IPod, so I could watch it on my way to work. Crazy, I know. But can you really blame me?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jamboree 2010

A preseason Jamboree. I really didn't think the kids needed three preseason scrimmages. I think at this age, the kids really need to practice and not have to worry about scrimmages. But I must say, this Jamboree was a lot of fun. It helped that the team played well. It was a great team effort. We weren't relying on one or two kids to overachieve. It was perfect football weather. We are playing in Rockland, which is like playing in Yankee Stadium to me. Arch rivals growing up, I am pretty sure they still hate Duxbury. So it was extra sweet beating the home team in the final game of the Mite series.
What really got me was what happened in the parking lot after. Now keep in mind, for me, this was the place that I learned to really lay a lick on someone. While playing youth football, that was the site of one of my hardest hits. The game was the beginning of the rivalry with Rockland for my friends and me. Coach told us to keep our mouths shut and not to draw any stupid penalties. But they built up the rivalry so much, that I couldn't help myself. After I hit that kids, I had to celebrate a bit. I pumped by fist and just lingered a second to long over him and glared. As I walked away I said, "Take that, turkey." I had watched too much Happy Days and we were way to scared of the coaches to curse. That was the best I had. As the years went, coach told that story to the players that came later. What I said kept amping up and became more colorful in each telling.
This was also the place that we had to wear our helmets on the bus going to this stadium because you never knew when a rock might come through the window. This rivalry went too far. So when Coco and I walked through the parking lot and two Rockland kids smiled and said, "good game." It took me complete by surprise. Coco and I returned the sentiment and I smiled to myself for some time after that. It should be all about the sportsmanship. You should be able to go knock a team around for a game and then shake hands after. Maybe we are doing something right.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Saga Continues

Years after The Super Bowl incident, I am still living with the aftermath. I do hear in the wind the whispers of those who fear DYF because the program is "cut throat" and "only cares about winning." Despite the fact that I got on the Board to make sure the program remains about the kids and not the aspirations of the parents, I still have to deal with the bull generate by what happened to Caz's team years ago. I still get parents that are nervous to sign up for my team because they lump me in with the knuckleheads that chose poorly.
This theme cropped up again just before equipment hand-out. A player new to the team just happened by the shed with his mom, right after I had left. I had just met Demi there with Coco and his friend, Biggie Smalls, to outfit them with equipment. The mom started asking Demi questions about DYF. She communicated that she was nervous about what she had heard about DYF. They had just moved to town and the mom was afraid that her son might not get a fair shake not having been on the team last year. She didn't want him just sitting on the bench. Demi assured her that I didn't run the team like that. If it hadn't been my team, I know Demi might not have said too much and certainly not stumped for DYF. But it was my team and as fate has it, Demi was there to lobby on my behalf. She sold it well. She told the truth. And in the end, this player decided to stay with my team. Thank you dear. I know you always have my back.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beach Party 2010

The last time I went to the annual Duxbury Beach fund raiser, I was on the hook for half a villa in Tuscany. (OK, so that turned out beyond great, but still.....) Lefty's wife was organizing the event. I figured if it was half as good as their Halloween bash, then it would be a great time and well worth the expense of a babysitter. Since it was last minute, we decided to see who was around for a pre-party cocktail (or two or three). I am not really the most spontaneous person in the world, but I do like the random nature of these little get-togethers. I dialed up QBert and Coach Lenny to see if they could come by, talk football, and catch up. Coach Lenny was tied up but QBert was on board.
QBert and I had a ball smoking stogies and drinking Dark&Stormies out on the porch. His wife, Norma Rae, was lovely and fit right in the Demi and the gals. We really did talk football and about Caz's team. We mapped out a new defense. We talked up hope for the new season. And we pontificated on the finer points of conditioning, blocking, and tackling. QBert is a former DHS Dragon player too. We played for a lot of the same coaches. I couldn't quite get him to go to the party though. He didn't want to see a lot of the old alums.
The party was a great time. It was a good night, the band rocked, and the tent was set up perfectly. Demi was in a dancing mood, which is a rare occasion. I really enjoy nights like this with her. It's probably melodramatic but I like it when it's the two of us against the world (so to speak). We are not conquering but we are out, having our own fun. We let others in but are not dependent on them. We create and make our own good time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Equipment Handout

After a year of trying to acquire a key to the DYF equipment shed, I was able to procure one and fulfill my duties a program equipment manager. It was just in time for our annual equipment handout. Fortunately, I only have to oversee one night for 5 of the 7 teams. I locked in the perfect assistant. Lil' Kim is very organized and doesn't take no for an answer. She gets things done. The perfect person to man the desk, take names and checks, and makes sure all is as it should be. Even though Caz's season has started, I still can't believe we are starting with the Coco's crew.
Even though we give parents a list of things to get, we try to man each station, and many have been through this process before (this is the third time for most of my team), it seems like they are lost lambs. I almost think we need to print a checklist for each parent and player. It seems so strange to see the Mites trying on the gear. They seem so small for it. But once we get practicing, I am sure they will look like legitimate football players.

Monday, August 9, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

This was definitely one of those vacations that you needed a restful vacation from after returning home. We crammed a lot of activities and sightseeing into 2 days. We saw the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Camden Aquarium. We ate at Davio's, took the Pat's versus Geno's Philly Cheesesteak Challenge, and in Chinatown. We took the Trolley/Bus Tour of the City. We walked from the Delaware to 17th street, all the way up Walnut and Market Street. I took Gizmo to the park a few times a day. We had a great time.
We all learned a lot too. We heard the legend of William Penn and building skyscrapers in the city. We were told why the statue of Lincoln had a pen in his right hand, while he was left handed, and why he faces South. The statue of George Washington was really on Washington's head placed on the body of another statue. We saw the statue of Rocky Balboa. And as much as we saw, there was still so much we did not see. I guess we will just have to go back.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Freaky Friday

We definitely paid the price for getting into Philly late. We arrived about 1 AM and got settled by 1:30 or so. The boys slept a little in the car but did wake up on the arrival. They did a pretty good job of settling in. Fortunately, there was no rush in getting up. As mentioned previously, we realized in Hartford, CT that we had left the City Passes that we had purchased in MA. As luck would have it, we had some friends coming today for a wedding in Philly. The were going to bail us out and bring the non-replaceable, "treat like cash", Passes and leave them at the front desk of their hotel for us. Talk about the luck o' the Irish.
Today was pretty stressful. It was hot. The boys were overtired. Mom and Dad were cranky and tired. We walked the length of the city. We carried water but there was probably some dehydration going on. The boys were certainly not at their best. I can't put my finger on the whole problem but while we saw quite a bit of the city, it was not a great start to the family vacation. We couldn't see the attractions without the passes. But we still got to see the outskirts of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the USS New Jersey, the ferry, and took a Haunted Trolley Tour of the city.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Helter Skelter

One of the most stressful parts of the family road trip is packing up the Family Truckster. Tonight was one of the most difficult by far. However, it was one of the quickest and most efficient. I was really hoping to start packing the car at 4 PM and leave shortly there after. But the forces of nature were working against us. My conference call for work ran way long. The boys were acting up. I don't know what go into them but they were obstinate and unhelpful. They had frayed Demi's nerves.
When I hung up my call, I could see it was dark outside. Storm clouds covered the area. After stepping outside, I could hear rumbles of thunder. I knew we had to pack this car quickly. We had a few new items, such as a crate for Gizmo to pack. We were trying to keep up the third row seating but not use a car carrier. We were only going for 4 days but we had 5-6 suitcases, plus a toiletry bag, snack bags, cooler, and gadget bag.
There was a lot of running around, a lot of shouting, and a lot of chaos. It's no wonder we left Demi's purse with the City Passes for Philly behind in the garage (that's a whole different post). We managed to get packed and in the car with no loss of life and just before the heavens opened up. It poured just after we got in the car. Timing is everything.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Preseason 2010

And just like that, summer is over and football season is underway. Caz's team started practice tonight. Time to shake out the summer cobwebs built up on Duxbury Beach, Farkles (the local ice cream joint), and XBox. It's time to get to work. Coach Flinstone will start forming the Brotherhood and instilling the season's work ethic. He still has that good balance of firm discipline and character building support. Caz is looking forward to the season, which is a great thing. He knows Coach counts on him and favors him as a good player.
I know I had so much fun last season helping this team, that I can't wait to help out again. I like that there's no real parent pressure for me there. The kids are a good bunch and willing to learn. It's a coaching environment that I really enjoy.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wally World

I think the family car trip might just be a cruel joke at times. Even when the kids are behaving, the road trip gods play cruel jokes on you like heavy traffic, accidents (and yes, I know, you are very lucky if you are not in the accident), and construction. The boys ate dinner and chilled out in the Pilot on the way to NY. We had the third row seating up, so they could both lie down some. (The third row for us growing up was the back of the Bronco with a bean bag chair. My brother and I would fight over who got to sit there) The roof rack was being used to allow for this. Even with Demi needing a pit stop 45 mins into the trip, it seemed like things were going right. But then....CT...I really don't like that state. We hit construction on 91, and two sections of 95. 5 and 1/2 hours it took us. And then on the way home, the roof rack came undone. I didn't have the key, so I had to put up the third row and place the rack in the back. The first rest area was like a rock concert. I have never seen a rest area so busy. Some old guys almost got into a fight in the parking lot. We got the wrong order for the boys at McD's. Just crazy. I really think someone in the cosmos must be laughing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


UNO is a highly underrated family game. Grandma and Grandpa Moe were visiting this weekend. We wanted to have a family game to spend some quality time together. The boys picked UNO. We made sure the get the rules agreed upon, before starting. Such an easy game to understand and all there is, is a deck of cards. No real set up. The boys got a kick out of it. Caz kept showing everyone his cards as he drew cards. Coco kept trying lame attempts to look at my cards and then getting burned. Coco kept sticking it to Grandma. All in all a very nice evening.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

I do like to take the opportunity of a holiday like July 4th, to see if the boys understand what it means. It's another good chance to start a dialogue with the kids. A good healthy discussion is highly underrated.
I quizzed the boys about whether they knew what the significance was. I caught them off guard because they were not on their A game immediately. They started to carry over the Memorial Day discussion. But eventually we moved on to John Hancock and the Founding Fathers. They know tid-bits, like why John Hancock signed his name so large. But I stumped them on the year it was signed. I don't know why 1776 always stood out for me. It seemed like such a natural fact to know. Maybe because I recall the Bicentennial celebration when I was 5. It was a big deal. The boys finally got it after a good game of Higher/Lower. A Price is Right of Guess That Year. Ah well. As long as they get the important bits.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Happy First Birthday to my niece. She's a cutie. Congratulations, little brother. You've done well. It's hard for me to believe that she's one already. I remember back when the boys each turned one. These are the moments that people always tell you goes fast and to slow down to enjoy it. You never really understand it though, until you live it. I know my little brother gets it now. He was almost out of state for the big event, courtesy of work. He was really upset about it. It all worked out in the end. Well, as best it could anyway. As long as the family is together to celebrate, you have what you need. Even if it is in downtown Springfield.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tee Time for One

Caz made a bold move today. Kid Cautious went out, all on his own to play his first solo 9 hole round of golf. Demi had quite a call to make all on her own. This was very similar to the time Caz was snowboarding for the first time on the slope (see previous posts). Demi had a big choice to make. Was he ready to go out on his own? Was he mature enough to behave and follow all the rules of etiquette? Caz had to make a big leap of faith on his own as well. He is a shy kid that does not venture out much on his own. He doesn't take a lot of risk. (Not sure where he comes by that....)
The gambit really paid off. Caz had a great time and did just fine. He claims to have shot a very low score, but it's sort of like fishing. "I caught one this big but it got away". But hey, his playing. I think I have created a monster.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there. A special congratulations to little brother, who is celebrating his first. It really has been a great day. The kids, Gizmo, and Demi woke me up (after sleeping late) with coffee and a pre-brunch snack. The boys had wrapped some gifts, which we opened. One however was really impressive. Caz had been working on a gift for weeks. He took a branch from one he hand picked. He cut it the way he wanted. He spent hours sanding it by hand. He carved some words into it. He coated it with a clear polish. When he was done, he had created a magnificent walking stick for our hikes. I was really blown away. Coco had made one as well. He decided to give his to my little brother for his first Father's Day. The boys are really thoughtful. They carefully planned all this out. They spent a lot of time working on these. I was really amazed by what they put into it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Boys Night Out - Puberty Edition

In yet another sign of how education has changed since back in the day, the ritual of Grade 5 watching The Film, is now a whole event. Not quite a family event. But a father and son night on the town, so to speak. When I was in 5th grade, the boys in neighboring classed went into one room, the girls in another, and each watch a specific 16 mm film on puberty. It was outdated of course. Not quite 1950'2 but not far after. I doubt it was in the right decade. My particular class thought we were revolutionary at the time. We petitioned to see the other sex's video. After lobbying the teacher, he sought permission from the Principal and the parents. We were allowed to split up and watch the other gender's film. I truly think we got a lot out of it, despite the uncomfortableness and giggling.
Like everything else these days, birthday, Arbor day, Truck Day (you have to be a Sox fan to appreciate that) the watching of The Film is not a full blown event. A whole night is dedicated to it. Fathers (or guardians or father figure) and sons meet up at the school, shoot some hoops, complete an ice breaker quiz to generate discussion, watch the film on puberty, have a snack, and then reconvene for question and answers. It was actually very well done.
I have to give the Principal credit, he hosted a difficult forum. The film was still out of date but at least I could relate. There was a cordless phone with a metal, telescoping antenea, a Micheal Jordan poster, acid wash jeans, and a mullet. It was produced by Disney witch caught me eye. Everything seemed to be going fine. The requisite giggling was held to a minimum. It all seemed straight forward, body odor, vioce changes, and hair growth. But then the A bomb dropped. Nocturnal emissions. That is the new lingo for wet dreams. And they called it that too. Of course the 2 questions jotted down on the note cards for the Q&A sessions were about that. The Principal handled that well too. He answered honestly. He started on a tangent but brought it back in.
I had decided early on to make a night of it. I figured that Caz and I had talked, age appropriately about reproduction and sex over the years. But on the ride to the school, I had him read a book I was given as a kid called, "Where did I come from?" I thought the book was pretty well done. I had re-read it and had Demi read it as well. It was cartoon illustrated but gave a good honest account of how babies are made.
On the way home, we talked about it all, puberty and sex. I asked Caz if he had questions. He mostly had questions about the umbilical cord and fetus. But I made sure he had his facts straight. What really got me was when I asked that he understood that just because you can do something, Caz finished my statement "doesn't mean you should." It made me feel like he got it. We talked about going to junior high next year, and how kids can pick on others in the gym. Mostly bullies tried to make themselves feel better because they are nervous or scared about what is physically changing with them. He understood.
Then we got ice cream and called it a night. I call it a success.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day

The kids and I has a really good discussion of the meaning of Memorial day. They knew that a main theme was patriotism. But I did have to explain that is was specifically a rememberence of those that were killed in action, defending our country. Coco had made a comment that it was day to honor his Yaya, my dad. I had to explain to him that indeed my dad had served our country in the Marines but the day was about those that did not make it back. He got it. But I enjoy these discussion with the boys. I like that they are curious and want to know things.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Battle of Evermore

Well, battle through the teens at most is what I am hoping. You know, in baseball, if you go 2 for 3, you would consider it a great game. But if you go a long weekend with 2 great days and one not so great, it feels like you lost. I think the late nights, sun, activities, sugar, excitement, and so on, took their toll on the boys. So by Monday, they were a little ornery. Which in turn made me a little ornery. I think it may feel like these days happen more often than they do. But on those days when they are trying my patience, I have to keep reminding myself that the boys are good boys. I may have to stifle myself. I may have to breathe and count to ten. And sometimes I may not succeed at any of those. I just keep trying. That is what Dad's do.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Former Greenskeeper

"...Now....about to win the Masters."

Well, it is a start anyway. I took Caz out today for his first ever golf outing. We played The Hill. North Hill. In Duxbury. A quaint little 9 hole course that is harder than it appears. A place that I learned to play on. A place that as kids, we would go sledding down the 3rd hole tee boxes, for the best sledding in town. Kids today, still go there every winter in droves. It is also the place were the guys I hang out with play one (or more) Friday afternoon each month.
Caz played well. He certainly looked that part. He had his brand new golf shorts. He sported his yellow, collared golf shirt. A green visor with the logo of a course in AZ sat on his crown. He first shot was a beauty. So much so, I misjudged his ability to come close to the group in the fairway. The shot ended up a lot closer than I would have liked. His scoring was dubious. But he really played well. He kept pace. He hit some really nice shots. It was a really great, Father/Son afternoon. 2 plus hours of great weather, great sport, and great company.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Talk

We go the note home last night for Caz. 5th grade Boys Night Out. "Come play some games and stay for a short film on health." Dum da da da, dum dah, dum dah, stop....Puberty time. Yep, it's time for the elephantitus video. Caz got momentarily shy about it. He even proclaimed, despite years to the contrary, that he didn't want hair on this penis. No choice about that my man. I am actually looking forward to it. He's old enough to know definitively where babies come from. He's off to junior high next year. And Demi and I have been pretty upfront leading up to this. It's not like we filled in the whole picture or got graphic. But we tell the kids like it is. We answer their questions honestly and hopefully, age appropriately. So now it's time to find out for sure what he knows and make sure he understands the right things. No big deal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End

This might be the end of a TV age. Not to come again for some time. No more LOST. No more 24. I purposefully avoided posting about either this year. I knew I could not keep up and would not be able to do it justice. The two best shows on TV. Period. For a long time they were the gold standard. And now, they are gone.

I thought I was ready to write a recap. But alas, not yet. I am still in my mourning phase.

At least I can talk about the Sox now. And the Celtics. Although the C's last two games just pulled the scab off the Bruins band aid over our hearts.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Year of the 40

No. Not the 40 oz. No Edward 40-hands. My crew is starting to turn 40 this year.

Happy Birthday, Ringo! Glad you are going first............

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Travel Team

Demi and I got a hint yesterday by way of a vague heads up. A fellow parent and football coach asked if Coco got a call. All the kids that made the team were supposed to have been called yesterday. That was for the one team though. There are two summer teams. Coco got his call today. And.....drum roll.....he made it. He was very happy. Looks like coach wants to get started right away. Coco's first practice is this Sunday. Way to go kid.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank You Notes

We fell behind on thank you notes for the boys birthdays this year. Way behind for Coco. Coco didn't really have a party yet. But still, he's way late on the ones he owes.
There was a really nice surprise in Caz's stack. He wrote a thank you to Demi and me. That's not the norm. We don't insist that he right one to us. Hence the surprise. It was really heartfelt. There was no angle to it. Just genuine affection and gratitude. It's one of those times that you feel like you are doing a good job at this parent thing.
By the way, he got a set of golf clubs for his birthday. He was either fortunate. Or cursed. Time will tell. If he hits like the old man? Cursed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Try Out Day 2010

Well, today was the day. Caz was still mulling over trying out for summer travel baseball up until the end. He's not sure he wants to keep playing for another season. At least this year, I don't think it's the nerves driving the bus. I think he may be legitimately feeling burnt out. I did tell him that he can try out and turn down the team, if he should make it, to give himself some options. However, when it came time, he put his foot down and I wasn't going to fight it. Fight it is the wrong way to put it probably. But you get the gist.
Coco was dead set on trying out. I was probably more nervous than he was. 29 kids ended up trying out. 24 would be picked. "Please don't let him be on the outside of that ratio." I thought to myself. The hitting part was joke. You got 5 pitches. Not swings or hits. Pitches. The guy took about 5 batters to "warm up" and then fired them in from close range. Noticeably, this was after his son went. Pitching was not a strong point for Coco, but he did get in a couple of strikes. His fielding went well though. He fielded everything clean and made good throws to first.
So now we wait. And I hope. And we will deal with whatever comes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pre Teenage Wasteland

I think I would actually prefer if the issue was just the Who being played really louding in Caz's room, with the door closed. I would even take it if it was Miley Cirus. But if this is a preview of what the teenage years are going to be like, it's going to be a long process. And if we are both still standing at the end, it will be a miracle. He's definitely testing the old man and starting the rebellion early. I am sure each side thinks the other is the the Galactic Empire and each might be right in certain ways. Sure military school is seeming like a better idea all the time but that's when I just need to step back, take a deep breath, and count to 10. Or 100. Or a million. Pool or pond.
The hot and cold analogy is certainly applicable. Although there are more days when it seems that Caz's is running cold. I wish I could blame it all on the early school start time. Although that certainly doesn't help. We do battle over bed time. He's a monster getting up early for school. And I admit, it seems wrong for 3rd-5th graders having to get up at 6:30-6:45 AM to catch the bus. Caz and are in the midst of an expirement. He was extended in his lights out time (until 9 PM). If he can get up with out giving Demi a problem in the AM, he can keep it. If not, it ratchets back 15 mins. And we will go for another 2 weeks. He's not tired most of the time at that time but he needs his sleep. And he needs to get up and ready for school.
Maybe he just needs a tall Starbucks first thing in the AM?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer League

Tryouts for summer league are coming this weekend. It's that nerve racking time of year. For me. It is for the kids, but I always fret about how the kids will react. Coco wants to tryout for sure. Caz is on the fence. Nothing new there. Caz though legitimately questions if he wants to play baseball all summer. This will be the first try out for Coco. He missed last years. He has stated unequivocally that we wants to try out though. Quite a turnaround for the kid that didn't want to play baseball this season to begin with. Looks like my instincts were correct earlier. Good for me. I was bound to be right at some point.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day - 2010

Happy Mom's Day to the mother's out there. Especially Demi. A great mom who is raising great kids. I hope you have a well deserved celebration. Restful day. Whatever you want it to be.

For first time Moms Stubbles and Bubbles, have a wonderful first Mother's Day. Stubbles has double trouble with twins. Bubbles has my niece, the Bee. And in this trio, I suspect that Demi may have to be rebranded, Troubles. Although she may argue that the other two deserve this distinction.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinquo di Mayo Cinquo

Today is not just a reason to have tacos, fajitas, and margaritas. Although that is exactly what what is on the dinner menu for tonight, sans margaritas. It is a school night after all.
Tonight, the Red Sox are honoring Nomar Garciaparra. #5 gets his moment before the Nation. Very fitting. #5 comes back to Fenway on 5/5. The boys will get a kick out of this. Caz is long over the hurt of The Trade. It was 6 years ago at this point. Being only 5 at the time, the memory has faded. I think the night will spark some memories though. He still has Nomar's picture up on his wall.
The boys did do some ethnic studies in school about the meaning of Cinquo di Mayo. Which is good. They can teach me about it. We didn't cover that in grade school that I can recall. And apparently, you won't be able to study it in AZ either. Not public school kids at any rate.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sleeping Like Babies

We are trying a new sleep experiment with Caz. The new early start time for school is still wreaking havoc with his sleep patterns. The kid just does not want to get up in the AM for school. It's a battle for Demi, just about everyday. The list of AM tasks is not extensive: dress, brush, eat. Pretty basic. But the kid will just not get out of bed and get started. He does eventually get out, but it is not a pretty sight most mornings.
He keeps lobbying for a later bed time. And I can't say that I didn't go to bed at his early time, when I was his age. But I didn't have to get up as early either. So we start a two week trial period this week. He gets to stay up until 9 PM. Lights out, immediately at 9. If he gets up without argument and gets ready for school on time, he can keep the later bed time. But if he doesn't, then it ratchets back 15 minutes. If he's still a problem after another week, it goes back another 15 mins.
Let the clock start ticking......

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Opening Week - Part Deux

Another night of Winter Ball. While the rain held for Caz's Opener, it was about 7 degrees above freezing. I would have had trouble trotting out one of my football teams in that weather. I can't believe some of the kids were in short sleeves. The game was well played. It actually resembles baseball. It was more like a Sox/Evil Empire game in length though. How many 3-2 games, winning run came in the last inning, with 1 hit? Caz walked to lead off. He stole second, then third. On the steal of third, he came home on the overthrow to the outfield. The kid is plain fast. No one is going to catch this kid.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Opening Week

Preseason is over and the regular season is here.

Coco's RiverBandits opened last night in the rain and cold. Winter ball. Such is baseball in New England.

Coco played catcher for the first time last night. He was one of the few kids that got the message from Coach that players that want to catch, have to wear a cup. Although it's an awkward thing for a young boy at first, there are enough of my football team on the RiverBandits roster to provide Coach with some catchers to choose from. It's funny how the Mom's defer that responsibility to the Dads (which makes sense, leave it to the ones familiar with the equipment). I think a few Dads got chewed out at home after the game last night. Anyway, Coco went 1-2 (single) and applied the tag at second base to throw out a steal attempt. I asked him after the game, before bed, "So. I take it you are liking baseball again?"

The sheepish reply was, "Yes."

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The family is doing well with my recovery period from knee surgery. The boys continue to be great helpers. They are very cordial with my requests. I try to limit them, but sometimes the requests can come at inopportune times for the boys. Their world is what they are doing at that particular time, playing, drawing, reading, XBox, etc. They rank things differently than Demi or I do. I don't want to be a burden either. Being couped up for this long is not easy. Sounds great in theory: movies, reading, and sitting in the sun on the deck. But not being able to the do the little things for myself is frustrating. Just getting a glass of water, when I want it, is not easy right now. But the boys and Demi have been great. The boys are enthusiastic helpers. And in the midst of it all, we were still facing issues with the renovations. The floors have limited access to the main floor twice now while I have had my surgery. I can't say enough about how the family has persevered through it all. I am grateful to all of them. Maybe, just maybe, the hard work put in parenting is showing a bit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Surgery went well. Recovery was the longest part. I had to have a spinal due to genetic issues I have with anesthesia (and likely the boys have). A spinal takes a while to wear off. I laid in a recovery room until 11:30 AM or so. When I was able to come home, Coco was the first face I saw. It's school vacation week, and it is a beautiful day. Both boys really should have been out playing. Caz was over at a friend's house. Coco was reading on the porch, waiting for me to come home. He hopped right up to help me up onto the porch and into seat. He went to get me a drink. Coco was just awesome. I got tired and went up to bed to lay down. I rewarded Coco by letting him grab The Return of the King on DVD to watch with me. I slept through the vast majority of it after taking a Vicodin. Coco watched it all though. And then stayed for the Bruins, who went into double OT. The pamphlet the hospital gave me included instructions for me to have a Recovery Buddy for at least the first 24 hours. Coco was happy to be that for me and did an outstanding job.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Tomorrow I go under the knife. Actually, it's only a scope, to clean out my right knee. It's long overdue. I have cartilage in there, one large piece under my knee cap. I don't seem to be anxious about it. I look forward to having it fixed. However, Coco seemed to be a bit worried about me having surgery. Last night he was asking questions about it. So tonight during bedtime I let him ask whatever he wanted. He clammed up a bit. I explained what was happening and that the procedure was routine these days. Coco asked me what I meant by that. He seemed OK when I told him it is something they do all the time now. And I do not believe that I was just talking to make myself feel better. Caz wished me luck but didn't seem to concerned. I didn't even think that the boys might have a hard time with it. I am glad I don't have to go into it with them upset.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy 11th Caz!

Happy Birthday to my oldest son. Caz is 11 today. He's turning into quite the little man.

I actually looked at the current college tuition rates. Talk about your sticker shock. I almost had a coronary. This is going way too fast.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Movie Review - The Tooth Fairy

I took Coco and a few of his friends to this movie for a birthday celebration. Caz and a buddy tagged along as well. Me and 7 kids in the car. It was only for 20 mins or so, but still. They sang Ke$ha's Tic Toc on the way down. It's just wrong. They know all the top 40 crap being played and a chorus of "boys just want to touch my junk" is just inherently wrong. Let me tell you, the concession stand was a cluster, 7 different drinks was a chore. I think we overwhelmed the poor high school kid working it. I mean, I only got two bucket of popcorn to go with it. 9 items, Dude. That's the express line at any grocery store.
I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I probably had zero expectations going in. And I like the Rock. I thought Race to Witch Mountain was a good family flick. While this movie was a typical family movie formula, it was fairly well done. A very nice performance turned in by Billy Crystal. Even though he's a fan of the Evil Empire, he cracks me up. This part was in line with his role in Princess Bride. Some of the slap stick and silliness was really well done too. I am not eagerly anticipating the DVD release but it was a good family trip.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring Training 2010 Part Deux

The first round of indoor baseball training concludes today. Much to Coco's relief I am sure. I know he won't want to go for a second round. I don't plan to push it. However, Caz asked to continue. I am thrilled. He wants to enroll in the hitting clinic. That bodes well that he is back into baseball and actually looking forward to playing. I hope they both land on teams where they have friends and good coaches. That makes all the difference.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 3 - Renovations

This was the week I was dreading. The first "issues" popped up. Whenever "issues" crop up with home improvement projects, it always cost money. The electrician told us that the breaker box was a mess. The builder piggy backed all the circuits. No surprise there. We blow fuses way too often. Typical 70's work. The original electrician was probably stoned when he wired it. All in all, not too costly.
The floor guys tore up the front hall. There was a couple of holes from water damage. That explains where we might have gotten some furry visitors during he winter. It's better to know and get it fixed, but definitely a cost we were not expecting. Ah well, I knew it had to happen at some point.
This week, instead of demolition, there is some framing and full fledged remodeling going on. That's nice to see.
The family is doing really well. We are adjusting to basement life. Demi has really set up a nice space to cook and have dinner. She had the electrician put in an oven outlet in the workroom. The work crew moved the old stove down stairs. So what does Demi do? She cooks a traditional turkey dinner. I mean of course. Why not? Everyone talked about all the take-out they had when they remodeled their kitchens. The kids can't appreciate how good they have it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Demi

Demi has to celebrate her birthday during the construction as well. Definitely a good reason to go out to eat. Happy Birthday, honey.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week 2 Demolition - Happy 9th Coco

Well at the end of week two the entire main floor is a construction area. Lumber, tools, debris, and trash are everywhere. The kitchen and dining room are gutted. The driveway is cluttered with a trailer, dumpster, and trash.
It's also Coco's 9th birthday. Happy Birthday, little man. He's been a trooper about not being able to have a full blown birthday party. With the house in disarray, it's just not possible. Tomorrow, I am taking Coco and some friends to a movie to at least do something. I get to see the Tooth Fairy. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Week One - Demolition

The kitchen is bare. You can see studs in the dining room. The carpet is gone in the den. The moulding is down in the living room. The refrigerator is in the front hall.
The kids are adapting well. You would think that it being school vacation week may have eased them into this, but it may have been more stressful. The kids were home much more during the construction. Too many bodies getting in each others way. It's not like summer where the kids can go out and run around. It wasn't a miserable winter weather week, but it wasn't screaming come out and play either. I think a few sleep-overs helped. At least until the Norwalk virus hit.
Coco got sick right after dinner at our cousins' house. Our cousins were taking pity on us and invited us over for dinner. What do we bring? Germs. A little girl in the daycare got sick hours early. Apparently it was the real deal and Coco caught it. Wonderful. I hope the rest of us avoid it. This may be a logistical challenge with no main floor. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tearing Down the Wall

It's amazing how much damage can be inflicted in one day. We knew this was coming. But two guys can really change a house in one working day. The kitchen is now a disaster area. There's no going back.
Demi has really created quite the living space for us in the basement. The guest room/napping room for the daycare, has been replaced with our couch. It will be our TV room for the next 6 weeks. The work room in the small unfinished section of the basement is now our kitchen. Our old refrigerator is down there with a microwave. Demi has set up a small pantry, storage for cutlery, plates and cooking utensils, and a movable eating area. The laundry room has become an extended pantry and storage area. Storage. The attic and garage are maxed out. I don't know that we could get one more item in those places.
Demi is really amazing. She really knows how to set up a home. She thinks several moves ahead, just like Coco does with chess. She plans for their morning routine, after school routine, and night time routine. This will hold us together and get us through this messy time. The kids don't know how good they have it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Let The Wild Rumpus Begin

The kitchen renovations start tomorrow. I say kitchen, but really, it is the whole main floor. The project has spilled into every nook and cranny of the main level of the house. There was a certain amount of sprawl built in initially. We knew the wall between the kitchen and dining room was coming down. But after that? Talk about your snowball effect. We knew that codes, materials, and processes had changed since the house was completed in the early 1970's. Therefore, there was no surprise that one minor issue could impact quite a bit.
But I digress. I am worried about the impact of this kind of chaos on the family. It's not going to be easy. It is a major disruption in our routines. And our routines have not been going smoothly. Nothing out of the ordinary. I am sure families across the world are dealing with the battles of dinnertime, video games, showers, reading, homework, sports, and the works. On top of being GC for this project, Demi is throwing a baby shower and planning on hosting Easter again. Easter is the deadline for this project to be done. Every contact being used on this project knows that going in.
We are going to be relegated to the basement and the upstairs. The boys are going to have to adjust to limited space and new routines. Patience is going to be more than a virtue.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spring Training, Anyone?

I would never have imagined it, but I have a dilemma with baseball and
Coco. When I first say the email for sign ups, I figured I would have
to plan to talk with Caz. He's certainly old enough to choose his own
activities. I don't care what sport he plays, but he needs to do
something active after school. He once did a cross fit training class
for kids. He loved it. If that's what he wants to do, that is fine.
He has a track record of balking about playing anything around sign up
time and then, during the season that sport is his new favorite sport.
There is that fine distinction about forcing kids to play something and
encouraging. I am always careful not to cross that line. I think I
over communicate that fact to the kids. So when Coco said, "yes, I want
to play" in under 2 seconds after asking him, I moved on to Caz.

I signed up both the kids for an indoor pitching clinic. Let's face it.
In NE, you have to be indoors this time of year. I thought an hour
every Saturday was low key, but still helpful to get the boys ready for
the season. Caz needs help with his control. Coco will be eligible to
pitch for the first time. I didn't grow up playing baseball, so I can't
help them much there. Time for the professionals. After the first
session, Caz was already saying "I might play baseball this season."
All seemed well....until...:

Coco - "I don't want to play baseball this year."

I was stunned. I wanted to know what was wrong. "Are you scared about
kids pitching this year?" " Are you afraid of getting hit?"

Coco - "No, I just don't like it anymore"

This is the same kid that copies the batting stance of every Red Sox
starter. He reads the paper for the standings and statistics. He
watches every pitch of every game he can watch. He is the only kid of
20, on the beach next to the radio, listening to the Sox game. The
other kids will be running around, doing what other kids do at the
beach. I couldn't fathom him not liking baseball anymore. So I had the
same talk with Coco, that I did with Caz. You don't have to play
baseball. Lax? Soccer? You need to pick an activity.

More to come but not the start to the season I was expecting

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ground Hog Day 2010

Darn that Puxatany Phil. I think the whole thing is rigged. I really
hope it won't be six more weeks of winter. It's time for spring. We
are due for an early spring in New England. I can never get that Bill
Murray movie out of my head. What if I had to live the same day, over
and over? Could I at least choose the day?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Super Bowl Month

You normally wouldn't think of February as a big football month. But
now that the Super Bowl ends up being played in February all that is
change. None the less, you wouldn't think that it also meant 6 more
weeks of arguing over youth football. Everyone also says "it's all
about the kids", but I find that most are just saying the words. All of
a sudden there is a coach controversy with my team. Apparently there is
"a group" of families looking to switch leagues if I a head coach again.
No one will say it out loud, but there are a few who think I should have
putting winning (for 8 year olds) ahead of teaching all the kids to play
the game. It's not like going "o"-fer didn't cause me sleepless night.
But it was more so the kids could feel good about themselves. Quite
frankly, it was all I could do to make the kids competitive. These are
not excuses. These are facts. I had 28 kids to play in every game. Is
there one kid that should not step on the field to play? I had coaches
that could not be at every proactive, with one that showed up when he
felt like it. There was no call to say, "hey, I can't make it today".
Coincidentally, it's the same guy that said he all this free time this
season to help. I had kids that didn't make it to every practice. I
had kids that play hockey or soccer before games. There were practices
that I ended up with 1/2 the kids and one other coach. Every team we
played had a dedicated JV team. We were not allowed to create an
official JV team.
Now that there is one unrealistic parent that thinks her boy is
"special" and should get the ball all the time, there's a problem? You
have got to be kidding me. Everyone I talk to points fingers somewhere
else. This "group" goes from 10 to 3 families depending on who you talk
to. Apparently, me coaching my oldest son in another league is
problematic too. So's all about the kids. But heaven
forbid kids migrate to another league or I coach in two leagues. I have
spent way to much time worry about who might defect, rather than on the
kids I do have playing. Isn't coaching you family, no matter where they
play, showing that it's really all about the kids? I just don't get it.
And it's not like anyone will say anything directly, it's all second
hand at best. Grown ups acting like kids. If it wasn't for the kids,
there would be no reason to put up with it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Hits Keep on Coming

A post script to Life's a Pitch:
Coco has now decided that he likes the clinic but doesn't want to play baseball this spring. Caz loves the clinic and now wants to play baseball this spring. Go figure. I am glad that Caz kept with his pattern of denial and then acceptance/desire. I can't quite peg Coco on this one though. Something has to be up. It's out of character for him. He loves to play, talk, and/or watch sports, all the time. He loves stats associated with sports. He loves movies about sports. He loves books about sports. I think maybe he is nervous about his first year in kids pitch. He made an offhand remark about getting nailed by a pitch a few months ago. It's not much, but it's all I have to go on now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Life's a Pitch

Winter baseball starts. It's not a fanatical, "my kid must play baseball year round" type thing. Basketball is winding down soon. Wrestling is once a week, for 4 weeks. That is ending soon. I really want to keep the kids active until baseball starts for town league. Practice starts in April and games start in May. That is a long time. Might as well start with some spring training. It's a low key, one hour a week pitching clinic. Caz needs to work for his control. This will be Coco's first foray into the kids pitch league. They both need to working on their batting but that clinic would have overloaded them. The place we go to for the clinic will likely offer hitting again at the end of this one. The kids were split on the idea at first. Coco was all fired up and ready to go. Caz gave me his "(fill in the upcoming season's sport) isn't my thing. I don't think I will play this year - speech. Every time at time of sign up it happens. I tell him he doesn't have to play this sport, or any sport, but he needs to choose an activity. I would prefer he keep an active lifestyle for good general health, but he can choose whatever he likes. I really think he gets nervous for whatever reason and the speech is just an automatic defense mechanism. I guess time will tell.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Movie Review - Avatar

Don't get me wrong, the CGI and effects were very cool and impressive.
I am sure it was something else in 3D. But if you go to see Avatar and
have never seen the movie Ferngully, go rent it. It's an animated movie
with the main character voiced by Christian Slater (before celebrity
voice's were all the rage) called Ferngully - The Last Rainforest.
Avatar will take on a whole new perspective after that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Everybody's Not Working For the Weekend

I took today off to chaperon Coco's class field trip to Plimouth
Plantation. I had not been there in decades. I figured I would be one
of 7 or 8 adults, as I was when I volunteered to call Bingo during their
class holiday party a few weeks ago. No such luck. A limit of 2
chaperons per class was capped by the Plantation. 44 kids (2 third
grade classes) and 6 adults. I started worrying the minute I left the
classroom to board the bus. But all that worrying was for naught. The
kids were terrific. Not only were they well behaved, they were very
engaged. They were spouting facts about Plymouth colony, period attire,
John Alden and Governor Bradford faster than Usain Bolt. They really
knew there stuff. This of course was to the delight of their teacher.
And those teachers should be proud of the job they did. It was great to
see and be a part of.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Patriots Playoff Power Outage

Probably the worst game I can recall a Patriots team playing since the
days of Hugh Millen and Tony Eason. It would have been nice if the team
showed some heart. It's one thing to get out played. It's another to
not care. The only players that seemed to be care were Kevin Faulk and
Julian Edelman. Leadership will be questioned after this one. And
rightly so.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bowden's Farewell

It was sad to see the end of an era. Bobby earned the right to go out
on his terms, but alas, was a victim of the times. "What have you done
for me lately?". It was appropriate that Chief Osceola let Bobby throw
the burning spear into the mid field logo. Fortunately the Noles
decided to show up and rally to let Bobby exit with a W. Having the
ex-Noles on the sidelines was a nice touch. It was great seeing Bobby
hug Neon Deion and Warrick Dunn at the end. Where was Weinke?
It was great to share this with the boys. They were really into it. I am
sure they understood all of it. I believe they got the important piece
of it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holiday Recap

I always think one of the best parts of the holiday season is giving out great gifts. I love the look on some one's face as they open up a present that truly moves them. So it was great to see the kids loving a few key items this past Festivus.
For Coco, Demi and I put together a box for the Little Chef full of cooking related items. Since Coco has really taken an interest in cooking, we really wanted to be supportive of that passion. It also didn't hurt that Coco requested an apron that was monogrammed with "Little Chef" on it. I actually found a real chef's coat. It's not monogrammed yet, but it really was perfect. We included a cook book by his idol, Bobby Flay. There was a journal that he can bring to restaurants and record his meals, including writing his own review. The got a recipe card holder, with note cards and some recipes already supplied. He has a few of his own cooking tools now. He really got a kick out of it. And it didn't hurt that he wanted to put his new gear to work on Christmas to help make chocolate bread pudding. He also made chili for the Rose Bowl. We all win there.
For Caz, Santa brought him a new bike. I recall growing up that having a Mongoose BMX bike was the gold standard for kids. That is why I really got a boost out of browsing the web for his bike and seeing Mongoose still out there. Then I kept seeing them on sites for Target, WalMart, and such. I started to wonder if Mongoose had become the Huffy of this generation. Caz really only had a couple of criteria for his "grown up" bike. The bike had to be bigger than his last bike and it had to have gears. Gears was the big draw. He really couldn't tell me why, but gears were the deal breaker. He loved seeing that bike in front of the Christmas tree that morning.
I would call these a great success. But then I would be remiss in not adding that I got Demi a new cell phone. Sort of like the gears, Internet access was the deal breaker. Texting was just gravy. Of course she uses the texting now, more than the Internet. But that is besides the point. She was happy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

The boys have been making it to midnight on New Years Eve for the last few years and this was no exception. Actually, the exception was that Demi was awake all evening and not sleeping soundly on the couch. We were split up for the first time. Caz was at his friends house down the street. I think Coco was actually awake longer, since he lasted the whole ride home from our friends, the Lacey's. Coco was a trouper. He was the only child with a bunch of adults. He helped make the appetizers. He hung out for some conversation before going to watch football and play with his DS. He got to watch a movie in the hosts bed. He got his own special "champagne" at midnight. The kid was living the good life. Caz pretty much made it to midnight and then to bed at 12:05 AM. Demi and I had a great evening with friends. It was really a nice night. A perfect way to spend the holiday.

2010 Preview

The following is a list of things that I am looking forward to in this coming year:

The conclusion of Bowl season - I will still complain about the ruination of the whole Bowl system. 6-6 teams, including my beloved FSU, should not be in a Bowl. Period. There are too many bowls and it is way to spread out now. New Years Day is a farce now. Hey, I haven't played in a bowl this year. Where's my bowl?

"Looking forward to" is not quite right. But nothing short of complete Armageddon is going to keep me from watching Bobby Bowden's last game coaching FSU. I have never known a FSU team without him in my lifetime. His era may not be ending as he had hoped, however he deserves all the accolades being bestowed at this time.

Patriots play-off run - Here's to hoping we start the new decade in grand fashion

Spring Training - The Sox offseason has been interesting so far. Nothing to really get excited about over all. While it was a big deal to sign Lackey, losing Bay negates that. So we will have to see what the promise of Spring Training will bring the Nation. There will be drama to be sure.

Celtic Pride - Here's hoping 'Sheed will not disgrace the green and white, and take a page out of the Patriot book like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss.

Stanley Cup - The B's are struggling. Sure we set the bar high after last year. However, the B's have the potential to live up to expectations.

A new kitchen......and bathroom....and front hall...and floor in the Den.....and so on and so on and so on. I do look forward to the renovations being complete. I am very much looking forward to cook on a new gas stove. Bring on the wok, baby.

For Coco -Will the Little Chef get a shot at a Throwdown with Bobby Flay? Chili cook off?

For Caz - Will this budding artist get his first gallery showing? He's really showing some skill.

For Demi - Will this prettiest woman in the world run another half marathon? Will she challenge Jack Bauer to a Tae Bo Boxing match?

For Chinny - Will the stubborn Coach finally deal with his bum knee?