Friday, December 16, 2011

XMas on the Island - 2011

The annual family trek to the Island. It's a total crap shoot on driving time. You can leave at any time and it can take 4 hours or it can take 10 hours. You just never know. I had to delay the departure anyway. One of my presents to Demi was a new radio for the Pilot. This radio she can use to plug in her iPod. I showed up to my installation appointment early in hopes to speed up the process and get on the road a bit early than expected. It worked. I got in and out early.
We still chose to work in a stop for an early dinner not too far into the ride. I figured it would help thin out the evening commute. I also figured a full belly would help the kids settle in and maybe nap a bit. Not too long. I don't want them up late when we do get to NY. What I didn't count on was the chili cheese fries and buffalo wings for Coco. That is a bad menu for a long car ride. But it was Caz and his breakfast for dinner that wreaked havoc. He stunk. Must have been the sausage.
The boys played a bit on Demi's iPad. But for the most part they read their kindles. Caz did a bit of his homework. I got in a nap and some reading. That was novel for me. I have been able to do either for a long time.
We lost a half hour in Darien. I swear they have been doing constructions on that stretch of 95 all 15 years I have been going to the Island. Friggin' CT.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Treat Yourself

Every once and a while, it is ok to take a break from the kids. A birthday is as good as an excuse as any. I booked a night out in Boston for Demi and me. We have a nice room at the Seaport Hotel. We each have a massage booked. And we are going to get huge steaks from Morton's Steakhouse. Once we park in the hotel garage, we are self contained. All walking or cabs for each destination. The kids and Gizmo are going to stay with my brother. I may get crazy and get a nap in. The kids will be fine. And the break is good for Mom and Dad.
Some parents just won't take that break. They feel guilty. And don't get me wrong, there is a level of guilt. I felt some booking this weekend. But I was smart enough to ingore it. Take a break. Recharge the batteries. And come back with a better effort. It's ok to do. No matter how old the kids are, you have to take a break now and then.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Go Shorty, It's You Birthday

I took today off from work. My birthday was a good excuse to do so. Everyone kept asking me if I had big plans. I kept answering that I was going to sleep late and go from there. That is just what I did. I slept until 9:30 or so. When was the last time I did that?

I took the dog for a hike in the town forest. I had lunch with my niece. I played some XBOX. Then I took Coco to the movies. Caz wasn't interested in the Muppets. Apparently, while I was out, Caz struggled with what present to give me. It bothered him that he didn't have one that was directly from him. He pondered it for a while, shutting out XBOX time. That is quite a feat. I understand the attraction of video games to kids his age. So in relative terms, that is a big deal. I ended up with a coupon book of household chores that I could assign him at any given time: car wash, dishwashing, to name a few. It really is the thought that counts, and the thought is what made it such a great gift.

Luckily, there are no expiration dates.......

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Super Bowling

Another trip to Gillette this year for the Dragons. Which means another trip with the boys for me to the big dance. I've said it before but it is such a nice thing that the Krafts let the MIAA use Gillette for the high school Super Bowls. It's a great family experience for the fans. With MIAA rules there is no booze at all, so the rowdiness factor is way down. There is no traffic or parking issues to contend with. The seat are as close as you want to be to the field. The concession prices are not outrageous. And it's a good way for the Pats to sell excess merchandise. The boys and I went with out cousins. We all had a blast. It helps when your team wins. And the Dragons won handily. They have not lost a game since 2009. Quite a run.
But more importantly, a good family day.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holidays Are Here Again

It's that time. Time for XMas card, the annual Chinny newsletter, XMas trees, and good cheer. Sure the stores are packed, hot, and manners are scarce. Sure the shelves of stores were stock with XMas items just after Halloween. There were 2 radio stations in Boston that went XMas tunes 24/7 starting 11/1. But I think for me 12/1 is the offical start of the holidays.
I think I actually have some lines ready for this years newsletter. We had some good trips this year. It's going to be hard to pair down the list.
I like the challenge of finding the perfect gift for each member of the family. I have some good ideas on that already. It realy is the time for family and friends. Time to take stock and remind those that are important to you, just how much they mean to you. Life is too short not to acknowledge that. It is something that I am trying to impart to the boys.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Today was a rough day with Caz. He was way overtired from a sleep over. He had such trouble containing himself. It's very stressful on everyone in the family when it gets like this. It's hard for Demi and me to keep out patience. Especially when he saves his homework for the last possible moment. It takes twice as long to complete and it's a full family participation. Oh no, we're not helping do it. Just a lot of intense discussion about getting it done and doing it right. It happens. Just hard at the time. We will tough it out, as always.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving. It really is a great holiday. Football, food, friends and loved ones. Oh yeah. And pie!

I got up early for a holiday and went to a party. Crazy ain't it. But a high school friend and teammate took over his dad's tradition of hosting a Bloody Mary party before the game. I had been meaning to go for years but never really got to it. But X talked me into it. I am glad he did. It was really nice to see some old friends that I hadn't seen in a very long time. Guys that I grew up with. Guys that I played football with. Guys I went to school with. These are the guys that made football fun for me. These are the guys that worked so hard with me to form a team.

And that is the story I told later that day at the game. To guys I coached with and to the players I coached. This is what I want for my players. I want them to have such a positive experience that they feel like being a part of the team is something special. I want them to look back on this time in the lives and feel it was something good. Only time will tell but I think I am steering them in the right direction.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Helping Hand

With a stroke of luck we happened upon some friends last night. They were planning to volunteer as a family at a local soup kitchen. Demi and I had been looking for opportunities to volunteer as a family. We had explored a couple of ideas. But this was just the right thing. There were 3 sittings over a few hours. The boys were great. The director even comment that she would work with them 7 days a week. They were welcome back any time. It was unsolicited too.
Demi asked the boys questions on the way back. She genuinely wanted to make sure they didn't have any unanswered questions. But she also wanted to see what they got out of the whole experience. Based on the questions, conversations, and comments from the boys, it seems like they got the right things out of the experience. Very positive for everyone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Real End to the Season

If you thought that the end of the regular season for a non-playoff team was THE END of the season, think again. DYF was granted by the governing leauge, OCYFL, a weekend playoff and a weekend Super Bowl slate of games to host. Demi and I worked our tails off those two weekends. The first weekend was about 7 hours on a cold, dark night, with the boys in tow. It wasn't supposed to be that long but it never goes as planned. We took the boys to breakfast the next day as a thank you. We tried to explain that what it means to volunteer, and how it allows them to play football. Oh, and did I mention that I squeaked in a limited equipment hand in before the Super Bowl games. So today is the big Equipment Hand in day. So far the total number of volunteers? 2. I recruited/drafted a part time helper to relieve one of my 2 volunteers. You think I haven't had enough of volunteering by this time but seriously, how do people think volunteer organizations run? It's crazy. I keep saying it. What ruins youth sports is the adults.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebration in Little Italy

Dad likes the homemade noodles. So why not have his 73rd birthday dinner at a local Italian restaurant that does it well? A friday night. My brother still has a young child. My kids are old enough to go to nice restaurants. This place looks very appropriate for this time of year. The buildings are made of rock. There is a nicely set up garden center next door. While lights adorn the outlines of the buidlings and walk ways. It looks very much like a traditional Victorian holiday scene.
I think Dad enjoyed himself. He loves when the family is all together no matter where we gather. But I hope he liked his special night out. He's a homebody but he does enjoy a good meal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Change in Seasons

Well, next weekend is Equipment hand in for football. The season will then be officially over. Such a long lay off in posts. Do I try to go back and recreate history? Or just move forward? There is plent to share from Sept to now. I could probably do one big summary. But each post tends to have it's own life. It's own point. What to do............

The boys have been a couple weeks without practice now. I think the natives are growing restless. They need another activity to start up. It doesn't have to be a sport. It just has to be something to keep them active and exercising. Basketball may have run it's course. Skating never starting. Caz should do running club. Swimming is not a bad idea. They have a couple of days to choose. Then Mom and Dad start choosing.......

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene - Day 4

OK, the blackout is starting to get old. I am not going to complain. I could be in VT waiting on an air drop of supplies. I could have damage to my house or cars. We could have it a lot worse. But I am ready to have power back. I called the NSTAR hotline last night. The good news was that I got a live operator. The bad news is that while they felt power could be back overnight, they still had to give worse case scenario of Saturday night.
At least the gym is now open. I never thought I would be so excited over those prison showers. A good workout definitely helps to improve the disposition. Poor Demi doesn't even have that right now. And I get to go to work and have power. But I need to have power back for the family.
Demi called at 2 PM to say the power was back on. She was not advertising it because the requests for XBOX would soon follow. She was in no rush for that. I can't blame her. But things are back to normal. Just in time for the first day of school.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene - Day 3

I was able to eke out one more quick, luke warm shower. I got up early but again, no answer at the gym. I attempted to go back to sleep for an hour. I still get up and into the office early. I know I still need to be home early to take advantage of the daylight hours.

We have cooked all the meat that we can. Demi definitely deserves a night off from cooking. Dinner out tonight for sure. We will still have to work around football practice of course. What? You think a little thing like no power is going to stop us from having football practice? Surely you jest. The kids will get a night off from showers though. Yep, they are going to stink. But fighting over cold showers is not in the plans. And since tomorrow is no longer the first day of school, we are fine issuing a reprieve.

Take out from Marshfield Famous. They just got power back and folks are on the same wavelength. That place is jamming when I get there.

After dinner is another quiet candlelit night. More reading and games. I have the Sox on the radio. It's kind of a throwback to an earlier time when folks sat around a radio at night. Family time. There is not enough of that generally speaking. People are just too busy running around. It's no wonder the family concept is taking a hit.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post Irene

Day 2 of the blackout. No power in the AM. I call the gym and ofcourse get no answer. Back to bed for a bit. I take a quick shower and head to work. No work emergency calls, so I assume the office has power. I can't work here, that's for sure.

Parts of 139 seems to have power. Dunkin and Starbucks are packed.

Demi and the kids are cleaning up the yard. Yaya is over with the chainsaw.

I come home early to get ice for the fridge but Demi is already all over it. She cooks the chicken from the freezer. We are hoping the food does not spoil.

Sundown - the candles and flashlights are back. The family is reading on the couch until bed time. I make a crack about Pilgrim life. The kids dismiss it. I do like the quiet though and the family time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene - Day One

10 AM - So far so good. Not a lot of rain. The wind is pretty steady, with some big gusts. Flashlights and candles are ready. We just made a big breakfast. The lights have flickered a couple of times. The boys are doing their homework in hopes of playing some XBox before we lose power. Where we live, and based on history, we will lose power. It's only a matter of time.

11:30 AM - Caz just got on XBox and as he predicted, the power went out. No power outage for Caz though. He's having a meltdown. He was sufficiently warned about doing his homework but it does not matter to him at the moment. Might was well start reading the Sunday paper.

12:45 PM - Coco sunk my battleship. This electronic version of Battleship is pretty cool. Coco won that battle but Dad wins the war. Game to the General. Caz appears to be done pouting and wants a shot at the title.

1:30 PM - I have moved the same large limb out of the street 3 times now. It's not light, but I can move it by myself. I moved it halfway up the front yard and it still got blown back into the street. Gizmo wants no part of going out but she does need to do her business.

2:15 PM - Clue the Harry Potter edition is going full bore.

3:00 PM - Lucious Malfoy did it, with the Vanishing Cabinet, in the Owlry.

5:05 PM - Thanking our lucky stars that we switched to a gas stove top during last year's renovations. Burgers on the indoor grill are great things right now.

7:15 PM - Candles and flashlights are out. My LL Bean shortwave radio is out. Sounds like the South Shore is getting hit pretty hard with power outages. No signs of NSTAR. Each of us has a good book going.

8:30 PM - We move upstairs with lights out for Coco, soon to follow.

10 PM - It's pretty quiet without all the white noise. At least we can crack the windows a bit to get some air moving. An early night is not a bad thing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting on Irene

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Diary - Day One

Irene should be hitting tomorow. It's time to batten down the hatches. The loose items in the yard need to be picked up. Lawn furniture needs to be stacked and tied down. The grill needs to be tied to the porch. The tomato plants need to be put in the shed. Mist changes to rain to downpour during all this. I take this time to sort 400 plus Duxbury Youth Football game shirts into 6 teams. Might as well, I have the time now.
We have bottled water, batteries, and bread. Milk is not a must have. I am thankful that we switched to a gas stove cooktop last year during the renovations. We have candles and board games. Cell phones, Kindles, and iPods are being charged to 100%. Cars are gased up.
The biggest thing was the garage. Demi thought there was no way we get one of the cars in it. We have all the new bathroom fixtures and items in there. We have all the game shirts I mentioned. And there was just random items in there since it was already crowded. I deem us as ready as we can be.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tough Times

Well, we certainly seem to be in one of those ruts with Caz. It's been tough the last few days. He's been very "woe is me" and argumentative. Nothing is "going his way." Demi and I are end of our wits. Patience is in thin supply.
It is very hard to tell what is typical teen (or pre-teen in this case) angst and what is ADD. That is probably the hardest thing for me. I do not think like Caz. And I have a hard time knowing what he's doing on purpose. Even the spontaneous outbursts of impropriety catch me off guard. In that split second of something fresh leaving his mouth and it registering with me, I can't just stop and think to myself "ok, he doesn't mean it and likely doesn't even know he's saying it."
Even when he seems rational, he likely isn't. He argues just to argue. The mistake then, is arguing back. I tell you though, at the end of a long work day and being mentally tired walking in the door? It's hard to not argue back. That is why this is all a work in progress still.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Date Night/Family Night

In the blink of an eye. That is how quickly things change in a family. Saturday night was supposed to be Date Night for Demi and me. But Saturday came and Demi felt guilty. She felt like the family hadn't been together, even though she had taken them to Espionage at Patriot Place the day before. True, I was working but she got some quality time with the boys. Later on Saturday, Caz "wasn't feeling well", didn't want to go out and proposed staying in for a family movie. I proposed dinner on the water in Plymouth. An annual event for fried seafood. Then a movie in the theater after. As we started that path, Caz got a call from a friend to sleep over. Family night quickly turned into an early dinner at the 99 and a drop off of our eldest son. Well, a movie at home with Coco right? Wrong. He ditched us for watching iCarly in the den. So Demi and I chose Due Date from OnDemand. Just like we wrote it up. For a movie review, it was pretty funny. Not great, but some good solid funny moments.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Training Camp 2011 - Day 2

Proud Dad Moment:
After the team split up for drills, the coaches convened during a water break. Coach Q and Coach Mortimer approached me to tell me that they had to move Caz back 7 yards further than anyone else for a one on one RB/Tackling drill (Oklahoma drill). He was getting up too quickly and no one could touch him before he was off to the races. Must get that from Demi......

Monday, August 8, 2011

Notes from Training Camp

Day one of preseason for Caz. New Coach. Same Drills. Same summer heat and humidity. We ran the kids pretty hard. Not Bear Bryant training camp hard, but they boys were certainly tired at the end. I think Caz slept pretty well. It's another new coaching staff for me to integrate into. The head coach expects hard work and discipline from the kids. He's loud but it's positive. He is a motivator. He speaks loudly to be heard, not to punish. He was very accepting of my offer to help. He had no issue asking me to run some drills on my own. All in all, a very good first day.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Movie Review - Captain America

Coco and I went to see Captain America. This and the Green Lantern were two of the movies I really wanted to see this summer. I always like the underrated superheroes growing up. Sure, I was into Spiderman, Superman, and Batman. But the second tier guys, like the Flash, Green Lantern, and Captain America were very appealing to me. Especially Cap. It was probably a biproduct of growing up in the Cold War era.
I think this was the best superhero movie of the summer. I was very happy that the movie makers got it right and did Captain America justice. Simliar to X-Men: First Class, the historic setting worked well. You wonder how a period piece will play with kids. But I think Coco was just fine with the 1940's setting. He didn't even blink at eye at the lack of cellphones and iPods.
The action was great. The storyline was very well done. Chris Evans was just fine. Tommy Lee was his typical bad ass self. This is a 2011 must see film.
4 Chinnies out of 5

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Season Tix Nite @ the Blade

Uncle Lex had some tickets to a special night at Patriot training camp for season ticket holders. He kindly offered to take me and the boys. Seemed like a cool idea and the boys were fired up to go.
We kicked the night off right by hitting Dave's Diner first. Coco got his favorite, Eve of Destruction (chili cheese fries) to the fear of all. However, it was Caz's steak & cheese wrap that ended up doing the damage while we were stuck in Patriot traffic on Route 1 a mile out from the stadium. Windows down, captain!
There were a lot of people at this event. I think the turnout was far greater than expected. It was very cool though. We went to the far end of the stadium, knowing that they would flip the field for practice at some point. We ended up 5 rows up in the end zone when the Patriots changed directions and came down to our end. The boys got a kick out of seeing the Patriots, both old and new, up close. We got good looks at Ochocinquo, Haynesworth, Welker, Branch, Brady, Wolfork, and Mayo. Rookie QB Ryan Mallet looked good.
The Patriots were due to make rounds at the sides of the stadium for autographs after practice. The boys started to head down but came back. They were too tired to deal with it. The sides were mobbed. And it wasn't like they could pull the "I'm a kid" bit. There were other kids lining the field, all over the place. There were no adult to try and guilt. The boys were happy just to be there.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sorting It All Out

Well, things seem to be back to normal. Caz is home from a week away at camp. The whole family is back together.
The reunion got off to a bit of a rocky start. Coco was a bit tired from a week of baseball camp. Caz was over tired from a week of not sleeping well. The last night apparently there was almost no sleep at all. I am sure there was a lot of excitement being he last night of camp, but the boys were up way too late. He was a bit of bear for the entire weekend.
I am sure there was an adjustment for Caz, from being on his own for a week. I guess it is sort of like coming home from college and going back to your parents rules. So I need to restate that it was an adjustment for all of us. It was not a smooth one. But we lived through it. Back to a sense of normalcy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Grease 2

Grease might be the word but just don't text it. Caz ended this cycle 67 texts over his limit. He is know lobbying for unlimited texting. Might cost less in the long run but here is another opportunity for him. He can pay the additional freight if he wants unlimited texting. Texting is an add-on. Talking is the purpose of the phone. A tool for the times like golfing when he is off by himself. Texting is the down fall of civilized communication. But that is rant for another day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grease Lightning

Summer lovin', had me a blast...... It is a strange site to see my 12 year old pal around this vacation with another 12 year old boy and two 13 year old girls. This young adult posse is new territory. They seem to playing kids games like Manhunt (this era's kick the can) but at the same time having some boy/girl dynamics. The mom of the other 12 year old boy, Bieber, made a statement that, "those girls are too old for them." And in some ways she was right. The boys aren't getting some of the girls statements. You can tell easily by the dazed looks in their eyes. Caz certainly doesn't get that they think he is handsome (even though they are not quiet about it). I knew this day would come at some point. It's hard to believe it's really finally here. A first summer romance. Caz has been so responsible with his cell phone. He hasn't lost it. He stays under his 100 minutes. He doesn't come close to his texting limit. Enter said 13 year old girls. With 9 days left in the cycle, Caz has 57 texts. His limit is 250. The day we broke camp here in Montauk the kids all exchanged numbers. By the end of the day, the text total was 189. Buddha help me through adolescence. This looks like it may be more difficult as a parent than actually having gone through it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer of Jaws - 2011

We just left my niece, Daisy's, second birthday party and are on our way to the Island. It's only a quick stop there. Another family party, a Sweet Sixteen/Graduation party for two of Demi's nieces. We will leave the Giz with Demi's sister and then head out to Montauk. It's as far east on the southern fork of the Island as you can go. It's past the glitz and glam of the Hamptons. I hope TSA doesn't give us too much trouble getting through there. Although it might be fun to crash one of Diddy's bashes.
Demi has been talking about bringing me to Montauk since we met. 15 years ago. Well, I am sure it is worth the wait. Montauk was the fishing town that inspired Jaws. The crusty captain in the moving is loosely based on the famed founder of Monster Shark Fishing, Frank Mundus. My brother in-law worked the dock out there and ended up with a job working for Mundus. Demi's family spent a lot of time out there in her childhood years. There is a lot of sentimental aspects to this trip. We have been talking to the boys about how much it means to her. I think they understand.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

School's Out For Summer

But not forever. It may seem like that to Demi in a few weeks, but school will come again. Oh yes. It will come again.

The boys are ecstatic of course. Coco's class apparently spent the last minute of school counting it down by the second, very loudly. Allegedly they could be heard from two floors down.

Visions of XBox are running through their heads. Later bed times. Sleeping in. Ah. It's good to be the king.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Happy Father's Day! A special good wish to my Dad and my brother.

Spending the AM on Duxbury Beach is the best way to start any day, but it is especially nice on Father's Day. Ice coffee and a lemon poppy seed muffin is the breakfast of choice. Demi search far and wide, covered 6 different stores, but could not find the elusive pistachio muffin. She gets an A for effort though. My cousins, the Van Burens, joined us. It was quite the family event. The Van B's son is an age in he middle of our two boys. He and Coco spent the better part of the AM building a sand castle by the edge of the water. Caz slept in the back seat most of the day. He apparently was up very late at a sleep over the night before. This meant that I had a nice, quiet morning to sit, read the paper, and chat with the Van B's. Their girls are older, so they got to hang with the grown ups. Really, the only thing missing was a nap. I could have done that but I was too busy enjoying myself too much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We Got The Cup

That's right. Lord Stanley's Cup is back in Boston. After a 39 year hiatus. This was a story book ending to an amazing playoff run. This was quite possibly the finest Stanley Cup Series for a goaltender in the history of the game. Tim Thomas was a slam dunk for the Conne Smythe Trophy, for the Series MVP. Most saves in a SC Series. Most saves in an entire playoff year. He was something else.
The boys were fired up and watched the whole first period. Well, Coco did. I think Caz may have a bit of the old man's superstitions. He was definitely interested elsewhere. But I think a piece of him was too nervous to watch for fear of jinxing it.
I woke the boys up at the conclusion of the game, so that they could see the Cup be hoisted by Chara and the team. Coco almost went back to sleep. He was out of it. But then his eyes opened, and he was excited. Caz actually woke up to the sound of fireworks outside. Everyone was amped up for the Cup's return.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

Originally, this movie was not on my list of must see movies for the summer of '11. But I was pleasantly surprised. This was not just an FX filled blockbuster bonanza. There was a good story. Historical fiction. The tie in to the cold war and the Cuban Missile Crisis was a stroke of genius. There was character development. The back stories of Prof. X and Magneto were compelling. And then......there was......Kevin Bacon. Nothing says good movie like a degree of Kevin Bacon.
The only tough parts of the movie having the kids there were:

  • a scene set in Vegas with lingerie clad "showgirls"/"escorts"

  • a scene with a Russian general being seduced by a underwear clad buxom blond mutant

The boys seemed to enjoy the movie. We had actually discussed the Cuban Missile Crisis at a time moths before. And what got me was that they remembered it. Coco actually said "is that where the Russians put nuclear missile 90 miles from the United States?" The kids are paying attention and apparently I am getting through to them. Score one for Dad.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Field of Dreams

If you build it, they will come.

Well, in my mind I built the perfect day for the family. It is a rare occasion, if it happens at all, that the execution goes as well as the planning. Today was such a day. In fact, I would say it went better than planned. Our friend, CJ, had procured us tickets to an afternoon game at Fenway. Originally the start time was a night tilt, but with the Bruins in the Stanley Cup for prime time, the Sox opted to move the game up.
The launch started shaky. We left a bit later than planned. We hit unusually bad traffic before even getting on the highway. The Pilot was on E with the Gas light on. It was not looking promising.
But we took an alternative route to the exit that we were not quite sure of. We hit the gas station just in time. We pulled into Boston later than planned and missed batting practice. However we found a taxi in no time and arrived at Fenway with plenty of time to spare. The weather was perfect, 70 degrees and sunny. The breeze was refreshing. We took our seats and saw that it was Beckett warming up in the pen. We were excited to see the ace. The boys had not seen him pitch in person before. A-Gon launched a shot over the Monstah at his first at-bat. Crawford got into the act with timely hits and good defense. At the one hour mark the game was in the 5th. We were cruising to a Sox win.
We had a temporary set back. Papelbon gave up a few runs. Varitek got tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Pedroia let a game ending double play through the wickets. Then Papelbon got tossed with the game tied. Extra innings. Ruh Roh Raggy. Caz was getting restless. The boys were both tired from the previous days excursion. Coco actually slept through the 8th. Right through Sweet Caroline and everything. I made a command decision to leave after the 11th, after the meat of the Sox order batted and the game headed to the 12th.
It was an opportune time to get a cab. We got lucky again when Demi realized she had left the camera in our seats while walking up Landsdowne. A sypathetic usher let her back in to retrieve it. We hailed a taxi and got into the North End in great shape. We picked a restaurant on Hanover street and were seated right away. Dinner was amazing. Not a scrap was left to take home. Caz broadened his horizons and at linguine carbonara. I mean cheesy cream sauce and bacon? What's not to like, right? Then is was over to Modern to pick up pastries.
We got home just in time for the drop of the puck. We relaxed. Watched the game and ate fantastic pastries. It was such an amazing day. The perfect family day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Early Independence Day

That's right. Independence Day came early this year. At least it did for the boys. Demi did a great Mom thing today. She took both boys and 3 of their buddies to Canobie Lake Park for a day of fun. The boys had a half day of school. She picked them right up at school and headed up to NH. The Fab Five had the run of the park. Sure there were some field trips to contend with. But it is early in the season and not all that packed. The issue Demi had to contend with was the divide and conquer. The older boys would want to go to rides while the younger boys went to others. The older boys had their cell phones. The younger boys had the power of 3, the magic number. Demi made multiple trips, with Gizmo in tow, back and forth to the car for food, dry clothes, towels, etc. The had all agreed on a meeting point if they got separated but it was never needed. In fact, they boys roamed around with such efficiency and responsibility that Demi let them close the park down. They got home at midnight. The Fab Five were sacked out the whole ride home but technically they stayed out longer than the men for Studs Night Out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day - 2011

From Delray Beach, FL - Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there. A very special one to Demi. I hope you have a wonderful day. It is well deserved.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Delray 2011

Another family vacation. All be it a mini one. We are off to Del Boca Vista for a long weekend. Originally, it was just a chance to get away, as a family, somewhere warm. The fact that it was Mother's Day weekend never dawned on us initially.
I think it will be nice to spend the holiday with Demi's Mom and Grandmother. I don't know that we have spent a Mother's Day with Demi's Mom since we have been together. It will be nice change. I think Tess (Demi's Mom) will appreciate it.
The boys are just excited to be going to Florida. They were not on our last trip a few weeks ago and have been complaining about it ever since. It will be there first voyage on JetBlue. I think they will like the individual TVs. A very nice feature. Genius, really.
I would like to be able to do something special for the Mom's. Nothing outrageous. I think outrageous would be hard to pull of long distance. Some nice flowers would probably do. But three generations of Moms together will be quite an event.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coco Takes the Mound

Tonight was Coco's pitching debut. He took the mound for the first time ever. The final line - 2 IP/No Runs/1 BB/5K's. Not too shabby. But like most sports statistics, the numbers don't tell the whole story. He was nervous. Really nervous. But I think excitement finally out weighed his nervousness. Coach Keaton asked him to pitch and Coco responded, "OK." I was relieved that he would give it a try. Was it perfect? No. But is it ever? What mattered was that Coco overcame hesitation and fear to give it a try. And the icing was that he found success. A great night. For Coco. For Me. For baseball.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Daily News - The Fall of the Empire

Almost 10 years in the making. It was getting to feel like this day might never come. We would never catch him. So it was an unexpected surprise when I was on the treadmill this AM at the gym and the headlines news tickers started scrolling that US forces had caught and killed Bin Laden.
There was a definite sense of closure immediately. The search had been going on for so long. We never seemed able to turn up any solid leads. For all we knew, Bin Laden was at the bottom of a well with an endless supply of Twinkies, like Saddam. And if that hole was in some mountain range in the middle of nowhere? Worse that the proverbial needle in a hay stack.
More details came out as the day wore on. I tried to take a peek on-line here and there but it was a pretty busy day. I took time while scarfing down my salad to read I saw the gatherings at the White House and Ground Zero. That sense of unity, pride, and patriotism that was so prevalent after 9/11, seemed to return.
But as read on, I started to have questions. I do recall immediately thinking, "how do they know for sure it was him?" "How does the American public know for sure what the government is telling us is the truth?" "Why did they bury him at sea? Was it an excuse for disposing of evidence?" I know, it sounds a little like the ravings of a hardcore conspiracy theorist. But after what the powers that be did to the Tillman family after Pat Tillman was killed in action, can we take it all at face value? There are certainly things regarding national defense that just cannot be communicated to the general public. I get that. I know there are operations going on that probably break international law or even sound human judgement. Who gets to be the judge of what is OK for the public and what is not? Who was the moral fiber we can trust to make that decision? If we know we are lied to about things not tied to national security, then aren't we right to question it all? Fool me once, shame on me......
As always, I took the opportunity to talk with the boys. I knew they had heard the news and that it was being discussed by other kids at school. As with Sex Ed, I wanted to make sure they heard the facts correctly. I asked them if they had questions. I offered to field any and all inquiries. You need to take these opportunities when they cross your path.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

Easter falls late this year. But all of a sudden it seemed to come upon us quickly. I am sure the stint out in AZ had a lot to do with it. It left a short week to prepare. I say prepare like I had a lot to do with it. But not really. A big cleaning effort for a cleaning crew to come in and do a long over due scrub down. Cleaning is something that I can be of good use and requires little direction. The boys can help too. And they did. But all the organization, decorating, preparation and cooking is Demi of course. She always does such a great job with that.
This has become a great family gathering. My family came of course. But Linda's sister is so good about making the effort to come. Actually both her sisters are good about visiting. But Jinx is really great about making this one each year. As usual we had way too much to eat. I was full after appetizers. Well, almost.
The boys had a great time. They played games with their older cousin. They doted on their younger cousin. The had an excellent time shepparing her around the Easter Egg Hunt. It's good practice ground for the boys to learn proper behavior in social settings. What better practice than with family. You can screw up royally and be forgiven. Tough on Mom & Dad sometimes but we will live.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pat's Run

Pat's Run. Tempe, AZ. 4.2 miles. Finish line - 42 yard line of Sun Devil Stadium. For the Pat Tillman Foundation. 28,000 + runners. What an amazing event. It is really something to be a part of. So many runners are staying in our hotel. The atmosphere is just amazing. Everyone is just happy and nice. Being there for a common cause has that feeling of unity and camaraderie. Just hanging out at the pool is something else. Sure there is sun and drinks. But the talk and laughter with military and law enforcement personnel is electric. Just a good group of folks talking about everything under the sun - Pat, patriotism, family, fun, etc. It's truly a feel good experience.
Coming into the parking lots where the starting corrals and Exp are, is just amazing. A sea of people come to run or watch the event. We start in the shadow of the peaks abutting Sun Devil Stadium. Just a quick jaunt over the river and back, right? It was perfect running weather. The a cool desert morning was the perfect back drop. The adrenaline rush definitely got to me. I probably wasn't in the running shape I was hoping. I finished. My time was not what I was hoping it to be. But that was not a concern. Crossing the finish line on that field, with people in the stand, the scoreboard lit up, the ASU football team lining the finish alley, and Demi waiting at the finish line (she stayed with me most of the race, toyed with me, and then dusted me to "take pictures" - she was great) was something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Just milling around after the race was something else. Lots of runners were sticking around to see others finish. Military units were running in full gear. ASU players were signing autographs for kids. The Expo was full of booths and activities. I went to Sparky's to buy a Pat Tillman College Football Hall of Fame T-shirt for Demi and me. Demi had gone back for the camera. We met back up in Reunion Square (a meeting place the Race Committee set up with Alphabet cards for people to meet up after the race), took some pictures, and then hike up the preserve overlooking the stadium. Go run a race and then for a hike right? On top of the preserve, someone was erecting a light up cross. I don't know if it was coincidence or not but seemed interesting.
There was some well deserved pool time afterward. Back with the other runners. I could definitely see myself doing it again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy 12th - Zac

Happy 12th Birthday to my oldest son. The last year before the dreaded "Teens" take effect. That happened way to quickly. I have a little man on my hands. It certainly hasn't been easy. On either of us. These things don't come with an instruction manual. But I think he has made it to pre-adolescence in relatively good shape. He's a well adjusted kid, with a kind heart and good karma.
I hope you have a wonderful day, son.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Tillman Story

I had the kids and Demi watch the DVD of The Tillman Story about Pat Tillman. I want the boys to see a bit about him and maybe understand why I was going to AZ to run in Pat's Run. Pat's Run is a charity fund raising event for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which supports military personnel and their families through education and community service. Leadership is a main focus which is important to communicate to the kids.
The Tillman Story is not easy to watch even as an adult. It is yet another opportunity for a family discussion. Family. That is a major them throughout the movie. It is not just about Pat. The Tillman family had to deal with so much adversity, yet they stayed strong and true to themselves. That was compelling factor in wanting to participate in Pat's Run. You just wanted to do something for the family, even in some small way. You appreciate the family strength as a unit and hope yours is just as strong.
The boys asked some well thought out questions. The got that the story was more than just a football player that enlisted in the Army Rangers. I know it had an impact on Caz. He was tearing up during the movie. Coco was locked in too. I think they got that one has to question what one is told. Conspiracy theorist designation and condemnation be damned. You have to ask questions, do your own research, and come to one's own conclusions. I get the sense from reading about Pat, that that is how he looked at life. I have no way of knowing of course, but the excerpts of his personal journals in Where Men Win Glory, seem to suggest that he always wanted information and to learn. I would surmise that is where he military scholarships from the Pat Tillman Foundations started from.
I think the boys got a lot out of watching the documentary. They certainly asked good questions. It generated a good family discussion. And I think we all benefited from having seen it. I think they understand why it is important to me to go out to AZ and participate in Pat's Run.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Opening Day 2011

April Fools! No really, it's opening day. The boys of summer really are starting today. It's a good thing the Sox are starting out of town because it's darn cold here in MA. It certainly does not feel like spring.
My boys are excited to see some baseball. Coco especially, was ready to see the newest edition of the Sox. Beltre and V-Mart are out. Saltelamacchia, Crawford, and Gonzalez are in. Expectations are sky high. World Series or bust, right? Who knows? Everyone looks good on paper this time of year. Talk about your hope for new beginnings at this time of year. Forget your spring flowers and Easter eggs. Bring on your stitched round balls, lumber, and leather. The Sox represent the Jedis and Evil Empire is around to be hated. All is right in the world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Social Studies Lesson - Town Meeting

The recap of Town Meeting was a healthy lesson in civics for the boys. They asked some very insightful questions about the process and what goes on. I definitely want the boys to understand how government works. It is important to be part of the process. I do tell them that those that don't exercise their rights, to vote, to particpate, even to run for office, have no right to complain when things go against them.
The boys and I had a good talk about certain articles, the new schools, the new police department, and the fire house renovations. We talked about how the debate process works. We had a discussion about taxes, spending, and deficits. We talked about voting and how articles pass. This was the whole point. Yes, I wanted to participate in the process. Yes, I had views on how to spend the town's money. But I really wanted the boys to talk about what was going on. Misson accomplished.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

School Daze

I figured I should go to Town Meeting and set a good example for my boys. It was even more important since there was an Article for designing & building new co-located middle and high schools. It is about time. Both DMS and DHS are old and in need of major repairs. While the Article comes with a huge price tag, the schools are needed. I don't really relish an increase to my taxes, but I am willing to pay the freight. One needs to keep in mind that Coco will be a slim shot of ever seeing one of these new schools.
I have never seen a group of adults behave so poorly at a government function. The pro-Article crowd certainly alienated older, would be voters. The Article carried the day, but I wonder what will happen at the polls now. I can see the rally at the Senior Center now - "defeat those raucous hippies!" It would almost serve them right. Most of them came for that Article on. Some of us had been there all day. One can choose to practice democracy how ever one sees fit but I think some folks are in for a rude awakening. I hope it does not come at a price paid by the students of this town.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Lex

Happy Birthday little brother. I hope you are enjoying the day. It's hard to believe my little brother is also a father. Little Daisy is adorable. She is so active. Her talking is increasing so much. Even before words her expressions left no doubt as to how she was feeling. I bet she has a Daddy birthday card waiting for you when you get home. Enjoy it. She will be a school age little child before you know it. The cards with the crayons and scribbles are very memorable. Tuck it away somewhere. Years from now, you will come across it and smile.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marching On

I hope as we hit March here that we are truly moving into Spring. We can finally see large patches of bare ground. The snow is melting at a decent pace, not causing too much flooding. The boys can actually get out and run around. That is he key thing, outside physical activity. A forum for them to vent their pent up energy. We don't quite have cabin fever but it may be closely approaching. I don't think shoveling and sledding quite cut it as outdoor time. Not all fun time anyway. I realized that we haven't had that classic family snowball fight this year. Every year, at some point, we all end up outside, sneaking up on each other and looking for that opportune time to launch a snowball at some unsuspecting family member. Inevitably, the rest of the family joins in and there is a barrage of flying, frozen orbs. It always brings laughs. It is the type of moment that some families create all too infrequently. I don't want to suggest that we are not spontaneous. We don't plan out these moments. But we do look to create environments where moments like that are more likely to happen. We didn't plan to play hide and seek in Del Ray. It just happened. But that may have been one of the highlights of our trip. We didn't plan to play an outrageous game of Scattergories on the Islands with the in laws, but there was so much laughter, we caused a ruckus with the neighbors.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Demi

I need to have seconds on this posting date and time, since it is not a leap year. I hope you have a wonderful Birthday. You deserve a great day. Love you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy 10th Coco!

Happy birthday, youngest son. Congratulations, on reaching this milestone birthday. Both my boys are in double digits. Crazy talk. I hope you have a wonderful day. Quite the day you have planned out: Breakfast in bed (biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, bacon, and protein bar), stay in bed reading your Kindle all day, Mega-dog for lunch (hot dog with bacon, pulled pork, and cheese), and Marshfield Famous Pizza for dinner. It's good to be the king.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Will to Survive

Right after Caz was born, Demi and I finally sat down and had a will created. Circumstances were vastly different. We didn't own our house yet. We only had one child. Demi didn't have the daycare yet. So while a Will was not ideal, it did the job. Ever since then, a living trust has been something under consideration. Actually, it was just a matter of when to make the change. It always seemed like there was one more life event on the horizon to hold out for. Coco came a long. We bought the house. Demi started her day care. We remodeled room after room, and then the entire main floor. I think it is finally time to convert.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Movie Review - The Green Hornet

The whole family wanted to see this one and we were not disappointed. This is not your typical superhero movie. The car chases are great, but this is not a special effects bonanza. The humor is typical Seth Rogen. Many of the characters have great dead panned one liners. James Franco makes a brief cameo, which is very funny and well done. Not many folks are familiar with the Green Hornet. Unless, like me, you grew up watching Adam West's Batman on TV. It is PG-13, mostly for language. A lot of S bombs right in a row. Some colorful references. But nothing cringe-worthy. For us any way. Coco's age would be the youngest I would recommend (10 on Sunday) and there were parents with kids a lot younger. I thought Kato did a great job. Best side kick character in recent memory. And Cameron D in a movie is always a bonus.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Growing Up Brady

It's not always a cakewalk. In fact, you know I kid, parenting is just plain hard work. It hardly ever goes the way you want. Today was one of those days where you question why you wanted kids. In the end you remember why, but it can be a struggle for a bit.
I find it hard to know what is typical behavior for an 11, soon to be 12, year old kid. Especially, one with ADD. Our pediatrician is great. He actually has ADD too, so he can relate. He did jump right to a diagnosis either. But since then has been a voice of reason for us to bounce things off. He's the one that reminds us that there is a difference between "can't" and "won't". With ADD, there are certain things that Caz can't do. Shooting whatever phrase comes to mind out of his mouth, no matter how mean or spiteful is one of them. He does not have control over a filter. And in the heat of an argument or heated situation, it can be very frustrating. It takes all of my self control and patience not to respond to it. Sometimes, like today, I don't have enough of either. I don't always do the right thing. I try to learn from it and go forward. But it goes against my instincts and nature, not to take the insults personally. I know he feels bad afterwards and regrets saying them. It is something we both need to work on.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ski School

Coco had his own issues to face. He was not wanting to go to ski school. Demi and I knew better. This was an activity that we could not help him with. He would not listen to us. He thought he could get right up on skis and go. He ended up fairly well last year but it was over a year ago. The morning we hit the mountain he knew it was coming. He pouted a bit. But when we picked him up after class, he was a new kid. He was smiling and could not wait to show us what he had learned. He was up and down the slopes all day. Seeing him in his tuck at the end of a run was priceless.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Climbing Mt. Everest

Everybody has their mountain to climb. Figuratively speaking of course. This lesson is more the overcoming of an obstacle, rather than the "because it was there" theory.
Caz thought he was just going to jump on his snowboard and fly down the mountain, picking up where he left off last time. Not only was that not to be, it was worse. His first run of the day was disastrous. I thought it was going to finish him for the weekend. He fell down the entire mountain. He was cursing (dropping S bombs), deriding himself, and in tears. He wanted to get to the bottom, call it a day and be done with snowboarding for good. Caz was more frustrated than I have ever seen him.
Leave it to Demi to save the day. She knew he was overexcited to start. So much so he missed breakfast. She took him into the lodge. She got him a bagel and cream cheese. They ate a leisurely breakfast and then gave the board another shot. Coco did so much better. Night and day from run #1. His confidence soared and each run just got better. By lunch time we were up and down the mountain continuously. I give Coco a lot of credit. He could have given up. But he faced his challenge head on and overcame it. I give Demi a lot of credit too. She read the situation perfectly and handled it masterfully.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ski NH

Family Ski Trip 2011. I know I write about family trips all the time. And a ski weekend is not exactly groundbreaking. But this was a total Chin family ski trip. Meaning good old Dad even skied this time. I felt the time was right to test out the newly cleaned out knee. Of course I was nervous. It is not like I was a great skier to begin with. I only like skiing a bit. But I wanted to be able to do this with the family, instead of watching from the lodge. I have not skied since before the kids were born. So we are talking almost 14 years. One wrong move and I could do more damage to my knee. But my desire to partake in the family weekend was greater than my fear of wrecking my knee. I really think it will be all right. And I do plan to go easy. I will rest between runs. At the first sign of trouble, I will shut it down.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind putting the ski weekend toghether, carting them to the mountain, sherpaing their equipment around, and minding the fort. As long as they have fun, I am good. But I would really like to see the boys bombing down the mountain. I would like to see them on their skis/snowboard. I would like to ride up a lift and have that time to talk with them. So I plan on skiing. Done. Decision made.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

National Signing Day

Forget that dirty Groundhog, today is national college football signing day. High school recruits all across the country are signing their letters of intent, choosing which football program they will be playing for next year. ESPN provides coverage and tracking like the NFL draft. Coco was very taken with the spectacle of it all. We were both hoping that it was not going to be 6 more weeks of winter for the Noles. As it turns out, the Noles ended up with the #1 recruiting class in the nation. Finally. Maybe FSU is back on the rise. Coco wanted to see the list of recruits, which is amusing since it won't mean much to me but even less to him. I like that he takes such an interest in the details. Most kids his age could care less about this stuff. I like the Father/Son bond talking like this creates.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Movie Review -TRON

First movie review of the year. I took the boys to see Tron - Legacy. I tried to get the original to watch first but it's out of print and prices on eBay were way too high. The boys had seen the preview and seemed only mildly interested in it. But they humored the old man and we went to see this latest installment. In 3D no less. I thought the movie was pretty good. It was a bit unoriginal and predictable. The effects were good. The casting department did a great job finding someone that was the spitting image of a young Jeff Bridges. There was some good action scenes. They took the old effects and really improved them. It brought back great memories of playing the old games in the the arcade. The light cycles. The disc arena. Facing Cue was the precursor to Brickbreaker. 13 looked great in black and neon. Surprisingly, the boys were really into it, Coco in particular. I give this edition a B+.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Day 2011

Happy 1-1-11, as Coco eagerly pointed out. He was very fascintated with this numeric anomaly. Unfortunately, I spent much of the day working. But I still watched the Rose Bowl parade and a few games with the boys. I think the parade is interesting. To watch. I wouldn't want to go but I like the TV aspect of it. I recall growing up, having it on TV, just like I do now with the boys and Demi.
The boys and I worked in a snowball fight too. They built quite impressive snow forts during the week. The forts needed some quick repair before the festivities could begin. Then it was an all out free for all. Coco and Dad against Caz and Coleman (a neighborhood kid). We dueled all over the yard. Gizmo provided some yellow snow balls which got interesting. Snowballs flew, kids ran, and kids dove. Laughter filled the air.
Never get too old for a snowball fight. The boys love it when Demi and I are out there flinging snow balls at them. They love trying to sneak up on us and catch us by surprise. I wish I saw more of that around the neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood kids come over with the boys to try and take on the Champs. No one gets spared when it comes to the snowball fight. Which is why I think they all enjoy it.