Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year 2012

Happy 11th Demi!  Coco is now two days older than you.  Hope you are enjoying Mardi Gras.

I have never seen such a fuss on TV for Leap Year Before.  Each episode of the ABC comedy line up had a character with a Leap Year Birthday.  Modern Family might have have one of the funniest episodes ever.  For any show.  Right up there with "master of your domain."  Seems only fitting.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy 11th Coco

My youngest son turns 11 today. He is so excited to be technically older that Demi.  At least for the next two days.  Happy Birthday Coco!
     The little guy got his new bike.  It was time to step up to a real bike.  His legs were way too long for his old bike.  I think he was excited.  He looked like he was enjoying it, while he was riding it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Birthday Weekend

Apparently, Coco had the best birthday dinner of the weekend.  We did something out of character, which was eat out two nights in a row.  I figured it was vacation week and two birthdays coming up, so why not?
     We didn't go anywhere and the boys deserved a dinner at the Charlie Horse on Friday night.  The Charlie Horse is a good family place with a game room.  Demi and I were prepared to dole out for some video game tokens.  Coco decided that he wasn't in the mood.  Caz fell asleep in Demi's lap before the food came.  He was up at 5 AM, when I went off to work.  I guess it it's not surprising that he barely ordered before dozing off.  He was fast asleep too.  He actually drooled on Demi.
     It was night two at Orta that was really exceptional.  Caz was at a sleep over, so it was just me and the birthday crew.  Coco won the night with best entree and dessert.  The appetizers were a split vote - fried rice balls and antipasto.  Coco got a great pizza from their brick oven.  We sat at the pizza bar so we watched the his pizza being made from start to finish.  For dessert, he got the cannoli's.  He really scored all the way around.  I liked my gnocchi.  But I have to admit, his pizza was fantastic.  And Coco was so excited about it.  He got a birthday candle on his cannoli too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Throwback Week

It's the end of school vacation week here in the great state of MA.  It can be a hard week.  Usually, it's still pretty cold.  It may snow a lot.  In Duxbury, a lot of families go on some vacation.  So if you enact a stay-cation, like we did, you really have to try hard to occupy the kids.  Well, this week went exceedingly well.
     The weather was warm.  There was no snow.  Even though many kids were on vacation, the neighborhood kids were around.  They played manhunt and flashlight tag until well after dark.  It was like the old summer days growing up in this neighborhood.  20 kids of all ages would be running around until the dinner bell rang.  Then it was a quick dinner and back out.  The whole neighborhood was "in-bounds."  It was so nostalgic, I gave the boys dinner in a cup one night, so they could still play the game.  Sure the boys still asked for some XBOX time but it was minimal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents' Day 2012

Today, we were That Family.  The one where you are out, some place public.  Some place, say like Patriot Place, the Hall.  And while you are there you see a bizarre family scene.  A scene where you say to yourself, "that family is nuts!" Of course we all have those.  And I do recall thinking that in places like Target, or Walmart, any restaurant, any family event, when I see other's in this predicament - "oh man, been there.  Done that."  Of course we may take it to the extreme.  You probably don't see many folks drive their Lizard King to the far end of the empty parking lot to run laps.  I guess I could argue and comfort myself that a lot of parents don't take the time to discipline their kids.  But at the time, Demi and I were losing our minds and I was pretty sure I was close to being locked up in some "facility" with a hug me all day jacket.  We kept our patience for 2 hours but after that mark, we crossed the Rubicon.  There was no going back.  This was no quick excursion into and out of the neutral zone.  Coco at least had the sense to clam up and sink back into the background.  But the Lizard King was in rare form.  He couldn't keep his mouth closed.  The rest of the day was cut short and we went home. No Quattro Formagio at Tavolino's.  No Eat & Play menu at Dave & Busters.  It was home for a quick lunch and yard work.  Carrying firewood into the garage log pile.  Splitting wood.  Picking up the yard.  Sorting the recycling.  Not fun for anyone but at least I got some chores accomplished with help.  No one ever said Parenting was easy.  There is no manual (which I tell the boys all the time).  You do the best you can.  You set rules.  You explain actions have consequences.  And then you follow through.  Time will tell if you get it right.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day 2012

I appreciate that we have been able to scale down this Hallmark made holiday, across the board.  We have minimized this for the kids and each other.  Demi was the protagonist for bashing this holiday and bringing it down more than a notch.  She had always hated the dinner date for Valentines.  The food is never as high quality and it's over priced.  We agreed to just exchange cards.  Of course I couldn't let an opportunity pass to get some dark chocolate.  So I included a small purchase of that with my card.  There was only a slight objection that was quickly dismissed.
     For the boys, when they were young, I always took an opportunity to celebrate.  I don't think I went overboard and came close to spoiling them.  But I used these minor holidays to get Red Sox hats for them.  Or Patriots shirts.  Something in that vain.  More than candy and cards but way short of a Corvette or trust fund.  This year we stuck to the candy and cards.  For candy, really, it was just chocolate.  They don't need the sugar candy crap.  And not a peep.  They didn't miss anything.  Perfect.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Date Night

As important as parenthood is and as important as spending time with your children is, it is important to spend time with the mother of our children.  Time with just your children's mother.  I think it makes you stronger as a parental unit.
     I took the liberty of finding a landing spot for Caz and Coco for tonight.  Actually it was quite clever.  I knew my parents would like some quality time with the boys.  I suggest pizza and movie night for the four of them.  The idea took off from there.
     Next up:  Getting Demi on board.  Some different was called for.  I got into this century and used evite.  I craft a nice little unexpected invitation to dinner.  But it wasn't just dinner.  All Demi had to worry about was dressing.  I set the boys alarms on their phones for 5:30 for their departure time to next door.  I even called to remind them.  I went out of my MO.  I didn't set a reservation.  We could do drinks and then dinner.  Or just sit down.  Willy nilly.  I didn't even look at the menu on line first.  There was no AIS for departure time.  Whenever Demi was ready was our time of departure.  I think she appreciated all that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Lizard King

In reference to an earlier post comparing teenagers to lizards, I give you Caz - The Pre-Teen Lizard King.  I am ready.  We take the beehive approach and wall him up until he gestates, pupates, whatever-ates, into an adult.  His definitive teenage years may officially start in 8 weeks, but he's getting a head start.  Moody little son of a......I tell you...and smells like teen spirit?  Smells like old gym socks.  And those get left all over the house....Fortunately his gym teacher has required deodorant be kept in their gym lockers.  That means every other day he should be de-stink-ifying.  I leave some out in his bathroom hoping it might get used in the AM.  I am pretty sure, it is only collecting dust.  Gross things, lizards......

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Menu

Coco scripted this year's menu for the Super Bowl.  In his words, the theme is "multicultural".

Chili/Chili Nachos
Mac & Cheese - the good kind with bread crumbs - then changed his mind about the bread crumbs during the cooking stage
Spring Rolls
Burgers - game time scratch
Buffalo meatballs
Wings - Regular for Caz and buffalo for Coco
Then a game time decision after watching Phantom Gourmet - Dessert Pizza - Nutella, Oreos, Heath Bar, and marshmallows on pizza dough.

I will say this.  The kid's got style.  The only thing he didn't eat were the meatballs.  I don't know where he put it, with his skinny frame.  The best part was the Father/Son cooking time.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blood and What?

Thank you ABC Family.  Not really.  I thought I had a few more months before I addressing The Talk again.  But no. You had to show Dodgeball.  On a Saturday morning.  There sits Coco, as I come into the room.  The lovable losers of Average Joe's Gym mull over ways to make money to save their beloved workout site.
"We can sell blood and semen?"
Moments pass and my man, Vince Vaughn, cuts to commercial with, "you had me at blood and semen."
Cue Coco - "Dad?  What's blood and semen?"
Well.  Game on.  The horse has left the barn.  [insert your favorite cliche here]
It was just like the first time.  I was honest.  I kept it age appropriate.  We didn't really have to get into the anatomy just yet.  And it adhered to the rule - the joke ain't funny if you have to explain it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"I Got You Babe"

OK - So Bill Murray references are not exactly novel for Ground Hog's day anymore.  I figured it was an auspicious time to reflect on how my New Year Resolution was faring.  So far I would say I am holding up my end of the bargain.  I put a decent amount of posts in January.  Some of them were fairly lengthy.  I so note this in that I continue to impress upon my boys that you need to back up your promises.  If you say you are going to do something, you do it.  Quitting is easy.  Persevering measures the character of a man.  I tell them that your word is all you have in this life to give.  You don't give it lightly.  And when you do, you keep it at all possible costs.  Integrity, honor, and loyalty.  Out to be a motto maybe?