Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve 2013

Coco is the only family member out on this festive evening.  Us boys are all just getting over being sick.  Coco was the first down but still seems to be the worst off.  I just got some of my energy back today.  Not all, but some.  Coco was all set for quiet evening before his boys came by.
     I am glad they came to get him.  I don't even mind a sleepover tonight.  They may go to a movie.  They may go to a party.  The party apsect was interesting.  New territory for us.  It sounded like a remote possibility but it still is nice that they are entertaining the thought.  I put it on Caz's to let me know the final plans, including sleeping over.  I likely will not be staying up until midnight.  I would shut it down as early as possible.  I know Coco wants to watch the Duke/Texas A&M game.  Odds are that will go late.  Can I hope for an early blow out? He needs his rest but it is NYE after all.....wish us luck.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

A great family Christmas  morning.  This is the first year Demi and I got up before the kids.  Amazing.  I got up to set up the video recorder on the tripod.  I set up the speakers for Christmas music. Then I put on some coffee.
     I had the opportunity to give Demi her present first, just the two of us.  I had intended all along for Demi to get the first present.  She was thrilled to get her new digital camera.  Now she could shoot photos all day long (since I charged the battery beforehand).
     Coco was the first child up.  He immediately went looking for his stocking.  Which, of course, was still in Demi's closet.  I hadn't gotten up in the middle of the night to set them out.  Caz could have cared less.  He actually still wanted to sleep.  But once he was up, the excitement kicked in.  It's nice to see that even at this age, the boys still get excited for Christmas morning.
     Our new tradition is to save the big present for each child for last.  Then make them work for it.  The boys have to work together to solve a series of clues.  I took them all over the house.  They had to get coffee for Demi and me.  They had to enact one random act of kindness each.  It's fun.  It's really great to see the smiles on their faces at the end of the hunt.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

XMAS Eve - Panic Attack

I thought I was all set for today up until last night.  I knew I had some running around to do for Demi to help get things set for XMAS dinner.  I also new I had a few gifts to get for Demi yet.  But everyone else was done....or so I thought.
     Yesterday I waited and waited.  One more package was needed and today was the last day quoted on delivery time.  I went to check Amazon for more information.  My jaw dropped as I saw to posts, dated after my order date, saying that this seller was a fraud.  I was shocked.  I couldn't believe it.  I order Caz's gift, the day after Thanksgiving.  Sure it was an amazing deal.  But too good to be true? It wasn't far off other sale prices.  But it was all a mirage.  The seller had pulled one over on us.  Amazon was good.  They filed a claim to get our money back.  But now I did not have Caz's big present.
     No way was I going to let him have nothing for XMAS morning.  I searched the stores for prices and deals.  They were all the same.  No last minute bargains to be had.  But bargains be damned, I was getting this present for Caz.  I saw that Wal-Mart was opening at 7 AM today.  I could go to the gym and head straight there.  Which is what I did.  Even though folks had line up, waiting for the doors to open, I was in and out in 10 mins.  Mission accomplished.  I felt so relieved.  But that is what a Dad does right?  I certainly think so.

Friday, December 20, 2013

XMAS on the Island 2013

The annual trek to the island for XMAS with the in-laws.  I rigged the car so the boys had much more room than usual.  Caz had the whole back row to himself.  Coco shares the second row with Gizmo.  The cooler was filled with drinks and Demi's food for the German themed, XMAS feast.  Everyone had pillow and blankets.  My NY XMAS mix seemed to be a hit.  It actually last almost the whole entire trip.  We only had to make two pit stops, which was great seeing as how we left the wee-wee jug at home.  No emergency in-flight releases on this trip.
     The boys are excited to see their cousins. They are also excited to see Riley, the new Shi Tzu puppy.  And Caz is excited to see his girlfriend.  Aye.  Best kind of girl friend to have is an out of state one....for the parents...until we actually visit that state.  I found myself thinking that I needed to have a talk with Caz before going down there.  We have all kinds of talks but not one about actually wanting to kiss a girl.  That will be a bit of new arena for us.  I have asked him before but he has denied wanting to kiss anyone.  I guess we will see what happens.  Could be an interesting year on the island.....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Indoor Heat

Caz had his first indoor track meet of the season tonight.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Of course, I was probably more engrossed with trying to get to the arena, rather than what events would be going on.
     All of their meets are at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury.  Nice timing actually, given the special on Reggie that just aired over Thanksgiving.  Sure, there is free parking.  But not all day.  So I can't park there on my way to work.  And by the time I get to my car in Quincy to drive back, I could miss his events.  The third option? Take public transportation.  The glamorous T.  Hey, beats walking.
     I actually got there just after the start of the meet.  It was a lot to take in.  A bit overwhelming actually.  There had to be at least 8 schools.  There were 4-5 events going on simultaneously.  I had to scan the crowd and do a walk around to find where Duxbury was sitting.  Fortunately with Caz's new height, I was able to pick him out of a crowd.  I am so happy that I went.  He ran his first ever event, the 55 meter race and won his heat.  He told me later that he was not in a Varsity heat, but I saw his time would have put him right there with his peers on Varsity.  He was really pumped about it too.  His buddy's came over to congratulate him and he was pumping his fist.  It was nice to see him excited about it.  It was nice to see that he surrounds himself with good kids to.  Kids who are supportive.
     His second race was fantastic too.  He ran the 300 meter.  I wasn't sure but had originally thought it was a 100 or 200, before he started.  He killed it.  He won by a lot.  He ran hard.  He ran well.  He had a bit of a tough finish, with the last 5 meters.  I thought he might hurl.  But he held it together.  As it turns out, he finished 3rd on his team, just a half second out of first for the team.
     I am really proud of him.  Not because he won his heats.  I am proud of him because he tried his hardest.  He ran as hard as he could.  That is all I ever ask of him.  He was so proud of himself.  I was thrilled to see that too.  What a great night.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Let it Snow 2013!

Today's forecast is for the first major snowfall of the season.  Thus far it is living up to the billing.  It looks so Christmas-like outside.  The snow.  The lights.  The decorations.  Everything looks perfect.  We have a fire going.  It is such a nice atmosphere.
     The snow is really stacking up too.  There is a good 3-4 inches out there so far.  Gizmo is going to be bouncing around, plowing through the snow, when I take her out later.
     It is a good thing we were prepared.  I spent yesterday and today battening down the hatches.  I shut off the water.  I put away the hoses.  I started the snow blower.  The boys and I stacked wood.  We actually got almost all of it either in by the fireplace or in the garage.  We have a small emergency pile on the deck.  Demi got the bare necessities from the grocery store.  Her boss gave her a generator for her Christmas bonus.  We are ready for anything.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Family Movie Night - The Desolation of Smaug

Tonight was a perfect family movie night.  Demi and I ate a quick dinner with Caz at home, then picked up Coco and a buddy.  It was nice to be able to bring this particular friend of Coco.  They take Coco on a lot of outings.  He is a shy kid, so being on familiar ground is often critical to him being able to function.  The parents appreciate Coco being a good friend, so they invite him to a lot of places & trips.
     It was Opening Night for the second Hobbit movie - The Desolation of Smaug.  We picked a showing on the big screen, RPX.  3D and excellent sound.  It was well worth getting there early to pick out decent seats, and the extra expense.  The movie was fantastic and perfect for the RPX setting.  The boys all shared a pop corn before the movie.  The pre-movie snippets on the screen were amusing for all.  The preview trailers were promising.  The boys were well behaved, much better than many of the adult patrons around us.  Movie night is no longer a cheap night out, so you hope for nights like these.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Banquet

Sure.  Today is my birthday.  But we knew going in the focus would be Caz's first XC season ending banquet.  We volunteered to help set up for the shindig.  As typical, not enough other parents stepped up to do so.
     I am fine with the focus being on Caz.  The trip to Boston yesterday was really my celebration.  It's what I wanted to do: spend some family time together.
     The banquet went well.  They did both the girls and boys teams together.  It ran a little long.  But this was the first time for both of these coaches together.  One had quite a laundry list of stats to announce.  Maybe post those somewhere.  Each kid doesn't need a stat.  The captains did a pretty good job of speaking.  They gave a little shout out to each teammate, with something nice and/or funny to say about them.  There was a ton of food.  No one went hungry.  All in all a good event.  I really wonder what Caz took in about it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fanieul Hall

I sort of used my birthday (tomorrow), as an excuse to get the kids out of the house and off on a family adventure.  I wanted to go to Boston.  Fanieul Hall specifically.  I knew it would be all decorated and feel festive.  It just has that Christmas feel to it.  So I figured it would be a nice family outing.
     I think it was a huge success.  The boys were really well behaved.  The went willingly (even though at first they really didn't want to).  We sauntered through the food row in the center of the market to see our options.  We finally settled on a meatball hot pocket for Demi, a BBQ chicken wrap for Coco, and a Sicilian pizza for Caz and me.
     We then set off shopping.  That was the most precarious proposition facing the boys.  But they were good.  We only stopped in a few places.  We broke up the store visits with a viewing of the huge Christmas tree, a concert by the Mass Maritime Band, and the Festival of Lights, where the Christmas lights all along Quincy Market were set to blink and change colors in time with the music of the Boston Pops.  We spent the most time in Newbury Comics.  Caz got his girlfriend a present.  Then just about promptly gave up the surprise via text.  I think Coco got his brother something.
     We finished the evening dining at Durgin Park.  We hadn't eaten all that long ago but the boys were tired, cold (Caz decided to pack poorly and regretted it) and actually a bit hungry.  So we sat down.  The boys got some hot chocolate.  We loaded up on fried food and shepherd's pie.  On the way home we stopped at Sweet Frogs for some frozen yogurt.  Even though we were in the car for a bit, it's still amazing that the boys found room in their bellies for more.  All in all, a great day.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmastime is Here

Can you hear the Charlie Brown music in the background?
     With Thanksgiving so late this year, we felt like starting this past weekend that we needed to start decorating.  I put the lights up outside.  Not many of them this year.  A lot of them were not in working condition.  The reindeer are caput.  This is not the year to spend on more lights.  It is sort of the anti-Griswald light display.
     We put up the tree too.  It was a pretty easy process this year.  The only hiccup was the age of battle of symmetry and balance.  The boys were very heavy with the ornaments on the right-front quadrant of the tree.  The boys were great overall.  Caz is tall enough (taller than the old man) to help me set up the tree.  He's not quite the Abominable Snow Man in Rudolph, but he's a big help.
     Demi worked hard to decorate the inside of the house.  She put up the wreaths, displays, lights, and pictures.  I set up my Dickens village in the bay window.  It's been a good team effort.
     But after all that, Caz's assessment was rather harsh.  He came home from practice, while it was dark and reviewed the house.  Demi asked him what he thought.
     Well.....so was the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  And people loved that.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rivalry Weekend

Coco and I had a full day of watching college football yesterday.  Rivalry weekend.  Probably the best weekend of college football of the year.  Coco was fired up for the Noles match up against the Gators in the Swamp.
     The Noles creamed them.  It was close early but then the Noles woke up and took them to the woodshed.  We caught the end of the OSU-Michigan annual at the Horseshoe.  That was a nail-biter.  Then we rolled into the Iron Bowl.  Talk about your fantastic finishes! Wow!
     It was really quite a trip watching the games with him.  He had watched College Game Day on ESPN leading into the game.  He knew all the stats.  He knew all the trivia.  Then he said something to me that was really amusing:
     "Do you know that trophy was given out to the winner of the Civil War between the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beaver?"
     "No.  What?"
     "A platypus.  I think that is really clever.  Cause you know....it's half duck, half beaver...."
     I chuckled.  Just the way he said it.  And the way you could almost see the thought bubble over his head. Those moments are something else.