Sunday, December 27, 2015

Day IV in Rome

Today was our first completely random day.  Coco was not feeling well.  His stomach was bothering him.  This was something Demi and I had worried about for this trip.  Demi stayed behind him the hotel with him, while Caz and I went out and about.
     Caz and I hoofed it over to the Spanish Steps, only to find it under construction.  We took a few pictures by the fountain by Bernini.  Then we ascended the part of the Steps which were still open.  We took in the view from the top.  Then we made our way over to the Pantheon.  We had to wait around for a bit, as there was a mass going on.  You could peer in the open doors but we really wanted to get inside.  After mass, we got our turn.  It was really impressive.  The largest free standing dome in the world.  It is open in the center too.  With all the artwork by famous artist housed within, it is amazing that it is always open to the elements.
     Meanwhile, back at the Bat Cave, Demi took her opportunity during Coco's nap to see the Pope.  She quickly ran down to St. Peter's square to find a spot to take in the Pope's blessing.  She could make out enough of a conversation among Italian nuns to position herself in a prime spot.  We met up later and got some lunch.  Coco rallied and we went back out and about for a bit.
     Demi and I found a nice restaurant by the hotel.  We had a really great mean.    Service was excellent.  We brought back pizzas for the boys.  Caz was sleeping.  He didn't eat until midnight or later.  Still, it was a good day in Rome.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day III in Rome

What does one do for fun the day after Christmas in Rome?  Well, you start by sleeping in a bit.  Then after breakfast, you hop a bus to the Colosseum.  I took a quick walk up to the square, where I was told I could by bus tickets.  I got 4 one way tickets.  The concierge told me which bus to take.  I couldn't read the stops, so I ended up taking us off a few stops early.  It ended up OK.  We got to start our day with a walk around the far side of the Roman Forum.  It was warms, so I was wandering around in a T-shirt.  I noticed a lot of the European tourist where in full winter parkas, many with fur lined hoods.  They probably thought I was nuts.
     We walked along the outside of the Colosseum to get the lay of the land.  We looked into getting tickets on our own.  The line was astoundingly long.  We chatted up a few tour agencies.  We finally selected one.  After a bit of delay from the promised start time, we started off.  The Skip The Line feature, which the Tourism Office of Rome has embraced, is genius.  They work with the tour companies to help promote sight seeing.  We got a 45 minute tour of the Colosseum.  They we had an hour to roam around on our own.  We got some great pictures in there, including our Ground hog's day spectacular.  I like that the boys got the history associated with the landmark.  It is something they will remember for years to come.  Once our free time was up, we proceeded outside to regroup for a tour of the Roman Forum.  We walked up Palatine Hill.  We got the whole history of the founding of Rome, the significance of the Roman Forum.  We got to see the sites of the Temple of Venus, the Roman Senate, and the palace.  We walked through the rest of that until it closed and we were kicked out.
     We ended up walking all the way back home.  The boys didn't complain once.  We tried to catch a bus, but is was brutal.  We got hit by a hustler hawking some Jamaican trinkets.  We spent a lot of time trying to dissuade him.  We saw more ruins on the way home.  That night we just ate by the hotel.   We being Demi and me.  The boys were really tired from the walking.  We found a nice little restaurant called Vito's.  We ate really well, as usual.  We ordered some pizza's for the boys.  Caz actually slept through until the wee hours of the morning, then ate his pizza.  A sure sign of a productive day.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Day II - Christmas Day in Rome

Our first Christmas away from home.  It was different for sure.  The boys were not rushing in with coffee, so we could head downstairs to the tree.  I had brought gift bags so that each of them had a present to open in Rome.  We had Christmas Morning cappuccinos.  We then rallied to go sight seeing.  There was a nice Christmas tree set up in the square, on the way to our first site.  We saw Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon.
     Trevi Fountain still amazes me.  Fed by the aqueduct system, the amount of water pouring out of that is astounding.  The carvings are awe inspiring.  Neptune with his trident presiding over the whole scene.  There were a lot of people seeing it with us.  The amount of selfies being taken was Kardashian-like.  I can't believe how much primping was going on.  The vanity was thick.
     We only got to see the Pantheon from the outside.  But you could peer in through the opening of the large front doors to see the entire dome.  Navona was a happening spot too.  Again, the sculptures were amazing.  The Fountain of the Four Rivers sits in the center.  We had read up about which four rivers were represented and why the statues were made they way they were.  We walked a lot that day.
     Dinner was amazing.  We had booked our favorite restaurant from our last trip.  They didn't disappoint.  The amount of food during the appetizer was overwhelming.  The boys could not believe how much food they brought.  My suckling pig came with the hoof on.  That didn't stop anyone from taking a taste.  I can't believe we got dessert down, along with Limoncello that was very much like Moonshine.  And to top it off, they had the restaurant car take us home.  A very nice touch.  A great way to spend a holiday.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day I - Italy

We landed on time at Da Vinci Airport.  Customs was not bad.  The van was there to meet us.  It was raining a bit, and we had to get the luggage quite a ways over to the van.  The hotel had our rooms ready, which was a nice surprise.  We all slept for a bit. We talked about powering through, but that was short lived.  I finally rallied the troops.  We went for a walk towards Castel St. Angelo.  Along the way we stopped along the way at a newsstand for cappuccinos.  The boys got them too.  They seemed to like them.  Right there, will sipping away, there was a man in chair reading A Christmas Carol, out English.  He then launched into T'was the night before Christmas.  It was a great way to start our family adventure.
     We saw that Castel St. Angelo was open for tours, so we decided to go in.   We had seen in Angels & Demons a few days before, so we were extra excited to see it in person.  The Courtyard of Angels, the statute of Archangel Michael, and the turret, were just amazing.  The artwork in there was amazing as well.  Some of it was like a smaller version of the Vatican or St. Peter's.  It was just getting towards dusk.  We got some great photos of sunset over some landmarks.  The full moon had risen as well.  Taking photos with the backdrop of the Colosseum & Vatican was truly a boon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lift Off

Our direct flight to Rome, on Alitalia, left Boston at 5:30.  We got a good meal at Durgin Park in the airport before boarding.  Our last American meal before Italy.  I was a little worried about the boys on a 7 and a half hour flight.  But Alitalia really does a nice job.  It's a big plan.  The overheads are not directly above you, so you don't feel cramped.  There is plenty of leg room.  Each seat has a personal monitor.  There are tons of movies, tv shows, music and games on those monitors.  The controllers go into the armrest and control everything.  The light, air, tv, ....everything.   They feed your well.  The beef dinner on the way over was very good.  They give you a pillow, blanket, and headset.  It is so different from domestic flights.  The boys did just fine.  On to Rome....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Shopping

Another milestone moment.  Caz went Christmas shopping.  All on his own.  He drove himself to the store, by himself.  He did his shopping all by himself.  Then he drove home.  He ran into the basement.  He wrapped all his presents.  Then he placed them under the tree.  He was the first one with presents under the tree this year.  He couldn't wait to exchange gifts.  It was really a site to behold.

Friday, December 18, 2015


....And he rose.  Caz got to school on time.  It may have not been his finest morning performance every, but he made it to school on time.

The Force Awakens...

...but it remains to be seen if Caz does.  He and his buddies went to see the new Star Wars movie last night.  He got home very late.  He was warned that he would still need to get up and get to school on time.  He was not looking very lively when I left.  He knows that there will be consequences if he does not live up to his word.  Time will tell.  I have faith in him though.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect

The family took me out to dinner for my birthday.  And this year, they really "took me out."  Caz drove.  Relunctantly, yes, but he drove.  He insisted he can drive on the highway.  He insisted he drive at night.  But he needs practice.  He is certainly not comfortable doing it.  It was good for him.  He did well.  One nervous moment, coming up to a busy stop light.  But overall, he did really well.  Of course, I drove home though....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Birthday Card

Sometimes, it all just comes together.  Caz can really out do himself at times.  He will just crush one out of the part.  Tonight was that night.  He spent quite a bit of time putting a birthday gift together for me.  He did his arts and crafts thing.  He wrapped up his present.  That in and of itself would have been impressive.  But his birthday card was the topper.  He really wrote a heartfelt, eloquent note.  It meant a lot.  I was astounded.  He clearly wrote it all on his own.  It is one of those times that it feels like we, Demi and me, are doing things right.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Driving to Babysit

Caz is babysitting for his cousins tonight.  It will be a late night.  Late enough that he won't be able to drive home.  It is a big test for Caz to be able to get himself there on time though.  He is relieving the other babysitter.  Demi and I are taking my brother and sister in-law out for the night.  The show we are seeing is a late show.  It doesn't start until midnight.  I haven't been out that late in a long time.  This should be an eventful night for all of us.
     Caz did get himself to the house on time.  He was prepared to stay the night.  He was able to deal with his youngest cousin when he got up in the middle of the night.  He did call to ask a question or two.  But his instincts are good.  We ended up taking him home.  He was miserable with allergies.  He is afflicted like his old man.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Track 2015-16

And we are off.  Ok.  Caz is off.  Winter track practice has commenced.  The weeks of having too much free time are over.  He needs to be running.   He needs to be active.  For all of our sakes.  He is able to focus better.  He is too tired to complain.  His disposition is just all around better.  I can't wait to watch him compete.  I want to see his hard work pay off for him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Kids at Play

It was a good day for the Chin Boys.  Caz drove home from school after a half day.  After some down time, a couple of his buddies stopped by.  His pal, Texas, just passed his road test.  That meant a few cars were parked out front.  Coco went right from school to MJ's.  There were a "bunch of kids there hangin'".  That is a really big deal for Coco these days.  He was out of the house.  He was social.  And he was at it for hours.  It is so nice to see.  Happy and playing...the way to be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Straight Talk

I came home to quite the greeting tonight.  What was all the excitement?  Sex Ed.  Yep.  Freshman Sex Ed classes started in PE.  Coco was very excited to tell me about it.  And the class is "Multigender".  That was his way of saying girls were there too.  Demi thought it implied more than 2 genders but we got back on track.  Today was not a study in erections.  Today was Q&A.  Everything was fair game.  All this is being taught by.........Mr. Johnson.....oh, the irony.  Laughter ensured for a bit.  It was actually a great way to start tonight's family dinner.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Drive Time

Today was Caz's first drive to school.  A big day.  For all of us.  It is a bit nerve wracking for Demi and me.  Our little boy is driving.  He's out on his own.  And he's taking his brother with him.
     It was really a success all around.  The boys got up on their own.  They got into the car without bickering.  They got to school on time.  Demi was able to get into the office earlier than normal.  She had a lot less stress.  This could be really great.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Road Test

A big milestone was reached today.  Caz passed his road test.  He was scheduled at 7:20 AM, on the morning after daylight savings.  That draw was not in his favor.  He is not a morning person.  But he was awake when my alarm went off.  He might have been nervous.  He might have had trouble sleeping.  I made him drive to the test site, in order to cram for the test.  I reminded him of all the little things.
     We checked in.  We sat in the waiting room.  They called his name.  He walked into the back, through the drivers ed classroom.  20 minutes later he sauntered back, with a grin on his face and pumping his fists.  He was very happy.  So happy, all he wanted to do was to drive home and get back into bed.  Well, he earned it.  Well done, Caz.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Auntie

Happy Birthday to my sister in-law and our boys' aunt.  She is a very good aunt.  I am happy my boys have such a close relationship with her.  She is not one of those relatives that they only see on holidays, a few times a year.  She is around a lot.  She talks to them.  She spends time with them.  She tries hard to connect.  What more could you ask for?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Visit to the Nutritionist

Demi was able to get a quick appointment to see a nutritionist today.  It was really good work on her part.  I had done some research on the Mayo Clinic website earlier in the week.  There was a lot of research suggesting that IBS could be made worse by diet.  Some patients seemed to report symptoms worsening after eating certain kinds of foods.  We had tried variations of testing certain things like gluten and dairy but Demi and I were winging it.  We recognized that we are not experts.  We can admit when we need help.  And we did just that.
     Demi did some digging around and found a woman who came recommended.  She also had weekend appointments.  For this weekend.  Something she normally did not have.  How is that for luck?  So off Coco and Demi went.  They came back with a plan.  Demi is really digging in to do this right.  It is a lot of work.  But if it helps Coco beat IBS, then it will have been worth it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Two Steps Forward

Well, the streak is over.  We had hoped it would last.  But deep down, Demi and I knew it was only a matter of time.  Coco stayed home from school today due to his IBS.  The silver lining is that it truly seems like it is IBS and not the anxiety.  He doesn't appear to be gaming the system.
     The important thing for Demi and me to keep in mind is to stay positive.  We can't appear to be let down.  That only adds to his concern.  We definitely don't want the anxiety to kick in.  It is up to us to set the tone.
     This is only a minor setback after all.  We can perservere.  There will be better days ahead.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day 2015

It may be a day of rest but it has taken a lot of work to carve out some family time for Team Chin.  They boys slept in, of course.  Demi and I did our respective workouts.  Mine actually consisted of sleeping in and making coffee today.  Demi was the good kid.  She then came back and declared that we would be spending some time together as a family.  Of course that met with some resistance.  Or at least some very lackluster enthusiasm.  The boys begrudingly agreed to go on a hike.  It was definitely a lack of options/lesser of all evils decision.
     Demi scoured the web for a new route.  She found one a few minutes down the road in Marsh Vegas.  It is always nice to explore somewhere new.  Gizmo probably got the most out of the walk.  She got to "mark" out a whole new kingdom.  I think she only drinks water to reload.  The boys were very take with her.  She was the focal point of the whole hike.  In all honesty, there was not much to see.  It wasn't a great path.  But we got to talk.  We were active.  And more importantly, we were together.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hanging Out at Home

Well, so far the Chin house is the place to be for the local kids.  Mostly Caz and his friends, but we seem to be overflowing with teenagers these days.  Most of them we know.  A few we are still getting to know.  Caz has made great choices in his friends so far.  That would seem to be trending well for this new crew.  It is nice to know where they are hanging out.  We know what they are doing.  We know they are safe.  They are a pretty respectful bunch.  It will be interesting to see if this holds up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back 2 School 2015

"It's the most wonderful time of the year...."
     It really is.  Demi and I were so ready to have the boys back in school.  Back into a routine.  Sure, we had our anxiety over Coco and how he would do.  Caz has a big year coming up.  Junior year is huge.  College visits.  College exams.  Grades count.  There are no points for second place.  This gets better in a month too.  Caz should get his drivers license.  That will help with our carpooling.  Sure, the routine is hectic.  But it is a routine.  The boys are out of the house.  They socialize out of the house each day.  It really is wonderful.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Frosh Orientation 2015

Another child off to start his high school career.  Milestones all the way around.  Coco went off to orientations from 8 am - noon, without a hitch.  He was very excited to go.  Demi and I were thrilled to see him excited about school again.  He repeated the events of the day to each of us.  Multiple times.  I vowed to myself to listen for as long as he wanted to talk.  His grin was ear to ear.  Today, we had our boy back.  Demi might even be able to sleep tonight.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The New Generation's Monty Hall

My nephew, The Hammer, is quite a game show host.  He is every bit the negotiator that Caz was at that age.  Everything is a haggle.  It can be really funny.  If the boys are carrying him around, then get tired, when they go to put him down they hear, "One more minute."  If you tell him to eat all his fruit, you may get "half?"  At the beach, it was "one more hamburger".  My niece, The Bug, go in the act too.  After the "one more hamburger", it was a hug and a smile in exchagn for a slice of pizza.  At bed time, The Hammer was exhausted.  He was breathing deeply.  He was eyes closed.  He had already bartered for "nuggling" with me.  Now, as I rolled away, his body stiffened.  His head came up and I heard, "one more minute.".....

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Brothers & Friends

It was nice to see a few brother bonding moments recently.  They were those times that it was evident that the boys really do care about each other.  As they should.
     Caz helped out his brother twice in the last two days.  I mean really helped.  Coco went next door to do something for my folks.  Contrary to what he's been told, he went completely barefoot.  On his way home, he jammed the top of his big toe.  He nearly lost the end of it.  It was all banged up from hitting the pavement.  He was bleeding profusely.  He manged to get inside the garage, up the stairs, and to the door to the house.  He called for his brother.  Caz came right away.  He got ice, first aid cream, towels and bandages.  Of course, the one minor hiccup was that instead of hydrogen peroxide, he got rubbing alcohol.  Whoops!  Coco took it well.  And Caz meant well.
     Today, Coco got his lips stuck in his braces.  Yes.  He is still adjusting.  Caz helped him out big time.  And...he actually did it gently.  Coco became unstuck and only bled a little.  Caz got him ice again.  It is so nice to hear them helping each other.  Sometimes they are all they have.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bracing for Impact

Coco hit another teenage milestone today.  He got braces.  It was a long time coming.  He still has two or three baby teeth to fall out.  He had to wait years just to get this close to a full set of adult teeth.  He chose to go with Duxbury green.  He was really excited.  He didn't seem nervous or hesitatn at all.
     He came home very sore.  He had a ton of new gear to go with the braces.  The bathroom countered held an aray of devices, electric tooth brush, timer, floss, wax, and a special rinse.  He even has a new mouth guard for football.  We will see how long before the novelty wears off, but he keeping to the maintenance schedule so far.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Camping 2015

I guess what we did was camping.  It was Schlesinger Family Reunion time.  I talked to the boys.  They were too young to remember why we got together with this side of the family at this time of year.  It had also been quite a few years since our last one.  Their grandfather, who passed 6 months before I met Demi, has a birthday at this time of year.  He would have been 75.  We talk about him quite a bit, so the boys knew exactly what I was talking about.  I think they appreciated the circumstances.
     We were in the Catskills.....I think.  Somewhere close to that in upstate NY.  Both sister in-laws and my Mother in-law have campers.  Two of them are in the same campground, while the third is 6 miles away.  We brought our 6 person tent.  The boys stayed in there on inflatable mattresses (I know, really roughing it...) with their cousin.  I think they had it better to be honest with you.  Demi and I stayed in my Mother in-laws's camper.  Sure, we had an indoor crapper.  But Demi's bed was too short for her.  She couldn't fully stretch out, even diagonally.  Mine was long enough but it was a foot higher off the ground and narrow.  I went to flip sleeping sides and had to perfectly lift off the bed to do an about face or I would either roll off or hit the window shades.  And it was tiled.  I felt like I was going to roll off all night.
     Saturday was great.  We sat around, had coffee & breakfast, then talked.  It was nice but went on a hair too long.  So I finally jumped on the chance to change venues.  I grabbed KanJam and a few other games, then headed towards the pool and field.  Eventually, everyone else arrived.  We had some great matches of KanJam, Ladder Ball, and Volleyball.  We swam in the pool.  All ages represented.  Everyone participated.  Everyone had a blast.  Right on through the pig roast and on to the fire pit.  Chalk up another successful family event.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Wild Water

We surprised the boys with a white water rafting trip yesterday.  We worked it into our trip to upstate New York.  It was a first time for the boys.  It was a good starter river.  The Deerfield River, Fife Brook Dam, is listed as a class 2-3 rapid river.  There was one class 3.  There was only a couple of class 2.  Still, it was a good time.  The boys were excited to start but still a little nervous.  I tried to give them an overview of what to expect.  You never can really do it justice verbally though.
     Once we got the first rapid over, it was a piece of cake.  We took all the hard routes.  We did all the tricks.  We did some Karate Kid balance battles.  One person standing on each bow/stern.  Two men enter, one man leave.  Last man standing wins.  There were some good battles.  We did some cool poses for the camera.  The did some raft wheelies.  We swam/floated in the river.  We all napped on the way to NY.  Good thing Demi drove.  This is a great family activity.  We need to do it again.  On a bigger river.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Summer School

Coco finished his officialy summer school program in science.  It was just one class.  His teacher recommended that he brush up on it, based on the time Coco missed this past year.  I really wished it was not online.  I think it would have been good for him to go sit in a classroom.  It would have been tough on Demi and me (mostly Demi, especially after I started my new job), but it would have been worth it.  I do know Coco worked hard at it.  The program was different than billed.  It was a twelve week course that was suppposed to be done in less than 4 weeks.  That was crazy.  There was some technical glitches too.  A lot of work Coco submitted didn't go through.  There was actually a live person grading it, which was interesting.
     Both the boys have quite a bit of summer work.  They both have math packets.  They both need to read a fiction and non-fiction book.  They both have a history book to read.  Isn't this supposed to be summer break?  I really do thinks it is a bit much.  Sure they should be out playing and running around more.  But homework should not be getting in the way of that.  Their brains really do need a rest too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dragons Lair

I will say this for the Duxbury High School Sports programs, they have a top notch strength and conditioning program available to them.  The Dragons Lair will tailor a program to one's sport and position.  They are very responsible teaching technique and making sure the kids don't over do it on the weights.  The use cutting edge regimens for speed, agility, and flexibility.  If the kids in this town don't take advantage of the opportunity, they are crazy.
     Coco is finishing his summer session this week.  The football program "strongly encourages"/"makes mandatory" a summer programs for all it's players.  We didn't have to say a word about it.  Coco accepted it as part of football, all on his own.  He was looking forward to it.  He didn't love it when it was actually time to do it.  But he went.  I hope it pays off for him.  It kept him active, that's for sure.  No Summer of George.....

Monday, August 3, 2015

Concerns and Caring

There was a lot of chatter amongst the clan today.  Everyone was keeping tabs on Yaya.  He went into the hospital to be there by 6:30 am.  He was off to surgery by 8.  It took a few hours but the knee is in.  The recovery has been the worst part.  He's been sleeping most of the day.  He was also dizzy.  It could be that whatever they gave him kicked in his Vertigo.  Coco has been asking about him all day.  He wanted to know every detail, including the kind of anesthesia used on him.  He knows all about the family history of Malignant Hyperthermia.  We talked about the problem that my brother and I ran into with it during our surgeries.  Coco asked multiple times about going to visit Yaya.  He's been really cute about it.  Caz was very engaged after work too.  I could see the concern on his face.  It's nice to see.  They really do care.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dog Days of Summer 2015

The heat has been steady.  Some of the humidity has gone away....temporarily..The thermometer has gone over 90 degrees officially, so we don't have a legitimate heat wave.  It's been a long stretch though.  But more than that has gotten to Yaya.  He's had to go off his pain meds for the last 12 days to prepare for surgery.  He is finally getting his new knee.
     In honor of this momentous occasion, I got the whole family over to my parents house for a swim and a cookout.  The kids had a lot of fun swimming with each other.  Coco was very good while watching the Hammer.  The Hammer is fearless.  One does have to be aware of him at all times.  He's all boy.  Yaya had fun watching them play together.
     The cookout went really well.  But the food was really ancillary.  Yaya had all his peeps around him.  That is all he ever wants.  Sure he was nervous but he is going to muddle through.  And now he gets to go off to surgery happy.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon Over Duxbury Beach 2015

I called a great audible this afternoon.  I had already locked Demi into drinks on the beach after work.  We tried to invite some friends for an adults only expedition but that didn't pan out.  So on my commute home, I plotted on how to get the boys out with us.  Demi solved the problem.  Offer them food.
     When I walked in the door, I told each of the boys to pick out a sub and be ready to eat on the beach.  No complaints, surprisingly enough.  On the way to the car, they were told, no electronics.  No handhelds, no phones.
     Then I went full boar.  I asked Caz if he knew where he wanted to go to college.  I also told him that "I don't know" was a perfectly acceptable answer.  He didn't know.
     "Do you know what you want to study?"
     "I don't know".  Again, he was told this was fine.
     I gave him some things to think about.  The size of the school.  City?  Country?  What region of the united states?  I clarified the difference between a degree program and a liberal arts degree.  He said he still want to be an architect.  He also prefers a setting like Colby.  He want to be removed from the city/town.  It was a really great discussion.  It started in the car.  It continued on the beach, overlooking the ocean and waves.
     Of course we talked about the impending Blue moon too.  We drove home and picked out a family movie to watch.  It was a very nice family evening.  So this audible needs a name.  No, not "Omaha.'  "Colby?"  "Mules?"

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Smash Brothers Saves the World

Who would have thought that a video game, especially one with retro characters, could bring about universal peace?  OK.  Way overstated, but for one night, it brought arch rivals Duxbury and Marshfield together.
     I came home from a business trip to a houseful of 16 and 17 year olds.  Caz had organized a Smash Bros Tournament.  It was a $5 buy in.  Winner takes all.  Top Gun rules.  There are no points for second place.
     The first thing I noticed as the line of cars parked on our street.  That is unusual for anyone in our neighborhood.  And for a teenager, that is usually a sure sign that nothing good is going on.  I saw a chalk path, colored into the street.  It proceeded up my driveway, around the back, over the deck and through the bulkhead.  There was even a Do Not Enter sign written in the walkway to the front door.
     Since I had been away, I wanted to say hi to my boys.  I went down stairs and saw a bunch of faces which I didn't recognize.  There was even a girl.  One.  Among all those boys.  The heat, humidity, and body temperature created a disastrous effect.  The stink permeating the room was an evil entity.  That poor girl.  I didn't know how she could stand it.  But teenagers from Duxbury and Marshfield were cheering and laughing.  They were extremely polite.  Quite a few thanked us for letting them come over.  Deluxebury and Marsh Vegas were united in a Smash Bros frenzy.  So it's not world peace.  But it's a start....

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Levitate Recap

The short version = Caz and I had a blast.  This year's edition of the Levitate Music Festival was a huge success all the way around.  In it's third year, attendance has grown from 3K to 4K to this year's 6K.  That is some growth.
     The set up was really nice.  The vendors booths were set up in rows at the back of the venue.  Vendors sold the usual T-shirts, necklaces, health food, natural/organic foods, and the Levitate stand selling surf & skate items.  By those stalls were the food trucks, food stalls, and beer tents.  It was hot so water, beer, and slushes/ice cream were the big ticket items.  Caz and I toured those first thing.  Then we headed to the stage.  This is where it started to get dicey.
     As we got close to the stage, the crowd increased.  I turned my back for one second and lost sight of Caz.  He raised his hand and waved.  He had found some friends.  Although I was happy for him, part of my thought, "Great.  I am getting ditched."  But can you blame him?  He found his peeps.  Go forth and conquer.  He was good about answering texts.  I didn't want to crowd him, but I wanted to see the band.  I tried to stay out of his line of vision.  There was a lot of pot being smoked.  Beer was all around.  As a father, it made me nervous.  But each time I checked in, he answered.
     We ended up getting back together for a late lunch, by the food trucks.  He ended up getting a meatball sub from an old fiend of mine, Coach Bone.  Neither one of them knew the other.  It had been a long time since they had seen each other.  After that we got to use the VIP tickets my friend, Charlie, had procured for us.  Free Island Creak Oysters.  Bonus!  Caz wanted no part of it.  We got a nice view, out of the crowd, in the shade, of the stages.  But then it got better.  Charlie got the all access passes.  We got to go back stage.  Caz got to see the artists up close and personal.  He watched Trombone Shorty's set while resting against the stage.  He was about 6 feet away.  He had a grin on his face the whole time.  It was a great experience for him.  He saw a friend from school in the audience.  That friend was probable closer, being in front the the stage. but was obviously jealous of Caz.  I think that was nice for Caz.  Caz was very polite and thanked Charlie a couple times.  I can't thank Charlie enough.  What a great experience for a kid.  A great Father/Son moment.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Levitate, Baby!

Off to the Levitate Music Festival with Caz today.  Father/Son time.  I am really looking forward to it.  The headliner is Trombone Shorty.  My college buddy is his manager.  He left us VIP/Backstage passes.  Caz will be thrilled.  He has really gotten into Shorty.  I can't wait to see Shorty, but am more excited to see Caz take it all in.

More to come.  I will post about how it all goes.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Table Chat

We have had some really good dinner discussions this week.  Dinner time is truly family time.  We make a point of telling the kids that.  They can't just pass on dinner.  Caz has tried the "I am not hungry" routine.  Tough.  Sit there and converse.  Have a drink of water.  Be social.  You still can't pass dinner time in front of Super Mario Smash Brothers.
     We talked about the New Horizon NASA mission to Pluto.  We talked about the Red Sox.  We talked about current events.  New Horizons was my favorite topic.  The space program doesn't get the respect it deserved.  To think that something launched years ago, is just now reaching it's destination is mind boggling.  The first real pictures of Pluto.  Not a sketch.  Not an artist's interpretation.  Real live photos.  I think the kids got the importance of it.  It's a huge piece of human exploration.
     I love that Demi and I make dinner time the traditional family time it has been.  It's important. As the kids grow older, maybe they will agree.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ticket to ride

One of those moments of truth for Caz.  The new MA state laws prevents newly licensed drivers, under a certain age, from driving passengers who are outside of their immediate family.  At least when Caz gets his license, he can drive his little brother to school.  But I digress.
     Caz has friends who are getting their license.  However, due to that law, they are not in a position to drive the group anywhere.  To some extent, they are still house bound.  They need to rely on their parents for rides.  But that group is testing the waters.  We have already spoken to two of them about adhering to the law.  It is between us for now, but if they push it, the other parents will be brought in.  One parent will ground their kid for life, so I think he got the message.  I just hope Caz heard it too.
     Caz had his own mishap.  He went to the movies with a group of kids.  The driver was just about the exit the period where passengers are limited to family.  Just about.  But not yet.  And that is the point.  The law is the law.  The deadline is the deadline.  If we can't trust Caz to adhere to laws as a passenger, how can we trust him as a driver.  That is the discussion we had with Caz.  He didn't agree but I think he got the point.  He better have.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Family 4th Wedding

Not a 4th wedding, but on the 4th, just for clarification sake.  Our cousin got married at Plimouth Plantation.  It was a great time.  We all had a blast.
     I was really proud of the boys.  The got all dolled up without a fight.  Actually, they both were almost eager.  Caz got a hair cut and picked out new dress pants.  In one trip.  Without a fight.  Coco had his outfit planned for weeks.  Of course that coincided with his semi formal for his 8th grade promotion ceremony.  He eschewed the the fedora this time though.  Caz even busted out his pocket watch.
     They both were really helpful at the ceremony and reception too.  Coco, as usual, played with his cousin Rose.  Actually, it is more of her leading him around by his nose.  He is her personal playground.  Horsie ride.  Check.  Wrestling.  Check.  Punching bag.  Check.  I am not sure if she got him to dance though.  Caz was really awesome.  The Hammer was not a happy Ring Bearer.  You would thing he was bringing the Ring to Mount Doom.  He wanted no part of it.  Caz went over to calm him down.  He tried to help coax him down the aisle.  Demi and I are very proud of both them.  They are good, caring boys.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Drive

Caz is off on his first drive with the Driver' Ed instructor.  He and 2 other boys will be taking turns terrorizing the streets of Duxbury for the next couple of hours.  Sure, I have already driven numerous hours with him.  But this is still a notable first.  This is making it real.  My son will be driving soon.  And I thought learning to walk was a game changer.
     This opens up a whole new world.  All new worries.  All new decisions.  All new rules.  We have already talked to him about his friends, who can drive.  We had hypothesized different dangerous and potentially embarrassing scenarios.  We made the verbal contract with him to pick him up, no questions asked, if he calls for a ride home.  You have to have these talks.  More always follow.  And that is a good thing.  If you ignore it, you do so at your own peril.  Nothing should be taboo.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cyber warfare

Demi and I had to have an all too familiar talk with Coco last night.  All too familiar in that we had the same talke with Caz a few years ago.  The day and age of technology is a boon and a curse.  It is way too easy to access inappropriate websites.  But it is also easier to track and audit usage.  It was really through an accident that we noticed Coco was on a very inappropriate website.  He was using his old iPod Touch.  The kids electronice are hooked into an account owned by me in some fashion.  They are not old enough to have their own.  Clearly.
     Coco took the talk well.  He got a bit angry.  But only because he was embarrased.  I don't think he will be surfing the web in that direction anytime soon.  At least he can't hide the iPod out in the woods....

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Birthday Bug

My wonderful niece turns 6 today.  Her age was the matter of some debate by my sons and me.  Coco was convinced she was born in 2008.  I don't really know why.  I only know I couldn't convince him otherwise.  He looked rather foolish when he included "Happy 7th" in his signing of the card.....

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day 2015

I hope all you Dads out there have a great day.  Thank you Caz & Coco for helping me understand what it means to be a parent.  Thank you to Demi for being my partner in crime.  Thank you also for keeping us at two, so that we can still play man to man defense.....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Best of the Bunch

Caz was presented with a Best of the Bunch Award this morning.  It was a nice event that the school put on.  They had the student cooking class make breakfast treats for the award recipients and their parents.  The emcee then went on to describe how each student still did not know why there were nominated for this award.  They only knew the criteria.  Students are nominated by their teachers for good deed and/or random acts of kindness.  It is the action a person takes when they don't know they are being watched that show their true character.  Caz really redeemed himself from his mishap to start the year.  The person that Demi and I believe him to be, shone through.  We are so proud of him.  I think he is even proud of himself.  He should be.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Green Letter Day

Congrats to Caz on earning his DHS varsity letter in Spring Track.  It was announced at the season wrap banquet tonight.  He was really excited.  And proud.  As well he should be.  Demi and I are very proud of him.  Sure, this is a sports achievement.  It is more than just physcial prowess.  He should some growth mentally and socially.  He competed.  He cared.  He is a great teammate.  
     He is also a great sport.  He went out of his way to shake hands with his competitors.  All of them.  At the end of every race.  He was always the one to approach them.  That is really one of the things of which I am most proud.  Caz is really done well.  Great job, my son.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Decathalon Day Two

From a performance standpoint Day Two did not go well.  But from a personal growth standpoint, Caz won big.  His scrawny frame was not built for shot put.  But he threw it.  Not far, but he gave it all he had.  He made sure he was not going to trip over a hurdle.  He cleared each one by a mile.  He hurt himself in the triple jump.  But even after that, he didn't quit.  He passed on his next two jumps.  But he threw the shot put right after.  He then ran the 1500.  He ran it well too.  Much faster than I could ever have hoped to run it at any age.  He bonded with his teammates.  One graduated.  The others will be senoirs next year.  That is big for a younger kid.  He got a lot out of this.  I hope he understands its and/or realizes is someday.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Decathalon Day One

Caz is going to finish the track season with a decathalon.  The South sectional state decathalon.  At least his coach signed him up with 5 of his teammates, 2 teams of 3.  8 of these events he has never down before.  I think it will be good for him.  He can really test himself.  Both physcially and mentally.  He can push himself.  I hope he does.  I hope he doesn't hold back.  I hope the tests his limits.

He did really well and after day one is in 22nd place.  Not bad at all.  He did really well with a PR in the 100M.  He missed the state qualifying distance for discus, which was the first time he has ever done the event.  He seems please with himself.  He should be.  We are all proud of him.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Sleepover

The weekend sleepover for Caz is pretty routine at this point.  He and his buddies hunker down at least one night during any given weekend, order out for food, stay up late watching TV, then sleeping  at the house where they congregate.  That is likely why it didn't cross Demi's or my mind, when they did it this weekend.  There was nothing bad that happened.  At least we don't think so.  But it occurred to us that the sleepover location last night was not ideal.  
     One of his buddy's parents has recently split up.  They are not yet divorced but it's in progress.  The parents are living separately.  I won't get into the circumstances but enough went on to cause concern about our son staying over there.  We had some level of concern before our friends split.  But now we really have to be careful.  We may not let that happen again.  We will have to talk with Caz of course.  We have before too.  It won't be a surprise.  Constant communication.  That is key.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

D3 Track Meet

I love that Caz wants to go home on the bus and bond with his team.  They are going out to eat on the way home. But I could really be asleep now.  I am wiped.  This was a very long meet.  It was also far way, in Fall River.  Ah, the price of parenthood, huh?

Caz ran well.  He really ran a great leg in the 4 x 100 M.  The turn is hard to run. He nailed it.  They set a PR too.  It was nice to see their excited faces.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Driving In the Rain

Today was the first time Caz drove in the rain.  As soon as the first drop fell, I ran into the house to grab him.  This was the perfect time to dive in less than ideal conditions.  He has to learn some time.
     We drove for 40 mins, all over northwest Duxbury.  We ventured into some unfamiliar territory.  It threw him a little.  He wasn't able to go by rote.  Some turns were a tad too fast.  Others were a tad too slow.  All in all, he drove well.  He made his first attempt at parking.  It wasn't terrible.  We practiced a few more times, then drove home.  It's a work in progress.  And I would say Caz is off to a good start.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Taking Flight

It was nice to see Caz take a risk today.  He stepped out of his comfort zone.  This was a great example of a little encouragement going a long way.
     He finished his sprint practice the other day.  He and his buddy, Reese, were watching the end of javelin practice.  Goofing around, they both decided to throw.  Reese got of a decent throw.  Then Caz stepped up and let it fly.  One of the throwing coaches just happened to look up as it went sailing out, over 110 feet.  The coach then asked him to do that again.  Which he did.  He was promptly told he would be throwing in the next meet.
     He was very excited when he came home that day.  He bypassed his usual nervousness over doing something outside of his comfort zone or outside of his routine.  Never mind the fact that Dad had been telling him to go to javelin practice all season.  What does Dad ever know, right?  But hey, he did it.  He threw in the meet today and threw well.  He only used a two step, as opposed to a full run up.  That will come. But he threw very well.  Had he been throwing with the top throwers, he may have nearly placed.  It doesn't matter how he got there.  He got there.  Hopefully, he will continue.  Success breeds success, correct?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Keep on Truckin'

Back on track with Coco today.  It had been a long stretch between being able to get him in for a full school day.  Yesterday was just a complete kick in the arse.  Coco had a legitimate cold.  Sure it happens.  All the kids get a cold or the flu.  But when you are struggling to get a kid there consistently, on the days he is physically sick, it's just rubbing salt in the wound.
     On a more positive note, he may actually be close to being caught up with school work.  At least so he tells us.  And we were able to finalize his IEP.  The school has been really great with us so far on that but like any administrative process, it just takes time.  It seems like forever when it is impacting your child.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Thrill is Gone

Legendary Bluesman, BB King, passed today.  Or maybe technically, last night.  It is sad on quite a few levels.  One is certainly that the world lost a first class musician.  It also signaled the end of an era.  BB is really the last well known blues artist that defined the era.
     I find that I am waxing nostalgic from when the boys were little, especially Caz.  We used to listen to a lot of BB King when the boys were little.  Caz would ask for BB all the time.  We would play the blues while cooking breakfast, pancakes, eggs, bacon,....all the breakfast necessities.  We would have a good time.  Family time.  We still have those mornings.  But they are fewer now.  I guess that is how it goes.  And that is sad too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

One Day

What a difference a day makes.  From A list to sh*t list in 24 hours.  Caz really nails those peaks and valleys in life.  Apparently, his decent started right after track practice when Demi picked him up.  He ran his mouth.  During the night time routine, he imploded.  He was his own worst enemy.  He tried to use the ADHD excuse but we will not let him do that.  ADHD is not a license to be an a#$.  Demi and I created a united front.  We didn't lose our cool.  I came close.  I had to take some electronics.  But he needs to learn a lesson.  Hopefully, he will.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day 2015

I hope all of you Moms out there have a wonderful day.  I know the mother of my children certainly deserves one.  I can't do any of this without her.
     Caz knocked it out of the park this year.  Demi drove him and his friends to the store.  She parked and walked quietly into the store.  She spied them all picking out Mother's Day cards.  The put a lot of though it the selection process.  The big deal was the gift.  He made Demi close her eyes and pull her hood over her eyes until he could get the gift into the car and hidden.  He did a great job wrapping the gift.  Demi opened the package to see strawberries dipped in chocolate.  Caz proceeded to tell her that he was able to select the strawberries, then personally hand dip them in the chocolate.  Demi was truly moved.  It was really nice to see.  Well done, son.  Well done.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opening Day 2015

It is that time of year.  It is another sure sign of Spring  The Red Sox season starts today.  It's always such a spirit boost.  Especially after Snowmaggedon 2015.  There is still a lot of snow on the ground here.  It doesn't seem like it can possible be baseball season.  But it is here.  With all the promise that Opening Day represents.  It really is a magical day.  "This baseball is magic."  We could sure use some.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday 2015

Back to hosting Easter this year.  We had a year off last year.  I will say there was not a month plus build up like in years past.  She didn't sweat prep.  She created a great menu again.  Even the decorations were last minute.  We didn't pull out the decorations until yesterday.  Coco and I ended up doing the window display and set the table.  It was "low-fi" but it worked.  The Easter baskets were very bare bones.  Coco really go into the prep though.  It was nice to see him engaged.  Both the boys got into decorating the Easter eggs.  Well, maybe not too enthusiasm, but they showed some signs of life while doing it.  Coco was all about the Easter egg hunt.  He was a man on a mission.  He actually begged the crap out of Demi while she was cooking like a mad woman.  He could not wait this AM, to go out and hide the eggs.  He had to make sure the total eggs hidden was divisible by 4.  Fair is fair after all.  The winner was my nephew.  He had a ball during the hunt.  He got the full attention of his cousins.  He was so excited.  In turn, I think it really made Coco feel good.  Mission accomplished.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Having a Good Day

It was a good day today.  Coco got up and at 'em early.  He got off to school  He came home and went right to his buddy's house.  He stayed there for a few hours.  It's great to see him actively socializing.  He needs that.  We need that.  His friends have been really great through all of this.  It's been a real positive.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fool's 2015

A slight hiccup.  It's a short week with Good Friday.  We were really hoping to get Coco into school for the 4 days this week.  It was not to be.  He "couldn't" make it today."  And this wasn't an April Fool's joke.  I do think he was playing us a bit.  Going to the well with a staple causation.  We took away electronics during school hours.  It's for his own good.  He can't be comfortable at home on days like these.  He needs to push it.  We will bet back on track tomorrow.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Home Again

The boys were fine when we got home.  Sure they stunk.  Most teenage boys do.  Gizmo was excited to be back with the family.  After some decompression time, we all attended to some items we had to accomplish, showers, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.  Then we set aside some dedicated family time.  The boys chose to play Scattegories.  That is always a crowd-pleaser.  Highlight or lowlight of the night?  You decide.
The roll was an "L".
We all wrote our answers.  As we started the unveiling process, Caz got up to blow his nose.  It looked a little forced but nothing alarming.  Coco read his brother's answers, while Caz was out of the room.  At least until number 4 he did.  Number 4 was "Type of dance".
Demi = "Limbo"
Dad = "Lambada" (I figured the boys would have no idea)
Coco didn't have an answer.  He also refused to read his brother's answer.  He just turned red and tried to hide a grin.  Finally, I pressed him.
"Why? Is it Lap?"
Coco burst out laughing but managed a "Yes."  So clearly they both have heard the phrase.  They both knew it was something racy.  I don't think either one really knows a definition.  Oh sure, I think they get the just.  But that was end of discussion.  Ah, yes.  Family time.....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

17 Years and Counting

Happy Anniversary, Demi!
     Demi and I are celebrating our 17th anniversary in Providence this year.  A simple overnight, but it will be a nice break for us all.  The boys have places to stay overnight.  So does Gizmo.  I don't think we are far away from the boys being able to stay alone for night.  But not quite yet.  And we will have to have a test run where Gizmo is cared for elsewhere.  They need to prove they can take care of themselves, before they can be responsible for the Giz.
     I have said before and will say it again, we all need a break sometimes.  We need some time to be by ourselves.  It's a healthy break.  Demi and I need some time to be a couple.  We are going to have brunch and dinner out.  We don't have a locked in itinerary.  We don't have to be anywhere at a certain time.  We can be as leisurely as we choose.  We really deserve a break.  I can't wait.

Friday, March 27, 2015

March Madness Finishing Strong

Coco had a strong finish to the week.  He recovered nicely from the miss on Monday.  He made it in for full days.  He has caught up on more missing work.  He is a bit anxious over his grades.  That is despite the conversation where Demi and I stated emphatically that his grades were not a concern for us.  We told him that we wanted him to be in school full time.  The school work would come after that.  I believe we were successful in talking him down.  He is proud of his school record.  That is a good thing.  Right now though, we have other concerns.  The grades will come.

Monday, March 23, 2015

There's Always Tomorrow

Minor set back today.  Well, I hope its minor anyway.  Coco did not make it to school today.  At least he did not make the morning sessions.  Demi got him there for the last couple of classes of the day.  It didn't help her that the bus was late.  That meant she had to be out with Caz, rather than working on Coco.  Coco needs to the attention to get him up and going in the morning.  We will look to get back on a streak tomorrow.  One day at a time, right?

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Full Week

Coco completed his first full week of school.  This is a huge miles.  Sure, there were a few doctors appointments mixed in.  There was a planned half day for a Teacher Administrative day.  Other than that, he was in every day.  Demi did a great job managing it.  He handled the scheduling.  I was able to help out on Weds and Fri, while working from home.  Demi had a well oiled machine going.  And it paid off.  Coco came home from schools with tales to tell each day.  He was having fun in class with classmates.  Something interesting happened in class each day.  It was nice to see.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Game of Kings

I took my good chessboard out today with the hopes of enticing the boys into playing a game with their old man.  It worked.  It worked better than I hoped for.  I use it as a way to get a read on each of them.  I like to see how they think.  I like to see them create and pursue a strategy.  It is sort of like poker.  I can read their expressions.  I can see the wheels turning.  Sure, the boys play Texas Hold 'em.  It's not the same as good old fashioned draw poker.  It's not the old west.  The boys play Texas Hold 'em with their friends, but it is the TV version.  They wear their shades.  Their hoodies.  Earphones.
     My plan worked.  I had really good games with both of them.  I must say that Caz and I had our Searching for Bobby Fischer moment.  I could really read into him.  I could tell from the choice of picking to go last, that he was planning on playing a defensive strategy.  He was planning to react to my moves.  I wanted to push him.  I played much more of an attacking strategy that I normally do.  I am not saying I was throwing the game.  But my main agenda was playing a game to make Caz uncomfortable.  I wanted to challenge him to make him think.  He did that and more.  I pushed the attack.  I left some holes.  I wanted to see if he would take them.  He took some.  He left others.  He really put a lot of thought into each move.  I almost wished we were playing speed chess at certain points.  But it was fun watching him check the board.  And yes, by the way, he won.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pi Day

Happy Pi Day! 3/14/15!  This is a Coco favorite.  He really gets a kick out of it.  Kudos to his teachers for hyping it up.  Well done!

Friday, March 13, 2015


I should have known that Friday the 13th was a bad sign.  I lost today.  We lost.  But I definitely got crashed.  I don't want to diminish a good week.  We got 3 full days in total.  Well, almost full.  Demi forgot to change her alarm clock for daylight savings.  So Monday got off to a late start.  The bonus there was that Caz got up and to the bus on his own. Left a note and everything.  And now we know he can do it....
     Coco and I had a rough finish to the week.  It was my day.  I was able to spell Demi, to get her off
to the gym and work without having to worry about Coco.  I could not get him off the couch.  I could not get him to school.  I will say that I used every ounce of patience I had.  I never raised my voice.  I was pleasant.  I was logical.  I was tough but fair.  Coco did not have a good time of it.  I practiced some tough love.  I made it uncomfortable for him to stay home.  I took away his electronics.  No TV.  It was like a real sick day.  "Here's your Kindle.  Read."
"I finished my book."
"Start another one"
     Cocon tried to get under my skin.  He rolled on the floor.  He lay on the floor.  He bounced a tennis ball.  He rolled the tennis ball off the base board.  He clanged it louder.  I asked him if he wanted a sandwich for lunch.  I never took the bait.  He tried picking fights.  I changed the subject.  Or I refused to engage.  "I won't be yelled at." or "I won't be spoken to that way."
     Time will tell.  I think it drove home a message.  Don't get too comfortable at home.  You need to be in school.  I don't care about the work.  You just need to be there.  That is the goal.  And we will get there.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cousins in Arms

My nephew and niece are staying with us this weekend.  It's good to have some quality time with them.  Good for our boys too.  Despite the age gap, they get along extremely well.  The dynamic is amusing.  My niece gravitates to Coco.  My nephew gravitates towards Caz.  I think all 4 of them were looking forward to it.
     I will say that it was nice to have someone excited to see you.  I picked them both up from school/daycare on Friday night.  It was rock star time.  I got amazing greetings.  Going home was fun too.  Coco and Demi came home right about the same time.  Caz had his buddies over.  He was good about it.  He let all the kids hang out a bit with his crew.  He ended up going over another house and spending the night.  But that is fine.  He is at that age that he wants to be with his friends.  It's only natural.
     Coco and I took my nephew out on Saturday.  We spent about 2 hours out in the snow.  It was good to see them both active.  Demi too my niece out for a girls day.  They came home with multicolored nails.  It was quite a rainbow.  It was all a good departure from the norm.  I hope it sets a good tone for everyone.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Keeping It Going

We definitely didn't win this week.  We did get one full day in.  We really wanted to get multiple days in.  It didn't happen.  Personally, I think it's more being stubborn on Coco's part.  We need to put the clamps down more.  He needs to be pushed   I will take the wins that we did get this week.  He is caught up in quite a few classes.  But there is no manual for this.  No blueprint.  No guidebook.  Time will tell but I think we are doing all we can.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Weekend

Demi has another off year in her 11's here.  That means we only have a weekend event this year.  It really must be tough, not to have an actual birthday.  But Family and Friends made it special.  We had a great night out last night.  We got to sit and talk with some of our favorite people.  Not all, but quite a few.  Demi deserved a nice night out.  She's been working hard keeping us all together.  I am glad she had fun.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy 14th, Coco!

It was almost like old time tonight.  A few of Coco's friends came over.  They ate pizza.  They had cake.  The played XBOX.  They even played a few rounds of Texas Hold 'em.  They laugh a bunch.  It was nice to hear.  It was a great way to finish the week.
     It was a tough week overall.  I think I might be overstating it, if I said we managed a stale mate.  Coco didn't go to school as much as we had been hoping.  He missed a whole day on Tuesday.  He fought us hard today.  Demi and I ganged up on him, two on one.  We wore him down.  He didn't go the full day, but we made all the core classes.  It's almost harder because he is such a great student.  He is not as far behind as most kids would be.  It might be better, if he needed to be in class more.   But next week is another week.  Another start.  If it doesn't snow that is....

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Last day of Feb Break

Back to school tomorrow.  Can't wait.  The kids need to go back.  We all need a break.  We have been couped up too long.  The snow is creating cabin fever.  At least, Caz had Driver's Ed all week.  That is a big milestone.  Our little boy is close to driving.  Well, he thinks he is.  He's doing well.  He needs to mature a bit.  But don't all young drivers?  He is taking it seriously.  He studied.  He did his homework.  He passed his tests.  Next up?  Permit.
     I am worried about Coco for tomorrow.  He needs to go back to school.  I don't want him getting anxious today.  But at the same time, I am not going to let him continue with his attitude.  He can smell like teen spirit all he wants, but he needs to understand the parent/child relationship.  Keep your fingers crossed, OK?

Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day Blowout

No, not a big sale.  Coco and I had it out.  He put his arse down about helping out, shoveling, cleaning, etc.  All he wanted was his electronics.  I tried the calm approach.  I tried being pleasant.  Everything was eye rolls, sighs, and attitude.  Enough!  Electronics were taken.  Screaming ensued.  Whoever thinks that there will never be any yelling is delusional.  Some of it is healthy.  We probably skirted the line, hopping back and forth.  It never went way over though.  He needs a firmer hand now.  He's too comfortable.  This long break is not good for him.  He needs to get out and be active.  Sometimes, it all needs to come to a head before it gets better.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

How does your family spend Valentine's Day?  We decided to have family time....up on the roof.  I knew I had to address the 3 plus feet of snow on the roof of the garage/den.  I crawled up with a shovel.  Next thing I know, Demi and the boys are out there with me.  I was bit nervous about having us all up there.  I kept the boys away from the far edge and close to shallow parts.  With all the snow, it was only a 2 foot drop to the ground from the roof, where they were.  As we got enough snow to cover all our combined body weights off the roof and barely made a dent, I became grateful for the help.  I spent close to 4 hours getting all that snow off.  But we managed to have a great time.  Caz slid from the peak, on his butt, all the way to the front yard.  The novelty wore off for Coco quickly, but he chipped in.  They went sledding with their cousin after, increasing the extended family time.
     Later that night, the boys cooked a holiday dinner with mom.  It was great.  Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and carrots.  Salad too!  We had a nice dinner as a family.  This stuff is important.  It sets the tone.  I recommend making the time.  It is more than worth it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Coco bailed on school today.  It wasn't without a struggle.  Demi did a great job managing him.  She did her best to get hi to go.  She exhibited a lot of strength.  She didn't back down. She pushed. She negotiated. She demanded.  She explored all options.
     Coco swears he will go tomorrow.  He reiterated that fact, even after Demi introduced a new dynamic.  No more staying home.  If he is too sick to go to class, he can ride out the day in the nurse's office or guidance.  I think he was a bit shocked.   But it didn't throw him.  He acknowledged the fact.  That's all we can ask.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pardon the Interruption

The second straight day of school being closed.  This is 6 days in 3 weeks.  I really don't think these short weeks are helping our Get Coco Back to School program.  These extended layoffs are allowing him to be too comfortable at home.  They are allowing too much build up to getting back into a routine.  He is currently experiencing stomach pains.  He is getting stressed.  He is psyching himself out.  Counterproductive.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Biggest Shortest Week

With the snow days, the kids only had two and a half days of school this week.  There was a scheduled administrative day today.  However, the week was a big step for Coco.  He made it to almost every class this week.
     Of course, there were struggles.  Demi and I had some real tests of patience and wills this week.  The mornings were very stressful.  Coco started with the stomach pains Wednesday and Thursday morning.  The prospects of a full day and dealing with math were weighing on him.  Science seemed to trouble him as well.  Wednesday was my day.  I thought I fared well.  I reassured him that I believed his pains were real.  I supported him by telling him I believed in him.  Then I went 2004 Red Sox on him.  I broke it down into manageable, smaller wins for him.  "One step at a time."

Get Dressed
Brush your teeth
Brush your hair
Shoes on
Coat on
Get in the car

I almost lost him at brush your teeth.  He went into the bathroom and locked the door.  He started to revert back to camping out on the toilet.  I talked to him calmly from the behind the door.  He reacted well.  It was a balancing act between coaxing and supporting.  Demi came along and helped close the deal.  She got him in the car.  He tried to barter his way down from a full day but Demi was having none of it.  Of course, our ace in the hole was his new phone.  He wanted it.  The deal was he goes back to school, full time, and all the time.  Then he gets his phone.  That carrot likely won't last long.  But maybe we don't need it to last too long.  Hopefully.  We will see.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Winter Storm Linus

Well, Linus dropped another foot plus of snow on us.  No school for the kids for the past two days.  They really caught a break with Super Bowl Sunday.  I got up early to check the conditions on Monday AM, but decided against the new NH commute.  It would have been a no brainer normally but I had job interview scheduled.  The hiring manager was all for moving that appointment out luckily.
     The boys have been really pretty helpful with the shoveling.  They have been over next door helping out their Grandfather.  They have shoveled the areas that he can't get with the snow blower.  Coco has been out sledding with his friends for long stretches.  That has been great.  I was worried he would try to bunker down with his electronics and revert to being a shut-in.  He was at his pal's for 4 hours on Monday.  Then he had a buddy over today.  They were all over the yard.  They made tracks, paths, and forts all over the yard.  It is really nice to see him getting back to typical kid stuff.
     Tomorrow it's back to school.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday

I am trying to create a good atmosphere for today.  Even though the forecast looks bad, with another winter storm warning facing us, I need to plan for school tomorrow.  Chances are we get another foot of snow.  School will likely be canceled.  But I still need to plan ahead.  Keep things calm.
     I got the boys a 4 pack of Virgil's Cream Soda for the game.  I have multiple crock pots going with fan favorites.  I have chips, cheese, and salsa.  The new TV is ready to go.  The stage is set.
     My main stress right now is that I have a job interview scheduled for tomorrow.  In NH.  There is no way I can drive 85 miles there tomorrow.  The snow is supposed to be heaviest during my normal commute time.  I am not leaving tonight with the game on.  Yes, that is my choice.  But I don't see leaving after either.  They really should make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday.......

Friday, January 30, 2015

Back to school

It is the end of term 2.  We had a two day break due to Blizzard Juno.  Coco is still worked up about the prospect of a full day at school.  But at least he got in 4 classes today and 3 yesterday.  School is picking up.  He is doing some homework.  He is not going to get caught up anytime soon.  But he is making progress.  We are headed in the right direction.
     Don't get me wrong.  I am still the bad guy.  We had a far to common, nightly blowout over shutting down electronics.  At least now, somewhere in his actions, I can see the he knows he's wrong.  His tantrums are not what they used to be.  They are not my favorite still, but I have to acknowledge that they are getting better.  Keep moving forward, right?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blizzard 2015 - Juno

Blizzard Juno dropped over 2 feet of snow on us.  She brought excessive high winds.  We only lost power for 6 hours.  All in all, we fared very well.
     The best part about today?  We lost cable.  With cable out, we also lost the internet.  That is not great for me, as far as work goes.  But the boys had to go old school with the entertainment.  Sure, they still had video games.  They still had to read.  Better yet, they had to play together.  It was a nice sight.  It was certainly the best of a bad situation.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mostly a Win

Demi gets a "W" today, without a doubt.  Her morning started extremely poorly.  Both boys were acting up.  Caz was his usual sh*t show.  He can't get out of the house on time.  Coco started with a lot of anxiety about going to school.  The thought of a full day was getting to him.  For some reason science and math are ominous to him.  To a Chinaman?  Go figure!  There's not real reason for it.
     Coco set up camp in his go to spot...the crapper.  He stayed there long enough to miss the bus.  Demi saved the day though.  She talked with him.  She soothed him.  She negotiated.  At the end, Coco went to school for 3 classes and lunch.  I will call that a win.  Great job, Demi!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Keep Calm and Duck

My patience is wearing thin.  We are trying to keep everything calm around here, in anticipation of Coco's first full day back to school.  We want to keep the stress levels down.  Breath easy.
     Today is tough though.  Coco is pushing the limits.  We are in the charcoal grey area where he is being a typical pain in arse teenager and having legitimate anxiety.  I think he is trying to play us a bit.  It's wearing on Caz too.  He sees that we are not yelling or screaming.  He's got his own teenage view of the world.
     "You yell at me!"
       Caz forgets all the patience we extended to him, while we were dealing heavily with his ADHD.  That is not to say we are not still dealing with it.  But we are all in a better place with that.  If he acts like a knucklehead, he needs to be prepared to be called on it.
     So tonight, we sit and wait.  We are hopeful for tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

So You Had a Bad Day

Not a stellar day for this Dad.  Coco stayed home from school not feeling well.  I know he did some homework.  But he wasn't pushing himself at all.  I could only stay on him so much while working from home.  I had too many conference calls to be on him all day.  He put his arse down about how much school work he was going to do.  He has a lot of catch up to do.  I try not to overwhelm him.  But I need to push him to do more.
     We had a blowout when I told him to shut down the electronics.   I had also dared ask him to walk the neighbors dog.  Meltdown.  Complete and utter melt down.  I think I should take "I hate you!" and "Get out of my life" as a sign that I am doing things right.  I know we are still battling the anxiety, puberty, hormones, and IBS.  But I am taking a beating.  Just keep getting back up off the mat, right?  I stayed calm.  I did raise my voice once.  But only once.  I think that is OK.  I get one foul, right?  Sure, I do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mid Term Exams 2015

Caz has mid term exams all week.  I like that he is actually showing a little initiative to study.  Study habits are important.  He needs to learn how to do that effective now.  the first step is always the hardest.  It's like anything, you need to make a concious decision to do something first.  At least he know realizes that he can't just wing it.  He can't just show up and expect that he is going to be ready. He can't possible think he has retained everything he has learned so far this year.
     Coco starts to up his game to two classes a day this week.  He has picked out his proposed agenda for the week.  He knows he needs to hit some of the classes that he has been neglecting.  By that I mean there are subjects that he had not begun to catch up.  We have a plan though.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's

OK, maybe not Tiffany's.  At the Hop.  The Brant Rock Hop to be precise.  I will take another win.  I took both boys out for breakfast this morning.  And I got them both to go to Colony Place in Plymouth.  The draw was helping to pick out a new TV for the living room.  I couldn't get Coco out of the car and into Best Buy.  But I still chalk it up as a win.
     Caz actually was eager to help.  He was even more eager to help pick out a PC.  He really wanted to strip down the old one for spare parts.  He is building his own computer.  I am very supportive of the project.  I like that he is interested in creating something like that on his own.  Maybe it's the start of a budding career.  Who knows?  I only think it can help him in the long run.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Coco Goes to the Movies

Another weekend win!  I got Coco out of the house on a weekend.  Another big step towards recovery.  Sure, it sounds innocuous enough, just going to a movie.  But that is a big deal.  We almost didn't make it.  I had been playing with him all morning, and asked if we could have some Father/Son Fun time.  He said sure.  Of course, we had been trying the previous two weekends and failed.  But he was playing along this time.  I asked him if he wanted to know where we were going or be surprised.  He wanted to be surprised.  But Demi, trying to help, almost blew it.  She was right out of a bad movie.  After her first gaff, she kept on going.  Every two minutes it was a question nor statement about our destination.  Coco started tensing up.  He said his stomach hurt and just laid on the couch, while he was supposed to be getting ready.  I thought for sure we were doomed.  But I picked him up playfully and joked about dropping him on his head.  As soon as he laughed, I knew I had him.  So off we went to see The Hobbit - Battle of the Five Armies.  I got him a ginger ale that was large enough to last a week.  He crushed it and then had to pee halfway into the movie.  We made it all the way through.  I pushed my luck and tried to get him to go for new shoes.  No die there.  But hey, we were out of the house for 3 hours.  Huge step.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015


It's official.  Caz is now signed up for Driver's Ed.  We had a quick talk about a few local programs.  When it came time to decide, Caz decided he did't want to pay the difference ($200) between the tow program through the school and the private local class.  Good call.  I know the teacher in the local program.  He was my high school head football coach.  Great guy.  He's been teaching Driver's Ed for decades.  Caz should be in good hands.  I can't believe the time has come.  But it surely has.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Streaking in the Quad

We have a legitimate streak.  All 5 days to school.  Coco was a champ.  We almost had a doubleheader on Friday.  He did go to lunch.  Extra time there.  That is a big step.  He knows he needs to up his game next week.  He is already prepared.  We are very proud of him.  I think he is proud of himself too.  That is more important.  He needs to win his inner battle with himself.  This is a great sign that progress is being made.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back in The Saddle Again

Tally today in the win column.  Coco was back to school for a class.  Not only that but he took a test. He got a 100%.  I guess he really was studying his Latin.  They had a contest in class too.  He took first place.  The top 3 finishers were all of Asian decent coincidentally.  Just your fun fact for the day.
     I Was remiss in my post yesterday.  I forgot to mention that Caz had a big adolescent milestone e past weekend.  Apparently, he has made friends at work.  Older friends. Friends that can drive.  Yep. He went out after work with his pals, up to Derby Street to hit Chipotle.  Demi and I had a long talk with hi m before hand.  We talked about a curfew.  We talked about wearing a seatbelt.  Then we talked about making good decisions.  We talked about our Safe Ride program.  We stold him that even one drink can't impair a driver, especially a young driver.  He can call us with no yelling.  No questions asked.  We will even meet him down the street.  He seemed to get it.  Sure, we got a brush off.  We can only hope he was listening.  But he was home, safe and sound, at 9:30.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Waiting on Week 2

Sunday is football day right?  Well, the Pats played last night.  Even with some good playoff match-ups on, football is in the backseat.  It's the anticipation of the coming week.  Coco has been surly all weekend.  To both of us.  He tensed up the AM, at the mere mention of school tomorrow.  We dropped that topic.
     He is spending some time with his buddies.  That is a good thing.  He needs to socialize.  He is too isolated these days.  The sound of laughter is much welcomed today.  I hope it lasts.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Fun Day

Dad's turn today.  Coco has been on school duty all week.  She's done a great job.  Today, its my day to get Coco to school.  The pressure is on.  I have not been Coco's favorite person lately.  He doesn't have a lot of patience for Dad these days. I think he know's that I will stand firm.  I will push him outside his comfort zone a bit.  I think we have to in order to have him make progress.
     All in all, it was a successful day.  I got both the boys to school.  Caz almost had Coco go on the bus.  For a moment, there was a glimmer.  Maybe the bus is not that far away then.  Coco also spent a lot of time on homework today.  He spent all afternoon at it.  Sure, he could have been browsing the web some.  But he knows we check.  He has to produce some results.  More progress though.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Stepping Back

There was bound to be hiccups along the way.  Right?  We were prepared.  Two day in a row was a good streak.  Coco is experiencing some acid reflux.  Actually, it's more that some.  It's pretty bad heart burn.  So he got a day to gather himself.  He deserves that right?  Demi already set expectations that tomorrow is back to school.  She was fair but firm.

Monday, January 5, 2015

One Giant Step for Chinkind

Coco went to school today.  He went in for Latin class.  He proved as good as his word.  He also took a quiz.  That means he was doing his homework.  A good sign.  He didn't seem to have any ill effects.  He actually seems in good spirits.
     Demi was a trooper.  She did a lot of organizing to make this happen.  Of course school is the priority.  But it certainly is not easy.  She was really nervous about being strong enough to get Coco to school.  I never doubted her for a second.

Friday, January 2, 2015

One step forward

Well, the good news is that Coco is acknowledging that he needs to go to school on Monday.  He seems to deem it a certainty  Of course, he's done this in the past too and ended up not going  But something seems different this time.  I am hopeful that it is.  I would very much like to see him making progress.  And so now, it is a waiting game.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Well, it's a new year.  It's supposed to be a time filled with hope.  It's a time filled with anticipation of what the new year will bring.  I'm going to try and go with that theme.  With all the chaos surrounding our lives at the moment  I am going to try to be more diligent in posting.  I think it helps me too.  Putting thoughts into words has a calming effect.  So may your year be filled with health, happiness and success, and let's see where this goes.