A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles in 9to5to9

The end of the toy era
Wednesday, 20 Jul, 2011 – 13:09 | Comments Off
The end of the toy era

I figured we were headed this way a year ago, when all Big Guy wanted for his birthday was “cool clothes.” Clothes? Didn’t that used to be the ultimate gifting insult?
Suspicion grew stronger at Christmas, …

On Tuesday, he ate …
Tuesday, 19 Jul, 2011 – 14:37 | Comments Off
On Tuesday, he ate …

Looking back, it was a mistake to read Big Guy “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” when he was a baby. Or maybe it’s his kindergarten teacher’s fault.
Whatever the reason, he’s been bent on living out the …

Why the guys have barely cracked a book all summer
Monday, 18 Jul, 2011 – 12:15 | One Comment
Why the guys have barely cracked a book all summer

I started out with good intentions, declaring as school let out that the guys would read for a half hour each day.
That soon devolved to bribing – they’d earn one “Mom Buck” for each 30 …

Get your hair cut whenever you want – I can wait
Friday, 1 Jul, 2011 – 14:01 | One Comment
Get your hair cut whenever you want – I can wait

When Daphine was a girl, red shoes were forbidden – only “loose women” wore them, she was told.
As a result, as soon as she got her first job she took part of her first paycheck …

Epiblogue: He finally catches him
Thursday, 30 Jun, 2011 – 13:31 | Comments Off
Epiblogue: He finally catches him

Ever the practical soul, Boots doesn’t believe in “getting there is half the fun.” For him, there is no fun if there’s no reason for going. Not that I blame him. I’ve never seen the …

‘I’ve been trying to catch him my entire life!’
Wednesday, 29 Jun, 2011 – 11:18 | One Comment
‘I’ve been trying to catch him my entire life!’

I wonder if little Serena Williams ever slammed her racket in frustration after big sister Venus beat her again. Or if Kyle Busch ever got frustrated seeing nothing but older brother Kurt’s bumper as they …

How Debra got her groove back
Tuesday, 28 Jun, 2011 – 12:31 | 2 Comments
How Debra got her groove back

A funny thing happened on the way down the mountain.
Maybe the cross at the top triggered a religious experience, or maybe my brain lapsed into giddy euphoria due to oxygen deprivation. Whatever the reason, exercise …

‘Doing Daddy’s job’ – and other ways kids cope
Monday, 27 Jun, 2011 – 12:03 | Comments Off
‘Doing Daddy’s job’ – and other ways kids cope

It started out as a joke between a 7-year-old and his mom. A few weeks after his dad deployed, the boy sat down on the couch, grabbed the  remote and began flipping channels. “I’m doing …

The problem with “Deathly Hallows Part 2″
Thursday, 23 Jun, 2011 – 10:57 | 2 Comments
The problem with “Deathly Hallows Part 2″

Day of Reckoning: July 15, when Harry meets Voldemort for the final throwdown, unless J.K. Rowlings goes cuckoo and writes another sequel. I really hope she doesn’t – how the heck do you best the …

Monopoly and mad skills
Wednesday, 22 Jun, 2011 – 12:10 | One Comment
Monopoly and mad skills

It’s one simple board game, but in our house it has seemingly endless variations.
There’s the Bernie Madoff Monopoly Edition, where I sit in jail for as long as I can but still wind up …

Turning the mountain back into a molehill
Tuesday, 21 Jun, 2011 – 16:35 | One Comment
Turning the mountain back into a molehill

Mount Blackie. Elevation unknown, so let’s just call it “hecka high.”
Except it’s not really all that high, unless you’re a 7-year-old itching to scale it. Unless you have memories of a previous  failed attempt. Unless …

The legacy of a life ended too soon
Thursday, 21 Apr, 2011 – 12:45 | Comments Off

The guys are not squeamish about the news – there’s really no way a kid can be growing up in a military community, where events continents away can flare and invade your life. So …

Law & Order: Baseball Intent
Wednesday, 20 Apr, 2011 – 12:18 | 2 Comments
Law & Order: Baseball Intent

If there’s an app on my phone Big Guy is going to play with it – especially since I’ve taken the games off my geriatric-by-today’s standards Blackberry so I could install Major League Baseball At …

Coach Big Guy at his finest
Tuesday, 19 Apr, 2011 – 13:15 | Comments Off
Coach Big Guy at his finest

Big Guy is like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When he’s good, he’s very good …
Boots is a living example of “better the devil you know than the devil …

What I will never tell the guys about state testing
Tuesday, 12 Apr, 2011 – 11:14 | Comments Off
What I will never tell the guys about state testing

The guys go to a school that ends at second grade, though the weight of the entire student body has been thrown behind this week’s state testing.
The kindergarteners made posters supporting the second graders – …

Happy birthday – please don’t die
Monday, 11 Apr, 2011 – 11:44 | 2 Comments
Happy birthday – please don’t die

I’ve never paid much attention to birthdays – not since I turned 18, at least, and was old enough to drink. Yes, I am that old. Being old doesn’t especially bother me most of the …

Reaching shutdown shutdown
Thursday, 7 Apr, 2011 – 14:09 | One Comment
Reaching shutdown shutdown

After a few hours this morning of watching various channels for word on the budget the way he usually watches for news from Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, Dad had had enough. “Whatever happens will happen,” …

You can learn a lot from a dummy
Wednesday, 6 Apr, 2011 – 12:25 | Comments Off
You can learn a lot from a dummy

I wish I could track down everyone who, two years ago, was ready to label Boots a mental midget just because Big Guy was doing well in kindergarten.
“Gosh, I hope Boots isn’t dumb,” was the …

Boots plays kindergarten cop
Tuesday, 5 Apr, 2011 – 13:32 | Comments Off
Boots plays kindergarten cop

Boots is  a law and order man – except when it comes to keeping his stuff in order, but what fun is being the sheriff if you can’t let yourself out of the occasional parking …

Home is where you make it
Monday, 4 Apr, 2011 – 15:50 | Comments Off
Home is where you make it

I’ve lived in nine different cities and towns in my adult life – journalism in the early part of your career is a lot like the military. Two or three  years and you’re out, except …

Why I volunteer at the guys’ school
Friday, 1 Apr, 2011 – 15:16 | Comments Off
Why I volunteer at the guys’ school

It came to 17 hours out of my life this week, and I’m a slacker. Some folks put in 40 or more. My paltry total still was the equivalent of half a work week at …

Big Guy’s warp-speed world
Thursday, 31 Mar, 2011 – 11:14 | Comments Off
Big Guy’s warp-speed world

The running joke about Big Guy is that he was born in a hurry. He arrived a week early, with all the subtlety of a thunderstorm, and tried to pop his head up and look …

Yes, it was a fun season
Wednesday, 30 Mar, 2011 – 10:27 | Comments Off
Yes, it was a fun season

It took Big Guy all of three minutes after meeting his coach to assess the coming flag football season – not that he’s prone to snap judgments.
“This is going to be fun,” he grinned. “He’s …

Bad Kitty’s the purrfect read
Tuesday, 29 Mar, 2011 – 13:15 | Comments Off
Bad Kitty’s the purrfect read

In this corner we have Big Guy, who’s bored with every book I bring home and isn’t fond of fiction.
In this corner we have Boots, who could devour Step 3 books if he wanted to, …

Learning a happy sort of hate
Monday, 28 Mar, 2011 – 13:37 | One Comment
Learning a happy sort of hate

The old proverb slipped out of my mouth Friday night before I could stop it, as Spike and Jerry ganged up on Tom during a marathon cartoon session: “The enemy of my enemy is my …

The empathy dog
Friday, 18 Mar, 2011 – 11:33 | One Comment
The empathy dog

Rita is not having a good time of it.
We’re on a road trip that came up at the last minute, too late to make arrangements to board here. She handled the trip part spectacularly. We’d …

Wait, guys! Mommy wants to play!
Thursday, 17 Mar, 2011 – 11:19 | One Comment
Wait, guys! Mommy wants to play!

No matter how involved you are as a parent, you know that “Cat’s in the Cradle” moment is going to come eventually. I just expected it closer to college.
Mine instead happened this week, courtesy of …

Lessons from the lemonade stand
Wednesday, 16 Mar, 2011 – 11:47 | 2 Comments
Lessons from the lemonade stand

It was the kind of capitalism that capitalists would frown on because, while it didn’t take a village, it did require three sets of siblings.
First came the idea, which actually was stolen from another set …