Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas links

Below are a couple cool Christmas links for the family:

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Check Santa's list to see what he thinks. (Found courtesy of Yahoo!'s Dory Devlin.)

Of course, on Christmas eve, you can use NORAD to track Santa's global trip -- including video clips. We've done this the past several years. It's pretty neat.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Do you know that they know if you are watching?

As parents involved in our childrens' lives, we know that we need to be there at their activites and events. Attending. Watching. Listening.

One additional thing I've learned is that, not only do we have to be there, but we have to be sure our children see us watching them.

For example, during the various lessons and other activities my kids have been involved in at the local YMCA, I'm watching them swim, learn gymnastics, climb the rock wall. I've also seen them turn and look at me after they've completed a teacher's task or other accomplishment.

They are checking to see if I'm watching.

And, I am (at least most every time).

I cringe when I see parents attending, for example, swim lessons, and bring a magazine to read while at the pool or constantly checking their Blackberry or similar device. Really, they might as well not be there.

Because they are really missing out on watching their children learn, grow, achieve -- and check to see if they are watching.

-- Michael

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ya gotta have faith

I'm not one to wear my religion on my sleeve. I consider myself religious -- or at least "a good Catholic" -- but not one that is vocally religious. I'm still not preachy but, whether through practical necessity or through God's hands, I've started to rely much more on faith of late.

Actually, just the past week.

A week ago today (Sunday), my wife confirmed what we had been hoping would not be true: That she is pregnant with our fourth child.

We wanted three children, and had two boys and one girl (now ages 8, 5 and 3). On our own time. According to plan. And, we were done with our family, and planning a trip to Disney World next June.

Good thing we didn't put a deposit down because God had other plans.

Without going into too much detail, suffice to say that Amy and I needed some medical assistance for her to get pregnant with our three children. With no more need for that assistance, we were not as careful and figured our family was complete with the five of us.

But, as noted above, God had other plans (okay, with assistance from Amy and me).

We both enjoy being parents, and love our three children all very much. And, we'll love child #4 equally very much.

So, we're making plans and looking to deal with issues like Amy likely quiting her job next summer, finding additional room in our home, buying baby clothes, toys and other stuff -- after selling most of it in garage sales the past two summers!

We definitely don't have all the answers.

But, we do know we have to have faith in God and that -- as long as we have faith, pray and do all we humanly can to find the answers -- it'll all work out for the best when the time comes.

We just gotta have faith.
-- Michael

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A lesson only a dad can really teach

During the weekend, after one trip to a public restroom with my youngest (5yo) son, I reminded him what that slot in the front of his underwear is used for.

Typically, when he pees, he simply pulls down his pants and underwear -- exposing his rear to the rest of any restroom users. So, being a good dad, I stand behind him, facing out, to give him some privacy and keep his rear as unexposed as possible.

This morning while I was shaving, my son came into the bathroom to do his own business at the toilet. He proudly said that Tuesday while at school, he went to the potty, pulled down his pants as usual -- but kept his underwear up and stood there doing his business using that slot (door?) in his underwear as it's supposed to be used.

I am such a proud dad!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WOW?! Comments on Dooce?


I commented some time ago on my "other blog" about Heather Armstrong/Dooce being a major mini media empire. Or, something like that. And, that's why -- I assume -- she didn't allow comments.

But, lo and behold . . . she is!

But, even though I have a Typepad account, my blog here didn't register when I signed in and left a comment (or two).

-- Mike

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

When opportunity knocks, do you have to answer it?

The Internet is inherently neither negative nor positive. It is simply a tool. It and the related technologies offer an abundant of opportunities. And, how those technologies are used is good or bad, fun or annoying, productive or wasteful, etc.

A few weeks ago, I read the story about a national sting that netted 125 perverts in a child-porn case.
"I'm the father of four young children between the ages of 13 and 3," [U.S. Attorney Christopher] Christie said. "This is every parent's worst nightmare. It is just deeply disturbing to know there are people like this out there in our neighborhoods."
Out of courtesy to the "voice of reason," I'll include this line from the story:
Several of those arrested nationwide have prior records for molesting or sexually assaulting children, officials said.
Several. Not most or many of the 125, just several.

Still, it seems like we often are hearing or reading about sexual predators, child porn and other sick society stuff. Was this "stuff" as prevalent 10, 20 or 50 years ago? If alive 75 years ago, would these people still be participating and/or watching these deviant activities?

Or, is the opportunity to view this perversion on the Internet bringing it out from the evil bowels of their souls?
-- Mike

Friday, October 27, 2006

Is this how George Lucas started?

My son is a huge Star Wars fan, and even has plans for his own Star Wars-like movie next spring.

In the meantime, he's enjoying science at school. So, he decided to combine his science work with his movie ideas.

He wanted to share the latest school science demonstration with others and show them -- parents and kids -- that science can be fun. (While posting to YouTube was my idea -- though he enjoys the Godzilla snippets -- the Super Science was definitely all his.)

Learn and enjoy!
-- Mike

Friday, October 20, 2006

Crazy brothers, Crazy Frog!

Crazy brothers, Crazy Frog!

Very funny, very cute. These kids have definitely received more than their 15 minutes of fame.

Initially found it courtesy of Robert Scoble/Scobelizer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Don't forget about scheduling playtime

For many (most?) working-class parents, life is hectic. There's not only our own work life, relationship with our spouse, and just plain living we have to schedule in -- there's the ever-important role we play in our children's lives.

And, trying to give them the best. Enriching their lives, stimulating their brains, clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, etc.

Often, we forget about free time. Time when they can do whatever they want. Okay, strike that. Time they can play whatever they want -- not being entertained by video games or the TV, but playtime. Preferably outside.

The AP had a story from the American Academy of Pediatrics about how valuable playtime is. Not studying or piano lessons or baseball games or even reading. But, playing.

"Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood," says the report, prepared by two academy committees for release Monday at the group's annual meeting in Atlanta. . . .
It says enrichment tools and organized activities can be beneficial but should not be viewed as a requirement for creating successful children. Above all, they must be balanced with plenty of free play time (my emphasis), the report says.
Balance? What a concept! Even if we have to schedule free playtime, do it.

"New York Daily News" columnist Lenore Skenazy makes a good point in today's column about one possible reason why we've forgotten about playtime:

First and foremost, I blame cable. Not kids watching cable (although three hours of the Cartoon Network will turn anyone's brain into Go-Gurt). ADULTS watching cable - that's the problem. Because any time some poor child gets abducted or, God forbid, killed, it is on the news all day. Sometimes all decade.

As the anchors grimly shake their heads for the zillionth time, it's almost impossible to remember the truth: These horrible incidents are not increasing. They are on TV precisely because they are rare. We live in very safe times, and New York City is the safest it has been since the '60s. So it is no nuttier to let your kid ride her bike outside today than it was when the Bradys were still a Bunch.

While my wife and are not perfect parents, we do try to make sure our kids don't get lazy and just sit and watch TV or play video games (as we know it's easy enough to do).

This past Sunday was a perfect example. My wife and I were doing some fall yardwork, and practically kicked our kids out of the house to play outside. Even when our oldest son (8yo) wanted to go back in, we said no. It was a beautiful day in (70s, light wind, sunny), and likely one of the last nice days to be out without a jacket.

So, while we were outside, the kids were outside.

One thing I think has gotten in they way of free, spontaneous playtime is "playdates." While the thought of scheduling time with friends seems to be a necessary evil, I don't remember having playdates scheduled for me when I was growing up.

That's why I'm thrilled that two of my oldest son's friends live nearby. One is two houses away, and the other is on the street behind us (within 1/2 mile). They often do not have playdates. They just go to each other's homes or call and get together.

When our kids don't recognize free time to play (with siblings or friends) and get to watching TV, it is up to parents to "be the parent" and get the kids off their duffs. It's too easy to get busy and let TV and video games be our kids' friends.

Remember, it's not up to our children to be the responsible ones. It's up to us to be the parents.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tragedy can teach, inspire


In the face of tragedy, we often learn from and can hope to emulate the courage of victims.

Case in point comes from the evil that befell an Amish community in Pennsylvania.

The oldest of the five Amish girls (Marian Fisher, 13) shot dead in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse is said to have stepped forward and asked her killer to "Shoot me first," in an apparent effort to buy time for her schoolmates. . . .
What's more, Fisher's 11-year-old sister, Barbie, who survived the shooting, allegedly asked the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to "Shoot me second," (a midwife who delivered two of the victims Rita) Rhoads said.

As Rhoads later is quoted in that ABC News article, "How many adults are willing to do that? Not many."

There are some tragedies that just can't be prevented -- without putting bars and locks on all buildings. That still doesn't diminish the pain the families and community must be feeling.

But, for the rest of us, other than praying and/or wishing well for them, the best we can do is learn from and look to borrow at least some of the courage that the Fisher girls showed us all.

Other business
On an unrelated note, it is amazing what a link from such a high-traffic blog like can do. Both this site and my PR site have received 50-70+ and 40-50+ visits, respectively, the past couple days from the brief mention there. When I sent the e-mail regarding my post about a list of child sex offenders, I didn't intend for the author to mention my blog -- but to include the links I noted for others to find.

So, thanks for the pointer . . . whoever you are.

UPDATE: Well, while we don't know yet who you are, but we know where you worked and where you're from and the scandal behind the blog. You are a putz. For more, check out Technorati for references to that fake blog.

-- Michael

Friday, September 29, 2006

Home schooling is looking awfully good about now

Is it just me, or does home schooling seem awfully safe vs. public schooling?

Student shoots principal at Wis. school

Investigation of Colorado school shooting turns up suicide note

And, these are just in the past 24 hours. Yeah, I'm may be over-reacting, but it does make one think.
-- Michael

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Podcasts from Buster?

Should "Postcards from Buster" be "Podcasts from Buster"?

I mean, afterall, he videos most of his visits, right? How hard would it be to take the videos and make them into podcasts, then put them on a site for Arthur, Francine and his other friends to view? Or, even download?

-- Mike

Sorry, I know I shouldn't mix my personal life (like this blog) with aspects of my professional life. But, when you have kids, the two invariably mix.

Technorati tags: Postcards from Buster, PBS Kids

Sunday, August 06, 2006

You know you're old when . . . .

You know you are old -- and your generation is in charge of things -- when the jokes and references on your children's TV shows and movies reference aspects of YOUR childhood.

My kids were watching Disney's The Emperor's New School and there was a reference to Rock'em Sock'em Robots.

Geez, I'm old.

Let me know if you see any other references to our childhood come up on today's programs.
-- Michael

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Child sex offender lists

UPDATED 10/27/06: Well, while we don't know yet the name of the fraud behind, we do know where he worked and where he's from. What a putz. For more, check out Technorati for references to that fake blog.

I cannot imagine what parents whose children are missing or have been criminal victims must have gone through. I hope I never have to experience that. Anyone who preys on children -- no matter the reason, insane or sane -- should be locked up and/or put out.

I caught a good portion of John and Reve Walsh on Larry King Live the other night. It was very interesting and informational. The Walsh family -- with John Walsh in the spotlight -- are amazing people. They have taken a personal, family tragedy and made it a national crusade. Because of the Walsh's work, more children will be saved from the fate of Adam Walsh.

But, only if you -- the parents -- get and stay involved with your children.

Below is a list of sex offender registerys. Check them often, and know who your children's friends and associates are.

Family Watchdog: A site where you can search who in your area -- or any area -- has committed a crime against a child. Also includes sign ups and links to Amber Alerts.

U.S. Dept of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Registry

State of Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry

State of Ohio Sex Offender Registry

AMBER Alert Portal

Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States

What other good links should parents know about?
-- Mike

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Words cannot describe how much I enjoy being a daddy. (Yes, I enjoy being a husband, but that's a focus for another blog.) If you enjoy it (either a daddy or a mommy), then you know what I mean. Nothing (or very little else) really brings me as much pure joy.

I registered this blog some time ago with the intention of my wife and I blogging about being parents: Little tips and quips we learn along the way; stories; comments; etc.

While, at least early on, most if not all of the posts will be authored by me (Mike), my wife may later decided to post as well. Or, just start her own.

The posts will likely be infrequent, but hopefully always of some value.
That's my intro.