Oct 30

A Real Mensch

Sheriff Joel

Sheriff Joel

Joel made me really proud two weeks ago, but he was just doing the kind of thing he usually does.

Joel’s very confident in pre-K (as all my kids have been), and he has never had any separation anxiety, but plenty of kids have. One of the girls in his class has had a particularly hard time adjusting. She cries just about every day, missing her mommy terribly. As a result, she has had some trouble socializing with her classmates.

Two weeks ago, this girl was having another rough day, and nobody seemed to want to play with her. Everyone except Joel, that is.

He invited her over to a table to draw and write. She was hesitant at first, but soon they were both writing, smiling, and laughing together.

As a reward for his warm gesture of friendship, Joel’s teachers gave him the plastic sheriff star badge in the ...

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Oct 17

Of Love and Co-Sleeping

How can I say no to this face?!

How can I say no to this face?!

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth. I’ve just been busy adjusting to and enjoying life with our new baby. Oh yeah, the pretty girl in the photo to the left is Eleanor Bernadette. We call her “Ella” for short. She was born on September 26. :)

Just as with all three siblings who preceded her in infancy, she ostensibly spends her nights in a “sidecar” co-sleeper bassinet. I say “ostensibly”, because more often that not she ends up sleeping on my chest or next to me in my bed. We try to put her “back to sleep” in the sidecar, but she wriggles and cries – louder and louder – instead of falling asleep. We’ve tried swaddling, shushing, singing, and basically any other trick we’ve heard of in our 6 years of parenting – to no avail. She ...

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Aug 30

How Weird Al Helped Me Propose to My Wife

What do mean you haven't seen this masterpiece yet?!

What do mean you haven’t seen this masterpiece yet?!

With a horde of YouTube fans and a #1 album on Billboard, Weird Al Yankovic is enjoying a bit of a second or third wind in his 4-decade career. So, I guess now is as good a time as any to tell the story of how Weird Al helped me propose to my wife.

OK, he didn’t personally help me propose. However, my whole scheme for being unique was based on his cult classic 1989 movie UHF.

It was December 29, 2002. Amanda was staying at my parents house to visit for Christmas and the new year. I’d arranged for my parents to conveniently decide to go see a movie and leave us alone at the house. Once they’d left, I told Amanda I was really in the mood to watch UHF.

She wasn’t. Uh oh.

My whole plan almost ...

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Aug 19

A Spoonful of Seasoning Helps the Yucky Soup Go Down

I couldn't find a picture of Alex making a "yuck" face, so this will have to do.

I couldn’t find a picture of Alex making a “yuck” face, so this will have to do.

Alex is a very picky eater. He operates on a dietary version of the closed world assumption. If he doesn’t know for sure that he likes something, he believes and firmly states that he doesn’t like it – even if he’s never tried it. Stubborn as he is (just like his parents), he’ll willingly sit through dinner without eating anything. (And since we don’t do special requests when kids don’t like what we serve, that’s just what he does.) I managed to outwit him recently, though, and get him to eat most of a dinner he said he didn’t want.

About a week ago, we had tortellini soup. Alex likes tortellini (What’s not to like?), but he doesn’t like the zucchini, tomatoes, spices, etc. We usually make dinner meals fairly bland, ...

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Aug 18

A Prayer for Spouses and Parents

Mother Teresa was a big fan of this prayer [Photo © 1986 Túrelio (via Wikimedia-Commons), 1986 / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0]

I was recently absorbed in some selfish introspection (“Why do my kids seem to go out of their way to drive me nuts?!”) when my conscience reminded me of a better direction to channel my thoughts. I suddenly recalled a famous prayer that had more personal relevance than I’d considered. Called “Make Me an Instrument of your Peace“, it is often incorrectly attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. I know not all of my readers are of a religious persuasion, but I think the second half of this prayer has broad application to spouses and parents.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in ...

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