Reconnecting with My Mountain Roots: Day 1

Reconnecting with My Mountain Roots: Day 1

The kids had a couple days off for fall break last week, and so, because we are rugged people, we made a dash to the mountains of North Carolina.

Having grown up and lived almost my whole life in Florida, you might not expect me to be a mountain man, but I most definitely am. In fact, many years ago when I went away to law school in Virginia for six weeks, I bought a pair of hiking boots, which still sit in my closet under a pile of pillows to this very day. It’s not so much that you live in the mountains, it’s that the mountains live inside you.

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Driving by Houses in Cars: Passing Down a Favorite Pastime

Driving by Houses in Cars: Passing Down a Favorite Pastime

One of my four-year-old’s favorite activities is driving by houses of people we know. Not going to their houses, of course, just driving by casually. Peak drive-by time can vary, but it is typically right before or after school.

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I’ve Never Juggled Bowls While Riding a Unicycle, But I Do Have Children

I’ve Never Juggled Bowls While Riding a Unicycle, But I Do Have Children

An acrobat known as Red Panda has been a staple of basketball halftime shows across the country for more than twenty years. I once saw her in person at an NBA game years before I had children. I was stunned by her simple in concept, yet seemingly impossible in practice, act. In short, she rides a very tall unicycle, places an increasing numbers of bowls onto her foot and leg, flips the bowls into the air, and catches them in a stack on her head.

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A Tale of Two Treasure Hunts

A Tale of Two Treasure Hunts

My six-year-old made me a treasure hunt to complete one afternoon recently. Making a treasure hunt is the kind of thing you do on hot, stormy afternoons in August when it’s impossible to go outside and your dad finally makes you turn off the TV and electronics for a few minutes.

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I Changed a Flat Tire, So I Can Do Anything Now

I Changed a Flat Tire, So I Can Do Anything Now

There are a few key items every dad has to check off his dad list and perhaps the most important one is changing a flat tire on the side of the highway with your family in the car.

And, as of this weekend, I have checked it off.

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A Different Kind of First Day

A Different Kind of First Day

This year’s first day of school felt different. Perhaps it was because of our three first days so far it was the only one that had no true firsts. No one was starting school for the very first time or starting at a school we didn’t know.

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Sometimes Parenting is a Train Wreck

Sometimes Parenting is a Train Wreck

We took a short ride on the city train yesterday just to have something to do on one of our last days of summer vacation.

What I didn’t bargain for was that after we messed around the park and shops near where we got off the train, when we returned to the train station, the attendant told us that there had been an accident and the trains were shut down until further notice.

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Tell Us What You Did This Summer

Tell Us What You Did This Summer

If I had to stand up in front of the class and tell everyone what we did this summer—and thankfully I don’t have to do that—this is what I would say.

We did a little bit of everything and a little bit of nothing.

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Did We Start the Fire or Not? (First Concert Memories)

Did We Start the Fire or Not? (First Concert Memories)

I went to my first concert in July 1990 when I was nine years old. For those of you who know me, it might come as a surprise that I was so young. However, the concert was Billy Joel, so now it probably makes more sense. 

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Fulfilling Our Destiny: A Solo Road Trip with Children

Fulfilling Our Destiny: A Solo Road Trip with Children

I recently took my three kids (ages six, four, and two) on a road trip from Florida to North Carolina without my wife because I am a crazy person. A funny thing happened, though; it turned out okay. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all (nope, my wife has confirmed that I’m still crazy).

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Sameness

Sameness

We must have been hanging around by the muddy lake for at least two hours, but it might as well have been four hours or six or ten. We were well-equipped with two plastic grocery bags filled with Cheez Its, a few bananas and apples, thermos cups filled with water, bread for the minnows that swim near the lake’s shore, and two plastic cups to catch the minnows. The essentials. 

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A Pop Song, a Volcano, and a Frog

A Pop Song, a Volcano, and a Frog

One of my 6-year-old’s favorite songs came on the radio on our drive home from my parents’ house. The car was dark and my two younger kids were already sound asleep as he crooned along, terribly off key. 

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Spending Quality Time With My Kids is Great, But Fatherhood Sure Can Be Awkward

Spending Quality Time With My Kids is Great, But Fatherhood Sure Can Be Awkward

I’m always looking for fun activities to do with the kids after school and on weekends. It can be difficult, though, because it’s hard to come up with things a one-, three-, and six-year-old will all enjoy. 

My wife was out of town for a few days recently and suddenly the need for fun (time-killing) activities felt even more urgent. Don’t get me wrong, because I’ve been a stay-at-home parent for more than six years, I’m as equipped as anyone to solo parent for a few days, but really, no one is suitably equipped.

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The End of the Day

The End of the Day

Often at the end of the day, which I define as when I’m finished getting the last child I’m responsible for to sleep and can be any time between 8:30 and 10:30 depending on how things go, I take stock of the day that was.

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Waiting is Overrated: A Day at the Beach

Waiting is Overrated: A Day at the Beach

There are two primary seasons in Florida: wet and dry. This year, the wet season descended upon us with fury. It rained every day for more days than I can remember.

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Landscaping with Children: An Update

Landscaping with Children: An Update

Before you read any further, check out Part I of this story.

I know you’ve all been wondering, so an update is long overdue. The landscaping project is still going wonderfully. Thanks for asking!

It’s nice to be seen for once. Our house is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, so we don’t get much casual traffic. And even when we had a large number of people over—earlier this month for a kids’ birthday party—literally no one commented on the upgrades to the front yard.

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Dirt is My Parenting Kryptonite

Dirt is My Parenting Kryptonite

My children do plenty of annoying things, but perhaps the one that quickens my pulse the most is playing in the dirt. I have no idea why this is. On its face, it is a relatively benign activity. No one is in danger of getting hurt (for the most part, more on that later) and I don’t have to do anything until the fun is over. They have never once asked me to join them in their filthy games, which is a true blessing.

It is inexplicable why this mundane activity is my parenting kryptonite, yet here we are.

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Technological Jealousy: A Dad’s Lament

Technological Jealousy: A Dad’s Lament

On several occasions recently, my six-year-old has had me film him doing something fascinating like drumming on couch cushions, scaring his sister, or hitting golf balls in the yard so we could upload the video to YouTube and watch it back on our TV.

I can’t blame him.

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