The Tree and the Honeysuckle Vine

The Tree and the Honeysuckle Vine

“Hey, daddy! Look! There’s a turtle sitting by our front door,” one of my children announced excitedly on a hot afternoon in May.

Florida is wild. You can hardly set foot outside your front door without stepping on something squirmy or slithery. And while most people probably know about the alligators, the turtles, the humidity, and the Florida Man, if you don’t live here, you’re probably not as familiar with our vegetation.

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The Hardware Store and a Butterfly Experience: The Ultimate Suburban Florida Weekend

The Hardware Store and a Butterfly Experience: The Ultimate Suburban Florida Weekend

I’m not saying I’m getting desperate, but I decided it would be fun for us to take a family outing to Lowe’s over the weekend. This may sound crazy, but I can explain. We need some new carpet, and anything beats sitting around and watching YouTube. Or so I thought.

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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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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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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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How Al Fresco Dining Can Help Save Your Sanity (for Like 30 Minutes)

How Al Fresco Dining Can Help Save Your Sanity (for Like 30 Minutes)

Sometimes you just need to eat dinner outside.

Before we get too far into this, let me assure that this story is not a giant humblebrag about living in Florida in the winter. I’m not going to go on and on about how the weather has been perfect lately, crisp and cool at night and beyond comfortable during the day (except for a couple days ago when it was randomly 30 degrees we almost declared a state of emergency—Lowe’s customers were practically massacring each other to procure the last of the Duraflame logs). I wouldn’t do that to any of you stuck in the northeast or Midwest or Canada who are currently living in blocks of ice or igloos or houses made of bear skins or something (I’m unclear on the details as I don’t have much experience with cold climates).

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Nighttime in December

Nighttime in December

It was a cold night, but not so cold that the boys didn’t insist on going barefoot outside. We were whittling away the sneakily long hours between dinner time and bed time by milling about in the driveway, playing with toys, old and new, and waiting for my oldest, Jacob, to finish drawing train tracks with a piece of bright pink chalk. I watched the last of the soft December light drop away behind our neighbors’ houses to the west. The jagged silhouettes of palm trees against the orange sky is one of my favorite Florida hallmarks. Cool winter evenings are pretty much the reason people choose to live in Florida. The air is crisp and there’s a certain quietness that descends with the sun. Being able to enjoy the chilly night air in a long-sleeved shirt and shorts is also a plus.

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The Unexpected Anxiety of Fall Festival Season

The Unexpected Anxiety of Fall Festival Season

You know it’s coming. For some of you, it might already be here. Or maybe, wherever it is you live, perhaps it’s already passed. If so, congratulations. Here in Florida, though, it’s just about to start. Fall festival season. Also known as the time of year when my anxiety about disappointing carnival workers and going broke buying 25-cent stuffed animals for five dollars really starts to ramp up.

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Thoughts on Riding Out Hurricane Irma in Central Florida With Three Kids

Thoughts on Riding Out Hurricane Irma in Central Florida With Three Kids

The days before Irma’s arrival were typical for Florida under threat of hurricane. I’ve lived here all my life and if there is one thing you can count on it is that Floridians prepare for hurricanes with flamboyant zeal. It is our state’s favorite pastime. Boarding up windows, buying water and snack foods, hoarding batteries, filling up our cars and seventeen plastic containers with gas: We love that stuff! In most cases, the preparation goes to waste when the storms veer off into the Atlantic or swerve into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps it’s a bit macabre, but you can almost feel a whiff of disappointment in the hot, humid air when the hurricanes turn away and leave us to consume ungodly amounts of granola bars in our air-conditioned homes.

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Will It Be Beautiful There?

Will It Be Beautiful There?

“Daddy! Daddy! DADDY!!” my 5-year-old exclaims from his perch in the back seat of our car.

“Yes, bud. What?” I finally reply. We are in the middle of a one-sided conversation about our impromptu trip to the fruit and vegetable stand and I am a little annoyed I have to respond since I have been listening to an uninterrupted monologue for several minutes.

“Is it going to be beautiful there?”

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Fun Games to Play with Your Little Kids When It’s Cold Outside or Rainy or You’ve Given Up or Whatever

Fun Games to Play with Your Little Kids When It’s Cold Outside or Rainy or You’ve Given Up or Whatever

It’s winter. I heard there was a huge snow storm in a bunch of places around the country. I assume that when it’s really snowy and cold out, it’s probably pretty difficult to go outside. If you have preschoolers or toddlers and you are trapped in your house, I’m sorry. That must be terrible. It rained here for about four hours in the morning last week and I seriously thought about moving. Then I thought, no, that won’t work, the kids will just unpack all the boxes right after I pack them. And they might shove me into one of the boxes and tape me up inside. Then I thought, wait, that doesn’t sound so bad actually…but no, they'd probably get inside the box with me, tape us all up together somehow, and we’d be stuck in there forever.

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