Friday, September 26, 2008


Ok. I just had the awesome experience of watching a sporting even with another couple. I highly recommend taking another couple with you to your favorite events. I do not care if it is NASCAR, plays, musicals, soccer or what ever. It was totally entertaining watching someone else enjoy the experience that sometimes I take for granted. Watching them cheer, stand up, high five strangers and completely immerse themselves into the game reminded me of how exciting these things can be. It is especially cool when you take people to high level events. I can remember when my day used to take us to Hill Auditorium to listen to the University of Michigan student orchestra play. No they weren't professionals (yet) but darn were they good. Plus, I can not play any instrument so how would I know if they weren't any good. I had a great time and it opened my eyes to a different cultural experience. Do it. Take someone to something different. Maybe not something that is different for you but something that is different for them. And when you do it... sit back and observe their reactions. Watch their joy. Watch them experience what you may have taken for granted. It will refresh your experience and increase your enjoyment.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm Back!!!

To all of you who have read my blog in the past, I apologize. I forgot my sign-in and password and could not get into my blog. Thankfully, my wife came to the rescue and showed me how to 1) find my sign-in but also 2) helped reset my password to something I might actually remember. YEA!
Here is an update for all of you. I have move the whole family up to Michigan. It was a tough decision but with Gustav and Hanna threating the Gulf state... I'm very happy with it. Later I will give you some play-by-play from the months leading up to the move. Actually I will try to give you a summary of each month of 2008. It has been very wild for us and it will give me the chance to catch up my blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

filling holes

Ok, Why after 7 boys do I finally get a girl who is worse than all of them at certain things. Today my 2 year old princess shoved a popcorn kernel up her nose. None of the boys ever swallowed any foreign objects but the girl... she has to shove something up her nose. I don't get it. I can handle boys. They are predictable (sometimes considered stupid) but that is so easy to deal with. If you ever wonder what is next just think of something dumb and "presto" one of them will do it. Also, they are terrible liars which makes it very easy to figure out "who did it" The one thing you will never get out of a boy... So just don't bother asking... is, WHY. Why does a girl do things like that? I think it is because she is smarter and more creative. It is very difficult to understand for me. But she will actually tell you why she did it or at least make up a very believable lie. Thankfully my wife was able to retrieve the lost seed without blood or tears. I had to leave the room. This brings me to the question of how I handle stressful situations with the kids, ie: emergencies. With the boys it was easy. When one of them cut a hole in their ear roller blading... I tied a tourniquet around their head and it was fine. The key is to not panic. When one of them cut their head open on the couch and required stitches at 3, I did not panic. I almost panicked at the language he was spouting at the medical staff in the ER. Well, when I was ducking out of the room to hide the embarrassed laughter. He really gave that doctor an earful and it took three nursed to hold him down. I have strong kids and he is one of the toughest. I did not panic when a strange kid blasted another one of my boys in the eye with an aluminum softball bat. I just finished the softball game and went to the ER to relieve my wife. When another one tried to do a flip off the edge of the pool and slipped. I did not freak out at the sight of all the blood. I took him to the ER and he got staples. I took the staples out a few weeks later and the incident seem to actually make him smarter. He is almost careful around the pool. Ok, not really but it seems that way. When one of them stepped on a sea anemone at the ocean and had several dozen little barbs stuck in his foot, I didn't panic. I took him to the ER and had them removed and bandaged up. Oh wait, that happened to me. But still, I didn't panic!(much) I can't even count the number of fingers smashed in car, van or bedroom doors. Well, really there aren't that many. I guess if I break it all down we haven't had many ER runs especially when you consider how many kids we have. None of our kids have ever had a broken bone. None of our kids have ever been in a cast. We have been pretty lucky (knock on wood) and I, for one, am very grateful.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Message from Ben Stein

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it
does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit
up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel
discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I
don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.
In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters
celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that
there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach
house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is
the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think
Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people
who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.
I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly
atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like
it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we
should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as
we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But
there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from
and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is
a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny,
it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane
asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?'(regarding
Katrina)Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.
She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but
for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out
of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He
is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us
His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I
think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body
found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we
said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The
Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor
as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they
misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we
might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said
an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why
they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill
strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it
out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the
world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say,
but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through
e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending
messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd,
crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but
public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than
what God thinks of us.

Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Car Buying

Ok, this isn't your normal child rearing subject but I figure that some of you may appreciate some advice on this. I will not tell you the whole car buying process but will give you a couple key points. 1) obviously... do your homework. Know the car you want and why. Find out the price online before you buy it. I like personally but there are many sites that will give you the true cost on the car.
2) Get your financing from your credit union before you even set one foot in a dealership. If you don't... You are crazy and probably going to get a worse deal. The credit union will give you a draft for the amount you need. The only reason not to use the credit union would be if the Manufacturer is offering 0% or seriously low interest rates. Check with the credit union to see if they can match it or show you where the catches are. There are usually catches... The favorite is having to chose between a huge rebate and the 0% financing. If you must choose... Take the rebate and finance the balance with the credit union. Another trick is an additional $500 - $1000 rebate to finance through the manufacturer's finance division (ie FMCC or GMAC). Do it and then refinance within 90 days with the credit union.
3) Never, NEVER trade in your old vehicle. Do not buy a new vehicle until your old vehicle is sold.
4) Chose your dealership and salesperson... They will get you the car you want. Do not surf the web looking for your new car and definitely do not drive from lot to lot. That is a very stupid and dangerous practice. If you feel the need to lot shop... Do it when the dealership is closed!!!
This will help minimize the "impulse buy".
5)If you want a warranty, credit life, disability insurance, maintenance program etc... buy it from the Credit Union. NEVER FROM THE DEALER!!!
6) Negotiating is the easy part. Know your price and don't budge. Not a penny. If you know the price before you go get your car... What could possibly chance from home to the dealership? PROFIT! That is it. Anything you pay over the price that you researched is simply profit for the dealer. Not the salesman, not the manufacturer, only the dealer and dealership management.
7) Ask about referral fees. Yes all dealers pay for referrals. Who referred you? Does that $100 go to a friend, family member, coworker or my favorite your church or school? It should. The dealer budgets for it and writes it off anyway. So ask for it, get it and pass it on to others. These are also called "bird dogs"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Child rearing as easy as 1 2 3

Did you know that there are three keys to raising happy, well behaved and well balanced children? Here is my theory: 1) Activity 2) Discipline 3) Affection. I put affection last because it is usually what we have the least trouble with. It is pretty easy to show love and attention to our children but the first two take a commitment to daily consistency. Activity, I know that is pretty generic but I did that on purpose. Not everyone is athletic so I did not want people to think, that I think, that you have to play sports with your children. Sports are nice but there is so much more out there. Exercise with your spouse and children. You will feel great and get to push each other to become better, healthier and happier. There have been volumes written about physical activity and its benefits so I will not ramble anymore on that. Discipline is a toughy. No one wants to do it but everyone is better off because of it. Children thrive in a consistent orderly environment. Chaos breeds more chaos. I break it down to the basics. I only spank for three things in our house: Lying, disobedience and disrespect. (it pretty much covers everything) My children know the rules. More importantly they know why the rules are so important and this stuff really works. My Dad used to tell me to praise in public and punish in private. Well, that is good but correcting your children in public can be an excellent witness and example to those who have no clue... And there are a ton of those folks out there. Remember, discipline is a service we owe to our children as we are caretakers of them. They are God's children. We must be good stewards. Plus it makes our life easier in the long run. Yes we sit in the front row at church. Our kids behave there "Or Else" and people are always amazed. How can we get toddlers to behave for an hour at Mass? It takes practice and help. A little sacramental grace doesn't hurt either. It is great to have help. We pass the baby (now 2) back to elderly couples behind us nearly every week. They love holding her and she enjoys the attention of someone different. Listen, I know that none of us enjoy spanking our kids. I hate it and sometimes I am just tired of being the heavy but someone has to do it. The bad news is: If we don't correct our kids now... Society will have to do it later and Society isn't nice or loving about it. Plus, society does a really crummy job. As a matter of fact, society will screw up just about everything we are supposed to do but are to lazy or fearful to do ourselves. I'm no libertarian but I know our government is the least effective and efficient at nearly everything it does. I definitely don't want Uncle Sam trying to straighten out a problem I could have solved with a little persistence and focus 20 years earlier. Do it. Love your kids. Raise your kids. Play with them. Spend time with them and they will love you for all if it later. Resent your kids and how they cramp your style and they will mirror that later too. They really do learn a lot from us whether we pay attention to what we are teaching or not. They catch a lot. Good Luck.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Potty Training Answer - Toothfxr

Hello Steve, We miss you too. We might not be good golfers but I don't think anyone else enjoyed bad golf as much as us. On to your question - "Any thoughts on potty training an almost 4 year old boy who is either lazy or feels dad will always be there to clean up after him?"
Ok, I have a couple of ways to handle potty training. First there is the traditional way with much yelling, beatings and frustration and it usually yields dismal results and big time messes. Both literally and emotionally. If you have a strong desire to be in therapy and send your 4 year old off to great start in life... go this route. Second there is the positive reinforcement route. Some of our boys have responded well to this. Go to the store and buy one of those 20 packs of little matchbox cars and reward the dirty deed. We only gave cars for #2 and maybe jelly beans for #1. The third method which is difficult to commit to and usually takes time, patience and close-pins is the "wait and let it happen" plan. Believe it or not, this is the way our #5, #6 and #7 boys have made the conversion from Diapers to "Big Boy Underwear" This last way seems to be the best route so far. You still have to remind them to go sit on the pot and try to go. Also, you reward them with letting them pick out their new BVDs. Sponge Bob is one of my favorites but it gets frustrating when I have to go to the boys' room to find my drawers. I hope this helps. Oh yea and for anyone that is wondering... Potty training boys is no picknic but if you let them pee outdoors... it makes picknics easier and speeds up the potty training.