Jul 31

Potty Training For the Crazy Nudey Child


We have successfully potty trained both our boys.  My wife and I are actually so proud of this achievement that we are writing a book about how we did it!  You. Are. Welcome!  (It is my understanding that if you do something twice, it makes you an automatic expert in the field, and thusly should share that knowledge with others.)

There is one area of potty training that I didn’t quite see coming.  I thought it might not occur until my kids were in high school or college.  And that is the joyful outdoor peeing in inappropriate places and inappropriate ways.   (more…)

Posted in How To
Jul 16

A Decade of Marriage

The sunset I was talking about.  Pretty amazing!

Well, some time has passed since I last wrote.  In that time, I have aged another year, and my marriage reached it’s 10 year milestone.  What does this mean?  It clearly means that I’m one year wiser, smarter, more better, muchly intelligentaler, and also that I’ve been married to the same person for a decade.

So if you don’t mind, I will reflect on marriage, and give you some tips on how you, too, can get older and stay married. (more…)

Jun 23

Potty Training (NEW Cartoon!)


Somewhere sandwiched into the mix of parental struggles lies the stinkiest challenge of them all: potty training.  Books and books upon books of books have been written on the subject.  There are methods abound.  And let us not forget the strong opinions that match those methods.

Here’s one of the methods that I fortunately didn’t have to resort to: (more…)

Posted in Cartoon
Jun 21

Wiggle Room


It’s a known fact that a 6 year old boy cannot sit still.  This is based on a highly scientific study involving one child that I know really well.  We’ll call this boy “my son” to protect his identity.  As I watched my son throughout this study I noticed that he did not respond well to direct requests for behavioral compliance, like sitting quietly at the dinner table.  And when engaged in play, my son would need his name yelled in order for him to stop what he was doing and pay attention. In this particular study, I noticed a heavy release of catecholamines into my body as my vocal volume per request increased. Allow me to restate this in laymen’s terms:  When my son doesn’t listen to me, it really pisses me off!

In order to not suffer through a long summer of agitation and frustration at the hands of my fidgety, non compliant, children, I have decided to change my approach.  Here’s what I’m doing: (more…)

Jun 12

What I’m Doing With The Kids This Summer

I was so paranoid that he was going to get Krazy glue on his fingers and then touch his eye or something.  I gotta loosen up a bit!  I got nerves...

I’ll tell you what I’m doing with my kids this summer:  WORK!  I remember when summer came in my day.  That’s right, I’m old enough to say, “in my day.”  I’m only 36 years old, but I feel 76.  In my day we worked for sweat shop labor prices in a berry field and hoped to scrape $100 after working for most of the summer.  Not only that, but we mowed lawns, did dishes, cleaned house….we had chores!  And that is how we are kicking off the summer.  And we are doing it in style.  No behavior chart this time.  This time, it’s the chore chart! (more…)

Jun 9

The Pepper and Water Trick

Fill the plate with water, then dump a ton of pepper until it covers the entire surface.

Science time! Sometimes you just want to do something because your kid is going to say, “COOL!”  There really isn’t any other reason to do this particular experiment.  Well, actually I take that back.  If you are interested in wasting a good deal of pepper, and you like setting up things that will only last about 2-5 minutes before you are on to the next thing, and you like cleaning up stuff, then you’ve definitely got yourself a great reason to do this! Here’s the water and pepper experiment: (more…)

Jun 5

Reconnecting at the KOA

My arms will never tire...well, metaphorically.

I am very much guilty of allowing moments to slip through the cracks.  Because of the exhausting nature of the stay at homer lifestyle, it’s easy for me to bark for compliance when I should be allowing my children to take the 100 years it feels like for them to get stuff done. And with all the energy of my boys, I find myself getting annoyed at the obnoxiousness of it rather than patient with the expressiveness of it.  And the way I’m beginning to see it, is that young boys are like Siberian Husky’s; you have to run them…a lot…or they will act out, howl indoors,  bite your arm and pee on your leg.  Ok, mostly like a Siberian Husky.  And this is why our weekend at the KOA was perfect for the kids. We could catch the moments…and we could run our Huskies! (more…)

Jun 1

Allowance For Children: The Stay At Homer Way


Giving the kid an allowance?  Really?  I gave him a home, I cook his food, I give him clothes, and now I gotta pay him for the privilege?  I guess that’s how it’s gonna go, because we’re doing it.  We are giving Noble an allowance now.  We figured it was time, because he has a grasp of money and it would be a great experience for him to know what it’s like to have to save up for important things like legos, or candy, or a down payment on an overpriced home mortgage. We talked about it a little on my Facebook page, but I figured I’d go into some more detail here, and we can discuss whether or not you think we’re doing the right thing over here.

Gayle and I went back and forth on the reasons why we were going to give him an allowance.  Would we have him get paid for a set amount of chores?  Or maybe we’d start out at a certain amount, and slowly take money away for behavior issues or if he’s neglecting his obligations.  In the end those seemed to go against the teaching tool of an allowance: to teach about money.  Using money as a weapon for discipline, while probably accurately depicts how “the real world” works, doesn’t work for us in our family.

Here’s how we are breaking down allowance for our children:

  1. Alistair doesn’t get an allowance – He’s 2. I’m not interested in watching one dollar bills get flushed down the toilet (literally).
  2. Noble will get $2 per week no matter what – Money, in this case, isn’t seen as a reward/punishment thing.  It’s about pieces of paper that have the power to purchase things.  Allowance is about learning.  If we were teaching Noble all about how to shoot a gun, but we didn’t give him any bullets, the lesson wouldn’t work as well.  That was an awful analogy, but  you got what I was saying…right?  No, I don’t want my son Yosemite Sam-ing. No, I’m not going to teach him how to shoot a gun!  I was just, I’m trying to explain, oh forget it.  Damn I wish I had a backspace button or the ability to highlight portions of text and then CUT it out and delete it.  I wish Apple would figure that out already.
  3. The allowance will be divided into 3 parts – We are teaching him about saving, about spending, and about charity.  So with every $2 he gets, $1 will automatically go to savings. In Noble’s case, it is the Death Star Fund: He really wants the Lego Death Star.  It’s ONLY $400! Unfortunately for Noble, he has these parents…me….and Gayle….who will NEVER buy him a $400 present that you assemble once, break apart, and then keep in a storage container for the rest of your life.  So $1 of HIS money goes to that.  Then $.50 will go to charity. It will be saved up until the end of the year when we are deciding what charities to donate to.  Noble will get to pick something that he feels passionately about.  Right now, it will probably be a donation to the charity “Children Without Lego Death Stars.”  And finally, the last $.50 goes right into Noble’s pocket where he is free to lose it wherever he sets it down.  He can also enjoy the evil mental game that money plays on a person….”should I buy that gumball now?  Or should I wait until next week and buy an even bigger gumball?  Or should I wait even longer still and buy a small toy?  Or maybe I could….Dad!  Dad!  Did you see where I put my allowance money?” *tears*
  4. Chores - He will not be getting paid for chores.  It is his privilege to do chores around the house to be a part of the team.  We allow him to live in our house for free.  And I have yet to charge him for food or clothing.  So he can set the table and keep his room clean, pro bono.
  5. But he CAN get extra money for extra work – Even though he has chores to do, there will also be times when I will offer to give him money in return for some extra labor.  I don’t think this is a bad thing.  I will probably pretend that I’m a boss hiring him for some work, and I’ll print out a really neat kid friendly job application, where I’ll get his SS# and other important information.  Then when he’s done with the work, I’ll introduce him to “Payroll” and how most of his money is going to go to taxes that don’t make any sense.  And just when he’s confused and angry about getting less than the original agreed on price, I’m going to declare “AUDIT!” And that’s when the new game of “Attack of the IRS MAN” will begin. It’s all about the real world, right?  He’s gonna have to learn it at some point.
Allowance picture

Money hasn't changed me a bit. Now who wants to get a gumball? My treat!

What age did you start your kids on an allowance?  What are your parameters for how they earn the money?  Do you make your kids chop all your firewood for you, for sweat shop labor prices?  There’s no judgy judgy in here, so feel free to express yo-self!

May 23

The Secret Spice For Winning Kale Chips

Why yes, I would LOVE to try a kale chip!

I have been on a bit of a quest.  The mission: get my kids to eat vegetables.  So far, this mission has been a colossal failure.  I have been having particular trouble with kale chips.  I really wanted my kids to like them.  They are so dang easy to make, which is music to the ears of any parent who is faced with after school snack prep.  And so I’ve given it a go a few times.  The result has always been this.

So how does one get their kids to eat crispy kale chips?  How do you season them so that your kids will actually put the chip in their mouth?  Is it Chinese Five Spice? No!  Is it Ground Ginger?  DISGUSTING!  What about Cream of Tartar?  Sorry, I’m saving that for my homemade playdough. If you are like me, and you are inept with a spice rack, then you need to reach for the one spice that will never let you down: (more…)

May 17

7 Happy Father’s Day Tips


It’s almost MY TURN!  Woo-hoo!  The time is approaching to celebrate the father! And because I know my wife reads my blog, I am going to use this as an opportunity to secretly suggest what I want…and I’ll cover it in the blanket of “What ALL dads want for Father’s Day.” Hopefully she’ll gloss over the first paragraph, though, cuz I might have said too much there. (more…)