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Monday, May 30, 2005


Memorial Day

I hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend. I took time today to visit a cemetery in Moscow, Idaho, where many of my relatives are buried. The kids enjoyed reading grave markers and hearing stories about their ancestors who traveled west in covered wagons.

This particular monument marks the grave of four of my great-great-aunts and uncles who died during a widespread diptheria outbreak in 1881.

We also discovered a weathered stone adorned with a cat, marking the grave of a 5-year-old girl who died in 1886.

My son has been fascinated by cemeteries since he first watched Scooby-Doo. Today's visit helped him to understand a little more about family, history, and the passage of time. It's important that our children realize where they came from, and who is responsible for them being here today. Not enough people pass those lessons on to their kids.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Weird Baby Names

In the past couple of years I've heard of parents saddling their newborns with such strange names as Metallica (born in Boise, Idaho, named after dad's favorite rock band), Ender (born near Seattle, named after dad's favorite science fiction novel), and Messiah (born in Spokane, Washington, named after, well, you-know-who).

I don't understand why parents would put their kids on a fast track to teasing and bullying by giving them such an unusual first name. It's nice to stand out from the crowd, but try explaining that to a ten-year-old who is tired of the jokes and misspellings and just wants to fit in.

British author Fiona Gibson has a few helpful hints on what NOT to call your baby.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


True Dad

I was at my son's school last week, checking in at the front desk, when a teacher's aide saw me and yelled to everyone in the office, "That is a true dad!"

My first reaction was to give her a Deer Caught In The Headlights look because, quite frankly, I am not accustomed to positive comments about my situation as a stay-at-home dad. I must have looked thoroughly confused because she came over and said, "That was a compliment," to which I mumbled something like "I do what I can."

It wasn't until a few days later that I began to feel really good about it. Those two words keep popping up in my head: True Dad

I like that label. It's so much more refreshing than some of the other things I've heard from friends and family over the past few years. In fact, I've rarely been complimented for my choice to be a stay-at-home dad. And by rarely, I mean not at all. But it only took one person to say two little words to put me on top of the world for a short time.

If you have a chance to compliment a stay-at-home dad (or a stay-at-home mom), don't hesitate to do it. You'll make their day.

By the way, True Dad would be a great name for a blog... if you know a father who's thinking about starting one.


Thurl Ravenscroft, RIP

The memorably deep voice of Thurl Ravenscroft is silent.

Ravenscroft passed away last weekend at the age of 91. He's probably best remembered as the voice of Tony the Tiger and the singer of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

I also remember him for the many Disneyland rides in which his voice can be heard. My favorite is The Haunted Mansion, where you can also see his face on one of the singing busts in the graveyard.

Listen: "Grim Grinning Ghosts" MP3

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Please Don't Tell My Wife

You can't become a stay-at-home dad overnight.

Nor would some men want to.


Garage Sales

We just finished up our yearly garage sale, mostly unloading kids' clothes, books, and CDs. I'm happy with the proceeds. For three hours of work, we earned enough to get season passes to the local amusement park.

Speaking of amusement... What is up with these garage sale people? The sale is advertised to start at 9am, so they're cruising the street at 7:30. Then they paw through my neatly folded clothes and haggle over 25-cent t-shirts. One woman asked me if I would take 10 cents for a shirt. I said, "No thanks" and she threw the shirt down and stomped off muttering in disgust.

Then there's the woman who ran up asking if I had a cat carrier for sale. "Sorry, I don't," I replied. So she stands there for a moment before asking, "Are you sure?"

Another thing I found frustrating was the number of people handing me $20 bills for 50 cents worth of merchandise. I collected 8 $20 bills in the first hour and was completely out of $1 bills by 10:30.

Finally, I have to say something to all you folks who do the slow drive-by... After scanning over our stuff from the comfort of your car, don't make a face and peel off down the street. I know my stuff is mostly junk. That's why I'm selling it. But it's good junk... Once-loved junk. Worth at least 25 cents (no haggling)!

Friday, May 20, 2005


All My Colors

I'm a sucker for rainbows.

This is looking out our front window.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


One Year of Blog

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm one year old today. No, not me. This blog! A Family Runs Through It was born on May 18, 2004.

You can send me a gift, or simply leave a comment. I'd like to hear from you!

Also, please let me know if you link to my blog so I can reciprocate.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Haircut 100

You thought I was joking about my 6-year-old giving me a haircut? How's it look?

Wahl shaver, #3 guard, and crossed fingers (on my part)... He did a good job!

Speaking of haircuts, I've been having fun lately going through favorite old songs from the 80's and making playlists for the kids. There's something about those simple new wave and pop tunes that are instantly appealing to young ears.

Especially the British band Haircut 100. They produced one memorable album in 1982. It's a breezy concoction of lite-funk and jazzy new wave pop that is perfect for a family drive on a warm sunny day. My kids groove to songs like "Love Plus One," "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" and this one:

Listen: Haircut 100 - "Fantastic Day" MP3

You can buy their CD Pelican West at


Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Tonight I attended my daughter's dance recital at the local high school. Before the show began, two women behind me had this conversation:

"Did you bring a flower for Kayla?"
"A flower? Were we supposed to bring a flower?"
"I think so. Look, other people have flowers. I think you give it to the dancer after the show."
"Oh. Well, do I have time to run to the store?"
"You wouldn't make it in twenty minutes."
"Maybe I should call Bob. Oh wait, he doesn't have his cell phone."
"Look, this school has nice landscaping. Why don't you run outside and find a tulip or something."

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Me Ol' Bam Boo

My 6-year-old gave me a haircut today.

What a coincidence, my camera stopped working today... Oh well.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Fun On The Farm

Remember some months ago I wrote a post about the ultimate playground? My kids said the best place to play is a big pile of dirt. Well, they hadn't been down on the farm yet... A farm can be full of adventures and imagination. So we visited a relative's farm about an hour away in Moscow, Idaho, and what do the kids do? They head for the big pile of dirt on top the hill. And that's where they stayed most of the day.

Dirt... They should sell big bags of it at Toys R Us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


We Can Be Heroes

Growing up I didn't have many positive male role models. Come to think of it, I didn't have any positive male role models. Not a one.

My dad left us, my brother died, there were no grandfathers, uncles or cousins around... No teacher took me under his wing, our pastor was a womanizer who eventually divorced and left the church... It goes on and on. I was surrounded by neutral or negative men during my formative years.

So who were my role models through the early to teen years? Cuz every boy has to have some, right? Mine were men I didn't even know. John, Paul, George and Ringo... David Letterman... The dad on "Land of the Lost"... Mister Rogers... Walter Cronkite... George Lucas... John Denver... Andy Griffith... Pa Walton... I took a little bit from each of these people (or characters, in some cases) to figure out who and what I was supposed to be. Sad, I know.

The biggest influence on me as a father today came from the character I consider to be the best TV dad ever, Charles Ingalls.

There he is... Wasn't he great? I mean, was he the perfect dad or what? Do men like that exist in real life? I hope they do. At least I'm going to strive for that kind of perfection with my own family. I can't quite get the quivering lip thing down like Michael Landon did, but my kids know I'm not afraid to be honest and emotional. They know that I'm always there, always reliable, solid as a rock. They can talk to me about anything and I will always listen and communicate.

I am the role model to my kids. They'll never have to wonder why there were no positive male influences in their lives. I know I won't be the only one, but I want to be the best one. I want to be my kids' hero. Nothing else matters... It's the foremost thought in my mind as I teach and guide my children through to adulthood. They are always watching me, learning from my actions, listening to my words. It's a monumental responsibility, one which some men shirk from too easily. But it's worth doing, and the payoff is immense.

So, who were your heroes growing up?

Friday, May 06, 2005


Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the Blogger Moms out there!

I'm a little early because I'm probably not going to blog anything over the weekend. Too much to do... Gotta impress the wife with a clean house and a big dinner on Sunday!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Mild Child Revolution

Irish parents must be doing something right. Their teens favor home and family over parties and materialism.