Halloweensy Teensy Bit

The subject line means I tolerate Halloween and put a very little bit of thought into my costumes.  Lying in bed this morning, I mentally searched through my wardrobe and storage items for my costume. For instance, today I took the liberty to not shave, don a flannel, boots and snow cap, and boom=lazy lumberjack. (No props…I didn’t bring in an ax to work or anything…cuz that just seemed weird and almost criminal…but I still have an ax to grind about Halloween! )

I’m coining the term, Halloweennazis, to define the people who make it mandatory for adults to dress up for Halloween.

I get it, I’m all for Halloween for kids, and maybe even college students and girls in their 20s as an excuse to dress up.  But, for a grown man, putting on a costume and playing dress up, yeesh, that frightens me more than any haunted house tour.

It probably doesn’t surprise you, I’m also not the guy who gets elaborate with decorations-turning my front lawn into a graveyard or pining up skeletons to my trees.  To get in the (ghostly) spirit, we carved a few pumpkins and put them on the porch. I will let you guess the one I carved.


But, again, this “holiday” is for kids, and my kid, Cash, is dressing up. As a dinosaur. (Though all week, I’ve been incorrectly saying he was going as a Dragon…to be fair, he’s not really choosing this outfit, so I don’t feel as much pressure to get it right.)


We’ll take him around our block, our local mall-yeah, some shops give out candy, that’s a thing now-and call it a (fright) night.

I don’t love Halloween but I love my kid, so I’m going to have to experience it one way or another. At least, there is chocolate involved.

Christmas has a Scrooge, so why not Halloween? A Boo-ge?  What would that costume look like?  A ghost with folded arms and an angry face?  A Dracula with his cape over his head? A dino-sorry?

Sorry, Halloweennazis…what more do you expect from a lazy lumberjack?


Clothes for Cash

The subject line, “Clothes for Cash,” sounds like a charity. And in a sense, it is.  We have received many gifts from generous friends and relatives for Cash. By far the most popular item gifted is clothing.  We received so much of it that Meghan and I have only bought a handful of clothing items for Cash’s 10 plus months on earth. I have only made one purchase for him on my own…a Green Bay Packers football onesie.


Wisconsin football baby threads.


And just plain football.
Along with Wisconsin novelty gear.
And when your name is Cash, you get a ton of clothing with your name on it.
And a ton of hats to adorn his little noggin
He was practically born with a hat on. (His first ever photo)
But before he was ever born, his closet and wardrobe was almost as full as mine. (Yes, that lower rack is completely full as is his dresser.) And don’t even get me started on his footwear…the kid can’t even walk yet has a shoe collection that Imelda Marcos would be envious of. (That reference dates me but if you don’t get it, look it up 😉
photo 5
The clothing can get very gimmicky and he probably won’t be crazy with how we dressed him but his family and friends are allowed to go a little crazy and have a little fun before he has a say in how he dresses.
His favorite thing to wear seems to be…dinner.
What Cash’s substantial, ever-growing clothing collection really represents…is how much he wears all of us around his little finger.

Cash on the Move

Seemingly overnight, Cash has gone from that baby who would remain in the spot you placed him in, to the Energizer bunny scooting, crawling, and now, working on pulling himself up on household items with the thought to go anywhere and everywhere.

I’ve wished for this time for a while for his sake. I sympathized with his lack of mobility up until recently.  For his life up to this point, he had to stay where we set him and travel to wherever we carried him.  I had those second thoughts when I’d scoop him up and walk him to the porch from the living room or vice versa, that he’d be thinking, “Hey, I was enjoying myself in there and now cuz YOU want me to leave, I have to leave!

So, I’m excited to watch him explore his interests and go where he wants to go…without harming himself, of course. Keeping him from harm is a big topic with Meghan and I these days.  We got a huge box of plastic outlet covers that I’ve nearly emptied filling in all the open outlets all over the house. We’ve placed bumpers on furniture corners and entire bumper strips along the fireplace.

To keep us on our toes, one of the first moves Cash made was to crawl over to a bumper stuck to a corner of our media console and rip it from its adhesive attachment, then turn and smile at us while held it in his hand…which got us bolting from our seats as he turned towards the now, unprotected sharp corner with the bumper in his hand.

Leaving his expanding, colorful toys behind, he’ll scoot to a trash can, tip it over and attempt to put each object in this mouth, very raccoon-esque. When I respond with a “yucky” face and response, he’ll look up at me innocently and sweetly as if to say, “I have no idea why you’re discouraging me from putting a four-day old, spotted brown, apple core in my mouth.”

Eat good apples, that’s all I’m sayin’.


His middle name is Michael but it could be Danger. While my hot coffee sits on a TV tray, he’ll scoot over and give the skinny base a good rocking back and forth. As my heartbeat skips, I steady the wobbly contraption with my hands while softly scolding”no-no” to which he grins and giggles unaware of consequences.

That’s our parental job, isn’t it? To make him aware of consequences as he moves forward, to protect him from danger as much as possible but also let him explore his interests.  For the rest of his life.

Your parents want you to go where you want to go and experience it all, buddy. As you explore objects and places and the world, keep in mind the consequences of your actions and be safe. And when you fall short, or need to go in a new direction…always remember, how to pull yourself up and move forward.


Something you can think your teeth into

Lately, I’ve been thinking about teeth.
If I had a dental report card on my life so far, I’d be a C student.  I don’t floss regularly, I get cavities and I have a few crowns.
I had braces in 7th grade to close the gap between my two front teeth. I was no Michael Strahan
Aug 3, 2014; Canton, OH, USA; New York Giants former defensive lineman Michael Strahan prior to the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Buffalo Bills at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
but I had a gap and my mom worked for an orthodontist who gave us a great deal.
Photo Dec 25, 4 44 29 PM
That being the situation, I was FORBIDDEN to chew gum, eat crunchy things or sticky foods–all the detriments to braces–out of respect to her boss’s generosity. That was great because I was in and out of them in less than a year.
That said, I’ve had it pretty good-my teeth are straight, relatively white and don’t give me much trouble…which is what I hope for Cash and his relationship with teeth.
Take good dental care…so you don’t have to care about dental.
Meghan has problem-free, low maintenance teeth–maybe one or two cavities in her life.  The topic of teeth does not come up often in our household…until recently.
Cash happens to be an early tooth sprouter–nine teeth poking through his gums in as many months of his life.
All would be classified as incisors-front teeth-but he seems to have his fingers in his mouth quite often itching his gums towards the back of his mouth, so more are coming!  The impending teeth are also the reason he puts everything in his mouth these days as well. (My shoes, lipstick case, apple cores from the garbage.)
Teething is a popular topic in the parent blog circuit and there are all sorts of remedies to help ease the gum and mouth pain for infants.  Ibuprofen for 6 months and above. Iced toys to chew on.  Amber beads.
These amber beads, worn around his neck, resemble a puka shell choker, which Meghan found out about while she was back in California. Aside from the fact my son came back from the trip looking like an extra from the movie, Point Break, I’m a fan of these beads since he has had almost zero ramifications of his teething- no fuss, no fevers and no diarrhea.
Cash doesn’t have his own toothbrush yet or anything. In fact, Meghan washes…yes, washes…his teeth with a washcloth.  He reacts unenthusiastically as anyone would if a washcloth were stuffed in one’s mouth. But, he’ll have to get used to cleaning his teeth for the rest of his life, twice a day.
On a side note, I preserve my toothbrushes very well compared to my wife.  After about a month, hers looks as if she stuck it in the puree’ cycle of a food blender.
Mine has nary a bristle stirred. Perhaps I’m too delicate with mine since the average lifespan of a toothbrush is 3-4 months according to deardoctor.com. (I’ve had my current toothbrush for over a year.)
Since Meghan has better teeth than I do, I guess it could be argued I should spend more time preserving my teeth than the actual brush.  And I also preserve a lot more floss, since she does it most every night and I do it about once a month when I happen to think of it.  Yes, I admit it and my hygienist already knows it anyway, so I can’t get into any more trouble.
In a way, dental care can teach us life care.  If you can learn to brush your teeth everyday, maybe you can learn to brush off troubles every day.  If you don’t promptly take care of problems, like plaque, they will build up and cause you pain later on.
If you can learn to control what you chew on, you and your teeth will stay in good shape.
If you can learn to floss every day…well…you’ll be a better man than your daddy…save more money…and take less trips to the dentist office.
If there’s any more wisdom in teeth, I wouldn’t know. My wisdom teeth were pulled years ago.

Friend worthy

“You are your baby’s first friend.”  I read this statement in an article yesterday. Cash is reaching the “socialization” stage of his life and Meghan and I have a huge role to play.


I don’t want to get in the dangerous, slippery slope of being my child’s friend as he goes through life because I need to be his Dad. I do want a respectful, fun, significant relationship but there should never be a question, if I’ve done it right, that I’m the boss and have the final word. I used the saying as a teacher and coach when a student would chide me to change the task I’d assigned, “I don’t negotiate.” The ideals I’d like to establish to my kids, “Firm, Fair, Fun…but Friend?

I’ll struggle with that balance of friendship and parenting for the rest of my life I suppose but in the meantime, I do have to look into what we want to teach Cash about friendship? Yikes. I hadn’t considered that as much as I considered when he’d learn music or what sports I’d like him to play (definitely a team sport and I hope football but I won’t force it…just suggest it in a friendly way).


I can share my experience. When I evaluate my friends, and you know who you are because you pretty much the only ones who read this outside my family, the attribute I value most is trustworthiness.

Sure, I like humor, I like intelligence, I like availability and an adventurous spirit but when the friendship rubber hits life’s road, I want someone I can trust along with me and I’ll let Cash know I how I feel about that.  What’s great about trustworthiness is that it can’t be faked. Humor can. Intelligence can. For awhile. But trustworthiness is revealed only through time, tribulations and trials.

I take pride in having long-term friendships. Because I know to have and maintain friendships, you have to be a friend.

Among the best men for my wedding, the only I had not known more than 13 years was my then-13 year old brother. The rest of them were twenty or more and best man, Tommy, I knew my entire life. Yes, he is a cousin but that’s okay, you can be friends AND relatives.

View More: http://twoonephotography.pass.us/meghanandchriswedding

In my seventeen years in Los Angeles, one of the most transient cities in the world, almost all of my friends include guys I met within the first few years there.

CIMG0670Gumbaschad weddingbrainsvsbox

Cash has a lot of boys and potential friends in his age group. In fact, according to Meghan’s Mommy and Me crew, there is about 6 boys to every girl…which could lead to some dating issues in the future if that is true outside of this particular group.  I think only Alaska has that bad of odds for men to women ratio.

I purposely left out girls as friends because that’s an issue even I can’t sort out after all these years, “Can men and women really be friends?” Until I do, if ever, I’m going to focus on Cash developing friendships with other males.  I will encourage him to have girls who are friends but if he doesn’t have more guys who are friends than girls, something is off. Same with girls who have more guy friends than girls. And I know both but this is where I land, you should get along with your own sex as much if not more, than the other sex.

Before any politically correct bandwagoners lecture me that it’s perfectly fine for a guy to have more girl friends than guy friends and vice versa…we respectfully disagree because that just hasn’t played out to be true in my experiences. You gotta find out how to get along with both and I hope Cash has a lot of male and female friends.


My family and friends have different opinions than I do about a bunch of things-who should be president, where to get the best burger, who should start at quarterback for Badgers-but ultimately, if you’re friends, you should be able to trust that no matter your opinion, your friends are your friends no matter what.

Cash may agree with me or develop a different opinion. That’s fine, I’ll show him both sides to an argument but give him my opinion and encourage him to have one as well, even if it’s against mine.  I’ll be me and he’ll be he.

You really need to be free to be who you are around friends and trust that they will like you anyway.  Your trust is an important thing to give…and if one can show they are worthy of that, they can be your friend.