Friday, March 30, 2012

Sad Songs Blogfest, the actual songs post...

I have chosen my songs for the Sad Songs blog list and listed them below. I have added a few lines from the song as some of them are not familiar to many people at all. The first six or seven are related to kids or dads. The last few are loss, death and leaving. Sound of Silence seems to be a good bridge between the kid/dad songs and the others as it always reminds me of the alienation of youth because I associate it with The Graduate, though the song itself is not really about kids or dads.

My favorite sad song is the last one on the list. I think I have this one in about ten different versions.

 I am going to call some of these artists out on Facebook today to see if any of them will come by and comment. If you wrote or performed one of these songs, please comment! Thank you for the great lyrics.
Thank you to Diane at Spunk on a Stick for hosting this Blog hop. If you want to see what others came up with head to her blog and follow the links she has there from  Monday's post.

     Hold My Hand
     Ric Alba
I thought I heard a baby cry
It was the man next door
I thought I heard somebody say
Hey, big boys don’t cry anymore

     Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love
Brought a new friend home to watch TV
To help you deal with the anxiety
She measured out her love in ounces

     Tears in Heaven
     Eric Clapton
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please

     The Rub of Love
     Chagal Guevara
Every other week on visiting day
I get tolerated by his new wife.
I swear if he ever really held me
They'd have to pry me off with the 
Jaws of Life.

Old Man Look at My Life
Neil Young
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.
I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I'm all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

     Trent Reznor, but as performed by
     Johnny Cash
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

     Youth of the Nation
I guess that's the way the story goes
Will it ever make sense
Somebody's got to know
There's got to be more to life than this
There's got to be more to everything
I thought exists 

     The Sound of Silence
     Simon and Garfunkel
 And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"

     Don’t This Way
     The 77’s
Don't Look This Way, Closed Eyes, Unmoving Lips
Don't Feel This Way, Cold Hands and Fingertips

     Don’t Cry
     Adam Again
Hey, ho
Its time to go
Time to say,
Say good-bye

     Ain’t No Sunshine
     Bill Withers
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
This house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sad Songs Blogfest

Since April is fast approaching, and with April comes the A to Z Challenge, I thought I would get in a little practice first. Friday I will add my ideas to the Sad Songs Blogfest. It’s a great fun idea, so add your name and play along! I know what number one on my list is already as it is at or near the top of my list of favorite songs of all time. It seemed appropriate in light of my new Tuesday's Tunes posts. Come back Friday then, to see what I have to add to the Sad Songs Blogfest.

Also, consider signing up for the A to Z Challenge. You will meet lots of new people and have a great chance to interact with lots of great posts.

Mommy's on the 'puter, Daddy's playin' World of Warcraft

This week's trend may strike a little close to home for parents. Its about us, not our kids or our culture. We have to struggle to put our addictions to technology in the background when we are parents- okay, reality is, we need to keep reality what it is whether we are parents or not. My point to ponder this week is though, we have to maintain our priorities and one major distracting agent from those priorities is our technology. Here are some news items regarding this trend. The difficult thing is, for every news-worthy story there are hundreds of other more subtle examples. Some of us can likely relate.

This article from ABC News tells a tragic story of online gaming addiction in South Korea gone terribly wrong, leading to the death of a child through neglect.

Fox News shares a similar story, this time from the US. Thankfully, the two children involved here survived, but the reasons are the same.

Rachel Mosteller writes in Parenting Magazine. 
                " Think you might be hooked? Try keeping a journal of how often you go online for
                  a week. Then assess what you’re missing out on when you do it — sleep, family 
                 time, work? Also note in your journal what was going on each time you decided to
                 sit down at the computer. Was it right after a fight with your husband? Were you 
                 bored? By figuring out the triggers that send you seeking refuge online, Moore 
                says, you can come up with alternative activities that help you deal. If you’re  
               stressed, for example, you might take your baby out for a walk."

In her eye-opening article, Mosteller posits three things moms are searching for as they spend too much time online. Those three are: information, community or escape.

What about you? Is there any danger of blogging, games, chatting, social media, or whatever your poison is, getting in the way of your priorities? Its worth a thought or more.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tunes- Paul Simon, Father and Daughter

I'm going to add a little diversion on Tuesday's for the next several weeks to give you songs that celebrate Daddy. We have quite a few around our house...well, on our computers, but if you have a suggestion, please leave a comment to suggest there's always next week!

First off, Paul Simon live. For our princess.
If you leap awake in the mirror of a bad dream
And for a fraction of a second you can't remember where you are
Just open your window and follow your memory upstream
To the meadow in the mountain where we counted every falling star

I believe a light that shines on you will shine on you forever
And though I can't guarantee there's nothing scary hiding under your bed
I'm gonna stand guard like a postcard of a Golden Retriever
And never leave 'til I leave you with a sweet dream in your head

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you

Trust your intuition
It's just like goin' fishin'
You cast your line and hope you get a bite
But you don't need to waste your time
Worryin' about the market place
Try to help the human race
Struggling to survive its harshest night

Monday, March 26, 2012

In honour of our youngest son's birthday yesterday...a photo celebration

Just by looking at this picture you can tell we are not really Blue Jay fans, even though we are at their home park... Orioles, Blue Jays, Nationals, all represented here.

                                      Now this is pretty typical...

Not smiling because he's in Pennsylvania...but because its a state of independence!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     With his best partner in crime, aka his older brother. Which one's the serious one, and which one's the goofier one?

                                                                                                                          At yesterday's birthday party with two friends. Here they are riding a horse drawn wagon through our local maple sugar bush. 

With his new SpongeBob shirt.

We love you, Mister.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bullyies, Bullied and Bystanders

Once again, this Friday, some thoughts on combating bullying. As per the last few posts, the ideas here come from the book No Kidding About Bullying by Naomi Drew. One of the greatest problems regarding bullying is that there is almost always a silent majority who are doing nothing about the bullying. Experts break down the bullying problem into three groups, Bullies, Bullied, and Bystanders. If the Bystanders would work together to combat the work of the Bully, the problem would be lessened. Just like a mob-mentality quickly grows in a negative sense, an empathetic mentality can also grow when given the tools and awareness of the need.

Here are a few things you suggest to your child as the Bystander

Choose not to join in when other kids are laughing or bullying.
Speak out against unkind words or actions
Say something helpful to the person being picked on
Ask someone who is doing the unkind actions how they would feel if they were being picked on
Ask a person being left out or picked on to join you in an activity
Let an adult know what is going on

And there are likely more. Can you think of other suggestions to give to kids to help them combat bullying?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In honor of World Down Syndrome Day and my first favorite niece

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.

In honor of my dear niece, her mom, my sister put this presentation together for her to share at school today.
She graciously allowed me to have it to "repost" here.

Thanks, "P" and "Jam"!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Family we have 'em?

We all know that our kids look like us. Yesterday, someone was telling me that they had a relative with adopted kids who looked more and more like their parents as they grew older. That was interesting to me, but upon further reflection, it likely shouldn’t.

Beyond our physical family traits, we also develop other unique identifiers together. Any one of them is unremarkable on its own (unless you are the Von Trapp’s, say) but together they make your family who it is. It could be interests, it could be personality. It could be gestures, jokes or expressions. It may be mannerisms or points of view. Whatever it is, you can be a family in many more ways than just genetics. Its one of the things we enjoy about being foster parents. We can make room in our family for someone else. They add to us, as we add to them.

Do you have any examples of how your family looks unique beyond the uni-brow or Roman nose?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Holding myself responsible- for kids

Last Friday, I mentioned a book I was reading and the premise behind its anti-bullying message.
Today, let me give you one idea they suggest.

Help your child to understand that when there is a conflict, both parties are almost always responsible, even if only a little bit. Blaming one person only makes the conflict greater.

                Ask your child, "Have you ever made excuses for something you shouldn't have done?" (Share an example of your own if they can't think of one.)

                Ask, "Did blaming cause the conflict to get better, or worse?" (Let the child know that taking responsibility for their actions can give the other child courage to do the same.)
       Role play a scenario with your child, such as this one:    Carl and Janie worked together on a class project. They just got it back, and discovered they only earned a C because an important part of the project had been left out.
     First, have them role play it as it would likely play out, "You didn't..." "Yeah, well you never..." Then, have them try it again, using "I" instead of "you", taking responsibility, even in a small way.

Maybe worth a try if this is an issue for your child! Happy parenting.

Hey, I passed 15 000 total visits yesterday, that's great. Thank you to all of you who have been swinging by here over the past couple of months especially. Even bigger thank you to all of you who have been swinging by here for the past couple of years. If you drop in here from the A-Z gang, leave a comment and say "hi". I've been to about two hundred (guesstimate) of the 1000+ sites so far, and look forward to getting around to more as the days roll along toward April.

As always, check out the free book giveaway.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't pay a cent- is it worth it?

I guess in our world today, most of us will not have the money to buy a home up front without the benefit of a loan. I know we certainly never would. What bothers me now though is that so much of our western world lives off of- “Don’t pay a cent till 2014” or “No interest, no deposit” philosophies.

Do we really need that new mattress so much right now, that we have to take it home today? Do we forget that they will have another sale in two months on the same product? Do we not have the option to wait? Too many of us have taken the opportunity to “buy now” on too many luxuries. This attitude is soon caught by our children.

One strategy we adopted with our children is to make a list. If you want something, write it down. This eliminates the stresses of the in-store “Please, please, please” routine. If you really want it, write it on your list and you can save up for it. Its amazing the number of times those “must have” items never make it to the “must have” list.

Another strategy we have, which many people have, is to have your children put a certain amount of money away. In this way we teach them to create a savings account, and not spending every dollar that comes in. One son couldn’t believe that he had 100 dollars in his bank account and has set the goal to build that to 200.

Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover has been a real benefit to our family. I have a link to his site at the top right of this blog. One of his expressions is to “live like no one else does now, so you can live like no one else does later.” Simple and profound all at once.

What about you? Do you have financial strategies you’ve used at home to help with the “I want it now” syndrome?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Illness, Huggies and Dads

I missed posting yesterday so I am trying to catch up. We have a sick household. Of seven, I think we have five and a half sick ones. The half being probably next, but so far just a little fever twelve hours ago.

We are also visiting my parents, and going to see my sister, her husband and their three kids in just a few minutes, for the first time since October...and that's pretty bad since we only live less than two hours apart. Being in Florida for Christmas got in the way of a more timely visit.

Due to lack of energy and time, I am going to leave a link to Lisa Belkin's post at Huffington Post regarding something going around the internet lately. It seems that Huggies forgets that Dad's are both increasingly competent at diaper changing, but also increasingly sensitive about being stereotyped for being incompetent. I think its great to see it being brought out into the light. Dad 2.0 sounds pretty cool too, I will have to check this out.

See you tomorrow.

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Friday, March 09, 2012

Bullying and empathy

I just picked up a book from our boys' school, No Kidding About Bullying. The school itself is trying to encourage parents to be parents and read and think and get involved in their kids lives. Its sad that its come to this, the big government institution has to look after us, the small mom and pop outfit...and I applaud them for what they are doing.

The book itself is great. It offers 125 lessons to help with handling and preventing bullying. This post isn't about any of those ideas however. It is about the premise behind the book.

Dr Susan Limber says "Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, anxious; have low self-esteem; feel unwell; and think about suicide"

"Emotions have a collective existence" that is, how you feel is also dependent on "not just your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people...who are one, two and three degrees removed from you." (Pam Bellack, New York Times, Dec 4, 2008) That is, we tend to imitate what others are doing even at a cellular level (mirror neurons). If we are around negative people, we tend to become negative. If we are around people setting a good example, we tend to follow it. This leads to the point of "No Kidding About Bullying" by Naomi Drew, that children can be taught empathy, compassion, and the social skills needed to combat a bullying atmosphere.

The book mentions five top skills that help kids succeed at school as researched by Dr Stephen Elliott of Vanderbilt University. They are:
     1. Listening to others
     2. Taking turns when talking
     3. Getting along with others
     4. Staying calm with others
     5. Taking responsibility for your own actions

I leave you a link from Thursday, that I stumbled across reading another blog I read nearly every day. Its nearly funny. But its all serious. What are we doing to combat bullying? Are we taking the cries of our children seriously? You could do far worse than looking into No Kidding About Bullying.

Check here for some helpful books I am giving away.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Over-scheduling our kids

We have so many options available today. You can book a holiday and be half way around the world tomorrow. You can sign up for soccer, basketball, softball, tennis, golf, hockey and football. You can take a class in pottery, basket weaving, gardening, movie making, what-have-you. And you can do all this while still being nine years old. That's great.

What's not as great is when I try to squeeze these things into my child's week. Why do I have to live this way? Why does my child? What would happen if I spent as much time with them as I allow others to? What would happen if we let them play? What would happen if we didn't have to have so much control over their lives? What would happen if we didn't demand a Triple A coach for our six year old? What would happen if we had a night off?

Think about what you missed in your childhood. Are you forcing it on your child now? Just a thought, but the Renaissance Man doesn't exist in a four year old's body. Likely you do not have a world class ballet-dancing, guitar-playing, golf-pro doctor growing up in your home. There may be a child though.

For further reading, enter the free book giveaway and ask for Dr Leman's Its Your Kid, Not a Gerbil!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Foster can do it!

The other day, I got an email link to an article by Kevin East. His blog’s link is at the top right of my own. He was guest posting on In that post, he listed a few reasons why he and his family got into foster parenting. Not wanting to miss a good opportunity, I thought I would share our family’s reasoning for making the same decision just over one year ago.

We have often talked about adopting. After the birth of our now 5 year old son, we were advised by our doctor that another pregnancy was not a good idea for my wife’s delicate organs.

As our son approached school age, we began to think that perhaps the time had come to begin thinking about adoption. We began doing some research and the dollar signs were a little disappointing and frightening to be sure. I do think this is a good thing. We want people adopting who are going to take this very seriously. Tens of thousands of dollars is a good way to make sure you are taking it seriously, for most of us...

We looked into our local Children’s Aid Society. We thought we would inquire about adoption but were informed that the greatest need was for foster parents. After a couple of days to think about it we were quickly screened and entered into the nine week training program. I was very impressed by the consistent attendance over that nine week period, I do not think anyone dropped out of the thirty or so who went through the program with us.

Throughout this time period we were consistently challenged with some of the realities of foster parenting. Nothing can fully prepare you, but we were given lots of opportunities to think it through.

Why did we decide to give it a go, to actually take children into our home?

  1. There was a need, especially for homes willing to take newborns.
  2. We thought it would be a good example for our children of caring for those who need it.
  3. As Christians, we believe we need to make an impact for good in our society.
  4. As Christians, we saw ourselves as being adopted into a family we didn’t belong to from birth, accepted by a loving Father who cares for us as His own. We believe that if we are wearing His name we should follow His example.

There is a lot of need, there are lots of opportunities, its worth looking into if you have lots of love and some time.

Please consider commenting.  

Check out my book give away, too.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Friday's ideas- think about birth order

Dr Kevin Leman has done a lot of research and writing on the topic of birth order. I read through his book on step families and how the blending of families affects children thrust into new places in the family. It was very thought provoking and disturbing at the same time.

With birth order comes responsibilities, expectations, different interactions with siblings, and, for only children increased interaction with adults. All these things are important to the way our personalities and character develops. How about today we do a little research on the role our children play within our family. Here are a few links. If you'd like to read the Dr Leman book I was referring to, Living in a Step-Family without getting Stepped On, let me know in the comments and I will send it to you, all I ask is that you mention on your blog (if you've gots one!) that I'm giving books away here.

Here are a few links to follow yourself if you want to see what's up in your family's mix of children (or even to get some insight into your own personality).

Informative newsletter from University of West Virginia
Dr Diana Walcutt from

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Have a great weekend!