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Valentine's Day crept up on me again, so at 8 last night, we raced to the drugstore to get valentines for the 4th and 6th grade classes. This year Kung-Fu Panda and Cartoon Network were selected. I remember a couple of years ago sitting at the table as our younger two painstakingly wrote out a valentine for each classmate. A project that, while quaint, seemed to take …

Are we having a recession yet? I don't know about your house, but in ours every spare hour seems to be devoted to talking about how to make our money go farther, how to make ends meet, how to pay for college (starting three years from now). And it doesn't help our morale when Forbes magazine tells us how miserable we are. Or a friend from out of town, a Buffalo …

I don't like amusement park rides, except for the wimpy kind that kids are usually too embarrassed to go on. I’m also a waterpark slide wuss. So when we went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ont., this past weekend, I planned to enjoy the Jacuzzi and wave pool, while skipping the giant human water chutes. But when our middle daughter pleaded with me to ride…

The Parent Company bloggers are exhausted from celebrating the birthdays of two of our children on the same weekend.First was a sleepover for seven 16-year-old girls on Friday night, then an overnight trip to a lodge in Canada. More about that later.Here's some reading material, until we are back on our feet:"Rebel Dad" Brian Reid has had it up to here with …

I really feel the pain of former French President Jacques Chirac, who recently received medical treatment after getting bitten by his Maltese poodle, named Sumo. The dog had been under treatment for depression, news reports say. Since poodles are so smart, my guess is that Sumo had been listening when the 76-year-old Chirac would read passages of Albert Camus aloud, inclu…

I'm not a fan of kids’ birthday parties. Yes, I’m part of the problem, having hosted oodles of them for our three kids over the years and doing unto other parents what I hate being done to me – which is spending a sunny Sunday afternoon in a windowless Petri dish of ball pits and laser rooms. Once I hit 40 and the kids grew, hosting parties was no longer a core comp…

Online television has taken over from actual television in our home. That's because we got rid of our cable connection (and our TV set), but there is so much available online that we barely miss the old broadcast box. Online TV seems ubiquitous these days (and it's everywhere). I've been using Hulu.com to find programming, but this week a blog called "Connect With …

In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Joshua Yaffa writes about growing up in a home in which junk food, fast food, sugary cereals and anything remotely unhealthful was banned by his parents. The law of unintended consequences kicked in, and he and his sister developed some strong cravings for Whoppers, Captain Crunch and other staples of the All-American diet. One facet o…

We don’t own a generator, so when the hurricane-force winds blew through Amherst on Sunday a tree branch fell somewhere on our neighborhood power grid and knocked out power to our block of houses, among thousands of others in our area. With each successive storm, we’ve noticed more neighbors firing up generators. So now we are among the few who are powerless when an…

Did you get your fill of "A Christmas Story," the classic comedy that ran all day and night on TBS on Thursday? Donald Fagen, the co-founder of Steely Dan, writes in Slate about the creator of the story that the movie was based on, Jean Shepherd, a writer and storyteller who was a beloved late-night radio personality in New York. Fagen grew up "desperatel…

  One of Santa's proteges came down our street on a fire truck this afternoon, followed by his posse of support cars. He waved to neighbors, as Christmas music was playing. This tradition is always a Christmas Eve highlight, even though some might consider it a bit politically incorrect. Over the years, we've been lucky that there has never been a fire in Snyder du…

You've got to love those unplanned snow days, don't you? Our school decided at 6:30 this morning to pull the plug. In our case it did not cause a parental emergency today -- at least so far -- but I know that in many households, it did. How much scrambling did your family have to do this morning to cover having the kids home? My brother John lives in Burke, Va., where a…

Let's "surf the Web," as the kids say, to find some holiday gift ideas for the family. At "On Youth and Teens Today," Becca suggests giving our teens an experience (a road trip, attending a sporting event, baking or building something togther) rather than buying them things. Tech Mamas reviews 17 cool gifts for techie teens, including Orb watches. Su…

"Allison didn't disturb the tree," my mother wrote in my baby book on my first Christmas two score and seven years ago. Many years later, I entered the following First Christmas incident in my son's baby book: "Greg threw cream cheese at the tree." You get the idea of how civilization, at least in this family, has declined. We put up the tree over th…

Last night I finally expressed a thought that's been weighing on me for years: I'm not a fan of Dr. Seuss books. When I spoke those words at our dinner table, our Caroline gave me a look not unlike that of Cindy Lou in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," in the scene in which the wide-eyed child watches the person who she thinks is Santa Claus attempt to steal her…