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I have real cognitive dissonance when it comes to the kids having sleepovers. On one hand, I recognize that they are a valuable way for our children to learn to socialize. On the other hand, our family ALWAYS pays a price the day after a sleepover, which becomes the Day of the Living Dead for the exhausted participant. Our friends Alan and Isabell refer to them as "…

I thought it was a little odd that rates were so high when I looked into booking a hotel for this weekend in Niagara Falls (Canada, that is) or Niagara-on-the-Lake. I wondered if everyone in Buffalo decided to head across the border for the long weekend. All I wanted was a little escape -– in fact, I was considering not bringing my family and just going to a hotel with …

The work-life balance question is something that's constantly on the minds of working parents. Last week, when two of our kids needed to stay home sick from school for several days, the Connors household nearly came to a screeching halt. (There was a lot of screeching, not enough halting.) Even without unplanned illnesses, we all have our weekly juggling acts to perform.…

Spring has arrived, or at least is around the corner. In our neighborhood, the first harbinger of spring is the opening of our beloved Dairy Queen on Harlem Road, which comes out of its deep freeze in February.The closing of Dairy Queen for the “season” in October is always a sad occasion … the last hurrah … the sure sign that the fullness of winter approaches. As…

It started with the “Wind Day” of Jan. 30, when schools were closed because of high winds and cold. OK, it was Maddie’s birthday, so she viewed it as winning the lottery. So while kids stayed home because of wind, parents still had to go to work and keep up the usual juggling act. We just got over this disruption, and then Greg came down with a cold* (ironically, o…

Politics is not something we discuss a lot at our dinner table. Allison and I have some differing political views, and we prefer to let the kids gather their own facts and make their own decisions about which types of people and policies they will vote for when they are older. In the last presidential election cycle, one or two of the kids wanted President Bush re-elected…

One has to assume that when a few parents in the Depew school district raised a ruckus over having students read the coming-of-age book 'Looking for Alaska,' they didn't expect to get the attention of the book's author, John Green. But 2008 is not 1951, and Green is no reclusive J.D. Salinger. He posted a video on YouTube, titled it 'I Am Not a Pornographer,' and defends…

No, we aren't getting political today. Here are a few links collected while wondering how many of his child's diapers Tom Brady has changed: A columnist for London's Independent declares that hovering helicopter parents are the curse of our time. Hari's column mentions the BlueRanger GPS tracking device that you can attach to your child. That sure takes all the messy gue…

I should be writing this post for the Death Notices page, because I’d like to report the demise of the RSVP as an etiquette norm. If it’s not quite dead, then at a minimum it’s on life support. RSVP, of course, stands for répondez, s'il-vous-plaît, which means “respond, if you please.” Could it be that our loopy generation is exercising the “if you please…

They like us, they really like us!  A study at UCLA found that so-called helicopter parents -- mothers and fathers who hover over their children's lives -- are NOT resented by the majority of college freshmen. The survey found 84 percent of freshmen nationwide said that their mom or dad's involvement in their college admissions process was satisfactory. Only …

It’s been forever since I have gotten together with my good friends for a Girls’ Night Out dinner. There is no particular reason for this, other than among the four of us we have 11 kids, and so somehow it’s almost mathematically impossible to find a time when we don’t have a conflict of one kind or another. Most of our so-called scheduling conflicts are the result…

Now that another of football's Manning brothers, Eli, is headed to the Super Bowl with the New York Giants, we will be inundated with stories about the famous football family. Eli's older brother Peyton, of course, was MVP of last year's Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts. Their father, Archie Manning, was the quarterback of the woeful New Orleans Saints back in the 19…

     As a mother who tears up at the site of a stuffed animal or doll on the side of the road, I read with interest a story on msnbc.com about the efforts some parents put into retrieving a lost, beloved stuffed animal or blanket.     Digging through Dumpsters. Hanging posters. Retracing steps.  "When a child loses a lovey, parents o…

What do you make of this story? (Well, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl.) A father in Pardeeville, Wis., was watching the Green Bay Packers' playoff victory last Saturday on TV with his 7-year-old son. Dad wanted the boy to put on a Packers jersey and the boy declined. That didn't sit well with dad, who is accused of taping the jersey to his son and using tap…

In or out? These are anxious days for the families of high school seniors who are waiting to hear from college admissions offices. If the applicant in your house is thinking of adding an attention-getting gimmick into her admissions package -- such as placing her face on a Time magazine cover as Woman of the Year or sending in a box of engraved chocolates -- think…