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Our family is back in the dog business. After a two-year lobbying campaign by our kids (we still don't know how they afforded the robo-calls and the newspaper ads), we realized that our children weren't getting any younger, so we might as well take the plunge now. We have a 14-week-old puppy whom we adopted from a friend. He is a Maltese-poodle mix. (Nobody says Malt…

Health and Fitness

Tefaddaloo -- "Do us the favor of joining us" -- says the  St. John Maron Parish in Williamsville, as it celebrates the 10th annual Lebanese Festival this weekend (continuing today from noon to 6:00 if you haven’t been). I’m proud to say we’ve attended all 10 of the Lebanese Festivals, one of our summer rituals, and so we’ve seen this event evolve over the …

The first thing to go was the occasional venti latte at Starbucks. It’s been a few months since I’ve set foot in a Starbucks to fork over $4 for coffee, something that Greg and I did on a somewhat regular basis as a treat (though we ordered one extra large and shared, not being total fools). With gas prices over $4 a gallon, we’ve substituted Texas Tea for coffee, and appa…

Il cinema Sotto le Stelle, Cinema Under the Stars, has been something I’ve wanted to set up in our backyard this summer. We’re not normally high in the handy department, we don’t suddenly put up ice rinks, major jungle gym contraptions, or for that matter much else besides a badminton net. But after last year at our block party when a clever parent borrowed a projector fro…

It probably is not so funny if you're a camp counselor, but I find this Associated Press story about crybaby parents to be a great reflection of where we are today. The story is about how instead of the kids becoming homesick when they go away to camp, the parents become kid-sick when they are not around their little darlings. One counselor cited in the story says the cam…

We went to see "WALL-E" last weekend with much of the rest of America. The Pixar people are geniuses. Their fusion of story, art, technology, humor and simultaneous adult and kid appeal is unmatched. I actually was more excited about seeing this movie than our kids, and there isn’t much that Hollywood churns out today that gets me that motivated. I loved this m…

It's too hot to type, I mean, keyboard today. I'll just link, instead: Mariam Brillantes in WJS's The Juggle: "I want to know everything that’s going on with my 15-year-old daughter and she understandably wants to keep some things private. Our struggles seem to converge around her cellphone, which allows me to keep track of her whereabouts — if only she would answer …

As old-time comic Henny Youngman once joked, his wife ran after the garbage truck yelling, "Am I too late for the garbage?" to a reply of "No, jump in!" In the same desperate spirit, I called Greg’s U-Pick-It on Sunday to ask, “Am I too late for the strawberries?” No, Sunday was the last day for picking, so we jumped in the car for piano lessons and t…

Health and Fitness

Over at the Wall Street Journal's Juggle blog, Cybele Weisser wonders about the risks of posting photos of your children to public sites, such as Flick, Picassa or PhotoBucket, to name just a few. What do Parent Company readers think about this? I publish family photos on Flickr occasionally, but I don't usually write captions for them. I figure the people who know us k…

It wasn't quite a pilgrimage, since we were sort of in the neighborhood anyway, but our son and I ventured to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., last weekend. I can't quite wring the same significance out of the trip as Richard Ford in his novel "Independence Day," in which a father and son visit Springfield, Cooperstown and Canton together. Stil…

If your children aren't old enough to hear the Seven Words You Can't Say on Television, then how exactly do you explain to them the impact of the late George Carlin? Simple, just show them his monologue on the differences between football and baseball. Not only is it family-friendly and safe for work, it also shows the pure genius of Carlin. ---Greg

It’s only June 17 and already our family change jar -- which acts as a mini-vacation fund -- has been depleted by half. I suspect that its proceeds are lining the pockets of the ice cream truck guy. (This is not change that we can count on.) Kids whose ears don’t hear a mother from 10 feet away are miraculously able to pick up the annoying ice cream truck jingle from…

     Parents care a lot about the media their children consume -- both the types and the sheer amount of it.   But, as today's Spotlight cover story points out, it used to be a lot easier to control those viewing habits.      Back in the day, you could just snap off the set when the kids got too fixated.  Now, they live in a 24…

Career blogger extraordinaire Penelope Trunk today writes about a dirty little secret: "People are scared to admit that they would rather be at work than with their kids, because work is easier than parenting."There is a lot of truth to this, isn't there? I work a lot of evening shifts at my job, and often I've spent all day hauling kids to various places, gettin…

Slate.com has a terrific column by Ray Fisman on why the rush to give $100 laptops to poor children doesn't make sense. Why? Because computers are more of a distraction for most kids than they are an education enhancer. Maybe that's easier to say for those of us who live on the fortunate side of the so-called digital divide, but if you've ever watched your kids use a comp…