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Our 2007 Buffalo Tour of Festivals continued this weekend with our annual stop at the Lebanese Festival at the St. John Maron Church in Williamsville. This is always a fun family event with something for everyone. (The festival runs through today -- Sunday.) For me, it's falafel -- one of my favorite foods -- for my kids it's the bouncy house and games. Plus the Lebanese…

Here’s a new book with a novel approach: “Screamfree Parenting,” by Hal Runkel. Is that an oxymoron, like “ego-free blogging?” A reviewer at Time.com’s Work in Progress blog, LaDawn Clare-Panton, is impressed with the book. “Everything Runkel suggests is focused on changing the behavior of the parents,” she writes. “We all know you can’t change someone else. You can onl…

Health and Fitness

Our 14-year-old daughter is attending an academic program on the West Coast this summer. We have heard some really good things about the "unaccompanied minor" program for the airline on which she will be flying. Allison is not too concerned about our daughter doing this. I -- playing the role of overprotective dad -- have some reservations, although I clearly…

I’ve always felt like somewhat of a parental loser for not volunteering to read the Harry Potter books aloud to our children. I was kind of spoiled by the fact that our oldest daughter is a book-reading machine and she happily plowed through each Potter volume herself. Wizardry and fantasy were never my things, unless the fantasy involved the drafting of mythical sports t…

This week we went to one of our favorite summer festivals -- Old Home Days. It's held in the small and otherwise quaint Island Park in the village of Williamsville. For a few days in July, Island Park is taken over by rides, games, food vendors and a variety of entertainment. I choose to kick off our annual pilgrimage with the Parking Rodeo, an event of my own making. I i…

Paula Voell's story in The Buffalo News today details the baby boomlet that resulted from the October Surprise storm. Would it be appropriate to refer to the autumn outbreak of passion as Ardorgeddon? No, I didn't think so. I recall more stressful moments from last October than I do moments of marital bliss.  The way I remember that month at One Connors Drive, I wo…

Health and Fitness

On Saturday night, we celebrated Caroline's 10th birthday at Chef's Restaurant. Spending birthday nights at Chef’s is a tradition we’ve been observing for more than 10 years, since our oldest, Maddie, was a toddler. While Greg and I didn't grow up here, our kids are all natives, and Chef’s feels like the place to pass along Buffalo traditions. We always go on Saturday, …

Wall Street Journal writer Jeff Zaslow wrote a thought-provoking column this week about the sense of entitlement that today's children grow up with. One culprit is allegedly Mr. Rogers, who told every child that he or she is "special," and they grew up believing it. But the column also cites the culpability of parents. Do we let our kids interrupt our conversat…

Health and Fitness

I'm not trying to steal any thunder from the Sabres Edge blog, but I am wondering today whether other parents are in the same boat I am, trying to console the hockey fans in their family over the losses of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Let's face it, a lot of our kids invested a lot of emotion in the Sabres for the past two seasons. Our 14-year-old, Maddie, was monitorin…

For some reason, the occupants of the White House often turn into our Exercisers-in-Chief. Theodore Roosevelt urged Americans to pursue the vigorous life that he did. John F. Kennedy created the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness. Bill Clinton used to jog to McDonald's. (Whoops, that was Phil Hartman playing Clinton on "Saturday Night Live.") President Bush…

There probably are no degrees of tragedy when someone dies. A child or a senior citizen, their lives are of equal value, their deaths equally tragic. But why does it seem especially heart-breaking when someone dies unexpectedly when on the verge of a new chapter in their life? The five girls killed in a car crash last night in Ontario County had just graduated from Fairpo…

Health and Fitness

There's a fascinating study from Norway in the news today showing that first-born children in a family have, on average, slightly higher IQs than their younger siblings. One facet of the study found that if the oldest sibling dies, the next oldest develops an increase in IQ, suggesting that being the oldest sibling is a role that carries certain social expectations with i…

Greg got his Father's Day wish, at least for an hour or so. (See Sunday's video post.) We took off and gave him the gift of peace and quiet. Unfortunately, he ended up injuring himself with a shepherd's hook, nearly poking his eye out, but leaving him instead with a black eye. Note to readers: Do not try to insert a shepherd's hook into the ground if there hasn't been any …

The Washington Post's "On Balance" blogger, Leslie Morgan Steiner, has a post this week about the end of school and what it means to parents. Says Steiner: "Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick…