Category Archives: Family

When the Kids Fight: Flames on the Side of My Face

These are my kids: Bongo, Lulabelle, and the Baby. They are talented, smart, funny (they get that from me), good-looking (they get that from their mother), and all-around awesome.

When people see them they think they’re like this all the time.

The Niños

I love my kids!

Usually, they get along exceptionally well, but now that it’s summer they’ve been spending a lot more time with each other. This means that by the time I come home from work they’ve pretty much driven each other (and their mother) crazy. That’s when the fighting starts.

I don’t know if it’s the whining or the screaming part of the fighting—no wait, it’s totally the screaming—however, when the fighting starts something terrible happens to me.

I get so angry that I lose the ability to formulate coherent sentences. I feel like Madeline Kahn in this scene from Clue.

I love my kids. Let me say it again, I love my kids! However, the fighting and screaming, have to go. My sanity depends on it.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.


Vote: Suzette Steward for Teacher of the Year

Suzette on Live with Kelly and Michael

I’m sure that all of the teachers up for Live’s Annual Top Teacher are great and all, but none of them are more deserving to win—in my humble, but completely biased opinion—than (my sister-in-law,) Suzette Steward.

Suz and Dracula

Suz teaches children with special needs, and they are, in a very literal sense, her life. When she’s not teaching them at school she’s working them out at the gym or babysitting them to give their parents a much needed break.

Suz at Rodeo

You know those fabulously long summer breaks that teachers get each year? Suzette has not once taken one. She spends all summer (each and every year) running camps where her kids can ride canoes, go down a zipline, dance, make crafts, etc.

Still need convincing? Read what one of her student’s parents said about here here.

Voting closes Monday, April 15th, so head on over to the Live with Kelly and Michael site to vote for Suzette, today.

All images appear courtesy of Suzette Coates’ Facebook unless otherwise noted.

Scanned Classics

I was going through my iPhoto archive today when this gem fromt he Lulabelle collection turned up.

Hug From Lulabelle

One of the best ideas we ever had as parents was to start scanning our children’s artwork—at least, the ones worth saving (they’re not all classics). We haven’t been super consistent with it, but I’m so glad we saved this one!

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Mormon Night at Dodger Stadium 2012

Tilt Shift Dodger Stadium

Last week I was able to share one of my favorite traditions with my kids—Mormon Night at Dodger Stadium!

Growing up in the burbs outside Los Angeles, I anxiously looked forward to Mormon Night with the Dodgers each year.

Mormon Night at Dodger Stadium Wristband

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization for decades to hold this annual event for members of the church from all over Southern California and elsewhere.

President Dieter Uchtdorf from the church’s First Presidency threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Dodger Dog

We ate Dodger Dogs, popcorn, peanuts and everything else you’re supposed to eat at a ball game.

We were rewarded for not skipping out during the Seventh Inning Stretch (a peculiar Dodger Stadium ritual) with a Linkin Park fireworks show. LP frontman, Mike Shinoda, was in attendance as well.

Watching the Dodgers Lose

Even though the Dodgers suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the New York Mets, a great time was had by all.

What traditions from your childhood have you passed on to your kids? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

I’d Rather Sleep Like a 10 Year Old

Whoever coined he term “sleeping like a baby” obviously never had children. My baby does not like to go to sleep. Ever. And when she does finally conk out it is a sleep so light that a butterfly’s sneeze could wake her.


My 10 year old, on the other hand, sleeps so soundly that I’m not even sure a nuclear blast could rouse her. She is capable of falling out of bed with her head on the floor and her feet still in bed–and not even that will wake her.

That is why I’d rather sleep like a 10 year old.

My Native Roots

I grew up reading the romantic accounts La Niña, La Pinta, and the Santa María crossing the ocean blue in good old fourteen hundred and ninety-two. As such, I looked forward to Columbus Day more than just as a day off from school, but as a day to glory in America and its history.

Frank "Mountain Chief"

The older I get, however, the less Columbus Day seems to be about the man and his journey. For me, at least, this day became more about my connection to the indigenous peoples already living in the Americas upon the discoverer’s arrival.

Statue of Massasoit

My family has always been proud of our American Indian heritage. My ancestor Massasoit was instrumental in the survival of the Plymouth Colony. When one of my ancestors, a French Gypsy, was kicked out of New Amsterdam he was taken in by one of the surrounding Indian tribes.

Amasa and Big Chief White Horse Eagle
My great-grandfather, a cattle rancher in Canada, had a wonderful relationship with and a deep reverence for the Blackfoot and Sioux tribes which he recorded in his journals. Due to his many kindnesses shown to them he was given the honorary title “Chief Tu-cu-sa”. Years after he relocated to Southern California, they would make the effort to come down and visit him.

Amasa, Fanny and Big Chief White Horse Eagle

While the percentage of Indian blood flowing through my veins might not make me eligible for academic scholarships, mineral royalties, or let me run a casino, it is a part of my identity. I’m offended when I fill out a form that asks for my race and then does so in terms of an “exclusive or”. As if I can only be either Caucasian or Native American (or any other combination of racial backgrounds). Why can’t I be both if that’s how I identify myself?

What are your thoughts with regards to Columbus Day? Do you have Native American heritage? If so, what tribe(s)? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

How to Trick a Girl into Watching a Superhero Movie

My Hero
Image via my flickr

Superhero movie season is upon us once again. Thor, X-Men First Class, Captain America, and Green Lantern (sadly no Wonder Twins movie though) will all grace the big screen this summer.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already begun thinking about how you can possibly trick convince the girl (or guy) in your life to see one all of these with you.

My wife is a trooper and I’ve already been able to talk her into seeing one of these with me, but I want to see them all! How can I get her to go with me?

The following exchange between my five year-old son and his older sister provides the answer. (They were in the process of negotiating which DVD they were going to watch when I overheard this…)

Bongo: How about this one?
Lulabelle: No, I don’t want to see it.
Bongo: You’ll like it. It has romance!
Lulabelle: I am not watching Spider-Man!

OK, so maybe it didn’t work out quite the way that he had hoped, but guess what? 90% of the time it does. Plus, you’ve got to give the kid credit for playing the romance card—did I mention he’s only five?!? He’s smooth that one, real smooth.

It turns out that most superhero shows are so good these days that all you don’t need to resort to trickery to get non-fans to watch them with you.

Because Bongo asks her, he has gotten Lulabelle to watch everything from Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond to Iron Man and yes, even Spider-Man with him!

All you really need to do is ask.

What tactics will you use to get your gal (or dude) to watch this years superhero flicks? Got anything better than flat out asking? Sound off in the comments below.

This post was featured on the 9rules Noteworthy Content of the Week blog on June 8, 2011!