Five Simple Rules For My Sons

I was just reading BuckDaddy‘s 2024 Rules for My Daughter and thought it would be a good idea to compose a set of rules for my sons when they turn 18.  So here goes (in no particular order):

Learn to be self-sufficiant.

Before college, I was reliant on my parents for everything.  My mother did my laundry, cooked my meals, and cleaned the house.  I contributed little to nothing as my mother took the entire burden on herself.  Once I moved off to college, I started cooking and cleaning for myself.  I even did my own laundry.  After college, I moved back in with my parents for a bit.  Looking back, one of my big regrets is that I didn’t do enough to help out around the house.  My mother offered to do my laundry and I accepted the offer.  Pretty soon, I was back to being reliant on them for everything.  (With the exception that this time I had a job and my own car.)

B and I aren’t going to model our household after my parents’ house.  I’m not going to come home from work, sit down on the couch, and ask when dinner’s going to be ready.  In fact, I’m the one who does most of the cooking.  I honestly enjoy trying new recipes out.  As our boys get older, they will share in the household chores.  It will better prepare them for when they live on their own or with their future girlfriends and/or wives.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

This is something I’m constantly telling NHL now.  He’ll push someone or grab JSL’s neck.  When I stop him, I ask him whether he would like it if someone did that to him.  Of course, he answers that he wouldn’t.  I’ve found in life that you should always treat people the way that you would want to be treated.  Sometimes, it isn’t easy.  People can be rude and cruel at times.  During those times, it is even more important to stay civil and treat those people nicely.  This doesn’t mean that you need to let people walk all over you, but you can be cordial while you hold your ground.

Follow your traditions.

Your heritage is a very important thing.  Because we are Jewish, there are certain traditions that we follow.  We go to temple during Jewish holidays.  We celebrate Chanukah and not Christmas.  And, because I’m more traditional, we keep Kosher in the home.  (We’ll bring in non-Kosher foods, but we eat them using paper dishes and plastic utensils.)  To me, following your religious traditions is very important.  I will leave it to my boys just how much they will follow them.  They might go to Temple every day for morning minyan, might only attend on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, or anywhere in between.  It’s their choice.  About the only thing that would disappoint me would be if they decided to follow another religion’s traditions.  This leads to…

Respect the traditions of others.

Just because you follow your traditions, doesn’t mean you need to put down or make fun of the traditions of others.  In some ways, this falls under "Treat others the way you want to be treated," but I feel it’s important enough to be separate.  Just because your religion is the right path for you, it doesn’t mean that it is the right path for everyone.  You should never force your religious beliefs onto others.  Finally, even if a person’s traditions seem strange to you, don’t make fun of you.  After all, some of your traditions likely seem strange to others.

Strive to leave this world a little better than it was before you.

Like the last rule, this could be grouped under "Treat others the way you want to be treated." It means doing something to help those less fortunate than you.  It means so much more than that, though.  Striving to leave the world a little better means generally acting like a good citizen.  If you have trash, don’t just toss it in the street.  Instead, wait until a garbage can can be used.  If you are done with a shopping cart, don’t just leave it in the middle of the parking lot where it could roll into other cars.  Instead, put it in the cart corral.  Don’t make a mess and just assume that someone else will clean it up for you.

I think if everyone followed those five simple rules, the world would be a better place.

We’re Crazy, I Tell You, Crazy!

It was 13 degrees out today.  Before the wind chill.  So what does B decide she wants to do for her birthday?  Go to Cold Stone and get ice cream!  (Ok, that wasn’t the only thing we did and the reason for that choice was a free ice cream coupon she had for her birthday.)

B got the cake batter ice cream with cookie dough mixed in.  NHL got the gingerbread ice cream with Oreos mixed in.  I, being a big dark chocolate fan, got the Dark Chocolate Peppermint ice cream with marshmellows mixed in.  JSL is also a fan of all things chocolate and wound up eating about half of my ice cream.  He actually got upset when I dared to move the spoon to my mouth instead of in his.  How dare I!

After ice cream we did some shopping.  Then, after a quick stop home to drop off our goods, we headed to B’s parents house.  There we dropped off the kids and went out to eat in a Japanese Steakhouse.  (Sushi… yum!  Especially Sweet Potato sushi made with warm sweet potato tempura.  *drools*)  After dinner, it was back to B’s parents for dessert:  Chocolate Chip Cookie cake.

Here are a few photos:

Happy Birthday B!

Things You Never Thought You’d Say Before You Were A Parent #2

It’s been awhile, so it’s time for another issue of "Things You Never Thought You’d Say Before You Were A Parent."

Our first TYNTYSBYWAP involves both JSL and NHL.  JSL has this bad habit of headbutting everything and everyone in sight.  Yesterday, he and NHL were playing.  NHL was laying down on the ground.  JSL approached him and headbutted him…. in the groin.  As NHL laughed, I exclaimed "JSL, do *not* headbutt your brother’s crotch!"

Then, just today, I was changing JSL into his PJs.  While laying on the changing table, JSL decided to play telephone.  It’s one of his favorite games.  He holds something – anything – up to his ear and pretends it is a telephone.  This time, however, I had to tell him:  "JSL, your foot is *NOT* a telephone!"

Has your little one made you say something you never thought you would say before you were a parent?

The Charleston Trip, Part 6: Costume Ball and Heading Home

As I mentioned in my last post, G & L had a costume ball reception in addition to the Secret Gardens reception.  When I got back to my room after taking photos at the stables, I got into my costume and proceeded to the parking lot in front of G & L’s room.  There, the guests were arriving.  Everyone had a costume on.  Mine was Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

After taking a few photos, I was ushered into G & L’s room.  The wedding party members were going to go separate from the regular guests so we could be introduced at the reception.  While waiting, I was handed my mask.  It was nice, but I was afraid that it would mean I’d need to remove my glasses.  Luckily, it fit over my glasses quite easily.  I’m not sure if this was planning on G & L’s part or just plain luck, but it worked nicely.  The mask had only one drawback:  No peripheral vision.  More on that later.

After waiting for awhile, we headed to the reception.  It wasn’t far.  The reception hall was at another section of Middleton Place.  We waited outside while everyone got ready.  It was nighttime and the entire place was pitch black.  Our main source of light (besides the reception hall) was a series of torches lining our path.  I glanced to one side and realized that I was dangeriously close to one of the torches.  Any closer and I’d have had to change my blog name to CrispyDad!

When it was time for us to be introduced, we all donned our masks and the band started playing the Closing Theme from Star Wars.  Yes, G chose this musical selection.  I guess L should be happy he didn’t choose Vader’s March.  It actually worked out very nicely.  The big fanfare at the end came up just as G & L entered the room.

The reception itself was great.  There was dancing, food, music, more dancing.  I even got G to do the Sher (which I mistakenly called the Horah during the dance).  This is a dance often performed at Jewish celebrations.  All of the dancers form a circle and two dancers move to the middle.  They lock arms and circle one another.  Then they break the lock, lock their other arms, and circle in the opposite direction.  One or both of the dancers then goes back to the circle and another dancer or pair of dancers moves to the middle.

G and I had danced this dance at my wedding during which time I spun him so fast that he fell down.  This isn’t as mean as it seems.  G and I have a running gag where I do something and he performs a pratfall.  If I recall correctly, he even met L when he tripped and fell onto her lap.  In any event, I decided not to repeat the G-Toss.  G had other ideas, though and intentionally broke the lock and went flying.

In a nice moment of cultural spillover, there was a Sudden Outbreak of Sher.  Everyone was doing it including an elderly Italian couple.  Due to my participation, I didn’t get any Sudden Outbreak of Sher photos, but I did get these:

I also took a video of my friend doing some rather embarassing dance moves.  Unfortunately, that came out so dark that you can’t see anything.  The blackmail qualities of the video are gone!

All too soon, I realized that I should be getting back to my room.  I had an early flight the next morning and needed to pack my things.  I said my goodbyes and some final congratulations.  Then I got a ride back to my room.  I quickly changed out of my costume, packed my things up as best I could at the time, and went to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up at 3am.  I got ready, packed up my remaining belongings, did a few sweeps of the room to make sure nothing was left behind, and then headed out.  It was pitch black outside and I was barely able to guide myself to the spot where the van was going to meet me to drive me to the airport.  At 4:30am, I met up with the van and got driven to the airport.  At 6am, my flight took off from Charleston, SC to Atlanta, Georgia.

While in Atlanta, I continued a tradition that I started on my trip down:  I picked up some postcards for NHL to add to his photo album.  (He later requested some prints from my trip and has filled up one whole photo album.)  The trip was nice and I didn’t regret not having my wife and kids there.  I missed them, of course, but I don’t think they would have enjoyed themselves as much as I did.  By the time I landed at our airport, I was itching to see my kids.  I had taken a small photo album with me with a few 4×6’s of my wife and kids.  As we neared the airport, I found myself taking out the album more and more.

After getting off the plane, I headed for the security gate where my wife, kids, and in-laws were waiting for me.  It’s a good thing my in-laws were there.  They held JSL and NHL back.  Otherwise, they would have charged past the security line to run to me.  I don’t think airport security would have appreciated that.  Once I got past the security line, though, all bets were off and I was charged by two boys who had missed their daddy.  I gave them both big hugs and we headed home.  It’s fitting that this is being posted on Thanksgiving.  While I had a blast on my trip and would love to go back there one day, I was extremely thankful to be home hugging both of my boys.

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