My oldest, like me, saw Friday the 13th when she was 6.  Unlike me she saw it on the Syfy network; which means she saw a version without topless scenes and there was far less blood.  She loved the movie so we continued her horror education, but I was very careful on what movies she watched because of content.  She ended up watching a lot of science fiction for the most part so she didn't watch too much horror at her young age.  Now my older child loves horror movies along with star trek and star wars, and the younger one is following fast.  My neighbors have a huge set up for Halloween including being dressed up as the major horror movie characters.  Michael Myers stands on the roof and points at people, Jason Voorhees walks around with a fake machete and slowly stalks people, and another neighbor dressed as  Freddy and stood and stared at people as they walked by.  Children and adults alike avoid this house because, "...it's way to scary, and they shouldn't do things like that.  It scares the kids and they don't understand it's not real..."  I hear this complaint every year and it annoys me.  Yes, I would not take my 3 year old to that house if they were scared, but the people also don't approach little children if they seem hesitant.  They aren't there to be mean, they just set up for Halloween and make it scary the way it used to be.  I enjoy and appreciate their passion and effort to make every year to have their house and yard decorated to entertain themselves and everyone else. 
My kids go up to these characters and high five them, shake hands, and laugh.  I know they like horror movies and they have been exposed to them, but more importantly the know the difference between pretend and real.  They understand that the movies and characters are there to scare us, but they aren't real.  The like to be scared and laugh at the same time.  I wish other people would educate their kids about what is pretend and real.  Not just because of movies, but to develop those parts of their minds so they can be creative and enjoy themselves without requiring outside stimulation to do so.

I am fanatical about zombies.  I saw Night of the Living Dead when I was 6 years old.  As I grew up, the first thing I would think when I walked into a building was, "How can this be defended against zombies?"  I never had intense fears or nightmares, they always facinated me.  Now, as an adult, I know that the zombie apocalypse is just a medium for the destruction of humanity due to something man made.  But that doesn't stop me from quoting the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks or things I have learned from zombie movies.  I have a zombie plan for my house, for where to go locally, and even where I am going if I have to leave the state with all cardinal directions covered.  My wife laughs and humors me about them, but now my kids have been bitten by the zomibe bug (pun definately intended).  Next year my kids want us to shamble as a zombie family for Halloween, my oldest wants to go visit the graveyard near my step-mother's childhood home in Pittsburg, Pa where the filmed part of the original Night of the Living Dead, and she wants to join the zombie walk either here in NJ or in Pa.  I am so pround they can enjoy the odd things in life and use their imaginations to understand that the "scary" guys next door to us do it for fun, and not to be scary.

http://www.fridaythe13thfilms.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror_film
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Living_Dead
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zombie_Survival_Guide
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_walk
 
 
Our flight took off at 6 a.m. Monday morning and we didn't get home till the next Monday at 12:15 a.m.  Disney was phenominal.  I havent' been there since I was 18, and neither has my wife.  My girls have never been there, and it was more magical then I could have imagined.  Now, of course the rides and shows were great, but there are a few things that stand out as making the experience "Magical".  On our second day we were in Epcot.  The signatures from many princesses were great for the girls, but they were nothing compared to after dinner.  We ate at the Rose and Crown Pub in the country of England.  The food was wonderful, and our server Sophie made it that much more enjoyable.  Towards the end of our dinner another server, Hannah, approached our table and said to my girls, "We have a problem we were hoping you could help us with.  Mickey Mouse is stuck on the Monorail and we were hoping you could help us set off the fireworks tonight.  Luckily, he left his magic wands here so we have them for you."  Their eyes lit up and all I could do was nod a yes.  They stood on chairs by the waterfront and waved the wands in the air.  They swirled them around quicker and quicker until the fireworks started.  Now, I know that they didn't really set off the fireworks, it was a timed event and they must do this every night to children at their establishment.  My wife and I were standing there looking at our girls faces covered in huge smiles.  I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and whispered into her ear, "Now this is what they must mean by Disney Magic."

On Thursay, our 4th day there,  we had luch at Cinderella's Castle for my youngest's birthday (she turned 5 that day).  We met almost all of the princesses and the lunch was another magical time that kept her smiling all day.  She was so happy that she smiled as she slept; maybe having dreams of living in the castle with the other princesses.

My oldest had been dealing with a sprained ankle for a couple weeks and we even kept her out of soccer the weekend we went away so she would not aggravate it.  As the week progressed in Disney it started to hurt her earlier and earlier each day, till on friday I had to push her around in a wheel chair because she couldn't walk at all.  We still had a lot of fun, but my Disney memory happend that night.  My girls bought me a Mickey Mouse pin that said "World's Greatest Dad".  My oldest looked up at me from the wheelchair, handed me the pin, and said "Daddy, even without this pin, you are the greatest Dad in the world!"  All the blisters, sore feet, long lines, and exhaustion washed away, and I was left with that simple phrase. 

It may be people in costumes, over priced food and soveniers, and overcrowded, but Disney is magical.  And my girls thinking that I am the Greatest Dad is all the magic I will ever need.

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/rose-and-crown-dining-room/
 
 
On Saturday I was in the Wedding party for my friends Jen and Mark.  Their wedding was beautiful.  They are so perfect for eachother, and I wish them allt he blessings and good luck possible.  Last year Mark asked me to be in the wedding and I was honored and excited.  But, over the past couple of years I have not been a good friend to he or Jen.  Jen has 3 children from a previous relationship and she and Mark have a beautiful daughter together.  They live a few block from me, but I had not been to their house till the day of the wedding.  In life, you want your children to be exposed to the best things possible and that includes people.  I have hid behind the excuse of being busy and not made time to spend with Jen and Mark.  I am no longer going to do so.  It is now a priority for me to expose my children to such a great family, and I am sure they will learn great things from being around them. 

I wish I had read this in the parent's handbook...Oh, wait, there isn't one. LOL
 
 
As per the calendar, it says that I haven't blogged in 8 days.  In my mind, it seems like it has been maybe a day.  Time has flown by filled with: sick kids, sports injuries, dogs deciding the trash can is now fun to turn over in the kitchen, Florida trip planning, birthday party planning, packing, and let's not forget work.  I know we have all been there, and it sucks sometimes.

With everything going on I had to prioritize, hence the blog and podcast suffered delays.  I regret not keeping up my responsibility for the site, but I used that time to fit in time with my daughters instead.  I hope you can understand that playing Barbies, tea parties, and having those important discussions about boys far outweighed all of this.

Ok, onto something of more substance for you to enjoy.  I spent last weekend with my oldest daughter at Girl Scout Camp.  I am a Co-Leader for her troop and really enjoy the time as a male leader.  1% of Girl Scout (Girl Guides in the UK) are men, and I feel that it is important for those girls who don't have good male role models in their lives to be exposed to them in some capacity.  To make things easier I did not camp overnight, I came home and slept like 4 hours just so I could rush back and be there for breakfast.  As a result of me being one of the few men in camp, I was requested to wear a sign that had printed upon it "Dad in Camp".  I chuckled and put it on without a second thought.  I was really disappointed later when I found out that another Dad had decided he would rather leave the camp than wear the sign.  I can't understand how you would rather lose the time with your daughter over the fact of not wanting to wear a sign.  I would wear a hot pink and purple tuxedo if it meant spending time with my daughter.  I feel bad for that girl who missed the time with her father because he had some issue with wearing a small sign that I am glad they issue so that there aren't any strange men just walking around.    Grant it, women could be child predators also, but I still feel safer that men are wearing "credentials" to show that they belong there.

During this trip I was happy to see my daughter's independence show through.  Not only was she doing all of her own things (making her own breakfast, hand washing her own dishes, setting up her cot and pack in the tent), but she was always taking the time to help out other girls.  She shows that she can be a natural leader, and she cares how the group progresses.  To her, if there is someone that is having a problem with an activity, then the whole group has a problem with the activity.
 
 

My wife finally made it home, and we were overjoyed.  I have to give tons of credit to those single parents out there.  It is more difficult than anyone can imagine, unless you have to do it.

My oldest daughter has been sick, and after my Mother-In-Law took her to the doctors While I was at work, it was discovered she had Foot in Mouth Disease.  If anyone is familiar with that, it is a virus that has been around forever, but is not as common now adays.  With mouth sores, skin rashes, and a host of other symptoms; it is hard to watch your child go through any sickness, but one that impedes speech, walking, manipulating things with your hands, and swallowing makes it worse.  To make it even worse, my youngest caught it too.  A sick, almost 5 year old, is no fun at all.

Information about Foot in Mouth Disease: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/enterovirus/hfhf.htm


 
 
My youngest daughter came up to me the other day and asked, "Daddy, when are you going to Heaven?  I want to know before you go.  I will miss you so much and I will cry forever."  I was surprised and said, "Dear, we don't know when we are going to Heaven.  It happens when it is time.  Just always remember I am proud of you, I will always love you, and..." (pointing at her heart) "...I will always be here with you."  Her tears turned into a smile and she said, "Good, because you can't go to Heaven until you are a Pop-Pop!!" and ran off.

This happened during a day when I was really behind schedule.  I am late putting out my second podcast and segments for some others.  My construction on my house is falling behind, and I don't seem to have enough time to do anything. 

This discussion about Heaven,
 
 
I know it has been a while since I have blogged.  Last week was a blur and this week my wife is away in Atlanta for school, which makes me Mr. Mom.  It has been very interesting these past couple of weeks.  My oldest has been an immense help with household chores, and even the little one helps out when she can. 

My little one decided her little baby doll was real and carried her around all day.  When my oldest asked her who the daddy was the reply came instantly, "Daddy is."  My oldest's reply caught me by suprise, "He can't be.  That would make him a Daddy and Pop-Pop at the same time.  That's not possible."  I guess my oldest is grasping newer societal situations that I am not aware of.  Then the sweetness happened when my youngest sat down beside me, "Daddy, you will always be the first boy I want to marry, even if (pointing to my oldest) she says I can't"

I found out that while my wife was packing on friday night that my daughters wrote her little letters about how they would miss her and how proud they were of her (she is getting her Masters).  They wrote them and hid them in her luggage.  When they told me I said it was sweet, but asked them why they did it.  My oldest's  reply made me smile, "Daddy, you write Mommy little notes all the time.  You put notes in my lunch bag for school.  I like it so I knew Mommy would like our notes too.  I hope my husband does that, if not, I will tell him he has too."  I couldn't help by laugh.

I had a discussion with my oldest yesterday about our family tree.  She has friends who have divorced parents, so I knew she would understand our family make up.  Let me explain: My Mother and Father divorced when I was about 7.  My Mother got remarried to my Dad when I was 11.  I didn't have contact with my Father after I was twelve till 4 years ago.  So, my oldest, knew my parents as Nana and Pop-Pop.  My Dad passed away 7 years ago (he is listed on the Dads who have gone page on this site).  4 years ago I was contacted by someone on Facebook and it turned out to be my half brother.  My Father had gotten remarried to a wonderful woman and had 3 boys (incidentally, he had 3 boys with my Mother, of which I am the oldest).  This threw my girls into a whole big family dynamic change.  Now they had a Nana, Lolo, and Lola (My father is Filipino).  I am 36 and have 5 younger brothers aged: 32, 30, 19, 17, and 11.  Then the questions became more about why they got divorced and such.  I told her that sometimes, even when they love eachother, relationships don't work.  She started siting her own examples of people she wasn't friends with anymore because they started to do different activities and they didn't talk much anymore.  I agreed and she was happy with that.  She then asked, "Daddy, will you and Mommy ever get divorced?"  She looked concerned, and I answered her as honest as I could, "Dear, people don't plan on divorcing ahead of time.  No, I don't think that we will ever divorce.  Mommy and Daddy have been together fo about 17 years and married for over 10.  I think that we know eachother well enough that it probably won't happen."  I could see in her eyes she wanted a simple answer of, "No, Mommy and Daddy won't every divorce, I promise", but I wasn't going to give her such and answer.  For what it's worth, my wife and I have a great relationship and I really believe we will make it to grow old together.  But I have learned that you never give a firm answer about things you cannot control.  I feel that it creates distrust if you give those firm answers and they end up not happening.

 
 
Today the family went shoe shopping.  My wife, my youngest, and I needed sneakers.  My oldest needed a new pair of dress shoes for school.  I quickly found mine so I took my youngest to find hers.  After 15 minutes of "Daddy, which is prettier?" and "Do I have more clothes that are pink or white?" we found a pair of shoes.  Meanwhile my wife was still searching for the right pair of sneakers.  I took my oldest daughter over to look for dress shoes for school.  Of course, being 9 and a half, she thinks she is much older than she actually is, and looked right at shoes with heels.  Now, I don't mean 2+ inch heals, but half inch and one inch heels.  She liked a pair of patent leather shoes with a 1 inch heel.  Now, as a Dad, my first reaction is to say, "No, you are too young for heels, you need to pick something without a heel".  But, I have learned over the years that I need to give my children some space.  My plan was to let her put them on and then hope she would decide that she didn't want them, or I could "steer" her in that direction.  She tried them on and her heels kept slipping out.  She was starting to tell me she didn't want them when my wife came over and told her that she had to pick another pair.  I told her that I planned on that she would be picking another pair, but I wanted to let her try on what she wanted.  My wife looked at me and chuckled, "Oh, so I have to come over and be the bad guy?"  We both laughed and picked out different shoes.  All this before a fun filled day of Soccer games.

Tonight I, and some of my guildmates from  DDO, were on The Grey Area Podcast with Jenesee Grey.  I am going to be doing a segment for her shoe starting next week, like the ones I do on DDOCast and DDOCocktailHour.  She produces a very professional podcast and I recommend you to check it out.  I really appreciate that she mentioned this site, blog, and podcast during the recording of hers.  The only drawback of Weebly.com is that I cannot track how many times the podcast has been listened to/downloaded.  I will assume more than a couple have listened, but I wish I had some real numbers.  Thanks again Jenesee for the chance to have people hear about my website and content.  And thank you to all that have supported me thus far.
 
 
I was secretly dreading last night (Thursday).  I had my first Religious Education class, and we also have Girl Scouts.  Being a co-leader was something I wasn't worried about.  But being a Religious Education teacher was something I was unsure of.  I teach a group of 5th graders (10-11 year olds) and I was not sure what to expect.  I did introductions, set up the rules, and then we talked.  They of course didn't like the rules of no cell phones, even though I showed them that I kept my phone in my pocket so I expected them to do the same.  I explained to them if they showed me respect, I would show them the same.  And if we worked hard on the lessons we would have more time for some parties for the Holidays and Birthdays. 

Our discussions turned to religious subjects and it lasted until class was over.  It mean a lot to me when more than one of the children came up to me, shook my had, and said "That was fun.  I enjoyed it, and learned something."  Maybe I am meant for this.   I am a little worried about the spring though.  Then I am also going to be coaching Little League Baseball.  I will keep up with the blog, probably annoyingly so.  And the podcast might become a podcast on the move; being recorded on a digital recorder.  Maybe even live at one of my volunteer jobs, lol.
 
 
Part of the reason I don't blog everyday is that my schedule makes it difficult to make time to do so.  With my wife working 1.5 jobs and getting her Master's Degree.  With that, I am doing more than just "helping around the house".  I play Mr. Mom, which I actually enjoy.  I do the wash, cooking, homework with the kids, soccer, girl scouts, and then all the Dad stuff like the landscaping, home repairs, and opening pickle jars.  It is hard sometimes, but we get through it.  I know it's harder for my wife because she is sacrificing time with the girls to improve our family's future.  So, as you can see, my schedule is very tight and difficult to fit things in.  I have time set aside each week for the eventual podcast.  I am unhappy that I am already a week behind, since I wanted to have it out already.  But I will keep my chin up and push forward.  The show notes are done, and I just need to record.  Really hoping tonight is the night after the kids head to bed.  I might even have it up by friday. 

I have a question for all of my 1 regular blog reader (lol, Skaggy you rock) and anyone else that has tripped across the site.  Do you want me to limit the podcasts to a story, a segment (if I have one), and "Dad News"?  I am not going to have a Blog Podcast, so the information covered will not be an extension of my blog here.  I want to cover the general populace.  Please send me any suggestions you may have.