Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Money Matters, for Midgets

One of the things we took away from the Love and Logic class last year was that it's never too early to start teaching kids about money. I like this idea not only because it helps them to learn about saving money and buying things for themselves, but it also helps them to understand us when we say that things they are asking for are too expensive. And hopefully they will also understand more about the value of their toys, having seen how difficult it is to save up enough to buy them.

Amanda and I decided to give them an allowance amount equivalent to their age each month, but on a weekly basis. For example, since Lucas is 4, we give him $1 per week. In exchange for their allowance though, they have to perform one chore each. Lucas helps me dump all of the small garbages on Sunday night (the truck comes on Monday morning) and Emily helps to keep the crumbs off of the kitchen floor using our "Shark".

For slightly more expensive toys (>$5), I decided to match the kids money dollar for dollar if they are willing to save up for their half of the price. The first big item Lucas bought his with his own money was a set of small construction trucks (picture is below). I've been trying to encourage him to save for a decent Lego set, but he has a very difficult time denying himself the joy of Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars. But at $1 - $1.50 per car, who can really blame him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mindful of the Mustache Memories

Before shaving off the fu-man-chu I had developed for my new work badge picture, I left a mustache on just to see how it would look.

And as you can see below (the picture is a little dark), I look pretty ridiculous with it.

It made me think of my dad though - he had a mustache for most of my memories. And it looked pretty good on him (as you can see below).

Thinking back, I remember him carrying a black plastic comb around with him, and after his head hair he would also brush his mustache. I also recall as a kid getting scratchy goodnight kisses from him and his facial hair. He would sometimes shave it off, but all of us kids much preferred him with it.

What's funny is that after growing out my beard recently (before changing it to a fu-man-chu), my kids said that they preferred me with the facial hair too. The best I can figure why is maybe because facial hair makes men look tougher? That little bit of lip hair made a big difference on my dad, and I honestly think that the tougher a dad looks, the more secure and safe kids feel, even if it's subconscious.

Thinking about all of this made me miss him greatly. Then I started to imagine what life would be like if he were still around. He would be an awesome grandpa to my kids. How proud I always was for my friends to meet him - he was not only a bad-ass cop, but also a easy going and friendly guy. I'm sure I would feel even more proud for my kids to know him, and I bet Lucas would especially fawn over him. Then my son could have more mustache memories too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Basketball Dreams Deflated, but Not Destroyed

Well, after my second season of playing in a basketball league, I think I'll take a break before playing in another one for a while.

Sure, there has been a day or two when I've scored a couple baskets, and it's not uncommon for me to supply some fairly tenacious D (rebounds, pressure, an occasional steal).

But I am not at the level that I would like to be. I just do not think that I am a significant enough contributor to the team.

However, I really do enjoy playing and am not going to give up on my hoop dreams altogether. Instead, I'm going to try to start playing one extra day per week at work (during lunch). That one extra day will probably only be played with my fellow carpooler and/or 1-2 more players.

Since I will be the only one (or two) on my team with the ball on that 2nd day, this should give me a lot more ball-handling, shooting time, and solicitation of feedback. I also hope to develop more strategy and being able to practice moves and sequences. Ideally I would have a plan every time I handle the ball, and even better would be if I had a backup plan too.

Another year or five, and I'll be ready for the big leagues. Or at least a league for starters.
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