Mother’s Day Weekend

It was a busy weekend for the McConnell family. We had a make-up game for Jack’s baseball team. After the game, we were given Endora, our new family dog. We adapted her from a lady who had trained her to be a guide dog. She’s fully trained but had a career change, and now she needed a new home. We were lucky to be given such a pretty and loving animal.

Here’s a picture of the ball field before the game.  It was a beautiful day in Southern Idaho.

Field 4 East Boise

Here is Endora after a long Sunday of playing outside with the boys.


Meet Endora

Our family has just adopted a new pet named Endora.  She’s a former Seeing Eye Dog and comes to us via that program after things didn’t work out for her in that career. She’s a black Lab with a big heart and we can’t wait until Saturday when she arrives, “for good” as my kids say.

Endora was named after the mother witch played by Agnes Moorehead in the Bewitched TV show of the sixties.  She’s going to have a great time trying to keep up with the boys.  We are hoping that the pet cat, Yuki-shima, will eventually get over himself and get to like her too. But you know how cats are.  Endora loves cats, not as a delicacy but as play mates.  So I think they will eventually become best buds.  The picture of Endora below was taken by my oldest, Jack.

Endora in the house!


So I finally got to chat with my Mom and Brother in Arizona on iChat last night.  We both have web cameras so we got to see each other.  I think this will be one of the greatest payoffs of owning my MacBook.  Since my brother converted my Mom to Apple, we've talked about iChatting with a camera.  Now she can see and talk to her grandkids in the closest thing to a video phone that I have yet seen.

We both have high speed connections and the image was very nice.  We didn't even use a headset or external mic.  It sure made the distance between us melt away.  That's good technology in action.  Of course we didn't need Macs to do this, you can do it in Windows and in Linux.  I reccomend that if you can get your extended family to participate that you do so on whichever platform you use.  

Riding A Bike

My oldest son Jack, (he's five) learned to ride a bike this weekend. I jogged behind him with my hand on the back of his seat letting go then catching him when he tilted too far in one direction or the other. Finally, I let go and he continued on without me. He was nervous but also very proud of himself. After he "got it", he never looked back. Soon he was using the back petal to break and starting and stopping himself. Two days later, we went for a family bike ride and he lead us all the way around the grade school playground and only came too close the building once.

It's amazing how quickly one learns to ride a bike and even more amazing that one never forgets how to do it. We are very adaptable creatures and it's sometimes easy to see how we have become lords of this planet.

New Job

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, so here’s a run down of what I’ve been up too. My oldest son is on a T-Ball team and I’m an assistant coach. We’re both having a good time with it, baseball is one of my life-long passions and I’m glad my son enjoys it as much as I do.

I got a new job at MPC Computers in Nampa as a Programmer Annalyst. Having a good time and enjoying the benefits that come with not being a temp worker. Along with the new job came more income and as a reward for my efforts, I have been allowed to purchase a laptop.

… I’m waiting for Apple to release the new MacBooks. Let you know more after I see what they have to offer. I’ve never owned a Mac before, but they do make the sexiest notebooks and now that OSX is on Intel, I can duel boot into Ubuntu. Good times ahead.

Plus, OSX comes with Ruby built in. :P

Kids these days, don’t know how good they have it.

This weekend I purchased a few digital indulgances that I thought might help my WIfe and I manage our kids on our upcoming Disney Cruise vacation. The main problem is that we have to fly all day to get to Orlando. What do you do with two kids ages 5 and 3 while you and they are stuck in a plane for five hours?

While you ponder that conundrum, let me say that we decided to buy cheap MP3 players for each child and a single, cheap DVD player that they can take turns using. So I went to my local Target, pronounced Tarjay, and purchased two MP3 players for about $40 US Dollars a piece. I then ripped three or four Chapin CDs and loaded up the players. My five year old, Jack totally got the whole music in your pocket deal. He was bebopping along in no-time. The youngest will take some supervision to use his.  Both kids thought the “Toys” were very cool.
Then I got a Audiovox DVD player and showed them how to use it. Another big hit with the oldest, and a spectacular miss with the youngest. Spencer doesn’t “do” TV like a regular kid. He’d much rather read a book or do his “work” as he calls it. Which involves drawing wavy lines in perfect order as if he were writing a letter. That kid’s destined to be the Engineer in the family.  Or maybe a writer. :)
While I watched my kids take to this marvelous technology, I couldn’t help but wonder how spoiled they are compared to what I had to travel with as a kid:  A pencil and paper and a book or two in the back of a VW bus with no AC and no AIrbags, no music, no DVD’s with cartoons and the same trip would have taken us three days hard travel. These kids are flying at 30,000 feet, listening to music and watching movies at their beck and call and getting cross country in one day.
As a parent, I hope I just don’t have to hear myself turning in my seat and saying, “If you two can’t behave, I’ll turn this plane right around and we will all go home!”

Make Me a “Pink Martini”

From their website:
“Somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brasilian marching street band and Japanese film noir is the 12-piece Pink Martini.”

If you like Jazz and smooth music with a 1950’s flare, check this band out. This band’s musical and linguistic talents simply amaze me.

Pink Martini - Hang On Little Tomato Weezer - Make Believe Tom Chapin - Moonboat
Other music on my plate this week – Weezer “Make believe” their best album since “Blue”. If you like Weezer, you’ll love this album.

From the Kid’s music with Adult appeal department: Comes, any album by Tom Chapin. I was turned on to this by my friend Andy and my kids just love it. My wife and I are not afraid to admit that we sing along with them!

Detecting Undercurrents

Lately we’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with raising our kids. It seems that we have been unaware of the importance of being together as a family unit. Modern society has become a light-speed blur and the price we are paying is now being reflected in our children.

Long ago, before the Internet, electricity and that pesky wheel thing, humans used to sit around and talk to each other. Yea, talk. As in honestly connecting with each other in verbal communications without Instant Messaging. It turns out, humans need to feel a sense of belonging. Especially children. So much so, that if neglected even the slightest bit, children will act out. Most people see this as undisciplined, whinny brats. You know the expression, “Some people’s children!”.

Parents naturally think we can control our kids by enacting draconian methods like screaming at them or threatening them in some way. But the simple truth is, we can not control our kids behavior. We can only control their environment, they have to learn to control themselves. What’s going on here? You may be asking. There are hidden currents of belonging underneath the unruly behavior. When you see kids acting out and miss behaving, it’s only a symptom not the source of the problem. The source is usually a lack of attention and a need to belong to a group.

Families are like sports teams. Everyone needs to work together in order for the team to win. If some of your best players are being benched for not being team players, the team will not win. No one person can always make a team win. “There’s no I in teamwork. ” In families, all the members must feel valued and connected to each other. When children are valued and given lots of individual attention, they have less of a need to act up just for the attention.

We are working on our undercurrents. It’s not easy. But the rewards are quick and everlasting. By spending more quality time with the kids when they are younger, they will not have a need to seek attention in other groups like gangs when they get older. The goal of every parent is to raise happy, well adjusted adults who contribute positively to society and live long and rich lives. That journey requires more time and effort than alot of people are willing to give. And that, I believe is the real problem with most of the world today.