Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Doomsday Punishment

I am reluctant to give any kind of parenting advice. What works on one kid might not work on another. I believe in using what works. But I have one tip I readily share: The key to discipline is to have a creative punishment that your kid fears so much that they never risk it being used.

We have one such punishment in our family.

It all began when Whitney was in junior high. She wanted to go to a dance at the school and she used the fact that parents of two of her friends at the time were going to be chaperons as a selling point. I probably would have let her go anyway, but knowing the parents who were chaperoning the dance was a comfort. We told her she could go.

I joked that I could chaperone as well. Of course, I had no intention of doing so. In fact I can think of very few things I want to do LESS than chaperoning a gym full of hormonally charged 7th & 8th graders. But it was quickly evident from Whitney's reaction that she did not KNOW I was kidding. Her reaction was a mix of horror and consternation. So naturally, I teased her about it some more.

Somewhere in the middle of the teasing it dawned on me that I had stumbled on a perfect "doomsday" punishment:

Should Whitney ever really mess up, she knows that I will volunteer to chaperon a school dance. I will wear a bright fluorescent orange T shirt that says "Whitney's Dad" so the whole school knows who my kid is. Best of all, I will get out in the middle of the floor and dance.......with lots of flamboyance creativity. Oh, and did I mention I also plan to sing along with the songs while I am dancing? I imagine I will be quite the sensation in that bright orange T Shirt with my daughter's name on it. I bet it would be the talk of the school for weeks to come!

So far, the "doomsday punishment" has never been implemented....but it is comforting to know it is there if we need it. The driving and dating years are about to begin. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Next Cup

For those of you who tease me about the huge cups I drink from......a man after my own heart.

Now if 7-Eleven would just get Coke Zero.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My New Skill

I recently acquired a totally useless new skill.....I can rip a phone book in half with my bare hands. I have done it a few times for others and people seem to get a kick out of it.

Of course, this skill has very little real world application....or so I thought at first.

As the father of a 16 year old daughter, I will soon have boys showing up for date nights. My idea is to have Tracy or Whitney open the door when her date arrives, while I stand in the background ripping phone books in half.

My guess is these young men will gain a much deeper appreciation of words like "curfew", "abstinence" and "pain".

Friday, January 16, 2009

Disney Tip #2

Take pictures with characters to humor your kids.

Nobody hates having their picture more than me, but how could I refuse a picture with Eeyore when Whitney insisted (Please ignore my gum).

There is an exception to this rule: "Dad" pictures with characters should be limited to the animal characters. Getting your picture alone with one of the princesses is creepy.

Disney World is not a place to let your libido out. Regardless of what delusions you might have, Cinderella did not flirt with you as she rode by on the float . She smiles and waves at everyone (yes, that is my head). And I don't care if Ariel is a cute redhead with a sea shell bikini.....she is still a childrens' cartoon character.

Please note: Jessica Rabbit is not a princess, and thus is exempt from this rule.
Sadly, there were no live sightings of her on this trip.

Disney Tip #1

If you don't have a little kid, find a cute little kid, live vicariously through others!

There is nothing like a kid about 5 years old with a Disney character. The way I explain it was that we went twice when Whitney was little: When she was in kindergarten, it WAS Cinderella and Minnie Mouse. When she was in the second grade it was still fun, but it was a guy in a mouse suit.

One of the highlights of this trip for all three of us was watching the little kids.
Our favorite "adoptee" was an adorable little Snow White we met on our long walk to breakfast with the Princesses Christmas morning at Epcot. This little girl literally danced the whole way there. Although Snow White did not show at the breakfast, we helped her find Snow White after breakfast. It was SO cute and she was so excited (that is her with Snow White). Reminded me of how excited Whitney was to meet Cinderella when she was 5.

The other picture is of a little girl in the Norway Shop. I messed the picture up and cut off what she was holding in her hand....a Viking axe. I thought the combo of the cute kid, Snow white outfit, reindeer ears and axe was great.

The princess dresses were a big thing this trip. Hundreds of little girls walking around dressed as Cinderella, Snow White and Belle. Luckily, that was not the case when Whitney was little, so we avoided that peer pressure and expense.

A big thank you to the kids that helped make this trip fun, and to the parents who allowed us to take the pictures.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reality TV = Mushy Brain

Tracy here. I'm afraid that reality tv has sucked in my brain and made it mushy. I had avoided them for quite awhile and then I decided that The Amazing Race would help Whitney learn geography. I swore I wouldn't watch all of the Fear Factor/Survivor type of shows. Well I should have known better. Pretty soon others followed like Project Runway and Top Chef. Those aren't too bad but of course it couldn't stop there. The latest bad one on is Redneck Wedding on CMT. Oh my goodness. It's hard to believe that these are real people. For those of you who are smart and don't watch it, it is a couple who are getting married but they are the biggest rednecks you can imagine. Wedding dresses that are bedazzled with the groom's name or even worse, duct tape to keep a dress together in the back because the bride is too large for it. Instead of cutting the cake, they mud dive and ride off into the sunset on matching 4 wheelers. Of course, I'm only making things worse by watching. If people didn't watch them, then they wouldn't make shows like this. So I guess I'm responsible for the dumbing down of America and the mushy brain syndrome.

I stand before you with head lowered hoping you forgive me for ruinng America's youth.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Missing In Action

Work has been crazy, and I have been suffering a little writer's block. I have plenty of ideas, but nothing is coming together. My intention of this blog was never a day by day account of our lives, but as an outlet for some storytelling and creative writing. I have not been feeling "creative".

I still need to post on Disney, but a smooth trip makes for boring blogging. I am so much happier as a writer when odd things happen! Also have a good story about me and a very friendly senior citizen at a fundraising dinner.

Anyway, I hope to get back to it by this weekend.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Disney Hats and Ears

Tracy here again to show you the many hats/ears of Disney. This is just a small sample of what you can find at Disney World.

Whitney bought both of these.

The silver sparkle Minnie for her very special occasions.

The fairy princess.

The Sorcerer Mickey

Steamboat Mickey

The Bride

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Disney Road Trip

Before doing Disney World…..we had to get there. This meant about 20 hours in the car each way. So before we get to Disney, here is a mix of tidbits from 40 hours in the car with Tracy and Whitney:

- As we near Texas we see a billboard for Fantasy Tattoos. They are offering 2 tattoos for the price of one! The girls decline my offer to get them matching Disney Princess Tattoos.

- East Texas: whoever drives chooses what we listen to. It is obviously Tracy’s turn to drive because the early morning listening choice of the historical book Team Of Rivals on CD has been replaced with music. I curl up in back seat and catnap. I wake up to Tracy and Whitney singing and dancing along to Hollaback Girl and Fergalicious. There appears to be a double standard because when I sit up in the back seat and start dancing along to the music, Whitney gives me a look like I have overstepped the bounds of what a dad is allowed to do in public, and says “Dad, No”.

- When did I inherit the bladder of a 4 year old? It is stunning how fast I go from “I kind of need to go” to “I REALLY NEED TO GO”. My bladder appears to be powered by jet propulsion.

- Best town name of the trip: Sopchoppy

- Creepiest cemetery….EVER: Apalachicola Florida. I love old cemeteries for the history. I could not care less about the spooky part of it. But dusk, gulf coast fog, spanish moss hanging from trees and crypts with gaping holes in them have this as the last place I would ever want to spend Halloween night.

- Really…..this bladder thing is getting embarrassing. I dance around in my seat as we drive through Mississippi…..and Fergalicious isn’t even playing.

- In a town in rural Mississippi we passed a strip mall with a sign on it that said: “Birdcages: we can meet all your birdcage needs”. Is there enough demand in Mississippi for Birdcages to make a career of it? Wow.

- Something you don’t hear in Oklahoma: I asked a lady at a truck stop in Louisiana where I could find key chains……she told me “go over to that wall and turn right at the dried up alligator heads”.

Think that about wraps it up. All in all, it was a fairly uneventful drive. We did get off the interstate drive along the coast of the Florida panhandle and walked along the beach. Next up: Disney!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chocolate Fountain Redux

I have re-posted the chocolate fountain story for those who missed it. You will find it below in its original spot. I appreciate the kind words and feedback. I plan to get busy on several blogs about Disney World in the next couple days. Topics include Disney Do's and Don'ts, Disney Fashion Faux Pas, and how Tracy and Whitney ruined my quest for immortality at Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf.

As a recap.....the chocolate fountain was a big hit at the new year's eve party.
Best of all, I did not ruin a single piece of clothing during the evening. Thanks for the great gift Teri!!!!!

The fountain came with recipes other than chocolate you can do, so we are thinking about turning it into a nacho cheese fountain for the BCS Championship Game on Thursday night. Can't wait to see what my jacket looks like covered in cheese sauce!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Blog Takeover

This is Tracy and Whitney taking over Dan's blog since he has been slow to post. We wanted everyone to know the fun we had at Disney World. So here's a few photos we took. We are sure that Dan will post the funny stories he has so we'll just entertain you with photos. Five days at Disney World is like running a marathon. Lots of people, sometimes you swim up stream, sometimes you get cut off, but in the end you have a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.
We recommend that everyone go enjoy the magic at least once in their life. We've been three times as a family and each time is different.

Breakfast with Disney Princesses for Christmas
Whitney is in her special Sleeping Beauty crown

We have lots of other photos but this gives you a taste of what we did during our vacation. Don't worry, we had a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the hotel room and Santa Claus found us too.