Adoption Help In Russia

I don’t know a lot about adoption. In fact,  I know VERY little. I know people that have adopted and I know people that are going through the process now. I have read a little bit about the travesty that is taking place in Russia. If you don’t know whats going on, I strongly suggest you look into it. It is truly ridiculous as to what is going on in Russia. Do a Google search for “New Russian Adoption Law” and let me know what you think….

It is a shame that country politics get in a way of a family’s happiness, and more importantly the well being of a child. Two of the nicest people I know are stuck in the middle of this situation in Russia. Two of the best parents a kid could ask for. Their son and hopefully soon to be adopted child are blessed to have these people as parents. I can not put into words how lucky these kids are.

But Kremlin and Putin are getting in the way. Action needs to be taken.

I am asking for anyone reading this to sign a petition for the President to Diplomatically bring a resolution to the Russian adoption crisis.

I never ask people to do these things. I personally think alot of these type things are fake petitions. But I am here to tell you….THIS IS REAL. VERY REAL.

Please go to the following website, and sign the petition.


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For What its Worth – New Years Resolution – Part 2

Part 2 of this post will highlight the activities we shared with some unique twists that might inspire your own household adventures…

Mario desktop

Mario desktop (Photo credit: aoitenshi)

Mario Brothers – We took turns trying to beat levels on his new Nintendo DS game.  We cozied up on the couch and while we waited  for our turn we would watch the other person navigate the level with ooos and ahhhs with every jump, duck and shell throw.  Nothing beat the exaggerated screams we made when we died unexpectedly with a fall into the lava or bite from a turtle. 

K’nects - We built a huge helicopter, a surfer and a jeep.  I followed the instructions and called out the color or the pieces I needed for each step so he could slide them across the floor to me while meticulously maintaining the sorted inventory.  I kept him interested by asking him questions and talking to him along the way. 3 hours later we transformed a box of thousands of tiny pieces into 3 sturdy models.

Electric Scooter – We suited up in our winter coats and gloves and hats and charged up his new shiny Razor Scooter.  I walked behind him (straddling the yellow line on the road to control traffic) and let him open up the throttle and rip up and down the 1/4 mile straightaway near our house.   He would get to the end court and come back to me.  I stood patiently in the road, watching my son turn into a little speck in the distance, then come racing back to me.  His chest puffed out with confidence and he started doing little squat downs like some kind of stand-up jetski  racer or something.  All I did was watch and cheer him on…sometimes feeding him a bogus time letting him know how fast his lap was.  He loved it.

Part 3 of this post will highlight more activities we shared with that may also inspire your own household adventures…

For What its Worth – New Years Resolution – Part 1

How do you spend time with your child, or children? The following post title and body was emailed to me from a very close friend of mine who is a father of a wonderful energetic boy. I am taking his email post and splitting it up in to several posts. This father has a lot to say with some really great and valid points.

Do not forget to email me with suggestions that you would like to read, or suggestions or comments on previous posts.

So, I present to you, a New Years Resolution – Part 1

It happens from time to time. In between the e-mails and house chores that divert my attention from my son… every once in a while I manage to spend some time with my son giving him my undivided attention. Take a minute and try to think of the last time you dropped everything, and sat on the floor to engage with your kid(s). No TV in the background, no laptop in the foreground, no smart phone in the one hand, no pot on the stove, no homework on the table. When was the last time you sat with a puzzle, a game, a toy, or simply shared a conversation with your child giving them the precious gift of your time?

If you’re like me, you’ll be disappointed with the answer. I don’t do it nearly enough. Don’t get me wrong. I have long considered myself on the upper average of Dad’s who take time for their kids. I consistently do bath time and bedtime rituals more than 50% of the time. I drive him to school every morning and at least half of those mornings the radio is off and I have 8 minutes of conversation with him. I help with homework and take him to soccer practice and basketball practice and always pause my TV to help him when he’s having trouble beating a level on his Nintendo DS. But is that enough?

The last 10 days my son has been off of school for Christmas vacation so he’s been buzzing around the house with big toys, little toys, electronic toys, loud toys, fast toys, expensive toys that he’s been dreaming about for months. I spent my share of the long weekend surfing the Internet and catching up on television while he played at my feet or sat next to me pushing the buttons on his new toys. When my DVR was out of shows and I ran out of Internet to surf, I turned off the TV and shut down the laptop and invited my son to some quality time.

Part 2 of this post will highlight the activities we shared with some unique twists that might inspire your own household adventures.

The Ultimate Man Room

As a man, I think its our calling to have a Man Room. Our Dungeon, our Cave, our Layer… however you want to name it. We should have one… Then you get married, then you have some kids… and your man room gets invaded.

I don’t know if its a skirmish, a battle or a war… but it’s one that all men need to defend.

I am losing.

My man room has the necessities… First, its in my basement, it has a nice big tv, Fios, a recliner, a fridge (in the other room)… and … wait…. Barbies, dolls, little plastic pretend food… etc. Its become a modified Disney Store… (Sigh)

As I am sitting in my Man Room, typing this up… I can not help but think of the best Man Room I ever had the honor or sitting in or hiding in… depends on how you look at it…

My Grand-Dads.

It was his garage. It wasn’t huge but it had EVERYTHING a man would need. It had his work bench, a fridge, a freezer, a Recliner, 13″ Magnavox (I think everyone in my family had one, I know we had at least 4) a furnace that would run you out of the garage because it put out so much heat…and his Plymouth Acclaim (at least thats what I think it was called)…

I remember as a kid, all my Moms side of the family would go to Grandma and Grand-Dads and some close family friends would show up. All the kids running around a small house, carrying on, being kids. Kids would have to eat on the steps, the same steps where we would try to build the biggest card tower using grandmas good playing cards. With all the kids running around…  I can not help but get stressed out just thinking about how our Dads felt… oooh the pandemonium…

It wasn’t until I got older it hit me… soooo thats why all the Dads went into the garage…. to get a way :-) Grand-Dad would have the fridge stocked with beer for my Dad, a Whiskey for my Uncle, VO for Grand-Dad, cigarettes for whom ever needed them, and an ashtray. (the ugly orange in a weird shape, my family members would know what I am talking about)…oh and lets not forget about the intercom… God forbid you had to walk 20ft to ask a question…but it was perfect… (My intercom is my wife opening the basement door and yelling down the question or sending one of the kids down to ask the question)

So as I got older, drinking age I guess, I was able to go and stay in garage and truly enjoy the garage. There was no ceremony to be accepted.  You just hung out. Watch football, or Wheel of Fortune and talked about the town, the changes, or “You remember So n So, Yeah, Well How the hell are they doing??” sort of talk. Those cousins of mine men or women that liked to enjoy their cig or coors, were able to do so too. The women would be in the house talking about women things, and laughing hysterically… Grandma would never ever tell me the jokes… Usually the jokes came from Grandma and my Moms closest friend Kay….

Those are just some random memories that I have of Grand-Dad’s garage.

We moved around a few times, but really wish I lived back there, so I could see my Grandma and Grand-Dad more often… but they both have passed, but are living in the ultimate man room…

Around the holidays, this is what I remember most….Family, Food, Christmas, and…

Grand-Dads Garage….

Paying It Forward

Toys 'R' Us

Toys ‘R’ Us (Photo credit: Jeffery Simpson)

I have experienced one of the nicest, kindest gesture I may have ever seen. There is a person at our church who wants to remain anonymous, decided to give some of our little kids in our Sunday School $25 gift cards to Toys R Us and Target.

Some?? How many is some? Well…almost 70. Thats right, 70 gift cards split between Target and Toys R Us…. and thats not all…. The church school director informed us that there were several Giant (local grocery chain) gift cards. I do not know the dollar amount of those gift cards. I know is that they were “extremely” generous.

We received our gift cards in the mail. The gift cards were accompanied by a nice letter explaining there was no obligation to pay if forward. But if we did pay it forward, the church wanted to know what we did…

So what did we do?

I loaded up my two kids, and my Toys R Us Coupons and we went to Toys R US in Annapolis… during the Christmas madness… YUP… I knew what I was walking into….and my youngest was already cranky… But nonetheless … off we went…

My girls love Barbies… L-O-V-E Barbies. So I explained to my oldest that we were trying to get the most out of our money, so lets get the Barbies that were on sale. I am trying to turn her into my ‘lil bargain shopper. She found some Barbies that were $40. So she’s a beginner on the bargain hunting. So I explained in more detail that we were wanting to find the cheaper Barbies….

When it was all said in done, coupons used, gift cards redeemed, and I chipped in too… we had 6 Barbies, and 12 Barbie outfits. We gave all these Barbies to my Wife’s school. Their school adopted a couple families that were not having a christmas. Some bought food for Christmas dinner, toys and clothes for kids…

It doesn’t stop there. We discussed what we were doing to some of our closest friends. They decided to do the same thing as us. When it was all said and done, my wife had a good load of toys to take to her school for these kids that would not have had a nice Christmas, or a Christmas at all.

I wasn’t really looking forward to go to Toys R Us a few days before Christmas. Who would? Doing this with my oldest and explaining the importance of paying it forward to my her really made it all worth while.  She got it. She wanted to make sure we got the Barbies that she thought the kids would play with. It was awesome!


On a side note…While at Toys r Us,  I got my youngest a “I can Be…a President Barbie” Ava picked out the Dark Haired Barbie (I have no freaking clue what her real name is… they ALL are Barbie aren’t they??) …. So she decided to change her name to Sarah. Yup… Sarah…

So here we are, a dark haired President Barbie with a new name of Sarah. So I did what any other Dad would have done… I taught Ava to have her Barbie/Sarah say ” I can see Russia from my house” and have her do some “fancy pageant walking” …. I am bad. I couldn’t help it..


Did you pay anything forward? Did you donate to Toys for Tots?

Personal Finance Dad

I am proud to say I am in a different place than I was this time last year. Last year I just started a new job, working less hours, I had two car payments, a mortgage, and a little credit card debit. Around this time, my Sister In law gave me book to read… Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This book is amazing… I can not tell you enough, this book is amazing.

If you have debit, little or a lot, even if you don’t have any debt… You need to read this book. It will tell you how to get out of debit and more importantly how you should be saving your money… It will give you tips on how you can achieve a savings goal of a 3-6 month emergency savings, make sure you have 401k, college savings etc… Another perk I was not expecting… Dave ties money and faith together very nicely.

So a year later, we have no debt (except for my mortgage), we refinanced, we have no car payments, and we do not need a credit card… Debt Free… It is a wonderful feeling…

Give it a try…. Tell me what you think!

Black Friday??? REALLY???

Black Friday… Love it or Hate it?… I am starting to hate it. Looks like we should start calling it Black Thursday. Its sad. On a day where we are to be giving thanks, people are mapping out there strategies for this evenings best deals. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, family, and football. Not sure when or how we lost it but seems like this year and last year stores began opening on Thursday. Sears is open at 8pm on Thanksgiving… I dont like it.

How about you? Love it or Hate it?


Why go out, when you can just go to AMAZON?

What is in my toolbox? Election Special

Election Special. What could be in the toolbox today? Well I am taking this one from my brother in law.. Its something we all need today as we are standing in lines. Patience! As we are having small talk with complete strangers, trying to sneek a peek to see where does the line end, listening to people talking on the phone, or rubbing our stiff necks from looking down at our phones,  I thought to myself, man… This is nuts, I think we are onto something huge tonight.

Now I am not one to get political, never have never will be. I became increasingly agitated just by listening to others conversations, and everyone complaining about the hour long wait.  I heard one person say,”I think they could have managed this a little better”. Another said “Its so cold out, couldn’t they make more room inside?”, “I don’t remember it being this bad four years ago!” the list goes on… as all the complaining that was done, and Im pretty sure I would have too at little if someone would listen…. I think everyone forgot how fortunate we are to have the right to vote. AND most importantly that I think most of our country has forgotten…it’s “ONE Nation Under God”!

Thanks for the idea B!