Thursday, November 28, 2013


This year we hosted Thanksgivukkah, as 2013 is the first time ever when Hanukkah converges with Thanksgiving. and not again for several thousands of years.

Bacia made latkes with cranberry sauce. The kids told Thanksgivukkah jokes and sang songs. We all played Hanukkah bingo. The boys performed a special Thanksgivukkah concert for us. And we ate...a lot! (Including turkey, challah stuffing, sweet potato kugel, pastrami string beans, and lots of deserts.)

More pictures and video below:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Boo At The Zoo

We went to the Bronx Zoo for their traditional Boo at the Zoo celebration. It was a fun day. We were only there for a few hours, but we managed watched the Boo at the Zoo story telling, listened to the band, watched the magic show, and walk around in costume.

Check out more pictures below:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Camping At Beaver Pond

We went camping with our friends at Beaver Pond Campgrounds. Our kids setup and slept in their own tent.Afterwards we all went hiking in Harriman State Park to see the ORAK Ruins and Jackie Jones Fire Tower.

More pictures below:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Barton Orchards

We went apple picking at Barton Orchards again.We picked lots of different kids of apples, and I ate too many apples. Then we spent hours playing in their corn maze.

Check out more pictures below:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why I Love Reading To My Kids

After I finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia to Andrea and Eason, I wasn't sure what I was going to read to them next. There were a few books I was considering. Ever since I heard an interview with the author Tom Reiss on the radio I wanted to read The Black Count. I always thought I would like to read it with Eason, but glancing over it it seemed quite mature, so I was a little concerned, especially since Andi would likely be listening as well. On the other hand difficult emotions have their place in children's stories as well. I considered reading them something else and just reading this myself, and then I realized at least one of the reasons I love to read to my children.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Boat Race

While we were packing up the bungalow for the winter Eason and Andrea had a boat race...on the land.

Check out more pictures and video below:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Talk To Your Daughter...Talk To Your Son

As parents we all want our children to grow up to be happy and successful, however you define it. To that end there are a host of virtues we try to instill in them, such as perseverance, independence and strength of character. Likewise, not wanting our kids to be jerks, we want them to show empathy and consideration for others.

In today's society it seems even more important to stress those strong qualities with my daughter and those compassionate qualities with my son. That means making sure that both my son and my daughter learn how to defend themselves. That means making sure that both my daughter and my son learn about respect and consent. But talking to young children about things like consent is not always easy.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Eason and I went sailing on the lake in our kayak. We made it all the way to the lake monster and back.

Check out more pictures and video below:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Mom

Aviva and the kids went to visit my mom in the city. They had lunch and were heading back to my mom's home when Aviva called me at work. When I answered the phone I heard this horrible, primal moaning in the background. I thought to myself "what's that noise? It sounds like someone's dying back there." Aviva urgently announced "You have to get over here right away! Your mom just fell and it's not good!"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

On our long labor day weekend Eason and I continued our Labor Day push-up challenge.

But that's not all we did. There was running and swimming and boating and some celebrating as well.

More pictures below:

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Still Eason's Birthday At The Bungalow

Even though we celebrated Eason's birthday in Orlando we had another party at the bungalow with family. Aviva made Eason a really cool cake.

More pictures below:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Orlando 2013: Last Day Swim

On our last day in Orlando we made the most of the pool, despite a little rain.

More pictures and video below:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Orlando 2013: Hopping Around

We spent our last full day hopping around Disney catching things we missed.

More pictures below:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Orlando 2013: SeaWorld

We went to SeaWorld. I originally didn't want to use any of our days there, but Aviva really wanted to. As usual she was right. I'm really glad we went. Even though we left relatively early, they definitely have a lot going on.

More pictures and video below:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Orlando 2013: Hollywood Studios

We weren't originally planning to, but since we had an extra day we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios. I'm really glad we did. It was more fun than I thought it would be.

More pictures below:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Orlando 2013: Animal Kingdom

We were originally went to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, but when we got there we discovered that our tickets did not allow us access to any Disney Water Parks. So we went to Disney's Animal Kingdom, which we were originally planning on going to the nest day. We visited the Tree of Life.

More pictures below:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Orlando 2013: Epcot

We went to Disney's Epcot. This was Eason's favorite place.

More pictures below:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Orlando 2013: Magic Kingdom

Disney World On our first full day of our vacation we went to Disney's Magic Kingdom. We made it on all the rides we wanted to.

More pictures below:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Orlando 2013: Planes, Pools, And Playing

on the planeThe first day of our trip went perfectly. We got to the airport on time. I even had time to go through security twice, because I forgot to finish my drink. (And the pat down I received the second time was very professional, and not all together unpleasant.)

More pictures and video below:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Andi At Work

It was "take your daughter to work if you have a Canadian employer day" so Andi came into work with me. She spent the entire day working on her workbook, so that wasn't much fun, but we went to Comfort Diner for lunch and she did enjoy her fruit stuffed French toast.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Happy Sailing

Last weekend I gave Aviva a sail for her kayak, but we didn't get to enjoy it that much, because there was no wind. This weekend was very windy and I had a great time. I towed my kids around in their rocking sea horse. Later I rowed across the lake and found The Lake Monster, and sailed all the way back from the far side of the lake, only using my oars to steer.

More pictures below:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Birthday Presents

For my birthday I like to get some people presents, but since it's my birthday I get them something that I want them to have, which is not necessarily what they would want. This year we all got lucky.

Here's what I got them:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

At Lake Mohawk

We visited some good friends at Lake Mohawk. We had a great time on their boat, swimming on the lake, and hanging out at their beach.

More pictures below:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sibling Closeness - Too Close, Or Spaced Just Right?

When I read Danielle Leshaw's essay in The New York Times Motherlode blog about her children attending overnight summer camp for the first time, and her response to the backlash I was really touched as I thought her story could so easily be confused with my own. I've often pondered the joys and fears of having siblings so close.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Letter To The New York State Education Department

Following the last School Board meeting of the year, with no word on how the board is planning on moving forward with the allegations of "testing irregularities" and two of our teachers left in limbo for the remainder of the summer with little hope of being able to return in September, some parents decided to write to the Commissioner of the New York State Education Department. Since the board is unlikely to make any changes or announcements until after the new school year starts, we're hoping that the state will investigate and set things right. (Please sign the petition.)

Here's the letter I wrote:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Special Weekend

I had a great, long Independence Day/Birthday weekend. Besides the usual swimming, kayaking, playing, and "hammocking" my family made it all very special. My kids replaced my old work out beach chair with this awesome new one that reclines and has special holders for all kinds of goodies. Aviva made me my favorite birthday pie. It was delicious. And Babcia cut fruit for us as usual.

For my birthday tradition of giving people gifts that I want them to have I got everyone these customized wash cloths from Kid Kovers. Emily was very friendly and worked hard to get them to us in time for my birthday.

More pictures and video below:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Learning Schedule

As the sign says, even though "school stops for summer, learning never should." And while there is all different kinds of learning, the kind that kids seems to slack off on during the summer is the academic kind. Apparently this is called the summer slide.

That's why its important to make a plan to keep kids practicing their academic skills throughout the summer. The worst case scenario is that they'll  be a little bored for the first few weeks while the class is reviewing what they learned last spring. If you're lucky, like we've been, their teacher will recognize where they are and let them move ahead at their own pace.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Speaking With The School Board, Part 2

A bunch of parents and I attended the June 25th board of education meeting to show our support for Mrs. Mehler and dissatisfaction with the way the district has handled the situation, again.

I was happy that so many people showed up to support Carin. It may have been more people specifically for her class, even though it wasn't as crowded overall. (You can watch all the commentary in the video below.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lying With Your Kids

There are many articles about why kids lie and teaching children to be honest. In Po Bronson's excellent piece Learning to Lie he said "Kids lie early, often, and for all sorts of reasons—to avoid punishment, to bond with friends, to gain a sense of control. But now there’s a singular theory for one way this habit develops: They are just copying their parents." Does that mean parents should never lie?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This is how I roll on Father's Day. It's my favorite day of the year.

More pictures below:                              

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Speaking With The School Board

I went to my town's school board meeting to discuss the situation with our school's teachers being removed based on allegations that teachers provided improper coaching to a small number of students. It was the first time I had ever attended such a meeting and apparently it was unusually crowded. Many people showed up to demonstrate or speak out to support their teachers. The meeting started with tenure and congratulatory announcements to various faculty, including the retirement of our district's wonderful Youth Advocate, Mrs. Low.

Immediately afterwards the floor was opened for guests to speak at the podium, at which point most of the faculty, along with our school's principal left the premises. Right away some fellow parents asked me to speak, and fortunately I had gathered my thoughts earlier in the evening: (You can watch the video from the meeting below.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

MMA Ratings, Moving On

During my five years building and running MMA Ratings I poured a lot of time and energy into it. As time went on, it consumed and ever increasing amount of my time, and even though the site (traffic, audience, profit) was growing, it was not growing at nearly the same rate that the demands were. Ironically my first ever post about MMA was about the UFC's strategy to saturate the market and the potential negative impact it could have. Maybe it was a self fulfilling prophecy for me, though admittedly a lot of the demands on me were based on the type of site I was running.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Unfortunate Allegations of Common Core Corruption

As I've mentioned, when our kids' school implemented the Common Core State Standards, I was optimistic. After the tests were behind us I was very pleased with the way my son's teacher had prepared them, both academically and emotionally. He came home happy that he had a break from homework. His most unpleasant experience with the state testing was after he had completed his tests, having to wait until the allotted time was over. I thought it all was behind us.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Boy Scouts Lift Ban on Gay Youth, But...

I've written before about my challenges with the Boy Scouts discriminatory policies against atheists. As much as this policy bothers me, their discrimination based on sexual orientation has always seemed worse. At least atheism goes against their "Fundamental Principles." Sexual orientation based discrimination requires interpretation of specific beliefs and/or values.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Can Quantum Physics Renew The Quest For Cosmic Consciousness?

Two scientists are proposing this quantum theory of consciousness that the essence of our soul is contained inside structures called microtubules within brain cells and that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules.

This theory, which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR), is practically identical to what I used to believe when I was a teenager.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Eat And Run

For Mother's Day we had a delicious brunch at The Beehive. Then we went hiking at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Check out more pictures below:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ezra's Bar Mitzvah

We went to Baltimore for Ezra's bar mitzvah. It was great to see our family. We had a lot of fun.
More pictures below:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Inner Harbor

While we were in Baltimore for Ezra's bar mitzvah we went walking around the Inner Harbor. Then we went for lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Later we went bowling with the Seegulls.

Check out more pictures below:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Derby 5K

I ran my 3rd 5k with Eason, at the Spring Derby. He did a lot better than he did at last year's derby. This time we accomplished three goals:
1) no stopping
2) no injuries
3) no tears
And he came in ahead of me at 30:30!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mom's 60th Birthday

We had a nice little get together for my mom's 60th birthday. We surprised her with a bunch of friends and family and lobster!

More pictures below:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saxon Woods

We went walking at Saxon Woods Park.

Check out more pictures below:                                                                  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Is Minimalist Parenting The Answer To Over-Parenting?

Minimalist Parenting, ‘Manimalist’ Style makes references to being a "laid-back" parent, as opposed to "over-parenting" and trying to provide the latest and “best” of everything for their children.

Are those really the opposite sides of the parenting spectrum? While there are clear downsides to being a neurotic, stressed out parent, being "laid-back" has its consequences as well.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sid the Science Kid At The American Museum of Natural History

I took my mom and the kids to see a Special Screening of Sid the Science Kid: The Movie at The American Museum of Natural History. It was a lot better than I thought it would be. None of us really watched Sid The Science Kid that much. I felt like it included all the science topics I would expect and some topics I was surprised to be familiar with.

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