Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Last Week

Last week we had a great week. The kids had fun, we accomplished a lot of stuff, and when things go well for the kids, then they go well for R and I. Where do I begin?

It started out poorly, actually. A got really sick after last Friday's contradance, which was a blast. The kids had so much fun, there were so many children there and they were all very nice and they played so well together. We love contradance! But it was exhausting, and A came down with some sort of bug. We skipped dance on Saturday and laid low all weekend. She didn't want to go to Montshire camp, either, so it was a pretty tame week at first.

We had fun just hanging out around the house, but at one point she was pretty sick and of course we we worried. When she broke her fever and felt better, we venture out into the warm Spring weather and her spirits lifted.

We've been thinking tennis might be fun for the kids, I love it, personally, so we headed over to Kmart to get them rackets and me a helmet for my bike. My daughter brought a tear to my eye when she said she didn't want some "silly Disney racket" with pictures on it. Say no more.

We headed over to Stateline Sports and got some generic kids rackets, and we were set. On Thursday we went to Omer and Bob's to get her a new bike, and she loves it. They have a yearly consignment sale we scored a 20inch kids bike with hand brakes and gears! It suits her perfectly and she's excited.

N accepted her getting a new bike, he's a great sport, but he gets her cool bike and we can soup it up. One of the things I love about Omer and Bob's is that there are no Barbie or Dora bikes, just the real deal. They cost a little more, but you lose all the commercial BS. I'll take that any day over saving a few bucks.

On Friday we did our HS art class and the kids/families are so nice. We feel lucky to have Cobb Hill so close by, and we can go over there at any time and just hang out. We're getting the neighborhood thing going. Saturday was dance, and Sunday C came over. Again, we feel lucky to have neighbors close who are cool.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we were heading off to Montshire camp and managed to squeeze in some ice cream at at the Ben and Jerry's free cone day. Just goes to show you what you can pull off if you try, we had no time but went for it anyway.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Freelance Writing

Okay, so my glorious freelance career is in it's nascent phase. It's kind of exciting, actually, though I've felt this before when I first started to write for Helium and then bumped up to AC. There's a certain rush to not only seeing your stuff in "print," whatever that means, but also to having people actually reading it and commenting on it. Even when it's garbage, which most of it is.

I have to confess, there's a certain disingenuous quality to all the accolades that your writing gets on these sites. In a sense, Helium is more sincere since people are anonymously voting on your stuff and are not afraid to hold back. With AC, on the other hand, people shower you with praise even when your stuff is crap. And most of it is crap.

Either way, it's nice to get some feedback, and you can't beat the sense of community. People are incredibly helpful and supportive.

On that note, I've begun writing for Parenting Squad. I applied for the writing position and I couldn't believe it when the offered me the job. They're base in LA, of all places, and there are a lot of Asians working it. I'm guessing UCLA grads, so we have a common bond.

In terms of getting my act together, thanks to the guys at Parenting Squad, especially Linsey and Lynn, who have been very helpful.

When I first started writing, I felt like I'd gotten myself into a whole. You know, the whole biting off more than I can chew thing, but I'm finding a groove and realizing that when you're a stay at home dad, there's no shortage of things to write about. What amazes me is how people freelance and still manage to keep a blog. Even two or three. I'm giving it a try.

Thanks also to Linsey for the help writing my resume. It's always so hard to venture into a new field, but here goes. We'll see where this one leads me.

More later and thanks for reading.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Great Day

Have been having a string of good days as of lately. Today we spent at home holed up with the rain and all, but we managed to walk over to J&N house and check out their pond. We had a blast just exploring the woods and playing in the pond, even though the water was cold and the rain was unrelenting. The kids were in great spirits and they didn't want to a leave, always a good sign.

The pond itself is set back in the woods through a trail of trees that makes a nice canopy to walk under. We saw one frog, but mega quantities of eggs, and we think in a week or two there will be mondo-frogs to be seen. Can't wait.

The walk home was find, about a mile round trip, which is significant for a four year old. I keep thinking of that book Last Child in the Woods, and how much it means to us to have access to nature, right in our backyard.

Came home, started a fire in the stove. We're still burning wood, it's lucky that we have some leftover, and it's gotten cool again.

Tomorrow begins the rat race once again, so stay tuned.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Times Are Tough

So while I am not officially broke, times are tough. Living in the Upper Valley is expensive, way more than most people realize, and since we are in essence a one-income family, it's not easy. I am struggling to find a way to make more money and am delving into the world of freelance writing, boldly going where no man has gone before. At not this man.

I've learned a lot. There are freelance jobs out there, and plenty of opportunities for the neophyte like myself. People are supportive and offer tons of advice, so I'm finding my footing. My first step was to just get some writing done, and there are several sites that will publish your writing, and even pay you for it, though for peanuts. Either way, if you've got the time, you can make some cash and hopefully establish yourself and make some money.

It's a good experience to just get some writing done. I've found a lot of it out there is complete crap, people write about the most inane things and get paid for it. Self-indulgence if there ever was any, but again, the internet is ripe with opportunities.

More on this later, got to write.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Job Hunt

I've decided to give it a go at freelance writing. I currently work part-time at Dartmouth and then spend most of my day with the children at my "real" job. No, it sure isn't easy, but the best things in life don't come easy, right? Whatever that means.

Life up here in the Upper Valley ain't easy. It's expensive. Not just the price of housing, which shocked me, but the cost of food and entertainment. While we both have job, albeit part-time for myself, and we do not live extravagantly by any means, it still seems like every month is a challenge.

And we only have one car.

Looking around me, I don't know how some families do it. They have two new cars, a stay-at-home parent, usually the mom, and tons and tons of stuff. Where does all the money come from? I know where it goes.

Either way, that's them, this is us. We are not broke, nor are we destitute by any means. But things are tight, and even though you budget each month and things always make sense, surprises always come up. Unplanned expenses are a given, so in a way, a budget doesn't alway make sense.

I am in the process of looking for another job, one that will pay me to work at home so that I can be with the kids. Asking for too much? Maybe, but then again, I've found that asking for too little doesn't always get you far.

There are jobs out there. I'm still not clear how they can afford to pay people to write, much less make any money. While the pay is peanuts, it's still money going out. It's a pretty amazing thing. Lots of resources out there, but one thing is universal. YOU NEED EXPERIENCE.

I'm working on that last part.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Hi, my name is Fred, and my wife R and I parent the hard way. At least, that’s the way it seems. We feel lucky to have two wonderful children, A (7)and N (4.5), and we don’t take anything for granted, and since they were born we’ve pretty much dedicated ourselves to them.

I’m not here to advocate a life of devotion to their children. I know everyone does it there own way and there is not right way. With this in mind, I also know that every parent loves their child, that goes without saying. It’s just that we’ve known far too many people who, in the twilight of their lives, look back and regret the time they’ve lost with their children, time that they can never have back. Kids grow up quickly, and sooner than you think they don’t want mom or dad around, so we decided to make the most of being a parent.

It’s not always easy, but it’s always rewarding. At the end of the day, we look back and wonder how we sometimes pull it off, but we do. Another testament to the resilience and stamina of the human spirit, and the wonderful thing about children - they really show you how much you can do if you try.

Besides, we get a huge kick out of being around them, and wouldn’t do things any differently. Maybe this blog will go a long way to explain why.

Thanks for listening and take care.