The rise of the student driver

As noted in previous columns, we have an up-and-coming driver in our family. Austin went from being fairly ambivalent about driving to deciding it was an urgent need. This was mostly prompted, I think, by seeing his friends take to the road in all its freedom-inspiring glory. “I’m buying this car,” he announced recently. “Oh, […]

A dozen cousins, spread about

Between my siblings and myself, we have 13 children, which means that each one of them has a dozen cousins. They don’t get to see one another all that much, unfortunately, since, like most American families, we’re spread around a bit. Last weekend, I took two of the boys to see my sister in Winter […]

Teens behind the wheel – oh my!

When my son Max was born 14 years ago, I held him up in his blanket to my father and said “Isn’t he cute?”, to which my father replied, “Wait’ll he steals a car.” We laughed at what was mostly (I think) a joke. More accurately, if my father wanted to give me a warning […]

Baby steps in high altitude gardening

So we named the tree “Treedy.” Like many kids his age, our 6-year-old is fascinated by things that grow. We’d tried a couple of small plants indoors over the winter, all of which promptly died due to a combination of over- and under-watering. Then we found some silly thing at Bed, Bath & Beyond in […]

The incredible $7 cantaloupe

The other night at dinner, I asked our two teenagers how much they thought we spent monthly on food. “$300?” offered one? I shook my head. The other took a shot. “$200?” Even my wife guessed low. “$750?” The correct answer is between $900 and $1,200 — a staggering sum when I reflect on the […]

A thankful nod to what looks like summer

You know it’s really summertime in the high country when you drive over Vail Pass and see what passes for early wildflowers: bumpers, pieces of taillights and other automotive detritus left over from the winter carnage. It’s enough to put a song in the heart of even the most jaded mountain dweller, who, as early […]

When kindergartners play Foghat

When it first arrived on Christmas Day, I looked at it skeptically and sat back to watch as the two teenage boys started “playing” songs on it. The idea behind Guitar Hero III – a game available for things like Playstation and X-Box – is simple: It’s karaoke for guitar, where each song comes out […]

Metallica plays kindergarten

Like most people in their dotage, the halcyon days of childhood exist but sporadically in the memory. Most of the first five years are gone (except for the time my mom grilled my hand by accident), and I’m not sure I even remember going to grades K-4. I do remember, though, a record album called […]

The question of the sand dollar

On a recent spring break trip to Florida, one thing soon became very apparent: If our kindergartner didn’t find a sand dollar on the beach, the vacation – and perhaps even his entire life – would be ruined. So it was with scanning eyes and single-minded purpose that we scrutinized the beach and tide pools. […]

The myth of Super Sleeping Suzie

In the range of annoying things other parents might say about their kids, there may be nothing that cuts to the quick so much as “Oh, Suzie’s a great sleeper!” While I don’t doubt that Super Sleeping Suzies do exist, most parents I talk to are usually obsessed with one thing: sleeping, and how their […]