So we cracked, and finally ran a lemonade stand

Sep 16th, 2015 Boyhood, Life

What can I say?  It was insufferably hot, we’d talked about it a lot and got the boys worked up into a little bit of a frenzy about it (note to self: – never, ever, mention anything to a toddler in passing. They just don’t get the concept), and there were still enough hiker traffic to justify doing it.  And – moreover – it was for charity, thank you very much.  More Rachel’s idea than mine and at a price where we were practically giving it away (25 cents), we rolled out the pitchers, the buckets of ice, our home made sign and set up shop.

Dare I say it? – there’s money in them lemons!

First off to the market for provisions.  (Barbecue afterwards, just in case you were wondering what any of that stuff had to do with making a glass of lemonade.)

Kids at the supermarket

Then down to some serious sign making…

Kids Lemonade StandKids Lemonade Stand

Next – wait for the punters to start flocking.  And in fairness, they did.  A lot of tourists who really wanted to have their picture taken with the sign and the boys.  I guess they thought it was part of the “Americana” experience.

Kids Lemonade Stand

Or maybe it was the free (homemade) cookie that came with your cooling beverage?  All THIS for 25 cents I hear you ask?  As I said, I feel as though the business model needs some work if we are going to maximize opportunity and market share. There were reports of a rival stand down the street where they were charging upwards of 50 cents per glass.  A significant premium.

Kids Lemonade Stand

With all that being said, we still managed to turn a profit.  Off to count the takings…

Kids Lemonade Stand

Finally time for some after work front yard chalk art.  Jaxon calls this one “Space Monkey”.  I actually think this is pretty good.

Kids Chalk Art

Science Center & Space Shuttle Endeavour

Sep 3rd, 2015 Discovery

We landed home from Paris with a bump.  What better place to go and check out when you have been jetting around Europe, than the Science Center and the Space Shuttle Endeavour?

No doubt about it, the Science Center is a great place.  The boys tend to like the tactile, interactive exhibits best.  Relatable, but also tangible.  The wind tunnel simulator was a particular favorite.  They like to push buttons, turn knobs and respond to flashing lights.  Most of what is on offer is aimed at an older age group but we just took it all in.  Allowing the space and the exhibits to wash over us and discover what we would.

After an hour of gallivanting around the museum, we lined up for the IMAX theater Hubble 3D show.  It’s a few extra bucks on top of the entrance fee for Endeavor and well worth it.  Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio the film tells the story of the troubled Hubble telescope from launch to orbital repair while showing some pretty incredible images that Hubble captured of distant galaxies billions of light years away from earth.  The 45 minute movie was about ten minutes too long for Jaxon – who by then had tired of reaching out to touch the images as they came toward him – and ten minutes too short for Skyer who slept through the entire thing.  I was just glad to be in an air conditioned room.

Finally we got to see the Space Shuttle itself.  I confess, that I suspect I enjoyed it more than they did, but how many times in your life can you jump around with your brother under the belly of a machine that has been to outer space?

Space Shuttle EndeavourSpace Shuttle EndeavourNow let’s see how many of you can relate to this?  How many times do you set up a photo, get an obliging stranger to agree to take the shot (no selfies here) get everything framed perfectly… and then one of your subjects decides to look away at the critical moment?

Space Shuttle Endeavour

So you negotiate with your photographer stranger friend to snap a retake.  And one of the other subjects decides to look away from the camera!

Space Shuttle Endeavour

With all that being said, the Endeavour is pretty impressive.  I think they enjoyed the experience almost as much as I did.

Space Shuttle EndeavourSpace Shuttle EndeavourSpace Shuttle Endeavour

A Moment of Clarity

May 16th, 2015 Boyhood, Fatherhood, Self Discovery

There are days – well I shouldn’t say days – moments really – there are moments, which usually pop into my mind as I try to remain calm during a toddler meltdown – and we’ve had some epic ones here at the Beachwood Boys Club – when I will catch myself thinking “What did I do to myself?  I mean, I used to have a strong sense of self. I thought I used to know who I was. What I stood for. I used to care about whether or not I left the house with small amounts of vomit on my shirt, or if I got more than four hours sleep – didn’t I?”

After a fleeting moment, the thought will pass and I will come back to the present. “Am I really trying to engage in a rational discussion with a two year old about a mislaid Lego brick?  Is this who I am now?  Have I become such a community dad that I can no longer see the wood for the trees?  That I must entertain every new crisis and take on the severity of each new occurrence as my own personal crusade?”

Parenting if nothing else has taught me – or rather has forced me to access – my patience.  Not a quality to which I am naturally predisposed.   And it has encouraged me to discern the life threatening: “Jaxon take your finger out of that electric socket”; from the critical “Jaxon please don’t drop that on your brother’s head”;  to the unimportant – or irrelevant – “Jaxon please try to avoid hitting me in the face next time you do that.”

But then – even in the heat of battle of one of those moments – and it really can feel like a battle sometimes, one of them will say something innocuous, or a make a noise or offer a look and I will be jarred out of my own ego and back into the reality, the love and the joy.  So far from berating myself about not feeling like a perfect parent all the time, I welcome those moments of frustration, because I know they will pass and I know that they offer me an opportunity to remind me of what I have.

Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board

May 15th, 2015 Boyhood, Fatherhood, Self Discovery

These two characters are the co-founders of the Beachwood Boys Club. Jaxon and Skyer.   Duly appointed Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the board. I’ve also managed to sneak onto the board and we invite you to be members as well. To share your stories, experiences and wisdom. Laughter and joy, tears and frustrations. Moments of zen like enlightenment and bewildering bafflement.

The Beachwood Boys Club is the story of how the joy of innocence overcame the cynicism of ego.  Specifically, mine. How one four year – old along with his two year old brother – can educate, inspire and challenge a forty two year old man to reevaluate both his entrenched values as well as the world around him. Not in any self-conscious or deliberate “journey of self discovery” type of way. But rather in a quietly, unconscious and almost imperceptibly. Discovered through the activity of the everyday reality of being a parent. Simply of being. But all the more powerfully and profoundly as a result.