Minecraft Over My Little Pony

“The idea that sitting and watching Spongebob should be tossed into the same bucket as playing ABC Mouse is absolutely insane. …[My] Nine year old wants to lay on the couch and watch Ninjago all afternoon. Not happening. Want to play Minecraft with your friends all afternoon? Yes!”

Gabe over at Penny Arcade shares his thoughts around limiting ‘screen time’ with children. I’m in the same boat – if Kari wants to be creative and build a village/cat hotel in Minecraft, by all means do so. If you want to watch The Today Show and/or a 30 minute cartoon with 10 minutes of crappy commercials? Nope.

I’m never going to make a living or save a life because of the skills I’ve developed playing video games, but they have enabled me to express creativity, learn how to solve problems, and work within the constraints of design (not to mention some pretty slick hand/eye coordination) that passive media such as TV can never present. Heck, they (THEY!) have recently done research into the benefits of letting children play video games.

Related, I also think kids should go romping in the woods/creek/neighborhood more often. Check out this  NPR story titled, “Where the Wild Things Play“.

Being Poor as a Kid

“For the most part, when you have kids, everything you do for them becomes the reflection of who you are as a person. A poor mother would think, “I should be able to provide my children with a pleasure as simple as a happy meal. But I can’t afford meals for all of us. So I’ll get my children happy meals.” And done. Very little more thought goes into it. We don’t want to limit the normal experiences of childhood for them. So we do what we can to give them even the bare minimum of that.
It probably never even occurred to OP’s mom that she was depriving herself in order to provide something nice for her children. You think “this will make them happy” and then the thought train stops there.”

/u/OvercaffeinateMe  in “what memory from your childhood makes you think “wow we were poor”?” on Reddit


So many comments in this thread hit really close to home.


I turned 33 today, which as far as birthdays go isn’t the most remarkable. It’s not the milestone of 21 or the “You’re old. Yuk yuk.” filled celebration of 40. It’s just kind of a date in the middle.

The denotation of the Earth traversing the Sun is an apt time to reflect on past events. I enjoy using apps such as Timehop and digging back through blog posts and Flickr uploads to keep myself grounded in time. It’s easy to get swept up in daily life and skew your memory of how long ago (or how recent) things have happened.

That said – Man, this year has been crazy so far.

In March I helped to organize and presented at WordCamp St. Louis. We’re already starting to talk about next year!

My wife, daughter, and I traveled to Indianapolis at the end of March and had a great week in the city. I was able to spend a lot of time with Kari and we bonded a bit.

In April my wife’s rescue hosted our first Car Show fundraiser. It was a fun experience and I’m glad we tried something new to garner interest in the cause.

Just this past month I traveled to Montreal for work. It was my first time out of the country and I had a great time. I was able to see some of the city, take in some of the culture and food, and present at my first international conference. 🙂

We still have two vacations planned (!) for this year, the first is a trip at the end of June to Florida. My daughter is competing at a big dance conference in Panama City and we’ve turned it into a family vacation with my sister and her brood. Oh, speaking of my sister, Jess got married to Donnie, which is something of an event in itself.

The other trip is in late July. My dad, Kari, myself, and maybe Jackie will be taking a road trip to Rapid City, SD to visit Mount Rushmore. The trip itself is the vacation and echoes a trip my dad and I took right before I got my first car. This trip is also a milestone of sorts for Kari as it will be the last family vacation before she’s a big sister. That’s right. We’re expecting our second child in September. That’s kind of the Pièce de résistance for this year.

I don’t feel 33, but I feel 33. I still like to play Lego with Kari (and sometimes when she’s not around, but don’t tell her that!). I still enjoy video games – although I’m much more interested in portable gaming than sitting in front of the TV which is a bit of a change. I still like many things from years past, but I also like things I didn’t when I was younger.

I enjoy taking care of my lawn. Yeah, that feeling when you step back after spending a few hours mowing, trimming, seeding, etc. As Delmar O’Donnel said in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, “You ain’t no kind of man if you ain’t got land.” There’s something to that pride when you’re a homeowner.

I also like mustard on my deli sandwiches and have a better tolerance for alcohol. I’m not a beer drinker, but I’m a huge rum and coke/hard cider guy. The younger Chris never cared much for anything with alcohol, but I’m growing into a comfortable space and can have a drink or two.

I’m writing this all down for myself. It gives me a chance to stick a push-pin in time. A future self can hopefully look back on this year as a happy reminder of things going well.

Put Your Phone Away

“I would often catch myself pulling out my phone to merely check the time (and then check the time again since I never actually remembered it the first time). This frequent ‘time check’ reenforced the habit of constantly pulling out my phone and undoubtedly led to unnecessary browsing if a waiting notification piqued my interest. Buy a watch. Wear it.”


Speaking of distractions, put your damn phone away.

First Parent to Pick up the Phone is the Worst

In research for her book, Steiner-Adair interviewed 1,000 children between the ages of 4 and 18, asking them about their parents’ use of mobile devices. The language that came up over and over and over again, she says, was “sad, mad, angry and lonely.” … There was one girl who said, “I feel like I’m just boring. I’m boring my dad because he will take any text, any call, anytime — even on the ski lift!”


I’ve been bad about this, but with Kari and the second on the way I’m getting much better about putting the phone away around family.

NPR has been running many stories about parents, distraction, and technology this week. Here’s another good one.