• Posts Tagged ‘kids’

    Are Two Birthday Parties Too Many?

    by  • November 13, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    birthday balloons

    Harbingers of doom?

    After almost 2 years of being parents, my wife and I have realized that we have a “Spirited Child”, ie, a child who is just more of everything. As such, we’re trying to be sensitive to his needs, temperament, and personality. Large scale disruptions can mean hours (yes, plural) of uncontrollable tantrums. Included in these disruptions are holidays, unforeseen changes in plans, and of course, birthdays.

    As we started to list all of the people who we would like to invite, we realized that the list had grown to over 40 people. For a second birthday party that is a ridiculous amount of people, but not unheard of for my cultural upbringing (but seriously offensive for my wife’s WASPy sensibilities). Nonetheless, we realized that our kid would be so overstimulated and our attention so divided that we needed to come up with a plan. So we had to wade into the world of parental politics and decide whom we were going to invite.

    The first thing we did was to really look at the list of people we were inviting and ask: Why were we inviting them? Because they invited us to their kids’ parties? Were they family? Friends of ours with small kids?

    We then remembered another 2-year old’s birthday party that we were at recently. There were a lot of people there and all sorts of chaos, organized and unorganized. We barely got to see the kid who was having a birthday, much less socialize with everyone else. Family and friends were separated by awkwardness, only connected by a loose bond they had with the birthday kid. That’s not how we wanted the party to be. We want the party to be a reflection of our kid’s life, to be surrounded by people who love him and have supported us as parents. That definition, though, did not help us to lower the number of people we wanted to invite.

    While driving to work one day a sudden flash of inspiration hit me – why don’t we just have two smaller parties? One for close family and one for close friends? To be frank, our families don’t really care too much about our friends and want to maximize the time that they spend with our kid and with other family; they don’t want to make awkward small talk with people they barely know and navigate around kids they’ve never met. Our friends could come to another gathering to celebrate and socialize, and to have all of the kids play together. We would still have to trim the guest list, but overall it would be much more manageable.

    By having two smaller parties, we figured that we can have them at our home and not have to find a venue and overpay for an overwhelming party. We would essentially have the same party twice, so only one plan and one set of errands for food and supplies would have to made. We’ll get to spend more time with the people who matter to us. Isn’t that really what birthday celebrations are all about?

    What do you think? Are we being too indulgent? What compromises have you made for your kids’ birthdays?

     image: mae.noelle

    Can Teenagers Afford to Go Crusin’ For Fun Anymore?

    by  • October 28, 2011 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Probably doesn't get very good gas mileage.

    Probably doesn't get very good gas mileage.

    image: mikebaird 

    I remember going to the gas station with my mom when I was a little wee lad. She’d give me $5 and I’d go tell the cashier, “Five bucks on pump three.” (on occasion she’d give me $10 and would also tell me to get $5 of lotto tickets, but that’s another post…) And that $5 of gas would last the week. Oh the days of yore.

    When I was a teenager one of the activities that I loved to do the most was to get in my (or my friends’) car, pick a direction, and drive. However, back when I was teenager I could fill up my crappy 80′s Japanese sports car’s gas tank for $10. Since I had a decent job, filling up the tank was no problem – friends usually pitched in as well. We had some epic drives, all starting from Chicagoland area, and ending up in Wisconsin, Indiana, or some very rural part of Illinois.

    A few days ago I filled up my early 2000′s Japanese compact car’s gas tank for $44.27. (Yay Chicago for having the highest gas prices in the nation.) There’s no way that the teenage me would be able to afford $45 of gas every week, or even every 2 weeks. Well, I probably could have afforded it but I wouldn’t have any money left over for other recreational activities. I got to wondering, do teenagers go out and just drive anymore? If not, that really sucks because it was such an enjoyable part of my teenage life.

    Do you have teenager kids or know of any? What are they doing if not driving around aimlessly?


    Real Money, Real Investments – Giving $20,000 to First Graders

    by  • March 31, 2008 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    When I was 6 years old, I had many things to worry about. How would I avoid being picked last in kickball? How would I avoid being caught in a game of “tag”? What did I bring to lunch that would be an attractive item to swap for something better? Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a 1st grader.

    But what about worrying about what’s happening with your $20,000 portfolio? A lucky group of first graders at a Chicago high school now get to add “I” – investing – to the 3 R’s.

    Ariel Community Academy was established in 1996 by Ariel Capital Management, a Chicago money-management firm. Each 1st grade class at the school is given $20,000; the money at that point is mostly managed by employees of Ariel Capital Management, but the kids are briefed about what’s happening with the portfolio along the way. When the kids reach 6th grade the decisions are eventually turned over to them. Upon graduation from 8th grade, the initial $20,000 go back to the incoming 1st grade class; the profits can either be donated, invested, or pocketed, depending on the kids’ decision.

    These kids are extremely lucky to get this kind of experience. I shudder to think what I would have invested in when I was in 1st grade! $20,000 sure does buy a LOT of ring pops….

    (via Gapers Block)