Adventure Update #005: Hello Moto! & No Dead Betta Fish Today!

March 31st, 2019: Robotics workshop, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner & Minecraft videos.

During the week I was fortunate to get to spend some one-on-one time with both Annie and Dominick. I had some gift cards I needed to use before the end of the month for Food & Fire BBQ ~ Taphouse (one of my favorite non-Italian places to eat!)- so Annie and I went down on Thursday evening and had dinner together. It was great to connect with her without any distractions. She has been desperately craving some individual attention for awhile – and it was nice to be able to finally give that to her!

It is amazing how the the kids’ behavior can really change when they get that individual attention from mom & dad. It is a powerful acknowledgment for the kids that each one of them is, in-fact, important to us!

Later that same evening Annie had Girl Scouts. Dominick went with me and we spent the time that Annie was with her Girl Scouts troop over at Dunkin’ Donuts together. Same thing….


On Friday I posted a piece on Dispute Resolution on the Blog. You can read the post here:

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Life Lessons: Give Them An Opportunity to Save Face – But Show Them The Ammo! A 5-Step Approach to Dispute Resolution

It is categorized under Life Lessons -stuff I, as a father, want my kids to learn & know.

In the evening we had my cousin Mike and his lovely wife Donna over for our Lenten dinner. Melani really out-did herself with the dinner! Things were supposed to be SIMPLE – but there is no such thing with Melani! Melani made both homemade New England and Manhattan clam chowder. Mike & Donna are not only family – but some of our closest and most dear friends as well. We always enjoy when we are able to get together with them. The children are really fond of both Mike & Donna as well. Ask Sophie who loves her and she always responds “Mike & Donna” even before mom & dad! Everyone behaved (even me!), and a good time was had by all.

Next month Mike & Donna are heading down to Cincinnati for a few days and we are going with them. They are very familiar with the city and will be showing us some of the sites they think will be interesting for our family. We’re all looking forward to the trip!


Gracie and Dominick building robots with the Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits

On Saturday we went over to a robotics workshop over at the local community college. It was the first time they had done such an event. It was scheduled for 4 hours – so we figured we would go a little late. It would be a lot to expect Sophie to co-operate for a full 4 hours! They got a much larger turn-out than expected – and it was difficult getting some of the equipment ( since we arrived late). The kids still had a good time – but they didn’t really get to build and program the robots from start – to – finish. They do have some of their own robot building kits (you can read about that here – Ubtech Jimu Robots) – so our objective was more to just keep their interest level high in this area and expose to other people that have an interest in robotics as well. They were pleasantly surprised to see several of their friends at the workshop!

On our way home we stopped by a pet store. No – I am not in any hurry to have another living thing depend on me! We just wanted Annie to have a chance to see some bunnies. We were disappointed that here, three weeks before Easter, not a single bunny was to be found! So we were walking around and looking at the fish. At one point we were looking at the betta fish that were in what almost seemed to be Tupperware plastic containers. There was one fish in each container – and they appeared to have to tops on the containers.

Many of the fish just looked so sad – and almost DEAD. While we were looking at them – Melani, who was holding Sophie, got too close – and those fast little hands got a hold of one of the containers. Sophie almost pulled it right off the shelf. Fortunately Melani still has fast reflexes and a disaster was averted – we would be buying no dead betta fish today! So we rushed out of there before anything else could happen. Why tempt fate – right?!

One more stop before we would finally arrive at home – the grocery store. Annie was struggling a couple of months ago with math. It seemed to be more of a concentration issue than a comprehension one. I challenged her to turn the situation around – and she really has done a remarkable job of doing so! When I had challenged her – we set out that the reward would be a chocolate bunny. So today I made good on the promise and we picked out a couple bunnies that she thought were particularly cute. Don’t ask me how we went from one bunny to two…. Let’s just not go there….

Annie & her chocolate bunnies!

In the evening we spent a little time figuring out how to video record Gracie’s screen while she was playing Minecraft and trying to hook up the keyboard to a computer. She wants to record her own music for her videos – and I want to help her make that happen. Yea- we were really in full geek / nerd mode today!

Since we gave up TV for Lent, and we seem to be struggling a little with some of the children being respectful and considerate – we watched a YouTube video on being kind. You would probably be surprised at just how much we actually use YouTube for educational purposes! The video we watched was a TED talk presented by Dr. Christine Porath (Do Nice People Finish Last or Best?). Excellent – and definitely worth the 15 minutes of time it will take you to watch it! I assured the kids they would be seeing this one again!


Sunday was pretty much our normal routine. Religious education in the morning followed by church. In the afternoon I took Gracie to her Girl Scouts’ meeting. Since it is National Women’s History Month each of the Girl Scouts was to do a short presentation on a woman they admired. Gracie chose Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.

Michelle is personal finance and lifestyle blogger (you can visit her website here: who has had tremendous success with blogging. She is also the one that inspired me to to start my own blog! Despite Michelle’s phenomenal success she remains a very down-to-earth person that responds to her own emails and contacts through her social media accounts. I am sure that the real relationships that she fosters by this personal approach are a large part of her success!

Anyways – I sent Michelle a tweet the same afternoon that Gracie did her presentation – and Michelle was kind enough to respond. Gracie (OK, and me too!) was excited to get a very nice message back from Michelle. So a special and heartfelt thank you to Michelle for making our day!

We returned to geek / nerd mode on Sunday evening with Gracie posting a virtual tour of her Minecraft house on Youtube. You can see her video here: Tour of my Minecraft house! – GracieBug.

Super proud of my little girl – and I really look forward to all the amazing things she will be learning to do over the coming months and years!

Finally, this weekend we became aware of the possibility that maybe Sophie has heard my phone boot up a little more than any of us realized. Sometimes, out of the blue, we will hear her say “Hello Moto!” Pretty funny to hear her say it. That kid cracks us up! Sophie certainly isn’t a kid that is wanting for a personality…..

I hope everyone has an awesome week!


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Blessed father of 4 wonderful children & trophy husband to 1 lovely wife. Part-time blogger, full-time nerd & aspiring Renaissance man!

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All constructive comments are welcome!

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