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  • Heard in the Dare House

  • Naomi"Mom, isn't the Charleston that dance on that show Fresh Prince...or....?"
  • Pete"We should all act out a Shakespeare play. Maybe Macbeth?"
    Anna "Oh! I want to play MacMeth!"

  • Josh"Owe! I bit my tongue!"
    Mom "That's not part of dinner, dude."
    Josh"I know. That's why I didn't bite it off, Michael Tyson"

  • Dad "Josh, do you know who Mike Tyson bit?"
    Josh"Uuuhh...yeah...like... Leonard Skimmer?"

  • Anna [When we were all talking about love languages, Dad explains how you can change over your life]"Oh yeah, totally. 'Cause I used to be into drawing."
  • Anna [after falling off her bike]"I'm OK! I don't need the arcade kit!"
  • Dad [Getting ready to give a gift to the girls for their piano recital]"Alright girls, we're going to do something that's long overdue."
    Anna "Ha. Probably taxes..."

  • Josh [After reading Peter's sign that said, "DJ takes requests, and tips] "Hey. I have a tip for you. If people don't like the song you're playing, you should change it."
  • Anna "Sometimes I look around and think, I am Anna...and these are other people..."
  • Josh "Listen. You give me the Simon's Quest code and I'll shop in the women's section!"
  • Josh "You smell like an air freshener, Mom."
    Dad "oh Josh those are kind of cheap so that sounds like you’re kind of insulting Mom when you say that."
    Josh "MMMMmmmm…you smell like a $100 air freshener."

  • Anna "Mom. Where’s the first Bible ever. Like ever."
    Mom "Ummm, I’m not sure. But maybe you could ask Dad about that"
    Anna "Well. I was gonna, but I didn’t want to get a whole sermon…so I asked you"

  • Dad "Hmm. These chips taste stale."
    Mom "They're not stale. They're just from Aldi."

  • Naomi "Look Mom! My foot is bigger than Anna's whole face!"
  • Peter [Interrupting Mom quizzing Naomi on Science by asking, "What's inside the membrane of a cell?"] "...Insane?"
  • Anna [Seeing Almonso Wilder grab Laura Ingles' engagement ring from the kitchen on Little House] "Hmph. He just grabbed a chill pill."
  • Josh "Dad, my grammar book must be in labor. It keeps talking about contractions"
  • Josh [After Dad picked a crumb off Josh's shirt]"Dad, you're like a parasite, cleaning me."
  • Anna[Watching Dorothy's friends break her out of the wicked witch's castle]: "Well. That's why you always keep your axe with ya."
  • Josh: "I wonder if there are any tornadoes at the campground we're going to."
    Anna: "Yes. There are. I know. I checked on E-Bay."

  • Mom: "Mmmm, Josh. You smell really good. Are you wearing cologne?"
    Josh: "Wait. My.....Clone Trooper, you mean?"

  • Mom: "I delivered all four of these kids. The least they can do is let me have the rest of the dill pickle potato chips!"
  • Josh: "You're a weak-aholic!"
    Dad: "A weakaholic?!"
    Josh: "Yeah. You're addicted to being weak!"

  • Dad: [After listening to the long piano intro to Chicago's Does anybody really know what time it is?] "I don't like that dissident music. It's all crazy and off time."
    Anna: "I like it! 'Cuz that's how I play!"

  • Paul: "So according to this book kids, who shot JFK?"
    Josh: "Lee Elvis Hardwell?"

  • Paul: "How Many Kings by Downhere is a perfect running song. The beat is just my pace."
    Jen: "Oh yeah? My song is Canon in D."

  • Anna[while washing herself in the shower]: "Hmmmmm. Arms are helpful."
  • Anna [Seeing Mom running water in the kitchen sink]: "Hey! You want to pay bills?!"
    Mom: "Huh?"
    Anna: "You're wasting!"

  • Josh: "Mom, can I play Mario?"
    Mom: "No Josh. Today is craft day. We're doing stuff for someone."
    Josh: "Yeah. I was gonna beat the game for Dad."

  • Anna: [Laying in bed, in a depressed voice]"Naomi, what do I do with life?"
    Naomi: "Uhh...how about you go to sleep?"

  • Mom: "Weird, I've always heard that song differently. But hey, what am I?"
    Anna: "A human being!"

  • Anna: [After being told to eat her dinner]"Mom, I took two bites! You can see the ground!"
  • Josh: "Man, I want to go to a casino."
    Mom: "What?!"
    Josh: "Wait. Is casino the same as gazebo?"

  • Jen to the kids: "Guys, don't forget toppings for your salad. The more colors on your salad, the better it is for you."
    Josh: "Even if it has Superman ice cream on it?!"

  • Anna"Huh? Craig has a list?"
  • Anna"Naomi, can you look at your calendar with your eyes closed?"
    Naomi"No. No one can, silly."
    Anna"Chuck Norris can!!"

  • Mom"Thanks to Naomi, who passed her headache on to me."
    Naomi"Pastor Headache? Who's Pastor Headache?!"

  • Darefamily: “Night, Pete. Night, Naomi. Night, Mom. Night, Dad...”
    Anna: “Night, vision!”

  • Anna: “Dad, do you believe in Santa?”
    Dad: “Sure, St. Nicholas was at the council of Nicea. He punched Arius in the mouth for his heresy…”
    Anna: “Hmmmm…I don’t remember seeing that in the video…”

  • Pete: "Josh, you know what the Pope is, right?"
    Josh: "Yeah. The stuff in the orange juice."

  • Anna: "Yeah! Let's get this starty parted!"
  • Josh"Bummer Mom, you're not ticklish. But I can still hurt you, because your nervous system is working!"
  • Josh"Sorry Grandma, I don't really like antiques...unless they have up to date stuff."
  • Naomi:"I'm not sure what I'm more afraid of, a whale or a shark, 'cuz I know how to fight a shark, 'cuz they're really weak in the eyes..."
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    Road Trip to Scranton!

    On Monday morning, January 2nd, we surprised the kids with an announcement: a road trip to Pennsylvania!!! We woke the kids up at seven and were driving out of the garage by 8:24 am.  Miracles do still happen, I guess.


    The drive out of MI and through a bit of Ohio is pretty boring.  However, once you enter Penn, it’s so beautiful.  I’m sure all of the hills didn’t help our gas mileage but the scenery through the Northern tip of the Appalachians is absolutely amazing; the mountains and huge rock walls were beautiful! We were all wondering if the locals there ever traveled to Canton oohing and ahhing over how flat everything was.

    We drove through Ohio before getting to the State of Independence, but most of the driving was in Pennsylvania itself.


    The kids before they had read the sign.


    …and after we threatened them.


    Soon we were back on the road! Nothing exciting happened for about seven or eight more hours when we finally got to our hotel!  Well, we found our hotel but decided we needed to hit up a gas station before checking in.

    That was a mistake.

    It took several twists and turns in back-roads and neighborhoods through Scranton’s northernly neighboring city Dixon City before finally finding fuel but it was kind of worth it because it was a full-service gas station! Very cool.

    Anyways, we reached the Holiday Inn in Dixon City around 9 pm. There was a POOL. 😀


    swimming in December?



    ^^the view from the kid’s room^^


    The next morning we all enjoyed a breakfast of cold stiff hotel waffles (Naomi didn’t know they were toaster waffles and were meant to be eaten after being toasted) and decent sausage gravy (they taste good together, ask Naomi) After breakfast, we left the hotel and headed to the Steamtown Mall. Right away I (Paul) led Jen to the best part in the mall:



    This is the actual sign that used to be off the freeway just outside Scranton. This sign can be seen in the opening credits of the popular TV show The Office.  For the afternoon we drove around and saw other sites that appear in the show, which none of the kids watch so they couldn’t appreciate and had to sit in the car for half of the time staring at a brick wall waiting for their parents to remember them. But we had fun!


    This was the train yard behind Steamtown mall. It was just a cool looking shot.


    This was Cooper’s Seafood. Another place of interest for Office fans. They had a little gift shop with funny hats that hundreds of people had previously worn.


    Inside Cooper’s.

    We started driving home that afternoon/evening but realized it would be 3 am by the time we’d get to Canton so we took our time on the drive home. We stopped in a neat little town called Clearfield, PA and visited a couple of small shops in their downtown area and then checked into the Hampton. This hotel also had a pool but everyone was too tired to swim except for Josh and Anna.



    Not tired:


    The next morning we stopped at several more places to break up the drive so it didn’t feel like the ten-hour drive it was to get there.drivin2


    The pictures really don’t do it justice. Every bridge we crossed had ridiculously huge mountains and trees surrounding and rivers underneath, it felt like a movie. As obscure as Scranton sounds, it’s actually a great city to vacation in solely because of the scenery.


    Unfortunately, we don’t have photos, but Scranton was very appropriately named the Electric City because of the way the whole city just lights up like a million Christmas lights at night. The view is INCREDIBLE when driving on the highway.


    ^^grabbing lunch at Pizza Hut in Ohio!^^



    I asked the kids when the trip was coming to a close, “So do you guys like to plan out a vacation and then look forward to it or did you like doing this one spontaneously?”

    They all exclaimed: “Spontaneously!”


    There’s No Place Like…

    Over the river (Niagara), through the woods (Pennsylvania), around the lake(Erie) and seven hours later, we arrived in Southfield around 7:15pm on Friday night.  Drive was nice, uneventful.  My traveling buddy was great.  Lots of good conversation.  Things I learned from my first real work traveling experience –

    People are all the same – Drivers are crazy in all states.  Police pull you over everywhere.  Gas station attendants, Tim Horton’s cashiers, toll booth operators and other traveling business people are all the same.  People are friendly and rushed, angry and kind, generous and aloof.

    People are all so different – So many new faces.  So many unfamiliar surroundings.  Meeting new people, or in my case meeting people I’ve “known” in voice only for years, for the first time, reminded me how diverse people all are!  Buckeye’s are a bit different then Michiganders.  Pennsylvanians differ from New Yorkers.  Even among each states, there are people from completely different parts of the country or world.  Diversity is pretty cool.

    I love traveling – I have to be honest.  I like a good road trip.  I really like seeing new things.  I love meeting new people.  Especially ones I’ve worked with or customers I’m trying to take care of.  Staying in a new hotel, the challenge of locating the nearest Tim Horton’s and getting the souvenirs for the family – all of these and more – awesome.  Visiting tourist sites, like Frederick Douglas’ grave site.  Being able to share stories of things you saw, events that happened and places you got to go to later is priceless.  Being able to expense all my meals, drive a sweet rental and stay for free in a fancy hotel – priceless.

    I hate traveling – I do not enjoy preparing to leave my beautiful and wonderful wife and four fantastic children for about a week.  I take no joy from knowing I won’t be able to talk to my family as often as I would like for days at a time.  I’m not a huge fan of not kissing, hugging and tucking my kids into bed each night.  I hate that date night is spent 426 miles apart, over the phone, with tears.  I don’t like staying up late, because I can’t sleep.  I don’t like stressing out worrying I won’t wake up to the different alarm clock and be downstairs to drive us into the office.  I don’t like the unfamiliarity of everything, being stretched beyond my comfort zone and having to go without what’s ‘normal’ to me.

    Food is awesome – New restaurants.  New food.  Local joints, chains I’ve never tried.  When it comes to eating on the road, it gets pretty nice.  Steak dinners, appetizer sampler platters.  Calimari?  Trying to spell Calimari?  I’ll pretty much eat anything.  I’ve got to be the best dinner guest, as I don’t care where we go and I’m pretty psyched about whatever they serve.  I had some really good food on this trip.  I thank all of you co-workers out there that whipped out the corporate card and bought my lunch and/or dinner.  My meal at every restaurant was great.

    Food is horrible – How am I supposed to know that the sausage and bacon at the complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel needs to be warmed up?  What is wrong with those “omelets”?  Why does the coffee taste like this?  Why can’t it taste and look just like the stuff at home?  I ate too much, drank too much(water), snacked too much and wasted too much food.  As wonderful as all the food fun was, there are drawbacks.  I greatly missed my coffee at the Southfield office, surely a shocker to some readers, if they’ve tasted it. 🙂  What can I say?  I’m a guy with a routine.  I greatly missed my processed meat, turkey and cheese sandwiches packed by my wife for lunch.  No steak dinner could come close to the laughs and love shared around the Dare dinner table each night in Westland.  Every time I ate, I was reminded of how much I missed my wife and children.

    There is nothing like being home I love being home.  I love having a job where I go and then come home each night.  I would not like to travel all the time.  I don’t have any complaints about the trip and I personally thought it was a huge help in solidifying both existing and new business relationships.  But home is where it’s at.  I once heard a guy tell me that he loved going away for drill once a month because it allowed him to get a break from his family and cringed at the thought!  I still cringe.  I am not looking for a getaway from the fam.  I want to be home as much as possible.

    There is nothing like coming home – As hard as it is to be away, man it sure is a blast to walk through the front door and be met by four turbo charged kids who tackle, hug, kiss, scream, grab your leg and welcome you home like you just defeated Godzilla and MegaShark to save the world from total destruction.  Nothing like cuddling up (yeah dude, I cuddle) with the wife for a movie that first night back.  Nothing comes close to sleeping in your own bed, even if it is a size smaller than the one at the hotel.  Nothing like your own water pressure, cold cereal and old tube TV to make you know you’re home.  I love being home.

    Thanks for everyone who prayed for my trip, for my wife, for the children.  Thanks for everyone who gave me tips and things to remember and thanks to everyone in the Roc for your hospitality, friendship and for showing me around your fine city!  It was a great time….glad to be home.


    Going to NY!

    Tomorrow I will embark on my second trip (as an adult) to The Empire State. I go this time to Rochester to meet with co-workers, customers and common New York citizens for the greater good and bottom line profitability of our global company.

    If you have ever lived, live there currently or have meticulously studied, “the Roc” – drop me a line to tell me where I must go, what I must see and what I must do.

    I’ll try to blog a few of my experiences this week, but no promises as I have no idea how busy I’ll be. 🙂


    The West Side of Michigan

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    It’s been said, by more than one person, that there lies an invisible line running north and south and intersecting I-94 right around Jackson.  Once an Easterner crosses this line, heading due West, he has been transported into another dimension.  A slower, calmer, quieter dimension.  No, not the Twilight Zone (as cool as that would be).  It’s the West side of our great state of Michigan.  Ever since my first trip over to visit my Dad about 10 years ago, my wife and I have have become more and more enamored with Western Michigan.  We just came home this past Saturday after spending six days over there.

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    We had a fantastic time.  Rented a three-bedroom cabin at a little “resort” that Jen and I have stayed at before.  Lots of space to run and play, a pool and even some bikes for the kids, made this a very fun trip.

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    I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation.  We’re thankful for the chance to go and also glad to be home.  The name of the place is Victoria Resort and we highly recommend staying with them.

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    How was your weekend?!

    Wrote a bit about our weekend over on the AllThyngs blog.  Enjoy!


    One day in New York City

    I recently flew to the Big Apple for a one day whirlwind visit to meet with a customer of ours.  I arrived in LaGuardia at approx 9:30am and flew out less than 12 hours later at 8pm.  My meeting was in what used to be the meat packing district of Manhattan at 111 8th ave (between 15 and 16th streets).

    lower Man

    I wish I could say I ‘heart’ NY.  But I just didn’t see enough of it to develop any warm and fuzzy sentiments.  I was glad to meet the guys at our office on 9th ave.  They were very hospitable and gave me a tour of the entire site.  The little bit of the downtown area that I was able to see was interesting.  Every corner, every intersection I turned down, I’d see the same thing: buildings.  One thing’s for sure: I need to come back.  Looking at my map during the flight in, the day seemed to hold so much promise for at least a little site-seeing.  It just didn’t pan out.  I didn’t ride the subway, but I saw it.  I didn’t get to visit Liberty or the Empire State, but I saw them both on our descent to LaGuardia.  So, it wasn’t a total loss.  One thing I did notice was that the stereotype of the “rude New Yorkers” was not at all a reality in my experience.  I was helped by people all day, given ideas on where to get souvenirs (I did have to avoid using the word ‘souvenirs’ with one guy though, as he didn’t know what it meant), given great directions and even told by a local in an elevator that a compartment on my backpack was unzipped (thanks, dude!).  I learned to stay with the yellow cabs and steer clear of the black ones as they can charge you inflated rates.  Learned that the hardest time to catch a cab is between 4:45 and 5:15 between the end of day shift change.  I learned that famous people are a common sight on the streets (unfortunately, I didn’t get to prove this theory).  I learned that I would never want to live in the city, that I might not ever choose to ride in a cab again (it was terrifying), that the avenues go north and south and the streets go west and east.  I learned that Spirit Airlines is usually on time but provides bare-bone service, while Northwest will throw you a free cookie and cold pop, but get you home later than expected.  Overall, it was a great time.  It went too fast, but I was glad I had the opportunity to visit, especially on the company’s dime.  I’m thankful I don’t have to travel all the time too!  It was only one day and I was thrilled to see my bride pull up in our minivan at Detroit Metro that evening.  My first words to my wife when she asked me about the trip?  “Fuhghettaboutit!!”

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