southtownstar.suntimes.com http://southtownstar.suntimes.com Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT webmaster@suntimes.com http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/southtownstar.gif Southtown Star logo http://southtownstar.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Reflections run deep when revisiting early years of fatherhood ]]> Lead story image

I wrote my first stay-at-home dad column for the then-Daily Southtown seven years and one month ago from the publication date of Sept. 29. Feeling reflective, I went back into my archive last week and revisited my first seven columns. I’d never previously done this with my parenting columns. The findings were interesting. In the end, I was near tears. First, I was surprised at the quality of the writing. I’ve been writing newspaper articles since high school. I’ll occasionally stumble upon one of my articles from the Tom-Tom — a publication of Lemont Township High School. These stories are … ]]> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 06:14:10 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22780091-452/stay-at-home-dad-reflections-run-deep-when-revisiting-early-years-of-fatherhood.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22780091-452/stay-at-home-dad-reflections-run-deep-when-revisiting-early-years-of-fatherhood.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Wish list sparks debate over gift registries for kids’ parties ]]> Lead story image

Gift registries are customary for bridal and baby showers — not birthday parties. A friend and loyal reader reached out to me after her preschool-age son was invited to a birthday party. Her son was excited about the party for a set of twins from his school. So my friend sent an email to RSVP, at which time she also asked for some gift ideas. The hostess directed her to the Toys R Us website. She said the twins had registered at the store but warned that their taste was rather expensive. Thus, partygoers shouldn’t feel bound to the online … ]]> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 06:12:30 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22626324-452/stay-at-home-dad-wish-list-sparks-debate-over-gift-registries-for-kids-parties.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22626324-452/stay-at-home-dad-wish-list-sparks-debate-over-gift-registries-for-kids-parties.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: A ‘fair’ job of parenting byfolks with agricultural roots ]]> Lead story image

The Wife and I were frequent visitors to the county fair as children. Until last week, I wasn’t sure our city kids would even enjoy the fair. The Wife raised champion rabbits for the fair as a member of 4-H. I grew up on a hog farm. I never showcased anything at a fair, but my family frequently visited these celebrations of agricultural life. I spent lots of time in the livestock barns as well as in the grandstands cheering at tractor pulls. Our two sons have no direct connection to farm life. We live on Chicago’s Southwest Side. From … ]]> Wed, 16 Oct 2013 06:14:36 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22482091-452/stay-at-home-dad-a-fair-job-of-parenting-byfolks-with-agricultural-roots.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22482091-452/stay-at-home-dad-a-fair-job-of-parenting-byfolks-with-agricultural-roots.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: For family fun, Fire kindles interest ]]> Lead story image

Shouting “Fire!” in a crowded space is typically frowned upon. However, the rule doesn’t apply at Toyota Park in Bridgeview — home of the Chicago Fire. The Wife and I attended our first Major League Soccer game last weekend with our two sons and my brother-in-law. The Chicago Fire has been around since 1998. I have no idea why it took me 15 years to attend my first game. A timely coupon provided the final push I needed to check out the local soccer squad. Discounted tickets cost $29 each. The seats were near the middle of the field, and … ]]> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 06:12:08 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22335736-452/stay-at-home-dad-for-family-fun-fire-kindles-interest.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22335736-452/stay-at-home-dad-for-family-fun-fire-kindles-interest.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Dad has time on hands ]]> Lead story image

The first day of school arrived without a single tear. My two sons greeted their friends in the parking lot and walked into the building smiling at their teachers. I returned home, closed the door behind me and let out a long, deep breath. For the first time in seven years, I had the whole day to myself. There were days when I fantasized about having 61/2 hours alone, particularly when Bubba and Peter were infants. That day had arrived. “What are you going to do with yourself?” asked friends and family. Well, my big day started out on the … ]]> Wed, 02 Oct 2013 06:18:01 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22194892-452/stay-at-home-dad-dad-has-time-on-hands.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22194892-452/stay-at-home-dad-dad-has-time-on-hands.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Relationship between boys, teddy bears begins to fade ]]> Lead story image

Bubba and Peter arrived at a recent play date in their pajamas. The agenda for the after-dinner party called for simply snacks and a movie. Afterward, my 7- and 5-year-old sons would roll up their sleeping bags, return home and get tucked into their beds. Our hostess greeted us at the door with a smile. “Oh, I’m so glad you’re here, and I’m glad you brought your (stuffed) animals,” she said. The anxious mom then turned to The Wife and I and admitted to being worried for her son. He insisted on showcasing his plush pals, and she felt this … ]]> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 06:15:44 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22051371-452/stay-at-home-dad-relationship-between-boys-teddy-bears-begins-to-fade.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/22051371-452/stay-at-home-dad-relationship-between-boys-teddy-bears-begins-to-fade.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Home repair project a pipe dream after all ]]> Lead story image

As a stay-at-home dad, I look for ways to contribute to my family’s bottom line. My most obvious contribution is providing child care, which keeps us from paying a baby sitter. By grocery shopping and cooking, I’m able to keep restaurant spending to a minimum. And keeping a tidy house saves money we’d otherwise spend on a cleaning service. Then there’s the issue of home repair and maintenance. I cut the grass and change light bulbs. Beyond that, I tend to struggle. I usually enter into these projects with confidence. Then my ineptitude slaps me in the face. The latest … ]]> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 09:26:15 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21908927-452/stay-at-home-dad-home-repair-project-a-pipe-dream-after-all.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21908927-452/stay-at-home-dad-home-repair-project-a-pipe-dream-after-all.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Kankakee River canoe trip makes for fun, family outing ]]> Lead story image

Step aside Lewis and Clark, Bubba and Peter are the new faces of wilderness exploration. My 7- and 5-year-old sons embarked on an exploratory journey of the Kankakee River last weekend. The Wife and I were among the crew. Our family of four conquered the gently flowing river on canoes, later declaring the waterway for the Ludwig family. We arrived at the boat rental shop around noon. We traveled from Chicago’s Beverly community to Kankakee in about an hour. Traffic wasn’t a problem, despite our scheduled canoe trip coinciding with Chicago Bears Training Camp in nearby Bourbonnais. Reed’s Canoe Trips … ]]> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 06:15:44 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21784839-452/stay-at-home-dad-kankakee-river-canoe-trip-makes-for-fun-family-outing.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21784839-452/stay-at-home-dad-kankakee-river-canoe-trip-makes-for-fun-family-outing.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Supplies and demand ]]> Lead story image

Dear parents and guardians, The faculty and staff eagerly await another wonderful school year. Actually, no one loves summer more than we do. But we’ve got bills to pay. With that in mind, here’s a list of a few things your elementary school student will need for the upcoming year. 12 — sharpened No. 2 pencils. Do they even make any other kind of pencils? If you happen to find a No. 3 or No. 4 pencil, please bring it in so we can have a group discussion. 1 — pink “pearl” eraser. If used properly, you’ll never have to … ]]> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 06:16:38 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21637450-452/stay-at-home-dad-supplies-and-demand.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21637450-452/stay-at-home-dad-supplies-and-demand.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Side-by-side on ‘Shrek’ ]]> Lead story image

The difference between an animated ogre and a chubby man wearing a green skullcap isn’t terribly significant. At least the audience at “Shrek the Musical” seemed unable to make the distinction. I attended the live, musical version of the 2001 film “Shrek” last weekend with The Wife, our two sons, my mother and great aunt. The 75-minute performance at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed the show. Yet I couldn’t resist comparing the live performance to the film, which I also enjoy. There were pros and cons to both shows. To appease my own curiosity, I’ve decided to … ]]> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 19:29:16 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21489250-452/stay-at-home-dad-side-by-side-on-shrek.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21489250-452/stay-at-home-dad-side-by-side-on-shrek.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: War’s over, dad declares ]]> Lead story image

The war’s over, and I have a treaty I’d like everyone to sign. For the past several years, I’ve heard about the “Mommy Wars.” This endless battle is really more of a debate between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Each side believes they’re raising children in the best possible way. Dads are rarely part of the argument. If there were a war between stay-at-home dads and working dads, my team would get creamed. We just don’t have the numbers. Only this civil war isn’t about tanks, drones or soldiers. It’s more of a philosophical argument. I get it. I can … ]]> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 06:13:08 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21359549-452/stay-at-home-dad-wars-over-dad-declares.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21359549-452/stay-at-home-dad-wars-over-dad-declares.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: What lifeguards know that you don’t ]]> Lead story image

It’s the time of the year when lifeguards watch my family and others through mirrored sunglasses. Whether they are perched high on a chair at the beach or walking poolside, I’ve grown accustomed to their ever-present glare. And yet I often look back and wonder what they’re thinking. What do these lifeguards know that I do not? Last week, I posed this question to Bernard Fisher, president and director of health and safety for the American Lifeguard Association. The ALA certifies 10,000 lifeguards annually. The Virginia-based group is a distant second behind the American Red Cross, which trains and approves … ]]> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 06:12:51 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21228929-452/stay-at-home-dad-what-lifeguards-know-that-you-dont.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21228929-452/stay-at-home-dad-what-lifeguards-know-that-you-dont.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Parenting defined, one word at a time ]]> Lead story image

The dictionary is an evolving publication. Words are added and dropped each year. With that in mind, I have a few suggestions that I think would be helpful for parents. Some of these entries are new words for things I often do or use but have no way to define. Others are alternate definitions for existing words. All of this is in an effort to be a better parent ... It’s probably best to simply provide examples. Here are a few things I’d like to see added to the dictionary: muddle: noun 1. a small puddle that’s saturated with mud, … ]]> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 06:14:04 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21084605-452/stay-at-home-dad-parenting-defined-one-word-at-a-time.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/21084605-452/stay-at-home-dad-parenting-defined-one-word-at-a-time.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Growing pains: Misery is no myth ]]> Lead story image

“Growing Pains” isn’t just a popular television show from the late ’80s. I learned this last week when my 7-year-old son woke up in tears. Bubba complained about his legs being sore when The Wife put him to bed. I dismissed this as general fatigue or lingering soreness from one of the multiple spills my newbie biker has taken while learning to balance on his two-wheeler. However, Bubba’s cries at 11 p.m. suggested another diagnosis. When asked to identify the location of the pain, my boy pointed to his lower legs and feet. Massage seemed to help, which led The … ]]> Fri, 02 Aug 2013 06:08:36 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20958783-452/stay-at-home-dad-growing-pains-misery-is-no-myth.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20958783-452/stay-at-home-dad-growing-pains-misery-is-no-myth.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Journal reveals fertile imagination at work ]]> Lead story image

A backpack full of broken pencils and tattered workbooks was sent home at the end of the school year. Tucked within this mess of used school supplies was my 7-year-old son’s journal. I vaguely remember sending Bubba to school with an empty notebook at the start of first grade. Apparently, he’d been filling out pages periodically with short notes and drawings. The topics appear to have been provided. Spelling and grammar weren’t stressed. Some posts were illegible. Others I figured out by studying the corresponding illustrations. And in some cases, Bubba’s teacher provided notes to decipher my son’s horrendous penmanship. … ]]> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 06:16:04 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20818979-452/stay-at-home-dad-journal-reveals-fertile-imagination-at-work.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20818979-452/stay-at-home-dad-journal-reveals-fertile-imagination-at-work.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Battle summer boredom at Cantigny’s Tank Park ]]> Lead story image

Sometimes heavy artillery is needed to battle summer boredom. Well, there’s a whole field of tanks and cannons to do just that at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. A group of neighborhood parents arranged a trip to the estate of the late Col. Robert R. McCormick last week. Renamed Cantigny Park, the 500-acre property is just off Interstate 88 at the Winfield Road exit. A caravan of minivans descended on the grounds during the opening days of summer vacation. Neighborhood boys between the ages of 6 and 12 crowded into several high-mileage vans. Their back-seat conversations relied heavily on bad jokes … ]]> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 06:25:55 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20698848-452/stay-at-home-dad-battle-summer-boredom-at-cantignys-tank-park.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20698848-452/stay-at-home-dad-battle-summer-boredom-at-cantignys-tank-park.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: The perils of pedaling ]]> Lead story image

My two sons began riding bikes last month. I wondered what took so long. My oldest son will celebrate his 7th birthday on June 14. I’ve seen kids half Bubba’s age zooming around the park on bicycles. Meanwhile, Bub seemed content to cruise the neighborhood on his Razr scooter. I theorized that perhaps my timid boy was afraid of falling. And it’s impossible not to fall while learning to ride a bike. Bubba’s fear was fully realized on his second day of training. I’d grown tired of running alongside my boy while he attempted to balance and pedal his bike. … ]]> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 06:12:17 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20534287-452/stay-at-home-dad-the-perils-of-pedaling.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20534287-452/stay-at-home-dad-the-perils-of-pedaling.html <![CDATA[ Stay-At-Home Dad: Brace for this race, a parenting challenge ]]> Lead story image

Obstacle courses are all the rage. Popular races send runners through fields of mud, blast competitors with colored dye, and even route participants into dangling live electric wires. I understand the thrill of these extreme courses. But if runners really want to experience a gut-wrenching series of obstacles, try being a parent. That’s why I’m proposing a parenting-themed obstacle course. Let’s call it “Running from Your Responsibilities.” The 10K race would be held at 4 a.m. The inconvenient start time is meant to symbolize all those mornings when your child wakes up incredibly early for no apparent reason and refuses … ]]> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 06:13:34 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20394083-423/stay-at-home-dad-brace-for-this-race-a-parenting-challenge.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/ludwig/20394083-423/stay-at-home-dad-brace-for-this-race-a-parenting-challenge.html