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Showing posts from December, 2011

A very good year

2011 is going to be a hard year to top. Yes, we had the condo on the market and it failed to sell. I had 2 wisdom teeth pulled and ended up in the emergency room in Minnesota for an infection and bad reaction to some drugs.

But the good far outweighs the bad:
I ran 2 marathons including setting a Personal RecordMy daughter was bornMy son turned 1 year. I was a supervisor at work for the summerI got to visit a new state & get my photo taken with a bald eagleI hatched an idea for a new business Everybody have a great 2012 and Happy New Year!

Never brag about your kids...it will come back to bite you

We had just gotten done telling everybody how easy and quiet Leda is. She never cries, never fusses, sleeps through the night.

And then she got her five (yes, 2 in each leg plus one oral) on Tuesday and we got a visit from a grandma the next day. So the schedule, the personalities, everything has been thrown off.

My normally active-but-well-scheduled toddler has turned into a smiling, laughing, crazed Grandma-impressing machine who only wants to run around the room giggling and doing tricks to win praise from his dad's mom. I told her: "I never remember you being this amusing when I was a kid." Rude but true...there is something about the grandparents.

So yesterday was a one-nap kinda day with Cole barely making it until 5:30pm before eye rubs and yawning and general grumpiness. And since Grandma hadn't left yet we had to endure a bit of help-I'm-missing-something crying in the dark bedroom until he was willing to be put into his crib.

Today was a little better w…

The kid-free zone

Last night Kelly was kind enough to let me have my first Dad's Night despite a rather rough day for her. Not that the kids have really been getting to me in these first few weeks of SAHD. But we're strong believers that you need some time to get your brain back into the adult world. Like a toddler needs stimulation to develop, an adult needs the same.

It's funny how as I'm getting older, my tastes are changing. My old favorite things are no longer my favorite things. I've come to appreciate under-appreciated things. I've come to enjoy things that take time, have substance, or are thoughtful--contrasted with the new and shiny and different of my younger days. Kelly and I consider this to be growing as a person...with the trick to do it together as a couple. Neither of us, certainly, is the same person we were when we met.

When I used to walk into the Art Institute I'd head for what most people probably head towards. Famous Impressionists. Radical modern art.…

Green with envy

You hate me.

And I think Kelly is starting to hate me too.

We used to always joke that Cole was the easiest baby in the world. I think it mostly came from being prepared for the worst. Which is horrible to say, but you never know what you're gonna get. And which is also not to say he's an angel all the time. He throws fits of rage on the floor and runs around the library screaming like any other 18 month old.

But compared to how it could be he's a saint. Other than hunger or exhaustion he's a good-natured, sweet, funny, rugged, adventuring little boy. He takes his naps, sleeps through the night, eats anything and everything, etc..

Leda, however, is putting him to shame. I don't know whether it's experience as parents. Or her personality. But for all her initial problems, she's become the easy one. We can remember having to literally hold Cole until he fell asleep or he'd fuss and cry. Then it was a struggle to put him in the crib quietly.

Leda fairly re…

You get the kids you're meant to have

Kelly and I have an ongoing joke about how if Cole got plopped down in someone else's house he would not thrive. And that while we really enjoy some of our friends' children we are glad they are not ours. We would not be good at parenting them. I am good at parenting my children. Call it some sort of weird cosmic wavelength we're all on where I understand my own DNA and my own DNA "gets" me.

Yesterday, Cole finally got out of the house for a few minutes of play while the temperature was briefly above freezing. I took two soccer balls into the sideyard which he did not want. He mostly amused himself with a brick. And trying to climb through the bars in the fence to get to the front of the building.

So after taking the dog in I opened the gate and we walked. Not that crazy toddler manic run. We casually strolled down the sidewalk. Never pausing. Just a constant, slow, purposeful exploration. Across the alley holding dad's hand. Down to the diner at the corner. …

Coffee talk

From some of the best beans you can get...to Target. I took a gamble in the coffee aisle this weekend with some of their Archer Farms brand beans. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Especially by the fact that they at least had the label out for some Cup of Excellence winners--none in stock, but still that is impressive that a discount huge chain has made an effort to stock quality coffee.

Usually the grocery aisle depresses me. It's all pre-ground which essentially ruins coffee from the get-go. It's mostly blends, gimmicky cheap stuff.

So you can imagine that I was setting the bar low for some Organic Fair Trade Guatemalan light roast. On paper it would have promise, but the proof is in the cup.

The notes on the bag say, "bright and spicy aroma, mild body with floral and chocolate notes." Rarely does a coffee exactly live up to this profile. Especially good coffee usually has a bit more complexity. Bad coffee will taste flat.

But I have to say that what they …

What to do with a grumpy Santa

Family can roughly be defined as the people you are together with when you're having a miserable time. So yesterday was a wonderful day for family.

Who goes to Macy's on a Wednesday? Better yet, who are all these children who aren't in school?

The fun started even before that, however, with getting to listen in on a phone call from a woman on the L to her doctor...apparently she needed extra anxiety medication to get her by until her appointment. She'd found her dead father in the basement and it's a stressful situation. Really, that's the call you make from the train?

The elevators were clogged. The aisles were clogged. We went straight up to the 5th floor Santa Land only to be met with a snaking line through the displays of moving bears, buttons to push, and whirling Christmas displays. Last Christmas we waited in line less than 10 minutes, I think. This Christmas, it was over an hour.

Bless his heart, Cole made it through about 45 minutes on bunny grahams, m…

Coffee talk

I was going to call this post Ten Commandments of Coffee. But they're not really commandments per se. More like 10 things you should know as a consumer.

But first! Today's bean review is from Intelligentsia. Good stuff. Not the best I've ever had, but pretty darn good. It's a Piendamo Columbia roasted about 2 days ago. Their notes are "red fruit, honey and caramel. Juicy and balanced with a finish of milk chocolate." My notes are that it is a very top-heavy coffee. By that I mean the first thing you notice is the bright flavors in the front and the finish is a very mellow, smooth almost silky texture for the body. It's mostly an upfront candy/chocolate taste that needs very little sugar if you take it. The beans are quite hard and grind with difficulty, but the ground coffee is a very light shade of brown and completely not in line with the deepness you get from the cup. It will be interesting to see what happens as the aroma and taste change over the wee…

Danger is my son's middle name...

Here's a partial, non-exhaustive list of some of my son's favorite things to play in, on, around, or with:

--hot oven
--vacuum cleaner
--coffee grinder
--70 pound dog
--dog bed
--dog water and food dishes
--hot radiators
--staircases
--electrical outlets
--bookcases
--the door of the DVD player
--blinds and open windows
--the battery compartments for remote controls

That's why we've never babyproofed. He can't be left alone in a room for more than a moment before you need to see what he's up to...especially if he's quiet.

So yesterday we let him play with the paper cutter. No really.

Supervised, of course. Mom was doing a craft involving cutting cardboard and he wanted to move the slider back and forth. No, he wanted to stand on the cutting board and lift the blade cover even.

Do I cut his food pieces a little too big? Sometimes. He may choke.

Should he run around with a fork in his mouth? Probably not.

But in the larger picture, every day is a constant bat…

They call me the Baby Whisperer

I feel a little bad for Kelly sometimes. She gets sad that bedtime is not her time. Cole will run up to her and give her hugs, pounce on her when she comes in the door from work, and just generally be a maniac seeking her attention for the rest of the night while she's home. Lots of whining. And let's give her credit for not yelling and being a calm talker. I tend to be the more hardcore instant reaction type. But when it's time for bed it's dad.

Call in the reinforcements.

Last night with Leda, Kelly fought the good battle. Closed eyes. You pick them up. You set them down in bed. And...eyes open. Wide awake.

There's a trick to it though. It's about the right head angle and body position. You have to watch for them to settle for a little bit after the eyes close. It's about moving them as little as possible in the "transfer."

And to be fair to Kelly, my son had a trick where you could just wait until the Soothie dropped out of his mouth to know he…

Getting sport nutrition geeky

It's barely into the off-season and I'm already getting itchy to get back out there and start training. People are starting to talk about their spring race...I'm still trying to decide which Half to do. But let's be honest, the season for IS the fall race. So I'm looking forward to Chicago 2012. I'd say the chances of me staying at my home race are pretty good. I'm still throwing around other ideas, but with the kids and trying to PR it just seems like the logistics and consistency of Race Day are better served by the "known." Everybody knows what L stops to see me at, I can get downtown and to Grant Park easily.

Anyway, the beauty of the sport is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you'd like. It's just a pair of running shoes (maybe not even that these days) and you. But as you learn more about your performance, the sport, and what you're trying to achieve you can start to tinker.

And for a geek like me, nutrition is both t…

Senator Durbin responds to me about the PREEMIE Act

I really appreciate the response...

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the reauthorization of the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Act. I appreciate hearing from you. I was a cosponsor of the original PREEMIE Act, which Congress passed and the President signed into law in December 2006. This Act expands and coordinates government-funded programs addressing preterm labor and delivery, infant mortality, and low infant birth weight at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Premature birth is one of the leading causes of infant death in our country. Studies show that infants who are born prematurely are at an increased risk for an array of health problems and disabilities, including cerebral palsy, blindness, lung diseases, and learning and developmental disabilities. The PREEMIE Act is designed to help stem this growi…