Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2012

Natural Nutrition For Runners--Olympia Granola: Part I

The first item on our review of Natural Nutrition For Runners gets nothing but high praise. To review, I'm looking for a new hydration & fueling strategy for marathoning that meets the basic criteria of being a good-tasting, non-artificial way to eat in the middle of a 26.2 mile race. How it does during an actual workout is for Part II, but let's dive into the basics first.

Best of all, Olympia Granola meets the toddler test--my son comes running if you open one. We've shared one as a snack several times. These are natural ingredients and nothing you can't pronounce. Rolled oats, almonds, honey, etc.. The coffee flavored bars have espresso powder in them which gives them that real taste that coffee flavored products on the market usually just don't have.

There are 3 basic types...Trail Bars, Coffee House Bars, and the Sunshine Bar. There's a 1/2 bar option and then the full size bars are 3 oz. The basic nutritional breakdown is 190 calories per serving. 80 …

When breastfeeding turns rude & other tales of bad parenting

My main pet peeve as a parent is rudeness. Rude children, yes. But mostly other parents. (I blame the tree, not the apple until they are old enough to know better.) I think it has something to do with raising the next generation, the rise of incivility in our society, and the attitude so many people have (and are passing on) that the entire world revolves around them and their sense of entitlement. I'm not even asking for "please" and "thank you" to make a roaring return. I just wish more people kept in mind that other people exist.

I won't even begin to address here the child-free. Yes, they have rights, too, Scott...but where they begin and end is for another time.

Let it be said, however, that in my family we make every effort to not bother others. Because one of the prime examples of the "bad parenting" attitude is the idea that you can carry on with life exactly as you did before children. You see this on 16 And Pregnant all the time. You see…


We nearly became one of those crazy families without a tv yesterday. Well, actually, for a day we were. For a few nights we would come out for Leda's 2am feeding and find that our one and only tv in the living room had turned itself on. Never a good sign, right? Finally, it refused to come on yesterday morning. Much to Cole's frustration. It was disturbing how much he cared and was bothered by the lack of morning cartoons. Not that I think television is harmful to his development--he watches only PBS Kids. More like I think it has become comforting background noise to his day. An emotional soothing like his blankie in some ways.

I'm pretty sure the problem with the tv is related to the "capacitor plague" from bad parts in Taiwan that cripples electronics from the first decade of the 2000's. I could be wrong. But if I had a $1.50 part and some soldering tools I could give it a try. There are a few things in life that just aren't worth it though. Despite my…

Favorite foods

Cole is an adventurous eater. He always has been and hopefully always will be. And it's been an amusing year of food since we've gone from oatmeal and bananas to now. So I thought I'd chronicle some of his favorite foods at 18 months. He still loves bananas, but has moved quite a ways from his watermelon-themed birthday party.

He eats Thai, Indian, Mexican, loves balsamic on tomatoes, anything spicy. Garlic on pasta, onions and peppers, red beans and rice. He knows the sound of the mixer and will come running to lick homemade whipped cream off the beaters. He loves apples and pears, but not the skins. We just had blueberries on Sunday--the first time since summer, and he gobbled them down with a look on his face like "where have these been?"

He likes his bunny graham crackers a little less these days than he used to. These days, what really gets him excited is a Chipotle burrito or roasted red pepper goat cheese dip for pita.

Oh sure, he will eat a peanut butter …

Toddler insomnia

We have our theories. Not enough activity during the day. Too long/many naps. But what makes it an especially bad problem is that our toddler is normally a great sleeper. He wasn't always this way. Until he was almost a year old, he'd get up several times a night--usually requiring a bottle, being held, etc..

Lately, Cole has fallen into an amazingly predictable 7pm bedtime coupled with being awake at 6am. He sleeps through the night...usually without a peep. Sometimes you'll hear him roll over, talk to himself, or whine for a few seconds before drifting back asleep. 
Maybe once a month though, it's a whole different story. He'll wake up at around 1:30am and just be awake. Not just unable to sleep. Wanting to play, get up and watch tv, laugh and joke around. This usually ends with him in our bed or one of us falling asleep on the couch or in the chair with him when he finally nods off. 
It throws a serious wrench in your plans for the next day though. And is very u…


When I first decided to chronicle my experience as a SAHD, I never imagined I'd have close to 3,000 clicks. Let alone this quickly! Cole had just turned one and Leda was still two months away from being here. Little did I know what was in store. Then again, I never imagined much more than a couple of my friends reading stories about the kids. I know many of you share the link or come from social media sites. It's turned into a place to discuss my running, launch new endeavors, and document the strangeness that is trying to raise two small children in a crazy postmodern world full of uncertainty.

Yesterday, Cole carried a dirty dish into the kitchen by himself and--with my help--delicately placed it in the sink. Small act, big step. I kind of feel like that's life right now--little things that are very meaningful. I get the chance to connect with other dads in my situation, talk parenting, talk life. Keep up with old friends.

If you're a lurker, feel free to say hi. I k…

Preschool survivor

Wow did I have my eyes opened last night. Kelly stayed home to put the kids to bed (thank goodness considering only one family had their little ones there) and I ventured out into the cruel, cruel world of preschool.

24 spots. For 2 year olds. As it turned out, all but 7 were already taken due to priority status. Tues-Thurs already gone. Let the games begin!

After I finally found the room for the Open House, I was the first one there. But soon a parade of...well, there's no polite way to put this...stuffy looking 30-something white people filled the room. Which is odd for Chicago. There are times in this city where as a white person I'm the minority. It was awkward sitting there thinking to myself, "really? Not one hispanic, black, indian, asian, or arab person? Not one is here?" Especially from a church that runs a food pantry and coat drive for the less fortunate, I would think they would do a better outreach for putting the diversity of community kids in their pre…

I'm a quitter

Well, it's official. I had a meeting on Saturday morning with my boss about not coming back from family leave. And this morning I typed up a letter of resignation to e-mail to her. I have nothing but mixed feelings.

Not because this isn't the absolutely right thing to do. Family is important. I believe in spending time with my kids while they're young and you don't get this time back. And aside from figuring out one-income financial issues or my health insurance, there's not a single reason I can think to keep working if we have the blessed opportunity to have a parent home with the kids all day everyday.

But we in America are largely defined by what we do. As I always rant about, we're constantly going on about family values but often our culture pays lip service while our actions speak louder about other, real goals. Gender issues aside, a person who isn't working is somewhat of a freak show in our society. How will I answer those introductory questions a…

Eh, eh!

Sometimes there's a lot of chaos around here. "No!" is what you're thinking, I'm sure. Two kids under 3, a dog, small condo, two adults, what could go wrong? But I assure you there are long moments of quiet. Sometimes it is downright peaceful--though I would never use the word calm.

Why is that things tend to happen all at once? The dog acts up at the same time the toddler acts up. Even Leda is getting in on the fussy action the last couple days. Sometimes it gets confusing.

"Eh, eh!" started off as a noise for the dog. Pretty much the same command as "leave it" for those of you who have trained dogs. If she does well she gets a "good girl."

When Cole does something that I've asked I've been trying to give him a big "thank you" to both praise him and teach good manners. And it's working because he has picked up on it and says thank you sometimes.

But then there are the moments where I find myself "eh eh&quo…

I'm the only one?

It was one of those warm, sunny winter days we've been getting lately yesterday. When we arrived at the playground there were a few kids here and there--though we've been to that particular equipment in the summer and found it empty. But when school was out for the day, they flocked to the playground like birds migrating.

I knew Cole was having fun when he, at one point, paused in the middle of what he was doing and just screamed as loud as he could for no apparent reason. He spent most of his time wandering back and forth between a steering wheel, down a ramp, then over to a combination platform...bells of varying tones and a spaceship you could navigate through a plastic maze. But I eventually learned the reason for the lack of further exploration--aside from staring at all the kids--he was biding his time waiting for a cool plastic recliner-swing which he ran to at first availability.

The entire time we were there, parents would yell over to the sand pit every so often: &qu…

Labor and Delivery security

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of not having babies stolen. But chalk this up to another reason if we had a 3rd I'd do my research to find a better baby-having environment than your typical hospital. I hate the security.

This morning's gossipy Hollywood story is that parents' happy first moments with their new babies were disrupted by Beyonce's new arrival. Which is wrong on so many levels. 
Dad stopped from seeing premature twins by Beyonce's hospital 'takeover'
Even in the best of times, hospitals make you feel like a prisoner, shady character, or some sort of Soviet-era quota-filling family management team who must do a headcount before entering. I realize the rules are in place for a reason, but it does nothing to help new families who are trying to bond. Everybody wants the experience to be as smooth and quiet as possible. 
They got to know us in the NICU. Well, mostly. Other than calling us by the name of the family in the bed next to us on…

Exciting blog news!

Not only are we currently less than 200 readers away from hitting 3000 (absolutely amazing, never expected that many people to want to hear what I have to say about parenting, running, and coffee!), but I've got a new project in the works that I wanted to announce.

As I've begun my search for a new nutrition and hydration regimen for the marathon--that both works for me and is hopefully more natural--I've asked a few companies to offer their products up for review with the understanding that I will give an honest take and pass the info on to my readers. Many of you are runners or know a runner. It's a win-win as far as word of mouth for what works.

So far, Nuun, Honey Stinger, and Olympia Granola have all agreed to send something. In fact, my first box from Olympia Granola arrived yesterday and has me psyched. With this great weather, I'm doing a run tomorrow morning and I can't wait to take a bar or two for a taste drive.

In the coming months, look for great i…

The dance

It was just a father-son day at the zoo on Thursday as Kelly was working from home and could watch the still-not-a-bother Leda. Yesterday, however, was another matter. My first outing with multiple children as a SAHD. Like all things parenting, it actually went quite well once you got the hang of it.

The trick, it turned out, was to get Leda strapped onto me in the baby carrier first. Then deal with big brother. The toughest part was getting them out to the car, but I've perfected a kind of one-armed side carry with Cole so that he's out of the way of the little one on my front. (Which is all well and good until he throws a tantrum.)

We were on our way to the Tot Lot a few blocks away. These 50 degree January days are great! He headed straight for the baby swings so it was a lowkey start. There were several bigger children there--which I have railed against here on the blog before--they seemed to be attached to a very pregnant English lady and her European-looking partner/dad …

Oh what a night

Last night was just the absolute worst and not due to infant Leda even! You'd think it would be her bothering us and keeping us awake. Nope. Cole was not himself and didn't want to go to bed, woke up crying, wouldn't fall asleep in bed with us, didn't want to snuggle in the chair like usual, then finally drank a bottle and laid in his crib talking for hours. Plus, he'd been grumpy all afternoon.

I think the newfound language skills and development leap has made him a bit confused. Because he's not the same kid to me. Not in a bad way. He's just his own person more and more. And I think he's finding it more frustrating that he's this little squeaker in a grown-up world. The constant struggle to communicate, do what he wants, do things on his own, and make his (completely fair) wishes known. It's taking a toll.

There is a widening gap between his fits of tantrum-rage where it is crazy, illogical, immature...and the, frankly, cute little boy who is…

Coffee talk

I've had a metal tin of coffee from Target sitting in our kitchen since before Christmas. It's been waiting for an online review next to our empty wine bottles (wine reviews are Kelly's area). So I've had a week to think about my opinion here. And I need to say upfront that I'm now officially a roaster myself--thanks to Kelly's amazing Christmas surprise for me of a drum roaster--so that colors my review now that I've had time to roast several batches to get my own experience mixed up in all of it.

And I still have a very mixed opinion of this 10oz bag of Columbia La Floresta. It retailed at our local Super Target for about $15 and comes in the usual vacuum bag but with a fancy outer metal canister and a notecard explaining Cup of Excellence and about the farm.

First off, I think it's great that Target is trying to expose the general coffee public in their grocery aisle to quality coffee. That said, I find little else to praise.

The labeling says 2011 C…

Kids are like electrons

In my experience, the more people there are around, the more bounce my toddler has. He's gotten used to the holidays and is now in for the harsh reality that there isn't always going to be someone to constantly cater to his want of attention. No grandma to hang on his every cute antic. No mom to play against dad. Daddy has to do dishes, feed the little sister, do laundry, get snack, feed the dog. By himself. But oddly--sorry for the ego bubble burst, little man--business as usual is nice.

As I told Kelly last night, it's not that we didn't appreciate grandma and grandpa or her being home to let me sleep in while she got Cole his morning cereal. I just miss my little boy who patiently waits on the livingroom floor while I give his sister a bottle. I miss the quietly aware kid who knows when he is ready for naps. And who has a nice (yet delicate) balance of playing alone silently with toys versus wrestling and giggling with me. 
Cole is a different kid when there isn'…