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Showing posts from May, 2012


Cole is still a grunt and point kind of kid. Oh, and his extensive (and mysteriously learned) use of the American Sign Language for "more." Likely, this involves going to the refrigerator and whining until we open the door so he can point to the gallon of milk. Or, alternately, the cabinet until we get the Fig Newtons down.

It's annoying, but it's not. We've tried to teach him other signs. The doctor says it's nothing to worry about given his level of physical development...he runs, he throws, he can dribble a soccer ball, he can go down stairs. He makes his wishes plenty known and communicates just fine.

It's just not talking. Until recently.

He seems to have reached the point where he realizes he can get further in life by speaking. Sometimes full sentences. Randomly, he brought a book to me last week and started turning pages. "Circle." "Square." "Triangle." It makes me wonder what else he knows but isn't telling.


Rats with wings

My mother would be so proud. A reporter e-mailed me yesterday asking if she could interview me for a follow-up story she's doing on our hot, controversial, at-the-moment news here in my neck of the woods. The problem? Pigeons. Or, more appropriately, what to do about them...or not.

I never imagined myself as a spokesperson for pigeon control.

But I live in a fairly animal-hugging village where we grow our own food, keep our own bees & chickens, everybody has dogs, we eat organic free range this and that. So the subject of pigeon euthanasia touches a nerve.

It all started because we had a previous law on the books prohibiting the killing of birds. (What that means for backyard chicken-keepers, I have no clue.) So when complaints started piling in about the pigeon poo under the L tracks, the Village Board decided to pass a new ordinance allowing for the euthanasia of pigeons, sparrows, and starlings. All invasive, unprotected species mind you.

Nevermind the mess, the nuisance, t…


My brain never really came home from Minnesota. We're still trying to recover from the collective family colds, but mostly I've spent the last week in vacation mode. Sort of a Margaritaville state of mind. I think it's a combination of things...summer is here. We had a pretty amazing time all things considered. It's got me already looking forward to more journeys.

To the point where I've got the next 3 trips already started in my head.

I consider the last couple days the unofficial start to summer in the side yard. The kids have been outside with Leda rolling around on a blanket happily. Cole playing with rocks and sticks. Yesterday, we sat at the patio table and got covered in watermelon juice from the first one of the season.

I probably should start paying more attention to London...and I actually have a list of what we want to see, hotels, and am starting to make an itinerary. But, really, my mind has been drifting more towards travel with the kids. I've got…

Same laugh, different meaning

My kids have in their possession an Oscar The Grouch toy from when I was young. It's a trash can that pops open with Oscar inside every time you squeeze a yellow cord. It's probably been recalled and made of low-grade plastic that is letting off toxic chemicals as it ages the 30 years it's been around.

But my son used to love it. When he was little he'd chew on the cord, try to stick his finger in the can and laugh as it gently closed on him.

Not so anymore.

This morning it was sitting in the middle of his bedroom floor--it's been "on vacation" in a bin under his crib for awhile so he's probably forgotten the earlier days. In a search for new playthings for his sister, however, it's made a return.

She loves it. He grabs me by the finger and brings me to it in an effort to have it removed from his sight. When I squeeze the bulb for Oscar to pop up, he screams with laughter and runs away.

I wouldn't quite call it fear. It's a funny reaction, …

Welcome to the 21st century

If you want a sampling of America today, look no further than our little vintage condo building. And I don't mean the foreclosures and units for sale with no hope of anybody buying soon!

No, I'm talking more sociological.

I'm watching the kids tomorrow night. The reason? Our lesbian neighbors are having a destination wedding in a foreign country next weekend with their families and it is their bachelorette (this seems like the wrong word, no?) dinner.

So you have them, Kelly--who is unmarried and the working parent while I stay home with the kids--and our divorced (no kids) neighbor for a girls' night out.

There goes traditional marriage, eh? The only married couple in the building is the lesbians?

Welcome to the 21st century!


Sometime overnight the little clicker turned to mark our 5000th reader. There are towns smaller than that. Heck, my college was smaller than that. So I just wanted to say thanks.

Kelly and I talked a lot on our trip to Minnesota about how much we envy the sheep farmers or this or that. And she was a bit taken aback when I said there were probably those who envy us and our life. We've created  a nice one for ourselves and really this blog is just a running commentary about the things that pop up.

I never guessed so many people would be interested in what a Stay At Home Dad raising two small kids in the suburbs of Chicago had to say about the experience. Like the title at the top says, this is just one dad's view of modern parenting. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

Especially the 200 of you who are looking out your window into Russia. lol Wondering if I'm as alien to you as you probably would be to me.

What a crazy world we live in where my son's ad…

Shepherd's Harvest Sheep & Wool Festival

Why we were in Minnesota for a few days...

Minnesota Nice

I thought about making this a multi-part series, but there are other fish in the sea to blog about. So hang in there, this may get long...

Drive out the tollway from Chicago past Rockford and it's a whole different landscape. Go through the Land of Cheese...past Madison, the Dells, strange places called LaCrosse or Eau Claire...and you will eventually come to the Land of Nice. To tell people from Chicago about this place makes it sound like Oz. Really it exists. (The roads are free!)

It's a crazy place where when you pay for gas--with cash, no prepay necessary--the station attendant skeptically eyes your vehicle trying to decide if $40 will fit in it. "Come back for your change if it won't take it all." Umm, sure thing.

It's a crazy place where drivers do something called a "zipper merge" politely taking turns letting each other into traffic via a "use all the space then be nice" philosophy. In Chicago, it's every driver for himself...…

Hello, Russia!

I'm trying to figure you people out.

In honor of the approaching 5000 reader milestone, I'm taking a look at who you are. Learn my audience, so to speak.

And 210 of you are from Russia. Weird.
42 from Germany.
39 from the UK.
22 from Canada. Eh?
19 of you from Hong Kong.
Malaysia, Belgium, Brazil in there, too.

Of course, 4,397 of you are Americans. What's up?

38% of you use Internet Explorer. 19% use Safari. 15% Chrome. 13% Firefox.

60% of you use Windows. Interestingly, the next most popular operating system is Android at 18%. Mac is a tiny little 8%. iPhone is a even less 4%. iPod & Blackberry 2%.

My favorite keyword search is "dad I have to potty." Which, I think, probably was looking for another blog. A few came looking for coffee info. Someone was looking for "blankie for adults."

Your favorite posts (or at least the ones with the most views):

My memorial to my former professor

The crazy marathon/Leda's birth & NICU week

Rude breastfeedin…

Happy early Mother's Day!

Apologies, but I'm probably going to fall off the map until next week. Kelly wants to go to the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep & Wool Festival for Mother's Day. Yeah, I know. But it's what she specifically asked for. And the upside is that she'll get to see her own mother for the holiday. I have no interest in knitting. Or yarn. Or learning to spin fiber. At least there will be sheep though. Some rabbits. Some working dogs. Not a horrible way to spend a Saturday. It's better than having a wife who wants me to watch her try on clothes at the mall.

So the result is that it will be a short week this week to prepare. Packing and errands and things that need to happen to get a dog, 2 kids, and 2 parents inside a Subaru for a 7 hour car trip to Minnesota. I actually love Twin Cities and it will be nice to visit without illness or a marathon hanging over our heads. Well, really my head.

Don't get me wrong, there are some questions. Like where our toddler will sleep.…

Natural Nutrition For Runners -- Honey Stinger

(More on my continuing series on sports nutrition can be found using the tag cloud on the left or clicking on the Natural Nutrition For Runners label at the bottom of this post.)

I always think it speaks volumes about a product when a reviewer begins with a critical mindset, but ends up changing their mind. In this case, Honey Stinger was another company who promised review samples, but they never arrived. So I went out and bought my own from the local running store. Super excited about the waffles, I also threw in some Gold energy gel.

Not sure what I was expecting from the waffles the first time around. They were much denser and sweeter than I imagined. Less like a toaster waffle and closer to the texture of the bottom of an old-school shoe. Thin and little too much of a sugar rush, I wrote them off as not for me.

On another run, I turned to the gel...which, by the way, tastes like honey and pretty much is honey with some nutrition added...and was neither pleased nor displeased. I w…

NICU revisited

There's light at the end of the tunnel. We kept hearing that and you know it's true. But I'm here at the end of the tunnel to say, "it's true." We're completely over the misery of Leda's early days. She's a healthy, strong-like-bull little girl who smiles at us constantly as if to say, "sorry about that guys, I got ahead of myself."

But let's also say "not forgotten" about our stay in the NICU at Loyola. We have to drive by it to get to our zoo and every time we pass, something unprintable gets said. I was going to politely say we have some unresolved issues...but then Kelly cut me off last night with a simple, "I hate them."

Worst of all, it wasn't even that our little girl was premature that frustrates us to this day. I suppose it's a blessing that her problems are behind us, we can move forward, and forget how difficult it was. When we get around to the part of the conversation, however, where it ends w…

Raising a global citizen

Happy May Day! Not just for workers, my friend from college reminded me that it's a religious holiday for her, too. I was just commenting on my personal Facebook that I've been watching the updates from the protests around the world. And comparing what shows up on my newsfeed in the US with what shows up internationally. The BBC has a full photo spread of Spain, France, huge rallies in Istanbul...The Guardian is covering the protests in a variety of American cities minute by minute with live updates. My hometown Tribune? Not much other than one link on the homepage.

I'm guessing most Americans can't even tell you who the Vice President is let alone the recent political scandal in China, the flare-up between Sudan and South Sudan, the origins of conflict in Syria, etc.. We're horrible citizens in our own country even.

Currently, Cole is on a Lilo & Stitch obsession having left Thomas & Friends behind somewhat. Kelly has issues with "Disneyfying" ou…