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Showing posts from October, 2012

The used car salesman of dads

Kelly and I were having a discussion the other evening about how it's cheap and sleazy to sell a toddler a bargain. It's too easy. Fish in a barrel. I had just tempted Cole out of the bathtub with a Chipotle burrito. I just sold him a junker using cheap financing.

The low road is giving your child the promise of dessert for eating his meal. I prefer to think grander these days.

Cole has just arrived at the age where he can be reasoned with. I'm a highly intelligent, rational adult in my 30's...it's just not a fair fight. I have access to everything he could possibly want, make the rules, and punish him for breaking them.

Then you have Kelly's mom. Leda was trying to chew on some beet leaves out of the vegetable box in the kitchen during the grandma visit and Kelly's mom stopped her saying, in passing, that beet leaves were poisonous. Tone. You're missing the tone, dear reader. I nearly believed her. Then I thought about it and concluded it couldn't …

What I'm drinking

I just got a new shipment of some beans in that I'm super excited about...I can't decide what to roast first! Note: these are for my private stash, but I know a few people have expressed interest in buying. I'd be happy to discuss what to re-order.

* * *
Ethiopia--Saris Abaya
This is a dry process coffee where the whole cherry is laid out on beds after harvest. It received a cupping score of 90.1 Tasting notes are: peach tea, berries, nuts, cocoa, creamy mouthfeel and very intense.

My take:
Not sure what to think yet about this one. I either screwed up or it's (as advertised) a very unusual coffee. The beans are very small...tiny enough to fall through to the hottest parts of the roaster. Being dry process, the aroma is very earthy and tough to judge doneness. And going by sound, it was a very slow first crack (spread out)...and I think some of the fallen beans started second crack and scorching which made me stop the roast a little shorter than I wanted. What I ended u…

I *heart* the Electoral College

Don't believe the hype. As I sit down to write this, the election definitely has a most likely pattern to it (see my Election Night Guide on the right sidebar), but a range of possibilities exists from between a Romney win to a 330 vote electoral landslide for Obama. The difference, of course, is that saying something is possible, unlikely, or impossible doesn't really make a difference in this day and age. People don't read patterns well, they like soundbites.

What's been getting a lot of play due to the close national polls and so many close battleground states is an Electoral College tie these days. It's the nightmare American-democracy-goes-nuclear option where we're fighting state by state for House votes...assuming no faithless electors in the Electoral College.

But American democracy didn't break down when Gore won the Presidency in 2000. That was my first Presidential election, by the way. How's that for a rough start! Oh, he didn't win the …

SAHD...at work

We're trying to get Leda to walk tonight before bed. Because if she doesn't do it this weekend, chances are that one parent will miss it. Unless, of course, she chooses to take her first steps between the hours of 5pm and 10pm when we're both home.

You see, this is our last weekend of relaxation before I head back to work. Not that the summer was filled with boring snoozing naps...we packed it full. But starting this week it's trade-off time for a couple of months. Kelly works, I watch the kids. Switch! Daddy heads off to the museum while mom is on duty. It's nice to have the kind of job and the kind of boss where I can randomly get in touch about coming back as a seasonal thing. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year with extra exhibitions, celebrations, and long lines of guests to handle. So I'm back in the saddle for November and December (and a couple weekends in October and January). It's quite literally been a year since I left. Last ye…

Playgroup meltdown x 2

Monkey see, monkey do?

Cole was super excited about playgroup today. We missed last week because of post-marathon colds and he was ready to leap out of the car. "Ready!" he told me. He ran straight into the room and began playing. He found plastic ducks you can make chains out of and was showing all the parents, asking them for help, and making a couple of friends.

Leda was having a fantastic time, by the way.

One of Cole's new friends (another 2 year old--they are the older kids in this bunch), however, didn't want to share and threw a full-on-the-carpet tantrum then insisted they go home after only about 20-30 minutes. Well, we'd see them upstairs later. Apparently, she got herself under control.

Cole was happily playing with the piano on the stage when he met Mr. Meltdown though. One of the parents had moved the bench he wanted to let some other kids have better access and Cole flipped. He came screaming down to the carpeted area to give me a hug and cry...whi…

Election Night Guide

This post is mostly for family and friends looking for some insight while watching the numbers come in, but I thought I'd bring my expert political geek side over to the blog to help anyone looking to make sense out of the results of the US Presidential Election on Election Night. I'm releasing it early so you can study it and impress your friends! I follow the numbers daily so somebody else might find them helpful, too. You know the cast so we'll jump right into what to look for...

The easiest way to put it is that there are really only 6 states that are being fought over: Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and Colorado. (You can maybe throw Nevada in there--Romney would like to think Wisconsin--but the "math" is in the other states for the most part.)

The bottom line for the casual viewer is that if any of the big "eastern battlegrounds" go to Obama then Romney has been given a very tough path for the rest of the night: OH, VA, FL.
With Virg…

Mutual Assured Destruction...toddler style!

The kids have reached an age lately where I'm having to come up with a few basic assumptions about discipline. Time Out doesn't work for a kid who loves his crib. And a talking-to isn't really the best when that same kid turns into a crying mess over a stern warning...any harsh words usually send him asking for milk. Add to that a baby sister who doesn't know when to leave a bad situation alone or screams if you give her a crib time out and you have--tension.

Don't get me wrong, despite the fact that they are more and more occupying the same square foot of carpet, I'm usually very aware of who was at fault. Easy to be judge and jury when 99% of the time it is Cole's jealousy over toys or Leda's need to steal food from Cole. Neither of them respects boundaries well and keeps a firm grasp on their own property.

But what to do when, as a parent, you don't see it happen? Into the future, this will be the norm more than me knowing the full details.

So I&…

"Don't need money. Don't need fame."

"Don't need no credit card to ride this train."

In the afternoon, my kids like to dance to music on the CD player in Cole's room. It usually devolves into bouncing on the red yoga ball that lives in there...both kids love it. But Leda bounces up and down while clapping her hands now and Cole bends his knees in rhythm.

I try to expose them to not just kids music. It's usually something upbeat and "classic" in the sense of exposing them to great music from all over the 20th century in a variety of genres. Yesterday, I started off the festivities with some Huey Lewis and the News. The party quickly ground to a halt, however, when I made the mistake of leaving the CD drawer open. Cole climbed on in and couldn't help himself.

Naturally, once Leda joined the drawer-browsing, a battle erupted. I think their choices are somehow representative of their personalities. Leda wanted Rossini and was busy clapping to The Barber of Seville's grand heights...whi…

Raising kids in a religiously diverse society

Not a topic I cover frequently here on the blog despite my background of holding a college minor in Religion.  But, as some of you may know, recently the world marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council--a landmark moment in modern religious history you should look up if you don't know about it--and today I stumbled across this column by Chicago's Francis Cardinal George about secularism. Recently, I've read several blogs and articles from especially parents who are struggling with religious drama in their family. And I have friends on both sides of the aisle on this issue...I know many dedicated atheists and many dedicated churchgoers.

So I wanted to weigh in on a few things the Cardinal has to say...not because I frequently have responses to specific things a Catholic leader has to say...because the subject and the current political/cultural climate we live in is important enough to bring it up. At the risk of alienating a few readers, I'll say upfront…

Toddler rock, paper, scissors

One of my favorite things about having a toddler...yes, there are very fun things about having one!...is watching Cole's preferences change over time. Each day brings an interesting election-style ratings chart of who is beating who in the battle for is attention and favor.

We'll leave favorite parent aside for now, that's a whole other topic. I'm talking more about prunes and sweet potatoes. Leda has eaten 2 full jars of prunes in the last 2 meals. One of the few foods that makes her smile. Cole used to be the same way. In fact, he also loved sweet potato at that age. He'd eat it every meal if we'd let him. Last night, however, we made baked sweet potatoes for dinner--the full treatment with butter and brown sugar. And Cole took one bite before spitting it out all over the living room carpet.

Apple trumps all. He loves an apple. Grapes and blueberries are up there. Oatmeal will beat peanut butter sandwich usually, but rarely rice and beans. Pasta used to trump…

Rethinking Lance Armstrong

Let me start by saying two things: 1) Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame. 2) Cheating doesn't matter.

Which doesn't mean cheating is right. It isn't. It's wrong. But so is complaining about it. I think that's where Republicans and Democrats differ. Republicans see the world how they want it to be. Democrats try to adjust expectations to how the world really is.

I'm tired of hearing about Lance Armstrong. One of the more prominent triathlon message boards has even taken to making Lance a forbidden topic.

Because here's the thing...I still love Lance. Doping or not. He still kicked your ass in the Tour de France. He still raised attention and money for cancer. Heck, he had cancer. He could kick my well-trained, non-doping butt in a triathlon. In a marathon. I still love Lance.

I do not, however, like Barry Bonds. Somehow, I've been holding these two up to different criteria and you heard me say it here once and for all. Barry Bo…

Happy 1st Birthday!

What a difference a year makes.

365 days ago our baby girl (known on all NICU forms as BG) was whisked away by nursery staff...entirely different than the mob of doctors and nurses in the room for the delivery...leaving us in a communication dead zone for hours wondering how she was. Only later would we find out that the NICU is closed to visitors for rounds every morning so Leda had picked the rather inconvenient time of 8am to arrive. No baby updates until noon, sorry.

Flash forward to today--the kids are in a weird place. Cranky and zoned out due to colds. We even turned down a playgroup request from our NICU alum-friends. The last couple of nights have been a screaming, crying struggle (mostly her, but a little bit us) to get Leda to go to sleep...though, thankfully, she slept through the night then. Cole, apparently, is holding out for our special pizza dinner tonight. Because he's barely had anything to eat all day. Leda, on the other hand, has ended her formula days. She dr…

2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon race report

*Housekeeping note: I looked at the data for what browser my readers are using & a full 34% of you are using Internet Explorer...the one with errors in reading the new Endurance tab for sports posts. So I'm ending that experiment for now & going back to mixing running/tri into the main blog feed. It's not ideal for the 75% of you who want to read parenting posts, but neither is having a third of my readers unable to see certain updates. 

Greetings from Personal Record land! It was a busy weekend around my house, obviously, so I'll try to get to everything in posts this week...though one of the things to blog about is the wave of colds that has taken over. So we'll see how far I get. I'm the last one standing and even this morning I have a blah feeling that is combining with sniffles to make me think it isn't just marathon recovery.

Whatever happened, I sure ran a heck of a race though so you won't get medical complaints here. I lowered my PR by over…

Repost from the Endurance Sports page

*Note: some users (Internet Explorer) may have issues loading the Endurance Sports tab. The following is my Race Week update for your convenience. (FYI Google Chrome runs the tab page ok.)

This is my first marathon with 2 kids. Last year, after running Twin Cities the week before, I volunteered at Chicago the next week only to come home for a family pizza lunch that ended in labor.

The advice about staying off your feet, getting in a short run, resting, and eating properly is difficult. The thing I've managed to do well is drink plenty of water. But the eating is harder than you'd think...either cramming some carbs in while the kids are napping or figuring out what will be good for a marathoner AND two toddlers. Because, really, my daughter is no longer a baby after this week.

Tonight is a baked pasta that should last 2 dinners, but we'll be trying to fix it around Kelly attending a condo-related meeting. Tomorrow is packet pickup. Saturday morning I will be picking up the gr…

Quit blaming the hammer

Don't get me wrong. We limit our kids' television time. Leda, for what it's worth, has just started watching and enjoys Thomas & Friends, too. Yesterday, she clapped and bounced to some music we were playing on the CD player. She's becoming quite the little media consumer.

My son, on the other hand, loves his DVDs. And PBS Kids. He's allowed to view them from basically the time he wakes up until 6pm when the programming is taken over by mom and dad. And he gets breaks for going outside to play. And I nearly always am in the room watching tv with him. When mom and dad tried to watch the first Harry Potter movie the other day, he did not like it, was scared, and asked that it be turned off. Which we did.

I say all this because of the news yesterday--I won't link to it because there are numerous articles/versions you can Google to read about it--about background television having a negative effect on child development. And my position as psychology degree plus…

NICU reunion

We watched the new series on PBS last night, Call the Midwife, about nurses delivering babies in 1950's Britain...the pilot has a nice medical focus on the new advances of the day for keeping premature babies alive. It was a message that hit home.

In a different time, our daughter wouldn't be here. She certainly had her ups and downs as a preemie, but there was rarely a doubt in my mind that she was in any critical danger. Certainly very sick, but modern science is amazing. Babies born far sicker, earlier, and smaller than our Leda survive to healthy childhoods.

But still, the ordeal of being in the NICU for a month was an experience that we would neither wish on anyone nor find easy to explain. Sure, I'm guessing you are imagining the struggles if you haven't gone through it yourself, but it's actually the little things that get to you. It's not your sick child, it's the parking garage or the buzzing into and out of the unit. It's the long walk down th…

Next racing season

The irony is that this was supposed to be my 2nd running-related post today. (It will be Oct by the time you read this--Race Week--but I'm writing it the same day in July as the news breaks about updated Start Corrals for the Chicago Marathon.) In reality, it's my 3rd running post today.

The wave start in Grant Park isn't the deciding factor for me...really it's not that big a deal. But I find it funny that in my head I was already moving away from marathoning when this happens. Something I read earlier today about what event to do said, "do what you want, not what you should." I think I'm going to take that advice and go with it.

This week marks my 5th marathon. 3x in Chicago now. It's not currently my PR course...though we'll see after Oct. 7...but it was the race that sucked me into endurance sports. It was what inspired me, convinced me that I am capable of whatever I put my mind to, gave me self-confidence, and is just a good fun time. That t…