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Showing posts from January, 2014

The other side of the coin

Dear Reader, I fear I've given you the wrong impression of my daughter. What with all the stories about laying on the floor next to her in the middle of the night while she screams for her mama. The demands. The need for constant attention. The whining. The throwing things, scratching, pinching. I can see where you wouldn't see the library coming.

Yes, the library.

Where she immediately obeys the request to put on shoes and coat. The library. The place where she gets a roomful of other parents to chuckle out loud because of her adorable cuteness. The library where she is precocious, personable, behaves with great confidence in her innate sociability. She has manners and enthusiasm.

The library is the place where she wanders into the playroom and immediately makes 5 friends who calmly and quietly play dolls, house, dress up, or pretend-cook. She cannot go 10 minutes without whacking her brother in the head with a plastic bin, but at the library she can sit and play with the ha…

Buying the farm

Many of us forget what life was like before the internet. It's an amazing thing. We forget that, too. For every cat meme, let's remember that social media has now started revolutions, helped elect the most powerful person in the world, and lets people organize in ways previously impossible.

If you like to collect stuffed pigeons, there's probably an app for that. I'm sure it would surprise most people to learn that there's an entire online industry dedicated to aerodynamic bicycle wheels. Triathletes worship at that altar though.

And farming is no different. If I asked you how you would go about starting to grow, say, organic vegetables, I'm guessing a likely answer would be "umm, you buy some land and plant some tomatoes." Sure, you can go the traditional real estate route, buy some land, and there you go. Of course, if you dig deeper, there are whole organizations, universities, non-profits, businesses, etc. involved in the under-the-radar world of …

Words that make me cringe

DLP and I had an interesting discussion last night. Very thought-provoking even while trying to have the conversation in a hurry while putting kids to bed. That's why we're together!

17 year olds have the right to vote in IL now if it's the primary before a general election where they will be 18. They had high school students interviewing some of the Republican candidates for Governor (who are all universally idiots) and many of the answers treated the 17 year olds like children. I expected the viewer feedback on the news program to universally be opposed to teens in the voting booth, but was surprised that it went the other direction. The mail praised the kids and blasted (rightly) the condescending answers from the politicians.

The discussion between DLP and myself was then about the expectations we have for 17 year olds who haven't experienced much, generally, in life. And whether or not this was ageism to not hold teens to the same high standards you would, say, a …

It's ok to not like your kids sometimes...

My daughter is frequently a foul-tempered, scratching, clingy, horrible little creature we aren't sure we want to be around. And my son can be a manipulative, biting, spitting, insensitive jerk.

It's ok to not want to be around them when they're that way.

Sometimes, it's hard to come to terms with that as parents because we're constantly in this "unconditional love" mode where we believe we have to "love" our children everywhere, at all times, in all circumstances. I am here to tell you that isn't the case. Don't feel guilty. You don't like them. It's natural. You're not a bad parent. In fact, you're probably a good parent because you're figuring out that family doesn't change...but behavior can.

My daughter can also be a kissing, dancing, playful, giggling, friendly, polite, talkative, patient girl. My son sometimes asks us to sit next to him first thing in the morning so we can eat breakfast together, hug, and t…

What I'm reading...

I'm a fairly avid non-fiction reader. I used to religiously put my current books on Goodreads to share with my friends, but that got to be too time-consuming. So I'm going to attempt to put them here.

It's what I'm reading--probably without comment, good or bad. If something strikes me as especially wonderful or horrible I'll offer notes. But you can be fairly certain that if I brought it home to read it at least seemed like a good chance it would be thought-provoking. Feel free to ask if you want an opinion on a certain book.

Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham

Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet  by Sarah Elton

Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Rall of the German-American Bund by Arnie Bernstein

Teachings of the Hindu Mystics edited by Andrew Harvey

Martin Buber: Prophet of Religious Secularism by Donald J. Moore

Essential Hinduism by Steven J. Rosen

Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's…

Race Day vs Race Entry

I recently put my name on the list of members who will be racing one of the half irons on the calendar of my triathlon club. Of course, I'm not actually registered for the race yet.

But my point with this post is that putting your name down to race is probably the second-best day of an endurance athlete's life...next to race day. So you can see why we get a little over eager.

A few triathletes and marathoners will probably try to argue that the first day of a training schedule is really the second-best day next to crossing the finish line. And I'll give you that it's maybe third. When I began running again, I was like most newbies and counted back 16 weeks on the calendar to circle that magic day of my first workout.

Now that I'm more experienced and know what to expect, I realize that going into Day 1 cold from the couch is probably just as much of a mistake as thinking you're going to squeeze in extra hard workouts during your taper. Or wearing a new pair of …

Conversations with a 3 year old

"I just hide it under there."  "Oh, you mean you hid it under there?" "No, I hided it."  "When the hiding is already done, you hid it."  "I hidded it." 
"What's that? It looks like a rocket."  "It is."  "Where is it going? The moon?" "NO! The Earth!"  "We're already on the Earth. Is it going somewhere else on Earth?" "No, it's going under the ground then it will come out by the sun!"
"Look at this awesome pedal!" "When you use your arm to pedal something, it's called a crank."  "It makes it go around and around and spin." 

Why kids should be loud and playing...

It's taken me awhile to find a muse for a new post. Interesting discussion on Facebook this morning though. Prompted, in part, by an article about teaching your kids to sit still in church. And, just yesterday, a famous Chicago chef made some controversial comments about crying babies in restaurants. It's a complicated topic fueled by normal child behavior, parenting philosophies, cultural expectations, and the like.

For my part, I take a very natural view of children and a very family-friendly view of society and how it should treat parents and kids. I'm against the tide of testing kindergarteners, pushing preschoolers towards academic excellence, and putting our children in longer and longer school days while we ignore physical education, their holistic (and mental) health, and the need for children to have open, active play to stimulate their growing brains.

That's not just my parenting skills talking. It's also my psychology degree talking. Concepts, especially…

The Idiot's Guide to Thomas & Friends

Back to blogging! We had a great holiday break--everybody was healthy, to start--and we had nice visits with friends and family. There are stories there...like me wedging myself in the backseat of the car between two carseats to go look at Christmas lights. The ham line. Spending 3 hours trying to get to McHenry Co.. But we'll save those for another time.

Oh, and tell your friends about the blog, please. I'm just 50 clicks or so away from 20,000!

But, no, this post is about Thomas...a bewildering topic for the grandparents. As Cole squealed with joy over his new wooden engines, it was a mystery to them as to exactly who the characters were and what exactly he was talking about.

If you have a child in the toddler/preschool range, you are very familiar with Thomas the Tank Engine. He was around during my own childhood so there is a fairly vast world of material. I don't remember him, frankly. Or, at least, it was only via series picture books that I couldn't differentiat…