Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just another day in the parent "hood"

Just wanted to walk you through a day with an 11 month old..... for Sam to read one day and thank us and for us to look back on and laugh.

6am Crowing from the next room. Sounds of pacifiers clanking along crib rails and eventually dropping to the floor like a inmate trying to lasso the jailers keys to bust out.

7am Quiet moments while Paul and Sam go for their morning run. I've decided to pass on the brisk morning jog today and instead lay in bed and read a few more chapters of my nerd book, Twilight.

8am Greet the boys from the patio, entice them in for some waffles that I almost made (until I realized we were out of milk). Make breakfast for Sam and send Stinky up to shower.

9am Round up a morning bottle, a couple of lattes and a pumpkin scone with our friends at Starbucks.

10am A few more quiet moments on my email, work, and back and forth email banter with Paul about the latest CNN headlines and evening plans.

12pm Can't stay away today, we head down to meet Paul for lunch and get Sam some new clothes, he's got scoop-neck in his onesies again.

1pm Barely duck out of the way to miss Sam's projectile vomit, gross out the adjacent tables and abruptly end our family lunch.

1:15pm whisk vomit covered child to the hot car, strip him down, throw away his clothes and head to Tarjay (now we really need new clothes) This time, thankfully we have a backup onesie.

2pm Reluctantly head into Target with my child in just his "underwear," hoping no one sees me toting my kid around with no pants on. Must buy pants.

2:30pm Sam decides to do his business for the day in the middle of our visit to the store, I decide that I will finish up, not waste a trip to target and then bust a move to the checkout line wafting baby freshness all around.

2:31pm Sam starts crying, I pick him up out of the cart and realize that I have poo-ooo-ewwwwwww running down my arm, oozing out of Sam's back-up onesie and I have left the diaper bag in the car, as usual, I will not be caught carrying such a utilitarian objet.

2:32pm abandon cart, dash for car

2:33pm put child down on hot leather car seats (again), strip him naked and use an entire 150 pack of wipes to clean myself, the car and the baby. Put Sam in the car seat with nothing but a diaper on and whisk him home for his afternoon nap.

3:00 Call Paul to relay my second unfortunate "goo" situation of the day. He offers to go on a reconnaissance mission, recover my abandoned cart and purchase my items, thus saving me another trip to the now permanently jinxed Target. What a guy!

4:00pm I hear Paul screeching from upstairs, rush up to see Paul, hands in the air dripping in pee-pee and Sam laying on the changing table laughing.

Ah good times.

Soul of the Community

On Monday, the Gallup Poll released the results of a 3 year survey entitled "Soul of the Community". The study of 26 communities across the U.S. is, according to the study's website, "a fresh approach to determine the drivers of emotional community-citizen engagement and its role in community economic growth and well-being. The study focuses on the emotional side of the connection between residents and their communities." Basically, people were asked how much they liked their town.

The Palm Beach Post summed it up best in a Tuesday headline: "County not for young, poll of residents finds". It elaborated. "While respondents judged Palm Beach County a great destination for older people, it did not score as well for families or professionals." and "When asked whether Palm Beach County will be a better place to live in five years, more than half believe it would be the same or worse."

Fortunately, one of the other 25 communities surveyed was....drum roll, please....Boulder, Colorado.

In Palm Beach County, 46% of respondents didn't feel it was safe to walk within 1 mile of the home. Compared to 25% in Boulder. 57% were negative on the subject of public schools compared to 30% in Boulder. 42% were happy with the parks and green space in Palm Beach compared to 80% in Boulder. 53% of those polled in Palm Beach County didn't feel as though it was a good place to raise a family. Only 23% felt that way about Boulder. Sense a trend? Is PB a good place for gays or lesbians? 50% think not. Boulder? Only 21% disagree.

This info comes on the heels of a study published by the CQ press, the publishing arm of the Congressional Quarterly. Citing FBI statistics, New Orleans was the #1 place for hard crime in the U.S. West Palm Beach #47. Denver #129. Boulder #325 out of 383. hmmm......

No place is perfect. But, despite the saying to the contrary, some pastures really are greener than others. I cannot argue that Florida has been good to me. It has given me my childhood memories (some good, some bad), my wife and my son. But as Benjamin Franklin once put it, "Those who choose freedom over security, deserve neither." He was addressing national security and civil liberties, but couldn't the same be said for financial security and the freedom to choose. Life is about choices. We choose who to spend the rest of our lives with, what kind of car to drive, what to have for breakfast, paper or plastic, non-smoking or first-available, window or aisle, spicy or mild. We choose where to live.

We recognize that we are mired in an unprecedented economic quagmire (unprecedented, at least, in my lifetime), and that moving isn't as easy as pulling up the poles on our teepee and packing up our wigwam. But regardless of what the Dow Industrial is doing, leaves still change from green to a million hues of magenta and vermilion, snow still falls and tiny marshmallow pebbles still melt in hot cocoa. Give me 100 reasons to stay, I'll give you 1,000 reasons not to. But only one is important: because Elise and I want to.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Double bedhead!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dear Lady in Michaels,

Typically I do not appreciate parenting advice and or commentary from random strangers in public and would be writing this blog to you (which you would probably never read, but would make me feel better about the situation) but today lady in Michaels, I thank you. For kindly helping me to slow it down, in all the madness of holiday crafting and remember that even though my child is yelling (simply to hear himself yell in slightly varying octaves of glee) that someday when he is 16 driving around in a car somewhere I will wish for these times again. Times when I know right where he is and that he's safe, strapped into his little pod-like stroller, kicking and yelling with excitement at bad silk, glitter-covered poinsettias, and stretching to reach hideous foam cut-out Christmas trees.

I imagine, lady in the ribbon isle, by the look on your face today, that you have a boy, who not so long ago was just as small as Sam, and is now driving around somewhere in a car. For subtly sharing your wisdom and experience as a fellow mother, I thank you.


aka mother to small boy with large set of lungs who didn't' want to be thrown out of "Crafting Disney" because of said child.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

{ I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life --

and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do. }

Georgia O'Keeffe

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Most Annoying Couple in the World

On my recent trip to Colorado, I did a lot of channel surfing in the hotel at night. It's official. I hate these two. First of all...they must eat at Sonic every night! I can't believe they don't weigh, like, 400 lbs. a piece. Plus, have you ever met anyone that tries everything on the menu? I know when I go to McDonalds, it's fries and a Big Mac. That's it. I'm not tempted to try the apple dippers or salad shaker. Plus, they should really pay more attention to their driving rather than psychoanalyzing their food. These two are meant to be together!

Trip to Boulder

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that ever since Elise and I first realized we were going to be around one another for a long time we have wanted to load up the Conestogas and move back west.

I recently returned from a 4 days reconnaissance mission to Colorado. I squeezed in 5 interviews in 3 days (along with a few pints of micro-brew), slept miserably waking at 3:30 a.m. mountain time anticipating Sam's morning hooting, missed my family horribly and just missed the first snowfall (damn it!).

Usually, when there is breaking news, you get the news first and then the 'pictures at 11'. Well, in this case, you get a few pictures first and then, hopefully, the news in a week or two. Stayed tuned.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek...

View from Amante Coffee in North Boulder. (yes, there are people there! :) and the highest per capita rate of Audi allroad quattros.

A quaint neighborhood in Longmont called Prospect that has a rib joint within walking distance which serves eat-with-a-fork ribs. The 1/3 rack of ribs lops over the edge of the plate. And it's a big plate!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

T-Shirt by Sam Hanna

(adapted from the original, T-Shirt, by Shontelle)

Tryna decide, tryna decide if I
Really wanna sleep in my crib to night I
Never really to go to sleep without ya
Not sure I remember how to.

Gonna be up late, gonna be up late but,
my moms gon' have to wait cause
Don't know if I can doze with out you daddy
I tried everything from mom’s hugs to my paci.

Nothing feels right when I'm not with you
Sick of this onesie and these baby shoes.
Taking them off cause I feel a fool
Tryna snuggle up when I'm missin' you.
I'ma step out these footie pjs
Curl up in a ball with some a your hanes.
In da crib I lay
With nothing but your t-shirt on

Gotta be strong, gotta be strong but I'm
Really fussy when you’re gone. I
Thought maybe I'd do some crying
But, then mama said you’d be home Friday

Now I don't know, now I don't know if I,
Ever really gon' let you go with again out me.
I couldn't even bounce in my jumperoo
Stripped down to my diaper torn up about it.

Nothing feels right when I'm not with daddy,
Sick of this onesie and these baby shoes.
Taking them off cause I feel a fool
Tryna dress up when I'm missin' you.
I'ma step out these footie pjs
Curl up in a ball with some a your Hanes.
In my crib I lay
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on (I'm all by myself with mama)
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on (cause I miss you, cause I miss you)
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on (said I missed you daddy)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Everyone Needs a Tim Gunn in Their Life

If you ask me, I would be forced to deny it.

"Do you watch Project Runway?"

Of all the shows that Elise has turned me on to, this is one of my favorites. Others? 'So You Think You Can Dance'. (Love it!) and 'House Hunters'.

Though I don't appreciate it in the same way Elise does, you have to admit there's nothing that makes good TV like a bunch of catty designers talking smack about one another.

But the best element of the show, by far, is the host, Tim Gunn. I know little about Tim apart from his responsibilities to Project Runway. Evidently, he is the dean at Parsons School of Art. I wish someone would have told me this when I was deciding which college to apply to, because I don't think enough can be said about entrusting your higher education to someone who genuinely nurtures and cares for those around him like this man does.

Toward the end of every season, the cast of talented designers has been whittled down to 3 or 4 of the creme-de-la-creme. The process that determines who goes on to show at Bryant Park is long and arduous. It is basically the Ironman of the design world. Knowing nothing about fashion, even I can appreciate how difficult it must be to on creative point consistently 16 (or however many weeks it ends up being) in a row. Throughout the season, tempers rise, tension mount and nerves fray. Often, the ugly side of many of these individuals is brought to bear on nationally-syndicated television. Of course, that is what makes it so worth watching. And throughout it all, there is their sheppard, the Professor X of Project Runway, Tim Gunn, a messianic figure guiding his wayward disciples to the promise land that is Bryant Park.

On the eve of the Bryant Park show, Tim Gunn gathers the remaining designers for one final pep talk in which he--often with tears in his eyes--shares his genuine respect and affection for each of them. He tells them how very proud he is of each and one of them. Unconditionally and without regard of any malfeasance that may have occurred over the course of their journey. Up to this point, he has encouraged them, counselled them and mentored them. He has urged them to "Carry On" and "Make it work." More than catch phrases, these are words to live by. The Nike marketing guru that penned "Just Do It" couldn't have been more proud.

We could all, at some point, use a Tim Gunn in our lives, someone to encourage, counsel and mentor us. To urge us to "Make it work" when things aren't going exactly our way and "Carry on" when they are. When we just need someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent into, Tim Gunn would be there, saying, "Talk to me."

So, if you ever find yourself lost or confused, think about what Tim Gunn would say...

"Make it Work"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In the house I grew up in on Snug Harbor, we used to keep family photos in an old, tattered shoe box. The shoe box was so old the cardboard that had been used to construct it had long ago lost all structural integrity. It was more 4 floppy sides and a bottom than an actual box, yet it still somehow managed to hold contents...in this case, old photographs.

These were the pictures of me and my brothers taken when we were kids. Pictures of me running around naked, filling a Scooby-Doo inflatable swimming pool with yellow well water from a garden hose, Aunt Jackie dressed up as the Easter Bunny, Josh with an empty cardboard ice cream container on his head we pilfered from Carvel to complete his Headless Horseman Halloween costume (possibly one of the greatest homemade costumes of all time).

In the background of a very unmemorable photo (so unmemorable I don't remember anything else in the picture) is our TV set. Captured in time, Jimmy Carter is giving a speech. Thinking of this made me wonder what the days were like then, when I was 10 months old. What did my parents talk about on a daily basis? What were the conversations like when they came home from work and turned on the nightly news? What was important to them? What was Jimmy Carter saying? Was it historic? Was he--ironically enough--counselling the country to conserve energy in much the same vein we hear from our leaders today?

I wonder if Sam will ever wonder the same thing about his parents. What our everyday life was like--aside from raising Sam? What were the things that Elise and I talked about, stressed over and dreamed about? Current events, sports teams, events that happen in our lives now that seem so important but that we may never think to tell him about years from now.

Fall has always been my favorite season. But this fall seems more relevant than many. Someone once said that the events that will change your life forever often go unnoticed at the point in time in which they actually happen. You wake up that morning as you do any other day without knowing that it will be on that day that a life-altering event may occur and you often go to bed at night blissfully unaware that one of the many things that happened during the normal course of that day will go on to shift the stream of your life irrevocably. For whatever reason, it feels as though there are many pivotal, seminal moments occurring around me.

I don't mean the election. Though it will no doubt go down as seminal and pivotal. I would have felt this way regardless of who emerged victorious. I mean events like Granddad, runs to the end of Betz Rd., picnics under the turning leaves on EWU campus, cars ('nuf said), baked Cheetoes, a trip to Denver.

These are the things I want Sam to know about us. That's the reason we write this blog. So that thirty years from now when he dumps out a box of old photos (or, more likely, opens a long forgotten file on his computer) and sees a photo with our president speaking from a plasma flat-panel in the background, he will know why this is important to us. And if he is born in one place, but grows up in another--just like his dad and just like his mom--he will know and understand why we made the decisions we are making in much the same way Elise and I know and understand why our parents made the decisions they did. So that the events that are seminal and pivotal to us today always remain so.

Thank you...

For voting. Unselfishly, for our children's future not our pocketbooks, for equal rights for all regardless of sexual preference, we all deserve to be happy, for the health of our planet, and the health of our country.

And now for some Sally Struthers-like photos to remind you why you are voting.... mostly ....'cause it ain't all about you! Think.

Vote dammit!

(hey if P-Diddy can encourage you to vote so can Sam)