The misadventures of a first time father

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Dorky Daddy Comic - Lunch

*based on a true story

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Big BreakfastSo…I have high cholesterol.

This isn’t an incredible shocker, as I’ve had high cholesterol most of my life.

A few years ago I was told this after blood work and the doctor told me I needed to go on statins. Not being one for medication (or the side effects that go with it), I decided a change-up to my diet was the route I’d rather go. And I did, for a bit. I fully admit I fell off that wagon over time, though and went right back into some bad habits – you know, like toast with lots of butter almost every morning with my tea, or lots of starches like rice.

I have a new doctor these days, and while she said I’m in fantastic health, she wanted to do some blood work, since it was my first visit to her. The results came back with the same old story – high cholesterol. Fortunately, her reaction was not to prescribe something, but instead to give me notes that it’s time to change-up my diet. “Cut out all sugars and starches” she said in her message.

When I used to get this news in years past, it was different. It was just me I was really worrying about. Now, there’s not only my wife, but our son. In other words I need to make sure I’m around for a while and it’s time to get back on the wagon and stay there in the hopes of bringing the bad cholesterol down.

Side note – wouldn’t you know it, I opened up the blood work results and note from my doctor when it came in the mail over the weekend and was halfway through a big starchy sandwich with chips on the side? Naturally. 😉

So, a few days in, we’re working on the changes. I admit, it’s not easy. We’ve had fish for dinner. We went out to dinner with my parents at a BBQ restaurant known for its fried food and it took my much longer than usual to figure out what to eat. I ended up with chicken that was cooked with rosemary and thyme instead of the fried of barbecued options. Instead of fries or regular potatoes, I went with a sweet potato – no butter, not brown sugar, as it usually would come. I threw a little bit of pepper on it and it was fine. It has its own flavor that tasted pretty good.

Breakfasts have been oatmeal the past few days. Though, I admit, I don’t know if I could do that every day.

I love salads, so I’m thinking there may be a lot of those in my future.

We’ll see what happens in four months when I go for the next blood work test to see if these changes have had any effect. In the meantime, I guess it’s going to take a little discipline and some creativity to make sure I stay on this train of health, for my sake, and the sake of my family.

Any low-cholesterol meal ideas are certainly welcome! 🙂


Whether they know it or not, everyone has a story to tell.

However, some folks never tell their stories because they think they have nothing to say – that their life is too boring.

It’s with that in mind, that I set out to create a photo essay that took something routine and mundane – just a random day in my life – and captured it in photos in an attempt to create a visually appealing story told in images from throughout that terribly ordinary day.

I found that what might be routine or boring to some on the surface turned out to be a day filled with beauty and engaging sights and images, had I just taken the steps back to look at them more often.

Here’s my story:

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© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporation The weather has been changing lately. The temperatures rising, the grass becoming a little greener, a little longer, and the air filled with the smells of pollen and barbecues.

There’s no doubt that spring is here, but in case we take it for granted, mother nature gave us a nice little reminder of why it’s such a wonder to live in a place that experiences four seasons a year. It’s easy to get into the habit of complaining about one particular season (“it’s to hot out,” “I’ve had enough of this snow,” etc.) that sometimes we  forget why that particular season is so wonderful and unique to itself – because it doesn’t last.

Today in the northeast, we strayed away from our recent trend of 70+ sunny days and took a dive into overcast, breezy and chilly. It was jacket weather, and boy do I love the jacket weather seasons.

I know that many people were already questioning “whatever happened to spring,” but I loved it. The windows slightly cracked on the way to work, some music on the radio reminding me of my high school and college years, and I just thought of all the wonderful September drives to school or to campus. It put a smile on my face, and while so many others were made gloomy by this sudden burst of Fall in our Spring, I was boosted, rejuvenated. I loved it.

© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporationAnd I remembered that the seasons are all fleeting, be their spring, summer or fall, and it’s best to enjoy them for all they are, because before you know it, they’ve passed. So, a little reminder like today was just a nice change of pace and made you not take for granted what the Spring ‘norm’ is.

At the end of the day, I put out the trash, took a look around at the branches of the trees blowing, and re-entered the house, greeted to the smell of Meg’s homemade black bean soup. The baby was fed, his laughter ringing through our home as he squished avocado through his fingers and on his face, and that delicious aroma of the homemade soup just sent a comforting thrill through my entire being.

I poured myself a pint, sat down with a bowl of soup, looked at my lovely wife and son and was reminded that yeah, life is good.


dinner party retroEver since we’ve become parents, it has become, as expected, a lot more difficult to get together with friends and family, especially in the frequency that we used to.

Before, it was fairly easy to set up a coffee meeting with our friends or go grab dinner with some family without much challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a lot more to take into consideration these days with our little guy – his feeding schedule, his mood, his bedtime routine and keeping it routine, as well as our own exhaustion by day and week’s end.

However, we’ve recently started trying something. Something so simple, so novel and timeless, that it’s hard to come up with any sort of legitimate excuse as to why we hadn’t thought of it before  – having people over.

Years ago, it was not uncommon to have guests over at a particular night of the week; each person bringing a dish or a dessert. People got together and just socialized. Yes, before Facebook and text messaging, people actually got together in person at their homes and caught up on what was going on in their lives.

So, we’ve decided to start implementing this into our lives a bit more. Not only is it less expensive than meeting up at some restaurant with friends, as we make dinner here at home, think of how much more freedom you have to sit around, chat, let the baby be a baby and not worry about those around you or a waiter or waitress who you’re keeping from filling that table with other guests.

vintage dinner party 01On top of that, my wife and I have discovered a fun little side effects of these social Friday night dinners at home – having guests over and socializing on a Friday night makes the weekend seem longer than it actually is. Since we’re actually doing something with that evening, it never feels like it does when you get together on a Saturday night, which is that feeling of ‘ugh. tomorrow’s Sunday and then it’s back to work.” You almost feel like you’re getting extra time out of your weekend.

Not only that, but with a somewhat regular gathering at the home, it helps us stay on top of keeping the house cleaner than we had been otherwise.

Save a little money. See good friends and family. Enjoy good, homemade food, and get a little extra time to your weekend.

How can you go wrong?


The little guy may only be 7 months, but he actually helped color the heart on this one.

My card from the little guy. While mommy did most of the work, he actually did help color in part of the heart.

I spent this Valentine’s Day with our little guy.

As we’re still battling the croup (and its  effects slowly making its way into mommy and daddy’s adult-sized bodies now), we’ve been alternating taking days from work so that someone can stay with the little guy at home while he’s sick and administer his nebulizer treatments.

Today was my day and we began with a bottle, something I realized I hadn’t done in quite some time because most of my time with the little man is at home, where he’s normally nursing right from mommy. She left us a good supply of milk in storage, though and that turned out to be a good thing, because he wasn’t keen on eating his solids today. We tried his rice cereal, he wouldn’t have it. We tried his Stage Two Pears from Earth’s Best and he wanted nothing to do with those.

Mommy’s milk, though? Man, THAT he wanted.

You can definitely tell that he’s sick, and I’m not just talking about the coughing fits. Usually when I set him down in his roller-walker while we’re in the kitchen, he loves it. He’s been moving from one end of the kitchen to the other in that thing, his little legs going as fast as he can. This time, though, I wasn’t able to get a few feet away from him to prepare his bottle without I’m getting very uncomfortable and upset.

So, we spent most of our day on the couch. Talking, having a bottle, playing with toys, and eventually, napping. Of course, he was falling asleep right in my arms, and him being as sick as he was, I wasn’t about to move him. So, we spent most of our day planted right there on the couch, unless the situation called for a diaper change or more milk, of course.

I prepared beforehand though, and had a series of remotes within my reach, along with pad and paper for writing if inspiration struck. Mostly, though, while he slept, I watched cartoons on Netflix and DVD.

When my wife came home at the end of the day, I think she was relieved to see that we were both not only alive, but that there was minimal damage to the house or us, save for a few globs of pureed pear that I was wearing on my sweatshirt.

It was a Valentine’s Day like no other, that is for sure, but aside from him being sick, we were all together as a family, and the day was definitely all about love. We wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂


bringing up bebeI just finished Pamela Druckerman’s book, “Bringing Up Bébé.”

.She’s an American journalist who moved to France with her husband where they gave birth to a daughter and two twin boys and quickly learned about the vast differences in culture, parenthood, and child rearing in France versus in America.

Druckerman covers a wide variety of topics in the course of her three kids’ arrivals into the world, but one of the most reoccurring observations is how calm and collected children in France are in contrast to the American parents often found chasing their kids around the park, the house, etc. They refer to it as “being sage,” a sense of calm in a child, whether they be at home or out in public.

From the French culture, she learns that parents give their children rules, but it’s a limited set of rules. Those rules are important and very strict, but there is freedom within those rules. For example, one example from her French friends is children having to be in their room at a certain time each night. Now, the children may play in the room, read, etc, but that’s where they go, to the room. The method behind this is that, eventually, the children will get tired and know it’s time to climb into bed and go to sleep. The line of thinking is that this sets up boundaries for children, but is not overbearing enough where they feel they have no freedom. Rules, with freedom within the rules.

Another big topic throughout Druckerman’s journey is food. American children can be notoriously picky eaters, but she finds that by starting children off with real food at an early age, and having them try new foods, adult foods, even if it’s puree early on, will develop an open-minded taste palate in children. She even recounts how many kids in restaurants in France aren’t offering off of some ‘children’s menu’ of pizza, chicken nuggets, etc, but real food off the real menu. Very very fascinating.

I’m really just cherry picking two topics that stood out the most to me in the course of her book.

So, is it possible?

french child beretDruckerman finds a way to take the good of the French style of parenting and blend it with her own American upbringing, but she does so why she’s living in France, a place where all children take part in a grand lunch so that their meals at dinner aren’t as large. There’s even a gouter in between. French kids don’t graze throughout the day like the American kids constantly walking around with a bowl of Cheerios. They have their breakfast, their larger meal of the day at lunch, a gouter (snack) in the afternoon, and then a smaller dinner.

And just because they are better behaved and understand that they have their own lives as do their parents, the children don’t appear to be automatons from this. No, they seem to be joyous, fun-loving little people, thoroughly enjoying life.

However, Druckerman does this while living amid the French culture for years, surrounded by the system that was already in place and having to adjust their American ways to it.

But what about Americans living in America? Do we have to pack up and live in Paris in order to make such a switch in the way our children grow in these aspects without American ‘norms’ getting in the way? Is it possible without peers and family saying that it’s “not how you raise a kid?” because it’s not how we were raised?

Now, notice I used the term “cherry picking” earlier. I did this for a reason, which is that I’m not making a blanket statement that I feel everyone should run out and do absolutely everything that the French parents do, or even what Druckerman’s family did in this book.

In fact, here’s an article from Forbes completely blasting the book, saying the methods take away a child’s individuality, promote socialism and promote forms of child neglect.

I can’t say I agree completely with that author, Erika Brown Ekiel, either.

Like much of life, it’s not about blanket statements or ideas that are cure-alls. It’s about finding your personal balance and what works for you.

For example, I love the idea about raising a child who loves the idea of exploring new foods and tastes, who aren’t raised on the kids’ menus of pizza and chicken nuggets. However, as I’ve stated in the past, I’m not a fan of the “crying it out method” when a child can’t sleep.

I like the way that  Druckerman describes the French authority of parents, creating a framework with a few key phrases throughout their childhood that produces those well-behaved children who are still having fun with the other kids, at the park or playroom. However, I’m not a fan of the dismissive nature of breast-feeding, as it comes across in the book, as I’m a big proponent of breast-feeding for mothers who have the ability to do so.

There’s a lot of question marks up in the air and you know what? Neither one of the authors I’ve mentioned (the book, or the article disapproving of the book) has all the answers. That’s why we, as readers, as consumers of knowledge, have to take in what we can, digest it, and discover what is appealing and useful to us, and what might not serve us well in life.

Maybe the best way to end this one is simply to say c’est la vie!



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