Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crappy Meal with a FREE TOY!

Interesting article here from NPR which describes a consumer group's legal actions against McD's for advertising their Happy Meals' toys on television and targeting children under 8 years old. The parents in the class-action suit are not suing for any monetary reward just a change in policy. Of course, the real test of their high ground will come if/when they are offered a settlement to go away. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has over-ridden a veto from their Mayor's office in order to create an ordinance banning toys in nutritionally-poor meals by December 2011.

Shouldn't be long before we see a fair & balanced headline which will proclaim "SAN FRANCISCO LIBERALS OUTLAW TOYS AT CHRISTMAS TIME!!"

It is no revelation that the goal of advertising is to influence consumers to... well, consume more product. If we can agree happy meals are not healthy then it is not much of a stretch to disapprove of McD's targeting advertisements for the meals and toys to children directly. Not sure you agree with the government stepping in here? What if it was caffeinated fruit roll ups or Sesame Street smokeless tobacco, would we ban that advertising? Of course these are far-fetched examples, but they hopefully illustrate how most of us agree the government should have some say in preventing advertising to children for products which are unhealthy. So the real question is: How unhealthy does something need to be for this to apply? Are we willing to permit the advertising of fats and sugars to children since this probably won't result in immediate obesity; if so how quickly must the unhealthy result follow and how severe must it be for us to frown upon the product being pitched during Saturday morning cartoons? Unfortunately, the advertising is effective and there are plenty of parents who may not always make healthy choices on the run and when dealing with a cranky child, so making the product choices healthier from the outset makes a lot of sense or at least making the unhealthy choices less appealing. I'm glad McD's has started offering apple slices in happy meals, but they could still go a lot further in making their happy meals healthier (the ordinance proposed sets forth minimum nutritional guidelines for those restaurants who want to give away toys with their meals). In a country dealing with rising health care costs and launching a national mandated insurance program, perhaps legislating some good nutrition options (or at least not promoting the bad ones) could be a positive thing for the health and costs for our children.

In our family, we try to keep J. Bean away from the advertising to begin with; we limit television and we always stick with On-demand, DVD's and public TV. Parents are ultimately responsible to just say "no" as needed and we are the gatekeepers for our children's nutrition, but that doesn't mean we should abide this type of advertising targeted specifically at children. I have no illusions that the lack of targeted advertising would bring about an end to children's consumption of happy meals and I don't see that as the goal, but we just don't need more influence for unhealthy choices pushed on children. I can't say J. Bean has never eaten french fries from McD's, but I hope to keep it as a treat that is few and far between and sticking with that is a little harder when working against free toy ploys and advertising. If the advertising is going to stay, just make it healthier... Kids are still going to want that toy. If not, just put Ronald out front... the little ones always love a clown:

Monday, December 13, 2010

I don't recall asking for your opinion...

"To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn't know what to do or that he can't do it on his own." 
~~ John Gray
It's not a new problem, I've heard parents of every type and experience talk about dealing with unsolicited advice. With that said, I do think Full-Time Dads see this phenomenon a little more than Moms. People see a father with a child and immediately assume it is just a "day out with Daddy" or that Mom is sick or even deceased. Yes, I have been asked if my wife is deceased before as that explanation would apparently, at the least, provide some sanity to a crazy world where bumbling idiots like me are allowed to care for toddlers. It is a common assumption that fathers are inattentive and incapable of properly caring for a child despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of us do it every day right here in the US of A.

This type of advice insult (that is what it is, intended or not) ranges widely in motive and severity. Sometimes, it is just a veteran Mom who honestly wants to help you out of what she sees as a chaotic situation. Unbeknownst to her, though, the past 5 minutes is actually near today's low on your Chaos-o-meter. "Yes Ma'am, your advice of giving my daughter a lollipop would calm her down and end her crying (while simultaneously teaching her the value and effectiveness of a good temper tantrum and sending her a little further down the path of tooth decay), but what you don't know is that a few moments ago the little one was removing clothes, throwing raisins and hurling a sippy cup from her perch while screeching at the top of her lungs... so I'm actually pretty happy with the mild whimpering and whining that you are now lucky enough to witness." This type of T.U.R.D. (Thoughtless Unsolicited or Redundant Declaration) is pretty low on the offensive rating, after all it's just a Mom who wants to help and maybe make herself feel needed a little in the process. Can't hold a grudge for that, but you can ignore the comment altogether.

Another time, a beauty product clerk in a department store asked me as I walked by with J. Bean if there was a baby sleeping in the stroller I was pushing. Yes, I replied, hoping no more conversation was necessary as I didn't want to wake said baby. You see, I had a light blanket tossed over the stroller creating a block for the light while being sufficiently ventilated. Unfortunately, the woman couldn't help herself; she asked me if the baby could breathe in there. What type of reaction is appropriate to that question? "Baby's need air?!", "Probably not, but I'm in a hurry right now", "Where is the men's department?" I had no idea how to respond to it, so I didn't.

Other examples abound. A Dad friend of mine, Philosophical Dad (aka P.HDaddy), recently shared a story with me about riding the blue line with his near two-year old daughter, Abby. It was a cold day in Chicago and P.HDaddy and Abby were making their way downtown. Apparently, Abby wished to be rid of her gloves and jacket once they boarded the train. P.HDaddy acquiesced to this request, having already assessed his surroundings and deciding the temperature and conditions within the car were acceptable for his daughter and knowing that he would exit the train underground and walk through a heated pedway to his destination. In other words, he did what all good parents do; he made a decision which was most likely to result in the best outcomes for his travel with his daughter. He considered the options on many different levels (emotional and physical well-being, irritability, time of travel, path of travel, layers of regular clothing, past experience, etc...). The "advice" in this instance came from an elderly woman who spoke no English (although she was obviously fluent in the international theory of Daddy Incompetence). This matriarch would not let a simple language barrier keep her from making P.HDaddy aware that toddlers actually need to be sheltered from the elements. P.HDaddy had actually already put Abby's coat on in preparation for the indoor walk through temperatures that might dip to 65, but this woman was about to lose her mind because he had neglected to put gloves on the poor child. P.HDaddy, knew right away she was just flinging T.U.R.D.'s so he did the right thing and walked away.

The insults can always get worse and I'm sure I haven't been exposed to the worst of them yet, though a guy did get under my skin the other day. I was in the pedway with J. Bean, having just danced to the music of our favorite pedway performer we were heading home when we approached a revolving door. Keep in mind, J. Bean and I walk this route frequently. I am aware of the nooks and crannies of the pedway and my daughter is no stranger to the hazards of the pedestrian walk-ways of the city. Now, I occasionally utilize the skill I see in so many other good parents which is that ability to talk with someone or attend to a small task while being completely aware of my child's location, placement, arm-reach, sprint radius prior to capture, incoming objects and people, choking hazards, things and people she might be afraid of and of course my special spidey-sense for the unpredicted danger is sharply honed. In this case, I had turned to say goodbye to the guitarist, with J. Bean in my peripheral, as we approached a revolving door. J. Bean stopped a safe distance away to wait for me and to find out if we were going through the spinner or if I would open the regular door, as I often do. Meanwhile, a few people came through the door, most greeted loudly by J. Bean. Then an older businessman came through and put his hands down as if he were trying to herd cats. I guess J. Bean was too close to the door for his liking. By this time, I was asking J. Bean to head to the regular door and she was complying but the man thought she was heading for the revolver still... she wasn't. He starts shaking his head and spouting at the mouth about how I need to pay attention and how J. Bean is in imminent danger and going off on a general diatribe about my idiocy... I'm proud to say I didn't say a word. We just continued on our merry way. Why should I stop and justify myself to this man who probably spent less time with his kids in a year than I spend with J. Bean in a month? This man who if asked, wouldn't know J. Bean's age or if she can talk, but presumes to know her behavioral quirks and physical capabilities better than me? Oh yeah, and don't forget that little piece of the equation which is "daddy's presence"... does he really think my situational awareness is that poor? I'm an investigator by trade and I already noticed your socks don't match, your eyes are brown, you are about 50 years old and a smoker, you stand about 5 foot 8 and weigh approximately 185 pounds, your blue striped tie is outdated and crooked, your nose was once broken (probably for giving unsolicited advice), your hair is dyed, your briefcase handle is held together with electric tape, you smell of Brut aftershave and you are within sippy cup slinging range of my daughter now which is about as close as I am comfortable with. In fact, I'm officially slightly more concerned about you than I am about the door at this point, but that still doesn't mean I'm not close enough to jam the door with my foot if necessary and/or pull J. Bean to safety if a roving band of skateboarders come flying into the passage hell bent on trampling unprotected babies... but I say nothing. I just nod knowingly and keep my attention on what is important, this little wonder who is walking through the door and calling back to the performer "Take care, Bill. See ya soon!", she hasn't a care in the world (and rightly so, because Daddy is always looking out for her)... why should I taint her day with a retributive rant directed at this tool belt?

So what should we say to strangers when they feel the need to offer us unsolicited (and often bad or misguided) advice about our children? The best thing to say is nothing at all or a simple "Thank you". It is just easier for all involved that way and I'm not in to getting angry in front of my daughter or subjecting her to interactions with that type of person any more than necessary. I'm certainly not without character flaws and a temper of my own though and I know that given the correct mix of a bad morning, a rude meddler, lack of sleep or caffeine and a sick kid and I'll probably say something one day... but I will check myself and won't let my temper flare when I say it because I try to remember that Mom's and Dad's are not allowed to have bad days. The little ones we raise are watching and learning from us how to interact with others. If I do have a weak moment though, I've got my line prepared for delivery with a smile: "Do you think you love and care for my child more than I do?... What's that? No? OK then, thanks for your concern, but I've got this under control and it's not my first day as a father believe it or not."

I was thinking of ordering one of these shirts from to help with the problem:

Friday, December 10, 2010

The force is strong with this one...

Really love this story of a Mom, Carrie Goldman, and her daughter, Katie. It all started with a blog post about bullying which was written by Carrie after Katie's experience at school with a Star Wars water bottle and some teasing she received for carrying it. Well, lets just say this little girl received the right kind of support from her family and soon found she was being supported by a lot of other "geeks" too!

I'm not sure this is the bottle the girl was carrying, but if it was... who can make fun of this? This device is awesome and I want one!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two years...

Celebrated J Bean's 2nd birthday today. We had a blast at the Corner Playroom (2121 N Clybourn) with other kids from playgroup and some other friends from the building, work, etc... We also had the first snow of the season in Chicago today, but everyone braved the weather to come to the shindig. J Bean has been dabbling in the "terrible 2's" for months now, so I'm a little anxious about the new tricks that are around the corner. I love every minute of it though (please remind me of this when I start ranting about the behavioral issues).

It is hard to believe 2 years have come and gone since her first peek at the world and our first look at her. I can feel the future rushing at me as if I was in a wind tunnel of time... slow down! I know we have a long and amazing childhood ahead of us and I truly look forward to watching this amazing person grow and learn more with each circle around the sun. However, I also know with every passing year, time will speed up for me. I take some comfort in remembering how slow time passes as a child and knowing how much fun I can help make this for her and hoping I can anchor myself against the winds of time with a little help from this amazing little girl.

OK, enough "sappage"... at what age are children able to help with housework (I mean really help... J Bean already likes to spread my swept piles of dirt around and scatter my folded laundry). I'm looking forward to something more along these lines though:

jason lee creative kids photography sisters

Photos from cool dad, Jason Lee with JWL Photography.

Friday, December 3, 2010


As J Bean was just starting to say a few words -clearly anyway- several months ago, she would occasionally watch cartoons with breakfast. She's a fan of "Diego" and we have episodes available on demand. So one morning I was searching for Diego and once I typed in D-I-E one of the choices that came up was "Die Hard with a Vengeance". I asked J Bean if she wanted to watch Diego or Die Hard with a vengeance... she quickly answered with a sharp: VENGEANCE!!! Of course my wife (VeeVee) and I died laughing which had the effect of imprinting the word permanently into her repertoire. Now she breaks it out at random times for a laugh and occasionally gets the word into the right context.... presumably, by accident though sometimes I have to wonder.
For example, recently, J Bean was having a "misunderstanding" with another toddler over a chair they both wanted. The other child had come up and was working to push J Bean off of the chair (unsuccessfully as she was too small for the job also), with much protest from J Bean. Before I had to make a move, the child's mother approached and pulled her own toddler down and took her a few feet away for "a talk". J Bean sat down and watched this intently. She didn't get involved or laugh/smile or anything like that, but I could see the gears were turning as she watched with interest. So... later in the car on the way home, I was describing the events to VeeVee (J Bean was in the back seat in her car seat, we thought she might have even been sleeping) and I came to the part of the story where the other toddler received her "talking to" from her Mom when suddenly from the back seat, J Bean yelled "VENGEANCE!"... That's right, baby, that's right.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What do they call you anyway?

Great post recently on (by Shannon Hossman who has his own blog as well) regarding the naming of Stay Home Fathers. What are we and what should we go by? Check out the full entry here. Here are the cliff's notes:

I'm not a Mr. Mom or a house-husband. Stay at Home Dad as a moniker is OK, but the acronym (SAHD) doesn't work because I'm actually very happy. Bypass the shortcuts and nicknames if you can, but if you must use one... let's go with Behavioral At-home Domestic And Safety Specialist (you work out the acronym). With that said, my wife can call me anything she likes, I like to think I'm her "trophy husband".

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quote for today... Please remove the labels.

“Once you label me, you negate me”
 ~~Soren Kierkegaard

What if we give you a positive label though, Kierkegaard?

I really like this guy's flickr stream. View it here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TSA wants to see my tasty bits?!

My first attempt at an Xtranormal cartoon. Since I spent the time to post my serious thoughts about T.S.A procedures and security in general, I thought I would also make fun of the situation which is probably much healthier... or at least a lot more fun. Enjoy, critiques are welcome.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bad Apple

"Wow, did you just feed that to her off the ground!? (laughter) See that's the difference between mothers and fathers I think."
I had a mother recently say this to me after seeing me pick up an apple slice (correction- my last apple slice) from the ground at the park. I blew it off, wiped it well and examined it for any visual signs of dirt before handing it back to J. Bean, who happily and noisily chomped away at the slice. Now the mother is a friend and really wasn't disapproving so much as just noting the difference in philosophy. Personally, I think it's more about different parents' styles than fathers vs. mothers. I recently read an article, from Slate which hits on this topic and I thought it was very poignant. The article is entitled "Modern Parenting.If we try to engineer perfect children, will they grow up to be unbearable?". It's worth a read, relevant excerpt below.

"Apparently, there is, from a sensible scientific point of view, such a thing as being too clean; children, it turns out, need to be exposed to a little dirt to develop immunities, and it seems that the smudged, filthy child happily chewing on a stick in the playground is healthier than his immaculate, prodigiously wiped-down counterpart. I like this story because there may be no better metaphor for the conundrum of over-protection, the protection that doesn't protect."

Monday, November 22, 2010

A note on safety (odds of dying)...

I don't often post about items that move into the realm of the political, though I do have strong feelings about politics and I do feel that our political environment and elections have consequences which will deeply affect our children so occasionally I will post issue-based discussions about political goings-on while still trying to distance my blog from a "partisan position"... it is after all about the issues which could affect our children not the (D) or the (R) next to a person's name.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." ~Franklin Roosevelt.

Did you know the 1-year odds of dying in a car accident is about 1 in 6500 and the lifetime probability is about 1 in 83? What about walking across the street? A 1-year risk of 1 in 48,500 and a lifetime risk of 1 in 625. The chances of dying from being struck or bitten by another mammal in your lifetime is 1 in 51,550. Drowning? A 1-year risk of 1 in 88,000 and a 1 in 1100 lifetime risk. In a fire? About the same as drowning. Murder? A 1-year risk of 1 in 16,500 and a lifetime risk of 1 in 210. Being struck by lightning? A 1-year risk of 1 in 6.2 million and a lifetime risk of 1 in 80,000.

Despite this information, we get in cars every day, some with our children and some while texting, eating, reading, talking on the phone and some of those people also wear no seatbelts. We cross the street while glancing quickly from side to side without a thought. We and our children swim and some of us buy pools to keep in our yards. We sleep in houses that could burn, some of us even smoke which raises the chances of a fire. We walk the streets and go about our business knowing that murderers could lurk amongst us. Some crazy people even walk outside in the rain or drive in a storm as if lightning never crossed their mind. We could outlaw driving with any potential distractions and create mandatory screening before driving for all Americans. We could shoot any animals that come near us though it would surely increase our chances of being killed by a firearm (currently 1 in 4,317). We could ban all bodies of water. Murderers? Why not take away all weapons from everyone and mandate daily psychological screenings for those people who wish to leave their house? Fire? Don’t get me started… we could outlaw candles and electricity or maybe we could sleep outside on the ground, but that would just increase our chances of being hit by lightning. What are we to do?!

What is important is we keep danger in perspective, right? What about figures on terrorism? Well, if we count only the attacks that have succeeded we are talking figures much lower than the odds of being struck by lightning, but in this area we feel the need to take action by allowing TSA’s to view us naked and touch parts of our body that we teach our children should never be touched by a stranger? The logic is lost on me and I can’t support the screening/patting system as is. Choose one day a month not to drive your car and you’ll decrease your odds of an untimely death by more than any screening methods in an airport ever will. Stop smoking and slow down consumption of cholesterol and you’ll up your odds against an early demise beyond the complete elimination of terrorism. Yet we don’t allow the government to tell us what to eat or how to cook, because we feel the freedom to choose amongst these vices is our right.

I agree with the assertion that the only way to defeat terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. We live in a world full of danger, we do what we can, reasonably, to avoid the dangers and we go about our lives trying to enjoy them. We will all die some day and most of us will face death earlier than we should because we didn’t eat right, we drank too much, we smoked too much and we didn’t exercise… not because we didn’t allow bureaucrats to check out our private parts. In the end, our odds of dying are 100%... so what I tend to find more important is how we live.

Sources of my info and some of the ideas behind these statements:
Cartoons from &

Short attention span.... plague or progress?

Yglesias makes a good point regarding the questions of how technology may be affecting children. Is the fact that our children may be wired differently than us a bad thing or just part of progress and the evolution of learning and thinking? Check out his comments and potentially the NYT article he is referring to if you are interested-- here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Talk...

Still eons away from "the talk" (I hope), but this is a very entertaining story of the kind of problems and questions that can arise! Happens to include a great little short as well, titled... Good Vibrations.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What we've got here, is failure to communicate...

This video illustrates perfectly why it is hard to teach language to your children. "Yes, J. Bean, that is a rail but not the kind a train runs on, it is a hand rail and I am trying to train you to hold it. I know, yes, you have finger nails on your hand. No not a hang nail... well yes, the rail is hung by a nail. Listen just hang on to the rail... the train is leaving the station. Yes, trees have leaves... nevermind."

WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What kind of world do I want my child to grow up in?

Take a minute to read this essay... it will move you. I hope J Bean gets to grow up in a world with a little less hatred and a lot more inclusion. Please pass along this important message and remember we don't have to entertain every opposing point of view, sometimes people are just wrong.

"We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum." --Bishop Shelby Long

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not Slacking

Haven't had time to post in a while, I've been on the road. Just got back from Colorado where we attended a same-sex marriage which was actually a lot of fun. The great thing about a same-sex marriage is that most people attending are really progressive. On a side note, how can anyone be against two people deciding to spend their life together?

We arrived home yesterday and before we were really settled in we got a call that my wife, VV's, father had passed away. He has been in poor health for years so it was not completely unexpected and VV is handling it OK.  I never got to know the man he was before Alzheimer's changed him, but I am thankful for his life. I love and married one of his amazing daughters. Knowing VV and my sister (in-law) tells me a lot about him and he must have been a wonderful character in his day. Rest in peace, Robert, we will miss you & will make sure your grand-daughter knows you.We hit the road today and are now in Iowa with my sister-in-law's family and will be having a service on Saturday then heading home.

J. Bean has been a trooper with all the traveling and has kept smiles on our faces even on the long days. I'm glad she will get some time to spend with her cousins here again, but am also looking forward to getting home and back to "normal" again soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Feeling thankful for all the wonderful people in my life today. Great time hanging with a friend this morning and then about a 2 hour talk with my sister, you know one of those talks that is all over the place that you can only share with someone who has so many common experiences and such similar views of the world? I'm so happy for my daughter to have my sister as an aunt! Great song, check out the lyrics too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Like to Move It!

Sometimes Sesame Street just gets it right. What an awesome song and message for children.. Can't wait to teach J Bean to dance to this one. I'd love to see an extended version.

Will.I.Am - What I Am

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Summer's Gone..

It's been in the fifties and sixties over the past several days and into the forties at night. I fear the wonderful city summer is calling it for the year. Soon J Bean and I will be banished to indoor areas much more and we'll be scurrying about the city in the extensive underground pedways. We'll still have a great time as we know our way around and have plenty of places to explore. The aquarium and the museums are also great winter diversions.

In memory of a summer passing, check out this amazing child playing "California Dreaming":

Friday, September 24, 2010

Endangered Species?

Check out this article from Newsweek about changing perceptions in masculinity.

"the number of fatherless kids in America has nearly tripled since 1960, and the percentage of men who call themselves stay-at-home dads has stalled below 3 percent." 

I'm surprised at this statistic, I would have thought the Stay-Home-Dads (SHD's) would be a little more prevalent. Kind of a long read, but interesting stuff on males in the workforce and what types of jobs we should be proud to work in.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inside Voice

I've been feeling pretty confident in my ability to handle most any mood my daughter could toss my way, but this afternoon J Bean threw me a curve ball. The two of us had a pleasant and uneventful trip to the store, but within a minute of entering my daughter spun her head around three times and started to levitate out of the shopping cart... Well, not exactly, but you get the picture. Outbursts happen occasionally and at first I wasn't too surprised that some action, or lack thereof, on my part had offended J Bean. "What's wrong? Is the buckle too tight? Did you want some water? A snack maybe?" I exhausted an extensive list of my own ideas for distraction or redirection and a few from helpful strangers, who probably just wanted their ears to stop bleeding. I attempted several forms of entertainment (including song and a short dance number). I mixed in efforts of soothing, holding, patting and will admit I even gave bribing a try. I tried carrying her and allowing her to walk. All resulted in more crying and most with replies in the vocal range of a pterodactyl. I began to doubt my resolve to finish the errand we had begun.... perhaps she's sick, is the seat pinching her, a bug bite anywhere, what did she eat? After 10 minutes, I was beaten... I grabbed a few more things on the list that were nearby and resolved to return another day. However, before we approached the register, the little one began to calm down and within a few more minutes was basically back to her usual self, albeit with red eyes and tear tracks on her face. We finished our shopping, beat the rush crowds home and had a wonderful evening with VeeVee who arrived home shortly after. I was telling my wife about the antics at the store when J Bean interrupts with an animated laugh and a proclamation of "Funny!" She does this from time to time, seemingly because she enjoys the adult reactions of more laughter, but this time I'm not so sure she wasn't just enjoying the laugh at my expense.

Friday, September 17, 2010


An odd thing about parenthood is how your own relationships change. From your wife, to your own parents, your friends and even potential new friends everything is seen through a new lens. I used to choose my friends because I liked them, now I consider how they will affect my child... do they have children? do they parent the way I do? do they have similar views morally? These and a myriad of other questions come to mind when I meet a new potential friend now.
You may think you could have friends that you just don't want around your child, but is that really possible? Is a person truly a "friend" if you can't invite them into your home or enjoy spending time with them around your family (and have them enjoy it as well)? I know I used to think that was possible, but upon further reflection I've changed my mind. My life is not complete without my family and I don't think I could maintain a friendship with someone I couldn't have around my child, not any sooner than I could be friendly with someone who didn't like my wife. We are a package, take us or leave us but we roll together... I thank my parents for setting that example when I was a child and a friend for reminding me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I was a military brat and moved around with my parents and younger sister a lot as a child, so the choice to put our family into a migratory pattern seemed reasonable to me when VeeVee and I discussed how we wanted to proceed with a new baby on the way a few years ago. Around that time I was in a corporate career within an exciting industry when a corporate buy out led me into a new position in another company within the same industry. It was great to land on my feet, but I was no longer having "fun" at my job, though it was comparable in salary and worked within my career goals. VeeVee and I were newlyweds and we were struggling a little with her job requiring her to travel 4 days of the week, but we were making good money and our weekends together seemed all the sweeter due to the seperations.  Once VeeVee realized she was pregant we discussed our options: one, we could stay in our FL home and both work (she finding a permanent job in the area, though this would certainly mean less money) and we would put J Bean into child care. The second option was for VeeVee to maintain her job while I left mine (since she was making the most money by a long shot) and we would rent out our FL home, move our stuff to my Mom's and use her place as a base between project assignments and I would take care of the baby and handle our property management (we have a few other rentals as well). Dollar-wise, these options were nearly equal, so it seemed a no-brainer and we took the plunge into uncertainty! I left my job, J Bean was born, we moved to my Mom's for a few months then ended up in Chicago where we have the good fortune of living downtown amongst all the city has to offer. We have been very forunate to stay in one place for so long (18 months now) as we were originally anticipating moving every few months for the next few years. We have made some wonderful friends in Chicago and will be sad to leave when the gig us up here but we'll also be looking forward to a new adventure in a new place when we go.

I'm a blogger?

Not sure if I'm ready to define myself as a blogger yet, but I certainly qualify as a Dad on the run. My daughter, I think we'll call her J Bean, is 21 months old and really starting to come into her own in the area of manipulation. I don't mean this in any sinister sort of way, only that if she wants milk in her sippy cup or her favorite movie in with dinner you'll soon find yourself providing these things. At times I feel like an unwitting concierge. J Bean is still in the habit of using one-word sentences for the most part, which can come off as staccato demands from a pint-sized dictator at times... "MILK!".... "MUSIC!" .... "ELMO!"
My wife, hereafter referred to as VeeVee, spends the better part of every weekday in the office but she is close enough for me and lil Bean to visit her for lunch or dinner when she has the time between meetings. J Bean has taken to delaying VeeVee's departures with repeated requests for kisses and hugs when she leaves in the morning and always welcomes her home with both hands in the air and screeches of delight. This ritual takes place consistently with no concern for what we have going on at the moment of Mom's arrival. I've been left holding a bib I was about to put on her or caught random toys as they are dropped or thrown mid-play.