Monthly Archives: August 2010

by in / Dear Baby
Dear Baby: Week 20

Dear Baby: Week 20

Dear Boo,

Here we are at the half-way point of your time inside Mama! Wow.

Today, Mama and Dada went in to the doctor’s office to do something very special. It’s called an “ultrasonograph,” and it’s a procedure that allows us to look inside Mama to see you and measure how well you are growing. This isn’t the first one you’ve had, but what made this one extra special is that you have grown so big that we can now tell if you are a boy or a girl.

And Boo, you made it very obvious that you are a… boy!

That means you are going to be Mama and Dada’s “son”, and Tucker’s “little brother”. You two are going to be so cute together, and we hope you grow up as the best of friends as well as brothers. He’ll have a lot he can help teach you, and I know you’ll share lots of fun experiences together.

What a day!

This week you’ve grown to the length of a banana! Bananas are actually Tucker’s very favorite food, and I bet you’re going to love them too. They’re full of good vitamins and minerals, so they don’t just taste good but they’re good for you too.

I can’t wait to meet you, son!

Love,

Dad

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Father Friday: Best of the Week from Blogging Dads

Father Friday: Best of the Week from Blogging Dads

Father Friday – Best of the Week “blog hop” features the bests posts of the week by the ever growing community of dad bloggers!

Check them out!


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Foodie Friday: Aarti’s Baked Chicken & Mango Samosas

Foodie Friday: Aarti’s Baked Chicken & Mango Samosas

It’s probably no secret that I watch a lot of Food Network, so it probably also comes as no surprise that my wife and I were among the people tuning in to (by which I mean “letting the TiVo record”) this most recent season of The Next Food Network Star.

We really liked several of the contestants a lot, but our favorite as time went on became Aarti Sequeira, the former CNN producer whose unique Indian heritage and childhood in Dubai led her to a passion for making Indian food more accessible. In the end, she won (YAY!) and her new show started last week, but she’s not exactly new to hosting a cooking show. Eager to try her hand at it, she and her husband started making their own cooking show and posting it online.

Incidentally, Tucker fell in love with her instantly. She’s second only to Elmo now, and if he recognizes the Food Network is on he’ll shout “AWTEE! AWTEE!”  It’s pretty dang cute.

All of that is to say that in reading through her website, I found this amazing looking recipe for baked samosas.

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by in / Father 100
The Father 100 Project: Love of a Father

The Father 100 Project: Love of a Father

It was naive to think I really grasped God’s Love for me before our son was born.

I love my family, my wife, and bringing people joy.

But seeing and holding my son for the first time, I knew what it means when we hear of God’s Fatherly love for us, his children.

Unconditional. Everlasting. Love that cherishes, despite knowing our deepest faults. Love that means guiding us in directions we fear or don’t understand, because it’s what’s best for us.

I’ve heard that to be a parent is to have your heart walk outside your body.

That’s about right.

This is for the Father 100 project over at Chalkboard Dad, where dad bloggers are encouraged to write a 100 word post about the weekly topic. This week’s topic is “love”. Here are more entries you can check out:

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Just the Two of Us

Just the Two of Us

This week my wife is out of town in exotic Minneapolis for some business meetings, so it’s just Tucker and I for a few days.

It’s always a strange time, with her gone.

There is a guaranteed extra level of exhaustion, obviously, but time with just Tuck and I alone isn’t really anything new for me. Essentially, it amounts to 2-3 hours each evening where I don’t have my usual “tag team” reprieve, and some slight adjustments to the bedtime routine. No biggie.

The worst part is us both just missing her, frankly.

So this isn’t the situation you see often where a dad is frantic about having to go it alone with the kid(s) for a time while mom is out of town for a few days or even just out for the evening. But what it did do was make me reflect on how often you do see that: friends on Facebook or Twitter, posting about how they’ve “survived Day 1” or what-have-you.

I want to make clear I’m not saying I’m any better than those dads because this isn’t a big deal for me. I totally recognize that any change to your regular routine can be stressful, particularly if it means having to do things that are out of your comfort zone. But on the contrary what I really want to stress it that this frantic worrying is, in most cases, completely unneeded, because most dads are way more competent than they think…

…and sometimes way more they’d have you think, too.

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by in / Dear Baby
Dear Baby: Week 19

Dear Baby: Week 19

Dear Boo,

On Sunday we went to a baseball game with some of Mama and Dada and Tucker’s good friends. You were there too, but I suppose you couldn’t see the game, could you? It was Tucker’s first baseball game too, but he mainly had fun playing with his friends Levi and Jesse and Keegan, showing off all the new words he has learned to say and how well he can climb steps. I’m sure he’ll be a great help in teaching you how to do those things when you are ready.

Right now Mama is busy packing her suitcase, because this week you and Mama are going on a special trip for a couple of days to a place called Minneapolis. Mama has work to do there, but while you’re there you get to meet her friend from college, Colleen. You get to ride on a plane and everything! How exciting. Tucker and Dada will miss you and Mama a whole lot, but we’ll have some special time together while you are away.

This week you’re the size of a large heirloom tomato! Tomatoes are a very common but very versatile vegetable with a ton of uses, both raw and cooked. We use them in sauces and soups and salsa and lots of other places. We’ve been especially enjoying getting nice tomatoes this summer from a local farm, so they are really fresh and delicious. It’s hard to believe you’re so big now!

Love,

Dad

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Foodie Friday: Tomato Bruschetta with Crispy Prosciutto

Foodie Friday: Tomato Bruschetta with Crispy Prosciutto

I’ve never really liked raw tomatoes.

Give them to me in just about any other form — tomato sauce, ketchup, tomato soup — and I not only will eat them, I actually use them a lot in my cooking. Over time I’ve developed an appreciation for salsa, I suppose, but in general large pieces of raw tomato is something I will at best tolerate in a dish.

The thing is, I know tomatoes are great, particularly really good, fresh, local tomatoes. I’ve been known to harbor secret jealousy for people who can eat them straight like an apple.

Anyhow, this past year my wife and I watched the movie Julie & Julia. It was curious that of all the incredible food the film featured, the one that really got my taste buds curious wasn’t even a Julia Childs’ recipe, but some absolutely amazing looking bruschetta that Julie makes for herself and her husband before embarking on her food-blog quest. I don’t think I have ever seen food in a movie that made me want to Eat. That. Right. Now. as much.

This year we have been enjoying some wonderful fresh local vegetables from our CSA, and I decided it was time to try making this delectable-looking dish with some of our harvest.

I did some searching and found more than a few places on the internet where people tried to recreate the same dish, and I came up with a recipe based on those (and my memories).  My version isn’t exactly the same as the movie (added prosciutto, different tomatoes) but DANG if it isn’t the first time I’ve really appreciated a dish where raw tomatoes are the main star.

Anyhow, here we go…

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by in / Daddy Stuff
Father Friday: Best of the Week from Blogging Dads

Father Friday: Best of the Week from Blogging Dads

Last week, Brian over at Dad at the Chalkboard started what is to be the first of a (hopefully) weekly Father Friday – Best of the Week “blog hop”, featuring the bests posts of the week by the ever growing community of dad bloggers.

There are so many exceptionally talented guys out there writing about being a dad that it can be really hard to keep up with them, so this is a great way to catch up with some wonderful stuff that you miss.

If you enjoy my blog I’d greatly encourage you to check these guys out too!

Best of the Week from Blogging Dads

If you’re a dad blogger and are interested in joining in, you can read all about how to do so here.

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by in / Daddy Stuff
An Open Letter to the Guy in the Bathroom Stall

An Open Letter to the Guy in the Bathroom Stall

Dear Guy in the Bathroom Stall,

I don’t know if you can smell it or not, but my toddler just refilled the peanut butter jar, if you know what I mean, and I really need to get into that bathroom stall to rectify the situation. It’s the only place in this bathroom where a baby changing table was installed, you see.

I’ll admit it, I know you were here first. And, for the time being, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that the only reason you’re in the large handicapped stall is because all the other stalls were taken when you got here, even if they are all empty now and have been for the 10 minutes my son and I have been waiting for you to finish — I can’t imagine you haven’t heard us here, what with his continuous babbling and exclamations of “poop!” and “dye-pah!”. Or perhaps you are actually handicapped. Like I said, I’m going to assume you’re in that stall with good reason.

The purpose of this note though, beyond what I admit is more than a little wonderment at what is taking so long, is that I’ve become alarmed at the curious noises I’ve been hearing on occasion coming from the stall. Frankly, they have me concerned.

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Where’s Dada?

It’s Saturday.

9:36AM.

Tucker and Mama hang out while Dada… wait, where IS Dada, anyhow?

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by in / Dear Baby
Dear Baby: Week 18

Dear Baby: Week 18

Dear Boo,

You are growing so much, so fast, that this week Mama had to do something specifically because of how much room you are taking up inside of her: buy new clothes! Normally she hates clothes shopping, but she got special clothes that will help both you and her be more comfortable as you get bigger and bigger and bigger. She looks very pretty in her new clothes, and I know they help make her feel better.

While Mama was shopping, Tucker and I read a book together all about how he is going to be a big brother, and about how life will change for our little family. Tucker liked to point at the pictures of the baby in the book and say “Boo!”, because he knows it was you. He loves you so much already, just like Mama and Dada do. We can’t wait to meet you!

This week you’ve grown to the length of a bell pepper, one of Mama’s favorite vegetables! She likes to dice them up in her eggs, but she especially likes it when Dad stuffs them with meat and spices and bakes them in the oven. Yum!

Love,

Dad

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Foodie Friday: Pasta w/ Tomato and Almond Pesto

Foodie Friday: Pasta w/ Tomato and Almond Pesto

Putting together a quick dinner on the fly for the family is often a struggle, so I am always looking for ideas for healthy meals that don’t take long but pack a nice punch of flavor. This one from ATK blew me away both in how delicious it is AND how fast it all comes together. Once you have your almonds toasted and cool, it seriously just requires the time to boil a pot of water and cook the pasta.

Here in North America we tend to think of “pesto” as being primarily basil and pine nuts, but technically that is Pesto alla Genovese, from the Genoa region of northern Italy. It’s great! However, there are a few regional variations and this recipe that uses tomatoes and almonds, Pesto alla Trapanese, is just one of them, coming from the Trapani area of Sicily. It uses less oil and cheese, and with the addition of tomatoes is actually also a healthier pesto variation.

NOTE: If you don’t have pepperoncini on hand, it can be replaced with a 1/2 tsp of red wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. That’s what I did, and it was great. Not too spicy at all, even with the addition of the optional red-pepper flakes later. You can expect this to be a pink or red pesto, however the cherry tomatoes I used were a mix of red and yellow cherry tomatoes from our CSA, which is why I ended up with a lighter colored finished product in my photo. It uses less basil than traditional pesto, so just don’t expect the vibrant green color.

Don’t skip out on toasting the almonds. It really adds a lot of flavor and aroma. Mmm.

So without further ado…

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by in / Dear Baby
Dear Baby: Week 17

Dear Baby: Week 17

Dear Boo,

My my my how you continue to grow. Your skeleton is starting to change from soft cartilage into sturdy bone, and believe me, Mama can feel it. You’re rather pokey lately. Is there something you’re trying to say in Morse code?

We got more tests back from the doctor this week, which they do to see if you are at risk for several diseases. This is standard procedure, but it’s important so that we can prepare if there are any special things the doctors or Mama and Dada will need to help you with, before or after you are born. I’m happy to say that everything with you looks just perfect! We love you more than you could know, so we’re very thankful to have you be healthy.

This week you weigh about as much as a turnip, a root vegetable that I have to admit I don’t eat very often. It’s not that they’re bad… in fact, we have some in our fridge right now… I just don’t know what to do with them, honestly. Not a lot of turnip-centric recipes, I guess. Of turnips, legendary Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote in the first century AD that turnips were one of the most important vegetables of his day, but shortly after that he was killed by when Mount Vesuvius erupted, so I guess they didn’t help him with that, anyhow.

Love,

Dad

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Goodnight Moon and the Emperor’s New Clothes

Goodnight Moon and the Emperor’s New Clothes

Goodnight Moon is overrated, ugly and boring.

There, I said it.

The illustrations are poor, the colors are garish, the perspective is ridiculous, and the text is downright lazy:

“Goodnight nobody. Goodnight mush.”

Seriously, Margaret Wise Brown?

I understand the appeal, of course. I know that it’s considered a “classic”, with almost every parent being given multiple copies when they have a baby, and there’s a sense of tradition in reading it to your child that appeals to parents if they had it read to them when they were young too. I honestly have no memory of it from when I was little, but for all I know it was my favorite book. Well, I don’t mind admitting it’s possible I had terrible taste in books when I was an infant, so I’m not worried this position is indefensible.

And hey, it’s not like my son doesn’t enjoy it at all, often including it in his frequent “make dada read every book in sight” adventures. He mainly likes pointing out the kitties and the balloon. With a little bit of effort there can be a certain lyricism to the words that I can see being an aid to lull a child to sleep… assuming he isn’t kept awake at night wondering why a bunny has pet kittens and a tiger pelt rug.

Isn’t that bunny a little young to have a phone in his room? And dang, that bowl full of mush is bigger than the poor kid’s head, no wonder he didn’t finish it all before bed.

Anyhow, I am seriously starting to suspect that high regard for Goodnight Moon is little more than an invisible robe, and no one wants to be the one to tell the Emperor that his ding-dong is hanging out.

Or maybe we’ve just convinced ourselves that any book that requires techniques for surviving its boringness (“Look! The clocks hands and the mouse have moved on the next page! Thrilling!”) must be good literature, or else it would never have become popular…? It’s like Moby Dick or Wuthering Heights or something.

I’m not even suggesting my son won’t come to love it more and more as he grows. I don’t plan on cutting him off from it or anything. Some day I might even shed tears of joy as he reads or recites it to me on his own. I’m not a heartless monster.

But I still think it’s a terrible book.

Am I alone here?

NOTE: I forgive Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd for their awful “classic”, because I love The Runaway Bunny.

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by in / Dear Baby
Dear Baby: Week 16

Dear Baby: Week 16

Dear Boo,

You’ve reached your sweet 16th week, and you are getting so big! You’ve even started to grow toenails!

Tucker is slowly starting to understand that you are really on the way. Now when we ask him “Where’s Baby Boo?” he points to Mama’s belly and smiles.

Mama can feel you moving around in there almost all the time, but you’re not quite big enough for me to feel you moving around yet. I hope you hear me though, talking to you, and kissing Mama’s belly as I wish you both goodnight.

This week you’ve grown to the size of an avocado, a unique fruit that is used to make guacamole (which Tucker loves), in some kinds of sushi rolls, on sandwiches, and many other yummy foods. In some places in the world, people even use it to make milkshakes! Sometimes it’s called an alligator pear, because of its shape and rough green skin. It’s different than most fruit because it’s creamy and high in both fiber and fat (the good kind), but is not sweet or juicy. I used to think I didn’t like them, but now that I tried them a few times I really enjoy avocados!

Love,

Dad

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by in / Daddy Stuff
Gee, Thanks, Trebek!

Gee, Thanks, Trebek!

Our son is a creature of habit, and he has developed a habit for Jeopardy!.

But let me start at the beginning.

We learned fairly early on with him that establishing a routine around bedtime made for a less stressful evening. Even when travelling, if we quickly reestablish a routine he recognizes, it makes sleeping in a new and unfamiliar place go smoothly. Usually.

It’s not set in stone. He’s laid back enough to be flexible when needed. And it has changed a little bit over time. But for the most part we go through the same thing each night, which as we do it now has the dual effect of getting him calmed down for sleep and allows some special Mama-Tucker time that she misses out on from being out of the house all day.

I won’t go through the whole thing right now, but the beginning is important, so bear with me…

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