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The Dude

The Good Dad

The Good Dad

The best moments in life are not filled with words. Only love. The Dude and The Monkey, on vacation, in 2008.

Seven years ago, this week, I was introduced to the Dude by my sister.

Before I met him, there was a trend with most of the guys I dated. The more I got to know them, the less I liked them. The opposite was true with the Dude. After every e-mail, phone call, or date, I liked him even more. Within a month, I knew this guy had *The One* potential. But what really locked my heart up was something he said to me shortly after we started dating.

During one of our many conversations about life ambitions, goals, and dreams, the Dude mentioned that he could not wait to be a father. That really floored me, mostly because having kids was the last thing on my mind. I had too many other important things to do, like finish my graduate degree and get a promotion. But here was this highly ambitious and successful 26 year old man telling me that the most important thing he ever wanted to become was a good dad. In that same conversation, he questioned how he would be able to handle the task of working grueling hours at a law firm and being present for his future kids.  He wanted to be there for every milestone, every first day of school, every parent-teacher meeting, and every soccer game. In fact, he wanted to coach the soccer team.  He told me right then and there that he would quit his job if it meant he couldn’t be there for his kids. Despite not knowing him very well at the time, I believed him. Seven years and one kid later, I still believe him. Because it’s true. (continues…)

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Introducing Your Kids To Democracy

voteToday is a big day in California. It’s the Primary Election.

I walked over to the polling station down the street from me with my toddler in tow. I didn’t have to take him with me. Grandma is coming over later to babysit and I could have waited until then. I also could have gone later today when the Dude returned from work. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring my 2 year old with me because I want him to be a part of this day, even if he’s 16 years away from casting his first vote.

It’s not the Monkey’s first election. He was first introduced to the election process at 2 weeks old. I remember strolling him down the street to our local firehouse in downtown San Francisco. Sure, he slept through all of it but I was glad he was there with me while I performed my civic duty. I hope he is always with me on these important days. (continues…)

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Come To This Park Often?

While at my neighborhood park the other day, I started chatting with a mom while our boys played together on the playset. This isn’t unusual for me since I tend to strike up conversations with other parents at the park, especially if our kids are interacting together. I’ll exchange a few pleasantries, chat about the kids, and then go on my way. Maybe I’ll see them again, but often I don’t. It doesn’t matter much to me anyways.

But this time was different.

This mom was really cool and I liked her immediately.  We simply had one of those conversations that just *clicked.* Within a matter of minutes, we learned a great deal about each other and discovered we had quite a bit in common. I felt a connection and wanted to get know her more. I could tell she felt the same way, too. But, then the Dude arrived at the park to surprise the Monkey and, after an introduction and a few more minutes of chatting, she turned away to run after her boys and we started getting ready to head home. I didn’t quite know how to approach her after that, so I left without getting her digits.

I learned something that day. Picking up on other moms is hard to do.

It’s one thing to meet new mom (or dad) friends at playgroups, sports, lessons, or through school, but how do you ignite a friendship with someone you just met and connected with…but have no way of knowing if you’ll ever see them again? Is it weird to ask for a number or e-mail address (or offer your own) in a matter of minutes? I don’t have much, if any experience with this sort of thing. Nearly everyone I call a friend just somehow became a part of my world, mostly through regular interactions at places like work or school or through mutual friends. Between my real life friends, acquaintances,  and online community of blogging buddies, I don’t actively look to expand my social network.  But, just like when you’re looking for romance, friendships can often be found when you’re least expecting it.

I have a new appreciation for the men and women who are confident and brave enough to ask someone they just met for their information. I’m sure they fail at times, but I’m certain they ultimately succeed as well. And what’s the big deal if someone says no, right? At least they took a chance and asked.

I think I missed an opportunity to become friends with someone I thought was really cool. I hope I see her at the park again one day. And, if I do, I’ll make sure to take a chance.

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Introducing Kids To (Live) Music

We just got back from a long weekend with family and friends where we were treated to a special outdoor acoustic show from one of our favorite bands, Hot Buttered Rum (great band for people of all ages!). These guys played our wedding, so it’s especially fun for us to bring our little Monkey along to their shows.

I love outdoor shows, especially on a beautiful summer day or warm evening. Bringing your kids along can be one of the best ways to introduce them to music.  Some of my earliest childhood memories center around music and live shows so, needless to say, music has always been important to me.  Before pregnancy, live shows were something the Dude and I ventured to regularly and would even plan vacations around. That didn’t stop when I got pregnant. The Monkey probably went to about 30 shows in the womb, from bluegrass and classical to jazz and popular rock. My last concert was about two weeks before my due date. I’m still not sure how I waddled my way to that show, but I certainly got plenty of dancing space!

There is no better way to expose children to music than to introduce them to the live creation of it. To actually experience the formation of beautiful and complex melodies is a wonderful way to stimulate the senses of children and help cognitive and physical development. However, as important as it is to expose young ears to the gift of music, it’s even more important to protect those ears. The type of venue, music genre, the type of crowd, and the acoustics are important pieces of information to gather before you buy your tickets.


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Guest Post: Foodie Friday — Sunday Morning Bacon & Zucchini Frittata

perfect Sunday breakfast

perfect Sunday breakfast (click to enlarge)

According to Ben Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  Much as I’d like to believe that, I find bacon more reliable proof of divine benevolence.  Combined with the some good ingredients, patience, TLC, and the right soundtrack, that cured pork treat serves as the foundation of a perfect Sunday morning frittata. (More pics after the jump.)

The Setup

Put the White Album on the hi-fi, turn your oven to 350F, power up your espresso machine, park the little one(s) in front of a blank notebook and crayons, and begin prep.

The Ingredients

  • 4 slices of thick bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 4 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/8”-1/4” rounds (use the slicing disc on your food processor or a Japanese mandoline)
  • a handful of freshly-grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 8 organic brown eggs (six plus two egg whites)
  • lemon pepper
  • chili powder
  • tbsp of freshly-minced garlic
  • fresh-brewed double-shot Americano


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