January 23, 2012

Hats off to you, my son

You asked me for a hat to keep your head warm. It seemed a silly request considering that we live in warm, sunny San Diego but it’s been cold in the mornings lately (low 40′s!) and your little ears and head were feeling the brunt of the cold on our morning walks to the bus stop.

On my lunch break the other day, I stopped off at the local store and picked you and your sister up a knit hat for a whopping $4.01. Bargain. I was excited to bring it to you and you were equally excited to receive it. The first night, you slept with it on your cute little head and it was evident you were excited to wear your hat to school.

As I returned home from work after your first day at school with your new hat, I was eager to find out how the day had went. It was then that I received some news that made me hurt for you.

You tell me, “Some girls in my class made fun of my hat today, Daddy.”

I can see the sadness in your face and that you are struggling with the conflict between the love of your hat and the acceptance of your peers. I give you a hug and as I pull away I ask you if this made you sad. You nod yes with solemn eyes and I pull you close again, searching for a way to take away the hurt.

As I hold you in an embrace, I whisper into your ear, “Buddy, the important thing is that you love the hat. These girls are being mean and if you don’t wear this hat tomorrow to school, you are letting these girls – these haters – you are letting them win. It doesn’t matter what they think, buddy. We don’t make decisions based on what others think, okay?”

You pull away again and you nod. I’m not sure my talk has sunk in but we leave it be for the rest of the night. As I walk you to the bus the next morning, you carry the hat in your hand and I’m still unsure what you will do. As the bus comes, I lean down to give you a longer hug than usual and I whisper in your ear, “Don’t let the haters win.”

With that, you smile and turn to board the bus. As you walk on and find your seat I can see you sitting with your sister and your best friend. And as the bus pulls away I notice something that makes me smile.

You’re wearing the hat.

New Hats

January 15, 2012

The Evolution of a Blog Name

Back in the day, when this blog was very young, I naively called Swee’Pea and TheMonk by their real names. I never, in a million years, thought anyone outside of Grandparents would find what I had to say interesting. But they did. Before I knew it, I had strangers reading my blog and we knew then that we’d change their names on the blog. But to what? It came down to the nicknames that had organically come from us as we got to know the twins. Swee’Pea was one of the nicknames that Mommy used and TheMonk came from my nickname of Chunky Monkey as TheMonk was growing.

Fast forward six years and I knew that Baby #3 would need a blog name. So, rather than learn from the past, I attempted to create a name. M&M was used at first based on some letters in her name. But that didn’t sit with me. So then I used Special K – which was another nod to her name. But that wasn’t resonating with me either. And during this time, of course, organically derived nicknames began to emerge. And the one that seems to be used the most is Girly Girl. So, why fight it? From here on out, the baby will be known as GirlyGirl.

Unless, of course, we change our minds. ;-)

December 24, 2011

Jingle Bells, The Baby Smells…

Merry Christmas, everyone! May your holiday season be filled with love, friendship and lots of chocolate. From our family, to yours, have a very happy holiday.

I used to write a blog
About Swee’Pea & TheMonk
But then came #3
And now they’re in a funk, Boo Hoo Hoo
But Santa’s on his way
So we are being good
We tell Santa we love our sis
We’re just misunderstood!
Oh, Jingle Bells, The Baby Smells
But she’s here to stay
She only sleeps, eats and poops
But we love her anyway, hey!
At least three times a week
The baby cries at night
I haven’t slept a full 8 hours
And now I’m quite a sight
But they say this soon shall pass
When she’s not quite so new
Yes I’m tired, but it’s ok
At least it isn’t two!

December 18, 2011

Catching up

There are a few things I need to get you all caught up

First, if you recall, TheMonk and Swee’Pea had a fundraiser where they had a goal of selling 75 items to win the coveted runaway alarm clock. Well, we didn’t quite get to 75 but they did sell 27 items and were very happy with the collection of various swag they won. My favorite? The 5 foot bendable pencil. Who knew that we needed this pencil? Thank you to all of you who participated. Swee’Pea and TheMonk were very excited by the support they received.

Second, you may recall that I was involved in Movember – growing a mustache for cancer awareness and fundraising. I was part of a team of some great Dad Bloggers, led by my friend Doug at Laid Off Dad. Unfortunately, I had to shave my mustache just prior to the end of the month but I raised $170 and our team raised over $34,000 which included a match from Norelco. You can see some great videos of gentlemen shaving with Norelco razors here.

Third, it seems that the good people of Babble.com felt that this little corner of the blogosphere was one of the Top 50 Dad Blogs of 2011. I’m totally honored to be on the list and to see some of my old-skool dad bloggers on the list as well. If you want some great blogs to check out, do not miss this list. For an arguably better list, you can also check out the Top 100 Mom Bloggers of 2011. My cousin Maggie is #20 – a travesty, if you ask me.

Finally, this year we celebrated Christmahanukwanzaakah (what, you’re not familiar with this holiday?) by making our very own music video for Neil’s 6th Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert. If you scroll down, I’m 8th from the bottom, but there are some great videos on there – go and check them out.

That catches you up! Regularly scheduled programming to follow.

November 17, 2011

Furry Lips

I’m not a mustache kind of guy. I’ve been known to rock the goatee but a simple ‘stache is something that I have always avoided. But late last month, I got an email from my friend Doug, better known as Laid Off Dad, who implored every Dad Blogger he knew to grow a mustache and raise funds for men’s health – especially the issue of prostate cancer.

This hit home for a few reasons but particularly important to me was that I turned 40 this year. This means that I will now have to make regularly scheduled visits to my doc who will then, ahem, make sure I’m cancer free.

I have had many reactions to my mustache. Some are complimentary and some are downright brutal. But each one who has questioned me about my mustache has had to hear about how important it is for men to get checkups and ensure they are healthy. As a dad, I want to be there for my children. A little discomfort in the backside seems a small price to pay.

I do have two fans who have embraced my mustache. Swee’Pea and TheMonk, in fact, wanted to get in on the action. Here’s how their mustaches looked on day 10:

Swee'Pea and TheMonk 'stached

So, here’s where you get the pitch. If you would like to support my efforts and help 60 dad bloggers flex our collective muscle (myself notwithstanding) in the name of men’s health. If you would like to contribute something $1, $5, $10, $20 or whatever you can, please go to my Movember page by clicking here.

Thanks for your support. For your efforts, I have included a recent photo of me in all my mustachioed glory.

Furry lip

July 31, 2011

Eating Out at BlogHer ’11

The BlogHer 2011 conference is coming to San Diego.  When I attended this conference in Chicago two years ago, it was evident that people wanted to know where to eat and where to drink.  Well, since this is my hometown, I thought I’d write a little guide to some good food nearby.  And when you think of San Diego food you should think of Seafood and Mexican food.   That’s where I’m going to focus on.  But if you have any questions, hit me up and I’ll try and help.


The Oceanaire Seafood Room This is an upscale restaurant that has locations throughout the U.S.   The food is good and fresh and has a very robust menu with plenty of options ranging from oysters to lobster.  In fact, the specials vary due to the availability of fresh fish.  A complete wine menu is available and you can even call head to reserve a private group (which I know some enterprising BlogHer women would take advantage of!).

Address: 400 J Street
Walking time from hotel: 10 minutes.
Price: $$$  (Entrees range from $22 – $42)

Escape Fish Bar
This recently opened restaurant is small with a limited menu but the food is excellent.  The seafood is fresh and the sides are creative.  You can sit on the sidewalk cafe or inside.  Limited but good beer and wine selection.  Not great for a big group but perfect for a handful of friends looking for good seafood.  Try the Pumpkin Seed Slaw.

738 5th Avenue
Walking time from hotel: 10-15 minutes.
Price: $$  (Entrees range from $8 – $15)

Point Loma Seafoods If I was going to bring anyone from out of town to taste local seafood, this would be it.  Ambiance is out the window as this is more of a fish market than a restaurant.  However, they serve delicious seafood plates and sandwiches (I love the scallop sandwhich) for a great price.  You get your food on paper plates or wrapped in paper and you take your food to eat outdoors overlooking the marina.  The food is great but beware the seagulls!

Address: 2805 Emerson St
Walking time from hotel: Too far to walk quickly – 10-15 minutes by cab.
Price: $  (Entrees range from $8 – $12)


Since San Diego sits on the border of the Mexico, it’s only natural to steer you towards to good Mexican food.  Unfortunately, the really good food is usually a greasy hole in the wall and  not a sit down dinner in downtown San Diego.  However, I’ve thrown a couple downtown joints for convenience sake but you might have to travel to get some of the best stuff.

Las Cuatro Milpas This is a true hole-in-the-wall. It’s in the heart Barrio Logan, just south of downtown and the heart of the Mexican community. The food is authentic and delicious and cheap! Las Cuatro Milpas closes at 3:00 p.m. so it’s definitely a lunch location.

Address: 1875 Logan Ave (1.5 miles from the conference center)
Walking Time from Hotel: 15-20 (But this is towards the industrial part of San Diego and might be better to take a cab or the trolley)
Price: $

El Indio This restaurant was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  It’s a short cab-ride from downtown.  The food is good but the ambiance is straight diner/dive.  There is a nice outdoor eating area down the street and another across the street, so this is a “nice day” kind of place to eat.

Address: 3695 India Street
Walking time from hotel: Too far to walk quickly – 7-10 minutes by cab.
Price: $  (Entrees range from $8 – $10)

El Vitral I have not eaten here but I have visited the restaurant and it’s beautiful.  One wall creates a boundary for the park within Petco Park, home of the Padres.  The decor is beautiful and I hear the food is ok.  Yelp says the service can be s0-so but the real attraction for this restaurant is the Tequila bar.  Want a place to sample every tequila under the sun?  This is your place.

Address: 815 J Street
Walking time from hotel: 10-15 minutes
Price: $$  (Entrees range from $10 – $12)

Old Town I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Old Town.  There are several Mexican restaurants in Old Town San Diego which is a short cab ride from downtown.  There are a few restaurants along San Diego Avenue and Casa Guadalajara in the Bazaar Del Mundo which is a fun place to go with a small group.

Address: 4133 Taylor Street (Bazaar Del Mundo)
Walking Time from Hotel: Too far. 10 minute cab ride.
Price: $$


There are a couple of places that come to mind when it comes to indulging the sweet tooth. There’s Extraordinary Desserts and Ghiradelli Chocolate shop. I have pigged out in both.

Extraordinary Desserts This is one of the best dessert shops in San Diego. About a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel, it is totally worth it. They also have light food that is very stylish to go along with the out-of-this-world desserts. Go. You won’t be disappointed.

Address: 1430 Union Street
Walking Time from Hotel: 15-20 minutes.  Little over a mile.
Price: $$

Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop  This is for the pure chocoholics out there (you know who you are). Milk shakes, sundaes, and lots of chocolate.  Lots. Tons.

Address: 643 5th Ave
Walking Time from Hotel: 10 minutes
Price: $$

Other Places Nearby

Hard Rock Cafe The Hard Rock is minutes from the hotel, right across the street from the convention center.  With it’s roof top bar and two interior bars, there’s a lot to drink do.

Gaslamp Quarter Info The Gaslamp Quarter is the area surrounding the convention center.  This link will provide you with all the information of other restaurants, bars and wine bars.  Have fun!

February 16, 2010

How to raise a boy or “Point that thing down, son”

So my blogging pal Renee at But Why Mommy whose birthday, you may recall, we celebrated here a few months ago is about to adopt a beautiful baby boy named Lion and our mutual friend Issa (who I adore and you should too) thought it would be a great idea to throw her a virtual baby shower.  Seeing as how I’m probably the only guy that’s been invited to this party, I thought my gift should be to both Renee and her husband Scott about how raising a boy is different than raising a boy – and how it’s not.  So, happy adoption Renee and Scott! Lion will be lucky to have you.


Raising a boy in this day and age is a challenge. On one hand, you want your son to be strong and confident enough that he doesn’t get his butt kicked out on the playground on a regular basis. On the other hand, you want your son to move beyond age-old stereotypes of caveman-like proportions. This means letting your son dress up in his sister’s princess gowns and try on fingernail polish whenever he gets the urge. It also means letting him play with dolls and fire trucks and dolls with fire trucks.

Raising a boy means you will have to answer questions Lots of questions. Some of these questions you will know the answer to and some you will have to make up. This includes questions like “How fast is that race car, Daddy?” or “Why do boys have penises and girls have vaginas?” or “Why do you keep saying, Sssshhhh?!” Questions. Be ready.

Raising a boy means messier meal times and a totally different rule book than the one you started creating for your lovely daughter. Rules that made your daughter cringe in fear will be laughed at by your son.

Raising a boy means really boring outfits. Remember all those incredibly cute outfits you couldn’t help but purchase for your little girl? Yeah, those don’t exist for boys. The biggest thrills you will get shopping for your son is deciding between jeans and corduroy pants.

Raising a boy means longer potty-training battles (“Point that thing down, son. Down! I SAID DOWN!!”). It also means dodging streams of pee shooting toward your face when changing his diapers. It will happen. Let’s hope your reflexes are up to the challenge.

Raising a boy means teaching him how treat the women in his life and the responsibility that holds. It means showering him with love and affection from both dad and mom so he has balance in his life when he goes out into the world. It means teaching him to express his anger with words, not with his fists.

Finally, raising a boy isn’t all that different than raising a girl. Love him and hold him close to your heart every day of your life. In the end, that’s enough.

November 18, 2009

It’s a good thing I lost over 15 pounds

So I had a bet.

This bet, you may recall, was a six week bet with my friend Tania over at Chicky Chicky Baby to see who could lose the greatest percentage of weight. Forty-two days of starvation and painful exercise. And for approximately 37 of those days, I was kicking Tania’s butt. I was certain I was going to win. I knew that there was no way she could make up the ground that she’d need. After all, she’d only lost 8 pounds in 37 days. How could she possibly lose 3.5 pounds in five days? Not likely. Especially since she was ready to throw in the towel on day 37 because of a “broken toe” and a “head cold.” I had this in the bag.

I forgot one simple thing. The woman is as stubborn as an elderly mule.

So this morning, when I weighed in for the final time, I was greeted with 15.5 pounds of weight loss. I emailed that info to Tania and waited for her reply. I imagined the joy I would have in winning our bet and goading her into showing her spandex-clad self in all its glory.

But then I received her email. 11.5 pounds. A quick calculation determined that I had lost 8.18% of my body weight. She had lost 8.24%. She won. By .06%. I think my reply to her email was something like this…


So, being the good sport that I am, I went to the local Nike Outlet store and purchased me some spandex. And this evening I took a few photos while I worked out. And I would like it to be known that I could have wimped out and posted me out of focus or curled up in a ball but that’s not how I roll. Also, I wanted to show me in all my spandex glory because that’s the way our good friend Anissa would want it. So here it is. For Tania and for Anissa… Me rocking the spandex.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

November 17, 2009

Free Anissa

Earlier today, spurred by the recent discussion on Twitter about blogging for money and bloggers disclosing their income, I got a little fed up at the blogging community.  I was longing for the day when blogging was purely about sharing a passion with whoever wanted to read it.  I was longing for the day when making a simple connection with another blogger who happened to live in another part of the country, or even world, was cause for joy.  I was longing for the time when blogging was simply about creating community and supporting each other in our common crusades.

And then, out of the blue, I heard that a fellow blogger had suffered a stroke.  Anissa is one of the few bloggers that I have met in real life.  We met at BlogHer and her infectious personality and winning smile drew me to her like a moth to a flame.  I have admired her strength as a mother as she chronicled her daughter’s bout with cancer and I have laughed at her zany sense of humor that often borders on obscene.  She’s genuine and real and well-loved.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  I follow a little under 1,ooo people on Twitter and it seems almost all of them tonight are sending Anissa prayers and support.  I have seen several references to blog posts regarding Anissa’s condition and I am suddenly reminded that the blogging community is still there for one another.  And today, I want to be there for Anissa.

I ache for her and her family.  I’m sure her husband Peter is struggling with untold emotions.  I’m sure her children are scared for their mother.  I feel helpless being across the country but I know that we can help in some small ways.  Tomorrow, I’m told, the ladies at Aiming Low (Anissa was the creator of this blog) will be setting up a P.O. Box for people to send gift cards to support Anissa.  Right now they are asking for restaurant gift cards, movie and video rental gift cards (for the kids), and even hotel and gas gift cards so Anissa’s family can be supported as they travel to Atlanta.

Please keep Anissa in your thoughts and prayers.  She is a wonderful woman with a family who loves and needs her.  And she has a fellowship of friends who love her and need her too.  If you would like to help, please visit Aiming Low for more details.

October 25, 2009

Cancer Sucks

A few weeks ago, a fellow Daddy Blogger, Hank from Shotgun Daddy, whom I have known for several years now, approached me about a story he felt warranted attention.  The story was of Jalen, a handsome, bright, athletic young teen who just happens to be battling cancer.  As I read about Jalen’s journey, my heart got caught in my throat and tears welled in my eyes.  I pictured this brave boy battling this awful disease and felt so helpless knowing how scary this must be for him.  You see, Jalen has seen this before.  His 4 year old sister, Breanna, died of a brain tumor when Jalen was nine.  That’s right. Jalen’s parents are now facing another battle with cancer with another of their beautiful children.  I cannot even imagine the emotions that those parents must be feeling.  My heart aches for this family.

As you may know, this month is Cancer Awareness month.  Most of us know someone who’s been afflicted with cancer.  Some have survived.  Others have not.  Cancer sucks.  But it seems most unfair when it’s children who are expected to battle this awful disease.  They deserve more.

So, I am asking you to learn more about Jalen’s story at his family’s blog, Jalen’s Journey.  Send him words of encouragement and let him know that we are all rooting for  him.  You can also send a donation to Jalen’s family via the blog but that’s not the reason I’m writing about this.  I’m writing because 13 year old boys shouldn’t have to worry if they’ll live long enough to drive.  And parents shouldn’t have to go through the terrible fear of losing a child – let alone two.

Cancer sucks.  Let’s beat this thing.  Let’s find a cure for Breanna and Jalen and everyone you and I have known who has been afflicted by this awful disease.  Too many of our babies are dying.

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