Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: Hey Frank – It’s Ryder Cup Week!

Around here we love golf.  So it goes without saying that Ryder Cup week is one of our favorites.

Every two years the best 12 players from the United States go head to head with the best 12 players from Europe.  The home country alternates every two years.  It’s at Medinah County Club outside of Chicago this year.  This is an old tournament.  They’ve been playing is since 1927.  It was viewed as a friendly exhibition for the most part, until 1991. That year the Ryder Cup was held at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.  Dubbed War by the Shore it was the first time the matches were televised on a major network.  NBC showed all three days of the tourney and they got a good one.

The tournament just happened to be the weekend after a majority of the troops returned home from Desert Storm, and a wave of US nationalism swept over the tournament setting.  It got a little ugly, which is unseemly for golf but great for TV.  Some of the players wore camouflaged golf hats to honor the troops and some Euros, as well as some on the American team, felt that was over the top.  It’s just golf.  So it got a little contentious.  That Ryder Cup is the reason ESPN now shows every minute from Thursday morning to Sunday night.  The War by the Shore also made the tourney much more than an exhibition.  It went from a friendly, as the Euros would say, to a heated rivalry. Instead of being a nice diversion from the regular season on the PGA tour every two years, it became an honor and privilege to represent your country or continent in the Ryder Cup.

Thanks to some great friends and my brother-in-law Brad, I had the chance to go the Ryder Cup matches in 2008 at Valhalla Country Club in Louisville KY.  I had never been to a pro golf event so I was wide eyed the entire weekend.  It was a huge production and a great time.  The US won that year which only added to the awesome.

This year is better for two reasons.  For one the golf is better all the way around.  Today’s matches were a clinic on putting and course management.  But even better, Frank watched about 3 hours with me today and new kid decided to sleep on me through most of the morning round TV coverage.  Of course they were both sporting the colors and getting into the spirit of the thing.

Frank’s ready for a Ryder Cup beat down of the Euros

Anne Marie (new kid) is ready too. USA! USA! USA!











Now AM can’t watch because TV is off limits to her for quite a while.  With her early eye issues and her brian still developing the last thing we need is to have her hard wiring programmed by the Golf Channel.  Or is it?  Hmmm.  No no no I can’t.  But how cool would that be, just plug her brain pan into some Tiger Woods highlight footage and create the ultimate golfer.  Yeah, no I can’t.

I’ll just have to do it the hard way; with hard work on the range.  Frank got the best of both worlds though.  He would watch the golf channel for a few hours while I got the house work done.  Now he’s three and has a pretty good swing and he still likes watching it on TV with me.  That’s pretty much the definition of a win-win in my book.

Not bad for a lefty using right handed clubs.

Doin work. Nice finish. That one went about 12 yards in the air, right in the mayor’s office (straight).












Frank really has taken to the game and I can’t help wondering if it was his saturation to the golf channel that moved things along.  My hope is Anne Marie will  catch on to Franks love of the game and we’ll be hitting the links when she turns 3 as well.

Until then she’ll just have to have her back to the TV and wonder what in the world Frank and I are cheering or complaining or acting so nuts about.

Post practice lunch in the “Golf House” as Frank calls it.











Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: Baby update and pictures!

It’s been a little while since I tossed out a medical update on kid#2, aka Anne Marie.  This will be the last such update.  You’ll still see more pictures than you probably wanted to see, I just won’t be doing any more medical updates.  A lot of reasons for that, the most obvious being she is doing great, fat as a prize pig at the fair, and almost ready to crawl and get her first tooth.  So here is the last medical update for one Anne Marie, 1 pound baby.

We’ve had several follow up visits this past week.  The first was a trip back to the NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UT Medical.  The visit was actually in an office on another floor of the hospital.  The three people that saw AM were amazed at her size, head control, her ability to rollover and the way she knocked back her formula.  That visit didn’t last long as far as AM was concerned, but the midicos who checked out AM were regulars in the NICU.  They were on day shift apparently because I didn’t know them, but Tracy did and they took a trip down memory lane.

Once that was done we went up to the NICU to visit some new friends.  We never made it past the admin desk.  Nurses were coming out of the woodwork to see the kid.  She was a rock star.  Even the doc who initially handled Linda Claire came out to say hello.  He was pretty psyched to see how well AM was doing.  It was a good visit all around.

Next up was Pediatric Pulmonology.   All good there too.  Last apnea/heart event was 20 August.  If she keeps that up she’ll shed the monitor in late October.  It was our second visit, and when I say our I mean just me and AM.  Frank was at school and the misses was out earning the bacon.  Of the many things Tracy has taught me, being my own advocate when it comes to medical issues has been one of the most valuable.  Now if I could somehow recall the lesson on tact my buddy and former boss Chris taught me there would be one less male nurse practitioner crying right now.

The kid gained over a pound since our last visit, that’s 16oz for y’all without a handy measurement converter.  So Dr. Vinnie-Boom-Bots says he might be putting her back on 24 calorie formula if she doesn’t start growing more, he wanted to see a half ounce a day. I let him stew on that math for a second.  It was 28 days since they weighed her last.  She gained 16.8 ounces over that time.  Simply dividing 16.8 by 28 gets you .6 ounces a day.  It has a technical term too, now what was that… oh yeah MORE THAN A HALF OUNCE A DAY.  Or you could just accept that gaining 1/2 ounce every day for 30 days (a standard earth month), would net you 15 ounces.  So the fact that she gained over a pound or 16.8 ounces from the visit last month you should know she was ahead of the 1/2 ounce a day weight gain.  I mean do I have to graph this for Dr. Killmequick?  He finally got it but then tried to blabber something to cover up.

Back up Dr. Spock, the NICU docs and our own pediatrician want AM to just stay on the growth arc she currently inhabits.  He seemed a little offended when I didn’t regard his advice with the proper amount of respect, which means none, I paid it no respect at all. My questions about his thought process from that moment on then got him the rest of the way offended.  Then he says AM may not qualify for the RSV vaccination.  I said bro, my wife’s company makes that plus your colleague from the last visit already scheduled her to get it.   The guy was just a big negative nancy.  We just went 4 months in a glass box, we don’t do negative, it’s bad for business.  So I just gave placating nods from then on and called Tracy  on the way home. She moved in for the kill.  She called the office and we won’t be seeing Doc McStuffins again.

On to the pediatrician.  That was today.  The kid is a porker.  Now tipping the scales at 11 pounds 13 ounces and taping at 23.2 inches.  She’s about 50th percentile in those two categories for y’all scoring at home.  Although that would be on the adjusted age scale. Her melon on the other hand is at 41 cm and hitting 76% on the actual age scale.  Our doc thinks she looks great and doesn’t believe she’ll need much if any physical therapy. We’re also starting some rice cereal tomorrow.

Did I mention other than when I intervene she is sleeping through the night?

So that’s the tale of the tape.  All is good and it’s full steam ahead.  Here’s a few pictures of fatty and her brother.

Here’s looking at you kid.

Bath time. Who farted?

Look pop, no hands!

Ok, you got me. I farted.

I think mommy stole this swing from the NICU.

Too cool for school: Scholastic Printables

Once upon a time Tracy and I thought about home schooling Frank. Yeah, all right, I though about doing it. I honestly thought I could just bust open my old college text books and get busy. I mean a lot of people at that time in my college life thought I was an adolescent and yet I made it through Calculus III and Physics. So I figured all I needed to do was crack the old text books, sit Frank down and get to work.

I did some serious research and found some great sites with better alternatives than me hammering out lessons from my old text books. Turns out there is an easier way. First of all we sent him to school. That was way easier. But Scholastic Printables had the stuff if we decided to keep Frank home. I checked out their math stuff and it’s pretty tight.

Take a look for yourself here:4th grade math worksheets

Scholastic Printables provides access to over 15,000 teaching worksheets and printable resources for students from Pre-K to 8th grade. Their Printable Worksheets
offer a wide range of topics to cover all subjects nad themes throughout the school year, while supplying everything you need to teach an integrated curriculum.
Their printables can be used for in class curriculums, home schooling, or enhancing and complementing children’s education before and after school.

Don’t go it alone man, seek help.

Smart is good.

Vapor cigarettes – are you kidding me!?!

What is a v2cig? Well to put it bluntly it’s a smokeless cigarette with zero tar and even better, no smoke smell. v2cigs.com has the best electronic cigarettes as well as the best vapor cigarettes.

Now I’ve never tried a regular cigarette let alone a vapor or a smokeless one. So how can I say v2cigs.com has the best? Well I go by the reviews and the endorsements from national companies that do try this stuff.

But like I tell everybody, do your own research. The v2cigs.com web site is easy to navigate and of course they advertise their #1 ranking as the best electronic cigarette in America. They have the data to back it up.

Go read at v2cigs.com

Smart is good.

Healthy is better.

Technical Difficulties at Frank’s Place


The last post y’all got bombarded with had some technical issues.   It was a lack of payment from a supposed advertiser.  The post was removed and my kneecap re-arranger was dispatched to “work out” the difficulties.  

Sorry for leading you all on a little goose chase.

My bad.



Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: Never wake a sleeping baby – cause they can’t do math.

Infants can’t do math.  Who knew.  I would have thought being born 3 1/2 months early would have given her a head start on all the other kids in the telling time department, but I guess not.

So the kid is sleeping from 9:30pm to about 6am.  Pretty good really.  For some reason I felt we could do better.

I know.  I know.

My big plan went a little something like this: If she’s eating at 8:30pm and sleeping from 9:30 to 5:30ish the next morning, it would seem by changing her diaper and feeding her at 11pm, right before I go to bed, ought to cause her to sleep till 7 or 8am.  It was a nugget of parenting genius.  It took me a few nights to get up the nerve to try it.  Every time I went into her room and saw her sawing lumber, the voice of former co-worker popped into my head; “Don’t believe all the crap you read about parenting these days.  Never wake a sleeping baby.”

You know what, she was right.  Disaster does not begin to describe what took place at 11pm Wednesday night when I finally decided to test my little sleep/wake time continuum theory.  Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it now.  If it was successful, I would have called it something else.

It started off so well.  I go in, scoop her out of the crib for a quick, pit crew like diaper change.  Then off to the Chair of Nourishment for what will hopefully be 4 to 6 ounces of liquid sleep.  Cruising along through ounce #3 and I hear and then feel a rumble from down under.  She whacked her diaper pretty hard.  She’s not drinking anymore till it’s changed so it’s back to the pit for a change.  Smiling and a little laughing.  Not good. She’s too awake and engaged.  Hoping the formula will help her hit the snooze button.

New butt sack and it’s back to the Chair of Nourishment.  A few minutes in and her face goes a little red.  Then my leg gets a little warm.  I’m thinking it can’t be.  Then she grunts and I can hear the fireworks going off.  Diaper #3 in the last 10 minutes.  She’s wide awake now.  This is starting to spiral out of control.  Her legs are moving like she’s standing on hot coals.  And there goes her foot into the dirty diaper that I didn’t move far enough away whilst I applied the new one.  It hits the deck.  Thankfully it fell business side up, so Herb, no clean up on aisle 7.  I say again no clean up on aisle 7.

There is, however, clean up on foot #1.  It now is more like a runaway fire hose at full pressure.  I can’t catch it and it’s contaminated.  This could escalate to a level 5 haz-mat event if I can’t corral it.  Since this is not my first rodeo, I manage to get the situation under control.  Now I have to re-affix her heart monitor leads as they came loose in the mini wrestle-mania undercard bout we just had.

Got all that done, it’s midnight but the plan can still be saved.  That is until the heart rate monitor wires knock the plastic box of wipes off the changing table and they explode on the floor in a way that causes every last one to fly out of the box.  There are wipes everywhere.  The only thing covering the ground more than the Pampers Wet Wipes, non-scented type, are the vulgarities falling out of my mouth.  This kid’s first words could be surprising.  Well, it’ll be surprising to everyone else.  I’ll feign the look of surprise, but the first time she speaks and calls someone or something a filthy so and so, color me un-fazed.

Anyway I got the wipes spill under control and it was back to the bottle.  She was not really interested at this point.  But she was wide awake.  After about ten minutes she wanted to eat again.  She let me know this by splitting my ear drum with a scream that would make Helen Keller look.  By this time her reflux had revved up so she could only take about two or three swallows at a time.  Took about 20 minutes for her to get enough of the bottle.

This is what should have happened.

Still wide awake though.   New diaper, food , and going to bed later should equal sleeping the same 8 hours, just at a later time.  In other words now she should sleep from 11pm to at least 7am.  How is she not understanding this?  It’s simple math.

Now she’s not sleeping at all.  She wants to laugh at me.  The plan has fallen apart.  It’s survival time.  Got to get her to bed.  It’s approaching 1:30 in the am.  Need to get her to sleep.  She’s not having it.  After 30 plus minutes of rocking she nods off, but only lightly.  Too bad – she’s going in, nothing I can do to stop that now.  I put her in the crib and leave without looking back.  It’s 2:15.  Surprisingly she is quiet when I finally crawl into bed.  After ten minutes she finds her voice again.  Tracy, a saint among saints, mercifully gets up to deal with AM.  Tracy had been chuckling since I came back into the room.  She heard my tapestry of profanity and got tickled.

This is what actually happened.

Tracy is back in bed by 2:45 and the kid is sound asleep.  Turns out the kid wanted more bottle.  Oh well.  Tracy says at least she should sleep late.  No way.  She’s getting up at 5am just to stick it in my shorts.  I can tell.

5:15 and Im back in the room feeding the kid.  At 5:30 Frank, the other kid, decides it’s time to get up.  This plan could not have gone to hell any more than if it took a limo.

No idea what I was thinking.

Never wake a sleeping child – they can’t do math.

Off Topic: A good read.

This is from my buddy Mike Hamilton, former Athletic Director at the University of Tennessee, now President of Blood: Water Mission operations in the United States.


He just started blogging and is off to a great start.  I mentioned him in a previous post titled You may be missing out.  You can find him here http://tackledandsifted.com/  This story was worth reposting in it’s entirety.  Enjoy.

Please Read My Dam Blog

Posted on September 18, 2012 by 


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog for Blood:Water Mission to bring attention to a significant need in Northern Kenya. Water is life and folks in Northern Kenya are in a desperate search for water daily…daily. I hope you will read about the need and will join us in this fight at www.bloodwatermission.com/giveadam.

I distinctly remember the crunchy crust of dried silt under my feet, the decaying carcass of a dead baby goat, the whipping hot wind and the feel of desperation as I surveyed the empty reservoir.

I asked the question of where the water is and when it comes, will this silt simply become mud and ultimately limit the amount of water available for use? Why was no one excavating the silt to prevent that? Where were the animals getting their water? Where were the people getting their water? Where is life here and what does the future hold?

These, among others were the thoughts and questions as I led a group of friends, Blood:Water Mission staff and board members and an ABC television crew from the US into this vast desert in Northern Kenya in January, 2011.

What I learned was that this area was in the 15th month of what would ultimately be a 25 month drought. The drought would bring worldwide attention to neighboring Somalia but not so much to this region of Kenya. In fact, as I shared with new acquaintances in Nairobi of our trip to Torbi and the Marsabit region, I received quizzical looks and questions like “Why would you go there, Kenyans don’t even go there?”

This is an arid region with approximately 160,000 nomadic residents located across thousands of miles of rocky, desert soil. There is little to no vegetation. The primary food source consists of a mixture of camel blood and camel milk with the occasional dried meat from a dead animal. Life is hard here. The people of Torbi are proud pastoralists. They have for years lived in this area and value their heritage, their animals and their families. As with every area of the world, water is life- but perhaps even more so here. When your animals are your livelihood and represent your total net worth they must have water. When you personally have such scarce access to food, you must have water. I met people who traveled 6 miles for water and people who traveled 35 miles for water…..35 miles for water.

There is hope. The rains came. As I returned this summer to Torbi, we were met at the landing strip by a large group of men. These same men were not present a year ago as they were gone from the village in a desperate search for water for their livestock and their families. We visited rain tanks installed by Blood:Water Mission and our partners that were used to store water provided by the Kenyan government during the drought.They are now full from the rain. We visited boreholes provided by Blood:Water as well that will eventually provide additional help when funding for more infrastructure is complete. And finally, we visited the dam. Water is in the reservoir. The water is non-potable. However, locals bring their animals and when they do- they also bring yellow jerricans for filling for their own consumption as well. Groups of animals are queued up out into the desert waiting their turn. There is a system and order and hope.

What’s next? The needs for human consumption remain real. So, this year Blood:Water Mission will work with our local partners and build a dam….for $75,000. That’s not much when you consider that 3000 residents of the region will now have a clean, reliable source for drinking water. And when you have that, you avoid disease and diarrhea. You have sustenance, you have life.

We need your help. Will you help us build this dam? Will you give a dam?