Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Conserve water. Bathe with the family.

Santa Cruz is heading for the driest rainy season since 1976-77. In fact, most of the west is heading for a desert wonderland. Sure it's beautiful here, and we pay for paradise living coast (regardless of the value nose dive), but unless water conservation continues, development kept in check, and desalination becomes a reality, we will live in a beautiful coastal desert.

That may be an exaggeration; I hope it is. However, the State of California's proposed Recycled Water Policy starts with this:

"California is facing an unprecedented water crisis. The collapse of the Bay-Delta ecosystem, climate change and continuing population growth have combined with a severe drought on the Colorado River and failing levees in the Delta to create a new reality that challenges California's ability to provide the clean water needed for a healthy environment, a healthy population and a healthy economy, both now and in the future."

Thankfully one of my neighbors and fellow homeowner association board members works for a local eco-friendly, environmental landscape consulting services, and many other cool regulatory land compliance things (that I don't fully understand), firm – Allterra (Allterra Environmental, Inc.).

He did some research for our development and came up with these numbers:

  • We use approximately 775 gallons per day for watering our "drought resistant" plants (holy crap)
  • A rough estimate for our annual development's water use is 45,600 gal/yr x 15 homes = 699,000 gal/yr
  • Conversely, one storm can dump 18,000 gallons of rainwater on our community
  • In an average year, over 550,000 gallons of rainwater falls on our community (we used 280,000 gallons for landscaping in 2008)
  • 600 gallons of rainwater falls off our rooftop in one large storm
  • Nearly 18,000 gallons of rainwater drain off our rooftop in one year

Although his suggestions to conserve water were specific to our development, there still pertinent to share for any neighborhood in the west:

Automatic Sprinklers

  • Make sure the rain-sensor is activated
  • Make sure the sprinklers are off during rainy periods
  • Make sure the sprinklers are directed toward plants (not sidewalks)

Rain Gutter Downspouts

  • Direct downspouts into flower beds (not directly into storm drains)
  • Utilize rainwater collection tanks (they can be connected to garden hoses or drip systems) – check out Rainwater HOGs

Landscaping

  • Plant native species, which are typically more drought resistant than non-native
  • Grass lawns require massive water and should be replaced the lawn with landscaping that requires less water

Earthworks

  • Simple berms and dikes can be used to direct water runoff away from storm drains and into planter beds
  • Adding French drains or drain rock water collection areas would enhance drainage
  • Benefits include lower irrigation water costs and a reduction of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution from surface runoff

So after all this sobering and insightful information, we took a family bath. Good times.

Rubber Ducky, you're so fine

And I'm glad that you're mine

Rubber Ducky I'm awfully fond of…

Rubber Ducky I'd like a whole pond of…

Rubber Ducky I'm awfully fond of you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Male friendship: It’s okay to be an emotive switch hitter

It all started with a cassette tape of Cheap Trick music in 7th grade. We've been friends ever since.

Our extended network of friendships since has had its share of ebb and flow, but there's still a core group of us that still get together every year to rock and talk and walk the walk of adult men with responsibilities and families.

And create witty new inside-baseball catch phrases like: Are you sure you haven't done this before?

No, I can't tell you what that means, although I'm sure my lovely wife would tell you it hovers somewhere around leftover 7th grade sensibility wrapped in foil and left in the frig to fossilize.

Good times. Friendships 30 years in the making. I love these guys.

According to the experts, that love varies dramatically from that of women friends; Women relate "face-to-face" and men relate "side-to-side." The major difference being that women share more intimacy and are more supportive of each other than men. Men share by doing with another, but are less intimate and supportive. Male affection has been called "covert"—razzing and backslapping, indirect signs of intimacy, may be quintessential expressions of brotherly love. Razzing and backslapping are two things we do quite well.

Certainly there's a whole body of research around the evolutionary and biological differences between men and women. Men's immune systems are weaker and testosterone reduces the effects of oxytocin, which has a calming effect on the body, allowing women to better nurture their relationships while men battle with fight or flight.

Gentlemen, we really must drink more oxytocin shakes with our mates. Really. It's not called the hormone of love on friendship alone.

But our group of friends push beyond the boundaries of scientific stereotype; we share by doing and razzing but aren't afraid of intimacy and being supportive of one another as well. It's okay to talk about a crazy family member and provide counsel. It's okay to talk about falling down and the epiphanies of fatherhood. It's okay to give each other a hug when needed. It's okay to watch Mama Mia and sing along –

Oh, that's just me. Thanks for reminding me guys. See how supportive they are?

Friendships like this are vital for our longevity and are great models for the daddies in the group to share with their children. Tell them it's okay to be an emotive switch hitter.

Are you sure you haven't done this before?


Mommy's alright,

Daddy's alright,

They just seem a little weird

Surrender, surrender,

But don't give yourself away…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope: the joy of awakening to possibility

I awoke abruptly this morning from a dream: we were in an auditorium – me, Mama and Bea. Mama held Bea on her lap while sitting up a row a half dozen seats from me. I stood smiling at them. Maybe it was a church. Or opening night at a theater. There could've been a large cross that hung somewhere beyond the stage or a backdrop of a city or a countryside. I don't remember now. Well-dressed but nondescript folk milled around, some sitting and talking, some in confident reverence. We were waiting. Waiting for something. What, I don't know. What I felt, and what I knew, was hope.

Hope and responsibility. That's really what I felt as I lay there in my bed, my wife next to me, my child in the bassinet next to her. It was a powerful feeling, as if everything was going to be all right, as if everything always worked out, no matter how long it took to get there, overcoming personal obstacles and global ones.

There was also a secure feeling of community, a sense of being bound to the other like blood. But there was also foreboding; hecklers hissed from balcony, just audible enough to hear like ruptured gas line. Something burned.

I woke and slid from bed, Mama feeding Bea in the bed. I went downstairs. They went back to sleep.

The sun rose. The world awoke in the west. It was an inspirational day today. I watched some of the inauguration with Beatrice this morning while Mama got ready for work. We enjoyed the pomp and circumstance – Bea the pomp, me the circumstance. Then when she went down for her morning nap, I watched President Obama's inaugural address online with the CNN/Facebook live interface, updating status and tweeting away about the speech.

It was moving, but there's a lot of work to be done and skeptics abound. The new president may be a great writer and orator, but can he lead us out of this new millennium oblivion? I believe he and his administration can, although it remains to be seen how much true change we'll see in this great nation in the near term.

However, the joy of awakening to possibility, to connect with millions we've never met in common cause, to believe in the dream of responsibility and service to each other and country, is why I'm proud to be an American.

I read MLK's dream speech yesterday for the first time since high school, and was moved to tears. Someday I'll read it to Bea, along with Lincoln's inaugural address, FDR's, Kennedy's, even Reagan's and Clinton's, and Barack Obama's as well.

God bless you, Mr. President. My family is ready for service.

(Here's a great post on 7 Online Things To Do To Help Obama Restore America.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The things we do for love (and the things we don’t)

This morning I slept in until 6:30. Whoopee. Anytime I get up early, which is every time, I have grand designs of doing a gazillion personal and/or work tasks before Mama and Bea wake up.

At 6:40 this morning, Mama called out from upstairs:

"Sweetie."

That is my calling card. Grand designs set aside, I traipse upstairs to see my family.

Mama says, "Can you take her?"

That means Mama needs more time in bed and Bea is awake, kicking her legs and staring wide-eyed into the darkness of the room. I comply and carry my little bundle of joy downstairs.

After reading her 10 Little Ladybugs, Beatrice was content sitting in my lap, so I pick up our latest copy of Parenting and read a very interesting article titled Mad at Dad. The article is all about how dad isn't playing ball when it comes to equal parenting and taking care of baby or kid (or multiples thereof).

Not a shocker to many mothers and wives out there. I just didn't realize that it was still so prevalent. I forget that I'm not like most fathers. That doesn't mean I that Mama doesn't do most the baby care right now, because she does and told me so when we discussed this article. But I'm still very involved and help elsewhere around the house, without incident (usually).

Quick to self – when things are not going right and Mama needs to have a meltdown, don't ask her if she broke the cabinet she just slammed. Not the kind of support she's looking for.

According the Parenting article:

Life for women may be better in many ways than it's ever been, but we're far from whistling show tunes. According to Parenting's nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 mothers on MomConnection, an online panel of moms, the majority of us confess to feeling anger at surprising levels.

46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more. Those with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54 percent). About half of the moms describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it's "deep and long-lasting."

Wow. Here's why:

  • Many moms -- 44 percent -- are peeved that dads often don't notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids.
  • Lots of moms -- 40 percent -- are also angry that their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids.
  • 40% of moms are mad that Dad can't multitask.
  • 31% of moms say their husbands don't help with the chores -- in fact, they generate more.
  • 33% of moms say their husbands aren't shouldering equal responsibility and are less concerned than they are about their children's basic needs, like nutrition and clothing.
  • 50% of moms tell us their husbands get more time for themselves.
  • 60% of moms don't tell their friends what they're going through, or they make light of it.

That last one surprised me, because research that I was familiar with always revealed that women are better at talking straight with their friends and maintaining a larger, and deeper, network of friends.

So daddies, we're killing our mommies (unless they kill us first). Anger is deadly. It breeds resentment and depression and according to the article:

When you're mad, your body floods with adrenaline. If you're often angry, you might lose your ability to produce a hormone that blunts adrenaline's worst effects. You can also weaken your heart, harden your arteries, raise your cholesterol, damage your kidneys and liver, and put yourself at risk for depression or anxiety. It's no wonder that some scientists consider chronic anger more likely to kill you prematurely than smoking or obesity.

Anger and resentment road leads to nowheresville, daddy-o. Been down there a time or two myself. Mommies and Daddies alike – work with each other and own the moment when it comes to your relationships and your families.

Later this morning I went on a run, and at the end of it Amy surprised me pushing Bea along the water, and then we walked back to the car together. The last song on my run was The Things We Do For Love by 10CC, one of our favorites.

How apropos.

A compromise would surely help the situation

Agree to disagree, but disagree to part

Well after all it's just a compromise

For the things we do for love

Friday, January 16, 2009

We can own each moment, make it ours and hold God’s attention

I've been teaching myself drumming for about two years now. It's nothing too serious, just the rudiments and a little independence. I don't have a drum kit – just sticks, a practice pad, practice pedals, some print and DVD lessons, a Casio drum machine and a subscription to Modern Drummer.

Independence has been an exercise that extends beyond the ability to play different beats with all four limbs, all while keeping measured time. It's helped activate parts of my Cro-Magnon frontal lobes that have allowed me to truly multi-task – to remain fused in the moment while simultaneously managing multiple tasks, at work and at home.

And that's a good thing when you have a baby in the family. Three may be the magic number, but from what I remember from high school chemistry, it can be a weaker bond. You can challenge my chemistry knowledge, although where I'm going is the added stress and strain children can put on the family – emotionally and financially.

Bea's only 4 months old. Keeping measured time with a 4-month-old has been a pleasure for both Mama A and Daddy K. But what about at 4 years old? 14? 40 (if I'm lucky to live so long)? I'm in it to win it as they say and each day is a lovefest of mindful living. That's one thing to apply at home, but quite another to apply at work.

It takes more than mindful living and loving to raise a family; it takes money as well. And working hard to make ends meet can take its toll on families. I work in the human capital space where workforce management is now the instability of those two words, especially with the unemployment horror that continues to rise across the U.S. It's unprecedented the economic atom-splitting we're seeing unfold day after day. I was listening to an NPR: Planet Money podcast the other day about how single woman with two kids in Dayton, Ohio, learned of her proofreading job's demise via e-mail shortly after she learned there would be no more coffee offered in the office. End of job with no prospects in sight.

That's what you call devastating work/life imbalance and just one of a million stories we'll hear this year. It's a scary time for families, but for those who have stable employment, work/life balance is a misnomer anyway; it's much more fluid and organic than that; we don't really balance our time. Plus, times like these can feel like a violent storm crashing us upon the rocks; time is the enemy. We're fortunate to have stable employment, but no one predicted the world we'd be in today, the perfect storm leaving many folks' time in shambles.

But then we can also experience the little perfect storms that can wash away the sun for a day with a blown out diaper. And then a peeing baby without a diaper. And then a leaking bag of cat litter. And then a sick nanny. And then a wailing on-the-cusp teething baby being handled by Daddy with no more finesse than Blagojevich's denial of wrongdoing. All the while with clients asking for more for less, and needing it yesterday.

All I kept thinking is how much we love each other and Bea (sans the cursing and kicking).

My parents gave me Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado for Christmas. Wonderful book. Here's something that caught my eye the other day:

Unhappiness on earth cultivates a hunger for heaven. By gracing us with a deep satisfaction, God holds our attention.

We all just want to be happy and fight ourselves tooth and nail all the way, by focusing on what happens to us, breaking our attention and missing a beat.

Which brings me back to drumming and one concept I'm fascinated by – driving time. Driving time and owning it. Drummers are the backbone of a band's rhythm (along with the bass), and are called upon to keep the measured time moving along. But real life isn't like a metronome; drummers can also drive time while keeping it. They can slow it down and speed it up – push out on it and suck it back in as if it was their own breath – forming a symbiotic relationship with it – dancing solo with it like one's shadow – but still keep the beat unfettered or from becoming painful booms and crashes. We have a heart, mind and soul, and four limbs, to keep us grounded in fluid measures, aware of now.

So much is out of our hands; so much is in our hands. We can own each moment, make it ours and hold God's attention.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The B tantrum classic – “Not the mama, not the mama!”

A couple of months ago we were going for stroll/hike with little Bea up at Henry Cowell State Park, and right before we left we witnessed this exchange between a mother and young daughter:

The young daughter cried and whined while walking quickly away from her mother.


The mother called out, "You know, four-year-olds don't throw tantrums."


The daughter fired back, "Oh yes they do!"


Classic.


Last night, little Bea played on the floor with Daddy, laughing and gurgling and talking baby jive (excuse me stewardess, I speak jive), while Mama worked on the computer.


Then Bea was done. And as I held her in my arms trying to keep her calm, she threw an infant tantrum – flailing her legs, making fists, burying and rubbing her face against my chest, drooling and snotting on my chest, and crying with a reverse wheeze on the inhale.


Classic.


I commented on Facebook and one of friends reminded me of that old Jim Henson production from the early 90s titled Dinosaurs. Every time the daddy dinosaur got close to the baby dinosaur, the baby would cry out, "Not the mama, not the mama!"


Classic.


I don't take the infant tantrums personally because they aren't personal. They're primal. Beatrice just wanted Mama and Mama's milk, plain and simple.


Here's a great tip from an expert on BabyCenter.com:


Babies have an amazing — and often aggravating — ability to make demands. But your baby needs to know that you care about her feelings, even when she expresses them by screaming or flailing her fists. It may look like she's throwing a fit, but she's really seeking reassurance. As long as you stick with your original decision — for instance, that she can't play with the remote control — no one can accuse you of "giving in." You're just giving her what she needs.


But, when Bea wants the boobs, I can't give her what she needs – not the mama, not the mama.


Sigh.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Daddy K watches Baby B (Mama A goes back to work)

Here it is, Mama's first big day back to work:


3:00 a.m. – Mama feeds Baby. Daddy stirs. We all go back to sleep.


4:00 a.m. – Cat meows and howls in between us in bed (as usual). Daddy and Mama swat cat. Baby sleeps soundly. Daddy tosses.


4:45 a.m. – Cat meows and howls again on the box below the bed she uses to climb up and down. Daddy sprays her with the water bottle.


5:00 a.m. – Daddy gives up and gets out of bed so Mama and Baby can sleep.


5:15 a.m. – Daddy fiddles and writes and does other online nonsense.


7:00 a.m. – Mama and baby wake up.


7:00 a.m. – Baby's fed and changed.


8:00 a.m. – Daddy watches Baby and eats breakfast while Mama gets ready for work.


8:30 a.m. – Baby's fed and changed again.


8:40 a.m. – Baby goes down for a nap and mama leaves for work, a little emotional but intact. Daddy smiles and kisses her. Everything's going to be fine.


9:15 a.m. – Baby wakes up from nap and all is well. Change Baby then read to her: Oh, the places you'll go, Go Dog. Go! and 10 little ladybugs. Then we watched some of Sesame Street. (I was a baby again myself – sucked in and totally focused on the letter "M" for many monsters. Sweet. The show is great.)


10:30 a.m. – Baby fusses, cries and gets hungry – the bottle attempt fails, however.


10:45 a.m. – Calm Baby down and take her upstairs to sleep in one of her swings while I shower. Change Baby.


11:00 a.m. – Baby naps.


11:15 a.m. – Cat comes downstairs and meows.


11:45 a.m. – Baby wakes, fusses, cries, gets really hungry and then magic: I gently talk with her about drinking from the bottle and how happy she'll be once she eats – wallah – Baby drinks almost entire bottle! Happy success!


12:15 p.m. – Change Baby then watch more Sesame Street with her.


12:45 p.m. – Mama comes home for lunch.


1:30 p.m. – Baby's fed and changed. Mama puts her down for a nap and goes back to work.


3:45 p.m. – Baby wakes and is changed. Daddy takes Baby out for a stroll along the water.


4:30 p.m. – Daddy changes the Baby and attempts to feed her the bottle again – and again success!


5:00 p.m. – Cat comes downstairs and meows. It's time for her dinner. Daddy feeds the cat then reads Baby I love you through and through.


5:30 p.m. – Mama comes home from work, kisses Daddy and Baby. Everybody's happy!


All is well in Daddy-ville. Goodnight.

Family: It’s a magic number

The past and the present and the future.

Faith and Hope and Charity,


The heart and the brain and the body


Give you three as a magic number.


--Three is a magic number (Schoolhouse Rock)


Watching Amy talk and play with our little Beatrice, I fall in love all over again. She's such an amazing mother that I can get my head around the fact that as of a year and a half ago she wasn't. An amazing wife and friend, yes, but Mama A and Daddy K weren't part of the playbook then.


New Year's Eve morning, 2007: It was early as it always is for me. I lay there reflecting on the previous 10 years of our lives together, perfectly content and happy not wanting children, and then the more recent six-month conception roller coaster we'd been on after changing our minds.


Amy woke up and asked:


"Should I take the test?"


It was still three full days from her next cycle, but she wouldn't have asked if she didn't think maybe. I told her let's do it and she popped out of bed into the bathroom. I followed. She took to test. Positive. We were thrilled. And completely scared out of our minds. We left the pregnancy stick on the bathroom counter and went about our day.


Periodically I'd be in the bathroom, glance down at it, and call out to Amy, "It's still positive."


Just to confirm, you know, that we weren't hallucinating. That's how we began 2008 – with Baby B in Mama's belly. Four weeks later the first ultrasound of peanut-shaped B left no doubt – listening to the rapid-fire heartbeat tethered us to heaven's lamppost.


Then, from our 10-seconds of fame on GMA airing our little pregnancy video announcement on their "My Three Words" segment, to our first international trip with belly B to China, to the 20-week ultrasound with my proud parents, to celebrating college and high school graduations with family, to Mama A's heroic six-month pregnant hike in Yosemite, to the final preparations with our midwife, to the over-dramatic but true birth story (thanks for plan B, Bea), to the first three months of cherub care, to baby's first Thanksgiving with Amy's family in Nevada, and finally to baby's first Christmas with my parents in Oregon.


New Year's Eve morning, 2008: It was early as it always is for me. I lay there reflecting on the past year of our lives together, perfectly content and thankful for our blessings. I have no resolutions, though.


It's not that I don't think that resolutions can be powerful and motivating for change – there are some great daddy resolutions posted at Building Camelot – it's just that life isn't as neat and clean as a linear trek we treat it each year. You don't get to the end of the year and say, "Now I'll change for the better, dad-gummit. Next year gives me a clean slate." That will lead you to failure, because eventually it'll be the next year and you'll say, "Now I'll change for the better, dad-gummit. Next year gives me a clean slate." Every day should be treated as New Year's Day. No time like your presence and neglecting action today gets you to nowheresville tomorrow, daddy-o's.


I've stumbled and been humbled enough to know that each man makes his own way at some point; you've got to experiment, fail and try again, like folding new ingredients into life's batter until you come up with a bake sale winner (not really the most manly of metaphors, but forgive me – my SJSU Spartans fell apart this year, and don't even get me started about the Raiders, but at least they won their last game today). You've got to be a selfless doer, not a blamer. It is a wonderful life, George Bailey, and I aspire to the Bailey spirit (with a little heavenly help of course). It also helps that I live in America, mostly free from oppression with the opportunities at hand for me to be a positive influence on my own life, my family's life and others. Get off the ground, I tell you.


Now, I know I only have my first 3 ½-month-old baby girl and have a lot to learn about parenting and daddying, but years ago I stopped making New Year's resolutions because every day my mindful resolve has been and will continue to be filled with:


Responsibility. This is one of my biggest creeds. Adults and parents, fathers especially, must be personally responsible for their actions, their words, their lives, their families, their communities – if you keep playing that forward, pretty positive things can happen in the world. Mothers are genetically programmed to be personally responsible (yes, I know there are exceptions), but with a little gene therapy and persistence, fathers can do it too. Do what you say AND what you do.


No regrets. If you live responsibly, then there is no reason to live with regrets. Doesn't mean that you won't do stupid things. Most daddies do. I certainly still do. But you should never be sorry for living responsibly and passing that on to your children.


No fear. I grew up an introverted scared little boy, but my mother's love and guidance and my father's no-nonsense approach to learning and living – and a vacuum of fearful living in my twenties – all helped me to finally find the courage to eventually live right and stay grounded to it.


Transparency. It's a term being used more and more in business marketing and public relations, but it's applicable to parenting as well. If you put too much spin on your life – lie and deceive for whatever the reasons and hide behind the great Oz curtain – it will bite you in the proverbial ass at some point. It always does. I understand that there are privacy issues that parents and children alike contend with (I can't wait until Bea wants to get on Facebook and refuses to friend me – ack), but be honest and humane with your spouse and children. You will make mistakes. Own up to them and pass the lessons along.


Tolerance. Whether you travel down the street or around the world, teach tolerance of others and foster open-mindedness in your children. They will thank you for it someday. There can be no room for prejudice, anger and fear in a happy heart.


Making the time. No matter how busy your lives become, no matter how much you have to work, make time for your family. You can always make time. I don't believe in "I just didn't have the time to read to my child." You can always make time, and should.


Participate. See Making the time. Be involved in your child's life. My biological father didn't watch Sesame Street with me (or do anything with me really). I just watched it again for the first time in years with my Bea. Loved it. Today's letter was M, for many monsters.


Fiscal soundness. 2008 was a lesson in living beyond our means – from Wall Street to Main Street. Don't do it unless it's within your means no matter how badly you want the Wii console and Rock Band drum kit (for your children, of course, not yourself).


Good health. That means physically, emotionally and spiritually. Exercise and eat right – all in moderation. Don't obsess about diets or working out. Just do it (a Nike nod). Stay active with your families. Get your butts off the couch and get outside. We love hiking and taking Bea for walks along the water. Express your feelings with your spouse and children. Keeping them cooped up makes them volatile over time not to mention really stinky. Keep the heart healthy and healed. Feed your soul and your families – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Pagan – build a family foundation on thousands of years of tested faith. And keep that faith positive and tolerant.


Tradition. Goes hand in hand with a foundation of faith. My parents always like to do a candle-lighting-say-something-nice-about-the-person-next-to-you-and-then-light-their-candle tradition at Christmastime. We will continue this one amongst many other holiday and non-holiday traditions new and old with Bea.


Take Note Рand Pictures too. Keep journal entries about your family in the traditional baby books, blogs or other online parent/child social networking sites like TotSpot (which we use). The repeated clich̩ that it all goes so fast is probably true, so I don't want to miss a thing and keep the written word close by, along with pictures and video (thanks for that fever, Mom).


Being on the same page as parents. Something Amy and I have discussed a lot and will be a work in progress (as it will always be). Be consistent with your children's upbringing. Consistency is key (coming from children of inconsistency). Ensure your children that when parents/guardians disagree about something in front them, even argue at times, that you always work through, resolve, even if it involves compromise. I've been told that compromise is a four-letter word to parents of teenagers, but we've got a long way to go before hitting that fan.


Steal a car and go to Las Vegas. Oops. That's for those who read our Christmas note this year. Embracing life is all about the joy ride.


It takes work to keep up this mindful resolve, and there's always stumbling and humbling along the way. But every single day I fall in love all over again. How I keep up and sustain that level of love?


Being present and a part of each moment, one day at a time. That's how.


A man and a woman had a little baby.


Yes, they did.


They had three in the family.


That's a magic number.