Tag Archives: MJ

Raising Boys: Just Put Your Penis Anywhere

peeing-outside

“Will, did you pee in this?”

I knew the answer before my wife asked the question. I was giving Sam a bath when I noticed a horrible smell. It was pungent and stale, and I immediately knew it was piss — I just didn’t know where it was. The toilet water was clear, Sam didn’t let loose in the bath, and all the rugs on the bathroom floor felt dry.

That’s when my eyes settled on the long, white, plastic cylinder I use to fill up with water and wash Sam’s head. And suddenly everything clicked.

I knew Will had peed in it during his shower and just left it there.

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Teach Kids to Eat Flatout Healthy

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It’s never too early to get your kids eating right.

This is a struggle for me because I never learned healthy eating habits. You’ll seldom hear me complain about my upbringing because my parents were rock stars and I never wanted for anything. But when two busy parents who aren’t cooks combine with the schedules of two busy kids, the result for us was lots of take-out. As in 3-5 times a week. That was just my norm and I carried those habits to college and into my early 20s, during which time I stayed alive by eating copious amounts of Chinese food and pizza.

Then I met MJ, the culinary wizard who would eventually show me the light.

When I lost 60 lbs a couple of years ago I did it by eating right with MJ’s help. She took care of breakfast and dinner for me, but my big problem was lunch. Because she’s not my maid, she justifiably refused to do EVERYTHING for me, and told me I was responsible for lunch. Usually I’d just buy lunch, but because I was in a weight loss competition I had to count my calories and eat healthy.

My main hangup is carbs. I love em — especially white bread. I did the math and realized I’d never fit under my calorie cap if I kept scarfing down white bread all the time, but I also didn’t want to sacrifice taste. Thankfully I found my answer in Flatout.

These wraps and Fold-Its meant I could eat healthier without eating healthy stuff that tastes like cardboard. And the result was losing 60 lbs in just 5 months with diet and exercise.

Unfortunately I got away from my healthy eating habits recently and I’ve put 40 of that 60 back on. Will, my oldest, has taken notice of my weight gain and because we’ve talked to him about the health impacts involved with obesity and the importance of eating right, he’s now concerned about my health. And that’s unacceptable.

So now I’m back on Flatout for my lunches and they’re great for deli meat like turkey and cheese with some lettuce and tomato thrown in there. The Sundried Tomato wrap is my favorite for sandwiches. But with Will’s help, I’ve discovered a new favorite.

Thin-crust Flatout pizza!

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It’s so simple but it tastes so frickin’ good. Just grab some Thin Crust Flatbreads Artisan Pizza (I suggest the Spicy Italian), some pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings and go to town. Or, just follow this future gourmet’s lead.

But then I challenged my wife to come up with something new and creative.

I wanted to know if she could come up with a semi-healthy dessert incorporating my favorite Flatouts, because people with a sweet tooth have a damn hard time going cold turkey when trying to eat right. And, like usual, she didn’t disappoint. I’m calling this recipe “The Martha Jean,” and I’m describing it as “a cheesecake like substance mixed with fruit and flatbread.”

THE RECIPE

Low fat cream cheese (8 oz)
Ricotta cheese (1 cup)
Sugar (3 tbsp)
Vanilla extract (1 tsp)
Mini chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
Strawberries (or whatever fruit you love)
Whole wheat flatout bread
Melted butter
Sugar and cinnamon

First you want to whip the cream cheese, then add ricotta
Blend together until smooth
Add 1 tbsp of sugar in at a time while stirring
Add in vanilla extract
Add in chocolate chips
Put the oven on broil and cook the flatbread
Melt the butter and brush it on flatbread
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar

Here’s the end result:IMG_0961

And here’s the best news. You can win a whole bunch of Flatout products for your own family meals. All you have to do is follow @daddyfiles and @FlatoutbreadBOS on Twitter, and then tweet us letting us know what you’d do with a Flatout prize pack. If you don’t have Twitter, leave a comment here. I’ll pick a winner in a week.

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Disclaimer: I was compensated by Flatout for this post, but as always my opinions are my own and I only endorse products I’ve used personally and would recommend to everyone.

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Would You Wear Pajamas at the Bus Stop?

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Marriage ain’t easy, and we’ve been through more than our fair share of rough spots.

Pregnancy, not being able to get pregnant, multiple miscarriages, dealing with abortion protesters, financial hardships, mental health issues, and the Great Hershey Bar War of 2009 are just some of the bullcrap MJ and I have endured in our eight years of marriage.

But now we face a much bigger — and completely unexpected — problem which is currently threatening to tear us apart.

Pajamas at the bus stop.

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Not Everyone Gets to Go Home

sam_sick

Sammy, my 7-month-old, couldn’t stop throwing up.

Violent wretching that produced green bile, complete with little brown flecks we’d later learn were feces. Every 10 minutes — almost on the dot — he would scream in horrible anguish while clutching his tiny belly and drawing his knees to his chest. His face went from cherry red to purple, and when the terrifying silent screams began it was the miniscule yet bulging veins on the side of his head that spoke volumes about his pain level.

But as scary as his screaming was, I preferred that over the lethargy.

When the wave of screams finally subsided, he would go into an even more frightening state of malaise. He just sat there, eyes rolling around in his head, looking totally confused. He couldn’t focus his eyes on anything or anyone, and was basically unresponsive. I begged him for a smile, for a scream, for ANY kind of recognition on his part — but nothing. The only thing that could break him out of his zombified state was another round of gut-wrenching abdominal pain.

The local ER. The preliminary diagnosis of a stomach virus. Sticking a little baby with a needle to put in an IV line. It was all a blur, because all I could do was focus on my helpless son and try to telepathically will him back to good health.

It didn’t work.

Phone calls. Doctor huddles. Plans to open the local pediatric ward just for Sam. Scrapping those plans because they feared whatever was happening was beyond their level of expertise. Four separate people in the ER in addition to the nurses — some of them patients themselves — took one look at Sam (whose skin had begun to turn Simpsons yellow) and wished us teary-eyed “good lucks.”

Suddenly Sam was getting an ambulance ride to Boston Children’s Hospital. MJ rode with him, which meant I had to drive myself the hour north to the city. Actually, it took 54 minutes. I timed it on my GPS. Because those 54 minutes were the only time I was allowing myself to freak the fuck out. To cry. To scream. To let the stark terror I was feeling consume me so I could play the “What If?” game with myself in an empty car instead of burdening my wife.

I thought about my son dying. About buying a tiny casket. About delivering his eulogy at a memorial service. I thought about friends who have lost children and how unimaginable that is. I spent 54 minutes allowing myself to think the unthinkable. Then I stuffed those thoughts in the trunk of my car and let the valet drive them away.

I won’t go into the specifics of Sam’s medical condition, except to say the doctors at Boston Children’s did a FANTASTIC job of diagnosing him quickly and accurately. The treatment is, unfortunately, very painful and invasive — but they were able to avoid surgery. And avoiding surgery on a 7-month-old is a huge, huge thing.

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What’s important is they found a diagnosis and the condition was treatable. Because, as I saw first-hand in Boston, that is not always the case.

The hallways of Boston Children’s are painted with bright colors and pictures of animals and majestic landscapes every few feet. But those cheery corridors belie the feeling of dread, doom, and death that looms around every corner. There were too many little kids with bald heads, too many small patients moaning in pain, and too many parents crying in corners to pretend otherwise.

Your world shrinks when your child is hospitalized with a serious condition.

Time of day ceases to matter, and it’s measured instead by time between instances of vomiting. Time until the next nurse check. Time he’s held down his food. Suddenly there’s a hyper focus on the next thing, on what’s immediately in front of you. He has to hold down that food before we can worry about the next test which will tell us if we need the ultrasound which will let us know if we can do a non-surgical procedure instead of opening him up.

Life becomes a series of short, punctuated milestones beyond which is the complete unknown. And if you don’t lock the unknown in your trunk and let the valet worry about it, you’re in for a long, long night.

In the end, Sam was fine. They figured out what was wrong, fixed it (although it took multiple tries), and he got to go home. When they told us he was good to go home, I let my emotions loose for the first time in two days. I ran to him, picked him up, danced around, and let out a full-fledged “WOOOOOOO BABY!!!!” MJ and I hugged him close and we all smiled triumphantly as we collected our belongings to return home.

That’s when we heard the pained and agonizing scream from a child down the hall. So much hurt. So much anguish. And I’m sure he/she had two parents close by, whose hearts were making the same sound of torment.

Our smiles faded as we walked solemnly down the hall toward the elevator, the screams from behind us echoing ironically off the festive yellow walls. They are screams that will sporadically play in my head until my heart no longer beats. They are a reminder that not everyone gets a triumphant elevator ride to the lobby carrying a bundle of joy.

Not everyone gets to go home.

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Working Parents Have It Tough

wheresdadWill, who will be six years old in April, was asked by his kindergarten teacher to draw a picture of his family. The picture to the left is the result.

When I saw it, I mistakenly thought he forgot about Sam, our newest addition. “Hey buddy, there I am with mom and we’re holding your hand, but I think you forgot about Sam, silly,” I said with a grin. His face immediately turned pale and his eyes darted furiously from me to his mother to the picture. His face contorted into a panicked look, leaving little doubt tears would be following closely behind.

“Sorry dad, I forgot to draw you in our family…because you’re always working.”

He would go on to tell me that while he loves me, he just loves his mom more. Ouch. Cue Cat’s in the Cradle with a side of massive working parent guilt.

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