Six Pound Challenge – Failed!

In high school… I could eat! I was a growing boy. I was always hungry and never gained weight. I was invincible. Or so I thought. There was (maybe still is) a restaurant in Tampa that offered a six pound challenge. Ninetysix ounces of beef for the willing. Eat it all and the table eats for free. I rolled in there with my family like owned the place. I was so confident I even took a date! The whole family gathered around to watch… they ordered what they wanted because surely we’d all be eating for free.

He is Chasing Planes Around Already

Judah has the aviation bug… already he has begun chasing planes around. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Specifically, it may have started when I was single digits sitting in my fathers office watching people fly RC airplanes in a field across the street. The obsession culminated during many summers at Space Camp not learning about poison ivy like most kids.
It’s a common question in the cockpit during a round of self loathing. “Are you going to encourage your kids to work for the airlines?”


Pacita Jugo Ladd… “Nana”

My Nana was many things to me over the years. She was a grandmother and a babysitter. She was a mentor and an advisor. She was a resource for travel tips and great grandmother to our son. Through it all, and especially as I grew mature enough to realize it, she was a friend. Our conversations, though split by a fifty year spread, were always casual but meaningful. She would offer me suggestions on how to live my life and how to raise Judah and do so as a peer… never with an air of authority. She kept that spicy Filipino side suppressed until necessary to quickly end a conversation. And believe me, should could pull out the big guns if need be!


I plan on being my son’s Don Draper

I also plan to splice in some retro commercials from Youtube into our viewing routine to manipulate his ‘wants’ and convince him hand me downs and toys from Ebay are the must have holiday gifts. One year he’s gonna go crazy for Furby’s while the next he won’t be able to live without Castle GreySkull.
You can by a 1985 Teddy Ruxpin (with 2 cassettes!) for 15 dollars on Ebay.


A tale of two snowmen

Our neighborhood in Baltimore is situated between several colleges and universities and therefor we have many student renters living on our block. It gives me the chance to often think back and realize what a horrible tenet I must have been – back in the day. When we ran out of oil for the furnace we would burn garbage in the fireplace and all sleep in the living room.
During the snow storm last week several snowmen sprung up after the weather cleared. The boys to our right are athletes (I had to spell check athlete) while the boys to our left have a drum kit that they practice on early in the morning.
When looking at the snowmen, I’m certain you can guess whom belongs to whom.


$#*! my son’s caterpillar doesn’t say

Several times between now and the era of the stage 2 Huggie overnight diapers I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of sleep deprivation to awake in the land of disproportionate proportions with over sized talking caterpillars, four keyed colorful pianos and airplanes whose propellers spin with a psychedelic glow not too far off from the St. Elmo’s fire that buzz around the blades of a turboprop before a lightening strike


If you watch enough daytime TV… you will get cramps

In the morning we sit on the porch in our jammies and eat breakfast while the morning commuters honk at each other. Eight hours later we eat a snack outside and watch them return. Typically, we take a couple walks a day with one of the dogs and make sure the neighborhood is in check. We watch a little TV… “Two hours a day maximum, either educational or football. So as you don’t ruin your appreciation of the finer things.”


Mornings in a Hotel: “Where am I? What Time is it?”

A friend once told me that everyday he wakes up in a hotel it feels like waking up with a hangover. “I’m not sure where I am or how I got here but at least I have my pants on.”

Add in the fact that we stay in a variety of hotels with countless floor plans, alarm clock models and coffee makers and sometimes you’d think you were at a bachelor party the night before.
Throw in a 4:30am wake up call and that bachelor served nothing but “Mind Eraser” shots followed by Jagermeister to chase is all down with.


How Indiana Jones Has Made Me a Better Father

When the baby falls asleep in my arms, I recreate this old scene in reverse as I do my best to place him in the crib and extract my arms without him rising. I learned from Indy… one swift movement. His eyes are closed and his body is limp in my arms and I get him as close to the mattress as I can. I yank my arms out from both sides so that he slides in without changing position. Often, it ends up like Dr. Peter Venkman’s attempt in Ghostbusters to pull the tablecloth out from under the dishes and we start over back in the rocking chair.


Maybe cribs should come with a flight attendant call button

I often attempt to “Identify and Cancel” when the baby monitor sounds from across the room. Unlike the airplane, there is only only color for the alarm – Red! No option to prioritize. The alarm is either Red… or Red. It’s too bad the monitor can’t give me a cautionary Yellow and Double Chime for “the diaper is full and it starting to leak around my thigh making my legs feel all sticky”. I’d put down my coffee for a Red warning and a Triple Chime for “a cat has crossed the 33rd parallel and is getting dangerously close to pouncing up into the crib with me.”


I made a burrito and forgot to shave

My job as a pilot is made much easier by checklists and routines. We do the same thing – the same way – every time. Our checklists are written in a way that is intended to flow logically as we set up the cockpit for each phase of flight. It’s the times when something upsets that flow – that checklist items are missed. You’re midway through a taxi checklist and a radio call breaks the cadence of the “challenge and response” and it’s easier (and safer) to start over rather then stumble back into it.


Family photo slideshows – minus the shag carpeting.

Oh, how I wish I owned a Flux Capacitor, a Delorean and had a friend named “Doc” so I could travel back to the Nixon era and start a family. I’d love to be on the cutting edge of 70’s technology and invite everyone over to the den to watch a slide show on the drop down screen above the bar of the baby. I’d set it to vinyl and spin Bowie’s “Hunky Dory” and dim the lights.


Something I haven’t heard in sometime. “First Available?”

I was asked this last night when looking for a table in Milwaukee. I haven’t heard that in years! It took a second to register what she was asking… and then I couldn’t remember what the alternative answer was. “Um… no. Last available? Er… Whichever is first – as long as it’s not smoking. Well… unless it’s going to be a really long wait. What is the divider between the two availables? If it’s that half wall, I’ll take smoking if I’m within a tables width of the divider. Where are the vents? Are they smoking near the bathroom?

The latest in our adoption journey – said with a heavy heart.

We’ve come across many unexpected obstacles in the 7 weeks since Judah’s birth and navigated several stressful events in the three months prior but the latest, unfortunately, is the most serious one yet. Through it all, when people would sympathize with the lack of sleep brought on by a newborn, I would laugh and say, “He is the easiest part!”

Make a High Contrast Mobile from Instructables.com

I’m not sure if Judah is going to grow up to be a pilot or a giraffe trainer… he spends a lot of time looking up at the ceiling. The area above his crib is pretty plain so I thought I’d make a mobile for him to look at while he drifts off to sleep listening to music from his Ipod (Docked, or course. They don’t make earbuds his size.)

The giving tapestry

Early on in college I bought a tapestry to hang on the walls of my dorm room. Since then it has been many things to me. I’ve used it on the walls and the ceilings of many rooms and I’ve taken it in the woods camping when I was too young to care that it didn’t provide much warmth. I’ve taken it to wine tastings and concerts. Last year we took it to Bonnaroo and made fabric walls to hang along the sides of our canopy to keep the sun out. The other morning, while feeding Judah, I found a new use… one I doubt I would have ever considered when I bought it from the “Wooden Nickle” in Tampa in the early 90’s.

Make a High Contrast Mobile from Instructables.com

I’m not sure if Judah is going to grow up to be a pilot or a giraffe trainer… he spends a lot of time looking up at the ceiling. The area above his crib is pretty plain so I thought I’d make a mobile for him to look at while he drifts off to sleep listening to music from his Ipod (Docked, or course. They don’t make earbuds his size.)