Monthly Archives: March 2011

We’re a Google Hit

If you google “millennial parenting”, I’m happy to see that this blog is the top result, and actually occupies a couple spaces in the top 30 search results, similarly with Bing.

I have to say though, it seems to be a spartan group out there. In fact, I haven’t seen any other millennial parenting blogs. My goal over the next few days is to find them and link up with them. I know they’re out there in the interwebz!

Growing up

/PrepareForDeepThoughts

I’ve spent the last few days just ruminating on my life and came to the conclusion I’ve learned more about life these past two years than the previous 23.

Becoming a dad, being a husband that is also a dad…you grow up quick when these become part of who you are.

If you aren’t a parent, you probably will roll your eyes at how many times you’ve heard this statement, but being a parent is the greatest thing you can ever do. Being “addy” puts me on top of the world. I’ve accomplished everything I have to do in life by being Dad to the most incredible person in the world. My heart pounds out of my chest for Parker.

On the same hand, my wife and I married “young”. I had just turned 22, and she was 21. She still had two years of college left and I was holding down a job that barely paid the bills at the time. In a way, we were still just two college students. Flash forward to now and we’re parents that hold down full-time careers. She and I have done a lot of growing up together as well. I think she would agree that right now, our marriage is finally what a marriage should be. It’s one thing to have a spouse that is the mother/father of your child, it’s a whole other thing to finally connect with each other as parents.

But back to my original point, that I’ve learned more about life in these past two years than I had in my entire life before. I don’t feel like I ever understood unconditional, undying love until Parker. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I love each other, we’re best friends and everything to one another, and our love is only enhanced because we had Parker together. But the love that I have for Parker exceeds what would be considered normal for any person. To look into the eyes of someone that you had a role in creating? Wow. A person that is literally half you.

I remember when Parker was first born, I cried. Not even because of happiness, but because it finally hit me that what my wife was holding was my flesh and blood. To have a child is to learn how it feels to laugh. Parker is the funniest person I’ve ever met in my life. And I can’t help but laugh to myself when he does something that might drive me crazy if someone else did it (my wife and I will constantly insist that he is “your son”).

But I’m Dad (well, “Addy”). And there’s nothing else I can do in life that will live up to that name. What life was I living before Parker? And how did I live this long without him?

In any case, I’m thrilled for us. Our little family could not be better right now. And it’s a great feeling.

/endDeepThoughts

Finding a hobby

As a twentysomething parent, I find it difficult to invest a lot in a hobby.

Sure, I like to read and be on the computer, blogging is enjoyable. But those are more just activities I do, not hobbies I want to experience and grow.

I’ve written a number of posts about beer. My experience with beer started after I turned 21 (yes, I did not drink for the first time until I was 21). Obviously the first beers I was introduced to were American adjunct lagers such as Budweiser, Coors, etc. I didn’t really have the taste for beer then, but like so many others before me, it became and acquired taste. I drank the AALs because they were readily available, cheap, and it’s what everyone else drank in college.

In the following year, I was introduced to what people called “dark beers”–i.e. a rudimentary way of describing any beer darker than the pale lagerness of America’s adjunct lagers and pilsners. Even so, these beers were still brewed by America’s macrobrewies. Beers like Killian’s (brewed by Coors) and Amber Bock (brewed by Anheuser Busch’s Michelob brand) became standard to me, I enjoyed what I consider to be “full” beers, with malt profiles that resembled caramel and chocolate rather than corn and rice.

In the fall of 2007, I was introduced to Samuel Adams Winter Lager and a love affair with craft beer began. It was a process that grew very slowly for me. I didn’t depart from Sam Adams often, perhaps here and there to Saranac, Newcastle, ¬†or Guinness. I went to BeerAdvocate for the first time back in early 2009 and didn’t think too much of it. I went to the Top Beers and saw the names of 100 beers I’d never heard of in my life, so with Sam Adams and some other regional beers I stuck, even venturing back to the world of Coors or A-B here and there for a Blue Moon or another Killians.

But last fall, I decided to “up the ante” so to say. On a trip to Michigan, I decided to try some beers I’d never had before and were on that top 100 list. Two I tried were Founders Breakfast Stout and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, and I was hooked. I started searching out other craft beers at the supermarket, and then expanded to small carryouts or stores that specialized in craft beer. As 2011 began, I decided that I would pursue craft beer with more vigor, actively searching for new beers, the best beers.

To many, it would seem, a vice is a weird hobby. Perhaps on par with gambling as a hobby or something. But beer, for me, has not been like that since I got into craft. Craft beer is about quality, instead of volume. It’s about pushing the boundaries of what is beer, using fresh and quality ingredients, while also trying to make a beer that is unique and delicious. It’s less “mass-oriented” and more catered to the individual drinker. Craft beer isn’t about using the drink to become intoxicated, it’s about enjoy a beverage that isn’t easily duplicated. As I’ve learned, in any single sitting, two beers is my limit.

But isn’t craft beer as a hobby expensive? Not at all. Sure, craft is easily more expensive than a sixer of Bud Light, and you’re surely not going to find a 30-pack of Founders for $15. But volume isn’t the goal, craft beer can be fully enjoyed on a macrobeer budget.

Craft beer as a hobby may certainly sound odd, but it’s not that different from wine tasting, or being a foodie, or even collecting stamps. It’s growing in popularity and changing daily as brewers perfect the beers they’ve been brewing for decades but also challenge themselves and each other to make the next great beer, the one that gets hyped for weeks before the release and is nearly impossible to find on store shelves. It’s a hobby which I’m glad to have taken up.

Less than perfect? Well yeah…

I was making the rounds this afternoon on the news websites and came across this article on CNN.com and wanted to share my thoughts.

Sharing the achievements of our children¬†is commonplace, just as it has always been, amongst parents. Today, with the advent of social networking like message boards, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, it’s easier than ever to share with the world the latest achievement that the little one has accomplished. Have I done my share of bragging? Of course. But that’s because my kid, in my opinion, is the most amazing little kid in the world.

But if you’re a parent, you already know that parenting isn’t perfect. Of course there are times when Parker drives me absolutely bananas. I try to keep him from standing on the couch or hitting the dogs almost daily. We’re struggling with eating right now, as Parker is so independent with eating that he won’t actually let us try and feed him. It’s a learning process, and half the time ends with me wanting to slam my head into a wall.

I’ve changed my share of absolutely disgusting diapers. I’ve seen the worst this kid has to offer. And of course that’s part of parenting. Parenting isn’t about perfection, and I don’t presume that any parent that talks or brags about their child is saying that everything is perfect.

I understand the point of the blog–that we as parents don’t often show the “non-glamorous” of parenting–but I also think we run the danger of not sharing things about our children for fear of being labeled a braggart or a “perfect parent”. I’ll admit freely that everything I do isn’t correct. I’m sure I do things as a parent that others would frown upon, and I could share some stories that I’m sure would make a non-parent never want to have children.

But I don’t really remember those things. Changing a diaper is part of the job. But I’ll remember when my son took his first steps. I’ll video him saying his alphabet at 16 months old. I won’t take video of him throwing a temper tantrum or take pictures of his post-nap diapers.

I guess my point is, be proud of your kids. It’s okay to be thrilled when they take their first steps. It’s okay to post a Facebook status about the amazing thing they just did. I’ll continue to talk about the amazing things my son does because they truly do amaze me.

But until he does that next thing, I need to go keep him from standing on the couch.

Loving Abby

Parker loves Abby Cadabby.

I mean, he really, really loves Abby. He used to be big on Elmo, but that’s before Abby came along. He loves watching Abby on Sesame Street, has a stuffed Abby Cadabby he sleeps with, and now, has his own Abby Cadabby shirt:

We’ve been looking for an Abby shirt for a while and have no objections to having Parker wearing pink, but it seems like any Abby shirt is cut for a little girl, with really short sleeves or something like that. But our friend and babysitter was able to find this more “unisex” version of an Abby shirt.

It was so cute seeing him wear it. He loved it. He’d look down at his shirt and point and say, “Abby!” In a way, it’s unfortunate that Sesame Street doesn’t make Abby more of an “available” character for boys. I understand why Abby was introduced to Sesame Street, because up until that point, Sesame Street really didn’t have a “girly-girl” character on the show, and Abby, with her dresses, sparkles, and attitude was supposed to appeal to little girls as a character to whom they could connect.

But enter little boys like Parker who really, really love Abby, just as much as a little girl would. But today, he was finally able to wear something that would allow him to show off his love for Abby.

Getting back into the groove

The blogging groove, that is.

It’s been a month and a half since my last post, but life has just been a bit crazy. But finally, things are starting to settle back into some form of routine again. I was promoted at work, my wife’s work had been short-staffed, and we were trying to coordinate our schedules with Parker’s. Evenings have been more so filled with spending time with him than anything else, so I’ve been neglecting my blogging responsibilities.

Our lives, though, are possibly at the best they’ve ever been. We’re more financially secure than ever since we’ve been married, Parker is growing and learning and just becoming a big boy, our marriage is wonderful, and we finally are done with life events for a while.

Parker has learned his entire alphabet and can count to 10 now. An impressive feat that I even find hard to believe for an 18 month old. He is Mr. Independent at meal time now, and insists on feeding himself everything, without our help. He’s doing a pretty good job, capped off with him eating an entire bowl of spaghetti last night by himself. He amazes me just a little more every day. What an incredible child.

I read my grandmother’s memoirs this past month and while not completed before her death last year, they gave me an amazing glimpse into the life my Nana led. That was the best possible legacy should could ever leave us. Her thoughts and her actions. I think everyone needs to write memoirs for their loved ones. I’ll put that on my bucket list.

Spring is quickly approaching, and it can’t get here fast enough. I want to spend hours in my sunroom with the windows open, relaxing with a good beer, a book, and perhaps the computer. I also want to go to the zoo again.

Yeah, so those are my scatterbrained thoughts. But I feel like I can finally just sit down and think and write a bit.

Welcome back, normalcy.