Everyone loves a pregnant women (but kids we could do without)

I've been noticing something funny lately. There have been more and more situations this month (thanks to having an amazingly hands-on husband) where I have been running errands or grabbing coffee by myself instead of with two kids in tow. And you know . . . it is truly incredible how nice people are to me when they see that I am pregnant. Chivalry is NOT dead. It is just reserved for the really, really big-bellied. I have people constantly opening doors for me, smiling and saying congratulations, helping me with my bags, and generally falling over themselves to serve me, inquire about my well-being, or wish me luck. It is like a big, fat love-fest, this being pregnant.

I was thinking about how warm and fuzzy the world had been to me one day last week, and wondering why it only happens on certain days. And then it dawned on me: People love to help pregnant women. They don't love to help frazzled mothers to small children.


Last night Caleb (my 6 year son) and I found ourselves alone. Alex was at a sleepover and Mike is at his 20 year high school reunion in California. (He's called a few times to report that the homecoming queen and prom princess have lost some sparkle and that many of his buddies are bald.)I asked Caleb to go on a date with me. He accepted with a cute little smile.

"Buddy, pick anywhere you want...just not Chuck E. Cheese...Ok?"
"Mama, I want to eat at your restaurant. I want to stay home with you and play."

How could I say no? All he wanted to do was stay home and play with me. I was able to convince him that mommy's restaurant was kind of closed and we should go grab food and bring it back. We had a picnic in the front yard and played "superheroes" while we ate. My super hero name was Supersonic. I had laser vision, super strength, nostril power, and could fly. 
Caleb had a host of powers I can't remember now but I do remember the bad guy had vomit power.

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Thirty Eight Weeks in Reverse

My family is in an expectant mode these days, as our second son goes through the college application process and awaits responses from schools.   His process is particularly complex, as he is required to undergo auditions in several cities in addition to the usual written applications.   Another layer of complexity is added by the option of taking a semester or a year off between high school and college to work in the music world.    As our son prepares for all things new, I am filled with the sense that I have had this dream before, felt these feelings, thought these thoughts.    It occurs to me that launching a child feels a lot like pregnancy.   Our family is traveling through thirty-eight weeks in reverse.

Last fall, the start of senior year, was the excited but nauseous stage, as our son’s new life outside of our home became tangible.   He and others said things like, “Next Thanksgiving you’ll be coming back from college for the holiday.”    The nausea enters when we consider how strong the competition is for entry into these schools.   It seems that other applicants and their parents must be doing more, or doing it better.     It’s not the Sartre-esque nausea of despair and meaningless, thank goodness; only the kind of nausea that comes with anxious nerves.   But in a lot of households despair can and does set in, and this is something I watch for very closely as a clinician and as a friend.   
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Tags | Family

5 Reasons Why It is Good To Be A Dad

1. No breastfeeding or mucus plugs (yuck)

2. Playing Wii Mario Cart  with my 5 year old son counts as "quality time"

3. Cultural expectations are low, really low

4. The kids only want mommy in the middle of the night

5. My son is in kindergarden. He had a day last fall called "All About Me," where he told the class about himself and his family. He was asked, "What do your mommy and daddy like to do?" His reply:  "Daddy loves watching football on TV. Mommy loves cooking."  I was thrilled with his response...mommy wasn't.  

Process Addictions

I just had my first class for the semester at Vanguard University. I teach a class on Addictive Behavior in their graduate psychology program. It's a fun class to teach, but I've noticed an interesting thing over the past five years since I started teaching.

Every semester, the students are getting more and more zombie-like during class. Every semester, I am seeing more faces staring at their computer screens during class intead of paying attention (probably facebooking or emailing as opposed to writing notes). Or texting on their phone. Or otherwise multi-tasking or engaging in technological brain-numb while I'm talking.

Now I realize that they could be doing this because my lectures are incredibly boring. I''d like to think I'm a dynamic and funny professor, but am humble enough to acknowledge that is a possibility that I just plain suck. But in talking to other professors, this "zoning out" thing seems to be a university-wide epidemic. It's gotten so bad that there was some serious discussion amongst the faculty as to how to deal with it.
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Two Boys

The latest Christmas Podcast from scholar, theologian, and dad, Dr. John Mark Reynolds.

Raising Children in the City

Makoto Fujimura talks about the choice of raising a family in New York City.

Tags | Family

Things I Am Thankful For

Many days at work recently I have dealt with people who are in extreme need. Every night I have gone home very drained and tired. However, I am also reminded of things to be thankful.

I am thankful for (not in order of importance):

A house to live in - I have lately been trying to help so many people who have none. They can't afford to rent or buy. They don't have friends, or have burned all their bridges in their past, so have no one to turn to. They don't have a roof over their heads and I simply can't help them all...so some of them remain with nothing over their heads.

An amazing wife - Every day, my wife stays home with our children and teaches them, plays with them, feeds them, takes care of them, and somehow still loves them and even me. She is also adventurous, fun, and loving. I think I have the best wife ever. I just helped a woman who is not able to be with her husband right now due to a court battle. It is very hard, and makes life difficult on her and her kids. I sometimes take for granted the amazing blessing I have in Sarah.

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Tags | Family

VIDEO - How To Smoke A Turkey!

An epic video of my journey out of adolesence and into manhood! TURKEY SMOKING! :)

Tags | Family

All around us...

The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.
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Tags | Family
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