Archives for posts with tag: United States

Last week, the Worm turned one-year old.  To celebrate his awesomeness, we threw him a party!  We invited 30 people whom he didn’t know, provided lots of food he couldn’t eat, and made him stay up late when he didn’t want to.

In short, the party was for us!  Hooray!

But before the festivities commenced, my good friend Ted carried out a Taoist ceremony for entering life’s path.  Steph and I figured that Gavin could use all the help he could get, so why not bring in the blessings of the gods?  (No chickens were sacrificed during the ceremony, only monkeys.)  We invited our parents and a few friends for the cozy spiritual service.

Worm and I Can Be On Life's Path Together!

After the ceremony, there was good food and drink to be had!  All were merry!  With a Mexican theme, we rolled out the salsa, carne asada, carnitas, y cervezas!  (Don’t worry, Worm didn’t drink any beer.  He had tequila!)  Thanks C & E for helping us with the food and preparation!

It was a nice, warm San Diego day and we spent much of the celebration outside on the patio.

In the American first birthday tradition, two cakes were made.  (Steph told me it’s a tradition…I’d never heard of it.)  One for us to eat and enjoy, and one for Worm to eat and enjoy.  It’s pretty well understood that the baby’s cake is one that will probably end up splattered rather than sliced, and worn rather than eaten.

Naturally for Worm, his birthday cake was in the shape of a monkey.  (I asked for it to be in the shape of a Worm, but I was vetoed by Steph and Nana…but they promised me that his 2nd birthday could have a Worm-shaped cake.)

Lo and behold, our baby didn’t smash his birthday cake.  In fact, he asked for a fork to savor each morsel.  (He also asked for some sangria, but we declined.)

At the end of an unmessy event, the Worm looked like this:


Should We Freeze The Cake And Reuse it For His 2nd Birthday?

Worm partied well into the late evening until fiesta turned into siesta.


Happy First Birthday Gavin!


You heard me right, there’s a white woman home birth extravaganza and you’re invited!  Actually, no matter what color you are, you’re invited!  All you need for the extravaganza is a live pregnant woman, a house and a desire to deliver a baby in it!

Home-birth setup

Home Birth Setup!

Statistics show a growing concern about the hospital birthing procedures, and rightfully so.  In the great United States of America, we rank 50th in the entire world for maternal mortality.  Yep, that’s right.  Mothers dying while giving birth.  It’s not widely known, but the data speaks for itself.  (Maternal Mortality reference.)  The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is 46th in the world.  (C.I.A. reference.)  It’s pretty appalling, don’t you think?

I love my wife and I want to keep her around for a few more years.  We also plan on having a few more Gavins.  So, this article (see bottom of page) interests me, because it pertains to my wife and future children.

I despise some hospital birthing practices as I witnessed firsthand both the good and the bad sides of a hospital birth.  My own childbirth experience was beginning to turn into a science experiment before I had a “come to Tebow” talk with the staff. There were way too many interventions “being offered” to Steph in labor.  (But, that’s another story soon to be told.)  So, naturally I understand the desire of a home birth, especially if the mother and fetus are in good health.  (I would also be heavily in favor of a home birth for our next child.)  Apparently, white women are leading the charge toward more home births in the U.S.  There’s been an increase in out-of-hospital births by 29% between 2004 and 2009.  The major party working the non-traditional (I hate how the unconventional birthing practice in America has become the “traditional” method) birthing angle are, as the article title states, non-Hispanic white women.  They’ve accounted for 36% of the total increase in home births in that 6 year span.

Seeing as how I married a white woman, the chance for me getting our second baby home-birthed is better than average.  So, I feel pretty good about my odds.  (Obviously, this only makes sense from a statistical perspective…and in my own mind.)

There are good reasons for wanting a home birth.  Control of the experience, no one forcing their agenda on you, privacy, intimacy, makes for good story, etc.  Having a home birth can be safer than a hospital birth, but make sure the mother-to-be is a low-risk pregnancy before you grab that leather strap and bottle of whiskey to hunker down in the trenches with your old lady.  And do your homework.  Guys need to understand the tools, tricks, and risks of the L&D trade before they have their own home birth extravaganza.  You can’t just toss back a beer and cheer from the couch.  You’ve got to be involved.  (You can be the hero that Enrique Iglesias sings about in that song…)

Anyhow, if you’ve made it this far into my article, you’ve either got a high tolerance for number crunching, or you’re serious about making sure your ball and chain gets the best that healthcare has to offer.  If you’re looking for the latter, you may want to move to Singapore.  Just kidding, you may want to man up and learn about what you can do to increase the odds of your family’s next successful birth.  Get informed.

Article I was reading:

CDC Home Births on the Rise

There’s tons of information out there on natural birthing methods.  Google it!


Steph and I try not to waste money on baby stuff that we only use a few times and/or don’t really believe is worth it.  That said, the BOB is worth every penny we’ve spent on it.  That says a lot, because it doesn’t come cheap.

We bought our BOB Revolution SE to fit our lifestyle.  We like to take long walks, run, and hike.  In San Diego, we see sidewalk, grass, sand, dirt, and sometimes a little water.  The BOB Revolution SE handles the varied terrains well.

NOTE:  This is the 2010 model that  I am reviewing.

The SUV of strollers. BOB Revolution SE

The SE (Sport Experience) differs from the CE (City Experience) because of the larger wheels.  The SE has 16″ rear wheels, while the CE has the smaller 12″ wheels in the back.  The larger wheels provide a longer wheelbase and more stable platform at the cost of maneuverability.  Don’t get me wrong, this stroller still turns easily, just not as easy as some others.  (There is also a fixed front wheel model for hardcore runners.)

We love our BOB Revolution SE.  It’s pricey, but we use it almost every day and the build quality is great.  We can fit up to a 70 lb baby in there, so it’s useful for at least a few more years.  The tires have plenty of grip.  It’s easy to roll over bumps in the road and on the dirt trails.  It doesn’t take much effort to get up and down curbs.  (We don’t jump off the curbs yet, but the solidly design of the BOB looks to be accepting of a lot of abuse.)  We’ve gone trail hiking with the BOB Revolution and it’s been great.  The large wheels roll nicely and the suspension does its job.  There are two settings for the suspension, so there is some adjustability in the design.

The front wheel has a tracking adjustment to fine tune the steering of the stroller.  When it’s dialed in, I can literally use one hand to control the stroller, while I sip my mocha-chino half-caf double espresso, skinny latte with nonfat whipped cream with the other.  This feature is a big plus for me because I usually walk two dogs with one hand and hold the stroller with the other.  (I try to get everyone exercise at once.  Multitasking!)

Two large pouches (one behind seat and one underneath) can carry some gear for you.  We shove blankets in the compartment behind the seat and put the diaper bag and/or purse in the underneath pouch.  We had to purchase the cup holder accessory separately, which should be included with the BOB at this premium price.  It provides a small zip pouch and two cup holders for water bottles, etc.

Steph and I are fairly tall people (above average) and the stroller still feels nice for us to push around.  We don’t have to walk like hunchbacks of Notre Dame in order to control the Revolution.  So, it’s very comfortable for us during our long walks, and that is a huge reason I give it a 9 worm rating overall.  But if we were any taller, the handlebar would need to be raised…and BOB doesn’t offer that feature.

The stroller is one of the most manly looking strollers on the market as well.  I don’t feel like a sissy pushing it around.  In fact, it’s less a stroller and more an engineered SUV (Strolling Utility Vehicle) for babies.

If you need the car seat adapter, it is sold separately and there is no universal one.   It’s something to think about as the baby grows since your car seats may change.  The car seat adapter also requires tools to install and remove.  (I think this is changed on the 2011 model.)


Overall Rating:  9 Worms   

Ease of Use:  8 Worms 

Performance:  9 Worms 

Features:  7 Worms 

Durability:  9 Worms 

Manliness:  10 Worms 

Retail Price:  $469.00



High quality build.  Stable over many types of terrain.  Easy to maneuver.  Durable.  5-year warranty.  Quick release wheels (for easy cleaning).  Large canopy. 5-point harness for securing baby.


Occasional squeaking.  It can be a pain to get to the valve for pumping up tires.  Design could be more aesthetically pleasing for the price.  The BOB could also use a cup holder within arms reach of Gavin  (I think this is remedied in the 2011 model).  When folded up for travel, it would be nice to be able to secure it closed.  (I believe this feature has been added to 2011.)

Things I would modify:

There’s a Low Boy cargo pouch underneath the stroller.  It would be nice to have some open/close fasteners that allow me to cram large items into this Low Boy compartment (like a full diaper bag and/or Steph’s purse).  A different location for the stroller  clips.  A telescopic handlebar…not much, but something like an inch or two.  A cleaner way of securing the top view window curtain, since it tends to flap in the wind.  I would add drop down side curtains to block some cross wind into baby sitting area.

The BOB Revolution SE can be found here:

Cowles Mountain as seen from San Diego, taken ...

Image via Wikipedia

Dogs get cabin fever.  At least ours do.  I guess that when you’ve got two breeds of dog that are built for running long distances, you have to be prepared for the consequences of not harnessing that energy.  And if you keep dogs pent-up for too long,  you can begin to see the crazy in their eyes.  Darting back and forth between the couch pillows and your TV remotes, the eyes are looking for their next delightful chew toy.

So, I know I’ve got to get the pups out.  What better way to get them out than by seeing some of San Diego!  Ok, ALL of San Diego!

Since I didn’t feel like leaving Gavin at home by himself, I packed up the family (sans the working wifey) and off to Cowles Mountain we went.

Cowles Mountain is a great place to hike in San Diego.  It is part of Mission Trails Regional Park and the tallest peak in San Diego County at 1,592′ elevation.

A little known fact, even by San Diegans is that the correct pronunciation is like ‘coals’, not ‘COW-les’.  (I’ve been living here 11 years and I just learned that today.)

No, it doesn’t snow on Cowles Mountain.  Yes, it’s usually busy there.  On a clear day, the peak gives a wonderful view of San Diego County.

Don’t go in the middle of summer when the temperatures climb to 100.  People have died.  (Personally, I’d rather die climbing something a little taller like Kilimanjaro, but that’s just me.)  Take water because it’s dry over there.

Carrying a 20 lb sack of potatoes up the mountain wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but since Gavin provided moral support by grunting along with me up the trail, we each get a point.

Gavin – 4; Dad – 2

I gave up trying to get all of us to look at the camera...

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