Happy New Year 2018!!


2017 was a challenging year in may ways but on a personal and family level 2017 was a successful year.

Ellington Wriston-Dole, b. 1/27/2017It all began with the birth of our daughter Ellington Wriston-Dole on January 27th. At the beginning we weren’t sure how easily a family unit of 3 would morph into a family unit of 4, but it was easier and more fun than we ever could have imagined!

Griffin is a stellar big brother! He loves his baby sister and she loves him! When we brought her home, we made sure we paid lots of attention to Griffin and many friends came over to give him gifts, so he made a pretty smooth transition. The two siblings are beginning to play together and of course Ellington wants to do EVERYTHING Griffin is doing!

The year was a busy year for both Stacy and I professionally. We did find some time to spend lots of family time together, going on walks several times a week, taking day trips here and there, hiking through the woods and exploring our beautiful neighborhood and city.

Griffin is growing up so fast! The older he gets, the more friends he has, the funnier and more talkative and outgoing he becomes. There isn’t a night that goes by where he doesn’t do something, or say something that just totally cracks us up!

Ellington is all laughter. She laughs all the time and dances, oh boy, what a dancer! Well, she kind of dances like Elaine from Seinfeld, except she can’t stand, so she ‘does the Elaine’ from her knees. Oh, if you are near Ellie when she is dancing, you better be clapping your hands with her!

Ellie is beginning to get out of her ‘stranger danger’ phase, so she is comfortable waving to pretty much anybody that walks by us in a restaurant or in a store. If those people approach her to wave back, then she’ll duck her head and look away, then wave again as the people are walking away. Her expressions are absolutely priceless and I can only imagine the future fun we’ll have with her!

What will 2018 bring? I don’t know, but I can imagine that there will be a lot of laughter, a lot of work, and a lot of love!


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Toddler Days 8.23.17

The fear is real.

The anger palpable.

The force of nature that is my toddler can be felt from different parts of the house.

You know it is there, in the undercurrent of the activities, the subtext to the babbling.

When will it erupt?

The eruption is inevitable. What will be the trigger?

On any given day the trigger could be:

– wrong song on stereo for dancing?

– falling off of [insert piece of furniture here]?

– being asked to put sticks/acorns/rocks back into nature box on porch?

– realizing we only have strawberries and are out of bananas?

– realizing we only have bananas and are out of strawberries?

– requesting the wrong book to be read to him?

– getting a diaper changed?

-not getting a diaper changed?

– toy trains derailing?

– going down for a nap?

– waking up from a nap?

– being hungry and demanding lunch?

– having the wrong lunch put in front of him?

– not being hungry?

Every day is an adventure into the unknown.

There are sweet and loving moments too, don’t get me wrong. The crazy, however clearly occupies the majority of our time during the days.

For the most part though, the eruptions can be minimized and sometimes diverted simply with a homemade popsicle that is always consumed OUT ON THE PORCH! (It’s amazing how quickly a popsicle can be disassembled and disseminated through the house when not watched!)

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Toddler Days 8.8.17

Be careful what you ask for.

Many times I find myself wishing, pleading, for some peace and quiet during the day. And when that quiet happens, there cannot be peace! Quiet toddlers are like quiet farts. They're dangerous!

As I was cleaning the kitchen from our breakfast bar making, I noticed something odd. I could hear myself think. My senses immediately heightened. I became acutely aware of everything around me.

Something was wrong. It was too quiet.

I casually walked out of the kitchen and into the dining room only to intercept my toddler casually walking into the dining room. He was carrying something and he was trying to hide it behind his back.

What could it be?

I easily figured out what he was hiding because he is small and the step stool behind his back is large.

He looked at me, right in the eyes. He didn't say a word. He just easily and casually started walking backwards out of the room with the step stool.

I wonder what scheme I interrupted. We'll never know.

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Toddler Days 8.2.17

Evening walks have become an exercise in inefficiency.

Q: How can one walk for nearly an hour and basically go nowhere?

A: Bring a toddler.

I've learned that there are really big sticks, big sticks, and play sticks. Depending on the mood of the toddler no stick is an appropriate stick, ever.

Rocks have similar categories, but for some reason always end up back home.

Acorns, flowers, bugs, birds, dirt, people, dogs, cats, other toddlers, squirrels/ chipmunks, trash, and anything shiny all have powers of attraction that override any type of command the adult can give, yell, plead, or offer.

When you bring a toddler on a walk, can you really call it a walk anymore? Truly, the toddler isn't fully participating in the activity of walking. He/she/it is getting pushed in a stroller, but let's be honest here. The new strollers are more like chariots or analog unmotorized Cadillacs. How can a toddler NOT enjoy these walks in their comfy 'mobile rooms with a view'? I'll tell you how they could not enjoy the walks:

You turned onto the wrong street.

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Toddler Days 7.27.17

You know something is amiss when your toddler who regularly wakes up precisely at 6:51am every single morning wakes up at 9:30am.

This is not cause for celebration. This is cause for alarm and a warning. Raise your threat level to orange. Just know that something will go down today.

How can a tiny human simultaneously demand and refuse the same thing?

Toddler: I want help cook!
Me: Okay, do you want to help me make a smoothie?
Toddler: No! Eggs!
Me: Sure, eggs. You can help me make eggs, I'd appreciate the help…
Toddler: NO! Fruit drink!
Me: Ahhh, smoothie?
Toddler: Yes.

– We proceed to make this delicious smoothie. He even turned on the Blendtec! Things are going so well!!!

Me: Smoothie looks good. Here is some in your cu…
Toddler: NOOOOOOOO!!!!

(Insert 10-15 screaming session, then small human approaches me and says through choking sobs)

Toddler: Do-doe
Me: Use your words. Say it again.
Toddler: No! Do-doe!
Me: Ahhhh, I just don't know what you're saying to me.

(Insert meaningless back and forth banter until, …bright idea!)

Me: Can you point to Do-Doe?
Toddler: (very calmly) Yes.

(Small human points to Play-Dough)

Me: Yes, lets play with the Play-Dough

The following 17 minutes was so confusing I could not follow. Every color and shape we were making was wrong. The wrong color for the wrong shape or vice-versa. I think we were having fun, however.

Suddenly, he had to get down and stop playing with the Play-Dough and he proceeded to march around the house with two Play-Dough stars on his head. (He has good posture).

After I located the remains of the destroyed and thrown stars, we were shopping with his shopping bag and 'play' vegetables.

For the record I follow instructions well, but I could never keep up with the demands of where I was supposed to be sitting/standing/walking during our shopping/restaurant experience. Keep in mind I have a 6 month old baby in my arms and I'm trying (successfully I might add) to feed and comfort her while following orders from an insane tiny dictator.

Finally we arrived at the fake restaurant where I was told to taste, but not touch anything because it was too hot. He proceeded to 'add salt' to everything. (I may have to review my seasoning practices).

I should add that at this point it is only 10:15 in the morning. I have yet to make or drink coffee and I'm just barely holding on to this alternate toddler reality.

Dance party ensued. We danced to Johnny Hodges and Genesis (Three Sides Live) until our living room slowly transformed into a parkour park as he launched himself onto and off of pretty much every surface in the room.

A streamer dance routine happened with two small blankets (amazingly nothing was broken.) Finally, lunch time.

I don't want to talk about lunch.

After another round of dancing, several books read and a MASSIVE, I'M TALKING HOW DID THIS COME OUT OF YOU, POOPS, it was naptime.

Sweet blissful sleep that actually happened for both of the sweet children. 90 minutes (I'm not joking because I timed it) of damn near sweet silence in the house.

I shed a little happy tear, then got some shit done.

How was your day?

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Toddler Days 7.25.17

Here is my attempt to document the crazy days I have with my 2.5 year old son. This isn't because my toddler boy is special and everybody needs to know about him and his activities , it's simply because he does some whacked out shit and I don't want to forget about it! You may also find it entertaining.

The day started off fine. The usual waking at 6:51am. Mom gets off to work after managing the toddler while I attempt to sleep a few extra minutes. The baby assures me that won't happen.

After some breakfast and a little playtime it's time to feed the baby. I sit on the couch with her and the bottle. Feeding is going fine. Between 8:30am and 9am, this is the progression of 'events':

– I'm approached and asked if I can help him put on his tinted goggles. I oblige.
– now he wants his decibel reducing headphones on. I oblige again.
– nothing for several minutes (I should have been concerned)
– I'm rolled up on by my toddler riding his Thomas the Tank Engine with his tinted goggles, headphones, a pair of toy binoculars around his neck
– my thoughts were, "well this is funny, I should get a picture" (I did)
– he gets off the engine lifts the storage compartment under the seat and hands me my drivers license. From my wallet. Which was in a drawer…'inaccessible'.
– he 'drives' off only to return with my college faculty I.D.
– I casually asked (because now I'm concerned that my wallet and its contents are as good as gone), "Could you bring me my wallet please?"
– he rides off. I don't know if he heard me due to the decibel reducing headphones
– alas he returns with my wallet!!
– it's empty.

I finally found all the contents of the wallet while he was napping. How could he not nap with the amount of miles he put in on his Thomas Engine?

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Finding The Groove

As a stay at home dad, loving husband, and freelance musician, my schedule is anything but steady and predictable!

Many days (or weeks…) can go by without making much progress on the goals I have set out for myself. Days blend together and turn into weeks and I’m still at square one with many ideas and projects. 

The way I’ve been dealing with these lulls of professional inactivity is to work on projects and ideas at night after my wife and son go to bed. I have traditionally been a late night worker, so this just seems like a natural time for me to be productive. Besides, haven’t the most genius of minds also been night owls?

I am trying to find new techniques to combat these stagnant periods of productivity, that will allow me to spend more time with the family, rather than staying up later than they do. 

My options include:

1. Keep staying up late and getting things done.

2. Get up earlier than the family and work in the morning!

3. Ignore the child during the day and work on projects and ideas. 

4. Put everything on hold for a few years until The Boy goes to kindergarten. 

Let’s work through these options. I’m not a jerk, and I think/hope I’m a good enough dad to quickly and easily throw out #3. I do enjoy progressing, learning, and I don’t want to miss great opportunities as they arrive, so I must also throw out option #4. 

That leaves either staying up late, or getting up early. Either way, it’s losing sleep and maybe even time with my beautiful family…

Tough choices to be sure. I think I’ll experiment with getting up early and working in the morning, that is if I can change my internal circadian rhythm. 

What other ideas would you suggest so that I can be productive and still be a responsibly loving father and husband?

Here’s to progress!

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