12 Tips for a Bueno Casa

You like that Spanglish title? I knew you would.

Last night I shared 10 Tips for Raising Little Dudes. So, it seems like a good time to keep dropping some knowledge in list form.

Tonight’s list offers some ideas for a happy home, and I’m digging these thoughts from The Happiness Project. There are some great tips here that we can put to use at the Dude casa right away.

Here are the bueno tips…with some added comments from the Dude. Enjoy.

12 tips for a Happier Home:

  1. Turn routines into games. No one likes picking up toys. Making it a game is much better.
  2. Control the level of noise. “Inside voice, quiet. Inside voice, quiet.” Yo Gabba Gabba, anyone? For real, keep the yelling to a minimum.
  3. Organize space so it’s attractive, well organized, and well lit. One of my most important Secrets of Adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm. – Not the Dude’s comment, but I agree. Get rid of that clutter!
  4. Plan times each day for relaxing activities. For real, relax. We’re all too stressed. Find a way to let it go and be calm.
  5. Encourage a feeling of belonging, e.g., by displaying children’s work and pictures. Love it. Having the kids art work around makes them proud and adds some awesome art to the walls.
  6. Consider children’s reactions when making an unavoidable change. It’s easy to forget how the kids feel. I tend to be the “suck it up” type, but I’m learning to think about feelings more…thanks Mrs. Dude. 😉
  7. Balance indoor and outdoor activities. Every day, outside. No exceptions. Get outside, even if it’s just a few minutes. Breathe fresh air. Remember that we’re all part of nature. Get outside.
  8. Make sure there’s plenty of time to get things done without rushing. Mrs. Dude, did you read that one? Just kidding, you’re perfect. 🙂
  9. Provide opportunities for curiosity and creativity. Same as getting outside, no exceptions. Be curious, be creative; everyday.
  10. Speak in a calm voice. Nice voice, always. Little Dude gets this reminder quite a bit…he’s at the MINE stage.
  11. Explain the behavior you’d like to see in a clear, respectful way. Not “Settle down,” but “Sit in your chair with your feet under your desk.” Not “I could use a little help around here,” but “Please unload the dishwasher so we can get the dirty dishes out of the sink.” – Not the Dude’s comment, but oooh, I dig this. Clarity is crucial….Dude is learning this too.
  12. Meet people’s basic needs. Children and adults need to eat, drink, go to the bathroom, rest, and spend time outside. That’s it. Don’t make life harder than it is. Solve the basic needs, the rest is gravy.

First Pictures of the Newest Dude Bambino!

Mrs. Dude, Little Dude, and your’s truly made an hour + trek to the baby doctor the other day for our first baby appointment. We are officially 13 weeks preggo now, and probably should have had an earlier visit, but we’ve had a difficult time determining the Doc of our choice.

We’re stuck in an interesting position. The closest hospital – the joint where Little Dude was welcomed into the world – is not very open to natural birth techniques. In fact, their c-section rate is almost 50%! That’s ridonculous.

Now, the odds of us having a c-section are pretty slim considering Mrs. Dude’s awesome performances for bambinos numero uno and numer dos, but that stat is pretty telling for the overall birthing atmosphere. And we are all about a natural birth.

We’d love to have this baby born in a tub in our bedroom, but NC has some pretty crazy restrictions on home births. As a result, we are seeking a happy middle ground, a great midwife in a medical facility. However, this middle ground is over an hour from our house.

So, we’ll trek an hour to see the Doc and/or midwife for the next six months. However, I see potential for some excitement around the birth.

In the birth story I wrote about Little Dude’s entrance into the world, you’ll notice that from the water breaking through laboring at home, driving to the hospital and giving birth, we only covered a three hour period. Heck, the doctor didn’t even make it to the birth. The nurse and Mrs. Dude’s Mom, Nina, helped Little Dude make his entrance. And this hospital was only 15 minutes from the house.

So, how are we going to get over an hour on the third baby with Mrs. Dude trying to labor in a car? Great question.

We’ll work that out when the time comes. For now, we are jazzed about the great visit we had with a Doc that we could relate to, and we’re looking forward to meeting with the midwife.

We had the pleasure of seeing the little bean – or peach I guess – on the ultrasound, and he/she was even jumping around a bit – another lunatic like Little Dude?! Little Dude even seemed to enjoy seeing his newest sibling, although he still changes the subject when we ask him where the baby is. 🙂

Here’s the first picture of the newest Dude bambino. Best looking ultrasound you’ve ever seen, right?

Newest Dude Bambino

Newest Dude Bambino

You Should Stand More.

Seriously, you should stand more.

The Dude has been dropping some healthy living knowledge recently. Although, now that I mention that, what qualifies me to drop health knowledge?

Nothing, really. Other than the fact I’ve been trying to develop a healthy lifestyle for myself for many moons. As I mentioned, I was a certified personal trainer, but that just means I passed a test; I never used it as an occupation. But I have been researching and developing my healthful approach to life for years.

So, bam. I just qualified myself. Maybe all the book knowledge from The Man just gets in health professionals’ way anyway.

But back to the subject of this post, from someone that has no qualifications to discuss this subject; standing. You should stand more.

I’ll preface this post by saying that this may seem a bit strange, but challenging the status qua is a good thing. Strange is a good thing. Embrace it.

I came across this “stand more” idea a while ago, and I committed to standing at my home computer about a year ago. I sit all day at work, so standing at home made complete sense after I dug into it a bit.

Although, I kept sitting at work. I guess I let the strangeness “stand in my way” – you like that play on words? 🙂

A couple weeks ago I started standing at work too. And I love it. I vary between sitting and standing, but that’s probably because I don’t have a standing desk to be comfortable at.  Here’s what the Dude is rocking for his standing desk…

I’m standing more than sitting these days, and it’s super rad. My butt hurts if I sit for much time now.

But (bam, playing on words), don’t take my word for it. Check out all of this stand-up cheer-leading…



Hemingway Standing Desk

Hemingway Standing Desk

  •  Last, but not least, a great infographic about the “The Harm of Sitting Constantly” – love the deathly graphics 🙂 – aka “Sitting is Killing You.


Sitting is Killing You Infographic

Sitting is Killing You Infographic

You should stand more.

Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy



A few posts ago I opened the door to a new line of discussion here on DKB; health. That post discussed mobility – the often ignored ideas of stretching, massage and range of motion. The mobility blog I shared in that post is spot on, and the mobility dude is the shiz. I highly recommend.

I’m eager to continue down this line of healthy thought. Mainly because these are ideas that I’m exploring, and it’s fun to share ideas. Hopefully there is some use for you too.

“Health” has always been a significant focus for the Dude. I’ve always been active, played sports, and experimented with bodybuilding techniques. But the definition of “health” is difficult to pin down; it’s in a constant state of flux based on who you ask, and more importantly, based on your stage of life. My focus on health has shifted significantly over the years.

I’ve gone from lifting as much heavy weight as possible, eating as much as I could, and spending hours in the gym to a very streamlined approach to my activity and my diet. And I’m happy to say that I believe I’m in much better shape – and health – based on the evolution of my understanding of “health.”

Recently, my quest has led me to a wealth of information that has refined my views even further. I’m convinced that the majority of us are eating the wrong diets, wasting time in the gym, and being disappointed by the lack of results and performance.

We reside ourselves to the fact that “we’re getting old,” and accept declining health, mobility, and fitness as a fact of nature. Maybe we are just practicing the wrong techniques and taking direction from the wrong sources – ah hem, The Man. Perhaps there are simple changes that can bring significant improvements.

I’ll continue with this line of thinking as DKB progresses, and today I want to begin with a focus on some important exercises that we should consider adding to the core of our workout routines – yes, everyone should have a workout routine.

As I mentioned, I was an avid gym rat for years. But as life progressed over the last few years, my daily schedule became a bit tighter, and I gave up the gym. I’ve been working out at home for a couple years, and over time, I’ve been refining my routine(s).

I no longer believe in a monthly payment to a gym. With the right direction and a little ingenuity, health and fitness can be accomplished at home. No question. Saving time, saving money, and in the Dude’s opinion, better results.

I’m a believer that my routine(s) will continually evolve, and the below discussion of core exercises will help with this evolution. This is from a new blog I just found; Whole9Life.com. I’m still exploring it, but at first glance, I’m digging their thoughts.

I’ll let the blog offer the full details, but I’ll share a quick synopsis and a some great highlights. Here’s the premise of this post:

Whole 9 Life “brought together 12 fitness experts from a broad range of backgrounds–with bodies of experience ranging from weightlifting to track and field to mixed martial arts, and over two centuries of collective coaching experience–to ask them all the same question:

If you could only perform five exercise movements for the rest of your life, which five would you do? (Assuming your goals are general health, fitness and longevity.)”

Great idea, right? Experts sharing what we all need to know. How do we stay in shape, maintain our health – or improve it – and increase our longevity. The secrets that we all need to know.

So, forget what the Dr. said, ignore your cousin who is a personal trainer, and start to think along “unconventional” lines. This is the highlight of a three part blog series from Whole9Life.com. The first two parts offer more specifics about the exercises and the experts, but the overview in part three ties it all together.

Highlights & takeaways…use these ideas to build your routine. Drop the gym, save time, save money, and take care of yourself – you’re the only one who can.

  • All of the exercises selected are multi-joint (compound) exercises. As in 100%. No single-joint exercise belongs on a list like this.
  • The vast majority of the exercises are ground-based, either with feet flat on the ground, or with some sort of transition between body-on-the-ground and standing positions. The real world happens with objects in unrestricted planes of motion, and so should your training. The only “resistance” you need is your body and something heavy to pick up or carry.
  • There is a significant emphasis on movements that are “big, strong” movements. For long-term health, building and maintaining strength must be a central feature of your program.
  • Locomotion was a common response. We are bipedal creatures, and training the reciprocal patterns of walking, running, lunging, stepping, and crawling, strongly echoes the three-dimensional ways that we move in the “real world”. Stabilizing our trunk while shifting and supporting weight is not only beneficial, it’s fundamentally human. We learn it as infants, but far too many of us lose that ability in adulthood. Get it back.
  • Squatting is not the end-all-be-all. Sure, we have to squat to be able to stand from a chair, but little else occurs where our feet are symmetrical and neatly spaced outside of hip width. Gardening, all field and court sports, moving furniture, and wrestling all share the staggered stance position where stabilizing the body’s mass on top of a narrow or unilateral base of support is critical.
  • We found it fascinating that an Olympic weightlifting coach (Greg Everett) did not include a single explosive movement in his list. If that doesn’t illustrate the priority of building full-body strength with basic movements, we don’t know what does.
  • Almost everyone included putting weight overhead: press, clean & jerk, overhead squat, etc.If you aren’t putting heavy things overhead on a regular basis, your program should change.
  • Almost everyone included a pulling movement (a pull-up or row variation), and no one mentioned kipping.
  • Note that one of our experts selected both swimming and walking. We believe the training and therapeutic value of both of those movements is under-rated. They might not sound very bad-ass, but [p]erpetually chasing performance is not the same as creating excellent health. Don’t be afraid to slow down.

Ask and You Shall Receive. A Response Video to Jorge & Alexa’s “Home” Video

Caution:  This isn’t much of a response video.

When the fans speak, the Dude listens. After the Behind the Curve post, we were so flooded with fan requests for the Princess to make a video (all 2 of them), that we felt we owed it to our loyal readers to come up with something.  Well, that and the events unfolded serendipitously so all the Dude had to do was point and click. No effort, my favorite type of work.

However, prior to jumping into the video, I want to mention the Jorge and Alexa video again. I didn’t mention this in the last post, but their back-story is interesting. Based solely on the 30 seconds I spent on their Facebook page, it seems Jorge is a 24 year old, single father of two young girls (at least one of which loves to sing), working his way through college.

The video has a good story too. After 9 or 10 practice runs with a mic that ended up being turned off the entire time, at 11 PM they were both ready to hit the hay, but gave one last run at it with the mic on. Clearly it worked.

It’s a great rendition of a great song. There are a few pieces of the video that stand out for me. Alexa’s fake whistle around 1:35 is great, and her question, “One day I’m going to whistle?” was timed perfectly and seemed spontaneous. The stifled yawn at about 2:30 is perfect, and definitely shows it was the end of the night. But I guess most importantly, even in a short video, a strong father-daughter bond seems to come across.

Was this the breakout weekend for this song everywhere, or just in our world? It’s been around for a while, so I have to guess it was just our world. Like when you buy a new car you start to see the same cars all over the road. It was popping up everywhere we turned. Radio, Facebook, email, Pandora. The Princess can’t stop singing it.  Which I guess leads us to our “response” video.

The Dude doesn’t have the same musical acumen that it appears Jorge has. At least not yet. I’d love to learn the guitar, but I’ve been stuck trying to teach myself the harmonica for the past five years. And judging by that progress, learning the first verse of Home would probably take me another 3 years. So, I probably won’t be performing anytime soon. I only make a small cameo, from the waist down, with some poor bongo banging. But the Princess is building her stage presence.

I was feeding the dogs when I noticed The Princess was jamming on the bongo and singing. The camera was close by, so I grabbed it. I tried to catch her without her noticing.  It was a bad angle and she noticed, so I moved in for a closer look. Most of her quiet singing is drowned out by the bongo. She starts out singing this country song. But as she’s playing, Home randomly comes on Mrs. Dude’s Phoenix mix on Pandora. (Go Mrs. Dude. Nice selection. Quality musical taste; another item on the long list of “I love you’s.”)

So, we seize the moment and poorly sing along with song…kind of.  But not really because the Princess knows about three words…and the bongo is loud. In the end, The Princess poorly lipsync’s the song and ends up licking a microphone.

All in all, an unremarkable response to a remarkable video.


Happy Anniversary. Let’s Go to Home Depot.

Dude and the Mrs. celebrated their anniversary a couple weeks ago.

A great day had by all; a few hugs, a couple high-fives, some thoughtful gifts, a carefully crafted breakfast including flowers from the Dude, and a trip to Home Depot of course…no anniversary would be complete without a giant hardware store.

As the Dude of the house, the responsibility falls on me to repair those things that require repairing.  This includes repairs that are beyond the Dude’s scope of expertise.  Most repairs fall into this “beyond the scope” category, but that never stopped McGyver (or McGrubber), so scope of experience does not preclude almost any repair requirements.  After all, the alternative is to demonstrate a lack of Dudeness…and pay someone else to handle the task at hand, which is never a good option for a self-proclaimed Dude.

So, as the dishes were being rinsed after the anniversary breakfast, Dude recognized a sound under the sink, a sound that sent his Dude instincts aflutter.  The sound of water under the kitchen sink.

Normally, water and the kitchen sink seem to go together pretty well, but this water was not of the friendly variety.  It was of the “I’m going to steal your anniversary because you know nothing about plumbing” variety.

Sweet.  A leak under the kitchen sink.

Awesome.  The Dude has no experience with plumbing…unless, of course, you consider adding Drano to a clogged shower valuable experience, but it was clear Drano wasn’t fixing this (don’t think it didn’t cross my mind).

After a careful inspection, the problem was evident.  The nut (no clue if this is the correct term) connecting the drain to the sink was broken.  And, when I say “the problem was evident,” I really mean the nut was loose, and when I tried to tighten it, I snapped it.  At any rate, the issue was diagnosed, and the plumbing expertise was growing by the second.

Dude Loves Plumbing

Dude Loves Plumbing

Dude Loves Plumbing

Dude Loves Plumbing

After diagnosis, the next step in most of the Dude’s projects is a trip to Home Depot to gather the random parts that will allow a truly McGyvered solution to come to life.  So, with the Mrs. and the Princess in tow, the Dude was off to the Depot.

Luckily, the trip was uneventful, the parts were gathered successfully, and the fix was pretty straight forward.  The Dude strikes again!

However, in true Dude fashion, one repair usually leads to another, and as I was giving Marley a celebratory belly rub in the kitchen, he rolled (more like giant flop) over and snapped the cabinet door in two.  Thankfully super glue is always on hand in copious quantities for Dude projects.

One Job Leads to Another

One Job Leads to Another

Dude's Favorite Tool

Dude's Favorite Tool

Happy anniversary.