Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Checklist. Especially Super Awesome Kid Checklists.

A quick update. We are now three weeks into our adventure with Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families.

Short story. It’s pretty awesome.

It’s a work in progress. One great change is our weekly Family Meeting. Still finding our groove and building habits, but a sweet reason for everyone to sit down and talk once a week. Perfect.

But the biggest impact is the checklist. The morning checklist rocks. Amazing how smoothly chores/habits are reinforced with a simple checklist.

We put our checklists on the fridge with dry-erase markers. Simple. Convenient. Easily accessible. And they use it every morning…with very little reminder. Huge change.

As Feiler points out, you can’t underestimate the power of the check-mark.

But checklists are especially radical when the kiddos write them. Check out these awesome to-do lists that Mashable shared…


Get dizzy. Sit down. Classic.

Get a checklist. They work.

Catching Up with the Dude’s: Big Boy Undies, Getting Published & Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

Happy Summer y’all! It’s official. Get out there and soak up that vitamin D.

But first, a quick Dude Family update.

Big Boy Undies

I guess Little Dude likes to wait until his birthday to cross milestones off his to-do list. He took his first steps on numero uno. And he mastered the art of potty training almost to the day of #3.

He showed no interest in potty training. Zero. Until he did. And now he’s a peeing machine. He prefers to pee in the bathtub…especially in his boat. But he doesn’t discriminate much…rocks, tennis balls, dogs, and especially Daddy’s feet.

It’s pretty cool to watch it click. Ah, pee and poop are such proud moments for Mommy & Daddy’s everywhere. 🙂

Rockin’ Big Boy Undies

Getting Published

In the off chance that I haven’t chirped enough about how amazingly rad Mrs. Dude is, we now have published proof.

Mrs. Dude is a super cool photographer with an amazing eye. Oh, you want proof from someone other than her husband?!

Ok, how about The Knot! Yep, the super popular wedding mag just published Mrs. Dude online and in print. Pretty awesome. Check ‘er out…

The Knot: A Vintage Destination Wedding

Although, her specialty tends to be newborns. Makes sense, right? Amazing Mom = great with newborns. Here’s a pic she snapped this morning…oh, no biggie, just a sunrise treasure washing up on the beach. 🙂

Mrs. Dude Rocks

 Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

The theme for the Dude Family summer seems to be Rolling. The Princess and Little Dude celebrated their B-days with dueling parties last week.

The Princess scored a bike, skateboard AND roller skates. The Little Dude scored a skateboard he’s been dreaming about.

And The Littlest is now a rolling machine.

Our gorgeous summer days are filled with hours of rolling.

Thumbs Up!

Takin’ Care of Business



And the Dude? I’m just kick’in it. Lovin’ the kiddos. Lovin’ the Mrs. Soakin’ up the NOW.

Enjoy the summer y’all! Wake up early to catch that sunrise, stay up too late kickin’ it around the campfire, enjoy some cerveza watching the waves crash with sand between your toes. Life is short.

PS – In addition to rolling around the world, The Princess is now sharing her art with the world. As one of her summer projects, the 8 year old aspiring artist has setup an Etsy shop to share her view of the world. Starting with a few pieces of nature photography, but much more art to come. Let’s get creative!

Verbal Storm

Little Dude = Happy

Little Dude = Happy

It has been raining words at the Dude casa over the last week.

We had the pleasure of enjoying a visit from Grammie and Papa, and Little Dude chose a great time to open the flood gates on his vocab.

He started walking/running during their visit over the summer as well. I’m not sure if the Grandparents help to draw out these new skills, or if it’s just great timing, but either way, it’s awesome that they have the opportunity to enjoy the development first hand.

And enjoy it they did. Grammie and Papa both seemed quite surprised at the the quality, consistency, and quantity of the words pouring out of Little Dude’s mouth.

Putting two words together before two. Grammie was quite excited. Baby genius? Duh. 🙂

It’s pretty comical to hear what he’s putting together. A few examples…

  • “Hey guys.”
  • “Feesch” = Fish
  • “Wherzit?” = Where’s it?
    • Mostly used when Nemo is captured.
  • “Whereditgo” = Where’d it go?
    • Mainly used when hunting for the paci that we’ve hidden.
  • “Peese” = Please
  • “Ti ty” = Thank you
  • “Outside”
  • “Let’s go”
  • “Tada!”
  • “Moy” = More
  • “Bac” = Bacon
  • “Sawsig” = Sausage
    • The Boy loves some breakfast meats. Primal, like his Old Man. 🙂
  • “All done”
  • “Ud u” = Love you

But no question, my absolute favorite new Little Dude vocab word is “happy!”

I enjoy the nightly routine of putting LD to bed – one of the best moments of the day because we get some quiet hugs for a minute….that’s something special from a kid that sprints everywhere he goes.

As we hugged the other night, LD said “happy,” “Dada, happy.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was the first time I heard it from him, and he only said it a couple times. I wasn’t sure if I even heard it correctly. I left it at that, and decided not to read into it too much.

Then the next night the “happys” came on full steam. As we hugged, he must have said “Happy.” “Dada, happy.” about twenty times. It was clear as day.

Who knows why he said it, but I’m reading into it. I’m coming up with my own conclusion.

My boy is telling me he’s happy and/or I’m happy as we hug at the end of the day. How can I not read into that? How can I not assume what seems obvious?

He knows what happy means, and he knows that we’re happy. That’s a heart melting moment. And I loved every millisecond of it.

Indeed, Little Dude, “Dada, happy.” Thanks for being a bottomless pit of happiness for the Dude.

Jump School

It is awesome to watch Little Dude figuring life out. He is one independent and determined little dude. Not only does he know what he wants, but he also knows that he wants to do it.

He is working sooo hard to do what he sees everyone else doing. What seems simple, is anything but, when you’re just learning.

Here’s a quick video of Little Dude trying super hard to get his feet off the ground. He’s been putting himself through Jump School for the past few days.

Go get ’em L.D.


1 Year, 9 Weeks: The Yin & Yang of Toddlerhood

1 Year, 9 Weeks: Yin & Yang of Toddlerhood

1 Year, 9 Weeks: Yin & Yang of Toddlerhood

Science is amazing. With a little ingenuity and some perseverance, there doesn’t seem like much we can’t accomplish.

For example, did you know that science has discovered the most annoying sound?! I thought Jim Carey presented these findings in Dumb and Dumber, but it turns out his theory wasn’t backed by science.

It almost seems too basic, but I guess simple is good. So, what could it be? Whining, of course.

Makes sense right? Kids needs something so they whine, and adults jump through hoops to quiet the beast asap.

Seems like evolution was on to something. Would have been tough for cave dudes to save little cave dudes from wooly mammoths if the whine didn’t bother them.

So here we are in 2011 still tortured by the whine, but at least science has finally proven what we’ve all known for millennia; whining sucks. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity, and toddlers are really, really good at it. Little Dude is a natural.

We’re now past the first year mark, and we’ve entered an entirely new frame of reference; toddlerhood. Yep, it’s as scary as it seems. We’ve gone from cute and cuddly to hell on wheels…well, still cute and cuddly, but much more mobile and destructive now.

Along with the mobility and destruction comes the whine. Little Dude has had teeth popping through for what seems like two months, so he has really had an opportunity to perfect the whine. But more than a mere complaint about that aggravating dull pain that he’s dealing with, the whine has become his form of communication. Actually, it’s much more than a whine; it’s a whine that has developed into a scream – a horror movie scream. And he is not afraid to use it.

His mind is always working…and his feet are always moving. Darting from one spot to another, grabbing, throwing, tasting…and screaming. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to be thinking and processing but have no way to communicate wants or desires. The young fella is stuck in that predicament. And his solution is a Freddy-Kruger-is-chasing-me-scream.

So, I’d actually like to challenge science’s whine findings with a recording of this ear piercing scream.

Along with the whining/screaming, toddlerhood also brings the joy of hitting and throwing food…well, throwing anything really, but food is a favorite projectile. The perfect toddler trifecta; screaming, hitting, and throwing. Little Dude has perfected them all.

Sounds agonizing, right? Not really. In fact, it’s amazing to witness the rapid development. The world works in mysterious ways, and any “bad” is generally accompanied by an ample dose of “good.” While it can be fun to complain, there really is a great balance of yin and yang with toddlerhood.

Sure he’s whining and screaming, but that just leads to words; more, Marley (Mar mar), Dada, Mama, Bubba (also referring to Marley…and every other animal), hi, bye bye. Plus, it’s pretty fun to watch a crazy little dude running and screaming. He’s just figuring out this whole communication thing, and it’s pretty cool to watch the process.

Sure the throwing of food and every other object in his path may be a bear to keep clean, and a bit destructive, but he’s just exploring (or so I tell Mrs. Dude). Plus, he’s developing quite a throw!

Sure the hitting is uncalled for, painful, and a bit embarrassing in public, but it’s leading to some incredible new skills; skills that are worth every bit of pain and frustration – hugging, squeezing, holding hands, and my all-time favorite, kisses! Mmmm-aaaahhh. Hearts melt, seriously. Didn’t know hearts could do that, but they do with teeny, tinnie little kisses. Rad.

The yin and yang of toddlerhood is awesome. And the Dude is enjoying every millisecond.


Week 52: Walking, Throwing, Kicking, Oh My!

6.19.11 - Birthday Boy

6.19.11 - Birthday Boy

How many weeks are in a year? Ding, ding, ding…52. Little Dude is officially a one year old.

He picked a great day to burst on the scene. Every few years we’ll get to celebrate Father’s Day and his birthday. And this was one of the lucky years. A nice bonus.

Every stage makes me wish I could freeze time so he’d stop growing. Then I experience the next stage and realize it’s just as good.

The first year flew by, and we’re looking forward to what year numero dos has in store.

One year is a big milestone, and Little Dude celebrated in style by becoming a full-time walker on the big day. He has been practicing little by little over the past couple weeks, but Sunday was the day he committed to it.

And not just walking. The Boy is throwing like a champ…and kicking! For real. Kicking. A ball!

Brought a tear to the Dude’s eye to see some soccer coming out of him. I’m hoping we can sign his first contract by his second bday.

Here’s a highlight reel of the birthday weekend. What better way to celebrated than highlights of a one year old walking and a classic Footloose song?

Although, I’ll warn you that it may drag on a bit for anyone that is not his Mom and Dad…but it’s fun for us to see ALL of the first steps. However, if you find that your bored, skip ahead to the 2:50 mark. Soccer skills on a one year old are pretty entertaining.

Happy birthday Little Dude. We love you.

Week 45: Lovin’ Life

Little Dude is approaching the 11 month mark. Mrs. Dude and I are pretty close to being the proud parents of a one year old. A one year old?! How did that happen? Where did the time go?

Wow. It’s a whirlwind, but it’s so fun, and Little Dude is coming into his own a little more every day.

He’s starting to clap, walking behind a new toy Grammie got for him, and overall enjoying his existence. A super happy guy, which makes me a super happy guy.

Here’s a quick view of L.D. enjoying life…

Week 37: On the Move

Week 37: On the MoveLittle Dude is officially on the move. He’s actually been on the move for a little over a week. I’ve been trying to get this post out since last weekend, but life happened. No good excuse, just a series of bad ones.

Kids. That will be my general excuse for the foreseeable future.

Here we are a week and a half late. L.D. is crawling, and luckily, this video is actually the very first time he put together a serious crawl…as you can tell from Mrs. Dude’s excitement. I happened to grab the camera at the right time.

Little Dude is loving his new found freedom. Just like figuring out how to sit-up, it’s a whole new world for him. He can follow his interests wherever they take him.

After a week of crawling experience, it’s safe to say he’s got the hang of his new skill. He’s pretty much sprint-crawling now…sprawling? And the things he’s interested in…generally the most dangerous non-baby items in view.

Be careful what you wish for. I guess it’s a cliche for a reason. It’s a awesome to see each new skill, but as his freedom increases our responsibility increase as well. And I think this relationship stays the same until roles reverse and he starts changing my diapers.

Week 30: Grrrr…

7 months.  How does it goes so fast?

He’s like a little man.  We refer to him as the business man.  I’m on the hunt for a sweet pinstripe suit, so he can take over the E-Trade baby’s spot.

Although I guess this picture doesn’t really say “business.”  More like Grrrr…

The Dude’s newest nephew, i.e. The Intimdator, is three weeks older than Little Dude, and he started to crawl last week.  L.D. is starting to realize he can get around by rolling.  I suspect he’ll be on the move soon.

So bittersweet to reach another stage of development.

But the good news is we can have baby races, and hopefully I can win some money off the Lady in a Shoe.



Week 27: Block Head

Sitting Up

Sitting Up

The Boy has moved past the 6 month mark, and we’re celebrating with some sitting up!

Little Dude has been showing signs of sitting up for a couple weeks, but this week he made the commitment.  Just chillin’ on his rump.

It’s so cool to watch his new skills develop.  And it’s amazing how much the simple act of sitting up can change his world.  New toys.  New interactions.  A whole new view of the world.

We also went for his 6 month checkup.  It’s never fun to deal with shots, but he was a trooper, and we got some fun measurements; 17.12 lbs (55%),  length 75%,  head 90%.

L.D. is rockin’ a big block head.  And it couldn’t be cuter.