Good third party newspaper article introducing Crossfit:


It is beginning to feel as though there may be spring in the near future, so today, the kids and I ventured outside for some fresh air.  The snow is still quite deep in our yard and this makes tough work for little legs to walk in it.  Here are a few pictures that I was able to shoot amongst coming to the rescue of the little legs that couldn't make it through the snow!  (The littlest guy in the photos is my nephew, Ethan.)


I am a firm believer that kids need time to play.  I'm a firm believer that I need time to play (this one's been tough this year and I'm a hypocrite).  

A recent article from Scientific American titled, "The Serious Need for Play" reconfirmed this philosophy and has got me excited again and my wheels turning, more on that article below.  

There are some serious doubts about my laid-back philosophy that pop up when I hear of all the activities my kids' playmates are registered in.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of Ariel's friends are involved in 6-7 classes/week.  Gymnastics, skating, swimming, dance, piano, etc, and some of these are two nights a week plus weekends (not to mention expensive)!  My kids are only registered in one gymnastic class per week, on Saturday mornings.  We picked gymnastics because from our experience, if you can do gymnastics well, you can conquer the world.  When comparing to the normal kids extracurricular activities, it is hard not to worry that your kid is going to be left behind, his/her athletic prowess diminished, socioeconomic success forever hampered.  

Additionally, these activities need to be balanced with homework and an 8PM bedtime.  In our house, by the time I wrap up work at 6-ish, help out with supper and clean-up, there is little time left over for play, let alone an extracurricular activity AND homework.  We start the bedtime routine around 730-745, and spent time reading with the kids before they crash.  It's a pretty small window of time to hang out as a fam.

In regards to homework, Ariel usually has some, and we usually ignore it (sorry Madame Karine!)  Ariel is super smart, his reading and writing in English and French are developing at an astonishing pace, he loves math and social studies, and most importantly he is HOOKED on learning.  He brings home books on ancient Egypt and Forest Life Cycles for us to read with him at bedtime, and recites the facts back to us around the dinner table.  However . . . Ariel is also super distracted, and getting him to focus on a task to completion can make you want to punch someone in the throat.  He is particular about his work, which makes him slow, and if someone sitting next to him in class wants to debate the supremacy of Sonic vs. Knuckles, that debate will win over his school work every time.  This means he brings home uncompleted work, one night last week an hour of it that his poor teacher insisted he catch up on.  I sat with him for that hour, keeping him on task amidst the readily-available distractions, and there was not a single activity that was a struggle for him, the questions asked did not require a second thought to answer correctly.  I was sorry I made him do it, I don't think it was a valuable use of time considering that it kept him up till 9PM and made him sluggish and worn out the next day.

The homework issue has collided with this new article from Scientific American and I am feeling a need to "do something" about it.  I'm not 100% sure what that will look like yet.  Here are highlights put forward by the article, but I recommend you read it in entirety:

- Childhood play is crucial for social, emotional and cognitive development.

- Imaginative and rambunctious “free play,” as opposed to games or structured activities, is the most essential type.

- Kids and animals that do not play when they are young may grow into anxious, socially maladjusted adults.

- Limiting free play in kids may result in a generation of anxious, unhappy and socially maladjusted adults. “The consequence of a life that is seriously play-deprived is serious stuff,” Brown says. But it is never too late to start: play also promotes the continued mental and physical well-being of adults.

- Children’s free-play time dropped by a quarter between 1981 and 1997. Concerned about getting their kids into the right colleges, parents are sacrificing playtime for more structured activities. As early as preschool, youngsters’ after-school hours are now being filled with music lessons and sports—reducing time for the type of imaginative and rambunctious cavorting that fosters creativity and cooperation.

- Most essential, the activity should not have an obvious function in the context in which it is observed—meaning that it has, essentially, no clear goal.

- Play fighting also improves problem solving. According to a paper published by Pellegrini in 1989, the more elementary school boys engaged in rough-housing, the better they scored on a test of social problem solving. 

- Many parents today believe they are acting in their kids’ best interests when they swap free play for what they see as valuable learning activities. 

- Some mothers and fathers may also hesitate to let their kids play outside unattended, and they may fret about the possibility of the scrapes and broken bones that sometimes arise during play fighting or rambunctious fantasy play, says Sergio M. Pellis, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. Although those instincts are natural, protecting kids “simply defrays those costs to later, when those same children will have difficulty in dealing with an unpredictable, complex world,” Pellis says. “A child who has had a rich exposure to social play experiences is more likely to become an adult who can manage unpredictable social situations.”

So, this is exciting confirmation for me, perhaps I am not ruining my children after all by keeping the schedule more open.  It's also led me on a rabbit trail called "Waldorf", an education philosophy which at first glance lines up with this information.  
"Waldorf educators believe strongly that the education of the future must have four dimensions: academic, practical, aesthetic and ethical. In particular they believe that ethical education is possible without transmitting ready-made values."

Without transmitting ready-made values? Scary stuff eh? :)  Another stab made in the FAQ of the Edmonton Waldorf site states that "accelerated learning does come at a cost to the child."  This is a can of worms thats just been opened for me, and I'll need to do some reading & digging.  Turns out, Edmonton Public Schools recently approved the first Waldorf program at a school 10 minutes away . . . but I've got some more reading to do first, and I need to check in with my most trusted education resource, Mrs. Seck.


There is one thing that always makes people stop and watch at the gym, even more so than the girls who show up in their underwear. [Aside: these girls must be aware that they have officially given up the right to the, "What do you think you're looking at?" look.  If I show up in my underwear . . . I also give up that right.]  

The thing I'm talking about is the girl pounding out the chin ups.  People start out by counting the chins in their peripheral vision.  At number 7 or 8 they start shooting quick glances to look for signs of fatigue.  After number 10 all common gym etiquette goes out the window and all those within view start watching intently and continuing the count.  Folks walking by notice everyone looking at a fixed location and turn their heads as well.  When the girl hits 20 chins before dropping off the bar, people slowly resume their routine with hushed comments between themselves, and promise themselves to work on their chin ups more often.  But not today, for fear of being compared to "that chick".

Today, that chick was my wife, and she pounded out 20 ferocious chins much to the dismay of her husband, who has dreamed of hitting that number for years.  It was shameful, it was hot.  Now I'm off to change Amanda's bio to reflect her newfound status.

Nicely done Amanda.


Every kid in the world should have this one memorized.  I should have it memorized.  It should be canonical. 

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course, 
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself 
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek, 
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course, 
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

---Dr. Seuss


Jeff and I spent many months signing to Judah, Salem and Adia as babies and they all picked it up after a few months.  Well okay, Salem only did it when he felt like it, but the other two use(d) it all the time.  It takes 2 or 3 months of consistently signing to them before they finally produce that first sign.   It's pretty exciting when they FINALLY do sign back.  

Here is a video of Adia showing off her communication skills asking to do her favorite thing . . . eat and eat some more!  She is 16 months old and has been signing for about 3 months.  If you've never seen baby sign in action, it's pretty fun to watch.  Here she is, enjoy!  (Sorry about the blurry spots in the video.  It may have had something to do with little boys, a hot tub and our camera!  At least it still works.)


An ethical bribe: Timothy Ferriss will pay $3 to US public school classrooms for every new Twitter follower during the next two weeks.  

Opportunities like this have the power to make big differences, at little to no cost/time expense on your behalf.  Exercise your information network for something more useful than informing the world that " . . . is bored."  Use your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, blog, website, and any other medium you have to spread the word.

Visit now to see how it works and join in the fun.

Oh yeah, there is also a round-trip ticket and Macbook up for grabs . . .

Timothy Ferriss is one of my favorite mavericks and the author of the manifesto for the restless: The 4HR Work Week.  Following him on Twitter will expose you to some of the most interesting information out there.   To see the type of content you will be exposed to, go to his Twitter page, here:

Why use Twitter?  Here are a few good reasons:

“Tweet To Beat could generate help for thousands of students in high-need public schools. My colleagues and I are cheering you on!”
-Charles Best, CEO of

From Tim's website:How Little Does It Take?I hope you choose to participate and make a difference. Karmic capitalism doesn’t take much.

Taking an hour to mentor a child, sending a single e-mail, or 
following someone on Twitter — remember that the small things are often what have the biggest impact, as we actually do them.

Please spread the word and further the experiment. I’ll share all of the results so others can duplicate them with non-profits worldwide.

“One of the great movements in my lifetime among educated people is the need to commit themselves to action.”-Peter Drucker


This is not my patella, I was fortunate enough to have mine pop back into place before there was an opportune kodak moment.  However, it can give one an inclination of what happened.  

What bothers me about the incident is that I cannot isolate the cause, so as to prevent it from future occurrence.  To add further perplexity, my physiologist tells me I have tight, healthy knees.  I was not performing a complicated maneuver, I did not have a ski twist my leg, I simply overshot the balance beam and was trying to dismount on the opposite side.  The move we were working on is called a "staller" (sp?): hop onto the beam in a straddle position, legs pointed parallel to the ground in a V position, weight supported on your hands between your legs (see picture below).

From this position I fell over the side of the beam, which was only about lower rib cage height, and when my left leg touched the floor and was weighted . . . snap, crackle, pop.  I could feel popping and tearing, then a pop back into place when I hit the ground curled up in a fetal position.  It hurt immediately, the kind of hurt I haven't felt in years (possibly ever?).  I hollered repeatedly at the top of my lungs until I could get my wits about me, then did my best to breathe through the pain.  My brain wanted to implode, and I could feel shock settling in.  My fellow gymnasts noted I was a pale green color.

Fortunately Coach Kari is well-trained, and there is also a great nurse in my class.  They recommended ice, ibuprofen, and a trip to the local sports physio clinic first thing in the morning.  They confirmed my suspicion that any trip to ER would result in a few hours sitting uncomfortably in a waiting room, an x-ray to confirm nothing was broken, and a recommendation for physio.  A couple gentlemen from class carried me out to the car to be chauffeured home.

After a handful of ibuprofen, a couple bags of ice, and a 2 oz hot butter rum toddy I could feel the tension ease from my mind & body, and was able to sleep not too badly.  The pain was almost non-existent by morning, unless of course I tried moving it.  At the physio clinic my knee was probed (ACL felt intact, thank goodness), and they confirmed that I had indeed experienced a dislocated patella.  The soft tissue on the inside of my knee, which normally keeps it in place, were ripped and swollen.  

 The prescription: full leg brace at ALL times for 1 week (do not even get up to answer the phone without it), ice for 20 minutes of every hour, followed by 2+ weeks of a hinged limited range-of-motion knee brace, and physio sessions twice per week.  Not having any benefit coverage for this type of thing, I was happy to hear that health care covers my first three visits!  Unfortunately, once you have dislocated the patella, like a shoulder, it is HIGHLY likely it will continue to happen.  My doc claims that the key to preventing this is counterintuitive, you need to build up some scar tissue which will help hold the patella in its proper place.  The key to the "right amount" of scar tissue is the right amount of usage.  Too little use and the scar tissue may not build enough, or it may be "clumped", too much use and I could build too much scar tissue, and the soft tissue could stay loose.

My physio sessions consist of cold whirlpool soaking, ultrasound and shock treatment to stimulate healing, and a few simple, controlled contraction of isolated muscles around the knee.  Four full days later, I can almost bend my knee 70 degrees, very slowly.  Thanks to the leg brace I can walk without pain, although awkwardly & slowly.  I was even able to do a "Barbara" WOD today, minus the squats.  The hot tub with snowballs within easy reach make for some nice hydrotherapy in the backyard.

I expect to be fully recovered before the snow is gone, and I'm not expecting a late spring.

Update: Sporting my new piece of leg jewelry.  After a week and a half, the swelling dropped significantly for a couple days, then flared up again.  A nice yellow bruise has appeared that covers most of my lower leg.






There are times when I can't believe how sweet my kids are . . . and there are other times when deep down I have to keep myself from punching one of them :)  The latter is something I would never do, but if you have children, I'm sure you know the feeling.
Our 2 year old son, Salem, has always been sweet.  He's also always loved to do something we have now come to call "scream-o".  When Salem was only 15 months old, Adia was born.  Soon after he realized I wasn't going to pick him up at every whimper, he thought it a good idea to bend over, throw his arms behind himself and scream as loud as he could.  The "scream-o" was born.  He could not yet talk and I am sure he found it very frustrating not being able to communicate what he wanted and so the "screamo"  became a regular occurrance several (if not MANY) times a day.  At first, it was almost funny, but not for long.  This probably lasted 3-4 months.
Salem didn't start to talk until shortly before he turned two.  I guess the "point and grunt" was working for him. When he did start talking it was in full sentences and using unbelievably "adult" words.  "So, how'r you today?"  "You're the best mommy ever!"  "Whatever"  "I love you too much"  "Actually, I'm just wittle, I have wittle wegs".  We have been told on several occasions just how sweet Salem is.  I agree it is pretty hard to keep from squeezing little "chubbers" when he tells you he loves you too much.
We have seen hints of scream-o surface when Salem doesn't want to do something, but letting Salem know that we want to talk to him and explain why we are asking him to do something almost always calmed him down.  Once we took the time to talk with him, he settled down and usually agreed to our request. 
Recently, we moved to a new house and have been extremely busy the last month since we moved.  
Scream-o re-emerges. Now it's more of yelling and trying to get away from us.  
When Salem doesn't want to do something now, he just starts yelling at us and pushing us away.  
"Don't talk to me! NO. NO. I don't want to"
Ha ha, yeah . . . Now what?  Talking to him doesn't work anymore.  I've noticed, he needs to have his independence.  Once I give up trying to make him put on his boots, he'll decide he'll let me help him with his boots.  This can be very frustrating for me.  He won't do anything I ask him to when I want him to.  This happens with everything and especially when I am in a hurry, of course.   I think I have to start planning this into my schedule.  Ah, Sweet Salem.  
Anyway,  I am noticing I underestimate, the impact big changes have on my kids.  Too much company, a new house, not much of a routine.  It has a bigger effect than I realize.  At least, that is what I am hoping so we can say good bye to scream-o.

I love my beautiful kids.



These were the words 6 year old Madi shouted over her shoulder as her mom ushered her out of the school.  Horrified by her daughter's words, Madi's mom immediately apologized and proceeded to scold Madi all the way down the hallway until she was out of sight.  I'm not sure what they thought of my reaction which was immediate giggling, but another mom obviously shared my sentiments.  Once they were out of sight she said "that was too funny!"
When I am around Ariel's classmates, they will often come up and ask me (because I assume they don't believe Ariel when he tells them) "Does Ariel really not eat meat?  Not even nuggets?!?"
None of this seems to bother Ariel.  He still won't touch the head off the tofurkey. :)