Uncle m@’s Backyard of Fun!

No, this website isn’t completely dead. Instagram has given a much simpler publishing platform to snapshot Maggie’s life, and I’ve been pretty busy singing “The Wheels on the Bus” 3 bazillion times in a row.

Recently I’ve been thinking about redoing our backyard, and of course I’d want it to be a place Maggie can play. My  first thought went to a sandbox and jungle gym, but we have a park 100 yards away from our house with two playgrounds. So I started racking my brain to see what would be good and came up with this.


Click on the image to see it in its full glory.

As you can see from my expertly drafted blueprints, I intend for all equipment to be structural secure so big kids (me) can play too. Now comes an important question. Does anyone know how to build these things?

Just Like Her Dad

Maggie’s learning more every day, becoming less like a baby and more like a little kid. I’m not even sure where she learns some things or how she learns them. Michelle took Maggie to her 18-month checkup recently and told the doctor Maggie knows ever 100 words. When she told me that I told her, “No way. That seems like a lot.”

I went ahead and started counting them, and there are 175+ words I came up with pretty quickly. They might not all sound the way you or I might say them, but she definitely knows these words.

I’m pretty excited that my baby is a word learning machine, but I’ll probably regret it when she won’t stop talking.

The Craft Beer Pedistal

I believe there’s a problem with the craft beer audience, which is affecting the craft beer industry. People are more enamored with the idea of craft beer than the actual beer itself. Consumers are blindly and hungrily devouring anything craft without paying enough attention to the actual beer.

The general consensus of the public is that craft beer is the polar opposite of the American Lite Lager. Breweries have been pushing bigger beers, because that is seemingly what the market wants. People are seeking out super hoppy, barrel aged, and beers with the oddest adjuncts, because they are seemingly more craft.

The shelves in any craft beer section speak to this. Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut. Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra. Wynkoop’s Rock Mountain Oyster Stout. Just recently they announced a Walking Dead beer, brewed roasted goat brains.

The problem this causes is that craft beer is moving so far to the extreme that craft beer is losing part of the market. Craft beer should be the full spectrum of the flavor rainbow, but it’s losing the lighter side of things. There is a disconnect between the craft beer available and the palate of a newcomer to the beer scene. The taste of the beer is a turn off to a lot my friends that are having to jump into beer, because there are no small steps to take.

This is not to say these bigger beers should not be made. They are also on the flavor spectrum for craft beer, and people do enjoy these beers. I enjoy some of them myself, but I think the mass of the consumers are drinking craft for craft’s sake, unknowingly shaping the market to one extreme.

There are breweries that do make awesome smaller beers, which I believe are great stepping stones into the beer scene and even great staples once you’re into beer, but they’re not reaching the consumers nearly as much. It’s not just reaching the taps and shelves that count. It’s about getting people to understand that this is also good craft beer It doesn’t make you any less cool to drink a beer that won’t destroy your palate or knock you on your ass after a single pint.

In the end, drink what you like. Cheers!

Whose Baby Is It?

It’s  been about six months since we tried to guess which one of us Maggie looks like. She has stopped looking EXACTLY like Michelle, but I don’t think she really looks very much like me. You decide. Click on the photo for the full size image.


10 Months

Maggie is becoming a little person with her own personality. She’s pretty bossy and demanding for someone that likes to play with tissue and empty boxes. It’s hard to remember sometimes that she’s just a baby.

She loves to drum. She loves playing peek-a-boo. She likes to dance. She loves to eat. She enjoys throwing her balls around and letting us chase them around.

Her first word “up” she learned about a month ago. She has  since decided she doesn’t need to learn many more words. Instead she has mastered it and abuses it constantly to relay a number of commands. It means everything from, “pick me up,” to “I’m done with dinner,” and “give me that object that is just out of my arm’s reach.”

Maggie still refuses to crawl, but she can slowly scoot around on her butt to where she wants to go. Watching her you’d think she was immobile, but if you leave the room for a minute you’ll find her magically on the other side of the room. It looks like she might skip crawling and go straight to walking. She’s getting better at standing every day and is learning to pull herself up and move her feet under her to support her body.

Time is flying by so fast.


Don’t grow up too fast, baby!

Still in a Northern California Daze

This week has been rough so far. We went up north for two weddings on consecutive weekends. Coming home Sunday night after ten days with Maggie has been tiring. We’re still trying to catch up on rest. Here’s the quick photo rundown of our trip. Sorry for the poor quality. I almost always only use the iPhone to take photos, and there is no time to post process photos anymore.


Since we have to stop every two hours for Maggie, we took the 101. There are more places to stop, including Firestone Walker.


Stop #2 was also Firestone Walker but a different location. Maggie enjoyed learning about barrel aging beers.


Maggie met her cousin Myla, who played around her rather than with her.


Maggie also got to meet her cousin Joshua. Basically none of them really acknowledged each other.


Maggie did get to play with a pool noodle lightsaber.


My cousin Jessica got married in a beautiful ceremony and reception that I would call ” very similar to ours but nicer.”


After spending time in the San Jose area, we headed down to Monterey and Carmel for a little bit, stopping by the aquarium.


Jellyfish are so cool.


Maggie was happy as a clam.


The open ocean tank was huge with sea turtles, tuna, and hammerhead sharks.


We cruised the 17-mile drive and got to see The Lone Cypress.


Point Lobos State Preserve.


China Beach.


After Carmel we raced to SF just to head out again across the new Bay Bridge.


We got to go to Pixar! Unfortunately there’s a pretty strict “no photo” policy on most of the campus, so pictures are limited to the lobby areas.


Most displays were for Monsters University since it was their latest release.


Luigi and Guido from Cars.


Who could forget these guys? Oooooooooooh!


Maggie got to play in her first playground.


She also got to enjoy oysters.


This guy got married. There was a lot of crying.


Maggie drove us home after a long trip. Holy crap I look exhausted.

I need a vacation from this vacation.

Tres Años

Minutes before our wedding ceremony the pastor said to me, “You’re the most calm groom I’ve ever seen.”

I looked at him and without hesitation said, “When you’re beat, you’re beat.”

This was three years ago. Happy anniversary to the greatest wife and mom!

Grown Up Discussions

Me: Man, I can’t believe daycare went up in price over 100% when it changed ownership.
Michelle: Maybe we should apply for financial aid. Then we can stay.
Me: It’s income based. We don’t qualify.
Michelle: Too bad I can’t apply with just my salary. Man, why did we get married?
Me: I ask myself that question every day.

Sorry for All the Maggie Photos

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a baby girl. Perhaps you’ve seen her in the 400+ Instagram photos. (You may also notice I like beer.)

It’s a bit weird. I insisted when Maggie was first born that I didn’t want to be one of those parents that crams his kid down people’s throats, and yet I obviously have become just that. For myself, I never thought about what it would be like to have a child. I thought it would be interesting as part of a life experience, but I didn’t think I would find myself so overcome with excitement that I would post so many photos of Maggie. I find myself saying, “I love this baby,” even when just looking at photos of her.

Everyone thinks their baby is the cutest thing out there, which explains my obsession. What I couldn’t understand is why everyone else seems to also be enamored with Maggie. Then I discovered something crazy.


Go ahead and take a moment to see the full size image and soak all this information in before I continue. It’s crazy, huh? This is the reason so many of you are fascinated with Maggie. Without realizing it, you discovered what I just learned. Maggie is TIME TRAVELLING MICHELLE! (Try not to linger too long on the father-daughter/husband-wife implications. That just gets weird.)  She was sent back to the past, probably to save us from some robot uprising. Maggie is John Connor!

The next time you’re in a bar and you see us, buy Michelle a drink. She saved humanity from the terminators. Heck, buy Maggie a drink too. Don’t question why we have a baby in a bar.

Us vs. The Baby

The last few days have been pretty rough. Maggie went from sleeping eight hours through most of the night to waking up every two or three hours, crying very loudly. Unfortunately for us this happens to coincide with Michelle’s writing deadlines, so I’ve been playing Mr. Dad this weekend during the day. Even with all Maggie’s waking up, she stays awake through most of the day, which means we haven’t had time to catch up on our sleep.

We couldn’t figure out what made her suddenly wake up in the night when she was doing so well. She is a little bit young for teething, and she doesn’t exhibit all the signs. We fed her extra from a bottle to make sure she was well fed. Maybe it’s just one of those things?

Today, because we both worked from home, we decided to go pick her up from daycare together. Although Michelle has only seen her once when picking up Maggie, our pediatrician has her children at the same daycare. We joked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we saw Dr. X here? We could be like, ‘Help us!'”

As we were leaving, who should walk through the door? Hallelujah! We told her about Maggie’s recent sleep schedule, and the conversation was pretty enlightening.

Dr. X: How’s it going?
 Good, except Maggie has been waking up every two or three hours recently.
Dr. X: She’s five months? It’s a social thing. She’s more aware now. She’s manipulating you because she knows she can.
Me: How long should we be waiting before we get her? We waited five, ten minutes but her crying seemed to keep ramping up.
Dr. X: You have to let her ramp up and calm herself down. Thirty minutes is an okay time to let her continue crying. I know it’ll be hard but-
Me: Oh, no. We can totally do that! We just thought we were being bad parents.

She was very matter-of-fact in telling us it’s related to social learning, but she made it sound like Maggie was some sort of diabolical genius, aware of her actions, and using us as puppets. Maybe she’s just getting us back for all the embarrassing photos we’re constantly taking of her.

The course of action is clear tonight. Ignore the baby! Hopefully she won’t hold a grudge in the morning. Your move, Maggie.