Dear Holly: Spring Training So You Can Learn to Walk, Thanks to the Knock-Off Version of CrossFit with Big Brother and Daddy

11 months.

Dear Holly,

Now that you’re eleven months old, you love exploring your newfound mobility. You’ve mastered the art of crawling, and at this point you’re experimenting with standing.

Good thing you have your brother Jack and me to help push you to the physical limits, in our own knock-off version of Crossfit.

Each morning after Jack gets ready for school, he always asks, “Daddy, can I play with Holly?

He starts you off by helping you ride the scooter, then helps you push the scooter, and then he has you attempt to push the scooter with him on it!

As Jack sees me loading up the car, he knows at point it’s almost time to leave, so he basically plays fetch with you; as he rolls your big pink ball from the living room to the kitchen. You joyfully crawl as hard as you can to go get the ball, before he ultimately gets there before you do and rolls it back to the other room; only for you to happily try to go try to get it again.

Finally, he jumps on the scooter and rushes towards you, pretending he’s about to run straight into you. With a big smile and a girly giggle, you flinch, as he ultimately barely touches the side of you with the scooter.

You love it.

Then when I get home in the evening, Mommy gives you to me as she works on dinner. The first thing I do with you before playing we play with any other toys, is I make you do your push-ups on the counter that separates our kitchen from our dining room.

This is something we just sort of stumbled upon a few weeks ago. I was talking to Mommy one day as she was cutting some vegetables, and you just reached out for the counter, then as if it were something you and I had already discussed, you began doing push-ups on the counter while I hold you.

I think this is your method of Spring Training to help you learn to walk. You are so eager to move up to the next mode of transportation!



Play All Day with Elmo! DVD: What My Son Liked Most

Play All Day with Elmo! DVD: What My Son Liked Most

Last night, my son and I sat down and watched the Play All Day with Elmo! DVD. As you can see from this photo collage I made below, my son only sat down in the beginning…

That’s because for most of the video, my son was up dancing and jumping and running around!

Therefore, I would suspect that the Play All Day with Elmo! DVD is an ideal companion for either a rainy day or a cold winter day.

I knew this DVD would have Elmo encouraging the viewers to get up and play, but I didn’t actually expect my son to do so. After all, it was at the end of a long, tiring day.

But I was wrong.

Play All Day with Elmo! DVD: What My Son Liked Most

He loved the Freeze Dance segment the very most. He genuinely and actively participated in physical exercise, simply because Elmo asked him to, and because my son saw the other kids doing it too on the TV.

However, that’s not the only portion of the DVD that encourages the viewer to get up and be physical. There is also Elmo Says and Red Light Green Light, to name a couple more.

Play All Day with Elmo! focuses on listening skills, self-control, and physical movement; running over 2 hours long and featuring guest stars including Jack Black and Taye Diggs.

Play All Day with Elmo! DVD: What My Son Liked Most

When you kid has energy to burn (which I assume is most of the time), popping in this DVD could be a perfect solution.

It might as well me entitled Shut Up and Dance with Elmo! but considering that “shut up” is considered a very bad word in the world of preschoolers, that probably wouldn’t have been the best marketing choice.


Street Date: September 8, 2015

Order Due Date: August 4, 2015

Languages: English

Audio: Dolby Stereo


Run Time: Approximately 124 Minutes

Rating:  NR


Price: $14.98

Currently Uber Popular Status Update Phrases: “Darn You (Insert Here a High Calorie Food Item or Form of Exercise)” and “Just Sayin’…”

Darn you push-ups and curls!  And chili cheese fries…

We are exposed to an ongoing conveyor belt of snippets from our facebook friends’ lives, thanks to status updates.  From sadly and helplessly watching a person’s romantic relationship fall apart through relationship status changes and removals of entire photo albums, to discovering a another new spin-off of Farmville that we now will have to start blocking, the culture of facebook has been integrated into our everyday lives.  When it comes to status updates, I am more of an conscientious observer than an active participant.  So that evidently makes it my job to be the one to point out two phrases I’m seeing multiple times on a daily basis:

1) “Darn you (insert here a high calorie food item or form of exercise)”

2) “Just sayin’…”

Though you probably already know the connotation of both of these phrases (and that’s a big reason you chose to read this post today), I will offer the courtesy of explaining the usage of these facebook status gems.

Your facebook friends who are most likely to use the “darn you” status update are often the ones who give you a daily play-by-play of their work-out routine as well as an itemized list of the foods they eat each day.  When a “darn you” person has just experienced an annoying exercise at the gym, they might say, “Darn you, elliptical machine!” for example. And then a few hours later when they go out to dinner with friends and someone shares their Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with them, then you better know what’s coming up on your facebook feed: “Darn you, Triple Chocolate Cheesecake!”

However, in a more practical world, it seems people should say “bless you” before naming a high calorie food.  Who knows?  Maybe it would actually miraculously not metabolize into fat?  Maybe people should say “bless you” before naming an exercise, for the chance it would do twice or thrice as much good as it normally would to their body.  To curse an inanimate object that already knows it has a negative connotation seems to only add insult to injury. But then again, we don’t live in a practical world:  Instead, we live in a world where the inventors of Snuggies are millionaires.

While it’s typically exercise and high calorie that gets darned (literally cursed to hell for eternal damnation, in the hope that’s possible), I’ve also seen the “darn you” status update applied to weather (mainly snow), local traffic, and episodes of Glee that feature especially catchy songs.

As for “just sayin'”, it’s always applied at the end of a sentence- often after about 2 or 3 sentences of advice to another person or inanimate object: “So I just got back from the grocery store and everybody’s freakin’ out over bread and milk. It’s not the end of the world, people!  It’s just snow!  Just sayin’…”

“Just sayin'” implies the thought “now really take some time to think about what I said, but no pressure, really.”

Here’s another example:

“Some people really spend way too much time on facebook. There is a such a thing as leaving your own house and hanging out with actual people. Just sayin…”

If a person is really talented, they may try to attempt to use both phrases in the same status update: “Darn you, mother who is pretending not to speak English as her three kids run wild around the store!  Ever heard of actually having some control over your own kids in public?  Just sayin…”

If from now on, you never see “darn you…” and “just sayin’…” on facebook without thinking back to what you read here today, then I’ve done my job as a conscientious observer who shares my findings with the general public.  If nothing else, from now on, see if you can make it a whole day on facebook without seeing either of those phrases at all.  I bet you can’t.  Just sayin’…

The Shell Diet: Active- The Best Thing to Do with Your Butt is to Move It

Find a practical way to be physically active every day.

1) Exercise the equivalent of walking no less than two miles every day. We’re so accustomed to driving that we forget that we hardly even walk on a daily basis.  Let me clear about something: I do not have a gym membership, and I do not endorse going to the gym. Because that would be setting standards too high for my schedule.  Honestly, I don’t have time for the gym.  Nor do I have the money to blow on that.

So here’s what I do for my daily exercise.  I take a 15 minute break during work and walk around the building with a coworker.  In addition to “walking on purpose”, I ride my mountain bike during my lunch break.  Or I run errands during lunch on my bike- going to the bank, the mall, buying a Turkey on Rye from Honey Baked Ham.

So you don’t have a mountain bike or access to a good place to ride it during your lunch break?  Fine.  Do like I did. Find a way to exercise without a gym.  And if all else fails, join a gym.  But I think it’s important to have an exercise habit that is truly practical– I just think that going to the gym, if nothing else, is too much trouble.  Set yourself up for consistency, not a zealous exercise fad.

*But wait, there’s more…Go back to the main page of the The Shell Diet by clicking right here.

How to Purposely Prepare to Not Feel Miserable during the Holidays

While it is indeed important, I’m not talking about truly remembering the real meaning of Christmas – I’m just talking about avoiding a headache, along with possible mild depression and constipation.

Thanksgiving Day wasn’t that long ago, so there’s a good chance you have fresh memories of sitting around the house all weekend, eating too much food, and ultimately feeling miserable.  That was my story for so many years.  Until last year when I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore during my days off from work.  So today I share with you two easy tips so that you may truly enjoy my holidays with friends and family.

Bring a case of bottled water and fresh salad to the meal.  Part of the reason it’s so common to feel yuckified during the holidays is because it’s way too easy to become dehydrated (there is such an easy access to both soda and alcohol at these holiday meal gatherings both of which dehydrate the body).  Also, holiday meals are very similar to a Chinese buffet in that they mainly consist of carbs and sodium.  Not only is it too easy to eat too much, but it’s too easy to also eat virtually nothing nutritious in the process.  When the freshest vegetable dish available is green bean casserole, you’re bound to feel down.  Drink plenty of water and make sure there are fresh vegetables available, if it means that you are responsible for bringing it.

Get out of the house and out into the cold. As much time as you will spend watching the 1983 classic A Christmas Story on TBS repeatedly and playing Wii with your nephews and nieces, there’s a good chance that your idea of “getting out” simply means going shopping for good deals or running to the convenience store to buy more milk.  You need real exercise and fresh air during the holidays.  So in addition to bringing the salad and bottled water, your responsibility is to stand up and say, “I’m going for walk outside- who’s with me?”  (Don’t forget your coat, of course.)  You’ll be the hero.  And you’ll be surprised at what interesting conversations can arise from a (30 minute minimum) walk in the cold: Certain conversations just can’t be born while lying in a coma-like state on the couch.

I guarantee you will have a better holiday experience if you try abiding by these two tips.  Cabin fever can be prevented.  And you can be the Holiday Armadillo that changes things in your household.  No matter what you believe the winter holidays are actually about, the importance of giving to others is ultimately attached to your religious or cultural traditions.  So give to the needy.  Care for the orphans and widows.  Love the unloved.  And lastly, give the gift of “not feeling miserable” to others.