instant gramming

January 29, 2010

Ready for the weekend!

...Since Monday morning I have been. That's not a great way to live life, eh? It's not that bad. I just love my home life and can enjoy it more when I get closer to 72 consecutive hours of it...

Getting excited about our baby girl. She's been moving like crazy. My cousin Emily had her baby girl this morning (or last night?), and about a month early I think. Craziness. Last night C and I started into an art project for the baby's room. I always get stressed when making art. It's my M.O. Not fun for anyone else. That's why I couldn't be an artist for a living. I'd kill somebody. But when I do create something I like, I'm on top of the world.

Life is pretty great, though, right now. Been skateboarding a little bit; doing small projects around the house: art; organizing; purging unneeded stuff...

Bought a new bag, which will be my diaper bag of choice and will replace 2 backpacks I should get rid of... Timbuk2. Hope it's all I expect it to be... Also bought some skate shoes from the local shop for $25. Too damn small. That's the second time I've done that. I might look at it as a donation to support a small local buisness... I do stupid stuff sometimes...

Had a great lunch meeting with an associate today. Gyro with chips and a... beverage... one that counter-acted the coffee that made me so jittery until then. That's a great way to end a week. Didn't affect me at all, but I felt guilty, so prob won't do that again... Might have landed some more work though in the process, and it was his treat too.

Good music today, trying to run up the rest of my 40 hours of allotted free streaming I get each month from Pandora. What a shame.

Anyway, work is boring and I'm ready to enjoy my home life...

Love and skateboards

January 27, 2010

Timbuk 2 Messenger Bag Diaper Hack

So, I decided that the Timbuk2 2010 Classic Messenger Bag (size Medium) will be the ideal diaper bag conversion. This new style, released within the last week or so, appears to be a HUGE improvement over the older classic messenger bag. It comes standard with a bunch more pockets, including the novel "Napoleon Pocket" (accessible even when the flap is closed), external and internal organizers, a divider in the main compartment, and strap pad... I'm not pumped about the standard color options, but the cost difference for a "custom" option isn't worth it... This bag is $90 (I got 20% and free shipping, so $81 for me); custom option would be around $145... I also wish a "grab strap" came standard. Here are some images of the bag--can you see why I think this would be a good diaper bag? Much better than diaper bags marketed to "dudes."

I'm partial to the big open compartment because that's what I have in my big Seagull messenger backpack.

If anyone from Timbuk2 comes across this blog and wants to help hook up a young, soon-to-be parent that cares to review some good and useful stuff, get at me: j.david.strong@gmail... (Heh. Fat chance, eh?)

Add a changing pad that also holds a case of wipes, a bottle cooler... What else? I'm still trying to figure that out...

Heart Rate

Had a crazy shake-up this morning. I don't have a lot of details because I wasn't at the doctor check-up today, but apparently the baby had an unusually high heart rate, up around 180 bpm. The doctor was freaked out enough to send C to get more extensive monitoring (Non Stress Test, or NST) over 30 minutes. The heart rate fluctuated between 140 and 210 bpm throughout that time, and apparently it would rise when the baby was moving. The doctor took this as a good sign of relatively normal conditions.

Of course, C told me this over the phone while crying--she was rightfully shaken and stressed out about the surprise experience--so I felt super helpless and confused. What can we do? Is there a way we can monitor in case this condition gets bad? Apparently not.

I met C at a McDonald's and though while I wasn't perhaps as comforting as I should have been, at least felt like I was able to be a little bit comforting. It was just nice to control something (i.e. travel the 1 mile down the road to see C and give her a kiss) instead of just sitting behind my desk and failing at finding answers on Google...

After calling my mom with the update I came to the conclusion I should probably go buy one of those at-home doppler heart-rate monitoring devices... and maybe calling the doctor's office to find out more about at-home monitoring we can do... Fortunately we've started our 2-week visits, so monitoring will happen more frequently.

January 26, 2010


I can't believe I forgot to post this: the baby had hiccups the other day. It had to have been hiccups because there were so many little bumps, once per second, for I don't know how long. It was so unbelievable and adorable. I actually started to feel bad because you just want to be like "it's okay, it will be over soon". Haha... too funny.

January 24, 2010

Photo Updates

aldy watching the "incredible dog championship"

aldy getting belly rubs



set-up the new board

January 23, 2010

Diapers - You've been bamboozled

I've spent parts of this morning looking up information about diapers - specifically, cloth diapers. I've read some pretty persuasive stuff from the companies trying to convince me to buy their stuff. But it seems pretty legit. I got a little freaked out when I learned that newborns need about 10 - 12 diaper changes per 24 hr period - which equates to needing 24 - 30 diapers (and 7 to 8 diaper covers) in the first year. But still, over two and a half years, the cost should be nearly half of what disposables cost...

Anyway, I found that one particular product is called "The Bamboozle" (cause it's made of bamboo fibers). This immediately reminded me of the Friends episode where Joey is auditioning for a game show called "Bamboozled" where when you lose (or something) he says "You've been Bamboozled!" So, when you realize you need to change a poopy diaper you could say, outloud, "You've been Bamboozled!"

Anyway, I think I'm sold on the cloth diapers thing...
Off to go register at Babies'R'Us...

January 22, 2010


whatup friday night?
just built the third shelf of four in the closet of our extra bedroom known as the "art room". it's a fun project that makes me feel like I've got a little bit of handyman skill. bustin out my circ(ular) saw, my drill. drinkin a beer and cussing about little mistakes.

in addition to trying to organize the inside of our house, i've spent some time trying to start organizing the garage. last year I built a hefty work bench. last week I hooked up a big ol' fluorescent light hanging above it. i'm trying to hook up a little corner that will house my bike stand and bike tools in the warmer months. this spring i'll hopefully get rid of a bunch of the scrap stuff I've been hanging on to...

also, we've been amassing a small mountain of stuff to be donated to the free store that travels around and does periodic pick-ups... next tuesday is the day!

i can't wait until we free up a little more space and then get some baby furniture. i just want that to be done so i can rest easy as we wait for baby to arrive.

bike ride?

January 19, 2010

Crazy + Gear + Diaper bag hack

Ok, ok, ok. So, after reading my last post, C more or less implied I was insane for thinking the baby was going to come so early. She is convinced we are right on time--no less--with our scheduled schedule. So week 28 it remains.

I guess I'm just getting a little freaked out about the stuff we intend to do before Miss Baby is born--add plumbing in the basement, finish the basement, organize our art room, and, finally, finish the nursery. I live by the "expect the worst, hope for the best scenerio"--not that the baby coming early is in anyway the "worst" of anything, but it shortens a schedule to complete things I mostly don't know how to do...

In the meantime, we're bracing ourselves for a couple baby showers--not even thinking about for what we will register--and figuring out what else we need. Speaking of gear, I'm fixated on getting a dope (bicycle-) messenger style bag and hacking it into a hipster-friendly diaper bag. I don't want to say man-friendly, because that's not what I mean. I mean cool and legit, and something that could be used well beyond the diaper years, especially when I ride my bike. The front-running brand seems to be Timbuk 2 and its relatively low cost-to-pockets ratio. A local company, Seagull Bags, is a bit more expensive but offers stuff like custom pockets and organizers. It would be great if C liked it too--I may be able to tempt her with a nice color palette... Probably not. This idea would cost us around $100 more than those "man-friendly" diaper bags.

Bike bowling

The fact that daytime temperatures have been getting near 40-degrees "Eff" during the past few days has been great. But snow melt, mostly cloudy days, and below-freezing nighttime temps equal the thinnest black ice on blacktop bike paths in the morning. Yesterday I did well to keep upright. Today, not so much. Knowing it was slippery, I went slow and tried hard to brace myself during every bump, curve, and slope. One particular curved slope--halfway to my office--was too much and I slid out like the last time--but without a wooden bollard to halt the slide and cushy pillow of snow on which to fall. So my exaggerated version of the story is that I slid 5 feet, my bike slid 10 feet, and my (thankfully, empty) coffee mug made it to 15 feet. Truth be told, my coffee mug probably didn't go farther, but it did go in the opposite direction of my bike. After checking for torn clothing and skin--none, check!--I stood up on what felt like an ice-skating rink. My decision was to ride on grass until I could get to the next road, curse out loud a little bit, then take the non-slippery backroads to the nearest coffee shop.

I was hoping the day would warm up to 38-degrees as promised, but the hourly forecast shows a discouraging 32-degree plateau from here on  through sun-down. Sweet.

In other news, today is "Thai Tuesday" and we're trying the new Thai restaurant that opened down the street.... Dopeness

January 18, 2010

Work Day + Music

As most of you surely know, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. For many Americans, this means a day off from work or school, and consequently time spent away from the computer monitor. However, for people who reside outside of the United States, or for people who reside in the United States and are employed by racists, it is unfortunately a Monday like any other... - BikeSnobNYC

yeah, I'm at work. good coffee, but not good enough to help get me through this Monday without being a little bored and a little stressed...

but then BSNYC goes on to say this:
This means that you may have commuted to work today, and you may even have used a bicycle to do so. One of the best things about bicycle commuting is that it can mitigate the displeasure of having to go to work. It's the rare and fortunate person who looks forward to his or her workday, so if you're not one of them you can at least sandwich the misery between two slices of pleasure by riding your bike there. Actually enjoying your commute can infuse an otherwise dreary day with some joy. 

True dat.

Week 28? Fast Forward?

I've got a sneaking suspicion that we are actually at least one week ahead of where we think we are in the line of pregnancy. After our last big ultrasound the doctor said Miss Baby was a little bigger than she is supposed to be; and at the last check-up, when measuring C's belly, she again said we seemed to be "ahead."

So, this morning, when checking "my stories" (i.e. blogs), I find that this one woman jumped from 19 weeks--where she thought she should be--to 21 weeks after their ultrasound. Hmm...

I'm not trying to get ahead of myself, but I'm putting together a timeline of when stuff needs to get done around the house, and I think to be safe I need to count on Miss Baby arriving around April 1st--or, dare I say, the end of March. Crap.

Not "Crap". I mean, we have a house--so we aren't that bad off. A 3 bedroom house at that. The only problem is, while trying to finish half of our basement, the other 2 bedrooms are staging areas for loads of junk. We could move it all downstairs but we're supposedly getting work done down there... If worse comes to "Crap" (for real) then we'll move everything downstairs or in the garage. We'll make it work. My one goal is to have a pristine and magnificent baby room finished before the baby needs it.

We have another ultrasound scheduled for Week 36--that's 2 months away, and could potentially be the day our baby is born! Yowza.

January 14, 2010

Crazy movie + Delurker Day + Bike + Mini Ramps

Wish i knew what this was about--not sure but found it on the Benji Wagner blog and it features Rick McCrank among many others i'm sure... Machotaildrop?

Also, apparently it is "Delurker Day" which means if you've never posted a comment on this blog, do it today. Say hi, or better yet, tell me what you like and don't like or what would care to see more of on this here virtual diary of sorts... It can be yours too--I like to share
Also-also, I finally rode my bike to work today after a week of driving my car--granted, i did ride a couple nights this week to run errands, but it was nice to get out on relatively clear/dry streets, in daylight, and know that i'll be doing the same on my way home. Also, my love for skateboarding has been reinvigorated by that mini ramp at the bar. Skating a mini ramp--the rhythm, the flow--is an affirmation of the flow of life and energy. It's mellow and exhilarating at once. I am gonna stop by the shop in town and get some grip tape and new bearings to finally hook up the deck and wheels I won in that contest so long ago. Might even get some new skate shoes... Maybe.

Have a great day

January 11, 2010

3 months to go!

Today marks 3 months until our April 11th due date. Yikes. And Yeah!

We need to get some stuff done around the house, much pronto! Hold on baby! Keep growing and wiggling, but don't come too soon. We'll try to get stuff done so you can be a week or two premature to help mom out and still have a place to comfortably stay when you get here. Word? Word. I knew you'd understand. You're like me and keep it chill and easy. No worries.

stuff at home


January 8, 2010


On the phone, C just pointed out that Baby Girl will most likely be an Aries--born between March 21st and April 20th. This is the abridged version of what I found out about "The Ram":

* Adventurous and energetic
* Pioneering and courageous
* Enthusiastic and confident
* Dynamic and quick-witted

On the dark side...
* Selfish and quick-tempered
* Impulsive and impatient
* Foolhardy and daredevil

Winter film

Here's my first film. A test.

Alden winter_test from d strong on Vimeo.

music is from Catalpa Catalpa before permission

January 6, 2010


my winter refuge set up as of yesterday (plus newly-acquired things like a Surly rack, MKS Sylvan track pedals, Cadence double straps, and Axiom Typhoon panniers...)

Nursery Inspiration

I can't convince these pictures to line up in pretty ways, but here is some stuff I like:

January 5, 2010

Paternity Leave?

I promised C that I would talk with my boss about taking time off after the baby is born (a.k.a. paternity leave). In the US, a dad can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave--and have a job at the same pay when he returns--if that job is the government or is a company with more than 50 employees among some other stipulations. Unfortunately, my company, which has the most employees it's ever had, is over-staffed by 5 people.

This is what has to say:

How and when should I request leave?

...Consider discussing paternity leave with your employer as soon as you're ready to announce the pregnancy — usually after your partner's first trimester... You'll be in a stronger position to negotiate a leave if you approach your boss with a specific plan and allow him or her plenty of time to help you implement it. (If you have trusted co-workers who have been through this before, ask them how they handled their leave and what kind of reaction they got.) Offer your boss solutions rather than problems by having some ideas for how your work can be handled while you're away. Consider asking for leave and getting approval early in the pregnancy even if you're not sure you'll want to or be able to take unpaid leave when the time comes. It's easier to come back early than it is to ask for more time.

What if I don't qualify for leave under FMLA?

If you work only part time or for a small company, you don't qualify for paternity leave under FMLA and your employer may not provide this benefit. If this is the case, it can't hurt to ask your boss for a leave of absence anyway. Many companies may still be willing to negotiate some sort of time off for a valued employee. The earlier you start making a case for yourself as a valuable, hard-working person, the better position you'll be in for bargaining...

If you're still not getting anywhere, make sure you find out whether you're entitled to some kind of leave under your state's laws as these benefits may be more generous than the FMLA. Talking with other new dads about how they managed time away from work might also give you more creative ideas about how to take the time off to bond with your newborn child.

How can I make the most of my time with my family if I can't take unpaid leave?

If you're not able to take paternity leave, here are a few ideas for maximizing your time with your new family:

•  Consider working overtime before your baby comes and exchange it for time off after the birth.
•  On nights when you don't have to work the next day, have your partner wake you up when the baby is finished nursing so you can be the one to rock her back to sleep. Or take turns getting up for feedings.
•  Your child will experience many "firsts" in her first year of life. Whenever these events can be scheduled, do so when you have time off from work.
•  During the first year of your baby's life, look at any activities that take you away from your baby. Consider saying no to some of those events to spend more time with your newborn.


The whole life of man is but a point of time;
let us enjoy it.
Plutarch Greek biographer & moralist (46 AD - 120 AD)

January 4, 2010

Week 26

For a long while now, C has tuned into the FitPregnancy online pregnancy calendar for weekly updates on the growth of Miss Baby Girl. This is what they say for Week 26, which started yesterday:

Your baby weighs about 1 1/2 pounds and has undergone a growth spurt in the past few weeks... [She] would be about a foot tall if she could stand. This week marks a major milestone in your baby's hearing and sight. Your baby's hearing system (cochlea and peripheral sensory end organs)... is now completely formed, and over the next few weeks, she'll become increasingly sensitive to sound. In about a month, you'll feel her jump if she hears a sudden loud noise. Sound passes easily into your uterus, which helps her ears develop. Her eyes are almost fully formed. ...The air sacs of the lungs, called alveoli, will be developed by the end of this week and will begin to secrete a substance called surfactant that keeps the lung tissue from sticking together.

Pretty dope. Sounds like we should be talking, reading, and singing to Miss Baby Girl...

2010 is here and just like I anticipated I feel the pressure to get the house prepared for B.G.'s arrival. We found a crib we both really like, and maybe even a dresser. Over the weekend we organized a bunch of hand-me-down clothes and even bought some kid-sized hangers. I'm also a proud owner of a Babies-R-Us rewards card. All that is left to find is a comfy chair, an overhead lamp, a large rug, curtain fabric, and some wall art... Piece of cake, right?

Back to Work

So after practically two weeks of vacation I had to drag myself to the office to begin a super long 5-day work week. I even drove my car. Fortunately this afforded me the opportunity to shower and shave this morning which was definitely refreshing. Also, C made cheddar & bacon scones yesterday and that was a great, hearty breakfast for a cold day like today.

So I get to work and realize there's not much to do and my immediate instinct is to surf the internet. What is new and strange is my lack of desire to do that. Having had very limited access to the internet over vacation, and personally restricting my access to Ebay, has helped me realize that there isn't much on the internet that requires much of my time. Of course, adding to this blog is still great and therapeutic and I still like to attend to a few favorite blogs... Really, it's Ebay. That shit was really starting to take over and I would just cruise to find stuff. Granted I was able to find a lot of stuff that is useful (e.g. parts to build a useful bike that is now my main day-to-day transportation and soon-to-be grocery-getting tank). But I would just cruise that site at work because I had nothing better to do. Without it, I read a few blogs, then I'm done. I just can't get sucked in like Ebay does it. Haha.

Anyway, winter is in full-effect and I'm hoping I can get biking for a while longer before temperatures drop to unbearable digits. 2010 is finally here and I feel the need to pick up speed on preparing for Baby Girl's arrival. We found a crib we like, and maybe a dresser. Add a comfy chair (<--this will be a challenge), an overhead lamp, new curtains, a rug, and some wall art and--BAM!--we're done.