Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

Dr. Seuss on the iPad

As I have stated before, Dr. Seuss is a big hit at our house. Also, the iPad is a big hit at our house, and office, and on vacation, etc. Well, you can imagine my delight when I learned that these two things could be combined for a super fun reading experience for Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Oceanhouse Media has, at current count, eleven Dr. Seuss books available to download to your iPhone or iPad and I hope they continue to expand their collection. These are just ebooks, they are enhanced ebooks that are truly amazing. You have the option to read the book yourself or have the book read to you. Additionally, you can touch a word or object and the book tells you the word or object you touched.

I love reading books with my girls. The Dr. Seuss apps on my iPad have made the experience really neat and I see a practical advantage as well. Sometimes Hot Momma or I read to them at bedtime. With the iPad we can turn off the lights and dim the screen so that they can start to get ready for sleep sooner while enjoying the book.

Last night, Thing 1 read Green Eggs and Ham all by herself while Thing 2 and I listened. Tonight we are scheduled to read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. It should be fun.

The iPad as a Laptop Replacement

I bought an iPad two weeks ago. I had been considering the purchase since the product was announced and did a fair amount of research on the product so that I would know what I was getting. Plus I already have an iPhone so I am very familiar with the interface, and so are my kids, as I’ll discuss. I have read many articles complaining that the iPad is nothing more than a huge iPhone and cannot replace a laptop for getting work done. I agree to some extent, but the fact that the iPad is like a huge iPhone is appealing to me because I like the touchscreen interface. At this point I would not scrap the laptop completely but I can see myself using my iPad for things that I used to use my netbook or bigger laptop.

I did buy the Apple Wireless Keyboard and find that it greatly improves my ability to draft longer items. The keyboard is very thin and light and is very easy to bring along with you. I find typing on the iPad screen very similar to typing on the iPhone and I have already become fairly comfortable but the wireless keyboard is much faster and allows for touch typing whereas the iPad screen keyboard seems to work better when I use more of a two finger approach.

I recently went on vacation and opted to take my iPad instead of my netbook. Here is a brief list of how I used my iPad on my vacation:

Viewing PDF files

As I have discussed before, my office has digital client files along with the paper files. I was able to load my iPad with files to review on the plane. I also loaded some magazines that I had scanned. Viewing PDF files is a much better experience on the iPad than on a netbook or laptop because of the ability to rotate the screen to read the document in portrait view rather than landscape.

Pictures

We took a lot of pictures on our trip. I used the Apple Camera Connection Kit and we were able to load pictures taken on our digital camera card and our iPhones for viewing on the iPad. The pictures look amazing on the iPad.

TV shows

I bought a season of an HBO series that I had not yet seen. It helped pass the time on the plane (when I was supposed to be viewing those client files, remember) until Thing 1 decided she wanted to watch some of the shows I had loaded on it for her. She is five years old and had no problem navigating the video app to view her shows because she is already a notch below expert at using my iPhone.

Internet Browsing

Once we were at our destination, I used the Safari app extensively to check out restaurants and attractions in addition to keeping track of the goings on with Facebook.

Kindle

The Kindle app is nice. I have a Kindle which I brought with me to use for reading outside. I also have the app on my iPhone. It is nice to be able to pick up wherever I left off on any of the platforms. I had a travel guide-book that I could use on my iPad and iPhone on my trip.

VPN + RDP

This is the thing that for me make this close to a laptop replacement. I was able to set up a VPN tunnel to our server and then use a remote desktop app to log in to my computer and the server from my iPad. There were a few issues that came up while I was out of the office and I was able to log in to the server and fix them without any problem as if  I was physically in the office. The connection is a little slow over the cellular connection but was workable and was even better when connected to Wi-Fi.

Conclusion

I often leave my bigger laptop docked at my office now anyway and would use my netbook to remote connect if needed. I still have my netbook and will probably still use it from time to time but now that I can use my iPad to remote connect I see less of  a need for the netbook. The iPad really provides a much better viewing experience than the netbook, especially for PDF files and pictures. One of the best things about traveling with the iPad was the ease of traveling with an iPad. The charging source is much smaller than with a laptop, the iPad itself is much thinner and lighter than a laptop, and I did not have to take it out of my carry-on bag at security. Unfortunately, I did still have to take off my shoes.

Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3?

In my inaugural post last year, along with a an explanation for the name of this blog I briefly introduced you to my wife, Hot Momma, and my girls, Thing 1 and Thing 2, which is of course a nod to their favorite author, Dr. Seuss. Well it appears that Thing 3 will be arriving this winter. Hot Momma, when she is not wanting to vomit, is ecstatic. I am looking forward to the experience but I am admittedly concerned about the prospects of raising three kids. I know it can be done, I know many others have raised many more, I know it will be fine. But it seems like a much bigger jump from two to three than it was from one to two. Table for four, ten minute wait. Table for five, it may be a while. Luckily, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are brilliant, as discussed here, and they should be in the running for some college scholarships to defray the high cost of college tuition. Time will tell as to what attributes and abilities Thing 3 will possess. If he/she is anything like his/her older sisters, he/she will be pretty awesome. (We will find out the gender of Thing 3 prior to his/her arrival but it is still too early to tell)

In May I posted about ONE Extraordinary Marriage, a new website dealing with marriage and intimacy building. Thanks to Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo, our marriage is very fulfilling and I believe we are better able to deal with the challenges of raising three kids while keeping up with all of the other demands of life. I just bought their new book, Stripped Down, and look forward to reading it with my wife to continue our efforts to maintain our marriage.

Catching Up With Fat Daddy

It’s been a while since I checked in around here and if anyone out there was disappointed I apologize. It has been a very busy month but things are getting back to normal, sort of.

Hot Momma has been putting in a lot of time in her small business which has required me to spend some more time with the kids and around the house. Luckily I am able to telecommute relatively easily and have a fairly flexible schedule.

Thing 1 is constantly amazing us with her intelligence and abilities while Thing 2 is staring to blossom into a little person with her own personality. I guess my only complaint is that they both seem to have extreme early-onset  pre-pubescent attitude disorder. If things don’t go their way, watch out. But shortly after their blowup they return to sweet, pleasant little girls.

I have continued to take pictures of every meal for my Photo Food Journal and have had mixed results. This past month there has been a lot of stress with my job and Hot Momma’s business so my emotional eating tendencies crept in a little more than I would like. But because I was documenting through photographs everything I ate I was still more mindful of my meals and did not backslide as much as I may have in the past. I had more burgers and pizza this past month but still stayed away from candy and other total junk.

I plan to devote more energy to establishing a consistent exercise regimen now that my world has calmed down a little. I am far from a morning person but that seems to be the only time I can consistently devote to exercise. So not only do I have to start a new exercise habit, I have to start a new getting my fat butt out of bed early habit.

I read another book last month: The Eat-Clean Diet for Men by Robert Kennedy and Tosca Reno. I thought it had some useful information and some interesting recipes. One particular part really got me:

“The human body is designed to be vital, robust, active and brimming with physicality – that urge to run, fly, swim and simply do is part of the joy of being human. The tragedy comes when the body is no longer capable of completing these actions. It does not make sense to reject the simple logic that consuming more nutritious foods will help you turn your life around, enabling you to once again feel the expression of joy rather than sorrow.”

There are so many things that I would like to do that I am not capable of doing with my present body or if I am capable it is much more difficult than it could be. Tomorrow is a new day and the work towards a more vital body and a more satisfying life awaits.

An Idea Worth Spreading

If you have never spent some time at the TED website, you are missing out. Here is a talk given by Jamie Oliver about the current state of our diet and its impact upon our children:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read to Pop

Hop on PopThing 1 just turned five and she is already reading some Dr. Seuss books to me because my wife and I read to her routinely. Her current favorite is Hop on Pop. At her parent-teacher conference her pre-Kindergarten teacher told us that she is reading ahead of her age and that there are students who not only cannot read, they do not even know how to hold a book.

I came across this post on zenfamilyhabits.net titled 6 Things You Can Do Today to Change Your Child’s Life. I agree with all six of the suggestions, but I think the advice about reading is paramount. There are so many things in life that are much more difficult if you cannot read.

Thing 1 has a very good vocabulary for her age and Thing 2 is more verbal at her age than her older sis was at the same age. Aside from regular reading sessions, I think another factor in my children’s verbal development is that we did not engage in too much baby-talk with them. I am not saying that we only spoke to them as if they were college graduates, but I did try to use regular conversation as much as possible without making up words or creating new sentence structures. I figure it is hard enough to learn a language without teaching them the wrong information.

Honey, They’re Growing Up

Thing 1 started school this week. Sure it is preschool and they get to color, read books and take naps, but it is school. That means I now have a child that interacts with many other children and is going to learn many new things that Hot Momma and I had attempted to shield her from. On the other hand, I think Thing 1 will be doling out some lessons to kids who have similarly been shielded by their respective parents. Such is life I suppose.