R.I.P. The Queen of Soul

Hello friends,

By this time in the day most of you have heard the sad news about Aretha Franklin’s passing. While I haven’t checked the tv, I have listened to reports on all of our radio presets this morning and have seen articles in my news feed as well. Music is in and around our lives, and with the girls’ interest growing it’s a matter of time until they learn about the influence and impact of Aretha Franklin.

A soul music historian on the radio claimed that Aretha Franklin was dubbed, ” The Queen of Soul” right here in Chicago. That’s a cool connection to an amazing artist. And of course there’s her appearance in The Blues Brothers movie, another cool Chicago connection. I don’t known her deeper cuts, but who doesn’t know Aretha Franklin’s hit songs? Spanning generations, her musical legacy is strong.

While Aretha Franklin’s passing makes me sad, her music and story inspire me. From her vocal abilities and songwriting skills to her mandate for African-American musicians being hired for her bands, her influence reaches far. She will definitely be included in the list of strong women, talented artists, and social activists that we teach to our girls. Rest in peace, 1942-2018.


Zoo Camp

Hello Friends,

Man, how the summer has flown! I hope you can forgive my absence. We have been both travelling and entertaining family here at home. The girls have enjoyed all kinds of summer adventures so far. They’ve travelled, had beach visits, sampled children’s museums and my favorite, attended camps!

We are wrapping up our summer at the Lincoln Park Zoo Conservation Camp. I wrote last summer about Sweetie’s adventures at LPZ Camp, and now Cricket is old enough too.

Gettin’ comfortable with the group

The girls enjoy the crafts and games, and especially love the daily trips into the zoo to check out the animals and their behaviors.

Very comfortable!

The zoo and camp are located in the very accessible Lincoln park neighborhood, so kids come from all over the city. We randomly reconnected with some friends from swim lessons. One of those wonderful coincidences where both the older and younger siblings are the same age. Good times!

I hope your summer is wrapping up well. Travels? Camps? Whatever your adventures are I hope your kids are loving it. Next week…school!

Summer Camp Fun

Hello Friends,

I hope you are enjoying your summer adventures. Some of my best summertime memories are from summer camp days. Whole days spent running around, playing games like kickball and capture the flag, art and crafting, and swimming. There were the years when Sister-Younger-Older was a camp counselor, a very cool “in” for my young, four-eyed chubby self. There were my early teen years as a “junior” counselor, keeping the younger campers organized. Our summer camp was a bike ride away from home. No overnight camp for me, but still good memories.

We first signed Sweetie up for camp sessions at Lincoln Park Zoo two summers ago. While that was fun, it was only half days because of her age. Last year we added on two weeks of St. Viator camp. The Cricket was too young last year so she was in D³ Day Camp all day, every day. But this summer everyone is old enough for some sort of camp!

Sweetie gets a full summer; two weeks at St. Viator camp, five weeks at Kilbourn Park camp (through the Chicago Park District). and three weeks at Lincoln Park Zoo! The Cricket is in a “play” camp three half-days a week for six weeks and two weeks at LPZ camp (that birthday cut-off almost got us again!).

Right now they are both fully into their Chicago Park District camps. We heard good things about the Kilbourn Park camp, and that was cool because it’s our go-to park. Cricket does claim that she doesn’t want to go pretty much every day, but it seems like every junior counselor knows her name. Given all the hugs that she gives and gets, something good is going on. They dig all the theme days and love the field trips.

Is camp part of your summer adventures? Day camp or overnight? Whichever, I hope you and your kids are making great memories this summer. Remember the sunblock and water bottles, maybe some bug spray too. We’ll see you out there.

Between a Self and a Village

Hello Friends,

I started this post back in January with, “Been thinking a lot about gratitude lately, and just how many things I am thankful for these days.” Today I’m coming off a good week with three posts uploaded, some new followers and many new comments. So I’m right there again, feeling grateful. High time I said something.

Each one of you, my readers, is included in these thoughts, and I try to tell you that each year. A blog without readers is a journal, and that’s personal and doesn’t contribute to the tribe’s knowledge base. Your presence on the blog moves us out of the personal and into the public space.

Thank you.

That’s thanks for clicking on a post, reading, commenting, liking us on Facebook, following, telling your friends, asking about the blog, and all the other things you do in support of Dad’s Diaper Detour – thank you.

When I was mulling over the blog-gratitude dynamic I was reminded of two phrases that get thrown around lot, dare I say, two “cliches”?

The first is the notion of “self-made”. Often brandished by successful business owners, I find this concept falls apart when you hear the back story about the starter-loan from a grandparent or the free room and board from family. I get the idea behind the phrase, but we don’t live in a vacuum, so there is always some part of our current situation that is “made” by another. Parenting, no matter how successful, always involves an “other”; a spouse, someone for advice, a helping hand, getting some work done, etc..

The second phrase is “it takes village”. This is pretty easy to dissect. Nobody knows everything about anything. Getting specific to at-home parenting, no parent, especially a new parent, knows what the detour has in store for them. I didn’t. I have relied on Wife, my parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, and fellow parents for guidance and an extra set of hands. I turn to the internet community for help. I look to parents who have published books. I definitely benefit from a village.

So I repeat: thank you. To all of you who have guided and followed, and made the space for me to do the same. You have been the “other” who has helped to make this blog, and the village that supports us. Of course, you should tell your friends and families about about Dad’s Diaper Detour and keep liking, commenting and following, either through WordPress or Facebook.

The summer is in full effect here in Chicago. We’ll be on the detour and I hope we see you out there.

Happy July 4th to Ya’!

Hello Friends,

Wishing you all a Happy 4th, however you may be celebrating today! Besides our nation’s birthday, we have friends also celebrating birthdays (I see you Jim!), and memories of soldiers returning home safely. I am sure you all have good stuff to add to today’s celebration too!

So be safe out there, friends. Be careful with the grill, don’t hold fireworks in your hand, and know when to say when. Enough PSA, we’ll see you out there. Happy 4th of July!

Beatin’ the Heat

Hello Friends,

Wow, what a sweaty day! The phone says we got to 94°, the car said 100°. Either way I don’t really care, it was hot in the Chi’ today!

After errands and camp we sprung Wife from work early and hit the backyard. Today was a day for the kiddie pool. A bit of a random post, but I thought I would share.

So, how did you beat the heat today?

Happy Pride!

Hello Friends,

Just sending good wishes out to all of our LGBTQ friends and family out there for a safe and happy pride celebration! It is 80º and sunny here in Chicago, with a breeze to keep it cool, so the day is perfect for the parade.

It is still tricky with the girls in crowds, so we’re not joining the fun this year. They still identify as “boys have yucky germs and kissing is gross” (unless its from Mommy), so I don’t know how much they will appreciate the love and goodwill of the Pride Parade. But Mommy and I are thinking of all our loved ones who can gather and celebrate their love under today’s blue skies.

Have a good day, friends! We’ll see you around the detour.