When my wife was pregnant with our daughter I started collecting useful advice from the internet and filing it away to apply when she was born. In the happy chaos of the last few years I did not have the opportunity to sort through, much less index and apply any of these helpful tips. Finally I managed to organize it into a rough structure for quick reference and share it up here for other parents and parents-to-be to use as well.
Pregnancy and Delivery
Brand New Baby
- What to (Really) Expect After Delivery –
- How to hold a baby | Video | BabyCenter
- Baby poop: A visual guide – Photo Gallery | BabyCenter
New Dad Survival Guide
- New Dad Survival Guide: The Skillset You Need to be Successful | The Art of Manliness
- First Week Survival Tips For New Dads
- Best books for dads | BabyCenter
Misbehavior and Correction
- End Your Kids’ Nagging and Negotiating with Three Simple Words
- Lessons From Child to Child –
- 50 Things That Are Unfair To My Children –
- Preventing Misbehavior: What Every Parent Should Know
Stress and Enjoyment
Gifts Given and Received
- MintFamily With Beth Kobliner: 10 Tips to Make Your Kids Good Gift Givers | MintLife Blog
- My Kid’s Insane Christmas Wish List, Annotated
Back to School Supplies
Working from Home
- Train Your Kids to Follow Specific Protocols When Working from Home
- 9 Things To Do When Your Toddler Is Driving You Nuts | BellyBelly
Dating and Getting Out
- #88dates, dates 1-22 – A Day in the Life of a Sexologist
- Cheap Valentine’s Day Dates | MintLife Blog
- » 10 Frugal Family Fun Activities for the Fall – Bargaineering
- » 5 Tips for Cheaper Child Care – Bargaineering
Stay at Home Parenting
- How to Stay Sane as a Stay-at-Home-Mom
- Tips for Stay At Home Moms
- The Questions That Will Save Your Relationships
- 10 Promises I’ve Made to my Daughter –
- A Better Way to Say Sorry
- Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity – Winnowing Oar
- Seven Parenting Behaviors That Can Harm Your Child’s Future
Travel Tips for Flights
Meal Prep Ideas
- How I Learned to Like Cooking by Outsourcing the Worst Parts
- Beyond PB&J: How to Take the Hassle Out of Making School Lunches
- 10 Easy Crock-Pot Freezer Meals – Mommy’s Fabulous Finds
- Chicken Macaroni Bake – Once A Month Meals
- Slow Cooker Freezer Meals: Make 8 Meals in 1 Hour!
- Potty Training Boys And Girls In 3 Days
- Elimination communication – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- How to Stay Productive While Caring for a New Baby
- Parenting is a lot like sysadminning… : Parenting
- Flowing with the Stresses of Kids (or anyone else) : zen habits
Internet Access and Cyberbullying
- Have Your Kids Sign an Internet Contract
- danah boyd | apophenia » The Unintended Consequences of Cyberbullying Rhetoric
Baby Proofing Checklist
- Childproofing checklist: Before your baby crawls | BabyCenter
- Keep Your Home Child-Safe with This Room-by-Room Infographic
- Car Seat Checks and Installations – Baltimore County
- How to Cry it Out: The Bedtime Edition – Precious Little Sleep
- P.U./P.D. ~ My Baby Sleep Guide | Your sleep problems, solved!
- The Secret Swaddle | my sleep solution » styleberry BLOG
- Swaddling: The Baby Sleep Secret
- Behavioral Sleep Problems in Kids: Toddler Night Wakings
- Top baby sleep mistakes – and how to avoid them | BabyCenter
- Harvey Karp’s “Happiest Baby” method for baby sleep and soothing | BabyCenter
- 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn : zen habits
- MintFamily with Beth Kobliner: How Young is Too Young to Teach Kids About Money? | MintLife Blog
Pool and Swimming
Baby Led Weaning
- Baby Led Weaning First Foods – Homemade Baby Food Recipes To Help You Create A Healthy Menu For YOUR Baby
Biting and Hitting
Cord Blood Donation
Substance Abuse Prevention
Over the years I’ve collected links to advice on how to improve myself and my life by emailing them to myself and saving them in a special folder. After that folder swelled to several hundred messages it was time to extract them into a more accessible format. I’m posting them here so that folks like me can explore them as well.
- Learn All the Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts with This Printable Cheatsheet
- The 101 Most Useful Websites on the Internet
- 100 Technical Things Non-Technical People Can Learn To Make Their Lives Easier – Scott Hanselman
Stuff Guys Should Own
- What Every Man Should Have in His Wardrobe | The Art of Manliness
- Things Every Man Should Own : zen habits
- How to Take Good Photos for Under $1,000 — Prolost
- DIY Camera Beauty Dish
- Posing Guide: Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Men
- What Documents Should I Shred and What Should I Keep?
- Gather These Twenty-Five Documents You Need Before You Die
Meditation and Quiet Time
- Why it Pays to be Idle | Constructively Productive
- The Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned from Managing Anxiety
Organizing Desk Space
- How Can I Make The Most of My Meager Desk Space?
- The DIY Corner Workspace
- The Best Way to Set Up and Organize Your Desk
- Keep Your Desk Clean by Using the Breadbox Test
End of the Year Habits
- Give Each Workday a Theme for Productive Momentum
- How To Survive A Death March – Charlie’s Diary
- Work More Productively on Your Own by Playing “Workstation Popcorn”
- Break the Cycle of of Busyness with These Three Questions
- Microproductivity: Get More Done and Lower Your Work Stress Without a Second Wasted
- Splice time in new ways to have more of it
- How to Go From Working 60 Hours a Week to 40 By Sending 2 Emails a Week | Robbie Abed | LinkedIn
Schedules and Project Management
- Why schedules help even when they’re wrong | Scott Berkun
- How a Whiteboard Helped a Terrible Delegator Keep a Team On-Task
- Use “Naked Planning” to Keep Yourself Accountable During Projects
Financial Tips and Independence
Time Tracking and Pomodoro
- Track Your Time with a Colorful Chronodex to Get More Done
- Catherine Hooper on Hour Tracking for Priority Optimization | Quantified SelfQuantified Self
- Five Best Productivity Methods
- Checklist | The People’s Therapist
Life Lessons from Programming
Pegboard and Basement Orgainzation
- 34 Ingenious Ways To De-Clutter Your Entire Life
- Clutterfree Inspiration: Two Beautiful Transformations : zen habits
- Mindful Simplicity: Decluttering, Cleaning & Leaving No Trace : zen habits
- The Dangerous Effects of Reading | David Tate
- How to Read More: A Lover’s Guide : zen habits
- How to Boost Your Reading Comprehension by Reading Smarter and More Conscientiously
- Top 10 Backups Everyone Should Have (Not Just Computer Backups)
- UPDATED 2014: How to setup CrashPlan Cloud Backup on a Synology NAS running DSM 5.0 – Scott Hanselman
- The Computer Backup Rule of Three – Scott Hanselman
- MicroReview: Tarsnap
Folding a Fitted Sheet
Preparing for Death
- Everplans Walks You Through All the Steps Needed to Deal with Death (Yours or Someone You Know)
- Philosophy and Life
- Everybody Dies: How to Preserve Your Digital Legacy | Center for Democracy & Technology
- Futile care and a time for dying
Keep from Burning Out
- How to Bounce Back From Burning Out
- Burnout Is Real: How to Identify and Address Your Burnout Problem
Travel and Packing Tips
- Take Notes When Unpacking to Make the Next Trip Better
- How A Travel Hacker Buys An Airplane Ticket
- The Tao of Travel : zen habits
- Keeping Track of People You Meet – The Unified Evergreen Address Book | Charles Hudson’s Weblog
- How to Make a Party Box to Share with Friends and Neighbors
- Strengthen Your Network Connections With Monthly People Checklists
More Efficient Netflix Watching
Managing and Leading
- DaddyBear’s Den: Books for Junior Officers
- What work traditions need to go away? | Scott Berkun
- House Rules: Positioning Yourself As a Value Add
- Top Ten Rules Every Marriage Should Live By… – Author BloggerVlogger Smedia Ninjapublic speakergladiatorjedi knightdreamerbeliever
- Take Better Notes by Structuring Them in a Hierarchy
- Get Your Ideas Out of Your Head and On Paper to Actually Make Progress Towards Your Goals
- Improve Your Powers of Observation by Taking Field Notes Like a Scientist
- How Turning My To-Dos Into a Story Boosted My Memory and Motivation
- Frictionless Work: How to Clear Your Life of Non-Essential Tasks : zen habits
- Kick Your Procrastination Problem This Weekend
Making Change Easier
- Nick Crocker: Floss the Teeth You Want To Keep | Quantified SelfQuantified Self
- Preparing Your Mental State for Self-Tracking (Get Your Mood On: Part 3) | Quantified SelfQuantified Self
- The Thousand Cuts Fitness Program : zen habits
- A Compact Guide to Creating the Fitness Habit : zen habits
- The 38 Best Methods of Successful Exercisers : zen habits
- This 7-Minute, Research-Based Workout Exercises Your Whole Body
- Five Best Mind Mapping Tools
- Mind Wandering Can Boost Your Creativity—But Only After More Intense Brainstorming
Complaints and Thanks
- The Practice: Goal Setting – Non-Billable Hour Edition
- 3 Lists That Will Change Your Life | MintLife Blog
- Seriously, Stop Sabotaging Your 2012 Goals
Willpower and Changing Habits
- Top 10 Tricks for Getting Better Sleep
- Science Book Club: The Siesta and the Midnight Sun / Boing Boing
Getting Things Done
- Keep a Journal of Awesomeness to Boost Your Self Esteem
- Eliminate Sloppy Mistakes by Reflecting on Your Failures
- Keep a Work Diary to Minimize Mistakes and Document Successes
- An Exceedingly Simple Guide to Keeping a Journal : zen habits
- Quantified Self 101: Make it SMART | Quantified SelfQuantified Self
Recipes and Cooking
Caitlin and I signed up for the Overdrive system with the Baltimore County Public Library and started to check out Kindle books in July. Before that we were buying the occasional Kindle book or borrowing terrible self-published pulp fiction on Kindle Unlimited.
One of the nice side effects of having done this is that at the end of the year I have a list of books in my Amazon account that I can look back on what’s been good and bad in my virtual bookshelf.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – July 27, 2015
Super fun read, very interesting characters that cross generations and interests. The magical element would turn some people off but it really pulled me in.
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1) by Ann Leckie – July 30, 2015
I heard about these books on the Incomparable Podcast, which I started listening to because Amy LaPearle posted a link on Facebook to their episode about the Inside Out movie and just kept it in my feed after listening to that one. The first few chapters of this book are best if you don’t know anything about the main character going in, so I don’t want to give anything away. This book provides a perspective from the “other” that you don’t usually see, and was really enjoyable.
Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch Book 2) by Ann Leckie – August 10, 2015
If you enjoy book one, definitely read book two. I did. because I wanted to spend more time with these characters. Now I can’t wait for Ancillary Mercy (book 3) to show up in the library so I can join them again.
The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and by Anthony M. Amore – August 10, 2015
This book brings together a few very interesting topics: people who are obsessive enough to forge art and currency, people who collect valuable art and the market they create, and determination of provenience. Provenience is a particular favorite of mine because it brings together the characteristics of a physical object, supporting evidence (which may be other documents and objects) and other historical records. Each chapter tells a different and compelling story with fascinating characters on the side of the forgers and law enforcement alike.
Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data.. Bruce SchneierAugust 10, 2015
Bruce Schinier really shines for me in Beyond Fear and Secrets and Lies, but this one just couldn’t pull me in. Since I was reading Art of the Con and the Imperial Ratch series the same week, this one got short shrift. I might try to read it again in 2016 based on my respect for the author but this one was a bust.
Software Requirements (Developer Best Practices) by Karl Wiegers – August 13, 2015
If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If you enjoy the things I write, you’re probably interested in this sort of thing. I wish I owned the paper version of this but the Kindle version does all right when I have a specific question that can be answered by paging through the table of contents.
The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing by Eli Pariser – August 17, 2015
I checked this book out because I am afraid that this is something that’s happening to me every day, but I couldn’t get past the first chapter or two of evening reading and eventually abandoned it.
The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking by Sims Wyeth – August 17, 2015
This book is terrible. I feel like this guy took a big stack of index cards, wrote two paragraphs of some random pithy sentiment on each one, then threw them up in the air, scooped them all into a pile, bound them on the edge and printed them as a book. I only finished because the book is as short as it is useless.
Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan – August 21, 2015
This book seems good, but for some reason I can’t remember anything about it even though the other books I read during this time. Either it’s forgettable, or I couldn’t get past the first chapter or so, or ran out of time with other books I had checked out in the same period.
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom – August 21, 2015
I checked out this book because I enjoyed The Five People You Meet in Heaven by the same author. This book has a very similar feel: a man vs. God story where the main character reaches past their initial hubris and learns important lessons. If I had to read these over again, I might pass, but both books are actually a pleasant read the first time through.
How Would You Move Mount Fuji? by William Poundstone – August 22, 2015
I’m about to save you a read: 1. Trick or riddle questions in interviews are counterproductive and have undesirable side effects. 2. Microsoft’s policies and hiring practices made them miss some qualified people as the company grew and grew older.
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman – August 22, 2015
I really enjoyed this book because it showed some of the flaws in differential diagnosis and the way that doctors need to compartmentalize to survive. We’re counting on our doctors to help us with figuring out what’s wrong with a very complicated system with a lot of moving parts, and reading this book gave me some insight as to the types of information that good doctors are looking for, and the things that overworked or overly focused doctors may tend to miss.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip Heath – September 6, 2015
Home run book. Published in 2007, it contains such current event reference gems as “the sportsmanship of Lance Armstrong” and “the inspirational story of Jared Fogle the Subway spokesman.” A particularly ironic note to the second story is how many people wanted to pass on the “risky” Jared campaign. Why risky? Because they didn’t want to be seen as selling the Jared weight loss story as medical advice and suffer the ire of the FDA. It was going to go into the trash bin until Barry Krause, then head of Chicago marketing firm Hal Riney & Partners “defied the CMO of Subway and paid for the production of the Jared campaign out of the agency’s own pocket because he knew it was authentic.” Subway’s CMO then came back to HR&P hat in hand to take the campaign from regional to national media. Success! Right? Fifteen years later the un-vetted Subway spokesman takes a $1.4 million dollar highly public plea deal and prison time for illicit sexual conduct with children.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler – September 6, 2015
I expected more from this book, possibly because I expected more out of Amy Poehler or because Tina Fey’s book carried me along so well. I did learn some things about her life and work, but the book was actually a bit sad and droll in places.
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – September 10, 2015
This book was my annual attempt at reading a dense historical biography before bed. As with most years, the dense historical biography won and stayed significantly unread. I got mired up in the first few chapters and probably abandoned it for Fight Club.
Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk – September 16, 2015
I’ve enjoyed other Chuck Palahniuk books and I loved the movie but for some reason I never got around to reading Fight Club until just this week. It’s amazing how faithful the movie is to the book, and I’m also glad I watched the movie first because it allowed me to put a better face on most of the characters. The story goes to great length to keep the characters faceless and abstract which would have frustrated me without Ed Norton’s visage and voice to lean on. I also enjoyed the epilogue where the author basically calls out every journalist chasing a “Fight Club” story and everyone who set up a fight club as an idiot.
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown – September 27, 2015
After two years as a Freemason who’s never read a Dan Brown novel I had to figure out what all the fuss was about. This is a fun adventure mystery, but the central character is actually the body of the Catholic Church and CERN (to some degree). The Illuminati and Freemasons could have just as easily been called “The Maguffin Consortium” and carried the plot along just as nicely.
Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon – September 27, 2015
Couldn’t get past the first few chapters of this book. It isn’t really compelling of a topic for me to give it a second try.
The Da Vinci Code: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown – October 4, 2015
When I put this book on hold and set it to check out to me automatically from the library I didn’t realize that it would not actually connect it into my Kindle Cloud library without me going back to the Overdrive site. So I had this book out for the better part of two weeks before I realized it was there and by then it was ready to expire and I had to go back into the hold queue to get access again. I didn’t bother at the time, but I will probably try again in 2016.
Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán – October 5, 2015
This book is terrible. It is not actually a library book, I think, but one of the free books that being a member of Kindle Prime gives you every month. This is a terrible attempt at “Eat, Pray, Love” that entirely fails to deliver. The characters are shallow and the scenes are overdramatic. Abandoned this book for my own sanity.
Zeroes: A Novel by Chuck Wendig – October 18, 2015
A fun hacker book that I stumbled on mostly by accident. I’d never heard of Chuck Wendig before but I’m glad I found this. It’s obviously written by someone who knows there way around different hacker archetypes and doesn’t just think of them as magical objects to fill plot holes. He takes the time to actually flesh out a narrative for each one as the main plot progresses and becomes more and more complicated. I’m not sure if there’s going to be a sequel to this as it wrapped up pretty well, but I can’t wait to read more of his stuff.
Paper Towns by John Green – October 19, 2015
Couldn’t piece the beginning of this book and abandoned it. I think it had some fierce competition from Zeroes and The Martian and just got left behind.
The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir – October 19, 2015
I’m glad I read the book before seeing the movie, mostly because the movie scaled back how irreverent and foul mouthed the Mark Watney character is, and covers much more of the scientific detail and necessary problem solving than the movie could possibly replicate and still be a fun watch. I did get the feeling as I read that this was written as serial fiction and it was gratifying to find that I was write. Andy Weir wrote this as a series of blog or forum posts just giving new apparently intractable problems for his main character to solve and researching all the possible answers to get him out.
1Q84 (Vintage International) by Haruki Murakami – November 5, 2015
I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled on this Haruki Murakami book but I’m glad I did. I’ve read a few since this one and the basic theme always appears to be a world substantially like the reader’s, always centered around several regions of Japan, with one or two very simple magical elements that affect the main characters substantially but the rest of the world either ignores or appears not to notice. This makes for a compelling foundation. Then the author builds a very detailed and interweaving character development around the interaction of a few key players, but uses the magical elements to take all the predictability out of their likely next steps. The ending is not always so tied up as this one but the progress of the characters kept dragging me back to this 1,184 page book every night.
Station Eleven: A novel by Emily St. John Mandel – November 11, 2015
This is another Incomparable Podcast recommendation which sadly did not pan out for me. Here’s what I got: A stage play is interrupted by a calamity, an apocalypse appears to happen to the world around the actors, Rob loses attention and abandons book.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – November 11, 2015
I’m not sure if this book came before or after 1Q84 but it is another book of almost entirely character development and revealed perspective as the main character seeks to understand a turning point in his life from his teenage years. Every page just made me want to learn more about these people, and I was never disappointed as I got further in.
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day – November 20, 2015
A touching look at the life of an actress and producer who worked hard, bootstrapped some projects that nobody thought would work, fought her own personal demons, caught some good breaks, and wound up the quirky geek on television you’ve probably seen all over. It’s great that she had the courage to write an autobiography that speaks so frankly about the impact of depression and anxiety on life and success.
Frugal Isn’t Cheap by Clare K. Levison – November 25, 2015
This is a so-so personal finance book. I thought I’d get something new out of it but I’ve already seen most of what it has to say on Lifehacker and other personal improvement blogs.
Split Second by Douglas E. Richards – November 26, 2015
Cool adventure science fiction with your usual cast of ex-military private eye, rich finacier with God complex and black operations military groups where nobody knows who is the good and bad guys.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel (Vintage International) by Haruki Murakami – November 27, 2015
I had high hopes for another solid magical narrative, which I got. But I also got a terrible ending and a little too much magic. I would recommend this book but not nearly as much as the other two novels.
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris – November 27, 2015
How can this book go wrong? I don’t know but it did. It’s a book about Norse mythology written from the perspective of the trickster! Marvel’s making millions off Loki’s antics. Neil Gaiman knocked it out of the park with American Gods. Book has a good legacy but just didn’t deliver for me.
The biggest obstacle to my creative output and projects over the last few years has been a stubborn dedication to producing new things that will 1) last forever and 2) be perfect out of the box. I take some solace in the fact that I’m not alone in this. Lots of software developers obsess over ways for everybody to keep every bit of information forever.
I have a virtual graveyard of not-quite-failed Github projects and hundreds of gigabytes of pictures and text squirreled away that nobody will see any time soon because I haven’t quite figured out the best way to present everything in a way that will stand the test of time on the web.
Most of my creative energy is coming out in pithy comments on Twitter or somewhat more thoughtful pieces stuck in the walled garden of my Facebook profile that only my 352 closest acquaintances can read. The only way to fix this is to set myself up a virtual empty notebook with a limited number of pages.
So today I’m declaring an experiment in embracing impermanence by giving this blog an end date. I’m going to commit to writing here until December 24, 2016. On that day I’ll look back over this project and if it isn’t prospering, delete it or turn it into a static archive with no regrets.
Between now and then I hope to be writing here about my exciting adventures in parenthood, local topics, Freemasonry, software development, personal finance, and anything else that comes to mind. Plus for the first few weeks I’ll be leaving the comments open as an experiment and welcome everybody’s feedback!