All posts by DanM

Ruby developer, entrepreneur, hobbyist

Happy Mother’s Day

After our recent adventures having Theo, I definitely have a new appreciation for Mothers. The sacrifices they make day to day and in the long run to careers (although it shouldn’t have an impact it is obvious to anyone paying attention). I appreciate all the hard work and effort it goes into raising a child that for much of it’s life will challenge and annoy you when ever possible.

Seriously, some of the things mother’s have to go through blows my mind. While much of society and medicine has drastically improved, labor and delivery is still nothing short of shocking and barbaric. If all goes well it can be magic, so I hear, but it didn’t for us. During labor is still one of the highest risk chances of death for in any mother’s life. Considering it is such a common life event, one would think it would be one of the best understood and researched medical events, but conflicting advice with little to no research backing abounds. While sharing our delivery story with folks it was surprising how many people had rough experiences and still frequently are suffering side effects years and decades later.

Clearly, I hadn’t given enough credit on mother’s day (and every other day) to my own mom. Well we get to start working on improving that this year.

This year to celebrate Erin’s first mothers day, we went to Paris! We also brought my mom… Who has been looking to get back over to visit Paris again. So this mothers day will be spent out at cute cafes with a dinner.

On the last few weeks of Erin’s maternity leave we can spend some time celebrating being a mom with each of our mother’s as Erin’s mom will be joining us for the second leg of the trip in Amsterdam.

So cheers and happy mother’s day to every mom out there… Clearly, we wouldn’t be anywhere without you.

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Theo Updates

Sorry folks I forgot we are trying to post most of our Theo photos here and not just Facebook as some people don’t use the walled garden that is FB. I will catch the blog up with some things we have posted along with some extra goodies.

Babies For Nerds

I also have another Baby related post on my developer blog, as it a bit more nerdy than our normal family blog post. Check out Alexa For Newborns if you are interested in how I have worked to setup our house for more hands free usage, since baby Theo is frequently taking up all our hands.

Theo for International Women’s Day

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Happy #internationalwomensday props to all the women out there, extra love to moms, extra extra love my partner / new mom Erin Miller

Theo The Hamster

Erin also shared one of our silly baby Theo jokes along with some pictures…

“It’s like trying to breastfeed a drunk angry hamster” — Dan Mayer, day 3 of Theo Mayer

 My mom responded to this, trying to show Theo is not a hamster by sharing this video. “this is a hungry hamster. Check out those teeth.”
While Erin’s mom, was hoping she could get this hamster shirt in a newborn baby size.
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Also, Erin and I shared some of our favorite Theo photo’s as profile pics.

Time with the Grandmas

Finally, here are some of our favorite Theo pic’s from the first 3 weeks.

 

Theodore Harley Mayer

Erin and I wanted to let folks know that our new baby Theodore entered the world happy and healthy at 1:36pm on Monday February 20th. Theo weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces, and measured 19 inches in length. Both he and Erin are doing well. We will make little updates here and there on this blog if you want to follow along.

We got home on Erin’s birthday (22nd), and that was a lovely gift and made it easier to celebrate.

Life Stages As Told Through Burritos

Before sending us off into the world, my mom taught my brother and me one of our favorite weeknight dinner recipes — spinach burritos. I always liked this recipe and it was always a hit among my college roommates. Recently, I revisited the recipe and as I always do, took it as merely inspiration. And I realized that the changes to the recipe throughout my life presented an interesting chronology.

This is the tale of my life through Spinach Cumin Burritos…

  • Original Mom’s quick weeknight dinner recipe
  • Dan’s poor college student adaptation
  • Dan’s Spoiled Millennial adaptation
  • A return to simple, how fast can I cook baby makes me tired
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Erin and Baby like burritos

Original Mom’s Recipe

  • 1 pkg Morningstar or Veggie crumbles (or 1 lb ground beef)
  • 1 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 1/4 cup chunky salsa (any favorite)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Shredded cheddar or Mex cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas

Nuke frozen spinach 3 minutes while combining salsa and crumbles in medium sauce pan to warm. Squeeze excess water from spinach to add to crumbles and salsa. Add spices, heat through.

Serve on tortillas with cheese. Roll and enjoy.

Dan’s College Recipe

Add rice, frozen veggies, can of tomatoes, and increase seasoning to cover the boring rice. This increases the yield to feed 3 hungry college guys and friends. At the end of ingredients line add, “whatever is on sale.” All items generally from CostCo.

  • 1 pkg Morningstar or Veggie crumbles (or 1 lb ground beef),
  • 1 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 cup chunky salsa (any favorite)
  • 3 Tablespoons Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups of cooked minute rice
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can of spicy tomatoes
  • add Frank’s or Cholula hot sauce
  • Frozen Broccoli to taste
  • Shredded cheddar or Mex cheese
  • 16 flour tortillas

Nuke frozen spinach 3 minutes while combining salsa and crumbles in medium sauce pan to warm. Squeeze excess water from spinach to add to crumbles and salsa. Add spices, heat through.

Serve on tortillas with cheese. Roll and enjoy.

Dan’s Spoiled Millennial Update

This is by far the most delicious of the bunch, but it requires you to check your privilege 😉

Basically, you need to have a productive garden and buy farm fresh ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg organic free range ground beef (Step 3 or above)
  • 1 giant harvesting bowl of organic home grown kale from your garden
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 1/4 cup chunky salsa (any favorite), this is basically the same but of course fresh organic salsa
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • actually 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin, yeah lets go ahead and triple that (3x the cumin kale power combo)
  • 2-3 home grown hot peppers, jalapeño recommended
  • 2-3 cloves of home grown garlic
  • 2-3 carrots, of course home grown preferred but I guess organic will do
  • hand full of home grown basil
  • hand full of home grown arugula
  • lime wedge
  • 1/2 lbs of home grown heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 bag of organic cheddar cheese

Preparation

  • pour glass of wine or craft beer to begin
  • sauté shallot while prepping
  • chop kale (and arugula) in food processor with olive oil
  • put chopped kale in a bowl, squeeze in lime, add seasonings, add some of favorite hot sauce
  • add carrots to sauté
  • prep other veggies
  • add veggies to kale mixture (tomatoes, garlic, salsa, other extras)
  • add beef and hot peppers, season with Worcestershire sauce
  • season sauté with salt and pepper to taste (possibly some extra paprika, crushed red pepper, etc)
  • minutes later add kale marinading mixture
  • add cheese immediately before turning off stove and stir in

wrap with freshly heated tortillas

Serve to your non-impressed and tired of waiting hungry guests

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Perhaps our final months of slow cooking garden fresh foods?

Dinner? Burritos? Umm, but the baby is crying

A return to simple, how fast can I cook anything… We have a baby on the way… I don’t know if we will garden. Who knows if I can cook anything that isn’t microwavable. I am currently contemplating on moving to compostable plates for the next few years.

Ask Mom to make original recipe and bring it over

or

Cook original recipe in giant batches and freeze enough to feed a small army.

Our Next Adventure

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Erin and I have been adventuring together for over 10 years… so, we decided it was time to try something new, exciting and scary. We are extremely thankful on this Thanksgiving week to announce that we will be adding a new member to our family, coming in February.

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Dressed to impress at 21 weeks

 

In Hawaii on vacation at 26 weeks

Aruba Advice

A couple of times now we have been asked something along the lines of, “You guys did your honeymoon in Aruba, right?  Where did you stay?  Do anything fun in specific?”

Now before giving any real advice, I want to preface this with a warning. This trip wasn’t our typical kind of travel. We were going for our honeymoon the primary goal was to do nothing and have no guilt about feeling that we should be doing something.

Quick Thoughts:

  • We liked it quite a bit if you are looking for a very relaxing and easy worry free vacation
  • Culture isn’t something Aruba has to offer so if you wanted to ‘see the sites’ or ruins, this is not your place. If you want very pretty beaches, it has you covered.
  • I normally think folks could really ‘do Aruba’ in 5 days, I just think a honeymoon is one of the once in a lifetime trips, so we wish we had been there longer than the nine days
  • We stayed at ‘Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa’ which was nice and but basic. The hotel wasn’t quite as nice as we were expecting, but the beach was secluded and lovely without the crowds, which is exactly what we wanted.

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American vs. European Style

There are two primary areas to stay the ‘European style’ side or the ‘American style’ side.

European

The European is a lot less crowded, has the nicest beaches, but the buildings are older and not fancy. Not taken the best care of from the places we walked through. The rooms often have mini kitchenettes so you can make food or snacks, which is nice. Many of the hotels offer rooms with full kitchens, and you see people there that cook their meals and don’t eat out much. On the European side, only a handful of restaurants are nearby. The hotel you are in likely has one or two, and each hotel along the beach has one or two. Every hotel offers all-inclusive, but it is easy and fun to walk to eat at different hotels during the trip. If you want night life or ‘better’ restaurants, you need to go to the American side.

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American

The American side, has all the night life, the fancy modern hotels with jacuzzi, crazy showers, flat screen TVs, casinos, and more. The beach is OK, but not as good. There are more docks here so if you are scuba, snorkeling, or day tripping by boat most of the launch points are in this area. The pools over on the American side were much nicer if you like spending time in and around the pool this is the place to be. All the night clubs, dancing, and all the restaurants are in walking distance of this area. There are lots of fun restaurants and places to eat.

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The Food

It is all good, but nothing is outstanding. The prices and the selections in restaurants are hilariously the same. As in the fish special from place to place on a given night is the same. Every place will have a chicken, beef, and seafood house specialty. Mostly that is the same too. It is pretty funny when you can start predicting specials before they even tell you. Erin and I are convinced they have the same french fry supplier for the entire Island. The fries are delicious but taste exactly the same everywhere where you go, Amazing! That being said it is still fun to go out, and everyone is friendly. Restaurants seemed to specialize more with drinks, live music, romantic atmosphere, spectacular views. Erin and I had a very lovely dinner in a little hut out on the beach during sunset, which someone bought us as a wedding gift.

Activities

The dancing was OK but nothing great, but Clubs on Caribbean islands always seem to be a bit hit or miss. The strip has the Senior Frogs, and 2 or 3 other dance clubs all on the same block, if you want to dance at all. Walking the ‘strip’ on the American side was always fun. Ice cream parlors, snacks, and other souvenir shops line the strip.

It is super windy, everywhere. So don’t plan on beach volleyball. You will see lots of kits surfing, wind surfing, and it makes for great waves to play in as they break around you. We really didn’t take advantage of many activities so not a lot to say here, we read books on the beach and lazily search for the best burgers and tacos.

Final Thoughts

Erin and I prefer the European style based on quite resort and calmer beach. It was easy enough to mix it up some of the nights, every other or so, heading to the American side. We would bus or cab to the American side and enjoy the night life. If you want to do the Euro style, just budget some time or money for getting cabs. It is about 5-10 minutes away, and the bus is cheap if you are willing to wait for it.

Overall Aruba was a great place for a honeymoon and because of the weather it is awesome for an island during hurricane season. If I were just hitting an easy beach vacation out of that, I would probably do Jamacia, Mexico, Virgin Islands, or DR over Aruba. For our trip and planning around our wedding, Aruba was perfect.

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Ya gotta have a hobby, mine’s Sewer Covers

My collection of sewer cover photos goes back years. In DC, we have some old original covers from the late 1800s, and I tried to take photos capturing older and older covers.

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DC Cover from 1883

My collection then evolved when social network Path came out, being invited by a few co-workers my basic response was, not another social network. In the end, I signed up but would only post photos of sewer covers from around DC and my travels. Starting as a bit of a joke, but I began to enjoy the hobby of noticing interesting and old covers. Some places have different covers for each neighborhood in a city. While Japan takes sewer covers to a whole new level, with hand painted decorative covers.

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Bachelor party in Chicago

Now my collect evolves with each trip I take, and often I find a cover to shoot with friends feet during significant events. I enjoy keeping an eye out while traveling for interesting manhole cover “art” such as grass that grows on a cover I recently saw in Russia. It might be silly but I guess we all need our hobbies, and I have two weird ones have photos of amazing manhole covers and collecting orange T-shirts from places I visit.

Hopefully this make you take notice of something most people don’t take time to see. Feel free to check out the full sewer cover gallery. Also, there is an awesome Instagram account that posts cool covers.