Archive for the ‘Family’ category

Taking a Break from the Parade

June 4, 2009


I am taking a break from Monkeys on Parade.
I will keep the blog up, and may resume in the Fall.

A couple of reasons for this…

1. I am writing another blog at Check it out and subscribe!

2. I am supporting and contributing on occasion to my brother’s blog at Good stuff.

3. My second child was born this week! I am so thrilled… and busy! Abrielle Emma Novelli. She is precious.

Peace to you,


It’s Not Easy Eating Green

September 26, 2008

In an effort to feel better and loose weight, my wife and I began to drastically change our eating habits about 6 years ago. Our efforts increased 3 years ago before our son was born. We strongly desired for him to begin with a a pattern of healthy eating. It worked! He loves his fruit and veggies.

Over the last few years we have invested ourselves in being more educated about what we take into our bodies and how that food was prepared. My wife has read countless books and  websites, and has done an amazing job helping change the way we live and eat. We desire to live holistic, healthy lives… we’ve grown to care deeply about how the environment and animals are treated in the preparation of our food.

It has been encouraging to see a growing movement throughout North America for people to eat locally produced organic food. When we began this journey 5 or 6 years ago it was hard to find organic food outside of a limited (and expensive) selection at small health food stores. Now, virtually every supermarket provides a selection, helping make organic food more accessible and affordable. Click here to read an article on the befits of organic food.

This has not been easy. We still have “bad days” where we eat things outside of the norm. Often when I do eat something greasy or filled with preservatives, my body expresses it’s disdain in not-so-pleasant ways!

We have made a commitment to spend less in other areas in order to eat better. We eat out way less, pack lunches, and purchase more than 80% organic. We have also started trying to buy and support locally grown food. Recently we visited an amazing farm near our home called the Heritage Prairie Market, that  educates children and adults how to eat better and grow their own food. Very cool.

We want to start a garden in our neighborhood this spring, as a place to connect and encourage each other toward better living. This is something we have no experience with, but are excited to experiment and learn!

Tell me about your journey to get healthy and eat better… wherever you are at!

Stay tuned… my next post will be about kids eating better at school…  (subscribe if you like it!)

Tea Toddler

July 20, 2008

My son, Angelo, likes to drink tea. Not iced tea or sweetened tea with milk and sugar… but the decaffeinated unsweetened organic kinds his parents drink. Maybe this is not all that unusual for a just-turned-three-year-old, but it seems like it might be.

Just this morning he enjoyed a (small) cup of Numi Organic Berry Black Tea with me at breakfast. He even has a small tea cup! It was not a “pinkies up” formal occasion… it was far from mellow. If you have met my son, you would know he does everything with a certain joy, silliness, and energy that is unmatched – even drinking tea!

Tired of Being Tired?

June 13, 2008

I tend to blog more about lighthearted, not-so-personal issues… but I am making an exception with the hope that I might be a help.

Since my mid-twenties I have struggled with some severe anxiety issues. I was diagnosed with GAD – generalized anxiety disorder, and I was having panic attacks weekly with a constant sense of fear and worry. It was scary. I was afraid to travel and afraid to eat out for fear I would get sick. I spent several years working with a counselor, and that has helped me tremendously. I worry much less than I used to, and my panic attacks are all but gone. I got to root of much of my fear, and was empowered by understanding more about what was happening in my mind and body. I found out I was not crazy or alone in my struggle.

But it seems that my mind still has not been able to connect with my body on this issue. I am still “wired” most of the time, and have a hard time sitting still and focusing. My body does not want to go to sleep at night or get out of bed in the morning.

I ride a roller coaster of having lots of energy some moments and huge waves of fatigue most of the time. The fatigue is the worst, as it can be severe and debilitating. It feels like someone is sitting on my chest and a cloud has fogged my brain.

I continue to try all kinds of things to try and ward off the fatigue… I have altered my diet radically… I mostly eat organic fruits, vegetables and meats. I am now trying to eliminate processed sugars and eat less wheat. I exercise regularly. I have also tried (and still trying) anxiety meds. They do help – I sleep better – but they seem to make me more fatigued, less focused, and mess up my metabolism (I gained a bunch of weight for no apparent reason. It sucks.) Now, I am exploring different herbal supplements that can help. I also want to check into some relaxation and stress management techniques.

Last year I went to an integrated medicine specialist to try and make some sense of this fatigue. I went through some very expensive testing and was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. The doctor told me that I was overproducing cortisol, and that my adrenal glands were worn out, making me tired all the time. The symptoms definitely fit, but the doctor wanted to put me on a steroid to help balance me out… after some research, I declined. I am really trying to exhaust natural remedies before putting more meds in my body (especially ones that will make me swell up or gain more weight!) I am also finding that non-traditional medical routes are very expensive… so this slows the process as I try to “pay as I go”. Not good for someone who lacks patience!

I am not trying to be a complainer… I have a good life… and a great family. I love life, and I have so much to be grateful for. But I am often robbed of the energy needed to be able to live in the moment.

Why do I share all of this with you?
Not for you to feel bad for me. Really. Two reasons…

1. This is part of my healing. Talking about my struggle helps me to feel connected to others and not so alone. It helps me to remember where I’ve been. I see that I am being proactive and don’t get as discouraged.

2. I hope it is part of someone elses healing… maybe it is you.. and it will help you to not feel alone and less frusterated with your battle against anxiety and fatigue. Maybe it will start a dialog where we can help and encourage one another.

Why Monkey’s on Parade?

June 3, 2008

I just updated the about section of this blog… and here is how I explain the title:

I am not sure when my fascination with monkeys began… probably the time one of the playful primates jumped into the stroller that my twin brother and I were in at the Milwaukee Zoo! No harm done, just a good laugh and a great story for my parents to tell! As many twins do, my brother and I developed our own special vocabulary as we learned to speak… our word for monkey was “mi-you.”

I have never owned a monkey, but my toddler son exhibits fearless and superior – freakish – climbing ability, so that is close enough. He also loves bananas almost as much as I do! So what’s with the name of the blog?

It may sound whimsical, sarcastic, odd, dumb, or child-like to you… let me assure you, it will be all of those things, just like me. Sometimes I feel like a monkey in a parade… chided and jeered by this world as I march to it’s twisted drum… but at times I love this march, banging away on a tiny cymbal as my friends in line laugh with me, cranking on their organ grinders and tooting on their kazoos.

All I am really looking for is a place to start conversations with old and new friends! I hope you join in the parade!

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog HERE. THANKS!

Monkeys at the Zoo…

May 9, 2008

Here is a little video I shot at Brookfield Zoo this week. It was my son Angelo’s first visit to a “real” zoo, and he loved it!! This video is of a mother and child play wrestling. I love it when the child “claps” to provoke the mother into playing!

Woo Woo!

May 8, 2008

I can’t wait until we get these whistle tips on the westside of Elgin. My two year old son will love it!
Maybe I should get this installed on my Accord Sedan.

“It’s like an alarm clock… woo woo!”

Can Bubb Rubb be a real person? He seems like a Chapelle Show character, doesn’t he?
His driving skills are something to behold. I wonder if he and Lil Sis are married?
I would have flown to Oakland to be at that wedding. Thank goodness that Lil Sis put the entire whistle tip issue in perspective… “it’s just for decoration… that’s it and that’s all.” Comforting.

My dad told me the story of when he was a teenager he and his brother installed a train whistle on their car.
My grandpa worked for the railroad, so they had access to that kind of hardware. They grew up in downtown Chicago, and would drive down the streets and alleys looking for people to scare the heck out of with a deafening “woooo wooo!!” People freaked out… and some got angry at them. Troublemakers. I guess they were the one of the first to pimp their ride!

[Hit to Hansen]