One of my favorite websites right now is My Morning Routine, where they ask people questions about, shockingly, their morning routine. I've always loved mornings. They are my favorite part of the day. I've recently gotten into a much better routine, so I thought I'd share it here using the questions from MMR.

What is your morning routine?

I pop up every morning between 6:30 and 7 AM. I've been progressively trying to get up a little bit earlier. I leave my phone (and alarm) a few steps away from my bed so I have to actually get up to turn it off. If I didn't do that I would stay in bed for hours.

I slink out of the bedroom and open up the door to my office to let the cats out. They sleep in there because they are two crazy little monsters who will wreak noisy havoc all night.

My first task of the morning is to get some coffee. To be clear, I'm not one of those people who is like OMG I MUST HAVE COFFEE OR I CANNOT FUNCTION. I function fine without it, but I love drinking a cup in the morning. It's much more about the joy of making and drinking it than the caffeine. Since it's summer, we try to keep a pitcher of cold brew in the fridge at all times for iced coffee. Otherwise I'll fire up the kettle for one of the many hot water coffee devices we have. While I'll drink just about any coffee, it's always better from Blue Bottle.

Once I've got my coffee I do some reading. Email, RSS feeds, Instapaper, magazines, or books. Could be any or all of these. I'm currently reading Marcus Aurelius' Meditations and a book on teaching kids to be better eaters.

After that my schedule varies by day of the week. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I do some work on my iOS game, Outshape. On Tuesday and Thursday, I try to write something to get it up on my blog. I'd really prefer to write every day, but if I want to get Outshape released soon I have to put the time in.

After a little over an hour of writing or working, it's time to get out and run. I'm trying to get myself back into decent shape, so I'm running a mile every day. I'm just trying to get that mile time somewhere I'm satisfied with before I start upping my distance.

After my run I take a quick cool shower, find some breakfast, and feed the cats. At this point my morning is pretty much done and it's time to get up into my office to work.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

In it's current iteration, I've been using this routine for about a month. Most of the elements existed beforehand, but they were compressed into a shorter time. I would just wake up when I felt like it. But that was before I started work at MetaLab. Now I don't have all day to do the work that's just for me.

What time do you go to sleep?

Usually somewhere between 10:30 and 11:30, depending on when Lauren and I eat dinner and what has captivated us on Netflix.

Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

The aforementioned leaving the phone across the room is a big thing for me. I will shut that alarm off and go back to sleep if I'm not forced to physically get out of bed.

Early on in my routine I would put a little more work into explicitly planning my next morning and day. I've gotten into the groove now and don't do this quite so strictly.

I also like to clean up the kitchen a bit in the evenings when possible. My morning is a lot more pleasant when there isn't a mess I'm confronted with. But sometimes we eat late and we're just too tired to deal with it in the evening.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

Yep I use the standard alarm on my phone. Since I have to get out of bed, it's very rare that I hit the snooze button. I won't say it never happens, but I love mornings too much once I'm up.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

Generally it's a couple of hours. A fun fact about me is I don't have a functioning thyroid gland. So every morning I have to take synthroid. A side effect of that is I'm not particularly hungry until I've taken it, and I'm not hungry until at least an hour after I've taken it.

What I eat for breakfast is one aspect of my morning I'm not particularly thrilled with. It's usually either cereal or oatmeal (old fashioned oats, none of that instant crap). Occasionally I'll have greek yogurt with granola and honey. I'd really like to get more protein but I'm not a huge fan of eggs nor do I like taking a ton of time to make breakfast. I'm thinking about trying out Soylent for my breakfasts.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

Just my morning run! I'd like to find a gym with a good basketball court, but they're surprisingly hard to find. I want a nice court to go shoot in the morning, but most gyms just don't have the space.

Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practise?

This is the other big aspect of my morning I'd like to improve. I'd like to spend more time reading the bible and in prayer in the morning. Too often it's the thing that gets pushed aside for all of the other "more productive" stuff.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning, or leave it until later in the day?

I get very little email that needs answering. But I try to wait as long as possible before looking at it. I don't get anything urgent and it can be dealt with later in the day when I have less energy.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

Nothing major. I would say f.lux is the biggest help.
I keep my habits in Omnifocus to make sure I'm knocking them out and reviewing them occasionally.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Almost always a coffee. Could be iced, or from the aeropress, french press, or chemex. We have an espresso machine, but it's been struggling lately. One of my hopes for the next year is to upgrade it, because I love a cappuccino or latte in the morning.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

I follow it, but a little more loosely. I tend to sleep a little longer and I don't run every day on the weekend. As far as reading, writing, and development goes, I tend to just let my mood lead me. I'll work on (or not work on) whatever I feel like in the moment.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

It sort of depends on the environment. Some changes are more friendly to the routine than others. I at least try to get myself up early and do some reading and writing when I can. I really struggle to get exercise when I'm in a different environment.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

It's a little stressful. I feel a bit like I'm not as productive. But I try to just find some time in the day to do the important things; running, reading, and writing.

Finally, the baby came out and made his first cry. And they brought me over to him, and he was covered in blood and amniotic fluid and had vernix in the creases of his skin, but he looked fucking GREAT. His weight was good. His brain was good. His everything was good. All the selfish, terrible thoughts were sandblasted away. No regrets. Then I looked back to my wife, and she was still alive, beautiful as ever. And I burst into tears. I was wearing a surgical mask during the delivery but it got so gummed up with tears and snot that I was basically wearing a used Kleenex. And I called my mom and my wife's mom and I said, "THEY'RE ALIVE!" because that was all that mattered. He was alive. She was alive. You can deal with anything in this life, so long as you're not dead.

Fantastic recounting of the birth of his son, who came seven weeks early. It's terrifying to think about Lauren having to give birth in just a few weeks, but that's exactly what this was like. So glad he was okay.

Fantastic piece from J.D. Bentley on exactly what being a conservative means to him. I particularly love this quote from Yuval Levin:

Conservatives tend to see the human person as an incorrigible mass of contradictions: a fallen and imperfect being created in a divine image, a creature possessed of fundamental dignity and inalienable rights but prone to excess and to sin and ever in need of self-restraint and moral formation.

You can really start from there when you're trying to understand how conservatives approach the world.

There are some good changes in here, particularly as it pertains to pace of play...
- The shot clock is being dropped from 35 to 30 seconds, which should make games a lot more exciting1. - Timeouts without 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeout will become media timeouts.

They're also removing the ban on dunking during pregame and halftime warmups. Because dumb rules are dumb.

For a generation, many North American parents have indulged children’s picky eating tendencies by sticking them in an endlessly repeating loop of chicken fingers, burgers, pizza, plain pasta, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Anyone who has sat down for a meal with youngsters over the past 25 years will recognize this list of typical “kids’ foods.” Pushed out of the picture, to varying degrees for different children, are fruits and vegetables and anything else that might challenge them, from spicy delicacies to unfamiliar proteins. To picture what this might look like to a visitor from almost anywhere else in the world, imagine we just mashed up some bread and cheese and mechanically separated chicken flesh together, called it Kiddy Chow, and bought it by the bag to rip open to feed the tots.

Mealtimes for children were quite different just a few decades ago. Over the past few months, I’ve spoken casually and in formal interviews with dozens of people about food and childhood. As a general rule, people who grew up in North America and are now over the age of 30 recall that when they were children, kids ate what the adults ate. Families usually dined together at the table. There might have been foods you didn’t like; depending on the rules of the house you might have been expected to try them or even finish them. Or you might have been free not to, as long as there weren’t too many foods you were refusing. Either way, it wouldn’t have occurred to you that an adult was going jump up from the table to prepare you something precisely to your liking. And if you didn’t eat, you might have to wait quite a while for the next opportunity: Studies show that North American kids snack more often and consume more calories than they did in the 1970s.

With a baby on the way, this is something that has been on my mind more and more. I want to be intentional about what my child eats, and make sure she doesn’t grow up like her dad.

I grew up eating a metric ton (wait, no, not metric) of bagel bites, lean cuisines, mac and cheese, and grilled cheeses. I always wanted the kids menu at restaurants and as embarrassing as it is, I still frequently do. If my wife isn’t around to make dinner or at least plan it, I will stuff my face with [BRAND NAME] mac and cheese. I absolutely believe that teaching good and varied eating habits to kids will turn them into healthier eaters as they grow up.

Aside: Mom. I love you. You did a great job raising me. You had to raise four of us at a time and it was a freaking war zone. I chewed on piano keys and carved angry messages into desks. I threw some monster tantrums. I really don’t know how you made it out alive.

Some of the strategies outlined here are going to be a good guide for how we want to raise our children to eat. I don’t want my child sucked into seductive kids menus. I’m not going to give her whatever she wants to eat all the time. I want her to try new and strange foods and grow up with that sort of culinary curiosity.

Of course there’s no doubt kids tend to emulate their parents. So if I want my kids to be more adventurous in their diets I’m going to have to do the same. I’m trying to do that right now. I’m saying yes to things with more tomatoes and onions than I’m used to. Often times, it turns out that I like what I’m eating just fine. I’d just refused to accept it because it had something that I didn’t like all that much as a kid. Plus, it wasn’t beige. I thrive on the beige to yellow-ish portion of the menu. But fatherhood changes you, and I think this is just one of many ways I’m going to change.