Friday, May 29, 2009

Not Chalco...It's BFE for the Royals

The Omaha World-Herald is confirming tonight that Sarpy County has selected rural Richfield, Nebraska as the future home of the Omaha Royals. Reports the World-Herald:
All indications point to the Schewe farm property near 126th Street and Nebraska Highway 370 as the preferred destination for several reasons. Cost appears to be a major factor favoring the site, as well as its potential to meet the county's goal of spurring significant new commercial, retail and entertainment development.

Besides the ballpark for the Omaha Royals, the Papillion site developer proposed an ice rink, a fitness center, an indoor water park and a hotel, new restaurants, a shopping center, plus future professional offices and homes. Separately, two flood-control lakes are planned for the area.
That's the upside, of course. The downside is simple. The Royals are moving to the outskirts of town, away from the population base. From the I-80/680 interchange, it's about 8 miles and a 12 minute drive to the highway 370 location, according to Google Maps. Or basically the same distance away as Rosenblatt, though three minutes longer because the drive to Rosenblatt is all interstate.

That's right...from southwest Omaha, the new stadium location is a LONGER drive than Rosenblatt Stadium.

In other words, for people expecting the new stadium to be more's anything but. Or more simply: Epic Fail.

Alberts Looking Long Term at UNO

Trev Alberts was only named athletic director at UNO one month ago...but in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, he started to share his vision for UNO long term, showing more initiative and foresight than we've seen from UNO in many years.

Trev told a local Rotary Club yesterday that UNO needs an on-campus facility for hockey and other sports.
"What I'm trying to do is say, 'What will we look like in 15 years?' In my opinion, if we're still playing hockey downtown, and our athletes (in other sports) are driving all around town playing in various venues, then I don't think it looks very positive for our athletic department."
Trev gets it. That's it, in a nutshell.
"We're happy with what the CCHA has done for us. We realize the WCHA can provide some things the CCHA can't. The Big Ten might start (sponsoring) hockey. How does that affect us? How do we position ourselves? We can't think short-term, we have to think long-term."
Trev brings up an interesting argument in the WCHA/CCHA alignment debate. Namely, the rumors of a Big Ten hockey conference. If that happens, say good bye to Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Maybe Notre Dame as well. Suddenly the WCHA, with North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Denver, and Colorado College looks much more viable for UNO.

As for the hockey search, he indicates that current head coaches have also applied, and that a new coach could be named later this month. No word on specific candidates, but the pool of candidates could be even deeper than fans have speculated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Mea Culpa over the Chalco Boondoggle

It's time for me to admit I was wrong about the prospect of Sarpy County building a ballpark for the Omaha Royals. Doesn't mean I agree with the decision; I'm still convinced that the second stadium isn't necessary and that a solution could be found for the Royals to play in the new downtown stadium.

But it's not happening. Barring a huge change of opinion by the Sarpy County Board, it will all become official next Monday. The question isn't if, but rather where.

Why was I wrong? I've spent most of the last time arguing the question was really "how". How could Sarpy County pay for a new stadium? The idea of the Legislature paying for it was pure folly, and I was convinced that once the charade was over, Sarpy County would back down.

What I failed to consider was that Sarpy County really wanted the Royals. When you REALLY want something, you usually find a way to make it happen, whether you can afford it or not. Some might argue that's the root cause of today's economic crisis; people overextending themselves on spending. (That's another issue entirely, for another blog.)

In the end, Sarpy County wants the stadium, and will find a way to make it happen. We may never know what "Plan B" really is, as I kind of expect Sarpy to muddle through on paying for it through next year, and try to resurrect LB 615 once construction has started and both sides have begun to consumate the relationship with real money and real commitmets. When that fails again (and it should because the state should not be funding a ballpark for Sarpy County), we may finally learn what Plan B is.

So where will Sarpy County build the stadium? I go back to the original suggestion: Cabela's is the best location, bar none, if money is not an issue. But I think money still is a huge factor, which breathes life into the Bellevue and 370 locations. Bellevue makes the most sense in my opinion; it redevelops a blighted area, and it's more likely to get support from the state as a redevelopment project. The downside to Bellevue is that this stadium has been sold as a "west Omaha stadium" (even though it's not in west Omaha and is almost as far from parts of West Omaha as the downtown stadium is), and Omahans may reject the Royals as the "Bellevue Royals." The highway 370 location is intriguing only because of the prospects of little league fields for Papillion and two much-needed ice rinks. The idea of shopping and restaurants developing around the 370 location sounds intriguing, until you realize the dearth of that type of development on 13th street, where the stadium is co-located with the Omaha area's biggest tourist destination.

The dynamics of the Sarpy County boondoggle have made it difficult to protest or criticize it. We don't know where it's going to be built, we don't know how it's going to be paid for, and we don't even know exactly how much it's supposed to cost. And nobody outside of the Royals and the leaders of Sarpy County will know those answers until it's a done deal: signed, sealed and delivered.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Downtown Omaha's Master Plan Doesn't Include the Civic Auditorium

The City of Omaha is finishing up the process of updating the 1973 master plan for downtown Omaha. The original document provided the impetus for the Gene Leahy Mall and set in place the framework that led to the Qwest Center and other improvements in downtown. But the old plan is now over 35 years old and overdue for an update. The World-Herald published a sneak preview today of the plan which will be formally announced on Wednesday.

One of the focuses of the update is the potential of up to eight new skyscrapers to grow the Omaha skyline along the busy Dodge Street and Capitol Avenue corridor. Of course, when you are building downtown, every new project has to remove something that might exist, but isn't as valuable to the community as the new project.

Something such as Omaha's Civic Auditorium.

Today's printed edition of the World-Herald confirms my long-standing opinion: the Civic Auditorium site will eventually be replaced by an office tower at some point in the future.

That doesn't mean tomorrow, next year, or five years from now. But somewhere down the line, the bulldozers and wrecking ball will be arriving at 18th and Capitol Avenue to make room for growth in the Omaha economy.

Doesn't mean that the Civic didn't serve it's purpose during it's era, but times change. The Qwest Center is now the crown jewel for big events in Omaha. Could it be remodeled to make it a little nicer? Certainly, but at what cost? Investing money in the Civic also means reducing capacity (to add in suites and the like) and now also means reducing the options available to grow the city itself.

The old Qwest Center/Civic Auditorium debate fires up time and time again in UNO Hockey circles. But I really think this debate may finally be coming to an end, with the answer being "neither". Trev Alberts has talked about the need for UNO hockey to practice closer to where they play and go to class. That points away from downtown Omaha. Now, with the days for the Auditorium being numbered, investing money into the Civic for major renovations makes little sense. Why spend $20 million dollars to renovate, then spend even more money to tear it all down?

I don't know what UNO's future plans are. Frankly, it might still include the Civic for the short term. But long term, it's becoming clear that UNO is going to need their own arena at some point down the line.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is Dean Blais the Frontrunner for UNO?

The Duluth News Tribune's Kevin Pates reports that former North Dakota head coach Dean Blais is the front runner to be UNO's next head coach. Blais brings an impressive resume to the job search, winning two national championships for the Sioux before trying his luck in the NHL. Whether Pates has some inside information, or merely connected with wishful thinking of local fans on isn't known.

I will say this: if Dean Blais is sincerely interested in getting back into college coaching in Omaha, he has to be considered the front-runner.

Two more names have confirmed interest. Former Lancer head coach Mike Guentzel and former UNO assistant David Quinn both tell the Omaha World-Herald they're interested. Guentzel coached the Lancers from 1992 to 1994, then left for Minnesota as an assistant coach. The Gophers won back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003. Guentzel was a finalist in 1996 to be UNO's first head coach, and is currently at Colorado College. Quinn has been at Boston University since leaving UNO earlier this decade, helping the Terriers win the national championship this past season.

If not Blais, either Guentzel or Quinn appear to be outstanding candidates as well. Certainly it appears that UNO is drawing far more interest in the search for hockey coach than it did during the athletic director search.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alberts & Osborne Joint TV Interview

UNO Television got quite the exclusive interview last week: UNO athletic director Trev Alberts and Nebraska-Lincoln athletic director Tom Osborne were the guests on "Consider This...". Much of the focus was on Alberts decision to jump from television broadcasting to administration, but there were a few tidbits of interest for Husker and Maverick fans:
  • Alberts wants to reproduce the ethics and atmosphere that he experienced while a Husker football player at UNO. He feels UNO has good people, but mismanagement and a revolving door at the top of the athletic department have made UNO athletics difficult to deal with.
  • Osborne feels that Husker facilities are in good shape, but there is a pressing need for a practice basketball facility since Nebraska is the only Big XII schoo without one. He thinks Doc Sadler is building a solid program, but he'll need a practice facility to stay competitive with the rest of the conference.
  • Alberts says UNO's facilities are exactly the opposite, pointing to the hockey situation. After listening to Alberts, I'm becoming more convinced that the answer to the never-ending Qwest Center -vs- Civic Auditorium argument is NEITHER. Alberts points out the hassles of practicing half-way across town (or further) from the arena where the hockey team plays; the team wastes time driving equipment back and forth. UNO has long talked of building a practice facility near campus at Chili Greens, but that won't solve the problem unless an arena is located there as well. Building a practice facility downtown doesn't look practical either; the Qwest Center probably has other plans for expansion, and I have no idea where you'd place a practice facility around the Civic. The Mancuso convention center appears to be too small, and the exhibition hall has the support pillars for the arena above. Do you tear down the Music Hall? I'm not sure there's room on the north or west sides either. Even if you squeeze it in..does it REALLY make sense to build it away from campus long term.
  • Alberts was ambivilant when asked where he wanted to be five or six years from now. Three months ago, he had no idea he'd be an athletic director back in Nebraska, so he obviously wasn't prepared for that question. That being said, he probably should have mentioned something about being at UNO; UNO's had enough turnover lately that he really should be striving to provide the Mavericks some continuity. Things may change down the line, but until that occurs, I'd hope that Alberts plans to be growing UNO athletics.
  • Osborne answered that same question with his typical dry humor, merely hoping he's still "vertical." But Osborne did make it clear that he's interested in leading Husker athletics for at least another two or three years. In other words, Osborne seems to be planning to stick around past the 2010 date that was announced when Osborne took over in 2007. Osborne talked about wanting to see a couple more years of Bo Pelini's team and also get Doc Sadler his practice facility so he could "compete nationally."
It was an interesting interview that apparently isn't available online. (One final broadcast appears to be scheduled tomorrow morning at 10 am on Qwest Choice channel 74 and Cox channel 17 in Omaha.) Too bad, because it was interesting for both Mav and Husker fans alike.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Night Dessert: Bringing on the Summer Doldrums

Nebraska baseball swept Baylor this weekend, ending the most dismal season since John Sanders left. It's nice to end the season on a positive note, but it doesn't ease the disappointment. It's interesting to note how some fans have developed a sense of entitlement over the baseball program. If AJ the Huskerh8er hadn't thrown in the towel on his blog, he could easily have spent this entire spring flaming bandwagon fans who turned on Mike Anderson after last season's post-season meltdown and this season's poor record. Tom Osborne has a better perspective than the "Fire Mike" crowd, at least. It was a bad season, to be sure, but the only man to ever win a College World Series game at Nebraska deserves a mulligan.

So, baseball season is over. Husker softball ended their NCAA tournament run. Track and field is still going on, but other than that, we're now in the summer doldrums of college sports locally for the next three months or so. That doesn't mean nothing newsworthy is going to happen; just that there aren't any games to talk about. Football season is still 111 days away, so we'll be previewing things there. We should start seeing some closure on the Sarpy County boondoggle and Trev Alberts seems to be ready to make some things happen off-ice for the UNO hockey program.

Had some discussions this week about how Omaha could possibly work thorugh the objections of the Pacific Coast League towards the College World Series. Let's face it, the NCAA is unlikely to compromise here. I don't think the NCAA is going to support a noon Royals game before a series game in the evening. But there are other options available. Perhaps moving a series or two to Haymarket Park in Lincoln, if the Saltdogs were willing. Or doing what other sports do: play an unbalanced home schedule, and play those games on the road. If the PCL needs to schedule Omaha and Fresno in late June, move the games to Fresno. Do those options cost the Royals money? Absolutely, and the Royals would deserve compensation for that. But the more I think about it, the PCL's concerns over the CWS schedule is something that could be negotiated. That would require more give from MECA, which they have been unwilling to do. That also would require more give from the Royals, who simply don't need to compromise as long as Sarpy County is willing to give the Royals everything they want.

And right now, it sure looks like Sarpy County is going to do just that, which is going to make the whole argument moot.

KMTV-Channel 3's Travis Justice and's Fiona Quick keep insisting that former Lancers coach Mike Hastings is the favorite to be named UNO's next hockey coach. In both cases, the logic seems pedestrian at best: Hastings spent 14 years in Omaha with great success with the Lancers, leaving to position himself for the next level. But one year's experience at Minnesota somehow makes him the "favorite"? A candidate, of course. But making him the "favorite" without explanation is just plain simplistic.

Nothing wrong with Hastings per 'se. But the list of better qualified potential candidates started off long, and only grows longer. I've suggested former North Dakota coach Dean Blais (two national titles) and Boston University assistant David Quinn (defending national champions). Some other names have been added to the list. Former Lancer coach and current Air Force head coach Frank Serratore is one name. Former Lancer player and Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley is another. Former Mav assistant and current Minnesota-Duluth assistant Steve Rohlik as well. Bottom line is that there are so many coaches out there with better resumes than Hastings, I'm hoping one of those applies for the job.

Besides that, Mike Hastings told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he's not pursuing the UNO job. Maybe that's political speak; maybe Gopher fan doesn't like the idea of their assistants looking into other jobs. But maybe, just maybe, Hastings realizes he's not ready to be a D-1 head coach yet either.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The End of the Mike Kemp Era

UNO's announcement that Mike Kemp is stepping down as hockey coach to become associate athletic director leaves me with mixed feelings. Sad because I like Kemp, and wished him the best throughout his career. Happy, because if he had to step aside as hockey coach, this might be the best way to handle it. (Steve Pederson could learn a thing or two from Trev Alberts about how to delicately handle personnel changes...and Alberts has been on the job for just over two weeks!)

Right or wrong, whether Trev sang a song today or told the truth, it's not known. And frankly, it doesn't matter at this point. We've known that Kemp was on shaky ground for the last year or two, and so the idea of Mike Kemp sticking around UNO is a happier ending than what was otherwise possible. The "Fire Kemp" crowd gets their wish: a new coach, and the Kemp backers know that Kemp is still contributing to the program.

But is it a promotion? That's a spin job; it's probably a lower stress job, but coaches earn more than administrators for a reason. Nevertheless, it's probably the best for UNO.

Both Kemp and Alberts sounded very positive about taking UNO hockey to the next level. There are important decisions to be made in the days and weeks ahead: who'll be the next coach and what conference will UNO play in?

The leading candidate to replace Kemp in my opinion is David Quinn, the former UNO assistant and current associate head coach at Boston University, who won the national championship last month. Also getting mention is former Lancer head coach Mike Hastings and former North Dakota head coach Dean Blais. Blais is another intriguing candidate, who won two national titles for the Sioux before trying his luck in the NHL. Hastings gets a lot of mention locally because of his Lancer ties, but his resume pales next to Quinn and Blais.

Towards the end of the press conference, Alberts mentioned "big things" in the future of UNO hockey. It's unclear what that means. First up is answering the WCHA/CCHA question, and Alberts mentioned that Don Leahy is already looking into that. What else could it be? There are numerous facility questions that UNO needs to answer: practice ice and potentially a campus arena to finally put the Civic-vs-Qwest Center debate to rest for good. I get the feeling Alberts is enlisting Kemp to assist with that effort.

If that's the case, UNO hockey may be ready to begin a renaissance. Today was a bittersweet day for UNO hockey, but hopefully we'll look at today as a watershed moment for UNO. For tonight, let's issue an "Ole!" to Mike Kemp for his service to UNO.

After the Funding Fails: Sarpy Tries to Salvage The Boondoggle

The aftermath of the failure of Sarpy County's financing plan surprised me today. Not the failure itself, mind you. That was inevitable. It's been the reaction by the boosters of the Sarpy County ballpark, who spent the day weeping crocodile tears over the "sudden" failure. Kermit Brashear, the chief lobbyist for Sarpy County, expressed outrage over lobbying by the City of Omaha, MECA, and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce against the proposal.

As if he should have been surprised. Much of LB615 was a retread of the failed proposal to build a new stadium in north downtown a few years back; if that had passed, the Royals would be playing in NoDo today. So it should come as little surprise to Brashear to find Omaha in opposition to the bill now. (And the idea that a lobbyist complaining about others lobbying is rather ironic...)

So why is Brashear whining? The most obvious is that he (and his cohorts) are trying to work up emotions to get the Legislature to reconsider the bill to "save the Royals for the Metro area." In other words, if you criticize the funding, you are against Triple-A baseball. Quite a reach. When Mike Fahey proposed a 2% "entertainment tax", protests didn't kill the stadium proposal. It just meant, go back to the drawing board and find another way to pay for it. And frankly, nobody really expected LB 615 to pass. Many hoped, because the alternatives are less pleasant to Sarpy County than sending the bill to Lincoln. (To Sarpy go the spoils, to Omaha goes the screws, to Lincoln goes the bill...)

So if Brashear is to be believed, does the rejection of LB 615 spell the end of the Sarpy County ballpark? Maybe, but Tom Shatel asked Royals owner Alan Stein about the chances to play downtown, and Stein pretty much eliminated those. Of course, why would he give up on Sarpy County at this point?

So where do things stand? Here's my best guess.

Chances of the Sarpy County ballpark occuring? Probably 70/30 in favor at this point. The lack of funding hurts Sarpy badly at this point, but if they pull out now, they admit failure and that they wasted the money they spent with Brashear. So they'll probably move forward and muddle through. Hold on to your wallets, Sarpy County residents.

If Sarpy bails, the chances of playing downtown? Maybe 10% at this point. Shatel gives a bunch of reasons, but it really comes down to two issues: money and the College World Series disruption. The downtown stadium is bigger than the Royals would like, but I don't think it's a showstopper. (GM Martie Cordaro recently said that they could make a 24,000 seat stadium work because they already are doing it.) The College World Series interruption is the main issue, as the Pacific Coast League simply doesn't want to schedule an extended road trip for the Royals. I don't think the Royals want to play in town during the CWS; they simply know they can't go on the road like they used to, especially with the CWS lasting longer and longer.

Money is the other issue. Stein contradicted himself by telling Shatel that the Royals wouldn't play downtown "for free"...then specified all of the revenue related issues why the Royals couldn't work out a deal downtown. Suite revenue, naming rights revenue, and the revenue from managing the stadium themselves instead of MECA. In the end, it all could be negotiated, but both sides expected far more out of the agreement than either is willing to deal at this point.

That doesn't make Alan Stein a bad guy; in radio interviews, he's affable almost to a fault. He won't say anything bad publicly, and may have not made it clear to the city and MECA just what he needed to make a deal downtown work. Now he's got a deal that's better for him, and he's not going to budge as long as it's still on the table. (Not better for Omaha or the state of Nebraska, mind you.) But that's his right as owner of the Royals: it's his team and his right to get the best deal he can.

Could Omaha somehow work out a deal for the Royals still? Maybe...but probably the biggest hurdle would be to somehow find a way to cut the length of the Royals road trip during the College World Series. And frankly, I don't see how the NCAA agrees to that. They need scheduling flexibility in case the rains come, and don't want to see the field abused any more than necessary.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sarpy County Ballpark Funding Fails ... Now What?

In what has to be a surprise to nobody, the bailout plan for the state to fund the proposed Sarpy County ballpark failed today when it became clear there was no support for it, despite an all-out attempt by Sarpy County to push it forward.

So does that kill the Boondoggle? Nope...but now the charade is over. It's finally time for Sarpy County to tell us how they actually plan to fund this ballpark. Time is short for Sarpy County, as they have until the end of the month to bail on the plan. They've already wasted nearly five months on the hope that the state would play Santa Claus. Now it's time for reality.

So how does Sarpy County do this? Well, for starters, the project goes on a diet to trim costs as much as possible. Southport by Cabelas now becomes the least likely location, as Sarpy County probably can't afford to pay for the land. In fact, Sarpy may now be pushing for cash donations along with land donations in a last gasp effort to make this happen.

The Bellevue location becomes more likely, as Bellevue and Sarpy County could reach an agreement to use city funding (sales taxes and tax-increment financing) to offset the county's expenses. That won't be enough; if it was, the Royals would already be playing in a 9,000 seat stadium downtown.

What about the rest of the cost? Sarpy County previously suggested inheritance taxes, hotel taxes, and keno taxes. Problem with that is, with the exception of a recent increase in the hotel tax, that money is already committed elsewhere. Is Sarpy County going to really eliminate those other programs to build a ballpark? Or will this be a shell game, where property taxes go up to pay those other programs, freeing up the other revenues for the stadium?

Of course, Sarpy County can bail on this project anytime this month. I don't think that happens right away, but the longer Sarpy County waits to announce the real financing plan, the more likely that happens. It's interesting to note that all this happened the day AFTER Hal Daub went down to defeat. Coincedence? I wonder.

In any event, Mayor-elect Jim Suttle needs to start putting pressure on MECA to help salvage the Royals. Sarpy County isn't dead yet by any means, but the illogical notion of Chalco is finally starting to collapse.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hal Daub Pays the Price for Ballpark Obstruction

In an election that was much tighter than I thought it was a couple of weeks ago, Hal Daub's bid to reclaim the Mayor's office fell short tonight. I thought for sure that Hal Daub would try to salvage his political career by reversing ground over the Omaha Royals, but instead he chose to tilt other windmills. Perhaps he realized the damage was done, as he and MECA nearly scuttled the downtown stadium and pushed the Royals away, perhaps permanently.

Or is it? It's interesting to note that tomorrow, the Legislature's Revenue Committee will take the first vote on LB 615, which would provide the funding for Sarpy County's stadium. According the World-Herald, the bill has been amended, but doesn't say how. In the committee hearing in March, the bill sounded DOA, so perhaps Sarpy County has started to come to an internal agreement with Sarpy's cities. If it passes, the bill goes on to the full legislature. If it fails, Sarpy County will need to finally reveal "Plan B".

I go back to what I've said all along. In this budgetary environment and with the past history of these plans, I don't see how the Legislature bails out Sarpy County. But I also didn't think this would go this far either.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thursday Night Beer: Alberts Brings Back Leahy

Trev Alberts closed his first deal as UNO's new athletic director: convincing Don Leahy to return to UNO on a part-time basis. Leahy, along side Del Weber, was the driving force in starting UNO's hockey program, so any input from Leahy has to be extremely valuable to Alberts... especially with the WCHA's pursuit of UNO.

The Sarpy County Boondoggle is heading into the final month before the "point of no return", and frankly, I'm not seeing much in the way of progress on either side of the county line. Last month, I anticipated that Hal Daub would make the Royals a campaign issue, but so far, it seems that Hal is throwing everything but that into the kitchen sink. Even border control and immigration seems to be a bigger issue facing the city to Daub for some bizarre reason. So why not campaign on an issue that does directly affect the city? I'm afraid to say it, but it looks like Daub isn't going to pursue it after all. Of course, it's not a done deal in Sarpy County either. LB 615 hasn't moved since it's ill-fated hearing by the Legislature's Revenue committee. So we continue to wait to find out how Sarpy County is going to pay for this.

Cobby over at CornNation made a great observation over the Sam Keller/EA Sports lawsuit, pointing out that Keller's impersonation of a quarterback in 2007 was a bigger fraud. I'm not sure what the implications of this lead. It's clear when you look at the college football video game, the only thing missing is the name; everything else points to the original player. (Of course, I'm not a game player, so I'm basing it on the few highlights I've seen.) So I don't see the danger of Keller's lawsuit...until you start looking at who else makes money off of players likeness. Broadcasters not only show the game, but also use highlights of players to promote upcoming broadcasts. Imagine a lawsuit against ABC/ESPN? What about the news media: Sports Illustrated, the Omaha World-Herald, and the Lincoln Journal Star. What about us bloggers? Where does it stop?

Sorry about the lack of updates this past week, and thanks for all of the kind words over our family's addition. All is well here, though sleep continues to be a scarce commodity. It'll get worse before it gets better, as I'll be running out of vacation time too soon and will need to get back to work. While things are easier the second time around, the addition of a newborn and a toddler is a combination that keeps you hopping. On Sunday afternoon, Mom and Dad thought that they'd join the kids in taking a nap. Except, of course, neither the two year old or the four-day old had any interest in taking a nap. Sigh.