Bruce Springsteen, Santa, and Memories of Christmases Gone By

We’ve been listening to a ton of Christmas music. As you do this time of year. Every morning and every evening, to and from daycare with the girls. Sophia sings along to the ones she knows, while Maddie taps her foot and bobs her head along to the beat.

Rudolph, Frosty, Little Drummer Boy, Last Christmas, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bell Rock. You name it, we’ve listened to it, sung along with it, and danced to it. I figured that Sophia has been listening to and singing Christmas songs at daycare, as well. The other night, she started singing Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town–which is one of my all-time favorites. Only while she sang the chorus, she sang “Santa Claus is coming to town” faster than in the classic. I said to Sarah that I thought she was singing the Bruce Springsteen version. We hadn’t heard that one in the car. So I asked her. I quickly pulled the song up on YouTube and played it. I asked her if that was the version she heard at school and was singing. She said it was! Continue reading

How Do You Know You’re a Good Parent?

I feel like the message is true. A lot.

I feel like the message is true. A lot.

How do you know that you’re a good parent? Honestly. There is not test you can take to find out if you’re doing a good job or a really terrible job. I mean, you can look at your kids, see how they act, see what they’ve learned, and take stock in that.

There are plenty of times when I look at myself as a father and think that I don’t have a damn clue what I’m doing. I feel like I’m failing my girls and not making the right choices for them–or for our family. It’s an awful way to feel. It’s not something that I want to have floating around in my head.

Outside of reading as many books on parenting as possible, reading as many parenting sites and magazines, as possible, and talking to other parents, how are we to know what is right? What’s best, breast or bottle? How long do you wait to introduce solid foods? What if I have a picky eater? My kid is being mean, not listening, and is an all-around pain in the butt, how do we fix that? What daycare is right? Am I being a helicopter parent? All these are questions and comments that have come from me or others that I know. AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO KINDERGARTEN YET! Continue reading

The Negotiator – Training for My Next Career

I don’t know about you, but my negotiation skills have been tested to the max lately. It doesn’t matter the time of day, the circumstances, or location. There is going to be some form of negotiating taking place. I’ll give Sophia credit–and probably every other kid, too–they don’t quit. They will low ball you at every turn. They play for keeps. They play dirty. I really am getting plenty of practice and on-the-job training that I have a good idea that I’d succeed–or fail miserably–in a future career as a hostage negotiator or deal-maker/breaker. One of the two.

I’m gonna talk about the two instances that are daily back-and-forths. Mealtime and bedtime. Continue reading

Damn You Teething, Damn You!

57085569Dear Sleep,

How are you, old friend? I hope life is treating you well, as I lay awake at night, readying myself for the next scream of pain coming from the room of my one-year old.

What’s the problem, you ask? Have you heard of this thing that babies do, it’s called teething? Oh you have? Good. Then you should know where I’m coming from. If you were not aware of this growing trend, where teeth fight, claw, scratch, and tear their way through the gums, I’d have to refer you to this handy illustrated guide, courtesy of my friends at How To Be A Dad.

You’d like to know what exactly happened? Well, friend that I see all too little of anymore, it’s simple really. Our youngest daughter, Maddie–she’s one now–has three of those little demon teeth pushing their way through her gentle baby-gums AT THE SAME TIME. Those demon teeth are pushing her temperature sky-high, making her uncomfortable at every turn, forcing her to scream for mercy. She just wants relief, Sleep. That’s all she wants. She wants those teeth to stop imposing their will on her gum-line. Just pop through and be done with it, demon teeth!

Let me tell you, Sleep, this whole teething thing is for the birds. Just last night was the worst we’ve experienced to this point. The clock struck 12 and the demons came to play. One whimper turned to an hour of screaming. Then to a short amount of sleep, back to an hour of screaming, back to short amount of sleep, and on and on and on it went until the wee hours of the morning. No amount of Advil or Tylenol or Ora-Jel could soothe her. Shortly before the alarm clock beeped to wake us for the day, poor little Maddie finally fell into your awaiting arms, Sleep.

One day, this whole teething world will be a thing of the past. And both my girls–as well as Sarah and I–will finally be able to re-connect with you, Sleep. It will be a joyous occasion. One where we all well-rested and free of pain and demon teeth. Until then, dear friend, rest easy and be well.

Yours in exhaustion,


SANTA! I KNOW HIM! And I Know That OTHER Santa, Too!

I didn’t think that my 3-1/2-year old daughter would be as perceptive as she is. She’s three! We did pictures with Santa last weekend. And then, did breakfast with Santa at a local church this weekend. Afterwards, Sophia informs us that “I saw two Santas!”…


People have told me since then, all I needed to do was tell her that those are Santa’s helpers. That Santa can’t be EVERYWHERE all the time. I get that. I could’ve done that, too.

I didn’t ask her why she thought she saw two different Santas. I mean, the answer was obvious.

One looked like the real deal.

One wore a darker suit, had a fake beard, and a wig.

OF COURSE, they looked different.


I guess this is a question that Sophia could ask every time we go to a different mall and see a different Santa sitting in his chair for photos. But, most of those Santas look similar enough that she doesn’t think it’s a different one. At least that’s the way I see it in my mind.

Aside from the “Santa has lots of helpers” reasoning, what ways do you explain the appearance of SO MANY SANTAS to your kids? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, and Facebook.


Sometimes Ya Gotta Do Stupid Things For Your Kids

Sometime all it takes is a hint of a laugh to break a child from the midst of tantrum-hood.

Knowing what you, as a parent–and tantrum-breaker–can do to get that laugh is going to change from instant-to-instant. Hurting yourself is one way to get a laugh. I’ve gone to that well far too many times to count. Sometimes it takes singing out-of-tune (as if I can sing any other way). Or, telling a joke.

But, there are times, like in the above video, where you just do something completely stupid and it works like gangbusters. To set the scene: We were on our way home on Monday night and Sophia was clearly tired and wanted her cup of PediaSure, which she has every night at bed time. Well, we didn’t have any with us. And we had a solid 30 minutes until we’d be home. The whining started. It got worse. And it got louder. So, in that instant I blurted out that I wanted my milk, in the highest, most baby-like voice I could muster. And, what do you know? It worked. To the point that she clamored for me to repeat it ad nauseam.

I had no idea I could make that voice. Believe me, I’ve done a million voices in my lifetime and THAT was never one of them. I’m glad Sarah was riding next to me to capture it–without me even knowing she was recording it. Seriously, sometimes it just takes you doing the most stupid thing you can think of to snap your kid from sure tantrum into laughter.

What are some of the stupid things you’ve done to snap your kid from falling into a tantrum? If there’s video, share it! Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter!

Saying Goodbye: A Eulogy For My Movember Mustache

I can hear Boys II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” playing in my head. A single tear slides down my cheek as I do one final pass with the razor. As quickly as you appeared, you are gone. And I miss you, dear friend.

On Monday, it was your time to go. It was your turn to be laid to rest. You were with me through good times and bad. Through thick and thin. Be it rain, or wind, or snow, you were there. Clutching my face, holding me tight, and keeping my upper lip warm.

I only knew you for a short time–but it felt like we had been together forever. You started out frail and thin–barely a whisker to be found. But you grew. OH DID YOU GROW. Some mocked you and called you names. Names like ugly, gross, disgusting, and creepy. But I know you are so much more than that.

Even though Sarah says she is glad to have her husband’s face back, you will be missed, you will be loved, and you will be remembered. I will hold a place for you in my heart always. You will always be MY Movember mustache–and nothing anyone says can ever take that away from us.

Rest easy, old friend, for we shall meet again another day.


Our Little Linus — Maddie Needs That Blankie

Kids have a certain need to feel comfortable. At all times. Hell, even as adults, we have our own needs to feel comfortable. I know I do. Having something that can make you feel reassured whenever possible is a must for many people. For many adults, that item is oftentimes their smartphone. But, that isn’t what I’m gonna talk about. For lots of kids, through the ages, there is that one thing they just can’t let go of–the blankie.

Linus courtesy

Linus courtesy

Sophia never really had something that she would always need to have with her. Unless you count the pacifier. If you do, then she had that–for a long time. But, Maddie is different. Siblings can be different, did you know that, guys? It’s true. Maddie has recently taken to toting one of two blankies around with her, as often as possible. One if blue and one is brown. Aside from color, they’re virtually identical. Each has an animal head pillow, which I guess makes it more comforting–since she just plops that bad boy down and lays down in the middle of the floor all.the.time.

I’ll be honest, I love that she has found something that makes her happy, that makes her feel comfortable, that makes her feel a sense of security. Do I KNOW for a fact that’s how she feels? Of course not, she’s one, and can’t talk yet. But, I can sense it. She reminds me a lot of Linus from the Peanuts comic strips. Heck, she even looks like him half the time when she pulls the blue blankie around, as you can see in the picture above.

I honestly don’t remember if I had something that made me feel secure when I was a kid. There are two stuffed animals that I have a vivid memory of from my childhood–one a penguin, which I named after the book Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The other was a tiny stuffed clown with shoe laces to tie, a zipper on its hat, and buttons on its vest. His name was Buddy Buttons. I still own him. Sophia would sleep with him for a while, until the zipper snapped off and a jagged edge was left on his hat. As for his name, my cousins renamed him “Pee Pee Clown” when I was young. Why? They said I tossed him in my kiddie pool and proceeded to pee on him. Did it actually happen? I hope not. But, they claim it did, even all these years later.

Back to my main points. Knowing that your children have something they can hold tight–and hold dear–that makes them feel just a little more secure is a wonderful thing. Now, if Maddie is still clinging to that blankie when she hits her 20’s, well then that may be a different issue entirely!

What about you and your kids? Did you or they have something that makes them feel more secure? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.  

Gotta Grow a Mo – Join The Movember Mustachio Bashio!

Last year, I joined the Movember party late. Judging from the sweet stache I had by the end of the month, I’d say I arrived fashionably late. Oh, you don’t like my mustache? Well, get in line with every lady I’ve ever met. Ever. Including my wife. Including my daughters. Ok, well only Sophia can voice her displeasure with it, but I’m pretty positive Maddie isn’t a fan either, judging from the looks she’s been sending my way.

Am I rambling? I do that, sometimes. I was pretty sure I had a point to this whole post. Ah, yes, Movember. In all seriousness, folks, I’m not just growing this amazing mustache for all the weirded-out looks I receive. I’m doing it for a reason–I want to help change the face of men’s health. I want you to join me in my fundraising efforts I know, men’s health is an all-encompassing phrase, but there are many aspects to it that need to be talked about, that need to have attention raised for. I’m 32-years old. In the not-too-distant future, I’ll be walking into the doctors office for a prostate exam–and presumably walking out a little uncomfortably. That honestly terrifies me. Prostate cancer terrifies me. Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men? Because it is. In 2014, more than 233,000 men alone will be diagnosed with it. If you want to know more about prostate cancer, please go and read about it.

Testicular cancer terrifies me. One of my high school buddies, who was a whopping two days younger than me died from testicular cancer not long after graduating college. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in young men ages 15 to 35. I’m almost right in that wheelhouse.

There needs to be more research on every aspect of men’s health. Men–we need to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. I know, going to the doctor sucks. I hate going. If I have a cold, I’m not going to the doctor. If I have the flu, chances are I won’t be going to the doctor. Although now that I have kids, the chances of me going to the doctor have risen. That’s not really the point, though. We need to, not only take care of our bodies and our minds, but we need to listen to them. Something small could wind up turning into something large. And you very well could catch it if you have yourself checked by a healthcare professional.

Look, I’m not a doctor–I just play one on TV–but this is something we should all pay attention to. I need to do a better job myself. That’s the number one reason that I’m growing this mustache that will soon have me banned from my own bed.

Please, do me a favor and help support me and my fellow men that are growing these sweet, sweet Mo’s for our health. Check out my fundraising site at Every dollar helps. If you don’t, I’ll never shave this mustache, and that’s just bad for everyone.

Product Review: VTech Toys

IMG_5563Recently, VTech sent me a box full o’ toys for Sophia and Maddie to play with. And, honestly, who doesn’t love coming home to a box full of toys on the front porch? First, let me say that the girls loved playing with them. They aren’t difficult to entertain, but they were really eager to break all four of these toys out of their boxes and get down to the business at hand–playing.

While Sophia is just out of the age-range for each of these toys, she didn’t care. She wanted to play with them–and did play with them–just as much as Maddie did.

So without further ado, I bring you a review of each of the four toys that VTech sent my way.

Continue reading