Some days, you gotta dance

Some of my favorite blogs are written in a way that allows a ton of information to come across with very little effort into the words. It might be more work than I understand, but either way, I tend to be a bit wordy. However! This is a short one, I hope you folks enjoy the break from my normal novel style of posting.

Sugar – Flo Rida
Nuttin but Love – Heavy D and the Boyz
Heroes of Our Time – Dragonforce
I Would Do Anything for You – Foster the People
Life’s a Happy Song – Muppet Soundtrack

To the best of my knowledge, this is the list of songs that William has loved at some point in time. It’s an odd mix, yes, but I like music and tend to be all over the place with things I listen to. Every so often William just latches on to something.

After lunch today I decided to get a little head start on some cleaning, so while William and Carter were watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I got youtube up and going. My system for selecting songs on youtube is a very poor one. I start with something that I specifically type in and then I almost always click on the links to the right and just see where things take me.

Today it took me to “Love on Top” by Beyoncè. By the end of the song, William was on the stairs watching the video and was attempting to (I think) dance along. When it ended, I was greeted with the familiar “Play song!” from William which means…I want that again or I will scream all the screams.

 

 

So now that’s on the list…..

(I’m secretly okay with that)

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Are We Still Searching for a Better Father?

There’s was an obvious level of terror when Melissa and I packed our entire lives into box to move to Idaho. I had been out for a short visit, and all she had to go on was a few pictures and my very detailed description of, “It’s pretty!”

Recently I discovered that another gentleman (that seems way too pompous, but I’m gonna allow it), somewhere in Idaho, has been blogging about his experiences here in the “Gem State.” While he doesn’t seem to be a dad, he often talks about things that speak to me in different ways. Like me, he moved from a much larger city to the slow paced life somewhere in what I assume is the Boise area. Also like me, he seems to be struggling to adapt to certain aspects of being in an area that can feel out of touch with the rest of the world.

Truthfully, some of what he talks about on his website is just untrue. Sadly though, it’s easy to convince people that life in Idaho is some form of black and white cartoon centered around a potato. People in Idaho know what the internet is, and I even saw our Governor take what I’m certain was an iPhone out of his straw hat, check the time, and put it in his overalls. Life here is not all that different from them big fancy cities.

One thing does tend to irritate me about many of the people here – sometimes I feel unwelcome. While I find the idea that Idaho needs to “catch up” with the rest of the world to be a little short-sighted, the very concept of a stay-at-home dad is still perplexing to some people in this state. I think much of it comes from religious points of view. The idea that the woman’s role is in the household, but there has to be more to it than that.

It doesn’t really bother me that people around here find it a little odd that I’m the one at home with the kids. What bothers me is their need to bring attention to it. As a man in an area that does not seem to understand that fathers are also parents, it’s hard to find the balance between being offended by people who seem to look down on fatherhood, and not caring at all what they think. It’s not okay that people ask Melissa why she is not the one at home. It’s not okay that people ask me if I’m having a “day off with the kids” and then give me the most confused look when I explain that I’m a stay-at-home dad. I wish that confusion was limited to this state.

I don’t feel a big connection to many of the dad bloggers I’ve come across, but that has a lot to do with me not trying that hard to make the connections. Still, I’ve come across some great sites and done a lot of reading and one thing I’ve seen discussed a lot is that  dads are too often forgotten in the parenting world. There are still people who want to perpetuate the idea that fathers can’t be every bit as involved in the lives of their children as mothers. There are still people out there who feel like something must be wrong with Melissa and I because our “roles” are not reversed. There seems to be a nation-wide level of complacency to commercials, clothing, greeting cards, movies, TV shows, and more, all portraying dads as not only less important than mothers to kids, but fundamentally stupid when it comes to our children. We are supposed to be good with a hammer, not a hug. Good with a lawn mower, but not a frying pan. This has sadly become a common ideal in the minds of many people, and I really have to thank the amazing group of dad bloggers who have pushed issues of unbalanced views of fatherhood into the light. People are way too passive about underselling the role of a father.

See, there’s not much poking fun at moms going around. That’s a good thing, but I do think it’s time for people to stop pretending that dads are some sort of mute sidekick when it comes to parenting. Great fathers are everywhere, and I think most people are aware of that. So I’m confused at the companies who make efforts to pretend otherwise. What more can fathers do to stop the negative image for the people come up with this crap? How is it that with many great figures of fatherhood around, people are still searching for a better father?

Fun little exercise, open up your eyes a little wider when shopping, watching TV, or even reading parenting materials. It becomes surprising how many commercials paint a picture of the lost dad who needs mom to save the day. You’ll hear things like, “dad-proof” or “mother approved.” You’ll read that “even dad can get involved with this!” or “you’ll be surprised to know that there are things we can learn from dad!” or “it’s okay to let dad push the stroller even though he doesn’t understand how to dress your child.” Let’s not forget the amazing “parenting” books that have a “special chapter just for dad.” It’s quite sad, as a father, to need to defend your commitment to your children to faceless corporations and strangers who have turned fatherhood into a joke. A big thank you to the dads and  parenting blogs out there, fighting for our real place in the lives of our children.

Not every dad is perfect, but that applies to moms as well. Sorry world, but there’s a lot of great dads around. Our bad.

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The enemy of my enemy is I hate the ocean.

If the only thing we have to fear is, fear itself, it stands to reason that the majority of the things the average person is afraid of…is irrational.

I recently watched a show that went into the statistical analysis of how likely you are to die in a plane crash as opposed to a car crash. Despite overwhelming evidence that plane travel is immensely more safe, people who are quite happy to hop in their car every day are afraid of flying. I am one of those people.

There are people who lose it at the sight of a snake or a spider, any bug at all, a mouse or rat. Statistics say the family dog is more likely to kill you than a snake.

The dark is a very big fear for lots of people. As we all know, everything scary happens in the dark.

If something exists, someone else is probably afraid of it. I was gonna say there’s someone out there probably afraid of me, but it dawns on me that they probably aren’t afraid of me so much as being afraid of the fact that I’m left handed….SIDE NOTE TIME!

For centuries religious and cultural practices have deemed left hand users inferior. The word itself is derived from the word lyft, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “weak.” During the times of corporal punishment in schools, teachers would often beat students caught using their left hand. In many third world countries where toilet paper is an issue, the left hand is considered the “unclean hand” since it’s the taught method to use your left hand to clean…yourself….after a nice trip to brown town. It’s said that those who fall out of favor with god stand to his left, which led to a variety of religious based nicknames for various groups…all which included the word “left.” Even today, the concept of forced conversion to becoming right hand dominate, is very common. Which has proven widely unsuccessful and often leads to several developmental issues. People are really stupid.

…anyhow…people are probably also afraid of my red hair, which of course means I have no soul.

Outside of flying, I do have one other fear. The ocean. The ocean and I have had a long term hate-hate relationship. Growing up in Florida, a short drive from several beaches, I certainly had a fair number of visits to the ocean. So over the years, as you might expect, I had some bad moments. When I was very young, I got knocked over by a big (big for a tiny little fella) wave. I didn’t like that very much. On a visit with my Church’s Youth Group, a bunch of us went out pretty far and had the pleasure of meeting a shark. I’ve never swam so fast to shore. I feel Olympic swimmers should compete in a pool that has sharks, to get the best possible times. One time I had my hand cut open by…something…in the water. I don’t even have a clue what it was, and I got probably a 4 inch long slice across my right palm. How’s that for unclean, right handers?

My biggest fear concerning the ocean would certainly be sharks. Maybe it traces back to the time I first saw the Sarlacc in Star Wars, but the idea of being eaten alive just never sat well with me, and experts have found that sharks investigate new things with a bite. Just because the shark may eat me on accident, doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it. It’s difficult, because like anything, I don’t want my hang ups to transfer to William and Carter for no other reason but, “Daddy doesn’t like that.” I don’t want to be the reason they don’t eat veggie burgers, I want them to find out how gross they are all on their own. It’s not very fair to cast judgement on sharks when they really haven’t ever done anything to me at all.

To be honest, I stopped watching at about the 47 second mark. Right when the guy said “Sharks don’t like people. Sharks don’t like to eat people.”

Now I know what he said is true, because he was on a news report, standing by the water. This makes him credible as an expert. Also he forgot to button his left shirt pocket. So obviously he’s got a knack for details.

Well, I am shocked. They don’t like us?! I can be down right delightful. That’s really not cool. We send all these nice people out into their home to place tracking tags on them…We give them things to play with and eat like license plates and hubcaps…We even immortalize them by making movie after movie where they (well CGI versions I guess) are always in a major role. I don’t understand what else people have to do to get on their good side. I’m just gonna say it, sharks are ass holes.

On the other hand, they have to be good parents. I mean, they don’t like to eat people, and yet they do. William never eats his green beans for me. I wonder what kind of reward or punishment system they are using.

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The Most Amazing Six Year Old I Know

Now 32 years old, I’ve become a little jaded to my birthday. I haven’t really “celebrated” my birthday in a long time. I’ve had people come over or go out for dinner, but I avoid much of a fuss. As you’d expect, it was a different story when I was little. I demanded wanted a big show. I wanted lots of people because that meant lots of gifts. I wanted a celebration of me! It’s an important thing to celebrate.

If you have never heard Patton Oswalt’s musings on when you should recognize a person’s birthday, go find clips. In short, he has joked that through your life, there is really a short list of birthdays you should be allowed to celebrate. I really like it, partly because it falls into my own mindset of, “I turned 32…so?”

Very much on the list are the young birthdays. Ages 1-10 where you are a little kid growing up. These are ages where you expect to see a kid begging for a party with loads of friends. You expect trips to Chuck E. Cheese, bowling alleys, parks, or even backyards. You might cringe at the idea of what you need to put into the favor bags so that when the kids all see each other at school next, your child hasn’t lost any favor in the eyes of the other kids based on the wrong flavor of lollipop. So certainly for a 6 year old girl, the pressure is on the parents to provide the pony for kids to ride or a slew of princess dresses for a group of little girls to wear for an evening and feel like they are in a Disney movie. For parents Cherie and Shawn Flowers, something very different was requested.

Shawn and Cherie have two kids. Daughter, Mackenzie and son, Brady. Cherie is an amazing photographer and, like any proud mom, loves to take pictures of her kids. These photos tend to make their way across my facebook feed. Which I hate. Let me preface this with, I love my boys and I think they are as adorable as six puppies hugging seven kittens. Additionally I think their little boy is a handsome little fellow, but pictures of Mackenzie are painfully cute. I do not like it, and I do not trust it. As if being cute is not enough for her, Mackenzie decided to also be an astoundingly good person. Not just for a 6 year old, but for anyone.

Imagine what would go through your head if you asked your child what they wanted for their 6th birthday, and they responded with pet food, pet toys, and gift cards to pet stores. I can’t help but think I’d go searching for a mystery pet that our kids had been hiding from us. Incredibly, when Mackenzie asked for these things, she was just being a sweet and giving little girl.

Yes, she had her friends over for a party, and yes, she wore a tiara like any little girl might. What set her apart was that she asked that no one bring her a present. What she wanted was for people to bring items that she could donate to the Humane Society. My favorite part about this story is how people began praising Shawn and Cherie for coming up with a great idea. As if they made the decision to withhold presents from their daughter and put her face on some poster campaign to give donations to an organization. In truth, this was all Mackenzie. Why? She loves the heck out of animals.

I’m happy to praise good parenting all day long, and I know that Shawn and Cherie are great parents.  Still, I think this act of generosity surprised them as much as anyone else. Parents spend an amazing amount of time trying to guide the minds of their children in what they hope is the right direction. I think though, this is a great example of where exceptional parenting meets an exceptional heart. I can’t imagine how proud they must be of their little girl.

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BroboCop

So right off the bat I want to say that I’m not 100% okay with the title of this post. I wanted to make a funny play on word with the movie RoboCop involving some sort of dad to dad tie that will make much more sense after you read the actual story. The best thing I could come up with was “RoboPop” which feels more like a nod to the idea of a robot father. I have nothing against robots or robot fathers and just in case a robot overlord reads this in the future, I want to add that I LOVE ROBOTS, but this story involves dads and cops, so that title didn’t really seem to work either. After some thought, the officer involved in the following story was being a bit of a bro, so the title stands. Enjoy.

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It can’t be overstated. When you are an at-home parent, getting out of the house is a must. You need to find adult connections, and have adult conversations. If that means meeting for coffee with a friend once a week, that’s better than nothing. Most of the time though, I’d recommend something a bit more lengthy. The first full year of being home after William was born, I found I had done all the normal things to keep my mind occupied. I had made detailed lists of smudges on the wall from dirty kid hands. I had found all the places in the carpeting that was trampled down to make a recognizable shape. I began the process of diving far too deep into the world of the cartoons that William liked and created back stories which lent themselves to the interactions of the characters on screen.

What I wasn’t doing was keeping up relationships with real people over the age of one year old. It’s something I still struggle with doing. I even feel a little self-conscious talking to adults lately because I’m not sure I remember how exactly to interact. After that initial year, I was concerned that while I may not be losing my intelligence (for whatever that’s worth), I was losing the ability to communicate adult thought with adult words.

Eventually, Melissa was very aware that I needed a break. So we came up with a plan for me to take an extended period of time to get out into the country and relax. The idea was for me to take a few days to get out and go camping. I was going to be joined by one other friend, and after two days of camping and exploring Idaho, we’d meet up with our wives and kids at another friend’s cabin in the beautiful city of McCall. After another night away from real life, we were going to head back as a happy, relaxed group. A great plan. This would be where I say something like, “What could go wrong?”

After a whirlwind, two day tour of the mid-area of Idaho, we made our way to McCall, anxious to see our friends and family. I tried my best to shut out the world while we were out exploring, but after a year of nothing but William, I already missed him. Our reunion was bitter-sweet in a way. I was excited to be with my family, but I was instantly back in my role of dad. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that, in a way, you give up the right to be truly selfish when you begin your life as a parent, but I had not quite cleared my head after two days. C’est la vie.

Bedtime for William came quickly that night. A sudden realization for me that before I knew it, we’d all be back in reality. I had no clue how true that was. William was situated in our room in the upstairs of a little cabin. We had brought along his “Pack N’ Play” for him to sleep in, which he had done several times without any issues. We put him down, said our good nights, and listened as the cries and fussing turned to quiet. We spent a few more hours with everyone before making our own way up to the room. There, quite happy, was William. Wide awake and playing games that babies play when they’re alone. As we entered the room as quiet as we could, he saw us instantly and began to make a lot of noise.

The next few hours were painful. He grew louder in protest to the fact that we had not engaged him and joined in his baby games. So, we tried to rock him back to sleep, nothing. We put him in bed with us, which made him all the more riled up. William, it seemed, was far to excited about his new surroundings to simply go to sleep. I’m sure if he had been able to talk at the time there would have been a great deal of, “Dad! Did you see this lamp?! This isn’t our lamp! I like it! Knock it over Dad! Dad! Mom! Did you see how this room isn’t one of our rooms in our house?! Where are we?! I like this room! Let’s scream at the walls and see if they make different noises than our walls! YAY!”

As the hours passed, and people had definitely gone to their rooms to try and sleep through the noisy little boy upstairs, we began to feel very self-conscious. No one had said anything and no one came to check on us, but we couldn’t help feeling like this situation was going to keep everyone up through the night. At 3am we decided to pull the plug. I packed everything up and loaded the car, while Melissa dressed William and put him in his car seat where he instantly proceeded to cry. We said very brief good-byes and began the two hour trip back home.

McCall is a very small town. Small enough that the speed limit on the main street is, I think, 25 miles per hour. At three in the morning, with a screaming child in the backseat, and exhaustion setting in from the past three days, I just wasn’t paying attention. In the sea of darkness, very suddenly we were illuminated by color. Red and blue. I look behind me to see a police car in tow, and check my speed, only to realize I was doing almost 40. This was gonna hurt.

I’m sure he heard William before he was able to see much of anything in the car. He surveyed the car’s interior with his flashlight before asking politely for my licence and registration. Without much of a glance he asked what was going on. I explained that we had made an attempt to stay with friends at their cabin in the area, but our little boy was just a little too overwhelmed with the exciting new surroundings of McCall to go to sleep, and that mom and dad were too tired to keep the party going.

Keeping in mind that all he had done with my licence and registration was hold them, he turned back at William and smiled a little. I wish I knew exactly what he said at that point, and I wish I had grabbed a photo with him because it was one of those moments you think should happen all the time. He looked at me and told me that he knew exactly what we were going through. He was a father of two kids and had to make the early am trip a few times over the years. He reminded us that we have especially precious cargo now, so to remember the need to be extra cautious since we would be heading along a dark road that runs by a nasty river. He made sure that I was with it enough to last for the two hour drive home and sent us on our way without so much as the typical, “Watch your speed, now.”

I didn’t get his name, and I’ll never be able to let him know that he did a really great thing that night. It’s not about skipping the ticket. If he had given me a ticket, I certainly couldn’t have argued against it. Parents need to be there for other parents sometimes. Offer a reminder to slow down and collect yourself. Parents need to have each other’s back a little more instead of judgemental comparing of what you think you do better. I hope, really, that someday I can pay it forward. Maybe this blog will allow me to do that for someone. Maybe it will be as simple as offering a hand to the frazzled parent on the playground.

We’ve all been there, and we will all be there again. Tired and stressed. Hopeful for a little slack from people. So when we’re on the outside, we all have to decide if we’re gonna be the people who roll our eyes and say, “Too bad, I got through it with no help” or be the BroboCop who knows that even a few thoughtful words might get that mom and dad back on the right track.

I fricken love robots.

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Family Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzle on a tableWhen the kids got old enough, we pretty quickly realized that doing jigsaw puzzles as a family is a fantastic way to get some quality time together.  Initially, they were the easy puzzles with only a few pieces.  Even so, it was amazing to see how quickly they latched on to the concept of fitting the pieces and creating the final picture.

As the kids got older, we were able to progress to more and more challenging puzzles.  We now do 500 and even 1,000 piece puzzles with some regularity.  The kids have developed their own unique strategies for solving, but everyone loves the initial “find the edges” party of the process.

One tip for other parents is that it’s pretty important to have a good puzzle table.  The chaos of daily life with kids means things get messy, and having a dedicated space to keep the puzzles is pretty important.  Otherwise you end up with partially completely jigsaws that get messed up.  Having a nice table means you have a place to work on the puzzles, and the house doesn’t get littered with random pieces.

We’ve also found that picking the right subject matter is important.  The kids don’t get as excited with landscapes and photography as they do with cartoon characters.  We’ve been on a Nemo and Dory puzzle kick lately, and there’s no end in sight.

If your family doesn’t do jigsaw puzzles together, give it a shot.  It’s a great way to bond and is intellectually stimulating for the little ones (and sometimes the adults 🙂

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What a Croc! Get it?

I’ve been trying very hard to cook more throughout the week. With the addition of Bonus Baby, time has become a major issue for trying to get meals ready after I’m cut loose from all the kids. As a professional fake chef, I never spent much time with crock pots during my cooking endeavours. Several years ago, a friend decided it would be funny to give Capn’ Fakecookin the devil’s cooking pot. After I made the leap to being at home with the kids, I realized that they are in fact quite useful. My apologies to people who I may have insulted over the years based on nothing more than their ownership of this appliance.

Melissa and I are picky eaters, so most recipes need a little adjustment and some just won’t work. Plus, many of the foods we want to eat most often don’t get the best results from hours in a crock pot. Things like…BBQ. I have looked up a great number of recipes over the past year, all promising amazing pulled pork, ribs, BBQ chicken, and basically every cut of everything from nothing more than the Ronco philosophy of set it and forget it. The principles of the recipes have all been the same. A little seasoning, perhaps an onion, and then dump a bottle of BBQ sauce over the meat and leave it on low for however many hours.

Review after review gave top marks to many of these recipes as a way to get all that BBQ flavor without the constant tending needed for smoking or grilling. Personally, I never saw these results from any of the recipes. Some of them were…okay, but I wasn’t looking for just okay. I needed something awesome. One day, with great hope, I found a crock pot rib recipe that had one of those pictures designed to make you hungry. It worked. I added ribs to our meal plan the following week.

The recipe was ultimately the same as most crock pot BBQ recipes, but I had a plan! I was going to use my home-made dry rub on the ribs AND I was going to use a glazing sauce I had made up when I did some real smoked ribs earlier this year. I figured that the taste should be pretty amazing, even if the results were a little underwhelming.

Meticulously I followed the directions which promised that “fall off the bone” tenderness that some people really get excited about. Fake chef cooking tip: If you are unable to take a bite of the rib without all of meat falling off – you shouldn’t be bragging. Likewise if you can’t pick up the rib by the bone without the meat falling off – you am cook it wrongbad.

As usual, the great thing about this was being able to keep up with three kids and know that dinner was working the whole time. The house smelled amazing all day, and I’m happy to take the credit there. After almost ten hours (the recipe recommended twelve) it was close to our slightly sad, early-bird special, dinner time. So I checked the ribs to see how things were progressing. I used a big set of tongs and gently lifted a set of ribs out of the sweet and spicy sauce. It was already far gone – just way too tender. The meat just sort of dissolved as you picked it up, a great idea for pulled pork perhaps, but not ribs. Additionally, the sauce and spices had clearly seeped into the meat, which you would think is great, but there just wasn’t the flavor. It was just color. We had to use extra sauce just to get any form of “BBQ” flavor.

I will not give up, though I will put out the call. If you have a great crock pot recipe – particularly one for BBQ – that you really love, please share it!

Also, when I have perfected my crock pot pizza – I will let everyone know.

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A Special Performance

If you haven’t figured it out yet, music is a big part of my life. It’s something I actually had to fight to keep involved with. Not in a “Fight Club” kind of way, but there was a period of time where it would have been very easy to cut my losses and say farewell to being involved in any form of music aside from iPods and youtube videos. Lucky for all of us, MTV has taken the steps to remove it from television.  Aww….poor VJ’s….remember VJ’s?

About a year after we moved to Idaho, I went to the local Highland Games. If you’ve never heard of a Highland Games, feel free to consider that normal. It’s a Scottish festival consisting of music, food, dancing, and the actual games (yes, one of the events is where they throw the big stick). It’s a great time, and a place where no one looks at you funny for wearing a kilt. A rare thing indeed. It was there that I happened upon the Boise Highlanders, a very established bagpipe band here in Idaho. Here’s where things get, well, slightly insulting. In a way.

I’m a drummer. In the most loosely formed sense of that word. I don’t consider myself amazing to watch. I’ve had almost no real training. What I know has been gleaned from years of being in contact with people who are better at this craft than I will ever be. I’m okay with it. Is that the insult? Nope!

When I saw the Highlanders for the first time I looked at Melissa and said, “I could play with those guys.”

It’s not that they are bad or anything, but particularly from a drumming standpoint they do things to be on the easier side. We play slightly basic bagpipes tunes, and we do it as well as we can. We even have fans! It’s been an amazing experience so far, truly.

Along we our fans, certain organizations have become very attached to having us perform for them. Which brings me to a story that leads to a very special performance this weekend.

Every year we are invited to perform at a festival in Ontario, Oregon. It’s called “America’s Global Village Festival” and from an entertainment standpoint, the Highlanders are certainly a main attraction. This year I was unable to attend to due to some things we needed to do with the boys, and perhaps someone was looking out for me and my family.

Barely into the performance this year, a little punk kid and his cousin, who were high on god knows what, jumped the curb onto the grass in their car and drove directly into the grand stands.

Let me say that again. They drove into a crowd of people with their car. Smashing a section of stairs that sent metal shards flying, hitting a member of the band, and pinning a THREE YEAR OLD BOY, between the car and bleachers. A 91 year old woman was hit. No deaths, but once all the counts and recounts were finished, almost 30 people ended up in the hospital. Most with minor injuries, 3 severe, one enough to be air-lifted to a larger hospital.

The driver was laughing and smiling during, and after, this terrifying ordeal. Laughing. While a 3 year old boy cried for help.

His passenger attempted to get out and simply walk away. He was “placed” back into the car and kept there by a member of the band. Two other members of the band, who are police officers, ran and shut off the engine to the car, taking the keys, and began to move the car back so people could get free.

The park is located directly across the street from the local hospital and first responders were there in minutes. Lots of luck that day.

This weekend the Boise Highlanders are putting on a free concert, at the same park, in the same location. While it’s open to anyone, we have made attempts to ensure that those involved with the crash have been invited. As well, the city will be honoring the first responders.

I don’t put this information out there to brag about the group, though clearly while we may be small, we have some amazing people involved. I want to put out an invite to anyone reading who might be in the area, and perhaps one of those reminders that we all need from time to time.

A three year old boy…that’s William. The bleachers…that’s where Melissa and the boys would have been, no doubt about it. Think of it as circumstance, luck, divine intervention…whatever you want. The point is that you never know what might happen next. Hug your babies.

For the concert: It starts at 3pm at Lion’s Park in Ontario, Oregon. If you find yourself close enough, and have the time, I hope you’ll come out and support not only the police and medical units involved, but the people and families hurt by this.

I don’t know what will become of the driver or his passenger, and I wish I didn’t care. After hearing several people describe the face and the laughter from the driver, and the look on the face of the little boy before the car hit the stands…

…hug your babies.

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Just a quick note.

I just wanted to make everyone aware of a couple things involving my little nook here.

First off, I really appreciate any form of little note of “good job, keep going” regarding this site. I know for certain that some of you have specifically tried to pass the word around and generate a bit of additional interest for me. I truly thank you for that. I’ve probably made it obvious by now that while “This is for me! This is for fun!” I have a bigger goal of making this a little more widespread and becoming a larger part of my life. I enjoy it, and it gives me something better to do at 3am then watch TV.

So keeping that in mind I want to give you folks a little insight for some upcoming plans. There’s nothing major in the works, but stuff I hope people want to know and be excited about with me.

Soon, and hopefully on a bit of a regular basis, I am planning on inviting a guest blogger to stop by and give me a chance to promote the other side of the coin, the stay at home Mom. Yes, a Mom will post something on The Dad Life. Women just weasel their way into everything. Seriously, she’s an amazing and funny Mom, and I’m very excited that she agreed to stop by and post.

Also, please note that there is now email sign up available! For those who are friends with me on Facebook, I’m hopeful that this addition will allow me to stop making those annoying “GO READ MY BLOG RIGHT SOONISH PLEASE!” updates. So if you’d like email notifications about new posts, please put your email in! Hopefully it works!

Last, and certainly the most distant. In conjunction with my hope that you, the readers, will please continue to help me promote things, I am tweaking settings that are supposed to generate additional traffic. Should that happen, you are certain to find one day that the site is revamped with a more custom look, and perhaps even sponsors – I’m talking to you Porsche.

In short, thank you. Keep reading. Keep spreading the word. Buy me a Porsche.

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I Did a Good Job – Proof Inside

This past week was really stressful for me. The addition of Bonus Baby has challenged everything I “know” about parenting. Really. I have come to a point where I question if I’m ever doing anything right. I feel as though I’m gaining a little more control each day. As if I’m understanding how a 4 month old fits into the already organized chaos of the house. I’m somewhat sure they have been using the Jurassic Park idea of testing the fence for weak spots, and some days I worry that they’ve figured out how to get Newman out of the park with the stolen DNA samples. I’ll say that at the very least, I have a new found level of respect for single parents and parents with lots of kids. I don’t know how they do it and keep their sanity. Three kids instead of two. It doesn’t seem like there should be that much of a difference.

I was stressed, and I needed a good weekend to recharge. I got it.

celebration

It was a long day, and I was intent to spend most of my Sunday catching my breath in anticipation for the week. My safety net, Melissa, would no longer be there for my extra pair of hands. They would be replaced by the small, less helpful hands of Bonus Baby. Yep. Good luck prying me off the couch. Well, plans have a way of changing. I find I tend to fall into the category of “a plan is just a list of shit that isn’t gonna happen.” I’m so glad it went that way.

For those of you who might wonder if I’m in the very stereotypical category of “cheap Scotsman” well, let’s just say that six months ago I noted that it was time to get new shoes. So I went shopped on Sunday. I decided that it would be a nice change if I took Carter out and let Melissa and William stay at home. I think kids like a little one on one sometimes. Even though I know the boys and I need time apart, getting out alone really changes things. Carter and I had a good morning, but I didn’t find any shoes that I was willing to buy, and by “willing to buy” I mean shoes that fell into my mythical criteria of being really great shoes that were under $40. See “cheap Scotsman.” After coming home for lunch and getting a fairly insistent reminder from Melissa that it was okay for me to spend more than $40 because A) I really needed to get new shoes. B) I was going to wear the shoes for roughly 50 years so the money kind of spreads out. See “cheap Scotsman.”

I decided to switch things up after lunch, and took William out with me. Mostly because it was Carter’s nap time, but also mostly to switch things up. I wanted to take a slightly different approach than normal with William. Those of you who’ve been reading for a while will remember that William was late to really start talking, and perhaps that has led Melissa and I to be hesitant with helping him to progress in other areas. I see parents with kids who have to be William’s age, who don’t have to worry about letting go of their child’s hand for a moment without risking the immediate sprinting of said child to the most dangerous object in the area. I see parents who can avert their gaze for more than half a second without the worry of their child seeing that as an opportunity to create havoc. I decided that William and I were going to join those ranks, and he went above and beyond my expectations.

First off, in keeping with the “here’s the plan, let’s mess it up” theme of the day, it went from quick run to check a different shoe store, to an almost three hour trip all over town. Home Depot (not-so-fun-time project post in the future?!!!), and three different shoes stores. Did I mention that I really hate shopping?

William decided to be my little slice of redemption. From the start, I made sure to give him a little freedom when I could. Walking down the isle at Home Depot? “Just stay close, buddy,” I’d whisper to him. Sure enough, as we made our way through the store he followed along by my side. Occasionally he’d stop to look at an interesting tool or sheet of plywood. At one point he stopped at big metal beam that ran up to the ceiling, and began knocking on it. He figured out that it was hollow and turned to me saying, “Open, daddy, open!” My kid thinks I can rip open metal with my bare hands….how was your Sunday?

The little extra space and freedom continued through the shoe stores, and by the time we arrived at the final location I think we were both ready to just fall asleep. We had landed at DSW, a place I had never been to because it had not opened a store in my living room. A bit rude. William had started to get antsy to be home, but since he was tired, I was able to give him an alternative to running away from me and putting every shoe in the store into one large pile. Sitting! I would put him on one of the seats they provide for people to try on shoes in whatever area I was in, and bring him my latest choice. Which brings me to my over-the-top cute moment for this post.

In an effort to keep him engaged and still in each spot I went to, I included him in the process. I’d hand him the box, and I would take out one shoe, handing him the other to inspect. Then I’d simply try it on, without making a big fuss over him. Sometimes he’d take one of his shoes off to try the new one on like daddy, and other times he’d just pull out that wad of paper they always stuff into the shoes to…eh…keep their shape? Anyhow, everything was working so well! I can’t put it into words how nice it was to have him sit down, and put my attention on finding the right size, glancing over to always find him in the same place. He was behaving so well. Someone was getting a chocolate chip cookie on the way home.

The thing that floored me though, was whenever I’d try on a shoe, and it had to actually be on my foot, William would give me a once over and say, “Cool shoes, daddy. Cooool shoes. Good job!” I don’t know where that came from, especially considering he only did it at DSW, after two other shoe stores. All I know is that it was awesome, I appreciated the feedback, and I wanted to try on lots of shoes to keep hearing him say it.

Lots of hugs and a cookies were had before we went home.

And for the record, my new shoes are cool. I did a good job.

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