4th of july

5 Things Every Kid Should Know This 4th of July

4th of july

As our American holidays continue the slow decline into commercial bliss, I try to take the time to consider the message I am conveying to my children. The 4th of July is a celebration of a free nation, a place where ideas can be challenged freely and change can be implemented. Does it work perfectly? Of course not, it’s something I constantly take for granted and I want to remind myself why it’s important, so I can pass it along to my children. Here are 5 things every kid should know this 4th of July.

Be thankful for what you have

Kids don’t know how good they’ve got it. When I was growing up I had to beg to get call waiting and chose poorly in my BETA/VHS gamble. It can always be worse, ask the people who lived through the Great Depression. Be thankful.

instagram is down[Source: Quickmeme] Continue reading

The Dad Brothers Go For a Walk

The Dad Brothers Go For a Walk

A nice walk outside has never failed to teach me something about life. Sometimes I learn a new little nuance of the world. Other times I learn that if you let your guard down, your two year old will choke you for fun while your hands are occupied tying their shoes.

Everyone needs to go for a “walk” sometimes and get away from the responsibilities that nag at us in the daily grind. Pat and I go on a yearly vacation with the four guys we lived with in college. We bicker and we moan and we love every moment of it. Why else would we keep doing it?

For a couple of days, the Dad Brothers are a plane ride away from their children and pretending they’re the same age as when they met. Meanwhile, Pat is wheezing up stairs and I am complaining about the restaurant booth hurting my back. Needless to say, we were the life of the party.

In college, we strove to be the life of the party. No one wanted to be the first one to go to sleep. Now, I want to take a nap and tell my pride to get back with me when I wake up. Having never been to Denver, CO., we were warned to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water. I knew Pat would do neither of these things, so I nagged him relentlessly because he sweats like a shower and listens like my two year old.

I tease because I care.

Pat did great the first two days. On the third day, we got roasted in the bleachers of a baseball game. Our buddy Miller noticed Pat slumping. Since fake fainting resides in Pat’s comedy arsenal, we told him it wasn’t believable and to stop messing around. He did not answer. Pat was never that good of an actor.

When the paramedic told us how low his blood pressure was, I feared for my friend’s life. I didn’t care that my friend had not listened to me, I cared only that he was alright. Continue reading

Dads Behaving Dadly: Bad Haircut

dads behaving dadly bad haircut

As seen in the book Dads Behaving Dadly: 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood from Motivational Press.

After having children, the only thing my wife and I argued about was our financial situation. When we were both working, we were so tired that we never paid attention to what we were spending. This changed when I started staying home with the kids. With just one income, we had to prioritize our “life-style needs” to make ends meet. (I call it that because, “Every last enjoyable thing that we still falsely believe we can do and buy, even though we have two children,” sounds desperate.) No longer could we crash exhaustedly into bed each night oblivious of spending habits. We had to wake up and tighten our belts. And when I say “we” I meant “me.” Financial aspects of our family fell to me as one of my many other duties of being the at-home parent.

For us, the decision for me to stay at home was all about “what was best” for our kids. They did not need an iPad for every room, but we did want them to have actual chicken tenders instead of pink slime pressed into nuggets. As a result, things had to get tight around our house. Not the good “tight” like a Kid ‘N’ Play haircut, but the sad “eating cranberry sauce in July from last Thanksgiving because it’s the only thing I have besides my children’s food” kind. Groceries, lawn services, and wherever else I could find savings I did to keep our credit cards from overheating. One area I thought I could cut was our children’s hair. Literally. Continue reading

My Wife the Cheese Eating Vegan

Cheese eating vegan memeEating meat does not keep me up at night. I think I would be capable of hunting and gathering my family’s dinner in post-apocalyptic Texas. I also think, my two and four year old boys should make their own breakfast. I’m not sure which I’ll find the answer to first.

A while ago, my wife tells me at the dinner table she wants to be a vegan. My oldest son says, “What’s a began?” His younger brother also gave her a quizzical look while smearing ketchup in his hair.

“Vee, Vv. Vegan.” I replied.

“What’s that?” he puzzled.

Approaching age 5 my oldest son is starting to ask questions. He’s always done that, but now he’s actually remembering things that we have talked about before. It’s great, except that I have to be more creative about making snide remarks.

My wife interjected, “It’s a person who doesn’t eat meat, only yummy vegetables.”

He cocked one eyebrow and said, “Why?”

I took of bite of my chicken and nodded in agreement. I’m not against vegans; I’m against a house full of vegetables that my kids won’t eat. Maybe I’m a bad parent. Maybe my kids don’t like vegetables.

I said, “Ok, fine by me.”

She glared as if she had heard, “Fine by me if you want to quit eating delicious meat. You won’t make it till lunch. I’ll have a double baconator with cheese waiting for you.” (For the record, I did NOT say that and I do not appreciate feminine telepathy.) She knew that I had my reservations, but she assured me that she would fight the self-righteousness newly bestowed upon her and that I could eat all of the death-meat I wanted.

I never doubted her being able to give up meat. It’s the cheese. She knew by becoming a vegan she would have to give up delicious, stinky, funky, blow your socks off cheese. I love my wife dearly, but I have never known her to be a “stick-to-it” person. In nine years of marriage, she has purchased books for the South Beach, Adkins, Hollywood, Blood Type, and Morning Banana diets. I recently had a garage sale and I offered a dollar to anyone who would take them from me. There were no takers, but somehow I ended up with a copy of P90X to complete my collection. Continue reading

The Dad Brothers Do Spring Cleaning

The Dad Brothers Do Spring CleaningApril is known for showers and when it rains, it pours. In the past week Pat and I have collectively had an immobilizing strained back muscle, a meltdown on an airplane, Mimi dislocating her shoulder, a pee catastrophe in the airplane bathroom, my stupid cat ran away, and good friends of the family lost their 26 y/o child. When it rains…

Sometimes we’ve got to clean out the cobwebs. Priorities are the base of our best existence, should we not check occasionally where they are at? It’s tough for me to turn the light on myself, but thankfully, I’ve got a Dad Brother to do that with. I guess I’m looking at spring cleaning as more than a mop this year.

There is nothing wrong with admitting your own faults. Look at Pat. He’s wrong almost all the time and I’m still friends with him. In fact, that’s why old friends are so great to keep in our lives. They see the person you have been and the person you are trying to be. They take the good. They take the bad. They take them both and there you have…the facts of life. Continue reading

Go Screw Up, Son. It’s worth it.

Good TryMy oldest son likes to hide and he’s terrible at it.

My favorite part is him holding the tiny top of the tree to his head as if it were the final brushstroke to his camouflage masterpiece.

My son may not be good at hiding, but he’s great at more things than I can say.

I hope he never quits hiding, though. I’ve found it’s better to fail and learn, than to wonder if I could have succeeded.

Go screw up, son. It’s worth it.