Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Letter to Pre-Dad Me

Dear John 2010,

Hey man, how’s it going! It’s me, you. Well, you from the future. Four years in the future to be exact. Right now you’re probably reading this on your iPhone 3G while Stevie is rubbing cocoa butter on her belly to help prevent stretch-marks from the basketball of a daughter she’s carrying in that tiny body of hers. That doesn't really work by the way. You know what does? Telling her you love her stretch marks, kissing them, and thanking her over and over for making a baby. Do you know why it works? Because you aren't lying. You are truly grateful, and she’ll know it. 

Don’t believe this letter is from me? Well here, I’ll prove it. Right now is a pretty exciting time for you. Every time you close your eyes you picture a different version of your daughter. No matter how you squint your mind, you can’t quite make out what she is going to look like. It’s cute. You try and take your wife’s face and make a baby version of it, but it just ends up looking like her head on a baby body – which causes you to laugh – which causes her to ask why you’re laughing… and you say “nothing”. Well I know what you’re laughing at, John. You are laughing at the ridiculous thought of your wife’s head on a baby body. Want to know why I am laughing, John? ::spoiler alert:: Because that is exactly what your daughter looks like when she comes out, just with less hair. She is a tiny, squished, hairless Stevie. And in those first few minutes, you cry more than she does. 

Need more proof? OK. You’re scared all the time. You are terrified that something is going to go wrong. You’re afraid of birth defects. You’re afraid something is going to happen to Stevie during the delivery. You’re afraid that you’re not ready to be a dad. 

I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “Whatever dude, none of those things are proof. They are generic things that all dads are afraid of.” You’re right. That is very observant or you, past me. They are. You’re pretty smart. How about this? Every morning in the shower, where no one will see you, you get down on your knees and pray to a god you don’t necessarily believe in, just in case, and beg for your daughter and your wife to be OK. You've done it every day since the miscarriage scare in November. 

I’ll give you a second to pick your jaw up off the floor. 

OK. So now you know it’s me. And now come your questions. Yes, you have another kid.  Yes, it’s a boy this time. No, you’re not as excited as you thought you’d be about him being a boy because, by the time you find out, you are already so ridiculously in love with your daughter that another daughter would have been fantastic too. 

In fact, the lack of excitement worries you (because worrying is what you do.) Don’t. Once Captain (not his real name – oh yeah, you start a blog too) shows up, you fall nutty in love with him too. It’s pretty awesome. Here’s why: Just when you think your love is at maximum capacity, just when you think that there is no way to fit any more love in a heart that feels so full, you discover something that changes everything. Your love is not a finite resource. It is infinitely replenishable. While your daughter's gift will be to make you a father, your son's gift will be this knowledge: When you are tired, your love is not. When you are angry, your love is not. When you are Jimmy Olsen hanging from the side of the Daily Planet, your love is Superman. You are going to fail so beautifully at so many things in the next four years, but your love for your family will not fail you once. It will pick you up. It will straighten your path. It will make you whole again. 

Look, I could fill this letter with parenting advice, but I'm not going to. You need to learn those lessons in the field. I will say that changing diapers isn't nearly as hard as everyone makes it out to be, and the "Terrible Two's" are more like the "Irritating Twos", while the threes should be called the "You-might-as-well-be-hitting-yourself-in-the-face-with-a-hammer threes." But even then, in the aggregate, they are awesome. 

So if there's no parenting advice, why am I writing you? Well... because I can. Because I know you need to hear it. The roller coaster is going up the first hill right now, and all you can hear is the click, click, click, click. Your hands are sweaty and you’re trying your best to keep a brave, happy face, but I know that all you want in the world is someone you trust to tell you that everything is going to be OK – but that silly pride of yours makes you too stubborn to ask. Well you don’t have to ask. I’m just going to give it to you, cause you’re a nice dude and so am I. John, everything. Is. Going. To. Be. OK. Stevie and Duchess are going to be fine. Captain is going to be fine. And like I said before, even when things aren't fine, your love will carry you through – because it is relentless. And you know what else? You’re going to be a pretty good dad. 

Enjoy the ride, buddy.

John 2014

P.S. Now go to sleep and quit playing with your iPhone so much. It’s a bad habit and it only gets harder to break. 

P.S.S. Wednesday, July 29, 2010 Powerball Numbers: 38 - 2 - 43 - 5 - 59 Powerball 8

P.S.S.S. Duchess is going to pour an entire bottle of waterproof sunscreen on the carpet in her room. I’m not going to tell you when or how to prevent it. I’m just going to laugh at you in the future. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Here, but you still have to act surprised when you see her.

Dear "non-past me" readers, 

Did you know that can find Ask Your Dad Blog on Facebook! I post fun, micro content. We have awesome conversations. There's free ice cream for everyone! (There's not really any ice cream.) You should still stop by. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4 Things I Buy for My Kids That Are Really For Me

There are certain things that are more for me than for them, but they are awesome and I don’t care.

Some things that I buy for my kids are actually for my kids. For instance, a talking Dora the Explorer microphone. Despite my inner “sane person” screaming “DON’T BUY THAT MICROPHONE. IT IS LOUD AND WILL KILL ME, YOUR INNER SANE PERSON, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T BUY THAT DORA THE EXPLORER MICROPHONE,” I say, “Don’t worry personification of my sanity inside my head that I talk to, which is totally normal. I may be buying this horrible, evil noise maker for our daughter, but I also buy these other things for her, that are secretly for us. And then the two of us laugh and laugh and laugh.

Goldfish Crackers:

My wife thinks that our kids looooove Goldfish crackers. We go through a bag a week. When we’re at the store, she specifically reminds me to grab them and says “You know how much they LOVE Goldfish Crackers.” I play coy and pretend not to remember, then grab a bag or two… or three. What my wife doesn’t know, until she reads this, is that I have a lovely addiction to tiny baked cheese fish. I could eat an entire bag. Each little cheese fish cracker is like a taste journey for my mouth. I like the rough salt on the rounder side of the cracker. I like how I can crush the tasty hollow fish orb on the roof of my mouth. I salivate thinking about how after I finish that little guy, there is a whole bag waiting for me to eat. “Honey, the kids ate all the Goldfish Crackers. I’m running to the store. Do we need milk too?”

Goldfish Crackers

Hop over to Lifetime Moms to read the rest!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm Not Supermom

Stevie here. I'm the non-baby on the left in picture above. I've taken over John's blog this week because I want to introduce you to someone. She’s called Supermom. It’s a funny phrase people throw around to refer to moms that “do it all”. The soccer moms. The PTA presidents.The moms that make homemade meals from scratch every. damn. night. Whether or not we want to admit it, I think all moms have at least SOME desire to be that mom. Sure, it may not be cooking, or dealing with other PTA members that you covet. But you want that sense of order. You want to have (or seem like you have) your proverbial shit together. 

My discovery of Pinterest marked the beginning of my slow decent into “Supermom Madness.” As I perused pin after pin of perfectly decorated homes, labeled pantries, adorable laundry rooms, Montessori-style playrooms, recipes that require 40 ingredients and twice as many mom-minutes to make, I would frantically save them to my boards. My obsession grew. I collected pin after pin about indoor/outdoor activities with every age group imaginable, pins about how to clip coupons and save money on groceries, but then I couldn't eat those groceries because now I had pins that told me that I have to eat "super foods". Pins showing me how to make my food pretty, my kids pretty, my house pretty, my pretty pretty!!

Pretty All the Things! - I'm Not Supermom

It was exhausting

Now I will readily admit that those pins aren't logical. I’m sure the blogger that created it thought to herself “and now I will immortalize the last time this linen closet ever looks like this. Ever.” But I still looked at it and said to myself: that could be my life. That could be my linen closet! And that’s what filled my head every night when I went to bed. I wanted all the linen closets. I wanted all the bento lunches. The craft spaces, the spring outfits, the perfect party decorations with chalkboard labels and creative punches in amazing jars with hand-calligraphied signs. I wanted it all. And I couldn't have it. And it drove me nuts. 

I had to take a break. I ran away from Pinterest for a while. Other moms must have been feeling the same Pinterest burn out I was, because around the same time I fled from Pinterest I started seeing articles shared by friends and fellow moms about not being “Supermom”.  Just be ok with the mess, they would tell me. Don’t bother folding your kids’ clothes, they said. They’re just going to get tossed around anyway. Don’t spend time cleaning when you could be playing and having interactions with your kids! Enjoy the moment! 

So, being the sheep that I am, I listened. You’re right, article. I’m no Supermom. I’m just a regular mom with my two kids and my full-time job. I should just go with the flow. Messes will happen but we will survive. The clothes will still be clean if they aren't neatly folded. And I will be closer with my family because I will have spent quality time with them rather than cleaning!

Experience All the Things! - I'm Not Supermom

I’ll just fast-forward through the chaos here and tell you that it didn't go over well. Our mornings became a stressful shuffle of digging through what may or may not have been baskets of clean clothes, trying to find matching socks, searching through the kitchen to find my keys, John's keys, ANY KEYS WILL DO. But we can't because they are hiding underneath the unpaid, unopened bill on the counter that itself was underneath John’s belt. “JOHN I FOUND YOUR BELT!”

Our evenings became John frantically searching through the kitchen for something to make for dinner or pack for lunch the next day -  but we can’t  - because there’s yesterday’s dishes sitting in the sink, and a backpack? Seriously, who puts a backpack in the sink! 

Nice bed-time routines (you know, the part where the quality interaction with my kids is supposed to be happening) turned into grunted profanities because I unexpectedly had a toy rhinoceros embedded in the padding of my foot.

“Mom, why are you crying?”

“Because that rhinoceros is an asshole,” is not, under an circumstance, what I actually said. 

So yeah. It took having my foot impaled by a tiny safari animal to realize that this wasn’t working. I can’t be let-the-house-go-to-hell-so-I-can-live-in-the-moment-mom. I also can’t be Supermom. Well where does that leave me? 

I’ll tell you. If I knock of all the extras, it leaves me with “mom”. I’ll be mom

I’ll enjoy the moment. And I will fold socks. (Not that sock folding is a specific "mom job", it's just something I do.) I will be kind of spontaneous! I will be somewhat organized! And I will fail every once in a while! And I will forgive myself! And I will start sentences with “and!” 

I will run the race and not worry so much about finishing it. I do care. I love striving for that Supermom title. I loved making inspiration boards of things to do to the house. I love pinning cute outfits I’ll never be able to afford. MY LINEN CLOSET DESERVES PERFECTION, DAMMIT. PINTEREST, HONEY! I’M COMING HOME!!

I’m not Supermom. I never will be. But I can idolize those perfect, albeit pretend, Supermoms of Pinterest. I know I’ll never live in a world of perfect organization or herringbone accent walls, but I’d rather shoot for those stars and land on top of the world (yes, I just quoted Pitbull) than land in the gutter that was my house for a week. I can dream. And then I can wake up. And somewhere in-between, I can be mom

In-Between All The Things - I'm Not Supermom

PS - don't forget to come join the fun on the Ask Your Dad Blog Facebook page! We try to keep things neat and tidy there. But you know, Supermom.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Time for a Juice Journey, a Jamba Juice Journey!

This article is sponsored. Yep, dad is getting paid. BAM. Benjamins. And Juice. Is there anything better?

Remember a few months ago when I won a $250.00 gift card to Jamba Juice? Remember how much fun we had thinking of ways I could spend $250.00 at Jamba Juice. Well, here are a few things I did.

Jamba Juice for EVERYONE!!

I walked into a Jamba Juice, channeled my inner Oprah, and shouted, "You get a Jamba Juice! You get a Jamba Juice! EVERYBODY. GETS. A. JAMBA. JUICE!!!!! I looked kind of like this:


Granted, it was the middle of the workday on a Tuesday, so there were only two people there. But those people we're very appreciative of their free Jamba Juices.

Look how happy they look!
Jamba Juice for my office!!

The next thing I did was buy Jamba Juice for my whole office! They too were very appreciative, yet less willing to have their picture taken. So instead, pretend like these are the people in my office, and not the cast of The Office on NBC that in no way endorses my blog, or Jamba Juice, even though they should, because Jamba Juice is pretty dang tasty!

Source: NBC- The Office (Jamba Juices added by me)

Jamba Juice as Household Currency!!

Yes, I bartered with Jamba Juice. My wife loves them. I love backrubs. Win/win

So! Anyway!

I posted on the Ask Your Dad Facebook page, and on Twitter about all the fun stuff I was doing with my Jamba Wealth and lo-and-behold the good people at Jamba Juice took notice! They had their own idea. Why not try every single Jamba Juice on the menu and let you all know what I think! In return, they are sponsoring a series of posts on Ask Your Dad, a percentage of which will go to my charity driver for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!! (See the sidebar if you want to donate).

Here is the coolest part. You too can participate in my #JuiceJourney (like it, I made up the hashtag) and get free juice! All you have to do is download the new Isis Mobile Wallet App for your Android Phone and stop by any Jamba Juice! They're doing this until they give away 1,000,000 Jamba Juices!!

If you take a picture of yourself with your free Jamba Juice, tweet it or instagram it with the hashtag #JuiceJourney and I will add it to my weekly updates!

Click here or the image below to find out more! And stay tuned to my social channels and Ask Your Dad for my weekly updates as Duchess, Stevie and I work are way through the Jamba Juice Menu!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

5 Tips for Taking Toddlers Out to Dinner

It’s Friday night. You’re a day away from the weekly grocery trip and the only thing left in the freezer is frozen chicken strips. You don’t want frozen chicken strips. Your spouse doesn’t want frozen chicken strips. Frozen chicken strips can go to hell. You’re so sick of frozen chicken strips that you’d rather hit yourself in the face with a hammer than eat them again. You’d rather fight a bear. Hell, you’re so sick of frozen chicken strips that you would rather take your two kids (both under four) to a crowded restaurant on a Friday night than force yourself to chew that spongy, white, craptastic breaded chicken. But suddenly it sinks in. Taking the kids to dinner is a horrible idea. Last time three drinks were spilled, sugar packs were strewn among the exploded creamers, tears and screams were attempted to be suppressed by grunted threats you had no intention of following through on. Oh, and a waiter was stabbed with a fork. Sigh... Maybe if you follow these 5 tips for Taking Toddlers out to Dinner tonight will be different.

Hop over to Lifetime Moms to read the rest!  Don't forget to leave comments and tell them how much you love me... unless you don't love me. Then don't tell them that.