Ask Your Dad Blog

Friday, February 10, 2017

Stevie and John Talk about Sex, and Being Parents, and Kids, and Stuff [Video]



This post is sponsored by my long-time friends at Plum Organics.

So… yeah. A baby food brand asked me to create a post about sex. Why? (You and I both ask simultaneously?) Well, I believe the first reason is that sex means more babies and babies like baby food. Also, having worked for Plum for a couple years now discussing ALL the unfiltered realities of parenting, I can tell you that they care about parents being happy. And well… sex and sad don’t really pair.

Before saying yes I checked with Stevie to see if she was down for a little parent time sexy talk on the blog and she said fine as long as Plum doesn’t think we’re having another baby, because no sir/ma’am.

I talked about sex once on this blog and things got a little crazy. It was probably because I had kind of a click-baity title. The piece was called “Giving up on Sex” and honestly it was kind of a bait-and-switch. We weren’t really giving up on sex. The whole premise was that Stevie and I both felt so much pressure to keep up the physical intimacy portion of our marriage that the anxiety it was causing was seeping into and affecting other portions of our life. And it was hurting any drive we had to put the effort into being intimate. So we gave up on sex being an obligation or a chore. It worked out great… for awhile. Then it didn’t. Then it did. Bottom line there were a lot of internal and external factors that kept us from finding each other in intimate situations and sometimes just loving each other and waiting for it to happen was a great solution… and other times that was a dumb idea and we needed to put in the effort.

Which is why I’m stoked about this cheeky campaign with Plum. It is called Do Your Part(ner) and the whole point of the campaign is to empower parents to make time for their relationship and their partner, sans guilt. They’ve made a website with videos, expert resources, and some fun quirky humor. It's also a place to take a pledge to Do Your Part(ner).

To celebrate the launch of the campaign, Stevie and I interviewed each-other with some sexy time questions, and took the pledge together. We also opened our date-night box that Plum sent us! Anyway, check out the video and stay tuned until the end for a special announcement. (NO WE’RE NOT HAVING ANOTHER KID.)


OK, so the announcement is that if you go take the pledge and come back here to leave a comment saying you did so, I will be selecting five winners!

Step 1: Go to http://www.doyourpartner.com/
Step 2: Take the pledge.
Step 3: Come back here and let me know you did by commenting and clicking contest button.
Step 4: Probably most likely win.*



*Chances of winning are actually determined by the number of entries in the contest, not by me saying the probability.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Horrible Moments in Parenting #3569

Last week during dinner I was trying to ask Duchess about her day and she matter-of-factly told me that she didn't feel like talking. A few minutes later she had chewed her tortilla into the shape of a star and was remarkably proud of herself.

"Look dad! I made a star."

"I don't feel like looking at it." I quipped back.

And then she started bawling.

I thought I was being snarky and she would immediately relate it back to what she had said earlier, but that's not how it came across. It came across as cruel and dismissive... which honestly she has probably never experienced from me before.

Anyway... not my finest parenting moment. But, there are no take-backs. We fill our lives with irrevocable acts, and its only later we find out which ones actually mattered.

One time, when I was about my daughter’s age, my dad and I were going to the store. I was probably a year into reading and was paying particularly close attention to business signs. When we pulled into a strip mall I asked “Dad, why are the O’s on the Payless Shoe Store sign orange dots.”



“I don’t know. That is a really good question,” he replied.

Let’s be honest. It wasn’t a really good question. It was kind of a dumb question. Knowing the answer to why a graphic designer decided to make the O’s orange dots on the Payless Shoe Store sign probably would not have been a life changing realization. But all six-year-old me could think was ”YES! I asked a good question!”

Even now, knowing that it is a silly six-year-old question, I still get that little tinge of pride in my gut thinking of my dad saying that. There is NO way he knew at the time that he was creating a tiny happy memory nugget in my growing brain. But here it is 30 years later getting written down. I kind of wonder if someday my 35-year-old daughter will be making a tortilla star with her teeth and suddenly become very sad at the thought of me not wanting to look at it.

What’s the lesson I learned? I guess I have two. 1, I need to be less of a snarky asshole with my six-year-old. She understands a ton, but sarcastic teasing is still just dad being a jerk. 2, kids operate on a different scale. I should be proud of star shaped tortillas just like my dad was proud of my questioning of brand fonts. If my kid starts a blog someday I want it to be about how I was proud of silly things, and not that I walked away in a snarky huff.

I want to be the dad that is proud.

This is a re-creation. This time I told her it was the best tortilla star I had ever seen.



Thursday, January 26, 2017

The King of Soup is Me

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Idahoan® Foods for this campaign, but all opinions expressed above are unbiased and true. For instance, the soup is actually as good as I say it is. Seriously. It's exceed all my expectations.



It's January and I am writing about soup again. This time I am working with Idahoan® Foods. They apparently heard about my love of soup and asked me to give their potato soups a try. Since this post is also a partnership with my long-time friends, Life of Dad, of course there is a spin on it. They challenged me to become the "#KingofSoup" by transforming my kitchen into a steak house... and then eating soup.

You guys know me. I won't pass up an opportunity to put an adorable bow-tie on my kid and have him serve me steak, so we gladly obliged. I stopped by the store and picked up a couple New York cuts for Stevie and I, and some Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets for the kids. FYI, Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets are the Steak of the kid world.




But back to the soup, because that is why we are here. Look guys. I am going to be completely honest. I have long been a lover of powdered mashed potatoes. When I was younger and thinner and more apt to wander off into the mountains for weeks at a time, powdered mash potatoes were an easy and light way to carry calories. The potatoes I brought were Idahoan® and I loved them very much. Toss a little cheese and some boiling water into a mug with your potato powder and you have a delicious dinner.



But could they do soup? The answer is yes. Yes they can. Surprisingly well. It was better than soup I have had at some real steak houses.

We made the Creamy Potato one that night. The rest have been eaten since.

The Steakhouse

While I was excited for the soup, Stevie was excited to get to use a tablecloth. That is, she was excited until she realized that our table cloth was in the garage and I may have left the lawnmower on top of it. We're working through that. Instead we used a sheet, because we are classy and our steak house is classy.


Duchess also decided we needed rose pedals on our table. I tried to tell her that steak houses don't have rose pedals on tables and she just looked at me with eyes that said "You get soup, dad. Let me have rose pedals."

I looked back at her and thought with my eyes "How do you do that with your eyes? Did you learn that from your mom?"

"Are you trying to fart dad?"

"No. I am talking to you about rose pedals with my eyes."

"You are weird"

"No. I am the #KingofSoup."

When a six year old rolls her eyes at you, you know you're parenting at a 10.



Duchess didn't just want to set the table. She also wanted to make the soup. She is getting really good at making all sorts of "pour this thing into that pot" foods. I may be the #KingofSoup, but she is the princess of Mac and Cheese. She did really well with the potato soup too.


Captain, on the other hand, cannot be trusted in front of boiling water just yet. So he got to be the MaƮtre d'. He was just as excited by his tiny bow-tie as I was. I wish I could wear bow-ties. Bow-ties are cool. Unfortunately, at my current weight a bow-tie makes me looked like a tied off upside down balloon... so I live vicariously through my son's bow-tie. That's how parents do it right?



Side note. Captain has hit maximum cuteness. We didn't think it was possible for a kid to get cuter, but holy cow. My theory is that since he is the second child and constantly competing for attention that some sort of evolutionary cute gene kicked in and now he has unnatural level's of cuteness. I may be the Soup King, but Captain is so cute that I don't even remember how I was going to finish this sentence.



Anyway, that's all I've got. In summation, I still love soup. We got to have a fun date night with potato products, and my kids are pretty swell.

Also, Stevie apologizes for not taking any pictures of us. She's not sure how it happened. I blame the bow-tie on my unnaturally adorable son. Anyway, try the soup. Seriously, you'll be surprised by how good it is. Try dipping your dinosaur chicken nuggets in it... or your steak.

For more information, be sure to follow @Idahoanfoods on social media or stop by Idahoan.com







Friday, December 9, 2016

In Defense of Santa



The other day, a buddy of mine posted an article about how lying to your kids about Santa is bad for them. He agreed with the article. I disagreed. We're still friends. No big deal. BUT at one point in the conversation he said, "I still have yet to find an argument FOR perpetuating the Santa myth that is the least bit compelling."

AND I thought, "Challenge accepted. I am going to convince this guy that the Santa myth is awesome." I started to write a point by point rebuttal, and halfway through realized that it didn't matter one bit. Trying to convince people why they shouldn't feel how they feel about something tends to become more of an exercise in self-justification than a sincere effort to make a connection with someone who sees things differently than you. I wasn't really trying to convince my friend. I was just having fun writing about Santa. So I’m giving up any pretense of trying to change my buddy’s mind, or anybody's mind for that matter, and admitting that this post is all about me. And my kids. And Santa… who. Is. AWESOME.

We play the Santa game. We tell the stories and perpetuate the myth. We visit the guy in the mall, and at various company parties. We make cookies and leave out milk. We stay up late after the kids go to bed wrapping presents in paper we've kept hidden all month. We eat the cookies they left out as messily as possible so our overzealous crumbs will provide the obvious clues needed to figure out that, indeed, Santa was here... and he's kind of a slob. Why do we do it? What's our compelling argument? It’s fun. The kids enjoy it. Stevie and I enjoy it. 

And...

We like magic

Stevie and I feel that it is important for our kids to believe in magic for a bit. We think that a belief in magical things is great fertilizer for cultivating imagination in tiny humans. The magic of the world will be removed by the curse/blessing of perspective soon enough. For these few years we want to let them believe reindeer fly, and see where it takes them. Yes, some people will say that it is our job to drop as much reality on our kids as possible so that when they’re eventually confronted by a world full of it they have the faculties needed to cope – but I like to believe that having that tiny memory somewhere in the back of my head of what it felt like to believe impossible things were indeed possible is what helps me cope with the harsher realities of being an adult.

We don't mind lying

“But what about the lie? You’re lying to your kids?” Says the imaginary person in my head I am arguing with.

If the worst thing I ever do to my kid’s is lie to them, then I will be forever happy with my parenting score card. We lie to our kids all the time. We tell them they are safe. We tell them we’ll never go away. We make promises we know we may not be able to keep. And we do this to help them feel secure, because the fallout from discovering the lie is less than the fallout of dealing with the truth. 

Chances are that I’m not going to die any time soon, so I tell my kids I’m not going to die. I tell my kids there is a Santa because I believe that the joy they get from believing in Santa is more than the disappointment they will feel when they discover the truth. Do I know this for sure? No, but I don't really know anything for sure... not since becoming a parent.

Learning the truth is a great exercise in... learning the truth

I do know that, for me, discovering the reality of Santa was one of the first times in my young life that I can recall gathering facts, exploring their validity, questioning what I had been told, and finding out things weren't the way I had been taught. I wasn't resentful of my parents for lying to me. I felt empowered by the process of figuring it out, and excited to move to the other side of the myth. It felt like a right of passage. Yes, all of that is anecdotal. I don’t really care. I don’t need to.

You know why? 

We don’t have to dissect everything 

That may be my least favorite part of being a parent. Sure, this may not be a compelling argument, but it honestly doesn't need to. Sometimes, when I've buried myself in facts and theories and arguments about what is and isn't best for my kids, when I've kept myself up at night asking over and over if the choices I am making for them will break them or form them into happy humans, I come to the conclusion that no amount of advice will help. I just have to trust my gut. I just have to believe.

I believe in Santa. Not, that he exists, but that letting my kids believe that he does is better for them than making sure they know he doesn't. I believe. And trust me, as a non-religious, science loving, fact finding kind of guy, that is hard for me to say. Well... it's hard for me to say until Christmas morning when my kids run out to the tree yelling "Santa came! Santa came!" Then it suddenly becomes pretty a compelling argument.



Merry Christmas,

The Kinnears

P.S. Yes, my favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street. Both the original and the remake. I love them both.

P.S.S If you want to give me a Christmas present, please come visit me on Facebook. It would make me tremendously happy.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

3 Simple Reasons Why Voting is Important



I Voted Sticker


I wrote this in 2008. I still believe every word of it. Voting is important. It is our obligation. It is our privilege. It is what makes us American.

Why I Vote ( Written November 2008)


I voted early yesterday. I stood in line for forty-five minutes with a few hundred other people and cast my ballot for the 2008 election. It wasn't very hard. I didn't have to take too much time out of my day. A little planning, one skipped class and it was done. For others in line it seemed considerably harder. The lady in front of me was about my age and had two children with her. One child, a blond haired, wide-eyed 5-year-old ball of energy insisted on saying hello to everyone in line. The other was a teething baby in a carrier. The gentlemen behind me in line had to be at least 85. On his arm was a young lady who I eventually found out was his granddaughter. After cordial greetings we returned to our waiting. I silently admired their tenacity to come and stand in line to do what many people these days regard as an act in futility, especially in Utah.

For those of you who read my blog that don't live in Utah, we are that state that is highlighted red on pundits maps the second the polls close. Utah always goes Republican. We are a Republican stronghold. And that is OK. The problem is, being in such a Republican state discourages people from voting. It discourages everyone. Democrats and Independents say "what's the use?" And Republicans have become complacent living in a state that last voted for a Democratic Presidential Candidate in 1964. So I just wanted to take a few minutes and explain why, even living in Utah, I feel it is incredibly important to vote.

Let me just start with a reality check, because as we approach Tuesday everything coming from both sides of the ticket ends up getting drenched in hyperbole. I know that I am not saving the country by voting for my candidate. Neither major party candidate is evil. Neither one's election will mean the end of the U.S. 


There is no nefarious plot by either party to undermine the constitution or send our country spiraling into oblivion. Some things may get better under one or worse under another, but I believe it is safe to say that both candidates want what is best for the country. They just disagree on what is best. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the fear of "the other" that our motivation for voting doesn't come from our belief in one candidate, but from our fear of their opponent. All of the blog posts I have read for the last two weeks have been about how evil or wrong "the other" candidate is. Let me tell you what I know. I know that if my candidate loses, America will go on. I'll get to that later though. Let's get to the reasons I vote.

1. Local Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and State Referendums.

My vote for President may be a grain of sand on the beach, but my local votes can be rocks in a bucket. Whether I am voting for or against Zoo funding, the Governor, School Board appointments, Vouchers, the Definition of Marriage, or any other variety of ballot initiatives - my local elections are the ones that have the most significant impact on my daily life. The state level is where the decisions are made on how to fund public education. The state level is where laws are made and created regarding who and when you can marry. We even get to elect whether or not to keep our judges! Many of these elections are won or lost by a few hundred votes, and I have the opportunity to voice my opinion. In these elections my vote could possibly be the deciding vote. That's exciting to me. That is the opportunity to make real and immediate change. How often do we get that chance?

2. Education

Voting makes me curious. I go online. I research different candidates and issues. I learn about both sides of arguments. I make educated decisions about my positions. I listen to other people's reasoning. I don't turn the radio station because I hear something I disagree with. In preparing for an election I become a more rounded person in the world by studying the world.

Elections bring important issues out into the light of day. Even if we're not voting on something in particular everything becomes fair debate around election time.

Before this year I didn't know anything about labor issues in Ohio. In 2004 I had no idea why Palestine and Israel didn't get along. Until about a month ago I didn't really have a clue what a Socialist was. I researched these things, and although I am no were near an expert on any one of these topics, I have thought about them. Just thinking about things is important sometimes, and elections make us think. On a side note, after reading about Socialism I can definitively tell you that Barack Obama is not a Socialist, but that is a completely separate blog.

3. Obligation and a Peaceful Transition of Power

I feel like voting is my responsibility. I've often times heard the saying "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain." While that sounds witty, and at times I'm sure people wish it were true, the fact is that we all the right to complain whether we vote or not. Voting is not a requirement, but it is a responsibility. It's an obligation. It's part of a bigger picture. 

Sure, everyone has the right to not vote. That is a great thing, and it's important. Still, Voting in any election is not just about supporting the candidates or amendments or referendums in that specific election, it is about supporting the idea as a whole. It is about believing that the will of the people is a driving and important factor in the success of our country. And it is about supporting a peaceful and consistent transition of power. 

Both major party candidates have spoken at times during this election about setting an example for the rest of the world. We don't always achieve this, and often some of the things we do as a country are out of any one citizen's control. Yet one major thing we have done right every four to eight years since the civil war is facilitate a peaceful transition of power. I don't think most people realize what an amazing accomplishment that is. We check ourselves. We give people power. We take it away. We limit authority. We cycle public servants because we know that absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

That is why I know that we'll be fine after this election, because we are the deciders, and 232 years ago we decided that a consistent influx of new ideas was necessary to sustain a growing experiment in democracy. I absolutely believe in this. I absolutely believe in the idea that voting for any candidate, any side of any issue is supremely important. Because when I vote I know that I am not just voting for a candidate or a zoo or a judge, but I am also voting for the future. So maybe I'm not saving the country by voting for my selected candidate, but I am saving the country just by voting, and so are you. Take that for hyperbole.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I Still Believe


Last night I went to a political debate at the middle school near my house. There, my friend Zach Robinson sat with his Republican opponent Robert Spendlove at table in front of about 40 people. The two of them talked about what mattered to them, and how they thought they could help the constituents of Sandy, Utah. They differed in ideology, but they were steadfast for their love of us. It was exactly what I needed this week.

Presidential elections are my Super Bowl. I look forward to them in the same way my kids look forward to Christmas. I believe they are a sacred time in our country where our obligations as citizens of our country cross paths with our obligations to each other. The peaceful transition of power in this our country is, in my opinion, among our finest achievements.

My daughter thinks that President Obama is the boss of America. That’s probably my fault. In a random, from the back seat conversation when I was distracted by trying not to drift into lanes of oncoming traffic I probably answered her first political question with an oversimplified answer. A few months ago when I told her that President Obama would no longer be our president, she asked if he was getting fired. I explained that no, he wasn’t getting fired. Presidents don’t stay presidents forever and every so often we get to choose a new one.

That blew her mind.

“We get to choose?”

“Yep! We do. That is called democracy.”

“I choose Pinkey Pie”

Pinkey Pie is a cartoon pony, and ineligible to be president. Not wanting to get into this, I explained that she could pick Pinky Pie when she was 18. She was fine with that.

Since then she has been wonderfully curious about democracy and civics. We’ve talked about the different branches of our government. We’ve talked about the different ways people can serve. We’ve talked about how a lot of the time people disagree on what the best choice is for our country, and the reason why we vote is to give everyone a voice in choosing.

“Just like we got to choose what to do in gym yesterday, huh dad?”

“That’s right.”

Things were going great. Then they weren’t. I told her she could watch the debate last week, not knowing that the first question would end up being whether or not one of our candidates meant it when he said he sexually assaulted women.

Superbowl canceled.

How do I explain that to her? Politics aren’t perfect, and the subject matter can be tricky, but I was planning on having trouble explaining tax policy, not consent and rape.

Don’t get me wrong. Those are really important topics and not ones we will shy away from in due time at our house. I just hate that it may have to be explained in the context of someone who may be “The Boss of America.”

So instead I played her the live-stream of Zach Robinson and Richard Spendlove talking about air-quality on the Wasatch Front. I let her listen to Zach talk about the years he spent as a fireman and how they taught him that everyone’s life matters, even those he doesn’t agree with. She heard these two men be kind to each-other and gracious. She heard what is right with America. She also got bored quickly, and wanted to play on the iPad… but that is more of a six-year-old thing than a problem with politics.

Like I said. The debate was exactly what I needed. I needed to believe.
This presidential election has felt like a punch in the chest. It has gotten worse and worse, and I have started to end every day burying my head in my pillow and just wishing it was over. Until last night…

Until last night, what I’d forgotten is that there are only two presidential candidates compared to the thousands of other candidates and volunteers out there working hard every single day to gather signatures, knock on doors, and talk about issues that matter to real people.

There are propositions and amendments to be voted on. There are Federal and State Senators and Representatives. There are bond measures, and taxes. There are issues that will affect each and every single one of us on a personal level. Last night I saw two people who had different ideas about those things, but a shared love for the people of our country.

The greatest kindness you can do for a person is know them, and last night I saw two candidates who genuinely wanted to know their constituents. They both stayed after the event and had long, sometimes difficult discussions with everyone who wanted to talk to them. It was exactly what a civil servant should be. Civil.

As long as we still have people like that, good people of any party willing to commit their time and talents to the public good, I have to believe our country will be ok.

I still believe, and I hope you do too. Our kids are watching.

P.S. I endorse Zach Robinson for Utah State Representative, District 49. Robert Spendlove seems like a nice guy too though.