Ask Your Dad Blog

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dad, Am I Pretty?

“Dad, am I pretty?”

“Yes. You are very pretty.”

“Dad, what does pretty mean?”

“Pretty means a lot of things. In fact, it means different things to different people. It is kind of hard to pin down.”

“How do you know I’m pretty?”

What I wanted to say:

Because I get to see you when you are kind. Because your eyes widen and you smile when you see something you've never seen before. Because your forehead wrinkles when you are thinking really hard about something. Because when you get excited to do something you fling your arms behind you as you run out of the room. Because when I look into your eyes I see your mom, and I am reminded about how much we love each other. Because you climb on things you probably shouldn't climb on. 

You’re pretty when you ask questions. You’re pretty when I answer, and then you ask another question. You’re pretty when you squint in disbelief and say, “Is that real or are you just joking?” You’re pretty when you laugh at my answer.

Your face is pretty when you kiss your brother on the forehead. Your hands are pretty when they reach out to hold mine, when they take things from your mind and put them on paper, and when they take your excitement and transform it into clapped sound. Your arms are pretty when you wrap them around your mom, when you wave them in the air while dancing, and when you lay your head on them while reading. Your legs are pretty when you run and turn and jump and run again. 

You are pretty because you are alive. You are pretty because you are curious. You are pretty because you take the good parts of the world, pull them in through your ears and eyes and mouth and body, and shout them back out to me in action and voice, in everything you do. You’re the prettiest person I know.

What I actually said:

“I just know.”

“Oh! OK! Thanks dad!”

Then you ran off, arms behind you, feet beneath you, eyes open, too young to be worried about pretty, but pretty all the same. So, so pretty. 

Dad, Am I Pretty?

Be sure to come find Ask Your Dad on Facebook. We're all pretty on Facebook!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

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. 


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 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, December 22, 2014

Product Review -Listening to my Utah Utes with the Tune In App

Disclosure: I have partnered and was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC and TuneIn for this promotion.

As I mentioned in my blog post last week, I have been using the Tune In app all month to listen to NCAA Basketball. It is a free app, so if you want to check it out download it in iTunes of the Google Play Store. Here are my thoughts, 

Sound 5/5

The sound is great. I didn't run into any audio problems the multiple times I used it. I used the app while connected to WIFI and while in transit on my 4G network. It worked great in every location I tried it. 

Search Feature 4/5

The search feature worked OK, but I found the results it pulled confusing a couple times. It would say something is not available, but "not available" didn't actually mean it wasn't available. It just meant it hadn't happened yet. So when I wanted to schedule future games, I was a bit confused when it said "not available" and then they were. Once you clicked through to the actual result it was clear that the event would broadcast later,

Browsing 5/5

The browsing feature worked really well and helped me find other things I enjoyed other than sports. There are plenty of talk radio channels to explore and they all come in crystal clear. 

Overall 4.8

For a free app, you could do a lot worse and not much better. Download it, give it a shot and let me know what you think! 

An All-In Burger for an All-In Dad

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Applebee’s for this promotion.

A photo posted by John Kinnear (@askyourdadblog) on

I don't go lightly into a burger review. I generally don't order burgers when I go out because, honestly I rarely find anything better than I can make at home. So when Applebee's sent me a gift card and asked me to bring my family in to try their new All-In burgers, I was somewhat skeptical, which honestly, is the best way to go into a burger meal. Low expectations are easily met. Mine were exceeded, and not just by the burger.

Taking kids to restaurants can be hard. I know. I have kids. I have also been a server. I've written about this topic before. I hadn't been to Applebees since having kids. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was that the hostess got down on my kids level and thanked them for coming. That was really cool, and it set the tone for the whole dinner. The kids food came first. Their waters were always filled. The hostess sat us in an area with other families, so when the kids got a little loud I didn't have to stress out. It was a really nice all around experience.

A photo posted by John Kinnear (@askyourdadblog) on

Now on to the burger. I apologize that my photos don't do it justice. It was surprisingly good. The bun was soft and not dry at all. The burger, which had mushrooms inside of it, was tender, tasty, and moist. I ate the whole thing... and my onion rings... and a chocolate shake.

The whole experience was really fun, and I think my Applebees hiatus is over. Next time we're looking for a family restaurant that puts kids first, we'll be back.

A photo posted by John Kinnear (@askyourdadblog) on

If you go to Applebees, be sure to take a #BurgerSelfie and visit their site to share it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Listening to My Utes with the Tune in App

I have partnered and was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC and TuneIn for this promotion.

Life of Dad reached out to me on behalf of the Tune In app to see if I wanted to give it a shot. Tune in is an Internet Radio app that lets me listen for free to all sorts of great music, sports and pod casts. The part that piqued my interest was the sports.

I've always been a University of Utah fan. I grew up going to Utah football and basketball games. My first date was to a Runnin Utes game. After becoming a parent, getting out to the games was difficult. We tried a couple times to bring our tiny humans to the giant stadium, but we were never able to make it through a whole game. Babysitters were an option, but as most parents know, your babysitter options tend to go down after the first year. So I have been limited in how I have been able to watch my favorite team.

I don't do a ton of reviews, but this one was one that really fit with where I am in my life right now. I miss watching and listening to games, but not as much as I enjoy hanging out with my kids. The pitch was that with Tune In I could do both. So for the month of December I've been giving it a try. I will have a full review of the app next week, but for now I can tell you that it was super easy to download and has been working great.

Also here are some adorable pictures of my family in their Utes gear!