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!








Tuesday, November 18, 2014

20 Somewhat Horrible Things I Do to My Kids That I in No Way Feel Guilty About



This following list was compiled from Stevie, myself, and a few other guilty parties whose names will be protected until my death. They know who they are, and they don't feel guilty either.

  1. I’ve been trying to use up the gross generic peanut butter that we bought a while ago. When we make sandwiches, the kids get generic. I get Jif. I’m choosy… and selfish.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daughter, What I Want for You, You Already Have



You wanted to see the polar bear but there were too many people. I should have thought twice about taking you to the zoo on what was probably going to be the last, beautiful fall Saturday of the year. Soon the rains would come and pull the leaves from the trees, and leave them to be buried underneath the snows of winter. But there we were behind a throng of squished humans, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, standing in front of the window where, I assume, a polar bear was staring back. 

"Daddy, can I go see the polar bear?"

"It looks pretty crowded, honey. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get up to the window."

"I can do it."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why I’m Leaving My Job at the Best Online University

Yes. That is me in the owl costume,

About three years ago my friend Mandi overheard me complaining about my job. At the time I was working for UPS and we had just come out of peak season. For anyone that has ever worked for a shipping company, peak season (November/December) is the most horrible, soul sucking, lose-your-faith-in-humanity season of the year. After letting me vent my rage about how ridiculously evil people can become when their packages to celebrate the birth of Jesus are delayed by Jesus’s dad himself, she mentioned that her work, Western Governors University would probably be hiring soon.

My first thought was, “What the heck is Western Governors University?”  I must have had a facial expression that perfectly conveyed that exact question because without even skipping a beat Mandi told me.

“WGU is an online university started by 19 US Governors dedicated to making quality education affordable for working adults.”

It was obvious she has said that before. As much as UPS made me miserable, I knew the shipping industry wasn't going anywhere. With the recent boom in for-profit higher education my spidey sense was, and still is, tingling about the growing amount of government subsidized student loan debt. My fear was that it was going to be a bigger and poppier bubble than the housing market ever was. Sure, UPS was making me miserable, but Higher Ed seemed like a pretty risky career venture.

“I don’t know. For-profit schools scare me. And I’m pretty nervous about the student loan bubble.”

“WGU is a non-profit school. The goal of the school is to be affordable and respected. I got my MBA from there and graduated debt free,” she said.

It sounded like a nice place to work, but I blew it off and went back to being miserable for a few more months. Then Mandi called me and told me about a job she wanted me to apply for.

I would work under her in the online marketing department handling their website’s search engine optimization. I had no idea what SEO was at the time, but she promised to teach me. I went to a couple interviews, met the team, took the offer when it came, and with a teeny bit of reservation, quit my job at UPS.

Over the next two years WGU changed my life. Not just because I had a boss and a team that supported my development and career growth, but also because I got to see what an amazing school I was working for.

WGU works off a competency based model. You can take what you already know and apply it to your degree. They don’t calculate your graduation based off of how many hours you sit in front of your computer, you graduate when you have acquired the skills you will need to succeed in your career. In my time here we have become one of the largest creator of STEM teachers in the country. We have helped our nations nurses go from RN to BSN to MSN. We’ve helped IT students pair an accredited degree with the industry's top certifications. And working parents all across the country have gotten their undergraduate degrees in business and MBA’s all while maintaining a work life balance.




The best part? I have had the unique pleasure of watching it all, and helping WGU grow! On my first week I wrote a goal on the little white board in my office. That goal was to “Make WGU visible.” Through the support of my management and peers here, I know I have done just that. People who I helped find WGU through online search have now graduated by now. Knowing that I played an itty-bitty part in that makes me incredibly proud.

So why am I leaving my job at the best online university in the history of the world? They did too good of a job. I gained a skill set that has prepared me to take on more responsibilities and eventually lead a team of people. The fact is, there are so many amazing people at WGU already doing just that. My chance to move up would probably be a long way out. I am ready now, so I am heading out on a new adventure!

One other thing you might not know about WGU: On my second day my boss and dear friend, Mandi (remember her) told me I should start my own website. The idea was that I would have my own playground to test and grow, and ideally I could break my website instead of theirs. So I started Ask Your Dad. I have WGU to thank for helping meet all of you too!


Mandi, the best boss ever... and a pretty damn good friend too. 

It isn't totally goodbye. Stevie will be enrolling in WGU’s College of Information Technology in the near future to finish her degree. Instead of driving to a brick and mortar school and missing out on hours of time with me and the kids, she will be able to duck into the office after Duchess and Captain have gone to bed and finish her degree in her pajama pants while I play video games in the other room!

I’m so incredibly proud to have been a part of the team at WGU, and will cherish the knowledge and the friendships I leave with.

I know this post might seem a bit cheesy and possibly a bit salesy. I assure you, I am not being paid to write it. I just wanted one more chance to spread the word about WGU, and say thank you to them for helping me build a life for my family. I will forever be grateful to everyone there.

If you started your degree and life got in the way. If money is short and so is time. If you know that you have the power to get a degree, but just haven’t found a path that works for you and your family, I strongly, emphatically, and loudly encourage you to go to WGU’s website and click the little yellow box that says “Request Info.”

Tell them I said hello!


Oh view from my office, I will miss you the most.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Crocs Are Cool Now, No Really

My family received four pairs of shoes for this post. I also received three nice e-mails and a thank you. I also received the look on my daughter's face when she opened the Frozen shoes (worth it).Thus endeth my divulgement of compensation.

OK, funny story. About a month ago I posted this in a Facebook Group I belong to.


I've been making fun of Crocs since my mom bought her first pair years ago. I mean, come on. They are pretty silly looking. Every time a new friend would show up to an event in a pair I would ask them if they had just finished gardening, and they would say something like, "You don't understand they are so comfortable!" Then I would say something about clown shoes, and they would continue enjoying their shoes despite my being an jerk who tells people why they shouldn't like what they like. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wouldn't It Be Great if We Could All Quit Our CEO Jobs to Be Better Parents?

Picture of Money - Quit Jobs - Ask Your Dad
Source: My left pocket

I think it is great that MongoDB CEO Max Schireson, and co-CIO of Pimko, Mohamed El-Erian left their high paying jobs to spend more time with their families. I do. I also get why it is news, and why so many people are celebrating it. It is important because it shows two high-profile men expressing the idea that family is a priority over work, and hopefully other companies might see this as a shot across the bow. Start thinking more about work/life balance or start losing talent.

And to be honest, they are incredibly sweet stories. In El-Erian’s case, his daughter handed him a list of all the milestones he had missed over the last ten years, he presumably teared up, and shortly after turned in his resignation. It was beautiful, and moving, and he didn't even need a magical nanny to float in on an umbrella to give him the nudge he needed. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Beauty of the Kid-Free Vacation.

Stevie and I at The Great American Beer Festival - Ask Your Dad Blog


In July Stevie and I flew the kids to Portland, rented a car and drove down the Oregon Coast to see my mom for the 4th of July. It was a beautiful week, and seeing my kid’s faces light up as they marched in the small town parade and later watching as their smiles went from green to blue to ooh to ahh as endless fireworks exploded over the ocean, made the saving money, navigating airport security with toddlers, plane ride, road trip, and disrupted sleep schedules completely worth it. 

Sure, there were some stressful moments, like when my daughter, worn out and tired from a daylong trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium had a Category 3 Meltdown because I took a bite of her chicken strip, or when we forgot the diaper bag on a hike back into the lush green Northwest rainforest and I ended up cleaning Captain’s poop-butt with a large fern I was 90% sure wouldn't give him a rash. (I was right.) All in all, it was an amazing trip, even if we came home more tired than when we left. Stevie and I came home from the trip in full agreement of two things: A, Trips like our Oregon vacation are important, bring us closer as a family, and give us the opportunity to get to know our kids in a way that the 9-5 grind of being two working parents doesn't, and B, the kids were totally not invited on our next vacation. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ultimate Mushroom Burger Cook Off!


My good buddies over at Life of Dad have been teaming up all month with The Mushroom Council to celebrate #Shroomtember. Throughout the month a bunch of different dad bloggers have been posting their mushroom recipes to their blogs and on Instagram. Well, they saved the best for last, because I invited some family members over for a Mushroom Burger Cook off and we have not just one recipe for you, but three! 

I love mushrooms. I always have. Stevie, on the other hand, took some convincing. And by convincing I mean that I had to hide the mushrooms in any food I wanted to have mushrooms in. I started slow and small, and gradually increased the size and consistency of the mushrooms in our meals. Now we have mushrooms with pretty much everything.

If these three fantastic mushroom burger recipes make you want more, be sure to check out all of the awesome recipes at the Mushroom Info Website.  

And! If you happen to post your own mushroom recipe to Instagram with the hashtag #Shroomtember you could win $500. 

On with the burgers!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What to Expect When You're Done Expecting

Hi gang! Stevie here. 

A few days ago I had what I considered to be a very mild conversation with my currently-pregnant-with-her-first-kid sister. Apparently what I consider mild and not shocking, she considers not mild and incredibly shocking. Which, now that I think about it. It is. When I was pregnant with Duchess, I was so excited for her come out of my body so I could meet her face to face that I completely neglected to consider what would happen to my body once she was out!  Had the information I presented to my sister been presented to me before my first child was born, I suppose I would have been shocked too. Still, I wish I would have known it then, and I am glad she knows it now. I mentioned our conversation to John and in a very John-like fashion he said "You should write it down for the blog! I bet other moms will be able to relate!"

And then I said "I don't know John. Some of it is kind of icky."

And he said "Some of it is kind of icky should be the motto for the whole of parenting."

So here you go: a few tidbits of information about labor and post-partum life that you won’t find on your cutesy little iPhone app that tells you what size fruit your baby currently is:

Disclaimer: I am obviously not a medical professional. This is all based off my experiences. Your results may vary. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No, Adrian Peterson. It is Not OK to Beat a Child With a Stick

Last week Adrian Peterson, Running Back for the Minnesota Vikings, was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for Child Abuse. While discussing it with various people, I have been absolutely stunned by those putting up a defense. Not just defending Peterson, but actually defending the practice of beating a child with a stick.

“You don’t understand because you don’t live in the South.”

“I don’t understand why it is OK to hit a 4-year-old child with a stick?”

“Yes. It is a cultural thing.”

“A cultural thing? What does that even mean?”

“This is how we were brought up.”

This is an actual conversation I had this weekend. In 2014. Now, I fully admit to not being from the South and lacking a regional and cultural context in which these things happen. And by “these things” I mean a child – a 4-year-old child – being beaten with a stick until his legs are bloody. And from what I have heard, this practice isn't exclusive to the South. But maybe, just maybe, my “lack of perspective” in this case is a good thing. Because instead of seeing context. Instead of seeing tradition. I see this:



And I am angry. I am disgusted. Not just at Adrian Peterson, but at any context in which this becomes acceptable and defendable. It is not. No child should endure this. If we did this to a prisoner it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment. And yet, because it is “tradition” it is OK. In some families it is OK to beat a child with stick.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dad, You’re Beautiful



There wasn't anything that prompted it. She had been running between the living room and her bedroom, leaping every few feet and attempting to fly. She was a fairy again. When she left the ground I could hear her take a breath that, milliseconds later, shot out in an audible “UH!” as she came back to the carpeted earth. Then she’d smile, start running and try again. The plastic fairy wings a friend of Stevie’s had bought her were adorable, but not very good at actually making her fly. On her eleventieth try she came running over to me on the couch, hugged my lap and told me that I was beautiful. 

“Dad, you’re beautiful.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stevie and the BOB - BOB Stroller Giveaway!

John here. After much begging and pleading from Stevie, I contacted the folks at BOBgear and asked if they would consider sending us a stroller to review. My surprise when they said yes was only outweighed by Stevie's excitement. As you'll read below, she wasn't just excited for a new stroller -- she was also excited to spend more time with me. (Weird, huh?) Anyway, aside from the stroller we received no compensation for this piece. All opinions belong to Stevie and I.

As most of you know, John and I became runners earlier this year. And by "we became runners" I mean we managed to run several miles at a time without dying or complaining too much. Ok fine I complained a lot. But we did it. We ran lots of miles. See? Here we are all sweaty smiley. Me with my sister/trainer and John with his...pillow.




John raised money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and I "won the lottery" as all the cool runners say and ran the half marathon. It took months of training and attempting to eat well. But in all that work, the hardest part wasn't the trudging up hills and trying not to have beer the night before a run. It was the scheduling. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

5 Pieces of Parenting Advice I’m Tired of Hearing

5 Pieces of Parenting Advice I’m Tired of Hearing


Five years ago, when Stevie and I found out we were going to be parents, the first good, usable piece of parenting advice we received was this: 

“Take all parenting advice with a grain of salt. Everyone thinks they’re an expert. Use what you think is useful for you, in your situation, and just let the rest go.” 

And so we have. Some advice has hit home and made us better parents. The advice that we don’t agree with, or doesn't fit, gets tossed out the window to roll away in the dust behind the minivan. 

The problem is that no matter how many times we leave it behind, a few of the same annoying pieces keep chasing us down the highway. Here are five of them:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Best Concert Ever

Having a bad day? Oh boy, do I have a gift for you. On Reddit last week user nthed111 posted this video of French pop singer Patrick Bruel in complete awe at a concert in 1991. The video was aptly presented with the title:

That moment you realize your song is now bigger than you



You can just see the joy as he realizes that something he has written now lives on its own. I'm sure it is a moment that every artist dreams off. Well, then something awesome happened. Turns out this happens at concerts quite often, and the comments section of the Reddit thread quickly filled up with cathartic awesomeness. I found myself spending an entire Saturday afternoon clenching back happy-tears and watching video after video of what became one of the greatest online concerts ever assembled. Here are some more great ones from the thread. Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Eulogy for an Afternoon Nap

Today's post is a guest post from my arch-frenemy Mike Julianelle from the absolute worst dad blog on the internet, Dad and Buried. Why am I letting him guest post? Because I am lulling him into a false sense of friendship and comradery. Once he is properly fooled I will invite him on a helicopter ride for a fun night on the town, only to drop him on an abandoned island full of hungry bears. Nobody tell him the plan. Anyway, here's his stupid, unfunny post that I hate. 

(Note: After reading this post, do not go and read his other posts on his site, and DO NOT us the links at the bottom of this post to follow him on his social channels. He is not funny at all. Just take my word for it. No need to verify if I am telling the truth or not.)




Eulogy for an Afternoon Nap

It’s with a heavy heart that I've gathered you all here today, to say our last goodbyes to a true hero; a magical, benevolent soul who touched all of our lives for the better and an honest-to-god lifesaver who never failed to bring a smile to our faces. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Wrong Way to Support Your Wife Breastfeeding

After breastfeeding
We only have one picture of Stevie breastfeeding, and we already used it. This one is immediately after and will have to do.

When Stevie was pregnant with our daughter, tucked in among all the typical friends and family pre-baby small talk, there was one question that continually came up. “Do you plan on breastfeeding?” In my pre-dad, super excited to be a part of all things parenting mode, there were a few times towards the beginning that I hopped in and said, “Yes. Totally!” In the context of this paragraph I realize how silly I must have sounded answering a very personal, and gender specific, question for my wife. I obviously was not going to be breastfeeding our child, and that question was not really mine to answer. What I will say is that the breastfeeding question was generally asked within a series of “Are you” questions that did involve me. “Are you planning on putting her in daycare? Are you set on a name yet? Are you excited to have a little girl?” Even though Stevie was the one with the kid in her womb, we got used to answering these questions as a team. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

6 Parenting Lessons I Learned from Doctor Who


Doctor Who and parenting have a lot in common. Both can be simultaneously wonderful and terrifying. Both can be difficult to understand and remarkably satisfying when things click into place. There have been times after a particularly good Doctor Who episode that I have been struck with such a sense of catharsis that I closed my eyes and wished I could watch it again for the first time. I can’t tell you how often that has happened with my kids. There are some days that I wish I could repeat over and over and over again... and yes, there are days I wish I could skip. If only I had a time machine…

Here are six lessons that Doctor Who has taught me about being a dad. 





Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Little Girl Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up

Sadie knows exactly how I feel sometimes about my kids growing up. You cry those tears, Sadie. I don't want your little brother to grow up either.



Source: Alex Miller - Youtube

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Can any of you get this kid in touch with Adam Sandler? [UPDATED]



Jeff Lynch is an important guy in my life. He was the first boss I had that really believed in me. We worked together at UPS back in 2004 and I attribute much of my success there, and since I left, to the guidance he gave me. I haven't talked to him in awhile, but the lessons he taught me about personal accountability and having a strong work ethic remind me of him often. 

In February of this year, Jeff's son Grady was diagnosed with Leukemia. He has a long, rough road ahead of him, but with the support of his awesome family and his doctors, I am confident he is going to kick cancer's butt.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stevie vs. Spider

I was out of town on business this week. This is from Sunday night.


My wife has a rational fear of spiders...



Oh... and then on Thursday I saw this. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Spanking Would Be Easier

Photo by Believer9 (Flickr)

After the post about Duchess's epic fit in the daycare parking lot, someone commented to me that a quick, firm smack on the butt probably would have calmed her down. It might have. It definitely would have been easier than the chaos of strapping a flailing four year old into her car seat. And trust me, when my sweet little girl lowered her fist like a hammer onto the bridge of my nose, there was more than a small percentage of me that wanted to make it incredibly clear to her that hitting hurts. I think that is a pretty normal reaction to anger and pain, but it is not one I am comfortable with.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

And Then She Could Read

And Then Our Daughter Could Read


Duchess hops into my lap and hands me her single-word flash cards. I'd purchased the flashcards at Walmart over a year ago in one of those optimistic parent moments. You know those moments? They’re the ones where you’re walking around Walmart and you imagine your kid sitting in your lap, happily looking at flashcards and talking about how they want to be a doctor someday. They’re the ones where you close your eyes and see an exact picture of your child, older now and calmer, sitting in the shade of a cottonwood tree, reading “Of Mice and Men”. She gets to the end, “Tell me about the rabbits, George.” The air she is breathing gets trapped in her chest. She closes the book on her index finger and bites her lower lip to push the tears back in, then opens the book and looks back out over the vista with Lenny and George. 

“Cuh…ahh…t… Cat.” 

“That’s right! Good job!”

Friday, June 20, 2014

You're in Charge of Your Body. I Still Get to Make Rules.

Source: Kristine-Claire Tumblr

Have you seen this shirt? It has been all over the place. I shared it. I cheered. I like to think of myself as a feminist father. And I agree with the shirt, mostly. 

Here’s the problem with shirts and bumper stickers and sound bites. They boil everything down into a simple digestible message that, while catchy and convenient, is also easily misconstrued. I could see myself buying this shirt, wearing it proudly, only to have it come back and bite me in the ass when my 14 year old daughter wants to create all the rules when it comes to dating. That’s not going to fly. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

This is the #PowerofDad - Oral B

This is the third of three sponsored posts I am doing leading up to Father's Day. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign.



Technically I became a father the when Duchess was born. But you're never really a fully formed father. You are constantly in a state of becoming. The first time my kid fell and called my name through her tears, the first time I woke up at 3 AM to have her standing next to my bed creepily staring at my face, the first time she didn't need me to sit next to her while she pooped. These were all steps in my never ending journey to becoming a dad. But with each one I become more powerful, more dad like, more cheese filled, and with every #PowerofDad moment I want to yell, "FOOLS, YOU HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN MY FINAL FORM!"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Daughter Throws a Fit

Not Duchess, but a fair representation of how she looked.

Here’s my #realdadmoment for the week. My kid threw a Category 5 fit in front of her daycare yesterday. It started when she wanted to open the door to the car. I shut the door and motioned to her to open it. She yelled that it was too late because she hadn't wanted me to open it at all. I explained the transitional nature of a door and that it can be open and shut multiple times and that she could still open the door. She laid down in the parking lot and started crying. I picked her up and she punched me in the face.

This is the first time she has hit in months. My eyes watered, both from anger and from the pain of a fist being thrust down upon my nose. Why does it always have to be the nose! 

I had to force her into the car and clip her in while praying that no one around would think I was kidnapping her. Then, when I got home all of our neighbors were out in their yards to see me pry my daughter out of my 99 Accord (she didn't want to get out of the car just as much as she didn't want to get in it) and fireman carry her, still kicking and screaming, into the house. Oh and I had my 1 y/o son too. Sometimes I paint a pretty picture of parenthood, but sometimes it is really f*cking hard.

When we got inside she went straight to her room. OK, I carried her straight to her room and set her down. I told her she was on time out and that she needed to stay in her room. She screamed and sobbed and lost her breath, and I walked out, shut the door, and held the knob as she struggled against it. 

“Daddy! I d….on’t… wa…nt to…. be…be be….. in my room. Let me OOOOOOUT! Take me back to daycare!!!”

“No. We don’t hit. You go and you sit in your chair and you can come out in ten minutes when you have calmed down.”

“D….a…….a…..a” It was getting worse. It is so long ago, but I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. I remember being so upset that getting a single word out through the stuttered sobs was as upsetting as the reason for the sobs themselves. I wanted to open the door. I wanted to pick her up and hold her until she caught her breath. I wanted to… I needed her to know that she shouldn't throw fits like that.

“Da….d….I….don’t…wa…aaant…to…. be….trapped.”

That’s how I felt. I felt trapped. I don’t know how to do this. I have no f*cking clue what I am doing. Everything I do could be wrong, and I might not even find out for 18 years. At least one of us didn’t have to feel trapped. I opened the door. 

“Can…I…come…out?”

“No, you need to sit in your chair. Come here.” I picked her up and carried her to the glider in her room. I got down on her level. “Look me in the eyes.” I gently pulled her chin up from her chest to look at me. “You need to sit here and take some time to calm down. I know you are very upset. I am not going to lock your door. I am going to leave it open. You are not trapped. I am also going to go get you some water. But you can’t come out for ten minutes. OK?” 

“OK.”

I grabbed her a small glass of water and when I came back in the room her crying had stopped and she was left with only a few sporadic breath spasms. 

“Here’s your water. I will tell you when you can come out.”

“OK.”

I spent the next ten minutes calming myself down.  I unloaded the dishwasher. I obsessed over the words, “I don’t want to be trapped.” I played with my son. I buried my face in my hands and questioned how anyone can ever claim to be a great parent. I preheated the oven and got the fish sticks ready.  I replayed the scene in the parking lot of the daycare in my head and was ashamed. I looked at my watch.

“It’s been ten minutes. As soon as you’re ready to say sorry, you can come out!”

15 minutes later she quietly walked out of her room, eyes still red and puffy. She came up to me and crawled into my lap. She gently lifted my chin and brought my eyes to meet hers. 

“I’m sorry for throwing a fit, dad.”

“What else are you sorry for?”

“I’m sorry for hitting you and not listening.”

“Do you know why we don’t hit?”

“Because it hurts?”

“Yes. Because it hurts people. You hurt me when you hit me.” Sometimes as I watch her eyes while I talk to her, I can tell that what I am saying is getting in. When I said she hurt me, I could see it. I could see that hurting me hurt her and then that hurt me. “I love you, Duchess.” 

“I know. You love me even when I throw fits.”

“I do. I love you all the time.”

“I love you all the time too, daddy.”

“No more fits tonight? Your mommy is out with her friends. I need you to be my special helper.”

Her eyes lit up, “Can I be in charge of Captain?”

“Yes. You can be in charge of Captain, as long as you are nice and share.” 

 “I will. I promise.”

“No more fits?”

“No more fits.”

And we ate our fishsticks. And we put Captain to bed. And we watched Tinkerbell. And there were no more fits. 

Sorry. No lessons to be learned here. Just an unvarnished tale of how sometimes shit gets shitty and then it gets a little better. I don't ever want to just paint a picture of the good things. Not everything looks better with an Instagram Filter. I try to do my best and sometimes my best isn't good enough. Hell, sometimes it isn't even my best. Anyway, something something follow me on Facebook. You all rock. Thanks for reading. - John

Wednesday, June 11, 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. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Destination Dad - Finding Gifts While Wearing Silly Mustaches




I have been compensated for this post. Well, I haven't been compensated yet, but I will be eventually. The mustaches are fake, the words belong to me.

So Stevie, Duchess, Captain, and I put on fake mustaches and went to Sears. Why? A few reasons. 1, we like fake mustaches. 2, We're participating in the Sears #DestinationDad Campaign. 3, we like fake mustaches. First, a little about the awesome campaign.

Any time before June 15, take a photo of your or your dad’s mustache and share it at 
sears.com/DestinationDad for a chance to win the ultimate Father’s Day gift – a trip to the Craftsman MAKEcation!

What is a Craftsman MAKEcation? Well, I'm told that it is a magical place where your dad will meet a celebrity yet to be named, learn to make whiskey (bonus), roll cigars (not really my thing, but I know a lot of dudes who like a stogey), grill steaks (yum), and amass survival skills (because you can never have enough survival skills)! Runner up prizes include other great gifts like a Craftsman Quiet Lawnmower Craftsman portable gas grill and Craftsman MACH Series tools.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fatherhood is All About the Unscripted Moments - Cardstore

This post is sponsored. The words and opinions are mine. The videos are theirs.

The nice thing about writing a blog is that I get to take moments out of my day, package them in pretty prose, and make myself sound twice as witty as when they actually happened. Have you ever walked away from a tense conversation and then spent the rest of the night going over and over it in your head, consistently coming to those, "I should have said that!" moments? Well, start a blog. Then you can say everything exactly how you wish you would have said it. Being a parent. Being a father. Not so much. I can practice over and over how I am going to convince Duchess not to try an climb onto the roof, but the moment she starts up the side of the patio all my planning goes out the window and I am in full daddy-improv mode.

I recently signed on with Cardstore to help them out with their Father's Day campaign. You probably recognize the name Cardstore from their mega viral #worldstoughestjob campaign in May. In case you don't remember, here's the spot from just before Mother's Day.



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ballad of the Octonauts - Adorable Video

This is our talented friend Mark playing a tiny, toy plastic guitar for Duchess's friend Samson. His adorable improvised song will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You are welcome. 



"Hey Captain Barnacle, do you haaave any ink on your face?"



Thursday, May 29, 2014

12 AWESOME Father's Day Gifts for 2014

Every year Stevie asks me what I want for Father's Day. Every year I tell her I want the same three things.
  • I'd like to sleep in. 
  • I'd like to spend the day with my family. 
  • A back rub would be nice.
Honestly, the second bullet point is the only one I really care about. Stevie hates that I give her those three answers. HATES it. So this year I did a little research on my own, and reached out to some of my very favorite dad blogger buddies to make a list of truly awesome Father's Day gifts. I would be elated to find any of these items under the Father's Day Tree on Father's Day Morning. You can click on any of the images to go to where you can buy what is pictured!

Chewbacca Hoodie!! ($50.04 - $99.99 Amazon) 

(Recommended for my brother-in-law, Jim)


Does the dad in your life have an awesome beard? Is he looking to complete the ensemble with an awesome wookie hoodie? Does he do his awesome Chewbacca Impression at inappropriate times? Then this gift is for him. The price range is so large because it depends largely on how many Wookies they have to... shave... to get enough Wookie Fur to make it. Candice! Buy this for Jim. DOOOOO IT! (By the way, everyone congratulate my brother and sister-in-law. They are pregnant with my niece or nephew!) 




This Awesome Hammock  ($239.99 Hayneedle.com)

(Recommended by John Willey of Daddy's in Charge?)


"If I didn't already have a billion of them, I would want Legos. But since I already have seemingly every set ever made I want a day at the golf course. HOWEVER, knowing that a day at the course is a day away from family time, I want a hammock.  A hammock that is big enough for more than one person. That way I can look at it while I am playing wiffle ball with the kids and dream about laying in it all day.  Or you can just get me beer; really, really, really good beer." - John

The Parents' Phrase Book ($11.71 Amazon)

(Recommended by Brent Almond of Designer Daddy)


"The Parents' Phrase Book combines the eloquent writing of a master storyteller with the practical idioms of a world-wizened father — of which Whit Honea is both. 

Whether it's explaining why Jimmy has two dads or if Han shot first (he did) or how to deal with the death of a family member, Whit gives voice to it all in heartfelt and easy-to-use format." - Brent

BTW, Brent has his own list of Father's Day Gift suggestions. Check it out here. (After you're done reading mine!)




Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Collectors Blu-ray Edition ($399.99 Amazon)

(Recommended by Lorne Jaffe of Raising Sienna


"In my opinion is that "Breaking Bad" is the most culturally significant drama of our time and arguably of all time. It represents television as art: a painting, an epic poem, a brilliant film. Its use of sound, silence, color, framing, cinematography and on and on are nearly unparalleled. It's a show that fans, particularly rabid ones, can study. Each time you watch an episode, you notice something new. If you've seen the entire series already, you can go back and catch clues to each character's transformation. Having this set, with 50+ hours of special features and documentaries, not to mention the collectible money barrel and other unique items, makes this an incredible Father's Day gift for the "Breaking Bad" dad." - Lorne

If you don't have an extra 400 bones laying around, the entire series of Breaking Bad is now on Netflix. With a little commitment, and possibly losing your job for taking too much time off of work, you could probably get through it in a month and only pay $8.99. But for the true collectors, this set looks pretty cool. 

 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EEDNA4M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00EEDNA4M&linkCode=as2&tag=asyodabl-20&linkId=PNKFH6FY3BJHIDM3

Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments ($12.01 Amazon)

(Recommended by Eric Jefferson of Dad On the Run)


"Mike Adamic's Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments is a fantastic resource for any at home parent looking for things to do on those rainy days, or even when the sun is shining - rain or shine, who could beat building your own rocket or creating rock candy in your own kitchen?" -  Eric



Bluff Works Pants ($93.00 BluffWorks.com)

(Recommended by me!)


Look, here's the thing. I wear a pair of pants until it can no longer be classified as a pair of pants. Then I mow the lawn in them for a few months. Then I use them to dry my car for awhile before finally burning them in a pants retiring ceremony in my back yard. I use every part of the buffalo. And by buffalo I mean pants. Bluff Works sent me a pair of their slacks to try out about a month ago, and I am kind of embarrassed to admit how many days a week I wear them. They are comfortable enough for work, and durable for me to do everything I described above except the burning part. The difference is, you can still wear them the next day. I love them. They make me happy. 

This picture is so damn cheesy. I love it.


Leaf Scoops ($19.99 Amazon)

Dude. They are leaf scoops. What else can I say? He might think they are silly looking and lame, but come leaf-picking-up-time dad is going to be glad you got him HULK STYLE LEAF PICKER UPPERS!!

"ARRGGGHH HULK PICK UP LEAVES! HULK SMASH... LEAVES INTO GARBAGE CAN TO MAKE ROOM FOR MORE LEAVES!"


The Piggy Back Rider ($84.99 Amazon)

(Recommended by Nick Dawson of Dad Labs)


"The PiggybackRider is a great Father's Day gift because it takes a typical Dad thing (carrying your kid on your back/shoulders) and makes it more comfortable for Dad, and more FUN for both! We've used ours often and every time has been a blast. Dads with kids 3 to 7 years old will dig it!" - Nick

I have to admit, I am intrigued by this contraption. I would have liked to have had it for our recent trip to Disney Land. The walk back to the hotel with Duchess on my shoulders nearly killed me.



Star Wars Chess Set  ($72.99 Amazon)

(Recommended by James Estrada of Nerdy At Home Dad


Two of my favorite memories of growing up with my dad are when we watched Star Wars for the first time, and when he taught me how to play chess. Both must have taken eternal patience on his part. 

Star Wars:

"What happened to Luke's parents? Was that them, and why were they skeletons?"
"They aren't his parents."
"Who are his parents?"
"Keep watching. You'll find out."
"When?"
"I can't tell you. It is a surprise."
"Why?"
"You'll see. Just keep watching."

Chess:

"Why does a Knight move in an L?"
"It just does."
"But why?"
"Because that is the rule."
"But why is that the rule?"
"Because in mid-evil times, knights could only move forward and then slightly to the side. It was because of how their armor was made."
"Oh."

Now you can combine the frustration of explaining the force with the frustration of explaining why pawns can only kill on a diagonal! Huzzah!




Pajama Suit ($99.95 - $115.39 Amazon)

(Recommended by Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy Files)  


"Because it's always important to be the classiest parent at the bus stop every morning." - Aaron

OK. If I am being honest, Aaron didn't really recommend these. Awhile ago Aaron lit the internet on fire by admitting that he likes to wear pajama pants to the bus stop. Some folks rallied to his defense. Others regarded his commitment to sleepwear as a sign of the apocalypse. I think if someone would just buy these for him, we could all get along and going back to worrying about important things like why that rapper's sister-in-law hit him in an elevator... or Global Warming.

Anyway, the Pajama Suit is legend...How I Met Your Mother reference...dary.




Zombie Apocalypse Yard Gnomes ($15.99 - $29.99 Think Geek)

(Recommended by me, again.)


OK. The Tommy Gun is a bit much. The Scarface quote on the base is a bit... mucher. Do I wish the gnome had enough sense not to scream outdated movie quotes, use automatic weapons, and alert every other zombie gnome in the area to his EXACT location? Yes. Yes I do. Sorry, if they had a gnome using modified melee weapons I would have picked that one. Just buy them. They are still cool.





Cooper & Kid Play Sets (Prices Vary)

(Recommended by Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids)


This one is probably my favorite on the whole list. It is a monthly mail order set that includes a variety of projects and games dads can do with their kids. Each kit includes:
  • A shipping box that turns into a toy!
  • An activity book that guides you through the theme and the contents of the box
  • A bedtime story
  • A separate website of related digital resources
  • Links to even MORE theme-related activities that are ‘Beyond the Box’
  • Parenting and topical links to resources that are ‘Just for Dad’
  • A themed dinner menu with recipes (guys are doing a ton of cooking for the family these days)
Here's what Jeff had to say:

"I love the mystery of each box, but also that each one has a thread running through it, not just a mashup of random stuff. Our first kit was flying, two was science and magic, three was bugs. I love that it takes dads and dad/kid playtime/quality time seriously and that it is not gendered at all. It is for Dads + Kid(s) whether those kids are boys or girls." - Jeff




So there's the list! I think they are all pretty cool. I hope you enjoyed it. If I missed anything, which I am sure I did, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. In the meantime, don't forget to follow Ask Your Dad Blog on Facebook and Twitter and be sure to check out the blogs of all the dudes who helped me put this list together! 

- John (Dad)