Sunday, May 8, 2016

What I Want My Wife to Know This Mother's Day

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post Parents for a series of letters they commissioned from various bloggers for Mother's Day 2015.

Dear Stevie,

For your first Mother's Day, you were seven months pregnant with our first kid. I bought you a bag of Oreos and you said you would love me forever. We laughed and tried to picture what our lives would be like after our daughter was born. We talked about what she would look like. I was positive she would have brown or black hair like everyone in my family. You said when you closed your eyes you could see her face. I tried, but the only face I could see was yours. Turns out I was right. She is you. The funny thing is, we spent so much of those months leading up to the birth thinking about what our daughter would be like that we very rarely took the time to think what we would be like. I obsessed over what it would be like to have someone call me dad, but I never could have predicted in a million years how proud and in awe I would be to witness you becoming a mom.

They say that the change is supposed to happen overnight. A switch flips. And while it is easy enough to put the label on, becoming a parent is not nearly as seamless. It is a process. We struggled. I struggled. There were nights when we got frustrated with the kids, which led to us being frustrated with each other. We joked about how, when a baby is screaming, every conversation -- no matter how menial -- is a fight. We worked our way through nights when our kids were sick with 104-degree fevers. We spent nights in the emergency room. We learned how to get pee out of microfiber couches and waterproof sunscreen out of the carpet. And even though it seems like for the past five years our gaze has been at our knees -- while we kept the kids from falling down the stairs, or taught them which shoe goes on which foot, or showed them how to write the letter A -- I want you to know something that is infinitely important to me.

I see you.

I see the way you look at our kids. I see you step into their rooms every night before we go to bed. I see it when you subtly move a toy out of the way while they are dancing, so they don't trip. I see you check their seat belts three times. You are kind to our children. You surround them with love and opportunity. You never condescend. They can see that. I can see that. You encourage me to be a better father. You don't shut me out from parenting. I feel strong with you. We look at problems together, and together we find our best solution. (Sometimes Google helps... especially with the waterproof sunscreen.)

I didn't know we had this in us. I didn't know you had the capacity to become what you've become. To be clear, I didn't think the opposite. I never thought you weren'tcapable of being a great mom; it's just that I had no concept of the range and depth to which your love could extend. And honestly, I still don't. Every day is a surprise. Every day I am more and more proud of you. Every day I realize how lucky we are to have you, and that makes every day pretty damn great.

We've still got a long way to go, and we're still becoming the parents we're going to be. I still think a lot about what our kids will look like when they grow up. Sometimes, when we're all sitting in the living room and our son is reading a book while you spin in circles with our daughter, I close my eyes and try to picture them as adults. It doesn't work, of course -- it is hard to pull the future into focus -- but when I open my eyes, I see you, and I know that whatever comes will be what we build together.
And together, we can move mountains.

Thank you for being such a wonderful wife/friend/partner/soul mate, and -- today most of all -- thank you for being a mother.

Happy Mother's Day,


By the way, in case you didn't know, you can also find me trying to be funny on Facebook 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mothers Day Present Buying for People Who Don't like to Get out of the Car (Like Me)

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Life of Dad and Sears. I have received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.

Full disclosure. This picture wasn't taken at Sears. I'll explain later in the post.

I’ve never been very good with Mother’s Day gifts. For Stevie’s first Mother’s Day I got her a bag of Oreo Cookies, which, in my defense, she loved. But objectively, and in retrospect, that was probably not the best gift I could have gotten her. As the kids have gotten older, going shopping for gifts has gotten more and more difficult. Taking the kids into the store is a hassle even when there are two of us. Going solo is its own ordeal, as illustrated beautifully by Stevie in her recent post on Totally Awesome Mess.

All that in mind, I was pretty stoked when the guys at Life of Dad and Sears contacted me to give their new pick up service a try for Mother’s Day. I worked with them last year for Father’s Day and had a great experience, but I was honestly a little skeptical about the promises they were making with this campaign. They were as follows.

• Go to
• Pick out a gift
• Download App
• Go to local Sears
• Pull into parking spot and press button in app
• Open trunk for nice Sears employee who brings you your purchase

So we gave it a try. Duchess and Captain and I sat down at the computer and started picking things out she might want. Duchess was pretty sure she wanted a Lego Friends set. Captain was positive that she wanted a Ninja Turtle. So we got her a tent instead. Really though. She wanted a tent. I know this because I yelled really loud to the other room “Hey Stevie! What do you want for mother’s day!”
And she yelled back…

“Whatever the kids want to get me will be fine!”

And I responded, “So you want a Ninja Turtle and some Legos?”

Then there was a pause while she contemplated whether she wanted Rafael or Michelangelo.

“Oooh! What about a new tent so we can go camping this summer?”

So we picked the tent. Steps 1 & 2 down.

Simple, easy to use app.

Next I tried to get my kids to come with me to Sears so I could take pictures of them in the back seat while we waited for the nice sears guy (or gal) to bring us our tent. Captain and Duchess were having none of it, so sorry gang. No cute pictures of them in the backseat. Instead you can picture me having a car ride where I get to pick the music, and I get to not answer a thousand questions, and I don’t have to referee a fight over which Ninja Turtle is best while driving 50 mph (it’s Leonardo). I’m happy with that picture and hopefully you are too.

On with the story.

I got to Sears and saw that they had reserved parking for pick up. Pretty cool. It was even shaded. I pulled out my phone and opened my Sears App. I pushed a button to let them know I was there. A timer popped up on my phone and let me know they would be out to my car within five minutes. The sentiment is nice, but I don’t know if the timer is necessary. Honestly, it kind of made me anxious and had me hoping that the guy bringing my tent didn’t also have a timer going off somewhere yelling


Anyway… before I could get further in my worry for the nice Sears guy or girl in my imagination, the actual Sears guy popped out of the doors with my tent! I looked at the probably not necessary timer, and it was at three minutes. I hope he got the speed bonus.

I popped the trunk. He tossed in the tent, and I was on my way. Easy peasy.

So yeah… pretty cool service. Super convenient. I give it 5/5 smiley faces.

Also check this out! Shoppers that use Sears In-Vehicle Pickup for their online purchases between Tuesday, May 3 and Saturday, May 7 are automatically entered for a chance to win a $5,000 Sears gift card! You can also click on and enter the Shop Your Way All for Mom Sweepstakes at

Thanks for reading! I will be back a little later this week with my traditional gushy mom day post about how swell my wife is,

- John