Let Us Not Forget

Let us not forget why we are parents and why we love being parents so much. I have found myself more times then I care to admit, lately, frustrated and short on patience. I get frustrated with the kids, I get frustrated with the wife and I get frustrated with myself.

Aiden2So I sit here and think “why did I become a dad again”? That is when something truly amazing happens. The universe steps in (or in this case “A”) and reminds me why I love my job of being a dad more than anything in the world. In this case, it is a lost tooth (the third in as many weeks), and a goofy smile that reminds me why I love this kid, why I love his brother, and why I love being a dad.

It is the simple things, like a goofy smile that reminds me why my life is truly great and why I wouldn’t change it for anything. I may not have a lot of money (one of the disadvantages of being the primary caregiver). But what I lack in money I make up for in love, experiences, and memories.

So why am I a dad again? This is why…Aiden

Why do you love being a parent? I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Field Trip

FieldtripMy youngest, who is in Pre-K had his first fieldtrip a few weeks back. I am lucky enough because I get to go on these field trips with him. One of the perks of being a Stay-at-home dad. One of his classmates parents owns a farm so the kids got to visit the farm and see cows, pigs, chickens, go on a hay ride, and all the kids got to pick out a pumpkin.

Fieldtrip 2The thing that stuck out to me most was the amount of dads who chaperoned the fieldtrip. I would say almost half the adults there were of the dad or grand-dad persuasion. I am so happy to see so many dads, especially working dads involved in their children’s lives.

It got me thinking because I drop off and pick up my kids everyday at school. I am at the building three times every day. I have been looking around, and I am not the anomaly there. There are lots of dads picking up and dropping their kids off. Lots of hugs, and kisses. Lots of comforting. Lots of dads not being the typical macho guy who doesn’t do anything besides earn for the family.

But, yesterday, I heard two moms talking and laughing at their husbands expense. I had to do everything to hold my tongue as they bashed their husbands about everything they do around the house and how they can’t seem to figure out how to do things the way that they (the women) like it done. Just because it isn’t your way doesn’t mean it is wrong. My wife and I do things much different around the house. But yet, here I am the primary caregiver of my children and not one kid has been scarred for life under my watch and I am sure not one of their children or households has been seriously injured under their husbands either.

I remember when I was in school, not many dads were involved in anything besides attending their son’s athletics. It is great to see how some things change, but it is obvious that there are still so many things that need to change, even just in that perception of what it means to be a dad.

Brothers; Why Having a Brother Rules

BrothersAs a kid, I never really thought about what having a brother meant. My relationships with my brothers were (and still are) strained for various reasons. Partly due to distance, age difference growing up, and resentment. There isn’t really anything I can do to fix these situations as I have tried and failed…miserably.

But now that I am going through my adventures in daddyhood I look at my two boys and think about what it means to have a brother and how awesome it truly is.

These are my 4 Reasons Why Having a Brother Rules! (in no particular order)

1. Built in playmate. When you have a brother, you always have someone to play with. No single player mode for you. He is always there to help you take on the bad guys so you don’t have to go it alone. He always has your back in that first person shooter. He is there to play action figures, build empires out of bricks, cushions and whatever else you can  think of. He is there to fight zombies in the back yard with you. He is always there.

2. Teacher/Student. Ever get in trouble as the first child? Ever get away with it as a second child? As a first child you often got caught doing things the second always seems to get away with. Why? Because as the first child you have become the sensei and have (unfortunately) learned all the ways to get caught. You have passed that knowledge onto your younger brother and he is now a ninja warrior. Cunning, sneaky, able to get away with things you could have only dreamed of. Thanks big brother for taking one for the team.

3. Built in Best Friend. When you are younger, you will probably not realize it, however, as you get older you will. Know one can know you as well as your brother. You get in trouble together, you play together, you argue, laugh, fight. He is someone you can and should share all of your joy and pain with. Because he has grown up knowing who you are and no one can understand you and what you go through like your brother. So enjoy it.State Fair

4. Built in Mortal Enemy. With a brother, you also have your biggest enemy. He competes with you in everything. He is the competition in sports, video games., board games, attention from your parents, attention from girls. You will learn the art of self defense from your bother. As the younger brother you will learn the art of taking a serious beating at the hands of a larger opponent. You will take this beating and keep on coming back for more. As the older brother you will learn speed and dodging are your friend as as your younger brother has learned the art of the projectile to keep you at bay.

So enjoy having a brother. He is everything you need all rolled up in one. So go out enjoy life together.Playing

Why Fall is the Best Time of Year

Autumn20140914_125814The best thing about living in New York State (yes New York is a whole state and not just a city) is that we get to experience four uniquely different seasons. Mother Nature must really like us to because we don’t have any real bad weather or natural events(aside from the occasional big snow storm) to worry about. We don’t have major earthquakes, tornados or hurricanes to worry about. We only have to worry about people who don’t know how to drive in snow.

But, to me, the best time of year is Fall. Fall wasn’t always my favorite. Obviously, as a kid I loved summer. But now that I am older and wiser (yeah right), I know that fall is the best time of year. So much happens in the fall (or near fall) that I enjoy so much.

First Day of School

First Day of School

The first thing that happens is my kids go to school. I know, technically it is still summer when they start, but to me, it is the beginning of fall. I love having my kids around, and I do miss them when they aren’t at home, but that 3 hours when they are both not here, makes it possible to get so much done around the house.

I also love the look and smell of fall. I love the color changes that you don’t get in the southern part of the country. I love the fall leaves while they are on the trees. Although, I do loath them when they are on the ground and I have to rake them for what seems to be eternity. I love the cool, crisp air. The fact that you can layer your clothes so that you are warm on the cool morning and then peal off layers as the day warms up.

But the thing that has really grown on me over the years, and especially now that I am attempting to garden, is that it is harvest season. I love the fact that all these great foods are being picked fresh and you can get so much good local fruits and vegetables. The best part is going to the orchard and picking apples with the family. We all enjoy it so much and have a ball going through the orchard picking all the different varieties of apples. The boys love finding the biggest, brightest apples they can find. They love running up and down the rows and rows of trees. I love the fact that I can get so much for so little. I am sure we will go back again and get more.

Apples from the Orchard

Apples from the Orchard

There is so much that can be made with them and I am just starting to scratch the surface of what I am able to make. I have made, Apple Pie Oatmeal, Apple Salsa, BBQ Chicken with Apples, BBQ Chicken, Apple, and Tomato Pizza, and Apple & Blueberry Butter. I also frozen some that I chopped and coated with Cinnamon and Sugar so that I can make a pie or apple sauce quickly. All this has been done and I still have a ton on the counter waiting to be used. What else will I make? Who knows. I am still learning as I go here.

Weekend Review August 25, 2014

Utility Belt

 

Perplexus is Perplexing

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

A has wanted this puzzle game for some time. Every time we are in the toy department he plays with it for at least a little bit. His grandmother was nice enough to buy it for him this past weekend and he has rarely put it down.

Description

Perplexus reminds me of the wooden labyrinth games from when I was younger. If you don’t know what these are kids, look them up on Youtube they were really challenging. The difference between labyrinth games from when I was a kid and this is that it is in a sphere so the maze is in 3 dimensions. You have to twist and turn the sphere as a ball travels along an increasingly difficult course of 100 obstacles.

I have tried it, A has been addicted to it, even N has tried it. This is great for the younger ones too because it does work on hand-eye coordination and motor skills which is crucial at his age.

Also, this isn’t the only Perplexus game that PlaySmart makes. There is Rookie for beginners, which I will probably get for N to try his hand on. Also there is Epic, and Twist for even more challenges.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

Verdict

Great little toy for hours of fun. The boys love it. It is also great for travel because it is something to do besides play on electronic devices. Give it a try. Your family will love it.

Using All Your Tools To Make Something Amazing

This isnt what these are for

You mean this isn't what these are for?

You mean this isn’t what these are for?

I just want to start off by saying I have an amazing wife.

I was out of the house doing some work and the kids were bored so she (the wife) decided to make them forts over their beds. Now, we don’t have a lot of ropes and things to help keep the forts up in their rooms let alone above their beds. So my wife, being the resourceful woman that she is remembered my box full of Ethernet cords, cable wires,usb cables, speaker wire…well you get the point. There is a lot of stuff in there we don’t use. So she decided to use them as guide wires. As you can see it worked amazing. I came home to some monstrosities over the boys beds, but they have loved them so much it has been over a week and I haven’t been able to take them down. Way to go wife.

So what does your significant other do that truly amazes you? I would love to hear about it.

Weekend Review September 8, 2014

Weapons Training

Listen up maggots, it’s time to put on your big boy pants and start shooting some guns! How else are you going to survive the zombie apocalypse when it happens? So, put on your vest, grab your gun and start shooting.

Laserquest.com

Laserquest.com

Laser Quest

We recently went to play Laser Tag at Laser Quest on a hot but rainy Labor Day. Can I just say…It was a blast!

Description

If you don’t know what laser tag is watch the video.

You done watching the video? Good. Pretty self explanatory, huh? Well, that does a better job of explaining and showing what Laser Quest is then me. But, to add to it, they have video games, foosball, air hockey and other games in the area you wait before being let into the briefing room where you learn about the rules of the game. They also have a few big party rooms for birthdays or other events.

Basically, they brief you, you get your vest and gun, activate it, go in and try to kill everyone. And by kill I mean try to get the best score out of all the people playing by shooting their sensors and not letting them shoot yours. The games are 15 minutes long which actually seems pretty long once you are running around this big maze which is lit only by black lights.

 Verdict

You definitely have to try it if there is one near you. So Click Here to find out if there is one in your neck of the woods. Every one enjoyed it. The only thing I can say is I wish they had some smaller vests, because while younger kids can play, the vest doesn’t fit on a smaller child like my 4 year old “N”. His mother and I had to take turns wearing the vest while he had the gun (which is attached to the vest by the way). So we had to follow this little terror around as he ran stalked after girls totally annihilating them. It is pretty difficult to do, but also a lot of fun. Also, leave your pride at the door to the briefing room because once you get in there you will quickly realize that you are going to be beat again and again by a 4 foot tall laser shooting maniac.

 

First Day of School

Ninja TrainingFirst Day of Ninja SchoolSo today it starts. It is old hat for the “A” and it should be old hat for his dad, but it isn’t. Today marks the day my youngest takes the next step away from needing me for everything to be more independent. Today, “N” goes to Pre-K. Today, I am no longer the center of his learning universe. Today, “N” will start learning all his ninja fighting skills from other kids and dare I say it…a teacher (gasp). Today is the day that his world starts to expand exponentially.

It is bitter sweet for me. I will enjoy the little bit of freedom I will have without the boys in theFirst Day 2 house, but I will miss the great adventures they take me on. I know, I know, I will still have plenty of time for them after school, but this new adventure for them makes me realize that I will gradually become less and less a part of  their lives as they learn and grow. I will be the taxi, the waiter, and the hotel concierge. I do realize that I will always be dad. I do realize that “A” and “N” will always love me. I just know that I will miss these full days, even if many of them are just filled with hanging out and watching shows and playing video games together.

So today, I sit here and contemplate the next phase of Ninja Training. Any suggestions?

Weekend Review August 25, 2014

Utility BeltI am going to change up the weekend review a little bit and talk about products, experiences, vacations that I want for either me, as a dad, or for my kids and family as well as products. I am doing this because, lets face it, as a one income family, income is limited and we don’t buy a lot of new things for the kids. We also seem to buy even less for ourselves.

TABLETOPICS

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

This week I am going to talk about something I think would be great for the family. I feel that meal time is very important for all families. This is especially true as children get older and activities and life move people in all directions. Mom goes to work, Dad stays home, kids have school, activities, sports, friends. No one seems to have time to see each other anymore. That is why we love having dinner together. It gets us together and lets us reconnect as a family. We can talk about our days, enjoy a good meal instead of something quick on the go, and just unwind from a hectic day.

That is why I think that TABLETOPICS is a great product. Ever feel like you don’t know

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

what to talk about? Ever feel you can’t connect with your kids? I know I do, and I spend a majority of the day with them. TABLETOPICS is the ideal conversation starter. Kids love to participate and talk about their ideas and opinions so why not engage them, teach some great social skills (without them even knowing) and learn a little something about them. Each box comes with 135 questions such as “what’s your favorite ride at an amusement park” and “who is one of your heroes and why do they inspire you”. They fuel conversations and you never know where the conversation will lead.

The great thing though is that the box makes it easy to take with you, so it isn’t something that you need to keep at the dinner table. You can take them with you on a long trip in the car, at restaurants to keep the easily distracted munchkins entertained and not bugging the people sitting at the table behind them.

There are also many different additions so you don’t need to get it just for family time. They have additions for couples, dinner parties, family gatherings among others.

I know I want it for our family, and will probably be picking up my first box soon. If so, I will let you know how it goes.

Weekend Review August 25, 2014

Utility Belt

 

Muppets Most Wanted

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

We rented Muppets Most Wanted last night from rebox for the boys to watch after a long day of outside play, water guns, water balloons, and getting soaked with the hose. It was a good cap to a fun day and a busy 4 days.

Description

I grew up on the Muppets Show. I was glad when Disney decided to do a new movie and was excited to see the sequel too. I love the fact that the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and that they are not afraid to poke fun at themselves.

Muppets Most Wanted literally picks up right where The Muppets ended in 2011. As soon as the movie ends, this one begins. They are approached by Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) to go on a world tour to capitalize on their recent success. What they don’t know is that Badguy is working with Constantine, the worlds number one criminal (also Kermit’s doppelganger) who just broke out of prison. Constantine ends up pretending he is Kermit as the Muppets travel Europe on their world tour. At each stop of the tour Constantine and Badguy break into museums.

It isn’t until Walter, Fozzie, and Animal (who knew from the very beginning) figure out that Kermit isn’t himself that the Muppets are able to stop Constantine in his evil plot to steal the Crown Jewels in London.

 Verdict

While I love the Muppets and this was a funny movie, it does bother me (as an adult) that none of the Muppets could tell that something was amiss with Kermit. But then I remembered that this was a kids movie and my kids were laughing at the story and the fact that the Muppets couldn’t tell that it wasn’t Kermit while they knew. To them it was hilarious. Isn’t that what it is about? Making kids laugh. Right? I love the Muppets, and I liked this movie enough to say you should at least rent it, even if you don’t add it to your Disney collection.