Parenthood

How To Be Really Famous (In a Way That Matters)

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These days it seems like everyone wants to be famous. Which makes it kind of a bummer when you put up a killer photo on Facebook and only two people like it and one of them is your mom.

Online, there are all kinds of resources to help you become “internet famous.” You can learn how to increase your likes, followers, retweets, subscribers, page views…pretty much any metric you can think of.

But just because something can be measured doesn’t make it valuable.

Now behind the desire to be “famous” is the desire to be liked, admired, or regarded as someone of importance. And that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how many followers you have or whether or not you are on the cover of a magazine. Signing up to stay later at work, chair a prestigious committee, or serve as president of the association you belong to are not inherently bad. But our reasons for doing them can come from a desire to be liked, admired, or regarded as someone of importance.

Honestly, I often get envious of others who have more blog readers, customers, or Facebook fans than me. It makes me feel like I’m falling short and not good enough. I feel like I should be further along than I am, and it makes it harder to see the good that I am doing. Meanwhile, it distracts me. It gets me focused on people I don’t know, while ignoring the people I do. Why do we put so much stock in what strangers think about us?

Then I came across a quote that kicked my butt. It was from Mark Batterson, who wrote, “I want to be famous in my own home.”

Holy crap. That’s just awesome.

When it comes down to it, that’s what I want, too.

And it got me thinking, what would it take? What things do you need to do to become famous in your own home? Since there aren’t many $99 e-courses tackling that question, I had to come up with some ideas on my own:

  1. Be present. When you’re having quality time with your family, don’t ruin it by checking your phone every ten seconds.
  2. Be quick to apologize when you screw up.
  3. Be kind.
  4. Be fun.
  5. Be willing to disappoint the people outside your own home by turning down opportunities that would cause you to see your family less.
  6. And finally, it might not hurt to plaster propaganda promotional posters up of yourself (Dad is Rad! Mom is the Bomb!) all over your home.

I can honestly say that there is no better feeling in the world than to come home after a long flight, ride the escalator down into the airport lobby, and see your children wearing giant smiles and running as fast as they can to come hug you.

Just like anybody, I want to be looked up to. Admired. Respected. Missed when I’m gone. But if I’m not regarded in this way by the people who know me best, all the Twitter followers in the world just don’t matter.

What do you think about this idea of being famous in your own home? And more importantly, what do YOU think it takes?



[ About the Art: While in the middle of this one, I came up with the idea of doing label tape from the 70s and 80s for the words instead of my usual ransom note newspaper cutouts. I originally had sunglasses painted in, but as I was toying around with locations for the words, I decided to turn them into the sunglasses. Much more interesting to be sure, but nonetheless, a last-minute “happy accident.”

The idea for the fireworks also came to me just as I was about to call this piece finished. I figure they elevate this guy’s star power to sold-out stadium level. (Made with Photoshop.) (Buy the print!) ]

Traveling with Kids: How to Not Get Conquered by Disney World

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“Disney World is going to conquer you.”

Those were the words a “friendly” TSA employee working the airport security line delivered to Kim.

First of all, who feels it’s a good idea to predict a disaster to someone on their first day of vacation, the one their five-year-old has been counting down for over 80 days? Granted, Kim was holding a two-month old, jamming a half-folded stroller into the x-ray machine, and prepping four bottles of breast milk for a some guy with blue gloves to make sure they weren’t laced with explosive material.

And second, what if Little Miss Sunshine had known that Kim would also be pumping several times at the park itself?

What she didn’t know, of course, was that it would be our fourth time there since our honeymoon. We’ve now done it twice with a two-month-old. (Ben’s first ride was It’s a Small World; Virginia’s was Under the Sea.) Many people think of going to Disney World with small children is a death sentence. And it could be if you do it wrong. Here’s a few things we learned along the way:

Don’t Go in the Summer.
It’s pretty busy all the time, but it’s hell in the summer. Literally. Temperatures reach 130 degrees and Satan replaces Mickey Mouse in all the parades.

Plan Ahead.
Bringing water bottles, sunscreen, and extra baby wipes are all obvious tips. But think ahead to the worst that can happen and look for ways to avoid them or alleviate the pain if they do. Kim earned MVP of the trip by backing 10 “Blowout Kits.” (Paper towels to lay the kid down on! More paper-towels pre-sprayed with stain remover! Wal-Mart bags for the dirty clothes and diapers!) Ginny is at the stage where diapers are simply no match for the volumous explosions that erupt from her nether regions. She had three blowouts at one day of Epcot alone. Not fun to clean up, to be sure, but because of a little forethought, they weren’t disastrous, either.

Don’t Try Doing Everything.
Disney costs a lot of money, but you don’t have to treat it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Getting your money’s worth by cramming as many things into each day as possible is a wonderful way to get conquered. Prizes are not awarded to the people with the highest attractions per hour average.

Take Naps.
If you plan on spending most of the day at a park, it’s wise to budget in a time for naps. Even the grown-ups appreciate it. Sure, we “miss out” on a few hours of time when we could have been at the park, but it allows us to enjoy the time we are there SO MUCH MORE. This cannot be overstated.

Take Your Time.
Things take a little longer with kids. You can either fight reality and spend your whole trip trying to speed them up (not gonna happen, by the way) or you can slow down to their level and breathe a little. Magically, enjoying the moment becomes a whole lot easier, especially when you begin noticing all the other people frantically running around like headless chickens.

Know Why You’re Going.
Kim and I have been to Disney World without kids, and yes, it is quieter and less stressful. But these days, I’d have a hard time going without them, because I’d spend the whole time thinking, “Man, I wish Lucy could have seen that,” or “Ben would have just loved this.” Some people think it’s stupid to spend all that money going with young children because they’ll never remember any of it. I resent that thought because it assumes it’s all about the kid. Ben may not remember meeting his hero, but I will never forget the stunned, sunglasses-wearing little boy who stood before Mulan speechless when his time finally did come. Lucy may not remember the details of meeting all the princesses at breakfast, but Kim and I will never forget the sparkle in her eye as each one of them grabbed her by the hand and took the time to talk to her. When we take the kids to Disney World, it’s just as much for us as it is for them.

So…Disney World did not in fact conquer us — just as we knew it wouldn’t — mostly because we did the things explained above.

But there is a bigger moral to this story.

Some people get a kick out of forecasting your story for you, whether they’re parents, teachers, or TSA employees. Never forget: this is YOUR story; you get to decide how it’s going to go.

Do you have any good tips for traveling with kids? Share them below!

Just You Wait

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Children are a wonderful blessing. And, depending on how you look at it, they can either be a CAUSE OF or a CURE FOR Adultitis. Before we were parents, we had people warn us of the former and encourage us with the latter. When our first child was born, we committed to keeping a weekly journal documenting our first year of parenting. We were curious: How would Adultitis attack us? How would we deal with it? Could we survive?

When the dust settled, we’d made it through that first year and made good on our resolution to record the journey. We ended up publishing the honest, unvarnished story of our adventure of fighting Adultitis as first-time parents. To date, it hasn’t sold as many copies as our other books — probably because it’s so specific — but in many ways, I feel like it might be our most helpful.

Kim and I both smiled from ear to ear when we got this email the other day from a new mom named Melissa:

“Thank you for writing Just You Wait! It is a lifesaver of a book. I will be buying it for the next newly pregnant person I know. It totally helped during the days when my naivety on parenthood and nursing were so in the past and the reality of being awake, uncomfortable, unknowing and at my breaking point felt so real. It was a reality check with a dose of much needed hope and honesty. THANK YOU for writing it and taking time from that first year to document some of it. Can’t say it enough- THANK YOU. Thank you. thank you…

Hoping you are doing well with the new baby… can recommend this totally awesome book to you for those laaate nights if you need some encouragement ;)”

Nice.

If you are a new parent, know someone who is, or would like to relive those gory — I mean glory — days yourself, you can buy the book at The Lemonade Stand or Amazon. It’s available for Kindle and iBooks, too!

Ben’s Purple Mustache

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Adultitis was kicking our butt.

It had been exactly a month since Virginia Rose was born. A good month, to be sure, but also a long one. Weary of the bitter cold weather, our entire family was tired of being cooped up, and the older two kids were passing time by pushing our buttons. Two-year-old Ben had a streak of purple under his nose, a colorful souvenir from “smelling” the markers we used to keep him quiet. Although we pined for an afternoon at a Florida beach, it was decided that going out to lunch was the best we could hope for today.

As I went to wipe the marker from Ben’s face, Kim made some comment about him looking a bit like Hitler. Then she said, “I wish we could just draw mustaches on our kids, wouldn’t that be awesome?”

“It would be,” I agreed.

“Why don’t we?” she asked.

I could tell by her tone that she was kind of serious. And so I paused to ponder a serious response.

“Because of what other people might think,” I answered.

Before I even finished the sentence, I knew what I had to do.

“Give me that purple marker,” I said. After glancing to confirm it was the washable variety, I removed the cap and called Ben over. Then I drew a bold and curly mustache on my son. Although he cooperated, it’s fair to say he had no idea what I was doing.

“Ok.” I proclaimed. “NOW, let’s go to lunch.

And we did, with our purple mustachioed son in tow.

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It did garner some attention. No calls from DCFS, as Adultitis had warned. Instead, the people who noticed universally responded with smiles of delight at my oblivious son who looked like a tiny ringleader in a circus sponsored by Willy Wonka. And it was awesome.

Here’s a tip: If you are faced with an opportunity to do something, and the only reason you don’t is because of what someone else might think, you can be certain that Adultitis is up to no good. If you are serious about winning this war, and you are desirous of living an amazing story, you must do that very thing, without hesitation. You must.

Family with spring fever and three kids, five and under: 1, Adultitis: 0.

Share a time when YOU did something fun without regard to what other people might think. Leave a comment below!

On Making Progress

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“Carry On.” Made with Photoshop. Buy this art.

My daughter Lucy is five. Getting her to go to bed has been a struggle since the Johnson administration.

Andrew Johnson.

I know that seems impossible, but when you calculate it in sleep deprived years, it adds up.

We’ve made progress on all fronts over the years, but there’s always…something. The latest challenge is training her that when she has to go potty in the middle of the night, she doesn’t have to wake me up to ask me a series of unimportant questions like “How long is it ’till morning?” and concluding with the ever-present, “Is that all the questions?”

She has traces of anxiety and obsessive-compulsiveness that are on the verge of being a concern but fall just short, mainly because they appear to be genetically passed on.

Thanks a lot, self.

If Lucy can make it to the bathroom three nights in a row without waking me up from a deep, delicious sleep, we agreed to get her an Elsa doll from the movie Frozen.

She has yet to string two consecutive nights together, but we are making progress. The ability to go to the bathroom without announcing it first, and tucking herself in afterwards were fairy tales but a week ago. This morning, as I fumed over our inability to eliminate the inane and half-delirious questions that occur in the middle of the otherwise smooth process, Kim sent me a photo she found online, overlaid with a quote from Plato that said, “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”

Boy did I need that. Although so slow it seems like backwards sometimes, Lucy is indeed making progress. And so when she woke up, I praised her for the good things she’s been able to accomplish.

That Plato quote is a good one, and not just for parents or teachers, either. I think it’s a good idea to keep it in mind when it comes to ourselves as well.

I am flawed. Imperfect. Regularly falling a little bit short. Like anyone, I have many struggles and foibles, and I am usually the first in line to throw stones at myself, if that were somehow possible. (I suppose you could throw one up and run under it, but I digress.)

Me and you, we’re works in progress. Focus on moving in the right direction. The going may be slow, but that’s ok.

We need to be kind to ourselves.

Yes, be kind. And carry on.



[ About the Art: This one was inspired by the song "Carry On" by Fun. Sometimes, when I'm sketching, I like listening to music and pulling out words and phrases that strike me. The illustrator in me plays with images that could work with the words. After the episode with Lucy and the quote Kim sent me, I pulled this month-old doodle out of the sketchbook and went to work. My first iteration included the Great Pyramids in the background, but I decided that was too...specific. I opted for more of a generic Grand Canyon type of background because it gives an overall sense of scale, but you're not quite sure where the turtle is on his journey. As far as the turtle is concerned, obviously it is a bit stylized. There is a tendency (at least for me) to draw turtles with droopy eyes and heavy eyelids that make them look old, slow and tired. My goal was to give this one more of determined expression. Mission accomplished? You tell me. (Buy the print!) ]

A Nine-Year-Old Declares the One Good Thing About Being an Adult

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[This is a guest post by Champion of Childhood award winner Matt Haas (and his daughter Amelia.)]

I just finished reading the latest installment of the Escape Adulthood newsletter and it reminded me of a conversation I had recently with my nine-year-old daughter, Amelia.

We were driving home from school and she was lamenting that she “never wanted to grow up.” As a newly appointed Champion of Childhood, it was my duty to take a deeper dive on that comment and try and find a possible antidote to this dreaded disease. What did she know that we didn’t, and could it shine some light on this and maybe, just maybe, give us some sage advice to minimize the affliction? So I asked her to tell me why being a grown up is so bad. And I quote:

  1. Because you’re too big to do anything fun like kids rides and stuff.
  2. You look old and not like a kid.
  3. You have to stay home alone.
  4. You have to pay bills and taxes.
  5. You have to go shopping.
  6. You don’t like kids shows on TV anymore.
  7. You don’t like kids music anymore.
  8. You have to get a job.
  9. You have to clean the house.

The one and apparently only good thing about being an adult is……

  1. You get to have kids of your own, have a family and make all the rules!

So from the mouths of babes comes the answer to all that we seek. As “adults” we have the power to make all the rules, yet many of us fail to use the very power we are granted with age. Instead of making the right rules, like dance like no one is watching and the towel baths rule, we decide games are dangerous!

So tonight when you go home, stop whatever you are doing and watch your kids and they will help you decide what rules you really need to keep, and what ones you need to break! See you at the arcade!

The Kid Who Really Wanted Glasses He Didn’t Need (and the Mom Who Let Him Get Them)

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People with Adultitis are often embarrassed by people without it. It makes them uncomfortable. They worry about what the behavior of the “Adultitis-free” people will say about them.

Of course, there is one demographic of people that typically suffers from very little Adultitis. We call them children.

If we let them, kids can help us treat the Adultitis within us.

But if we’re not careful, we can also inflict our Adultitis upon them.

It’s easy for parents (and teachers) to use their authority to shut down the behavior our children engage in; behavior that is completely innocent, other than calling out the Adultitis within us.

When we curb the behavior of children solely because we are embarrassed by what the kids are wearing, playing with, or are interested in, we are succumbing to Adultitis big-time.

We don’t have to, of course.

We wanted to celebrate one mom who refused to allow Adultitis to dictate her parenting. Here’s Connie’s story, in her own words:

While out shopping one day with my six year old son, he spotted a pair of black-rimmed glasses with clear lenses that he just adored. Caden put them on and looked up at me and asked “Can I get these?” I giggled at the sight of him and immediately responded with “No, silly!” The disappointment in his eyes was telling, and he took them off and held them in his small hand throughout the store. He asked me a few more times as we shopped, and each time I told him no.

As we approached the register, you could see in his eyes that this was do-or-die time. He proceded to ask me once more, “Mom, can I please please please get these? I really love them!”

I looked at the price tag, $4. I asked him “Are you honestly going to wear these?” He assured me he would. I caved and put them on the counter with the other items, much to his delight. I don’t remember what else I bought that summer day, but I will always remember buying those darn glasses!

Fast forward a year, and he is still wearing them, a lot! Just the other day we were walking into our local Walmart, and I noticed he was wearing those stinkin’ glasses again. My initial thought was that we better run back to the car and leave them there — he can’t possibly wear those into the store!

Then it dawned on me, why not? Why can’t he wear them into the store? He can!

I looked over at him and chuckled, just like I did the first time I saw him wearing them. I thought in that moment that maybe he will make other people smile and brighten their day, too. All of a sudden, I felt proud of my son and his big black spectacles and I told him, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” I could tell that he was having a hard time processing this quote, so I explained it to him in simpler terms which he did understand.

I am hoping that I passed on a small lesson to him that day, one that sticks with him for years to come. I know that I learned something very valuable that day, and it will stay with me forever. Allowing your child the freedom to express themselves and to love them for who they are is the greatest gift of all.

Connie is a Champion of Childhood. It’s important to note that she wasn’t immediately on board with her son’s unusual fashion choice. But she had the presence of mind to realize that it wasn’t going to hurt anyone, and she made the important decision not to let it affect her own pride.

Children are pint-sized walking cures for our own Adultitis.

But the medicine only works if we are brave enough to let it.


A Champion of Childhood is someone instilled with the soaring spirit of childhood who rallies against rules that don’t exist while engaging in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine the slavery of Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. We like shining a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against Adultitis. See more here.

Dad Starts Dance Party at Pharmacy

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I have never been a pharmacist. I don’t even play one on TV. But I can’t imagine a pharmacy inherently being a work environment filled with laughs and good times.

But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use it.

Here is an email we got from Dan Drella, who initiated a small rebellion with his kids.

“I was in Walgreens with sons Brody (6) and Xavier (7). We were walking from photo to the back of the store. Xavier said, “What are we doing now?” My answer was, “Dance party!” Boom, right there in the aisle. All three of us dancing. Brody was all over it. Xavier said, “No, really, what are we doing now?” My reply: “Dance party!” More dancing ensued. “No seriously dad, what are we doing now?” Again…”Dance party!!!” Brody was just laughing. Five times from photo to the pharmacy. When we got to the pharmacy, the pharmacist and assistant were just laughing. They must have been watching the cameras or something. It was a pretty awesome moment of escaping adulthood. Gosh, I need more of those!”

The whole world does, Dan. Which is why we dub you a Champion of Childhood: for having the courage to create one for yourself, your kids, and — even if unintentionally — for the people working in a pharmacy.

Dance on.


A Champion of Childhood is someone instilled with the soaring spirit of childhood who rallies against rules that don’t exist while engaging in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine the slavery of Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. We like shining a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against Adultitis. See more here.

Your Next Big Thing

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As of this writing, Kim is pregnant with our third child. The news came as a bit of a surprise. Not a shock, mind you, as we are well aware of how babies are made. (Pretty sure, at least.)

The fact is that although we were open to another child, we weren’t exactly planning on it. We had been getting used to the story of our family having just two kids.

When Kim first told me the news, I may or may not have cursed. Not in an angry way, but more in a “you’ve got to be kidding me” way. [Read more...]

Living Life as an Adventure

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What is the role of a parent? Obviously, keeping them alive is a big one. I’ve learned that feeding them semi-regularly and redirecting them away from hot stoves and wild animals helps with that. Teaching them morals, and how to be a positive contribution to society are important next-level responsibilities.

But what about being brave? Isn’t it important to teach them how to chase a dream and how to take risks and strive to reach their potential? [Read more...]

The Title of Dad

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When Kim was pregnant with our first, I had a speaking engagement in Green Bay. After my talk was over, a guy came up to me and said, “Of all the titles I’ve ever had, ‘Dad’ is my all-time favorite. I think it will be the same for you, too.”

He shared that he had two kids, 22 and 19. He said he started missing his younger son the day the boy left for college.

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years. Baseball scorekeeper. Concession stand owner. Car washer. Newspaper ad designer. Most of us go through our careers with business cards that grow ever more impressive. What makes them more impressive? The titles, of course. “CEO” looks better than “Manager” which looks better than “Sales Associate.” We put a lot of stock in these titles printed on our business card or on the company web site. It is our identity; a sign of where we stand in the pecking order.

Of course, we’re more than just what’s printed on our business cards. We’re sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers. But those don’t seem much like titles. They’re sort of automatic. We don’t have to earn them by going to school, working hard, or kissing butt. [Read more...]

Career Is Never As Important As Family

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Basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently wrote an article for Esquire magazine entitled, 20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 30. This one is my favorite:

9. Career is never as important as family. The better you are at your job, the more you’re rewarded, financially and spiritually, by doing it. You know how to solve problems for which you receive praise and money. Home life is more chaotic. Solving problems is less prescriptive and no one’s applauding or throwing money if you do it right. That’s why so many young professionals spend more time at work with the excuse, “I’m sacrificing for my family.” Bullshit. Learn to embrace the chaos of family life and enjoy the small victories. This hit me one night after we’d won an especially emotional game against the Celtics. I’d left the stadium listening to thousands of strangers chanting “Kareem! Kareem!” I felt flush with the sense of accomplishment, for me, for the Lakers, and for the fans. But when I stepped into my home and my son said, “Daddy!” the victory, the chanting, the league standings, all faded into a distant memory.

I struggle with this one almost daily. It’s hard when we are wired to spend more time on the things that give us an immediate or financial payoff. And it’s especially tricky when one’s career is very mission-based, like mine.

Adultitis will use anything it can to distract us from the things that are most important. Sometimes it can be pretty darn convincing. [Read more...]

Help Wanted: Family CEO

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Help Wanted: Family CEO
Applicant is responsible for the management and safety of her subordinates at all times. She will be responsible for the overall health and development of those under her supervision, including, but not limited to, ensuring proper regular hygiene, ethics instruction, and recreational activities. She will foster appropriate communication and team building skills within her unit, which shall require expertise status in the areas of conflict resolution and communications. Being particularly fluent in primitive languages is a plus. [Read more...]

How to Break the Cycle of Adultitis

Where does Adultitis come from? As a very contagious disease, it’s an important question.

Many times, it’s passed down from generation to generation. This cycle needs to stop. But how?

The best way is to model what an Adultitis-free life looks like. Like this Dad:

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Our kids listen to what we DO, not what we SAY.

With respect to Adultitis, the prognosis for these girls’ futures looks very positive.

Dad Breaks Rule on First Day of Spring

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The first day of spring is Wednesday. How are you planning to celebrating it?

Wait…you weren’t?

A woman at a recent speaking gig shared with me a neat family tradition that I had to pass along. She grew up in Connecticut, and every year, on the first day of spring, her father would “kidnap” his kids and play hooky. They’d all load into the car as usual, but he’d eventually take a “wrong turn,” and they’d never quite make it to school. One time, he took them sledding to take advantage of a new blanket of snow on the ground. Another time they ended up at the Statue of Liberty. Since it was a weekday (and a rainy one at that), the crowds were light and they were able to ascend to the top without any waiting.

It reminds me of the dad who took his kids to the circus instead of taking them to school.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that a parent’s first job is to model consistency and instill responsibility in their children. That there is a need for people like the Supernanny is a crying shame.

But I also think it’s important to create scenes with your kids. And one of the best ways to do that is by breaking a rule, starting a small rebellion, and just playing hooky once in a while.

Of course, one needn’t have kids, or even grandkids for that matter, in order to break a rule and create a scene. We ALL need a day to play hooky once in a while.

You can call it a mental health day or a “sick of it” day, if that helps.

This Wednesday is the first day of spring. How will you celebrate it?

P.S. Like the Statue of Liberty art above? You can get it as a print, available in vanilla or chocolate. :)

Easy Bake Ovens (for Boys)

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When I was a wee lad, I asked for a kitchen set for Christmas.

My Mom denied my request, informing me that kitchen sets were for girls.

My disappointment gave way to hope the following year, however. While engaging in my favorite late fall pastime — reading the Sears Christmas catalog that arrived by mail — I was overjoyed to see that within the very pages of that fine, authoritative publication was the kitchen set of my dreams…and it was shown being played with by a girl AND a boy. I rushed to show my mom the the incontrovertible evidence. [Read more...]

Making Memories Stick: One Sentence Daily Journal

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My memory stinks. And I’m not even forty. Perhaps that is why I am so interested in simple ways to record the cool stuff that happens in my life. Then when I’m old I can actually have some idea of what I spent my life doing. [Read more...]

Messages in a Bottle: Make Your Own Memory Jar

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At the end of every year, Kim and I sit down and review the year that was. We talk about what went well, what didn’t go well, and reminisce about the adventures we had and the things we accomplished. The hardest part is remembering it all! We review our calendar and archived to-do lists, and even though I’m amazed at how much you can accomplish in a year, I always feel like we’re missing stuff.

Which is what makes this idea pure genius.

Find a neat jar and put it in your kitchen with a pen and a stack of tiny paper nearby. Throughout the year, write down any cool adventures, funny stories, or happy things that occur and put them in the jar. Then on New Years Eve, read all the notes and bask in gratitude at the cool stuff that happened during the year.

Since everyone in the household can contribute, a highlight is reading the notes other people added over the course of the year. Even neater: a shelf in your house that features your memory jars through the years!

Looking for some fun ideas to make sure your memory jar is filled with awesome? Try this.

Hat tip to Jill Bodwin and Jaden Hair.

The Seasons of Life and a Stress-Reducing Secret

I became a father a little over four years ago. Before that, my wife and I had been married for eight years and worked together on our small business. We were used to working long days, coming and going as we pleased, and eating out at nice, quiet restaurants. We used to have a Cheerio-free backseat in our car. But now we have two kids, which practically makes me an expert at parenting.

An expert at knowing how little I actually know about it, that is. [Read more...]

How To Make the Day of a Parent

Notice something great about their parenting (even if it’s a little thing) and tell them about it.

That’s it.

Day made.

There is no more difficult job out there than being a parent. (If you care about being good at it, that is.) As they say, the days are long but the years are short. And those long days are often filled with doubt, uncertainty, fear, and a whole lot of second-guessing. [Read more...]

Hey Parents: What Super Power Would You Most Want to Have?

Our family dressed up like The Avengers this Halloween. It all started a few months ago when Lucy insisted that she wanted to be Captain America. (She has a thing for his shield.) Our son Ben is quite the grunter, so he seemed like a good choice as Hulk, and things snowballed from there.

After the dust settled, Kim and I got into a discussion of what super power we’d most want to have in our role as parents.

Since I have had many moments holding a sleeping kid with the remote control or my phone just out of reach, I would LOVE to possess the “Force-like” ability to levitate objects and draw them into my hand. Kim said she’d love the ability to put the kids to sleep at the wave of her hand.

That led me to wonder what powers other parents might choose. What say you? Leave a comment and let us know!

Show ‘Em How It’s Done

One thing my Dad likes doing with his grandkids is eating Hershey’s chocolate syrup with a spoon, straight from the bottle.

It was a big day in our household when Kim taught Lucy how to dunk cookies in milk.

And then there’s the story a childcare professional I met in Houston shared with me. [Read more...]

Parenthood is Definitely Not Like Politics


So we have officially started home schooling. I imagine we’ll share all the reasons for this at some point, but I’m pretty sure the main reason is because…we’re crazy.

One thing I’ve noticed so far about parenthood is that the things our kids most readily pick up from us has nothing to do with the carefully crafted “lessons” we try to put forth. It’s definitely not like a political campaign, where you create an image with stories and photo-ops in order to present a pre-defined message to voters. No, kids aren’t fooled by spin. They see all sides of you, and the lessons they learn from the things you say and do when you don’t think they’re paying attention, well, those seem to be the most sticky. [Read more...]

You Can’t Have it All. So Choose What You Want Wisely.

Does the more time you spend with your family lessen the impact you can have through your career?

Since becoming a father, that is a question I have struggled mightily with. [Read more...]