KINDMilesMatter…A Lot!

Like a lot of Dads, I love the Comedian Jim Gaffigan. He has a way with summing up Fatherhood and at the start of my time working with KIND Bars in order to translate miles walked into food for charity we had recently added a third child to our brood.  I feel like Jim sums it up when he said in one of his acts, “You know what it’s like having five kids? Imagine you’re drowning. And someone hands you a baby!” We don’t have five kids, we just leveled up to three, but holy cow it has been an adjustment.

I say all of this, because while working with KIND, I really had to adjust my focus from what I thought my results should be, and instead look closely at what I was teaching my children about why we do things for other people.

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When we got started I was so focused on how many miles we were logging it was running my kids ragged.  There was no fun in it for them, a hence because of their age this meant that they weren’t learning anything about the positives that come from helping others.

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It is hot here in Virginia. And as you see in this picture of my daughter Bellamy, she was not amused with the logging of miles.

So we refocused. Rather than concentrating on the end product, we began to look at what we needing to put into the campaign in order for it to help others rather than be the figurative winner.

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Once we did that, everything changed.  The attitude of my kids totally changed because it wasn’t about faking it, it was about being authentically there.

When I thought about it, that authentic attitude mirrors our sponsor.  KIND Bars doesn’t put anything in their snacks that you can’t pronounce. They pride themselves on using all natural ingredients that are good for you and taste good at the same time.

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Since 2004, KIND has been working to make the world better one snack at a time.  That is why they partnered with myself, and other Bloggers for the KINDMilesMatter campaign. For every mile we were able to log, KIND is going to donate a box of their bars to a charity of my choice.

This goes to show, they not only care about what goes into your body, but also about what goes out into the community.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Kind Snacks for this promotion.

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Vroooom Vroooom y’all!

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I was kind of a jerk the day I got my first car.  So, my #FirstCarMoment begins with my Ma fussing at me in line at Golden Corral.  Not a Golden Corral Buffet.  Just the regular kind. Because we are classy like that.  It all kind of happened like this…

Before we left to go to my 16th birthday dinner I was convinced that a car was going to be outside the house. I am not sure why I was so sure about it.  Ok, actually I do know why.  Because I was spoiled.  I can admit that. But, please don’t tell my kids because I am not nearly as generous as my parents are.

So, when we walked out and there was no car my balloon instantly burst.  I tried to hide my disappointment (I think…) but when we drove by the bank that was selling my dream car (a 1993 Calypso Green Mustang) and it was no longer parked in front I am sure I was pouting like a bullfrog.

I got it together and we ate and had a pleasant time. After we left dinner, I was driving of course, my parents suggested we cruise through the used car lot in our little town.

As I pulled around the building I couldn’t believe that my little Mustang was parked right there.  Talk about adding insult to injury. (Man, I was I little jerk!)

I slowly drove past it, when I noticed a huge banner that said Happy Birthday and it was full of balloons. (Yes, my childhood was directly from an 80s movie except way more countryfied.) I couldn’t believe it! I jumped out and jumped into the car. Actually, that isn’t totally true because the movie soundtrack playing in my head at the moment (probably something like Take My Breath Away…) was interrupted by my parents being unable to find the key. Still, though, I was like a movie star.  At least in my own mind.

I loved that car and I drove the crap out of it.  I went parking in that car. I cruised my town in that car. I grew up in that car.  It was my baby and I washed it by hand and never let it go through the car wash, since my God Father Rod told me that it would damage my paint job.

Eventually my senior year of high school I traded it in for this:

Although, I loved the feeling of the wind through my hair, I never loved my Cavalier like I did that first Mustang.

There is just something sweet about your first car that you can never recreate.  That moment of freedom you experience when you pull out of your driveway all alone the first time. Suddenly the world seems all yours.

My Cavalier was amazing and reliable. Until it wasn’t.  Although that was totally my fault.

I was driving down I95 between DC and Richmond when I blew that baby up.  Not because I was driving too fast, but because I didn’t maintain it.  The engine was totally out of oil and I was totally out of a car.

I look back to those days of being young and dumb and I am shocked at how much I took car maintenance for granted. I guess I thought my Dad would do all the work forever.

Now that I AM the Dad, I have traded my sports car days in for keys to an SUV.  I mean, how else is this family of five going to be able to get around?

I think of Asher getting behind the wheel and although that is at least 12 years away, I hope he will be more responsible than I was.

I had no idea that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is seen as the 100 most dangerous days for teen drivers.  I can’t say I am surprised though! I think of all the risks I took and I count my lucky stars. And that was in the days before the distraction of cell phones were even added into the mix.

With around 12% of the millions of accidents each year being attributed to tire issues I see that I need to do more to insure my family’s safety on the road.  I live on a four lane highway so, trust me, I see first hand horrible accidents every so often.  We have to make sure that our families aren’t part of them!

I check the tire pressure on my wife and I’s cars every Sunday afternoon.  That is something that my Dad has drilled into my head to do.  And I will make sure my kids do that as well. I need to, however, be more vigilant about the tread on my tires.

Often, we look for the best sale on tires, but there are certain things you can’t evaluate just by price. Michelin has been in the tire business for 125 years (say what!??!) and they are all about preventing the around 125,000 accidents that occur due to inexperience drivers having tire issues.

My #FirstCarMoment was amazing and I want my son’s to be as well! So I will trust only the experts with my tires.

After all, keeping these three safe is one of my biggest jobs as a Dad!

  • Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion.  I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own.

Dad Privilege? No Way!

I saw an article over at Rage Against The Minivan that caught my eye.  First, I want to say I love the website and it can in no way be called anything but Pro-Dad.  So, when I saw she was writing about what she called Dad Privilege, I was interested right away.

I encourage you to take a moment and click the link above to read her take.  It is interesting. But, I have to say, it lacks some understanding about what it is like to be a Father in this day and age.

It has been an ongoing issue that almost every Pappy on TV (especially in commercials) is a bumbling idiot that doesn’t have the common sense to take care of a child. I see my fellow Dads being shown as so stupid they oftentimes cannot change a baby’s diaper without some help from a woman.

So, yes, when people see a Dad alone with their child they are often complementary.  You see, as a Dad, I win as long as my kids make it through a day under my supervision alive. What she sees as Dad Privilege is actually simply people being impressed you aren’t an ignorant jackass or completely absent from your little one’s life all together.

Only recently have I noticed that a new trend has been coming into play.  I see more and more men walking around with Dad-positive messaging on their shirts.  I see commercials full of men who can not only change a diaper but they can do so without complaining about it.  I see more and more of my male friends with their kids plastered all over their Instagram feeds.  Men, in my opinion, are suddenly being ENCOURAGED to be good Dads.

Yes, it is absolutely insane that in 2015 we are seeing taking care of your progeny being a cool thing for the first time.  But rather than say, “Stop giving men easy compliments for doing what they should do anyway,” we should just be thrilled that the tide of fatherhood is changing.

I often go out of my way to start conversations with Dads who are out and about with their kids, and I usually start those talks by complementing their parenting.  You should see these big burly dudes almost tear up because no one has ever told them they are doing a good job.  Resources for Dads are amazingly scarce, so these guys feel like they are doing it alone, because they aren’t moms and it doesn’t always come as naturally!

So I cannot get behind the idea of Dad Privilege and I say, while I am at it, complement the heck out of every dad you see!  Let them know you recognize the fact that they are not babysitting, and that they are parenting and you think that is freaking awesome!

But, hey, complement the heck out of the mommies you see too.  Because this whole parenting thing ain’t easy.

Kinsa For The Win!

This winter was brutal. I know, I know many of you would say that since I live in Virginia (and not in the mountains) that it was easy. And maybe it was, comparatively so. The cold and snow we could deal with, but our biggest problem was that it seems like we were constantly sick.  At one point I was so down for the count we had to pack up and go stay with my parents for a week, because this stay at home dad could not get out of bed.

If it wasn’t me who was sick, it was my Harper. Or Asher.  We would trade back and forth with only a couple of weeks of good health in between.  The house smelled like bleach and Lysol, but we couldn’t stay well.

With such small kids, taking temperatures was a fight, which is the last thing you need at 3 am when they are crying and Mom and Dad are freaking out.  Then we found The Kinsa Smart Thermometer.

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It hooks into your iPhone so you aren’t digging around trying to find a thermometer in the dark. My favorite feature was that it saves your kids temperatures.  Not just the last temperature you take, like some digitals, but you can save what they were running and their symptoms under their individual profiles.  Let me tell you, that comes in super handy when the Urgent Care Doctor comes in and looks at you and your kids and says, “Which one of you am I here to see,” and the answer is ALL THREE OF US! I was able to pull out my phone and give him an easy run down of the last 24 hours, even though my brain was fried.

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Everything you need comes in a nice box that is strong enough to withstand life in the diaper bag. And to combat the anxiety that my kids seem to get when you want them to hold something under their tongue there are fancy colors that go across the screen.  (It will also take a temp under the armpit which was a godsend with my daughter.)

Now that we are expecting our third kid any day now, I have already set Bellamy up a profile on the Kinsa App on my phone, so it will be ready for the first late night fever that every baby inevitably pops.

I hope you will check out this amazing product.  Just click on the Kinsa label below. (Kinsa Health did provide me a sample to try, but they aren’t paying me for the review.)

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Baby, Baby, Baby

We are so close to Bellamy’s arrival.  Her official due date is on April 25th, but little contractions have started for my wife here and there, so who knows if we will make it that far!  Both of the other kids had to be induced, so I am praying that this time things will just be able to move along naturally.

The biggest change for this kid (other than the fact that she will have two siblings running around) is that we are going to cloth diaper.  I had no idea how confusing that it was going to be.  There are so many different types, styles, ways to wash…HOLY MOLY.  I felt totally lost about it until I found http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com and it has been a life saver!

The site also has a number of facebook groups that are populated with super helpful mommies!  No one has side eyed me for being a dad, which is nice also.

Such an exciting and stressful time!

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Winter Winter Chicken Dinner

I would like to say that life here in the country is ticking toward Spring, and I guess it is, but we have had some of the coldest weather this winter in the past couple of weeks.  The kids enjoyed the biggish snow, but the Wife and I could certainly do without it.  It was obvious we live in Virginia since the other day it was 70 outside and I had all the doors and windows open in the house, while we were simultaneously in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning for the Sleet that was to come in mere hours.

Spring in our house, though means baby chicks! I was at Tractor Supply and couldn’t resist them. Of course that was just what we need…an almost 4 year old, an almost 2 year old, and an almost newborn plus some baby chickens!

Speaking of a newborn…we are weeks away from welcoming Bellamy into our lives.  We are thrilled, scared, excited, apprehensive…all of it. No matter what though, she is coming! I hope the kids are preparing themselves because things sure are about to change.

The Pappy and Mamalode are at it again!

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I am still flying on cloud nine every time I open this month’s PRINT edition of Mamalode and see my story in it.  Seriously? I feel like I have made it to the big leagues.

Many of you have asked when you would get to read my piece and I have good news for you! That day has come!

All you have to do is click the picture below and you will be taken to Mamalode.com where you can read it.  And while you are there, why don’t you order yourself a copy?

Wooohoooo!!

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Winter time is here…..

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I used to dread winter time. I struggled so hard with Seasonal Depression that I swear as soon as the leaves started turning I would want to take to my bed and stay there until it warmed up again.

This winter is different though.

I’m feeling good. And it is all because of my wood.

Double entendres aside, knowing that you are going to be able to keep a warm house the entire winter season when your bank account is too low to fill up your propane tank does a lot to put a smile on your face.

Another thing that has been a lifter is the time that my Dad and I spent together stacking this wood.  It was no small task, and it took even longer because we talked nonstop the whole time, but growing closer to him is a blessing.

So when my fireplace is burning bright I will remind myself to smile, even though the days are short. My joy can still be long.

 

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(Not shown is the HUGE stack by the house!)

 

Trying to be a #healthydad

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We are still pretty blown away that we are expecting our THIRD kid.  It seems a little overwhelming still.  Every time Mecalah has said she was pregnant I immediately clean out our cabinets and go on a health kick.  There is just something about creating life that makes me question my mortality I guess.  I want to know that I am going to be able to be there for my kids and be active and vital for as long as possible.

We had actually already been making some lifestyle changes and I will happily brag about them for a moment.  In the past 90 days I have lost ten pounds and my blood pressure is the LOWEST it has been in FIVE YEARS! I won’t tell you what it is (haha) because it is still high.  But, like I said, we are making progress.

I am lucky enough to be working with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield at the moment on their #healthydad campaign.  As part of it, I wanted to share a couple of tips with you about how you can become a more #healthydad.

The next three tips are things I have been doing recently to be more healthy.

My first tip is to skip that late night glass of wine.  The Pappy loves his Red Wine.  That is certainly no secret and I used to drink an extra glass around bedtime because I felt like it helped me go to sleep.  After doing some reading, though, I have discovered that isn’t totally the case.  Yes it may be helping me go to sleep, but it isn’t helping me STAY asleep.  As my body processed that alcohol and extra sugars it was lessening my REM sleep! I have slept much better cutting that glass out!

Secondly, dump those canned veggies!  This was easier this summer because I could simply walk outside and pick from my garden what I wanted.  But even as it gets colder I am determined not to go back to the cans!  I was shocked how much salt they have in them!

My last tip for today is to schedule your “Well Daddy” visit. Your insurance company now covers your once a year check up!  You wouldn’t think of ignoring the fact your kid was do for their “Well Baby” visit would you? So don’t ignore yours!

We are all super busy and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has a new program called LiveHealth Online!  You can video chat with a Doctor, so basically telehealth is the new house call.  Even if you and your kids are sick, there is no reason you can’t chat with your Doctor. Seriously, you can’t beat that.

Before I let you go, I want to let you in on a contest that we are running right now also!  YOU CAN WIN CASH MONEY! All you have to do is make a #healthydad video like mine below and submit it to the facebook page!  You can find the rules and more about the contest here: www.facebook.com/healthydads

The Pappy would love to see one of y’all win!

I want to say a big thank you to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield who is sponsoring this post. They are not, however, affiliated with the #healthydad video contest which is sponsored solely by XY Media.  Anything written above by me is simply my advice as a parent and should in no way be used as the advice as a medical professional.