Daddy Blog Marriage

Seeing My Wife Get Out and Use Her Talents Is Beautiful

I recently had Pinot’s Palette reach out to me about the grand opening celebration of their new location at Town Square (They also have one in Green Valley and Boca Park). As part of the invitation, I was offered a number of free classes so I could experience Pinot’s Palette first hand.

My first reaction to this was “I don’t drink.” They noted that I could still paint even if I didn’t drink and that many who attended didn’t go to drink. Little did they know that I don’t paint. I love doing most things in life, but art has never been one of them.

Once I got over my own selfish desires, I had an even better idea. I should see if the Crash Wife wanted to go and do some art. She’s a fantastic artist and has an incredibly creative mind. Didn’t take long after I asked for her to reply that she’d love to go.

The amazing part of this to me is that I loved that she went as much as she loved it. There’s just something special and beautiful about seeing your wife get out of the house, away from the kids, with a friend doing something she enjoys. I really loved it and I can’t wait for her to go and do it again.

As part of Pinot’s Palette’s Grand Opening celebration on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8, participants can sign up for either of the two-hour 7 p.m. classes on Friday or Saturday for $39, with 100 percent of the painting proceeds to be donated to St. Jude. Guests interested in signing up for Friday’s class can register online and Saturday’s class registration is available.

I think we’re going to have more of the Crash Wife’s paintings around the house and that’s really exciting to think about.

Daddy Blog Food From the Mouths of Crash Kids

When You Discover Your Kids are Foodies

Yesterday we were trying to figure out dinner. My wife was holding Crash Kid #4 when she sarcastically said, “I think we’re going to have a 5 course meal.”

Crash Kid #4 was having none of that (Although, it’s not clear that he knows what a 5 course meal really is). In his anger at her proposition, he said, “No…grrrr…I want a hot dog. Or Mac N Cheese.”

I can’t believe we would try and propose a 5 course meal when we could have a hot dog or Mac N Cheese. Seriously, what’s our problem?

Needless to say, we acquiesced and had Mac N Cheese for dinner. I added hamburger to take it to that next level of awesomeness. I know. We have very refined palettes. It’s tough being a father of children that are such foodies.

Couple Trips Daddy Blog Holiday Stories

Niagara Falls Panorama

Last year my wife and I had a chance to go to Niagara Falls to celebrate our anniversary. We decided to hit Toronto and then Niagara Falls this year since we were in the area again. No DWTS Live this year (just missed it by a few days), but we did get to watch Cinderella in Toronto.

The show was fun, but the best part of Toronto for me was lunch with my good friend Colin. It was nice to meet his wife and for the Crash Wife to meet them too. Canada is interesting since it’s almost America, but there’s just enough that’s different that it feels slightly uncomfortable. Quite odd.

Anyway, on our way back we got a flat tire on the rental car (5th flat tire in the last 6 months for those keeping track at home. At least it wasn’t snowing or pouring rain. We changed to the spare tire and were able to swap the car out for a new one without too much incident (Thanks Alamo!). We did have a little nervous time on the freeway with a donut spare, but I digress from the original point of the post.

This post was really just an excuse to share this amazing panorama shot I took at Niagara Falls:
Niagara Falls
*Click on the picture to see it in all its glory

Isn’t this picture awesome? This was the first time I’d used the panorama feature and I just got a new phone (Nexus 6),so I was excited to see that it took such great pictures.

Waterfalls are awesome. Niagara Falls is extraordinary. There are few things I like more. Plus, the Crash Wife and I have some good history there. We found the bench where I proposed to her (and she said yes in case you wondered) and reenacted the proposal. Well, we reenacted the part where she was chilling and I couldn’t propose until she took her leg down and was ready for such an important moment.
Niagara Falls Proposal
Since I’m sure someone will mention it, I might need to take a moment to comment on my outfit. Yes, I am wearing some great flannel pajama pants with some custom designed dress shoes (custom designed by my children with a pen). No, this wasn’t the plan. I originally had on some really sexy khaki pants, but during the aforementioned tire change I decided to not ruin them and changed into these flannel pants. Not sure what it says about me (and the Crash Wife for that matter) that I didn’t change back to the nice pants.

Daddy Blog Marriage

My Wife Might Need an Intervention

After almost 13 years of marriage, you’d think you’d know your wife. At least I thought I knew the Crash Wife pretty well. You know what annoys her. You know what she likes.

I’m not sure why, but something’s changed with the Crash Wife. I think the change can best be described by a picture. Here it is in all it’s glory:

Crash Wife - Trash Can Placement

Can you see what’s wrong?

Seriously, I can’t even understand this picture. This is 13 years of habits that she’s breaking and I’m not sure why?

I’m really not sure what to make of it. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Did she change her mind? Why is this change happening?

I imagine a few of you following along at home aren’t exactly sure what I’m talking about. That’s ok. You haven’t had the 13 years of blissful marital history that we’ve had to inform your eyes.

I think that this image might clarify the situation:

Crash Wife - Trash Can Placement Annotated

Seriously, what happened? The woman who can’t stand to see a single useful computer or TV wire visible is now ok with the trash can being out in the open. We’re talking about ugly, putrid, dirty, trash out in the open where everyone that comes to visit can come and see it.

Personally, I’m fine with the trash being out and easily accessible. Sure I have to break 13 years of putting trash under the sink, but I grew up with trash cans out in the wild for most of my life. I’m just surprised she’s now suddenly interested in making the change.

Next thing you know, she’s going to be ok with us leaving our shoes near the door where everyone can see them too. I’m not sure what I’ll do if she says she starts liking the cereal boxes on top of the fridge.

Full Time Blogging

Exploring New Social Media

I’ve spent a lot of time on social media. The majority I do because of my job, but I also do plenty of it for my own entertainment as well. I’d say that I’m in the top 1% when it comes to social media. I have probably 120k followers across all my accounts. I don’t say this to brag, but to merely say that I’m pretty deeply entrenched in the world of social media.

What’s interesting for me is how I try and approach and learn new social media platforms. Quite frankly, Twitter and Facebook make up the majority of my social media time with LinkedIn a close third. Although LinkedIn definitely feels more like work while Twitter and Facebook are a mix of work and fun.

I’ll set those 3 social media platforms aside and instead talk about all the others out there. I’ve played with most of them. None of them have really taken off for me. However, I continue to dabble and see where they go.

My approach to new social media is to just start using them. I usually joke with whoever I’m with about how amazing I am at this new platform for which I know nothing about. I literally feel like a little kid trying to learn a bike for the first time every time I try a new social media platform.

My latest experience was trying out Periscope (I want to try Meerkat next). It felt like G+ hangouts, but not quite as dynamic since I couldn’t have anyone else join me. Although, I was surprised at how simple it was for me to start broadcasting live video of me. In fact, I could have done it from any of the 8 different devices in my home. I think that’s going to massively change things. It will just be ubiquitous for my kids. They won’t think anything of it.

Today if you follow me on Instagram, then you might have seen the wave of pictures I’ve posted. It was part of me still learning the platform. I could see how Instagram makes a lot of sense for parents who are at homes with their kids. It’s fun to take pictures of kids and even more fun to share those pictures and get feedback. As I sit in front of my computer all day at work, what pictures would I share on Instagram? Unlike some of the people I work with, I assure you that people don’t want to see a picture of me working.

The learning process on all of these is a challenge. Snapchat is the weirdest of all of them for me. I’m still learning why and when I’d want to use it. I haven’t really figured it out. Although, here’s my approach for learning these new social media platforms. I usually start using it when someone is around (often the Crash Wife). I then start posting pictures (almost all of the new platforms are picture and video if you haven’t noticed) to the platform. I’ve found that diving in head first is the best way to learn.

After a rash of posts and interactions on these new platforms I then start telling whoever I’m with “I’m so good at [insert new social media platform name here].” Of course, the comment is dripping with sarcasm and always elicits a laugh from whoever I’m with since it’s not true. I’m not sure why I do this, but I’ve done it over and over and I’m sure it will continue. It’s probably a way for me to build my confidence on something for which I have no confidence. Building a confidence on a social media platform is a challenge. Although, it’s so powerful once you do.

Daddy Blog Food Single Dad Video Games

#SuperDad at Chuck E. Cheese’s

For Father’s Day, my wife decided to leave town for about a week. Wasn’t that generous of her? She left 4 beautiful angel children with me for a whole week. Crash Wife is so generous! I feel so lucky to have her make such sacrifices for me.

As you may remember, when the wife is away I go to Chuck E. Cheese’s. I really didn’t plan to make it a tradition when I wrote that post, but it seems like I’ve now officially made it a tradition. I won’t be surprised if the next time that crash wife goes out of town the crash kids ask me, “When are we going to Chuck E. Cheese’s?”
Crash Kid 2 and Chuck E Cheese
The good part is that Chuck E. Cheese’s is fine even with 4 kids. They have the person manning the door and so you can relax and enjoy the time together while the kids run all over.

Chuck E. Cheese’s sent me a Father’s Day pass to be able to go and get some free pizza, drinks and tokens. Plus, they gave me a challenge to teach my kids a lesson in skeeball and basketball. Ok, that’s not how they phrased it. They asked for us to go and have fun competing with our kids. Anyone who knows me understands that I’m hyper competitive and there’s only one person in the world where I don’t mind losing: Crash Wife. I’ll take it easy on the Crash Kids and I’ll make sure they have a good time, but I’ll also make sure I win. It’s just who I am and how I’m made.
Skeeball High Five at Chuck E Cheese
See what I mean in the picture above? He certainly seems like he’s happy (even if I just smoked him in a game of skeeball). My favorite game though has to be the basketball shoot out. Luckily Crash Tennessee Aunt wasn’t there or I’d get smoked by her, but she was no where to be seen. However, I have to admit that Crash Kid #1 is starting to catch up with me. I’m sure a few years down the road he’ll read this post and laugh as he challenges me to a game of something. I figure I’ll just retire by that point.
Beating Crash Kid 1 at Basketball at Chuck E Cheese
I also loved playing Skeeball with Crash Kid #4. It’s so funny watching a 2 year old play skeeball. He can’t score any points since he can’t roll the ball hard enough to get up the ramp into the scoring area so our ticket collection suffers. However, he also gets a bunch of free rolls since half of his rolls don’t make it all the way up the ramp either and roll right back down to him. He has a great time even if it pulls at my heart to not score points on each ball. At least he’s cute doing it.
Barely Big Enough to Play Skeeball at Chuck E Cheese's
While the games were fun, I couldn’t help but let out a big belly laugh when Crash Kid #1 said the following as we were leaving, “I just have to say, that pizza was great!” In fact, he’s been raving about the delicious cheese pizza at Chuck E. Cheese’s ever since. This coming from the kid who doesn’t like to eat anything.
Crash Kid 1 and Chuck E Cheese's Pizza
As part of Father’s Day, Chuck E. Cheese’s is giving dads a chance to win tickets to the 2015 Big Ball Game in Cincinnati (You know the one that can’t be mentioned). All you have to do to enter is to share images and stories about what you love most about being a dad using the hashtag #SuperDad. Plus, I think they’re giving away some free guest passes to Chuck E. Cheese’s as well. Here’s my entry with a picture of Crash Kid #3 making new friends that I tweeted out today.

What a great day with the kids! I even was a real Super Dad since I let Crash Kid #4 bring one of his friends with us as well. Nothing quite like being the cool dad who takes your kids’ friends fun places.

Child Dates Daddy Blog Family

When the Wife is Away, I Go to Chuck E. Cheese’s

As most of you who follow me on social media know, my wife left me (again) for Women’s Conference. I think this is the third year in a row that she’s made her annual trek to the mecca of women known as Women’s Conference. I say that only somewhat facetiously. I really love that she goes, but this year the timing was terrible since I’m planning a conference that is happening next week. Such is life. I want her to go to it and so I sucked it up and just dealt with 4 kids, my regular work, and a conference I’m organizing next week (I didn’t mention science camp the week after and then Dubai less than a week after that). Hopefully my complaining hasn’t been too distracting for my wife to enjoy Women’s Conference.

Today I finally broke down and decided we were going out. I told my kids I had a surprise Friday evening. That basically meant I had to do it. I’d been sent a gift card to go and check out the latest Chuck E. Cheese decoder glasses and so I thought what better way to celebrate with the kids while the wife is away? For about 2 hours my kids were dancing around the house talking about going to Chuck E. Cheese, playing the Chuck E. Cheese mobile game, Skate Universe, so they could rack up ticket before we even got there. I may have slipped in a game or two myself and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, we were able to get 480 tickets just from playing the game.

Of course, my favorite part was when Crash Kid #4 (2 years old) came up to me and said, “Dad, Chuck Cheez. Pizza!” I loved how excited he was and was surprised that he knew that we were going for pizza. Isn’t it amazing what kids pick up?

I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous to take 4 kids to Chuck E. Cheese on my own. I thought maybe it would be a disaster. However, after hearing Crash Kid #4 being so cute, how could I stop? Plus, I figured they had someone manning the door at Chuck E. Cheese, so what’s the worst that could happen?

We kept it simple and ordered one of their value meals with pizza, drinks and tokens. I did upgrade the pizza to the family size (might have been a mistake since I ate too much pizza) and the cinnamon bread sticks. Both might have been bad choices for my diet. The kids liked them.

As part of the value meal, each kid got a pair of decoder glasses, an instant win game, and a puzzle. Because of the decoder glasses, I didn’t give the kids any of the tokens until after we’d gotten the pizza and eaten it. Instead of eating up all of the tokens before even eating, the kids were running all over the place looking for the clues that could only be seen with the decoder glasses.

I thought it would be pretty easy and obvious to find the clues. I was wrong. It was pretty hard since there’s lights and movement going on everywhere at Chuck E. Cheese. I wish they’d shown a sample of what you were looking for at the front, because once we’d found one then we could more easily find the others. It still wasn’t easy, but it made it doable. I wonder how often they’ll switch up the clues and puzzle since now we already know the answer and locations.

The kids liked sporting the glasses. This was them right after they found the last clue (I was proud they figured out what the last clue would say before they even found it, but I made them find it anyway):
Chuck E Cheese Decoder Glasses
Once we’d found all the clues, each kid got 50 more tickets for doing the decoder game. I think we ended up with 900 tickets. Not bad! Each kid walked away with a couple little prizes (see pictures below):

Turns out Chuck E. Cheese was great for me do go with all the kids alone. I had a good time. They had a good time. I didn’t have to cook dinner. The perfect way to celebrate Crash Mom being gone. Although, I’m ready for her to be home. We can have fun without her, but it’s not the same.

Family Family Trips Sports

Only One Child – Raising Him Right!

For a couple days this week Crash Wife took off to California with the three oldest. There was no room in the inn car for Crash Kid #4 to come along. Plus, Crash Kid #4 isn’t so fun when you’re sleeping on a boat and playing at the beach. That meant I got Crash Kid #4 all to myself for a couple days.

The first day I had a sitter so I could get some work done. The second day it was just him and I working together all day. We had fun times as he wanted to constantly sit in my lap or lay on my arm (try doing a mouse with a small child laying on your arm). I even talked to him about potty training while mom was gone. No such luck.

We had lots of funny moments, but my favorite was at the end when we were going to go get some “pasta.” Crash Kid #4 told me that I needed to have a hat. He’s right. I needed to brush my hair (that’s what I call wearing a hat). As I put my hat on he told me, “I need hat.” Here’s the outcome:

Crash Dad and Crash Kid #4

The Texas Rangers hat was a little big, but I figured it was good that I teach him early the importance of the Texas Rangers. What a failure I would be as a parent if I didn’t teach him right. You might notice that my hat is a Boston Red Sox hat. That’s right. I was teaching him multiple lessons at one time. The Rangers are the best. The Red Sox are the next. Wear nothing with pin stripes. #GoodFather


Sports Are Awesome…And I Have No Clue Why

I adore sports. I absolutely love everything about it. I love playing them. I love watching them. Yep. I think it’s fair to say that I’m fairly addicted to sports. With that said, I understand my addiction and I do what I can to try and limit its impact on my wife and family. I think Crash Mom would say that it ebbs and flows. I don’t think I’ve done anything too crazy, but I definitely love to consume sports (watching or participating).

Tonight was a great example. BYU was playing Gonzaga (#3 team in the nation). Spoiler Alert: BYU won and it was awesome! The game was pretty stressful as Gonzaga made a few runs, but BYU played well. Plus, the win over Gonzaga should lock BYU into the field of 64 (oh wait…I think they expanded to 68, but whatever, they should be in) for March Madness.

A few times the Crash Wife has tried to understand why I love sports so much. Whenever we have that discussion I usually talk about the story behind the sports. If there’s a good story (ie. BYU has a chance to go to the tournament), then it adds so much to the game. It gives you something or someone to root for (or against on occasion). When it’s not my time, the storyline is usually me rooting for the underdog. It makes it fun.

Maybe that’s all there is to it. It’s fun. Why is it fun? I don’t know and I’m not sure I care. I enjoy it thoroughly. I try to make it so it doesn’t rule my life, but I love that it is a part of my life. I love competition. Maybe that’s the other reason I love sports. Either way, I’m still on the high after the big BYU win. That’s something I love.

Healthy Living

The Power of Healthy Eating

Today my Crash Wife came into my office (the bedroom) and declared “I’ve Lost 5 Pounds!

It was a great moment and I’m really proud of my wife. She’s worked really hard to lose those five pounds. What’s interesting is that she’d been running and walking quite a bit already, but she wasn’t losing the weight. The real key to her losing the weight has been her focus on eating healthy. That’s a really hard habit to change.

It’s even harder for her to eat healthy since I’m such a picky eater that enjoys some unhealthy food. That’s starting to catch up with me a bit, so we’ll see where that evolution heads. It’s hard to be a healthy eater when you’re a really picky eater. Although, I can still apply the principle of portion control and the unnecessary (but extremely satisfying) late night eating.

It’s been an interesting journey for my wife and her weight. I imagine it will be for the rest of her life. In fact, it is for all of us. Having 4 children is a great recipe for gaining weight. As a husband, my wife’s weight fluctuations never influenced my love for her one iota. I love her for who she was and not what she looked like.

With that said, seeing her work towards a weight loss goal and achieve it is really sexy. When she’s working out she feels empowered and stronger and I love that about her. Her confidence is better and I love it. Plus, I love her tenacity to not give up on something. There were a few days she struggled, so days like today should be celebrated (in a blog post for example).

I’m lucky to have a fighter for a wife. Although, those that know her know that she’s the sweetest, most giving fighter you’ll ever meet.