Friday, November 25, 2011

Social Media- You Can Find Us There

Many of our readers already know that we are on Facebook, but we are now proud to say that we are also on Twitter and YouTube. As the busy holiday season falls upon us, we are trying different avenues to spread our word to the masses. The links to our pages can be found above. As always your thoughts are welcomed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Dad PlaysThe Baby Waiting Game.

Dad Wins The Waiting Game.
   I think that it is safe to say that all parents have played The Waiting Game. The game starts between his last feeding and it's too early to get up right now. Since I am a light sleeper I usually initiate each round. It goes something like this:
   Did I hear him? Stop, don't move! If she hears you move then she won't get up to get him. But, the blanket gremlin snuck in again last night and stole all the covers and my foot is turning into a block of ice.
Suck it up it is a small price to pay to get some more sleep, because if you move she will know you are awake and out last you. She is warm so this will be easier for her.
   After what seems like a good forty-five minutes I feel like I am going to win tonight. Then a reminder of the cause of this game. My son fussing in his crib just changed his tone from "Hey guys that was a good nap" to "Hello, is anyone there, I'm up and ready to go." I realize that the next step is "OK, Fine, EVERY BODY GET UP, I am hungry and would like my diaper changed, NOW!"
  My instant thought is even though it is o'dark-thirty, if I get up now and take care of him maybe I'll go back to sleep and get another hour before his sister gets up. Stop thinking like that, it's your turn to sleep in. You haven't slept in for several weeks. Just lay there quietly before she hears you thinking.
 One more hint from my son that time is about to run out and I caved in. Half asleep and half angered at my fresh defeat I stumble over to the crib. Once there, I turn on the night light and though squinting eyes I pick up my prize. He greets me with a big smile and a cheerful ahhh. Then I spend the next few quiet moments bonding with my son. It is rare for the house to be so calm and to get the chance to focus on just one thing. So I have learned to cherish these moments, that's when I realize my wife may have defeated me, But I still won!
   In the morning, I declare myself the winner and my wife claims to have no clue what I am talking about. I tell her that she may have gotten more sleep but I got to spend time with my son. Her response was good that is the goal. As it turns out when you work as a team everybody is a winner.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Family Spirit of Halloween

Family in Crayon Costumes
   The Family Spirit of Halloween.

Hello Kitty Witch Pumpkin
   Living in Germany causes a problem for Trick or Treating. For the most part Germans don't celebrate Halloween. So if you want to go Trick or Treating you have two choices. First you can try to guess which of your neighbors are Americans and hope they have some treats. Or you can do as most military families do, go on base. On the military base Trick or Treating is set up to be very family oriented.
   To start off, it begins at 1700 (5:00pm) and ends two hours later, just when it starts to get dark. Next, the housing  area is pretty much closed to traffic and the military police have a strong presence. Then large groups of families go door to door often waiting in line to pose that famous proposal of Trick or Treat.
My Honey Bees
  The focus being a family event with the majority of kids no older than grade school. I can't understand why some people feel that it is appropriate to wear Sexy costumes. There are two groups that do this tweens and adults. Both fall under the responsibility of the adults or Parents. As the father of a little girl, I don't want my daughter viewed as a sex symbol. Therefore she will not be allowed to dress in that manner until she is old enough to vote and even then I hope that I will have instilled enough self-confidence that she doesn't seek that kind of attention. There are also adults that dressed in sexy costumes. I am not against grownups dressing as they wish, but I do feel that there is a time and a place. Trick or Treating with hoards of kids around is not the time nor place to be dressed as a Naughty Nurse or sexy Little Bo Peep and should be kept for adult engagements or behind closed bedroom doors.
  Going to a military base to trick or treat for Halloween while living overseas is as close to being back home as possible. Seeing the smiles on the kids faces especially my little Honey Bee makes me glad the military provides us these opportunities.

--UPDATE: The reason that I wrote this post is because while waiting at the end of a driveway for my daughter to trick or treat. I heard some guys commenting on a sexy witch costume saying "did you she that witch," at that point the girl turned around and she was no older then 13. The mistaken guy quickly said, "Oh, no she is too young." But for a minute they were looking at her in an inappropriate way. I wonder if her parents knew that this would happened if they would let her out of the house in that costume?  Even with the actions of a few bad apples this was still a wonderful event.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Someone Else's Child - Step In or Let It Go?

 When is it okay to intervene, correct or possibly discipline a child that is not your own? 
   Just the other night at a dinner party, the topic of children came up as it often does, but this time was different. On this night we were discussing if it was OK to correct or discipline someone Else's child, even if you don't know the parents. The story that was brought up was about a boy that was out of control at a campground. There were plenty of adults around and the parent did not stand out as the authority figure. Even though the boy was causing all sorts of ruckus no one said anything until he tried to throw a small dog. He also but the same dog into an empty cooler and sat on it. At this time someone told the boy "OK, it's time to let the dog go."  Later in the evening someone asked were the dog was and the answer they received was with the boy. The parent was in close proximity to all of these events but said nothing. Since  the parent refused to stop the boy from harming the dog should one of the other adults step in to correct someone Else's child or should they let it go?
No kids in the basket of a shopping cart!
   The day after the dinner party, I remembered a time when I stepped in to correct a child and it took an odd turn. At the time I was working at Home Depot designing custom windows and doors. I had this customer come up to place an order with a child in the basket of a shopping cart. Now this was against store policy but we let it slide if the kid was sitting and well behaved, which was the case at the time. Just after we started to go through the options the little boy started to act up and he kept jumping around in the basket of the cart. Obviously this is very unsafe. Well, it turns out not to be so obvious, because the parent my customer ignored the behavior. I could not let this behavior slide, but I didn't want to take away the parents authority. So at first I simply brought it up with the parent. Apparently they were not worried because my warning fell on deaf ears. A few minutes later, I had enough of this kid risking his safety right in front of me and his parents. I think he was taunting me. So I calmly interrupted his mother and told the boy to be careful and sit down and he did. Both of his parents looked at me as if they were in shock. From then on every time the boy acted up his parents would tell him to stop or calm down before the mean man(me) would yell at him. A few times they even asked me to tell him to stop. The act of making me a villain angered me beyond belief. How could they neglect there parenting duties and make me the bad guy? Should I have just stayed out of it and let the boy possibly get hurt?
   NO! Angry as I was about those people, who I have been calling parents, making me out as a villain it was worth it. You should always step in and either correct the child or notify the parents. Sometimes you may have to do both correcting the parents and stopping the child from the unsafe behavior, like I found out. Now as a parent  I take pride in making sure my kids are safe even though they sometimes see me as the villain. When the safety of children or others(dogs included) are at risk it is always okay to intervene, correct and possibly discipline a child that is not your own.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Go the Fok to Sleep

   Most nights, I am in charge of putting the kids to sleep. This, like all of parenting has tremendous rewards. With that being said, it also presents some of the most aggravating moments in parenting. Even though we have a bed time routine; you know; bath, milk, book, hugs & kisses, sleep. Well, that is how it is supposed to go. As every parent knows routines help but are no magic sleeping potion and since driving around the block all night is impractical, the fight begins. Kids just don't like to sleep. As the battle rages we have all said it... Go the Fok to Sleep. Ok, maybe not out loud but you have definitely thought it.
   When I saw this book title I laughed to my self. Then, I was a little ashamed that I let something like a child not wanting to sleep, anger me to the point of swearing(to my self of coarse). That was quickly washed away with the joy of knowing that somebody else not only has gone through this nightly process, but was brave enough to write about it. To often us parents are to embarrassed to talk about the hardships of parenting candidly. Not the case with Adam Mansbach, besides writing about the anger that come with a child not going to sleep, he jokes about it. In this book he puts on display how as the parent you try your hardest to be kind and sweet while guiding your kids in the right direction, in this case to sleep, despite our actual inner feelings.
   This book hit so close to home I didn't think there was any way to make it better. Then here comes Samuel L. Jackson to add his colorful take in this audio version of Go the Fok to Sleep.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Parenting.. the role of father.

   I have been expanding my definition of The Role of a Father since I became one. Through this process I have intended to share the good content I came across along with self discovered thoughts on the topic. I also hope to hear the views of my readers. I understand that everybody has a different opinion on this, and that is what I want to hear.
   One of the first composed lists that I found was on a blog Chapters From My Life. It opens by explaining that" Parenting is a combination of TWO words: Mothering and Fathering." Although I don't totally agree with this statement, many single parents do a great job, I think the rest of the article has some valid points.  One that comes to mind is" Accept your child's uniqueness" and "Never compare" children as this may hinder the self-esteem of your child. There are six in-depth ideas on a dads role, most are in line with my idea of this role. I will dedicate a post to my current ideas on the role of a father in the near future.
   For the rest of this thought provoking list from Chapters From My Life which is not just about the role of a father, but good parenting tips overall follow the link below.

Chapters From My Life: Parenting: role of father.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Father to Daughter

I got this book Father to Daughter as a present just before my daughter was born. Since then I have read it cover to cover several times. It is one of the books that sits on my night stand and gives me little pearls of advice. Often I look through it and see what kind of situations I will encounter in the future. The pages are less than a paragraph, but filled with life lessons and good tips to fathers about daughters.

Tools of the Trade

Britax B-Ready fully loaded w/second seat.
I have started working on the Tools of the Trade page. Tools of the Trade are just random items that I find useful in my parenting journey. Some items are nice to have while others you can't live without. Most Tools can be substituted for like items, but I have listed the brands the I use because I only like to speak about what I have personally used. A short list mentioned on the Tools of the Trade page include a Britax stroller, the Amby Baby hammock, and the SwaddleMe swaddle by Summer. If you have comments, reviews, or concerns on this or any page please leave it in the comments section or e-mail us at 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Domestic Engineer?

   For over two years I have struggled with my personal identity. Leading up to this crisis I took pride in being a hard-working tax-paying American man. Then as an Army husband I found myself living in Germany, fighting for one of a few jobs on base. After it set in that the job I did land would not pay enough to cover the child care that was needed to keep that job, my wife and I decided it would be better if I was the child care. Although being a stay at home dad is work, hard work, in my head I didn't have a job or career.
   When people would ask what do you do? I was embarrassed. I would say for now I take care of the baby and quickly change the subject. I didn't know how to classify what I did, or what to call myself. I wanted to sound like a man who took care of his family. As time went on I liked what I did and still do, so I started to toss around different monikers if someone asked. Here are a few.
  •  Stay at home Dad
  •  House Husband
  •  Family Manager
  •  Child Care Provider
  •  Domestic Engineer
  •  Full Time Father
  •  Dad on Duty
   The one that I use most often is Domestic Engineer. It seems that a lot of people don't know what that is, but they act like it sounds important. Others that do know what a Domestic Engineer is respect it for what it is. Even with all the different names, I know deep down it is just being a Dad.

(Update) After some more research I found that the term Domestic Engineer is used more prevalently in the UK.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pacifiers- How old is too old?

Pacifier Tree

    On a trip to the local playground, I came upon a sight too common. There was a little girl(almost school age) running around with a pacifier in her mouth. She was old enough to talk to her brother and sister in full sentences. When she called to her father she would pull out the binky to talk then quickly replace it in her mouth. I remember our doctor telling us to give up the paci by the time our daughter turned two or she could develop issues with her speech and increase the chance of ear infections. I think he brought it up at the 12mo. well baby check. So with-in a few months we were done. Both the older brother and sister of this playground pacifier pupil had noticeable overbites.
Pacifier Tree
   As a military spouse I live in an area overrun with young families all with bundles of kids. This may be why I have noticed a growing trend of older kids still using a pacifier. My wife claims that a majority of the offenders are local(we live in Germany) kids. That may be so and if so may be part of the culture. In fact I believe this might be true. While at a Luisenpark, Mannheim(a great place to take the kids) we ran into a family who was at the park for a special reason. It was time for there 3 1/2 year old to give up the pacifier. the whole family made it into a big deal, they even got all dressed up. Grandma and Grandpa introduced the tot to a special binki tree. Then Mom and Dad stepped in and had him pick a branch and place the binki on the tree for others to enjoy. To my surprise and more over his parents surprise the little boy was excited to comply. They took photos then laughed all the way to get ice cream.
   At what age is useing a pacifier to old? Is the temporary comfort to the child and ease of not dealing with a crying totteler worth the chances of possible health effects? Every parent finds what works best in their situation, but don't just think of yourself keep the possible implications to your child in mind.

Here is a interesting article on this topic. Read the comments. Good Stuff.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Beginning.

 This is my first time writing a blog. So, please hang with me.  As I go though this I am sure that I will learn how to make it better. I know that writing is not my strong point, actually it is one of my week points.  That is one reason that I decided to start a blog. I have been out of the work place for over two years with my only practice in writing coming in the form of facebook updates and e-mails to friends and family.
   I am currently a stay at home dad, or domestic engineer as I like to call it, living in Germany as a Army spouse. My situation has caused a distance between me and many of my friends and family. With my main audience being my children at home. With this blog I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences, along with a little writing practice.
   The goal is to write as often as I feel inspired at least once a week. If you were chasing rabbit holes and found this please leave a comment of encouragement or an idea you would like to hear my view on.