Monday, August 26, 2013

SI Gives Kids a Sporting Chance

I love going to the gym. Usually I go and watch ESPN to catch up on all the sporting news. They have a feature on there sometimes in the morning called #MyWish. It usually is an inspiring story about kids who have defied the odds stacked against them and have overcome some hardship. It may be cancer, a disability, or a disease that no one should survive.

I can honestly say that when watching these stories, while dripping with sweat, I have weeped because of the sheer willpower of these kids. I have tried to shrug it off like sweat got in my eyes and I am thankful for the gym towels as I am stifling the tears. Kids are amazing in so many ways. In these stories, the kids get to meet their favorite athlete and spend some time with them in person. In most cases, these kids do more for the athletes that they idolize.

When I think of my own son and how I have tried to get him interested in baseball, I begin to swell with pride. My son doesn't have the greatest ability but his sense of sportsmanship is what sets him apart from the other players, despite his problems with a bad coach. There is no greater athlete than a humble athlete. Colin Kaepernick demonstrated that poise when Ron Jaworski claimed ''I truly believe Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever,' To which he responded ''I'm working," "To me, it's a great honor he said that. I'm very flattered by it. But at the same time, I haven't played a full season yet.'' That is the sort of athlete you look up to.

Kids learn from their parents how others should be treated. Seeing athletes pick up other fallen runners in track and field, or carrying another baserunner home who is injured speaks volumes about what is truly important about sport. It should be about being part of a team and having fun. Building community and relationships are the lessons that will last beyond the sport.

Two exemplary athletes are Connor and Cayden Long, the 2012 SportsKids of the Year. Their story went viral across the internet, gaining over one million views and additional national media coverage in just days. Here is a video about the brothers story. Their story choked up Lebron James who said "They are the real SportsMen of the Year"

Sports Illustrated Kids is taking nominations now for the 2013 SportsKid of the Year. SI Kids is looking for kids ages 7 to 15 who demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship through their accomplishments on the field, in their classrooms and in their communities.

+ The winner of the 2013 SportsKid of the Year award will appear on the cover of the December 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated Kids
+ In addition, the winner will receive a special SportsKid of the Year jacket and a trip to New York City to accept the award at the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year ceremony
+ To nominate your favorite kid athlete, please visit by October 7, 2013

FTC Disclaimer: In exchange for posting this contest and information about SI's SportsKids of the Year, I received a one year free subscription for my 8 year old son.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

MILK Makes You ROCK Solid

This is my best eyebrow trying to emulate The Rock. I think I pulled something

Cue my entrance music. I may be executing the People's Elbow on my fellow Dad Bloggers for this post. I just may go top rope on all of them or execute a virtual figure four to get them to tap out.

Of course, I can't really do any of those things without a healthy start to my day which always includes milk because I can't have active, successful day without using the necessary fuel to get there. Milk powers your potential. Visit MILK's page at The Breakfast Project for more detailed information.

Here's something I bet you didn't know. An 8 oz glass of milk contains 8 grams of protein. That's more than an egg! All those Rocky shakes I forced down all those years I could have just been drinking milk! D'Oh!

Of course, my kids already know this because they wake up ready for the day and get moving with their favorite cereal and sometimes even manage to get all that wonderful milk into their bowls! I don't know who coined the phrase "Don't cry over spilled milk" because in my family it is a precious commodity. We always sit down together in the morning with it to start the day off right.

As a stay at home dad who does most of the grocery shopping, there is just a sense of calm for me knowing that I have milk in the fridge because we drink A LOT of it. On average, I HAVE to buy 3 gallons of milk per week! I almost wish I just had a cow we drink so much milk.

So Life of Dad offered me a great opportunity to be a part of a contest between fellow Dad Bloggers. I am a MILK Ambassador. They have partnered with MILK to provide us with the opportunity to show just how important the nine essential nutrients and protein for building muscle is that we get from milk. The winner gets to meet The Rock!!! I know. Wow. WOW!

For a boy who grew up on the WWE, it would be a dream come true for me. I used to dress up like the Ultimate Warrior in shredded sweatpants. We would wrestle on my parent's bed which was rectangular and had just enough bounce to prevent my little brother from really knocking me out with a leg drop. Remember The Rock's awesome Superbowl Commercial? That is what is fueling this awesome opportunity.

So if you want to help me out, go and view my Instagram video about why I am #SuperMilkMan and leave a comment, Follow @MilkMustache on Twitter to read me talking smack to my other Dad Blogger opponents, and Like their Facebook page

Can you smelllllllllll, what this #SuperMilkMan is cookin'?

Good. Because it is breakfast with milk.

FTC Disclaimer : I will be working with The National Milk Mustache "got milk?" Campaign. Life of Dad, LLC is providing me compensation for this post and to be a part of the #SuperMilkMan contest which I am more than a little pumped to be a participant.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Reality of Modern Dads?

Being a stay at home dad means dealing with things you may not encounter in everyday life. It may mean that you are called Mr. Mom or someone might ask if you are babysitting your kids to help mom out. What it means to me is being the best father I can be to my children. But changing society's perception of what it means to be a great dad doesn't happen overnight. We know that the number of stay at home dads is on the rise but also that men are taking more active roles in raising their children these days.

In the media and sometimes in TV, men are portrayed negatively; the bumbling dad, the clueless and incompetent father just getting by. We've laughed along with shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons with dads that clearly fit these stereotypes. The difference is when real people are portrayed as they hapless fathers with no clue. So who would want to watch a show about guys who raise their children to the best of their ability? Who would want to watch a show that takes a glimpse of what it is like to be a new dad, a stay at home dad, a single dad, and a step-dad? Fortunately for us, A&E has taken that leap.

Like a brand new baby in a family, A&E is proudly showing off their latest addition August 21st, at 10:30pm. I had a chance to interview Rick Lucas, a cast member who is in the new show about his experiences as a stay at home dad and how reality TV is going to portray these dads.

Rick, like most of us at home dads, is clearly no bumbling stereotype. He worked in educational publishing before staying at home and then continued to freelance in that field until 2008. Then he worked at Brookhollow Elementary with autistic children at his school where he is also the PTO President before staying at home. As a husband to his wife, Meghan, a father of two boys, Zach and JT, ages 8 and 11, and 19 month old twin girls Katherine and Elizabeth, he prefers FTD (Full Time Dad) to SAHD because it demonstrates just how dedicated the primary caregiver can be.

When I asked him if he was worried about how dads have been portrayed on reality shows he told me that he told A&E producers "I may have a different way of doing things but I am not an idiot". He said that when A&E approached him about the show that Duck Dynasty had just come out and that he was impressed with how they handled the show which has cast members that can easily be stereotyped.

Reality shows are a tricky area because they are about entertainment. Shows need to be interesting and engaging in some way to hook viewers so why should people watch Modern Dads? Rick tells me that A&E did a great job of getting to know the families and that the show is character driven and not plot driven like some reality shows are. "The stories grew out of who we are as real people, doing what we do everyday."

As a full time dad of four kids and stay at home veteran of 10 years, I asked Rick if he had any advice for guys who were staying at home or just starting out. He said that sometimes you will just be maintaining and that you don't want to set your expectations too high. "If you measure yourself by someone else's yardstick you are always going to come up short. So you have to throw the yardstick away and do what is right for you and your family" He stressed how important staying at home with his kids was and to celebrate the fact that you get to do it and have fun with it.

Rick wasn't aware of the National At Home Dad Network or that there was a convention every year. He was excited to know that there was such a thing to support stay at home dads. I asked him how it was to have such a great support group around him. "You couldn't do it any other way. We are redefining what it is to be dads." He looks forward to the time when he can attend the convention himself and passed the information on to his Austin group.

Being a SAHP is a tough job. There is no paycheck, there are no bonuses, no 401K to show for your work. No one is going to give you an award or prize. From those tough days where Rick faces his girls removing their diapers and him cleaning it like a crime scene to his son standing out in his care for an autistic girl at his school, it is all about caring. Rick's family has a motto "It's not about you. It's about us" and we hope that A&E captures that sentiment about dads.

A&E NETWORK PREMIERES NEW ORIGINAL SERIES ‘MODERN DADS’ ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21 AT 10:30PM ET/PT and visit the A&E website for more info on Modern Dads, Rick, Stone, Sean, and Nate and their adventures with their families.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Going Through Another Husky Phase

When I was a kid I passed through a time in my life when I couldn't buy the cool clothes that other kids had. My mom had to take me to a special department store that specialized in "HUSKY" sizes. There is a phrase that is embedded in my very being and one that has embarrassed me to no end. I remember hiding between racks when the salesperson asked if she could help us and my mom whispering "Where are the husky sizes?" Only to have the salesperson yell "HEY AL, WHERE DO WE KEEP THE HUSKY SIZES...YOU KNOW, THE BIG BOY STUFF?"

I was always on the taller side, tall and skinny as a kid who was pretty active. As a brother of three other guys who are all over six feet tall, I stand the tallest at 6'7". My metabolism has crashed and burned after college and the things I used to be able to get away with just don't fly anymore. At 6'7" and 245 it might seem that I should be playing in the NFL or the NBA. Sadly most of that bulk is in all the wrong places.

If I had a time machine I would go back to pre-baby self and tell Past Chris this important message "Sympathy eating is not a thing." I, like other guys who have had kids packed on the pounds when our kids were born. I was more than willing to pick up a late night Steak N' Shake chocolate shake if it meant there was one for me in the deal and I justified getting it because I would do anything for my wife pregnant or otherwise.

I knew I was in trouble when I slowly saw my waist size pass my inseam and never thought that the comfort stretch pants that I bought as a "just in case" wardrobe addition would be stretched to its limits.

A fellow Dad Blogger of mine, Brent from Designer Daddy set up this great competition called Chuck the Chunk which leads up to the Dad 2.0 Summit. What is Dad 2.0? The Dad 2.0 Summit is an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online, as well as an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business ideas. I've never been to one but I am slowly making my way there someday hopefully. So me, and some other health minded bloggers are trying to shed the pounds and get healthier for ourselves and our families.

Regardless of getting to Dad 2.0 though, I need to get back to my pre-baby weight of 220, what I weighed when we went on our honeymoon. After seeing a picture of me with my shirt off I love my wife even more. Below are pictures of me pre-baby. As you see, I have not only gained weight but lost lots of hair.

At the beginning of the summer, once my back was healthy again, I weighed 245 pounds. This summer, I had dedicated at least four days a week in the gym, playing tennis on one day, and softball on Sundays. Two weeks ago I got down to 235 and then we went on vacation and I came back weighing 242. Crap.

The competition runs from August 1, 2013 – January 1, 2014 with my final after shot being January 3rd, 2014. Wish me luck. Any words of encouragement would help. I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hang On To Summer With A Backyard Safari

Disclaimer: I was given products from Backyard Safari in exchange for this review of their line of Backyard Safari Outfitters Essential Field Gear.

In some states summer vacation is almost over and with back to school supplies crowding the stores, parents may be bummed that the summer fun is almost over. You can still hang on to that feeling of finding fun in your own backyard with products from Backyard Safari. My kids are explorers and they love to discover new things as many children are.

Backyard Safari Outfitters has everything you need to get your kids outside, active, and learning. There is just something cool about donning the Backyard Safari CARGO VEST (Ages 5 & Up, Approximate Retail Value: $19.99) that had my kids fighting over who would be the Safari Leader. They took turns pretending to be in charge of the exploration while they hunted down creatures in our own backyard.

The Cargo Vest had a handy field guide in the pocket and the Mini Lantern (Ages 5 & Up, Approximate Retail Value : $7.99) could clip conveniently to the vest in case you and your little explorer want to use it at night or during a camping excursion.

My two year old, immediately took to the Magnifying Glass (Ages 5 and Up, Approximate Retail Value: $24.99) and helped look for bugs as part of the expedition. We used this tool to inspect some cicada shells that we found on our fence for close up examination and the built-in scales helped us to measure the field specimen.

Combine those things with a handy container to capture your specimens with the Critter Shack (Ages 5 & Up, Approximate Retail Value: $7.99) and the Mini Scoop Net (Ages 5 & Up, Approximate Retail Value" $5.99) and your little scientist is ready for anything that comes their way. My kids enjoyed trying to catch butterflies with the net and managed to get their first specimen, a katydid within minutes of donning the gear. We've explored our creek and caught fish with the net. The Critter Shack is water tight and kept the fish comfortable and for easy viewing. The mini net is great for dry or wet action and I wasn't worried when they inevitably dropped it because it also floats! The Critter Shack was perfect for containing the specimen and with the vented top there is no need for your kids to poke holes in your favorite Tupperware.

With many other items suck as Walkie Talkies, Camouflage Kit, Field Binoculars, Land and Water Habitat, and Lazer Light Bug Vaccuum, and many more, Backyard Safari Outfitters will help you retain that feeling of summertime fun though you might feel it is fleeting. Give your kids some of their great products and I guarantee hours of play outside, in nature, that will keep your kids active and healthy. They are great activities to get kids away from the TV and learning about science and the joy of discovery.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those solely of DadNCharge. I received these promotional items in exchange for a review of their products. Promotional items sent to me by Child's Play PR.