Tuesday, February 17, 2015

9 Ways Having Kids is Just Like Being In College

1. You may wake up the next day with a cute boy or girl in your bed and have no idea how they got there.

If your kids are like mine, they become these nighttime ninjas, preying on us when we are in our weakest state, namely when my contacts are out and I can't decipher whether our obese cat just climbed into bed with us or a small child. I only confirm that it is a child in the morning when I either wake up and find the little head next to me or see all the pictures my wife took of me sleeping on my phone. That's not creepy at all. 

2. Say goodbye to sex because your roommates are ALWAYS home.

When it comes to parental fun time, you really need to know when you window of opportunity opens up so you can seize the day. Well, seize something but not really the day. Buy locks for your doors to keep them out because the mental scarring you can incur is pretty damaging once they find out that you and mommy aren't really wrestling behind closed doors. 

3. Your roommates constantly have the MUNCHIES and if you don't hide the good food, they will eat it all.

It helps when you are 6'7" and your minions are well below the height limit for the high shelf cookies. If they do indeed spot the cookies you just say "These aren't the cookies you are looking for" and wave your hand. If that doesn't work, this is also a good time to do the detachable thumb trick or you can "accidentally" drop a dollar on the floor. 

4. You'll be cleaning pee and puke out of beds for years

If you have ever answered the late night call of Daddy! or Mommy! in the middle of the night for bodily fluids involuntarily making their way into your children's beds, you can identify with all those times your roommates got so pissed drunk that they permanently ruined their dorm room bed. I had a roommate in college who used to just roll to the side and go right in a garbage can like no big deal. With kids, we just aren't going to be that lucky. Amateurs. 

5. You're going to do a whole lot of embarrassing things to get laughs

Instead of you streaking the quad, you'll probably be chasing the urchins around just trying to get them to wear underwear half the time. Let's face it, we will do a lot of crazy things for our kids especially when they want to play hair salon and you don't have any hair. Think of all the stupid things you did with your friends that seemed funny at the time. The same goes for kids only you don't have to be drunk for it to happen. Instead, enjoy the natural high from their laughter.

6. There will be lots of drinking happening, especially at parties.

Birthday parties for kids are the worst that's why most sane people go somewhere that you pay them lots of money to have teenagers handle them for three hours while they throw pizza at them in between. Spend any time at a child's birthday party with ten screaming boys and girls and you'll be wondering where the nearest bar is and cursing yourself for leaving that flask you got at your friend's bachelor party at home.

7. Lots and lots of cramming

Trying to force knowledge into your brain in short window of time was not that effective. With your kids, it will come in the form of hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. Finally, a form of cramming that I can get behind.

8. Your house is going to be constantly trashed

Like your college roommate who would drink milk from the container and would let the dishes pile up in the sink until they grew mold when it was his turn, kids are messy. Instead of cleaning up red Solo cups and beer cans, it will be every toy they own. They have the ability, like reverse locusts, to take everything out in one room to destroy it before moving onto the next. They may have so many stuffed animals in their bed that E.T. might be in there and you may not notice.

9. You'll be hitting the books pretty hard 

Okay, many books you had in college probably weren't actually opened until the day before the test. Not me, mom and dad, I swear! In some cases, you probably sold the book back to the bookstore and they gave you three dollars for a $150 textbook they discontinued the next year. But reading with your kids is going to be the best investment you can ever make when spending time with them with a much better return.

Have one you would like to add? Find DadNCharge on Facebook and join the conversation!

Monday, February 16, 2015

When The Flu Attacks, Be Ready to Fight Back

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DripDrop®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DrinkDripDrop #DripDropHydrates http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I heard the garage door open shortly after lunch on Thursday afternoon, a sound I didn't expect to hear as my wife usually won't get home until 6 pm most nights. She had come home from work early and had to bail from a meeting because of stomach pains and immediately excused herself upstairs to our bedroom. A few hours later, she was texting me from upstairs. "Help me, please"

My four year old daughter had the stomach bug on Monday and had missed two days of school because of it. I had hoped that she was the only one of our three kids who had picked it up and prayed it was an isolated incident. It wasn't. After caring for my daughter on Monday and Tuesday and now my wife on Thursday, I was ready for the inevitable. I was going to get it too.

The last time my wife and I were both sick at the same time, our three kids were six, three, and 3 months old. You can imagine how difficult that was dealing with the flu and making sure they were cared for, especially the baby. Luckily, we had a very understanding neighbor who graciously took care of all three and especially the younger two at her house for an entire day.

With the kids being a little older, and our oldest now nine, he was able to help mom and dad out with our daughters who are seven and four now. Inevitably, I succumbed to the flu late Thursday night but knew I had to rally in the morning to get them off to school so we could recover.

Maybe it is because I am getting older or the fact that this strain was just more powerful but I found that my recovery was so long that I felt horrible for days afterwards. No matter how much fluid I took in, it never seemed to satiate my thirst.

The worst part of the flu is the recovery. For children, it can be shortened as they are more resilient but if the flu sticks around longer, the effects can be magnified. I've been to enough emergency room visits with my children because they couldn't keep fluids down to know that this is a major issue and one visit that scared me to death because my son who became so sick he wasn't his usually buoyant self.

The most major concern after you have had it is dehydration. When it feels like you can't drink enough water to replenish what you have lost while being sick, I find it is time to use something more powerful. Sports drinks are good but why not use something that was created purposely for combating dehydration?

DripDrop Hydration Powder is the product you are looking for and you can get it at your local CVS like I did in the Baby Care aisle. It is a medical grade hydration powder created by a Mayo Clinic trained physician to save lives in the most challenging circumstances. It was specifically made for adults and children who need to quickly replace fluid and electrolytes. In fact, compared to sports drinks, it delivers 2-3 times the electrolytes and 25% more than pediatric alternatives.

Great tasting flavors like Berry and Lemon made with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives makes it a great choice for you and your children. Each box comes with 8 powder packs which are easy to keep in your purse, backpack, or car for those emergency situations when water just isn't enough.

After drinking one 8 oz packet serving, I started to feel much better and was on my way back to full strength.  Gaining back the electrolytes and fluids I lost while being sick helped to shorten my recovery. Imagine what it would do in your everyday life after a workout or being inside an office all day where it is super dry.

Just 8 oz will help you on your way to recovery

DripDrop is available as CVS in the Baby Aisle and if you take advantage now, you can print out the $1.00 off coupon with any purchase of any ONE (1) box of DripDrop Hydration Powder available 1/25/15 - 2/21/15 (while supplies last)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Isn't Just for Lovers

She has spent almost an hour cutting and pasting at the kitchen table without my help. Glitter, the herpes of crafting is everywhere and hearts of all shapes and sizes are being fabricated on the kitchen table. She keeps shooing me away and tells me to go work on the computer for awhile. "I've got this under control" she tells me. In fact, each time I have come into the kitchen she covers up the top secret project she is clearly making for me.

Eventually she comes out of the kitchen with it behind her back. She thrusts her heart out to me and I couldn't help but smile and go on about it's beauty.

My daughter wants to be my Valentine and I am more than okay with that. 

She's made something that expresses her love and that is the best kind of valentine I could hope for. You see, we love each other and that is what Valentine's Day is supposed to be about, love. Some would argue that it is only for lovers and that a card from their own daughter implies some sort of sexual attraction.

With that argument it makes me wonder if my son makes me a valentine does that imply that he is gay? No. That's crazy. Love is not always directly related to sex.  I love many people in my life that I am not attracted to sexually. Valentine's Day, while a "holiday" created by card companies to generate revenue it still is a day to express the love you have for significant others, friends, and family.

The ones that only see Valentine's Day for lovers are usually the same guys who have trouble with dads going on daddy-daughter dates or attending a sweetheart dance with them as their father. They end up going begrudgingly and don't dance with their daughters and shy away from the whole experience. They probably are the same guys that don't dance with their wives at weddings either. If you are one of those guys, you're blowing it. You're losing out on opportunities to show the people in your lives that they are loved even if it means you make a fool of yourself doing the Sprinkler in the process.

I love my wife because of my attraction to her but more so because of the way she makes me feel about myself and our relationship. I love my friends for the way they encourage me. I love my family for the way they support me. These are all different ways to feel loved.

My grandma used to send me valentines. Beneath the crisp five dollar bill that was so new, ink would be left behind on the card, were X's and O's with a note that said she missed seeing me and hoped I was well. My in-laws and parents have always done it for my own children and still do. Getting something from someone you have affection for? That's love.

Love comes in many forms and to feel loved is the best feeling. After all, it is what we most seek out as humans, to be able to feel a connection with the people around us. A love based purely on the sexual will never fulfill our desires to feel complete. In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, physiological needs are low on the scale, with the feeling of being loved and connected much higher. Meeting those needs will help us feel like we belong. If making a valentine for her Daddy makes her feel special, I will gladly sweep up all that glitter though I despise it.

That valentine means everything to my daughter and me. It's like posting your heart on the refrigerator door to say "I love you and you are loved back" Valentines are expression of love, nothing more, nothing less. They will make her feel loved whether she is giving it to me, a friend that gives one back, or a card from her grandparents.  Even after I have given her away and she has found another person to give her heart to, I hope I will always still be her Valentine.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The World Needs Nerds

Take some smart kids and turn them into superheroes with abilities based on science. I am of course talking about Big Hero 6.  We watched it together in a not so crowded theater on a winter afternoon. We loved every part except for one, when Tadashi tries to convince his little brother Hiro that he should be using his exceptionally smart brain for something other than robot fighting, Hiro responds "No way I am going to your nerd school"

With no reference to what that was, my seven year old daughter leaned over to me and whispered "Daddy, what is a nerd?"

I couldn't get into it during the movie because well, I can't stand those people who talk during a movie so I whispered to her "A nerd is someone that is really smart" and she seemed to be okay with that explanation as Baymax made his first appearance and she forgot all about it.

But during the show I kept thinking about how I would explain what a nerd was. Is that something I wanted her to know about? Was knowing what a nerd was going to affect her love for being smart and loving science?

The movie impressed us all and showed how young Hiro, if he applied himself to something greater, could achieve so much more. I had hoped by the end that she had forgotten all about it but later in the car, she brought it up again.

"Daddy, why is being a nerd a bad thing?"

It definitely isn't though growing up in the 80s with films like Revenge of the Nerds and basically any sitcom from Saved by the Bell to Family Matters showed you, that nerds were everywhere growing up.

Everyone had a nerd friend that they tolerated in public but secretly loved and couldn't live without. Nerds were and are the lifeblood of our ability to move forward in technology, math, and science. So how was I going to explain to this little girl that being a nerd isn't bad?

She's the type of girl that comes home and when you ask her "How was school?" she doesn't respond with the canned "Nuthin" She comes back with "It was AWESOME!" or "It was the BEST DAY EVER!" It makes me laugh every time.

Schools today stress the importance of acceptance and look down on bullying more than ever. Is it the efforts to blur the lines between student stereotypes the reason why I look in the shows that my kids watch and don't see the nerds?

Maybe as someone who embraces nerd culture I just don't see it anymore. I just see movies like Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs representing those who are just smart and love science. Get your kids to take part in any STEM activity and you'll see their brains actually growing in front of your eyes.

I'm not naive. As a school teacher I met the nerds, jocks, dweebs, mean girls, bitches, preps, and gangstas. Kids find a niche where they are comfortable and often will identify with one or more of these things to stay relevant in social settings. Nerds above all those groups seem to be making the biggest impressions these days.

We see more of an embracing of everything geek starting with my generation in the way we flaunt our retroness. Look at how fashion has embraced nerdiness with nerd chic glasses and hipsters embracing trends that celebrate the weirder the better. I mean Old Style? Really? Even nerds can tell you that is terrible and that's not science, it's just good judgement.

Being a nerd or a geek is more acceptable than it once was with many of the biggest nerds creating the most successful businesses or ideas. Imagine how different the world would be without all the people who invented many of the things we have in our lives today, so many of whom were no doubt referred to as nerds.

So I said to my daughter "Being a nerd isn't a bad thing, some people think that being too smart means you are weak in other things. They might think that you have to be just one thing but the reality is you can be as many things as you want as long as it makes you happy and it makes you feel good about yourself"

She smiled and said emphatically "I LOVE school and LEARNING! I hope one day I get to go to nerd school!" As I looked back in the mirror I saw my little nerdling beaming with pride .  If I still had glasses, I would have push them up on my nose and gave her an almost too hearty laugh in agreement. I can't wait to see what you do either, watch out world!

Reclaim Your Man-space with PrimeTime Lockers

This post brought to you by Gladiator® GarageWorks. The content and opinions expressed below are that of DadNCharge.

A man's garage can be the most sacred of shrines. In many cases, the garage may be the only place left where the decorations of college past may be housed. It starts off innocently enough, with your wife's suggestion that the couch you had through six years in college make its way out to the garage, forever banished ultimately to Goodwill to make room for her stuff.

When we bought our first house in a suburb of Chicago, I was determined to make my three car garage more than just a garage. I sealed the concrete floor, installed tracks on the wall for organizing, built industrial metal shelves to house all of my treasures, and invested in a heavy duty workbench from Gladiator GarageWorks.

Gladiator® GarageWorks is the leader in garage organization and storage systems, and offers a solution that reflects individual personality and lifestyle. We've been married for eleven years now, and through two moves, it still looks like the day I bought it. That is how I know that Gladiator makes a quality product that will stand test of time.

We all know that personalizing our spaces is important especially to the college football fans. Fans can organize their gear and show support for their home team with PrimeTime Lockers, available in 15 collegiate themes with more to come.

I chose Wisconsin which represents my mom's side of the family as she was born and raised in Madison which is where my dad met her. I spent lots of time as a kid, mostly at Babcock Hall getting ice cream from the University Dairy Store and grew up supporting and visiting the campus.

Who doesn't like to customize their personal space? A recent survey conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Gladiator GarageWorks shows that more than 75% of fans take steps to show off their team pride. This includes displaying memorabilia and decorating their home or garage. I couldn't wait to install this in my garage and lay claim to my manspace.

I took back part of my garage and filled it with my things, separate from all the things which have overtaken our garage due to three children.Now, my stuff has a place of its own which they can't access. The locker has a combination lock in the front that can be customized and installation is a snap with many alternate ways to install it. It took only 15 minutes to set up, it was that easy.

Maybe you have a fan that has it all. You know the type, the die hard fan with a basement of garage shrine to their alma mater? PrimeTime™ Lockers are the perfect gift for the athlete or sports fan in your life! In the midst of the holiday season, Gladiator GarageWorks has an exclusive offer on these new storage systems.

If you act now  you can use this coupon to order yours for the #1 fan in your life.

COUPON DETAILS: OFFER: 20% off and free shipping on all available Primetime lockers CODE: PRIMEFAN. TO REDEEM: Enter code upon checkout on https://www.gladiatorgarageworks.com/superfan VALID: 12/3 - 1/31/15 Offer and code exclusive to the blogger community and their audiences. Check out Gladiator® GarageWorks Facebook page for more info.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why You Should Serve Ice Cream for Breakfast

The rich, creamy frozen treat glistens in the early morning sunshine. The toppings lined up like soldiers in formation ready to be dashed haphazardly atop a mountain of ice cream. Sprinkles are strewn about with reckless abandon like the glitter of a school art project. 

The gummy worms and gummy bears wait to lovingly adorn this mish mash of confectionary delight while cherries wait to be placed at the very pinnacle of the mountains of chocolate and vanilla. Little hands dart back and forth across the counter as each  individual masterpiece is formed limited only by the individual's imagination. 

They think it is a trick. They think that their parents must have finally caved or they clearly must be insane. They think that all the cajoling and whining that they have been doing in their lives has finally broke them. They think that all common sense from their parental units has gone out the window and they are finally reaping the rewards.

But here is the payoff, when you utter to them that they should wake up because it is Ice Cream For Breakfast Day, they are going to lose their minds and you are going to score some points for the coolest parents in the world. 

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day was invented by Florence Rappaport of Rochester, NY, the grandmother of my wife's childhood friend. Growing up in Upstate New York meant you had snow and lots of it. Winters meant the ground was covered and frozen and between New Year's Eve and Passover there wasn't that much to look forward to. So Florence and her husband decided one day that she would serve ice cream for breakfast to their children Ruth and Joe. On that first Saturday of February, a new tradition in their family was born. 

Being with family and making traditions is what ICFB is all about. Giving your children something to pass on in their lives and to others and giving them something to look forward to is what it is all about with kids. Your family might have a tradition to spend every 4th of July at a certain location or always spend a birthday at Disney World. Whatever your tradition is, making those lasting memories with your children is priceless. Let's face it. Ice Cream for Breakfast? That's pretty cool, pun intended. 

Joe and Ruth grew up and went to college and passed this tradition on to everyone they met. Soon, Ice Cream for Breakfast became a tradition for so many other families including my own. 

For our family we schedule a date on a weekend and invite every family we know. We stock up on ice cream, get all the fixings you could want, and provide the adults with coffee. The kids can put waffles in the bottom of their bowls, make waffle ice cream sandwiches or just straight traditional sundaes. Then, totally hopped up on sugar, they go play while the adults socialize. It's a great time for all. At our party attire is pajama casual for the kids and any adults who want to don their bathrobe or PJs in front of others, it is early morning after all.

There are only four rules when you decide to participate in Ice Cream for Breakfast:

2) For Breakfast
3) On the first Saturday of February
4) Spread the word to everyone you know

Will you participate in Ice Cream for Breakfast with your family? Let me know on Facebook

Monday, February 2, 2015

Boxtrolls Bingo with The Boxtrolls DVD and Pop Secret

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Universal Pictures, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BoxtrollsFamilyNite http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

The weekends are a special time for my family and me. My wife is home and generally doesn't have work, my kids are looking forward to spending time with her, and we all get to spend time together with the week's work complete for one night. Friday nights, because of this extra time together has become our Family Movie Night complete with a kid friendly movie and lots and lots of popcorn. 

The Boxtrolls movie was the next on our radar, now available since January 20th at WalMart on DVD and Blu Ray while supplies last and we were excited to add this to our library. It's a perfect movie about the perceptions of others and how we can often judge just by looks. The Boxtrolls are the ultimate representation of the adage, "you can't judge a book (or box) by its cover."

I loved this movie because The Boxtrolls are built up as scary, dangerous creatures that the masses fear because of rumor and hate speech created mostly by the man whose job it is to catch them. All it takes is one boy standing up for his friends to change all of that.  

Friday's movie night begins with the queuing up of the movie, me cooking the popcorn and distributing, and my wife snuggling up with our kids for some much needed rest and relaxation. Once we watched the movie together we wondered how we could make a game of all the great characters like Mr. Pickles, Mr. Gristle, Lord Portley-Rind, and of course Eggs and Fish. 

So, I created The Boxtrolls Bingo game, see the bingo cards below. The rules are simple, using Pop Secret's popped kernels from the Pop Secret 10 Pack Homestyle or Movie Theatre Butter that you can purchase at WalMart, place a piece of popcorn on your card when you see that character. 

The first person to fill the entire card wins! This requires you to yell out during the movie, the name of the character you are marking so you may want to watch it numerous times before you play. You decide what the winners will get if they win. 

 Bingo Card 2

 Bing Card 3

After watching the movie your kids will probably want to create their own boxes so keep any delivery boxes on hand just in case. If my kids were going to become one of  The Boxtrolls, Sarah, a laid back homebody would be Homestyle and Adam, with a flair for theatrics, would be Movie Theatre Butter. 

The Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn is hands down the best microwave popcorn I have ever had. Combine that with The Boxtrolls DVD and you are sure to have a Family Movie Night the kids will be raving to their friends about. After you watch it and play the game, report back here and let me know who was your favorite character and why? 

My favorite Boxtroll Characters