Thursday, December 22, 2016

Bundled Up

Holiday break is finally here!

My family is primed to share in all the Christmas cheer.

We'll spend the holidays with family and friends

Cooped up in the house where the fun never ends.

We'll patiently wait around the Christmas tree

to see what gifts are for them and what gifts are for me.

I hope there's some tech and some gadgets to charge under there.

I hope that I can use the bathroom alone without a care.

And though the gifts might change from year to year,

There's something that's constant and that I'll never fear.

I'm bundled by Verizon FiOS, it keeps me in good favor

I can enjoy my time watching the shows that I savor.

Like a warm winter sweater against the bracing cold

Verizon FiOS is there for me to have and to hold.

My Wi-Fi is strong and my guests are all connected

They all use the guest one so they don't feel rejected.

Our signal is strong through the worst of the snows

and I know that I won't need outside hardware to see all my shows.

If uninterrupted programming is your holiday wish.

With FiOS you won't need to go out and knock snow off the dish.

It's wired better to serve you and their support is second to none

You can contact them by chat, Twitter, or phone

The services they offer are like presents in a sack

I guarantee you can't find an area of good value where they lack.

If you have network dead spots they can get you an extender,

and make sure that your emails never get returned to the sender.

This holiday season they will bundle you with service so tight

like a child going out to play in the snow day and night.

Internet, TV, and phone all together like your family is now

and support to ensure happiness with your features is their vow.

To ensure that your holiday season is one and that it is happy

You should stay connected to the family and friends

Okay, this is sappy.

Gather 'round the TV to watch holiday shows

or watch endless un-boxing videos with the kids, you know how that goes.

If you don't know what to get that hard person on your list

Consider Verizon FiOS to ensured they aren't missed.

And enjoy connectivity to the things that you adore

Happy Holidays from DadNCharge to you and to yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

When The Thrill of Christmas is Gone

Visiting days of Christmas past as a parent we can fondly look back on the way it used to be. Getting kids dressed in warm footie pajamas while they let us dress them however they wanted. While crawling on hands and knees, my children used to once be fascinated with the brightly colored wrappings, the twinkle of the low hanging ornaments on the tree, the way the paper crinkled in their tiny hands, or how they could fit themselves into a gift box like a cat looking for an afternoon nap.

Remember those days when keeping them occupied meant putting them in a bouncy chair or if they could stand, an activity center, where they would bop the same button over and over with their pudgy little hands while you listened to it proclaim that a lion says ROAR! a billion times over?

They grew up of course with each year progressing into all those different stages the books said they would. They began to walk and soon were running. They paid more and more attention to detail and started to respond to your words. As they got older, their tastes in gifts progressed. As they increased in age their attention disappeared from the gift wrap to what was inside the boxes instead.

Our kids pile their booty in a select area of the house and when all the unwrapping is done and the family is spent, they turn to their piles and explore and re familiarize themselves with what they just opened. It can all be a blur in the moment especially when you are feverishly ripping past red and green paper to discover what is hidden inside like a maniacal Christmas archaeologist.

Inevitably, their interest will wan and even though you have just spent the last three hours watching the rise and fall of joy and excitement leaving their faces as they moved like locusts under the tree, boredom will once again return. Dad, I'm bored. There's NOTHING to DO.

And that's when this year I am going to hand over the iPad open the Netflix app and let them unwrap the first season of Dreamworks Trollhunters. Debuting December 23rd, Trollhunters created by Guillermo Del Toro, is a story about an ordinary teenager Jim Lake Jr., who stumbles upon a mystical amulet on his way to school one morning. He inadvertently discovers an extraordinary secret civilization of mighty trolls beneath his small town of Arcadia.

Strong-willed and seeking adventure but wholly unprepared for the responsibilities thrust upon him, Jim is forced to take on the exalted mantle of Trollhunter, sworn to protect the good trolls from powerful enemies bent on revenge. The first human ever to hold the honor, Jim abruptly goes from fighting his way through the daily mayhem of high school to joining a war that has raged for centuries, a conflict that now threatens all of mankind and troll-kind alike.

He and a few of his friends know of his secret and try to protect it from enemies who know of his secret. It's the perfect show to keep kids occupied this holiday break. After they watch the show, unleash them out into the world and let them play as their favorite characters and more importantly, give you a a chance at a silent night.

Disclaimer : This post was brought to you by DadNCharge on behalf of the Netflix #StreamTeam. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

What Friends Are For

I'm sitting in the Arden Theater with a tear in my eye watching A Year With Frog and Toad. I have a tear in my eye because Frog and Toad are all about friendship and it has me thinking, I'm lucky to have Jeff Bogle as a friend. Maybe you don't believe in fate or get squeamish when people say that everything happens for a reason but there is something in this universe that brought Jeff and I together.

Friends are usually the people you grew up with or they might be a roommate from college. Friends might have come from a job that you once had together or an experience you both shared. I found Jeff through a series of fortunate events. It began with the National At Home Dad Network and finding their annual convention which lead to me meeting Chris Routly and Matt Peregoy who I knew both had blogs. "You should join the Dad Blogger group on Facebook" they both said when I expressed interest in sharing my blog with the world.

I had just moved away from our house in upstate New York and had to start all over again making friends. My friends from college are scattered all over the place, my high school friends mostly still in Chicago, many of them I just don't talk to anymore because I just don't get to see them.

In the group, I searched the members and discovered that Jeff didn't live that far from me. So, I asked him to meet me at a bar/restaurant one day. Yep, I asked a dude out on a mandate. I quickly learned that he didn't drink and that he liked the Detroit Red Wings. I felt like the universe was trying to pull an Odd Couple scenario on me. How was I going to get along with this guy?

Without spoiling the show, I can say that friends can be so different but the same in many ways. Frog says to Toad at one point during the show "I'm happy when my friend is happy." That is what friends are for.

If like me, you grew up reading the books of Frog and Toad as a child, the underlying theme in all of the books is the basis of friendship. A Year With Frog and Toad is a celebration of what it means to be a true friend.

And just like Frog and Toad, we've been through a lot together. We've seen Montell Jordan together. Visited the White House. We've even survived rooming with Zach Rosenberg. As different as we are, we are still the same in many things. Great fathers, wonderful writers, champions of daughters, adoring husbands, world travelers, and talented photographers just to name a few.

Maybe it's the way that he writes that drew me to him in the first place. His blog posts are like stories from a close friend. If you follow his blog you'll begin to feel like you already know him. When I'm down I call Jeff just to talk.  Sometimes I complain about something and he listens. Sometimes he cracks a joke and can make me laugh. I'd like to think that when I'm happy, so is he.

Go see A Year With Frog and Toad with your best friend and go for lunch after. See it by yourself and call them after to let them know just how much you appreciate them. Take your children so they can learn what it means to be a true friend. Take your whole family to the Arden Theater and see A Year With Frog and Toad before, like a snail, it slowly passes you by. Performances are going on now through January 29th, 2017.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How Assassins Do Movie Night

By the time you see me, it's already too late for you. And no, I don't work in HR though you still might get the axe from me. I work hard after hours and often keep my head down and forge through tough situations. My job is a stressful one, always travelling from place to place, interacting with other people on a daily basis, always dealing with other people's problems.

I work for myself mostly, doing freelance jobs to keep myself busy. Sometimes I get to work on group projects with colleagues of mine who I've met along the way. I enjoy being project manager with them but sometimes work is difficult and working behind the scenes becomes arduous. Sometimes, even if I don't think I'll be able to accomplish something, I will have to take a leap of faith just to make it through.

Yep, life as an assassin can be pretty hard on a person.  I'm the shadow that's not yours, that whisper in the darkness, the secret in your pop.

That's why at the end of a long week of work, I like to kick back with the family and enjoy some bonding time in the dark where I'm not sneaking up on someone. That is of course one of my skillsets especially when it comes to delivering popcorn before the actually movie starts.

There's nothing stealthy about hanging around the stove and popping corn in a pot and adding butter afterwards. Time is of the essence when it is movie time or like, saving the world from it's impending destruction. If you have kids, you know exactly what I'm saying. They want the popcorn yesterday!

I can't remember a time when I've watched a movie without popcorn. It's become one of those things that you can't enjoy without the other like an arrow without a bow. It's like watching a movie without family or learning about the past without the use of the Animus. I mean, who even does that?

So when I get together with my family for a movie night, it's right to the microwave for me with some Pop Secret Movie Theater popcorn that I've purchased at Walmart. Those self-checkout lanes are a lifesaver for assassins. I mean who has the time right? Now, if you buy 2 Pop-Secret 10 ct or 10+2 ct bonus packs at Walmart between 12/7/16 - 1/8/17 and get an $8 credit toward a ticket to the Assassin’s Creed movie while supplies last.

If you're like me, you'll be heading to the theater soon to see a real movie about some real working heroes. Though obviously you'll never know that I'm actually there. But if you do spot me, give me a nod just to confirm that you're not a Templar.

Leave a comment about your favorite movie to watch at home and whether you're seeing Assassin's Creed. While you wait for the movie to come out December 21st, spend some time with Pop Secret popcorn and the dark. It's just the way movie night should be.

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Pop Secret, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #Pop4AssassinsCreed

Monday, December 12, 2016

Reading To Your Child Is the Key to Happiness

I remember it as if it were yesterday, laying on my bed next to my wife, opening the book, and talking in soft tones to my wife's bare stomach while I watched for it to move. I read it my favorite book from childhood, Bears In The Night and wondered if when I raised my voice at the top of Spook Hill if it had any effect on the baby's movement in that moment. Was our baby responding to my voice?

Reading to a child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Literacy begins with hearing words before seeing them. It evolves into recognition of letters and patterns, sounds and juxtaposition. It's also about closeness and love. Sitting on your daddy's lap, snuggled up with your back pressed against him sometimes under a blankie. Listening to the sweet tones of your mother's voice while the stars start to emerge from the night.

Reading brings us closer. Remember your grandmother pointing out the words with her finger and hearing your grandpa's laughter at the funny parts? Or feverishly unwrapping a present from your aunt to discover a book she loved as a little girl that she shared with you. Or reading the inscription your uncle scrawled in the front inside cover before you were even born. How about sitting on the couch with older cousins or siblings while they remember when they used to have it read to them? Books are magical things that bring us closer together for so many reasons.

All the pregnancy books told us it was the way to go. Babies hear their moms from the womb, mothers have that advantage in close proximity to the child at all times while dads have to try a little bit harder to be heard. That's why I started to read to them, to get them to know my voice. I just never stopped reading to them because of the way it makes me feel.

It's the same reason I love to volunteer in my kids' classrooms. I love to pick out a book I think they will enjoy and see their reactions to it. I love to see and hear kids discovering new things. It is in part, a reason why I became a public school teacher. I love to help kids learn. I live for the light I see in their faces when they see something I never would have seen.

When our son was born someone gave us a subscription to Babybug. A publication from Cricket Media, Babybug is full of poetry, stories, rhymes, and colorful illustrations that I would read to my children before bedtime and anytime. The rounded edges and thickened cardboard cover made them durable and portable. We kept some in the diaper bag just in case a waiting room didn't have anything or the kids needed a quick story before a nap.

Many of the issues we saved and still sit on their shelves like those old Reader's Digests that our grandparents just couldn't give up because the articles spoke to them.  The ones we still have are battered from overuse, covers ripped unceremoniously from the two staples that hold it together and edges frayed or maybe chewed on by emerging teeth. All of those words are meaningful to us.

Reading to your children makes a difference in their lives. It prepares them for success later in life. The more they read, the more they absorb, their minds becoming like ever-expanding sponges. This is why it is important to make sure that every child is read to.

Cricket Media is partnering with Libraries Without Borders and The Parent-Child Home Program this holiday season to ensure that children who are under-resourced get a chance to build on their literacy. It's called "Double The Giving" and this is how it works: Purchase a subscription for your child or a child you know this December and you will also deliver the gift of reading to a child in an underserved community. Choose any subscription from Cricket Media like Babybug (Ages 6 mo.-3), Ladybug (ages 3-6), Spider (Ages 6-9), or Cricket (Ages 9-11) and they will donate a subscription to a child in need.

To order a subscription and to gift the gift of reading to a child you know and to help others you don't ORDER HERE . You can also enter below for your chance at a FREE One Year Subscription to one Cricket Media publication of your choice either Babybug, Ladybug, Spider, or Cricket.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on Cricket Media, Libraries Without Borders, or The Parent-Child Home Program, see the information below:

About Cricket Media
Cricket Media is an education media company that provides award-winning content on a safe and secure learning network for children, families and teachers across the world.  Cricket Media's 11 popular media brands for toddlers to teens include Babybug®, Ladybug®, Cricket™ and Cobblestone™.  The Company's innovative web-based K12 tools for school and home include the ePals community and virtual classroom for global collaboration as well as In2Books®, an e-Mentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Cricket Media serves millions of teachers, students and parents in over 200 countries and territories through its platform and NeuPals, its joint venture with China's leading IT services company Neusoft. Cricket Media also licenses its content and platform to top publishing and educational companies worldwide.  For more information, please visit

About Libraries Without Borders
Libraries Without Borders (LWB) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to facilitating the growth of libraries in the developing world. Currently active in 20 different countries, LWB recognizes that access to knowledge is a key factor in social and economic development. By facilitating the growth of libraries across the globe, LWB aims to provide the knowledge that is the engine of human development. Libraries Without Borders and Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF) form an international network of organizations working together to promote knowledge-based development in under-served regions of the world.

About Parent-Child Home Program
The Parent-Child Home Program supports under-resourced families in preparing their young children for school success, by combining intensive home visits with weekly gifts of books and educational materials.  Early-literacy specialists model good practices to educate parents about the importance of parent-child interaction, give them the tools needed to inculcate early literacy skills in their children, and encourage them to see themselves as active participants in their children's educations.  In this program, community-based early learning specialists visit participating families twice a week for two years.  When families complete the program, the staff helps parents enroll their children in quality preschools or kindergartens.  The program has been replicated in 400 high-need communities in 14 states and in Chile, Canada, Ireland and Bermuda.