Friday, June 28, 2013

Dumb Things That Kids Do

"A mistake is simply another way of doing things." - Katharine Graham
   I spent some time in my old stomping grounds this past two weeks for work. Along the highway near the house I grew up is a memory from my past. On the other side of the freeway from the main street near my childhood home, there is a business park. Center to that, along the highway fence, is a modern art structure that's been there since the early 80's. Pictured above, one can see why me and my brothers referred to it as "the cookie". My mother drove us over once or twice for us to climb up n it to play a short round of hide-and-seek.
   I made a few mistakes as a young man, and I give the description of "the cookie" to tell the tale of dumb things that kids do. An elementary school friend and I rode our bikes around A LOT. I was in the 5th grade or so, and I has told my buddy all about the fun and fame of the legendary "cookie". We rode our bikes along the main road outside my neighborhood to get a better look at the structure from across the freeway. As we didn't know the rules of America's highways, we scaled the chain link fence quite easily, and discussed our pathway to a few minutes of fun. We waited for gaps in traffic, and then hoofed it across 3 lanes of southbound madness. We hiked through 20 feet of shrubbery, then darted across 3 lanes of northbound insanity. After climbing the fence on the other side, we has arrived at the promised land. It was better than we ever dreamed, as it was earned at a higher price. No one would EVER believe it!
   After 20-30 minutes, we scaled the fence again, duplicated our "roadrunner" maneuvers, got past our last hurdle of the final fence, and were on our bikes once again. We headed to our own homes for the day, and when my father got home, I proudly announced the victory of the day. He was shocked, as was my mother. They read me the riot act, and then my mother called my friends mom. While I wasn't grounded (though I should have been), I felt the full weight of the stupidity of my actions.
   Given some of the stories The Wife has told me about HER childhood, we've discussed putting our three little ones in straight jackets as soon as possible. Just THINK of the things they'll do! Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cheap Summer Fun Activities

"If we didn't have any money, WE didn't know it." - Grandma Schofield
   My grandmother past away this past year, and one of the lessons she taught me was that you don't need money to have fun. She pointed out that the days as a married couple with little money were some of the best memories she had. Granted, looking back one can say that. While in the midst of things being tight, I can have a MUCH different perspective. As an adult you have a more complicated set of responsibilities.
   That being said, there are some fantastically cheap summer fun activities out there to participate in. When I was a kid, my mother bought a super cheap plastic pool, filled it with water, and then gave us old Cool Whip bowls to play with. If a toy or ball flew out into the dry weeds (no grass yet at that point), we'd put the bowls on our feet as "shoes" and walk into the brush to retrieve whatever was lost. We were young, broke, and happy.
   Fast forward to today, and while we're not "poor as church mice" as we were once labeled, we're still in a place where we need cheap entertainment. While on a work trip, we stayed with family and the weather got warm. My mother, in her traditional way, grabbed two buckets, turned on the hose, and my little ones were on their way to a pile of summer fun, right in the front yard. I came home to the scene pictured above. Memories came rushing back and I'm grateful The Wife and my mother could provide a much needed diversion for some VERY active minds.
   So here's my short list of cheap summer activities you can try out:
Home based water park - Get creative and it can be ten times the fun you think.
Treasure Maps – I did this with the kids once, and they now ask to do it again a least once every two weeks.
Public Library – Whether you grab some new books, or find a free event, there’s a lot to do there.
Costume Party – Mom or dad, you get dressed up too. Join the fun.
Home Theatre Production – This can follow on the heels of the costume party!
Craft Day – Throw down some newspaper and get messy.
Nature Walk – There’s more out there to look at than you’d think, if you’re looking.
Movie Night – You can rent movies for a buck these days. See something new.
Ice Cream Night – Grab a few flavors and a bunch of toppings and go “nuts”.
Fort Building – Find boxes, blankets, couch cushions and get to work. Combine with movie night! Childhood Outdoor Games – Hopscotch, kick the can, tag, hide-and-go-seek, kites, etc. all work.
Farmer’s Market – There’s always one nearby. Search one out and try something new.
Marshmallows – Get a fire going and toast some mallows. S’Mores optional.
Lemonade Stand – We’re doing our first this summer. They were always more work than profit, but fun regardless.
Picnic – Always a good excuse to get out, have lunch, play at the park, beach, or wherever.
Stargazing – Can be fun no matter the location, but I saw my first satellite fly over while looking at the stars with my dad.
Local Baseball – This can be super cheap and good old American fun.
Hope your summer will be as great as ours!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Even Superheros Need Love

Even superheros need love. 

   My 'Lil Man loves to be the bruiser. He's the first wrestle with me, the first into pretend skirmishes, and puts up one of the best manly fronts I've seen in a guy, young or old. It's that way, right up until it's not. It's incredible to see how fast our little ones go from a poker face, to a teary one. My older two, like most I've noticed, try to put on the bravest face possible. "I'm not tired." That's my favorite. It becomes historic when said through the tears of a tired and worn out child. 
   As I see my wee ones navigate their little lives in preparation for their big ones, I help, teach, and nurture along the way. I was at a mechanic recently, and took my two oldest along for the ride. I was on my tablet, typing away, when I looked down and saw my 'Lil Man holding onto my arm (pictured above). Given the shirt he was wearing that day, I thought, "Even superheros need love." They do, and they need it from you. Moms and dads alike.  

   I leave you withe The Superman Song, by the Crash Test Dummies. As it says towards the end, "Sometimes when Supe was stopping crimes, I'll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back,.." Teach your little ones to press on, with you along the way to offer your arm if needed.

Stay strong,....super strong. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Remembering Maurice Sendak - Part II

“And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!”
- Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak 
   I'm a sucker for good children's books. I remember hearing Maurice Sendak said he didn't write specifically for children, but that's where it seemed to be categorized. I wrote a post about the author of Where The Wild Things Are back in May of 2012 when he passed away. Please take a look at it if you have the time.
   In an NPR interview with Maurice, he states that he believes "children won't despair if you tell them the truth." I've tried to have more frank conversations with my 'Lil Miss. As she is 7 years old now, she's asking more about increasingly complex topics. It seems Maurice's take has been productive thus far.
   Today's Google Doodle is what set my mind ablaze with thoughtful creativity. Check it out:


   Just watching the world's he created is enough to find myself lost in thought. I enjoy the worlds we create for our children through stories and imagination. I believe we need to actively defend against growing up too much.  We need creativity and imagination for our own sanity, but also to encourage our children to have dreams and goals.
   Stay young.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Men's Bath Products That Work For You

"Shaving cream? Don't you mean water?" - Overly Manly Man,

   As a young man, I wanted to shave so badly. My friends were doing it, and I was sporting the peach fuzz. I've since regretted that wish. Not that I break out in a rash each time, but it's not the FIRST thing I want to do each day. I've had a goatee for the past 16 or so years, which means my shave regimen is less complicated than other gentlemen. I've lathered up with various products, from Gillette to hand soap. It's typically a chore, that can end in a generally satisfied customer, or a bloody, itchy mess. I've needed to find men's bath products that work for me. 

   Recently, I hooked up with Life of Dad and Johnson & Johnson, who supplied me men's shaving products by AVEENO® and their Active Natural's for Men. Skepticism set in, as I've tried a few competitor's products, with not-so-fun results. My biggest issues have been foam that isn't all that lubricating for the shave, and after-shave lotion that is too fragrant and makes my face feel oily WAY too soon. Thus I began using the product, with no high expectations.

   The AVEENO® Men's Face Wash (MSRP $5.99) is similar to some of the products The Wife has used. It was pleasant to use, had a mildly exfoliated, and didn't leave any kind of slippery residue. It's been said that it's best to exfoliate a bit before shaving, so I was game. My face felt clean afterward and wasn't overly dry throughout the day afterward.

   I moved onto the AVEENO® Men's Shave Gel (MSRP $3.99). What I noticed first was the mild fragrance. It was a pleasant surprise to be hit by some smell I didn't ask for. I understand why, but even when I'm not offended by the smell, I've never been a major cologne guy. This shave gel allows you to add on a cologne after if you wish, and not layer several before you leave the house. The gel lathered somethin' fierce, so a little goes a long way. I began shaving, and NO LIE, it was the smoothest shave I have EVER experienced. The experience of a "close, and smooth" shave was undeniable. The moisturizer certainly helped with keeping my face from drying out later in the day.

   The event was rounded out with the AVEENO® Men's After Shave Lotion (MSRP $5.99). It was nice to get the cooling and smooth affect of an after shave lotion, again, without the overpower smell of the added fragrance. My last after shave lotion made my face feel oily by lunchtime, and I've never enjoyed that. The AVEENO after shave did the job, and didn't feel oily ALL DAY. Nice.

   In all, this is a great product line. I'm planning on continuing the use of it when I run out. I know we'd all like to be so manly that we shave with our Bowie knife,....dry, but it's not to be. So happy shaving! I leave you with a manly man, shaving the way only a manly man can. 

(photo via


The products above were provided as a sample via Life of Dad for review. All opinions are The Cheeky Daddy's. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

30 Dads, 30 Days - Pondering Different Persona On Life of Dad Interview

"There's the private persona and the public persona and the two shall never meet." - Liev Schreiber

   I'm honored to be a part of Life of Dad's 30 Dads, 30 Days. This the dad community that brought you the hilarious and fun Cheetos Mix-Ups Art Contest. This has been a fun way to meet dad bloggers in our online community and have a little fun along the way. The questions were thought provoking and got me to thinking about the many persona that we have in each of our lives. 
   I was listening to NPR and there was a segment on the many persona that we carry in our various real life and online communities. It was discussed that we represent ourselves differently amongst family, friends, and our online relations. It was even pointed out that we represent ourselves differently from one social media platform to another. I thought this was ridiculous until I really thought about it and found myself agreeing completely. I blog in a way that represents me as a father. I Tweet in a way that tries to be funny in small sound bytes. I post in Instagram that tries to show me as pensive and thoughtful. 

   As I thought about what I was typing for the Life of Dad highlight, I tried to remain true to who I really thought I was. A father, trying to be funny, while enlisting his thoughtful side. Mission accomplished? Or perhaps, I've just carved out another persona. You be the judge. Check it out at Life of Dad