Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Cheeky Daddy Turns 2

"It's hard to think of yourself as a loser at 2 years old." - Jeff Foxworthy

   I never thought that a blog could so perfectly be compared to a child. As The Cheeky Daddy turns 2 today, I realize that the blog is so very much like a 2 year old child, it's unreal. Sure, I can walk, but I still trip and stumble. Sure I can talk, but like Shrek said about donkey, "It's getting him to shut up that's the trick!" Luckily, in the blogging world, there's a bit of "it takes a village to raise a child" mentality if you open yourself up to new friendships and constructive criticism.

   Since the birth of The Cheeky Daddy, I've droned on for paragraphs with mindless dribble. I'm still finding my voice in a vast chasm of blogging talent out there. Yet, as I've made new contacts and friendships, it's been an evolving goal to be open to the possibility that I DON'T know everything (despite what I tell my children). So I look for guidance, opportunities for growth, and keep trying to refine so that my little baby can become something of worth to me and those who might enjoy stopping by.

   So as we head into 2014, my goal is to focus on continuing those self improving attributes. I hope to be here in another year, better for the wear. My children will continue to grow and provide stories and learning experiences for sure. I count on it. I hope to make more friends along the way. So happy birthday to The Cheeky Daddy. I hope these terrible twos go by fast.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Traditions

"Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man."
- Ralphie, A Christmas Story

   Holiday traditions are the best, and the quote above is from one of ours (oh, and the baby on the right is me). Me and my brothers watched A Christmas Story for years, every Christmas, until we were sick of it. Even then we put it on as a tradition in our own homes. It's one of many that we've accumulated over time, and have brought with us to our own families we've started. The Wife has been a wonderful teacher of tradition for which I'm grateful. Coming from a broken home, I've been working on why I didn't like Christmas for a while. Nowadays, I enjoy the decorating, the music, the giving, and so on. I relive my childhood holiday traditions with fond memory now.

   My brothers and I used to all pile in my mother's bed before heading downstairs. She'd go down first to "check things out", and then ring a bell to call us down, as was the tradition when she was a little girl. We'd wrestle our way into the hallway, and down the stairs, climbing over one another until we landed in a heap at the bottom. It was vast amounts of fun, even up to the year our youngest brother's shoulder cracked the tile upon landing.

   Other fun traditions were the hunt for the perfect tree, cookies and milk for Santa, the reading of Luke  chapter II about the birth of Jesus, and such. My mother was always baking something and we took plates of goodies to neighbors and friends. I loved our big glass bulbed lights for the house, and for the tree. The glow enticed me to sit on the living room couch and just hang out. When I recently told my older brother that the excitement of my children is overbearing, he replied, "Really? 'Cuz you were the WORST!" I protested and he shot back, "You don't remember, 'Tomorrow's Christmas! I'm SOOO EXCITED!!!!'" I guess there was a time when I was up late listening for hooves on my roof, then up early to see what St. Nicholas had brought.

   I hope you have some wonderful traditions with you and yours. All my best this time of the year, and here's to an awesome 2013! I'm grateful for the friends I've made through the blogosphere, and send best wishes along with a digital plate of baked goodies.


Friday, December 13, 2013

The Friday Flush #12

The Friday Flush #12
   I'm excited for The Friday Flush #12, 'cuz I ran into some really cool stuff. The holidays in full swing, and it seems like everyone is busy, all the time. So it's nice to take a few minutes for ourselves and "flush" the system. See what I did there? Today we look at an artist who passed away too soon, see what it takes to make the best paper airplanes, and of course, random gadgetry coolness.

The Work of Zina Nicole Lahr
   I was combing the net, visiting some of my favorite sources for all things cool, when I stumbled across a video entitled The Work of Zina Nicole Lahr. It simply stated that she had passed away recent to the tribute video, and her work as an artist needed more attention. I started watching and wondered what kind of girl this was. Having an art degree, I'd spent plenty of time around people who were trying to hard to be outside the box and/or off the grid. I was worried that was what I was in for. I was wrong. Zina is her own person. It became clear that she is an icon unto herself. I was impressed with her vision, bravery, trueness to herself, and so on. There's a sweetness to her delivery and manner. I found myself sad that an artist and person of that caliber was lost so young. She's worth taking a look at. I found myself edified in several ways afterward. I wanted to create more, be more outward, and take more chances. I hope she gets more recognition.

The Paper Airplane Guy
   I've been making paper airplanes since I was a kid. I mean, what American boy doesn't follow that stereotype? The love and fascination of flight has dazzled the minds of children and the child in every adult forever. So when I found The Paper Airplane Guy, I was hooked. His videos are fun to watch by themselves. His tutorials to build the best paper airplane are a heaven sent, since the art form has taken root in our young family. With a second story banister that offers the perfect launching off point, we're all about flight these days. Luckily, the kids don't care how good they fly just yet, but I see that being a necessity in the near future. The paper airplane guy (John Collins) has a wonderfully enthusiastic way about him. He's excited about his craft and it comes across in his videos. I recommend them to whomever wants to have some fun with a past time of your childhood.

The Tronical Tune
   Okay, so gadgets are cool for a variety of reasons. One of the things we love about gadgets is usually the wow factor. With each new benchmark, we look to be impressed. When I saw the Tronical Tune in use, my jaw dropped. You can learn more from the company's site at tronical.com, but check out the first link, and tell me you didn't get a little giddy? Oh, what will they think of next? I had no idea this thing existed, mostly because I've not played guitar seriously for some time. Probably also because I'm not very good in the first place, but I digress. Gadgets are cool because they make our lives easier in some way, or do things in such a way that makes us look freaking cool just doing them! So it's worth checking out, even if just to say you did. 

   So there you have it. Another week, another dollar, another gray hair. We took some time to get to know a wonderful artist lost too young, learned how to make a paper airplane that soars, and learned we never have to tune our own guitar again. I'm sleeping in tomorrow, so don't come knocking and stay off my lawn. (wink 'n a smile)


Thursday, December 12, 2013

When The Daddy Duck Says Quack Quack Quack


"Five little ducks went out to play, over the hills and far away.
When the daddy duck says quack quack quack, four little ducks came running back."
- childhood song
   When I was a kid, the song above was a favorite. The tune was soothing and the buildup was fun. At the end, when no ducks go out to play, and the daddy duck says, "quack, Quack, QUACK!!!",...all of the ducks come running back. I've passed this tune onto my older two, and it's especially a favorite of my 'Lil Man. He too likes the tune, knows the words, and loves the buildup to the end line. There's little hand motions that can go along with it, making it even more fun.
  The tune came to life recently when I realized something while we were all out front. I make sure in these early years that the kids don't play out front without The Cheeky Daddy or Mommy around. Even with supervision, the kids can stray to far. When I see that they've left the safe zone (whatever that is for the day), I whistle loudly with my fingers. It's a short piercing sound that my older two have gotten used to. So when I whistle, just once, they come running back. In the past several weeks, I found myself humming the song in my head or out loud. "When the daddy duck says quack, Quack, QUACK!!! All of the ducks come running back!"
   Their response is limited within the walls of the house, but some reason, I only have to "ask" once when outside. It's tells me that they can and will listen. It also tells me that I will always be protective of my little ones, even when they're not so little. Are you a mommy or daddy duck?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Makes A Good Dad?

"What the hell did I know about raising little boys?" - The Cheeky Grandpa

   The quote above came from my father, when I asked why he never brushed MY hair, like he was doing with my half sister during a phone conversation. My father tried, in his own way, to make a difference. Recently I've been hearing The Wife say, "You're such a good daddy." I immediately feel inadequate and wonder, what makes a good dad? 

   I know it's all in the effort. Do we try our best? Do we give selflessly? The biggest hurdle I've faced is learning from mistakes and becoming a better father each passing day. When I bark, it ruins the progress I've made and I feel like I'm back to square one. When I listen to my conscience telling me to slow down and use a calm voice mixed with more patience, I accomplish more. I've been pushing to take more of the quality time that all my elders are admonishing me to take. Enough people close to me have stated that it was all over too quickly, that I've taken notice. I remember my two years as a missionary in England being labeled the same way. "Work hard, 'cuz it's over in a blink." Boy, was it ever. With that experience, an concerted effort to make time, take time, and enjoy that time is the name of the game. 

   I don't have a list here. More than that, I wanted to post the question and hopefully spark a brief thought that might lead to a board game, a bedtime story, or any other act that may have not occurred. I believe that anyone reading this is probably the type that wants to be a better parent. That's where it starts. Let us dads put our all into our families,.......... 'cuz it's over in a blink. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Daughter's First Kiss

"When my daughter starts dating, I plan on sitting there cleaning my shotgun when the boy shows up. I'll just smile and say, 'Oh, don't worry about this. My gun only works after 9pm.'" - Family Friend
   Hey guys,.....it happened. My 'Lil Miss had her first kiss. I'm slightly numb here. I'm torn between being excited along side her, and polishing my shotgun in preparation. Let's create a baseline by telling the world that my first kiss was when I was 4 years old at my own birthday party, in the shoe closet with my friend Kami. No big deal, but I knew what it was, that we wanted to kiss, and then life went on as though nothing happened. So, now let's bring you up to speed.
   I was putting my 'Lil Miss to bed late last week and we were chatting like we do. I asked who she played with at school that day and she gave me the basics, ending with something about "my lips tingled." I asked her to repeat herself and she explained that her and a friend were laying on the grass that paralleled the blacktop where the boys play handball. The two girls had their eyes closed when my girl felt a "tingle" on her lips. She opened her eyes and looked around to see her crush running back to the handball game. She jumped up and ran over, quietly asking him, "Did you just kiss me?" He replied with an incredulous "no!", before looking down and whispering "yes". When my 'Lil Miss finished her story she blushed and hid under her covers. I wanted to hide under mine for a minute.

   I had multiple feelings, but kept my wits about me so that she'd open up more. I showed interest, amazement, and curiosity. I know she really likes this boy, so I didn't want to embarrass. It was obviously a kiss and run situation, so I didn't panic. I mean, if she was busted making out under the slide, I'd be writing a different post. This is more initial reaction. She's my firstborn, and therefore my first experience with a great many things. I know the boy's parents fairly well, and chose not so say anything so I didn't throw the brave little boy under the bus. I also told my daughter NOT to tell any of her girl classmates, since many of them like this boy too. I've already heard some jealous behavior in the previous weeks. So the event was navigated with grace and elegance as a parent, and something similar by my little girl. It's been several days and I'm still in a bit of a daze over the whole thing. Am I in for it? Someone tell me I'll be okay.


Friday, December 6, 2013

The Friday Flush #11

The Friday Flush #11

   At the end of another week, I'm actually quite thrilled to share some stuff for The Friday Flush #11. As time passes, hopefully I'm being productive, but for certain there are others who have been. These are some must see links, and I'm happy to pay it forward. In this flush we see a satirical look at our need for the latest gadgetry, see how the latest gadgetry can bring joy to others, and end with a pretty cool piece of gadgetry. Sound like a theme? It wasn't intended that way. 

As an owner of the iPhone since the 1st generation, I've been a loyalist ever since. I've owned three Apple computers (4 if you include the old desktop my brother insisted we have back in the late 80's). There have been many parodies making fun of the "dyed in the wool" Apple fan, and I've thought most were down right funny. Occasionally my feathers were ruffled, but only because the point hit to close to the mark. I stumbled across the animated short called iDiots, by the crew at Big Lazy Robot VFX. The animation is so good, that I thought at first they had worked super hard with real windup robots. Not the case. Check it out. 

The Screen Machine
I really enjoy all things Scotland. Ever since Scooby-Doo's A Highland Fling with a Monstrous Thing, I was hooked. I spent some time in England, and found the Scottish to be fun people. So when anything good comes out of the land of the kilt, I'm all eyes and ears. In another Vimeo video named The Screen Machine, Scotland's mobile cinema makes its rounds to the islands of Coll and Tiree. The concept is cool, the technology whisks people away, and the recipients couldn't be more grateful. Like the wee lass says at the end, I'd love to get one of these to park on the side of my house. It'd be a party at The Cheeky House every weekend. 

The Copenhagen Wheel
Whoever thought you could reinvent the wheel? The folks at MIT have been working on the Copenhagen Wheel with the city of Copenhagen for a while and are close to bringing it to the masses. There is a motor, sensors, replaceable battery, embedded control system, and wireless connectivity. Yup, there's an app for that. The thing learns from your cycling habits and helps you when you need it most, kicking in at the right times to make you eco-friendly commute that much easier. After checking out the video, and understanding how the technology works, I'm wondering when I can get my hands on one of these. It would have made my time in England a lot more productive!

So there you have it. Gadgets for The Friday Flush #11. We've seen how we're a slave to the new, how we can embrace the new, and how the new can take us places we never knew we could go. All my best. 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The School Lunch Bandit

"What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." - Modern Proverb

   Our 'Lil Miss has been putting up with our peanut butter and honey sandwiches for some time. She finally cracked and told us she was sick of them, and wanted something else. The Wife did a lot of research and came up with the most popular solution, which ended up being the FUNtainer Food Jar by Thermos. We'd heard good things and have since really liked what we can do with our little girl's lunches. Chicken nuggets, bean burritos, and so on.  The solution to diversifying our 2nd graders lunch menu has also presented a dilemma. The school lunch bandit began to make an appearance and children were coming home hungry.

   Think back to a time at elementary school when you were sitting in front of a lunch that was less than compelling to each. Was there ever another student that had a lunch you coveted? The struggle continues to this very day, as I witnessed when volunteering at my daughter's school one day. Each day, someone has something another student or two wants. We recently had an incident where a girl was taking chicken tenders out of the food jar to eat for herself. The yard duty was called upon, but the girl grabbed another afterward and it ended up that my daughter only at 2 of the 5 tenders I had put in for her. She came home fairly hungry. The next morning upon drop off, I had a chat with her teacher and discussed ways we could discourage the school lunch bandit.

   We've discussed being more assertive with our 'Lil Miss, and hope that some encouragement from the school will all result in everyone getting to eat what they were sent with. I look back and wonder if I was taking it too seriously. I mean, I was REALLY excited about the new tenders we'd bought her. It also made it real when our little gal was digging through the pantry for food RIGHT when she got home. True, she's growing, but coming off of getting to only eat 1/3 of her lunch it needed to be addressed.

   Mixing up school lunches is a massive undertaking. I credit The Wife with working hard to find a solution which we've both been able to implement. I just hope she doesn't ever start asking for sushi.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Keeping Up With Baby

"I feel the need. The need for speed." - Mavrick, Top Gun

   I'm tired, guys. We as parents spend so much time getting excited for our wee ones to start walking, that we forget how much work it really is to deal with them once they've started walking! Our Wee Lass started walking about a month ago and she hasn't stopped since. There is also her fascination with the garbage, so when she's grabbed any number of discarded trash pieces, catching her is like wrangling cats. It's certainly added a layer of stress, but we wanted this, right? 

   There are certainly some difficulties that come with your toddler starting to walk. Every ledge and corner becomes a death trap. Since newly walking toddler all look like they are drunk, EVERY side of them is destined for some kind of infant fender bender. We watch for corners, surfaces that can pinch, toy land mines left on the floor, unattended stairs, and so on, and so on. With an 8YO and 4YO, there is plenty left within reach of "the runner". I mean, when we watched The Croods as a family, the older two immediately adopted the phrase "Release the baby!"

   So given that it was inevitable, and each phase only lasts so long, I thought a quick post recording this point in time was relevant. I wish you all in the same situation my best. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Though, sometimes you WILL be sprinting. Just remember to stay hydrated. 


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Keeping Up Holiday Traditions With Glade and Ziploc

   As the holiday's approach, The Wife and I expect it to smell like Christmas. What that means to each person can be a bit different, but I think we can all agree that typical smells of Christmas hover around pine, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, and so on. Amongst the many smells we bring into the home to make it feel a bit more festive, The Cheeky Daddy has partnered with the Niche Parent Network and has tried out some of Glade's Winter Collection. 

   This year's Glade(R) Winter Collection features four limited editions fragrances. Sparkling Spruce(tm) - Gather 'round - it's time! The crisp fragrance of fresh-cut pine is pure holiday magic at any age, evoking the wide-eyed wonder of a thousand twinkling lights. Apple Cinnamon Cheer(tm) - Brrrr! Wrap those snowy mittens around a mug of steaming cider, and let the fragrance of red apples and spice warm you from head to toe. Pure Vanilla Joy - Nothing says holidays like a fresh-baked batch of frosted cookies. Let the uplifting scent of pure, creamy vanilla keep you in the spirit all season long. Frosted Berry Kiss - Holiday magic is in the air! With ripe red berries and fresh green garlands, this festive fragrance captures the excitement of a kiss under the mistletoe. Though each of the fragrances were enticing, we were smitten by the Pure Vanilla Joy, which brought a base of goodness to our home. 

   I was also able to try out some of the Ziploc(R) brand Holiday Collection, which adds a festive touch to seasonal gift giving. The limited editions bags and containers can be filled with your favorite homemade treats for your holiday hostess or favorite teachers. At Kmart, SYWR Members get a $5 coupon to spend on groceries, health or beauty with a $15 or more purchase of select Glade(R) or Ziploc(R) Holiday collection products. In addition, over $12 of additional savings can be found on Kmart.com for Glade(R) and Ziploc(R) holiday collection products. The bags have added that little extra touch of the holidays for the treats we'll be giving out to friends and family. 

   I love how The Wife and I are able to continue traditions that are enhanced by some of the wonderful products available. I used some of the helpful product coupons available via the Kmart website. This makes the decision that much easier. Happy holidays from The Cheeky Daddy, and I hope you can create a wonderful experience as well!



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Craft Show Consequences

"Consequences, consequences,....as long as I'm rich." - Daffy Duck, Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island

   Some of you may know that The Wife and I have been slowly trying to build a little side business that consists of re-purposed pallet art and all manner of holiday craft type stuff. in the beginning, we didn't really know what it would turn into, but were willing to make the effort and try. We had always wondered what would become of our family life once we got going. There was concern that we might get way to into our new venture, and the kids would feel the affect of that. The last thing either of us wanted going into it was to lose that time we love to spend with our little ones.

   So with our evenings spent watching the kids play out front anyway, we stared in on our projects. The result was that we were around and available all while working on our stuff. The stuff that required more attention was done after the wee ones were in bed. Something we saw in our children as a bonus, was their desire to create even more. It was apparent that. They were seeing us hat d at work and they wanted in on the action. We're around so much that when today's inaugural craft show came up, the kids we're super excited to spend the day at their neighbor friend's place.

   So, the craft show consequences are not the detriment to the family that we thought they would be. We've been able to stay an engaged family, spend quality time outdoors with the kids, and as a couple we are realizing a dreams to find something we like to do together that might bring in a few extra bucks. It took a long time to get off the ground, being fearful of inexperience. Now we wonder why we took so long to get this far. It's certainly taught us lesson in doing verses putting things off. I hope we can all learn that lesson sooner rather than later.