Posts

Creative Minds Podcast

Introducing the Creative Minds Podcast!

It only took me just under a year of talking about it but I have finally decided that it was time to launch a podcast! I’ve teamed up with my good friend, Mike Reynolds, from the blog, Puzzling Posts, and we just finished recording our first episode. The title of the podcast is Creative Minds and while the overall goal is to have guests talk about their creative processes, we are going to be covering all sorts of topics. I have decided to house the podcasts here until we can get our new site up and running.

In the first episode we talk about our everything from why Mike is excited about his nightmares, to my incessant need to try and figure out the exact moment that I am about to fall asleep. We had a lot of fun taping this and hope you enjoy it as well. We have guests lined up for the next couple shows and can’t wait to dig in. Thank in advance for listening!

Dad For Beginners

Dad Blogs Exposed! ~ Dad For Beginners

This week on Dad Blogs Exposed, we are chatting with Colin Reed from the blog, Dad For Beginners. Here’s what he had to say about fatherhood and the blog life.

CD: Why did you start blogging?

CR: Obviously, I started blogging for the money, women, and fame. I repeatedly attempt to exploit my son and amateur parenting techniques for seemingly limitless income on my site! More seriously, blogging for me is a coping mechanism. It is a way to vanquish any guilt I harbor from mistakes I’ve made as a father by writing about them in the hopes someone will learn something valuable. Having a child alters more than your day-to-day lifestyle, it alters your worldview and sometimes the only way I can express the bizarro world that is my new reality is through writing.

CD: What can people expect from your blog? Do you have a specific goal or do you write whatever you feel?

CR: I didn’t set out with goals for my website. As I’ve gone along, I’ve incorporated recurring themes or motifs that help me maintain consistency but overall, I just want to be engaging. Readers of dadforbeginners.com can expect a healthy helping of cynicism with subtle traces of hope for the future as I morph from a furry and confused caterpillar into a butterfly of fatherhood…albeit a pitiful, sickly, and decidedly non-majestic butterfly.

CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

CR: My biggest challenge as a father has been vacating my former lifestyle in favor of the lifestyle of my newborn mass of fleshy tissue a.k.a my son. My wife has an expression in her native Romanian describing someone who’s perceived to be the center of attention. The phrase “Buricul Pamintului” loosely translates into English as “the belly button of the world.” It is a term used to more appropriately describe someone who requires all the attention of those surrounding them. My son is now the belly button of my world and that has been challenging.

CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?

CR: My best advice for a new father is don’t take advice from new fathers. And make sure you’re at the birth. It is truly an amazing sight to witness your child being born.

CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?

CR: I believe that my site can be long-lasting and fruitful. I’ve experienced more in the last 6 months than I could have ever imagined. My son unknowingly provides me endless material to write about. My goal is twofold: maintain whatever is left of my sanity and maybe influence someone who’s not yet experienced what I have.

CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?

CR: Facebook. This is a no brainer. Facebook posts have 3 to 4 times the lifespan of Tweets and Stumbles and a far greater likelihood of being shared. The Facebook crowd is far more family oriented and serious than any other social medium.

CD: How has blogging affected your life?

CR: Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve become rich beyond my wildest dreams. I’m a Southern California celebrity and I’m taking it nationwide. In other words, I’m straddling the poverty line and my mom thinks I’m funny.

I want to thank Colin for his time in answering all my hard hitting questions and hope you’ll stop by to check him out on Twitter and Facebook as well!

HP Slate 7

HP Slate 7 Tablet ~ Giveaway

While I’m working on my review of the HP Split x2, I thought it would be fun to give something back to my amazing community of readers! I convinced the folks at HP to give me one of their new Slate 7 Tablets, so that I can turn around and give it to one of you. I have previously worked on the HP Envy x2 laptop/tablet hybrid and with the Split x2 review going well, I have no doubt that this product will be amazing as well. Here is some info about the Slate 7:

The HP Slate 7 tablet (available on HPShopping.ca for CDN$169.99) is a sleek, 7-inch diagonal touchscreen tablet that weighs just 13 ounces, making it an ideal affordable device for people on-the-go. Stay on top of your busy schedule with onboard apps and capture photo and video to share with the video webcam on the front and 3 MP camera on the back. Running on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the Slate 7 provides access to the Google Play Store which offers a multitude of exciting apps right at your fingertips. The Slate 7 is also the industry’s first tablet to feature Beats AudioT for the best-sounding richest audio available on a tablet. Printing is a breeze with the built-in HP ePrint app that allows you to email important documents and memorable photos to any ePrint-enabled HP printer and have them waiting for you at home or the office.

HOW TO ENTER:

I’m giving you two chances to win this time around. To enter, leave a comment telling me what you would use the HP Slate 7 Tablet for the most.

For a 2nd entry into the draw, use the form below to sign up for my mailing list and then leave a separate comment with the email address you used to sign up. Easy!

Draw closes Friday, November 8th at 9pm EST and is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Winner will be chosen by Random.Org and will have 48 hours to respond to email notification or a new winner will be chosen.

Congrats to our winner, Andrew P.!

Jeff Bogle OWTK

Dad Blogs Exposed! ~ Out With The Kids

This week on Dad Blogs Exposed, I am talking to Jeff Bogle from the blog, Out With The Kids. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff this past January in Houston for Dad Summit and immediately appreciated him for his sense of kindness. I have also been finding inspiration in his journey to live a healthier lifestyle and have even started my own regimen because of it. He is a great dude and I hope you enjoy his answers and his website!

CD: Why did you start blogging?

Jeff: I began blogging in the late 18th century, to document the early stage development of our fair nation to your south, but didn’t backup anything (Carbonite wouldn’t be invented for centuries, unfortunately) so there’s no record of any of those dazzling quill-typed blog entries. My modern day blog, Out With The Kids, was launched in May of 2006, when my oldest was still a toddler, to document the early-stage development of her and also myself as a first time parent. The idea was to document the ways in which my wife and I were parenting on the edge of the mainstream. I wasn’t going for pompous, but fear I achieved it often. I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t have a content strategy or SEO keyword plan to attract readers – still don’t, really. I simply felt and continue to feel a need to put things down, to record them without having to ever read back my gnarly handwriting.

CD: What can people expect from your blog? Do you have a specific goal or do you write whatever you feel?

Jeff: Readers can expect to discover a number of new media goodies — music, books, apps and more — that will hopefully assist them in elongating and enhancing childhood for their kids, and parenting/life reflections that are a mixed bag of wistful, funny, and heartbreaking. In any given week, a reader might cry, laugh, find their kid’s new favorite song and discover a killer new recipe for tomorrow night’s dinner.

CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

Jeff: Managing my perfectionist tendencies and expectations. I struggle, less now than before, but still, with remembering that my children are just that, and that despite being bright, thoughtful, and cultured, they are young kids…young kids who I’m not in a rush to have grow up. Because they, and I, only get one shot to enjoy their childhood.

CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?

Jeff: To share your passions with your children, without force feeding them, but not ever at the expense of their right to experience a pure, innocent and long childhood. Don’t rush them or yourself as a parent through it! So if you love Pulp Fiction, like hard core love it, maybe give it a few more years, or decades, before you sit down aside your boy to watch it together. That’s an extreme example, but the point remains: children deserve experiences and media that honor their viewpoint and has context that doesn’t force them to grow up faster than they want to.

CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?

Jeff: On one hand, I’d like OWTK to become the Rolling Stone Magazine of kid culture, but that would involve covering media and characters that disgust me and seem to operate with a mission to soil childhood for both my kids and me, retroactively. My only real goal is to get better at storytelling, at finding a narrative thread in everything we see and do together as a family. And to get one of my children’s books published someday!

CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?

Jeff: I’ve grown to love Instagram the most mainly because it feels the most artistic or at least the platform with the most artistic possibilities, without being spammy (Twitter) or overtly sexual (Vine). I’ve got a bit of a filter fetish.

CD: How has blogging affected your life?

Jeff: Since starting the blog, I now process every occurrence through a narrative viewfinder. I see stories where before I saw only facts and dates and happenings. Oh, and I also got to race a Ferrari in Las Vegas thanks to this crazy profession. The saying ‘Only in America’ has seemingly been replaced with ‘Only on the Internet!’

Huge thanks to Jeff for taking the time out of his schedule to answer the questions! Please feel free to leave a comment for Jeff and ask him any other questions you think I missed. See you next week with a new Dad and a new Blog!

Mike and Leah

Dad Blogs Exposed! ~ Puzzling Posts

Welcome to this week’s edition of Dad Blogs Exposed! I had the pleasure of interviewing a fellow Canadian Dad and new friend of mine, Mike Reynolds, from the blog, Puzzling Posts. Mike and I were members of the same Movember team that crushed it last year and are working together again on this year’s campaign. He’s a great guy with a good heart and I’m excited to be able to share his story with you all.

CD: Why did you start blogging?

MR: I actually started blogging as a way to get myself writing more. Puzzling Posts originally had nothing to do with parenting, it was a spot I tried to write Stephen Leacock inspired stories on. For the first year I write a new story every day for 365 days and once that project ended I let the writing slide for a bit. then came kids and I found all kinds of new material. My girls inspire me to be creative and keep me young at heart which makes blog writing extremely fun.

CD: Can you talk about how you got started with writing children’s stories and maybe share a couple of your favourites?

MR: I’ve always loved writing stories but for the longest time I’d take weird news headlines and create some piece of fiction around them. Last Christmas my wife bought me a set of writing prompt cards that showed a bunch of robots. One night my oldest daughter and I came up with a story about one and the idea of bedtime stories was created. Since then, we’ve stopped needing the prompts and have written stories about giants who play hopscotch and soccer playing dinosaurs as well as many others.

One of the highlights of my story writing career came when I got feedback from an elementary school teacher who mentioned her class had read my stories and were inspired to write their own afterwards. That’s why I write–to inspire kids to be creative.

CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

MR: I get most frustrated with myself when I find myself telling my kids “I’ll do things later.” Being tired is part of being a parent so I don’t feel bad for sometimes running out of gas, but I want to take advantage of every moment my kids want to play with me so I don’t regret it when down the line they don’t want to play with me any more. I also cry a lot and it’s hard to hide tears at work sometimes.

CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?

MR: Treat every smile like it’s the last one you’ll ever see and then work as hard as you can to find the next one anyway. Also, the immense love you feel the first time you see your child somehow only grows over time, take advantage of every moment you get to sit down and talk to your kids. Building a relationship and an environment where they feel they can talk to you about anything is essential.

CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?

MR: At this point I’m very happy writing our bedtime stories and the adventures we go on and I don’t think that part is anything I’d ever give up. It’s also the bedtime stories I’d like to grow seeing how they’re what sets me apart from a lot of other smaller sites like mine and because it’s also something attached to active parenting. If the stories weren’t being written with my children I’m not sure I’d be as interested in them finding a wider audience.

At the same time, I’d love for my blog to turn into a resource for parents to turn to when they’re looking for an honest review of some simple family activities. I like reviewing places and things for families because in addition to being able to help out other families, it gives me the chance to get my kids doing all kinds of fun things like visiting toy stores and pumpkin patches etc.

CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?

MR: Part of my day job is monitoring the many social media channels of my organization and with them Twitter is the best tool because of the quick interactions with our audiences. I assumed that would carry over to my own site and I certainly do love Twitter for Puzzling Posts but Facebook has been the far greater driver of traffic and engagement with others. I’d love to grow my Facebook page more so I can stop annoying my friends with my daily doses of Puzzling Posts.

CD: How has blogging affected your life?

MR: What I’ve liked about blogging is that it’s made me do things I normally wouldn’t do. I’m not a crafty person but I’ve started a feature on my site where me and the kids work on crafts we’ve found on Pinterest. There’s a good chance these Puzzling Pinterest Projects would never have come about were it not for the blog.

I’ve also always struggled with thinking I’m worse at parenting than others because sometimes (a lot of the time) I find parenting difficult. But it’s not me, it’s that parenting is just damn hard. I like sharing this with others just in case they’re somehow under the impression it’s just them struggling.

Really, blogging is my way of releasing creativity.

*******************************************************************************************

That’s it for this week on Dad Blogs Exposed. Thanks to Mike for his time and I hope you’ll check back in next week for a new Dad and a new story.

Mike and Charlie and Leah

AD and DW (1)

Dad Blogs Exposed! ~ Fodder 4 Fathers

Dad Blogs Exposed continues this week as I interview fellow Canadian, Adam Dolgin, from the blog, Fodder 4 Fathers. I recently had the opportunity to meet Adam at an event in Brampton and can tell you that he looks much better on the internet than he does in person. Of course, I keed! Here’s what Adam had to say about fatherhood and blogging.

CD: Why did you start blogging?

AD: Truth? I was bored. Not a lot to do when you’re sitting on the couch holding a sleeping 8-month-old around the dinner hour. Sure, you can watch the news, but that will only make you cynical. So I was playing on my Blackberry and thought I’d look in to this whole blog thing and I started one called “The Evil That You Know” (which is better than the evil that you don’t know). But I had no clue what I wanted to write about, so I wrote about what I knew, or was learning about, and that was Fatherhood. Changed the name to Fodder 4 Fathers a few weeks later and the rest is history.

CD: What can people expect from your blog? Do you have a specific goal or do you write whatever you feel?

AD: Honesty, open-mindedness, sarcasm, humor, some great links about parenting, and a lot of reality. Mostly, I like that people can’t say that I write the same thing day in and day out. I mix it up a lot and when people think I’m one way I’ll throw them for a loop by tackling something a totally different way than I had before. In the beginning I was planning out posts days ahead, now I just post about things that bother me, or I respond to things I’ve read, or ideas come to me out of thin air. Anything is fair game for me. And everything is good “Fodder” for conversation. Personally, I write best when I’m pissed off about something, and those are the posts my fans tend to like best too.

CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

AD: I like the challenge of fatherhood, but it’s not really a challenge to me, yet. I think I’ve very well suited to parenting infants and toddlers. Diapers, screaming, tantrums and sleepless nights don’t bother me. I’m more afraid of the tween and teen years. I think everything my kids do now is funny, but when my kid comes home telling me she got kicked out of hockey for spearing some other girl, I’m going to be pretty pissed that I can’t get my deposit back. But I guess if there is a challenge for me being an active dad to a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old it’s getting both kids in to the car by myself when I want to go to McDonald’s on a Sunday morning while my wife sleeps in. Actually, the real problem is getting them and my coffee out of the car when we get back home.

CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?

AD: “GO BACK!” Sorry, that was Ione Skye’s speech from Say Anything. Actually, my advice to new dads is pretty straight-forward – if you want to be an equal partner in the parenting of your child, do it. Don’t wait for someone to invite you to do it, just do it. Read a parenting book, change a diaper, feed a bottle, take the kid for a stroll by yourself and get a coffee. Take your rightful place in your child’s life. Often parenting is a battle of supremacy for many couples from the beginning, especially as moms want to take the lead with an infant, but don’t let her. Tell her you want to be an equal partner in raising your kids (if that’s what you want— and you should), and work out between the two of you how to split it up in a way that works to both of your strengths.

CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?

AD: I went from a small fatherhood blog to a full-service website full of resources and advice for a wide variety of parenting issues for both fathers and mothers. Was it planned? Hell yes. My website is far more serious than my blog, or my Facebook presence for that matter, and I always wanted to turn it in to a place where parents could get real answers to real problems without any fluff. Webinars and online courses will be coming in the future and we’ll be writing a book or two as well. I have it all mapped out on a piece of paper that I keep in my sock drawer (and in a big file on my laptop desktop). But I’m always willing to change as the wind does. Who knows what the future really holds. All I know is right now I’m helping people talking about a subject that I love and making some extra pocket change off of it talking about products I liked regardless. It’s a good start. When all is said and done, I just want to help people find the information they actually need without having to read through a lot of BS. If I can do it and make a living, well, that’s would be nice too.

CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?

AD: Facebook! Hands down. I like how it allowed me to create a community and doesn’t force me to talk in a limited number of characters on each post. I like to talk, and sometimes I have a lot to say. That’s not to say I don’t have all my Facebook posts connected to my Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. I just use Facebook as my home base. It’s where I’ve been able to grow a very large following of faithful fans and make a lot of page friends who support me and help my little idea – that parents can talk as equals- grow.

CD: How has blogging affected your life?

AD: One day I was a guy with 30 people, all close friends and family, reading my stuff. Two years later I’m a guy who has 18,000 people reading my stuff and my name is all over the Internet linked to newspaper articles, National magazines, podcasts, corporate campaigns and hundreds of blog posts. The other day my website was ranking 2nd on Google under Websites for Fathers. And the coolest thing is people actually come to me for help with their parenting problems, not because I’m an expert, but because I have created a community of very smart, and very knowledgeable parents who have been there. They trust me to get them help, and to keep their secrets, and that’s something that I never expected when I started this whole thing. It really took on a life of its own and its taking me in directions I never thought I would go… but I’m that F4F guy now. That involved dad guy. That guy who talks about making the world a better place for our kids. And it’s a pretty cool thing to be. Sure, I’m also hated by a lot of people for speaking my mind on a myriad of topics, but at least it has people talking about them. Having a blog gave me a voice (an International one) I would have never had otherwise.

A big thanks to Adam for taking the time to answer all my questions. Don’t forget to stop by next Wednesday to read about another amazing Dad!

About F4F Page - Dad and DD

Share and Inspire With #GoodNewsMonday – 1st Edition

Monday

There is a new feature on the blog this week and it’s one I am very excited about. I ran an impromtu “Good News Friday” thread on Facebook and Twitter last week and it was really inspiring to see everyone sharing their good news for the week. Considering Friday is usually already a good day, I decided to move the “Good News” event to Monday, where more people could usually use a pick me up.

The concept is easy. Every Monday, pop on over here and share your good news stories. I’m sure we’ll start off with a small crew but my hopes are that it will catch on and then we can use this tiny space to inspire each other to chase after all the good things we want in our lives. I know that it has already affected me a great deal and I’m excited to see where this thing goes.

Before we get to the sharing, I’ll kick things off with my good news stories for ther week. First, after living in my house for 4 years, we finally have a beautiful deck for our backyard and my house suddenly feels like a home. Also, I had the opportunity to do my first TV segment as Canadian Dad and the feedback has been overwhelming and extremely humbling, so, thank you. Finally, we spent Saturday afternoon at our community BBQ, where I got to pretend I was a superhero with my son.

Okay, now it’s your turn! Please take a moment to share your Good News stories in the comments section below and let’s get inspired together. If you feel so inclined, take to social media and use the hashtag #GoodNewsMonday to spread the good word!

imageimage

And The Winner Of The HP Loves Dads Giveaway Is…

HP Envy X2 Laptop HP Loves Dads

I’d like to thank everyone who entered the HP Loves Dads giveaway. I didn’t expect so many entries and so many touching stories of amazing fathers. While I did read every single one of the entries, I had no part in deciding the winner, other than being the one who selected the panel of judges, who did a great job.

Without further ado, I would like to congratulate the winner of the HP Envy x2 and the HP Envy 120 e-All-In-One Printer, 11 year old, Mason. Here is his story:

“hi! My name is Mason, I am 11 years old and I would like to nominate my Dad for the HP Envy prize package. My mom is helping me with the typing.

My Dad is a great Dad. He used to be in the Air Force but now he works as a manager downtown in Ottawa helping to keep military computer systems working. When I started getting bullied at school last year, my Dad signed us both up for TaeKwonDo classes together, so we could get in good shape and learn to defend ourselves. We go three times a week, even when Dad is tired from work. I have ADHD but my Dad is really patient with me. He tells me that some day soon I will probably grow out of it and not to worry. One of the best things ever was when my Dad took us to Comic Con and we met William Shatner and Patrick Stewart. How awesome is that???

My sister has Down Syndrome and she loves to sing with my Dad and they tell jokes to each other all the time. My oldest sister loves to sing too and Dad taught her how to play guitar. She is really good now.

My Dad uses his computer to help us do our homework, to plan summer vacations together, to print photos of our trips and we also got to see all of these really cool photos sent by Cmdre Hadfield from the space station on Twitter. He takes good care of all of us, even my grandpa and my grandma because they have been sick a lot lately. He buys my Mom flowers and takes her out for dinner sometimes too. His computer is old so I know he would love a new computer and printer. I hope you will pick him for your contest and that you will get to meet him, as he really is a great Dad.

Yours truly,

Mason”

Thank you, Mason, for your amazing entry. Your Dad sounds like a great person and I hope he enjoys his extra Father’s Day gift this year. Now, go upstairs and brush your teeth!

Thank you to HP Canada for allowing me to host this incredible giveaway and for giving me a chance to see all of these amazing stories. For more information about the HP Envy x2, you can visit HP’s Website.

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in this program.

On Finding The Missing Piece

Missing Piece

You can never be truly prepared for fatherhood. Even after having one child, I had no idea how a second was going to affect my life. As it turns out, my children have opened my eyes to a world that I had been sorely missing. The following is not a commentary on whether people with children are happier than those without, but more of a look at how my children have changed the way I see the world.

Here’s the thing, before my wife and I became parents, I was very happy. I had a good job, played in a rock band, often stayed up late and we had lots of quality time together. I still couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was missing and it wasn’t until becoming a father that I found the missing piece. Passion. I’m not talking about the passion for loving my wife or my family, which has always been and will always be there. I’m talking about being so passionate about something that you can’t imagine doing anything else but leaping towards it and hoping you don’t plummet to the earth.

My passion, as it were, is in trying to make a difference in the world. I’m not talking about creating world peace, as nice as it sounds, but instead I’m talking about a passion in trying to make a difference in people’s lives, one person and one day at a time. Not just giving money, food or clothing either, but in just giving people a reason to smile day in and day out. I have my children to thank for this and the reason is simple; every time I look at one of them, I think to myself, “what kind of man do I want my children to learn from and remember?” My father left me with amazing memories and I hope to do the same for my children.

When I started writing about my adventures in parenting, I thought it would be a fun place to share funny stories and pictures. I had no idea that it was going to alter the way I think and feel about almost everything in my life in the way it has. I feel like a completely different person than I was just five short years ago. I am not afraid to share stories about my issues with anxiety, my fatherhood insecurities or my hopes and dreams, because I don’t want my children to bottle up their emotions in the way I used to. That’s not a shot at my parents either because they were always there for me, it’s just the way I was.

They have pushed me at every turn to want to be a better man, father and human being, and I intend on using that drive to become the best role model I can possibly be for them. This is where my new found passion comes in. Life can be hard, and not only is there fulfillment in taking the time to make someone else’s day, but in my experience at least, I’ve never been happier in knowing that I have the power to make others happy. My hope is that I can inspire my children to want to inspire others and I will keep fighting for that as long as I am here.

Podcast ~ Discussing The NHL Playoffs, We Day & Letting Children Explore

CJAD800

I am always excited to join CJAD’s Ric & Suzanne for their “Family Matters” segment and this week we started out by discussing how I am going to convince my son to cheer for the same sports teams I do. From there, I shared my experience from attending Free the Children’s “We Day”.

We also talked about the Ottawa mother who made the difficult decision to leave her severely autistic son at a government office and we also discuss how to build self esteem in your children. You can find the recording below.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/90633577" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]