I Get By – Will You Remain a Bystander?

“I get by with a little help from my friends”

Oren

Yes, that quote is actually a lyric from a song titled “With a Little Help From My Friends” by this little group called The Beatles. But even more than that, it’s something that I’ve come to learn and understand more and more in the recent years.

I’ve been going through some personal struggles over the past couple years the likes of which I have never experienced in my life before. I’ve seen the woman I considered my partner for life hurt me in ways that I would have never imagined or expected from such a beautiful soul. A relationship, in order to survive, needs to have a certain measure of effort from all parties involved in the relationship. In the end; my marriage was not receiving the care it needed and therefore it came to an end with the same measure of effort being put into it that had been given it over the past couple years. Life really has been a struggle at times trying to get to a place of acceptance and understanding that this is NOT my fault. Sure, there are things that I do take responsibility for with regard to our relationship. But one thing I know for certain is that I never gave up on my marriage and I did put in the effort to make it work.

What does all of this even mean, Chris?

What I’m trying to say is that over the past year, when times were at their darkest, I was welcomed into a group of Dad Bloggers on Facebook. The man who welcomed me into the dad bloggers group with warm, open arms is Oren Miller from A Blogger and a Father. When I joined this cast of merry men I never expected to find a group of guys who really are a community. They truly are a group of Dads who watch out for each other, whether it’s helping with technical questions, helping get exposure for really great writing or helping someone out in their time of need. The support I was seeing within this community of dads was very foreign to me. After all, I was not accustomed to seeking out support or assistance from anyone. I’m a man and men don’t show their feelings, ask for help or cry in public. Right?!? The truth is that as I was welcomed into this group of dads who have been through many similar experiences, I was starting to realize that it is ok to reach out for help when you need it. I think my fear was always that people would judge me or think negatively of me for expressing my feelings or talking about my struggles. No – people aren’t going to judge you. Well, if you wear pajamas to the bus stop they might.

Recently Oren Miller, the man who created the Dad Bloggers group on Facebook, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The diagnosis of cancer cut our group of 800 dads to its core. We didn’t know what to say or do. All we had was a cumulative sense of sadness. Even at this time of fear and pain, Oren knew exactly what to say, just as he always did. I encourage you to ready Oren’s diagnosis announcement here. You’ll have a tough time reading it with dry eyes, but it’s amazing and inspiring. The man who brought me into this group, the man who made it possible for me to see the good that can come from reaching out for support is in need of support himself right now.

As expected, the Dad Bloggers group has rallied around Oren offering as much support as we can both emotionally and financially. Led by Brent Almond of DesignerDaddy.com, a fundraising site was quickly established where we could raise funds to help support Oren and his family with anything they need. I know that many people feel like they have a limited budget, and believe me, most of the dads who are members of our Dad Bloggers group, including myself, don’t have a lot of money. But ya know what?…A little contribution from a lot of people can equal huge results, and in just a matter of hours we had raised the $5,000 goal amount and began setting our sights higher. Our next goal is to reach $30,000 and be able to provide as much relief to Oren and his family as we possibly can. Here’s where you can get involved and put an end to the “bystander effect.”

Please visit Oren’s GiveForward fundraiser page and consider contributing to help his family while they cope with this diagnosis. You may not know Oren Miller, but someday you might need someone like him to help you out.

Will you remain a bystander?

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

- Chris

New Music: Recess Monkey to Release Wired June 17th

RECESSMONKEY6_photo credit Kevin Fry_72dpi

Have you ever listened to Kids Place Live on SiriusXM? If the answer is yes, have you ever listened to the kids call-in show Live from the Monkey House? If the answer to this is also yes, then you’re already familiar with Jack Forman who is the host of that show. What you may not be aware of is that Jack Forman is also a bass player and singer in the group Recess Monkey, a nationally acclaimed trio of teachers who make music for kids and parents that truly rocks. Forman is joined by Drew Holloway on guitar and vocals as well as Korum Bischoff on drums. I love the fact that these guys have backgrounds in teaching which I believe comes through in their music.

Inspired by the breathtaking creativity and inventiveness of today’s DIY kids, Recess Monkey celebrates “maker” culture with the band’s eleventh studio recording, Wired. As with all their albums, Wired is grounded in real life children’s experiences.

Wired, a collection of super-eclectic “gadget rock” songs about inventions, machines, and electricity, also highlights the richness of life beyond batteries:  Grandpa’s wisdom, board games, singing with others, storytelling, and the fine art of duct tape.

Something so cool that it can’t be overstated is that Wired was produced at John Vanderslice’s famed Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco, where everything was recorded on tape with analog equipment.  Can you believe it, ANALOG recording in the day of digital?!? Recess Monkey found working with John Vanderslice to be like observing the machinations of a mythic alchemist practicing his craft.   Vanderslice and engineer Jamie Riotto created incredible effects “on the spot” during live takes, twisting knobs with one hand while altering the speed of the tape with another, bringing to Recess Monkey the realization that Vanderslice and Riotto weren’t simply producer and engineer, but truly members of the band.

“It cannot be overstated what huge fans we are of John Vanderslice, and the experience of gettting to make music with him at the helm was downright life-changing.  Removing computers from the recording equation forced us to rely on our ears, as in the days before digital.  This was the perfect approach for an album inspired by ‘outside the box’ creativity!” – Jack Forman

Recess Monkey‘s trademark over-the-top, loaded-with-humor lyrics are again delivered with the band’s amazing mastery of diverse musical styles.  My favorite tracks on this album are right around the middle in tracks #5, 6 and 7. One favorite track is “Grandpa is a Time Machine” because I love talking to “the greatest generation” and hearing stories about their lives when they were my age or younger. Our grandparents are a wealth of knowledge if we allow them to be. I’m a big fan of The Beatles music, and therefore “Wishing Well” is another one of my favorites. “Wishing Well” includes a guitar solo that pays homage to the great George Harrison and once you listen to it you’ll understand why I like this song. The last of my favorite songs I’d like to mention is “Brick by Brick.” This track is about Legos, the original “maker” toy, and what parent kid doesn’t love some play time with Legos? As you may already have gathered, I don’t think there is a single track on this album that I don’t like. They are all fantastic!

WIRED Cover Art_Recess Monkey_72 dpi

Track Listing:

  1. Take Your Kid to Work Day – 2:50
  2. Wired – 2:03
  3. Braces – 2:45
  4. Car Wash – 3:48
  5. Grandpa is a Time Machine – 3:01
  6. Wishing Well – 2:19
  7. Brick by Brick – 2:21
  8. The Great Diorama – 2:39
  9. Garage Sale – 3:16
  10. Duct Tape World – 3:34
  11. Shutterbug – 2:44
  12. Skee Ball – 2:49
  13. Lazy Susan – 3:04
  14. Batteries Not Included – 2:50
  15. Off the Grid – 2:30

 

A little more about the band:

Recess Monkey released their debut CD, Welcome to Recess Monkey Town, in 2005, followed by another popular hit, Aminal House, in 2006.  The band made history with their 2007 release, Wonderstuff, the first double CD children’s album.  These releases were followed by 2008′s Tabby Road, 2009′s Field Trip, 2010′s The Final Funktier, 2011′s In Tents, 2013′s Deep Sea Diver and Desert Island Disc, and now Wired.

Ten Recess Monkey songs have reached #1 on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live chart.  Kids Place Live Program Director Mindy Thomas declared, “In this never-ending nationwide talent show of kid and family music, they are most definitely at the top.”  Explained kids’ music authority Stefan Shepherd (Zooglobble.com), “Recess Monkey just keeps turning out album after album with pop nuggets, as if we’d just discovered The Beatles had recorded a ton of kids’ music 40+ years ago.”

Wired will be available at recessmonkey.comamazon.comcdbaby.com, theAVCafe.combigkids.com, iTunes, bandcamp.com, Silver Platters, Sonic Book Records, and Barnes & Noble.

 

RECESS MONKEY IN PERFORMANCE

Highlights – Spring/Summer 2014

May 17              Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle

June 26             Music Center at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD

June 26             SiriusXM Rumpus Room, Washington, DC

June 28             Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

June 29             Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

August 2           Rox in Sox Festival, Lake Oswego, OR

 

Check out Recess Monkey‘s website at www.recessmonkey.com where you can listen to the tracks from Wired.

My Vacation to Sears #DestinationDad

DestinationDad

 

Father’s Day is coming up fast, and this year, like many others, I had no idea what I might want for Father’s Day. Of course at the top of my list is spending time with my son doing something fun. When it comes to gifts or material items, I don’t usually ask for much. There’s never anything I can think of that I actually need, and I don’t usually think about receiving gifts that I want if its not something I need. I thought the best thing I could do to get some ideas for Father’s Day was to take a little vacation to clear my mind and come up with something.

Where did you go on vacation, Chris?

Well, I went where any dad would love to go. I threw on my favorite Outdoor Life Twill Shirt and headed to #DestinationDad at Sears. After all, Sears really could be your Father’s Day gift one-stop shop.

Vacations make you hungry, so we got out the Kenmore 4 Burner Gas Grill with Folding Side Table and made some fantastic burgers.

I took my burgers over to electronics to watch the game on the Samsung 46″ LED HDTV.

Between periods of the big game, I caught up on some of my emails and social media accounts on the Samsung Galaxy Tab3 Lite 7″ Tablet.

Of course I had to work off the burgers. Just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I don’t need to stay in dad-fabulous shape. So I headed over to the exercise equipment and found a nice piece of BowFlex equipment to pump some iron on.

A dad’s work is never done. The grass needed clipping while I was on vacation so I hopped on my Craftsman lawn tractor and got my cut on.

All good things must come to an end. And so my vacation was also coming to an end. As a memento of my vacation to Sears #destinationdad, I swung by the jewelry counter and picked up a Citizen Men’s Quartz Stainless Steel Watch. Now I look Gooood.

This vacation was one to remember, thanks to Sears.

And now Sears wants you to honor dad this Father’s Day through “Snap Your ‘Stache” – a nationwide search for the greatest moustache.

  • Now through June 15, moms and kids can take a photo of dad’s moustache – or he can snap a moustache selfie – and share it at sears.com/DestinationDad for a chance to win the ultimate Father’s Day gift – a trip to the Craftsman MAKEcation where he’ll meet a celebrity and learn to make whiskey, roll cigars, grill steaks, and amass survival skills.
  • Runner up prizes include other great gifts including a Craftsman Quiet Lawnmower Craftsman portable gas grill and Craftsman MACH Series tools.
  • Don’t let a bare lip stop you from entering the contest; get creative and draw one on, use a sticker or hold something to create your best ‘stache. Plus, everyone who enters will receive $5 in Shop Your Way points to use on the perfect Father’s Day gift. Plus, Shop Your Way members can vote for their favorite moustache submission, which will enter them into a sweepstakes for 250,000 in points (a value of $250).

Sears is the destination for great gifts for Father’s Day, including popular brands of grills, tools, fitness equipment, consumer electronics and apparel that can be purchased in-store, online or from a phone.

Visit sears.com/DesinationDad to enter the contest, vote for the best ‘stache and find the hottest deals on gifts for dad.

 

Disclosure: I partnered with Sears and Life of Dad, LLC for this Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.

 

 

Little Moments Make the #PowerofDad

Little Moments Make the #PowerofDad

PJ is going to be attending kindergarten this Fall; and therefore his preschool had recently provided us with a book that has been assembled over the years he has been at that preschool. As I sat down earlier today and started flipping through this book, I was overcome by emotion. He has absolutely no idea how much he means to me and what an impact he has already had on my life. Sure, he knows that I love him, and he loves me back. But even with how often I tell him how much he means to me, he can’t possibly understand what that means yet. Every moment with him, no matter how small, takes on its own special meaning. He can bring a smile to my face just being there in front of me, even if he was filling his diaper when he was a baby. Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed changing diapers when he was little. It was sort of like having our own quiet time together to bond as father and son. Each and every time, except the ones when he peed on me, oh and the ones where we were changing it on the car seat, were special moments. We would talk to each other, often debating the taste and texture of baby food or the different scents of butt wipes. Sure, he couldn’t talk and he had no idea what I was saying to him, but there were days when those were THE BEST conversations I had that day. I will forever treasure those moments.

PJ’s no longer in diapers, and he can actually talk and communicate with me, but that doesn’t mean we have stopped having our special moments. The moments are just different than before.

Maybe we start the day with a huge chocolate donut.

Or take an afternoon to go mini golfing and drive go-carts.

It really is the little moments that power the biggest smiles. Oral-B has been fantastic at celebrating fatherhood’s little moments and the dads that bring smiles to their families every day. It’s no wonder the video they’ve put together for Father’s Day this year is nothing short of amazing.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video here:

In addition to the support Oral-B is showing for fathers in this second year of the #powerofdad program, P&G Oral Care has also partnered with March of Dimes, a leading organization for healthy, happy families that celebrates mothers and fathers every day. P&G Oral Care is also joining forces with members of “Football’s First Family,” New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, his father Archie and his daughter Ava – to celebrate fatherhood’s little moments.

Give dad the special gift of a beautiful, healthy smile this Father’s Day with an Oral-B power brush with a $7-off coupon here.

With the introduction of its newest and most technologically advanced power toothbrush, the Oral-B 7000 BLACK, Oral-B is taking brushing to a whole new level. The Oral-B 7000 BLACK features Oral-B’s signature oscillating, rotating and pulsating technology and provides superior cleaning and a more personalized brushing experience compared to a regular manual toothbrush. A SmartGuide wireless display with while-you-brush feedback helps you brush thoroughly, gently and for the dentist-recommended two minutes. Indicator® bristles remind you to replace your brush head every 3 months, or once they’ve faded halfway.

I’d love to hear about some of your #powerofdad moments, so please drop them in the comments below.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Disclosure: I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.

New Music: Putumayo Releasing Australia on May 27th

New Music: Putumayo Releasing Australia on May 27th

Putumayo will be releasing Australia on May 27th, featuring exceptional musicians whose songs reflect the broad diversity of cultures and international music that have influenced the country. Known by affectionate nicknames such as “The land down under” and “OZ,” Australia is home to surreal landscapes, unique flora and fauna and mystical indigenous cultures. Its fertileContinue Reading

New Music: Hullabaloo to Release “Shy Kid Blues” May 27th

New Music: Hullabaloo to Release “Shy Kid Blues” May 27th

With a ten-year track record of glowing critical acclaim, having picked up fourteen national awards along the way, San Diego’s beloved “free-range, organic” duo Hullabaloo raises the bar even higher with their 11th studio CD, Shy Kid Blues, set for release May 27. Hullabaloo is Steve Denyes and Brendan Kremer, buddies since kindergarten, who’ve made a career of creating “a foot-stomping, wing-flappingContinue Reading

15 Things to Think About When Preparing to Start Kindergarten

15 Things to Think About When Preparing to Start Kindergarten

Congratulations on your beautiful baby! You’re now a parent of a little eating, sleeping, pooping pile of cuteness. Now what?!? I’ve been a dad now for about 5 1/2 years and I’ve learned some amazing things during that time, like how to change a diaper on the seat of the car or how to blockContinue Reading

Free Music: Mother’s Day Kindie Music Playlist with All Star Talent

Free Music: Mother’s Day Kindie Music Playlist with All Star Talent

Last year for Mother’s Day I wrote a heartfelt post about my mother and my wife and everything they mean to me. This year I don’t have a special Mother’s Day post ready to share with you. What I do have, however, is some free music for you to download. I have been given accessContinue Reading

New Music: Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band to Release Aqui Alla May 5th

New Music: Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band to Release Aqui Alla May 5th

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, the Latin GRAMMY-winning, all-ages, nationally touring indie rock band from Los Angeles, will release a new Spanish language album on Cinco de Mayo:  Aqui, Alla. This collection of celebratory tunes blends Chicano rock, indie pop and Tejano sounds to engage a new generation of kids and families. Recorded in San AntonioContinue Reading

New Music: Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights Dropping a Good Egg June 24th

New Music: Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights Dropping a Good Egg June 24th

With all of the coloring and hiding of the eggs that’s been happening around our house the last couple days; it’s only fitting that I would announce the upcoming release of Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights next album Good Egg, due out June 24th via Limbostar. Good Egg will be Leeds’ sixth children’s album. This timeContinue Reading