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Updated and Added to Greatest Hits, 8/10/14
Last night, I took my family to dinner at the local Cracker Barrel Old County Store and Restaurant. It's one of our favorite places for a lot of reasons, and my oldest daughter is quick to point out that "it's like Grandma Cindy's house," and she's right. The decor, the fireplace, the smell of great food and the seasonal offerings in the store section certainly do bring my Mom's house to mind. But last night, as I enjoyed my Country Fried Steak, I realized that I have a problem with the Cracker Barrel.
I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and this post is brought to you as part of that relationship. All opinions are my own.
Disney On Ice is officially a family tradition. Back in January, I posted some thoughts about taking our oldest daughter, Addie, to see Disney On Ice for the very first time - a production of Rockin' Ever After at the Allstate Arena. Fast-forward nine months, and the crew from Feld Entertainment is back in Chicago with Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic at the United Center... directly across the street from the site of the old Chicago Stadium... the same place that I first saw Disney On Ice back in 1981. This time around was another first... Little Finley, at only 15-months-old, would get her first Disney On Ice experience.
This week, Addie started Pre-K. It was our first official "Back-to-School" season, following her run in "Twos and Threes" and "Threes and Fours" programs last year. The summer "break" wasn't a huge deal since we'd kept her going in "Ducky Day Camp" in June and July, two mornings a week at the same place, with the same teachers, in the same classroom. After a month off, she returned, moving up to "Pre-K" and adding a day to her schedule. Three days a week, 2½ hours a day. It's probably a bigger deal for me than it is for her.
1982 was a monumental year that encompassed so many culturally-important moments, it's hard to really absorb the true weight of the year, even 31 years after the fact. It was the year that audiences would witness the debut of the greatest television show of all time when NBC first aired KNIGHT RIDER; when cinema-goers marveled at the Kenny Rogers masterpiece, SIX PACK (alongside ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, POLTERGEIST, and PORKYS); and music fans would experience the birth of FAITH NO MORE, and the release of PICTURE THIS by HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS. What I didn't realize until last night, was that 1982 was the year that I became a Rock and Roll Gangster.
With this being our first official "Back-to-School" season, keeping the little ones healthy and ready to rock is important. While my four-year-old will begin Pre-K this year, I'm not so much worried as I am concerned about the other kids she'll come into contact with - a motley crew (or Crüe?) bringing who-knows-what kind of germs into the school, and thus onto her, who will bring them back to Rock Father HQ and my 14-month-old. We've been very fortunate to have some really healthy kids, and in the roughly 49-months (that's 4 years, one month) since I became "The Rock Father," our oldest daughter has only been truly "sick" a couple of times... and we're not talking serious ailments of any kind. So how do we keep our little ones healthy? Is it common sense? Is it luck? Is it dark magic? I'm not entirely sure, but here's three simple tips on raising healthy kids during Back-to-School season, based on my non-scientific experience as a parent...
Disney Junior has a massive hit on it's hands with DOC McSTUFFINS, and let me emphasize the word MASSIVE. If the ratings and recent explosion of licensed merchandise weren't enough to solidify that in the minds of everyone (kids or not), the scene at Chicago's Navy Pier yesterday is the living, breathing testament to just how big this show has become. There, thousands of families gathered, waiting for hours in 90-degree+ heat, to let their children take a cruise through Doc McStuffins' Doc Mobile - a custom Airstream Trailer, pulled by a matching truck and decked-out like Doc's "office" with check-up stations and fun activities for all.
If you caught my blog entry for August 7th, you already know that 8/7 is a date that holds massive significance for our family. One reason is that it's Adalyn's birthday, and this year, Addie turned four. She's the reason that this site exists (well, if you get really technical, you could say this site exists because I had sex with my wife at some point in the Fall of 2008), and I've long held that I wish I'd started The Rock Father upon her birth in 2009 rather than waiting until 2011. While I don't have her first two birthdays documented here on the site (I may correct that), I started a tradition of sharing her party starting with #3 last year, and here we are with #4. Yes, Addie is now "four, just like Caillou!", as she keeps reminding me, which makes me think we should've waited to do a Caillou-themed party until this year (it was last year's), but that's ok... Hello Kitty stepped up to the thematic challenge. But that was for a party on August 10th...
If you have preschoolers in your house, there's a pretty good chance that Disney Junior is a part of your viewing routine. In addition to some of the current BIG names like DOC McSTUFFINS and SOFIA THE FIRST, there's a new crew of up-and-comers making a voyage to the bottom of the sea... THE OCTONAUTS. Based on a series of books that first surfaced in 2006, the television series actually got it's start in the UK, until becoming a pretty hot import here in the 'States this past year. In an effort to reach new audiences, THE OCTONAUTS entered into a partnership with Westfield Shopping Malls for a live tour, OCTONAUTS: TO YOUR STATIONS [Note: I don't think that Disney Junior actually has anything to do with the live tour]. This FREE family event made it's way to Illinois this afternoon for a stop at the Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, where we and a couple of my little ones' preschool friends (and parents) took part. It was great fun for the kids, but slightly tainted by a mall staff that had no idea how to properly run a live event or tactfully engage with small children and their parents/guardians.
August 7 is a date of great significance. Fourteen years ago today... August 7, 1999, my wife and I were married. It was just two years prior that we'd gone on our first date - and a mere three months after that when we'd become engaged. I'd always heard that time speeds up as you get older, but as I sit here as a 36-year-old in 2013 thinking back to that 22-year-old living in '99, I can't help but think about how much time has really flown by. While fourteen years have come-and-gone, it's the last four that have gone exceptionally fast. On August 7, 2009... our 10th Wedding Anniversary, I became "The Rock Father" when our first daughter was born. Today, our Little Addie turns four!
I don't know how many of you know about this since it all happened prior to my starting The Rock Father, but on February 1, 2010, I lost one of my closest friends to a single-car accident on a rural road in Southeastern Wisconsin. JUSTIN MENTELL was just 27 years old, a talented artist that excelled at everything he'd attempt. We'd met back in 2004 while working on the set of a movie called ROLL BOUNCE, and over the next six years, we'd share many adventures, collaborate on some things, and above all, have each other's backs. After moving to Hollywood for a few years to work on projects like BOSTON LEGAL and PALO ALTO, Justin moved back to Illinois after the premiere of the Disney Film, G-FORCE, in which he had a supporting role. He'd begun focusing on his painting and music, and his German Shepherd, Meisner was a constant companion. Just over six months later, everything came to an abrupt stop.
In the interest of web traffic and luring new visitors to The Rock Father (Oh, Hi There!), I'm jumping on the Royal Baby Bandwagon. No, I have no vested interest no interest at all in the end result of Kate Middleton's shagging of Prince William (though I sincerely hope that the Austin Powers "Soul Bossa Nova" was playing when it occurred). As a fellow parent, I congratulate them on the birth of their son, but reality is - to me they're no different than any other set of strangers I might run across while out shopping with the kids. I don't know them, and they don't know me. It's fun for some to engage in "Royal watching," but that's not my bag. Never understood the fascination. But that's really not what this entry is all about. It's about me. And it's about my offspring - the end result of my shagging activities with the Dutchess of Frankfort back in 2008.