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AdalynIt was sort of surreal, but on a Friday night back in July, I stood inside American Girl Place on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, sipping champagne with other grownups, sans our children. It was a baby shower of sorts to celebrate the relaunch of American Girl's Bitty Baby line (I've blogged about it before), and the one thing I kept thinking the whole night was "I wish that Addie was here with me right now." Bitty Baby arrived here at Rock Father HQ for Addie's birthday in August, and ever since has been a regular companion. Just last week, we took Addie and her little sister to American Girl Place for the very first time.

Earlier tonight, while having dinner at Infields beneath Macy's on State Street in Chicago, my brother-in-law's girlfriend asked me about my family, and if there were any real "Chicago traditions" that we kept going. Honestly, my answer was "no." As a whole, there really haven't been any longstanding traditions rooted in Chicago for us, despite how much I talk up my love for the city here on The Rock Father. The reality is that when it comes to tradition, the ones we have are the ones that my wife and I have been establishing, and those are the ones that will matter most for our daughters. The big one, is our trip to visit Santa Claus... who we actually visit twice. The first time is always at Bass Pro Shops on Thanksgiving night, and the second (the really big event) is when we visit him in Santaland at Macy's. Last night, our 2013 sit-down took place.

Originally Posted at SproutOnline on 12/05/2013. Rescued via Internet Archive 10/26/2015

As a parent, it’s fascinating to see my daughters learning their place in the world while interacting not only with the other Sproutlets that we might encounter, but also through contact with the creatures that share our space.

This post is brought to you by Babycenter and CBRIt was five years ago yesterday that I found out that I would soon become a parent for the very first time. My wife and I were in the car, driving down I-94 outside of Chicago on the way to her Dad's house for Thanksgiving dinner when she turned to me and stated boldly: "You knocked me up." I distinctly remember grinning ear-to-ear, and beginning our first real conversation about our new reality: we were about to be parents. The following summer, on the exact date of our 10th wedding anniversary, Addie was born and I would effectively become "The Rock Father." The build-up to that day was filled with planning... uncertainty... and questions. I didn't know then that parent blogging was a thing, and the manuals? Well, there are none as far as I'm concerned.

UPDATE: 11/24 10:40pm - I changed the title of this developing story after a representative for The Beastie Boys made a statement to the Huffington Post confirming what some (myself included) were assuming: "There was no complaint filed, no demand letter (no demand, for that matter) when [GoldieBlox] sued Beastie Boys." 

11/25 9:53am: THR updated with statements from an open letter by Beastie Boys mentioning that while they were “impressed by the creativity and the message” of the Goldieblox video, “make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads... When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US."

Original story continues below...

MovemberFor the past month, I, along with over 70 fellow Dad Bloggers have been working as a team to raise funds and awareness for men's health issues by growing moustaches in support of Movember (read my official announcement here). With over $13,000 donated thus far, half of which was thanks to a contribution from Dove Men+Care, we have one week left to reach our goal of $30,000. Currently, I rank lucky 13 on our team, with $180 generously contributed through friends of The Rock Father (thank you!). In an effort to amp things up a bit, my friend Tommy over at Life of Dad put together a group of a dozen Dad Bloggers (the #MovemberDads) to perform an a cappella cover version of "Thrift Shop" - the massive hit by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (who will be performing at The AMAs later tonight). Check it out below, and keep an eye out for yours truly popping up on guitar for the chorus...

aqautic experienceYesterday afternoon, my wife and I took the girls out to Schaumburg for the Aquatic Experience - Chicago, a first-ever event assembled by the World Pet Association to bring "everything aquatic under one roof." Having previously introduced readers to the show through a ticket giveaway here on The Rock Father, we attended as Media guests, and the girls were excited - particularly Addie, who was amped-up about "seeing the fish" all week. After all, we've made special trips over to Bass Pro Shops just to visit their water-dwelling residents, and the kids love visiting "Nemo" when we head down to my Mom's house... where they have an in-wall aquarium.

Note: An earlier version of this post was previously published as a guest blog for gDiapers as part of their "It Takes Guts" Father's Day promotion back in June.

When I became a Father for the first time back in 2009 (on our 10th Wedding Anniversary!), I entered into the job without much by way of expectation. I was excited to be a Dad, but there wasn’t any real or definitive outlook for how the experience would actually be. I didn’t enter into Fatherhood with the “fear” that some seem to put forth, nor did I have any grand plans for how those first days would be. Sure, there was preparation (and a lot of nesting), but I steered clear of the parenting books, and somehow managed to miss the fact that “Parent Blogging” was even a thing.

What I’m saying, is that my wife and I entered into parenthood by winging it. Actually, she was probably better-prepared than I.

movember125It's November 1st, and for the first time-ever, it's MOVEMBER 1st here at Rock Father HQ. Yes, you read that correctly - I am participating in Movember this year - my first-ever excursion into the world of being a MO BRO. Indeed, I do despise mustaches on baby products (and in most non-facial uses), and I once declared that "Hipsters and Movember Killed the Mustache Movement." My attitude has changed, and while I often tend to buck trends, why I previously chose not to participate in Movember is unimportant at this point. What's important is why I've chosen to support it.

Here we are... Day 31 of 31 Days of Halloween 2013 here on The Rock Father - Halloween Day! There's a lot of "threes" involved in this one, with Halloween falling on the date of my third-ever Throwback Thursday since picking up that torch earlier this month. For the Grand Finale of 2013, I'm spinning things back three decades, to this exact date 30 years ago. October 31, 1983. STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI had just been released the previous May, the third film in what would later become known as the original STAR WARS TRILOGY. It was that Halloween that I would first don my Ben Cooper Darth Vader Halloween Costume, taking to the streets as Lord Vader... wielding a green, Luke Skywalker lightsaber. Not film-accurate, but I worked with what I had.

As I sat down to write this entry, I happened to notice that it was exactly one year ago today, for 31 Days of Halloween 2012, that I'd written about the same thing. While Halloween isn't officially here until Thursday, Trick-or-Treating here took place yesterday, on a Sunday afternoon, and in broad daylight. This is still weird to me, and I can only equate it with doing Christmas morning presents on December 21. It will never feel right.

I've said it before, and I find myself saying it again, if only for the new friends that are just finding THE ROCK FATHER and have no knowledge of my past: In a lot of ways, my teen years were like an early-1990s version of ALMOST FAMOUS. But, instead of it being Cameron Crowe hanging with LED ZEPPELIN and THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND and writing about the experience for ROLLING STONE, it was me hanging with bands like FAITH NO MORE and STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and writing about the experience for regional print 'zines like Oil, Slowfish, and The River Cities' Reader. Thing is, I also had a cable access show. The simply-titled "ZTV" ran for 40+ episodes from it's homebase in the Quad Cities from 1992-1994. One such adventure? A 16-year-old me going one-on-one with Dave Mustaine of MEGADETH in January of 1993. Yes, I had a mullet and a Vic Rattlehead shirt. And it was awesome.

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