Having only been a parent for just over four years, it's weird to already feel nostalgic about something that happened just a few years ago - October 3, 2010. On that day, we'd taken Addie (then just over a year old) to her first "Pumpkin Patch" experience, at a small place in Lake Villa, Illinois, called Susanna Farms. For Day 13 of 31 Days of Halloween 2013, I'm featuring the family-owned farm in Chicago's Far Northern Suburbs through the eyes of a Dad who recently returned with both of his daughters... Addie (now 4), and Finn (1). While this wasn't Little Finley's first Pumpkin Patch (we did that last year), it was the first time that both girls were big enough to roam the fields together... and the first time that we went with Grandma.
"You dress like you're 15."
The first time I recall hearing my wife say that, I'd just purchased a pair of Ken Block signature edition DC Shoes from PacSun (pictured below), and a long, green wallet chain from Hot Topic. That was probably about two years ago. I'll be 37 in just a few weeks, and I still have the shoes, but the wallet chain is a memory. If my wife has a gripe with me, it's definitely about the way I dress. She'd like me to class it up a bit, and there's a few times I've tried.
Back in April, as both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox got their seasons underway, I blogged about baseball here on The Rock Father. In that entry, I affirmed my allegiance to the South Side ('Sox), while noting that I'd never seen a game on the North (Cubs). I also promised my oldest daughter that we would one day see a game in a place like we saw on tv, and this past Sunday, that promise became a reality. It was a "first" for the entire family... my daughters' first ballgame, and for my wife and I, our first game in Wrigley Field. We'd taken the kids to see the Chicago Cubs.
To say that baseball was a big part of my life growing up would be understating reality. Tee-Ball and Little League in South Suburban Park Forest, followed by Pony League in Crete, and later Colt League in Davenport, Iowa - I played a ton of ball before hanging up the cleats after my junior year of high school.
It was in those early days, though - during Tee-Ball and Little League - that my interest in Chicago's professional teams really took hold.
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.