Last month, as I stepped off a ski gondola and onto the ice-packed mountaintop approach to Schaffer's Camp restaurant near Lake Tahoe, I knew that something was really, really wrong with me. Just hours before, I was standing on the lakeshore (pictured above), and now I was heading for a farewell dinner along with other members of the media and our hosts from Kia Motors America as we celebrated the launch of their 2016 Sorento (reviewed here). What I'd originally thought was the result of drinking too much coffee throughout the day was pointing to something much worse, as a few folks asked me if I was ok - a stressed look no doubt starting to show through my body language. I tried holding out, but after informing the waitress that I wouldn't be dining with the group, I nearly passed out in the washroom before quietly slipping out and taking a seven-minute ride back down the Zephyr Express in complete darkness. At the foot of the slope, I would be taken via four-wheeler back to the Ritz-Carlton for what became perhaps the most frightfully painful night of my life. I texted my wife. I got some meds from the concierge, and I shivered through the night despite the warmth of the fireplace. I should've gone to the hospital.
"Just like Daddy, I have a feeling that she'll come to love the Star Wars universe through the original trilogy... and by the time the 2015 reissue of the 1977 original takes place, she'll be just the right age to experience it on the big screen for the very first time." - February, 2012
It was three years ago that I posted STAR WARS - Teaching The Force THE ROCK FATHERTM Way. Those three years already feel like a lifetime ago, as so much has drastically changed since that cold day when little Addie and I had our first big adventure with a Tauntaun and a Wampa outside. Written at a time when THE PHANTOM MENACE was being re-issued theatrically in 3-D as part of a now-discarded plan, I'd referenced a timeline that now no longer exists - a time when a 3-D reissue of the very first STAR WARS had been slated for this year. Instead, I won't be taking my daughter to see the film that Daddy and Mommy enjoyed as children, but taking my daughters (now plural) to see a brand-new adventure that we'll all witness for the first time as a family of four. When I posted that entry, few (if any) could've predicted that Lucasfilm and STAR WARS would be sold to Disney, and the adventures in a galaxy far, far away would continue in such a dramatic way.
If you're like us, your house is probably loaded with toys from Fisher-Price. Coming out of Christmas, our girls (particularly Little Finley, whose favorite toys are Little People) have some new Fisher-Price toys to help fuel imaginative and adventure play, including the full run of the Magic of Disney collection, and the "Grand Finale" of the day - the FROZEN Power Wheels Ford Mustang. While my wife and I grew up on Fisher-Price toys ourselves (I still have my "Jolly Jalopy" from the 70s), our daughters' collection started at birth, and in that spirit comes a new short film from Fisher-Price called WISHES FOR BABY. Filmed in the earliest hours of 2015 and released within 24 hours, the film shows real parents in the US, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Poland as they hold their babies for the very first time, "showing that the best possible start in life begins with love." Check it out below...
For the past two years, I've had the privilege of working with The Step2 Company, first as a "Test Driver" in 2013, and later a full-fledged Brand Ambassador in 2014. I've had some great adventures as part of the Step2 team, and it's gone well beyond just playing with toys and talking about cool products. The folks at The Step2 Company are a very kind and giving bunch, many of which are parents themselves, and after visiting their HQ in Streetsboro, Ohio this past summer, I saw first-hand the pride that they take in their toys - most of which are Made in the USA. Going above and beyond, Step2 has been there for me on other projects, like when I needed a great raffle prize for the annual Fall Fest at Addie's school this past October, they stepped-up with a fantastic Studio Art Desk. For our final project together for 2014, all of the Step2 Brand Ambassadors have been "Playing it Forward," each spreading a little cheer to the recipient of their choice, and again, I've chosen Addie's school. After consulting with her Principal (who took feedback from the faculty), it was determined that the Pre-K/Kindergarten play area was in need of a new playhouse. Rock Father Santa was back in-action, delivering a Neat & Tidy Cottage II last week - my little Elf Finley along for the ride as we made our delivery on the way to Addie's Kindergarten Christmas party...
If you take even a passing glance at this site right now, you can see that Christmas is a big deal around here. Each year, around mid-November, I deck my virtual “halls” just as I deck the real ones here at home. As a big kid, the holidays have always been important to me as a magical time filled with sparkling lights, glistening snow and the festive sounds of the season. As parents, it's a chance for my wife and I to create lasting memories for our girls as we stake out new traditions while sprinkling as much of that “magic” into our little ones' lives as possible. Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference, and it's not always things that we, as grownups, make note of.
Out of all the adventures that I've had this year (and there have been many), one of my favorites was the trip I took to the Vancouver set of JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2 back in March. When word came down that Twentieth Century Fox and WWE Studios were doing a follow-up to The Greatest Holiday Film of All-Time (the 1996 classic JINGLE ALL THE WAY), I was in. Little did I know that I'd have a chance to actually spend some time on-set with Larry the Cable Guy, WWE Superstar Santino Marella and Director Alex Zamm. With the film now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD ahead of it's World Television Premiere on the USA Network this Sunday as part of WWE Week, I'm sharing a few more stories from the set (read Part I of my set coverage here) along with some photos of some Jingle-themed activities we did at a family Christmas party last weekend. Ready to Jingle?