Dear Holly: That Week You Refused to Take Off Your Brother’s Captain America Mask

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

It was a typical evening. Mommy picked you and your brother up from summer day camp. I had just driven back home from work.

As I began to help Mommy prep dinner, your brother mentioned something about taking you upstairs to see something.

Ten minutes later, I looked up to see that he had brought you back down, but decked out in his Captain America mask from his Halloween costume 3 years ago, with the accompanying shield.

You didn’t say a word, but I could tell it was important to you that I recognized that you were now Captain America.

Then during breakfast the next morning, I stepped into the kitchen to realize you were wearing the mask again; refusing to take it off while you ate breakfast.

A little bit later as Mommy was getting ready to leave for work, you added Mommy’s slippers to your superhero outfit. It somehow made sense.

This week will be remembered as the week you refused to take off your brother’s Captain America mask. And actually, your commitment to your superhero outfit actually inspired your brother:

He has been making some serious plans about making his return as an actor on YouTube again. Your brother asked me, “Hey Daddy, do you think when Holly’s a little older, we could do Jack-Man videos again?”

I instantly assured him that we could make our own superhero videos now if he wanted to.

But after he thought about it, your brother decided that instead of reprising the titular character of the 22 episode series, Jack-Man, he would like to try writing his own series.

So if this ends up really happening, I will be making the video, and he’ll be writing and starring in it. He’s also having Mommy look into buying him a lizard costume for it.

We’ll see where thing things goes. If it’s mean to be, it’ll be…

Love,

Daddy

Advertisements

Reebow Tactical 3 Day Military Assault Backpack Review: Designed for the Way Men Think

DISCLOSURE LANGUAGE

Wikibuy partnered with bloggers such as myself for this program. I received monetary credit for my time, creativity, and SEO platform. I was not told what to purchase nor what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. Wikibuy believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Wikibuy’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines, and social media engagement recommendations.

For the past year and a half, I had been searching for the ideal backpack for travel and work. I had romanticized the concept of buying a military backpack. A year ago, I even mentioned my trip with my son to Nashville’s Army & Navy War Surplus store.

I wanted something that was rugged, understated, and practical. When I did find one that came close to my idea of what I believed I was looking for, it was a bit more than I was willing to spend.

But all my dreams came true this week when the folks at Wikibuy reached out to me and offered me a $75 credit to spend on anything I wanted, in exchange for spreading the word about Wikibuy and including a link back to their site.

Wikibuy operates as a website and Chrome extension that finds you the best deals across the web on products you already are looking for. They don’t sell the products, they just match you with the best prices.

I immediately agreed, yet I figured most of the 75 dollars would go towards the backpack. Fortunately, I was way wrong.

Not only was there free shipping and no tax, but the total for the Reebow Tactical 3 Day Military Assault Backpack was just $33.99.

That’s amazing because all the other bags I had found on my own were easily double that amount. With the remaining stipend Wikibuy gave me to promote their website today, I ordered a backdrop to start using for my YouTube videos. You should start seeing it displayed in my upcoming videos within the next couple of weeks.

So, back to my backpack; it is everything I was looking for. It’s perfect for my needs.

Our family travels from Tennessee to California (where my wife is from) once a year. This will be my carry-on. I can easily toss it under my seat on the plane and not have to deal with awkwardly stuffing it in the overhead bin.

Plus, we go on a few other road trips each year as well; like to Florida or Kentucky or North Carolina or Georgia for a mini-vacation. I will cram as much of my stuff as I can into my bag.

And as opportunities are increasing for me as a freelance writer and videographer for other companies, this backpack will easily store my equipment; including my laptop and tripod.

I am not a suitcase kind of guy. I prefer everything to be compartmentalized and easily accessible. To me, that’s an important element in how men are wired.

This backpack is an extension of my identity.

Of course, I will point out the underlying irony that a “family friendly” daddy blogger is promoting a “military assault” backpack.

Oh well. The only “weapon” I’ll be hauling in it to “shoot” anything with will be my Canon PowerShot G7 X camera.

Yeah, I got jokes too.

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: How I Take a Shower While Caring for My 20 Month Old Daughter

I’ve now been a stay-at-home dad for 2 and a half months. It’s safe to say it’s taken me this long to figure out the logistics of how to take a shower each morning, while occupying my young daughter somehow during the process.

It also took this long for my daughter herself to become accustomed to the routine of me taking a shower while she entertains herself.

We’re finally at the point where she and I mutually recognize that my shower is part of our daily routine, and I can see now that she finds comfort in that predictable routine.

Here’s how it works:

First, I make sure she has a snack that won’t make too much of a mess. The easy go-to is a small cup full of pretzels. My German-Dutch daughter loves pretzels for breakfast!

So once I’m in the shower, she spends the first half of it munching on her snack while she patiently faces me; seeing me through a small opening in the shower curtain. That way she knows I’m right there.

I’ll throw her a line every once in a while: “Hi Baby, I see you. Daddy’s in the shower but I can still see you…”

By the time she’s done with her pretzels, she takes it upon herself to find Mommy’s make up bag in the drawer. So far, my daughter has yet to utterly destroy anything, or at least noticeably apply any lipstick.

Once I’m almost ready to get out of the shower, I announce that to her, “Okay Baby, Daddy needs his towel. Can you help Daddy?”

She then prides herself in the responsibility of handing me my towel; then I dry off behind the closed shower curtain, before making my way to my awesome Captain America sweater or whatever my wardrobe will be that day.

And that’s how it’s done.

I am Zest-fully clean!

How DC Got the New Wonder Woman Movie Right, Based Marvel’s Proven Yet Secret 3 Point Formula

I know the exact science behind why Wonder Woman is an amazing movie…

Imagine if someone finally released the top secret recipe for Coca-Cola or for the Colonel’s KFC chicken… Well, I’m that guy, but for releasing Marvel’s secret movie formula.

For those of us who have kept up with all comic book movies for the past decade, we know that Marvel seems to always just easily crank out really good super hero movies. Meanwhile, DC hadn’t figured out how to really get it right. Think about their superhero movies last year:

Batman V. Superman? It was entertaining, but ultimately problematic.

Suicide Squad? Eh… kind of a mess.

So did DC just luck out with their wild success of Wonder Woman? Nope.

They simply (and maybe even accidentally) used the same proven yet secret formula that Marvel’s been using all these years:

1)      Character Arc of the Super Hero: It’s fundamentally important for the audience to see a flawed protagonist who evolves over the course of the story. Remember how in Batman V. Superman, Batman was the same brooding, disgruntled billionaire while Superman was the same perfect alien? Neither characters individually evolved. We instead want to see an imperfect character who is forced to positively evolve. We want to see character growth.

2)      Engaging Arch Nemesis. The superhero is only as interesting as the bad guy. Just as an imperfect superhero is crucial in order to engage an audience in the protagonist, that superhero relies on a villain who spiritually contrasts and compliments their struggles. Being evil isn’t enough. We need to see a memorable arch nemesis who is the perfect foil for our imperfect hero.

3)      Genre Hybrid: Marvel knows that their super hero movies aren’t simply super hero movies. Instead, each one is ultimately a different genre, disguised as a superhero movie. Ant-Man is a heist movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a government conspiracy movie. Using that same concept, Wonder Woman is a World War II movie, which also contains strong elements of Greek mythology.

This secret formula is the reason Marvel’s movies do well. And finally, DC has figured it out.

Seriously, who isn’t excited by the new Justice League trailer? It looks like they will be applying the Marvel formula to all their movies from now on. I’m happy that DC is back on track.

 

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

5 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Jack,

In case you haven’t figured this out yet, you are a cool kid…. with a cool daddy. Whenever a new superhero movie comes out, ever since Ant-Man last July, I’ve been taking you to see it on opening weekend.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Plus, over the past year, we’ve been making our own little “superhero movies” and putting them on YouTube, with our series, Jack-Man.

What a great time to be a boy and a great time to be a daddy, with all these superhero movies coming out so often. Just like our Saturday morning tradition of exploring the woods in surrounding neighborhoods, another father-son bonding experience we participate in is seeing movies together.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

It gives Mommy several hours to herself (but mostly the baby and the laundry) while you and I get to see awesome non-bloody battles between the superhero characters that you wear on your t-shirts to school.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

I’ve noticed that one of your favorite parts about seeing movies with me is watching the previews. You like to map out which movies you want to see with me in the future, like X-Men: Apocalypse. It surprised me when you told me you want to see that one, since you didn’t recognize any of those characters. But hey, now our calendar is marked for it, just 3 weeks from now.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

As for this past weekend on Saturday, I took you to see Captain America: Civil War. Not only was it an epic movie, but it was an epic event, since this marked for the first time you’d ever seen any of those characters on the big screen, other than Ant-Man.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Captain America has always been my favorite Marvel superhero, and I think I have by default influenced you to feel the same way.

Dear Holly: Our Family’s 1st Ride in the Same Car (2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Holly: Our Family’s 1st Ride in the Same Car (2016 Lexus IS 200t)

To make the event even more special, we took the 2016 Lexus IS 200t to see the movie. We were pretty much a big deal.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

We also headed over to Target that afternoon to pick out some gifts for Mommy for Mother’s Day, which was the following day. She had strongly hinted that she was wanting some pampering natural lotions and the like, so we got her on taken care of. Plus, you reminded me Mommy would want some licorice, so we threw in some jelly beans as well.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

The next morning on Mother’s Day, having obviously enjoyed the movie, you decided on your own to pull your Captain America Halloween costume out of the closet as you played.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Meanwhile, Mommy fed your baby sister Holly, then made vegan French Toast for us; or as Mommy calls it, Danish Toast.

Somehow, you decided to play with your “dinosaur putty” as slime, then transitioned into a Ghostbusters theme.

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Jack: We Saw Captain America Civil War on Opening Weekend & Bought Mother’s Day Gifts (in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t)

I’d say we had a pretty awesome and memorable weekend.

You’re a cool kid. Good thing you have a cool daddy too.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Our Family’s 1st Ride in the Same Car (2016 Lexus IS 200t)

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

Dear Jack,

Being the daddy blogger who denounces artificial food dyes in food, I must admit it is quite convenient that my almost 5 year-old son has willingly chosen to use his Halloween candy for science experiments, as opposed to actually eating it.

This was completely your idea. It was the convenient timing of you rediscovering your Magic Science kit that Mommy and I got you’re a year ago for your 4th birthday.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

Saturday morning, which was Halloween, you and I took a walk at the park and you found a green acorn; which you referred to as a coconut.

You announced to me: “Daddy, when we get home, I’m going to put this coconut in the water with peanut butter!” 

That’s exactly what we did. (Featured in the collage below.)

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

I supervised as you randomly mixed the ingredients included in the kit, with the “coconut” as well as some peanut butter. Needless to say, you weren’t following the instructions included in the kit at all. Fortunately, no explosions occurred…

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

Even during dinner, as you ate the pizza Mommy made, you were constantly checking on the progress of your science experiments. (Not to mention, you had previously dunked some of the uncooked pizza dough into some chemicals as well; as part of its own experiment; as seen below.)

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

We then took about a 90 minute break to actually, you know… go trick-or-treating.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

It meant so much to me to finally go trick-or-treating in our own neighborhood; since we moved in our new home back in January. When we lived in the townhouse community before, it just wasn’t the ideal environment like our neighborhood is now, for something like this.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

Needless to say, after we got home from church on Sunday, you spent all of your time testing all types of the candy you earned the night before.

I think you favorite to dissolve were the Nerds. You explained to me:

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

“Daddy, the Nerds turn in to crystals!” You scooped them out from the bottom of the cup, using a plastic spoon; revealing the now colorless pieces of sugar.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

It was also interesting to see Runts without their coloring as well. And the Laffy Taffy looked like a brain.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

A dentist in our neighborhood is buying back Halloween candy; paying $1 per pound, then sending the candy overseas the U.S. troops.

Dear Jack: Using Halloween Candy for Science Experiments Instead of Eating It

You were planning on selling most of your candy so you could use the money to buy a toy.

Instead, it looks like you’d rather use the candy for scientist experiments; as opposed to selling it, or even crazier… actually eating it.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our “Practice Halloween” Night as a Family/We Watched Gremlins

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: Our "Practice Halloween" Night as a Family

Dear Jack,

Tonight we were able to “practice Halloween” at your preschool with all your friends. You got to be the coolest person possible: Captain America.

It was funny because all your friends who were boys were also dressed up as super heroes; but there were conveniently no duplicates: Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman…

As for Mommy and me, we took a more minimalist approach:

Mommy wore a zebra mask and I wore my cave man hat which I’ve owned for years.

(At Target, your costume only cost us $10 and Mommy’s mask was only $3.)

I like the fact you wanted to make sure your stuffed animal, Kitty, was dressed in costume too; as a baby in a onesie.

And by the way, you got a whole lot of candy! The proportion of candy-to-kids was definitely in your favor.

However, there’s a decent chance it’s going to rain on Saturday, which is Halloween.

So even though we are finally moved in to a nice suburban neighborhood where we can truly just walk door to door, instead of driving to a decent place, we may get rained out! Therefore, tonight served as our back-up plan to that happening to us.

And to set the mood for Halloween, I let you watch the 1984 Steven Spielberg movie, Gremlins; which is currently free on Amazon Prime right now.

gremlins_gizmo Dear Jack: Our "Practice Halloween" Night as a Family/We Watched Gremlins

I admit to having a few reservations in that it, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Jones, were the very first movies to be released under the PG-13 rating; as opposed to PG.

Granted, you watched Ant-Man and it was no issue for you.

I don’t regret my decision. You didn’t recognize the bad words, since to you, “stupid” is the one that concerns you the most right now.

And though parts of it are obviously creepy and violent, it was nothing you hadn’t seen on Goosebumps. I’m not saying I recommend showing Gremlins to all 5 year-olds, but I feel confident in us being able to enjoy it together.

You were on the edge on your seat the whole time, and you loved Gizmo. Not to mention, you’ve already proclaimed that when we go to Nonna and Papa’s house next time, you’ll be bringing home my old Gizmo doll.

Love,

Daddy