Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Recap: Thinking Back and Moving On

I originally posted this video some weeks back. I was watching it again this morning and decided to edit a bit and repost for today as I could not have come up with anything better to say about the last year. How do we measure the last year? The last 365 days, 525,600 minutes, have almost completely expired now. Ever since I had kids, I have found that time has just flown by. It didn't take but the blink of an eye for 2010 to ring in and tap out again. Where did it go? What do I treasure? And where do we go from here?

I would also like to thank Andrea Krick for her amazing photographs of the family. We had such a great time and I hope we can do it again!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

To Little Man

You are always telling me that you don’t want the “boogies” to get you. Daddy is here to let you know that I will never let the boogies get you. you may be scared sometimes, you might be afraid. But Daddy is right here, and I will protect you.

Daddy is always here when you need him. To fight off the boogies, to fend off the monsters, and to be whatever you need me to be, whenever you need me to be it. There is no need to fear. There is no need to be afraid of what is not there, because Daddy is here.

It has been my honor and joy to watch you grow these last three years. To watch you mature, learn new words, new skills, and develop in your personality. You are like none other. You have a big heart and an endless imagination. Your passion for life and ability to make a whole room light up will be what everyone remembers of you.

Never forget who you are. Never forget were you come from. You are MY son. You are MOMMY’s son. We will always be here for you whenever you need us. We will be here to guide you, to support you, and to love you. No matter what life has in store for us, always remember we love you. It is a love that will never end, never go away, and can only continue to grow stronger. You are our son, and nothing can ever take that away.

With love,

Daddy

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Years: Just Another Day

The fireworks, the ball drop in Times Square, champagne and resolutions. Just a few things that come to mind when one thinks about the upcoming New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day festivities. There is so much anticipation, excitement, and a certain amount of uncertainty as we approach the new year.

So why do I not feel any kind of excitement this year? Why do I not feel the urge to set resolutions and goals and celebrate a year that has passed? Perhaps it is because I am older. I have a wife, kids, a job, bills, and this one night seems to pale in comparison to all of that. Maybe it is because I have been too busy to realize how quickly this year is coming to an end. Perhaps it is something a little bit deeper.

We all talk about resolutions: Our goals, hopes, and promises for the new year. For many of us parents it revolves around being a better parent, more involved, or doing more things with the kids. A lot of us married men tend to lean towards being a better husband, more loving, listening more, and treating our wives the way they deserve. This is where I lose the passion for the celebration. Are these not things that we should strive for any day, any time, and anywhere?

I always seem to set the same goals every year. Quit smoking, be a better dad and husband, do this and that. Every year though, I seem to fail. I started thinking about this last night and came to the conclusion that maybe I should stop worrying about once a year goals, and start focusing on goals in general. Why do we place such importance on this once a year and not year round?

This coming year I have but one resolution: To focus on my life as a dad and husband every day. Not just setting goals on January 1st, but striving to be a better person, better husband, and better dad, every day, all year long. I want to be the best dad and best husband I can be. That’s not just a goal for the year, that’s a goal for every day of my life. I am not going to worry about what I want to do in 365 days. I am going to focus on what I need to do for that day, one day at a time.

Maybe I have put too much thought into this. Maybe I’m on the verge of a great personal breakthrough. Who knows, life is like that. I do know this though: For my wife, my children, and myself, I will continually try to be a better person each day. It is what they deserve and what I am called to do.

How about you? What personal goals do you hope to accomplish, not just for the year, but for each day, one day at a time?

Christmas 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Post Before Christmas

Twas the post before Christmas and all through my mind
Just the sound of crickets and "Wonderful Christmas Time"
That song had gotten stuck in my head, it was true
And it caused me some writer's block, and now I was blue

The Kiddos were grouchy and they were ready for bed
I did not know that those shrill screams would be rocking my head.
We gave them a bath, got their teeth brushed and books to read
Then got them in bed and back downstairs I had to sneak.

The Wifey and I were watching a movie on the couch
With the subtitles on, and the volume as quiet as a mouse
When across the baby monitor their arose such a noise
That I jumped off the couch, my pants were surely soiled

We ran upstairs to see what the heck had happened
And found Little Man and Little girl on the bed laughing.
We asked what was going on and what was so funny
Little Man said "we just love you daddy and mummy"

We hugged them both tight and back to bed they did go
They had just drifted off as it had started to snow
I kissed my wife goodnight, and told her I loved her dear
Then drifted off to sleep knowing Christmas was so near.

Be joyful, ye men, ye women and each child
Tell your family you love them and even give them a high five
Merry Christmas to all, bless your hearts and your lives
Bless your sleep and your dreams, and to all, Goodnight!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life on Pause: Taking a Break

Wednesday morning we will be getting up early to head down to SC to stay with my mom and dad for Christmas. I am so excited to be returning for Christmas tradition in the home I grew up in for 22 years. The Kiddos are all excited to see Nana and Papa and their cousin The Precious. The four of us: mom, dad, my sister, and myself, all under the same loving roof we shared many years ago. Just this time we have added my wife and two kids, and her husband and one child.

As we were packing and making final preparations I was debating on taking the laptop with us. I sat and thought about it, then started thinking about the trip. We are blessed this year for the financial ability to make this trip a reality. It is a great chance to take a break from every day life and share this blessed time of year with family and some friends. That's when I decided: no laptop, no emails, and no social media for this trip. Sure I will probably tweet as we are on the road. It keeps me entertained when The Kiddos are napping and The Wifey is driving. I might send out a few pictures of The Kiddos opening presents and visiting with everyone, but that will be about it. 

The chance to completely take a break from everything seems so rare these days. We all have so much going on in our lives that it is very hard to just simply relax and forget. Sure my parental and spousal obligations are still intact for this trip, and a few more things added to those obligations. However, I have 7 days away from work and five days out of the house and offline. I want to put life on pause for a few days, do something different, somewhere different. I decided to schedule my posts today as well as a few promotional tweets for each that way there is no need for the laptop.

This is a time for us to be with family and friends that we don't get to see often enough. It is a chance for me to put the laptop and the phone down and not worry about what is going on. Memories are to be made and family love to be shared. There are hugs to give, hands to shake, and miles of road ahead of us. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend and a Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate. 

This is TheDaddyYoDude signing off. Catch you next week when we return!

Wordless Wednesday: Opening Presents

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Music Monday: "Not Afraid" by Eminem

"I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road"

Most of you I am sure have heard this song. It is from Eminem's newest CD called "Recovery" and is one amazing song. If you are someone who can look past the profane language to hear the beauty of these lyrics than I suggest checking it out. 

"I'ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony"

We have all heard it at some time in our lives. Somebody out there has told us "you will never ...". You can call it having a strong will, a strong personality, or being stubborn, but that phrase always gets me. Who is anybody to tell us that we can't be or can't do or can't can't can't? I have heard it many times in my life. You know what? There are probably many things that I could never be. Today though, I am a lot of things that 10 years ago nobody would have thought I could be. "You'll never be happy. You'll never find that someone. You will never have a successful life." My life may not be perfect, but I have a wicked awesome life. I am happy and I did find that someone. Thanks to that someone there are now two more someone's for whom I live my life. 

"I promise
To focus solely on handling my responsibility's as a father
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and raise it
You couldn't lift a single shingle on it"

Simply awesome. My first focus aside from being a husband, is my children. Their lives and their well being are my responsibility and come before everything else: my job, my blog, my friends. I would give my last 2 breaths to them if I knew that it would save them. I would give up everything I have if that is what I had to do. There is nothing that can stop me from being the dad my children need me to be. Well, except myself. It must be up to me to decide to be that dad. It must be my choice to do what I have to, or need to, for my family. Nobody on Earth can make that decision for me, and I don't think I would let them.


"Cause the way I feel, I'm strong enough to go to the club
Or the corner pub and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I'm raising the bar, I shoot for the moon
But I'm too busy gazing at stars, I feel amazing"

How I feel right now, especially after a lot of soul digging tonight and then listening to this song. It has been a rough few days emotionally and mentally. I'm not going to go into detail, but there are things that have to change, and things I need to work on about myself. Tonight after work I did a lot of thinking. I thought about who I am, and who I want to be. Then I thought about what I needed to do to make it from one to the other. Then I started thinking about The Kiddos, The Wifey, and life in general, and I smiled.

I feel great about where I am and who I am. I feel great about where I want to go and what it might take to get there. I am raising the standards for myself, and in turn, for my family. I will continue to shoot for the moon, but if I don't make it, that is quite alright. Because in this home, there are 3 stars, and I am happy residing among them. 
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Post from The Dino Man: Paul Stickland

Welcome friends! Hope the weekend is finding you well today!

I am excited to once again introduce you to Paul Stickland. Paul Stickland is the author, illustrator and pop up book designer of many, many children's books and father to Rowan 27, Felix 17, Gus and Kit 15, Arthur 9 and Tabitha 20 months, all of whom had a lot of bedtime stories and some of whom still do! He lives in an rickety tall house in an ancient stone town in deepest Dorset in England and when not drawing dinosaurs and diggers likes to make a lot of noise with his partner Helen in their band. I invited Paul back to The DaddyYo Blog today to talk about his life as an author and dad of six. It has been my pleasure to meet him on Twitter and find out that he authored three of Little Man's favorite dinosaur books. So before I waste any more time, please welcome Paul, in his own words.
Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Fun Day: Children's Entertainment or (Parent's Sanity)

As a parent we all know that it can take going to extraordinary lengths to entertain young children. Car rides, family reunions, or even just at home. Children have a mind of their own and can be a tough crowd when it comes to entertainment. We go to such great measures to ensure our children's satisfaction and calmness level. I'm sure you can agree with me that such drastic protocol is necessary sometimes just to maintain mommy and daddy's sanity.

I have been known to spin a football while making loud crazy noises; Sliding across our tile floors in my socks then wiping out in the living room; Crawling into confined spaces, hiding, and scaring the kiddos. These are just a very small sampling of things I have done to get the grouchy level in the house down to a bare minimum and bring back the laughter. Hitting myself in the head with different toys, stepping on my own toes, even stretching my cheeks to the point I thought they were going to rip off of my face. Sometimes you just do what it takes, right? I asked the mighty Twitter what other parents have done to gain the upper hand in keeping their children calm. Here is what a few had to say:

@angiekinghorn - Blew up a glove a dr's offc 2 make it look like animals and sang Old McDonald while waiting an eternity for dr to come in.

@Call_Me_Heather - tried break dancing, also would intentionally hit my head and say "oh no I think I got brain damage" in a funny voice.

@bluecollard - One time I strapped about four diapers together put them on and ran around the house with the kids. #diaperparty

@krellpw - Crude noise & bad cartoon imitations are stand-bys. I've been known to "accidentally" fall into a pool fully dressed to get a laugh from kids. come to think of it, I tend to fall down a lot just to draw a laugh from the kids.

So now you can know that you are not alone when doing crazy, funny, and down right silly things to keep your children entertained and calm. Parents all over are going to the limit, pushing the envelope, and having the  envelope come back and pop them in the head just to draw a laugh, or gain attention. What do you do when the time calls for it? How do you get a laugh and entertain in a hurry? Share with us in the comments and let's all have a good laugh at ourselves and delight in the things that can create a smile.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog Swap: Please Welcome Heather

Hey everyone! Welcome to The DaddyYo Blog today! Today I am honored to have a great friend of mine participating in a blog swap with me. I am about to jet on over to her blog to hang out for the day, and she has come here! Please welcome Heather to the blog today. Heather is mommy to a precious little boy, Malichia, and devoted wife to Jake, who is in the Army. She blogs about her life as an Army Wife, Toddler Mommy and you can also find her on Twitter.

Okay, I am out for the day. Headed over to Heather’s blog. So stick around and check out this wonderful post from her about the fears of becoming a mom and raising a child while daddy is away on duty. See ya later! Now, Heather in her own words.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'll Be Home for Christmas

This year I am super excited that we will be spending Christmas at my parent's house. It will be my first Christmas in that house in 6 years.  The year before I moved I had to work and missed the usual family activities. We will be going to spend time with my two grandmothers and other extended family as well. Typically we only make it there once a year. This holiday we were blessed with the finances for me to take that week off from work and head on down there.

As the trip draws near I think about all of the memories I have growing up in that house during the holidays. The anxious Christmas Eves after church service and actually looking forward to bedtime so Christmas morning would get there fast. The nights drawing the slips from the Advent calendar that now hangs in my living room this holiday season. The nativity scene on the entertainment center and the old Christmas candles my parents got the year that they were married. Those candles are now 33 years old and still holding strong just like the couple who bought them. The yearly Christmas parties we had when we were young and going caroling through the neighborhood were always activities to be on the look out for.

I remember sneaking in to the living room to see what I had gotten, and the time I got caught after knocking my first guitar over. The next year I found my parents sleeping on the floor to ward me off! I remember the year that "Santa" hid the presents and when I went sneaking in there were no presents. I thought that Christmas was not going to happen. Oh me of little faith.  There are just so many memories from when I was growing up. Our home around the holidays was magical, it was enchanting, and it was full of love.

My mom and dad always made sure we knew the true reasons for this festive season and what it was really about to us being raised in a Christian home. Sure we were a little disappointed when we didn't get what we hoped for, but we quickly overcame that. We knew we were blessed for everything we got, no matter what it was. We delighted in family and treasured the moments spent with friends at Christmas parties. We gathered with both my mom and dad's sides of the family and shared in the fellowship of giving and family tradition. These are the kinds of memories that are running through my mind this holiday season.

This year I will be home for Christmas. A lot of things have changed in 6 years. We will be missing my two grandfathers during our visit. I am sure their memories and stories will be shared as we reflect on Christmas times past. Some things will remain the same though. Christmas day we will watch as the wrapping paper flies and the kids faces light up. We will visit family and enjoy the fellowship of love. We will all be together for the first time in 6 years. Mom and Dad, I will be home for Christmas this year. Sure there are a few additions, but family is what it is all about. 10 days and counting. We cannot wait!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Honor of Grandaddy


Your warm smile and tender heart were open arms to us all. Your laugh and your amazing timing with a joke were a warming touch to a family gathering. You are a beloved husband, a respected dad, and an unforgettable Granddaddy.

Six years ago you left this Earth, to go home to your Father above. For six years I have shared stories of our times together. Playing Chinese Checkers, reading our bibles at night, and playing with potato chips during lunch. You were ready for us when sissy and I would spend the night. Up in the morning with the news on and the paper. We waited for Grandmama to make those delicious waffles, and breakfast was soon on the table.

You always kept us laughing and smiling. You knew how to capture us with a story and have us hanging on every word. From our trips to the Chinese restaurant and Putt-Putt, to the grocery store and Sunday school, I remember all of those times.

I remember your love and your kindness. I remember your sense of family and leadership. I remember you running next to the car as we would be pulling out of the driveway, tapping on the window and laughing with the force of a gale storm.

Grandaddy, we miss you. You are always in our minds and in our hearts. I see you in my own children now. In my son's smile, my daughter's laugh (and of course the Scroggs ears). I love you still and today I will remember you. I will remember your service to your country, and more importantly, to your family. I will remember all of the things you taught me, and I will do my best to honor those teachings. And I will remember your smile and your laugh. I will celebrate your life and what you meant to each and every one of us. And I will thank you for leaving behind a memory so full of life. I will cherish those memories always.

In Loving Memory of Hermann Marshall Scroggs (Grandaddy)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roaring Review and Special Giveaway: It's Dinosaur Mania!!


Welcome to The DaddyYo Blog today! Be careful as you browse around  because there are huge, ROARING dinosaurs all over the blog today! I have been hiding here in the left sidebar so that maybe they won’t find me. I have to make it long enough to tell you about 2 books and give you the chance to win two signed copies!

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Paul Stickland. Author, paper engineer, and pop-up designer. I was excited to meet Paul on Twitter a few weeks ago and find out he authored one of my son’s favorite dinosaur books, “Dinosaur Roar”. I checked out the site and his stores and I have to say I was impressed! Little Man absolutely LOVES dinosaurs and big trucks, and Paul Stickland has everything I could every want in both categories.

After a few e-mail exchanges the review and giveaway was set up and Paul was happy to help make this happen.  Major thanks to Paul for being willing to do this and even signing the copies to be given away! So let’s get started, shall we? A little about Paul, the bookstore and the truck and dinosaur stores. Then the awesomeness that is “Dinosaur Roar” and “10 Terrible Dinosaurs:”.

Blessed

It is late at night and I am still awake. Outside it is snowing, windy, and the cold is just brutal. I am inside, under the covers with the heat on, and posting from my phone.
I have been reviewing the day in my mind. What went wrong, who I was mad at. How was I as a dad today? Was I loving or did I fail to show love? Then I started thinking about how much worse things could be.
How blessed I am for what I have. How blessed I am that despite the bad, the good is prevailing. How foolish I am to have lost sight of all that is good and precious.
Tomorrow as the snow continues and the bitter cold remains, I will hug my children. I will show them my love and what they mean to me. I will kiss my wife and let her know my heart is still hers. I will let my family know that we are strong and we are blessed. I will not let the bad rule my thoughts. I am blessed and tomorrow I will live in the blessings that have been given to me.
Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Shopping on the Cheap

If you are like us, and like many many families worldwide, holiday shopping can make one’s brain hurt when it comes to thinking about the monetary aspect of it all. We are not a family that dwells too much on how much money each child is worth in Christmas presents. We do try to get them the same amount of items. When it comes to money though, we just set a limit on how much we spend all the way around.

This year I think The Wifey and I did the best we have ever done in our three years of holiday shopping for the kids. Each year the lists grows a little more and the budget does too. Almost every year we go over our budget and kick ourselves when bills are due. This year however we were able to get it done with the quickness and under budget.

A few quick tips for those on a tight budget this year. We live primarily paycheck to paycheck. Factoring bills as soon as I see a pay statement (usually 2 days before being paid). We know how much we will have leftover even after factoring out money for eating out. We squeeze it really tight sometimes, and over the last few years we have figured out how to accomplish everything at smaller cost.

Always figure out where the sale is. Sometimes the extra 10 minute drive will save you 10 dollars or more. If you are really looking, you can find huge savings in places you would never think of.

Settle for the next best thing. “Wow Dude that leather jacket is pretty stylin. Where did you get it?” My reply: “It is actually fake leather and it is from K-Mart. But thanks man!” I am a man of little shame and if I can get a look alike product at Wal-Mart for $20 less I will because that is $20 dollars towards something else. Quality doesn’t always have to be expensive. Take name brands off of the list and look for a quality bargain.

Big mistake for us around the holiday shopping season is thinking we haven’t bought The Kiddos enough stuff. Now, a lot of people would take this time to talk about how it is not about the amount of stuff. My children are 3 and 1 and to a certain extent, yes it is. HOWEVER: I also know that the more I get them, the more toys pile up in the basket not played with. Plus, there are other people buying for my children. Stick to just a few items that will be their favorites (my kids are easy to read) and don’t worry about the hundred extra items.

Finally: Don’t sweat it so much. Tis the season for laughter and joy. Not anxiety over money and frugality. It can be achieved with a little effort and a little cheer. Facing it with the attitude that no matter how tight you have to be, the joy that it will bring is well worth it, and not worth the brain freeze.

With all that in mind get out there and hit the stores! Have fun and be full of joy. The season is one of happiness and good tidings. Don’t let life drag you down! And a friendly reminder that there are only 18 shopping days left until Christmas (better get a move on)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Craft Time with The Dude: Decorative Christmas Strands

There are all kinds of fun activities you can do with you children that are entertaining, fun, and even educational. Making a craft has become a great time for me and The Kiddos on our Tuesday nights together. From the cup phones to the cardboard robot helmet, we have enjoyed making things and having that time to bond.

I have for you today a fun activity for you and your children while decorating for Christmas. I did not actually do this one with the kids, but after I had done it, I realized it would be a good craft time project. They are decorative Christmas strands that you could hang up anywhere you wanted. On the tree, above the doorways, even in the window for others to see as they pass by.

Christmas

 

Here is what you will need:

  • Beading line or fishing line
  • Decorative ornaments. For more fun let your kids pick out which ones they want to use.  (the ones pictured were purchased at Wal-Mart)
  • Scissors (the safest you can find for your children to be around. or the easiest to hide from them if they are like my two youngins)
  • Scotch Tape (optional)

This is what you do:

  1. Measure out how much beading line or fishing line you need. Leave a few inches extra on the ends.
  2. Tie a loop into one end of the strand.
  3. Select which ornaments you and the children would like to use. I alternated patterns in the ones above our doorways. To make it more fun let the kids pick out which ones to use.
  4. Slip the untied end of the beading line or fishing line through the ornaments until all of them are strung.
  5. Tie a loop in the end of the line.

 

That’s it! That is all there is to it! Now decide where you and the kids would like to display them and let them hang! We used scotch tape to help secure the line to the wall to support the weight of the ornaments.

Hope you get a chance to try this and have

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fatherly Fears: This is Real Talk

I’m going to cut straight to the case with this one. I about lost my shenanigans when I thought about this tonight. The Wifey and I were watching “Look Who’s Talking Too” after hanging Christmas decorations. Towards the end of the movie there is a scene that made my mind start racing. Two children, about the same age difference as The Kiddos and with Little Man being the older of the two. They are in the apartment, alone, and it is on fire.

I immediately asked my wife what she thought our son and daughter would do. Would Little Man just flip out, sit down and cry? Would Little Girl sense there was danger or would it be something new and interesting? Is it possible Little Man would realize something is wrong and try to open the door and get them out?

My heart was racing, my eyes were filling with tears when I thought about the horror of that situation. What would they do? As my wife and I discussed further we determined one thing: Our kids will never, ever, EVER EVER EVER, be alone in our house. I am sure at some point they will reach a maturity level and build a trust I can believe in to be left alone.  But I think that is a level that my wife and I will decide upon and talk to them about before the decision is made.

I just felt like I needed to write this because I know I am not the only parent who has ever just totally tripped out on thinking about stuff like this. And in some ways, I think it is good that I thought about it. It is good to be fearful of some things. Not to the point of over protection and stifling our children’s right to grow up as an individual. It is good to the point that it lets you know that your love for them is real.

I quickly felt how real my love for The Kiddos is and how deeply sorrowful I would be if something like that should ever happen. It was good for me to feel that fear, and grow stronger in my strength and determination to protect and educate my children. When you can know that there is no limit to that love, it is an empowering feeling. It is what all the hours of screaming, late night feedings, and trips to the doctor are all about. It is what dreams are made of, only you are awake.

It is the power of love, from parent to child.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tis the Season: Giving Back

It is always nice to see a community give back and people give back to their community. In a lot of ways it is sad that you see this more around the holidays and less the rest of the year, but seeing others selflessly give to someone in need is always inspiring.

This year I have heard all kinds of stories of churches, businesses, and individuals who are sponsoring families and children and making the holiday season a dream come true for many. It is the greatest example of what this time of year is all about. It is an image of selflessness we should all strive for, year round.

There are also many schools that are taking lists from families in need and gathering the items on the list to help make the holidays a great one. There are many many families struggling these days. This time of year can be especially hard on families who are still struggling after layoffs or the loss of loved ones. It is the time of year to put a little cheer back into someone else’s life.

I have had it done for me. Not ashamed to say it. I am here to let you know that it was a humbling and uplifting experience. When I can, I give back, because I know what it feels like. And it is indescribable.

Remember this holiday season, that there are always less fortunate than ourselves. Let’s all do our part to give back to those in our community. Let the season be filled with holiday cheer for everyone this year. Tis the season for giving!

Guest Post: My Daughter Will Redefine Girly


Being the dad of a daughter is going to be tough when Little Girl starts getting older. I know she will be bombarded by images and messages of what she should look like, dress like and act like. I make it my fight to make sure she knows that she is beautiful and powerful, just the way she is.

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Melissa. Melissa Wardy is a mother of two who owns and operates Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly, an online store and media literacy blog that aims to change the way we look at girlhood. Our empowering products show girls they may be smart, daring, and adventurous. Melissa is hanging out with me today to talk a little bit about her own daughter, and redefining girly. So without further delay, here is Melissa in her own words!

When my daughter was born and I would spend the day holding her and dream about catching lightening bugs, teaching her to ride a bike and kick a soccer ball, reading “Little House On The Prairie”, and flying kites. A childhood fit for a Norman Rockwell piece for the Saturday Evening Post.

When my tiny girl was a few weeks old, I needed to restock on diapers so I ventured out to Target, running my first official errand as a mom. I came home mystified. My eyes were glazed over from pink pegboard and walls of plastic dolls that looked like sex workers and tulle and tiaras and slogans on every shirt that read “I love being the Princess” and “Daddy’s Princess” and “Sweet as Candy” and “Angel” and “Sassy, sometimes Sweet” and “Future Shopaholic”. The excess of tiaras and rhinestones had done me in. And why were girls being objectified into sweet candy? Gross.

This was girlhood? This was how I was supposed to raise my daughter? With these kinds of messages? And why was everything pink? I couldn’t understand it, and thought perhaps my post pregnancy hormones had made me time travel. You know, to 1950.

A few months later I was at a playgroup with my daughter and one of the mothers asked when I would introduce her to the Disney Princesses and Barbie. I suggested that maybe I wouldn’t, or at least I was in no rush to, because I didn’t think they were good role models for girls. The other mothers stared or laughed at me, as if I was from outer space. I explained I wasn’t about to raise my girl to wish upon a star and wait for
her prince. I’d rather teach her to get into a rocket ship and reach that star for herself. I wanted that message on infant girl clothing, but couldn’t find it. At least, I couldn’t find it on the “girl side” of the aisle.

Then I had one of those A ha! moments – why wasn’t anyone making clothes like that for girls? I scooped up my baby, raced home, and I filled page after page with ideas and drawings and plans…..for what would become my company Pigtail Pals.

I don’t see childhood as having a boy side and a girl side. I see childhood as a time for brightly colored, unstructured play fueled by powerful imaginations and the understanding all young children seem to have that the world is their oyster.

I have worked diligently to keep our home media literate, gender neutral with toys, and full of playthings that are open ended. My husband and I try to keep gender stereotypes and sexualization out of our home. I certainly will not be teaching my daughter, who was named after Amelia Earhart, to sit quietly and be pretty. I flatly refuse to teach her that her beauty is her worth.

I believe girls deserve better. I believe we need to change the way we think about our girls. I think girls should be allowed to dream in every color. I think girls should have the freedom to imagine growing up to be a doctor, a race car driver, a pilot, or an astronaut. Or a pirate or knight or dinosaur tamer. Today’s girls are being raised by a generation of women that is the most well educated, most well traveled, most liberated
to ever have walked the earth. But you wouldn’t know it after an afternoon of shopping. Today’s girls are being raised by a generation of men who are hands-on and emotionally intelligent and who now more than ever understand the special role of being a father to a girl.

I raise my girl to be smart, daring, and adventurous. I don’t think those things belong on the “boy side” of the aisle. I simply think they belong right in the middle of childhood.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fun Activities with the Kiddos

Tuesday night, as most of you know now, is Daddy/Kiddo night in our house. The Wifey has a night class at the college and it is one night a week where it is just me and The Kiddos. Most of the time we have all kinds of fun. We play, we run, we ride bikes, and we eat junk food until I ears pop off. Okay, maybe not that much junk, but we live like, well, KIDS!

One thing I have enjoyed with this recently is coming up with different activities to do with the little ones. Making silly videos on the computer, making sock puppets, and making paper hats. There is always so much fun stuff to do with them and it can be done very easily.

Below I have just listed some fun activities you can do with your children at home. It is good fun, and a great way to spend quality time with them and be engaged. Arts and crafts are not only fun activities, but stimulating and helps them learn new skills. I hope you get a chance to try these someday in your own house!

  • Sock puppets are the most play items in the world! Well, to me they are anyway. Simple to take one of your own socks, and one for the kids, draw eyes and a nose, and let the fun begin. Simple and exciting. Putting on a play is a bonus!
  • Paper Towel Roll Binoculars – Need I say more? Tape to paper towel rolls to each other and have the children looking at everything in a different view. If you are like me and have more than one, cut the tubes in half and bingo! You now have two sets. Have the kids go on a hunt for different toys while looking through the binoculars and watch them learn to love exploring!
  • Cup Phones – The old school classic. We don’t use a lot of tin cans so paper cups are the next best thing. You know what to do right? Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup. Use a measurable amount of yarn between the two and slip the ends into the small holes in the cup. Tie a knot on the inside so the yarn doesn’t pull through and PRESTO! Phones! The children will enjoy “talking on the phone” from room to room or just across the couch. Have more cups and yarn? Tie them all together and enjoy a conference call with the kids!
  • Paper Plate Masks – Now this takes a little bit of patience especially if your kids are crayon happy. Draw two circles for eyes and whatever shape for the mouth you wish. Let your children color the plates using crayons or markers if they are old enough. After they are done coloring, cut out the eyes and the mouth. Poke two small holes in each plate, one on each side. Using yarn, make a strap slipping the ends of the yarn through the plate. Use a piece of scotch tape to secure the ends to the mask. Then let the fun begin. Don’t forget to make yourself a mask so you can join in the fun as well!

What kind of activities do you like to do with your children at home? Share them in the comments and help spread the good ideas with different activities to do with your children!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Shopping: Avoid the Stress


Oh yes, it is that time of year again. Black Friday is over and it is time to get down to some serious shopping. This time of year can be a very big stress inducer as the shopping days left seem to disappear. FYI: as of the writing of this post there are only 26 shopping days left before Christmas. DON’T FREAK OUT! Here are a few tricks to keep the stress level down and complete shopping on time without too much hassle.
Typically I am the kind to wait until the last minute to get everything done. Over the last few years I have decided that this is not the best way to go. Especially now that I have kids. Thankfully The Wifey takes care of making the lists and figuring out where we are going to get everything. I just help decide what we are getting everyone. Still though, I always dread the day that the shopping actually has to be done. So what can one do to bring the stress level down?
  • Be Prepared – One of my biggest problems in years past was not knowing what I was going to get. Make a list, know exactly what you are getting and for whom.
  • Set a budget – oh no, there’s that word. B-U-D-G-E-T … Allow yourself a certain amount of money to be spent and do your best to stay in that range. If you are on a tight budget like us, there are plenty of great buys out there at great prices that will allow you to stay within said budget.
  • Window shopping and online shopping – It is always a good idea to price shop before you buy. Many retailers sell the same products, but there is always that one that will have it cheaper than the rest. Online shopping can provide some monetary relief as a lot of online retailers offer free shipping or great discounts and special offers. Take the time to browse around and see what you can find.
  • Coupons – This is not a shock. Online and through sales papers. coupons are a holiday shopper’s best friends. Great bargains, great prices, and sometimes free stuff. Come on, who loves free stuff? THIS GUY DOES
  • Calm down – Remember, it is just shopping. Treat it like any other time you go out shopping. Don’t let the stress of the word “holiday” get you in a panic. Have a fun and enjoyable experience and watch as the people you are giving to light up with excitement.

Do you have any more tips to make the holiday shopping season less of a stress inducer? Share in the comments and let’s all have a great holiday season!
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sock Puppet Fun


Thinking Back and Moving On

I originally posted this some weeks back. I was watching it again this morning and decided to edit a bit and repost for today as I could not have come up with anything better to say about the last year. How do we measure the last year? The last 365 days, 525,600 minutes, have almost completely expired now. Ever since I had kids, I have found that time has just flown by. It didn't take but the blink of an eye for 2010 to ring in and tap out again. Where did it go? What do I treasure? And where do we go from here?

I would also like to thank Andrea Krick for her amazing photographs of the family. We had such a great time and I hope we can do it again!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Social Media: A Family Connected

Okay, I am going to do something a little out of the norm for The DaddyYo Blog and talk about something today that isn't strictly fatherhood related. Normally I would do so on my other blog but seeing as how this is about family and staying connected, I felt that it would fit right here. Let me back up a little and lead in to this post a bit.

As you may, or may not know, I met The Wifey online in January 2005. Three months later I would leave the place I grew up for 22 years for a place I never even looked at on a map. When I moved up here I was able to call back home and talk to my family on a regular basis. Then I got introduced to Facebook and was able to connect with all my family there. 

Fast forward 5 years. I have now been married for 4 years, and I have been a dad for three. Through Facebook, Twitter, and the blog, I have been able to stay connected with my family members and share what is going on in our lives through social media. My mom, dad, and my sister are all on Twitter and we talk to each other there all the time. Yesterday, we used it and shared in watching the Macy's Parade together that way. 300 miles apart from them now, and thanks to social media, we were still able to share in a long running family tradition. I was posting about The Kiddos going nuts when new balloons were shown, my sister was talking about watching it with her daughter, and my parents were enjoying knowing what the grandkids were thinking about the parade.

My mom posted to us that it was great that though we were that far apart, we were all enjoying the same thing, and sharing in the moments. That's what family tradition is all about. The ability to stay connected outside of the normal phone call and text message really adds another fun aspect to being a connected family, and brings more fun to the table. I know this much is true: My family is pretty tech savvy, and we all get involved. I am grateful that my family reads my blog and is very supportive of what I do. Social media will grow by leaps and bounds. There will be new platforms and new outlets of getting information out. And through it all, my family will stay connected, and our tradition of love and fellowship will continue, no matter the miles in between.






Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Kiddos

To my children:

Today is Thanksgiving. I know your are too young to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving and the reason we celebrate it. I am very thankful to have the two of you in my life. Without you my world would crumble. But today, I want to actually say "Thank You". You hear me say it all the time when you do something I ask. When you do something without me asking I say it. And when you give me random sugies and hugs, I always say thank you.

Today, I say thank you for bringing such light to my life. I say thank you for always making my day better with your smiles. I want to thank you for being you. Your personalities are amazing, eccentric, and full of life. Your laughter is music to my ears and a sweet sweet sound to my soul. I want to thank you for being a living reminder that sometimes, I just need to lighten up and not take life so serious. I would like to thank you for making me feel like a kid again during our Daddy/Kiddo nights.

You do so much for me that you will never know about. I could never put these feelings into words (although I try sometimes). I thank you most of all for your love. For the love you have for me, and the love that pours out of my heart for you. I will never lose sight of the meaning of that love.

I love you with all my heart!

Daddy

On behalf of my family and myself: I would like to wish all of you, my followers and readers, a very Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed start to this holiday season!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Value of a Life


How do you measure the value of human life? Is it by net worth and material possession? Is it by great accomplishments and acts of heroism? Or is it simply just because s person lived at all? Are we as a society charting a course to where  value of life is predetermined or must be assigned?

  I am sure you are all wondering why all the questions? The other day in my Twitter stream something caught my eye. A post written by Joyce Page entitled "Perfect Babies?" on her blog, The Next Page. The following is the beginning of the post, and sums up why I am asking so many questions.

"At first, when I read it on Facebook, I couldn’t believe it.  Twins were born in Arkansas and one of them has Down syndrome. Before they were born, the twins had been planned for adoption, but apparently, the parents want perfect children, so they rejected the baby with Down syndrome and now the child sits in the hospital with a Do Not Resuscitate order on it!  Sick!"

Really? There are really people out there that would throw a human life away like that? Even worse, we have a  government system and doctors who will let that child sit and wait to die? THIS IS DISGUSTING! Since when has it been okay to deny someone, ANYONE the right to at least try? A life is a life! Where is this world going? Are we going to start abandoning children because they are ADD? ADHD? Dyslexic? What the hell, people?! *breath breathe breathe breathe*

 Okay, let's continue a little more calmly now, shall we?

 I find it deeply disturbing and completely heartbreaking that people  that there are people so empty inside that they are capable of such things. I know it is hard to raise a child with special needs. I have been around children with special needs  before, and a lot of  you are parents of a special needs child. One thing that I always notice parents of children with special needs: Your love, your heart, and your will ALWAYS drive you to be the best parent you can be. There is much love in your family. I can feel it in your words.

 No  matter what difficulties face our children, or us as parents, LOVE can rule above  all things.  Ask yourself, as a matter of fact, EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU parents reading this ask yourself: Could I see myself abandoning my child because of an "imperfection"? Could I just cast him or her   out of my life, leave them with nobody, and never turn back?

 I was a drug addict for a number of years. Eventually my parents asked me to leave home because I had become unruly, my attitude towards them was not what my parents deserved, and I caused a lot of stress in the home. But note this: They still loved me. They still talked to me and they still cared about my life, even when I didn't. When I cleaned up, I was invited right back. Arms were open, hearts were open. My imperfections were not what my parents saw first when they looked at me. They saw their son. They saw the child that God had given them, and their love for the child that never faded.

I cannot imagine my life without The Kiddos. I cannot imagine not being a dad and not having the love I have for them in my life. To my children: No matter where life takes you, and what decisions you make. No matter how angry, or how upset I may get at times, I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. You will always be my Little Man and Little Girl. Nothing and nobody will EVER take that away. I will never abandon you. I will never leave you. I will always be your dad. I will always have this same love for you, no matter what.

TO PARENTS: Go right now, stop reading this post, and go hug your children.  Tell them you love them for them. Let them know that no matter what the world thinks, they are yours. Let them feel the love you have for them through your words, your affirmation that you will never leave them, and through your actions. Don't be a part of this growing societal belief that perfection is the norm. NOBODY IS PERFECT. And that is okay. Love is true, it is blind, it is all. It knows no boundaries and no barriers. Love your children for who they are. They will love you for it.








Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gearing Up for the Holidays

Lights are going up all around town. The air is getting colder and the leaves are turning and falling. The smells of winter and the holidays are in the air. What an exciting time of the year. Well, at least for the kids. For parents, this time of year can start to get really frustrating really fast. From finding the perfect gift, to finding any gift at all last minute. Getting the tree up, the cards sent out, the presents wrapped, it can all seem overwhelming sometimes. This year, we started a little early. After seeing lights going up around town, and the excitement in Little Man's eyes, I decided we should go ahead and put the tree up. I didn't think Little Man was going to be able to stay in his skin long enough for me to get it put together and turned on. Little Girl didn't really know what to think, but fed energy off of Little Man's excitement. It was magical to watch them run circles around the living room in anticipation. Stockings were hung up, the advent calendar is out, decorations galore. The house is starting to cheer up with the promise of Christmas.

Now the fun can really begin. Buying presents for the kiddos, for family members, and for friends. Getting vacation plans together to go visit the family in SC for a few days. Finding out what everyone else is getting the kids so we don't have duplicate items, and clearing the toy chest of toys no longer played with. It seems like there is so much to do and so much to plan just for one day of the year. Is it really that important to get so geared up and frustrated for one day out of 365? I guess when it comes to seeing my children so happy then it is. I guess I just don't want them to grow up losing sight of what really matters during the holidays.

Now, I'm not here to preach, or talk about religion. I have my faith, and other people have theirs. Yes, faith and religion do play a big part for me, but I'm talking a little past that. I'm talking about the spirit of giving, of being thankful, of counting blessings and moving past hardships. As they grow up I want them to know that it is just as important (and rewarding) to give back as it is to receive. I want them to understand that this season is not just about eating and getting presents. It is a great time of year to reflect on previous days, count their blessings, and look towards the future as the new year creeps closer.

Gearing up for the holidays an mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It brings joy and happiness. It also brings frustration and stress. No matter what it brings to you, let us not forget what it is like to be a child and bask in the excitement and joy. Also, let us try our best to not get lost in petty dealings during this season. Let's try to live the example to our children of what this season is really about. Let the holidays bring joy and peace. Happiness and comfort. And the promise of the future. I look into my children's eyes and I see the future in them. I see that my children, that all of our children, are the future and our example can change the course of time. For those blessings, I am thankful, and I will continue to look to the future every time I look into their eyes, and I will not lose sight of what really matters.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Feature Friday: 4 Awesome Dad Blogs and The Odd Mom Out

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!! I hope everyone's Friday is starting off swell and you are looking forward to the weekend. Something I have not done here on the blog in a while is Feature Friday. So this week I jumped right on doing it. I always enjoy the connections I make with people in the blog and social media world. I have had many great conversations with many great people. This week I am featuring 4 dads and 1 mom. People I talk with, blogs and sites I enjoy reading, and people you should check out too. So let's get started!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Technology Fun: Ending a Tantrum

So I got this new laptop thanks to a giveaway from DaddysToolbox. First one I have had with the built in webcam and microphone and all that. I had to set about playing with the video and start figuring some things out so I can start posting more videos here. 

Well, the other morning, Little Girl was throwing one monster of a tantrum. Not really sure why or what it was about. All I knew is that something had to be done to get her quiet. I turned on the laptop and turned on the video software I downloaded. She was immediately silenced by seeing herself on the screen. Then I decided it was time to get silly and get a laugh out of her. The following video I put together really quickly. It is kind of lame but I am new to making videos. But here it is anyway, Technology Fun: Ending a Tantrum



Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Memories: Guest Post from My Mom


Good Monday morning everyone! Hope everyone's week is off to a great start. Today I am honored to have my mom (@jmstaylor) guest posting once again. I asked my mom and dad to both write about their dads for posts here on the blog. Check out the post from my dad (@jricktaylor) "The King of Smiles" about his dad. I am always honored to have my parents involved on the blog and always enjoy reading the stories they tell.

Today my mom shares with us some memories of her dad. "Granddaddy" as my sister and I called him was a wonderful man, great dad, and awesome Granddad. Beloved husband and family man. We miss him very much, but in some ways, he lives on. Now, my mom, in her own words.
Friday, November 12, 2010

A Table, Chair, and Two Blankets: The Greatest Time in the World

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that every Tuesday night is Daddy/Kiddo night. For those who don't know, let me catch you up to speed really quick like. On Tuesday nights, The Wifey has class at the college. She usually leaves around 3 and gets home around 9:30 at night. These nights are dubbed "Daddy/Kiddo" nights. Some days are rough, the kids are grouchy and what not. Some nights we have the time of our lives playing and laughing. We sing, we dance, we run around like crazy monkeys until our legs give out. This past Tuesday was one of those nights that I wish never had to end.

To keep a long story short, let's fast forward through the beginning of "Daddy/Kiddo" night. It started out with The Kiddos being grouchy. It was post nap and after school. One of those times where all the cheesies in the world could not save my sanity. Bath time came early that afternoon as I knew it would be a good way to calm them down. After bath, and after they settled the fun really got started.

We played basketball, soccer, and catch. I got the crayons out and traced The Kiddos' hands so we could make turkeys. Daddy accidentally made one of the turkeys with 4 legs instead of two. See what having kids will do to your mind? After this an idea came to me: We have never built them a fort or clubhouse.  Into the living room we went! Using their Toy Story table, a saucer chair, and two blankets I quickly constructed their first ever clubhouse and it was a hit! Little Man ran around screaming "DADDY! I LOVE MY GOOD BOY HOUSE!!!" (I am not sure why he called it his good boy house) .. The two of them played in it for hours. It was a house, a school, a cave, an igloo. It was anything they wanted it to be.

I miss having such a free mind and the ability to make anything into anything I want it to be. I miss the joy that came with new adventures. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of what it meant to be free. In this moment, sharing this new ecitement with my children, I found it again. I remembered what it was like to watch ordinary things become extraordinary and amazing once again. I watched them laugh and play. I lived in their smiles and their kisses. I will forever have the images of that time ingrained in my mind, and I will never forget again. I will not forget to sometimes just let myself go. I will never forget to let the ordinary become extraordinary. And I will never forget that we were all children at once. Every now and then, we still can be. We can live it WITH our children, and not just sit back and observe. 
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On This Day, We Remember


Today is Veteran's Day. Today we honor those who have served in the military. Those who are still with us, those who are not, and those who paid the ultimate price in battle and laid down their lives for their country.

Today I would like to remember those in my family who have served. From the Army, to the Air Force, my family has seen quite a few members in active service from WWI to Iraq. Today I honor those. The pictures below are of my Granddaddy, Papa, and Grandpa. 3 great men and fathers with whom I have had the pleasure of having in my life before their passing. I have heard their stories both first hand, and passed down. The group picture is of my Great Grandfather Ray Hartsell, my great great Uncle Oscar Hartsell, and my Great Great Uncle Belton Hartsell. All three saw combat in WWI and all three returned home. My mom and dad have also contributed today with the pictures, list of family members who have served, and a few words about them. Thank you mom and dad for helping in remembering these fine men today.  We will never forget!



To all veterans:

Today we remember you. Those who have served and those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We honor you with our thanks and our praise. You have shown us what bravery is in the face of undeniable hardship. You have laid the foundation of heroism for those who will come after you. We thank you for your will and for your strength to stand up and fight for your country and the people it represents. To you we owe a great debt of gratitude. Without you, the freedoms we take for granted would no longer be free. On this day, we remember. And we thank you!

The Following list was written up by my dad detailing the service of numerous family members who have served in the military.

My Grandfather Ray Hartsell, United States Army Allied Expeditionary Forces, World War I, suffered permanent lung damage in a Mustard Gas attack in France.

My Grandfather Jim Taylor, United States Navy, drove a landing ship that helped retake the Philippine Islands. His craft came under machine gun fire, killing a crewman at the front of the craft. Pop swung the boat around, using the bow as a shield, so Marines could shoot the enemy gunner who was on a buoy. On the way back the ship was hit by kamikaze attacks.

My father in law Herman Scroggs, US Army Air Corp, watched his friends go down in a B17 crash in North Africa.

My Uncle Jim Bailey, US Army, crossed the Rhine into Germany.

My Uncle Lewis Taylor, United States Army, suffered serious injuries in France when the tank he was walking behind was struck by a shell.

My Uncle Bobby Park, United States Marines, made it to the Yalu River in the Korean War, then barely escaped with his life when four million Chinese came across the border.

My Uncle John Butler had the B24 his was piloting shot down by Japanese. He held the burning plane in the air while his crew got out, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. Before he retired as a colonel he flew jets in Korea, and spy flights over Russia, and crash landed three planes.

The following words about "granddaddy" and the list of names were provided by my mom. This is a selection from a guest post you will find next week from my mom "Memories of My Dad" 



World War II took Dad away from the mountains he loved, and offered him adventures in
faraway lands that he had previously only dreamed about. He married my mother while
he was home on leave from the war. It was never easy to get Daddy to talk about the war,
but he made at least one good friend with whom he corresponded until he died. I have
pictures of Daddy and his friends, and a dog they adopted, and a young African boy that
liked to hang around their camp. After the war, Daddy started looking for ways to support
his young family, which consisted at the time of my mom and two older sisters. Farming
was his love, but not a consistent source of income with which to raise a family. He tried
his hand at an auto manufacturer in Ohio, but none of the family was happy up north.
Finally, in the early 50s, representatives of the federal government came to the mountains
to recruit workers to help build the “bomb plant” that would later be known as Savannah
River Site. Dad moved the family to South Carolina, and I was born a few years later.



Great uncles in WW2 - Clarence Scroggs (Navy, San Francisco); Frank Atkins (Army, Alaska); Wayne Crawford, Silvie Crawford

Korea - Paul Scroggs

Misc - Denny Scroggs - (Army, Japan)





Belton, Oscar, and Ray Hartsell

My Grandpa: James "Jim" Taylor
My Papa: James "Bo" Taylor
My Granddaddy: Herman Scroggs



An Open Letter to Amazon.com : You Failed Our Children - UNACCEPTABLE


To whom it may concern at Amazon.com:

Obviously you already know about the book and the outrage it has called. "The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure" is a disgusting piece of work that has no place on a site that sells kids items and books. I mean, seriously use your brain and not your wallet for a minute. Chances are, at least one person in your main office knows someone who was sexually abused as a child. Chances are that the majority of you have children on your own. This is the part where you put your wallet down and you use your ears for once: How would you like it if some random stranger had an inappropriate encounter with your child. How would you like it if some sick bastard raped your child and scarred them for life? It would be okay right? I mean, the stranger read the book and knows what they are doing. Am I correct?

I didn't think so. You hide behind free speech and non censorship yet you state you have the right to pull a book from the Kindle store at your discretion. Where is that discretion right now? How long has your income been making you so stupid that you revel in these moments when you are receiving so much press, even when it isn't good? When did you stop being a man, a woman, a dad, a mom, a son, and a daughter? How have you allowed yourself to become so morally incompetent?

I personally will no longer have anything to do with your site or any of your affiliates until such trash is removed from the Kindle store. I'm sure this isn't the only one like that but frankly I won't even look. If you can soundly sell "Bob the Builder" and this trash in the same store, then you are not of sound mind. Honestly I would love to come to the office of whoever gave the okay to this book and show pictures of victims of such crime until they cried blood and lost their sight. 

Yes, the same free speech this author uses is the same free speech I use right now. Although this country's view of free speech is tragically skewed and messed up. Since you want to hide behind that mask and not listen to the power of the people's voice and the people's writing, we shall have you listen where it matters the most: YOUR EFFING WALLET! 

Right now I call all concerned and caring parents to cease transactions with Amazon and the Kindle store until this trash is removed from the site. Parents: Amazon is not going to listen to our voice, to our tweets and to our writing. They will only listen to what matters to them and that is the cash flow. I will be boycotting Amazon and I encourage you to do the same. Show them that if they will not stand for our kids, WE WILL! WE ARE PARENTS!! OUR KIDS ARE OUR FUTURE! AND THEY WILL NOT BE SUBJECTED TO THE SICK MEN AND WOMEN WHO WOULD DARE USE THIS BOOK!

Amazon Fails: Are You Serious?!?!



Just thought I would throw this up in response to THIS BOOK being offered for download to kindle. I am not displaying a picture of it nor am I giving the sicko author the satisfaction of his name being listed anywhere on my blog. This is a rant and here it goes:

Anyone who looks to glorify the sexual abuse of children is a sick moron. You sir are a disgrace. Trying to make sexual encounters with children safe? WTF?!?! Are you serious?!?! Anyone who has sex with a child is sick and needs help. It is not natural and it is not right! Did you really think writing this book was going to make it okay? That we will lessen the sentences of people who get caught taking the innocence of children? Come on. I will tell you this: If some crazy, demented sexually deprived maniac hurts or even tries to hurt one of my children after reading your book, my face will be the last thing you see for a long time. I will be at your doorstep quicker than you can say "uh oh I should not have written this book" and my fist will be greeting you hello.

And Amazon? Where is your since of morals and ethics? Who let this slip through the cracks? Trying to make that much more money? Are you that desperate for corporate earnings? I'll give you my next paycheck to never see the BS on the site again. I cannot believe you would think this is okay. Let me ask you .. do you have kids? Would you like it if someone tried to have sex with your kid after reading that book? No? I didn't think so. Why on Earth would you think it is okay to try to profit off of this? Do you not have any common sense? Is that the problem? When I signed up to put books out for download I signed something that said that you had the right to not publish a book. I could drop the "F" bomb too many times and be denied. This crap though? No it's cool. It was considered okay and you put it out. You will not find me using your service or publishing anything I write through Amazon. It would be a damn shame for me to think that this is the same company who put out books about how to be a pedophile, and I would never live myself down for that association.

Okay, I am going to go ahead and wrap this up because I could go on and on about this. Just wanted to get that off my chest and out in the open. Twitter has been blowing up with tweets and links about this so I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Share your voice! Let them know that it is not okay to put children in danger for the sake of a dollar. Let them know that as parents we will NOT stand for this.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Moral of The Story Part2: Teaching Our Daughters


Welcome back to The Moral of the Story! I am glad you are here to join me for part 2. Today I will be talking about what it means as a dad to be responsible for teaching our daughters morals and ethics as they grow up. In the first post in the series I talked about teaching our sons morals and how strong of an influence a dad can be. From how to treat a lady, to being an all around good guy, our sons will look to us as dads to be setting those examples. Sure they will see other influence around them, but we will remain the main source of learning. 

So what about our daughters? If dads will be the primary source of moral education for our sons doesn't it make sense that moms will be the primary source of moral education for our daughters? Well of course, that would be pretty natural I do believe. However, there is much about the world, about living right that our daughters can learn about from us dads. Let's dive in a little today and discuss. Teaching our Daughters:
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Here's To Dad: And to the Children Who Makes Us Just That


I believe it was Bob Dylan that wrote "The times, they are a changin" . My little kiddos are growing up so fast now and they are getting so smart. I wake up every morning loving them the same as I did when I first laid eyes on them. Beauty, wonderment, marvelous. They are little gems given to me by God. Blessed I am truly for these two amazing gifts. I stand everyday in awe of them. I learn from them and in turn I learn about myself. I discover more of the expansiveness of love in my life. I learn about who I am by watching them. I see the future in those blue eyes, those adorable smiles and their incredible hearts.

Sometimes I lie awake at night. I think of things of the adult world. I worry about finances and paychecks. Taxes and health. Gas, food, bills, they consume my thoughts. I think of my work schedule and when I will get other things done outside of there. So many things consume me when I hit that point of the day where the adult world must get some attention. I like to spend a lot of time in my kids world when I am home. It helps me understand them. It gives me a new perspective on life and the mental break that all parents need. I am their dad. I am also a playmate. I am here to be whatever they need me to be, whenever they need me to be it. That is my job.

I think about all the bad things that could happen. What they will face in life. I say a prayer, and through it to the side. Because I can see so much more of the good when I look at my children. I can see the joy they bring to the lives of everyone they meet. I see the love they give to everyone, and the love that they receive right back. It is magical. It is breathtaking. It is the essence of life that makes all other things seem so minuscule. I don't know about all of you, but those facts of fatherhood make everything in life seem so tolerable. 

Being a dad is the greatest thing that could have ever happened in my life. Next to my wife of course! I bask in the glory of it. I rejoice in its awesomeness. Quite honsetly, I enjoy every last minute of it every day of my life. A toast: Here's to being a dad. Cheers to the moments that make our lives what they are. Lift your glass to the children of your lives. To their health, to their heart, and to their lives. Here's to them. without them we would be just guys. Here's to them for making us who we are. Here's to dad!
Friday, November 5, 2010

The Moral of The Story Part 1: Teaching our Sons

A very interesting conversation took place at work this week. It revolved around the responsibility of teaching your children morals. The two ideas were: A) Send them too church because they know how to teach good morals. and B) It is up to us as parents to teach our children morals. We shouldn't leave it up to someone else. A very intense debate took place and I just sat back an listened. Both sides presented well said and not so well said arguments. I have been thinking about this all week, and I have even talked with a few people about it since then. I think the topic is a great one and I wanted to write a little bit of my view on this and ask others to share theirs in the comments section. Who is responsible for teaching our children about morals?

I am not here to tread on anyone's beliefs, any religion, or any person. I was raised in a Christian home and my children are raised in a Christian home. Morals have been taught to my sister and I since a very early age, both in the home, and at church. Many families, no matter what religion they have their faith in, teach their children morals based on a religious standpoint. They also rely on their places of worship to teach their children morals as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this in my opinion but that is all the time I wish to spend on the religion aspect of it. Where should good morals start? Who should be the first responsible for teaching your children about morals? It has always been my opinion that teaching anything related to core values should primarily come from the parents. I cannot speak to what it is for a Mom to teach a child. In the next few posts to come I will speak a little of what I think it means, at least to me, to be a Dad, and teaching children about values, morals, and core ethics. Today: Teaching our Sons
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Am DaddyYo: Hear Me Growl

Okay, normally I would be posting on The DaddyYo Dude: UNFILTERED! right now, but I have decided to variate from my normal schedule a little bit this week. Have you ever had a time where you just felt you had to say something? That something comes up, and no matter the outcome, no matter the response, you just have to say it? This is one of those posts.

I appreciate all of my followers and all of my readers here on the blog. I have gotten to "know" so many of you and you are all GREAT people. I have met dads, moms, tech gurus, PR people, computer whizzes, and average joes like me. I have had the pleasure of e-mailing with you, tweeting with you, and even talking on the phone with a lot of you. You people rock my socks and I am honored to call you friends.

When it comes to writing the blogs, I value your input greatly. We discuss topics, we celebrate, we cry, and we laugh. I have even asked a few of you to proof read for me when The Wifey isn't around to help me out. I get good feedback, bad feedback. Criticisms and praises. I listen to all suggestions, and I do take a lot of it to heart. Opinions mean a lot to a lot of people. They can build you up and destroy you. Most of the time, it is all about how you take it. I have taken many opinions in many different ways.

However, there is one opinion I will never ask you for, and really, would not care what your response was. It is an opinion that only means something to me coming from The Wifey, Mom, Dad, and Sis. That is the opinion of what kind of dad I am.

Let me bring this around a little: Long story short, after a conversation last night I had a lot on my mind. I felt that who I was as a person, and as a dad, were being challenged. Superficial comments that rattled me to my core and boiled frustration out of my every pore. This post is more or less my response to an individual, and to my feelings as well.

I can't say whether or not I am a good dad. But I assure you, my family will speak for me. More importantly, my children will show it. I do not need the opinion of any other man or woman on the face of the planet. My children will speak for what kind of dad I am through action. My children's health, their well being, their happiness and fondness, it will ALL show for what kind of dad John T is. To be told that society's perception of me is a direct reflection on every other dad in the world is just plain stupid. Let me just throw this question out: Is the dad who kisses away tears after a child sustains a boo boo reflecting the dad who uses a baby as a shield from the barrel of a police shotgun? Is the sick twisted man who rapes HIS OWN DAUGHTER a reflection of the dad who lays down his life to save that of his children?

Also, to be told that the opinion of others is everything? Pardon me, but no, no it's not. I grew up in a family that understood and embraced individuality. All throughout my school years I wore many different shoes, many different hats, and many different coats. Though my parents did not really like the black and white plaid jacket with the zippers, they let me do my thing. There was no less love because of it. I want my children to understand that many different people will say many different things about them. But that will not matter. They are who they are, as THEMSELVES. They are beautiful , they are wonderful, and they are great, just as who they are. They will be whoever they will be, and I will ALWAYS love them without condition. I will not love them any less than the day I first laid eyes on them.

I will step down off of my soapbox now. I appreciate all of you who are still reading at this point. I am not making a personal attack on anybody. I am not here to judge, and I am not here to put you down. It was just one of those things that I just had to write about, and I had to tell it like it is. You can call me what you want. You can think of me whatever you want to think. When it comes to certain things, you can scream it in my ear, and I will not even grant you the pleasure of a passing glance. I know who I am. I know what kind of dad I am. My children will speak to that, and I will speak for me. I am DaddyYo! HEAR ME GROWL!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What We Do When Mommy is at School

Welcome to Wednesday! Most people do a Wordless Wednesday post on this day, and nine times out of ten  so do I. Today, I wanted to put up 2 videos and a picture from our time on Tuesday night. 
Tuesday nights, The Wifey goes off to her night class and I dubbed those evenings Daddy/Kiddo nights and we have a blast! This Tuesday we had our neighbors Beca and Uncle Willie over for dinner. The show afterwards was too funny not to catch on video. The kiddos love Uncle Willie and after dinner he joined in the crazy fun. So I present to you, two videos and one picture. "What We Do When Mommy is at School"










Monday, November 1, 2010

It's All About the Mo: Movember "Grow a Mo and Save a Bro"





DID YOU KNOW?

  • 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
  • 1 in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American men ages 15 - 34
  • For more information, please visit the Movember Foundation



I have been waiting for this month to get started. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now MOVEMBER!!! Mustache growing at its finest. The idea for Movember started back in 2003 in Australia. Started as a semi joke about bringing back the mustache, while also doing something to raise awareness for mens heath. Much like Beards for Breast Cancer. No money was raised that year, but in the years after, the number of men participating, and the amount of money raised has grown out of the roof! Last year there were 255,755 participants globally, with $42 million dollars raised. 

The proceeds gained  through the US Movember participants will go to  benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. What a great way to have a reason to grow a mo, and help support mens health around the world.

I have joined a Mo team, "The League of Average Gentlemen". You can check out my MoSpace, which I will be updating later today. You can make donations to me as a participant, or to the team. REMEMBER, all donations go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG. For more information, please visit the Movember website, and check out the video below. 

WOMEN: This isn't just about the stache or the men. You can be a Mo Sista and help support your man, or men you know who are participating. You can also help support men's health by donating to Movember. There is even Mo Merch! So ladies, it's not just about us! 

Grow a Mo and Save a Bro! Get involved, spread the word, and help kick cancer where cancer tends to kick men the most!

** I grow my mo this year in loving memory of James Rufus Taylor and James Richard "Bo" Taylor Sr **