Monthly Archives: December 2012

Guest Post by a Four-Year-Old and a Happy New Year!

My name is Frosteela

We thought a fun way to finish off 2012 would be with a guest post from our four-year-daughter (she dictated – I transcribed). Straight from the mouths of babes.   Surely we can expect to see rapid growth in her style and substance as she finds her voice. Heck, her content is already nearly as good as my own. Without further adieu…

“Mary had a little lamb. Twinkle  twinkle little star. We went to fun place. And letters and story. Owen peeked. Daddy took me to the diner. Silly paintings.  Box on the table. Ball teacher. I went to the diner with daddy. I had juice and pancakes. We went to the city to have Chick-Fil-A. I want more. We did go to a weird store. People all have Chick-Fil-A. We went to fun place. Boys vacuum. Ball kiss. Pee-pee poo-poo potty doodie. I am pink. The End.”

There you have it. I’m sure we’ll hear more from her in the new year. Best wishes for an amazing 2013!

Sincerely,

All of us here at Secret Dad Society

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Awesome “Mr. Awesome” Tee Shirt

Mr. Awesome

Studious, yet dashing

Bam Bam has a ton of kitschy, yet fantastic tee shirts. The above was a gift from Grammie, which included a second, larger duplicate shirt. You know what they say…kids grow up so fast!!! It was purchased at Old Navy. If you go, don’t forget to get multiple sizes for long-lasting enjoyment!

Here are a few other wonderfully geeky shirts for good measure…

Robot shirt

EXTERMINATE!!!!

IMG_3473

I’m here every Thursday. Try the veal!

Just picked up iStopMotion for Mac!

I ‘ve been casually on the lookout for stop motion software to play around with for some time now. I was in no hurry, however, when I came across iStopMotion in the Apple App Store on sale for $19.99 I immediately snatched it up. The sale ends tomorrow, and the normal price is $49.99! If you or anyone you know is in the market for stop motion or time-lapse software for Mac, check it out  now while you can get it at a discount! Apparently there is a free companion app that allows you to use your iPhone as a remote camera over your wi-fi network.

As the kids grow up, this should be a great source of family project fun. Of course, I’ll have to thoroughly test it out first. Fortunately, I’ve had some interesting ideas for stop motion movies in mind for the longest time. Now I can finally dig in.  This would solve my problem of not having a HD webcam. I’m pretty excited to try all of this out. Check back soon to see how my home-brewed stop motion movies turn out!

Here’s a sneak peek on set of my first movie:

Who's desk can this be?

Who’s desk can this be?

 

Knits for Nerds: Update #3

Knitting

I’ve climbed to the highest peak of  Mount Knitting,  and now I’m taking a brief respite to enjoy the view that overlooks Yarn Gully. That’s right – I’m halfway there, precisely 50% done! I can report this fact with complete certainty because I made a chart to track my knitting progress. Yeah, I’m that guy.

The scarf is now way longer than both of my kids, and it’s getting pretty close to passing me out as well.

Highlights:

  • I know I’m knitting much faster than when I started. Go me!
  • The official measurement at the halfway mark is 5 feet, 3 inches. According to the book, the finished product should be 10.5 feet. I can’t quite believe it, but I’m amazingly right on track. I originally misread book and thought the end result was supposed to be 20 feet long. Phew!
  • This scarf is producing lots of scrap pieces as I cut off the tails, so I started saving them and made a cat toy.

Jazzy Cat

The biggest and most exciting news is that the author of Knits for Nerds, Toni Carr, found my posts last week and wrote some very kind words of encouragement! What an awesome surprise! This will surely keep me motivated through the second half of the project.

Overall, this project is turning out to be a blast!  Much more so than I could have imagined. Knit on!

Previously:

Knits for Nerds: Update #2

Knits for Nerds: Update #1

Knits for Nerds: The Prequel

How My Daughter Taught Me to Give

Stuffed animals galore

‘Tis the season’ for giving, and for being completely humbled by your own children.

We were going through the mountain of toys and stuffed animals that have amassed in the playroom, and we decided to clean out some of the clutter. The collection of stuffed animals, specifically, was squarely in my sights.

I said to my daughter, “We should give a few of these to another boy or girl to play with,” and just after the words flitted happily off my tongue, I realized what I had done. Four-year olds, as you know, take EVERYTHING literally.

I saw her eyes begin to grow wider and imagined the gears turning in her head, so I commenced with my back-peddling crusade. I tried to explain what it means to donate things to the Salvation Army, but it was already too late. She was dead set on going right out and finding a boy or girl to give her stuffed turtle and teddy bear to.

After a brief moment of reflection, I realized that this was a really good thing. It was a teachable moment and character building opportunity for my daughter. I recognized that this was a chance to be a really good dad, and I became very excited. We packed up the stuffed animals and headed off to the mall to look for someone to give them to.

Although there were lots of boys and girls at the mall shopping with their parents, we must have done five laps before she worked up her confidence and settled on the perfect girl to pawn off her old stuffed animals on. “Great,” I thought, “This is almost a wrap. Soon I can put another notch on my rad dad staff.” (I don’t really have a rad dad staff – see, I’ve become paranoid about being taken literally).

I bent over, smiled at my daughter, and said, “Go ahead, sweetie. Run over there and give them to the girl,” after which she completely froze. I tried encouraging her to no avail. She wanted to do it, but couldn’t work up the nerve. I could totally understand where she was coming from. That was when I came to the realization that I was going to have to do this myself. My gut instinct was to run. Instead, I took a few deep breaths and tried to think.

“Okay, I can do this!” I thought. I looked at the mother, who, as far as I could tell, appeared to be a decent and friendly person. I then looked down at myself. I was sporting my best pair of corduroys. OK, that’s good. No foods stains either, that’s also a plus. The best thing I had going for me, however, was having my daughter with me. That would have to lower my creepiness value significantly.

That’s when my brain began to riot against this dumb idea. Every ounce of me revolted against approaching this total stranger. I’d much rather be anonymous, so instead I briefly considered giving my daughter some cash to drop into the Salvation Army bucket out front, but I knew it couldn’t work. She just wouldn’t understand. No, I had to go all-in now.

I paced back and forth a few times, (you know, just to look even creepier to nearby shoppers) and then I made my move. I gripped my daughter’s hand tightly, not only for her support, but also in an effort to look less threatening. We were in this together.

I smiled and said, “Excuse me, but my daughter really wants to give away these stuffed animals to someone, and she chose your daughter. It really would make my daughter’s day.”

I then turned slowly to my daughter and said, “Open the bag, honey,” to show that it contained no rat poison, body parts, or other nightmarish items – just two cute and cuddly stuffed animals. I smiled again and waited patiently as the mom sized up the situation.

She started to say, “Well, she already has – ,” but I deftly and ever so subtly shook my head, raised my eyebrows as high as my face would allow, and tried to nonverbally communicate something along the lines of, “Dear God lady, please please please don’t make me have to do this again – you’ve got to help me. Just take the $%^&* bag of stuffed animals, have a Merry Christmas, and let’s move on!”

Just then her daughter said, “OOHHH, they are so cute!”, and my own daughter began doing that cute thing she does where she sort of dances in place because she’s so excited, shy, or in this case, both.

So the mom says, “Are you sure?”, and I volleyed back an immediate “Yyyy-ep!” Then Mother went on to say that it was very nice of her and all that jazz… Actually, my brain stopped processing outside stimuli at that point as my inner monologue began screaming, “WE DID IT! WE DID IT!”

After a quick goodbye and well-wishing for Happy Holidays, we went our separate ways, and I wiped the sweat from my brow. I gushed to my daughter about how proud I was of her for giving away some of her toys, and I offered to take her out to eat as a special treat. She chose the ‘dinosaur place’, which baffled me at first, but turned out to be the Texas Roadhouse right outside the mall. We had a great dinner and a discussion about the ‘fun’ we had giving away her toys and making another little girl happy.

I’m sure these sorts of things happen all the time, but this one really is going to stick in my mind for quite some time. It’s easily going to be my defining ‘dad moment’ of the year. Nothing else in the world could have given me courage to approach a complete stranger in such a manner, except for wanting to do right by my daughter. Both of us grew a little bit as human beings that night.

This story was featured as a guest post on The Real Matt Daddy, as part of his Real Fatherhood Stories series. Check out more Real Fatherhood Stories at The Real Matt Daddy, and see what Matt is up to on Twitter and Facebook.

The Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas Fail

Emmet Otter Coaster

Makes for a good coaster.

When I was a little, I adored Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, the Jim Henson Christmas movie from 1977. I loved it so much that I wanted to build my own washtub bass. Unfortunately for me, Ma and Pa wouldn’t let me anywhere near the old washtub.  I can vividly remember my Dad watching this with me every Christmas season, and I can just as clearly recall him singing (poorly) along with it.

While in a nostalgic Christmas mood several years ago, I tried to purchase a DVD copy off the internet. They must have been out of print at the time because they were going for over a hundred dollars on eBay! I thought I’d never see the Riverbottom Boys again (they were the coolest villainous rock band – my favorite!).

Well, it looks like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas has not only been back in print for some time, but it’s seemed to have reach overstock status. I found one in a bargain bin for $5 and snatched it right up. I’m really glad I waited a few years and didn’t fork over a hundred bucks!

The other night I eagerly popped it into the Blu-ray player for the kids to enjoy, and, to my surprise, they had zero interest in watching it! It looks like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas will NOT become one of Secret Dad’s Christmas traditions, at least not yet. I’ll still be giving it a go next year, and maybe again the year after that. If nothing else, it will become a tradition of untraditions.

Tell us about one of your failed family traditions!