Tag Archives: fun

To Hell With Normal

24 Mar

To Hell With Normal

 

letter OOoh, the adventures we had this past weekend. Not to put too fine a point on it, I took the big kids to the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con. On balance, the experience was not a new one for them. Last year I took them to the Star Wars Celebration (and have yet to blog about it. Can you believe it?) where they got a full dose of what it means to do a convention. The only thing that could have been bigger would be the San Diego Comic Con, and that’s still a few years off for them.

Prepare Yourselves

After posting pictures of our shenanigans on Facebook, my old Jr. High English teacher and life-long mentor, Kitty, left the comment: “YOU S#@$$%! How will your kids ever turn out “normal”? That’s right, they won’t. They’ll be extraordinary! Love ya.”

The kids got to meet Kitty earlier this year. "How did you like her, kids?" "She's super cool, but she has a potty mouth." "Yes. Yes she does."

The kids got to meet Kitty earlier this year. “How did you like her, kids?” “She’s super cool, but she has a potty mouth.” “Yes. Yes she does.”

Let’s just say Kitty shares my distain for all things “normal”.

Sharing vodka on the rocks with the woman who, 28 years ago, taught me a healthy disdain for authority.

Sharing vodka on the rocks with the woman who, 28 years ago, taught me a healthy disdain for authority.

I have no intention of giving my kids a “normal” childhood. I want their childhood to be AMAZING. This entire blog is dedicated to chronicling the pursuit of “amazing” while infusing them with a firm grasp of perspective and social-competence which, to my thinking, is the only really valuable component of “normal”.

Meeting The Shat

Meeting The Shat

When I learned that William Shatner was going to be signing autographs at the convention, I knew that it would be an experience my classic Star Trek-loving daughter would appreciate. Add that to the fact that Stan Lee would be making one of his last-ever public appearances (the guy is 94 after all) and I knew I would regret it if I passed up the opportunity.

OMG! Stan Lee!!

OMG! Stan Lee!!

So this past Saturday I loaded Episodes IV and V into the car and drove them to the San Jose Convention Center for a day of geek-tasticness. The show did not disappoint. The cosplayers were in full-force. The kids got to play with some virtual reality rigs, talk to the local R2D2 Builders Club chapter, spend their allowance money on super-nerdy collectables and on and on…

VRIV

R2s

There was even a bonus that we weren’t expecting. For the past few weeks my 7yo Episode V has been working his way through the book “The Martian” (because you can’t watch the movie unless you’ve read the book first). As we were waiting in line to meet The Shat(ner), Episode V was flipping through the convention program. Suddenly he went white and started shaking, pointing to a picture in the program, “Daddy! Daddy! Look! Andy Weir is here. Andy Weir is here!!”

andy

Andy Weir is the author of “The Martain”… the book that my 7yo has proclaimed as his favorite book of all time. So of course we had to make sure that connection was made. I tell you, Episode V was more excited to meet Andy Weir than he was for Captain freakin’ Kirk – and props to him for realizing early that authors are cooler than television/movie actors.

Got it

So here’s to all the parents out there doing everything they can to make their kids’ childhoods amazing. Say it with me now:

 

To hell with “normal”!

 

-Dork Dad

DorkDaddy Strikes Back!

12 Jun

PopSecret Header

 

 

letter I generally try to limit the sponsored posts on this blog to truly worthy material. Goodness knows I certainly don’t blog for the money. But recently an opportunity came my way that I just couldn’t say “no” to. I knew that if everything worked out the way I hoped, it had the potential to become one of the most EPIC experiences in this whole blogging adventure.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a new Star Wars™ movie coming out in December. The entire dorkosphere has been buzzing for the last 18 months and as we get closer to the release things are reaching a fever pitch. Brands who want to tie in to the movie’s release have to do their groundwork NOW so that they’re ready when the movie launches. So it was with popcorn mogul Pop*Secret, who recently approached the Life of Dad Network to help promote their new Star Wars™-theme line of pre-popped popcorn as part of their #PopWars campaign. The folks at Life of Dad, knowing full-well my Star Wars™ fandom qualifications, approached me and a few other dadbloggers to get the job done (for which we were compensated — full disclosure).

 

popsecret-logo@2x

Our task: to get the word out that

  • Pop Secret enhances at-home movie nights with family and friends, especially if that movie is from the Star Wars™ saga.

  • Pop Secret’s new pre-popped popcorn line, with delicious flavors including: Salted, Homestyle, Kettle Corn, White Cheddar, and the new Extra Cheesy, makes movie time a cinch since the snack is already made!

  • Pop Secret’s new packaging features favorite characters from the Star Wars™ saga and fun trivia to test your knowledge.

  • Pop Secret delivers quality products that you can be happy to share with family and friends.

Our instructions were to craft a video showing how eating Pop*Secret brand Star Wars™-themed pre-popped popcorn gave our families The Force (as if I needed an excuse to make a Star Wars™-themed movie staring my family) and man-oh-man did the dadbloggers come through. At the bottom of this post you will find links to their various submissions.

But let’s just put it out there:

You don’t just tell this DorkDaddy to make a Star Wars™-themed video starring my family and not expect me to knock it out of the park!!

Suffice it to say, we pulled out all the stops. For one glorious afternoon my kids and I filmed a script I’d whipped up two days before. Special thanks goes out to UnDorkMommy who had to put up with us taking over the house for an entire afternoon, and even more thanks to my buddy Ron Fugelseth who got as excited about the project as I was. We tried to get his kids/family into the project but alas, time wouldn’t allow it. Thanks also needs to be given to my sister, “Auntie Lala” who makes a guest appearance, the addition of which makes the entire project that much more Star Warsy.

Needless to say we had the time of our lives. There was more laughter than anything else, and after one amazing afternoon of shooting, and a couple weeks of agonizing post-production work, I’m proud to say this is our finished product:

****

****

But wait, it gets better. Our video submissions are part of a contest… a contest which *YOU* are encouraged to enter yourself. You too can create your own video showing how Pop*Secret’s Star Wars™-themed pre-popped popcorn gives your family the force, and submit it to Life of Dad’s Pop*Secret page. At the end of the #PopWars campaign the creator of the winning video will receive a prize worth more than $1000 in Star Wars™ merchandise. Be sure to plaster #PopWars all over your social media outlets when you share it.

If you do submit a video, please also don’t forget to share it with me here. Put a link in the comments of this post and I’ll happily share it on DorkDaddy.com’s facebook/twitter pages.

 

-Dork Dad

 

Ask Your Dad Blog’s video

Designer Daddy’s video

DadNCharge’s video and his Epic Trailer

Raising Sienna’s video

The Rock Father’s video

Dad Of Divas’s video

GayNYCDad’s video

Post Post Modern Dad’s video

Dad And Burried’s video

Halloween 2014

31 Oct

Happy Halloween to all the dorks out there.

 

family halloween 2014

You’re The Fun One

18 Apr

letter This weekend UnDorkMommy said something to me that broke my heart.

First, a little context:

Three days earlier I came home late as I always do on Wednesdays, just as the kids were finishing up books and snuggles before bed. We’ve recently been edging ever closer to finishing “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (remember, you can’t watch the movie unless you’ve read the book first). They can taste the finishline (and a new movie to watch), so they’ve been extra-special excited about bedtime reading lately. On Wednesdays UnDorkMommy has to handle the bedtime routine alone, and of course part of that is reading books to the big kids. We got the kids all tucked in and sat down to touch base as husband and wife. “So, how was your day teaching?” she asked.

Finishing up "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"

Finishing up “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

“Fine, fine,” I replied. “Were the kids good tonight? How far did you get in Harry Potter?”

“We didn’t read Harry Potter. We read something else.”

“Really? Why not?”

She looked at me with disapointment in her eyes. “They told me they don’t want me to read Harry Potter to them anymore because I don’t do the voices like you do.”

***

For a little more context, fast forward to this Saturday:

This weekend was the local Mountain Bike Fair. We live in an outdoorsy place, so mountain bikes are kindof a big thing. It’s the sort of place where parents post on facebook “Just took Jr. for his/her first time on the pump track!” (For those people out of the know, a pump track is a dirt track with mounds, and moguls and banks etc). There’s a bike store near our house with some amazing pump tracks out back for all levels. We pass by the tracks whenever the family goes hiking and I’ve used the pump track as an incentive for the kids to learn how to ride their bikes.

“As soon as you’re good enough on your bike, I’ll take you to the pump track.”

Six or Seven months ago Episode IV finally got off her training wheels, and we’ve been working on getting her competence and confidence up to pump track levels. A few weeks ago Episode V finally got off his training wheels and we’ve been practicing out at the park every opportunity we get. To spur his interest and get him motivated I took him out to the Mountain Bike Fair to watch the pros go flying into the air X-games-style. I expected we’d be there about 30 minutes before his attention span puttered out and we’d be off to the next thing.

Nope.

So. Freaking. Rad.

So. Freaking. Rad.

It was like walking into Disneyland for the first time. We weren’t there for 5 minutes before he spotted the bunny-hill pump track just for little kids that they built specifically for this event. That was that. We walked back to the car, got his bike out of the back and three hours later we’d watched the pro aeronautics, gone on the kids’ pump track (twice), ridden a real off-road trail, checked out all the vendors, sat on a hay bale eating pizza and popsicles watching a racing event, and acquired some impressive sunburns. In short, it was amazing! He even got a medal. Episode V and I came home totally pumped (no pun intended), totally exhausted and totally overstimulated.

“OhmygoddidyouseethewaythoseguysflewintheairIcan’tbelieveyoudidthepump-trackforthefirsttimewasn’titawesomeIcan’twaittogodoitagain!!!”

We spent the second half of Saturday at the park with the whole family. The two big kids practiced off-roading on their bikes with me coaching and cheering them on, and UnDorkMommy spent most of her energy keeping Episode VI from eating sand and getting run over by his older siblings. By the end of the day everyone was exhausted, and all three kids went to bed relatively easily. After Episode IV was asleep, my wife came down the hall and walked up behind me as I was checking my Email. She put her hand on my shoulder. I could tell something was weighing on her heart. That’s when she said it.

“You know, sometimes it’s really tough” she said, a tremor in her voice. “…keeping up with you. Sometimes it’s really hard. You’re the fun one. I just can’t compete with that”

I had absolutely no idea what to say.

I wanted to say something comforting, something reassuring. I love her so much. I could appreciate how she was feeling, and how an idea like that could hurt once it took root. I wanted to be there for her – to say something meaningful that would put her at ease, reaffirm how amazing she is, how amazing and important she is to the kids. I should have been able to do that for her. But the words… the idea behind them… and the notion that I could be the root of that pain…

I fumbled.

There is no way anyone could describe UnDorkMommy as anything other than “fun”. She’s incredibly fun. She just isn’t a dork. She has no idea how to be a dork. It just isn’t in her DNA. Before we had kids she used to make fun of me and say “Man, you are a dork!”

And I used to respond with, “Yep. But someday our kids are really going to appreciate it.” It would seem that perhaps that prophecy has come true.

Sorry, kids. This is your daddy.

Sorry, kids. This is your daddy.

Let’s be clear, my wife is the most important, most amazing, most crucial element of this entire family. When I’m off figuring out how to get an arcade game into my house, she’s the one making sure the kids are having a healthy lunch. When I’m spending my time writing blog posts, she’s the one arranging their extracurricular schedules. She’s the one who makes sure they have a sweater when they leave the house. She’s the one who makes the sandwiches for their lunch just the way they like ’em. She’s the one who plans and makes dinners every night. She’s the one who gets them on time to doctor’s appointments, and swim lessons, and play dates. She’s the one who makes sure the milk in the fridge isn’t sour. She’s the one who makes sure their bedsheets are clean, that they take their medicine and that they play nicely with one another.

She’s the last person the kids want to see before they go to sleep. She’s the first person they want to see when they wake up. If they have a bad dream in the middle of the night, it’s her body they need to feel next to theirs that makes the monsters go away (and all that stuff goes for me as well).

Sure, I’m the one who does the epic lego marathons. I’m the one who knows all the words to all the Disney songs. I’m the one who does the lightsaber fights and dances to “Gungnam Style” in the livingroom. But when there’s a scrape on the knee, it’s her kisses that have the healing magic. On a rainy day it’s the cookies she makes that turn everything around. When someone is sick, it’s her arms they crawl into for comfort. She is the rock-center, the core, the heart of our family. She nourished those children in her belly. She birthed them. She nursed them as infants from her own body. She dedicates every waking moment to nurturing them as children and to helping them grow into compassionate, confident, amazing human beings.

How can I compete with that?

The truth is all this dorkiness, all this childlike buffoonery… it’s all for show.

I’m a dancing bear at the circus making a fool of myself in front of my children because — That’s. All. I’ve. Got.

It’s a desperate act to be relevent in the lives of my kids because ultimately the short-lived sugar rush of dessert isn’t what sustains you the way Mommy’s healthy meal does. It isn’t what keeps you alive. Sure, I have my role to play in nurturing our children. Sure, their lives are enriched because I’m demostrative, I’m involved in their lives and I’m totally invested in the family. Yes, their lives are immeasurably better because I love them so much.

But compared to the absolutely crucial, nourishing, healthy, dependable, selfless love that they get from their mother — the nourishment that none of us in this family, myself included, could live without — I have to put on the superhero T-shirts. I have to build the zip-lines in the backyard. I have to make the Transformer Halloween costumes from scratch. I have to do the voices when I read Harry Potter.

Because in all honesty, compared to my wife, I just can’t compete.

mommy

-Dork Dad

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