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To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question

Now we’ve welcomed number 4 into the world, number 3 is stepping up her game.

Not on call of duty or snakes and ladders, but in the “I don’t give a f*ck what mum and dad want” game.

Recently we’ve been struggling with bedtime. At 7 o’clock, we activate the bedtime routine. This means, TV off, bath, brush teeth and PJs. It’s a pretty flexible routine if I’m being honest and it usually wraps up at about 7:30/8:00 pm.

Call us lazy or neo-liberal parents, I don’t care, it works. Or at least, it did work.

Of late, Miss 3 has decided that she will now be dictating her bed time and if the last few nights are anything to go off, our little girl likes the late shift.

9 pm rolls around and we’re still fighting the good fight. Curse the person (me) who taught her how to open doors.

“Okay darling, time for bed” I say.

“No” replies Miss 3.

“You’re tired” I remind her.

“No” she asserts.

I try and steamroll her with the old ‘quickly tug and run’ job. No joy. She’s determined to send me to an early grave as I feel my blood pressure start to boil.

Last night was the end of the game. Christine decided it was time to implement drastic action and we put one of those plastic-handle-ball-thing on her side of the door.

VICTORY

Until at 11 pm I heard what sounded like a kick on the door. Yep, sure enough during her fight with the plastic-handle-ball-thing, she’d fallen asleep at the door.

You know that slow-motion door open that you do and hope they are far enough away from the door that you can squeeze in and pick up the child? Yeah, that.

DEFEAT

She’s awake again but dad saves the day with a quick manoeuvre into bed and cuddle to send her back to the land of sheep.

VICTORIOUS ONCE AGAIN

It’s a constant struggle. Miss 3 is by far the hardest of the kids so far with brute strength and a determination to make our life hell.

But hey, all part of the parenting journey right?

When have your kids tested your patience?

So much for raising 3 daughters

Some of the readers may already be aware, but we are expecting our fourth “bundle of joy” in a matter of weeks.

Like Doyin over at Daddy doin’ work, I too at some point wanted a boy and when we found out that my wife was pregnant, I thought, this might be the time! She was craving foods that weren’t on the list with the last pregnancies, like pickles, so I thought to myself we might be welcoming a son to the family.

At the 20 week mark, we went along to the scan. I was adamant that we were going to have a boy, I was going to have a son. After a grueling 20 minutes, the sonographer took a look, we were having another girl. My heart dropped. I was literally depressed for about 24 hours. I was so certain that we were going to have a boy because all the signs pointed to it.

After I came to my senses, two days later, I was excited that we were going to have another girl. Maybe this one would be the one that likes to watch football with me!

So now I have a dilemma.

My blog was always about raising 3 daughters, but I will now, with my beautiful wife, be raising 4 daughters. Something that I am very proud and excited to be doing, except for at 3 am, then I’m definitely not excited to be raising my kids! I might have to do a re-design of my banner!

With 10 weeks to run, we’re gearing up to welcome our little baby into the world. I’m excited to meet our little girl, but I can tell you, this is going to be the last one!

Doyin

>> Also check my friend’s blog: Best stroller & carseat combo reviews

Scaling back, doing less and being present more

I started blogging back in 2010 and instantly I was fascinated with how I could get more readers. I would sit in front of the iMac and read and read until I couldn’t see straight anymore.

Eventually, I decided I would start teaching people what I had learned after all I had also read that the best way to learn new stuff was to teach it.

So I started consulting small businesses on how to use social media better and how to harness the power of blogging. Naturally, I discovered people like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas making money online from podcasting and blogging.

Fast forward a few years and I decided to give podcasting a crack.

I immediately fell in love.

Podcasting was and probably remains the most fun I have had online in learning how to Tweet. I could connect with people all over the globe, hold their attention for approximately 40 minutes and then influence many others after I had published an episode.

However, in addition to publishing daily podcast episodes I was also trying to accomplish the following things.

  • Be a Dad
  • Be a Husband
  • Consult businesses
  • Establish training programs
  • Be interviewed
  • Develop live events
  • Work full time
  • Study a Masters degree
  • Maintain a healthy fitness regime
  • Eat well

Of those 11 items, I was doing one well, publish a daily episode. The rest fell by the wayside. I was spending every waking moment trying to produce show notes and blog articles, interview guests from the other side of the globe, building courses and training programs so that I could generate more cash because I thought that would make me a better husband and father.

Three weeks ago, I said no.

I said no to 6 of the items on the list. I decided that making a little bit of extra cash on the side wasn’t that big of a deal right now, sure it would be nice but spending the day with my kids exploring nature was better. I wanted to get back to writing for fun because I love it not because I want people to love me.

I told my wife, I’m stopping podcasting for a bit. Just until things settle down. She supported me like she always does which gave me the confidence to actually do it.

So here I am. Back to writing for fun. This September, my wife, kids and I will welcome our fourth child into the world. Not sure what it will be yet but either way it looks like this little daddy blog is going to have to go through a rebrand.

I look forward to getting back to writing for fun and becoming a little bit more involved with my great brothers at Aussie Daddy Bloggers.

Peace.

Get off your phones (my goal for 2015)

source: http://uvamagazine.org/images/uploads/2011/winter/feature_essays_2015.gif

I am the worst for this. I admit it.

As I looked around the park this morning, 6 out of 7 parents were on a smart device.

Like I said in the first line, I’m pretty bad for this but today I made an effort to keep my phone in my pocket except for snapping a pic or two.

We’re not the most active family, I blame that on both the wife and I working full time, the fact we have a one year old that goes to bed at 18:30 every night and also, when I do take my kids out, they never bloody listen to me and I end up coming home pissed off.

But today, I’m making a promise.

A promise to my kids that this coming year, I am going to make more of an effort to be present when we’re at home and at the park.

Being present in their lives is one of my goals in life. I’m trying to start an online business so that I can spend more time with them however in the process, I’m spending less time with them.

What’s the answer?

I don’t know. I honestly don’t however, I do know this, moving forward, I’m making a goal to be on my smart device less when the kids are awake. I’m making an effort to get them outside every day for at least 60 minutes of play. I’m going to cook healthier meals, tastier meals that makes them want to eat better and finally, I’ll keep taking them to the gym with me. Taking them to the gym, they see me working out, being healthy and as a role model to them, that’s something I need to keep doing.

So screw new years resolutions, nobody sticks to them anyway.

This is my parenting goal for 2015, what’s yours?

We made it to one year and pissing off my wife

Typically, I piss my wife off once a week. Nothing new there but I thought that it would be a while after our first wedding anniversary before I pissed her off again. Nope. It took just 3 days.

We’d been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. We had foregone a massive honeymoon after our wedding due to work and the proximity to Christmas so we thought that we would go all out for this particular occasion.

We booked a package through Sydney Seaplanes that would fly us to a resort for a night, dinner and breakfast included and then back to Sydney where we would have a night at the Four Seasons. Sounded awesome, sounded expensive but it was totally worth it. (Also check my friend’s reviews on best foldable picnic table, which can be used for dinner, picnic and coffee for big family). 

In addition to all of that, we squeezed in time to get tattooed, see Cirque Du Soleil and visit China Town for possibly the best chinese food of our lives.

None of that pissed my wife off, not the constant videoing of what we were doing with my new Sony actioncam, not my complaining of lack of Wi-Fi in the hotel room, no. It was something else.

I want the new iPhone 6 Plus.

Christine recently got sent the offer from her phone provider and having utilised my upgrade for her, I jumped at the opportunity. My impatience and constant checking which resulted in me ordered her the wrong phone plan pushed her over the edge.

Well done James, you’ve pissed her off again.

Moral of the story, don’t assume you know what your wife wants because she doesn’t want that one. Apparently, I’m a pro at pissing off my wife.

DIY? More like HSE

It’s no secret to friends and family that I am the worlds worst DIY specialist. I consider myself to be more of a HSE (hire someone else) kind of guy.

Recently, my wife has found herself in an incredibly demanding role at work. So while she’s off slaving away, lining peoples pockets with extra cash, I’m the stay at home Dad.

While I am studying full time, my work load is considerably less than hers so majority of the time I’m responsible for the day-to-day cleaning and finding a fix for anything that is broken.

We’re in a rental so we’re always having things go wrong. But all I can say is, thank god for Google.

Leaking showers in Sydney? No worries call Megasealed.

Hole in the wall in Perth? Call a friend who knows how to fix it.

Stains on carpet in Canberra? Call the carpet cleaners.

Google can help everyone and anyone who is a HSE no matter where you are.

Yeah alright, I know that I should know how to fix all of this stuff, but I don’t. Sure I could go forth and learn how to but at the moment, I don’t have the time and I don’t want to break this house even more!

Anyway, how does one become good at DIY?

Is it something that you’re brought up with? My Dad wasn’t the most handy of handy men either. Sure he taught me how to mow the lawn, change a tyre and check the oil, but we were lucky enough to be able to afford to hire people.

Being the Dad to three girls, I’m sure I should teach them a basic level of handy-ness. How to change a tyre, check the oil in your car, etc etc. Luckily, I still have a few years up my sleeve before my eldest starts driving.

Until then, give me HSE any day.

(This post was sponsored by Megasealed.)

Kitten Glo-Wash review

20140702_112209Kitten Glo-Wash

Full disclosure, I’m not the cleanest of people.

With three kids and both my wife and I work full time, the house is always a mess, the washing is piled up and the car is always full of kids crap.

Know the feeling?

Well I was contacted by Kitten Glo-Wash and asked to review their products. I thought, “hey, maybe this will give me the motivation to get my ass outside and clean the car”.

I then realised it was winter here in Canberra and it’s not often the temperature gets above freezing. Instead, I opted for a spot clean to show the improvements that Kitten made to my dirty car.

The product is actually pretty good. I’m not the biggest car cleaner but this product is something that I would consider buying in the future. What impressed me the most however, was that Kitten Glo-Wash doesn’t contain any salt like regular car detergents.

Apparently this causes corrosion of your car?

The bottle tells me that I should be washing once a week. Well, I can tell you now that it won’t be happening because I just don’t have the time! But if you’re a car fan and like to look after it more so than I do, Kitten Glo-Wash is a decent product worth considering. >> Also check other reviews on my friend’s blog: outdoor cat house & shelter reviews

A new venture for the family

 My wife and I recently embarked on a new venture with Arbonne International. One of the reasons we really wanted to get involved is because we (my wife) wanted to be able to work from home and spend more time with our family.

Yes, to the outside eye this may seem like a pyramid scheme and that it would be impossible to build a business. To be honest, the selling of products is the side of the business that my wife will be taking care off, I just want to try my hand at building another business and applying tools I’ve learnt from Tweet Canberra and The Social Media Revolution.

One other thing that really highlighted this business compared to the others on the market, is the fact that you can qualify for a Mercedes Benz.

I have a thing for luxury cars, something that kids tend to ruin. Cars like Volvo Cars Australia, Mercedes Benz, BMW and of course the dream car, Lamborghini.

Reality is a b*tch and it takes hold when you begin to day dream about having a luxury car but I tell you what, even if there is a faint chance that I can be rewarded a car for building a business, I’ll give it a red hot crack!

I’ve been building a couple of businesses to try and build an income that allows me to have a lifestyle to spend more time with my kids. What about you? The question is what do you want in life and how are you going to get it?

Back into it | Kids homework

I’ve been absent from this blog for a while but things are starting to get serious here at home regarding homework and I thought it would be a good time to jump back on the daddy blogging band wagon!

Miss 7 has her first assignment from school. The task, create a report about a water creature and present it how you want

Well, something like that. My first thoughts, interpretative dance and as she wants to do the report on Dolphins, all I can think of doing is this.

So what do you put in a 7 year old’s first school project? I haven’t done a cut and paste project since year 11 where I needed to build a board game and to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember handing it in (must have been good!).

My wife seems to think that having a project where the parents need to help is a bit off the mark. Personally, I think it is okay because sometimes (myself included) time spent with the kids seems to be less and less because of work schedules, after school sports and professional development.

Sitting down together and cutting and pasting sounds like a good way to learn about dolphins. What do you think? Do you help your kids with their homework?

A letter to my health

Dear Health,

I’m sorry.

I know I’ve been showing you little attention of late it’s just, I’ve had lots running through my head.

Between studying at university, running an up and coming business, playing with the kids and trying to spend time with my wife, you’re not the only thing that has suffered.

But I promise, things will be different this time.

We had a good run last year. For six months, you were the main focus of my attention. You kept me focused and operating at peak performance but I wonder if that was because you knew I was getting married?

Yes it’s true, we were close leading up to my wedding and I don’t want you to think that just because there is someone else in my life that you’re all alone.

The truth is, I miss you. I miss the delicious food that we shared, the sweaty sessions in the gym and most importantly the looks. Yes health, since our hiatus I’ve put on some kilos. My pants are tighter and my face is fatter.

I miss you but things are going to change!

image

You have my word that from today, no more burgers for lunch (except on cheat days), no more Pepsi Max just because, no more ordering pizza at 10 o’clock at night because I’m hungry, no more 3 toasted sandwiches because I skipped breakfast and no more drinking half a carton of beer because I’m lonely.

But can I still enjoy a glass of wine?

But I want a promise from you too Health. I want you to promise me that you’ll make me run more, sleep more and eat less. I know that’s a two way street but at 5 am when my alarm goes off, make me get up and don’t let me convince you that sleep is better.

Let’s rising pet(s)!

Taking care of pets is an effective way to relax. I adopt 1 cat, 2 rabbits and keep them in a very large outdoor rabbit hutch – looks like a villas for pets.

We can do it health.

It starts today!

Sometimes you need a break

I’ve been flat out recently. Today is one of those days where I just don’t stop! When I came home I just wanted to lay on the couch and close my eyes. The kids had other ideas.

Kids climbing on their dad

Our couches aren’t good enough for the kids to sit on

Up at 5:30am, off to university, in classes all day, rush home in peak hour traffic, kiss my wife, swap car seats, say bye to wife, put kids in car, drive to dancing, pick up Miss 7, rush home and serve dinner.

that’s not to mention bed time routines and the fight I have with Miss 3 over bed time!

Sometimes we need a break.

A while ago, I tried to change careers. I don’t have a bachelors degree and with no experience in any other field but the Australian military, no one wanted to hire me. So I told myself that I was going to make my own experience.

This was reinforced the other night when I went a careers expo (I like to keep my eyes open). When I was talking to some of the exhibitors and I told them that I was stilling studying at the undergraduate level, I was dismissed instantly.

It’s incredibly demoralising.

But since I have chosen to make my own experience, I’m that busy it is ridiculous. Today it just boiled over and I was going through the motions. You know how it gets, you’re tired, fed up, other things on your mind and you just go through the paces.

I was in auto mode whilst picking up Miss 7 from dancing and when I got in the car, I forgot to put the car in reverse and drove over the curb! Luckily I realised what was happening before I did any damage to my car.

Although, that would have given me an excuse to call Get Approved Finance and buy a new car!

Sometimes, I drive past someone doing a job like landscaping or delivering packages. I am sure people in those jobs work really hard, but sometimes I wish I had a job that required simple tasks.

That or go camping for an extended period of time and leave my phone at home!

[This post was in collaboration with Get Approved]

MH370 and explaining real world problems

For kids, life must be so black and white.

[Photo by flickr user Moritz Petersen]

You’re either good or bad. Naughty or nice.This morning, when I was getting ready for work, I had the TV on and watching the news. Miss 7 decided to get up and join me, a common morning ritual. As I was pouring the milk into my nutri-grain, the MH370 story came on.

They showed a clearly distraught woman being carried away by security. Miss 7 asks “what’s wrong with that lady Daddy?”. Now I normally would have gone with, “she’s sad darling” I had a feeling that explanation wouldn’t have cut the mustard.

“Well baby, a plane went missing and no one knows where it is and that lady must have had family on it”. The puzzled look I received in return spoke for itself. “The police think that a bad man turned the plane around and made it crash darling” to which I received “why?” “well, that is what they are trying to figure out”.

I’ve never really tried to explain a real world problem to her before, other than the old “he/she was a bad person and that is why the police take them to jail”. But there was something in the tone of her voice that told me she wouldn’t have accepted the standard answer.

Back to my original point. Life is so black and white for our kids. When is it a good time to start explaining real world problems to them? I guess there would be a lot of people who object to telling their kids the truth about the world and I agree to some circumstances.

When the ad break comes on the TV and the news is about the Daniel Morcom case in Queensland, I mute the TV. No kid needs to hear about the murder of other kids but for something like the MH370 story, I’ll let them listen in.

Is that wrong of me to do? I spoke recently on the Life of Dad After Show about letting kids be kids so is them listening to the news complicating their lives or is it just feeding their curiosity?

I don’t have the answer, maybe you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment below and tell me your thoughts on explaining real world problems to your children.

Shopping with kids

Normally, we try to avoid doing food shopping with kids at all costs. It’s a predictable routine:

“I need lollies!”

“I need the toilet”

“Can I have this?”

“You never buy me anything!”

“Miss 2 got something yesterday!”

“Are we done yet?”

“I don’t want vegetables for dinner!”

Today started off a little different. We picked Miss 2 up from 3 year old kindy and headed to Coles to get some food shopping done. She was tired which lead me into a false sense of security. “She won’t be an issue” I told myself and in the beginning when she wanted to sit in the trolley, I thought I was on to a winner.

Then this happened.

shopping with kids edited

Add a new item to the trolley, she’d lay on it. Using the toilet paper as a solid bed base, she actually looked quite comfortable.

When asked “do you want to get out and walk now?” “Not yet. 2 minutes okay?”. That the favourite response this month.

But then we met up with a family member who is in Canberra for work at the moment and decided to get a coffee. All well and good until “I need the toilet”. Okay, trip number one. 5 minutes later, “I need the toilet!”. Again? Okay let’s go.

You know what they say about three’s

“I need the toilet!”. No you don’t but by that stage she was off and running down the hall to the parent room. I think it was the fact that she got to press the green button to open the door because her bladder sure as hell isn’t that small.

Moral of the story.

No matter how good you think your shopping experience will be with kids, it will never be as good as being by yourself! I’ll be avoiding shopping with kids from this day forth. (Also check my reviews on best kids outdoor playhouse).

Why I blog with Mike Cbay of YDad

Keeping up with the weekly Why I Blog post, this week Mike from YDad joins me. Mike is an 80s-born dad with two young sons based in Sydney, Australia. A massive fan of turntablism, family wagons and coffee, Mike is also a fellow Aussie Daddy Blogger and an all round top guy. Let’s get into the interview!

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been dabbling in blogging for a few years, starting with a music-related blog (I was somewhat of a DJ in my past). However, I changed my blogging focus from music to my experiences as a dad just before the birth of my second son.

How and why did you start your blog?

I was mentally preparing myself for my second son’s birth, and wrote down what I was thinking and feeling at the time. What I came up was a little piece that turned out to be self-reflective: I gave advice to my past self, about becoming a dad. I saw value in sharing it for those who may be going through the same thing.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging? 

I’ve learnt that blogging requires a higher level of planning and strategy – not just to grow but also to maintain your readership. It’s also something that can push you and keep you on your toes, mentally speaking.

A great piece of blogging advice that was passed down to me in terms of dealing with brands is to never compromise your personal ‘voice’; if a brand wants to work with you, then they already know what they’re in for.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

– I believe a blog is a great self reflection tool, and there’s a certain freedom that it brings.

– Blogging is an excellent way to exercise your creative brain-muscles as it doesn’t only have to be based solely on written work. You can incorporate graphic design, photography and video to tell your story.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins?

This is an area I’m currently exploring to try get the most out of blogging. WordPress SEO by Yoast is what I can recommend from my experience. I recently stumbled upon a web service called Dashfolio that connects to your Google Analytics account which I’m in the process of sussing out.

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

You can find YDad at ydad.com.au and facebook.com/YDadAU, and also on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as @mikecbay.

My Life of Dad experience

If you haven’t listened to it yet, shame on you! But here is the link!

 Listen to me!

aftershow I was recently on the Life of Dad After Show podcast with Art and Ryan from Life of Dad. Man was it cool.

It all started a while ago when I had heard about the after show on a live Google Hangout that Tommy Riles (another amazing guy) hosted (which I can’t find anywhere!!). I immediately opened iTunes and had a listen.

I was hooked and I let them know about it.

Art and Ryan have this chemistry that just kept me wanting more. Another episode down and after a while I decided, hey! I’ll join the Life of Dad network.

I did exactly that.

The first post I wrote on Life of Dad was called “Dadstruck”. I wrote it because it was almost like I had been welcomed into a long lost brotherhood. I could relate to what most people were saying, enjoy the jokes and even join in on the conversations.

But the reason I called it “Dadstruck” was because I had been listening and reading all this content from these great guys and then all of a sudden it was like I was one of them. It was and still is a great honour.

So I told Art and Ryan how much I loved their podcast and Art invited me on the show! I was stoked. I couldn’t tell my wife enough about it.

The day came. I f**ked up the time. Little did I know when we arranged the time, EST was not on daylight savings. Fast forward a month, it’s day light savings in the states.

So here I am, eagerly waiting for 11:30 to come. “Art should call me any minute now…”. 11:34 “Surely he hasn’t forgotten, we spoke this morning…”. 11:40 I send Art a message after figuring out that they had just kicked over to daylight savings, “Hey mate, is it 8:40pm there”. “Yep, still good for 9:30?” which was 12:30pm our time..

Idiot.

I was okay with it, but it was going to be tight. I had an Information systems lecture to get to at 1:40 and the podcast usually goes for 30-45 minutes plus I needed to add on 25 minutes travel time.

I’ll be right, I told myself.

12:30 on the dot, Skype calls. It’s always awkward when you speak with someone you don’t know for the first time. Especially when you sort of “know” them from having read a lot of posts and listened to them on podcasts.

But to me, it felt like we had known each other for a long time. Art, Ryan and myself chatted for a bit, went through some details and it was on to the podcast.

The rest they say is history.

I’ve written before how many great opportunities Dad blogging has given me. I’ve met a huge amount of great people, some I’ve been lucky enough to interview in my “Why I Blog” series. But it’s also given me the confidence to strike up conversations with random people about anything.

Don’t ask me how but it has.

So if you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, do it now! Plus while your at it, go and show the guys at Life of Dad a bit of love especially Art and Ryan. Those are two top blokes and guys, if you’re ever in Australia, my house is your house!

Max Brenner Belconnen

What do you do when you need to go to Coles after dinner?

Take the whole family to Max Brenner in Belconnen and fill them full of chocolate of course!

The family at Max Brenner

Now I hear you saying, why so silly James? I know, I know, but we thought it was time for a treat with our girls. So we loaded on up and headed out to the shops and up to Max Brenner for a spot of dessert.

However.

cookie masterpiece At 7:22 pm I ordered a toffee choctail, two make your own cookies and waffle sundae. I reckon there was 5 tables and 4 staff members on and yet we had to wait over 30 minutes to receive our order! For a long time, the make your own cookies were sitting on the serving bench with the drink waiting for the sundae to be finished.

After a while (yeah I’m that guy), I went to the bench and asked if the kids can have their dessert. You know how kids get, the excitement overcomes them and we struggle to keep them under control.

Finally, old mate brings the cookies and drink, slaps them willy nilly on the table, not in front of the kids who were waiting for them and storms off. Shortly after, a repeat when it comes to the sundae, she slapped it on the table love and ran off. (Also check check the reviews on best folding picnic table)

kids and their cookiesTo say I was pissed off would be an accurate assumption.

Struggling to contain my temper, the manager must have picked up on the vibes. He came over, apologised profusely about the wait and the staff then he offered some extra decorations (more chocolate) for the kids cookies.

Well played Sir. tahnee cookie

The sundae, my choice of dessert was delicious. Banana, waffle, caramel, chocolate and some nut like chocolate balls. It was rich and sickly but delicious at the same time.

What would I give Max Brennen in Belconnen out of 3 sugar high kids? If the manager hadn’t of taken the time out of his day to apologise and offer some compensation? I’d give them a 1 out of 3 sugar high kids but the fact that he cared and apologised, I’ll give them a 2 out of 3.

Would I go back? Expensive, long waits and with impolite staff members, I don’t think I would go out of my way.

 

Why I Blog with Seamus from Dadinating

It’s been a while since I’ve been published a post in the “Why I Blog” series. For that I am sorry! Life has been extremely busy which has taken my focus away from my blog! But don’t fear, I’m back with Seamus from Dadinating. Seamus recently joined the ranks of the Aussie Daddy Blogger group and we couldn’t be happy to have him on board with us.

So without taking up too much more of your time, here is Seamus!

IMG_20131023_091242 edited I am a father of two, a teacher and an amateur tree changer. I’ve been married to The Mamanator (the love of my life) for nearly 4 years. We met at uni, took almost 8 years to find out we were in love, and now have a family together.
Our family moved out of Metropolitan Melbourne to Central Victoria in 2012, and we now live in sunny Guildford (a town of about 250 people, 15 minutes out of Castlemaine). My son (The Lad) is 2 years old, is a ranga and loves “Helicopters, swimming, flowers, rainbows, fire trucks, racing cars………”. The list goes on and on. Let’s just say he loves life. My daughter (The Lass) is 4 months old, born with a full head of dark hair and piercing grey eyes. She likes to poke her tongue out.

Seamus, how long have you been blogging?

Australia Day is actually my Blog’s birthday. It turns (or turned depending on when you post this) one this year! (Cue birthday music)

How did you learn to blog and why did you start your blog?

I have been writing stuff online for a while, I even kept a personal blog going for years via a service called “Livejournal” (which still exists by the way). Back then the blog was purely a journal, recording thoughts and events in my life.

I started “The Dadinator” because on becoming a parent I had thought after thought firing around inside my skull about raising and caring for my children, and I wanted to record them somehow. Blogging helped me to make sense of these thoughts by putting them into words. It also let me share them with other people, to show that we are all sometimes tired, impatient, unsure, insecure and emotionally vulnerable as parents – and that we can and do get through it.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging?

As you would expect, it’s helped me hone my writing a lot. I’ve also learnt a great deal about parenting while doing research for blog posts, whether about pregnancy symptoms, child safety or simply reading about other people’s experiences of fatherhood and parenthood.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

It gives you an opportunity to think and reflect on yourself, whatever the topic of your blog; parenting, health, fashion, music a particular hobby etc…. Writing stuff down makes you turn it over in your mind and it makes you spell out your thoughts and feelings. So it helps you clarify issues for yourself. It also encourages you to read more widely on topics/issues you might want to write about, opening your mind a bit.

You also have a chance to connect with other blogs and bloggers out there – which has a stack of different benefits range. It can act as an online support group, give you a sounding board for your own thoughts, help you write better material etc. I have split my sides laughing and come close to tears reading some of the stuff out there, and I’ve learnt a great deal too.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins, evernote?

I use an app called Bloglovin to keep track of other blogs out there, as well as pinterest. I also use Google keep and Google drive for writing and saving links or little tidbits of information.

On the blog (which is wordpress based) I use a range of plugins. The most important are Jetpack (which is essential if you’re self-hosting wordpress), Disqus (better than the default commenting system in my view) and shareaholic (because the sharing buttons look cool, that’s the only reason).

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

My blog can be found at www.dadinating.com. I also have a facebook page (www.facebook.com/thedadinator) and can be found on twitter (www.twitter.com/dadinating). If you wish to contact me directly, email me admin@dadinating.com

HA HA Bar

“I’d like to interview you for the blog” Elias said as he was talking about his newest venture, CBR Foodie. In this blog he is interviewing local bloggers in Canberra about where to find the best dishes under $15!

My choice, HA HA Bar in Belconnen.

Full disclosure, my wife works at HAHA Bar and she has been raving on about how good the food is for a while now so I thought I would use this opportunity to give it a go. But don’t think I will go easy on them just because she works there!

First off, the venue. HAHA Bar is located on Lake Ginninderra giving the outdoor area a nice atmosphere on a warmer day. Inside, there is an “artsy” theme with lots of custom paintings and designs. Word has it that a designer was flown in from New Zealand to do the work. The venue is small though, which makes it a little hard if you were going to bring in a pram for your kids. Also the lack of high chairs means that the little ones will need to sit on your lap or leave them at home.

This morning we took all of our kids, combined made 8 and the staff at HAHA were more than accommodating. There is no kids menu but we asked if pancakes could be arranged and the kitchen again was kind enough to accommodate our requests. The kids enjoyed the pancakes, a large single pancake with fresh fruit and cream on the side.

Haha Bar new breakfast menu

Haha Bar new breakfast menu

HAHA Bar recently launched a new breakfast menu and it didn’t disappoint. I tried the Goats Cheese Breaky Pizza.

Goat Cheese Breaky Pizza

Goat Cheese Breaky Pizza

It was delicious. The egg in the middle was cooked perfectly and it filled me up which in my books is considered a win! My guests had the following.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

 

big breaky

The food coming out the kitchen looked great and it was backed up by these wonderful dishes. HAHA boasts a wide variety of freshly made ‘mocktails’ as well as beautiful juice to accompany your breakfast. However, I needed a coffee.

Coffee Art from HAHA Bar

Coffee Art from HAHA Bar

The coffee was so delicious I had two in the space of 30 minutes!

All in all, HAHA Bar puts on a nice spread for breakfast. Would I eat there again? Sure, I am eager to try the new dinner and lunch menus.

You can follow HAHA Bar on Facebook or on Twitter for updates.

Dining out with kids

The other day, after we dropped Miss 7 off at school, we headed over to a local cafe that I’ve been wanting to try for some time now, Chatterbox espresso bar.

Breakfast and coffee at Chatterbox Espresso Bar

Breakfast and coffee at Chatterbox Espresso Bar

It’s an exceptional spot and if you ever visit Canberra you have to get a latte from here!

When we decide to go out, a little bit of fear starts to appear in my stomach. When we walk past a new Range Rover Sport, that little bit of fear increases to an overwhelming amount of fear.

I almost start crying.

My kids are generally good kids, generally. This morning was a good day but further into our dining experience, we encountered a problem. Miss 1 loves to squeal.

I apologise to the public of Canberra.

Miss 1 wasn’t the problem this morning although she did contribute to the noise of the cafe. Miss 2 (almost 3) needed “tuddle” (that’s a cuddle for those of you who don’t speak 2 year old english) when I was half way through my breakfast. All I wanted was to enjoy my beautiful breakfast but instead I had a two year old that insisted on having a cuddle with her head tucked right into my neck.

I love that my daughters love me. I’ve certainly not always been the favourite but for a while now “I need Daddy” has been the phrase of the day. I never want it to change except for when there is a delicious large breakfast in front of me.

But it’s not just when we are out and about with kids. Tonight whilst watching My Kitchen Rules, Miss 2 insisted on have a cuddle whilst I finished my dinner. What is it with these kids?

It’s almost like they sense that we are enjoying something and feel the need to ruin it.

I should probably add “Dining out with kids: A way to make everyone hate you” to my “10 reasons why I love parenting” post. But for now, I just want to eat a meal in peace without a 2 year old on my lap.

Do your kids annoy you at the wrong time? Let me know in the comments below.

Nutrition and Cholesterol

Recently, I was asked to write a post about “why cholesterol is bad“. The fact of the matter is,

I don’t know why.

So when I sat down to write this post, I did some research.

I clearly remember a while ago, that cholesterol was the shunned child of the nutrition world. “Don’t eat too many eggs” I remember hearing, “it’s bad for your cholesterol”.

Why? Yes, I’m a why child.

According to the Better Health Channel, cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential for many metabolic processes. So why was it so widely preached that you shouldn’t eat too much foods that contained cholesterol? Surely anyone with a little common sense understands that everything in moderation is okay?

But to tell you the truth, I’m terrible when it comes to nutrition.

I understand the basic concepts, calories, protein, carbs and fats but as those of you who are parents would know, sometimes you just don’t have the time to cooked an incredibly healthy meal.

You know how it goes. After a long day of work you finally make it home just in time to see your wife for five minutes before she’s out the door to work. You don’t have time to take your shoes off let alone make a meal incorporating the five food groups.

However, we do have to be the role model for our kids. They’ll do what we do and if they see that it is okay to order take out, that’s a habit they’ll keep.

That reminds me, stop ordering pizza.

Back to why cholesterol is bad. Well turns out, it’s not all bad just when you have too much of it. Here’s what the Better Health Channel has to say about effects of high cholesterol.

cholesterol

I am a firm believer in “everything in moderation”. Sounds like cholesterol falls into that category as well.

Do you and your family have a big emphasis on nutrition? How do you handle the busy schedules and planning a healthy meal? Leave you tips here and I’ll write a post with the best of them.

[This was a sponsored post]