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?

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.)

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.

 

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]

Our family tradition of watching movies together sees Frozen knocked off as number one

I’ve got mixed emotions. I can’t decide whether it’s a sad day or a happy one.

Frozen has been knocked off it’s throne as number watched movie. It’s replacement is:

We had a movie night on Saturday night, it was great. We threw a mattress on the floor, the kids brought out their blankets and we put on a movie that wasn’t Frozen! To say I was happy that Frozen wasn’t going to be on the TV would be an understatement. Popcorn was allocated, pop rocks distributed evenly and juice boxes were opened.

We all enjoyed it as we lay there and watched a stripe less Zebra on his quest for stripes. I think the kids enjoyed having Mum home at night for a change, normally a Saturday night is a work night for Christine. But that’s hospitality right?

These are the moments that count and they won’t last forever. We are lucky that at the moment, Miss 7 and Miss 2 like the same movies (most of the time) which means we can still have nights like last night. I don’t imagine it will last for too much longer as Miss 7 might want to start swapping animated movies for movies that fall in the Tween category (god help me if I have to watch Zac Efron tell me that we are all in this together).

No Zac, we’re not in this together.

I wrote a while ago about Family Traditions. This is one tradition that we love and man, we do it well.  I just wish my kids would stop fighting over who is going to be the bloody Zebra!

What are some of your most treasured family traditions? Christmas dinner, thanksgiving or maybe a simple Sunday roast with the family. Let me know in the comments below.

How did you get those bruises?

“I don’t know how I got this one!”

I think it’s time I put a stop to watching Arrow.

My wife is constantly covered in bruises and she claims she doesn’t know how it happens. I think she’s out on the mean streets of Canberra fighting crime. But a more likely story is that she’s just clumsy.

Normally when she starts acting ditzy, she’s pregnant but lucky this time she isn’t. I don’t think I could handle having 4 daughters in this house!

It’s a fun game really, “Where’d ya get that bruise?”

christine bruises

Because I care for my wife, I googled “how can I stop being so clumsy” in the hope that I can put an end to this madness.

Yahoo answers (like always) provided an ‘interesting’ answer. According to “Paul”, my wife could be clumsy because she can not see well. Paul, you might be on to something there mate because she struggles to see at night.

Now don’t go thinking, “James is so mean, he’s picking on his wife”, she told me to write about her bruises! Maybe she wanted me to write a post about her being clumsy to throw the police off her crime fighting vigilante scent.

I’m on to you Mrs Tew.

Either way, maybe it is time I start accepting the fact she might be making a few compensation claims against our insurance some time in the future.

 

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What is the worst hair related disaster you’ve ever had?

Why I Blog with Dai from daimanuel.com

After a break last week from the Why I Blog series, I’m back and with a cracker of an interview with Dai from daimanuel.com. Where do I start? Dai is a dad, a blogger, motivational speaker, athlete and when he isn’t flat out doing all that, he is the Chief Operating Officer at Fitness Town. So with all that out of the way, I’ll let Dai tell us a little bit more about himself and then dive into the interview!

The following exert is all about “My Why” – full story can be seen at http://www.daimanuel.com/about/

My passion is to engage and challenge people in living healthy, more active lifestyles.  With increasing obesity rates and a lack of focus and education on preventive medicine, our country is facing a health epidemic.  The solution starts with parents modeling a healthy active lifestyle for their children to follow.  Everyone needs inspiration to change and someone to hold them accountable to their fitness goals.  It’s my promise to offer inspiration, education, equipment and training – specifically supporting families – so that childhood obesity is no longer an issue in our country.

Dai, your blog is filled with all sorts of health related tips, workouts and stories about your 2 daughters, how did your blog come about and how long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging since 2008 on and off. What started as an accountability tool for myself to diarize my workouts and ventures into the world of CrossFit has morphed several times over the past 5 years. As someone who has been in the health and fitness industry for 16 years, I’ve dealt with many differnt types of people. Many of the questions I’ve been asked (and am still asked today) have been responded to in the form of blog posts.

The underlying messages of my blog is to promote the benefits of healthy lifestyles, smart nutrition, and being active (moving with purpose). I prefer to SHOW rather than TELL people what to do, and much of what I write about is based on personal happening that my family and I experience throughout the course of our daily lives.

As busy as life gets, we can all make better daily decisions as fathers, husbands, friends, mentors and/or role-models and lead a life full of family, fitness, and FUN!

You are speaking at the Dad 2.0 Summit, has your blogging career lead you to this speaking engagement and how would you suggest aspiring bloggers reach the same level of success you have had?

I’ve had a lot of different opportunities present themselves to me over the last few years. Some of these include interviews with the media, inviations to special events/trade shows and conferences as well as speaking engagements. I truly believe that its best to be transparent in your beliefs, share these substantiated beliefs with confidence on the topics that resonate with yourself and your audiences. If you do so, they will seek you out eventually as long as your information, opinions and personal beliefs offer value, inspiration and knowledge. You blog it, they will come. 😉

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging on daimanuel.com? 

Yes, I’m learning continuously. Like many great philsophers have said before, “there is no better way to learn than to teach” (Tweet this!).

Many of the topics I blog about are on subjects that I have gained knowledge about over the years as a father, husband and fitness professional and through sharing this knowledge I only further my own understanding of the topics. I love blogging and find it very therapeutic as one of my creative outlets. You have a niche that is in your “go zone”, share it! You’ll only further your specialization and become an sought out expert in your field.

Can you list 2 benefits to starting a blog?

Benefit 1. Creating a living, breathing diary of “me” – DaiManuel.com – something that I can be proud of and share with my children when they get older. They’ll be able to look back and get an in depth understanding of who their dad is.

Benefit 2. Borderless! I’ve always been a big believer in helping others, but was contrained geographically based on the areas I worked. With my blog I can now connect, network and help people in countries around the world – not to mention make some great lifelong friends along the way.

Dai, you’ve got a large amount of content on your site. Is there anything specific tools that you use for blogging? e.g. Evernote, notepad?

I leverage my time well with the use of a number of tools and services. I utilize Evernote to save cool ideas, facts, snippets and the like for future posts. I also utilize the features of a responsive layout to better provide content to a larger spectrum of browsers and electronic devices. Aweber has been my preferred email newsletter service provider, and there’s a number of widgets I’ve found that assist with layout and functionality improvements to my blog as well. When it comes to getting the content out there – of course, like many, I love HOOTSUITE!

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

The advantage of having a unique name, “Dai Manuel”, is I’m very search engine friendly. Type it into any search engine and you’ll find that the bulk of the first few pages are typically to me. My blog URL is www.DaiManuel.com or www.MooseIsLoose.ca – I’m also on Twitter at @daimanuel and Facebook at facebook.com/mooseisloose.ca — always eager to chat to people about my passions, so don’t be a stranger!

Parenting Fail

I did something horrible.

Parents accidentally hurting their kids is a nightmare.

Bored? Play with your kids! [source: loldailyfun.com]

As parents, we never imagine hurting our children. The other day, I did it. I hurt our youngest daughter, Miss 1.

Miss 1 has been teething of late, poor girl. Between smacking her head on the coffee table whilst trying to walk and having a large amount of teeth coming through, she can’t seem to catch a break. When I was putting her in the high chair for dinner, she was wriggling, I pinched her with the clip (Also check the best foldable table for picnic and coffee).

Parenting Fail.

I don’t like hearing my daughters in pain on the best of days, let alone because I caused it!

In my opinion, having seen two children go through it, teething is up there on the pain scale. Some days it seems there is nothing that you can do that provides them relief. Enter Nurofen, which is exceptionally good for those teething symptoms, especially when a fever is present. No Nurofen? I’ve used a pack of frozen peas for relief before, that’s how much I hate seeing them in pain.

It must be hell (like watching the Young and the Restless) for our kids when their teeth are coming through. Let alone when their mean Daddy pinches them with a high chair clip.

I’m sorry.

I see it as sort of a right of passage for new parents. Obviously we do not intentionally hurt our kids, but there are times when it just happens and then we spend the next 30 minutes wondering why anyone let us leave the hospital with a human being.

I wonder all the time, “How did someone ever trust me to be a parent?”

Even though I have a 7, 2 and almost 1 year old, I still look for practical parenting tips on a regular basis. Not only does that give me inspiration for this blog, but makes me feel less like an idiot.

But the good thing, or the bad thing depending on which way you look at it, is that parents, mother-in-laws, grandparents and everyone else who has ever had kids, seem to have a never ending supply of advice when it comes to parenting.

Perks of parenting, eh?

While you are here, why not join the Raising3daughters family? I’ll send you a weekly update of posts and when I run a competition, you’ll be the first to know about it. 

I need Daddy

“I need Daddy!”

Three sweet little words that make my heart skip a beat. I love hearing them. Especially at bed time, when she is sleepy and all cute.

I used to spend so much time away from home, my relationship with my daughters were strong back then but no where as strong as they currently are. When we found out that Christine was having our second daughter, and our third daughter, naturally I began researching about raising girls. I had read that my influence in my daughters life will help shape her self-esteem, self-image, her confidence and her opinions of men.

I hope she dislikes all of you who seek to date her.

Apparently, the relationship we have with our daughters shapes their self-esteem, self image, confidence and opinions of men. I hope she is disgusted by them!

According to an article on the Australian, “A man’s best and worst traits will be represented in his daughter’s taste in men”. Well I’m up the creek without a paddle, mainly because I am perfect, just ask my mother-in-law.

In the same article, Annie Gurton, a counselling psychologist, claims that “women whose fathers have told them that they love them, that they are beautiful and wonderful, will have stronger, more robust self-esteem”.

I tell my girls that I love them and that they are beautiful, but when they fart like a miner, I tell them they stink! Does that mean I have ruined them?

It’s no mystery that men have been trying to understand women for many decades. Hell, I can never remember what Christine likes from Subway! When she orders something that doesn’t ring a bell, I need to stop in at woolies for a piss test to make sure number 4 isn’t on the way. If all this information is true, maybe we need to understand ourselves before we can understand our daughters. Again, I’m up the creek without a paddle because I’m a bloody basket case.