Water Safety these holidays

An empty beach.Water safety. [image source: Sed-Rah-Stock]

As the silly season comes towards the pointy end, it’s important we do not let down our guard when it comes to water safety.Yesterday, my girls were playing in the pool. It was Boxing Day, it was hot and there was a lot going on. Every year we hear about water related deaths around Christmas/NYE time so it is important to maintain awareness around the water at all times.

According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2012, there was a total of 284 drownings. Of this number, 21 deaths were children aged 0-4 and 13 deaths were children aged 5-14 years. Drowning deaths occur all year round in Australia however, Summer accounts for 31% of the total number of deaths followed by Autumn 26%, Spring 23% and Winter 19%.

The report continues to break down how these deaths occurred, unsurprisingly swimming accounts for 19% of the total. What shocked me is that 6% of the deaths related to drowning derives from bathing! This just shows that at all times, we as parents, need to maintain our vigilance when it comes to water safety.

Teaching kids how to swim is extremely important, but you all knew that. But something that happened yesterday re-enforced that to me.

Miss 2 was floating around in the blow up ring with her Nanna when she was eager to swim like the big kids. She hasn’t had any formal swimming lessons yet but has grown up around the water so she isn’t unfamiliar in that environment but she still can’t swim.

Imagine if for a second we had turned our backs?

She could have slipped through the ring and the worst possible outcome may have occurred. It is imperative that we watch our kids around water, no matter where they are, bath, pool, beach or lake.

Ensuring water safety should be at the top of your list these holidays!

Eat your bloody vegetables

I have vivid memories from when I was a kid, sitting at the dinner table and my sister balling her eyes out because she didn’t want to eat her pumpkin. I used to have chuckle because I wasn’t being yelled at for a change.

Fast forward 15 years and I am fighting the same battle with my own kids! 

Eddie Murphy in a broccoli suit.

A scene from one of my favourite movies, Daddy Day Care.

I’ll admit it, I love a pizza….. or two…. okay and some chicken wings. Food is my weakness, shut up!

But I also love eating healthy, when I can be bothered cooking and it’s not stinking bloody hot here in Canberra. My kids just love sticking it to me when it comes to eating healthy!

“I don’t like vegetables”

They’ll make you big and strong…

“I don’t like carrots!” 

You ate them yesterday…

“This tastes funny”

You ate the same thing last week and loved it…

“I wanted red rooster”

So did I but my metabolism isn’t as fast as yours and I’ll stack on 3 kilos thinking about it, thanks kids.

But I have to admit, I have had a win with apples. I cut the apples into “apple chips”. They love it but maybe it’s not the best idea naming something healthy after a food that will block their arteries and make them look like Honey Boo Boo. (If you don’t know who Honey Boo Boo is, save yourself and do not click this link!)

I just don’t know what else I can do, short of making them sit there all night and eating them. Sure I could hide the vegetables in their food but I will guarantee that they will sniff it out quicker than the drug dog that busted Schapelle Corby. I could make vegetable juice. They love juice but again I reckon they’ll figure out it is good for them and spit it back in my face. (Also check check the best folding table for picnic and family meals)

What’s next?

Do I give in? Do I let the little buggers win this round whilst I retreat licking my wounds and begin planning the next round? I don’t know. I guess I’ll just tough it out, shove a few pureed veges in here and there and hope for the best, well either that or I’ll turn into a vego and they’ll have to eat vegetables. I can’t back that up, I’ll never give up meat.

How do you get your kids to eat their vegetables? Share your magic formula and I’ll send you a lettuce. Only kidding, I don’t buy lettuce. My kids don’t eat it!

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]

Please, let me poo in private!

Just once, in my own home please kids, let me poo in private.

[image source: http://i.imgur.com/xYSzi.jpg]

I thought I had snuck away for 10 minutes of silence. I closed the bedroom door quietly so that I wouldn’t make my chasers aware of my location. I slid the bathroom door shut as I thought to myself “yes, I’ve made it!”. I settled in, retrieved my handy mobile phone for a session of Angry Birds – Star wars 2. But the silence was soon broken. I heard the door creak open in the bedroom, so I quickly turned the noise off my phone.“Maybe they didn’t hear me” I thought.

I was wrong.

Next was the bathroom sliding door, and from behind it came Miss 2, “Daddy, I want some milk”. Followed by Miss 7, “Daddy, are you doing a poo?”. Damn it, I just wanted 10 minutes peace and quiet to go about my business!

Part of me expected the baby to come crawling in. Or the cat. He doesn’t like to miss out on any action.

It’s a known fact that once you have kids, privacy goes out the window. Little did I know four years ago that I’d be sitting on the throne with a two year old having a full blown conversation with me.

But how can we parents find the privacy we so desire? Lock the door?

I did that once, those little fingers are amazing at picking locks.

Here in our household we share taking time out. I like to run, so each day for about an hour I leave the house and just run. It gets me away from the grind of being a parent and let’s me unwind. My wife, likes to go out for coffee, alone.

It’s not that we don’t love our kids, it’s that we as humans sometimes need some respite from constantly chasing after a 9 month old and making sure she hasn’t got dog biscuits in her mouth, or trying to toilet train the 2 year old.

[image source: http://redtricom.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/who-needs-vacation.jpg?w=413&h=288]

We all need space, some people more than others.I want to hear your tips and tricks for having some alone time. Do you go to the gym to get away from it all? Let me know in the comments below.

I hate doing the dishes

There I said it.

Show me one person that enjoys doing the washing up and I’ll stop whinging.

Get a dishwasher!

We had a dish washer and we didn’t like it. I always found that the dishes wouldn’t come out washed as well as doing it by hand.

Maybe I just needed to use some better detergent? Maybe I needed a better quality dishwasher? Maybe I was loading it wrong? Maybe I should just throw out the china and replace it with paper plates (every parents dream!)

But I am looking at dishwashers on the Good Guys website. They range from $399 to $2,167 so what level do I go for?

One thing I found with our last dishwasher was that we always had to use dishwasher cleaner other wise it started to stink! We came to the conclusion that this was because we weren’t rinsing our dishes first.

So having said all this, when Finish Australia wanted to work with me on this post, I jumped at the opportunity to see if it was really worth buying a dish washer and using their products.

I guess I am just hoping to can free up more time to blog.. or make the dishes easier so my kids can take over!

To help me write this post, I borrowed a friends dishwasher. But before we washed any of the dishes, we had to make a mess, enter Mexican Night. We all brought plates, covered in Mexican style food goodness, cheese melted on to plates, salsa sauce everywhere.

So we made our mess and loaded the dish washer. Quantum dishwasher tablets, the ones with the little red balls in the middle, are designed to give you an amazing clean and shine every time you use it.

They worked well, in fact, really well. The sticky cheese and salsa was gone, without rinsing! That’s what I like to see. But what about all the left over food that is sitting at the bottom of the dishwasher?

No need to worry about manually cleaning, Finish has a product for that!

As the product page says, just because it looks clean, doesn’t mean it is clean. The dishwasher cleaner targets those places that are hidden from view. So how often do you run the cleaner?

I guess that depends on your usage. We are a family of 5 so we have lots of dishes meaning that we probably need to clean it more often that a family of 2 or 3. So I believe it is situational and how often you use it.

Do you use a dishwasher? or do you prefer to wash your dishes by hand? or maybe you make your kids do the dishes?

Want to win a packet of Quantum Dishwasher tablets? Simply leave a comment below telling me how much you hate doing the dishes and the funniest one will win! Competition is open to Australian residents only and will be drawn one week from date of publishing.

(This was a sponsored post)

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.

How much is too much at Christmas?

Year after year, I watch my friends and friends of friends upload pictures of the presents under their trees. Some have a few to cover the ground underneath the tree and some have an entire room filled.Then the talk of how much we spent starts, $300 to $3,000 is from last years discussion. But how much is too much?

We tend to spend between $300 to $500 for all three kids. $500 being we have had some massive requests, like a bike. For us, we like to buy gifts that can be shared, or toys that the girls can sit down and play with each other for at least a month after Christmas.

But I can not understand why you would spend $3,000, sometimes more, on Christmas gifts for your two children? That’s $1,500 each!

I have to wonder about the implications that this would instil in the children. What are their expectations going to be like in later life? But what I also wonder is, what could your child possible “need” that would drive you to spend $3,000 at Christmas.

I grew up going to a Catholic school, where I was taught Christmas was about giving. Now, I am no saint and I could certainly improve in the area of giving but I personally think some people have lost the sight of Christmas. Shouldn’t we focus less on what we teach our children about receiving at Christmas and a little more about giving and sharing the holiday season with our family.

Christmas this year is very special for my family, it is the first Christmas as a married couple and our third daughter’s first Christmas. So maybe this year, we should all focus a little less on how much we spend on presents and focus a little more on how much time we spend with our families.

[Part One] Buying the perfect family car

This is a two part series, the first of which I will have a look at factors affecting purchasing a car for your family and the second will examine several options that fit the bill.

A picture of a family buying a new car

Buying a new family car is a big task. Lots of different factors to consider. [source: dreamstime.com]

In Australia, there are currently 6 million families with school aged children. Families need to get to places therefore, they need a car. At the moment, we are a two car family however Christine’s car has been riddled with problems and it’s worth two fifths of stuff all, so there isn’t any reason to fix it.

As some people would put it, I drive a woman’s car.  I bought my Ford from John Hughes in Perth, (second hand, which would normally mean it would be a horrible experience) however, it was actually an amazing buying experience. Not only was the buying experience awesome, but so is the Focus. It is small and with three growing girls, it won’t be long before we need a larger car.

Picture this.

You decide to not once, not twice, but three times drive across the country in a car that is made for midgets. Not only is it tiny and when you have 5 people in it, it’s insanely tight and the close proximity of three girls who love to have a whinge (more than the English cricket team), it well…  it drives you up the wall.

So why not sell “Fanny Focus” and buy a bigger car? Good point, except I still owe money on it and we are not in the position to borrow money for a car just yet. Why doesn’t Christine drive it then? Well good citizen, she is as stubborn as a rock and refuses to learn how to drive a manual. Many an argument has been had over this topic. She always wins.

Okay, so what makes a perfect family car then James?

Well first off, it needs to be practical. Practical enough that I can take a sleeping bag and sleep in it if the kids drive me up the wall, or if I’m in the doghouse! I’ve never wanted a family van before, until recently when we hired a Kia Grand Carnival. We had 5 adults and three kids in it and we still had enough room to kick the footy. It’s huge! Drives like a bus but it sat beautifully on the road and was comfortable.

So we’ve got practical as the first requirement. Next in my list of requirements is, budget friendly. Like a lot of families, we are a one income family so we can’t afford to spend $90,000 on a Land Cruiser. I’m not talking just budget friendly in the price tag, but in fuel consumption and service costs as well. Last thing we need is to have a beautiful new car and no money to fill the bugger up!

Practical, budget friendly are the first two requirements in my list and for the third I am going to say, future proof. By future proof I mean that if you choose to/accidentally have more kids in the future, there is room or if you are playing car pool, you can fit other brats in the car. Also, if your kids are getting close to that age where you’ll have the lovely experience of teaching them how to drive, you want a car that is going to be good for them to learn in.

– Practical,

– Budget friendly, and

– Future proof.

As a family man, safety is top priority. So when looking for a suitable family car, a good safety rating is a must. Here in Australia, we use the ANCAP (Australiasian New Car Assessment Program) ratingwhich is determined by an independent vehicle safety advocate. Boldly on their website, ANCAP states “ANCAP recommends 5 star rated vehicles. Accept nothing less”. So I’m going to add the ANCAP safety rating as one of my requirements because when it comes to those little devils, you can never be too safe.

– Practical,

– Budget friendly,

– Future proof, and,

– 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

With these four requirements I am going to begin my search! But before I do, these are a few nice ‘must haves’ in my opinion.

– Cruise control,

– Tow ball,

– Bluetooth, and,

– A proper spare tyre not a space saver.

Now, I also asked my Twitter followers the following question to see if they had similar views when buying a car as me.

 

A couple of my wonderful followers took some time out to answer the question, some seriously and some not so much. Amongst their answers were, bullet proof panels (never know when you’ll find yourself in the hood having a shoot out), boot size (for stuffing bodies in from said shoot out), how easy it is to get the kids in/out and how easy it is getting a double pram in and out (won’t need this when you’re in a shoot out). All relevant answers in my opinion, especially the bullet proof panels! You never know what’ll happen in the future or in the hood.

Everyone is going to have their own requirements when buying a car and that is dependent on their family situation. Obviously a single bloke like Justin Bieber could drive a lambo, hopefully whilst not hyped up on cough syrup.Where as a the Brady bunch would probably need a 12 seater bus. So don’t take my requirements as gospel, adjust them as you see fit to your family’s situation.

But come back next week, where I’ll examine a few cars that I think will fit the bill (for my family) and tick all my boxes . In the mean time, I’d love it if you would sign up to join the Raising3daughters.com family where you’ll receive emails from me each week detailing my top posts and in the future, I’ll work to bring you exclusive content and giveaways.

You can sign up here!

What is something you look for when buying a new car? Let me know in the comments below!

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).

[Part two] Great gift ideas for Dad this Christmas

Welcome back to your one stop shop when it comes to gift ideas for Dad this Christmas.

In part one we had suggestions such as bluetooth gloves, like a boss aprons and even a fitbit to keep track of those calories over the silly season (for some calorie busting tips see my 3 simple steps for staying fit these holidays). In the second part of the series, I’ll cover some more expensive items if your budget is a little bigger than mine.

Buy Dad a GoPro this christmas

GoPro Hero 3 Black edition [image source: CNet]

Dad like to get outdoors?Well get him the new GoPro Hero 3! Just released in time for Christmas is the Hero 3 Black edition. Starting at $399 online, the GoPro (as stated on their website) has started a revolution with small cameras that are versatile and can be fitted to a multitude of different devices, such as bike helmets, surfboards and snowboards. Along with the actual camera, there is up to 18 official harnesses and mounts that Dad can purchase for any kind of situation.

Is Dad a bit of a chef?

Buy Dad Heston Blumenthal's new book this Christmas

Heston Blumenthal’s At Home is the perfect gift idea for the culinary challenged Dad. [image source: Amazon]

Heston Blumenthal, one of the most celebrated celebrity chefs has released a new book that will surely get Dad’s taste buds jumping. At Home, helps Dad develop those techniques that will have him cooking skills like Heston in no time. It covers topics like, proper care for meat, taste and flavor, stocks and infusing and of course many dishes that Dad can use all his new found skills to create. You can pick up Heston’s new book from any good book store or from Amazon for $40

Dad collecting too many books?

The kindle is a great Christmas gift for Dads who love reading!

Dad enjoys reading? Buy him a Kindle! [image source: Amazon]Dad collecting too many books?

Get him a Kindle! Amazon’s Kindle new paper white device, is claimed to be one of the best e-readers currently available on the market. It boasts a huge battery life claiming that a single charge will last Dad up to 8 weeks! But the best thing, if your dad is anything like me and he collects books, the kindle paper white carries up to 1,100 books! That should keep dad going for a while! So what is it going to sting you? One payment of $139! None of these gift ideas suit your Dad? 

Red Balloon offers great packages for most exciting experiences

None of my suggestions suit your Dad? Give an experience!

 

Well no need to worry, I still have one great idea for you. A Red Balloon experience. From V8 experiences to sky diving to a wine cruise. Red Balloon has it all and best of all, Dad can pick exactly what he wants to do. The gift certificates from Red Balloon are valid for 12 months so that gives Dad plenty of time to make a decision and at the moment you can get free voucher delivery until the 18 December.Vouchers start at $25 and max out at $1,000. So I guess the next question is, how much do you love Dad?

There you have it folks, some more great gift ideas for Dad this Christmas. Do you have any other great gift ideas for Dad this Christmas? Let me know on the Raising3daughters.com Facebook page.

One of the best Australian Dad Blogs, sharing stories of my trials and tribulations of raising girls in Australia.

Source of image is http://unsplash.s3.amazonaws.com/batch%2010/camera-man.jpg

Pursue excellence. [source= unsplash]

 For the longest time I’ve been searching for one of my passions that I could develop into a business venture. I believe that to be successful you need to be passionate but I don’t have a clue which passion to pursue.

Leadership, motivation, family and the internet (everything on the internet is GREAT), these are a few of my favourite things. For the longest time I’ve been looking for additional projects for my spare time and something that my partner and I can both work on together. But I’ve been on struggle street for ideas on what I/we can do.

I listen to a lot of podcasts to try and help get my creative juices flowing. The Smart Passive Income podcast is one of my favourites. Pat Flynn is an inspiration to thousands of people around the globe. To me, he inspires me to set up a diversified, valuable business that provides benefit to others. I want to better the world, one person at a time.

That is why I started this blog. Not to make money, not to become famous but I thought if I could some how better someone’s life, somewhere, then I would have achieved my mission. Sharing my stories about parenting and being a father is incredibly rewarding and it has led me to meet some great people right around the world.

In particular, the blokes from the group of Australian Dad Bloggers. I originally approached the group in the hope of writing a guest post but what I got was a group of blokes who I can bounce any idea off and blokes who help me better my writing. These blokes are helping me figure out what my passion is and hopefully you’ll be able to see that in my writing in the future, but I’d like to take a minute to shout out to these great guys;

Aussie Daddy Bloggers http://www.daddybloggers.com.au
The Illiterate Infant http://illiterateinfant.com/
Fast Lane Dad http://www.fastlanedad.com
Ydad http://www.ydad.com.au
Mr Palindrome http://www.mrpalindrome.com/
Big Family, Little Income http://www.bigfamilylittleincome.com/
3AM Dad http://3amdad.tumblr.com/
Dad Rites http://www.dadrites.com
Being A Dad http://beingadad.com.au/
Tork’s Blog http://torkona.blogspot.com.au/
TackleNappy http://www.tacklenappy.com
Reservoir Dad http://www.reservoirdad.com
Dad Down Under http://daddownunder.com.au
The 40 Year Old Dad http://www.fortyyearolddad.com.au
A Working Dad Production http://aworkingdadproduction.com/
Kangaroo Dad http://kangaroodad.blogspot.com.au/
Memoirs Of The Mind http://www.memoirsofthemind.com

If you are looking for great stories and posts, have a read of these blogs. Make sure you share this post as much as you can to give love to all these great dads.

Want to know what resources I find most useful for blogging? Sign up to my email list now and receive an exclusive email with all my favourite resources and more!

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.

3 simple steps for staying fit these holidays

We all know how it goes. “I’m on holidays”, “It’s okay, I’ll start the diet in the new year”. I’m the worst for that stuff. Every year I fall off the wagon two days into the silly season. Well not this year, oh no. I’m going to be training no matter what, even if I am hungover. Besides, if Fast Lane Dad can run his fitness regime over the holidays I can too.

But how am I going to do it? Yes there will be a few curls (beer curls) involved but most importantly I’ll be focusing on cardio to burn off that extra serve of pudding and ice cream I am more than certainly going to demolish.

However, I know that you are going to want to join me in my holiday fitness so here are a few “fun” exercises that I’ll be doing to keep on top of that waistline.

1. Morning run/swim/ride- Yes, that is when all of our heads are going to hurt the most but getting out in the fresh air first thing helps clear the mind and gets those wonderful endorphins running and sets us up for the rest of the day.

2. Use the kids as fitness equipment – Kids make great light weights for heaps of reps. I use my daughters sitting on my back while I do push ups. I also use them for leg raises. Lay on you back, let your little weight lay on your legs and hold on, raise your legs up and down until your abs burn and can not go any more.

3. Box jumps – I am sure if your household is anything like mine you will have a tonne of boxes laying around from opened toys. Lay one of these on the ground in an open area, stand to one side, and then jump over the box to the other, repeat until knackered.

There you have it folks. Three simple steps that can help burn some extra calories this holiday season to make room for that tasty christmas dessert.

Moving on from the holiday season, I am going to be starting a new blog series that will run from now until the 1st of November 2014. It is called, “I’m going to run a marathon”. It will run right up until I complete the 42.2km marathon at Carcoar cup located in Carcoar NSW. In this series I am going to be documenting my training, nutrition and struggles leading up to the big race. I would love for you to join me on my journey and if this is something that you have wanted to do, let’s do it together.

My top ten reasons why I love being a parent…

Babe, if you get up, I’ll let you sleep in”

1:30 am

I roll out of the bunk beds (1st floor of course) because apparantely a cat nap is all our youngest daughter needs tonight, plus who can resist a sleep in?

I get her up, 10 minutes and she’ll be ready to go back to sleep.

2:07 am

I put her down, tantrum. Bugger.

2:30 am

Why don’t I write a sarcastic blog post about the top 10 things I love about being a parent?

1. As a parent, I can play games with my kids at 2 am.

2. No matter how hungover I am, my kids love me enough to wake me up at 6 am.

3. If my kids shit their pants, I am privileged enough to clean it up.

4. Even if the best football game in the world is on TV, I don’t get to watch it. Instead, I watch Peppa Pig.

5. I no longer have to take a dump alone.

6. When I buy an ice cream, I no longer get to eat it all by myself, I get to share it. With three other people, who have already eaten their ice creams.

7. I can no longer spend any more time than it takes to eat a meal at any restaurant or pub. Upon completion of said meal, we get to leave, ASAP.

8. I know every word of the following movies:

– Despicable Me 2,

– Despicable Me,

– Finding Nemo,

– Frozen,

– Smurfs 2,

– Smurfs 1,

– The Lion King, and

– Tangled.

9. I get to buy a loaf of bread and 3 litres of milk at least 4 times a week, and last but certainly not least,

10. I no longer have any time or money to spend on a hobby such as golf. Instead, I blog about how much I love my kids at 2:30 am.

So there is 10 reasons why I love being a parent. What’s yours? Leave a comment below!

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.

Living away from your family

Living away from your family is tough

Source: Flickr user juliaarielle

It’s been a long four weeks, but I’ve got through it and managed to see my girls. I talk about how living away from your family can bring up all sorts of emotions and how I dealt with mine.

In case you just came across my blog, I’ve been away from society on a work course for the last four weeks. During this time, I’ve had limited contact with my family, a phone call once a week and an email here and there. I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough.

Now I’ve spent alot of time away from home in the past for work, sometimes up to 6 months at a time. But something was different this time, I found it incredibly harder. Maybe this was because I had promised Miss 7 earlier in the year that I’d be home for her birthday for the first time in about 4 years. Not only was she upset but I too was incredibly emotional and considered pulling the pin on this course but I stayed the course.

I kept reminding myself why I was there. I was there to provide a better life for my family and to better my career. But it wasn’t easy, it was far from it. Dealing with those types of emotions is something that I haven’t dealt with for a long time and I was unsure on how to get through it.

I turned to the Chaplain for some advice, “How can I get through this?”. He suggested I countdown the days left until I see them on paper so I could physically see how long was remaining. I also wrote about my feelings and how much I missed my family. I didn’t have a computer so I used this thing called a notebook?? But it helped. I didn’t want to talk to my class mates about these emotions, I’d just met them and didn’t want to share my personal issues with them just yet.

Emotions are difficult things for us humans to deal with, especially us “manly men”. But it is important, I feel, to deal with them rather than let them build up. I think if I had let mine build up I would have imploded, left this course and potentially ruined my career that I have worked incredibly hard on for the past 5 years.

Have you been in a similar situation and struggled? Join the conservation below and let me know how you’ve got through it.

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

Mashup Saturday

image source: mixes and mashups soundcloud profile

It’s Federal election day here in Australia but that is the last thing I am thinking about.

I’m on a search, for new music for the gym. I refer to soundcloud for some inspiration. After spending a while searching for some great new mashup tunes for the gym, I came across these little gems!

 

 

Let me know what you think!

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’ve earned the title of Dad

This is the second post in a two part series when I talk about earning the title of dad and that it shouldn’t just be awarded to someone who helped conceive the child. If you haven’t read the first post you can check it out here.

All dressed up and heading to the movies

All dressed up and heading to the movies

 Treating them like your own

I’m a big softie. Anyone who has spent any decent amount of time with me will be able to confirm that. I also believe I am a good father. Sure I have some ups and some downs but overall I think I rank pretty high on the parenting scale. When I met my Fiance she had a 3 year old daughter (Daughter 1) and I knew this before I had even been introduced to her. I’d seen a friend have a relationship with a girl who had a daughter around the same age and it failed, terribly. But for me, I didn’t care that she had a child. Truth be told, I was glad that Daughter 1 was around. I loved the idea of being a role model to someone, to be the one responsible for her well being. It was a great feeling the day she decided to call me dad.

It’s an honour

For a child to accept you as their dad, when they have a choice, is no greater honour. They are trusting you with their lives, no greater trust could be bestowed upon you. This is exactly how I felt when she decided I was her dad. My partner didn’t tell her to call me that, she had called me James from the beginning but we had formed a bond that was incredibly strong and has been growing ever since. She is my daughter and I am her dad and no one will take that away from me.

I’ve been there for her when she’s been sick, I’ve been there for her when she has come home from school upset, I have been there for Christmas day but unfortunately I have missed her birthday for the last 3 years due to work requirements. Although I miss her birthdays, I make sure I make it up to her whenever I can. Take this for example. It is her birthday one week after I leave next week so next weekend is all about her. There’ll be balloons, there’ll be cake and there will be party food. We don’t know anyone in Canberra yet so it will only be our little family but man it will be fun. I’ll post pictures afterwards.

What’s next?

The adoption laws in Australia seem fairly straight forward but having said that I don’t have a clue where to start. I’ve been reading and its fair to say, I can do a lot more to get my head around what needs to happen and how the process works but that is the route we are headed down. She is one of the four best things to happen in my life and I will never ever let her down (I’ll try not to at least).