The Vanishing Shoes

As my wife and I muddle through our day-to-day routines, we try our very best to lead by example for our young children. After all, monkey see, monkey do is the perfect idiom for life as a parent. Little eyes are constantly watching our every move and duplicating our habits with limited concern for consequences.

We model the biggies: Never swear in front of the kids—how embarrassing it is to have unnecessary colorful language repeated at church or in the grocery check-out line. We serve fruits or veggies at every meal, and slicing, dicing, and cubing are always a team effort. We always buckle up in the car and try to never speed. Tiny backseat drivers are quick to point out those California stops and are eager to remind us that the police are always watching! 

But it isn’t just the big social norms that our kids observe; they watch our mundane daily tasks, too. We recently discovered this at our house, after shoes began disappearing.

My wife Nicole purchased three new pairs of shoes for our two-year-old daughter Lyla: some girly sandals and a couple pairs of new tennis shoes for running around the park—about 60 bucks total. After a week of sporting her new kicks, one by one, the shoes began disappearing. We searched the house over and over, turning our place upside down, checking every corner and crevasse for the missing footwear. Even a sweep of the backyard and the garage turned up zilch in the sneaker department.

We quizzed Lyla as to the whereabouts of the disappearing shoes. But interviewing our two-year-old is like asking a new puppy where his ball is. She just stared back with her head tilted to one side with a quizzical look.

So where had the shoes gone?

One afternoon, I was watching television in our living room when Lyla toddled in. She grabbed the TV remote and then walked back into the kitchen. I quietly got up and snuck around the corner to see what she was doing with the remote. I watched as she scampered over to our stainless steel kitchen trash can, pushed her little foot down on the lid opener, and tossed the remote into the garbage.

Our little mystery had just been solved.

Turns out, Lyla had been watching the normal day-to-day routine of us throwing away trash and took it upon herself to start tossing items from around the house. Only she hadn’t yet learned what was and what wasn’t trash.

Somewhere in a Waste Management facility are three pairs of perfectly good size 7 shoes waiting to be turned into compost—along with who knows what else Lyla decided to surreptitiously toss.

A trip back to the store and three new pairs of shoes later, we’re keeping a close eye on all shoe-related activity in our house.

It’s hard to be mad at her since all she was doing was observing mom and dad using the trash can during our normal daily routine. I guess in the end, we did get a pretty darn good family story out of the whole fiasco - and as I scan the room while writing this I apologize, I must quickly wrap up.  I can’t seem to spot my stapler, cell phone, iPad, or the cat!  I’ll be up in the kitchen if you need me.

Featured In Colorado Parent Magazine September 2017

Modern Family Camper

Modern Family Camper

“That there is an RV!” An iconic line from the screwball character Cousin Eddie in the classic 1989 movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.  Eddie, in a braggadocios tone, persuading Clark Griswold “not to fall in love” with that there RV in his driveway - insinuating that he was living the dream and you should be totally jealous.

Fast forward to 2017.

Jeremy Padgett Camper Picture.JPG

“That there is an RV Nicole!” A NOT so iconic line that was being blurted from my mouth an excessive number of times at the local RV dealership; so many times in fact that my wife Nicole had to tell me to “STOP” because it was becoming “incredibly embarrassing”.

I couldn’t help it, I was excited to finally be RV shopping.  Giddy at the thought of being able to pull a mobile family command base around the country.

I reluctantly stifled my fun little movie quote game and turned my focus back to signing the paperwork for our brand new recreational vehicle. Who knew going into debt could be so exciting!   With a hand shake and a quick walk around tutorial on trailer basics, we hitched up the ol’ F-150 and we were off.  Ready to start exploring the American landscape in 24 feet of pure adventure following me in the rearview mirror. 

Now somewhere in the official handbook for being a Colorado family is a section dedicated to camping.  It’s a law here ya know. You MUST take your kids camping.  Period.  It’s in our DNA, I spent my entire youth hitting the hills with my family pretending to be vagabonds by roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on dirty sticks, chopping firewood with a rusty old ax, and sneaking off to dig a hole in the ground for your mile high bathroom break.

It’s funny that we count possible Giardia outbreaks from brushing our teeth in a dirty stream as quality family time.  And of course, camping allows you to use hip and trendy exercise buzzwords like “active lifestyle” and “health conscious” because you get all hot and sweaty during an afternoon hike. Making it a competition to see who smells the worst when you arrive back home on Sunday evening. 

However, now that I’m getting older and wiser the days of lying on rocks and praying that your tent doesn’t blow away during midnight rain storms are well behind me.  I’m perfectly fine with raising a couple of spoiled campers and totally embracing the “glamping” lifestyle.  Many of the RV’s out there right now are larger than most of our first apartments.  This summer we’re going to be able to stroll into campsites push a button and roll out the automatic awning - for just the right amount of shade, and then fire up the outdoor Bluetooth speakers with a little Chris Stapleton country music to set the mood.

 If the kids get hungry throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave while they relax on their own bunk beds, catching up on their favorite Netflix shows on the iPad with the built in Wi-Fi.  And don’t forget to fire up the heated floors and heated memory foam mattress for mom and dad so it’s nice and toasty at night!  We’ve entered a new era of camping that includes granite counter tops, jetted tubs, built in fireplaces and leather recliners - the idea of roughing it is long gone.

So if you happen to roll into a campground this summer and see a family of 4 enjoying a little Filet Mignon with their feet up in electric massage chairs out by the campfire – please stop by and say hello - I might show you around the digs, because that there is an RV!


Featured in Colorado Parent Magazine June 2017

Sleep. What's That?

This month in Jeremy's exciting world of parenting, I want to fill you in on why I'm only getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night.  Brutal right?

If you've been listening to the morning show at all you've heard me talk about my sweet little almost 2-year-old Lyla who has now decided that she no longer wants to sleep.

It starts at about 10 PM every night and lasts until about four or five in the morning. Her new nightly routine is to stand in her crib and scream her head off becoming completely inconsolable. This goes on for hours and hours - her poor little voice becoming hoarse and her eyes bloodshot from all the crying.  No matter how much we try to rock her and calm her - the temper tantrums stay in control and we miss out on valuable sleep, creating two extremely exhausted and frustrated parents. We are really  at a loss as to how to help her because as soon as the sun goes down she wants nothing to do with us.

We’ve been trying to take some action to end this madness by talking with a couple of parents who have experienced the same issue. Warm milk before bed, or maybe a bedtime story? No. Try socks - try no socks? Try again.  Maybe a night-light in her room or how about a sound machine? Nope sorry.  Nothing works!   

We’ve also have had a couple trips to our family doctor to make sure she doesn’t have an ear infection or teeth problems. Sorry Doc. Everything is normal.

The only conclusion we have come to is that she might have something called “Sleep Regression”.  A natural occurrence that you usually hear happening to younger babies but can also happen to older toddlers as well.  Their little minds can’t shut off at night and they fear they are missing out on some sort of fun while they lay in bed. Lucky us!

This sleep regression issue is by far the hardest thing we've had to deal with when it comes to parenting. We dread bedtimes now. Counting the minutes until the nocturnal meltdowns occur. Lyla has traded in her soft pillows, Care Bear sleeping friend, and numerous comfy blankets for horrific temper tantrums and mid-evil meltdowns. 

My wife and I keep joking - "it's just a phase, it's just a phase, it's just a phase..." and then we try to cry ourselves to sleep.

If you're a parent dealing with this same situation, I feel your pain. I'm sharing the bags under my eyes with you and the quick afternoon catch up naps.  Stay calm and try to laugh off the craziness -there is no fix for this but to just wait it out. Invest in Red Bull and keep the number for a good exorcist on hand …maybe they can help release the no sleep demons lurking in the next room.


Featured in Colorado Parent Magazine Feb 2017

Sick of Being Sick

A long time ago, when I had more hair and my wife had a pristine uterus, we used to hang out with a couple of close friends named Chris and Abby. They were our partners in crime and we had a ton of fun together!  They were our go-to couple when we felt like tearing up the town a little. I have a lot of great memories with them— concerts, holiday parties, and happy hours. Life was good!

Then something horrible happened. Chris and Abby had kids and we never saw them again.

Ever. Again. Done.

No more fun times, no more laughs, and no more memories.  My dear friends were now trapped at home with little mucus monsters—children that were picking up every type of illness known to man from their daycare. Again, at the time I was kid-less and really could not understand why in the world they always had something wrong with them! Coughing, sneezing, and aches and pains now ruled Chris and Abby’s lives. Our days of Jagermeister shots had now turned into shots of Dayquil and Robitussin.

I would always sarcastically joke to them saying “Geez why don’t you start treating yourselves better! Take your vitamin C and eat healthier. I’m sick of you being sick all the time—your illness is affecting my social life!”

Boy was I in for a rude awakening.

Fast forward now about six years and I’m sitting here writing a blog post with a blanket around me and the smell of Vaporub under my nose. Two kids upstairs coughing away as I quietly sip my nightcap of Tylenol PM.

I want to officially apologize to Chris and Abby for all the crap I gave them about being sick. I totally get it now. I have two phlegm factories of my own now that have brought every strange ailment, illness, virus, and some sort of oddly colored crusty skin rash that smells funny, through our front door.

Over the past couple years we’ve been blessed with Croup, Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, Tonsillitis, eye cysts, inflamed Eczema, and maybe a common cold thrown in here and there.

I’ve been to the doctor more this year than I have in the entire 37 years of my life! We’re in a constant sick family rotation. One kid will get something funky and then pass it on to the sibling and then inevitably mom and dad get it. I’ve had things that I’ve never even heard of before. Shingles? Don’t those go on your roof? Never did I imagine that I’d be spending so much time in my life wiping various fluids from other people’s faces… and rear ends. Yeesh. I think we are single-handedly keeping the Lysol industry in business. Every surface here at home has some sort of disinfectant on it. I have drawers full of medicines and creams that I can’t even pronounce. Our hall closet is fully stocked with Vicks, vaporizers, Kleenex, and cans of chicken soup ready for the winter flu season.

So here’s to my friends Chris and Abby—although we never see each other anymore, I think of you every time I feel a sniffle coming on. To all of you new parents reading this, best of luck raising your little germ incubators. Wash your sheets, wash your hands, and wash your children, because kids are GROSS!

The Frightful, Fitful Fives

Forget the terrible twos and the horrible threes – let’s talk about the little monster that appears when your child turns 5!

The clock struck midnight a few weeks ago and the transformation began. Smoke came billowing out of my son’s room accompanied by flashes of lighting and a thunderous roar. Within seconds a switch had been flipped and we found ourselves living with a pint sized jerk-store. Happy 5th birthday, son.

Our once sweet little boy who was known for his nurturing and caring heart had now turned into an opinionated, sarcastic, back talking little turd!

Are other parents going through this? Where did we go wrong? How did this change happen so fast!? I thought boys didn’t start becoming hormonal nightmares until their teenage years.

The worst part about this negative attitude transformation is that it’s not just confined to our home where we can control it a little easier. We cautiously venture out into the world to run errands just waiting for our little temper tantrum time bomb to explode. What horrific scene will he cause in public today? At grocery stores, at the park, in the mall… nowhere is safe. Where can we hide? We’ve even had an instructor at Reid’s rock climbing class say to him, “You need to chill out, dude”.

Oh, and this is new and fun too – if our little back-talker doesn’t get his way he has no problem throwing himself on the ground with clenched fists and flailing limbs, rockin’ moves that you wouldn’t even see in a Zumba class. The words “NO” and “STOP IT” just don’t seem to work anymore. “QUIET” and “STOP CRYING” won’t even get a reaction. And don’t even bother trying “GO TO YOUR ROOM.” He laughs them all off with a sarcastic little sneer. Our punishments lost all effectiveness the moment he took a bite of his 5th birthday cake.

To combat mister whiny-pants’ new style our parental reactions have had to become a little more creative. We’ve had to adapt to new punishment tactics. Taking away some of this favorite things have seemed to be a worthy violation of his little world. Threats of no more outdoor swimming pool time or no more Paw Patrol on TV have seemed to work just a bit. And if we really need to, we lay the hammer down threatening to – gasp…. take away the Mac ‘n Cheese! Nooooo!

Another great tool we’ve found that has helped curtail the nightmarish behavior is the chore chart!  We have a couple posted on the wall in our kitchen that have really helped with the behaviors and responsibilities that we expect around the house.

Simple tasks like feeding the dog and picking up after yourself now get rewarded with star stickers and smiley faces that can be rewarded with time at the water park or maybe a little toy the next time we’re at Walmart. So far the chore chart has been working – so if you’ve been experiencing some of the same problems that I have, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice visual diagram that your kid can look at and they can see how their good behavior is paying off! You can find a ton of premade templates online if you’re stumped as how to make one. Hope it works for you as much as it has for us – the only downside is that I don’t get all that extra Mac ‘n Cheese we have laying around the house anymore!