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!

Nurturers and Knuckle Heads

I was skimming the website a few days ago for some parenting advice, and I came across an interesting article on different parenting styles.  The blog regurgitated some chatter from The American Academy of Pediatrics, talking about how dads can be a positive influence on their children’s development. Citing research that said "when kids bond with their dads they feel more secure and curious, and less likely to lose it when they get frustrated."

I can't agree more and I've certainly noticed this with my kids. Having a more laid back attitude has translated into more laughter and fewer psycho kid meltdowns. That's what dads are here for- we're here to break mom's rules, build pillow forts, have shopping cart races, and ignore the recommend age limits on Nerf guns.  Babies love those, right?

Every Friday I try to sneak out of the radio station a little early to pick up my son Reid from school.  It's my little slice of father son time that I really enjoy since my wife gets this duty the rest of the week. Reid loves it too because it's the one time of the week he can talk ol' dad into cheating on moms healthy life style. Instead of carrot sticks and hummus for lunch, we hit Micky D's for milkshakes and Happy Meals! Much to my wife's chagrin we arrive home with smiles on our faces and trans fats in our systems. Everything in moderation I try to explain, ignoring her soapbox lectures of a balanced diets and caloric intakes. Mom knows best - but dad knows how to have fun!

Looking back on my own youth mom was always the nurturing and caring one. Quick to help with homework, making sure you had your nightly bath, and she always had Kleenex and Band-Aids in her purse for boogers and bruises.  Dad however, encouraged rough-housing, problem solving, and farmer blows. An oddly delicate parental balance every child should embrace.

 And then there are the stories...dads tell the best goofy stories! Eye rolls from my wife are a daily occurrence as I summon up the most ridiculous anecdotes just to mess with my kids.  Dads have an incredible ability to look you straight in the eye and fill your head with total BS. I think we all have little stories of what our dads did to us, or told us when we were growing up. I know that these tall tales helped shape my sense of humor as an adult - allowing me to learn not to take life, and myself so seriously.

A friend of mine has a great story from when he was little - all the neighborhood kids would go running outside in the summer when they heard the ice-cream man rounding the corner with that familiar sugar induced music belting from the speakers. He never understood why all the kids would get so excited when they heard that music, what was the big deal? His dad had pulled him aside one afternoon and told him that when you hear the ice-cream music it meant that the truck was OUT of ice-cream. To this day he still gets a chuckle every time he hears that goofy music, that dang tuck is ALWAYS out of ice-cream!

I'll also never forget the years that I started losing teeth. I was always so worried that I would swallow a tooth as it was becoming loose. I didn't fear that I would miss out on a couple easy bucks from the Tooth Fairy, I was instead freaked out that I would grow teeth inside me! My dad had told me that if I were to swallow my loose teeth in the middle of the night, I would grow an entire mouth inside my stomach, and that I would be able to chew my food twice! You can imagine the wide eyed look I must have given him, totally freaked out...I can't WAIT to use the same story on my son, fully expecting the protective glares from the misses.

Parenting is a trip. Here's a salute to my fellow parents out there with their own unique parenting styles, all of us wondering if we're doing it right. Here's to the nurturers and the knuckle heads - each bringing a very important aspect to your child's life. Have fun, make mistakes, make your kids eat their veggies - and make sure they always chew them with both of their mouths. 

Zombie Parents

I LOVE technology. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always been a techno-nerd, scooping up all the latest tech toys, video game systems, car stereos and the fastest computers! The more buttons and touch screens I have, the happier I am!

We live in a pretty cool world right now where information is just a few taps and swipes away. I’ve ordered a pizza from my iPad while sitting on my back porch. I’ve purchased a car from Illinois while sitting at the breakfast table. And I’ve planned a Minions-themed birthday party for my son with a few clicks on Amazon. Free 2-day shipping – SCORE!

We’re pretty blessed to have all of these conveniences and I can’t imagine having to go back to phone books, encyclopedias and a world without GPS. Yuck.

Now with all this gizmo-gushing aside, I want to explore something with you that my wife and I have both noticed and it breaks our hearts: the darker side of technology that is ruining our relationships with our children.

A quick societal glance reveals a multitude of zombie parents looking down at their smart phones while their kids are vying for their attention. Mouth-breathing with the occasional courtesy grunt, looking at the world through a tiny screen rather than focusing on the enjoyment in their kids’ faces. It’s an observation I have made at numerous locations. Below are a couple of examples:

We like to take our kids to a gym class at our local rec center. A good 30 kids and their parents show up to burn off some energy on trampolines, foam pits and jungle gyms. Parents are encouraged to participate with their kids helping them develop good physical habits. BUT, if you were to do a quick 360 of the gym you’d see parents looking down buried in their phones ignoring the requests from the kids to come run around and play with them. No conversation, no laughter, no encouragement. Sad.

Another observation that has really stuck with me was a time we took our son over to Yogurtland for a little frozen yogurt treat. Every kid loves a trip out with mom and dad for some frozen sugary delight, right?! (Side note: the red velvet frozen yogurt is to die for,  I highly recommend it). Anyway, we gathered our treats and snagged a table near some other parents. While we tucked our phones away and focused on conversation, you guessed it – all the other tables around us had children happily experiencing brain freeze while their parents were neck down updating statuses and scrolling through the Twitterverse. One little girl said “mommy” about 15 times before mom actually looked up to acknowledge what her little girl had to say. It really did hurt my heart to see these kids being ignored by their parents.

I don’t want to turn this blog post into a complain-fest, I just want parents to be aware of how we’re interacting with our kids. I’m afraid of the future and how this is going to affect them when they become adults. Will they have the proper skills to carry on conversations? Will they have good physical habits and be able to excel in the workplace? I’m really beginning to wonder if they won’t. Take some time to think about the QUALITY time you’re spending with your kiddos. Some of this time you’ll never ever get back. Take an hour to focus on them, make conversation and make eye contact for goodness sake. Tuck the technology away and be present, because if you don’t… I’ll be silently judging you from the corner of the ice cream shop.

Featured in Colorado Parent Magazine April 2016

Mom of the Year

We recently had a topic on the morning show that we called “mom of the year,” referring in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way to the one time that you totally failed at being a parent!  Whether it was just pure laziness on your part, maybe a slip of the tongue letting a curse word fly in front of your 3-year-old, or taking your kids to the grocery store with messed up hair in their PJs because it was just too much work to get them dressed.  It was a great topic and pretty darn funny when the calls started rolling in! This parenting gig is pretty exhausting and sometimes no matter how hard we try to be the perfect parent, things are inevitably going to go wrong.

One of the best calls we received was from a woman who was busting herself because she let her daughter have numerous bowls of super sugary cereal for dinner, all while she sat on the couch and had a bottle of wine! She just wasn’t in the mood to force her daughter to eat her vegetables that night.  Don’t feel bad moms, not every dinner can have the complete food pyramid in it. Consider that little Pinot Grigio vacation on the couch a much needed mental health break.

My sweet little Grandma has a great story that she loves to tell as well. When my dad was a baby, he fell asleep in the middle of her bed. My grandma tiptoed out of the room to get a couple chores done thinking that he would be perfectly safe. About 10 minutes later she came back into the room and my dad had vanished!  Where did the baby go? Panicked, she heard a little whimpering, and went closer to the bed to investigate. Turns out my dad decided to roll on the bed and slid right down into the little crack between the mattress and the wall and was stuck like a little cork.  Total “mom of the year” moment that my grandma laughs about now although it was really frightening at the time.

And I would totally kick myself if I didn’t have a chance to bust my wife on something as well. Our own little 10-month-old, Lyla, is in a rolling mood of her own. Not yet able to crawl, she rolls all around the floor to get where she needs to go. She was laying in the middle of our living room floor nice and safe when my wife decided to zip into the kitchen to make her a bottle. During the couple minutes alone, Lyla decided to roll over to our dog who was chewing on a rawhide bone. She scooped it away from him and then proceeded to place the slimy, gooey, chewed up end into her own mouth and began suckling away. My wife came back in horrified not knowing what to do. She tried her best to rinse out Lyla’s mouth finally chalking the incident up to a “mom of the year” moment.

The nasty dog bone mishap happened a couple weekends ago and so far Lyla seems to be doing just fine. Although, for some reason every time the doorbell rings she starts barking and she won’t stop dragging her butt across the floor! Weird.

Featured In Colorado Parent Magazine Feb 2016 

Sticky Situation

The one thing that I’ve noticed about having kids is that everything is constantly sticky! Everything. I’m not sure where all this kid goo comes from, but somehow it magically appears on every surface in my house, car and yard.

While reaching for the bathroom door knob the other day I was greeted, at first, with something that felt slick and then halfway into the turn…boom – stuck. I hit some sort of honey substance that glued my hand directly to the knob. Once I pried my digits off, I gave it the ol’ sniff test, open and closed my fist a few times, then vigorously washed my hands twice trying to get it all off. I have no idea what this mystery substance was, but just thinking about it kinda gives me the dry heaves. YUCK!

The surface of my kitchen table is a total science experiment. At the right angle and with the correct lighting you can see a beautiful ecosystem of leftover chicken nugget finger prints complete with a peanut butter valley and the small town of Old Ranch Dressingville. Not even the strongest Lysol wipe can take on the Rorschach test that is my table. I fear we may have to burn the table when we’re finished with it.

A place that gives me great pain to see dirty is my truck. I’m a bit of a gear-head and for the years before kids, my Zen place was to retreat to the garage and detail our vehicles. They were always spotless and they smelled great! The carpets were always shampooed and the inside gleamed with Armor All. Well, as you can probably guess…not anymore. There is every substance known to man smeared all over my floor mats and seats. It took me 20 minutes to get out of my car on New Year’s Eve because I was glued to my seat. On hot days a special odor emits from somewhere deep under the back seat – remnants of spilled milk is my guess, a pungent reminder that kids now rule the roost. Luckily though, there is one positive aspect to my messy vehicle. I can rest easy knowing that if I were to ever be stranded in my vehicle during a Colorado snow storm I could survive for easily a week on half -eaten granola bars and spilled Cheerios.

I’ve had to bury many of my OCD tendencies during the transition into family life which has been a real challenge for me. Lots of deep breaths and multiple bottles of hand sanitizer are now a regular part of my world. As I write this post I just spotted my dog running by with a ham sandwich stuck to his side, and I’m not sure what’s on my keyboard but my pinky is stuck to the ppppppp pp ppppppppp pppppppppppppppppppppp.

Featured in Colorado Parent Magazine Jan 2016

Spoiled Infant

I like to think of myself as the Mack Daddy of merriment when it comes to Christmas – the Super Bowl of all holidays. I don’t wanna brag, but I know my way around the bottom of a tree. However, this year my wife is challenging my gift giving abilities with a disagreement over the amount of gifts that are appropriate for an infant.

Nicole and I made our way down to the basement the other night to sort our way through the bags and bags of holiday gifts that we had been gathering over the past couple of months. We were elf-deep in presents that would soon be wrapped and slid under the tree just waiting to bring a little materialistic holiday joy  to our family members.

As we started sorting through the gifts for our two kiddos, my wife noticed that we had way more presents for our 4-year-old son Reid than we did for our new little candy cane, Lyla, who, let me remind you, is only 7 months old. Nicole pulled out her little gingerbread man covered notepad that she’s been keeping track of gifts on and made a little scribble that said we needed to go shopping for additional items for Lyla.

Then came the lecture that we needed to keep things equal. We didn’t want to show favoritism and we needed to make sure Reid observed Lyla getting the same avalanche of gifts that he was getting.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa  baby, I exclaimed! Pump those breaks honey child – do we really need to make things equal this year?” I personally don’t think we need to go out and heat up those credit cards any more than we already have. Our adorable little blob (and I mean that in the most sincere way) doesn’t really know what’s going on. Lyla would be just as happy with a shoe box filled with tissue paper this year. Or here’s a great idea, let’s just wrap up some of the toys she already has and give them to her! She’ll never know the diff. Let’s be honest, we’ll probably be spending more time pulling wrapping paper out of her mouth this Christmas than playing with new baby toys.

I hope I’m not sounding like a big ol’ Scrooge here, but I’m not fully convinced that spending a ton of money on a 7-month-old for Christmas is very practical. We presented this topic on the morning show and a flood of listener calls came in and they fully agreed with me! Ha ha!  Although yes, we do need to show our son Reid the joy of giving and that we love Lyla just as much as him, I see no reason why we can’t spend $10 on a box of Gerber baby food, wrap it up and slide it over to her Christmas morning. It would be a nice, practical gift from us that we’ll use anyway, and Ho Ho Ho she gets a nice new, state of the art box to play with! We’ll score a couple great Christmas morning photos of her enjoying her strained peas and sweet potatoes and we won’t be breaking the bank doing so.

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a couple ounces of delicious prunes and a nice, full diaper.

Featured in Colorado Parent Magazine December 2015

Competitive Parenting

On your mark, get set…GO!  Welcome to the exciting world of competitive parenting!

Purple backpack with school supplies on table of desk background

I’ve always heard that this was a thing, the whole “my kids better than you atmosphere” in schools, but I always figured that it would start later in my child’s life – like middle school or even high school. Oh no, no, no. I was surprised to find out that competitive parenting starts well before kindergarten even begins.

I was picking my son up the other day from preschool and I overheard a couple of the parents talking about whether they should be starting their child in kindergarten when they turned five or when they turned six. Surprised, I always assumed that you start your child in kindergarten at five years old. That’s when I started kindergarten. That’s when my wife started kindergarten and I just figured that’s the age that we would start my son in kindergarten. Five years old.

As I reluctantly dipped myself into these parents’ conversation, I posed the question “Why would you wait until six to start your kid in kindergarten?” They all looked surprised that I didn’t know the answer. One mother piped up and said, “Well for sports of course. You have to plan ahead for sports.” They must of been surprised by the blank look on my face, and lack of enthusiasm for sports when I replied, “Are you kidding me?”

Get this, parents are now holding their children back so they have a competitive advantage for sports in high school! What the WHAT?!  I’m out of the loop. Upon further investigation apparently this has been a “thing” for years now.

Silly me, I’ve been busy making sure that my son can write his first and last name, that he knows his phone number and address, and that he knows how to use buttons, zippers and how to tie his shoes. I should have been busy planning his future 10 years down the road, in hopes that he’ll land some sort of glorious high school sports career – and fingers crossed – a big ol’ fat college scholarship! Cha Ching!

I’ll be honest with you, I’m having a hard time with this. My guy Reid is a pretty bright little dude, and I feel pretty confident that he could jump right into kindergarten life when he turns five, no problemo.  Here’s the thing though – Reid’s bright, but he’s also not the biggest kid.  Takes after me at that age, kinda short, skinny and a bit of a bobble head.  He could potentially be fine academically, but if he’s on the young side and small physically, is he going to be picked on and have ZERO chance of succeeding in athletics?

Now the flip side.  If we wait until he’s six so he’s a little bigger and can hold his own,  maybe he’ll be bored in class because his bobble head brain is more advanced?  AND, what if he’s not even interested in athletics?

Oye! What to do?  If any other parents have advice for me on what we should be doing or if you’ve already had experience in this area, I’d love to read your feedback in the comments section below.  Have you held your kids back just so they have a competitive advantage later in their academic/sports career?  Was it worth it?  Again, I’d love to hear what you have to say.

In the mean time I’ll be in the back yard with Reid tossing the football, doing push-ups, and working on his sprints.

Featured in Colorado Parent Magazine November 2015

Doggie Dedication

I’d like to dedicate this month’s blog post to all the family dogs out there, with a very special shout out to my Boston Terrier, Sully. You put up with a lot from these little humans that are constantly tugging, pulling and riding you. You’ve become reluctant furry babysitters to our sons and daughters and for that we thank you!

We picked up Sully about 7 years ago as a little puppy and he quickly became the center of our universe. Perfectly pampered, he was always clean and spoiled with baskets of toys and treats. He was the perfect companion for a young couple experiencing their first taste of responsibility. The years have quickly moved on and Sully has come to know many transitions in his life – he’s been with my wife and me through dating, marriage and now two kiddos. He’s gone from being the pampered pooch that used to sleep in bed with us to, “ummm has anybody fed the dog today!?”

His long freedom-filled walks to the park have now turned into wide-eyed, slightly panicked runs around the back yard, trying to escape a 4-year-old with a squirt gun. I’ve zipped home from work to find Sully hanging out in the living room wearing a paper Burger King crown and a blanket cape, looking up at me with disgusted eyes.  I’ve seen him sitting patiently by his water bowl waiting for someone to remove multiple Hot Wheels cars from an impromptu car wash. And it’s not uncommon to find a bedroom door closed with a panting dog behind it playing “jail” with my son. Again, with those “why did you have kids” eyes looking up at me. Poor fella.

Sully has plumped up quite a bit too thanks to the trail of snacks and crumbs that always find their way to the floor. Is it normal to have a Boston that weighs 48 pounds? Although, I don’t think he minds being our second vacuum cleaner and he does a pretty darn good job on the kitchen floor.  I think he’s developed quite a fondness for Triscuits and cheddar Goldfish.

Overweight, tired and now slightly dirty, our old boy is doing such a great job with my two kids.  I couldn’t ask for a better dog.  He’s a gentle companion who has rolled with the changing landscape in kid land.

In closing, I’m going to try my best to carve out some special one-on-one time over the next month with our family’s original baby.  I hope you join me as well, especially if you have a dog that has morphed and transitioned with your lifestyle and growing family. Dogs are great companions for our kids and we need to make sure we thank them for it. Fill those toy baskets back up, rub those bellies and treat them to a doggie spa day! Man’s (and kid’s) best friend deserves it.

From Colorado Parent September 2015

Limp, Heavy and Miserable

This summer my wife and I decided to dabble in the world of youth sports thinking that our 4-year-old son, Reid, would have the time of his life! Boy oh boy, were we wrong. I’m gonna tell you right here and right now I think that 4 years old is far too young to enroll your child in a group sporting activity. Trust me on this. If you’d like a quick and easy way to ruin every Saturday morning for the entire summer, just reach out to your local friendly neighborhood rec center and enroll your child in youth soccer. 

For the past five weekends we have cringed when pulling up to the soccer fields. Knowing that the next hour would involve an incredible amount of tears coming from every child being forced to participate in such brutal, physical activity. All these kids hugging the sidelines in their over-sized T-shirts and ill-fitting cleats, clinging to their parents as if it were a life-and-death situation. No amount of bribing will get these children on to the field – the promise of an ice cream sundae if they did well, or maybe a trip to the zoo or even a new puppy…nope. Instead they just fall to the ground limp, heavy and miserable like a fish out of water.

I had a hard time holding back the laughter when I saw three or four parents run out to the field and kick the soccer ball back and-forth between them in an effort to show their children how fun soccer can be. One parent snagged the ball and broke away from the pack making a run for the tiny peewee goal. I could tell that in some way she was trying to re-live some sort of missed high school opportunity. Setting up the shot she threw her leg back and with fire in her eyes came forward with that leg only to miss the ball, kick up into the air and fall flat on her back. Thump!  Not quite the encouraging moves she was looking for. It was okay though, her son didn’t see her fall because he was preoccupied with chasing a butterfly in the opposite direction.

Finally, be prepared halfway through your season to have an overly enthusiastic photographer try to rally the troops for a team photo! An overly priced keepsake that will showcase all seven members of the team, three of which are turned around, two crying, one knuckles-deep picking his nose and one child missing (my son) because his shin guards were too tight, and yes, he was crying AGAIN.

Now don’t get me wrong here, youth sports are an important part of growing up and it’s important for our kids to build strong friendships and learn teamwork. I’m merely pointing out that at this young age the kids are NOT into it. Please consider this a gentle warning – avoid the frustrating drive home and maybe give your kids an extra year or five to become a little more independent. I’ve witnessed the confused little looks on these kiddos faces when you try to explain that you can’t use your hands and “NOOOOO run THAT WAY….NO THAT WAY”!!  I’ve lived the experience for you, shelled out the $200 in fees and finally, I was that parent who, in no way, would acknowledge that yep, that’s my son out there with his hands down the front of his shorts.

From Colorado Parent August 2015

Bad Worms

Last month brought us the challenge of dealing with death for the first time. Questions, concerns, crying and poking a dead bird with a long stick. You know, the usual steps to grieving.

My house has a rather large picture window up front which makes spying on the neighbors quite appealing.  On a whim I decided to install a little flower garden and bird bath just below this window out front so my son Reid could enjoy some of the wildlife that comes and goes from the yard.

One afternoon we noticed a bird, probably a robin or a dove, or a parrot (honestly I have no idea what kind of bird it was) enjoying the bird bath. Splashing away Mr. Bird was having the time of his life! A little afternoon break from all that busy worm-hunting.

Now, I know the water in that bath had been in there for a couple of days and I’m not sure how clean it really was – but about an hour later the nameless bird was giving us a little twitch and he looked as if he had consumed one too many birdie shots of tequila.

With a not so graceful flap and flop down to the ground the bird started acting a little peculiar, running into the side of the house, wondering around aimlessly and pecking at the concrete.  He was showing me all the signs of a bird getting ready to make that final flight to the big bird’s nest in the sky.

Sure enough, the next time Reid went to the window looking for our feathered entertainment, there he was laying on the ground motionless.  Reid yelled at me to come look because “the birdie was sleeping.”  Well if he was napping, he must be a deep sleeper because if I had all those flies on me I wouldn’t be sleeping very soundly. Just sayin’.

Out we went manned with a plastic bag and a long stick.  I gave Tweedle Dee a little poke just to make sure he had truly expired before attempting to scoop him up. The last thing I wanted was a sharp beak shanking me in the jugular.  While Reid watched I explained that our little friend had become sick and now had died.  I was trying my best to get in the mind of a four-year-old to explain death on the simplest terms:  “We all get old and die and go to Heaven…”  “He’s with all of his bird friends now… ” “He just ate some bad beetles or a bad worm….”

What do you say?  Watching Reid try to process all of this broke my heart, I tried my best to help him puzzle it all out. He asked: “But how could that be, his eyes are still open?!” “He’ll wake up soon and fly away daddy.  Just leave him there!” “This makes me so sad, I just want him to take a bath again.”

I placed the bird in a plastic bag as Reid started to cry.  He hugged mom and started bawling, confused as to why just an hour earlier big bird was alive and kicking, enjoying a day at the bird spa.  We walked over to the side of the house and gave him a proper burial in one of the garbage cans.  We said a little prayer and I explained to Reid that because this bird had passed, new little baby birds were going to be born to take his place. It was the circle of life, you know, like The Lion King.

It was an emotional afternoon for my little family but one of those moments I’ll treasure. Even with the sadness in my son’s eyes it was rather sweet to see how big his heart was.  He truly cared for that little bird and its well-being.  My little dude is growing up and through all those tears and heartache, in true little boy fashion, Reid looked up at me a said “Daddy can I have mac and cheese for lunch?”

From Colorado Parent July 2015

Why So Touchy?

What is it about babies that makes everyone feel the need to touch them? They’re like little tractor beams for rubs, pokes and pats. The bad thing is, most of these are unwanted gestures of affection that usually come without warning. One of our doctors warned us about this phenomenon upon our exit from the hospital: beware of germy hands that feel the need to fondle your little sack of joy. Women, men, kids, dogs, neighbors, grocery checkers, hobos….they all feel the need to come up and give a little touch. Why is this? Is this some sort of tribal welcoming ritual that was in the “raising a baby” handbook that I missed? Hummm, I don’t remember seeing that chapter.

To help avoid this little problem we went to Target and purchased a cover for our stroller and car seat thinking that this fabric force field would deter all the touchy feely attackers. Well friends, we were wrong.  I’ve never seen so many people who have no shame, not even asking before they lift the covers and touch away.

If you think about it, this is the only time in one’s life where touching someone in the face seems appropriate. These poor little babies can’t fight back. Unable to swipe stranger’s fingers away they’re forced to squint and take these unwelcomed cheek pinches, head rubs and chin yanks.

Here’s a fun experiment – the next time you’re at work, try doing this to one of your unsuspecting co-workers. Brush the back of your hand against your boss’s face in the break-room. Or maybe while you’re out getting your morning coffee, reach across the counter and give the barista a little ear wiggle. Think she’ll like it? Here’s a good one, the next time you’re using the restroom, engage the urinal on your left and pinch the guy’s nose. Probably won’t go over too well, eh?

Consider this blog post a public service announcement to new parents and for those who don’t have kids yet. Be prepared for the onslaught of dirty hands waiting to accost your sweet little child’s fresh face. Skip the fancy baby covers and just place a cardboard box around your baby’s stroller – it might prove to be more effective. And to all of you with the greasy, grabby hands, please stop touching without asking. If you do, be prepared for an annoyed parent to stick THEIR fingers in YOUR mouth.

From Colorado Parent June 2015

Womb With A View

In honor of this month's "Everything Baby" issue of Colorado Parent - my wife decided to have our baby 7 weeks early! Wasn't that nice of her?

 What a whirlwind the past couple weeks have been for us! Here's the haps, my wife Nicole had been extremely in-tune with her body during this pregnancy and we were enjoying all of the movements we were getting from our baby.  She was very active, and it was fun watching her use mama's belly as a punching bag.  This is why we became concerned when Nicole started noticing that she was not experiencing the movement from our daughter that we were used to.  Feeling something wasn't right, Nicole made an appointment to see what the heck was going on.

Nicole left work early to go see her OBGYN and they started administering the general "wake your baby up" tests.  They did a non-stress test, an ultrasound, and some general poking and pushing to see if they could stimulate our lazy fetus. I think they even tickled Nicole's feet with a feather, I'm not sure.  After some consultation from the medical team and some awkward whispering in the corner the doctors decided it was time for our baby to see the light.

Please enjoy this free wheelchair ride down to the hospital.

One emergency C-section and a couple of stressful hours later we had a small, but mighty little pea-pod enjoying some very expensive babysitters and one heck of a cool sauna machine in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  A place in the hospital we came to affectionately call the "womb with a view".

Sweet little Lyla Padgett had arrived to a couple of perplexed parents that were experiencing the reality of how things just sometimes don't go the way they're planned.

We both had to chuckle because the day before this all went down Nicole had dropped off our "Birth Plan Packet" to the hospital.  This packet was supposed to be our blueprint for how magical and perfect the birth of our daughter was supposed to be. For me, an over planner this was the Holy Grail of having a baby.  If you're a parent, or soon to be one,  you've probably filled out this packet for your birth experience.  It contains everything from aromatherapy births to what flavor Jell-O you want for your post push snack. 

Well, for us we might as well have taken that packet and run it through the shredder.  Life has a way of slapping you upside the placenta and sending you in a different direction.  No matter how much you plan and no matter how much you prepare sometimes you have to adapt to a different course.  Although we had the perfect scenario written out on paper for our experience, I feel the time we spent  in the NICU actually made us stronger and more appreciative as parents.  We came close to losing our little girl and in the process received a healthy dose of good ol' perspective.  Life as we know it has dramatically changed, and for that, we are truly grateful.

Our little Lyla is now home with her rambunctious 3 year old brother, an OCD dad who loves to vacuum and one Boston Terrier that likes to sneeze, snort and roll around next to her bassinet at 2:00 in the morning.  If Lyla only knew about the busy and noisy world she was entering, she probably would have given that ultrasound machine a little wave and continued to enjoy her little tummy vacation.


-As featured in Colorado Parent Magazine, May 2015

Delightfully Random

My wife and I collapsed onto the couch late one Friday night, our three-year-old son Reid had just been tucked into bed. Exhausted from a long week I did a once over on our living room - laughing out loud at the tornado that had gone through our house.  Not one thing was in its place; there were little bowls of snacks, pieces of clothing, action figures, Hot-Wheels, random silverware and for some odd reason...the Halloween decorations were out.

Slightly annoyed by the mess, I looked at my wife and asked her if our life will ever be normal AND clean again. She chuckled at me and said that one day we'll miss this big mess. One day the house will be quiet and it'll be just the two of us, one day we will long for the chaos. We'll miss the times that we affectionately like to call "delightfully random" in our home.

Allow me to regale you with some examples.  

While getting ready in the morning it's not uncommon to find snacks hidden in our shoes.  More than once I have pulled a half eaten string cheese out of my boots, or squished my toes into a stash of strawberries at the bottom of my Converse.  That groan from the other room, that's my wife with a foot covered in Mac and Cheese that for some reason was tucked away inside one of her heels.  I have no idea why my son does this. It's like he's a squirrel gathering nuts for winter hibernation, a tasty snack is always one sneaker away.  

At any given moment a major war might break my bathtub. Pulling back the shower curtain reveals little plastic army men marching along the rim of the tub. Hundreds of them lined up heading off to attack a shampoo bottle fortress.  I can't help but smile when I see what he has done and I don't have the heart to pick them up. I tip toe around the great battle during my next shower, silently cursing in pain when I step down on the bazooka guy by accident. 

And lastly, my day would not be complete if I didn't find the dog wandering around the house wrapped in a blanket wearing a plastic fireman's helmet. Looking up at me with the same disgusted look as I might have when surveying the damage in my messy living room. Sorry pooch, at least he's not making you slide down a pole. 

So here's a big fist bump to all the parents in the same boat as me right now. Although we're tired and flustered from the continual work around the house, the constant clean up, the sticky floors and the stains on the carpet.  Take a few minutes to just sit back and soak it all up.  Cherish your own stories and the constant reminders that a 3ft creative monster lives in your home.  One day we'll be all alone in a perfectly kept house longing for the days that were delightfully random.


As featured in Colorado Parent Magazine, April 2015