Category Archives: Parenting

Memory Monday – A Quiet Ride…Too Quiet

Our oldest daughter turned 16 last week.  That’s one of those significant, milestone birthdays because you can get your driver’s license.

Even though she’s been driving back and forth to school for over a year with a school permit… I still get nervous at the thought of her driving.  Not because she’s a bad driver (she’s not) but because I tend to be an overprotective Dad.

At supper tonight I told her the story of the very first time she made me nervous in a vehicle.  She was less than a month old and it was coming back from Christmas at our in-laws.  The longest car ride she had made at that point

It’s a two-hour trip and the drive there was during the day so I could see her in the review mirror the whole way.  As cautious first-time parents, my wife and I had a mirror suction-cupped in the back window so we could see her… even though she was in a rear-facing car seat.

The return trip was the one that was a little nerve-wracking.  We left after dark so we couldn’t see her in the mirror.  A half hour into the ride my wife and I started to be concerned that my daughter was quiet in the back seat.  A little too quiet.

Was she OK? Had she stopped breathing?  Logic told us she was just fine and sleeping… but being newbie parents, after some debate, we felt compelled to pull over at the next rest stop.

Turns out she was sleeping… that is, until the car stopped, the overhead light came on, and she woke up.

That did not make her happy at all.  She cried most of the remaining way home.  My wife and I kicked ourselves for our nervous, rookie mistake and vowed to never make that one again!

Fast forward 16 years and not much has changed.  My daughter still gets cranky when you wake her up from a nap. 🙂

What’s  a rookie parenting mistake you made?

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A Dad’s Album Review: Taylor Swift’s Reputation

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that my daughters (and me) are big Taylor Swift fans.  We’ve seen her in concert several times and one of my favorite “Dad” moments was getting a picture of Taylor, my daughters, and me.

I reviewed her 1989 album from a Dad’s perspective so I knew I wanted to use the same lens to tackle her Reputation album.

Of course, my daughters were excited about the album.  They had me waiting outside the Target nearest my office on release day to get both Target exclusive editions.

With two copies of Taylor Swift’s Reputation album in our house… I was able to snag one to listen to and review.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure of what to make of the album after hearing it the first time. I bordered on wanting to like it and thinking I should like it just because my daughters were in love with it.

The thing is… the more I listened to it… the more I began to love it.  It’s kind of like a pair of shoes that at first, you regret buying, but then becomes your favorite pair.

After several listens to this album I felt like every song is both “fresh” and “new” but also has a familiar feel.  Several times I caught myself trying to figure out what a particular part of a song reminded me of only to come up short.  Like I said… it’s familiar… but it’s new!

Taylor Swift’s Reputation album is definitely not country.  It’s a mixture of dance, electronica, hip-hop, and pop.  It’s the most mature album she’s done… which makes sense.  Taylor isn’t a child star anymore.  She’s a woman and sings about grown-up themes; love, loss, lust, hurt, betrayal, confusion, clarity, and personal awareness.

Even though there are adult topics covered on the album, Tayor writes her lyrics in such a way that I feel are “safe” for all ages.  There’s an “S bomb” and a “damn” in the album but that’s about it for lyrics that some parents might find questionable

It’s obvious that this is Taylor’s most personal album yet… and I think that’s probably why her biggest fans (like my daughters) will say that Reputation is their favorite Taylor Swift album to date.

Of the 15 songs on the album… here are a few of my favorites:

Are You Ready For It –  The album kicks off with a bang.  The beat, effects, and production of this song rock.

Look What You Made Me Do – The only thing more fun than this song is its’ video.  I love how Taylor was able to make fun of herself (and her critics) at the end.

Gorgeous – The thing I noticed first about this song and what I love the most is the use of the triangle in it. It’s a simple instrument addition to a very slickly produced track

Dress – A co-worker described this song as “sexy and seductive”.  She was right.  That describes this song perfectly.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things – I included this one because it’s one of my oldest’s favorites on the album.

New Year’s Day – This is my favorite song on the album.  It’s the most stripped down, simple song of the 15 tracks and is the perfect way to close out the album.  Even though she declared that “the old Taylor is dead” in Look What You Made Me Do… it’s obvious to me in this song that the old Taylor might not be dead… but just in a coma.

Have you heard Taylor Swift’s Reputation album? What are your thoughts? What are your favorite songs on it?

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Memory Monday – Pork & Beans

As a parent, you’re constantly looking for ways to motivate your kids.  Sometimes rewards work.  Other times that motivation can come in the way of fear.

When I was younger my parents used fear in the form of a can of pork and beans.   The threat went like this: if I got a detention in school my supper would be a can of pork and beans.  I hated them growing up.

It was effective because I never got a detention.  The closest I ever got was in middle school band.  Probably 6th grade.  The entire trumpet section got a group detention.  I was nervous to tell my parents but made the case that it wasn’t my fault so I shouldn’t be held accountable.

Apparently, I did a good job presenting my argument because I got what the rest of my family had for supper that night.

By the way, my aversion to pork and beans is gone.  I realized about 15 years ago that my tastes had changed and that I didn’t mind pork and beans.

It was on a guys week away horseback riding with my father-in-law and brothers-in-law in South Dakota. Our evening meals consisted of grilled meat and beans.  On the second night, I thought, “I should try pork and beans.  See if I like them now.”

Turns out they weren’t bad.  Still not my most favorite, but I don’t mind a serving every once in awhile.  Especially with a burger or BBQ.

Once I realized that I could eat beans I set out to try them more often.  I found out my absolute favorite beans are my aunt’s homemade baked beans. They’re delicious and I’d happily eat them anytime.  They’re a favorite of my youngest daughter’s too!  I need to get that recipe to add to my collection.

What food would’ve kept you from getting a detention?

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