They’re Heeere! Brand New Editions of “The Expectant Father” and “The New Father” Are Out

The brand-spankin’-new, updaed, revised, improved editions of The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be (Fourth Edition) and The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year (Third Edition) are here!

With more than a million copies sold, both are considered the classics in the field. They’ve been completely revamped for the modern dad and feature the very latest research and discussions for today’s fathers.

We’re Baaaaack—in School

Back to school is a crazy time of year, and not many parents relish all the last-minute shopping for supplies. But no matter what your kids need for school this year, they’ll definitely need a backpack to haul it around in. Here are some fun and functional choices for your students.


bixby backpackBixbee

Got a little one entering Pre-K or Kindergarten this year? He or she will love Bixbee, and so will you. These packs are adorable and come in a variety of great patterns and styles. Some have wings, some have animal faces and ears, heck, there are even shark fins. Bixbee also has a line of more typical backpacks and tamer color palettes for bigger kids. These backpacks are well-made, PVC-, BPA-, phthalate-, and lead free, and come in several sizes, which is more important than you think: The American Occupational Association says that to help your child avoid chronic pain, backpacks should rest “in the curve of the lower back” and never more than four inches below the child’s waistline. Not content to simply combine style and safety, Bixbee also donates a schoolbag with supplies to a needy child for every backpack purchased. For more info, visit


wildkins backpackWildkin

Wildkin’s matching backpacks and lunch bags are great for kids who like all their things to match (or for parents who find it easier to grab everything when it all looks the same). Besides backpacks and lunchboxes, there are also matching nap mats, sports bags, duffels, pencil cases, big-kid bedding sets, and more. The patterns are delightful. The only drawback is that they aren’t quite as sturdy as some others, so if your child is tough on his or her gear, you may not be able to use this year’s pack next year. Prices vary.


chooze backpackChooze

Chooze bags and coordinated lunch boxes are really durable (meaning that they can stand up to being used by adults) and come in great patterns. They also have padded straps (those packs will get heavier and heavier as the year progresses), plenty of pockets and pouches, and zippers that stay zipped and don’t catch, As an added bonus, they’re completely reversible—just turn it inside out and you’ve got a whole new look without you having to buy a new pack. $25-$44 at


noosa yoghurtNoosa Yoghurt

Looking for something delicious to stick into lunchboxes this year? Noosa’s great taste and flavor combinations, along with the fact that it’s produced in small batches on a family farm, make this unlike any other yogurt on the market today. Made with all natural whole milk, fresh fruit purees, and honey, it’s also all natural, gluten-free, and probiotic, so it’s good for the whole family. Comes in lunchbox- and grown-up sizes in unique flavors like Cranberry Apple, Pumpkin, Honey, and Strawberry Rhubarb, and more traditional ones like Vanilla and Blueberry.  Find a store that sells Noosa near you at


simply7 sea saltSimply 7

Another easy lunchbox ingredient is chips. No, not all are very health, but Simply 7’s are. Chips come in Quinoi, Lentil, and Hummus (unusual sounding but incredibly tasty) and are vegetarian, non-GMO, kosher, gluten free, and have up to 50% less fat than regular potato chips. Flavors include sea salt, spicy chili pepper, roasted red peppers, creamy dill, and jalapeno, BBQ, cheddar, and bruschetta. Best of all, the ingredients are simple and pronounceable (except possibly bruschetta). Available at many large and small retailers. To find one near you, visit


Pre-game Rituals: What They Are and Why We Need Them

Credit: Flickr/majorvols

pregame ritualBy nature, humans are pretty superstitious and we do all sorts of things to bring us good luck (rub a rabbit’s foot, pick a four-leaf clover, pull wishbones apart, hang horseshoes with the open end up) or prevent bad luck (try not to break a mirror, don’t open an umbrella indoors, throw salt over your left shoulder, skip the 13th floor in tall buildings, and on and on). Nearly every group of people has its own luck-related superstitions (many Catholics cross themselves, many Jews don’t name their children after living relatives, actors say “break a leg” instead of “good luck” and refer Shakespeare’s Macbeth as “The Scottish Play,” musicians have theirs, construction workers have theirs, and so on.)

One of the most superstitious groups is athletes. Lebron James used to toss chalk; Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs wrote the Hebrew word for “life” in the dirt every time he came up to the plate and ate chicken (presumably kosher) before every game; former pro football player Ray Lewis did his squirrel dace for the fans; French soccer player Lauren Blanc used to kiss the top of his goalie’s bald head. There are team rituals too: some have a team meal the day before each game, some kneel in prayer before games, some slap the top of the dugout before running on to the field, and others just have a rousing “get-out-there-and-win-win-win!” cheer.

We often hear that sports involves much more than physical performance. Many experts agree that the mental part of any game is just as important. (Baseball philosopher Yogi Berra did the math a little differently when he said that “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”)

Credit: Flickr/majorvols

Credit: Flickr/majorvols

Just as pre-game stretching and warm ups prepare the body, the kind of pre-game rituals I’ve described here prepare the mind. They’re designed to build the individual’s or the team’s confidence, reduce anxiety, make players feel that they control the outcome, and help them stay focused. Do they work? (Would Wade Boggs be in the Hall of Fame if he were a vegetarian? Would he have played even better if he’d eaten carrots instead?). It’s impossible to say for sure, but I’m fairly certain that the answer is Yes, they do. If the coach’s or a teammate’s pep talk revs up the players and makes the team feel like an unstoppable force, they’re going to play harder and support each other more than if they just showed up 10 minutes before the game. And if you’re nervous before games and meditating, painting your toenails, or wearing a pair of socks you haven’t washed all season calms you, you’re going to play better. How could you not? As long as they’re positive, supportive, and healthy, pregame rituals are must-haves for any team or individual.

This summer, I’ve been partnering with Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes on their “Show Your Stripes” campaign, which is all about encouraging dads and kids to play sports with a sense of passion, sportsmanship, and team spirit. You can view an amazing video highlighting these themes on Frosted Flakes’ YouTube page, featuring the famous speech given last year by Coach David Belisle at the Little League World Series after his team lost:


A lot of that passion, sportsmanship, and team spirit starts before the game, with a ritual of some kind. Kellogg’s has a fun video about pre-game rituals here:

Did you or your teammates have any rituals when you were young? Does your child’s team have one? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Tweet it using #showyourstripes and help other dads and kids show theirs.

My Progressive Drive Safe Today Day Pledge

hospital ER sign - publicdomainpictures-net

stop sign - from photos-public-domain-comI’ll admit it: Before I had kids, I drove like a maniac. Yellow lights meant “floor it” and red lights and stop signs were often optional. I spent my junior year of college living in France and got a job with a cousin of mine driving all over Paris making deliveries. One of his favorite lines was that he’d never get into a car with me without a second pair of underwear.

Not surprisingly, I was pulled over plenty of times and did get into a few accidents, although, amazingly, only one of them was my fault (I was driving down San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley on a gorgeous, sunny day, got distracted by an equally gorgeous girl in an outrageously short skirt, and rear-ended the guy in front of me. I tried to blame the accident on her, but the cop just rolled his eyes). Miraculously, I never killed or injured anyone.

speedometer - photos-public-domain-comBut I still remember where I was when the realization hit me (better a realization than another vehicle) that I had to make some changes. My first child was due in a few weeks and I had responsibilities—people needed me to be alive.

zoe at ERIn the years since that little epiphany, I haven’t had a ticket and have been involved in only one accident: Some jerk (maybe a young me) ran a red light and t-boned me, then drove off. My car was totaled and my youngest daughter and I were carted off in an ambulance. In yet another minor miracle, with the exception of my back still being in near constant pain, both of us have fully recovered. Chalk up another victory for seatbelts and sheer luck.

progressive drive safe logoBecause two of my three kids are driving and the third is just a few short years away from getting behind the wheel of a car, I’m taking a pledge to be a better driver. I know that’s a phrase that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But for me, it simply means paying more attention to safety and the basic things I can do to make our roads safer for my kids and yours. So no texting or checking email or using GPS or making phone calls—even if I’m just sitting at a red light. No fishing around on the floor for something I dropped. That’s a lot of Nos.

On the Yes side, I pledge to cut other drivers some slack. The woman who cut in front of me so rudely? The kid who nearly sideswiped me? The old guy who was going 45 in the fast lane? Instead of flipping them off or leaning on the horn, I’ll take a few deep breaths and, like Queen Elsa in Frozen, I’ll just let it go. I can’t control how other people drive, only how I react to it. And sitting behind the wheel of a 2,000+ pound weapon, the potential to do instant, permanent damage is huge.

hospital ER sign - publicdomainpictures-net

I invite you to join Progressive and me on September 3rd, 2015, for Drive Safe Today Day. Take the pledge to make the roads safer. Learn more about the initiative by liking Progressive on Facebook and following @Progressive on Twitter. Stay alert, focused and calm while you’re on the road—and help as many people as you can do the same. To paraphrase Smokey Bear (who said, “Only you can prevent forest fires”), only you can make our roads safe. The life you save could be your own—or your child’s.


This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. For additional driving safety tips, check out Progressive’s Drive Safe Today Day program.



Transitioning to Middle School: From Big Fish to Small

back to school

back to school


Dear Mr. Dad: My son is starting middle school next week. His previous school was K-5 so this is a new one for him. He’s nervous and, honestly so am I. He’s a smart kid but has always had trouble finishing assignments and turning work in on time. I’m worried that if he does the same in middle school, he’ll be setting himself up for even more trouble in high school and beyond. What can I do to help him (and myself) get ready for this big transition?

The transition from elementary- to middle school is kind of like the transition from half-day preschool or kindergarten to full-day first grade: it’s going to be a huge change in your son’s—and your—life. Until now, he’s probably spent each school year in a single classroom with a single teacher and the schedule was largely the same every day. But now, that comfort and security is being replaced by different teachers in different classrooms—each with different rules, binders, homework policies, and learning environments. Middle school is also a lot more tech-heavy than elementary school. My daughter’s school, for example, has the kids use Google docs, which are accessible from anywhere, for all assignments. The old “the-dog-ate-my-homework” or “Oops-I-left-it­-at-home” excuses won’t fly anymore.
[Read more…]

#FallBackToSchool Twitter Party, Thursday, August 27, 7-8pm EST — Great Convo and Great Prizes

A - first day of school pancake

I’m partnering with @FollettNews, @SimplyBeingMom, and @RosalindWiseman for a great back-to-school Twitter party.
Fall-Back-to-School-Twitter-PartyWe’ll be discussing tips for a seamless back-to-school transition and sharing experiences with fellow parents–plus giving away some really great prizes!

  • Prize 1: $50 Visa gift card
  • Prize 2: $50 Visa gift card
  • Prize 3: $100 Visa gift card
  • Prize 4: $100 Visa gift card
  • Grand Prize: 1 iPad and 1 $200 Visa gift card

Hopefully, you had a fantastic summer. But any day now, your kids will be heading back to school. Whether it’s a child’s first day of preschool, middle school, high school, or college, it can be a challenging time for everyone. Fortunately, the folks at Follett have got tons of great resources to guide you and your kids every step of the way.

A - first day of school pancakeIn my family, we’ve always had special first-day-of-school rituals. When my sisters and I were young, my parents always served us a breakfast that was heavy on the honey. The idea was that we should always remember that learning is sweet. When I had my own kids, I was planning to carry on the tradition, but my oldest didn’t like honey, so I came up with a new tradition: A-B-C pancakes covered in maple syrup (the learning-is-sweet message remains the same). None of us can imagine a first day of school without those cherished alphabet pancakes.