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Dad up! I once thought it took grit to man up. 




“You’re taking your family vacation where?!” That was the usual response when I told people I was taking my wife and three kids to the happiest place on Earth (for dads).

“Well, Disneyland is sick with measles. But Las Vegas has plenty to do for kids! It’s a warm paradise with rides for a fraction of the cost of Atlantis or a cruise. And it doesn’t waste two days of torturous travel to get there.” That was the pitch I fed the family. Then I had to back it up.

I did a lot of research and I figured I’d share my findings for the next parent desperately scouring the web to be a vacation hero.  It’s also a good excuse to show my photos. This is different from the sponsored travel sites I sifted through. This is a real list from a dad out to prove he wasn’t a degenerate dragging his family along while he gambled. Like my father used to do me.

To be fair, my Dad isn’t a degenerate. In my adolescence, there was no internet and the Vegas idea of fun was smoke-filled slot rooms not the Rainforest Cafe. My Dad, my Uncle and our Grandparents flew us to the desert year after year proclaiming that the seedy capital of sin had transitioned into a family friendly oasis. They would make their annual promise to do more family things together. Then my cousins and I would spend “vacations” burning through rolls of quarters in arcades, playing Keno in coffee shops and collecting free porn from all the trade magazines. Now that sin city and I have matured (slightly), I was determined to break the cycle of Vegas vs family abuse.

I succeeded. All my skeptic whiners had a blast and were exhausted so that I could sneak off to gamble after bedtime. Here’s how I did it. And you can too.

*Many of these you can buy a pass to bundle and get a better deal. Like when you split a pair of twos. Okay, maybe my Blackjack advice is not as proven.

  1. A pool – This is essential. It’s the best way to entertain, tire-them out, spend warm hours and not your bank. Except for all our poolside cocktails, virgin and real. Our vacation was still in winter when many hotel pools are closed. For February we lucked out with warmish weather. It’s very important to research which pools are open and heated. Your vacation pleasure may depend on the hotel pool you pick. click here for a list.
  2. Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden, Dolphin Habitat – This was awesome. Dolphins are adorable and do tricks. Siegfried was roaming around the tiger grounds checking on things. My wife was going to do the yoga class in the underwater dolphin observatory had time permitted.dolphins
  3. (continue reading…)


Do you know that recent blog where I shared my anguish as a losing little league coach? Remember how I vowed I would never volunteer to coach again? So try to answer this: only three weeks after those wounds had healed, why on earth would I volunteer to coach again?

A. I still sought the party, the thanks, and the joy I never got from my other coaching seasons.

B. This was basketball which, unlike soccer, I knew and could actually teach.

C. I’m a petty competitor and needed to put a win on my abysmal coaching record.

D. No one else would do it.

E. I am a martyr and, like the sick people who cut themselves to feel, I suffer the screams of unruly children to remind myself that I am a hero.

F. Despite my blog and all of my whining, deep down I’m a loving father who actually enjoys helping children learn valuable life-lessons.

G. All of the above

If you answered “G. All of the above” you are not only wrong but you are an A- hole and no longer my friend. The correct answer is “D”, jerk! Just like the last time I coached, and the time before that, and every volunteer job ever, I was the last one holding the “not it” coaching grenade when it exploded.

Three days before the first practice my 8 year-old’s coach ruptured his Achilles tendon.The bullying league gave us that familiar ultimatum: someone step-up or your kids will have no team. All of us parents waited for someone to blink in the volunteer show-down.  No one expected me to do it again. Perhaps they read my blog and took pity. Or more likely, they didn’t want me to coach their kids with my poor record and my very public dislike of children. I couldn’t blame them.

I agreed to take a car full of the neighborhood kids to the first practice and see if a solution had been found. I hoped that the league might have miraculously found some other poor sap to coach. Just like becoming a father, I guess I should have known what might happen when I went in there unprotected. Whoa! As I feared, the league rep confirmed that by showing up, I had the job and there was no help coming. As it is with parenting, the job plops on to your lap and you have the choice to either jump in and guide them, or run away and hope that someone else takes care of them. That first practice I walked into a trap. Eight boys with basketballs waited with only myself there to fall on the grenade. Boom.

That first practice confirmed three things:

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The Seahawks fought so hard to give us a chance to post our mockumercial another year. We got great response last year, and it seemed to bring the Seahawks luck. Amazing work, Ransom Cosper and cast of screamers. Despite what that old Hollywood adage says; never work with kids, animals, Seattle sun or pregnant wives. (No, that’s not my prego wife. Phew)

Please keep sharing before Dr. Dre pulls the plug. Thanks!

dad plane              adrift

Day 1: “Travel day” as my wife calls it. That means it doesn’t count towards the “hall pass” I was earning. (earning in my mind, that is) The visit is with all of her family in the outskirts of New Mexico with limited beer access, no Wi-Fi and only two local TV channels. In my mind that would earn me six months without kids in a Las Vegas penthouse.
Our trip did not start auspiciously. (continue reading…)

Santa’s little tattler, The Elf on the Shelf, causes fear in all of us.  Last year I announced on the social networks that I was going to take care of the creepy, peeping rat in Goodfellas style.


For those not familiar with the leering imp, let me alert you. (continue reading…)

loser ribbonYou wake up at 7:30am. Your head is pounding. It’s not from the Halloween celebrations the night before, it’s pounding with some screechy Ariana Grande song that hasn’t left your head since your daughter’s carpool days ago. Now it’s Saturday. “Dadurday”. In just three hours you will coach your son’s soccer team to their eighth straight loss, capping a winless season where they were outscored 49 to 1. At least your nine weeks of hell as a volunteer coach will be over. (continue reading…)

child brain


Thenkidshappened.com. Thanks Kym Campbell for illustrating these findings.

boxtrollsIf you think The Boxtrolls is scary, try taking ten 7-year-olds to see it. Yikes! But since I have to celebrate my kid’s birthday, it beat the horrifying alternative of hosting ten sugar-frenzied 7-year-olds in my home.

The Boxtrolls is a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, you should go before reading further. Once you have then – Spoiler Alert: The film industry is back to its old tricks; turning on us dads (continue reading…)

coachhug willferrell

While searching for coaching tips to help my hopeless, winless band of 6-year-old dirt-diggers, I discovered this must-read gem for all parents. I was frustrated and desperate thinking that my kids needed more motivation and guidance from me. This article made me see that’s not want they want, nor what they need. (continue reading…)

broken bart

Summer, you kicked my ass again. I thought this was going to be the year I finally beat my great nemesis. But after one broken arm, one murdered cat, excessive amounts of screen-time, and a blog untouched in six weeks, I accept defeat.  And, while some of you are flaunting back to school pics, I’ve still got weeks to go!

For a father blogger who is home days, summer break is my monster in the closet. I know it’s there. I know it will get me. But I inevitably pull the covers over my head and hope I survive to see tomorrow.

This year was going to be different. Or so I thought. (continue reading…)