Back in the gym, as a family


A few months ago, I wrote about how I had finally gotten back in the gym. Unfortunately, I only made it a few months before my time crunch of a schedule made it practically impossible. I was going to the gym at work during lunch, but it was cutting into my “working” time while at work. I could go before work, but that would mean waking up before 4 AM. I could go after work, but that would mean less time with my wife and kids after spending all day away.

This week, we changed that. And by we, I mean my wife and I. We became members of our local YMCA. One factor made us choose the Y over other gyms, and it wasn’t price. I’ll admit that we pay a little more for the Y over other gyms, but it comes with one key feature that other gyms in our area don’t have..

Since we have 3 young kids, we had two choices. Either we have to go to the gym in shifts, and lose the motivation that having your spouse there with you would provide, or we find a gym with childcare. The YMCA was option 2. This way, we’re able to bring our kids to somewhere trusted, and be only a few rooms away while we’re able to workout together.

We can bring them to the pool, teach them how to swim, and show them that we are doing something to stay healthy and active. This will hopefully get the kids involved in physical fitness, and help fight off the childhood obesity that’s rampant in the US.

This is the re-start of our journey to be more healthy, physically, mentally, and financially. We’re going to eat, as much as possible, food that is natural, organic or local. We’re going to fix our credit and finances so we can buy a house in the next year. We are going to make our life, and the life of our kids, better.

Teaching Our Kids Science

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As our kids get older, I start thinking about the fact that the twins will be going to kindergarten soon. This means that they will be involved in a real, structured education system. And I’m excited.

Math, science, language, and more. While I admittedly didn’t apply myself during my high school years as much as I should have (who knows what life might be like if I had), I hope to inspire the kids to do the opposite. It also means that I can get involved with all the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects that I remember from my youth.

Hopefully my involvement will help inspire them to get more involved in one of the STEM fields, and be able to apply that as they get older. I was a huge fan of space and model rockets when I was growing up, but unfortunately I lost focus on that as the years went on. While I’m involved in computers professionally now, it’s a field I only really started to embrace as an adult.

There are so many great opportunities in the STEM fields, and I hope that the connections I have made as an adult will allow me to expose the kids to those things. Whether they choose to get involved in the puzzle that is lockpicking (which I’m sure they will), or start ripping electronics apart to understand how they work, or in 3D printing, or in the maker community, my wife and I will be there. Answering questions, giving advice, and, most importantly, not giving up.

There are so many incredible opportunities available for the kids of this generation, and I can’t wait to expose our kids to them. Hopefully we can help our kids keep reaching for the stars, always trying to improve.

Also, it’s just as important for me to teach our daughter that these same opportunities exist for her. She’s not stuck in the typical “female jobs,” but can be a scientist, or an engineer, or involved in mathematics. I plan to expose her to the same things that I expose the twins to. It will definitely be harder, but the “girl toys” are starting to make the change. Just look at “Computer Engineer Barbie“, who is definitely involved in STEM.

I may not know the answer to the math problems they bring home, but I’ll do my best to understand it and help them understand it. I may not know exactly where a wire or connector goes, but together we can figure it out. I may not know how to turn the thing you’re imagining into a 3D printed model, but we’ll figure it out together.

When we give our kids the opportunities to be life-long learners, they’ll hopefully grab a hold and take actions. There are so many possibilities for our children’s generation, and it’s our responsibility to help them along which ever path they choose.

science_bitchEdit: If you’re looking for a great book about science experiments you can do with your kids, look no further than Mike Adamick’s upcoming “Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments” which is live today in Kindle version, and in physical copy on 4/18 on Amazon.

Oh The Places I’ve Been

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As you’ve probably (hopefully) noticed, I haven’t posted in a little while. Turns out that parenting, while working an hour away from home, means you don’t have a lot of free time. Add in my beer blog (www.tomshouseofbeer.wordpress.com)/FB page (https://www.facebook.com/TomsBeerHouse), lockpicking (https://www.facebook.com/tooolpwm?ref=hl), snow (oh my hell, there’s been so much snow in Maine this year), and this plague that’s been going around (one of the twins ended up admitted to the hospital for 2 days with pneumonia), and before you know it, you have a couple of hours a day of personal time.

Hopefully things start to smooth out soon, and I’ll get more posts up.

On a related note, this sickness is the worst. I can handle normal sick kids, but adding in pneumonia makes it a thousand times worse. We knew he wasn’t doing great, but this was awful. All of a sudden, I was glad I had sick days. I stayed home for a few days, so my wife could be at the hospital with our sick one, and I could get the other twin to preschool. Of course, the day our sick kid is better and able to come home, I get to stay home because the base is closed (another snow storm).

When it comes to the beer world, I’ve been slowly getting more involved, as free time allows. I missed out on Portsmouth Beer Week 2014 because I just didn’t have the free time to get out to one of the events.

In the lockpicking world, we’ve had some good events. We went back to Portland (Maine) for the first time since last summer, and got a good draw. This might just mean that we’ll be making trips back to Portland every few months for meetings. Hopefully we’ll have some more people showing up, since we stopped meetings there due to low turnout.

Finally, the kids are getting so damn big. They all have a birthday this summer. The twins turn 5, the “and then” turns 3. That means that this fall we’ll have kindergarteners. When did they get so big? I remember the twins in the NICU, weighing only a couple of pounds, and “and then” being a chubby little baby (now she’s just a chubby toddler. Time really does fly. You blink and your kids are suddenly entirely too big.

So, what’s been up with you?

Why Do I Write? #sponsored

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I use Grammarly for proofreading online because if we use bad grammar, the terrorists win.

Why do we write? It’s a question that comes across the minds of bloggers every so often. Some write because they want to tell a story, whether true or false. Some write because it helps pass on the knowledge they’re gained about their particular experience (premature birth, multiple births, autism, ADHD, food allergies/sensitivities, etc). The list goes on and on, and every blogger you ask will give you a different answer.

I write primarily because when I started looking for answers about my wife’s upcoming twin pregnancy, there weren’t a whole lot of “dads of twins” bloggers out there. I got really interested in Joe Rawlinson’s Dad’s Guide to Twins blog. Flash forward a few months, and I had thrown together a post that appeared on Dad’s Guide to Twins about my experience as a first time dad of premature twins in the NICU. I still go back to it every so often to remember how much things have changed (it’s at How to Survive Preemie Twins in the NICU on the Dad’s Guide to Twins blog).

As time went on, I kept reading some great dad blogs. One day, I decided that it was time to take the words in my head and get them on the web. My blog was born, and suddenly I became a “dad blogger.” While there aren’t as many of us as “mommy bloggers,” we are a tight-knit community, with a Facebook group, and the Dad 2.0 Summit. I’m no longer a guy looking for help with this crazy thing we call parenting, I’m one of the guys who has (some of) the answers for new and up and coming dads of twins.

I write because I hope that one day a new dad will stumble across my blog, and see that he’s not the first one going through this, and that I can help in some way. I write because it helps me get the frustrations of the day out (when I can find the time). I write because I enjoy writing, and telling our story.

Why ROGAINE is Right for Me (and you too) #sponsored

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“I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Dad Central for ROGAINE®. I received a product sample and promotional item to thank me for participating.”

ROGAINE® is one of those products that I always saw, whether on TV or in the grocery store, but I never took it seriously. I’ve been thinning on the top of my head, watching the Widow’s Peak grow bigger and bigger, giving me more forehead and less scalp. I just never pulled the trigger and bought ROGAINE®. Fortunately, I was provided a sample of ROGAINE® Foam as part of the ROGAINE® Influencer program.

When I started noticing that my hair was thinning, I knew I had two options: sit back, let it happen and go bald, or take control, find something that works and make a commitment to solving the problem. As soon as I learned about the benefits of ROGAINE® Foam (especially that nearly 9 out of 10 men regrow hair when used twice daily over 16 weeks), I knew this was the best solution to my problem.

Now you’re thinking about going to the store and picking up a bottle of ROGAINE® Foam. Well, DO IT! You know that it works, but for some reason you haven’t pulled the trigger. It’s super easy. Apply the foam to your bald spot in the morning and at night, and in a few weeks (STICK WITH IT!) you’ll notice hair growing back. Or maybe your wife, or girlfriend, or kids, or coworkers will be the ones who notice.

It’s only been a couple of weeks since I started using ROGAINE® so I haven’t noticed any results yet, but I’m sticking with it. I don’t have to be locked in by my genes, and end up shaving my head a lot sooner than I want to. I can have the full head of hair that I deserve, and when you try ROGAINE®, so can you.

The Power of Pictures

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When the twins were very young, and even before they were born, we took lots of pictures. They had a particularly tough first few months of life, beginning with 6 weeks in the NICU.

My wife recently started using an old laptop again, and found a whole bunch of older pictures. She hadn’t used that laptop since 2009, so there were a lot of pictures from that year. That was the Year of the Twins. We went from finding out she was pregnant, to finding out there were two, to premature birth, to crawling, babbling, little five-month-olds.

It was a whirlwind of emotions, from both of us, as we saw pre-pregnancy trips to Savannah, GA, and the lake near where we lived in 2008-2009. There were ultrasound pictures. There were pictures a few days after the twins were born, and their whole time in the NICU. You could see their faces and bodies changing in just that short 6-week period. There are pictures of our immaculate apartment (it’s amazing what having 3 kids does to a place).

Then they’re home with us, and smiling, and giggling, and enjoying life. Of course there was a picture of me passed out holding a child, at 4 AM. Before you know it, there’s tummy time, and crawling. As we sat there, I was so glad we had these pictures. Not just so we could see them, but so the twins can see them. They may not remember the first time they crawled, or what their giggles were like, or their time in the NICU, but through these pictures they can see what we saw.

While we fortunately don’t have NICU pictures of our youngest, we did take a lot of pictures with her too. We fortunately have them all backed up (like we did now that we found these other pictures), and we’re able to show her what her growth was like from our perspective too. We keep the house full of pictures of them all, and they love seeing not just old pictures of us, but old pictures of them.

We’ve tried to take pictures of all of us together, but it’s definitely been a lot of us taking a picture of them, not us taking a picture of us. Hopefully as the weather warms up, we’ll start taking more beach pictures, and we’ll keep taking pictures of us all, as they grow and as we age. We’ll be able to look back on them, like I did a few years ago when I was given stacks of pictures from my childhood.

ROGAINE Joins with Bill Rancic to “Grow Your Game” #GotItFree

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“I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Dad Central for ROGAINE®. I received a product sample and promotional item to thank me for participating.”

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Some of you may be familiar with Bill Rancic as the winner of Season 1 of “The Apprentice.” You might also be familiar with him as a motivational speaker, real estate developer, restaurant owner, or author of a best-selling book on business. Rancic’s life is documented on the hit reality show Giuliana & Bill, in which he stars with his wife, E! News Anchor, Giuliana Rancic.

ROGAINE® has teamed up with Bill and a team of “Growth Coaches” for a new program to help men be better men. This program is known as “Grow Your Game,” and I love the idea behind it. The program’s initial goal is to help 5 guys become better men, using 5 Coaches. One coach provides life advice, another style advice, relationship advice, health & fitness, and finally grooming & hair. One of Bill’s goals when he got involved in the program is to talk to guys about conquering real issues, taking control of their appearance, and gaining the confidence to grow and succeed. The best thing about the program is that all of the coaches’ advice (as well as the guys’ stories and progress) is online at the Grow Your Game website.

Up until I got involved with ROGAINE®, I was unaware the Bill was even losing hair. Fortunately, he was able to take charge of his hair loss before it was too late.

I got the chance, thanks to ROGAINE® and Dad Central to interview Bill, and I learned how committed he is, not just to this program, but to keeping his own hair. He is also a busy dad, traveling all over the country, and still takes the time to be an involved parent and husband. Thanks to this program, he genuinely cares about helping men be the best man they can be.

If you know me, or have seen pictures of me, you know that for quite a few years I have suffered from hair loss. It started out slowly, then before I knew it there was a lot more forehead where there used to be hair. Fortunately, I was provided a sample of ROGAINE® Foam as part of the ROGAINE® Influencer program. When I started using ROGAINE® Foam, it felt good to know that I was doing something about my hair loss. This meant worrying less about hair loss in order to focus more time and attention on going after my goals.

When I started noticing that my hair was thinning, I knew I had two options: sit back, let it happen and go bald, or take control, find something that works and make a commitment to solving the problem. Fortunately, my time both in the military and as a husband and dad have led me to be a problem solver. As soon as I learned about the benefits of ROGAINE® Foam (especially that nearly 9 out of 10 men regrow hair when used twice daily over 16 weeks), I knew this was the best solution to my problem.

I’m sure a few of you are now scratching your foreheads, or that bald spot, where there used to be more hair. Guys, don’t let thinning hair hold you back – trust me, you’re not alone. When I realized hereditary hair loss affects 40% of men, I decided it was time to take control and started using Men’s ROGAINE® Foam.

Now you’re thinking about going to the store and picking up a bottle of ROGAINE® Foam. Well, DO IT! You know that it works, but for some reason you haven’t pulled the trigger. It’s super easy. Apply the foam to your bald spot in the morning and at night, and in a few weeks (STICK WITH IT!) you’ll notice hair growing back. Or maybe your wife, or girlfriend, or kids, or coworkers will be the ones who notice.

Success comes from more than just having confidence in yourself and your appearance. It’s all about knowing the rules of the game. Whether it’s your life, your relationship or your job, everyone wants to grow and succeed. Maybe getting your hair back will be the thing that helps you succeed.

Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews


I’ve decided that starting 1/1/2014, I’ll be spinning the “Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews” section of this blog off into its own blog. Haven’t decided if I’m sticking with that name, but it will be nothing but beer reviews.

Check out some of my past reviews, and see what to expect: http://twinsandthen.wordpress.com/category/beer/