Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kid Friendly/Adult Approved Party Mix Vol. 3 - Dj RyB

Here's Volume 3 of my Kid Friendly/Adult Approved Party Mix. You can listen in the playlist above or go directly to Spotify in the link below.  Enjoy!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Funny Things My Kids Do - #2: Bouncin' Baby Gronk

As you can tell here, 3 year old James is a big kid for his size. Ever since he was a baby, I called him Baby Gronk (aka Baby Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots) and he really proved that wearing the jersey last weekend and doing some Gronk like things.

He has no fear and also gets a kick out of doing things that might get him or his brothers hurt but I think that is expected with the middle child. They love running and jumping on this big exercise ball and bouncing off it like a trampoline but this was one of the best I've seen in awhile.

Don't worry, he held his head for a second after but he was fine. He started laughing and thought it was hysterical. Patrick on the other hand, couldn't care less. He's more concerned with combining baseball and golf into one sport...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Funny Things My Kids Do - #1: Toddler Milk Chug

Whenever I hear a woman say "you guys are all the same", I get a little fired up because it's such a lame generalization or cliche. However, it's hard to argue with that when you see something like this. 

I don't even drink milk, yet alone chug it out of the bottle, so I have no idea where John got this idea. As he so clearly states, he learned it from "my brain". Fair enough, buddy. I can't fault you for the efficiency. Why bother getting a cup in the cabinet that you can't even reach when you can just pound it right there, put it back in the fridge, and be done with it.

I'm chalking it up to instincts that have been passed down from generation to generation. I'm not sure I want to know what's next. We can do some gross things as guys, now that I think about it...

Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Fit Three Car Seats Across in Almost Any Vehicle

A couple of years ago when we found out that my wife was pregnant with our third kid, we were obviously excited for the new addition to our family, but I was slightly stressed because i knew it was going to change our lives in quite a few ways. Of course there were the usual concerns like if we had enough space in our house, do we need new clothes and products (especially if we had a girl), daycare concerns, etc. The list goes on and on.

However, the one thing I didn’t realize would be a major issue was our car seat situation. I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee and my wife had a Volkswagen Jetta. I knew the backseat of the Jetta could be a concern because it was a little tight but I figured I would be fine with the Jeep since it had a big backseat.  You would assume a big SUV would have plenty of room, even if there wasn’t a third row. I quickly learned that assumption was very wrong.

After doing a little research to find the best and most affordable options, I soon realized that there really weren’t many options at all.  I’m sure a lot of you have noticed how car seats have gotten bigger and bigger over the years which is great for safety and comfort for the kids, but not so great for parents with 3 young kids that all need a seat or booster of some kind.

Laws vary slightly by state, but on average, kids need to be in a car seat or booster until the ages of about 7 or 8 or when they reach specific height and weight requirements.  

You can read more state specific laws here: 

This creates quite a predicament when you have a 3 year old, a 1.5 year old, and a new baby on the way.  

If you are in a similar situation, keep in mind that you are going to have about 3+ years of three car seats and boosters in the back if your kids are close in age like mine. Your car will basically become a 1 adult passenger vehicle for many years to come. Slightly depressing if you like to drive your friends around at lunch or on the weekends, but a positive if you always want an excuse for why you can't drive!

My initial concerns were how to make this work with any car seats, yet alone with a baby bucket seat. As many of you know, these things are HUGE so that was my first concern. Second, the older two boys had the large/wide Britax seats which were not going to fit next to each other in any of our vehicles.  I had no idea what I was going to do.  

There wasn’t a ton of information out there when I did my initial research (a few years ago) but more websites and brands are starting to notice that this is an issue for many parents so there are a few more resources these days.

The best site I have found so far was  BabyCenter’s blog which keeps a running and updated tally of the brands and styles that can work three across. This would be a good place to start your research and help you find the options that best fit your budget.

You should probably be able to get away with most of the bucket seats out there, as long as you have thinner seats for the other two. I found that the best move was two seats next to each other with the bucket near one of the doors for easy access. I'd recommend the right side behind the passenger seat for when you need street parking. That way you can access the seat and baby from the sidewalk and not be in the middle of traffic which can be a but more dangerous. 

What worked best for me was a brand called Diono. They smartly promote the ability to fit 3 car seats across in almost any vehicle so I knew they had tested this and I shouldn’t have any issues. 

Things vary slightly by model but their RadianRXT line is the best value in my opinion. They are thin and stylish, include special features such as folding for travel and transportation (think planes, or rental cars), an easy latch system for securing the seats quickly and safely, and a few other options you can see here:

The other great thing about this brand is that a good portion of their car seats are convertibles which means you can use them for infants at Day 1, all the way up to older kids that still need a booster.  This means you don’t need to purchase new seats/boosters every few years which is a huge cost saver and value over time.

It’s a bit costly upfront if you are going to be replacing all of your old car seats at once but after that initial purchase, you shouldn’t need anything else for the rest of their childhood. I use these in all of our vehicles and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made in terms of kid related products.

Amazon has some pretty good deals going right now which seem to be below MSRP if you are a PRIME member. If you are thinking about buying this model, click on the image below and hook a brother up with a few pennies in commission! 

Let me know in the Comments Section if you’ve had any experiences with fitting three across in your vehicle using other brands, and if you have any additional tips and tricks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Kid Friendly/Adult Approved Party Mix Vol. 2 - Dj RyB

Here's Volume 2 of my Kid Friendly/Adult Approved Party Mix. You can listen in the playlist above or go directly to Spotify in the link below.  Enjoy!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Moving Tips for Young Families

I’ve been off the grid for the past few weeks because my family recently moved to a new home. We’ve reluctantly become experts in this arena as my wife and I have moved 5 times since we got married in 2009. It’s not something I ever want to do again but since I’ve learned a few things along the way, I thought I would share some tips that could help you and your family, especially if you have young kids.

Plan Ahead -
Don’t wait until the last minute to get things done. It sounds simple but it is very easy to let things get away from you and all of a sudden, you are a week away from your move date and you haven’t done a thing.  I guarantee everything will take way more work and time than you think. You also have no idea how much CRAP you have accumulated over the years, especially if you have been living there for a long time.  Getting rid of stuff you don’t need is one of the smartest things you can do but if you wait too long, you will end up throwing it out or giving it away, instead of making some extra money on it. More on this to come in the “Purge” section.

Start Organizing and Strategizing Early -
As I mentioned before, this process takes a long time.  The earlier you can decide that you are moving, the better off you will be.  I had things hidden in our attic and garage that I completely forgot about and hadn’t used in years.  It took awhile to go through it all, as well as decide on what to keep, sell, give away, etc.   We bought a house quicker than we expected which meant we had to get our home ready for an open house just as quickly.  This leads to the next suggestion…

Staging for the Open House -
You want your house to look nice and clean, and as minimal as possible, while still looking like someone lives there. This means living on as little as possible for a few weeks which means you have to do something with all of that extra stuff. So if you are smart you will...

Use Pods, Door to Door Storage, Storage Facilities, etc.
You can have units delivered directly to your driveway or street if you live in certain areas.  It’s nice and easy and everything can be moved away in a quick manner. You can also fit some large items like couches, chairs, etc. The main issue is that it has to be done in 2-3 days before they pick them up, so you better move quick.

Not everyone has this luxury though, so you may want to consider a local storage facility to get rid of that clutter. This can work out well if you PLAN AHEAD because you can drop off a few boxes and whatever else at all times of the day or night over the span of a few weeks or more. No need to rush around but it will be harder to move bigger things without borrowing or renting a truck.

I ended up putting a lot of stuff in storage to clean up for the open house, and eventually got rid of most of it when we got to the new house. It wasn’t ideal and would have preferred to have time to go through everything to make a real decision on whether to keep it or not. When you have to move quickly, you end up just keeping things because you aren’t sure if you will need it. If you give yourself time, you will most likely make better decisions.  This leads to the next point...

“Purge” aka Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need or Use -
As mentioned before, you probably have a lot of things you don’t need or use anymore. On top of that, there are plenty of people out there that could use those things that are still in good shape, and there might even be people willing to pay you for it.

My wife and I fight a bit when it comes to this because I am a bit of a packrat and can find a reason to keep almost anything since I “might” use it in the future. She likes to just throw everything out without even considering other options. So we are opposite ends of the spectrum.

Luckily after a few years, we’ve both gotten better at meeting in the middle. We have given away a ton of clothes, shoes, furniture, and miscellaneous housewares to organizations like Goodwill, shelters, and many other local alternatives. If you haven’t worn it or used it in about 2 years (maybe even just a year), you probably don’t need it or won’t use it again. Give it away to someone else that could benefit from it and would appreciate something nice.  

If you have things that can’t be donated, or aren’t in the best shape, consider a local transfer station.  Not all towns have them but if you can find one, they are an awesome option before and after a move. You can drop off things that can be fixed or reused, and most likely, someone else will pick it up right after you drop it off. They also offer areas for recycling glass, cardboard, paint, etc. which isn’t easy to get rid of and you will most likely have a large amount of before/after the move.

Other alternatives include a Yard Sale, Craigslist, eBay, etc. If you have the time and can make a little extra money on the side, why not give it a try? This will also help offset the cost of the move.  

Preparing the Kids Mentally -
If you can, let the Kids see or even visit/drive by the new house if you are doing a somewhat local move. Even if you are moving a few hours away, it might be worth the drive a few weeks in advance because the parents can get familiar with the location and learn what resources are nearby for the days following the move such as markets, hardware stores, coffee and sandwich shops, etc.

For the kids, they will hopefully, at the least, get to drive by the house and make it feel realer than just a few pictures. If the people who owned it are moved out before you close, maybe you can even walk around the yard and kind of “touch and feel” the house. Every little bit helps based on our experience.

We were lucky enough to move across town this time around, so we could randomly drive by and get the kids excited about the move instead of it feeling like a complete shake up of their lifestyle. It seemed to work well.  

Even if these things are not an option, I recommend talking about the move early so it’s not a shock and they have time to adapt mentally.  Speak positively about the move and why things will be better, discuss the possibility of new friends, a better playground, bigger yard, or whatever it may be that are upgrades over the old place. Anything you can do to do to get them excited will help you in the long run. Waiting to spring the change on them will just cause unnecessary drama.

Timing and Seasonality Issues -
If you plan on moving at the end of August or early September, be prepared to call around. This is prime moving season because of ending leases, as well as college kids going back to school. In the Boston area, the city and surrounding areas are a nightmare during this time and moving trucks or crews are hard to find or you will pay a premium.

Also, if you are in a location that gets hit hard with snow, rain, and ice in the winter, just be prepared to have delays and understand that the whole process will take much longer than just one day. Some things you just can’t control (like a snowstorm) and there will be unforeseen delays no matter what time of year you decide to move.

Find a Good Moving Company -
Some people prefer to move themselves but if you can afford it, get a moving company to do it for you. It was easy enough to move a few rooms and a couch when you were in your early 20’s but finding anyone to help you once you are older is almost impossible. Everyone gets busier and they’ve also learned through experience that moving sucks. It ends up being a stressful, all day affair and it’s like working a REAL job. No one wants to do that on the weekend and certainly no one is taking a day off from work to help. If you have kids in the house, this will virtually be impossible to do as well since no one will be keeping an eye on them and they will definitely get in the way at some point.

Also, get referrals from friends or family nearby or look for good reviews online. I worked for a moving company back in college and know there is a big difference between a good moving company and a bad one. The problem is, you don’t really know ahead of time unless you get word from someone you trust. Good movers will not only save you money, but they will eliminate a lot of stress and worry by delivering your stuff efficiently and safely. It’s worth paying a little extra for a company that has a good reputation. You get what you pay for in this industry, more often than not.

Pay for People to Pack Your House -
Another thing to consider, if you can make it work monetarily, is having the movers pack everything for you. It will probably come close to doubling your cost but believe me, it will eliminate a ton of stress when you know someone else will do all the hard work and literally do the heavy lifting. Plus, they know how to properly pack things in boxes to keep breakage to a minimum, and they also offer insurance in case something actually does break. You won’t get that if you do it yourself and I guarantee boxes will get crushed in the move. That’s no bueno.

And if you have young kids, multiple kids, or even just one kid, you know it’s virtually impossible to get anything done for more than a few minutes at a time. Imagine trying to pack a whole house with them in the mix. It’s just a major challenge that would be best to avoid.

Call in Reinforcements -
If you have to do it yourself because of the cost, just do yourself a favor and call in reinforcements. Either pay for a babysitter for a few hours each weekend until you are done, or ask for family, friends, and neighbors to take the kids for a few hours. You will get a lot more done when you can just zone out and focus, as opposed to dealing with constant interruptions and delays. Which leads to...

Unpacking and Rearranging -
You will also want to do the same thing when you move into the new house/apartment to get some time to unpack, rearrange, etc. It might not be as easy to do this if you are moving a long distance or don’t know anyone in the area but do your best to find a local babysitter that can give you a few hours of relief.  This will be helpful during the unpacking process and go a long way for your sanity.

Also, unpack everything ASAP so you can get boxes out of the way and move to the trash/garage, etc.. These boxes will stack up quickly and take up space or just get in way.  Don’t forget to break down the boxes by taking out the paper and folding them up to save space. Empty boxes will take up your whole house or garage if you don’t keep up with this process.

Miscellaneous Issues and Things to Consider -
Call early for Cable/Satellite & Internet - There can be long wait times for getting this installed, especially during the fall moving season.  Being without TV isn’t the worst thing ever because you can always hook up an antenna to get a few channels or find other things to pass the time but being without internet can be a serious issue if you work from home, or just need something to distract the kids.

I had to wait about 10 days to get cable and internet from the time we moved in and this felt like an eternity. It’s not the end of the world but certainly something to consider, especially when the NFL season just started and I almost missed the first Patriots game!

Call Electric Company Ahead of Time - This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the electricity  is on before you even show up. There is nothing worse than getting to a house that has no lights or electricity for refrigerators, appliances, etc. There will usually be an overlap from the when you move in and when the previous owners will be shut off, so you should be OK, but just do yourself a favor and get it out of the way early.

Appliances, Mattresses, Furniture, and Other Big Items - Be sure to order any new Washer/Dryer/Fridge, etc. as early as possible so you have them at the house when needed. Many retail locations may need at least a few weeks to deliver after you make the purchase (depending on the model and brand) so be sure you take care of this advance so you can schedule a day that is as close to your move.

You might want to consider the day after the move to bring these things in, or even the day before, if possible. We had a mattress delivered the same day as the movers and it was a bit of a nightmare having so many people in the house at the same time crossing paths. It will be easier for everyone involved if you can spread it out a bit.

That’s everything we dealt with in the last few weeks that I can think of but if you have any other tips that you can provide based on your own experiences, please leave a comment.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kid Friendly/Adult Approved Party Mix Vol. 1 - Dj RyB

One thing that I am a fanatic about for a party or BBQ is good music. It makes all the difference between a fun party or a boring one.  Even if the songs are good, it can still be a flop if it doesn't have good flow. Nothing aggravates me more than hearing an uptempo song, to be followed by something slow or depressing.

Obviously my DJ background makes me care a little more than most people but I think it does make a huge difference when the music is good and accessible to people with varying degrees of musical taste. Most people don't care that much or have no control because they hit Random Play on iTunes or use Pandora which is all over the place.

I think you should start to care so that is why I decided to make it easy for you by putting together my new "Kid Friendly/Adult Approved" mixes on Spotify. If you like them, just "Follow" the playlist and you'll have an instant party mix ready to go for your next gathering.

Hit the Spotify button in the player above or use the following link:


I'll try and put a new one out every few weeks and if you have any suggestions or songs you want to here, just let me know. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

"The Barn is Full of Walkers"

Glenn to the group: "So, uh, guys? The barn's full of walkers." - The Walking Dead

That's kind of how I felt after I took this video of Patrick walking for the first time the other day.

It was an awesome milestone and he was so damn happy to finally do it after weeks of struggling, but at the same time, I knew our lives had just changed drastically. Ish just got real!  My recent article about 'How to Handle Multiple Kids Using Basketball Defenses' just became even more relevant for myself. I need to take my own advice and really step up the D!

We now have three boys under the age of 5 that are not only walking, but ready to wrestle and tackle each other at the drop of a hat. They think it's hysterical. My wife and I just cringe as we let them get their energy out and have some fun but also watching for sharp objects and breakables in the area.

"It's a very difficult situation" to quote Tony Soprano.

We've already had a "hole in the wall" incident from some wrestling and horse play before bed and that was almost a year ago! I now have a house full of Baby Gronk's who love beating each other up for fun and they get more agile, faster, and stronger by the day. My head already hurts just thinking about the fights I am going to have to break up.
I don't even want to think about how many things I'm going to have to replace or fix over the next few years such as walls, stairs, and windows. Our food bill is also ready to double and then triple in a short time too.

We are so screwed!  Please pray for me and my wife!  HA.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Funny Things My Kids Say - #2 - The People

John (in whiny voice): Daddy, James hit me!
Me (in annoyed questioning tone): How? He's over here with me.

John (thinking for a new target): The chair hit me!
Me (getting more annoyed): John, that's not even possible. Did you walk into it? 

John (dead serious): The PEOPLE hit me!
Me (getting confused and a little freaked out): What...People?!

John: The Invisible People. 
Me (eyes popping out): Um, OK. Let's just go in the other room. 

Yikes! I had no idea how to handle that one.

On one hand, I was a little pissed because he was lying and just trying to get me riled up.

On the other hand, I was wondering, "Is he really seeing ghosts or something? Is our house haunted?"

All I could think of was that creepy kid in The Sixth Sense. I definitely don't want him to be this kid:

Does anyone out there have a similar "ghost" story from their kids? I have a funny feeling that this happens more often than people want to admit or talk about. Drop a comment with any good stories...

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Control Your Own Children Using Basketball Defenses

I'm going to explain this whole kid situation the best I know how which is using sports metaphors and basketball lingo. Even though I'm a hoops guy, I think anyone that has ever played or enjoys watching sports can understand this. These are things other people fail to tell you before you have kids so I'm trying to make it easier for parents out there as they consider having 1, or even 1 more. 

Open Jumpers and Fast Breaks - 0 Children aka 0 vs. 2
This is married life. You might miss a few shots and the occasional wide open layup but in all reality, this is not real life for any couple eventually planning to have kids. Enjoy your DINK (Dual Income No Kids) lifestyle and get that fun time in now. Go on as many vacations as possible, go out to dinner, get drunk at BBQ's, have lots of sex, etc. Do what you gotta do because this time is limited. Go out for 81 points on 46 shots like Kobe in 2006 because you are going to get old quick and rack up some major injuries in the near future. Enjoy your prime while it lasts.  

Full Court Press and Corner Trapping - 1 Child aka 1 vs. 2
Now you have your first child. Good for you. Your life has changed but in all honesty, things are still pretty damn easy. Anyone that says having one kid is hard is delusional.  You will look back on this time and realize how good you had it. You might even whisper to your oldest when you are alone with them and reminisce about the good times and say "Remember when it was just me and you? Wasn't that way more fun?"

When both parents are forced to play a little D, you can prevent this one child from doing anything bad or life threatening. You are exerting little defensive effort like you are the parental version of James Harden. Even when things get hectic, you always have help D. You can trap them in the corner when they start crawling or walking and they will never get to break anything or mess up your house. This child will most likely be the most well behaved and smartest because they will get one parent's full attention, if not both. Things are good.
Worst case scenario, one parent can cherry pick on the offensive end and let the other go Man to Man. Cherry picking allows you to get some quality alone time if needed like going to the gym, binge watching Netflix, playing video games, getting errands done, etc. You are still racking up points, but you have more contested shots so your shooting percentage might slightly decrease. You are still scoring 20-25 per game, although you are at the tail end of your prime and your stats will go down over time.  

Man to Man Defense - 2 Children aka 2 vs. 2
$h!t is getting real now. No one has free time and you have no subs. You still have to run a hard man to man, often starting full or 3/4 court but you are running on fumes. Your back and body hurts from foot fires (quick feet to avoid toys and other baby related landmines) and defensive stances (aka bending over picking up toys, carrying crying children, breaking up fights, etc.). This is the NBA Playoffs every day. You can't take a day off because your main goal in life is to make sure you keep these children alive and they don't break a bone or lose an eyeball.

 If one parent has to leave for any extended amount of time, you have to drop back into a 1-2 zone. You might be able to break up a few passes, and block a few shots, but most likely, you are getting scored on often and are committing crazy fouls just to stop the game and catch your breath. Don't be against trash talk and hoping to provoke one of your children into a temper tantrum so you can give them a Technical Foul and send them to their room or the time out chair. It's not pretty, but at least you can catch your breath and go back to a relaxed man to man.  

Zone Defense - 3 Children aka 3 vs. 2
You are officially outnumbered. All you can do is hope to prevent a score on every possession but most likely, you are getting blown out almost every game.  You are starting to look like the 2014-2015 Sixers except you are not trying to tank.  You just lose every game even with your best effort.

Your head needs to be on a swivel constantly as you run the baseline or cover the wings or top of the key. No matter how you set up the zone, you are always leaving a man open and you are screwed if you lose track of the scorer or hot shooter. If they make the right pass, you are pretty much giving up a bucket 70% of the time.

The scorer is usually the youngest child because they are way too good at dropping behind the zone or to the far corner and out of your peripheral vision. They have quickly learned how to beat the zone in their short career by using just a few quick pump fakes and go to moves. They have never experienced a true man to man or trap for more than a few moments at a time, so getting open is like Child's Play (yes, I said it, and this cliche was finally used properly).
They are often the quickest and dirtiest player, as well. They are always out to make it hurt as much as possible. The only thing you can do is know where the ball is at all times. If you aren't quick enough on your feet later in the game/day, at least keep an eye on this 3rd kid and try and see man and ball (aka dangerous targets like stairs, sharp objects, TV's, bathrooms/toilets, etc.).
You are essentially in a Prevent Defense, to bring in some football terminology to the mix. You know that you are giving up major yardage each down but you are just trying to prevent a late score before bedtime. You aren't winning the game. You are just trying to keep it from being a blowout. I suggest calling for subs or backup as much as possible but most players won't want to come in to the game. They see your pain and don't want any part of this blowout. All of that help that you got on Defense when you had just one kid and didn't really need it, is few and far between. You are pretty much on your own and all family and friends think you are crazy for deciding to even participate in this game.

Crazy Defense - 4+ Kids aka 4+ vs. 2 

There isn't even a defensive analogy for this situation. If you have more than three kids, you are just crazy. Waive the white towel now because you are going to get buried by the blitz on the first play of the game. Fast break dunks on your head all day. You will feel like this guy after D. Rose just hit a ridiculous game winner in OT.

I think that about wraps it up but if you can think of any other scenarios or relevant defenses that I missed, let me know in the comments.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Funny Things My Kids Say - #1 - Doritos & Adulthood

 I think the title is pretty obvious on this one but just in case you need an explanation, this will be a recurring post on random $h!t that my kids say.  I'm sure most of you can relate since kids say some crazy things, especially when it's inappropriate or "adult" funny.  You know you really shouldn't be laughing because it will just make them do it more but you can't help it because it's too ridiculous.  

My oldest son, John, is currently 4 1/2 years old and has some serious gems that I've been writing down since he started talking a few years ago.  My middle son, James, is 2 and just finding his stride with his speech but he will be showing up in these posts soon enough. He's got some solid comedy chops himself.  

Anyhow, here is the first installment.  This actually happened this week on vacation so it's fresh on my mind. I don't know where he comes up with this stuff.

Me: OK, John. That's enough Doritos. You need to eat dinner soon.

John: But you are still eating them. That's not fair.

Me: When you are older and become a Daddy like me, you can have as many as you want.

John: When I grow up and I'm a Grandpa and live by myself, I'm gonna have no rules! Then I'll eat all the Doritos I want.

This was all I could picture in my head after he said that:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Minivans are Awesome

Yes, you heard me right.  I think minivans are AWESOME.  I never thought I would say this considering how much I used to make fun of them growing up but after a year driving one, I think it is a legit option option for families with 2+ kids.  If you have 3 or more, it's a no-brainer. 

A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided that it was time to trade in one of our cars for something a little bit bigger since we had child number 3 on the way.  We had a Jeep Grand Cherokee which sounds like it should be big enough for three car seats, but I ran into an issue. It turns out there are only a small number of car seats that can fit 3 across (more on this issue in a future post) and to complicate things, we were hiring a full time Nanny.  We wanted her to have a reliable car that was big enough for all of the kids, and not have to keep 3 car seats in her own vehicle all the time so a third vehicle was the only real option.

Owning three cars is a bit ridiculous but it's something that made the most sense for us since my wife and I were both working and we each needed a vehicle to commute to work.  I looked around for quite a bit and noticed that any of the bigger SUV's with a 3rd row ended up being a lot more expensive than the minivan option so I decided to make the minivan my focus, even though the wife was extremely reluctant to own such a "Nerd Mobile".

Along with the cost savings, I realized there were a lot of other advantages to the minivan once we finally owned it.  I ended up with a pretty loaded 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and got it for a decent price.  Although it had around 80,000 miles and was almost 7 years old, the thing was in great shape and was hooked up with all of the options you could imagine. 

We got 2 separate DVD players, 2 pull down screens, a built in Hard Drive for music and pictures, dual climate control, pull down sun visors on the back windows, fold into the floor rear seats, about a thousand cup holders, and more storage than you could ever imagine.  If you didn't know you were driving in a minivan, you would think it was a luxury SUV.

On top of the hook ups, I soon learned that it was a lot easier to get the kids in and out since the floor is lower to the ground compared to an SUV, so the older boys could actually get in on their own.  Our bigger SUV (GMC Acadia) takes more effort on our part to help them up into the car because of it's height and you also have to fold down one of the seats to get in the back and buckle the kids in. It's just a pain in the ass for someone like myself who's 6'2" and not exactly skinny enough these days to just shimmy myself into the back row.  You can also fit WAY more stuff in the back of the third row which is huge for big strollers or when going on vacation and bringing all the crap you need for 3 kids.  Since the floor goes even lower to allow the third row seats to fold into the floor, you can actually fit a ton of stuff stacked all the way to the ceiling. 

If we were only dealing with 2 cars and I could afford a brand new one, I could imagine how much more I would love the minivan since the tech, options, and styling would be even more up to date.  I would have absolutely no problem driving one as my main vehicle, especially if it is the higher end version with all of the amenities.  I've even noticed that a lot of these 3rd row SUVs are stealing the style and looks of the minivans, and the minivans are morphing more towards the SUVs.  They seem to meet somewhere in the middle and there isn't as much of a difference as everyone thinks.

I think we were all traumatized as kids with those ugly thing that "soccer moms" drove around and no kid wanted to be caught dead in.  A lot of us grew up with the awful Dodge Caravans with the wood on the side, or the Ford Aerostars that just looked and performed awful but there should be serious consideration for the newer Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravans, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna, among others.  If you have a growing family and are planning 2 or more kids in the near future, you should give a minivan serious consideration.  I promise, you won't be disappointed.  You just have to own it and have confidence when you drive.

I'd recommend getting a custom license plate like me to take it to the next level and really own it.  Is this badass or what?!?!  HA! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

What is DjRybPlus3.com All About?

The first post of a blog is always the weirdest but also the most invigorating for a blogger. It's the beginning of something new and exciting but you're not really sure where it's going to go or how successful it might be. DjRyBPlus3.com is the collision of my two worlds which is being a DJ, sports fan, and sneakerhead, mixed in with my family life. 

Since most of you out there probably have no idea who I am, or will never collide with my other online properties, I guess now would be the time to introduce myself. My name is Chris but my DJ name and online persona is Dj RyB (pronounced Dee Jay Ry-Bee). This might seem random, but I think the background is necessary since you will see lots of connections to my former life on DjRyBPlus3.com.

I began DJing back in college around 1998 and continued on for the next 10 years until I retired from my regular DJ'n gig and decided to focus on my Sales career, and eventually start a family. During my DJ life, things were good, as I had some extra spending money to buy all things I wanted but didn't really need like Sneakers, Clothes, video games, and gadgets.

Fast forward another 7-8 years and things are going pretty well but extremely different. I've got a nice life with a beautiful wife, 3 awesome boys, a good job, and a nice house. I can't complain one bit but I honestly never thought this is where my life would be at this point in time.

Anyhow, the point of this site is to put my unique thoughts on paper, give a different vibe on the under-served Dad perspective online, and hopefully provide some advice, tips, and guidance for other fathers and families that might be dealing with similar issues. I'm sure there are a lot of other guys out there that grew up in the 80s and went to college in the late 90s that will be familiar with a lot of the things I talk about. 

I've tried almost every child related product and gadget known to man so hopefully my mistakes and experience provide some value to at least a few people out there. My life and family are crazy but I wouldn't change a thing. Hopefully you enjoy what I share, when I actually have time to post something in between working 9-5 every day, then coming home and changing diapers, potty training, breaking up fights, and anything else you can think of when you are dealing with a working wife and three young kids at home.

Here are some ideas and themes you will be seeing on DjRyBPlus3.com:

$h!t my Kids Say
Kid Friendly Party Mixes that Adults will Enjoy
Sports Connections and Metaphors to Parenting
Things My Kids Do to Annoy Me
How to Travel/Vacation with Multiple Young Children
Advice for Dad's from a Real Dad
The "Cool Dad" Podcast