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The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide is coming...

I sincerely hope you enjoyed my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father! Believe it or not, preparations for the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide are already underway. Do you represent something that my readers should know about? Click here for details on how to submit your item for possible inclusion, today!

THE ROCK FATHER: THE POP CULTURE MAGAZINE FOR FAMILIES THAT ROCK.

Safe Baby Wearing: Facing in or Facing Out? #FreedomTogether

When people find out that I'm an at-home Dad, there's often an image that comes to mind that is not quite accurate, and is largely fueled by the "TV depiction" of stay-at-home and work-at-home Dads: A group of four or five guys standing around a park with outward-facing babies dangling from their chests. If this happens anywhere, I have not witnessed it, nor been a part of such a gathering in the past 4+ years of my career as a parent. When I have seen babies worn by other parents (and sometimes myself), the big question has always been "which way is the right way - inward or outward." It's been the subject of vigorous debate among parents, but the folks at Boba Family just might have the answer, and that answer is inward.

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VOLBEAT Gets Lullabied! Baby-Friendly Collection Hits the Streets...

VOLBEAT is one of those bands that has an interesting level of crossover appeal among rock and metal fans. You always run across people you wouldn't expect to dig 'em, yet they're all over 'em. Then again, I've run across several people that I figured would love some VOLBEAT, and they absolutely can't stand 'em. Me? I'm in the middle and find them to be overrated and overplayed around these parts (particularly their latest album), but I really like 2010's BEYOND HELL/ABOVE HEAVEN. If you dig 'em and want to introduce your baby to their music, the folks at Roma Music Group have a new collection out this week to help you do just that. Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star: LULLABY VERSIONS OF VOLBEAT hit iTunes today. Check out "Lola Montez" below, along with the full tracklisting and cover art.

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Premiere: "Perfect Day" from LULLABY VERSIONS OF LOU REED and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND

The death of LOU REED saddened many earlier this Fall, with countless artists paying tribute immediately. As my social feeds lit up, one thing constantly mentioned was how future generations would one day discover Reed's music, and that of his time with THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. In that spirit, the folks at Roma Music Group have announced that they will bring to a close an extremely busy year with the release of LULLABY VERSIONS OF LOU REED and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND on December 17th as part of their popular TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE ROCK STAR line of baby-friendly jams. A dozen songs from Reed's discography have been reworked into lush instrumentals, perfect for your smallest listener and their nursery. Pre-orders just went live on iTunes tonight, and I've got the premiere of "Perfect Day" below. Take a listen...

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Lullaby Versions of Disney Classics on the way from Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star...

After dipping their toes into the Disney waters with the release of LULLABY VERSIONS OF THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS back in October, the crew over at Roma Music Group is gearing up to release Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star: LULLABY VERSIONS OF DISNEY CLASSICS on December 10th. This new collection features 18 songs made famous in movies like TOY STORY, THE LITTLE MERMAID, SNOW WHITE, CINDERELLA, and more. While the original songs were certainly kid-friendly from the get-go, these lullaby versions present them as mellow instrumentals perfect for your baby's nursery. Pre-orders are up on iTunes right now, with "When You Wish Upon a Star" as an instant download. Preview that track, and check out the tracklisting below, right here on THE ROCK FATHER...

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When I First Found Out that I'd Be a Dad... and Some Thoughts on Cord Blood Banking...

This post is brought to you by Babycenter and CBRIt was five years ago yesterday that I found out that I would soon become a parent for the very first time. My wife and I were in the car, driving down I-94 outside of Chicago on the way to her Dad's house for Thanksgiving dinner when she turned to me and stated boldly: "You knocked me up." I distinctly remember grinning ear-to-ear, and beginning our first real conversation about our new reality: we were about to be parents. The following summer, on the exact date of our 10th wedding anniversary, Addie was born and I would effectively become "The Rock Father." The build-up to that day was filled with planning... uncertainty... and questions. I didn't know then that parent blogging was a thing, and the manuals? Well, there are none as far as I'm concerned.

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PROJECT WILD THING: This looks like a movie that all parents need to see...

With running this website, being extremely active on social networks, and making a large part of my living from "new media" over course of the past decade, it often surprises people when they learn that I'm not big on tech for kids. Yes, I share news on the latest Apps and App-enabled toys, but I do that for the majority - the folks that are into that sort of thing, a large portion of my friends and readers. While I won't rule it out for the future, I do not own an iPad, nor do I own a tablet of any kind. While my little ones do, on rare occasion, get to check out an App or video on one of our Windows Phones, I'm not into giving them a "device" or "screen" to occupy their time, and would prefer them to embrace imaginative play, spending time outside whenever they can. I've spoken a bit about this before, and now comes a movie that hits me right in the sweet spot: PROJECT WILD THING. It's a British film created by a Dad - a film that encourages families to swap some "screen time" for some "wild time" - time spent outdoors. Watch the trailer and learn more below...

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You Want It All But You Can't Have It (Actually, You Can)

Note: An earlier version of this post was previously published as a guest blog for gDiapers as part of their "It Takes Guts" Father's Day promotion back in June.

When I became a Father for the first time back in 2009 (on our 10th Wedding Anniversary!), I entered into the job without much by way of expectation. I was excited to be a Dad, but there wasn’t any real or definitive outlook for how the experience would actually be. I didn’t enter into Fatherhood with the “fear” that some seem to put forth, nor did I have any grand plans for how those first days would be. Sure, there was preparation (and a lot of nesting), but I steered clear of the parenting books, and somehow managed to miss the fact that “Parent Blogging” was even a thing.

What I’m saying, is that my wife and I entered into parenthood by winging it. Actually, she was probably better-prepared than I.

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That time when GWAR frontman Oderus Urungus decided to read GOODNIGHT MOON...

It is my duty to warn you that the video that I am about to share is most certainly not-family-friendly, and also probably not-safe-for-work, unless you work somewhere really cool. What just happened is that GWAR frontman Oderus Urungus (who may have Dave Brockie in his belly) recently sat down at the offices of Loudwire in Manhattan for a reading of Margaret Wise Brown's classic children's book, GOODNIGHT MOON. Now, being that this site is called "The Rock Father," you should understand the significance of why I'm posting this... It's the singer of GWAR reading a book that I, as a parent, have read to my children countless times. If you've read it, and understand the mighty power of GWAR, you will appreciate this video. If you do not understand the metal majesty of Anarctica's finest band, I urge you to read a different article, right now (this one is good). You have been warned.

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Back to School: Lucy's Cookies (Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free, and Vegan, too)

Since Addie officially went "Back-to-School" today, this is probably the last food-related post I'll do for my inaugural BTS season. While we've been very fortunate to have a pair of healthy kids with no allergies thus far, studies show that 1 in 13 kids suffers from a food allergy. Because of this, we're always mindful of the snacks that are around when groups of kids are present. For parents looking for some special treats for special dietary needs, Lucy's might be exactly what you're after. Her Cookies and Brownies are All-Natural, Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Allergy-Friendly with no peanuts or tree nuts, milk or eggs. In addition, everything is crafted in a dedicated bakery.

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Protecting Your Family Online with ESET Smart Security 6 #ESETprotects

I'm currently living in the calm before a technological storm. Those who know me well (or read this site regularly) know that I'm critical about the over-connectivity that modern kids have, a plethora of "devices" and "screens" lurking in every corner. I'm big on imaginative play - in keeping the youngest of kids away from the tech and apps as much as possible (it's all about careful moderation), and while my girls aren't yet old enough to truly understand what a computer does and could be used for, I know that eventually a technological terror will be on my hands. With that in mind... and seeing so many of the neighborhood parents dealing with kids and devices, I like to stay ahead of things and stay mindful of the future. That means making sure that the family will be safe online, and ESET Smart Security 6 is one of the tools in my digital arsenal.

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