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I dodged a bullet this morning,  figuratively speaking... but it could've turned literal. It's bothered me all day, as I really don't have a real answer of how I slid out of it.

Our family stayed at the Hyatt Place River North in Chicago last night - a special, semi-local getaway as part of a promotion that I've been working on with Chevrolet... a promotion that will bring some much-needed cheer to some families in-need this holiday season. Helping others is a large part of what I do, but that does not mean that I allow myself to be shaken down by the countless "homeless" thugs that have crept back into downtown Chicago - a societal blight that was largely eliminated under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, and one that has made a swift return under the reign of Rahm Emanuel. As a kid in the 80s, Chicago was often a big, scary city - a dirty, unfriendly place with danger lurking around every corner. As I grew into adulthood, the City changed - the place got cleaned up, and it became bright, lively and clean. You could walk around Downtown and feel safe. In 2015, safety is a memory. That became 100% clear to me this morning.

Published in James' Journal

When you're thinking about children's Halloween costumes, a bicycle probably isn't even a remote thought for an accessory. I figure that aside from a few Pinterest-centric creatives that use a bike as the base for something else, it would be a longshot... but then the folks at Strider Bikes (the makers of the balance bike that taught Addie to ride!) sent over some ideas - complete with photos - that show that a bike could absolutely set a costume off.  Check out these adorable Strider Bikes costume ideas as today's entry into my annual 31 Days of Halloween here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine!

Published in Rock Father Rides

This October, there's something new and strange that's emerged - eagerly awaiting the chance to lurk in your home... especially, your child's bedroom. Chip the Robot and Zeke the Martian are joining Jax the Dreadful and Scarlett the Frightful as the Horribles - a new line of Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers that are available exclusively at Best Buy. For families looking for something more fun (and a little more spooky) than a traditional humidifier, these adorable character-shaped units each have a 1 gallon capacity to handle humidification for up to 250 sq. ft. - providing ultrasonic cool mist to reduce cold symptoms and nasal congestion for easy breathing. Each member of the Horribles also features Clean Control antimicrobial technology to ensure safe, clean operation. The Horribles by Crane USA are today's entry into 31 Days of Halloween, right here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine!

Published in Gardening

Sometimes you just have to wait for things, and even if the wait equals years, the payoff is pretty good. A prime example arrived today - the result of planning ahead, and keeping a t-shirt in a drawer for six years. Weird to think that slightly more than a half-decade ago, I was in the midst of a late-night diaper run to Walmart when I started browsing some clearance kids' clothes that had been squeezed-in near their Garden Center. There was one particular rack that caught my eye - t-shirts featuring comic book covers from the 1980s... the exact time that I became a comic book fan myself. Hanging on that rack was a single t-shirt in a size 6/7 that bore not only a favorite cover, but the exact cover of the first issue of John Byrne's THE MAN OF STEEL from 1986 - the very book that hooked me on DC Comics. For less than $2, I purchased said t-shirt, and have waited six years for today to arrive - the day that it finally fit Addie. 

Published in James' Journal

Until a neighbor mentioned it to me a couple of years ago, I had no idea that Mattel's American Girl had books to help girls with some of those more awkward things that can come when puberty arrives - a time I'm totally not looking forward to, if only because I've only experienced it first-hand as a guy, and now I have two girls. While I'll certainly do my best when the time comes, my wife will no doubt be interested in the news that just arrived today - American Girl has partnered again with pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Cara Natterson, on a new go-to guide for moms and daughters. The new three-book set, The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls and Their Moms, provides the tools to get the conversation going on topics most top-of-mind for growing girls—from body basics, hygiene, and healthy habits to friends, social media, clothing, and more.

Published in Books, Mags, Comics

I've been Teaching The Force THE ROCK FATHER Way™ on an official basis ever since our oldest daughter, Addie, was born back in 2009. Now, in 2015, we've got a pair of Stormtroopers daughters who are becoming well-versed in the ways of a galaxy far, far away. Growing up with STAR WARS the first time around, we had three movies (five if you count the two made-for-tv Ewok movies), and since only a rare few had home video players in those days (mostly VHS or Beta), if you didn't catch those films on the big screen, your viewing options were pretty much limited to cropped versions that would occasionally run on TV. Now, just as it was back then, one of the greatest pieces of the STAR WARS puzzle is how those stories pique the interest and curiosity of those who view them, and how kids' imagination is stimulated and inspired to create their own adventures. To "build" new stories and worlds, if you will.

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