Daddy’s Grounded was started by Joel Gratcyk as a way of remembering the personal experiences of fatherhood in all its details, with photos, video and written thought. Joel lives with his family in the western suburbs of Chicago.
It happened recently when I was pondering this upcoming Father’s Day.
I don’t have anything planned for it. Although a nice quiet day at home with the family would be great. I don’t get nearly enough of those.
My wife works a job that has her traveling all over the place. It leaves me with plenty of time with the kids. That time is often not quiet at all. Those days without her are filled with a loving high-energy chaos I never expected pre-fatherhood. It is also something I cherish because one day it will no longer happen.
I’ve got a 1-year-old and a 5-year-old at home. Both boys. Both a handful and a half. They seem to only have on and off switches when dealing with their energy levels. This is both fantastic and frightening in the same moment.
These guys have big personalities. I want to shape and encourage them in a way that positively affects how they interact with the future. This means many things to me on a personal level. Most importantly it means that the moments we live in now are fleeting. They happen in an instant and then are gone.
Our time as parents spent with our children happens quickly and disappears. Memories fade. Feelings change. Captured images like the one at the top of this page help bring all of it flooding back.
Being a dad is no joke. Your children look up to you and expect that you’ll always be around. Life, unfortunately, isn’t always this kind. That means I like to document important moments in life as often as I can. Snapshots matter. Portraits that capture not only people, but also the place those people are in, can say so much.
Wesley, my oldest, has grown and learned so much over the last couple of years. The kid basically taught himself to read. He’s becoming a master at negotiations and is easily one of the most persistent people I’ve ever met. He’s the one in that photo with me.
Wesley has been to Europe three times and all over the U.S. We’re planning a trip to a new part of the world this fall. I want to build that memory bank. I want it to be so full when he leaves that he has a million stories to share with his future friends, partner(s), an social circles. Experiences like that have shaped who I am for the better and I hope to provide that same experience for him.
That brings me to something exciting for Father’s Day 2018. I’ve partnered with glass photo manufacturer Fracture to offer the dad in your life a chance to win an unforgettable family vacation.
Fracture focuses on moments that matter and they have revolutionized the printed photo. Their unique platform, innovative products, sustainability and unmatched customer support, help anyone who wants to share their story in a unique and tangible way.
Together, we’re giving one family an amazing chance to create some beautiful memories on an adventure of their own…
Simply enter HERE, then post one of your favorite family moments to Instagram using the #FocusOnMoments hashtag and you’re in the running!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored campaign with Fracture on behalf of their #FocusOnMoments campaign, however the memories are all mine. Check them out HERE, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Disclosure: I was invited to as a guest to attend The Chicago Dogs opening day at Impact Field on May 25, 2018. The following opinions are my own.
There is a new sports team in town. The Chicago Dogs baseball team recently opened their first season at the brand new $63 million IMPACT Field development in Rosemont, IL. The stadium is a 6,300 seat baseball field with a 10,000 person concert capacity. The concourse is includes open views of the field, concessions, and area surrounding the stadium. There is also an attached parking garage with 850 parking spaces.
Abigail and I attended opening day on Friday, May 25, 2018. The energy in the crowd was pretty fantastic. There was a wide range of families, singles, retirees, and media.
There was a live band playing outside the main gates into the stadium. The line moved quickly into the stadium and security was professional.
We spent a good part of the first inning in line for concessions. That time waiting gave us a clear view of what its like to be in the club house above the main concourse. This was our view from below looking up.
Our tickets/seats were close to the field. I don’t think there is really a bad seat in the house.
There was an ongoing joke throughout the whole game about how there is “no ketchup on hotdogs at Impact Field.” This is a photo of the ketchup running onto the field just before he/she was carted off by security.
There are areas all around the stadium to stand and eat your food if you don’t want to cart everything back to your seats. The hot dogs we got were luke-warm when we got them.
The beers available on site, that I noticed, included Miller Lite, Coors Lite, Linnie’s Summer Shandy and 1867. This is disappointing. There are many local Chicago craft brewers who would be a perfect fit for an “independent” team like the Chicago Dogs. The bills, however, do get paid more reliably by the mass produced macro brewers.
There is a well stocked merchandise shop.
The shop seemed to be busy the whole night.
There is plenty of room to walk around during the game if you want to stretch your legs are get a different view of the ballpark.
There are plenty of activities for the kids before and during the game.
There are also spots around the concourse to sit and eat. Some are first come first served and others can be reserved by groups.
The main video screen even has instant replays when needed. I found it amusing that this camera guy was getting bothered by fans because he was just out in the open. Poor guy.
Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary early showing of Tully. These are my honest opinions on the movie.
Tully is an absolutely fantastic movie. It is an emotional roller-coaster ride that I only now understand as a parent. Taking care of small kids is not for the faint of heart.
Charlize Theron plays the role of a third-time mom (Marlo) to a brand new baby so believably well I found myself in tears more than once. Her husband works a lot and is portrayed as the stereotypical distant-yet-wanting-to-be-supportive-but-not-willing-to-give-up-video-games parenting partner.
Messy parenting, income level classism, and questionable marriage dynamics are put on full display in Tully. It is a raw look at what parenting with a decidedly unbalanced set of responsibilities between spouses can cause in one’s life.
Marlo’s brother, who makes noticeably more money than she and her husband do, offers to hire a night nanny to help with transitioning the family into a three-child household.
Much of the movie is a relatable look into what its like to be the mom of a newborn and how nice it is to have help. The non-standard elements that get added as the movie goes along are things that make Marlo’s story unique. I highly recommend it for parents or those thinking about parenthood.
Tully is rated R and in theaters now.
TULLY - Official Trailer [HD] - In Theaters May 4 - YouTube
A new comedy from Academy Award®-nominated director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”). Marlo (Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis).
HBO and Sesame Workshop present “Sesame Street: F is for Friends,” a free mall tour inspired by the 48th season of Sesame Street. This immersive, limited-engagement tour includes a 15-minute show starring costumed Elmo and Abby Cadabby characters as well as stories and songs about celebrating similarities and differences between friends. Pre-schoolers and their families will learn that while we may be different from one another, we’re alike in so many ways, too! It doesn’t matter if you’re a monster, a fairy or a kid, we can all be friends!
These free shows will repeat throughout the day. Families will also enjoy character meet-and-greets, digital activity stations, photo opportunities that include Cookie Monster’s new food truck, and more.
Play, dance and sing along with Sesame Street……that’s what friends are for! #SesameFriends
Disclaimer: Disney provided me with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Our family discovered “Puppy Dog Pals” while on a road trip. One night along the way we stopped at a hotel that had cable and it happened to be on the Disney Channel. Wesley fell in love with it. The puppy’s owner, Bob, is voiced by Harland Williams (of 1997’s “Rocket Man”). He comes up with all these quirky inventions for his dogs to enjoy. From episode to episode Bob faces some sort of a dilemma that Bingo and Rolly, the show’s main puppy characters, spend the episode trying to solve.
There is an occasional free episode to watch on the Disney Now app on our Roku TV. It is often the same one for days at a time. That’s why we were so happy to get the recently released Puppy Dog Pals DVD. There are six episodes, with two stories in each, on the DVD. The total run time is about 144 minutes. You can buy it now at Amazon and download a FREE six-page activity pack on Disney.com.
They’re cute, cuddly and all collared up for pup-tacular adventures! While their owner Bob is away, adorable puppy brothers Bingo and Rolly embark on wacky missions stretching from their own backyard to amazing locations all around the world! With support from their “big sister” Hissy, a neighborhood full of animal friends and Bob’s high-tech inventions, these hilarious heroes are always ready to unleash totally paw-some fun!
Disclosure: I have been compensated for writing this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Bath time has been a journey at our home over the last year. We turned our attention to the soaps we used at bath time recently. While Theodore found his joy at bath time with the sneezing soap bubbles and splashing water on his parents, Wesley’s skin was proving to be extra sensitive.
Finding Bathtime Joy
Theodore hated baths for a long time. We thought it might have been something about not feeling in control, but even when he could sit up unassisted he was still not a fan.
The water terrified him. No matter how warm or cool the water was he panicked at bath time.
We tried everything we could think of without success. Toys, music, showerheads. No dice.
Then one day I sneezed. The bubbles in the bath scattered into the air and Theo let out a HUGE giggle. I sneezed again, this time intentionally. It was comedy gold for the one-year-old.
Bath time was fun after that.
Finding A Sensitive Skin Friendly Soap
Several weeks ago my wife wanted to try a new soap. She knew she wanted something that was free of perfumes and dyes but didn’t particularly care what brand it was. We were starting a search from scratch. The first thing I picked up did the trick! It was Ivory Clean Original Body Wash. Simple white bottle with blue print on it. We fell in love.
The Ivory soap provided a pure, gentle clean for our entire family. Wesley skin irritation symptoms were reduced after we started using the soap on him.
Purely by chance, Ivory approached me to try out their new line of Free & Gentle body washes. I had not mentioned my wife’s new found love for Ivory to anyone online so it was one of those perfect moments. They sent us three different kinds of body wash to try:
Ivory started making pure soaps 138 years ago and upholds the standard of using only pure & purposeful ingredients in its products today. We’re currently loving the Cleanse & Revive with scents of Sweet Pea & Lily. The smell is understated and the push bottle easy to use.
Ivory created the first soap that was 99.44% pure and continues to make safe and gentle products for the whole family. We’re now fans of Ivory’s aim to simplify life so we can spend more time on the things that matter most… like family. Wife is gone a lot now when working so it’s nice to have a soap in the home that is simple, pleasant, and effective.
I don’t have to worry about the new Ivory Free & Gentle Body Washes being harsh on the skin either. They are made with essential oils and just as pure as the original products. These body washes come in three varieties including Pear & Sandalwood, Chamomile, and Sweet Pea & Lily.
Give your family the gift of uncompromised skincare with Ivory Free & Gentle Cleanse & Nourish Body Wash with Pear & Sandalwood Scent. This gentle body wash is free of dyes and parabens, making it perfect for the whole family. It is formulated to cleanse and nourish skin. We’re fans now and know you will be too.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the movie reviewed in this post. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
I grew up a fan of LEGO and its associated products. DC Comics on the other hand was always in the background. I remember watching parts of the old Superman and Batman films. I couldn’t tell you anything about them now other than I remember a general positive feeling about them. The recent crop of LEGO branded films however has gotten me interested in various comic heroes.
LEGO DC Super Heroes: The Flash is an entertaining family comic movie. I understood many of the jokes as a non-comic fan. There were several that went right over my head too. New and seasoned fans of LEGO and DC Comics will enjoy this new flick. You can buy it now via my affiliate link on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital at Amazon.
LEGO DC Super Heroes The Flash Trailer - YouTube
The morning sun shines on the jewel of the Metropolis skyline, The Daily Planet building. But when The Joker decides this building needs a renovation, it’s time to sound the Trouble Alert because all bricks are about to break loose! The Justice League leaps into action but as the battle is brewing against The Joker something goes haywire with The Flash’s powers causing him to get caught in a repeating time loop and even stranger is the yellow clad Reverse Flash taunting him at every turn! It will take all of Flash’s speed, a little magic and the helping hands and paws of the Justice League’s new recruits The Atom, Krypto the Super Dog and Ace the Bat Hound to break the cycle and save Metropolis!
Aliens Ate My Homework is a delightful family movie that my almost-five-year-old loves. The movies low budget shows, but it over-delivers in the adorable adventure department. Now available on DVD and digital. Setup a family movie night with your younger kids and you won’t be disappointed. You can take a look at the trailer and synopsis below.
ALIENS ATE MY HOMEWORK Trailer (2018) Family, Kid Comedy Movie HD - YouTube
Based on Bruce Coville’s best-selling book series, this suspenseful family comedy follows the adventures of sixth-grader Rod Allbright and the extraterrestrial lawmen known as the Galactic Patrol. When a tiny spaceship flies through his window and lands on his science project, Rod and his cousin Elspeth meet a group of friendly aliens, including Phil, a talking plant (voiced by William Shatner). The earthlings quickly join the aliens’ adventurous mission to help defeat an evil alien criminal. After discovering the evil alien is disguised as a human – someone he knows all too well – Rod and Elspeth race to save the world from total planetary disaster.
This award-winning animated family film from Disney/Pixar is one of my favorite releases in recent memory. I went to see the film in theaters without having seen a single preview or knowing anything about the storyline. I left the theater knowing I had to get the film the moment it was released on digital and Blu-ray. Thankfully, I got a review copy in the mail a bit earlier than that.
The visuals are jaw-droppingly spectacular. It is no wonder it took over 5 years to create the movie. The storyline (as with most Pixar involved projects) is imaginatively heartfelt and culturally relevant. Family is an undeniably important part of life. This movie makes me feel happy, sad, angry, thankful, and in awe. It’s basically perfect.
If you’ve not seen the movie’s trailer and synopsis, you can find each below. If you’d like to purchase it you can now wherever movies are sold. Or, you could purchase it through my Amazon affiliate link and help me keep my site online. Thanks!
Coco Official Final Trailer - YouTube
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. – Official Synopsis
The all new Woody Woodpecker movie is out on DVD, & Digital now. It is a hilarious revisiting of a classic cartoon personality in a modern format. My, nearly 5-year-old, son has seen it at least a billion times since we got it on DVD. This is a family-friendly comedy I’d recommend to anyone who is a fan of the franchise. You can enter to win a copy of your own via the entry form below thanks to my partnership with Universal.
The film blends live action and CGI animation to tell the crazy and humorous story of an all-out turf war between the mischievous prankster and a big city lawyer who wants to build his dream home in Woody’s backyard. Directed by Alex Zamm (Inspector Gadget 2, The Little Rascals Save the Day), Woody Woodpecker stars Timothy Omundson (“Psych”), Thaila Ayala (“Rio Heat”), Graham Verchere (“Fargo”) Jordana Largy (Monster Trucks) and Eric Bauza (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water), as the voice of Woody.
Woody Woodpecker - Trailer - Own it 2/6 on DVD & Digital - YouTube
This Woody Woodpecker release features deleted scenes and an exclusive inside look at the making of the film. It also features an overview of the evolution of Woody’s iconic cartoon character over the decades. The movie features some ableist language, but it also shows that Woody has come a long way since his questionable cultural commentaries in the 1940s & 50s.
Woody Woodpecker is a legendary icon created by Walter Lantz in 1940. Woody Woodpecker & Friends have entertained kids for more than 75 years! Woody Woodpecker cartoons appeared in theaters until they debuted on television in 1957. Woody’s popularity resulted in new shows airing across several decades. “The Woody Woodpecker Show” has been broadcast in over 155 territories and 105 languages worldwide. He is one of the most memorable cartoon characters in animation history, featuring the little red –headed bird with the unforgettable laugh, who’s forever pecking his way out of trouble. Woody has evolved from a cartoon TV character to a Pop Culture Icon with his fearlessness, goofy antics and smarts.
BONUS FEATURES on DVD and Digital
Guess Who? The Evolution of Woody – Woody Woodpecker is one of the world’s most iconic animated characters. In this featurette, we explore how Woody’s look and personality have changed since his introduction in 1940.
The Making of Woody Woodpecker – Filmmakers and cast discuss why this version of theWoody character is so appealing and how his brand of physical humor translates across audiences.
Working with Woody – Filmmakers, cast and crew reveal the specific challenges of filming a movie whose main character is CGI.
I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Based on my partnership with them I think you should know that Woody Woodpecker is also currently available to watch on Netflix (without the bonus materials).