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Hi.

Welcome, friends! This here slice of the Internet revolves around lattes, bookshelves, Pinterest, Emily Henderson, white wine spritzers, China, brass anything, passports and my sweet family. Grammar and important worldly events? Not so much. Consider yourself warned.

Father's Day for the Win

Father's Day for the Win

This guy.

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IMG_8813

He is the man behind my gallery walls; the love of my life; the yang to my yin. He is the meat on my kabob, the hummus in my pita bread and the raw sugar in my grande latte (It is possible that at this very moment I am starving, rendering it virtually impossible for me to think of a metaphor that is not food-related. My apologies).

And just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love him any more, he up and became the father of our children.

Yup. Game over. Brado wins!

In case you are wondering: The prize for winning is that he gets to put up with me and all my decorating and hosting neuroses for the rest of his life…but never mind that.

Watching Brado parent and love our kiddos has got to be one of my favorite pastimes.

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He is their biggest cheerleader, their constant encourager, their teacher and their protector. He is their playmate and their human climbing gym. He is the one that makes sure they eat all their vegetables and the one that mandates that they get outside to play. He is gentle, but strong. Strict, but fun. Caring, but not a helicopter.

Brad

Brad

I know as the mom, I’m supposed to be the one who comes by parenting “naturally”. I am supposed to be the one with all the answers to the kid questions. I am the one who is  supposed to instinctively know what to do when our kids have a splinter.

But that’s not how it works in our family. When it comes to parenting, Brado teaches me. Shoot…when it comes to most things, really.

He has taught me to set high expectations for my children and myself. He has taught to pause, breathe, look around and enjoy the now. He has taught me to give 100% even if no one is watching; even if others think you’re silly for doing so. He has taught me that honesty is ALWAYS the best policy and that paying attention is the key to life.

He has taught me that caring about what other people think is a complete waste of energy and that we can have people over to our house even when it is a hot mess. He has taught me to try; even when I am desperately scared of failing. Especially when I am afraid of failing. He has taught me to chase my dreams and, more importantly, to support others who are chasing theirs. He has taught me that life is better when you let people in. And of course, he has taught me (and made me memorize) the 548 reasons why Minnesota is the best place in the world.

BradEllen

BradEllen

I am pretty sure I don’t say it enough, but I’m saying it now…thank you Brado! For loving us unconditionally and lifting us up in every possible way. You are ours. And we are lucky!

Chances are you have a dad in your life that deserves a little thanking too (not to be confused with a little spanking — not that I’m judging if that is your thing) this Father’s Day (June 21st BTW).

If so, I have complied a list of gift ideas to get your gift-giving juices flowing. And, for the record, these are not my ideas about what I think dads would like. No way man. I wouldn’t do that to you. I’m not that smart.

For this list, I asked REAL-LIFE dads what they wanted. And, despite what Pottery Barn and Etsy may tell you, it turns out they do not necessarily want a monogrammed sunglasses case or personalized hammers. Who knew?

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Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 10.26.59 AM

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Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 10.23.37 AM

Here is what they said:

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Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 4.41.48 PM

1. Tickets: Whether it is a ticket to a sporting event, a concert or even another country…it was generally declared that tickets to events or experiences were more desired than physical items. So figure out what makes the dad in your life tick (Music festivals? Beer festivals?) and plan a day or a weekend around that event.

2. Gift Cards: But not to Applebees or Best Buy. Unless of course they love Applebees or Best Buy. Rather, try gift cards to something that is more interactive, like a driving or a shooting range. Or maybe 5 sessions with a personal trainer (disclaimer: you should really assess someone’s self esteem levels before ever giving this gift to anyone!). The key here, again, is to think in terms of experiences and activities. What do they spend their free time doing? Or what do they want to get better at? Try and make that happen for them and they’ll love you forever and ever.

3. Food: This was a reoccurring theme in the responses from my surveyed dads. Apparently the men in our lives are hungry. And hungry for VERY specific things. Like good cuts of beef or good coffee (more specifically “single origin, shade grown, fair trade coffee”). Or jalapeno cheddar brats from Everett’s Food and Meats at 38th and Cedar (Theresa, that is a hint!). So work some food products into your father’s day gift this year and I can pretty much guarantee that it will be appreciated (and vigorously consumed).

4. Beer: They all want beer. Chilled seems to be the only real requirement but if you wanted to take it a step further you could always get them one of those beer of the month subscriptions. Oh… and this sort of goes with the territory of beer drinking…but they also said they want to sleep in after drinking beer. Go figure.

5. Whiskey: If they don’t want beer, they want whiskey. Fact. And they want it old and distinguished. Like Sean Connery.

6. Tools: Actually, nobody mentioned wanting tools but, ladies, how else are they gonna hang up your gallery walls? Get them a drill.

7. A Man Crate: Actually, nobody mentioned this either…but I am fairly certain that is because they don’t know it exists. You guys…I’m not a man…so I might be wrong, but the people (men?) over at Man Crates are onto somethin’ (and, no, they are not paying me to say this). They offer everything from a Whiskey Connoisseur Crate, the Zombie Survival Crate and my personal favorite, The Bacon Crate. Also, these entrepreneurs sound fun. On their site they proudly state, “We stuff our crates with snacks, gadgets, gear and video games. Then we seal them up tight and ship them with a crowbar. Have you ever opened a present with a crowbar? It’s pretty awesome.”

Why, no I haven’t. And yeah, you know what…I bet it is.

8. Time: In one way or another, dads pretty much universally expressed a desire to have more time. Some wanted time of the family variety; time to go out to a family breakfast. Or just time to hang out with their friends and do some of their favorite things. Some of my favorite dad responses of this nature were as follows:

“I just want time for just our family to be together…uninterrupted by chores, work, friends, extended family, and the general chaos that is every day life.”

Seriously? Heart melted!

Or this:

“I want a Volkswagon Westfalia, with a tuned guitar in the back, a cooler of beer, a portable BBQ, a place to park it where I only see trees and finally, fill it with gas and my family.”

Cute, right? And see what I mean about the beer and food? It’s seriously ALL about the beer and food. You can’t go wrong.

But there were those who just wanted time to be alone. As a bit of an alone-lover myself…I totally get this. Sometimes this best gift you can give a dad is a day to pretend he’s not one.

So what am I gonna get for Brado this Father’s Day? Well, for obvious reasons, I can’t reveal that to you just yet (mostly because I still don’t have a plan), but I can tell you that he is bound to be disappointed.

When I surveyed him to see what he wanted for Father’s Day this year, without skipping a beat, he answered “A trip to Hawaii to play golf and drink beer with my friends”.

Hmmmm….yeah. Me too buddy. Me too.

So Happy (early) Father’s Day to all you rock star dads out there! I hope you get just the very thing that you want…or at least some cold beer!

Being Mind-Full

Being Mind-Full

Oh China, My China

Oh China, My China