Happy Birthday to an Amazing Mom

Anyone who’s read this blog before knows that I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not an amazing wordsmith… I don’t have the lyrical prowess of Tupac or the ability to turn a a few stanzas of a poem into a Grammy winning hit like Boyz II Men, but I can, every once and a while write something that has some depth.

Today, I will take a stab at some more meaningful prose and take after the two aforementioned rap/R&B legends with a dedication to Jax and Ollie’s Mom (I’m sure it won’t be as perfectly written as “Dear Momma”, and there’s not a chance I could make it sound as nice as “A Song For Mamma,” but we’ll give it a shot anyway.

I really don’t know how to put into words exactly what a mom, especially this mom means to a family. No matter what, she has always shown… many times… the great love she has for her family. After all the difficult times her and I have made it through as parents, I know that it doesn’t matter to her what happens, she will stand by me and always be there–through the good and the bad to support these two beautiful little boys. She will help me guide them through life and hopefully we, together, can instill in them right from wrong and a sense of decency, respect, kindness and leadership that this world seems to be so desperately lacking.

Jackson and Oliver, your mother has always loved you so much from the very- very beginning. She couldn’t wait for either of you to make your first appearance in this world. “She had a bag packed for the hospital months in advance… and the clothes you’d both wear home from the hospital were purchased months in advance.  When given the opportunity to have you sleep in the nursery those first few nights at the hospital, she looked at those nurses like they had five heads… not a chance she was letting you go… not then and not now.

A mother’s love is is something that I can’t explain.  Being a parent… being a mom is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice.  This mom… she is giving, often putting her own needs on hold to make sure that her sons have everything they could ever need.

If you have ever attempted to have a conversation with a three year old you know what it’s like to feel frustration… jumping from subject to subject, trying to find the right vocabulary to express wants and needs… and more often than not just hearing two words over and over and over and over again… “NO” and “Why”.  Sometimes talking to a child is like talking to your dog… they look like they get what you are saying, but then two seconds later ask a question completely unrelated to the topic at hand… but something special happens when a mom listens to their child.  A mother understands what a child cannot say.  Jackson and Oliver are so incredibly lucky to have someone so in tune with who they are that she can completely understand them, even when they don’t even understand themselves.  It’s a gift… and it’s what makes Stephanie so amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still bouts of frustration and anger and lots of sleepless nights… neither of us are perfect… and she won’t pretend she is, but when we look at our children, we both know that we got something in our life so perfectly right.  Happy birthday to an incredibly hard working, dedicated, (relatively) patient mother and one hell of a role model for our children.


Peter, Jackson, Oliver, Buster and Max

Ollie’s Winter ONEderland

img_5486-1I’ve professed my unadulterated hatred for children’s birthday parties (sorry to anyone who has recently invited us, or plans to invite us to their child’s birthday party… No really, I’m so excited to attend). In all honestly though I don’t hate kid’s birthday parties. I just wish they weren’t as stressful for the adults.

On one hand you have the person attending the party. All the stress of what to get, how much to spend… how long to stay. It’s too much decision making to partake in on a day off from work. I worry at every party I take my boys to how much money worth of family heirlooms they are going to destroy. It’s scary, trust me.

Then there is the flip side… being the host of a child’s birthday party. You want to make it enjoyable for all.. you want to set the kids up for success while allowing for some enjoyment for the adults. Oliver’s birthday party did a little of all of that. There was something for everyone.

There was time adult talk and time for play for the kids. There was hide and seek and talk of politics and health. There were sandwiches as far as the eye could see (and knifes that sawed through antique furniture in the dining room). There was hide and seek and there was blue cake-icing that was mashed into the carpet in no less than four different spots.

However, after things settled down… thing is… it was all worth it. Family and friends together celebrating such an amazing little boy turning one. It is a huge milestone… for this little guy that milestone is more about the fact that he’s survived a year with Jackson as his older brother. Between full contact hide and seek and Jackson trying to feed Oliver anything he can get his hands on… it’s a miracle this kid made it to one!!!

PS: You know it was a good time when all the party penguins end up on the ceiling 😂🐧

Photography and Oliver’s Cake

View More: http://pinkelephantphotography.pass.us/ollie

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”

— Paul Caponigro

Staci Miller… Staci FREAKING Miller… this woman is a magician. A witch, she maybe would even give Hermione Granger a run for her money… because she consistently capture the beauty (and most importantly the personalities) of my two sons. Their personalities and character are forever held in the moment that she is able to catch each time the flash goes off.

Every photograph I look at is a moment in time held still forever. Time is the one thing in life that you can never get more of, no matter what you do you can’t buy more. But somehow Staci Miller defies reality… her photographs tell a story that my words could never do.

Thank you Staci Miller for allowing us to always have these moments. Even as time continues to move at the same rate for everyone everywhere, you are able to slow down life through your photos.

OK, so yes… maybe we let Oliver eat an entire box of Nilla Wafers in an attempt to bribe him to sit nicely and smile, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. All in all, Oliver’s cake smash was a massive success… although he did more tasting and less smashing than Jax did!

“I’m Not a Baby Any More, Dad”

I guess he’s all grown up now that he turned one… no more baby stuff for this big guy anymore. There’s no need for bottles, or naps, or any of that other stuff that babies do. Nope, not Oliver, he’s one now.

Apparently turning one is where Oliver decides he no longer needs us. Last week we couldn’t get this kid to give either of us a second to breath. We couldn’t go more than three inches without him crying for someone to pick him up, especially his mom.

But now, he’s not a momma’s boy… he’s a big boy and what do big boys do? They play on their own. They take out their own toys, they figure out what to do themselves if something goes wrong and more importantly they don’t cry when mom or dad isn’t around… at least for now that is.

Happy First Birthday Oliver


Dear Oliver,

First off, let me be the first to wish you a very happy first birthday. Birthdays are a pretty big deal when you’re a little dude… so enjoy thi

s one because the first of anything is a HUGE DEAL.

I wanted to get you something that you would love for your very first birthday gift, but honestly you are going to get spoiled rotten in a few days by family and friends (so I’m going to take the cheap way out and write you a letter for my gift to you on your 1st birthday.

I guess I wanted to first off say that I am sorry I’m not best dad, especially the second time around. I’m sorry I don’t have as much time as I had the first time with Jax. I’m sorry that every little thing you do isn’t as closely documented as I wish it could be. In no way at any time or under ANY circumstances does that mean that you’re not as much as any other member of this family.

It’s inevitable that being the “second to have a first” can be quite redundant.  But in reality its not that you are the second to have these firsts… its that your firsts sometimes are overshadowed by just how fast you’re growing up and how big you’ve gotten. One second your a lump on a log and the next second your pulling yourself up on the coffee table. I’m waiting to turn around to see you doing pull-ups on the door frame. It’s amazing how much you’ve developed in only a year.

The second baby is supposed to be easier then the first. We’ve already experienced so many things with the first child, sickness, diaper explosions, teething… etc, etc. You’d think that these experiences would be less exciting the second time around, but they totally do not lose any of that “amazingness” even the second time around. It is truly a blessing watching you stand up on your own, although its just as scary when seeing you when you can’t balance and you fall face first onto the hardwood floor.

I think the thing that gets lost in this blog is the little things… I try to document as much as I can… but the one thing that no one can truly depict (not even the best writer) is the love between you and your brother.  The way he lights up when he sees you is truly heartwarming. You have not only brought so much joy into mine and your mother’s lives, but into Jackson’s as well.  I know what its like to be a big brother… I know Jackson feels protective of you… but I also know how great it is to have someone around to make you laugh and to play with. You are so much more than just our child, you are a brother and best friend.

If the past is any indication of how the next year of your life will go… I predict you will do great things… big things… but more importantly you will be loved by so many people as well.

Happy Birthday little man…





JANUARY 31, 2017:

JANUARY 31, 2018:

15 Minutes of Fame

What a few weeks. Your neighborhood Dad Blogger became the newest viral sensation. I was a Kardashian (minus 40 billion dollars). I was Barstool Sports when they hit it big. I was everywhere you turned… no, but really.. it was fun while it lasted:

independant record

The number of online articles, magazines, newspapers and news outlets that picked up the story was amazing.  Some wanted interviews and others just a few quotes about the project, but it was a lot of fun feeling famous for a few minutes! (and let’s face it nothing beats being the #1 best blog on “Stairs”).

Besides having a bunch of great articles written about the project, there were just as many amazing comments on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest:

Going viral isn’t always a good thing… just look at whats happening with… well anyone who does something stupid on Facebook Live or Twitter… but in this case… going viral was pretty cool… it definitely provided me with a way to connect with people all over the world that I would otherwise not have been able to.  New Harry Potter fans and a lot of new readers on the blog are a direct result of this project… which is pretty cool!

Some of the Facebook posts had literally hundreds of thousands of interactions:


The “Love What Matters” post and article has had over 10,000 unique interactions



My original post on my Facebook account (where all the hoopla started) has had over 3,000 likes and shares.


After the Parents Magazine article, they posted the video review of the project which has had over 120,000 views.


People from everywhere were commenting on the project.  The world was my oyster for about two weeks…

The shaded areas show where Chronicles of a New Dad was viewed in the few days after the Cupboard Under the Stairs blog was published. (Darker the color the more views there were
Here are links to some of the better articles and interviews that were written:
  1. https://www.fatherly.com/play/father-builds-replica-cupboard-under-stairs-harry-potter/
  2. https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Dad-Re-creates-Harry-Potter-Cupboard-Under-Stairs-44489977
  3. https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/everything-kids/dad-recreated-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs-from-harry-potter/
  4. http://www.scarymommy.com/harry-potter-cupboard-under-stairs-reading-nook/
  5. https://www.babble.com/parenting/peter-fragola-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs/
  6. https://www.purewow.com/news/dad-recreates-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs
  7. http://www.yuryz.com/youve-got-to-see-this-dads-harry-potter-inspired-cupboard-under-the-stairs/
  8. https://www.simplemost.com/dad-remakes-harry-potter-cupboard-under-stairs/
  9. https://www.beano.com/posts/someones-dad-has-given-their-cupboard-under-the-stairs-a-harry-potter-makeover
  10. https://www.thebump.com/news/dad-builds-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs
  11. http://www.cluebees.com/more/just-in/this-father-recreated-the-Harry-Potters-room
  12. http://diply.com/dad-creates-harry-potter-cupboard?publisher=different-solutions&config=21
  13. http://helenair.com/lifestyles/simplemost/dad-recreated-harry-potter-s-cupboard-under-the-stairs-for/article_2de9793e-d097-5a08-b5e8-5c9811c4dac1.html
  14. http://www.morefm.co.nz/home/trending/2018/01/dad-builds-sons-the-perfect-harry-potter-reading-corner-under-th.html
  15. https://vipleyo.com/america/baby/2018/01/11/this-dads-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs-is-all-sorts-of-amazing/
  16. https://www.magicmum.com/dads-recreation-of-harry-potters-room-is-what-dreams-are-made-of/http://www.morefm.co.nz/home/trending/2018/01/dad-builds-sons-the-perfect-harry-potter-reading-corner-under-th.html
  17. http://harrypotter.trendolizer.com/2018/01/dad-recreated-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs-from-harry-potter-for-his-sons.html
  18. http://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/dads/dad-builds-a-potteresque-cupboard-under-the-stairs-and-we-want-one/news-story/d5feb87822f3f27eb077b51b46425c93