Emails to Babies; A Guest Blog: Allison Berlin

Every so often I’m lucky enough to come across someone as nuts as I am and even more rare is someone who is willing to admit it. Allison Berlin is a great friend who has an interesting way of recording her children’s life events, so I asked her to write a guest blog to share her story with everyone…

Allison and her boys

On a recent weekend when pigs flew and 3 couples escaped together, kidless, to the mountains of Vermont, I shared an email with Peter that I had written to my 3 year old. Once he stopped laughing at said email, I explained the story of how and why I first started emailing my young kids, and he asked if I would share that story here.

When I was pregnant with our first son, my mother in law shared with me the journal that she kept when she was pregnant. I was immediately inspired – she wrote such thoughtful entries about her feelings as a new mom and current events. The entries were incredibly entertaining to read up on 30+ years later – a real-time look back to Reagan’s election and my father in law’s trip to the library to research the family’s first VHS player (seriously).

The day we found out we had a little boy on the way, I bought a journal, left it on the coffee table as an invitation for anyone to contribute, and vowed I would have something similar to give my son and his family to look back on. I was diligent – I wrote often, with my feet propped up, exactly the way a naive first time pregnant mom would. I passed that journal on to grandparents and my husband, prodding them to share their thoughts with their future grandson / son.

Fast forward to this new mom drinking coffee standing up at the kitchen counter, stuffing some semblance of food into my face to sustain any energy possible. With an actual live baby to now take care of, it became increasingly clear how little time I would have for those uninterrupted sessions of reflective journal writing. So I did what any (borderline) millennial would do – I made a new vow to continue the written journal up to his first birthday, then turned digital. I created an email address for my son that would allow me to jot down a quick message or send a photo “to him” on the fly. Stuck in a boring meeting at work? Shoot your 1 year old a funny picture from the night before with a note about a fun bath time (and maybe some life advice to find a job in his future that will not result in endless, boring meetings). Now this I could do.

My boys are now 5 and 3. They each have a written journal to account for their first 12 months (and admittedly a bit beyond, as my mother in law has not made the digital jump and continues to write) … and an email address that has kept up with them for the remaining years. I started these emails to give them the memories (and let’s be honest, maybe exactly the content they’ll need for future therapy sessions). Though, every so often, I take a look back at the emails I’ve sent these boys and realize they’re a small gift to myself.

Some subject lines along have the ability to elicit those mom tears of time moving entirely too fast: “Brudder,” followed 1 1/2 years later by “Brudder no more.” An account of my love of our youngest solely referring to his brother as “Budder”, and the sadness when he inevitably learned his actual name.

Others remind me that what you think is so trying at the time, truly is just a phase. You know – those times that prompt people to remind you, “this too shall pass”, while you smile kindly back, though make a mental note that this person is clearly deranged. “Is this a test?”: A quite lengthy letter to my youngest, wherein I find myself pleading with a young child’s email to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SLEEP for at least a few hours at a time!!!

Then there are some of my personal favorites – the ones that contain those little moments of life that are so easily forgotten, but oh so precious.”Mustard”: Conveying my son’s deep (if not sincerely confusing) love for mustard, accompanied with a picture of him eating, you guessed it, straight up mustard.”Your dad”: A moment in time when my husband was setting out to really wow, and inspired an email detailing why these boys should set husband / dad aspirations to their dad’s level.”Top bunk”: Because seriously, who knew how happy a surprise bunk bed at our vacation rental could make a kid.

Lastly, not to be forgotten… “Wobbly pants”: The email I shared with Peter that inspired this guest post, as he realized I had written a summary of my son’s love of skin tight pants (and relative hatred for what he refers to as “wobbly pants”, also referred to as simply “pants” by the rest of human kind).

It is these look backs that make me keep going and remind me how to answer the question of, “why the heck do you email your children?”. I picture them with their own babies on the way, gifting them this treasure trove of emails from their youth where they will find memories of wobbly pants and mustard alongside annual Christmas summaries. Then I remember I’ll be doing the same. I fast forward to a time when quick meals with kids running under foot are a faint memory. I’ll be all too aware of how fast time moves. Though I know I will have gifted myself these same distinct memories – and man, do I know those mom tears will be flowing.

A huge thank you to Allison as I am reviving the Chronicles Guest Blog Series, where we will “attempt” to show off some other authors and their thoughts on parenting, children and life.

The One-Armed Blogger

Tonight was one of those nights where you just are happy to be close to your family. It was a long day here, but it was comforting to be able to relax a little with my oldest son before bed.

Can you still blog with only one arm?

While reading with him however, he fell asleep mid book. My arm is now trapped under him. I feel like I’m going to have to gnaw it off to escape. In case this is the last blog I write please know it’s been fun while it lasted.

Chronicles of a New Dad and Baby Jack and Company: A Magical Pairing


Almost 4 years ago to the day I started this blog as a fun way to keep track of my son as he grows. A couple of years later we had another son which created more memories and more shenanigans which generated more writing. The writing about my boys is what I love. Being able to tell stories about how amazing they are and how normal it is to screw things up as a parent is what I enjoy most.

The more writing I did, the more people noticed. The more people noticed the more I was asked to write for other people, which turned into more traffic and eventually a boom. (Pick up your copy of Letters From Dad: Thoughts on Fatherhood, Family and Life on amazon today). Then one day I designed a Harry Potter- Cupboard Under the Stairs themed reading room and things took off… interviews with Parents Magazine, interviews with NBC, as well as coverage from Mugglenet and newspapers from the UK, Central America and of course all across the US. Cumulating in almost a million hits, views, likes and shares.

Then my phone rang and on the other end Mikey Mouse offered me the chance to work with him and the Disney crew on an amazing project (well more Disney and less Mickey Mouse). The more I thought about it the more I realized it just wasn’t what I wanted my blog to lead too. It wasn’t the right fit. Yes I know what I’m saying… getting a chance to work with Disney is a great opportunity… but, honestly it just wasn’t the right fit.

I was very content where I was… clearly my first job of being a parent is the most important part of my life, but being a school principal is not far behind. If I was going to branch out it would need to be something perfect… but who knew that something perfect was sitting in my Cupboard Under the Stairs the whole time.

When I got the call from Kelley, owner of Baby Jack and Company I was sure I was getting “catfished”. There was no way this amazing company that focuses on the thing that my son loves the most… his taggie/lovey and that they also create educational toys, and have their own Wizard line… and now they want me? Like she actually wants me to join her team? And I’ll have an official title… Creative Director? This is too good to be true!

And the whole time one of her “Loveys” sat quietly in the Cupboard Under the Stairs… a gift from an amazing friend. I guess it was fate. They say everything happens for a reason… this isn’t Disney… but to me, it’s so much more. A company that focuses on what is most important to me, parenting, family, education and of course Harry Potter.

Hopefully with a little magic this company will take off even more that it has already and I hope that I can positively contribute to already phenomenally successful business.

Please check us out at

Check out our blog as well… especially since the picture they used of me came out pretty good!

2014: A Year in Review

I guess the first thing we can all admit is if it weren’t for the Jackson this blog wouldn’t exist.  There isn’t a doubt that he is the greatest thing to happen to me and Steph… both this year and in our lives.  (Although catching Jordy Nelson in the end zone during a Lambeau Leap is a pretty close second… see below even though it wasn’t this year).

We’ve had some highs and lows this year… as Im sure everyone has, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an amazing year:

January:  We had just found out we were having a boy and “revealed” it to everyone via a (step’s idea) cake with blue filling.  January become the month when are credit card bills skyrocketed due to the insane amount of boy’s clothing and room decor that began to fill the empty nursery.

February:  Valentine’s day and Steph’s birthday along with an expecting baby can be a challenge for any guy.  Im no different.  I struggled to balance the amount of power that was seemingly shifting from slightly in favor of Steph to completely in favor or Steph.  February usually belongs to the ladies… add in the fact that Steph celebrates a birthday MONTH and you’re going to have some issues.  Top that all with a mom who is expecting her first child, and I might as well have just thrown in the towel.  Luckily, Steph is the kind of girl who doesn’t like to be spoiled (HAHAHA).  But in all reality she deserves it and she actually was pretty well behaved the entire month!

March:  We were coming down to the final months of Married WithOUT Children.  Steph and I attempted to keep things relatively normal.  As normal as possible with a nursery that was being completely rebuilt (a nursery which we were not allowed to see until completion in April, a nursery which had new locks).

April:  Pretty uneventful month if I do say so myself… well I guess uneventful if you don’t count the nursery being completed (it was amazing, Chronicles of a New Dad blog debuted in its earliest form on Tumblr… and ohh yea… a baby being born.  Jax came two weeks early which is surprising considering his parents are never on time for ANYTHING, let alone early.

May:  Paturnity leave is non-existent, so good thing I never use sick days.  I had enough to take almost two weeks to not sleep, change tar-like poopie diapers, get peed on, not sleep, get puked on, enjoy every second of our new baby boy.  Buster and Max were still not totally sure what this little thing was that moved into their house, but eventually warmed up to him!

June:  Jax got his Hogwarts acceptance letter and I literally cried with happiness and joy at the sight of his Hogwarts Express ticket.  I also had a birthday somewhere in there, I just don’t remember it, I was never a big birthday guy… but this one is where I started to realize, I was no longer the center of attention in a room anymore.  Hugh Hefner’s wife started following the blog on twitter… interesting.

July:  Jax first time in the pool (crying), Jax first time on a boat (crying) and his first vacation (crying)… actually, I think the only one he really cried during was the pool… and that’s fine for me because I hate the pool too.  This was also the month the blog started to gain some attention.  Parent Magazine retweeted and favored some of the blog entries I posted up to twitter.  Huffington Post Parents also followed our antics.

August:  Our Anniversary, Jax first solid food, fantasy football draft, preseason football with the Packers, and I think we started to perfect our BATH, BOOK, BED nighttime routine.

September: Jax and his Godparents were blessed at his baptism. This was the first time the WHOLE family got together. It truly is amazing how a baby brings everyone closer. We also got to go to Yankee Stadium for his first baseball game… as an added bonus he’ll be able to say he saw Derek Jeter play before he retired.

October:  October was a great month, between Halloween and the craziness of being back into the swing of things for another school year I feel there was hardly time to breathe.  Then there was the blog… the traffic the blog was generating during October was tremendous.  Between the posts about Ebola (, Hip Hop Advice (, and about how life has changed since Jax came along ( and ( I began to toy with the idea of moving the blog to my own site.  Wordpress was perfect for what I was looking for and Chronicles of a New Dad found a permanent home.

November:  November brought Thanksgiving… what more could I be thankful for?  I have an amazing and beautiful wife and the coolest son in the world!  i was on cloud nine (I also started a new job at a new school and am so happy with where I am).  The only thing that could improve my spirits was hanging out with a famous Hall of Fame Baseball player… my idol… Rickey Henderson…  Ohh yea no big deal, Rickey and Jax are now BFFs.

December:  December is always one of my favorite months.  I hate the snow and the cold, but I love the time to reflect, to sit in front of the Christmas tree with some old school Christmas carols on and think about how lucky I have been over the past 12 months.  Steph, Jax and I got to hang out with our favorite photographers at Pink Elephant Photography again for a fun filled shoot, Jax met Santa, Max and Buster ALMOST got their wish of eating the mailman and the blog was generating over 2000 hits and gaining followers.  I was also selected as the Featured Blogger of the Month on the Love all Dads website (

This year has been great.  I’m looking forward to growth and maturity levels developing (Jackson’s growth and maturity develop as well).  Im looking forward to the development of the blog and hope that you all stay with us on the journey… but most importantly I’m looking forward to spending each moment with my family!

Expect our New Year’s Resolutions to be up tomorrow morning!





Jordy Nelson and the Lambeau Leap