Father Figures: Lessons

“Last week was the 11th anniversary of my dad’s passing.

He was technically my stepfather, but if he were to hear me use ‘the ‘S’ word’ (as he called it), it would have broken his heart. I was his daughter and he was my father and you couldn’t tell us otherwise.

He did what every father does and taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons.

Lessons like:

  • You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends’ nose.
  • We can send a man to the moon but we still can’t put metal in the microwave
  • If you unscrew your bellybutton your butt will fall off (and I tried… hard)
  • What a wonderful bird is the pelican/
    Its mouth can fit more than its belly-can/
    It can fit in its beak/
    What it eats in a week/
    And I always wonder how in the hell-he-can!

And many more. He loved to laugh and make people laugh. No matter what kind of messed up things we were going through he was always there for me.

I could not have handpicked a better father myself and I miss him terribly.”

– Stephanie Casey

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Ex-NASA Engineer Makes Glitter Bomb Fart Trap for Porch Thieves

(YouTube/Mark Rober)

Mark Rober is a tinkerer and a problem-solver.

So when local thieves began swiping packages off his front porch, he did what any former NASA engineer would do: He disguised an exploding glitter booby trap in a decoy Apple HomePod box and attached cameras to record it in action.

This wasn’t an overnight project by any means. The design and production process took six months with several different camera configurations and glitter dispersal methods.

The final product included four cell phones with wide-angled cameras, a custom circuit board to activate and power the devices, GPS, and a special 3D-printed box to effectively house everything.

Oh, and did we mention the fart spray? Yeah, if the cloud of glitter doesn’t make the thieves rethink their life choices, the room-clearing fart scent this bad boy expels definitely will.

Rober’s YouTube video reviews the impressive design process, but the real highlight is witnessing the reactions of various package pilferers who thought Rober’s house would make for an easy payday.

If you want to skip right to the trap unloading on multiple “victims” we’ve cued the lengthy video to the good part:

However, the entire process is pretty fascinating – if you have the time, it’s well worth a full watch below.

Dad’s 10 Heartbreaking Yet Inspiring Lessons From 3-Year-Old’s Passing

(Facebook/Richard Pringle)

Losing a child is about the hardest thing anyone can go through. Keeping your head up after such a tragedy is unfathomable, but one father who lost his son is doing his best to impart the lessons he learned while dealing with his grief.

Grief and loss are not easy things to talk about, especially when you’re dealing with the death of a child, but somehow Richard Pringle was able to put some thoughts together in the aftermath of his family tragedy, and his words of wisdom are inspiring thousands of others.

When Pringle’s 3-year-old son, Hughie, died suddenly of a brain hemmorhage, it total upended his family’s lives.

“He had a brain condition but was doing so well,” Richard told Mirror Online. “There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”

A year after his son’s passing, Pringle, who has two other children, took to Facebook to share the lessons he’s learned from the ordeal.

Titled “The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son,” his post has 36,000 likes and over 22,000 shares, and his wisdom is proving a boon to fellow grief sufferers.

His son was only three when he passed, but that was plenty of time to know and love the boy, and nowhere near enough time with him.

“He was soft, gentle, caring and so lovable,” Richard said. “He made the boring things fun. He made everything fun. In three short years he left us with a lifetime of the most incredible memories.”

Richard’s powerful list is full of lessons about living in the present and cherishing the love and loved ones in your life, and the 10 items include things many of us need to hear, especially in today’s hectic, distracting world.

The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son

1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.

2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.

3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.

4. Don’t spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp and have fun. That’s all they want. I can’t remember what we bought Hughie I can only remember what we did.

5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.

6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.

7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.

8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile and enjoy yourselves. They’re only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.

9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever and when your older you can look back and cherish every moment.

The last item on the list may be the most heartbreaking, as it can’t help but make you think about the things Hughie is missing.

10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that.

Richard, we salute you for your strength and thank you for your words of wisdom.

7 Christmas Movies That Border On Horror Films

The holidays are the perfect time to curl up on the couch by the fire with some hot cocoa and turn on a beloved family Christmas film that will…give your kids nightmares? Why are so many holiday films so downright creepy? Here are 7 of the movies most likely to haunt your psyche forever.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Jim Carrey Christmas GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I can’t even decide what my least favorite moment of this movie is, because they are so many, and the whole thing makes me feel extremely unsettled. The tone of it is not magical, but bizarre. The dark new backstory about his childhood bullying is rough but the real nightmare fuel of this movie is in Jim Carey’s mannerisms. He seems genuinely mentally unstable. Most haunting portrayal of a villain besides Heath Ledger’s Joker.

Breakup Drinking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

A Christmas Story (1983) 

Santa Claus Christmas GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This movie is great but let’s not pretend the scene with the department store Santa is anything other than traumatic. If your kid wasn’t already afraid of Santa, he’s gonna be.

Santa Claus GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Polar Express (2004)

The Polar Express Christmas Movies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is one of the best books turned into one of the worst movies. The animated Tom Hanks alone is enough to give you the heebie jeebies. I could go into everything I hate about this movie in depth but I’ll just leave you with the demonic marionette scene. I challenge anyone to watch this and and not feel as if they’ve just been thrust into a CGI hellscape.

A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Dickens novel is a literal ghost story, so you know it has spooky potential but you see the word “Muppet” and think that will soften it. It does, quite a bit, but I watched this with my kids recently and was struck by how creepy the first floating doll ghost is.

I also had to answer questions from my kids like, “When I die will I be trapped in a giant chain” and “why doesn’t that huge ghost have a head.” It’s simple kids: be good or you will die alone and be sent to hell to suffer eternally. Merry Christmas.

The Muppet Christmas Carol GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Scrooged (1988)

Sure it’s a Christmas movie and yes it’s Bill Murray but try telling that to your kid’s nightmares (or your own).

Sunglasses Christmas Movies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If there was a haunted house based on this movie, I would be too afraid to go. Someone should tell these guys that just because there’s a candy cane in a particular scene doesn’t mean it’s Christmasy. Okay?

Home Alone (1990)

Hey kids, gather round to watch a child left alone for days and forced to defend himself from violent criminals! What a normal, festive premise for a holiday film.

Home Alone Christmas Movies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ironically though, even with the dark storyline of this entire movie, the part that scared me the most as a kid was the furnace in the basement. Never mind the burglars threatening to kill a child, that creepy furnace was bone-chilling.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Okay let’s see here, Santa is DEAD and everyone is pretty chill about it. We get right into “just put on his coat and steal his identity.” They find him laying DEAD on the ground but Disney skirts around the whole “corpse in a kid’s movie” issue by having him disappear immediately and leave his clothes laying flat, as if that is LESS CREEPY?

The Santa Clause Christmas Movies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

And don’t even get me started on the creepiness factor of those old animated films. (Rudolph, Santa Clause is Coming To Town, Frosty The Snowman.) Those scared me as a child and scare me even more as an adult.

I know I’ve missed some, so feel free to comment with your nomination for creepiest holiday movie scene. Scary Christmas to all, and to all a good fright!

Santa Takes a Knee to Thank a WW2 Hero Who is also a Father of 10

(Facebook/Gina Stecher Wilbur)

It’s December, and around this time of year, Santa Claus is the big MVP. Everybody lines up to meet the big man and whisper their dreams into his ear and then go home and wait for him to magically make them come true.

But Santa has heroes of his own, and while he was working the Concord Mall in Delaware this holiday season, old St. Nick took a break from his Christmas duties to show some respect to one of them.

Gina Stecher Wilbur was out doing some holiday shopping with her son when they decided to take a breather and sit on a bench next to the mall’s Santa’s Workshop area, where Mr. Claus waits on his throne (of lies?) for children to step up and sit on his lap. But wile Gina was taking her break, she saw Santa take a break of his own, and not merely to grab a bite or use the restroom. No, Santa got up from his seat and walked over to a man he saw sitting by the wall.

The man was Bob Smiley, a 93-year-old father of ten (ten!) who was wearing a WWII veteran hat. Santa had noticed, and he’d gone over to Bob to pay him respects.

From Gina’s Facebook post:

“Santa steps away from his Chair… he walks over to a veteran sitting on the wall… as Santa approaches, the veteran stands and Santa takes a knee. I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served. He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness thanking him for his service and returns to the children.”

Gina snapped a photo of the moment, and it was quickly noticed by the internet, gathering 13,000 likes and nearly 8,000 shares. “Good Day Philadelphia” even caught wind of the story and brought Santa and Smiley on their show to discuss their encounter.

(Facebook/Gina Stecher Wilbur)

“We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this, that have made such a life-changing decision to give up themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people,” Santa told FOX 29’s Jennaphr Frederick.

Gina agrees, closing her Facebook post by commenting, “Best moment of my day.”

Santa Snuggles With His #1 Fan: A Great-Grandmother With Dementia

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

Santa Claus is a pretty popular guy this time of year. Between his personal army of toy-making elves and that belly like a bowlful of jelly, it’s hard to not like the guy.

However, few people appreciate the big, jolly elf like Karen of Albuquerque, NM.

Recently, Karen arrived with her family for a Santa photo shoot with The Hartsocks’ Photography. Currently, in the late stages of dementia, the mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother doesn’t always know where she is or with whom she is speaking, but she never forgets Santa.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

Karen has visited malls for years to visit the big guy, even when she was an adult living by herself. Despite not being much of a talker anymore, she has a Santa doll that she sleeps with and occasionally speaks to in Japanese.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

As a special Christmas gift, Karen’s family brought her to see Santa in the Hartsocks’ studio. Provided with some of her backstory beforehand, the big guy gifted her with a personalized handmade ‘Busy Blanket’ and, as a result, she opened right up to him.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

She reminded him about all the times she had visited him before and how much she loves him. Any time he drew near her, she would snuggle up to him and close her eyes, savoring the special moment with St. Nick.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the studio. Even Santa, who held it together for the duration of the shoot, let the tears flow after Karen left.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

The Hartsocks couldn’t have been happier to provide such a wonderful opportunity to Karen and her family.

“We are very grateful they trusted us with someone so perfect and precious (and for allowing us to share her with you)! Karen is so special. She is so loved. And no matter how much time passes, she will always be Santa’s #1 girl. This is truly what the magic of Christmas and the spirit of Santa is all about.”

Girl Asks Santa to Change Dad’s Shift so He Can Be Home For Christmas

(WWLP)

When I was a kid and Christmas came around, I put a lot of thought into my list.

Before I clued into the fact that my parents were responsible for the stack of presents under the tree, I would ask for some pretty outlandish stuff. Like the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. Or a bigger bedroom. Or no school for the rest of my life.

After all, Santa was magic, maybe he could deliver something outrageous for me! I never got any of those things, for obvious reasons (I’m not convinced that aircraft carrier even existed!), but they weren’t important. Not like one little girl’s wish to Santa.

Zadora is a 10-year-old from Springfield, Massachusetts who asked Santa for one very special gift this Christmas, and her grandmother was so touched by her request, who shared the letter with WWLP.

(WWLP)

In her letter, “Zee” tells Santa she doesn’t want any gifts, she just wants her dad’s shift at the post office to start a little later.

“He would be so happy,” Zee said. “And when he is happy, I’m happy, and I’ll tell you this: I’ll even let you skip my house.”

Her father, David Matias, has been working the 6:30 shift for 10 years, but it was recently changed to 4:30. And his daughter noticed the time they were losing, because Dad used to get her from school and they’d have a few hours together. But the shift change eliminates that.

“I have all I want right now from my parents and I realized that I just wanted to spend more time with my dad,” said Zadora.

Dad feels her pain. “Just the two-hour change had a big impact because now Zadora’s father gets out of school and it’s getting her from school and going straight to work so even the time we did have we lost that,” David told WWLP.

Given the busy holiday schedule he’s not very hopeful that the Post Office will accommodate his daughter’s request, so, like Zadora, he’s hoping for a little Christmas magic.

Photographers Make Christmas Magical for Children in Hospitals

(The Heart Project/Edit by Jason Ulsrud - Photillustrator)

Christmas is a special time of year, full of family, joy, and holiday traditions. Sometimes, real life has a way of dampening our Christmas spirit, and making the joy of the season more elusive than it should be.

For no one is that more true for sick children and their parents, who are forced to spend the Christmas season in the hospital, and often end up missing a lot of what makes the holiday season so wonderful. When you’re stuck in a hospital bed, making a visit to tell Santa what you want for Christmas is not really in the cards.

One organization is helping change that by bringing some of the holiday spirit to the hospital and allowing kids to get their hearts warmed.

In 2016, an organization called “The Heart Project” was created by Karen Alsop and Adam Cubito. The non-profit organization was started by the pair in Melbourne, Australia. Together, as part of their “Christmas Wish” program, they take photos of children with Santa in their hospital rooms, then use Photoshop to edit them into gorgeous, fantastical images.

(The Heart Project)
(The Heart Project/Edit by Lisa Carney)

“The idea sprouted from a conversation between myself and Adam Cubito (Heart Project co-founder) in 2016. We knew that Photographic Art had the ability to transport kids into another world and realized that this would be an incredible project to run in a hospital where many families couldn’t return home for Christmas”, Alsop told Bored Panda.

(The Heart Project/Edit by Ben Shirk)

They span the globe all year to take photos with children. They’ve traveled to hospitals and hospices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Christchurch, Auckland, Canada, Bristol UK and North Devon UK so far this year, and Alsop says they’ve taken photos with more than 200 kids in 2018 alone.

(The Heart Project/Edit by Richard Wood)

“Our mission has always been to put a smile on the face of families who are doing it tough at Christmas by making them escape reality – even for a day – thanks to the power of photography and Photoshop.”

(The Heart Project/Edit by Mark Heaps - lifebypixels)
(The Heart Project/Karen Alsop - Story Art)
(The Heart Project/Edit by Mandy Smith and Karen Alsop)

You can watch the entire magical process unfold in this video:

Man-Cave Candles To Feel Like A Pirate Or Race Car Driver Or Whatever Your Thing Is

Candle Feature

Are you man enough to fill your home with some gentle aromas? Do you have what it takes to confidently strike a match, and set it to a wick without burning your finger a little bit? Can you handle watching the wax slowly melt away, and using that imagery to cope with your own daily stress and anxieties?

Maybe you don’t think candles are for you, eh? Well it’s possible you just haven’t found the right kind. Check out our favorite Man-Cave mood setters, but be warned: You may find the power of scents-memory will transport you back to those days on untamed sea, wrestling with demons both inside and out.

The smell of hard work and the past 

DarkRum
(Amazon)
These candles understand the indisputable fact that some sort of booze + some sort of plant makes for a perfect smell. Dark Rum & Oak, Whiskey & Tobacco -or if you’re kinda weird- Absinthe & Black Fig are great scents that suggest you are secretly a Colonial Era blacksmith-turned-spy for the Revolution.

 

Tiny campfires to remind you of real campfires

Campfire
(Amazon)

By taming the fierce element of fire, mankind claimed dominion over the Earth. Now relish in that ultimate power with a little tiny fire in a cup. With a wooden wick to create authentic crackling, this is perfect for the dad who wants to enjoy taking their kids camping, but doesn’t want to listen to their kids complain about camping.

Mmmmm. Musk. 

FreshShaveCandle
(Walmart)

Personal grooming: Not always in the cards for a modern dad. But the refreshing aromas of cedar and musk can still be a part of your daily routine. Why musk is  a refreshing smell, we’re not sure. Just one of life’s mysteries. It’s the kind of thing you ponder while shaving, or now, sitting in a chair with a candle burning.

Vroom-Vroom Wax

ManCandles
(Walmart)

Are you a grease monkey? Well gear up with candles that say “everyone else is unwelcome in this room.”

Still not convinced a candle is for you? If you are intrigued by enticing aromas, but prefer a bigger canvas, then we hope for your sake the KFC Herbs & Spices Firelogs will be back in stock sometime soon. Meanwhile we’ll be burning the candle on both ends, because we’re cool with candles that way.

ChickenLog
(KFC)
We participate in the Walmart and Amazon Affiliate Programs. We may earn a small fee by linking to Walmart.com & Amazon.com. Unfortunately we could not find a capitalism-scented candle for this article.