Review: Sudio Earphones

First off, I don’t like wires. At all. There are a few reasons for that: 1) They tangle easily. 2) I like modern technology. 3) I’m clumsy and I’ll find a way to trip over them seriously injuring myself. Thankfully, I found something to help save the day.

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Cooler in Cotton

I call myself a Daddy Doin’ Work, so there’s no secret that I put in a lot of work during the course of any given day. That fact doesn’t make me special, because doin’ work is a highlighted item on the parenting job description for all of us. Cranky babies, late night feedings, managing toddler tantrums, and shuttling to and from T-ball practice are enough to make the best of us exhausted.

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Cruising Through the Eyes of a Child

One of the best parts of being a parent is witnessing life from the vantage point of our children. Many of things we think are mundane are absolutely amazing to them. For example, during a simple walk on the beach our kids will scream out in excitement over finding a colorful seashell or when the waves crash against the sand.

Speaking of sandy beaches, I recently took my family on an 8-day western Caribbean cruise courtesy of Carnival, and I noticed how my daughters’ eyes lit up from the moment we set foot on the beautiful Carnival Freedom until the time we went home.

Remember, my daughters are 5 and almost 3 years old, so a lot of what they witnessed was completely new to them. Here are some examples of how all of that went down.

Aggggghhhh! Frogs!

Carnival knows exactly what to do to keep kids happy. For example, they’re famous for their amazing towel animals. And yes, the clever crew put a frog towel in my room and I received a nice chuckle out of it (for those of you who don’t know, I have a frog phobia – but at least Carnival’s towel frog was cute).

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Every night after dinner, my daughters would rush back to our cabin to see what the crew created for them.

But that wasn’t all.

The cool thing is the girls had a chance to see the towel animals come to life during an awesome puppet show.

Yes, the folks at Carnival even had a tutorial on how to create the towel animals, but let’s be real – nobody can do it better than the experts.

Views, baby. Views.

We live in California, and there are some spectacular views in my state, but nothing compares to what my kids saw from our ocean view cabin. Getting them to actually leave our room was a challenge at times because of how amazing the scenery was.

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Green eggs and ham!

But wait, there’s more. Carnival puts on an amazing Seuss at Sea brunch where they serve Green Eggs & Ham and other goodies while the characters from the iconic books come to life. My daughters became really excited when Thing 1 and 2 came by our table. As you can see here, Thing 1 and my daughter had a nice bonding moment once they realized they share the same hairstylist.

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Time to get down!

My kids love music and the performers on the Carnival Freedom were top notch. Every night after dinner, my girls would hit the dance floor and strut their stuff. And let’s be real — few things are more adorable than watching a toddler completely own the dance floor.

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Time off of the ship.

We had a lot of fun visiting Cozumel, Belize, and Mahogany Bay. The girls loved seeing and swimming with the dolphins, and were locked into a constant state of wonderment the entire time.

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People say that kids keep us young, and that was the case during our cruise. With every smile that my kids shared, I provided an even bigger smile in return. Nothing in the world mattered when I saw how happy they were, and Carnival did an amazing job of making that happen.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

All Work Just Doesn’t Work

By now you know that I have the Daddy Doin’ Work nickname, but I didn’t come up with it by accident. Not to pat myself on the back here, but I’m a ridiculously hard worker. But guess what? I think I have that in common with you, too.

Here’s some not-so-breaking news for you: Americans are overworked.

In a recent survey, over 50% of workers in the U.S. felt burned out. Additionally, many employees don’t take vacation time that’s offered to them by leaving a combined 429 million unused paid vacation days behind a year.

That’s just crazy.

But is it, really?

We live in such a hypercompetitive society that many parents feel as if they need to be connected to the office or risk being left behind.

Greg from Atlanta shared his thoughts with me: “I feel as if I have to respond to emails within a reasonable amount of time or else people will feel like I’m slacking. Even if those emails come in the middle of the night.”

Liz from San Diego shared her thoughts as well: “I want to be super mom and a super employee, but I’m failing miserably at both because I’m always so tired.”

The problem is that always being connected at the office leaves us feeling less connected at home. I know this is true because I lived it. I felt that I was being pulled in so many different directions and I couldn’t say “no” to anyone. It was always, “Sure, I can do that,” when inside I was like, “I have no clue how I’m going to do that.”

I became exhausted and irritable, and my family knew I wasn’t myself. That’s when I pumped the brakes to realize what is truly important – and it meant spending time with the people I love the most. My daughters are growing up so fast and I realized that my stress was taking away from my joy in raising them.

What did I do to fix it?

I went on a vacation – specifically, a Carnival cruise. Yep, I actually used real vacation time. I didn’t check email or obsess about the work that would be waiting for me when I returned. I just focused on having a blast and recharging my batteries.

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Not only did I have a great time with my family, but I felt that I reconnected with myself. Sometimes all it takes is to separate yourself from the craziness of life to learn more about your priorities.

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We’re all going to die someday, and when that time comes do you think you’ll wish you spent more time at the office or more time with the people you love? Exactly.

If you’re offered time off from work, I urge you to take it. Not only will it make you a better employee and parent, it will make you a happier employee and parent.

Not to mention, time is the only resource we can’t get back once it’s spent. Don’t waste it by trying to be a “hero” at the office by skipping out on vacation time. Instead be a hero with the little ones who love you more than anything.

Because at the end of the day, the only thing our kids want us to spend on them is our time.

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.