Saturday, April 28, 2012

Playdates with J-Lo....

Hello everyone!  Well, it seems like I am on a pace to write about 1 or 2 of these entries a year now.... hard to find the time.  But I do have a big update I would like to share with all of you!!
Our twin boys, Samuel & Asher, will be starring with Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming movie, What to Expect When You're Expecting scheduled to open May 18th.
Yes, seriously..... we had playdates with J-Lo this past summer.  Crazy story.  My wife, Meredith, has started a new blog (and she is much better at updating than me) for people to follow along in this amazing journey.  For those interested, you can check it out at
It is quite an amazing amazing, that I have begun writing a book about it.  More on that in time.

Meredith & I have also been interviewed by several media outlets about our adopted twins' amazing journey- from almost dying in an Ethiopian orphanage, to-less than 14 months later- starring with one of the biggest stars on the planet after a chance encounter with a casting director.  I'm tellin' couldn't make up a better story.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a story on our family this past week (Tuesday, to be exact).  It was very humbling, and we were honored.  They did a great job.
If you want to check that out, you can see it here:

Anyway, come join in the fun at to keep up-to-date with our crazy life!

                                                    Much love from our family to yours!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dadlosophies is Back!

Hello long-lost friends! OK, you weren't exactly lost, I was. For the past year much of my time has been devoted to finishing my new book CAVEMEN IN BABYLAND: What New & Expecting Mommies Should Know About New Daddies (So That They Won't Kill Them).

The book is written from many of my own "near-death" experiences. It's meant to make readers laugh and hopefully provide moms with a legitimately helpful inside look into the hearts and minds of us dads. After almost 15 years of marriage and 5 kids, Lord knows I've learned a few things--most of them the hard way.

People sometimes ask me, "Kindred, what is it like to have 5 kids?" I tell 'em that it's a lot like being Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory if all the oompa loompas were on crack. You're a little eccentric having been isolated from most adults, you're constantly surrounded by weird-behaving little people who'd love to have their hands on candy all day, and you don't really care how ridiculous your attire looks so long as it doesn't smell yet.

Anyway, the point is that I'm back. Ready to share my dadlosophies on life. Whether or not that's a good thing is for you to judge. Regardless, it will be fun for me and, with so many little ones running around, quite therapeutic.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kindred's New Book, Cavemen in Babyland, is now available!

Hello Fellow Dadlosophites!!
No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth-
Been working on my new book which is now FINISHED!

CAVEMEN IN BABYLAND: What New & Expecting Mommies Should Know About New Daddies (So That They Won't Kill Them)

The book is available on Amazon and other online distributors, but go to to get a signed copy

Would love to hear your reviews of my book once you read it- please post a comment when you are able.

Much thanks-

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays Dadlosophites

Given that Christmas is now less than a week away, I wanted to use this post to wish everyone a joyous season. However, the phrase "Happy Holidays" just seems too general. No, in an effort to be more personable and yet remain politically correct (because we all know how horrible it would be if one failed to be politically correct), I just want to take a moment to wish all of you the best holiday season ever in the language that means most to you. So, here we go:

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Rockin' Kwanzaa!

Blessed Eat a Red Apple Day (No kidding, it was December 1)

Joyous Ira Gershwin's Birthday (anyone named Ira could really use the encouragement)

Happy Frank Sinatra's Birthday (I plan on celebrating this one My Way)

Glorious Holy Crap You've Maxed Out Our Credit Cards Day

Prosperous I Spent All That Money to Watch My Kid Play with the Box Day

Happy Honey the Teenagers in the Neighborhood Rearranged Our Lighted Reindeer to Make Them Look Like They're Humping Again Day.

A Bearable I Think I'll Have More Vodka So I Can Tolerate My In-laws Day (This one is actually observed over an entire week.)

Joyful Oh Look, Uncle Fred is Burping Jingle Bells after Christmas Dinner as Usual Day

A Memorable Oh Great, My Kid Just Peed in Santa's Lap Day

A Relaxing Don't Put Your Freakin' Packages in Your Car and Make Me Think You're Pulling Out of Your Parking Space Only to Remain Parked and Return to the Mall Day

Festive Atheists Who Don't Believe in Anything But Still Want Someone to Give Them a Present Day

and the Hap-Hap-Happiest New Year you've ever had!

Joyous Holidays, Everyone! I hope it's a wonderful season for you and your family!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Different Kind of Christmas

"Daddy, can you help us find Sam?" Sam is the Elf on our shelf that arrives at our house every Thanksgiving and then proceeds to reappear in a different spot every morning through Christmas Eve. Every day, it's the kids' job to try and find where Sam is hiding.

At night, Sam flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa on the kids' behavior and enjoy a beer with his little elf buddies. I'd imagine it's a pretty good gig if you're an elf. At least it's better than being shut up in a workshop 24/7 and forced to crank out toys at a production rate second only to the Chinese.

Still, Sam has to sit still all day. I figure that's gotta be tough. However, I do have my suspicions that Sam doesn't really stay put. I'm pretty sure he gets up and moves around when no one's home. Just the other day, I came home to find that my laptop had been tampered with. Someone had been Googling pictures of Tinkerbell while I was out. I don't have hard evidence, but I'm pretty sure I know who the guilty party might be.

Anyway, Sam's mischief aside, this year looks to be a very special one for the Howard household and a very different kind of Christmas. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my last post, Meredith and I are adopting twin baby boys from Ethiopia. Our initial trip to Africa was awesome! We stayed in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and had the chance to see much of the countryside as we drove five hours to Hawassa, site of our sons' orphanage. Meredith and I absolutely loved the Ethiopian people. Despite the fact that there is much poverty and most of the people there have 100Xs less than even your poorest Americans, the Ethiopian citizens we encountered seemed happy, full of faith, and very grateful.

Most encouraging, our sons, Samuel and Asher (their Ethiopian names are Abenet and Afework)appeared happy, healthy, and well-cared for by their nannies. When we arrived at the orphanage, we were warmly welcomed, presented with a gift, and honored with a "coffee ceremony." (Ethiopia grows some of the best coffee in the world, and coffee is a part of many Ethiopian ceremonies).

Then, we met our boys. It was an amazing moment. Finally, our sons were no longer merely photos sent to us over the Internet. They weren't simply stories we were told by an adoption agency caseworker or official forms to be signed as part of an administrative process. At last, they were real. They were little hands to be held, little cheeks to be caressed, little smiles to laugh at the sight of, and little ears in which to whisper the words, "I love you." After thousands of miles and countless prayers, we were holding our boys. We were finally kissing them, tickling them, and making ridiculous goo-goo faces at them. All the while, Samuel and Asher kept looking up at me wide-eyed, as if thinking, "Holy Crap! Dad's white!"

One of the most moving parts was when the director of the orphanage told us Samuel and Asher's story. They had been born in a hut in rural Ethiopia. Their mother, sadly, died giving birth to them. Their father, a very poor man who suddenly found himself facing the prospect of raising his two older children without a mother, could not raise the twins. Distraught by his wife's death, he relied on an uncle to call the orphanage and ask them to take the boys. Born premature and fighting just to stay alive, Samuel and Asher arrived at the orphanage at a mere 4 lbs. each, with umbilical cords still attached. Rushing against time, the orphanage got them to the hospital as quickly as possible. The nannies blew on the babies' faces to keep them awake, lest they fall asleep and never awake.

Samuel and Asher's last name in Ethiopia means "God is with us." The care givers at the orphanage told us that they cried out to God collectively for days, reminding God of the meaning of the babies' name, and calling on Him to be with them. God heard their prayers! Miraculously, Samuel and Asher survived. They are the orphanage's miracle babies--and ours. Surely, God must have something very special planned for these boys.

The only downside of the trip is that we could not yet bring Samuel and Asher home. That privilege is reserved for later this month. Meredith will return to Ethiopia with my father and our seven year old daughter Emerson (a.k.a., Assistant Mommy). There they will appear at the U.S. Embassy to sign paperwork and bring my sons to the United States. I'll stay back with William, Carson, and my mom.

Unfortunately, we'll be apart on Christmas Day. But whenever we're tempted to get a little sad about not being together on Christmas, we remember the reasons. Our kids remember that Mommy is going to Africa to bring home the best Christmas gift ever: their new baby brothers. Meredith and I remember that loving an orphaned child (or children) makes Jesus smile; and what better way to celebrate his birthday than to do the very thing that would make him happiest. And we all remember that the separation is only for a few days. God-willing, we will all be together again by New Year's Eve.

Yes, it's going to be a very different kind of Christmas. But it's going to be the most memorable and blessed one we've ever had too. So please say a prayer for Samuel and Asher. Pray that they will continue to grow healthy and strong. Pray that Meredith and I will have the wisdom and spirituality to raise them the way they deserve. And pray that my new young sons can somehow deal with the fact that, "Holy Crap! Dad's white!"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ethiopia, Here We Come!

Hello friends and loyal dadlosophites! I am writing this entry rather quickly from a coffee shop in Washington, D.C. Meredith and I arrived yesterday on the first leg of a long trip. In a few hours we will board a plane for Ethiopia. We have a twenty-hour flight ahead of us as we go to Africa to meet the twin baby boys we are adopting.

If all goes as planned, we will make a seven-hour drive from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to the orphanage where our sons are living on Tuesday. Then, on Friday, we go before an Ethiopian judge, hopefully to be awarded custody. Unfortunately, we do not bring our boys home right away. Next begins a month-long process of paperwork, during which Meredith and I will return to the states until time to return and pick up our sons in late December.

It's crazy! It's exciting! It can even be challenging. You go through a lot when you're trying to adopt. There's a ton of paperwork, a massive amount of financial expense, and (when adopting from Ethiopia) quite a bit of distance one has to travel to bring home their child/children.

"So why do it, Kindred," you may ask. "You and Meredith already have three beautiful kids. You have a great family. You're happy. Why spend all that money? Why put up with all the administrative headaches associated with gathering paperwork, passports, tax records, and so on? And, for goodness sakes, why get all those shots to protect you from diseases you usually only hear about on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel? Most of all, why risk it? Aren't you worried that you might mess up the kids you've got? Don't you think you should devote your full attention to them and that this will only take away from all you and your wife should be doing to ensure they have a fulfilling childhood? Shouldn't all that money you're spending on an adoption go towards Emerson, William, and Carson's futures? And what about possible issues? What if these kids you're adopting have inherited diseases, mental problems, don't adjust well, and so on? C'mon, man; what are you thinking?"

Well, I'm sure I'll get deeper into our reasoning in the weeks to come as I get to know my new sons and have more time to write (fighting the clock a bit today). But here's some short answers.

1)Why do it? -- It's right. God is described in Psalm 68 as a "Father to the fatherless." Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that "as we do unto the least of these, so you do unto me." The Bible repeatedly tells us to remember the orphans and widows. And, let us not forget, of all God's kids, only one is begotten. The rest? All adopted if you believe the Bible. Oh, and any distance we're having to travel or trouble we're encountering is a lot shorter and easier than the distance Jesus had to travel to reach and save us so that we could be part of his family.

For me, the answer to "Why do it" goes back to the fact that I'm a Christian. I claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. 'Nuff said. Of course, many Christians say that they "don't feel called to adopt." Hey, it ain't my place to judge; especially since many of these people exhibit Christ-like qualities that far outshine my sinful example. But I will say this: The math doesn't seem to add up. God calls all Christians to remember the orphans, but most Christians don't feel called to give an orphaned child a home. Something to ponder, eh?

2) Why Spend the Money? -- Trust me, I've asked this one more than a few times. But the truth is, I believe this is why God gives me money. God hasn't blessed Meredith and I so that we can read monthly statements showing a growing IRA or other retirement account (although I do believe in saving). No, he has blessed us so that we can put the money towards His purpose. "A Father to the fatherless." I think God wants us using our resources to adopt these orphaned boys, not planning our dream home or the trips we'll take one day when we retire (although it will sure be cool if we get to enjoy those things too.)

3) What About the Kids We Already Have? -- What about them? They're excited about 2 new brothers from Africa. And you know what I've seen? They are more selfless and more conscious of God and what it means to care about and love others since we started talking about the adoptions. Yep, lots of money saved for college is nice (and is still a goal of mine). But I'd rather my kids value the lives of these two Ethiopian boys and see parents who live out their convictions, not just talk about how much they admire other people who do.

4) What About Health and Other Issues? -- What? Our twin sons don't need a mom and dad if they have health issues? In fact, wouldn't they need the love and support of a family even more if they have health concerns. And, if they are going to have health issues, how much more does God expect Meredith and I to be there for these kids. As for issues, the fact of the matter is this: We all have issues! Heck, I hope the twins do have issues. If they don't have issues they won't fit in with our family. In fact, don't give us kids with no issues--we'll only mess 'em up.

There's tons more I want to, and eventually will, say. But for now, so long. We're off to Africa. I'll shoot out my next post when I return (probably just before Thanksgiving) and give you an update. Take care and, if you're a prayer warrior, say one for us. We'd really appreciate it. In the meantime, look for ways to remember the orphans and widows (and sick, and poor, and hurting...) Don't forget, your adoptive Father is watching.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Parenting Style? More Like Parenting Philosophy

This week's dadlosophy is a bit different. Rather than sitting at my own kitchen table, in my office, or at the local coffee shop, I'm sitting in a room full of fellow bloggers at Atlanta's WXIA television studio. No, I haven't been called here to be interviewed on live television (hard to believe they would miss such an opportunity, I know). Nope, I've been invited to participate in a blog off.

What is a blog off? Well, it basically involves a bunch of mommy and daddy bloggers sitting around and blogging about our parental lives. After an hour and a half, judges will come around, read our blogs, and judge us. What happens if our blog falls flat? Personally, I think the losers should have to take the winners' kids for a week. Now that's a blog off!

We've been given several topics we can choose from. Topic one, My Scariest Moment as a parent. That's kind of like blogging about my goofiest moment as a teenager. Too many to choose from--next topic.

Next, How My Child Surprised Me. Again, hard to narrow down. Throw in the fact that many of those "surprising moments" nearly resulted in my needing therapy, caused me to have a life-threatening rise in blood pressure, or cost me enough money to bring tears to my eyes, and I'm pretty certain that I don't care to relive any of them again for fear that it may lead to the need for some really expensive medications. Pass.

The topic I've chosen is HOW I FIRST REALIZED MY PARENTING STYLE. Hmmm... interesting question. First of all, what is a parenting style? I'm not totally sure. Haven't really thought about it before. I would describe what I have as more of a parenting philosophy. I realized pretty early on that it is important to be my kids' dad, not their buddy. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with my kids and having fun together. I get a kick out of playing games, wrestling on the living room floor, throwing the ball in the backyard, and doing silly dances with my daughter to whatever is playing on the kitchen radio. But, at the end of the day, what my kids need most from me is leadership, not another pal.

I can't necessarily think of one moment at which I came face-to-face with this realization. Rather, it's more like a series of moments that continue to occur. Take, for instance, the other night. The kids and I had just finished dinner and were engaged in one of our fairly common post-meal wrestling smack downs. They were winning, but they also cheat. They call for Mommy every time Daddy starts to win. Anyway, they were laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves when my supervisor (a.k.a., Mommy) walked in and announced, "Okay everyone, time for bed." Noticing that the kids didn't seem to notice, Meredith gave it another go. "Did you guys hear me? I said the wrestling match is over, time for baths and bed." This time, my kiddos jumped up and proceeded running around the house, thinking that it would be funny to tease mommy.

It's at moments like these that a parent has to ask him or herself a question: What do my kids need me to be right now? The answer (as I see it)is AUTHORITY FIGURE. Not that my wife wasn't more than capable of corralling this rowdy herd of little Howards, but since I was the one who'd gotten them so wound up, I felt that I needed to be the one to reel 'em back in. I stood up and, in a calm but firm voice, called my kids. Realizing Dad meant business, Emerson, William, and Carson, stopped their running and, still smiling, made their way into the living room. Were they scared of me? No. Did they know Daddy was serious? Yes. They could tell that Daddy had just flipped the switch. I had transitioned out of "let's have fun" mode into "Authoritative Leader" mode. After apologizing to Mommy, my kids went upstairs.

That's a good illustration of my parenting style/philosophy. In a word, it's leadership. More specifically, CONFIDENT LEADERSHIP. I believe kids need parents to be comfortable in their role as an authority figure. Sadly, many parents today don't feel confident. They feel that they are doing something wrong or destructive by being in charge. But kids need direction. They need firmness. They need discipline (which entails a lot more than punishment). And, yes, they need Mom and Dad to decide for them what is best--at least when they're as young as my kids.

Be confident leaders Moms and Dads. Be comfortable being in charge. Believe it or not, your kids want you to clearly define the boundaries. They don't need an adult buddy, and you shouldn't over concern yourself with whether or not your kids always like you. Nope, in fact, being a good parent often means loving your kids enough to let them NOT like you for a while. The coolest part is that, if you do fulfill your authoritative role, you'll probably find that your kids are so secure and happy that you're all having more than enough fun to go around. And that's a pretty good prize too, even if some blogger won't take your kids for a week.