How I’m Saving My Family


When I tell people I’m on a diet, they’re usually like, “Huh? Really? You?”

I may not look like Buddha, and my Wii Fit may tell me I’m not obese, but there’s more to it than that.

For a long time, I’ve been an absolute butt head to my family. I’m working on a couple different books at once, I’m trying to survive in a competitive environment at work with looming changes ahead, trying to keep my two toddlers happy and marginally quiet… so I’ve been overly stressed. And stress breeds anger, and anger breeds an uptight and irritable father and husband.

Stressed Man With Baby Working From Home Using Laptop

I questioned why I had no energy to play with my kids. It couldn’t be work, because I sit at a desk all day. My writing career is about to take a turn for the better, but I looked at my lunch options, and realized I am a compulsive overeater.

On my lunch breaks I would go to get not one burger but two. Spicy chicken wings were a favorite. Shakes were a daily drink. I gained 20 pounds over the summer.

And my family was suffering because I was too stressed and tired to do anything. It was the careless calorie indulging and the major lack of exercise.


Went on vacation recently and discovered, low and behold, my family is really a great group of people. My kids are well-meaning, and my wife is hilarious and a total hero for putting up with me and my moodiness.

Since I started my diet, I’m losing a tad over a pound a day. I’m determined.

I’ve cut my lunches down to half a sandwich and water. I’m running on my days off. And guess what! Everything I’ve heard is true, gosh darnit! I have more energy to play with the kids, to stay up later and talk to my wife, and I’m even gaining a splash more momentum on my book projects.

So that’s why I’m dieting. It’s to save my family. There are enough angry and stressed fathers out there, and I refuse to be one of them.

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The Smaller Perspective: One Way to Parent Effectively

My wife surpasses me in bounds and leaps when it comes to parenting our kids. Not just because she’s home with them seven days a week all day and night, but she seems to really “get it” where it counts.

For my part, I’m naturally self-centered. Strip me down to my bare essentials and you’re left with a Scrooge anger-inside-outMcDuck/Grinch/Anger hybrid.

I hoard my belongings, I covet solitude, and my temper can flare at any given moment. If my kids could talk, they would tell you this is true.

But where I fail my wife excels. She doesn’t have one self-serving bone in her body. And as I observe her parenting style, I’ve noticed she does it in such a way that is unique and fresh and makes everyone around her happy.

She may not do it intentionally, but she parents with a keen sense that our kids are watching her. It’s as though she sees our kids as mini camcorders, so whenever they’re around, she’s all smiles, no matter how she’s really feeling or what she’s going through.

Whereas with me, if I’m in a bad mood, I have a tendency to make sure everyone around me knows it, including my kids.

I need to be more like my wife in this regard. Though our kids are too young to form memories, they are currently compiling opinions of us and the world in mini snapshots, like a camera on autopilot. Like in Wall-e when Eve shuts down. Everything Wall-e did in front of her was being recorded and stored in Eve’s internal database.

Perhaps some of us need to stop focusing so much on the “big” perspective of job frustrations, relationship issues, and getting bills paid, and start thinking of a much smaller perspective – a small perspective from our kids’ point of view, which leaves the largest impression in their world.

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Thank You, Katherine


We just watched Wall-e recently and one line stuck out to me. It’s when Captain B. McCre of the Axiom yells, “I don’t want to survive, I want to live!” What a statement.

Personally, I’m naturally more of a survivor than liver. (Or person who lives.)

A good time for me is staying in watching movies or reading a book and getting fat on pizza. Sarabeth is of the same mindset, though she does show more interest in going out and doing things and not overeating.

But thanks to our daughter Katherine, we can’t stay in as much as we used to. She is such a hub of energy and excitement that we would be doing her a disservice by keeping her inside. So we take her out. And that’s a big chore, because we have to constantly find new things to do. You can only go to the same three parks so many times!

Katherine has already taught me so much in the last twenty months. Because of her we go to the aquarium, the zoo, water parks, random drives to Starbucks in the evening, and last week we even visited our state capital and grabbed burgers and milkshakes!

I’m beginning to understand why having kids is a blessing. Hard work, sure, but my daughter Katherine is helping me learn to actually live and not just survive. And for that, I am forever grateful.

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The Value of Building Memories


I don’t know about you, but when the daily routine gets to be too routine, I grow quite tired of it. In order for me not to grow cantankerous, I need to do things a little out of the ordinary. Fun things. Like take my family to the fair.

We went to the Kentucky State Fair last week. There, I watched my daughter’s eyes light up when she saw the goats and pigs and cows. She loved petting the lambs and just running around the farm animals in general.

Even our son, strapped in his stroller, was interested in his surroundings and took an interest in the dog shows and the flying motorcycles.

The food was way overpriced and tasted like crap, but it broke up the daily grind. It afforded the family quality time together outside of the house.

Something I’m learning is to always go out and do things with the family as much as you can. That way, when we look back on it all, we’ll know we really experienced life together with every opportunity offered.

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The Things That Make Me Happiest


It’s only Tuesday. And for most of us who hate our jobs, that’s like saying, “You’ve got a thousand more years before you get to sit down and relax.”

Well, I find that if you take a moment to jot down the things that make you happiest, and then every day until the weekend you do a couple of those things, it makes your work week much more bearable. A dark tunnel isn’t so scary if you see the light at the end of it.

So here’s a list of things that make me happiest.

  1. My wife and kids: My wife’s loving words, my daughters contagious laugh, and our son (still a foster) not crying if he falls down as he’s learning to walk.
  2. Ruffles’ Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream potato chips
  3. Pixar/Disney movies – especially the ones that make me cry.
  4. Finishing a new book every week, because that means I’m actually enjoying the art of reading a lot.
  5. Boneless buffalo wings so hot your nose runs and your eyes water, making your plate a soppy mess.
  6. Pizza where the mozzarella is so discernible you’d think you were eating a block of warm, melted cheese.
  7. Ice cream that’s so creamy you’d swear the cow stirred the milk herself.
  8. Random trips to Starbucks with the family and getting a big honkin’ frappuccino with whipped cream.
  9. Good ideas for new books to write. Because those are mine alone and I get excited about the prospect of writing a new book.
  10. When my dogs go potty on the grass right away.
  11. Those limited edition Oreo’s they have out now (especially cotton candy flavored).
  12. Reading your comments below my blog posts.
  13. My new website (andrewtoybooks) which is still in development.

Share some of the things that make you happiest below and have a great rest of the week!

Baby A. is Officially Ours

11053691_451150641760475_8000524778489925718_nIt finally happened. It’s a done deal. If I had pixie dust and only needed to think up a happy thought to fly, today would by my happy thought.

Today, Sarabeth and I took our foster daughter to the courthouse one last time to solemnly swear to be Baby A.’s legal and official parents forever.

At 10:05 this morning, “Baby A.” officially became Katherine Anne Toy.

In the year and a half we’ve had her, I’ve never felt like she wasn’t our daughter, but now, it’s 100% official.

All I can say is, Katherine, as your dad, I will do my best to give you the life you’ve always deserved, full of happiness, love, and lots and lots of dancing!

Mom and I love you very much. We always will.

Get more updates on Kat and her foster brother on my Facebook Author Page


My Daughter’s Life Will Change In Just Two Days


…As will mine.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had Baby A. for a year and a half! Since she arrived in our home from the hospital, the house has been louder, more joyful, filled with laughs, and it’s been much, much messier!

Sure, there’s been some bad days where my temper has gotten the better of me, or my patience ran out.

But I wouldn’t give up a single minute with my foster daughter.

And in just two days, she will be, officially and forever known as our daughter.

Sarabeth and I can’t possibly be more happy and proud of our little girl. Every day she surprises us with something new that’s she’s learned and cracks us up over something she does.

Our daughter has become the greatest little person I have even known.

July 22, her adoption day, cannot possibly come fast enough.

Now I need to stop writing about it because otherwise I can’t stop crying!

No, life isn’t perfect. There are many things we’d like to change, many more miles to cross to reach certain goals, and many struggles yet to overcome, but when it comes to our daughter, nothing can possibly give us more joy and satisfaction.

Keep updated on our Adoption Day by following my Facebook Page!


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