I finally found the perfect app for playdates: goHappy

I have a big family. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we are not close to each other, in distance, that is. Getting together is in a word, a hassle. There are constant texts and emails. But, some of the older folks in the group are not very computer savvy for keeping up with all the arrangements and the messages.

I don’t have a lot of friends. Wait, I do have friends. These friends are usually parents of the kids my boys go to school with. One thing about parenting which I am learning (like all of it) is that my boys want to have playdates with their friends. Since Mommy and I both work full time, scheduling playdates is a chore. But, not any more.

A friend of mine recommended a new app for smartphones that will eliminate all the cross-talking-texting-emailing-arrangement making. It’s called simply goHappy.

Click on this goHappy link


The focus is on Go. “Go” do the things that make you “Happy”! I’m a firm believer that a company is only as good as its people, especially the top people because culture flows downward.   I’ve been looking up the founder of goHappy, Shawn Boyer, and he seems to be a pretty amazing guy.

Shawn Boyer, William & Mary alumnus, also founded Snagajob, America’s #1 hourly marketplace with now nearly 500 employees and 60 million registered job seekers. As if that’s not amazing enough, he is also a daddy of three and strongly advocates balance between work and family. I can appreciate that.


This app has everything for your planning needs.



Quickly find the best time to meet.


Integrates with your calendar to see your availability and add events



Suggest dates and invite friends to vote.

 – Easily create invites and your friends RSVP by text



Track your plan, privately chat, and share event photos.

– Chat before, during and after the event. Easily send updates and reminders.



goHappy has had over 5 million (Yes, that’s Million!) shared experiences in the app in the just past four months!


Here is what some of the users have said:

My favorite new feature I used recently is the date poll! Trying to coordinate a girl’s weekend away with countless texts and emails was exhausting often leaving us more confused than when we started! Instead we had the weekend figured out in 10 minutes thanks to the date poll!”



“I love sharing pictures of my kids with friends and family so easily (I don’t like to publicly share their pics) and knowing my pictures are saved and organized in the app is awesome. I am terrible about space on my phone and now I can just delete them! It’s also so fun to look back at all the cool things we have done!”



“It’s been great to get advance notifications of important dates like birthdays and even things I entered like the anniversary of the passing of a friend’s mother. It’s almost like an electronic Rolodex for all of my important people in my life. Just download it and you will see!”  



goHappy is only available on iOS and the web now, but by the end of this summer, they will have rolled out their Droid app. Which is good, because I have a Droid phone.

As with any startup, a company needs to be in touch with its users. I also really like that Shawn Boyer takes an active interest and role in talking with customers. After all, aren’t businesses supposed to make their customers happy and engaged in the purchase decision. Shawn Boyer was also named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Person of the Year in 2008. Impressive.



That’s it. That’s the key for me right now. My kids have just finished their last week of school and next week they start summer camp.

Being summertime, everybody’s busy with their camps or vacations or just plain getaways. I like the fact that this app can bring all of our sons’ friends closer together. I’ve met some really nice people who are parents of their friends. They are sorta in the same boat we are, except they are from the area we are now living in, which is about 30 miles north of NYC.

Plus, it will allow our sons, if they can’t have a playdate, to keep track of their friends in the summertime. Ok, they are a little young to have their own smartphone right now. But, that day is coming when they will have it (groan!).

I am usually the one who tries and coordinates the playdates as my wife, aka Queen of the Universe, doesn’t use her smartphone (or charge it) regularly. (Side note: I still love her whether she does or not:)

Bottom line: I can use goHappy to be intentional in my/our lives by keeping in touch and setting up anything, instead of accidental like, “I wonder what so-and-so is doing?”   Proactive vs. reactive. I’m in. Oh, and they have a birthday coming up in August!

On the other hand, maybe it’s not too soon to get the little buggers a phone. I mean they are 4 now….


Click on this iTunes Link

You can use goHappy to plan your next party, night out, vacation, sports event or any type of get together.


Find the time. Share the fun.


I was financially compensated for this post.  #ad  #sponsored


Privacy. We all want it, especially for our families, for those things or people close to us that we really don’t want to share “with the rest of the world.” At the same time, we also are biologically and psychologically programmed to connect with other people. It is this connection which helps to give life its meaning and our lives validation.

In this techno-digital-smart age, we all balance those two goals as we walk across the tightrope of life. But, where do we draw the line? What do we share and who do we share it with? Especially since our worlds have gotten smaller with 24/7 media access to, literally, the rest of the world.

What about our kids? Those annoying, rule-challenging, energy-laden bundles of joy who manipulate our lives and consume our love, in a good way, of course.

As a parent, I face that dilemma almost daily. I want to document and record my boy’s growth and development for me, for them and for our families and friends, some of whom are not very close in proximity.   Then there’s Mama Bear who is sometimes more protective than I am.


Welcome to Tinybeans

Tinybeans is a wonderful parenting network that is invite only and private, allowing parents to share the amazing moments of their children’s life with family members no matter where they live.

Tinybeans is the safer way to share with just family and close friends whilst keeping on top your kids’ developmental milestones. Tinybeans was founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia by Stephen O’Young, Sarah-Jane Kurtini and Eddie Geller. As parents themselves, they realized there was no easy or secure way to share their children’s lives with the people who matter.

Now over a million people trust Tinybeans with their precious memories.


My Story

Almost nine years ago, two miracles came into our lives, only one minute apart, what I affectionately call the Gang of Two, Archibald and Mortimer (not their real names). You see if you were seeing this on Tinybeans, I would say, and you would know, their real names. But, in a public domain, otherwise known as the Internet, Mama Bear and I choose to keep their names and locations a secret. But, I digress.

Taking pictures was easy. I had bought a camcorder just to record those special moments we wanted to remember, share and, eventually, blackmail the boys into obedience and submission with.

Of course, it was easier said than done because sometimes the moments are so spontaneous, having the camera close by was not always convenient.

Nevertheless, I persevered. I took approximately 3000 pics and 572 videos in the first year alone. Keep in mind, that I don’t have that quantity of photos for myself, for my entire life and that’s TIMES 10!

Social media was still in its infancy. Which is just as well because Daddy lacked the time and energy to post on it anyway.   I tried to maintain a blog, but that lasted about a month due to my resource constraints, time and energy.

No one realizes how much work twins really are. It’s not just double the work, it’s an exponential amount more than having one kid. Fortunately, Mama Bear and I shared the workload 50/50 as much as possible based on our availability and our personal resources. The irony is that the time flies by even though the moments seem to drag on.

As the little buggers got older and more independent, time and energy somehow found their way back into our lives. The pics and video quantities remained consistent though. But, now, I was freed up to begin sharing some pics on, primarily, Facebook.

Facebook is great, no doubt about it. It is what it is. But, it is also not totally secure. I could have set up a private group on FB, but that would consume what meager resources I did have available and, realistically, not everybody has the wherewithal to use FB. No computer, no time, no tech capability.

We live just north of NYC, not close to any friends or relatives or where we grew up. Sharing our boy’s growth and development was something our friends and relatives, who were far away, wanted to be aware of and be a part of as much as possible. Twins run in my family and everybody was curious and interested, in a loving way, of course.


Overshare with the people who care!

I was referred to Tinybeans by a friend of mine and I thought I would check it out. Tinybeans helps parents share their amazing pics, videos and stories of their kids in a safe and private place OFF social network sites.

Let’s face it. There is a plethora of social network sites for everything. You can use FB for personal stuff, Instagram for pics, LinkedIn for professional displays and Twitter which is like a conversation on the 21st century ham radio.There is a social site for everything these days. You use Facebook for personal, Linkedin for professional, Instagram for your pictures, Twitter is a conversation over the 21st century ham radio… but what about for our family? Well, that is where Tinybeans comes in!

Tinybeans is the perfect solution for everything I was looking for. It is private, secure and by invite only.

To date, over 70 million (yes, that’s MILLION) moments have been shared, and viewed privately, by people all around the globe.

Did I say it’s FREE?

Tinybeans is free to download their apps (which by the way are available in either IOS or Android) and to use their website.

Here is the link for the IOS app: IOS link

Here is the link for the Droid app: Droid link

And, here is the link for the Amazon app: Amazon link

They do have a premium version with additional features, and there is a cost attached to creating your beautiful photo books, but they do not charge you, or your “Nurture Network”, to upload moments or access your photos.

And you own your photos!

The option does exist for sharing on Facebook, if you so choose. However, your pics will be available to the public there, but they will remain private on Tinybeans.

Your followers will each receive their own log in details so they can see your Tinybeans Journal. Tinybeans will also send them one daily update on the days you add moments to your journal and they can decide how often they receive emails from them and change their settings accordingly.

Here are what some users are saying:

“The most loving space on the Internet”

– New York Magazine

“It is the easiest way to journal and now I never miss a thing. I feel like supermom!”

– Katie, USA

“Tinybeans is the highlight of our parents’ day. They all love receiving updates on their granddaughter.”

– Paul, New Zealand


Those are all awesome features which would have come in handy when the boys were smaller. Nevertheless, I do have an opportunity to create and share videos of them, which they are very eager to do, and share them with family and friends who are far away without the risk of social media attention. This is completely acceptable to Mama Bear.

Tinybeans is the perfect balance of security for us and the little buggers and privacy for our family and friends.

And it would be the perfect place to share my pic of them in the bathtub when they were three. Just enough exposure to keep the leashes of obedience and submission intact!

It’s a win-win!


I was financially compensated for this blog post.  #ad #sponsored

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Same Old Song and Dance, Part 2

My sons – Archie and Morty – and me. I’m the one in the middle.

It’s the same scene that gets played out over and over and over and over again. It’s happening right now. Archibald (not his real name) is usually the instigator. Mortimer (not his real name, either) is the perfect co-dependent and follows and mimics Archie every chance he gets. Sometimes, Daddy has enough.

I’m human, probably all too human. Yesterday, the scene was played out again. The only difference was that it was homework time. Wait, let me start over this way.

I made a mistake. All in all, it was not a major mistake, at least to me. Morty did not have any homework. Archie did. So, I sat down with him to do it. If you remember (and if not, that’s ok, too), Archie has a learning disability in reading, so we always try to give him some extra help with his homework. We, SMM (Sergeant Major Mommy) and I, also have him read to us and we read to both of them at bedtime.

I am sitting at the dining room table ready, willing and able to help Archie. But, besides having a disability, Archie also has been diagnosed with ADD. I have been diagnosed with TCR, Traumatic Child Raising, but that’s another story. Anyway, Archie is stalling. First, he has to go to the bathroom and do a #2. Granted, that’s a legit excuse. You gotta go, you gotta go.

When he finishes, about 15 minutes later, he comes to the table (oh yes, he washed his hands et al. in case you were wondering), and he sits down. But, the chair isn’t right and the table isn’t right and Daddy can you do this and Daddy can you do that and, and, and… That goes on for another 10 minutes and Daddy has been complacently agreeing and adjusting etc., but Daddy realizes that Archie is stalling.

It was a very simple exercise to do. I don’t know why he was prevaricating. But, he was. And I did. Yell at him, that is. Now, I have seen parents yell at their kids. This wasn’t that bad. I was not the Marine Corp Drill Sergeant getting in his face and saying things like, “You’re Momma is not here to help you, boy!” But, I was louder than a normal tone of voice. Maybe too loud, which brings me to Part 2 of the saga.

I was loud enough that Grandma came downstairs to see what was happening. Yes, she lives upstairs. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m sure you all know what that means. Now, I don’t want to say she’s old, but she knew Jesus. If you don’t believe me, you can ask her.

And she said. And I said. And she said. And I said. Well, what we said doesn’t really matter, but I did not say anything mean or inappropriate to her. She realized she wasn’t going to get anywhere with me so she retreated to her upstairs Gma-cave.

Well, little Archie was expectedly overwhelmed, but he did get to work on his homework and completed quickly, as I knew he would and could.

Morty came strolling by at this moment and I asked him what he was doing and where he was going since he was supposed to be reading. He replied that he was going to the bathroom to do #1. I said Ok.

To my credit, I did two things after the intensity of the moment passed. First, I apologized. I realize that does not undo the previous actions, but I hoped it would let Archie know that I knew what I did was not a good thing and that I was sorry for it. I have instructed the little buggers about the motive behind the apology and that they should accept an apology, or offer an apology, as long as they feel it was sincere. I tell them you should always give a person the benefit of the doubt.

Second, I always try to separate the behavior from the person. So, I told Archie how much I loved him and how smart I think he is (and even though he has a disability, the teachers and SMM and I agree on his intelligence and creativity) and how I knew he would have no trouble doing the exercise. But, it was his behavior and not him as a person that was incorrect and unacceptable.

That is one thing I never got from my dad. God Bless his soul, may he RIP. He did the best he could. He would yell at me, but he…. Ok, once he apologized when he realized he was in the wrong. But, mostly, he didn’t and I grew up with low self-esteem and self-image my whole life.

I had a talk with the little buggers at dinner which was after homework and reading were done. I asked them if they thought I was a good daddy. Morty said yes, unless I’m yelling. I said, Fair enough. So, I offered them a deal – I would yell less if they listened to SMM and I and did their homework. They said they would and I said I would and we shook hands.

But, wait, there’s a Part 3. I knew that when SMM came home, I would have to get to her first before Gma and tell my side of the story.

So, the cheetah boys (they’re twins btw) and I are sitting on the couch watching their performances that morning in their School Recorder concert. I had transferred the video to my PC and we were looking at it when SMM came home. She mentioned that she wanted to get Gma to have her watch the performance with us when I told her what had transpired and that Gma is probably not too happy with me right now.

Of course SMM gave me a lecture on my poor performance which is what I expected. It was her mother after all.

Later, the boys had received some candy from some whatever at school. I don’t remember where. But, they had candy. Archie offered me some of his and I almost cried. He really is a sweet kid when he’s not overacting.

The next morning, SMM told me that Gma had said something really annoying to her last night too. So, she understood where I was coming from and how and why I react to Gma’s OCD. That is why I came to love and obey my wife.

Now, if I can just get a hold of Jesus to talk to Gma for us.