Archive for the ‘ family life ’ Category

The Second Child

Some, like the Bible for instance, say that God works in mysterious ways. I say God’s got some jokes. Our first-born seemed relatively easy. He’s a solid kid that stays out of trouble. He’s smart and teachable. He has an obvious listening skill deficiency, but in the process of discussing child-rearing with other parents of kids his age it seems that’s a common issue. Who really listens to their parents anyway?

Then, there’s our second child. Sure, he’s probably cuter than our first (although we as parents aren’t supposed to admit that). He has a laugh that will melt your heart and a smile that will brighten the night sky. However, behind those puppy dog eyes and innocent grin is a conniving, scheming, puppet master of T-R-O-U-B-L-E. I jest… I think.

I literally cannot say with certainty that if our second-born was our first-born that we would have more than one child. Barring a surprise bonus baby, the conversation on having the second would have been much longer if nothing else. Luckily for us, it worked out the way it did.

Disclaimer: In no way am I intending to state that I am disappointed in him, that I don’t love him, that he is destined for failure or life imprisonment, or any other negative connotation of the above text one might surmise.

Our second child is… different. Just like I am different than my younger sister. The real point of this post is not to bag on my second-born. Rather, it’s more of an awakening to my own parenting skills. We got lazy… complacent. The well-mannered spirit of our first-born made us arrogant. Look honey, our parenting skills are stellar. See how well he behaves – let’s make another and show the world how awesome we are as parents. Yes, let’s do that.

And with that, God delivers his greatest punchline. The joke wasn’t on us, it was us. The same methods that we used on the first, don’t seem to work so well on the second. The second watches our first like a hawk and has picked up on mischievous activities much sooner. Because of our second, I’ve learned how to pick locks with credit cards, screwdrivers and various other tools that shall remain nameless. He has inconvenienced my trip to take out the trash to the alley dumpster by requiring the addition of padlocks on the back gate at the behest of his curiously wandering legs. He is on the brink of necessitating 24/7 surveillance. Yet, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My point is not to discourage you from further populating your household; nay, I actually encourage it. We definitely need to try to maintain our reproduction rate at 2.5 children (if that is still the figure). My point is that every child has value as themselves… period… without the need to be compared to another.

They both frustrate us in different ways. They both make us mad at things they do individually. They both make us worry. They both make us laugh. They both make us smile. They both surprise us with the things they learn at the pace they learn them.

One thing that they will always have in common is that regardless of what life hurls in their direction, I will always be proud to be called their “Daddy”.

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare

Swagger Wagon Video

Bringing Daddy Back does not necessarily endorse Toyota, or mini-vans for that matter, but we highly endorse anything with great lyrics and a great beat. Mad props to whatever ad agency rocked this video out! It’s been around for awhile, but it still puts a smile on our faces – partly because its funny and partly because we can relate. So, enjoy if you haven’t seen it; just be sure to turn your speakers up!

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare

The Weekend of the Bull

May 14th and 15th could be labeled the Weekend of the Bull in some respects. The Derrick Rose led Chicago Bulls put a man-sized beat down on the LeBron/ Wade led Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Also, a very nasty PBR bull named Deja Blu, put a bull-sized beat down on NFL star receiver Chad Ochocinco. It’s recorded that Chad lasted 1.5 seconds and I’m not about to hate on the man as I doubt I would make it a full second. Here’s a video courtesy of MSNBC:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I point these things out this weekend as I begin to bring this site back to life to emphasize something we all already know.

Life brings about unexpected events.

At least in Las Vegas, the money was mostly on the Lakers facing the Heat in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are out courtesy of a 4-game sweep from… wait, what? I thought they were supposed to lose to Portland. Oh… hmmm well, courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks. The Bulls got shafted with free agents taking their “talents” to South Beach and oh, by the way, they have a rookie head coach. Yet, they ended up with the best record in the Eastern Conference and have all the fans on South Beach wondering where the “talents” went after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Switching sports to the NFL, we hear constantly from “experts” that we will have an NFL season. However, the lock-out is in full effect and news seems to be coming very slowly as neither side appears to possess a desire to give in on many demands. I’m not suggesting that we will not have an NFL season this year, I’m just suggesting that we don’t really know. While we wait to find out, Chad Ochocinco decided to pass the time by trying out for a professional soccer team and then gets invited by the PBR, no-less, to attempt an 8 second bull ride. What?!

Maybe you’re smarter than me (and that’s possible), but I saw none of that happening. (And I don’t even want to get into Donald Trump as a Presidential Candidate.) I also had no intention of taking a two-year hiatus from posting on this site. A ton can happen in two years, especially being married with two boys and now owning a dog.

  • My first-born is about to complete the First Grade.
  • My youngest is now three and only half-potty-trained… Lord help us!
  • I am but one semester removed from earning a college degree.  –> Perseverance pays off kids.
  • I am also two years older, surely at least a few months wiser, and two years full of stories to share.

I stated all of the above to in order to say that the Weekend of the Bull has brought us back to life. Thanks for making time for us and we appreciate those who are still patiently waiting for the next post.

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare

What a Daddy Can Learn from the Bible: Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Jesus feeds the five thousand

It would be a huge mistake on our part if we failed to draw lessons and inspiration from the greatest collection of books ever written. The Bible no doubt offers timeless lessons about parenting and basic manhood that we will definitely explore and take advantage of. Some lessons are directly about being a parent or a father, while others you’ll find take an indirect path but both have real world application such as this one that I’ve chosen today.

It’s a well known story about Jesus performing a miracle in order to simply feed dinner to thousands of people. We never really find out how He did it, just why. He saw a need and had compassion and went above and beyond what anyone would have ever expected of Him. The following is copied and pasted from Bible.com – Matthew 14:13-21:

Five Thousand Fed

13Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
14When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
15When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
17They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
18And He said, “Bring them here to Me.”
19Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds,
20and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets.
21There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

Now I know you’re probably asking what in the world does this story have to do with being a Daddy. Well, you’re in luck because I’m going to tell you. See how well this works out. (Of course, it’s always easy to write when I give you the question you should ask and then answer it.) Nonetheless, my focus is really on 4, maybe 3, words from verse 17.

“We have here only…”

Daddyjason wrote a pretty good article similar to this thought not too long ago titled – What Makes a Daddy Fun? “We have here only” or in other words, “We only have…” Being a good Daddy can be overwhelming and we can feel that we don’t have all the right tools. “But God, I only have… (fill in the blank).” But isn’t that all that God asks? To give simply what we have? He’s not going to ask us to give what we do not have and even if one day He does decide to do just that, He’s going to make sure there is a way we can obtain it.

Our children are no different. Well, maybe a little different. They are not divine by any means and they have no way to obtain things without our help but ultimately they need only what we have. For most of us who have little buying power, what we have is without matter but matters a ton. What I mean by this is that the gifts that we can give our children that will matter the most as they grow into adults is going to be the intangibles such as: our love, our time, security and protection, purpose, and self-esteem. While they will want everything in a well designed commercial or well-placed ad, those things will eventually break down and be thrown away; on the other hand, the intangible gifts will not perish.

I’m reminded of a powerful story from an unknown author. One day a father was locking up the doors for the night and went to check on his children to make sure they were ready for bed. His son’s door was slightly cracked and he saw him knelt beside his bed with his head down. He overheard his son praying, “Dear God, please help me to grow up to be just like my Daddy.” The father immediately went to his own bedside fighting the tears in his eyes and prayed his own prayer, “Oh dear God, please help me to be the man my son thinks I am.”

You don’t have to do great things to be a great man or a great daddy. You just need to be grateful that God chose you to be their daddy. And be grateful to give God and your children only what you have to give.

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare

The Corn on the Cob Story

A little story about a father’s sacrifice, a son’s love, and a corn on the cob.

One Sunday afternoon a few years ago, my wife began to cook dinner while my firstborn son was watching tv and I was working on the computer.  It’s a well-known fact (at least in my household) that I love me some corn on the cob.  It’s what I call a fun food even though it takes like 20 minutes to pick all the corn skins from your teeth afterward.  Corn on the cob, it’s what’s for dinner!

But, I digress.

So my wife asked me how many I wanted because the ones she had to cook were half the size of normal cobs. So I’m thinking that since I’ll be eating a full chicken breast topped with BBQ sauce, cheese, and bacon, a salad and some bread along with my corn that I should go light (I was still trying to watch my figure).  So I answered something along the lines of “One is fine.” Plus, I felt like I was making it easier on my hard-working wife by asking her to cook less; although, it would have only taken about 2 seconds to put another cob in the steamer, that’s really beside the point.

So it became dinner time. We gathered around the table and got our plates prepared and our palettes ready for food consumption. Matthew sung the prayer that he learned from daycare in a voice that my wife thinks is the sweetest in the history of the entire known universe. I looked at my plate and noticed the smallest corn on the cob that I had ever seen in the history of the entire known universe.  Inside my head I was thinking “No, no girlfriend. This ain’t right.  I’m Daddy!”  What I opted to say was, “This is great honey.”

I buttered my corn and added a few shakes of salt and pepper as my mouth began to water with anticipation. But alas, my corn on the cob would have to wait because I wanted to save it for last. My son went the opposite route and ate all his corn on the cob first.  At 3 and a half years old, it seemed quite a good feat for him to eat the whole thing, but then there was a problem. Like me, he wanted more corn on the cob than what was served.

“Can I have some more corn?”

Those words may forever haunt me. How could I deny my son his love of corn on the cob when I had one to give? Then again, I helped pay for the corn and I’m bigger and stronger, and no one can fault me for eating what was on my plate, I mean, that’s what I was taught growing up. But, without further debate, I picked up my perfectly buttered and seasoned corn on the cob and placed it on my son’s plate. It was time for my son to live my legacy and I was willing to do whatever it took to help him in that endeavor; yes, even sacrifice my lone corn on the cob. Without even realizing the great sacrifice that was made for him, my son smiled, pointed to his newly found corn on the cob and said to his mother, “I got corn.” He was just about to take a bite, but then he placed the very corn on the cob that I had given him back on my plate.  My heart was filled with glee and my fatherly pride swelled up inside me as he uttered the greatest sentence on the face of the earth (at least on that day).

“You can have it.”

Victory! Victory! I truly believe that my son noticed that momma had corn and he had corn, but daddy had no corn at all anymore. That, my friends, is how one father sacrificed for his son because he loved him and a son’s love for his father helped him return the favor. Yes, the Force is strong in that one. Job well done, daddyjeff, job well done.

This is one of my favorite stories of my oldest and there are many more that I will probably get to share with you.  However, with this in mind I wanted to offer you this option.  Send us your favorite story of your children as a father or your favorite story of your daddy and we’ll share it for you on this site.  Just answer any of the following questions:

My favorite memory of (child/ daddy) is…

It was really funny when (child/ daddy)…

(Child/ Daddy) showed me he/ she loved me when…

My favorite story of (child/ daddy) is…

As with any family friendly site, keep the stories clean.  We will correct any obvious typos for you but other than that, approved stories will be selected and posted for you as is.  We appreciate your support and hope that the upcoming Father’s Day offers encouragement for your continued commitment to your children.

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare

What Makes a Daddy Fun?

Father and Child Play at the ParkA recent article in FamilyFun magazine asks the question “What Makes a Dad Fun?” The article itself (which is actually called My Fun Dad) is a follow-up to a previous month’s edition in which the editors asked kids to tell them – in words and drawings – about the fun they have with their dads.

As you might expect, the kids whose letters are featured have all sorts of answers but I found a not-so-surprising similarity in their answers.

The Grand Prize Winner was a 6-year-old from here in Austin named Rebekah Garza who says that her dad is teaching her how to play the guitar.

… “I like playing guitar because my family likes it. My dad says it’s in my genes. It’s fun because I know a lot, and he doesn’t make it so hard on me.”

It sounds to me like Rebekah’s father, Rick, has found that perfect balance between encouraging his daughter and still teaching her at the same time. Not only is Rebekah learning to play the guitar (at the age of 6, I might add) but she loves learning because her father is making it fun for her and spending what I can only assume is some really quality time with her.

We can learn a lot from what Rebekah wrote as well as what some of the other children wrote:

“I have fun with my dad when I work in the yard with him… I like it because I’m with my dad. He lets me do things all by myself and try things that I have not done before. We get to spend time alone together without anyone bothering us.” – Austin Connors, Age 8
 

“I love my daddy. We have fun together painting pictures… The most fun I have with my daddy is dressing up like cowboys and riding our horse, Fox.” – Braden Noah Mills, Age 5
 

“My dad is the most fun dad ever because he spends more time with us than other dads do…” – Reagan M. Shull, Age 9
 

“My dad’s name is David. He is very funny… He quits anything he is doing to skateboard with me… He cheers me on at swim meets and comes to watch me play tennis… He rushes home from work so he can come home and play with me…” – Kaala Puglisi, Age 7
 

“… I have so much fun with my stepdad building forts in the living room with blankets and pillows. We sing, tell jokes, and he even plays beauty shop with me when I beg!…” – Adia Chaney, Age 9

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the pattern in these letters. Every one of these daddies spends time with their children and plays with them and makes them feel special.

Take a minute to look at the things these children think are important:

  • working in the yard together
  • just spending time together alone
  • being allowed to try new things by themselves
  • painting pictures together
  • riding horses together
  • skateboarding together
  • showing up and cheering them on at athletic events
  • rushing home from work to play
  • building forts in the living room with pillows and blankets
  • singing and telling jokes together
  • playing beauty shop!

There isn’t a single thing on this list that involves spending vast amounts of money or even really going out of our way to do. These kids don’t want their daddies to buy them expensive toys and take them to theme parks or exotic locations around the world – they want daddy to spend time with them and play with them and just be there for them.

Jason has some excellent points here so I decided to ask my boys the same question.  I was a little bit excited, a little bit scared, and a little bit apprehensive about what the answers might be.  To avoid embarrassment, I had my wife ask the question and record the answers.  Here are the responses unedited.  It may not all make sense but you will get the idea.

Matthew (Age 5) – I like to play with him.  He belongs with us.  He’s fun because he married Momma.  I like to play football and soccer ball.  We like to play Star Wars Legos.  He always beats me with more coins.  We like to watch movies and eat popcorn.  The park is fun.  My all time favorite is watching movies and eating popcorn.  Some times he’s silly.  He makes funny faces.

Andrew (Age 1) – Oouh… ay ya ya… de da da doo…  bah. (liberal translation: Everything Daddy does is fun.  Great answer son… great answer!)

My daughter, Makenzie, just turned two so she’s in a stage where her answer to everything is pretty much the same, but Jeff wanted me to ask her anyway so I did. The results weren’t surprising…

daddyjason: Is daddy fun?
Makenzie: yeah!
daddyjason: Do you like to spend time with daddy?
Makenzie: yeah!
daddyjason: What about daddy makes him fun?
Makenzie: yeah!

While we may not have gotten “perfect” answers from our kids, we did prove a point. All too often we parents, fathers especially maybe, get busy and caught up with work and all the other things we think we have to do and don’t take the time to just stop and enjoy our children. Even taking the time to ask them “silly” questions like Jeff and I did can result in some fun and memorable moments sometimes.

Some fathers try to make it up to their kids for being absent by buying them expensive presents and claiming they’re “just trying to give their children all the things they never had growing up,” but they aren’t really doing their children any favors. Kids don’t want things – not really; they want their daddy.

While this article is talking about the types of things that make daddies fun, the truth is those are the same things that make a father a daddy in the first place. That is, they’re the same qualities that make a man a good father to his children. When we’re talking about “bringing daddy back” this is a big part of what we’re talking about.

I think the whole point is best summed up by my favorite letter in the article. This letter is from Lexie Eaton, Age 6, and it says simply:

“My dad lets me reel in the fish even if he catches them.”

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare

A Good Daddy is a Good Husband

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
– Theodore Hesburgh, Catholic Priest and President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame

One of the first steps in being a positive role model for your children is to love their mother openly and affectionately.  The mother-child bond is easily the hardest bond to break between any two people.  We would all rather be nurtured than disciplined, supported rather than taught, or loved with affection rather than loved with toughness.  It is of little wonder that you seldom hear or read the words “Hi Dad” at sporting events or other public venues.  There is also little doubt that “tough love” is necessary for real life application and personal growth and generally “Daddy” is better equipped to give that.

daddyjeff commentsChildren need to see that their mother is loved.  I have two sons and each deserve to see a proper example on how to love a woman.  That’s not to say I’m claiming to be the perfect husband.  I have many flaws that need correcting – just ask her – but I am 100% sure she knows I love her.  I hope in some conscious or unconscious way they are taking notes, storing up memories, and learning why Daddy looks at Mommy in that way sometimes.

Public displays of affection are okay in my book (to a certain point of course).  I have no intention of getting his and hers matching tattoos or getting arrested for public indecency any time soon.  But… we do hold hands (usually after her initiative), I usually have my hand on her shoulder in church, and cute little peck kisses are not uncommon.  Date night is of the utter importance when we are able to secure a babysitter or our church holds their periodic Parents Night Out.  Keeping close to your wife is so vital to your family structure.  You may not always agree and you may not always want to be in the same room together but you can always reconcile and come back together.  And, well, making up…  that’s just a whole lot of fun.

I’ve come to realize that household chores should be shared as well.  How you share is up to you and your spouse I suppose.  My wife and I have not actually sat down to claim upkeep responsibilities and maybe we should.  My wife has more household duties “assigned” to her by assumption than what is actually considered fair.  Don’t get me wrong, I vacuum, do dishes, work on laundry, etc.  I just  have to admit it’s usually not equal.  And I don’t want to show my sons that it’s okay not to help around the house.  I’m willing to bet that some increased effort on my part to help a little more than I have will go along way in strengthening our relationship.  Either that or hiring a cleaning service if the means presents itself (which would be awesome).

daddyjason commentsI had a conversation with one of my brothers recently that really brings home what Jeff has said here. We were talking about my parents and their little idiosyncrasies and the conversation turned to the ways in which my parents show love for one another. And during that conversation we both realized that neither of us could think of a single instance where we ever doubted that our father truly loves our mother. Throughout all the years we’ve known them, never once has he ever given us a reason to believe he has anything but love and respect for her. Sure, there are times when he might have lost his patience or been upset but not once did he ever say or do anything, even in anger, that made us wonder if he loved our mother.

I think it was not only the love that my dad has for my mother but also the respect he showed her that has rubbed off on us more than anything. My mom and dad were truly equals in their marriage (at least in front of us kids) and in a time when you didn’t necessarily see that equality between man and woman.

This love and respect that I grew up witnessing on a daily basis is now the basis for my marriage and is what I hope to show my daughter through my actions towards her mother. Like Jeff, I know I’m not perfect. However, the one thing I hope I can do is show my daughter that her mother is loved.

I hope that my daughter will grow up knowing that she too deserves to be treated with nothing but love and respect. It’s so easy in today’s world, for girls especially, to grow up with so many insecurities that they often make poor decisions. If we daddies can help our daughters, even a little, by showing them how a good husband and a good daddy loves then it should be a very easy gift to give.

TwitterFacebookDiggDeliciousStumbleUponTumblrShare