Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Mike Armstrong ( @mikedaddyreal ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 475th Dad in the Limelight is Mike Armstrong. I want to thank Mike for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Mike-Armstrong1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
What’s up! First, I just wanted to say that it is real cool to be apart of such a great, long-running series, that’s featured some amazing people!

I’m from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Husband and dad, with a day job at a lumber distribution company.  Recently, in my spare time, I’ve become involved in the world of Dad Bloggers with my blog, daddyrealness.com.  It’s mainly me talking about some of the difficulties I’ve experienced as a parent, with a humorous spin. Well, humorous to me, anyway.

2) Tell me about your family
I’ve been married for five years now to my awesome wife, who’s a school teacher. We have a son, who’s four years old, and is the maniac in our family, and a daughter, who’s two, and is the sassy one in the house.  We got the blended family thing going on, as I’m black, and my wife is white.
 photo mikeolivestudio_zps0599cb5f.jpg

Photo courtesy of Olive Studio

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Man, it was definitely that initial period after our son was born, and actually being a father.  Becoming a parent was a huge adjustment.  Going from living life one way, to doing basically a 180, because you’re now responsible for this tiny, totally dependent human being who you love more than anything, was hard. With our daughter, there was still a big adjustment, but it wasn’t as extreme. It was just different.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
There’s so much advice and information out there, that it can really seem like other fathers have it easier than you do (Cheap plug! I wrote a post about this recently, where I sought some advice, and the tips that I got didn’t work out so well: http://daddyrealness.com/?p=622).  I would say to other fathers – be patient, and don’t let other people’s situations get you down. I’m sure that we all struggle differently, so all that we can do is find out what works for dealing with our own kids, and go with it.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
Luckily, my wife is a teacher, so she is the one with the organizational skills in our household! We both work five days a week during the day, so we are home during the evenings and on weekends. From there, we’re a pretty active family.  Something is almost always going on. Family comes first, of course, and I try to spend as much time with the kids as I can.   I do think it’s important to make a little bit of time for yourself too, though. My wife and I both get involved in various activities occasionally (mainly sports), on our own, just for that little bit of down time.
Mike-Armstrong6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
You know what? Based on my fairly limited experiences with other Dad Bloggers, I’ve learned that my time management skills kind of suck, in comparison!
In all honesty, since I’ve become a dad, I have found myself picking the brains and sharing ‘horror’ stories with other dads that I know (friends, co-workers).  As messed up as I think something is, with my kids, other dudes  that I talk to have had something similar happen to them, with their kids. So that’s been one main thing that I’ve learned – that I’m really not alone in my experiences. If I’m struggling or at my wit’s end, there’s  almost always someone  else who can relate to what I’m dealing with.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It ain’t easy, it’s a constant struggle, but it’s the greatest feeling in the world……thus far!
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I think, like a lot of fathers, the most memorable experiences have been the ‘firsts’.
The first steps, first words, first day of school, first time someone looked at my son and asked how old ‘she’ was, first time my son hit me in the groin as a joke, first time my daughter rolled her eyes like a teenager and said “No, daddy!” etc.  Stuff like that, I’ll remember forever.

If you have any questions for Mike, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Joseph Pollifrone #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 474th Dad in the Limelight is Owner of Joseph’s Florist in Secaucus, NJ and BloomNation.com florist, Joseph Pollifrone. I want to thank Joseph for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

bloomnation1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I was brought up in an Italian family in Jersey City, NJ.  I became a special education teacher at the age of 21, and at 28 I opened my first flower shop.  I will be retiring from teaching in January 2015, but I assume, depending on my health, that I will be working at my flower shop, Joseph’s Florist, until I can’t any longer.

2) Tell me about your family
My mother is 92 and still very active.  She cooks and shops every day and most recently fired her cleaning lady and began doing her own cleaning.  My sister recently retired from her career as a superintendent of schools.  My wife of 34 years works in the flower shops with me.  I have three children; Nicole is my oldest, she is 31, a teacher and a guidance counselor.  Marc, 27, is a writer and a musician.  And Amanda, 23, is a graduate student, soon to be a school psychologist.

josepollifronefamily3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I think the largest challenge in being a father has been learning to step back and allowing my children to learn life lessons on their own, it is the most challenging, but it’s also the most rewarding aspect.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I’ll just say that life is often much messier than most people would come to believe, but it is also more beautiful at the same time.

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
In our case, children were the priority.  Being in retail requires a lot of hours so sometimes balancing was difficult, but it got easier as time went on.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I listened to a close friend who also had 3 children who were older than mine.  He thought patience, listening, and learning when and how to challenge kids without making it so easy that they didn’t learn or so hard that they would fail were vital aspects of parenting.

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Every age of the kids has had its fun and its challenges.  They were great as babies, as children, as adolescents, as teenagers and as adults.  Probably my favorite ongoing experience is that they really care about each other.

If you have any questions for Joseph, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Matt Vail ( @dcathomedad ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 473rd  Dad in the Limelight is Matt Vail. I want to thank Matt for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Matt-vail1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

Stay at home dad to 2 girls, former politico.

 

2) Tell me about your family

Wife and 2 girls. Met my wife on a governors race down south. Asked her to marry me the night we won.

Our 2 girls were born in DC. We now live in STL.

Matt-vail

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Patience.

 

Matt-vail4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Be patient

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

What outside life?!

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

That everyone parents differently

 

Matt-vail7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Life would be flat without my family

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

The birth of my 2 girls

 

If you have any questions for Matt, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

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Cedar Point ( @CedarPoint ) Announces New Roller Coaster

cedar-point

Cedar Point, The Roller Coaster Capital of the World!®, will introduce a dynamically new riding experience when it unleashes Rougarou™ in the spring of 2015!

 

Named after a terrifying werewolf-like creature in French folklore, Rougarou [roo-guh-roo] feeds on screams and lurks in and around the swampy lagoon at the center of the park, shared with other coasters like Iron Dragon and Top Thrill Dragster.

 

Rougarou’s floorless trains will take riders on an epic journey at speeds reaching 60 mph as their feet dangle just inches above the track and the murky waters below. The trains will be manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, Monthey, Switzerland, the same team behind rides like Raptor and GateKeeper, and will transform the ride experience dramatically while utilizing the structure and track of the former Mantis roller coaster.

The ride begins with a climb to the top of the 145-foot-tall first hill, providing amazing views of the Cedar Point skyline. After reaching the apex, the trains will make a 180-degree turn to the right and plummet 137 feet, at a 52-degree angle, to within inches above the water. Thrill-seekers caught in Rougarou’s grasp will then be flipped upside-down by a 119-foot-tall vertical loop, spun around a 103-foot-tall dive loop, whipped around a highly-banked 360-degree turn and then twisted upside-down again by the world’s only inclined loop on a floorless coaster, angled at a wicked 45 degrees. Just when guests think the ride is over, the steel beast will take them through a 360-degree flat spin, tight and twisty turns and a figure-eight finale. Riders must be 54” tall to ride Rougarou.

Rougarou

“Rougarou is going to be a fantastic addition to our coaster lineup and our guests are going to love it,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “With the swampy waters below, the vibrant colors of the supports and track, lighting and other effects, it will be a ride like no other at the park.”

2015 will also mark the debut of the newly-renovated Hotel Breakers. Located along the mile-long Cedar Point Beach, Hotel Breakers will complete its two-year transformation into the ultimate resort destination. Along with a new exterior, the modernized hotel will have a new entrance portal, classic interior finishes, newly-furnished and remodeled rooms with LCD TV’s, new furniture, bedding and décor, and many other amenities and offerings. Additional enhancements include a new Starbucks and the Surf Lounge bar inside the famous rotunda, widened exterior green space with panoramic views of Lake Erie and an outdoor water play area with zero depth entry and splash features.

Rougarou

“We want to provide a well-rounded and complete vacation experience for our guests, and the enhancements at the Hotel Breakers will help them have just that,” said Jason McClure. “It will have a fun and fresh feel, is steps away from the park and it’s a great place to start new family traditions.”

Other amenities include two pools and Jacuzzis, access to the Cedar Point Beach and Boardwalk, a gift shop, arcade, exercise room, three restaurants, Early Entry (access to some of the biggest rides and coasters before the park opens to the general public), discounted Cedar Point admission tickets, complimentary Wi-Fi and the comfort and convenience of staying right next to the rides and roller coasters of Cedar Point. Reservations for the 2015 season can be placed now online at cedarpoint.com/hotelbreakers or by phone at (419) 627-2106.

Rougarou

The charming waterfront hotel first opened its doors in 1905 as the “largest and greatest hotel on the Great Lakes.” Known for its breathtaking views and cool summer breezes, Hotel Breakers has been an important part of any complete Cedar Point experience. Notable guests over the years have included celebrities such as sharpshooter Annie Oakley, comedians Abbott and Costello, composer John Philip Sousa and six U.S. presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 

Located on a sandy peninsula along the shore of Lake Erie, Cedar Point has been named as one of the best amusement parks in the world by USA Today, TripAdvisor, The Travel Channel and more. Cedar Point’s amazing lineup of roller coasters has received top billing by CBS News, Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times and many more.

Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Nate Hicks ( @Realdadswanted ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 472nd Dad in the Limelight is Nate Hicks. I want to thank Nate for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Nate-Hicks1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Nate Hicks and I’ve been in the transportation field for 20yrs now.
I love pro football, college, arena doesn’t matter as long as it’s a good game. I also enjoy basketball, soccer, track and field, airshows (ILUVJETNOISE), Military history and a good book. :-)

How am I in the limelight? I’d have to say that I’m always there for them. I hate missing important events when it comes to my family.

 

2) Tell me about your family

Married to my best friend Darlene for 10yrs and a proud father of 2 girls (25 & 14) one son (21) & one grandson (3).

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Staying actively involved in my sons life while his mother and I bounced in and out of court. I refused to be labeled a dead beat Dad. That was an experience that was a really rough part of my life. After going through that I can see why some guys walk away. I almost did a few times myself but with faith in God and support from family and friends I’m glad I hung in there.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Your time is far more valuable than anything you can ever buy them. If you say your going to be there, then BE THERE!!!! Ticks me off when guys blow their kids off with 100 reasons why they can’t make it.

 

5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

That can be hard to do at times since I don’t get much me time. But when I do get so me time I just like to relax and watch a good documentary or movie. Oh and sleep, Lol

 

Nate-Hicks6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

When my Dad passed away in 2008 that’s when it really hit me just how important his role & my role as a Father is. Growing up I have been blessed to have a lot of good male role models in my extended family. Mentor a kid that isn’t as lucky as you, they hunger for that positive male role model.

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

We do have an impact on our kids life. Our role as Father’s is a very important one given to us by God that ALL men need to take seriously. I don’t understand why some guys don’t want to take care of their responsibility.

 

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

So many things stand out. My oldest being named MVP on her volleyball team and the end of the season. My son being a U.S. Marine. Watching my youngest playing violin at a concert to enjoying a good laugh with my grandson.

 

If you have any questions for Nate, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – CJ Antonucci ( @cjnuch0712 ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 470th Dad in the Limelight is CJ Antonucci. I want to thank CJ for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

 

CJ-Antonucci1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is CJ Antonucci, I am 35 years old and have been writing/blogging for only a few months.  I work in the construction industry helping people get back on their feet after a catastrophic loss.  I also own and manage several commercial real estate properties.  I am unsure as to how I am in the limelight, honestly I try and avoid it at all costs.  I like to keep to myself when it comes to sharing my thoughts and opinions about personal things especially parenting, but once I became a parent and had an opportunity to share my insight it became something I began to take seriously and use my inexperience, or in many cases, lack of, and write about it in the hopes that it would help other fathers out there who are just starting out see that they were not alone in their struggles both physically and more importantly emotionally.  Writing for my friend’s site Life Of Dad has given me the outlet I needed to vent without being harshly judged for what I say.  Writing for me, even though I am not a full time stay at home father or “SAHD Blogger” has become therapeutic and allowed me to meet other dads who are just like me. Working their butts off to give their kids a great life whether its at a job or home in the trenches.
2) Tell me about your family

I have been with the same wonderful woman for over 16 years, married for half of them.  We met in college and never looked back (she was the one who picked me up at a party).  We just recently had our first child, our 2 year old daughter and she had changed our lives forever.  I grew up one of 4 boys so having a daughter is both scary as hell and rewarding all at the same time.  My brother had a daughter that I helped take care of a lot because he was in the military so that experience helped me realize I was ready and able to be a father.  It is the reason I have a child today.

 

CJ-Antonucci3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

The largest challenge has to be balancing it all. Balancing the work, the relationship with my wife, the time I want to spend with my daughter and still being a strong father/man for our family.  Being a parent, whether it’s a mom or a dad takes a strength that you don’t know you have until you need it.  It was hard for me to transition from a SAHD to a working father because of the bond that I had created with my daughter.  It took weeks and months of being depressed about being at work instead of with her where I felt I needed to be more.  Time has a way of helping with all of that as well as the knowledge that by going to work and providing a good life for my family is just as, if not more important in some ways.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

“Be there”  Work will be there the rest of your life, so will yard work and there will be time to drink beer with your friends.  I personally feel that the early years that you dedicate the time and energy to your child/children will pay you back 100000x later in life, or at least I hope it does.  I think a lot of us grew up as “latch key kids” and we didn’t have the time with our parents we maybe wanted.  I know when I used to teach HS I could see it in my students.  Time, my friends, is one thing that we can never get back no matter how rich we are.  Spend time with your family it’s a wonderful investment.
CJ-Antonucci5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

I would be lying to you if I told you I had a solid hold on it.  I think what has worked for me and my family is trying to incorporate it as much as possible.  We attend family friendly functions and we bring our daughter with us to as many things as possible.  I mean my wife and I enjoy a date night every so often or a guys night and vice a versa, but outside of keeping work to a 8-5 and then spending the rest of the time working on the family. It’s still a work in progress…. Sorry no sage advice on this one, its whatever works for you.

 

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

I think what I have learned is that it’s ok to still be a big kid, albeit a responsible one, but it’s ok to still do fun stuff with your kids.  I think I have more fun now as a dad than I did when I was a kid.  Maybe it’s the fact that we can still relate to our kids with using technology to bridge any divide.  I have also learned that we all want the best for our kids and that being scared or unsure of something is normal.  It’s a good feeling having a support network like the ones that are out there.

 

CJ-Antonucci7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

I would like to think that all my experiences as a father have made me a better man.  Every day I look at this little girl that needs so much from me and my wife and I know that I have to be there for her to make sure that she is taken care of.  I think about all the little things that she does that makes my heart swell and can’t imagine my life without her.  It makes me mad to think I waited as long as I did to have her.  One last thing about this question, I believe that being a father has helped to put things in perspective and allowed me to better prioritize my life so I can be the parent/father I need to be.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

It has to be watching her grow and how smart she is already.  I swear to you that she can pretty much operate an I phone/I pad better than some adults.  It is amazing to see the wheels turning in her little head.  I hope that she grows up knowing that she is as smart as she is beautiful.  Watching her learn to do new things, say new words and grow as a little person fills me with a pride that just cannot be explained.

 

If you have any questions for CJ, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Josh Gloer ( @joshgloer @hashtagnewdad ) #NEWDAD

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 466th Dad in the Limelight is Josh Gloer. I want to thank Josh for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Josh-Gloer1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I wouldn’t consider myself in the limelight at all, but I have been fortunate to work in a field that many covet – Television. I’ve written and produced for A&E’s Duck Dynasty and Modern Dads, HGTV’s Selling LA, MTV’s Snack Off!, The Buried Life and The Dudesons… a fun job that’s allowed me to write while meeting great people and experiencing amazing things.
I also just published a book (s??hameless plug) called #NEWDAD (www.joshgloerbooks.com)
2) Tell me about your family
It’s me and my girls – wife, 14 month old daughter and 6 year old cocker spaniel.
Josh-Gloer3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The hardest thing for me as a dad has been to forget everyone else. Is anyone watching me sing? Is anyone watching me make a fool of myself? But one giggle from my little girl is the only reward I need to ham it up even more.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Don’t be a cliche. Don’t act the way you think a “guy” should act. Act like you want to. You’re a dad, now. Embrace it. Love it. Enjoy every second of it. If you miss poker night with the boys because you’d rather go home and play chutes and ladders… Own it.
Josh-Gloer5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? 
Working in TV, I was never home. There was ZERO balance. It was like I had weekend visitation with my daughter as she was asleep every night when I got home. I knew that had to change. I just moved to the mid-west for a simpler life that can revolve around family. It was a big decision – one that will cost me work, money, opportunity – but the right one for me and the girls. The reward will far out weigh any sacrifice.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
We’re all different. Our kids are all different. No one raises their kid the same way. Don’t call them out on your own BS.
Josh-Gloer7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Enjoy it. You’re kid needs a father… and, trust me, you need your kid just as much.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Every day is a new day. Every morning is the best morning I’ve ever had as long as I get to pick my girl up from her crib.

If you have any questions for Josh, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Dave Engledow ( @DaveEngledow ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 465th Dad in the Limelight is Dave Engledow. I want to thank Dave for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

Dave-Engledow1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge) 

My name is Dave Engledow, although on the internet I’m more commonly known as the “World’s Best Father.”  I spend my days working full time for Working America (the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO).  During my free time on weekends I shoot, edit, and along with my daughter Alice Bee, star in an ongoing photo series that satirizes common stereotypes associated with fatherhood.  This project also serves as a vehicle for me to humorously make fun of my own insecurities and fears about being a new father.

Find out more about me here: https://www.facebook.com/EngledowArtPhotography.

Also, my photography has led to a book that you can find here – http://www.penguin.com/book/confessions-of-the-worlds-best-father-by-dave-engledow/9781592408894.

 
2) Tell me about your family

My wife Jen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, currently stationed at the Pentagon.  Our daughter Alice Bee is 3 years old and has already established herself at the top of our household chain of command.

 

Dave-Engledow
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

My largest challenge is keeping in mind that Alice Bee sometimes acts the way she does because she’s only three, and not because she’s a total psychopath.

 
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Spend less time reading advice and more time reading, playing and talking with your kid.

 
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

Haha. Really?  I mean, I’ve heard stories about fathers who’ve figured this one out, but I’m convinced that it’s just an urban legend. Me? I’ve been to four movies in the past three years, and one of those was Frozen.  

 
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

The most prescient and prevalent wisdom I’ve received from other fathers is to enjoy every minute because it’s unbelievable how fast kids will grow up.  I’m already experiencing this with Alice Bee–it’s unfathomable to me that she’s already three years old, and I have no doubt that she’ll be getting her driver’s license and leaving for college before I know it.

Dave-Engledow
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

Fatherhood is the most amazing experience of my life.  Every day, Alice Bee does something that just blows me away or says something that makes me laugh out loud.  I never thought I’d be capable of loving someone so intensely and so unconditionally.

 
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

For me, the most memorable experiences are the little things–especially the conversations.  I’m constantly surprised by the way Alice’s developing mind works, and she is constantly cracking me up.  For example, one of my favorite interactions happened shortly after her second birthday.  She had been experiencing diaper rash at the time, so we were attempting to temporarily reduce her intake of certain acidic foods.  After excitedly telling me that she wanted a cherry tomato, I had to try to explain to her that she couldn’t eat it because it might make her bum hurt.  She looked up at me like I was crazy and said, “But I wan’ put it in my MOUF!”

 

If you have any questions for Dave, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Jerry Lopez ( @jerlopez ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 464th Dad in the Limelight is Jerry Lopez. I want to Jerry for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

jerry-lopez1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers’ knowledge)
My name is Jerry Lopez. And for your old-school surfing fans out there, NO, I’m not THAT Jerry Lopez. Wait? Did you think…? Is that why I’m here?… Who cares. Too late now. Let’s do this!I’m 46 years old. I was born on the island of Guam (Mom is Chamorro, Dad is Filipino). Grew up in San Diego. I have a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at San Diego. For the last 13 years I’ve worked at a large telecommunications company here in San Diego as a software engineer. I love vacationing with my family, riding my bike, pina coladas and holding hands in the rain. Well, maybe not those last two things.I’m just an everyday, ordinary, regular guy who decided that my theme for 2014 would be “Make It Epic!” For me, part of making 2014 an epic year is to reach out and be a positive influence to as many people as I can. I decided to do this first by reaching out via Twitter to nice folk like you. I also recently launched my blog (AdamCalling.com) by the end of this month (April). I suppose this is how I found myself in your Limelight Series.
2) Tell me about your family
I have an amazing wife who I affectionately refer to as “Shortcake”. She’s the hardest working person I know which works out perfectly because I’m the laziest person I know.
My oldest girl (21) is very close to graduating college with a degree in accounting. I find this kind of funny because four years ago she was adamant about NOT going to college.
My son (20) is currently a Bio major and has many talents. Currently, he is relishing the fact that he can beat me in chess more often than not.
My youngest daughter is the most helpful and thoughtful ten year old I know. She is also a brown belt in Kenpo Karate and knows five different ways to choke you unconscious. Seriously!
And, yes, they all come from the same womb. :)
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
The biggest challenge I’ve had as a father has been trying to stay engaged with and connected to my kids. I grew up in a large family (7 boys, 3 girls). We were also very poor. So my parents didn’t get a chance to spend a lot of one-on-one “quality” time with me. They were too busy just trying to keep us all alive. I learned early on how to do things on my own and keep myself entertained as well. Thus, it doesn’t come natural for me to interact and engage with my kids–especially as they get older and become more independent themselves.
It’s so easy to neglect this important responsibility. You figure, they’re fed, they have a roof over their head, a warm bed and clothes, no one is complaining, things are good, I can just sit and watch the game now. Nope. I learned (through a bit of heartache and headache) that Dads have to be always vigilant and diligent in ensuring the health and happiness of our kids–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And just because your wife is blessed to be a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean the job is done. She’s busy too! Things can get left behind. We have to stay engaged and connected with our kids 24/7.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I suppose I already gave the advice I think is most important for dads–stay engaged and connected with your kids. When I was a young dad, I would hear other parents talk about how hard it is to raise kids. How it is so much “work.” I thought they were referring to all the diaper changes, sleepless nights, feedings, soccer games, scout and PTA meetings, etc. I now realize that that’s the easy stuff. The hard stuff lies in the in-between. It’s staying engaged and paying attention.
So what do I mean by “engaged”?
Engaged means always being ready to stop what your doing at any moment to pay attention. To listen to them with not just your ears but with your heart as well. Hear and feel what they are trying to communicate with you.
Engaged means not sacrificing quantity over quality when it comes to spending time with your kids. Strive for both. You never know when your son will turn a quiet, boring moment with you into pure gold when he softly breaks the silence and shares, “I like Melony. She’s in my class and she’s real nice.”  Golden.
Engaged means knowing who their friends are. Get to know their friends’ parents too! Do whatever will help you better judge if this friend is good for your little one to hang out with.
Engaged means always be improving yourself. And not just in being a better dad. Be the kind of man you want your son to become and the kind of man you want your daughter to marry.
That said, remember to go easy on yourself. You’ll never be perfect. Besides, you can turn your mistakes into “teachable moments” for your kids. :)
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
I’m still trying to figure this one out. For me, again, this really comes down to paying attention. I know my priorities. I track how I spend my time. If it isn’t in my calendar, it doesn’t exist. I do my best to not let myself get caught up in the busy-ness of life. However, I’m not overly regimented about all of this. When in doubt, I spend time with my wife and kids.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn. Seriously, there are some dads out there who impress the heck out of me. But my main inspiration has been my own father. Like I mentioned earlier, it was hard for him to spend a whole lot of one-on-one time with me. But he taught me so much by just the way he lived his life.
The old saying “More is caught than taught” rang true and loud in our house. No one could ever doubt his priorities: 1) Wife, 2) Kids, 3) Everything else.
Honesty, Integrity, Self-Discipline, Self-Sacrifice, Courage, Wisdom, you name it. His life reflected all of these virtues. If I can be half the dad he was, it would be more than enough. I miss him dearly.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far? What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I try to savor each moment. You hear it all the time, but it really does go by fast. I can’t believe my two oldest are almost out of college!
Also, I do my best to be excited and enthusiastic about whatever it is my kids share with me (especially if they’re excited about it).
And if I’m very tired when I come home from work, I’ll usually say a quick prayer before going in the house. I’ll ask for energy and a good attitude. I want to give my best self at home with the family and not just at work.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Gosh, where to start? At the risk of turning things a bit gloomy, I’ll maybe (or maybe not) take it in an unusual direction.
Some of my most memorable experiences as a dad have been those times where I struggled. Because those were the times that taught me the most and helped me to grow as a dad, as a man.
As a dad I learned some tough lessons from those times when I’ve let my kids down…when I let myself down. Losing my temper, saying the wrong thing, not doing what I said I would. Those things are tough to swallow. But you learn and grow. It would have been nice not to have made those mistakes. But of course I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t.
At least my oldest has a good sense of humor about it all. She refers to herself as the “guinea pig” of the family because she says my wife and I had no idea what we were doing and spent most of the time blindly experimenting on her. She’s awesome!

If you have any questions for Jerry, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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Dads in the Limelight ( #limelightdads ) – Sean McKenzie ( @thnerdincognito ) #dadchat

Dads in the Limelight Series

Our 463rd Dad in the Limelight is Sean McKenzie. I want to thank Sean for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.

 

sean-mckenzie1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers’ knowledge)

I’m a happily married, 32-year-old father of two wonderful boys: a 3 year old, and a 1 year old.

 

By day, I work as a Policy Advisor in a municipal government organization, interacting with administrators, elected officials, board members, and the provincial government.  My position often puts me in the centre of consultations and negotiations.

 

Prior to joining the workforce, I took my Bachelor of Arts in English and my Master of Arts in English—the climax of which was a thesis combining masculinity theory and modern fantasy.

 

I am a self-acknowledged nerd, and have been running a website called Nerd Incognito for about two years, now.  This year, I added a blog to my site called Dad Who Says N.I. (http://www.nerdincognito.com/blog)  Blogging has helped me engage more readers, and join the Dad Blogging community, which has been awesome!  While I’ve still got a pretty small readership, it’s my own little piece of the limelight, giving me an outlet to share with the outside world.

 

In my spare time, watch a lot of Netflix with my wife, read (primarily fantasy fiction, but a little bit of everything, cook, play video games, and chase my little monsters around.

 

2) Tell me about your family

My wife works as a music teacher in the public school system.  She and I met by either fate or very random chance when we were 16.  We went our separate ways for a few years, taking degrees in different provinces, but found each other again.  She is a strong, intelligent, and stubborn woman, who tends to balance out my more laid-back tendencies with energy and decisiveness.

 

sean-mckenzieOur eldest son is 3 years old and a non-stop ball of energy.  In his calmer moments, he loves to read with us and watch Pixar films.  The rest of the time, he’s playing with playdough, chasing things with model dinosaurs, or jumping on his trampoline.  He has always enjoyed music, but he has recently discovered a love of Michael Jackson (particularly “Beat It” and “Bad”) and makes up his own dances for the songs.

 

Our youngest son is 1 year old now, and already has a very distinct personality to him—a great sparkle in his eyes and regular belly laughs.  He’s proven to be as challenging a child in the sleep department as his brother ever was, and has an insatiable curiosity that leads to far too many near-miss moments now that he can crawl everywhere and pull himself up.

 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

Sleep deprivation and everything that goes with it.  Neither of my boys have been sleepers; our first didn’t wake up too often in the overnight, but it always took 45 solid minutes of holding him and singing him to sleep.  He finally settled into good sleeping habits after he was 1 year old.

 

Our second is a frequent waker.  At his peak, he woke every 45 minutes in the overnight, and took 20 minute naps.  Things are still a bit rough, and we’re hoping he’ll do a sudden turnaround…any time now…

 

The trouble with sleep deprivation is that it affects every element of your life. You don’t have the time and energy to exercise, you’re grouchy and snappy with your spouse, and you can fly off the handle at your kids at a moment’s notice.  It takes iron control, which is hard to come by when you’re on your 30th day of having 4 hours of broken sleep.

 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Understand that being a parent means being a teacher, and that your role is just as important as your wife’s.  You and your wife will be two of the most important models upon which your child will base him or herself.  That includes everything from how much yelling you do, to how you treat your wife; from these things, your kids will learn essential things like anger management and gender roles—the foundations of how they behave publicly and privately.

 

sean-mckenzieMost importantly, make sure you go out of your way to teach your children empathy.  It does not occur naturally; it must be taught.

 

5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.

It’s not easy for any employed, engaged father to balance work and home, and it’s been a bit of a challenge at times.  I do have to be away from home a few times throughout the year, and I’m conscious of the pressure that puts on my wife, and how sad it makes my boys.  The way I balance things is to make sure that when I am home, I act like I’m home—my phone goes on the kitchen island and stays there, ignored, until the boys are in bed.  I don’t bring my work home with me unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I make sure that I spend my time at home modeling the kind of behavior I want my sons to grow into.  I do most of the cooking, my share of the clean-up, and as much playing with and reading to my sons as I can manage in the time I’ve got.   I do all that despite the fact that some days I would rather just flop onto the couch and have a nap after work, or watch T.V.

 

My advice to other fathers would be to disconnect, REALLY disconnect when you get home and focus on your kids.  Don’t fall into the easy trap of plunking them in front of the T.V. unless absolutely necessary, and make sure you’re modeling the way you want them to behave.

 

sean-mckenzie6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

Not long after I started blogging, I was pointed toward a group called Dad Bloggers, which has provided me with a wonderful forum for sharing, bouncing ideas off of people, and offering advice.  I can’t begin to say how much they’ve taught me in the brief time I’ve been part of their group.
Above all, though, I guess there are two major lessons that I’ve learned from Dad Bloggers, and other fathers that I’ve had the pleasure to interact with: 1) Time only moves faster as you get older and it’s essential that you take the time to be there for your kids NOW; and 2) As ugly as some days are, and as alone/maxed out/depressed/crazy as you may feel, you’re not the only one who has been overtaken by that darkness and found a way back out.  It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, and it’s OK to ask for help.

 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far? What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

Being a good father is the most exhausting and yet rewarding thing I’ve ever undertaken.  Stop worrying about the little stuff like how long it’s taking to put your little one to sleep, or that they want just one more book before bed.  Stop thinking about the cleaning that you have to do before you can sit down, or how early you need to get up the next morning.  Learn to just stop and take pleasure in the moments you have with your kids, whenever possible.  They are frustrating, obnoxious, and embarrassing sometimes, but they’re also wonderful, adoring, and hilarious.  Enjoy every moment.

Oh, and don’t forget to document things.  A lot of what blogging is about for me is archiving; I want to be able to look back and remember what was going on while my boys were growing up, and share all of it with them, if they have the interest.

 

You can find Nerd Incognito at http://www.nerdincognito.com  on Facebook at facebook.com/thenerdincognito, on Twitter at @thnerdincognito and even on Google+ at https://www.google.com/+Nerdincognito1

 

If you have any questions for Sean, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

Dad of Divas, dadofdivas.com

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New to the Divadom?
Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader
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