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Dad Bloggers Rock Out at Type-A Parent Conference #typeacon

This past weekend, the day after my birthday, I was honored to participate on a dad blogger panel at this year's Type-A Parent Conference. I was on the panel with a couple of esteemed colleagues in the dad-blogging space, Fred Goodall of MochaDad and Trey Burley, aka Daddy Mojo. Our panel was moderated by none other than Ron Mattocks of Clark Kent's Lunch Box.

As our sole dad panel was embedded in a highly mom-centric conference, I didn't anticipate us speaking to a standing-room-only crowd. I was correct in this assumption. But what surprised me was how receptive the audience was to what we were saying and the couple of times we (well, Fred mostly) was interrupted by applause after responding to the questions being posed.

I had to pause while I was up there and realize that I've actually become an "expert" in this space. And considering the weekend I was having, celebrating turning forty-two and then finding out that two cousins passed away in and around the same time, I was and continue to be humbled by it all.

(l. to r.) Ron, Fred, Me & Trey

And because I have mobile device induced ADD check out this Vine I shot from the stage (click the picture and then in the upper left hand corner click the speaker icon):

Until we speak again ...

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Another Year - Another Great Year


No, not Jackie Robinson's number but my brand new age, today. I woke up with a smile on my face happy and blessed to begin a new day in a new year of my life. Rather than run around and celebrate me by telling everyone it's my birthday, I'm celebrating by giving everyone I know something. There was a time I couldn't give at all. A time that I promised myself if I ever was placed in a position of benevolence I would be benevolent. My family received gifts this morning and I strolled into work with a box of doughnuts and orange juice and champagne. That's how I'm living right now. The only thing I'm really asking for are hugs. I'm living to give and it is a great feeling.

Be well. Be blessed. And celebrate the life you have.

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Parents Make The Difference - CASAColumbia® Promotes Parental Engagement At Every Ocassion

Over the years as an ambassador for the CASAColumbia® Family Day - Be Involved, Stay Involved™, I’ve written with pride about eating dinner as a family. It’s something I’ve always done since being a child myself. Doing so makes perfect sense for the reasons I’ve previously described here on this blog. Missing from these writings was any knowledge of what it’s like to not eat dinner together and personally experiencing the consequences.

During the summer, over the course of about six weeks, three weeks before my son’s departure and three weeks afterward, we stopped eating together. My daughter ate in the living room while watching cartoons, my wife stood and scarfed down her food as soon as she finished making it, if she made it. Eating out, or on the way home in the car quickly became the norm out of convenience. None of us, except maybe our daughter, had time to sit down to eat because we were too busy getting our son ready for college. Besides, there was no place to eat. The dining room had become a makeshift mail station containing all the pertinent papers we needed to have on hand for my son’s new school, our travel arrangements there, etc. My son was out most nights with friends savoring his last days of summer. When he wasn’t out he was either in his room or in the basement with his video games and more stuff that he was packing away for school. When we came back home after dropping my son to school the excuse was the house was a complete mess. And it truly was, but I use the word excuse here to point out that there is no reason a family shouldn’t be able to at least sit together to eat.

The first few days back were tough. Our son was gone. My wife began coming in late from work every day, presumably working through her gamut of emotions. I was feeding my daughter, our remaining child at home, almost immediately after school so she was taken care of for the night. If I ate, I was grabbing a hodgepodge of scraps from the fridge and putting. I didn’t have much of an appetite myself. More than likely it was my own physiological response to missing my son’s presence.

During this same time period and a little bit prior to it, my daughter began to get sassy. She’s only seven and she’s classified as a gifted student, but this didn’t excuse what she was doing. Going toe-to-toe with her mother and I, vehemently debating us everywhere and on every point and direction we gave her and flat out disobeying us when she felt like it. She’s always been a vocal child and I don’t believe in curbing her ability to express herself but she was clearly acting out and only at home, as her teacher only had glowing things to share about her first few weeks at school. Punishments were being brought down on her as fast as falling raindrops. She was grounded. She was losing dolls. She lost electronic privileges. And I hated every second of it.

It was about two weeks ago when I was looking at our makeshift post-office in our dining room and told myself, “Enough is enough.” Looking at it was making me crazy and I was tired of eating all over the house and tired of cleaning up the messes that naturally happen while eating in places where none of us should have been eating. It took me past midnight on a Friday, but the effort was worth it. My table was clean.

The following Monday, when my daughter came down for breakfast I had her place set for her at the table, complete with a napkin (not a paper towel) and my food as well. She looked surprised, but then sat with me, blessed her food and began eating. It was a short moment as we had to get ready to go to school but it was long enough for us to talk and get a download from each other on how we were feeling at the time. As time allows, at least four or five days out of the week I’ve gotten us back on track and just yesterday I realized that although my daughter remains outspoken and occasionally has moments where she needs to be reminded to speak respectfully, just as she is spoken to, her brash disobedience has dwindled to the what should be expected from a second grader. Although the argument can be made that we talk and spend time together all day long, I’m inclined to believe the reinstatement of our daily forum for eating and discussion – dinner – has helped considerably with the recent change.

As often as you can, whenever you can, get together as a family. Whether it’s at the dinner table, putting down that phone or tablet and dedicating time to really connect, or creating and honoring a standing outing on your family calendar. No wrong can come from being together, speaking together and listening to one another as a family.

Take the Star Pledge today.

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How To Fix It: The Joys of Fatherhood

I've only recently moved into a place of mental peace that will allow me to begin sharing what my beloved son has done to my car over the years and when in particular he's committed his offenses. But until then, know this: his most recent attack on my vehicle left it virtually un-drivable. Meaning, I could get behind the wheel and get where I needed to go but it was only a matter of time before I caused an accident due to the driver's side mirror dangling like a drooping eyelid off the side of my car. Of course this didn't stop me from driving it until I simply couldn't take it anymore. It being the helplessness of not being able to see without fully turning my head and taking my attention off of what was going on in front of me, and it being, I'm a grown man about to turn 24 (backwards), recently blessed with a great promotion. I simply don't need to be driving around in something that matches where I was two years ago. I'm in the position to take care of and repair what belongs to me, dragging my feet on it for as long as I did is a carryover of the effects of that time period on my life.

A week ago I was on my way to the body shop during my lunch break. Thankfully, a coworker asked me where I was headed and when I told him he challenged me to do the work myself. The rest is detailed in the collage below.

Whenever possible, wherever possible and if possible roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with a project around the house. If you dive into a project previously uninformed just be sure to double and triple-check your reference resources. Especially if you're researching on YouTube. It is incredibly empowering. And it makes you look pretty cool in the eyes of your kids and hot in the eyes of the wife.

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Mondays With Michelle: Rain, Rain Go Away... Summer Salads Are Here To Stay!

Hello foodie friends!

I don’t know about you but this lousy gloomy weather has got me missing summer big time! What happened to beautiful sunny afternoons sitting outside on a patio enjoying a cool beverage and a delicious snack? Or summer barbecues? I know kids are back in school and that is the unofficial end to summer for lots of folks, but I’m not ready to let it go just yet!

One thing I love about summer is all the fresh, juicy, delicious produce that is available (we should still have a little bit left if the rain doesn't ruin it!). One of my new favorite summer dishes is a super delish and refreshing Watermelon Salad that I first tasted at Marlow’s during their “Red, white and Brew” menu. Of course I recreated at home because I loved it so much.

This summer salad is incredibly easy to make, and may just bring you some sunshine on these rainy days. Check out the recipe below.

Yummy Summer Watermelon Salad made by yours truly!


¼ Watermelon cubed
2-3 handfuls Arugula
¼ cup Feta Cheese
¼ Red onions sliced
¼ cup basil chiffonade
1 Tbs Pickled ginger julienned
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil


  •         Mix balsamic vinegar and oil vigorously
  •          Toss all ingredients in a bowl—mix lightly
  •          Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss lightly
  •          Enjoy!

What dish do you make to remember summer? Post your comments below. 

Don't forget to visit my Foodie blog for more recipes, food tips and other foodie fun.

Thanks for reading!

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