Friday, November 25, 2016

Be Intentional in 3 Steps

I recently hosted a Donuts with Dad event which was attended by several fathers and their kids from my community. Everyone had a good time connecting while doing crafts, playing games, and eating donuts. The gathering gave me a chance to talk with several dads from local neighborhoods that I probably would not have met otherwise. It was refreshing to see dads from all backgrounds that were connected with a common purpose...spending intentional time with their kids. These guys could've been taking care of thousand other things, but instead they were willingly getting glue all over their hands while they helped make the thankful turkey craft.
It reminded me that while it is important for fathers to be present, it is more important that they learn to be intentional about connecting with their kids. The fact that for two hours not one child cried or threw a tantrum, proves the power of the intentional dad. Dad and kid alike, blocked out everything in order to focus on enjoying the moment with one another. Nothing was more important to everyone in the room than the candy corn toss, the football toss, and making the thankful turkey craft. The kids especially had a certain level of contentment mixed with excitement to have daddy's undivided attention. The dads were equally as fulfilled.

"...while it is important for fathers to be present, it is more important that they learn to be intentional about connecting with their kids."

It's not always feasible to attend an event, like this, but it is fairly easy to find ways to let your little ones know that daddy thinks they're important. During this holiday season here are a few tips that helps me stay on top of my intentional dad game.

1.) Make Eye Contact-In a world that is ever increasingly focused on their phones, we have neglected the all important body language known as eye contact. In another post I discussed how important eye contact is when interacting with your kids. To not look a person in the eye when they're speaking leaves the other party feeling like they're not being heard. Part of being intentional means we dads must put our devices, tablets, tv's, newspapers, magazines, down to allow time for our kids to SEE that we're interested in what they have to say.  My kids know exactly what I mean when I say, "I need to see the whites of your eyes."

2.) Do Something- Kids (especially younger ones) really aren't particular about what they're doing with their parents. They're only concern is doing that dad is doing something with them. This makes it easy to start doing things with them at early ages. My 8 year old daughter looks forward to going to the gym with me. She's cool with events with my wife and her sister, but one on one gym time with me means so much to her. The key here is just do something with your kids on a daily basis. It could be as simple as reading a story before bedtime. Whatever it is that you end up doing, your kids will likely remember it forever.

3.) Talk to Them-The evening news shows just how crazy a world we live in. That's why it is important for us dads to talk to our kids regularly about what is going on in their lives. As a parent you want your child to come to you as they attempt to deal with the crazy thing called life. The only way to ensure that is to develop a lifestyle of open and honest conversations. If you start with conversations about Cookie Swirl C's newest video post when they're young, they'll naturally come to you when that boy breaks their teenaged heart. If you're not quite sure how to start talking, my friends at Family Dinner Project have some pointers for you. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 Christmas Gift Guide for All the Women You Love

If you are anything like me, shopping for the women in my life brings the most anxiety.  From deciding what to get someone who has everything to braving a shopping mall---a man's worst nightmare!

As promised in my last post, here is a list of items you can get and score big. The best part is you don't even have to step foot into a mall. These Christmas gift ideas aren't just for your significant other but several of these are perfect choices for a mother or grandmother too.  Now a word to the wise, don't get them all the same thing.   If you get the wife gift #1, then get mama option 3 or 4.  Feel me?!

 I'm hooking you up with a  link to a website so that you can purchase the item in the comfort of your home. Do your research now to get those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

1.  Blanket Scarf --This scarf is so versatile and can be worn with almost anything.  It comes in various colors, you really can't go wrong with picking any style.  It's one size fits all.

2.  Faux Fur Vest--All things fur (per my wife) is a win for a lady this Christmas season.  If you are unsure about a full fur vest or if she already has one, go with this lovely faux suede and fur vest.  According to my wife, this style is apparently trending for this season.

Plus Size Option

3.  Custom Love Necklace --Anything custom with your children's name on it will be a hit with the lady in your life.  This necklace comes with an authentic pearl and is hand stamped with names of your choice.  You can add additional hearts for each child.  This is available in gold as well.

4.  Bissell PowerFresh 1940 Floor Steamer -- This steamer is for ceramic, tile, and wood floors.  The Bissell Steam mop cleans and sanitizes floors in as little as 15 seconds. If you have crawlers and little ones that eat stuff off the floor, this will be a priceless addition to your cleaning routine.  The removable pad is washable too.

5.  Massage---I'm not sure of what woman wouldn't love to be pampered and treated like a queen.  Let's face it most of the ladies in our lives are always taking care of someone else's needs and generally neglecting their own.  They are overworked, stressed, and tired yet they keep going.  Give them a gift of love this Christmas with a  stress free massage or day at the SPA.  This will express to them that their health and peace are important to us.  They even have couples massages that you can do together.  Perfect for an anniversary gift or Valentine's Day surprise.

Image result for spa massage

Monday, November 21, 2016

Top 4 Gifts for Dads 2016

Black Friday is almost here. If you're still looking for some things to add to your list, I've got your back. Here's my pick for the top 4 gifts that most guys will be happy about opening on Christmas morning. So send your loved ones a link to this page when they ask for your list. We'll have a list for the ladies later on.

1. Action Camera- We all know that other company that put this type of camera on the map. We also know that they are notoriously expensive. Well, that's all changing. There are a ton of different ones out there on the market these days. I am particularly biased to one company. That's because I recently got a good deal on the Activeon CX (which falls in the middle of the spectrum) $99. It recently dropped to $59.99. The announcement of  a new model () is part of the reason for the price drop for the CX model. I took it with me on a recent Carribbean vacation and it performed wonderfully. I took it underwater everyday for about 6 days. This camera has exceeded my expectations and in my opinion actually beats the high-priced competitor. For one all of the Activeon Cameras have a built-in screen. The expensive "big named" competitor is charging you $200 to purchase a screen that cuts your battery life in half. Right now, I have no need for a 4K action camera but some of you do. So for $400, you can own an awesome action camera that recharges by solar energy.  Just go Activeon and forget the competitor, trust me, they give you way more bang for your buck.
2. Drone- The whole world has gone drone crazy lately. DJI has just released a compact drone that almost fits in your pocket and can safely fly indoors. The Mavic is a game changer that can help you get the shots that will leave your audience breathless. For $1,000 (USD) you can't beat this turnkey compact drone system that includes an onboard 4K camera (stabilization system included).

3. Mirrorless Digital Camera- Ok, my job requires me to use video and still cameras. I've used plenty of them over the years but this year there is a special line of cameras that have caught my attention. Sony's line of mirrorless cameras have revolutionized the market. The Sony A6000, Sony A6300, Sony A7S, and A7R have the look of a regular point and shoot but they're discreetly packed with so many powerful features. First off, they have interchangeable lenses just like a DSLR. That's because it actually is a low profile DSLR. One of the main selling feature with these lines of cameras is that they take high quality pictures in extremely low light. These cameras produce images  ranging from 12-36.3 Megapixels, depending on the model. Sony's mirrorless line also comes with internal wifi like many cameras today. So you can easily send your pictures to your smartphone as soon as you take them. You can also get some sick video (4K depending on the model) from this baby too. The small design of this That means folks like my wife who loathes my traditional DSLR body because she thinks it is too complicated. I can easily hand one of these to her and make her think it's a point and shoot. Sony might just be the last camera you purchase. Whew! I'm done with cameras for this post.

4.)Yeti Cup- Every dad has received a coffee mug as a gift at some point. They will always have their place but, Yeti cups ($30-$40 USD) are a must have this season. These insulated all stainless steel tumblers keep your drink cold or hot for 24 hours. Since they are stainless steel it's save and there's no to be concerned about BPH contamination. There are several different varieties and dad would be more than happy to have a few of these. One for the car, one for the mancave, and one to take to the basketball court.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Championship Dads: Volume 3 (Veteran's Day Edition)

Today we celebrate the bold men and women who are serving or have served their country in the Armed Services. You are all winners that exhibit what it means to be a true champion. Happy Veteran's Day to you all. I'd like to give a special kudos to the ones who pulled "double duty" by protecting our country while also doing the same as a father. I recently, spoke with my buddy David Bradley who is currently serving in the US Navy who is doing just that.  Here's why he is Championship Dad.