A KickA$$ Dad on Kickstarter

We’ve talked about a lot of awesome dads here at Dadomatic.  It’s what we do, right?  So it is with great pleasure and tons of awe and admiration that I mention another frickin’ awesome dad (and a hat-tip to Mashable for bringing it to my attention…).

Uber creative dad, David Engledow, has been documenting his role as “World’s Best Father” with some impressive pictures of him caring lovingly for his beautiful daughter Alice Bee.  But don’t take my word for it, check out David’s great shots in the video below, and consider backing his KickStarter project for a 2013 Calendar featuring his “World’s Best Father” photos.

 

 

Dads rock, and so does creativity!  Thanks for sharing yours David!

What do you think?  Is David Engledow a contender for World’s Best Father?  I am sure Alice Bee will think so when she is old enough to appreciate the work that went into this calendar.  Meanwhile, I need to learn Photoshop!

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Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 24, Ethan, 22 and Olivia, 21).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads and Wunderkind! podcasts.

 

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WTF Is A Huckapoo Shirt? – Cast of Dads Episode 53

Our children and our childhoods sparked an olympic discussion in the lastest episode of the Cast of Dads podcast.  Where else can you listen to five disparate dads debate topics from malaria to Mini-Coopers, from the Olympics to the “Orangutang Hang!”  Enjoy!

You can CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 53.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 24, Ethan, 22 and Olivia, 20).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads and Wunderkind! podcasts.
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27 Dads, 27 Mustaches – A Movember Story

DADS OF SUMMIT HEIGHTS PS

Last year, a bunch of the teachers at my daughter’s school formed a team and participated in Movember. For those of you not familiar, during Movember men around the world grow mustaches in the month of November, to raise money and awareness to fight prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.  All the kids rallied around the teachers and got involved. You could tell the kids were proud of those teachers and they should have been.

So this year, my friend Alan had an idea. He thought it would be fun if a bunch of dads from the school formed a Movember Team. He sent out an email to the school dads he knew, and asked everyone to pass it on to anyone else they knew in the neighborhood.

I thought it was a great idea and a bunch of the other dads did too. I figured it was a great opportunity to teach my daughters about charity, and let’s face it, when you get a chance to do something your kids can be proud of  you have to take it. The fact that we would have to get together as a group, and that there may be beer present at such a gathering didn’t hurt either.

When November started, about 15 dads were on the Dads of Summit Heights PS Movember Team. That number quickly grew to 27. What none of us expected, is what we would accomplish.

The Principal, Thelma Sambrook, and the staff and children at Summit Heights have been very supportive.  Word spread through the neighborhood and school district, and people started donating not just to us individually, but to the team. With a few days left in November, our small group of dads has raised more money than all but 35 teams in all of Canada.

Think about that. Movember is pretty big up here in Canada. I know everywhere you look here in Toronto, there is a guy growing a mustache. All of the big and high profile companies get teams together. Local newscasters, large corporations, banks, all take part. And our group of dads has raised more money than all but 35 teams. We’ve raised over $22,000.

One of the dads has done some calculations and he’s figured that our average contribution per teammate is well above that of the top 3 fundraising teams. It’s also been pointed out that we have raised more money than the Parliament of Canada. Just 27 dads.

The school had an assembly and invited us. The Principal talked about Movember and called us up in front of the kids. It was that chance to make our kids proud. The kids were out there in the audience, all of them with mustaches painted on. When I spotted my daughters and made eye contact, the look on their faces- it was pretty awesome.  The whole thing was pretty special. All because a dad had an idea and acted on it.

To support the Dads of Summit Heights PS Movember effort, you can donate to me or the team here.

The reason I wanted to tell this story though, is that it’s pretty amazing what this small group of dads has done. I’m proud to be a small part of it. Sometimes it feels like one person can’t make a difference. I’m here to tell you they can. One dad had an idea, and 26 others joined him and raised over $22,000 to fight prostate cancer. Imagine what you and 26 of your friends can do. Then do it.

Ian Gordon is the father of two daughters (8 and 3).  He is a digital marketing professional, and host of the Startup Daddy podcast.

Showing Our Junk (And a Father’s Day REWARD!)

We’re baaack!  It’s been a few weeks, but the Cast of Dads got back in front of our respective microphones, phones and headsets to deliver a new, fun-filled episode.  With political private parts in the headlines, bathroom humor abounds and we make our fair share of “weiner” jokes.  Brad goes so far as to reveal that he, too, has posted pictures of his junk on the interwebs.  OMG!

Because this weekend is Father’s Day we also reveal a special give-away thanks to our friends at Intel.  Be sure to check out how you can get a chance for a Dell Duo convertible netbook.

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS Episode 42 by CLICKING HERE.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

Give-Away Details: We’ve got a brand new Dell Inspiron Duo to give away to one lucky Dad. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment to this post that answers the question “The most rewarding thing about being a fathers is?”

We’ll draw a winner at random from the comments posted. You have until the end of the day on June 19th, Father’s Day to get your answer in. Good luck!!!

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

DISCLOSURE: I am part of the “Intel Advisor” program and am compensated and/or receive other value from Intel to advise and attend events on their behalf.

 

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A Dad’s Tribute To Moms…

It’s safe to say that not one of us dads could or would be a dad if not for a MOM!  Actually, if not for two moms – our mom as well as the mom of our beloved children!  As I write this I realize that I have already expressed similar thoughts here two years ago for Mother’s Day 2009…  As we have many new readers, rather than re-invent the proverbial wheel, here again is a poem I wrote back then, “Without Moms There Wouldn’t Be Dads…”   Enjoy, and have a wonderful Mother’s Day with all the mothers in your life.

WITHOUT MOMS THERE WOULDN’T BE DADS
by Jeff Sass

There wouldn’t be Dads if not for Moms,
No boys to play baseball, or ask girls to proms.

If it weren’t for Mothers there would be no Dads,
No men to be fathers after starting as lads.

If we didn’t have a Mommy there wouldn’t be a Daddy,
Who would be left to drive everyone batty?

It takes two to tango, and two to make kiddies,
Without all our Moms, things wouldn’t be so pretty.

Every Father started with a Mother,
So who can we thank? There can be no other.

To become a great Dad there are two women you need,
Your mom, and the woman who’s the mom of your seeds.

So every Dad must be full of praise,
And cherish every Mom on Mother’s Day.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

Photo Credit: © Kellie Folkerts – Fotolia.com

 

Whining and #Winning!

One dad clearly #Winning in the news these days is Charlie Sheen, and the Cast of Dads took a few sips of Tiger Blood while recording our 40th episode.  As usual, we cover a cornucopia of topics, from Charile’s angels -er, goddesses, to Dr. Seuss.  As a true sign of a dedicated dadcaster, our own Max Kalefhoff joined us for the show even though he was in the middle of a blackout in New York, prompting a a discussion about flashlights.  Clearly, anything is fair game with this Cast of Dads! Enjoy!

You can CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 40

Topics discussed in this episode include:

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

 

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These Aren’t My Dad’s Shoes

I think most dads would agree that their dad-ness is influenced in large part by the things that their dad did. I know that’s true in my life. My childhood was a normal one I think, with lots of great memories of family vacations, yard work, playground fights, and generally being a kid.

I struggle every day with my desire to be a good dad and my desire for my kids’ happiness. I think I am doing a good job, but there are always doubts in the back of your mind that you are really doing all the right things. I think that is probably normal. And often I think about my dad and the way that he raised us.

Old shoesLooking back, I remember that I looked at my dad as the guy who had the answers. In fact, I still rely on him like that on many levels. When things got dicey, dad was the guy we ran to. He was the one whose approval we sought, and a cross look from dad spoke volumes. Now that I am a dad, I am smart enough to realize that he was going through many of the same thoughts and feelings that I have. I guess that as kids we put our dad on a pedestal and looked at him like he was bigger than life. But the truth is that he was just like us, struggling to make the right decisions.

I am also realizing that even though I am now ‘walking a mile in his shoes’ because I am now a dad, it’s just a little different. Because I am not really walking in his shoes. I am walking down the same road that he did, but I have my own shoes. After I walked a bit in his, I found my stride, and put on my own shoes. They look like his, for sure, because fathers have a profound influence on their kids. But I am doing it my own way. I look to his example and try my very best to emulate the good things I learned from him about how to treat my children.

But these aren’t my dad’s shoes, they’re mine. And I’m good with that.

Discussing Dadgets: The Cast of Dads At CES 2011

Three of us Cast of Dads (CC, Michael and myself) were in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and we got together upstairs in the Intel booth to record both a video and audio special episode of the Cast of Dads podcast.  We invited Dave Delaney of Griffin Technology to join us as our first ever guest Dad, and we had a lot of fun talking gadgets and dadgets in the corner of a very busy Intel CES meeting room.  In the show you’ll see us playing with an unusual netbook/tablet from Dell, and stay tuned to future Cast of Dads shows for news on how you may be able to get your hands on one courtesy of Intel & Dell.  Links to listen to the audio version of this show, as well as links to some of the things we talk about, appear below the video.  Enjoy!

You can LISTEN TO THE CAST OF DAD AT CES 2011 show HERE.

Some of the things we mention in the show:

And much, much more…

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

DISCLOSURES: I am part of the “Intel Advisor” program and am compensated and/or receive other value from Intel to attend events on their behalf, including the 2011 CES show. I make mention of the  Sony NEX-5 Camera (affiliate link), which I received as a sample from Sony that I am not expected to return.

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A Kid Friendly iPad Case That Lets You Trace!

As part of the Dad-O-Matic CES coverage, Chris Brogan shared a look at the Crayola ColorStudioHD iPad app and “digital crayon” coming soon from Griffin Technology.  Cool as the Crayola app is, it wasn’t the only neat thing we saw from the Griffin gang.  Dave Delaney also showed me the Griffin LightBoard, which is a colorful, kid friendly iPad case (and companion drawing app) that cleverly lets you overlay a sheet of paper so kids can trace and recreate on paper their digital drawings.  Very clever and cool.  Dave also reveals a secret about the packaging for the LightBoard that every dad (and mom) will appreciate.  Also, Dave and the Griffin team were kind enough to give Dad-O-Matic a LightBoard to give to one of you.  Watch the video below and leave a comment between now and the end of the day Friday, January 21st and we’ll randomly pick one person to receive the LightBoard (iPad NOT included).

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

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Happy New Year From The Cast of Dads! (and Dadomatic)

As 2010 and another year (and decade) wind down, the Cast of Dads got together to squeeze in one last show for the year.  In this eposide you will hear about CC making bacon, Max blowing off some steam, Michael musing over MacAllan, Brad blowing glass, and me… ? Well, you’ll just have to listen to the show to catch my year-end thoughts.

On behalf of all of the Cast of Dads and the Dadomatic team, we want to thank each and every one of you for making 2010 a great year, and we send you and yours all our best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

You can CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 38.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • Happy 2011
  • Knee High Boots
  • Thigh Highs
  • Wonder Woman
  • Scotch
  • Shake Weight
  • Do “As Seen on TV” items ever make good gifts?
  • Surviving the holidays
  • Vacation week bed times for kids
  • The Digital Babysitter
  • Technology gift for kids
  • My First Bacon
  • Angry Birds Addiction
  • Model Steam Engine
  • Getting the kids to EXPERIENCE more
  • Life Trumps School
  • Museums, aquariums & other great gift memberships
  • Amazement of Glass Blowing
  • Gifts we gave our wives & girlfriends
  • What is THAT, dental floss?
  • Feelings at the end of the year
  • Last year of our lives?

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

Photo Credit: © Barbara Helgason – Fotolia.com

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If You Can Read This… Be Thankful!

If you awaken to a house full of noisy kids… be thankful.
If you are tired because you spent half the night feeding and rocking an infant to sleep… be thankful.
If you are late for work because you walked your son or daughter to the bus stop and the bus never showed… be thankful.
If you are frustrated because you really don’t know how to do the math to help your kid with the homework… be thankful.
If you had to change your outfit twice in a day because of spittle and spills… be thankful.
If you worry about money because school costs so damn much… be thankful.
If you have no time for yourself (but make time for your kids)… be thankful.
If you can collapse a stroller easily with one hand… be thankful.
If you read more nursery rhymes than novels lately… be thankful.
If you know the smell of a baby’s head… be thankful.
If you cry because your child cries… be thankful.
If you worry your kid will get hurt every time they are not in your sight… be thankful.
If you have ever been grossed out by things you never dreamed could be pooped out of a tiny butt… be thankful.
If you angrily left work early to attend a parent-teacher conference… be thankful.
If you caught yourself cursing or acting badly in front of your kids… be thankful.
If you have ever lost your temper and yelled like a banshee, scaring your child and yourself… be thankful.
If you are uplifted simply by the smile of your son or daughter… be thankful.
If hearing “I love you Daddy” has turned an awful day into the best day ever… be thankful.
If there’s a little person in the world who wants to be just like you when they grow up… be thankful.
If you have been embarrassed in public by your child in the midst of a kicking, screaming irrational tantrum… be thankful.
If you know the joy of watching your kid do anything for the very first time… be thankful.
If you have spent an entire weekend sweating with frustration while assembling a swing set… be thankful.
If you have ever canceled something you were really looking forward to because your little one was sick… be thankful.
If you ache with love for your child in ways that words simply cannot do justice… be thankful.
If you have ever swapped a tooth under the pillow for some money… be thankful.
If you have ever sat, bored out of your mind, through tedious school productions… be thankful.
If you have ever braced yourself in the passenger seat as your teenager gets behind the wheel… be thankful.
If you tell your kid “yes you can!” even when you are not so sure… be thankful.
If you want more for your kids than you ever dreamed of for yourself… be thankful.
If you know how to change a diaper… be thankful.
If “crib” means more to you than a celebrity’s house… be thankful.
If you find yourself bragging shamelessly about your child’s accomplishment… be thankful.

If you are a parent… be thankful.

It is so easy to forget how truly fortunate we are, and how so many of the things that really matter, we already have.

If you can read this… be thankful.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

Photo Credit: © 2Dot – Fotolia.com

Related Post: Ten Reasons To Be Thankful For Your Kids At Thanksgiving

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Encouragement VS. Discouragement

I have always been fascinated by language and how just a few letters, rearranged, can dramatically change the meaning of a word…how just a few words, rearranged, can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence…how just a few sentences, rearranged, can dramatically change the meaning of a paragraph…how just a few paragraphs… You get the idea. Think of the changes to the letters “couragement” when you append “en” to the beginning rather than “dis.” A few small letters, yet a massive impact in meaning…

What We Do, Not Say

As parents, the subtle signals we send our children can be just as simple and dramatic as the difference a few letters can make. When our kids come to us with a question or problem we choose, consciously or unconsciously, how to respond. We may barely give it thought before our words leave our mouths…we may be wholly unaware of the cues our body language is sending, and even our kids may not be fully aware of how deeply they are actually influenced by the same. Yet, the impact of our words and actions on our kids is huge and lasting.

Don’t Dis Me, Dad!

We may not realize it, but sometimes it is easier to add the “dis” than the “en” to the “couragement” we offer. We subtly add the “dis” by multitasking instead of giving our kids our full attention. I am often guilty of this offense, unconsciously signaling to my kids that they are not as important as my phone, or my computer or whatever else it is that has some or all of my attention while I half-heartedly answer them. It would be so easy to add the “en” and encourage them by putting down the phone, or iPad, or laptop, or book, or newspaper, or remote, and turn to look them in the eye, to stop and listen, really listen, and to offer words of true encouragement, guidance and our own unique wisdom. But too often we (I) don’t.

Encouragement Takes Courage

It is apparent that being a parent is hard, and challenging, but also perhaps the most rewarding of life’s gifts. There is some truth to the old adage that you get back what you put in. The joy you see on a child’s face when they know they have your undivided attention is real. So is the pride you feel when you see how your child grows and succeeds from the encouragement you have shared. As modern parents we live complicated, busy and stressful lives, which makes it easy at times to default to the “dis.” I am going to encourage myself to try harder to discard the “dis” and embrace the “en” when it comes to offering “couragement” to my kids.

How about you?

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

Photo Credit: © Kabby – Fotolia.com

Social Media Club Takes Dads On Tour – Atlanta This Week!

Thanks to sites like Dad-O-Matic and loyal readers like you, the blogosphere is emerging as a terrific outlet for Dads to get out front and take a more vocal stance on parenting and fatherhood issues and experiences.  There are hundreds of caring and sharing “daddy bloggers” spreading their unique perspectives on “the world according to Dad…”  In addition to Dad oriented blogs, vlogs and podcasts, Dads are being more regularly featured as speakers and on panels at events such as BlogWorld Expo and 140Conf Boston, and even events themselves are forming around Dads and Men such as the upcoming Modern Media Man Summit (M3).

Join The Club

One of the latest groups to reach out and raise up Dads is the Social Media Club, who is about to launch their 2010 Fall Tour with the theme, “Social Media + Family, A Dad’s Perspective.”  Founded by Kristie Wells and Chris Heuer in 2006, Social Media Club is perhaps the premiere global organization promoting and educating in ways to “connect media makers from around the world to advance media literacy, promote industry standards, encourage ethical behaviour and share the lessons they have learned.”  Social Media Club boasts active chapters in major cities throughout the world, and hosts many informative, engaging events, and the “Social Media + Family” tour should be a great way for dads and parents to step up and discuss how Social Media has impacted their family lives.  In addition to the 12 city “Dad’s Perspective” tour, in each event city Chris Heuer will be hosting a “Dads Who Lunch” luncheon for local Dad bloggers.  If you are in one of the cities that the Social Media Club tour will be visiting I would encourage you to try to attend the event and luncheon, as an engaged conversation and meeting great people is a guaranteed result.  The tour commences this Wednesday, September 8th, in Atlanta.  The full schedule is:

  • Atlanta - Wednesday September 8 (Confirmed)
  • Minneapolis - Wednesday September 22 (Confirmed)
  • St Louis – Thursday September 23 (Confirmed)
  • Phoenix - Thursday September 30 (Confirmed)
  • New York – Monday October 4? (Confirmed)
  • Denver – Wednesday October 6 or Thursday October 7
  • Seattle – Monday October 11 (Confirmed)
  • Detroit – Monday, October 18 (Confirmed)
  • Cleveland – Thursday October 21? (Confirmed)
  • Washington, DC – Monday October 25 (Confirmed)
  • Baltimore – Tuesday October 26 (Confirmed)
  • Boston – Thursday October 28 (Confirmed)

If you are in one of these cities I hope you can make it to the event and support this Dad + Family initiative.  I am confident you won’t be disappointed.

DISCLOSURE: I am a member of Social Media Club and consider Kristie and Chris friends. I have been to SMC events in NY, Florida and other cities and have always been impressed with the membership, content and professionalism of the group.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

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A Man Inside (Intel)

Here’s the scoop:  As you know, for the past few years I have been active as a so-called “Daddy Blogger,” sharing my dad point of view and stories here at Dadomatic.com and in the weekly Cast of Dads podcast.  With three awesome kids now ages 22, 20 and 18, I have no shortage of experiences and opinions on just about every parenting angle imaginable, so don’t expect me to shut up anytime soon.  On top of that, I am very lucky to often be handed new and interesting things to write about, and in this case I am looking forward to being able to share some insights on exciting new technologies, and how they will impact our family lives as an official “Intel Insider” advisor.

Inside Intel Insiders

Now in its third year, the Intel Insiders program originally sought to connect with early adopters and influencers to help Intel stay in touch and connected with technology enthusiasts.  According to Intel’s Ken Kaplan, “…this year we will be working with influencers actively engaging in lifestyle and parenting conversations online. We are hoping this helps us connect with people who are finding that technology is becoming more important in their lives.”  I am honored and excited to be one of this year’s Intel Insiders along with this impressive group of bloggers:

In June I had the pleasure of visiting Intel’s Portland Campus and today I will be attending an Intel Insiders Summit in NY.  I look forward to sharing more Intel insights with you soon.  Stay tuned…

In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that Intel Corporation has covered my travel, accommodations and expenses incurred for the Intel Insider Year III Summit.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

Cast of Dads #29: From Dudes To Doggs…

One of the fun things about getting together with the Cast of Dads is that sooner or later each of us gets the chance to share an embarrassing moment…  Or maybe that’s just me who keeps sharing goofy moments?  Well, if it is me, this episode is no exception as I dive into a poorly sung rendition of one of my favorite childhood lullabies. Lullaby notwithstanding, I doubt this show  will put you to sleep as we cover topics as diverse as “negotiated infidelity,” Dude Ranches, sexy Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg as a Dad.

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS Episode 29 HERE.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

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Book Review: Crazy For The Storm – A Memoir Of Survival

Summertime is often a time we catch up on reading and this summer is no exception.  I finally sat down to read a book I purchased last summer, Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival (Amazon affiliate link) by Norman Ollestad.  This is a true story, but written with the depth, pace, and strong characterizations one would expect of a good novel.

When Norman was 11 years old, the charter plane he was on with his Dad and Dad’s girlfriend crashed into a mountainside.  Norman was the only survivor.  As much as this is a story of survival, it is also an insightful look at fatherhood, and a very special relationship between a father and son.  Watch the video below for more.

Book Review: Crazy For The Storm (for Dadomatic) from Jeffrey Sass on Vimeo.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

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Cast of Dads #27: Same Old Spit…

In the latest episode of Cast of Dads, we actually started the show with a couple of specific topics in mind: “Kewl Birthday Parties” and “the dangers of drowning.”  From happy to scary and everything in between we cover it all, and then some, in a show that combines serious parenting tips with a lot of goofy laughter.  A glitch in the phone system caused me to “hear voices” only on my end of the call, and one of the dads had a “live” parenting issue interrupt our recording for a little bit of unexpected drama.  In the end we learn that a pile of dirt just may be the best birthday party evah, and when it comes to multi-use liquids, spit wins hands down!  Enjoy!

CLICK TO LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 27…

A Blast From Sass' Party Favor Past: Toxic Crusader Action Figure!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • KEWL Birthday Parties
  • Beer always makes kids birthday parties easier
  • Reptile Man!
  • They have Rednecks in the Bronx?
  • Googling “Reptile Man Johnny”
  • Toxie Party Favors
  • Pile of Dirt = Party Time!
  • Flaming Unicycles
  • Co-op Bouncy Houses
  • Video Game Vans
  • Dangers of Drowning Article
  • Pool Safety
  • Don’t depend on public pool lifeguards
  • Pool Parties = Can’t relax and enjoy
  • Safety from weird colored bathing suits
  • When in doubt, pee on it
  • Dip Spit = best cure for stings
  • Dealing with cranky kids at bedtime
  • Live Parenting Failure
  • The voices in Sass’ head

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

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A Most Awesome “Dad” Moment Courtesy of Old Spice

Much is being written about the awesome and uber viral Old Spice campaign featuring former football player Isaiah Mustafa.  It turns out the “Old Spice Guy” is a dad, and, it seems a great dad at that. Check out this “call out” to his daughter as part of the interactive “real time” videos that Old Spice has been churning out at a miraculous pace. What a great way to work being a dad into your work! Kudos to Old Spice, the ad team at Wieden + Kennedy creating the spots, and of course, my vote for dad of the day, Isaiah Mustafa! Go Dads!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

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Cast of Dads #26: Hot Fun In The Summertime…

The heat was on for this week’s Cast of Dads show as the Northeast experienced record breaking (and air conditioning breaking) temperatures.  From the humidity to stupidity, we crack open some beer and wine and I cracked some of my usually corny jokes (well, you might not consider them jokes). I seemed to have had a problem with my microphone so I apologize for my tinny voice.  Luckily the other dads sound fine, and had more pithy things to say than me anyway.

Emily & True 7-4-2010

CC's Daughter Emily & Her New Friend...

Topics discussed in this episode include:

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS #26 HERE!

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please don’t forget to tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

10 Milestones In Your Child’s Path To Independence

It is Independence Day but I find myself considering “independence” in more ways than the birth of our nation. Having recently gone through both a High School and a College graduation with my kids, lately their independence has been on my mind.  So, to celebrate parenthood on the 4th of July, here is a quick look at…

10 Milestones In Your Child’s Path To Independence:

1) BIRTH – This is it.  The moment that umbilical cord is cut, your child truly enters the world as a separate, independent being. Sure, they are wholly dependent on you, yet, in the big picture, they are another new person, ready to begin making their own unique mark on the future.

2) CRAWLING – The first bit of self propelled movement is the moment a child begins their true journey of discovery.  It is a bit of new independence that suddenly brings things within view also within reach.

3) WALKING – If crawling is the tip of the movement iceberg, then taking that first step opens the floodgates to new-found independence.  Not only does your child go further and faster, but standing up presents a whole new view of things… literally and figuratively.

4) TALKING - Communication is perhaps the greatest inherent gift we have, and when a child starts to speak their world instantly gets bigger and richer (and ours is changed forever).

5) GOING TO SCHOOL – The first time we send our kids off for the day is their first true chance to experience a world outside of the familiarity and comfort of home and family.

6) READING – Learning to read is another moment when the scope of one’s universe suddenly expands overnight.  Reading is not only the gateway to knowledge, but also a wonderful path to your child exploring their own imagination and creativity.

7) RIDING A BIKE – Wheels!  From the driveway, to the block, to the neighborhood and beyond, a childs’ first bike is their first vehicle and their first chance to travel on their own.

8 ) DRIVING A CAR – More wheels!  Suddenly your kids can go and do what they want, without being tethered to the range of their feet and bikes, or the scheduling of the Mom/Dad taxi service.  A massive right of passage for kids, and a new adventure in stress and worry for us parents.

9) GETTING A JOB - Whether it is mowing lawns, babysitting, painting a neighbor’s porch, flipping burgers, or starting a computer consulting business, the first time your child earns their own money leads to a new sense of power, independence, and pride as they begin to truly value the value of what they work for.

10) GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE - Finishing school is a huge moment of accomplishment and a big step toward true independence.

BONUS:

11) STARTING THEIR OWN FAMILY – So far I have survived all ten of the milestones above, and each and every one of them has made me increasingly proud of my children, their accomplishments, and the ways they have handled their own growing independence and transition from being great kids to being great people.  The next step will truly bring everything full circle as one day each of them is blessed to find a great partner and start their own families.  That will be quite an Independence Day, I am sure!

What do you think?  Are there any milestones I missed when thinking of your own kids’ path to Independence?  Please share your thoughts in the comments, and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?


Cast of Dads #25: Russian Home To The Family

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!  From warships in San Francisco, to spies to Diplomatic tweets, this week the Cast of Dads hopped around more topics than a room full of kangaroos.  If you’d like us to be a little more focused in the future feel free to E-mail us your topic ideas!

Meanwhile the topics we discuss in this episode include:

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 25 HERE.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please don’t forget to tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

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Cast of Dads #24: From Father’s Day to “V”-Day

In this show the Cast of Dads regroup to recap our respective Father’s Day activities, but as usual we can’t possibly stay focused on one topic.  Before long we jump from discussing a dad’s happiest day, to a day many dads fear: V-Day! (with “V” standing for Vasectomy!)  Want to know which of the Cast of Dads has already suffered through the “big snip”?  Listen on…

Topics discussed in this episode include:

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 24 HERE.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads Podcast please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed orvia iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

Photo Credit © Barry Barnes – Fotolia.com

The Absolute BEST Last Minute Father’s Day Gift!

It is Father’s Day, and if you’ve been lazy, busy, or just procrastinating way too long I have good news for you. There is still plenty of time to give the best Father’s Day Gift ever, and here’s how:

If you are in the same city, go see your dad. Give him a hug – a REAL hug – then look him in the eyes and tell him how much you love him. Mean it (because you do!) Tell him how much you appreciate the role he has played in your life, and the role model he has been in shaping you into the man (and dad) you are yourself. If you are not in the same city, all of the above (except the hug bit) can be accomplished over the phone, or even better, with a Skype video call.)

It Really Is The Thought That Counts

If you are a dad, you needn’t worry about the cards and gifts you may or may not receive from your kids (kids, depending on their ages, can be notoriously bad about gifts sometimes). You can help them by following the same procedure as detailed above. Give your kids a hug – a REAL hug – tell them how much you love them – mean it, because you do! – and let them know that they have already given you the greatest gift of all, the gift of being a dad!

Look proudly upon them and know that one day they will be giving the same hugs and words to you, and to their own children.

THAT is the greatest Father’s Day Gift.

To all dads and fathers, and to my dad and my wonderful children Zach, Ethan and Olivia, THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU, and HAPPY FATHER’s DAY!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

Photo Credit: © epantha – Fotolia.com

Cast of Dads #23: Beer, Father’s Day, and the “Swedish Special!”

You may not like Mondays, but this week the Cast of Dads decided we did like them, especially since a Monday evening recording session allowed us to whet our whistles with beer, putting us all in an especially buoyant mood for our pre-Father’s Day show.

As dads ourselves we have the pleasure of celebrating both sides of Father’s Day, relishing in our roles as Fathers, and deeply appreciating the roles our own Father’s have played in our lives.  To all the dads in our audience, and to all the dads without whom we wouldn’t have an audience, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Holiday or not, this wouldn’t be the Cast of Dads if we didn’t cover a TON of topics, and this episode is no exception.  Topics discussed include:

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE #23 HERE.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

A Father’s Day Gift For The DASHing Dad! (and a chance to win one)

An Alarming Situation

Like most dads (and humans for that matter) I generally go to sleep at night and rely on mechanical assistance to wake myself up at the desired hour each and every morning. With that in mind I have been forever in search of the perfect alarm clock.  I have tried them all – atomic clocks that automatically set themselves, clocks that project the time on the ceiling, clocks with big flashing digital displays, clocks that sound like waves, and streams and birds, and more recently, clocks you can use as a dock for an iPod.  I like going to bed listening to different music so the concept of a iPod dock makes sense, but they are fairly large for the nightstand and it is a bit of a pain moving the iPod around.

A Dash To The Rescue

I am pleased to say that thanks to the good folks over at Sony my quest for the perfect alarm clock has ended!  As part of the Sony DigiDad Project, I was given a Sony Dash (more information available here).  I love my Dash and I am certain any digitally inclined dad would love to have one as a Father’s Day gift.  The Dash is a nice looking web connected wedge shaped tablet that sits on a counter or nightstand in either a flat or upright position.  It features a bright and colorful 7 inch touch screen, surrounded by a classy and rugged rubberized frame.  The Dash connects easily to your home wireless network for internet access, and is compatible with the Chumby widget platform, so there are more than 1000 free Internet widgets (apps) you can install on channels on your Dash – from stock quotes, to weather, to music and video, to Facebook and Twitter, it is easy to customize your Dash with the real-time streaming media of your choice.

Best Alarm Clock Evah!

Sony calls the Dash a “personal Internet viewer.” I call the Dash the best bedside alarm clock I have ever owned, and here’s why:

Keeping time – just like your mobile phone, the Dash can set itself from the network so you always have accurate time (no atomic clock necessary).  As an alarm clock, the Dash is full functioned and very customizable. It is easy to set and manage multiple alarms, individual or recurring.

Multiple Clock Choices – in addition to the “built in” clock, there are clock apps you can add in every imaginable style, from analog neon bar clocks, to classic digital alarm styles, to my personal favorite the flip clock.  You can set one clock style or have multiple styles rotate through as part of an easy to manage theme.

Music and Video – no iPod necessary!  The Dash can stream your personal music from Pandora, Slacker and other Internet radio services.  The Pandora app on the Dash is great, and I have my Dash connected with a line out to the surround sound stereo in my bedroom, making the Dash my primary music source in the room.  You can watch Netflix movies and YouTube videos (and more) and while the Dash’s 7 inch screen looks great, with a regular TV in my bedroom I use the Dash much more for music and audio than video.

Weather and widgets galore – local weather information is nicely integrated into the Dash and with apps you can add all sorts of social media feeds.  With an on screen virtual keyboard you can even Tweet and update your Facebook status from the Dash, but I find viewing the info is more practical from this device.  I love the spontaneous serendipity of social media and having my Twitter and Facebook streams flow by on my night table is just one more way I may randomly encounter a message that captures my interest.

Getting Framed - the Dash is also a great digital picture frame, and can stream your pictures (and if you want, your friends’ pictures) from Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket and other sources.

This is just a dash of the things the Dash can do, and as a connected device there will be continual updates, additions and improvements.  There has already been one update pushed to the device since I have had it that improved the interface and added some new themes, which were greatly appreciated.  I am sure there will be more.  You can add apps and themes to your Dash from the device itself, or from a Sony website. While I find it fairly easy and intuitive to manage the Dash and its screens and installed apps, the process of adding new apps and customizing your channels can be a bit clunky especially from the web.  There is room for improvement, but given that this is a connected device, those improvements can come at any time, even after you are enjoying your Dash.

Win A Dash For Your Dad!

Between now and Father’s Day, Sony is giving away a Dash a day, and myself and the rest of the Sony DigiDads (CC Chapman, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan and Brad Powell) will be helping Sony judge the entries.  Here is a quick overview:

Here is how to enter. Use your twitter account to send a tweet to @sonyelectronics telling us why your Dad deserves a dash. Include #sonydash . Each day one winner will be chosen and announced on twitter the following morning by 9:30 AM pacific standard time.

Here’s an example

“@SonyElectronics My dad deserves a dash because he likes to check his email from bed so he doesn’t need to lug his laptop from work.  He’s #1! #sonydash ”

**Be sure to use the Sony dash hash tag: #sonydash **

** You must tweet @SonyElectronics

For the complete rules please visit: http://blog.discover.sonystyle.com/dashfordad

Want one?  Affiliate link to the Sony dash Personal Internet Viewer at Amazon.com

With or without a Dash, I hope you and yours enjoy a great Father’s Day!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/2/qsw72z

Cast of Dads #22: From Intel to In Tents

Dealing with the crazy schedules of five busy dads, this week we recorded Cast of Dads on a Monday, and it felt like the show had a different vibe from our normal Sunday morning chats.  That said, like always we geek out over a wide range of topics, from “Intel Inside” to pitching tents outside, to what dads really want for Father’s Day.  Enjoy!

Topics discussed in this episode include:

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 22 HERE.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.?

Getting the Intel on Intel at the “Upgrade Your Life” Event

Pass the dip, please...

As so called “daddy bloggers” for Dadomatic we sometimes get invited to attend events that may lead to information and content that will be of interest to you, our readers. A few months ago, for example, Christopher Johnston was flown to New York to attend an advance screening of the family movie “Secrets of the Mountain.” Today I am being flown to Portland Oregon to attend an all day event tomorrow at the Intel Hillsboro Campus called, “Upgrade Your Life.” I will be joining a number of other invited bloggers and digital “influencers” including:

As you can see, there are only two “guys” in this gang and I am glad to be joining one of my “Cast of Dads” cohorts, Michael Sheehan (aka “HighTechDad“) to help represent the Dadosphere.  Until recently, many events like this seemed to be geared toward women exclusively and it is thanks to YOU, readers of Dadomatic, as well as the growing popularity of other dad and fatherhood blogs such as Digital Dads, DadLabs, and many others, that Dads are being included more and more when family and parenting is being considered.  Kudos to the Intel team for opening up this event to geek parents of all genders!  Speaking of geeks, the agenda for the event includes a wide range of presentations and round-table discussions and I look forward to learning more and sharing what I learn with you.  I wonder if they will be serving “chips” at lunch???

Intel Inside… Everything

Following the “Upgrade Your Life” theme, based on the agenda it looks like we will be looking at how technology impacts:

  • The Workplace
  • Healthcare
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • The Environment
  • The Future

These are all topics we have tackled in one form or another here at Dadomatic, and it should be interesting to see how one of the world’s leading tech companies is approaching them.  We should have access to a number of Intel Executives during the day, so if there are any specific questions you might have for Intel please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to get you some answers while I am “Inside Intel.”

DISCLOSURE: In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that Intel Corporation has covered my travel, accommodations and costs related to my visit to their Oregon-based offices.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

Photo Credit: © Starks – Fotolia.com

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Cast of Dads #19: U CAN Touch This!

Once again the Cast of Dads go off on several tangents, from lawn-mowing wives to touch screen computing, and hand-written thank you notes, we leave few stones unturned in this week’s Podcast.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

You can LISTEN TO TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 19 HERE.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please don’t forget to tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

UPDATE:  I was in San Francisco earlier this week on business and had the chance to meet with fellow Cast of Dads host, Michael Sheehan (@hightechdad).  Since Michael had never met any of the other Cast of Dads in person and I have had the pleasure of now having met all of the Cast of Dads in person, we memorialized the occasion in this short video:

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

Cast of Dads #16: In One End, Out The Other…

In this episode of Cast of Dads, the Dads get down to the real poop of being a father.  While we always try to keep the show “family friendly” and avoid any potty mouthed talk, that doesn’t restrict us from talking about the potty, and this week we tackled both the input and the output of foodstuffs (amongst other topics).

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Potty Training
  • Peeing off the back porch
  • Doing the Orangutan Hang?
  • Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Locally sourced food
  • Ketchup makes everything taste better
  • Eating with the kids
  • Magic Hat Howling Shepard’s pie
  • Meatloaf Cupcakes
  • A Cast of Dads Cookbook
  • Smoothies
  • Organic or not?
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
  • Locally sourced restaurants
  • Being a Dad is FOREVER
  • Having parents nearby

You can LISTEN TO CAST OF DADS EPISODE 16 HERE.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads Podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

??Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

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Cast of Dads #15: iPad, You Pad, We All Pad

The Cast of Dads recorded our latest show on April 3rd, the same day Apple released the now much ballyhooed iPad.  Of course us geek Dads couldn’t help but talk about it, even though only CC already had one.  (NOTE: CC’s daughter Emily – pictured below – gives her own child’s eye view of the iPad here.)  The iPad may have gotten us going, but our conversation quickly covered lots of ground, as usual.

Emily Enjoying the iPad

Topics discussed in this episode:

You can LISTEN TO EPISODE 15 HERE.

If you have been enjoying Cast of Dads, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

??Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

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5 Things You SHOULD Say To Your Kids (A Lot)

A few weeks ago I wrote about “5 Things You Should Never Say To Your Kids” and there were some great comments and discussion that followed the post.  Thank YOU for chiming in.  In the spirit of countering the negative with the positive, I thought I would follow up with a few things that we should say to our kids, and say them as often as possible.  A parent’s words are powerful weapons when aimed at our kids, so let’s use those weapons for good.  With that in mind (and to remind myself), here are:

5 Things You SHOULD Say To Your Kids

1. “Yes.” – When your child says “come here a minute,” say YES.  When your kid says “can you help me?” say YES.  When your youngster says “can I try that?” say YES.  When your first inclination is to say “in a minute” or “not now” or “maybe later” or “I am busy” or “I can’t right now” fight the urge and say YES instead.  Stop what you are doing and give your undivided attention to your child. There will come a time when they may stop asking and you will have missed the chance to say YES more often. (Trust me on this one!)

2. “That was really good.” – We all need confidence and self-esteem to be happy and successful and as parents we are in the position to heap plenty of praise on our kids.  We have the power to find something positive in virtually everything our kids may do.  Find the good, and focus your praise on it, as often as you can.  Praise is a great way to raise your child’s confidence and self-image, and focusing on the positive feels so much better.

3. “How are you?” – A simple question that can go a long way if you mean it when you ask it, and listen… really listen, when it is answered.  HINT: This is a good tip for dealing with the adults in your life as well.

4.  “I am proud of you.” – Our kids naturally seek our approval, and letting them know that we are proud of them makes you feel as good as it makes them feel.  Showing your pride for your kids is also a great way to brag about them to others without being obnoxious.  It is great to tell someone else how proud of your child you are, especially when you do it in front of your child.

5. “I love you.” – I know I have written about this before, but “Love” is the one four letter word you can never get in trouble for saying it to your kids.  Sure, your kids know that you love them, more than anything… more than words can easily express.  Even so, nothing beats looking them in the eye and telling them, straight up.  “I love you” are the three words a child cherishes from their parents.  Don’t make them wait for it.  Say it a lot.  They will know you mean it…

Do you agree with these five things?  What did I leave out?  Please add more things we should say to our kids in the comments.

?Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

?Photo Credit: © Yuri Arcurs – Fotolia.com

Cast of Dads Special: “LIVE” From SXSW

While our intent is for Cast of Dads to primarily be an an audio podcast, a couple of weeks ago we found that three of us were actually going to be in the same city at the same time: CC and I were both in Austin, Texas for SXSW, and DaddyBrad’s home court, DadLabs, is also based in Austin.  Since Brad and DadLabs have their own  video production studio in town, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to shoot our first video episode.   Being geeks as well as dads, we weren’t about to leave out Max in New York, and Michael in San Francisco, so we set each of them up with their own “laptop” and remarkably, it really felt like we were all in the same room together.  What do you think?  Special thanks to the entire Dad Labs team for being so generous with their studio!

Cast of Dads Live from SXSW 2010 from Cast of Dads on Vimeo.

Download Cast of Dads: Video Episode 1

If you have been enjoying Cast of Dads, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

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Cast of Dads #10: Walking The Line Online

At the opening of this episode you will hear a promo for The Boom Effect, an auction and fund raiser for fellow dad and good friend Tee Morris who recently lost his wife.  Tee will be raising his little girl known as “Sonic Boom” on his own, and the Podcasting community has been very supportive with contributions and events such as this auction. The Cast of Dads encourages you to donate and help in any way you can to assist in making sure this little girl has what she needs as she grows up. Tee, our thoughts are with you!

This week the Cast of Dads faces off with Facebook as we talk about the challenges of raising kids in a digital world.  How old (or young) should kids be when they start using Facebook?  Does everything really end up on your “permanent record?”  These are just some of the things we cover in this episode:

You can listen to Episode 10 here.

If you have been enjoying the Cast of Dads podcast, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes. Also, please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab.

Cast of Dads #9: Pausing For Valentine’s Day

The Cast of Dads gathered early on Valentine’s Day to catch up and compare notes on our romantic plans for the day.  Despite a few pregnant pauses as we contemplated Cupid, we managed to cover a wide range of topics, from our daughters dating, to the pleasures of power tools.  Here is a complete rundown of what is discussed in this week’s show Valentine’s Day show:

You can listen to Cast of Dads Episode 9 here.   You can also subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, if you have been enjoying the show, please let your friends know and leave us a review in iTunes!  Thanks for listening!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab.

Valentine’s Day Reborn With Meaning

heart pancakesYesterday was Valentine’s Day, and while Jeff has provided some great ways to avoid disaster today, I wanted to talk about why I didn’t really start caring about it all, until our oldest daughter was born.  It’s not that I’m not a romantic, quite the contrary.  I think it’s more that, like most men, I hate being told what to do.  I much prefer to give my wife flowers on a random Wednesday, for no reason other than it makes her happy, than because the calendar and a florist advertisement says I have to.

I’m not stupid. My wife and I celebrated Valentine’s Day before our daughters were born. I always remembered a card, and flowers, and sometimes we would go out, and sometimes I would cook.  It was always at least a little bit under protest though.  It was always because it was easier to go with the flow than take a silly stand against a “Hallmark Holiday.”  I looked at it as a good excuse to remind my wife how much I love and appreciate her.

You see, she loves holidays.  All of them.  That became really obvious after our kids were born.  She makes a big deal.  She gets decorations and balloons, and makes sure the house looks special, and our kids love it. Whether it’s a birthday, or New Years, or yes, Valentine’s Day, they know it’s a special day as soon as they wake up and step out of their room.

The great thing is that I enjoy them a lot more now too.  Like today, when our six year old came into our room and couldn’t wait to show us what she wrote on the card she made for her sister.  She picked out a Dora card with stickers, because her little sister loves Dora (and stickers).  Seeing how much she wanted to make today special for her little sister, the way her mom does, was one of those moments that make parenthood worth all the , well, you know.

I can’t help but get into the act. Some heart shaped pancakes were just the thing to kick off our Valentine’s Day.  I can tell you that making them meant more to my wife than buying flowers ever could.  So yes, my wife and I will let each other know how much we mean to each other, and maybe even have a romantic dinner, but our life hasn’t been just about us for some time, and today is no different. It is so much better.  It has so much more meaning.

Ian is the father of two young daughters (6, and 2).  He  has a podcast and blog about starting a business while raising young children at Startup Daddy.

5 Ways To Avoid A Valentine’s Day Massacre!

It is Valentine’s Day!  Time for everyone to get their heart on!  For us Dads it is one of those days (like birthdays, anniversaries, the day you and your significant other met, etc.) that is best not forgotten.  There are many ways to recognize the day and reveal your romantic side, and like most things in life, the best ways to show your love and appreciation and look more Cupid than stupid is to keep things simple and sincere.  With that in mind, here are…

5 Ways To Avoid A Valentine’s Day Massacre:

1. Flowers – Yes, a rose by any other name is still a rose, but giving a flower by any other name on Valentine’s Day ain’t gonna cut it.  Of course a dozen (or two) is best, but even a single long stem, elegantly and lovingly presented, goes a long way.  While roses come in a literal rainbow of colors these days, this is the one occasion when RED is a must.  Any roses are better than no roses, and in order of preference you can get your roses a) delivered, at a surprise location, by a florist, b) at your local supermarket, c) at a roadside stand, or d) cut, secretly, from the bush in your neighbor’s yard.

2. Phone – If by some chance you are not with your Sweet Valentine today, make sure you call her before she calls you (and if you haven’t already, stop reading this and do it now!). Make the call all about her, and how much you appreciate having her in your iife, etc. etc. etc.  This is the one day when you can’t get too sappy, Even if you are with your Valentine today, use the phone to reach out and touch the other women in your life.  Valentine’s Day is a great day to call moms, mothers-in-laws, sisters, daughters away from home, and tell them you love and appreciate them.

3. Food – It is no surprise that little cherub Cupid is on the pudgy side. From chocolates to breakfast in bed to dinner at a favorite restaurant, food is a wonderful way to nourish the heart on Valentine’s Day. For many guys, our preferred thing to make for dinner is a reservation, but as Digital Dad CC Chapman recommends, Valentine’s Day is also a great day to don the apron and actually cook for your better half.

4. Words – Cards are great, and they come in all shapes and sizes and now they even talk and play music, but don’t leave it to Hallmark to make a real impression on your Valentine.  Whether you are a Shakespeare or not, today is the day to put a few sentiments in your own words.  If you are adventurous, write a poem (Haiku is easy and elegant).  There is no such thing as bad original poetry, especially on Valentine’s Day.  Give it a shot, and whatever you choose to do, make sure your words are hand written!  Do not type and print them!

5. The other 364 Days of the year – And of course, the BEST way to avoid a Valentine’s Day massacre is to not let today be the only day of the year you behave this way!  Flowers, sweet phone calls, food and words are ways you can be expressing your love and appreciation all year long.   Sprinkle them unexpectedly into your routine to keep your Valentine smiling all year round.  Do that, and every day can be Valentine’s Day!

If you have some additional tips. please add them in the comments.  In any event, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

Photo Credit: © AlienCat – Fotolia.com

Cast of Dads #8: Winging It For The Superbowl

Despite the siren song of beer and wings calling in the distance, the Cast of Dads set aside time on Superbowl Sunday to record an episode: “Superbowl Sunday With The Cast of Dads.”  While the talk quickly turned to football, some of us – er, me – revealed we are I am not as up to date on my sports as I am on my gadgets.  (For example, it was only during the big game that I realized the Colts were no longer the “Baltimore Colts” of my childhood…)

Fortunately for me, football was not the only topic of discussion in the show.  Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Superbowl and are we sports fans?
  • Tequila
  • Wives who love sports
  • March Madness
  • Sunday Night Jitters
  • Oklahoma vs. Texas
  • Young Cyrus lingerie line? (after the show it came out that it was false)
  • Kids growing up too fast
  • Teaching kids to read as babies
  • Potty Humor
  • An open invite to Kevin Smith to come on the show
  • Mom stereotypes
  • Swearing in front of kids
  • Kids swearing
  • Music Lyrics
  • The Barbie Song
  • Controlling what is watched on TV
  • Age differences
  • C.C. Chapman iPhone App
  • HighTechDad iPhone App

You can listen to Cast of Dads Episode 8 here.   If you have been enjoying Cast of Dads, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Also, don’t be shy…  go ahead and please leave us a review in iTunes!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

Cast of Dads 7: More On Morons…

This week the Cast of Dads took a step back from tech talk and focused our discussion on more fatherly pursuits, thanks to some feedback and suggestions from our listeners.  We appreciate getting your feedback on the show and if there are specific topics you would like for us to tackle let us know in the comments here or at Cast of Dads or please send us an e-mail.

As usual, we covered a lot of ground, and finally admitted that at one time or another, we were all morons!  In this episode:

You can listen to Cast of Dads Episode 7 here.  If you like what you hear, please tell your friends about the show and have them subscribe to either our direct feed or via iTunes.  Of course, we won’t complain if you also leave us a review in iTunes!  Thanks for tuning in!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

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Cast of Dads Episode 5: Guys Love Gadgets!

The Cast of Dads are at it again.  Last week I was in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  For a few busy days Las Vegas is converted from Sin City to Geek Heaven as the Convention Center is loaded with Gadgets galore.  In honor of  CES, this week the Cast of Dads talk about the gadgets we love and the gadgets we lust for.  In this episode we cover:

  • My CES review
  • Universal Remote Controls
  • eReaders everywhere
  • The rise of the app stores
  • Sony Dash
  • Chumby
  • iPhones
  • Will Palm survive?
  • Where we get our on demand video content?
  • Roku Box
  • Boxee Box
  • Apple TV and the Apple Tablet
  • Lenovo Tablet
  • Sony Bloggie Camera
  • Kodak Playsport waterproof camera

You can listen to Episode 5 here.  You can also subscribe to Cast of Dads either from our direct feed or in iTunes.  If you like what you hear, please leave a review!

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

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The Best Things About Fatherhood Are Free

Fotolia_18875491_XSMovies, bowling, pizza, arcades, museums, concerts, shows, Ice Capades, circuses, Chucky Cheese, Dave & Busters, ice skating, rollerskating, sporting events, shopping, pottery, fairs, carnivals, planetariums, aquariums, theme parks, amusement parks, skiing, go-carts…  There are no shortage of ways to spend money to entertain our kids, and spend we do.  As much as they have fun and enjoy these costly excursions, is that really what our kids want from us?

This weekend I went on two, hour-long walks with my oldest son.  We walked, we talked, I listened to him and asked him questions, and I listened to his answers and asked him more.  I gave him advice and encouragement and he gave me a tremendous sense of pride as he shared glimpses of the fine young man he has become.

Taking the time to walk, talk and listen with my son I realized that as a Dad I have been guilty of too often taking the easy way out and “paying” to entertain my kids, when all they really want is my time and attention.  They don’t really want to “go somewhere” or “do something” as much as they want to simply spend time with me, and have me really be there with them, giving them one hundred percent of my attention during that time. The most rewarding activity for them and me, is free!  I need to remember that more often.

Sure, time is money… but the time we really spend with our kids is priceless.

Agree?

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

Photo Credit: © Metin Tolun – Fotolia.com

Announcing The “Cast of Dads” Podcast…

cod-itunesNo baloney, it was a lot of fun participating in the Sony DigiDad Project and I hope you enjoyed the posts here at Dad-O-Matic that were inspired by the Sony gear I was able to borrow and play with.  My kids and I particularly enjoyed our re-creating The Picture of Dorian Gray and creating a spoof infomercial for the Sony Vaio P mini laptop/ping-pong paddle.

While all the Sony Gear has now been returned, the connections made between the participating dads is going to live on in a new project.  The “Sony Dads” represent a great cross section of dad and personal blogs and we have decided to continue the conversation in a (hopefully weekly) podcast called the Cast of Dads.  We will cross-post our episodes at our respective blogs (in my case, here at Dad-O-Matic) and of course you can subscribe to the podcast at www.castofdads.com (and soon in iTunes.)

At launch there are five dads in our cast, and between us we have thirteen kids, so I suspect we will always have great stories to share.  In our “premiere episode” we talk about:

  • Artificial vs. Real Christmas Trees
  • Holiday decorating
  • Mixed religious household traditions
  • Shopping for Holiday presents
  • What our kids are asking for this year
  • The coolness of Lego

And of course we introduce ourselves.  You can listen to Episode 1 of Cast of Dads here.  We’d love to hear what you think, and hope you will follow us as the show evolves.

Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood.  The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

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The First Rule of Fatherhood: There Are No Rules!

NO RulesUnlike FIGHT CLUB, when it comes to the rules of Fatherhood, it is ok to talk about them freely, especially here at Dad-O-Matic.  But are there really any rules of Fatherhood, or Parenthood for that matter?  I’d argue that there are no rules except for one: Never do anything that could harm or endanger your child.  Outside of that, it seems that there are no hard and fast rules for being a good dad.  Certainly when our kids are born they do not come with a manual or FAQ. Sure, there are books and magazines we can read and videos we can watch and web sites we can visit, but I think that most dads just go with our guts.  We each approach fatherhood from our own unique perspective, taking cues from our own childhood experiences, as well as our own personalities and points of view.

VIVA LA DIFFERENCE

One of the great things about a collaborative blog like this one is that you, the readers, get the benefit of peeking into the minds of a varied group of dads at various stages of fatherhood, careers, marriage, and life in general.  We are a motley bunch who rant and rave about the things that irk us, and rave about our kids and the things we like.  We share things that make us laugh and things that make us cry.  We share our challenges and our triumphs, and most of all we share our passion for being a dad.  Our common bond is our greatest responsibility and the source of our greatest rewards – our children.

LEARN, BABY, LEARN

As I have spent 21 years writing my own Dad rulebook in real time by raising my kids, it is humbling how much there still is to learn from others.  As much as I enjoy writing for Dad-O-Matic, (thanks Chris and Pai for the opportunity!) I also greatly enjoy being a Dad-O-Matic reader, and having the opportunity to compare and contrast my views and experiences with the other dads and with all of you through your comments.  In particular, lately I have been fascinated by the fatherhood journey that Devon White has begun to share here, as it introduces a take on parenting that I was completely unaware of when my kids were the age of Devon’s son Miles. Judging from the comments to his posts, many of you find “Intentional” parenting interesting as well.

What do you think?  Are there any rules of Fatherhood that you abide by?  This is not FIGHT CLUB so please do talk about it in the comments!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

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Andy Andrews Says 50 Things Dads Say in 60 Seconds!

This is funny stuff. Andy Andrews shares 50 things that his dad said to him as a kid in blazing speed!
It reminds me of the amazing Mom Song that we featured on here before.

Here they are:

  1. You’d better change your tune pretty quick or you’re out of here.
  2. I mean it.
  3. Is that understood?
  4. Don’t shake your head at me.
  5. I can’t hear your head rattle.
  6. Don’t mumble.
  7. You act like the world owes you a living.
  8. You’ve got a chip on your shoulder.
  9. You’re not going anywhere looking like that.
  10. You’re crazy if you think you are.
  11. If you think you are, just try me.
  12. I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
  13. Other kids don’t pull stuff like that.
  14. I wasn’t like that.
  15. What kind of an example do you think you are for you brothers and sisters?
  16. Stand up straight.
  17. Don’t slouch.
  18. Would you like a spanking?
  19. If you would like a spanking, just tell me now and we’ll get this thing over with.
  20. You’re cruising for a bruising.
  21. I’m your father and as long as you live in my house you’ll do as I say.
  22. Do you think the rules don’t apply to you?
  23. I’m here to tell you that they do.
  24. Are you blind?
  25. Watch what you’re doing!
  26. You walk around like you’re in a daze.
  27. Something better change and change fast.
  28. You’re driving you mother to an early grave.
  29. This is a family vacation.
  30. You’re going to have fun whether you like it or not.
  31. Take some responsibility.
  32. Pull your own weight.
  33. Don’t expect other people to pick up after you and don’t ask me for money.
  34. What do you think I’m made of money?
  35. Do you think I have a tree that grows money?
  36. You’d better wake up and I don’t mean maybe.
  37. Do you act like this when you’re away from us?
  38. We’ve given everything we possibly could.
  39. Food on the table.
  40. A roof over your head, things we never had when we were your age.
  41. You treat us like we don’t exist.
  42. That’s no excuse.
  43. If he jumped off a cliff would you jump off a cliff too?
  44. You’re grounded.
  45. I’m not going to put up with this for another minute.
  46. You’re crazy if you think I am.
  47. If you think I am just try me.
  48. Don’t look at me that way.
  49. Look at me when I’m talking to you.
  50. Don’t make me say this again.

100 Faces of Fall: A CyberShot In The Arm

3998978363_c5d80116db_bThey say a picture is worth a thousand words, yet as my task for this latest installment in the Sony DigiDad Project I am asked to write about a bunch of pictures.  Such is the life of a SonyDad.  They (who the heck are “they” anyway???) also say that the best camera is the camera you have with you, and thanks to the good folks at Sony Electronics, this summer the camera I had with me most of the time was either the stellar Sony A330 DSLR or the skinny Cybershot DSC-TX1.  (NOTE TO THE FTC: The cameras in my possession are on loan from Sony, to be returned.  My only compensation for participating in the Sony DigiDad Project is the wonderful memories I have captured digitally and the fun times I have shared with my kids and family playing with the various Sony equipment.) Here is an Animoto video of the photos my kids and I took over the summer and early fall with the Sony Cameras.  You can see the Flickr group of all the photos here.  I share more thoughts on the camera’s themselves below the video.

The Candid On The Camera(s)DSLRA330Y

The pictures above were taken by me and my children using both the A330 and the CyberShot.   I never used a Digital SLR before and I have really enjoyed using the Sony A330.  It takes beautiful pictures, easily and reliably in a variety of lighting conditions.  It feels great in my hands, and the professional air it carries (at least for a DSLR newbie like me) makes the experience of taking photos very enjoyable.  Controls are well placed and easy to use, and the LCD viewfinder folds out in different directions, giving you lots of flexibility for creative camera positions and angles.  It also cleverly has slots for both standard SD cards as well as Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick format, which is a big plus if you are upgrading from a non-Sony camera and already have an ample supply of SD cards.  The A330 is a camera I would love to own myself, and it is a great introduction to DSLR photography.

A CyberShot In The Arm

DSCTX1H_1 This sleek and slim camera is physically svelte and stylish, and for it’s small stature it is loaded with features.  The 10.2 MP still camera also shoots 720p HD video which is all quite impressive in such a small package.  However, the camera is so light and thin I found it difficult to hold steady at times, something that was more a problem for shooting video than still pictures.  The camera also boasts a beautiful and large 3 inch LCD touch screen display, which makes it very easy to change settings and modes at any time.  By far the most impressive (and cool) feature the camera has is the Panorama mode.  This allows you to seamlessly create ultra wide angle panorama views by simply moving the camera from left to right.  The CyberShot “automagically” digitally combines your movement into a single panoramic view (see below).  It takes a few times to get used to the motion in order to properly fill a complete panoramic shot, but once you get the hang of it the feature is very neat.

DSC00098

DSC00099

DSC00070

While I enjoyed playing with the CyberShot there were a few things that I found to be problematic with it.  For one, while the large touch screen LCD is beautiful indoors, I found it virtually unusable in bright sunlight, leaving me to be shooting “blind” for the most part when outside in the Florida sun.  I had to “point and shoot” without the benefit of really seeing what was in the frame, as the bright sun completely washed out the viewfinder.  I also found the zoom control to be too small for making a steady move without shaking the camera.  Lastly, the CyberShot has an unusual “Multi Connector Cable” which is used to both connect the camera to a PC or to a TV.  The “Multi Cable” has a proprietary connection to the camera at one end, and both a USB connection and Audio/Video connections at the other end.  Personally, as I doubt I would ever connect the camera direct to a TV I would much prefer being able to connect the CyberShot to a PC with a standard mini or micro USB cable.  Unfortunately, the only connection to the camera is the odd multi connector so you must use that cable, with all its tentacles, whether you need them or not.  All things considered, while it is slim and feature packed (I am only touching the surface of what it is capable of), from a pure “point and shoot” point of view, I found the thin feel and the inability to see the LCD in sunlight to be non-starters for me.

Of course, it is not just the camera that makes the photographer, and I had a great time spending time taking pictures of and with my kids.  For that, I am glad Sony gave me a CyberShot in the arm to go out and do so!  How about you?  Was your summer full of digital photography?

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

This post is part of series called the “Sony DigiDads Project” by Sony Electronics where a group of dads, including C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear.  If you want to know more about this project visit the Sony Electronics Community.


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Sony’s DigiDad Project… Cool Gadgets, No Baloney!

WebFor as long as I can remember, Sony has been a premiere consumer electronics brand.  I can clearly remember getting my hands on the original, ground-breaking “Sony Walkman” personal cassette player.  I can remember my first “color TV’ being a 13″ Sony Trinitron, because my grandfather insisted it would last forever… and it practically did.  In recent years I have not really kept up with Sony’s products, though I’ve been well aware that they touch a wide range of cool consumer electronics, from computers to cameras to game consoles and more.  If you’ve followed my activities here or here, you probably know that in addition to being a proud dad, I am a longstanding, self-proclaimed gadget geek.  With that in mind, I am very excited to be participating in Sony’s DigiDad Project.  Here is a short introductory video as well as some more information below the video.  Please take a few moments to check it out, and follow me here on Dad-O-Matic for future installments of the Sony DigiDad Project:

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Although I am happy to have the chance to play with all these slick Sony products, my goal will be to let them inspire me to share with you some fun “digital” projects you can enjoy with your family using your own digital toys of choice, and in the process let you know my thoughts about the specific Sony products I get my hands on.

NOTES ON A NOTEBOOK

The first “Dadget” I received is the gorgeous VAIO Series FW notebook PC, which I used to record and edit the above video.   This is a LARGE notebook with a stunning, extra wide 16.4″ display, yet it is remarkably thin and lightweight for its size.  It is MUCH lighter and thinner than my current 13″ screen laptop.  With a Blu-Ray Disc drive (including HDMI output) I look forward to both watching a movie on this baby, and to seeing how it works Sony+Logo+whiteconnected to a flat panel TV.  The media controls are many, and well positioned, and the roomy, chicklet style keyboard takes a little getting used to, but soon feels right at home.  With it’s size, power, and full multimedia capabilities, I could easily see this notebook replacing a home desktop PC, with the added flexibility of being able to easily move it around the house.

In addition to my own DigiDad exploits, I encourage you to check out contributions from the other participating dads, which will also introduce you to some other great “Dad” blogs and “Daddy” Bloggers.  You can find them below.  You can also read more about the Sony DigiDad Project here.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 17).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab.

This post is part of series called the “Sony DigiDads Project” by Sony Electronics where a group of dads, including C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear.  If you want to know more about this project visit the Sony Electronics Community.

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Daddy’s Music Helpers

(cc) Douglas CooteyIt’s that time of year again. It’s time to sort the CDs.

Oh, I’m sure you’re thinking “Why don’t you just keep them in order as you use them?” and normally I would agree with you. After all, that’s how I use them.

But I live with children. Four of them to be exact. And I foolishly managed to teach them to appreciate and even love my music, so from the first one all the way to the last they help themselves to my CDs.

It started with my oldest who liked to help reorganize them. Obviously, I knew 17 years ago that my tidy little world was going to become a whole heckuvva lot more cluttered when we started having children. However, I never realized that this clutter would come in such cute packages. How can you get upset at a five year old who proudly alphabetizes your genre sorted collection A-Z? Or were they color coded? Time has erased that painful memory.

I originally fought it. I’d re-sort things back to how I liked them, then find them re-sorted again. I tried scolding. I tried threatening. I even tried GRAND EDICTS OF POWER. All to no avail. She loved my CDs too much, and her sisters were just like her. I took to reorganizing only once or twice a year just to avoid the high blood pressure, especially when their reorganizing system seemed to involve physically relocating my CDs into head puzzling places.

Take today, for example. As I brought order back to cacophony, I discovered my missing Perfume CD. Gone for eight or more months, I had despaired of ever finding it. Nothing to worry about. It was only a limited edition import from Japan. Of course it belonged in the Lord of the Rings soundtrack case tucked behind my CD cabinet. What more natural a place could there be? And sticking the Lord of the Rings soundtrack CD in the Henri Mancini case was pure brilliance. They share so much in common. I had ripped those tracks eons ago and might never have looked there if I hadn’t discovered the Henri Mancini CD behind the cabinet, as well.

These days my older girls raid my MP3 collection and one day I imagine I won’t have to worry about reorganizing so much. By the time the CDs stay where I want them it will be time to pack them away with the LPs. The upside to all of this is that I’ve spent the past decade sharing my bands with some enthusiastic fellow listeners. If the price to pay for sharing my love for music is a messy CD cabinet, then I’ll gladly open my wallet.

My mother might point out that I used to love her music collection, too. Did you know that LP grooves are great for matchbox cars? If you apply enough pressure you can force the cars to stay in the grooves, except for when they wipe out and collide with oncoming traffic. Oh, those poor LPs.

Maybe I’ve grown up along with my girls. Whereas in the past I would find reorganizing my CDs frustrating, today I found myself chuckling. My girls are even discovering new bands all by themselves now and I find myself raiding their collections for a change.

Next week I sort the DVDs, however. I may need some help remembering how fondly I regard my children. You won’t believe where I found the Selena DVD…

Douglas Cootey is a married, full time dad raising four girls in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah who has long ago overcome his aversion to the color Pink. Douglas blogs about overcoming AD/HD & Depression with humor & pluck over at the award winning A Splintered Mind. He also co-produces a podcast with his 17 year old daughter. The random thoughts of his addled mind can be found at DouglasCootey and SplinteredMind over on Twitter.

Top Ten Things Divorced Dads Need to Know

It seems like a new celebrity father gets divorced every week. Recent divorced dads include Jon Gosselin, Robin Williams, Usher, Mel Gibson, Bradley Whitford, Edward Furlong, and Thomas Jane — and those are just the famous ones. Roughly half of all American marriages end in divorce and some studies suggest 60% of those splits involve children.

But while there’s abundant advice directing divorced fathers to avoid “screwing up” the kids, 2009-07-23-dads.jpgthere’s little out there to help dads appreciate the big parenting opportunity — yes, opportunity — before them.

Below are, IMHO, the ten most important things divorced fathers should realize as they transition parentally from “Husband and Father” to “One-and-Only Dad”:

1) You divorced your ex, not your kids

Many divorced dads disconnect from their kids when they separate from their ex-wives, but the divorce can actually be an opportunity to re-connect with your children — this time on your own terms.

2) The only parenting expectations worth a damn are your own

Divorce freed you from not only your ex-wife’s expectations, but those of your parents, her parents, Dr. Phil, and all those dads you see talking joyously about fatherhood on television. You’re the expert when it comes to your kids. Create your own expectations and standards.

3) There’s no such thing as a part-time dad

You’re either a dad or you’re not. Many divorced dads spend more time with their kids than fathers in intact families. But no matter how much time you spend with your children, if you commit to it regularly and responsibly, you’re a dad. Period. Exclamation point.

4) You are not a babysitter

There’s no need to constantly take your children on expensive adventures, shower them with gifts, or keep them perpetually entertained, as if filling a perceived hole in their happiness. They are just as happy to simply be with you as you are to be with them.

5) Your children have two homes…and two sets of rules

Your kids don’t “visit” you; they live with you. They have one home with Mom and another with Dad. And if they can adapt themselves to different rules between home and school, they can do the same between home and home. The phrase “But Mom lets us” carries no weight in your home.

6) You have an “inner dad”

There’s an “inner dad” inside you. He’s the one who tells you when it’s OK to let your son stay up late, when it’s appropriate to be interrupted on the phone by a whining daughter, and whether a tense situation calls for stern rules or just an all-out, no-shoes family wrestling match. You’ll get to know that inner dad gradually, moment by moment, and in the process become a more genuine dad — the best kind of dad you can be.

7) Most kids can cope

Divorce doesn’t necessarily mean therapy time for your kids. Studies show that many children cope well with divorce, especially if there’s joint custody and the kids are encouraged to openly express their feelings and fears. When I got divorced, a quick internet search told me I was ruining both my and my children’s lives. But it didn’t go down like that — in fact, I now feel like a better dad than I’ve ever been and I’ve stopped treating Google like my conscience.

8) You can do what you like

Too many moms and dads feel martyrdom is a necessary part of the parenting process. Find those things that you and your children honestly enjoy together — going to the movies, having cart-races at Kmart, bowling, or impulsively getting pizza in the mid-afternoon. Your children love nothing more than watching you enjoy yourself with them. And it’s way more fun than standing on the playground sidelines checking your Blackberry, isn’t it?

9) Your issues with the ex don’t belong in your kids’ lives

Like the corn and mashed potatoes on your first-grader’s plate, your parenting should be separated from any conflicts you have with your ex. Children need to know their parents’ love is unconditional and impenetrable, even and especially in the face of something as potentially devastating as divorce.

10) You’ll screw up…and that’s okay.

Making mistakes is as fundamental in parenting as making dinner. Own up to them — your kids will learn that they can too.

Joel Schwartzberg is a father of three, an award-winning essayist, and author of the first-of-its kind collection of personal essays from the perspective of a divorced father, “The 40-Year-Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad

Father's Day Homework

Sunday is Father’s Day. It may seem a bit rude for me, a mommy, to ask you guys to self-reflect (god forbid), but I know you can handle it. Dad-o-Matic Dads aren’t afraid of a little reality check now-and-then, right?

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Don’t worry, the self-reflection homework doesn’t come until the end.  Painless, I promise!  ;)

First I have to admit I don’t know much about dads. In fact, they’ve always been a bit of a mystery to me.

My parents divorced when I was 9, but my dad was out of the house before that.  Even when my parents were married, my dad worked at night so I saw him rarely. In fact, after the separation and divorce, I saw my father more often than when he was living with us.  That only lasted for a short time though.  My father came from a different generation, one that was taught that child-rearing was “women’s work.”  He didn’t have much patience for small children.

When I would meet friends’ dads, I’d be fascinated.  I would instinctually recognize the same “type” of dad, the distant, strict, no-excuses father like mine (which, honestly, were the norm in the small community I grew up in).  But sometimes I’d meet a dad who was, well, a DAD. A guy who sat and talked with his kids, who coached the pee-wee team, or who helped sell girl scout cookies.  I disregarded the strict dads, as I grew to be quite independent (my father-in-law wasn’t at all thrilled with me when we met) and I feared yet longed for the closeness and influence of the “hands-on” dads.

I could wax on forever about my own life, but I’ll wax off and always look eye, Daniel-san.  Here comes the self-reflection part.

Even before Freud and his cocaine-frenzied ego-orgies with bored ladies-who-lunch, mothers were blamed for all the mental disorders kids could manifest. For the past few decades, psychologists have started looking at the influence fathers have on their kids (this is actually good news, not just for us scapegoated moms).

It may sound ridiculously obvious, but you dads actually shape your kids’ world views, not just by your discipline but by your daily behavior. For example, more and more psych research comes out about how the father’s personality determines how a girl will find a mate later in life, and about how fathers act toward women is the defining lesson a boy learns about relationships.

In the book, “The Role of the Father in Child Development” (.pdf of intro here), Editor Michael E. Lamb outlines the 3 areas that many researchers concentrate on when researching the father/child relationship: Engagement, Accessibility, and Responsibility.

Here’s the homework:  If you’re a dad, perhaps you can use these few days before Father’s Day to self-reflect on how you are involved with your children, how approachable you are to them, and if you are fulfilling your duty to them (as your children see it, and as you see it).  Maybe spend some time thinking about how your own father rated on these scales. This can take 5 minutes or 50, it’s up to you.

See? That didn’t hurt a bit. For extra credit, you can share your thoughts in the comments section.

To my fellow writers on Dad-o-Matic and every other Dad on the planet, Happy Father’s Day!

"The Mommy" Mystery

carrymeYou don’t have to deserve your mother’s love.  You have to deserve your father’s.  He is more particular…. The father is always a Republican towards his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat. ~Robert Frost

The Mystery

My husband, “Jay”, had this crazy idea that my children obey my every command, that my toddler doesn’t lie flat in the middle of an intersection because he wants to be carried, that my grade-schooler actually gets up from the couch and puts her NintendoDS away with joy when she is told.  I often asked Jay if there were also magic fairies flying around in his world.

The fact is my husband is in a different world.  My kids behave differently when they are with him.  They’re better.  When my toddler son “Cue” is with his father, he wouldn’t dream of going boneless in the face of oncoming traffic.  My grade-schooler daughter “Oz” pops to attention as soon as her father speaks her name.

When I complained, Jay dealt up helpful advice like “Just tell him to walk” or  “Be more authoritative.” I try this, and my children turn into varying degrees of devil spawn.   I adopt the authoritative tone over a few months to see if it sinks in; it doesn’t.  Oz and Cue just dive deeper into their comfort zone of Dante’s Inferno.

I’d been trying, in vain, to explain this phenomenon to Jay.  He didn’t “get” it until he saw it in action recently.  We took Cue, the toddler, to the park to ride his bike.  Instead of the hearty pedaling he usually does, Cue feigned fright.  He didn’t pedal; He whined.  Jay was flabbergasted; I was smug.

“See?” I said. “This is what I get all the time.”

“He’s only doing this because you’re here,” Jay said, as if to shift blame.

“Exactly!” I exclaimed.

Jay still didn’t seem to get it.  I leaned over to Cue. Using my full-on Commander Riker voice, I said “Ride your bike!”

“Noooooo, I gonna fall off!” Cue wailed.  He then got off the bike and jumped in my arms, his helmet smashing into my front teeth.

My husband ordered him immediately to ride his bike, but it was no use.  “It’s just because you’re here,” my husband mumbled.  “He rode it just fine the 5 million other times we’ve been out.”

“I can’t get the kids to do anything,” I repeated, for what felt like the 5 million-and-second time.  “If I were alone, I’d end up carrying him and the bicycle.”

The Defining Moment

Finally I caught a break.  The week following the ill-fated bike ride, my children granted me the small mercy of demonstrating this deviant behavior when my husband could witness it.  It happened so often and so clearly that now Jay and I have given the phenomenon a name.  We call it “The Mommy.”

The Mommy:
Main Entry:  the mom·my
Pronunciation: thə  mämē, -mi
Function: proper noun
Inflected Form(s): -ies
Etymology: Middle English moder must-have-nowe Old English momacrdor; akin to Old High German muoter mother, don’t-maketh-me, Latin mater, mater, mater, mater, I-need-you mater.
1 a : the mysterious phenomenon or inexplicable behavior that a child exhibits in the presence of the woman who gave birth and/or is rearing that child, wherein the behavior of total helplessness overcomes said child. <She pulled The Mommy today when she was asked to do her chores> <He went boneless and did The Mommy in the street> b. the opposite behavior that a child displays in front of the male adult figure, usually the father, characterized by big eyes, whine, and every other expression they wouldn’t dare give said male figure. <I say, “Mow the lawn” and he does it.  No The Mommy here.>

Jay and I parent the same way.  We are on the same page when it comes to discipline and rewards.  We are both authorities and our children are generally well-behaved.  We don’t hit our children.  We don’t have to yell often.   But for some reason, Jay can cook spaghetti, alone in the kitchen, where I always have both children under my feet when I’m trying to make a ham sandwich.  Jay can sit on the couch and read for 2 hours and I can’t sit on the toilet for 2 seconds without interruption.  How does he *DO* that?  His secret is like the Holy Grail.  I ask Jay, and he only offers up this pithy adage of advice: “I don’t know, tell them to leave you alone.”

Oh Silly ME!  Yes!  Tell them to leave me alone.  So simple! Of course, saying that had the total and utter opposite effect.  In fact, let’s add a definition:

c: the act of doing exactly the opposite of what the mother says, especially if the mother is trying to employ phrases the father uses.

The Final Frontier

So, when it comes to the kids, I’m Jimmy Carter and my husband is Ronald Reagan?  I don’t think so.  Jay is a bleeding heart pile of mush when it comes to the kids.  He loves them and shows it.  And I’m no wimp, either.  My Commander Riker voice can be pretty intimidating; I’ve gotten a rep with my kids’ friends as being strict.  The Mommy is just one of those mysteries of the universe.  Like gravity and stars and US tax codes, there’s no hope for understanding it.  Kids act differently for moms and dads, just as they do for teachers, grandparents, doctors or ice cream truck drivers.

Dads, do us moms a favor:  Accept that The Mommy happens and it’s unavoidable.  Give us a break and bite your lip next time you want to give us advice.  Instead, hold your ear up to the front window and say “Is that the ice cream truck I hear?”  That should give us just enough time to pee.

Divorce and Kids during Christmas, Holidays can be GREAT!

By Danny Guspie

This is my personal story and journey.

The first year that that my wife and I were separated was by far the most difficult Christmas ever.  At the time, I was a working dad as well as full-time single dad, and my olive branch gesture was to send the kids to my ex-wife for the big holiday. The kids had been missing their mom and were also looking forward to all the fixings at their grandparents.

My mom and I spent the evening together and we really didn’t know what to do that Christmas Eve and finally decided to go to the movies. Godfather III was the big film release that year, it seemed ironic to be watching such a violent film when I was focused on Peace. At the time I thought to myself…. “I have never had such a low moment in my life”. I know my ex-wife felt the same way the next year when she sent the kids over to my house at 4:00pm on Christmas Eve.

We managed to do it year to year, but it was far from perfect. Ultimately, we had to get really creative which lead to a new tradition where we would celebrate Christmas early and the kids loved that!

My partner, Heidi and would just surprise the kids, and announce: “OK, it’s December 21st, let’s have Christmas today.” We would have such an amazing time simply because we didn’t get hung up on the idea that it had to happen a certain way or on a particular day. For younger kids who are waiting for Santa, you can explain that Santa starts early for families that have 2 homes, so that both families can celebrate with the kids when they visit! Remember to mention that Santa is a really smart guy!

I really hope that you get to see your kids during December, but if you don’t, you need to carry on as if you will! Wrap the presents that you have bought, sign the cards and then store them in a hidden place in your home. If you haven’t bought any gifts yet get out there and shop, even though you think you might not see your kids.

If you see little Johnny, (I’ll refer to “Johnny” because it is a common name) in March, you can put your Santa hat on and say, “You know what, Johnny? I have been waiting for this since December 25th. Ho-ho-ho, it is Christmas! Let’s go see what’s left under the tree.” You can have Christmas anytime. Your son or your daughter will be blown away that you didn’t forgot them because they may have been told something else by their mom.

It is so important for your kids to know that you did not forget them – those waiting gifts can – in a split second – resolve their feelings of rejection and resulting low self-esteem. No matter the month, March, June, whatever month it is later on in the year it is still okay and can make a world of difference for a child. We know that this is not an easy situation, but remember that the sad feelings you have need to multiplied by 100 to equal how the children feel.

In my own experience, I had to learn to let go of the idea the Christmas or Holidays had to be perfect. It was more important to create happiness for the kids and myself and their mother (my ex) – even when my ex was making the holiday difficult. I struggled every year and it was never perfect but we do have many happy memories. One of the things that I have come to realize over the years, especially now that Heidi and I are empty nesters, our kids are 28 and 23 – life is not perfect!

I raised a stepson and a daughter and today they are making their own life in the world and we have to begin the process of sharing them with their new partners and someday they will have kids and we’ll be the grandparents.

As extended family grows we won’t be spending every Christmas with them anyway. It’s all part of the process of life and one truth that I have learned, both as a child of divorce and as a divorced dad is that ultimately life does equalize.

Many fathers who are shut out of the lives of their kids can lose faith that the situation will ever turn around, yet it most often it does when you least expect it.

Why?

Lets look at adopted kids – they eventually have a need to know where they came from and who their biological family is. If you have not been able to be an involved father for a significant amount of time, as your children mature they will want to know more about you and what happened that caused you to be absent.

Rule #1 tell the truth, but without anger and blaming.

Kids can figure things out. If your children have been primarily raised by your ex, they may have been told many untruths. Set your months / years of anger aside and start fresh to build a solid relationship with your children. 
If you allow your anger to surface, your children will assume your anger is directed at them, and you will have likely jeopardized your ability to re-connect.

A pressure-free, guilt-free holiday is the best Christmas gift to give your kids. Recently our daughter told us about how important and special Christmas at her (maternal) Grandma’s was, partly because Grandma was getting older and as she pointed out “Grandma’s not going to be here forever”. I know that I’ll be here longer than her Grandma, so I understood and appreciated why our daughter wanted to spend Christmas there.

As in every family, holidays can be difficult for many reasons. Our daughter was upset about a comment about me, from someone in her maternal family and it wasn’t her mother who said it, in fact, my ex defended me. Ultimately, our daughter said that she had sacrificed spending Christmas Day with me, but had to face unpleasantness from the family she did spend time with. The fact that she used the word sacrifice is significant.

In these types of situations children have to sacrifice and that’s just not right. Our role as parents is to make the sacrifice knowing full well how difficult this can be for children – it’s our job to make it easier.
Christmas and Holiday visitation nightmares can be made more manageable for the kids. It’s a gift that might initially be difficult to give, but it’s the most important gift, the gift of peace – which benefits the kids now and in the future.

Remember that it’s hard to be a kid in a divorced family at this time of year. Do what you can to make it easier for your kids and they will love and appreciate you in an entirely new way.

Danny Guspie co-hosts a weekly TeleSeminar for Divorced Dads,
with his partner, Heidi Nabert, on Sundays 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific

http://www.DivorcedDadWeekly.net

Start A Dad's Group

Having started a Father’s Group (Pop Culture) over three years ago I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve done as a father.  At the time I was freelancing and was essentially a SAHD (Stay at Home Dad) and desperately needed some dad-bonding where I could get advice from other guys trying to love their kids well.  There were not many books out at the time, although a number of blogs (Rebel Dad is one of my faves) featured dads talking in real voices about raising their children and authentic issues they faced.

I wanted our meetings to have some structure.  For one thing–no kids allowed.  Some of the guys have done things with their families (golfing, bike trips) but the group has lasted largely because we can’t find other agnostic settings (meaning non religious settings) where we can discuss specific fathering techniques where we are not judged by what we do, but simply provided a platform to bring up issues we’re dealing with and people who can lend advice about what they’ve done in similar circumstances.

So here’s how we run our meetings:

  • Introductions.  Name, our job, how many kids we have.
  • Issues.  These can be concern focused (“my three year old daughter doesn’t respond to time outs” or positive reports (“my son is now potty trained”)
  • Round Robin.  We go around the table talking about our issues in more detail and fellow dads offer up perspective on how they’ve handled a situation.

I always stress as group moderator that we offer perspective versus advice.  Meaning, it’s not my place to say, “Whoa, pal, you spank?”  However, I can say something akin to, “I spanked my daughter a few times and besides the Herculean guilt I felt at doing so I realized it doesn’t change her behavior.  Plus the irony of me spanking her because she’s just hit her brother is just too intense.”

I worried at our first meeting that guys wouldn’t open up and we’d wind up talking sports (which I suck at).  We didn’t.  Within twenty minutes we were discussing everything from breast feeding (which wives didn’t and did and how long guys felt wives should do so before it was too long) to discipline, to wondering how we could balance spending time with our wives (and partners – we have a few gay dads in the group) and kids, maintain a full time job and have ANY time left for ourselves.

On a sidenote, our group caught the attention of some press, which makes me think (hope) that the general public has caught on to the fact that guys really seek out fellowship and camaraderie when it comes to specific advice on how to raise their kids. TIME wrote an article  (Fatherhood 2.0) whose opening question was “does being more of a father make you less of a man?” You can read the article to see what the authors thought.  My answer is pretty short – no.  Being invested in your kids and seeking out ways to be a better father means you’re stepping up to the plate for the best job you’ll ever have in your life.  The next article was a video piece by BusinessWeek TV called Dad’s Get More Involved which was mainly focused on shopping habits for dad but ended with the host quipping that our group featured dads who “traded recipies.”  (Apparently he did not feel being a more invested dad made you more of a man).

Long story short, I simply know I need as much advice as I can get from other guys on how to be a good dad.  It’s why I’m thrilled Chris has started this blog, why I often talk to my dad to get his perspective, and why I lean on guys I’ve known for years who I can go to with tough issues that typically don’t get tackled on Oprah or in magazines.

So if you have some buddies and you can get to a good diner (ours is fanastic – (The ParkWood Diner in Maplewood, NJ) get some chocolate cake and beer and start comparing notes about what really counts in life – your kids and how you can best love them in the context of a crazy, busy world.