Deciding To Share Responsibility With My Son

Some of my family thought I was crazy when I told them I wasn’t going to put the bike together prior to Christmas morning.  I mean, I did want to see Gus’s face when the bike was ready to go and we hop on and go for a ride.

But I wanted to experience putting a bike together with Gus for the first time.  We had a blast!  Here are some pictures to share.

Gus and I spent roughly about a half hour walking through each part of the bike learning the names and way they fit together. Luckily, this bike fit together like a puzzle with several large pieces assembled.

Now we are ready to ride!

 

Lucas Shaffer

I am a working father who loves to spend time with my son, Gus. I created this site to give other dads an outlet to share their adventures with their kids. I have a lovely wife, Whitney and spend most of my work time as an entrepreneur, blogger, programmer, designer and podcaster. Follow me on twitter; @lucaslshaffer

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Building a Memory in an Afternoon

Lucas Shaffer and his son Gus

We had a wonderful afternoon putting together our new Masterbuilt grill.  Gus and I spent almost an hour and half interacting with tools and discovering many of the simple ideas around pieces of this puzzle.

When we were putting this together, we had to follow directions.  I really sat down with Gus and laid out the details and taught a bit of patience.  He seemed to want to take the piping of the legs and try to put them end to end.

Once we completed the grill, we sat back and smiled.  It was truly our first time we were able to handle screwdrivers and nuts and bolts to accomplish something together.

Our new grill has already created many new rules in the house.  For instance, no touching the grill with daddy is cooking.  No running around the ‘hot’ grill.  It seems early, simple rules but the grill has given me and my son a place to hang around outside and has added a much needed flavor option for our meats.

I hope this will be a memory he will remember because I know I will never forget.  🙂

Lucas Shaffer

I am a working father who loves to spend time with my son, Gus. I created this site to give other dads an outlet to share their adventures with their kids. I have a lovely wife, Whitney and spend most of my work time as an entrepreneur, blogger, programmer, designer and podcaster. Follow me on twitter; @lucaslshaffer

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Trying To Teach The Basics: Home Activities

Gus playing Modern Warfare with daddy

Gus and Daddy learning to wash dishes

I haven’t written in a while but I wanted to check in and report the activities Gus and I can now participate in because he is a little older.  At 2 and a half, Gus can navigate a conversation, wash dishes and know which button on the controller does what.

The big question is, “What are the most important things to concentrate on when spending time at the house?” To me, there is a urgent need to get away from the computer and put some background ‘Diego’ on and try to participate in the many motor skill related tasks that Gus is carrying around with him.

It can be anything from building blocks, vacuuming or running outside. But the most enjoyable time is washing dishes. I don’t think he fully understands that dishes eventually become clean and the need to re-wash over and over is a bit redundant.  But we continue.

I wonder what all the other parents out there are doing in the house.  I wonder sometimes if living in close quarters (aka apartments) has been a big difference in our child’s development.  I mean, he is always at arms length.  It may be a hustle but we is always talking, always bringing me things and ALWAYS in to something.

If we would’ve had a bigger space to live in I wonder where his development would be. We never put a TV in his room.  This decision was ultimately the wife’s but I agree. Shoving our son in a room to watch hours of ‘Barney’ is a nice fall back with our tablet, but it can become a bit of a crutch as we turn it into an acceptable habit.

Here is a list of some of the home activities we participate in together:

Gus playing Modern Warfare with daddy

  • Washing dishes
  • Playing Modern Warfare
  • Vacuuming
  • Picking up and trash and taking it out
  • Laundry
  • and Cooking (certain items)

We usually get stuck inside a lot due to our budget constraints but we make the most of it.

Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes I wonder if we lived in a big old house and didn’t live on top of each other, how would we be.  At this point, I think Gus is an easy 4 year old in a 2.5 year old body.  His communication is top notch and his imagination is a bit alarming some times.

Overall, teaching the basics for living at home is something I may not have had when I was young. But I am sure my parents did what they could to put these basic home activities out there for me to participate.  I enjoy spending this time with Gus and look forward to doing ‘chores’ with him.

Lucas Shaffer

I am a working father who loves to spend time with my son, Gus. I created this site to give other dads an outlet to share their adventures with their kids. I have a lovely wife, Whitney and spend most of my work time as an entrepreneur, blogger, programmer, designer and podcaster. Follow me on twitter; @lucaslshaffer

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Zoodles: The Greatest App For Kids (And Parents)

Example of the main screen

Zoodles.com - WebsiteI’ve been meaning to write this post for a while.

For the past year, Gus and I have had one heck of time exploring a ‘kid-safe’ tablet application called Zoodles. We’ve watched Elmo dance and sing, Jason Mraz on YouTube.com and even interacted with puzzles, games and drawings.

Zoodles is a smart idea.  The builders of Zoodles took on one big task that my other tablet applications seem to suffer from….multi-touch screen mistakes.  The problem stems from apps like NetFlix or YouTube itself.  Everything is fine until you touch it.  One slide of the finger on NetFlix and the movie pauses.  Venture further and it exits. Very frustrating for a toddler and for the parent.

Zoodles utilizes the ‘lock’ feature disabling certain system calls. It’s a brilliant idea and even though they didn’t create it they provided youngster specific information in a non-intrusive manner.

As I will show in a picture below, it can provide many facets of the imagination including video sing-a-longs, counting games and even finger painting.  So, the genius part is that it is all tracked to show progress.

Every week I get an email that gives me clear and precise data on the subject matter of the games and selections made.  Everything from Amount of Time spent on Cognitive Development (see below) to Life Skills.  It will even send you small thumbnails of the drawings that have been made.

To get to the point, Zoodles has been a big part of our life allowing my son to learn, have fun and use the tablet ‘like dada’. It gives him great confidence when he is able to pop the virtual bubbles or catch all the monkeys. I do believe it has been a development tool that has been unparalleled to most other devices.

I highly recommend anyone out there to grab this download and try it yourself. Within a few minutes, you can be enjoying hundreds of thousands pre-screened activities for your child that you can monitor.

Lucas Shaffer

I am a working father who loves to spend time with my son, Gus. I created this site to give other dads an outlet to share their adventures with their kids. I have a lovely wife, Whitney and spend most of my work time as an entrepreneur, blogger, programmer, designer and podcaster. Follow me on twitter; @lucaslshaffer

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Remembering Why Being a Dad is Great

Normally, the first day of the weekend is Saturday.  It’s a special day for working Dads because it is our day to spend time with the family and enjoy a free day of fun.  We call it Dadurday and yesterday was a great Dadurday!

We filled Dadurday with challenge, success, excitement, and fun.  We started the day with a challenging run to support the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  My son, Xavier, is a Wish Kid.  If you haven’t read about him yet, he was granted a Wish to travel to Rome and receive a personal blessing from Pope Benedict XVI.  The Run for the Wishes 5K was organized by the Columbus Chapter of Make-A-Wish to raise money for granting Wishes and it was sponsored by Big Dog Running Co.  The whole family participated.  I ran while pushing Xavier in his jogging stroller, Amber (my wife) ran while pushing our 18 month old and 3 year old in the double job stroller, and our 5 year old ran along side of us.  Our 5 year old is quite the runner and this was her 3rd time running a 5K race.  This was a special race for her because she ran fast enough to claim 1st Place in the 14 and Under division.  I was certainly proud of her regardless of winning, but it was extra special to see her face when her name was called to the winner’s table.

After a great morning exercising and supporting a fantastic organization, we came home cleaned up for the next exciting part of the day.  Next on the Dadurday agenda, escape the heat by watching Disney on Ice at the Civic Center.  If any of you other Dads have little girls, then you know how much they love princesses and dancing.  Disney on Ice did not disappoint.  The only negative was that we couldn’t all sit together.  The Civic Center only allows one “normal” person to sit in the wheelchair seating.  Amber sat with Xavier and I sat with the girls.  We were just a few rows apart so it wasn’t too bad.  Xavier has helped us learn the value in adapting to any situation.  Teaching others to see the positive is one of his many gifts.  Check out the short videos below.

Disney on Ice 1 Disney on Ice 2

The day wasn’t done yet…  When we got home from Disney on Ice, the kids had another surprise waiting for them, grandparents.  My parents came down from western North Carolina to spend some time with the grandkids.  We spent some time at home recuperating from the busy day and visiting.  We had to rest a bit too because the Dadurday Fun Train had more stops to make.  A baby sitter was planned for the “twins” (Xavier and Caroline who both go to bed early).  We fed the “twins” some dinner, had bath time, and got the early birds in bed for the sitter.  Then it was time for the “big girls” to dress up for a night on the town with Mom and Dad and the Grandparents.  We loaded up and went to Downstairs at The Loft in hip Uptown Columbus.  Uptown was in full swing with lots of activities on Broadstreet including the local audition for Fox Network’s X-Factor.

This was a Dadurday to remember.  I don’t think I’ve done so much on a “day off” in a long time, but it was worth all the effort.  Today, I was so happy to be a Dad.  I got to support my son and a wonderful philanthropic organization.  I got to watch one of my daughters push herself and win a medal for her effort.  I got to be an example to my other two daughters on living a healthy and active lifestyle.  I got to see the smiling faces of my 4 wonderful children as they experienced the magic of Disney.  Finally, I got to help them appreciate their extended family with a nice and fun dinner.

It was a great day to be a Dad and it was a great Dadurday.  I can’t wait to hear how your special day was…

christopher.snipes

I'm the father of four wonderful children, a US Army Soldier and husband to the best wife in the world. I love my kids, my country and all things tech. I'm also an avid runner.

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Dada’s First Day of Daycare

Gus and Dada

Gus and Dada

grumble grumble…says the anxiety in my belly.

Today was the hardest day of being a Father to date. Today, I have become emotionally wounded by the events that occurred below. In no way was the great staff at our daycare responsible, but man, if it was going to go wrong, today was the day for me.

I will say that I was prepared. I was running through my head over and over that I was going to be able to walk away and trust in Gus’s ability to handle interaction outside the family circle. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be emotional. What I didn’t account for was the ratio of worse case scenarios versus preparation versus coincidence versus me.

Let’s say that 100 kids get dropped off at day care for the first time. 50% of the kids cry, parents cry, everything is fine. 49% of the kids cry, parents cry, everything is ‘OK’. 1% of the kids cry, parents cry and every small thing seems to just make it all worse.

Well, today…I was the 1%. Dropping Gus off a bit early snapped me in the face right off the bat and left me in a state of uncertainty. When we arrived, we entertained him for a bit, gave the wave ‘bye-bye’ and snuck out to the office area to finalize registration. To my demise we were just early enough that we had to wait for the attendant to arrive. It was only 5-10 minutes but after about the first 60 seconds we began to hear what I can only describe as scream crying. ‘I want my dadaaaaa….’ came echoing down the hall. I look at Whitney and we both recognize the cry for help. My heart dropped and all I heard was a low bass in my ears.  Wait.  I wasn’t prepared for this…

After a solid seven minutes of echoing hysteria right outside the door I could no longer take it. I was torn from ‘saving the day’ and rescuing Gus with a shiny, super smile or sit listening to my heart get pounded into a paralyzed mush. I got up…and walked out the front door.

After a minute or two, I saw our admin arrive and came back in to fill out the paperwork. I wasn’t really trying to hide anything but I wasn’t sure what to expect next. My entire day was shot at this point and I really couldn’t find motivation throughout the day. The day was spent with the starch memory of Gus crying out for me. ugh.

Needless to say, I went to pick him up early and he was fine.  A little shook up, a little disheveled…but he was fine.  Dada is happy…  phew….

Tomorrow is another day.

Lucas Shaffer

I am a working father who loves to spend time with my son, Gus. I created this site to give other dads an outlet to share their adventures with their kids. I have a lovely wife, Whitney and spend most of my work time as an entrepreneur, blogger, programmer, designer and podcaster. Follow me on twitter; @lucaslshaffer

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Visit to the Coca Cola Space Science Center

Coca Cola Space Science Center Columbus Georgia

What a great time for us!  I hadn’t been to the Coca Cola Space Science Center in many years and it was good to see Gus attach to just about everything including the remote controlled space dump trucks and just about every button he could see.

We tried to sit through the Omnisphere experience and it was pretty amazing.  Gus had other plans.  I have come to realize that after about 15-20 minutes of sit down time he can become a very unhappy camper.  I guess this means no movie theater yet.  Hmmph.

If you get a chance, head down there.  It’s a small admission fee but the place is pretty cool.  Not enough to eat up an entire day but just enough to bridge the gap between breakfast and nap time.

Cheers!

Check out the pictures below!

 

Lucas Shaffer

I am a working father who loves to spend time with my son, Gus. I created this site to give other dads an outlet to share their adventures with their kids. I have a lovely wife, Whitney and spend most of my work time as an entrepreneur, blogger, programmer, designer and podcaster. Follow me on twitter; @lucaslshaffer

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Uchee Creek on Fort Benning for their annual Oktoberfest

If you’re looking for some fun this weekend, consider heading over to Uchee Creek on Fort Benning for their annual Oktoberfest. There is a ton of fun stuff to do including a 10K trail run, 5K fun run (free), authentic music, food, and (of course) beer.

For more info about events and activites, you can visit the Fort Benning MWR Page: http://www.benningmwr.com/Oktoberfest.php

christopher.snipes

I'm the father of four wonderful children, a US Army Soldier and husband to the best wife in the world. I love my kids, my country and all things tech. I'm also an avid runner.

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Falling behind…

I’m a Dad that runs. I run at work in the US Army. I run for fun in marathons and ultra-marathons. I run after my four wonderful kids. I even run late from time to time. I love everything about running. I like that I can eat almost anything I want and I can drink full bodied beers without worrying about calories. I love the freedom that comes from being able to move my body for 26 miles or more. I also love that it inspires my children to live healthy lives and be runners too.

My 5 year old is already getting the bug. She’s seen me run the St Jude Marathon while pushing her older brother in his wheelchair (http://youtu.be/49i7-urzfqU). She’s even participated in her own kids marathon where she logged 25.2 miles in the months leading up to the 2009 St Jude Marathon and ran the last mile for a “marathon”.

Now she’s getting old enough to actually run at a decent pace and for enough distance that she can accompany me on some runs. We participated in a 1 mile fun run at Idle Hour Park last Dadurday and she clocked off a 9 minute mile. The other day, I was doing an 18 mile long run and I ran past my family playing at Lake Heath Park. She asked how many more miles I had left and when I told I was just about done, she climbed down from the playground and proceeded to run the last 1.25 miles with me. Needless to say, I was a pretty happy Dad.  I was happy, that is, until she started running faster than I could at that point in my long run.  She proceeded to inform me that I was getting “old and I better not fall behind”.

Having kids is great and being a great Dad makes it a labor of love. I’ll keep on running and encouraging my kids to run with me. I’ll keep it fun and hopefully they’ll keep me into my later years.

christopher.snipes

I'm the father of four wonderful children, a US Army Soldier and husband to the best wife in the world. I love my kids, my country and all things tech. I'm also an avid runner.

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