Starting a Tradition of Picking Out a Christmas Tree

Gus and Lucas Shaffer at the Christmas Tree

The days after Thanksgiving is now Christmas Tree day as long as I am in charge…well, in a decision making position.

Whitney, Gus and I visited a local Tree farm and found out just how hard it is to pick out the perfect tree.  I had a flashback with the Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” movie when they were in the snow driven woods with a chainsaw.

We found a 9 footer.  It was well rounded and had a full set of limbs and everyone agreed it would look nice.

Gus did have an accident.  He was pacing through the trees trying to get around and hit a small hill.  His foot got caught and he dove, head first, into a small patch of rocks, dirt and grass.  A little bit of blood on his upper lip, mouth full of grass, a moment of surprise and brushing off his clothes and he was off again.

All together, we had a wonderful experience.  And we can’t wait to do it next year…already.  🙂  Let’s just call it a new tradition.

Merry Christmas!

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

More Posts

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

More Posts

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

More Posts

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

More Posts

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.

More Posts - Website

Monkey Joe’s: Welcome to The Jungle

I am often reminded about my childhood when I see Gus blend into the masses at Monkey Joe’s.  There is freedom in numbers while I watch him interact with no name children of his own age. He has a good nature as he navigates and watches the others jump from moon bounce to big slide.

But what I see and what he is thinking are two different things. His mind is reeling as the older kids scatter around him and he tries his best to keep up.  Coupled with the height and weight of a 4 year old, Gus is a modest 2 year old who has yet to find his balance and he does incredibly well on his own. I must admit letting him loose into the bigger areas are frustrating as I can not be there to help all the time.

I guess this is a lot like adulthood.  We go in one side as the entrance and then bounce around, often off of others, to find that the climb to the top is all about the final slide to the bottom.  Then you climb off and circle around to do it again.  Except in life, the ‘rides’ are often over complicated by those who stand around and get in the way of those who are on their way to the top.  Once in a while, as the video will show, people will surprise you and do remarkable things because they see they can help.

Welcome to the jungle, Gus.

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

More Posts

Visiting A Store: #Dadurday Can Have No Plans

Dadurday with Guster - Petland

Dadurday with Guster - Petland

I wonder the ratio of actual purchaser to browsing parent with kid.  It should be very high seeing how in one Saturday morning we ‘crashed’ several legitimate businesses to just hang out and check out the people.  Gus and I are avid people watchers.

The picture on the left is Gus and I in the Laz-E-Boy center just ruff-housing on the furniture.  I had intention to buy until I found out how much they were.  Once I discovered I wasn’t financially ready to by the super-duty recliner we promptly ‘tested’ just about every other chair in the building.

We also went to Petland (see gallery below).  This was Gus’s first time in a pet store where he could actually get his hands on the animals and he was stoked.  He saw bunny rabbits, canaries, ferrets and puppies.  Also, we go to see snakes and many types of fish.

Gus had an amazing time and I can already tell we need to go back…or purchase a pet.  Hmmmmm….

I think a puppy in the near future may be good timing.

It’s amazing where adventure can take you when you have no plans…

Later!

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

More Posts

Raising a Healthy Family

After the Big Dog Jingle 5K Run
After the Big Dog Jingle 5K Run

Raising a family can be a rewarding yet challenging task. As the Dad, I feel that it is important for me to set an example of how to live a healthy and happy life. Sometimes, the kids pick up on that example and want to emulate the behavior. That’s what has happened with my 5 year old. I love running and she’s watched me run since she was born. Now she wants to be a runner too. I’ve encouraged her and helped her start slow. She’s now at the point where she can run 3.1 miles (5K) without stopping so I registered her for a race. We ran the Big Dog Jingle 5K. She ran the entire distance without stopping and crossed the finish line 1 second shy of 34 minutes. Along the way, she laughed and told me how she would run faster than me when she got older. She also inspired other runners to keep going and she brought smiles to a lot of faces. I was dressed as Santa and she was my little helper and we did our best to spread some Christmas cheer.

I hope my other 2 daughters grow up and want to run. I can’t imagine a better Dadurday than taking off on a nice run with my wonderful children along side of me.

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.

More Posts - Website

Christmas Parade in Uptown Columbus

What a great morning to spend with Gus and family.  The weather was just cold enough to remind us it was winter and Santa Claus was round and jolly.

It was a rushed morning as Gus and I hurriedly got things together to meet up with Jon and Angie Smiley so Gus and their son Aiden can hang out together.  As you can see, we took a lot of pictures. We got to see the mayor, clowns, BIG trucks, little trucks, old cars, horses, princesses and kings.

Gus really enjoyed himself as this was his first.

I am really starting to feel the holidays now!  Can’t wait til next year.

 

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

More Posts

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

More Posts