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Jun 292011
 

The first Social Media and Blogging Conference I attended was BlogWorld which was last October in Vegas. That was my only experience attending this type of event so it set the precedence for what similar types of conferences might look like. Of course I allowed myself to stay open to the fact that there is going to be variations depending on conference, locale, etc.

Type-A Parent Conference used to be known as Type-A Mom. If you’re not a parent blogger you probably wouldn’t know that those that are classified as “Daddy Bloggers” like myself are few and far between. However, “Dad Bloggers” have been making more noise in recent years and are starting to make more of a name for themselves. With the onset of more talented male writers blogging about parenting, Kelby Carr decided to expand her conference to include us “little people” too! I will say from a male’s perspective and even though I have no problem going to a “Mom Conference” it was a nice feeling knowing I was going somewhere that had “Parent” in the name. Sometimes, as someone who blogs about parenting, you find yourself as second class citizen to the “Mom”. This is not a complaint but rather an observation. I’m not going to get into the politics of parent blogging here but let’s just say I was really looking forward to attending Type-A Parent Conference.

Overall, I thought it was a perfect mix of education, networking, and fun. In addition, everything was very well organized. I never felt lost or as if I didn’t know what was going on. Well, other than my usual state of confusion. Breakfast, snacks, and lunch were served daily (Food!!!), and the sessions were all laid out in such a way that you had a nice mix of downtime as well. There were usually several sessions going at once which made it a little difficult to pick and choose where to go but that’s the nature of these things and something you come to expect when you’re trying to pack in so much information in just a few days. I thought for the most part the folks presenting did a good job with only a few minor instances where I questioned how much effort someone put in to the presentation. However, as I mentioned that was certainly the exception to the rule. All the presenters were friendly, knowledgeable, and had an overall very positive energy to them.

There was one session in particular that really got me thinking about the direction of my blog. I went to the Parenting Session and was thinking this would have been one of the more popular ones to attend. I was surprised when the room wasn’t packed. It made me wonder if people weren’t so concerned with Moms and Dads in the parenting space what were they concerned with? Well, there were some other really great sessions going on. In fact, there were others going on that I really wanted to attend but I felt a sense of obligation to go as someone who always classified himself as a “Daddy Blogger”. It got me thinking if that’s really a title I needed and/or wanted to have. I started this site as a way for me to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences on raising O and Jake. That can still stay the same but maybe I don’t have to limit myself? Perhaps I’m pigeonholing myself into a category that just doesn’t need to be there? At the very least it deserves some consideration.

Besides meeting some really great people that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know on Twitter and Facebook there were some great parties as well. I liked the fact that everything was at the hotel which meant you didn’t have to worry about taking cabs or shuttles anywhere. I also liked the fact that while the focus was on the blogger I saw quite a few children there. Of course, this only made me miss my children that much more but it was nice to see that the conference embraced family as much as it did “talking” about family.

All in all this was a great experience for me. It was a relatively small conference in terms of attendees and I know this is done intentionally. I think this is a conference that has something for everyone; whether you’re a first time blogger or one that’s been writing for years. Anytime you can leave an event like this with new found friendships, additional knowledge about your passion, and a sense of direction and purpose, it’s a good thing. I look forward to adding the Type-A Parent to my list of must attend conferences in the years to come.

They made me dress up and dance too! Ack!

The “lovely” photo above was taken from my new friend Christine Young of www.FromDatesToDiapers.com. Not only is Christine a great photographer but an awesome blogger and mom of 7 beautiful kids. Christine is just one of the amazing people I met at Type-A Parent.

Jun 282011
 

Traveling away from my wife and kids is always so hard. It’s especially hard for me knowing I’m going to be away from O and Jake. Of course, I miss my wife but she knows I’m leaving, she’s knows I’m coming home soon and whether it’s through Facebook, email, texts, or phone calls we can always count on being able to talk to each other any time of day. My kids on the other hand are a different story.

O is of the age where she gets that you’ll be leaving for a while and that you’re likely coming back in short order. Jake, however, is a different story. He’s still just 22 months and while he may vaguely understand you’re leaving I’m not convinced he really knows what that means or what the impact is.

I’ve found the best way to help ease any anxiety children might have about parents leaving is to communicate and communicate often. Of course, this will differ depending on the age of the child. For my two little ones, 3 and under, I’ve found a good little heads up that a trip is forthcoming helps. About a week out from my trip I’d reach out to the kids letting them know that I would be taking a plane somewhere. Both of them are familiar with planes as they recently flew to Israel so I think that helped put a familiar and positive thought in their mind. I would do the same the days leading up to the trip as well. On the morning of the trip I’d remind them that we’re going to talk every night and hopefully even see each other (via Skype). I think letting them know that we’re going to talk and/or see each other real soon shortens the amount of time they feel they’ll be “away” from you.

While I’m away I make it a point to call them even though sometimes they’re so preoccupied with things they don’t seem interested in talking. I love snapping a picture of myself and texting it to my wife’s phone. They can see what I look like right then and there. Often times I’ll make a funny face so I can still “play” with them even if I’m not right there. Of course, my wife returns the favor by sending me pics and/or videos of those little ones. Below is a recent video of them that my wife sent me.

Traveling can be very hard and I know every time I leave I just miss them so very much. While the tips I mentioned were meant to be designed to help with the anxiety children might feel when a parent leaves town, I’m beginning to wonder if they’re not really meant for me instead! I like to think they’re helping my children but I do suppose they could be just fine all along and the real baby is this Daddy missing his family when he’s away.

Jet Set Dadstreet 2

Jun 202011
 

What a great weekend it was! Not because we took some fab trip somewhere or because I went on some extended golf excursion (both of which would have been nice). Rather, this was a somewhat “normal” weekend and that is exactly why it was so great!

Spending time with the family and soaking up the time with O and Jake was really all I wanted. I was hoping Saturday to have at least gone food shopping so that was one less thing to do on my Father’s Day but that didn’t quite work out. Wasn’t it so much better when we were kids and “grocery shopping” didn’t fall into the equation of, “Geez, how am I going to rock this weekend”?

So what did my Father’s Day look like?

Well I woke up around our normal time with O laying next to me (she must have made her way in, in the middle of the night). Soon after I awoke, Jake was calling from his room and I went in to change him and brought him back into bed with us so The Boss could nurse him.

Just after we all got up the kids brought over two awesome cards!. Both had a printed pic of them and both had each of their artistic renderings applied both front and back. I have no idea what they drew but it was colorful and there were a lot of curves. I’m thinking it probably looked a lot like what your 1 and 3 year old would do. Only this was closer to the fine work of Picasso or Rembrandt until you take out my biased opinion and then it’s back to looking like what you’d expect from a toddler of this age. How cute!

It was a casual morning, I did the bills <—Sounds fun, huh?

Read the paper (more like skimmed) and my favorite part, the comics!

The Boss asked what I wanted to do and really I wanted was to go for a walk with the kids (pic above is from our walk)

After cleaning up the house, feeding the kids, ourselves and each other we were off for a ride.

I totally loved them and it even brought a tear to my eye. I get all sentimental like my Mom….terribly annoying when you’re trying to be cool and all (of which I cannot do).

Once in the car both O and Jake fell quickly asleep. We took a drive around the coast and into Carmel (which is only about 10 minutes from home). After stopping off for sandwiches we parked by the ocean and ate while we watched the surfers tackle the waves.

After the kids got up we headed for that walk I wanted. It was a blast seeing them run and play. One of the great things about going on walks with them is that they’re always exploring and seeing something new. Whether it’s the ocean or just the little plants and flowers they find along the trail.

After our walk we wound up going to one of their favorite parks in our neighborhood. They had a ton of fun and we got to soak up some extra sun while we watched them tackle the jungle gyms.

Our Sunday Father’s Day couldn’t be complete without Sushi, right? Well apparently it could cause the one place I wanted, Sushi Heaven, in Carmel was closed!

Runner up? Chinese take-out so we could enjoy it in the comfort of our own house. If any of you have kids O and Jake’s age you know how nice it is to sometimes just eat it at home. For the most part, they’re wonderful kids in restaurants. We’ve been taking them since nearly birth on a regular basis. But when they’re tired or just have had enough, you know better than to risk it.

Back at home the funniest thing happened. Actually this was the second funniest thing but I’ll start with this. The kids were playing outside just after dinner and when we looked in their rom, O was giving Jake a pedicure using a branch off a small bush!

Oy Vey!

So this was only second funniest to the first funniest thing that happened today. Earlier on we saw O laying on the couch lifting her shirt and Jake running over. What was crazy was that he immediately put his mouth on her stomach! We were like, “What is going on here?”

Turns out, O was trying to be nice and decided she’d breastfeed him. The only problem is she’s not exactly able to to do that and unfortunately for Jake he had no idea! I’m pretty sure he left still hungry but O was happy she felt like she was helping Mommy out! lol

So overall, even though this was a “normal” day it was all I really wanted. I was thankful to have just one more normal day with each of the people responsible for why I’m able to celebrate Father’s Day. After all, that’s really what it’s all about and although, a great trip or some golf time would have been tons of fun, spending the day with my family just doing family stuff is really the only gift I could get – And lucky me? – I get this every day!

 

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