An open letter to my children: Thank you for making me Dad

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your continued support. 

An Open Letter to my Children #ThanksBaby #ad

It has been said that when a baby is born, a dad is born. Pampers believes that is true. That’s why this Father’s Day, and every day, they’re thanking babies for empowering Dad and empowering him to discover new roles as he journeys through this thing called Fatherhood.

That’s definitely true for me.

I had helped out at our church’s day care when I was in high school. I had also served in another church’s nursery shortly after Christy and I had gotten married. I’d even helped babysit some young children over the years. But when my son was born, everything changed.

Because being Dad isn’t babysitting. It’s not even close.

Me with the Kids #ThanksBaby #ad

When I held my son for the first time, my world changed. I had been warned that it would change, but I had no idea how much it would actually change. It’s unbelievable. You’re holding this little, tiny, itty-bitty human being and nothing else matters. Nothing. You’re responsible for everything. This baby is relying on you. Of course, mom’s part of the story, too. We’ve been partners in this journey since Day One. But when it hits you that you’re actually a Dad, it’s an overwhelming realization. It’s a beautiful thing. And it’s a scary proposition, too. You certainly become a new man when a child becomes part of your family.

Every one of our children has a completely different story about how they came into our family. And each journey has changed my life forever. For that, I’m grateful. So I’ve decided to write a brief note to each of them.

Dear Aiden,

Me and Aiden #ThanksBaby #ad

As the firstborn, you are the trailblazer. Everything is new. And I’m sure I’ve screwed up a lot over the years (still kicking myself for making you cry when I was coaching you on the baseball field).  And let’s not talk about the first time I changed a diaper. Let’s just say it was a comedy of errors.

I’m thankful that we’re blazing this trail together. I see your desire to help others, your natural leadership ability (on the field, at church, and in life in general), and your desire to make a difference with your life, and my heart explodes with pride, joy, and excitement. You’re going to do great things, my boy. In fact, you already are.

Even though we might disagree about which episode of Star Wars is the best.

Love,
Dad

Dear Weldu,

Me and Weldu #ThanksBaby #ad

I’m thankful that you joined our family last year. You filled the empty chair at our dining room table. You have made our family complete. Thank you.

I am proud to call you my son. I am excited to see you use your athletic gifts to the best of your ability, taking advantage of the opportunities that are before you.  Your English continues to improve and you are going to do great things wherever you are.

I may not be the biggest fan of soccer, but I’m your biggest fan. So I will continue to go to your games, even though I have no idea what’s going on half the time. Because you are worth it.

You always will be.

Love,
Dad

Dear Aly,

Me and Aly #ThanksBaby #ad

Oh, Aly.

Where do I begin?

You have always marched to the beat of your own drummer. I think you cried for the first 6 months, simply because you wanted to. That’s why some of our extended family still calls you “Waah-ly.” Thanks for growing out of that. Seriously.

Your love for animals, especially dogs and horses, is infectious. You have the biggest heart for others that I’ve ever seen. Ever. And your artistic ability? Mind-blowing. You certainly have an eye for photography.

Thank you for reminding me to explore new things and to make the most of every opportunity I have. You are our free spirit. But I hope you realize that wherever you go and whatever you do, you will always have a home right here in my heart.

Love,
Dad

Dear Mihret,

Me and Mihret #ThanksBaby #ad

You opened my heart, helping me realize that family is so much more than just blood. When it was time to leave you that first day, I had to put you back in your crib and go back to our Guest House. You cried when I put you down. It took all that was within me not to reach back down, scoop you out of your bed, and promise you that I will never ever leave you again. Ever. You broke my heart that day, but your smile makes my heart grow every time I see it.

You are the most determined little girl I’ve ever met. I think you’re the most determined little girl anyone has met.  And you have such a joy for life that it’s absolutely contagious. Thank you for challenging me with your determination. When you keep on pushing, never accepting “no” for an answer, you encourage me to have that same fighting spirit. You light up the room with your smile. And that laugh of yours? It just makes everything better. Thank you for being you and for inspiring everyone around you. You certainly inspire me.

Love,
Dad

None of my children are babies anymore, but I’m still grateful that each one of them call me Dad. It’s an honor that I do not take lightly.

I’m also thankful for companies like Pampers, who honor dads for simply being dads. They recognize dads for all of the amazing things they do – both big and small – to help little ones have a better, loving, and more fulfilling life.

OK. Now it’s your turn.

What do you have to say to your baby? What are you thankful for?

Share your gratitude on twitter by using the #ThanksBaby hashtag!

Father’s Day ideas for an Indiana fan

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In 49 states, it’s just basketball. But this is Indiana. We take basketball (and other sports) pretty seriously. And if your dad is a fan of Indiana like I am, you might be wondering what to get for him this Father’s Day.

I’m sure he’s going to love one of these suggestions.


Here are 16 Father’s Day ideas for the Indiana fan in your life:

Title Fathers Day Gift Guide - Indiana

Continue reading “Father’s Day ideas for an Indiana fan”

My Father’s Day Wish

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There’s lots of stuff I’d love to have happen this Father’s Day. I’d have loved to have been awakened by bacon topped with bacon with a side of bacon in bed this morning. I’d love to spend the day with my kids, my Dad, and my father inlaw – fishing, grilling, and talking IU hoops. I’d love be able to announce that all of the roadblocks to our adoption of Little Man have been eliminated and that we’re heading over to Ethiopia to bring him home immediately. I’d love to be able to tell you that I’m starting a new dream job tomorrow and that it’s within walking distance from my house – and that this happened less than a week after being given the boot by my previous employer (Oh yeah. Did I mention that I was fired on Tuesday?).

I think I can safely say that none of these things are going to happen. And you know what? I’m OK with that. Because these things (yes, even the bacon covered with bacon with a side of bacon) are completely out of my control.

I can, however, share Oren’s story. That’s something I can do.

For more than a year and a half, I’ve been part of a pretty remarkable community of Dad Bloggers. And while I’ve been a bit of a lurker in the group during the majority of my time as part of the community, I can tell you that even though most of us have never met in person, we’ve got each other’s backs. We’re there to encourage, celebrate with, challenge, and even cry with each other – because we share a bond of fatherhood and know how tough being a dad can be at times.

The reason we’re together is because of Oren. He brought together this ragtag group of bloggers and somehow figured out a way to turn us into a community. And now Oren is in the battle of his life.

No. That isn’t hyperbole.

He’s fighting Stage Four lung cancer.

And so even though I’m looking for another job and things are a little uncertain right now, I know I’m going to land on my feet. But Oren?

I can’t imagine what days like today are like for him and his family. So all I can do is support him however possible. And since they live on the East Coast and we’re here in the Hoosier Heartland,  that means I need to share his story and ask you to consider giving a few dollars to support his family. It would mean a lot to Oren. It would mean a lot to me.

Whether you’re able to give $50,000 or $.50. It doesn’t really matter to me. I just hope to help make this Father’s Day a memorable one for his family. And I hope you’ll help out.

Thanks. And happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. Thanks for being awesome and doing what you do.

My featured artist

For Father’s Day, I’d like to call your attention to this art gallery. While it features many talented artists, there’s one that soars above and beyond all others. She does in my book, anyway. Can you figure out which one I’m talking about? I’m sure you’ll be totally surprised when you see her subject matter. 🙂

I’d like to thank Designer Daddy for putting this gallery together and for giving me yet another excuse to brag about my daughter.

Thankful Thursday (weekend edition*)

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful for this week:

  • Feeling the love from my wife and kids on Father’s Day. They made my favorite dessert. Also got to hang out with Christy’s dad, which is always enjoyable.
  • A new amazing summertime pizza recipe that’s out of this world!
  • Vacation Bible School. I’ll have to explain this in more detail in another post this weekend. Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting to say I’m thankful for this. 😉
  • Can I say I’m thankful I didn’t have to preach this past Sunday? Well – I just did say that so I guess I can. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day messages have always been the toughest for me to prepare.
  • Watching the NBA Finals with my son (even though the team we were cheering for lost).
  • Old friends.
  • New opportunities.
  • Did I mention the orange cake? That’s always worth mentioning more than once.

Your turn! What are you thankful for this week?

* Here’s the deal: There will be some days (like this past Thursday) where I won’t have time to share my Thankful Thursday post. Fortunately, my weekend begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday so that means I’m allowed to post my Thankful Thursday posts anytime during the weekend and still call it “Thankful Thursday.” Not buying what I’m selling? 

Too bad. I’m doing it anyway.

Blessed

I must say, I have three wonderful kids. And a pretty amazing wife.

I’m truly blessed.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

Father’s Day

For Father’s Day, I was taken to a secret location and told it was going to be ‘The Funnest Day Ever!’  We wound up at Warriors Path State Park for a picnic after church.  Then we spent the day playing around the park.  It will definitely rank up there as one of the funnest days ever.

I tried to take a picture of all of us on the paddle boat.  This was only the second time the kids had been on a boat.  The other time was when we went to Ft. Sumter in Charleston.

Both the kids made cards for me.  In fact, Aiden made three of them.  One was a picture of the IU logo that said ‘IU wins the game.’  The other one was a note that said:

Dear Dad
Sunday you can take the day off.
from Aiden

Once I had his permission to take the day off, it was definitely one of the funnest days ever!