the weight loss journey again

The Weight Loss Journey…Again

The Weight Loss Journey, 2022 Version

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

It has been an ongoing struggle for years. That’s the truth.

And there were times that I just didn’t give a damn. And it shows.

I love my pasta, pizza, and burgers but they are probably killing me, at least at the rate I am eating them. I knew it was time to make a change but I have been down this road before. I even succeeded once or twice in reaching my goal weight.

I haven’t been happy with how I looked or felt for years. While this might sound like a corny New Year’s Resolution, it’s not. I needed to make a change for my health, and for my kids. I started about 2.5 weeks ago with a change to my diet.

Before I get into this blog post I should tell you I am far from a nutritionist or health expert. I just knew I had to make changes to feel better, so I did.

I should also point out I have been declined life insurance coverage because my A1C was high. I was able to find alternative coverage but couldn’t afford the benefits I wanted because of my type 2 diabetes. I am now on a mission to beat it and not let it control me.

I have also come to realize that I eat horribly when I am stressed out. A lot of sweets, carbs, and fried foods. Recognizing why you eat and what contributes to bad habits is the first step in making a change.



What Changes Did I Make?

The first thing I did was quit sugary goods cold turkey. No more cookies, cakes, cupcakes, or cannolis. I stopped eating ice cream and candy. This was one of the hardest things to do. I often stopped at a convenience store and grabbed water, 5-hour energy, and some kind of sugary product.

The irony was the 5-hour energy was because I was tired, sometimes exhausted. The sugary product was because I was stressed, and caused me to feel tired to a point where I felt I needed a nap. The struggle was real.

I started taking multivitamins late last year to help build up my immunity during the pandemic. Also ironic is two weeks after I started taking them I caught COVID-19. I am still taking them and they have definitely helped me feel healthier. It’s an affordable way to build up immunity and increase your energy naturally.

I take GNC Mega Men every morning.GNC Mega Men One Daily

I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning, with a tablespoon of peanut butter. I love peanut butter. Peanut butter is loaded with sugar though so I cut this out in the morning and now drink a smoothie with fruits and vegetables. When I can find a peanut butter not loaded with sugar that still tastes good I will probably go back to oatmeal in the morning.

I eat a healthy-sized lunch loaded with veggies and usually chicken or fish. I have cut out red meat for now. And dinner is usually a protein shake or meal replacement shake.

Most importantly the sugary snacks have been eliminated. If I feel the need for something sweet I will eat a granola bar or something along those lines.

I have been on a water-only diet for years and drink at least a gallon almost daily. This is not a challenge for me. I did not have to cut soda or juices because I was not drinking them anyway. I can tell you when I first stopped drinking soda I lost a lot of weight very quickly.

I also eat very few carbs now. I haven’t been eating pasta at all which is very difficult for me. I don’t eat bread or rice. I substitute it with Quinoa. This is the brand my wife usually makes. It’s good and I don’t miss eating rice at all because of it.

quinoa

There are days that there is not enough time between the kid’s school and their activities to make dinner so I will treat them to fast food. I used to eat it too but have completely cut that out as well. This is something I am working to eliminate from their diet too. I will blog about that at some point down the road but I do notice a difference in attitude when they eat it.

How Is It Going?

It was hard to get started but it is getting easier now. I don’t have as many cravings as I did when I started. I am learning to drink more water when I feel the urge to eat a snack and to handle stress a different way, one of them is getting back to this website.

The worst part of the day tends to be the end of the day. I typically go from 5:30 am to 11 pm every day between the businesses and the kid’s activities I don’t have a lot of time so snacks always seemed necessary. I am so busy until after the kids go to bed that I don’t usually pay attention to snacks until then. Then I realize I am hungry and want a snack but I don’t eat after 6 pm now.


I definitely lost weight but I don’t know how much. My scale is broken but I went down a belt size. I also have more energy and cut down on the amount of 5-hour energy I take.  For instance, I have not had any today. There were some days I was drinking one every 5 hours.

There are days that there is not enough time between the kid’s school and their activities to make dinner so I will treat them to fast food. I used to eat it too but have completely cut that out as well. This is something I am working to eliminate from their diet too. I will blog about that at some point down the road but I do notice a difference in attitude when they eat it.

What Are The Results?

As I mentioned already I have not been keeping track of my weight. I do feel better with fewer aches and pains already. I definitely have more energy. My shirts are starting to fit better and I went down a belt size so there are some measurable differences.

The increase in energy leads me to believe my A1C is also lower but I do not have a way to measure that at home. I am planning to get a physical soon.

I have a long way to go and just today I started doing some exercise. I did a few push-ups. If you read this blog then you know I was running for a while, until I got injured. I want to get back to running at some point but the gym is too crowded in the COVID world, it’s winter so outside is not ideal, and my treadmill broke. But soon hopefully. I will continue to increase what I can at home.

In short, eating better foods, less food, taking in more vitamins, fruits, and vegetables has improved my overall mood, energy and has helped me to lose weight.

I have some weights at home that I can start lifting with again. I will also be purchasing this adjustable dumbbell soon (look for a review).

 

FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbell,25/55lb Single Dumbbell

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I have taken a few steps in the right direction now so hopefully, I can reach that destination.

One thing I will tell the younger generations (I am Gen-X) is to take care of their body at a young age. Avoid junk and fast food. Don’t drink soda, etc… It is so much harder to lose weight and get healthier as you get older.  I have successfully completed this journey before only to get off the treadmill and start eating horribly again. It gets harder every time.

 

The Dad Tax Years in the Making

It’s Been Years in the Making so 2022 it Is

It’s Been Years in the Making so 2022 it Is

If you’ve visited this blog over the years you’re probably keenly aware that I have not been keeping it up to date. Life has a way of interrupting the best-laid plans.

My kids are 3 years older now and a lot has changed in my professional life. I kept this site up because I did/do intend to get back to it. While I still believe the most important title I hold is daddy sometimes I can only do that job in the privacy of my own home.

What Have I Been Up To?

Professionally speaking a lot has changed while some things remained the same. I still consult on SEO projects but have decided I no longer wanted to handle other businesses’ social media marketing, digital advertising, or website development. I only consult on and train SEO. I do not actually handle it for other businesses anymore. If you need SEO Consultation click here.

The Search Ninja - Scott Gombar SEO Expert

I resurrected my IT Business (Nwaj Tech). It is a managed services provider (I call it Proactive IT). I have been getting busier and busier with that.

I also run a mastermind/networking group called Main Street Networking. I have been working on growing that. In fact, one of the hashtags is #LetsGROW

I still do some affiliate marketing, obviously. Clearly not enough to make a living off of but I work on it in my spare time.

I have been asked to write a book on being a dad a couple of times now but have not had enough time to sit down and complete it. I am still very seriously considering it but need to carve out time to write it.

I have also been asked to help put together a virtual dad convention. I am meeting with the person who asked me soon. This will be an international virtual dad convention date to be determined.

And finally, I am considering starting a podcast involving dads but with a twist that involves sports too. I don’t want to give more away just yet but I already own the domain so it’s coming.

2022 will be the first year that I do not coach baseball but my son is still playing. More on that in a bit.

What About the Kids?

isaiah on the mound - the dad tax

Isaiah is still playing baseball, at a much higher level than the last time I wrote. He is on a travel team and has been on a few over the last 4 years. He has made the local all-star team 4 years running now but will no longer be playing for that team anymore.

This past summer he had the walk-off hit to win the district championship for his team. He also closed every game of the tournament. He has aspirations of attending Vanderbilt University, obviously to play baseball.

Isaiah wants to visit every MLB stadium. So far we’ve visited Yankee Stadium and Citifield.

the daddy and hannah famous pic the dad tax

Hannah is still doing gymnastics and dance. She continues to get better at both. She is also very creative and has a lot of interest in all things science.

They’re both doing very well in school. They’re both playing the piano. Isaiah also plays the violin.

We are all just navigating our way through the post-COVID world (can we call it that yet). Yes, it did make the rounds in my house once late last year. Isaiah and Hannah spent exactly a year distance learning. It started to wear on Isaiah so we made the tough decision to send them back almost exactly a year after the pandemic started. He is flourishing now and we do not regret that decision.

I know every parent says this about their children but mine are super talented, super smart, and super energetic. They’re going places.

I am also proud to say that I am a grandfather now. My oldest daughter had her first child about 3.5 years ago. His name is Avery. He is full of energy and doing really well.

What About My Health?

If you know me you know I am a big supporter of addressing men’s mental health issues. I still support Movember every year as should you!

I gained some weight (not a lot) over the 3 years but I am working on losing it now, and beating Type 2 Diabetes. There will be logs about that too.

Oh, my beard is just a little bit longer now..just a little bit.

What’s Next for the Dad Tax?

I will continue to grow this brand and all that goes with it. I have other affiliate sites and my business sites that I also need to write for but will continue to create content for the Dad Tax. Of course, I will keep you all up to date on the virtual dad’s convention and hope to see all of you there.

When I am ready to run with the podcast idea I will share it here. It will be on a different website. I am still considering hosting a podcast on this site as well.

If I do write that book you know I will share that here as well.

Make sure you follow all of the social platforms to stay up to date.

its been a while the dad tax

It’s Been a While, but I Didn’t Leave (or Give Up)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

It’s Been a While, but I Didn’t Leave (or Give Up)

Izzy the dad tax

Life is Funny

I have not blogged on this site in a couple of months and it’s been gnawing at me.  I feel as though I am shirking my responsibilities.

Truth is I have just been very busy.  I started a new business, sort of.  It’s something I have always done for a select few but decided I am going to push forward with it.

I still run the SEO business, with carefully selected clients.

Kids

Holidays

Home Life

And other life challenges have all gotten in the way of me sitting down to write a blog for The Dad Tax.

These are all excuses though.  I can write a thousand-word blog in a very short time.  I have been known to put a blog post together in under 30 minutes.

It takes me longer to do all the other stuff that goes along with a blog post (images, SEO, sharing).

Truth is I was just tired.

I am the primary parent after school so that means my afternoons are tied up with a 4 and an 8-year-old, and sometimes an infant (my grandson).

My 4-year-old daughter has been a challenge at bedtime lately.  After 8 pm is usually my time to write blog posts and plan the next days’ social media posts.  She’s been eating at a significant portion of that time.

I have also been setting up how the new business is going to work.  I will talk about that another time but if you’re so inclined checkout nwajech.com.

Most days I am up no later than 6 am but sometimes as early as 4 am.

As you can see my schedule is complicated.

But I am not offering any excuses.  Just clarifying. 

What’s New?

My wife and I did visit Guatemala in October.  I will share that trip and pictures in another blog post.

Isaiah is taking winter baseball training at Ultimate Sports.  Gotta keep him warm.

As I write this, we are 5 days away from Christmas.  In our house, it’s a pretty big deal.  Then we hit the road to Virginia to visit my brother-n-law.

A disappointing Jets season is winding down and the hot stove is yet to get hot for the Yankees.

As far as the business side of The Dad Tax I did get my first payout from Google AdSense in October.  I don’t use AdSense on this site, but I have a couple of other sites that I use it on.

Hacksploitable.com is a completely automated blog featuring curated IT Security blogs.

ParanoidPenguin.com is my learning/teaching site that I have also not updated in a few months.

My AdSense earnings came from these two sites.

I have been very active in the dad groups on Facebook.  I hope that I have been able to help other dads.

Worth Mentioning

Isaiah has always been a quick learner.  He was reading before he started Kindergarten (now in 3rd grade).

Izzy has been more of a challenge but as she is approaching 5 she is starting to catch on.  What a relief that is because she starts Kindergarten in about 9 months.

She loves to draw and color too.  She is quite the artist already.  I am planning to get her a new artist set for Christmas (yes, I have not finished shopping yet, I am typically a Christmas Eve shopper kind of person).

Isaiah has been writing some short stories.  He shows a lot of promise and creativity with his stories.  He wants to write comics.

I am still a member of Sprezzabox and have yet to be disappointed.  The socks that I have received to date have held up quite nicely.

Another box should be arriving any day now.  I plan to review that one.  My last box included a watch that my son took, socks, and a few other items.  No box has had less than 6 items so far.

I will be reviewing the Roku Sticks and Kindle HD soon as well.  I have a Roku TV and a couple of older Roku boxes, but this will be the first time I use a Roku Stick.  Since we cut the cord and now use YouTube TV for live TV it was time to add this option to more TVs in the house.


And there will be lots more to come.  Now that Nwaj Tech is off the ground I have a little more time to write blog posts.

Now I am going to test some baseline alerting and contact rules.  If I don’t write again I truly hope everyone who reads this blog enjoys the holidays with their family and friends.

its ben a while the dad tax

A Dad’s Perspective on Boscov’s – How Boscov’s Thrives

How Boscov’s Thrives When Other Retailers Struggle.   Tour the New Boscov’s in Connecticut (A Dad’s Perspective)

Disclosure:  I was invited to a bloggers event at the Post Mall in Milford CT.  The event was for the opening of a new Boscov’s in the mall.  The opinions and thoughts are mine and not influenced by anyone. 

On Saturday, October 6th, 2018 a new Boscov’s celebrates their opening in Milford CT with a ribbon cutting & grand opening celebration.

On Friday I got to meet Jim Boscov (CEO of Boscov’s) along with some of the other executives and employees of Boscov’s and the Post Mall in Milford Connecticut.

 

We also toured the new Boscov’s and learned how they can open new stores when it seems other retailers are struggling to stay open.

As I was preparing to write this I read that Mattress Firm is preparing to close 700 stores. We all know of the struggles of Sears, Kmart and Toys R Us.  It seems like retailers not named Walmart or Target are struggling.

If you watch or read the news you have probably also heard that malls are struggling, and some are.  We will get to that later.

Why Did I Choose This Event?

I was the only dad blogger in attendance.  There was only one other male attending. He was there for a fashion blog.  I chose to do this because I think it’s important to understand that men do shop.  It’s important to get a dad’s perspective on what is perceived as a women’s world.

Men prefer to get in and out when they shop.  We almost always know what we want, where to get it, and the fastest way to accomplish this.

We don’t want to spend hours browsing the racks because we have other things to do, like take naps, play with the kids and procrastinate.  These things are very important.

There were approximately 20 women in attendance.  I presume most but not all are moms.  In the blog world, we get the moms perspective far more often than we do the dads.

I chose to do this knowing that I would be one of maybe a few men there.  I chose to do this understanding that this is usually a female dominated area.  I chose to do this to give a dad’s perspective.

How Is Boscov’s Able to Open New Stores?

Boscov’s is the largest family-owned department store chain in the United States.  They have been operating for over one hundred years.

With the addition of the Milford store they now have 47 stores in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, and Connecticut.

They provide a wide array of merchandise but do this with very competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Boscov’s also understands there are some areas it’s best not to try to compete in some areas like consumer electronics and sports equipment.

Boscovs Grand Opening Event in Milford CT

Here’s Where Boscov’s Differs from the Pack

They Only Open One New Store Per Year

Boscov’s is very intentional with their growth plan, choosing to only open one store per year.

Of course, they research and review the demographics of any potential location to see if it’s a viable location.

By opening only one new store per year they can focus on building and becoming a part of the community.  This sets them apart from competitors because they’re not oversaturating the area but instead taking the time to get to know the community and understanding the location.

Boscov’s Buyers are Good at What They Do

The buyers at Boscov’s know what they’re doing.  They know how to get the best deals on merchandise that the community wants.  They have the research and the contacts to be able to provide the best deals possible.

Boscov’s prides themselves on the relationships they have built with vendors.  These relationships help them get great deals on purchases that they are ready to pass on to their customers.

We met one of the buyers who has been with Boscov’s for over 30 years and has been the buyer for three different departments.  She knew exactly what would sell in Milford Connecticut and how to get the best deal possible on it.

30 years of experience will do that.

Boscov’s Would Rather Focus on Volume Than Profit Margin

Jim Boscov told us that Boscov’s would rather focus on giving its customers better pricing because they will buy more and more often from Boscov’s.  This means lower profit margins, but it also means customers are buying more from Boscov’s.

It seems to be working in everyone’s favor.

Mens Pants at Boscovs in Milford CT

Boscov’s Cares

They say that a company’s culture starts at the top.  Jim Boscov spent time telling us about the company including stories of how they helped people out during the great depression by giving them credit to purchase from Boscov’s when there was no guarantee that they would ever pay them back.

Everyone paid them back!

As we walked around other employees greeted us, not to make commissions but just to say hi.  We toured with someone from marketing who also greeted customers in the store as she walked through.

Jim was walking around talking to customers as we toured the store.  You could tell this was not a show but something that was practiced often.

Boscov’s hired 300 people at the new store.  They brought in another 150 people from other stores to train the 300 new employees.  Not for a few days but for 3 weeks prior to opening.

I have never worked retail, but I have heard horror stories about training. I also have a training background.  Three weeks of training in retail is impressive.

As you can see they do things a little differently.

Me being me did a little research outside of the tour.  Here’s something that was not shared with us during the event.

Jim Boscov, the CEO and obviously part of the Boscov family, has worked other positions for Boscov’s including Assistant Store Manager, Store Manager, Buyer and numerous other positions over a 40-year career at Boscov’s.

I’d say It’s safe to say he worked his way up.  You can rest assured he knows the business inside and out.

The New Boscov’s in Milford Connecticut.

OK, enough about the company.  Let’s talk about the new store….from a Dad’s perspective.

They have women’s clothes, makeup and so on.  I know that dads probably don’t care much about that unless you need a gift.

Let’s talk about what we want!

Children’s Clothing

First, there is a nice assortment of children’s clothes.  I don’t shop for the kid’s clothes often but when I do I prefer it be as painless as possible.

Boscov’s does just that.  There are clothes for children from infant to young adults (teens).  There are clothes for just about any reason.

It’s easy to figure out where the clothes you’re looking for are.

And there are some great deals to be had on children’s clothes because their buyers know what they’re doing.

They do have a small department with toys from Melissa and Doug.  

Did You Say Fudge?

I had no idea…really, none.  Boscov’s has a candy bar.  They also make their own fudge.

I was fortunate enough to not only be able to try some, but I also received a box to take home.

I tried pumpkin flavored fudge.  I know what you’re thinking.  Don’t judge me.

It was amazing.

I have a problem though.  I love chocolate and peanut butter together.  I took home a box of chocolate & peanut butter fudge.  Also, unbelievable.

My wife swiped it the next morning and I have not seen it since.

They have won awards for their fudge.  If you don’t go to Boscov’s for any other reason, then go for the fudge.

Award Winning Fudge at Boscovs in Milford CT

Men’s Clothes

Yes, they have men’s clothes.  In the Milford store, it’s a little more than half of the first floor.  They have casual and suits, ties, and socks (I will get back to the socks in a few sentences).

They have outerwear and underwear.

I know what you’re thinking, so does Walmart and Target.

I loathe Walmart for so many reasons.  Target is cool but sometimes a little pricey.

Boscov’s gets it.  They’re not trying to be either store.  They are family owned and believe that their whole team is part of the Boscov’s family.

That means they do treat their employees right (Walmart does not) and are not overpriced (Target is on some things).

OK, now…I am a short and t-shirt kind of guy who can dress up, and does like to dress up, sometimes.

What I don’t like is the hassle of buying a suit and then having it altered to meet my size.

Boscov’s simplifies the suit buying process.

They have a large selection of suits and can take care of everything in the store.  They also have all the accessories you might need including ties, socks, and shoes.

I saw a large selection of ties but didn’t have a lot of time to go through them as I toured the store.  There was a large color and style selection easily visible as we walked around.

For you bow tie fans they have those too.  I am personally not a fan of bow ties.

You’re reading this so there’s a good chance you’ve read my Sprezzabox blog post where I talk about my sock addiction.  I have several resources to get my sock fix but here’s something I did not know.

Boscov’s has a wide selection of $.99 socks.  I don’t know if this is something they have in other stores, but the Milford store does.

I live 5 minutes from the Meriden Connecticut store, so I will report back to you on the availability there.

I can say with confidence that dads will have no problem filling their clothing needs here.  Sock addicts go check it out.

Socks for 99 cents at Boscovs in Milford CT

As Seen on TV

You know those commercials you see late at night with the cool air fryer or other gadgets?  Well. Boscov’s has a large As Seen on TV section where they carry all those items.

It’s really cool for us dads because there are things we would like in this section.  I saw a George Foreman grill that I will be getting.  They have lots of other household gadgets that intrigue me as well.

Free Gift Wrapping

I am not a fan of wrapping gifts.  I have become an expert at buying gift bags with tissue paper.  To make matters worse my wife also does not like wrapping gifts.

Christmas Eve is painful for us.  We procrastinate every year and complain all night about wrapping the gifts.

Boscov’s has free gift wrapping.  See you soon gift wrappers.

Jim Boscov started talking about curtains and drapes but I suddenly went deaf.  I cannot explain it.

I Am Sold

As we were touring the store I had a short conversation with Jim Boscov.  During the conversation, it came up that I live 5 minutes from the Meriden store.

He asked me what they can do better.  I didn’t have an answer for him.  My wife does most of the shopping.  I was tempted to call her, but I knew she was with clients.

He said you can be honest with me.  The only thing I could think of is I would like to see more children’s clothing though Milford seems to have quite a bit.

He genuinely cares what his customers think.  I have never spoken to the CEO of a retail chain before, but I know that most CEOs are not open to talking to customers like this.

I saw him later talking to another customer at the candy bar.  I can tell he really cares what customers have to say.

I mentioned earlier in this blog that a company’s culture starts at the top.  It’s evident to me that the biggest reason that Boscov’s continues to grow at a time when other retail chains close doors and trim the fat is the customer first culture that starts at the top.

Jim Boscov CEO of Boscovs in Milford CT

The (Connecticut) Post Mall

We also had the opportunity to meet some of the team at the Post (Formerly the Connecticut Post Mall).

The Post’s marketing and management have the mall undergoing a transformation not only physically but philosophically.

The team at the Post understands that how people shop has changed.

Yes, Amazon plays a big part in this but both Boscov’s and the Post understand that people still want to be able to shop and take home items the same day.

The Post also understands that consumers want a centralized place to do things.  The Post is becoming that place.

Shopping, dining, and entertainment are already available at the Post but they will continue to evolve to meet today’s consumer demand.

Coming soon is Muse Paintbar, Kidz Klub and Dave & Busters (conveniently they will be next to each other).

Dave & Busters is set to open in November so look for that grand opening soon.

There’s already a movie theater and plenty of places to eat.  The movie theater features some of the most comfortable seating in the state.

They also have lots of events.  During the grand opening celebration week of Boscov’s, Debby Boone will be performing a couple of times per day.

I was not aware that the Post is the largest mall in Connecticut in square space.  I do know it is a very large mall with lots to do already.

Boscov’s and the Post are proving that traditional brick and mortar can survive with a little creativity and understanding what the consumer wants.

If you’re not innovating, you’re dying.  

boscovs a dads perspective pin

i benched a player here is what parents need to understand

I Benched a Player During a Game.  Here’s What Parents Need to Understand

Parents Just Don’t Understand ~ Will Smith

If you’ve read through this blog at all then you know I am a baseball coach.  I have coached through the first 4 years of my son’s baseball career.  He’s 8.

This year I coached mostly 7 and 8-year-old kids with a couple of talented 6-year-old kids sprinkled in.

I believe this is the age when kids will either continue to develop their baseball prowess or start looking for another interest.

I also believe at this age children start to learn more about right versus wrong and behavior.

i benched a player here is what parents need to understand

Our Parenting Style

I know over the last couple of generations parenting styles have changed dramatically for some.  I also believe this has created a mentality among parents and their children that they are never wrong.

I am not a fan of this thought process at all.

Let me be clear.  I don’t believe all parents are like this but there are more now than ever before.

Let me explain.

We teach our children to respect their elders.  Coaches, teachers, instructors, aunts and uncles, grandparents, older cousins and anyone else they may need to interact with.

With one caveat.  They adult or elder should not be asking them to do anything that is harmful to themselves or to others.

If Isaiah’s teacher asks him to be quiet in class, then that’s what he is supposed to do.  Don’t challenge the teacher, don’t talk back and don’t ignore her.

If his grandparents ask him to do something he should do it.

This is called respect.  A lot of children today do not respect their elders.  A lot of parents today do not expect their children to respect elders and often side with the child.

Shop New York Yankees Postseason Gear at MLBshop.com

Game Time

During game time one or two of the mothers help supervise the dugout to ensure the kids are not out of control.

The kids like to climb the fence, play bottle flip, and of course, talk/yell/argue.  General shenanigans occur while the coaches are coaching.

In one incident we were advised by the dug-out moms one of the children threatened another child.  This is a no-no.

What the Coaches Decided

We decided to have the child sit on the bench for one inning.  To an 8-year-old that seems like an eternity.

He obliged and sat on the bench.  He seemed to understand that he was wrong.

One inning later he came back in the game.

In between innings one of the child’s parents approached me.  She asked what happened.  I advised her that the child had threatened another child and that this would not be tolerated.

I also told the parent that the child would have to sit for one inning.

She shook her head in what appeared to be an agreement but looked a little upset.  I assumed she was upset at her child.

The Real Issue – Maybe, Probably?

That was 4 games ago.  We have not seen or heard from the child or his parents since even though we communicate to the entire team through an app often.

My assumption is his family decided I was not a fit as a coach and did not want him to play for my team anymore.  I should mention that he has been on my team before.

This to me is a dangerous message being sent to the child.

The Message?

Are we saying if you don’t agree with the coach you just quit?

What message is that sending?

If I don’t agree with my teacher I should drop out of school?  If I don’t agree with my boss I should just quit?  And the parents are OK with this?

This sends a dangerous message to children.

Kids are kids, I get it.  They will fight. They will say things they don’t mean or understand completely. They will try to get out of doing things.

If our children do get spoken to about a behavior that we do not like, they will sometimes offer excuses.  Our response is don’t make excuses, correct the behavior, do the right thing.

We cannot give our children a pass simply because you did not like a coaching decision or a teacher’s decision.  They must learn to respect authority.  Or you’re setting them up for failure.

They don’t have to agree but they do have to respect the authority figure.  Coaches and teachers only get tougher as our kids get older.

I have reported to every type of manager you can imagine of in life.  I often did not agree.  I even expressed my disagreement (which is fine) at times.  I was never disrespectful.  I never quit because of a disagreement or reprimand.

What do you think?  Should children respect authority and their elders?

i benched a player here is what parents need to understand

 

 

 

lets be real this is us yes or no dads

Let’s Be Real – This Is Us – Yes or No Dads?

Let’s Keep it Real – This Is Us – Yes or No Dads?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

I used a highly scientific method of gauging the results documented in this blog post.

I posted to Instagram asking dads whether or not they watch This Is Us and why or why not.

The results overwhelmingly in favor of This Is Us as a good and positive show for dads.

There were a few who had never watched the show, and one who doesn’t watch TV at all.  I get that, I don’t really watch a lot of TV anymore either.

 

Why Do I Care If Other Dads Watch This Is Us?

For a long time, fathers have been painted in a not so great light.

Generations were taught that dads were seldom (if ever) around to spend time with their kids.  Even if they were around it was still mom’s duty to care and spend time with the children.  Moms are still thought of as the comforter and consoler when it comes to parenting.

Someone must have forgotten to tell Izzy (my daughter)

Dads are supposed to be thick skinned and rarely show emotion.  If dads did show emotion it was only to discipline the children through fear and intimidation.

There were a couple of generations that saw a decline in dads being available to their children even a little bit.  Fortunately, I believe we are seeing this less and less now.

Single mothers are more often praised than dads are.  I won’t knock single moms.  It’s a tough job.  I was raised by a single mother.  I know all too well that it is a tough job.

We need to do a better job lifting up good fathers.

What Does This Is Us Have to Do With Being a Better Dad.

This Is Us is a very real show.  It deals with real issues.  Issues that you or I might face in our lives.  Some of the very important topics include:

  • Addiction/Substance Abuse
  • Parenting
  • Foster Parenting/Adoption
  • Relationships
  • Health Issues
  • Racial Issues

We all deal with these issues indirectly or directly.  For this blog post, I am going to only talk about parenting and relationships.

Watch This Is Us on Amazon Prime Video>>>>

Relationships 101

lets be real the dad tax talks about this is us

This Is Us runs almost the full gamut of relationships.  There are the matriarch and patriarch, past and present.  There’re also their children past, present and future.

Through the show, we get to see the interactions of siblings and how difficult situations are handled amongst them.

We get to see how something that might seem inconsequential at the moment can have a long-lasting impact on the person’s wellbeing and future.

We also get to see how “real” relationships should work.

Anyone who keeps it real will tell you that no marriage or long-term relationship is perfect.  You go through ups and downs.

What makes a successful marriage or long-term relationship is compromise, understanding, and patience.

This Is Us is very good about showing real challenges couples face, how they handle them and the potential outcome.

Parenting 101

lets be real the dad tax talks about this is us and parenting

None of us are perfect parents either.  Jack (patriarch) was as close as it gets, but not without his faults.

He had an addiction problem.  He may have been a little too passive with his daughter’s eating problems.

But he loved his children (even the adopted child) with every ounce of his being.  He did everything he could to give them a great life.

He encouraged them.  He was patient with them even when they did not deserve patience.  He taught them life lessons.  He loved them in a way only a dad can.

Through the parenting of his children, they grow up to be great parents or aunts/uncles.  Again, they each have their own issues.

Randall overcompensates at times mostly because he was adopted.  He also has a nervous breakdown plus there’s mention of another one earlier in his life. Randall is an amazing father to his daughters, and a foster daughter.

Kevin has an addiction problem.  He does not have children but is a great uncle to his nieces.  And his nieces adore him.

Kate is extremely obese and struggles with health and self-esteem issues as a result.  Like Kevin, she does not have children but is a good aunt.

Watch This Is Us on Amazon Prime Video>>>>

Spoiler Alert

The show is not without tear jerkers.  Every week something tugs at your heart.  If you deny this then you have no heart.

This week was the start of season 3.  This is one of the few shows my wife and I enjoy together.

Again there was some dust in the air while This Is Us was on.  I don’t know why that happens every time This Is Us comes on.

The first episode of Season 3 focuses on the beginning of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship (it definitely did not start off well).

It also focuses on the relationship between Randall and his foster daughter (Deja).  He wants to adopt her and give her stability while she is dealing with the fact that her biological parents don’t want her.  Not an easy thing for a teenager to deal with.

And Kate & Toby are trying to get pregnant but struggle because of their own health issues, primarily Kate being overweight.

There are of course other smaller storylines but those are the biggest ones for episode 1.

At the end of the episode they again fast forward to an older Randall and one of his daughters discussing going to see “her”.  His daughter is not ready to see “her”.  Then Randall calls Toby who is in a bed alone.  Randall tells Toby it’s time to go see “her” and Toby begrudgingly agrees.

I suspect it will be a while before we find out who “her” is.

I do not plan to write every week about This Is Us.  The purpose of this was to highlight how dads can/should/do play a bigger role in their children’s lives today.

Dads Are Important!!

I spend a ton of time with my children.  When I am not with them I cannot wait to see them.  I am far from a perfect dad or a perfect husband, but I love them with all of my heart.

100% of my energy goes into making them outstanding children that get to experience the best childhood possible.  I also work on strengthening my marriage all the time.

This Is Us puts being a great dad on display with all of a dad’s imperfections and mistakes. Jack and Randall both show how you can overcome any obstacle to give your children all the love and guidance they need.

This Is Us helps fathers be better fathers.  At least it does for me.

What do you think of This Is Us?

Lets Be Real this is us yes or no dads

 

The Ultimate Guide to Being an Awesome Dad Pin

The Ultimate Guide to Being an Awesome Dad

10 Ways Dads Can Improve Their Relationship with Their Children

This took me a while to put together.  Truth is there are lots of awesome dads out there, and lots of different reasons they are awesome dads.

I can’t say you’re an awesome dad because you took your kids to see Star Wars or you let them eat pizza and ice cream for dinner.

Taking your kids to Disney or some other awesome kid-focused vacation spot does not make you an awesome dad, though it certainly helps, and you will be the hero for at least a few days.

There are so many things we can do and say that are awesome, but they don’t make you an awesome dad.

The Ultimate Guide to Being an Awesome Dad FB

Why Did I Create The Ultimate Guide to Being an Awesome Dad?

I write this from a different perspective.  My father was not around when I was a child.  I have heard different reasons why that is, and I am not going to get into the blame game but my father was not around from the time I was approaching my teen years.  Even before that it was very sparingly.

I don’t know what it is like to be the child of an awesome dad.  I do believe I know what it’s like to be an awesome dad.

My father is still alive and lives only a few miles from me.  He has had chances to reconcile and get to know his grandchildren but never made the effort.

He did leave me with one life lesson though.

Be the Best Dad I Can Be!

It seems that not having a father (figure) in your life can have a very profound effect on your adult years.  It will either be very negative or very positive.  I have seen it go both ways.

I chose to be the best dad I could possibly be.  I put being a dad before EVERYTHING else.  It’s more important to me to play My Little Pony with my 4-year-old daughter than it is to watch any Yankee or Jets game.

It’s more important to me to teach my 8-year-old son all I know about baseball than it is to make money or hang out with friends at the bar.  And I know a lot about baseball.

It was more important to me to see my oldest daughter play softball than it was to work overtime or hang out with friends.  She’s 23 now and just had a child of her own.

I will not be the kind of grandfather who does not know his grandchildren.  Avery is not even two months old yet and I have already spent more time with him than my father ever did with his grandchildren, combined.

If there is one slice of pizza left, it’s more important that the kids have it.

Yes, there are times when I need alone time or quality time with my wife, but my kids are EVERYTHING.

This guide is fluid.  It’s also somewhat personal to me.

I will probably add or edit this guide over time as I think of other important things that need to be clarified.  Make sure you bookmark it and return to it.


What Makes a Dad Awesome?

Here are 10 things I believe make an awesome dad.  I have spent a lot of time researching this and asking questions, reading posts/responses in dad forums and websites.

This also aligns closely with my own feelings on being an awesome dad.

1. Time

I put this one first because I believe it is the single most important factor in a child’s life.  Studies have proven that not having a father in a child’s life has a long-lasting impact on that child’s life.

There are things your child cannot learn from their mother.  Now before you blast me with a woman can do anything a man can do let me clarify.  A woman cannot teach a young boy how to be a man.  A mother cannot teach her daughter how a man should love her.

Every time my daughter gets a new dress, or her mom does her hair a different way she runs to me for approval.  She wants to know what I think.  It’s up to me to teach her about self-worth.  Of course, I always think she looks beautiful, but I also add to me saying she looks gorgeous with you don’t need anyone’s validation.  If you think you’re pretty that’s all that matters.

My son sometimes loses his cool.  Boys have different levels of aggression than girls in their younger years, well almost all their life.  It’s up to me to teach him how a man should respond.  Mom cannot teach this.  It will not be viewed in the same way.

There are just some things mom, or another adult figure cannot teach.  I am living proof of this.  My mom did the best she could but there were things that were missing because there was no real father figure.

dads should spend time with children

I spend as much time as possible with my children.  Whether it’s chilling out on the couch, roughhousing, baseball practice, hiking or hanging out in my office to use one of my laptops they know I am available to them.

Spending time dancing with your daughter or having a nerf battle with your son will leave an impression on them that will be unmatched.

Hiking, going to the beach, walking to the mailbox, showing them new chores, helping them with homework, teaching them something new, grab a taco and a movie…. there are so many things that you as a dad can do during your time with your children.

Things that you don’t even realize you’re doing as a dad.  You’re just spending TIME with your children.

Let’s be clear.  You’re not babysitting.  It drives me crazy when someone asks if I am babysitting my kids.  They are my kids.  I do not babysit them.  We have a babysitter.  She’s 13 years old and loves kids.  She is not a dad (or mom).  Parents do not babysit their own kids.

Spend time with your children.  You don’t need to do anything during that time, just be there for them.

2. Patience

Almost as important as time is patience.  And this is something that I sometimes struggle with.  I used to have a really short fuse, but I have worked on it over time.

Nothing teaches you patience like having an infant with colic.  I have done it three times now.  It might be the worst thing ever.  Imagine your child crying for hours on end and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I endured it and learned patience through it.

I mentioned my daughter (Izzy) is a chatterbox.  When I pick her up from school she will spend the next 15 minutes traveling home telling me everything that happened during her day.  I am not even sure she takes a breath.

She’s sitting with me in the office as I try to add to this blog post.

I love it but when my blog juice kicks in and I am trying to put a blog post together, especially one as epic as this one, I need concentration.  I have heard “Daddy” at least 5 times in the span of this paragraph.

I stopped and responded to her inquiry each time.  She just wants to show me things she is doing in ABCMouse.  She’s doing a great job!

3. Knowledge

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be an awesome dad.  And no one is prepared to raise a child no matter what book you read.

You just need to be able to teach your children things.

It can be anything.  How to change spark plugs, how to fix a computer, how to lay down a bunt, how to grill the perfect cheeseburger.

I truly believe that everyone is an expert on at least one subject, probably many more.  Your subject might not seem like much to someone else but to your children, it means the world.

Impart that knowledge with your children and they will run with it.  Children are sponges.  They will soak up your knowledge and make it even better.

Ultimately our job is to give our children a better life than the one we had.  Teaching them all you know is a step in that direction.

Life lessons are a great piece of knowledge to share, and who doesn’t have a few life lessons to share?

dads impart knowledge on your children

4. Understanding

Children are tiny complex human beings.  Sometimes it is impossible to understand what they really want or need.

As parents, we all know what it is like to calm a cranky baby but as they get older it gets harder to figure them out.

Babies only cry for a few reasons.  They’re hungry, uncomfortable, tired or in pain.

As they get older they have more emotions, more things to care about, more things they want to know.  They become more complex and harder to understand.

It’s important that even if you don’t understand you let them know that you are working on understanding them.

Try to remember what it was like to be 7, 10, or 16 all over again.  High School was not fun for me.  Was it fun for you?

Try to remember how it felt when you got yelled at in front of your friends.

Try to remember how it felt eating Salisbury steak and green beans for the 4th time in a week.

What do they say about empathy?  Walk a mile in their shoes?

I am not saying you need to give in to their every demand.  As a matter of fact, don’t.  I would never suggest that.  Not giving in doesn’t mean you don’t understand them.

A child’s world is much smaller than ours.  Their desires and problems are very different.  Understanding them will go a long way towards being an awesome dad.

5. Example

Set the example.  My mom used to say, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”.  The reality is children watch everything you do and will mimic it.

Do you yell a lot?  They will mimic this.  Short fuse?  They will mimic it.

Are you patient?  Do you eat vegetables?  Do you read, or veg out on the TV?

How is your relationship with other people, especially your significant other?

They will mimic all these things.

I was raised by an old-school Italian mom who used soup ladles and hair brushes to make her point.  While I would never use any of these things to discipline my children I do at times raise my voice.

I have noticed that my children sometimes raise their voice in frustration.  Point taken.  I need to adjust.

What example are you setting?


6. Discipline

OK, this one is probably the hardest but one of the most necessary things to be an awesome dad.

My mother used to say “This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you” before she beat us with a soup ladle.  I never understood this until I became a parent.

I don’t want to paint my mother as a bad person.  She was not.  It was a different generation with different beliefs as it relates to raising children.
She was a single mother who did the best she could to raise two boys.  No easy task for sure and my brother and I didn’t help.

Disciplining your children hurts you to the core sometimes.  Having to send them to their room on a Saturday when you planned to spend time hanging out with them is painful.

The look on their face when you must discipline is enough to break your heart.  Taking away something they were looking forward to hurts you just as much as it hurts your child.

I do believe that I am my son’s first best friend and hope this lasts a lifetime.  I do believe I am both my daughters’ first love and I hope that lasts a lifetime.

I also believe that for them to grow up respecting others they need to learn to respect rules as they are given.  They first need to learn to respect their parents before they will respect anyone else.

They will respect you as a dad if you set rules and honor those rules.

Let’s go back to setting the example for a minute.  Do you respect the rules as well?

We have a rule in our house that there are no electronics at the dinner table.  This applies to everyone, including guests.  That means for the time we are at the table the focus is on eating and family.

If I sat down at the table and ignored this rule what message am I sending my children?

I can’t then discipline them for breaking the rules.  It wouldn’t be fair (you hear that a lot as a parent, just make sure you are being fair).

It is very important that your children have respect for you as a parent.  Without rules and discipline, they will not respect you as much, if at all.

My younger kids are also taking Karate.  This is a great way to teach them self-control and discipline. Their karate school has an anti-bullying class.  They also teach and give homework structured around respect, self-control, discipline and other areas that parents sometimes struggle when raising children.

Hearing it from more than one source is always helpful.

 

Listen to any adult who thought their parents were tough on them as a child.  They will thank their parents for being tough, setting guidelines and demanding respect through discipline and setting the example.

Just make sure the discipline is not abusive.

7. Belief

Your children will change career paths and dreams a thousand times before finishing high school.

So far, I have heard doctor, fireman, garbage man, train conductor, train engineer, teacher, pro baseball player, gymnast, pediatrician, social worker, and dancer to name a few.

My response is always you will be a great (fill in the blank).  They will have big dreams and lofty goals.  Some might seem unattainable.

Support them and believe in them.

Isaiah believes he can make it to MLB.  I would love nothing more than for this to happen.  I also know it’s a long shot.

I tell him constantly he can do anything he puts his mind to if he works hard and puts in the effort.  I honestly do believe he can make it.

That’s one of the many examples for all 3 of my children.  I believe they can accomplish anything even when they don’t.  When they feel defeated or frustrated I tell them they can do it, whatever it is.

Izzy tells me she can’t write the number two or letter Z or K.  I know she can.  She needs encouragement.  Something so minor to us is a big deal to her.  Showing that I believe in her will go a long way.

I mentioned earlier that my adult daughter, Arielle, is a new mother.  It isn’t the path I would have chosen for her (yes, I told her that) but I believe she will be a great mom and successful in life.

Yes, I still tell my 23-year-old daughter she can do anything she puts her mind to.  Yes, I am still there for her.

Believing in your children, supporting your children and encouraging your children never ends.


8. Sense of Humor

This is a must.  How can you not have a sense of humor as a dad?

I am accused of having a dry sense of humor.  I share corny jokes with my kids all the time.

I have a quick wit that some people don’t always get.  That’s their problem.

I am sarcastic.  It’s rubbing off on my children.  This has been carried down for generations in my family.

I believe all dads have a talent for snappy responses and corny jokes.

You also need to be able to laugh at things.  When your child does something that should cause you distress sometimes it’s better to just laugh.

Don’t laugh at them if it’s going to make them feel bad.  Wait until they are not around and laugh.

Izzy cannot really pronounce her Rs so when she says Fork it sounds like something else.  We laugh, but not at her.  It’s funny.

Isaiah tries to come up with his own jokes.  Sometimes they’re terrible but sometimes he is spot on.  We laugh with him.

Without a sense of humor, you may as well throw in the towel.  You can’t take everything seriously or you will go grey/bald faster than the rest of us.

 

 

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He asked to play with his iPad. He wasn’t amused.

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9. Life Lessons

I love passing on life lessons to all of my kids.  They don’t always love receiving the lessons.

I have shared life lessons about everything from tying your shoes to young love with my children.

I have always been honest with my children about where I have come from, where I have been and what I have learned.  If it prevents an ounce of pain then my job is done.

Be honest with them about life.  Make sure that it’s age appropriate but be honest.

Teach them about the pitfalls, the life hacks and the things they don’t teach in school.

You also must let them learn some of their own lessons.  I like to call this the invisible leash.

I will let my children make decisions for themselves but keep a close eye so that if/when they fall the net is not too far away. I think this is what sets a good father and an awesome dad apart.

Here’s an example.  Isaiah rarely cuts loose outside of his comfort zones (home and school).  We joke that he’s a lightweight when it comes to partying.  He’s almost always out cold by 9 pm, even at a party.

At a recent wedding, he held true to form as he fell asleep at the dinner table around 8:30 or 9:00 pm.  When the DJ cranked it up he woke up and started dancing with his cousins.

He spent a few hours dancing and running around.  When he was running around he would go with his cousins out of the reception area and into the hallways of the building, out of our sight.

My wife was a little worried about this, as was I.  We do not like to let him out of our sight.

He is 8 now.  He needs to start learning to make smart choices.  He has been taught and guided for 8 plus years now.  He’s a very smart boy. It’s time to let him make some mistakes or learn some life lessons on his own.

He did just fine!

They don’t always do the right thing.  It’s OK.  Be there with the net and to help them understand the life lesson.  That’s what an awesome dad does.

10. Dependable

Izzy asks me all the time if I will be there for her under all these different scenarios.  My answer is always a resounding yes.

They need to know that you will do as you say.  If you say you’re going to be at the school play or the basketball game, be there.

If you say you’re going to do something, then do it.

Help them with homework.  Get them on the bus or off the bus for school.  Play catch when you say you’re going to play catch.

When your daughter asks you to dance (and she will) you dance.  I am a terrible dancer but I love nothing more than to dance with Izzy.

I sometimes purposely put the computer down so that I can just spend a few extra moments playing with them.

If I tell them I will be somewhere I make every effort to be there.

 

There are times when I am dead on my feet and all I want to do is veg out on the couch but one of the children need me for something.

Children need to know that daddy will be there.  Being dependable means everything to them.  Not being there repeatedly will break their hearts.  Be the rock.

If you are not with the mother of your children, then it is CRITICAL that you spend every moment possible with your children.  If it’s your weekend or vacation or holiday that is your number one priority.  Be there.

Call them, facetime them, text them.  It’s so easy to stay in touch now there should be no excuses.  Be an awesome dad.

What Does Not Make You an Awesome Dad

You will notice on my list that there is nothing that costs money.  All the toys and gadgets in the world will not make you an awesome dad.

Paying coaches and trainers to teach your children while you run around and do other things will not make you an awesome dad.

Yes, I do pay for extra training, but I am there watching most of the time.  I critique their extra training after they’re done.  For that 30-60 minutes, my undivided attention is on them.

Letting them do whatever they want because you feel guilty does not make you an awesome dad.

Taking a quick Instagram photo to share with the world when you barely see your child does not make you an awesome dad.  In fact, that makes you a terrible father.

Being disrespectful to your children’s mother or other family members do not make you an awesome dad.

Truth Hurts

I am happy to say that all the dads I know are awesome dads.  No matter the circumstances they are there for their children.

They work hard.  They provide for them.  They spend time with them.  They teach, talk, listen, learn, understand, empathize and love their children.

I am not naïve though.  I know there are plenty of fathers who do not do their part.  Shame on you.

If you’re not being the best dad you can be you are scarring your child for life.  And you just might be creating a hurtful cycle.

In Closing, Be Awesome

Being an awesome dad is my first and most important job.  It’s the hardest job I have ever done and will ever do.  I am on call all the time.  There’s no retirement plan.  There’s no bonus plan or stock option.  Breaks are far and few between.

Yet, I would not trade it for the world.

I do get handmade cards and socks & t-shirts on Father’s Day and my birthday.  These are the best rewards ever.  Well with one exception.

That tight, meaningful hug for no real reason is the greatest gift known to man.  And I get them all the time.

Dads (and Moms) don’t get me wrong.  I am not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination.  I make mistakes.  Daily.  We all do.

But to my children, I am an awesome dad.

What do you think makes an awesome dad?



The Ultimate Guide to Being an Awesome Dad Pin

why i encourage my children to be the best cover

Why I Encourage My Children to Be the Best

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

I have done the math. I have crunched the numbers. I know the chances are slim.

 

You’re probably wondering what I am talking about. Let me share.

I have written a few times on The Dad Tax about my son Isaiah and his baseball skills.

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Isaiah is 8 years old. He has above average skills on the diamond…for an 8-year-old. This isn’t a dad bragging about his son. This is feedback I have received from other coaches, including one coach who has worked with players like Charlie Morton.

Typically, he plays middle infield unless I feel he is lacking focus and then I move him to the outfield. Focus is one thing I stress but one thing he often lacks.  And yes I am one of his coaches.  I am also probably harder on him than any of the other kids on my team.

He prefers Shortstop. One of his favorite players (now retired) is Derek Jeter.

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Other trainers and coaches have said the following about him:

• Very athletic
• Great range (needed at shortstop)
• Positive attitude
• Good teammate
• Always gives 100%
• Works hard
• Loves the game
• Competitive

Most of these are requirements in my book. I often award the game ball to the player who has the best attitude and best effort for a given game. That’s exactly what I did during the first game of Fall Ball.

What I Want for Isaiah

He loves baseball almost as much as me at this point. He is light-years ahead of where I was at the age of 8. When I was 8 there were no real organized baseball leagues where I lived.

I would absolutely love for him to make it to Major League Baseball.

The Reality

I know it is a big long shot to make it to MLB. A High School senior has a .5 percent chance of being drafted. That’s 1 in 200.

Being drafted does not mean you make it to the bigs either. That just means a team is interested and you will play in their minor league system.

Your odds improve slightly if you play college ball. 11 in 100 are drafted, just over 10%.

What I would ultimately like is for Isaiah to receive a scholarship to play baseball, get his college degree and be drafted. The first part of this sentence is a lot more likely, especially given his academic abilities so far.

 

 

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Waiting for Judge to throw one to him. #NYY #JediJudge

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The Next Level

I learned not to long ago that to make it to the next level of your baseball career you must be one of the best.

Let me explain.

Isaiah currently plays little league. This year was the first year he played at a level that had pitching required. They used a machine (fewer kids get hit by a pitch this way).

He’s been hitting pitching for a few years, so this was not a big jump for him.

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Next year he must move up again. He will face live pitching next year. To this point, I have been the only person to pitch to him.

He also must try out for the first time next year. I have seen some of the kids that play at this level. I don’t believe trying out will be an issue but there’s always that nagging feeling.

What I learned is to move up from level to level you must be one of the best 2 players on a team.

Cybermetrics?  Or Just the Odds?

There are 3 baseball leagues in my town. Each league probably has approximately 60 kids playing baseball in the different age brackets.

For Isaiah’s age bracket that would mean there are approximately 180 kids playing baseball in my town.

There are also 3 high schools in my town (sensing a theme here). Each high school team can have 20 players on the varsity team. If there is a junior varsity team then that’s another 20 players.

Let’s focus on just varsity because these are the kids most likely to get college scholarships.

That means in Meriden there will be 60 varsity players. This is 1/3 of the total number of kids playing at Isaiah’s level now.

We are not sure what we are doing for high school yet, he’s only in 3rd grade right now. We would like him to go to a private school. Baseball may help with this but that only highlights my point further.

One of the 3 high schools in my town is a technical school. He probably won’t go to this school but again we don’t know for sure. That means the number is now cut to 40.

He will be assigned a school based on where we live. That means the number is now 20.

20 out of 180 kids. That means 1 in 9 kids makes it to the varsity team.

The same is true of college-level baseball. 1 or 2 kids on a high school varsity team might make it to college level baseball.

As I said earlier just over 10% of college players get drafted.

Of those that are drafted 1 or 2 on a minor league team might get called up on average.

Do you see where I am going with this?

It’s a long, tough road filled with hard work, dedication, pain, sacrifice, and skill.

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Drive it Home (Pun Intended)

I tell Isaiah to be able to progress to the next level he must be one of the 2 best players on the field for that given game, every game. He must be one of the two best in training, in practice and in every aspect of the game.

I remind him all the time.

Most of the time he is not. He’s 8 and just wants to have fun. I completely understand. I am an adult and just want to have fun.

I reminded him again on Tuesday (our first Fall Ball game) that he had to be one of the two best on the field, for both teams.

Tuesday he clearly was.

He played shortstop as usual. He hustled his, well you know what, off. He fielded great. He made a few decision-making mistakes but that comes with learning the game.

His offense was good. He still needs to work on keeping his eye on the ball, but he was 2 for 4 and showed a little power for the first time in 2018.

Isaiah is small for his age. A proud moment this summer was being told he had finally crossed the 50-pound mark (barely). He’s not a big eater. So, any sign of power is a bonus.

He was focused. Intensely focused.

Every time he came up to bat the other team coaches warned their players.

“He’s a good hitter” “Watch Out” “Be Ready”

Some of the coaches have seen him before. They know what to expect.

He was clearly one of the two best players on the field Tuesday.

I did not award him the game ball. I have my reasons which I explained to him. He completely understands.

I did tell him that he was one of the two best players on the field for both teams that day.

Why Do You Care?

You’re probably thinking to yourself by now why is he sharing this with me? Why do I care that his son has above average baseball skills?

I don’t expect you to care. Here’s why I am sharing.

First, I am proud of his effort and dedication. So naturally, I want to share.

More importantly, the point I want to make is as parents we need to encourage our children to strive for excellence.

Izzy is my 4-year-old daughter. She started gymnastics last year. She was so good that they moved her up to the next level (5-8-year-old group, she was 3 at the time). She left other kids in her age group who have been taking gymnastics even longer behind. There were 5-year old’s in her original group. She surpassed them in a few short months.

 

 

 

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I’ve been trying to tell you it’s a way of life in the Gombar household. #baseballislife #BASEBALL #HappyMonday

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Isaiah excels at reading. He has been reading at a 6-8 grade level for over a year now. He is at or above grade level in every subject. We continue to push him.

When he started swimming lessons we switched him from one school to another because they did not challenge him enough. He was swimming on his own within a few weeks after the switch.

Children learn fast.

Children don’t comprehend limitations. Their limitations are put in place by parents and by their own ability.

Encourage them to be one of the two best on the field, in the gymnasium, in the swimming pool, in the classroom.

Encourage your children to strive for excellence.

Your child is not going to be good at everything. Isaiah also plays the piano. He’s OK at best. We continue to have him go to lessons because playing an instrument helps children with focus. Not just on the instrument but on everything.

We continue to encourage him to get better.

Now, before you tell me that my children have too many activities….

They also have plenty of downtime. Playtime is also learning time. We know that.

We balance it out so that they don’t crash and burn.

They get plenty of sleep as well. We understand the importance of rest and recovery.

We will continue to encourage our children’s pursuit of excellence. We will continue to encourage our children to be one of the two best no matter what they do.  They may excel.  The may fail.  They will try.

why i encourage my children to be the best

The Dad Tax Weekend in Review [If You Care]

The Weekend Review

I don’t and won’t always write a weekend review, but it was a busy Labor Day weekend.  Plus, I am approaching the 1-month anniversary of the launch of The Dad Tax so I wanted to update on how August went.

It was a holiday weekend in the US.  Labor Day to be exact.

The irony is that I still worked on my blog.

Let’s do the weekend run down.

Friday Night

It started Friday with some running around, and some running.  Izzy (my 4-year-old daughter) was the flower girl at a wedding for the second time this year. We got another request for her to be the flower girl at another wedding.

I think I need to start charging for this.

Sprezzabox socks that were part of my subscription

These are the first pair of socks I got from my Sprezzabox subscription

Anyway, we had to get some last-minute stuff done before my wife’s cousin’s wedding on Saturday.

I am not a fan of last minute running around, so I tend to get a little cranky.  Combined with Izzy just losing her cool in the mall and it made for a rough trip.

We almost always have a pizza dinner on Fridays, so we held true to that, but a little later than normal.

I was up late Friday working on the Dad Tax and a client’s website.  Sounds like a fun Friday night doesn’t it!

Word of advice.  If you like partying on the weekends, then don’t have kids and don’t own a business. That being said, I would not trade either of them for the world.

The family pet is a cat named Pickles.  She is mostly black with a little bit of white on her chest and face.  She has gotten out of the house once before and made her second escape on Friday.

It was not clear when she got out, but we know how.  I had the basement door open to air out the basement.  Izzy was off from school and opened the upstairs door to the basement, letting Pickles out.

Last time she got out she came back the same night.  Not so on Friday.  Isaiah loves this cat.  It’s technically his cat.  He was heartbroken before going to bed.

If you are a parent then you know the heartbreak of your child is also your heartbreak.  I felt bad for him but it almost seemed as if he had a little bit of optimism too.

Saturday

Saturday mornings are really no different than any other morning in my house.  The kids refuse to sleep past 7 am the latest.

Next morning still no sign of Pickles except for the fact that the food we left on the porch was eaten.  We are not sure if she ate it or some other animal did.

We put out more food because she typically does eat in the morning.  Nothing.

A couple of hours later I thought I heard meowing.  Then I thought I was hearing things.  Wishful thinking, I thought.

Then I heard it again.  Pickles was on the outside edge of the kitchen window crying to come back in.

Isaiah was ecstatic.  Pickles was home safe and sound.  She slept the morning away.  I guess she won’t be having children or owning a business.

I knew we had to leave by late morning, so I got up and did some more work on the Dad Tax.  I was able to whip out a good amount of work before the real fun began.

Izzy and Daddy and Pinky Pie

I ran out to grab a few last-minute things before we left.  We hit the road with a few pit stops that had to be made along the way.

The wedding was in Purchase NY which is in Westchester County.  It borders on Connecticut which is where we live.  On a good traffic day, it would take a little over an hour to get there.

There is no such thing as a good traffic day in Connecticut or New York.

We had to stop to get a crown for Izzy the professional flower girl.  The place we needed to stop at was about halfway to the wedding in Bridgeport Connecticut.

We got there, got what we needed and hit the road again.

My wife had an appointment to get her makeup done at 1:30. By some miracle, we made it almost on time.  We arrived at 1:34.

While she was getting her makeup done I was tasked with feeding my kids and my in-laws, plus bring my wife some food back.  Oh, and I had 30 minutes in an area of New York I am not very familiar with.

Challenge accepted.

Mission failed.

I looked for a McDonalds on my GPS and found one not too far away.  I am not a fan of McDonald’s (don’t expect me to have any promotions for them).  I don’t like the feeling you have after eating their food and I know it is horrible for you.

I did bring my own lunch (An RXBar!).

I left the parking lot, took a right turn and promptly got pulled over for speeding.  Seriously!!??

Now I am aggravated.

Get to the McDonalds that the GPS found, and it was in the middle of a downtown area with no drive-thru and no parking lot.  Nope.

I was not about to search for on-street parking, unload the car and go eat at what looked like a run down McDonald’s.

I had to drive another 12 miles to find a McDonalds with a drive-thru.

An hour after I left I returned to the scene of the crime.  My wife was still not done with her makeup.

Yep, that’s how things go as an adult.  Now I am wishing I brought my Surface Pro with me.

A few minutes later she made her appearance ready to go.  Thankfully it was a cooler day.  We had just gotten through one heat wave and another one was approaching.  You will see why that’s important soon.

Stop three was to get Izzy’s hair done and get her dressed for the wedding.  It’s now approaching 3 pm and the wedding was supposed to start at 4:30 pm.

The hotel where the bridal shower was staying was only a few minutes away, and right down the street from the first McDonalds.  You know, the one with no drive-thru or parking lot.

There was also no parking lot or street parking at the hotel.  They had a garage for people staying at the hotel.  We were not staying since we were only an hour away from home.

My wife took my daughter upstairs to the bridal party, and the rest of us waited..for almost an hour.

Finally, my wife appeared again, and we went to stop four.  Time for us to very quickly get dressed at another hotel where some of her family was staying.

Imagine 7 adults and 3 children getting ready for a wedding in a hotel room and having to do so in 15 minutes or less.

Good times.

OK, now we head to the wedding.  It was supposed to start at 4:30 and I really wanted to see Izzy walk.  We arrived at 5:00 pm.

The wedding had not yet started.  The good news is I did not miss Izzy walking down the aisle.

It started at almost 6:00 pm.

Sunset at Manhatanville College

We sat and waited in the church with no air conditioning.  Now you understand why it was a good thing it was cooler today.

The wedding and reception went on without a hitch.  We ate, we danced, we laughed.  Festivities started winding down around midnight.  We had to make a quick trip back to the hotel we changed at and then headed home.

 

 

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Wedding flow. #mykids #flowergirl #flowergirldress #wedding #daughter #son #rollsroyce

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We got home at 1:45 am and went to sleep.  Well, the kids were already sleeping.  Izzy slept during the reception but did keep me company for part of the ride home.  Isaiah slept for a few minutes at the reception but then woke up once the music started.

He danced the night away!  I guess he won’t be having children or owning a business anytime soon either.  That’s good news!

Sunday

Guess who was up by 7 am the next morning.  You guessed it.  Izzy and Isaiah.

I finally decided to get out of bed at around 9 am, checked a few things and then off to church.

After church, we stocked up groceries.  We buy most things in bulk, so we headed to Restaurant Depot and got a few other things at Target.

Do anybody else’s kids ask for things you know they will not eat but you still get it with a glimmer of hope that maybe they will try something new and like it?

Apple Pie was this week’s request.  Fail.

Sunday afternoon and evening were spent trying to get caught up, and the temperature started to rise again.

Sunday was also my oldest daughter’s birthday.  Izzy and Isaiah face timed Arielle to sing Happy Birthday.  She’s a ripe old 23 now.

Monday

Labor Day.  A holiday that marks the unofficial end of Summer in the US.  This weather seems to think otherwise.  Heatwave returned.

Most of Monday was spent catching up on, you guessed it, work.  I spent a few hours goofing off with the kids and helping them with some of their extracurricular activities.

I also managed to get on the treadmill.  If you read my previous blog post about getting back on the treadmill you know that I am trying to get back to where I was a few months ago.

I did a little better today.  In total, I did 4.15 miles on the treadmill.

I finally had a chance to sit down and review what I needed to for my August results for thedadtax.com on Monday night.

Total traffic for August was 1127.  Not bad for the first 20 days of a new blog.

Alexa Ranking finished at 94,624.  Also, not bad.

I had some affiliate sales.  In total a confirmed $4.47.  I should have another $25 but I have not gotten confirmation on that yet.   Might not seem like a lot but many bloggers go months without any earnings.

I grew my Twitter and Instagram accounts from zero to 185 and 553 followers respectively.  I did not create a Facebook page but rather a Facebook group for the Dad Tax.  It has 3 members so far.

I was also approached about a couple of sponsorships but neither of them seemed like a good fit for the site.

The blog will be a month on the 11th of this month.

I also recorded my SEOHackerz podcast but have not had a chance to edit it yet.

Tomorrow it’s back to coaching baseball with our first game of the fall season.

All in all a productive weekend with some fun involved.  How was your weekend?

weekend in review on the dad tax

 

 

Getting back on the dreadmill IG

Getting Back on the Dreadmill (Day One of a New/Old Running Journey)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Essential Gear for Me When I Run

Getting back on the dreadmill IG

I have mentioned several times already that I am a runner (sometimes).  Well, I didn’t run for almost 2 months, and I can feel it.

I gained weight.  I have aches and pains that I should not have.  I am winded easier than I was 2 months ago.  I messed up.

I also promised Isaiah (my son) that I would start running with him.  He loves to run and he is very fast.  He’s capable of outrunning and outpacing kids 3-4 years older than him.

I did not set a timetable for when I would start running with him.  Despite that, I failed.

I don’t really have a good reason for stopping but I stopped.  I guess I got busy.  It was Summer and I was hanging out with the kids.  I launched a new blog and made some transitions professionally.  I have been busy.  Bad excuse.

Today I got back on the dreadmill for the first time in approximately two months.  I knew I was not going to be able to do what I was doing before I stopped.

I was running 3 plus miles and walking another 2 plus miles every other day.  I got to 6 miles total a few times.  And then I stopped.

Alright, time to let it go.  This is my accountability.  This blog will hold me accountable for maintaining my cardio.

Today I walked at 3.7 miles for 20 minutes and ran at 5.5 mph for 10 minutes.  There were another 10 minutes of cool down walking, but I am not counting that.  I need to meet or beat this mark for the next week at least.

I wanted to talk about what is essential for me to do the cardio portion of my exercise.   I mostly do cardio with a little bit of lifting and body weight exercises.  Today was just cardio.

Here’s my essential cardio workout list.

My sneakers are ASICS Men’s Gel-Cumulus 19 Running-Shoes.  When I walk or run my feet roll inward.  They call this overpronation.

I love Under Armour but their sneakers did not hold up with my overpronation.  I did some research.  I came back with New Balance and Asics.  I am not a fan of New Balance so Asics it is.

I have had these sneakers since March (almost 6 months now), and they have been great.  No issues at all.

I wear a step tracker/heart rate monitor.  Right now I use a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.  I am aware that the heart rate will not be accurate without a chest strap but it gives me a good indication of where I am at.

It is fairly accurate for rested heart rage and that’s really what I am interested in measuring anyway.

For counting steps, it does a good job.  It’s very close to the number of steps that I do take when walking or running.

I can also control my phone from my watch.  Skipping songs is much easier from my watch when I am running.

Compression socks.  Because of the overpronation and other hip and leg issues that pop up sometimes I often have pain in my calves and knees after cardio.  Compression socks help with this tremendously.

I have found several brands of compression socks that work very well. I prefer Copper Fit though.

C4 Pre Workout.  This gives me the extra push I need, especially when I am feeling sluggish. The one I use is the fat burning version.  I definitely feel this kick in.

Unlike most people, I do not take it 20-30 minutes before working out.  I take it and immediately start working out.

I typically start out with a fast walk to loosen up my muscles.  By the time I am done with my walk the C4 kicks in.

Beats Bluetooth Headphones.  Before Bluetooth headphones, I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally ripped my phone from the treadmill tray and sent it flying to the floor.  These headphones are a phone saver.

Check out all the Beats Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon>>>

Gatorade Post Workout Protein Shake.  This also helps with muscle soreness.  I really look forward to drinking one of these rights after I finish on the treadmill.  I get the protein I need for muscle growth and it helps prevent soreness, which I surely experience after getting back on the treadmill for the first time in 2 months.

This is apparently a hot item on Amazon because I cannot find it a lot of the time.  I wrote a blog post about it a while ago.  You can read it here.  

Hold Me Accountable

Here’s my performance today

Walk 20 minutes at 3.7 mph

Walk 5 minutes at 2.3 mph

Run 10 minutes at 5.5 mph

Walk 5 minutes at 3.3 mph

Walk to and back from Isaiah’s bus stop.  Approximately ½ mile round trip

I will set goals soon.  I want to weigh in this Monday.  Endurance and Heart Rate are important measurements for me.

Day One Done.

Getting back on the dreadmill