Daddy Diary – My Best Moments of Being a Dad (Year 1)

Ava & DaddyThis upcoming Sunday, my daughter will finally reach the tender age of one, and it has been a truly amazing experience. I would not trade it in for anything. A question that I received all the time from people was: What is the best part of being a father? Well, that is a tough one to completely nail down. There are many facets that I love and adore dearly. Nevertheless, I have decided to write down some of the best moments that readily come to mind over this past year. So, in no particular order, here are my best moments of being a father during Ava’s first year.

  • That moment when I have retired from work for the day, and as I walk through the door, my daughter will either flash me a big smile from her high chair or crawl over to me and pull herself up on my pants legs – still flashing that big smile.
  • Sleep has been plenty scarce for the past year. Nevertheless, it is always pleasant to be awakened in the morning because your daughter is playing with your face. And as you open your eyes, the first thing you see is a big toothless smile peering at you.
  • And speaking of the scarcity of sleep, sometimes I am also awakened in the middle of the night, as my daughter has sleepily travelled across the bed and found a nice sleeping spot under my armpit.
  • Actually, anytime Ava falls asleep either in my arms, on my chest, or in my lap – the moment is wonderful.
  • Of course, watching Ava reach her milestones (flipping over, crawling, babbling, walking) has been a joy to see. In the back of your mind, you hope and pray that your child’s development proceeds as normal, and presumptuously you assume it will. However, watching the little things finally take shape is truly spectacular. I remember lounging on the couch one afternoon when Ava babbled those words every father anticipates to hear: Dada. Of course she hadn’t made the connection between her babble to the gentleman that was holding her. Nevertheless it made my heart melt with happiness.
  • Given my work schedule, I am the last one out of the house. Thus, I have been assigned the task of getting Ava ready in the morning. And so, we have developed our own little morning routine as I hustle to get us both ready for the day. Whether we sing along with Doc McStuffins’ toy check-ups or dive adventurously into the car seat on our way to daycare; each morning is a different, exciting experience that I love having with my daughter.
  • I would be terribly remiss if I excluded Kenny G from this post. Mr. G. was instrumental during Ava’s early, early weeks of bedtime. Although we don’t listen to Kenny quite as often now, it is amazing to see Ava’s eyes light up and flap her arms when she hears the first few notes of “Alone” kick in.
  • And when Kenny G is not around for any assistance, Ava sometimes sucks on her 2 middle fingers on one hand and tugs on my beard as she goes to sleep with the other hand. Cute.
  • Now, Ava does cry. Sometimes – a lot. I found out early on that she likes looking at herself. I mean…really, really likes looking at herself. So, in times of distress, I would whip out my cell phone and load a picture of her to calm her down. Instantly, she would cease crying, flash that smile, and be completely at ease. Crazy right? And if my cell phone was not readily accessible, I would quickly retreat to a mirror as back-up. Again – cute.
  • That moment when Ava was born. There is no feeling like it. Staying up for almost an entire day, seeing the labor until the end. One minute, she is in your wife’s belly, and the next minute, she is staring at you like, “What’s up?” I don’t think I really slept that night or the next few weeks thereafter. Not because Ava was waking up crying. No. Because, as a newly minted father, you’re paranoid as all get-out. A brother was checking numerous times nightly to see if his angel’s lungs were in working order.
  • File this moment under the blooper files. My wife, bless her heart, reads a lot and likes to try different things. So, she is really big into skin-to-skin contact. The first night home, Stephanie had to use the bathroom, so she handed Ava over to me. Being a big skin-to-skin advocate, she instructed me to take off my shirt. I put up resistance, but I relented. Well, instinctively, Ava mistook my chest for Stephanie’s chest and tried to extract milk from a place that had nothing bear. Suffice it to say, I quickly put my shirt on before things got weird. #milkdon’tcomefromthere LoL

The Standard #35

mistakeToday, I will reluctantly, stubbornly concede this excruciating truth: Sometimes a gentleman can possess an innate, insatiable instinct to be infallible. Yes, we are absolutely incapable of committing mistakes. We are never in the wrong and our lives are conducted free of error. Now, this alternate universe exists, of course, entirely within our subconscious. Nevertheless, a significant number of gentlemen believe this esteemed opinion to be truth. And yes – I am guilty on occasion of holding such foolish beliefs. However, the fact of the matter is we are all susceptible to making mistakes, and even worse, treating other individuals unfairly and unjustly.

Now, in striving to be righteous and honorable gentlemen, it is imperative that we recognize the moment our behavior becomes unflattering and injurious towards another individual. This moment does not warrant any form of excuse or justification. Moreover, the moment does not call for denial or flat-out ignoring that any offense has transpired. No, a gentleman should take ownership of his misdeed, demonstrate honest regret, proffer an apology, and make amends for any wrongdoing if possible. A principled gentleman fully understands that there is dignity and respect in his contrition. He does not cower before the truth of his fallible existence. A key component of being a gentleman is knowing this truth, and never being resistant to apologizing for one’s distressing actions. That is a gentleman’s standard we must diligently strive to uphold.

Black Thought

carter-g-woodson-2“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to live with life as they find it and make it better.”

- Carter G. Woodson

To be absolutely sure, a gentleman’s life earns new significance when he not only identifies his purpose, but he also cultivates that purpose into something tangible that benefits other individuals. It is tragically irresponsible when an accomplished gentleman attains a certain degree of success, only to be miserly and penurious with his blessings. For the blessed gentleman that enjoys prosperity and favor, it is critical that he utilizes his influence to encourage, empower, and educate the under-served, often neglected sects of our society. When benevolence and compassion no longer exists in the hearts and minds of men, the quality of life for both the fortunate and less fortunate gradually diminish. And the best quality of life is something we should all strive to achieve – for everyone. So, operating within your domain of achievement, I urge the gentleman to re-purpose his purpose and seek to promote excellence and success in the lives those whom are underprivileged. And going forward, hopefully, they will perform the same charitable act for someone else.

Style & Substance – The Wellington Boot

 

Hunter BootCurrently, I am experiencing great difficulty with the justification of purchasing a pair of Wellington boots. Given my present state of residence, shiver-friendly Michigan – where seemingly 8 of the 12 months require multiple layers of clothing, the slushy terrain almost demands the procurement of boots specifically designed for the frosty muck that awaits outside. Every year I dutifully entertain the notion, and every year I procrastinate until spring washes away the salt and slush, thus eliminating my desire to purchase a pair “Wellies”. Honestly, an investment would not be too bad, as relocation is certainly not an option at this point.

Nevertheless, I could simply invest in a standard issue of dress boots and terminate the internal debate altogether. Additionally, the affectation that inherently influences the ritual of donning and removing a pair of robust Wellies could prove to be a rather cumbersome task to perform daily. Moreover, my mundane drive to work could possibly morph into something much more adventurous and treacherous, as applying one hefty boot to the throttle might require some nimble foot action. And with that, it would be correct to assume that yet another year shall pass with me foregoing a Wellington boot purchase. Maybe next year. Maybe.

Standard Recommendations – Fabric Shaver

 

EvercareEvery now and again, certain woven fabrics are susceptible to pilling – the development of tiny balls of fibrous fuzz on a garment’s surface. Wearing one’s clothing on a routine basis will ultimately bring about customary abrasion; resulting in stray fibers breaking free and forming those small unsightly balls of fabric nearly everyone abhors. The more expensive the fabric or the longer the fiber being woven, the likelihood of pilling lessens tremendously. Nevertheless, even these factors cannot totally negate the possibility of pills forming on your garment. To combat this clothing defect, I recommend investing in a fabric shaver. This small simple accessory removes unwanted pills and lint by way of spinning blades underneath a ventilated metal guard. Your garment can be returned to nearly fresh condition when employing the services of a fabric shaver. Readily available at store chains such as Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, a gentleman can expect to pay no more than $10.00 for a fabric shaver. This small investment will be well worth the cost, as adding this battery-operated accessory to your clothing maintenance will reap long-lasting benefits.

The Standard #29

MountainHumility. The act of possessing a modest opinion of one’s importance, understanding the complex context of life, and respecting the reality that other individuals may be better at some things than you. Gentlemen, please don’t be mislead by the boisterous musings of silly folk; so enamored by their own greatness that they cannot recognize their own shortcomings. Sometimes a man must recognize his faults and limitations. There is no shame in that. One must understand that embracing humility does not make a gentleman weak, actually, humility strengthens you. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you focused – on the important things in life. It is brazen arrogance that renders a gentleman vulnerable. Trust this: Keep living and life will eventually happen to you. And life can be the greatest administrator of humility. Recognize your position in life, and even if your station ranks well above others, discipline yourself in humility, as the folly of vanity can ultimately become your undoing. You don’t want to discover this bit of wisdom the hard way, but I am sure that you won’t. Maintain the standard my friends; catch you later.

Review – Lab Series – Age Rescue + Water Charged Gel Cream

Lab Series Anti-ageMy face is gearing up for a long battle. It is with great stubbornness, accentuated with a modest air of melancholy, that I have accepted the reality of sleep-reduced days for the forseeable future. Factoring in the looming onslaught of dry, cool air the winter season will provide; my face is at a decided disadvantage. Recognizing my skin required an equalizer, I anxiously jumped at the chance to sample Lab Series’ Age Rescue + Water-Charged Gel Cream. With wrinkles and dry skin a distinct possibility, there is no shame in my game when it involves grooming nowadays. If you are a gentleman of a certain age, baby or no baby, polar vortex or no polar vortex, it is never a bad idea to pamper oneself with products that afford the hope of beating back Father Time. So, how does Lab Series Age Rescue + Water-Charged Gel measure up? Let’s dive in gentlemen.

Observations

  • With an unusual bluish-green tint, the contents arrive with a refreshingly clean scent. The texture has a light to medium consistency with a moderately greasy touch. If your skin has the tendency to be oily, I would proceed with caution if using this product. Obtaining a sample would be wise before committing to a full jar.
  • Given its slightly oily feel, a gentleman will notice a residual touch on his face a little longer after initial application. It did not bother me, but keep this tidbit in mind if you plan on purchasing a jar.
  • Absorption, however, is an easy transition into the skin as the cream goes on evenly and smoothly.
  • A gentleman can either use his cream as generously or sparingly as he deems necessary. The cream really distributes well, so a few dabs on the fingertips should suffice.
  • Instantly, the hydrating effects can be felt within your skin as a cooling sensation sweeps across the face.
  • Ringing in at hefty $50.00 per jar, it may be hard for a gentleman to commit to such an expensive moisturizer. Therefore, depending on your needs and lifestyle, the decision is ultimately your own. Truthfully, even when using everyday, a gentleman should be able to extract 2 months of usage from a single jar.
  • Available sizes: 1.7 oz ($50.00)

Product Specifications

Lab Series Age Rescue + Water Charged Gel Cream

Lab Series Skincare for Men Age Rescue + Water-Charged Gel Cream is a new innovation that unleashes the power of ginseng to help save skin from the visible effects of aging, stress and fatigue. It boosts natural collagen to help visibly repair lines, wrinkles and increase firmness while providing intense hydration instantly, over 24 hours and long-term. G-Action™ speeds energizing ginseng straight to the skin, amplifying skin’s potential to work hard and recover fast for a revitalized look while a powerful peptide duo provides intensified repair to help support skin’s natural collagen production and AO-10™, a complex of 10 top antioxidants, helps neutralize the damage caused by the environment to hold off the signs of aging.

Key Ingredients

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

The Standard #33

mistakeTo be truthful, despite earnest attempts to uphold a gentlemanly standard, a gentleman will always be subject to the possibility of failure. Given that living one’s life in perfection is an impossibility, missteps and mistakes are almost certain to occur. It is an inevitability. Nevertheless, it is paramount that a gentleman understand his shortcoming, and it is more important that he extracts wisdom from his failure. Diligently, he must strive to apply the proper corrective measures to ensure that the esteemed, personal standard he has established is met. Don’t squander precious time persecuting yourself.

Moreover, don’t grant time to individuals that want to continuously persecute and shame you. They are vulnerable to same mistakes as you, and constant reminders of your failure can negatively affect your spirit and focus. Privately and quietly – humble yourself. Admit your faults and recognize your error. A gentleman must not seek refuge in denial, instead, exhibit sincere contrition and work to prevent such failures from occurring again. You will emerge a more mature gentleman, fully knowing that you are still susceptible to making mistakes, but understanding how to try to avoid them in the future, and how to better deal with your missteps when it happens again.

Gent Hints – Leather Glove Maintenance

LexolWith winter just around the corner, and in preparation of potential arctic temperatures, it would behoove the gentleman to ready himself accordingly. As part of that readiness plan, equipping oneself with the necessary wintry accoutrements is a given. High on that list of accoutrements would be leather gloves. For all intents and purposes, leather in its most basic design is skin, albeit animal skin (rawhide), but skin nonetheless. During the manufacturing process, the rawhide is treated with varying tanning methods that grant pliability, suppleness, and durability. As time slowly progresses, if left untreated, leather will gradually become stripped of its natural oils. It is important that these essential oils are replenished to maintain the leather’s integrity. The loss of essential oils is probably most troublesome in the winter, as the air progressively becomes cold and dry.

So, given the brutal weather ahead, combined with laborious tasks such as shoveling snow, your leather gloves are primed to take a beating. To keep your gloves well-maintained and appropriately conditioned, I would humbly suggest investing in a bottle of Lexol. Readily available at a cobbler, a discount retail store, or even an automotive store; Lexol is a leather cleaner and conditioner all at the same time. Simply don your leather gloves, dispense what is required to bring life to your leather, and rub your hands together until the results are satisfactory. Adopted as routine maintenance, a gentleman can easily extend the life of leather gloves, beating back the inevitability of cracking and drying under cold, harsh conditions. It is a small attention to detail that will certainly go a long way. Stay stylish and keep warm gentlemen.

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