Our son is two and is now at the age where he grasps onto ideas and family traditions. Unlike the previous holidays, this year he will actually remember what he got. My wife and I have already knocked out gifts for our son (and most of our family for that matter) just out of protest of the holiday hustle that brings out the chaos in all our lives.
As we gear up for long lines, increased traffic and nonstop Christmas consumerism, I’ve been reflecting on additional small, but meaningful gifts I could give our son this holiday season. It’s such an impactful list, I checked it twice and wanted to share it with you in hopes we could grow it:
As we enter this holiday gift giving season, I hope that you dads reading this are able to give the gift that keeps on giving to your children. Let’s keep this list growing. Please, comment below, and add to this list!
“I have a ridiculously beautiful wife who's super sexy, and as long as she's happy with me, I don't need to look in the mirror and think, "How do I stack up next to Bradley Cooper? Would Cooper rock this shirt?" Doesn't matter. He does not have your wife. You do.”
If you have the privilege to have a significant other take this quote to heart for several reasons:
For one, and I say this from personal experience, paying attention to each other is so important. Your partner matters and their opinion of you and your relationship absolutely matters.
Second, your opinion of yourself and they way you talk about and to yourself absolutely matters. You are your toughest critic and the voice you hear the most is your own. Stop playing the comparison olympics, it benefits no one. Instead of asking how you stack up to some celebrity or even friend, try asking how you stack up against a previous version of yourself. Have you made the progress you wanted to make? There is no first place prize for living life, just try to be the best version of yourself and do your best everyday.
That my friends is truly how to live like a DADASS!
"...you've never been in the dark with a mosquito”
Interesting things happen when you feel small. The world seems huge, and the tasks at hand often look like mountains despite them being mole hills. Here’s the thing though, a problem is a problem no matter the size. And everything plays into a larger narrative, we are in some ways all connected and feeling small has a way of showing you that.
I’ve recently been watching Tiny World on Apple TV+ and loving it. For those unfamiliar, it is a nature documentary narrated by Paul Rudd and it explores the world through small creatures eyes and experiences. It’s amazing to watch and quite honestly a good watch for the entire family. What strikes me is how absolutely crucial the tiniest of things in our world are even to species much larger. Do not forget, the work that you do as an adult, co-worker, parent, or spouse ABSOLUTELY MATTERS no matter how small it seems.
It's that time of year when everyone is looking for fall activities. My wife is seemingly a renowned expert on all of central Ohio's pumpkin patches, but a few weeks ago, we spent a morning at one we haven't visited before and that just happens to be close to our house. Somehow we had never made the trip.
Freeman's Farm certainly checks all of the boxes. We were able to select a pumpkin from a vast supply. We treated the animals in the petting pin to snacks, while we feasted on kettle corn and hot dogs. We opted for the 20-minute hayride through the wooded property, which didn't feel like it was adjacent to I-71. The market was well stocked, and the crowd wasn't huge. Maybe this is still one of the lesser known fall destinations in town? Either way, I highly recommend.
That same Saturday, we spent our evening at Henmick Farm & Brewery. In my opinion, central Ohio has been in need of a destination like this for some time. For you city dwellers, it's definitely a hike but well worth the trip. Every beer I tried is delicious, and the space is what you'd expect: it's a farm. Copious seating around multiple fire pits (this was one of the first cool evenings of the fall) paired with plenty of open spaces for kids to play. Inside the Ohio State football game played, while an awesome bluegrass band played outside. They don't serve food, but we ordered takeout pizza from nearby Kilbourne Market and brought it in, which we were all surprisingly delighted by. If you're interested in visiting Henmick, I recommend checking out their Instagram first, as they do a great job sharing what activities (which include kids stuff) and entertainment they have lined up for the weekend ahead.
All in all, it was a great fall Saturday in central Ohio spent with the family.
Boy Meets World may be one of the greatest television series ever produced. Yes I said it, prove me wrong.
For our inaugural Tune-Up Tuesday, I have chosen one of my favorite lines ever written, which appeared in a classic episode of the show. At first glance, you may be confused, isn’t this series supposed to be uplifting? Yes, my dear friend it is, and it will be, just hold on. I want to point out that there is a nugget of positivity in the phrase: "life's tough, get a helmet."
It is easy to find yourself buying into the lie that life has to be easy to be good. Tough times are not fun, but they are a part of life. They build character, resilience and uncover strengths you didn’t know you had.
My dear friend, hold on, buckle up and get ready, because life is a crazy wild ride full of bumps, bruises, highs, and lows. Instead of wallowing in the negativity, find your helmet, and march on Dadass.
We are always looking for breweries with delicious beer that can accommodate, if not outright serve as a destination for family time. It's a win win. In the spirit of Oktoberfest season, Matt and Steve shared their favorite breweries that meet this critical criteria:
Edison Brewing Company (Gahanna): This place is becoming our favorite spot in town, as it's totally catered to families, from the rustic, industrial look to the variety of European-inspired beers and the view looking out at the Cityscape of downtown. For those with really little ones, both bathrooms have changing tables and there's built-in entertainment as it sits on a hill directly between both runways of the John Glenn International Airport. Our son loves watching the airplanes as we drink our beers out on a picnic table.
DankHouse Brewing Co. (Newark): This one is a quick drive East on 161 and right off the highway, but the wide variety of beers and unique styles are worth it. They have tons of space outside and even a separated space inside that could help corral the little ones who like to run. Outside of a dope playlist, we love it because it's away of Columbus and feels like a road trip or getaway, while again being an easy drive.
Nocterra Brewing Co. (Powell): I wrote about this in a previous blog post about top hikes with kids being an excellent post hike stop to rehydrate and change the little hikers. If you're not a hiker, it's a stones throw from the Zoo. The vibe there is social and welcoming to everyone, especially the outdoors-minded people. The bathrooms have changing tables and is doable inside or outside with the family. I recommend the gorgeous outside space. On top of all that, the beer selection is just an added benefit of hitting up Nocterra. James at Nocterra was on our podcast earlier in the summer and has an incredible story of going from stay-at-home dad to beer authority.
Olentangy River Brewing (Lewis Center): Just across the way from Highbanks Metropark, my favorite place to refuel after a hike with our son is here. Whether you want a coffee (they offer Roosevelt Coffee) or a beer, they've got it. Try the Belgian Aloha - it won't disappoint!
Galena Brewing Company (Westerville): This choice is aided by the fact that it's walking distance from my house, but in sincerity, Galena Brewing touts being a family-friendly brewery. They offer a wide range of events, including live music and crab races (you'll have to check it out for more details). Their brews are unique, and the brewery is still a bit of a hidden gem.
BrewDog (Canal Winchester): This may be too easy, but the BrewDog location in Canal Winchester is a fun destination to take the family. You probably don't need me to tell you about the deliciousness of Elvis Juice, but the Canal Winchester location is huge and very accommodating for families. Fireworks and live music are frequent occurrences, and the food is great for both adults and kids.
Parsons North Brewing Company (south Columbus): Beers for friends. Beers for family. Beers for people. Parsons is built on bringing people together. Their beer is some of my favorite in town, and the space is very accommodating for all types of people, including young families. There's games and open space to enjoy.
Seventh Son Brewing (Italian Village): My kids have been to Seventh Son probably more than any other local brewery - mostly due to circumstance. It's a great, big space with tons of delicious beers, and when we are in the area, it's very common for me and my family to stop in for a quick beverage.
North High Brewing (Short North): This is a homer pick, because I'm friends with the founders. While the original taproom in Short North doesn't really offer much for kids, my wife took us there for my first Father's Day, so it holds sentimental value. For my money, the North High Pale Ale is one of the best everyday beers in Columbus, and I highly recommend the brewery tour if you get the chance.
The Dadass Podcast recently released an episode, “Real Talk: Mental Health and On Our Sleeves,” featuring Parker Huston PhD., a licensed clinical psychologist and Clinical Director of the On Our Sleeves Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. During the episode they discussed resources available through On Our Sleeves, conversations to be having with your family and your partner at home, along with self-care tips.
In collaboration with The Dadass Podcast, our vision for this blog is to help dads be more engaged and more hands on with our families. This topic is important to the heart of our families, and we wanted to share one of many articles available at The Movement for Children's Mental Health - On Our Sleeves: Supporting Kids' Mental Well-Being.
If you live in Columbus, you’ve likely withstood the anticipation or at least heard the buzz around the Buddy Dairy Food Hall. The novel concept was introduced by central Ohio culinary leader Cameron Mitchell as a “chef-driven incubator that provides opportunities for culinary adventures to refine their concept, grow their business and build a loyal following, all while sharing space with other like-minded entrepreneurs.”
Whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or aspiring adventurer, there is so much you can experience with your kid(s) in nature. As a fellow dad recently reminded me, “into the woods we go, because your kids don’t remember a day in front of the TV.”
I recently covered my top Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks trails in the northern part of central Ohio. Here are a few of my recommendations of local trails within the southern end of town to explore with your little ones:
A Park in the City at Scioto Audubon (beginner): You’ve probably seen the iconic water tower on shots around Columbus. This Park blends a green oasis of wildlife and recreation set just a stone’s throw away from downtown. Most of this is flat, and you can explore the banks of the Scioto River, play on the obstacle course and even try your hand at climbing the over 7,000 square feet of the climbing wall, along with a 10-foot bouldering wall. The facilities are great and the restrooms have changing tables, which is a huge plus.
Head to the Woodlands at Clear Creek (moderate to difficult): If you can afford the time for a mini road trip or mentally handle being in the car with the little ones for a while, I highly recommend this one. Close enough to Hocking Hills, but without the tourists this is a gem for hiking. There are easier trails, but plenty of challenging ones. According to the webpage for this park, it features over 5,300 acres of woodland. Plenty of time to look for yetis or let their imaginations go on a wild adventure.
A Little Bit of Everything at Scioto Grove (easy-ish to difficult): The trails are super easy, but if you’re willing to try your hand at overnight backpacking at one of their designated areas it could become difficult depending on your experience level. This park is nicely kept, has well-marked trails and with a partnership with REI you’ll love the amenities. You can explore along the river here, too.
The Dadass Podcast recorded with Tim Moloney, Executive Director of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks back in February. I highly recommend listening to learn even more about such a robust park system we have here in our backyard.
A once in a lifetime excursion, I recently vacationed in Hawaii, and it is everything you’d imagine if you’ve never been fortunate enough to make the voyage. The travel is certainly not easy, but it’s compounded exponentially by traversing with a six-, four- and one-year-old.
We spent our first five days on Oahu with my cousin who serves in our military and his family. He’s stationed there; it was ideal navigating the island with locals, versus always defaulting to the atypical tourist activities. We were on the go from sunup to sundown everyday, and it truly felt like we got a good sense of what Oahu has to offer:
After five days on Oahu, my family flew to Maui for an additional four days. We mostly relaxed around the beach near the resort during the day, but we still explored:
A few other miscellaneous/anecdotal observations:
We had an incredible time. Shoutout to my wife who was a rockstar who orchestrated the majority of the vacation for us. I highly recommend Hawaii if you have the opportunity to visit. And it can be done with kids. Hope my notes are helpful to any parent making the trip with their family in the future.
-Steven Michalovich, CBUS Dads contributor
CBUS Dads is a community of central Ohio area dads balancing an active lifestyle with being an involved parent. A Saturday for us may involve enjoying morning t-ball, lunch at a new local spot and an evening at a summer festival with our families. We may live downtown, in the suburbs or somewhere between, but our common thread is that we continue to experience the community we love - now as parents.