New Year, New… Me….?

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

January is basically the month where we all act like we are not giant sacks of shit and we try a little bit. If you’re anything like me, this cycle has already played out for you.

One day, you wake up and realize that you have an end goal.

Ok, maybe you don't want to.

And maybe there's cake.

And maybe the gym is daunting.

Also, the outfits don't do much for your physique.

But you can try something in private.

And maybe even make some changes at home.

And before you know it, you're there.

And maybe you've got something to brag about.

But isn't there always someone better?

And, actually, don't you still feel like shit?

Fuck, what's even the point?

Seriously, what's the point?

Fuck it.

Kind Man Gives His First Class Seat to Mom Flying With Sick Baby

(Facebook/Kelsey Zwick)

Taking kids anywhere is often a recipe for disaster. Public places are full of scorn for hyper children, loud children, crying children, and much of that scorn and judgment gets directed at their parents. As if Mom and Dad don’t have enough to deal with, now they have to worry about inconveniencing strangers?

Nowhere is more fraught than an airplane, an enclosed space where people spent a solid chunk of change and are probably already in a pretty bad mood. When they see an overactive kid, or a loud baby stroll down their aisle? Many passengers can’t help but be jerks about it. Which is what makes this story so refreshing. Someone wasn’t a jerk about it!

Last week, Kelsey Zwick was flying from Orlando to Philadelphia with her 11-month-old baby. The pair was flying to Philly to visit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, so baby Lucy could receive the special treatment she needs for her chronic lung disease.

“Not everybody gets the opportunity to get the best care for your children. I was just grateful to be on that flight,” Zwick told Today.

She was about to become even more grateful.

Kelsey got on the flight early, thanks to traveling with an infant, and after she’d sat down and positioned her daughter, her diaper bag, and the oxygen tank Lucy needed to fly with, she received a pleasant surprise. A flight attendant approached her and told her a passenger had done something special. He had surrendered his first class seat to the mother and daughter.

“At first, I didn’t really understand what she was saying,” said Zwick. “When I realized that it was someone showing kindness to us, I just started crying.”

Kelsey went to Facebook and posted a grateful response to the anonymous man in 2D, where she explained that while she walked up the aisle into the first class section, her eyes filled with tears, Lucy was apparently having a blast.

“Not able to hold back tears, I cried my way up the aisle while my daughter Lucy laughed! She felt it in her bones too… real, pure, goodness. I smiled and thanked you as we switched but didn’t get to thank you properly.”

So she thanked him online instead.

“Thank you,” she wrote. “Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy. For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US. It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can’t wait to tell Lucy someday. In the meantime… we will pay it forward. AA 588 passenger in seat 2D, we truly feel inspired by your generosity.

Other people are surely inspired as well, after Kelsey’s post received nearly 500,000 shares and over 765,000 likes on FB.

Shortly after she posted on Facebook the good Samaritan was identified as Jason Kunselman of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He later revealed it was his birthday the day after the flight, “It was the perfect birthday gift, seeing that I could help someone else out and make someone happy,” he said.

Jason, we salute you.

This Santa Connects With Autistic Kids, Because He Has Autism Too

(Today/Kerry Magro)

Visiting Santa isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. We’ve all seen the hilarious photos of screaming children sitting on the big man’s lap. They’re confused and wondering why their parents put them in the clutches of a large man draped in blood red clothing. Most of us outgrow our trepidation and learn to toe the line to get the gifts, but some people have a tough time connecting with Kris Kringle for other reasons.

Like autism.

Kids with autism often have trouble connecting with people, especially strangers, and the experience of meeting Santa in a crowded mall witholors and noise can send their senses into overdrive. That’s what happened to Kyle Magro when he was a 6-year-old kid, when the flash on the camera was just too much for him.

“It was sad for me,” Magro, now 30, told Today. “I thought, why are those other kids able to do this, and not me? I didn’t have any friends, and I was really trying to find that connection.”

As an autistic kid, he didn’t find it, so now that he’s 30, he’s taken it upon himself to provide that connection for other autistic kids. Every Christmas for the past five years, Kerry dresses up as Santa and provides autistic kids with a special Christmas experience of their own. An autism educator and activist, Kerry called on some friends to help him devise an autistic-friendly Santa experience. The lights are low, the music is soft, and instead of being rushed, the visiting kids get 30 minutes each to get comfortable.

“There’s a lot of joy,” said Magro, who recently donned the iconic Santa outfit in New Jersey. “It’s a labor of love.”

Magro will get on the floor with kids, and allow them to touch or interact with his Santa in any way they like. Parents of autistic kids, so used to having to explain what their child can handle and how they communicate, are grateful for the experience.

(Today/Kerry Magro)

“She was trying her best, in her own way, to interact, and he is catching all those cues. It was just natural,” said Brian Calligy, who has been taking his daughter, who has non-verbal autism, to see Kerry for five years. “She was so excited; she’s jumping up and down, and he’s jumping up and down with her. She was so happy. She had a smile from ear to ear.”

There are a handful of Santas across the country who provide lower key experiences for kids with sensory issues, but Kerry may be the first with autism himself.

“As a parent, seeing what he’s doing not only for my daughter but for all the kids who are there, it’s special,” said Calligy. “Seeing a person with autism and the heights he is reaching, and he still is making time to come and do this — well, we look forward to it every year.”

7 Brothers Team up With Kellogg to Turn Corn Flakes Into Craft Beer

(Seven Bro7hers Brewery)

I’m going to come right out and say it:

Beer is good.

Yeah, I know — real shocker.

But do you know what’s equally good? Nay, possibly even better? Cereal.

Yes, cereal. It’s as delicious as it is easy to make, can (and should) be eaten at any time of day, and, frankly, still makes me a little giddy when I roll my shopping cart down that colorful aisle of cartoon-covered boxes.

So how does someone elevate both beer and cereal to make them even better? How about smashing them together to make a deliciously fermented corn-flaked brew the likes of which the world has never seen?

(Seven Bro7hers Brewery)

Kellogg has partnered with UK-based brewery “Seven Bro7hers” to create a beer out of rejected Corn Flakes in an effort to reduce food waste.

Using flakes from Kellogg’s Manchester factory that are either too big, too small, or overcooked to be included in their standard cereal, Seven Bro7hers has created their aptly named Throw Away IPA.

(Untappd/Stuart L)

The cereal replaces the standard wheat grain in the beer recipe and £0.10 from each can purchased is donated to food distribution charity FareShare.

“Kellogg’s is working hard to eliminate food waste in our manufacturing processes and give our consumers the wholesome products they love with minimum impact on the planet,” said Kellogg UK corporate social responsibility manager Kate Prince. “Our approach has delivered a 12.5% reduction on food waste in our UK sites this year.”

Kellogg recently moved their UK headquarters to MediaCityUK, Manchester—literally one block away from Seven Bro7hers Brewery, making Corn Flake delivery a breeze.

(Seven Bro7hers Brewery)

The brewery is named after the seven McAvoy brothers—Guy, 57, Keith, 50, Luke, 45, Daniel, 44, Nathan, 42, Kit, 37, and Greg, 35—who started their business in 2014, drawing inspiration from their father’s home brewing over the years.

Not to be outdone, their sisters also created their own distillery, Four Sis4ers Gin, just this year.

Given the positive response to both their partnership with Kellogg and the beer itself, the brothers are already working on additional cereal-centric brews.

“Seven Bro7hers Brewery is delighted to be working with Kellogg’s on a project which uses edible but not-sellable cereal,” said Allison Watson of Seven Bro7hers Brewery. “We plan to create three beers including a Hoppy IPA which will be launched this month and sold in our Ancoats bar and the Dockyard, MediaCityUK.”

Hopefully, this wonderful trend only continues to grow and makes its way to brewers in the U.S. Until then, however, I’ll just have to keep pouring a nice refreshing pilsner over my Froot Loops.

A Screen-Free Smartphone To Get Kids Out-Freakin’-Side

The Dad & Relay Go

My first cell phone was a flimsy flip phone that couldn’t even play Snake. My parents gave it to me “for emergencies only,” and I mostly used it to pretend I was a space captain. Don’t judge, we all did it….right?

Flash forward to today, and the standard model phones are gateways to screen addiction, cyber bullying and a whole world of social anxiety. Modern phones don’t do “for emergencies only.” Giving our kids independence means shackling them to a device, and hoping they have the self awareness and discipline to not become little screen zombies.

So when I heard Relay Go was way to keep tabs on kids that isn’t a smartphone -but acts like one- I was curious…and skeptical. I decided to invoke the right of all dads, and check out the new gadget for myself.

Rleay Go
(Relay Go)

What Is It?

The Relay device is a smartphone without a screen. It’s like a multi-channel walkie talkie that connects to an app on your phone. So with the push of the single button, your kid can send you a message, and you can talk directly to them from your normal phone. They can also connect to other Relay devices to talk with their friends down the street or across the country…and I do mean actually talk, not bury their face in a texting wall. The longer it takes my kid to learn what emojis are, the better.

Will My Kid Break It?

One thing that surprised me was how durable this thing is. I opened it it up, handed it to my daughter, and told her to be careful with it before she immediately dropped it. (That part was not a surprise). But, the thing didn’t get busted or even scuffed, and the speaker didn’t start popping like my regular phone when she dropped that. And my tablet. And my bluetooth stereo.

Will My Kid Lose it?

The three stages of seeing what your kids are up to.

Like all parents, I expect my daughter to be the plucky leader of a group of kid detectives on the hunt for a  lost treasure, only to run afoul of some two-bit crime family whom she would ultimately outsmart after learning valuable lessons about friendship and what it means to call someplace home.

But sometimes I just have to pick her up from the bus stop. In both cases, the GPS tracking is clutch. Also handy? When she drops it in the park, or leaves it at a friend’s house, or forgets it at school but doesn’t remember where…we can still find it. I almost want to get one for all her jackets to keep track of them, too.

Is It Worth It?

Getting your kid a phone is a big step. One that can come up before either of you is ready. Relay Go kicks that ball down the field a little, without limiting their access to the broader world. In fact, it encourages active participation, as opposed to seclusion. It’s not just “for emergencies only,” but a cool way to introduce your kid to the ever-connected digital world. The Dad Approves.

(Relay Go)

 

This post was sponsored by:
Relay Go

Dad Was Worried About Poker Player Son’s $100k Solitary Confinement Bet

(Getty/Image Source/AZemdega)

Guys will do some strange things on a dare. Throw in some money and call it a bet and things can get even more intense. Especially among people who make bets for a living.

“Strange” and “intense” certainly describe the latest bet between Rich Alati and Rory Young, two professional poker players who left the cards behind for their latest gambit. After a casual conversation took on real stakes – “How long do you think you could last in a dark room, with no human interaction?” – Rich Alati agreed to spend 30 days in solitary confinement. No human interaction, no technology. In the dark. The prize? $100,000.

“The conditions are complete darkness, so no electronics, no light-emitting devices, no drugs of any kind,” said Rory Young explained to Pocket Fives. “He is allowed any type of food that he wants. He has a bed in there, he has a shower and a bathtub. He has pretty lavish toiletries like Epsom salts, sugar scrubs, that kind of stuff.”

Rich’s father, Richard, the third party with the most knowledge of the bet had the ability to watch his son on a 24/7 feed. Needless to say he was a tad concerned after finding out about it after the bet had been made.

“I gave him a chance to talk me through it and hear him out,” Richard told The Action Network. “He’s in a profession where they do things that other people wouldn’t do.”

This isn’t Steve McQueen in The Great Escape throwing a ball at the wall, whiling away the hours in defiance of the Nazis. This was 30 days in a pitch black room, completely oblivious to the passage of time, with no interaction with anyone else, and not even enough light to read. 30 days of that is enough to drive a man mad. Is $100,000 worth taking that risk? Alati seemed to think so.

His dad had the ability to call off the bet – which he insisted he won’t do without talking to other family members – and admits that after two weeks in (Rich entered solitary confinement on November 21) he’s was becoming uneasy. “But I chose to focus on the positive, wishing for a successful completion of the wager.” he said.

Turns out the wager did complete successfully. After 20 days in the dark Rich called it off when his bet rival delivered him some food. But not before negotiating a $62,400 buy-out. Sure, it’s not $100k but still a nice addition to Alati’s $330,000 in career tournament earnings.

It couldn’t have been easy, knowing his son may be struggling but also knowing that after more than two weeks, pulling the plug will cost him the money. His dad hung in there, supporting his son as best he could.

“My kids don’t always follow my direction, but I will back them and support them to the end of the world. I have a confidence in my son. Given his life experiences, I believe he can do anything he sets his mind to as a goal. I brought him up to be hard working, resilient and we don’t quit.”

Father Figures: Happy Again

“Noémie and I always wanted kids. It was the obvious goal of our relationship, which started in 2006. We thought it would be easy and straightforward. Noémie became pregnant in 2014, six months after our wedding. But nothing went as expected.

We learned that Gabriel, our unborn son, had a severe heart malfunction. If we decided to continue the pregnancy, we could try a 3-stage heavy-heart surgery, which could potentially allow him to live up to 20 or 30 years.

We wanted to meet him. We wanted to see his face, to hear his voice, to touch his skin. And above all, we didn’t want to live our entire life wondering what would have happened if we had given him a chance. We turned down the offer of interrupting the pregnancy.

Gabriel is born in January 2015. 6 days after his birth, he went through the first stage of the surgery. He did it. But later on, his heart turned out not to be strong enough. At the age of 46 days, Gabriel became an angel.

Our lives became nightmares. Finding the strength to get out of bed each morning was next to impossible. But we fought, and we patiently learned how to live without him. Day after day, week after week, month after month, we found ways to honor his memory, and to grow stronger.

Today, I can tell for sure that Gabriel made me a better person, less selfish, stronger, more empathic. I’m so proud to be his father. In only 46 days, he taught me more than anyone could do in a lifetime.

Just as I thought that no one could be as incredible as him, Noémie was pregnant again, one year after the death of Gabriel. In December 2016, I became the father of Ariane, a little girl full of life and energy!

She just never stops playing, exploring, talking, jumping… She laughs when, as a joke, she puts on her mothers’ shoes; she complains if I’m not wearing the “stormtrooper t-shirt” (she pronounces it “stormkooper”); she cries if I don’t let her eat by herself… And every morning, I’m awoken by her little voice. “Elle est réveillée petite fille !” (“Little girl is awake!”) as she’s hungry for new experiences.

When I lost my son, I wondered how I could be happy again. When I held my daughter in my arms for the first time, I wondered how I could be sad again.

I’ve been the proudest and happiest father ever since.”

– Yannick Bourquin

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Army Dad Sends Wife Hilarious “Sexy” Selfies

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

Meet United States Army specialist Brandon Sillings. When he isn’t on duty, Brandon loves spending time at home with his two sons and wife, Felicia, but also realizes what it takes to keep things spicy in their marriage.

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

Recently, when Felicia was out for the day, he decided he would rev her engine a bit by snapping some sexy pics. And, boy howdy, did he go all out…

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

Starting in the room where the magic happens, Brandon decided to document his time with a sexy little toy: the vacuum cleaner.

And despite what that coy expression says, he was just getting started.

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

Not even the snowy outdoors can cool down this pic. Do your best to take it all in while he takes out the trash.

(Bonus points for the successful duck face)

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

Yowza, a lip-bite like that can’t be taught, folks.

And holding a laundry basket with such brazen confidence? How ’bout you stop making the rest of us look bad, Brandon. Geez.

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

No need for before pictures. With two young kids, you know that sink was just brimming with cups, bowls, and grime earlier that morning. Well, not anymore!

Look carefully and you can almost see Brandon’s sultry eyebrow moves reflected in the sink’s shiny surface.

(Facebook/Brandon Sillings)

When Felicia finally checked her phone and saw the bevy of “sexy” photos from her husband, she burst out laughing.

“What is this?” she asked in response. He explained how he wanted to send her sexy pics and she immediately understood.

Brandon shared the photo series on Facebook with the caption, “Sending sexy pics to the wife like…” and it has received tons of praise. After just a few weeks, the photos have accrued over 115k thousand likes and have been shared over 400,000 times.

So, yes… it’s great when your partner finds you physically attractive after years of being together, but let Brandon be an example of what can really get a spouse all hot and bothered: good old-fashioned household chores.

Let’s Send This Dad and WWII Hero Birthday Wishes for His 96th!

(Facebook/Sue Morse)

Birthdays are special no matter your age, but as you get up in years and they are less of a foregone conclusion, they become more and more meaningful. One proud daughter is doing her best to make her dad’s birthday as special as possible by putting the word out on social media.

Sue Morse’s father has lived an extraordinary life, and as he approaches his 96th birthday, she is hoping to help him get a little extra recognition for surviving it! Duane Sherman turns 96 on December 30th, and when you have a birthday that’s sandwiched between two of the year’s biggest holidays, it’s easy for it to get overlooked. But not if she has anything to say about it.

Sue took to Facebook to give a little background on her dad’s life, and it’s a pretty killer story. The man enlisted in the military after Pearl Harbor, and his service was rather eventful.

She laid it all out on her Facebook page:

“He was a Chief Sonarman on the USS Lamson DD 367. He sailed the world, but saw the most action in the Leyte Gulf and Ormoc Bay in the Philippines. His ship bombarded the coastline and made it easier and safer for the Marines to land. On December 7th, 1944, his ship was hit by a kamikaze plane. Close to 30 shipmates died in that action. Dad tells of jumping from the bridge into fiery waters. He was hit with hot shrapnel and received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained.”

Pretty amazing! And after all that, the man stuck around for another go-round, as Sue’s post notes: “He is very proud of his service and also served as a Sonar Instructor during the Korean War.”

She closed her missive with a request for readers to send her dad some birthday cards to help him celebrate, and posted his mailing address.

We’re going to send Duane some swag from The Dad. If you’d like us to send along a wish from you – please enter it in comments section of this Facebook post. We’ll print all the comments out and include in our package!

The local news also featured Mr. Sherman:

Dad Runs Marathon With Empty Stroller to Raise Awareness

(Facebook/Troy Austin)

Running a marathon is never easy. But it’s especially hard to run one when you have a heavy heart. Even harder still is to run one while pushing a stroller. But that’s exactly what one heartbroken man did, to honor the son he never got a chance to meet.

Troy Austin is no stranger to running marathons, but he’d never run one quite like the Sunshine Coast Marathon in Australia in August 2017.

The marathon came about a year after Troy’s wife had delivered their son, stillborn at 27 weeks. To honor the child, he ran the full marathon while pushing an empty stroller. He wrote about the experience in a Facebook post, where he explained the intent behind the stroller, which caused some confusion during the race. Multiple spectators and fellow runners joked that Troy had lost his kid, only for the dad to explain that yes, he had. And that was exactly why he was running with the stroller.

“Everytime ‘Hey mate you lost your kid’ it took a good mate beside me to have a chat so my bottom lip didn’t tremble, as I would try think up quick ways of saying yes I have lost my kid and I am not getting him back.”

Some people even jokingly asked for a ride, ignorant of the pain behind Troy’s symbolic gesture.

“T.G would have been 1 1/2 years old and sitting in the pram, however there would be no Legacy, no reason and no knowledge because until we were told he had passed we didn’t have any idea it could happen.” he wrote in an emotional Facebook post.

The bereaved father ran several races in the days after his son’s burial, including the Long Course Triathlon Nationals, Ironman New Zealand, and World Age Group Titles. ‘I trained and kept my mind and body so tired it could not grieve,’ he told Australia’s Daily Mail.

He ran the marathon to raise awareness of stillbirths via T.G.s Legacy, named after his son. ‘Stillbirth isn’t publicised like cancer or the road toll, no one wants to talk about a dead child,’ he said. In the process he also raised funds for Sands Queensland which offers support to those who have lost a baby.

Troy and his wife have since had a second son, but it hasn’t taken away the pain they feel for T.G.’s loss. ‘We have had our second son recently, but that does not take away from how much we miss his big brother and never will. We will never forget TG, for he is our son.’

“I think the empty pram is here to stay…. not empty My son was with us.”

(Facebook/Troy Austin)