Monday, July 29, 2013

Life as Daddy: Wanna have a catch?

Riley and Tyler at the Cubs game - 2013
Sometimes there's no greater pleasure in the world than playing a game of catch with a 5-year-old. Earlier today, my youngest, Tyler, asked if I'd like to go outside and toss the ball around... of course my answer was,"yes."

I guess it helps that he can actually throw and catch the ball. But none-the-less, I just love getting out there and playing. It makes me feel good, it makes them feel good, and it makes me feel young again.

Maybe that's why I always cry at the end of, "Field of Dreams." The line where Kevin Costner says, "Hey dad, wanna have a catch?" always - and I mean always - makes me tear up. Everyone in the house knows it and they all watch me when it gets to that point of the movie... I just can't help it (and I bet I'm not the only one). It reminds me of being a kid too. My dad and I didn't play together a ton, but I sure remember the times we played catch.


I guess my point is don't miss those opportunities, you usually don't get a second chance, unless you're Kevin Costner.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life as Daddy: They grow up quick

So the other day, my boys finished up with school for the year. That means I officially now have a first grader and a fifth grader. Tyler completed kindergarten and Riley made it through fourth grade. Talk about blowing my mind. It seems like just the other day that they were my babies (truth be told, I still call them my babies). Time really does fly.

Tyler, me and Riley
The thought of them growing up so quickly makes me pretty sad.

Right now, their ages are a lot of fun; every day we're doing something together - playing catch, shooting the puck or playing soccer - but in the blink of an eye, they'll be grown up and off to college. That breaks my heart.

It's because of this that I take every moment I can (and I really mean EVERY moment) to enjoy my time with them.

I know sometimes they don't listen or behave. And I know that sometimes, I'm too tired and have little patience. But all-in-all, I do everything I possibly can to spend each hour making great, ever-lasting memories for both them and me.

For example, each of last two weekends, I took Riley and Tyler camping. Now we've gone camping before and we'll go camping again, so there's nothing overly special about that in itself. But the point is, rather than sit on the couch all weekend, we got out and spent time together; making memories that will last a lifetime.

Please feel free to check me out on Twitter (@bduewel). Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and spend some time with my kids...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life as Daddy: Helping your kids eat right

I recently posted on another of my blogs about the importance of helping your children to eat right. It's a tough battle - sometimes nearly impossible. But to help spread the word of how to sneak in a few extra servings of healthy, fibrous fruits and vegetables, I thought I'd re-post my blog from my site,

Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"
“If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding,”are the famous words from the iconic Pink Floyd song, “The Wall.”

Whenever I hear that song, I think of my family's constant battle at the dinner table. To be honest, I’m less concerned about the protein consumption, but rather their avoidance of fresh fruits and vegetables.

As I’ve mentioned before, my little guys are 8 and 4, and they’d do just about anything to get off the healthy side of the nutritional pyramid.
The Choose My Plate Guide for Young Children, which is intended for youngsters between 2 and 6, recommends three servings of vegetables and two fruits every day. For children over the age of 6, the regular Food Guide Plate suggests 3-5 servings from the veggie group and 2-4 from the fruits. I mention this just to help you gauge your child’s nutritional intake. For a more detailed explanation and description of the new food guidelines, check out the USDA’s website,

Here are a few of my tips and tricks to get your kids to eat a healthier diet. First, be honest with your children. Explain why it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced meal. Once your little guys and gals start playing sports, tell them that eating right will make them better players –because it will. When my older son, Riley, hesitates to finish his green beans, I simply say that veggies help you run faster, throw farther and kick harder. He always wants to be the best on his team, so he (usually) eats up.
Sneak in a serving here and there. Did you know that tomato soup counts as a serving of vegetables? And a glass of orange juice is a notch in the fruit column. Your kids won’t even know that they’re hanging out on the pyramid’s good side if you find foods that don’t look, smell or taste like fruits and vegetables.

Give in to their desires. I mean this in two ways. First, let them choose. This may be annoying after awhile, and you may need to step in from time to time, but if it gets them to eat right, so-be-it. My boys love peas, so about a year back, we had peas for dinner 16 straight nights, before I finally had to say, “Enough, we’re having corn tonight.” Second, if you’re having trouble getting them to eat right, offer up a little bribe. Sometimes a walk to the park will do the trick.

For my final tip, I offer up the idea of hiding the vegetables. What I mean is that they might not even notice if you chop up your veggies and add it to a meal they actually enjoy. For my favorite example, check out this fit recipe: macaroni, cheese and squash.

To be honest, this isn’t exactly my own creation. I picked this up from a book a few years back (I believe it was Jessica Seinfeld’s), and it works great. It’s as simple as it sounds, puree squash and add it to a pan of macaroni and cheese. The squash becomes undetectable, and your children unknowingly eat vegetable that they’d never eat otherwise.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life as Daddy: Little boys arguing

My boys are 8-years-old and 4-years-old. When they're apart, they're extremely well behaved. When they're together, not so much.

When they're together, they fight over everything. And I mean everything. They always want to play together, but it never ends well.

So what does this do to me? It often leaves me yelling and frustrated. I don't like to yell... I don't like to be frustrated. But at times, there's not much more I can do. I ask nice - doesn't work. I give timeouts - doesn't work. I send them to their rooms - doesn't work.

I'd like them to grow up and be best friends, but I'm not sure if that's entirely possible - at least not yet. Maybe they're just a little too young. The obvious solution is to keep them separated, but I don't think that's the best choice. I know that to some extent, it's normal for siblings (especially boys) to argue and fight, but it sure is taxing on a father.

I guess I'll just keep pleading my case to them to get along... and I'll just learn to deal with the frustration.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Life as Daddy: Jeremy Lin - A teaching moment

Just a quick thought on Jeremy Lin. I don't know that I'm a huge fan or a true follower, but what I do know is that I'm totally overwhelmed with what he has accomplished.

Throughout his short career, he has been told over and over that he wasn't good enough to play in the NBA. And yet, here he is, one of the biggest (current) stars on the planet.

The more I think about this, and him, I think about the message I can teach my boys. "Don't ever give up." No matter how many times people tell you you're not good enough or you can't do something, keep trying and "Don't ever give up."

For that reason alone, I am a Jeremy Lin fan...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life as Daddy: Riley's Shave Day

Every year, my son, Riley, and I shave our head to raise money and awareness to help end kid's cancer. We do it through the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Riley is 8-years-old and this is his fourth year shaving... it's my fifth.

This year we raised a couple hundred dollars - and we're always looking for more, so if you'd like to pitch in, click here.

I can't put into words how thrilled and proud I am to have a son willing to repeatedly do something to help those who truly need help. Riley is my little hero.

But as we were getting ready for the shave, Riley turned to me and asked if he could shave a Mohawk into his head. I said that was fine, even though I knew mom wouldn't be too happy. But when you're doing something for charity, why not have a little fun... here is a small look at Riley's new dew...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life as Daddy: Tyler and his hockey guys

A little background on my youngest... Tyler is 4 and this is his life - hockey, hockey, hockey. He has these little hockey guys - Blackhawks and Red Wings - and he plays with them all the time. He calls the games as they play, from goals and fights to penalties and even the 3 stars selection. Here's just a small snippet of Tyler and the hockey guys.