December’s Father Feature: Nick LaFave

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Nick LaFave is brand new to fatherhood. His daughter, Johanna Joyce or “J.J.”, was born this year. So how has becoming a father affected his life? If you’re new to the game, you should check out this Father Feature. When he’s not on camera, you may find Nick behind one taking adorable photos of his daughter. But he’s found that too much phone time can be a problem. Read more about it here…

Father Feature

November’s Father Feature: Douglas Small

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This month’s Father Feature highlights Doug Small. Doug is a great example of how you don’t have to be a biological father to be “all in” with fatherhood. Most know him as the go-to guy when it comes to getting the most out of Grand Rapids as he is the CEO and President of Experience Grand Rapids. Learn more about him and get some ‘Dadvice’ from Doug here…

Father Feature

October’s Father Feature: Chris Zoladz

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This month our Father Feature focuses on Chris Zoladz. This on-the-go Dad is a Central Michigan graduate currently living in Grand Rapids. He’s a senior account executive at Seyferth PR, husband, and father to a family of three children – including the adorable Nora. Learn more about him and get some ‘Dadvice’ from Chris here…

Father Feature

GIVEAWAY: Surprise Notes from Inklings Paperie

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“Cover your eyes, Daddy.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my daughter tell me to do this. It seems as though everything (at age 8) simply must be a surprise. Whether it’s a completed craft, a cleaned room, or a new piece of clothing, it can’t just be seen. It must be revealed.

So when I wanted to send a note to her in the mail (she lives hours away with her mother), I knew I had to find just the right method. Enter: Inklings Paperie. They have the perfect way to “surprise” someone special with a little note. It works just like a scratch off ticket, except you get to personalize it.

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Call Me Daddy?

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I don’t want to presume to know what your relationship with your daughter’s mother is… but in my house, if I were to ask my wife to “call me Daddy,” I’d be on the receiving end of some serious side-eye, a cringe, and a raised eyebrow (if not just outright laughter.)

And yet, those words came out of my mouth the other day.

Stick with me. I had a pretty good reason.  Read More

March Dadness

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Many Dads find themselves fervently following the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament this time of year. There are buzzer beaters, busted brackets, and usually a “Cinderella” who makes it all the way to the dance. (See: Loyola Chicago)

You’ll want that same passion and attention to become a PTP’er (that’s Prime Time Parent).

For example, if you can reel off the names of the starting lineup of your favorite team but can’t name your daughter’s favorite food, teacher, singer, best friend’s name, and proudest accomplishment…you may want to call a timeout and make a new game plan.

From the time she could remember, you have been her coach. And like any great coach, you should know your “team member’s” personality, quirks, and what motivates her. Don’t wait until you have to heave a half court shot her way. Do it today. Take 5 minutes of one-on-one time to talk… and more importantly to listen. Soon you’ll see that being an active and involved Dad is as easy as a layup. #DadUp

Looking for something to do together? Check out our EVENTS page and come join us at our next event!

Daddy Daughter Time: Candle Making

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Looking for something different to do with your daughter(s)? You might want to give candlemaking a try. Before you Google “how to get soy wax out of dog fur or carpeting,” take a breath. There’s a new place you can go to in Grand Rapids called Wax Poetic Candle Bar that does the heavy lifting for you.

I recently took my 7-year-old daughter there and she had a blast. The process is simple…but don’t go if you have a stuffy nose. You’re going to need all of the olfactory tools your schnoz has to offer at the ready.  Read More

New Year’s Intentions

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Let’s be honest. New Year’s Resolutions stink.

They are a guilt trip in waiting.

So, let’s call these New Year’s Intentions.

The good news? Most, if not all, are promises you can actually keep.

  1. Spend less time on projects or cleaning and more time playing with your kids. Trust us. They don’t care if the house is perfectly clean but they’ll remember spending time with you.
  2. Stop “comparenting.” You do you. Don’t let what other people think of your parenting skills bring you down. Your awesome kids didn’t get that way by themselves so you may actually be pretty good at this fatherhood thing.
  3. Take a deep breath when stuff gets crazy. Then let it out slowly and keep your cool.
  4. Kick the butts… or any other unhealthy habit that might be taking years from your life. You’re going to want to watch them grow up and give you grandkids.
  5. Buy less stuff. Rather, invest in more experiences/vacations/time with your family. The best present is to BE present.
  6. Love the mother of your children…or (for some of you divorced dads) at the very least don’t badmouth her in front of them.
  7. Floss your teeth. Ok, so that one may be tough. 😉 But modeling healthy behavior will help them learn from watching you.
  8. Love being a Dad. It isn’t always a picnic but the potential payoff is something hard to even put into words.

Now that you’ve got your “intentions” for the New Year. Don’t forget to follow these five tips from David Mizne of They are the best way to see if you can actually stick to the plan.

  1. Set realistic goals. Know your limitations and give yourself a shot at success.
  2. Break those goals up into smaller ones. It doesn’t have to happen all at once.
  3. Buddy up. Share your goals with a friend and then give them a free pass to hold you accountable.
  4. Make a recovery plan. When that guilt trip hits because you’ve been dropping the ball, don’t beat yourself up over it. But don’t let yourself off the hook either. Just start a new streak.
  5. Speaking of starting. Do that. Today. Day One doesn’t have to be January 1… or even have a one in it.


Be Known

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My Dad – 1956

It’s around this time of year that being a father takes on a deeper meaning for me and it has nothing to do with the holidays. My father was born in November and each year on his birthday, I remember that another year has passed since he died in 2008. He was only 67 years old.

The thing I remember most is how little I knew about him.

I still recall his retirement party and asking him to recount each job he’d held since he started working. I finally wanted to know more about him as a person. I don’t know why it took me so long to take an active interest in his life – who he was as a young man, what his dreams had been and future dreams were, who his friends were and to hear tales about how he grew up. Those types of conversations were ones I’d never considered starting.

Of course, I knew what he had done for a living. I knew what his role in the household was. But I had no idea who he was. We’d never had the type of relationship, by no real fault of his, where those types of talks would happen naturally. He had tried a few times, when I was an unbearably rebellious pre-teen, to spend time with me golfing or fishing. It wasn’t easy for him.  I was the youngest of five, with siblings all within six years of age, and I’m sure his hands were pretty full.  I just wasn’t interested or was too preoccupied…and at that age I still hadn’t grasped how finite our time here really is.  And by the time I had matured enough and made the conscious decision to purposefully learn more about him as an individual, rather than just a Dad, he was gone.

That’s a regret I carry with me every day.

But it’s also a motivating factor on how I parent my daughters. I want to be known.

Being approachable is one of the five core traits we encourage fathers to implement in their daily parenting through Daddy Daughter Time’s D.A.D.U.P program. As fathers, we are the first men our daughters will know and see as an example of who to date/marry. The more my daughters know about me, the more yours know about you, the better.

Nobody’s perfect and daughters knowing that about their fathers can be an incredibly positive thing. How do we deal with our faults, errors, and struggles? What are our goals? What is the code by which we live our lives and make our decisions? Those are the heavy hitters. On the lighter side…What were we like as kids? What do we find funny or do for fun?

The sad fact is that I can’t answer most of those questions about my father and I won’t ever get the chance. But I hope my girls never have to face that same fact. I plan to be as approachable as I can and let them know that while I’m their father first, I’m available as more than just their Dad. I’m a person and hopefully someone who they will want to know more about.

I encourage you to open up and share your memories, good and bad, with your daughters. Share your outlook on life, your goals for the future,  what makes you…you. Don’t only be known as a provider or a disciplinarian. Be known for the man you are.