Category Archives for Blog

Dadnamics Live! Episode 31 Dream Story Continues

In my first Dadnamics Blog, I published the complete 2,400 word journey of “The Dream Story, Wood Hair, and Arctic Land“. It was my most emotional post to this day because it capped off a 5 1/2 passion project, transforming an idea or dream into a real published book.

I can tell you from experience that passion projects do not even feel like work. I absolutely loved every 4:30am alarm buzzer and Monday night writing group and each new burned out highlighter as I finished another book on the craft on writing. I did it because I loved it. I did it to set an example for my oldest son, Kenny, who was watching every move that I made.

If you take the time to read the original post, you will see that this project started in March 2010 when Kenny was barely 5-years-old. Kenny just turned 12 a few days ago. I can hardly believe it.

Here’s the best part. He has been watching. I published my debut Dadnamics in Reading book, Arctic Land, on December 15, 2015 after an intense 5+ year journey. And today, my amazing, entrepreneurial son Kenny published his first book on Amazon – The Natural Elements: Unknown Powers.

It’s a real book too with 3,000 words! He created 4 characters with powers that protect the planet from alien-invaders. His character is Furno, who has the element of fire at his disposal. His sister Icy has (well you can guess her power). The other two characters, Misty and Groot, are my son and daughter’s neighborhood friends. To complete this book, Kenny read and applied Ron Tobias’s “20 Master Plots”, he re-structured his first draft to have a complete plot with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I edited the final draft this morning and I’m just beaming. My boy… My boy…

What can I say. I’m a proud Dad. The kicker is this and I want every parent to hear these words to the point that they reverberate through your spirit.

Your kids will copy all of what you do wrong and half of what you do right.

Make sure to set the right example for them. You have that power. It was given to you, Dads.

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 29 Puck Luck

One of my cleaning customers has season tickets for RPI Hockey and has been generous over the years to pass a few pairs my way each season. The seats are sick! They are center ice, 8 rows up with a perfect view of the entire rink. I typically switch between bringing two sons to a game and then alternate with my daughter. Needless to say, she had no idea how the game of hockey was played and she really didn’t care.

This was “Special Time” for us and she just wanted to be with me. Therefore, I knew that watching the game would have to be secondary. As you can see in the video, I tried to entertain her with “Rules of the Game”, Dadnamics-Style. Although that’s as far as the video goes, many other exciting events took place at this game away from the game. It’s all about creating memories and I felt wonderful on the car ride home with a solid list of memories.

(1) We got pretzels and hot chocolate. You can never go wrong with that!

(2) We left our seats for half of a period to explore the arena. We found secret passages and an empty corridor that was totally big and empty enough to do a daddy/daughter dance. So we danced and twirled for a bit. Again, you can rarely go wrong with this either.

(3) After the dance, we walked the perimeter of the rink and we heard. “A puck. Excuse me.” We turned around and one of the security men grabbed a frozen puck that left the rink toward our area. He saw my daughter and wanted to give it to her. That was our “Puck Luck”. If I had forced her into boredom by staying in our seats for the whole game, we would have missed out on this gift.

(4) After the game, we walked to the car a round-about way. We descended the Metal Staircase of Danger, ran across the Black Ice Palace, and jumped off the Wall of Wisdom (sounds like we were in the Elf Movie). The wall jumping was the most fun.

(5) We got into the car and took each other’s ticket and wrote on them. I wrote, “Daddy-Christianna very 1st hockey game”. She wrote the same. I keep mine in my car to this day and she has hers in her bedroom.

(6) On the way home, we stopped for a doughnut. I know, totally spoiled her with treats and love and time…

That’s the point! You can too.

 

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 68 Paparazzi

Have you ever felt like you were being followed?

[Queue the spooky Halloween piano.]

That very thing happened to my family just a few short weeks ago…


The six of us settled into the van ready for our annual trip to the orchard to pick a few bags of fresh New York Apples. It’s always an exciting trip as we stuff our faces with “samples” off the trees to properly select the right mix for our family.

We race, we play.

We pick, we pay.

Then we get back in the van, go home, and pass out from eating 4 apples each.

Something was different this time. Something was very different indeed. The air felt a little heavier in places. The apple trees swayed a bit too much for my comfort. Soft footsteps seemed to trail my own and they weren’t my family members. No, something was off, out of place, eerie, confusing, concerning.

Click. Click-click. Click.

I acted on a hunch and followed the sound of a ticking machine. It couldn’t have been my imagination. The ticking got louder and louder. I darted across a row of apple trees to another, and there they were.

My mind eased initially, knowing that I wasn’t being trailed by some ghoul or ghost. But my mind raced when I considered the magnitude of the situation. I was being followed by the Paparazzi. Right there, in front of me, was a woman pointing a camera at me and my family. She looked the part, toting a bag of supplies and lenses. This could only mean one thing.

I was famous. Dadnamics had finally reached some level of underground viral success that, not even I knew about. This new reality dawned on me like a bath of warm sunshine.

“Am I famous. But I don’t have a lightning scar? How could this be?”

I took a step toward her and just like a deer in the field, she lifted her head from the camera and stared at me for a few seconds. I took another step and asked. “Who are…”

She bolted like the deer. I chased her. “Wait. I’m not going to hurt you. I come in peace.”

Alright, alright. I’m not famous and most of this story was a bit of an… embellishment. But there was a photographer and she was totally following us around. Her name is Kelli of Kelli Evans Photography and she specializes in Family Photojournalism. This is an emerging and extremely creative segment of the photography industry. Kelli schedules photo shoots with families with the intention of literally hiding and following. Her craft is to capture the family in their element, doing the things that real families do, when they do them.

Kelli became a subscriber to Dadnamics several months ago and was so moved by the style of family content I shared that she reached out. So in a sense, I am famous… sort of.

The experience was nothing short of amazing. Kelli spent nearly an hour following us and doing her thing. At the end, she allowed us to get the typical still family shots that most photographers do. It was awesome. She got a blog out of the experience and I got another Dadnamics Live! episode.

Win-win.


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Dadnamics Live! Episode 28 Hut, Hike

It’s official! Dadnamics now has a toddler-only video. In full disclosure, I’ve been performing with all of my kids since they were toddlers. I just never recorded them.

The timing for Hut, Hike is perfect as the 2016 NFL season is in full swing. Here’s the play-by-play.


Offense takes the field. Number 39, Dad, in at quarterback. Number 2, Kye, in at wide receiver, running back, punter, and place kicker. It’s 1st down and 10 on the 20-yard-line. Dad takes the prescription to the drugstore, reads the defense, and snaps “HUT, HIKE!” 

“Yes sir, your prescription will be filled within 15 minutes.”

“NOooooo. How could this be. It was supposed to be ready!

[whistle blows. Referee (pharmacist) grasps left forearm with right hand.]

“Holding, on the offense, number 98. Ten yard penalty. Repeat first down… and wait for more than 15 minutes.”

Now it’s 1st and 20 from the 10-yard-line.  This could be a long day on the grid iron. Kye splits left. Dad sets the offense again, audibles upon a favorable defensive setup, and yells. “HUT, HIKE!” Dad takes the snap and fakes the slant to Kye, who had his man beat. Then Dad hands off to number 2, Kye, faking the defense out of it’s pants.

The play worked flawlessly as Dad and Kye ran the entire length of the field (down two drugstore aisles) and spiked the ball for the first score of the day. 

When the game clock read 0:00 in the 4th quarter, Dad and Kye were home with a prescription and a memory that Kye will never remember and Dad will never forget.


We all do things in life, whether technical, relational, or physical that seem normal and routine to us. But they are NOT normal and routine to others. These would be called your gifts, that only you can bring to this world.

I performed for and with my kids since Day 1, I just never realized that I was odd or goofy or a total genius!? Around 18 months ago, I had enough wisdom to realize that what I do is unique. Therefore, I began pulling out my phone during these spontaneous Dadnamic adventures. 18-months later, I have over 30 Dadnamics Live! episodes published and 40+ more in the tank ready to be released.

You too have gifts that set you apart. I encourage you to recognize them, embrace them, and transform them into content that can change the world. That’s what I’m trying to do!

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 22 Wiffle Ball World Series, World Series

This wraps up another fantastic year of father-son wiffle ball. As I write this, Kenny and I are playing the final inning of the NLCS game 3 between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs. The winner plays the Cleveland Indians in the 6th Annual Daddy-Kenny Wiffle Ball World Series.

Words and videos cannot do justice to the relationship and memories we have established over these 6 years. I truly believe that I have begun a tradition that will never be broken as it is passed down from generation to generation. Just listen to the final questions I ask Kenny in the video. But this isn’t about me. I want this to be about YOU and YOUR son. Did you take my challenge and begin the Fall Classic in your backyard?

Dadnamics is meant to be over-the-top and full of creative ideas for you to use at home. I know much of what I do is a little nuts and you would not go near it with a 27 1/2 foot pole. I just hope that you are seeing enough variety to grab the baton and run the next leg of the race.

YOUR son and/or daughter is worth the effort.

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 22 Wiffle Ball World Series, Championship Series

Intensity ratcheted a few decibels as we entered the National and American League Championship Series.

The calendar crept closer to Halloween and the thermometer crept closer to freezing (as you can tell with the headbands and coats).

Competitive juices surged as the final four teams battled for their wiffle ball lives… [lives… lives… live… li… llll]


2016 UPDATE:

If you’ve been following these videos over the past 3 weeks, you should know that the footage is a year old and there (most certainly) is a 2016 D-K Wiffle Ball World Series. In fact, I am heading outside after publishing this blog to play game 3 of the NLCS where I’m the Washington Nationals and Kenny is the Chicago Cubs. Last weekend, my Cleveland Indians defeated Kenny’s Texas Rangers two games to zero to advance to the World Series.

There is a VERY real possibility that the D-K WBWS finalists could match the actual MLB World Series finalists. Could it be? Will the Chicago Cubs meet the Cleveland Indians in both historical series? Could the Chicago Cubs end the drought on the national stage and in our backyard? We shall see…

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 22 Wiffle Ball World Series, Divisional Card Round

Sometimes, a 5-minute video tells the whole story. This is one of those times. If you skipped watching the video, stop reading and watch!

Dads, are you IN yet? Are you getting the itch to play wiffle ball alongside us? Come on. I even put a “Field of Dreams” intro in to fire you up!

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 22 Wiffle Ball World Series, Wild Card Round

It would not be fair to invite you all to join us in the annual Wiffle Ball World Series without properly instructing you in our rules. For I have heard it said this way,

Information without application leads to frustration.

I cannot and will not do that to you, my fellow travelers on this road called Fatherhood.

Rules of the Game

  1. Choose Handicaps Upon Dad – In most cases, Dads should be better at wiffle ball than their 6-12-year-old sons. The goal of the handicap is to place Dad at a disadvantage such that he can play his best within the handicaps for a competitive game. I recommend these as ones we have used.
    • Bat from the other side – I have bat left-handed every year until this year. Kenny is finally letting me bat right-handed. However, after five years of left, I am great from both sides. That one back-fired for him!
    • Balls, Strikes, and Outs – In the early years, I would not allow him to walk me. Plus, I would make my at-bats 2-strike outs and 2-out innings. When Kenny was 6, I gave him more than 3 strikes for an out (I think it was 4).
    • Extra Bases – The older Kenny got, the closer I moved his double, triple, and home run lines to mine. Last year was the first year, we used the same (he’s that good)!
    • Base-Running – Kenny can run out every hit. I had to walk out a hit, then I was able to lightly jog. This year, I can lightly run.
    • Mulligan (Extra Ball) – When Kenny was 6 to 9, I gave him 1 Mulligan per game. This is just like golf for amateurs. As a strategy, Kenny would choose 1 pitch he would like again (usually at the end of games).
  2. Balls, Strikes, and Outs – Use the same as in a real baseball game – 4 balls to a walk, 3 strikes to an out, and 3 outs in an inning (see “Handicap” section for younger boys). There are “called” 3rd strikes for perfect pitches.
  3. Pitcher’s Paradise and Foul Balls – A hit that makes it beyond the pitcher’s mound can be brought back and called “Pitcher’s Paradise” before the runner reaches first base for an out. Balls that do not make it to the pitcher’s mound are foul. Balls that land off the diamond are foul (as in baseball). All hits may be caught (fair or foul) for an out.
  4. Automatic Hits – Balls hit past the pitcher can be called “single” automatically, so the hitter doesn’t need to run. In general, balls hit over the infield are doubles and triples are generally at the wall.
  5. Ghost Runners – If you are playing 1-against-1 or 2-against-1, use ghost runners. For example, you hit a double and have to hit again. “There is a man on second.
  6. Home Runs – Must land over assigned boundary and batter must run out every base for runs to count.
  7. Length of Game, Extra Innings, and Continuation – Every game is 3 innings long. Home team gets last at-bat (as in baseball). Extra innings are played until a winner is crowned. If dusk precedes the conclusion of the game, record the box score and resume at next available date.
  8. Bonus Ball – This is the most exciting and strategic rule in the Wiffle Ball World Series. The Bonus Ball is double the size of the regular ball, thus is counts double… in every possible scenario.
    • Balls count as 2 balls. A strike counts as 2 strikes. An out counts as 2 outs.
    • Bonus Ball strikes thrown with 1 out and 1 strike, ends the inning!!! Here’s why. The strike counts double, causing an out (from 1 strike to 3). But an out counts double too (from 1 out to 3). Inning over. This is one of the most strategic ways to end innings. You can conceal the Bonus Ball. There is no need to announce it.
    • Walks or hit-by-pitch counts as a double.
    • Singles count as doubles. Doubles count as home runs. Triples count as home runs plus a double.
    • Home runs double the runs scored. Example: If the bases are loaded and a Bonus Ball home run is hit, the batter scores 8 runs!!!
    • There are no limits on the number of Bonus Balls the pitcher can throw, but weigh the risk verses reward of the throw.

Now Dads… get your white boards ready for your Wiffle Ball World Series. Go purchase rubber bases, 20 wiffle balls, 4 Bonus Balls, and a wiffle ball bat. Get on your gear, mark out your field, and join the movement!

And that’s what I envision. The Dad-Son Wiffle Ball World Series WILL become a movement. It’s too much fun not to.

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 22 Wiffle Ball World Series, Round 1: Looking Back

I’ve been looking forward to October 2016 for a long time! And here’s why…

IT’S WIFFLE BALL TIME!!!

When my oldest son Kenny was 6-years-old, we began what I thought could be a defining tradition in our relationship. Once the MLB Playoff Brackets came out in early October 2011, we began playing out each match-up. The Wild Card and Divisional Rounds were 1-and-done games. The Championship Series was a best-of-3 and the World Series was a best-of-7. It took all month to play out these games.

Once we got to the final game of the World Series, we would start recording pictures and videos. Plus, we designed uniforms and decorated the playing field. It was a big deal, even for my then 6-year-old.

I won’t get into the rules, boundaries, and scoring of our games right now. But I certainly will over the course of the month. My first goal for this week was to give you a look back at our 5 year journey together as father and son.  My second goal is to encourage you to begin your own tournament… THIS YEAR! And to answer my original thought.

Yes, this has become a defining tradition in our relationship of father and son.

I hope you enjoy the next 3 weeks of Wiffle Ball as much as we do!


I wrote my first blog post 11 months ago for Uncommen. We had just completed the 2015 Wiffle Ball World Series and I was telling Dads about it. If you have more time, read the transcript of my first blog ever.

Most dads receiving this blog post have a lot to do and don’t have time to read. Thanksgiving is only a few days away and you’re likely thinking about wrapping up work for the week, getting the family ready for a visit somewhere, and which teams are playing on Turkey Day. So if you’ve tuned me out, I get it. To those dads, I say Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family time.

Now to the dads that are still extremely busy, but can spare 5 more minutes to read a cool baseball story. Allow me to paint the scenario… The weather in Upstate New York was amazing for Halloween Day. It was 11 am. and nearly sixty degrees. The sky was blue, the grass was still green, and the colors of fall speckled the trees. It was apitch perfect day for Trick or Treating and… one more game of wiffleball.

There’s two outs in the bottom of the third. The Royals trail the Dodgers 10 – 8 in the decisive and final inning of Game 7 in the D-K Wiffle Ball World Series. The previous 6 games were battles, a roller coaster of emotion for both Dad and Kenny. But it could all come down to this. The Royals have a gift runner (Dad) on first base after a fielding error on the second basemen (Kenny). But the Dodgers’ closer (Kenny again) is pitching lights out. As the closer searches for the right grip, let’s reflect on the past 25 days.

The whole thing started after the MLB playoff brackets were announced. For the fifth consecutive year, Dad and Kenny would play every game until a victor was proclaimed. The format was single-elimination for the wild card and divisional rounds, a best of three for the championship series, and a traditional best of seven for the World Series. 17 games were already in the books and the 2015 match up had Dad’s Kansas City Royals against Kenny’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kenny, the Dodger closer, stares down the potential tying run as he grips the wiffleball, holes away from the batter. It will be another curve ball, attempting to paint the outside corner of the plate. The wind up… the pitch… Dad swings. Crack!The ball shoots down the first base line, but Kenny was quick off the mound. He fields it and touches first base just ahead of the charging Royals runner (that’s Dad again). Out number three. Ball game over. Series over. An eruption of emotion and jubilation fills the field. Dad hoists his 10-year-old son up in the air and hugs him. “You did it! You won… again!” For the fifth consecutive year, Kenny is crowned champion.

This is Dadnamics, or the infusion of creativity, adventure, and silliness into Dad-Time. The D-K Wiffleball World Series is merely one more example of how this Dad operates. But why? The greater the risk, the greater the reward. How can we, as Dads, capture more memories in the time we are able to spend with our kids? It’s not a lecture of quality time vs. quantity time. Both are vital. But we are all stressed for time as dads, so here’s the challenge. Why not seize an opportunity this Thanksgiving weekend? It won’t take much. Just crank up the Dadnamics dial of creativity, adventure, and silliness and create a memory. I promise you that it will be worth the risk. Not only will you have a blast, but your son or daughter will never forget.

And that’s a good thing.

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Dadnamics Live! Episode 27 Cars, Caves, and PVC

 

Have you ever gone to the home improvement store as a kid and played? How about as a dad with your own kids? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both questions, I am talking to the right audience.

My wife had to go grocery shopping again (see Episode 12 Playground). Coincidentally, there was a Lowe’s Build and Grow® workshop at the exact same time that I persuaded her to buy food. Yes, it was a stroke of luck that it just so happened to work out that way. Truly.

“How about if I take the older boys to Lowe’s and you take the others with you?” I asked.

“That’s fine. It will go faster anyway. I’ll pick you up an hour when I’m done.” She replied.

“I sure hope so, otherwise we’ll have to hijack a Lowe’s racecar shopping cart to drive home. And that would look awfully silly.”

The sarcasm was unnecessary and it nearly landed us in the grocery store. Mental note for next time. [Sarcasm leads to Shopping]. Got it.

After the drop, the three of us B-lined to the lumber aisle and tore open our pull-back racer kits. Immediately, I was stumped.

Paso 1, Abra el kit.

“Boys, I’m out! I can’t read this! It’s written in hieroglyphics!” As I motioned to leave.

“Dad, turn the paper over! You’re reading the Spanish side.” My wise-beyond-his-years son said.

I turned the paper over,

“Step 1, Open the kit… Oh. My bad.”

Now, we were getting somewhere. I called off the retreat and pressed into the project with the boys. My older son did his own car and I supervised my 4-year-old as he swung the miniature Lowe’s hammer like a jackhammer.

Shortly after construction, two race cars, two boys, and one dad left the lumber aisle strutting our stuff and ready to give the Tim Allen growl. We had 40 minutes left until pick-up. Crisis time. What would we do? Do we go outside and wait? Thus, I consulted the Dadnamics Manual

Section II, Article 5, Paragraph 1: “Thou shall not leave the hardware store without consulting the PVC aisle and, possibly, the underbelly of the product racks.”

Done.

The next 40 minutes were spent turning Lowe’s into a FAO Schwarz, minus the giant foot piano. We played carousel of doors in the ‘Windows & Doors‘ section, then we conducted a pull-back racer Grand Prix in the light fixtures aisle. The 4-year-old destroyed his older brother, so the older retreated into “The Cave”.

We followed him in, realizing that the underbelly of Lowe’s was a lot of fun. We crawled and sprawled and gnawed (actually scratch the gnawing part). Have you ever gone under the shelves in the hardware store? Truthfully, have you ever… wanted to? I felt like Gollum looking for ‘My Precious‘.

Our final stop was the plumbing section. Now, in full disclosure. I stink at plumbing (pun intended). Therefore, I would not be seen actually buying equipment or parts there. But playing – that’s a different story.

We quickly found the LEGO® aisle or what the signs seemed to read ‘PVC’. No way! They were giant curved LEGO® pieces. The boys made quick work with their Master Builder status that they were awarded after the 5th viewing of the LEGO® movie.

At the end of the video, Kolby had an idea to communicate via PVC. It was a rather effective landline telephone as I heard him loud and clear. It was so loud that I heard the bells ringing in the store (could have been in my head though).

“MISTER CARFAGNO AND FAMILY, PLEASE REPORT TO THE SERVICE DESK.”

This absolutely happened. We were paged. I had NEVER been paged before in a store.  We put back our PVC and found Mama waiting patiently out front. Adventure over. Dadnamics Manual… followed to a tee.

Come on! Have you ever done anything like this? Admit it!

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