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DadsRule Approved Artist: Tobias Felton

Tobias

Singer, songwritter and all around cool dad, W. Ellington Felton is feeding his son’s passion to be an artist.  Tobias Felton, 10, is more than just on his way to middle school but on his way as an independent artist.  His first album, The Prestige is produced by his dad. “Nurtured talents become living dreams. It’s a beautiful thing to see young passion take flight through the help of a dad.

My kids are excited to hear the album, which is available now, The Prestige.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.08.50 AM

1CoolDadMe+Wes Felton+Tobias @ Fit Fathers Day

 

 

 

The Mask As Men We Live In

“The three most destructive words that every man receives as a boy is when he is told to BE A MAN.”

“The Mask You Live In” by The Representation Project is a film exploring masculinity in our society.  As father’s this is very important and something we must be cognizant of as we raise young men or even look out for our daughters. I sometimes worry about my son around other boys.  He has been told some discouraging things because he is not in tune with all the music on the radio or video games.  His young manhood has been tested already and he has only 8 years old! As a dad, I get down because he is not as rough as I would like or as rough as I was at his age. But upon some soul-searching  and prayer, I realized that is the wrong attitude to have. There are so many other things to equip him with at this young age.

Watch this video trailer. Very enlightening. Why so many boys seem to be going crazy and some of the ways we help their descent.  https://twitter.com/maskyoulivein

Massive Child Seat Recall

graco safety

Graco is voluntarily recalling 3.8 million child safety seats from 2009-2013.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says Graco is complying with their recommendation to recall 11 of 18 model seats.

The recall includes the following models:

  • Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat
  • Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos
  • Note:  All Graco SnugRide infant car seats are excluded from this recall.

The reason is the red release button in the center of the harness, can become hard to unlock and jammed in some cases.  One would agree that would  make it difficult or impossible to remove the child quickly in an emergency, as NHTSA suggests. 

 

Graco is offering a “new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected customers at no cost.” People can obtain one by calling 800-345-4109 or emailing consumerservices@gracobaby.com.

Graco-Recalled-Harness-Buckle

As a dad of three I remember the days of car seats with harnesses and how messy they would get.  The new design allows for less chance of the harness getting stuck but parents should still do their part to clean buckles of food and etc.

 

According to Graco Baby:

As part of our continuous product testing and improvement process, Graco identified that food and dried liquids can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position. Therefore, we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall on the harness buckles used on all toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013.

As a solution, Graco offers a new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. Graco would like to stress this does not in any way affect the performance of the car seat or the effectiveness of the buckle to restrain the child. We encourage all consumers who are experiencing difficulty with their harness buckles to contact our customer service team at 800-345-4109 or consumerservices@gracobaby.com

For more information on this recall including a list of affected models and photos of the original and new harness buckles, please go tohttp://www.gracobaby.com/safetyandrecall/pages/safetyandrecallarticle.aspx?recallID=41&page=SafetyAndRecall.

DC Event: Man Up


MAN UP! LEADERSHIP BOOTCAMP hits the DC area this Saturday. Don’t miss it. Sign your young men up today. 

The Man Up! Leadership Bootcamp is a powerful workshop that provides young men (ages 13 – 21) with a unique learning experience that equips them with the skills necessary to be effective leaders, successful students, and productive citizens in their communities.  For more information visit http://manup-leadershipbootcamp.eventbrite.com/

Facilitated by leadership consultant Mike Powell (The Powell Consulting Group, Inc.), community activists Silas Grant (Chairman Ward 5 Democrats) and Ed Fisher (Chief of Staff Ward 7 DC. City Council), the Man Up! Leadership Bootcamp helps young men develop the leadership skills necessary to solve complex “real-world” problems and thrive in challenging environments.

At the end of this course students will:

  • Practice effective communication skills;
  • Learn effective conflict resolution skills;
  • Learn how to set S.M.A.R.T Goals;
  • Examine the traits of good leaders;
  • Create their personal brand;
  • Understand how diversity impacts individual and group dynamics;
  • Understand why leaders must have a vision

ManUP-Flier

 

For the past 5 years components of The Man Up! Leadership Bootcamp have been delivered to a variety of agencies, universities and non-profit organizations, including D.C College Access Program (DCCAP), Hampton University William R. Harvey Leadership Fellows Program, The Lifting As We Climb Foundation, Inc.,  Presidential Management Fellows at the Social Security Administration, and the Capitol Hill Boys Club.

Kids Thumbs Down to Shutdown

Check out these elementary school kids have a intelligent debate on CNN about the US government shutdown.  Insightful!

Source: CNN

DC Family TO DO Weekend 9-21

Lots of great things to do with the family this weekend in the DC Metropolitan Area.  All these events are FREE, perfect for the family on the go and on budget.

 

1.)  NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL  –  Saturday Sept. 21  10am – 5:30pm and Sunday, Sept. 22 Noon-5:30pm

A must for my family every year.  Authors , activities and books on the National Mall.

National-Book-Festival

 

 

 

2.) National Museum Building BIG BUILD – Saturday, Sept. 21 10am -4pm

Hands-on Family Festival of Tools, Trucks, and Construction

big_build_2013-National-Building-Museum

 

 

 

3.)  H STREET FESTIVAL  – Saturday, Sept. 21  Noon-7pm

The festival will feature over 50 artists and 80 performances on 10 stages accompanied by an array of local, regional and international cuisine, shopping, arts exhibits, educational events, seminars and conversations with local entrepreneurs, artists and community organizations spanning 10 blocks of H Street NE.

h_street_festival

 

 

 

4.)  BROOKLAND ARTS & FAMILY DAY – Saturday, Sept. 21

Free dance classes for adults and kids all day.  Check out schedule in link above.

Art-on-8th

Condom in my Son’s Wallet

google walletBy Eric McKinley King

So I grab The Kid’s wallet this morning to put a few dollars in it and discovered that he had recently become a condom carrying member of the teenaged community. My immediate thought was, this dude is barely responsible enough to keep-up with his wallet, much less to use a condom. But in this case, I suppose over-ambition is better than the alternative. Of course it was also cause for conversation, so I waited ’til we were eating dinner to bring it up. Segueing from a totally unrelated conversation about … I said, “Speaking of … why’d you take a condom without asking and put it in your wallet?”

Honestly, I was almost scared of the answer. Then I remembered I was talking to a 14 year old boy.  So, of course he said, “I don’t know.”  I asked if that was the first and only one he took. He said, yes. I asked him if he felt like needed it. He said, no. We were both a little uncomfortable and there seemed to be a mutual sympathy for having to put each other through this, yet we both understood it was entirely necessary.

I told him, while it was wrong to have taken it without asking me, I thought he should keep it. Yeah, he wasn’t exactly expecting to hear that. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t expecting to say that either.

There were a few conditions, however:

1.) He still had to ask me for it, if only for the sake of reinforcing the principle of the matter and because I wanted him to hear me say, “Yes.”

2.) He also had to store it responsibly, not exposed, half-hanging out of his wallet.

3.) He had to tell me if he used it.

4.) And finally, he had to know how to use it, which meant I had to show him how to properly inspect, open and unroll a prophylactic (sans the banana).

Then I desperately pleaded with him to talk to me about any and everything that happens, before it happens–which I fully realize may not happen.  But the most important part of the conversation came post-demonstration. I spoke to him very candidly about my experiences and the perspective I’m afforded as an adult that I didn’t have as teenager. I told him about the unplanned pregnancies (him being one) and the fact that I’m practically a unicorn for never having contracted an STD. I even showed him the (positively negative) HIV screening I took last month.

None was meant to scare him, but impress upon him a greater sense of responsibility. We’ve always had a unique relationship and never was that more evident than tonight. It had its awkward moments, but it was also peculiar thrill to see him look at me with disbelief and reverence at the same time. He knows he’s getting intel that most of his peers are not. And I found myself thinking about how much I could’ve used this kind of wisdom at his age–how many of my friends could’ve–how many of his friends could now.

PS

It’s a Google wallet I got him last year ’cause I figured it was too red for him to misplace or lose. Embossed on the front is, “I’m Feeling Lucky.”

Dads Club Sponsored by Dove Men

Get Kids Moving This Weekend

get movin

 

Healthy and fun event to kick off the spring in the Metro area.  My kids are out for spring break so this will be a good send off to get them ready for back to school.  Back to school is a celebration ALL the TIME for parents!

THE SPRING EDITION OF GET KIDS MOVIN! will feature interactive physical activity, workshops on healthy eating, musical performances, a special Scavenger Hunt, prizes from Sports Zone and partner stores, fitness demonstrations, a fashion show and much more!

Visit www.getkidsmovin.com for more information.

Bob Marley Musical for All Ages

Son Arin and Cedella Marley

Son Arin and Cedella Marley

It was a treat to take my kids, ages 7 and 8 years old, to a marvel of sight and sound that would be the world premier of the musical “Three Little Birds” at Adventure Theatre, located at Glen Echo Park in Maryland. The play is based on a children story by Cedella Marley infused with the music and lyrics of her dad, Bob Marley.

READ MORE  >my full review

If  you are in the DC area the play runs until April 14th and trust you do not want to miss it!

I give it 3 smiles … my 3 kids all loved it and to get them all on the same page with liking anything is impossible at times.

tickets available at  www.adventuretheatre-mtc.org

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Arin reading Three Little Birds on the way to the play

Happy Born Day Marvin

marvin gaye with his kids

 

The greatest singer I have ever heard was born on April 2nd.  Singer, Legend, Father … Marvin Gaye. Rest in Paradise.  #DadsRule

“Great Artists Suffer for the People”

 

Usher Wins Custody in Climax

Entertainer Usher in Family Court

 

Last we saw videos and pictures of R&B superstar Usher outside of the release of his latest album, he was crying before a judge about the mother of his children striking him, chasing his girlfriend and the overall crazy experience of co-parenting with her.  Now Usher is much happier, recently being granted primary custody of his sons Usher Raymond V and Naviyd Ely Raymond.

 

Usher and Kids

A few months ago, his ex-wife, Tameka Foster Raymond literally went looking for fight and this time Usher, who initially was only seeking more visitation, came to fight and left with the kids.

Sometimes having the children in one situation is just better than the alternative no matter if it is with the mother or not.  Dad can be as much of a parent as mom. Sometimes what society would have us believe is the best place for a child is not the case at the time. Sometimes the father has to be the caregiver and there is nothing wrong with that.

Speaking from experience, it’s definitely the hardest thing he will ever do but it’s also the most rewarding. Things get more real than ever now, Usher. You have been a parent before but not like this!

Random #DADsRULE – Celebrity dads should be banned from naming their children after themselves. Usher Raymond V … really, that’s like Michael Jordan naming his son Michael Jordan.  We’ll not really.  But that’s just too much pressure on the young boy.

 

Apple beats Cookie with Elmo’s Help

Elmo

Can attaching popular children’s characters to healthy food help children make better choices and most important alleviate some of the stress on parents to force feed better health to our kids?

Well, a study done at Cornell University put target branding to the test with none other than Elmo.  In the study they put unbranded cookies against apples branded with stickers of Elmo. Apples won!

Now I know some of you might tune out because your kids may be beyond furry puppets but the same rule could apple to the Avengers endorsing Raisin Bran.  We can only hope the powers that be bring in the big guns for the fight against junk food, but this is a start.

Father of Kevin Durant Foul On The Play

 

I came across an interesting article on Washington Post about Kevin Durant and his estranged father who abandoned Durant and his family when the Olympian/NBA All Star was one years old. I  know all to well about being abandoned around that age by an unfit mother, in my case. Read this Huffington Post article by my mom.

Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post piece by Matt Breen on Durant:

Last month, before the U.S. basketball team played an exhibition at Verizon Center, (Wayne) Pratt and Durant got together for lunch in Washington. As Durant took his time to accommodate the inevitable autograph seekers, Pratt stepped aside and marveled at his son.

“It’s never too late to be your kid’s father; it’s never too late,” Pratt said. “You have to try, we all make mistakes. But, you have to get back in there and fight. These young men really need us.” READ MORE

 

Salute Olympic Dads

By now you have all seen the mom-famous  P&G Best Job commercial by thanking the moms around the world.  I loved it, was touched and commend moms as well.  But it was safe and easy. I wasn’t offended being a single dad but did feel a little left out.  It’s always safe to go with mom.  It would have taken some investigating and more passion to do a commercial on dads.  And I get it P&G, mostly moms buy your products.  I know it’s a numbers game and advertising is about that.

But in my opinion with a stage like the Olympics it was the perfect time to do something different.  So we at daddyscool #SaluteDad

Yin Alvarez Stepdad and coach of Olympic bronze medalist in the all around London 2012, gymnast  Danell Leyva. Alveraz handed out a lot of kisses to his son showing how the bound between step parents and children can grow.

While Danell’s mom thought he was too round and weird shaped and that his asthma would prevent him from being a gynmast, his stepdad molded him into a Olympic athlete. #SaluteDad

Also being a cool dad I have to salute Steve Lochte, a swim coach and father of the cool Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte. Steve coached up two awesome swimmers, one of which never made it to the Olympics because he started selling weed, but being a dad is dealing with the good and bad.  #SaluteDad.
I’ll add more or just hip me to more Olympic dads. In the meantime I salute you for reading. #DadsRule

Papa Jay-Z Get 2 New Commercials

I guess being a dad can soften an image and believe me that’s a great thing. People used to think I was mean and now they see me with my kids and say, “maybe he is not AS mean.”

New dad and softened hip hop icon Jay-Z has been popping up here and there in commercials getting his endorsement weight up.  Here are two commercials that use him brilliantly.

 

The first is Duracell Powermat; note the phone call from “B” Beyonce near the end of the commercial > Cute nod.

Budweiser “Made in America” series.

#DadsRule

Free Computer Training DC Youth

DEADLINE IS TODAY!! >>>

Byte Back, a DC-based non-profit computer training organization, is offering a FREE, four-day Summer Youth Technology Sampler next week for young DC adults ages 17-21.  The deadline to register is Friday.  This program gives young adults a taste of careers in the IT field, and professions that make extensive use of technology:  Web Design, Graphic Design, Computer Repair and Database Administration.  They will also learn intermediate skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.



Those who complete the four-day program will receive a free computer, an internet modem, and one year of free internet service.



Training will take place Monday July 23 to Thursday July 26 between 12:30 and 6:00 PM at four DC public libraries:

Bellevue (115 Atlantic St SW)

Capitol View (5001 Central Av SE)

Francis Gregory (3660 Alabama Av SE)

Woodridge (1801 Hamlin St NE)



Call Byte Back at (202)529-3395 to make an appointment to come in and register.  You must register in-person.  The deadline to register is Friday, July 20.  Contact is Tasiyiwa Mapondera, Byte Back Director of Programs, telephone 529-3395,  tmapondera@byteback.org

Toys R Us Kids STAND UP

Don't grow up. It's a trap.

I wanted to write something to go along with this. No need.  You get the picture.    #DADsRULE

Go Karts – Summer To Do

I decided to get out of the city and travel to White Marsh for the Baltimore Go Karts. We drove the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid about one hour to Baltimore. The go-karts would be my kids’ first time driving outside of a little motorized Caddy Escalade or in a game at the arcade.

Needless to say, there was lots of bumping (which is against the rules) and a crash after the final lap when Michal ignored me screaming, “BRAKE!!” She slammed into a parked go kart containing Nya.  No injuries, just laughs.

Cost: $6:50 per ride and kids can ride alone in Junior karts on a “Junior” track but my kids were tall enough for the “Fast” track. Worth it.

Arin the car junky of the group drove very well. He was focused.

Michal (The Brakeless One) was already pressing the gas before she was given the cue.

Nya was fast and reckless but not at all wreck-less. She kept waving at daddy and losing control into the barriers.  She had fun.

Got the kids a couple snow cones and we were back down 295 before traffic started.

Park Hopping- Summer To Do

Park hopping is something I like to do with the kids.  It’s great and usually free!  Pack a lunch and plenty of waters.  We checked out a two acre colorful wonderland of monkey bars swings and slides called Clemyjontri Park in Fairfax, VA, roughly 15 min from DC.   A scenic drive through George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Clemyjontri

Other than the heat the kids enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the umbrellaed area for daddies to chill in the shade while the kids ran the track or the schoolhouse maze. There is also a little trail in the pseudo woods that is shaded and quite short but a trek through woods none the less.  There is also a cool huge carousel in the middle of the park which costs $1.75 per ride.

 

Arin’s best muscle flex in the trick mirror.

Arin driving the car trying to hardest to dodge pedestrian, Michal Zoe … or hit her. I’m not sure.

 

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