Day 258: Spaghetti for Dinner

If you want to surprise your wife, make her dinner. If you want her to be especially proud, make dinner really well. There many dishes that can be done simply but effectively and easily make enough for the whole family or leftovers. Spaghetti is one of them.

Now if you want to make spaghetti, there are some things you need to think about. First is the kind of sauce you want to use. If you want a very simple kind, there are a variety of canned and jarred sauces that you can buy right off the shelf and though these tastes okay, they’re definitely not as good as something that you could make homemade.

Your second option is to take the base of a canned sauces and add something to it. Meat is a good idea, like meatballs either store-bought or homemade, chicken or just whatever you think might taste good.

Your third option is to make something from scratch. This isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. Try a simple recipe that only requires “things in a blender blended up and served over noodles”.

Spaghetti sauce is versatile–you could be made different ways every time you make it. You can experiment by adding different spices to the sauce. Italian seasoning, garlic or onion powder or salt, basil, oregano and black pepper all work well with Italian dishes. You can try topping spaghetti with different kinds of cheese from Parmesan to Romano or even just cheddar. You can try different recipes for meatballs and even change up the kind of noodles that you use. Noodles can be found in all sorts of variety in different shapes and ingredients to make for a different dining experience.
You could be as creative or straightforward as you want to it always tastes great.


Day 257: Fictional Fathers: Finding Nemo

The story of Finding Nemo is interesting because of its views on single fatherhood. Martin’s wife and Nemo’s mother were killed, leaving Martin to raise his son alone. It is easy to understand why Martin is so protective of his son. He was Nemo his only surviving offspring, and he was born with physical limitations the made him less able to survive on his own. When his son goes missing, Martin braves a perilous journey to bring his son back.

To me this story reminds me a bit of the Prodigal Son, where a son’s foolishly allows himself to be taken far away from his father and what he knows he should be doing. His father goes to any lengths to see his son return and welcomes him home.

Many of us his fathers will have children that stray, and possibly far away. As fathers, it is our duty to go after these wandering children, to go to any lengths necessary to bring them back and welcome them home despite what they have done.

Day 255: Top Ten Tips for New Dads from Daniel Tomasulo, PHD, Tip 1

1. Time and tolerance.

“The most important thing you can do is simply spend time with your newborn.  Serious research about fatherhood is only a scant 30 years old, and what we know is that the more time fathers spend with their infants the better. Researchers in the early years of father-infant bonding couldn’t find fathers spending enough time with their infants to study them.  In other words, dads weren’t spending an adequate amount of time with their baby to even start measuring the impact. What we know now is that the time you can just be with your infant is valuable.

Along with time, you will need to have some tolerance for you and your new creation to get to know one another.  This is your first time being a father and your son or daughter’s first time being a human being.  Be kind and gentle with yourselves.  Allow for some learning, experimentation and mutual tolerance. Give yourself time to learn and grow into the role.”

Things may seem overwhelming at first, but it is something you will grow into. Don’t think that you will be used to your new routine in a day. Don’t feel bad if this adjustment causes you stress. That doesn’t mean that you are a bad father.

Day 254: Showing Gratitude on Birthdays

One of my favorite family traditions growing up was how my family celebrated their birthdays. Whenever someone’s birthday came up, we all gathered as a family and both of my parents and each one of my siblings would say something nice about the person whose birthday it was. Sometimes it was a bit awkward at first, but when people started opening up, generally some really kind and thoughtful things were said, though sometimes we did lapse into goofiness.

It’s easy to forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and even less common to tell them why and what you appreciate about them. In this way, I really felt like we were celebrating the person on the day and not just checking off the boxes of having presents, cake, and ice cream.

Day 252: Louis C. K. on Fatherhood

“Be a dad. Don’t be ‘Mom’s assistant.’ That’s depressing, just waiting for her to write you a list, walk around a store staring at it, calling her from the cereal aisle to make sure you got the right thing. Be a man. Make your own list. Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a 4-year-old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. It won’t take away your manhood; it will give it to you. I did that. I spent more time with my kids.

And I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes and I don’t know what I’m doing. But my kids love me. Go figure.” –Louis C.K., comedian

Day 251: “Us” Time and “Me” Time

I think you learn after being married for a while that is not vital to spend every waking minute with your spouse. It is important, however, make sure that you do have some quality time together. When putting together you day, you should look include both “us “time and “me” time.

Is a much different experience spending time together with your children spending time together just the two of you. This “us” time without the children is important to have for your general mental health. Then the focus is not on immediate needs of the children, but each other’s wants and needs. This “us” time can take the form of a date night out, or be a simple time between the time the children go to bed at a time do you go to bed. Try to plan something in this time that will help you reconnect after a long day. Cook, watch a movie, play games, anything that will help you relax together.

I’ve also found that it’s important to have “me “time. Though together you’ve established a marital identity, you are also individuals who have specific talents and pastimes. It is good for your mental health to make sure you have some time for us to be yourself and pursue whatever it is that makes you happy. Make sure that your wife has this too. If she likes to paint, for example, better have some time by yourself or she can work on her projects in solitude. This can be a refreshing experience, which will draw you closer together when you return to each other.

Day 250: Fictional Fathers: Hercules

In the Disney version of Hercules, there are many differences from the original story, but also many interesting things to think about. The young Hercules grows up not knowing of his true parentage, but wondering why he possesses such great strength. When he learns of his true parentage, Zeus and Hera, the supreme deities, he’s overwhelmed by the prospect and thinks that he can never live up to the heritage he’s been given.

Though he starts out young and naïve, through experience, his true inward godly nature is revealed, showing that he has not only physical strength but strength of heart as well.

There some interesting parallels we can use in our own lives. Many of us go through life, not knowing of our true divine parentage, that we are all sons and daughters of God. As his sons and daughters, we are endowed with divine potential and strength, but often we only realize this over time when we pass through trials.

It was the realization of his divine parentage that made Hercules turn his life around and set him on the path to becoming hero that he eventually was. It is this same acknowledgment that leads us to reach our full potential, to  become the heroic husband and father that we can be.