The Day I Realized I Didn’t Want To Be A Dad

It was a typical evening in my household. I was reading one of my books to my two young daughters, which I wrote about the joys of fatherhood. But there was no joy or excitement on this night. I was a page-turning zombie, waiting for the book to end.

[Read more…]

Who is Doyin, Anyway?

A faithful SDW (Subscriber Doin’ Work) named Alexandra sent me an email a while ago that caught my attention. She said many things, but one sentence read, “I know a lot about your passion for being a dad, but I really want to know more about you (hopes, fears, insecurities, quirky stuff). Care to share some nuggets with me?” No, it didn’t come off as creepy or weird, and she’s right – I need to do a better job of opening up completely. Hopefully by the time we’re done here you’ll learn more about me than you ever thought (or hoped) you would.

[Read more…]

Wanna Feel Good About the World? Go on a Cruise

One thing I try to do as a dad is introduce my kids to new stuff all of the time. New food, new places, new experiences, and new people. To me, I feel that’s a great way to learn more about what this great world has to offer.

But here’s a startling statistic. Did you know that close to 40% of Americans have never moved away from their hometowns? It’s hard for people to identify with different cultures, races, or ethnicities if you see the same people everyday, right?

The best way to become more accepting and tolerant of people that are different from us are to enter their environments and see how they live. In doing so, we’ll realize that we are all way more similar than we are different.

That’s why I was so happy when Carnival recently offered to take my family on an 8-day Caribbean cruise in January. Our travels took us to the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Grand Turk, and Bonaire — and we met a lot of interesting people, but it’s not just about those locations. My family had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people from all walks of life on the beautiful and brand new Carnival Vista as well.

First off, Carnival has a lot of diverse restaurants from steakhouses, Asian cuisine, Italian at Cucina del Capitano (my personal favorite), and much more. My kids were able to experience fine dining from different cultures without leaving the ship.

usa1.png

And as far as the people are concerned, my daughters enjoyed dancing, swimming, eating, and playing with people from various backgrounds while on the ship. Did my girls care that those people didn’t look like them? Of course not. They just wanted to have a good time and that’s exactly what they did. It was beautiful to witness.

***
I certainly don’t have the answers to all of the world’s problems, but I feel that one potential fix is to ensure our kids hang out with as many people as possible who may not look like them, try new foods, and go to new places. Carnival checked all of the boxes for us on our recent cruise and we are so thankful for that.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

Cruisin’ With The Kiddos

In case you missed it, I recently took my family, my twin brother’s family, and my parents on an 8-day Caribbean cruise courtesy of Carnival. It was the experience of a lifetime, but I have to admit that I was a little worried at first. During the plane ride to Miami, a couple nagging thoughts kept…well, nagging me: “8 days is a long time. Will they have a good time? Will they be bored?”

Remember, my daughters are six and three years old. As is the case with most kids, they don’t filter their feelings. If they want to go home, they’ll say so. If they don’t like something, they’ll let anyone in earshot know without a hint of tactfulness. It just comes with the territory.

Thankfully it didn’t take long to receive my answer to those questions after we set sail on the beautiful and brand new Carnival Vista.

#1  Eating

Although we spent a lot of time together as a ten-person unit, there were times when I was alone with one or both of the girls; and one of the first Daddy-Daughter bonding moments occurred when we first arrived on the ship to get something to eat. I must say that the food that Carnival provides is absolutely amazing. The options are endless and you can keep getting more, and more, and more — including 24-hour ice cream and pizza. You have a picky eater at home? There is something for them on the ship, trust me. And let’s be real – there are few better ways to bond with the kids than by eating some tasty food.

And that’s especially the case when it comes to dessert at Cherry On Top.

kiddos1.png

#2 – Active Stuff

The Carnival Vista is a brand new ship and is packed with activities geared towards kids, including multiple pools (which my daughters never wanted to get out of).

kiddos2.png

And the waterslides were pretty epic. There were two really big ones and a couple of smaller ones that were perfect for the kiddos.

kiddos3.png

The Sports Square was great too. My oldest daughter loves basketball and she was able to get some shots up with the most amazing scenery in the background. But if basketball isn’t your thing, they have ping-pong, bowling, mini golf, and a variety of other activities to keep the kiddos happy.

kiddos4.png

#3 – Entertainment

Are you a fan of Lip Sync Battle? Well, the Carnival Vista actually has it on the ship and it was practically identical to the version on television. My daughters had a blast dancing in the aisles as fellow cruisers strutted their stuff.

kiddos5.png

And the live musicians were great, as well. No matter what music you enjoy, there was something for everyone to get down to.

kiddos6.png

One of my favorite parts of fatherhood is creating memories with my children. Am I the perfect dad? No, but who is? One thing I can say with confidence is when my time on this earth has passed, my girls will know that Daddy gave it his all to create the best and happiest lives possible for them. The quality time we spent together in paradise helped strengthen that bond more than ever.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

So You’re Thinking About Cruising, Huh?

I’ve been fortunate to venture on two Carnival cruises in the past year or so, but at first I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be weird to be on a ship for such a long time? How would it compare to a traditional vacation?

I’m sure some of you reading this never experienced cruising before and wonder if it would be a good vacation option. As far as I’m concerned, the short answer is “absolutely yes.”

But I know you probably will need more convincing than that, so here are a few quick reasons why I believe that your next vacation should be a cruise.

***

#1 – Forget the rental cars, hotels, and searching for food: In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a fan of renting cars and installing car seats for the kiddos — especially when I’m trying to relax on vacation. When you cruise, it’s a simple process:

1) Fly to the port. 2) Take a shuttle to the ship. 3) Get on the ship.

That’s it.

Hotel? C’mon.

There is no need to find a hotel because the ship is the hotel!

What about eating?

Have you ever visited a foreign country, traveled 10 miles to a restaurant, and realized that your kids weren’t interested in the food? Not a problem on a cruise, because Carnival has food options onboard to please the pickiest of eaters.

Needless to say, cruising absolutely simplifies the vacation process.

#2 – There is SO much to do!: Ever go on a traditional vacation and find yourself driving around aimlessly looking for something fun to do? Well, it happened to me plenty of times and I was never happy about it. That’s where cruising saves the day because the ship is like a big floating city.

Want entertainment? There are sports bars, comedy shows, a spa, live music, dance clubs, karaoke, gourmet restaurants, and stage shows, just to name a few. Again, Carnival comes through with diverse entertainment choices to please every grown up on the ship.

And if you want to enjoy grown up fun without the kids, many Carnival ships have built-in childcare services. You seriously cannot beat that.

Speaking of the kiddos, what can they do for fun?

Many Carnival ships have video game arcades, amazing waterparks, a Seuss At Sea breakfast where their favorite Dr. Seuss characters came to life, interactive game shows, and 24-hour ice cream and pizza.

There is nonstop fun for all ages.

#3 – The people are great: Oftentimes it’s a mixed bag when you go on a traditional vacation. You never know if the people you’ll meet will be friendly or not. My experience was totally different when I cruised with my family. Everyone I met was extremely nice. No joke – the customer service I received while on the Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Freedom was the best I’ve ever received anywhere. The crew members knew my name (and how to pronounce it properly, which adds extra bonus points), they knew my family members’ names, they were attentive and timely whenever we had an issue that needed to be addressed, and they even displayed a sense of humor by creating little frog towels and leaving them in my room. The word “epic” wouldn’t even begin to describe how amazing these folks were.

frog.png

But that’s only half of it, because the guests were amazing, too. Meeting great people who want to share their happiness with you is probably one of the coolest parts of cruising. It doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is, your political affiliations, or any of the other noise – everyone comes together for one singular goal, which is to have a good time.

***

 These are just a few reasons why cruising is really the only way I choose to vacation with my family. If you’re considering going on a cruise, definitely go for it. You won’t regret it.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

 

Life After Death

Four years ago, my twin brother Shola and I traveled from California to our home state of Massachusetts for the memorial service of our childhood friend who passed away due to cancer. Although less than 1% of my readers know Wade McDowell personally, it doesn’t change the fact that he can teach all of us a few things about how to live our best lives.

[Read more…]