Your Life In A Pile Of Dirt


This past weekend, a pile of dirt had me thinking how it actually relates to our lives. Yes you read that correctly.  I recently laid sod in an area of our yard that had been home to an above ground pool. (check out my Instagram with pictures of this transformation @chaddydaddyishome) After finishing the sod project it was clear an excess amount of dirt had been delivered. I tried to hand it off my to neighbors but nobody was in need of any. Thus, here I was with a large pile of fill dirt and nowhere to go with it.  The only option I had was the city’s dump site where they accept clean dirt. So armed with my truck, a couple sturdy shovels and the Kansas heat…..let the adventure began!

From beginning to end, it took five pickup loads from my house to the dump site in order to get rid of all the dirt. It was one heck of a 2 day workout to say the least 🙂 Of course it also gave me a lot of time to think internally about life.


In my short 31 years, I have had to bury my own father and both grandparents from my mothers side. I’ve had my fair share of graveside services and filling in of graves. Yes funerals are a celebration of life but it makes a person really think about just how short life can be. At both of my grandparent’s funerals, the way it was set up is that family members take turns shoveling dirt into the grave. As others in front of me took turns I didn’t think it would bother me. Then the shovel was in my hands and the waterworks began to flow!

I remember like it was yesterday the sound of the shovel going into the pile of dirt. Then turning as I tossed it into the grave onto  the casket. It is images and moments I will never forget. We do hold onto the promise that we will see them again in Heaven. It is with this promise, thats has helped me become a stronger individual through these tough times.

When I was about to the end of the massive pile of dirt sitting in my driveway, I started to wonder about my life and the type of legacy I leave with my family, friends and acquaintances. Throughout life you could say that we accumulate a pile of dirt (memories) with those around us. I remember very clearly as I tossed another shovel full of dirt into my grandmother and grandfather’s grave, a memory of a time together with them would come into my mind. The size of your dirt pile doesn’t matter but the quality of dirt does. You could have the biggest pile of dirt sitting by your grave. If it’s full of weeds and stones, what kind of legacy did you truly leave? When your family or friends are graveside and they see the dirt being tossed in, what kind of memories will flood their heads?

Our time on Earth goes by in a blink of an eye. Make sure you are using each day to it’s full potential. I am not saying you must become the richest or most famous person to leave a lasting legacy. To believe that is nonsense. Instead make sure the dirt you leave behind from the hole you dig each day is clean. Dirt that is full of love, kindness and patience towards others.  Are we perfect? Of course not. We are going to make mistakes. It is how you react to those mistakes that has a long lasting impact on your life and legacy.

When all is said and done and my time has come, I hope those I’ve impacted will look forward to seeing my dirt pile.  That they will make sure to fill a small container with the fresh top soil. So they can take their memories with them wherever they go. In my mind that is the best legacy you can leave behind. What kind of dirt pile are you going to leave?!!?




The Art of Letting Go


The Time Has Come

Has it really been 5 years already? I can’t believe the day is here. Where did the time go? Our little one has grown up too fast. It was only yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital. Can we turn back time?

All the above are common sayings you hear throughout your community this time of year. Along with being plastered all over Facebook with pictures and comments. A lot of parents are excited for this time of year to roll around. It means their kid is headed back to school and they can gain some sanity back in their lives and have a daily routine again. Such an exciting time!

A Dad’s First Time

Then there is us. The first-timers. The dads and moms that went to kindergarten round up a couple months ago and filled out a mountain of paperwork. Then telling ourselves, its still a couple months away, we have plenty of time, we aren’t worried. We blink twice and wait!…open house is this week?!? We meet our child’s teacher. Then help our child find his/her cubby and watch as they put their materials away. Is this really happening? I can’t believe the day is just about here, we think to ourselves, as we watch our child grow up right before our eyes.

The emotions have begun to sneak up. I’ll be honest, they have on me. I’m not one to cry or get super emotional over things. However I am having a very hard time comprehending everything that is going on right now. My daughter’s first day of school is on Thursday. In just two days. In my mind I keep playing over how the day will go. But I know it will not be as easy and as smooth as it plays in my head time after time.

Be Their Rock

Last night at our school’s open house it seemed like my little girl wanted to hold my hand every chance she got. My initial reaction  toward Finley when we walked into the school was one of not needing to hold hands since we were not in the parking lot any longer. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. We both needed to hold each other’s hand. Maybe, just maybe, this whole starting Kindergarten is going to be harder for me than it is for her.

So the whole evening I watched her every move. As she interacted with her teacher, her fellow students and other faculty. She seemed wise beyond her years, even at 5 years old. This is really happening. As we got back into the car and headed home, the first words out of my mouth were “Finley, where did the time go? I can’t believe you are about to start Kindergarten.” In the only way she knows how, she just smiled back at me and reassured me everything will be just fine. I know it will be Finley. But letting go on Thursday morning will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a parent.




Don’t Take Your Child’s Side


Parenting 101

Let’s just make sure we are on the same page before going much further. Parenting is a team effort. Between the husband and wife. It’s also a roller coaster of emotion. Which at times make you wonder why you decided to have little mini-me’s in the first place. Regardless of if the pregnancy was planned or if it was a blessing in disguise, parents must be on the same page of the ‘parenting playbook’ at all times! This is crucial for parents to keep their sanity. Also to thrive in building a strong moral foundation in their child’s life.

I remember day 1 when our little girl was born, I cried and told my wife this was the happiest moment of my life (outside of our wedding of course). Between that day and now 5+ years later, there have been moments when I’ve wanted to pull my hair out. Be honest, I know I am not the only one thinking this! I love my child with all my heart but at times it becomes frustrating.

Stand Strong

It’s during the most frustrating times when your child disobeys/talks back/whines/throws a fit/you name it,  that you learn the most about yourself and your spouse. Will you take a deep breath and use teamwork? Or do you find yourself giving in and siding with your child when they do not listen?  Just so you can calm the situation and ‘kick the can down the road’ and say you will parent better next time. During these past few weeks life has really tested us as parents on this issue. We have had to call a parent time-out and reassess our goals and direction in how to handle the discipline used during these moments.

Showing our child, when she disobeys, that mom and dad are in agreement and stand together is imperative. Our child may not like it but we will not allow her to drive a wedge between her mother and I.

Life Lessons

Over time as your child grows, they will begin to see just why you as parents teamed up the way you did. How your decisive decision making and standing firm on your words/actions actually can positively impact their life in many ways. It will show them the importance of decisive decision making in their own life as they grow older. Of which, you should have set that solid moral foundation at a young age, so the decisions they make will be positive ones. Then later in life when your own child is able to experience parenthood, you can bet your bottom dollar they will parent a lot like their parents once did. What type of parenting legacy are you leaving with your child? I hope it is one of teamwork and love.

This does lead us into the conversation of being grandparents and the role they play…:) but let’s save that for another day. For now, grandparents spoil the grandkids. It’s all I know and love at this point in my life as a young father.



Parents Need To Date Other People – GUEST POST


This is a crazy idea that I know many people out there may not agree with, but as a parent, I feel the need to date people besides my wife. There are two people in particular that I need to date on a regular basis. Maybe you guys are getting the wrong idea here, a date should be a fun time between two people where they make each other feel good and feel like a million bucks! Parents need to spend time on a regular basis taking their own tiny humans on a date, what else could I have meant?

When I was still in the Navy, I had a lot of chances to have a day off in the middle of the week and would have a Brennan – Daddy day and we would go do something fun. It doesn’t seem to happen very often any more, unfortunately. I took him to the NASCAR race yesterday for his birthday, he loves going to the races. We had a very full day! We got to meet Jimmie Johnson for a STEM demonstration and Q&A session. He got to ask a question (I had no idea that he was going to ask anything), and it was a very technical question about how he feels at Dover with the turns being lower than the straightaways. We met up with some friends and walked around the track. I even caved and got him a few little cars, a T-shirt, a soft pretzel and we even shared some deep fried Oreos. On the long ride home, he said to me that we need to do this more often and since I got out of the military, we don’t have as many days without the girls, mano-a-mano! This really got me thinking and he was dead on!

We had a bro-date and we both loved every minute of it (besides the 90+ degrees). We, as parents, spend far too much time disciplining our kids and stressed out by everything else going on and forget how precious of a time it can be for our tiny humans. We always try to spend family time, but sometimes the kids need some alone time with you. Every kid needs to know that they are our top priority, and as much as we can tell them, we need to show them. A date like this doesn’t need to be something as expensive as a sporting event, a simple walk or trip out for McDonalds or ice cream goes a long way. Last week, I took Lilly to work with me for Bring a Child to Work Day and she was totally different to how she is at home with my wife or around her brother.

These dates have many different purposes, besides both of us having a great stress-free day; it serves as a good example. They will hopefully understand that a date can be a fun time and that the most important thing is to make each other feel like a million bucks and how to treat another person. When they get (much) older, they will know how to treat other people, opening doors and pulling out chairs when going on a date. We set the example for them every day, how we treat our significant other shows them how they will treat theirs when they get older.

Talking to Brenn for 30 minutes or so, we decided that we are going to do this often and next time we are going to Buffalo Wild Wings for a dinner date. Lilly doesn’t know it yet, but we will be doing the same thing very soon as well! As I’m having this conversation with my wife, she tells me that her parents said something similar recently and are going to take one child Friday night and the other on Saturday so that they get alone time with each kid and we do as well. It is going to be a fun weekend for sure, on top of Brenn’s birthday Orioles game; we need to come up with a date or two.

Always set the example and stay strong out there dads! Be sure to check out my full blog at