Classic Conversation

Busytown Airport
A conversation sparked between Sherry (Mommy) and Caden while they were looking at Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport.

Mommy: When you are bigger Daddy will teach you how to fly airplanes.

[Caden goes off to play for a few minutes and then returns to Mommy.]

Caden: I’m bigger now!!!



A Special Kid with a Golden Egg

Caden with Golden Easter Egg

Photo by: Virginia Gregg

Caden is a very special kid with a very popular egg. This egg contains a coveted wooden chip to get a free cup cake at a local gourmet bake shop. The irony in Caden finding this egg two years in a row is that he is the only kid participating who has never swallowed…not even his own saliva. In addition to numerous heart surgeries, back surgeries, and much more, seven year old Caden has taken all of his nutrition and hydration via feeding tube since birth. Just like last year, Caden gave the wooden chip to his older brother Riley.

Our family went to this annual Easter Egg hunt with some like-minded friends who all alumni of the GFI Parenting Ministry. This is the second time the local group of parents got together to have some fun over the Easter holiday.

Caden will have back surgery later this week to adjust the VEPTR rods (pictured below) placed in September 2010 to treat scoliosis.

VEPTR Rods - scoliosis

Your prayers for a rapid recovery would be appreciated.

Ask Your Child to Forgive You

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 25 - Forgiveness
Rachel from over at the blog titled My Baby Sleep Guide is the winner of the latest (2012) edition of On Becoming Babywise.

Speaking of Babywise, there is a new Nap App available for the iPhone from This app has been developed by the same folks that publish On Becoming Babywise. There are demo videos and screenshots on the web site.


Asking your child for Forgiveness and Make it Right

Asking your child to forgive you for something you did to hurt them is hard. If you are a headstrong natural born alpha male leader type, it can be extremely more difficult to master this process. It takes an extra degree of humility.

I recently embarrassed my nine year old son Riley. I raised my voice to him in front of some neighborhood kids. A few minutes later Riley let me know (respectfully) that he had been embarrassed by my tone. I was still hot and sent him to his room so that I could cool off.

After I cooled off I went up to Riley’s room and sat on the bed next to him. I asked him if he would forgive me for embarrassing him in front of his friends by raising my voice. He said yes and gave me a big hug.

This about where things end for how most people deal with forgiveness. Our friends Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo taught us better in Growing Kids God’s Way. They teach that when wrong is done and forgiveness is asked for an give, there is still a need to restore the relationship.

Then I asked Riley how I could make it right with him.

Many people apologize or say they are sorry. Very few ever ask how they can make things right. By making things right I mean that we should try to restore the relationship.

Tech Time

Droid – Angry Birds Ads –  How to stop advertisements while your child plays Angry Birds on your Android OS.

Using your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts on your phone.

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Sweet Words

Tonight our seven year old son Caden made a very clear and cute comment to his 21 month old little brother Levi. It went like this:

Caden said,  “Levi, would you please be quiet? I am trying to read.”

These are truly sweet words for a parent of a child that has endured delays in almost every area of development. Caden actually is reading some simple words and learning to spell through homeschool phonics instruction provided by my wife. We are still working with Caden to develop his speech. He has been getting speeh therapy 1-2 times per week since birth. At age four he was communicating almost exclusively with sign language. Here is a video of Caden speaking when he was 4 years old.


Learn more about Caden and his brothers at Caden’s Page.

Fathering a Broken Heart

Caden in PCICU in 2008I have a very clear memory of the events of July 29, 2004. We arrived at the medical university OB/GYN clinic and were taken into an ultrasound room. The technician was very nice and seemed genuine in her concern for Sherry’s comfort. Things seemed to be going well. The technician gave us an unofficial comment that told us the cyst was not a serious concern. The moments to follow began to change the mood of the room. The technician stated that she needed to verify something and left the room. She returned with another technician to verify what she saw on the ultrasound monitor. A few minutes later one technician left to get a doctor. This doctor brought in another doctor and a genetic counselor. Sherry and I noticed the tears starting to build in the original technician’s eyes. The doctor then broke the news. The technician had detected a fairly significant hole between the ventricles of our baby’s heart. This heart defect is referred to as a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect).

This was all quite overwhelming to Sherry and me.  At the time we had no idea that the VSD would be the least of our concerns.  She was crying, the technician was crying, and I didn’t know what to do as tears flooded my face. The doctor said he was referring us to the Pediatric Cardiology Department in the main hospital for an echocardiogram to verify the findings.  We waited while calls were made to get us in to Cardiology immediately.

This was the beginning of the end of the name game. Sherry and I decided that there were going to be enough surprises in the remainder of this pregnancy so we asked the technician to tell us the gender of our child. “It’s a boy!” We were excited! Now my list of names to choose from was cut in half. Even better, we could now refer to the baby as “he” instead of “the baby”.

The Pediatric Cardiology Department was able to see us that same day as requested by Sherry’s be OB/GYN. We made our way to Peds Cardiology in the rain. This was my first time stepping foot in the Medical University of South Carolina hospital.  Entering the hospital was intimidating enough without the stress of the underlying purpose of our visit. The place was huge. It was bigger than any civilian hospital I had ever been in. Unlike us, most people were moving about as if they knew exactly where they were going. We finally found our way to the Pediatric Cardiology Department on the sixth floor of the Children’s Hospital in the maze of interconnected buildings.

We were met by a very friendly and compassionate staff. I didn’t know it then, but this was a scene that they had experienced before. We went into a room with a machine very much like the room we had been in at the OB/GYN clinic where the last ultrasound was done just hours before. The technician came in and spent what seemed like an hour taking pictures of our baby’s heart. The process was almost identical to an ultrasound from our perspective with the exception of the monitor showing only our son’s heart. Very few words were spoken. The technician finally got up and told us that the doctor would review the images and then come talk to us shortly. The doctor came in sooner than we expected. He was a very nice man who seemed as compassionate and sincere as everyone else we had talked to that day. He explained to us the details of our son’s heart defects. Yes, there appeared to be several of them. The most serious defect was referred to as an Interrupted Aortic Arch (IAA). The doctor said that the aorta, which carries oxygenated blood away from the heart, did not appear to be connected properly. Part of the aorta was believed to be narrowed or may even be missing. They were unable to tell the exact diagnosis with the angle of the two-dimensional picture from the echocardiogram. The doctor also reported that the PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) was enlarged. The PDA is a natural bypass that allows the blood between the oxygenated and the less-oxygenated sides of the heart to mix while a baby is in the womb. Babies get their oxygenated blood from the mother until after birth, and the PDA helps mom’s blood mix with the baby’s blood.

The doctor proceeded to tell us that if our son’s PDA closed after birth it could be fatal due to the suspected narrowing or restriction of the aorta. He told us that our son would require open-heart surgery shortly after birth. We asked for a better definition of “shortly”. He told us that our son would most likely require surgery within a week after he was born. These drawings were given to us to illustrate what they had found during the fetal echocardiogram. We would later learn how eerily accurate these drawings were even though there representing a child’s heart that was only about 22 weeks in womb.

Normal Heart  Broken Heart - IAA Type B, VSD, ASD

The doctor went on to tell us that these heart defects would require medication called prostaglandins to be administered immediately after birth to help prevent the PDA from closing before the surgery could be performed. He told us that this drug could only be delivered through a central line. A central line is an IV-type line that runs through the baby’s belly- button or a central artery, and is threaded in as near as possible to the heart. This would allow the drug to be delivered to an area of the circulation system that would allow for the fastest distribution of the drug. He told us that these lines are normally inserted immediately after birth before the blood starts to clot in the veins that are fed by the umbilical cord.

The doctor took as much time as we needed to understand what he was explaining to us. He had drawings of a normal heart. He had another drawing of what he derived from the echocardiogram to illustrate what he believed our son’s heart looked like. He did give us a tiny bit of hope by telling us that we needed to follow the progress of these defects with more echocardiograms. There was a chance that things could get worse, but there was a chance that things could get better. By no means did the doctor give us a gleaming ray of hope that the defects would completely disappear.

Sherry and I were pretty overwhelmed at this point. The whole thing had really not sunk in for me just yet. The staff realized that we were near a state of shock. They told us to sit in the examination room as long as we needed before leaving. They offered their contact information for us to use to call with any questions that we had after we got home. They scheduled follow-up appointments for Sherry to have the echocardiograms throughout the remainder of the pregnancy to see if the defect had progressed in either direction. We finished our talk with the doctor and prepared to leave.

A nice lady from their office escorted us to the elevator. What happened next still gives me chills to this day. I started to have trouble breathing. My knees felt as if they were about to come out from under me. I grabbed the wall and asked if there was somewhere I could sit down. The lady walking with us immediately helped me into the nearest room. I sat down and began to sob uncontrollably. Sherry comforted me as she cried. I cried and gasped for air for a while. It seemed that nothing could stop it. The reality of the day’s events had finally caught up with me. I had no idea how to deal with what was happening to my young family. How could this happen? Our first child had nearly perfect health compared to this. Why was this happening to us? What had we done to deserve this? I had more emotions and questions in that moment than I can remember  ever having in my life. I finally was able to gather myself enough to depart the sixth floor of the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital.

Caden is now seven years old and has endured many major surgeries including multiple heart surgeries, back surgeries, stomach surgeries, neck surgery and much more. He is still exclusively tube fed and has been given no hope of ever being able to nourish himself by mouth. He is expected to live a long life with proper medical treatment including regular cardiology check ups.

You can read Caden’s Page for the ongoing story of his life.


Wireless Security

Dad’s should teach their kids good wireless security practices and configure home wireless networks to be as secure as possible.

This episode provides an explanation on the frequency of episode productions. I also provide an update on our son Caden.

There are two main areas of concern:

  1. Your home wireless network configuration
  2. Your and your family member’s wireless devices

Home Wireless

Home wireless comes in many flavors. The most popular brands of home wireless devices, also called access points, or routers are Linksys (Owned by Cisco) Net Gear, D-Link, Apple, Belkin, and Motorola.

  1. Use good wireless encryption. WPA and WPA2 is the current, common encryption standard you should probably be using — though, of course, you should use something stronger as soon as it becomes available to you. Technology is advancing every day, on both sides of the encryption arms race, after all.
  2. Use a strong pre-shared key (password) IhagviW,NC
  3. Build a DMZ or add a separate router for guests and leave it open access
  4. Easy stuff to keep out the kiddie hackersDon’t broadcast your SSID.
    MAC Filtering
    Avoid WEP

WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) Vulnerability

The following manufactures have published instructions on how to protect your network:

  • Belkin
  • Netgear
  • D-Link

While Linksys routers do have an option to disable WPS…it does not actual disable the protocol.  I expect we will see firmware updates for more major maufatures very soon.

When you or your family members go ut with wireless devices:

  • Firewall your laptop
  • Limit your Privacy activity
  • Use VPNs
  • Turn of wireless network cards OFF

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Special Needs Education at Home

When your family rom turns into a hospital roomMy beautiful wife has shared some awesome tips for parents with a special needs child that is also homeschooled. Check out the latest podcast on the Home School Support Network to learn how we deal with tough times with a special needs child in our home.

Pinewood Derby Cars 2012

Boys Being BoysPinewood Derby Cars

Caden and JJ showing off their first Pinewood Derby Cars

This is Caden’s first year in Cub Scouts. He and his brothers recently attended an event at the local Lowe’s store in Goose Creek, SC called Pinewood Derby® Days. This is sponsored by Lowe’s and Dremel® tools to help boys create their derby cars while learning about the safe use of tools.


Temperaments and Parenting

In this episode I have a very special guest. My wife Sherry and I introduce you to the four temperaments. Sherry and I also co-host the Home School Support Network (HSSN) podcast and blog. We have produced a HSSN episode on temperaments as well.

Why temperaments? 

Our understanding of temperaments has been most helpful in understanding what makes our family members tick. This is helpful in a marriage relationship, with understanding why grandma and grandpa do things a certain way, and most importantly what makes our children “tick”… so to speak. We have taught parents on the subject of temperaments for over five years. We have learned over the years from books, observations of parents we have mentored, and from various speakers throughout the country.

Your temperament is God given and does not change. Each temperament has strengths, weaknesses, and one specific area of weakness that is more dominant than other weaknesses. There are four types with many “blends”- most people have a primary and secondary and keep in mind you may have the strengths of one and the weakness of another.

What are the four temperaments we will cover in this podcast episode? 

Choleric (lion): task oriented-extrovert
Sanguine (otter): 
people oriented-extrovert
Melancholy (beaver): 
task oriented-introvert
Phlegmatic (golden retriever): 
people oriented- introvert

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye

Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer

The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personality by Dr. John Trent and Gary Smalley

Wired That Way: An Easy-to-Use Questionnaire for Helping People Discover Their God-Given Personality Type

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Voice Mail: (864) 372-9833

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God’s Wisdom Above Man’s Wisdom

Fathers Mandate number 8.  A father must build the trusting relationships on God’s Word, not on human wisdom.

The Fathers Mandate Part 8 of 8
Reference: Chapter 4 of Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo

Mr. Ezzo says that if you don’t get this then everything else in the other mandates does not matter.

From Psalm 118:8 (TLB) “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Who is God and what does He mean to you and your family?

Please remember that much more is caught than taught.

“Adapted from a recent online discussion.
New dad wonders how to juggle parenting with football season
Football season!: How much is my child going to hate me as he grows up with me watching three football games in a row on Sundays, and another on Monday nights? (I do chores during breaks, I swear, but I’ve never had a baby or child to care for during football season before.)” Source

This issue of building relationships with your children based on God’s word is not about choosing church over sports on Sunday.  It is about having the ways of God “on your hearts. Impressing them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the street, when you lie down and when you get up.” from Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 New International Version (NIV)

Read God’s word in the Bible for yourself. That is how you will be able to determine what God’s wisdom is verses what other people around you say.

Reading Plans

By the numbers

The Bible has 66 Books made up of 1189 Chapters. To read the Bible in a year you will read on average:
99 Chapters in a month
5.5 Books per month
3.26 Chapters per dayYou can read the entire Bible from cover to cover in less than 100 hours.

Here are some audio Bibles: (aff)

The Word of Promise: Complete Audio BibleThe Complete Audio Holy Bible: King James Version

Why read? To get a better understanding of who God is and what He means to you and your family.

Proverbs 14:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

How to become a Christian:

1 John 1:9

New King James Version (NKJV)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ephesians 2:8-9

New Living Translation (NLT)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

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