Monday, October 26, 2009

National At-Home Dad Network

In March of 2006, Daddyshome, Inc. - The National At-Home Dad Network, was founded as a 501c3 non-profit corporation by 3 at-home dads in the DC area. Its mission was to support at-home dads nationwide and encourage all fathers to take an active role in childcare. It has taken three years, but at the recent 14th Annual At-Home Dad's Convention in Omaha, that mission has begun to take shape.

At the convention, a larger, more geographically representative 8-member board of veteran at-home dads were appointed and took several bold steps toward creating a true National At-Home Dad Network:

Merged with the At-Home Dad's Convention
For the first 10 years, the convention had been hosted by Oakdale Community College in Chicago. When the college decided to discontinue hosting the convention, a group of veteran at-home dads agreed to keep it going and moved the convention to Kansas City for 2006 and 2007, Sacramento for 2008 and then Omaha for 2009 and 2010. Daddyshome began partnering with this convention committee in 2007 to help the convention raise money. With the success of this fund raising and the non-profit corporate structure that Daddyshome offered, the At-Home Dad Convention Committee and the Board of Daddyshome agreed to make the Convention a part of Daddyshome. This now assures long-term sustainability for the convention so that at-home dads can continue to connect in person with other at-home dads from all over the nation one weekend a year.

Appointed Regional Coordinators
These Regional Coordinators will help at-home dad groups become chapters of Daddyshome and will assist new local groups get started. Soon, Daddyshome will have the most complete listing of at-home dad groups from around the country on one, easy-to-search, website. By easily finding local at-home dads to go to playgroups and Dad's Night Outs, more at-home dads will be able to increase their support network which will, in turn, improve their families.

Defined voting members of Daddyshome
The board determined that voting members would be those who attended the convention or paid an annual dues of $10. These voting members would be responsible for electing members to the board of directors and serving on various committees such as the convention, regional coordinators, website, etc.

Amended terms to the Brian Dickson Memorial At-Home Dad Convention Scholarship
Among several changes it was decided that $5 from every convention registration fee would go into the scholarship fund that would help one or more at-home dads attend the convention. Also, the board awarded the first scholarship to first-time attendee Chad from St. Peters, MO to help him make it to the convention next year in Omaha! For more details on the scholarship, see

For the first time, at-home dads can now unite behind one national organization. Many websites and dad's groups have attempted to bring about this movement and now it is being realized. The work is far from complete, but with a dedicated, 8-member board of directors and a vibrant voting membership of 53 and growing, Daddyshome is on it's way to being the National At-Home Dad Network that at-home dads across the country have needed.

I invite you to check our website regularly at as we work to construct a dynamic site for at-home dads as well as for details on the next convention in Omaha on October 2, 2010 and for great forum discussions.

With your help, at-home dads will change the world, one diaper at a time!

Al Watts
Vice-President, Daddyshome, Inc. - The National At-Home Dad Network
(former KCDAD)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Activity: Holdiay Trains At Union Station

Location: 30 W Pershing Rd Kansas City, MO 64108

Cost: Free

Ages: all
Hours of Operation: 9:30 to 5:30. Check the website for days open.

I know that we've all talked about the Holiday Trains at Union Station so let's put it on the blog. This set up is just plain awesome and you should go check it out.

Basically, it's a huge display of toy trains running around a carefully created world. The kids aren't allowed to touch any of the trains but that's ok, they are mesmerized by them. Models of all types go into all the different environments and they have a little something for everyone. They even had Thomas the Train running around the tracks. My 2 year old son ran up to it and did not move, and I mean this, for 30 minutes. He pressed his face against the Plexiglas and just watched. When I tried to pull him away to show him other parts of the trains, he got mad. It's that cool to a 2 year old. Make sure you check the Union Station website to see how long it runs. This is certainly worth a trip to just do this.

Activity: Chocolate Exhibit At Union Station

Location: 30 W Pershing Rd Kansas City, MO 64108

Cost: $9.50 ages 13 and up, 3 to 13 is $7.

Ages: all

Hours of Operation: 9:30 to 5:30 Tuesday through Sat. Closed Monday.


Rarely do I rip an activity that we go to as a group. Time to make an exception. But why write about an exhibit? Because it might come back next year.

So let me save you 15 bucks: skip this one. The price just cannot be justified for what the Chocolate exhibit is. It is billed as discovering the history of Chocolate, from seed to sweet. In this, I found that the exhibit did a halfway decent job. Mostly what the exhibit is is a bunch of plaques and a few artifacts from ancient Maya and Aztec explaining the importance of the cocoa bean. Then it goes through the evolution of it.

And that's about it. It took us about 20 minutes to go through the whole thing and for 9 bucks for an adult and 7 bucks for my daughter, I was expecting more. They talk a little about the making of chocolate but not enough and certraintly no hands on experiences here. There were a few videos of chocolate being made but no discussion of it. Plus, the video's looked like they were from the 80s and were only missing a guy with a bad haircut and a porn stach. If you are going to talk about chocolate, then show a hands on approach to how it's made or cooked. Get a Foundu pot at least, that's all I'm saying.

The biggest disappointment was no samples though. Which is surprising considering when you enter the exhibit you are over whelmed with the sweet smell of fresh chocolate only to be disappointed to find that there is actually no real chocolate there. I was told that they would have some free samples on the weekend but that really just shows how half assed this exhibit was.

But let's give this one good thing to it's credit. The docent's were awesome and took family photo for us.

Activity: Alldredge Orchards Apple Picking

Location: They are located at six miles south of Platte City, Missouri:
> 10455 Highway N
> Platte City, MO 64079

> 816.330.3448

Cost: Flucuates depending on how many apples you wish to take home with you. Word of caution: A bushel of apples is a LOT.

Ages: Appropriate for all ages


Hours of Operation: Open Spring through Fall. Hours vary according to the season so refer to the website.

If you have a hankering for some apples, come here. They also had pumpkins and various flowers available for purchase as well.

Let's start with the apple picking. Having never been to an apple orchard before I didn't know what to expect. Now I do. There a ton of trees to choose your apples from and numerous sizes of baskets to take. But let me warn you again, a bushel of apples is a lot of apples. So have some recipes ready becuase you are going to need them. Alot of the apples hang close to the ground level so the kids can have fun picking thier own right off the tree. For those more hard to reach areas for that perfect apple, they give you a tool. I'm sure it has a name but I have no idea what it is. It's a long pole that you use to grab the apples down. My kids had a great time and I think everyone else that went did as well. We had a great turn out which is one of the reasons I love bringing all the families into it.

But it's not just You-Pick apples that are offered here. It's an entire farm so that means animals, namely free roaming chickens. I don't know why but kids love chickens. They love to chase them, they love to try and catch them and they love to run away from them when they squawk. Very funny stuff. Goats and a pony were also on site. The kids discovered that goats love to eat apples who knew. There is also a track for pedal cars that every father felt the need to get on and race. I don't know why we are still competitive but we are. For the record, I'm slow.
There is also a small playground that the kids enjoyed.

But we couldn't really give a great review without mentioning the store and the food. The store has fresh farm produce that you would expect. It's good stuff. But not as good as the made from scratch food that they offer. If you go, I highly recomend getting the chicken soup. I know, raving about soup, that's wierd. But you have never tasted soup like this before. Hands down the best soup of any type that I ever had. And the apple dumplings, well, as this is a family site I won't use the word orgasmic. But it was.

Go prepared to spend a good amount of time here. It's well worth it.

Hiking: Overland Park Arboretum

Location: 8909 W. 179th St. (just west of Antioch) Overland Park, KS 66085

Cost: Free

Ages Appropriate for: All. Older kids can do these trails without much difficulty and the younger ones will be fine in a backpack. Some of the trails are paved around the Arboretum so they would be stroller appropriate.

The trails at the Overland park Arboretum are great for beginners. The trails we did were about 2 miles long and a very easy hike. The trails themselves were well kept and trimmed back. On average they were about 6 to 8 feet across and mostly level.

Here's the reason this is a great easy hike, especially for beginners with the backpacks. It's a flat hike. There are a few hills but no major climbs. Your kids should also have an easy time with this one as well because of this. And with the trails being so wide there's not a whole lot of stepping over anything. The best thing about these trails were that they were mostly covered in cedar chips, or at least it appeared so. This had the benefit of soaking up any water and cutting down on any mud. The day we went it had rained before and we found the hike extremely enjoyable.

The scenery is nice but doesn't have any really breath taking views or formations. However, it does have a neat little cabin where you can do some bird watching. It was really well done and if you have some time to kill I would head out there. It's basically a nice little walk through the woods that your kids will dig.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Activity: Ghost Tours John Wornall House

6115 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64113
Phone: (816)444-1858

They admit that the site stinks (alot of info is wrong) and said they are working on changing it. Best bet is to call them.

Hours and rates:
Ghost tours happen one weekend every October (This year it was Oct 23-24th) they also might do it in March. So chances are you missed it. I am basicly reviewing this so you know about it for next year. Tours ran at 7, 8, 9, and 10pm, and cost $15 per person. Be sure to call since space is limited, I am not sure if reservations are required.

The Missouri Irish Brigade fireside ghost stories and the Paranormal group demonstration were free. The Irish Brigade was camping out on both nights, the Paranormal group was there on the 23 but I don't know about the 24th.

Ages: Any age for the Irish Brigade and Marshmallows, not sure about the tour, I imagine it depends on the kid, same goes for the paranormal group.

Okay I wasn't there to see the house or hear it's haunted history, which apparently it has plenty of. So I know nothing of the actual Ghost Tours. I will say the house looked kind of creepy with all of the lights off inside which is enough to weird me out. The house was used during the civil war by both sides I believe and at one point was a battle field hospital with an amputation room, so I am sure it has plenty of dead people available to haunt it. I went to see the Missouri Irish Brigade and the Paranormal Group.

So the fireside Ghost stories were told by a group of Civil War Reenactors who portray the Unions Missouri Irish Brigade. Two of the members are Stay-At-Home Dads which is half the reason I went. They were all dressed up in their civil war garb and it was a shame it was so dark because I couldn't get a great view of their outfits or equipment, but what I did see was pretty cool. They are happy to tell you all about their group, how to join and what they do. Like a bunch of drunks they are always looking for fellow drinkers to join the party. They had some chairs arranged around the campfire and were quick to get you a stick and a marshmallow to put on it. The stories were cool but I must admit the one story I really paid attention to got stopped because everyone was heading into the house for their tour but up until that point I was riveted.

The Paranormal group was housed in the carriage house (I unfortunately don't remember their name). It was two women and a table decked out all of their Paranormal gear. They were very knowledgeable regarding what they do and why, and it was truly interesting talking to them. Checking out their gear was fairly cool. I was expecting to see a bunch of exotic ghostbuster type stuff, but most of it was things I had seen before: digital voice recorders, flashlights, digital cameras, infrared cameras,and walkie talkies. The more impressive stuff was the funky thermometer and electromagnetism detector. The really cool part was the laptop computer that they used to play the recordings of their encounters (some of which were at the Wornall house). They seemed to have an endless supply of recording to show.

I can't say I was convinced that ghosts existed from talking to them. Most of if not all of their recorded "voices" were not clear enough to positively know what made the noise or what they were actually saying (you could easily hear what you wanted to hear). But hey, I wasn't there when the sounds were recorded, so what do I know. On one file they had what sounded like a thunderclap and a scream that the recorder pick up loud and clear but no one in the house actually heard. And they also showed a video where the camera was knocked off a dresser it was sitting on. It all comes down to wheather you trust them or not. I do know that if you talk to two true believers long enough they will get you to wondering if it's true, and they will have you looking over your shoulder as you walk back to your car.

I would do the fireside ghost stories again especially as my kids get older. A life isn't lived if you haven't sat around a campfire and heard ghost stories, it should be required. The Paranormal group was also worth seeing although I don't know if they will be back every year. As for the Ghost Tour someone will have to go on it and tell us how it is.

Reviewed by Mr. Rogers

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Omaha

10 Stay At Home Dads (SAHDs) from the KC area recently attended the National SAHDs conference in Omaha. For this first time attendee, it was an amazing experience. It was three days filled with fun, bonding, and the sharing on knowledge and experiences that will enrich our roles as SAHDs. So I offer to you, fellow SAHDs and SAHD groupies, two takes on the whole experience.

At Home Dads' Convention in 40 words:

Dads, steak, beer, football, planes, bombs, big planes, mexican food, beer, gambling (lost only 23 cents!), bacon!, research, hairstyling, spread the word, 3 year-olds are a pain, feminism, praise-consequences-consistency, tie-dyed apples, networking, beer, football, beer, missing the family, and unity.

Reflections from a newbie:

Never have I felt so instantly connected to a group of people before. Sure, we've all made a choice that is outside the norm. But what unites us is more than our societal role and genetic make up. It's the struggles we face on a day to day basis: feeding our kids nutritious meals, dressing them and styling their hair in a socially acceptable way, making an acceptable dent on the honey-do list, taking care of the health and well being of our kids and ultimately ourselves. They are concerns that most parents have. It's just that we've volunteered to be the primary parent responsible for these tasks in our family. And we're men. And so when we meet, there is a comfort and an understanding in knowing that we are not alone in the challenges that we face. We may do things differently, and that's OK. Oh, and even though we're the primary care giver in the family, we can still like beer, and football, and not have to check our testosterone at the door.