Dad 2.0 Summit 2017 Part 2: An Ode to Kia

Yes I’m still having adventures with the Kia Motors America Kia Cadenza. Dad 2.0 Summit was where I first met and became aware of the hashtag #KiaDad . I met John Dominguez as a first time attendee of Dad 2.0 Summit last year. He and I spoke about our children, family and our careers. We didn’t speak about cars. We spoke as men and our fatherhood journey. Yes they helped me get to my destination at my first #Dad2Summit which made me feel like a ‘prince for a moment.’ I mean who gets personally shuttled to an event for the very first time. I was new to this group of fathers, mothers too, the summit and new to it all.

First time meeting Kia & John Dominguez

I’ve been able to learn from a multitude of men, women and beyond from Dad 2.0 Summit. Many friendships have come of it. Some men have cheered me on daily. Seriously. Recently, post this year’s summit I’ve had some overwhelming hate directed at me. Such vacuous thoughts. Rather caustic assumptions. Even threats of harm.

I’m posting this as every voice should be heard. There is a manner in which to express ideas, thoughts and opinions. Unifying humanity is the goal. That is how I best am able to express my desired goal and to be part of my obituary. My purpose. Why I’m here.

The journey and life’s peaks and valleys are the commonalities that I share and express in my social media platforms. There will be times I share something that is my opinion, my beliefs or my views. I will  let my voice be heard. John Dominguez said that to me when I first met him. To be me.

At other event trips I’ve been on, John has expressed that same sentiment. It hasn’t ever changed. He has reinforced in me to really truly be me. It is clear via this blog that I am truly letting you all see/know me, Joël. I’m flawed. I’m a work in progress always, as life doesn’t ever stop letting you learn and grow. I’m many things.

 

That time I matched the Kia red leather interior….

The summit let me know that I’m not alone in this world. There are places and faces that desire to see little ‘ol me. Many of y’all came up to me and made it a point for us to engage in conversation. You made sure I was aware of who you were. That was a ‘whoop-tee-tah’ moment that kept occurring. Bam what!

This is not a boasting post or self-aggrandizing message. I’m letting you all know that I too am a fragile being. I’m dealing with depression. I’ve been taking on a lot for my family alone. Literally alone. There has been struggle and success. What last year and this year so far has taught me is that I truly do have support out there.

 

The Kia Cadenza chocolate leather is giving me life!

My world isn’t just what is here in my city in my daily modus operandi. It is sprinkled across the land and even in the UK. I met him in real life too. What a laugh! Totally a moment that I will have in my mind until my last breath has left my body.

The amalgamation of love, support, openness and growth that is ALIVE in Dad 2.0 Summit helped change and educate me beyond a writer, a blogger and a man. It was often I felt like I didn’t belong somewhere where I could make a difference. Being a first time panelist speaker talking about my perspective as a gay man, father and now a social media influencer has helped me make a difference.

Someone wanted to meet me and they made that happen at the event. They had heard of me by word of mouth. Yes it’s the thing on your body that makes sounds that are commonly known as words, sentences if you will and that is audible and the other human hears it. Then they respond. So technology isn’t fully taking over human interactions but it helps those conversations, ideas and beyond be spread across the world.

So in this meeting of someone I did not know at all. There was a moment of how I am making it known that life is just the same for me as it is for them. There is a plethora of differences but it’s the similarities that brought this person to want to sit next to ‘me’ and talk. They put a face, in real life, to the name they had heard about.

Always sleek even in the rain

 

My takeaway from this, my work with Kia, Dad 2.0 Summit and beyond is that I’m just glad that I’m still here. Even with my current woes I find that letting it all flow and to just be ‘me’ that I still will make a difference. It is beyond the nay-sayers, haters, those that want to cause me harm or wish it upon me.

Plus Kia has been a brand that has been supportive of many endeavors of mine. I’ve been invited to many events, experienced their awesome cars and even a recent event with B.R.A.K.E.S. that changed the way I drive forever. Here is a clip of that and stay tuned as more is to come.

Attitude of gratitude toward Kia Motors USA, John Dominguez and last but not least Dad 2.0 Summit.

Preparing My Children for Academic Success With TestingMom.com

*This post has been sponsored by TestingMom.com.  The opinions and ideas expressed here are solely my own.  The content and story are my own.  It was not in any way shape or form influenced by the brand.

Preparing My Children for Academic Success With TestingMom.com

What I am going to share with you all is that my children both have struggled with their academics.  It has become part of my everyday life and modus operandi.  My son and my daughter have made significant strides while utilizing tools from TestingMom.com .  Let me share with you all how I have utilized the TestingMom.com site.  It has really helped me to foster a new academic approach with both of my children.

Part of the TestingMom.com site that caught my attention was the various tools available to help my children.  I both like and used the 100 Free Skill Building Practice Questions for Pre-K to 8th Graders.  It has some great ways to really build on your child’s thought processing and understanding.  When using it with my son, I didn’t think that I was making him feel like it was practice.  It was definitely a more natural approach to supporting him and my daughter too.  I encourage my readers to get started with TestingMom.com & download the 100 Practice Questions.

Another asset I enjoyed was the continual email tips sent to my inbox.  I remember President’s Day being observed which meant no school for my children, so how was I going to help them keep up the academic support and engagement?  Well on that day, an email from TestingMom.com arrived and it had President’s Day themed practice questions designed to assess a child’s knowledge of general information.  I used all of them with my son and most with my daughter.  That made learning fun, even on a day when most would take a day off from academics.  It didn’t feel like study time at all.  More of a new family time moment and a new memory made.

I received a very informational email about TestingMom.com that had me asking myself if this program was right for me and my children.  I will outline it below.  I am after educational success for my kids. That’s what I want.

TestingMom.com is NOT for you if:

  • * You want to outsource your child’s educational support to tutors and after-school programs
  • * You’re too busy or believe you don’t have the expertise to help your child build needed skills
  • * You really don’t want to know what’s on the test – you are confident your child can do well on their own

TestingMom.com IS for you if:

  • * You believe you are your child’s first and most important teacher
  • * You want to understand what your child can do and how he/she learns so you can help
  • * You want to know what’s on the test so you can guide your child on how to master the material

Yes, TestingMom.com was right for me.  It has helped me to learn new engaging methods for nurturing and supporting my children’s academic and educational success.  My son has improved his critical thinking,  efforts and confidence.  My daughter is a better speaker and researcher when completing school projects.  Their analysis of their own work and areas of improvement show me that they understand what they are doing.  TestingMom.com has helped me improve the educational success my children needed.

 

Overall, this is a great site with many tools, email support and other academic resources.   Here are some links to testimonials & reviews of TestingMom.com.  The 100 Practice Questions are Free.  Simply sign up to get started on preparing your children for educational success.  It was and still is a great help to my family.

Dad 2.0 Summit: A Journey Explained

How do I express something that often left me speechless? Even when someone approached me to talk, I would flub my words and stutter too. My excitement would overwhelm my mind and then my mouth would sputter something out that sounded like words and sentences. Was it though? My hearing was a bit hazy too.

Throughout my journey as a parent and a stay at home dad I spent alone. No really…alone. I was the only parent and then stay at home parent. How would I socialize? Who would mingle with me about puréed food and little bite sized snacks for my children? When did I see other adults? I saw them and they saw me.

Ostracized from many groups is what I experienced a lot. Mommy groups wanted ‘moms’ only. I was a man and then on top of that a gay man and now a father. A stay at home father. I was a young father at 28 years of age. I’m still young and virile, at least that’s how I feel. That is not up for debate here.

So I searched for someplace to have commonality. A group to support my parenting questions or to help entertain and engage my children. And me too. Again time was often spent with just us 3 during the week. I needed and craved for a play date. Was I ever going to have one?

I did eventually find a group. L.A. Dads Group which is a part of City Dads Group and then to find that Dad 2.0 Summit is connected. Well I found my home. A place where I can thrive. A place where other dads are trailblazers in their everyday life. A place to learn and grow. To nurture and rejuvenate. A place to have many hugs and many new experiences. A place of support and love.

My voice was heard at the convention this year. I had the opportunity to be on a panel. A first time panelist speaker position for me was a full circle moment. I was telling my story and perspective as a father, a social media influencer and a gay man. It allowed for many other wonderful opportunities too. Two fans/followers of mine came up to me and said hello. I was so engrossed in them I didn’t take a photo. Why? I was basking in them and being attentive.

I have been suffering from depression for some time. I have been taking care of my family too. My focus has been on taking care of me. Over several years before I found my true home and tribe of father I lost 5 of my closest friends, they passed away. I also had to edit out friends. Again lonely and without my support system.

So as a child I had been a loner. At the start of my parenthood journey I was a loner. In my life that has occurred twice. In my time of need as an adult I was fortunate to have met fathers online and moms too. Then I experienced them in real life, IRL! We actually spoke and hugs and laughed. There were many memories made.

The convention is my home of my support system. The dads and moms and friends who welcome me with open arms and embrace me completely. If you didn’t see me, I’m sure you heard my name. Many of the brands mentioned hearing my name before I even spoke to them. I’m not a celebrity…I’m just telling my story.

Having lost my previous husband to cancer and many other life experiences has made me strong. I too am fragile still. So when I speak of my depression it’s from having to still process the years of consistent death and loss I experienced. Even as recent as of last year before the holidays. I’m healing my heart still.

All of what I was able to experience at Dad 2.0 Summit was utter bliss and joy. My little brown self worked and worked hard. I’m still working hard. Many friends and new acquaintances inspire me still. I fell more invigorated and rejuvenated. I’m beaming with pride as the summit was exceptional. Just what I needed.

I’m sitting here typing this and all that is happening is a big huge smile on my face. My soul was touched. My heart was mended a little. My tears wiped a little too. My pride was made stronger. My world has been changed. That is amazing.

J.O.Ë.L. – Just Obviously Enjoying Life

Welcome to my new website brand launch. It is time you get to know me a little bit better. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Joël Lëoj. Take a moment to read a few tidbits that I’m sharing with you all.

People want to know who I am and what I’m all about. My journey as a parent has had a lot of peaks and valleys. Faces weren’t always smiling. Fun was not the main focus. It was a challenge to witness and experience life and how society felt about me being a stay at home parent.

Many focus on another aspect of myself. A battle in my mind raged on. I fight it daily. More than ever I’m proud of myself. Proud of my family and proud of my friend family. Support was here for me when I needed.

If you wanted to know something about me. Truly a mind blowing detail. I love and I love hard. Family is very important to me. My true loving friends. If you’re in you’re in. Won’t ever let go.

Many have passed on in my life recently. Many new faces have come in to my life. I feel blessed. My work ethic and fortitude kept on. I worked myself and I still work myself.

My indomitable spirit and outrageous outlook have always been one thing I pride myself on. When I smile, I smile from ear to ear. When I laugh, I laugh with a bellow and a strength. My heart and body sing when music is on. I know myself.

Join me on my journey and let me share with you what made me who I am and how I proceed. See how I became Just Obviously Enjoying Life.

J.O.Ë.L.