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Man Date

(**this post is written by the SBOAM!!...enjoy!)

man-date - an authoritative command; especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one

Man Date - also known as "Man Time" - a time for dudes to hang out and do manly things

From the get-go, Carrie and I have been very intentional about how we raise our kids…from how we pray with them and talk about our faith, to simply how we do life, schedule things, and set aside specific time for each of them (and, most importantly, for each other).

Starting at about nine months, Laura Kate and I began having Daddy / Daughter Donut Dates at the local "Fluffy Donuts" shop. Over the course of a couple of months, this became a welcome time, on Saturday mornings, for Laura Kate and I to have fun and eat sugary goodness while growing our relationship, all while Carrie got to sleep in for an extra hour or so. With the addition of Shepherd, our Donuts with Daddy time has come to be a fun excursion for the three of us (Fischer will join us, come next March or so!).

So, beyond our Saturday morning ritual, Carrie and I knew that we wanted to be intentional about one-on-one time with each of our kids. We envisioned this as being a monthly date to focus in on that child and enjoy good time together. LK and I have already gotten to have a few Daddy & Laura Kate dates (mostly involving breakfast or dinner at her favorite restaurant…McDonalds). However, last week was finally time for the initial Man Time with my Shepherd Boy.

A few months back, I went ahead and put our time into the calendar and began thinking through things that might be fun for daddy and his little Moose to go and do. Enjoying animals and all things outdoors / outside, I immediately began to think that Cabela's might be a prime place to take the little big guy. Having tons of things to look at, animals to see, a giant aquarium to check out, and yes, food…it was a no-brainer. I thought we might tag on a trip to the ice cream shop or something, but that would not be necessary, after arriving at this mecca of camouflage and stuffed animals (in the taxidermy way, not the cheap carnival type).

Upon arriving at Cabela's, Shepherd was mesmerized by the sheer size of the building, the lights inside, and all of the animals that were hanging on the wall and peeking out over in-store displays (the black bears and deer being his favorite). As he stared, open-mouthed, at row after row of camo and fishing gear, he signaled that he wanted down. He then signaled that he thought a game of "Chase Me Daddy" might be a great idea. So, off we went, trekking through the store, towards the back wall.

A few yards from the wall, my little boy realized that the back wall wasn't just a wall…it was an enormous aquarium full of all different kinds of fish! The blue glow beckoned like a moth to a flame, and the Moose was quickly climbing up on the fake rocks in front to have a better look. The next 30 minutes were full of shrieking fun as different fish came to stare at the brown-eyed boy, nose and cheeks pressed firmly against the inch-thick glass.

After his fill of fish, Shepherd was drawn to the balloons advertising the boats, but then to the gun section (bringing a tear to Daddy's eye). We ooh'd and awe'd over numerous different models, finally deciding to begin convincing Mommy why it would be great for Daddy to get both a new side-by-side 12 gauge and a handgun.

As we made our way onwards, Shepherd found the section of the store devoted to younger hunters, with tons of different toys and things. He quickly nabbed as many orange Browning bottle koozies as he could and tore off, attempting to make an escape back the way of the aquarium. However, what stopped him was our final destination on this trip anyway…the snack bar.

We wrapped up our time eating a chunk of fudge from the confectionary and laughing at how good a time we'd had.

Our prayer is that, with each of these dates with our kids, it might again and again be solidified, in their little minds, just how much Mommy and Daddy love spending time with each of them, as a whole, but then also as individuals. The LORD continues to give us arrows in the quiver. It is our job to sharpen them and then send them towards the mark that God gives each of them.

Spending this one-on-one time is just one more way that we can effectively do this, as our three little Scouts continue to grow up.

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