13 Of L.A.'s Hardest-Working Dads Share Their Fave Parts Of Fatherhood

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on May 29, 2012.]
It makes our hearts swell to see dads getting so many props lately — from the men of Modern Family to spying all those celeb-pops pap shots (how frickin' cute are Orlando and Flynn Bloom?). And it's no wonder why these paternal pics make us melt the way they do. Your father may have taught you how to ride a bike, balance your first checkbook, or even wiped away the tears of your first heartache — they just always seem to come in clutch when you need 'em most. So, in keeping with the pappa love, we've rounded up a bevy of loving local dads that deserve a sincere shout-out. Bonus: These dudes have dapper in spades! Check out our snaps from the scrapbooks of TenOverSix owner Joe Cole, Living Things frontman Lillian Berlin, and a bunch of others, all snuggled up with their kiddos. Upon first awww-inducing glance, they all pretty much make us want to start a family of our own (we can only hope to snag such a catch!). Start clicking and get your phone handy, because this adorbs slideshow will have you yearning for your pops like no other.
Photo: Courtesy of Josh Crosby
1 of 13
Dad: Nicolai Iuul
Kiddo: Jackson (Jack Jack), 3
Gig: Producer, AMMO Films

What has fatherhood taught you?
"Having two sons has shown me the importance of setting a good example. These little people always look up to you for guidance and remember the most unlikely things. Be it good or bad habits, I'm now under scrutiny in a way I have never been before!"

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"Growing up in various places around the world, including Denmark, London and Borneo, I realized the importance of travel, adventure, and broadening one's horizon. I think that all travel serves as great education and bonding with the kids, whether it's a camping trip in California, or a visit to the temples of Myanmar. I was lucky enough to be taken everywhere by my parents and I really enjoy doing the same with my kids."

Photo: Courtesy of Celestial Iuul
2 of 13
Dad: Franklin Sirmans
Kiddo: Stella, 2
Gig: Curator of Contemporary Art, LACMA

What has fatherhood taught you?
"I learn more and more from her every day. Compromise, patience, and how to be a better person with heart and natural intuition. She must think I'm still hard-headed, but at least going in the right direction I hope! She's dramatically changed and improved my perspective on a host of things I thought were important. I see much better now."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"I guess our favorite for now is shopping at the farmers' market on Sunday mornings. All the fruit samples are at her eye level and she's in heaven."

Photo: Courtesy of Franklin Simans
3 of 13
Dad: Lillian Berlin
Kiddo: Tosca Vera, 6
Gig: Frontman, Living Things

What has fatherhood taught you?
"Fatherhood has taught me to slow down and appreciate the simple moments in life."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"We've cut many records together on Sundays in my studio, where Tosca plays all the instruments and sings. Her style is Maria Callas (the opera singer) meets Mazzy Star."

Photo: Courtesy of Lillian Berlin
4 of 13
Dad: Joe Cole
Kiddo: Jackson Cole, 15 months
Gig: Writer/Director, Creative Director for Lookmatic.com 

What has fatherhood taught you?
"That I'm extraordinarily lucky, happy, and fulfilled." 

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"My son and I enjoy howling, growling, and pounding our chests like gorillas."

Photo: Courtesy of Joe Cole
5 of 13
Dad: Justin Bell
Kiddos: Tallulah, 5; Oliver, 8
Gig: NASCAR driver and TV Host

What has fatherhood taught you?
"That my parents actually did a pretty decent job of raising my sister and myself. It's not easy in any way, which I now realize. Your parents sacrifice so much to give you a good life — it's a pity we all have to wait about 35 years to appreciate each other!"

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"I was worried that my kids would never get to see me in action as a racing driver, so when I got the chance to race again this year at the Daytona 24 Hour race, I jumped at it. Seeing them so excited when I got in the race car — in the same way I used to be watching my father race — made it all pretty rewarding. Even my son Oliver, who seems pretty immune to me being cool in any way, was excited and took my trophy into school with him the next week."

Photo: Courtesy of Justin Bell
6 of 13
Dad: Stephane Bombet
Kiddo: Jetsun, 5; Lennon, 3
Gig: Managing Partner, Picca, Mo-chica, Test Kitchen

What has fatherhood taught you?
"It's taught me unconditional love. Also, patience and caring. Kids look up to you for answers, and you have to guide them through life with simple words and caring advice."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"What we love to do as a family is go to different farms and small businesses to discover how those people raise pigs, grow strawberries, make honey, etc. At that age, they're curious about everything and they love to discover new things about food. We go to the farmers' market all the time, so they can use their knowledge to buy something that's healthy and tasty. They're obsessed with the word 'organic.' Almost too much actually! But, I guess it's a good thing overall. They are growing their own strawberries, mint, rosemary, and chives in our garden. They don't eat the chives or rosemary yet, but they love growing things that we can all cook together. My funniest story happened three weeks ago, actually, when my oldest son, Jetsun, said to a friend of ours that he shouldn't eat at KFC because their chicken is not organic. He said: 'It's bad for you — it's gonna make you sick, and you're gonna die of diabetes!' I guess he got some information wrong, but what a laugh!"

Photo: Courtesy of Stephane Bombet
7 of 13
Dad: Kam Ghassemieh
Kiddo: Niko, 1
Gig: Vice President, First Credit Bank

What has fatherhood taught you?
"It definitely teaches you to be more selfless than selfish as you're no longer the center of your own universe — your child becomes the center of everything. It also makes you realize the human body is capable of handling some pretty high-stress situations. Those first couple of months are a doozy!" 

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"It's difficult to think of just one particular thing, but up to this point, I've really enjoyed taking Niko hiking and walking in his backpack carrier. We've hiked locally at Franklin Canyon, as well as all over Istanbul and other countries in Europe last summer. I've used the backpack to put him to sleep when he was younger, and have recently started taking him out again. Now he's awake, aware, and seems to enjoy the ride. It's good exercise for me, good fun for him, and a great way to spend time together!"

Photo: Courtesy of Kam Ghassemieh
8 of 13
Dad: Scott Tennent
Kiddo: Cooper, 2 1/2
Gig: Executive Director of Communication, LACMA; Author of Slint's Spiderland (33 1/3)

What has fatherhood taught you?
"A lot of parents talk about firsts: First word, first step, first day of school. I like all the firsts, too, but the best thing about being a dad is all the fifths, tenths, and hundredths. I love watching Cooper learn. I loved hearing him say all the words to 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,' and I loved it even more when he figured out the melody. I was happy watching his vocabulary grow, and even happier when he started making sentences. Seeing him grow — not just physically, but mentally — is the true joy of fatherhood."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"I really enjoy teaching Cooper about music. We were all about guitars and violins a few weeks ago. Now we're into horns. He has a book that shows a brass band on one page, so I taught him the names of the horns — trumpet, trombone, tuba. Then I showed him videos of people playing those horns, and played him songs, and we started making the noises together — long sliding sounds for trombones, oom-pahs for tubas, high tweets for trumpets. When we listen to music, I point out the horns, then ask him to tell me which ones he hears. For weeks now he's been playing my tennis racket like a tuba, while we walk around the house like we're in a marching band. When he hears a horn now, he identifies it, and starts making the sound."

Photo: Courtesy of Scott Tennent
9 of 13
Dad: Josh Crosby
Kiddos: Fiona, 3 1/2; Poppy, 2
Gig: Olympic rower, Founder of IndoRow

What has fatherhood taught you?
"To keep it simple. As cliche as it sounds, seeing the world from their eyes, their curiosity and simplicity, is so refreshing and calming. Although we are leading them through this world right now, I feel that they're the ones helping us to keep things in perspective. Also, I love how five minutes of playing with them can bring me to a very happy place."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"Anything involving something physical: Pulling them in the cart behind the bike, chasing waves, or pushing each other in the hammock. Most recently however, 'Daddy, be the monster!' is the top request." 

Photo: Courtesy of Josh Crosby
10 of 13
Dad: Bret Nicely
Kiddo: Rosa, 3
Gig: Web Initiatives Manager, MOCA

What has fatherhood taught you?
"It's hard to boil down to a single thing, but I'd say that it has taught me to cherish time — all of it — the long stretches and the tiny moments."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"I love dinner for two at wonderfully unspectacular, family-oriented restaurants, talking about our days, and drawing on the placemats."

Photo: Courtesy of Bret Nicely
11 of 13
Dad: Larry Leight
Kiddos: Garrett, 28; Devon, 12; Dylan, 10
Gig: Founder, Oliver Peoples

What has fatherhood taught you?
"Fatherhood has taught me to try to save a moment of every day to enjoy some quality time with each child. It's critical to try to connect and share how their days went and what happened."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"It's the best to swim together in the ocean and body surf in Hawaii on the island of Kauai at our favorite beach. We have the best time!"

Photo: Courtesy of Larry Leight
12 of 13
Dad: Seung Chung
Kiddo: Coco and Sawyer, 3 (twins); Beckett, 5
Gig: Cross-Cultural Marketing Strategist, Cashmere Agency

What has fatherhood taught you?
"Fatherhood has taught me that I'm not the cool dad that I thought I would be. Many times in the minivan, I have yelled 'If I have to stop this car...'"

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"It would have to be going to the La Brea Tar Pits and LACMA. We love to check out the elephants stuck in the tar, run up the hills, and roll down together. Then, we follow the paw prints to the short-face bear, draw paintings in the children’s art room, and watch hundreds of cars go by at the Metropolis exhibit. Oh, and we always have to go up and down the humongous elevator."

Photo: Courtesy of Seung Chung
13 of 13
Dad: Dotan Shoham
Kiddos: Shani, 16; Tevel, 13
Gig: Co-Founder of Gypsy 05

What has fatherhood taught you?
"It's taught me there are infinite levels of giving and caring that I could never have imagined without having children. I would move mountains for my daughters. Fatherhood has also made me far more sensitive. Parent-­teacher conferences have actually brought me to tears."

What's your favorite bonding activity?
"I really cherish our dinners. It's a whole experience. We cook and eat together. It's our time. Shabbat dinner is the highlight of my week. I also have a great appreciation for the times when we just sit together and talk. Sometimes a talk about books or movies turns into a deep discussion about life. I am always looking forward to gettinng home and having these talks!"

Photo: Courtesy of Dotan Shoham