Ball Hockey Game

The Agony Of Defeat

The buzzer sounded to signal the end of the game, and our season, as it were. I looked down the bench at their 7 year old exhausted faces, some welling up with tears, and couldn’t help but feel terrible for them. They worked harder than I’ve ever seen them work and came up just a bit short. The first thing we tell kids after the trademark, “Have Fun”, is that if you work your hardest, good things will happen. It’s not easy to find out that sometimes your hardest isn’t quite enough to win.

It was also a strange experience for me because it was the first time I could feel my son’s disappointment after losing and I’ve been having trouble shaking it. No, seriously, I am putting on a strong face for my son and saying things like “you have to lose before you can truly appreciate winning” but inside I am heartbroken for these kids who left everything out on the floor. This is one of those times that I really miss my dad, who would have had plenty of these stories to share from my youth. I’ve always wondered what was going through his head as I sobbed quietly on the car ride home after being cut from a competitive team. I’m sure I’ll soon find out as my son enters the competitive age range.

As for my son, pride doesn’t begin to describe the way I feel about his growth this season. For the first half of the season he played passively, not really getting into the play, almost as if he were afraid of making a mistake. It wasn’t until a mid season tournament where we had a talk about determination that I noticed an almost instant change. The next game he came out tenacious, taking the ball and forcing the other team to make mistakes, which also resulted in his first goal of the year. After seeing the look of pride on his face as he returned to the bench, I knew there was no looking back. He even started adding “all new” before his name whenever he talked about his sports. Watching him work his hardest while also carrying a huge smile on his face has been my most rewarding time as his father up to this point.

Speaking of rewarding moments. In the true spirit of a Canadian hockey player, my son lost his tooth mid game last week, rinsed out the blood on the bench and got back out there for his next shift. I’m telling you, this kid is destined for great things 😀

Canadian Hockey Missing Teeth

Barilla Share The Table

How Often Do You Eat Dinner Together As A Family?

Let me tell you about my week. I had to work overnight on Monday, then my daughter had dance rehearsal on Tuesday, followed by my son’s ball hockey on Wednesday, two more dance rehearsals on Thursday and Friday, and finally, a hockey tournament and dance recitals on the weekend. Please understand that this is not a regular week for us but it is at least half representative of our busy lives.

When I think about not only what but how we are going to fit dinner into that schedule I kind of want to curl up into a ball and sob. It is especially important to me that we eat at the dinner table as a family as much as possible. Obviously this week was going to be tough but we still managed to squeeze in two family dinners, which made me happy. As far back as I can remember, my family ate dinner together at our kitchen table and our family was closer because of it. It wasn’t a huge table but it fit us and the food, which is all you really need, right?

The reason I enjoy having dinner together so much is because when you really think about all the activities and distractions life has to offer, this is the one time in the day where everyone can just sit down, relax and talk. For us, we have a framed list of 20 questions that hangs on the wall next to the dinner table and the kids get to pick 3 numbers to answer each night. This exercise is quick and painless and also opens the door to some great dinnertime conversation.

20 Dinner Table Questions

One other thing to note is that we do not allow electronics of any kind at the table. That means no tweeting for daddy, no clash of clans for my son and no Facebook for mommy. A recent study by pasta company, Barilla® Canada, revealed that while 74% of families have dinner together 1-4 times a week, 43% of those families do so with either the TV on or an electronic device at the table.

This all leads me to my question, how often do you eat together as a family and do you do so without electronics?

#ShareTheTable And Win A Trip To Italy With Barilla®!

Barilla® created the Share The Table® initiative to help inspire, empower and support all families to enjoy more meaningful meals. They believe that while mealtime may not be a panacea for building strong children and families, it is still one of the most important things we can do to instill a sense of courage, confidence, and character in our children today, so that they, in turn, can make the world a better place.

That said, Barilla® wants to know what dinner time looks like with your family. Share your family experience by uploading a picture or a written description, and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 3 trips to Italy. You can ENTER HERE!

Barilla Family Dinner Share The Table

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Share The Table campaign but we really do eat dinner together :)

Father Daughter Bubbles

Let Go, Dad

“Let go, Dad!”

We weren’t 5 seconds into her first lesson but I saw the confidence in her eyes as I let my hand slip off the handlebars of her bike.

I still remember spinning her around through a sea of bubbles and giggling together as we tried to pop them all. She was so little. The only thing that mattered in those moments was the laughter. She is 5 now and while there is still lots of laughter, something else has emerged. Now I see a little girl standing in front of me who has real thoughts and feelings and emotions, and I’m not going to lie, it’s a little scary.

It feels like a never ending struggle to find a balance between keeping her safe and letting her explore the world on her own, which I know she loves to do. She constantly pushes her comfort zone to the limit and surprises me at every turn, reminding even me that life itself is about pushing yourself and not being satisfied with the status quo.

The cliché goes, “You can do anything you set your mind to”, and we all laugh at the absurdity of it, but with her I believe it. Tell her she’s too little and she’ll fight to prove you wrong, which is good because we haven’t blessed her with height.

She beamed with pride on this day, as did her parents, as she felt the wind rushing past her face and rang her bell to let the neighbourhood know that the training wheels were gone. Letting go wasn’t easy but the reward was far greater than the fear.

Daughter Bike Ride

Kinder Canada Eggs Minions Movie

Make Your Very Own Kinder Surprise Minion Crafts!

I know I promised you an amazing Minions themed Kinder Surprise giveaway but in honour of the 11 new Minions toys inside specially marked KINDER® SURPRISE® Classic eggs I wanted to show you a very cool and very easy craft you can do with your kids! Follow along with the pictures below to create your very own Kinder Minions!

Step #1 – Gather your supplies. In this case you will need an empty Kinder Surprise Egg, scissors, a sharpie, googly eyes, glue, a piece off some old jeans and glue.

Kinder Egg Minions 1

Step #2 – Use the sharpie to draw a band across the top of your Kinder Surprise Egg.

Kinder Egg Minions 2

Step #3 – Glue a googly eye in the middle of the band and draw a smile and hair on your minion.

Kinder Egg Minions 3

Step #4 – Cut some pieces off the jeans and glue them to the bottom of your minion to make pants! (Parents beware, jeans are tough to cut! You may want to help here.)

Kinder Egg Minions 4

Step #5 – Let your minions dry and they are ready to go looking for a new master!

Kinder Egg Minions 5

MINIONS THEMED KINDER SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck and also, don’t forget to visit the Kinder Canada Facebook Page on Friday, May 22 for a chance to win four tickets to see the Minions movie in theatres when it comes out this July!

DISCLOSURE: I’m a #KinderMom/Maman/Dad who is part of the KINDER® Canada influencer team; as part of my affiliation with KINDER® Canada, I am provided with special perks and products.

Kids Video Camera

Two Kids, Their Toys And A Video Camera

My wife and I recently bought a new camera and we decided to give our old camera to the kids. We taught them how to take pictures and thought it would be funny to check back in to see what they came up with. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined that they would have figured out how to shoot their own videos, but they did…

After marveling at their work, I plucked my favourite video off the memory card and loaded it up onto the YouTube. Without further ado, I present to you a short film by my children entitled, “Nice To Meet You”. Enjoy and never underestimate your children!

Harlem Globetrotters Family

What Do You Do When A Harlem Globetrotter Rings Your Doorbell?

The other day we were fortunate enough to have a special visitor in our home. His name is Zeus McClurkin and he is a member of the Harlem Globetrotters! The Globetrotters will be playing at the Canadian Tire Centre at 3pm on April 12th and Zeus thought it would be fun to stop by to shoot around with my kids and to teach them some new tricks. Check out the video of our experience and then read on to find out why these guys are my new favourite show to see with the kids.

I’ve always been amazed at how long the Globetrotters have been able to sustain their show, especially considering all the distractions today’s world offers our children. After watching Zeus interact with not only my kids but also all the neighbourhood kids that gathered around, I am no longer surprised by this. He brought autographed pictures for every kid in the neighbourhood and took the time to pose for photos until everybody had one.

As Zeus was leaving, my daughter chased him down the street yelling, “Huggy, Huggy!”, with her arms outstretched. That’s the kind of impact these guys and gals have on kids and that’s why we will never miss another Globertrotters show. If you are interested in attending the show in Ottawa on April 12th, you can enter promo code DADS to get 25% off your purchase. Go, now!

Harlem Globetrotters Hug

Dad Kids Video Games

The World I Know

I wake up, fall out of bed and drag a comb across my head. Before I get sued by the Beatles I should point out that this is a stunningly accurate portrayal of my daily routine. Every morning I groggily stumble out the front door on my way to work before the kids are even awake. I make sure to check in on them as I pass by their rooms, mostly just to enjoy their tiny faces in their most peaceful of moments.

I somehow manage to make it in to work on time each day, drink way too much coffee and potentially talk a little too much. At the end of the day, I Yabba Dabba Doo my way out to my car where I listen to the same radio show, talking about the same thing they do every other day with a traffic report on the 1’s. I glide peacefully home where I have about thirty minutes of quiet before picking up the kids from school.

The thirty minutes often feels like three but I’m always excited to see the kids. My daughter comes out first and lazily gives me a hug, which I’ve dubbed the leaning tower, as she throws her backpack at my feet and joins the procession of people walking to the next pick up spot. Her brother exits next and they hug a hug that shows how much they love each other. I have to be honest, this is my favourite part of pickup.

Once we get home, it’s road hockey, scooters and laughter until suppertime, which is usually later because it’s hard to be the reason the laughter has to come to an end. Dinner, baths, homework, story time, songs, laughter and sleep round out the day, every day.

When you read through this story it may seem kind of familiar and maybe even a little boring. The truth is that it can be boring at times and that’s fine because every so often you get a moment of difference. It could be an unprompted hug, a random compliment or even just a look from your child that conveys how much they love you. You know the look I’m talking about. In those moments, time stands still and I can’t wait to do it all over again the next day.

Photo credit to David Redding from Redding Photographics

Kinder Surprise Tea Party

What Happens When You Bring Kinder Surprise Eggs To A Fictional Tea Party

You can call it unmanly if you’d like but I love playing dolls with my daughter. We get a chance to laugh together and it’s one of the few times where she gets to be the boss as she lets me know all the mistakes I’m making.

We recently had a big event in the house when it was one of the dolls birthdays! I decided not to ask why this specific doll got to have 4 birthdays in one month because I’m sure there was a perfectly rational explanation. Anyway, because of the special occasion, I volunteered to bring dessert for all of the guests in attendance.

The Kinder Surprise eggs were a huge hit and the video below hints at what happened to the eggs that the dolls obviously couldn’t eat… Enjoy!

Kinder News & Notes

If you and your children love Kinder Surprise Eggs, don’t forget to tag them on Instagram @KinderCanada when sharing your pictures.

Make sure to pop in to the Kinder Surprise Facebook Page for fun and activities, especially on #KinderPlayWednesday!

I was compensated for my participation in the #KinderDad program. All the chocolate eating was 100% real…

Children Art Class

In Dreams

Once the sheep have returned to their pen and the sand starts to form, that’s when the real fun begins. This is the land where imagination becomes reality and anything is possible. Often peaceful, occasionally scary, but always an adventure. In dreams there are no mountains too high or tasks too tall. If you want to fly, you can fly to the moon. If you want to run, you can run faster than the speed of light, and, if you feel like saving the world, well, you can do that too.

Every night, before I go to sleep, I check in on my children for no reason but to see their peaceful faces as they drift off to their own imaginary worlds. I wonder if they are dreaming happy dreams and sometimes secretly hope I’ve made a cameo, even if it is as a dragon or a princess. It’s always nice to be thought of after all.

It’s rare that we take the time to capture our dreams, or even remember them at all, but maybe we should try more often. My daughter took a shot at it recently and what she came up with both captured my imagination and filled me with pride. She described the painting with such reality that you didn’t need to ask why there were upside down trees and flowers in the ocean. The answer, of course, was simply because there are.

Through her art I got a glimpse into her creative mind and longed for the days when my own mind was filled with such vibrant scenery. I certainly don’t think I’m too old to get it back. I think I just misplaced it somewhere along the way and I intend on searching for it. In the meantime, I wish you all the wildest of dreams.

Parenting Roulette

The Game of Parenting Roulette

First off, Happy New Year! It’s nice to see you again and I hope you had an amazing holiday season. Speaking of holidays, my family had its share of traveling to do this season and it gave me the chance to notice an interesting game we play as parents.

It’s a game I like to call, Parenting Roulette. The concept is simple, you attend a party with a bunch of other parents and you all herd your children into one room to play together while you enjoy some adult time. The ages of your children don’t matter because they are children and adapt to all situations, right?

Winning the game takes zero skill and a lot of luck. About five to seven times throughout the party, one of the children will come out of the play area either crying or to fetch the parent of a crying child. Now for the roulette portion of the game. The parents all listen intently, with fingers crossed, as the crying child reveals the name of the offending child and then breathe a very loud sigh of relief if their child’s name isn’t called.

We had a pretty good run this season, only losing the game a couple times, but the odds change by the second in parenting roulette so you never feel like you have a sure bet. A quick pro-tip, this game is normally an unspoken thing between parents so if you are planning on gloating out loud, you may want to make sure you are around close friends and not simply acquaintances. You don’t want to be “that parent”, am I right?

I wish you the best of luck in future games of parenting roulette and may the odds be ever in your favor!