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!

Sens Experience Hockey

He Shoots, He Scores!

I watched in awe as a child skated, untouched, through an entire team of 5 and 6 year olds. With one kid to beat the puck slid off his stick and into the corner. He chased after it along with every other child on the ice, as 6 year old hockey players do. Every child, that is, but one. There, standing in front of the net with his stick dutifully on the ice, was my son.

It’s his first year in hockey and the learning curve has been steep. Because of his age, most of the kids he is playing with have already played for a season or two, so he has some catching up to do. I volunteered to be an on-ice helper so that I could encourage him to keep at it, and also because coaching seems to be in my blood.

On this particular day, his team was playing in their first game of the year. This wasn’t any regular game, though. They were playing on the same ice as the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, taking part in a special program the team runs for minor hockey players. The stands were filled with excited parents, grandparents and friends. We had a referee, scorekeeper and announcer to give the game a very real feel to it. They even played the national anthem before we started, which was one of my favourite parts of the experience.

It’s tough to teach a 6 year old how to play hockey, especially when he has never played before. There is only so much information they can take in at one time so you have to pick a couple things and focus on them. The one thing I tried to explain to my son before the game was that if he saw a flock of kids all chasing after the puck, that he should get into the open and put his stick on the ice. Much to my surprise, he actually listened to me.

There he stood, in front of the net, puck on his stick, and a flock of puck hungry 6 year olds skating right at him. He lifted his head and fired the puck as the crowd crashed into each other in front of the net. The next few seconds were a blur. I wasn’t sure what had happened until I heard the announcer call out my son’s name as the goal scorer and it literally took everything in my fatherly heart to react like a normal human being, as opposed to jumping on to the ice like my brain was suggesting.

I am not telling this story to brag about how my son scored a goal. Okay, maybe a little. I think I was surprised at how proud I was in that moment. I’m always proud of my kids but in this case he was rewarded because he listened to my advice and that felt good. His first words upon returning to the bench were, “Dad, did you see my goal? I did what you said and just shot it!”. It was one of the first times I truly felt like I had earned credibility as a father in his eyes.

I have no delusions of my son being a superstar hockey player. Frankly, I fear I have blessed him with my lack of height, which is usually a deal breaker for a lot of sports. I am just really proud of how hard he tries when he is out on the ice. I haven’t seen him invest in something like this before and it gives me a lot of joy to see him smiling even while he learns.

Dad Kids Goofy

Fatherhood

“Daddy, can I have ice cream?”, my 4 year old daughter asked, at ten in the morning while in the checkout line at Costco.
“Hmmmm, I guess so”, I replied. She was home from school because of a fever the previous day, so I figured we could both use the treat.
“HOORAY! You’re the best daddy ever!!”, she shouted as she hugged me in the middle of the store.

While I’m not sure that most people would award me the “Best Daddy Ever” trophy after feeding my child an ice cream cone at ten in the morning, it certainly made me feel special. Plus, no one else knew why she screamed that, so I just pretended that I bought her a pony or something. The point here is that as each day goes by, I get a greater sense of how lucky I am to call myself a father to these two amazing kids.

There are so many times in the day that I catch myself awestruck with their many quirks and qualities. Even the smallest things can strike me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Hearing my daughter sing along to a song when she thinks no one else is around, knowing that if she saw me she would surely stop. Watching my son bond with his new hockey teammates in a setting that would make most adults cringe with fear.

Life can be friggin’ hard, man. You have to worry about money, time, health and everything else that being an adult and parent brings. Being a father is the thing that saves me from my own mind and lets me focus on the fact that there are two little people that need me to be a man for them so they can grow into their full potential. How can you think about financial struggles when your daughter wants to shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, shake it off? Who has time to beat themselves up over skipping a workout when you and your son are engaged in an epic Pokemon battle?! Not me.

Any time I lose focus on what’s important in life, my kids are always there to remind me with open arms, and for that I feel extremely lucky.

#KinderDad

What Exactly Does It Mean To Be A Kinder Dad?

Hi, my name is Chris, and I am a Kinder Dad. What is a Kinder Dad, you ask? Well you see, as a Kinder Dad it is my responsibility to make sure that my kids enjoy their Kinder Surprise Egg experience to the fullest. As part of that job, I am required to wear a number of different hats. Here are a few of the duties that my kids count on me to complete.

1. Quality Assurance Tester:

Sure, it’s easy to just give your kids a pile of chocolate and allow them to eat it without a second thought. I, however, believe that it is important to make sure that they don’t eat anything that I would eat myself, so I take my role as quality assurance tester very seriously.

Kinder Eggs QA
2. Toy Assembly Technician:

As I assembled an IKEA dresser, my daughter once said to me, “Daddy, you are the best builder ever!”. I took that title to heart and make it a top priority to assemble all Kinder Surprise toys for my children. They are always so appreciative!
Kinder Dad Toy Assembly

3. CRA (Chocolate Revenue Agency):

Much like paychecks at work, eating chocolate does come at a small cost. I made sure to teach my children about chocolate tax early so that they understand why they only receive 3/4’s of every Kinder Egg they open. I highly encourage all parents to do the same.

As you can clearly see, this is one of the toughest jobs on the planet but I do it because I love my children that much. For more information on how you can become a Kinder Mom or Dad, check out #KinderMom or #KinderDad on twitter. You should also visit the KINDER® Smile Booth on Facebook to create your very own photo strip!

Also, keep your eyes peeled as Transformers and Disney Fairies are coming soon to KINDER® SURPRISE® eggs near you!

Kinder Kids

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in the Kinder Dad program. I get to eat chocolate and play with toys, so it’s basically my dream job.

Kid Reviews Nerd Block

Kid Reviews – Episode 1: Nerd Block

Welcome to Kid Reviews! After a long negotiation with my kids, we have agreed on a contract that works for both sides in order to facilitate this new feature. Basically, they get the toys, I get the video… Anyway, our first episode of Kid Reviews features a mystery box from Nerd Block*! I came into contact with Nerd Block when they agreed to provide some prizes for my twitter party for #UnicornChat and they also offered to send me a mystery box.

Nerd Block is a subscription service that delivers a mystery box full of nerd themed gear to your door every month. They have packages for adults, horror fans and also children that start from $13.95/month. Check out the video to see how we enjoyed opening up our mystery box together as a family!

Go to NerdBlock.com* for more info and to order your mystery block today!

Disclosure: I received this mystery box free of charge from Nerd Block. We truly did love the box and can’t wait to see what September brings!

*Denotes Affiliate Link

The Leap of Faith

Sometimes You Just Have To Leap

“Go ahead, jump! I promise I will catch you”.

She heard the words she wanted to hear and took the four foot leap off the water trampoline and into my arms like the brave kid I know her to be. All she needed was to hear me promise her that nothing would go wrong and she threw caution to the wind and leaped. I caught her, this time. As parents, we make these promises to our children all the time, even though we have no idea what the end result will be. It’s a part of growing up and learning that the biggest rewards come to those who take the leaps of faith.

Somewhere along the way a lot of us, myself included, lose the trust in ourselves and the instinct to leap, instead opting for the safer path. I don’t really have an answer for why that is, in my case at least, but I guess it’s a combination of a bunch of different things such as fear of failure, complacency and laziness. There are a lot of things I want to do with my life but I am so afraid to attempt them that I hold myself back at every turn.

A four year old jumping off a water trampoline may not seem like a big deal to an adult, but to her it was the equivalent of me bungee jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Watching her pride as she emerged from the water, shouting “AGAIN!, AGAIN!”, reminded me of how good it feels to accomplish something scary and new. Just that one leap of her’s has inspired me so much that I have already tackled two of them items on my long list of goals, by starting my YouTube adventure and also starting a strict exercise plan. I have to tell you, leaping it isn’t easy but the rewards far outweigh the effort.

So I ask you, what are the things you’ve been wanting to do but have been too afraid to leap for? Now is as good a time as any!

Disclosure: The water trampoline mentioned above was located at Severn Lodge in Muskoka. We were fortunate enough to visit here thanks to Chevrolet Canada, who put us up for the weekend and outfitted us with the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, which I will be talking about soon!

Cottage Life

Serenity Now

The waves crashed into the rocks on the shore. In the distance a low flying plane rumbled by. The squirrels and seagulls congregate on the beach to discuss the day’s happenings while I sat quietly on the deck, enjoying my coffee and the serenity of being the only one awake. I’m not usually this chipper to be the first one out of bed but then again, this isn’t my usual morning view. I watched the animals run around and wondered if they actually communicate with each other, but only because there was no one else for me to talk to.

The day will soon be filled with sand castles, beaches, games and laughter, but for now it is as peaceful as you could ever imagine. Almost an hour goes by before the first sounds arrive. The very familiar “Hi-Ya!” sound of Michelangelo, to be exact. The ninja turtle, not the artist. I often wonder if my son was destined to someday become a ninja turtle with the amount of time he spends acting out scenes.

“Hi Daddy”
“Hey buddy, did you have a good sleep?” I’m not the least bit upset by his presence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve had my quiet time and it was more than enough serenity to recharge my mind.
“Yes. Do you want to play soccer with me?” He hasn’t been awake 10 minutes and he has already begun planning out our day together. We played barefoot soccer in our PJ’s before retiring for breakfast with the rest of the family.

As expected, the day was action packed and full of laughs. We left paradise that day and returned home to our own beds and busy lives, but held on to the new memories that were created. Now, whenever life hands me that overwhelming feeling it sometimes does, I simply shut down all my devices, close my eyes and picture the waves and the coffee and playing soccer barefoot in my PJ’s.