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Halloween Candy Not Healthy

Project #DadFit – The Long and Winding Road

To say that I have been struggling lately would be a gross understatement. What started as an ambitious attempt to sculpt myself into a model of fitness, has now become a weekly struggle to even pack my gym bag. I’d love to blame Halloween for this but it started well before that.

The funny thing is that I was doing so well. I was 6 weeks in to my workouts, completed my first 5k run and had started eating better on a daily basis. Then we got some bad news, which had me working longer hours, followed by some even worse news and then I let the whole thing slip away. As it stands, I have not worked out in over two weeks and my nutrition level is at a zero, unless coffee and pizza have some sort of nutritional value.

Now, this is NOT a ‘woe is me’ post and in fact, it is quite the opposite. As I sat on my couch last night, drinking a beer, eating leftover Halloween candy and generally feeling disgusting, I remembered what it felt like when I crossed the finish line at the Army Run and how great it felt after completing my first week of the P90X3 program, and I immediately got up, packed my gym bag and left it at the front door.

Life dishes out all kinds of different scenarios and it is up to us to choose how we are going to handle them. In this instance, I have decided to choose my health over feeling sorry for myself. There is no failing, there is only road blocks to navigate until you get to the next check point and I intend to get there running.

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.

Canadian Dad Podcast - Jeff Bogle

Canadian Dad Podcast – Ep. 4 – Writer & Kindie Music Expert, Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle from OWTK.com joins me on th podcast to talk about the importance of giving our children a taste of a variety of different art forms, especially when it comes to the type of music we listen to. 

There is a while kindie music scene outside of the Frozen soundtrack and the Wheel on the Bus and Jeff takes us through some of the best in the business. He also offers his services in helping you find a kindie band that blends your genre of music with topics that kids can really understand. 

I also strongly enoucrage you to check out Jeff’s podcast on iTunes, The OWTK Kid’s Music Monthly Podcast.

Father Son

I Still Remember

I rubbed my daughter’s back last night as she cried in her sleep and wondered how many times you did that with me. I can still remember climbing in to your bed when I would get scared and have vowed to never deny my children that luxury.

I think about how proud you must have been when I scored a big goal or made a nice catch. My kids do those things now and my heart swells with pride. Some people say not to over praise your children but I can never seem to stop myself. I wish I’d had the chance to trade these stories with you.

I remember how cool and calm you were when I’d get hurt. I channel that energy now when I see my children in pain, even though I am filled with nothing but panic. I’m guessing this is what all parents feel.

I wish I could ask you silly questions, like whether you smiled the way I do when we coloured nonsensical pictures for you, as my children do for me.

I still see the effects of the work you did to make our community a better place to live and hope I can live up to your level of commitment. There are so many times where I feel like I don’t have the energy and wonder how you accomplished all that you did. Because of you, I work harder so that my kids will see me as a difference maker someday.

You let me be my own person and make my own mistakes, while also giving me the chance to make up for those mistakes without violence or rage. Like the time I “borrowed” that money of your dresser… I’m still learning patience and I wish I had you here to tell me that it gets easier.

I remember a lot great times, which is what I hope for my children when I am gone. Even when I think about the tougher times, I find so many lessons that I can apply to my parenting today.

There are so many things I never got to say to you, so instead I make sure to say them to my children every single day.

Although you may not be here to lean on, I am doing my best with what you left behind so I can be the kind of father my children deserve. The kind of father I had in you.

Fearless Kid

Fearless

“C’mon, dad! Let’s go exploring!”, she yelled as she ran into the small forested area we would soon refer to as “The Jungle”. She didn’t need me to follow along but invited me anyway, which was nice. Though you wouldn’t know from the fearless way that she leaped into the woods, part of me wanted to believe that my presence made her feel safer in there.

We ran through the jungle carrying sticks, just in case we ran into trouble, and popped out at an old wooden bridge that covered a small stream. I tried to explain to her that this was the bridge I used to hide under with my friends when I was her age, but she was way ahead of me in making her way underneath. She’s adventurous, this one. Just like her dad was at that age. We played troll under the bridge for a few minutes, with her insisting on being the troll even though I was perfect for the part, before moving on to the next adventure at a nearby park.

As we walked down the pathway to the park, I felt like I was walking through my past. We passed the creek where I used to catch frogs, the baseball diamond where I found out that I made my first competitive team, the high school where I broke out of my shell, and the park that I spent countless hours pushing my limits. You’d think twenty plus years would have had their way with these places but they all looked exactly the same as I had left them.

Exploring is tough work, so while I didn’t get the chance to stop and take in all the memories that were crashing around in my brain, I did relish the opportunity to create a new memory with her in a place that meant so much to me in my youth.

We left the park, walked through the baseball diamond across from the high school, crawled under the bridge and ran through the jungle back to our original starting point. “Did you have fun exploring with me, daddy?”

More than you will ever know, sweetheart.

Terra20

Father’s Day Gift Ideas, Plus Enter To Win a $100 Gift Card From Terra20!

After the Super Bowl and the release of any super hero movie, Father’s Day is the day that dads everywhere look forward to most each year. Because it’s not customary for dad to get flowers and chocolate, like our motherly counterparts, we usually have to dig deep in order to find something that we really want. Something that says, I did a good job as a dad this year and now I am going to accept this award in exchange for that job well done.

Of course, I am kidding about the award. In my house, I am more than happy to completely disconnect from the digital world and spend the entire day enjoying the company of my wife and children. We usually find a cool local trail and spend the day outdoors, which is all I really need. Inevitably, my wife will ask if there is anything I want, I will say no, then she will tell me that they are getting something anyway, so I’d better pick something.

I mentioned recently that I am a big fan of supporting local businesses, so I decided to check out what terra20 had to offer and have listed my top 3 picks below. Just as a side note, I could have listed the entire House of Marley line but decided to cut it down to three things…

House of Marley Lively Up Harvest Messenger

House of Marley Lively Up Harvest Messenger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As someone who suddenly finds himself doing a lot of travelling, I realized that carrying my computer and notepad in an old softball duffel bag is probably not the best idea. This House of Marley Messenger Bag is at the very top of my list, so if my wife is reading this, you know, me likey!

House of Marley Chant Portable Audio System

House of Marley Chant Portable Audio System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a chance to play around with the House of Marley Chant Player when I visited terra20 last summer and fell in love with it. It stows away anywhere and connects to your mobile device with amazing sound quality. This is the perfect gift for the dad who does a lot of work outside.

Barefoot Books Kid’s Kitchen

Barefoot Books Kid's Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While this may seem like an unorthodox choice, learning to cook is something that I have had on my list for a while now. The thought of being able to learn to do so with my kids is something that brings me a lot of joy. I can’t promise that I won’t burn the pancakes but I’m willing and ready to give it a try!

WIN A $100 TERRA20 GIFT CARD!

That’s right, terra20 is building a father’s day gift guide and are offering a $100 gift card for your assistance in putting it together. How do you enter, you ask?

Men, you need to browse the terra20 website for a few of your favourite items that you think would make perfect Father’s Day gifts. Ladies, either ask your man to do this or pick something you think he would love from the terra20 site.

Once you find your favourite item, leave a comment below with a link to that particular item and you will be entered in the draw! It’s that easy!

Giveaway closes Sunday, May 18th at 6pm and is open to residents of the Ottawa area, excluding Quebec. One winner will be drawn at random from eligible comments and will win a $100 terra20 gift card to be picked up at one of the two store locations. *In addition, if terra20 is chooses your gift suggestion to be in the gift guide, you may be contacted by Canadian Dad about your comment being included. By entering you recognize that: there is no guarantee that your suggestion will be in the gift guide, and in the case of more than one person suggesting the same item, no specific attribution will be required on the part of terra20.

Men Get Pregnant Too

Books For Parents: Men Get Pregnant, Too by Kenny Bodanis

It occurred to me while I was reading “Men Get Pregnant, Too”, by Kenny Bodanis, that there aren’t a lot of books out there for dads. I noticed this as I nodded my head along with the stories Kenny tells in the book and found myself wishing that there had been something out there like this prior to my having children. Kenny Bodanis is an award winning, Canadian blogger and radio & television parenting columnist, who lives with his wife and two children in Montreal.

My favourite thing about “Men Get Pregnant, Too”, which shares the same name as Bodanis’ blog, is that he doesn’t hold back in the stories he tells. Another thing I enjoyed was how he added pet peeves and tips for men who are about to enter into fatherhood, such as

“Plug in. Have answers. Be interested. Not for everyone else but as a reminder to your spouse that her husband is excited to be a dad.”

Reading this, I wished I had a time machine so I could go back and do it better.

Kenny also talks at length about the different emotions and stresses that fathers face and tries to help encourage dad to own those emotions. This is also something that I failed miserably at with my first child and didn’t figure out until I started writing about my experiences as a father. It’s important that dad doesn’t completely take a back seat during the pregnancy and Bodanis does a great job of explaining why that is so important.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I can’t think of a better gift for dad than this book. It really covers almost everything you are going to come up against and does so in a light-hearted and very relatable voice. Men Get Pregnant, Too is available in both paperback and kindle versions on Amazon. You can also check out Kenny Bodanis on his Twitter and Facebook pages.

Pretty Little Girl

She Has No Idea How Loved She Is

The animated and believable way in which she can tell a story about fictional princesses who can fly and who also turn into magical mermaids with super strength.

She has no idea how loved she is.

When she bats her eyes and asks for five more minutes of colouring before bed, after I’ve already given her five more minutes three times.

She has no idea how loved she is.

When she gives me the twentieth drawing she’s done that day and says, “This one’s just for you, daddy”.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Having to scold her when she’s misbehaved, because that’s my job as her father, but having it hurt so much to do so.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Listening to her beautiful voice sing when she thinks no one is listening.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Getting lost in her eyes as she recounts her day.

She has no idea how loved she is.

The way she instinctively plays with my hair while I read her bedtime story.

She has no idea how loved she is.

The passionate way in which she loves her friends and family, and at such a young age.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Watching her play “family” with her dollies and all I can think about is that someday those dolls will be real people.

She has no idea how loved she is.

The pride in her eyes when she does something she’s never done before.

She has no idea how loved she is.

Her career choice, when asked: Superstar

She has no idea how loved she is.

The way she understands and practices compassion for others.

She has no idea how loved she is.

It’s my little girl’s birthday today and yet I feel like I’m the one who got the greatest gift. Happy Birthday, Baby!

Days Inn Dad Ad

Days Inn Canada Falls Short With New Dad Ad

I have been a part of the online dad community for a little over two years now. In that time, I have learned to value my contributions to my family and have become a far better and more attentive father because of it. I have also become more aware of the way fathers tend to be portrayed in the media and have even been fortunate enough to be a part of a community that is striving to, and has succeeded in, changing the dumb dad stereotype. In fact, according to a recent extensive study by 8 Bit Dad’s, Zach Rosenberg, fathers are being portrayed in a more engaged and positive light, more and more every year.

Unlike my American counterparts, however, it is extremely rare for me to see a commercial where the dad is being portrayed in a negative light. That changed this week after I saw the new commercial from Days Inn Canada. The commercial shows a sad child sitting alone in his room, wishing his father was there with him to read his bedtime story. It then cuts to the father, who is excitedly lounging alone in his hotel room, and sings the line, “And on the brighter side, dad’s watching mixed martial arts”. It gets worse from there but this is about the point in the commercial where I checked out and thought of a million different scenarios they could have gone with that would have made this commercial a viral sensation. First and foremost, why not have the dad reading to the kid over the internet and showing the love that I know most dads feel for their children. That would have been something I would have been proud to get behind and shared immediately. It would have even been enough to get my future business, at least once. And look, I’m all for Me-Time, as we all need it, but mixing it in with the sad child just made it look like the dad was happier outside the house than in it.

Not that fatherhood has ever been the way that the Al Bundy’s of the world would have you believe, but things are different now than they used to be. For a father to be a more engaged member of the overall household and child raising duties is not the exception anymore, it’s the norm. I’m sure Days Inn Canada thought this was harmless fun and others may see this as me being a whiny dad, but I think it’s important for them to know that it’s okay to go against the stereotype and to create a new mold.

What are thoughts on the commercial? I know we all see things differently, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

All this said, I would love to invite Days Inn Canada to have a conversation with us dads, so we can talk about what our version of fatherhood looks like for future commercials. In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at how the face of fatherhood has changed in just the last 1000 days. Video is courtesy of the folks at the Dad 2.0 Summit.

I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out these posts from Buzz Bishop from DadCamp and Justin Connors from Life in 140.

Dad Summit Lorne

The Measure of a Man

We have a lot of definitions and ideas about manliness and what it means to be a “real” man, but the truth is that there is no one characteristic that defines “manliness”. Some think you need tattoos and a pickup truck to be a true man, while others prefer courage or humour as shining examples. We all look at life through a different lens and none of us are right or wrong in our feelings about it.

This past weekend, at the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, I had the incredible fortune of meeting over 200 other fathers who are each doing their part to redefine what it means to be a dad and also proving that every man is different but also equal. This conference is a place where egos are checked at the door and real emotion is not only allowed to be shared but very much encouraged.

Up until my father passed away a few years ago, I didn’t deal with my emotions very well. Even after his passing, I had trouble showing my emotions visibly and a lot of that had to do with the perception of weakness and the threat of being labeled as someone who was less of a man for it. Those days have since passed and the Dad 2.0 Summit has been a major influence on my ability to express myself without the fear of judgement. Last year, in Houston, I read one of my stories about the anxiety I went through after my father passed away. I can remember all the emotion that was rushing through my veins as I stood up in front of the 250 attendees and poured my soul out onto the stage for everyone to see. They were incredibly supportive and that single event has helped my confidence level more than I can describe.

This year, I was privileged to be in the audience when spotlight reader and brilliant writer, Lorne Jaffe, took to the stage to read his post, “Do I Really Like What I Like?“. While watching Lorne deliver his emotional story about his struggles with mental illness, I witnessed exactly what it means to be a man. Public speaking is uncomfortable enough and when you add in the topic he was discussing, I have never been more proud or inspired by someone that I had just met hours before. I’ve watched it back a few times now and well up each and every time. Lorne, if you are reading this, every single one of those people who stood for you after your reading were mesmerized by what you did and I hope someday you will be able to take pride in that personal achievement.

I have included the video of Lorne’s presentation below. From now on, any time I feel guilty for having emotions or like I can’t do something, I will look at this video and remember that sometimes the best things in life come from stepping outside of my comfort zone.