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April Fools Day

Some Of The Best Moments Go Uncaptured

It was April Fools Day yesterday, and while I am not someone who partakes in any of the festivities, my son’s class put together a fun little prank for the kids to play on the parents after school was done. All the children giggled and joked about fish on their way out of the school, as us parents went about our busy day’s, oblivious to the inside jokes. Upon arriving home, I felt a tap on my back and realized it was just my son dishing out some random hugs, as he is prone to do. Being the amateur prankster that he is, his giggling started almost immediately and I knew something was up. I reached for my back and pulled off the paper fish, shown above, as he quickly yelled, “Happy Fools!”, not fully understanding its meaning. The laughter that ensued was infectious and heartwarming. It was one of those moments that you wish you could capture in a bottle and keep forever.

We quickly tried to get him to try it again, this time with my wife filming his reaction, before realizing that it wasn’t going to be the same the second time around. In this age of digital devices and advanced technology, we often try to capture moments as they happen, sometimes at the expense of enjoying the actual moment itself. That’s not to say that we are bad parents for wanting to capture as many moments as we can, but while I was enjoying the original moment with my son, the thought of grabbing my phone hadn’t crossed my mind and that is something I have been striving for. I may not remember that moment forever but I know that I enjoyed every second of it while it was happening and I plan on doing much more of that in the years to come.

Side note, the video we took of my son recreating the April Fools moment was actually pretty funny in itself and I’m still kind of glad we did it.

Tims2

How Tim Hortons Gave One Classroom The Gift Of Creativity

The list of traits I want to pass on to my children is extremely long. Near the top of that list, however, is that I want my kids to be able to express themselves creatively. That said, I was excited to find out that my son’s kindergarten class had decided to re-arrange their play area, and was even more excited to find out that they had voted to turn it into a Tim Hortons drive-thru station. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know about my love for everything Tim Hortons.

In essence, what this did was combine two of my favourite things, in creativity and Tim Hortons coffee! I decided to reach out to my local Tim’s restaurant to see if there was anything they could do to help out and I was pleasantly surprised with not only how quickly they said yes, but also with the amount of stuff they contributed to the kids’ new play station. There were hats, toques, balloons, Tim cards, cups, carry trays and even name tags that read “Owner”, which my kids loved.

The kids all had a blast with their new Tim Hortons drive-thru and one of the parents even told me that it was her son’s favourite part of the whole year so far because of all the cool stuff in there. With that, I would like to extend a huge thank you to the management and staff at the Tim Hortons on Carling Avenue for making these kids’ lives a little more exciting and a lot more creative!

Tims1

Tim Hortons Drive Thru

Princess Story

Children Telling Stories #1 – The Princess and the Underpants

 Something I have noticed about my children is that they love performing for a camera. Whether it’s dancing, singing, telling stories or making up new languages, they always ask to be taped and then come running to watch and laugh at the playback. I’m guessing they get their narcissism from their dad and I think it’s great! I’m always happy to let my kids express their creative sides and these stories have become an important part of our bonding process. That said, I have decided to publish some of them in a segment called, Children Telling Stories, and will hopefully be posting one story a week.

In this week’s story, my daughter tells the story of the magical princess, who ends up in a waterpark after taking a magic carpet ride and needs to clean some underpants. Enjoy!

Mr Zucchini Health Canada

Meet Mr. Zucchini!

I’d like you to meet, Mr. Zucchini! Mr. Zucchini was created by Health Canada as a way to talk to kids about eating well and also providing tips to parents on how to plan for a healthier lifestyle. I think this kind of creation is a perfect way to get children more engaged in the food choices they are making. To further prove that point, when I showed the above video to my kids, who are 3 & 5, they laughed hysterically and made me play it over and over again until I eventually just showed them how to do it themselves. Here’s hoping more of Mr. Zucchini will lead to them wanting to try some different foods!

For more information about this campaign, you can visit Health Canada’s Website!

I was compensated for my participation in this program.

Mickey Mouse Disney Hugs

18 More Sleeps

“18 more sleeps until Disney!”, the kids shouted with glee. That’s how early the countdown began. That’s how soon the magic starts to flow through your veins. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it too, even though I worked hard at containing my excitement. At 35 years old, 18 days of uncontrolled excitement can cause burnout.

The trip didn’t get off to the magical start we had anticipated but a stranger on a plane helped restore our faith that all would be fine. Upon landing in Disney, because explaining the difference between Disney and Florida to a three year old is almost impossible, the kids loaded up on pixie dust while the grown ups focused on grown up things. Magical bags needed to be collected from the magical conveyor belt and children needed to be reigned in so they wouldn’t fly away in the busy airport.

The planning for this trip had been meticulously drawn out by the missus, down to the very last ride. Rain, however, was not on the agenda. In any other place on earth, rain would be a deal breaker. But not at Disney World. Not on this trip. Our smiles were as bright as ever as we crossed through the gates and into paradise, ponchos and all. The kids gripped their autograph books tight as the first character, Jake the Pirate, approached our breakfast table. Overwhelmed with excitement, my normally reserved young boy leaped from his seat and hugged Jake as tightly as he had ever hugged one of us. That was the magic of Disney.

There were many more hugs and smiles throughout the weekend. Some for us, but the most enthusiastic ones reserved for the characters they have grown up watching, which was more than fine by me. The magic was there for me too, just in a different place. Instead of the exhilaration of meeting the characters, my joy came in the form of watching the excitement on my children’s faces as they discovered a world they had only dreamed about. They were my Disney and I cherished every excited squeal they belted out.

There were more magical moments than I could count, from tears during Fantasmic to our emotional meeting with Mickey Mouse. The one that stands out to me, though, is when my three year old daughter snuggled up to me on our last day and said, “I love you more than Disney”. Impossible, but I’ll take it.

Buzz Woody

Sibling Love

The Art of Making Friends

Making friends is a tough business. It seems the older you get, the harder it is to put yourself out there, and especially in this digital age where everything you do is out in the open for the world to see.

I can remember back to middle school and the awkwardness of trying to fit in with a particular group. For me, it was such a painful experience that I got to the point where I just kind of shut down and coasted around the halls unnoticed.

High school wasn’t too much different of an experience for me. I certainly had more friends but none that I would have called best friends. They were more like acquaintances. I was just way too uncomfortable in social situations and to risk what I had built in an attempt to be outgoing just seemed irrational.

I figured it would get easier with age and even though there was a point after college that I decided not to be the shy guy anymore, I still found the friend making process incredibly intimidating. The very first blog event I attended consisted of me hiding in the back of the room, near the M&M’s bowl, watching everyone mingling and having fun and wondering how they were doing it.

It certainly couldn’t be as easy as walking up to someone and simply talking to them, could it?

And then it happened. My three year old daughter was at her ballet class, when another young girl approached her and asked bluntly, “Do you want to be my friend?”, to which my daughter giggled and answered “Yes”. And that was that, they were friends. She retold the story a number of times that night, gushing about all the play dates they were going to have, and I remember thinking how easy their friendship transaction had been. Maybe it really was that easy.

I have since adopted this method in my own life and have to say that walking up to someone and saying “Hi”, is a lot less stressful than thinking about it for 3 hours and then walking away. Something to think about.

Mickey Rockin Road Show Disney

Win Tickets to Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show! ~ Ottawa

I’m not sure about you guys but I know what I’ll be doing on March 9th! Feld Entertainment is bringing Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show to the National Arts Centre and I’ve got my tickets secured. It’ll be a nice way to pretend we are still at Walt Disney World as we will have just gotten back. Tickets are on sale now, Right Here!

Here’s what the show is all about and a special clip for you to show the kiddies:

Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy set out on a zany road trip where audiences join in and help find the coolest acts around. Along the way, hit a high note with Cinderella; get your bounce on with Tigger; and shout out your loudest “yee-haw” at a hoedown with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story! Grab your family for a fun-filled getaway at this live, show-stopping adventure jam-packed with unexpected twists, turns and hijinks —right in your hometown!

How would you like to be a hero and win a Family 4-Pack for the March 9th, 6pm show? Well, I’m going to give you two chances to win and the contest will close next Friday, the 24th at 5pm. Cool? Here we go.

HOW TO ENTER

1. Leave me a comment, telling me who your favourite Disney character is.

2. For a 2nd entry, use the form below to sign up for my mailing list and then leave a separate comment letting me know you did it.

GOOD LUCK!!!

Congrats to our winner, Janette Folkens!

Lego Dad

Lego Captures Fatherhood Beautifully

For those new to the site, from time to time I like to feature commercials that portray fatherhood in a positive light. This tradition has actually resulted in one of my most inspirational moments as a blogger. This past week, I was introduced to a new commercial from LEGO® that captures everything I love about being a father, and I wanted to share it with you all.

The commercial is a simple yet very effective look at everything being a father means to me. LEGO® are the latest in a line of companies who have shifted the way they are marketing to families, specifically fathers. From Tide and Downy to Clorox and Dove Men+ Care, it seems like the days of the bumbling, useless dad are fading quickly and I’m excited to watch the new trend unfold.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this commercial and the new trend of the modern father being represented in a more caring and competent light.

Canadian Dad Choking Post

Silent Screams and a Flash of Light

We tend to take a lot of things for granted in this life. Even those who preach not taking things for granted still do it on occasion and it’s completely natural. Life is busy. We have bills to pay, deadlines to meet, food to put on the table and children to raise, among many other things and sometimes it’s easy to forget the truly important things.

I was reminded of this fact a few weeks ago while I was out running errands with my children. They have always been fascinated with money and the way the light reflects off the coins when they spin them in different directions. Heads or tails has quickly become one of our favourite games, even though we are still working on the losing gracefully part. I will routinely pass them a nickel each to play with while we are in the car, so they can watch the light dance and dream of what they will do with their new found fortunes.

This particular day, however, my daughter had a different plan for the money. As we exited the vehicle to head into a nearby store she began to vomit on the sidewalk. With her having just gotten over a cold and based on the unhealthy food we had just eaten, I didn’t think much about it and went over to hold her while she finished up. Something was off though. She kept digging her hand in her throat and I also noticed that she had stopped breathing. At that moment, my son dropped his nickel on the pavement, reminding me of the fact that I had just handed them money minutes earlier, and her’s was no longer in her hand.

The next 30 seconds felt like 30 years. I saw my life without her flash through my mind as I began to perform the most delicate Heimlich maneuver imaginable. At one point I glanced over at my son and the pale, ghost-like expression on his face let me know that he knew exactly how severe this situation was and it made me focus even harder on making it right. It broke my heart listening to her gasping for air as I attempted to dislodge the coin from her tiny throat, when suddenly I heard the clank of the nickel on the pavement and collapsed to the ground with her in my arms.

She spent the rest of that night in my arms and the next day we had a long family discussion about the dangers of putting coins and other small objects in our mouths. Had it not been for the fact that I keep my first aid training up to date, I don’t know that I could have reacted as quickly as I did and, after many sleepless nights, I don’t care to think anymore about the consequences of that.

Santa20for20-Front- pic

Win a $20 Fine Silver Santa Collector Coin From The Royal Canadian Mint

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog for any length of time, that I am a complete geek at heart. I love comics and super heroes, but my real love is in collecting. I have had collections of everything from sports cards and stamps to bar coasters and match packs. I also have a love for coins. I mean, we all like money, but I am talking more about the kind of money that you look at as opposed to spend.

I was excited to hear that the Royal Canadian Mint had a new $20 for $20 collection, and even more excited that it included a Santa Claus coin, designed by Canadian artist Jesse Koreck. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce both of my children to one of my passions and it did not disappoint! The minute the kids say the Santa coin, they screamed “Money!!!” and immediately began plotting how they would spend their new fortunes. Okay, so it didn’t go exactly as I planned but they really loved seeing Santa on their money.

I am equally as excited to provide you, my amazing readers, with an opportunity to win one of these limited edition, fine silver, Santa collector coins. All you need to do is enter using the rafflecopter form below! These coins are limited to only three per household and they will sell out fast, so if you want to pick up a couple as gifts, you can do so buy visiting the Royal Canadian Mint’s Website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a Santa coin for my participation in this giveaway.