Wisdom Imparted To Me By My 3 Year Old Son

Kids are wonderful creatures. Their imaginations put most adults to shame and their lack of knowledge makes for some interesting conversations.

For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of things that my son believes to be true and there will be no convincing him otherwise.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned.

#1 – Pinocchio’s character originates from the movie Shrek and NOT from either the 1883 children’s novel or the 1940 Disney classic. End of argument!

#2 – Boys have weiners and Girls have nooners. Common knowledge I know, but he feels the need to share this tidbit every few days.

#3 – Toots are hilarious, no matter the time or place they happen. I was already aware of this one but wanted to include it for those of you who had forgotten.

#4 – I am not allowed to be Spiderman. He is always Spiderman and I have to pick from the leftover super heroes. Note: He’s never seen Spiderman other than in toy form. Also, I wish I could be Spiderman.

#5 – Sharing is optional when he has something but is mandatory when he wants something.

#6 – No matter what episode of The Backyardigans I choose to play from the PVR, it’s the wrong one. There are 32 episodes on there and only one is correct each time.

#7 – Nana brings Donuts, therefore Nana is more valuable than Mommy and Daddy.

#8 – Going to WalMart means we’re either getting McDonald’s or Toys. There are no other reasons to go to WalMart.

#9 – Hide and Seek is still fun if you hide in the same place every time. Also, if you’re not found in 3 seconds, it is acceptable to stand up and say “Here I am!”

#10 – Hockey is boring but dropping rocks in sewers is amazing!

#11 – Banana’s are gross! So are grapes, strawberries, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, blueberries and any food with colours in them.

#12 – If at first you don’t succeed, move on to something else. I’m working on this one….

#13 – Every game is called “I Win”, even if there are no winners and losers. Ex: Putting the last piece in a puzzle you do together is a win for you. I do not ever get to put the last piece in.

That’s all for now! As you can see, I’ve learned so much in my short term as a parent that it’s hard to keep track of it all.

I know there’s much more to learn from him and maybe I’ll revisit this when I have enough knowledge to share with you all.

Do your kids have any fun beliefs? Feel free to share them in the comments section and as always, don’t be afraid to share and tweet this post if you feel so inclined.

Cheers!!

Review: FunHaven in Ottawa

I took my son to this new kids place in Ottawa called FunHaven. Anyone who knows me is aware that I like going to these types of places about as much as the kids do, so my excitement level was pretty high.

Before we left the house, my son gave me some more material for my “Sh*t My Kids Say” section. Strange kid for sure, lol.

On to the show, we arrived at our destination and we were both giddy with anticipation at what lay ahead.

We got to the counter and paid for the package that included jungle gym time + the mini bowling experience. It was about $24 after taxes, which seemed reasonable, plus I didn’t have to pay to supervise my son, which is a plus for me.

I was excited to play the bumper cars but they were all broken so it was a No-Go. Disappointed to say the least.

Ah well, at least we had the mini bowling to look forward to. Or at least we thought we did.

There were 4 lanes for mini bowling, however 3 of them were broken and the line of people waiting for the single open lane was staggering. We opted for the jungle area with ball pit.

The first thing I noticed about the jungle area is that they had employees standing at the gates but they didn’t seem to be doing anything. My son and I walked right in and then right out again with no questions. I’m not really sure what their role was but I’m hoping it wasn’t to make sure kids didn’t leave unattended because they were not paying attention at all.

The Jungle/Ball Pit is neat. It has these cool cannons that fire harmless foam balls around the open area in the middle of it all. We went to try it but once again a couple of them were broken, leaving only a couple other cannons for like 40 kids. My son is only three and I’m not a parent that can approach other people’s kids to tell them to share. It just doesn’t feel right.

The other issue I had with the jungle area was that there was no one enforcing any sort of order in there. There were kids climbing up the slides and others throwing balls at kids coming down the slides (including my son). I agree that it is the parents responsibility to discipline their kids but from looking around, I could tell that most of the parent’s there had no interest in discipline and were there for the rest on the couches.

Once we left the jungle area, we decided to try out the bowling again. It looked like one of the broken lanes was fixed but upon closer inspection, it was zapping in and out of consciousness. I asked an employee about it but he just shrugged and walked away with no explanation. We threw a couple balls while it worked but my son was getting frustrated at the fact that it kept breaking dow so we moved on.

The gaming area was alright, we played some spin the wheel game and sat in the racing car game seats. My son thought he was driving the car, which was probably the highlight for me, lol. “I won, I won” he exclaimed at one point.

We got a swipe card when we got in (standard procedure at these types of places now) and when I decided it was time to go, we went to see how many points he had on it. 59 points was the total and the girl at the counter was very nice and bumped us up to 60 so my son could get what he wanted.

Overall, I was disappointed with our trip to FunHaven and thought it was going to be a lot more fun than it turned out to be. A lot of stuff was broken, Mini bowling, bumper cars, 2 cannons and a couple of the toddler games. There were some pluses such as price and prizes but it definitely wasn’t an experience to write home about.

I was also disappointed at the lack of stuff for anyone under 3-4 years old to do. They have one play structure but that’s about it. For people with young families, this is not somewhere to bring your very young kids.

I think from now on we’ll stick to Cosmic Adventures. They are a little more expensive but you get way more for your money in my opinion. I hate doing negative reviews but I can only call it the way we saw it. Too much broken equipment for such a new place.

Have you been to FunHaven? Let me know what you thought, who knows, you might even change my mind about it!

Cheers!

Dear Caillou, What’s Your Deal?

A part of the reason I was excited to learn that I was going to become a father was because I knew that I finally had a reason to watch cartoons without being ridiculed by my wife.

I liked shows like Family Guy and South Park so the transition should have been an easy one. How much different could cartoons get anyway?

I knew about Barney and The Wiggles already and was fine with them but nothing could have prepared me for the first time I watched Caillou with my son.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a rainy day and my son had woken up extra early, I’m guessing because it was Daddy’s day to get up with him. I flicked on the TV, which is auto set to go straight to the Treehouse Channel, and there he was. This funny looking 4 year old with no hair and a catchy theme song.

From the moment he opened his mouth and revealed that nasally whine, I knew him and I were going to have a compatibility issue. My son liked him though so we kept on watching.

Episode after episode, I was forced to listen to Caillou whine about everything from brushing his teeth to wanting a cookie, while his parents did nothing but provide half-assed attempts to get him to learn his manners.

I don’t completely blame the parents though. I mean, my kid is almost 4 and he understands why he can’t have a cookie right before dinner. If he were to throw a fit about it, he would get a timeout and an explanation afterwards.

Caillou’s biggest issue seems to be a lack of discipline but that’s expected when you are being raised by parents who seem to be stuck in the 60’s. Think about it, they are clearly high a majority of the time. They never get frustrated, never fight, never raise their voices even. Caillou is living the dream in that household.

Around the time I found myself starting to yell at the parents to do something, anything to shut him up, I realized that my kid was picking up this behaviour and adapting it as his own. The last time any of us watched Caillou, was the day my son came into the kitchen and said to my wife, “Give me a cookie!!”, which was a particularly disturbing scene where the Mom inevitably gives in and pays up.

Caillou, you’re on the banned show list, along with Teletubbies and that one where Ernie & Bert fly around in the magic bed??? Seriously, what is that show? I’m pretty sure in the theme song, Bert says “This is kind of kinky”?!

Back on topic. Dear Caillou, until you can get through two consecutive episodes without have a giant whining temper tantrum, my family will be boycotting your show.

Dear Caillou’s parents, grow some balls and punish the kid. He’s running all over you and you just stand there like imbeciles. You’re a cartoon, you can do whatever you want. Please, I’m begging you to do something. I don’t spank my kids but there’s always exceptions to the rule and cartoons seem to be a pretty good exception. Get Er Dun!

What show’s are on your banned list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

Cheers!

If You Don’t Know Who The Grumpy Neighbour Is…

I like to think that I have pretty good self-awareness. That’s why it only took a millisecond to realize it.

My kids were out front playing and a car came screaming around the corner at a speed I felt was unacceptable. “Slow Down!!” I yelled. As the final syllable came out of my mouth, I immediately realized what was happening.

I was slowly turning into the grumpy guy on the street.

There were indications that I had previously missed, although I’m pretty sure I knew what was going on and was just afraid to admit it. Kind of like the feeling when you get those first gray hair’s or when you can’t explain why you’re always in some form of pain.

The first sign should have been when we got the plastic yellow guy to put at the end of the driveway, just enough into the road to make driver’s think they about to hit a kid. You know the one.

Perhaps I should have taken a step back on the day when the garbage truck left a trail of trash all down our entire street. Instead I decided to call the city to complain about it. Not like me at all.

More recently, I have escalated my grumpy efforts. The other day, we had guys from an energy company that will remain nameless, Summitt Energy, come to the door and try to trick me into letting them in to “check to see if I had the appropriate stickers” on my hot water tank. They even went so far as to pretend they were sent by my energy company.

That was the last straw for me. Not only did I not let them in but I sent messages to my neighbours to warn them not to let them in and even went ahead and followed them down the street to make sure they didn’t con any of my other friends on the street. They didn’t like that.

Upon further inspection of this company’s practices, I noticed on the BBB website that they’ve received a number of hefty fines already for these types of practices.

Nobody messes with my family or the families of my friends and gets away with it, LOL. I couldn’t help but wonder if Bruce Wayne would have been proud of my efforts in this case but I think he would have.

You should note that I have never been good at confrontational situations. In fact, it was to a point where I would turn off a TV show if I knew there was going to be an uncomfortable situation.

You couldn’t even count the number of times when I let places get away with terrible service or restaurants messing up orders. You name it, I’ve backed down from it.

Nowadays, if I don’t like the performance of my new car, I write a letter to the owner of the dealership. Unhappy with my banking or cable or mobile service?? An email or phone call is surely going to follow. In this new social media age, companies are being very careful about negative feedback. A Twitter rampage could be very damaging for a smaller business.

I guess when I really think about it, maybe I’m not becoming a grump after all. Maybe having kids and responsibilities is just turning me into more of a man.

Nah! I’m just getting grumpier, hahaha!!!

Has this type of change happened to you? Hit the comments section and let me know some grumpy things you’ve done since having kids. It can only be me right???

Also, if you feel so inclined, you can hit the share or tweet buttons at the top and help get the word out there.

Cheers!!

PlaSmart Perplexus Review and Giveaway

Remember the game Labryinth? Yeah, me neither. At least not since I played the amazing 3D maze that is the Perplexus Original.

The fine folks at PlaSmart Inc were kind enough to help out a new blogger by providing me with one of their most popular toys, a Perplexus Original, to do a review and giveaway.

The first thing that happened when I first took the Perplexus out of the box, was that my 1 year old daughter grabbed it and wouldn’t let anyone touch it for the rest of the night. To avoid a tantrum, we obliged.

So the first night didn’t go as planned. On to Day 2!

My son is 3 years old and with the recommended age being 6+, I figured the best person to review this toy would be me and my work friends. I did let my son try it out and he did surprisingly well, getting all the way to 23 by himself before dropping the ball.

The point of the Perplexus is to get the little ball from levels 1 to 100 while navigating through the incredibly challenging 3D maze. To say this game has it all, would be an understatement.

I brought it to work to try it out and I rarely got to touch it. I placed it on my desk and before I knew it, people I rarely see, were popping in to say hi and to try out the new gadget propped up on my desk. It was actually nice because I got to see first hand, what this game can do.

I saw joy, excitement, sadness, anger, greed, anticipation, concentration and finally, I saw pure child like elation as the first person managed to finish all the levels.

Who was that person you ask?

Why it was me, of course! Who else could possibly tame this beast on the first day but the self proclaimed “Puzzle Master”?

On of my favorite features about this game is that it is broken down into levels, sort of like the show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. Once you get past level 26, you get to start at the second starting point for each subsequent crack at it. The same goes for level 59, where you then get to start at the third position. From 59 to 100 though, it’s all you.

I thought after finishing all the levels, that I would lose interest in the game but that could not have been further from what happened. We actually began running time trials to see who could beat it the fastest and the game took on a new life.

The best news of the day came while I was browsing the Perplexus website and I noticed that there were two other versions of this game, The Perplexus Rookie (75 levels) and the Perplexus Epic (125 levels). Needless to say, we were playing the Perplexus Epic at work the next day….

This game is perfect for kids and adults alike, whether you are a puzzle nerd or not, the Perplexus will have you coming back for more. It’s an excellent centerpiece for a coffee table and guarantees to have your company talking about it and laughing with each other as you battle to be the first to the finish line.

PlaSmart does not sell direct from their website but they do provide a handy “Where 2 Buy” section on their website.

Please feel free to Like PlaSmart Perplexus on Facebook and don’t forget to Follow them on Twitter.

I wanted to leave you with one final glimpse inside the Perplexus world by providing you with a short video entitled the “Faces Of Perplexus”. It is on my “YouTube channel” and I hope it shines a light on exactly how badly you need to get one or all of these toys. I mean like now! Go Get One!

Thanks to the fine people at PlaSmart for taking a chance on a new blogger, it was very much appreciated!

Now on to the good stuff!! If you would like a Perplexus Original of your very own, all you have to do is enter the contest below and PlaSmart will send one to our lucky winner!!

Cheers!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sh*t My Kids Say #2 – Disney On Ice

Kids are funny people. They really have no concept of right or wrong, they don’t know not to call people fat or stupid and they have no idea how hilarious their imaginary stories are to adults.

That has led me to the decision to create a new section here at Canadian Dad called “Sh*t My Kids Say”. I know, I know, it’s a semi dirty word but this is my blog and I’ll swear if I want to, LOL.

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We had a great time at Disney On Ice last night, other than the length of time it spanned. I mean seriously, 2 hours and a bit of dancing princesses? I’m as excited about Disney as anyone but after a while they all start to look the same.
On the drive home, we asked my son what he thought of the show.

D: “Hey buddy, what was your favorite part of the show?”

L: “Ummmm, the part where I got my toy”

D: “Really? The part before we even sat down at our seats, when we bought you the Incredibles figurines?”

L: “Yeah, I really, really love them”

D: “What about the show? Anything from the actual show that you liked?”

L: “Donald Duck”

D: “Donald Duck was in the 2 hour show for 3 minutes and said no words, that’s all you liked?”

L: “I liked….(clearly humouring me at this point) the claw”

D: “What claw???”

L: “The claw from Peter Pan”

D: “?????” “You mean Captain Hook?”

L: “No Daddy, the claw. And when the crocodile ate the guy”

D: :Well, I’m glad you liked it???”

L: “But I really, really love my Incredible guys”

D: “Excellent!”

The main thing I learned from this conversation is that my son could care less about what happened that night because he lost interest upon receiving his late Valentine’s Day gift of Incredibles figurines.
I know he had fun because I was watching him throughout the show, I think he just hasn’t figured out the “favorite part” thing yet. Maybe he just enjoyed it so much that everything was his favorite part? Either way, the toys ruled the day and I’m happy to report that as of 12 hours later, he still really, really loves them, haha.

Cheers!

Valentine’s Day Roundup – I Think I Lost Again…

It’s no secret that there is a silent competition going on between parents on Valentine’s Day, to see who can come up with the best gift for the other parent. Honestly, I’ve never really been good at it, but lately I’ve been finding a bit of creativity that I never had before.

I think my creative bone kicked in shortly after a last minute trip to the Shoppers Drug Mart one fine Valentine’s Day, where I proudly picked out a lovely card from me and two more from the kids. I then proceeded to the Valentine’s Day section of the drug store, where I found a wonderful array of chocolate and stuffed animals to throw in the gift bags for my wife.

I even managed to grab a bouquet of flowers from one of those “side of the road at the gas station” vendors and pranced home knowing I had this one locked up!

What happened next made me realize that the game was changing.

At gift presentation time, I offered to accept first because I wanted to end the festivities with my fireworks worthy bags of goodies. From the first set of heart shaped hand print’s I received, I knew this was going to be a rough ordeal. By the time I finished receiving my gifts, I wanted to crawl under a rock and hibernate for the rest of the winter. There was 2 sets of hand print, one from each of my kids, 2 hand made cards for Daddy and one very nice photo collage set inside a travel mug for me (Starbucks has em).

After giving my wife my embarrassing mish mash of crap, I vowed to do a better job in the coming years. This year, I was having trouble finding alone time with the kids to get things done. Between my shift work and my wife’s day care, there’ not a lot of private time to sneak them away.

I did manage to get it done though and although I think I still lost the battle, the war still has a good 20 years to go, LOL!

You be the judges, Here’s what I got:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough to top that but I think I put forth a valiant effort this year, including these gems:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we have an 11 X 14 painting done by the kids (hearts by daddy) and 3 hand made cards, including Daddy’s. Not too shabby right? PS – Check out the face my 3 year old drew by himself (Proud Dad). In the end, I think my wife got the best of me this time but I didn’t go down without a fight. By the way, I did get her one more thing (and even got teased at the store) before you start voting…..

 

That’s right, Game Over!!!

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day from Canadian Dad!!

 

 

Dads, Kids, Video Games and Animal Awareness

There’s something about being a man that instills in me a need to excel at video games. I’m not talking about a specific genre of video game or gaming system, I mean that I feel the need to excel at EVERY video game I play.

So it was no surprise that I found myself wanting the same for my children, especially my son, who is now at the age where he is showing a lot of interest in them.

It began with some iPhone puzzle games and then evolved into an Angry Birds obsession that was beyond comprehension. My daughter started wanting to play too but she mostly just stares at the birds on the screen and laughs when they make noises. I have no expectations for her as far as gaming goes, it’s stereotypically a male thing anyway.

Now before I continue, I want to point out to all the parents who think letting your kids play with electronics is bad, that I am a dedicated father who loves to play things with my kids other that video games. We are an outdoor family who loves sunshine and snow alike but sometimes we also like to enjoy a good video game too, so back off!! LOL.

Back to my son, he recently saw a friend playing Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii and decided that he wanted to play too. He’d seen the Mario box at our house but never knew what it was until that day. He started asking about it but I figured at 3 years old, he probably wasn’t ready yet. I lasted about 2 months before caving the other night and on went the Wii.

Had I known the reaction this monumental event was going to get, I would have started videotaping sooner but better late than never I guess. When I said yes, Luke began running around in circles like a maniac, shouting “Mario, Mario, Mario!!!!” His sister followed suit except her shrieks sounded more like “Mayo, Mayo, Mayo!!”, of course we knew better than to give her a cup of mayo. Even trying to explain the chaotic scene, there’s no way to properly do it justice.

Now, I understand that Luke is only 3 years old but when a video game starts, a man tends to lose control of his regular brain functions and turns into a modified version of a young boy. Common sense doesn’t apply and the competitive side comes out in full force. So on day 2 of playing Mario Kart, I fully expected my son to have figured it all out and to be crushing the computer Princess in every race. This was not the case.

The reality of it is that he has no idea what he’s supposed to do and just likes playing with the Wii steering wheel that came with the game. I think the fact the he has his serious face on is what throws me off, as it looks like he ‘IS’ Mario and wants to win at all costs. In reality, that’s the type of focus kids portray with most things they do and it took everything in my power to not yell “You have to turn there man!!” or “”Shoot the Banana at that guy!!”.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and I took some time to enjoy watching the gaming experience through his eyes. I even found out that we must be doing something right as parents because Luke stopped driving the Kart at one point to let the cartoon cows cross the road, explaining that he didn’t want to hurt them.

Point is, when he eventually figures out that he’s losing the game, he’ll probably get upset about it and I’ll lie and tell him it’s just a game. For an adult male, playing video games, there’s no such thing as “Just a game” because if it was in fact just a game, we wouldn’t be playing it. We eventually to get too old or too fat to do anything else well and this becomes a place where we can excel at something into our later years.

Don’t believe me? Ask my wife about my journey through all the Call of Duty games. Ask my Mom about her experience living with my gamer brother. As the saying goes, “You can’t take the boy out of the man”.

Do you have a funny gaming story? Share it below in the comments and don’t forget to do the Facebook/Twitter thing if you liked this post. Thanks for your continued support!!

Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

Review: Majestic Colonial Punta Cana Resort

My wife and I went to Punta Cana (sans kids) for a friends wedding last year and our stay at the Majestic Colonial was excellent, and only got hampered by an injury that had nothing to do with the resort. Here is my review, in case you are planning a vacation to Punta Cana.

 

Flight: I hate flying and the descent into Punta Cana was the scariest of my life but we landed fine and it was probably the most normal turbulance/air pocket most people encounter. This has nothing to do with the resort but I thought I’d give the entire picture. I’ve also heard that most descents into the Dominican can be rough ones.
Upon landing, 1000 guys try to take your bags for you and utter incoherent gibberish to try to confuse you as they are looking for tips. For you first timers, a firm “No Thanks” is what you have to do or they will keep trying to grab your stuff.

Arrival at Resort: A pleasant crew unload your bags and ask you to check in but before you get to the front desk, you are met with a nice cold towel and a drink, which is a very nice touch. Once you get to the desk, we were met with a pleasant “Hola” and then immediately offered a room upgrade:)) We passed and found that , throughout the week, the more times you say no to the upgrade, the cheaper the rate gets:)

Our Room: We were at the far end of the resort, which is a long walk from the front desk but it also helped me to maintain my original weight throughout the week. Plus we were the only ones in our group with a balcony that offered a great view of the beach. It ended up working out as our group was either at the beach or the swim up pool bar for most of the week and our room was right next to each.

The room was tidy and the shower was amazing, great water pressure and 2 shower heads. Was tough to remember no to drink the water while brushing my teeth but I managed to get through the week without forgetting. The only complaint I had was that our room was at the end of the cleaning route so our room wouldn’t get turned over until late in the afternoon.

Restaurants: This was my favorite part of the trip as I love my food. We tried all the restaurants except the Seafood Place (because I hate Seafood) and the Mexican place, as it got bad reviews by a bunch of people we were with and others we had met. Here is my experience:

Main Buffet: Clean, Stocked and Delicious. There was so much food to choose from that it was hard not to be happy with your selections. If you don’t like pre-cooked food, there were about 4 stations you could go to in order to get food made right in front of you. The bacon was out of this world and I made sure to take full advantage:)) For breakfast, the French Toast was great but my daily routine was visiting the sandwich press operator and getting an amazing Ham, Bacon, Cheese & Mayo sandwich which they put together for you and grilled to perfection.

The lunch selection was fantastic as well but most of our lunches were had at the beach buffet.

Beach Buffet: Less selection than the main but an outdoor buffet that overlooks the beach is too good to pass up. Daily favorite was the Panini station, which is similar to my breakfast sandwich but different ingredients. The cook always made the same joke everyday about putting sardines on the panini and always faked putting some on it but it never got old and he ended up with some pretty good tips from our group:)

Fast Food Place: Hidden down the marketplace alleyway is a divey fast food place which opened from 11pm to 4am and offered all your favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, fries, onion rings and of course, lots of beer. We ended up there on a few occasions and were never disappointed in our orders.

Steakhouse: In the same place as the Beach Buffet, we ate at the Steakhouse twice and had varying results. The first night there, I got the sirloin and was underwhelmed by the taste and texture. The battered pinneapple/chicken skewer appetizer was amazing though. The second trip was much better as I ordered the Chateaubriand andit lived up to it’s billing. I tiped one of the waiters $5 at the beginning of the meal and he basically sat with us the whole dinner, making sure we had everything we needed. Good Dude.

Japanese Experience: The most fun I had at a dinner, make sure you make a reservation for the demonstration and not just a walk in meal. Our cook, Raphael, was great at entertaining and had a sixth sense about when a photo was about to be taken, as he posed perfectly at a secondsd notice. He also looked exactly like Kobe Bryant, which was cool to this sports fan. The food was great and I even tried shrimp and Sushi for the first time. Don’t worry though, they also serve beef and chicken, which is also delicious.

French Gourmet: Saving the best for last, my experience at the Gourmet was the best food I’ve ever had. I ordered the lobster bisk (again a first) and it was good but the Churasco wrapped around asparagus, on top of the best mashed potatoes in the world, made me want to take 5 minutes for every bite. Follow all that up with Red Wine and Creme Brule and it was a food night to remember.

The Beach: The beach was pristine, the servers were prompt and the fish were everywhere for a great underwater experience. We did the Banana Boat Ride for $12 which was worth every penny as the boat driver did everything in his power to throw us from the narrow raft. I did get offered some “good stuff” one of the days but it was more funny than disturbing. No complaints about the beach, I can’t think of anything that could have been improved with it. The sunrise/sunsets are to die for, don’t be afraid to wake up early a couple of days, you won’t be sorry.

The Pool/Swim Up Bar: My crew set up shop daily right across from the swim up bar in the pool. We staked our claim to a particular spot every day and spent a good 4 hours there, playing football and soaking the days away. The staff were good but at certain times seemed disinterested, which was fine by me as they kept up with the drink demands. We met some cool people and befriended some cool British kids, who we shared our football with and in exchange, they taught us some funny slang words:))

The Entertainment: We didn’t go to the resort for the entertainment so it wasn’t a problem for any of us that it was subpar in general. The “Pump Up Crew” they have are kind of cheesy but still fun in general and you can tell they work long, hard hours, even though it seems like their job is just partying. Daily pool side dance lessons and funny drinking contests are all part of the fun.

As for the night time stuff, the Michael Jackson experience lived up to it’s billing and is a must see. The Karaoke nights were a lot of fun and people seemed to really enjoy watching others get up there but they only lasted 1 hour, which was waaaaay too short for such a crowd pleasing event. And the 70/80/90’s dance night was fun for anyone who loves to dance the night away. I didn’t make it to the discoteque but I heard from a lot of people that the guy to girl ratio was like 40 to 1 so for all you single men out there, not the best odds.

The Casino was small and had only a few slot machines and tables. The slot machines couldn’t handle a large volume and often broke down. I wasn’t there to gamble so no big deal.

The Marketplace: There are a number of stores along the walkway and each have varying prices. I got a vibe that they were not the bartering type of shops but found out that everyone has their price so don’t be afraid to try to lower the price a bit.

Once a week, the flea market shops come and set up booths down the walkway and that’s where the real deals are made. I hate haggling but found it easy with the pushy nature of some of these guys. Always trying to give you free stuff to lure you in, don’t take it unless you are going to buy something else. We ended up getting some very good deals and found that an opening price of $95 can easily end at paying $20. Walking away is a strong tactic here, so is changing the game a bit. If they want $25, you say that you’ll give $20 and $2-3 for the seller and their attitude quickly changes to your side. That $2-3 is more than the commission they’ll get for the $5 on the actual price. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be writing this stuff but I wish I had had this info before hand.

Off Resort Flea Market: We went off the resort about a 5-10 minute walk to the local flea market and had an interesting experience. A lot of people were hesitant about us going off the resort but I checked with our tour rep and the ffront desk and both said it was safe. I never felt uncomfortable at any point and recommend the experience to others.
The first booth I went into, I bartered down a price and even though I paid more than I should have, the seller said to me (after I paid) that he didn’t believe I was Canadian because I was too cheap….and then had the nerve to ask for a $1 commission. Yeah Right! After that, we met a nice Haitian (second shop on the left) who lured us into his shop by telling us he wouldn’t bother us like the other shop owners. He kept his word and his prices were so good, the need to barter was minimal. He also threw in a bunch of extra stuff (shot glasses, bracelets) after I had already paid. Good Salesmanship!!

Overall, good market experience but very tiring to barter for over an hour…

The Medical Center: I wish I hadn’t had to go here but my wife got a very bad sunburn and her ankles & feet got really swollen. I got a feeling like there wasn’t much the Doc was going to be able to do and I was right. He recommended that we go the hospital and we started panicking. Luckily I had travel insurance so the whole ordeal was covered but it was anything but enjoyable. For the record, this was not the resort’s problem and I wouldn’t hold this against my experience with them.

The Doc called an ambulance and we began our 4 hour journey off the resort at midnight in the middle of the DR. Any driving is scary in this place but the ambulance ride with my wife and no seatbelts was the scariest of my life. Flying around cars and crazy turns made my stomach turn. At the hospital, there was very little english and we could only have faith in their medical system as the plugged the IV into my wife’s arm and gave us a bunch of prescription medication for her to bring back to the resort. Scary times for sure but long story short, we got back safely at about 3am, went for fast food and we are now back home and have a new prescription for an allergic reaction. Was a little surprised at the lack of english speaking staff at the hospital though, very scary ordeal, I recommed not getting injured while visiting here:))

Odds & Ends: My friend and I are in a band back home and he brought his guitar. We set up shop in the lower lobby bar one night with about 10 of our friends and played music til about 2 am. No one complained and in fact, people started coming over to sing with us, even the bartender came over, requested La Bamba and then danced on the sofa when we obliged.

Most of the staff were courteous and eager to help out but there were some that seemed disinterested in smiling or putting forth any effort. I always tried to reward the really friendly ones with generous tips but not fully understanding the economic climate there, it was hard to tell if my tips really helped.

I had an issue with the Coffee providers being called “Coffee Boy” and wondered if Coffee Guy or Coffee Man would be a better title but that was just my quirky brain working overtime.

We brought children’s items with us (colouring books, crayons, pens, pencils, etc..) and left them for the cleaning crew and other staff throughout the week. They really seemed to appreciate that and always thanked us daily.

There was a guy on the beach who painted T Shirts and he was really cool and accomodating to any request. I got myself a Montreal Canadiens shirt with a beach scene and “Punta Cana” painted on it. Very Cool.

I can’t think of much else to write about but would like to thank the entire staff at the Majestic Colonial for a wonderful week and an amazing experience. We will definitely be back and are already trying to convince some of our friends to get married so we have an excuse:))

PS – DO NOT lose your towel….$25 is a hefty replacement fee:))

A Fish Called Mater

My family were always dog people. So much so, that I can’t remember a time from my childhood where there wasn’t a dog running around the house. Before we had kids, my wife and I had a Husky named Bacardi (keep in mind that my wife won that battle,  I wanted to call him Crown Royal). He was a great dog but the amount of hair he left around the house coupled with his hyperactivity and a new baby meant one of the two had to go.

We chose to keep the baby but found an amazing family with a huge yard for Bacardi to play in. It was a tough day for both of us but we know we did the right thing by letting the dog go, he wouldn’t have got the attention he deserved with a baby around. We’ve kept in touch with the family that took him and all is well.

My dear wife, thinking the kids were ready for pets, decided they should each get a pet fish (Daisy and Mater) for their birthdays (which are 2 days apart). I didn’t fight it too hard, after all, how hard can fish be to maintain? The answer to that question came about 2 weeks in, when the first fish, Daisy, suddenly died of natural causes…

As I was starting to panic about how I unprepared I was to have the “death” discussion with the kids, I realized that not only had they not noticed the fish had died, they had forgotten about the fish altogether. Somewhat relieved, I sent Daisy off on a swirly journey to fishy heaven and went about my business.

Later that day, we (read:my wife) decided that we should replace the fish with another one, just in case the kids noticed we were one fish down. Off Daddy went to the pet store to get a replacement fish, to be named Daisy 2. What happened next at the Pet Store was probably one of the most unexpected and humiliating things that’s ever happened to me.

There I was in the fish aisle, looking for Daisy 2, when the small fish “expert” came to see if I needed any help. I explained the situation as delicately as a man could, “stupid fish died, need another stupid fish before the kids notice the last stupid fish is missing”. Apparently my story didn’t jive with the clerk, who laced into a tirade that would have made Ace Ventura proud. It was clear to me why this clerk had been hired by the pet store and it also made me think about how many fish posters this person had plastered throughout their home.

After feigning regret for a few minutes I had found my Daisy 2 and proceeded to the check out, where my fish story had obviously been told and a lecture from the cashier ensued. I wanted to scream, “It’s Just A Fish, Get Over It!!!”, but held my tongue and made my way home to sneak Daisy 2 into her new tank as Daddy the Hero would do.

Just as the kids hadn’t noticed a fish was gone, they also didn’t notice that Daisy had completely changed colours. This turned into a good thing, as Daisy 2’s health didn’t last nearly as long as the year we were told it would. In fact, it lasted about 3 weeks before she too met her fate. It was embarrassing really, to not be able to keep a fish alive for longer than a month! We did everything we were told to but it still didn’t work out for poor Daisy 2.

I decided there was no way I was going back to the pet store for another round of booing and hissing, so we were down to 1 fish and the kids were none the wiser. Eventually my son began to pay attention to the remaining fish and surprisingly never asked what had happened to Daisy 1. He decided the fish’s new name would be Lanny, the lovable elf from Disney’s Prep & Landing movies. About once a month he decides to show the fish some love and asks if he can feed it and he talks to it for awhile.

My daughter still doesn’t bother paying any attention to it, there’s plenty more important things like Barbie and Hide and Seek for her to be bothered by something that just floats in a box and does nothing entertaining. Maybe someday she’ll be interested but I imagine she’ll go straight to wanting a dog judging by the way she reacts around them. But that’s a story for another day.

As for the fish, he must feel completely lost up there on his lonely perch. Not knowing what your name is can be very confusing when you’re trying to meet the lady fish and hes had a lot of them. Here’s a detailed list of all the names I’ve heard called to date: Mater, Lanny, Wayne, Zerby (??? I know), Mater again, Nemo, Flounder, Mater once again and just this morning when I asked my son what my next post should be about, he said it should be about Doc. Based on the post, I imagine you could guess who Doc is…

Do your kids have funny names for their pets? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading!!

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Cheers!!