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Chris Life Lessons

37 Things I’ve Learned In 37 Years

1. Talking about religion and politics on the internet is almost the same as screaming at a brick wall.

2. Being nice to people simply for the sake of being nice will pay far more dividends than being nice with alterior motives.

3. “I’ll do it later” actually means “I will forget to do this”. This is especially a problem when you suddenly need the one suit you own and find it crumpled in the laundry hamper.

4. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. You know what to do.

5. Kindness can defuse a bad situation more often than anger. This I learned from the late Rev. Rick Marples who coached some of the roughest hockey teams I’ve ever been a part of and did so with a smile.

6. Karaoke is cool no matter what anyone else says.

7. Music isn’t just background noise. Music has carried me through some very dark times and made great times even greater.

8. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No, I didn’t invent this saying and it is a worn out cliché but even the best of us get burned occasionally.

9. In business, saying no can often lead to an even bigger yes.

10. Exercising is hard when you try to catch up for years of inactivity. Don’t believe me? Here’s my story that I shared with GoodLife Fitness and I’m still struggling along.

11. You are never too old to wear a Halloween costume.

12. There is always room for personal growth. Mistakes happen. Learn and move on.

13. I can’t be bothered to tie a pair of shoes. Thank goodness for slip-ons!

14. The ability to say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong is not a weakness.

15. Take time to stop and appreciate moments as they happen, even if that moment is as simple as taking in a breath of fresh morning air.

16. I wish I had learned how to do things like change a tire, build a deck and do basic handyman tasks. You can only ask for so many favours before you start feeling bad about yourself.

17. Always ask for customer retention when trying to renegotiate your cable, internet and phone plans. I have saved hours of waiting on hold with this one.

18. Don’t bottle up your emotions, especially when it comes to grief. Acting tough only works for so long before your mind catches on.

19. Don’t be the angry parent at a children’s sporting event. You look ridiculous and your child will end up being the one who pays for your actions. No, seriously, don’t be this person. It’s bad enough that all parents have to take an hour long course on respect in sport because of you.

20. Having children is a great way to justify buying the toys you never got to play with as a child.

21. Do things you are afraid of doing. It will make you less afraid of everything else.

22. At a sporting event or concert, use the valet parking every now and then. It’s a little bit more expensive but it makes you feel like a VIP at the event.

23. Smile. A lot.

24. There isn’t a much better feeling than watching your child excel at something and seeing the pride in their faces as they do.

25. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a silly concept. Being tired stinks. Get some sleep, man!

26. The “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Dat” video is one of the funniest things on YouTube.

27. It is possible to love and hate snow at the exact same time.

28. Debt can crush your soul. If you really don’t need that shiny new thing, leave it on the shelf. Also, start saving some money right now!

29. Cabbage and lettuce are not the same thing. Only one of them tastes good in a Caesar salad. Yes, this is something I learned the hard way. No, my family hasn’t let me forget it.

30. If you think you smell gas in your house, call someone in immediately because you probably have a gas leak. Do not procrastinate for hours until you drive yourself mad and call the gas company at 2am.

31. I could watch Netflix for 4 hours a day and still never run out of things to watch on Netflix.

32. If your child asks you to hold onto a rock because it is special to them, you hold that rock until the day they ask for it back. That day could be twenty years later but they WILL ask for it back!

33. Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure, it simply gives you the knowledge to get it right the next time.

34. Making even a small difference in the world is still making a difference in the world. Volunteer your time, donate food or money, pay for someone’s coffee, anything that does something good for someone else and you will be making the world a better place.

35. Dance like no one is watching, even if they are definitely watching.

36. Say “I Love You” to the people you love. It sounds simple but we often take it for granted.

37. Everyone has an opinion on how you should dress, behave, raise your kids and feel but in the end yours is the only opinion that matters when it comes to you.

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…

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!

Movember Update And A Birthday Wish!

I’m struggling with writing today’s post for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to attempt to accurately capture how proud I am of the Movember team I am Captain of. I’m guessing typed words won’t begin to show my passion for this cause or how excited I am that we have already raised $4,836 towards our goal of $5,000, with 16 days left to go.

The other issue is that today is also my Birthday, and while I realize the poor etiquette in pointing that out to everyone, I can assure you that my motives in doing so are pure. I wanted to share my Birthday wish with you all. If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you’ll know that I don’t believe in a lot of superstitions, so sharing my wish with you all shouldn’t be a big deal.

There are a million things I could wish for, with most of them being things that you would never see come true. Wishing for health and prosperity is nice but those are things that you can’t really control, except for following a healthy diet and going after your dreams. My wish today is a little simpler and a lot easier to obtain.

My wish, on my 34th birthday, is for our Movember Team to reach its goal of $5,000! That’s it. We’re $164 away and I know that this is an attainable wish for today, so let’s make it happen!

PS – Thank You for all the birthday wishes today! It’s only 8am and I already feel more spoiled than I deserve to be.

PPS – A special thanks to our Movember Corporate donors: Tag Along Toys, Play It Again Sports & Logs End Flooring! We couldn’t have gotten to this point without your support!

Cheers!!

It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane. No It’s Super Mario Dad!

My son recently turned 4 years old. Okay, give me a minute….. I can’t believe 4 years went by so fast!

Anyway, we asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted and got about 6 answers, ranging from MarioKart to Angry Birds to Wolverine??? After much deliberation and convincing, we landed on MarioKart.

What a fantastic decision it was too! There’s a growing love for all things Mario and we were able to find a ton of ideas for the party. The best part is that we were able to do a lot of it on a relatively low budget!

How about a laminated Drivers License as the guests arrived:

As for games, we had a rousing go of Pin The Mustache On The Mario:

My son had a blast!! We did have one more surprise for him though. A visit from Super Mario himself!! That’s right, I pimped out my blog for a free Super Mario costume so I could surprise him on his birthday!

I was extremely warm in the suit and the mustache kept falling off but we got through Mario Says, Mario Bingo and the aforementioned Pin The Mustache On The Mario without any problems!

Have a look at my grand entrance! I decided to go with an entrance theme as if I was a WWE wrestler. That’s just how I roll!

The joy on my son’s face says it all!

I want to leave you with a final shot from the end of the party of the two happiest parents on the earth!!

Happy Birthday Buddy!!!!

Cheers!!!

A Letter To My Daughter On Her 2nd Birthday

Hi Honey, it’s Daddy. I imagine by the time you are able to read this, you’ll be wondering why, to this point, most of the posts have featured stories about your brother.

I don’t have a clever answer for that other than to say that he is able to talk and joke a lot more than you can and that he is able to do a lot more activities than you are able to at your age.

It definitely has nothing to do with loving one of you more than the other because you are equally loved.

On this, your 2nd birthday, I wanted you to have this letter I wrote for you. I know you won’t be able to read it now but maybe someday you’ll look at it and understand how loved you really are.

Did you know that you were the first girl in our family tree in quite some time. Over 70 years if I’m not mistaken.

From the minute you were born, I was proud to be your Daddy.

I was then and still am petrified at times. I have no idea how to raise a girl and I certainly don’t want to mess it up!

You’re growing up so fast, I feel like I’m missing the whole thing, even though I’m right here the whole time.

Just yesterday, you were learning to stand up in your crib; now you jump from your big girl bed and into my arms.

I’m sorry that I sometimes still cut your food up way too small because I forget that you are not a baby anymore.

I sneak into your room at night sometimes too, while everyone is asleep, just to get a peak at you while you are peacefully at rest. These are some of my favorite moments.

When you run to the door screaming “Daddy, Daddy” when I get home from work, my heart literally melts. I don’t know how much longer you are going to do that for so I am going to savor every minute of it until you stop.

I love that you are charismatic and outgoing, just like your Dad. It took me 20 years to break out of my shell and I’m so glad that you seem to have already smashed through yours.

If you want to wear a Tinkerbell costume to the mall, I’m cool with that.

I even love the fact that you are a bit of a Diva. Not so much when you are yelling at me, but when you copy your Mommy’s disciplinary lines, I can’t help but giggle, even though it gets me in trouble.

I’m so proud of everything you’ve achieved up to this point. You are such a smart girl and I’m not just saying that because I’m your Dad. Okay, maybe I am but that’s just how I feel about that.

I don’t even care that you still want a soother sometimes, even though the doctor disagrees. What does she know, right?

I fear for the day you bring a boy home for the first time. I’m going to hate him. I’m sorry.

I’m going to hate the next guy too. And probably the one after that forever. Again, I’m sorry.

Boys only want one thing, trust me, I am one.

However, I promise to always be there for you though when or if one of those boys breaks your heart. That’s what Daddies do.

I also promise that I am going to go out of my way, at times, to embarrass you. Sometimes I’ll be doing it by accident. That’s what you get when your Dad is a goofball. I realize you don’t get to have a say in your Dad’s personality. Sometimes life isn’t fair (Write that one down).

I honestly believe that you can do anything you want to do in your life. I promise to do all I can to help you become everything you aspire to be.

You can’t be the President of the United States, it’s literally not legal. I’m not sorry about this because being Canadian is pretty awesome too. We’re pretty good at hockey you know.

I don’t want you to do drugs or smoke or drink because those things are bad for you. But I tried them once so I’ll be reasonable about it because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. Consider this your first warning young lady. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Remember when I told you to write that down?

I could write to you all day but I think I’ve made my point.

You bring a new aspect to my life that I never dreamed could be so amazing.

You make me smile when I’m in the worst of moods.

Just the thought of you growing up and moving on brings a tear to my eye (like right now). That’s right, Daddies cry. It’s something you should know about now because it may fall into the embarrassing category when you graduate from high school.

On this, your 2nd Birthday, I want you to know that your Daddy Loves You with all his heart and nothing will ever, EVER happen to change that.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!!!

And Then Jann Arden Called My House

I started to write this post last night. I took a break to hang out on Twitter for a bit, when one tweet changed the entire direction of the story.

I’m not much of a thoughtful gift giver. I mean well, I really do. It just seems that I always come up a bit short.

Today is my wife’s birthday. I used to ask her what she wanted as a gift but she’d always give me the “Oh, I don’t need anything” line. Every man knows this is simply code for “You should know what I like by now, figure it out!”

I spent hours agonizing over what to get her and think I actually did pretty well this year. Here is what the kids and I had planned for her presents:

Yep, shelled out for some nice jewelry and put together a frame with the kids. I was all done, yet something still felt incomplete.

I’ve been increasingly fascinated with this website called Twitter. You may have heard of it. Anyway, I like to go there to flex my funny bone.

It was about 2AM and I thought it would be fun to send a tweet to one of my wife’s favorite musician’s, Jann Arden. She is a notorious tweeter but I wasn’t expecting any reply. Celebrities are busy and I respect that.

Here’s a look at what happened:

That simple reply of “Maybe I should call her” set off a slew of emotions for me. Was she serious? Or was it just a joke? I replied back with a joke comment and then something weird and amazing happened.

Other totally selfless people started tweeting to Jann, saying that she should do it because it would be amazing. I agreed and before I could jump on board, Jann had already messaged me to say that we were on!

I have to admit; at this point I was a wreck. Shaking a bit with excitement. A little skeptical about what was happening (Was this even Jann?). A little hungry. You know, the usual stuff that happens when you are organizing a celebrity phone call for your wife’s birthday at 2 in the morning….

I spent the rest of the night glued to my iPhone, chatting on Twitter and Facebook with other excited fans. I still had no idea what had happened. I lost focus so much that I didn’t fill out my birthday card and almost left the other gifts at work.

Let’s cut to the next morning, we’ll call that day yesterday for the purposes of this story. I still didn’t know how this whole thing was going down. I took my son to the park to play for a bit and then I got a call from my wife.

Her birthday was the next day so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen then, but she had an exciting story for me.

“Jann Arden just called me at the house to say Happy Birthday! And said that you did that!” She didn’t pick up the phone right away so we are lucky enough to have this proof forever:

I literally couldn’t believe it; she had come through and made me look like a superhero husband. The truth is that I really don’t deserve much credit at all. It’s not like it was my idea after all. Chalk it up to right place at the right time.

The one thing I did know is that my wife had loved it and that was the most important thing to me. She is a wonderfully amazing woman and deserves every good thing that comes her way.

She runs a day care, puts up with my shift work (and Bull Sh*t) and basically makes sure that my children get all the love they need and deserve! She is amazing, I am lucky to have her and I am so glad that I was able to have a hand in making her smile for her birthday.

We both showered Jann with big Thank You’s on Twitter and hope that she understands how amazing her act truly was. In case she is reading my lowly blog right now, Thank You again Jann Arden, You Rock!!!

I guess the only problem I have now is that my wife will be expecting something big out of me every year from now on….

No worries, I’ve got my buddy Madonna on speed dial!

Happy Birthday Honey!

Cheers!

Not Even Spider-Man Can Stop My Kid

I’m not even sure where to start this one because it’s a bit emotional and funny all in one event.

My son’s birthday party is going to be in a couple of weeks. I can remember last year, we threw him an Ernie birthday party and he loved it. I asked him what kind of party he wanted this year and he immediately answered “MarioKart!” with joy.

What?!?! How do you go from Ernie to MarioKart in less than a year?

On one hand it’s cool because I get to goof around with a bunch of video game stuff. On the other, I want my little boy back!!!

That brings me to our most recent event.

My son was just invited to his first “drop off your kid and leave” birthday party. He is 3 years old but soon to be 4.

You can forget about the fact that the party was just across the street at a neighbor’s house because it could have been on the moon for all I cared. The point is that my little man is growing up, and quickly!

The neighbor’s kid was turning 5 and was having a Spider-Man themed party, with a special visit from Spider-Man himself (very popular right now, the character shows up and runs games and stuff).

My son does NOT like people in costumes, so upon hearing this, I feared the worst.

Sure enough, I got a phone call from the neighbor about 30 minutes in, asking if I could come over and comfort my son, who was freaked out by Spider-Man. After some calming words to my delirious concerned wife, I ran over to hang out.

I tried to explain to my son that it was just a guy in a costume and that he had nothing to be scared of. Obviously that didn’t work, so we came to the agreement that if I went home and got his Spider-Man costume, he would stay at the party and take part in the games.

Excited to feel needed again, I raced across the street, Spidey suit in hand. Daddy saves the day!!

It took a few minutes for him to rejoin the party and he clung to me for another 10 like a shirt that had gone through the dryer without a Bounce sheet (you know what I mean, shut it).

Eventually I felt comfortable enough to leave him but figured he wouldn’t take part in anything until Spidey was gone.

Well don’t you know it, sometimes when left to fend for themselves, kids rise above the odds and make you the proudest parents in the world.

Here’s the photo I got from the neighbors, 15 minutes after I had left.

Very proud Dad upon seeing this picture. Almost as if I had said or done something to ease his mind about being at the party. Now if he would please stop growing for a couple years, I would very much appreciate it!!

Is there a moment you realized that you were losing your toddler to boy/girlhood? Share it with me in the comments so I can feel better about losing mine 🙂

Cheers!!