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Tonight I Mailed In “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

{Mailing It In – Slang for doing the least amount of work possible or slacking off.}

We’re all parents, right? Let’s not sugar coat this then. I get tired by the time the kid’s bedtime rolls around some nights. Truthfully, I’m tired pretty much every night as the kids get ready for bed but tonight was a little different.

I didn’t have a good sleep last night because my daughter woke up at 11pm with nightmares and spent the night in bed with Mommy and Daddy. I know some of you don’t agree with letting your kids sleep with you but I’m not overly concerned with that.

Tonight, my wife went out to an ECE class and I was in charge of bedtime. This is not an unusual occurrence and I am more than capable of handling my children on my own. It was just one of those nights where I had absolutely nothing to give to anyone.

We played a rousing game of “Jump on Daddy while he lies on the floor”, then we played “Let’s see who notices we’re watching Doc McStuffins reruns”. We closed out the night with story time, which is usually immediately followed by a Canadian Idol style rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.

The only problem with that was that story time took up the little bit of energy I had left. Between that and the countless times I had to ask my son to get back into bed, I was completely drained. I’m not proud of what happened next but I’m only human and I know it’s happened to the best of us.

We got to the Twinkle, Twinkle portion of the evening and instead of the usual Michael Buble-esque performance they are used to, the kids got something that best resembled a performance by Oscar the Grouch, if he had tape over his mouth, and had forgotten the words, and yawned 30 times in the middle….Yeah, just bad.

Funny thing about my mailing in of our nightly tradition though, the kids didn’t seem to notice. If they did they certainly weren’t about to throw tomatoes or eggs at their Dad. This helped prove two things for me:

1. I AM in fact a rock star because I can turn the crappiest mood into solid gold!

2. Your kids will love you even if you aren’t 100% all the time. Plus, they know Daddy will knock it out of the park tomorrow to make up for it!

Cheers!

CDN Spotlight: Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Unveils Blog

Ben Franklin has been quoted as having said, “In the world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” While I don’t want to be the one to disagree with the great Mr. Franklin, I do have one more thing to add to his list of certainties.

That addition would be the certainty that you can trust the caring people at Ottawa’s, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, to take the best possible care of your children while they are there. I speak from personal experience, not only as a father but also as a former patient. The people at CHEO have never been anything but extraordinary each and every time I have had to take my little one’s in there.

Both my children screened for Biotinidase Defficiency at birth, so my wife and I have spent many hours in the Genetics department at CHEO, worrying about the effects it will have on our children. It takes a special kind of person to work in a children’s hospital and it’s evident from our time spent there that all the staff at CHEO have that special something to make parents and children feel at ease.

I’ve been starting to realize lately, that people are actually listening to the things I have say. With this realization came an opportunity to use that voice to do some good and that’s fully what I intend on doing. When I contacted CHEO a month ago to see if I could help out in any way, I was excited to hear that they were starting a blog. I mean, what better way to help that to do for them what I have already been doing for the past 7 months!

They even let me help out with the design of the site by running ideas by me and actually listening to my input, which was a surreal time for me. You’ll see the results of my efforts throughout the site and also on the main banner, as what started as CHEO Moms has now become something that all parents (Dads included) can be proud to be a part of. There are even 3 Dads on the Featured Bloggers list, which is amazing!

Without any further ado, I am proud to present to you, my first post as a member of the CHEO parenting blogger team! I wrote about my CHEO experience as a father and hope you’ll stop by to say hi.

I hope you’ll bookmark CHEO’s new blog as has some amazing writers working on it and promises to be an invaluable resource for parents. I’m so proud to be a part of the CHEO team and can’t wait to read more from everybody involved!

You can access the blog by visiting CheoMoms.com OR CheoDads.com ;D You can also connect with CHEO on Twitter @CheoHospital and on the Main CHEO site.

Cheers!

PTPA Media – Helping Parents Make Informed Decisions

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very proud to announce that I will be working the excellent folks at Parent Tested, Parent Approved (PTPA) over the next couple months, to help bring awareness to all the great work they do.

For those of you who are not familiar with the PTPA, they are an Awards & Media company specializing in finding and promoting the best products and services on the market for parents and their families. The PTPA Seal of Approval is one of Canada’s fastest growing Media companies with the most highly recognized Seal of Approval in the industry.

Speaking of that Seal of Approval, I’m sure you’ve seen it and probably didn’t even realize it! Here’s one picture of the seal and then another of the Seal proudly on display at Indigo Kids.

 

When I first signed up to be a tester over a year ago, I had no idea what the PTPA was all about. Let’s be completely honest though, at the time, I was in it for the free toys… What I’ve found however, is that I am a now a part of something bigger than that. I am a part of the PTPA community as a Blogger, a Tester and now as an Ambassador and the experience has been incredible so far!

Sound like a great community to you? Why not sign up as a Parent Tester yourself? It’s as easy as visiting the PTPA Sign Up Page and filling out the form. PTPA sends out thousands of products, free of charge, to parent testers for them to use in exchange for their honest evaluation about the product. Then you’ll be on your way to helping other parents make informed decisions about the products they are purchasing for their family.

As a Parent Tester, you are helping to decide which products will earn the coveted PTPA Seal of Approval. Now that I’ve been a part of the community for a while, I always look for the Seal before making a purchase and it’s always the deciding factor if I’m torn between two products.

The PTPA Winner’s Circle is a perfect place to start when you are starting your search for a new products. From strollers and internet security to Hot Wheels and eReaders, the Winner’s Circle has something for everybody in your family!

So what are you waiting for?? There are a number of ways to become a part of the PTPA Community. You can follow, interact and win lots of prizes through their Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also follow along with the PTPA Blogaholics (That’s Me!) as we cover everything from product reviews and giveaways to parenting advice and fun conversation.

The most important thing you can do right now though, is to Sign Up as a Parent Tester! Don’t leave your purchasing decisions up to chance, sign up today and YOU will be the authority on what products are right for your family. After you’ve signed up, make sure to fill in your profile to at least the 80% mark and you qualify to start testing!

It’s really as simple as that! The Parent Tested, Parent Approved Seal is the one I trust most in my house and I hope you’ll consider joining our team, so you too can see what all the fuss is about!

Cheers!

NBC’s Guys With Kids: Swing And A Miss

I tried to like it, I really did. I stayed up late. I made my wife miss our nightly Young & The Restless tradition. I even taped it so I could watch it again just in case the kids woke up in between.

Unfortunately for me, NBC’s new show, “Guys With Kids”, was completely and utterly disappointing. I have to admit that I had a preconceived notion about what this show was going to be. My worry was that the Dads in show were going to continue the tradition of portraying fathers as bumbling doofuses who can’t do anything right.

THE ASSESSMENT

As it turns out, I was only half accurate in my premature assessment. I really wanted to laugh at this show and had even convinced myself that I could overlook a little bit of the “dumb dad” stigma in exchange for the serious amount of funny I figured Executive Producer Jimmy Fallon was going to bring to the table.

The only problem with that: It wasn’t funny! Not even a little bit.

I waited and waited for the big time jokes but all I got were recycled clichés and mediocre moments of funny, which were immediately ruined by the over the top laugh track. Seriously, I don’t like laugh tracks in general but this one was completely ridiculous, chiming in at awkward moments with uproarious laughter.

The other problem I had is that my earlier worry about the Dad’s being portrayed as imbeciles turned out to be completely true. The show opens with the three Dads hanging out in a bar with their babies strapped to the chests…This is not what Dads do and in fact, I’d be surprised if this has ever happened outside of the taping of this show.

    THE CHARACTERS

Chris (Jesse Bradford) – Chris is the divorced Dad, who seems normal enough until you find out that he is completely whipped by his ex-wife and mother of their child. He states that he loses every argument about the child to his ex because she ends them all with the line, “He Grew Inside Me”, as she rubs her belly. Not only is this unfunny and clichés but it once again paints the Dad in a weak light.

Gary (Anthony Anderson) – I thought for sure the Stay at Home Dad offered the show a chance at some great Dad moments, but they were lost in the fact that all he does is complain about how awful and time consuming it is to have 4 boys. To be fair in this assessment, his wife, played by Tempestt Bledsoe, seems to have the same attitude towards the children.

Nick (Zach Cregger) – I really have no idea what this character is all about and that is part of the problem. All I could gather is that he’s kind of dumb and will most likely be the “crazy do whatever you want with no regard for wives or kids” guy. Third Strike in the “Guys” Department.

The Kids – Almost non-existent. That’s how I would describe the role of the children in this show. This show could have simply been called, Guys, and it would have been able to keep the same premise. If the show continues, I hope there is a little more interaction between the fathers and the children.

The Wives – As mentioned earlier, Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa Huxtable) plays a mother of 4 kids and has some funny moments. Jamie-Lynn Sigler plays Nick’s wife and didn’t really play a major factor in the episode but there is room for funny between her and clueless Nick. Finally we have Erinn Hayes, who plays Chris’ ex-wife. I don’t know if it’s the writing, the acting or the fact that she is humiliating Bradford’s character the whole episode, but she is my least favourite character by far.

Finally, I will second the motion put forward by one of my Dad Blogging buddies in The Rock Father, when he described the random appearance of NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, saying “his appearance would’ve been far more relevant if it was 1980 and AIRPLANE! had just come out”. I agree sir, and I’ll add that having him fake “Dunking The Baby” was equally as tired.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

I just read this whole thing back before signing off and while it may seem unreasonably harsh, I really did have high hopes for Guys With Kids and was left completely baffled and disappointed with how unsatisfying it was. I also understand the people who say, “Calm down Dad and learn how to take a joke”, I really do, but that would imply the jokes actually making me laugh, which they did not. When you add that to the fact that the Dads are also portrayed in the same bumbling way we always are, it raises my Dad-O-Meter to a high level of alert.

I really like Jimmy Fallon and think he is a comedic genius, which is the main reason why I was so upset with the finished product. It just missed the mark on too many levels for me, so I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board with this one. On second thought, let’s just sweep it under the mat instead and pretend it never happened… Sorry Jimmy, still friends?

Cheers!

**Photo is from Blogo Wogo**

The Curious Case Of The Missing Kit Kat’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of you may not know this about me but I am a detective at heart. Back in the days when I thought reading was awesome and worth my time, I owned and read every single Hardy Boys book there was. That’s right, back then the Hardy Boys consisted of Frank, Joe and I, and we solved a LOT of mysteries together!

(Note: If there are teens or twenty something’s reading this, the Hardy Boys are not characters in the WWE, that is a blatant rip-off of a classic and they have never solved a crime, no matter what Vince McMahon says!)

Back to the mystery at hand, I was recently brought back to my young detective days by a string of incidents at our local Sobeys grocery store. It seems that someone, or even a Mob style faction, has begun an international miniature chocolate peddling ring and have been removing the Kit Kat’s from all of the Schneider’s Lunch Mate containers. I present to you, Exhibit A, above.

My first experience with this was a traumatic one as I had picked up a few for a last minute family picnic. Upon opening my son’s container, I noticed that the aforementioned Kit Kat wasn’t there! As his tears began to flow, I realized that the only solution was to give up mine, which of course stung my taste buds.

I chalked it up to a one time error and picked up a Kit Kat for myself on the way home. Little did I know that this problem was going to rear its ugly head again. Fast Forward to a month later and I grabbed a few more Lunch Mates on sale, because you can never have enough emergency lunches! Now you’d think I would have learned my lesson and checked before cashing out but I was tired from a long day’s work and it slipped my mind.

Sure enough, upon opening my lunch, there it was again! Sausage – Check, Cheese – Check, Crackers – Check, KitKat – ??? No Kit Kat!? What in the world was going on here? I certainly wasn’t about to go back to the grocery store to complain about it, mostly due to laziness. The other side was me picturing a slightly overweight Dad at the grocery store, arguing about a missing mini Kit Kat…Yeah, who to believe?

Once again I let it slide, but my curiosity was peaked as to what was really going on with the missing Kit Kat’s, so I decided to plan a stake out. My plan was to hide out in the meat display, disguised as a giant ham, and then I would be able to catch the culprit in the act! Unfortunately my plan was foiled by a little boy who knew waaay too much about what a ham should look like. I decided to drop the whole investigation and took up my place on the couch to watch my favourite television show, Infomercials. We’ll talk about my love for infomercials at a later date.

After a month or two went by without thinking about it, we had a rushed day and I decided to grab my favourite last minute go-to lunch. Being the genius detective that I am, I decided to check the lunchables before buying this time around and you’ll never guess what I discovered…..Another missing Kit Kat!!! As George W. Bush once said, “Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me….You can’t get fooled again”! I rushed to the cash register with my evidence and waited for the manager to officially put me on the case! Instead I got a, “Oh, that sucks. Go ahead and grab another one” response.

WHAT!?!? “That sucks”? That’s all you’ve got? There is a serial chocolate thief on our hands here and all you have to say is “That Sucks”?! Well I am not about to take this situation lightly and have decided to officially launch my own investigation. It has only been a week but I have narrowed down the list of potential suspects to the following:

1. The Overnight Cleaning Crew – Probably the easiest ones to pin it on, which is the exact reason I am not suspecting them.

2. The Mogwai – The problem with this theory is that based on the store’s hours, the Mogwai would have to be eating them between 10pm and midnight. A short window, as every knows that if the Mogwai ate the chocolate after midnight, it would turn into a Gremlin.

3. The Cereal Crew – As everyone knows from movies like Toy Story and Night At The Museum, after a store closes, the characters all come to life. So I’m left wondering if Lucky the Leprechaun, Tony the Tiger, Snap, Crackle, Pop and company are responsible for this. It would definitely explain things like Cocoa Krispies and Chocolate Lucky Charms!

4. Desperate Parents – This is my #1 suspect. Tell me you haven’t seen a parent or child dip there hand into the bulk candy bins or snacking on an obviously stolen banana from time to time. As a parent myself, I know the urge to do literally whatever it takes to keep those kids happy and chocolate would be just the medicine a screaming child would need. The only catch here is that the “Free Cookie” booth is right around the corner and usually features the much coveted chocolate chip cookie.

So there you have it, my complete list of suspects in the Case of the Missing Kit Kat’s. If you have any information relating to this case, please contact me immediately! And to those who are worried about the future of Mini Chocolates, I promise that I won’t stop until the culprit is apprehended!

Cheers!

***Edit: Due to the Tweet I received from @Sobeys, I would like to point out that while the missing Kit Kat’s portion of this story is true, the story itself is intended as a joke. I am not looking to complain to the corporate HQ of Sobeys, Schneider’s or Gremlins writer Chris Columbus.***

Dad Blogs Exposed! – Dadditudes

 

 

 

 

After a one week vacation, Dad Blogs Exposed is back and better than ever! This week I’ll be featuring a new site for Dad’s that’s taking Canada by Storm.

That site is called Dadditudes and it is the brainchild of Neil Hedley, who I was e-introduced to through a mutual friend. I couldn’t figure out how to accurately describe Neil’s profession, so I’ll copy and paste from his bio and you’ll see why…

“Along the way, Neil’s been an actor, singer, stand-up comic, author of a book that hit #1 in its category on Amazon, World Record holder, and in 2011, was one of the first five speakers announced at Canada’s first-ever 140 Conference.”

How do you narrow that down to one? Oh yeah, he also contributes weekly to Sympatico.ca and also does a weekly feature on CTV here in Canada. On top of all that, he’s actually a really nice guy, not like those other hot head World Record holders! How he had time to come up with Dadditudes is beyond me but it’s quickly becoming one of my favourite hangout spots on the net.

Fittingly enough, Dadditudes was launched on Fathers’ Day 2012 as a magazine, community and resource for men who have better things to think about than the latest raunchy photos of actresses on the beach.

That tag line caught my eye right away and after checking out the site for a couple months, I can say that they totally live up to their word. It’s your one stop shop for everything from movie and music reviews to fatherly issues. Throw in some sports, cars and television talk and they’ve got all the makings of a successful site for men.

With a full staff of 21 writers and counting, you’ll never be lacking for material with Dadditudes. The more I read it, the more it starts to feel like one of my favourite sites, the Yummy Mummy Club, but for men. Much like the YMC however, there is more than enough content for both sexes to enjoy.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes (or hours (or days)) to check out Dadditudes and everything it has to offer. Neil has created the beginning of something very cool here and it’s definitely worth your time! You can also follow them on their Facebook page or head on over and say Hi to both Dadditudes and Neil Hedley on Twitter.

Cheers!!

The Dads Are Invading Pleasantville!

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, maybe not Dads with an “s” and also not really an invasion per se…but I am Guest Posting over at Life In Pleasantville today!

I normally don’t pimp my guest posts on my own blog but I was so excited when local blogging celebrity, Candace, agreed to let me do it, that I had to share it with all of you as well!

On top of her own blog in Pleasantville, Candace is also a featured blogger with the Yummy Mummy Club and a Staff Editor at Child Mode. You can also catch her on her Life In Pleasantville Facebook and Twitter Pages.

Without further ado, here is my guest post in Pleasantville about one of the differences I’ve noticed between Moms and Dads. PS, there’s also a great video of my daughter pushing herself to a new level of crazy!

Thanks again to Candace for allowing me to infiltrate visit in Pleasantville!

Cheers!

My @AdultEssentials Vitamin Challenge Wrap Up! Gummies Anyone?

For the past 2 months, I’ve been taking part in the Adult Essentials Men’s Blog Tour! I have to say, I was a little skeptical about the whole thing because I’ve never really been a vitamin kind of guy. In my original post, I had narrowed it down to poor taste, enormous size or laziness; and while I’d like to say it was a combination of the three, it was definitely laziness.

How am I supposed to remember to take a vitamin every single day when I can barely remember to put the same colour socks on before I leave the house for work!? I can’t lie to you all, it was tough remembering at first. Fortunately, after about a week or two I got into a rhythm and never missed a day from that point on. Here’s where my inner child kicks in. Had the vitamins not been in gummy form, I can assure you that I would have stopped taking them, just like every other time I’ve tried to start a vitamin routine. I know, it felt ridiculous even typing that but I absolutely can not stand chewing on chalky vitamins.

Ok, back to my adult side, I have been a shift worker for the past 3 years. I work a horrible 12 hour shift on a 24/7 rotation which makes sleep and nutrition almost impossible. Anyone who has ever sat in a giant office complex alone at 2am, with a stocked room full of chips, chocolate bars, pop and all kinds of other junk will understand what I’m talking about. It’s difficult to stay on top of things when you can’t control your instincts because of exhaustion.

Well, I’m happy to report that after 2 months of taking the Adult Essentials vitamins, my sleeping has improved dramatically! Given, the vitamins can’t make my kids sleep through the night (Ahem, Deb, please work on this) but my problem was always in the getting to sleep part and that has been a breeze lately.

The other thing I have noticed is that my energy levels have been much higher in the last few weeks. I can’t give the vitamins full credit because I implemented an exercise routine at the same time as I started taking them; but it was due to the challenge that I started exercising, so that should bring it full circle in crediting Adult Essentials for the motivation. I’ve been able to stay awake and alert longer since I’ve begun with the vitamin/exercise combo and my kids and I are the ones reaping the benefits of a more active Daddy!

Look At These Before & After Photos! What An Amazing Transformation!

I think it’s also important to note that I am no vitamin expert and had to do some research on the effects of each type of vitamin I was going to take before doing it. I would suggest you do the same or even talk to your doctor before starting a new regimen. I found the Adult Essentials Nutritional Info page to be very helpful in educating me on what each vitamin is responsible for doing.

In closing, I wanted to take a minute to say Thank You to Deb and Stu Lowther, who are the masterminds behind Adult Essentials and also IronKids Gummies. My dealings with them have been nothing but pleasant and I love following and interacting with them on their social media accounts. They are one of the few companies who understand that the best way to reach your target audience, is to treat them as you would like to be treated and it’s no wonder why they are so respected within the blogging community.

It’s been a blast to have been a part of the Adult Essentials Men’s Blog Tour and I’m pleased to report that they have a new customer and friend in me. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to go check out Adult Essentials on Twitter and Facebook. Think I’m just kissing up to them? Go ahead and start up a conversation with them and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

Well, what are you waiting for? Get out and at least try the vitamins! They’re Gummies that are good for you, People!

Cheers!

I am participating in the Adult Essentials Men’s Blog Tour. I received a supply of vitamins in exchange for my participation in this campaign. Opinions expressed belong to me and are NOT influenced in any way.

Dad Blogs Exposed! – Blogger Father

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back for another week with another great Dad Blogger! Today I’d like to introduce you to Oren Miller, who is otherwise known as Blogger Father!

 Oren has been writing at Blogger Father since the birth of his child in 2007. While his blog started out as a vessel for him to feature other blogging Dads, it is now a place where he shares his sometimes controversial but always interesting thoughts on fatherhood.

In fact, his blog is the reason that I am doing these Dad Blogs Exposed features. That’s right folks, I stole his idea and am now using it as my own! If you have a problem with that, you can take it up with OrenMil@BloggerFather.com because it was his original idea and I can’t be blamed for stealing it!

Anyway, back to Oren. He is one of these guys that isn’t afraid to call it like he sees it when it comes to fatherhood issues and is someone I look up to in that regard. The other thing I like about him, is that he isn’t afraid to admit when he may have jumped the gun. You can see an example of that in his posts about the Amazon Moms Club and his subsequent retraction when he learned of the good deeds they were doing at Amazon. One of the best lessons my father taught me was humility and it’s something I live by.

 As I previously mentioned, one of Oren’s main focuses are his features of other blogging fathers and he’s done a lot of them! You can catch his up to date list of featured Dads, Right Here. With Dad Blogging becoming a little more mainstream, I agree with Oren that it’s important to focus on spreading the good word of fatherhood through the sharing of different works. I’ve learned a lot of being a father through these blogs and have had some great discussions through social media about what it means to be a Dad.

 You can also find Oren writing over at the fatherhood social media site, Life Of Dad. In fact, he has written one of the most popular posts in the site’s brief history, when he wrote about his adventures in turning his backyard from a jungle to a livable space… We’re still trying to figure out if the post got over 170 likes because people love lawn mowing or if it was due to this picture he posted, featuring Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones. This is an ongoing investigation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I encourage you now to go check out Oren’s site at Blogger Father. He is an excellent advocate for fatherhood and we’re lucky to have him in the blogging community! Alternatively, you can find him on Twitter @BloggerFather and also on his Facebook Page.

If you tell him I sent you, you’ll get 10% off your next purchase from the Fruit of the Month club! That’s actually not true, you’ll get nothing in return so please do not Google “Fruit of the Month Club” because I don’t even know if that’s a real thing. Just visit and say hi like you would anyone else and leave my name out of it so he doesn’t know I stole his bit.

That’s it for this week of Dad Blogs Exposed! For a complete list of all my featured Dads, you can click on this off coloured and possible underlined link right here!

Cheers!

The Best Blogging Advice I Ever Received

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that it has been 7 months already since I started Canadian Dad. Truthfully, had this domain name not been available, I probably wouldn’t have started it at all. I’m glad it was!

There’s been tremendous up’s and down’s so far and I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging. Everyone has different opinions on what is acceptable and what is not, some with stronger opinions than others but that comes with the territory. I agree that there are things I see that are off putting but I also understand that as long as you are not breaking the law, it’s your space to do as you see fit with it.

With all the “rules” that float around the blogosphere, there is one piece of advice I have received from two different people now, that has stuck with me. I was lucky enough to latch myself on to an amazing group of Canadian bloggers, where I had the chance to meet Shannon Mischuk of Shasher’s Life fame. I was a little lost about the whole blogging thing, especially with the unwritten rules, when Shannon summed up all I needed to know in two words.

Be Kind

It couldn’t be that easy, could it? What about the content? The review/giveaway debates? The Drama! There had to be more to it than that! People don’t want kindness, they want shock and awe! I’ve found over the past few months that there is a market for all types of personalities in the blogging world and have been working hard to try and carve my niche. I have also been using the advice Shannon gave me as the bar for all my interactions.

Flash Forward to a couple weeks ago and I had the opportunity to go spend a day with Ford Canada. More importantly, I got a chance to meet some of the most influential bloggers in Ottawa. Included in that group was Shannon McKarney, who wears many hats but who I associate with her home blog of Zchamu Dot Com.

Not that I had any preconceived notions of how the other bloggers would treat me but I just assumed as the newbie and only male, that I would have a hard time forcing myself into conversations. These were people who had been around the scene for awhile and most likely didn’t have time to coach a rookie. Well, I could not have been more wrong! Not only were they welcoming but they were very willing to dole out advice from their years of blogging. Shannon said something to me towards the end of the evening that I had previously heard somewhere else.

“The best advice I can give you, is to Be Kind.”

There it was again! I don’t know about you but when two influential people say the exact same thing, I listen. Not that I wasn’t already trying to be my jovial self in my interactions with people but it was definitely reaffirming to hear it from the people I looked up to.

It can be an intimidating experience to put yourself out there to be judged by your peers but I’ve found that the advice I received from the two Shannon’s has been invaluable in connecting with other bloggers and also with brands. Now that I’ve been on the scene for a bit, I’m really noticing that this one trait is actually more valuable than having perfect numbers and endless followers. It sounds fun to be able to sit at the top of the mountain but not if you have to sit there alone and disliked.

All that said, I’d like to thank not only Shannon & Shannon (Not an official Law Firm) for the great advice, but I’d like to thank everyone in the blogging community for being so welcoming and open to sharing their wisdom with me. It has been an amazing experience so far and I’ve only just begun!

I’ve now come to my chance to Pay It Forward in a way. I don’t know if anyone really reads my blog but if you are reading this right now and you are looking for some guidance, the best advice I can offer you is also the best advice I have ever received…

Be Kind.

Cheers!