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How About Another Dose Of #AwesomeDads

After a great response to last week’s Awesome Dads post, I’ve decided to keep it going as long as I keep getting photos submitted. I’m also working on a design for the main photo, so it doesn’t look like I’m implying how awesome I am from week to week, haha.

My goal is to feature Awesome Dads doing awesome things with their kids. Whether it’s hitting the slopes, helping with homework or snuggling them back to health, I want to showcase the changing face of Dad. That said, here are this week’s Awesome Dads!

 

 

Here’s Oren Miller from the blog, Blogger Father. This isn’t the first time he’s appeared on my site and the write up I did on him for Dad Blogs Exposed will tell you more than I could write now. To follow Oren’s journey, you can check him out on his Facebook Page! Thanks, Oren!

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Mike Reynolds from the blog, Puzzling Posts. I don’t really know how else to describe Mike, except to say that he is one of the really great ones. I’m not talking just Dadding here either. He just seems to be a genuinely kind person and I’m happy to have met him and his family. Of note, Mike just single-handedly raised over $1800 for our recent Movember campaign. Not an easy feat. You can catch him on Twitter at @PuzzlingPostDad.

 

 

 

 

This is Kevin, who I only know as @KevinSky on Twitter. The best thing about pictures is that you don’t need to know somebody to appreciate them and I love that Dad and Grandpa are present in this amazingly patriotic shot.

 

 

 

 

Here is a photo of Chris, helping his daughter learn how to swim. This one strikes a chord for me because it’s one of my favourite things to do with my kids. It’s great when you can capture pride in a picture!

 

 

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least, meet Ryan Sanders from The National Fatherhood Initiative. This photo has me missing our Expos and even more so because he’s cheering for the team that they left for. Ryan has also been kind enough to offer me a guest post on his blog and I’m grateful for the opportunity. You can also follow him on their Facebook Page.

That’s it for this week! Thanks to all the Dads and wives who submitted pictures. They were all great! If you’d like to submit your great Dad pics, please send them to chris@canadiandad.com, along with their name and a link, if any, to your site. Til we meet again!

Cheers!

Who’s The Best? The Company That Made These Coffee Lids, That’s Who!

I got to spend some Daddy time with the kids this week and we decided to go to our favourite local coffee shop, the Sippy Cup Cafe, to hang out. This particular shop is cool because one half is a fancier coffee shop and the other is a children’s play area. The kids love it and the staff and owner are great, so it’s a win-win for us.

This week, there was something different about the coffee cup lids. The employees had handwritten different positive messages on every single coffee lid and while it took me a few minutes to fully appreciate it, I really liked the small touch and good vibe it added to my day. As you can see above, my cup was obviously a “meant to be” situation.

It’s tough for small shops like this to differentiate themselves, but these guys impressed me on this day by offering something that the others don’t; a personal touch. It just goes to show that you don’t always have to break the bank to impress people. Sometimes, just adding a laugh to someone’s day is enough.

Keep Up The Great Work, Sippy Cup Cafe!

Cheers!

Forget Dad Fail; Here Is Some Dad Awesomeness! #AwesomeDads

I got slightly annoyed this week, after seeing two separate posts featuring photo slideshows with the tagline of DadFail. I won’t link to them but I assure you, they are out there and the pictures were a complete misrepresentation of what I’m guessing in 98% of the Dad population.

I thought it would be a fun idea to counter that post with some pictures of the Dads I associate with, doing the things that real Dads do with their children. I’m sure it won’t get even 1% of the hits those other posts got but it’s a start. We’re certainly not perfect but we are definitely not failures. I put a call out for photos and received so many that this could become a weekly feature.

 

 

This is another Canadian Dad blogger, James from EduDad and also from the Dads Round Table. You can catch him on Twitter at @SaskaDad. He’s a good dude and a great Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Trent Hamilton, who blogs over at Green Eggs & Hamiltons and also at Life of Dad. Don’t be afraid to hit him up on twitter at @mrThamilton. He is a perfect example of the changing face of fatherhood today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Spencer Warren and his daughter at last year’s Ottawa Children’s Gala, which he also organizes. It’s an excellent event, for kids too, which raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s ‘Plan It Safe’ Program. He is a really good person and has committed a lot of his time to helping kids in my community. You can follow him at @CharityForCHEO on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

This is Daddy Nickell from the website Daddy Scrubs. It’s actually a very cool website and I encourage you to check it out. You can also catch up with him on the Daddy Scrubs Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about a Dad who doesn’t blog? They are the majority after all! Here is a cool shot of Darryl hanging with his kids out in the wilderness. I’m willing to excuse the Penguins hat here because of the amazing setting and the giant smiles!

 

 

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least, we have Mark Buell from my hometown of Ottawa. Hard to believe we are back to tobogganing season already! You can find Mark writing things at, A Semitone Higher and on Twitter @MeBuell.

 

 

That’s all for this week’s Untitled Dad Awesomeness Feature! I hope enjoyed it as much as I did putting it all together. I’m hoping to keep it going but I’ll need your help. You can do so by sending me your cool, Dad pictures, of you and your kids spending quality time together. You can send them to me on Twitter at @CanadianDadBlog, via my Facebook Page, or email them to me at chris@canadiandad.com. Have a great week!

Cheers!

Our Elf On The Shelf Is Back! Say Hello To Zerby

We started our family’s Elf on the Shelf tradition last year and the kids really got into it, so we’re welcoming the Elf back to our shelves again this Christmas season! I’d like to introduce you to, Zerby!

Sure, he sounds like something out of a 1970’s science fiction movie, but I can assure you that he is the coolest Elf you will ever meet. Plus, Zerby is easy to remember and is way better than having to repeat Princess Fluffy Muffins or Pinky Sparkles McStrawberry the Third!

Zerb’s and I spent most of last night catching up with each other after a long 11 month break and he had me in stitches all night long. Of course, that could also have been the Rye… Either way, it was good to have him back and I know the kids will be excited to see him in the house.

We started with just the Elf last year and although the kids enjoyed having him change places every night, it didn’t really hit full stride until we saw the Elf on the Shelf movie on TV. Since that day, there has been even more excitement over his arrival, as it gives him a back story that the kids can draw from.

In the interest of getting the full effect of the Elf’s presence, I suggest that you go out and get the DVD. It has been so much fun watching the kids’ excitement over it. For those of you in Ottawa, I picked mine up for $10 at Tag Along Toys in Kanata, or you could try to catch it when it airs on TV, but I find it’s always nicer to have the hard copy.

Well, that’s it for me and Zerby! I hope you’ll keep checking in on our crazy Dad and Elf adventures this year, as we have a lot in store for you!

Cheers!

There Were Two In The Bed And The Little One Said, Roll Over!

Alright, I’m not sure I can keep this bottled up anymore. I am a human being and I need sleep. Not a couple hours here or there, but a whole night’s sleep!

Since my first child was born, four and a half years ago, I think I have had about 20 good sleeps. I’m sure you can do the math on that one. I’m talking about going to bed and not waking up until my alarm says it’s time to wake up, sleeps. Although I know it isn’t true, it feels as though my children have set out to take turns waking up from one night to the next.

There’s really no rhyme or reason to it either. My son would wake with night terrors, even though we are very strict about what the kids watch on TV. My daughter seems to just wake up screaming for no reason, and then falls right back to sleep. As you parents know, even the act of waking up from your sleep for 3 seconds can severely hamper your mood the next day.

We’ve tried what feels like a thousand different ways to help them sleep and so far we haven’t had much luck. My son seems to sleep through the night more and more as he gets older but my daughter has started coming into our room at least once a week, wanting to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.

I’m not someone who can turn down a sad child, so we allow it but it means almost zero sleep for Mommy and Daddy; which also means more friction between Mommy, Daddy and the kids. My wife and I have discussed me going into my daughter’s room to sleep but that solution seems unfair to me, considering my wife runs a daycare, which I consider to be one of the toughest jobs in the world.

As you can imagine, four and a half years is a long time to go with minimal sleep and I can start to feel it catching up to me. I tend to be irritated a lot more than I used to be. I snap at the kids at times, without putting much thought into why. By the time 6 o’clock rolls around, I am basically ready to check out for the day and it’s a terrible feeling to know that I am letting my family down.

So I turn to you, my good readers, to ask if you have any sleep tips to pass along. My daughter is 2 and a half, won’t nap anymore and is generally a disaster by the time supper is done. With a daycare running out of the house, forcing her to try a nap isn’t an option as she’d keep all the other kids up.

Thoughts??

Cheers!

Are We Raising Unhealthy Kids? How Parents Can Turn This Trend Around

I would like to welcome Deb Lowther from Adult Essentials vitamins to the blog today, to discuss the important issue of raising healthy children. Thanks, Deb!

We hear it on the news and read about it in the newspaper, the obesity rate in kids is growing, leaving them at risk for serious health problems now and as adults. As parents, it raises a lot of concerns. How can we turn this alarming trend around? How do we raise healthy kids?

It’s proven that parents who are committed to their own healthy, active lifestyle raise healthy, active kids. Our own family participates in multiple sports – from my husband who swims and cycles to myself who runs and goes to the gym to our kids who dance, ski and do triathlons. It’s an integral part of our lifestyle as a family.

So what’s the difference between our family and all these other families whose kids are at risk? What are we doing differently than other families? The difference is commitment and effort. . . . from the parents.

Commitment to Staying Active

It takes a commitment to staying active, and effort to teach kids to ride bikes, play hockey, swim, do gymnastics. It takes effort to make the time for them to play or practice, to drive them, to organize games, to get outdoors with them and have active play dates.

It also takes parents modeling an active lifestyle. Parents need to plan active family time, not just family time. Go for a skate, a bike ride, a jog, a hike as a family. Be active yourself. Active parents have a better chance of raising active kids and active families are healthy families.

 

Commitment to Healthier Foods

It’s about more than just taking vitamins, it takes a commitment to eating healthy and an effort to make your kids healthy snacks. Starting with stocking the fridge with healthy fruits and passing up the convenient processed foods at the grocery store.

I know we are all busy and it’s so tempting when it’s right there to just skip the effort this one time. It takes two second to purchase the pre-made cereal and marshmallow snacks at the store and 10 minutes to make them at home. Is the extra 8 minutes worth your kids eating the artificial chemicals and dyes found in most of these packaged snacks?

It’s one thing to see all these brightly coloured convenient snacks with familiar cartoon characters begging children’s attention on grocery store shelves, its another to see a child after child with a lunch box completely full of processed food.

Today, kids are going to school with lunches made entirely of prepackaged convenience foods. Too often their lunches consist of a cello bag of chips, a plastic tube of yogurt, a packaged soft cookies, a wrapped tray of meat, cheese and crackers and a can of soda. Most of these children are too young to have packed that lunch on their own or to be responsible for making their own healthy choices.

As parents it takes our commitment to not buy so many packaged foods and to take the time every couple of weeks to make healthy snacks that can be stored in the freezer and popped in lunch boxes on school mornings.

Parents have the opportunity to teach their children about healthy food choices and healthy activity choices. Show your kids that exercise, staying active, eating fruits, vegetables and homemade foods is a commitment to a healthy lifestyle that your family is willing to make.

We have so much opportunity to teach them healthy habits that will last a lifetime. As parents, we certainly do influence what our children eat and how they stay active when they are young. Are you raising healthy kids?

BIO: Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails! She blogs about Raising Healthy Kids and ensures her own have fun while eating healthy & staying active. You can visit her websites to learn more www.iron-kids.com & www.adultgummies.com

The First Cut Is The Deepest

It happened already and I have no idea how I’m supposed to react to it.

My son came home from his 12th day of Junior Kindergarten with a huge scar above his eye. When I asked him what happened, he got oddly shy and replied, “I don’t know”. This response isn’t uncommon from kids but in this case, it was a frustrating experience.

I prodded him a few more times to try to get any bit of information I could get. Eventually he said that one of the other boys in the playground pushed him down and he landed on his face. How am I supposed to react here? My first thought was obviously anger. I don’t know who I was angry at though. The other boy for pushing my little guy, the school for not noticing or even my son for not saying anything after it happened.

My next revelation was that boys are usually pretty rough with each other on the playground. I mean, I used to be one and I know exactly the types of games that get played there. In fact, I’ve even stayed around after dropping him off and witnessed firsthand, the high speed games of tag and “got your hat” that they play with each other. They all seem to be smiling and happy, even as they get thrown to the ground; but you can’t help but cringe and wonder if some outside intervention is necessary.

That’s where the hard part begins. I am new at the whole “kid going to school” thing and have no idea what the proper etiquette is in these situations. Has this been going on for years and I’m the guy overreacting on the inside? Should I ask the teachers to keep a closer eye on the playground activities and stop violent games before they start? Or would that be overstepping my boundaries in the parent- teacher relationship?

My son is hardly innocent in all of this by the way. I see him running around and grabbing at kids sweaters and hats as well but once you drop them inside that gate, you are on the outside looking in. As it turns out, he was even less innocent when he later admitted that instead of being pushed, he actually ran into the other boy while they were all running and both kids went down. After confirming this story with the other child’s parents, what I am supposed to do as his father?

I had a talk with him, being careful to explain why it’s important that he not lie about things like this. As any parent of a 4 year old knows, it’s hard to judge how they are processing the information, because they are constantly looking for any place to be but immersed in a discussion about rules with their parents. I just have to hope he understands and then make sure I stay on top of it.

In the end, I most likely overreacted to the situation but that is MY little boy coming home with scars on his face. The thought of him getting hurt and for the first time and not having Mom or Dad there to make it better, leaves a little sting in my heart. With bullying being the hot topic issue it is these days, it’s hard not to jump to that conclusion immediately.

I want to know what you do when your kids come home from school with unexplained injuries. Do you have a “boys will be boys” attitude? Do you rationally attempt to get to the bottom of it; Or do you straight up freak out and call the cops?!

Cheers!

**This post originally appeared on the CHEO Moms&Dads Blog on October 24th**

Apparently, My Helicopter Blades Are Still Attached

I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back parent. Not in an “I don’t care what my kids do” kind of way, but I’m definitely willing to let them explore the world and learn on their own.

I have to admit, I’ve even chuckled to myself at times while watching parents’ who follow their kids around the playground, petrified at every turn! That was until this weekend, when a neighbour mentioned something that shook me to my core!

Our kids were playing on a backyard seesaw, while I inconspicuously watched from the street…At one point, I noticed my son wandering dangerously close to the “see” portion of the seesaw and couldn’t help but yell out, “Hey, stay away from the ends while people are on that thing!” I didn’t even notice I had said it. I also didn’t notice that I had now crept across the lawn and found myself standing a foot away from the backyard gate.

After a few more nervous sighs, my neighbour exclaimed, “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine”, and I stopped dead in my tracks! It was official, in that moment; I had become the very thing I was laughing at in the playground! I laughed it off with her but in my head I had a totally different reaction.

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!”

You see, it was easy to keep an eye on them at the park. A lot of times I would even join them on the structures, not to hold their hands, but because I really like playing at the park and it makes me feel young. My son is now at an age where he is going over to other kids’ houses to play, without me, and that has started to conjure up some of the old anxieties that I thought I had rid myself of.

As it turns out, I am no different than any other parent out there. As I watched my son’s butt go flying a foot off the seesaw’s metal seat, I had a feeling of unease in knowing that the only thing I could do to save him from imminent disaster, was to tell him to get off of that deathtrap! I didn’t do that but it was definitely a struggle I had within the confines of my gigantic brain.

In the end, it was absolutely an eye opening and humbling experience and one that I won’t soon forget. In my battle for fatherly world dominance, I was knocked down a few pegs this day and have succumbed to the realization that while I want my kids to pave their own way in this world, it doesn’t mean I’m going to turn a blind eye to the path they choose.

Chopper on, folks! Chopper on!

Cheers!

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!