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Parents, How Often Has THIS Happened To You?


Parents, how often has THIS happened to you?

I came into my oldest son’s bedroom this morning and on his night table was not one, but 2 tubes of toothpaste.

He was still sleeping.

I had to ask, so I tapped him on the shoulder.

“Good morning Linus!” I said.

“Hi Daddy”, was his cheery reply.

“Why are there 2 tubes of toothpaste on your night table?” I asked, without judgement.

“For the commercial!” he replied.

“Oh” I said as I thought better of asking more questions. “You can sleep more if you would like”.

“Thanks Daddy”.

CBC Canada Writes Feature: The Urban Daddy. Bringing the modern dad to the blogosphere


While away on vacation with the family, this article was posted on the CBC website, under the Canada Writes section. It was written by Jennifer Warren, who is an amazing writer and she took my words, my thoughts and my ramblings and turned them into gold. For that I will always be grateful.

The link to the original article is right here; http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2014/08/bringing-the-modern-dad-to-the-blogosphere.html

The article on me, The Urban Daddy, and my business, inTAXicating Tax Services and is below;

“Bringing the Modern Dad to the Blogosphere:

By day, Warren Orlans is a mild-mannered tax consultant, shoehorning in time to be a hands-on dad to his three young children and to helm an impressive backyard vegetable garden. But by night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m., to be exact) he morphs into The Urban Daddy, blogging on everything from why a child whose age is less than your shoe size feels the constant need to correct you to the parenting situation that leads you to eat a nibbled, warm banana.

As part of our Canada Blogs series on great Canadian blogs, we chatted with Warren about handling your private blog going public, falling asleep mid-post and why daddy bloggers may be coming out of the woodwork.

Warren Orlans, aka, The Urban Daddy with children

When and why did you start The Urban Daddy?

I started The Urban Daddy in 2004, just before my first son was born. I wanted to keep a diary of my wife’s pregnancy, what it was like being a father for the first time, and other related, or non-related, events that caught my attention at that time. The blog was kept private for four years until a colleague caught wind of it and it became very public.

I also started writing The Urban Daddy to work on my grammar and punctuation, which were not strong points for me in school. I have come a LONG way from my earlier posts, and the few who followed me from post #1 through post #1,000 have commented on the huge difference in my writing.

You’re a very hands-on dad. What kinds of reactions do you get from people about this? Do you find there’s still some bias towards dads being so involved in parenting?

I am as hands on as I can be because I love being a dad, and I want to spend more time with my kids than my father was able to. I know life can be very short—my dad passed away at the age of 62, so he was at our wedding but did not get to see any of my children. I do not want my children to not have had the opportunity to know me, to learn from me and to be taught some of the wonderful traits that were passed on to my from my mother: respect, consequences of actions, and that others are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes it’s best to listen, smile and not say anything.

I also see many other dads hanging around their kids’ classes, at least in my community. I see it more and more. I don’t judge those who can or cannot be there—we all have choices to make—and I do not feel that there are people judging me for being there as often as I am. Or maybe I just convince myself that anyone judging me must be thinking how successful I am that I have the free time to participate in my kids’ lives so much.


There are a lot of “mommy” blogs out there, but not so many “daddy” blogs. Why do you think this is?

I usually do not mention my blogging because I long felt that I was a “fraud” by blogging standards, being a “daddy blogger.” Early on I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends (all new dads as well) and one father said, “I think people who blog are narcissistic and do so only to brag about themselves.” From that point on, I kept it to myself.

Nowadays, especially after being featured in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living, I don’t hide anything. It’s what I like to do no matter what anyone thinks.

I do have mothers coming up to me and asking me if I blog, and the reaction from them is usually one of surprise and support. I get a lot of positive feedback from mothers and from involved dads, who by choice or necessity are more involved than dads who leave for work before their kids wake up and who return home after the kids are in bed.

You tell a lot of personal stories about your wife and family. Where do you draw the line in what you do and don’t write about?

When my blog was hidden, I had no boundaries, until one day a colleague at the government asked a very personal question that they would have only known to ask through my blog. From that point on, I treat each and every post as if it were very public and I think about how my kids would feel as adults reading it. Would they want me talking about embarrassing things, or just telling stories and highlighting milestones?

How does your family feel about your blog?

My family likes the blogging—some more than others—because I relay stories about my children that I’ve sometimes forgotten to tell them. I also do not air dirty laundry on my blog, so there are very few posts where I am venting about my family.

I think they are amazed at the attention The Urban Daddy has been getting over the past few years more than anything. I have never seen myself as a writer, and I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read and comment on posts because there are so many other things they could be doing, but they are reading my ramblings, and I appreciate it.

You have another blog, inTAXicating. What’s the story of this blog?

InTAXicating came to me while I was working in the government and learning about how the Internet would help the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) collect money and educate taxpayers. As I progressed through collections, I was a Resource Officer for five years and that role was very technical, requiring me to understand and interpret the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act. In order to get the level of understanding of legislation, I started re-writing the text into “English” and posting that on my blog.

Warren face 2012

 

So you have a day job, two blogs, and three kids. How exactly do you find time for all of this?

I don’t. Having my own business has made blogging as The Urban Daddy very difficult, and I have almost 200 posts sitting in my draft folder, in need of a good review. Prior to that I would generally blog from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and I would schedule my posts to come out during the course of the week. When my first son was born, I was doing my MBA online and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. was my time to work once everyone went to sleep, so I maintained that time as my time to get posts written.

Now I find I have so much work to do for my business that I spend time working on that instead of the blogging. But it changes, and sometimes I get extra time to bang out a post or two.

I’ve started going back to edit old posts, and I’ve found some where I clearly fell asleep in the middle of typing but posted them anyway. It’s a great reminder of my exhaustion back then.

What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?

Do not get discouraged and do not write for others. Write for yourself first and try not to fret when only one or two readers come by your blog in a day, week or month. It takes time to build up a following. Reply to comments, follow other blogs, read them if you have the time and figure out what you want from your blog.

If you want to win awards, get hundreds of thousands of followers and use it to step up to a more prolific role, then stick to a topic or theme and write about it, and it only.

If you want your blog to be a journal to look at as your kids get older or to record things you might need, then write for the love of writing. If more comes of it, just say thank you and continue doing what you love doing.

All images courtesy of Warren Orlans and The Urban Daddy.”

•Check out The Urban Daddy »

Visit inTAXicating Blog

Head over to the CBC Canada Writes Site to discover more great Canadian blogs »  Please.

Stewie Writes! The Adventures of Stewie and Boo: Lunch for Lions.


My 7-year-old son has decided that he wants to get “published” and fast! He’s started writing some stories for me to post on my blog so that he can work on his stories for his book. I have not edited it in any way. He actually wrote it into a word document which I pasted here.

Here is another one of his short stories. He is Stewie. His protégé and 4-year-old sister is Boo.
2 lions

Once upon a time there were 2 children in the house named Boo and Stewie.

One day when they were walking in the rainy jungle they saw a hungry lion, so they SCREAMED for help but no one came, so they ran away from the lion as fast as possible.

As they were running away from the lion as fast as they could, they saw a house where they thought they could be safe from the lion. As they got closer to the house they realized it looked to be haunted, but they did not want to be lunch for the lion so they ran right into the house.

When they were inside the house they immediately saw a ghost. They asked the ghost, “what is your name?” The ghost said my name is Spooooooooooooooooky and they wanted to talk more to the ghost, but Boo said “the lion is coming in 20 seconds; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20. Oh no. He’s here. Run everybody!”

So they all ran away from the lion, but the ghost stopped because it did not need to run. It is a ghost. The ghost flew up in the air which confused the lion.

The lion was very hungry and wanted to eat Boo and Stewie for lunch but now they were gone and all the lion saw was a ghost and the ghost was not running away. The lion wondered why. Was the lion going to have a yummy ghost lunch or maybe the ghost was not running because the ghost was not scared of the lion, which made the lion worried, because everybody runs away from him.

But instead of chasing Boo and Stewie, the lion decided to eat the ghost.

Silly lion.

You cannot eat ghosts.

Blogging Tips – Learn What Brings People To Your Blog: Life’s a Jouney. My blog is a Destination!


My immediate response to the question, “How do you get readers to come to your blog?” is “I don’t know!” And I really did not know, because I was too busy / interested in writing for myself and for my family than worrying about what I should write for everyone else. Back in the day, no matter what I wrote, or how I wrote it, I still maintained a very low repeat rate of readers.

I didn’t blame them either.

But as I started to look more closely at the posts which attract the most attention and those who take the time to comment – see what they are commenting on – I came to the same conclusion. After looking back through almost 1100 blog posts here at The Urban Daddy, the statistics tell me that my blog is a destination, not a journey. What I mean is that visitors regularly come here for a specific post, thought, idea or opinion, and not as part of their daily “must read” routine.

I’m okay with that.

And you should be too, if you see the same pattern while looking through your blog stats.

At least people come, right?

Every day or so I look at my blog stats to see how people get here and where they come from. I am not overly concerned with what they do when they get here, but it helps to see if traffic is coming from somewhere other than the main social media sites where I am linked to, such as my Twitter feed, Facebook page, Google + profile or directly here through a reader.

My views and unique views have more than tripled over the past year to year and a half, and regularly people will comment to me that they have read / read my blog and that they enjoy it. It still humbles me, to be honest, and in the back of my mind, I wonder what else could they possibly say?

“Hey man, I read your blog and it sucks. It’s terrible!”

Only once, so far (at least to my face).

I liken this exchange to one someone would have when seeing an ugly baby (yes, some do exist). Would you lie and say, “Aww, what a cute baby” or would you instead be truthful and just not comment on the baby’s looks and say something like, “Aww, what beautiful eyes he/she has.”

A friend of mine once came to my defense at a Dad’s wing night when he said that he likes reading my blog (and I appreciate it, I really do) and then he listed several posts over the years which he felt connected with him. I sat back and listened as someone else at the table said he occasionally reads my blog – but only when he has nothing else to read. I’m good with that too. It’s direct, and honest, and I prefer honesty over a generic “I love your blog” comment because it puzzles me to think that so many people could even care about the things I write about. I know, it’s me, not you.

This is exactly how you should be handling your blog, no matter how big or small, or how you feel about it. Take the compliment, know that you can do better, and do it. Trust me when I say that if you go offside on your blog, you will hear about it right away!

Now, back to my point…

More than half of my daily readers come from search engines. They come here as a destination via a search for something quite specific, and usually have nothing to do with being a Daddy blogger. The majority of that traffic comes to learn about Captain Lou Albano, the McRib, Rob Ford, The Starbucks secret menu in the Philippines, the Canadian Live-in Caregiver program and other non-daddy related stuff like that. If I ignored this information and continued to write about my kids and my family only, I would have a wonderful memory for when I’m older, but no one would see it. At least this way, I get some feedback on issues relating to parenting or politics, and I can be a little adventurous and learn for other people’s thoughts, opinions and comments.

So really, life may be a journey, but my blog’s a destination. Don’t be worried if yours is as well. Enjoy it and keep writing!

Dimensions-178

Canada’s Wonderland: DIMENSIONS – a Cirque Experience Preview.


An Urban Daddy exclusive peek into Canada Wonderland’s new show, DIMENSIONS – A Cirque Experience by Senior Event Correspondent Ryan Starkman.

 

Here I am reporting from Canada’s Wonderland on June 20th, 2014. A beautiful sunny day has us readying for a bit of a cool down and we are awaiting entrance into the Wonderland Theatre for a sneak preview of DIMENSIONS – A Cirque Experience.

Having just met Jill Aitchison (Digital Community & Events Specialist at Canada’s Wonderland), we were warmly greeted and entered the cozy 800 seat Wonderland theatre excited and ready to be entertained.

First come first serve seating gave us, the early birds, a chance to catch the worm so to speak. Sightlines from the middle two sections are good. As you move to the left or right flanks of the theatre, the angles are noticeable but still appropriate enough to view.

The theatre only runs 19 rows deep so you’re never really too far back and the first 3 rows have your eye level just below the stage. We decided to sit in the 4th row right off the centre aisle. About 20 minutes prior to showtime, a pair of theatrical veterans entertained the audience in Cirque-like fashion. For those that don’t know what this means, it just means you want to be seated by the time the pre-show begins.

Without introducing any spoilers as to the various acts, this is a fantastic 25 minute performance and the perfect way to break away from the bustle of the outside theme park. Having seen just about every show Wonderland has to offer the past 20+ something years, this ranks right up as one of the best.

The show keeps you entertained from start to finish with not a weak act in the bunch. Some comedic interludes help lighten this high energy performance. The skilled acrobats and performers are world class with the majority coming from Canada.

About 25% of the cast come from outside Canadian borders hailing from countries around the world including the United States and Cambodia.

The production company behind DIMENSIONS is Les Productions Haut-vol which stems from the collaborative efforts of Quebec natives Joel Norton and Hugues Aubrey. This masterful pair have an extensive background in performance and have brought to Canada’s Wonderland an amazing program.

Prior to the show beginning, I asked my 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter if they were excited to see the show. The nod of approval was given. Upon its conclusion, my son wanted to see it immediately again, especially one act in particular he thought was really cool. My daughter was nervous for the performers as some of the acts were quite thrilling but said she wanted to come back another day.

And the best part about that comment is with us being season pass holders, we definitely would.

In terms of ways to spend your time at Canada’s Wonderland, this show should rank as one of the best in terms of time invested vs. entertainment value. Having been to the park since 1981 and waiting in lines for rides, some longer than I ever want to think about again, DIMENSIONS will not disappoint. You get a Cirque Experience for 30 minutes that costs nothing more than your time.

This is a no brainer if you like that type of thing and just another way that Canada’s Wonderland is bringing new DIMENSIONS to overall park entertainment.