daddy

2014 Toronto Modern Home Tour Rolls Back Into Town, June 7th, 2014 + Giveaway


Have you ever seen a brand new home that was different and you knew that you had to get inside and check it out?  I know I have, and that was the main reason why I posted some information last year on the Modern Home Tour when it came to Toronto, and offered tickets to my readership.

The show is back in town, information can be found here; http://modernhometours.com/event/toronto/ and I have a complimentary wristband for someone (+1) to attend the event.

The Modern Home Tours give people a chance to explore and view some of the greatest examples of modern architecture right in their own city via self-guided driving tour, while local architects get a day in the spotlight.

Six homes throughout Toronto have been accepted and confirmed for the tour. They include:

• Artist Charles Pachter’s home, studio, and galleries –Pachter Hall and Moose Factory– in Toronto’s Chinatown district. The home and studio buildings were designed by Teeple Architects and built in 2005, and have won the Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence, a Plachta Award, and the Design Exchange Award.

• The “Driveway House,” designed by Spaces by Rohan, which is a small home in Little Portugal built entirely in a space that was previously a driveway for two cars that features radiant floors, interior walls of glass, roof-top cedar deck/patio, and 95% LED-based lighting inside.

• A new three-story, single-family house, designed by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited and built on a typical long and narrow Victorian lot near Dovercourt Park, that presents a solid and stately front façade utilizing traditional Toronto red masonry, but impresses visitors with its surprisingly light and airy interior.

• A modern renovation and addition, by LineBox Studio, to an existing residence in Swansea originally built in the 1920’s that focuses on maintaining a balance between old and new, while adopting a green building design in sustainable matter

• One of Toronto’s “Tiny Town” mini-homes (just 566 sq. ft.), designed by LineBox Studio, that embodies a “hard loft” style with an industrial aesthetic and flexible floor plan, which creates an open and spacious feel in the home, despite the small footprint.

• The “Linear House” in the East York neighbourhood, designed by Nano Design Build Inc., that is considered to be the epitome of super-modern geometric linear design, featuring continuous, clean lines that define the space throughout, creating harmony, flow and balance.

In addition to the homes featured on the tour, attendees can visit the tour’s designated ‘rest stop’: the STACKLAB showroom (http://stacklab.ca), a Toronto-based multidisciplinary design and fabrication studio, led by Jeff Forrest. Complimentary refreshments will be served and tourgoers can browse some astounding examples of modern furniture.

Art City in St. James Town (http://artcitytoronto.ca/v2) has joined the tour as the local non-profit partner. They will help staff the event and use the tour as a fundraising vehicle.

Full details for the tour, plus an always-current roster of homes with photos and details can be found here on the event page: http://modernhometours.com/event/toronto.

If you want to be in the running for a wristband, please like and share this post on a blog, through Facebook or Twitter and you can use the blog URL, or my Facebook page or Twitter page to share.

Act fast, as the event is this weekend!

It Can Be Very Stressful To Be a 4-Year-Old Girl!


My boys will be experiencing sleep away camp this summer. When I was young I remember my mother asking me, and me providing an anxiety-ridden reply that had 2-letters, a “N” and a “O”.

In hindsight, I should have gone, or they should have forced me. Instead, by 14-years-old I was working in the summers and the rest shall we say is history.

So I want my kids to try sleep-over camp, meet new and interesting people (boring ones too, to be honest) and determine on their own if they want to go next year or not.

My 9-year-old has already asked if he can stay for the month if he wants.

I think what helps with the transition is the fact that we’ve been getting them ready for this for the better part of 5-months, from talking about it, to getting them new clothes and items for camp.

So how does all of this relate to the 4-year-old?

This was the morning conversation about camp;

Boo: “My brothers are going to camp?”

Me: “Yes!”

Boo: “They will be sleeping there?”

Me: “Yes!”

Boo: “I will be going to the same camp?”

Me: “No. They will be away at camp, then when they come back they will go to the same camp as you.”

Boo: “I will be coming home from camp every day… On the bus?”

Me: “Yes”.

Boo: “So my brothers will be at camp. They will sleep there, and then they will come back and we will all go to camp together? I will not sleep at camp, but I will come home and sleep at home?”

Me: “Yes! That is exactly what will happen.”

Boo: “GREAT! Whew. I need a break…”

When Did They Get To Be So Big. So Devious!


The other night I fell asleep on the couch. Again. Not surprising either, since it’s tax season, I’m super-busy up late working away (not complaining!) and with a steady flow of children who want to see/talk to/sleep with mummy, I wouldn’t be sleeping anyways.

At some point in the night – I think between 1am and 4am – I dozed off, with the TV on, and my laptop still on my lap when one of my children came downstairs, grabbed my iPhone, logged in using my password, snapped a picture of me and then sent it to my sister via text or BBM.

Of course, the next day they all denied it.

I would never have known had my sister not sent me the picture back.

Time for better passwords!

Or an electric fence.

#Parenting
#WatchYourBack

Daddy, I Don’t Want To Hold Your Hand…


Well, it took only 4-years for this moment to arrive and I was not prepared for it, but walking my daughter to school she saw a teacher and a couple of her friends and she let go of my hand.

“Take my hand.” I said.

“I don’t want to hold your hand, daddy” was her reply.

“Oh.  Is it because your friends might see?”

“I just don’t”, she said.

I’m not going to force her to do anything she does not want to do.  She’s getting to be a big girl, so I walked beside her to the school doors, squatted down beside her, gave her a big hug and said, “I love you.”

 

Hmmmm…

 

Not ready for that moment, I have to say.

I remember when my oldest boy did that to me the first time.  I protested, and said, “Fine, just give me a hug.”

In front of his friends he refused to, so in a loud voice and a smile on my face – looking at his friends – I said, “Bye sweetheart.  I love you!” and I have him the biggest kiss possible.

We all laughed.

 

Walking home from school, my 2 youngest ran ahead, and I told this story to my oldest.

He said to me; “I’ll hold your hand, daddy”.

… and that was how we walked home.

 

 

Parenting Frustration 101: Paralysis by Analysis


Being a father of three children is a lot of work.

Work that I love to do more than anything else in the world, but with this work comes the real hard work or the hidden work that gets little recognition, is not discussed at birthday parties between dads, nor does this work get or deserve high-fives among the dads at swim class.

The work I’m referring to is being consistent.

As parents we want our kids to be safe, and felt loved and supported and all that stuff, but if we don’t teach our children the right way to treat others and if we don’t set them up to be able to take care of their own affairs, then what are we doing for our kids besides providing food, shelter and love?

As the “helicopter generation” hovering over our children to keep them free from harm and protect them from a wanton stare from little Suzie or a mean word from little Billy, we do our kids no favours at all stuck to their sides.  We tell them to say please and thank you, and we correct them on everything they do that does not meet our approval but do they remember what we tell them?  If they did, why would we have to do it over and over again, so it seems, or why does someone in their class calling them silly crush them, but us telling them they behave poorly does not?

It’s because they hear our voices and they tune out.  No one wants to be corrected constantly, nor do they want to feel unloved, or disliked, so if our kids are in an environment where they feel any of these things, then we have to step up and act.  Not talk the talk, but walk the walk.

In The Urban Daddy household, we teach our children to stand up for themselves – without violence and without having to tell the teacher – to make sure that they are able to handle a situation now, in later grades, in business and in life. They don’t have to be mean, or demanding – they should try to be nice and use please and thank you, but they certainly do not have to take someone else’s bullshit or be picked on for no reason at all.  I believe we call this bullying.

Our kids have to be organized, and be part of a routine at school and at home.  Organization helps out our family unit and helps their teachers do what they need to do without my kids being a distraction or causing interruptions. Sometimes this is not possible as we are learning with 2 boys, but it is what is expected by us and taught to the kids.  If they are able to do this, they are expected to.  If they are unable to, then they will be taught it.  If they are still unable, they will be helped and hugged.  Never blamed.  Never made to feel bad.

But back to consistency…

Without consistency at home (and I struggle the most with this – always have) the kids get mixed messages and it throws them off.  When our morning routine involves a good morning, the opening of the shutters to let in the light, getting a glass of water to drink, a piece of fruit to eat, and then helping make breakfast and lunches, it messes up the children when the routine is fixed some days but not every day?

Even before the kids come down for breakfast they must get dressed, make their beds and on Monday’s and Friday’s made sure their bedroom floors are empty from toys they do not want to have stored in the vacuum cleaner.  So if they come down one day not dressed, they must be sent back upstairs to be dressed, so they understand the importance of following our routine.  Our consistency.

To be consistent is not something that can be accomplished in one day.  It’s a long-term challenge.

It’s also a long-term challenge when you work hard at home to develop a routine, have the kids buy-in, then be consistent with that routine, but when the kids go to school, or to extra-curricular programs the same does not hold true?  With different teachers, or teachers who do not understand the importance of organization and consistency, and that by putting in that effort in each and every kid, the benefit pays off ten-fold in the near future and for the rest of their lives.

Each and every year I sit down with my kids teachers to let them know what works for my child and what doesn’t. What should be brought to my attention and what should be handled by the child themselves. I do this so that the teachers know that we are on their side, we support them, and that while we check in often, it’s not out of concern for the children, but rather to ensure that they are learning, contributing and being good members of their classroom.

Imagine the surprise of finding out that one of these external providers of education are failing your child, and doing so in a big way.

Imagine the feeling of emptiness knowing that all that support and information your poured into the teachers and all the feedback you received was not worth the air it was breathed into.

I’ve been nice, and I’ve been kind and I will not give them the satisfaction of removing him from this situation and going out of my way to find him a new program to attend.  I’m going to fix this. We’re going to fix this, and at the end of the day, my kids are going to get the consistency, organization and respect they deserve and someone else is getting my hard-earned money.

The problem is that until all the pieces have fallen into place – whether we stay or whether we go – I feel like I’m in a state of paralysis by analysis.