Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Parenting, politics, The Urban Daddy, Thursday Thirteen, Toronto

Who is this Urban Daddy character? Thursday Thirteen: 13 facts about this Canadian Blogger


Today is Thursday, which means it’s a very good time to create a Thursday Thirteen post – and the topic this week is 13 facts about The Urban Daddy.

  1. I’ve been writing this blog since 2004.  That makes for a very old blog, eh?

  2. I have written 1,434 Blog posts for The Urban Daddy

  3. I have a tax blog -for my real job – called inTAXicating, which I started in early 2008 and I have written 369 Canadian Tax posts for that site.

10.  I used to work in the Federal Government, in the Canada Revenue Agency, for almost 11-years before resigning to take a managerial position in the private sector.  The change was long overdue.

9.   In the CRA, I collected taxes, trained employees, took 3-years of my accounting designation and then completed my MBA.

8.   I don’t play many online games – after my wife freed me from my Cityville addition – I only play Tap Baseball, Clash of Clans and Tiny Tower Vegas.

7.   I live near one of the most affluent neighbourhoods, in the largest city in Canada – the 5th largest in North America, Toronto

6.   I ran for student council president of my university only to lose to some guy named Jian Ghomeshi  It was a half-assed attempt, but fun nonetheless.  I vaguely remember meeting him and his campaign manager in the main hall and one, or both of them, telling me that they were going to tear down my campaign posters and threatened me about something.  I was wearing my cowboy boots (don’t judge me) at the time, and with them stood about 6 foot 2.  I was NOT intimidated.

5.  I’m fiscally conservative but hate guns, racism and drugs.  I love common sense, saving money, and being upfront and honest.

  1. I’m a rule follower.  Clear your sidewalks.  Don’t throw snow in the street.  Don’t disrupt others.  Live and let live.

3.  I’m learning as I get older things I should have learned much younger.  Foods, anxiety, ADD, how to treat those you love…

2.  I love being a Dad.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  Love attending events and being there for the kids.  Something I either didn’t have or don’t remember.  It was a different time back then, but still.

1.  I ran a left-handed students association at my university – the school gave us an office, and money to find areas where lefties were being discriminated against.  Our main beef was that some of the largest lecture halls had no left-handed desks, or if they did, the desks were on the far-left side of the lecture hall.  Not cool if you’re vision sucks like mine does.

 

 

Now it’s your turn.

What are 13 facts about you that make you who you are?

 

Urban Twin Mummy… You have a week.  Get started.  🙂

 

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Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, urbandaddyblog

Holy Hell! Please Tell Me Today is NOT Monday!


I woke up this morning at 6am with a feeling of dread that today might actually be Monday…

I turned to my wife who was already awake and I asked her, “Is it Monday?”

“Yup”, she responded with a sigh.

It’s not that we hate our jobs, or that we had something to do today which we were dreading, but today came way too soon.

For those of you with multiple children – especially those of you with children in activities – know that this is one hectic time of year.

Programs are ending, programs and starting, and that means 8am-10pm programming and with 3 children and 2 parents, it means a whole lot of juggling and lots of mileage on the car!

Take Sunday for example.  My oldest boy umpires baseball, and as his baseball season came to an end yesterday, he found umpiring work at the Toronto Girls Baseball League, an upstart league created by Dana Bookman, which has taken the city by storm.  Very well run, extremely well-organized, and extremely well supported it’s been a huge success and is growing by leaps and bounds.  Our daughter has played in the league and would play more if it didn’t conflict with her dance classes.

As the oldest, and considering the park was close enough to home, he was the lucky one who had to make his own way to and from the games.  He gathered his umpire gear, made sure he found his bike lock, and set out his water bottle, snack and sun screen the night before.

His younger brother had Sunday school in the morning, followed by his Select hockey practice, followed right after by his baseball playoff game.  He made muffins in the morning which made him happy, and he loved his select practice and his baseball team won (even though he wanted to pitch and his coach wouldn’t let him pitch – which made him grumpy).

As an aside, he’s an outstanding kid – all about fairness and equality for everyone – he knows that he has pitched the least out of all the kids and out of frustration he declared that he’s not playing baseball next year.  Never ever again.  All of this because he’s had the same coach 2 years in a row and he feels that he’s going to get the same coach next season and that coach will not let him pitch.  It’s NOT fair.

Our daughter, fresh off a Saturday afternoon dancing at half-time of the Toronto Argonauts football game, had her day filled with another dancing gig at the Girl Expo Canada, which coincidentally was created and run by Dana Bookman along with Alison Cepler.

After that event, she headed downtown to synchronized swimming practice where 2 hours in the pool tuckered her out.

Back at home, the oldest had a play date with a former school mate, and by the time we all settled in together, it was 8pm and I left my equally exhausted wife with 3 hungry, tired children while I raced out to a 8:30pm business meeting.

I finally returned just before 11pm to find my wife laying in bed – too tired to sleep – but so tired she needed to sleep.  We planned Monday’s responsibilities and I headed down to the kitchen to clean up from dinner, and take care of the load of laundry she ran.

Midnight came very quickly.

She was still awake.

I was wide awake.

“You know, we’re going to close our eyes and it will feel like seconds before it’s Monday morning.”

With that thought, we closed our eyes…

 

(For those of you who are thinking about commenting that it’s our fault for having 3 kids, and for programming 3 kids and that we’re just being whiny for complaining… Yup.  Saved you from having to enter that comment.)

Just thinking about myself as a kid – my parents put me in the one program that they thought I should have been in – and that was the way it was done.  I want my kids to experience plenty of things – we’re smart enough to plan the schedules accordingly, but when programs overlap… So not cool.

 

 

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, hockey, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

Why I Hate March Break!


I have to be honest with you, and with myself when I say that I hate March Break.  I always have, and to be honest, I likely always will.

Growing up, I attended public school and we had March Break, but my family was not big into travelling so we never went anywhere, never had programs to attend to and never did anything interesting which at the time suited me and my anxiety just fine!

Yes, I spent the week playing street hockey from morning until dark and that was awesome, but that was all that I needed.  The break from school was much needed.

Fast forward to having children, all of which attended private secular schools which did not celebrate March Break (we had our break over the holiday of Passover instead), so while we were working and the kids were in school, people were heading south to the warmth and sunshine while we shovelled snow and continued living life as normal.

Now, with one child left in a secular school and the others in public school, I have some of us in school and some of them on break and my wife and I hard at work.

So now, March break consists of driving the kids to, and from programs, work, work and more work, and whenever I check social media, I see friends and family living it up down south in the sun, sand and surf.

It’s very much like previous years’ where March Break is not a time to go down somewhere warm and sandy but couldn’t because the kids had school and we had work.

I’ve asked all the travellers to please bring back the sun and warmth…

They’ll all likely forget because they’re having such a great time, or at least their social media posts depict a great time.

On the positive side, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time this March Break with my middle child at his hockey camp.  He attended Creative Hockey Development’s (creativehockey.ca) March Break camp – which was put on by my friend, Dusan Kralik, and his new business partner Daniel Erlich.

The camp was incredible!

The hockey skills and pace of the camp were fast and the players even faster.  I think Dusan found a match in Danny as someone who possesses an incredible hockey IQ to go along with his world class skills and speed.

The camp was well run, the kids came off the ice tired and they learned more than just hockey this past week.

Now, as for March Break itself…

Going forward, I’m have to make sure that I refrain from checking social media that week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Community

Proud Recipient of a 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Award


On June 16th, The 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards were handed out in Toronto, which recognizes individual volunteers for continuous years of commitment and dedicated service to an organization. 

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This year both my wife and I received an award for 15-years of volunteering with an organization call Jewish Family and Child Services (JF&CS).

Jewish Family & Child supports the healthy development of individuals, children, families, and communities through prevention, protection, counselling, education and advocacy services, within the context of Jewish values.

Their priority areas are;

1. Increasing Safety and Security

2. Reducing the Effects of Poverty

3. Improving Mental Health and Wellness

My wife and I became volunteers in the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program to assist the JF&CS staff with the planning and coordinating over events for the programs’ participants and volunteers.  Over the past 15 years we have met a lot of incredible volunteers and incredible children who have grown up to be amazing young adults.

None of this would have been possible without the hard work and support of Andrea Pines, the Volunteer Coordinator for Big Brothers / Big Sisters.

We also try to model what it means to be a good person to our children and I recall a picture being published of our oldest boy – at probably 3 months old – strapped to my wife in a child carrier and the 3 of us set off to an event.  We try to include all of our kids in the event planning as well as at the event so they will understand that giving their time might seem like such a small gesture, but to some people it means a lot.

Obviously we do this for the organization, and not for the recognition, and I’m hesitant to publish this except I hope down the road, my kids will be able to read this and realize that volunteering is important and that it’s been a part of their lives since they were born (and their Dad expects them to continue doing it!!)

The awards ceremony is a lovely ceremony where volunteers are presented with stylized trillium pins and personalized certificates.

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto

Funny Comment About The “True Heroes of Christmas”


At a friend’s home during the holidays, a young, non-Jewish woman commented that her parents always told her this about Christmas:

“The real heroes at Christmas-time are the Jewish kids who never told you that Santa Claus was not real.”

That brought a smile to my face, as one of those kids who knew that secret and to this day, will never spoil the surprise, and neither will my kids!

The Tooth Fairy, on the other hand… Different story!

Hope whatever you celebrated, that it was wonderful!

Christmukkah