Words of Wisdom for Parents


Out of the mouths of babes;

“Running shoes are very important, as are smoke detectors in houses.”

Yes.

Yes they are…

 

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The Urban Daddy: Back from family vacation. Europe V4.0.


So we have returned from our annual family vacation – I’m back at work, the kids have one week left before school starts, and my wife has the absolute pleasure of coordinating the back to school festivities.  Dentist appointments, vaccinations, clothes, shoes, school supplies, and most importantly, scheduling!

Forget the programming of extra-curricular activities and sports programs, because that is just going to have to wait… So many commitments, and such little precious time.

You get it!

But normally, I do not like to speak publicly about personal matters, however this summer’s vacation is worth sharing not because of what we did, but because of how we did it.

This was our 4th summer in Europe.  As a family.  We plan the trips in October / November and in the summer we pack as little as possible into backpacks, and we go and explore the world.

Since we are a family of 5, staying in a hotel is not a viable option, so we resort to using Air BnB’s so we have choice of location, a kitchen and sometimes other exciting amenities, such as a pool.

With the kitchen we avoid the costly dinners out and instead hit up local grocery stores and eat breakfast and dinner we’ve made ourselves and if we decide not to pack lunch, we can eat out before heading back for a siesta.

This summer took us to Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, and London with many stops along the way via the train, or the car we rented for a week.

We don’t have a home base for the entire trip, instead we stay in places for anywhere from 2-5 days before moving on.  Each new country, city, town bring a new experience and the excitement of a new place which might be better (or worse) than the previous one.

We’ve yet to be disappointed.

I’d say after 5-years of family travels, the one disappointing place we stayed at was in Rome 2-years ago which was in a fabulous location, but the Air Conditioning didn’t work and it was during a hot spell, where the average temperature was 45 degrees Celsius.

This year also represented the first year that our bags were lost during a transfer at airports, and our bags were lost twice, the final time, only 3 of our 5 bags made it home.  The final bag arrived 3 days after us.

Kudos to my wife for planting the seed of travel into our kids.  Imagine taking a 4-year-old back-packing as we did 3-years ago, through Paris, the south of France, Amsterdam and Belgium.  She was an absolute trooper.  No strollers, just walking, looking at art, and enjoying ourselves.

Now at the ripe age of 7, she’s a pro.

I encourage parents to explore travel with their children to introduce them to how the rest of the world lives.  Sure, we had gone on a family cruise before, and we took the kids to Disney, but before we headed overseas, we explored the East coast of Canada – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI – to see if we would do driving trips overseas and after that success, we took the plunge.

I love that my oldest can easily navigate the Paris Metro, or the London Underground.  Even the Seville Metro and Brussels subway pose no issues with him.  Our middle child has found an appreciation for art, museums, and the food and drink that other places have to offer.  He’s in his element wherever he is, and that warms my heart.

Our youngest, my daughter… Such a trooper, and with a strength in languages, she enjoys what we all enjoy… the sites, the food, the language… the experience.

As someone who had to find ways to cope with some significant undiagnosed anxiety in my life, the travel bug has bitten me and I look forward to the flights, train rides, and bus, tram and subway rides because of what they bring.  New experiences, new adventures and quality family time!

For those who knew of our travels, we appreciated the texts and messages as we were in Barcelona one week before that horrible murderous act by a group of criminals.  We were on the exact stop where the van came to rest.  We also were at Buckingham Palace in London a day before some mentally unstable resident showed up with a 4-foot sword there.

But it’s great to be back home, back in Canada, back to the greatest country in the world.

 

 

 

Overheard at Tim Horton’s – The WORST THING EVER!!!


I overhear this conversation at Tim Horton’s recently between a couple of millennials, which caught my attention because it started with one turning to the other and declaring, “OMG! Do you know what is the WORST!”

So I had to listen.

Now you get the details of the “worst”… You might want to sit down for this!

“OMG you know what is the WORST!”

“What?”

“When you order a Coke and they bring you a Pepsi…”

“GASP

“…Without telling you.”

“I know, eh?”

“I mean, it’s so NOT okay for that to happen. They’re two completely different products and you should be warned.”

“Totally… Like when you order coffee with sugar but they forget to put in the sugar…”

“No… Not like that at all.”

“Oh.”

Silence.

Now, I had always imagined the “worst” being something far more catastrophic, like losing a child, or a spouse, or war, famine, natural disasters, but hey… Getting a Pepsi when you order a coke could be pretty bad… Like not being able to download that song for free right away, or not having WiFi available…

Doors Open Toronto – May 27th and 28th


Discover the story behind every door at #DoorsOpenOntario 2017!

Join the Ontario Heritage Trust for the 2017 Doors Open Ontario season which includes 44 additional events across the province From May to October.

Explore more than 1,000 sites that help tell Ontario’s stories, from local breweries to natural landscapes, century-old cabins to modern marvels of engineering, and experience Ontario’s unique history from a new perspective. Commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation with themed activities, tours, exhibitions and demonstrations – all free of charge! For detailed event information and interactive tools to help you plan your Doors Open Ontario experience, visit doorsopenontario.on.ca.

Many Nations and many peoples have called this place home. MyOntario – A vision over time marks this long history by opening a conversation among Ontarians about our experiences, identities, values and aspirations. Capture your Doors Open Ontario moments and join the conversation: heritagetrust.on.ca/myontario.

Doors Open Ontario – recognized as one of the 2017 Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario – is a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust, with funding support provided by the Ontario150 program.

QUOTES

“The Ontario Heritage Trust’s Doors Open Ontario enables Ontarians to explore our vibrant and diverse heritage. Whether old or new, each site offers a glimpse into our shared history as Ontarians – discover these fascinating sites and the stories they tell, and join us as we explore our history, identity and cultural heritage.” – Beth Hanna, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Heritage Trust

“Ontario’s 150th anniversary is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the incredible province we live in. Doors Open Ontario highlights our rich history through our province’s most fascinating cultural sites. I encourage all Ontarians and visitors to join the festivities and explore Ontario’s heritage during this exciting year.” − Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Quick Facts

  • Doors Open Ontario 2017 features over 1,000 sites participating in 45 events across the province.
  • 93% of the provincial population live in a community that has hosted a Doors Open Ontario event.
  • Since its inception, Doors Open Ontario has attracted 6.7 million visitors to explore over 16,700 amazing sites.
  • Visitors to Doors Open Ontario contribute to local economies by spending over $5 million in participating communities each year.

Doors Open Ontario 2017 alphabetical list of events

Aurora August 19
Belleville and District September 16
Bradford West Gwillimbury June 17
Brampton September 30
Brockville and the Thousand Islands May 27-28
Bruce County June 10-11
Burlington September 30
Carleton Place September 16-17
Clarington June 10
Cornwall August 19-20
East Elgin September 16
Erin June 10
Fergus-Elora June 17
Gravenhurst June 24
Grimsby September 23
Guelph April 22
Halton Region September 30 – October 1
Hamilton May 6-7
Kawartha Lakes September 9-10
King Township September 23
Kingston June 17
London September 16-17
Markham September 30
Minden Hills September 16-17
Mississauga September 23
Niagara-on-the-Lake September 16-17
Northumberland County June 3-4
Orillia and Area September 30
Oshawa September 30
Ottawa June 3-4
Owen Sound June 3-4
Oxford-Norwich September 23
Peterborough May 6
Quinte West September 16
Richmond Hill May 13
Rideau Lakes August 19-20
St. Catharines June 24
St. Marys September 30
Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry August 19-20
Timmins September 30
Toronto May 27-28
Waterloo Region September 16
Wellington North September 23
Whitby May 6
Whitchurch-Stouffville June 3

The Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario’s heritage.

doorsopenontario.on.ca heritagetrust.on.ca ontario.ca/150  Facebook: Ontario Heritage Trust  Twitter: @ONheritage Instagram: ONheritage #DoorsOpenOntario #MyOntario #Ontario150

SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust

For further information: about Doors Open Ontario 2017, contact Kimberly Murphy at 416-325-5074 or kimberly.murphy@heritagetrust.on.ca.

RELATED LINKS http://www.heritagetrust.on.ca

 

Spring Has Sprung, the Grass Has Riz, I Wonder Where the Birdies Is?!?


Ahh, spring.

Ahhh Spring…

Ah-chooooooooo… Damn.  It’s spring.

 

Spring time is finally appearing here in Southern Ontario and aside from the increasing temperatures, here are the 13 most obvious ways to tell that Spring has Sprung.

  1. Sports cars in need of muffler repair and convertible cars are zooming around, blasting their horrid music and looking for attention

  2. A.L.L.E.R.G.I.E.S

  3. People are wearing colours again!  Yay.  Winter is dreary enough and everyone in black makes it that much more bland and blah.

  4. People begin to stink.  Not from sweat, at least not yet, but now is the time of year when they think a little bit of cologne or perfume might be a good idea but it’s not.  It’s horrid if I can smell it over a super-stuffy nose. (See 12)

9.  TAXES!!!  It’s tax time!!  Don’t forget to file, even if you think you don’t owe.  File, file, file!  If you need help anywhere in Canada, search up and hit up inTAXicating.

8.  Flips flops and PJ’s make their returns to coffee shops.  In the winter it’s just too darn cold to roll out of bed and drive or walk to the local coffee shop, but not in the spring!

7.  Exposed skin everywhere on everyone, male, female, young, old… If it’s in combination with leggings or yoga pants, it’s a bonus!

6.  I see neighbours!  Seriously, I cannot believe how little we get out in the winter – especially with kids programs keeping us out and around – I found out this morning that our neighbour had a baby and we didn’t even know she was pregnant.  So hard to tell covered in a giant Canada Goose jacket.

5.  Bikes everywhere!  And I’ve mellowed over the years, so I want bikes and bike lanes everywhere.  I also want safe and clean public transit and I want better roads and more parking for cars.  I want everyone to commute and be happy and healthy and safe.  Hey, City of Toronto… If you want business owners to thrive and survive, back off the parking tickets for people who park in actual spots.  If they park illegally, or block traffic, tag and tow them, but let businesses earn money!

4.  Joggers abound!  I’ve always said that out-of-shape joggers (like myself) run at night when no one can see them shaking and bouncing around or hear them gasping for air.  The fit joggers run during the day where everyone can see them.  Whatever your motivation, just run!

3.  My lawn kicks ass!  My front lawn is very green and soft.  I put the snow on it in the winter before the City salts the street or sidewalk and in the spring, and it makes a difference.  It’s so nice, and I have a neighbour who doesn’t talk to anyone but I catch him walking across the street and touching my grass in awe.  Love it!

2.  Change!  Changes come in spring.  People clean their houses, change their jobs, their clothes, their demeanor, and even the homeless-looking guy who visits the Starbucks I frequent cut off his ridiculously long white beard.  Wouldn’t have recognized him – looks somewhat respectable now – except for the same army fatigue pants he wears every day and the shmatta (towel?) he covers his head with.

1.Spring means an end to winter programs for my kids, so say goodbye to hockey, but it also means saying hello to baseball (call me “coach”) and to being able to throw a ball around and walk to park and shoot hoops, or go for a bike ride, and work at losing the winter gut and getting back into a shape that doesn’t resemble a pear.

3 cheers to spring!

Hip hip, hooray

Hip hip hooray.

Hip… Hip… Achhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooo

 

Geez, I hate spring!