Posted in Baby Boy, Baby girl, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Food, health, Life, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

Fun Video Shoot with Pediatric Nutritionist Danielle Binns


Danielle BinnsThis past weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity to take part in a video shoot with Danielle Binns a Pediatric Nutritionist and Health Coach for parents.

Danielle needed the assistance of our youngest child – Boo – who helped to prepare some delicious green pancakes – inspired through the Green Eggs and Ham book – and some super healthy and easy to make cookies.

Danielle’s story is absolutely incredible.  Reading her story on her website after having met her brought tears to my eyes.  I’m not going to re-tell her story.  You just need to go read it yourself.  You will be emotional, then inspired, and then understand why the services that Danielle offers are so incredibly valuable.

As the parent in our family who cooks breakfast and makes lunches for our kids – one child who has become very picky with food – I found immense value in just learning 2 simple food options from Danielle which we are going to cook at home.  Sorry, which Boo is going to cook at home!

Danielle is more than a mother who is incredibly passionate about providing the BEST natural and holistic solutions for other moms (and dads) and babies.  She has obtained credentials/certification in the following:

  • Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP)
  • “Naturally Designed Pregnancy and Postnatal Nutrition”
  • “SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding”
  • “Feeding Matters”

Danielle can be found on Facebook through her Facebook Group: Holistic Solutions for Moms & Little Ones.

Her Facebook page is @ daniellebinnsnutrition

On Twitter and Instagram @daniellebinns4

Her Website is http://www.daniellebinns.com and her email is info@daniellebinns.com

 

 

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Posted in Canada, Coffee, Community, Daddy, family, health, hockey, Life, Parenting, Sports, The Urban Daddy, Thursday Thirteen, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

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!

 

 

 

Posted in Canada, Community, hockey, Recommends, urbandaddyblog

The Absolute Best Hockey Instructor on the Planet: Dusan Kralik’s Creative Hockey development


I just signed up my middle and only child who plays hockey for March break hockey camp with the absolute best hockey instructor on the planet, Dusan Kralik, and his Creative Hockey Development program.

My son, you see, is entering his 3rd year in organized hockey, his 4th year skating at all, and all of his improvements have been due to his desire to get better (certainly not to my pushing him) and because Dusan is an amazing human being.

Dusan, has a very lengthy background in hockey, and he would have been a fantastic pro player if it wasn’t for injuries.

Instead of moving past hockey, Dusan moved to Canada from his native Slovakia and wound up playing on my ball-hockey team where we won a whole bunch of championships.  Playing with one healthy hip, Dusan was magical in the arena, and when I finally got to see him on the ice, I was in awe.

He’s incredibly talented, unbelievably gifted, and he’s trained many, many current NHL players whom you might have heard about – Subban, Tavares, the Tanev brothers, just to name a few.  In fact this past April, he trained Conor McDavid prior to the World Cup.

If he can train them, he can train my son.

Dusan is not just an on-ice genius, as he has presented at International Coaching Symposiums, has had many a conversation with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and each summer he travels to Carolina to train the Carolina Hurricanes prospects.

Dusan, is a future GM in the NHL, so it’s best to get him while he’s still training!  Dusan travels worldwide to train – I know he trained the Israeli Hockey team, as well as the men’s and woman’s hockey teams for Seneca College.

His website is under construction, but I strongly recommend you follow him on Facebook, here; https://www.facebook.com/CreativeHockeyDevelopment/

If I’m lucky, he’ll let me assist at the camp as I did last year with some of the coaching (not on ice), or I’ll just look forward to watching the expert work his magic with a bunch of wide-eyed kids.

 

Posted in Life, Parenting, Sports

My Son Was Traded This Morning!


I know hockey and I love hockey.  I’ve never played ice hockey but I have coached ice hockey – 6 years while in my early 20’s because my sports physiotherapist needed someone to open and close the bench doors.  I had always thought it was because he didn’t like the 6am and 7am games!

I learned to skate while teaching the kids how to play the game, and how to be winners on and off the ice.

In those 6 years we won one championship and made it to the finals 5 times because we never had the best players in the league, nor the top select players, but we made these kids buy into the team concept which meant all the players, no matter how good, bad or new to the game, were a key part.

Hockey is, after all, a team sport!

My wife found it unusual that with my love and passion I hold for hockey, I never pushed my kids into the sport.  I tried, trust me, but they didn’t like it.  They hated staking, they didn’t like watching the Leafs and they had no desire to shoot around a ball in the basement.

Then something changed…

The school my kids attended arranged for skating lessons during the day, and my middle child, Stewie’s class was full of top ranked hockey players, kids who could skate, shoot, pass and play the sport better than other kids their age and Stewie always felt awkward skating around his classmates.  He’s a tall kid for his age and watching him stand on skates reminded me of a newborn giraffe trying to stand for the first time.

I was there, on the ice with him at his school’s skate day when his classmates skated over to him and instead of making fun of him, helped him stand, brought him the on-ice support and were giving him tips to be a better skater.  I could see in his eyes that he was very appreciative of their support and he was determined to skate without support.

From that day came lessons after lessons, plus a learn-to-play hockey program and finally this season a debut in house league hockey.  He’s a much better skater than 2 years ago, and his hockey sense is quite high for someone who refuses to watch the sport.  He continues to get better and better each game, practice and lesson and he knows he has a long way to go.

He also knew that on his 0-7 team there was a very good chance that he was going to be traded.  Not only were a lot of the kids on the team together from previous years, but he understood that to get new players, better players, you would have to give up your “lower-skilled” players (his words) and not the “worst” players.

Then came the news!

He was traded.

From a 0-7 team to a 7-0 team.

He’s not all that pleased about it either.  You see, he is worried that his new teammates will not know that he’s just learning the sport, but they will see a very tall kid who tries very hard but is not the fastest, not yet able to deke players out, or who can raise the puck.

He’s worried that they will think he sucks and that the best players left the team because of him.

UGH.

So I have reached out to the convenors, trying to get the new coaches contact information so I can let them know that they are getting a kid who wants to learn the game and who will do whatever he can to be better and make the team better.  It’s been 2 days and no one has reached out, oh, except his old coaches who have asked for his jersey and socks back.

So what would I do in this situation?!?

I would do what is right for the children!  I would have a really long look at the coaches who have volunteered to coach these teams to make sure they are looking after the kids best interests and not their own.  I see teams playing poorly in hopes that their team won’t be broken up by trades and wonder aloud who does this help?!?  Does that coach get an award for stocking his team while other teams struggle, or worse, what message does that send to the kids when they see a coach trying to lose in order to protect the core of the team…

I would rather the league NOT make the trades, but instead work with the coaches to teach the children to play as a team.

Sure, little Johnny can only score 3 goals, then any goals he scores after that do not count, but does it benefit the kids on either side if Johnny still dekes the entire team, then stands by the side of the net waiting for a teammate to skate to the net so that Johnny can pass to him or shoot the puck in off of him?

Does it benefit the kids that the league will not post the score when it exceeds a 5-goal differential?  Nope, the kids know the real score so they might as well post it, but would it hurt the other coach to take his better offensive players and teach them defense, or passing instead.  By doing that, his team learns proper positioning and the defensive team can also learn proper positioning.  That would be a win-win situation!

Instead, we let the coaches run wild, we make the better kids feel special and we make the lower kids feel useless all in the name of hockey instead of using this special position of leadership to teach the kids to be good teammates, and to help their team win without rubbing it into the faces of their opponents.

I’ve applied to be a part of the convenor team because of how strongly I feel about the opportunity to teach kids to be better kids and win, lose or draw.

I guess I know who will be coaching next season…

No trades please!  We’ll be fine.

Posted in Baby Boy, Baby girl, boo, Coffee, Community, Daddy, family, Food, Happy Boy, hockey, Life, Linus, Parenting, Sports, Stewie, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

Great Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day, 2015.


Today is Father’s Day, 2015.

I love Father’s Day – not just today – but every day, because I feel that every day is Father’s Day.  I don’t need a day where it’s forced, but I know that I am not in the majority when it comes to the father’s role in a household.

I am a huge fan of Mother’s Day! – Not for being the only day to celebrate and appreciate your mother and the mother of your children – but because of the pain and effort Mother’s went through to have their children, and then go through for the rest of their lives for their children.

In most cases, without Mothers there would be no Fathers.

Growing up, I never felt the need to go hardcore on either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day because I tried to express my appreciation for my parents every day of the year, or at least more often than once a year.  I still bought the cards, chocolates, flowers and whatever else was available for my parents but I never saw it for more than an opportunity for retail stores and the greeting card market to cash in.

Fast forward to today, in 2015, and as a super-involved parent of 3 fabulous children, I feel the same way about Father’s Day for me.  I don’t need a tie, or cufflinks, nor a store bought card they signed, or another mug touting me as the World’s Greatest Dad.   All I really need is a hug, kiss, and a hand-made gesture of their appreciation for anything that I’ve done during the year.

As a result, my Father’s Day this year was awesome and here are some of the reasons why;

My almost 6-year-old daughter had a soccer tournament through her North Toronto Soccer team, and I’m the coach!  She started out playing soccer quite timidly, not surprising as the youngest of 3 kids whose older siblings are boys, but she has been great as of late.

Ever since a classmate of hers knocked her on her ass on purpose, which proved to be a wake-up call from my daughter, who got up, didn’t cry, dusted herself off, and then started playing more physically, which resulted in her scoring 3 goals including the game winner!

In fact, as this was the last game of the season for the team, there was one girl who had not scored a single goal all season, and after my daughter sped through the middle with the ball, and blew past both defenders, she waited at the goal line, called for this girl to run over, and she let the girl score her first goal.

The girl cried.

Her parents cried.

I almost cried.

If that is not the more empathetic thing a 5-year-old can do without being told to do so by anyone on the team, I don’t know what is.  It made me realize that this child is special, and maybe… just maybe, the parenting is paying off.

This girls parents told us that their daughter is going to remember this day forever.

From there, we packed a lunch, grabbed some extra tissues in case of nose bleeds, and we headed north to Richmond Hill, to take child number 1 to a birthday party in Vaughan Mills.

We walked around the mall, and walked and walked and walked, and then when we could walk no more, we headed out for dinner to one of my favourite restaurants, Mezza Notte Trattoria, where I ate their super incredible appetizer of escargot on a Portobello mushroom in a cognac sauce, and I had a delicious piece of halibut with tomatoes, olives, and angel hair pasta.

I asked if anyone wanted to try the escargot, and because it was Father’s Day, my daughter stepped up to the plate.  She said she liked it, but she also said that she liked it better than the whale we tried while in Iceland.

I had coffee after everyone was in bed with my long-time friend and jazz musician, Dr. Andrew Scott, and then we packed up our belongings and went to the Rinx, for an 11pm ball hockey game.  I’ve been running my own team in the YCBHL since I was 19-years-old, called the Tasmaniacs.  I love the 11pm games, and it’s great working up a sweat and getting to be all aggressive for an hour.  At this particular game, we only had 2 defenseman which meant I got to play almost the entire game.

Then we all got changed, I dropped Dr. Scott off at home, and my neighbour and I went for another coffee at 1am.

I think we got home at 2:30am, so what else can I do at that hour with everyone sleeping but blog.

I blogged, did some paperwork, and hit the bed.

I am truly blessed!

Every day is Father’s Day.