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.

 

 

 

Advertisements

My kid’s got a ‘weird’ name – How I’ve helped him embrace it (read: how HE’S helped me learn to love it!)


In my culture, kids tend to be named after loved ones who have passed away after living long fulfilled lives. My husband’s tradition is to give the first born grandson the same name as the LIVING paternal grandfather. When hubby first told me this I’m pretty sure my word-for-word response was something along the lines of “Not a f@#%ing chance is that happening.”

Fast forward 6 years and I’m preggo with boy/girl twins. During those 6 years I went though a lot of heart break – I lost my grandmother, grandfather and uncle, all of whom basically helped raise me. So when I peed on that stick, later confirmed at the fertility clinic (another post for another time), I knew right away that my kids would be named after my dearly departed family… In pipes hubby reminding me about his family tradition.

My hubby’s traditions are important to me, but my feeling goes like this: if I’m the person growing these tiny humans inside me, puking my guts out for 3 months, not sleeping for 4 months and having major surgery to have said tiny humans removed then you better damn well believe I’m making the final decision on what I’m going to call the little monsters.

I spent the next 35 weeks and 6 days going back and forth about what I’d name my son. It was like mental tug-of-war. Who’s gonna be offended? Is it really a bad omen? Do I really want my kid going through life having his name mispronounced? Back and forth, back and forth.

D-day comes and I still haven’t made a final decision. We arrive at the hospital, still no decision. Prepped for my c-section, still no decision. Getting sewn up, still no decision. Puking my guts out in recovery and still no decision. Finally I get to the ward and hold my son for the first time. Instinctively I look at my hubby, who’s fighting back tears of love, joy and fear and behind all of it, I see pride, so much pride. In that split second I gave my little man the same name as his grandpa. When my father-in-law found out my son’s name he cried tears of joy and the same pride I saw in my husband – like father like son.

Even after naming him, I wasn’t so sure about my decision. I was worried he wouldn’t like his name as he got older and went to school and heard all the other kids with ‘normal’ names and decided he didn’t want his name. Mostly, I wasn’t sure how to instill pride about a name I was still iffy on.

At about 4am, after feeding the kids and wanting to scratch my eyes out I went online (because isn’t that the normal thing to do when you’re sleep deprived?) and saw an ad for a book called “The little boy who lost his name”. The books weren’t cheap but I figured it was worth a shot if it would help my son embrace his name, so I bought one for him and of course one for my daughter (twins and all). The books arrived and they were absolutely incredible, and worth every penny. The kids were too little for the books at that point but both loved their books when we first read it to them and still love them 2 years later! It’s not really a book they grow out of until much later, and then it becomes a keepsake.

So, when the company contacted me a couple months ago about their new book “Kingdom of You” I figured I’d give it shot (nothing to loose since they were sending the book free for me to review). My concern was that having twins meant needing 2 books, and while they offered to send 1 book for review, I couldn’t get one kid a book and not the other. Once they found out about the twin situation they graciously sent one book for each kid – now that’s great customer service! The Kingdom of You books are just as well written and beautifully illustrated as the Lost My Name books. The kids get lost in their own personal fairy tale – isn’t that what every kid wants? Anyway, back to my son’s name…

In the end, it isn’t a book that gives my son pride in his name, it’s the fact that our family takes such pride in the history of his name, we tell him about all of the men in the family with the same name and what incredible people they were and still are. Sharing a name with his grandpa gives my little man such pride, you should see the look on his face when he tells people “Me and Grandpa have a the same name!” I love his name because HE loves his name, its history and what it represents. It doesn’t hurt that he’s growing up to be quite an incredible little person.

What’s in a name? I guess that depends who you’re asking…

Until next time,

Your fav Urban Twin Mommy

P.S. Stay tuned for the company’s upcoming book which will feature the option of multiple kids in 1 book!

 

 

Disclosure: I was provided this product to share my honest opinion and believe me, I’m gonna tell you the truth, be it good, bad or ugly!

No Tres-Passing… Once, Twice or even Three Times…


It’s amazing what you get from a 6-year-old who blends the English language with another language and processes it using their special wit and humour.

While stopped at a red light, my daughter must have noticed a sign which read;

She asked me; “What does No Trespassing mean, Daddy?”

“It means you are not allowed on that property / land… Why? Where did you see that?” I asked.

“Oh, over there, in the construction site” she answered.

Then she continued… “But I thought “trespassing” meant you had to pass the place 3 times… Like Uno, Dues, Tres… you know, Daddy… Tres-passing…”

“Ah, I know dear… Very clever!”

I love it.

 

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

 

I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know… I Just Don’t Know…


If you have kids, then I trust that the following will make complete sense to you.  Why is it that we have to ask children multiple times for something without getting so much as a grunt, yet the second we sit down to relax, they fire out question after question and demand answers immediately?

Last week, while trying to watch basketball, hockey and baseball before bed time, Stewie fired out a whole string of random questions.  I captured as many as I could.

Dad…

How old is DeMar Derozan?

How tall is Kyle Lowry?

How can Kendrys Morales play 1st base if he’s a DH?

Do we have just 2 point guards tonight, Dad?

Who scored the most goals ever in a NHL game?

What was the highest score in a HNL game ever?

Is Conor McDavid the captain of the Oilers?

(YES!  I knew this one!!)

In the 3rd quarter of the basket ball game – is there another quarter in the game?  My hockey games only have 3 quarters.

Is Yoda the first Jedi?

Do they use just one basketball the entire game?

If a ball ends up in the stands, do the fans get to keep it?

What happens if the entire baseball team gets injured, like at once, like if an asteroid fell into the stadium and only landed on one team?

Does the game continue?

Who plays for that team? The manager?

Why is hockey in arenas and baseball in stadium?

Why is the Canadian flag red and white?

What happens if you’re late for a game?

How much is the biggest house in the world?

Can we get a pool?

What time is bed time?

….

Then I got tired and stopped typing.

It could have been worse.  It could have been in the car.  lol.