Posted in Thursday Thirteen, urbandaddyblog

Thursday Thirteen, on Thursday the 13th. 13 Things I missed while on vacation with my family. Last year vs This year.


English: Honour guard for Jack Layton.
English: Honour guard for Jack Layton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since today is Thursday the 13th, I would be remiss if I didn’t have a post for today…  Oddly enough I had this post sitting in my draft folder since last summer and it perfectly ties in with thoughts for today’s post.Last year for our family vacation we drove to New York.  We took our time getting there and made sure to stop along the way to visit attractions in the State like Howes Caverns, as we headed to the apartment we rented in Brooklyn.  We had a very busy week running around the city and had very little time to catch up with local news online.

We totally lost touch with the news when we left on a cruise from Manhattan, down the coast to Barbados – where we met Hurricane Irene – and never regained touch as we raced back up the coast back into Manhattan before we finally settling in with cousins in New Jersey as the storm hit.

Cruise ships are not known for having free WiFi, in fact Internet is so expensive that we did without and we missed some pretty interesting news stories which we encountered upon our return back to Toronto.

This year for family vacation, we spent a week in Disney (melting in the heat and humidity) before heading out for a cruise – again hitting the Hurricane (Tropical Storm Isaac) – and then settling in Florida when the storm hit before racing up and across the state at 3am to catch a flight out and back to Toronto.

Again, on the cruise ship, no WiFi and very expensive Internet, so again we missed a lot of news.

So today’s Thursday 13 is a comparison of the events we missed while on the cruises – the first 9 happened last year and the last 4 happened this year…  What a difference a year makes, eh?

So with the kids settling in back in school and us adults getting some piece of mind back, sit back, relax, be happy it’s Thursday the 13th and not Friday the 13th, and let’s begin:

Here are 13 things that I missed while on vacation without Internet connection or any sources of news;

13. Jack Layton died – Newly elected leader of the opposition party of Canada, Jack Layton, died.  This was a huge shock especially to me as Layton made his name in Toronto City council, so I got to see and hear from him a lot.  He is best known for being quick-witted, a great speaker but unfortunately being the leader of the NDP has always meant 3rd best in Canada until Layton was able to use his catch phrases (#fail) and the utter incompetency of the Liberal party to pass them in the polls and into 2nd place and become the official opposition party in Canada.  The NDP also booted the separatists out of Quebec (for a bit) but upon his passing they named a former head of the largest union in Canada as his temporary successor.  The “orange wave” will certainly not be the same by the next election.  I also wondered if Jack knew he was sick in the last election and if he owed it to Canadians to tell us that instead of voting for a leader who knew he was not going to be the leader in the next 3-6 months.

12. News that Hurricane Irene was coming – Yeah, we totally didn’t see that coming… Oops.

11. Libya – The Libyan civil war, which began in February 2011, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government took a historical turn when the rebel forces captured the capital city of Tripoli well on their way to the ousting and eventual death of Gaddafi.

10. I missed real unbiased news. Instead I got MSNBC, BBC, CNBC and Fox.  The political biases in the news and news reporting on these stations was extremely evident and all I wanted was a station that gave straight up news or at the very least held back on the blatant attacks on the other political party.

9. The Blue Jays trade of Aaron Hill and John MacDonald.  The Jays dumped a lot of salary in trading 2B Hill to the D’Backs for Kelly Johnson.  I was surprised but pleased to see Hill and Johnny Mac get a fresh start and having Johnson buys time for some kids developing in the minors.  This was significant because it told me that the new GM was going to make major changes and dumping salary was one great way to start.

8. My GCC updates -It was very hard to keep in the loop on the Global Corporate Challenge with no internet, especially as my team was challenging another office team for 1st place in our company and we were in the top 10 in Canada out of 606 Canadian teams.  I walked a TON on our vacation and wrote down the stats for entering when we had Internet. but I didn’t know if the 50,000, 60,000 and 70,000 steps I was walking were going to be enough or if I needed to stay up later and walk even more to help my team win.  We eventually did take 1st place for our company beating Canadian and American teams, and we finished 6th in Canada and somewhere around 200th in the world out of over 20,000 teams.

7. Clean clothes – You can only wash and re-wash clothes so many times before you get sick of them and want different clothes.  I hit that breaking point.

6. Earthquake!  We missed an earthquake that was centred in Virginia but the impact was felt right up into Toronto.  Cool.  The kids would have loved that.  Not that fleeing a Hurricane was not cool, but experiencing this natural disaster as an after shock would have been interesting.

5. Being Dry!  It rained so much the last 5 days of the trip I just wanted dry shoes, dry clothes and dry roads to drive home on.

2012 Vacation

4. Lance Armstrong – Lance Armstrong was stripped of his record seven Tour de France wins and handed a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.   He remained defiant and said he would not fight the charges and that he has done more for the sport than bad.  One major problem is that the next 6 racers after Armstrong have all been banned for doping infractions.  Yikes.

3. Hurricane Isaac was coming to meet us in Florida… Again, who knew.  For those of you thinking we’re idiots (or adventurous) for going to Hurricane centres during hurricane season you will be pleased to note that we have decided to stop travelling the last week of August down south.

2. Rogers Cable bought Headline Sports which is good and bad.  Good because Headline Sports is a great station and they carry all the WWE wrestling, but bad if Rogers who already have Sportsnet decides to pillage the station and boot out all the staff and send away the programming.

1. Not only does the NASA Land Rover land on Mars but it zaps a couple of rocks and takes some great pictures.  Incredible!   We missed the live feeds but saw it on the net upon our return.

What a difference a year makes, but it’s funny how not having Internet for just one week can mean missing so much.  What did we do 15 years ago?

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Posted in Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen. 13 Things I liked about the 2011 Global Corporate Challenge.


This is my list of the 13 things that I really liked during (and after) the 2011 Global Corporate Callenge.

13. The actual Exercise – It was nice at first keeping track of my steps during a normal day, then during a day in which I went to the gym, and finally on a weekend when I took the boys for a 2-3 hour walk.  But as my numbers climbed, I found that I would walk a lot more at night, and always take the stairs, no matter where I was (see post on our holiday where were all took the kids from the 5th floor to the 12th floor numerous times a day).  Then it became routine.  Every day for 16 weeks. 

12. Losing inches – It was nice during the GCC to notice that while I was getting stronger and my endurance was up, that I was losing inches in places where I have wanted to lose inches.  A nice surprise.

11. Feeling lighter on my feet as the event went on. At first I was dragging my ass around, but the more I exercised, the easier it was to move… Funny how that works, eh?

10. Having walking meetings with my staff. It gave me an opportunity to speak with them in a neutral environment and I found they had more suggestions, some great recommendations and they were more eager to ask questions which were HR related or industry specific without the threat of having someone question them on something they should have knoen..

9. Competition – I love competition.  Once I saw that it was going to be a close race to the finish I turned it up and walked, more, exercised more and busted my ass to make sure I did the best I could and help my team win.  I’m really competitive.  REALLY. 

8. I hate to lose way more than I like to win – This challenge reinforced that I hate to lose more than I like to win. Now that the competition is over and my team came in first out of all our company’s teams in North America; 309th out of 28,249 in the world for and 6th in Canada out of 809 teams. That is all warm and fuzzy, but it’s over and I am so past it. But when we were losing… That got my ire up.

7. Saving my ass – By beating all the teams I trash talked in the early stages of the challenge, I saved my ass from ridicule and the fear of being mocked was part of my motivation to get the job done!

6. Knowing I had no choice but to walk / run / swim / cycle. With this challenge and your teammates depending on you plus the fact I was the team leader, I felt more was expected of me. With that “pressure” I had to keep moving… all the time. That meant I only went to sleep one day out of the 16 weeks before midnight because I reset my pedometer at midnight, so I used every spare minute to walk, walk and walk.

5. Being able to spend time walking and thinking about life, work, family and other things. The quiet was refreshing and it was nice to get out late at night to just walk around. When I run, I run late at night – 10:30 or 11pm, so I am used to getting out that late, but I’ve never been a fan of late night walks… Until this competition.

4. The race at the end. Since there were 4 teams really close together, I was fixated on the step entry and seeing who made personal bests, and the sort. It was a lot of stress but also a lot of fun!

3. The change to my body shape was a nice touch. My legs and torso are slimmer, my upper body more muscular and overall, I feel better.

2. Seeing all the locations on the http://www.gettheworldmoving.com site as we moved trough the course and the final drive to complete the course which we did not. Seeing that in Canada there was snow made me laugh since it was August and obviously there is NO snow here in the summer.

1. I’ve changed my ways and in addition to all the exercise I regularly do in a day (before GCC I was averaging between 12000-14000 steps without the gym, and 21000 with the gym) I find I’m more than ever walking to keep moving.

So what benefits did you find from the GCC? If you did not take part, would you enter it next year if your company took part?

Posted in Life, news

Some examples of what makes me the urban daddy


I have so much stuff going through my head, that I had to get it all out in writing.  I have also come to realize that this is what makes me the urban daddy… My thoughts on being the father of 3 children, my ability to read people and understand thought processes and the general garbage that comes through my mind and onto this blog.

Here comes the dump… Hope you have a stable umbrella.

  • I like reggae music only when I’m in the islands.  I feel that it suits the heat and the way of life I can only find on vacation where it is really hot.  On my radio in Toronto just makes me want to go back down south and chill on a beach / cruise ship.
  • It’s time for a new toaster – the one we have does not toast any more, the button is broken, and to make toast I have to turn on the over part and wait for the toaster to start to creak and ping to know when the toast is done.  Even the kids recognize the sounds.  However, the toaster now starts creaking and pinging after the toast is very brown.  That tells me it’s time for it to go!
  • Boom 97.3 you’re losing me.  For starters, I hate bands like the Pet Shop Boys, New Order and the like but I listen because my wife loves that music and it’s a trip down memory lane, but how many times can I hear Loverboy, Supertramp or Depeche Mode before I start to go a little loony.  I think that time has come, or it’s coming really soon.  Anyone have any alternative thoughts and no, talk radio or 97.7HTZ FM, sadly.
  • The chefs on Top Chef Dessert were REALLY bitchy, eh?  Not like the other non-pastry chefs from the regular Top Chef show.  These one’s had real attitude.  Cant wait for the next season.  LOL.
  •  We went swimming to the Ledbury pool this past weekend for a birthday party (a GREAT idea!) and while swimming the lifeguard came up to me and asked me to remove my kids from the ramp.  I looked at the ramp which was chained shut and I looked at everyone else in the pool wondering how it was that we were blocking the closed ramp.  I said to her, “okay, when someone needs to use the ramp, I will make sure we are moved away”, to which she responded, “No you must move now – it’s the rules”.  So as a rule-abiding kind of guy / dad, we moved.  Then later in the afternoon as I was holding my daughter, Berry – who hates water, BTW, but was loving the pool, this same life guard came over to me and asked me to move her out of the deep end unless I wanted the lifeguard to give her a deep sea diving test right now.  Obviously my 22 month old cannot swim so I was going to ask if it made a difference that I was holding her, but the lifeguard cut me off and said, “even though you are holding her she must be able to swim on her own to be in the deep end.  Pool rules”.  So I popped my head under the line separating the deep end from the shallow end and continued swimming.  Another lifeguard came up behind this one and said to her, “I don’t enforce that rule anymore, especially during private parties”, to which she spun, looked at him and said, “that’s why you are a terrible lifeguard” as she stormed away. 
  • If you pay for your drink at Starbucks using a Starbucks card you are entitled to – among other things – a free flavour pump with your drink.  So someone like me who drinks Americano’s likes to have a pump of mocha with it so as it cools it still tastes delicious (Thank you Mr. Real Estate, Marshall Cohen).  Yet time and time again I get charged for that pump.  I even went into the last S’Bux with a tweet exchange between me and @StarbucksCanada where they confirmed the pump is free.  No luck.  I need to keep these receipts and send them in to HQ…
  • My 4-year-old, Stewie is a mini-male replica of my wife.  I don’t understand him, nor her.  Our daughter Berry is a cross between the two boys, but looks like a mini-version of my wife.  So I was no surprised to hear Stewie have this exchange with my wife this afternoon;

Stewie: “Mummy, I love the colour of your shirt today.  It’s my favourite colours”

Mummy: “Thank you Stewie”

Stewie: “Mummy, I love the colour of your hair, black is my favourite colour for hair”.

Mummy: “Thank you Stewie”

Stewie: “Mummy, and I love the colours on your glasses, they are my favourite colours”.

Mummy: “Giggle, thank you Stewie”.

Me: Hey Linus, you need to learn from your brother!”

Stewie to Linus now: “I hate short hair like yours”.

Linus: “But your hair is short too”

Stewie: “I just hate short black hair like yours”

Me: “Enough already… Out…”

Nice, eh?  Little charmer.

  • I don’t think that Wade Belak’s death was solely the result of the fact that he took repeated punches to the head while fighting in hockey.  I think he had suffered from depression before this and possibly his role in hockey contributed to the condition.  All that being said, there must be some good to come out of this.  Any child who loses their parent at such a young age suffers the most and his wife is also put in the position of being the sole parent.  I have strong opinions about suicide – not sure this happened in Wade’s case – but imagine the pain he must have been in to have done this, or overdosed on painkillers and alcohol… Tragic, but the National Hockey League needs to take Wade’s situation, Boogaards’, and that of Rick Rypien and come to the realization that we need premeditated fighting out of the game.  I hate this stuff to begin with and even Don Cherry declared about 10 years ago that with this fighters getting bigger and stronger, that Boogaard was going to kill someone one day.   It’s time has come.  I don’t like fighting in hockey, and I think instead of wasting the 4th line of a hockey team on “agitators” and “goons” the NHL should mandate that the 4th line contain rookies or new players, maybe specialty players for power plays or penalty killing and if the teams do not comply, them reduce the roster size by 3 players.  NHL teams carry 6 or 7 defensemen to cover 3 lines, so why then 4 lines of forwards?  Unnecessary and this change would be seen as a giant step forward by the NHL.
  • So what is open on Labour Day?  Nothing, right.  Well Stewie had a birthday party in Woodbridge of all places and I thought it would be a good idea to drop him off at the Trampoline place on Marycroft Road, then scoot up to Vaughan Mills so my wife can buy some more back to work wear.  Apparently, Vaughan Mills was one of the few places open and it was PACKED!  It took us almost 20 minutes just to get off the highway and another 10 minutes to park.  Inside was worse.  It was so packed that my wife called me when I went back to pick up Stewie asking me to hurry back so we could all leave.  It took me 20 minutes to get back up to get her and 20 minutes for her to get through the mall with the stroller out to the pick up point.  She said it was worse than Boxing Day shopping.  Zowie!
  • Did I mention that I’m in training for the 5k run at the CIBC run for the cure on October 2nd?  Well tonight I put in a 7km run in just under an hour.  I feel great too, and I really needed the steps for the push to the end of the 2011 Global Corporate Challenge.  That run along with the steps I ammassed today gave me a new person best of just over 55,000 steps and got me to 3-million steps.  YAY.
Posted in family, Life

It’s nice to be back from summer vacation


Home sweet home.

I missed you home.  I missed you bed.  I missed you air-conditioning, especially after spending 2 1/2 weeks in a car and on a boat in the heat, with 3 very energetic children.

We had a wonderful time and a tiring time as the same time on our family vacation.  Read on to see how we survived and maybe you will find some ideas for a trip with your families.

Since I do not generally like to announce my impending vacations, I kept this one quiet but now I can spill the beans and talk about this trip and how we became friends with Irene.  Hurricane Irene that is.

At a very high level here was what we did;

Our trip began with a nice relaxing drive from Toronto to Rochester, NY in which we had to pull off the 401 (Canada’s busiest highway) so my 4-year-old son Stewie could pee. Sure I asked them to pee before we left and yes he was the one who didn’t need to, but while we were standing on the shoulder with cars zipping by, he took the longest pee ever recorded on the cement barrier separating the West-bound traffic from the East-bound traffic. It never ended. My wife started laughing, and then I did too.

As well, having all 3 kids in the same row of the car was… Interesting.  When they were not doing the WWE / UFC and trying to kill each other, they were quietly playing on their iPad‘s, watching the Cat in the Hat, or playing Angry Birds or Plants versus Zombies.

So we left beautiful sunny Toronto at 1:23pm and arrived in Rochester just past 8pm. We stayed at the Strathallen Hotel and it was awesome. There were some nice things to do close to the hotel, but we arrived late in the evening (kids bed-time is normally 7:30pm) and it rained SO much that there was immense flooding in the area we decided to grab a pizza and hit the sack. Of course the kids wouldn’t eat the pizza so they ate the fruit we packed and went to bed really late in the night, a pre-cursor of things to come. As well, a huge tree around the corner from the hotel uprooted, blocking off the road. Little did we know the rest of the damage.

Rochester looked like this:
http://youtu.be/TiwmY6Vn304

After it stopped raining, Rochester looked like this:
http://youtu.be/pNMpF1eFqhc

For our Rochester activity, we took in the Children’s Museum and it was fantastic! The kids loved it, there was so much to do there and we raced from display to display. We of course stopped in the middle to eat grapes and watch the pouring rain.

The 14th of August, our museum day, looked like this after the rain left:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPWuP_8FclE&NR=1

I’m pretty sure we caught the tail end of this mishap as we sat in the car and watched the police drain the water into the sewers under this bridge. The car had probably just left.

From Rochester we drove to Howes Caverns, NY and we stayed in the motel and went into the Caverns the next morning. It was very cool… Literally. My wife had to purchase a hoodie from the gift shop prior to the adventure. The 45-minute trip was fun, the tour guides were very knowledgeable and they get extra credit for the boat ride that they had to paddle the 20 of us through. All in all, it was totally worth it and the kids loved it.

Later that day we headed closer to New York and stayed at a horrid Super 8 motel in New Paltz, New York. It was small and gross and the only thing that saved it was the 24 hour coffee and the “breakfast” the next morning. Sure the coffee in the morning was just coloured water, but at night when I needed it, it was hot, wet and strong.

From New Paltz, we headed into Brooklyn, New York where we had rented a floor in an old brownstone through http://www.airbandb.com. What an amazing experience. Not far from where Jay-Z grew up, we were on the top floor of this historic building in a pretty interesting area. We parked the car in front of the building and left it there for 3 days until we had to move it for the street cleaning.
An aside: Do you know how hard it was to find cottage cheese or plain yogurt in Brooklyn? I mean why spend $5.99 on yogurt when you can buy a prepared dish full of preservatives and salt for $1.99. That was one horrible realization for us. Might be a reason for rising obesity rates in Americans…

From our headquarters in Brooklyn, we hit the subways and headed into the City. Navigating the subway was easy enough but lifting the stroller up and down the stairs, not so fun. That and the subway staff couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether you had directions or not, or if you paid or not. They often chatted with each other instead of tending to the people around or they mumbled their responses back to everyone. The announcements were inaudible. These guys could learn something from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) who had dramatically improved the clarity of their announcements, especially when calling out stations. But all that aside, we were really worried about Berry who hates subways, and the first trip we took she was held by her mummy, head down on her shoulders and very scared. But as we travelled, she really started to enjoy the subway trips, and eventually she came around. Whenever someone looked at her, she would point to herself and say, “Berry”, then wave and say hi. She had quite the audience and considering how friendly New Yorkers are, each trip was a lot of fun. She had plenty of new-found friends to keep her company and give her attention and we had one less frightened child with us.

We hit the City every day and visited a bunch of must see shops, like; M&M store, Lego store, FAO Shwartz (kids played on the giant piano there), Disney store, bead shops and TD Bank which has no ties to the Canadian TD Bank… Very odd there.  We walked to Canal Street and bought Cherries, raw peanuts and strawberries from the vendors, we bought a Hello Kitty backpack for Berry and Angry Birds t-shirts for the boys. We took a cruise of the skyline and saw the Statue of Liberty and the new and old Twin Towers locations. We walked up down and sideways the City, my step count for the Global Corporate Challenge was in the 40,000’s almost every day. We ate Dim Sum in Chinatown and found yogurt in Manhattan. We took in a unique Chinese candy store and had the kids pictures taken with New York’s finest. It was a hot, tiring, but really fun experience. We had very little rain, usually in the evenings and the apartment we rented had air conditioning and Netflicks so the kids were kept cool and they watched Phineas and Fern, Dora and Diego and other kids shows to bide their time from their 6am wake up’s.

By Saturday – a week later – we had said goodbye to Brooklyn and we drove to the pier in Manhattan where we parked for only $21/day so we could hop onto the Norwegian Cruise Ship, the Jewel, for a week long cruise.  The Jewel is identical to the Pearl which we had been on before, however this time with 3 kids we needed 2 staterooms and we had adjoining cabins with the ocean views (we were concerned about having balcony’s). Each room had a bunk bed and a pull out, but we ended up sticking the 3 kids in one room and we hung out in the other.

The cruise was good, the kids camp was okay (although for the life of me I never understand why they won’t: 1) change the kids – not an issue this time around, the boys are 4 and 6, but was a huge problem on the Pearl when Stewie was left standing in the corner soaking wet because they would not ask him if he needed to pee and he forgot, and they didn’t want him sitting and getting the floor wet. 2) Why the kids are inside all the time. 3) Why the kids watch movies in the camp. I don’t pay all that money for my boys to cruise so they can watch TV.  I can turn up the heat at home and we can do that here.

Anyways, we had Berry with us for the trip and that was fine as she was too young for the kiddie camp.  As a family, we all ate together, we swam, we walked the ship endless amounts of time and we walked up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator from the 5th floor, to the buffet on the 12th floor whenever possible and that includes Berry.

Speaking of Berry, she stole the show this cruise with her knowledge of her body parts in Tagalog, with all the Filipino staff calling out for her to perform – which she obliged to do – and the other staff asking for a wave and a smile. Since this ship was also a Nickelodeon ship, and my daughter loves Dora the Explorer, this doubled her fun. “Berry see Dora… Yeh-hey” was her cry. She was one very happy camper. Linus on the other had was miserable. He had bumps on his tongue and refused to eat anything healthy, sticking to the starches – bread, pasta, crackers, cereal and it took him 4 days to get something with vitamins and nutrients in his body before he could have any treats – which turned out to be the night of the chocolate buffet.

So we saw Dora, Diego, Sponge Bob, Patrick Starr and 2 other guys – Chum Chum and Fan Boy if I remember correctly at the character breakfast and at other events for the kids.  It got to the point that the Nickelodeon crew would point out Berry to the characters and she would get hugs and high fives.  She loved them and they loved her.  She had a blast.

Our had 3 scheduled stops; Port Canaveral Florida, their private beach and Nassau in the Bahamas.

We stayed on the boat and swam on the Florida day, taking an hour in the afternoon to taxi into Cocoa Beach to buy bottled water and to play on the beach. Our $24.00 case of water was cheaper than the ships $4.50 a liter water. It was a good buy even if we had to shlep the leftover bottles with us back off the ship. I’ll never forget my wife’s comment to me as we were packing them up; “Start drinking!”

Also in Florida, we walked around Ron Jon’s – which was identified to us as being a tourist destination – it was very cool in there and super hot and humid in Florida so that worked for us. Taking Berry into the ocean for her first time was a lot of fun. We walked to the beach and dipped in our toes, but because it was so hot and the water was sooo nice the 5 of us ended up soaking wet, the boys essentially jumped into the water fully dressed. That was a ton of fun until walking back when they started complaining about being wet, tired and full of sand.

It was also in Florida where we got more information on Hurricane Irene. It was really coming.

From that point I started with my Hurricane Helms sayings… “Stand back, there’s a hurricane coming!” I had the kids doing it too. It fit.

The following day on the Great Stirrup Cay expedition we met a couple couples, both from the NY/NJ area, and we hit it off with a couple from NJ who had kids around the same ages as our boys. We hung out with them the rest of the trip. It made it more fun for us because of the adult conversation and it gave us an opportunity to keep our kids up late and hang out as families.

A side note from the NCL private beach was that Linus got stung in the inner thigh by a jellyfish. He was complaining of an itchy rash on his leg and it looked really ugly, but when I saw an older teen complaining about the same thing, I asked the lifeguard and he said, “oh yeah! There are jelly fish and they sting!”. Thanks buddy. So we went to the dive hut and they sprayed it with vinegar which stung a LOT.  Linus crumpled to the floor crying and the woman there said in a very monotone delivery; “I won’t kid you, the vinegar stings worse than the bite, but it will get better”.  No shit.  Really.

10 minutes later he had completely forgotten about it.

Another highlight of this beach was the outdoor buffet and our 4-year-old eating machine, Stewie, who ate 2 giant hamburgers at 11am topped with lettuce, tomatoes and onions.  These were big hamburgers, not the small thin ones. 

We never did make it to Nassau as a result of Hurricane Irene scheduled to be there the same day as us, so the ship turned and booted it for Washington where we stayed for 2 days in the middle of the ocean.

We came into Manhattan and everyone got booted off the ship earlier so the Jewel could take the next group into the ocean before the storm hit.  We got into our car and headed out to visit my wife’s uncle and then to New Jersey to hang out with her cousin. 

While in Jersey we were west enough that the hurricane hit at night when we were sleeping and the following day there was a lot of wind, but we were not in any danger.  The kids LOVED staying inside and playing on their iPads with their cousins and playing with toys and eating treats they would not get at home.  I was watching the clouds fly by in the sky, I took a walk in the storm (and got soaked), my wife went to Target to shop for school supplies, and the kids had the blast.

We hung out for an additional day and left the next morning at 8am, arriving in Toronto at 10:30pm after stopping at every rest station and to shop.

A fun, yet tiring vacation. 

Would we do it again?  Sure.  If there was a way to seperate the kids, it would be better.  Or maybe a shield like they have in cabs.  Watching Berry using the back of his fist to backhand smack Linus every now and then was funny – it’s what she saw them doing, but the mouth fart noise that Stewie taught her… So NOT cool.

I love NY!

Posted in family

GCC Friendly things to do in Toronto with kids


Weekends always pose to be a dilemma for my family. We are all so busy during the week, my wife and I working, and the kids at camp during the summer, that come the weekend we’re tired and feel we all need a break. Then again… The weekend is the perfect time to do things as a family, run errands and spend quality time together.

Also in the mix is the fact that this was a sucky week for me in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) and I pledged to make that right on the weekend.

So when my wife and I sat down Saturday morning trying to plan the day we thought about getting the family outside and adding some steps along the way.

So we ate breakfast, loaded up on water and some snacks and off we went. Here was Saturday;

Walk to the subway.

Walked to the Art Gallery of Ontario (where we got married just over 10 years ago).
Looked for the Village on the Grange (it’s not there).

Walked over to Chinatown to this crazy cool old school dim sum joint on the top floor of a strip mall.

Walked down to Queen Street.

Had free freezies courtesy Virgin Mobile.

Peeked into Much Music – they were filming something for Degrassi.

Saw the homeless guy with his homeless girlfriend / hooker and their homeless dog. He has a sign that says “Need Money for Weed” . I wanted to hand him a new sign that read, “Stay in School Kids – living examples”.

Hit up the Second Cup for a Chocolate Chiller for my wife and Strawberry Yogurt drink for my kids.

Walked back to the subway.

Headed home.

Once at home, Berry napped while my wife and I dosed and the boys watched TV, half conscious, until 4:30pm when we ran out to

get our new glasses, pick up bagels from the Montreal bagel place on Avenue Road (Chatted with Haley-O’s husband Josh-O of Cheaty Monkey fame).

Went to Toy Town.

Came home.

Picked up dinner at the amazing Indus Tavern on Eglinton (yum x 1000) then some tidying and we were both out cold by 11pm.

Net GCC result: 35,212 steps!!!

 

Sunday:

Up a little later – 7am.

Out of the house by 9am to Whittamore farm for some raspberry picking then over to pick some green pees, yellow beans, beets, green beans, sugar snap peas and new potatoes…

By 11:30am it was pretty hot and we were all pretty sapped of energy – But let me tell you how cute it is seeing the kids pick the berries. Berry, picked some great berries and put them in her basket. It wasn’t until she tried one when she realized some liked them. It was all downhill from there. The field became her buffet.

From there we went to T&T Grocery store in Markham, then over to a Tim Horton’s drive through for my first coffee in 14 days… YUM!!!

Then after some shopping / sampling we all hopped back into the car and flew over to Woodbine and the 407 for lunch at the new King’s buffet restaurant.

From there home for a nap for Berry while the boys try to kill each other.

I put everything away and at 3pm I checked in at 21,000 steps. I am totally not going to get to 30,000 steps but this has been a great weekend with the family and a great walking weekend for the GCC.

We got the kids bathed, garden and lawn watered and cleaned up quite a bit of the house.  Up and down the stairs over and over again sure helped my walking total as once Berry went to sleep, at 8:30pm, I was at 30,000 steps for the day.  More cleaning, more up and down the stairs, some laundry, and a trip to the store later and it’s midnight and I take off my pedometer and it reads this;

Final total, and a personal best, 36, 019!!!

So there were some fun things to do with kids on a hot weekend in Toronto.