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.
Yes, I know it’s almost 1am and I should go to sleep, but I wanted to make sure much of the house was ready for the week ahead and that I would be ready for another productive week at the office.
Really, however, I should have gone to bed at 10am when my wife did because this was one action-packed weekend and like my family, I’m tired!
So where to begin?
Saturday! Karate. Both boys did quite well. Linus was a little goofy at the beginning of his class and I noticed that he cannot bring his knees right up to his chest when he jumps, so I’m going to have to work with him, but every other stretch, or exercise, he was right in there with the bigger kids. I’m proud of his development.
Stewie on the other hand really looks like he’s the odd-boy out in his group. He’s the biggest kid in his level and honestly, he’s the most technically sound, which is why they are trying to move him up to his yellow belt, quickly before he gets bored. He received another stripe in that class. That puts him one red stripe and some grading away from yellow. Yay.
It was also this day when I realized my kids refer to “Tim Horton’s” and “Tim-Portance”…
So we came home, cleaned up and had some new friends over for a BBQ. YUM. There is nothing like BBQ’d burgers, dogs and corn. While the food was on the grill it gave me a chance to plant some veggies I bought – okra, beans, tomatoes, beets, and very soon blueberries to got with the raspberries and strawberries.
It’s kind of funny that we spent all this money on nice patio furniture for our extended deck and we’ve only been able to use it once, with all the rain we’ve been having. I found the solution to all the rain, I’m going to buy rain boots for my wife whose birthday is in a couple of days. Once she gets those the rain will certainly stop.
Sunday was the UJA Walk for Israel in the streets of downtown Toronto. Last year it was roasting hot and we took to the streets with a then 6 months old baby in the stroller and 5 and 3 year old boys eager to walk check-point to check-point picking up treats and getting their passports stamped. About 5km into the 7km route, Stewie melted down and we tossed him in the stroller, my wife strapped the baby to her back and with a blister on her foot, we walked the entire route.
This year, we figured with the boys one year older that we could make it through the route if we cut out a couple checkpoints and made sure the they had lots of treats. Last year there were yogurt drinks, chips, licorice, and other such junk, popsicle, that kept the boy moving but this year checkpoint 1 had gum and water. My kids don’t eat gum and we had plenty of water. So this started the “I want a treat” whine from Stewie and he kept this up the entire day. It even got to the point that he rejected chips and french fries because he wanted chocolate, so my wife threw him in the stroller – figuring he’d appreciate the rest and might even sleep,but he originally wanted no part of that, so what she saw was this;
The 4 of us walked for a little bit until Stewie went back for the stroller and I scooped up Berry so we could head towards the finish.
It was a good walk. I put on 24,528 steps today for my Global Corporate Challenge.
I also realized I am officially bald. I burned the top of my head.
Right before the end of the walk, there were these crazy orthodox men protesting the existence of Israel. I thought that was really weird, as did Linus, until my wife pointed out that I had the same reaction last year. These guys don’t speak Hebrew, they speak Yiddish, and they want to be free to pray where ever they want or something like that.
This upset Linus – who goes to a Jewish day school – because they fill their heads with pro-Israel news and information how could the kids not bond with the country. Personally, I’ve never been there and my family comes more from Russia and Poland, so I don’t feel the tie to Israel, nor do I understand why peace cannot be ironed out, but hopefully we’ll get there in the next couple years.
One funny point today occurred when we cut through the Rogers Centre to get to a different check-point (I was holding a pizza and we wanted to eat it, then catch up… Well we took the skywalk back to Union station but along the way my wife took the elevator to the ground floor, while the boys and I took it down only once floor so we were separated. I called her and we agreed to meet at the next checkpoint, problems is, she had the map.
So the boys and I walked on to Front street, found a gaggle of walkers, and joined their walk on King street when I noticed that we had butted out way into the Aja Khan walk and we going g-d knows where with g-d knows who. With that, we quietly left that walk and headed back to Front street where we could my wife and daughter.
So all in all a great day! Kids are clean and out cold, and my wife has not stirred since her head hit the pillow. The kitchen is clean, I cma clean and it’s time for beg
The 2010 UJA Walk with Israel Toronto edition began with a spectacular show of solidarity from members and leaders of the Jewish community as well as politicians from all levels of government.
On this past Sunday, May 30th, 2010, I rushed my wife, and 3 kids to the Ricoh Coliseum on the CNE grounds in Downtown Toronto for the 9:30 registration in preparation from the 10am walk. Sunday was supposed to be a very hot, sunny day and knowing there was little chance my kids would make the entire 7km walk, we wanted to hear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic speech – the first address by an Israeli Prime Minister to Canada’s Jewish community since Menachem Begin spoke here in 1978 and the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister since Yitzhak Rabin travelled to Canada 17 years ago – and then jet off on the course while it was still cool.
But we forgot…
The UJA were working on Jewish Standard Time.
So after loitering in the Direct Energy Centre until almost 11:30am with tired, hungry, cranky kids, and with the speeches nowhere near ending, we set off on the walk with some other eager beavers.
Boy, were my kids cranky! “I’m hungry”, “I’m tired”, “Are we there yet?”, “I have to poo” (thank you kind girls at Ontario Place for letting me sneak in my 5-year-old to use the bathroom). From that standpoint I didn’t think we were going to make it.
After walking, stopping, more walking while listening to them whine, we hit the first checkpoint, at Coronation Park. At the party were some politicians, Rob Ford, Joe Oliver, and Rob Davis. There was music, refillable water bottles the kids could wear, chocolate and balloons. After getting their passport stamp, some praise for making it to the first checkpoint and an unexpected treat (chocolate) the kids decided it was time to move on… Quickly to get to the next checkpoint for more treats.
Our departure from the first checkpoint was slightly delayed as my very conscious 5-year-old was dancing to the music. I could tell that he really wanted to dance but didn’t want to appear our of sync with the rest of the dancers… He was hesitant, but dancing. He’s SO my boy!!!
Checkpoint 2 brought the kids some cherry nibs, blueberry / blackberry smoothie, a beach and bathrooms. The kids found a swan family, with their nest and baby sitting there. At one point my son turned to me and said, “are we going on the canoes, or the beach?”. I turned, puzzled, only to see a giant rack of canoes. LOL. We decided instead to walk-on.
Checkpoint 3 – Simcoe Park – My 5-year-old is now in the stroller and the baby is strapped to my wife’s back. 3-year-old getting cranky and defiant. Demands that I get a taxi to take us back to the car so they can eat hot dogs and go on the bouncy castle. Follows that up with, “I make the rules!!!” I Laugh. We trudge on with the help of the bags of all natural funky vegetable chips they are giving away.
Checkpoint 4 – Popsicles and water. At this point with the big boy in the stroller, the baby strapped to my wife’s back and the little tyrant screaming orders, we were just trying to get moving to the end. It’s not too far, I proclaim, not having looked at a map. My wife, red-faced, overheated and tired says she cannot go on. I encourage her. WOW is it far!!!
We had an unexpected stop behind Fort York to tend to a blister on my wife’s foot. This stop gave me some déjà vu when my DW asked me if I thought it was ok for her to wear sandals. I said probably not a good idea as she gets blisters, but agree that the wind blowing between her toes rather than sweaty socks, is a reason to wear them.
Behind Fort York where a ton of funky looking condo line the roadway blocking off the water from the railway tracks and homeless people, the blister got the better of her and she could not go on. We tried walking in bare feet and were ready to make pick up decisions until another walker offered her a band-aid and everything was right in the world again. Armed with a super-red face, an achy back, blistery foot and a now out cold 3-year-old we set off to finish the walk, a mere 4 ½ hours after we arrived at the registration.
Approximately 7,000 people heard Netanyahu speak and around 15,000 participated in UJA’s annual walk after the speech.
End result… Kids were full of energy but slept great. I burned my arms, the baby was a little dehydrated and my wife… Time will tell.