Big Changes at The Urban Daddy: Welcoming Our Newest Addition!


We have made some significant changes at The Urban Daddy because change is good!  Besides, what is better than a Daddy blogger?  A Daddy blogger AND a Mommy blogger!

Joining The Urban Daddy will be The Urban Twin Mommy, who brings the experience and expertise of parenting twins (one boy and one girl – both, coincidentally, are 5-years-old!)!

Here is The Urban Twin Mommy;

“Thanks for welcoming me to the world of The Urban Daddy! While I’m not a daddy, I’m definitely not your typical mommy.

Aside from being a mom of the most delicious, obnoxious, beautiful, pain-in-the-ass twins (who everyone fondly refer to as The Bears), my friends will tell you that I’m likely the most honest, no bullshit mom you’ve met. Here are a few mantras I live by:

My kids can be assholes, so can yours.

Not all babies are cute! My son was born beautiful, my daughter looked like my husband on a chicken body (luckily, she’s grown into herself and is stunning, in my unbiased opinion).

I love my husband, he loves me and we try not to maim or kill each-other while trying to raise two little humans.

I don’t lie to my kids. I explain the reality in a way their almost 5-year-old brains can comprehend. Or I tell them to ask Daddy.

Hubby can be an asshole. I can be a bigger asshole.

Postpartum depression f@#$ing sucks. I had it. I talk about it. I’ll keep talking about it until the world understands what it is and how it can affect moms.

I swear like a sailor. I don’t apologize for it. Apparently, it’s a sign of intelligence… who knew?!

I often walk the line between ‘Super Awesome Fun’ Mom and ‘Psycho, we better call a grandparent’ Mom

Well, that’s a enough about me for the time being… I can’t give away all the intrigue, now can I?!

I’m looking forward to adding some great, regular content here, and fixing all of the spelling and grammer mistakes in all the older 1250 posts!!  (Learn to spell check, Warren!)

The Urban Twin Mommy

Follow me on Twitter @UrbanTwinMommy.  You’ll also find me sometimes @realurbandaddy, with each tweet signed off MB for Mama Bear.

I’ll also pop over to TheUrbanDaddy on Facebook to bring some more oomph to that page.  :)”

 

Please help me in welcoming The Urban Twin Mommy!

 

 

 

 

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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.

Starbucks NEW Pumpkin Spice Latte Arriving September 2015. Updated.


My coffee sources tell me that Starbucks is set to roll out the new and improved Pumpkin Spice Latte in September 2015.

In an effort to rid their drinks of artificial ingredients and artificial flavors (as they do in Europe), Starbucks has reinvented the Pumpkin Spice Latte, with natural ingredients, without artificial caramel coloring but with real pumpkin.

Hard to believe that it has already been 12-years since Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte. My understanding was that he Pumpkin Spice Latte was not a slamdunk choice by Starbucks and that that they had tested an “orange cream” creation (yum) and when they settled on the “Pumpkin” drink for the fall, they were leaning towards using the name “Fall Harvest Latte” instead.

Word on the street is that when Starbucks tested the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” in stores they found out very quickly that their customers loved it and they knew it was going to be a regular fall / winter drink for the company.

Up until recently, you could not even purchase the Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup in store or online, but one quick peek of the starbucks online store at starbucks.ca/store tells me it is available in wide circulation.

As for the new, revamped, Pumpkin Spice Latte… Real pumpkin.  Real spices.  It’s coming! Real soon.


Update:

So I went to Starbucks, tried the drink and I thought it was fantastic.  Its even better than the “original” one which I had always found to be a bit chemically.  The new Pumpkin Spice Latte is not overly sweet, and no where near too pumpkin-y.

It was satisfying and really does hit the spot as the weather turns cooler.

Michelin Canada Proves Tires are VERY Important to Keep Our Families Safe!


I cannot imagine what I consider to be more important to me than the safety of my family.  With that in mind, I was made very aware the other day that the brand of tires I choose to put on my car can have a significant impact on how safe they are when they are in the car with me.

Even more incredible is that while I can make my car safer by having the correct tires on my vehicle, it can help by also alerting people that as the weather warms up, driving around with your winter tires still on your car is dangerous to everyone inside and outside your vehicle?

I’ve never used winter tires, so I was not aware.

Now I know.

Now we all know!

On April 14th, I was invited to attend an information session put on my Michelin Canada to learn about the perils of driving with winter tires on their car in warmer weather, and to see Michelin’s newest tire, the Premier LTX.  The session was at the Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario, and along with learning about winter tires, I was also educated about benefits of Michelin’s Premier LTX, and taken for a drive in a 2016 Kia Sorrento with these tires, in a variety of conditions.  To be more correct, I drove the vehicle with Michelin’s professional drivers who double as professional race car drivers competing all over the world.  These guys KNOW how to drive!

Let me begin by stating that I receive quite a lot of offers to experience, try, test and taste new products and while I would happily review and cover them all, my schedule – business and family priorities – do not allow the time for it all.  However, once I saw there would be an opportunity to speak with a professional driver about how to be a better driver, and to be honest, since I know very little about cars, I could not pass up this opportunity and I am thankful that I did not.

Upon my arrival, I met with Professional race car driver and Michelin driving expert Carl Nadeau, for a lively discussion with myself and Andrew Clarke, the Globe and Mail auto expert.  Nadeau encouraged us to get the word out to all Canadians to remain vigilant while driving this summer and reminds them of the importance of using tires adapted to the season: “As temperatures rise, some drivers don’t give a second thought to the state of their all-season or summer tires. Worse, some even decide to keep their winter tires on. With temperatures steadily above 7°C, winter tires decline in grip and control, requiring a much greater distance to come to a complete stop compared to all-season or summer tires. And the lack of traction and control only gets worse as temperatures rise.”

I certainly did not know that!

I asked the dumb question about the importance of having winter tires on a car because in my… 27 years driving a car, I have never had them.  I’m Canadian born and raised and thus learned to drive in the winter.  I see ice and laugh at it.  Do I really need winter tires?!?

“Yes” was the obvious response.

Then I learned about the tire… I know tires are rubber and have treads… That’s all.

Sylvaine Cuniberti the Marketing Director for Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. Explained the new Michelin tire and how it is different from any other tire available right now.  “The revolutionary MICHELIN® Premier™ LTX™  tire features the EverGrip™ tread, which evolves as it wears to prolong safety.”  In English (or French) as tires wear, they get bald, or the treads which hold them to the ground wear away and the car slips and slides in cold or wet.

So as the Michelin Premier LTX tires wear, the grooves get wider, so that the tire maintains it’s ability to provide traction and that means there tires stay as safe as they were when first purchased.

So smart!

Presently available to dealers for order, the MICHELIN® Premier™ LTX™ tire will be introduced to the general public as of June 1st and will initially be available in 30 sizes (from 16 to 22 inches) fitting a range of SUVs/CUVs/light trucks and utility vehicles such as the Ford Escape, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, and 2016 Kia Sorento among others.  To complete the Premier family expansion, the MICHELIN® Premier™ A/S will also be available in an additional 12 sizes (from 15 to 17 inches).

After the discussion, Mr. Nadeau gave us safety tips which I quickly jotted down while trying to visualize my own driving style and approach to my vehicle.

Michelin Canada encourages drivers to conduct proper safety checks and adhering to a few safe-driving tips.

Check Your Tires: After all, tires are the only part of your car that touch the road.

  • Check your tires for wear – Using the “Quarter Test’’, put the Quarter head first into your tread. The top part of the figurehead should be partially covered by the tread. If you can see the whole head, it’s time to replace the tire.
  • Check the air pressure – Tires can lose up to 1 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure every month. Use a proper pressure gauge to check pressure when tires are cold (before driving or three hours after driving). Make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure that’s listed on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your car.  (My car has an electronic sensor which alerts me as to the amount of tire pressure each tire has compared to what it should have).

Other tips include, sitting straight up while driving – no leaning back – make sure your thumbs are inside the steering wheel for the best control, don’t hold the steering wheel in a death-grip, make sure you are far enough back from the brake pedal so that you can press it with your entire foot without having to extend your toes, or fully extend your leg in case of emergency.

More tips on safe driving, visit http://www.michelin.ca/tires-101/driving-and-safety-tips/driving-tips.page

Then I got to drive… Fast.  On tight turns.  I got to slam on the brakes with the car travelling over 60km/h and was shocked, yes shocked when the car just stopped.  No skidding or screeching, and there was no feeling that the car was still moving as I slammed my foot down.  The car just stopped.

It was unreal.

I tried in on curves, in wet conditions, and dry and time after time, the tires taught me a lesson.  They taught me that whatever tires I have on my car and not the right tires for my family.  They taught me that great tires DO make a difference and they taught me that I need to buy a set of winter tires for my car.

Michelin invited me to educate me, and they did far more than that.  They enlightened me, and I will no longer accept sub-par tires for my car, and that my family deserves better.

Thank you Michelin.

I was compensated for this post by getting the opportunity to learn to drive a car with incredible tires in all kinds of conditions and along with the safety tips, I will be a better driver on the road.  I also received a tire-shaped cooler to keep in my trunk.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium in Auburn Hills, Michigan is open! Perfect for a Road Trip, eh?


Always looking for something new, fun and exciting to do with the kids on weekends and during the summer, I was tipped off about the recent opening of the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium in Auburn Hills, Mich., which happens to be a short drive from the Canadian border here in Ontario.

Having travelled to Rochester, New York to take the kids to their awesome Science Centre, Play Museum and Planetarium, the SEA LIFE Aquarium can be added to the list!

This new facility opened January 2015 and is beginning to ramp up for the spring and summer seasons, providing a great option for Canadian families to go for a road trip or weekend away.

Detroit Aquarium Ocean tank 1 Detroit Aquarium Touchpool2

NEWS RELEASE

Experience an array of exotic sea life at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

Michigan’s brand new aquarium will transport you into an enchanting underwater world, bringing you nose to nose with sharks and igniting your passion for the sea.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April, 2015 – SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, the 35,000-square-foot aquatic attraction at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, officially opened its doors to the public this past January, offering up close and personal experiences with sea creatures to visitors from across North America.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium takes guests on an awe-inspiring, educational journey through an amazing underwater world featuring more than 5,000 incredible creatures such as sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, eels, sea horses, tropical fish, a Giant Pacific Octopus and fish native to the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways. Guests have the unique opportunity to get nose-to-nose with these creatures in interactive, engaging exhibits, including a dazzling 180-degree ocean tunnel, and a hands-on touch pool.

“Just a short drive from the Canadian border, our location at the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets makes for the perfect family day trip,” says Debbie Gibb, SEA LIFE Michigan’s Marketing Manager. “Our state-of-the-art aquarium can be enjoyed by everyone – from a family trip, to a fun date night idea – and with our emphasis on fun education, when you visit SEA LIFE not only will you learn something new, but you may also be inspired to support our worldwide conservation efforts.”

Enjoy the beauty of the ocean and its creatures by holding a crab or touching a sea star at the interactive touch pool, watching the fun talks and feeding shows throughout the day, and taking in the experience of watching more than 5,000 sea creatures throughout the attraction.

Located 45 minutes from the Canadian border, the brand new SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is also open for school and group tours seven days a week and birthday parties on weekends.

Annual passes and regular tickets are available online at www.visitsealife.com/michigan/buy-tickets.   Children under the age of three-years-old are always free.

About SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is a 35,000-square-foot aquarium in Auburn Hills, Mich. based Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. As the 7th SEA LIFE location in the United States, and the 42nd in the world, SEA LIFE Michigan features engaging, educational and one-of-a-kind experiences that bring guests nose-to-nose with more than 5,000 amazing creatures, including sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea horses and much, much more. SEALIFE provides a glimpse of the diversity of marine life while also playing an active role in animal and environmental conservation. Visitors will see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s Breed, Rescue and Protect activities around the world, including new projects developed locally.

For more information, visit www.visitsealife.com/michigan.