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.

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

Overheard at Tim Horton’s – The WORST THING EVER!!!


I overhear this conversation at Tim Horton’s recently between a couple of millennials, which caught my attention because it started with one turning to the other and declaring, “OMG! Do you know what is the WORST!”

So I had to listen.

Now you get the details of the “worst”… You might want to sit down for this!

“OMG you know what is the WORST!”

“What?”

“When you order a Coke and they bring you a Pepsi…”

“GASP

“…Without telling you.”

“I know, eh?”

“I mean, it’s so NOT okay for that to happen. They’re two completely different products and you should be warned.”

“Totally… Like when you order coffee with sugar but they forget to put in the sugar…”

“No… Not like that at all.”

“Oh.”

Silence.

Now, I had always imagined the “worst” being something far more catastrophic, like losing a child, or a spouse, or war, famine, natural disasters, but hey… Getting a Pepsi when you order a coke could be pretty bad… Like not being able to download that song for free right away, or not having WiFi available…

Can I Tell You About: Fenestration


Can I tell you about frustration, err, Fenestration…  You tell me if you’ve had an experience like this before.

First off, this is Fenestration:

Fenestration.JPG

Fenestration stands 68 inches tall and 88 inches wide.

I hate her!

I mean, she’s nice and all, but I hate her because of the bad memories that come with her as a result of a bad decision on my part, and my inability to be mean / stand up for myself.

When my wife and I purchased our previous house, Fenestration was hanging in the family room over the couch.  They room had a built-in wall unit on one wall, a built-in fireplace on the other wall, and a window on the third wall.  With 12 foot ceilings, Fenestration made the room.

But it wasn’t ours… It was art which belonged to the previous owner.

On moving day, the previous owner asked me if we had any interest in Fenestration, because it was too big for his new condo, and it really made the room.

I agreed, and figured that after buying the house, it was a nice throw in which I could always sell if we found something nicer.

“Great!” he said… “Just give me $200 bucks for it.”

<screecchhhh>

“What? $200 bucks???  I don’t want it, thanks anyways”, was my reply.

“No, you should keep it”, he declared.

“Okay, but I’m not paying $200 bucks for it”, was my response.

Apparently, I wasn’t clear, because I had no intention on paying him for this painting and he expected $200 from me, that he showed up at the house 6 times over the next 2 weeks asking for the $200.

I finally told him to come get the painting, but he somehow talked me out of that.

So I caved…

Gave him $200.

Told my wife he backed off his price.

She didn’t buy that story for a second.

So Fenestration hung on the wall for almost 5-years at that house, reminding me that I should have told him to take the damn thing or better, to just throw it in since we had bought his damn house.

Then we moved again… 5 years ago…

One of the last things I moved was Fenestration!

Rode down the main street at 2 in the morning with Fenestration flapping up and down due to the wind.  She refused to break… Damn her!

And now in our new house, Fenestration lives in the basement playroom beside the treadmill and under the hanging TV.  I use that treadmill twice a week, and each time I curse Fenestration!

I tried to sell Fenestration recently, asking $200.01 for the painting and had some quick responses.  One asked me to take $50, the other $150.  Neither deals went through.

I even go an offer from Nigeria to sell Fenestration for $10,000, but I balked at giving them my bank details, social insurance number and PIN number.

This summer, I will sell Fenestration!  I have to.  But I will always have this post to remind me about her, and of course, my wife and he story which might start like this; “… remember that time you stupidly…”

Family Day 2017: GTA Home & Reno Show


The GTA Home & Reno Show is returning February 17-20th and has activities for GTAers of all ages.

Family Day Fun at the GTA Home & Reno Show

It’s never too early to get the kids involved; home design and fun-filled activities for all ages this Family Day

Grab the kids and head to The GTA Home & Reno Show for a Family Day event that’s fun for all ages. This year’s show is ‘fam’ packed with activities and learning opportunities for the young and young at heart!

Family Day Highlights:

  1. Time for the little ones to discover the wonders that await in their backyards! Join Master Gardeners as they teach your budding green thumb to plant, see a bean sprout and learn what birds and insects they can find in their garden.
  2. Kids can ‘putt’ their golfing skills to the test at the Backyard Greens Golf.
  3. Free daycare available on Family Day Monday, February 20th. Drop the little ones with us while you check out some of Canada’s best contractors, suppliers and design experts.
  4. Discover how Curb Appeal Active Kids Play Space can create magical spaces for your unique outdoor lifestyle.

 

Show Dates/Times:

Friday, February 17:                                        10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday, February 18:                                   10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday, February 19:                                      10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Monday, February 20 (Family Day):          10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Venue Name:                                    The International Centre

Venue Address:                                6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON

Website:                                             www.gtahomeandrenoshow.com

Cost:

Adults                                   $15.00

Seniors (65+)                      $13.00

Youth 13 – 17                      $13.00

Children 12 and under      FREE

 

We attended the show last year and it was a blast!