Family Day, President’s Day and a Birthday

Hectic last few days here in The Urban Daddy household with Family Day yesterday and, ahem, my birthday, today.  The only significance here in Canada about President’s Day is that our friends and family south of the border get to see how we Canadians, at least here in Ontario get to enjoy 15 degree (60 degree fahrenheit) weather in February!!!

I hate my birthday.  I love celebrating other people’s but hate the attention.  I also find my birthday to be very emotional when hundreds of people take the time on Facebook, LinkedIn, and through email to take the time to wish me well on my birthday.  I wish that I could do the same to each and everyone on their special day, and I wish I could personally thank everyone for taking just a moment out of their equally hectic day to send me a greeting.

To everyone who did, you are incredible people and I’m thankful to know you.

To those who wanted to but couldn’t / didn’t get around to it, I am equally thankful that you took a second of your day to think about me.

To those who thought about me today, or tomorrow, or the next day, I appreciate the thoughts, and you rock!

My birthday reminds me of a friend from ball hockey, who has only 6 posts on his Facebook page over the last 6-years and it was me, every year wishing him a happy birthday.  I actually ran into him, and he said that he doesn’t use Facebook, but he got the message each and every year and it meant a lot to him that I took the time to write something even though there was no activity from the previous year(s).

Hey… Everybody needs to be loved, just a little, right?!?

Oddly enough my birthday today started with cards and hugs and kisses from my kids (that really was all that I needed), but then my wife and kids blew me away by giving me a paid of green glass cufflinks that I saw in Murano (or Burano) Italy last summer, that they bought for me.  I love the colour green and I wear cufflinks and it was the most thoughtful and kind gift I could have received.  My wife rocks!!!

Then… Our former Nanny, and part-time house cleaner came at, 8am, with a chocolate cake and after I blew out the candles, we ate cake – I guess our new family tradition!

A fun way to start a birthday, and another hectic day.

So how did you celebrate Family Day / President’s Day?

We were going to go to the Auto Show, but headed to our neighbours for brunch and ping pong (I LOVE ping pong!!!) and then came home and everyone got to work.  My wife had marking to do, the boys worked on their science fair projects and my daughter finished up her Spirit of Math homework and prepared for her Spirit of Math test that evening.

Factors, Prime and Composite numbers, perfect squares… Phew.  I’m re-learning so much!  Thankfully both my boys are really strong in math, the eldest incredibly brilliant in math and they were able to assist her where needed.

Toss into that day, some hockey skills, and the 2 previous days of hockey and swimming and it made for a busy, busy weekend, without the opportunity to go anywhere special other than to see family and friends, and to hang out with the family.

Now it’s back to work, and off to a great start to the week.

Hope you have a wonderful week!


O’ Canada: I know you changed the name of a Province not too long ago… Right?!?

Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada
Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve got to stop making bets with my wife that I lose.  She tells me that she never makes a bet that she will lose, however I try time and time again.

Now I’ve got more than her to challenge me.  I’ve also got Linus to fare with.  He likes to interject his opinion on the world – whether he knows what he’s talking about or not – when he says; “Actually”…Then he throws out his 2 cents worth.    For example he is studying the Provinces and their capitals in school, and while I was testing him, he corrected me and said; “Actually, Toronto is the Capital of Canada and Ontario is the Capital of Toronto.”


So after my wife and I set him straight (with a little help from Siri to reinforce the point) we decided to have a discussion about the provinces and territories in Canada as a family.  Note: I think he gave in because he 100% trusts what his mother tells him, clearly more than what I have to say, because mummy is a teacher, and teachers know everything!

In our discussion I mentioned that recently – within the past 10 years – Canada added a territory and changed the names of a province and a territory and that I did not believe it was Newfoundland, but I was not sure.  So we discussed, they called me crazy, we discussed some more, they were convinced I was crazy and we left it at that.

Later that evening we had friends over and with all 7-children in the basement playing I again brought this up to our distinguished guests and after my explaining that there was a recent name change or 2, there were now 4 additional people calling me crazy.

The sticking point here for my wife was that when she was in school she was taught that the province of Newfoundland was really Newfoundland and Labrador and if this was the name change I was thinking of, then I cannot say it occurred “recently” because 1949 was not recent.   I agreed.

So I went to Wikipedia and provided this update for my wife and guests:

On January 4th, 1999, Nunavut split from Northwest Territories.  Nunavut was assigned “NU" as its province code in mid-2000.

That we knew.

On December 6th, 2001, an amendment to Canada’s federal Constitution Act officially approved a name change from the easternmost province of Newfoundland to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The move for change began in the early 1990s to provide “symbolic but important recognition of Labrador’s status as a full and vital partner within the province, with its own unique geography, history and culture.”   On October 21st, 2002, NL was recognized as the provincial symbol for Newfoundland and Labrador, replacing NF.

Insert huge smile here.

But there was more…

On January 1st, 2003, The name of Yukon Territory was changed to Yukon.

So Dads, if you ever decide to Google the term, “I was right”, you will probably come to this post.  Not only was I right, but I educated 5 adults, 7 children (and myself).

Now you know too.

The long weekend that was and the (short) week ahead.

The weather was incredible for this past long-weekend up here in Canada, eh?

We pushed 40 degrees celsius here in Toronto with the humidity which for you US folks is 104 fahrenheit. For most of the 3 days there was not a cloud to be seen.

Aside from almost getting myself and 4 children sandwiched between a parked car and an empty car reversing out of a parking spot by itself. the weekend was fantastic.

Here is why, followed by “What to Expect” for this upcoming week.

1) Fresh fruit and vegetable picking at Whitamore’s Farms netted us some green peas, red potatoes, raspberries and strawberries. The sucked back the raspberries before we got home because they were the first crop of the year and so very yummy.

2) Sunday was our 11th wedding anniversary. Steel for those of you playing along at home.

3) Sunday was also Canada’s 145th birthday and the highlight was my 3 kids in their Canada t-shirts marching through the house waving Canadian flags and singing “Happy Birthday Canada” at the top of their lungs.

3) We had friends over each day to hang out, BBQ with and chill out with.

4) Bought a big boy bike for Linus whom I will teach to ride without training wheels in July.

5) Bought a tricycle for Berry who, once she got the hang of it, was having a great time.

6) Did a lot of cleaning and getting things done. Our garbage can is over-flowing as is the recycling bin.

7) Had a fight with the family of raccoons living on my neighbours roof.  As the weekend went on whenever they saw me and the jet feature on the hose they ran like hell.  See, they are really smart.  This family of 6 are out all times of day and night, their poo is everywhere, they scare my kids, and we cannot use our beautiful backyard patio set. Today I get even, hiring a raccoon exterminater because in Toronto you cannot harm the poor things and our green bin program (wet waste – food scraps) is feeding these vile breeding machines.


And the week ahead looks something like this;

  • Another sponsored post upcoming on In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) aimed at our friends in Alberta. This would be my 4th post on this topic.
  • An exciting giveaway from the great folks at What to Expect When you’re Expecting.
  • Some insight into Community television, specifically Rogers Cable 10 and what they offer for the general public and Daddy bloggers like me, to allow us to take our talents to the television screen… For free.
  • And of course some funny comments from the Urban Daddy clan including freckles to eat. Yum.


So please, stay tuned and take a moment to post what you did this fine weekend. Remember it’s also the best way to attract new readers to your blog.

Also remember if you follow my blog on Twitter @urbandaddyblog or on Facebook (the link is on the right side of my blog – click through if reading this through a reader) and you get all kinds of great stuff casual readers do not get to see…

I’m just saying!


As a Father, if you’re going to disappoint some of them, you might as well disappoint all of them…

I wanted to post this last week when it happened but did not get a chance but since that night this scenario has come up over and over again, just not to the same extent.

The night it first happened, was a special night in the Urban Daddy household.  Determined to get back into some semblance of an exercise routine, I made up my mind early in the day that I would run on the treadmill that evening, by hook or by crook.

Since I’m still within my 3 month window of a new job with much greater responsibility, and the stress / excitement of meeting new people, learning new systems, figuring out acronyms and being on my toes all the time, I have found myself quite exhausted by about 10pm, which means that is around the time I tend to fall asleep on the couch when trying to; watch TV, read, blog, play Cityville, or… exercise.  Very unusual for me as I’m used to 1-2am sleeps with 6am wake-ups.

This night was exercise night and the beginning of a new schedule for me.

New Routine – Thursday night.:

Eat dinner with the kids (not unusual at all)

Stewie piano lessons

Give Berry a bath

Linus annoy mummy during math lesson

Then switch…

Linus piano.

Berry and Stewie before bed snack.

All kids in bed by 8:15 and I’m going to treadmill for 1/2 hour before I have a shower, then run out to grab milk.  I really want to begin getting to bed at a reasonable hour – it is currently 12:33am so that is not happening.

Then it all fell apart.

Urban Mummy wanted to talk to me.  We didn’t talk much the previous night and she barely saw me today and she wanted to chat but I patted my flabs and said, “Sorry hun!  I have to treadmill”.  She was disappointed.

I went to check on the kids and here is what happened;

Walked into Stewie’s room, and surprisingly he was still awake.

“Stay with me, Daddy”, he said.

“Sorry kiddo.  I have to treadmill right now so I can shower, get milk and talk to your mother before she falls asleep or kills me”.

He was disappointed.

I went from there to Linus’ room where he was sitting up in his bed too.

“Lay with me, Daddy and tell me a story, please”.

“Can’t buddy.  Have to go treadmill before mummy goes to sleep.

He gave me his pouty disappointed face.

Out I marched and right into Berry’s room where surprisingly she was up too.

“Rub my back and stay with me Daddy”, she said.

“Sorry, sweetie, I have to treadmill.  Sing for me and I will tuck you in when I’m done.”

She was not happy either because she didn’t sing for me and she usually does.  “Bla Bla Blacksheet”

Out I walked.

4 people wanted me to stay with them and 4 people got nothing.

Like I said in the title.  Go big or go home.  If you’re going to disappoint someone you might as well disappoint all of them.

Dads…  You turn.  What would you have done?

It is that time of year… Tax time!

For those of you who are new to this site, or who drop in occasionally, you may not know that in my real life, I play a tax manager.  I post tax information that I find interesting, or that I have to dig up and research on at, soon to be at once I find the password and username that I misplaced.

So what that means is that this time of year – actually beginning in August -is super-hectic.  Beginning December 1st, my walk hurried into a jog, and now in mid-January I am already in full sprint.  I’m not sure ho long this pace can keep up with 2 1/2 months to go…

I had an idea how this day was going to shape up, when the first song I heard on my iPad was “Under Pressure” by Queen.  I spent most of the day pushing ahead tasks and projects where there was room to move them, while trying to get other projects completed ahead of schedule, while putting out fires that happened throughout the day.  Nothing new for me, and to be honest, since I really like doing this a lot, it makes for a fun time.  I’m just reminded as I get more and more tired that I need to get to the gym as that got me through 2 previous tax seasons.

I also realized today that taking care of my kids on Saturday, while awesome, really set me back a bit, when on Sunday I took the boys tobogganing for a couple of hours in -25 degree celcius (with windchill) weather and boy did that fresh air mess with us all.

Both kids were exhausted at night and I was a disaster on Monday. I actually went right to sleep at 8pm after all the kids were asleep and slept right through until 7am the next morning.  I would say that was the most uninterrupted sleep I have had in 6 years.

It was also today when I realized how much I appreciate my wife, and that she does what I did on Saturday each and every day.  Sure we have a nanny to help her out but she still works, feeds us, pays the bills, programs the entire family and keeps the house running smoothly…  Zowie.  I feel like such a wuss now.

I often ask her opinion on how to manage a situation because while she has not managed people per se, she manages the household, the kids, the nanny, and in her former life as a high-school teacher, she managed to stay sane.

I think the task of managing kids is very similar to managing adults as in both cases you are looking to make sure both groups do what is right for themselves and for the rest of the team / family, while at the same time you want to make sure there is no conflict and you have to work together to get the job done. 

For both kids and adults, working towards a goal is key.  IT’s easier to track progress that way and having a prize at the end of the maze makes the race more worthwhile.

In reading “Honey, I wrecked the kids” by Alyson Schafer, I am learning new less physical ways to interact with the kids and get them to do what my wife and I expect from them.  I am finding success.  Instead of asking Linus to remove his plate from the table night in and night out, Alyson suggests that since kids know their responsibilities, a simple one word reminder should suffice, so this morning when Linus got up and walked away from the table, I said; “Linus.  Plate.”  He turned around, walked back to the table and removed his plate.

Another tool is the re-direct.  Linus was making a spitting noise that I cannot stand and instead of asking him to stop and give him all that attention for the wrong reasons, I merely asked him different questions until he forgot what he was doing and started chatting with me.

Good one Alyson!

The last technique that I am finding to be a great help (I’m halfway through the book) is the introducing of consequences.

You don’t have to clean your room if you don’t want to put I will not read a book to anyone is a messy room, worked wonders the other day.  As does the line, you can stay downstairs and play if you want.  You will miss snack before bed and if that is your choice, that is okay with me.

Can’t wait to get through the book… One night parenting, next night taxation, following night parenting…

As an aside, I’m looking for a beginner yoga class in the Toronto area that begins after our kids are in bed, so around 8pm.  Anyone?