Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Late Present

for the Pumpkin Man - He cut his first tooth today!

Well done little one, and only a little extra cranky.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

And the Winner Is!

Wow! Time flies when you’re having fun, but we’ve come to the end of voting on the Level The Field campaign with Right To Play. The voting may be finished, but there is still a lot to be accomplished!

First off, I want to congratulate the winner of the trip to Africa, Lori Harasem! Lori lives in Coalhurst, Alberta with her husband, three children and pets.  She works as the Recreation and Culture Development Manager for the City of Lethbridge and is heavily involved in her community in a volunteer capacity. Lori has always dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer and as a supporter of the values of Right To Play, she says that she "couldn't pick a better organization to share this experience with".  

Lori will be travelling with Jill Amery of to launch Phase 2 of the Level The Field campaign. Be sure to stay tuned to hear more about their adventure!

Although voting is over, there is always a ton of great stuff being accomplished by Right To Play, so be sure to keep your eyes out for the latest by signing up for the email updates on the Level The Field tab on Right To Play Canada’s Facebook page. Right To Play helps develop communities by empowering young individuals facing adversity with the confidence to become leaders of change.

On a personal note, I wanted to say a big thank you to Right To Play for the honour of participating in this campaign. Thanks to Hayley Wickenheiser for taking the time to partner for such a worthy cause. And thank you readers who have helped make the Level The Field campaign such an amazing success!



Monday, December 17, 2012

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Courtesy Premier of Ontario Photography

This year the little dude is in Senior Preschool. That means he's one of the oldest kids in his school. And with seniority comes privilege.

Courtesy Premier of Ontario Photography
This holiday season, his class got to head over to Queen's Park (the Provincial Legislature) and help the Premier decorate his tree. A couple of years ago there was even a bit of controversy as some trees went missing, turning up in different locations as the MPPs took their antics from the House floor to hallways.

To their credit, the little guys and gals handled the flashbulbs, video cameras and reporters questions better than many a grown-up. Even their answers were honest and straight to the point.

Premier McGuinty was quite good with the children and took it in stride when they pointed out that the upper branches of the tree were just out of reach for their little hands, even if his back may have paid for it the next day.
Courtesy Premier of Ontario Photography

Too bad they can't vote quite yet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Talking with Hayley Wickenheiser

Right To Play was originally established in 2000 with a purpose to use sport and play to educate and empower children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict, and disease in disadvantaged communities. Since its founding, and growing from its origins in Olympic Aid, elite athletes have played a major role in its activities.

This partnership with amazing athletes continues through Right To Play's Athlete Ambassadors. In Canada, six of these Athlete Ambassadors are taking the lead to help Level The Field. To learn more and vote for a chance to travel to West Africa to see Right To Play's work in action click here.

Hayley Wickenheiser is one such Athlete Ambassador. On Friday, I had the opportunity to interview Hayley about her involvement with Right To Play and the Level The Field campaign. Yup just me chatting with Hayley, probably the best female hockey player on the planet. 
CanaDad: What inspired you to become an Athlete Ambassador with Right To Play? 
Hayley Wickenheiser: I discovered Right To Play at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. What struck me was that it was such a simple concept, that you really don't need very much but can have such an impact. The power of sport and play to help children rebuild their lives and overcome challenges is amazing. As a female hockey player, I had faced my share of challenges growing up, so achievement and accomplishment through sport really resonated with me. 
Canadad: What are some of the most important, most fun and coolest things Right To Play does? 
HW: It helps that Right To Play is run by one of my Olympic idols - Johann Koss. It is a really solid organization with great administration that helps ensure every possible penny goes to helping empower kids in disadvantaged areas of the world. 
CanaDad: Can you share an experience that touched you while on field trip with Right To Play? 
HW: In 2007 I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda with Right To Play. I got to meet one of Right To Play's local coaches, a guy named Ed*. He was a great guy in his early 20's. Working with him I got to know him and I asked about a scar on his forehead. He told me how is family had been killed during the genocide in 1994. His family had been hacked to death by machetes. Ed and his sister were both attacked at the same time, but they pretended to be dead and ended up being tossed in a pit on a pile of bodies. They pretended to be dead for a few days and eventually crawled out and managed to escape. One of the organizations that helped him rebuild his life was Right To Play. It really struck me, that even having been through such a terrible ordeal, he was such a happy person. 
CanaDad: As a parent, how much has Right To Play's philosophy impacted your parenting style? 
HW: My work with Right To Play has really taught myself and my son how fortunate we are, and how fortunate he is to be kid growing up in Canada. Sometimes we squander the amazing opportunities we have every day. I had a chance to take my son Noah to Ghana where we toured schools that had to share one wet textbook amongst all the students. The difference in our situations really touched us both. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, even right here in Canada as parts of the North and Aboriginal Communities face tremendous challenges. It is important to remember that Right To Play helps children all over the world, even right here at home. 
The next time we chat I'll have to remember to see if she's available to sub in at one of my floorball games.
And remember, visit the Right To Play Level The Field Facebook page to learn more about the programs and vote for your chance to win a trip to West Africa with Right To Play to see a program in action.

*Names have been changed to protect identity.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prunes & Puking

The Pumpkin Man is five months old and we've got him on the fast track. Well at least he has started "solid" foods. They're still pureed, filtered, mushed, ground and otherwise pulverized, but they are technically solids.

The motivation behind the move is similar to most of our parenting techniques - we're just trying to reclaim some sleep. Now the Wee Man (Pumpkin Man's older brother for those not paying attention) was a pretty darn decent sleeper. Slept through the entire night from an early age (but maybe I walked to school uphill both ways).

Of course we were spoiled, but yes we'd like some semblance of night back. So the theory is to load him up,up to the gills, stuff him full of whatever we can and it'll help him pull through until the sun rises in the east.

To his credit, he really seems to be enjoying his new foods. Squash, sweet potato, apple sauce, mushed prunes. At least I thought it was mushed prunes, maybe mixed with a bit of rice cereal. That is until I tasted it. And nearly vomited.

Yes, it turns out we feed our small child, our adorable babe, our cute little munchkin absolutely disgusting food. The secret ingredient: formula, the stuff they make especially for babies.

Keep on keepin' on, little man. It only gets better from here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Play for Success

Last week we helped Right To Play kick off their campaign to help Level The Field for children everywhere. Vote now for a chance to go to Africa and see Right To Play's work in action.

CanaDad is teaming up with Hayley Wickenheiser, alongside the likes of Kaylyn Kyle, Kyle Shewfelft and to help Canadian parents understand the power of play in helping children develop intellectual, social, physical and emotional skills necessary for success in life.

Win a trip to Africa while helping empower youth in Africa by visiting the Level The Field Facebook page.

Canada Plays

Play-based learning is a staple in Canadian homes to teach essential life skills to children:
  • 83% of Canadian parents say they use play to help in conflict resolution
  • 76% use play as a focus on education
  • 72% also use play for team-building
Overall 97% of Canadian parents use these techniques in their households.
Some would say "mission accomplished", but sadly this critical tool is unavailable to way too many children in the developing world. Right To Play's work provides children everywhere the skills they need to develop equally and reach their potential.

For example, Right To Play helps develop communities by empowering young individuals facing adversity with the confidence to become leaders of change. In Benin, Right Too Play helps both children and parents understand their children's rights as well as raise awareness and prevention methods within their communities. 

Ivie's story
Ivie from Benin
When Ivie was 16 she was sexually abused by a family member. In many communities in Benin, there is no support system in place for girls like Ivie to seek help. Right To Play has been actively working with her community leaders over the past few years raising awareness and educating children and their communities about the rights of children. Through playing games and sports with Right To Play, Ivie gained confidence in herself and trust in her Right To Play trained coach. This confidence helped Ivie share her story of abuse with her coach, prompting volunteers and staff to take action immediately. Right To Play works together with the community and local governments to protect girls like Ivie from forced marriage and provide them with ongoing support they need to put a stop to the abuse and create a brighter future.
How do they do it?

Right To Play employs a complex methodology that goes beyond simply building knowledge and awareness by ensuring participants acquire skills to adopt and maintain behaviours such as self-esteem and problem-solving. Right To Play's focus on experiential learning ensures that through play children can reflect, connect and apply the essential learning. To ensure quality implementation, Right To Play also employs a delivery model that build local capacity and sustainability. But at it's core is the belief that every child has the right to play.

Help us Level The Field and provide children around the world with the opportunity to play. By voting on the program you want to see in action, you'll have a chance to go to Africa with the team that has the most votes and see Right To Play's work in action. 

To learn more visit Level The Field.

When Children PlayThe World Wins.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Science on the Fly

The joy of learning is infectious, although as a parent I'm finding that it can spread more like SARS. Today on the ride home, the bigger wee man was asking his questions as usual.

Where is this?
Why is that?
What's going on there?
Can you see it?

I wish I remember the uncanny specificity of his queries, but generally battling rush hour traffic, suppressing road rage and negotiating the menu for dinner win out. Tonight though he had me stumped.



"Why do we have hair?"

"Ummm, to keep our heads warm".

Maybe not accurate, maybe not original, but I was grasping. Let's be honest, when I'm on my game and don't know the answer I can usually turn it back on him. Yes, the old answer a question with a question trick.

"No! That's what hats are for".

Alright kid. Finish learning to read so I can tell you to go look it up.


Well I did look it up, it's a bit faster now with that whole interweb thing, and this is kind of cool: The evolution of hairlessness helped to set the stage for the emergence of large brains and symbolic thought (thanks Scientific American).

Did you know though that almost all dinosaurs had some form of feathers?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

And this sums up Halloween this year:

1 part awesome, 1 part exhausted.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Help Us Level The Field


So simple. So fundamental. So joyous.

Play is one of the most important parts of learning. Games and play teach essential life skills. Children have the right to play.

Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play - particularly sports and games - to educate and empower children facing adversity.

There are millions of children around the world who aren't able to play. Here's where we come in. We're going to help spread the word.

Hayley Wickenheiser - Right To Play Athlete Ambassador
CanaDad is teaming up with Hayley Wickenheiser (yes that one, you know four time Olympic medalist, generally regarded the best female hockey player ever) to get the word out about how Right To Play empowers youth in Benin.

In Benin, children and youth have little to no access to education and sexual health programs, which has led to high rates of serious children's rights violations across the country. Right To Play works in Benin to help both children and parents understand their children's rights as well as raise awareness and prevention methods within their communities.

Over the next few weeks, Right To Play, Hayley and I are going to be spreading the word about Right To Play's We Empower Youth program in Benin. At the same time, in the spirit of some healthy competition, some other parental blogs paired with other amazing Canadian athletes will be doing the same with some other Right To Play projects.
So now comes the fun part. Time to head on over to the Level The Field Facebook page, learn more about these other programs and cast your vote. By voting on the project you want to see in action, you'll become eligible to go the field with the corresponding Athlete Ambassador and see Right To Play's work in action.  

Be sure to check back soon for more as we work with Hayley to further the great work of Right To Play and Level The Field.

When Children Play, The World Wins.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leafs Nation

The baby is in poor form tonight, showing little sign of improvement. So I put him in this outfit.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

4 months!

I can't believe we've been a family of four for four months now, of course that labour thing seems like a really long time ago.

Happy 4 months pumpkin man!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yes, your honour

I used to think it was bad negotiating with the wee man. I could always feel the ground shifting from under me as we went further down the proverbial slope of little traction. I would think back to my leadership training, but sadly those lessons about framing the debate, identifying your BATNA, and working towards a common goal seemed always out of reach. Then there was that little voice always reminding me that you never negotiate with terrorists.

I should have listened.

These days I long for a negotiation. Then at least there would be some give and take. Instead I'm stuck on the losing end of my last appeal facing an expertly argued brief.  He's argued the facts, argued the law, and he sure as hell has banged on the table.

This kid is going to be a damn good lawyer. At least I don't have to worry about my retirement anymore.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Big brothers are awesome

Made me a bed, tucked me in, held
my hand and read me stories.
Thanks Ollie!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


So we've been a bit out of touch of late. Summer vacation, trips to the cottage, and a new baby. It's all meant this space has been a bit neglected. 

For the recent long weekend, we headed up to Six Mile Lake in Ontario cottage country to school the boys in some classic Canadiana. A good starting point was a soundtrack on the drive up supplied by The Tragically Hip. The loon calls greeting us as we unloaded the car were right on cue. Fishing off the dock (with our MNR issued Outdoors Card and fishing licence) yielded some small mouth bass and a perch or two.

For the grown-ups, a solid Mad Tom IPA from Muskoka Brewery hit the spot while lounging on the exposed rock of the Canadian Shield. With the fire ban lifted after some good rains, we managed to roast marshmallows (after a bit of manual labour to build a suitable fire pit).
Early morning canoe adventures were definitely appreciated, as were sleep ins, good quality naps, and on-demand Nespresso.

Thanks to Leah, Graham and the boys for hosting and an extra special thanks for the delicious anniversary dinner. Five years, two boys and a beautiful and amazing wife. Life's pretty good.

Big Grins

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Growing like a weed

My two month check up! 10 weeks, 15 pounds, 97th percentile height, 90th weight. Starting out as a little guy I was on a mission to grow, and now I'm on a mission to catch up to my big brother Oliver:)


Pretty brave for my first set of shots!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Watching Toy Story

Happy Father's Day

Dear Daddy,

You're the best daddy all around town
You turn our frowns upside down
You pick us up and help us to reach
for the moon and the stars or a soft sandy beach.

Dear Daddy, we love you like crazy!
Hope this year's Father's day isn't too hazy.

Get some sleep soon!


Sorry for party rockin!

Happy Father's Day!

Oliver & Max

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Daily Graze

In the lead up to Father's Day, I've been asked by the good folks at Phillips to try out a new shaver and share what I think. At the time, I only had one son, but in the last week that tally has doubled so I must be doubly qualified - or at least too sleep deprived to be anything but positive. I expect they're looking for some good news given how the Oranje are doing at Euro 2012.  *Full disclosure - they gave me this shaver for free!

On first impression the Power Touch Pro Electric Shaver is a pretty slick bit of kit. I haven't used an electric shaver in years - some bad experiences during my teens (of course, by that logic I probably shouldn't be drinking beer either). I have an old one in the drawer, but the cord is too short, it takes too long to clean and let's face it, the shave sucked, unless you enjoy a patchy face missing chunks of flesh.

It seems that most of these hurdles have been cleared with this one. I have to admit I was little unfair straight out of the gate. I had a week of growth when I unleashed the Power Touch without any trimming. To keep comparisons above board, I did one half of my face with the electric shaver while I tackled the other half with my standard wet shave ('cause I know you're itching for some evidence-based scientific methodology). Overall both shaves came about even and pretty good.

I was planning on giving the Power Touch another go on only a day or two of growth, but then you know we sort of had another baby and I got a bit distracted. I can report that three days after the arrival of our new wee man when I needed a quick shave, I grabbed the Phillips and sure enough got a decent shave in no time. Sure the neck was still a bit iffy, but then it usually is. The other big plus for me is the ease of cleaning. I have enough to clean from kitchens to dirty diapers so the ease of simply rinsing this shaver under the tap was a pleasant surprise.

Verdict: All in all, I'll be mixing the Phillips into my shaving routine for those quick and easy shaves, although when I have the time and a need a super close shave I'll stick with my wet razor.

Thanks Phillips for giving me a chance to try it out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome Max Cheeseman

Welcome to the big wide world Max! After some initial hesitation, the little guy got really moving. Mommy was amazing and we were thrilled to meet you in person at 10:39pm on June 11 weighing just under 7 lbs.

Turns out you're just as active outside as you were keeping mommy up nights. I know your big brother is looking forward to meet you too.

So far you've slept well and mommy and daddy are looking forward to catching up on some rest too. You've been a trooper when we changed you, have eaten like a champ, and hopefully we can bring you home soon.

 Love Mommy and Daddy

Monday, May 21, 2012

Super Bass

Successfully removed from the Sub-woofer.
At least that was what I could recover.

I can still here the rest modulating some interesting bass lines.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


One night of working late and the wee man informs me that while home with mommy "too many mans come to the house". Hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dental Dynamics

Baby teeth. Those bad boys are sharp. They're also pretty tough. The wee man has tested this on numerous occasions leading with his mouth into various objects, surfaces and appliances.

His listening skills also haven't been in top form of late. So when it was time for his first dental appointment I have to admit that I was in no big rush. Visions of raucous tantrums, flying fluoride in an environment replete with sharp and pointy objects didn't top the list of where I wanted to be.

Thankfully the children's dentist has seen it all before. And of course the wee man decided to surprise me. The hygienist prepared me for a three phase approach. Depending on how each phase unfolded we'd make call on the next. Seemed like a project management approach usually reserved for billion dollar infrastructure builds, but totally appropriate in the situation.

And of course he was perfect. We got through the exam. Then the fluoride and we finished it up with the x-rays.

I'm still amazed at how absolutely still he sat with the film jammed in his mouth, under an enormous leaded vest with the giant x-ray machine wedged up against his jaw and all the adults fleeing a behind bunker.

Now if only my upcoming appointment will go as well.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Big swings!

First time on the big swings. Becoming more of a daredevil every day. Way to be brave big guy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday!

Wow, three short years ago the wee man joined our little family.

Happy Birthday big guy!

Enjoy the new wheels!