Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hold on while I slip into something more comfortable (Giveaway)

For the last couple of weeks we've been out and about in some new footwear courtesy of Mark's. Mark's wants to share that they have shoes, sandals and boots #ForAllWalks, not just the steel-toed workboots of yore.

And to wrap up we are giving away a little something special from our friends at Mark's - a $100 GiftCard. Come back daily and enter until midnight on the 22nd of July.

Open to Canadian residents, except Quebec. Sorry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Walk on the Wild Side

As loyals readers (and anyone who has ever met him) are aware, #MaxLoco is a bundle of energy. He only has one setting - full speed. His Hallowe'en costume is already in the works. Luckily he's tough too. When he crashes, at top speed, there will be tears, but not for long, and more often than not, he's back at it before you can say "band-aid".

It probably shouldn't, but it still surprises me. Tonight we were having a blast as we kicked the soccer ball on the back drive. Then boom! I'm not sure how, but his feet just disappeared from under him and there was his face bouncing off the asphalt.

Delayed tears. Never a good sign.

And then there was the blood. I scooped him up and rushed inside. I wanted to get him to the bathroom to get it cleaned up, but I was also secretly hoping his mom would do the more thourough examination. I'm usually pretty good in a pinch, but my fear was teeth through the lip. Don't think I'd be concsious for long after seeing that. I once thought about med school. Ya, that wasn't happening.

Thankfully, it was just a split lip, but reinforced the painful reminder that as a parent I always need to be ready. This can be challenge, particularly at the cottage. Slick rocks, hidden tree roots, uneven surfaces, short sight lines. Max loves it. My role in keeping him safe, not so much. Last year, much Max Patrol was performed in flip flops. I am well aquainted with large splinters, torn toenails and cut feet (the ones on the bottom are the worst!).

This year, thanks to the good folks at Mark's, I had some shiny new Columbia Firecamp Mesh Trail shoes to try out. I cound that I can slip these bad boys on in a heartbeat as Max makes a break for it. They're also actually pretty darn comfortable, just a comfy on the trail, in the boat, or on the dock. While not the most stylish kicks (they're no Jordans), they get the job done. It just reminds me that living in Canada with the climate and the stuff we like to get into, you need more than a couple pairs of shoes. You only get one set of feet.

Come back on Thursday as we'll be giving away $100 gift card to get into your own set of kicks at Mark's.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Another Father's Day has come and gone. I'm another year older and so are the boys. This Dad thing gets cooler all the time, even if I can't sleep in any more - not just from lack of opportunity, I physically just can't seem to do it.

When the lovely wife suggested we head down the Beach for the BBQ and Brews Festival to celebrate, I was a bit grumpy. I didn't think I could muster the energy. I also didn't have the energy to argue (and I was taking a pretty stupid position). But it was a beautiful day and I did have a new pair of sandals that I wanted to take for a stroll as a part of Mark's #AllWalks campaign. So we all hopped in the car and headed down.

I am glad we did. 

Big Sugar

As we rolled through the gates, who was on stage but none other than Big Sugar. I was thrown back to my youth. My university years (let's just call them the late 90's and leave it at that) involved many a trip to a local establishment to blow out my eardrums courtesy of Gordie's guitar and Mr. Chill's keyboard/harmonica/blow-organ.

Look at the sandals (not the foot!)
But this was something new. This was the usually dapper gents clad all in white, unplugged serenading us with acoustic "Yard Style". The always strong Reggae influence had grown. And I was right at home.

I'm pretty sure I had never worn sandals to a Big Sugar show before, but in my WindRiver Surfer Flip Flops everything was irie. The colour scheme was a nice touch. It's not often that Dad gets to be hip (saying that proves I'm not). I have to admit, I don't often venture out in sandals, particularly not when the little guy is in tow. But I'll give it to these flippy-floppies, they even stayed on my feet when  #MaxLoco made his inevitable bolt for freedom. And yes, they came from Mark's. Turns out they sell more than steel-toed boots. Who knew? Stay tuned as we'll be giving away $100 gift card to Mark's in the next few weeks. Dear Mr. Fantasy, indeed.
Some ribs, pulled pork, beans, and tasty Beau's beverages rounded out an awesome afternoon.
To top it off, the boys came back as the "melt your face" (to quote a merch vendor) rock band of days gone by, belting out classics. 

So let me ask you, would you let it ride?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Need for Speed

At the end of the day there was Max. Up on stage, bright lights shining, reporters with their regular post-race patter. Taking it all in. And dishing it right back.

A day at the track and he was closing it with a full press conference. No answer ungiven. No questions out of bounds. You just had to let him choose the mic.

Let's back up.

MaxLoco and I were invited by IndyCar to attend the Honda Indy Toronto for a behind the scenes look at Toronto's fastest motorsports event. Max, as a typical just-turned three year old, loves Disney/Pixar's Cars. Race cars are as cool as it gets. I'm not sure he truly understood he was about to see real ones.

The day started off on the rigth foot with a ride on a bus, subway and streetcar. Exhibition Place is not the easiest venue to get to. Having experienced the joys of each of the TTC's transport modes, he was in good spirits. I was only worried on two fronts: would I be able to get him to wear his ear-muffs and would I be able to keep track of him in the crowds and speeding vehicles?

From the get go, the whole thing blew his mind. He was into every aspect of it. And we hadn't even seen the cars take to the track. He loved sitting in the race car (it took some coaxing to get him to come out of it); he adored the motorcycles (and tried one in every colour); he scarfed the treats (snowcones and popcorn).

There were a ton of activities for kids and grown ups alike. And then there was the racing. I'd never been to a real race before. Redundant statement of the day - those cars are fast. It was truly amazing to see them fly by. Max would be chattering away, but as soon as a race car came into view it was the sole focus of his attention "race car!"

As nap time closed in, we got ready to head home. That's when we discovered the press conference room. I was gathering up our things when Max took off down the hallway, as he does. By the time I caught up, he had slipped into the press conference room. Without a moment's hesitation he strode confidently on to the stage and sidled up the nearest mic. Applying his usual charm while causing ruckus, he quickly had the staff playing along.

He spoke about his racing influences (grandma), the grip of the track (good), and his history in the sport (three years).

Everyone present agreed he has the key ingredients to becoming a racecar driver:
  • confidence
  • love of speed
  • fearlessness
  • determination

I only hope that he grows too tall to fit in those little rocket boxes.

I am looking forward to next year and returning to the Indy. It's a little more accessible than F1 (plus it's in Toronto instead of Montreal). It was much more of a family experience than I had expected.

And who knows, maybe some day we'll even make it Indianapolis.

Full Disclosure: we were guests of IndyCar for the day. Opinions remain my own.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day from all of us! Lucky to spend the day enjoying this great country with family and friends! And some lobsters.