The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019: Do Less Better.

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One thing I’ve been particularly horrible at is learning to say “no”.

The Long Road to Becoming a Better Blogger

They say hindsight’s 20/20, and if my old report cards are an indication of anything, the people around me could see I was sowing the seeds to my destruction long before I could.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — The Pile of Work

We all know there’re only twenty-four hours in a day, but I’ve been working to optimise every minute of my days since I was twelve. I could sleep when I was dead—I had too many ideas and a plethora of interests; it was all about the short-term pain for the long-term gain, and I was confident that I’d reach the day where I wouldn’t need to work so hard anymore.

But it’s been more than twenty years of sleepless nights and wishful thinking since, and I’m still not quite so sure when I’ll figure it all out.

I mean, the question is this—how do you succeed with your content when you can’t make it your everything?

Why Father’s Day Isn’t Mother’s Day II — An Exercise in Fatherhood by Casey E. Palmer

“Happy Father’s Day to the single mothers out there doing both jobs.”


Why Father's Day Isn't Mother's Day II — An Exercise in Fatherhood by Casey E. Palmer — Reading to My Eldest

Oh, I get it. And I agree that we should celebrate single Moms for everything they do to raise their kids—it ain’t easy; I have a hard enough time with two of us in the house. But let’s not diminish the efforts of the Dads who work hard to be worthy of their children’s love by treating Father’s Day like Mother’s Day II.

Real talk—we haven’t embraced the idea that we’ve got single Dads at home managing everything despite that it’s a growing demographic. I don’t see anyone wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day because they’re doing both jobs. And it doesn’t even reflect the modern family anyway—are you saying that same-sex couples need to decide what roles they’ll play? Why can’t you have two Moms or two Dads instead of trying to force them into a model that’s not as universal as it once was?

I’m down with celebrating single Moms and everything they do. But I’m going to do it on Mother’s Day. You know? The holiday we celebrated just over a month ago? The second-largest holiday for card giving in the entire year? I mean, it’s already hard enough for Dad to be taken seriously in a world convinced we’re all sub-par—let’s not continue pushing that narrative just because it’s easier to believe that “all men ain’t shit”.

The 2017 100 Wrap-Up — 31 Successes.

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Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.

The 2017 100 — 31 Successes. — Leather 2017 Planner
Kelly Jean

After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.

But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what just don’t feel part of my world anymore.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!

We Stand on Guard for Thee — Scotiabank and the True Patriot Love Symposium

War isn’t something I’m familiar with. I have a Veteran cousin and friends who’ve served, but all I know about service comes from the media. From whatever I hear on the radio. I can’t even begin to appreciate combat and the issues that come with it!

But sadly… far too many can.

We Stand on Guard for Thee — Scotiabank and the True Patriot Love Symposium — Husseini K. Manji, MD
Photo courtesy of the True Patriot Love Foundation

We have over 100,000 military personnel in Canada, 2.4 million in the States, and countless family, friends and others supporting them. That’s countless people working through the repercussions of horrific experiences, surrounded by a world that doesn’t know or appreciate the difficulties Veterans face. It can be isolating—military life values pride, strength and being tougher than anyone else around you, so when invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse wreak havoc on military families, how do you learn to feel okay going in the opposite direction?

It’s questions like this where symposiums like True Patriot Love find their strength. In an environment where a stiff upper lip’s the norm, it made talking about the struggles often hidden behind closed doors acceptable with the hopes that one day we’ll reach the point where these issues become part of everyday military conversation.

Let me tell you a bit about it!

A DAD ABROAD — Make Vacay Matter More with Stays at Sherkston Shores!

As a family influencer, the issue I have with a number of my pitches is that they require time away from my family! It sounds nice in theory to explore different cities and celebrate in festivals across the globe, but taking care of two boys under four as a solo parent ain’t easy, and it’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on any parent—least of all my wife!

So it was great when Port Colborne’s Sherkston Shores invited the entire family for a weekend stay at their Lake Erie resort, letting our boys experience something different from what they’re used to in downtown Toronto!

Sherkston Shores Day 1 — A Time to Learn

Make Vacay Matter More with Stays at Sherkston Shores! — The Sherkston Shores Sign

While the commute to Sherkston wasn’t the greatest (rookie mistake leaving Toronto at 4 PM on a Friday), the accommodations were impressive! The three-bedroom Premium Rental Cottage proved plenty for a young family of four! It had a living room flush with furniture and a cable TV with far more channels than we had to offer at home; a spacious deck where the boys could run around once they felt too penned up; and of course, high-speed Wi-Fi for someone like me who never wants to be too far from the interwebs! It didn’t hurt that the team at Sherkston put a nice care package together of fruit, snacks, and local wine to welcome us to our vacation!

Getting Back to What Matters With Leon’s Project Smart Furniture!

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I try to get everything I want from life without sacrificing time with my family.

Getting Back to What Matters With Leon's Project Smart Furniture! — The FamilyThough I wouldn’t fully appreciate what it meant ’til later in life, my Dad put hours in at his restaurant for over 20 years to provide for us. Back then it meant making a choice—working 12- to 16-hour days six days a week to support the lives he wanted for us, or spend time at home and deny us the opportunities and access he knew we’d need to excel.

In short, he did it so my brothers and I needn’t do the same.

Years later, I work hard to keep the balance and make sure the family’s a foremost concern in my life—but I could do better. The blog, the job and other distractions mean I’m not always as present as I’d like to be, and I always intend to make myself as available to Sarah and the boys as I can.

But you know what they say—”if wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets.” I’ll need more than intent to make it work!

Getting Back to What Matters With Leon's Project Smart Furniture! — Smart FurnitureAnd apparently I’m not alone—Leon’s recently ran Project Smart Furniture, a social experiment looking to see just how good Canadians are at spending time together. How good? Not good at all—the average Canadian family spends only 14% of their time together*, so Leon’s challenges us to change our ways and stop losing track of each other.

The 2016 100 Wrap-Up, Part 2: 46 Things I DIDN’T Do But Still Very Much WANT To.

So somewhere in my crazy mind, I’d convinced myself it’d be a good idea to write my wrap-up for The 2016 100 all as one post, because I’m always so curt with my posts, of course. A few days of working on it quickly killed that idea, and here were are with the second part of my wrap-up, covering the things I didn’t get around to in 2016, but still plan to manage this year, as well as my reasons why.

(Note: You will see these in some form in The 2017 100, so you know—don’t be too surprised.)

What I Didn’t Do, But Still Want to Do Next Year

7) Stop biting my nails — Ugh. What I probably need to do first is reduce the amount of stress in my life to get a better chance of dropping this disgusting habit. I had a good run early in the year, but hey. Maybe I’ll have better luck this time!
8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent — I don’t think those past thank you’s are getting sent. It’s just… not something I’m doing. Instead, I think I’d love to start sending Christmas letters with some personalisation. I’m not a complete jackass, guys, but there needs to be a point where we agree to move on.
13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP — Any outstanding finances in general, really: part of being an adult is knowing how much your insurance will pay out. What your benefits cover. What’s in your stock portfolio. 2017 Casey Palmer needs a better handle on all this kind of stuff!

The 2016 100 Wrap-Up, Part 2 - 46 Things I DIDN'T Do But Very Much Still WANT To. — A Cluttered Casey Palmer Workspace

14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad — I mean, you don’t see the magic happening, but my desk and dining room table are plastered with pages of notes as I draft out my posts. Will it happen? Maybe. Do I want it to? Oh heck yes ?

An Aroma Kidz Adventure — Why I Can’t Take My Kidz ANYWHERE.

It’s no secret that I don’t drink coffee.

Every morning, Sarah makes herself a pot of coffee, filling her travel mug1 for whatever adventures she has planned for the day. Once she was running short on time, asking me to brew it for her… let’s just say she had to stop into a local coffee shop on the way to a play group that morning.

But that doesn’t stop me from frequenting my fair share of coffee shops, enjoying all sorts of other things their menus have to offer. Lattes, chilled drinks, pastries and more—not drinking coffee doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to everything else on the menu!

And so I heeded the call when Aroma Espresso Bar came looking for the Palmer family in their launch of a brand-new campaign — Aroma Kidz!

But one doesn’t do this on an empty stomach, so the first priority? A trip to Aroma—and where better than the Shops at Don Mills, just up the street from Casa de Palmer???

An Aroma Kidz Adventure — Why I Can't Take My Kidz ANYWHERE. — The Palmer Boys in a Stroll at the Shops at Don Mills

GIVEAWAY: The Netflix Stream Team — Season One, Episode Seven: Getting Down with the Beat Bugs!

My love for Netflix runs deep. It’s on when I work on the blog, it’s on for my date nights… the streaming service’s grown with me, and now my eldest son’s experiencing the same!

One recent offering for your child’s insatiable appetite for content? Netflix’s Beat Bugs—an animated show with singers like P!nk, Aloe Blacc, Eddie Vedder and Sia weaving well-known Beatles songs with uplifting stories and life lessons!

The Netflix Stream Team — Season One, Episode Seven — Getting Down with the Beat Bugs! — The Beat Bugs Swag BoxTo spread the word about Beat Bugs, Netflix sent its Stream Team members boxes of Beat Bugs swag to film our own “All You Need is Love” music videos, covering the show’s opening theme!

And for me, sinking my teeth ever-deeper into Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro, putting something special together was an opportunity I couldn’t resist!

You can check out the Palmers’ take on it right here:

But the buzz doesn’t end there (get it? Bug joke!)—you too can help spread the word, and all you need to do is enter a little contest!

Netflix Stream Team, Season One Episode Four — Date Night? It’s ABOUT TIME!

So for this month’s post, we want to know what a “night in” looks like in your household. What you’re eating, how you’re sitting, where, when and what you’re watching, and ultimately how you keep the peace when it’s time to choose a show or movie.
–Netflix Stream Team February Prompt

With two kids under 3, every night is a night in for the Palmers, but more so for two worn-out parents than the four of us together, since one has a 7:30 bedtime and the other can’t see much yet with but a month of life under his belt. And with the 2016 Oscars now behind us, it was an excellent opportunity for Sarah and I to see all the movies we had absolutely no time to see this past year (though we are looking to correct that with the weekly date nights we’ve now scheduled in.)

That said, entertainment hasn’t vanished from our lives—sometimes, the stars align and we manage to take something in as a couple. Sometimes it’s fluff. Sometimes it’s serious. And sometimes—every now and then—it’s something resonating somewhere inside, reminding you that the person you’ve become might not be the one you always thought you were.

So for your consideration, here’s a story I’ve never told anyone before—one about love.

Netflix Stream Team, Season One Episode Four — Date Night? It's ABOUT TIME! — The Palmer Family

Longtime readers and I have already established I was a completely different Casey Palmer before kids. My life was fun, sure, but I lacked a real sense of purpose.

I thought I’d found everything I needed in my life — I’d married a beautiful woman; had amazing friends and family; and was managing pretty well at standing on my own feet in this big, bad world. On paper I had a solid job, I was saving money, and we constantly painted the town in varying hues of red, figuring we’d make the most of what God gave us.

But I didn’t know then how much all that doesn’t even matter when you’ve got unconditional love in your life. We’re born into our families, and we decide whether we marry our significant others after courtship, but children are the ultimate test—especially when we choose to have them, and we find ourselves dealing with every random thing our genetic mélange has to offer up, but through the tantrums, the tears and everything else that comes with parenthood, it often takes little but a simple cute display to remind you why you love them. And while reminders come often—when they hug you when you get home from work or cry for you in the middle of the night—it’s really when you’re hit by those curve balls that you remember the feeling most.

And About Time was the latest one to smack me upside the head.

Starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams, About Time isn’t your typical romantic comedy…

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

–Source: IMDB

Now, with my lack of love for romcoms, I went in with low expectations. But About Time delivered with laughs, gaffes, and a storyline that had me giving a crap about the characters! Not only did I not hate the movie, it was actually starting to grow on me in a cutesy, charming kind of way!

But what ultimately hit me was the storyline between Tim and his Dad, ending in a way that really shows the strength of their bond—it got me right in the feels. It was a solid allegory for the love I want to show my boys, and who knows—maybe we’ll film our own story someday!

So while it wasn’t a movie choice typical of what you’d see for a “family night in”, its amusing depictions of love and parenthood—with the children becoming parents themselves—may have been exactly what we needed to remind us that we’re not alone! Give it a watch if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare ????

What do you call a family movie night with overtired parents after their two kids under three have gone to bed? SYNCHRONIZED COUCH WARMING!

Netflix Stream Team, Season One Episode Four — Date Night? It's ABOUT TIME! — Inside OutSo in the end, what did I learn? That though our male archetypes might decree otherwise, my emotions are very much real and will spring up on me at the most unexpected times? That I had an atypical childhood watching more Family Matters and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air than Full House? Or perhaps that I’ll resign myself to the fact that my kids will be more interested in Peppa Pig* than something cool like Inside Out, at least for the foreseeable future?

If I take anything from the past month and the copious amount of TV I consumed (because huge series like Tales from the 2.9 really won’t write themselves…), it’s this—just because you have little guys shadowing your every move because you’re pretty much the centre of their universe, it doesn’t mean life has to stop being fun. It doesn’t mean you’ll never spend quality time with your significant other again—you just might need to be more intentional about it. You’re both responsible for your happiness—get to it!

With March upon us, you may want to check out some of the awesome that Netflix has to offer with titles like House of Cards season 4 (the 4th), the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil (the 19th), or Marvel’s Ant-Man the surprising audience pleaser that’s out now!

As for me, the hustle’s all still very real, and I’m still getting my Netflixin’ in with the first season of Better Call Saul, because what’s better than the origin story of everyone’s favourite crooked lawyer from Breaking Bad?

I hope you all enjoy everything the month ahead has to offer, and may your life be filled with belly laughs, heartfelt tears, and quality moments you can share with friends, family and anyone else looking for a little change of pace in their lives!

Until the next episode, I remain,

–case p.

*Let’s talk Peppa Pig.

Who greenlit this show?! All it teaches is having a bad attitude, never worrying about consequences, and playing in the mud as often as possible without any scolding for getting completely filthy, because duh, they’re pigs. I need to talk to my daycare operator about why she ever introduced Little Man to this travesty ????

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as part of the Netflix Stream Team where they hook a blogger up with goodies in the mail each month in exchange for words. And images. And maybe a joke or two.

I’d like to think I succeeded in this department with this post ????