Look Up! (And Put Something Down:-)

Hey!

Hope you had a Happy Easter or Happy Passover or whatever you celebrate! Oh yeah, Happy Spring too!

This past weekend, we spent a bunch of time outside, and hung out with family and friends. It was awesome!

You know what I didn’t spend a lot of time with? My phone.

There’s a lot of research on how blah you feel when you spend too much time on your phone, and social media. They say it makes kids and teens feel unhappy, isolated, anxious, and depressed. Also, it’s easy to feel like like we’re not doing as many cool things as other people.

Check out a good article I read, right here, called:

‘How Smartphones Are Making Kids Unhappy’.

I get it. It’s a drag when you feel left out. Or if your classmates are going on amazing vacations and you’re not. Or showing their new clothes or sneakers (or tennis racquet!) on Instagram or Snapchat. Anyway, you have to be able to have perspective.

You also need to be able to put your phone away. We have rules at my house that you can’t have a phone or screen at the table, and you can’t bring it upstairs at night.

I wouldn’t say this in front of my parents, but I’m glad we have those rules. Whenever Mom has slacked off and let me be on my phone for a long time, I actually feel crappy.

The stuff that makes me feel better: hanging out WITH my friends (not texting), taking my dog, Ralph, for a walk, or getting outside. (Of course, tennis is my fave.) The other day, Mom got all frustrated with me, and said, “Finn, look up!” I did. Turns out, my little sister was baking cupcakes with Mom, and I helped them out… Okay, I mainly taste tested! I think we got icing everywhere, but it was fun!

Making connections with people for real does make you feel pretty good.

So, try it out! If you’re on your phone a lot, try doing something else social and active. I’ll bet you’ll feel better!

Bye for now!

Finn

It’s Cold Out There!

Hey! Happy New Year! Hope you had an awesome holiday!

Here in Chapel Hill, it’s, uh, freezing. Luckily, since I’m half Canadian, I have lots of tips on staying warm, especially when you want to be outside and active.

Step 1: Stay inside and drink hot chocolate… Just kidding!

Okay, for real:

The big thing is dressing for the weather. When it gets really cold in North Carolina, we have to haul out our layers. My Canadian cousins have all this stuff down to a science!

The secret is layering. First, you need a nice inner layer to wick sweat away from your skin, like a regular long sleeved shirt. (Believe it or not, when you’re active in the cold, you can still break a sweat and get pretty hot.) Then a mid-layer for warmth, like fleece, and an outer layer, like a winter coat or water resistant jacket, to block wind, snow, and cold air.

Mitts, a hat, maybe a scarf, boots if it’s snowy, nice thick socks, and you’re good to go! See, when you layer your clothes, you can adjust a little if you’re too hot (unzip or take off a layer), and it helps keep out the cold.

The Norwegians say that there isn’t bad weather, only bad clothing. I kind of get it. I don’t mind layering on warm clothes to have fun outside. With my Labrador retriever, Ralph, I kind of have no choice. He needs exercise, and he loves walking, running, and fetching in this weather! Like Ralph, my cousins in Canada get super pumped when it snows.

So, if you can, be like my Canadian cousins (and Ralph), and try to embrace the winter! If you dress warmly enough, it’s actually pretty refreshing to get outside. Even better if you can skate or ski, or go sliding! Whenever we’re in Canada during the winter, I have a great time, because there are so many fun winter activities.

It makes this cold snap here not seem so bad! Stay warm out there!

Bye for now!

Finn

Furry Gifts

Hey!

So, I just came back from a walk with my favorite walking buddy. Yeah, my Labrador retriever, Ralph. He’s an awesome dog, and everyone who meets him knows it. (Not to brag or anything!)

The thing is, we passed this little girl and her dad, and she patted Ralph, asked what his name was, and said how much she wants a dog for Christmas. The dad looked like he was thinking about it.

So I said to them, “Ralph is so nice, because we spend lots of time with him. He takes me for lots of walks.” The girl laughed. The dad was really nice, and said, “He looks like a great dog.”
So I told him, “My whole family has spent a lot of time training him and we keep him really active, and hang out with him.”

(I’ve seen a few people get dogs and then not really give them much attention.)

He nodded like he got it.

This time of year, sometimes people think it’ll be cute to get a pet for Christmas. And that can be cool. But you have to be ready for a big commitment. It’s like adopting a furry kid.

Having a cool dog like Ralph doesn’t just happen. But if you’re ready for a big commitment, you’re gonna get back the best gift ever! (Oh yeah, you’ll also get a few ‘gifts’ when you’re housetraining them, so be ready, haha.)

Here are my tips for getting a new dog:

  • What kind of dog will fit into your life? Are you active? How much space do you have? That kind of stuff. Some dogs are better with kids. Some are happy to be lapdogs… (not Ralph).
  • Make sure to talk about (okay, Mom’s looking over my shoulder and said ‘really talk about’) the commitment that will go along with a furry ‘gift’.
  • If you get a dog over the holiday, make sure you have time for him or her. Don’t be going out to lots of parties and leaving your new family member behind, or have too much craziness in your house.
  • My number 1 tip: Check out the ASPCA (in Canada, it’s the SPCA) and see if your perfect friend is there. You’ll give a dog the best gift ever: a great home.
  • If you’re not sure if you’re ready for a dog, you can help friends or neighbours take care of their dogs. Or volunteer (with your parents’ permission). There’s lots of dog love out there to go around!

Whether you have a new pet this holiday season, or one that’s been in the family for a while, here are some great tips from the ASPCA, on taking care of your dog (or cat).

Speaking of taking care of your dog, I promised Ralph a treat, and he’s drooling on my knee, so…

Bye for now!

Finn

Active Gifts Are Awesome!

Hey!

Can you believe it’s almost December? Thanksgiving was awesome as usual. Some of my Canadian relatives always come and visit for American Thanksgiving, because it’s such a big holiday, and kind of the unofficial start to the Christmas season.

Speaking of Christmas (shopping), this is Cyber Monday, where people do lots of their Christmas shopping online, and there are lots of deals.

I love getting presents (who doesn’t) and I especially like gifts you can be active with.

Here are some cool gifts that teens and tweens love:

– Okay, obviously, for me, tennis stuff, because tennis is my favorite sport, and the coolest sport ever! (Yeah, I’m biased.) Socks, tennis balls, water bottles… Anything someone can use to do their favorite sport or activity. (My sister gets stuff for dance.)
– Or try out a new activity! Equipment, gift certificates for lessons, bowling, the sky’s the limit.
– Sleds, if you live in an area where there’s snow. When we go to my cousins’ place in winter, sleds or toboggans are the best! All you need is a good hill. Seriously, you’re never too old for sledding!
– Snowshoes, snowball makers (just be careful) or snow fort blocks… yep, same deal. You need to have snow.
– Interactive games, whether it’s board games where you have to act stuff out, or video games like Xbox, where you have to dance, jump, or whatever. (Fiona schools us in the dance games, with Mom a close second!)
– Stuff like soccer balls, skipping ropes, badminton sets… even if you don’t play that sport. They can just be fun to play in the backyard.
– Fitbits and other activity trackers are pretty neat, and they do make you pay attention to how much you move. It’s fun to see how many steps you can get to, and reach that daily goal.
– A backpack or mini-sack for hikes, sunglasses, hats, or anything that makes getting outside easy and fun.

Anyway, those are just a few ideas. So, if you’re shopping for presents, don’t forget the active stuff! It will make the people you love have fun and feel great!

Bye for now!
Finn

My Sister (and Charlie) Made Me Post This!

Hey!

How’s it going? Are you in any new activities? Having fun?

Cool.

Okay, so you know about the class that the guys and I had to try, from my last book. It turned out to be deceptively hard… and a really good experience. And now I have a whole new appreciation for how much strength and flexibility dance takes.

So, I totally get this video, on how much work and skill goes into ballet, with dancers from the Washington Ballet. Check it out! My sister found it, and showed Charlie and me. Charlie’s loving his new activity. And he’s getting pretty good! (Not as good as the dancers in the video!)

Then we found another video, with CrossFit guys doing super basic ballet moves, with a dancer from the American Ballet Theater. The guys are not as bad as we were, but it just goes to show you how impressive dancers are. (Yeah Fiona, you can stop looking over my shoulder, I said it!)

Dance is pretty cool. And hard. Just like any activity, it’s worth it if you love it!

See you soon!

Finn

Take a Hike (in a Nice Way)!

Hey! How’s it going?

So, I was thinking about activities that don’t cost a lot of money. One thing that’s free and really cool is: hiking. Remember, in my book how we went for a hike with Mae’s friend?

Anyway, I found a great article on hiking for teens, and tweens, like my sister. (She hates it when I call her a tween, mwahaha…)

Check it the article here.

Thanks Traci Lehman (who wrote the article) and Outdoor Families Magazine!

And by the way, if you live in a city, you can do an ‘urban hike’. Do you have a waterfront to explore? Or an awesome park?

Hiking’s a great way to hang out with your friends, have fun, and be active!

Speaking of being active… gotta run!

See ya!

Finn

Hey Parents! Let Your Kids Have Fun!

Hey!

I’ve got to tell you, I was a little miffed today. Tom and I were just finishing an awesome set at the tennis courts, when we heard this dad kind of scolding his kid while they were playing together. The kid is, like, 9 years old, and he’s actually pretty good. But the dad is always super intense. He kept saying stuff like, “Focus,” and “Why’d you miss that?”

A bunch of people were rolling their eyes, but nobody really said anything. Tom and I just called out, “Great shot,” to the kid a couple of times.

Anyway, I have a theory about parents who criticize their kids like that and put a bunch of pressure on them. I think they’re trying to prove something, and they’re using their kids to do it.

If I play tennis with either of my folks, they’re super positive. I think that’s because they were both high level athletes. They’re not trying to show how great they are through me. They also get it that you can have a bad day, that it’s just a game, and that it’s ultimately supposed to be FUN.

We were talking about it when I got home, and Mom showed me this video, from Hockey Canada. It’s pretty funny. And awesome.

I wish the dad from the tennis courts would watch it. Maybe he would chill before his kid stops wanting to play!

Whatever sports or activities you’re doing… Have fun this week!

Finn

Cool Snacks

Hey!

Now that summer is here, I’m playing a lot of tennis, and my buddies and I are all pretty active in general! I hope you are too!

One thing about doing lots of active stuff is that you need lots of fuel. That means healthy food. I found this cool article on some great snacks that are healthy and easy to make. (Some of these might be more fun for little sisters or brothers, but they all look tasty!)

Thanks Super Healthy Kids and Feel Great in 8!

See you soon!

Finn

30 Kid Friendly Summer Snacks

Tennis 101 :-)

Hey!

So, even though we try out a few sports and activities in my new book, tennis is my ultimate fave. (You knew that!)

If you haven’t tried it, you should! It’s a lot of fun.

I found this cool guide to tennis, on Tennis Canada’s website: Check it out, it’s really good. Just click on Tennis 101

Thanks Tennis Canada!

(Tell Genie Bouchard I said hi!:-)

See you soon!

Finn

 

Go For It!

Hey!

Great news! Sue and I just published our second book in my The F.I.T. Files series! Yeah!

 

In this book, It’s Your Move, we all meet a few challenges (including my pal Chris, with a bowling ball…but I’m not even going there right now)!

But we work together, keep positive, and go for it. In the end, it’s pretty sweet!

We all have times when we have a challenge, or something that we’re uncomfortable or nervous about doing.

If it’s something that will be positive, just take a breath, gather up all your support from your family and friends, and go for it!

Just remember, perfection is overrated. Making an effort is a big deal 🙂

(That was especially true with the guys and me in the dance studio!)

Check out our adventures in The F.I.T. Files: It’s Your Move

See you soon!

Finn