Both of our daughters finished their pumpkins right on time. Our 17 year old spent about five and a half hours on hers and this is how it turned out:
It was a character named Yuri from Doki Doki Literature Club. I love the detail she put into it. Watching her painstakingly carve and cut into the gourd impressed me.
Our oldest wanted to make her pumpkin match her make up. So she carved out scars and blistered looking lips and eyes. Then she stuck metal wire in to close it up. Definitely an original piece that looked creepy.
Her make up was detailed to match. She also made a large scythe this summer which accompanied the look. I love her originality and commitment to the character.
Having creative kids makes me proud. My wife and I are always encouraging them to make art and express themselves.
My daughter and I finally got around to carving a couple of pumpkins today. We were both going to do very detailed ones, yet our printer wasn’t working. So this threw us off a bit.
It meant I had to trace and freehand my designs today. Which was not perfect by any means. But I am still happy with the outcome of the pumpkins. They are okay-ish by my standards, but I was also trying something different and it didn’t work.
I tried to create flames for one pumpkin. This is how it turned out. I know where I could’ve improved. Doing smooth curves is difficult to cut. But since I was unable to do my original design, this was my backup.
My other design was a bit less detailed than previous years (2018 was my best one to date). Loki was a fantastic Marvel tv series, so I had to share my love of the fandom. I am happy with how this pumpkin turned out considering I had to draw it out myself. Usually I edit an image online to create a stencil.
Our middle child is still working on her pumpkin. She’s been at it for about five hours now. Her attention to detail is amazing. She also had to trace an image instead of printing one off. Our oldest daughter had to work today, so I am hoping that she creates a beautiful work of art tomorrow. If not, I’m sure my wife will make a Hello Kitty pumpkin.
I can’t wait to see the final results of our daughters’ designs and hard work. I love that they take after me in wanting to be better each year.
How did your pumpkin carving go this year? Are you getting better at it as each year goes on?
Today I went to Walmart. Woohoo! Seriously though, not a fan of Walmart… But I decided to get an extra box of Halloween Candy for Sunday night. Just in case. As I walked around, I noticed they have their Christmas stuff out already. I’m not offended by this. On November 1st, I’d be ready to decorate our home for the season if my wife would allow it!
I’m bothered more by the false advertising that comes from the picture on a box vs the actual item.
Look at these beautiful pre-lit Christmas trees for $99! They look full and ready to be decorated. What a deal! Walmart even put one out on display to showcase the changing led lights.
Sure looks like the picture. *Shrugs* More like a scrawny Charlie Brown tree. No amount of fluffing or bending of the branches could make it look full like it is on the box. This genuinely aggravated me and I’m not sure why. If you want the tree and saw that this is what it looks like, by all means have at it. But disappointment is the first word that comes to mind when I see it.
As with all things Walmart, you get what you pay for. And I saved $99 not buying this.
I cannot stop automating our home. About a month ago I thought I was done. Our Google Home is feeling futuristic and connected. Today I added what may be the final item… for now.
The Nest was our latest item added. Basically an overpriced thermostat. But it has so many features that my wife really wants to utilize. Mostly watching the usage- that’s the sort of thing which has become a pastime for her. She is also starting to come around to how to use the automation of our home.
For me, it’s another Google app that will make life easier. Having access to everything in the palm of my hand is exactly what I always wanted. Controlling lights, television, music and temperature creates comfort. I love all of it.
I love the fact that I can control nearly everything now from my phone. The accuracy and instantaneous of it all astounds me. I have used some of the other apps and controlled devices while away from home. Pretty cool and dorky. Now I can be warm or cold- whatever I want.
In our previous home, there was a neighborhood cat that left dead birds on our back deck one year. Numerous times a bird would fly into our glass doors and windows of our sun room and just not survive. It was always unfortunate.
In our new home we have glass railings and large windows. I have already picked up half a dozen birds since June. I’m starting to see quite a variety of dead birds.
I have reached an age where I enjoy watching the living, flying birds outside. I have seen storks, hawks, owls, crows, geese, woodpeckers and all sorts of little cheep-cheeps. What I have discovered about myself is that when I find a bird that has died, I talk to it briefly. I’m apologetic. As if somehow I caused it’s demise. And then I toss them away unceremoniously.
After all, there’s nothing I can do for them. These wild birds entered the suburbs unwittingly. Or people created the suburbs in their homes?
I enjoy the bird’s songs and beauty, but when it ends, it ends.
At 2:22am this morning, thieves stole the catalytic converter from our daughter’s Honda Element. It took them less than four minutes. Clearly they have done this before to other vehicles.
Our camera caught some footage of the theft. Unlucky for us, a spider decided to make its web in front of the top part of the lens, so we got a bit of glare on the upper portion. Looking back at the footage, there still would be no way to tell the license plate of the truck that stopped on the road. The cost to us will be $300 deductible for insurance and the time lost of not having the vehicle on the road.
As disappointing as this event is, and as frustrating as the theft can be, I’m hoping for some justice to come about. It turns out the Facebook group for our neighborhood has people sharing information about the incident. Hopefully we can get more information to the local authorities about what happened.
Yesterday we had a wind storm hit the west coast. My wife and I are glad that we moved to a place with no large trees in our yard anymore. The fear of losing power or a tree slamming into the roof is gone. With this sense of relief came something else- a sense of humor.
As I was leaving for work at 5:20pm, I noticed the small tree in our front yard lost all of it’s beautiful red leaves. They just dropped straight to the ground. So I leaned out and took this picture. I was going to send it to my wife and tell her the tree was naked. I headed out to work and was going to message her afterwards. As I arrived at work, she sent me this text:
She beat me to it! We both thought the same thing. This is absolutely hilarious to me. After being together for over 21 years, I guess we just know each other so well.
My family and I have been volunteering at our Speed Skating club since September 2010. As the years have gone on, volunteer work at other events has also happened. As I mentioned yesterday, we had our First Meet of 2021. My wife, myself, and our seventeen year old volunteered for the entire day. Our fifteen year old son competed in the morning, then volunteered for the afternoon.
Our son went above and beyond in his role. Originally he was going to be on the ice as a Track Steward. That meant he would check the ice after each race, adjust the markers, and assist as needed. Instead, at lunch he was asked if he could coach on the sidelines to a new skater from out of town. That skater came down with his father, but did not have a coach there. Because our children have done assistant coaching and coaching over the last few years, Theory stepped up to help without hesitation.
Because this meet was on our home ice, our son knew where to be to offer encouragement and support to a skater he met just moments prior. Watching my son on the sidelines calling out advice and coaching was one of the proudest moments in parenting that I have had. Theory is a great person and offers plenty of encouragement as it is already.
It feels as though our family has made a name for themselves in the local Speed Skating community. I hope it continues on for years to come. I know I’ll be volunteering still and I know our teenagers are enjoying it as well.
Today is the first speed skating meet of 2021. We had the opportunity to have it in our club facility. The last meet that any of the skaters had was in March of 2020. This was a good chance to get back into the competitive side of the sport once more.
As new protocols and Covid safety measures were being taken, we had plenty of vaccinated volunteers doing their part. My job is to tweet out information to parents to keep them updated. This is being done in order to prevent spectators from wandering around unnecessarily.
I set up in the far corner behind the paramedics. My laptop was put onto a gumball machine and I am staying out of the way. A small space heater and coffee are keeping me warm all day as I share information.
I’m glad that the kids have a chance to get back on the ice. Many of them have grown and changed since the last time they competed. It’s also good to see the parents that we haven’t seen in ages. Keeping the groups healthy and safe has been the biggest obstacle in order to get races back on track.
Hopefully we can host and attend more races throughout the season. It’s good for everyone involved.
When I started my blog a few years ago, I had no idea what to write about, hence the name “Making It Up As I Go.” I just knew that I enjoyed writing and storytelling. Within the first few hundred followers, I met a unique community of people in the virtual world. One of whom was Andi Webb.
He discovered my blog and began to write comments, to which I would respond. He was friendly, kind, and encouraging as I started on my hobby of sharing stories. I’d like to think that he was my first “online friend” after decades of me being on the internet. Since I was always skeptical of interacting with complete strangers- I finally found a place in blogging that was filled with support and love. Andi’s encouragement made me want to write more about parenting and being a father.
I also mention Andi because I began to follow his blog- Diary Of A Gay Dad and saw that being a father comes with all sorts of challenges. But the results are fully rewarding. Having entered in to view his life of raising five small children with his partner- I knew there had to be a backstory. There most certainly was.
Last Christmas, my wife gifted me his novel. Unfortunately, it got shelved because of our move. I finally unpacked it and could not put it down. Andi wrote a fantastic book titled Eighteen Moons. This was the first book of many that I have waiting on my bedside, wanting to read.
I don’t want to get too much into his tale, as it could spoil what you would see as a difficult journey. A journey of surrogacy that would take him out of his comfort zone, into many foreign countries; filled with heartache, strength, and a bureaucracy that would try anyone’s patience and sanity.
As a parent, you feel for their hardships. As a father, you understand how far someone would go to have get their family together hoping for a happily ever after.
Obviously I highly recommend the book. Here is a link to it on Amazon: Eighteen Moons Be sure and take the opportunity to read it.
I love autumn. For the first time in ages I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the colors of the leaves as they change. Our last home was in a beautiful yard filled with pine trees. So we didn’t have much in the way of fallen leaves to clean up. In our new neighborhood- we also don’t have a lot of leaves to deal with, but the neighborhood looks beautiful as the season changes.
Looking out our front door there is a cornucopia of trees and colors. I love being able to witness the world as it transforms. The suburban life is something I never would’ve thought that I’d have enjoyed. I can wave at neighbors and smile a greeting to them. We still have the privacy of our back yard.
As the seasons change, we get to see more of it from our windows. Besides all of the beautiful skies, I’m loving that nature is sprawling out for miles. Plenty of green space separating us from the rest of the world.
Nature is amazing. Red is probably my favorite color of the leaves. There’s something vibrant about the color. Almost passionate.
Yesterday I mentioned how my son decided to share his VR Gaming. Tonight, our daughter asked to listen to music for the drive home. So I told her to put on something that she wanted to hear.
She shared with me a band called Jukebox The Ghost. I have never heard of this band. But I was ready to enjoy more of what they offered after just the first song. Not bad at all. I smiled inside because of more than just the music.
These moments of what our teenagers want to share are oftentimes more important for them than they are to parents. I know nothing about this band. Not did I know anything about the video game my son plays. Yet my children want to share the experiences with me. Happily I indulge them. Because these moments mean more to our relationship than one could imagine.
I’m hoping that by enjoying what they enjoy, that our bond remains strong. I akin these moments in a similar fashion to my sharing of my beloved films of the 80’s. A fondness is grown for what I like; and I grow fond of what they like.
Do you share entertainment with your kids or teenagers? Do you also find you like what they like?
Sunday Morning, our son decided that he was going to enjoy some VR gaming. For whatever reason, he also decided that he needed to cast it to our television.
It was odd that he did this, since no one else was around at the time. I walked downstairs and he was just talking away to thin air. When I asked who he was talking to, he said “the people in the game.” It turns out that when casting, he decided to turn the volume off because there was a bit of a lag/ delay and it was throwing him off.
I also asked why he was casting, and he said “So that we could watch him play.” I don’t think he realizes that we don’t all enjoy watching him play video games. especially on a Sunday morning when most of us wish to sleep in or have a quiet start to the day. At least he kept the sound muted, so I was entertained by his wild movements as he played a game called Gorilla Tag.
If we were taking turns playing a game, cool let’s cast. But he had already taken over the living room space, I guess he hoped we would enjoy watching his game that makes no sense? Wanna play tag? Go outside with friends and play tag. Why are you doing it in VR???
My wife pointed out to us all that it has been one year since Maki entered into our lives. Over this past year, she has been through a lot of emotional times with us. From Christmas to birthdays, to moving homes to the Loss of Lex– our other dog… Maki has been here with us and for us in many ways.
Yesterday, our daughter shared these images on her Instagram. This was her caption: “A year ago today I met my best friend. The first photo here is the first one I ever took of her. She always knows when I’m feeling down when nobody else does, she’s funny, and she loves me. I love her so so much, happy adoptaversary” When I read that, I really understood the idea that pets can be great companions.
Maki has been wonderful for the mental well-being of our family members. She is always nosing in for a cuddle or rub. Maki is also the first pet that we have allowed to sleep in our kids’ rooms and permitted to jump on the couches. Taking her for a walk hasn’t been problematic either, as we all enjoy talking with her as we walk the neighborhood. Something about Maki is different than our other dogs, and it shows.
We all love her and are happy that she is sharing her love with us in her own derpy way. I can’t believe she’s been a member of our family for a year already.
My wife and I first noticed the trolley heading off in the distance behind our home at the end of summer. We also wandered down to a corn stand and the trolley came right passed it. So we took an interest in seeing this thing in person. A Halloween theme seemed like a fun activity to go on with our two youngest teenagers.
We made the most of the one hour trip. My 17 year old daughter and I dressed up as characters from the anime Soul Eater. Most of the attendees were small children and their parents. We were by far the oldest group there. But we weren’t about to let that spoil our fun!
The museum and trolley are run by volunteers. Many of them retired bus drivers and railroaders. For this adventure, they dressed in costumes and had a great time wandering the car and dancing at the stations. By the end of the ride, they were trying to recruit me to join. Perhaps one day since it is so close to our new home.
In the spring, my wife would like to check out the rest of the museum and take a ride on the trolley when it’s not festively decorated. This is definitely one of those moments where it brings all ages together for a fun and silly outing. Thank you to the volunteers who were having a blast for the guests!
This morning my daughter and I headed out early to visit Eagle Acres dairy farm and pumpkin patch. We were invited for an event put on by Thrive Mortgage, similar to the Little Touches they did for us a few months ago.
We had a great time petting and feeding the farm animals to start. We wandered around as my daughter made a few videos for herself. We also took a bunch of pictures for fun.
Before we left, my daughter and I went on a hay ride on the back of a trailer pulled by a large tractor. They took us out to the pumpkin patch where we chose a couple pumpkins to take home.
I’d never been to a pumpkin patch before. I enjoyed having a chance to pick out my own pumpkin from a field. I can’t wait to carve them up for Halloween.
I enjoyed the early morning with my daughter. She chose to dress like Coraline which was perfect for the rainy weather. A raincoat and boots to tromp through the fields. Dressing up is always fun.
I am almost finished having a week of vacation. There is one day left to go and I’m hoping to make the most of it. Most of my time off was filled with appointments and keeping myself busy.
Looking back at the week, I accomplished what I need to do- but relaxing wasn’t there. Early mornings and chores filled my excess time. I did get a short nap in on Friday afternoon which was nice.
Saturday will have a few fun fall activities planned. I’ll share the story afterwards. Or follow along on my Instagram and you may see the fun before I write about it. It’ll be silly fun for me and my family. I hope that you enjoy it, as I’m looking forward to finishing my vacation with some fun. (If I say fun enough times, it’ll be fun, right?)
Ending a vacation is always difficult. Work creeps up quickly and then you’re back in the grind waiting for the next set of days off. That’s just how life works.
Today was the final opportunity for us to see the blue of our pool. The final objective we needed to deal with in our backyard to prepare for the winter, was to throw a cover on the pool. All of our furniture is stored away, and the other day we Wrapped The Palm Trees for winter.
It was a sad moment having to say goodbye to the pool for the season. But we haven’t gone swimming in it for about a month now. What’s great about the cover is that it attaches right to the concrete all around. There are sunken pegs that come up and hold the straps in place keeping the cover taught.
Each spring will be filled with a glorious moment as we view the pool once more. The joy will extend through the summer. For now, we will protect the pool from the winter elements with the cover. Until next spring…
Today was another one of those incredible days for humanity. The second customer based space flight took place on Blue Origin. This time the oldest person to travel to space was on board. William Shatner aged 90 was Jeff Bezos’ guest. Which is fitting considering that Star Trek paved the way over 55 years ago. In 1970’s NASA named their space shuttle “Enterprise” as a nod to the 60’s sci-fi as well.
This morning I took thirty minutes out of my day to watch the launch and re-entry into Texas. The take off and landing is always the most exciting parts to witness. As technology has progressed over the years, I am in awe of the accuracy in which these feats are achieved.
I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. I know that I am unable to ever accomplish that goal at this time. Even if money was no object and I forked out that money to get on an Amazon rocket- the tallest a person can be is 6’4”. I’m about four inches too tall. Darn you genetics!!! But hey, if a 90 year old can go to space and safely return home- I’ve got 45 years to figure out how to get there myself.
For now, I live vicariously through the events that NASA and these Private Companies showcase. It’s a brief entertainment value that allows for the imagination to run wild. Congratulations to William Shatner for being the first living Star Trek star to make it into space. As well as being the oldest person to do so as well. I can’t wait to hear his tale of travel once he gathers himself together after such an emotional journey.
The weather was sunny and the temperature was decent, so we decided to take advantage of it. My wife and I went for a 5km walk at the Tynehead Park. It’s a short drive away from our home, so it was nice to wander an area that wasn’t quite at home. Since it’s autumn, the leaves have mostly left the trees and the bare bones of the park remains.
Later in the afternoon as the sun crested over our house, my son and I ventured into our backyard to wrap our palm trees. We used some burlap and created a blanket around the trunk. It was easy enough to do, and I know it is better to do this while it’s nice instead of when the cold snap hits. Hopefully the winter is mild and doesn’t hurt the palm trees.
After wrapping the trees, my son helped to run an extension cord under our back deck so that we could spin some rope lights around the trees. Besides a fun look, this will also keep them warm in the winter months as required.
Next spring it’ll be nice to see everything come back to life and spread some colour in the world. For now, gardening isn’t over- that’s a wrap.
It was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. As usual, my wife and I made a turkey dinner. We had a couple of friends over to enjoy the feast. I didn’t take many photos as it was more important to live in the moment.
We had a great time enjoying drinks and dinner. We started the afternoon by sitting on our back deck with our gas fire pit on. We enjoyed the views and had some great laughs as the turkey cooked.
We had dinner at around six o’clock, just as the sun was starting to set and the cool air was closing in. After dinner, we enjoyed the ABC’s of desserts. Apple pie, Brownies, and Cheesecake. Our friend made an amazing cheesecake! Each and every dessert was decadent. We also had a sampling of Apple Pie Bailey’s as a little treat.
I’m always happy to open up our home for friends. Sharing food and drinks is an integral part of kindness and humanity. I am also looking forward to the leftovers and turkey meals we will be having over the next week or so.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! May you be blessed with good food and good company this weekend.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. Today we are making a turkey for dinner. But yesterday, I made a few desserts that I am really proud of.
Specifically I made two apple pies from scratch- Including the pastry. Which was surprisingly easy to do. It’s just that the pastry needed to cool for a minimum of four hours or overnight in the fridge. So I actually made the dough the night before just to be ready for Saturday. In all honesty, not including baking time or waiting for pastry- apple pie only takes about twenty minutes to prepare.
I did prepare the apples with my daughter’s help. I had done the peeling and slicing while she added the flour, sugar and cinnamon. She stirred it all up and I filled the pie crusts. It was a good team effort and I enjoyed her company along the way.
For the tops of the pies, I did one in a lattice style and the other was just a dough cover with venting holes cut in. Once that was done, I sprinkled some leftover “churro sugar” I had saved. A perfect topping of cinnamon and sugar.
So far I am satisfied with how the pies turned out. They look and smell terrific. After dinner will be the taste test. Not sure what your stance is, but I believe apple pie is far superior to pumpkin pie.
I love warm apple pie a la mode as well. That is the best combination ever created. Mmmm ice cream and pie. I cannot wait for the Turkey to be done so I can enjoy some pie.
This morning I saw an old friend for his fortieth birthday. It’s probably been about a decade since I last saw him. Today, he rented out a movie auditorium and screened the film,”The Green Knight” which was a film that my friend enjoyed this year and really wished to share with us. I’m glad I saw it, as it was more artsy than the films I have been known to watch. The last time he rented out a theater was probably 20 years ago when we both worked at Colossus and he showed the 1990 classic “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
It got me thinking about how we celebrate birthdays in general. First birthday is mostly gifts for baby and parents. As children, your parents throw parties for you with the expectation that gifts will be given to the birthday child, they give some cheap goody bags as a thank you.
Then you are a teenager, and you’re “Too Cool” for a Chuck E Cheese party, so you go and hang out. Everyone is broke, so you just do what you did on a regular Friday Night. Once you hit “legal drinking age” that’s when friends buy you drinks and everyone will pitch in for the dinner. After a couple years of this, everyone is broke again. So your birthday is just another reason for others to get drunk- byob style or everyone pays their own way.
As you get older, it seems the milestone birthdays are all that matter. And if you want friends to celebrate with you, you end up throwing your own party. Supplying the food and beverages. Some friends will bring something to share or a bottle for you to enjoy. Eventually as we get even older, birthdays are all but forgotten. You made it around the sun once more, and the few who care will still send you love. And that’s what really matters.
Feeling loved. Not showered with gifts. Legitimate love and caring from people who at one point made an impact on your life, and you made one on theirs. My friend today was an integral part of my life at one point. I’m so happy to have seen his successes and been able to share with him a brief moment today once more. Birthdays should always be important to your friends and family.
I’m on a week of vacation at the moment. I am not going away on a trip. Instead I have planned to fill each and every day with experiences and time to myself. A mental break from work and stresses.
My time away from work is precious to me. Everything from the hours in between shifts to days off, and especially vacation. Work is the furthest thing from my mind. It’ll still be there when I return.
I do have plans to see some coworkers over the weekend. I’m sure some gossip and work talk will come up. But it’s a bit different than having to answer emails and help out. Plus we can discuss life outside of work, which is nice.
My time is valuable to me. I’m not willing to give it up as it’s one of the most important things to have. People everywhere want some of it. Be wise when giving it out.
Today I was at home starting my vacation. This morning I was on a Zoom meeting while sitting on our front porch. As I was there, a lady with about four preschool aged children walked by. They noticed the banners I put out for Halloween. And one of the boys yelled up to me, “Is that Freddy VS Jason?” I was rather surprised that a kid under age five would know that.
Later on a couple of ladies walked by and stopped in front of our home. They were trying to figure out who the characters were from. Clearly our home is drawing attention.
Afterwards, I was in the garage making some Halloween decorations. A father and his young song passed by. They too saw the banners out front. I heard the father say to his son, “we will definitely come back to this house on Halloween.”
I’m sure that we will get more kids this year in this part of the neighborhood than they have in the past. Our last neighborhood we only gave out about a dozen treats. Three to each kid… It’ll be neat being in a suburb again, but it’s not going to end well. We better get a bunch of candy and be ready to hand it out.