GingerDEAD House

Last night our daughters worked together decorating a Gingerbread house. It was great to see them work together so well. It was entertaining as well because they wanted to make it a part of their “Creepy Santa” escapades.

Of course they made a “GingerDEAD House” full of blood icing. I enjoyed listening to them tell stories of how the Gingerbread people died. I like that they created their own style of house instead of making it look like a perfect match from the box.

Creepy Santa is proud as well. I’m sure he’ll bring them something nice this year. You can follow him on Instagram. Hohoho Horror.

Brace Yourself

When I was younger, I had to get braces for my teeth. It was obvious from birth that I’d need them. Seriously- my mother was Scottish and my father was Czech. Both of them had false teeth by their early thirties. My baby teeth were okay, but those adult teeth were messed up something fierce. So my parents forked over a few thousand dollars to repair my smile.

After years of going through puberty and wearing metal in my mouth, I was ready to be good looking. Only that never happened. Once my braces were off- within a few years my wisdom teeth came in and shifted my lower teeth and made them nice and crooked. But I don’t really care now. I’m not trying to impress anyone anymore.

It seems my wife’s genetics and mine weren’t so kind to our offspring. Or our pocketbook for that matter…

I bring this up because our oldest daughter has been wearing braces for a few years now. On Thursday, the orthodontist removed them. Her “agony” is overtaken age 16.

She can’t stop smiling now. I think she is happy about how her teeth have straightened out. I’m happy that we will have smiles in our Christmas photos! I’m also happy that those payments for child number one’s teeth are behind us. Now to focus on the other two.

Cozy Music

I’m glad to have a couple of days off- I can now enjoy our home. It’s become very cozy for the holidays. Besides just the decorations.

Even our oldest has decided to lay down by the fire and listen to music. She has discovered that she has full control of the music that plays in the house. All from her iPhone. I let her download an app the controls our music.

At the moment, we get to enjoy a variety of Christmas music played from the Radio Addon on our Kodi Box. It’s been the best part of our home theater setup. Access to the internet and a variety of commercial free music of almost any genre!

A few years ago I installed small speakers all around our downstairs. This allows for a Disneyland like feel. As you walk through our downstairs, the left and right speakers slowly melt from room to room.

Playing Christmas music really makes the home feel inviting. Add a fire, a comfortable blanket and some warm tea- you may not want to leave.

Indoor Footwear

When I come home I take off my shoes. Only to put on slippers. Indoor footwear? Why? I guess to keep my feet warm. I don’t really mind walking around in socks or barefooted. But slippers are just a way of life. And we go through them rather quickly. About every three or four months, we need to get new ones.

I like owning slippers. My slippers wait for me at the side of my bed. The fuzzy comfort for my feet as I roll out of my nice warm bed. I always get at least one pair of slippers at Christmas. One year, my daughter gave me three pairs. She figured that way I wouldn’t run out before the next Christmas.

My wife has slippers that my children often steal. Even though they each have their own, they find it fun to take their mother’s slippers and walk around in them.

Recently, I picked up some “back up” slippers. They are hung under our stairs near the front door just in case someone in our family forgets their slippers upstairs. I also bought them because they reminded me of our trip to Tokyo.

Our hotel gave us each a pair of slippers that we were told we could keep. We received new ones Every Single Day. So we ended up with a pretty good stockpile of white slippers. My wife and I plan on giving them out when guests come over. Even just for dinner. We are going to offer slippers to make our home feel like a comfortable place they our guests can feel like it’s their home.

I’m looking forward to getting a new pair of slippers for Christmas. I should probably go out and buy a pair for my wife also. The kids are slowly killing hers.

Life Lesson

My son is only twelve years old and in grade 7. But he learned a tough lesson this week at school. He got suspended because of a fight that broke out the other day.

He wasn’t physically fighting, but he became one of the students in the small crowd of thirteen kids who watched and did nothing. Four of the students pulled out phones and filmed the situation. The rest cheered. Including my son who was caught on camera by one of the four kids. I support the school district’s decision about the punishment for all fifteen kids.

Yesterday at the end of school, my son was told that he was suspended. He was so distraught that his tears became heavy sobs.

I’m glad he learned this lesson now before adulthood kicks in. We’ve had a good discussion about what he could’ve done differently and what he plans to do next time. I also explained that as he gets older, there can be real world consequences for similar offenses.

His suspension has him home from school today. So I will be putting him to work doing some manual labor around the home. He knows that he better not argue with me about it.

Normally he is a great and loving child. This time he got caught up in the moment and made a poor decision which he has since regretted. I hope he learns from this and makes better choices to help people out instead of sitting idly by.

More Skating

It was an early start with two of my kids today. We were out the door at 6:15am in order to attend a Speed Skating meet that began at 07:00am. At least there was no traffic on the roads as I tried to find the arena. It didn’t help that it was under construction with no signs and limited parking.

We arrived at a time where cars were behind me as we all tried to find a parking spot. I got lucky and parked close to the entry under a sign that said “3 Hour Parking” and in smaller print “Mon-Fri”. I think people tend to not read very well. Their loss, my gain.

I got the kids into their change room and procured a sweet spot in the stands. Where I promptly unpacked some blankets and took over my little nook that would remain home for the next 8 hours. Painful wooden bleachers which has caused me some lower back pain. Oh the suffering!

The races went great. Theory destroyed the time on his 1500m. Which was great! Then the coach had him skate an extra 1500m which tired him out right before lunch. I supported the coach in that decision. Muwahahaha.

Between races, my daughter and I played on our Nintendo 3DS’s. It was a great bonding time for us. My son constantly went to stretch and exercise (also known as goof off) with his friends. But when it came time to race, they took it seriously.

It was a great race day with no falling or injuries. Some average times for the balance of the races for our kids. But a good learning experience to figure out what they need to focus on next time.

Classical

Yesterday we were listening to the Classical XM Radio station in the car. Our kids enjoy classical music. It may be from the fact that I would often play classical music throughout the home. Or perhaps it was from… Baby Einstein.

We owned every DVD and CD from when our first child was born- over sixteen years ago. The videos were played pretty regularly in our home and the cds were on all the time in the car. I even left them to play when our kids weren’t in the car.

I remember developing an appreciation of classical music because of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes. Yesterday we heard “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. My kids had never seen the Bugs Bunny version. It dawned on me that their love of classical differs from mine. Our middle child pointed out every instrument as they came up. She now wants to mention to her teacher that they should play it in Orchestra.

This astounds me. Back in my high school days, there was no love of Classical music by any of my classmates. My children have an excellent variety and almost eccentric taste in music. I do believe this comes from me. I’m glad for this.

Time to show them some Bugs Bunny. How did I miss this as they were growing up?

This Dad is There When Needed

Today my daughter needed me. So I was there for her in the best capacity I can be. She needed to be taken out, so I made sure to be there for her. Afterwards, we had some one on one time.

We went to a coffee shop near her school in Fort Langley called “The Blacksmith Bakery” for a mid morning breakfast. We each had a Chai Latte. I had a very tasty Butterfly Blue Matcha one. For breakfast I had a simple avocado toast with poached eggs. My daughter opted for a sticky bun. We had a good talk that I think we both needed.

Afterwards I took her home instead of school. She needed more dad time, so we continued it by decorating our home. She took a ton of photos as we played around and figured out where to put stuff. We listened to some comedy Christmas music as well. By the end of the day, she was smiling and joking.

She needed me today, so I was there for her. I really wish there was more I could do, but for now- I’m here when she needs me. Even if it’s just coffee and Christmas decorating.

The Yearly Bad Day

Facebook shared with me some of my past memories of this day. None were good.

Nine years ago, we were without running water. Our pump had died because the pipe from the well had collapsed. We were about one week without water.

Eight years ago, our computer died and I backed up photos. Unfortunately, what I backed it onto died two years ago. Now my wife “kindly” reminds me that I destroyed her memories of the kids.

Seven years ago, I ripped out a breakfast nook and worked to stucco our wall followed by installing a new floor. Seems I punish myself by doing renovations before Christmas on a regular basis.

Five years ago I talked about how I was being cranky and mean to my children. This one hurts emotionally.

Three years ago we received and Xbox. I played poorly and ate Halloween candy for dinner because I felt like crap. A realization that I am not a gamer kicked in.

Last year I spent the day in the hospital and got a CT Scan. It was followed by a trip to a pub with terrible service thus ending a frustratingly long day. But my results were positive.

Looking back, I realize that I have overcome a decade of frustrating events. Hopefully tomorrow my memories on Facebook are more pleasant. I can’t wait to see them. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right?

What To Give?

This is the first year that my wife and I are having a tough time figuring out Christmas gifts for our kids. It’s rather unusual for us.

We usually buy gifts throughout the year and stockpile a pretty good haul for the family. But this year we did more spending on experiences for the family. So our usual Christmas stockpile is lacking.

The kids are too old for toys. So we’ve cut that out. Of course LEGO is still popular, so there may be a box or two under the tree. We also used to buy movies- DVDs then Blu-Ray films. But with streaming on Netflix or any other device doesn’t require a physical disc. It’s the same with video games. Just download onto a device and play. Nothing to unwrap.

Maybe we need to focus on more experiences. The ones that create memories that last a lifetime. Our kids love our vacations. But travel can be expensive for a family of five.

But how do you wrap an experience for under the tree? They also love creating art and sharing art. Just over a month for my wife to figure this out.