Summer Nights By The Pool

The last couple of days have been scorchers. The heat hitting 30°C yesterday and later today. All afternoon on Saturday, we took advantage of the pool and shade from the gazebo. A few friends stopped by to join us- which is always nice.

By 10:30pm it was just the family remaining. As the night started to settle on us, we stayed warm with the fire pit and a couple of blankets. By midnight, my wife put out the fire and I had fallen asleep. I woke up around 3am and headed inside. It was so comfortable outside that if it wasn’t for my allergies, I’d have slept through the night out there.

I’m looking forward to more days and nights like that one. Where friends and family can come by and relax with us. Hooray for summer making its appearance!

Our Son Is Getting Grounded

It isn’t as bad as it sounds. Our 16 year old son just got his first summer job. Our tenants introduced us to a fellow who lives up the road. That person told our son to go and apply for a job at the Surrey Golf Course.

Yesterday morning I dropped our son off to apply for groundskeeper/ landscaper. Forty five minutes later and he was smiling from ear to ear. He starts the job next week working full time Monday to Friday. The job starts early- 5am. But he will be done to enjoy his afternoons and evenings every day.

In getting his first job, he needed to get a few things. Most importantly was his first pair of work boots. I offered to buy his first pair of steel toe boots. But told him he will need to take care of them and after this, he will be on his own to buy his own work gear. We also went out to pick up a couple of polo shirts and some work pants.

He is excited for his new independence and cash freedom. We also went and opened his first bank account. I reminded him to set aside a minimum of 10% of his income. He is unsure what he will be saving towards., so I suggested he put the majority of his money into his savings account as the interest rate is better. I hope he understands why I suggest this.

I’m happy for him and look forward to seeing how he fares (get it? Like fairway on a golf course?) One of the perks of his job is getting free golf and discounts at the country club. I have a feeling he will be following in my father’s footsteps and grow into a love of golf.

Red Carpet Grad 2022

Tonight we are at the Grad Dinner and Dance for Darwin. Prior to the meal was a “Red Carpet” event. The graduates went to the school, and walked out the front doors for the last time.

The teens had a beautiful day for some outdoor photos. A friend of ours took some fantastic shots with a professional camera which will be sent to us later. I grabbed as many as I could with my cellphone.

Most of the pictures I will be sending to Darwin so they can share with their friends. I did get a few that were fun for us to enjoy. The afternoon was filled with smiles and laughter. Keeping with the high energy, we headed out to the Grad Dinner and Dance.

I took a few minutes to write my blog while the kids shared some more photos and had more laughs before the elegant evening began. It was great to see them mingle and you could sense the relief from a long hard road they went on to get here.

Now we feast!

Milestones Memories

Over the years, I have been there for all of my kids and the milestones they are meant to hit. There are so many important landmarks in life that it just feels right to be a part of each one.

As June quickly reaches an end, so does the school year. All three of our teenagers have hit important landmark events that I have been proud of. And as a parent, it’s always a good feeling to see how proud your kids are of each goal they have achieved.

Watching my memories on Facebook return each June with highlights of these moments hits the heartstrings a bit more than usual for me each day this week it seems. Especially for our oldest.

Reminiscing about each achievement our oldest hit over the years really stings me in my emotions. From a Preschool Graduation to a Grade 7 farewell Graduation to finishing Grade 12 during Covid lockdown… on each of these moments I was there for them and cheered with pride.

Until Tuesday this week. Our oldest had a convocation to receive a diploma for two years of post secondary at BCIT. I’m really proud of them, but for reasons- I did not attend this ceremony. It’s the first big moment I was not allowed to be at. Respectfully it was out of love that I did not attend. They requested that I would not be present at it. As an adult, I must respect their wishes- but it stings and they knew it would.

I will still continue to share my love for each of my children and their achievements. Even when I cannot be there in person. As a piece of my heart longs for the simplicity of a preschool graduation once more, I know that life gets complicated and can be messy.

Yet those milestone memories bring me joy, even if it hurts.

One Year…

What a difference a year can make. For us, we have lived in our current home for one year now.

Castle Havelka

It was difficult to leave our other home. We had created some many memories while living there. We also did numerous changes on a regular basis to the house and yard. Yet somehow, it never felt as if it would end. Moving was the only way we could start with a clean slate and figure out what we really want in a home.

Kingdom Havelka

I never thought owning a pool would be high up on the list of what we wanted in a home. Yet now I can’t think to live somewhere without a pool. Trading the trees for open views has greatly helped with feeling better and happy thoughts. We are taking in more sunshine than ever before. My wife even commented on my glow the other day. I feel rejuvenated on a regular basis.

As summer approaches tomorrow, I continue to look forward to spending time outside. Relaxing by the pool. Watching sunsets. Sharing quality time with friends. Food and drink beside the pool…

I loved our previous home for the memories we created, but I love the one we are in because of the memories to come. In one year a lot has happened already. If we do another 15-20 years here, who knows what else this home will have in store.

Reflecting On Being A Father

Today is Father’s Day- a time to celebrate dad. My kids are in their late teens, so it feels different these days than in the past. The two youngest wished me a Happy Father’s Day and my son made me a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. I am aware that as they grow older, gift giving is not the same as it once was. Just being acknowledged these days is the best feeling. I still do my best to help guide them through life, even when it becomes difficult to handle their strong opinions and personalities.

Some previous gifts from my kids.

I have saved every hand made and store bought gifts that my kids have given me over the years. From cards to ceramics; paintings to pens- they had put forth effort in thinking about me as a father and shared them with me. Chances are my kids won’t read my blog, but if they do- they’ll know how important those trinkets and words still mean to me.

Facebook also shares memories with me on a regular basis. We had many good times as a family doing everything from the mundane to traveling to other countries. I love looking back on our time together and seeing how much they have all changed over the years. I’m always proud of what they have done and who they are becoming as adults.

My Father and I.

Sometimes I wish my father were around to see how amazing these kids are. I often wonder if he was proud of me before he passed away. I’ll never know. What I do know is that we had a tough time sharing feelings and I didn’t always have fond memories of him. Towards the end of his life, he and I were civil to one another. But I was already past trying to make amends. Maybe it could have happened over these last 20 years since he died, but all I can do is try and remember the good times.

As my kids grow older and move on with their lives, I hope to be able to have a healthy adult relationship with each of them. I really enjoyed their company as babies, toddlers, kids, and yes- even as teens. Being a father isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy. But I hope that all of good memories will stay front and center as my kids continue to grow up.

I love them all immensely. I couldn’t be happier for the way they love me back- each in their own way. Even if we don’t always see eye to eye or have a perfect relationship- I’ll always be here for them. That’s what a Father does.

The Queens

Today was a day of moving beds around. Two were dismantled and another was built. Not too shabby of a day. I even had some help without much prodding.

First I took apart the queen sized bed that our oldest was using. It had been all but forgotten about in my wife’s front office. We are going to put the bed and frame into storage until our oldest needs it. All the pieces from the frame are together and I labeled each part just in case they need to reassemble it on their own.

After I dismantled that bed, I moved onto our middle child’s bed. They had been using a twin frame that was originally from a bunk bed. It was a solid pine wood bed and will last forever. So that bed is going into storage as well for the time being. Basically until one of our kids has kids…

Once that bed was out of the bedroom, it was time to build a new bed frame. We had bought a queen sized frame, mattress and blanket set as a graduation gift for our middle. At first they were worried that the bed would take up too much space. But in the end, it was a perfect balance of space needed so they could still have all of their friends (aka stuffed toys) sleeping over. Especially the Hello Kitty stuffies and accessories.

I’m glad that our kids are growing up, yet staying youthful at heart. A new bed and frame will push them into adulthood, but with a good nights sleep to get them there.

Darwin Did It!

Last night’s Graduation Ceremony was five hours long. Because it was a Fine Arts Graduation- it was run a bit differently than most. First the students were broken up by majors and called alphabetically by these. Dance, Drama, Music, Photography, Visual Arts, and finally- Writing (Darwin’s major). Between each category, the Grade 11’s for each of the majors put on a short performance as a thank you.

Darwin was one of the last to be called up to receive their diploma. Once all the pomp and circumstance was over- the kids got to mingle with friends, family and teachers in the lobby. I was taken aback by the amount of congratulations that were offered up to the parents as well. But looking back over the years- it’s kind of understandable. Like many parents- we’ve been through a lot as well!

Even though the ceremony is behind us, there is still more to come over the next week. A Grad Dinner and Dance, an After-Grad party and the final day of school. Then a summer of freedom (sort of…) to enjoy the last bit of youthful follies.

Again, my wife and I are extremely proud of our Straight A student. As a middle child, we know that they put more pressure on themselves even when we told them to take it easy. But the results are something that Darwin is proud of! And we couldn’t be happier.

Grad 2022

This evening we will be attending our middle teenager’s graduation ceremony. We are excited for this moment as it’s a major milestone. Years of schooling is behind Darwin and an entire life of adulthood lies ahead.

Of course we took some pre-graduation photos! The clouds were out, but no rain so we took the opportunity to take some pictures in our backyard.

Darwin wanted to wear something cute and meaningful to them under the gown. A Sanrio skirt and cute shoes were a perfect choice.

My wife and I each got a photo with the star of the day. We will be taking many more pictures throughout the evening. Be assured that as a proud parent- I will be sharing them today and tomorrow!

Seeing the tassel with the year on it makes this moment that much more real. All of the memories of Darwin’s successes and accomplishments have come flooding in to my mind. My heart has been welling up and I’m going to blame tonight’s tears on allergies.

Way to go Darwin! We are so proud of everything you have done and who you have become. Today is your day- cherish this moment and all of your memories of the road that brought you here.

Love always, mom and dad.

Not Mine

Today a found a jewelry ring and some random piece of plastic in my car. Rather unusual considering I did a deep clean vacuum about two weeks ago. Naturally I had to find out where this stuff came from. Time for family group text.

You’d think that eventually kids would stop saying “not mine” when asked about something. Nope. Even at aged 16 and 18 they say it. I’d like to pretend like I didn’t know where that response came from. But alas- my wife also said it.

Now I don’t really care about the ring. Someone lost it in my car. Oh well. I just find the observation of the reactions to be interesting. Perhaps I missed it when I cleaned out my car. But realistically it was one of the kids at some point. Whether it’s their’s or not- could have been a friends ring- I tend to keep a very tidy car and have since given it to our 18 year old. They can have it now and try to find the rightful owner. Or keep it for themselves.

That’s because this ring is NOT MINE.

Continuing Cosplay

Years ago we introduced our children to the world of cosplay. They loved the idea of being able to be a character from a show or video game. My wife enjoyed making their costumes. I enjoyed acting out the characters with the family. We all really enjoyed showing off at Comic Cons.

Pokémon Trainers and a wild Pikachu!

For me, that felt like a lifetime ago. We haven’t dressed up for conventions in years. Halloween was a wash for me last year, as I didn’t dress up. I did my Obi-Wan for May 4th, so I was happy there. The love of dressing up in cosplay is still rampant with our 18 year old. That also makes me happy- even if I don’t know the characters they are doing.

Out of the blue, our middle went to our next door neighbor yesterday and asked if they would come over to help with some cosplay photos. After living in our home for almost one year, this was the first interaction the two of them had. It was a positive one. Our neighbor, who is 16, has been interested in doing cosplay but was unsure where to start.

Good thing we moved in next door! Now our middle will have someone to teach the joy of cosplay to. I am really happy that my wife and I encouraged this activity years prior. It has helped with our kids expressing themselves through fandoms. Now that expression is being shared from our teens to others.

That’s pretty cool.

Slow Love

I first met my wife a little over 22 years ago. On our first date, we set our wedding day based on numbers with both like. Within a couple of weeks, I told her I was falling in love. within months we were engaged. Thirteen months after meeting, we were married.

Life and love was a whirlwind adventure. We made moves together that benefited us long term. Kids were quickly in our lives. We tried to budget, but bought a house and a new car. My wife was a stay at home mother. She did a few part time jobs. I was still gaining ground on where my career would take me. Money was tight for years… Until last year. Somehow we took out a million dollar mortgage and our money woes are behind us (hopefully permanently). Don’t ask me how, but our mortgage payments are easier to handle compared to the credit card debts we once held.

Taking love slow. Snailed it!

Nowadays my wife and I are re-kindling our love. It’s a slow go, but we are finally able to focus on ourselves. Our kids are starting to grow up and explore independence. The two of us are going on much needed vacations together without the teens also.

What I like most about the changes- we are still in love, and slowing falling more in love each day. As each day, week, month and year passes- I am glad to have found a partner who makes me happy every time I see her. Somehow the slow down of our life together has been a glorious change. The rest of our lives are busy still, but there is an end in sight for that aspect.

Soon it’ll just be the two of us taking it easy and falling in love all over again

Towel Day and 45 Years of Star Wars

What a day to be a sci-fi nerd. I was so excited about this day I began writing this blog a year prior. But then I hit a writer’s block and that was the only sentence I wrote all year. Or I just procrastinated. Either way, I fished writing it today.

As many folks know by now, I love Star Wars. It has been around for 45 years as of today. I could go on and on about this science fiction fantasy universe, but I won’t do that today. I already celebrated May 4th.

More importantly- Today is Towel Day! This one is really significant to me. Our oldest received their name from book five of the trilogy. In my opinion- Random is one of the greatest names in this day and age. Random can choose a new name at random and no one would question it. Random can do random things and again, kind of difficult to question. But most of all, Random has suited their name since my wife first agreed to the name a little over 20 years ago.

21 years ago, Douglas Adams passed away at age 49. He was the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Or H2G2. A comedic series of books about the absurdity of the universe. I had recently re-read the novels when he passed. A short time later, the universe clobbered me with a 2×4 and was about to make me a father for the first time. Naturally, I wanted the universe to know that I was game and ready to play along. Random would become the greatest gift and biggest hurdle for my life. Which has brought me to this bit of wisdom:

As significant as today is, and how nerdy it is, one must always be prepared for adventure- so remember to bring a towel. It may just save your life!

Or perhaps just use a clean towel to dry off. That’s important too.

Excited For Disneyland

Even though we don’t head to Disneyland for a few more months, I’m getting very excited for it. It seems as though everything is pointing to a wonderful vacation.

Yesterday I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school- the sun was starting to come out. As it did, my watch reflected onto my visor; creating an all too familiar image. The iconic Mickey Mouse ears.

Naturally it made me feel jovial and happy. The previous trips were a blast. Each one was slightly different- creating new memories and unique experiences for all of us. Our future trip is looking almost like a whole new experience as well.

We will get to travel to the Star Wars inspired portion of the park: Galaxy’s Edge– finally after three years of anticipation and excitement. Plus there’s a whole new Marvel inspired land that will be a fun experience for all of us.

But there’s also the normal fun we love to have every trip. Turkey legs, Dole Whip, parades,shopping, rides, meeting characters… the list goes on and on. It’s just such a magical experience each and every time. This next time around, we are bringing a person who has never been to Disneyland. So we will get to see the joy and wonderment through their eyes as we hit up all the fun spots and secrets we have learned over the years.

Do you ever get signs of things to come? Does it make you excited? Let me know in the comments.

Writing Show

Our middle child is graduating this year- which is already a big deal. Tonight, Darwin is preforming at the Photo and Writing Show at the Langley Fine Arts School. Darwin switched majors from music to writing last year. This was the first chance I have gotten to hear the musings out loud.

Darwin has a passion for the arts and is very methodical when it comes to creativity. Much like myself, Darwin loves to share stories and is pretty good at it. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing the two pieces which will be read aloud tonight.

As an art school- they often showcase very skilled work. From fantastic musical performances to stage shows, visual art and everything else that comes with the arts. All of these students have a great potential that has been unleashed over the years. I am glad that our kids have had the opportunity to join in and explore their creative sides.

Theory aka The Roy Turned 16

Today is our youngest’s birthday. He turned 16. It’s a big deal because now he can go and start to learn how to drive. That’s truly exciting!

He also wanted to do something else more grown up- he wanted to make dinner. He asked if I could help him make schnitzel the way I make it. Which is a variation on the recipe my father used to do. Theory’s comfort level with cooking is getting better. Dinner was delicious!

In true teenage fashion, getting a nice photo of him wasn’t happening. So I ended up with a bunch of blurry, hands in the face, head turning photos tonight. But in the end, he wanted to spend time with me. Both watching tv and making dinner. That was more a gift for me I think.

The one gift I’m really happy about that we gave him was a license plate. It was hand painted by a street artist who tags rail cars. His name is also Theory. I reached out to him a while back and paid for a piece in order to gift it to our son. I’m really happy with how perfect the gift was for Theory since he will soon be driving.

So a big shout out to our son on his birthday!

Happy birthday Theory! Who also goes by these names:

  • The Roy
  • Theor Bear
  • T Bear
  • Bearbee
  • B Bear
  • Bear
  • Scrufty
  • Boy Darwin
  • Boy Random
  • The Boy

We love you buddy. We are so proud of who you are becoming.

First Dip In The Pool

The sun peaked out this afternoon long enough for us to enjoy it. It was sent hot, but in the sun it was warm! A couple of weeks ago we had taken the cover Off OurPool in hopes to jumpstart the summer. No such luck.

Yesterday, the weather report was not looking promising for the near future. But I was hopeful. So today, when my wife finished work, we jumped into the pool. We both agreed that we were going in- rain or shine.

Lee-Anne went in first. The sun was out and the atmosphere was pleasantly warm. I had turned on the heater for the pool yesterday- and it was a comfortable 24°C already.

We had kind of forgotten to let the kids know that we were going into the pool. So when our middle came home from school- they ended up hanging out in the yard while my wife and I swam. I felt like Darwin was the adult in the situation- making sure that two doofuses didn’t drink too much and get hurt.

I’m definitely looking forward to enjoyment of the pool throughout the summer. I’m already feeling the energy burn from splashing around. Swimming has always been a good workout that leads to a great sleep. Hopefully we can have friends over soon to enjoy the fun and relaxation poolside. It would be nice if the entire weather forecast could change for the better!

My First iPod

Since hearing about Apple retiring the iPod, I thought I could share about my first one. I first got an iPod in 2006. I bought it for myself on my 30th birthday. It was the latest version (5th Generation) and the first video model as well. 30GB in black.

I still have the iPod. I also still have the original box. On the day I got it, I uploaded every song in my library onto it. A far cry from 7500 songs that I could’ve put on it. But I also added a ton of digital photos onto it as well. Condensed video was not as easy back then to create. So my videos were minimal. Streaming was not an option either as you still had to connect to a computer where all your music and photos were saved.

That day, my wife gave me the gift of taking our kids away for the night so I could just enjoy my new toy. The kids were 2 and almost 4. Our son was to be born a couple months later. So I was left at home alone. So I did what any 30 year old man with 24 hours of freedom and a new piece of technology would do.

Mushrooms.

I will say, my first experience with the iPod was memorable. I listened to tons of different music, played with the settings, scrolled quickly with the click wheel and just enjoyed laying in bed listening to anything I wanted. However, by the time I was ready to sleep, I was lonely.

The photos I had put on my iPod were of my wife and kids from the previous couple of years. I missed them tremendously even though it was just one night. Our daughters were so loving and happy to always be around me. To this day, I still miss those moments of kindness and innocence they would showcase towards me with their personalities.

My heart was filled with joy the next day when they returned home. The love from the girls was the best gift that birthday. The iPod was a close second. Sixteen years later and I still get choked up thinking about my thoughts of missing them. Psychedelics are interesting to say the least.

Did you have a memory from your first iPod?

May 4th- This Is My Favorite Day

It’s here! The bestestest day of the year! May the Fourth- aka STAR WARS DAY!

As you might be able to tell, I am a bit of a fan of Star Wars. It all started in the early 80’s thanks to my father. It was Christmas of 1981. We got a VHS VCR for Christmas. With it, my father had somehow rented 3 videos over the holidays. One of which was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Five and a half year old me was blown away by it. This was- and still is- my favorite film of the series over the past forty years. I watched the movie at least a half dozen times over Christmas. A couple of years later, my mother took me to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in the theater. Shortly after that were a couple of TV movies made of The Ewoks. I remember recording them on videotape and watching repeatedly with my younger sister.

Over the years I have picked up artwork, mugs, movies, and toys that celebrate Star Wars. I never got into the action figures, even though I had bought a bunch in the mid-90’s from that run. I had them still in packages for years and ended up donating them one Christmas to a toy drive. I did keep a couple for my kids to play with. No need to keep things in a box when it’s meant to be enjoyed!

Nearly twenty years ago, I picked up my first replica lightsaber. The joy it has brought me is immeasurable. So I got more and started a collection- just like General Grievous. They are now on display in my son’s room. Passing on a love of Star Wars to my kids has also brought me joy.

My son has taken over my moniker for video games as well. Deathstar1138 was my PlayStation 3 name. He has since used it for his Instagram and other accounts. Our oldest has also grown very fond of Star Wars (and movies in general) because of my passion for it.

At one point in my life I was working at a multiplex cinema which opened the day Episode One came out in 1999. Admittedly, that isn’t one of the best movies in the universe of Star Wars, but it does have a place in my heart. Just like those Ewok films…

Over the next couple of days, I will rewatch many of the films. By the end of the weekend I will have my fill of everything Star Wars for a few months. Then it will be the excitement of visiting Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland that will start it all over again.

Until then, Happy Star Wars Day! And May The Fourth Be With You!

Hyped For Disneyland

Yesterday I booked the dates for using our Disneyland tickets that were purchased back in February 2020. I was only able to book them 120 days in advance. So when the dates opened, I jumped on them.

At this point the availability was good, but I didn’t want to chance it since we are doing a whirlwind trip. We are driving down, splitting it into a two day drive. Followed by four days in the park and a two day drive home. No resting or relaxation day in there.

From our first trip to Disneyland

Once I booked the tickets, our son began to really get invested in the trip. Discussing favorite lands/rides/food from previous trips. He also began to get new plans made for a possible itinerary for us. Plus he was sharing so trivia facts about the parks.

His excitement is contagious. It’s getting us all into the spirit of the road trip. I’m glad that our previous trips there were so joyous and memorable. I have a feeling this will be another memorable experience. Plenty of new things to see and do since our last visit in 2018.

Are you planning any vacations once more? Isn’t it nice to have a sense of freedom returning?

Alien Day

Come on in.

Today is April 26th. Otherwise known as ALIEN DAY.

LV-426 is the name of the moon where the aliens were discovered. You know, the Xenomorph aliens from Ridley Scott’s movie franchise. One of the best sci-fi/horror crossovers ever created.

I saw the movie Alien as a small child. Like 6 years old small. We had Superchannel back in 1982 and it was one of the movies of the month. Somehow I managed to sneak a viewing of it without my parent’s knowledge. You think that’s young? We took our daughter to see it when the film was re-released in the theaters in 2003; she was 15 months old. The aliens didn’t scare her. The android getting ripped apart did.

I was thinking about watching the first film tonight once more. It is a favorite of mine, even though it is terrifying. Except for the second film, I have seen every other film in the franchise in the theater. I am probably one of the few that liked the third one.

A few years back, we watched all the films in one marathon as a family. A midweek marathon isn’t going to happen. But I do love me some science fiction. The next month is exciting for me!

Next week- Star Wars Day! And May 25th- Towel Day!

Leaving Langley Blades

Our family has been a big part of Langley Blades Speed Skating since 2010. My wife has done a lot of volunteering, I have done my part whenever possible. Our two oldest became assistant coaches over the last few years as well.

However, as the next season in September approaches, many changes are coming. Our two oldest won’t be coaching since post secondary has taken priority in their lives. As well, our son will be leaving to go to another club. At the next club- he will have an opportunity to expand his abilities. He has already begun Spring Training and is enjoying the challenge.

As a thank you to my family, the Langley Blades presented us with a plaque and an award for our dedication to Speed Skating. My wife received it on Friday night at the AGM. Lee-Anne described the evening meeting as a bittersweet event. It was kind of the club to recognize the hard work and volunteering our family did over the last 12 years.

We will continue to see the skaters and parents at various meets and competitions. Perhaps we will be called upon to assist with their meets. Who knows, our two oldest may be able to find the time to coach as required. It’s tough to move on from a sports club sometimes. The growth for our son will only come if he learns from other coaches. And the growth of our previous club will come as they bring on new skaters.

Thank you Langley Blades for the years of training and fun. And a big thank you for the acknowledgment of our dedication to the club.

If you are local and want to keep your children active – try Speed Skating at Langley Blades.

Our Little “Therapy” Dog

Having a pet is genuinely nice. In the past we have had fish and Guinea pigs as well as dogs. To be perfectly honest, we have always had a dog in our lives.

Our latest dog we have had as a family member for about a year and a half. We named her Maki once we adopted her. As goofy as she is, and as crazy as she gets around other dogs, we love her immensely.

She is our little “Therapy” dog. She makes each of us feel happy when we need it most. If you are upset, she knows instinctively and comes to you for rubs and kisses. Maki has been specifically good for our middle teenager’s mental health. That’s the room she sleeps in six nights a week. The other night is with our youngest.

As much as I push Maki away sometimes (dog breath galore!) I do enjoy having her nearby. She comes to snuggle me when I want to nap and really invades my space when she wants to. Maki is a happy dog and she makes us happy as well.

Hidden Wonders

For Darwin’s Birthday, I took her to a magic show in New Westminster. I learned about it from a coworker who heard it from someone else. Which is kind of neat, because it’s a Magic Speakeasy called Hidden Wonders.

First off, entering the building was a unique “Curios” style store. We walked around and looked at some of the items on display. Later, during the show, we found out all of the items were personal belongings saved/hoarded, by the magician.

We were the second group to enter the store. When it was our turn to go to the back, they gave us a key and told us to open the door to get into the show. Only we weren’t told which lock would open the door. This was a bit frustrating, but entertaining afterwards. That’s because once seated in the small auditorium, you got to watch from a hidden camera, the difficulty everyone was having.

Once past the door, there was a display of magic items, trophies, pictures, etc related to the magician we were about to see. Once past that section, we were seated in an intimate auditorium of about 30 seats. I picked up VIP tickets, so we were at the front. Great seats with the opportunity to view the slight of hand up close.

An hour and a half went by with the magician, Shawn Farquhar, telling us stories of his past and sharing tricks. Darwin was asked to choose a trick and ended up choosing to play “A game that you couldn’t win.” That was entertaining as Darwin knew that there was no chance to win, yet Shawn would give the illusion of choice- numerous times. Darwin did end up winning a hug from one of Shawn’s assistants- that was a nice touch that Darwin needed.

At the end of the show, Shawn had a set list of what went on throughout the evening. “Darwin loses the game” was written on the paper. Now Darwin has it in writing that “They lost the game.” If you know, you know.

Once the show was over, we ended up looking around a bit more at the Curios portion of the theatre. We also spent some time talking with Shawn Farquhar a bit and he did a few more slight of hand tricks as we shared tales of Disneyland vacations. I will say, he is a great showman and keeps his stories relatable and connects with the audience on a personable level.

If you want an intimate venue with some humor and magic- I fully recommend the show. If you really want to be involved a bit more- spend a couple extra dollars and get VIP seating. This was a great experience and it is the perfect way to get out of the past couple of years of enduring a lack of human interactions.

A big thank you to Shawn Farquhar and his staff. As awkward as Darwin was at one point, Shawn was a professional and has dealt with crowds and people over the years. He was a gracious host and I highly recommend the show. Check it out at Hidden Wonders and be sure to use the promo code HW15 for a discount.

Darwin Is 18

Celebrating birthdays is something that the majority of us enjoy doing. Whether it’s our own or someone else’s- it’s nice to acknowledge a full rotation of the earth once more.

Darwin has quite the sense of humor. No “Happy Birthday” message again this year.

Today was our middle child’s 18th Birthday. Since it was just the two of us at home and it was a holiday, I allowed for some school friends to stop by. Our downstairs was loud with laughter and fun. I only showed up to do some dishes, bring in the pizza and cut the ice cream cake. A good way to stay out of sight, yet make them aware that there was a parent nearby.

Not that our children have had troublesome friends. For the most part, all of their friends have been really nice. Today, I did my best to hide away for the five or six hours of them laughing and playing games. It was the kind of birthday that Darwin wanted. Tomorrow, my wife and youngest return home from Quebec and we will have some family time to celebrate.

I still have a fun night planned for Darwin’s birthday. I’ll likely share the story tomorrow morning. But for now, it’ll be a Darwin/Daddy evening. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to still have some one on one time with Darwin. It’ll be tough as they enter adulthood and want to spend more time with friends.

Happy 18th Darwin!