Come On Out to a Speakeasy!

At the end of the month, there is a dance in Fort Langley Community Hall that I am excited to attend. It is an opportunity for the community to support the Langley Fine Arts Dry Grad event happening later this year. There will be drinks available for purchase as well as a couple of Blackjack Tables and auction items up for grabs.

There will be plenty of “Old Timey” themes and music throughout the night. Personally, I love music from a century ago and feel inspired to be attending a Roaring 20’s dance. Because these are parents of Fine Arts students planning it-you know it’ll be well thought out and executed. Dressing the part from 100 years ago isn’t necessary, but it is encouraged!

For all my local friends who want to enjoy an evening out helping to support the Dry Grad- you can buy tickets here: Eventbrite. So get on your dancing shoes and flapper dresses! I’d love to see people attend and have a good time on February 29th!

Please share this throughout Langley and let’s make it a monumental event!

The First Set of Races

So it begins. The first inter-club race of the Speed Skating season. Our club in Langley is hosting today- which means a lot of the parents from the club are volunteering in some aspect. Our two daughters are also helping for the entire day as “Place Judges”.

This is the look of a tired parent who was here a couple of hours before races start to set up mats along the boards. Those mats help protect the skaters should they fall.

We also have paramedics on stand-by should anything happen. This year I asked my buddy Greg if he would be available to help us out. He eagerly responded and was able to bring another 1st Aid Attendant with him.

Only a few races in, and they’ve had to come and check on a couple of the kids who fell. No serious injuries, more just precautions. And of course my wife needed a bandaid. Sharpening the skates can be dangerous when you’re not careful!

In the end, it’s amazing how a small community comes together in order to support these kids and teenagers in a sport that they love. I am proud that our son wants to achieve his goal of making it further in the sport.

There are numerous kids and parents from the variety of clubs who also want the best for all of the children. Even though these are competitions, there is a comradery between us all. Positive encouragement is given to every skater. That brings me joy.

Parenting Nightmares

Over the past few nights I’ve had a tough time falling asleep. It’s rare for my mind to keep racing as I lay in bed. But the last few nights are different. I’ve been trying to come to terms with how to work in some preventative parenting towards our teenagers. It all stems from situations that have happened to other parents in my community.

I don’t usually share an opinion on emotional topics, nor do I usually discuss similar situations in my blog. Today is different. In Langley there were two recent loses of teenager life in two different ways. The kids were 14 and 15.

The first loss was a teen girl who took her own life. As many know, depression can hit hard to a great many people. It’s how we help others, or seek out help ourselves, that can be a changing point in this. I don’t have a magic fix to offer here. I have had friends battle depression. Some have lost that battle (such as my friend Jeremy) but many have tackled it successfully in a variety of ways. Suicide is a tragic answer and I always feel terrible hearing about it. Both for the loss of the life and for the friends and family that have to come to term with it and questioning whether they should’ve done more. Those questions are the hardest to find an answer to.

The other lose of life was a young boy at a skate park. I don’t know much about his life, but it sounded like he was a well loved kid and whose father treated him like a best friend. All the boy wanted to do was fit in, like many teenagers. Sadly he overdosed on narcotics. But what makes this story that much more saddening is that his “friends” were Snap Chatting his finally moments laughing about how he was tripping out. From what I understand, of those who saw the videos- no one did anything to help.

What I take away from this last situation is two things:

First- Drugs really are bad. I grew up as a kid hearing to “Say NO to drugs.” As a teenager, I lived right next door to where this teen lost his life. I’m not saying I was a smart teen/young adult living in that neighborhood. I think I felt pretty untouchable and indestructible like many teens. But I knew that it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted and eventually left those “friends” behind. I was lucky, or smart, or unsure, but somehow I have gotten to this point in my life. I have seen and heard too many stories of drug use and overdoses and how it rips a family apart.

Second- Social media can be destructive. People hiding behind a cellphone sharing videos thinking it’s amusing. How are these teens going to deal with the loss of someone so young? A vigil was a great place to start for the grieving process. But again those questions come up, “why didn’t someone help sooner?” In today’s society we hear of far too many people thinking someone else will do something.

So as a parent, I talk to my kids on a regular basis. But when their eyes glaze over and they just nod and say, “yes dad” I just hope that my message is getting through to them. My wife and I can monitor every move they make. But we hope that they are willing to talk to us or help someone in need. Not to be the coward who thinks someone else will do something. Or fear of reprisals from their peers. The loss of a child’s life is the most tragic to bestow upon a family and community.

So stay vigilant out there. Try and help those who need it. Please share with me how you talk to your teenagers about suicide, drugs and social media. I’m sure I’m not the only parent trying to get through those hard talks. We could all use a little help.

Safe Neighbors

Growing up I remember seeing signs around my neighborhood such as these:

Now as an adult, I rarely see these signs. Or perhaps I just don’t notice them. I have found however- that information and reporting of suspicious activity gets shared quickly amongst friends and neighbors. Even though the signs aren’t out- I feel good knowing that my neighbors all look out for one another.

Sharing information is great. Sharing fear is not. There is a fine line when it comes to what or how people should share as well. Staying safe and having a safe community to live in is of the utmost importance. So I will continue to talk with my neighbors and keep my eyes open for anything out of the ordinary. I hope that you will do the same.

Stay safe out there. And do your part to keep your neighbors safe as well.

Blanket Fort or Chores?

While my wife and I were away for the weekend with our son, we left our two oldest at home alone. At age 16 and 14 this was a good opportunity for them to earn some more trust from mom and dad. They are both well behaved and smart girls, so we really didn’t have too many concerns. Read as: No Parties.

Before we left, we gave them a few chores that they needed to do. Usually it takes my wife and I a bit of hounding to get the kids to do stuff around the house. Perhaps we should’ve been more diligent this weekend while we were in another province. When we returned home- it looked like they were expecting servants to clean up after them. (Aka mom and dad). None of their dishes were cleaned and their pizza boxes and lasagna tray from a few dinners before were cluttering up the counter.

Did they do the extra chores you may ask? Why, certainly not.

What they did do was this:

Our middle child made a blanket fort with loads of encouragement from her older sister. It stretched out from one end of our theater room into our main foyer, through to the disaster of a kitchen and around the corner into the dining room.

Our 14 year old daughter had done the entire thing on her own. That’s because she got bored while her sister was at work. Why couldn’t she just do her chores? She is very proud of her accomplishment and since there is another week of Spring Break- she will likely need that long to take it all down and re-fold the blankets and put everything away.

She was inspired by watching re-runs of Community. Growing up doesn’t mean losing sense of childish fun. But there is some grown up responsibilities to be had as well. Hopefully our examples of how to be adults will rub off on our kids.

If you’ll excuse me- I’m off to play some video games and then take a nap before working my night shift. See? Having fun and being responsible is possible.

What do you do to keep the childish fun inside of you alive? How do you balance responsibilities and fun?

Let me know in the comments.

Good First Day Of 2019

I had a good start to 2019. I woke up. Always a great way to begin any day.

Then I went to work. Which means I have a job that helps keep my family clothed and fed.

I finished reading a book. I love Felicia Day. She’s like my celebrity crush- sort of. More like a really cool friend crush. The kind where we could hang out and play Munchkin and then not talk for months. Anyways, I digress. I finished her autobiography. I also miss reading. Time to pick up more books.

I also played some old school video games. On a system I wasn’t going to buy. But it was a total impulse purchase just before Christmas. And I had fun playing the Super Nintendo games again.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a cheese fondue dinner as a family. We try and have it every New Year’s Day.

To end the day- I watched some tv with the family before bed. We watched some “Community” and “Parks and Rec” pointing out other shows that we recognize the actors from.

It was a good start to the year. I hope to have many more days like this.

May Day Parade 2018

For the first time ever, a couple of our children have been involved in a parade. They were really excited to be a part of it, and I think it has been a great experience for them.

Fort Langley has had this parade ongoing for nearly 100 years. That in itself is exciting. It is generally a place to show off small businesses, clubs, and promote a sense of community. We have previously taken our children to watch these parades when they were little. As well, prior to having a family, I worked at the theater and was a part of a couple of these parades.

Our children met up with a group of speed skaters to promote our club- The Langley Blades. All of the kids were full of smiles from the start all the way through, as the marched down the streets of Fort Langley. Our children enjoyed seeing their friends who were also promoting other groups in the parade. Even along the streets, their classmates and friends called out to them and waved. Little kids in the crowd were so happy that candy was being handed out!

I ran into some old friends along the route and stopped to talk. Seems most parents are here to watch and support their own children as well in the parade. There is a sense of pride to see your children out there- I waved to the ones I knew and could see the smiles on each and every one of them- even if they didn’t recognize me.

All-in-all I’m glad that my children volunteer their time and are very proud of what they do. Maybe a couple more parades are in order over the next few years?