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.

Call Mom

It’s Mother’s Day. Or rather Mother’s Day is almost over. So if you haven’t done so, call your mom!

I was pretty late today in giving my mother a call. Work was busy and I didn’t have a break long enough to step away and call her. When I did get through to her, I learned she was at my sister’s place for the weekend. That’s really good news. As my mother gets older I’m glad that she is close enough to my sister’s place that she enjoys taking a weekend to go visit.

My mother isn’t overly tech savvy, so FaceTime or video calls don’t generally happen. So seeing my mom is only about two times every year. I think that early this summer I’m going to head over to the island and visit for a few days. I’m pretty sure there’s a couple minor projects around her place that she would want some help getting done. That’s the good son in me talking.

Have you called your mom? If not, there’s only a few hours left! Or perhaps you had a chance to see her. Either way, make sure they know that you’re thinking of them- especially on Mother’s Day.

Bob’s Celebration of Life

At the end of February our former neighbor, Bob, passed away. His wife had the arduous challenge of packing up the house in order to move shortly afterwards. Nearly fifty years of life was there. It only made sense to postpone a celebration of Bob’s life until after the move.

Today my wife, middle child and I went to his service. Since Bob was a pilot, the Celebration was held at Langley Airport Museum. A fitting place for his family and friends to come together and share stories of his life. It was also a non-service type of service. There were no speeches or religious prayers. Just a bunch of people mingling.

I thought I knew a lot about Bob from the years of living across the street from him. He had shared numerous stories with me of his follies as a pilot prior to his retirement. I found out today that Bob’s original hanger is now the Museum of Flight.

I knew Bob was creative with metalworking and had created numerous art pieces. But I also learned Bob was a poet and enjoyed writing. Some of which was shared today. Bob was a great character and touched many people’s lives. I appreciated when he showed up at our place a couple years ago at 2am to help put the power line back up before hydro showed up. I also appreciated the logs he had brought over for us to use to heat our home.

I had a few opportunities to just sit and talk with Bob while we sat in his yard. He was always willing to share a story and was ready to help out when needed. A great man who made the world a good place to be in. I’m glad that his life meant so much to so many people. I hope one day that I too have reached out and created connections like that.

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!

Shout Out To Family Pets!

We have always had a dog in my life. At one point my sister brought home a kitten way back when… In my early 20’s I also got a kitten, but he had a traumatic ending to his young life. A few years ago, we adopted some guinea pigs and loved the little squeaks they made. I also had a fish tank for a few years and enjoyed the zen like ambiance.

But dogs are the one constant that have brought me and my family the most joy and love. Our latest family member is Maki and she is so cuddly and kind to each member of the family. Sometimes embarrassingly so. Yet we love her.

She knows and senses when one of us needs a bit of extra love. She will come by and snuggle up right into your face. It’s a wonderful feeling albeit it can be annoying at first. But much like eating when you don’t realize you are angry because you are hungry- Maki fills your heart and joy returns.

Do you have a pet that brings you joy? Are you more a dog person or a cat person? Perhaps lizards or fish are your thing. Let me know in the comments if a pet has made your life better.

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.

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!

2022 Canadian Youth Long Track Championships: Live Feed

Today I was able to watch my son in Quebec at the 2022 Canadian Youth Long Track Championships. My wife sent me the link this morning. She also gave me a few minutes warning right before he hit the ice.

Viewing the races on YouTube in real time made me happy. I felt like I was supportive even though I wasn’t physically there. I also watched his final two races of the day on our big screen tv. That was cool!

Watching on my phone, I also did a “Screen Grab” recording. Once the races were done, I cropped the length of them to be just of his race. This way I can send it off to him to review. He will probably show his new coach as well in order to get some feedback to get better.

Tomorrow is another day of racing for him. I suspect that he is tired after todays events. Long track speed skating is not his strongest yet, but he really enjoys it. Now to get him some training in places like Calgary and Fort St. John.

For my family and friends who wish to watch the feed tomorrow, here is the link: YouTube Live Feed

Disneyland 2020? Finally Going 2022.

We booked Disneyland tickets in February 2020 about a week before the world shut down. We had been planning to go for July 4th in order to see the military fly over and fireworks for that day. However, our trip has been in a state of hiatus ever since.

Memories of our 1st Disneyland trip

We are now on the verge of finalizing a trip to the most magical place on earth! The tickets we had bought were extended, but only until December 15th of this year. My original plan was to go at Christmas this year. Sadly that is unable to be accomplished. The other unfortunate part is our oldest will most likely not be joining us. This will be our the first Disneyland trip without them.

Of course I am discouraged by all of this. However, I know that the remaining four of us can still have a good time together no matter when we book our trip. As travel to other countries has been returning, I find it encouraging for our future vacation plans. I know that Disneyland won’t be the same as it was in years prior. But the familiarity is something we can look forward to.

Have you begun traveling again? Has it felt different or just another step to be taken in order to experience the world? let me know your thoughts on travel in the comments.

Seeing Yourself Through Someone Else’s Eyes

I always try and be a positive thinker. I do my best to be supportive of family and friends. It appears that is not always the case. As great a job as I think I am doing, in someone else’s eyes, I failed them.

Our oldest recently moved out a few months ago. I received an email from them yesterday outlining and unloading a lot of thoughts. Turns out they felt I was not a supportive parent. They told me they were afraid to talk to me about pretty much anything. They also said I destroyed their childhood because in their eyes I did the bare minimum of parenting. The hardest part about hearing this is the fact that they have run off to live with the one person who I felt was ruining their life back in high school. I was vocal then about him, and I’m still of the same opinion.

I always had a tough time communicating with our oldest as they hit the teenage years. My expectations of who I thought they could be were always high. Probably unrealistically so, hence why I may have appeared to be a terrible father in their eyes when I became angry with their shortcomings and inactions. Specifically in school when they willingly chose to fail classes and lie to my wife and I about it. Again, the friend they are currently living with is the one who constantly brought down their grades.

October 2017- Silent Treatment

As an individual, my kid is entitled to have these feelings towards me. A part of me is not surprised by how they feel- as I could sense that there was a division happening in our relationship over the years. I even took counseling on how to improve communication with your kids. That worked periodically, but our oldest always had a way of derailing conversations and becoming silent.

Needless to say, the relationship with my oldest is at an impasse. I will leave the ball in their court and hope that one day they can see more of the positive aspects of our relationship. I also hope the secrecy and destructiveness their friend is creating in their life will end. Looking back at my youth, I know I made some poor friend choices and ignored my parent’s well wishes.

Parenting is tough and it hurts to be viewed as a villain. Unloading this today in my blog is not my normal and joyous thoughts. It’s the gritty hard truths that build up into something to overcome and create a positive action from.

Smokey

Today I hung out with an older coworker of mine. He is an experienced railroader who has been with the company as long as I have been alive- almost five decades. So I respect how he runs things and listen to his stories. Not many of his tales are of work. Most are of his family and experiences outside of there. I appreciate his tales and respect how he tells them.

I spent hours with him today. In doing so, I came home smelling like an ashtray. He smokes. A lot. I haven’t smelled like cigarettes in years. My father smoked regularly. And in the 70’s/80’s it wasn’t uncommon to be indoors or in a car with a child while you smoked. As a result, I took up smoking at around age 17.

I smoked for about 10 years off and on. There is hardly any pictures of me smoking. In fact, when my wife and I married, she requested that we do not have pictures of us smoking in case our children were to see them. The last time I smoked a cigarette was before my son was born. Over 16 years ago.

I have celebrated with a cigar on occasion since then. Not my favorite thing to do, so it’s only been about three times. I do not smoke any other things, as my world is already a trip as it is. Finding a picture of my indiscretions of the past is rare and I would be surprised if there are more than the two I have shared today.

But the smell of stale cigarettes on my clothes today brought back memories of long ago. I was unsure of what tale I wanted to share, if any, of smoking. So here’s a small tidbit.

When I was under the age of ten, my father would send me to the corner store to buy cigarettes. There was an age restriction of being sixteen in 1986, so I would be given note with a phone number to contact my dad, and I could buy a pack and bring it home. After a few times, the corner store owner began to know me and my father’s brand, so the note was unnecessary for a couple of years. That was when the age limit changed to 18 and the government cracked down on selling to minors.

Cigarettes and smoking have a different stigma than they once had. My coworker still smokes as of the 80’s and 90’s were relevant. A part of me looks to him as an uncle, and honestly he probably could’ve been a close family friend. He reminds me of the good aspects of my father. Plus my coworker has been known to dye his hair and mustache to look younger. He has a look of Burt Reynolds when he does this.

Hence the title of today’s blog- Smokey. Honestly, I think of how my father looked in the 80’s and believe this was also his attempt and being cool. Facial hair, a cigarette and a beer- that was the 80’s “Dad Look” and smell. No cologne needed as a haze of smoke would be around.

Spring Break Staycation

As my last day comes to an end, I think I had a relatively great staycation. A quick look back at the last ten days showed how busy it was. As well as how productive it ended up being.

We did a bunch of gardening, went to a speed skating meet last weekend, had a night on the town for my birthday, and built a gazebo as a family. We built some Lego, and our oldest came to visit and we all had a delightful time. There really isn’t much more I could ask for.

All in all it was a great birthday week. I’m glad I spent it with my family.

Gazebo A-Go

Back in the middle of February I ordered a gazebo from Costco. It was on sale and was out of stock every day I was trying to buy it. Until the last day of the sale. I snagged one and had it delivered about ten days later.

We were replacing a pergola that was on our back deck. The pergola was still in great shape, and we had picked up a new fabric top last summer. However, we also realized that we needed a better cover for the upcoming summer season. Our new gazebo arrived in three very heavy boxes on a pallet. It sat in my side of the garage for a little over a week.

I had taken down the old pergola last week. When my wife and I returned home from my birthday night away- we took the time to move the parts downstairs to the back deck. The family helped, and we built the four posts and the frame that afternoon. The next day, my son and I worked hard in the rain to build each roof panel. We placed them into position and called it quits. The rain was not easing up.

Today we had good weather. So in the afternoon when my wife finished work, we headed outside once more and worked as a family to finish the build. After a bit of figuring out the layout and how it would work- we had the roof up and the gazebo was completed within a couple of hours.

As I finished some of the last screws, the family brought down the patio set and got it in place. I’m so happy that the family came together as we built the outdoor structure. I truly appreciate their help and if you could believe it, there was minimal cursing and no bloodshed!

We are almost ready for the summer season. Just some lights, a heat lamp, and some friends are all that is needed for some great evenings.

Parent Commitment

As much as I discuss our kids and their accomplishments when it comes to speed skating, there is still a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

The parents are often in the crowds cheering on the skaters. But they also take the time to sharpen skates and discuss equipment and skating strategies. Keeping the kids excited and actively involved can be challenging as the days go on. It’s not just the competition days though.

My wife travels a lot with our son. I have gone on the occasional trip for practice with him. But the competitions are mostly my wife’s domain. She is always excited to travel with him. Our son does his best and knows that these trips aren’t cheap. Nor are they a vacation. It’s like traveling for a business trip.

The business is skating. And encouraging our kids is the best way to keep them out of trouble due to boredom. It’s a sacrifice of our time and money, but the results are well worth it. A commitment to supporting our children no matter what.

Darwin Does Coaching

While our youngest is out in Fort St. John for a speed skating competition, Darwin has been actively coaching the home town skaters.

Darwin in a blue jacket from 2020 BC Winter Games.

On Friday night, we were in Langley and I watched as Darwin taught the younger of the two groups. Most of it was the basics of speed skating and a lot of drills.

Today is the last day in North Surrey for the season. Our club is in charge of this Sunday skate, so it’s a bunch of Langley skaters who want an extra day of practice. After some basic drills, Darwin plans on making it a bit more fun and games as the last day.

Next year is up in the air if Darwin will coach. Post secondary will take up the majority of their time. This upcoming Friday is the last skate of the year at our club. I know Darwin will be there and hopefully it won’t be emotional for all of them. The kids love Darwin.

Next weekend, Theory has one more competition in Richmond. Darwin has put in a request to be in the coaches box for that one. I think it’s amazing. How Darwin wants to help Theory and any other Langley skaters one last time.

Young Joe 1990

An old friend of mine from kindergarten sent a photo to me yesterday… of me. There’s nothing special about the picture. He had taken it during a visit to our place one summer. We had stayed in touch for a few years after I moved from Edmonton. Every summer his family would come to the west coast and he would stay with us for a long weekend or so.

1990 Josef- Age 14

This was summer of 1990. I was 14 at the time of this photo. In my hands is a Sega Genesis controller. I remember he and our other friend had stayed over for about five days. The three of us played Sega nonstop trying to beat Phantasy Star 2. By nonstop I mean we pulled all-nighters taking turns sleeping trying to get further in the game. During the days we would take some breaks and go swimming. We had a good long distance friendship that lasted about a decade. Then high school set in and our summers changed.

Last Summer: Our son and his friends having a night swim.

This candid picture of me is mind blowing as well. My son looks and acts exactly the same way I did. I’ve seen him with friends at sleepovers and how they play video games much in the same manner. Not to mention how much fun they have in the swimming pool.

It was nice that my old friend sent me that photo randomly. It goes to show that people can still think of you and the good times that were once had. It’s been years since he and I hung out. The three of us met up about five or six years ago. It was a nice evening of beers and memories. Perhaps we will get together once or twice more over the years.

Life just gets busy sometimes and memories are all we have. I’ll take those innocent and happy memories any day.

Keeping Ahead Of The Youth

My children are often surprised that I am well engaged in what is going on in the world. I don’t mean current events per se. But rather the latest social media trends.

Since my knowledge of the internet started long before our children were born, I have learned, watched and participated in growing and learning with the information super highway. Even before the internet we had “shareware”. A floppy disk with pirated software shared amongst friends. Now I can find almost anything I want at all online. As well, anyone can have a moment of fame. And there is no rhyme or reason for how that works.

It’s all about ME in Social MEdia

As for social media and sharing trends, I have created accounts in almost everything that has come along. Some last only a brief second- Google+ for example. While other apps just don’t excite or interest me, such as Snapchat or Reddit. That’s just personal taste.

🟩⬛⬛⬛⬛
🟩🟩⬛⬛⬛
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 This game. Ugh.

I have found that since I am ahead of my teenagers in the trends, they will often share with me a love of the goofiness that we find on the various applications. We get to bond over random humors. I’ll continue to stay engaged in what goes on in the world and any trends that pique my interest. Currently looking at you WORDLE. For a game that takes a couple of minutes, I’m definitely competitive in trying to solve it in as few turns as possible.

For me, social media is a part of life and community. I’m glad that it all still makes sense to my mid-forties brain.

Goodbye 2003 Elly

Yesterday we said farewell to a strong memory from 2003. That was the year my wife and I went into debt and bought our very first brand new car together.

I had seen the Honda Element in a magazine (probably Maxim magazine because that’s what I was reading all the time) and I wanted to see it in person. My wife was reluctant at first, but then she saw it and immediately wanted to own one. It would make getting kids in and out of the car so much easier!

Biggest selling feature at the time? It came in 5 speed manual transmission. The next best part was that the interior was all rubber. Very easy to clean with small children and pets! Within a week of purchase, we found out our second child was on the way.

We adorned our box on wheels with the best sticker ever- LEGO. Playful, yet fitting for the unique suv.

The vehicle was perfect for a family of four and a dog. But then the inevitable happened. My wife got pregnant again. The Element was only a four passenger vehicle. So we went out and bought a minivan. Not our greatest moment. A new sticker was eventually added to the back window.

After years and years of usage, we sadly had to say farewell to our Honda Element. None of us were driving it anymore and she just sat in the corner of our driveway. The same thing was happening in our last home, however our oldest was enjoying some of the freedom of a vehicle for a bit, but the stipulations were that she had to drive their younger siblings around.

We will miss Elly. She was a great vehicle, but didn’t owe us anything. 360,000+ kilometers of road trips, drop offs, camping, donuts, and numerous dents and scratches showed how driven she was over the years. A fantastic vehicle built only the way a Honda could be built.

Life’s Bittersweet Memories

Sometimes a memory pops up on Facebook and it’s kind of heartbreaking. Today hit me unexpectedly, again…

Some of you may be thinking, It’s just a job, why does it matter? To me it wasn’t “just a job” that I was leaving. I left a job that I truly enjoyed and was proud to do. I also left behind numerous friendships- however I have still kept in contact with many of them. Colossus was the first place to employ me after almost a year of unemployment. I worked there for five years- as I felt I owed it to them for getting me out of a bad place. Yet it was time to move on. The main reason I left was money.

The job didn’t pay as well as I needed anymore. It was great when I was single and scraped by. However, I never saw a future for me and my family. I was married and we had our first kid. My wife was pregnant with our second child that would be born three months later. I needed to do more than just enjoy my job. I needed to be able to support my family.

Besides working at Colossus Cinema, I was also working two other part time jobs. I was putting in 70-80 hours a week in order to buy our first home. If I hadn’t sacrificed my time back then, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Over the years I have shared with my family my love of cinema. In return, our oldest is going to school in order to work behind the scenes. Our middle has friends who work at that same theater and has been going to movies with friends. Our youngest is always talking to me about the latest trailers and wanting to be the first to see the big blockbusters as they come out.

Since 1999, Colossus has been a part of my journey in this life. I am fortunate that working there happened. I also can’t believe where I’ve gotten to since then. It was a good move, maybe when I retire I’ll go back to being a projectionist part time, assuming they need someone of my age.

Manifesting Memories

It dawned on me today that I manifested a perfect life for myself based on my favorite memories.

Our current home takes my earliest memories of living in Edmonton. Back in the early 80’s, that house backed onto farmer’s fields. Where the views went on forever. Even this last winter snowfall reminded me of the streets and fun I had from ages 5-8.

The next house my family moved to in 1985 had an in ground swimming pool. I recall always having friends over playing and lounging around listening to cassettes on my portable ghetto blaster. Last summer, I continued that tradition in our new home. Every time I was in the pool, I had music playing on a large Bluetooth speaker.

Growing up, I loved movies. The idea that a short story could take you away to an entire new world always filled me with joy. As a teenager I always wanted to be a projectionist. That became a reality in my early 20’s. I loved doing that job for almost five years. We even had our own theater room in our last home.

Besides our my dream job and current home, I remember always wanting to be a good father. In 2000, I met a partner who became my best friend. Her and I both had similar family goals. So we married quickly and got to work making a family even quicker. As the kids grew up, I stayed young. Constantly playing with them and creating new memories for us.

One day, I suspect our kids will manifest their own dreams and goals from the positive experiences they have had.

I didn’t even touch on these facts of what I always wanted: that have also come to fruition:

  • Traveling to Hawaii
  • Traveling to Tokyo
  • Driving the Extraterrestrial Highway
  • Owning a lightsaber
  • Experiencing VR
  • Owning a car
  • Owning an arcade machine
  • Having close friends that last a lifetime

There are so many more things in my life that have come in to reality. All of it is possible through the power of positive thinking. It’s not always going to be easy. Some things are a long arduous journey. But looking back, I know this is exactly where I need to be.

Looking forward, I know exactly where I need to get to. And I hope you are having the same successes in your lives also.

Christmas Playtime

To me, Christmas is about having fun. Since I was a child, I always remember getting toys, puzzles and video games as gifts. On Christmas Day, and the days following, would be spent having fun. Living the dream of playtime!

Back in the early 80’s with my father.

My fondest memories of my father was at Christmas. That was when he would crouch down to my level and play with my toys and me on the floor. This was always the most father/son interactions we would have all year long. Those fleeting experiences meant the world to me.

When I became a father, I spent as much time with my kids as I could- not just on Christmas. We continue to have Family Movie Nights and video game time. Christmas is a little more special and we put in a few more hours of goofing off. This year, we played some UNO, finished a puzzle and got back to basics with some smack talk during Mario Party!

We accomplished these fun times because the teenagers are very helpful as they have grown older. Having teenagers help out with the chores and Preparing Meals means that we can all spend more time as a family relaxing and playing. Even though I miss when they were little, I can still look back on those memories with joy and happiness.

Christmas is the one time of the year that we would take a lot of pictures. This year we lacked any real family photos. Perhaps it was a bit the fact that our teens don’t like their pictures taken, and maybe also- we were trying to live in the moment a bit more. This winter break didn’t feel like Christmas at first and held a bit of depression in all of our hearts. But the tender and fun moments we had as a family helped bring the joy back and made for a good Christmas Day.

How did your Christmas feel this year?

A Beautiful White Christmas

Ten days ago I was hoping for A White Christmas. My wish came true. Waking up to seeing snow covering the ground, and still falling, brought joy to my heart.

Our oldest arrived early in the morning to join us. I was still in bed when they arrived. It was nice to see them talking with my wife by the window as the snow fell. First thing in the morning, we opened gifts as a family. That felt good as well, just being together again.

After gifts and breakfast were done, we all headed outside to see the snow. I brushed off our palm trees and the kids shoveled the driveway. It didn’t take long, so the two youngest grabbed the toboggan to enjoy the hill up our street. For a sled from the mid-60’s it has held up quite well.

Having a white Christmas in our new home helped to make it a special day. For the first time in almost 50 years, the house my wife’s father built is not in the family. Emotionally, this holiday season was going to be a tough one for all of us. But we had a lot of smiles and good laughs celebrating in our new home.

I hope everyone else had a good Christmas with family and friends. Be safe out there if you have to travel.

Christmas Eve: Preparing Meals

Since I was a child, I always remember Christmas Eve day as time spent in the kitchen. There was dinner to get ready, fancy sandwiches to make, even a breakfast bake to get ready. This year is no different.

Having a large kitchen has made this year’s meal making an easier experience. My wife and daughter worked together making potato salad followed by the breakfast bake. I was able to work on the other side of the island and stay out of their way.

Besides just making the meals, we were also teaching our kids about cooking. Such as sharpening knives, proper mixing techniques, and the use of taste to create a palatable meal. As well, our son took great pride in laying out the sandwiches.

The sandwiches are called “Fancy Sandwiches” and was a tradition in my home growing up. My father always made fresh baked bread, so I followed suit and baked two loaves this morning. The smell of fresh baked bread fills the house with what I consider the smell of Christmas Eve.

Spending Christmas in the kitchen with the family is stressful, fun, and creative. By the end of the day, we all get to enjoy the food that we worked so hard on preparing.