One Week Down

Technically it’s still summer- albeit back to school has occurred. Although… the first week of school didn’t really have much in the way of instruction. So it was a bit more relaxed than the majority of the school year.

Back to school, and starting at a new school, make for a bit of enjoyment and stress in a young person’s life. I have been enjoying the stories from out two youngest every day this week. There seems to be a genuine enthusiasm in their tone while they talk.

I’m pretty sure the sharing of daily events will diminish as the year goes on. But nonetheless- I’m listening now and cherish the moments with our kids. Because in the not so distant future, they may not want to share stories. At this point I’ll take what I can get from our 16 year old and our 18 year old.

Greetings At Home

This evening, I was at the front balcony waiting to see our kid come home. I know it’s only the second day of university, but it was nice to see them walk up the driveway with their backpack in tow. The was a sense of ambition as Darwin hustled up the path to the house.

I called out a greeting as they walked in. I received a half answer as Darwin rushed in the door. Darwin was eager to get home. Over dinner, we discussed the classes and I could sense the excitement of the semester to come in their voice.

I’ll always be the parent that greets our kids after a long day- no matter how old they get. I’ll gladly stay up late and offer support no matter how difficult life can get. Home is where the heart is- and home is where you make it.

Another Beautiful Evening

Last night my teenager and I had dinner together. We watched the clouds in the sky as the sun vanished behind them. I’m still mesmerized by the views we have from the back of our home. I was happy to share the moment with someone.

There’s just something magical about nature and how the universe works. I don’t know the answers to Life- but I will say, watching a sunset hanging out with someone you care about really fills my heart with joy.

My Little Sister

It’s my little sister’s birthday today. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity to visit with her for about a year. Life gets a bit hectic and making plans have also been thwarted by scheduling conflicts. Here in BC, those ferries are unreliable as well these days.

I did give her a call today on the phone. We had a pretty good conversation about growing up, becoming parents, and hoping that things get better. Not that anything is truly bad, but things can always be better.

She will always be known as “Joe’s Sister” in our circle of friends. Her personality is much larger than being known as that. I look back fondly on our memories growing up. We always had each other, through good times and bad.

So thank you for being my sister Nikki! Love you always- as only an older brother can (including insults!) Happy Birthday.

Weekend At Home With My Wife

This weekend our two teenagers went off to Vancouver to attend Anirevo (an anime convention). So my wife and I had the place to ourselves.

And we goofed off.

We played in the pool for hours- splashing and laughing with a few drinks inside of us. We lounged in the gazebo (which we have now dubbed “The Cabana”) and had some fantastic dinners together. It was like having our own private oasis on vacation together. These past couple of days has us realizing that becoming “Empty Nesters” won’t be so bad.

I’m really happy that my wife and I can do these things together. It feels as though we didn’t really have much time to date before we jumped into parenthood 20 years ago. So we are making up for it now.

Life is pretty good these days.

Staycation So Far- Soooooo Good!

I have been throughly enjoying this past week of staycationing at home. For a couple of the days I built a Deck for my wife’s garden. The two of us have also gone for a couple of walks together. We did a bit of shopping, we have made some amazing dinners and I have been doing breakfast meals better than ever. All with the company of the one I love.

But the majority of this staycation has had us poolside. We have done nothing but relax, swim, read, listen to music, enjoy the breeze, and appreciate what we have. If it weren’t for having to make our own meals and clean up after- you’d think we were staying at a private oasis resort. But this is exactly what where we wanted to get to in life- appreciating our home and each other’s company.

As much as I am looking forward to our next “get away” I can’t help but be upset about leaving our home to do it. Especially in the summer. My days off from work will have me poolside whenever the weather permits. But until then- time to get back to enjoying this staycation!

Cheers everybody! Catch me by the water for the next few days if you want to hang out!

Hearts

Today I saw random hearts in odd locations. The first one was on a walk with my wife. There on the path was a patch of clovers.

The grouping made a lovely greenery shape in the dusty cracked walkway. I paused to take a photo and just admired how nature can create such beautiful imagery.

The other one was on my wife’s elbow. We were in the pool and I saw where she had injured herself the week before had a tiny heart. As we swam, it washed away, but not before I snapped a picture.

The world was showing me love today. I didn’t know that I needed it- but deep down I know I did.

Twenty One

My wife and I are celebrating our 21st Anniversary today. And in true fashion- it is a hot day just like it was on our wedding day. So we are spending it poolside in our own little oasis.

We have come a long way together. The lifestyle we have created is the sort of thing that dreams are made of. I’m lucky and glad that we met all those years ago and how quickly things moved. I couldn’t imagine a life with anyone else and I’m really happy that we hit the road running.

I’m looking forward to our next set of adventures as we continue to grow and love one another.

Happy Anniversary Honey! I love you with all my heart.

Loving Weekend

This Sunday my wife and I celebrate our 21st Anniversary. Leading up to it, we are doing a bit of extra cleaning and preparation. But, my wife and I are also taking some time to relax before. This evening we hit the pool.

My wife and I have been going strong for a little over 22 years. This anniversary party will be subdued compared to previous years. As we get older, recovering after a “Raging Party” can be challenging. But we will still plan to have a lot of fun.

The sun has come out today and should be gathering around us for the weekend as well. I filled up a couple of floaties for us and our friends to enjoy this weekend. We have asked for some people to bring a sharing plate of food. As well, we don’t have anything fancy for dinner tomorrow- just hotdogs and chips for a quick snack in the evening.

I love to open up our doors for people to come and let loose or just relax. No stress this weekend. Just fun and laughs. We love each other and want to share our love with our friends.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Capped

I have a very large bottle cap collection that I started back in 1998 or so. I’m somewhere in the 100,000 range of various pop and beer caps. I don’t have a plan for them at this time, so in boxes they sit.

I do have one cap that isn’t a normal bottle cap. It means a great deal to me and I keep it aside with many of my other mementos. I don’t think my wife even knows that I have it. She gave it to me one day while we were dating, and I kept it ever since.

This is from an old Snapple bottle back in the year 2000. When I first met my wife, she had this bottle cap. It was an image she really liked. Within weeks of meeting my wife, she got it tattooed on the back of her neck. She gave me the cap to keep.

It’s the sort of tattoo that only a few select people have seen or know about. Her long, curly hair hides it. I see it all the time and have accepted it as a part of who she is. I can’t tell you why she liked this image or why she chose to get it as a tattoo. But she did.

Keeping the cap is significant to me. It is a small token of our growth in our relationship. The uniqueness that makes us each who we are and where we once were. I still remember how excited my wife was at the time when she got the tattoo done.

Do you have something like this that you have kept over the years? A piece of your past (or someone else’s) that you won’t ever part with? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your stories.

How I Scored My Wife

Sometimes I will call my wife for no other reason than to tell her “I love you.”

And that’s it.

Nothing else gets discussed or said. I just say those three words and sometimes hang up. Other times I’ll wait for her response.

I do this because of when I first met her. We had met while hanging out with mutual friends at a club. We had a late night after as we all had Denny’s coffee and laughs. I drove her home and she stole my jacket. But she gave me her phone number. A few days after we met, I called her up and asked only one question of her-

“Can I call you later?”

She said “um, okay” in a confused manner and I saint “thanks” and hung up.

I called her a few hours later and we arranged for our first date. I had intrigued her enough that we ended up being inseparable since the year 2000. My antics of affection- like calling her randomly- continue to keep our love alive.

A week after Valentines Day and I also think about what we do for one another. From the little things, like when we travel- who gets what side of the bed and why. To the big things- like a new car must have special decals added to the windows. We are a great pair and I am happy. Even if my phone call lasts less than 10 seconds.

Grey Skies And Rain

I’m often sharing pictures of the sunset and skyline that we see from our home. This evening I’m sitting in a chair in our bedroom, enjoying a beer while the rain falls outside.

As I sit by our patio doors, the bedroom fireplace is going and my wife is enjoying a peaceful moment in the bathtub. Much in the same way I have every week. We are chitchatting about relaxation and the rain. There’s nothing exciting going on for a Saturday evening. But it’s our Saturday evening together.

Looking around our bedroom, I realize that I am very lucky to have found a great partner. My wife and I have numerous art pieces that scream out our love for one another. There is special meaning behind everything we own and I can tell a story about each piece and why it means so much to us. That’s perhaps for another day.

So my Saturday night is a calm night of being content and sharing happiness with the one I love.

Winter Walk By The Water

The other day my wife and I went for an afternoon walk by the beach. On our walk we talked about our first year together and how we went down that way only a few times. We now live only about a 20 minute drive away from White Rock, so heading there may be happening more often this summer.

When we first arrived, we took some happy selfies with the ocean and clouds as a backdrop. We were probably the least bundled up people as many who we passed had scarves, toques and gloves on. But at 8°C it wasn’t that cold.

Even though it was grey and a bit cool, my wife and I were wearing our rose colored glasses we had bought for her Birthday Trip to Mexico. The warmth of the view from the sunglasses made it easier to enjoy our date. We walked along the shore, up the pier and enjoyed the promenade. We headed back along Marine Drive and talked about coming back to enjoy a restaurant or two in the future.

It was a good few hours of casual strolling just holding hands and talking. As we get older, we both just want to enjoy one another’s company more. Keeping the emotional connection between us going and creating memories along the way.

Still Having Date Nights

My wife and I have been together for nearly 22 years. I still love her dearly. One of our biggest strengths is that we communicate with one another. It’s not always easy to talk about concerns or tough days, but we do our best. My favorite thing is that we can still have fun together.

We still attend our favorite sushi place regularly- Nikko Sushi. They treat us like family and we always have a great meal there. I enjoy being silly with my wife and we continue to make each other smile and laugh.

She drags me out for walks around the neighborhood still. I have realized that even though I may not want to go, it is good for the mental health. As well, I know it makes her happy to go out and talk with me while we wander. I have been considering our walks as “dates” these days. It gets me out more often to spend quality time with her.

We also have “dates” where the two of us play video games together. Somehow after two decades, we still act young and silly… And I love it. We will continue to have dates for years to come. Perhaps one day we will be an elderly couple talking smack talk at one another while playing some VR with teenage looking avatars.

Wanting A White Christmas With Family

Living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia means we generally have rain for Christmas. It’s been a few years since snow has fallen on Christmas Day. But nature has been teasing this region a bit more this year than ever before.

A gentle dusting of snow occurred this past weekend. It was here and gone so quickly it felt like a bit of a let down.

I missed the snowfall at the start of December, but our son sent us this picture. Weather reports are teasing that snow on Christmas Day may happen. If it happens, I cannot wait to see the winter wonderland out our back windows. The best part about a White Christmas is staying inside bundled up and warm spending time with those whom you love.

I’m hoping all of our kids will be here for our first Christmas in this new house. But I’m not holding my breath for it. Our oldest has gone off on their own with little communication back to us. With a vagueness that only a 19 year old can possess- my wish for a White Christmas with family may only be half fulfilled. If it came down to it and I had a choice- I’d choose family over snow.

But I don’t get the choice, I just get to accept that what happens, happens…

Tree Time 2021

Having gone on vacation at the start of the month, it meant decorating the Christmas tree was a couple days later than normal. Yesterday was the only chance we had to get on it. So right after an early dinner, we decorated.

As is tradition in our home, we put on “The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling” and “Wiggly Wiggly Christmas” whilst we decorate the trees. This year old oldest didn’t join us, but Grandma sat in to watch the fun.

As is also tradition, my wife and I enjoyed some Fireball and Eggnog: aka FIRENOG. We discovered this drink from my wife’s brother a few years ago and it has loosened us up for the holiday season ever since then. As is another tradition- and ornament gets accidentally broken and put on display. This year, no one broke an ornament, instead one came out of the box broken. It always seems to be the red ones…

Our new nine foot tree looks great in our new home. I’d say it’s almost done. As I mentioned, our oldest was unable to join us, so my wife and I put up a few of their ornaments, but saved the rest in case they wanted to add them to the tree at a later date. If not, that’ll be okay as well since this tree carries all of the special ornaments given to the family members. My wife and I knew that one day those ornaments would find a new home wherever our kids move to.

We also finished off our kids tree. This holds all those handmade ones gathered up over the years. From preschool onward, as well as the fandom made ones (Star Wars, etc..) This tree will be one my wife and I will always put up. And finally is a tree in our master bedroom. That one will be decorated in a few days since my mother is using the room during her stay.

Did you decorate a tree or trees this year? Any movies, music, food or drink that you enjoy while doing so? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Birthday Lee-Anne

Today is my wife’s birthday. That’s a big part of the reason we are in Mexico! One of her biggest goals in life was to be somewhere warm for her December birthday. Finally I was able to achieve it for her. She was gracious enough to take me along on for the vacation!

I’m happy that Lee-Anne has been a great big part of my life. Giving her this trip was a much needed excursion that she is worthy of and deserved more than anyone else I know. Her smile on this vacation has lit up the atmosphere everywhere we walk.

So far we have spent two days of over indulging in food, drinks and siestas. Today we are off on an adventure that I am hoping goes smoothly. It’s another of her bucket list items that she wants to do on this trip. I’m pretty sure she will be smiling even more by the end of the day.

Happy Birthday Love!

Flowers For Happiness

My wife had a bad day. So I did my best to make her have less stress in the home front. I did the grocery shopping early this morning. As I was out, I looked for some craft supplies for her. I also picked up a few more Christmasy items.

Before coming home, I grabbed a bouquet of multicolored roses for her. This is the first time in our new home that I have bought flowers for her. I used to pick some up from a kind lady on my drive home. Today however- I hit up a florist.

The flowers did in fact bring a smile to her face. The goal was accomplished.

Thank You For Sharing Jukebox The Ghost.

Yesterday I mentioned how my son decided to share his VR Gaming. Tonight, our daughter asked to listen to music for the drive home. So I told her to put on something that she wanted to hear.

She shared with me a band called Jukebox The Ghost. I have never heard of this band. But I was ready to enjoy more of what they offered after just the first song. Not bad at all. I smiled inside because of more than just the music.

These moments of what our teenagers want to share are oftentimes more important for them than they are to parents. I know nothing about this band. Not did I know anything about the video game my son plays. Yet my children want to share the experiences with me. Happily I indulge them. Because these moments mean more to our relationship than one could imagine.

I’m hoping that by enjoying what they enjoy, that our bond remains strong. I akin these moments in a similar fashion to my sharing of my beloved films of the 80’s. A fondness is grown for what I like; and I grow fond of what they like.

Do you share entertainment with your kids or teenagers? Do you also find you like what they like?

Birthdays

Private Movie Screening

This morning I saw an old friend for his fortieth birthday. It’s probably been about a decade since I last saw him. Today, he rented out a movie auditorium and screened the film,”The Green Knight” which was a film that my friend enjoyed this year and really wished to share with us. I’m glad I saw it, as it was more artsy than the films I have been known to watch. The last time he rented out a theater was probably 20 years ago when we both worked at Colossus and he showed the 1990 classic “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

It got me thinking about how we celebrate birthdays in general. First birthday is mostly gifts for baby and parents. As children, your parents throw parties for you with the expectation that gifts will be given to the birthday child, they give some cheap goody bags as a thank you.

Then you are a teenager, and you’re “Too Cool” for a Chuck E Cheese party, so you go and hang out. Everyone is broke, so you just do what you did on a regular Friday Night. Once you hit “legal drinking age” that’s when friends buy you drinks and everyone will pitch in for the dinner. After a couple years of this, everyone is broke again. So your birthday is just another reason for others to get drunk- byob style or everyone pays their own way.

As you get older, it seems the milestone birthdays are all that matter. And if you want friends to celebrate with you, you end up throwing your own party. Supplying the food and beverages. Some friends will bring something to share or a bottle for you to enjoy. Eventually as we get even older, birthdays are all but forgotten. You made it around the sun once more, and the few who care will still send you love. And that’s what really matters.

Feeling loved. Not showered with gifts. Legitimate love and caring from people who at one point made an impact on your life, and you made one on theirs. My friend today was an integral part of my life at one point. I’m so happy to have seen his successes and been able to share with him a brief moment today once more. Birthdays should always be important to your friends and family.