Another Tufter In The Making

Every weekend, I have been making rugs. I have been really enjoying this hobby. Last weekend, our youngest wanted to make one of his own- so he made an 8-Ball. Today our middle child wanted to make their own rug. I went through the process of how to do it, guiding them along.

Darwin traced the image and we discussed the colors to use. I only helped with a couple of stitches, but the rest was all them. (I snuck in another soot sprite in the blank space when we had the black and white yarn set up.) I sat by Darwin’s side and continued to offer advice as well as encouraged the work being done.

The image Darwin chose is the moon from the anime- “Soul Eater”. This was a family favorite a few years ago. In fact, we did a family dress up for Halloween as the characters from the show- and then went trick or treating in Disneyland. It was a lot of fun.

Darwin wants this rug for their bedroom floor for when bedtime comes around. Tomorrow afternoon, we will finish the rug. A bit of me is selfishly enjoying the quality time that my kids wanted with me. Spending time with our kids is worth every moment of making these rugs.

How many rugs is too many rugs when I get to spend time with my growing adult kids doing something we both enjoy?

There’s never going to be enough. I’m lucky they want to do this with me.

Son Of Tuftleupagus

Like father like son I guess.

I mentioned yesterday that I may start to have a battle over who gets to tuft next. It seems my son wanted to try his hand at it. So I walked him through everything- from setting up the cloth to threading the gun, as well as how to draw the image and pretty much everything that goes along with the art of rug making.

I helped him choose his first image. He wanted to try something a bit bigger and a different shape. So he made an 8 Ball. Honestly- that would’ve been something I would have made when I was his age. I was obsessed with billiards as a teenager. I may have to steal his rug one day.

He was very meticulous and cautious in sewing the rug. It looked far superior to my first rug. I think he has a natural talent in make these rugs. He was very careful in making sure it was lined up and straight each and every time he started the tufting gun.

After he finished stitching the rug, he added the glue to the back and let it dry overnight. The next day, he cut it off the cloth and we added a backing to it. He then trimmed it to his liking.

All-in-all he did a great job. I did help a bit with some of the finishing touches around the white part- he wanted it to be perfect and was afraid to ruin it. I’m looking forward to seeing his next project. I think he can do it from start to finish without me. I’m a very proud father.

Boxing Day With My Sweetheart

Post Christmas Day in Canada is Boxing Day. My wife and I opted to not do any shopping this year. We are going out later in the week, but not for any big sales. Just a few essentials for the home.

Instead of shopping- my wife and I are having a day of just the two of us. Our kids are doing their own thing- watching tv and playing video games, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have some quality time together. We put our phones into their new matching cases and headed out into the world.

We went for a Five Kilometer walk in our neighborhood. Most of the snow is gone now and the temperature was almost in the double digits at 9°C. A lovely afternoon together getting some fresh air.

For the balance of the afternoon, we are going to eat some leftovers for a late lunch followed by some video games together. My wife has requested that we play a classic for our family- Skylanders Giants. We are going to start the story from the beginning on our Wii-U.

Chances are we will play pretty steady for the next few days. I’m excited to re-play this game series as it was a ton of fun ten years ago! Let’s see if it holds up.

I hope you are all enjoying your holidays and time with family.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Not going to spend too much time writing today’s blog entry. I was working all day and rushed home to be with my wife and kids for Thanksgiving Dinner. So I’m hastily writing a quick note to wish everyone some well deserved time with family and friends!

I’m looking forward to our dinner, and it’s almost time for me to carve the turkey. The table is set and we are about to engage in conversations.

Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everybody! Be sure and enjoy your time with those you love and the food that will be served.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Not going to spend too much time writing today’s blog entry. I was working all day and rushed home to be with my wife and kids for Thanksgiving Dinner. So I’m hastily writing a quick note to wish everyone some well deserved time with family and friends!

I’m looking forward to our dinner, and it’s almost time for me to carve the turkey. The table is set and we are about to engage in conversations.

Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everybody! Be sure and enjoy your time with those you love and the food that will be served.

Video Game Challenge

About a month ago, my son and his friend challenged my buddy and I to a series of video game competitions. Saturday we took on the teenagers and played some PlayStation 3 games and some Nintendo Wii games. I thought for sure my buddy and I would win the majority of the games.

Boy was I wrong.

It was embarrassing losing at a game that we would spend hours playing in the arcade after work back in 1999/2000. I loved NFL Blitz and clocked a lot of hours at work playing it way back then. The boys had never played it. For whatever reason, they wiped the floor with us. Embarrassing.

My buddy and I did get our revenge on Wii Sports Resort Bowling. Bowling was something I did in high school for years. The logistics of the game were similar, so I defeated my son quite easily. My buddy and his boy had a much closer match. It was down to one point. But victory was ours!

Then MarioKart on the Wii came out. My son and his friend decimated us. It wasn’t even close. I may as well have been driving a golf cart on the Indy 500 the way I was playing. Even though the old guys lost, we still had fun and would do it again sometime.

Early Morning At The Pumpkin Patch

This morning my daughter and I headed out early to visit Eagle Acres dairy farm and pumpkin patch. We were invited for an event put on by Thrive Mortgage, similar to the Little Touches they did for us a few months ago.

We had a great time petting and feeding the farm animals to start. We wandered around as my daughter made a few videos for herself. We also took a bunch of pictures for fun.

Before we left, my daughter and I went on a hay ride on the back of a trailer pulled by a large tractor. They took us out to the pumpkin patch where we chose a couple pumpkins to take home.

I’d never been to a pumpkin patch before. I enjoyed having a chance to pick out my own pumpkin from a field. I can’t wait to carve them up for Halloween.

I enjoyed the early morning with my daughter. She chose to dress like Coraline which was perfect for the rainy weather. A raincoat and boots to tromp through the fields. Dressing up is always fun.

Central City Fun Park

My daughter and I had another “Daddy/Darwin Day” today. It started with her getting some driving practice in. We headed to our old neighborhood to drop my son off at a friend’s house. After that she drove to do some grocery shopping with me. We did a pit stop at home and then went out for some more quality time.

We went to a place called her in Surrey that hasn’t been open for very long- Central City Fun Park. Essentially it is a superior Chuck E. Cheese’s. There was pizza, video games, skill games, and prizes. But what made it better than CEC was the mini golf, bowling, vr, and the roller rink. We went there to see if there was DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and roller skating.

We found a similar game to DDR and did our best to play. Let me tell you- my foot/eye coordination is abysmal. Unfortunately there was an injury in the roller rink, so skating was unavailable. We decided to try the 9 hole mini golf, which was okay, but we really wanted to skate.

After playing the arcade games (Star Wars was fun!) we had a battle of air hockey (tie game) and some other skill games to earn tickets. My daughter decided to keep the tickets and hopefully earn more in the future for a better prize. 287 tickets doesn’t get you much.

It was a good day followed by a fun afternoon of quality time. Next time we better get some roller skating in!

Biking With My Son

This morning I took advantage of the fact that our teenage son wanted me to go with him to the Cloverdale Athletic Park. He has been there a few times himself with friends and his sister. At the park is a bike park section that he wanted to show me.

My son picked up a free trail bike back in February. He has been using it diligently since then. He likes the suspension on it to go over the jumps and hills. I have a “cruising” style bike, so I am more casual in my riding.

Unfortunately on the way back home, my son ran into an issue. The brakes seized up. This was likely due to the rear tire being warped. That also caused the gears to constantly skip and the chain would always fall off. Today the bike ended its cycle. Wahahahhaha

Now my son wants to buy a better bike. This is something I told him he needs to save up for. Perhaps it will motivate him to get a job.

Anyways. It was a good father/son time and I’m glad we had it together. He really loves hanging out with me. I’ll take it any day!

Lego Bonsai

Today we went shopping for some summer clothes. We also went to a couple of stores just because we were at the mall. One of those stores happened to be The Lego Store. I totally did a spontaneous purchase of a Lego set.

The Lego Bonsai Tree.

We got it home and decided to put it together as a family. This is the first set we have built in the new house. It’s also been years since we last tried to build a set together. The Lego Spaceship from The Lego Movie was an ordeal and a half one Christmas! We were lucky to not repeat that fiasco.

But we were able to work together and got it completed rather quickly. We even had a spot all picked out at the bottom of our stairs for it to hang out. I think it looks really neat.

As well, when spring comes around, we can change the bonsai tree into a Sakura tree.

Autumn Evening Paddle

I thought that at the end of August, we wouldn’t be out on our kayaks for the rest of the year. Turns out that the weather is cooperating these days and proving me wrong.

Late yesterday afternoon, my wife and I drove for about an hour to Aloutte Lake to set in the water. We arrived shortly before sunset and the lake was still alive with boats and people enjoying picnic dinners.

Even though the haze from smoke was still in the air- we were able to enjoy the autumn colours. The trees shared with us the oranges and browns that they were changing into. The sky even reflected the glass like quality that the lake had to offer up.

My wife and I headed back to shore shortly after dusk settled in. It was a short excursion, but the time I had with my wife both on the lake and driving, was some enjoyable quality time.

Sometimes my wife is right. Taking time away from the hustle and bustle- as short as those moments may be- is worth putting the effort into.

World JR Hockey

Yesterday my son and I attended his first ever hockey game. We went to the Rogers Arena in Vancouver to watch a match from the World Juniors. My boss at work was kind enough to give me a couple of tickets. So I took full advantage of my day off and my son being home for winter break to attend the game.

We were happy to show support to the Czech Republic as they played against Russia. I picked up a hockey scarf at the game so my son would have a souvenir to remember his first hockey game.

With one minute left in the game, the Czech team pulled out all the stops in an attempt to tie the game. Unfortunately, the last shot on goal didn’t make.

In the end, my son and I had a great experience together. We cheered, we oooed and we awwwwed with the crowd. We took selfies and videos. We even had good conversation during the drive to and from the game. All around, it was a great evening spent with my son.

Enjoying Fallout

Last night my son and I began playing Fallout 4 on PS4. Ya I know the game is already 3 years old, but it’s new to us. As I mentioned back in January in Father/son Video Game Day, we finally got a PlayStation 4 for Christmas. We have been slowly adding to our library of games. A game such as Fallout 4 that has been around for a few years is generally inexpensive to purchase. So, we now own it.

Since we only just began playing the game and it is a one player, first person shooter, my son has taken most of the control of the character. I have sat on the sidelines offering advice and asking questions. It surprised my son that I know so much about the game. I had to explain to him that most games like this are formulaic. They follow a set style which makes it more natural to pick up and begin playing.

What sets apart each game are a few key features. Storyline, characters, settings, graphics (these increase in quality over the years), sound effects, and music. Fallout 4 surprised me in this last area. Where most games of this style (shooters) usually boast either no music or go heavy metal/industrial, Fallout 4 does not. Instead, because it is a post-apocalyptic theme, the soundtrack is rockabilly/ bluesy songs from the 1930’s-1960’s. It comes through their mock radio station- Diamond City Radio.

This music playlist really sets the tone of the game for me. I have already fallen in love with it after only playing for about an hour. The use of music in the storyline really sets the narrative. I am looking forward to many more hours of gameplay. With my son at the controls of course… because I suck at gaming nowadays. I miss my blocky running dude from the early 80’s.

Brony For a Day, Father For a Lifetime

This morning my 13 year old daughter and I went on a Daddy/Daughter Date. It started with a trip to Chapters where my daughter bought $52 in Manga using her Christmas gift cards. There was so much to choose from, so it took us a little bit. When she was done, she made her way to the cashier. This time with no Anxiety.

Afterwards we went for a morning matinee movie date. She really wanted to see My Little Pony: The Movie. The theater was having a cheap one time showing today, so we went. We put on our Pony Ears (made by Ningen Headwear) and found a spot off to the side. My daughter didn’t want to sit in the middle of the auditorium and block any of the younger audience members views of the screen. She is always courteous towards others. We were probably the oldest father/daughter couple as well- but we love our animation. She also loves that she met Tara Strong at a convention years ago as well. Becoming a voice over actor seems like something that may appeal to my daughter one day.

MLP has been a part of my life for ages. Back in 1986, My Little Pony was on the tv in my home. I would’ve been ten and my sister was six. I had no argument with watching the show. In fact, I still remember playing with MLP toys with my sister and not being embarrassed by it. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for the pastel ponies- I can still recite the theme song. So being a Brony for a short film today wasn’t a big deal.

After our movie we went for Phở. It was the first time for my daughter. We enjoyed our noodle bowls and talked about the film. We both agreed that it could’ve been better, but it was a nice treat just going the two of us. Shared moments like this last a lifetime. There’s nothing embarrassing about that. So put on some Pony Ears and become 20% cooler in the eyes of you child.

Father/Son Video Game Day

Today is a day of Video Games. The family received a PS4 this past Christmas, so it was time to log in a few hours. Since I am a Star Wars fan, why not play some “Star Wars: Battlefront II” on the big screen?

Since we wanted to do the storyline portion, my son and I are taking turns playing. My skill set is meager at best. I take my time and scout out the level slowly. My son is quick with running straight into the action. He also has a better understanding of the controls than I do.

I’m enjoying what we’ve accomplished so far. The short movie portions are well executed and entertaining. Being a part of the Dark Side is a lot of fun as well. Time to get back to our game day.

This way my son can join me in ruling the Galaxy!

Astro Boy

Today was the third time my two youngest and I built some Gundam models that we had received at Christmas. I sat with them as they built their own “Petit’gguy”. They have a small collection of them now.

I walked them through how to read the instructions. I also showed them how to cut each plastic piece out carefully. Watching them assemble their models made me profoundly proud. Their concentration and attention to detail was impeccable. Once the kids were done, I started on mine. It was a calming activity that we all enjoyed.

During the builds- I put on “Astro Boy” from the early 80’s. We also have another box set from a more recent 2000’s reboot, but the original to me was a better fit for today. Astro Boy was my first introduction into anime when I was a young child. It was sci-fi fun that I connected with almost immediately. Through the years following, anime became a favorite genre of mine. My children have also developed a love of anime.

One time when we were driving down to Disneyland, we stopped at a gas station for a short break. On the back wall near the restrooms were a bunch of toys. My children had to buy me the Astro Boy characters that were there. It was really sweet that they wanted to make me happy. I guess they understand how to get to my soft spot.

Having connections with my children is something I’m really happy about. We share a love of many things. They’ve even introduced me to shows that they have become fond of- such as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teen Titans GO as well as others. We sit and watch together and talk about the shows.

Having quality time with my family has always been important to me and will continue to be for many more years.

Give Me Fuel, Give Me Fire…

Today was the perfect autumn day to work outside.  A bit of a breeze, a lite sprinkle of rain, and some little helpers needing to burn off energy. My wife had our two youngest cleaning branches and pine needles from the driveway and around the house. My eldest child and I cleaned off the roof and gutters. Her and I then worked together to tackle a project I put off all summer.

We tidied our disasterous woodshed. From boards and beams that were haphazardly tossed in, to the logs that had fallen over into the walkway, we needed to clean it all up.  We re-stacked the wood to the drier side and swept up the dust. Old wooden beams and plywood made their way to the back of the woodshed for possible future use. I even took the time to show my daughter how to safely chop kindling. 

During our afternoon, we shared some good bonding moments that didn’t feel forced. Even laughing maniacally as we killed armies of spiders that crawled their way out from the wood.  Afterwards, we went back into our home for a late lunch where my daughter also lit a fire. 

Our oldest daughter enjoys hanging out beside the fireplace in our large black wingback chair. This is her favorite spot for contemplation and peace during the fall and winter. The woodshed and fireplace are in essence, her way of becoming an adult. Bringing us comfort by warming our home is her contribution to the household.

Little did she know that she also warmed my heart by sharing her time with me today. Talking with her I realized she isn’t my little girl anymore, but a young lady with passion in her soul. These interactions become the “A-Ha!” moments that catch me off guard. 

With a bit of sadness and a lot of love, I’m glad that together we cleaned the woodshed today.

Take the Time…

My children love getting my attention.  On the weeks that I work four night shifts, they don’t really see me until my first day off.  So on that day, they all clamor for my attention.  As much as I want some time to myself to unwind a bit, I know that I should spend the time with them.  So I did.  

This afternoon, my son approached me and wanted to assemble a wooden toy he had bought at the Calgary Expo back in April.  I really wanted to say no, but knew that it would be better to work with him on it at a time that worked for him.  He was attentive and very focused as he put it together.  I held the pieces and cleared the excess glue as we went.  He was very happy with the final result and is wanting to put it on display in his room.  

As my son and I were working together, my daughter sat to watch and asked if we could build one of her models next.  As reluctant as I wanted to be, I still said yes.  So we built a cute little anime style panda together.  All I had to do was take the pieces off the plastic tray and she assembled the entire thing.  When we finished, she ran off and took a bunch of photos of her Panda and her other matching bear in pretend battles.

Both projects took less than 15 minutes each.  My children were so happy to have me there to help, even though we all knew that they really didn’t need me for the projects.  It was a nice way to say “I love you” and spend time together. Putting my children first when it comes to these moments are important to me and to them. 

As tired as I might be, or as annoyed as I might feel, putting those feelings aside for thirty minutes made all the difference in the world this afternoon.  Everyone was happy at dinner, we all sang and joked as well.  Pretty sure it was all because of the little things in life that we do for each other.

Now I am off to have quality time with my wife as we drive out to visit some friends.  My days off aren’t really days off.  😊

Bicycle Ride

Today we cleaned up our yard and outdoor storage.  We pulled out all of our bicycles as well. I oiled the chains, pumped up the tires and adjusted the seats and brakes.  We gave them a good wipe down and took off for a ride up to the local elementary school as a family.

I brought my cellphone and a small Bluetooth speaker in my pocket.  Of course I played “Bicycle Race” by Queen as we rode along.  The sun was shining and everyone was happy.  We arrived at the school and I put the speaker in the grass and we made a circle around it.  Then we played frisbee. Just passing back and forth while we were singing and dancing to the rest of Queen’s Greatest Hits album.

Today was all about quality time as a family.  None of it forced upon the kids (or my wife and I for that matter). These are the moments that make me realize we are doing something right as parents.  As a child I had a few bad experiences on bikes.  Some involving stitches or a dislocated elbow. I shared one story last year on Father’s Day that was upsetting to me. But even after scrapes and bruises- I always got back on my bike.

I’m not sure how many more of these adventures we will have as a family around our neighborhood. But I’m going to do my best to not pass them up.

Random Time

My oldest daughter is pretty fantastic.  She decided to join me for a few days away on the island to visit her Gramma.  She feels extra excited because her younger brother nicknamed Gramma’s home “Torture Town with the Dick Boot Monument.”  I’m not saying that is an accurate representation, but…

I mentioned Gold River back in August.  Check out: I’m A Spelunker Now.  Gold River has all the feels of tranquility and peace.  As well it also has nothing to offer.  A teen hanging out with her father and her Gramma doesn’t make for an exciting end to her Spring Break.  Especially since we are here helping Gramma pack her home up.

During the two hour ferry trip and three hour car ride, Random and I talked.  We talked about nothing in particular.  We talked about school.  We talked about tv.  

I bought us some dinner on the ferry and we enjoyed the sunset over the water.  I bought a deck of cards and we played a few games.  It was quality time.  She even kept me alert during the final leg of the drive by playing a word association game with me.  (Nothing like being awake since four am, working a full day, and finishing the drive at midnight.)

I’m looking forward to the next few days with my daughter.  We have started out on the right foot.  I hope this keeps up.  She’s a pretty great human.  

Time Well Wasted

Ugh.  Wasted my time this evening because I was late for an event.  I agreed to take my son to his speed skating practice at what I thought was his usual time.  Except they had cut it short and had announced it weeks ago.  My fault for not checking the calendar tonight.

I have no excuse for being late.  The calendar that my wife and I rely heavily on had it written in.  We write my work schedule, no school days, appointments and all of the extracurricular activities.  Even though today was his regular skating practice, it wasn’t at the usual time.  In essence- we showed up, he got on the ice and five minutes later was done.

Now my son and I have some extra time to spend together.  So we wandered across the street from the ice rink to the Cineplex.  We made it just in time for the start of The Lego Batman Movie.  

Good end to an otherwise potentially frustrating evening.  

Shhh… the film is about to start.  Setting my phone to vibrate.

Quiet Monday

Tonight is just a quick post.  I’m a tad bit tired from a 12 hour day at work.  But I also want to spend some time with my son watching cartoons before bed.  Sometimes putting time for family comes first.

On Saturday, I spent some quality time with our daughters.  I took them into town to take a guitar lesson followed by a brief lunch date.  Tonight, my wife is taking our daughters out shopping.  Having some one on one time is important.  I’m going to get back to cuddles on the beanbag chair while watching cartoons.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone.

One-on-One Time

My wife pointed out to me yesterday that I haven’t spent time with her lately.  She’s sort of right and that bothers me.  It just kind of happened.  The kids were doing a summer school arts program and I have been working nights.  When the weekends showed up, they were quickly filled with play dates and meeting up with friends.  My wife has also been busy getting ready for an Anime Convention this upcoming weekend.  As much as it sounds like excuses, we are now determined to have some one-on-one time AFTER this weekend’s convention.

Still my favorite decal on our car.

Our kids have received the majority of my time over the past few weeks.  I wanted to take the family out to the Drive-In last weekend, but my wife was still swamped with work so it ended up just the kids and I.  I’m sure she would rather have been with us lounging in the back of the Pathfinder eating popcorn cuddled under a blanket than having to work.  Running a home business isn’t Monday to Friday 9-5.  It’s evenings, weekends, and any “free time” that shows up.  It helped that I took the kids away a few times this week so that my wife could work.

Good advice.

Being friends, being a couple, being parents, being a family are all the different positions we fill on a regular basis.  One is not more important than the other.  They are all equally valued in our lives.  It’s a good thing that one of us acknowledges when we need more time together, just the two of us.  I don’t want it to suddenly end up being a couple of weeks, or a few months or even years that we don’t spend time together.  My wife is very important to me and I’d like to think I’m important to her.  

Remember to make the time for your significant other more often. You’d be surprised how much can change in a person’s life over the course of a few days, let alone weeks.

There’s an Airbnb apartment devoted to Netflix and Chill.

Next week we shall plan a date for ourselves.  Maybe a walk, perhaps out to a coffee shop, maybe dinner and a movie.  Heck, maybe we can even enjoy some  “Netflix and Chill” as they say.  Whatever it is, it will be fantastic because we will do it together as a couple.

Take a break

I was having a fairly productive afternoon.  The sun was out so I decided to paint the trim of our home.  Up and down the ladder.  Painting, sweating, cursing, getting sore.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the results.  I also put it off for over a year so it was about time to tackle the job.

I may be tall, but i still need a ladder.

My wife left with our daughters to go do some summer clothes shopping at the VV Boutique while I slaved away.  My son stayed to keep me company/annoy me.  He was getting bored.  Really bored.  I was getting bored going up the ladder and down the ladder.  So I made him a deal.  At 3pm we would have a freezie and hang out for a bit.

3pm came and I was still up the ladder.  He was bored.  I looked down and realized that even though he was in my general vicinity, we weren’t having a great day together.  I told him to go get the Nerf Guns and that after my break, I’d have a battle with him.  Bad decision.

Ready for a Nerf Battle!

After about five minutes of running around the yard, I realized that I am far too out of shape.  Every time I paused for a moment, an onslaught of foam bullets hit me.  He was having a great time.  His laughter and joy made me glad that I took a moment to allow him to kick my ass.  We only battled for about 30 minutes, but it was by far the best part of my day.

Taking a break to be with him means a lot to me.  He’s growin up quickly and I don’t want to miss out on the fun.