The Final Easter In Our Castle

This morning my wife surprised our teens by having an Easter Egg Hunt in our living room. We have done the hunt every year since we moved into our house.

Always in the living room. That’s because we can hide the eggs the night before and close off the room until we are ready. This is the same room we would celebrate Christmas Day in.

Today was the last time that our kids would hunt for candy in the living room. None of them wanted a picture taken, but I took a stealth one anyways. An Easter Egg Hunt was always something my wife enjoyed doing for our kids. As they became teenagers, I was thinking that it’s becoming a bit much.

But after today’s hunt I could see why my wife enjoyed doing this for our kids every year.

They all sat around the dining room table, dumped out their haul and divided it equally. It’s something they’ve always done (same with Halloween). Seeing them do this once more made me smile.

Our teenagers are getting along! These days it’s hit and miss with how nice they are to each other. Or even towards my wife and I. Days like today are a reminder as to why we love our family. Moments like this will be missed when we move away.

But the memories will be cherished forever.

What Is Love?

When I was a teenager, getting my driver’s license was easy. At age 17, I was able to borrow my mother’s car periodically. One summer day my friend and I took our girlfriends at the time to the PNE in Vancouver.

It was a lot of fun going on rides, eating food and playing carnival games. The girls we were with went to the local radio station booth and sang a Brian Adam’s song and received a cassette tape of their rendition. Loads of laughs and handholding as we journeyed around the fair.

Anyhow, her and I eventually ended our relationship as the summer also ended. It was totally civil. We kept in contact over the years and went out on the occasional date every so often as we entered into adulthood.

I mention this specific date because my former girlfriend had removed her earrings. They were heavy and hurting her ears. She lost/forgot them in my mother’s car (which eventually became my car). I discovered them a few years later along the side of the seat and kept them with some other mementos from my youth- such as letters, artwork, and trinkets. I’m a bit of a hoarder…

Yesterday, I noticed my 16 year old daughter wearing the earrings. I had no idea that she had taken possession of them. But I find it really cute to see that teenage girls over the decades still have the same sense of style.

Puppy love is great. Perhaps my daughter will have a fun date this summer whilst wearing these earrings. Who knows.

Christmas Day 2020

Our kids are much older now. In fact, we have late stage Teeanageritis. With a two year gap between all of them- 14,16,18. Someday soon they shall be adults. Spending Christmas with them is still important to my wife and I.

As with some traditions we have- first is always a picture in front of the living room door prior to entering and seeing what Santa left behind.

The first thing they get to open is their stockings. The stockings are mostly filled with toiletries and chocolates. A few little gifts hang out inside them next to a piece or two of fruit.

Second picture is in front of the tree. The anticipation of what comes next brings a certain childlike joy.

After a flurry of gift unwrapping and blurry photos, we are left with a large pile of paper trash.

For me, exhaustion kicks in by the end of the day. And a nap by the tree brings me joy. Even with a picture taken by my daughter with a staged toy on me.

All is well and done for the year.

Lucky 13 Years Later

I’m always sharing memories here in my blog. Scrolling threw my Facebook to find some “Throwback Thursday” photos for my Instagram. I wanted to share some pictures from our numerous visits to Disneyland for Halloween, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog: Decade of Disneyland.

I discovered a memory that I knew was around this time of year. It was thirteen years ago today that I finished working at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I had five years of memories there, and it was where my children got spoiled. My kids were there 2-3 times a week playing video games, getting any prize they wanted off the wall, and tons of pizza. I also had the opportunity to manage numerous teenagers, many of whom have become parents of their own children now. Managing them gave me an insight into how to deal with teens of my own one day.

It was sad to leave CEC back then. But joining the railroad was one of the best decisions of my life. Without changing the career path, I never would’ve been able to afford the lifestyle we now enjoy. Including all those Disneyland trips.

It feels like my days at the railroad have been going on forever now. But 13 years went by rather quickly. With tons of memories made over the years at CN- and the first memory being the one where I had to leave some wonderful people- makes me realize how lucky I have been.

A Day Devoted To My Teens

I spent the morning going for a drive with my oldest to her new school. It was a chance for her to practice driving on the freeway without much traffic. It also gave her an opportunity to figure out a course/the time and the distance for her commute. We had some good bonding time together.

Then we hit up IKEA to pick up a new desk for my son. He built his IKEA desk with my help. We laid out his room in a more functional manner. He wanted to change up his room to be more “teenage boy” instead of Star Wars themed. I told home we can paint the furniture black, but I had worked hard on the walls and refuse to paint over them. So he is stuck with just removing a few decals and living in a grey bedroom.

That meant giving the bunk beds to his 16 year old sister so she could put her stuffies on display. My wife discovered some bins in our son’s closet that had old costumes and toys from the much younger years. Our middle decided to wear one of them. She is becoming one with the toys…

It was a long day of growing up and pursuing the inevitable changes. But also a good chance to reflect and have some fun.

Easter Hunt 2020

Our kids aren’t kids anymore. They have become teenagers. Two of which are cresting the second half of their teen years as well. Driving, jobs, and teen angst a plenty… Oh my.

However, my wife loves to treat them like children on occasion. Especially when it comes to those childhood memory maker dates. Be it at Christmas, Halloween or Easter. Today was no different.

Last night the “Easter Bunny” hid some eggs, chocolates and candies throughout our living room. The same room the “Santa” visits. Our kids all know this. I guess what I’m saying is that our teenagers still hunt for Easter eggs.

There is the joy of the hunt. Discovering more challenging spots where the Easter Bunny can get to. They also appreciate the junk food that’s for sure.

And as they have done every years for Easter and Halloween- they divide up their haul amongst one another. I think this began when we realized the oldest was always getting the most, while the youngest got the least. Today was the opposite. Our youngest brought in the biggest collection and had to spread it out.

These traditions are important to my wife and I. As our children become adults, the traditions may evolve over time. Or make an egg-ception, like when we went to Tokyo DisneySea in 2018. But we will continue to make sure those imaginary gift givers keep visiting.

The Last Of It…

We have three teenagers in our home. They are witty, intelligent and caring of others. They are also moody, self absorbed and lazy. Not knowing which attribute we will see around the house is a fun game. A game I am not always prepared to play.

The worst part of this game is as a parent, I’ll ask a question of them. A question that I’m not expecting an answer to. More a rhetorical question that I want them to think about. As I grow older I realize that this is a typical “Dad Thing” to do. And my kids do the typical “Teenage Thing” as a response.

Here we see an example of what our kids love to do. They don’t quite use up everything. Just enough that they leave it for someone else to find/replace/change/throw out… a roll of toilet paper with one square… A carton of juice with five drops left… Sour cream with half a spoonful remaining… When I ask, “Who finished…?” I get the usual, “Not Me.” And sometimes, “It’s not empty…”

If I didn’t have to supply nourishment to them, there are some days I’d leave the fridge barren to prove a point. which I am tempted to do this weekend. Leave some lemon juice, a yogurt, pickled pepperoncinis, salad dressings and condiments- see how well they’d survive before asking for real food.

The joys of being a parent to three teenagers brings out my immaturity.

What My Teenagers Do On A Friday Night

Having teenagers can be difficult at times. Knowing what they’re up to in their free time can be even harder. My wife and I are lucky that we know exactly what ours are up to. They spend their Friday evenings at Speed Skating.

Our two oldest don’t just skate, they volunteer their time to be assistant coaches to the new and younger skaters. The new skaters are first on the ice every Wednesday and Friday. Seeing our daughters out there enjoying themselves and helping others has inspired our son to start joining them early as well.

After an hour and a half there is an ice cleaning. (The Zamboni Driver loves to give our high fives!) After which our kids hit the ice for their training. Which is far more rigorous. By the time we are home at 8:30 at night, our kids are tired and just want to veg watching some tv as a family.

Getting kids into sports is a great way to keep kids and teens out of trouble. As much as it pains my pocketbook and cuts into my free time, I’m happy and proud of who they are becoming. I’ll gladly give up my Friday night to watch them bring joy to some of the younger kids.

Camping Pt.1 TBT

I started camping in my mid to late teens. Pretty much since driving became a regular pastime for my friends and I. Once or twice every summer, we would pack up for a weekend away. 

My first time camping with friends, I drove a buddy’s car down some logging roads on our way to finding a campsite before I even had my drivers license.  That was thrilling and nerve racking at the same time.  But it was freedom.

Later that summer, my mother allowed me to go off with a friend by Greyhound bus to his hometown.  Once we arrived, we were off to a huge camping experience titled “The Rebirth of Mother Earth”.  It was a crazy weekend filled with a lot of firsts.  I learned what a sweat lodge was and shared my first peace pipe with a bunch of First Nations and came away fairly high.  Probably the tobacco and herbs in it, I dunno I had never smoked anything prior to that weekend.

I spent the majority of the weekend bombing down dirt roads in the box of my buddy’s “borrowed” Toyota pickup getting flung around as he fishtailed down the back roads…  That scene in Toy Story where Woody gets nailed by a toolbox in the Pizza Planet truck?  I swear someone at Pixar was completely inspired by my idiocy- that scene was happening to me over and over that weekend.  You’d think we would’ve moved the toolbox at some point.  Bruised and battered- it didn’t matter, it was fun.  Later that trip, I learned how to make gun powder and we fired some home made cannons.  “D” cell batteries can fly across a river pretty darn good.  I also went cliff diving for the first time.  Nothing says “Peer Pressure” than trying to show off to girls in bikinis at age 16.

As we got older, beer and girls would accompany us more often as well. There was always great stories to share after a trip. Some drunken escapade, someone deciding peeing on the fire was a good idea, some emotional dramatic break up, or some crazy scars and burns. Good times. Good times.


But that all suddenly ended. Friendships changed, summers were filled with working weekends, and the idea of being dirty for a couple of days wasn’t appealing any more. Years went by and the idea of “roughing it” went out the window. Marriage, mortgage, & monsters became a way of life for me.  

Ah, responsibility.  The realization that “I’m too old for this shit.” kicks in.