More Books, More Quality Time

Like I did with my son two weeks ago and with my one daughter last week: Brony For a Day– I had a day with just my oldest child.

*BIG SIGH* The snow nearly killed our plans though. But we braved the weather and headed out. This was the view inside my car when we started:

View of snow from inside my car.

It took two weeks to get to this point. You see, she is only a few months away from turning sixteen and doesn’t have time for dad. She is busy after school nearly every day and also has her own job working Saturdays. I got lucky today and the kids had a Pro-D day.

Our first stop was to buy hair dye for her. She has been begging to dye her hair for a few months now, so it was time to go shopping for a new colour. She chose indigo- I just finished doing her hair and she is really really happy with it.

Our second stop was Chapters. This seems to be a favorite for all of my children. I was here last week and the week before with my other children. Today my oldest offered to buy me a book in payment for the hair dye. Instead, I plan on just reading the books she bought after she is done with them. She spent $111 on books using gift cards she has accumulated over the past year.

She also got a wicked deal on a VR headset for her phone. Costing only $10. It fit in nicely with the theme of a couple of her books. After an hour or so in the store, we braved the snow once more to pick up her sister and headed out for lunch. We had some miso soup and green tea to warm us up.

My oldest and I haven’t seen eye-to-eye on occasion and we sometimes get snippy towards one another. In the end, our day was pretty enjoyable. I love the time I’ve taken to spend one-on-one with each of my kids over the past few weeks.

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Taking Down The King

I just got beat up by my kids. A lot.

It started innocently enough with a Nerf battle. My 15 year old vs my 11 year old and I. Bullets sprayed across the living room. Butt shots and head shots galore. Laughing and screaming, and then…

It went too far. Body parts got hurt. Feelings got hurt. Rage kicked in. So it was time to clean up. But then more Nerf shots fired again. Round 2- ATTACK DAD!!!

Finally we were all too tired. And called it a truce. My kids had beat me. Bad. They chose to bury me with bean bag chairs and sit on them. These beasts were self proclaimed victors of the Castle! I was de-throned. No longer the king.

For now.

Zoned Out

I was lost in thought driving home, as I often am. Sometimes I wonder how I even get home.

But it continued on even at home. I tried to start a blog post, but forgot where I was going with it. Then I began making a salad for dinner and added too much dressing that I needed to add another head of lettuce. During dinner I lost track of conversations and we ended our meal.

I was browsing my social media and ended up curling onto the ground for about thirty minutes when my wife told me to get up (after taking a picture). I got to a point that I am tired and dumb feeling. No idea how I got to this point, but I figure it’s time to go to bed.

Goodnight everyone. Maybe tomorrow I can focus better.? If not, maybe I could just sleep in.

Winter Wash

I don’t like the winter at this moment. It means my car is dirty more often than it is clean. It feels like I’m neglecting Rogue One because I don’t wash it. But there isn’t any point to washing it.

First of all- it’s cold outside. So I don’t want to stand out there with a bucket of water and a hose.

Secondly- the sun is only out for a brief moment or two. That means cold nights and a possibility of rain or snow again. Which means dirty roads causing dirty car.

Thirdly- I’m not the only one driving around in a muck-colored vehicle. So I shouldn’t show off my bravery/stupidity of a washed car.

However, it is a gorgeous vehicle when clean. Maybe I could survive some frostbite and freeze my garden hose for another evening of joy until it gets dirty tomorrow morning driving to work…

It’d be totally worth it.

Socially Accepted Kindness

I find it weird when someone at work talks about me behind my back. Especially when it’s something nice- that’s even worse. I don’t do compliments well.

Turns out I’m making a good impression at work lately. I think it comes from the fact that I am honest and polite. Or maybe it’s because of my obsession with Star Wars. Or perhaps my use of movie quotes in daily conversations. Whatever the case may be- I’m not sure I like it.

But being kind and listening to others makes me feel good. If I do talk about someone behind their back, I will say it to their face as well. No point in hiding behind rumors and hearsay.

I like being nice though. I guess it shows and people talk. 😎

Forgotten Decoration

It was bound to happen, as it does every year… A lone Christmas Decoration was found six weeks later…

This time around it was much a larger piece than just an ornament or a bell. It was a serving platter. Forgotten on the piano behind some sheet music. Which is forgivable, because at least my children were still playing music. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to put the sheet music away until it is falling off the piano. My wife discovered the tray when she was cleaning around the piano this weekend.

And so ends the removal of our last decoration. It’s a sign that Spring is on its way. Hopefully the ice and snow take the hint and pack up soon for the season as well.

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.

Daily Fears and Bigger Fears

The other night, on the car ride to picking up dinner, my daughter and I were talking. And she was getting snippy towards me. After some discussion in our short drive, I found out the problem. My 13 year old daughter was scared to buy a pizza.

I had asked her to come with me in order to buy the pizzas. She explained how she didn’t want to talk to the cashier. She was unsure of money interactions. She was straight up stressed out by something that everyone does on a daily basis. She began to show signs of anxiety.

Interactions like this between strangers shouldn’t be difficult. Our daughter has done purchases and sales at numerous conventions over the years- so it surprised me when she told me she was anxious that night. It never dawned on me that this was different. So we rehearsed what she needed to say, how much the pizza would be, and how much change should would get in return.

To ease her mind a bit, I explained that I’m also scared. I am absolutely terrified of going to Tokyo next month. I’ve never been to Tokyo. I’m not going alone either, but taking my wife and three kids. Not only am I going to be in a foreign country- no one I’m going with understands Japanese. Plus I will need to keep a close watch on the kids. Make sure they are staying nearby while we use the trains and travel the streets.

In the end, my daughter did fine buying a pizza. I was with her, but stayed off to the side. I didn’t interject, help or correct her in any way. Afterwards she admitted that it was easy. A little more practice and she won’t need to rehearse her interactions ahead of time. Hopefully she can overcome moments of anxiety on her own.

She enjoyed her pizza with a sense of relief. Although buying pizzas for larger groups is a pain and requires note taking and spreadsheets at the best of times. Just don’t tell her that yet. We need to work on baby steps.

Rock Lobster

In mid December, I mentioned that our oldest had an interview for a job at a Fish Market: Next Generation of Milestones. I forgot to follow up, but she got the job and started within a few days of the New Year. She is loving it.

For Valentine’s Day she picked up a couple of lobster tails for my wife and I. In the past, I’ve bought a couple cheap frozen lobster tails. The kind that are $7-$9/each. A small side of shellfish to a plate of mashed potatoes. Our daughter went above and beyond. Onto her work tab, she put these two monsters:

When I saw them, I was floored. How the heck am I supposed to eat these? A pound and a half of lobster meat! It would just have to be eaten somehow.

And it was delicious. Even though my wife and I sent the kids off to bed in order to sit down for our meal, we couldn’t eat these tails without sharing. Two of our three kids loved it. Our middle child did not. I’m not sure why, but that just means more lobster for the rest of us in the future.

Our oldest with the job is excited about trying more varieties of fish and shellfish now. She is also learning the skills to prepare and serve fish. I’m proud of her and the fact that she loves her job. And she loves us enough to get us some tasty food as well!

Look at the Pretty Flowers

I bought my wife one of her favorite flowers today:

She loves the multicolored roses. I try and pick up different blends whenever they are available. I used to buy them from a place called “Awesome Blossoms” but their shop has since moved. So finding a rose in blue and purple is a bit more difficult these days. My wife still enjoys the “fire and ice” roses that I get for her.

Today being Valentine’s and all, I also picked up some tropical flowers to go with the single rose. There was a small dumping of snow overnight, so I thought they would remind her of our trips to California and Hawaii. The flowers brought a smile to her face. (And allergies…)

A sweet moment today was brought to us by our daughter. She made us some origami flowers and card for this morning. She is getting excited about our family trip to Tokyo and is getting in the mood because practicing her paper folding. These flowers did not cause allergies.

I love that there is a sweet spot for romantic and kind gestures in our household. That makes my heart full. Have a great Valentine’s Day everyone!