A Christmas letter to my parents

Christmas hasn’t been the same for a few years now! I miss you both so much! When Christmas comes I remember how special you made it even if you could afford it or not. I remember that for us Christmas basically started in October when you would make your fruit cake mom that you and dad would eat with your tea everyday and soon to follow would be all the buckets of tarts and cookies.

When you would start the Christmas baking we knew that Christmas was close, but yet so far away and the anticipation of it would almost kill us as we waited. Soon after the baking was done about mid November dad would break out his Christmas records and start playing carols and before we knew it, it was the first of December and the tree would go up and the countdown began.

Oh what I would give to relive just one of those wonderful memories I have being a child at Christmas. The sights, the sounds, the smell of baking as it filled the house. The Christmas carols that seemed to be playing from when we woke to the moment we fell asleep. The love that we felt inside because we couldn’t contain our emotions. What wonderful memories you created for us and for that I am ever grateful!

Today this moment as I sit and write this I miss you both so much and it has me shedding a few tears. It’s because I miss and love you both so much and I really want to give your grandchildren those same memories you gave to me. I know somewhere out there you are watching us as we celebrate Christmas with smiles on your faces knowing you did a good job raising us and the legacy you left behind will forever be with us.

Merry Christmas mom and dad! I love and miss you!

Raising Strong Girls

There’s a quote I often see floating through social media and it makes me smile every time I read it because it reminds me of what I do as a dad is so important in Olivia’s life! Now I have often thought there is a line in there that doesn’t quite fit for a dad “may we be them”, but really why shouldn’t the quote work for a dad? To really understand the importance of raising a strong girl we have to understand what it means to raise them.

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Raising a strong girl is simple (at least to the point where I am now at almost 7 years old)! Let her know it’s good that she voices herself (this point is important whether your raising a girl or a boy, you can’t expect them to be obedient and just listen to you because your the parent and not do the same with everyone else). Really its good that they learn to voice themselves and who else are they going to learn to do that with besides you at the start of their young lives? Take the time to stop, listen and respond!

Something we also have to think about is the body issue! This one is a touchy one as far as I am concerned! How do you deal with this delicate issue? We all love to know that we look good, beautiful, handsome or gorgeous it’s in our DNA and our nature and there is nothing wrong with that, but how do you deal with the media onslaught of how a person should look? Even men have this problem… We are not all created equal!

I often have conversations with Olivia and she has a strong grasp at this point that people in general come in all shapes and sizes. They are all beautiful in their own way and we should celebrate that with them rather than tear them down. She understands that beauty is only skin deep and a handsome man or a beautiful woman can be ugly inside (I am not saying anyone does, but I want her to know that just because they are good looking outside that their insides are too) and that beauty starts from the inside out!

Here’s to raising strong girls and yes “may we be them” dads! Do you have anything to add? drop it in the comments below!

Mums do you have anything to add? Drop it below in the comments!

 

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Christmas is bittersweet

I do love Christmas! Anyone that knows me will know that! The Christmas lights twinkling, the sound of carols playing in the background and the smell of Christmas treats being baked. There is though a bit of a dark side for me at Christmas though! The memories of Christmas past. Although most times I will remember them with a warm heart and a warm smile I have come to realize that I will never have another Christmas like my memories again.

The smell of my moms kitchen as she did the Christmas baking and me sneaking in to steal what I could. The sound of my dad and his record collection of Christmas carols as he played all his favourite carols. The excitement that was brought when the smell of fruit cake being baked filled the air (I still don’t like fruit cake though, just the smell) because we knew Christmas was coming.

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Although I know I am lucky to have three beautiful children to spread the joy of Christmas too and create beautiful memories of Christmas past with them I sometimes find myself when I am alone and a carol plays shedding a tear because I miss my Christmas so much! You know that feeling you get when people and traditions you had that just aren’t there anymore and no matter how hard you try to recreate them it’s never quite the same?

Lately I have found myself choking back a lot of tears missing my Christmas past. The memories are flooding back like never before and my longing to have them just one more time has never been stronger. All I can tell you is if you still have your parents hold them tight every moment you can and tell them you love them, because one day they will be gone and you will wish you could just one more time! So this Christmas make a point to spend quality and quantity time with them and make their Christmas even more special.

I miss my mom and dad this time of year especially! They are with me in memory and never forgotten the gift they gave me of Christmas and all the precious memories. They made my Christmas special the way it is meant to be, filled with love, kindness and generosity. They gave me everything they could even when things were tight. I love you mom and dad and everything you did for us. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas wherever you are!

Things haven’t really changed…

In the last week I have had some conversations with a four men single and married and come to realize that things have not really changed! I asked a few simple questions (they all know I write a parent blog and have read it) and I didn’t ask any other dad bloggers because I wanted the see the reactions and the answers from men that are not part of the blogging world.

The answers I am providing below are just an overall consensus of the answers I was given… surprising to me they all ended up at the same conclusion with different words, but the same answers. I didn’t try and discuss with them as I didn’t want to pollute the answers that were given to me.

  1. Would you stay at home with the kids if the opportunity was given to you? I was quite shocked this day in age at the answers I received. Overall the answers were no only if I had too would I! When I asked why? the answers were simple… I couldn’t do it! Staying home with the kids I couldn’t do it as I need my time!
  2. Would you or do you have expectations of your wife/girlfriend if she was or does stay at home? This one really surprised me as they all expected for everything to be done for them i.e. cooking, cleaning you know the drill! when I asked why? Because I go to work and bring the money home, I am tired and think because that’s her job as I go to mine.
  3. What if your wife/girlfriend was to go to work because she needed her time out of the house? This answer shocked me the most! I would still expect the things in the house to be done because she’s making a choice to go to work!

So as not to pollute your answers I am not going to go on about my thoughts on the answers I was given. I want to hear from the rest of you! You can answer the questions I posed to these men or you can give me your thoughts on the answers I had received from them. I am writing another post with my thoughts on this!

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Being a parent is hard AF!

It is true… Being a parent is HARD AF! The challenges that come with parenting at times can be overwhelming and hard to swallow. There are times that your child/children will push your buttons and make you want to run away screaming (kids get good at learning what makes you cringe, now if they put that much effort in to studying lol). The older they get and the closer they become to being full blown adults the harder it gets.

When they are babies even though it’s their way of letting you know that they need something or somethings not right with them it’s their crying. It’s the fact that the crying is happening and you can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with them? Between the noise and your frustration after a long period of this it can be enough to break you down for two reasons one being it just breaks you emotionally and the other because you really hate not knowing whats, going on with them?

Everyone calls it the terrible two’s, but let’s be honest here it’s really the terrible toddler years (insert I am laughing so hard I’m crying emoji here) lol! This is the time they explore and (supposed) learn their limits! When I think back the one that got me was when they learned the word “NO”… Seriously did you just say “NO” to me?

Then there’s the oh about 5 – 12 years range (at least for me anyways) that things seem to level out and yes there is the push and pull of normal everyday life. Sometimes a day is a struggle, but mostly it levels out and you have your good days and your bad, good days out numbering the bad!

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Then one day around the age of 12ish… Things change and they start changing and puberty hits! Oh my god what an emotional roller coaster that can be… Literally over the moon happy one second and the next your waiting for their head to start turning in circles like that girl from poltergeist (if you haven’t reached puberty in your house yet, buckle up it can be a bumpy road at times)!

What gets you in this age is this is when they really start finding themselves and who they really are and as a parent we can sometimes aggravate the situation because we don’t like a personality trait they are trying on for size and they do try on all the possible personality traits that there are! for me the worst one was the “I don’t care I’m an ass” one because they truly become one and dealing with that one can be uhmmmm let’s say challenging as you try and have a conversation with them about school and they get agitated which turns in to a heated conversation that they don’t like and all of a sudden they turn and walk away on you and you hear the words “fuck off” muttered (but not to muttered)! I can’t even explain what you feel as a parent!

Over all though the good out numbers the bad vastly! We tend to remember the bad days a lot more vividly because hey they were first or our emotions that day really took over and we remember how they made us feel! I wouldn’t change a thing though now that I have been through all this as it brought them around to the awesome children I have now (Olivia is still young so I will have to update this later on in life and right now she is completely adorable!). So yes being a parent is HARD AF, but nothing will fulfill like being a parent!

Done having kids? Get your vasectomy done!

I had mine done (actually it was done twice) and to be honest it’s not as bad as you would imagine! The first time I went in I was mentally prepared and good with it. I walked in to the doctors office and waited to be called in. I was called in and put the robe on laid back on the table and the doctor started to prep me using that weird coloured cleanser they use before surgery. He then told me he was going to administer the local anesthetic and I would feel some sharp pinches and he was right I did! It was a little uncomfortable, but not as painful as I had imagined in the first place.

As the doctor continued he was filling me in as he went along and said if you feel any pain let me know. he then made the incision (which isn’t that long of one less than 1″) and I was good. He then hooked the first tube and I had actually felt a bit of pain as he did and I let him know. He then administered the maximum amount of local anesthetic he could as an out patient. I was still all good at this point. As he pulled the first tube out and then proceeded to clamp the tube all I can remember was me letting out a scream and about a minute later coming out of the fog I was in.

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At this point he had said that I had passed out for a minute and that we couldn’t do the vasectomy that day. as he cleaned me up and sent me home. We were talking and something I had never really thought about was when I would go to the dentist and they would be be working on my teeth I would always have a bit of pain. Well it was discovered that my body blocks local anesthetic.  There were two poor guys waiting in the waiting room who had very terrified looks in their eyes and I smiled as best as I could as I hobbled out the door.

I remember well that after that I really did not want to try and get it done after that (really I was thinking “fuck this I am not getting it done” and yes in those words as it hurts!) and it took a little while for me to come around to doing it again. This time however I was to go in to the hospital for what they call day surgery so they could administer more of the local anesthetic. When I went in for my last and final operation I had an anesthesiologist and was hooked up to a vitals monitor (big production for such an easy operation) and all went well.

That evening I was pumped full of Tylenol and was off to a BBQ at a friends house and was nursing cold beers as I kept them cooling my uhmmmm uncomfortable situation. I will admit however that it’s a painful operation to have as you feel like you had the worst ever kick in the nuts ever in your life. It took me about 10 days for that feeling to go away totally.

Just remember though guys I wouldn’t complain at all as we have it easy! We never experience child birth and I an sure this is low scale pain compared to what a woman goes through to have a baby!  So if your done having kids get your vasectomy done it’s the least you can do! I had mine done twice!

 

 

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WTF?

I probably think it and drop it more than I should! Some days it seems to be my mantra! I am not sure how many of you reading will relate to this, but I am sure at least a few. It has definitely become a staple in my life and it seems to ease whatever I have going on. I use it when I’m happy, sad, frustrated, mad I use it all the time for any emotion. Over the last week I have thought about what makes me think “what the fuck?”.

  • I hear “daaaaad” a few to many times in one day, my thought “WTF now?”.
  • Driving down the road and two cars doing less than the speed limit driving side by side taking both lanes, my thought “WTF get out of the way!”.
  • Sitting there feeling a little down on myself, my thought “WTF snap out if!”
  • Teaching my kids to drive… Trust there are plenty of times I thought “WTF?” and just kept my mouth shut! lol
  • I see one of those really stupid memes… laugh out loud and think “WTF?”
  • I hear crying a few to many times in a day and instead of running I saunter over thinking “WTF now?”.

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  • In the supermarket buying groceries and that one person that like to park their cart on one side of the aisle and stand right next to it looking for whatever on the other side taking up the whole isle, my thought “WTF seriously?”
  • Ask one of the kids to help put the dishes in the dishwasher (seriously it’s s dishwasher, I am not asking them to hand wash everything) and all I hear is moaning about it, my thought “WTF seriously? You haven’t been asked to do anything and now you moan about helping for 10 minutes?”.
  • Those moments when you need 5 minutes of peace and quiet to collect yourself as it’s been a shit day and that’s the exact moment when everyone starts talking to you, my thought “WTF seriously?” and is usually accompanied by a neck roll and I continue with the conversations.
  • Wake up in the morning and see that I have lost 10 followers on Instagram, my thought “WTF?” (that ones for the bloggers I know they feel my pain LOL).

That is just a few of the things that make me think “what the fuck?” I don’t want to give out the whole list because then what surprise would I have for you next? How do you use “WTF?”?

3 questions to stop asking women

There are three questions that I never ask a woman and the reasons are simple. The questions though when asking them can be far more complex than anything and can cause more grief than we realize. There can be a lot of emotion attached to each of these questions and that’s why I do not ask.

When are you going to get pregnant? Seems like a simple question to ask, but have you ever stopped to think this can be a completely emotion loaded question? Firstly what if they do not want children? I can’t imagine having to say that however many times they are asked in a lifetime if they don’t and the things they must say in private after being asked and getting tired of being asked. That being said what if they are having trouble conceiving a baby? What do they say? They don’t want to air their issues with everyone who asks and go through a whole spiel about not being able to at this point. Also there’s the hurt they may be feeling at that moment.

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Are you pregnant? If a woman wants you to know she’s pregnant she will tell you. So why shouldn’t you ask? the obvious risk that she just gained some extra weight and you just offended her. Maybe she would like to be pregnant but isn’t. Maybe she is pregnant, but isn’t ready to talk about it because of previous miscarriages or other traumatic loss. Maybe she is pregnant, but she still isn’t ready to talk about it. Maybe she just doesn’t want to talk about it with you Or maybe she’s not pregnant and she never wants to be pregnant.

When are you going to have another baby? What if they do not want another baby? What if they can’t have another baby? What if they have one and that was their plan all along? Asking this question even though it seems innocent enough could lead to many emotions that you had not thought of.

Any of these questions seem innocuous enough and seem like a great point of conversation with a mum, but myself I realized a long time ago that there may be other things going on that no one knows about. Asking these questions could bring up emotions in them and all they can do is smile and give you a basic answer and move on. It’s best to wait and eventually they will tell you about any of these questions that are so frequently asked or they may never. In the end if they want you to know they will tell you.

 

Smartphones, teens and school…

Being the dad of two teens in high school and of course like most parents I have given them smartphones. I have come to realize that smartphones have truly taken away from the education system and made it that much harder for teachers to do the job they intended to do when they became teachers.

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I personally cannot imagine how a teacher must feel with a class sat in front of them and maybe it’s just one or two or 30 kids examining their crotches for countless minutes each class as they text, snapchat, Instagram, group chat, tweet, or post a Facebook status (who do they think they are? bloggers?). More importantly as a teacher I would be more concerned if they were taking photos of me and what are they saying about me in those photos?

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In a world so connected it has become an extension to kids today to stay connected, but at what toll has this taken on our children’s education? What are the kids missing if they spend even 10 minutes a class on their phones? How much better their grades would be if they did not have that smartphone distracting them? Although some will argue that smartphones can be educational I do agree, but in a controlled environment where the teacher has control of the situation!

There are parents that argue (I’ve heard this first hand) that the phones let them stay in touch with their children more easily. I do agree with that, but there is no reason for me to be calling or messaging them during classes. If I need my child that badly I can contact the office and have them call me. That’s one of the reasons schools have a main number and someone to answer the phones. The child does not need to have their phone on them in class.

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My personal thought is that each classroom should have a table with a space labeled with the child’s name where when they enter class they place their phone face down with the volume turned off and it stays there till end of class unless otherwise instructed by the teacher. This would have to become a part of school policy and any parent that is worried that something will happen to the phone then they know that maybe they should not send it with their child.

We send our children to school to learn and they certainly do not need more distraction than they already have!