Why ‘Firsts’ Matter

poo cupcakes

A week for 1sts

poo cupcakes
Never, ever look up a picture of poo on the internet.

The best part of being a parent is experiencing the firsts with your kids. First steps. First words. First poo in the toilet.

Sadly, I missed those so the firsts that come my way I eat up like a starving puppy thrown into a pit of pupperoni. But this week had a ton. A cluster of firsts. Even one that was a first for me.

The-Youngest had his first dance. Much of it I have been banned from talking about, but I was so proud of him for going. Alone. No wingman. No backup.

I remember my first dance. It was 70s line dancing. Disco, god help me. And it was such a terrible experience, that (to this day), I am still super conscious of how badly I dance. But The-Youngest stayed an hour, did his best to mingle (gosh, that’s hard to do) and finally left, vowing to have a friend go with him next time.

Soon to come, his first dance with a girl, then first date (NOT a date, Joe, we’re just getting a slice of pizza!), then first kiss, then the next thing you know, we’ll be at a wedding.

Learning to drive in the Toyota Rav4
The training car of choice, Rav4, Toyota. Not the mustang. No.

Next first was first time driving for The-Oldest. As he can’t actually go on the road, yet, we drove in the driveway, going in and out of gear, moving forward, backward, and figuring out what everything did in the car. I was super excited to be a part of that.

I remember my mom trying to teach me and it ended with me getting professional lessons (either that or mom would have ended up in the mental ward).

I honestly don’t think I could teach either of the boys to actually drive, not only because I’d freak out when they came close to clipping another car or running over a baby, but because I’d teach him all my bad habits. “Oh, hit the gas, you can rip through that yellow light.” “A double line passing restriction doesn’t apply to mustangs.” “Let’s see if I can actually do double the speed limit.”

So soon he’ll be taking lessons. I think it’ll go well. He did amazingly well n the driveway. More than I can say about myself these days.

First hockey tournament win
Hockey win!
His first!

Third first was The-Youngest’s, again.

He won a hockey tournament! Or rather his team did. They fought like lions (if lions could, you know, skate) and beat several pretty damn fine teams.

The last game for the gold aged me about 10 years, so if you haven’t seen me in a few months, I look like Stan Lee (may he rest in peace) after a bad night of drinking.

I was so proud of him and so happy to be a part of something he’d remember for the rest of his life. That kick out save at the start of the first game. The other team hitting the post not once, but twice in the final 2 minutes of the gold game. He’ll remember skating around, holding the trophy high. He’ll remember how the team mobbed him after an outstanding last game. He’ll remember the feeling of that win, that success, that payoff for a lot of hard work forever.

Or at least until that first kiss drives everything else out of his mind.

Lastly, something new for me. A first. My first baby shower.

Now, normally guys aren’t allowed to these things, though, why, I’m not quite sure. But we hosted the event, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and her parents worked very hard at making sure it was a success, cooking up a storm, setting up the rooms for nearly 60 people (YIKES!) and then making sure everyone felt welcome when they came over.

My quick observations of the event are as follows. I don’t think the mom touched her baby in 3 hours. I think both are going to be incredible parents. I think grand-babies are the best anti-aging method out there (and no, I don’t mean eating them or something, but holding them, snuggling them, feeding them) – it takes years off the grandparent’s faces.

baby shower
Cutest baby ever at her first Baby Shower. My first baby shower, too

Apart from all the cool presents, though, I think the best thing about a shower is that the mom realizes that she’s not alone, that what she feels, what she fears, what she hates or loves are all things other moms have experienced. There is help out there. Empathy. Support.

And also a year supply of diapers.

Other firsts zipped by almost unnoticed. The-Oldest’s first sr. concert (he was, as always, outstanding) and The-Youngest’s first time in the front seat (a little ahead of schedule),

But there are many more coming and I mean to be a part of as many as I can, because their firsts are mine, too.

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Thanks for reading.

 

 

Why Road Trips Rock

Fabulous Vegas
Fabulous Vegas

Can you make a road trip fun? Or does fun just happen sometimes?

We had just three things to accomplish. Drive to Vegas. Stop and see the amazing Hoover Dam along the way, and see what The-Youngest called the MUST-SEE place half way to the dam.

All three things offered something new, something unexpected, something, kinda awesome.

Now, take a guess.

What would The-Youngest’s MUST-SEE place be? Uncle Jeb’s Monster Trucks, Guns and Liquor? The location of the Cars movie? A tumbleweed race-course?

No.

Dunkin Donuts.

See, they don’t have a Timmies down there. At least down in Arizona. The Americans have DD. And The-Youngest was convinced it would be the best place to find a good donut (based on his research of donuts.)

It made sense. There was a Dunkin Donuts half way to Vegas and, this time, we had no elusion that we could do the 4-hour drive without several rest stops. Plus, I wouldn’t mind a good donut as well. And something akin to a double-double.

All kinds of Ford Mustangs on the road. 2016's. 2013's like mine. Mint 1967 ones. ugly 80's mistakes. It was like they were given away free with any gun purchase.
All kinds of Ford Mustangs on the road. 2016’s. 2013’s like mine. Mint 1967 ones. Ugly 80’s mistakes. It was like they were given away free with any gun purchase.

So let me tell you about the drive. It’s a boring drive. However, cool note, there are a billion Mustangs on the road. It is, by far, the muscle car of choice. Sorry Charger. Sorry Camaro. It’s actually crazy how many there are. On the drive TO Flagstaff, I started pointing them out, but after about 20 within 30 minutes, The-Oldest begged me to stop.

It was the same on the way back. You couldn’t toss a cup of coffee out the window without hitting someone speeding by us in a ‘stang. Personally, I would have bet on some form of truck being the most popular car in this neck of the woods. Gun rack. Confederate flag. Deer antlers on the hood, But no. Young, old, short, tall, man or woman, they all seemed to choose the Mustang.

Also of note was the fact there aren’t any rest-stops like the ones we have in Canada and the Pacific North West. No place to pull over and let the children out to pee. Those places in this part of the world are called gas stations.

We never found Radiator Springs. That's more like Peach Springs on Arizona State Route 66, but we did see a lot of similar geography.
We never found Radiator Springs. That’s more like Peach Springs on Arizona State Route 66, but we did see a lot of similar geography.

Now, for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, the best part was seeing a real-life tumbleweed tumble across the highway and back into the desert. No Roadrunner this time, though. And she was excited to see a lot of the terrain depicted in Disney’s Cars, a movie she watched over 200 times with her young boys.

For The-Oldest, he was happy that we listened to classical music the entire drive. He got to explain who wrote it, why it was awesome and how he would change it to make it more awesome. He had no idea what awaited him at the Dunkin Donuts. Not a clue.

And The-Youngest was happy just to discuss the possibility of donut selection. Would there be a double chocolate donut? One with sprinkles? One with chocolate AND sprinkles? Maybe there’d be an arcade there. And wifi. And a place he could buy cheap headphones. When he grew bored of that, he tried to yank one of his loose teeth out of his head, grossing his brother and mom out.

Dunkin Donuts!
Dunkin Donuts!

At the Dunkin Donuts, The-Youngest had his dream come true. A double-chocolate donut WITH freaking sprinkles. I got to have my double-double (and the same donut as The-Youngest), while The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-world chose a healthier black coffee, and The-Oldest was satisfied with milk and Wifi.

But while he was looking intently at his phone, two girls came in. Same age as him, as near as I can tell these things, and they totally checked him out.

I wanted to jab him and point out what was happening, but that might have been embarrassing for him, so I let him be. But there was no mistaking what the girls did. They huddled close to each other, shot looks over at him, giggled, tried to catch his eye while trying to look like they weren’t interested at all, and played with their hair, smiling in his direction a lot.

The man The-Oldest will become can be seen in this picture
The man The-Oldest will become can be seen in this picture

It made me realize what a transformation The-Oldest has gone through this year. Ok, he’s still largely oblivious to girls, but he’s become quite the handsome boy. Tall and lean. Big brown eyes. Great smile. You can see it in some of the Grand Canyon pictures. You can see the man he’s becoming. (FYI – it makes The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World cry.)

Sadly, he saw nothing of the attention he received. He later explained he was too busy composing in his head, but wasn’t uninterested in hearing that girls might find him, you know, attractive.

Equally sadly, The-Youngest didn’t find his headphones and we weren’t going to let him eat 12 donuts, so for him, he was happy to get on the road, again.

I wondered as we drove off, though, a few years from now, what would The-Oldest have done? Smiled back? Simply ignored them? Gone over and talked to them about Beethoven?

Who knows? That’s the amazing part of watching these boys grow up, deal with how their world changes, how they change, and how what’s important changes.

How lucky am I to be there with them? Maybe to help them along the way. Maybe to be there to support their choices. Their decisions. Maybe to offer sage advice that will likely be completely ignored.

But for today, just being there with them, on something as simplistic as a car ride, made this adventure a thousand times better. And we hadn’t even reached the dam, yet.

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – Cirque Du Dolphin

Cirque Du Dolphin

IMG_3628 (800x600)Is it possible to bugger up a dolphin show?  I would have thought, no, no it’s not. I mean, hey, dolphins are graceful, gentle, sublime, highly social, and seem to have a great sense of humour. Exactly all the things I am not. So  it should have been enough just to watch dolphins. Apparently, it wasn’t.

IMG_3630For some reason Sealand decided it needed to add a sort of cirque du soleil thing. All well and good, but I came to see the cute dolphins. So did the boys. So did the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world.

The oldest was completely mystified. There was a women in a funny costume, sometimes she swam with the dolphins, sometimes she danced on stage. There were people climbing up to a diving board and diving off, climbing up and diving off, climbing…. up and diving… off. And there was a bird flying around.

I dunno why.

Here’s what they say, “Dolphins fly, birds dive and spirits leap in Blue Horizons® — a visionary sea-and-sky spectacular from SeaWorld. Soaring birds, playful dolphins and thrilling aerialists fuse the vibrant energy of two fascinating worlds into a mesmerizing display of dance, flight, color and entertainment.”

Hmmm.

There was a story there, I think.

IMG_3648 (800x600)Maybe it was the sun. Maybe the seats were too hard and compressed my brain, but I didn’t get it. I would have been happy, HAPPY, to see 23 minutes of dolphin fun. Instead, the show was colorful and acrobatic and the people doing it very talented, but as we marched out, we all shrugged.

Meh.

The youngest looked like he wanted to be climb up on one of those diving boards. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world yawned.

Adding cirque du soleil elements was like mixing cheese-whiz and a fine steak in a blender, like changing the classic mustang to the abomination of 1979, like adding Jar-jar to the Star Wars universe.

[wpvideo TYt7dRlA] But I did love seeing the dolphins.

They are truly incredible creatures.

On to something way more fun.