Monday, 2 February 2015

Life Flies By

This space has been silent for a while.  I would love to regale you with some more of my revered poetic musings but today my rhyming mechanism lays dormant.  I have been busy living life, complete with all that it entails.  Exciting things I get to do include grocery shopping, shoveling snow, and running loads of laundry (yes I did some so I can say this without being offed by my lady).  While I am not busy with fun such as the above, I managed to find time to do more arduous things such as: read 4 books already in 2015, play more poker this month then I have in any month in the past 3 years, attend the most boring junior hockey game I have ever witnessed, get to the pool 2 or 3 times every week, and much more.

The routine is what it is.  Most of the things in the routine I have selected.  The problem with a routine is that even if it is filled with fun stuff that you chose, routines all grow tiresome.  I really have been enjoying the extra poker sessions but I know too much of a good thing is always going to become a bad thing.  Of the 6 movies currently playing at the local theatre, I have seen 4 of them.  Again, too much of a good thing?  One thing that never gets old is spending time with my Jasmine and my Asher.  I really like that I have a nearly 12 year old daughter and a recently turned 4 year old son.  They have completely different things that they are into.  They are both willing to try new things when I or Sheila suggest them.

Asher's personality is developing so rapidly that I am having a hard time believing some of things he is saying and doing these days.  Just in the last couple of months it is like a little switch went off in his noggin and suddenly he cares deeply about others.  He has always loved Mom, Dad, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncles and Aunts and cousins.  Now, Asher has started to take notice of other children and when they may or may not need something from him.  I've noticed a series of little things that have made me proud.  A toddler girl tipped over on her scooter at Strong Start and before I or the girl's mom could notice, Asher ran over to get her upright despite the fact that he was deeply engaged in a game of soccer with another friend.  A ball rolls away from another child, and Asher is there to hand it back.  A man drops a book at the library and Asher is itching to be the one in grabs it and passes it back.  Asher has been lucky enough to meet a new friend at Strong Start who just moved to Prince George from South Africa.  His buddy is 4 just like him and enjoys soccer during gym time and doing puzzles.  Last week, Asher and he spent the morning following each other around making sure they were doing the same things that the other was doing. 

 I know that many people would have a hard time believing it, but my just turned 4 year old son and I can hang out like buddies do.  I curb the potty mouth (even words like bum and darn get you a scolding from Asher), but otherwise I talk to my son much the same way I talk to friends.  We share stories about the wrestling match we watched the other day, then decide we should wrestle ourselves.  We like to grab a few quarters and head to the video game store to play Ninja Turtles.  We have been wearing out the new hockey net that Santa brought for Asher.  Asher loves his board games, but his favourite is to play poker with me.  He play poker with only a few modifications, and he already has a taste for winning.  I get very dramatic when he beats me, and this makes him all the more excited to win.  I raised the other night, then Asher responded by shoving his chips towards me with one hand.  Loose aggressive would describe him as he turned over a Q-8 offsuit after I called.

My favourite day recently was a couple of weeks ago when we spent the day doing all sorts of fun stuff.  Asher's birthday was January 11th and my gift to him was a letter.  In the letter I invited him to hang out with me for the day on January 15th, then I provided a list of activities.  It was up to Asher to pick 3 things that we would do that day.  I included a few things on the list that he was familiar with, but I also threw in a few new activities.  In the end, the whole day came off great.  We started by driving a few minutes out of town to the cross country skiing complex.  After we strapped our rental skis on, we spent a little time testing them out.  Asher had some fun marching around and we found a small hill to glide down but before long he was looking forward to the next activity.  I managed to squeeze a bit more skiing out of him before it was time to move on.  We were off to the bowling alley, where Asher is an old pro.  He has about 10 bowling games under his belt already. I have never used the gutter sausages or the ball ramp for him.  Ash tosses the balls all on his own.  Fittingly, his birthday game he scored a 62, a new high for him.  He loves it, and he is good.  Afterwards, we got the score printed out and Asher had fun chatting up the proprietor of the lanes.  He had to tell him about his big day and with his new found caring about others style even asked the guy: "Hey, do you like to go skiing?  Cuz I do, we just went."  I like that he seems to be just the right amount of shy around strangers.  Once he had figured out that this guy was friendly, well, he might as well be friendly too.  After that, I surprised Asher by starting to walk away from where we had parked.  Around a couple of corners we came to the video game store where we have been paying fairly regular visits.  We spent some time mashing buttons while beating up the bad guys on the old school Ninja Turtles game before moving on to some car racing and finally some shooting.  The little guy is even pretty good at video games.  He gets so into the Ninja Turtles game, hollering at all the bad guys, hollering when he gets hit, quarters well spent for sure.  The other store patrons and the shop owner all seem to get a kick out of this tiny kid on the milk crate smashing away.  All that fun had us pretty hungry so off to find some food were we.

We arrived at Costco to find that the pizza and hot dog shop was shutdown for renovations.  The situation gave me another chance to be a proud dad.  My son doesn't throw public tantrums.  He gets upset sometimes, sure.  He really only gets grumpy or rude when he is tired he has just woken up.  I know lots of children would have broken down after seeing that they weren't going to be able to have pizza and a sundae.  Not Asher.  We browsed the big televisions then made our way through the grocery section scooping a handful of different samples.  This prompted Asher to turn to me and say: "Dad!  I don't think we even need lunch!"  We filled our faces enough and then we were off to the YMCA for our final stop.  We changed into our gym strip and had blast for a few hours.  Playing tag in the kids gym, playing fooseball, playing ping pong, then ultimately shooting some hoops in the gym.  We went upstairs and lifted a few weights before calling it a day.  I was exhausted and so was Ash.  He fell asleep in the car on the way home and I couldn't have been happier with the way the day turned out. 

After gushing excessively about the little man and all the fun we have together I would entirely remiss if I didn't mention just how grown up and mature my girl Jasmine has become.  While Asher and I spend a ton of time together, my time with Jasmine is at more of a premium because it seems she keeps herself very busy.  The last couple of weeks Jasmine has not only been playing for her club basketball team "the Wings", but she has also joined the Malaspina girls basketball team.  That has meant practicing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  This week "the Wings" played at halftime of the University game on Saturday, then had a longer game to play the next morning.  I haven't had the chance to see her in action too often due to my work schedule, but I have seen a couple of games this year.  As the young kids say these days, Jasmine has been flat out killing it.  At 11 years old, Jasmine has grown a lot in the last few years.  She stands 5'6" tall and is a solid 120 pounds.  She is starting to realize that her physical attributes are a huge advantage on the basketball court.  Asher and I watched her last week and she was able to score almost at will.  She used a jump stop and tossed in a jump shot from about 10 feet.  She snatched a rebound and threw it back up for another basket.  She found a teammate on a breakout with a powerful chest pass.  Jasmine has played more basketball then most of the other girls, this being her fourth year in the league, and it shows.  She is very friendly and lacks aggression while playing sports.  I've made that point with her this year that she could flat out dominate if she gives 100% effort on both offense and defense.  It doesn't come naturally to her, she is definitely into sports for the fun and social aspect.  There have been a few indicators though that tell me she flat out wants to be a great basketball player.  After I took her to her game one Sunday before Christmas she asked me in the car if I thought she was more likely to get a College scholarship for basketball or for soccer.  Not ready for the question I gave her a very diplomatic response.  "Jas, I think it's too early to tell.  If you work really hard you never know.  Basketball is going pretty well, but I know you are a good soccer player too."  She seemed happy with that.  While Jasmine isn't overly competitive, and scores aren't kept in her club games, she always keeps track of how many baskets she has scored.  The one game I watched, every time she scored she would throw up a number of fingers to indicate how many baskets she had scored.  A tad self-indulgent?  Sure.  I couldn't help but smile though.  Not only has Jasmine been busy with basketball, but her Girl Guides and her social life keep her quite active as well.  She doesn't seem to be avoiding hanging out with Dad just yet, so I need to take advantage of my opportunities now before it's too late.

Jasmine and I have been busy bonding lately over music.  There are a number of musicians that both she and I really like, and even a few songs that Asher, Jasmine and I all get into.  On our way to the pool, or the library or wherever we are headed the 3 of us will all belt out the lyrics to Asher's favorite song "Hey Brother" by Avicii.  Jasmine loves to control the stereo, often going back to Classified's "Inner Ninja".  Asher loves this one too, tweaking the words a bit as he shouts out "fighta ninja!" when the punch line hits.  We were all flattened when we heard that news that Classified will be in Prince George later this month for an outdoor concert as part of the Canada Winter Games.  There are concerts going on throughout the games and there a few that we want to see for sure, as well as many other interest acts that we might check out.

The whole family and the chance to go to the movie theatre a couple weeks ago and take in "Paddington".  The movie has been reviewed remarkably well, scoring 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, likely to be one of the best scores of 2015.  It didn't disappoint.  I like kids movies.  I have embraced them as a parent, and for the most part they are very enjoyable.  In 2014, The Lego Movie and Big Hero 6 were amongst my favorite movies of any genre.  This one could have been "too cute" when considering the premise.  A family finds a talking bear and after agreeing to provide temporary care for him, eventually this leads to him winning over the reluctant dad who helps the rest of the family save Paddington from the evil taxidermist.  Did I mention that this movie utilized the dreaded live action/cgi mixed format?  I know, this cheesy story line and movie formatting almost always turns out terribly.  In this case, the exact opposite occurred.  Jasmine laughed a ton, Asher was somewhat  distracted by his munchies, but the loudest laughers were Sheila and I.  A great deal of fun.  As I mentioned earlier, I have seen 4 of the 6 movies currently at the theatre.  If your curious, American Sniper (4 out of 5), The Imitation Game (4 1/2 out of 5), Project Almanac (3 out of 5) and Paddington (4 1/2 out of 5).  Sheila and I have a date planned for tomorrow to see Birdman which has received a glut of award nominations.  It should be good, an extremely well reviewed comedy is a rare treat these days.

With that, I bid you adieu.  Have a great week all!

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