Will I Grow Beard or Not?

This guy looks like he loves his beard…

I’ve heard that growing beard is one of the trends for men nowadays but I just can’t think of what is keeping me to grow this facial hair. I’m wondering if my wife will approve of this or what will my kids think of the new look that I am planning to work on.

I have a lot of thoughts about growing facial hair. I feel skeptical that in doing this I can improve my masculinity as way back when my wife and I were in college, she strongly disapproves about growing beards. Well, if I really want to look that appealing to others, I should look appealing to my wife first, right?

Another concern about growing facial hair is its effect on my kids. I’ve seen them scramming out the door when they saw their Uncle Tony who has a long beard as long as that of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Of course I don’t want them to feel the same way for me, so I’m really not growing my beard that long at all.

However, there is no way that we can stop the trend in men nowadays and there is no way that I will not have hair grown on my face even for the first and last time in my life. I have researched on various ways how to go about growing facial hair fast as well as techniques on how to properly trim your beard to make you look like your favorite Hollywood star. I know these things will help in make me improve my looks.

No matter what happens I will do my best to make my family accept my new look.

I remember my wife saying that beards look dirty and this is my chance to prove her wrong. I’ve read about beard grooming which includes tips on how to keep your beard neat and clean all the time so I’ve got all the help I need. I know that everything will turn out fine once I’ve seen the results after growing facial hair. It’s just a matter of having my family accept the new me. Hoping that my wife think of me as her handsome Hollywood star kinda’ guy and my kids’ think of me as their neat daddy.

I never knew that growing beard can be this challenging for anybody. However, I am never losing hope. I know one day I can shift my look from a clean looking office guy to a neat bearded hunk.  Maybe one day, it can be something my son and I bond over!

Knife Skills Transcend Gender

Men and women are different, just as boys and girls are different.  One viewpoint of feminism is that “women are exactly the same as men,” but that’s simply not true, and it is our very differences that make us special.  We have different levels of hormones in our bodies (testosterone and estrogen to name two), and that is just one factor that causes us to behave differently, have different interests, etc.

I see this difference every day with my children.  My wife and I try to be very conscious about not putting gender stereotypes onto our children.  My children get in trouble equally if they go out and play in the mud on a rainy day; my daughter does not get in trouble more because it is “unlady like” to be dirty.  When my daughter signed up for dance lessons, I had my son take one season of dance as well.

The differences between boys and girls can be a challenge when you want to do things together and find an activity that interests everyone somewhat equally.  My children are getting old enough that it is time to start teaching them about knives and knife skills.  I think everyone should have some knowledge of kitchen knives (not just women), and I also think everyone should have some knowledge of survival knives (not just men).  This was a great learning experience that we could all share together.  Here are some resources that I used.

  1. This article gives a good high overview of all the steps that go into making a knife.  I used this for a general appreciation of the tool.  Like money, knives do not “grow on trees.”
  2. There are different things you would look for in a survival vs a kitchen knife, and this site is a good start for an overview on survival knives.
  3. Zack Knives has great documentation on custom knives, including how to sharpen your knife.
  4. There are websites that focus on the artistry that goes along with custom knives, like the ones on LA knife maker.  This site discusses whether or not you should even use your knives or whether you should display them!
  5. Knives can also be used for self-defense, and there are pros and cons to trying to use them in this manner instead of as a tool.

Learning about knives together, as a family, allowed us to undertake lots of different activities, from cooking in the kitchen, to whittling, to camping.  It was a fun experience, and also taught my kids responsibility.

Read this post to see what other activities I do with my family!

His first bike! Bonding with my son over a shared passion

This week has been an especially exciting one for the family. Mostly for Jimmy, but for the rest of us too.

Now, getting your first bike is a milestone in any kid’s life and sort of the beginning of a new era in childhood. It’s actually just as exciting for parents too! At least I had a really fun time teaching my son! Teaching him how to pedal with training wheels, balancing, kissing cuts and scrapes, encouraging him after multiple crashes and wobbles, and in the end, seeing the look on his face when he was ripping down the sidewalk all on his own. It was like learning to ride my own bike all over again! Of course, this sounds a bit like a fairytale and happened a few years ago and Jimmy’s been riding his bike pretty much daily since then.

Jimmy often comes for rides with me on my motorbike around town or on a little father-son bonding road trip. We do a lot of fun activities together, but he has really taken a shining to motorcycles. He painted model cars and bikes which are just littering his dresser top and bookcase now. There is no doubt in my mind he’s going to end up a lot like me!

Anyways, back to the good part of the story. Last weekend my wife and I were talking and decided to look into motor bikes for kids (don’t worry, these aren’t bikes to be ridden on the road by children – mostly just dirt bikes with cool bodies). It’s summer, spirits are high and kids should be spending more time outdoors (I’ve also taught my kids how to fish, which is great in the summer)! This just seemed like a no-brainer for Jimmy after having shared so much of my passion with him, and seeing it become a passion of his own.

So we broke the news to him, mentioning that it will be an early birthday present (his birthday is a few months away). He had absolutely no problem with this and was just so excited that he’ll be able to ride it around all summer and fall. The look on his face was something I’ll never forget!

Before I took him out to pick one up, I was very clear with him about the rules he has to accept when riding it. He has to stay either on our property (back or front yard and driveway), within eyesight if we go for a walk or bicycle ride as a family, and he must wear a helmet. I trust him, I really do. I just don’t trust other people riding or driving nearby. Anything can happen at any given time and I’m a firm believer in prevention of accidents. He agreed, and wanted to pick out the coolest motorbike helmet he could find. With so many options, I think we spent more time looking at helmets than we did looking at bikes! He was ecstatic, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be bonding with him like this. Once we picked out a helmet and a bike, the first thing we did when we got home was get it running and grab a camera. He was the one who wanted a cool-guy photo with his new bike!

I can’t wait to teach him more as he grows up into a smart and talented young man. I’m beyond thrilled that he’s taken such a liking to motor bikes, and I hope I can teach him how to drive a real one someday!

60th Family Birthday Party

18th. 21st. 30th. 40th. 50th – all these are just important birthday milestone rehearsals for the real big one: the 60th birthday.

And if milestone birthdays are often associated with poking fun at the guest of honour’s age and making a big deal of the fact they are getting older, that gets a little bit insensitive when they hit ripe old 6-0. So when it comes to 60th birthday parties, you should definitely avoid poking fun at the guest of honour’s age.

Not offending everyone and the guest of honour is one thing, but how do you go about planning a party for people of this age? Here’s how I planned mine.

Invitations

Along with the where, when, and RSVP details, use appropriate greetings for the front cover of the invitation indicating the specific party theme and consider some of the classic headlines, such as: “Aged to Perfection”, “Sexy Sixty” or “Sweet 60″. I personally went with “The Big 6 – Oh!” to add a bit of personal humor. But remember, sixty is the beginning of retirement stage, and most people consider turning sixty a significant turning point. So the idea is to be respectful and help them look forward to their senior years in a positive way. This can be done by focusing on their vitality and celebrating their accomplishments in life. So be sensitive of appearing too rude.

Themes

The obvious and popular theme is to take a trip down memory lane and style the party in a particular decade, like the 50s, 60s or 70s. One thing I will say is that if the sixty-year old/s were born towards the end of a certain decade, it might be best to theme the party in the following decade, as it’s likely the guest of honor has better memories of that time period.

I personally went with a sports theme. My dad has always been a massive football fan so we started with a good bit of food, with my new smoker as the centre of early festivities. We then all congregated inside to watch Saturday’s big game, before rounding off the night with music and drink. Which leads me on to the next point…

Music

What’s a party without good music? Think of the special person turning sixty and you’re sure to come up with a good playlist. But remember, don’t stress the age aspect. The last thing most women want to hear when turning 60 is that they are turning 60.

If anything, take the focus off of age. Play upbeat music and dance. Have fun. Put the focus on something that the person is looking forward to or on things they enjoy. Maybe something like Donny Osmond. Everybody loves Mr Osmond, don’t they?

Gift ideas

Gift-giving at a 60th birthday party doesn’t take a lot of imagination – whether it be 10 six-packs of beer, 5 dozen roses, or 60 lottery tickets.

If you want to be a little more creative, why not do something more personal by arranging a memory book or scrapbook filled with favourite photos and keepsakes. Ask friends and loved ones to e-mail special birthday wishes well in advance to be included with the photos, or print-out the e-mails and pin them up separately on a decorated bulletin board.

And of course…food!  I wouldn’t recommend teaching your kids how to make cake or cookies for an important party – my sugar cookie disaster says it all!

 

Locked Outside by a Three-Year Old Kid

Have you ever been locked out of your own house before? I have, and it wasn’t a nice experience! Luckily, I can look back on the whole ordeal and laugh, but it wasn’t funny at the time.

Squirrel Shenanigans

One morning last July, I was busy in the kitchen preparing a snack for my youngest boy, Brendan. His brothers were already at school, and my husband at work, so we had the house to ourselves.

Our kitchen looks out onto the front lawn, so while I was mashing a banana, I could see the little squirrel my two older sons had been trying to tame scurrying here and there under the trees.

As I watched, the squirrel decided to conquer the mailbox. He climbed up it easily enough and sat on the top for a while, and then attempted the journey down. Unfortunately, he caught hold of the handle and the door swung open, and the poor little squirrel went crashing to the floor!

The Squirrel Whisperer

Once he’d recovered from the shock, the squirrel saw this as the perfect opportunity to climb inside the mailbox. I didn’t want him making a mess in there, so I raced out the front door, leaving it open, and ran down to the mail box. I began talking softly and gently tapping on the back of the box to coax him out.

Just as I thought my tactics were working, I heard a slam. The front door was shut – the wind must have blown it closed! Now, when our front door shuts, that’s it – you need a key to open it from the outside.

Devil Child

I ran back up to the door and banged loudly. Brendan was only three at the time, but I figured it was worth a try to get him to open it. That’s when I heard him giggling. It turns out we should have named him Damien – it hadn’t been the wind at all; he’d pushed the door closed!

I tried to shout instructions to him through the door, and I could hear him trying, but he couldn’t turn the latch.

There I was, stuck outside in my old gray T-shirt and leggings, with no way of getting back inside!

Back Inside at Last

My first thought was to try next door, because they have a spare key for emergencies, but no one was home. I then went round the back of our house and tapped on the glass sliding door to get Brendan’s attention. I managed to persuade him to unlock that door and finally got back inside. He found the whole thing hilarious!

You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson after that, but a few days later Brendan managed to lock himself in the bathroom. I managed to open the lock by poking it with a screwdriver and luckily he hadn’t done any damage.

The lesson I’ve learnt is to always take my keys with me. You never know when you’re going to need them!