THE MONTHS OF BER: Once More, With FEELING.

And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.

The Team Trolling July 2014 Hangout — Casey's Birthday
With the summer gone, it’s time to cherish the memories, but prepare for an entirely new season ahead with entirely new challenges. Photo Credit: Justin Baisden

With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.

It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD: SodaStream #BubblesMyWay at My First Father’s Day!

These past months with the SodaStream Source have been fun — with summer afoot, I’ve thought up other places I could include the ultra-portable carbonation machine — days out at the park, trips down to the Toronto Islands, parties, hydrating garage sale customers, or even just on more nights out on the patio. Since it doesn’t need to plug in, uses no batteries, is fairly lightweight and pretty compact, there’re many places I can get my Bubbles My Way — I just need to use a little imagination!

SodaStream at Play — Buckled Up
Our little SodaStream was ready for its first road trip to a friend’s place, to share the joy of sparkling drinks!

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD: #BubblesMyWay — Keeping It Mum

For this month’s post, SodaStream asked: “What empowers you?”

What keeps me going more than anything else is knowing I’m making a positive difference in the world. Whether through covering  things people wouldn’t consider otherwise; raising a son that’ll know the key to a successful life is the balance between being respected, respecting others and respecting oneself; or even little things like holding doors, giving up seats, or donating my loose change to someone needing it more than me… I long for a world better than the one we have today.

But much of that positive change has to start from within, and that’s what I hope to show my family this May.

Mother’s Day the Palmer Way

Sarah and the Palmer Kid — In the Nursery

You see it around Christmastime: when people look at the lengthy lists of gifts to buy, wondering how they’ll afford it all. Dinners to plan and parties to attend — you have countless competing priorities crashing together, and only one you to pull it all together!

In some ways, that’s how I feel about May.

For 30 years, I’ve spent Mother’s Day in Mississauga celebrating my mother and everything she’s done for me. But now, with a family of my own it feels… different. I still got my Mom a card (and my grandmother too, as she was up visiting from Jamaica) and braved our rotten Toronto traffic to stop by and say “Hi”, but after years trying to top the gifts from those before, I don’t think anyone can beat what we gave her last year….

Sarahpalooza

Sarah and the Palmer Kid, circa December 2013
This May, we’re celebrating Sarah’s 1st Mother’s Day, our 3rd wedding anniversary, and her birthday (I’d tell you the number, but sometimes you need to value your life more than you do accuracy!) With so many milestones afoot in the span of mere weeks, I want to give her the world without the disposable income or time that we used to have. Parenthood is by no means a light undertaking, and I want to use this month to remind Sarah that not only is she a great Mom, but also a great wife and great woman as well. We’re both trying to figure parenting out daily, but she bears the brunt of both great experiences and bad as she spends her days with the little guy, so I wanted to do something to really show how much I appreciate it. With cards from myself and the little guy, a few little gifts and some time to relax on our patio while I kept him entertained, I think we were off to a good start.

The Palmer Family

So with a foot in your old life and another in the new, what do you do? Celebrate the woman who gifted you with life or the one who blessed you with a child of your own? Obviously, the answer is both, but it’s not an easy balance to keep. Though you’ve got a kid, you’ll never stop being someone else’s — a reality you’ll need to constantly revisit through your entire parental journey. Though reconciling this is my battle to face, Sarah has a journey as well — and not only her own, but that with all the other mothers she’s befriended in such a short time!

What REALLY Empowers Me?

This past weekend marked six months since we became parents. Over that time, Sarah’s not only excelled as a mother, she’s also been honing her innate community manager skills as the admin of a self-created Facebook group 150+ members strong for Moms with kids born in November 2013! Those bonds have translated over to our lives as well in our East York baby boomtown, with plenty of new Mom friends in our neighbourhood to share walks, parenting programs, coffee visits and dinners.

SodaStream Classic — Side of Box

Through this group, we discovered that some of the other Moms use SodaStreams, too, using their machines to customize the drinks they have daily, which is important, because as new parents, we need to model better choices for our children, whether it’s what we put in our bodies, how we treat the environment or how we spend our money. I’ve gotten many questions about the SodaStream since the first blog post came out, so it’s good to know that I’ve got some real-life examples to point out if anyone ever needs to discuss how it can affect their life.

So thank you, Sarah — my other half, my BFF and mother of my child. I’ll try to make this month — and this life — as special as I can for you. It’s a long road ahead, but I think we’ve got what it takes to make it work. You and our son are what empower me, and I hope I never forget that.

–case p.

Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with SodaStream Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. You can connect with SodaStream Canada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their website!

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD: Having Some #BubblesMyWay at My Son’s Baby Dedication!

What’s up, world?!

I know, I know it’s been a bit, but when you’re balancing three competing yet utterly important parts of your life, they don’t always play well together!

But while I’m weeks behind for my monthly wrap-up, there’re tales to be told before I get there, starting with a celebration for my (not-so-) little guy and how we quenches the thirst of dozens with as little fuss and muss as possible!

Baby Dedications: Because Little Guys Don’t Stay Little FOREVER

You know who had his baby dedication this past weekend?

This guy.

The Little One's Dedication — A Happy Little Guy

It’s kind of ironic that Baptist Christians do baby dedications instead of child baptisms, but with a Dad who slipped and splashed into the baptismal tank back when he did his in ’09, I’ll take what I can get.

#100HappyDays — Five Days in the Life of Casey Palmer, Father Blogger

When Sarah got me doing the #100HappyDays, I thought it’d be a good exercise to teach me how to write shorter posts, giving my readers a break from the lengthy novellas I usually write.  A daily picture with a short description — not that hard, right? Except that all too soon, I’d lapse back to my old habits, and contextualized them with lengthy stories instead of posting pictures that simply spoke for themselves (a thousand words and all)!

It worked well enough until I just didn’t have the energy to keep it up.

With enough real-time stuff to keep me busy (visiting my parents in Mississauga, celebrating a friend’s birthday and having company over); side projects to work on (archiving old drawings at 1200 dpi so I can resurrect my Fish ‘n’ Chimps webcomic, marathoning through Seinfeld and playing this stupid game); and of course, the stuff that pays the bills and keeps my family flourishing (spending time with Sarah and our son, writing for The Hooray Collective, PTPA and other clients, and — of course — the 9-5), the weekend got away from me, the blog posts I planned to write fleeting with it.

But stumbling blocks only last forever if you let them win, and my blog posts won’t write themselves!

Welcome back, Mr. Palmer — it’s time to get your blog on!

A WEEK IN THE LIFE… Sodas, Saving and Bowling

Sunday, May 5th – May 11th, 2013

Not all weeks are created equal. Some have events that you may have waited ages for, like a vacation, a birthday or a milestone in your life – but some will pass by in the blink of an eye, without you fully realising what you did or why you did it.

So, in the spirit of making the most of the life I have, every now and then I’d like to put together posts called “A Week in the Life…”, a quick look at the madness I get up to and the lessons I learn from my experiences (if any).

Let’s start with May 5th through 11th!

SUNDAY the 5th

Saw Iron Man 3, and despite some clever one-liners, was generally underwhelmed by the closing act of the Iron Man trilogy. Also planned some downtime — a picnic down at the Toronto Islands, because you can’t be on “go time” all the time.

MONDAY the 6th

Went to ING Canada’s #SaverSearch as a +1 and got to see the launch of their ING Superstar Saver Search with their special guests and partners, Walk Off the Earth 🙂

TUESDAY the 7th

Hit up the Scarborough Dishcrawl to see what Wexford Heights had to offer.

WEDNESDAY the 8th

Got an email from Nicole letting me know that we were only a week away from BiSC and to get ready!

THURSDAY the 9th

I took Sarah to Kraft’s SodaStream promo events at 2nd Floor Events.

What we got:

  • SodaStream-carbonated drinks
  • appetizers
  • a SodaStream source and Country Time lemonade mix
  • candy

How it was:

Okay. Mostly mingled and took photos; we had a good chat with someone we met named Avery about travel, Twitter and how the Internet is changing the way we live. But the SodaStream is ridiculously amazing! We’d put it in action at Sarah’s birthday party later in the week (see below)

Danforth Pizza House

FRIDAY the 10th

Got together with some fellow Ingress players from the Enlightened faction at Pour Girl to socialize…

A Week in the Life May 11 2013 (8 of 39)

…and later hit up Bite Bar to get what would turn out to be some delicious miniature cupcakes… (Buytopia Deal: http://www.buytopia.ca/deal/3546/?a_aid=4de9b34e683ca?skip=true&a_aid=casepam)

 

 

…ending the day with some Indian from Banjara Indian Cuisine, eaten with Sarah’s siblings to celebrate her birthday 🙂

weekend 11-12 pics-1

SATURDAY the 11th

We wrapped up the week with Sarah and a number of her friends to celebrate a milestone birthday that I won’t mention any more specifics on. It was a good time at the house and at Danforth Bowl, and I’m prettysure she enjoyed herself!

Until next time,

–case p.