2016: It Wasn’t A Total Dumpster Fire

As the year closes, I have been pulled in by my computer to put a stamp on 2016, in my own words. If you simply live your life through your social feed, it has been a shitty one. So many celebs we grew up with passing away, the whole Trump thing and an endless supply of other WTF moments. While I agree the last 365 days have been overall bad, I do want to focus on all the good, especially when it comes to my personal life.

Remember, life is how you look at it, so I suggest stop dwelling in the negative and celebrate the good times a lot more.

January

January was a bitter-sweet month for me. On the one hand we were preparing to move into our new house. Buying new furniture, getting new light fixtures and getting out of the apartment we had grown tired of. It was awesome and very exciting for the whole family. Our very own Toronto home. But at the same time I was just becoming unemployed. The small amount of severance was kicking in and soon I would be on the hunt for a job. At least I had the new house thing to keep me busy and not sad. Everything was new and it was a fresh start in many ways.

The boys had a great holidays and they too were excited about moving. Harry would remain at Howard for the remainder of Grade 1. Even the weather was decent as the winter was not very snowy or cold for that matter.

Not the best start to a new year, but the house thing sure made up for any downer news that was to come in 2016.

Only a few weeks in but it's safe to say we feel very welcome. Thanks #parkdale

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February

Always a hard month. Everyone is tired of the cold, the sore ankles of walking on bumpy ice, the fact that there was still many weeks until spring. February was all about moving in and setting up the new house. We hung our first TV, enjoyed some new Netflix gear and Harry finished up his time at Kumon. Looking back at where Harry came from with his reading, I can’t tell you enough how much Kumon helped him.

I had a few interviews for jobs and actually thought my time as an unemployed guy would be brief. But hey, it’s all luck and timing I think. Nothing took so I kept going. At least I had this blog to keep me interested and a new neighbourhood to explore. The Home Hardware near us seemed to become my number one place to go to. Oh and I can’t forget our first ever family trip to Medieval Times.

Want to win 4 free tickets to #medieviltimes #toronto ? Read the link in the comments and enter. #contest

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March

March always gives me energy. The days start to get longer, there is a lot of basketball to watch and the snow starts to disappear. Still no bites on the job front, but I was enjoying my time at home unpacking, watching shows like Boardwalk Empire from start to finish and doing whatever was needed so the other family members could flourish in what they were doing. That’s exactly what the boys were doing. Flourishing as young men. All of their teachers would comment on how nice and behaved they were. We always found that to be funny as we know what they can be like at home.

Harry reading to Charlie on a rainy morning. #brothers

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April

Oh April, such a month of highs and lows. The highs included Katie going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with her Dad to Italy. I am sure she still can’t enjoy food like she did during those magical two weeks. There was an amazing buzzer beater to close out the Final Four. There was simply the fact that the weather was changing and I was having some second and third interviews for jobs. Everything was building up to something great. I could feel the force turning my way. Then 2016 tapped me on the shoulder and said, not so fast.

April was also the month where my family changed like it has never changed before. My Dad had a stroke and to be honest it did not look good. I spent a week back home helping out and just being there. But from the first time I saw my Dad post-stroke until now, it’s amazing how good he looks. Yes, things will never be the same. He has some permanent damage that will keep him in a nursing home, but all-in-all I think it has turned out as good as it could. There was a lot of work for my Mom and sister to do and I think they have made it out the other side and are now moving forward. But man, it was rough. The drive to Sarnia and the drive home, really gave you time to think.

Life does things in a weird way and everything has a reason and an outcome you can learn from. At the minimum it juts made me think about the relationship I want to have with our boys going forward and try to do everything I can for them to be happy.

Yes April was hard. Thank goodness for new and exciting things like Harry starting tee ball and the oncoming nice weather so we could use our new backyard. Also celebrating Katie’s 40th was a great night.

Happy birthday Katie from all of us to you………..

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May

  • Raptors still playing.
  • No job yet.
  • Windows open.
  • Harry dominating at tee ball.
  • My phone camera broke.
  • Taught boys to play Monopoly.
  • The Big Green Egg was back in full production.
  • Charlie got his first non baby passport.

June

June is always one of my fave months, mostly because it means summer, the end of school and my birthday. 2016, it was the month Ali died. One of the greatest and true legends of our time was gone. For me that’s when the spiral of famous deaths started.

But again, enough of the sad. June was a time for baseball. Harry went with Nana to their first Jays game together and started what I think will be a long tradition. I got to hang out with my cousin Kevin who I had not seen for decades. That was great. I got to have a family birthday full of great food and fun times. Oh and to close out Grade 1, Harry and I had an adventure day in Kensington Market.

Maybe June was the turning point. I also had a really good job interview on my birthday that I will talk about more once we get to July.

July

The month it all got better. The month it all returned to normal. The month where I left the house finally. Yes I got the job I interviewed for on my birthday. Go figure.

But before heading back to work, July was all about:

  • BBQ dinners
  • Charlie soccer games
  • Tee ball nights
  • Weekend trips to new parks
  • Hunting for outdoor furniture
  • A visit from old friends from NS
  • Our first family Blue Jays game that happened to be on the hottest day of the earth
  • Anniversary dinner with my wife
  • And finally, our first ever real coffee table

July was awesome. July was a turning point that said 2016 may not be so bad after all.

August

August was mostly a transition month. Getting into new routines of who is dropping and picking kids up and the whole two parents working thing again. The new job turned out to be really good and a place I hope to be at for some time. One big milestone that kicked off August was the 10 year anniversary of having our car. A decade of the Malibu. Crazy. I figure it has a few more years left in her.

August again was mostly about backyard bbqs, playing in the alley and enjoying the summer. Thankfully we figured out how to make one air conditioner cool the whole house so that was a bonus. The Olympics took over the boy’s lives for two weeks as they loved watching all the athletes. It was the first Summer version that Charlie had ever seen. Soccer and tee ball wrapped up and it was time to get ready for back to school.

September

Why was Trump still a thing? Why was he still in the conversation at this point?

The boys started school together at Parkdale PS. It is a five minute walk from our house. They transitioned amazingly. Harry went into Grade 2 and Charlie started JK. It was probably harder on us as we had to get used to a new school/daycare and how it operated. September also means Harry’s birthday. He celebrated his seventh at LEGO Land with a friend.

At this point we had gotten to know our new neighbourhood pretty well and were loving it.

Oh and we closed off the month with a very funny Jim Gaffigan show.

October

The busy month. This month was jam-packed with stuff both fun and not fun.

  • Adele concert
  • Charlie’s fourth birthday
  • The Blue Jays postseason run
  • Big family Thanksgiving at our place
  • Harry really excelling at school with his reading and writing
  • A fun KFC blog outing
  • A weekend with just the boys as Katie went to Winnipeg
  • Halloween with our neighbours
  • A return to the gym for me
  • A downtown screening of The Crown

November

The month where 2016 really took a dark turn leading with the whole Trump becoming President thing. What a crazy night that was. I have no idea what is in store for 2017.

November was a grind it out month as Katie and I were really busy at work with various big projects. The days were darker and outside time was coming to a close.

Can you tell I am getting tired as I recap the year?

Anyone know these guys? #brothers

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December

We made it. We made it to Christmas holidays. Congrats to us. What a busy year. What a big year in our family. The new house, the new job, the boys doing so well in school, Katie going to Italy etc.

We had a drip, the drip was sounding costly. In the end the drip had a cost, but it was not so bad. When you own a house, a drip is the last thing you want to hear. The end.

Our Five Fave Things of 2016

Michael

  • Seeing Harry hit a real fast ball for the first time and Charlie almost score a goal in soccer
  • New job
  • Hanging a light fixture all by myself
  • Moving into house
  • Getting a gas range for the first time

Harry

  • Learning how to swim
  • Christmas
  • Moving to new house
  • Grade 2
  • Playing real baseball and getting a hit almost every time.

Katie

  • Moving to new house
  • Me starting a new job
  • New niece
  • Going to Italy
  • Family trip to Blue Jays game

Charlie

  • Starting a new school
  • Going to the ice cream store
  • Swimming
  • Getting flowers for mom
  • Christmas

Happy New Year everyone. May 2017 treat us all as we deserve.

Michael Cusden
Michael is the creator of Like A Dad and uses his daily experiences of being a parent and a marketing dude as his content. Always looking to connect with other parents and bloggers.