Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 5

Dear Little Dragon,

It’s been a fantastic year for you. You’ve grown a lot. Physically about 3 inches, emotionally you’ve matured a lot.

You finished your first year of école and learned a lot:

  • Counting to 100,
  • Your letters, the sounds, and the alphabet,
  • The days of the week,
  • The months of the year,
  • Numbers,
  • How to use a computer for meetings,
  • and a lot more.

You’ve learned a lot of non-école stuff too:

  • You’ve gotten very good at video games, understanding how to move your characters and use items etc.
  • You’re great at baking with me, measuring, dumping, and stirring.
  • Making up games to play with Adrien.
  • Acrobatics. You do awesome flips.

Potty training feels like a distant memory, you’re doing amazing. I’m so glad we don’t have to fight with you as often, although you still hate being told to go pee.

When you were barely able to talk, you pointed at the peanut butter jar and said, “Walmart.” I asked how you knew and you pointed at the logo on the side. When we went on trips you’d point out stores that you knew, or billboards for shows. You’re still doing things like that and with even more nuance. You can recognize the graphics and style of a Miyazaki film from the tiny Totoro and understand that it’s the same company, not a series.

The past year has seen you get a little pickier with your food. It’s no longer just not wanting to try new food, you’re starting to have very definite likes and dislikes. You love sweet dips but can’t stand gravy, you love chicken nuggets and strips, but can’t stand stuffed chicken. You love spaghetti and dislike lasagna and chilli. You also don’t like food that’s messy that you have to eat with your hands, like pizza or tacos. I’m starting to wonder if you’re not a fan of melted cheese.

We did a lot of cooking and baking together, you and I, for your homeschool. It was a lot of fun and I liked your excitement at making new things.

I feel like I’m getting a clearer picture of who you will grow up to be. You’re sweet, confident, stubborn, clever, and empathic. You’re a lot like your mum and that’s a good thing. I look forward to seeing who you are later, but I’m not in any rush. I’m loving who you are now.

I hope your fifth year sees a vaccine for you and a return to society for all of us. I can’t wait to do another convention with you and travel. I love the way you see the world.

Happy Birthday Little Dragon!

I love you lots!

Papa

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! AKA working with your partner.

Hello people,

I’m extremely lucky to have found a partner who I can spend lots of time with, who I can talk with until ridiculous o’clock in the morning, and who I can work with efficiently and happily.

Of course we have our problems and our disagreements, but I think we’re handling them okay. At least I hope we are.

Jen and I on our first Christmas as a couple back in 2005.
Look at those baby faces.

Ten-ish years ago I ran a D20 modern game that was effectively my spin on Stargate. Jen played a character who was both awesome and badass. At one point I introduced a mafia/pizza restaurant owning superhero. He was supposed to be a one time character but the group kept bringing him back and Jen’s character developed a relationship with him.

When the game ended, we talked about their story and then it slowly faded into my subconscious.

Fast forward to five years ago and a very sleep deprived me. I was doing NaNoWriMo and felt like I needed two alien hunting characters. I used the ones from our game as a stand in.

A year ago, I mentioned it to Jen and we started talking about it. The more we talked, the more we planned, until finally I said we should write a book about them. We discussed it for over four months as I was trying (and failing) to finish other novels.

January 1st we started. As of today we have roughly 78,000 words and 21 of 26 chapters written in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Jen has been so excited that we also have 3 short stories and the basic plot of the next 2 books discussed.

(That’s approximately 1100 words a day or 2.3 chapters per week.)

I’ve never written at this pace and not gotten burned out or stuck in my writing. Splitting the writing and Jen’s abundant enthusiasm has me writing so much better. Also having someone as, or more, obsessed with the story has made it much easier.

It’s stressful, because I’m constantly feeling like I’m slowing her down, but overall it’s been a great experience. One I hope she’ll be willing to repeat in the future.

All that to say I’m extremely lucky and thankful for my wonderful partner.

Happy Birthday Jen and thank you!

Éric

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 4

Dear Little Dragon,

It’s been a big year for you.

Since your last birthday you’ve:

  • Potty trained to a point of no accidents;
  • Learned the alphabet in English (working on french);
  • Learned to count to 10 in English (working on french);
  • Learned to write your letters (better than me);
  • Graduated out of a booster seat at the dinner table;
  • Gone to Disney and your first rides;
  • Been an excellent if over-enthusiastic big sister;
  • Watched a lot of movies
  • Started école
  • and a lot of other fantastic things.
Dragon talking to fantastic FadhiliTheOne for a birthday video chat.

One of my favourite memories from this past year is the long-weekend we spent just you and me. You’ve already forgotten most of it, so you say, but it was fun. It was Halloween and we hung out, watched Phineas & Ferb, went to the cinema, played video games, and of course trick or treated. It was nice to have time just you and me.

On the bus on our way home from seeing Abominable in cinema.

Another great memory is you dictating your Christmas letter to Santa and making sure you told him what Adrien wants. You truly love him and want to take care of him. It’s sweet and I hope that love and the adoration I see in his eyes don’t go away as you age.

One of your favourite things right now is to snuggle into someones lap and play video games with them on their phone. I’m not sure if it’s the game or the bonding you want but I’ll take the snuggles. (You’re already asking for your own phone by the way.)

I guess I can’t talk about this year without talking about Covid-19, or as you call it The Virus. You love being around people and last year you went to conventions with us, parties, and Disney. Then March came and everything stopped. It’s been hard for you and I’m so glad we podded with your grandparents.

I miss going shopping with you, I miss going to the park, I miss not panicking every time you touch a package. You have been great though. I’m not sure how much you get the concept, but you seem to understand it’s important.

One great thing about it, is that you have me home. I still hope you’ll be able to go to école for your first grade but everything is up in the air until a vaccine.

You’ve grown physically, mentally, and emotionally so much since you turned 3. (Oh man am I glad you’re no longer having full-on sensory overload tantrums anymore.) I can’t imagine what you’re going to be like next year, but I look forward to being there and finding out.

Happy Birthday, love you!

Your sappy Papa

Happy First Birthday Pegasus

Dear Baby Pegasus,

It’s been a year since you joined us in the world. A thin, long, and adorable bundle. It’s been a year filled with learning, tears, love, fear, and lack of sleep… but enough about the state of the world. (Yeah I know I sort of recycled this joke from your sister’s first birthday letter, but it works.)

I’ve had the privilege, most father’s don’t, of seeing you grow up this year. Other than a week where you went to visit friends at the end of October, I’ve been with you every day. It’s a gift I’m really lucky to have. I mean I wished I could work from home but I didn’t expect to be because of a global pandemic (cursed genies).

You’ve grown and changed so much since you were born. You went from a fragile looking little baby to a well built toddler. You’ve learned all kinds of things and have been adorable throughout.

I love seeing your personality grow and form into who you’re going to be. So far, you’re as stubborn as your sister with less of a temper. Although you sure hate being told no.

You are the reigning champ of horror movie style screams. It’s impressive and painful. Currently you’re using it for everything from asking for more food to not getting your way. I’m hoping it’ll get better when you learn to talk.

When you smile, the genuine joy makes everyone else smile. It’s infectious and makes my heart sing. I love it when you slow down enough to snuggle. It’s a lovely warm feeling.

The world is hurting right now and a lot of people are having issues. I’m hoping it’s a prelude to healing, but I have no idea what the world you’re going to grow up in is like. I do know that I will be there as long as I can and I count myself infinitely happy and proud to be your Papa.

Happy First Birthday Little Pegasus,

Your Papa

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 3

Dear little Dragon,

You’ve grown so much in every way possible. Today you turn 3. The last year has been absolutely amazing to watch. You’ve learned so much.

Since your last birthday you:

  • have learned to speak in full sentences;
  • learned to jump (but not land softly);
  • learned your numbers (mostly);
  • learned to dance;
  • gained a little brother;
  • started going on the potty;
  • played a tabletop RPG with us;
  • and I’m sure there’s more.

It feels like each year of your life we’ve taken a trip. This year we went to Stratford, Ontario for Katie and Mike’s wedding. Everyone loved you there and you really didn’t want to leave. You danced all night and made Katie and Mike really happy. It was your first long car ride and you did great.

You also went to your first Opinicon, the Coderre family reunion held every 5 years, you absolutely loved it. You said hi to everyone, played with your cousins and had a great time. In 5 years you’ll love it even more.

It was another year of conventions that you both helped prepare and are starting to help sell at. You went to Can-Con, Comic Con Holiday Edition, Ottawa Comic Con, and Geek Market. Your Mum and I love that you can hang out with us and help for 8+ hours a day at conventions.

I both love and fear your strength of emotions. When you’re feeling a strong emotion, everyone knows and it’s just like I was at your age. Thankfully you always swing back to happy quickly.

This year Baby Pegasus joined the party and you’ve been fantastic with him. He adores you, choosing to follow you more than anyone else (with his eyes… I can hear you saying, “He doesn’t walk yet.”) he smiles at you and you can calm him. You are a little too affectionate but you’re learning.

You are strong willed, clever, passionate, loving, curious, and you make everyone smile. You frustrate me with your procrastination and your stubborn streak but you also make me proud, every day.

The year coming has so many exciting things and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Happy Birthday Little Dragon and welcome to Level 3!

Papa

Breda, Netherlands

While Fandom Travel is near and dear to my heart, Accessible Travel is supremely important to me as well.

So when an article crossed my path about the city of Breda in the Netherlands and how it is the most accessible city in Europe, I knew I had to share it.

Breda. Image from theguardian.com.

Europe, generally, is NOT built with accessibility in mind. Cobblestones, stairs, narrow doorways, etc are the norm.

Read about how Breda changed all that, and their website, to make them the most accessible city in Europe.

Also, a huge happy birthday to my amazing husband, who is turning six squared today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 2

Dear Toddler Dragon,

Tomorrow will be your birthday. You’re turning two years old. I might be biased but I think you’re awesome.

It’s been absolutely amazing watching you grow up. You’re clever, strong, quick with a smile, and so funny. You have some fantastic timing for jokes.

You’re at a point in your life where you’re learning faster than I can follow and I am so proud of you. I’d love to take credit for everything you’re becoming and everything you will become but I know you’re getting there on your own. You are and you’re going to be a wonderful person.

You don’t understand yet, and you may never, but the best parts of my day are those that we spend together. Playing, reading, singing, roaring, pretend sleeping, and so much more.

When you cry out for me at night I’m exhausted, grumpy, sore, and none of that matters when I hold you in my arms and sing. You are the best thing I have ever created. (That’s saying something cause Everdome is really good.)

So to my second level human; I hope you are having a good childhood, you to feel safe, you’re comfortable, free to be yourself, most of all I hope that if you remember anything about turning two it’s that you are loved.

I love you so much and happy birthday,

Papa