The Colors Of Summer Comes Alive In London

There are places blessed with sun-kissed Summers. Summers bursting with colors they look like explosive fireworks in broad daylight. Summers so alive our world goes into one euphoric merry-go-round spin. One such Summer I found in London. Join me today, as we go travel the globe and experience what Summer feels like in London.

LondonOur adventure begins at Trafalgar Square.

LondonNow, check your pockets. Do you have a coin with you?

LondonNow, close your eyes, make a wish and toss the coin. In London, Summer magic can turn wishes into reality.

LondonTime to stretch those legs and climb the Nelson’s Column. I promise the view on top will be worth it.

DSC_6307Who wants to check the priceless Art works of Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh at the National Gallery?

London

LondonAnyone hungry? How about shopping? Let’s check out Covent Garden Market. It’s a great place to eat, shop and be entertained.

LondonRecognize this fella? It’s Yoda. Can you figure out how he is able to levitate? The cane perhaps? Oh, well he is Yoda and he can do a lot of cool stuff.

LondonCheck out this guy. He swallowed the entire balloon. Isn’t that a choking hazard?

LondonReady to ride the double decker bus for a city tour? Who wants the front row seats?

LondonDid I forget to mention there are no seat belts? Part of the thrill!

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LondonLet’s take a train ride and visit the queen at the Windsor Castle.

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LondonHas anyone spotted the queen yet?

LondonThough I didn’t see the queen that day, I get to stand next to my very own queen. We don’t need royal blood to feel like a royalty. In our home, we are the queen and kings. The very house we live in is our simple version of a castle.

LondonIt’s almost time for the Changing of Royal Guards at the Buckingham Palace. We need to hurry up. It’ll be a long walk.

LondonNow, time to run…

LondonOops, we’re a bit late.  So much crowd ahead of us.

LondonFor a better view, either we sit on top of  someone’s shoulder or…

London…squeeze our way in. Whatever works.

LondonOkay, that was a bit crazy. Time to cool down for some refreshing fruit bubble tea at Brewbox.

LondonStill hungry? We did a lot of walking after all.  How does a newly baked treat and brewed coffee at West Cornwall Pasty sounds?

London

LondonI hope everyone’s energized because we’ll be cruising the River Thames. Let’s discover all the attractions around it.

LondonJust several blocks away, stands the grand Big Ben. From afar it looks small.

LondonAt close range it is really big and tall.

LondonLet’s have an adrenaline kick and see London from above inside one of the capsule of the London Eye. Don’t worry, it’s not a time capsule!

London

LondonReady for more action? How about a close encounter with Jack the Ripper at the London Dungeon. If you are scared of the dark and closed small spaces, it’s okay to say no. We’ll meet at the exit.

LondonCaution, not for the faint of heart. Believe me, a few men were screaming too!

LondonOur colors of Summer won’t be complete without a trip to the beautiful coastal town of Bournemouth in the south coast of England.

BournemouthConsidered as one of Europe’s best beaches, Bournemouth sums up what Summer is all about.

Bournemouth

BournemouthIt was the hottest, brightest Summer weekend that year. The beach was packed. Everyone was trying to get a piece of water fun, sunshine and hopefully some great looking tan. I was simply trying to get the best of Summer memories as much as I can. Who knows when I’ll be back in U.K. for a Summer like this.

BournemouthIt’s funny how when meeting for the first time, my son and his cousin were shy and quiet. Several hours later, they were inseparable, holding hands and telling stories like they were long best friends. Summer does that and more.

BournemouthThe last time my wife visited London, she and her cousins were just kids. Now, they are all grown up, some with kids of their own. Times flies. So are the many Summers of our lives.

BournemouthSummer is having an amazing time with friends and family. It’s about creating new exciting memories with people closest to us as well as those we get to know along the way.BournemouthMy Summer in London and the U.K. was truly unforgettable not because of what I saw but because of the family I created a special bond with. Leaving was hard, even harder when I saw my son and his cousin cried because they realized the last dinner we spent with her family was also a time to say goodbye. So we made a promise that one day soon, when fate allows, we will go back and once again experience the many colors of Summer in London.BournemouthI hope you enjoyed our Summer getaway in London and Bournemouth. I hope our travelogue brought the colors of Summer right to your doorsteps.

Once again, “Summer is not a season. It is a feeling.” Don’t let the weather outside your window contain the Summer in you.

Thank you for being a great travel companion. The more people celebrating Summer, the more fun it becomes.

 

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One Summer Day In Caladesi

An unspoiled gem in Florida’s Emerald Coast, Caladesi takes you to a world where dream top beaches are made of.

Caladesi Florida

Today, travel with me as we revisit a rare hidden paradise that will sure reawaken many Summer dreams and memories.

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Our adventure begins with a ferry ride from Honeymoon Island State Park. No cash? No worries. Tickets are my Summer treat. Just hop aboard, we are ready to sail away.

Caladesi Florida

From the mainland, notice how calm the emerald-green sea is. Now, just let your thoughts drift away. Go ahead, let go and allow yourself to immerse on all the island summertime surprises that awaits.

Caladesi Florida

The captain excitedly announced, “Dolphins to your right!” Everyone rushed towards the right side of the boat, clapping and cheering.

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One playful dolphin approach the ferry-boat. It made an impressive aerial jump. We all went wild!

Caladesi Florida

As we entered a cove full of tall palm trees, the captain told everyone, “We’ve reached Caladesi Island. Welcome and have a great time. Just remember the departure times and be sure to be here when the last ferry leaves. For those who will miss it, don’t worry, the next ferry arrives tomorrow. FYI, if you want to survive the night, stay away from the wild animals and snakes.” Everyone laughed. Hmm, was it suppose to be a joke or a warning?

Caladesi Florida

So many wooden trails. Which one leads to the beach? Great luck, the family next to us knows this island well. Let’s follow them.

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Can you see the blue green waters ahead?

Caladesi

Before taking a dip, grab some beach chairs and an umbrella. It’ll be one hot day!

Caladesi

Now, that we’ve settled and applied our sunscreens, it’s island fun time. Yipee!

Caladesi

The water’s temperature is just right, warm and refreshing. Feel the soft powdery white sands beneath our feet. Incredible!

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Did I forget to tell you about the sting rays that leaves around these waters? Don’t panic. Let me teach you the sting ray shuffle. It stirs the sand warning a sting ray to swim away. It works if we all do the shuffle right. Let’s try it, “Step, step, shuffle, shuffle. Step, step, shuffle, shuffle.” Great job! Now lets all go back swimming.

Caladesi

“Ah, this is what a moment of living the dream feels like. Lots of sunshine and beautiful beaches. No problems for a day. Just having a great sea day with family and friends .”

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Whew! That was one amazing swim. Time to rest, relax and have our “Whatever I want to do” break. Find your quiet spot to meditate, reflect, pray, sleep, dream or read a book. How about fishing, sunbathing, beach combing, kayaking? In the mood for finding treasures and island relics? The list of island possibilities? Almost endless.

Caladesi

Who wants to help me build a sand castle fortress? We can make it the biggest one there is. Here take a shovel, time to start digging and building.

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Okay, for those who wish to stay in the water and surf with their body boards, the waters of Caladesi is all yours for the taking.

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Hungry? Have some of this sweet cantaloupe. I prepared them myself this morning.

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Excuse me for a moment. My wife is calling me to sit next to her. I can’t resist her sunny smile. There are also sandwiches, bottled water and more fruits inside the picnic basket. Feel at home, enjoy and eat as much.

caladesi

For the honeymooners and lovers in the house, Caladesi is the best place to create your very own romantic island moment. Reminisce, remember and celebrate each others love then, now and the many ever afters. It only takes one incredible day to remember why we wished to spend a forever. In your heart, you know what that means and how it feels like.

caladesi

Almost time for the last ferry to leave. Before we go, let us ask ourselves, “What have I caught today?” Now, place everything you caught today in an imaginary bottle and seal it. Kiss the bottle for good luck and let it float on the water. When the time comes and we wish to go back to Caladesi and the many islands of our dreams, the tides that holds that bottle will find us. If not, then all we have to do is revisit and remember our most treasured memories.

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“Last call, we are leaving. The next ferry comes back tomorrow. Time to say goodbye to Caladesi.”

caladesi

We don’t need tons of Summer events to remind us what a great Summer feels like. All we need is one day. Just one perfect Summer day like the one we just had in Caladesi.

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Till our next “Best of Summer” adventure…

Once again, “Summer is not a season. It is a feeling.” We don’t have to leave our room to find Summer. Summer becomes the places our mind will take us.

caladesi

I wish to dedicate this post to my wife and son who are now having a Summer reunion with her wonderful family overseas. Several weeks from now, I will be joining them but for now, my “Best of Summer” memories with them will make things more bearable.

Thank you and have a blessed day.

 

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12 Reasons Why Summer Should Be A Forever

Think Summer, Love Summer, Live Summer

Home is just 45 miles away from our little paradise getaway, the Galveston Island. All year round I can spend several hours by the beach, enjoy a day of invigorating seaside sunshine anytime I feel the need to smile, unwind and escape the busy, sleep deprived city life.

Summer

In this place, Summer knows no season. Easily, Summer becomes that laid back “happy feeling” that I hope to keep 365 days in a year. To much? Not really. If I count the times I tried finding bits of happiness and actually finding them for myself and my family in a year, then there’s never enough of Summer and all the amazing moments that goes with it. So, why not make Summer a forever?

Summer

Here are the reasons why Summer should be a forever. I bet you can easily add several more of your own by the time you finish reading this post.

1. Summer is not a season. It is a feeling. The happiest of feelings.

Happiest of memories happens at Summertime. School is over. No more assignments. No more waking up early in the morning dragging our feet like zombies. No more car pool. Yipee! Everyone is excited for their much awaited version of relaxation and family dream vacations. Whether it’s a local road trip, a camping by the lake, a magical time at a kid’s theme park or an enriching world travel, Summer not only brings family together but takes them to their happiest of adventures, memories and yes, feelings.

Summer

We can play, swim and surf the waves all day or…

summer

…when the sea wind is in a playful mood, fly a kite. If we forget to bring a kite, a body board will do. It does fly just fine.

summer

2. Life Is Better At The Beach.

Last December, a very good friend gave me a water bottle with a message, “Life is better at the beach.” In so many ways, it is. Whether it’s the relaxing “don’t worry about a thing” effect of the waters or that carefree playful island vibe, life seems better at the beach. Where the beach goes, Summer follows. Where Summer is, happiness awaits.

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Soap bubbles coming from a make-believe fire-breathing dragon, conquering man-made sand castles, digging precious gems and memories, flapping arms as we lay on the sand imagining like they were two powerful wings of an archangel defending mankind from the forces of evil , these are but a few creative, fun ways to celebrate Summer.

3. Summer help us find ways to clear our mind, heal our wounds, mend our hearts and cleanse our soul.

Life is a whirlwind of good days, bad days, “victory days” days, great days, “I’m so thankful days,” doom days, perfect days, “oh, my gosh can’t believe this is happening to me,” days. We need to have a breather. A place to find ourselves. A sanctuary to heal, recover, reorganize, rediscover the many things that makes sense, gives meaning and joy in our lives.

Summer

Take a minute and close your eyes. Imagine drifting to an island with white sand beaches and blue waters. Imagine laying inside a hammock, it’s swaying gently back and forth between two palm trees, rocking you to a blissful sleep. Imagine paradise where there’s no heartaches, no problems, no stress, no bills, no time pressures, no overwhelming responsibilities, just total calmness. Now open you eyes. Welcome to forever Summer. It happened because we all believed that it’s real.

Life can get very chaotic. It’s a contrast of light and darkness, unexpected turbulence and calmness. Summer help us find that much-needed faith, harmony and inner serenity.

Our life experiences, events and the world in general can bring out both the worst and best in us. They can easily change who we are through the years. Subtle at first, slowly creeping in until one day we can’t hardly recognize the reflection we see on the mirror. Summer help us reach out and reconnect to that good, kind, trustful, positive side of ourselves we long forgotten. Summer gives us a second chance to find our way back.

4. During Summer, we can dance with two left feet unchoreographed without music. All we need is to follow the rhythm of the waves and sync it with rhythm of our heartbeats.

It’s like Dancing With The Stars, only brighter because we are the stars and the people we love. Together, we create the most unforgettable of dance moves. Step 1-2-3,  cha, cha, cha!

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5. Summer allows us to laugh out loud freely without holding back. 

A laugh that is pure, unpretentious, liberating. A laugh that we see and hear among children. A laugh when days were younger and life simpler.

Summer

Early this Summer, I had this kind of laugh and it felt so good. In the middle of our bursts of laughter, my wife told me, “You use to laugh more like that. I miss those laughs.” Lately, I’d been very serious, irritable, moody. She calls it hormonal. Perhaps it is or it’s just plain overwhelming stress. Whatever the cause, it opened my eyes to the reality of missing so many chances for happiness and inner peace. So, starting this Summer and the endless Summers thereafter, I will try to laugh more. Afterall , isn’t laughter the best medicine? More laughter prescription refill please!

6. Summer gives us many windows of opportunity to enjoy and live life. Windows that we can’t go back once those windows are closed.

How many times we heard ourselves say, “Nah, that can wait. There’s always next time. It can wait next Summer.” What if that Summer never comes. What if missing that window of opportunity will lead us to a lifetime of regret. Are we ready to gamble with fate?

Summer

Time doesn’t wait. We chase after time. What chances we have now may no longer be there tomorrow. We should live our Summer today the best we know how. If we’ve forgotten what Summer felt like, imagine what it was when we were 8 years old and Summer break has just began.

I only have 3 more off days from work before my wife and son leaves to visit family overseas. It will be 30 days of Summer without them. For someone who’s so used of having Summer with family all the time, that is painful and lonely. So, defying weather forecast of rain and thunderstorm, we went to Palm Beach last Saturday at the Moody Gardens. Here’s what my family and I would have missed if we let our window of opportunity pass us by.

An exhilarating swim at the wave pool…

Summer

Tubing down the Lazy River…

Summer

7. Summer is fun, fun, fun.

A thrilling plunge down an 18-foot Tower Slide…

My son didn’t want to try the water slide at first. I told him, “Just give it a try. I know you’ll love it.” After our first drop, he gave me and his mom a big smile, raised his arms and shouted, “That was awesome! Let’s do it again. Hardly recovering from all the water inside my nose, I replied, “Okay.” Laughing, my wife said, “You looked really funny with the water all over your face.” Laughing back I told her, “It was worth it. It was so much fun. You need to try it too.” She gave me this, “you’re crazy” look and replied, “No thanks.”

Summer help us discover fun stuff that otherwise we will not dare do. I have fear of heights but it didn't stop me from trying the 3-stories water slide. Crazy but I wouldn't have known how fun it was if I didn't try. My next goal...zip line!

Summer help us discover fun stuff that otherwise we will not dare of doing. I have fear of heights but it didn’t stop me from trying the 3-stories water slide. Insane but I wouldn’t have known how fun it was if I didn’t try. My next goal…zip line!

8. So many amazing journey begins in Summer, goes back to Summer. A lifetime journey that allows me to spend more time with my son. A journey where I can hold on a bit longer to his many wonderful childhood years. A journey that will bring us to many unforgettable father and son adventures.

Summer

After having a great Summer in Clearwater Beach Florida last year, my son looking sad asked me and his mom on our way to the airport, “Is Summer Over?” Smiling, I assured him, “No son, Summer is not over. Summer has just began.” His face lit up looking all excited to Summer next’s surprise. I know so well that Summer makes him happy and when he’s happy, I am happy. Isn’t it making our children happy is what we all parents hope for?

9. Summer warms our hearts to fall in love, rekindle love or simply just be reminded what made us fall in love the first time.

Whether it’s the romantic sunsets or the dreamy sunrise, Summer help us remember what young love felt like. That first spark. That first kiss. That first walk holding hands with heart racing, butterflies in the tummy loving feeling. That first vow to love each other forever through thick and thin. That unconditional, timeless love surpassing every hardship, heart breaks and shattered dreams. That love that choose to keep Summer’s light and warmth instead of Winter’s cold and bitterness.

How to seal a forever? With a Summer’s kiss. It’s a kiss that will remind us always the many amazing beautiful Summers we spent together with our loves ones. The same kiss that will guide us through the many Summers ahead.

Summer

10. Summer help us be ourselves, find ourselves. We can be silly and that’s okay. We can show our vulnerability and others will accept it with understanding.

 

My wife is not a total fan of the beach but knowing how much it makes me and my son happy, she tries her best to bring Summer close to both of us. There are days though that I catch her having her own one on one moment with sea, in deep thoughts, perhaps dreaming of her own version of the many Summers she hopes to have. This picture is one those moments. My son and I waited in the car as she spent several minutes enjoying the last hint of sunset from Galveston's seawall.

My wife is not a total fan of the beach but knowing how much it makes me and my son happy, she tries her best to bring Summer close to both of us. There are days though that I catch her having her own one on one moment with the sea, in deep thoughts, perhaps dreaming of her own version of the many Summers she hopes to have. This picture is one those moments. My son and I waited in the car as she spent several minutes enjoying the last hint of sunset from Galveston’s seawall. Whatever she whispered to the sea breeze, we didn’t ask. We simply let it be her special secret, her special moment and memory.

I’ve never been comfortable showing my face in my blog posts but this Summer, something inspired me to let go and show that vulnerability I keep to myself. It ain’t much but it’s a start.

Finding my groove this Summer…

My two best friends are trying their best to help me find my “chill” side and get groove my back. Because of them, I have this Summer to look forward to.

Summer

While sitting by the bay, watching a group of friends BBQ in the middle of the water, my wife asked me, “Are you having a relaxing time?” Looking all grateful, I replied, “Yes I am. Thank you for my Summer surprise.” She added, “And Summer has just began.” Looks like there will be more Summer surprises waiting for me. Yipee!

Summer

11. Summer inspire us to dream and believe in all faith that we will reach it. It may take a lot of sacrifices, fall, heartaches and frustrations but in the end, achieving the dream is sweeter and more victorious knowing we gave our best.

summer world cup team USA

This Summer has been sizzling hot, not because of climate change but because of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. A wildfire of pandemic proportion has swept the world and here in America, World Cup Fever has the fans deliriously chanting, “U.S.A, U.S.A, U.S.A!” Obviously, me and my family have the fever too. Though I am for Team U.S.A., I admire the passion, hard work and talent of all the teams from around the world. I watched the replay of Team Brasil vs Team Chile. After the game I told myself, “Wow! That was one awesome game.” You can’t help but feel bad for the loosing team as much as you are jubilant for the winning team. Both played with their heart. All teams are in fact playing with their heart and you can pretty much feel it jump on-screen kick after kick, goal after goal. Whoever wins in 2014, it’ll be one exciting Summer the world will never forget.

12.  Summer ignites fireworks. Both that we see exploding across the sky and the ones that makes us feel so alive from within.

Summer Fourth of July

Fourth of July marks Independence Day in America. It is a celebration of freedom fought, won and gained many years ago by men and women that made this nation great. It reminds everyone the value of freedom as well as the many other things that kept us from being “totally” free. Freedom is more precious and more meaningful when we earned it ourselves. Everyday, there is something that we all strive to be freed from. Midsummer’s fireworks are symbols to inspire us to never give up fighting for our freedom, our hopes and all that what we believe in.

Summer Fourth of July

Summertime with its warm, happy, laid-back memories doesn’t have to have a beginning or an end. We can choose to embrace our inner Summer and make it a forever.

In the next several weeks, I will be sharing “Best of Summer” series. It’s the many Summers that made see life with new perspective. Summers that were so beautiful, they simply defied time and refused to be forgotten. Summers that brought so many blessings and long over due family reunions. Summers you all shared with me which in a way made them a forever.

Summer

Are you ready to take a plunge to endless breezy sunsets by the beach? Are you ready to be surprised and make Summer a forever? Here, take my hand, I will jump with you. 1,2,3…jump!

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Heroes In The Making

Another amazing school year has passed. So many great memories or as my son wrote on his Second Grade Memories Journal, “awesom” memories made.

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Anything zombie, Pokemon, Minecraft, Lego Star Wars is a huge hit for 8-year old dudes for school year 2013-2014. Yep, second grader boys call each other dudes. Sounds funny at first but kind of cool when we allow ourselves to think like a second grader.

With the help of our dedicated teachers and very supportive parents, a new generation of heroes fueled with super powers of knowledge, wisdom, talent, skills, heart of courage and optimism are ready to take flight and make their mark in the world.

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Last Thursday, my son together with the rest of the second graders celebrated their graduation. Each student went up the stage excitedly to receive their awards and certificate of attendance.

Like any of the applauding parents in the audience, me and my wife were so happy and proud for our son’s achievement. He did try his best and worked hard for his grades.

Among the awards, his favorite was “Super Student” for the month of May. To him, it sums up both the things he learned and excel from as well as for showing proper conduct and good model behavior. Did he develop super student powers? I bet he did just like any student around the planet who took another giant leap in their educational milestone.

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“Heroes are not born. They are made.”

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My son’s yearbook was immensely fun and inspiring this year. So inspiring that many of the parents felt like they have super wings as they looked at the many school activities of their children. Just after the front cover titled “Heroes In The Making” was a picture of a group of kids running towards the school’s entrance door with their cape and superhero costume, all eager to enter their classroom. It’s the same picture and enthusiasm I see every morning when I bring my son to school, minus the superhero get-up of course.

In so many ways, children are superheroes that constantly inspires their peers, their teachers, their parents and the bigger world around them. They are the bright hope of the present and the future. 

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There is always room for fun learning and creativity even if school has ended. Summer is a perfect way to learn new things, read a book, write, draw, paint, discover nature, watch movies, start a hobby, build stuff and many more. Oops, did I miss catching up on making new blog posts? That too to all the bloggers out there. How about a challenging word puzzle and tic-tac-toe with an ocean view? A dream classroom right?

I wish there is a way to slow down time so I can fully savor all the unforgettable childhood school memories my son had but since I can’t, I made this post to serve as a door for me to go back and relive my super student’s second grade memories again and again.

On his last day of school, we made a special lunch by the pool. We tied two balloons near the table and wrote “To our no. 1 student. Congratulations! You are our no. 1 always.” As an added fun surprise, I drew a treasure map on his card that led to a mystery treasure. The joy on his face was totally priceless when he discovered that his surprise treasure was his much awaited Pokemon EX TCG cards. After he finished sorting the Pokemon cards, he studied the treasure map one more time, smiled and said, “more treasure maps please.”

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Everyday, we are given chances to recognize our young heroes for all the wonderful things they bring into our lives. Today, let us celebrate our kids with our very own version of a treasure map that leads to something they love. It’ll be a cool way to spend a memorable Father’s Day weekend.

Wishing all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.

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