In-box, Belief, lots of Birds, and a Big Big Boat

In-box, Belief, lots of Birds, and a Big Big Boat, a week in the life of the Carr’s in the form of a Blog, apparently brought to you by the letter “B”!

This week while watching the Olympics, I have been thinking a lot about the whole concept of believing in one self. Some of these incredible athletes, having trained for 5 or 6 hours per day, for the last 5 or 6 years and lay it all on the line for a 1 minute performance, and they do so, obviously because of the support of their friends and family, but mostly because of an internal system that allows them to believe in themselves.

I see my job as a teacher as one that is designed to not only teach, but also to help build this self-confidence in my students. In fact, one ex students was always their own biggest hold back, when it came to accomplishing anything. They would get so overwhelmed with self-doubt, that had obviously been built from more than 20 years of what I can only guess was too many people telling them, that they could not do it. “Why can you not just believe in yourself, as much as I belief in you?” I would say to them. I think we are all guilty of letting this creep into our mind at times and it is a bit sad.

This is NOT a new concept at all! Remember The Little Engine That Could from that book when we where kids? “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can?” Why do we so easily forget it? So, whether it is running a 10-minute mile, or finishing the New York Times crossword puzzle or even riding a bike for the first time, we just need to think we can and find a way say “I CAN DO IT!” because the truth is, you CAN.

Since starting to teach, summers have always been for recharging the batteries and getting set for the fall. Much needed of course, when your mind works as hard as mine does throughout the school year (tongue firmly in cheek!). Going in to the warm months, I had a couple of things on my “Jimmy list” and I am happy to say that I am half way there! I wanted to purge my inboxes, organize my contact lists, and arrange and cleanup my computer files, to better allow for backup and ease of finding things. Well this week, my once 1500+ inbox is down to a manageable 50. Think I’ll take the rest of the summer off and sorry if I erased your email without responding to it!


Just after the rain, so no birds… but they do love it! And so do we!

It would seem that the great dollar store purchase this week, of a bird feeder and some birdseed has resulted in almost standing room only conditions in our backyard, or in bird terms, go sit on that fence and wait. It started with an expansion of the actual planting space a couple of weeks ago, and a re-arrangement of the garden lights and the birdbath. Speaking of the birdbath, I think our feeder is as popular as it is, because of the fabulous bath that also gets a lot of attention these days! Thanks to Nathalie for her vision and to her mom for logistical support and execution!

We are so fortunate to have friends with a big boat. We have been invited a bunch of times, but for whatever reason, have never been able to take them up on climbing aboard. That is until this past weekend. The weather was awesome, the drinks cold, the food amazing and the water warm, for what we hope will turn into an annual long weekend event! Even Island girl Nathalie threw caution to the wind and tackled her fears of swimming in a lake, even literally jumping in and out of her bikini top a couple of times too! Thanks to L & L for a great afternoon!

This coming week our little BGB will enter double digits. I will of course, recap the event in next weeks blog, but I wanted to talk about her birthday list. You see, Julia has taken to writing us both little notes, neatly tucked into envelopes, complete with opening instructions. A few weeks ago, she gave us two, one labeled “party” the other labeled, “list” with a “don’t open until August.” I love her list! Pants, Jewelry, 2 books and 3 scarves and Barbie hair strands (print your own design on hair and pin it into your real hair kind of thing). But without a doubt, my favourite is number 6-Aunt Janey, Uncle Earl, Chandler and Colby.

In closing
The Carr family has a bit of a food rule when it comes to trucks, specifically animal carriers of any kind. So, if we see a truck on the highway, say with a load of chickens, that particular white meat will NOT be on our table that night. Strange, yes, but it has worked for us over the years. On our trip this week to see Oma and Opa for a BBQ no less, we had to pass a big 18-wheeler, with little pink snouts poking out of those little holes! Nathalie and I share a glance, and a laugh and say aloud, “I guess no pork tonight” to the girls, and Julia replies, “Awww piggies!” We both chuckle a bit and then I say, “Hey Julia, how was that bacon this morning?” Without missing a beat she says, “Delicious, I love animals… they taste so good.” Funny, when we had thought for a while, that with Julia’s love of vegetables she would become a vegetarian.

Off to make a sandwich!

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week!

I’m back, Work, a Little Attitude, the Crazy House and some 9-year old Fashion Advice

I’m back, Work, a Little Attitude, the Crazy House and some 9-year old Fashion Advice, story’s and laughs from the Carr’s for another week.

Just the other week, I was chatting with a friend online, and I had used the past-tense-statement, “I used to write weekly blog” as if I was waxing poetically about growing up in the old days and walking 2 miles to work.  It struck me odd and I forgot all about it until I received an email tonight, notifying me of a “new” blog comment.  It would seem that one of my regular readers, just wanted to remind me that it has been almost a year since I posted the comings and goings of the Carr family.

This will never catch us up on the missing months, but over the next little while, if I can keep at it, and you continue to enjoy reading it, I will try to get you caught up on other exciting things that have happened with us, but for now, I present the first crack at a blog in almost a year!

This blog started as a weekly recap of what was happening at my work back in January 2009, so it would seem like a good idea to start with what’s going on work wise.  I had an amazing semester, with a great group of hardworking and smart students.  A great reminder of what I truly love about my job.  Add a new supportive Boss and a new-realigned school of programs, so all is well for me.

Over the last bunch of months, I kept sending myself email “nuggets” with blog ideas, based on things the girls would say, or things I would see.  And this story comes from a weekend if I remember correctly, a weekend that was filled with some cleaning and us (the parents) arguing with them (the kids).  Julia possesses an interesting attribute of mine, and I say interesting, others might call it annoying, but why quibble.  Julia will show her displeasure with a situation, not with words so much, but with body language and facial expression.

Imagine having two parents, totally on your case about your room, and picking up stuff and always giving you a hard time about the way you leave it.  This is nothing new for any 9-year old I would think, so I only bring it up, by way of painting a picture of her frame of mind, when I called a flustered little girl to see me to talk about her seemingly bad mode.  After a short conversation I ask her, “What’s with the attitude Julia?”  Without missing a beat, she says, “What attitude?  You mean YOUR attitude that I have?”  I did what any parent, worth their salt would do… I walked away!

When we are “ON” we are very fun.  The crazy house.  The place that I think, all the kids’ friends love to hang around.  On one such day, with music on, and our door seemingly open to whomever.  There was some dancing going on in the kitchen, some conversations going on and of course laughing.  Everyone was enjoying themselve.

Now Jordyn is an old soul, and although she is not always willing to be in the center of things, or performing, she has such a great awareness of things. And with me, sitting back, a little proud of the mayhem, my eyes lock with hers and we share a knowing moment. And with a big smile, she says, “Our family is better than cable!”  I love it!

As is the case with so many of my stories, this next one takes place in the car. Well, I guess it started about 30 minutes, before we jumped in the car for the trip to the girl’s school, when I was selecting what pair of shorts to put on for my workday.  The cleaner ones of course!  So, just as I pull out of the driveway, my phone goes bing, and a reminder of a more formal meeting after work today.  Looking at my clothing choice, I decided to go back home and change, informing the girls of my mistake and telling them I need a nicer shirt.

Inside the house, upstairs, change and run back downstairs.  Out of breath, I jump in the still running car, only to hear Julia ask a question, in typical Julia style.  “Dad, is your nice shirt under that one?”  Oof that hurts!

In closing
For the last couple of weeks, we have been watching a 5 and a 7 year old for a couple of hours a day for friends of ours.  Having a little one around the house is fun in a bunch of ways, not the least of which is it’s a great reminder of the “out of the mouths of babes” syndrome that comes with the innocents of youth.  This week, after telling everyone, including the 5 year old, that I was running out to Tim’s for a tea!  It would seem that she totally gets me, and understands that I need guidance and reminding of this often.  “Don’t do anything crazy James!”  Of course, I love that she calls me James, but I also that she feels the need to remind me to keep my cool!

Trying hard not to do anything too crazy!

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week!


It’s a Time Warp, Clever Girl, and a Web We Weave

It’s a time warp, clever girl, and a web we weave, the stories from in and around the Carr house for the last weeks of the summer and the first of the fall.

I don’t know why a lyric from the popular Rocky Horror Picture song, “Time Warp” jumped into my head today, other than I suppose I was thinking about getting older and life in general. The line is, “Time is Fleeting”, and although the sentiment is somewhat true and the next line sums up lots about my life, (madness takes its toll), the truth is, if time is fleeting, I think it’s only fleeting with a little f.

This may seem contrary to some of my blog posts in the past, when I have complained about how fast time travels, especially during a vacation or the a hot summer day, but I think life gives us a natural mechanism that helps with perspective, and I never realized it until this week. You know when sometimes the clock will take what seems days to reach 5 o’clock, the kettle will take forever to produce a couple of dribbles of hot water or don’t forget about the pot you are watching that never boils. This yang to the time moving to fast yin, is what gives our life balance.

Case in point, I was thinking just this week, that it seems like forever ago, that I started teaching and that how a simple conversation so long ago, changed my direction in life – the yang. And yesterday morning a pop up reminder of a yearly calendar entry, announcing my God Child’s birthday. It was 18 years ago that Brett was born, and I remember it like yesterday – the yin. Happy Birthday to Brett-Man, and I am so proud, of the strong, confident and smart talented man you have become.

Duck off
When I was in my teens, I will admit I learned how and when to swear. I don’t remember ever getting in trouble for doing so, but I am sure I must have. We used to cleverly reverse the first letters of a two-word statement, as in, “Too mucking Futch” and sometimes get away with inappropriate statements at certain times. I remember hanging out with a good friend and his aunt and uncle having a conversation about that, and his aunt jumping into the conversation, attempting to pull off the reversal, and blowing it in front of us impressionable teens, and us just laughing about it for days.

Jump to an evening a couple of weeks ago, with Nathalie and I sitting on the couch downstairs, and the girls upstairs fighting about something. Having witnessed a number of these types of exchanges up close, both of us, from our comfortable seats watching TV, did nothing to interject. They ALWAYS sort it out themselves. That is until we heard the little one, get increasingly upset, and end with a very loud and clear, “Don’t touch me, just F@#$ OFF!”

Now, never ones to hide our own language around the house, it is clear that we are both somewhat to blame for Julia’s choice in words, but of course, this was the wrong way for a 9 year old to express her displeasure with her sister, so up goes Nathalie. After the top stair announces Mommy’s appearance with a little creak, the scream from Jordyn says it all, “She’s coming!” The next very important parental question has to be, how do you yell at a child that is trying hard to make you laugh? With her head burried under her pillow, and her butt straight up in the air, like an ostrich in the sand she says’, “Please don’t hurt me Mumma!” Well, maybe next time we will discipline.

Itsy Bitsy
Time for another true confession from me; although I am crowned Daddy super spider killer around these parts, the truth is, I only kill the spiders that the girls actually see. I have wished, and shooed and talked many arachnids into leaving on their own accord, without the need to inflict any harm, and have never been caught.

Being the first to awake most mornings, means I am the first in the shower, and one morning the other week, I ran into a little buddy I named Sam, in the shower. I felt giving him a name and an identity would cause him to listen and I pleaded with him to leave the shower before Nathalie found him. I explained that if he were to just scoot around the corner, he would likely remain unseen and therefore keep safe. Other than dropping down an inch or two a couple of times (scaring me a little), and moving around in a little circle, he seemed to not want to heed my warning.

I kind of forgot about Sam, until I was having a talk with Nathalie that night. I asked, how her shower was in the morning. Puzzled, she said, “fine”, then followed it with, “all but the spider that scared the crap of me, but it’s OK I killed him!” I make a shucks face, and she says, “What?” So I say, “I told him to leave and I was so hoping he was going to listen to me”. After the punch I got, I will re-think my approach in the future. RIP Sam.

In closing
We have always been generally positive people around the Carr house. Never had the need to make dally chants or in mirror affirmations, but this week I discovered that at least one of us, has felt the need to make some posters. Some of what is posted, in the way of positive messages, are lyrics from Justin Bieber songs, like, “Never Say Never”, or a simple, “I love my family!” but the statement that first worried me and later warmed my heart, was not from a song or a movie. I am guessing it was inspired by a news report she heard at some point.

Moom's Room
The Writing on the wall

“Never kill yourself just because you think you are not pretty”. I was concerned obviously with the statement at first because it worried me that a 12 year old would even use the words, “kill yourself”. However, in context the fact that she is telling herself, and all who enter her room, that it is not right to allow anyone any power over your feelings, and for that, I have to shed a tear of pride, because my little girl, thinks like an adult.

Off to start my own, I am good enough chant!

Thanks, for reading and have a great and safe week.