A Rainy Day Monday, Naked Naomi, Birthdays and Mothers

A Rainy Day Monday, Naked Naomi, Birthdays and Mothers, the long lost Carr blog has finally been found and now up online wrapping up week 18.

When Nathalie was little, her doll of choice was her Cabbage Patch Kid, Naomi Adeline. Now if you are quick in you head with math and are in complete touch with pop culture, you would be able to figure out that when the worldwide phenomenon of the cute little doll hit it’s stride in the mid 80’s, Nathalie would have been around 14 or 15 years old. So the doll was way more like a future investment item than an actual toy, but nonetheless, it was hers.

When we had girls, and they too received Cabbage Patch Kids for Christmas one year, it seemed like a nice idea to bring Naomi out of her resting state, and let the girls play with her and love her as much as their Mom did and that is just what we did. The girls have been playing with her on and off for a while, but there was always something missing, and I am happy to report that a couple of weeks ago, during a trip to Oma’s they raided her doll clothes, and finally dressed the naked Naomi. Not sure whatever happened to the clothes that she would have been sold with, OR if she spent a whole lot of time, without clothing while in Nathalie’s possession, but she has been bare for a long time that I can remember and I am happy that she has now been covered up.

Rain Rain Go Away
A couple of weeks ago, I laughed as I wrote my Facebook status updated, referencing a Pathetic Fallacy. You see I was a little down, and waking up in the morning to wet weather was frustrating, only to be standing in it for the regular morning duties of Kiss and Ride. For just a second, I had a Disney movie moment image flash in my head, when the hunky lead (that’s me!) has to trudge, reflectively through the wind and rain, with the sad music playing hoping beyond hope that the sexy female lead will appear in a warm car with her magic umbrella, only to find out that the car approaching was a jealous ex-boyfriend, who only slowed enough to hit the puddle just right, so as to give me a good splash.

Gym update
Well I would not say that we have fallen off the gym wagon, but we have jumped off and on over the last few weeks a couple of times. Both Nathalie and I have had knee and or shoulder issues, and in some cases, time issues and as a result we are not as regular visitors as we had been. Having said that, we are still proud to say that we have kept our good eating habits, and attempts at regular water hydration, and as such, have maintained the weight loss, and not gained anything back. We are still very committed, and will be back on the gym track this week.

Truth be told, I hate to see graffiti. However, I will confess here right now that in my 42 years, I have written on a wall in a public place, twice that I remember. The first was during what must have been our first Jim and Nathalie “couple” road trip when we where dating in 1992 or 1993 to Boldt Castle. Such a romantic image, this beautiful building, on one of the 1000 islands’, originally built as a testament of a husbands love to his wife. In one of the yet to be renovated rooms, thousands of “declarations of love” adorned the walls and with all that love floating around, Nathalie and I wrote our names and professed our love for one another.

The second instance of petty vandalism came much later in life, on a birthday trip to Mother Tuckers, for my Dad’s 70th, when we marked the special occasion, by adding our family name to a free brick near the closet, like many had done before us. In both cases, not even close to being trend setters, just another name on a wall of names. Certainly, a bit of a long story to get around, to my original point, that I don’t like graffiti, but I felt I had to share.

This came to mind, while visiting a bathroom stall at work, with certainly no shortage of doodles’ and word dribble to occupy your mind when you are otherwise occupied. A couple of weeks ago, I conceived this entire piece in my head, after spying this little ditty. “If God was a woman then we’d all be sandwiches”. I mean this guy is so right, and I am so glad I had a chance to peer into the mind of a genius. I hope the sarcasm is obvious in my statement… I just don’t get it!

Jordyn’s Hair
It must be hard to be a girl with respect to expectations, and how you see yourself specifically with your appearance. Yes, men have issues too, but there has always been too much emphasis placed on what you look like when you are a girl. Well the other week, Nathalie was having a Mommy moment with Jordyn, and talking about her hair, and her overall displeasure with it and exclaiming, “I hate my hair”. Nathalie was quick on her feet and responded with a, “Don’t ever let me hear you say you hate anything about your body! Your body has parts of me and daddy and all your grandparents – do you hate us?” Jordyn quickly answered with a clear and resounding “No!” I am so glad that first Nathalie will always get those tough talks, and second, that Nathalie always does such a great job in cutting to the truth and to help our daughters love themselves for who they are.

I would a little remiss if I did not cover off some of the significant birthdays that have happened since my last post, and considering this is the busiest time of year for such occasions with us, there have been a few. On the 4th of April, my brother-in-law Earl turned 42; my other brother-in-law Guy turned 50 on the 18th, Nathalie turned 42 on the 23rd (more on that in a second), the girl on the corner, turned 73 on the 24th and on May 3rd, my sister turned (older) and my adopted nephew, Cayce, turned 16. My apologies for anyone else I’ve missed… and Rylan… I know you’ll be turning 16 on the 26th – so Happy ‘early’ birthday to you!

April 24th, 2011
Easter / Birthday Swim
Yes, April and May are what we call Hallmark months, and I am so happy to tell everyone, all reports from the birthday celebrations are all positive. Speaking personally of the party to mark the anniversary of my wife’s birth, it was a super nice night, highlighted by a birthday swim. YES my wife wanted the pool open, for her birthday, and so, we cranked up the heat and that is just what we did. I will let you know how if it was worth the fun we had when the gas bill comes in!

When talking with a friend a while back, who lost her mom a couple of years ago, she said that just about every big holiday, or family celebration that happens after a loved one’s passing, is going to be hard. Stands to reason I guess, for the first year or more, you’re still grieving and dealing with the loss and when your emotions are heightened by family gatherings or an event like Mothers Day, you just are more tuned in. Today, in the summer heat, while sitting on the porch, my mind flashed back to Mothers Days’ of the past, and I also saw images of my mom dancing at my wedding and of all things, her face on Christmas morning, opening gifts. Yes it is hard, but it is getting easier. (My Mom blog from September)

I am fortunate to have a good relationship with my Mother-in-law and I look forward to time with her. Today on Mothers Day, she shared with my a bit of a philosophy and perspective on mothering and I was very grateful. She said, “When you are given a child, they are a blank canvas. They become whatever you paint on them”, and I thought first how true that was, and then second I thought how wonderful of a painter she is, to have done such a wonderful job with every brush stroke of love and caring she put into Nathalie to have painted such a wonderful person for me and my girls.

In Closing
So what is it that makes it a perfect day for you? I have a friend at work that answers the question, “How’s it going?” with, “Upright and breathing!” and I laugh, thinking that that would be one way to go. If you break it all down, the perfect day is one you have the same number of exhales as you do inhales and that is just fine I guess, but to me, today would be a great example of a “Perfect Day”; Sun shining, kids playing in the pool, music loud and in the background and guests at our house enjoying a few laughs and some great food. Top that with a little bit of the pride that comes from accomplishing a few things around the house that I have wanted to do for a while, oh yeah, and ice cream and this WAS the perfect day. Mark it down, Mothers Day, 2011 a perfect day in my books!

Hope your day was perfect as well!

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week.

A Turn of the Page, Some Shoes and a Little Open Window

A turn of the page, some shoes and a little open window, stories from week 4 and the Carr Family

It has been a couple of weeks (ok 4) since my last post, and I guess the start of 2011 has kind of gotten away from me a little bit. Last I remember, we had a nice New Years Eve, the kids’ went back to school, we started to work out, and BAM here we are on the 29th day of January already. So here it is, some stories and thoughts from the first 4 weeks of 2011 from the Carr family.


So what is it that allows a simple flip of the calendar page to affect so much change in ones life? We always hear about new-years resolutions and of course I have had my share of them in the past. Most don’t work because, you for sure need to be committed but also mentally ready for the idea of a change, and quite often you are not ready as of January 1st. Over the last little bit of 2010, both Nathalie and I talked about the idea of adjusting our lifestyle a little and to start making a more concerted effort to eat better, work out and just try harder at achieving a healthier life, and so that is just what we did. We committed!

Four weeks in, and we are still going strong; in fact, we have even increased our jaunts to the gym and have been so very good with our eating, that we have both lost weight and inches. Now, this is not a reality TV show, so there will be no public weigh-ins’ or any kind of elimination, only the pride that comes from being healthier for our future. I am so proud of both Nathalie and myself for coming up with the plan and sticking to it and with our two biggest supporters living under our roof, there will be no failing with this one.

Love the smile!
In the last 5 months, we sure have had some ups and down, but if for one moment we only talk about the ups, right near the top of that list is the birth of a little flower named Lily. They say that when one door closes, a window opens and I have always been a big fan of the saying, but it is only after her birth that I can truly say that it cares major weight. Being able to share the announcement of her birth with my Mom, just before she passed, will always be a memory, and a thought that will forever link Lily with my Mom.

Last weekend, we took part in the most precious ceremony, with Lily being welcomed into God’s house at her baptism. She smiled and flirted with the priest, and did not cry once and was just the cutest little girl in her pretty little dress. She watching with her bright eyes and soaked up the surroundings and focused on the candles, and listened to the words echoing around her was a great thing to be part of. Thanks to her great parents, Jeff and Coco for not only the gift that is Lily, but also for allowing us to share in this special day.

Do you have any old wives’ tales that play a role in your daily life? My mother-in-law has a whole bunch and as such, Nathalie has them too. Things like “Don’t leave your purse on the floor, because all your money falls out” and “Don’t ever give someone a sharp object, because it could sever your relationship, instead, you “sell” it to them for a penny. I do remember some, and try to keep them part of my routine, for the sake of piece around the house, but to be honest, I do forget. The other week, Nathalie and I were doing some mad cleaning and I got a little reminder of one of her “things” and a bit of a laugh too.

During the cleaning, I moved a shopping bag with a new pair of shoes in it, from the floor to the dinning room table. “How long have you lived with me? You DON”T put new shoes on the table Jim”, she yelled at me. I looked up, and thought, yes I remember now, “Sorry, I forgot about that”, then I moved them to the stairs, with full intention of later moving them upstairs. The first laugh came from moving to the other side of the table, only to discover the box of my new shoes on the table, all be it, on top of another box, but never the less ON the table, left by none other than Nathalie herself. Apparently, the wives tale is only for female shoes?

The second laugh came later, when Nathalie almost fell down the stairs. Now, before you say I am some kind of heartless jerk for laughing and my wife almost falling down the stairs; that was not the funny part. It was because of WHAT she tripped on in the first place, the box of shoes. So the quick thinker I am, to add insult to actual injury, I asked her, “Do you now think they are safer on the table or the stairs? I am just asking?”

In closing
I have a small handful of cute stories, from over the last 3 or 4 weeks to select from to close out the blog for today, but I think I will choose the one that is a slightly self-deprecating. For Christmas, the girls each got an iPod touch, and besides being a great thing to be able to take away from them if they are not listening, it is a fun pastime. They both have already got the hang of crawling the app store, and asking me to punch in my code so they can download games, and aside from one $2.99 app, that they “thought” was free, they have both filled of their devices with stuff.

Now, I am NOT a talented video game player. I know this. My wife knows it, and I think my kids now have an idea but, Nathalie on the other hand is very good at most games she plays, and has totally mastered the very popular Angry Birds. The girls each have it on their respective ipods, and it would seem are constantly asking her to complete this level or that. While making dinner one night, Nathalie was working on a particularly tricky level for Julia, and being the smart ass I am, I say to her, “If Mommy keeps having an issue, you better give it to a true expert, and let Daddy try”, NEVER expecting she would call me on it. While after a couple more Mommy attempts and fails, Julia pipes up, “OK Daddy, your turn”. I had to the break it to her that I was only joking and that I have no chance of passing it for her. Then Julia utters the words that will echo in my head for a long time, “Come on Dad, you can do it, BE A MAN!” in this voice right out of the movies. There you have it, a drill sergeant in the making!

I will try harder to be at least a man, who writes a re-cap of the happenings of my family every week, and I may even give the game a shot.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week.

A Conversation in The Car, Deep Jim and The Year That Was…

A Conversation in the car, Deep Jim and the year that was, the week 19 – year ending Carr blog is in the history book.

The Blog...

Well, I am doing it. Doing what I hate to see myself, what episodic television does every season, when they want to cheap out on making a new show. You know, the lead characters sit around the set, and through a series of flash backs, recap all that happened in the last season in what some would call the “best of” show. Well, this is the best of Carr blog for the 2010 season.

Over the last year, I posted my weekly recap of the life and times of the Carr family 39 times. If you are doing the math in your head, that would mean that I did miss 13 weeks in there, 8 or 9 of those fell in the summer. The one difference with my little flash back blog, is I will only include a short snippet of the original post, and provide a link to the complete one so that if you wish, you can go back and read the post in its entirety. My reasoning is, that I still want to write a little bit about the old post, and not hang my whole “episode” on flashbacks or rehashing of old words.


A couple of times this last year (OK way more than a couple), I ventured into what I would call deep Jim, with some introspective bla bla about any number of topics. Starting with the first week of 2010, when I reflected on how much I had grown the last year. And by grow, I mean figuratively!

“I made my bed today. In fact, I make it everyday. Well, most days it is just figuratively me, tucking the corners and fluffing the pillows, as in the time honoured saying, but today while actually straightening the comforter on the worlds highest bed, I had an “Ah-Ha” moment.”

“Dreams – When I was younger, other then the normal wanting a family and good health, I had three things I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to write a hit song, I wanted to write a book and I wanted to be in a movie.”

In the Car
So many of the closings come from conversations in the car. I guess we do spend a fair amount of time in the vehicle, on our way from one place to another, so here are a few references from this past year with the Carrs in the car.

“So when did “Punch Buggy” get added back to the riding in the car lexicon? I don’t remember hearing it for years, but this last few weeks, I have heard chatter of the kind, coming form the back seat and then today, we broke out into a full assault, no holds bar game and Daddy got hurt!”

“Sometimes I can’t believe how great of a memory Jordyn has. Julia remembers odd things too, but Jordyn pulls the smallest things out of thin air and does it all the time. The craziest stuff! “Remember when you were wearing that white shirt and you spilled stuff on it when I was in grade 1, and you said that you would buy me something if I didn’t tell mommy” kind of stuff.”

Our girls have an amazing way of looking at things each in their own way of course, and this past year I have powered up the big spot light and highlighted situations through the eyes of my girls. I will start with Julia, because this and so many other lines she came up with this year made Nathalie and I laugh. The post was our first from the road, on our summer vacation and it came during a shopping trip in Target –

“This trip, like any of our US jaunts, involves a good amount of US barging hunting. For the most part the girls have been good, and are actually turning into quiet the fashionistas, picking interesting clothing combinations and colour choices, all off the clearance racks. We almost made it out of the last store without one “PLEASE daddy” with the puppy dog eyes for something that that they for sure don’t need.”

As for Jordyn, her observations are more drenched in sarcasm, and always delivered with impeccable timing and this post from this last November, was my favourite.

“One of the things we have to work on with Jordyn, as per her teachers request, is her taking ownership of her own work at school, so our decision to let her sort out what it is that she does and does not have due any given day, is the first step. We sometimes check up on her, and this morning when I found the two pages of incomplete math homework in her agenda, I was a little upset.”

Well, yes because I am a teacher, I run into my share of students and as such, I get some of the blog content from them. In some cases, it is welcome:

“The other idea, came from a conversation I was having with a couple of students. In the talk, one of my fourth semester students admitted that she is not very good about asking for help”

And in other cases, it is a little more unwelcome:

Caring – “I had to do it. I had to give the Dad speech about giving a shit a couple of extra times this week. Now, I give the lecture to the girls enough around the house that I am sure if they had a “Dad says way too much list”, it would be at or near the top. Maybe just below, “Why does no one listen to me?” but certainly in the top 5. This week, I had to give it to my 3rd semester students, and I am sure they appreciated my tone and perspective on this issue.”

My Mom
I talked a fair amount about my Mom this past year of blogs and I loved each post, but the one that not only got the most comments, but also garnered the most readers was the post I wrote after she passed away.

“This is the blog I have written so many times in my head over the last year. I had planned the direct approach, thinking it would be better for me to say the hardest part first – My Mom has died. But even after writing it now, I still find it hard to believe and certainly not any easier to say. This day has come the long way around, with my Mom fighting far longer than anyone had thought she could or had expected her to, mainly because of the faith she had, and her sheer will.”

In closing
This week (yes a couple of days late), this post represents a true closing, the closing of the year 2010. For me, it was a year filled with high highs, and some very low lows. I emerge with a positive outlook and a strong frame of mind, to motor on and continue to try and make a difference in peoples lives. That sounds grandiose, but it is simple I think. Wake up, try hard to be a good person, help others and make an impact on those around you and when the chips are down, in the end YOU will be the better for it. Thank you for letting me take part in the year that was 2010, but I look forward to a better 2011.

In the last week of school last semester, in talking with a colleague about the past semester, I talked about that it was not my best, and that in true web fashion, I will start the next semester and year with a simple approach. I am releasing a new software version. Not that the old version was not working well, and not like the new one will not have it’s share of issues, but the new Jim 3.0 promises to be the best one yet.

Also, thanks to the girls for supporting me, making me laugh and above all for loving me for being who I am and especially thanks to my wife, best friend and blog editor, Nathalie for being the half that makes me whole.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week.