Monday, July 28, 2008

Some random items for a Monday

While in the Wal-Mart parking lot, walking to my car with my three children at 10:00 AM, a thirty-something, muscle-head guy smiled and said hello. I nodded politely and proceeded to strap in three kids, then I went back to transfer my purchases from the cart to the trunk. As I turned to return the cart, the muscle-head was right there. He said: “I just had to come back and tell you that you’re absolutely gorgeous.” Creepy?

Lisa scored a goal in her soccer game last week. It was her first official goal in a game (she has scored a couple in scrimmages). This is her fourth season playing. It was the game-winning goal and it was spectacular… first a breakaway down the field, then some fancy manoeuvring around two defensemen, then a strong kick to the top right-hand corner of the net. The (awesome) coaches and other parents elevated her up and over cloud nine. We celebrated with ice cream.

We’ve officially changed our dining room into a den. We don’t do a lot of formal dining, and the room is far more practical as an art/computer/gaming/tv room. We just need to take down the damned chandelier before Homer or I knock ourselves unconscious.

Maggie insisted on wearing a silver tiara with pink, fluffy stuff on it to daycare today. Insisted. I was prepared to explain the accessory to the teacher when she said “Maggie, you remembered to wear your crown for fairytale week!” Maggie is two.

We’ve had A LOT of rain this summer. The flowers in my garden have never looked better. Note to self: watering required for nice flowers. The sad part of this is that we have underground sprinklers. All I have to do program the little box to water the flowers, but I could never be bothered before. I get it now.

I have a pile of papers that need to be filed/dealt with on the corner of my desk. The pile is 8 inches tall and I plan to tackle it by dealing with one inch a day. The pile has been building for weeks, so 8 days is a reasonable goal, I think.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What is The Plan?

It’s been a very difficult week. A little girl from Maggie’s daycare passed away on Tuesday after a 7-month battle with a rare form of cancer. She was adorable and vibrant and 4 years old. The daycare is awash in tears; no one can enter without becoming overwhelmed with emotion for the loss of this tiny girl and the devastation that has been thrust upon a family that is the very definition of normal… people just like us.

I overheard a mother talking with one of the teachers saying, “It’s hard to understand what The Plan is when God takes someone who has not yet lived a full life.” It is hard to understand.

If I were in charge of The Plan, babies would be born with an 80-year expiration date. The last few years of a person’s life would be celebrated and cherished, knowing these would be the last. Children would always outlive their parents. Tears would be reserved for scraped knees, missed opportunities, broken hearts and joy. Childhood illnesses and injuries would build character and shape futures, but would never claim their lives.

I respectfully submit that the Current Plan sucks and a New Plan is in order.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life With Homer – In the beginning…

Jess said she wanted to know about my relationship with Homer. As you know, we just celebrated 11 years of marriage, but we’ve been together since the World Series of 1992.

I knew Homer casually and he kept telling me that I would be a good match for his good friend Bob. I agreed to go on a blind date with Bob. When I arrived at the designated meeting place, Bob was not there, nor was Homer’s girlfriend of 3 years. Turns out, they were never invited. Nothing happened that night romantically, but Homer and I bonded over our genuine interest in The Toronto Blue Jays. In the next couple of weeks, Homer broke up with his girlfriend and pursued me relentlessly.

For our first real date, he agreed to go mountain biking with me. We lived in Toronto at the time, so we had to navigate the city streets before getting to the trails. Homer wasn’t a big cyclist and he’s the nervous type. All I remember is him yelling from behind me “You are NOT A CAR!”

He was so funny and different and not at all like the jocks I usually went for; I was surprised how attracted I was to him. He was a real cutie, so I was even more surprised that he was attracted to me. He’s the type that you would expect to have a leggy, giggly blonde on his arm. Yet, here he was with an athletically-built, sharp-tongued brunette.

To be continued.

Monday, July 14, 2008

11 Years

July 12, 1997

What my kids are not named...

Awhile back, I made a list of 50 names I considered. As per Misty's request, here are the top five serious contenders from that list that didn’t get used:

Ava – this would have been Bart’s name had he been a girl. We like fairly short, simple names and this one fit the bill nicely. Funny enough, my mom was not a big fan. She asked me one time if we had narrowed down names. Yes, I said. It will be [Bart’s real name] if it’s a boy and Ava if it’s a girl. “Oh, I hope it’s a boy,” she said. THIS is why people don’t tell other people the names they are considering! We didn’t give Maggie the name Ava because by the time she came along, another baby Ava had been born, and it would have been awkward. In other news, I think my sister is considering this if her little bean is a girl. Woo hoo!

Knox – Yes, believe or not, before Brangelina came up with this name, we strongly considered it when we were pregnant with Lisa. I’m a huge fan of Dead Poets Society and I love the Knox Overstreet character. Love him. It’s a good Scottish name (I’m Scottish) and would have sounded nice with our last name. Alas, we decided that we weren’t quite cool enough to have a kid with a name that was kind of ‘out there’.

Shae - I really liked this name for a girl and put it on the table with each pregnancy. Homer liked it, but didn’t love it. It was always the fall-back, if we couldn’t come up with something else that he liked better. My sister’s sister-in-law named her baby Shaye, so at least I get to enjoy it on a very cute little girl.

Rhys – This was at the top of my boy list when I was pregnant with Maggie. Homer was not as sold on it and was pushing for Charlie. I like the way Rhys looks and sounds. It’s monosyllabic, which automatically makes it masculine sounding to me, but it has soft edges. Homer didn’t like that the most famous person with that name is female, even if it's homonymic. It didn’t matter in the end, because Maggie is most definitely not a boy.

Cabot – Toward the end of my pregnancy with Maggie, we were getting desperate for a boy name (see the Rhys/Charlie debate above) and I actually started looking through the phone book for inspiration. I only got as far as C when I found Cabot. I really like the look of this name in print. It’s a strong name in the same family (to me) as Colin, Calum and Connor. John Cabot is a Canadian historical figure, which was one of my selling points. As we were in the elevator, in strong labour with Maggie, Homer was still fighting for Charlie, and I was offering Rhys and Cabot.

What do you think? You can tell me what you really think; I'm done having babies, and therefore done naming (my own) babies!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Another one from Misty: Tell me your favorite color, ice cream flavor, and perfume.

Colour: blue. I have to stop myself from buying blue clothes, painting rooms blue, choosing blue for EVERYTHING. I like all blues, but Navy Blue is my favourite.

Ice Cream Flavour: I like chunks of things in my ice cream, with either a chocolate or vanilla base. Think Rocky Road, Cookie Dough, Oreo Cookies and Cream. I don't like little bits of things (like nuts or chocolate chips) that make the ice cream taste sandy.

Perfume: I can't wear perfume without coughing up a lung, but I gravitate towards fruity scents for my shampoo, soap, hairspray and deodorant.

Pirate: (What? You didn't ask about Pirates? Surely an oversight) It was Dress Like a Pirate Day at Maggie's daycare yesterday.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kid ages and stages

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the content suggestions! My plan is to just do them in the order in which they were received, unless I feel otherwise inspired.

First up is Misty, who said: Tell me about your favorite age/stage of your kids.

It’s no secret to anyone who visits here regularly that I think my kids are pretty awesome, so I was surprised when this question was more difficult to answer than anticipated. The short answer is that I haven’t met a stage I don’t like (so far).

Newborn: I love how they’re just so small and so comfortable sleeping in your arms or on your chest. I love that they don’t do anything and yet are so engaging. I love the way their hair smells after a bath. I was lucky to have three really good babies. They all nursed well and slept well. When Lisa was a newborn, I painted the bathroom, thoroughly cleaned the garage and basement and worked on my thesis while she did her sleep three hours/awake one hour routine.

Infancy: I love the first smile, all the new discoveries, the pleasure they get from such simple things, like a rattle, a swing or a silly toy. I like the look of new teeth, the crazy hair and the baby belly laughs. Bart was the best baby ever. He hardly ever cried, was happy and sweet, never had separation anxiety. I could take him anywhere, any time of the day and know that he wouldn’t be a problem. Dream child, for sure.

Toddler: It’s crazy and frustrating and exhausting, but so, so funny. Maggie’s at this stage right now and I could regale you with countless tales of funny things she says and does. She likes to categorize things into those she “wuvs” and those she “does not wuv”. Do not attempt to make her wear/eat/play with things in the latter category, for she will surely scream at the top of he lungs, “NO! I DO NOT WUV DAT!” You don’t have to love it kid, you just have to like it a little.

Little kid:
From toddler to little kid, you really start to see the unique personality of each kid. Lisa was always fiercely independent and very imaginative. Bart needs more attention, but is easy to please and very physical. Maggie is emerging as feisty and bossy, but still very lovable. It’s neat to see the friends they choose and the things that interest them.

Big kid: I only have one big kid so far, but she’s pretty cool. I like that she understands teasing and sarcasm and that she can dish it out as well as she can take it. We often share an eye-roll or snicker when one of the little guys says or does something funny/weird/disturbing. I think some kind of hormones must be kicking in, because when she gets moody, LOOK OUT! It’s seriously like a PMS kind of moody that seems beyond her control, and yet she’s only seven. Luckily those moments are few and far between, and in the meantime we have some great times together, bonding over a book she’s reading, a show we watch together or a game of checkers.

All is not perfect at Casa Simpson, of course. We have our battles and frustrations, our worries and illnesses, but for the most part, this parenting thing has been pretty awesome. I’m sure I have what’s coming to me when my guys are teenagers.

I was a big baby-wearing momma with my kids - I'd love to win this contest for my sister, who is due with her first baby in November!

Monday, July 7, 2008


What is wrong with me? I’m so bored with myself these days. I keep thinking I should update my blog, then I think, Why? Really, the stuff on here the last few weeks has been both sparse and boring (You: as opposed to the other masterpieces you’ve written here? pfft). I’ve been trying to think all morning of something to say, a story to tell, but I’ve got NOTHING! Could I really be this dull?

Anyway, I thought maybe you could give me some topics to write about (you know, only if you want to – man, I really hate asking for anything). If you so desire, ask me a question or give me a topic, then I will try to be a more interesting person. Please.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A(nother) job that would suck

I did my undergrad in business. I did my masters in education administration. I like to have problems that can be solved. I like math. I like puzzles. In my undergrad, I had a hard time picking non-business electives because I had very little interest in other subjects.

Several years into my career, I still love business (the kind of business I'm in anyway). I often look at the professions of other people and think 'how great for you!' but man, I would hate that line of work. Jobs I admire but take a different personality than my own include: Public Relations, Fundraiser, Event Planner, Teacher, Social Worker, Nurse.

But the job that would suck the most (for me) is Children's Photography. I think it would be okay to do babies, but kids who move around, especially if you want more than one kid in the shot? Shoot me now.

We were at a wedding on the weekend. It was a beautiful day in a very picturesque spot. After Maggie cleared a table of all its glassware at the swanky reception before dinner, I decided to take the monsters outside and try to get a good picture of them in their fancy duds. I seriously took over 100 shots. Here are the BEST three:

They're all standing still at least. The smiles are fake and forced.

More fake smiles. Bart is actually airborne in this shot.

I swear, they're normally pretty cute kids with good smiles.

Remember these were the best ones! Children's Photographers: I salute you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Momma bear, control your growl.

On the last day of school, Lisa was told that she would be entering Mrs. K.’s class next year; she’ll be one of only 5 kids in grade 3 in a grade 2/3 split class (there will be 12 gade 2’s).

When I first found out, I was fuming. I mean, walking around talking to myself as if I were talking to the idiot who made the decision. My main concern, of course, is that she won’t be challenged enough. She’s a bright girl who does extremely well in school and I’m afraid that being in a class with younger kids will somehow kill her motivation to perform at her academic peak.

Homer was trying to calm me down, but I was having none of it. My plan was to call the school the next day (the teachers had to work) and get her changed into the straight grade 3 class, which only has 17 kids in it.

I should mention that Lisa is thrilled with her placement. The two girls who are joining her in the split class are good friends and also good students. She’s happy that she won’t be the youngest in the class this year. She is friends with many of the kids in the grade 2 side already.

On the way to soccer that night in the car, Homer and I were still talking about the subject. He asked if I knew Mrs. K. I said I knew the name, but not which one she was. I turned around and asked Lisa what Mrs. K looks like and she said, in a deadpan voice, “Why? What are you going to do to her?” Hee. I stopped my bitching at that point.

Anyway, I couldn’t get through to the school the next day, but I did call my mom (a retired primary teacher) and dad (a retired elementary school principal). And guess what? They think it will be GREAT for her! Their reasoning:

- Lisa is really quiet in school, so being in a small group like that will do wonders for her confidence in speaking up and participating

- With such a small number in her side of the split, the teacher will be able to offer more enrichment opportunities and challenges on an individual level than with a larger group

And so, I’ve dropped it. I’m going to wait until September, talk to the teacher then and figure out the plan. I’m sure it will be fine.