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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

I’ve come to write on you again.

Man, it has been a really long time since my last update. I don’t know how this will go or how consistent I will be about it, or even if anyone will read it, but since I am up and thinking about it, I figured it is worth a shot.

So . . . to update my last update . . . the job situation got worked out. It was this whole mental scenario where the company I was working for was shutting down but our book of business was potentially going to be sold to another company which meant I would be transitioned over into a new gig at the new place IF the sale went through. Holy God, was that stressful. Every day I was left to wonder “Will this actually happen? Will I have a job tomorrow or will I be unemployed?” And honestly, it felt like it was changing every day. Plus, I had to interview for my own job again after about five years of doing it which was okay because the interviews went well, but nerve-wracking because I found myself worrying about whether or not people liked me.  But the sale happened and I transferred over and so far, it has actually been pretty good. I make more money and I actually have a support team to help me as opposed to being the only one left in my department because they’ve laid off everyone else. So yay me and yay new job like a year and a half later!

In terms of traveling, Boy and I went to Paris a year ago today (I told you I was behind!). I had never been to Europe before, so it was kind of daunting the first couple days, but then we got in the groove and things were good. I saw many beautiful things and Boy and I got to have the honeymoon we always dreamed we would have but couldn’t afford/didn’t have time for when we actually got married four years ago. While in Paris, we also had the big discussion that many married couples have – is it time for kids? We were renting an apartment in this district of Paris right by a school and every day, we would end up trotting through this entire group of adorable Parisian children wearing peacoats and eating croissants and it was like uterine catnip, I have got to say. So we decided we were ready and some months later, this happened . . .

Yep! That’s my baby! We have a couple of names picked out, but so far, we have been calling him “Ripley” after the Alien movies because we are classy like that.
(And if you are wondering if I wore my Alien ultrasound shirt to my ultrasound? Yes. Yes, I did.)

To answer the most basic questions for you:
1) I am due in January.
2) It is a boy.

The pregnancy so far has had its ups and downs. The first trimester was hard on me as I was pretty sick and felt kind of socially isolated because I couldn’t leave the house much for fear of vomiting/falling asleep in a public place. Also, while most people were thrilled for us and incredibly supportive of our new addition, some were kind of  . . . not . . . which sucked a little bit. However, this second trimester, I have been feeling a lot stronger and healthier and just generally better, so I’ve been able to enjoy myself and feel more like a normal person again. A normal person who has a smaller person inside them who kicks them and insists on 5AM pee breaks, but a normal person nonetheless.

Anyway, I have more things to say about the pregnancy stuff later, but as of right now, I have to toddle back to bed for a bit so Ripley and I can be well-rested to meet his new cousin Nora today. Yes, my lovely in-laws and adorable niece Abby have a new addition to their family who arrived about a month ago, so the cousins will be about five months apart which I think is pretty cool since my closest cousin in age is 10 years younger than me.

So, yes, hope this blog post finds my readers well – however many of you there are after almost a year and a half’s absence – and I will hopefully check in again soon.

XOXOXO,
Girl

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My life these days seems to have a fair number of children in it. Many of my girlfriends had babies last year (I believe the final total was 16) so I am often buying baby gifts. I spent a fair bit of time with my niece and this weekend in fact, Boy and I are babysitting as some friends of ours (who have three kids, ages 4 to 10) sneak off for a romantic weekend sans brood.

While I used to babysit hardcore in high school – I even took the babysitting course through our local community centre – I actually went through a long child-free period in my early twenties and am now adapting to the whole experience of dealing with children who are less like peers and more like progeny. Your realms of interest and knowledge become less entertwined and you realize that a lot of your references are lost on people of another generation. In fact, the more time that passes, the more you become accutely aware that you’re going to have to explain a lot of the things you love or that were cultural touchstones when you were growing up. Cartoons, movies, games, toys etc. that you just take for granted as being a part of your life are completely unknown entities to someone who is 4 or 8 or even 10.

As people who are currently child-free, one of the things we often discuss with our clan-laiden friends are how and when to introduce bits of pop culture nerdery to children. Over the course of these conversations, a major topic of contention is Star Wars. There are three schools of thought here:

1) “The Chronies”: People who have championed the idea of showing them in chronological order (1,2,3,4,5,6) because that progression works from bad to good.
2) “The Retroists”: People who say you start old and go new (4,5,6,1,2,3) because that was the way we experienced them.
3) “The Classicals”: People who will under no circumstances show their children the new triology and will aggressively deny the existance of 1,2, and 3.

While we haven’t worked out our own Star Wars strategy yet, we’ve definitely discussed the random bits of nerdery we definitely want to introduce our future spawn. Some things that we love that we want the next generation to love too:

1. Lego/Playmobil: Boy is in Camp Lego and I am in Camp Playmobil. Tying into the Star Wars issue, Boy has an incredibly large collection of Star Wars Lego that he keeps in a glass display case in our apartment and he is exceptionally proud of the fact he has collected many Star Wars minifigs. None of this eBay crap for him! He got those five stormtroopers piece by freaking piece, people! As for me, I have a very large collection of those Victorian Playmobil that is currently being stored at my parents house which is pretty much in mint condition. Though I did not actively play with it, in high school on the ocassional sick day, I would sometimes pull all of it out and set it up to look at it in a nerdy, completist sort of way. It is a weird dream of ours that our children will sort of mesh the two and build a giant lego tower which will be the site of a fight involving Playmobile Dinosaurs and Gladiators.

Too awesome not to post - Playmobil Beatles!

2. Old School Monopoly: None of that crap with debit cards or fancy fake properties. We’re going to plan it with paper money and screw our friends up by building hotels on Park Place. Oh, and I’m going to be the little Scottie dog, thanks!

Whoever came up with this doesn't understand that half the fun of Monopoly is subtly cheating with the paper money!

3. Early Simpsons Episodes: I am good with The Simpsons up to about Season 8 as I think the Hank Scorpio episode was that season. Beyond that, I just don’t care. The longer that the show has been on, the more rambling it’s gotten, the less it’s focused on the core family dynamic and the more deviation from canon there has been. In my mind, Homer and Marge got together in the 1970s after her crappy prom date with Arnie Ziff, not in the 1990s when they lived in a Melrose Place-esqe apartment building and Homer fronted a grunge band. The only grunge references allowed are when Homer tours with Lollapalooza as part of their freak show!

Boy and I often jokingly reference "The Hammock District."

4. The Muppets: One of Boy’s favourite movies is The Muppet Christmas Carol and I have grown to love it as well. We have all the old Muppet movies and we hope that our kids find them charming too. (But Muppets in Space can be forgotten. Sorry Gonzo!)

This is what Christmas is all about - adorable Muppets!

5. Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Making fun of things is one of our favourite things so Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is right up our alley. I’m not sure if our kids are going to be raised in the church of Joel (Boy) or Mike (Me), but it will be an interesting battle.

Boy likes Joel's dry wit and I like Mike's sheer wackiness.

6.The Hunger Games Books: I am a meganerd for these books. In fact, I have a little nerdy token that I wear pinned to my winter coat to show my love of the Suzanne Collins books. I like that they’re so action packed. I like that the main character is a strong girl. I like that neither of the love interests is an obvious dick. Very eager to share them with kids.

If you haven't read these, you are missing out. So much fun.

7. The Terry Prachett Discworld Series: Want to know a secret? The name Boy and I have picked out for if we have a boy some day is partially stolen from a Discworld book. I have only read a handful of his books – maybe 6 – but they really make me laugh and I love pouring over the language of them. The way Prachett can turn a phrase is a thing of beauty.

Librarians say "Ook!"

8. Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High: I specify because I do not care for Degrassi: TNG. As far as I am concerned, Degrassi is all about Spike, Caitlyn, Wheels, Snake, Lucy and a little behatted devil-may-care rapscallion by the name of Joey Jeremiah. I love how the episodes such a time capsule of their era and I love how stripped down everything looks, which is probably my biggest complaint about the new series. Childhood/teenage years are often pretty messy and I like that they have such a straight forward, non-glossy attitude about them. Super watchable.

How adorably retro!

9. Retro Kids Movies: I didn’t want to do separate list items for all of them, so I am lumping them all together. The Sandlot, Return to Oz, The Wizard, The Goonies, Labrynth, Troop Beverly Hills, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Ghostbusters, E.T., and The Princess Bride will all be watched  with reverence.

I watched this a while ago, and it's still kind of great. "The kid is an L7 weenie!"

10. Cthulhu/Conan: Boy is really obsessed with the writing of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, so he wants to introduce whatever kids we have to their stuff. I am not quite sure how it’s not going to be total nightmare fuel, but I at least have some ideas about good things to start them with . . .

A Children's Book based on some of Lovecraft's Mythology. Because that needs to exist.

So bloggerinos, what kind of things can’t you wait to introduce your offspring/extended family/friends kids to? Let me in on your nerdy childhood obsessions!

P.S. Also, if you haven’t seen this, it needs to be watched. What kid didn’t try to use the force after seeing Star Wars for the first time?

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By MIA, I mean "Missing In Action," not MIA the music star. However, if I could be brave enough to dress like that when I get knocked up, that would be kind of cool.

Wow, I didn’t even realize until now that it had been as long as it’s been. Granted, I am not particularly surprised. With the way things work with my job, the later half of the summer always gets eaten up by work craziness . . . plus, this year our summer was incredibly busy and I kind of have this rule that if it comes down to writing about my life or going out and living my life, living always wins.

So yeah, I guess this calls for a cliff notes kind of update:

Boy’s job stuff:

Boy got a new job! And it’s only an hour or so away from our place! This is the most awesome thing by far. He’d been unemployed since April and with summer almost over, it was making us both a little anxious about what we would do in the months ahead. However, the third week of August, he got a call about an application, went in for an interview and bam! New job! It was funny, we went out for dinner a while ago with some friends of ours who had gone through a similar situation and they said to us “Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it will ever get better and then suddenly it does and you don’t know what the problem was,” and it was definitely like that for us. Not having to worry about money or the possibility of living apart was such a relief.

My job stuff:

I interviewed for a pretty awesome gig a few months ago and according to an inside line, I was in a shoo-in for the job. That is until the department I interviewed with was downsized and the position eliminated. This was a major bummer since I REALLY wanted that job, but I reasoned that at least they didn’t hire me and then downsize the position. Anyway, I was holding on in my job and feeling frustrated when someone in my department announced they were quitting. At this point, my department was already understaffed so I felt anxious, but this person’s departure left a spot open for me to slip in and gain some managerial control . . . which is what happened as of September 1st when I became head of my department. So yeah, I am still here slugging away, but this time it’s with a pay raise and some actual say as to how my job works. Granted, it hasn’t been that long yet, but I’m feeling much happier about what is happening now that I am not reliant on other people. I still have goals and plans for the future, but this is at least a good step forward.

Family stuff:

The last time I updated, things were a little rough on this front, but they’ve gotten better. I’ve written a lot about the problems I’ve had with my parents, but I wanted to definitely take a moment to say that as hard as things have been with them sometimes, they do actually care about me and they are supportive when I really need them to be. With all my job frustrations, they sat down and told me if things at work got too bad, they would jump in and be willing to help me out for a few months if I really needed to quit and look for something else. Although I would never take them up on something like that unless I was in a completely dire situation, it allowed me to feel like I had a little breathing room in a very stressful situation which I really, really needed. Anyway, we’ve had a couple of lunches over the past month or so (one for my mom’s birthday and one for mine) and we’ve talked and things have felt right again, which puts my heart at ease.

Friend Stuff:

We had some people distance themselves from us when we were going through these hard times. I even had one person say to me when I was explaining our situation (at this point we were still thinking Ben might have to move) “That’s depressing. I don’t want to talk about that.” While I know that these people didn’t mean to be mean, it still really sucked. Just going through something stressful like that already makes you feel like you’re alone and having people you consider to be your friends bail on you just heightens that feeling of isolation. So, to those of you who haven’t been through this with friends, here is my advice to you: It’s not all about having to say the right thing. Sometimes it’s about admitting you have no f*cking clue what to say and just checking in once in a while. Drop a line via e-mail. Swing by with some beer. Invite them over for dinner. We had some people do these incredibly simple things for us and they made a world of difference and made us that much more aware how kick ass some of our friends truly are. Thanks guys!

Miscellaneous Fun Stuff:

I was just updating my summer vacation photo album on Facebook and I realized that I have actually done a lot of stuff including:
1. Going to see Band of Horses, Broken Social Scene and Pavement live on Toronto Island. We thought it was going to rain but we had great weather for this. Unfortunately, maybe a little too great since I got pretty burned. Whoops!
2. Meeting one of my blog friends in person. Looking back on it now, it feels like a lifetime ago I was bloggin’ for the ‘Bee, but I am grateful I did it since it introduced me to a bunch of awesome people.
3. Going to see Patton Oswalt live at Just for Laughs. He was just as good as I was hoping he’d be.
4. Going to my art class’ art show. Boy helped set it up and had two pieces in it. As for me, I didn’t submit this time, but maybe next year if I am feeling braver.
5. Visiting my niece Abbey and her awesome parents. Seriously, a huge part of this summer would have been unbearable without these three people.
6.  Visiting with my Godmother who came in from Montreal. She is one of the nicest people ever but anytime I see her, it’s kind of funny because she is incredibly short and I am almost two feet taller than her.
7. Throwing a “dramatic reenactment” party with a bunch of my friends. Some people bailed last minute, but the people who did come were awesome reenactors.
8. Going to see Arcade Fire live. One of the best, if not the best, concert I have ever seen.
9. Hosting some lovely friends of ours and their three kids for a swim and dinner the August long weekend. Their kids are awesome and our friends are such good parents, it was a really nice afternoon.
10. Going to Boy’s extended family reunion. We didn’t know half the people, but we got to drink and hang out with Boy’s immediate family, so that was cool.
11. Celebrating my mom’s 59 birthday and my 28th birthday. I have a distinct feeling that 28 is going to be my year.
12.  Throwing an art show opening for Boy. He was a little bummed about the turnout, but people really liked his stuff and he sold some prints which is good.
13. Attending the 10th wedding anniversary party of two of our good friends. This might have possibly inspired us to throw an anniversary party next year, but we have to wait and see how that plays out.
14. Enjoying a fondue party with friends new and old. Melted cheese and groovy ’70s rock make everything all right.
15. Going to Fort York for the first time ever. Way to go History!

Not all of those things are in sequence and I am sure there is other stuff I am missing, but those are the biggies and they kind of help explain why I’ve been AWOL.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m hoping once the craziness at work subsides, I’ll be able to blog more. To that end, I’ve even been in touch with a couple of people about guest blogging to kick my butt into gear, so I’ll update when that happens. But, in the meantime, here is a picture of my adorable niece. There is pretty much nothing cuter than this little bean.

Hope this blog post finds you all well and that you had an excellent summer!

Love,

Girl

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Okay, so my Sister-in-Law’s baby shower is a month from today and I keep buying things. As I have said before, Boy and I aren’t ready to have kids for a while but I get really excited when other people do and often feel the need to shower them with gifts. So far, I’ve bought Smee a bunch of presents including

1) a “Congratulations, You’re Having A Baby!” present, which consisted of a mini aviator cap and a Robert Munsch book (which includes The Paper Bag Princess, one of my all-time favourite children’s stories ever).
2) a “Merry Christmas Baby!” present, which consisted of a Scaredy Squirrel book and plushie. (If you haven’t seen them, Melanie Watts’ books are amazing and adorable).
3)  a “Happy Gender Identification Day!” present, which consisted of a pink blanket with a chocolate Eiffel Tower print (my in-laws are a little bit obsessed with Paris).

Originally, I was on the ball with my shower present and bought it on January 3rd, but then Threadless was brilliant and lost it*, so I had to start over, which I did a couple of weeks ago. I went to a great little kids store downtown and I bought a variety of things for my soon to be born niece, including a book I had a good chuckle over when I saw it in the store with my Brother-in-Law. The book in question?

*Turn back Erin if you’re reading this because SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER!*

For those of you not familiar with kids lit, this book is about a little crocodile named Achilles whose lifetime dream is, as per the title, to chomp down on the succulent flesh of a child. Now I think this book is really awesome and adorable, but above it all, I think it is funny because that is just the kind of person I am. I have a generally twisted sense of humour and I encourage others to be equally ridiculous with me. In fact, I downright expect it.

However, this morning while thinking about it, I had a flashback to another baby shower I attended many moons ago where my sense of humour got me into a bit of trouble with the mommy-to-be. To set the scene, this was the shower of a friend of Boy’s who I did not know very well at the time. I think I was invited more as a favour to him than a desire to involve me which was actually very nice of the host. Once I accepted the invite, I started looking for a gift. I try in present buying situations to pick things that are interesting and funny and nongeneric so that there are no duplicates from other party attendees. So, when I came across this little gem, I thought it was perfect . . .

Both Boy and I had a good chortle over it and spent a good five minutes using silly accents quoting A Cry In The Dark a la Elaine on Seinfeld about it. Much like Elaine, I take serious delight in making obscure cultural references.

After we were done goofing around, we both agreed it was a funny gift so I placed an order for the gift and didn’t think much about it again until the shower when she opened it. Upon opening it, she looked slightly confused, but she thanked me nonetheless and continued on with her presents. However, little did I know that she did not get the reference and when she got someone to explain it to her, that person also did not understand the Seinfeldian aspect of it and instead told her how it was a reference to possible post partum depression/baby death. Therefore instead of the gift being taken as the “Hey, I hope we can bond over how silly and pop culture related this is!” gesture I meant it to be, it was taken as a “Hey, I hope you lose your $h!t and murder your child!” gesture which freaked her out. So, so bad**.

Thankfully, I know my In-Laws much better than I knew this person at the time and I have since managed to buy her kids good presents that did not make me look like a lunatic, but there is part of me that wonders if maybe I should save it to give to my Sister-in-Law after the shower so that the invited guests don’t think I have a screw loose.

So people in blogland – share in my bad taste shame! Have you ever given someone a gift that they totally took the wrong way? What was the gift and what happened?

* Thankfully, I have since received a full refund.

**This was also not helped by the fact that Boy’s girlfriend before me once humourlessly announced to all and sundry that she hated babies, so I guess it wasn’t so far-fetched that I, his new girlfriend, would be equally child hating.

**The Dingo Snack is still available at here at Glarkware for anyone else who wants to test the limits of good taste.**

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This morning I discovered something kind of interesting. I was looking at my blog stats and checking out some refer links when I came across this:

The Knocked Up One Is Always The Last To Know.

Just for the record, this is completely wrong and there will be no stork visiting the Park household any time soon. Unless . . .

Reimagine this poster with Boy as Ahnuld, me as Emma Thompson and Danny Devito as someone less tiny and abrasive.

No, just kidding. Not even then.
I think the world is very tied up in babies right now. As I have mentioned before, my SIL is pregnant and about 13 other girls I know are pregnant as well*. This is a great thing and I will admit that every so often, I look at a newborn or ultrasound picture and have emotional uterus based feelings. But then I realize that it has less to do with actually wanting a baby and more to do with feeling excluded when the conversation turns to nappies.

 Boy and I have talked about kids for a while now and we both have said that we want them. We have names and toys picked out in our heads. We’ve discussed baby shower themes and Halloween costumes. We are both excited about the prospect of being parents.

Some day.

I am 27 years old and Boy is 26. We will mark our 1 year 8 month anniversary on the 28th of this month. We both have relatively stable full-time jobs. But still, we know it is not the time for us.

There are many reasons for this. We both want to do some couple-only traveling. We are still renting. We are finally at the point where we can enjoy some selfish financial splurging. But the biggest one for me is that I saw what it was like for my parents and I don’t want to do that. My mom got pregnant with me before they were fully ready** and it really changed things for them.  I’m not saying that they did anything less than their best, because I do feel like I had good parents in the scheme of things, but they gave up so much to have me. My dad gave up on his music. They had no money. We had to move to a place neither of them liked. There were some tough and unhappy times and the thought of rushing to get to a situation like that scares me.

However, if I’m being totally honest, once in a blue moon, I will look at the preggos around me and worry about not being pregnant. It’s stressful thinking about the whole biological timeline issue. My SIL and BIL tried to get pregnant for a year and a half and then they had to undergo fertility treatment.  The women in my family have notoriously difficult pregnancies. It could be hard. But at the end of the day, I realize there is a lot of time and there are a lot of ways to figure all that stuff out, while there is a relatively tiny timeframe to just enjoy being young and happy and (relatively) newly married.

So for now, we’re waiting. I hope some day to be someone’s mom, and I know whenever that time comes, I’ll be ready, but I look forward to doing it happily and with no regrets.

*The grand total used to be 16, but my best friend from grade school and one of my blogging friends have both popped out babies in the past couple of weeks.
** They got married in August 1981 and were pregnant with me in November of the same year.

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Prenatal Nerdery

I just sent this image to my Brother-in-Law . . . This is either going to be the nerdiest or scariest child EVER.


So far Smee doesn’t look much like anything in his/her ultrasound pics (except for a pirate ghost, maybe?), but it makes me think a little bit about what the far future Park baby might look like. With our chubby baby pasts, I’d put my money on Jabba the Hut.

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If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know the past couple of weeks have been pretty bananas in the Park household. First my cousin passed away, then we found out about Baby Smee, then two of our best friends, Sally and Jack, got married. A whole bunch of emotions swirling around in one girl makes for a pretty crazy time.

jandsA picture of Jack and Sally during their first dance. They looked so adorkably happy!

Anyway, going back to the thing I haven’t really mentioned yet on the blog, Jack and Sally got married and it was awesome*. We’ve known them for years and it was great to see two people who obviously love each other commit to a life together. This then got me thinking about marriage, especially with all the hullabaloo going on in the States about gay marriage*.

I do not now, nor will I ever understand how some people are so threatened by the idea of letting two people be happy together. In life, you can only make decisions for yourself. The decisions of others, especially when it comes to their personal lives, do not effect you or nullify your own life. It doesn’t take away from or diminish what you have; if anything, it adds to the level of universal happiness which is good for everyone. So why be so adamently against it? Our wedding was attended by gay, lesbian and transgendered friends of ours** and I felt really happy and proud to be a Canadian knowing, as I said my vows to my awesome husband, that all of the people we love are afforded the same ability in the country in which we live.

Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to Grover from Sesame Street. As most of you probably know, Sesame Street celebrated its 40th anniversary this week, so many clips have been posted of the show across the web. However, my favourite showed up in my Google reader this morning and I wanted to share it.

It is a piece featuring Grover and a little boy talking about being married and what makes a marriage. They talk about hugging and kissing, but they also talk about being friends and helping each other which is really important. But I think one of my favourite things about it is that at no point do they say a married couple has to be a man and a woman. Pretty progressive if you ask me!

Anyway, watch the clip and let it put a smile on your face, and for all the naysayers out there, get with the program and let people be with who they want to be with already! You don’t want to let a four-year-old and a puppet be smarter than you, do you?

* You can read more about the wedding at Sally’s blog here.
**Two of whom had an adorable baby this summer! Hooray!

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