As the end of summer approaches

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Playing pick up with her daddy and friend. Like, what?! I was hoping to see this one day but didn’t realize it could start this early!!

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This, I read last night. I am so blessed to be able to read good books from wise people who have gone before me.

Finally, I’m so happy that I can genuinely enjoy my 2 year old. Yes, she still thinks peeing on the floor is ok (funny that she consistently holds it in in public, but never at home). But she’s so fun and precious too. Random words you will hear in my house:

– jabstep!
– Pump fake!
– jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! (A la umizoomi)
– uh oh! Baby doll pee on floor! I clean it!
– AGAIN! (accent, embarrassingly, a perfect replica of me at my most exasperated)

As the end of summer approaches

Being a mom who plays sports….

I think one thing a lot of mommy bloggers are missing in representation are mothers who care about sports/working out. Moms jog, or workout, but it often sounds like they do it only for their health (nothing wrong with that!), or drive their family members to games and practices, but so few of the ones I read play sports themselves.

I guess I’ll represent then. Because I really enjoyed Sunday’s two games and I think it’s important to acknowledge a few things. First, the fact that my hubby makes it possible. He loves softball, but he encouraged me to be the one to play this year when the opportunity came up. He’s the one who takes care of our two year old when I’m playing. Sometimes my parents will take her for the afternoon and that’s great too.

I also feel it’s important for the teenage girls in our churches and leagues to see women playing sports. Not just professionals, but everyday people they know as friends and teammates and competitors. One of the teams we played had families in it; moms, dads, daughters and sons. While I didn’t agree entirely with their coaching philosophy, I appreciated that the moms played well. It’s nice for a girl to have that to live up to. I want that for my daughter, see.

My mom plays a lot of badminton now, and I love watching her practice whenever she has a free moment, watching videos on technique, improving her skills every chance she gets. I think it’s awesome that one of my friends can go to the gym with her dad because it’s something they both genuinely love.

Some of the moms I know post about going to the gym, or the pool, on their Facebook, and I think it’s great. I just can’t tell sometimes if it’s a passion for them, or more of a responsibility. Again, nothing wrong with that second one! I think we should all take good care of our bodies. I just think there’s something a little different about doing sport/gym-ing as something we’re passionate about and want to improve on, versus doing it for the sake of doing it.

I’m good at being interested in improving my brain, learning new things, learning crafts, and jamming and canning, but I’m actually not really good at working to improve at sports. The failures are so obvious, or something, and sometimes so physically painful. I can tear out a messed up knit blanket or knit socks without too much protest, but have you ever seen me try to practice my batting? Yeah, I don’t do that well. But I should. Because failing hard at something is the only way we get better at it, and failing hard in order to improve at sports is something I want my kids to see me do too. I’m proud of how hard I play on the field, because I’m working to get rid of the stereotype of useless girl catchers (I’ve only seen 1 or 2 this season, so yay!!) I wish I was better, and made less mistakes, but I’m okay with making those mistakes if I get better in the long run.

And it’s awesome to hear in the bleachers behind me that two year-old voice, going, “Good job, Mommy!”

Though, she says that even when I miss ;)

Being a mom who plays sports….

Pears and the garden and other things

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Pear picking in a friend’s backyard. I’m thinking I’ll can some pears in syrup, eat a bunch, make a galette or flan or tart, and slow cook the rest into a smooth pear butter.

I haven’t updated in forever so I figure I’ll at least throw up a few recent photos from my phone. This is what my days have been looking like!

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The garden, from the point of view of our first squash hopeful.

I’ve never grown winter squash before so this is really exciting. I bought the seeds on clearance on a freezing cold December day at the Brick Works, dreaming of a summer garden for me and a learning experience for my toddler. Well, it’s always a learning experience for me too. My peas have invaded the one tomato plant and the squash has clambered up the peas. Hiding under all that is some red leaf lettuce and beleaguered dill.

On the other hand, my planter of herbs bought from Costco is doing pretty well despite the intense heat.

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Oregano, lemon thyme and ordinary thyme.

I’ve also been preparing for a small group study on the character of John the disciple. He’s always been my favourite, so to speak, so it’s exciting to be able to share all about what makes him inspiring with a group I always wish I spent more time with and knew better how to love.

What else? Oh, I am super excited that a young family we are friends with is moving to our neighborhood soon. Not just anticipating play dates and the little girls going to school together, but having someone we know close by on those dreary long and cold winter days, someone with whom to navigate the area with our broken Chinese.

I doubt anyone still reads this, but hi! If you do. :)

Pears and the garden and other things

Why eating isn’t a battleground here

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If she won’t drink milk, it might be because she’s allergic to dairy.

If she wants to eat chicken thighs for breakfast, just be glad it’s healthy. It may not be culturally ‘normal’, but it’s not sugar coated white carbs, either.

What your toddler agrees to eat while on vacation on the other side of the world might surprise you. In a good way.

So what if she only wants green peas for dinner? Out there some other family is probably bribing their kid to finish those same peas.

Strangers will give your kid candy and chocolate. Just be glad she isn’t interested.

The cuter the kid, the more junk food she’ll get from well-meaning people. Take it as a compliment and don’t be afraid to throw it all in the trash when they’re not looking. Also, trading it with older children is a possibility (but you’re not really helping them in the long run :P)

Why eating isn’t a battleground here

Peas, Butternut Squash, Cilantro and Cat Poop

This morning my hubby good-naturedly went with me to the local city compost depot to be my manual labourer.

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Then, the weather was so nice that baby and I got down to work to turn the plot, add compost, and plant some seeds!

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I wish I got a photo of my little helper, as well. She always wants to do what I’m doing, so I gave her a small trowel and a planter to be “her” garden and she got to work filling it with compost. Then we planted it with cilantro/coriander.

Planting - April 11-2015

Sadly, when I popped back outside later to take these photos (my helper was exhausted and needed her nap), I discovered that the local cats had taken the freshly turned dirt as an invitation to make the garden their litter box. Yet again. I’m just going to hold up till some of the seedlings start coming up, then I’m going to mulch that bed. That, and stalk my yard with a trigger happy garden hose.

I like you, cats. But I don’t like your poop. Go bug your owner’s yard, not mine.

Peas, Butternut Squash, Cilantro and Cat Poop

It’s probably a combination of the gloomy skies today and our late nights this weekend, but boy does my head hurt today. I feel seriously sleep-deprived and it’s hard to believe that as a teenager I used to court this state of sublevel functioning on a regular basis to IM my friends and still make early morning practices.

I’ve also been reminding myself constantly these last few days to continue to rely on God especially right now, when I realize we are “living beyond our means” as Jane Austen would put it. I first had to forgive myself for letting ourselves get into this through my own unclear budgeting (or lack thereof). It’s too late to do things differently in the past. The more relevant thought is what the right thing is to do now.

In happier news, we got to celebrate a university friend’s wedding this weekend, and I have to say that the catering at Hart House is pretty amazing. We’re planning a post-wedding hangout this week and I’m planning some combination of garlicky mint for leg of lamb. I have always seen Good Friday and Easter as purely Christian celebrations of the sacrifice and victory of our Lord Jesus Christ, but in the food blogging world it appears that it’s also a timely celebration of the spring season and new growth. I guess this is what happens after centuries of Christianity-dominated culture integrated with existing celebrations of the life cycles in the world our Father has made for us to live in. I can’t say I mind.

And finally, I am both happy and annoyed that Bubble Guppies is on Netflix. It seems that “Bubba G” is on request every other day around here and we actually have access to it! Bah.

On a completely different wavelength, I’m also thinking these days about how I need to do more individual reading. Am I trying to catch up to E, though? Or is it for me…and does it actually matter?

It feels good to feel normal.

I’m back to this whole–where should we go–question.

Where should we go, I mean, for things like playgroups. The thing is, I thought I was settled on the one we go to weekly a block away away, with the occasional grudging drop-in at the local Literacy Centre. Both programs are okay, I thought.

Then today, as we were in the area, we stopped by a library in Markham. They have a wonderful kids’ toy play area that I knew baby would love. But as we walked in, we noticed a bunch of families playing in the program room. It turns out it was one of 360′s Family Drop-In programs. We made it in time for cleanup, snacktime and circle time. And oh my goodness it was so much better. It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But the snack was healthier and the staff who ran the circle time were so much better at it. Better than the nice lady at the Scarborough library who does storytime (sadly, she doesn’t sing in tune), and the strict ECE at the Literacy Centre who keeps telling the kids to stay seated. These staff actually engaged the kids. I’ve never seen my baby actually stay put and listen during a full circle time. Usually she’s running around in the back and getting herself and others into trouble. But here, she just fit in, and she was also mesmerized by the story-telling. I’ve never heard her say “wow” so often at one of these programs. Also, she didn’t get in trouble for standing to see the picture book.

Which hurts, because it means, we’ve been going to the wrong programs. Or have we?

It’s so so normal in our world to drive far and move farther to get one’s kids into the right schools and the right programs. I really really don’t want to do that. But the programs in our neighbourhood always feel wrong for her. They’re too small, too stifling, mostly too strict. It’s probably cultural, which is both the reason and the issue to begin with us being here in this place, just a few blocks south of where we might “feel” like we “belong”.

I don’t think I anticipated this. Not fully. I knew the schools would be older, the parks a little less fancy. I didn’t think that even free programming would be so different, with a different postal code.

It’s more than that. It’s being in a room with other families who speak my language. It’s being around parents, moms, who look and sound like me. Is that horrible that I didn’t know I wanted this and I know it isn’t my calling in life to just “belong” but it feels so good to experience it just for a bit? I feel almost guilty for relishing that undefinable sense of belonging. It goes against all the ideals…but isn’t that sense of belonging exactly the reason why those other playgroups we attend are the way they are? Don’t they exist precisely to give some other family that sense of belonging they crave? Is it so wrong? I want it too.

Anyways, I’m going to be back, next week. Maybe once a week we can feel normal, us two, baby and I. And I know and trust our heavenly Father will continue to show me where to be, when and how.

It feels good to feel normal.