what do you want to be when you grow up?

is our only opportunity to be an athlete when we are young and in school/college?  or can we continue the quest of athletics as we age?   should athletes only be the best of the best or does anyone applying themselves and working at a sport get to call themselves an athlete?

I grew up loving sports…. it started in Elementary School with an excellent Intramurals program…  (this is what our school called noon hour sports… in grade 6 I got to be the captain of the Bears…  highlight of my Elementary experience… low-light was the 52 detentions I received in grade 6.. after school – did not interfere with my Intramural pursuits)

I went to a different school for Junior High and my love of basketball really took off…  this was back in the day when you could basically play every sport offered and no one was playing one sport all year round – unless you counted the pick-up basketball games we played year round… it was fun to have the season change and try out something new… and remind yourself why you loved basketball with your lack of talent in other areas… 

heading to yet another school for High School, I was still very driven with sports and basketball in particular…  it was exciting to keep this going and get to play in College…

and then I got married, started working and became an ‘adult’…  which I thought meant sports quit for me…  not for the farmer I should add… men seem to do a far better job of remaining an athlete than women do… 

having kids was really the icing on the cake – cementing my ideas that athletics for me were part of my childhood… never to be revisited again…

I remember the joy I felt when I could finally put my oldest boy in baseball, hockey, you name it…  I even cried at his first hockey practice…  this should have been a hint to me that I was missing being an athlete…

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

  • Servings: one chicken
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • one whole chicken (mine was 6 lbs)
  • trivet
  • butter, melted
  • kosher salt
  • cumin
  • lemon pepper
  • paprika
  • carrots
  • yellow onion
  • celery

Directions:

  • use a fresh or defrosted chicken – I defrost mine in the bag it is in, in cold water in the sink – this generally takes around 3-4 hours
  • pat dry with paper towel
  • place trivet in Instant Pot bowl
  • add 1 cup water
  • add chicken
  • pour butter over the chicken
  • add the carrots, onion and celery around the chicken
  • sprinkle with spices
  • place lid on and set manual high pressure for 40 minutes (basically, 6 minutes per pound)
  • allow for a natural pressure release (around 15-20 minutes) when done cooking
  • transfer the chicken to a cutting board
  • put a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquid and contents into it
  • use the liquid for recipes needing chicken stock and the meat for lunch meat!

{/recipe]

don’t get me wrong – watching my kids play sports is very fulfilling and exciting – but when I realized I was living through their experiences I knew I had to try to get back to being an athlete myself… I needed to let them have their athletic experiences for themselves and I needed to see what was out there for me…

it had been roughly 17 years since I had done anything other than ‘exercise’… there were many reasons why I let things get like this I believe…

I didn’t think I was athletic enough to warrant the amount of time and money it would take for me to be involved in my own adventures…  we were busy enough with the farmer’s hockey and then my children’s hockey and other sports…  I needed to be the one to keep everyone going…  maybe – if I was a ‘gifted’ athlete – I would have made the time…  but I was always middle of the pack and I thought middle of the pack people should just enjoy school sports and then settle into a life of cheering for those more talented… 

I was a yo-yo exerciser…  I would do some exercises for awhile and then quit…  with no accountability, competition, coaching or purpose, I found exercising very difficult to be consistent or even motivated with…

I was also worried about judgement from other people… I felt like it would be selfish and almost spoiled if I spent time working towards some sort of athletic goal in my late 30’s… I didn’t have a lot of influences in my life or examples of moms that were pursuing athletic goals…

chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled (if old) and finely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium – preferably homemade)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:
– heat oil in a large pan

  • add carrots, onion and salt
  • cook on medium heat for a few minutes and add green peppers, beef and garlic
  • season with spices and turn heat off when meat is cooked
  • in your slow cooker, add the meat/veggie mixture and then add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and beans
  • simmer on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6 hours
  • if you want more greens, add spinach or kale at the end

everyone has the money goal down…  we all are pursuing money… security…  but I just didn’t see women going on adventures or training for a sporting event… I saw moms dedicating their lives – nobly – to their families and it confirmed my beliefs that to be a good mom you sacrifice your life for your family…

moms are pros at scheduling… and we schedule all the kids activities and our husbands lives but forget to schedule in ourselves… or feel too guilty to do so…

and now, after two years of scheduling myself in, I can tell you I wish I had done it earlier…  I know everyone would have had a better time and I wouldn’t feel like I neglected myself for years…

in January of 2017, a friend of mine at the rink told me about a running coach she had and how much she was enjoying being coached…  it was like a lightbulb when on… I contacted this coach and started letting her train me…  it made me feel silly at first – I was too embarrassed to tell many people – but slowly I started to see the benefits in my own life… having a coach give me a ‘game plan’ for the week and then being able to schedule it in somehow gave me there permission to train and take the time for myself…

that fall, after hurting my knee, I thought I’d try some Hot Yoga/Pilates for rehab…  and I fell in love with it – even though, again, I was not very good at it…

it did feel very selfish to be spending the money and time twice a week to do this and then running four times a week…  my family has had to change they way we do things in order to accommodate for my schedule at times, which feels ridiculously self-involved

 but I started to ponder, what am I living this life for?  so I can be exhausted, depressed  and unfulfilled, complaining about how busy I am?  live comfortably, not facing my fears and anxieties?  never find out what potential my body had or where it could take me?

I had to tell myself that I am worthy… we all are worthy… it is what God put into creation and why we are created in the first place…

I am worthy of having a running coach… worthy of taking the time for long Sat/Sun runs and practicing yoga…  worthy of trips and adventures that fill me with anxiety and leave me feeling strong…  worthy of feeding my body healthy food and getting the sleep I need to have the energy for big training days…  worthy of pursuing all these things no matter what my talent level is(that was the biggest hiccup for me)

because sports, athletics, competition and adventure is not just for the super-athletes…  it is for everyone…  I have won a race and almost lost a race – and the fact of the matter was I trained for both those races and the training had made my life full of purpose and joy…  I remember being on different teams and coaches often saying ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’… and it only really made sense to me as I got older…

strawberry-spinach wheat berry salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and rained (2 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 cups spinach
  • 2 cups sliced, washed strawberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts (or see recipe)

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard

Hazelnuts:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts

Directions:

  • for the wheat berries, bring 4 cups of water to a boil
  • add the wheat berries and salt and simmer, covered, until soft – around 50 minutes
  • transfer to a large salad bowl and allow to cool
  • just before serving, add the other ingredients – you won’t use all the dressing
  • for the dressing – shake well in a jar
  • for the hazelnuts – preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment
  • melt butter in a small saucepan
  • add cinnamon, cayenne and honey
  • take off the heat and add hazelnuts and coat
  • pour onto the baking sheet and spread out
  • sprinkle with salt
  • bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes
  • cool completely and break apart into chunks

it is the journey… it is the training and the dedication – no matter your skill level – to a craft, sport or cause that matters…  keep asking yourself – ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’  never stop asking yourself this and never stop going after the next thing that it is for you…

don’t feel like any dream is too big for you… set some outrageous goals and see how many you can check off and then enjoy the process… and realize that the secret to it all is that the process is what we are all seeking…  a reason to get up in the morning and attack the day…  a reason to be happily exhausted when you go to bed, sore in the morning and nervous at a start line…

there are too many people out there battling for their lives… whether it be cancer, depression, poverty, loss, addiction…  the list is endless and you have no excuse to not live the best life that you possibly can… you are not guaranteed anything but death…  and you owe it to yourself to explore why you are here and what you are capable of… and you owe it to the people that love you

because there is nothing more inspiring that watching someone attempt scary things, work extremely hard for a goal, conquer a fear…  no one wants you to hate your life…  so you must dedicate yourself to living it in a way that gives energy and life to those around you…

it is not just for the super-athletes…  in fact, the middle-back of the pack people generally have the most fun anyways!  (but I only watch the super-athletes on YouTube… so they should keep being super!)

black bean protein brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (19 oz) can black beans (if you have 15 oz can, just use that), strained and rinsed
  • 2 scoops (34 g scoop) of Casein protein powder (or whatever protein powder you have kicking around) 
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

  • combine black beans, protein powder, oats, peanut butter, coconut oil, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla in a vitamix or food processor and combine until no chunks
  • in a separate mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • add eggs
  • using a spatula, add the thick bean mixture to the cocoa powder and eggs
  • mix until combined
  • fold in chocolate chips
  • in a sprayed or greased 9×9 baking pan, pour the brownie batter
  • melt 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave and pour in a few dollops on the brownie batter
  • using a knife, cut through the peanut butter dollops to make a pretty pattern
  • bake for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is slightly firm but the sides are not overdone
  • let cool and cut into 16 brownies
  • these freeze well

curling…

I bought a curling broom 10 years ago… I used it once and apparently did not impress enough to warrant a second use of the broom…  but the nice thing was my children could use it once a year at their annual Valentines Day Curling Bonspiel…

I thought this was the final curling bonspiel I would attend…  as I was doing my daughter’s hair this morning, I was telling her to enjoy her last year and she looks at me and says ‘I have one more year left… I’m in grade 4’

this is when I realized I had made a big mistake…

 a little history on the elementary curling bonspiel…  as a parent, you get to choose from the following options for this big day…

choices are: helping the curlers on the ice, bringing valentines day baking, cleaning up afterwards or working the booth…  (fifth option is to not sign up for anything but show up and sip coffee and eat all day…  it is more of an ‘unofficial’ option and is slightly looked down upon)

the previous 9 years I have worked in the booth…  I preferred this option for a few reasons…  first choice of the valentines baking that came in, no pressure to actually watch the curling, no obligation to tie skates when kids were not curling and I could distance myself from the screaming…

but I had thought this was Sienna’s last year and thus my last year and I had decided to ‘mail it in’…  I signed up to bring baking, threw a packaged brownie mix in the oven and thought I would show up for an hour or so to take a few pictures and head back home…

so you can understand my embarrassment when I realized that my daughter was not in grade 5 and I had one more year left of this…  oops…

so I decided I would take the pictures this year and then finish off my ‘Bonspiel’ time next year in the booth…

I have two highlights of the curling bonspiel from the last 9 years…. first is the time a friend of mine overshot her audience and crafted possibly THE best cupcake I have ever tasted… Martha Stewart recipe… homemade with buttercream icing…  I ate two of them because I knew they were too good for the kids to appreciate… second highlight was the year I worked in the booth, left to go to the doctor to find out that the baby in my belly was a girl…  I still remember coming back to the rink and wondering if I was going to tell anyone it was a girl and then sobbing when I saw a few moms because I was so excited…

oddly enough neither of my highlights involve curling…

as I came in the rink I quickly found my daughter eating Cheezies at 10 am in the morning…  (this is another reason why I work the booth – to keep her from making these types of decisions)

I took a few calm moments over by the rink to gather my thoughts before I ventured over to the mayhem ensuing in the curling area…

if you are wondering when to go watch an Elementary Curling Bonspiel, the morning is the time to go… before the terrible food choices and general manic energy of the day has worked every child into a frenzy…

(I still can’t believe my friends never invite me to curl… especially after the commitment to curling I made with the investment of purchasing a broom)

the first few ‘matches’ (?) of curling are exciting… this is Sienna and her cousin (another hint you are in a small town) laughing with each other before their epic throw down of a game…

but as the day goes on you start to see why teachers most likely are all closet alcoholics…  I would say 1 in 3 kids wiped out on the ice or got hit by a curling rock… I saw one child licking another child’s face… twice… licked it twice… a few kids took to screaming for no obvious reason… kids chasing each other around… basically doing everything but curl…

the thing you need to take into consideration when you are comparing this to your own childhood experience, is that as modern parents we have taken children who naturally had trouble paying attention or focusing and gave them an iPad since the day they were born…

so it isn’t a shock that focusing on curling for more than 7 minutes is a struggle…

not if you were on Sienna’s team though… after watching a few brief moments of curling on TV lately and becoming an expert, she took to screaming ‘sweep’ at her team and kept them on point…

it really is no shock that this bonspiel happens before the February break at school…

and after watching Sienna curl, I feel like the search is still on for an Olympic sport she could participate in

thank you Facebook memories

“if it matters to you… my babe it matters to me… I’ll go where you’re going… I’ll keep on holding… I’m going to give you my all…  I’m going to give you my all”

the older I get the more sentimental I become…  and Facebook apparently knows how to play me…  like a fiddle…  or a piano… really any instrument that you tinkle or fiddle with…

these memories pop up on your feed in the morning…  it says something like ‘7 years ago’ and all of a sudden you are crying and living in the past and trying to hug your teenage kids while they are eating cereal…

I actually want to thank Facebook… if it weren’t for these memories popping up I can’t imagine what a terrible mom I would be… angry, bitter, tired… but Facebook reminds us why we are in this parenting battle…

it reminds us that we somehow survived raising tiny little children and this fills us with confidence that the teenage years will not defeat us…

my parents used to have to set up an elaborate slide show to see their memories…  they would get a white sheet out and pin it up on a wall, set up the projector and after 4 hours of getting ready we would slowly look through their memories…  even though they were so grainy you could not really see what was going on…

now I get a slide show every morning…  reliving the broken bones, sporting highlights, camping, hunting, vacationing…

and darn you Facebook, I was going to scream at my boys this morning for leaving their towels and underwear on the floor of the bathroom but I just saw a picture of them when they were just learning how to go ‘poo-poo on the potty’ and suddenly I feel like they have come such a long way how on earth can I get mad about a towel on the floor???  at least they went #2 in the toilet… no, they didn’t flush it… but the Facebook memory has me thinking that perhaps they still like to show me that they went on the potty…

I have a few friends this year that have their kids graduating…  in fact, a friend and I just had tears at the rink last night trying to discuss it…

life suddenly hit me that I hardly have any years left with my oldest boy…  and then he’ll be gone and never talk to me again in his whole life…

what I had to tell him the other day was that he has been my best buddy for 15 years now...  I’ve experienced every first with him…  every new thing we did as a family was with him…  every mistake, success, trip, sport… it all has been going through it with him…

the problem is I suddenly want to hang out with him more than ever as I feel time ticking by… but he is a teenager… and if you know anything about teenagers, they are rather difficult to hang out with…

everything is an argument… he disagrees with every single statement or comment I make, almost before I open my mouth…

so I feel like the farmer and I are caught in this weird role of wanting to cherish our time with him as he soon will leave our home, yet hating every moment of our time with him… like fingernails on a chalkboard…

I believe this is what Yogi’s call the ‘Yin and the Yang’

this is where the role of grandparents is so crucial during the teenage years…  it is a way to feel like a family member at least cares about the teenager’s life, but you as a parent don’t actually have to be right there you can be on vacation in Mexico and still feel like you are taking care of your kids because the grandparents are…

the one thing the farmer and I have realized over the years of raising our three kids is that we will never regret being involved in their lives, caring about what they care about and watching them succeed and fail at these endeavours…

I recently heard that to be a  healthy person you should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night…  this is obviously written by a retired person…

as Facebook keeps taking me back to all the memories of the past years, I think to myself ‘I am so glad I got to see that’…  it does seem exhausting when you get the kids schedules all put onto your calendar…

my advice is to make sure you post it all on Facebook (even when you lose or your kid does not do well at something), because 7 years down he road you will want that memory to pop up on your phone…  (some people need less encouragement to post on Facebook than others)

you will want to see the look on your child’s face when they won a tournament or lost a football game in the snow…

or better yet, what I have found is there is generally one mom on the team your child is on that has begun to dabble in photography… so you just encourage her to pursue her dreams of photographic journalism, meanwhile get her to post pictures on Facebook and tag yourself in them…

I watched this year as two moms hugged each other after the last football game… it was both of their second boys, so they had been watching football for quite a few years now and I saw the way they cried and held each other and could feel the sense of disbelief that it was all over…

what an important lesson for me to learn –  to appreciate watching my kids play sports and soak it up because it does end at some point…

of course there is always a new chapter, a new adventure, a new team… but that season of their life is over with…  and now it is a memory… hopefully a Facebook memory so you don’t forget it… 

the farmer told me last night that he realized a few years ago that each of our kids is different…  and they all are skilled in some areas and need work in some areas… and it really had nothing to do with him or I as parents… they are who they are… for a reason and a purpose…

and it is our job to discipline, instruct, guide, love and take care of them during this part of their journey…

(ok – full disclosure the farmer only said the first part of that… I kinda added to it)

so every Halloween, Christmas, vacation, sporting event, hunting, camping, broken bones and first day of school… take a picture… post it… and then let your Facebook memories help you love your kids

chickpea protein bites

two things get me out of bed in the morning…  well, other than the need to pee, my phone alarm beeping, the farmer getting a little too ‘handsy’, the need for 4 glasses of water, children to feed and pack lunches for and two dogs to kick out of the porch…

but there are two main things that excite me the most…  (apologizes to the ‘handsy’ farmer)

food… cooking, creating, eating…

and running...

(or other forms of exercising… weights, pilates, yoga… as long as I am sweating by the end of it)

so today was just about the perfect day...  I woke up knowing I was going to attempt my fourth try at a recipe I had been tweaking that a friend had sent me…

and I was going to get a run in on my treadmill while watching Netflix…

describe to me a better day… please try…

in my mind the best recipes involve fantastic ingredients…  the Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt bar is hands down the best chocolate bar out there…

and this raw almond butter is so good you don’t want the taste to ever leave your mouth…

I have three active kids in the house along with a farmer and myself who are attempting to eat well lately, so the food I’m making needs to taste good and provide sufficient fuel for the day…

we were going through so many protein bars, I figured I’d make a homemade version of a protein bar...

something I could have as a snack that would not only quench my sweet tooth but feel good in my belly and power me through my run while watching Grace and Frankie...

this was the epiphany I had… putting the chickpeas, maple syrup, almond milk, almond butter and vanilla in the Vitamix...  the consistency it beats it up into is perfection…

a few years back I came across a chocolate chip chickpea cookie recipe that changed my life… well my kids lunch kit life really…

so you can understand the level of excitement that flooded over me when my friend sent me a brownie recipe with chickpeas!

this is easily the best way I have ever incorporated chickpeas into my baking…

transfer the wet mixture to a bowl and fold in the brown rice flour, baking powder and chia seeds to bind it…

place in a greased square baking dish and think to yourself of all the power foods you just put into a brownie pan!!!

this is when the chocolate comes in… you might notice one square is missing… I attribute this to having to go to Parent Teacher Interviews last night and needing to make myself not feel like such a failure when I got home…

chocolate with salt has a way of making everything better…

who cares if my 15 year old is still hiding in different spots in the school to avoid class and eating his pencils?

chocolate made it seem just fine…

I had to showcase the decorative measuring spoons my mother brought me on her last trip out here…  they are so cute and remind me of her… (and sadly her hoarding habits)

once you sprinkle the chocolate and a smidgen of love on the brownies, pop them in the oven and allow yourself to feel the pure joy of making something that is good for you to eat… so good

gluten free almond butter chickpea protein bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1 bar dark chocolate, crushed

Directions:

  • blend chickpeas, almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla in a Vitamix or food processor
  • transfer to a bowl and add flour, baking powder and chia seeds
  • fold flour mixture in and transfer to a greased square baking dish
  • chop up chocolate bar and sprinkle over the top
  • bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes
  • let cool before cutting
  • freezes well

farm boys ballin’

watching farm boys play basketball might be the best entertainment that is out there…  the only way I could describe it to the farmer was…

‘do you remember last Christmas when we went to that outdoor rink in Calgary and there were those 5 guys in their twenties there that had no idea how to skate or play shinny but they gave it 110% and I was scared someone was going to get hurt?   that’s what it was like’

(I know I’m going to get texts from my brothers – all offended – but just know I didn’t include you in the 5)

the funny thing is that my boys really thought they were going to look like true basketball players…  first of all, they attended a basketball camp this summer and they watch the Golden State Warriors highlights every morning…  they spend an incredible amount of time on Youtube viewing basketball highlights and bloopers…

so as they suited up to play their first official Jr Boys basketball game (wearing old Sr Boys volleyball jerseys circa 1980’s)… they were nervous but full of confidence that the time they had put into research of this sport would pay off…

also, they had genetics on their side as their mother was a bit of a ‘baller’ in her day…  (funny how memory is…  seems like my stories of my basketball days just keep getting better and better the older I get) 

it was so enjoyable to watch…  the other team seemed to be in the same boat as our team… going at an incredible speed yet not entirely sure of the rules…  

I have not enjoyed watching something that much in a long time…  I know it was funny and new and that is most likely why I enjoyed it so much… oh, and I wasn’t freezing my butt off in a rink…  and no parents really, truly cared how their kid did (and I’m not used to viewing sports that way)  

it reminded me of the beginning of a new relationship…  the excitement, flirtation and low expectations that you have…  hockey is like the marriage and basketball is like the affair…  oh, and what a glorious affair it was…  not as polished and mechanical as the marriage…  in this basketball affair they were unsure of the rules and had no history or baggage involved…  a lot of fumbling around and laughing… (too far perhaps with my analogy?)

I almost don’t want them to have another game this year as that was such a joy for me to watch, I’m worried I’ll ruin the next game by expecting my boys to improve or achieve….

we celebrated (well after both of them having to go to hockey practices that lasted till 10 pm) with a meal that took me back to my basketball days and childhood…

get your pen and paper out for this recipe…   it’s complicated…

I’m all about health and fitness… in moderation…  and I figure if Hamburger Helper helped my mother out on busy days, it can help me out as well…

You Will Need:  ground meat (I used Elk), milk and water…  

and please, don’t try to jazz it up with anything… your kids are tired, exhausted, and hungry… just spruce that ground meat up with a packaged noodles and some sort of dried cheese mixture and call it a night…

and as you eat it, you can watch videos of the glorious basketball game and get messages from grandparents about how awesome you did…

and in that moment realize that your grandparents will love you no matter what…  no matter what…

rink booth etiquette

 

I’m doing a lot of things that I am not qualified to do… or good at… or have any background in…  or being paid to do…

since wedding the farmer some 16 years ago I have been on a learning curve of small town life and attempting to do things I have no training or skill in…  of course, getting married at the age of 20 doesn’t allow for a lot of years to become skilled at much…

for instance, I’ve coached volleyball, basketball, baseball, badminton and hockey… and I only ever played two of those sports…  and it apparently makes kids uncomfortable when you call the ‘birdie’ a ‘shuttlecock’…

I taught play school and diagnosed kids with learning disabilities…  again, with no qualification what-so-ever…

I drove large farm machinery… well, only once and then I was not allowed to ever again… this is something you actually need some past experience in I’ve found…

from farm books to planting a garden to keeping small children alive, it is all a process of mistake after mistake before any form of success…

this past weekend, I was in the booth at the local rink…  where I had to deal with frozen pipes, leaking roof, missing paper towel, hood fan not working and a finicky hot chocolate machine… but the worst thing of all to deal with…  bad booth customers…

just a few notes when you go to a small town rink and order something from their booth…

  1. they aren’t being paid to work in there… in fact, they are most likely having to miss watching their child play hockey in order to make your taco salad and mocha…
  2. there are no healthy options at a rink booth… so if you made a New Year’s resolution please pack your carrot sticks with you and bring them along…
  3. they are not making money off of the booth, so complaining to them about prices or trying to barter with them is pointless…  they are not in control of it or in a position to give you a deal…
  4. ‘the customer is always right’ does not apply in this situation… ‘the volunteer cook’ is always right is a better slogan…  just take what they give you, when they give it to you, and be on your way…
  5. if you just freaked out on the lady working in the booth about the tournament schedule you knew about before coming… and then walk in to the back before the booth is opened because you need a coffee…  don’t expect her to serve you coffee…  and if she does serve you coffee… understand that she spit in it…
  6. finally… if the booth is out of supplies, do not act like it is the end of the world or that you are close to starving…  the supplies are ordered and stocked by a group of volunteer women and they all have lives and jobs and are doing their best…

I was on hour seven in the booth yesterday when I had a few distraught moms come with a dilemma..  it was so cold out that their boys water bottles had frozen… they had put them in the bus storage and they had frozen…  so they were faced with buying 24 bottled waters from the booth…

the lady who took the lead for their mom posse was a bit of a spitfire…  and she started with ‘we are going to be spending a lot of money on your booth today and are wondering if you will give us this bottled water’…  

my thoughts were ‘I don’t care how much money you spend here… it doesn’t affect me at all… in fact if you don’t spend money here my job is a lot easier’  … I asked them  ‘so you don’t want to pay the $48?’ …  

‘no… we’ll pay… just wondering what kind of a deal you are going to give us?’

to which I said ‘we’re not in Mexico… we usually just charge people what the price is on the board and then they pay us that amount …  but I suppose we can give them to you for $40’

I did wonder if she thought she had gone back in time coming to such a small town rink that perhaps she had some pelts she wanted to trade for the water… but thought it best to not bring that up in case I was wrong…

she was unimpressed by this deal and said ‘that much still? I thought  you’d give us a better deal’

I asked her ‘what would you consider a good deal then?’  but she was done with our bargaining  and the moms opened up their wallets… each pooling a 5 dollar bill in until they had scrounged up the massive amount of $40 it would take to get water for their entitled, arrogant, poorly behaved 14 year old boys… who aren’t smart enough on the coldest day of the entire winter so far to keep their water bottles where it is warm…

every small town rink operates their booth a little differently but there is one constant …  it is all volunteers …  and they don’t want to be there any more than you want to spend $3 on a Powerade that your kid will drink a quarter of…

but here we are…

now be polite

  

let me brag

bragging about your children guidelines…

#1 – please only post on your Facebook status when your child has won a game… never post when they lose…  this will let everyone following you on Facebook come to the logical conclusion that your child is a winner… even if they were just at the game that your child lost in… as an example of this – I am posting the picture of the football game my boys had in Macklin on Friday… score clock reads 0-0… that is because it is still warm-up… I’m not posting the picture of 46-6 for Macklin at the end of the game with me strangling their announcer…   

#2 – always hashtag any picture you have with your child with one of these options… #blessed #beautiful #talented #howdidigetsolucky #prideandjoy #mvp #heartbreaker #iloveyouwhenyouwin #thoseeyes … I always think of the hashtag like a muffled statement you’d make after saying something – or while coughing – to get a little brag in… only problem is when they get long it actually takes awhile to figure them out because of the no capitols or spaces…  a bit of a project but well worth it to figure out that little Sally #poopedonthetoiletforthefourthdayinarow … and I do not suggest to click on that hashtag…

#3 – follow up all the Facebook or Instagram posts you have made about your child with a Christmas Letter…  just a little recap to go over all of the accomplishments of the family in case someone out there missed something…  back in the day (I use this to refer to the 80’s), this was the only form of family bragging that was socially acceptable…  my dad writes a Christmas letter every year and it is more of a ‘roast’ than anything…  kind of a recap of all the idiotic or stupid things we did as a family that year…  he obviously needs guidelines like the ones I’m pointing out here to help him get it right… Christmas letters are for successes… not for that time everyone told Ethan it was guacamole but really it was wasabi… oh we did laugh about that one though…

#4 – compliment your child before anyone else has the chance to…  I like to call this ‘getting the ball rolling’ …  whether online or face to face, just go ahead and quickly say what a great game your child had or how handsome or beautiful they are or how well they are doing at something… and do it quickly before anyone has a chance to say anything good about them… because it’s fun to compliment someone’s child right after their own parent just did…

#5 – if you have more than one child, pick the one that is the most talented and focus on them… leaving room for your other children to grow and develop outside of being smothered by your love and attention… the farmer and I like to switch who we love the most purely based on how well they are doing at things and then to motivate the other’s to pick up their ‘game’ …. although the farmer did tell our whole household that the only ray of sunshine or happiness in his life was Sienna… couldn’t argue with him… the rest of us are pretty demanding…

the only truly safe thing to do is to take pictures of your animals… because the general public likes them far more than they like your children…

farmer’s like football

these are my pride and joy… the first one is a 13 year old that can’t remember a single thing…  I was warned this happens to your boy when they turn 13 and then they never recover fully from losing half their brain…  poor guy still doesn’t realize that he got hit with the ‘stupid stamp’ because he answers every question and will argue every issue with you and tell you where to turn when you are driving… all the while being wrong and senseless all at once…

the other one with the curly hair is nicknamed ‘meat’…  and lives in his own little imaginary world…  where he is the star of everything and he re-enacts this out on our lawn or in the living room alone for hours… whether it is football, baseball or hockey he will spend a few hours a day caught up in the drama of his making… and no one else is invited to join…

 

they have a sister… poor thing with these to ‘blazing the trail’ ahead of her doesn’t really have a firm grasp on reality…  maybe that’s good? 

I met the farmer I married when we were at Bible College…  I was basically ‘coerced’ into going there and the farmer was on the hunt for a wife I’ve come to realize…  but the glue that brought us together was our love for football…  I was a Green Bay Packer’s fan (Brett Favre era) and he was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan…  and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the day our boys would play on the same football team… that time is finally here…  the oldest is in his last year of Junior Football and the youngest is a rookie to it…  and it is everything we thought it would be…  this was a picture of the first night they got their equipment… when we got home from practice they went out to the yard and tackled each other for around 45 minutes…  it makes me understand men more raising two boys… the simplicity of them… the desire to dig holes in dirt, hit something, conquer land or people, see who is the strongest… and the bond men have with each other…  because they don’t want to feel silly in their pursuits of nonsense so they band together to encourage each other to out-do the other’s stupidity…  it is adorable/sad to watch… but it is what it is… and I love football so my son’s can be encouraged in the hitting, grunting and tackling that they so desire to do…