March 21, 2013

Come at me, bro!

I think I've mentioned before that I've been pretty active in my life. I was on a swim team and volleyball team as a kid. I did volleyball and Tae Kwon Do as a teen. Thanks to Illinois's (very good) law requiring physical education classes everyday for all grades in public school, I got lots of time to play different sports and games with my classmates. My church loved competitive activity, so our youth groups always played games. I went to summer camp, which had more group games, plus swimming and horse back riding in the summer, cross-country skiing, tubing, skating, and tobogganing in the winter. My family went to the beach at least once a summer, plus occasionally to water parks or camping.

Needless to say, I got plenty of time to play and exert myself physically. And I really enjoyed it!

I was not as competitive as my sister. She was the type to who performed better when she was competing, rising to the pressure and possibly body checking someone to win (love you, Jess!). I wasn't seen as competitive compared to her. But I still loved to win and compete. I just usually chose things that had a more individual kind of test. More about me trying to best myself and push the limits of my abilities.

As an adult, I've found it much harder to get this type of activity. It costs money to join a team through a Park District. I haven't been at churches that have organized games, or I don't have the time, or a baby-sitter. I'd love to join Tae Kwon Do again, but the same issues of time, money and baby-sitting apply.

In the fall I began volunteering as a leader in our church's AWANA (a youth group, for those unaware). K is in Sparks and really likes it. This is his second year and S was old enough to join the little kids nursery time, so I could be a leader. It's nice to volunteer and do something fun since I'm going to be there anyway. But part of my desire to join was because of the team and competing. When I was in AWANA as a kid, our leaders were quite competitive. There were always chances for the leaders to do a game, with or without the kids. And everyone loved to do it. Our church isn't as into as mine was growing up (but they often did go too far in their desire to win or have the winning team, in retrospect). But, I have gotten a few opportunities to play this year, and I love it!

Last night, another leader and I played tug of war. Two leaders from each of the four teams go head to head. It was great! My team won (maybe my extra Mommy weight does come in handy a little, plus my nice long arms) and then all the little girls (ages 5-7) ran out to hug us and cheer us and give high fives. That's just such a fun experience. I look forward to more of that in the coming years. Whether it's volunteering at AWANA or maybe down the road getting a chance to join an adult team of some sort, or martial arts again. I always picture when the boys are older doing something as a family. Lots of people do that with martial arts-parents and kids all joining in.

I guess I've come to see that competing and joining in stuff like that is just part of who I am. And we've been trying lately to include more of the things we love in our lives so we don't feel like life is wasted or moving by without much enjoyment.

March 16, 2013

Black Thumb

S  Black ThumbS. Because I'm sure both are black, considering my level of prowess with plant-y things.  I didn't buy a plant for our apartment until six years into our marriage. After K was born. (At least I don't remember ever buying any plants before then.)  I suppose I felt more capable of keep something alive after doing so successfully with a human. Plus I felt a new need to be motherly and domestic "for the sake of the child". So, I bought a pretty hanging plant called a Wandering Jew. It looked good, and had a silly, slightly racist name, but the tag also said that it needed almost no care. Perfect for me!

That plant grew and made our Colorado apartment a little more homey. (It wasn't much to write home about by itself. Except for the view of the Rockies, of course.) I felt like a better mom because I had a plant (I read plants naturally help purify the air in your home, and just believed it without further thought because it seemed right, and I wanted it to be right). Plus, K liked to stare at it when he was a baby and could pretty much only stare at stuff.

When we moved to Ohio, I wasn't about to keep the plant with us for a thousand mile trip. So, we parted ways (i.e., I threw it in the dumpster because none of the friends helping us move wanted it). I'm not very sentimental about that stuff.

For the two years we were in Ohio, I got no new plants. Part of the time we lived with Jim's parents, so it didn't make sense to domesticate their house. For nine short months, we had a duplex. But again, no plants in the house. The seduction of fall led me to buy some mums to put on our porch. They looked great. We really enjoyed them. I could have planted them in the little patch of ground around the porch so they would come up again the next year, as my mom suggested. But I didn't. Because I don't actually care about gardening and thus was very lazy about it. I might have planted them in the spring (again, can't really remember), but then we moved right away. So I have no idea how that turned out in the end.

Cut to now. We have one plant that Jim got at work as a little baby plant that has survived and thrived and is now practically a small tree. (Note: Jim should be in charge of all green things in our family.) And my mom gave me a plant she's had forever. Both have managed to stay alive (though the one from my mom nearly didn't make it).

I guess I got cocky. I wanted to grow a useful plant and bought a cute little seed kit on clearance at Anthropologie (leave it to Anthropologie to get me interested in something I otherwise could care less about). K is a kid and therefore loves the idea of growing stuff. So, I bought Miracle Grow potting soil (figuring a miracle would really help me) and we planted zucchini, lemon mint, basil and tomato. The idea of plucking ingredients off the vine in my own kitchen then using them for meals is pretty enticing.

Within a week, we had sprouts. Within a couple of weeks I had to move the plants to larger pots because we were getting leaves and they were larger.

But, within a week or two after that, they stopped growing. And now they look like this:

Dead. My florist sister checked them for me but was pretty sure they are a lost cause. Sigh.

I had even decided to do a cute counter top garden using Twinings tea tins. (I saw it on Pinterest, natch.) I ordered $30 worth of tea (not a big deal, since we drink it all the time) but with the "excuse" that it saved us from having to buy separate pots for the very useful herbs and vegetables I was growing for our family. As you can see from the picture, I had one tin in use already.
Cute, huh? These were waiting in the wings:

But alas, all the plants are dead. And the reason is probably because I have no interest in reading up on how to care for them. Beyond planting, watering and keeping them by a window, my knowledge is exhausted.

Now the only "plant" on my kitchen window sill is this one:
A solar powered daisy K bought from the Farmer's Market last spring. But, of course, it no longer sways to the rhythm of the sun because S broke it. Nothing but broken down plants in my kitchen.

March 8, 2013

Silly boy

We've been hit by sickness once again. Yuck. Fevers, aches, chills, congestion for K and Jim and I (though I wasn't hit very hard this time, thank GOD). S had a wonderful night of vomiting two nights ago, that I was lucky enough to be on duty for. I'm very thankful that this is the first all night stomach bug S has had in his almost three years of life. It's so hard to deal with when they are little because they don't understand what is going on and try to reject things like the bucket you place under them. I'm pretty sure he believed that if the bucket wasn't in front of his face, then he wouldn't throw up. So. Much. Laundry.

But anyway, in true kid fashion, S was pretty much back to normal the day after. He was chatting away, playing, etc. So we got to hear more of his hilarious comments and actions.

He was still a little out of it for the morning, so we were wondering how he'd feel after taking his nap. We heard the door handle and then out comes S, with his cowboy boots on. He got out of bed, grabbed his blanket and pacifier, and got his cowboy boots out of the closet to wear. Nothing cuter than that boy when he gets all dressed up with the accessories of his choice!

A little later he was playing with a cool toy set that my mom's friend gave to the boys. It has a castle, dragon, ogre, knights, the whole shebang. S loves the dragon and ogre and totes them all over the place. Funny thing is, he can't say either name. So when he's playing it comes out more like this, "Watch out fragon! The yogurt is gonna get you!". Or he'll burst out of the room and say, "Rarrr! I'm a yogurt!" No wonder most people have no idea what he's talking about!

That afternoon, another collision of cute and bad pronunciation came about when Jim was taking out the garbage. He put stuff in the back hallway and left the door to the apartment and to outside open. S walked past Jim and said, "By myself." Jim turned to see S standing by the backdoor with his cowboy boots on.

Then S said, "Dad! I'm gonna go make sandcastles in the snowman! By myself!"

Which means play in the snow. Because S calls all snow at all times "snowman". We can't stop him! No matter how many times we say snow he still says snowman. "You want to sled in the snow?" "Yeah, sled in the snowman!" I guess he decided since he had boots on (even if they were cowboy boots) he was all ready to play in the "snowman". Jim was able to convince him that it was too cold, especially without a coat or gloves.

I love this kid's sense of humor!