3
February

The draft

My love for baseball came later in life. I never played as a child, but loved it from the moment I started playing in my twenties. I have tried for years to get the lils to try it out, but they have not had any interest. Until this year. I don’t know if it is the fact that the time difference allows us to watch the vast majority of Blue Jays games, or that the nice weather lends itself to playing ball sports, but this year Woo’s interest grew considerably, and he said he wanted to try.

Little league runs year round here, but you can join at the start of any season. He wasn’t ready for fall season, so we planned for spring. We spent a few months leading up to the tryouts practicing the basics. In addition to devouring every book the library had on baseball, Woo spent some time at the batting cage, some on the local ball diamond, and many days in the front yard playing catch. It was slow at first. We have always been very hockey focussed, so we never really took the time to play catch with the lils. Woo was a quick learner, and after a few weeks, the neighbours were remarking on his improvement.

By the time the tryouts came around, I think that I was more nervous than he was. They separated the boys into groups of about twenty, and had them run trough some drills in front of about 35 coaches, who were sitting on out on the field. It must have been somewhat intimidating for Woo, who had never been through anything like this. Of all the boys in his group, he was the only one that had never played before. Still, he went out there and held his own. There were some boys who were very good, and some whose skills needed refining. He was solidly in the middle of the pack. In the end, Woo was happy with his tryout, and I was very proud.

We were told that only some of the children would be draft, and the rest would then be placed on the teams in the AAA tier, or get dropped down to AA. I was under the impression that about half of the players would be drafted, and the rest would be assigned to teams. We talked to Woo and let him know that he may not be drafted, and may not play AAA. He was accepting, but I could tell that he secretly hoped he would be one of the players drafted.

The league indicated that we’d be notified within a week or so if our child was drafted. When that time passed, I assumed that he was going to be placed on a team, but with so much going on here, I forgot to mention it or follow up. We were emailed yesterday to let us know that the draft was today. When Willy’s phone rang at 8:30 tonight, I assumed it was a conference call, and got up to shut the door, so it would not keep the lils awake. Turns out that it wasn’t work at all, but Woo’s coach, calling to let us know that he’d taken Woo in the draft.

Lying in bed and listening, Woo knew something was up, but he didn’t ask. I couldn’t hold it in, so I went into his room and let him know. He did a little silent happy dance, and then enveloped me in a giant hug. He’s thrilled to have been selected, and ready for his first practice. I can’t wait to watch this adventure unfold.

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24
January

Afraid

I guess a small part of me thought that Woo was going to back down, and decide that he wasn’t ready to go to science camp, but there we were, dropping him off yesterday morning. He was more than ready, happy, excited, and just a smidge anxious. I was the one that wasn’t ready. It wasn’t the fact that I thought he couldn’t be away from home for four days, it was that others would be feeding him for four days. People who I have never met, who don’t know his allergy. I know in my head that they are prepared, that they have a nut free menu, but that doesn’t help the ache in my chest because I am terrified about the worst case scenario.

It’s just one of the worries that occcupy my mind these days. I’m scared that Willy’s surgery won’t help, that Woo’s camp experience isn’t going to go well, that Goose isn’t going to be able to focus for her upcoming belt test, that I am going to get sick. Things always seem to snowball, and we are rolling downhill at high speed. The past couple of weeks have been pretty eventful and disruptive for us, meaning that a lot more is falling on me. With more on my plate, I am dropping the ball on things, which causes anxieties to build, and my sleep to fade away, and then my fears build some more.

So we muddle along, and I try to make it all come together. I’m grateful that most people are understanding and accommodating when I forget things, or am late. Except Goose’s school. They were neither when I dropped her twelve minutes late yesterday. They looked at me blankly as I explained our situation, told me that is not an excused absence, and handed her a truant tardy slip. I’ll be glad when this is all behind us.

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17
August

Falling in love

Do you ever really know when you fall in love with a professional sports team? That exact moment when you stop casually watching a team and start to become emotionally invested in the outcome of their matches, when you find a way to watch or listen to their games when the odds are against you, or when you start crying if they lose the big games. In my life I have loved the Ottawa Rough Riders & RedBlacks, the Montreal Canadians, the Montreal Expos, and the Ottawa Senators just like that. For each team, I can’t tell you when it happened. Some, like the Rough Riders, I was born to love, as I started going to games as an infant. Others, like the Senators, grew slowly out of the convenience of being the only NHL team in town.

Woo has followed in my footsteps as a sports fan. He loves the teams that I love, just as much. He watches all the games with me, even if it means that he sneaks out of bed to catch a few more shifts or at-bats. His passion for these teams has evolved over time, so that I can’t tell you when he started to love any of them, either. Except for one team. He fell in love with the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12, 2015.

Our family was in Halifax that day. It was a hot day and we had spent most of it walking around downtown and the waterfront. All four of us were hungry and thirsty, looking for a little treat to carry us through the afternoon. The first pub we walked into was unwelcoming. They seemed less than impressed with the fact that we had the lils with us, and put conditions on how much we needed to order if we stayed. It was clearly not the place for us, so we moved on to a pub called the Halifax Ale House. The staff was friendly and fussed over the lils. They made us feel welcomed.

We passed the time watching the Jays game. It was a bit of a stinker, with the Jays losing 7-0 in the fifth. We’d been teaching the lils all the rules of baseball as we watched, so we told them we could watch one more inning before we moved on. The sixth was, in a word, unbelievable. The Jays scored 8 in an inning that featured lots of solid hits, a few breaks and zero home runs. It was long and wildly entertaining, and Woo watched intently, cheering loudly with every hit and run. We stayed til the end of the game. The Jays ultimately lost, but they won a little boy’s heart.

His love for all things Blue Jays has only grown since that day. Early this season we decided that we should go to a game together, and that game was this weekend. When we got to Toronto on Friday night, we decided that one game wasn’t enough, and bought tickets to Friday night’s game too. The Jays won one and lost one and we got to see many great plays, some great pitching, and a few monster home runs. It was a fabulous weekend of baseball and bonding with my guy. It just might have been the weekend that I fell in love with the Blue Jays.

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3
September

Wordless wednesday – back to school

Back to School

Back to School

Back to School

Back to School

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20
August

Wordless Wednesday – Beach Days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

Beach days

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13
August

Wordless Wednesday – trip to PEI

Goose, on the riverbank

Crazy rock

View across the river

Sunset in Riviere du Loup

New London Lighthouse

The north shore

Playing crokinole

Evening clouds in our bay

Cavendish beach!

Sillies before bed

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2
July

Wordless wednesday – Berry picking

Hard at work

One for me, one for the basket

Proud picker

Fooling around

ready to be picked

Anyone want a berry?

Treat!

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4
June

Wordless wednesday – caves and ziplines

Happy boy

Happy girl

Willy

Clowns

Group Shot of the lils

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30
April

Wordless wednesday – chilly trip to the park

Trapped?

Turtle!!

Pretty duck

Hold on to your hat!

Captains of the ship

Secret Communications

Cold wind coming off the river

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28
April

Woo’s bad day

We are lucky to have pretty happy go lucky lil people.  They are rarely in bad moods, and when those moods do happen, they rarely last for long.  All it generally takes is some silliness, some food, or some silly food and we can reset.  My grumpy funks are rarely cured so easily.

This past weekend, Woo woke up in an ornery mood. He didn’t want to do anything, despite the fun adventures that we were proposing for the day.  We tried to work with him, but in the end decided to head to Bate Island.  It’s a family favourite, especially if there are kayakers, paddle boarders and other crazy water enthusiast riding the standing waves on the north side of the island.  Woo was adamant that he was not going to get out of the car, so we told him that was fine.  If there is any place where we can easily watch him and still enjoy our time it’s there.

We arrived and noted that there were people in the waves, but parked on the far side of the island and Willy, Goose, and I left Woo to walk around the island.  As I suspected, Woo was watching, and ran across to join us as we approached the queue to ride the waves.  We all watched for a while, but then Woo decided he wanted to go back to the car, so Willy handed him the keys and he ran off.

He returned a few minutes later, and Willy asked where the keys were.  Woo gave that patented seven-year-old shrug, and offered up an “in the car?” as a response.  He and Willy set off searching, and as they walked away, I heard Willy ask if he’d locked the car. I had my answer when I saw that Willy was standing beside the car, on the phone.

Woo had locked the keys in the car. On Easter Sunday. Thankfully, Willy was able to get a cab to come get him, and was back with the keys in no time at all. It likely wasn’t the cheapest way to solve the problem, but given that we were stuck on an island in the middle of the Ottawa River with the Lils on a chilly mid-April day, it was the right solution.

Despite the setback, all of us were in a good mood by the time the car was unlocked, and the rest of the day went off without a hitch, until we went for a bike ride after dinner.  Generally the lils go for a meandering ride through the neighbourhood, while Willy and I walk behind.  It gives them some independence, as they race up and down the streets, and loop around some blocks without us, and lets us have some adult conversation.

All was going well on this particular walk until Woo wobbled as he passed a parked car.  I thought that he had just bumped the car with his elbow, but we noted a big scratch on the side of the car as we walked up to it, then confirmed with Woo that his handle bar, the one with the exposed metal on the end of the hand grip had scraped along the car.  Willy rang the doorbell and we all apologized to the owners, then gave them our contact information so that they could send us the bill for what was likely to be a costly repair. That brush that had looked so innocent had left a deep scratch on a relatively new car.

As we slowly made our way home, we commiserated to ourselves about what had become a very expensive weekend, and spent some time talking over what had happened with the lils, stressing that they needed to be careful of all things on the roads when they are biking.  They listened and responded appropriately. It’s a conversation that we have had before, but we felt that they now had a concrete example to reflect on.

As we got close to home, Woo approached another parked car on the road. “Dad, do you wanna see what happened when I went crazy?” he asked. “No!” shouted Willy as he stood between Woo and the car, “I can’t afford a Volvo!!”

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