Fever

A sickness has invaded our household. It started over the summer, and slowly took over our family. We are all now deliriously feverish, because for the first time in 22 years, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to the playoffs. The Steel family has a serious case of Blue Jays fever, and the only cure is more Blue Jays.

All decked out in our Blue Jays swag

All decked out in our Blue Jays swag

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Blue Jays fever is not just limited to our family. The entire city is positively buzzing over the success of our team. For me, the love of the Blue Jays goes far beyond just this season. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember. My grandparents went to the SkyDome on opening day and got my sister and I “Domer” stuffies- mine is still kicking around somewhere. I can remember watching playoff games over Thanksgiving, and everyone in the family would bet on the outcome (I mean, they were like fifty cent bets, it’s not like we were hanging out with a group of bookies). I would come home from school in those days and my mom would have the game on while she was baking cookies or getting dinner ready. And when Joe Carter hit that walk-off home run in ’93– well, it was one of the best moments of my childhood (seriously, click on that link and watch the video. Even if you aren’t a Jays fan; even if you aren’t a baseball fan, this video will give you chills. If it doesn’t, well, then, I recommend heading to your nearest ER because you may not have a pulse). My mom was shouting at the TV, “He did it! He did it! I can’t believe it!” And then that Coke commercial came on after the game, and I think it was the first time I cried tears of happiness.

There was such a feeling of unity among Jays fans back then, and that feeling is here again. When I wear a Blue Jays shirt to work, patients, parents, co-workers, and complete strangers will stop so we can talk about last night’s game. On the first day of school, I estimated that at least a third of the kids on the playground were sporting Blue Jays gear. Charlotte has been swept up in the fever, too. She chants, “Go, Hobay Bautista!” whenever Jose Bautista steps up to the plate. She comments frequently on how the Yankees are bad guys (total parenting win). Or, when she wants to tease me, she will say that she is going to start cheering for the Yankees because she knows that will get me riled up. Even Penelope gets in on the fun- she will hold up her finger when we say “Number one Blue Jays!”

That's right, Penelope, Blue Jays are number one!

That’s right, Penelope, Blue Jays are number one!

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I honestly cannot choose a favourite player right now. It seems like every game, someone is stepping up with an amazing catch (Kevin Pillar), a clutch homerun (Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, Dioner Navarro, Ben Revere…I could go on and on), some stellar pitching (R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman, David Price, Marco Estrada, Mark Buerhle) or three home runs in one game, including a grand slam (Edwin Encarnacion…and seriously, who does that?!). They are like the very definition of a team- all players working together; no one player or position getting all the credit for their success.

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I would really like to say thank you to our Toronto Blue Jays for the spectacular ball they have played this season; for bringing our city together; and for bringing back memories of my childhood Blue Jays and cheering with my mom and now forming new memories of cheering with my family. Good luck in the post-season, boys- ┬ábring that World Series trophy home this year. Let’s go, Blue Jays!

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A New Season

We are now several days into the official start of fall, and I suppose it is time to say farewell to summer. This summer was a good one- one of the best in recent memory. We spent a lot of time outside, the weather was sunny and warm, and we even got in a little cottage getaway at the end of August. It was very nearly perfect, and I am sure that as time goes on, the memory of hearing, “What are we going to do now, Mama?” fifty times a day will fade and I will remember this summer only as a happy, blissful time in our lives.

Some highlights:

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And now here we are, nearing the end of September. We have entered into a new season. Charlotte is in French Immersion now; in a class that doesn’t include her nearly lifelong partner in crime, Vera. These two changes combined made me very nervous about the new school year. Unsurprisingly though, these changes were probably harder on me than on Charlotte. She is now spouting French phrases around the house (“Regardez moi!”) and she still plays with Vera every day before school and during their outdoor play times.

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This is a new season for Penelope, too. She is now attending a home daycare with the most lovely caregiver I could have ever hoped for. She has adjusted to this change beautifully. Penelope has two new playmates in the toddlers that attend this daycare, and she adores it. I love the fact that she is out in the world, with her peers, and enjoying herself. She has made so much progress recently- she seems to be understanding phrases and directions and she is pointing and communicating more. She still doesn’t have any words yet, but she makes herself known. She pulls to stand easily now, and will cruise for a few steps along furniture. And speaking of steps- she can now crawl up stairs by herself! There is no doubt in my mind that she will walk one day- she is one determined girl.

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Having fun at her caregiver’s house

Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not enjoy change. AT ALL. So all of these changes occurring simultaneously made September a bit of a difficult month to navigate. In addition to the changes, I have been working a lot more- nearly twice as much as I was before- and trying to balance the shift work with family life is exhausting at times. Things are more settled now, though, and I am breathing a bit easier. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still wary of what the future has in store, but I am trying to focus on the present. Right now, life is good. Everyone is happy and healthy. This new season is a good one so far.

One Year and Seventy Pounds

I did something today I haven’t done in about ten years: I wore a bikini. At a public pool. I bought this bikini in the spring, hoping that I would be able to work up the courage to wear it this summer. A couple days later, I went back to the store and bought a tankini top as a back-up, which is what I have actually been wearing all summer. But it was so hot today, and my tankini needed to be washed after a few days at the cottage, and I really wanted to take Penelope to the pool. So I dusted off that bikini top, and we headed out to cool off with a swim.

Best selfie I could manage. I'm thinking I need a millenial to give me some selfie-taking tips.

Best selfie I could manage. I’m thinking I need a millenial to give me some selfie-taking tips.

I wish I could say that I tore off my tank top and shorts, and jumped into the pool with a victorious, “Look at me now, bitches!” cry. I may have parked us behind a tree because it had lots of “shade” (ie, I could shed my clothes in relative privacy and take a few deep breaths before venturing out to the pool). But I wasn’t as nervous or self-conscious as I thought I would be. Part of that stems from the fact that I’ve lost about seventy pounds over the past year or so, though my body is far from what most women’s magazines would classify as “bikini ready.” Thanks to two pregnancies and multiple cycles of weight gain and loss in my lifetime, my stomach will never be flat again. I have stretch marks and flab and I just love ice cream too much to ever be a size zero. And of course, breast-feeding did a number on my boobs, so I’m no longer as perky as my twenty-something self. I am healthy and strong now, though, and that knowledge gives me the confidence to wear and do what I want.

One year and seventy pounds has made a huge difference in my life. I don’t shy away from activities because I am unfit or ashamed of my body anymore. I used to spend my summers covering my body in as much clothing as I could get away with in the heat. I used to avoid doing things like going to the beach or to the splash pad or even just for a long walk, because I knew I would be sweaty and gross and out of breath and I felt terribly ashamed of myself. It would take me forever to get dressed to leave the house, because I would have to try on many different articles of clothing to figure out what made me feel the least hideous. This has not happened to me even once this summer. I wear tank tops and shorts most days. I have gone to the pool and the park and on many long walks with the girls without even thinking about how I would look or feel during these activities. I can get dressed in about thirty seconds (once I track down whether my clean clothes are still in the dryer or the laundry basket, waiting to be folded). I’m just living my life, without those seventy pounds weighing me down, physically and emotionally.

So yeah, I wore a bikini today. And I know that’s not much of an accomplishment in the grand scheme of things- I mean, I wore a weather-appropriate article of clothing to a local pool, it’s not like I climbed Everest or cured cancer. It just speaks to how much I have changed over the years, and I think it’s a change for the better. I wore a bikini, and I survived. There was no laughing and pointing or “beached whale” comments (at least none that I noticed). Most importantly, Penelope and I had a fun afternoon without my body image hang-ups interfering. And that’s something worth writing about.

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