32.

So much motoring around this week! Mostly for this things that roll. 

  
Also, I looked back at the baby book I made for Andy before he was born. I have been TERRIBLE with keeping up with it. As in, I’ve neglected to record half his milestones. #momfail

I was going to preemptively create something similar for our next child, but I think we will need to do something different because clearly this is not a good system. 

It’s been really chilly lately, and alas our little guy has succumbed to illness. It’s always the hardest thing when your baby is sick because you just want to make them feel better, but nothing you do provides any consolation. I think we’ve gone through half a box of tissues. Even though Andy absolutely hates it when we wipe his nose. 

Biggest news of the week, it’s our first milestone Homecoming reunion year! Crazy to think it’s already been five years since we graduated. So much has happened since then and huge waves of nostalgia hit when I look through old pictures. “Look at how young and impressionable we were!” I think to myself. But of course, a statement like that will hold so much more weight at our 25th reunion…or when we get inducted into the Tricolour Guard. The goal is to snag a spot on one of those Queen’s golf carts for the half-time parade. Maybe when I turn 80?

Anyways, we celebrated by heading to the homecoming game (sadly we were crushed) and by sharing food and fun times with some lovely folks who came to visit!  

 

 If Andy decides to go to Queen’s, he will be the class of 2037 ūüė≥

28.

So Andy has developed a propensity for edges. He loves all edges. Edges of tables, of sofas, of beds, of his change pad.¬†He somehow managed to turn 180 degrees on his change pad the other day, and imagine his delight when he discovered¬†all the things I had moved from the other end of the change pad…

With the slightly cooler weather (in the morning, at least…the afternoons are still ridiculously warm for the start of fall), we’ve been able to get out for walks more regularly. The falling leaves are a wonderful reminder that our favourite season is here. The season where we can layer our clothes and wear boots. I love fall.

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Today after lunch, we went for a walk to our alma mater. It’s our 5-year homecoming reunion this year, and we are really excited to be hosting our friends who are coming into town. We’re all going to the football game and so we needed to get some paraphernalia to show our Queen’s spirit (because all those cheapo t-shirts we got during sidewalk sale have seen too many days at the gym). We looked high and low for something for Andy, and eventually figured we could make him a cape with a Queen’s bandanna. Stay tuned for pictures. I think it’s going to be pretty hilarious :)

So this week I attended our quarterly 100+ Women Who Care meeting. I love being part of this group, because it allows me to learn about and also support some of the amazing charities that exist in our local community. As I was reading the reminder email, I discovered that they just started a brand new branch Р100 Kids Kingston! The idea is the same, but with a pint-sized twist. A commitment of three hours and $30 a year. Plus kiddies can learn to give their time to the community through the 100 minute challenge. Everything about this initiative is just wonderful!

Currently…
Can’t wait for the next instalment in the Limetown podcast.
I want to watch both The Intern and War Room.

25.

Happy Labour Day! 

It’s weird to think that I won’t be going back into the classroom tomorrow, but definitely excited for everyone (teachers and students like!) who will be. Maybe we will scope out the bussing situation in this neighbourhood. 

We did quite a bit of swimming this week. We went to family swim at Artillery Park and also met up with one of my friends from university and her two cutiepies while we were in Toronto for some backyard swimming. Andy is still not 100% comfortable in the pool, but he’s getting there!

  
While in town, we also went down to Ashbridges Bay for some beach time! There was such a nice breeze there and it made me realize why people love living downtown. Not having to drive back uptown after work and being able to just walk out to places like this might just make the insane house prices worth it. 

  

On the home front, our rug arrived, and we opted to put it in the living space rather than under the dining table. We need to get ourselves a nonslip mat to put underneath, though. 

  

I also learned a better way of storing my clothes thanks to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Now, we frequently order take out from this place in town called Little Kitchen, but we decided to try our hand at some Chinese home cooking. Made a few batches of Ma Po Tofu with the help of Lee Kum Kee and his many sauces. It was pretty tasty for our first go around. 

Also, the article I interviewed for came out this week. Now you can read all about Edcamp Kingston!

Kelvin and I are going out for lunch sans Andy. And then we may venture to Queen’s for some gear (because apparently Kelvin finds their t-shirts ideal for going to the gym). Is it a bad idea to do that when a few thousand frosh just descended on campus? Mm, we will see. 

12.

It was a weird day for Andy. He ate more than usual and wasn’t a particularly happy camper. It all started this morning, at our first official session of mom and baby yoga this morning. He protested almost the entire time (“I will not stretch my arms to the sky, but I will stretch my legs to kick you while you’re doing downward dog”).¬†But all is forgotten now, as he sleeps peacefully in his crib. On that vein, some exciting news – Andy slept through the night for the first time this week! It was a little disorienting, actually, because I woke up on my own (not to his crying).

The big event of the week for this little guy was going to his aunt’s convocation! It was rather spur of the moment, but we had a good time (arguably, a better time than i had at my own convocation). I can’t believe even my little sister is done her schooling…

Now, we must confess. Kelvin and I are not exactly stellar examples of alumni. We don’t give to our school or attend chapter events…or stay involved in any way really. I mean, my parents have been ragging on me for the last few years to update my address so Queen’s will stop sending my alumni magazine to their place (I finally did this week, just FYI).¬†But nostalgia has a way of creeping in as you get older. Plus, this year marks our 5-year homecoming reunion. And we have¬†a special opportunity starting September¬†to reconnect with campus.¬†So who knows, perhaps we will find ourselves embedded once more into Queen’s life.

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If Andy decides to attend Queen’s, he will be the Class of 2037…

Now most nights, Andy sleeps pretty late. Like 10:30 late. So yesterday we decided that it would be okay to bring him to watch daddy play softball. Andy seemed to show quite an interest in the game, so we hung out around the dugout until my DEET-less body could no longer take the mosquitoes. Bite count? Andy: 0. Mommy: 4

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As for what’s going on in life beyond Andy, I finished another MOOC this week, and I don’t have any on the boards until July. So in lieu of that, I borrowed a whack load of books from the OCT library and am enjoying perusing through them. Plus I have made twitter chats a 3x/week event. Good times.

I am also really looking forward to getting these bracelets from The Jones Market (and perhaps another one or two in a different colour). I shall order them for delivery to our hotel in Nashville.

So it’s 10:49 and I am hosting book club tomorrow. We’re reading Joseph Boyden’s¬†The Orenda and I am about 90 pages in (out of 490 pages). Looks like it’s going to be a long night…

Loving the City

I¬†came to Kingston 9 years ago¬†at the¬†peak of my formative years – an idealistic 17-year old who had known the comforts of suburban Toronto for all of her conscious past. The plan was to spend 5 years here, get myself a superb education at one of the nation’s best universities, and promptly return to the GTA to settle down with a government-employed husband and raise 2 kids.

Clearly, God had other plans.

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That was me. During frosh week. In front of my residence, Chown Hall, which was at the time an all-girls residence (this has since changed, I hear).¬†How do you know I’m a first-year university student? Well, I’m wearing a lanyard for one. And that lanyard isn’t attached to a student card holder in my back pocket; it is around my neck. Also,¬†I clearly have no regard for the fact that my shirt and my shorts look terrible together. Knowing that over 100 other people are wearing a similar uniform probably helped.

I must admit.¬†During the first two years of undergrad, most of my focus was insular. And by insular, I mean within a 1 km radius of Queen’s campus (save for the odd taxi ride to the local mall, since I hadn’t quite figured out how to ride transit that far). Exploring the city meant taking the bus to Loblaws for some groceries. Or doing silly things like walking up Montreal Street late at night to the KFC because we were craving fried chicken, only to realize we probably should have checked the store hours (this KFC is now a Rexall). I would say I had a very small view of the city I would be spending the next four years in.

Slowly but surely, this circle opened up. Volunteering and various practicums brought me into Kingston (and even Amherstview) schools. Curiosity drew me to local establishments and events. I began¬†dating someone (Kelvin…who now happens to be my husband) who was¬†born and raised in Kingston. Needless to say, I came to realize¬†that there is life in Kingston beyond University Avenue.¬†By the end of fourth year, with my degree in hand, I would say that I really liked Kingston.

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Kelvin and me at my BAH convo. Check out his outfit before he requests I take this picture off the internet.

It was at this point that the idea of staying in Kingston long term began to present itself. I opted to do my placements in Kingston during my year at the Faculty of Education, just to keep my options open. I began connecting with amazing people outside the university, and local organizations like the Kingston Arts Council. I wanted to hear and share stories from people who lived in Kingston, so I planned an event called Kingston Through My Lens.

Before I knew it, it was the summer of 2011. I had just graduated from the Faculty and had been accepted onto TDSB’s¬†Eligible-to-Hire List.¬†It was time to move back to Toronto, at least for the time being.

But again, God had other plans, and by the end of August, I found myself back in Kingston for good.

Two weeks ago, Dwayne Cline from Hughson Street Baptist Church in Hamilton came to speak at our church (full audio here).¬†A self-proclaimed rural boy, he never thought that God would call him to minister in the city. And yet, this firecracker of a speaker is living and serving and raising his kids in the¬†inner core of Hamilton. He shared with us some thoughts on this passage in Jeremiah, one of Kelvin’s favourites.

‚ÄúBuild¬†houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.¬†Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.¬†Also, seek¬†the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray¬†to the¬†Lord¬†for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.‚ÄĚ
— Jeremiah 29:5-7

Somewhere between buying a home here in Kingston, and standing in¬†the shade of the beautiful Isabel Bader Centre, with an unobstructed view of Lake Ontario, it dawned on me…I love this city. I love how¬†creative this city is. I love that people are so willing to take chances on you and invite you into the city’s conversation. I love the food and the outdoor space and how “rush hour” means¬†waiting 2 lights instead of 1 for a left turn.

But this passage got me thinking: How am I impacting the city that I live in? And how am I living intentionally in the place that God has called me to be?

If you had asked me in 2012 whether I felt I was doing this, I would have been able to say, without a doubt, yes. But since I started working more permanently, I feel like I have disengaged somewhat from Kingston. This was a sharp reminder that we exist, and our churches exist, to really minister to the community that God has placed us in.

I am challenged to demonstrate my love for this city by engaging once again with it and with the people that make it what it is. I want to take the time to really enjoy our local culture, and to listen to the stories of those I meet. But above all, I want to pray for this city, and to seek the peace and prosperity of this place we now call home.

Kelvin and I both have opportunities this year to make a difference in the lives of people who are here in Kingston –¬†those who are here¬†permanently as well as those who are just passing through. It’s about time we take them.

a beautiful day in kingston

weather has been absolutely wonderful. it’s warm, it’s sunny, and there’s just a faint breeze. it makes me want to spend all my time outside! today, since i was down in the downtown area (which reminded me that i need to vote!!) i decided to go visit some of my profs at queen’s. it was so nice to see them (i’ve been down on campus a few times, but just kept missing them) and as far as i can see things around campus haven’t changed much. because it was such a nice day, i decided to sit on the bleachers by tindall and read my book. i stayed until i finished one of my short stories, then i proceeded to head to cat mall to get my jeans hemmed. i’m so excited for the h&m to open there! the frontage looks really nice, right beside sears. i think i will do a lot of shopping there. but hopefully not too much…