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Chicken Fajita Pasta and Competition Woes

People think the gold medal is yours and they say you're going to win - but they have no idea how hard it is. People aren't doing it negatively - they're mostly lovely and they really do want you to win - but they don't understand the difficulty and intensity of competition. 

Jessica Ennis

Competition. Some people thrive on it and others… have panic attacks at the thought of it.

We found out this weekend that HBear is the latter.

When I was a kid I played ringette. OK wait, let me go back a year or 2. When I was a little kid I was a figure skater. My Mom was a figure skater too. She went to Nationals. She was a professional figure skater and she taught at the figure skating program in Winnipeg. It broke her heart when I told her that I wanted to play ringette like all my friends. I went to the tryouts wearing figure skates! Toe pick πŸ˜‚

That year everybody sucked and everybody made the team. The next year, there were tryouts! That was the year I did not make the team. I wasn't with any of my friends and I was on the "c" team. 😫

I was devastated. That was the year my Mom got involved with the politics of ringette LOL she did not find it fair that the coach picked a team based on his daughter's friends and not skill level. However, looking back, I did not have the skill level to make the team anyways. 

I worked my ass off that year. I got over 100 goals and even more assists. I was on the ice every single night. I practiced my wrist shot against the house until the stucco started coming off and my Dad freaked out. Towards the end of the year the "B" team called me and another girl up for a game. We kicked ass. The 2 of us lit up the scoreboard lol. I remember going home thinking, "I showed them. Now they will regret not picking me for the team!"

After that year I always made the top-seeded teams. I wasn't particularly good but I tried very hard. I practised hard. I cheered hard. And I competed hard.

On Sunday HBear had her first swim jamboree. I felt unprepared as I have never been to a swim meet and the list of things to bring was long and intimidating.

HBear loves swimming but the thought of swim meets totally freaked her out. When she got asked to be on the competitive gymnastics team she flat out turned them down. I insisted that she join some sort of team this year. Swim team it was.

When we got there, there was hustle and bustle and a ton of people and cheering and I thought, "yes! This is exactly what she needs! To be in the middle of all of this... she will truly feel like a part of a team."

As we got ready and wrote her events on her arm like a badge of honour all the swimmers had, I could see the colour leaving her face. I began to feel uneasy but kept the fake smile plastered on my face.


When they called the kids together for warm up at 2pm I gave her a great big kiss and told her to just relax and have fun. She looked at me like I was sending her into the lion's den πŸ˜³ but she followed her teammates to the pool.

I went over to the spectator stands. I now understood the first item on our list: pool deck chair. πŸ’© I walked up and down and finally saw a spot at the very back on the top bleacher. I excused myself and with 2 huge backpacks, made my way between the people to the top of the bleachers. I settled in, got out my camera and got ready to cheer my loudest. I saw her. She was doing great! I began taking pictures of her little swim capped head bobbing up from the deep end.

I looked down to adjust my shutter speed as my pictures were a bit blurry. When I glanced back up I saw HBear and her Coach walking towards the bleachers. I could see the snot bubbling out of her nose as the tears freely flowed. I'm pretty sure my heart stopped. I quickly excused myself and squeezed back down the bleachers as she came running up to me and hugged me with every wet being of her body.

As she sat there snotting, crying, and shaking like she was in shock she repeatedly pleaded, "I want to go home Mommy. Please take me home. I don't want to be here Mommy, please take me home."

My initial instinct was to wrap her in a towel and whisk her away. Taking her home to the warmth and safety of our 4 walls. All I could think of was the feeling I felt at the Narcisse Snake Pits so many years ago. Mom & Dad thought they were helping me conquer my fear but I remember feeling so trapped. I literally had no where I could run to. I was surrounded by millions of snakes and no where provided safety. I felt so bad for my poor little girl.

I put my arm around her and guided her to a quiet spot away from all of the eyes staring at us. I sat her down in the chair and looked directly into her eyes while holding her hands and said, "HoneyBear we have a commitment. You are on a team and you are in these events" I pointed to her list on her arm, "your teammates are counting on you. You have to stay." The terrified look in her eye as she began shaking harder and crying louder made me sick. All these thoughts were rushing through my head. What should I do?

"Sweetie I know this is overwhelming. However, you love swimming. Swim for yourself. Nobody here is watching you except me and I'm your biggest cheerleader. It doesn't matter if you win it doesn't matter if you are the last kid in the pool. What matters is that you conquer your fear and you finish what you started. After today if you never want to come back we will never come back. But today you have to try."

Her Coach came up and talked to her as well. Pretty much saying the same thing I said but HBear had a harder time saying, "no I won't go back in that pool!" to her.

We got up and she held my hand as we walked back to warm up. She got back into the pool, and she was the only one in there because everybody else was done but her coach asked her for another lap… And she did it.

After that we went into our team room and I moved the garbage out of a little alcove and I put down my jacket and we sat and had a snack and a cuddle. I faced the room so she could just concentrate on me. I got her laughing and much calmer. I promised to stay right beside the pool so she would always know where I was and so she could hear me cheering the loudest.

Ninja and Dad had SBean upstairs at the Community Theatre watching a magic show. I think HBear was super choked even about that LOL. Right before HBear's 1st race they came down the stairs and into the team room to wish her good luck! 

I could tell the way she was sitting, like she had a pole up her ass, that she was scared!

We all went to the side of the pool and cheered on her 1st race! She came in 2nd (Lane 5)!

After her race she came up to us holding her ribbon out with so much pride! She had a great big smile on her face and was like, no big deal, I just did that!

I could finally breathe again. I was so proud of her I think I had tears streaming down my face. πŸ’›

Ninja and Dad took SBean home and for the rest of the day HBear looked for me in my little corner beside the pool.


In between every heat she came and sat on my lap. I cuddled her in fresh towels and sat and sang softly to her.

By 5:30 PM she had finished 5 events. She had a 2nd place ribbon in freestyle and 2 3rd place ribbons in backstroke and the butterfly. She also competed in the breaststroke where she came in 4th and the 200m team relay. 

She was completely exhausted, her lips were actually blue and she was emotionally done. So was I! 😜 I got her into a hot shower and asked her, "So? Did you have fun?"

She was very quiet. After a long while she said "I'll have to think about that."


3 days later and she still hasn't answered me.

I don't care. She did it.

She did it! My heart is overflowing with pride and love for this little girl. I honestly don't care if she ever gets back into that damn pool, in fact, I kind a hope she doesn't because some of those parents were competitive with a capital C! I thought I was but some of those parents made hockey Moms/Dads look like pussy cats! πŸ˜‚

On the way home I told her she could pick whatever she wanted for dinner! She chose a pepperoni pizza, breadsticks and rootbeer from Little Caesars LOL we picked it up and went home. She quickly jumped in the hot tub to get warm while I got dinner on the table. Ninja and Dad had taken SBean to Boston pizza for a date while we were out. Needless to say after warm cuddles and an episode of Project Runway, she slept extra well that night!

Random thoughts:

1. We went out for dinner with SBesty, her Hubby and another couple this weekend. Awesome time! My anxiety must be getting better because I barely had my presocializing freak out... Barely 😜. For the first time we left the kids with a babysitter. My SBesty has a trusted babysitter so we left all 4 kids with her for the evening. I NEED this girl in my life... Like I want to put her in my back pocket.

When we got home at 10:00... 

Every. Child. Was. Asleep.

SBean and her GBesty.... 


HBear and her SBesty... 

Asleep (well until my flash woke them up LOL)




2. SBean still calls herself an Eardo. She loves rubbing my ears. The other day she asked, "Mom when you were my age did you like to rub your Mommy's ears?" I told her that I liked to "silk" on my silky (my Mom's old nighty). She then explained to me that she only likes to rub my ears because they are soft. She said, "not Daddy's though they are rough. They are rough because they are hairy." πŸ˜‚

3. When HBear was a little girl she used to call me Queen Mommy. SBean calls herself a Queen and the other day I said, "no no no you're a Princess and Mommy is the Queen!" She then explained to me in no uncertain terms that I am NOT a Queen only she is and then she looked directly at me and said in her most haughty voice, "YOU are Cinderella!" LOL

4. SBean was being a terrible listener the other day and I got so frustrated that I turned to her and yelled, "S B Maier! You are the listener and I am the teller!" πŸ˜‚

5. We had HBear's parent/teacher interview this week. She said such amazing things about HBear I couldn't help blush! She pointed out some things she needs to work on too which I love! The biggest thing I got out of our meeting was that HBear is a likeable kid. Everyone likes working with her yet she can also work independently as well. She also has no problem standing up for herself and also stands up for others. Cue heart burst! Although she is more advanced than most of her classmates she never brags but actually offers to help others, and they like being helped by her because she encourages them. Everything was so reassuring and it is always wonderful when you hear things about your daughter that you already know but that another person recognizes. On that note, HBear started Gifted this week! Her theme this year is ArtKidTecture πŸ˜Š She is super stoked! Grandma and Grandpa have been sending her pictures from their cruise and she is all about the Colosseum. πŸ˜‰

6. SBean failed Sea Otter... again. Honestly I see what's happening! She bats her eyelashes and smiles her smile and the instructor picks her up and lets her sit on her hip and doesn't make her do anything. She is so damn charming. She will make an excellent Sales Rep in the future. πŸ˜œ Yesterday she started Sea Otter for the 3rd time. Earlier she said that when she grows up she wants to be in KISU just like her big Sister. HBear scoffed at her and said, "you can't be in KISU if you keep failing Sea Otter." I told her that wasn't nice but I could see SBean thinking her words over. When we were sitting in the waiting area before class she turned to me and asked, "Mom? So what do I have to do to pass?" LOL I told her she had to listen to her teacher and do everything she tells her to do. She thought about it and then she held up her left hand and put her right hand over her heart and said,  "OK I promise. I will listen to everything she says... today." πŸ˜‚

Are you ready for the best pasta dish ever? Seriously, I made this the other day and I want it again... now! It is so freaking delicious I can't even tell you how much I love this pasta dish. It is so easy and so versatile. You could make it with pork, chicken, shrimp, beef or leave it with just veggies. The flavour is ah-mazing! You could even add some hot sauce if you like heat. A 1 pot Mexican pasta? Yes please!

Chicken Fajita Pasta
Adapted from Baker by Nature

1 package dry linguine
3 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tablespoon Epicure fajita seasoning
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 sprigs cilantro, plus extra for garnish, chopped
3 tablespoons oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups water

In a large stock pot combine 1 tablespoon oil, onion, 2 cloves of garlic (pressed), and peppers. Stir fry for a few minutes on high.

Empty into a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil, Fajita seasoning, 2 cloves of garlic (pressed) and chicken to pot. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. **Don't worry if you don't have the seasoning. It adds to the flavour but you don't NEED it to make this dish any more  fabulous than it already is without it.

When chicken is done, remove from pot and add to the veggies. Set aside.

Add linguini, tomatoes, stock, the rest of the pressed garlic, red-pepper flakes, cilantro, 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, cumin, chili powder, oregano, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently, until pasta is cooked, about 11 minutes. In the last 3 minutes, add the chicken back to the pot.


In the last minute, add the veggies back to the pot.


Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

This week flew by! We got home from Cochrane on Tuesday and the moment we walked in the door I raced HBear to her new yoga class. After that it is all a blur LOL. I had a TON of laundry to get done, a PAC meeting, and of course I needed to go grocery shopping.

On Friday was my 1st Hot lunch day! SBean was excited to have a picnic at the school while we made 200 hotdogs.

For dinner we had take out and watched our Jays!

This weekend Ninja put the backyard away for winter. πŸ˜’ It looks so bare out there now.

While Ninja and HBear winterized the backyard, SBean and I participated in a fundraiser for her Preschool at Cobs Bakery. This is the 1st fundraiser for SBean's Preschool and we had so much fun! We were the 1st group so we helped Miss Anna set up.

When we got home I helped HBear sew a Halloween trick or treat bag for her cousin JQ! She did a great job!

We received the finished photos from our family shoot in Cochrane! Here they are!

Next week both Girl's have field trips, ProD Day, HBear has Brownie camp and SBean begins soccer πŸ˜Š.


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