Family · Perspective

Shockers and Wolverines- Lessons in Baseball

Week 3 of summer break. Three more lessons for mom.

Miss M had her 3rd T-ball game last night. It followed closely on the heels of her brother’s 4th coach pitch game. Monday night is baseball night! 94 degrees F with about a 90% humidity. It was a scorcher.

At the Wolverines’ game, we witnessed an unassisted triple play by one of our little guys on 3rd base. He caught the pop-up, tagged his base and then tagged the runner from 2nd. He was tagging everybody wearing green within an arm’s length! T hit all three times and had some solid plays fielding as well.

If you can’t tell, I’m incredibly proud of all the kids on both my son and daughter’s teams. The kids mix from multiple schools, numerous classrooms, and a variety of family situations. Each group has united as a team that supports each other, chants and cheers, and appear to be having a good time!

Lesson #1) It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time.

This is my spreadsheet. I keep track of who is playing infield and outfield for each gameIMG_1539 for the coach pitch kids. My husband is the head coach, so I assign the positions. All 13 boys play at the same time. We stack the outfield with extras. Everybody bats each inning.

Regardless of the fact that the ball is actually making it to the outfield and those kids are seeing action, there are kids who don’t want to play out there. This isn’t the major league. We don’t even keep score. Everybody sees equal infield and outfield playing time on a rotating basis. Why rotating? Because there aren’t 13 infield positions…

If somebody absolutely does NOT want to play a position -which has happened- or we feel that a child isn’t physically safe in a position due to physical limitations, I’m trying to honor that.

Lesson #2) Always make a trip to the bathroom before the game mandatory for 4-7yr old girls.

We learned this one the hard way the first two games. We lost a third of our team in the 3rd inning, twice. Last night, Coach Julia asked the girls to make a run to the bathroom before we headed into the dugout. Half the team went. We when, I was the escort, arrived at the bathroom, half of the other team was already there in line. The entire game started 5 minutes late due to the line in the ladies room!

Lesson #3) Sometimes Mom has to stay in the dugout.

Mady Slugger

Last night in the 1st inning of my daughter’s game, she and I were standing in center field. (Coaches are spread throughout the outfield for t-ball games.) She looked up at me and asked me to hold her.

“Well honey, I can tonight when we get home, but right now we are on the baseball field. You need to watch the ball and get ready for it.” But MOMMY!

“You need to stand out here to help your team or I will have to stay in the dugout.”

At that, she did focus in and start paying attention. She ran after almost every ball that came off the tee. However, the next inning, I traded with another mom/coach and stayed in the dugout.

She is able to do this. This is where I needed to step back. It was a bittersweet moment. She’s mature enough to be on the field, but still wants me when she’s feeling a bit unsure. This was a teachable moment for both of us. Trust.

 

Fitness · Parenting

To Quote a Baseball Player

This summer, I have the privilege of assisting with both my children’s baseball teams.

 

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Photo by A. Arnold.

 

To set a little groundwork, both leagues are sponsored by local clubs. The Lion’s Club sponsors the boys. The Rotary Club sponsors the girls. This keeps the season cost down to $15 for the boys and FREE for the girls. The boys get to keep their t-shirts. The girls return them at the end of the season. Our boy’s team consists of ages 7-8. The girls are ages 4-7. It’s a hoot!

Best quotes from the boys:

  • “I know you put me as last batter because I’m a slugger!”
  • “I’m like a vacuum for balls.”
  • “Did you see me do a burnout?”
  • “Watch this! I can do the splits!”

He really could do the splits! All the way down. He demonstrated it during both practice and at the last two games on 1st base and on the final out at home. Impressive!

Best quotes from the teeny tiny (mostly preschool) girls we are teaching the basics to:

  • “Can I ask my mom now if I can go home?” – 2nd inning in the outfield
  • “Are you sure we can’t go play on the playground?” – before the game even started
  • “But I’m so sweaty!” – We really haven’t been up past 80 degrees yet.
  • “I really need a vacation!” – almost done with our 3rd of 3 innings.

In addition to quotes and seeing both groups of kids learn and grow in coordination, there are obvious differences between the genders. I’m not trying to stereotype here, but honestly, this has to be nature.

From the get-go when t-ball started two years ago for our family, the boys have been eager to run, optimistic to smack the ball, and exuberant to get the games started! Now in coach pitch, multiply those characteristics by 200%.

The itty bitty girls are excited to start the game once the playground idea is shot down, cautiously optimistic about hitting the tball but not as vicious with the bat swings, and only into it for as long as required, including at least one group trip to the bathroom. Our 6-7yr old girls are definitely more “into it” than our younger ones.

mady tball

Skipping between bases. I don’t mean missing a base. This is actual hop, skip, jump, skipping from base to base. Quite the creative phenomenon to witness. I’m sure if there was music, some of the kids would dance from 1st to 2nd.

Boys and girls are similarly encouraging for their teammates. It was uplifting and sweet to hear them cheer each other’s names as they stepped up to the plate. The boys dogpiled the last kid to snag a line drive on the final play of the game last week. They nearly took down our most solid-statured player (100#, 5′, 7yr old) after he hit an in-the-park grand slam. The excitement is contagious.

Summer baseball is a gift. It is pure, honest fun for the kids, coaches, parents, and friends that come to watch.

To quote our little baseball players from both teams- “I can’t wait for the next game!”

 

Creativity · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Puddles, Bikes, and Sprinklers- Oh My!

Here we are! June 1st. We are officially one week into summer break.

To date we’ve:

  • gone fishing
  • thrown water balloons
  • watched Pete’s Dragon and ate popcorn
  • skipped every single nap
  • coach pitch practice
  • played a coach pitch baseball game
  • played one t-ball game
  • tossed the Frisbee
  • grilled the last 4/7 nights
  • played catch
  • rode bikes
  • went for walks
  • played in puddles
  • planted flowers and tomatoes
  • started summer chores which include weeding the garden and being in charge of his/her own laundry
  • missed our bedtime by at least 1.5hrs every single night
  • Memorial Day festivities – parade, bouncy house, 5K color run
  • Memorial Day visit to the cemetery to pay respects to our military and loved ones
  • ran thru the sprinkler – two different days
  • church
  • helped on the farm
  • and frustrated assisted this working mom at the office.

Whew… It’s already June 1st!

This morning I ran into a friend at the coffee shop. I don’t normally hit the coffee shop, but we are celebrating a birthday at our house today. He requested a breakfast bowl from Kettle and thus my stop.

kettleWe were talking about our summers and what we have planned. Her boys are close in age to my own crew. Her schedule sounded like it was packed with fun, but BUSY. She teaches at the local college, so she has her summers at home with the guys. They have baseball and camps and practices and reading programs and…

When she asked about our summer, I said yes – we have baseball two nights a week in the month of June. We also have one basketball camp planned for a couple mornings in July and some swim lessons when we can squeeze them in. That was pretty much it. I chose to say no to everything else.

We said no to the reading program at the library. We said no to any extra academic camps. We said no soccer camp. We said no to traveling baseball. We said no to pretty much everything else.

And it feels GOOD.

Saying NO is how we said YES to all the other things we’ve done the past week.

A few months ago, I was getting the message loud and clear that I needed to prioritize my family’s time. C’mon!!! Three different books – all with the same message – being given to me in the same week by three unique individuals?!

Yesterday, my devotion included the message of choosing WHERE to be busy with my time. This message goes for my children as well. Do I want my children to choose being busy on a tablet or in front of the TV?

Not really.

The complaint from my littles at the office yesterday was that they were bored. B.O.R.E.D. They wanted entertainment. More so, they wanted ME to entertain them.

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Nope. Nada. Not happening. This fits firmly under the category of “Not my duty as a parent.” I explained (again) to them that I gave birth twice so they would have each other as playmates. Furthermore, they have fabulous imaginations, working eyes, legs, and arms, and a safe environment to enjoy within a block of the office. I can see them on the basketball court thru the window from my desk.

“Go outside and entertain yourselves! Create something new!”

It’s a big beautiful world out there! Kids, choose to be busy having the freedom of childhood and making memories instead of leveling up. If as children, he/she wants to spend free time practicing, that’s fine. It’s personal choice. I balk at the idea of scheduling their summers full of activities and requirements (other than normal family responsibilities – you aren’t getting out of your chores that easy!).

This summer break, we are opting to say NO, so that we can choose to say YES to quality time and fun together.

My kids will hopefully see less of this view and more of me face to face, laughing, playing, and actually being. Not just as mom – the harried, working, hustling-everybody-everywhere driver.IMG_1273

 

 

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Top 10: It’s Time for Summer Break

You are probably seriously wondering who is more eager to be done this year… me or my kids? I’d say it’s a tie.

10. It’s light out until almost 9pm and bedtime was no later than 8:20pm. “Mom, it isn’t even dark out yet!!!” Can’t argue with that.

9. Sticker charts are no longer working for anything. Nada. Zilch. NOTHING.

8. They’ve been watching movies in the majority of their “specials” (art, music, etc.) for two weeks already.

giphy11

7. Summer baseball games have started, as they have every year previously for decades, and school is still in session.

6. Even the teachers are wondering why they voted for this later “last day” calendar.

5. Everybody is crying in the morning about getting up for school. Not sure my kids could move any slower.

4. School lunch. That’s what you are eating unless you are going on a field trip. No special lunches because you “don’t like what we’re having at school today.” Find something you can chew and swallow on that plate.

3. I’m only opening the backpack once a week…

2. We stopped with homework 3 weeks ago. The teacher said it was optional?

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1. For the love of all good things: The sun is shining. Birds are singing. Grass needs mowing. Flowers are blooming. Garden is growing. Farming is kicking into high gear and I’m still running carpool!

3 more days!!!

Faith · Family · Fitness · Parenting · Perspective

Fresh Air and Sun

What a glorious weekend! My crew spent the whole weekend outdoors. Fresh air is the best remedy for little people with bad attitudes! Or I guess, at least mom and dad having the patience to deal with them. 🙂

I ran in the limited windows of time I was given (child-free) with only one skunk generated detour in my weekend miles. I’ve got 22+ miles in so far for the month of May! #90milemay

Our yard needed a major overhaul and my little hedge clipper didn’t make a big enough dent. giphy2

So…. my husband brought out the chainsaw and a skid steer loader with a grapple and tree shear. He “trimmed” cedar trees while I took down the 5 wire fence around our old garden with a pair of pliers.

Because my MS doesn’t care much for the heat, I took frequent breaks to cool down in the shade with large glasses of water. I don’t like it when things like my whole arm or half my face, etc. go numb, so I’m learning to be more cognizant about my body temperature.

giphy3

4+ hours into the yard project and we called it an evening. Our son came home from his activity. I grilled while the kids played in the water table. Showers and bed couldn’t come fast enough after dinner – for everyone.

Sunday my crew was exhausted, short-fused, and desperately in need of a solid nap. And that was by 9am. We worshipped, enjoyed a fellowship lunch with our neighbors and community at church, and then came home for what amounted to non-existent siestas. I gave up on quiet-time after 30 minutes and rounded up my crew to help plant the garden.

We are getting a late start due to some wet, cool weather in the month of April. After about 20 minutes of my kids nit-picking each other and arguing (should have had that nap), we managed to get the yellow and white onions in.

– insert drink and snack break –

vegetable-garden-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-i8KXRn-clipart

Because everyone was being so whiny and cantankerous helpful, the hubs and I decided we’d hurry up and put the peppers in before baseball practice. After some surprisingly successful teamwork where no one cried (gardening with a 4yr old who needs a nap!!!), I also planted the peas. We’ll call it a start…

On to the first baseball practice of the season. I love this time of year! Thgiphy4e boys were so excited to start practice. Everybody was pumped up and ready to go. By the end, all the boys were hot and tired. “Wolverines!” in a huddle and headed home until next week.

And so was our weekend. We were happy to spend it with family and friends. Always, regardless of the grumps, we love our crew. Fresh air makes it hard to take anybody’s groans too seriously!

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Countdown to Summer

The sun is finally shining! We experienced a late-spring dreary week of weather last week. The tally is at 5-6 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks. Whew!

Our little rural area was far better off than those west of us. Our temperature stayed above freezing, so just 40mph blowing rain for 3 days. Did you see anything on the news about the blizzard in eastern Colorado and western Kansas? Photo credit to the story linked here at the Washington Post.

snow

From the snow in the west to the beautiful sunshine that FINALLY peeked through… here comes

IMG_3259_LI

Project #1. Tetherball. I pulled this information from Simply Kierste Design. We have plenty of room in our yard for tetherball. I’m sure there will be tears when someone gets jacked in the face! That’s part of childhood. Learning to roll with it and making evasive maneuvers.
tetherball

Project #2. Can you tell yet that we prefer to spend our summer outside? I bought this swing last summer and never hung it up due to the number of thunderstorms we experienced.  You can find the Swinging Monkey on Amazon. I had to purchase extra equipment to hang it. Again… still sitting in a box in the shed just waiting for the right tree branch and sunshine…

swingActivity #1. Swimming and swimming lessons. I’m a firm believer that either you know how to swim to save your life OR you keep your toes out of the water. Both kids have taken at least one session of lessons. We will continue this summer! I took lessons and completed everything except lifeguard training by middle school. My husband is well aware that he sinks like a rock. He failed swimming lessons.

life-jacket-maze

Have you bought a pool pass lately? Yikes. We don’t live in a city, suburb, or “neighborhood” that has a pool. We drive 15 miles into town to the real pool or play in the little 18″ deep inflatable pool in the yard. Not much for swimming, but it will keep you cool when the temps cross 90*F.

I’d like to get the kids to the pool at least once a week. My summer work schedule is modified so I can take advantage of an extra couple of days a week with my kids. This means occasionally working from home extra hours in the evening. #worthit #workingmama

Activity #2. Both kids are doing ball this summer. Scheduled for Monday evenings in June, this will be M’s first year of t-ball (softball). Not even a remote idea if she will be able to manage the bat at her current size, but though she is small – she is mighty in spirit!

giphy1
T has moved up to coach-pitch. He’s excited! Although fairly wicked hitting off the tee, his success rate hitting off our pitches is also solid. And truly – is there anything more enjoyable than a night at the ball field??? Good clean fun!

My husband is coaching again. In the past he’s been assisting. This year, the manager of the baseball organization asked if he’d be willing to lead a team. After expressing reluctance, I reassured him that this isn’t the majors. Above all else, the boys need someone calm, informative, and encouraging as they continue to learn and develop their skills.

As a family, we opted not to join any traveling teams. I have “lots of feels” about this subject pertaining to 6-7-8 year old children and the scheduling it requires. I honestly hope for the best for each unique family in their individual choices! It just isn’t the right time for our family to put our time into that.  #thebestyes

There are many other places, people, and activities on our list for the summer. I’ve posted a few highlights! We’ll likely head to the mountains for an extended weekend and load up the kids to add a little fun to a few work trips. Wheat harvest (barring anymore sub-freezing weather) will be in June. Planting, baling, and other farm work are always a must. #rurallife

Countdown –> School is out in 22 days. I’m not sure who’s more excited? My kids or me?