Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Ball of a Summer.

Ahhhh summer.  Where did you go?  It seems like we were just getting comfortable and then the official "Back to school" letter showed up in the mail today.  Like most summers before, this one had its share of swim lessons, out of town travels, play dates at the park and staying up too late.  This summer also brought us a new experience: T-ball.

Junior Giants is a summer baseball league sponsored by the SF Giants.  The good news is, the program is awesome and it's totally free.  The bad news is, it happens during the summer which means it's often well over 100 degrees on game days.  Our daughter wanted to try baseball, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  Because, well, T-ball is baseball for beginners.  And did I mention it was free?

I really can't say enough about how cool Junior Giants program really was.  It was volunteer driven with parents coaching and managing logistics for each team.  The season kicked off with a big swim party at the Redding Aquatic center.  Our team practices were totally age-appropriate, non-competitive, and fun.  They focused on skill development and character building rather than keeping score.  At the games, every kid got to bat twice.  Every kid got a high-five from the coach at first base, regardless if they were safe or out.  Parents cheered for great plays even when they were made by an opposing team.  The freebies that the kids got were unreal.  There were incentive prizes for reading, eating your vegetables, showing up for practice, or keeping track of your exercise with a pedometer.  My kid got a Jr. Giants shirt, trading cards, notebook, bracelets, hat, backpack and bobble-head doll.  Free, people.  All free. 

The Moms, circa 1989.
The other bonus to doing Jr. Giants this summer is that I convinced Laura, an old high school friend, to sign her daughter up as well.  This meant us moms had built-in social hour twice a week for most of the summer. Laura just recently moved back to town and we really hadn't kept in touch for the past 20+ years, so we had lots to talk about.  Turns out our daughters got along like two peas in a pod too. 

The girls, present day.
And how did the season go, you may ask??  Well, they actually don't keep score in T-ball.  But I'm pretty sure we won every game.  My daughter loved it all....running the bases, hitting the ball, catching, and throwing.  She also had big love for the snacks that were provided after every practice and game.  She did learn how to run the bases without skipping third, her throwing and catching improved, and her glove (mostly) goes on the correct hand these days.  I think that's progress. 

Baseball is completely out of my comfort zone, so to see my little slugger take the field each week was pure joy.  She was focused on the field, fast to the bases, and dedicated to good gossip on the bench.  I'm no expert, but I think that's pretty much the formula for a good ball player. 

She says she wants to play baseball "forever", but she's going to be busy learning Mandarin and fine-tuning her tap dancing skills this fall.  So for now, we bid adieu to summer and the Great American Pastime.  Adios, Baseball.  Maybe we'll meet again someday.  Hopefully before big hair comes back in style. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

One Better Than Forty

Call me old, call me Over the Hill.  Do what you want.  I turned 41 today and I'm not ashamed.  I'm not treating my age like a dirty secret anymore because I think that's all a load of crap.  It's a number.  Why are we all so afraid to reveal our number?!  I'm fairly certain you're not going to look at me and think I'm 18.  So hiding my real age is probably pointless.  HELLO WORLD!!  I'M 41!

My birthday this year played out a little like a metaphor for my life....a one-day snapshot of who I am and where I am at this stage of life.  My day started early, like most other days in recent memory.  My two little kiddos were at my side at 6:20am wishing me a happy birthday, and quickly climbing into bed for birthday hugs. 

I debated going for a morning run. This is the story of my life.  I am a runner.  I still debate about it pretty much every time.  To go, or not to go?  Lie in bed for 10 more minutes or put on my shoes and get out the door?  Enjoy the cool morning air or snuggle up with a fresh cup of coffee?  Today I made it out the door for 3.8 miles of solitude and quietly putting one foot in front of another.  Victory.

When I got home from my run, my kids presented me with a stack of homemade birthday cards and drawings.  I opened some gifts.  My husband announced he couldn't find the "Happy Birthday" sign that we hang in the house.  (Editors note: It was hiding in the same place it's been since we moved into this house six years ago.)

I went to church. At 41 I have found peace with my God and my church.  I find comfort in the Sunday morning service.  My children feel safe and welcomed there.  The people are friendly and call me by name.   I went to the front of the church for birthday prayers, put my $0.41 in the little bank and told the whole congregation my age.  It always seems a little silly to me when people try to skirt around their age when we do these weekly birthday prayers at church. Seriously people.  Why can't we declare our age with the same pride and gusto we use to announce our years of marriage on our anniversary date?

Moving on.

After church I put dinner in the crock pot and went grocery shopping with my son.  I know.  Please try to contain your jealousy for my jet-setting lifestyle.  Our family eats.  I am the designated shopper.  Birthday or no, shopping I go. 

My daughter and I went for a swim.

My son woke up from his nap with a 103-degree fever. 

At 41, my life isn't glamorous.  Things that should come easy are still a daily struggle.  Things often don't go as planned.

At 41, my life is full of little kid hugs and construction paper birthday cards.  My body is healthier and faster than it was in my 20's.  Disappointments don't set me back as much as they used to because I'm a pro at finding the sliver lining. 

Birthday party cancelled = More ice cream for me.