Category Archives: Baseball

Why it was good for me to drag my tired hind-end to small group last night… What I could have missed.

Small update to yesterday’s complain-y post.

The leader of my small group chose to teach/discuss passion for Jesus, and how His love for us stirs our hearts to love Him, and what that looks like, and how we live that out…

I got to share a story from this past week, where I had and opportunity to show love to someone when I didn’t feel like it.  I know that sounds minor, sounds insignificant.  But, to me, it was extremely challenging under the circumstances yet I knew it was something God was calling me to do.  And the results, the fruit of that, have been wonderful, beyond my hopes.

Later, we worshiped — which is toward the end, and which was really wonderful.  And I was grinning during part of worship, as I sang, if nothing else because two of the four songs I chose were so very fitting.  I love it when that happens.  Occasionally, people will ask the leader and me if we planned out the teaching to match with the worship or vice versa, and we say, “No… that’s the Holy Spirit.”

So, the first song was Sing, Sing, Sing by Chris Tomlin.

What’s not to love about You
Heaven and earth adore You…
You are the love that frees us
You are the light that leads us…

But even more fitting was Consuming Fire by Tim Hughes.

Consuming fire, fan into flame
A passion for Your name
Spirit of God, fall in this place
Lord, have Your way
Lord, have Your way with us…
Stir it up in our hearts, Lord
A passion for Your name!

Maybe that doesn’t mean much to y’all…  But it was like God saying to me, “See?  It’s good of you to be here.  And, see??  You hear from me, even when you’re not particularly trying to.”

After “official” worship is over, I continued to play guitar, as I always do, in what my husband calls “covering the environment”.  There were small clusters of people, praying for each other.  Often, during that time each week, I’ll just strum a chord progression, building it up, then bringing it down…  About half of the time, I’ll sing prophetically, usually fairly quietly over the group:  Just what I feel is in God’s heart to those gathered, in first person, His voice to His beloved…  Among other things, it helps me feel connected with what is going on during ministry time.  Since I’m the worship leader, there isn’t usually opportunity for me to pray for others, and only occasionally do others pray for me during that time.  I’m totally OK with that.  But, if I’m singing over the people, I’m still connected, and that’s good.  Last night, I had a prayer rising up in my heart.  Honestly, I don’t often vocalize what I call “prayer songs” — things that are on MY heart to God’s.  But, not only was it welling up in me to sing, I sang quite loudly, which I don’t usually do.  I usually stay in the background, not wanting to make it difficult for one person to hear another’s prayer…  I would glance up every few minutes, and all those present were just soaking it in, eyes closed, hands open, receiving, listening, participating in their own hearts, voices occasionally harmonizing with what I sang.  It just seemed that what was on my heart was on everyone else’s, too.  It was really beautiful.

After the group was over, while most everyone was snacking, I got to talk with a woman…  Well, she started to come to “my” small group only a few weeks ago.  I could tell she was unsure about the whole thing…  I had remembered — from some conversation long ago — that she was from farming country in Illinois.  So, when she came to the small group for the first time, I rekindled that conversation and discovered that her son lives in the tiny town — population 1,785 — where my paternal grandmother is living (in a skilled nursing facility, about ten miles from the home of her birth).  Again, perhaps that seems inconsequential, but it was another whisper from the heart of God to me, and more importantly, to this other lady, that she is CONNECTED to the Body of Christ, to this particular body of believers…  Belonging to His family is important to God.  So, I joked with her, “I waved to your son when I went to visit my grandma.”  And we talked again about loving the land, and family farms, and being married to men who love the desert.  It was good.

Later, after everyone had left, a mom who lives in the multi-generational home where our small group meets…  Well, she and her husband have been fostering a child for THREE YEARS.  Three years, since the child was only a few weeks old.  And now the birth mother’s extended family have finally “won” and this darling child will be going to live with the stranger-family (strangers, though related by blood) permanently in a couple of weeks.  HEART-WRENCHING.  The whole thing has very much shaken me.  But, I hung out with her afterward and we talked about the whole thing, which we do almost every week…  And I felt God saying to me, “See?  It’s good of you to be here.  She needs this.  You need this.”  And on top of that, she wants to give me the little one’s crib for our new baby.  A couple of months ago, a sweet friend re-gifted a different crib to me, that had been given to her, but it’s in dire need of new paint, and has been sitting in my storage room, waiting for me to get motivated.  This “new” crib is gorgeous, dark wood, and in excellent condition.  I felt both honored that she would give the crib to me… and having it will be a reminder to pray for that family.

And another woman…  the matriarch of the home, had earlier overheard the conversation I’d had about the farm and said, “Sit down here.  I want to read something to you that I read this morning” and she proceeded to read the whole of Psalm 65 in a translation I’d never heard:  The Voice.  It was achingly lovely.

You spend time on the good earth,
watering and nourishing the networks of the living.
God’s river is full of water!
By preparing the land,
You have provided us grain for nourishment.
10 You are the gentle equalizer: soaking the furrows,
smoothing soil’s ridges,
Softening sun-baked earth with generous showers,
blessing the fruit of the ground.
11 You crown the year with a fruitful harvest;
the paths are worn down by carts overflowing with unstoppable growth.
12 Barren desert pastures yield fruit;
craggy hills are now dressed for celebration.
13 Meadows are clothed with frolicking flocks of lambs;
valleys are covered with a carpet of autumn-harvest grain;
the land shouts and sings in joyous celebration.

She sent me a text this morning, early:  “Karen dear… there are songs for you to write in Ps 65 (the Voice).  I have the strongest urge to convey that to you I can’t even wait for a polite time to call you.”  That made me cry.  It was just one more whisper from God’s heart to mine.  One more sweet ribbon, tying me to His heart and to His people…  And I would have missed that, had I not gone to small group last night!!!

And then, to top the whole thing off, as I got into the car to drive the short distance home, I turned on the Diamondbacks game, and it was the bottom of the ninth, and J.J. Putz was closing it out…  We were leading.  I got home in time to see that last out being made, on TV.  🙂

And then I pulled out my book and read until I was drowsy, and then went to bed, very satisfied with the day, my heart full to overflowing, deeply content.  I felt like God had redeemed the day:  turned something that could have been an exhausting drag into something glorious.

Wes Gems

Wesley will be nine years old, later this month.

He’s an interesting little cookie, that boy, and if there is one of my children who I’m afraid I just don’t “get” well enough, it’s Wes.

Three things have tickled me in the last couple of days about Wesley:

  1. Last night, as I was making dinner, Wesley asked if he could help.  “Sure!” I said, handing him the veggie peeler and a pound of carrots.  After that task was completed, I asked him if he wanted to learn how to use the knife to slice about 8 oz of mushrooms.  His face lit up.  Mistakenly, I thought it was because of the knife.  He set me straight, saying with enthusiasm, “Girls like boys who can cook!”  Um, yes, Wes.  Yes, they do.
  2. Wesley’s Teaching Textbooks Math 5 arrived in the mail, late Tuesday afternoon.  I loaded it onto the computer yesterday morning, and by the end of the day, Wes had cranked out four lessons.  Today, he has already done an additional four lessons, plus a quiz.  He has spent virtually all of his spare time doing math and, in two days, he has accomplished about two weeks of math.
  3. On Monday night, I took Grant to a baseball game (he had won a free ticket in the summer reading program).  During the game, I took a few pictures of Grant with my phone.  Upon reviewing the snaps, I saw that Wesley had confiscated my phone and taken about 15 photos of himself, his sisters, and at least ten of various Lego men.  I laughed hard.

(For those of you who didn’t catch the title’s reference…)

Precipitious birth, women’s baseball, groceries, invention, and balance in parenting

  • I came home from Texas very late last night, after being nearly two days with my precious sister and her new baby, Sage.  I was going to be her labor coach, but Sage arrived with… incredible rapidity.  “Precipitous birth,” it’s called medically.  More, perhaps, on that later.  I love my new niece, and it was so lovely to see my sister almost instantly become a tender, loving mother.  I did get 7.5 hours of sleep last night, which is normally my ideal.  However, since my head hit a pillow for a cumulative four hours or so in the previous 48 hours, I’m still feeling very groggy.
  • On the initial leg of my flight out, which went from Phoenix to Houston, I sat next to an amazing lady.  Other than a love for sports, our home state, and perhaps our ages, Sandra and I have very little in common.  Still, our shared two hours were spent in virtually non-stop conversation.  There was a logo on her top, which I recognized as belonging to the national baseball team;  I assumed she must be affiliated with the men’s team.  Nope!  She’s one of the four coaches for the women’s team.  I didn’t even know we had one!  She was on her way to Raleigh, for the final cuts to the U.S.A. National Women’s Baseball Team roster.  After those cuts are made, Sandra will be going with the team to Venezuela, for this year’s World Cup, which I will most certainly be keeping tabs on.
  • It’s crazy how fast a family of seven runs out of groceries.  ~sigh~  Looks like I will be staying home from Bible study tonight, instead, making a serious run to several stores.   I tend to shop at night, both so I can go sans five children, and so that — especially like now, in the middle of summer — it’s not so hot.
  • My 21-month old, Fiala, was asking for “bee-boo-bee jam”.  She is still on an extremely limited diet, and the only fruit that we know of that is safe for her is blueberries.  She eats one jam — Organic Reduced Sugar Blueberry Jam from Trader Joe’s.  It has no other ingredients of consequence besides blueberries, sugar, and pectin.  All other jams, even blueberry, have corn syrup, grape, or apple juice, none of which she can do.  Normally, when she has jam, she eats it on Farinata, an Italian flatbread made from garbanzo flour, sea salt, fresh rosemary, and water.  It is delicious.  I have made it every day — often twice — for the last year, and none of us are tired of it.  However, from start to finish, the bread takes about 35 minutes to complete, and it was clear that Fiala needed food now.  I looked in the fridge, and found a little head of Savoy cabbage.  I cut a square-ish portion of leaf, put a bit of jam inside of it, and rolled it up, with no idea how Fiala would receive it.  She ate five mini cabbage-blueberry rolls.  Ha!  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
  • I read two blog posts today, one from Daja at In Other Words, and one from Chris at the Man-Nurse Diaries.  Daja gently mocks the trend of Urban Parenting, and Chris relates a short, overheard conversation between co-workers, which led to the brave title:  Why my kids aren’t going to school with your kids, a micro-treatise on the benefits of homeschooling.  Both posts, though mostly dissimilar, led me down a similar path of thought, on the balance I continually try to achieve, in trusting God with the children He has entrusted to me —  not being FEARFUL in my parenting — but not… leaving them, like my older brother said to me yesterday, in reference to our own upbringing, feeling like they were raised by wolves.

Family, baseball, book-writing, and God’s provision

  • Taking Fiala off of potatoes was so beneficial, I hopefully thought, “Maybe what I thought was a corn reaction was really potato!  Maybe she can really have corn!”  So, last week, I tried her on corn for three days.  That was dumb.  Ever since, she has been SO itchy, poor girl.  New lesions developed on her face, which she then scratched into oblivion, and are now infected.  So, for the third time in less than six months, she’s back on antibiotics (Septra), as I wasn’t able to contain/control/heal the infection with topical bacitracin.  😦  Bummer.  But, at least we know how to treat it, and at least I know now for SURE that corn is totally off-limits.  Every couple of months, I try it, and I’m just not going to do that again, for a very long while.  Though it would be so handy if she could eat corn, it’s just not worth it.
  • Ethan’s Little League team lost in a very close game last night, their first loss of the end-of-year tournament.  The final score was 3-2.  It’s a double-elimination tourney, so they have at least one more game.  If they win tonight’s game — and they should! —  they will play again on Friday.  If they win THAT game, they will play again on Saturday for the championship, because the team they will potentially meet on Friday (which is the team to which they lost, last night) is undefeated.  (Double-elim tourneys are confusing, but I think I finally have it figured out!!!)
  • Our dog, Tally, is recovering SO WELL from this most recent bout with Valley Fever.  She is still on twice-daily fluconazole, but it is so encouraging to see her have her energy back, and she’s building muscle tone by eating extra food and zipping about the back yard.
  • I’m in my final hours of ghost-writing the book I’ve been working on since February.  Even though it seems like there has been continually “one more thing!” there really is light at the end of the tunnel now.  Even though I have very much enjoyed work on it, I’m ready to be DONE with it.  I hoped to be done yesterday.  Then today…  Nope.  Still need work, probably 2-4 hours on both tomorrow and Friday.
  • God provides.  A few weeks ago, after assessing the girls’ summer wardrobes, and finding both paltry, and being in greater need than what we have the budget for, I prayed that God would provide.  Within a couple of days, I got a phone call, “What sizes do your girls wear?  I have a bunch of clothes, size 18 months through 4T…”  Which is exactly what we needed.  Thank you, Jesus.  Another mom tentatively approached me at church on Sunday about some hand-me-downs for my 8yo son, as well.  She kind of danced around the topic, and when I finally figured out that she was trying not to OFFEND me by offering me second-hand clothes, I told her gushingly that I LOVE hand-me-downs, and was very thankful, and completely NOT offended.  🙂
  • My husband’s brother, after not living on his own — EVER — for his first 40 years of life, moved to Colorado a couple years ago, and all but disappeared.  But, after leaving a message for him at his church last week, we finally were able to get a hold of him, and are delighted that we will be able to see him later this summer during our family’s vacation.

Baseball woes, family sadness and joy, donuts, and Colorado

  • Dear Diamondbacks bullpen/closer(s):  You’re breaking my heart.  Or making me mad.  Or making me tempted to be resigned to a really milquetoast season.  Or something.  Still, I watch, sort of like how I am compelled to crane my neck at the results of a car crash.
  • Sad/happy:  Seeing the family of the church step in to at least partially fill in the gaps when a real family disappoints.  (Not my own family;  I’m observing this in the life of a friend.)
  • FABULOUS NEWS:  My sister, who is 31 weeks pregnant, has a serious genetic condition called Marfan Syndrome (that’s not the “good news” part), which can adversely effect the aorta.  A normal aortic root is 2.5 cm diameter.  Due to danger of aortic dissection, mandatory c-section threshold for Marfan patients:  4.0 cm.  Robin’s:  3.2 cm.  NO c-section.  The only “bummer” is that with a scheduled c-section, we’d be able to plan my trip out to be there for the birth with advance notice.  However, the importance of her not having a c-section is much greater than my “need” to be able to plan in advance.  Still, I don’t want to miss the birth.  And, by the way, she finally was able to get some real prenatal care, bless God!  (Kind of a long story, but she’s high risk, so needed an OB, but does not have the $6-8K that all of the doctors required in advance for patients paying cash, yet she makes too much money to qualify for low-income/free health care.  However, as if hearing her plea, just about 6 weeks ago, Texas A&M decided to open up a sliding-scale medical clinic in Austin, and it’s a perfect fit for her needs.)
  • I need to write up my real review of how-could-you-not-love-them Kinnikinnick donuts.  The fact that the company sent me four boxes, for free, is weighing heavy on my conscience, when I have not yet repaid them with a review.  Ack.
  • *FINALLY* got our reservations made for our trip to Colorado.  While we let things pend for a week and a half, a number of people swooped in and reserved “our” time at the cabin-of-choice, so now we’re stuck with plan B.  Oh, well.  Still, it’ll be good.  And we DO get some nights at “our” cabin, just not the solid week or so that we’d been planning on.  So, it’ll be three nights here, then three nights there, then back to the first spot for a couple more nights.   It’s not really a trip whose main purpose is to visit family, but we’re hoping to be able to coordinate time with various family members around the lovely state of Colorado…

The circle of life, and other things inbetween

Quite a lofty-sounding title for a bullet-point summary of things, lately.

  • My sweet friend Annie had her baby yesterday afternoon.  She was 10 days past her due date.  As she had been having prodromal labor with back labor for about 48 hours, contracting every 10-30 minutes.   I had a similar situation with my first (though as he was 2 weeks early, I didn’t realize it was “real” labor).  This absolutely exhausted her, so she agreed to be induced on Wednesday night.  However, as the hospital delayed in calling her in, she actually went spontaneously into labor on her own, so by the time she got to the hospital at about 3 a.m. on Thursday morning, she’d been having steady contractions — down to 2-3 minutes apart — for five hours.  But, as she had not really slept at all for three nights, and had been having back/prodromal labor for 50+ hours, I had compassion on her desire to have an epidural — when in labor with my first, I could handle the contractions, but my back hurt SO BADLY that I very nearly got anesthesia just because of that.  Annie herself had intended to have a natural delivery, and I was *SO* excited to take part in that, but, ah well.  Even though she ended up with a epidural (and pitocin), her Bishop’s Score was 10, so I was confident that labor was going to progress well.  Labor did slow down once the meds were administered.  She was “stuck” at 4 cm for about 5 1/2 hours.  Then, the doctor broke her water, which, again, I’m normally not a fan of.  But, it was what she needed, due to the circumstances.  She dilated the remaining 6 cm in less than 3 hours, and 3 1/2 hours after the AROM, she had a baby!!  She pushed like a champ (she had quite a bit of mobility and sensation, even with the epidural);  it took about 10 pushes and less than 30 minutes to deliver her 8 lb 1 oz baby boy, just shy of 12 hours after arriving in the hospital.  Minus the first 30 minutes or so, I was there with her the whole time, and felt very privileged to be present.  I was SO PUMPED after the baby was born…   (BTW, neither my first son, nor Annie’s baby boy were posterior, which is frequently the cause of back labor.)
  • A friend and brother in Christ lost his mother a few days ago.  She was a member of our church, too.  She had suffered a long, disabling illness…  Hearing reports from our friend about the time of death, and some visions he had in the middle of the night of his mom with Jesus…  it’s hard to describe how his words have impacted me.  There was a lot of peace and beauty, and my heart swells to think of her worshiping Jesus, free and strong in His presence.
  • Today is the last day of school for my kids for the summer.  I am looking forward to a number of projects, including cleaning out every corner of every room in the house, as if we were moving, though we have no plans to.  Having been in this house for nearly five years, there are some things that have just piled up, and become very disorderly.  I realized that, prior to this home, our family’s moving every 2-3 years was an involuntary purging that was actually quite valuable!  So, now I feel a GREAT NEED to do a voluntary purging.
  • I just ordered my first book of the prerequisite reading for becoming a DONA doula, unsurprisingly entitled The Doula Book.  I also revisited the DONA website for an overview of all the requirements to become a doula.  The process is more involved than I had remembered.  I was thinking I needed simply to read 4-5 books and attend one weekend workshop, then attend/observe a few births, and take a certification test…  turns out there’s more to it than that.  I’m not as concerned about the time involved;  if it takes me an additional 6 months or even a year to become certified, I’m OK with that.  I am, though, rather worried about the cost;  it’s going to end up being several hundred dollars more than I realized…. though I guess if that’s spread out over an additional year, it won’t be such a drain on our tight budget.  🙂
  • Last night was the best Little League game I’ve ever seen.  It was so exciting!  Of course, I probably wouldn’t feel nearly as happy about it if my son’s team would have lost…  It was the 2nd game in a double-elimination playoff.  Ethan’s team was seeded 2nd of 8 teams.  We played the 3rd seed last night, after both of the teams had won their first playoff game.  Our team, the Diamondbacks, led 1-0, then the other team, the Cubs, rallied and scored two, so that they led, coming into the bottom of the 6th and final inning.  My son Ethan, who actually has had a very tough year, came up to bat with two outs and nobody on.  He faced a pitcher who threw three straight balls.  The opposing coach switched pitchers, and the new pitcher threw his first pitch, which was also a ball:  Ethan walked.  He stole 2nd.  Then, his teammate who was at the plate got a hit, which advanced Ethan to 3rd.  So, runners on first & third, two outs.  The next batter faced THREE pitchers, as the Cubs’ coach kept pulling his pitchers as soon as they threw a ball.  The pitcher threw a pitch — it was a ball, a wild pitch.  As the catcher scrambled for the ball, the pitcher ran up to cover home plate.  Ethan ran like crazy, executed a perfect slide, and when the cloud of dust cleared, the umpire signaled that he was safe, scoring the tying run.  Everyone erupted in whoops and hollers and Ethan got a lot of thwacks on his helmet for a job well done, and had a grin a mile wide.  After that, the batter struck out, inning over.  Normally, Little League games end at a maximum of six innings, even if there is a tie.  But, I guess during playoffs, they go into extra innings.  We got three quick outs on the Cubs in the top of the 7th.  In the bottom, we got two boys on, first and third, with no outs.  Our best hitter came up to bat, and the opposing coach decided to intentionally walk him, which I don’t recall ever seeing in Little League.  However, on what would have been ball 4, the batter rrreeeeeeeached way out over the plate and just made contact with the ball, which plunked it into shallow center.  The ball was caught for an out by the center fielder.  However, our guy on third — who, incidentally, was at the very bottom of the order and had a stellar hit himself to even GET himself on base — tagged up and scored in another crazy, dust-cloud-obscured play at the plate.  The ump declared him safe which scored the winning run.  Everyone erupted into even greater cheers, and the players all mobbed the boy who scored the winning run…  My throat ached from cheering.  It was sweet.  What was all the more remarkable to me was that it truly was a team effort, and that when our star pitcher was unable to keep the other team from scoring (a mere two runs, but still, enough so that we were losing), it was the bottom of the order — the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th batters who contributed significantly towards the win, with Ethan being the 9th in the order.  (There are actually 13 guys on the team, but one player wasn’t there for some reason.)  In Little League, the coach can play any player at any position in any inning — though pitchers have to pitch consecutive innings and cannot return to the mound once they leave — and though he can limit the players’ time defensively, and bench players for 2 or 3 innings (Ethan himself only played 4 of the 7 innings, defensively), all the batters bat all the way through the order.  The “star” players did really well, but it thrilled my heart that the not-so-stellar players, my son included, were genuinely significant in the win.
  • In semi-related news, throughout the regular 22-game season, Ethan’s coach kept a clear plastic jar in the dugout, and when a player made a fabulous play, Coach would write the boy’s name and a note about what he did.  Many of the boys had 4, 5, 6 clothespins in there.  Ethan had ONE.  One.  For a 2-RBI hit in a clutch situation.  After the last practice, Coach pulled clothespins out to award various prizes.  All of them were nice:  most were autographed sports memorabilia.  But the biggest prize was an iPod Touch, which had been donated by one of the team’s sponsors.  Well… guess who won the iPod Touch???  Mmhm.  So cool.  One of the other parents whispered to my husband, “I was praying that Ethan would win that!!!”  Ethan is the sort of boy you root for, even when he doesn’t do great.  He has a great attitude, and he tries hard.  Of course, I’m biased.  😉  Ethan said, “My iPod is the most advanced piece of technology in our whole house.”  I think he’s right.

Mother’s Day Blues

Couldn’t you, Diamondbacks, have won one for me???  No???  ~sigh~  I love you anyways, and the boys and I still had great fun.

Grill addiction, Little League, perseverance, and recipes not written down

  • Hello, my name is Karen and I am addicted to my grill.  When the tank runs out of propane, a sense of despondency creeps in, and I think, “How am I going to make dinner?”  My mind immediately comes up with about 20 plans for a grill-based dinner, and the two or so alternate plans I can conjure simply don’t sound appealing.
  • Little League season is now here.  We’re only two weeks or so into the season, and I’m already feeling stretched thin.  Ethan is in the majors now, which I guess brings the better practice fields as well as the nicer jerseys.  Actually, he was provided with both a game jersey and cap AND a practice jersey and cap!  About those “better practice fields”:  They’re lit.  Artificial light means that practice times are not based on the availability of sunlight.  Which so far, has meant practices that regularly run from 7:00 – 9:15.  NINE FIFTEEN!  This means that either a) we have exhausted little ones from keeping them out late 3-4x/week, OR, b) I rarely see my husband because we are playing tag-team parenting, OR c) some better third option that I have not yet figured out.  Until “c” comes into view, “b” it is.  I have enlisted the help of my stepdad;  he picks Ethan up from his Wednesday night practices, and brings him to the location of the kinship I attend, so that Ethan’s not left hanging in a dark park after 9 p.m., and so Martin doesn’t have to pull the littles out of bed to pick Ethan up.
  • Also pertaining to LL, but deserving its own bullet:  After a couple of years of coaches-who-are-admirable-for-their-volunteer-commitment-but-not-necessarily-for-their-coaching-ability, I prayed that Ethan would be drafted onto a team who had a true COACH.  That is, not just one who can point out the errors, but who gives instruction on how to tweak the arm just so, or plant the foot this way, in order to correct the problem.  Coach Wall is EXACTLY that.  He is calm, very orderly, very genial, but very exacting.  He also says, “Don’t worry if this is new;  we have all season to work on it.”  Already, Ethan is overwhelmed.  He’s easily overwhelmed, though, because he is a blessed child to whom most things come easily, and in the things he doesn’t do well, he has a hard time persevering.  Hm.  Poor child;  wonder where he gets that??? <guilty look>  My parents did nothing to correct this flaw in me;  in fact, I didn’t even recognize it as something that needed fixing until I was 25 or so!!  With gentle prodding, lots of encouraging words, and hard work thrown in, Ethan and I are BOTH working through it.
  • On Friday, the kids and I made some stellar Lemon-Lime Blueberry Coconut Milk Frozen Pops.  They were AWESOME.  Sixteen of them, and only one is left.  Of course, I did not write down the recipe, which I am regretting.  I will attempt to recreate them in the near future, this time recording ingredients and amounts, and will hopefully post a recipe soon.
  • I worked last week to see if Fiala could tolerate rice.  The jury is still out, as she had no serious BAD reaction, but she does have a bit of rash on her face that has no other likely source.  ~sigh~  It does seem, though, that she can have potato, which is HUGE.
  • Speaking of Fi, she was sick over the weekend — the first time in EIGHT WEEKS, which is fabulous, because that’s the longest she has ever gone — to my memory — without getting sick.  Bless God.
  • Must run.  An untidy kitchen and dinner-to-be-made (sans grill) beckon.

Why I’m rooting for the Angels

I’ve always been a National League kind of girl, even before the Diamondbacks came to Phoenix.  It started with my Grandpa Conover, who was a huge Cubbies fan.  I have fond (though vague and fading) memories of going to a couple of Spring Training games with him.

I can’t recall a World Series where I’ve rooted for the American League team.  This year, though, I may change that.

I don’t want the Yankees to win the ALCS — their sense of entitlement, their general “we rule the world” attitude, and and that Alex Rodriguez is on their roster means I just can’t be a fan.  Yuck.

And, I can’t like the Phillies, either, even though they beat the Dodgers, for which I’m pleased.  I like rooting for the underdog in general, and since the Phils won the World Series last year, I just gotta feel like it’s someone else’s tun.

Plus, they have Cole Hamels.

I just cannot take that guy seriously.  He sounds like he’s seven years old, especially when he’s excited.

I know that’s an immature reason to anti-root for a team, but when your ace has a higher voice than I do…

So, by process of elimination, GO ANGELS!  (Even if the moniker Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is ludicrous.)

Family, martyrdom, yams, and aritificial intelligence

Had a nice evening.  My hubby started crying, just a bit.  He looked over, and my Dad and my older brother were sitting on the floor of the family room, talking.  My Dad had just put down a guitar, after he and my brother had sung a Simon & Garfunkel song together.  Martin and I were in the kitchen, and he said, with his eyes misty, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be:  Fathers and sons who haven’t seen each other in a while should play guitar and sing together, then sit down for a talk.”

I agree.

Tonight, we celebrated my son Wesley’s 8th birthday, and my nephew Marley’s 14th.

I love my brother’s family.

Especially when they’re so complimentary of my cake, without realizing it’s gluten-free.  😀  That’ll make a GFCF baking girl feel good any day.

I made a ton of food, worried it wasn’t enough, and now we have enough in the fridge for a week.  Well, maybe not a week, but it’s nice to have loads of leftovers in the fridge.  I made a big pot of stew on Friday, intending to eat it again on Sunday after church… now we’ll have a choice.  They’ll choose tonight’s shredded beef tacos, for certain, and we’ll probably end up eating the stew on Monday before Ethan’s scrimmage baseball game.

One of the things my brother gave Wesley was some sodium.  Sodium metal.  In kerosene.  Actually, he gave it to Martin for safekeeping, but it’s for Wes.  And the other boys, too.  He directed us to find a large puddle, next time it rains.  🙄  I’m rolling my eyes, but really, every boy should have an uncle who gives him caustic explosives!

By the way… If you ever go to Mexico, you’re likely to find a taco stand on many a corner.  And, at that stand, they’ll have cabbage with which to garnish those tacos, NOT lettuce.  Lately, I’ve been pre-mixing my taco veggies:

  • shredded green cabbage
  • diced tomato
  • diced onion
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • fresh minced jalapeño, if you don’t have any really small children, which, we do.  But, every time I make this, I think, “Needs jalapeño.”

I’ve been feeling like a martyr, making all sorts of scrumptious food that I can’t eat.  I bring Ethan or Martin into the kitchen with the demand, “Taste this!”  I will admit, though, the cake overpowered me.  I ate two bites.  Chocolate chocolate chip cake with strawberry jam filling and vanilla frosting with sprinkles, Wesley’s request.  (Grant declared, “It’s Neopolitan!”)  Monday, I’m going to call Fiala’s allergist, and if I get the go-ahead to introduce new foods, I’m going to start with yams.  I’d actually like some leafy greens of some sort, but Fiala loves yams, and to my knowledge, never had a reaction to them…  So, yams it’ll be.

My Dad’s plane leaves early in the morning;  he’ll likely be gone when I wake up.  It was a good visit — filled with mundane stuff like grocery shopping and baseball practice.  But, it was nice to have him here for a few days, and we’ll miss him when he’s gone.

OH!  He also got word that a presentation that he (and some other guys from his company) made to General Dynamics on Thursday was received extremely enthusiastically, and they intend to write up a contract.  They called my Dad’s invention of some unique artificial intelligence softwaredisruptive technology,” which is, from what I understand, the highest compliment one can give on such a thing.  They’ll be writing some contracts for my Dad’s company…  It’s been five or six years, I think, of him (and a bunch of employees) living/working on investor’s money, and I think everyone is thrilled at the prospect of actual money being made, and potentially lots of it.  🙂

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