Category Archives: Sports Stuff

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.

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.

In which I consider monetizing my blog (and other things)

  • Fiala, aged 16 months has started calling out to one of us with some urgency:  “Daddeee?  Daddeee?”  and when the person for whom she calls answers, “Yes, Fiala?”  She screws up her face and says, “Ummm….” like she can’t remember what she was going to ask.  It’s hilarious.
  • Fi is back on Septra.  I finally talked with Dr. Elizabeth on Saturday, and she said that it’s likely that Fiala is just susceptible to staph, not that it was still lurking in her body, as I had feared.  (Lurking after 5 weeks of strong antibiotics…)  She’s been on the abx for 2.5 days, and while she’s not clearing as quickly as I had hoped, she is a bit better.  Elizabeth prescribed 3 weeks of medication, but said we can stop after a minimum of 7 days, if she’s clear.  It’s looking like she’ll be on it for more than a week.  😦
  • I had to stop giving guitar lessons to a young woman from church.  Baseball (which now takes up 3-4 nights per week) is just too frequent to squeeze in lessons, plus kinship, plus mundane things like grocery shopping and laundry and dinner.  I told her we could start back up in June, and suggested that she takes some inexpensive class lessons through our city, which I hope she chooses to do.
  • I’m giving a number of baby things away on Freecycle.  It’s a bit sad.  Poignant.  All the Avent bottles and breastmilk pump, a little food grinder, a diaper bag, a couple of remaining maternity things…  Martin and I are still both of one mind on this:  We will do nothing permanent to stop conception, so we realize that there remains a possibility of baby #6.  However, we think it unwise (for a number of reasons) to try for a sixth baby.  Part of me hopes that God will overrule our choices and I’ll just get pregnant…  I’m certainly not fearful of being pregnant at age almost-37.  However, I think that there is wisdom in not adding to our family, and I take it very seriously that my hubby and I are in agreement.
  • I’m still working on the edit/re-write of a friend’s book.  It’s going well, and we’re both really liking the results.  It was my hope for her to read the refashioned words, and say, “YES.  That’s exactly what I was trying to say.”  So far, that has been the case, 99% of the time, which is a huge encouragement for me.  I just wish I had more TIME — like two dedicated evenings per week, instead of 30 minutes here, two hours there…
  • Speaking of “working,” I’m considering… monetizing my blog.  I regularly have offers from folks who would pay me X amount of dollars for a link, or a promo, or an ad.  Up to now, I’ve refused all such offers.  But, doing dishes last night, I thought, “If my blog only made $20/week, that would be $1000 per year, which could regularly pay for family trips.”  If it made slightly more, I could take the kids to visit extended family, which we’ve only done ONCE in 15 years.  (Edited to clarify:  We have gone on one vacation-style trip, specifically planned to visit relatives.  I went on an additional trip on the spur of the moment, to go to my paternal grandpa’s funeral, and during that trip, did visit with many family members.  AND, the trip that my husband and I took for our 10th anniversary was nearby to my maternal grandparents’ home, and we spent several days visiting with them.  So, that’s more like three trips.)  Make even MORE and we could go on a month-long “field trip” to New England, visiting historic sites.  That is a very attractive motivation for me.  Last year, we weren’t able to have a vacation at all (outside of a 3 night stay at my parents’ cabin), mostly because of finances.  (Edited to clarify:  We actually did have a week-long camping trip planned, but I threw out my back very badly, and we were unable to go.  After I recovered, we ended up visiting my parents’ cabin, rather than rescheduling the whole trip… so, although finances did play a role in our decision, it definitely wasn’t the only factor.)   I’m always amazed to go onto blogs that appear more professional than mine:  ones that look extremely sharp, well put-together, with all the bells and whistles, with a little link to their book on the right-hand column… then I see their visitor count, and it’s half of mine.  I’m NOT all about attracting readership;  I’ve made no effort whatsoever to boost visits, and part of me is really repulsed by the idea of trying to “win” readers and/or place ads on my blog.  However, I think that as I have garnered nearly a half-million (!) hits without even trying, it shows that (I think) with some careful marketing, I could make some income.  Even a very modest income (and I think $20/week is very modest) would be worthwhile.  I think that it could also be a big timesink and money-waster, so I would need to be very prudent in my choices.  I’m still not sure what I’m going to do yet… but the thought of being able to take trips that I’ve heretofore only dreamed about is very attractive.  I spend too much time dreaming and hoping, and too little time in action to make the dreams come true.

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.

Remind me of this post when it’s 115 degrees in August

This is now the desktop image on my computer

Yesterday was the sort of beautifully glorious day that makes me realize why millions of people live in the Phoenix area:  Giant cumulonimbus clouds breezing across the most impossibly clear, deep azure sky.  Bright, warm sun which made the world simply sparkle.  Clean, invigorating breeze, temperature in the low 60s.  Recent rains have given a green tint to the rocky, desert hills which surround my neighborhood, and the play of cloud shadows on their slopes and valleys added to their drama and beauty.

I kept praising God for His amazing creation, and thanking Him for where I live, exclaiming countless times, “It is SO BEAUTIFUL out here.”

Today is similar, but much of it has been spent looking out the window, as we’re back to school today.  Yesterday, I spent as much time as possible outside.

Late in the afternoon, the boys wanted to watch the Super Bowl (I did, too, and a good game it was!), but I wanted to a) take advantage of the day, and b) give the girls a chance to run around, as all too soon, the rest of the family would be plunked in front of the TV, in which they had no interest.  So, I took ’em to the park, which we often do on Sundays.

We had a little dietary setback this past week, causing a facial rash again; the likely culprit is corn, which has been removed from Fiala's diet again.

I met another mother, there for similar reasons with her very small nephews and 8yo son;  her husband, 12yo twin sons, and other family members at home watching the game.

Audrey (um, not pictured) successfully pumped her legs on the swing for the first time!

Fiala thought she wanted to go down the very long, steep slide, so I took her with me, restraining her from going down by herself, precariously perched on the landing, as I wrestled to get her onto my lap.  Then, I comforted her as she squealed with tearful cries after we reached the bottom.  It was the slide equivalent of one’s eyes being too big for one’s stomach.

Other than lovely little girls and the weather, yesterday, I was thankful for:

  • Finding oranges for 33¢ a pound.
  • The fact that, when adults, my children will not put errant apostrophes in signs:
  • A new family at church who homeschools, bringing the total up to three.  The mother is so dear.  I’ve spent the last week contrasting, in my mind, the character of her, and of another mother, with whom I had a conversation recently, who is such a knot of fear — no freedom, no peace.  Yesterday, I wrote the hs’ing mom a note of encouragement, telling her that the Holy Spirit is bearing fruit in her life.  (I’m NOT implying that homeschooling equals peace;  many homeschooling mothers are not particularly peaceful;  it’s just nice to anticipate hanging around with a family whose matriarch is a beautiful, peaceful woman of God, who is submitted to His plans and whose life reflects it, and I’m thankful for God putting her in my path.)
  • And I’m thankful that I did not grow up listening to The Who.

My current favorite Diamondback

Ugh!  My post on this topic on Clay Zavada, got EATEN by WordPress.  Even the saved drafts were totally blank.  And now, it won’t let me unpublish it.  But, I don’t want to delete it entirely because now my friend Kathy commented…  Bummer.  Gotta figure something out.

Last night.

On Friday, I usually take all the kids with me on errands, and we often go to the library.  However, I had planned on today being a sewing day, and I wanted as few interruptions as possible, so I decided to run to Target last night.  So, after the little girls were in bed, I took Ethan, and off we went.

Upon starting the truck, I saw the “low fuel” light, and remembered it had been on for about 30 miles the last time I took the truck out, so I needed to get gas ASAP.  We headed up the road towards the gas station and Target.  Got to the gas station, which is about four miles from our house, and while the shop was open, all of the gas pumps were corded off and closed.  I didn’t stick around to find out why.  The next-nearest gas station was another good four miles away, so I nosed the truck in that direction, even though it rather took us out of our intended path to Target.

Ethan is a tremendous worry-wort, and was just certain we were going to run out of gas.  I had some fears myself, but put on a happy face — something I never thought I would do as a mother;  I value INTEGRITY, after all, and smiling in the face of concern isn’t integrous… or is it???  I’m changing my stance on that, obviously, because sometimes, a child’s heart needs to be protected from the “what ifs” about running out of gas on the side of the road, and if he saw me fretting, I know he’d just about panic.  So.  Happy face it was, with lighthearted chat, all the way down the street to the next gas station.  Thankfully, we did not run out.  Even if we would have, it wouldn’t have been a big deal.  I would either have called AAA, or a friend who is a police officer and who lives in the area where we were traveling;  I know he would have been happy to assist.  Worst case scenario, I could have called my husband, but I didn’t really want to, because that would mean he would have had to pull the little girls out of bed, and pack them into the truck, along with our two other boys.

Gassed up, we headed to Target.

While in Target, we ran into another baseball family.  The boy, Anthony, was on Ethan’s Fall Ball team in 2008, and on an opposing team this just-completed season.  Anthony was there with his mom, Mrs. D., whose first name I always forget (I think she forgot my name, too, as she never used it), his brother, and three other friends.  Brave soul.  I don’t know what she was doing at Target with five boys, all in the 8-11 age range, but they pretty much ran amok as she, Anthony, and I were chatting (and Ethan, to a lesser extent).  In some ways, it was a really good conversation — about the ups and downs of the season.  I unloaded some of my concerns about our coaches (her husband coached their son’s team), and she agreed that she had seen some of my “issues” in action.  No matter.  Then, the topic switched over to Grant.  I told her that we likely wouldn’t have Grant be playing baseball again.

That’s where the conversation became sort of surreal to me…  She was, in a very quiet, very gentle way, HIGHLY insistent that we keep Grant in baseball, but maybe drop him down to AA next season, and definitely have him play Fall Ball (both Fall Ball and AA ball are more instructional, less competitive).  I tried to explain that we were looking for something that would be a better fit with Grant’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses, as this past season was a great frustration to everyone involved.  She was sure that the “better fit” was just to drop him down a level.  Might be.  Martin and I haven’t decided 100% that Grant will never play baseball again…  just 98%.  😉 But, in most conversations I have with other mothers, if there’s a gentle disagreement, at the end, there’ll be some resolve like, “Well, you’re the mother;  I’m sure you’ll make the best choice possible.”  Not here.  Mrs. D. is a lovely woman.  Beautiful, laid-back, langourous eyes, gentle spirit… but absolutely rigid about Grant playing baseball.  I was a little taken aback.  Not much, because she wasn’t combative or anything.  She just stood her ground, not giving an inch.  Each point I brought up about how this or that might be best resolved by Grant doing some other activity, she brought the conversation back around to baseball, and how we should keep Grant playing.

We talked for a good 20 minutes.

The Target trip that should have taken about an hour ended up taking more than TWO, what with the gas, the conversation, and the fact that the Target people decided to rearrange 25% of the store, and none of the items were where I thought they were going to be, and we ended up circling endlessly around until we found them, or found an employee to point us in the right direction.

At about 10:00, we rolled into the driveway, IBC Cream Sodas in hand (the six-pack was less expensive than buying a single refrigerated soda or water each).  It was a nice time with my son.  Mostly.

Bits from Sunday (computer fast, friends, cereal, and baseball moms)

(Note:  I’m backdating this, because I actually wrote it on Monday 06/01, but I was having internet connectivity problems and it wouldn’t post.)

  • Except for occasionally, when I’m at home with a sick kid, I never turn the computer on, on Sunday.  We fast from it.  🙂  That means on Monday, I have reams of e-mail, mostly from Freecycle and from the Phoenix Celiac Yahoo group.  I had an especially big batch today since I didn’t even check e-mail until 9:30 p.m. or so, Monday night.
  • For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking, “I need to talk with Cristi about how she mothers Madeline” because Audrey is like her daughter Madeline but… not quite as intense, which for me, is hard to fathom because Audrey is so very intense.  It takes more energy to mother her than all my other four children combined.  Cristi and I actually talked on the phone on Saturday night, but it was all about gluten-free pizza; she called me with a few baking questions.  🙂  Anyways.  So, my family goes out to lunch on Sunday, the first time I’ve gone in a good month or so.  And, who should we see?  Cristi and her husband and their three girls.  Plus another friend with her daughter!!  Not to minimize the presence of the “other friend” but it was amazing to me because I really wanted to spend some time chatting with Cristi, and I was thinking, “How am I going to make that happen?” and voila!  There they are.  So, we chatted.  🙂  It was a good conversation, but too detailed to go into here, for now at least.  Martin enjoyed talking with Ralph, Cristi’s husband.  Martin and Ralph were close friends before we all got married and our time and priorities shifted.  Still, we all like each other a great deal.  Our families were sprawled across several tables, and my son Ethan was kind of left out in the cold on his own at a very small adjacent table.  I felt badly for him, and urged him to slide over and squish in, so that he wouldn’t be all alone.  But, he actually liked being king of his own table.  🙂  I kept checking in with him, but he didn’t feel lonely at all.  Funny.  I so would have felt like I was on the outside looking in, but not him.
  • Sunday night, I went grocery shopping.  Well, one store in the afternoon, then another store at night, after the kids were in bed.  I finally saw gluten-free Corn Chex on the shelves, which I had been eagerly anticipating.  But, it was a no-go for $4.39 for a 12 oz box.  Bummer.  I’ll have to wait until it goes on sale and/or I have a coupon.  But, I must say I am LOVING General Mills, which is making an outstanding effort to produce “normal” grocery items that are truly gluten-free.  They are working closely with celiac experts to make sure all ingredients are safe, sourcing is safe, there are no cross-contamination issues, etc.  They’re such a big company that they can dedicate a whole facility to making gluten-free-whatever.  General Mills owns the Betty Crocker brand, and they are coming out with mixes — should be on the shelves within the next few weeks — of brownies, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies, etc.  (Hm.  My hot link button isn’t working — so, until that’s fixed:  My husband is so leery of mixes, and I should be too;  it seems like mixes never work out for me.  He says, “Don’t buy the mix.  They never turn out right.  Just make your own recipe and make sure you write it down!”  He knows me well.  But, mixes are very enticing, I must say!!  Very enticing.
  • I was watching the Diamondbacks get blown out by the Braves yesterday afternoon… and at one point, a young pitcher named Daniel Schlereth came in to pitch.  It was only his second outing in the big-leagues;  he got called up straight from AA on Friday.  His Dad is Mark Schlereth, the Pro Bowl guard who played football for Denver, and who now does football commentary on ESPN, plus is frequently on sports talk radio.  He’s also really young-looking, and my husband looked it up tonight, and Mark and his wife had Daniel when he (Mark) was 19.  Whoa.  Mark was born the same year my husband was, so if Martin had done similarly, he’d have a 23yo son, too.  Crazy.  Anyways.  When Daniel was pitching, the camera kept showing his parents and sister in the stands.  They were absolutely on the edge of their seats with every pitch, every play.  It was precious.  It really was.  Then, Mark Grace, who does the color commentary for the Diamondbacks (except for Saturdays, because he does the Fox Saturday game of the week) said, “My mom is texting me.  She says that watching the Schlereth family watch their son brings back memories and chills.”  That was sweet.  Then, Daron Sutton, the D’backs’ play-by-play guy, says, “See?  Gracie’s mom is still watching a 9-0 blowout!”  As in, she’s such a great Diamondbacks fan that she’d watch into the deep innings when there’s virtually no hope of us winning.  We did score eventually, and it ended up being a 9-3 loss.  But, that’s not my point, which is this:  I’ll bet Mark Grace’s mom was not watching because she is such a die-hard D’backs fan.  I’ll bet she’s watching because she’s a die-hard MARK GRACE fan.  She loves her boy.  Moms are like that.  Of course, just going by statistics, it’s an awfully slim chance that my son Ethan will ever make it to the minor leagues, let alone the majors, let alone be an All Star, and have a fabulous, amazing career like Gracie, then parlay that into a broadcasting career.  Still.  If that were to ever happen, that would SO be me — watching baseball games specifically where my son was involved, just because he was involved.  Know what I mean?  I am a baseball fan, but I’m much more a fan of my own children.  🙂

The end of Little League. Maybe. (And, I rescue three goslings.)

Last night was the boys’ last Little League game of the season.  They lost 13-8.  The bummer of it was that the other team “only” had eight runs, and then in the last inning, through a series of errors and walks, they exploded with five runs in the space of literally about three or four minutes.  ~sigh~  We had all held out hope until that point.  You could literally see the boys’ shoulders slump with discouragement.  Our last at-bat, it was 13-4, and even though there was no way to catch up, as there is a five-run limit on each half-inning, and in spite of their deflated spirits, the boys battled back and scored four.  Losing 13-8 sounds a lot better than 13-4.  😀

It was actually a really pleasant game.  Martin had kinship, so he was gone for most of the game.  But, his Dad and Stepmom came, which was great.  Fiala kept reaching out to touch Herbie, and layed her head on his shoulder, completely melting his heart.  Instead of sitting in the bleachers, I brought Wesley and Audrey out into the grass to the side of left field, where pitchers often warm up on a sand pitching mound.  About 10 little kids were sitting, barefoot and covered with dirt, digging happily in the sand.  It was a warm evening, but not uncomfortably so, and a breeze was blowing in…  Baseball, family, friends, all under the stars…  It was nice.

Ethan has decided (with our blessing) to try out for the competitive All Stars team.  We have no idea if he’ll make it, because as an 11yo, he has to try out for the major league all stars, even though he’s played for a minor league team all season, as they only allow 9 & 10yos to play for minor all stars.  The league president said that if they did have enough viable talent to create a 10-11yo all star team, they would.  But, our city isn’t all that large, so the talent pool isn’t, either… we’ll see.

If he makes it on to the Major all stars team, the team will keep competing until a winner for our district, then state, then region is decided.  The winner of the region goes onto the Little League World Series.  The chances of that happening is extremely slim, because, in our district, is the Glendale Arrowhead team, which makes it to the LLWS almost every year.

Still.  No matter what happens — even if he doesn’t make the team — we figure it will be a good experience for him, and you never know what will happen if you never try.

In a minorly-related incident, I saved three goslings on Monday night, at our first playoff game.  😀  There is a large, man-made fishing pond in the park in which the boys play their games, over which the road crosses.  As we passed by part of the pond on our way in, we saw a Canada Geese couple with their three very new goslings waddling along behind.  Audrey was elated.  So, we dropped off all the men at the ball field 😉 and headed back, Audrey, Fiala, and me, to watch the goslings.  We followed at a distance not nearly close enough for Audrey.

“They will be my pet!”

“They’re wild, Audrey.  They belong outside.  They want to live in the wild, not as a pet.”

“Awww….  Goslings!  They will be my wild pets!  They love me!”


As we watched, the goose family decided to cross the street.  Cars stopped as the family hopped off of the curb and slowly made its way to the other side.  On the opposite side of the small street, the mother and father hopped up the curb, but it was too tall for the babies.  A couple of cars which had been waiting lost patience and slowly drove past the babies, who were huddled at the curb, and their parents, who were looking helplessly down on them.  Then, as I was trying to decide what to do, two of the goslings started uncertainly drifting back out into the street, as a truck, not noticing the drama, whizzed by, literally sending one of  goslings spinning backwards.  My heart dropped;  I was sure I was going to have to do some serious comforting to a tender 3yo heart, as the truck had certainly hit at least one of the goslings.  Miraculously, though, they didn’t appear injured.

I couldn’t wait any more.  The cars closest to me were still stopped.  I crossed the street, Fiala on my hip, and holding Audrey’s hand.  More cars approached from the other direction.  I held up my hand to them, and directed Audrey up onto the sidewalk, a number of feet away from the mother goose, who was hissing in earnest at both Audrey and me.  Uncertainly balancing on some cute wedge heeled sandals, Fiala still in my right arm, I crouched down and picked up the fluffy, unbelievably soft goslings, one at a time, and placed them on the sidewalk next to their mother.  I heaved a huge sigh as the family of five waddled slowly away.

I don’t think I have ever held a baby duck or goose before.  It was cool.

Mother’s Day at the Ballpark

At the ballpark

Ethan, me, and Grant in the left field bleachers

Martin surprised me with tickets to take Ethan and Grant to see the Diamondbacks on Sunday.  And, yes, this really is something that I would truly want to do on Mother’s Day.  The only bummer is that we weren’t all together, but it really would be bordering on disaster — and an expensive one at that — to bring everyone.  So, he stayed home with the girls and Wesley.

I didn’t tell him, but I had a strong suspicion that this was what he was planning.  It started with him “casually” mentioning last week that we had no breastmilk frozen “just in case” he might need to feed Fiala sometime, like when I was out grocery shopping or something. 😉

Yesterday, right after church was over, I fed Fiala one more time, grabbed Ethan and Wesley, and we raced off.

We had a really good time.  It was a great game, really exciting, since the lead changed six times throughout the game.  The Diamondbacks did win 10-8 over the Nationals.  Our starting pitcher, Max Scherzer, STILL does not have his first big league win, though, because the Nats came back to tie it up after Scherzer had left the game.  So, spanning back to last season, Scherzer is 0-7 in 13 career starts (6 no decisions, including yesterday’s game).  Poor guy.  His ERA is 3.39, which is good enough to merit some wins…  but, a poor offense combined with circumstances that seem set against him have conspired to keep him winless.

This was the first game where Grant stayed focused and involved on the game on the field pretty much the whole time, which let Ethan and I actually enjoy the game, too.  It used to be that Grant would want to go to the bathroom every single inning, and be stir-crazy in his seat, not really pay attention to the fact that we were at a baseball game, talk loudly, nonstop, driving myself and all our ballpark neighbors nuts.  But, yesterday, he did really, really well.  Other than him asking me to buy pretty much everything in sight (to which I invariably responded, “No”), he was really pleasant company.

After the game, the boys got to run the bases, along with — literally — about 1,000 other kids.  They had to wait so long for their turn, I was afraid that they wouldn’t think it was worth it.  But, they came up to me, breathless with their run and with the experience, exclaiming it to be among the top two or three highlights of their lives.  Ethan said, “Well, the best experience of my life, of course, is being born.  But, after that, this ranks right up there.”

In related news, I think that Bob Melvin got a raw deal by being fired by the Diamondbacks’ management.  And, even though A.J. Hinch was a fabulous director of player development, overseeing a fantastic minor league system, I remain extremely skeptical that he can do any better than Melvin.  I sort of understand that, sometimes, a team needs to shake things up a bit, and that getting a new manager/coach can shed new light, bring new ideas, spur players into action, etc.  However, I do not think that Hinch was the right choice to do that.  At all.  I hope I’m proven wrong.

And… Micah Owings, who is one of my favorite players, who was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks, and now is with the Reds, is projected to be the Reds’ starting pitcher against the D’backs’ Dan Haren on Tuesday.

Last baseball note:  Tonight is my boys’ first playoff game.  Their team is seeded 7 out of 8 teams.  Of course, as a loyal mother, I must say that their team is BETTER than 7th;  they had lots of close losses, and… umm… I believe some mismanagement on the coaches’ part, specifically regarding which pitcher to start, and how long to leave him in, and who to have play as catcher.  Still.  I have lots of good things to say about this particular set of coaches, and as they are pouring their own time and effort into a volunteer position, I’m not complaining.  Well, I’m at least not complaining loudly.  Anyways.  It’s a double-elimination tournament, so they’ll at least have tonight’s game, plus one more on Wednesday.  We still need to decide if Ethan is going to try out for the All Stars team, which would mean another couple of months of baseball for him.  He both really wants to and really doesn’t, and I concur.

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