The Ball Field Life

It’s the end of March and we’re solidly into the beginnings of our longest seasons of the year – baseball and softball. Leo’s high school team has been loosely practicing once a week since November, shifting to everyday practice as soon as basketball season ended. Alex’s team and Kate’s team have been doing weekly practices since the beginning of February. And we’ve had several days where I’ve taken the kids into town to play catch at the ball field while waiting for Leo’s pickup time.

I’d be absolutely lying if I didn’t confess to loving it. Every dang minute. Even the cold ones like last night!

I’ve been nervous to see how Leo would transition into high school baseball. So far, it’s been great for him. He’s gotten plenty of playing time and been able to play several positions (first base, third base, shortstop and pitcher), even a few new to him. He looks confident and is working to be more of a vocal leader than he’s been in the past. It’s good to see him working hard and having fun.

Tony’s coaching Alex’s team this year and I’m really excited to see how they’re already growing. 10U baseball is an important time – it’s where the kids need to start making strides with their skills and growing their confidence. Tony’s a great coach for that. His love for the game shows and he’s been great at helping the young players break down their skills to help them start learning proper form and habits. I don’t think this team has the ability to be a league contender this year, but it is possible that they could be in future years if they continue to work together and grow they way that I’ve seen thus far.

Kate’s team is a bit of a wildcard as nearly all 8U girls softball teams are, lol. So far we’ve been stuck inside for practice sessions, which admittedly, is tough. But I am seeing glimmers of the starts of these girls’ love for the game pop up. Kate doesn’t show it all the time, but when she decides to be serious, the girl is all-in. For now our focus is keeping it fun and helping them build the skills they’ll need as they get bigger.

For me the biggest question of the summer will be how much I will be playing. Tony and I have regularly played in at least one weekly league and picked up a couple of weekend tournaments for the past 10+ years. As the kids are getting older, my interest in being on the field without them is dropping off. I can’t probably say the same thing for Tony, but I can kinda feel the end of my playing time coming soon. We shall see what opportunities present themselves … maybe I still have another season or two of league ball left in me?

Flying Solo: Part One

Yesterday my husband Tony left with his best friend for a 10-day elk hunting trip. Hunting and the mountains are some of Tony’s great passions. He’s not been on a hunt since we were married three years ago, so I’ve been (or at least tried to be) really supportive of him going this year.

I caveat “or at least tried to be” because him being gone puts a bit of extra stress on me. This past month and a half has brought a lot of change for the family – baby Kate arrived and Leo changed schools to start first grade – so everyone’s in a bit of a transition phase. And transition phases always seems to make things extra stressful, crazy and over the top.

Only one day in, and I can already tell this next week is going to be a wild ride. So I’m going to document the spectacle that it is. Maybe others will enjoy the chaos and craziness. I know I plan to (as best I can).

Day One:
Bedtime last night was a bit of a disaster. Typically the boys go down for the night relatively smoothly, but not last night. Instead my six year old was a hot mess. It ended up taking about an hour and a half to finally get him to go to sleep. Tears. Attempted negotiations to sleep anywhere other than his bed. Frantic yelling across the house with him begging me to spank him… I was grateful and mentally exhausted when he finally managed to fall asleep.

This morning the baby projectile pooped on me. While that’s hardly noteworthy given how common that type of thing is with babies. But this was the first time Kate’s done that to me, so I was caught a little off-guard and unprepared.

At lunch I got the first call of the year from the school nurse. Leo was running a fever and had a sore throat. Turns out he has strep throat, and that myself and the other kids have already been exposed to it. So that’s going to be fun. I’m hoping I can luck out and the other kids won’t end up catching it, but since I’m parenting alone this week, I’m guessing we’ll end up with a full house of sickies before it’s all said and done.

Stay tuned for updates on the rest of our week. I’m sure there will be many examples of Murphy’s Law that should be good for a chuckle if nothing else.


The Poop Master

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. As it turns out, managing life with two kids hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. I’m going to try to do better moving forward, but with a third on the way in August, I’m not making any promises. So instead of dwelling on my inconsistency, I’ve decided to share my funny morning story (that’s been more of a regular occurrence than I’d prefer).

This morning, unlike most, I was able to get completely ready for work before the boys were awake. Score! As I was putting on my (minimal) makeup and combing my hair, I could hear Alex’s crib mattress creaking and tell he was up. But he was being pretty quiet, and I thought, “No harm in finishing up here since he’s so content.”

Oh. My. What a mistake…

Roughly 10 minutes later I walked into a very poopy-smelling room to find this. Look mom. I took off my own poopy diaper!

My “little helper” had very generously removed his pajama pants. And his poop-filled diaper. And tried to take care of the situation by throwing the poop out of his crib (or, as I discovered a bit later, dropping a big handful behind the crib, causing it to smear all over the wall).

He was in the process of stomping on the little poop bits that didn’t make it outside the crib, thereby grinding them into his crib sheet, as I was walking through the door of the boy’s room. (It was reminiscent of the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel were smashing grapes to make wine. While Alex wasn’t smashing grapes, it was almost as funny.)

All I could do was laugh. And take a photo (I’ll need something to embarrass him with during his teenage years, right?). And draw an emergency bath while Alex as still contained in the poop-covered crib. While I was doing so, Alex proceeded to pee. It was clear he felt bad about the amount of cleaning his crib was going to require, so he made sure to pee right through the crib railings into a nice puddle on the carpeted floor. That way I wouldn’t need to spend any additional time on the crib, but maybe a bit more time on the floor.

Oh my little poop master. You bring such excitement to our lives!

Parenting, a Heavy Weight to Carry

Yes, my boys are both solid, heavy kids, but that’s not really the kind of weight I’m referring to in this post. I’m talking about the responsibility of raising respectful, kind-hearted boys in a world that sometimes seems to be chock full of examples of the contrary.

I know this is a burden that every parent carries, but it seems like some days it weighs on us more heavily than others. For me, yesterday was one of those days.

All week the national news has been reporting on the Ray Rice video and his indefinite suspension from the NFL. Locally, our community is struggling to come to terms with a police officer that was shot and killed after a routine traffic stop went bad. And then there was the anniversary of 9/11, and the reflections of how our world has changed since that awful day when terrorists attacked the Trade Towers.

How has the world gotten like this? (Maybe it’s always been this way, and I’m now old enough to finally comprehend it…?) How can I make sure my kids are raised so they feel safe and secure, yet understand that the world’s a complicated (and sometimes scary) place?

They must have the guidance to become part of the solution and not add to the problem. Respect everyone (and everything). Be kind. Say your prayers. Work hard. Have a good attitude. Don’t take things for granted. Keep having fun.

There’s so much to pass on, how can a parent make sure it happens?


Motherhood, the Second Time


Throughout my pregnancy, I wondered whether I could handle another baby. I was confident I wanted a second child (I’d like to have three or four kids eventually), and I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of this mom-thing with Leo. (It only took about 4 years… that’s probably normal, right?) But I wasn’t sure how I’d handle all the challenges a new baby presents along with taking care of Leo and making sure he was still getting plenty of love, attention and parenting time.

We’re a little over a month into this new adventure, and I’d have to say I think I’ve adjusted pretty well. In fact, mothering seems so much more comfortable this time around. I can’t really tell whether it’s because I’m not “new” at the mom thing anymore and have realized there’s no need to stress over the small stuff. Or, if Alex is just a little bit easier of a baby than Leo was. I’m guessing it’s probably a combination of both.

Seriously, Alex is very chill. He cries when he’s hungry and when I’m changing his diaper. (There’s something about a cold wet wipe against his little baby butt that he doesn’t love.) Other than that, he’s a pretty content kid. I get up twice a night to feed him, but it’s pretty regular so at least I’ve been able to adjust to a somewhat comfortable schedule to accommodate it. Overall I’m probably getting around 6-9 hours of sleep a night. (I realize that will probably only be 6 when I’m back at work and can’t partake in the morning naps like I have these past few weeks.) But for now, it’s working well.

Honestly though, Leo wasn’t exactly a problem-baby. We struggled with irregular sleeping and he had a touch of colic where pretty much nothing I did could make him happy. But in reality, I know lots of other moms with babies that have struggled much more than we did. And Leo’s adorable smiles made it tolerable.

I really think the biggest piece comes from the experience I have under my belt. I’m not over-analyzing things like I did with Leo. I don’t spend every waking minute trying to read everything I possibly can on the internet so I can be super mom. I just flat out don’t have time for that. I have to be mom, and keep the house intact, and get the groceries, and spend time doing fun things with Leo. So my approach is much more fluid this time around. Alex just comes along and gets things done with me. Not even six weeks old and this kid has made several trips to the grocery store, to work, to daycare, to the park, to Kansas City and Emporia and lots of places between. He’s my mobile, go-with-the-flow baby.

The thing I’ve loved best about motherhood the second time around, is to see how much Leo loves his baby brother. I smile every time Leo stops what he’s doing to come over and give Alex a kiss. And when he helps try to sooth Alex in the car. And when he tries to play with Alex. And when he tells his daycare friends, “Come look at MY baby.” Seeing their bond, even at this early stage, is more special and means more to me than I ever could imagine. Leo’s an excellent big brother and Alex is going to love him so much!