little league days and nights

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We’ve been doing little league with the boys ever since David was about 5 (he’s now 15).  Jacob and Ethan got a late start in baseball and we’ll probably always have some regret about that.  However, David started very young and played every year but one, and Caleb and Seth also started as soon as they could (although we did skip t-ball).   It’s not always fun for me to drive to the fields almost every night of the week, and sometimes in not the greatest weather.  In fact, we still have cold evenings and we shiver as we watch the boys play.  But then, we’ll have evenings so hot people are holding up umbrellas for shade.

Rich especially LOVES to watch the boys play.  He mourns having to leave on business trips and missing the games.   This is when it’s so nice to have the phone.  I can easily take short videos of the boys at bat and send them along to Rich.

On game nights, we eat an early dinner and drive the boys to the field early to warm up and then I walk and walk and walk (with my headphones in my ears, listening to podcasts) until the games start.

Here are some photos:

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Seth (9 years old, 3rd grade) started out as pitcher on Friday night.  It was very hot after several cooler game nights and the boys were rather wilting toward the end.

Seth had an “off night” as pitcher and was visibly relieved when the coach put someone else in.

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He’s a very good all around player.  And he will play every position if possible.

One time they were warming up and he was at shortstop and he and his teammate called “Got it!” at the same time and Seth ran into the kid to catch the ball.  “Seth’s a show off!”  I heard.  He’s not necessarily a show off, but if he yells “got it” he’s going to get it, even if his teammate said it at the same time.

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Seth’s face looked so worried as he ran to first base after getting a hit but knowing he won’t make it to the base in time.  When Rich saw it, he got right up to go get him a cold Gatorade from the food booth.  Usually does magic.  🙂  It’s so much better than mom’s warm water bottle.

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He got a nice hit this time…..I heard someone in our crowd say “beautiful!” as we watched it go…..

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This season, Seth had to break the habit of watching what the other team was doing with the ball as he ran the bases.  Seeing him run to base with his neck twisting this way and that was silly.  “Watch the base!” we would yell.

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******my heart*******.

Now for Caleb., who is almost 13 and in 7th grade.

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Everyone loves Caleb.  He’s a team player, he is quite vocal about encouraging the team and telling them when they’ve had too many errors.  He’s also a lot of fun and can be too goofy at times.  I heard his coach get on his case once when he struck out at bat and then went to the dug out and started goofing around.  Sometimes Caleb will dance after getting a good hit and making it to first base.  Caleb is well-known for his realistic chicken noices and as a result, his nickname is “Chicken”.  Even his coaches call him Chicken.  Not because he’s scared and timid like a chicken, but because he SOUNDS LIKE ONE.  Rich groans and groans.

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He’s such a calm player and rarely makes mistakes.  He DOES make them now and then, but as his mom I’m always very surprised.  (every mom thinks their kid is practically perfect).  He looks great in all three of his positions that he plays; first base, pitcher, and catcher.

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No home runs yet this year….oh how we are waiting!!  Last night he got walked three times.  He was SO annoyed.  He and one other boy on his team have red cleats so I’m always squinting down at the field and saying, “Is THAT Caleb?”  Caleb is number 11 and his cleats used to be Ethan’s.  I took these photos with my long zoom lens.  He looked so very handsome with that game face.

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Here he is jogging to first after getting walked……Caleb wants a home run so bad!!!!!

The white pants have been fun to wash all season.

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Pitching

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As I’m writing this I’m thinking I should ask my brother Isaac to do a pitching clinic with Seth and Caleb.  He was an excellent pitcher when he played years ago.

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Caleb as catcher.

Here is a video from last night.  He was warming up the pitcher and looked so cool and confident.  I LOVE THIS VIDEO and so does Caleb.  He said, “Send that to Dad.”

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Jacob dropped off Seth and Sarah at the game yesterday after church.  I had stayed home to get Caleb to his game on time and he helpfully took the other kids to church (Rich had to leave for a trip).  So Sarah looked like a princess in her church dress.  She had a hamburger for lunch from the food booth, and took off her shoes as soon as possible.

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I went to a tag sale before the game and bought a bag of old linens and she found this piece of lace and her princess attire was complete.

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Happy golden days.  Lots of times chaotic, but all the time worth it.

last little league games of the season

It is around 7:30 in the morning and Sarah and I are the only ones awake.  She is tucked in on the couch, warm and toasty, with a pile of books.  She has already eaten a bowl of fruit.  She is my early bird this morning because she is the only one in the family who went to bed at a reasonable hour.  It’s summer!

What a beautiful weekend we had with bright sunny weather and cool nights.  We haven’t had to turn the air conditioners on yet this summer, the humidity has been practically nonexistent.  Yes, the weekend was lovely and on Saturday we got started on Grace’s room.  She and I have plans to redecorate it and it’s such fun pinning photos together on pinterest.  We are painting over her bright pink walls with a light minty green, and a new daybed/trundle is on it’s way from pottery barn.  Currently, the contents of her room are in the upstairs hallway and her little sister’s room.  It is awful messy up there.  We have a lot to do before this project is over, but the main thing is WE HAVE BEGUN and the walls have been primed, ready for their first coat of paint.

Yesterday morning I sat up in bed and stared at the clock, which I believed could not be right.  Then, I picked up my phone to look; it was 9:21.  I woke up Rich and asked him what time he thought it was, “7?” he guessed.   He was shocked when I told him it was almost 9:30.  I don’t think we have slept in that long since we were newlyweds, almost 18 years ago.  Needless to say, we only made it for the actual church service, and not Sunday School.

After church was over, we drove straightaway to the Little League field for five year old Seth’s last game of the season.  As soon as medals were handed out and the sound of the music faded away I felt so lighthearted, we had survived season 2014 with three boys in three different levels of play, on three different teams.  I only cried once, when David’s coach reprimanded me about him not making it to as many practices and games as he should have (I lost him in the shuffle, and the text messages were going to the wrong parent)  No, I did NOT cry in front of the coach (and yes, I was very overtired at the time).  I needed the pep talk, he didn’t miss a single practice or game after that.

ANYWAY, David and Caleb had play offs this past Wednesday and that morning I sighed and wished that (my brother) Uncle Dave could come and watch; so I texted him and just sort of teasingly asked him to come (it’s a 3 1/2 hour trip to our place) and he said no, but then said “I’ll think about it”.  I didn’t hear back from him until 1:00, when he called and said he got busy at work and couldn’t make it.  I said “I understand, it’s okay.”  “What are you doing?” he asked, changing the subject.  “Oh, I’m in bed with Seth, he’s sleeping.”

“WELL, HE BETTER WAKE UP BECAUSE I’M IN THE DRIVEWAY!” he yelled.

I got up and ran around the house telling the kids to come quick to see who had arrived!

Yes, surprise and joy; Uncle Dave drove out all spur of the moment to watch his little nephews play ball, in what could possibly be their last games of the year.

We hung around, visiting here at home until it was time to leave for the games.  Jacob showed us his card tricks.  Unfortunately for the teenagers, they had already made plans for an evening at the lake, so they left at 4….and I headed to the fields with my brother in the passenger seat beside me.  I drove him through to see the schools, and we had such a great time at the games, although it got to be late and he had a long drive home.

He drove back to his house through the worst rainstorm and lightening of his life, but was safely in bed by 1:30 that morning.

It was a WONDERFUL day, and I’m so thankful to God for my awesome brother (we are just a year and 3 months apart in age).  My very first best friend.

OH and the boys won their games.

(we watched both games at once, standing in between the fields).

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Uncle Dave eating lunch, about an hour after he arrived.

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Uncle Dave and Sarah, right after she woke up from nap.  He’s playing piggy with her toes.

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With Sarah and Caleb (phone pic)

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saying goodbye to Gracie

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a hug for Ethan

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at the park for the little league games

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He was taking pictures of Caleb the catcher.  (this was one of those “oh, this is so wonderful” moments for me)

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hanging around with Sarah Joy

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this handsome guy was there, too … I love how he gets nervous for our boys as they play….

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playing catch with Seth

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 I love this picture of happy Seth.

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Uncle Dave took Seth over to the Food Shack so he could pick out a candy bar.  He came back and said “I think he had it scoped out because he picked the biggest one!”

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They loved their peanut butter cups.  Thank you, Dave, for being fun and strong and wonderfully YOU.

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Championship game, Friday

Would you believe it?

Both our teams won, and Dave hit a home run!

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David, number 14

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getting congratulations from the coach after the game was won

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walking around, tossing the glove, happy

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Caleb and his coach after they won their game, too

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waiting for their trophies

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my happy boys!

******

one last cute moment::

I bought Seth his first two wheeler on Friday and he brought it to the games.

He rode alone, up and down the path by the fields, with a whistle in his mouth, using it as horn when people needed to get out of the way.

Everyone smiled to see this darling:

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Happy Monday, friends!

God is good.

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I see a Caleb.

In just a few short baseball seasons, he went from Caleb the Clueless, to Caleb the Catcher.  He’s turned into a legitimate little leaguer!

In general, I’ve gotten over taking photos at ball games, because moments at the fields are as common place now as loading the dishwasher.  However, something possessed me to take the camera on Monday, and I got these great shots of Caleb the Catcher.

CATCHER!  To me, it seems a scary position to play.  Indeed, I’ve heard errant bats hit my Caleb several times, but he’s always fine (doesn’t seem to faze him at all).  He’s got the gift.

There is this other kid on the team who wants to be catcher, too, and Caleb doesn’t say a word.  He just goes out to right field and waits until the next “at field”, when the other kid all too predictably relinquishes the position back to Caleb………….

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Here is Caleb, coming in to home plate.  Have I mentioned, he’s a good hitter, too?  His technique is to smash hit the first pitch that comes in (and I usually miss  it, he’s that quick).  He has a job to do for the team and he’s gonna do it, by golly.

He got the run in and now he stands in the dugout and shouts words of encouragement to his team mates (he really does!, he’s an awesome boy, sweet, sweet, sweet).

Then, after the three outs, he comes out and lets his attendants dress him in the catcher’s costume (it’s so cool–is that why he likes to be catcher?)

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He isn’t impressed at all by what’s happening to his legs (coach is fussing and buckling him into the pads), he keeps an eye on the competition.

 

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To me, the funniest thing about the process is the way he keeps reaching and leaning to get the rest of his pads as the coach continues to deal with the legs.

 

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You can almost hear the coaches thoughts, “will the kid hold still already?!?”

 

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He’s putting on the face mask.

 

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While yet another coach deals with the everlasting leg pads.

 

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You can almost hear Caleb’s thoughts, “will they be done before Christmas?!?!”

 

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Coach gives him a hit on the top of the helmet and off he goes.

 

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He realizes Moms got the camera on him.

 

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So he gets into the classic caleb-catcher pose.

Caleb wants you to know they won and are currently in 2nd place.  There is another game tonight!

*****

I have some more news about Caleb.  In all his rough and tumble adventures in life, this boy’s legs (in spite of all the protection during ball games) are covered in scrub marks, scratches, small cuts, bug bites, and bruises.  And now, because of me, he has a burn across his beautiful FACE.  First his legs, now his face (his comment).  I swear, I was all alone in the kitchen when I took dinner out of the top oven last night.  As soon as I turned around to put it on the island behind me, he was there.

 

 

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He looks like a boy that got whipped in the face with a 350 degree casserole.

springtime and baseball

It’s funny how the thoughts go back back back to childhood … today was opening day for little league (after church) and I couldn’t help but think so much about my own younger brothers and all the years of watching them play at the fields.  Our sons Jacob and Ethan are too old for little league, today we concentrated on David and Caleb….Jake and E weren’t even with us.  SO WEIRD.  They are growing up and away, little by little.  Yes, the older boys stayed after church for the fellowship lunch, and then Wally was going to go over some Javelin tips with Jacob again.  Jacob throws for school, and with Wally’s help he beat his own personal record on Friday at the meet.

It’s quite chilly outside today so after several hours I asked my husband if he would drive me, Grace, and the little ones back home.  I am currently and happily under a blanket with my feet on a warmed up corn bag with Seth at the end of the couch.  Grace is on pinterest next to me and continuously laughing at someone’s “funny” board.  Sarah Joy is sitting next to her, watching a movie.  (“Once Upon a Forest”)  Billy Cat is stretched out so softly next to my legs and Sherlock is curled in a ball by Sarah.  We all have our pajamas on already.

I was on pinterest and somehow got to thinking about Trailing Arbutus.  Do you know that lovely wild flower?  I remember my Grandmother liking it, and it grew in the woods near our home when I was a child.  It grows close to the ground, but getting down into the forest leaves to smell it is worth it.  It smells wonderful, better than apple blossoms even.  I haven’t seen the flower in years and years.  There were pictures of it on pinterest so I pinned one and then thought about Yellow Violets.  As a child, I remember finding them just one time.  I had walked deeply into the woods on Grandpa’s property and was thrilled to discover a bunch of yellow violets…at that time I had not known there was such a flower.  I picked one and added it to my bouquet.  On the way back home I stopped and showed it to Grandma and she smiled.  She knew exactly where I had been.   It is a nice memory for me, I felt that we shared a secret delight together.  I learned a lot about the flowers and things from my mother, who in turn had learned them from her Mama.  And now, when I go for walks I cannot help but point things out and tell my own children about them.  Beauty from God.

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We spent time outside on Friday.  It was a beautiful day.  I found the children up on the hill behind the house exploring,  and then Sammy jumped up on the fence from the neighbor’s side.  She was exploring, too.  Isn’t she pretty against the bluest of blue skies?

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Daffodils are in bloom and the fuzzy buzzy bumble bees love them.

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I am amused by the lengths a bee will go in order to collect pollen.

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When we walk by the edge of the smaller pond, hundreds of bullfrog tadpoles ripple away, out of the shallow water.  Going up closer to investigate will scare the last brave ones from the edge.  Once they swim into the deeper water, it’s funny to stay and watch them go up to the surface to breath.  There are SO MANY, if they all develop into full grown frogs I am afraid we will have a Biblical proportion of them (like a plague).  Parker the dog enjoys the challenge of catching one in his front teeth.  He does not let the tadpole touch his lips at all, just the teeth.

He detests bullfrog tadpoles.

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After he brings one back into the grass and lays it gently down, he gags in deep hisses.

He can’t resist the urge to pick it up again with quivering lips and dainty teeth.

He plays with it a minute, rolls on it, and then goes back to get another.

No, he can’t bring himself to do it twice.  Once is enough.

Tadpoles are cold and slimy, and they disgust him.

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We look at wild flowers next.

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Sarah likes to ask me if she can pick one.  I say “yes”.

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Seth goes across the monkey bars and I ask him if he can go all the way.  He has to work, and I marvel at the bodies of young children, so light and mobile and strong.

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I tried to help him once but he panted, “I want to do it by myself!”

He made it across and was proud of himself.

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After throwing tiny pinecones into the long pond and watching the fish grab them and pop them back out of their mouths, we headed to the stream.

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A hen came over to see what was up.  So very nosey!  What a busy-body!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The next day, Saturday, it rained and rained all day.  The boy’s Little League Opening day was cancelled.

It was today instead.  We went to church, came home to quickly change, and then headed to the park.

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It was a big to-do with “thank you’s”, dedication of benches (in memory of those who passed away over the last year), trophies, a presentation of the banner for last year’s winners, etc, etc, National Anthem sung, players name’s announced (including our Davy’s) and then….finally….the first games of the season.

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Caleb

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David.  Please keep me in your thoughts as I try to keep these pants white all season.

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Sarah had a ring pop.

The movie is over, it is time for me to serve a little something for dinner.  It will be an early bedtime for Seth and Sarah tonight.

Have a blessed evening, my friends.

You are loved.