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Posts Tagged ‘growing up’

marshall pitching

Baseball consumes our lives.  We eat, sleep, and breathe baseball.  We’ve figured that pretty much all of our time and disposable income goes to baseball.  Between the four boys, I think I spend about 30 hours a week driving to baseball practices, waiting at practices and watching games.

All of our conversations are consumed by baseball related facts.  Which team is in first place.  Who hit a home run this week.  What bat did they use.  How many pitches did so and so pitch in each game.  Can I pitch on Tuesday’s game.  Is there practice.  Are the fields flooded.  Couldn’t we just put in turf fields on all the fields.  I’m starting to find myself an expert on all things little league.

Dave is becoming even more of an expert.  Marshall wanted a new bat.  A $250 bat.  I wondered if maybe the bat was full of dollar bills.  Or if it was guaranteed a hit every at bat.  At this point in Dave’s research, I’m pretty sure that he could give up his job in Electrical Engineering and become a bat engineer.  Last week we decided to bite the bullet and order the bat.   Every day Marshall tracked the package.  What he failed to notice was that Amazon hadn’t actually processed the order.  On the day it was supposed to arrive, and didn’t, I checked the tracking.  I updated my credit cards expiration date and broke the news to marshall that he’d have to wait a few more days for el expensivo (what I’ve decided to name his bat).

Yesterday Fed Ex came at noon and brought me a new chicken feeder and watering system.  The look of disappointment on Marshall’s face was precious.  He went back to checking the bat’s tracking website followed by sitting on the porch waiting for the UPS man.  If he was a more demonstrative kid, he’d probably have kissed him when he arrived in time to take el expensivo to the game.

el expensivo

I wish I had gotten a clearer picture.  It’s almost like the look of a proud dad holding his first born son.  The look in his eye says, “Oh, baby, we’re going to have one amazing season.  I can almost count all the home runs.”

the proud owner and the picture hogs

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There were rumors that Homecoming was going to be the first Friday back to school.  Oh the mental anguish of a teenager.

Her: How will I ever get asked?  No one knows me?!?

Me:  Well, except for the 4 bajillion friends you have on facebook.

Then Homecoming turned out to not be Friday but later, giving teens time to give not-so-subtle hints and plan extravagant proposals for Homecoming dates.  The extra time did not stop the  worrying and fretting though.

And then it happened, she was asked.

And she rejected the invitation.

I heard no one’s asked you to Homecoming yet.  I bet you’re getting nervous.  It probably means I don’t have to do any of that stupid silly stuff everyone has already done.  Do you want to go with me?”

“If you can’t even ask me nicely, I don’t think I can go with you.”

There were rumors that boys were testing the waters and asking probing questions.  There was still lots of fretting and worrying though.  What if noone followed through?

Then there were lots of neutral and ambiguous texts and facebook messages like:

What’s your favorite kind of flower?

So, what would be a really cute way to ask a girl to homecoming?

and my favorite:

I think you already know exactly how you want to be asked, and anything less than that would be a let down. 

Today, sometime around lunch, I received an excited text with pictures of the flowers and “Homecoming!!!!! :)”

I can’t even begin to tell you the mixture of emotions.  I am so incredibly happy for her.  I’m relieved that he’s her friend, a boy we’ve only heard good things about for months.  I’m glad that he went out of his way to make her feel special.

This is just the first of a new chapter for her.  First flowers from a boy, the first dance, the first dating scenario (because we are NOT calling this dating people!  We are calling this friends going to a dance!) and the first time a boy is going to come over to our house for dinner.

Him:  You’ll have to give me the heads up.  Are your parents super strict?  What should I wear? 

Her:  Dinner is a formal affair.  Dress shirt, tie, or polo would be fine.  You must gel your hair back.  Absolutely DO NOT make eye contact!  No touching.  EVER. 

Me:  That poor boy.

Her:  I know.  I don’t even know why he asked me. 

growing up

But I can’t help but feel a little bit sad. This whole growing up thing is happening so very, very fast.  There is so much talk about college and growing up and leaving:

Her:  I’m pretty sure I’m going to go to college far away and very rarely come home.  I feel like I’m going to want to go to Thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s house and then vacation over winter break. 

Me:  That would make me so very sad.  Who will do all the complaining on the holidays if you’re gone?

Her:  Okay, if I pick a college close by will you do my laundry for me?

Me:  Is this supposed to be a favorable situation for me? 

Her:  Yes.  I will still be close enough to come home for dinner and laundry regularly.  Won’t you be happy to see me often?

Me:  Maybe I can install a coin-op washer/dryer and you can invite all of your friends to do their laundry here. 

Secretly, I pray often that she will stick close by.  Don’t leak that to her though, she will probably take that as a clue to start looking at study abroad programs in Zimbabwe.  I don’t know how I would survive if she went away and married a boy and they settled far away.  Already I have regular crying fits about my sisters possible, potential, not even close to being conceived unborn children.

Me sobbing to Dave: I’m so sad.  I’m never going to feel my sister’s pregnant belly.  The likelihood that I’ll get to hold my minute old niece is so very slim. 

Dave:  Is your sister pregnant?

Me: No.  I’m just talking hypothetically here.  I guess I could visit for her whole third trimester so that I’m there when she goes into labor.  But then, if I’ve been there for three months I’m pretty sure she will be sick of me and ask me to go home.  Really, my only hope is that my sister decides to go back to work after her baby is born.

Dave:  So, you’re hoping she marries someone who can’t provide for her to stay at home?

Me:  No, maybe she will love her job.  Maybe she’ll find it incredibly rewarding and want to go back.  If she goes back, that’s my only hope. Then I could convince her to send my niece to me every summer.  Free babysitting!  How else will I get to know my niece.  Otherwise I’ll just be auntie chanel who sends really cool presents and crochets her crazy dolls and sends frilly dresses because lets face it, I suck at calling people, I can never mail a birthday present on time, and I hate to skype.

Dave:  I’m sure this pretend niece will love you wherever we live.

Me:  I’m pretty sure I’m screwed.  I should start selling how much I love it here in the land of Big Foot.  Maybe I can encourage her to move here.  She can move into McKayla’s room when she goes to college.

I can’t imagine a grandchild thousands of miles away.  Honestly, I really can’t imagine a college age kid.  It’s hard enough reconciling this teenage kid with my baby girl.

what a cutie

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reading in bed

Every night Nate needs us to leave the light on for “just 5 more minutes”.  He says its because he’s terrified of the dark.   We indulge him, because he’s the baby, the last in the line of our progeny.  What has morphed out of fear is a love for books.

He’s not allowed to play or have toys in his bed, but how can I say no to a book?  I can’t.  All the kids know that I’m a sucker for the “just one more chapter” or “just 10 more minutes”.  Everyone but the little ones has a small lamp attached to their beds and I don’t control when it goes off.  For all I know they are reading until 1am.  And that’s fine with me.  Morning crankies are dispelled by earlier bedtimes and naps.

Every night when I go to turn off the light in the twins’ room on my way to bed, I find him curled up with a pile of books.  This is how I know he’s mine.

Pretty soon the picture books will morph into easy readers and chapter books.  The pile will get smaller as the books become longer.  Hopefully though, his love of reading won’t.

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Today my heart grieves.  It sits in my chest like huge blubbering lump of an organ, kinda like my ovaries.  In two days, my twins will turn 5.  They will no longer be babies.  They won’t be anywhere near babyhood.  Every day they say, “Please, don’t call us babies.  We’re big boys”.

Logically, I know it’s ridiculous, to be so upset about a fifth birthday.  I’m expecting these kids to live to be 100.  They’ll see things I can’t even dream of.  They’ll crest a new century.  They will probably get to go to the moon on vacation.  It’ll be amazing lives these kids lead. If we round this birthday up or down compared to 100 years, they are closer to babies than wrinkly old men.

But lately, every time I see an older person I think about how they were once small helpless babies.  Once, they were precocious toddlers who delighted their parents with their views of the world. Once they were little.  They were new.

And when I see a baby, a little piece of my heart shatters knowing that I will never again have a baby.  Never again grow little hands and feet in my womb and feeling little legs and arms stretch within the safe confines on my body.  Never again, will I rock a sleeping infant in the dark of night.  Never again, will I nurse my baby, wear them on my hip, stand over their sleeping shapes in the dark and listen for the sweet sound of their breath.

I think of all of the lasts that happen every day.  The things that I didn’t even know where the lasts.  The things that I didn’t even know I would one day miss.  Things like onesies under feety pajamas, rocking little ones to sleep, and playing this little piggy on small toddler toes.

There should be mother books for things like this.  This way we could keep an exact record of it.  We could cherish all those things we rush through every day to get to the next thing.  The last time I nursed you.  The last time I needed to hold your hand while you walked.  The last time you feel asleep on my chest.  The last time I played the Tooth Fairy.  The last time you called for me in the middle of the night to kiss your head and tuck you in.  Sometimes they are small things we can’t wait to get past.  The last diaper change.  The last time I had to tie your shoes.  The last time I brushed your teeth.  The last time you cried for your pacifier.  The last time they wore those small tiny training pants on their little tiny hineys.

This is just the beginning of the lasts.  There isn’t anyone behind these little two to rock and hold and baby.  This is the beginning of the end of this phase of my life.

It just breaks my heart.  It breaks it into a million pieces.

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I can not even begin to tell you how adorable T-ball is.  It’s even more adorable than it was ten years ago when McKayla was in T-ball.  I didn’t think that it could be possible to get any cuter than a little girl with pig tails.  Somehow, following a week of major games, minor games and multiple practices, perspective starts to sink in.  It’s adorable, and all that matters at the end of the game is what kind of snacks you got, not who won or loss or if the umpire was fair and there isn’t even a small amount of self flagellation.

Nate was first to bat.  He swung and missed.  Loud clapping and cheering was still heard from the stands though.

Then he swung again.  He didn’t miss this time, his aim was just a little bit too low though.  “No highs! No lows! Wait for the perfect pitch!”

The third time, he didn’t exactly miss the ball.  He swung the bat so hard that he swung around and hit the ball on the second time around.   He’s an amazing bunter.  We might as well let him play up next year, just skip a second year of t-ball altogether and play farm.

There are no outs in t-ball.  I’m not sure if it’s because 4-6 year olds will cry uncontrollably if they get out or because it’s near impossible to get a group of 4-6 year olds to play as a team.  Either way, he made it to first base.  Do you know what else I love about t-ball players?  I love how willing the players are to pose for the camera.  I can’t get the older boys to even glance at me in the stands let alone pose and wave.

As a side note, don’t you just love how tiny those little cleats are?

Jacob waited patiently for the whole team to bat.  He was the last batter, this means that he gets to hit a grand slam (by default, but still a grand slam)  Someone has to bring all those runners home.  This may look like some serious strategy talk.  It’s not though, it’s really a consoling.   Jake was upset because the helmet was too big.  Near tragedy when you’re four.

After the pep talk, he approached the plate with determination.  He hit the ball on the first try.

The importance of a grand slam was a little lost on him though.  Or maybe, he realized that speed isn’t really necessary when you’re the last batter in t-ball.  They’ll wait for you.  This is him leaving third and moseying his way to home.  I particularly love his hands in his back pockets.

Sometime during Mike’s first t-ball game, he whispered to me (in a very audible volume), “Baseball is stupid.  All you do is sit on the bench and wait for your turn to bat.  Then you sit on the base waiting for everyone else to bat you home.  Then you sit in the outfield waiting for the ball to come to you.  Which it never does.”  Out of the mouth of babes.

It also seems to be a sentiment held onto by his younger brothers.

What should you do while you’re doing all that waiting on the field?  Pick up all those rubber pieces from the turf field, of course.

Or, maybe you should stoicly stand in the outfield day dreaming.

That is, of course, until the ball comes your way and all the parent’s hear the Peter, Paul, and Mary song in their heads.

The second inning was even more adorableness.  I’m really sorry that you couldn’t be there to be part of it.  It was much of the same, batting, hitting, running, walking, complaining.  Then there was Nate pitching (which really only means he stands in the general area of the pitchers mound, with a helmet on because I’m guessing one daisy picking kid too many took a ball to the head.)

And when you’re the pitcher, what position is the perfect compliment for your twin brother? Of course, it’s the catcher.

When Mike was old enough for t-ball, he did his classic fist pump and said, “YES!  NOW EVERYONE WILL HAVE TO COME AND WATCH MY GAMES! IT’S MY TURN NOW!”

Nate and Jake don’t seem to have that kind of drive (or egoism), they really only care about the snack. It was the thought of the snack that got them through the game.  At the between inning slump, it was the enticement of rice krispie treats and cheese sticks that made them don their batting helmets with as much determination as a tired four-year-old can.

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