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Friday, April 10, 2015

Travel Baseball

With Nathan's broken finger, his wrestling season was cut short this year (or to be exact, he never really started).  He was all too excited for baseball to start.  Over the winter, a new club opened up and the owner, a friend of Dave's, offered Nathan a spot on the academy team.  It is to support Little Leagues and to give kids a taste of travel ball.  Nathan was very excited about this prospect.  For the first few weeks, he was only able to do limited work as his finger was still broken.  Fortunately toward the end of the season, he was able to participate fully.

Here he is in his full uniform, wearing it so very proudly.  He is #27, after his favorite player, Mike Trout of the Angels.

It is not well seen on these pictures but his team colors are purple and black.  I tell you, we spent more money on his baseball clothes than his regular.  Baseball season is spendy.

This was the little cast Nathan got to hold his broken finger still.  It went over a smaller finger cast.  It is what made all the difference for him.  Prior to getting this, he was in agony.

He wanted me to take an extra picture of the front and back of his hat.  :-)

Nathan had a great time and made new friends.  He had two tournaments we traveled to, one 4 hours away, another just 1 hour away.  The first one the girls had a hard time because the weather was horrible.  The second they did great as we were inside.  New coloring books, markers and puzzles kept them well entertained.  David and I got a real sense of the community within the club.  We really enjoyed it and I caught the baseball bug or the season.  
Nathan did great in his games.  Although he was one of the younger players, unless he was sitting on the bench, his coach Gregg used him in key positions.  He also let Nathan pitch for two innings where Nathan did really well.  He allowed two unearned runs during his pitching (so I guess technically he didn't allow them??).  
The most memorable event of the two trips for me was when we went into our first hotel, Hannah had a blast running around the room for the first hour just squealing in delight.  My least favorite?  Cramming six people into two beds.
The verdict.  I could see us doing travel ball but there are a lot of things to consider.  Would the girls enjoy it?  The cost.  The additional cost of the hotels, etc.  Do I want to invest in something where it is out of our control if this is a long-term commitment?  (Kids have to try out every year and if Nathan doesn't make the cut, we could be out, no matter how many years we've been with the club.)  If it was up to Nathan, he would start this year.  He definitely has stars in his eyes. The pros about travel ball?  Of course it is a whole different level of baseball compared to our beloved Little League.  You get to travel (which can be bad or good) which might be really fun once we are homeschooling, aka always being home.  As for right now, it was a neat experience.  Overall, it was a really neat experience that really helps Nathan with his Little League season, especially after having a broken finger and not being able to condition through wrestling.  Finances and Nathan's talent permitting, we may do the academy team again to keep Nathan baseball sharp in the off-season.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Surprise

Motherhood is so wonderfully full of surprises.  It is certainly never dull.  One day last week I heard a call for help.  It came from outside where little Isabelle was playing (accompanied by her beloved dogs who apparently couldn't help her with this one).  
I peeked outside but had a laugh and instead of helping my despaired daughter, I ran off to get the camera so I could snap these pictures:

Isabelly trapped in the swings.  She had climbed up the ladder on the right, climbed onto the crossbar, moved over to the first swing that had been draped over the bar only for Isabelle to sit down on the second swing and realizing that she was trapped.  

And those are my favorite tights in the whole world.  Hannah is wearing them now.  They are Hanna Andersson and while I sometimes don't like their colors/patterns, this one is one of my favorites.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Because Naked Babies Bring Great Joy To Everyone....





And just so you are not freaking out on me, she is wearing a diaper...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Homeschooling at Last!

We are finally doing it!  We are officially homeschooling for the 2015-2016 school year.  To say that I'm excited is an understatement.  (Disclaimer: When you ask me again about homeschooling in a few months and I break out in tears about homeschooling - I can do that!)
As finances ran dry and our daughter started to show signs of a classroom setting not being her ideal environment, we started to think of other options.  We had always said that we'd homeschool if the school didn't work out anymore but at first, the thought was scary.  I won't lie, it is convenient for the kids to go to school.  And what about all the friends I had made?  In the end, those are all shallow reasons and I quickly realized that I was simply scared.
As we began to research it became clear that God had blessed us with many experienced homeschooling friends who were all willing to help and show what worked for them (Beth, Ann, Jennifer, Kim and Kendra).  Many of them graciously invited me into their home for a day or however long it took and let me snoop through their homeschooling supplies to my heart's content. Some took me to their meetings of the curriculum they belong to.  Some invited other home schoolers to talk about home schooling in general and to encourage me (and of course to talk about the ever important future of play dates!).  One very dear friend (Beth - you rock!) was available daily to answer my 7,000,000 questions and helped me figure out so much.  I already have an amazing support system and that is apparently the number one treasure you want to have when homeschooling.
After meeting with many of my friends and talking and looking up all the options in our area, I presented my perfect plan to David who then agreed that we would be homeschooling both Abby and Nathan.  Before we told the kids we asked what their preferences were.  Both of them have begged us to home school (Nathan since Kindergarten, Abby since first grade).
This will be an awesome and amazing and hopefully not short-lived adventure!  I can't wait!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Abby's Wild Kratts Birthday Party 2014

With all of my blog posts, let's just assume that they are late.  That way, there will be no more surprises on blog posts that are months late.  Like this one.

Abby's seventh birthday party.  (Where, oh where does the time go?)  She left it completely up to me as to what kind of a birthday party she would have and all she wanted was to be surprised.  There are quite a few routes this could have gone: Frozen, bunny-themed, kitty-themed, book-themed.  The possibilities were endless.  Unless of course you remember that there is also one eight-year old boy.  That drastically cuts down on the possibilities.  The one love all my children share is a TV show called Wild Kratts.  They used to love the older version where the brothers Kratts visit different habitats and the kids learn all about one animal per show.  The guys who are David and my age are goofy so the kids really enjoy watching them.  There is no potty humor and the show is educational.  A few years ago they updated their show and it is now mostly a cartoon, still starring the cartoon version of the brothers Kratts as well as three sidekicks and various villains.  The kids have learned a ton about animals and they run around pretending to be animals (Nathan's favorite is the beaver or any snake).  Even Isabelle can bond easily through this and understands enough to learn about animals.  It is nice to have something they can all bond over (although TV is usually always my least favorite choice - ask my husband, I have issues...).
In an effort to get Nathan to see Abby more as someone he needs to take care off, I asked him to help me with this task of planning a secret birthday theme.  He was very excited about Wild Kratts (or maybe just majorly relieved that it wasn't a bunny-themed birthday) and he sure can keep a secret.  After searching Pinterest, we came up with an easy way to make the famous Wild Kratts suits very simply.  You can go all out here but with limited time, I went for simple.  We got $2.50 shirts on sale at Jo-Ann in blue and green and got some black felt.  We cut out all the striping and simply sewed it in place.  We printed the creature power disks from various websites on photo paper, cut them out and laminated them and then cut them out again.  Circle velcro was sewn in the middle paw piece and the matching circle felt piece was glued to the creature power disk.  And guess what?  I didn't really take pictures of it.  :-)  You can see them on the group photo below.  I had quite a few games gathered from the internet and thought up myself to match the batches but the girls were just so excited just to play with each other.  They are still too young to be organized much to Nathan's disappointment.  It's hard being the oldest and the only boy.

The only budget I had for the birthday went into the shirts.  For decorations I simply used all the animals we had around.  It is amazing how many animals kids have!  Here is a really cute owl bag Oma sent from Germany.  On top of the cereal box is a squid I had crocheted a few years ago.  The cereal in the background is tradition:  On your birthday you get a box of your favorite cereal.  Abby couldn't decide, so here are Cocoa Puffs, Honey Combs and Lucky Charms.  The girl is smart, she got three boxes out of it.



A bear dressed up as a skunk.  I know, I'm hilarious.  No one got it. 

For Abby's school, Isabelle and me had made these pink cupcakes with marshmallow paw prints (again, thank you Pinterest for your ever inspiring awesomeness). 

The birthday girl for breakfast.  See how crazy her hair is every morning?


While everyone else was at school, Isabelle and myself got busy getting everything ready for the party.  Isabelle is decorating with animals (here with Nathan's white tiger from Alexander and Kathrin).  We also drew paw prints in a path from the car to the front door with chalk.  Again, no picture.









The cupcakes for home were in blue, Abby's favorite color, and green, the other color for the Kratts.  We also had bats on toothpicks as cupcake toppers.

The matching hat and vest I knitted for Abby for her birthday.  What I love most about Abby is that she loves everything.  Clothes, toys, whatever you give her, it is loved.  The two dogs are from Jennifer.  They came in a little bag to carry them.  How perfect for Abby.  She loved them.

But more than anything, Abby loves her people.  Here with her siblings, and Olive.  Rosie was here as well and Dick and Jennifer and of course all the uncles and Grandma.  That is pretty much what makes Abby's world great.

At seven Abby is a most wonderful little person.  She is still our sunshine in the house and loves babies and animals.  She wants to become an animal rescue person and still devours books by the dozens.  She loves her siblings and cousins.  She is also very emotional this year and is learning how to deal with that.  School has become a love-hate relationship.  Ballet is hard for her this year as it has become more of a focus on details rather than dancing.  Although she can do many things ahead of her age, Abby is a little girl at heart.  Bear still holds the number one spot in her heart for stuffed animals.  However, second place is up for grabs.  Her favorite color is blue, her preferred foods are fruits and dairy (cheese stick, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, yogurt).  She picks gummy candies over all others, especially the ones from Germany.  Physical activity is a drag but she loves playing the piano and is practicing well.  Baths for her take hours (I'm not exaggerating - 2 hours is nothing to her).  Doing her hair is torture.  Taking care of Hannah is pure pleasure and playing with Isabelle and Nathan could be done all day long.  While she still plays with Isabelle with toys, she is definitely developing into an imaginative player.  Although the Wii is always welcome.  While she is strong-willed (very), she is also tender and giving and can let you have anything you want.  

Life with Abby is colorful, exciting, challenging and just pure joy.

I know a girl

She puts the color inside of my world - John Mayer



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Funnies

Most of these are from Isabelle since she is in that beautiful stage of life where the things she says are just so funny.  Unfortunately she's my third child and by the time it takes me to find a paper and a pen, some other child has already demanded my attention...  Alas, here are at least a few:

Isabelle, demanding: "I said 'juice'!"
Mama: "Ask nicely."
Isabelle, still demanding: "I want juice!"  (Guess that was a little nicer....)

Isabelle, while watching a movie: "Eat him!  Eat him!"

Isabelle, born in May, telling me in December, January and February: "I'm going to be sick until my bird-day."



Nathan can never find a food that I cook that he likes (unless I make bacon).  One night I made breaded and baked chicken and much to my surprise, the boy who always sees the glass half empty, gobbled that chicken right up!  What a delight to this mom.
I asked: "Nathan, so you liked that chicken, uh?"
Nathan: "It wasn't that bad."  (Wow!)

Isabelle walking through the kitchen: "I just want to die and be with God."  (Life is hard when you are 3.)


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love by Abby

I love Abby.   For so many reasons. One of them being her big, big heart.

While helping Isabelle clean their room today, I found a note I'd never seen before.  Abby had cut out a heart, colored it red on the front and two other colors on the back.  In the front is says in big Abby letters:

Love is Medason that heels hurt feelings.  by: Abby To: Isabelle

(Love is medicine that heals hurt feelings.)

I love that girl and she sure is medicine for my heart.