Mar 30, 2014

I cannot look at this picture without tears welling up in my eyes.
This photo was taken at the New Hampshire airport where soldiers were on a layover enroute to Afghanistan.
The people dressed in civilians are volunteers from the USO, VFW, Girl Scouts and other locals who wanted to show support for our military.  They lined the hall and cheered for, shook the hands of, and hugged soldiers as they passed by.
What a way to send people into battle!
They provided pizza, drinks, snacks, and more than anything else, they were an encouragement to weary travelers.
Matt said the "tremendous support from the New Hampshire folks was impressive".  
I do believe the send off was good for their bodies and soul.

So thank you to the people of the New Hampshire!

Mar 28, 2014

There is a scene from the movie Toy Story where Mr. Potato Head is preparing to leave Andy's room and head out on the mission to rescue Andy and Buzz Lightyear.  Ms. Potato Head is there with Mr. Potato head and she is loading up his rear hatch with everything she can thing of that he might need on his mission.  Angry eyes, extra shoes an body parts, and I think plastic monkeys were in there too. He is ready to go, he wants to leave and yet here Ms. Potato is saying her "I love yous".

I am Ms. Potato Head!  As I walked through a few different grocery stores this past week and grabbed some last minute items at Target and Walmart I was tempted to fill my cart with a hundred things to pack for Matt.  
His favorite energy drink, air freshener for his room, a little broom and dust pan, cozy blanket, slippers, sunblock.... 
If he didn't have limited packing space I would have purchased everything I saw that I know he would like, so that he wouldn't have to be in any amount of discomfort or lacking anything.  Because that is what I do, I show him I love him by meeting needs that he may not even know he has!  I think of things he doesn't, that's what makes us work so well together.
I resisted the urge to purchase those items, and with each item I saw that I knew he would miss, I felt a little twinge in my heart.
The bags are all packed to the point of near explosion.  Nothing can be added.
We've had last meals, enjoyed all his favorites, went to the movies, had game night, movie night, made homemake chocolate chip cookies and ate them straight out of the oven, we took a family getaway, had a date night, we've snuggled, shared our darkest fears, laughed to the point of tears, made sure business matters were taken care of and talked about dreams for the future.  Nothing more needs to be said...but goodbye.

Mar 27, 2014

Matt has a ton of hair and it grows really fast.  He also is pretty particular about who he wants to cut his hair.  So in times where he is going to be away from his favorite barber for more than a few weeks, he gets it cut shorter to avoid long locks or mishaps with rookie barbers.
Since he isn't sure just how long it will be before he finds a new favorite barber, he got a drastic haircut.

And since his littlest boy wants to be just like his daddy, he decided to get his hair cut too.

Rosemarie, the boys' hair lady, was so awesome.  She made the haircuts really fun for the guys.  She tried numerous different styles to include mohawk, reverse mohawk, and much more.  They took a lot of pictures and will probably remember this day for a long time.

Here they are.  My bald guys!!

Mar 20, 2014

I've said it before and I'll say it again.... I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!

The other day after I finished filling up the van and was pulling out of the gas station my elder child announced the following:
"So mom 87 Press is just a few cents cheaper than 89 Press"

I'll leave you to either laugh wildly as I did or ponder what in the world is so funny about that.

Mar 19, 2014

Tonight I was faced with a dilemma of gigantor proportions.

We have breakfast for dinner.
I whipped up made-to-order eggs for all, sausage and belgian waffles.
After all the man-folk had their fill, I started my own portion.  One egg omelet with an overload of Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese nestled inside, two perfectly cooked breakfast sausage patties and a slightly crunchy belgian waffled topped with a drizzle of Box Berry Farms syrup that my cousin's girlfriend bestowed upon me a few months ago.
My plate was perfect.
And then came my dilemma.
I like hot food.
There is a moment between burn-your-tastebuds-hot and lukewarm that my food is at the perfect temperature.  I strongly dislike luke warm food.  I like that perfect temperature.

So there I was staring at three delicious items and I was torn....what to eat first?
Which item tastes the best hot and the worst cold?  Eggs?  Waffle?  Sausage?  What to do?

I realized I was struggling with this food choice issue when I found myself shoveling food into my mouth at a ridiculously rapid pace.  I was cramming it in so fast I couldn't even taste it.

Clearly, I have issues.

I decided the omelet needed to come first, closely followed by the waffle and lastly the sausage, but I reserved one last square of waffle so that when my sausage was finished I would cleanse my palate with something sweet rather than savory.

I think it was a good choice.

Mar 10, 2014

I find great pleasure in listening to parents brag about their kids' athletic ability and then watching their reaction when the kids' performance doesn't match up to their parental bragging.
It is awesome.
I chuckle inside.
I was talking to a parent who told me that his son has great natural baseball ability and should definitely be on a majors team.  His evidence of his child's awesomeness was that his son could get the ball across the plate.  He said "he didn't throw strikes, but he did get it across the plate".
And Gabriel walks up right about that time and tells the guy that his brother threw 3 strikes and 2 balls when he tried out.

Mr. Bragger happened to be standing next to me at batting practice the other day.  He was again sharing with me how amazing his son was.  Two minutes later the son was in the cage and was having some trouble connecting with the all.
Bragger dad was befuddled.  
He mentioned to me how he didn't know what was going on, his son ALWAYS kills the ball when they are playing together.
Is it wrong that I seriously enjoy this little exchange?

Perhaps it is so entertaining to me because I highly doubt either of the boys will become professional baseball players.  They play baseball because they love the game.  They may be better than a lot, but there are also a lot better than them.  I don't take any of that business too seriously.
I want the kids to learn the game, improve their skills, get a fair shot at playing time, and enjoy themselves.  $250 bats and personal trainers are for another family, not this one.

So when I hear parents talk about their superstars as if I have just witnessed the next Babe Ruth catch a ball right before my very eyes, I am entertained.

I have seen some of the hard knocks of baseball.  Matt's brother invested quite a few years of his life into baseball, there was hope, there was potential, there were scouts, but there are a limited number of people that ever get to step foot on the MLB field and even less that get to stay there for any length of time.

I think God likes to give us all a little pride check every once in awhile.  As soon as I brag to someone about how my kid is ALWAYS polite, he'll fart on them.  If I dare brag about how amazing he is in math, he'll fail a test.  It just happens that way, so I have learned to be very cautious. 

Do I praise my kids.  Oh yes.  But praising my kid and trying to convince other people that they got the short end of the stick because their kid isn't as good as mine?  Bad idea.

The world of little league baseball is loaded with parents who know, I mean know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their child is the best thing ever, so I am in for some super entertaining weeks ahead.

Mar 5, 2014

"I'll see you then, or in heaven"

Today a kid was talking to his dad about an upcoming deployment.
The kid asked the dad "exactly when are you leaving?"
The dad responded.
Then the kid asked "and exactly when are you coming home?"
The dad gave an estimated date.
Then the kid said "well I guess I'll see you then, or I'll see you in heaven".

Would it be too weird if that is how I start saying goodbye to people?

It is sad to know that this kid is thinking about the possibility of his dad's death.
But his thoughts are also very wise.
There is no fear.
There is no reason to fear.
Fear is debilitating, fear holds you back, fear causes stress and tears and pain that may be unfounded. Fear robs you of joy.
Truth sets you free.  The truth is God has this kid and his dad in his hands.  God will never leave them.  God has a plan for each of them, and it is good.  God said there may be troubles in this world but don't worry, He has overcome the world.

Mar 4, 2014

Baseball Mom

Tis the season for me to add "baseball mom" to my list of titles.
I love baseball season.  I love watching the kids play.  I love being outside on Spring nights.  I love that our ball fields have an amazing view of Mount Rainier.  I love the game.  Unlike basketball which I pretty much despise.

I hate baseball season.  It means a lot of planning ahead to make sure my family eats before games or practice.  It means freezing my tail off watching practices and games.  It means I have to try really hard to be an advocate for my kid while not becoming one of those crazy baseball moms.
I have to stay in my seat when the kid gets hurt, unless the coach calls me over.  I have to bite my tongue when the coach yells at my kid.  I have to try to be encouraging when my kid makes an error or when coach doesn't let him play his favorite position.

I'm so conflicted.
I'm so excited for the season to begin, but I'm dreading the moments that make me want to cry.

Last weekend Eli tried out for his team.  All the managers show up and watch the kids field, throw, pitch, hit and run.  Matt said Eli did fabulous!
When I filled out the paperwork for him, I indicated that I want him to play in the Minors again this year instead of moving on to the Majors.  Last year he was one of the weaker members of the team so he earned very little time catching and even less time on the mound.  I felt that if he stayed in the Minors one more year it would give him a chance to grow more and since he will likely be better than a lot of kids on the team, he should get more playing time.  Matt and Eli agreed.  Why not take advantage of his age and let him be an older, more experienced kid on the team?

Well, today I got the email notifying us of Eli's team placement.  He made the Majors!  There were about 250 kids who tried out and only 45 made the Majors.  So, I guess it is a good thing.  However, my whole plan to let him stay in the Minors to earn more playing time has just been squashed.

I was furious.  Crazy baseball mom came out.
How can they assign him to a Majors team when I clearly indicated I wanted him to play in the Minors?  Eli was upset because he thinks I don't think he deserves to play in the Majors, Matt was upset because I was telling Eli that if he stays in the Majors he probably won't get much playing time, and I was upset because this is not how I wanted the season to go.

I may have at some moment yelled "fine I just paid $180 for you to sit on the bench".  IF I had yelled that, it wouldn't have been nice.  Not at all.  Eli stood up for himself and said "What if I am that good?  What if I do get to play?"

Consider the lilies in the do they get their clothes?  Even the little things are set forth by God, even baseball team selection.  I don't know how this is going to pan out.  Will he be good enough to play?  Will he spend the season frustrated on the bench?  I suppose that either way or something else entirely, it is where he needs to be.

So I am telling myself, he is where he needs to be, he will learn what he needs to learn, he will be challenged, he will grow, and in one way or another he will succeed.  My biggest issue now....getting Phillies gear!  Of coarse he couldn't play for a team that I already have fan gear for!

Mar 3, 2014

In a still small voice.

Often I think of the God of the Old Testament hollering down from a dark sky in a loud thunderous voice - like an angry James Earl Jones.  But scripture tells us that he often speaks in a whisper, like
the sound of the breeze.
Today He spoke in a whisper.

Matt text me this morning and said he was feeling kind of low.  I do believe those were his exact words.
A few minutes later he text me back "the 49ers signed Anquan Boldin".
While that is great news, it wasn't really what I was looking for in the area up "pick me up".

Hours later he text me back telling me that a fellow soldier in uniform noticed that Matt was wearing his combat uniform (they are different than the uniforms people wear if they are not deploying) and told Matt "have a safe journey".

Throughout the day four more times Matt was approached by someone, civilians and soldiers, who stopped and told him things like "be safe"and "God Bless".

I asked him if he was the only one wearing the uniform and he said "no" and he has been wearing it for a few weeks now and nobody has ever said a word to him until today on his "feeling down day".

God took this feeling kind of low day and encouraged Matt through the mouths of strangers.

When got home from work I stepped in to the kitchen and noticed two things: it was clean and there were flowers.  We left the kitchen a complete disaster last night when we went to bed and I knew I had a mess to tackle when I got home, but Matt took care of that for me.

The Bible says God is love.  So when you chose to act selfless in the things to say to loved ones or strangers or the things you do for the same, you are revealing the love of God to someone who may just really need a pick me up.