Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I have no gift to bring

...that's fit to give our King.

I always thought this was a silly little Christmas carol.  It didn't make any sense to me.  There aren't any drummer boys in the Nativity story, so who made this up?  I get it now.

I've been sitting on Catalina Island, all by myself for three days.  I've listened to a lot of Christmas carols in those three days.  This year, The Little Drummer Boy stood out to me. 

"What will you bring to Him?" it asks me.  The little boy has the answer: the best you can do.  His talent isn't special, some would say it's not even appropriate.  This little boy can't even keep his own time, the ox and lamb have to do it for him!  But, he "plays his best for Him."  That's what He asks for.  He doesn't care what your talent is, or how impressive it is.  He just wants our best.  He wants us to make our talent better and stronger than it was yesterday. 

So, what will you bring to Him? 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A new blog

I have created a new blog, Natural Rambler.  This is where all my nature/environmental issues/science thoughts will go.  They don't really belong here.  And, I want to create a public persona that I can use in my professional life.  If you're interested, click on over and read it.  I'd love both writing feedback as well as content discussion.  That's what makes blogs interesting!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Veteran's Day


Veteran's Day was ccccccccccccccccccccccccooooooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll! We went fishing but we didn't catch aannyytthhiinngg!! And you know what? Edgar threw his pole into the ocean(don't tell this to him but it was on purpose!) After that we went to Knott's Berry Farm! YYeeaahh!! We got to go on The Charlie Brown Speedway! It's really fun. We also went on The Log Ride. It's basically the life of a log, just not the part where they get cut down. And my favorite ride: JAGUAR. It is awesome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Parent-Teacher Conferences

...and school pictures!

First, Levi.  Is he cute or what?

He's in kindergarten this year, and is smoking past everyone!  He has already passed his 100 words test, even though she only sent home the first ten words.  She knew he could read them, and tested him on them all.  That means he's now allowed to participate in Accelerated Reader (AR) and take quizzes on the books he reads.  So far, he's passed all three quizzes that he's taken.  He and his buddy Mike went with a 2nd grade class to take the reading assessment test last week.  His score is 2.7-3.6, meaning that he's reading at a 2nd grade, 7th month to 3rd grade, 6th month level.  oh, dear. 

Our big challenge with him is keeping up his effort in his school work.  Many of the other kids in his class are still working on learning their letters, so he doesn't see why he has to write several sentences when everyone else gets a gold star just for a few random letters on the page.  Then, he finishes before everyone else and distracts the nearest boy, who should still be working!  That is exactly what I thought would happen if his teacher doesn't keep him challenged and interested.  Thankfully, his teacher is working hard to keep him motivated, too.  She's going to put him with Mike to see if they can put a little competition into the quality of their work, rather than him just sitting around pestering someone.  We'll see what happens.
If any of you more experienced parents have ideas on keeping him interested and motivated, I'd really appreciate it.  He has no interest in busy work, or perceived time-wasters.

Now on to A.J.   He's getting awfully handsome, but don't tell him that!

I met with his teacher last week, also.  He's doing really well in his main classroom, but his test scores haven't been so hot in science and social studies, which he goes to the other 4th grade teacher for.  This means she has all 41 at once (there are only 8 4th graders in A.J.'s class, and 28 5th graders!)  I can't tell if his poor scores are because she's got so many at once, or he just doesn't get it, or if it's the textbooks.  The books are atrocious.  In my view, they are woefully incomplete.  Rather than defining phenomena, they simply describe them.  This leaves the student with no idea what the causes are/could be.  And it makes it hard to cement the concept in the mind.  Grr.  I'm kind of partial to science, so I strongly dislike anything that teaches it poorly.  Mostly because I've seen the product of the books once they're in college.  It's not pretty.  In short, we will be teaching the concepts mentioned in the texts, because there is no way he'll get them any other way.

He has started to play the clarinet with the school band/orchestra.  He's done really well at it, too!  Once he figured out how to make his fingers cover the holes properly, he's taken off.  It's been fun to watch him learn to practice with only a little help.  And, his tone is actually pretty good, too!  That's good, because the clarinet might be my least favorite instrument.  It doesn't help that most of the ones I was in school with couldn't march, either. 

He has impressed his classmates with his geographic knowledge.  The 5th graders are supposed to learn all the states and capitals this year, and his teacher has dragged the 4th graders along for the ride. :)  He's known all of them since about 1st grade, so he's smoking most of his classmates when they play games or have races to see who can get the match first. 

I'm really glad they are doing well.  They both are challenging to parent, and of course in totally different ways.  But, they're tons of fun and I'm loving watching them grow and change this year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A new team

 Everybody is hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllloed! 

My new team is the Yankees.We are the best (or second best, depending on how many losses the Dodgers have) team in the league. We have 4 wins and 1 losses,so our winning percentage is 800. My teammates are
(in alphabetical order) Carsten, Ethan A;Ethan H;Jake,Jared,Liam,Nick M;Nick S;Ryan B;Ryan M;and Trent.We lost our very first game against the dodgers.It was 4-6.The order we play the teams are Dodgers,White sox,Angels,Dodgers,White sox,Angels,Dodgers,White sox,Angels,and last, but not least,the Dodgers.Thats all I can say,we got a lot more stuff comin' up!  
Bye!     A.J.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blessings are sometimes hard as a brick

I got a job!  It is a really great blessing for us.  We needed the income (there's nothing like paying out for school for a few extra years, now it's time to bring some in.)  The timing was perfect.  I am done with classes, and only have a few obligations left for my master's degree.  Jon is around to help out/be a nanny (or manny, as male nannies are called in Hollywood)/chauffeur the kids around.  The job is very interesting.  It's with a consulting firm, so private enterprise, which I've never worked in before.  It's a great resume builder, and could open quite a few doors in the future.

It is, however, quite a challenge.  I have to drive to Bakersfield, about 2 hours away, and stay in a motel for the days that I work.  We leave the motel at 6:20 to get to the field office by 7 to get our orders for the day.  We walk. A lot.  On Friday, I walked/trudged 6.5 miles in 7.5 hours.  Total time working, including driving from the field office to the survey location (about 5 miles off the nearest paved road) was 10.5 hours.  So, another blessing!  Overtime!  But, also hard.  I was totally exhausted yesterday and today.  I fell asleep for a couple of hours this afternoon, and couldn't kick my headache until I woke up.  This, I think, is not the kind of job I can do forever and ever.  But, it is a really great learning experience, so I'll stick it out until the current project is over sometime next spring, and try to get a job where at least sometimes I get to sit at a desk.

On top of that great and challenging blessing, my whole family got another one this week.  My amazing grandma, who is about to turn 95, has started down what appears to be her slide into heaven.  She has been a huge blessing to every member of her family.  She has loved us, put us up in her home, shared her hard-earned money with us, when we haven't really done anything to earn it, and supported us in our crazy endeavors.  We adore her.  But, I know she's getting tired.  She single-handedly cared for my grandpa until his death, about 15 years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.  His needs were her first priority for a long time, and weighed on her heavily.  Now, it's about time for her to be with him again, and he can do a little doting on her when she gets there.  It will be a blessing to know that she's at peace, although she hasn't been particularly suffering for a long time.  She has been in fantastic health, as a matter of fact.   But, I know she's not really comfortable right now, stuck in a hospital room.  I called her yesterday while I was at A.J.'s game, and I think she enjoyed the play-by-play.  A.J. even caught a foul ball while playing first base while I chatted with her.

Thinking back on her personality, I think she was a pretty fun person.  She is the middle of three daughters.  She wanted to be a doctor, just like her dad.  Later, not long after she and grandpa were married, she caught a huge salmon, while wearing pants.  The photo of her holding her prize is my favorite one of her.

Doesn't she look like a super fun person?  She and my grandpa used to attend lots of Mizzou football games together.  There are some pretty good stories from those, too, or so I've heard, anyway.  She's little, but you probably shouldn't mess with her.  She's a little rural southern belle.  Very proper, always well-dressed, but says "tomatuh" and "potatuh."  It's pretty darn cute.  I love my grandma.

Update:  Her kids decided to stop some medicine or other, and either she would improve or not.  Strong, crazy woman that she is went and improved.  I think she's still in the hospital, but she's talking and moving around.  Such a fighter.  I told you not to mess with her.  :) 

Friday, October 1, 2010

So you want to see the rest of our vacation...

Our next stop was Tybee Island Georgia. Some of you have seen the photos on Shutterfly, but I'll put a few of the best ones right here:

These two pics were taken at Ft. Pulaski Ntl. Monument on a very hot day.

Here are some little birds at the Oatland Wildlife Center on Tybee. This was with my cousin Candi's two older boys.

The cutest baby on the whole island.

The cousins were forced to get their portrait done at Sears in Savannah.
We sure had a blast. One week in a house on an Island with the entire family plus some extended family. Kind of like a reality show I guess. No one got kicked off the Island, although Levi tried getting lost the first day we were there. A local couple found him and called the police who showed up at the same time we found them. The man that found him was also a judge, but was very nice and gave Levi a ride on his bicycle while looking for where he belonged.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School - 2010

Levi is a big kindergartener now, and loved getting his things ready.  His teacher is Mrs. Barnett, who seems very friendly.  He knows a few kids in kindergarten, but none are in his class.  Not that it matters for him, Mr. Charm and Charisma.  He'll have a dozen friends by Friday, I'm sure.  We also found out that one of his t-ball buddies is moving to the neighborhood, and is in 1st grade at Valley View now.  We are all very excited about this!  Hank and Levi get along really well.

A.J. made a big leap this year, too.  He's a 4th grader now, but because of numbers of students, is in a 4th/5th split class.  There are 8 4th graders, and 28 5th graders.  Some of those kids are huge!  He knows half of the 4th graders in his class, but none are his close friends.  He also stays an extra 25 minutes each day, which seems like forever to him.  His teacher is Mr. Bender.  He's never had a man before, so this is new territory, but he seems like a lot of fun. 

We always take a picture by the sign.  On the first day, and the last day.

A close up of my two cuties.  Yes, they're wearing matching shoes. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the rest of our time in Florida

Um, sorry about the long hiatus, again.  It isn't very easy to get blogging done in between whatever the kids need right. this. minute.  And helping them, mostly A.J., with summer workbooks.  Plus finishing up my last class, and trying to keep up with making enough food to keep Jon full. (Oh, my goodness.  That boy can eat.  A lot.)  So, here is the rest of our Florida trip.

When we came back from the Grand Bahama, we spent the next morning at a laundromat and the afternoon at a local beach.  We headed back to the "hotel" and the following day went to the Keys.  I know that it is rather bizarre to visit the Florida Keys, and even stop at the nation's first underwater state park and not even get in the water, but I was still rather sunburned from the snorkeling in the Bahamas, and just didn't feel like it.  It just means we have to go back! :)

We did take several photos, though.  Here are some of the best ones.

I just loved this little archway.  It made me think of outdoor weddings, and since this trip was partly for our 10th anniversary, I thought it was particularly fitting.  (No, we didn't have an outdoor wedding.  Are you kidding?  It was January, in Missouri.  And snowing.  But if we had, it would have been in a place like this.)

We walked a couple of short trails around the park, and kept seeing these little lizards everywhere!  We could sometimes hear them rustling in the leaves and not see them at all.  A helpful tidbit we learned while there: poisonwood trees are related to poison ivy.  And, if you even stand under one to shelter from a rainstorm, you can get the irritant on you.  So, if you are going to southern Florida, you should probably learn to identify this tree.

Look!  It's me!  You can't see the sunburn, it was on my back.  But, apparently this state park is known for some sort of violent history.  I just didn't bother to read about it.

John Pennekamp has a sister park nearby.  Bahia Honda was going to be a very fancy gated community.  Somehow, the state of Florida acquired the land and turned it into a park.  It is very interesting.  And the most spooked I've ever been while walking in the woods.  There was NO ONE else there.  Even the ranger is stationed at Pennekamp.  Creepy.

This is a huge spider that we saw over us on the trail.  Sometimes, there are great advantages to being a little on the short side. 

This is a cute little hermit crab trying to cross the road at Bahia Honda, and probably totally surprised that there were people on his route.  Eventually he hid next to my shoe trying to escape Aaron's pestering.

And, then?  Ahhhh.  After walking around South Beach (and taking no pictures, because the camera is heavy and it was HOT) we drove to the hotel we'd been waiting for.  We had one night between our "package" and arriving in Georgia.  So, Aaron cashed in some points and we stayed at the Marriott Harbor Branch.  Oh, we will be staying there again.  It is gorgeous!!  And very family friendly.  There weren't any kids running amok through the lobby or anything, but no one gave the kids that were there a second glance.  The pool was fantastic.  The beach (private!) was beautiful.  The food was lovely.  And, because he hadn't stayed in a Marriott in a while, the lady at the reception desk gave us a free in room movie.  We watched "The Young Victoria."  That was great, too.

I think that every room had a balcony.  And, they were all secluded from the neighbors' balconies.  Prepare to swoon.

This is the view from our 10th floor room.  See the pool?  It's huge.  See the beach?  Very quiet.  Plenty of lounge chairs for everyone.  A towel kiosk poolside, so you don't have to carry your wet towel through the hotel.  Simply the best ending to the week we could have asked for.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


        Hello there, it's A.J.
  We had a great time in Missouri. First up The Moeglings. At least I had a good time there. We weren't there for to long. Next up Grandma Belcher! We went to Perkins. I ate my food, at least 1/3 of Levi's food and a bite of Mommy's food. What a breakfast! Third up, Brenda and Edgar! I killed Edgar in baseball 16-0,and in basketball 6-0.  Fourth up, Grandma Jan and Grandpa Bob! I went to a Cardinal game, and the Cardinals beat the A's, 4-3. We went to the zoo. I saw otters and a raccoon, and geese walking around in the park! I also saw deer and tigers and a mountain lion and a jaguar and a lion. On Tuesday, Grandma Jan took us up to Columbia and Grandpa Al took us to his house. So of course, last but not least, Grandpa Al and Grandma Joy! We went to Sawyer's Creek and played miniature golf. I beat Grandpa Al by 1, +26 to +27. We also played bumper boats. We played with Jasper until he had to go to the doggy hotel. 

And now, for the Grand Finale, the drive to Georgia! Not really a Grand Finale, is it? Oh, well, let's just get to talking. We played the alphabet game. It's pretty fun, but after, like, 3 or 4 games, your head starts to hurt. Here's how you play. First, you say "I'm going to (wherever you're going) and I'm gonna take (anything that starts with A)." And the next person says "I'm going to (wherever you're going) and I'm gonna take (whatever the first person said) and (anything that starts with B.)" And so it went, on and on and on, until the game's over. That night, we slept in Chattanooga, in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. It was a pretty nice hotel. The next day, we got to Tybee Island at about 10:15pm! That's pretty late, isn't it? Not for us! It was only 7:15 for me. We had to carry all those luggages...up the elevator! Pretty neat, isn't it?

Bye, everybody! See you in the next post!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Florida, without kids

We were lucky enough to get to leave the boys with family in MO for a week and be in Florida all by ourselves.  It was lovely.  Many, many thanks to all the people that took them in and shuttled them around.

We had some kind of cheap/free/reduced hotel* package, as long as we spent one morning listening to a timeshare sales pitch.  And we got a (very) short cruise to the island of Grand Bahama out of it, too.
 *  "Hotel" might be overstating the conditions somewhat.  Musty, old hotel smell.  We stayed both before and after our cruise.  When we got back, they gave us a handicapped room at the back door.  The shower was zero entry, which really only meant that the floor got totally flooded, and had no drain.  The battery in the key card reader died, so we couldn't get into our room after swimming (the pool was lovely, by the way) and the head maintenance guy had to hike to the front desk to get the hard key out of a safe, the sink was about to fall out of the wall, and the WiFi didn't work.  That turned out to be the final straw.  We got a different room at that point.  The next one wasn't perfect, but also wasn't nearly as bad. 

The first day we spent at the Shark Valley entrance of Everglades National Park.  It was pretty hot, so we opted for the narrated tram ride around the loop, rather than renting bikes.  Our tram guide Thelma was very knowledgeable about Everglades creatures.  Apparently she had previously worked at a wildlife rescue center, so she even had intimate knowledge of turkey vultures.  However, she was not very impressed with the National Park Service.  Because she works for a concessioner that has an arrangement with NPS to provide tram tours, she felt at liberty to bash the NPS and some of the decisions and policies of the past.  What she failed to recognize, however, was that some of us really appreciate the NPS and what they have managed to do.  They're not perfect, and some really bad decisions have been made.  However, without the NPS, there would be no job for Thelma, since there would be no contract for the concessioner to make, and most of the Everglades would have been developed.  More even that what has already been developed.

Anyway, we saw a lot of neat stuff, and got pictures of most of it.  Some we didn't get pictures of included a soft-shelled turtle, a baby gator, and some of the other things down in the water.  Here are a few pictures of the good stuff.

First up, a beautiful Great Blue Heron just after taking off.

This is a Wood Stork, that should have migrated already, but continues to sit at this same spot every day.

The loop led to a tower, which overlooks vast areas of the Everglades.  This is from the top.

This funny little guy is a Double-Crested Cormorant.  He hung out under the kiosk with all the maps.

The Everglades were amazing, and I definitely want to see more in the future.  We'll take the boys sometime.

After our torturous time-share tour, in which the sales people clearly didn't understand the basic principles of mathematics, we boarded our cruise ship to head to the island of Grand Bahama.  The boat was fine, but nothing spectacular.  We didn't take any pictures.  Apparently, you have to drink heavily and gamble a lot to really "enjoy" your cruise experience.  Whatever.  We read our books on the quiet back deck, watched the lightning shows, and loved it.

On our day on the island, we had booked a snorkeling expedition (but not through the ship, thankfully.  The ship's snorkel tour got canceled.  Ours didn't.)  While everyone else on our boat boarded tour buses to head east, we got on a little shuttle bus and headed west.  The 8 of us (there was another cruise ship also docked at port that day, and some of their passengers had booked with the same company) got a personal tour of some of the more interesting parts of the island.  Little known facts such as Freeport is literally a free port.  Companies that operate within certain boundaries, and their employees, pay no income tax.  This was a result of a bargaining agreement with a developer and Great Britain, the governing body at that time.  The Bahamian people are still required to abide by this agreement, until the 99-year time period expires.  We saw a lot of damage done by Hurricane Wilma, some of which has been repaired.

The snorkel tour is run by a family and a few additional employees.  They have a great little stand, with all the gear you need, and even a little restaurant/grill.  $41 for all day snorkeling, including lunch was a pretty good bargain.  The tour through the boat, that didn't happen anyway, would have been $69.  I think we got a steal.  This tour was a little different.  Most of them are snorkel from the boat, but this was so close to shore that you just swam out to the reef and got to see several different habitats.  We snorkeled over seagrass beds, sandy bottoms, and rocky outcrops.  We don't have a waterproof camera, so we don't have any photos of the sea life, but we saw some great stuff.  Aaron saw a turtle, while I saw a sting ray.  It was a great day.

The reef.  Off to the right of the picture is an opening in the reef where you can swim through to the back side.  All the dark areas in front of the reef are the seagrass beds.

Us after our long day of snorkeling.  We got burned, even though we used sunscreen and applied more than once.  Ouch.  It hurt to lay down, I stuck to the sheet, and the back of my legs were on fire, too.  That was far and away the least fun part.  Especially since we tried so hard to be careful.  Oh, well.  We managed.

After Grand Bahama, we headed back to Palm Beach, where we did our laundry (at the cleanest laundromat I've ever seen.  Aaron said it was even nicer than the one at the MTC!) and then sat on the beach for a while.  We had run into a frequent traveler at the Atlanta airport that suggested a restaurant to us, the Aruba Beach cafe.  It wasn't spectacular, but it was fun, and I'm glad we went.

 We did some more in Florida, but that's going to have to wait.  It's time for bed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breathe in...

...and oooooouuuuuuuuuttt.

Feels good, yes?

That's how our vacation was. :)

We had no plans, nothing set in stone, and had a great time.  I'll chronicle a few days at a time.

First up, Missouri.

We weren't there long.  We flew in on a Friday and spent the night with Aaron's sister and her family.  The next morning we got together with my Grandma for brunch.  Sadly, the nicest place we could take her to was Perkins, but I don't think she minded much.  We went back to her apartment and got a few pictures.  I want as many as I can get with her before I can't get any more.

Here is a time line of shots with her and my boys.

Holding A.J. just days after he was born. (2001)

Sad to see A.J. move to Chicago the day I finished at Mizzou. (2003)

On our first visit to MO after moving to California. (2007)

In her apartment that overlooks the Missouri River. (2010)

I'd be doing pretty well if I manage to age as gracefully as she has, don't you think?  By the way, she has never dyed her hair.  94 and just barely going mostly gray.

After visiting Grandma, we left the boys with Brenda and Edgar, who would then drop them off with Grandma and Grandpa Sudholt for a few days of fun.  Then Aaron and I took off for a kid-free week in Florida.  Aaaaahhhhh, how nice.

A.J. will have to fill you in on the details in Missouri.  I wasn't there!

Next post...the Everglades, Grand Bahama Island, and Key Largo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finally, a post. With pictures!

My sincere apologies.

Do we even have any readers left?  This spring has been MUCH busier than I expected.  I knew two boys in baseball would be busy, but add to that Aaron coaching A.J.'s team and being the Wolf den leader (which has at least two boys with autism/Asperger's!) and me writing at least one waste of time lab report every week, there has been no time for anyone to post anything.

We do, however, have TONS of photos of this period.  Mostly Levi's team.  Earlier in the season, the Team Dad suggested we get a photographer to take some action shots on the field.  At $5 for a 4"x6" image, that can get real pricey, real quick.  So I volunteered to take action shots of everyone and post them to a team shutterf1y page, where hopefully they can download whatever they want.  And probably get 20 prints for $5 instead of just one.  So, I took a lot of shots.  2,200 between April 1 and tonight.  Not all are of Levi's team, of course, but the vast majority are!

So let's take a look at some of these, shall we?

First up, Levi.  He's been a pretty busy guy, too.

He had his first ride on a school bus, which he has been talking about since last year.  His class went to the zoo!

We have been taking lots of walks, most of which end up at the park.  He was hamming it up one day and posing for the camera.

He also showed off his hard work at the school's open house last month.  Check out the answers to these questions:

And, meet his wonderful teachers, Ms. Azniv and Ms. Candy.  They really are the best.

But mostly, he's been busy with baseball.  They even got to try some coach-pitch for the last couple of games, and he was really excited.  He got a big hit, too!

Other things he's been working on, but we don't have pictures of include: learning to write his numbers, getting his first loose tooth, watching Star Wars for the first time (and falling in love with the Ewoks!), and getting his first four cavities.  So I guess some of those aren't exactly accomplishments, but that's a little look at Levi's life.

On to A.J.  Of course, his entire existence revolves around baseball.  Watching it, playing it, and now, learning how to figure out the statistics!  He decided to figure out his batting average, so charted each of his games in an Exce1 spreadsheet, and then did all of his teammates' stats, too.  It took him most of his free time for about 4 days.  But, now he can do basic functions in Exce1 and is starting to understand how math can provide information.  He also discovered, to his delight, that both his batting average (0.455) and his on-base percentage (0.636) are higher than those of Albert Pujols.  So, A.J. decided that that makes him a better batter.  We'll see about that. :)

Some pics of A.J. on the field:

That second photo is from a game they came pretty close to winning, against a VERY good team.  That catcher is their starting pitcher and really good.  His coaches saved him for last, thinking that the "lesser" pitchers would be able to handle Bistagne pretty easily.  Cole was brought in, and the boys just kept hitting.  He was nearly crying on the mound, he was so upset.  He eventually got the third out to end the game, but our boys were feeling pretty good about themselves afterward!

A.J. also joined the 1-3 grade chorus at school, called The Singing Eaglets.  They put on a show recently called "I Need a Vacation!"

He, too, showed off his work at his open house.  His teacher, Mrs. Bringas, is also awesome.  We'll miss her next year!

Cub Scouts is another activity A.J. has been working hard on.  He has really come to love the program and wants to earn as much as he can.  Tonight, he earned his Wolf badge, two arrow points, and two belt loops.  So proud of him!

So, you can see that we've been doing quite a bit lately.  My calendar is pretty full, and we've had at least one activity nearly every day for about a month now.  I'm ready for vacation, too.  :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Last Game

Levi's last game was this morning.  He was excited to get his trophy afterward, it's what he's been waiting for all year.  Pictures will come later, A.J. still has his game today.

What a season!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mother's Day

I got flowers!

It was a rose "variety pack," and very beautiful.  They're still looking pretty good, even!

 A close-up of one of the peach-colored ones.

And, these pictures were taken with my new lens!  I got the camera body last Mother's Day, and have been using lenses owned by my lab ever since.  But, now that I'm graduating soon, I'll have to give the lenses back.  So I got a very nice 18-105mm lens.  I love it.  It sure makes taking all those baseball pictures easier. 

I also got a pot holder with Levi's hand painted on it and two lovely cards made by A.J.  It was a lovely Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One of the Stars of the Game

Hello it's A.J. again.

I had a pretty good game today. On Thursday, I scraped both knees, the side of my right palm, and my pinkie so that made my game a bit hard. But that never stopped me. I pitched 1 inning, giving up one run. (My second lowest, 1st lowest 0 runs) When we were batting I got to hit. I bunted and was almost safe. If my bunt was a little bit softer, I would have been safe. I pitched for the next inning, but I got taken out because I was at 40 pitches. I got put at first base. The next inning I didn't play a position. Then I played center field. We got 3 outs. Then we were batting. I batted. When I was batting there was a man on third with two outs. I am the youngest kid on my team, so what do you expect? On the 2-1 pitch I hit a FLYBALL into left-center field off of a 10 year old boy that was around 5'2 I bet. I hit in our first run. Then when there was a man on first in the next inning he tried to steal. He was there way ahead of the ball but it got past the shortstop so I backed it up and there coaches were saying "go go go!" But the kid didn't listen because I was already tagging him and if he ran to third he would have been dead meat. Daddy said I was the Co-Star of the game. The final score was 9-3 and we were 3.

                                    Well see you next time.


Monday, April 19, 2010

So much to cover!

We have been some busy people.  I've started spring quarter, the boys are gearing up for the end of school, Aaron has been to D.C. and back and is going again soon, and baseball, baseball, and more baseball.  Did I mention baseball?  Yeah, we're pretty busy.
We've also been hiking recently.  We headed up a trail we've been on before, but we went a fair bit farther.  This hike took us through parts of the wilderness burned by the Station Fire and then eroded by the torrential rains this winter.  It was amazing.  Most of the trees were completely blackened, but right under them were wildflowers popping up.  Looking at the hillsides was like looking at a painter's palette.  I don't think the photos will do it justice, but I did the best I could.  Be sure to click on any photo you want to see better.  It will blow it up.


These two show the torched trees and the beautiful wildflowers replacing them.

Here's a close-up of some of the purple flowers and the top of the ridge we hiked to.

These two show the power of the rains we've had.  The gully on the left is huge.  That pipe is about 3-4 feet in diameter.  The bench on the right had been up where the boys are near the orange flowers.  It's not anymore!

Last Wednesday was A.J.'s first Pinewood Derby.  He designed his car all on his own, and did some of the shaping and all the sanding and painting.  It won the design award titled "I Wish that were MY Car."

It was also pretty fast.  It came in 5th place overall and is leading in this picture.

Levi running to first base after a MONSTER hit to center field (left).  Throwing to first after making a play at 2nd base (right).

He LOVES his team and his teammates.  Note: the kid standing next to him in the left-hand picture is less than one month older.  Evan 11 (his nickname) is the tallest 5-year-old I've ever met.

If you get walked, with more than one ball in the dirt, you'll be smiling at first.

These two are simply examples of how much bigger most of the competitors are! 

This is A.J. warming up to close out the game.  He came in with a runner on 2nd, 1 out, and a tie game.  His team isn't likely to win many, and this game felt like the playoffs for these boys. 

Celebrating after what felt like a win.  It was the most exciting tie ever.  The other team treated it like a loss, and our boys were thrilled to treat it like a win.  Note: the boy standing next to Levi (red hat) is our ace pitcher.  He's really good.  He got a home run to take the lead, but then felt dejected to give up the tying run.  Don't be surprised if you see him in the majors in a decade or two.

Life is crazy right now, but we sure are having fun.  I'm starting to apply for jobs, so feel free to pray for me if you want to!