Monday, June 29, 2009

The Sledgehammer

Baseball season has been over for about a month now. But, the tournament games are often still a popular topic of conversation around our home.

Our team was eliminated in the first round of the tournament during the Fall season. The boys had done their best, but we played a very good team and we were outmatched.

However, this season, we played the Cardinals and we were pretty evenly matched with them so we knew we had a chance to win. Our Yankees were winning for most of the game, but the Cardinals caught up and the game had to go into overtime.

We eventually won 17-16! It was very exciting and we were so proud of how hard our boys played. Matt and I were so happy for Drew because we knew HOW MUCH he wanted to win that game - that boy is competitive and a win for the team was a great boost to his confidence!

We made it to the next round which meant we had to play the Marlins. The best team in our division. These players (and their coaches) are serious. I have no idea how often they practice or what those practices must be like, but they are excellent. Our boys were getting good hits, but the Marlins kept getting them out before they could get on base.

Drew got a great hit his first time up but they got him out at first.


It was a little disheartening to be playing well, but not be able to score any runs. The boys handled it well though and we encouraged them as much as we could. The Marlins infield was just way too strong for us - they don't miss.


Ready for the ball at third base!


Drew was up at bat again in the 4th inning. The Marlins had flipped their positions so their stronger players were now in the outfield.

Drew stepped up to the plate and NAILED the ball! In this next picture he's watching how far it goes as he runs to first. I love the expression on his face!


He had smacked that ball and it flew through the air all the way to the back wall where Marlins began to scramble around it. But, Drew still had plenty of time (and we desperately needed to score) so he rounded first and headed to second base.


Do you see all those players going after the ball - it made it all the way to the wall! And it didn't just roll there - it flew! Am I repeating myself? It was just so exciting!!

As he nears second base, it's clear he's going to be safe! It was just the big play we needed to retain a bit of respect as the Marlins were running away with the game.


A well-deserved high five from the head coach!


Ready for more action...


Sliding into home!

He was so happy to score a run in this big game!


The team gathered as they do after each game. I don't know all that was said but I can imagine it was mostly words of encouragement and praise - our coach is wonderful!

But I do know what he said right before this next picture. "The game ball goes to Drew for one of the biggest hits of the season!"


Here's a closer look at the sweet expression on his face. I love this little boy so much!


We were all so very proud, but Assistant Coach Daddy might have been the most proud of all!


And this little girl is his biggest fan!


So, the "biggest hit of the season" earned Drew the nickname "Sledgehammer."

And that's what Coach called him as he presented him with his trophy for the season.


More on that next time...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

One Week Ago...

I was celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. He planned a very romantic getaway for us right here in town. We stayed at the Gaylord Palms and it was perfect. Really perfect.

The hotel is gorgeous and we enjoyed every moment of our time away. We ate lots of delicious food - the highlights being a fancy steak dinner and a breakfast buffet that was nothing short of amazing! We spent a relaxing day by the pool reading books and sipping frozen drinks. Matt scored the last table with an umbrella and arranged lounge chairs in the shade so we didn't melt in the Florida sun. We saw La Nouba (Cirque du Soleil) from the best seats in the theater and it was fantastic!

All in all, it was relaxing and romantic and just what we needed.

The hotel delivered champagne to our room the first night to congratulate us on our anniversary.


And, after dinner we walked around the hotel until we found this enormous screen with this special message -


Matt wanted me to Photoshop an extra "t" into his name but I'm just not that talented yet.

The Gaylord Palms is an elegant and beautiful hotel. It felt like we were in paradise. However, I could not get over the bedspread in our room. Why would such a classy place have monkeys dressed in period clothing on the comforter?


And why do those monkeys also have to be playing musical instruments?


And, why do I have these awful pictures but don't have a single picture of the two of us all dressed up for our fancy anniversary celebrating?

I don't know. I can't explain it.

But, I do know this. As much as we enjoyed our time away - we sure did miss Drew and Abby! It was so much fun to talk to them on the phone and hear Grandma describe the funny things they had done or said while we were away.

So, we were very excited that on our last morning at the hotel, Grandma was headed over with the kids for a fun day at the pool! The kid's pool here is awesome! A huge slide, splash area, playground, beach area, and it is a zero entry pool so there is plenty of space just to sit and splash around. We knew the kids would love it!

We went out to greet them and their reactions were priceless. I was so caught up in the moment of getting my arms around my babies that I don't even know how they responded to Matt. But, I heard them both saying "mommy, mommy, mommy" over and over and I had two little sweethearts wrapped around my neck in a matter of seconds! It is such a sweet memory that I hope will always stay clear in my mind.

Matt had to park the van, so I took Grandma and the kids inside the hotel to show them around. The center of the hotel is an atrium with so much to see. The kids loved the fish (koi), turtles, and alligators - but they really couldn't wait to get out and see the pool we had told them all about!




Drew was having so much fun playing in the sand and making castles with Daddy.


Abby stayed with them for a few minutes, but then she came with me to the shallow end of the pool where we could cool off




and splash to our heart's content.




I love that Drew is holding out his arms for Abby in this next picture! Just like his daddy!


"Look, Mama!!"


"Cannonball!!"


The slide was a big hit! I can't even tell you how many times Drew went down that thing. And, he had no fear! He didn't want us to catch him - he wanted to swim to us after he went under the water!


Abby, on the other hand, wanted to sit on Daddy's lap. As he hit the bottom of the slide he would hold her up in the air so her face didn't go under. But, I knew she would love it if she just gave it a try - she did a water slide out at Disney by herself a few months ago. So, about the 3rd or 4th time I yelled up to Matt to just push her down by herself and I would catch her so she wouldn't go under the water.

She was furious!!

For a second.

And then she was elated! She loved it! She had an enormous smile on her face as I caught her at the bottom of the slide and she squealed to me, "I don't need Daddy anymore! I can do it by myself!"

And she did it by herself for the rest of the day!


Getting thrown in the air by Daddy is always a favorite pool activity.


Especially for my little daredevil of a son who would help by flinging his body as far out as he could go!


When it was time to dry off, the little dude borrowed his Daddy's sunglasses and I couldn't decide which expression I liked better -

Serious?

Or smiling?


And, Abby has to be just like her big brother! So do I like -

Cool?

Or cutie?


It's hard to say, but I can tell you this...

I love those little people (and all of their expressions) more than anything in the world.

I really do.

And their Daddy is pretty wonderful too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sometimes It's Just Better Not To Ask...

As we were driving in the car today, Drew seemed deep in thought about something. So, I asked him what he was thinking about. I immediately regretted the decision when he replied, "I'm thinking about the difference between boys and girls."

Eager to discuss any concerns he might have Worried about the direction this conversation was quickly heading, I asked with trepidation, "Really, what do you mean?"

"Well, girls like pretty things and boys like awesome things."

I was SO relieved at his answer that I didn't even mind refereeing the argument that followed as an offended Abby made it clear that she very does so much like all the awesome things and the pretty things and the awesomely pretty things. Thankyouverymuch.

Close call, my dear friends.

Close call.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Growth

First day of kindergarten...


Last day of kindergarten...


I sent my baby off to school 10 months ago. He had just turned 5. Do you see his face in the first picture? He still had a baby-shaped face...

No more.

He has grown many inches and has thinned out all over. He has lost 6 baby teeth that have now been replaced with 6 adult teeth.

He can read above grade level, write at grade level, and has a photographic memory that has served him well in all of his school work. He has made many friends, has a girlfriend (who even gave him a ring!), won the hearts of teachers, and joined the ever popular running club.

He plays third base for his baseball team, is consistently one of the best hitters on the team, and watches SportsCenter more than his father does.

He broke my heart on the day he began kindergarten. I knew the days would be long and that I would miss him.

And I did.

But, I can't deny that he was extremely successful this year. When we got home this afternoon, I had tears in my eyes and a quiver in my voice as I told him how very proud of him I am for all he has done and learned this year. In true Drew form, he tucked his chin down and looked up at me through his eyelashes as he responded, "Aw shucks, Mama." It was one of those amazing moments during which I could tell he really understood just how much I love him and how proud of him I am. Priceless.

He has gained much independence and confidence this year. He is still my sweet, loving, funny, naive, charming, affectionate, and super-smart Drew.

But, he has grown.

And he will keep growing year after year. And with each passing year I will have to let go just a little bit more. And as hard as that is for this mama, I know it is good. It is right. It is best for him. And, although at times my heart longs for my precious baby boy, I wouldn't trade knowing and loving this face for anything in the world.


And, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am that I get to have him all to myself for the next three months!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Don't Ask For Much...

but I HAVE repeatedly asked this little girl to STOP. GROWING. ALREADY.


Judging by the difference between the 1st day of school and the last day of school, she's clearly not listening.


But, I couldn't be any prouder.

I really couldn't.

Unless, that is, you added this little man in there too.


Don't even get me started...