Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Best of Spring

Spring 2011 was a spring like no other this year thanks to mother nature. Although our surroundings changed significantly, our sports schedules sure didn't! Adding Chica into the mix of games and practices definitely added complications and conflicts. But from my perspective...it was all good. Watching my kids play sports was, as always, a welcomed happiness. And this year's crazy schedule of games oddly was a savior to my sanity.

Jack and Ben's team moved up to the U-13 Division this year. Their coaches opted to play in 'A' as a first year U-13 team. From my perspective, this was a great decision. We played against some amazing teams of kids who in several cases were almost three years older than Ben and probably weighed 50+ pounds more than Jack. But the boys and their teammates held their own. The team ended up in 6th place out of 13 teams, with a record of 13-10...the best of any first year team in the division. Toward the end of the season they had a huge win against the 3rd place team and then almost beat them again in the first round of playoffs to advance to States.

Jack had a great season. He continued to show his consistency and versatility, predominantly playing short stop and catcher but also spending some time in outfield and at second and third. I'm so proud of his maturity and composure. He always keeps a great attitude and never displays negative emotions when things don't go his way.

A favorite moment for me this year with Jack was at a game we drove back from Vermont to play....after laying Grandma T to rest. Grandma T's is the first person close that the kids have lost and her services were the first that Jack had attended. The game was tied in the seventh(last) inning. Bases were loaded and there were 2 outs...and Jack was up. He battled at the plate and got to a full count. The next pitch he hit a beautiful ball to an outfield gap, scoring two runs which lead to the eventual win. The nervous excitement on his face at first was unforgettable and as the other team was warming up a new pitcher he walked to second base and hugged his teammate in joy and relief (see bottom left picture below). Later he told me that he had prayed for Grandma T's help with that at bat. Comforting to know that she heard him and came through! Ben had a great season as well, continuing to earn his nickname "Pedi" (Dustin Pedroia) with his small stature yet big swing....and solid skills at 2nd base. For most of the season his bat was hot and he was the lead off batter. Late in May he had a couple of great games...one in particular when he went 3 for 4 with some amazing hits and solid defense. His coach nominated a teammate and him for player of the week at a local ESPN radio station and both players were awarded that honor. Ben was beyond excited with this honor, especially knowing he just turned 10 and was playing in tough A Division.

Ben is a man of few words and I've learned over the years likes to do his best all the time. He always gives 100%+ effort and is not afraid to get dirty on the ball field. He can get a little down on himself when he doesn't feel like he's performing well.He's taken to chewing on the side of his cheek....a sure sign for me that he's got something on his mind. I just love watching this kid in action.

Luke finally graduated from T-ball onto bigger and better things on the ball field. He played on the Bluejays, a town 1st/2nd grade team. Dad helped coach as much as he could. The boys hit from a pitching machine for about 2/3 of the season and then the kids were given the opportunity to pitch. Luke rotated to all the positions in the field but was eager to try out catching and played there a bunch of times. He was given the opportunity to pitch and did quite well! He hit well consistently and I just love the mechanics of his natural swing.

Luke made some great defensive plays as well. One while catching that I was not lucky enough to witness, and one great snag of a pop up that I did see and was able to document his ecstatic face afterwards. (see lower middle pic below) This picture I will cherish to the end of time.

Luke's other claim-to-fame this spring was taking the 1st grade Home Run derby title in town! I was so proud of my little man this spring in every way!

And last but certainly not least was my Chica's debut playing an organized team sport. She and a few of her friends signed up for a U-6 soccer team in a local church league. Her team was very young and didn't win but their first game....but they definitely got the cuteness award!! Chica was quite excited to have her own team...her own practices and games....her own shin guards, water bottle, uniform, cleats...and her own time to be the player and not the spectator.

She had a great attitude about playing and tried to get in the mix when she could. Toward the end of the season she became more intimidated by the bigger, more aggressive kids and backed down from them. She was always eager to play goalie and so proud of herself when she made saves. She loved her coaches and teammates and had an all around great season! It was a great start to sports and she's signed up again for the fall! Can't wait!!

I feel relieved to have caught up with spring sports and now I can move on to blogging about other summer activities!

Storyboards downloaded from Coffeeshop Blog. Lots of cool free stuff there!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Picture Color

A couple of months ago I signed up for a class called Picture Color which involved photographic prompts each day for the month of June. I had taken a Picture the Holidays class last winter and had a fun time meeting the daily prompt challenges, 'meeting' the other class participants and giving and receiving feedback on photos. I was very excited for the class and had convinced a couple of my friends to join me. As an added bonus, I won the class free from a blog giveaway!!

The class began on June first with a prompt of Blissed Out on Color. I had taken some photos of baby robins under our pool deck and edited the photo to enhance my color of bliss - yellow. For me both babies and animals are also blissful, so I was very happy about Day 1.

Then the tornado hit. The tornado left my neighborhood looking like a war zone, my yard void of trees and me with very little energy or inspiration to take photos for my Picture Color class. After we got back power and internet I did end up posting photos for a total of 11/30 prompts. I'm finally getting around to sharing those photos.

Ionic Color - this was my only cell phone photo submitted, but I thought it met the prompt perfectly. My Chica enjoyed this Icee on one of our pizza lunches grocery shopping.

Changing of the Guard - Boy was I happy to see that my hydrangea bush had lots of blossoms this spring. There have been years where I haven't had one. Another bonus is that the bush wasn't damaged or destroyed by the tornado.

The Color of Comfort - I opted to photograph the beautiful hanging plant that I treated myself to this year. I love the shades of pink and the white.

Color Me Yummy - Cupcakes made for Chica's birthday celebration at school...

Punctuation Mark - This prompt called for color that you can't miss. Amidst the mess of the tornado where there was nothing pretty to look at in my yard, I found this peony blossom from a plant I had transplanted last year.

The Texture of Color - Chica's new box of chalk inspired me for this prompt.

Seeing Spots - I would have loved nothing more than to photograph a cute polka dot dress or hat, but I opted to photograph the dots of clover that were covering the baseball field at my boys' game.

Playful Pause - I knew this prompt was meant to be when I went to turn on the pool filter and saw this guy floating on one of the kids' toys in the pool. I thought it had great color!

Nothing But Blue Skies - This might have been my favorite picture. I was going for Chica's blue eyes with her fuzzy new fleece jacket. She entertained me with a photoshoot on the driveway and I just love her expression, dimple and wispy hair peeking out of the hood.

Heavy Metal - I took the kids strawberry picking for the first time one afternoon. The prompt feel into place soon thereafter.

That's all I came up with for Picture Color. As the tornado clean-up continues, I'm hoping to get more inspiration back!