Baseball Time!!

It’s that time of year again. Baseball time! And to get it kicked off, I wrote a story about our baseball experience this year over at Coach Daddy.

The title is “How the Army took Baseball from Us”, but allow me to add that it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If Caleb had played on a team here, he would have had either a practice or a game every single night of the week! What!!!! I’ll do that for a kid who loves it. I won’t do it for a kid who doesn’t love it.

Here’s a snippet:

Okay. Now, first of all, the Army did not literally take baseball from us. And yet it did. We didn’t have to let it happen, but we’re tired people, and so we did.


See, we have four sons, between the ages of 11 and 3. It’s exhausting, but it’s adorable. It reminds me of when I was little and living in rural Alabama and our dog would have puppies. Those puppies were work, but they were so cute and cuddly it didn’t matter.

We have played tee-ball and baseball over the years, ever since they were each 4 or 5 years old…..

Click here to read what happened.

Oh!!! And heads up, y’all. I’m going to do a Facebook live un-boxing of the Daily Goodie Box I got in the mail today. I’m aiming to do it around 1:15 pm this afternoon, with my sidekick, John David.

Game Day Photos

game day photos

JD bonded with another dirt-loving two-and-a-half-year old at one of Daniel’s games. Don’t you love those moments when you come across another bird with your same feathers?

The vast majority of these photos were taken by our family photographer, Aunt Janet.  Thank you, yet again, Janet!!

Baseball season has been time-consuming but joyous this year. Joshua joined a team late in the season that was short on players because after seeing his brothers enjoy playing so much, he wanted in on this action too! That puts Joshua in the “Mustang” league, which is an exciting game to watch. At this level, the players get to pitch, get out in three strikes, and even steal bases.

Caleb and his buddy, Aiden, are having a ball in their league as well. Alan is their coach, and Caleb and Aiden have some mad serious baseball skills. In fact, we were so confident in these two that we let them also play for Joshua’s team last week, as their team needed a couple of back-ups, and Caleb and Aiden held their own. They may be the youngest players on the team, but you’d never know it. Both boys scored one point for Joshua’s team, and the funny part was that Caleb even struck out and still scored a run. How? Well, when the catcher dropped the ball, Caleb stole first base! I didn’t know you can do that either, but I saw it with my own eyes.



Daniel is in a tee-ball league. I may not fully understand all the baseball rules, but by golly I’ve got tee-ball down pat, and so does Dan. I love to watch him catch the ball and throw it to first base. (See those cleats? Those were Joshua’s when he played tee-ball!)



Nonna and Aunt Janet got to see Caleb and Daniel’s games.


It was super cold!


By the way, my nails have been quite the hit.

I may not play ball, but I do support it. 🙂


Okay. I just realized I had promised 17 Mile Drive and Seal Pups in this post. Next time! Really really!


4 Ways to Encourage a Love for Sports in Your Children

4 Ways to Encourage a Love for Sports in Your Children

4 ways to encourage a love for sports in your children

Daniel scoops up the ball for his tee-ball team.

Alan and I are such a funny pair.  People are always calling us “laid back” and fun, and sometimes, when they say that, I wonder, “Wow. Who else do they know because I think we are crazy high stress.”

And that’s just it. It depends on who you’re comparing us to. When we first started out as sports parents, we were just plain dumb about it. We’d over-coach our boys, worry about it when they didn’t want to play, and sign them up for sports they didn’t even like. We’d critique, and teach, and then wonder why our kids didn’t love it at first.

But over the years, we softened our approach. It made a huge difference. We went from having a son who said, “I just don’t want to ruin my own Saturday by signing up for baseball,” to having that same fella’ say, “Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are my favorite days because that’s when we play baseball.”   All in one year!



4 ways to encourage a love for sports in your children

Alan is pretty much always the coach. Alan has a serious talent for it.

We’ve learned a few grossly important lessons in how to foster a love for sports. 

Rule #1. You should have ZERO EXPECTATIONS.

And I do mean zero, especially when your kiddo is playing for the first time, or even the first few years. Do not expect anything at all. They are only learning how to play.

That way you can be over-the-moon excited when they make any good plays or catches or anything whatsoever, which brings me to rule #2.

4 ways to encourage a love for sports in your children

Caleb, getting ready to run to first base

Rule #2: Every small victory is a BIG DEAL.

What you praise can depend on your child’s level too. For a newbie or a struggling athlete, dig deeper.

“Wow!!!  You were totally paying attention and watching everything. That was so good!”

“You almost caught that ball that one time. That was great! You are going to be catching it so soon!”

“You are the best batter ever!”

Work with whatever they do. Praise them. I’m always reading articles telling us not to praise kids for their accomplishments. Ludicrous. That’s a super way to end up with a kid who doesn’t want to even try anything because they never feel successful. Trust me. Alan and I have sucked the enthusiasm right out of our children like that in the past, but we are learning!!

Now we are just always so excited.

We’ve been praising Caleb all year long, during the off season of baseball.

“Wow! Caleb you can throw!!!  You have an arm. Yow! You gotta sign up for baseball this spring because, man, you are amazing.”

“Great catch!!  Shew!!  You have got to go back to playing baseball!”

And he did. He couldn’t wait to sign up, but he’s been practicing all winter, so he actually is pretty amazing. He tagged 2 or 3 different kids out as first basemen this past Saturday, and I couldn’t get over how far he has come. Yes, I know I’m his mom. I stand by my assessment. Amazing.

4 ways to encourage a love for sports in your children

Dan and his best baseball bud


Rule #3: Help them make friends, or help them sign up to be on the same team as their friends. Either way, having friends on the team way ups the fun factor.

We were all in on it this year. We’d see Caleb’s buddy outside and whisper in his ear, “Please sign up for baseball with Caleb. Y’all can be on the same team. You will love it. Tell your dad.”

4 ways to encourage a love for sports in your children

Occasionally do extra fun things to celebrate a good game or a new achievement.


And that brings me to our last rule.

Rule #4: When the game is over, your child doesn’t need your play-by-play critique of his or her game. All they need is “Great game! Did you have fun?” That’s it.

A few praises on what they did well that game won’t hurt either.

Most importantly, never despair if it appears your child has no athletic ability. They just need time to develop these skills. We’ve seen so much improvement with each individual season of basketball or whatever sport they try. It just takes time. They need us as their cheerleaders to keep trying and not give up.

And never compare your child to someone else’s. Just love your children for who they are. Who cares if their talent is in a different area than yours is? Keep up the praise. Maybe they will come around. In the mean time, please don’t sit on the sideline yelling instructions out to your five-year-old. It’s just wrong, and it’s a perfect way to kill any love that they may ever have for the game.

Just stick with the praise.

Great job reading!!!  😉 (Kidding, but you get the idea.)

4 ways to encourage a love for sports in your children

Action shot!

See you at the ball field!




“Of all animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.” Plato

This week I am reading Little House on the Prairie to the boys. It’s the perfect ending to our year in American history. We read Little House in the Big Woods earlier this year. Big Woods was NOT a hit. There was moaning and groaning galore whenever story time arrived.

I made them listen to the whole thing anyway. I’m not always as sweet as I look…
I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the boys are actually enjoying Little House on the Prairie. I was tired today, so I decided it was time for a school movie.
Netflix! I typed in “Little House.” Sad to say, Netflix does not have it. Thankfully, YouTube does, and the pilot was almost exactly like the first three chapters of Little House on the Prairie! The boys LOVED IT. I’m excited to share this series with them.

Meanwhile, Netflix gave me suggestions for shows “like Little House”. Leave it to Beaver. Joshua and I have been laughing hysterically. We’re watching episode 1, and Beaver’s antics are CRACKING us up!! I had no idea that Beaver is so funny. I guess it’s because I’m a boy mom, but this show looked like real life to me. If you’ve never seen it, it’s free on Netflix.

We have had a great week with Alan’s parents visiting. We are always needing to call in reinforcements. I don’t know what it says about us that we LOVE getting help, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I thought it would be nice for the boys to do a small living room presentation for the grands, on a few things they learned this year.

Sounds innocent enough, until you remember that we’re talking four different age groups forced into one room, competing for attention. Caleb kept leaning on or bumping into Joshua, just for fun. Joshua kept inserting “fart” into the timeline song, and John David either pestered the performers or sat in my lap and cried at the top of his lungs.

There was disciplinary action taken in the middle of the show, and when it was all said and done, I feel like this embarrassing show summed up my first year of home schooling.

The boys were, amazingly enough, still able to show off that they had learned an incredible amount this year. I just can’t decide if the price of sanity was worth it or not. Jury is still out.

On days like this, where I feel like all I do is discipline my children, and I wonder if I am a complete and utter failure as a parent. I wonder why God trusted me with four little boys. I spent more time this year focusing on their behavior than I would have ever dreamed.

Occasionally, there are voices of reason.

Today, Caleb was sulking over the fact that I wouldn’t buy him the $20 Spongebob movie. When his buddy Weston came over after school, Caleb shared his woes with his friend. Weston said, “Well, of course she’s not going to pay the money.”

Caleb calmly said, “Yeah, of course. Let me put on my shoes.”

Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Caleb’s friend Weston?

It’s important that our resident Beaver have friends that are positive influences. 😉

Each of my boys has such a different personality. I have my highly moral leader, my sweet but mischievous and adventure-seeking classic American boy, my type A personality, chef, and baseball player, and my very set in his ways, introverted, not so mischievous (so far) toddler.


I wish yall could see Daniel at tee-ball practice. It is pure entertainment. He is SO into it. He has that glove READY. He is insistent in begging for his turn at bat. If they are taking turns at fielding, then he is insistent on securing his turn at fielding. He practices at home. He runs after the ball with gusto. He fights off other kids trying to get the ball, kids on his own team. Baseball is his GAME, and he is so happy to be a part of it.

all about tee-ball!

all about tee-ball!

He wore his whole uniform to practice this week. It’s not required, but it makes him happy. In fact, he’s wearing it again today. He’s in there napping in it right now.

serious business

serious business



He may be the shortest player on the field, but he has the heart. 🙂

These pictures brighten my day, when I’m feeling beaten down from my own parenting failures! I will never be the perfect mom that I want to be, but I can get back up and put forth my best effort.

“Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”  Proverbs 29:17

“As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  James 5:11

“When Jack Burns needed to hold his mother’s hand, his fingers could see in the dark.”
― John Irving, Until I Find You

Boys are God’s way of telling you that your house is too neat!
— Author Unknown

But this one’s my favorite and it sums up my LIFE;

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
— Mark Twain

Actually, that Mark Twain quote made me cry! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these children. I’m a terribly impatient teacher, but I still think I’m a good mother. I DO enjoy and empathize with them. Sometimes at night, when they are in bed, and they are hungry because they did not eat enough of their supper, they call out, “Mom, I’m hungry!” And I can’t. I just can’t. I sneak them up a piece of cheese or a banana, something with no crumbs, of course. It makes them so happy. I just try to make sure that no one knows, but now there, I’ve said it.

Alan won’t mind. I’ve seen him feeding them at night in the kitchen too. Of course, I look at him and shake my head and say, “Tisk. Tisk. Softie.” But really I’m glad.

We are who we are, and raising children is HARD, but it’s great fun too.

Point Lobos: a boy's dream

Point Lobos: a boy’s dream

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Life in Northern Cal: Modeling Good Habits and Helping the Homeless

There are so many exciting things going on in our chilly little Northern Cal world, it’s hard to keep my head on straight!

Alan is in the middle of a mid-term schedule that has him pretty stressed. He actually has to go out of town later this week to test out a drone parachute that he designed. Woohoo!

Alan and I are so different. No one would ever, in a billion years, ask me to design ANYTHING. Thanks to this design project, Alan and I now share the love for Brittany’s, which is a delightful craft store, similar to Hobby Lobby!

John David’s language abilities are exploding. He still speaks in small phrases, but it’s just adorable to hear him talk. Meanwhile, he and Daniel have developed an obsession with baseball caps. Daniel wears his tee-ball team hat, which is blue, and JD wears a red Nats hat. They run around like this, feeling so important. Daniel even wears his to bed.

Daniel wears his full uniform at all times that he can get away with it. He’d love nothing more than to wear it to church, bed, and everything.  Alan is very excited to have a son that likes baseball as much as he does, and they go out in the yard and practice together. I just love to hear it.

Sometimes I start to think that our little family is getting over the hump of the exhausting baby/toddler phase. Then we experience a full family outing failure, and I am reminded that the hump is still a mountain to us.

The boys’ end of the year CC program was pretty much a total disaster for Alan and me. First, Caleb, while on stage in the large group opener, made faces. Meanwhile, JD kept crying out. Well, you can’t keep a crying toddler in an auditorium, so we kept taking turns walking out with him. Since we were up and down with JD, Daniel took that to mean that he could be up and down and up and down and up and down too, so we left Tuesday night feeling like we only have one kid that knows how to behave in public.

It was a humbling experience. Really, we live feeling pretty humble. Managing four kids: hard for us–others make it look easy. Homeschooling: hard for us–others think it’s big fun.

After Caleb left the stage from the opener, where he was making the faces, Alan whispered to me, “You might need to go say something to him.”

But Caleb was on the other side of the room, sitting with his class, and the show was well underway.

“Maybe Lindsay (Caleb’s tutor) will say something to him. Lindsay’s good that way.”

She did. We were safe. No more faces for the second performance. PHEW!!!

Once a children’s church worker told me this story about my children, “I heard someone talking, and I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was Joshua. He’s supposed to be the shy guy, right? So I called him over and made him sit by me. After a while, I told him he could go back to his seat, but he could not talk any more. He said, ‘Yes, sir,’ and he went back over there and never uttered another word. That’s really great! I mean, hey, a kid that listens to instruction!”

So no, our kids aren’t perfect. No one’s are, but I’m going to go on feeling good about them because they do listen to instruction (most of the time), and most importantly, they have precious hearts.

Daniel was eating his lunch the other day, and he asked, “Where’s JD?”

“Napping,” I said.

“Oh, Me see him sleeping on the monitor. He’s precious,” Daniel giggled.

Oh yes, he IS precious, and so was the little boy talking about him, with the sun butter on his cheek and the baseball uniform on, even though it wasn’t game day.




Caleb has always been a big defender of the underdog. Don’t even get me started on how much I ADORE the way he randomly heats me up cups of coffee and brings them to me throughout the day.

Recently Joshua has become a huge advocate of the poor and the homeless, especially the homeless. He wants to go around giving them all tents. He talks about it day and night, every day, which warms my heart, but it also challenges me.

These kids have a need to SEE us helping the poor. Yes, we do give money to causes and church, which help the poor, but the boys are wanting to SEE us do that. I’m not sure how to go about it. Does anyone have any specific suggestions? We’ll be happy to take ideas!

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”   Proverbs 19:7

We only have three weeks of school left, yall!  This is so exciting!! I can’t tell you how relieved I feel.

Next year’s curriculum!

Planning for next year is underway. This is paramount. Every weekend this year, I had to work on plans and organizing the next week’s school work because I was unable to prepare last summer, thanks to the move. THIS year, if I can get most of that done before the school year starts, I will have more free time DURING the school year. So maybe my house will be cleaner, but most importantly, I will have less stress!

Alan’s parents are arriving this week to help with the kids. This will give me some extra time to plan and Alan and I a little time together. We’re hoping to go to Yosemite National Park. We are hoping to do a lot of hiking,  and speaking of exercise….I got a blog opportunity that I’m excited about last week.

Coach Cox from this website: offered to be my personal trainer this month for free, and all I have to do is tell you all about his service.

I’ve mentioned before that I get offers for services and products like this, and I rarely take them on, but the idea of focusing on living more healthy sounded like something I need.

My goals: 1. Lose a little of this mum tum. (Yes, I do realize my gut is protruding.)

2. Have more energy.

3. Just take better care of myself in general because motherhood requires putting yourself on the back burner a lot, and I let it go a little far this year.

We are able to take care of others better when we first keep ourselves healthy. Plus, as they say, “More is caught than taught,” so our kids need to see us modeling good habits.

So my first challenge:  Drink 70 ounces of water/day! Justin figures up how much water you should drink based on your body weight, so that’s my number.

It’s only been two days, but I’m doing great. I told one of my friends here about the water thing. She said, “Is that hard for you?”

Um, yeah! Normally I drink like 20 ounces of water/day!

I’m also supposed to be eating more nutritionally and working out 3 times/week. I’ll let ya know how that goes this week. At least I’m drinking my water, so you know, yea me!!  🙂

Best thing about this whole online personal trainer thing: I get an app on my phone to track what I’m doing. He sends you exact work outs, complete with videos, tailored to your needs, and you can ask any questions you need to ask. So far, I think it’s AWESOME. I will let yall know more about this as I get further along in the program!

Speaking of trying to take better care of myself, guess what else I did?

Mother’s Day 2015

I CUT MY HAIR. This is really only a big deal to me. Most people I know didn’t even notice the change. It had been a YEAR since I got my hair cut, so this felt like a great, big deal. Alan was so tired of hearing me gripe about my hair, he finally made the appointment for me. Thanks, Alan.

Caleb, me, and my new hair. Next week: Perhaps I will make it to make-up.

Caleb, me, and my new hair. Next week: Perhaps I will make it to make-up.

I think Alan’s statement the day after my haircut sums up this whole year of adjusting to California, learning how to home school, taking care of 4 little boys, and just my general experience over the last year. He said, “It’s so good to see you back to yourself. That hair cut was really what you needed to get your confidence back.”

Boo-yah. April is back. 😉

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”         Psalm 20:7-8




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