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Change in Tide

2 Oct

His first beach trip was a snooze.

Sleepy Beach Baby

His second was a race and a cling to daddy.

Lola and Papa chasing Nate.

Daddy Dear Life

See-ya later, ocean.

His third and fourth were filled with apprehension and he chose to play beach baseball to help him eventually work up the nerve to try the waves.

That’s far enough.

Beach baseball is a blast. Who needs the waves?

Got brave on the last beach day.

His fifth washed all the worry away. He ventured deeper and deeper until he was even farther than Nia (our brave beach sweetie) and Andrew at one point.

That’s a Nate head way out there.

It was like Nate never had any hesitation about the waves. This time, he wanted to start surfing them before he even reached them.

Skim Boarding Brave

Skim Boarding Brave

I love how he was now so carefree – wanting to go deeper and asking for that skim board to try some sweet moves.

Our little man – conquering fears one beach trip at a time.

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Her Latest Happy Thing

30 Sep

It all started this summer when Nate and Nia began playing wiffle ball in our driveway. Nia became interested in the sport that she’s watched her brother play season after season.

Driveway Ball

Driveway Ball

“Can I have a softball glove?” she soon asked us. Yearnings for a bat, helmet and bat bag followed next. Before we made the purchases though – we needed to know – was she going to use all this gear to play on a softball team? Or just when we go to the field as a family to play? Without hesitation, she said yes, she wanted to be on a team.

Since we were purchasing all that gear, we told her she needed to give it at least a season. Now that the season has started, it seems the gear will be used for a few more. Softball is the new “happy thing” she tells me before falling asleep most nights. She loves it. Even after a loss or a strikeout, she happily chants the dugout cheers (even hours/days after the game) and has even started teaching them to Nate.

I’m so proud of her for trying something new that’s challenging for her. She’s doing great but this isn’t coming as easily for her like many other things have. Doing well in school hasn’t been a worry at all yet. Getting along with others is going swimmingly. She feels confident during dancing and I think she really rocks at clogging. Softball is something that’s requiring her to practice hard, overcome disappointments, and understand what it’s like to be a part of a team.

I love this for her and can’t wait to watch her growing moments on the field.

Our Ball Players

Our Ball Players

Hot Pink on the Field

Ready for a Play

Teach Them Well

9 Aug

I’ve been trying to come to terms with the unsettling fact that I cannot shield my children from the wrongs of the world – nor can I keep them from contributing to them. I’m worrying I’m not doing enough to make sure they make the right decision or react the best way when mom and dad aren’t around or watching.

Recently, two things happened to Nate that hurt his heart. Other kids caused the pain. One involved a group of kids surrounding him while repeatedly calling him a word that should not have a negative feeling/meaning attached to it but obviously they’ve been guided to think that way. We do not think that way and Nate and Nia both know that. Nate was overwhelmed and didn’t know how to respond. The other situation was because he likes a little girl who one child said wasn’t Nate’s “type.” The child said that to Nate because the girl has darker skin than Nate. Apparently, the child’s parents made him write sentences for liking a girl who wasn’t his “type.” (!) This made Nate sad. (Heck yeah it should!) He didn’t understand. I told him we don’t think that way. “Is your girl friend nice to you?” I asked him. “That’s what matters to mommy and daddy. Not what a person looks like. You like the person you want to like. Don’t worry what others say. We do not judge whether we are going to like someone because of skin color or hair color or size or teeth or …” He told me he knew and then went on to be happy about this little girlie who makes him feel special.

These are 7-year-olds. They are taught this. I can only hope our teachings speak louder to Nia and Nate than what others are taught (or not taught for that matter).

I want them to remember to be kind, caring and considerate. Protect those who need it. Consider how their words or actions affect others. Have a helping heart. To instinctively know how to react when they witness – or are the target of – a hurtful act. Don’t turn to anger first as a solution. Think through their thoughts and be smarter than the pain and hate. Apologize with an excuse. Forgive without conditions attached.

Among the kindness, I want them to be strong and stand their ground when they know it’s the right thing to do. Fight back when absolutely necessary. Make mistakes and work to fix them or do better next time. Don’t let a fear of failing – or not being 100% at something – keep them from trying. Make the best/most of things. Find the bright spot through the darkness. Don’t be bored. Savor the still moments among the adventures and appreciate the challenges and tough times because they are blessings too. Be grateful.

I think through all those hopes for them and then realize – that stuff is hard for me to do as an adult and I want my kids to remember do it? I can hardly control my own responses to things. How can I control theirs? They are going to mess up. I know I’ve had many selfish and road rage moments of regret. All I can do is teach them well and hope they hear the guidance over all the wrongs.

I will try to remember too.

All Heart

8 Jul

Barrow County 7U All-Stars

They went out there and never gave up. Never. Two games played. Two games lost. Two games full of heart.

This was the first year for Barrow County to have a 7 and under All-Star team. The first year for the 7U to place in the district tournament. The first year for the 7U to make it to the Dizzy Dean State Tournament.

No, they didn’t win. In fact, they didn’t score a single run in either game. What they did though was keep playing with all their heart. They kept that heart in the pouring rain and after a two-hour mid-game rain delay where they had their concession stand hot dogs and french fries passed to them through the dugout fence. They kept that heart as their side of the board still glowed “0” inning after inning. Diving for catches, hustling for hits to outfield, swinging away, earning each base they ran or slid to claim. In the end, Nate didn’t cry because the team lost. He cried at dinner, hours after the game, because “I don’t want my season to be over” and “I won’t get to see my friends for a long time now.”

I’m beyond proud of these boys. They had so much fun playing the sport they love and hanging out as a team. They became that team within days after playing against each other in the regular spring season. Watching them on and off the field, you would never think they were ever opponents. They swam and laughed together, hunted slugs together until way past their bedtime, enjoyed a funny movie together, ate meal after meal together … On the field, they cheered each other on during the games and always showed support and concern for each other.

Nate can’t tie his shoes. He needs help cutting his steak. He can’t reach the hotel sink to brush his teeth. He can, however, track a hit baseball in the air and know exactly how to move to make the catch. They all know what they need to do to try to stay on that dirt for just one inning more. These little boys are so remarkable. Sure, they will lose games – but I have a feeling they will never lose their heart.

He Caught That

He Caught That?!

Diamond Dreams

5 Jul

There you sleep, barely a wrinkle in the blankets of the hotel queen bed next to ours. You are so sweet and peaceful. Hours before you had batting practice at the cages, ate four pieces of pizza and pounded that kid-sized root beer while sharing a table with your team. After dinner, you played a “who could pick up who” game and begged to hit the pool “just for a little bit” before bed. We traveled two hours for this adventure. A chance to play in the Dizzy Dean State Tournament. You are an All-Star. You are seven.

What will you remember of this trip? Could this be the one time you experience something as neat as this? You were supposed to play your first game tonight. Instead, rain delayed your fun on the field and opened up another kind of bliss. Goofing off with the guys. Cannonball contests in the pool until the sky turned dark from night instead of storm clouds. Curiosity about what the other boys are doing as we headed back to the room for bed. “Where’s Bryte staying? Are they all still awake? When will we play tomorrow?”

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I’m sure they were all like you … eyes more than ready for sleep with baseball diamond dreams in their heads. Sleep well, Barrow County 7U All-Stars. I hope this is a weekend full of special memories for you.

Sleepy baseball boy

Sleepy Baseball Boy

Perception of Me

1 Jul

It’s taken quite some time – and I really am not sure how long this feeling will last – but lately I’ve had an oddly immense feeling of self-esteem.

It’s weird how even typing that makes me feel like I’m bragging or something. Why do I feel like having self-esteem is an arrogant thing? Oh well, boastfulness aside, it feels so free – and awesome – to not put others’ opinions of me before my own.

I wore a dress this weekend that was a pre-baby belly dress. Yes, it fit just fine but that doesn’t necessarily mean I should wear it. I actually liked how this dress looked on me. I felt womanly and I was pleased with my curves. Sure, my belly popped out causing Nate to rub it and innocently observe, “It looks like there’s a baby in there.” (No. There is not.) A comment like this would’ve destroyed me prior to this week or so of feeling secure. (The grocery store bagger crushed me when she said it to me a few months ago.) Now, I giggled at him and said, “Nope. That’s just mommy. It’s my comfortable belly.”

I think womanly/curvy is hot. Why does it seem that as soon as a lady has a non-flat stomach, the perception is she’s with child? Decades ago it just meant you were one fine and foxy female. I’m working toward that opinion again. I’m glad I have my comfortable belly. It helped carry my two worlds and cocooned them in love, life and nourishment in the forms of Spicy V8 and ice cream. (Not at the same time.) I eat the foods I like so I’m not grumpy and I work out so those foods (and beverages) don’t push me to the unhealthily zone. I’m sure if I really pushed myself I could turn my comfy tummy to a flat one but I’m a happy lady in my skin. My body shape and size is just-right healthy. That statement makes me restroom selfie-secure.

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Feelin’ fine so I took a restroom selfie.

All-Stars for Sure

27 Jun

They are little boys. Most of them are 7 years old. They like to pack their mouths with bubble gum and run through the mud. They make up nicknames for each other and knock hats off heads. They wear their sports drink mustaches and red dirt-coated skin with pride. They are a baseball team.

These past few weeks of summer break for Nate have been filled (happily) with baseball. The Barrow County 7U All-Stars have been practicing so hard and all that teamwork paid off for them during the Dizzy Dean Regional Tournament. They won three games and placed third and are now on their way to the State Tournament.

Watching them out there was something to see. They are little boys but they have so much courage, heart and skill that I find myself forgetting how little they are.

For some, their bat bags are bigger than they are. Some need help tying their shoes. A few saw a bird in the outfield and chased it before the inning started. Another player swatted a bee with his bat before he went for his swing at the plate. Some pounded their protective cups with their fist as they waited for batters to swing. A few escaped the dugout to get a kiss and praise from mommy or daddy. At the end of the games, they waited in hope that their name would be called for the treat bag given out for good dugout behavior or teamwork. I saw one drop his shoulders and sigh when his name wasn’t called. (Maybe next time, buddy.)

Little boys, right? But then there is so much more to these young players.

When an injured player was down on the dirt, they ran to that player and took a knee to make sure he was ok. They’ve been playing each game for a teammate who had to miss the tournament for health reasons – shouting his name after each team huddle. (We are so happy to know he is feeling better now.) They cheered each other on so adorably during the games – one even decided one thumbs-up wasn’t good enough so he dropped his glove and gave his teammate double thumbs for a great catch. They make split second actions through all the voices cheering for them or the other team. They carry on when that action didn’t pay off or the play didn’t work out like they imagined in their head. (The next play rocked, by the way.) They looked the other team’s players up and down to size them up. Sometimes, I saw them talking to each other at the base. Chatting about tv shows they like? Right.

Shaking it off. Feeling the joy. Dealing with the heartache of a hard-fought loss. Staying a team. Sliding at Home after “good game” high fives were exchanged. Taking the W or L and thinking about how they can’t wait to play the next game. These little boys have taught me so much.

Barrow County 7U All-Stars

Barrow County 7U All-Stars

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