Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Take Me Out to the Bore, I Mean, Ball Game

I was going to write a poem about softball but then realized that there are not enough words that rhyme with "boring".

#2 and #3 are both playing on different teams and there seems to be a game to go to almost every night! I just don't have the patience for softball and baseball. It is so slow. I once told another mom, if they could condense the actual action parts (someone hitting a ball, stealing a base, running home, throwing someone out, etc...) into about 25 minutes then I would be interested. But, it is almost painful watching the pitcher pitch a ball, the catcher drop it, walk over to pick it up, throw to the pitcher, who pitches another outside ball and on and on and on.....I (and the ump) get so excited when he calls a strike. And, speaking of the umps....they have proved to be the most entertaining part of softball this season.

Once our ump didn't show up for a majors game (girls nine through twelve), so a parent from the other team was recruited to ump. After long pauses, he made some calls on the pitches but when the ball was hit, our runner made it to first just as the first baseman caught the ball. The ump shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know". We all just sat there waiting for him to call it one way or the other until finally our coach called our player out more out of awkwardness than anything else! However, there are some more professional umps out there. Our minors team (ages seven through nine) played a game with an "official" ump who took his job very seriously. Too seriously. By the fourth inning I had nicknamed him Paul Balart, Softball Ump. He was a walking rulebook and The Husband (who coaches our team) started to get upset when he instructed our outfielders to move four feet off the base line when they were only about three feet off. When seven year olds are hitting (or, in most cases not hitting) there is no need to stand way out there! But, he was the official expert and it made for an entertaining game. Not a play went by without him reviewing the proper way to throw a bat, where to stand, when to swing, etc.

I also keep "The Book" for games. I remember feeling like this was some great honor a few years ago to be taught such a prestigious task. However, I don't like The Book. I'm a little too chatty to do a good job keeping The Book. I had done it a few weeks ago for our majors team and at the end of the game I declared it a tie. I'm shouting, "we tied!" out to the coaches, telling the girls in the cockpit or dugout whatever it's called, and a parent came up to me and said she thought we were down by one. "Oh no, The Book has us tied. I counted it several times", I assured her. Meanwhile coaches from both teams were gathered on the field and I was called over. Apparently, I counted a sixth run that came in on a five run maximum inning (too many stupid rules) so we lost. Whoops! My bad (and, my big mouth)! I have not been asked by that coach to keep The Book again since that game! Since I'm married to the other coach, by default I usually have to keep The Book. However, I am training young Jedi knights to take over the task and now #1 can do it, as well as some of the random kids at the softball field who just happen to be passing by. I buy them ice cream in exchange for relieving me of the dreaded task.

I also like to help coach. Uninvited, of course. I think since I coach soccer I feel entitled to coach just about any other sport I go to whether I know anything about it or not. I try to "help" with the line up and throw my two cents in. I almost offered to ump a game but realized I don't like it when people hate me. And, since I can barely do The Book, I probably wouldn't know a strike zone if it hit me upside the head (and actually getting hit upside the head was a good possibility for me in my easily-distracted state....look, a butterfly!).

Of course, I am somewhat kidding. I really enjoy watching my kids play just about any sport. And, there is something to be said for being outside catching up with the other moms, enjoying the warmer weather and being thankful it isn’t raining or snowing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Politics, American Idol and High School

I've reached the conclusion that politics are a lot like American Idol and both of those are a lot like high school.

There are stereotypes, shocking revelations, backstabbing, popularity contests, obsessions, scandals and a whole bunch of people who think they know more than they really do about any given topic. There are fans and critics. There are leaders and followers. There is victory and setback.

This comparison occurred to me while contemplating the fate of the next presidential election. Where are the candidates that stand out? I probably wouldn't have voted for him, but at least Donald Trump had some chutzpah. He was like the Casey Abrams of American Idol….most people knew he would not win, but it sure was fun to watch him! It is going to take a savvy, high tech campaign to go up against our rock star president, who believe it or not, has already been campaigning. His "town hall" meetings are basically just an attempt at reaching out to younger voters and telling them what they want to hear. Reminiscent of high school years when everyone follows that one charismatic good-looking kid even when some of the things he/she does has you lying awake at night (I'm not speaking from personal experience, my high school years were fairly unscathed in that regard!).

But, how does this compare to American Idol, you ask? Well, much of the criticism of American Idol this year is that the voting process is not fair. Many of the shows most talented hopefuls were sent home early in the race. The same will hold true of Republican hopefuls. We did not end up with the best candidate in the last election. I can only hope the same mistake does not happen again. People hear what they want to hear based on their values and convictions (or lack thereof). The most loyal supporters will pound the pavement/school lunchroom for votes (or text their vote in 200 times). Are they the majority? Probably not. Part of that problem is the reality that is created by those "in charge"....there is so much that goes into convincing people to believe something that is not always entirely true. We need to be aware of that and not blindly follow a person or doctrine.

Is it a good thing that these particular things have so much in common?  I guess that depends on your perspective.  Most of us have moved past the politics of high school and American Idol is just a TV show.  The part I'm really concerned with is the direction our country will take after this next election.  I only hope everyone keeps their eyes open for the bullying, manipulating and phony tactics that will be employed in the next 18 months.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Almost the Most Wonderful Season of the Year

Yesterday, we ran over to Hersheypark to grab some kettle corn.  It is convenient enough to just grab our refillable bucket and run inside the main gate (park at Chocolate World) and fill up on that sweet and salty yumminess for a mere $2.02.  #3 was begging to go on a ride (what a tease to go to Hersheypark and not ride anything) so I relented and let them jump on The Comet.  It was drizzling and around 6pm in case you are wondering what kind of a cruel mother takes her children to an amusement park and says they can't go on the rides.

As I waited for them on a bench, devouring the kettle corn (much to their disappointment when they returned to a half-empty bucket) that familiar feeling washed over me.  Yes, I was in my Hersheypark Happy Place.  Summers with season passes mean wandering the park for a few hours in the evening or afternoons lounging in a chair with my Diet Pepsi (ugh, wish it was Diet Coke) watching them splash in the water park.  I dare say these few months restore me to have the energy for the remainder of the months that involve school (mine and theirs) and all the activities that go with that.  However, this summer may challenge my Hersheypark Happy Place since I am taking double classes the month of July, #1 is in Footloose (the musical) and I am coaching #3's travel soccer team.  I still plan to enjoy my down time as much as the fall I hope to be working more so this summer sort of feels like my last yahoo.

Summertime gives me more time to reflect.  I appreciate the slower pace and the extra time available to spend with family and friends. I can read and write for the fun of it.  There is a vacation of some kind to look forward to each summer. And, I like to grab my Bible and coffee in the early morning on my days off work and hang out on the deck before anyone else wakes up clamoring for breakfast and "what are we going to do today?".  I keep the snacks on hand for the impromptu pool parties that seem to spring up when the kids invite their friends over.  There is mint tea to brew and chicken to grill.  I really appreciate these small things....including the kettle corn!

Monday, February 28, 2011

TurboFire - Day 6 (And, A Quick Miscellaneous Thought)

Sorry that I am boring you with these daily exercise/dieting updates. But, I'm really shocked that I haven't fallen off the wagon.  And despite it going well, I'm actually not much in the mood to talk about it.

There seems to be so much transitioning, especially with my girls.  They are living in the valleys and on the mountain tops recently and I am becoming drained.  The weight of responsibility of being their mom is weighing on me.  Am I doing enough (or, too much?)? Am I praying enough? Did I say the right thing?  Argh. They sure are not getting any younger (and, neither am I!) and I am trying to let go and hold on at the same time. 

It is definitely one of those times to press into God.  His word, His promises, and His love outshine all the questions and uncertainty.  He creates a perspective that is the valleys and on the mountain tops. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

TurboFire - Days 3 thru 5

I like it! 

I really like it!

I feel great.  I have been eating well (no sugar!) and doing the TurboFire workouts and I have so much energy that I jump out of bed each morning (after I push the snooze button 2-7 times).

It is not easy, but a very simple conviction struck me this week:

The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than I eat.

That's pretty profound, I know.  Actually I have know that for a long time, but I was hoping for some quick fixes and a revolutionary "Cake Diet" to be discovered.

Weekends have always been a struggle for me overeating and choosing foods that are filled with empty calories (can we say Comfort Food?).  With God's grace I had a successful weekend and I feel really good. And, each time I work out, it is encouragement for me to eat healthier. 

I've decided that life is too short to be stuck feeling uncomfortable and worn out.  I want to have the energy I need to do all that God has set before me each day....and, I want to buy a pair of skinny jeans. 

Well....just kidding about the jeans! :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Houston, We Have a Problem (TurboFire - Day 2)

My DVD players are both malfunctioning.  So, I made it halfway through a workout tonight before I gave up because the screen froze every 6.3 seconds while I was in some horrible position that should only be held for a count or two and not ten seconds. 

No worries. I made up for the missing part of the workout by eating only enough food to sustain a hamster today.

Tomorrow, on my way home from work I will be purchasing a new DVD player and I will be back in action.  I have to admit I like (not love) the workouts so far despite the fact that they are so difficult to perform gracefully for a woman of my size/age/coordination.  And, the fact that my awkward attempts at following along flashes me back to watching my mom Sweating to the Oldies with Richard Simmons on VHS.

It has been entertaining and horrifying at the same time listening to the noises my body makes doing these workouts.  Will the clicking and crunching noises eventually stop or is this bone grinding on bone and I should be scheduling an appointment with an orthopedic?   It's too soon to tell.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

TurboFire - Day One

Well, I didn't die.

But, I can barely move my arms to type this post.

The Husband and I (and some of our children when they feel like it) have embarked upon the TurboFire journey.  I'm not sure, but for my entire day I think I only consumed about 1/3 of the calories that were on my first plate of food on Christmas day.  I'm getting the sugar-withdrawal headache.  I know from experience that it gets real bad before it gets better.

Because I don't have enough to do with parenting, work and school. They say it will reduce stress, but if I can't do things like move my arms and stuff for a few days, that may cause me a little stress.  'Cause I need to be able to move my arms to do things like brush my teeth and you know, drive a car.

In reality, my clothes are fitting a little a lot snug (and, let's not mention the clothes I have pushed to the back of my closet).  So, this is a good thing.


Good times.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chatty McChatterbox


I miss the days of blogging regularly, for fun, when I don't have to insert citations and make sure that my posts are Times New Roman, 12-point, double-spaced APA style.  I'd post my papers that I write for classes, but then my seven regular followers would probably drop to negative two.

But, I am not complaining.  College is swell.

I have decided to stop saying that my life is "busy"...I've changed that to my life is "full"...doesn't that sound so much less stressful??  Plus, "full" sounds productive and "busy" sounds like an excuse for not calling my mom or neglecting the laundry.

So, part of my "full" schedule includes #1 preparing for her first high school musical.  I was beyond tickled that her little freshman name appeared on the poster advertising the event.  Perhaps, a little too tickled, but I'm working through that.  It has been an eye-opening experience to the parental involvement expected at high-school level activities.  I plan to clone myself when both #2 and #3 play sports and do theater at the high school at the same time.

There are some changes on the horizon...good stuff that I am not at liberty to share right now (I'll give you a hint: my due date is around April). Ba-ha-ha-ha.  Seriously, I am just waiting on confirmation and clarity and the audible Voice of God and then I can go public in the blogosphere.

Please make sure you visit the devotional posted at Christian Women Today on March 17 and 28.  They were written by little old me.  Since my schedule is too FULL, I decided rather than try to sit down and write 365 devotions for a book, I'll have a few random ones published online to keep me satisfied that I am fulfilling that call in my life right now.

I'll most likely be coaching girls travel soccer in the fall to which The Husband asked me: "Do you know all the rules and stuff to do that?".  Thanks, Honey.  I've coached rec for five years, right?  Geesh, the man acts like I regularly bite off more than I can chew (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).  Yes, I know the important rules.... like only the goalie can use her hands.  Duh.

I'm just so glad I'm not a Girl Scout Leader.  It is really the one and only activity any of my kids participate in that I am a total slacker.  I sold ten boxes of cookies.  Six of them are for us.  I find myself saying I'm sorry a lot when I'm dropping off/picking up.  Thankfully, I can pretty much blame the fact that I am a 40-year old working mother of three in college.  That usually helps my is sort of like pleading insanity in court.

I saw the funniest thing on the generic NyQuil bottle tonight. Do not use to make a child sleepy. Is it okay to use to make an adult sleepy?  Plus, that stuff doesn't make you sleepy, it puts you in a near coma.

Here is my final thought that I will leave with you and I am going to apologize in advance.  Many of you have ridden this roller coaster with me and we are about to strap ourselves in again:

I'm joining a gym.  I'm going to be healthy.  I'm going to be able to breath in my jeans again.  I'm going to eat ice cream....whoops.  How did that last one get in there??  Yes, I'm going to try and exercise regularly.  Just gonna grab my textbook full of complex theories and words I don't know and read while I run on the treadmills and ellipticals in my designer workout clothes (c'mon, this is how it looks in my little world). 

To achieve all of my objectives in the next few months, I have scheduled myself no more than 17 hours of sleep per week.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thank Goodness Phil Didn't See His Shadow!!

Being trapped inside with all these snow/ice days made me realize a few things:

1.  I know the words to more Justin Bieber songs than any 40-year old woman should admit to.

2.  I can't concentrate on my final paper and presentation with kids sitting down at my computer every time I get up.  Or, when they argue over whose turn it is to play SuperMario.  Or, when they ask if they can have friends over every ten minutes.

3.  Facebook and YouTube are way too entertaining.

4.  It is really easy to consume half a sixteen-ounce bag of Utz All Natural Kettle Chips.

5.  Exercising crossed my mind.  I left it at that.

6.  I slept more in the last four days then I did in the entire month of December.

7.  I have consumed so much coffee, I'm pretty sure a blood sample would reveal a .51 blood-coffee-level.

8.  I did not have to rush through completing our taxes...I had plenty of time to search for deductions and calculate how many books, sweaters and t-shirts I donated to Sal Val.

9.  Randomly singing show tunes from Little Women entertained me for a solid half hour.  And, I sang them badly.

10. I have no idea why I still have a rather large dirty laundry pile.  If I can't get it done being trapped in the house for three days, there is no hope.

Spring....come early!!!! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

For You

Hang on.

Not with your own strength....but, take refuge in the shadow of a God much bigger than our imagination can fathom.

His Love can cover a multitude of pain and loneliness.

Look forward.  Look up. 

Jesus never came to hold us in bondage to a bunch of rules meant to spoil our fun.  Rather, He came to set us free.  Free from sin, shame, guilt and being held back from the destiny our loving Father created us for.

Second chances.  Forgiveness.  Reach out and accept the gift He offers you today.  No matter the circumstances....nothing can separate you from the love of our gracious and amazing God. 

It has nothing to do with being religious.  Take Him down off the shelf and out of the box of preconceived ideas of who He should be.  Let yourself become like a child and climb up in His lap for awhile.  C'mon.

No need to say a word.  He already knows your heart better than you do.

He says He will wipe away EVERY tear.

He will overwhelm you with His peace and restore your laughter.

Dreams are born.  Destiny released.

Trust Him.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I was a hot mess when we met.

My sweet husband and I met most unexpectantly and after nearly electrocuting myself and unloading all my "baggage" on him, we became friends (although, I'm pretty sure he felt sorry for me since I somehow acted in a most pathetic way around him). He invited me to his church where I fell in love with Jesus. As much as I love my wonderful husband and all that he has given me through the years, that was the most precious thing he ever did for me (followed very closely by his part in making our beautiful children).

So, sixteen wonderful years (well, maybe more like 1 rocky year plus 15 wonderful years) later, it is with a thankful heart that we celebrate our wedding anniversary. This man is truly amazing. He is patient, hard-working and makes me laugh even when I don't feel like it.

We are both very different people than we were on January 28, 1995. We were young and independent, I guess in some ways selfish and stubborn, too. But, I often find myself admiring him now as he fixes something one of the girls brings to him. Or, he patiently sits through a "chick flick" surrounded by huge quantities of estrogen when we all know he would rather be watching sports. And, I love listening to him as he prays. And, as he gives belly rubs to the dogs or does all the countless thoughtful things that make me smile...I am in love with this amazing man and look forward to the dozens of anniversaries we have together for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My First Post of 2011!!


New years.  New months.  New shoes. 

Invigorating, right?

I am thankful for the high, low and normal, routine days of 2010.  It all prepared me for what is to come this next year.  Whatever that is going to be.....

I did learn a thing or two the other night that may help me in the coming year.  I will share it with the blogosphere and maybe it might help some of you, too.

I was out dining for a co-worker's birthday the other night while #1 was at the movies with her boyfriend and another friend.  The restaurant was close to the movies, so I was going to pick her up when it was over.  The movie actually let out early, just as we were getting our food so I asked her for ten minutes.  Unknown to me, she texted me a few minutes later that she had gotten dropped off at the restaurant (poor reception on my part so I didn't get it until a few minutes later).  She said she saw my van and knew I was inside but she couldn't get ahold of me.  She asked an employee (who spoke almost no English) if there was a work party there and he said we were in the back.  We were at the back, but I was sitting in a cave-like booth with my back to the dining room, virtually hidden.  She walked back several times looking at all the tables and didn't recognize anyone so she started to panic.  She went into the bathroom and saw that I wasn't in there, as she was still trying to call me on her cell phone.  She started to get nervous that she would get thrown out of the restaurant so she went outside trying to rationalize that she knew I was in there.  I finally got her text and went outside to find her in tears.  She had called her boyfriend to come back for her and then I walked out as he pulled up.  After we sorted through the whole story, she calmed down and we laughed about it.  I kept saying to her "why did you get upset when you knew I was there?".  She admitted she wasn't sure why, only that she could not see me and she had looked everywhere.

The next day I realized that I know how that feels.  How many times have I believed that God is with me, but I could not see Him?  I search and search and it looks like He left, yet I know He hasn't.  But, those tormenting confusing thoughts begin and pretty soon I am in a panic because it doesn't make any sense.  If He is here, than where is He??  Circumstances, decisions, disappointment, sickness....God, if you are with me, then where are you?

But, that's it.  I was there in the restaurant all along.  Had #1 not felt like she didn't belong there and looked a little closer, she would have found me.  Perhaps, if I look a little closer and walk in my God-given authority, I will see Him, too.

I believe that is exactly what I'll do from now on.  I will not be afraid.  I will not give up. I will seek out my Father in every circumstance since I know....He is definitely waiting for me.

P.S. #1 granted her permission to use this story! :)