Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to Baseball

First Baseman by here we wander
First Baseman, a photo by here we wander on Flickr.
Have I mentioned that fall baseball started last week? We are three practices and one game into the season. We will average three or four nights a week at the ball field through the end of September.

And Connor LOVES it. As one of the few returning rookie players, he's one of the big kids this year. He's moved into the infield, which is a big step for him. At last night's game, he alternated between first base and short stop. And he did pretty well, but it's still a learning experience for him.

And that's one of the reasons I love fall baseball. It's more laid-back, less about winning games and more about learning positions and plays. Even the coaches on the other teams congratulate players on good plays or offer suggestions just before or just after the play. It's a learning experience, and that's exactly what Connor needs as he moves into the infield.

We had several practices last week, though one was rained out and one ended in another downpour. Yesterday was the first game, though the scoreboards don't come on and no one really keeps score. Connor made a couple of good infield throws, though he still needs some work on his defensive play. And he hit pretty well, including one shot into right field that got him a double.

A lot of the older kids skip fall baseball, either because their worn out from all stars in the summer or because they chose to participate in another fall sport like football or soccer. Connor has no interest in the other sports, and he could definitely use the extra practice. Most of the kids on his team are moving up from t-ball, playing their first games in rookie league (or coach-pitch). Connor will be one of the few returning eight-year-olds on his team next Spring.

And that means he's going to have to step up, if he wants another chance to contend for the league tournament or another set of trophies (and trust me, he's pretty proud of the ones they won last year).

If you're looking for us, just look under our usual shade trees in the outfield. We'll be there. Camp chairs, cooler and iPads. And probably a camera, too.

Snapshot Sunday (Monday)

Pure Joy by here we wander
Pure Joy, a photo by here we wander on Flickr.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moments

It's been an incredibly busy few weeks, to say the least. There are so many things to write about, but time just keeps slipping away. So I'm going to share just a few moments ... those little things that I hope we always remember but that I also worry will get lost in the busy that is our lives right now.

Adventures. The Sunday before school started, we took a long day trip to medium-sized amusement and water park in a neighboring state. It was a three-hour drive, each way. It made for a really long day, because we had to be back in a single day for Josh to go to work. It was Grammy's idea, so Grammy, Pappy and Aunt Kelly all joined us for the trip. It was a really long, really fun day. The boys had their moments. The long drive wore on them after a while (and we purposefully left the iPads at home). The long lines, beginning with buying entrance tickets, didn't impress them. There were lots of people, lots of sensory assaults, and it was a completely new experience. The water park was our first stop, and it helped. Xander could have spent all day in one particular section, sliding down all the slides. Sawyer was content to float in the wave pool. Connor wanted to see and do EVERYTHING. Hopefully I can write more about this one soon. For now, I will just say it was surprisingly good experience that, overall, the boys really enjoyed.

First Day. School started last Wednesday. There was a lot of preparation for that first day, like pages of notes for all of the team members, updating everyone on where the boys left off last year, what we've been working on over the summer, and what we hope to work toward this school year. There was the special school visit on a quiet day for two little boys who just can't handle regular orientation night. And there was regular open house for the big boy who wanted to meet his teacher and see if any of his friends from last year made it into his class again this year. And the first day itself was perfect. The boys all happily got out of the car in car line. We had several reports from teachers throughout the day that the boys were doing well. And they were happy when they came back out to car line at the end of the day. I had no less than 10 email updates in the first three days of school. Can you say amazing? Because that's how the school year has started off. We'll not mention that Connor asks pretty much every day how much longer he has to go to school, because he's ready to be done (as in forever, not just the school year). Yeah.

Lunches. Kill me now. All three boys are taking their lunch this year. Two, out of necessity (hello, GFCF diet). One, because he's always wanted to and I can't refuse him when both of his brothers are taking their lunches. It is a massive undertaking, both every night before bed and every morning before school. The twins take what seems like (and actually is) a small cooler full of food. It's includes lunch, as well as a couple of different snacks and a few rewards. It's barely enough to make it through the seven-hour school day. Connor has been taking his favorite, chicken noodle soup. And that's why it takes a while in the mornings, because it has to be heated and then added into the thermos. I actually had to clear off the top of the refrigerator to store the lunch boxes, because they're that big. Sigh. And we'll not talk about Sawyer's disappointment when they served pizza in the cafeteria on Friday. He kept trying to push his lunch bag away and go get in line. Poor kid.

Bolt. Connor spent most of his summer at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa. And being a little bit spoiled in the process, he has full television and satellite privileges down there. He records everything he sees on the DVR, including a special airing of Bolt on Disney. It became the twins' go-to entertainment during our visits there. And now Xander is obsessed. He quotes it non-stop. For those wondering, his very sinister sounding "saboteur" and his angry "Stop it, this is serious!" are lines from the movie. My personal favorite is the "saboteur" just for the amazingly accurate cadence of his voice (and perhaps the glint in his eyes as he says it).

Social Skills. One of the things we constantly work on with the twins are social skills. They simply do not come naturally to either of the boys. Xander is slowly learning that he has to interact a little more with the world around him. His aide from this year shared a story about him from school. They were walking down the hallway between classrooms, and they happened to pass big brother. He was sitting down on the floor working on his shoelaces. Xander started to walk right past him without a word or glance, but his aide made him stop. She said, "Look, Xander, look who it is." Xander had to turn back to see his big brother, who he had already passed without a single glance. "Hi, Connor" he said, and plopped himself down on the floor right next to his brother, where he pretended to work on his shoelaces. Amazing. For a lot of reasons - that it actually happened, that his aide recognized and encouraged such teachable moment, and also that she took the time to tell us about it. Have I mentioned amazing yet about the start of this school year?

Greetings. This one goes right along with the social skills. Xander is getting very good at unprompted and unscripted greetings. He has long said "Hi, Mommy!" in the afternoons when his aide walks him out of school to car line. This week, he added "Bye, Mommy!" as I was dropping him off in morning car line. Direct eye contact, an appropriate greeting, and a corresponding wave. Huge, huge progress for him.

Those are just some of the moments. Life is busy right now. Josh works fire every third day. On his two days "off," he spends one day in class trying to finish up paramedic school (hello, November, we're all ready for you to be here) and any other spare moment finishing up a house that he's building for a friend. That leaves me as pretty much a single parent taking three boys to and from school and therapy, and starting next week, fall baseball. Oh, and did I mention I've been working on not one but two freelance projects in my spare time? You know, in between making meals, giving baths, keeping us in clean clothes, packing enormous school lunches, and going to the grocery so we actually have something to pack in lunches and eat for those meals. So I've been working when I normally sleep. Four or five hours of sleep is all you need anyway. Right, Saw?

Busy. Good, but busy. Hopefully it will slow down soon and I can share a little bit more of it. Because there's a lot more to tell.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Days

Three Brothers by here we wander
Three Brothers, a photo by here we wander on Flickr.
If you're looking for us the next few days, you'll have to look a few hours away. The twins and I joined big brother Connor on his lake adventure with Grandma and Grandpa for a long weekend.

It's a hard life. Really. All three boys had it incredibly rough yesterday as we spent several hours on the water - swimming, jumping, tubing.

Summer is almost over, and we have to enjoy it while we can!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

And There He Goes ...



We knew it would happen sooner or later. I mentioned earlier in the summer that the boys were outgrowing the beloved (and safely enclosed) kiddie pool. Xander has long had an affinity for the slide in the family pool. And now he has finally advanced the the diving board in the big pool.

And that is where he wants to stay.

It was only a matter of time. He LOVES to jump, after all. He just used to have an aversion to jumping into depths where he couldn't touch bottom. He had an aversion to getting his head, and especially his ears, wet.

But no more. This summer he has made huge strides in his comfort level with the water. He willingly jumps into the lake off the back of the boat (with life jacket, of course). And even in the backyard swimming pool, he has started floating on his back and doing more strokes (okay, mostly paddles, but you get the idea). When he started getting his ears wet a few weeks back, the last barrier came down.

So it is only fitting that on his last trip to the pool with Grammy and Pappy, he found his courage on the diving board. And never once looked back. He just kept jumping and jumping and jumping.

It took him longer than either of his brothers, but he is finally learning to love the water as much as the rest of us (well, except Daddy, who can take it or leave it). Like so many other things, he just wanted to do it in his own time, his own way.

Special thanks to Pappy for sharing the photo.