Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another First - Tee Ball!

Nate started tee ball a couple weeks ago (starting with two weeks of "practice" - a.k.a. teaching a bunch of 4 & 5-year-olds what a baseball is and what they're supposed to do with it).

Yesterday, however, was their first official "game".  I say that in quotes only because they don't actually keep score, they play the same team for every game (alternating "home" teams) and there was very little organization or competition to be seen here.

Regardless, they had their first game and it was nothing if not entertaining.

Imagine 26 four and five-year-olds out on the field, or in a batting line-up.  The little one whose turn it is gets up to bat.  He/she swings, misses, swings, misses, swings, finally makes contact enough to knock the ball off the tee and then stands there.  Everyone starts yelling "go! go!  Run to first base!"  The little boy/girl starts running but forgets to drop the bat so they run back, drop the bat and start running again.  Only this time they have forgotten where they're going so they run down the middle of the field towards 2nd.  All the while parents, coaches, and spectators are simultaneously yelling directions, explanations, encouragements.  If not to the batter, then to the little boy or girl who won the ball in the outfield (since invariably no less than 5 children ran for it and all tried to jump on the ball at once) and is now standing there holding it, not knowing quite what to do with it until the chants to "throw it!" get through and they launch it anywhere they can (usually from the mitted hand).

It's great to watch these little ones with ants in their pants as they dance, wiggle, twirl, sway, and goof off in the outfield.  My boy is usually the one out there with the running motor...the mouth that will not stop.  He's hooting, hollering, making siren noises, making horrible screeching sounds.  All while telling silly knock knock jokes, pretending his baseball glove is eating his face, and/or touching his "pee-nus" because his underwear is itching him.

I am so thankful for this experience for Nathaniel, though...he's not always what I'd consider athletic, or even all that coordinated.  (He could be if he spent more time focusing on that instead of being a clown but he'd rather get the attention by being silly right now).  But the people are great and the exercise is good.  He's learning something, making friends, and learning good sportsmanship and teamwork.  Go, Mini Yankees!  

Wordless Wednesday...Summer Cool Down

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dirt Magnets

My boys (in case you haven't noticed) are dirt magnets.  Of course it doesn't hurt that we live on 5 acres of nothing but dirt.  Or that I rather enjoy sitting back and watching them be kids.

But if given the slightest opportunity, my boys will revel in being dirty.

Today was no different.

We have a dirt pile behind our house that the boys love to scale, conquer, and then slide/roll/fall down. 


Thank God for a (strong!) new washing machine and OxyClean!  You should see the dirt ring these two leave on my bathtub nearly every night!  Oh, but the fun they have and the joy on their faces is immeasurable!

I am the Turtle

Ok, so I'm NOT a turtle, but I found this quote and I suddenly feel I can relate to the turtle.

“The turtle makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”

Last week we were faced with the choice of whether or not to take in an adorable painted turtle that needed a home.  My husband told me if I could figure out how to care for it, we could keep it.  So I did some research, asked my friends for their advice, opinions, and experience, and sat the boys down for a chat on responsibility.  If were going to take on this "challenge", I wanted to make sure they (Nate specifically) understood what was expected of them.  This turtle would come with rules.

Rule #1 of course was proper care and sanitary procedures to avoid the nasty illnesses turtles and other reptiles can carry and share.  There would be minimal touching and diligent hand washing would be practiced.

Rule #2 was that they needed to help care for him (her?).

Rule #3 was that this turtle needed a name!

So over dinner, we discussed these rules, which were readily agreed to, and we (Nate) named him Pluto.

Welcome, Pluto!

For the first few days we had a hodge podge set up that consisted of a bin and some stones from the driveway

...but as of today we have an official turtle home set up for Pluto.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Size DOES Matter

At the "ripe old age" of (nearly) 35 I'm beginning to realize something.

Size really DOES matter.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything I can do about my size.  At my age, I'm pretty sure I missed that "growth spurt" boat (about 20 years ago!!).

At 4' 10", however, my size is starting to get to me.

It wasn't bad when I was little.  I was generally the "cute" one in school.  People would take me under their wing, protect me, give me adorable little pet names.  Of course it had its moments.  The "short" jokes quickly got a little old.

How's the weather down there?
Sorry, didn't see you way down there!

However, with a few well-timed, quippy comebacks, I maneuvered my way through adolescence with my head held high (as high as I could hold it at 4'10", that is!).

But lately, my size (or rather my SHORTNESS) has taken an ugly turn.

As if I needed one more thing to shake my confidence and make me question my height has raised a real issue for me.

The boys and I were on the playground the other night when some "big" girls (I mean big as in bigger than my boys at 2 & maybe 7-9?) started roughing up Alex.  It was the equivalent of mean girl bullying to a cute little boy they wanted to manhandle.  Seemingly innocent, but unnecessary and inappropriate at the same time.  This one girl in particular was trying to direct Alex, pick him up, drag him up the stairs, down the slide, through the tunnels.  And he was having nothing to do with it.  He just wanted to run free and she was trying to treat him like her personal rag doll.  I was none too happy.  

At first I intervened by making my presence known.  When I was a kid, knowing an adult was watching me was enough to steer me clear of naughtiness.  I quickly realized, however, that my watchful glare was bearing no effect.  So I tried encouraging Alex to speak up for himself...telling him to say "Put me down" or "No" or "I don't want to go down the slide"...that wasn't working either as she paid little heed to what her little "dolly" was saying and continued to manhandle him.  That's when I had to get all Mama Bear on her.  I mean, I didn't say anything mean or yell, I simply took my son away from her and told her to go play elsewhere. 

But then it occurred to me.  I've been overlooked and underestimated by ADULTS my whole life.  But here I was as an adult, not being taken seriously by a CHILD.  This will not do.  My presence was not in the least bit intimidating to her.  And I'm not trying to say I want to scare children or torment them in any way.  I just want to be seen.  That night on the playground, I was in a position of having to protect my baby and I was not being seen as a warning, a threat, or even a deterrent.

As a teenage babysitter (even today) I am used to the kids I'm "charged" with saying "I'm bigger than you" and taking pride in the inch(es) they have on me.  This realization isn't new.  It is, however, newly disheartening.

I'm not delusional enough to assume this has EVERYTHING to do with my height, of course.  I know if I were a stronger person, more confident, less wishy-washy, that I would somehow command the respect my taller counterparts have.  80% of my dilemma is probably more realistically rooted in personality than in physical traits.  But it's not easy to see that right now from where I stand.  Now the question is, where do I go with this?  I suppose there's nowhere to go, but UP.  So I shall take this tidbit, contemplate it, learn from it, and thusly GROW.

Wordless Wednesday...Youthful Innocence

Stanton Family Reunion

July 2010

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fabulous Chair

Did you figure out my ridiculously easy quiz from earlier today?  

Of course it's a chair.  
I didn't expect it was a hard question.

It's a seat-less, dilapidated, lead-paint peeling, eye-sore of a chair.  

Isn't it FABULOUS?!?! 

I've driven by this chair at a local barn sale for brain has been a buzz with excitement for this silly chair, but alas, the barn sale is never open when I drive past so I stare, and drool, and dream.  

Yesterday my husband mentioned his plan to hit this very barn sale so I screamed out my desire to have this chair!

I soon got a text message from him - a photo of my chair with the word "Really?".

Um, yes really.  Why would I NOT want this fabulous chair?  And for only $2?!?!  Absolutely!  

He obviously didn't share my vision.  He couldn't possible know what it was I saw when I looked at this chair.  The intricate design, the bright, weathered color...the love it had endured.

I saw beyond it's desperate need of a paint job, its missing seat, and worn exterior.  I saw a fabulous photo prop.  This is my first photo prop and I can't tell you how excited I am to covet this chair.   

So, I immediately dragged Nate out across our squishy yard to the overgrown field in back and plopped him amongst the weeds by my new treasure.  


I give you Fabulous Chair + Handsome (fake smile) Boy.  

I once resisted the urge to buy a beautiful antique typewriter simply because I envisioned taking gorgeous photographs of pudgy babies tapping its keys.  I wanted to capture all its gorgeous intricate details.  I should have just bought it.


Oh well...I sure can't wait to use this chair more.  

Unfortunately, however, I fear my addiction to "photo props" has officially begun.