Chicago Cubs, humor, motherhood

Best Friends, Baseball and 17 Straight Innings of Awesome

I don’t know about you, but the fact that baseball season has commenced has brought a spring to my step and a joy to my soul.  I can’t explain it, I think it has to do with my genetic code or how I was raised on WGN, but when I’m watching baseball, the world feels right to me.  If I am lucky enough to watch it in person, well then, it’s just next level awesome.  Throw in hanging with my three guys and honestly life could not get any better at Marlins Park in the heart of Miami, but then, it did!  It totally did!

As the first inning of game two of the four game series of Marlins vs. Cubs got under way, Mad Dog exited our row in search of a soft pretzel.  Being opening weekend, there still were some kinks with customer service, so I knew he would be gone for a while.  This didn’t faze me because I was at a baseball game!  Life was good!  Then, out of the corner of my eye, who strolls on in and sits right in front of me?

Theo Epstein!

RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

I can’t really explain it to a non-baseball fan, but as the President of Cubs Baseball Operations, Theo literally transformed the Cubs into World Series Champions.

Click below to learn more about this legend of baseball statistics and trades:

How Theo
Worked His Magic

Theo Epstein took over the Cubs in 2011 after a 71-win season. This year, they won 103 games — and their first World Series in 108 years. How did it happen? We examine all his moves, big and small.

 

Naturally, I about fell out of my seat.  I was absolutely frantic.  I couldn’t communicate to Full Speed that Theo was sitting in front of us. I didn’t want Theo to hear me talking about him because he WAS RIGHT THERE!  And, then, Mad Dog took FOREVER to get back from the pretzel situation and this whole time I WAS DYING inside from excitement.

Eventually, Mad Dog returned and I had finally communicated to Full Speed who was in front of us.  I had him write a note to Mad Dog on a score card we had so again, I wouldn’t have to say Theo’s name out loud.  From there at about inning 5, Mad Dog politely asked Theo to take a picture with me.  I was so excited that’s why I look like a big cheeseball, and weirdly, Theo looks unaffected.

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Still, the picture is awesome!  It kind of is more awesome because Theo looks so ‘overjoyed’.

It is totally going to be this year’s Christmas card.

And wouldn’t you know, this game ended up going 17 innings!

The boys turned on us at about inning 13.  They were so MAD.

At about inning sixteen, I started to maybe wonder if it was time to call it, but I had to stay.  I mean, I couldn’t leave my new best friend alone to shoulder the fate of our team.

Sadly, we lost.

Theo’s face says it all:

 

It doesn’t matter, once a World Series Champion, always a World Series Champion!

Go Cubs!

 

Chicago Cubs, children, humor, kids, motherhood

No Lie

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T.Puzzle has to write a speech to be performed in front of his class.   Thankfully, like his brother before him, he is fairly at ease with public speaking so this is not the challenge.  The challenge is coming up with a topic.  No lie, these are the highlights from the actual list we generated.  The ones in bold are my ideas, the ones in italics are T.Puzzle’s:

  •  Adopting our rescue dog
  • T.Puzzle’s first visit to Wrigley Field
  • The Olympics, I only like events where crashing happens
  • The Making of a Lego World
  • Cows, observe the cows
  • How to be a smart mouth to your mother and how this leads to success (or not, most definitely, not!)
  • Food
  • Cheeseburgers: why are you so delicious?
  • Origins of Fortune Cookies and the top five I would create: #1. Alive today, dead tomorrow 
  • This last one is all Full Speed’s idea: The challenges of having an older brother who is a track star

Like you, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for how this all unfolds.

Chicago Cubs, children, family, humor, motherhood

WFAM Wednesdays!!!

First, before you delve into the wondrous writing I have created below, I want to share my intention to write a post a week for Writes for All Mommies.  I’m a little scared in all honesty, because now that I’ve written this intention and you’ve read the words, I actually have to do it.  So, welcome to WFAM Wednesdays!  I’m grateful you are here.  You rock!

Let the posting commence:

There are many points of light on the horizon of raising children which flit across your awareness and then are gone forever.  The first smile, those first steps, learning how to read, ride a bike…etc., etc.  It all goes by too fast and makes my heart ache with nostalgia.  However, once you are a grown-up, those sweet mile-stoney moments are all but extinct.  Somehow my first mammogram didn’t seem quite so awesome as all the cool things little humans have to master as they journey towards adulthood.  Truth be told, I thought most of my notable moments were behind me.

But then it happened.  By some strange sequence of events and circumstances, something unexpected occurred.

I got carded!

Yes, that’s right.

Carded.

A forty-three year old mom got carded at the grocery store!

I was so flummoxed when the cashier asked for my I.D., I started to act all weird and suspicious.  To be fair, I was in work-out gear (apparently working it!), had a baseball cap on (Go Cubs!) and the bespectacled cashier never really looked directly at my face.

But hey!  I’ll take it.

This felt so momentous because I am fairly certain this is the last time I will ever be carded in my lifetime.  How’s that for a milestone?  The first-last time you get carded.  It’s a thing now.  Well, a thing I made up but still.  It’s a thing.

Later, when I was cheerfully sharing my wonder over being carded with the boys, I was quickly brought back to reality.

Full Speed:  “So when someone cards you it means they think you aren’t twenty-one?!?  The cashier really thought that????”  (Poor guy looked so confused.)

T.Puzzle: “Bahahaha…..!”  (Basically he laughed to infinity as he rolled around in disbelief.  In fact, if you ran into him today, he’s probably still laughing.  So glad to be the light of humor in your life, Son.  I mean that.  Really.)

So, I was quickly put back in my place and humbled (horrified?).

Thankfully, this old girl loves her life and her disbelieving chuckle-y boys.

Chicago Cubs, humor, motherhood

Yikes(!) and Bikes(!)

I totally get that baseball is a game of inches.  A couple of inches left or to the right, and a foul ball potentially becomes a 3-run shot.  This is part of baseball’s charm.  As charming as this is, if you fly across the country and spend money on a hotel and tickets, it’s always helpful to see your team win.  Especially if you go four times you figure the baseball gods have to smile down upon you at least once, right?

It didn’t seem that way.  It seemed the more we sojourned to Wrigley, the more victory eluded us. As we approached game four with no win in sight, I was losing hope.  Of course I loved being at Wrigley, but still…was I asking too much to see one teensy-weensy win?

After watching the third defeat, my normally cheery attitude (that’s right, Mad Dog, I’m all about the cheer) had taken a turn.  Let’s just say this World Series Champion was downright crabby, just ask our cabbie (I keep spontaneously rhyming as of late, should get that checked out, and truthfully, we used an Uber, but what the heck rhymes with that?!).  Once we were back at our hotel, my mood continued its downward spiral.

Mad Dog knew we needed to change course. He insisted we all get dressed up and take advantage of the city. We would try a new restaurant and then go for a carriage ride.  All he had to do was get me out the door and all would be well. He was right.  We ended up having an awesome night.

After a great dinner, I was so looking forward to our carriage ride.  It’s one of my favorite  things to do when we are in Chicago.  The city is gorgeous lit up at night and it’s fun to see it from this vantage point. That’s the whole idea, getting to see things out of the ordinary.  This particular carriage ride did not disappoint to put it mildly.

When we rounded the corner as our ride was winding down, it was apparent something was amiss.  Immediately our guide starts to frantically shout, “Look to the right!  Look to the right! Keep looking that way, don’t look the other way!”

She was clearly panicked for some reason.  Was it an accident?  Was a crime of some sort taking place?  I was starting to get very nervous.

No, it was neither of these.  It was a naked bike ride.  Yes, you read that right,…naked!

There were hundreds and hundreds of naked people riding gleefully down Lake Shore Drive.  Full Speed went white with shock and T.Puzzle couldn’t stop laughing.  I simply marveled at how one actually rides a bike sans underpants. Painfully so I would imagine.  Mad Dog?  Well, he did the only thing he could do, he pulled out his phone and starting snapping pictures.  Sadly or gladly(?), there’s that rhyming thing again(!), I won’t be sharing those pictures here.  In fact, I never want to see those pictures again for the rest of my life.

We hurriedly paid our guide and made our way back to our hotel.  By then, much to our relief, most of the birthday-suit bikers had passed through.

However, the memory will forever linger in a can’t-ever-unsee-that-kind-of-way.

I blame the Cubs. (They did thankfully win the fourth and final game we attended🙌🏻)

The next baseball trip we take they better win every game we attend.

The only shock and awe I expect from this point on is that the Cubs play deep into October and that everyone in the glorious city of Chicago keeps their pants on….

I think that’s reasonable, don’t you?

Chicago Cubs, children, humor, kids, motherhood

That’s Cub

In every woman’s life there are defining moments.  There are milestones such as college graduation, falling in love, having children, etc.  Once children are a part of the picture, suddenly their milestones become our treasured markers of the passage of time.  For instance, the first time Full Speed reached earnestly to play with a toy hung from the arm of his baby carrier, I was overjoyed.  I was convinced by this simple act that I had given birth to a certified genius.  We were at the mall and the air was heavy with the scent of salty pretzels and my overblown perceptions of my ‘super baby’.  Still, it was an awesome moment and to this day whenever something great befalls my kiddos, it’s like it is happening to me as well.

That’s why when my boys lined up against the backstop at Wrigley Field before the start of the game, I was giddy with anticipation.  Mad Dog had arranged for them to be part of the nine lucky kids that got to run on the field and meet a player.  We had no idea which player it would be.  We hoped for the best and made peace with the worst (you know who you are).  I was seated alone and peered anxiously at them to see where they would run.  Once given the signal, they were to sprint to the position that would coincide with the player they would meet.

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Mad Dog stands center watch over the lucky 9.  Full Speed is at the right end, T.Puzzle third from right in red hat.

I almost couldn’t take it.  Who would they get?!?  Who!?!

Finally, they were off and running.  It seemed obvious Full Speed was headed towards the outfield.  But then, oh my god, T.Puzzle ran to FIRST BASE!  He was going to meet ANTHONY RIZZO!  I repeat….ANTHONY RIZZO!

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Is it obvious he’s my favorite player?  Hmmm, what gave it away?

I jumped for joy and screamed so loud the fans in my section thought I had lost my mind.  I was able to compose myself enough to articulate that both my kids were out on the field and one was meeting ANTHONY RIZZO.  This made sense to them, but I could tell they still thought I was mildly insane.

T.Puzzle had a brief exchange with Anthony (yeah, I’m now on a first name basis with him), and got him to autograph a baseball (proudly on display in our front room).  It  took all of two minutes but for me, it is a defining moment that still brings me great joy.

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Harder to see, but Full Speed meeting J-Hey in the lower left hand corner.
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Full Speed jogs off the field after telling J-Hey he’s ‘much bigger in real life’.

Full Speed was sent to right field and had a lengthier exchange with near-giant Jason Heyward (well, giant compared to Full Speed and most of America). J-Hey was so genuine in what he said to Full Speed, he is now Full Speed’s favorite Cubs player. I love that, clearly he is a player that is gracious and I’m so glad he had such a positive impact on Full Speed.

Now, That’s Cub.