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.

IMG_5027

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!

 

children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Reality Check

photo-17Mad Dog and I have returned from our annual kid-free cruise.  We were blessed with good weather, great company and outstanding service and food.  It felt good to get away, but I missed my boys.  We were away from them for four nights.  When we picked them up from school, it was clear that they were happy to see us.  I even got a genuine hug from Full Speed.  If any of you have a third grader like him that willingly gives you a public hug on school grounds, you know how special it is.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had volunteered to watch them for us while we were away.  It worked out well because they live right down the street and my nephew goes to the boys’ school.  When I picked up their bags and asked how it went, I was a little taken aback at what I heard.  Apparently, they didn’t really seem to miss me, they didn’t hardly speak my name and they had a great time while we were gone.  Can you imagine?  How is this possible?  You mean their life doesn’t stop if I’m not in it?

Well, I’m going to do the only rational thing I can do for next year’s cruise.  I’m going to have to take them with me.

children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Always Do Your Best

We are finally home from a ten-day trip.  We had an awesome time in Pigeon Forge, TN.  Here are a few things I learned:

1. Directions in unfamiliar territory seem to be a hot-button issue in my marriage.  I don’t know what it is about not knowing where you are at that brings out the worst in me and my beloved.  Regardless of a few tense moments, we always managed to reach our destination.  For the most part, we also managed to still love each other even if we didn’t always like each other in the process.

2.  Spending time with my nieces and nephew was fantastic.  If I had it my way, I would have all my nieces and nephews live on my street and have them over as much as possible.

3.  No matter where you put my boys, they are in a constant competition with life and each other.  They had an hour-long debate over who came in first in a go-cart race.  If I thought Mad Dog and I were heated over directions, it was nothing compared to the constant chatter of winner vs. loser between our boys.  And, unfortunately, they never ever agreed to disagree.  Made for some long rides back to our cabin.

4.  So, their competitive streak has its downside, but surprisingly, it also has an immense upside.  We were at Dixie Stampede which is Dolly Parton’s dinner attraction.  The boys were selected by our server to be in a chicken chasing competition.  They strategized from the moment they were selected.  Full Speed instructed T.Puzzle where and how to run.  T.Puzzle was overwhelmed at first by the enormity of the arena and the crowd.  He stood quaking at the side of the gate right before they were sent in.  Once inside the big, gaping, dust-covered space, he looked at Full Speed and they both got that look of determination on their faces.  When the chickens were released, theirs didn’t stand a chance.  Full Speed ran so intensely after it he fell down nearly crushing the chicken.  They worked as a team and ran with such fire, the other two boys on the opposing side looked as if they were moving in slow-motion.  Even after they successfully crossed the finish line, T.Puzzle kept chasing his chicken.  He almost ran it all the way back to where the rest of show animals were being housed.

The boys show off their victory medals with pride.  Thank goodness they were on the same team!
The boys show off their victory medals with pride. Thank goodness they were on the same team!

I may get frustrated by the intensity of my boys, but I have to say, seeing them give their all in everything they do, even chasing a chicken, keeps me inspired to always do my best.

It’s good to be home!

children, family, gratitude, humor, kids, marriage, motherhood, parenting

Cruise (Part 6)

Mad Dog and me enjoying our time together.
Mad Dog and me

When you are a stay-at-home parent it is hard to put into words what it feels like to be away from your kids for four whole nights.  Our annual cruise without kids is something I look forward to all year-long.  Having to only worry about myself is liberating.  Being able to walk into art-filled stores and not worry about someone breaking something is a revelation.  Sitting at a leisurely meal enjoying a glass of wine (or several) and not having to cajole table manners out of my boys is amazing.  It’s nice to be at a table of adults who realize knives are for butter or meat, not for stabbing your brother in the face.  This time away helps me remember that I am more than somebody’s Mom.  It reminds me that I was a whole and interesting person before kids and it’s comforting to know I can be that again.

Our kids are not ours to hold onto forever.  The second they are given to us is the same instant we must begin to let them go.  It’s up to us to keep hold of ourselves and be who we are throughout this process.  Time away from them is a great way to do this.  It’s also great because when you return, you realize you were missed.  You realize that even boys who seem to need so little except their determination to make it in the world, do in fact still need their Mom.  Even T.Puzzle, my recently turned affection-resistant kid, easily gave up a hug or two upon my return.  Those hugs were some of the best hugs I’ve had in a long time.

It’s good to be home!

children, family, motherhood, parenting

Elevated

Mad Dog surprised us with a little family getaway to Amelia Island.  We packed a lot into our small trip and had an absolute blast.

As the Mom of two, gregarious boys, I realize that serene moments in travel will be few and far between.  The best line of defense is a good offense.  Therefore, it is all about movement.  Keep them active and all will be well.  If they are confined for too long they invariably turn on each other.  That’s when you know it’s time to move again.

That said, we thankfully managed some calm here and there.  However, there was a lot of sprinting on the hotel grounds.  As we left our room yesterday the boys, in typical fashion, sprinted ahead of us.  As we turned the corner to the elevators, they were nowhere to be found.

Guess who decided it would be awesome to ride the elevator to the lobby by themselves?  Thankfully, a kindly couple waited and watched over the boys until Mad Dog and I caught up to them.  The boys were so full of pride. At least someone was because I certainly wasn’t.  Embarrassed much?

After a stern talking to and a serious warning, we hope that parent-free elevator rides won’t become the norm.  Of course at some point I’m going to have to let them go by themselves.  It might be awkward if I follow them around their college dorm elevators.

Freedom is exhausting...