Since one of my good friend's daughter made her First Communion, I asked for and received permission to put her pictures on this blog. Isn't she just stunning?
It is definitely the nature of the beast that spring weekends seem to be really busy. This one was no exception, we were busy for most of it. But it was a nice, rewarding kind of busy. I already wrote that on Saturday 2 of my daughters participated in opening day for softball in our community. In addition to that, my son also had a game at 2:00 and then 2 of my children were scheduled to be altar servers at the 5:00 Mass so my husband took them to that. Then on Sunday, one of my other kids was scheduled to sing at the 11:00 Mass on Sunday which was also First Communion for our church. So the fact that 3 out of 4 of my children served the church made it pretty rewarding for me. But actually it gets even better. My oldest daughter was already planning to go to 11:00 Mass but then my other daughter decided that since one of her friends was going to be at First Communion that she would also come to church even though she already went (and served) Saturday night. Well, when we got there, there was no one serving so they got pressed into service by the lector. When the Deacon realized that it was the same kid that had served the night before, he told her, "God loves you!!" When I thanked my girls, they told me that they didn't do it for me. They are so fresh sometimes but that's okay because I didn't care if it was for me or not as long as they did it graciously, which I am happy to say that they did.
I also got into the serving the church action. Like a lot of churches, my church does not allow photography during some sacraments because they want to respect the sanctity of the sacrament. So they came up with a compromise of sorts and that's where I come in. For the last several years, the Religious Education Director and I have taken pictures during the ceremony and afterwards we put them on Shutterfly so that they are available to everyone. I think that this works well for everyone because we are given access that would be impossible to grant to everyone in the church and it allows everyone else to sit back and enjoy the ceremony knowing that pictures are being taken (hopefully good ones!). So if you are keeping count that's 5 out of 6 Jolleys helping out the church this weekend at 2 out of 3 Masses!!
Since one of my good friend's daughter made her First Communion, I asked for and received permission to put her pictures on this blog. Isn't she just stunning?
So once again we spent a Saturday morning cheering on our town's ballplayers as they got ready to open another season. This time it was girls and softball but the spirit and the sense of fun were there just as much as they were 2 weeks ago when baseball and boys performed this annual ritual. What wasn't there was the temperature, it was cold out yesterday morning!! It was also brilliantly sunny which made it worse because it tricked you into thinking that it was nice out. In spite of the temperature, it was again really special to be a part of something that is so wholesome and good.
On a personal level it was a success because not only did both of my girls' teams win but both of my girls contributed to the win. My older daughter walked and then ended up scoring a run (and had a really great catch but sadly I didn't capture it because I was at the other field) and the younger one played catcher quite ably for her team.
I also started the day with an email from one of their coaches that made me realize that I could not have gotten a better coach for one of my children if I had drawn up a plan of the perfect coach myself. It will make this post a little long but I thought it was worth it to share a little bit of the email with you all:
Hi Everybody -
I just want to say a few things as we kick off our season.
During the games it would be good if the girls stayed with us on the bench - there are many teachable/coachable moments while they are not on the field and if they are with you at the bleachers they will be missing valuable information. So please coral them back at us if they wander towards you during game time :)
Secondly, you are the girls most important example for sportsman like conduct. Please, no yelling at the umpires, other coaches, other teams, etc. I know, I know but I have to say it out loud :)
The pitching is less than stellar for all teams at this point. We encourage our girls to hit the ball and not look for the walk. Trust us, when pitching ramps up towards playoff time, your girls will be hitting!
Also, please be patient with our pitchers - it is a difficult position, they can't get better if we don't play them in a game situation. We have pitchers at varying stages of development. I have yet to pull a girl in the middle of an inning. It sends a message that we don't believe in her. I make them battle it out there with the other team and their own head! It needs to be done for their own (and the teams) development - it is the school of hard knocks, the other team can only score 6 runs in an inning (and we can hit).
I try to be very fair about playing time - I keep track of how many innings a girl sits all season long.
Lastly, after the game when you are riding home with your player - say three positive things that she did well. She already knows what she didn't do quite right and we will work with her at the next practice to correct her errors.
Sorry for the lengthy e-mail. We really appreciate all your efforts and you are a very big part of building a strong team for your daughters. So I try to explain what we are doing and why...feel free to contact me with any questions.
Long before he changed the face of Thursday night TV with the Cosby Show and before he was Little Bill (well after he was little Bill but before he had a cartoon about it), Bill Cosby was the live action host of the cartoon, Fat Albert. I was never a huge (pun intended) Fat Albert fan but I figured I could have some fun with the title. Can you imagine a cartoon today with this title? It would never be tolerated in today's politically correct society where we are hyper aware of what we what say and whose feelings might get hurt. My son said that it would probably be called Obese Albert but my husband corrected him and told him that it would be Nutrionally Challenged Albert. I think it would be That Albert, He's a Big Boy. What do you think that they would call it?
I'm skipping my usual random thoughts post because I need your help with a dilemma. My son is currently in a youth baseball league (the 10 - 12 year-old level). My problem is that he has spent the past two games entirely in center field. Now he's an 11 year old boy, so he's bored if he's not constantly in motion (he also eats a ton but that's a post for another day). As you can imagine, at this level there just aren't that many balls hit to the outfield. As a matter of fact, the other night there was not a single ball hit to him. Compounding the problem is that he is a lefty, so the only logical infield positions are pitcher or first base. Which brings us to the other part of the problem. The coach's 10-year-old son also plays first base, and has been playing there kind of a lot this season. So my dilemma is should I say something to the coach or not?
The main reason that I want to say something is that my son is bored and frustrated and I don't want him deciding that he hates baseball and isn't going to play anymore. And he has a stubborn streak a mile long so if he decides that, then that could be it for baseball and I would hate for that to happen because he really does like it. Plus I think that it's important for kids to play sports in high school (if they want to) so I would hate for him to rule out a sport before he even gets there. I know that he'll never speak up. The reason that I hesitate to say something is that I really don't want to be one of those parents that are constantly micromanaging their kids or smoothing things over for them so that life doesn't have any disappointments.
One last thing, I have to give my son credit, he never mopes out there or looks unhappy. He goes out there and looks like he's enjoying himself and I always hear him chattering and cheering on his teammates. It's only when we get in the car and we ask him how it went that he lets us know that he's bored and frustrated. This is probably also contributing to the problem because it's likely that the coach doesn't even realize that he's unhappy.
I'm going to put a poll on here and I would love it if you would help me out by voting.
As for this week's Friday video, in honor of this dilemma, it's Centerfield by John Fogerty.
Yes I am aware that I spelled the word wrong in the title but that is what my brother and sister sometimes call my youngest daughter. And this post is all about her shenanigans, her verbal ones that is.
This morning: "Mom, when I grow up I want to be a real teacher, not a substitute like you."
The other night when I was thinking about blogging about the kids helping with the bathroom, "You're going to blog about this? Oh, dear"
A couple of weeks ago when I told her that I loved her, "I love me, too"
Last night when we were talking about a recent reverse 911 call that we received from the schools: "What, they dial 1-1-9?"
Her birthday when I showed her a picture the two of us when she was in kindergarten, "I liked your hair much better like that than now, no offense!"
And the thing is actually I'm pretty sure that she didn't mean any offense. I know that she never means any offense which is what makes them so funny to me. She really is such a sweetie and I can always depend on her. One of her past teachers always used to say that she thought my daughter could probably run the class if necessary and that if she was absent, she'd refer the substitute to my daughter with any questions. The best part, she was in first grade at the time!
So yesterday I wrote a blog post that was facetiously entitled, the joys of renovation. Then last night as I was mulling over ideas about what to blog about in the next couple of days (to no avail, I must say), I heard some excited murmuring coming from the direction of the unfinished bathroom. I asked my 13 year old daughter what was going on and she said that they were figuring out the tile for the bathroom together and being all mathematical about it (her words). Sure enough I went in there and my husband and 3 of our kids were busy measuring things and discussing things and placing things. They also briefly tried explaining what they were doing to me but let's be honest, I didn't really care. What I did care about though was that they were all working really well together in a really small space. I was facetious yesterday but what I saw last night? The real joy of renovation.
When we were having a recurring problem with the shower leaking last May, I said to my husband that maybe it was time to do the master bathroom (if you saw my house, you would know how funny that statement is) over. But I also said that since we have 4 kids that I thought that we should do it over the summer. With 1 kid going into high school, 1 going into middle school and 1 already in middle school, I thought having only one bathroom could be a bit of a disaster on school/work mornings. So last summer, we (royal we right there) gutted the bathroom, right down to the studs. Unfortunately, as often happens with projects like these, it has been one thing after another that didn't go quite as smoothly as planned. Surprisingly, it has not been as bad as we feared with only one bathroom but considering my husband and I both grew up in large families with only one bathroom, we should have figured that we could make it work.
The funny part is that every time I ask him when it will be done, he says, "Two weeks". As you can imagine at this point, he gets the Tom Hanks/Shelly Long reaction to that one. So I do what any sane person would do, I avoid going in there or even looking in there. Well imagine my delight when I popped my head in there last night and saw a light installed and tile placed on the floor. But then I realized that perhaps the celebration in my head was a little premature when I heard him say, "That's not going to work" and more ominously, "Suck!" Oh well, we only have 40 or so days left of the school year. If Jesus can fast in the desert and Noah can survive on the ark, I guess that I can survive with only one bathroom. Not that it will be that long because it's going to be done in 2 weeks, right?
Too often these days we hear stories about kids (and parents) behaving badly in youth sports. Well, today I want to talk about my friend, Mike. Mike has been the epitome of a good sport in the last couple of weeks. Before the start of the baseball season, Mike was informed that he did not make the American League but would be playing for the National League this year instead. (It used to be the majors and triple AAA but a couple of years ago, it was decided that this probably hurt some feelings so it was decided that a name change was in order. I wonder when we adults are going to get it that it doesn't matter what we call things, kids know what the real deal is. It's like when no score is kept in a game, ask just about any kid and they will not only know who won but also what the final score was. They will probably also know who scored and how.) Anyway back to Mike, even though he was disappointed that he didn't get chosen for the American League, he didn't complain and just decided to get the most that he could out of this year. Well with last week being vacation, he didn't have to wait long to show his stuff. He got called up to an American League team for 3 games last week and boy, did he take advantage of the opportunity. I saw him play on Friday when he played my son's team and he had an unbelievable game. He knocked down a wicked line drive to third and then stayed composed enough to throw the runner out at second (my son actually). Later I learned that he earned the game ball for that game. He certainly earned it with his play and in addition, it was really nice to see his good sportsmanship and patience rewarded. Way to go, Mike!
The other day, on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, my cousin wrote a very moving post on Facebook about how Fenway is her favorite place on Earth. This got me thinking about my favorite places (while I love Fenway, it doesn't make the list) and I realized that I would have a really hard time narrowing it down.
For starters, there is my favorite beach, Second Beach in Newport. It's my absolute favorite beach and it has given me so many memories that I absolutely cherish.
Block Island. We go there once a year with my mom and I love that she loves it and that now my kids love it too.
Italy. We went there on our honeymoon and visited Rome, Venice, Florence, Pompeii and I loved them all. But the highlight for me was Sorrento and the Isle of Capri. Before we embarked to go to the Isle of Capri, we saw an incredible sunrise and then when we got to Capri, we were lucky enough to go inside the amazing Blue Grotto. What makes the Blue Grotto so special is partly that it's not easy to get inside. It depends on the tide and the weather and if those are favorable, then you have to take a row boat and go through a small entrance (so small that my husband had to duck). But then you get inside and it's completely lit up electric blue. So cool!
At this point in my life though, I would have to say that my favorite place is the hammock in my front yard. It's my napping place, my escape from the world place, my daydreaming place. This spot was a complete mess when we moved in but I knew it had the potential to be great. So even though we had a TON of other work we should have been doing (we still do!), we spent one summer clearing this spot out. It has a natural hanging spot between two trees and when I lie there, nobody even knows that I'm there. I can easily pretend to be anywhere in the world. After spending time there, I find that when I get back up, I am re-energized (well, for the 2.5 or so seconds that it takes for my kids to start harassing me again.)
What's your favorite place or places? I would love to hear about them.
By the way, yesterday ended up being a day of favorites. In addition to getting to spend time (a 2 hour nap!) in my favorite place, I also ate dinner outside (another of my favorite things) and had my favorite dessert of strawberries, angel food cake and homemade whipped cream. Yum. Maybe all that will help soften the blow that today is not only a Sunday but it's also a Sunday at the end of a wonderful vacation. Which makes me :(
When I mentioned my Saturday morning cartoon idea to my husband, he said, "You are going to preempt it for Watergate, right?" Obviously the fact that Watergate preempted Saturday morning cartoons still bothers him, even though it has been almost 40 years since it happened. For years, the only thing that I knew about Watergate is that it was really boring, my mother was obsessed with it and we didn't get the T.V. after school or on Saturday mornings. But in my defense, I was only in kindergarten when the committee began public hearings in May of 1973.
This will only be a fake preempting though, I will still feature a cartoon. This cartoon features somone that would go on to be one of the most talented artists of a generation. Sadly, he was one of the most troubled and tragic figures of our lifetime as well. Looking back , he may have reached the pinnacle of his success by being a Saturday morning cartoon.
School vacation is almost over (boo), so I thought it would be fun to recap what has happened around here since school let out last Friday. The Red Sox went 3-3, not great but since they were 1-5 prior, we'll take it. The Bruins went 1-2 in their playoff series, again not great but the series now stands at 2-2, so I guess we'll take that too. On Saturday, we opened baseball in our town, always a welcome sign that spring is officially here:
On Saturday night, I helped my brother raise over $1200.00 for his upcoming "Run to Home Base". On Sunday, I had a great photo shoot with a terrific group of siblings:
On Monday, my kids and I went to Scusset Beach with my mom and some friends.
On Tuesday, my kids and I went to Horseneck Beach with my sister and her husband.
On Wednesday, I tackled the Mount Washington of laundry piles (shh, don't tell but I stole that line from someone at my daughter's softball practice). I also cleaned my garage which included finally storing the outside Christmas decorations in my basement. I also moved about a dozen or so boxes of tiles that will eventually be used for the still in progress bathroom (good thing I had 4 kids to help, 5 actually I made my son's friend help too).
On Thursday, my friend and I took my son and her boys into the open house to celebrate Fenway Park's 100th anniversary. It was a gorgeous day, a terrific event and best of all, free (well except for the $50 dollars, give or take a few, that we spent on food but the kids did get to eat on the right field roof deck and watch Daniel Bard throw his long toss):
They also sat on the dugout and at the site of the Ted William's mammoth home run:
They also got to pose as pitchers:
While we were roaming around my friend spotted this anachronism, a member of a barbershop quartet on a cell phone, too funny:
Then last night, I went to a meeting at my church about a proposed consolidation plan for the parishes in our town. I love my church and the sense of community that it engenders in me and the spirit of service it inspires in my children. Unfortunately, I left there with more questions than answers but for the moment, as someone said last night, I am taking a deep breath and keeping an open mind. I did the love the guy that stood up and wanted to know when the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was going to stop with the short term fixes and start coming up with some solutions for the long term. Great question, hopefully someday soon, Rome will be able to adequately answer it.
Today, I am going to either mow my lawn or finish cleaning my attic, maybe I'll be super efficient and do both. On any level, I think that this would have to qualify as a productive week and now that I write it all down, I understand why I am so tired. I may need a vacation to recover from my vacation.
Happy Friday, this week's Friday night video is Lionel Richie's "All Night Long". This is probably the video I would name if someone did one of those think quick questions about the first thing that you think of when you think of the show Friday Night Videos. Not that anyone would ever do that but I'm just saying this would be the one if they did.
Okay, I'm back to work and finally ready to blog about the Holt siblings. Before we get started there are a few things that you should know about. They are doing this portrait as a present for their mom for Mother's Day. There are 4 of them and I know the youngest one but it was the first time that I met the rest of them. They like to joke around and tease each other (sometimes mercilessly) but you could tell that they really cared for and enjoyed each other. I have four kids and if they interact this way as adults, then I would be pretty happy (we are not quite there yet but hope springs eternal).
We started by the steps but there was another photographer working nearby. This made me a little uncomfortable so we quickly moved on but not before getting at least one good shot:
I had another location in mind for them anyway. Actually what I didn't tell them at this point is that I had about an hour's worth of walking planned for them. Luckily, they were so great that they indulged me and all my walking around. We started at this walking bridge so that we could get some shots that also included reflections:
Anyone with more than one sibling has at one time or another been lined up height, so I thought it would be fun to do one of those:
I mentioned when I blogged yesterday that they were awesome enough to climb onto a roof for me. What I didn't mention is that I went to the sheep pasture the day before to scout it out and wandered around. I came across this old building that is high in front and low in back. I was hoping that if we got back to this spot that they would climb up on the roof. They were such great subjects that I didn't even have to ask them, they asked me if they should climb up there. Of course, I said that I didn't think it was a good idea because it wouldn't be safe, just kidding, I totally egged them on!!
Then we took one or two back on safe ground:
We wandered some more and took some more pictures. At this point, they were doing my job for me and were suggesting spots and ideas:
The best was when we emerged from the woods and someone commented that they didn't realize that we had made a loop and that we were going to end up pretty much back where we started. Maybe if this photography thing doesn't work out, I can be a guide of some sort!
To see the rest of the Holt sibling pictures, please click here.
I know, I know, I definitely should be blogging today (or editing, or cleaning, or doing laundry, I need to show you all the picture of the mountain of laundry I have to fold so you would know how much of a slacker I really am). But I'm not going to do any of what I should be doing, I am going to the beach again. There are a couple of reasons that I am going to succumb to temptation: I have new people to go with (my sister and her hubby), I had a blast yesterday, the rest of the week is supposed to be not so nice and one of my kids stayed home yesterday because she had to go to the dentist so I gave her the option of going today. All this adds up to temptation winning this round. April beach days don't come around all the time (big rationalization coming here), so I thought it was more important to take advantage. Wow, I'm getting pretty good at this rationalization thing. Just so you don't think that I am totally leaving you hanging, I will once again tease the Holt siblings (hey I might get the whole week out of this!) They really were seriously awesome, they even climbed up onto a roof for me!
I had a very busy weekend this weekend and I have a lot that I should blog about today. I say should because I am just going to do a quick highlight because I'm going be a slacker and go to the beach instead of working today. Yes! I am logging my second beach day of the year today and it is only April!! Unbelievable.
Saturday morning was our town's annual baseball parade and as I said last year, nothing says small town America like hundreds of kids marching through town in baseball uniforms. It was an absolutely beautiful day for it too!
Saturday night we had a fundraiser for my brother who is running in the "Run to Home Base" run in May. This is a tremendous cause that helps support wounded soldiers returning home. The race starts and ends at Fenway Park and is quite moving. I am happy to say that through the generosity of his friends and family and random strangers, my brother raised $1236.00! I am so proud of him for his commitment to this wonderful cause.
Then yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting the Holt siblings at the sheep pasture to take some pictures of the four of them as a present for their mom for Mother's Day. They were so funny and accommodating that before we knew it, an hour had passed. I am working on editing their pictures and hope to have them done soon (I would probably have them done today but did I mention that I'm going to the beach? There will be plenty of time for work later in the week when it's rainy and cold).
Good luck to all the runners today. I hope that everyone does well and more importantly, exercises a healthy dose of common sense with regard to the weather conditions.