Archive for Mar 2010

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March 30, 2010 >Double the Luck?

>Finding a four-leaf clover is lucky, right? So what does that make a SIX-leaf one? I didn’t believe Ryan at first when he said he’d found a 6-leaf clover–I thought he had just stuck two regular ones together, sort of an early April Fool’s joke, but no. It’s the real deal!

1171421633 ubjmm L >Double the Luck?

>Ours is a baseball family. Okay, that’s not entirely true, because Ryan also plays basketball, and there is a lot of time devoted to college football and golf by those with y-chromosomes in our crew. But the sport that will always hold a special spot in our lives is the game of the boys of summer.

Kevin played baseball throughout his childhood, and we fell in love listening to the Orioles on the radio, eating ice cream in his El Camino. When we had a son, there was little question that he would be introduced to the game. And when something is taught with the love and enthusiasm that my husband has, one can’t help loving it too.

He has coached all of Ryan’s teams, starting when he was just a tiny four-year-old playing T-ball. And now parents actually ask to get their sons on his team. He’s the kind of coach that inspires kids to strive to be their best. And he not only teaches the “hows” of the game’s skills, but also the “whys.” I might be a little proud of him… (you think??!!)

1171416394 WAyij L >Knocking off the Cobwebs
This year he has two more dads who have volunteered to be assistant coaches.
1171418094 7ukDi L >Knocking off the Cobwebs
Tonight was the first practice of the regular season, and the excitement was hard to miss. But this is just the beginning for our season which will extend well into the end of July thanks to the challenge and All-Star league tournaments that Ryan participates in too.
1171419457 R4abT L >Knocking off the Cobwebs
Ryan is a good pitcher, a really good hitter, an excellent center fielder, and an outstanding base runner (brag much, Anne?). There’s a reason that he’s the lead-off hitter on every team, and his nickname is “Wheels” because he rolls around the bases so fast.
1171420721 yoe4B L >Knocking off the Cobwebs
I’ve always enjoyed watching him play ball, but over the past few years, as the kids’ skills have increased it has become downright exciting. I can’t wait to see what this season will bring.

>Soon after we moved to North Carolina, our next door neighbors moved in with two large labs: Bear and Ruby. We have always had cats in our home because they just fit our lifestyle, and as a result our kids aren’t real comfortable around dogs.

Bear’s head is above my waist, so you can imagine my three-year-old girls’ reactions to him! They were quite simply terrified.

But over the years we’ve all come to know that Bear is a sweet, gentle creature, who absolutely loves children (he lives in a home with four young girls). The “love” that he tolerates is often tough (or at least rough) love, and I’ve never heard him growl even once.

1177301766 h5zHB L >Bear. A Friendly Giant
He has a malignant tumor in his shoulder that has returned after surgery, so we don’t know how much longer this gentle giant will be a part of our lives. And even though he is not a member of our family, he has earned a place in our hearts.

March 22, 2010 >Spring has Sprung!

>Spring is definitely my favorite time of the year…

The school year is winding down towards the wonderful lazy days of summer.

The flowers are in bloom, and while my allergies may drive me a little nuts between the grasses and the leaves, I really don’t mind because we’re surrounded by beauty.

1171405922 YLXW7 L >Spring has Sprung!
The camellias are blooming for the second time–they were also open at the beginning of winter. I think these may be one of my favorite flowers.
1171407860 x2Pqp L >Spring has Sprung!
I love seeing the little leaf buds on the trees. We have much more year-round green here in NC than we did in MD thanks to all the pines, but the greening of the leafy trees is such a beautiful sight.
1171409994 Dqrk5 L >Spring has Sprung!
This little witch hazel bush is so vibrant and splashy in the spring! Come summer, it will just have plain green foliage.
1171412076 Y2my8 L >Spring has Sprung!
And some people may not like pear trees, but I think they’re great! I know that they have some drawbacks with shallow roots and breaking in bad ice or strong winds, but driving down a road lined with them when they’re all in bloom looks like a fairyland to me.

Our friends have an annual St. Patrick’s Day party at their home that we so look forward to each year. We write limericks, and bring food, and laugh. A lot.

I like to bring something in the food department that somehow relates to the theme of the party. One year I brought an avocado corn salsa (it’s green!), and I’ve brought a hot reuben dip, and even a Guiness chocolate cheesecake (ah. maze. ing.). This year I stumbled across this little recipe, and it is a real keeper! I made it using mini red potatoes so that they would be bite-sized.

1168770606 uPfD6 L Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes   Recipe

Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes
2 boxes of mini red potatoes
8 slices of bacon, cooked and really crispy for crumbling
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup shredded, sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the potatoes in preheated oven until tender.
When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
Slice the potatoes in half and scoop the flesh out into a large bowl. SAVE THE SKINS! I like to scoop just about all the potato out since they’re so tiny. The skins are a bit fragile, so practice with this a bit.
Cream the insides of the potatoes with the sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 the cheese and 1/2 the green onions. After it is well-mixed, stir in the bacon by hand.
Gently spoon the mixture into the potato skins. And maybe a little bit into your mouth…
Top each with remaining cheese and green onions, and then bake for another 15 minutes.
Try not to eat them all before you get to where you’re going! (I double-dog dare you!)

>My house runneth over with nerf-gun bullets. Every place I look there is bound to be at least one of those bright orange sticks lying around. Not only is Ryan obsessed with them, his sisters gladly join in the nerf wars around the house.

Parents are not safe from being ambushed either. But now the weather is nice outside. And I have moved the nerf wars to the great outdoors.

The boys in the neighborhood are having a great time joining in the nerf madness, and the game has morphed into capture the flag.

1171392367 omiKP L >Boys Will be Boys   {Capture the Flag}
Kevin is often commenting that perhaps the kids are old enough to take down the play set (which I am not even remotely ready to accept). Now, thanks to this newest game, I can point to the fact that it is still being regularly used by even the older kids…
1171394380 VrGj5 L >Boys Will be Boys   {Capture the Flag}
Even the most camera shy will allow me to stalk them during capture the flag.
1171396543 mKHz7 L >Boys Will be Boys   {Capture the Flag}
1171398643 tcKL7 L >Boys Will be Boys   {Capture the Flag}
The shouts and laughter as the kids play actively outside fill my heart with gladness! I love that they are having so much fun just being kids.
1171400254 jVpYK L >Boys Will be Boys   {Capture the Flag}
And I really love that the nerf bullets are now raining down outside for the next few months…
1171402157 a64Ra L >Boys Will be Boys   {Capture the Flag}

March 11, 2010 >Growing Up {POTD}

>We tend to measure our children’s growing up by the big milestones: first smile, rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, potty training, etc. But so often the tiny moments in their lives that represent maturing are lost on us.

1177303801 PyaKf L >Growing Up {POTD}
Today my girls have asked to please have more “grown up” panties. With flowers on them. Or peace signs. Or polka dots. Or days of the week. Or just, gulp, plain.

So while I rejoiced the day(s) that we moved from diapers to big girl pants, today I’m feeling a little sad to leave those days of princesses and care bears behind.

>I can remember when watching one of Ryan’s basketball games was tedious, at best.

1148239549 JM7kW L 3 >Shoot. Dribble. Defense!
When the scores never made it into the double digits.
1177301657 BUkUz L >Shoot. Dribble. Defense!
But now our kdis are learning how to set up screens and picks and get around defenders. Not to mention how to run a great defense (our team has led the league in defense this year).
1148241645 jAh6z L 2 >Shoot. Dribble. Defense!
Oh, and those single digit scores? Ryan has gotten into the double digits in points on his own a few times!

Basketball has become in a word: Exciting.

March 6, 2010 >Shall We Dance?

>Our elementary school began having a father daughter dance last year, and it was such a success that it is now an annual thing. Pappy had been wanting to come visit and watch some of Ryan’s basketball games, and this seemed like a perfect weekend for him to come and do something special with all his grandkids.

The girls were excited to have two escorts! They rarely want to wear dresses anymore, and it was so enjoyable getting them all dolled up. And what is a dance without pictures?

1177386403 W89Zx L >Shall We Dance?
1181389217 Se3HA L >Shall We Dance?

1177300310 ih5wD L >Shall We Dance?

>I have always remembered Dr. Seuss’s birthday a few days too late to have a fun and silly celebration of our favorite author. This year, the girls’ first grade classes had pajama days and pancake parties to celebrate so I got my act together to do something at dinner.

1177293560 TivCk L >I DO like them, Sam I am!
Ryan knew about my plans, and was excited to join in the silliness. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were so surprised! Thing 2 dug in to her green eggs without hesitation, but not Thing 1 which wasn’t too big of a surprise since she doesn’t like them when they’re yellow either!

1177294596 mYXdv L >I DO like them, Sam I am!

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