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March, 2012:

Major Conflict

I’m not sure if you heard, but . . .

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And since it’s officially spring, baseball has started here on the Front Range. Dude and I had a major conflict when registering for baseball. He wanted to try out for a majors team. I didn’t want him to.

Why didn’t I want him to? . . .

  1. He’s never played on a majors team before.
  2. He’s 11, and it’s an 11/12 year old league, which means that when 11 year olds get drafted to majors teams, they’re typically the 10th and 11th guys on the team, which means more bench time than playing time.
  3. It’s a more competetive schedule with some limited travelling.
  4. It’s a longer season with more games.
  5. Games and practices are “in town” on the nicer fields rather than up here on our local fields (which are JUST FINE!).

Why did he want to? . . .

  1. He’s got some friends who have played on majors teams in the past and are trying out again this year.
  2. He wants to learn more about the game.
  3. He’s DYING to play in a real live tournament.

So I registered him for majors because, in reality, I’ve seen the kids in this league play. There are so many good 12 year olds that I didn’t think he’d make it this year.

Then I got the list of kids who made majors so I could refund moolah to those who didn’t (I’m the registration person for the league). Imagine my surprise when Dude’s name was on the list! Serious total surprise. He’s a good player, but he’s never played majors so he doesn’t know the coaches, I don’t know the coaches, and he didn’t exactly dazzle anyone with his skills at tryouts 😉 But, he must’ve done something right because he got drafted :-) He was BESIDE himself excited. He was a bit bummed because his friends got drafted to the other team, but he does have one teammate from last year that he really liked on the same team this year.

I was nervous. For Dude. We had the following conversations over a few days . . .

Me: You know this means a bigger commitment for the entire spring, right?
Dude: Yes.
M: Like as in, you can’t go to the Spring Camporee for Boy Scouts.
D: I can’t? Bummer. But I have more camps this year. I’d rather play baseball on majors this spring.

M: You know it will be more competetive for playing time, right?
D: Yup.
M: As in, not everyone on the team HAS to play or get close to equal playing time like in past years.
D: Uh Huh. I know.

M: You do know that since you’re 11, you’ll probably be the 10th or 11th guy on the team, which means more bench time, right?
D: Yeah – I know. But at least I’ll have really good coaches that I’ll learn from for next year.

Well then – can’t argue with the kid on that! And when Coach sent the “official” roster to the players, he put the kids’ ages on there. There are 9 eleven year olds on the team and only 2 twelve year olds! Woot!

So I will spend the next 3 months of my life sitting in bleachers staring at one of the most beautiful things out there . . . boys playing baseball.

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At his first practice last Friday, he found out that this year, he would not be a Twin. Instead, he’ll be a:

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We’re not thrilled about that, but I am a little happy because last year when he was on the Twins team, he wore these pants:

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Why coaches request white baseball pants for boys is beyond me! But this year, the coach has ordered these:

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When I saw dark gray pants with black piping, the angels may have actually sung :-)

So we have officially entered the world of Majors baseball. He was nervous as all get out at the first practice and made a ton of mistakes. On the way home, he just kept saying “Why would I do that? I never do that!” or “Why did I try to catch like that? I don’t do that!” or “I can’t believe I did that. I never do that!” I just told him “Don’t think, MEAT!” :-) Yes, I did say that. And then we continued with “Coach picked you for a reason.” and “You belong on that team. Those kids aren’t any better than you. They’ve just played competetive baseball more.” and “Loosen up. Stop trying so hard. It’s baseball. Baseball is a game. Games are fun. Just go out there and play how you usually do and enjoy it.”

So he’s happier than all get out that he made a majors team. I’m happier than all get out because my FunRunner gets to smell like this for the next 3 months:

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Ahhhhh – the awesome wonderful smell of baseball glove and dirt :-) My friend, DW, suggested they make the seats in vehicles out of the same leather they make baseball gloves out of. I think he’s on to something!

What Lesson Are You Teaching?

Parents amaze me. You’d think I’d have gotten used to it by now, but nope – I haven’t.

I will start out by saying that in no way, shape, or form do I even begin to think that I am a perfect parent or person. I’ve made some really bad parenting choices in the past and most likely will in the future; however, to me, the important parenting moments are those when you openly admit your mistakes to your kids. Nobody is perfect – not me, not you, not anybody. All you can do is what you think is best at any given moment.

I will continue by saying that in no way, shape, or form do I even begin to think that my kids are perfect and “deserving” of anything other than mine and Hubby’s love and guidance. Everything else, they have to earn by making good choices and working hard.

I’m on the board for a local Little League. I run registration each year. Kids who are 9/10 or 11/12 can register to try out for a minors team or a majors team. Majors teams are a bit more competetive, travel a little, and play an occassional tournament. After try outs, the two coaches in each age division draft their teams from the pool of ALL 150 players. Each year, not everyone makes a majors team. We only have 2 teams and 50 kids that try out for it. We also have a couple kids who register for minors that the coaches liked and are drafted to a majors team and given the opportunity to play in that league if they want to.

Sadly, each year, there are a handfull of parents who can’t believe that their kid wasn’t drafted to a majors team, and instead of taking the $30 difference in registration fee that we refund, they take their ball, and their kid, and go home. Yes – they quit the league.

What the hell kind of message is that? If you don’t get what you want, just quit? If you had a bad tryout, stomp your feet, throw a fit, and quit? If you don’t get your way and find out that maybe you’re not as great and awesome and perfect as your parents think you are, quit and don’t even try?

How about this lesson . . . sorry you didn’t make majors, son. Try your hardest in the minors division this season, then try out for the all star team and prove to them that they should’ve drafted you. Maybe next year you’ll get drafted to a majors team.

Last year, Dude’s team had 4 kids on it who had tried out for majors as 9/10 year olds but didn’t make it. Those kids came out and played, tried hard, practiced, HAD FUN, and didn’t whine. His team won the minors division for his age group.

This year, 3 of those 4 kids were drafted to majors teams in the 11/12 year old division. Hard work, patience, and ATTITUDE pays off.

Oh – and did I mention that this is LITTLE LEAGUE, these KIDS are 9, 10, 11, and 12 years old, and that it’s BASEBALL? Since when does a kid get to just quit because he didn’t get on the team he wanted?  Since when is it OK for a parent to pull his kid out of an entire season because he didn’t get chosen first? How in the hell do these people think that having their kid sit out a season is going to make them better in any way, shape, or form?

In my personal opinion, there are few ways better to spend a Saturday in the spring than at the ball field watching young boys play baseball. In my son’s opinion, there are few ways better to spend a Saturday in the spring than at the ball field PLAYING baseball.

I wouldn’t dream of taking that away from him.

It’s Official – I Have An Office

After 8 months of “working” on a 6 foot folding table in my “hobby room” – I finally bought a desk.

I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t gone crazy with actually working since I quite my job and started working for our own companies last July. I’ve done work, but not as much paid work as I could be doing. I have, however, enjoyed some free time in the evenings, not being overwhelmed trying to fit in the volunteer stuff that I love, and not running around like a crazy person trying to get from work to kid events to home to whatever else it is we have going on.

But, the time came . . . and I figured if I was actually going to make myself work at home, I needed a desk – with drawers for supplies and files and all that jazz. OK, so anyone who knows me has probably figured out that not having  a desk wasn’t the problem. The real problem was that I had a cluttered work space – and I HATE clutter.

Anyhoo – I went shopping and ordered a desk. Surprisingly, knowing you have 2 days to wait for a desk to arrive is enough to convince yourself that you can’t possibly work until you get the desk, even though you haven’t ever had a desk at home before! Apparently this was only a surprise to me . . . Hubby and QT knew full well I would do absolutely no work until I got my desk 😉

It’s amazing how a nice organized clean desk and office has changed my attitude about working . . . it hasn’t convinced me to get out of my pajamas before noon, but it has made it much easier to sit down and work in my new office.

And, it’s really the first time I had an office to myself in all my years of employment. I had to give up my hobby room for it, but it was worth it – however, Hubby and the kiddos might not agree if I leave all my scrapbooking stuff set up out in the living room much longer!

Spring Fever?

The Minnesotan in me loves winter. I love snow and cold and fires in the fireplace and game nights with the fam on nights that get dark way too early.

Here on the front range, we didn’t really get winter. It’s really quite a bummer. And this past week, it’s been in the 60s. Yes 60s. No snow. Kiddos wearing shorts to school! It actually rained the other day instead of snowing.

Last weekend, Dude and I spent the weekend at the baseball field for Little League tryouts, and we didn’t freeze to death! It was beautiful out. No hot chocolate. No stocking caps. No gloves. No long underwear. No fleece pullovers. No little kids so bundled up they can’t even swing the bat. Just regular old short-sleeved baseball jerseys and baseball attire.

We couldn’t take it anymore, so despite the warm temperatures they’re having up in the mountains, we decided to spend a day on the slopes with some friends on Sunday. Apparently, we were slightly challenged packing for this trip – or at least I was. The problem was that I had all day Saturday while the boys were at Scout training and Princess was at a friend’s house. Instead of going through my regular packing routine, I meandered around, getting distracted do other things in between packing our stuff. I didn’t forget anything important, but we did forget the two-way radios and a camera. After a slow start in the hotel after the time change, we finally made it to Copper, where I discovered a screw had fallen out of my binding on the drive up. I went to get that fixed while Hubby and the kids waited for our friends to text back where to meet them on the mountain. The fix it shop didn’t have the right stuff to fix my binding, so they jimmy-rigged it for the day. Turns out our friend’s phone battery ran out that morning, so we couldn’t get a hold of them either since I forgot the radios. We decided to head up the lift and see what happened. We did hear from them a while later, and were able to meet up right before lunch :-) It was great to be able to hang out with them on the mountain for the rest of the afternoon after our incredibly inefficient start to the day.

It was rediculously warm, there were  a lot of people, and the snow was craptastic, but a day hurling yourself down the mountain on bad snow is better than a good day in the city any time :-)

Spring is in the air . . . and the baseball gear is in the car right along side the snowboards . . . life is good!

Happy Tawts!

Saturday evening, me and the fam went to a farewell party for a friend. We met Jason Robinson through Boy Scouts. His son is very active in the troop (one year older than Dude), and Jason R. is an awesome Assistant Scoutmaster. He is awesome with the boys and likes nothing more than to sleep out in the woods on all the campouts, help the younger scouts get going, encourage the middle scouts to lead, and help the older scouts complete their Eagle projects.

Jason is leaving on a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan on Friday. He will be deeply missed by his immediate family and his scouting family.

Please think some extra happy thoughts for a safe deployment and quick return for Jason.