Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The First Sixteen years

February 1, 1996, the day that forever altered the course of my life.  It's the day I became a mom for the very first time and embarked on this journey that I've been on for the past sixteen years.  And it's the day that I met the first person I'd love unconditionally for his entire lifetime.

J was truly the easiest, happiest baby any mother could have hoped for.  He was always sunny, smiling, and good natured.  His heart of pure gold was evident to everyone who met him and we all took pleasure in spoiling him.  Even now as a teenager, he's still my easiest kid.

For the past sixteen years, J has filled my heart with so many wonderful memories.  And tonight, on the eve of his 16th birthday, those memories are running like a silent film through my mind's eye.  J as a baby barely able to sit up, holding the tiny plastic baseball bat my dad bought him. His first day of school. Becoming a big brother.  His first Little League game.  The first time he said, "mommy I'm going to be a baseball player."  School pageants, dances, and field trips.  His 8th grade graduation.  His first day of high school.  Swim meets.   Countless baseball games. Trying out for TP.  The list of memories goes on and on, and I hold each one near and dear to my heart.

The older he gets, the more bittersweet the passing of time becomes for me.  I'm so thankful to have a healthy, happy son who is living life to the fullest, pursuing his dreams, and rapidly approaching adulthood.  But I'm also reminded with every passing day that we're getting closer to the time when my baby will spread his wings and leave the nest, changing my world forever once again.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Classic Twirling Competition

I've written a lot of posts about baseball tournaments on this blog.  I do enjoy watching J play and thoroughly enjoy all the time we spend at games.  However, I've always been a girly girl and this weekend I got to enjoy something that definitely falls into the category of girly.  A began taking baton last summer and yesterday her team competed in their first twirling competition of the season.  What a fun and enjoyable day we had!

Having never participated in anything like this, I was unsure what to expect.  My mom and I headed out with A at 6:00a.m in order to make the 7:45a.m.  reporting time.  The competition began at 8:30.  When we arrived there was a lot of activity as girls ranging in age from 5 on up to probably 20, hustled to get ready.  My mom and I immediately set about getting A ready for her first event.  She was entered in a group pom pom routine, military marching, and the title event of Strut Queen.  (More on that later)  Once A had her hair done in the style specified for the routine by her coach, and we had applied her make up, she went off with her group to warm up.  Group routines were first, and A's group did excellent with their pom pom routine.  Other girls from A's team competed in group twirling routines and they all did great, too.  Following group events, it was time for the modeling categories.  Entrants in these categories could choose to model a dress or costume.  A was modeling a costume as part of the Strut queen event.  She modeled a little pink and black flapper style costume with her usual sassy flair.  She then changed into a plain black leotard to do compulsories, a series of twirls she performed in front of a single judge and was graded on.  Next she changed into another pink and black costume and got ready for her marching.  She did military marching both individually and as part of her Strut Queen.  She also did basic marching as part of Strut Queen.  After that, A was finished with her events and enjoyed watching the other girls compete in presentation, strut, and solo routines.

Awards for groups were given out at the conclusion of the group routines.  A's group got first place for pom pom.  Throughout the day, results for the modeling and marching categories were posted and athletes could pick up their trophies and ribbons from the results table.  A was thrilled when she got a second place trophy for military marching.  Late in the afternoon, awards were announced for the title events.  A's little face lit up when her name was announced as the winner for Strut Queen in the 0-6 year old age division.  She proudly stood on the winner's block to receive her sash and trophy.  I will report that she was the only contestant in her age category for Strut Queen.  She doesn't know that.  She thinks she rocked it, (which she did!) and is now eager to compete again in the next competition.  As for the Strut Queen title, I admit to entering her in that event simply because the name not only made me laugh, it suits A's personality down to the ground.

A enjoyed yesterday very much and so did I.  She definitely is looking forward to continuing baton and competing in more competitions.

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Step Closer

J completed the fourth and final day of tryouts for his school baseball team this afternoon. Originally he didn't think he'd find out until Monday whether or not he made the team.  However, at the conclusion of tryouts, the head coach announced the list of names of those who made the team.  I'm happy to report that J will be playing a sophomore season for his school!

I've been a ball of nerves and worry the past four days.  Even though I knew in my heart he would make it, there's always that element of worry.  J, hubby, and Coach C all told me not to worry, but I did anyway, enough for all of us.  Happily, the knot in the pit of my stomach dissolved the moment J called on the way home from tryouts to report he'd made the team.

Practice begins Monday and he'll find out then if he'll be playing JV or varsity.  Honestly, he'll be happy either way.  And so will I.  As Coach C put it, it's a win win.  If he makes varsity as a sophomore it will be a huge honor for him, even though he might not get as much  playing time as the juniors and seniors.  If he makes JV, he'll likely get a lot of playing time and really have the opportunity to shine.  Either way, he's primed to have a fantastic sophomore season.  He's made one more step down the road toward the dreams he's hell bent on chasing.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Birthday Girl

After N was born, hubby and I debated for a few years on whether or not to add a third child to our family.  Hubby was content with two, but I never felt like our family was quite complete.  Eventually hubby came around to my way of thinking and we found out A was on the way in May of 2005.  I can honestly tell you I would have been thrilled to have another boy but I was over the moon excited when we found out at 20 weeks that A was a girl.  My mom and I lasted less than 48 hours after the ultrasound before we were out buying all the pink and purple we could get our hands on.  And on January 18, 2006, A made her debut into the world, forever changing our family.

Even before birth A was full of sass.  She was the toughest of my three pregnancies and deliveries, giving me everything from raging heartburn to gestational diabetes.  She was feisty, stubborn, and independent right from the start, often earning herself the nickname the cranky princess.  As a toddler she was lightening quick and had a fondness for pouring everything from lotion to syrup onto the floor the second my back was turned.  More than once I found myself both exasperated and amused at her antics.  She's never been shy about letting us know what she wants, when she wants it.  And she protests, loudly, when she doesn't get her way.  A's sass and vinegar as I like to call it, is a large part of who she is. But there's also a softer, sweeter side to her personality.  She's a little girl who loves her stuffed bunny, reading bedtime stories, and tagging along after her big brothers.  She is equal parts tomboy and girly girl and part of her charm is never knowing which facet of her personality will be evident  at any given moment.  She's wickedly funny; we never know what she's going to say or do next.    Whatever it is, it usually makes us laugh, even when we probably shouldn't.

For six years, A has been turning our world on end and we wouldn't have it any other way.  She completed our family in a way that only she could.  When she was a few weeks old, I was changing her diaper  when hubby came into her room.  "You were right," he said.  I asked about what.  "About our family not being complete.  I can't imagine our lives without her."

Happy Sixth Birthday my sweet, sassy girl!  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tryout Time

Tomorrow is the first day of tryouts for the high school baseball team.  J is relaxed and calm tonight, completely confident in his ability to be selected for the team.  He's done everything he can to prepare.  He's followed his training program for twenty-one weeks, and continues to do so, with a few changes.  He attended three weeks of conditioning that the head coach held before the holidays.  He's spent the week practicing and brushing up on his hitting, throwing, and fielding.  He's as ready as he can possibly be.

So why do I have a knot in the pit of my stomach that will likely remain there until the results of the tryouts are posted next Monday?  Because worrying and being nervous about the tryouts is just part of being a baseball mom.  J, hubby, and Coach C aren't worried or nervous.  They're all confident in J's ability to make the team.  I am, too.  But I'll still worry and be nervous this week.  All of the what ifs and could go wrongs will run through my mind, even though J made the team last year.  I'll worry because sometimes even when you've done everything right, things don't always work out.

Despite the nerves and worrying I'll do this week, I'm also excited.  J has worked long and hard to get to this point and I know in my heart he's going to go out on that field this week and give his all.  Coach C is confident he'll be one of the most, if not the most, physically conditioned player on the field, a payoff of all this training.  I'm confident he'll play with the most heart of any player there, knowing that he has the support of hubby, his siblings,Coach C, our family and friends.  He knows he has my support 100%, too, because after all, his mama is his biggest fan.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Team TP Update

Last summer, J had a great experience playing for Coach C on the Top Prospects 16U team.  It was his first real experience with tournament baseball and he not only learned a lot and grew as a player, he formed new friendships with his fellow players.  Hubby and I enjoyed getting to know the parents of his teammates.  N and A made friends with other younger siblings, and A enjoyed her role as the dugout diva, hanging with Coach C, Coach K, and the boys at almost every game.  She learned all kinds of fun skills, such as spitting sunflower seeds and  how to play wiffle ball.  Since the end of the summer season, we've all been looking forward to next summer and a new season with TP.  

This past weekend Coach C held tryouts for the 16U 2012 summer team.   Unfortunately, due to some of the boys having to move up to play on the 18U team, we won't have our entire team back come summer.  Happily though, we have seven returning players, which gives Coach C a solid core to begin building the new team on.  Several players tried out this weekend, and I know Coach C was pleased with several of the prospects he saw.  He'll fill some roster spots now, and hold off on filling a few til later in the spring.  By May, we'll hopefully have a solid team with the ability to play hard and well this summer.  Until then, the boys will all be busy with their high school seasons.  That includes Coach C, who is coaching a JV team for a high school near his college.  

So even though it's early, we're already looking forward to hot summer weekends filled with baseball games.  In the meantime, I hope all of our players, both old and new, take the opportunity to have terrific high school baseball seasons.  And show up ready to play this summer in true TP style.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mini Camp

As Coach C mentioned in his guest post last week, he's had J doing a mini camp this week in preparation for try outs.  Originally they were going to work on the beach every day, but due to some fairly cold weather and the amount of rocks on the beach, they've been training at one of the local baseball fields instead since Tuesday.  So far everything has gone well.  J has been able to handle everything Coach C has had him doing without complaint or too much difficulty.  The workouts have mainly focused on speed and agility, and have included parachutes, bungee cords, and harnesses.  Today they focused on plyometrics, using hurdles and ladders.  Tomorrow will be obstacle course day or "fun Friday" as Coach C called it.

Try outs for TP's summer team are this Saturday, followed by J's school try outs in less than two weeks.  J says he feels ready to tackle the try outs.  Especially the school try outs, where he'll be showing a brand new coaching staff what he can do.  From here, Coach C will likely tweak his workout program a bit to shift the focus more to playing baseball for the time being.  I have several questions I need to ask him to get it all straight in my mind and make sure J continues on the right path.  After twenty weeks of intense training and hard work, it's time to show off the results, and really see how far he's come.

J has enjoyed this week on many levels.  He's getting to the point where the working out is becoming a habit.  As he sees the results of his efforts, it makes it easier to continue on, even when the training gets tougher.  He's thoroughly enjoyed spending all this time with Coach C the past few weeks.   The two of them always have a good time, even when they're hard at work.  Case in point, Coach C shooting J with Nerf darts at various points during today's workout.  I think J also sees the approach of the try outs as a milestone on the path to his dreams.  As a sophomore, he still has a long way to go, but a good season now will really lay the groundwork for his future.

It's almost time for life to get back to normal as the holiday break draws to a close.  The kids all go back to school Monday, Coach C will be returning to college, and we'll all settle into a new normal routine as the baseball season gets under way.   I will say that we'll miss Coach C.  We've gotten used to having him around these past weeks.  But summer will be here before we know it and it will be time for another fabulous tournament season with TP.