Sunday, July 28, 2013

June Family Visit

My parents came for a week long visit at the beginning of June.  The kids were so excited and we had a great time with them.  Even though the big kids were still in school, we squeezed in lots of fun while they were here.

My family grew up BIG Yankee baseball fans, so if the Yankees are ever in town playing the Mariner's while my Dad is here, you can bet that we are at that game.  

This was our first time ever taking the twins to a Mariner game.  They are almost 4.  Our other kids went to Mariner games when they were both babies- under a year old.  But having 4 kids at a baseball game late a night, especially with 2 babies, never really appealed to us.  We figured that if one or both of them cried and were miserable the whole game and we had to wrestle with them all night, it wouldn't be any fun for any of us.  But we decided this was the year we went as a whole family! 

We went to the game about 2 hours early to watch batting practice.  Mitch happily put on his Yankee shirt and took his mitt with him in hopes of catching a ball during batting practice.  Don't mind Ben's Mariner hat- he did not grow up a Blakeslee and therefore is not the Yankee fan that his wife is.  But just for the record- when the Yankees aren't in town, I am a BIG Mariner fan.    

These sweet girls don't have any Yankee gear yet and were so excited to wear old Mariner shirts that Chloe and Mitchell used to fit into.  I was so worried that they'd grow tired and restless during batting practice but they did so great.

Papa loved being at batting practice too!

As luck would have it, Mitch was lucky enough to get a stray ball thrown to him by a Mariner player.  He caught it in his little mitt (after dropping it once) and was thrilled. 

Luck struck again and by us yelling and being loud and persistent (and with 4 cute kids waving their little mitts), a Mariner player threw a ball to Chloe as well.  She dropped it twice, I believe, but the player was so kind and patient and kept throwing it back to her until she caught it.

Another happy fan!

My two ball players with their Yankee/Mariner balls.
Leah borrowed Chloe's mitt after that and was hopeful that lightning would strike a 3rd time and she'd get a ball as well.  No such luck.  And I knew that if our family got a 3rd ball thrown to them, the family sitting above us with anxious kids would become very disgruntled. :)

We watched them chalk the baselines after batting practice was over.

We then made our way to our real seats for the game- the family section in center field.  Right after we sat down, the Yankee pitcher for the game, Andy Petite (no. 46), came out onto the field for a little warming up.  Andy Petite has been my favorite Yankee pitcher since I was a kid and I have never seen him pitch in person.  My dad hadn't either and was desperately hoping he'd be up in the rotation to pitch this game.  We were both in luck and it was so fun to watch him pitch a great game.

The twins were fantastic during the game.  They were happy and never complained. 

Lexi loved wearing our old school Mariner hard hat that Ben and I bought right after we got married.

One of my favorite sights- a baseball field.

Sitting in the family section, we are very close to the Moose Den.  Sometime in the 2nd or 3rd inning, my Mom and I took the kids up to visit him.  The kids love seeing him.

It was a great game with lots of great hits.  The Yanks won, 3-1, earning Petite his 250th career win (the 47th major league pitcher to reach this milestone).

On our way home, we stopped by a nearby park to finish off our baseball day with a little playing of our own.  Mitch has really taken on a fast love for baseball and was thrilled to be playing with the world's biggest baseball fan- my dad.

After some warmup throwing, my Dad pitched to the kids and let them each bat.

The twins were happy to play in the dirt.

My kids sure loved having Grandma and Papa to play with all week.  My mom is so good to play endless games with my kids.

Chloe loved playing duets with Grandma.

My dad helped us find a great bunkbed for an amazing price at a garage sale- just 4 doors down!  When Ben got home from work, Dad helped Ben haul it to our house and helped him set it up in Mitch's room.

It's an awesome bed.  Besides just 2 beds, it has a desk on one end and a set of drawers on the other.  It's made of real wood and is super, super sturdy.  $50 was a steal of a deal and when set up in Mitch's room, it was like it had always been there!

We recently just bought season passes to two local zoos here.  We get 3 free guests every time we go, so we had to take my parents while we were here.  It was fantastic weather too, so that was a bonus.

We went to Point Defiance.  The kids had a great time.

Can't go to this zoo without a picture in the shark teeth cutout!

They let a peacock roam the zoo and my kids loved chasing after it every time we saw him.

Our favorite exhibit of the day was the walruses.  We got there right at feeding time and the trainers had the walruses put on quite the show for us.  We must have watched them for at least 30 minutes.  It was fascinating. 

Mitch with one of his favorite animals- the polar bears!

Sure love doing fun things with these sweet kids.

Before we left, we fed the goats.

The night before my parents left, we headed to another park to play one last round of baseball.  Mitch was in heaven!

Grandma played with the girls on the nearby playground.

We ended the night, and their visit, with dinner at Red Robin. 

We love having visitors and sure had a great visit with Grandma and Papa!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

June, Part 1

In pregnancy time, time seems to be passing by slowly.  In the blogging world, it is passing by quickly and is hard to keep up!

June was a busy month full of visitors, end of the school year activities, recitals and warm weather with fun outdoor activities

On Saturday June 1, Chloe had her yearly piano recital.  She was pretty nervous, but knew her song really well.  I knew she'd do great.  And she did.

This is just 1/3 of the students her teacher teaches.  She conveniently divides the recital into 3 different time slots and lets families pick which time that day works best for them.  That works out so great for so many reasons- you can pick your own time that works best for you (obviously), and makes the recital you attend much, much shorter than if all of the students performed all at once.  It works out great.

Chloe and teacher Brandy.  Chloe likes the piano and she really likes that she can play songs, but piano does not come easy to her.  She really has to work at it and doesn't always love putting forth lots of time and effort (similar to me at her age playing the piano).  As a parent, I wish sometimes that my kids just had lots of natural talent and were the best at everything they did (or at least one thing), but I know that working hard to be able to do something is very beneficial.  She may never be a concert pianist, but she can have pride in the fact that she worked at learning a wonderful lifelong skill.

We had a nice June this year (compared to last year's June that was very, very, very rainy).  In early June while Chloe was at school, the other kids begged me to go on a bike ride with them.  I was having some abdominal pregnancy pain that day and really just wanted to lay down and rest, but they were so, so anxious and persistent.  I rested for a few minutes, then we loaded up to go. 

The above picture really should be labeled as the "before" picture.  This was quite the traumatic bike ride and did not end well. 

We have a little path close by our house that is off the road and secluded and very pretty.  We have taken many walks on it.  I thought it would be the perfect bike riding path, as there are no cars and very rarely people on it.  What I had forgotten, until we had 3 small kids on bikes on it, is that the path is all uphill on the ride there, and all down hill on the ride back, with bumps and cracks in the path due to tree roots growing under the pavement.

The ride up was not bad- it was hard work for the twins on their glide bikes, but they were troopers.  When we turned around to come back home was when trouble hit.  Since it was all down hill, the kids got going fast.  I was not on a bike and soon all 3 kids were far enough ahead of me that I couldn't see any of them.  Just seconds after going out of sight, I heard screaming and crying.  I "ran" as fast as I could to the scene of the accident.  Both girls were screaming and crying in pain and limping towards me.  Blood was gushing from many wounds and their bikes were strewn on the path.  Both had crashed and flown from their bikes.  Both had some serious road rash and scrapes all over their body and it was very evident that they were in a lot of pain.  I had no idea how I was going to get everyone home.  I couldn't call anyone to come help, but there is no access for cars to come up there.  I needed to get their bikes home as well and pregnant or not, I knew I couldn't carry 2 bikes and two little girls.

The girls were hysterical and I didn't know what to do.  Mitch ended up saving the day.  Before we left the house, he had packed a little backpack full of stuff.  I didn't even know what was in the backpack, really.  I saw a toy or two but didn't look in it very much before leaving.  Come to find out, he had conveniently packed a box of Bandaids as well, which ended up being a lifesaver.  My kids think baindaids are for pain and that they will cure any owie they have, regardless of if they are dripping blood or not.  By the time I reached the kids, Mitch was already kneeling on the ground getting the baindaids out of his backpack.  I quickly put a few baindaids on each of the girls.  They were still pretty hysterical (in lots of pain), but I knew that without those baindaids, there would have been no way they would have walked home by themselves.  The baindaids saved the day!

We were quite the scene walking home- a pregnant lady carrying two bikes with two loudly crying little girls limping behind her.  The walk home seemed to take hours, but I kept telling them they had to keep going and that as soon as we got home, I'd take care of the rest of their wounds.

Luckily, this traumatic crash didn't scare either girl off from riding her bike for too long.  They love those bikes too much!

My favorite picture of the month- Chloe painted this picture early on for my parents when they came to visit.  It's the caption that kills me- it's supposed to be the Statue of Liberty (or a look alike), and she named it the "Librty Dud."  By dud, she meant dude.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

Chloe has been bummed that I haven't been able to volunteer in her classroom this year.  I can make up excuses, but at the end of the day it's just not my season of life to do that a lot right now.  I feel bad for Chloe because she'd really, really like me to be there at everything (volunteering, field trips, etc), so since I wasn't able to do those, I decided to go eat lunch with her one day for fun.  I don't know why I didn't think of that sooner and do it more often throughout the year.  The twins came with me and we picked up Subway for all of us for lunch.  Chloe was excited and we had a great time.

It was a nice day the day we went and the kids were allowed to eat outside.  Chloe's friends came and sat by us and we had a great time chit chatting. 

The kids in her class were fascinated by the twins.  One girl kept saying, "Wow Chloe.  I just can't stop looking at them!"  When we left, someone gave the twins hugs. 

Warm weather brought out our urge to BBQ.  Ben bought some skewers last summer and we decided to try our hand at sishkabobs.  They were fantastic!  I love, love peppers and onions and mixed with the pineapples and meat, it was delicious.

My parents flew in for a week on June 5th.  The kids were so excited to have them here.

Chloe and Mitch had school the first full day they were here, so the rest of us went on a walk that morning to enjoy the gorgeous day.

That day I took a belly shot to document 25 weeks.  Boy have I grown since then!

Later that day was an all school BBQ lunch at Chloe's school where families can come buy lunch and eat with their kids.  Families are always welcome to eat with their kids, but the BBQ is extra special.

It was perfect weather for the BBQ.  And I was pleasantly surprised at how much food you got- a hot dog or hamburger, pasta salad, baked beans, corn, tossed salad, a drink and sherbet.  It was pretty tasty too.

It was fun to spend another lunch date with this sweet girl.

The next evening was Mitch's last baseball game of the season.  My mom was here for his first game back in March and I was excited for her to see the progress he's made.  It was fun to have my Dad here to see it too as he is the King of Baseball.

Mitch on defense- he's in front of first base.

The spectators

These cute little girls loved running around the deep outfield.

The best thing about twins?  Getting to watch and participate in their close friendship.

Mitch, #11 up to bat.

Running to second base

He turned around for a quick picture on 3rd base

He was so glad my parents could be there to watch his game!

Afterwards, his team had an end of the year party at a local pizza place.  It was such a fun evening.

Mitch's coach was amazing.  Simply amazing.  I had an amazing softball coach in high school and this guy was so comparable.  He was teaching first year 5 year olds t-ball.  There is a special place reserved in baseball heaven for those people who can coach t-ball.  Not only was Mitch's coach patient, he taught these little 5 year olds so, so much.  More than I ever learned at this age.  Mitch was taught skills that Chloe's coach never even dreamed of touching on.  Every game and practice he blew me away.  He was patient with these distractible boys, but expected them to be disciplined, to hustle, to be aware and focused, and taught them amazing skills.  He didn't let the boys get away with being slow, distracted and there was definitely no sitting down on the job.  He was constantly getting after at least one boy every few minutes for playing in the dirt, not hustling, not listening, not doing something right.  He was very kind and patient, but he was firm and such a great teacher.  Mitch went from having a desire to play baseball to being a good little player at the end of the year.  He looks to have a bright future in baseball.

The coach ordered trophies for every player and then thought up an award for each one of them.

As he called each boy up, he had them stand on a chair next to them, handed them their trophy, then explained the name of their award and talked extensively about each player.  He knew each of those boys inside out.  I was so impressed.

Mitch received the "Mr. Smooth" award for his smooth running.  If you saw Mitch play this year, he was a solid hitter, became very good at grounding/stopping the ball on defense, and was a pretty darn good thrower.  But he was not known for his running abilities.  We could tell from the first game that he struggled with running- he was not fast and sometimes didn't even know where the next base was that he was running to.  Not knowing where he was going caused him to do this hilarious trot/shuffle.  His coach noticed this as well (I'm telling you, he noticed everything about every kid) and therefore awarded Mitch the "Mr. Smooth" award in reference to his running.  When Mitch came up front, his coach demonstrated the "smooth" running for everyone and did it spot on.  It was so, so funny.

Group shot of the team

Mitch and his second coach- Dad

Mitch and the best t-ball coach I have ever met.  We sure hope to get on his team again next year.