Monday, April 30, 2012

The Getaway

Back when I was in retail management, my mission was to ensure that my staff really went out of the way to give our customers the best experience we possibly could.  It's just a cold, hard fact that in the service industry, you will immediately hear about 99% of the negative feedback from people, and a mere 10% of the positive.  (Update, 24 hours after publishing this post:  my husband just informed me that 99 plus 10 does not equal 100...I never said I was good at Math...)  Okay, I'm making up those percentages, but you get the point - people are quick to complain, and will rarely praise.  I'm always conscious of this. 

I'm not generally in the habit of plugging a business on my blog, and, considering most of my readers are not local this may not make one bit of difference, but I'm gonna do it anyway. 

When my boss, the CEO of the company, approached me nearly a year ago and asked me to look into finding a "getaway" location for employees and our families for a weekend, my first thought was holy crap, no way...I'm not an event planner...  Especially when he presented his somewhat extensive list of requirements (not in the least bit unreasonable, just difficult to find in one place).  I searched and searched, made phone call after phone call.  Finally I bumped into Shenandoah Crossing, in Gordonsville, VA.  I paid them a visit for a few hours in July, and was certain that this was the one.

Fast forward nearly one year and 100 grey hairs later, and the event was just this past weekend.  There were about 200 attendees, including nearly 50 children. 

And it was perfect.

I can't speak highly enough of the resort - the location (on a lake in the Shenandoah Valley), the activities (horseback riding, outdoor heated pools, indoor pool, mini-golf, volleyball, hiking, fishing, boating, etc.), the accomodations (awwwwesome...2-bedroom cabins in the woods, complete with central air and heat, WiFi, full kitchen, tile bathroom with a large jet tub, super-comfy beds, flat-screen TVs, etc.), and, most importantly, the staff.  They were amazing.  From my contact-person that I'd been badgering with a barage of questions every. single. day. to the catering staff at our meals, to the guy who set up and lit our bonfire, got our kegs tapped, iced our wine and even provided us with cups and plastic wine glasses, they were all cheerful, friendly, and so, so helpful. 

Needless to say, it all got pulled off without a hitch.  Or with a hitch, if you include the fun and informative wagon ride, pulled by two horses, all of us huddled under blankets against the cold rain, which only enhanced the experience rather than put a damper on it.

And it looks like we'll be doing this again!

Samantha had a ball!  So one thing I just couldn't figure out this weekend...while Sammi is so often so resistent to getting in front of her class to do something, like write on the white board or read a story (heck, she won't even go up to accept an award, or pick up a paper!), she had absolutely no reservations whatsoever getting up on the stage in front of about 30 strangers before dinner on Saturday night (not sure if it would have worked with the full 200 that showed up for dinner, though), microphone in hand (had to giggle when she tapped it to make sure it was on...), reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing Twinkle Twinkle.  And when everyone applauded, she took a bow. 

What's up with that?

I must say, though, I'm relieved to know that her public speaking career as a self-advocate hasn't ended before it's even begun.

The horses that pulled the wagon.

Jake the Turkey, preening for everyone, loving the attention, and even letting people pet him!  Samantha thought he was fabulous, unlike some of the other children...

The resident peacock.

Bucolic bliss from the deck of our cabin.  The lake is just beyond the lush foliage.  (Sorry, I love the word lush, felt the need to use it here...  Love foliage, too...)

Getting fitted for a helmet for her pony ride.

My big girl!!!  Last time we tried to get her on a pony, about a year and a half ago, she wanted nothing to do with it.  She especially wanted nothing to do with the helmet.  I guess it's all part of growing up.

Toasting s'mores at the bonfire.  Samantha was there just at the beginning, where we helped her to toast one marshmallow before heading back to the cabin to go to bed.  She was not a fan.  Hated the sticky mess that got in her hair, on her face and all over her fingers.  Good thing about marshmallows, though, as I happily discovered, they dissolve almost instantly in water.  Cleaning it out of her hair was a breeze, and it was not necessary to wash her hair.

I'm definitely looking forward to planning the next one, and I highly recommend that any of you in this area to go check it out! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I found myself in tears the other morning.  Listening to a morning radio show.  Like, a morning comedy radio show.  You know the kind, an ensemble cast headed up by a strong, boisterous, opinionated, comedic personality, taking calls, reciting some of the more interesting news headlines, joking about what each of them would do in a ludicrous situation...

The host of this very same morning radio show had surprised me last year when, after a particularly poignant episode of Glee and a related PSA the previous night, he spoke out (albeit briefly) against the use of the "r-word," sparking a bit of a debate amongst listeners on his Facebook page, of which I stepped in and gave my opinion. 

The host of this very same morning radio show had as a guest the other morning, the very same morning that had me in tears, the director of the new, unrated movie, Bully, Lee Hirsch.  I'm sure you've heard about this movie.  At least, I hope you have.  While I have not yet seen it, I am hoping, hoping, hoping, with every teensy tiny last little bit of me that is capable of hoping, that every. single. man. woman. and child will see this movie.  Funny to say that, when I haven't seen it myself, but just thinking about it give me goose bumps.  It's that important. 

Bully is unrated.  This means that regardless of content, anyone of any age can go to see it. 

Bully is a documentary that follows the lives of several school children who are victims of bullying.

I was in tears listening to Lee Hirsch speak, listening to his passion and thinking about how IMPORTANT this film is.  I am in awe of him for putting this together, for fighting so hard for it to remain unrated, for advocating so strongly for those who are bullied, for getting the message across to everyone that Bullying is NOT Okay.  (okay, getting teary-eyed again...)

Bully follows the children to school and at home.  Hirsch said that it was very difficult not to step in to defend the children when they were being tormented, like in an incident on a school bus, but he said that he and the children had an agreement about it, that they were all for the necessary struggle that would bring everything to light, to perhaps change their worlds.

I can't even imagine.

And my heart goes out to these children and to all of those that have gone through or are going through incidents of bullying, no matter how small the incidents may seem to some.  Because they're not small.  Not to the victims.  One shove, one act of public humiliation, one act of private violence works to kill them inside, works to kill who they are.  I hate the word kill, and find it uncomfortable to type, but this is an uncomfortable topic. 

Hooray for Lee Hirsch and to Lady Gaga as well, both strong advocates seeking change! 

I want nothing more than to protect my daughter, to see her thrive in a world full of love and acceptance.  I know that there are some very real obstacles that threaten to stand in the way.  I hope, hope, hope, with every teensy tiny last little bit of me that is capable of hoping, that things are changing in the right direction, that this world full of love and acceptance can be realized in the not-too-distant future. 

I wish for Bully to be mandatory viewing for all students of all schools, and shame on the parents that would keep their children away from it, shame on the educators that would deny its importance and power to make schools a safe place, to make their students better citizens of the world, shame on the children and adults who would watch and not be moved to make a difference. 

Pass it on...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Never Get Tired of This

I felt compelled to write at least something today.  After we were all sick this weekend and I barely managed to squeak out yesterday's post (only because it was written on Saturday) let alone a couple of days worth of posts as I often try to do, I don't actually have a backlog this time.  Sure, I have some basic idea outlines I've started over the last few weeks, but eh, those can wait for a rainy day. 

We kept Samantha home from school yesterday so I could let her sleep in.  Samantha never sleeps in.  Ever.  But yesterday she did, and I knew she needed the rest after starting her antibiotics on Sunday.  Actually, Sunday afternoon she took a nearly-4-hour nap, ending at about 5pm, then still managed to go to bed at her usual time and slept through the night.  That's when you know she needs it.  Because Steve was still pretty much incapacitated (he's our resident canary in the coal mine - we often wouldn't even know we were actually sick if it weren't for him getting slammed by strep every time), I worked from home for a half-day then went in to the office once Sammi's in-home aide arrived at 1pm.

Thankfully, we're all better today, and I was thrilled to send Princess back to school.  Walking down the hall to her class, we heard someone call her name behind us.  Her little friends, N. and M. were there, ready with hugs, hands out to walk together. 

I seriously never, ever get tired of this. 


Monday, April 23, 2012

On Playgrounds

Not too much to say today.  My germy little girl with her germy little hands and germy little nose hit the playground on Saturday afternoon.  The big playground where we have had her birthday parties for the last few years and will do again this year.  I don't actually feel bad about having Miss Germy-pants Midas contaminating everything she touched, transposing ordinary playground equipment into cold-covered free-for-alls.  Maybe I should, but hell, I know what's been there before.  Hell, I figure that's where she got this nastiness in the first place, and if she's happy and willing enough to play, then who am I to say no?  Just contributing to the strenthening of hundreds of little immune systems to come...  Besides, it was kind of late in the day and the rain was on its way.  Not like I think rain would knock germs off their grimy perches or anything...  (...uh, am I doing a good enough job of justifying my actions?) 

It was just a cold.  And I was starting to feel pretty freaking wretched (that one sits quite high atop my Words-I-Love list...) to boot.  How guilty I felt telling my poor baby that I couldn't play with her on the teeter totter or at the "McDonald's window."  She looked pretty put-out, but seriously, I was doing my best just not to fall down. 

But she had a ball. 

I can probably point to a dozen blog posts I've written over the years, complaining about how huge the differences were between Samantha and the children playing around her.  Lamenting the fact that kids 2 years younger were so far above and beyond her own skill set, comparing her to other, typical children.  I know I'm not supposed to compare. 

And maybe, just maybe I've reached a real, live turning point.  A day when I totally didn't notice.  And didn't care.  Or maybe Samantha's own maturity level and physical strengths have reached a point where she was so much more able to do much of what the other children were doing. 

As I watched her on the teeter totter with another little girl, I marveled at how far she has come in the last 2 years, breathed a sigh of relief and joy at seeing her feet touch the ground effortlessly, pushing up at each turn, knowing exactly what to do, the other child enjoying the game as much as she was. 

I watched her climb every single type of climber there was, never once asking for help, barely wavering on the more challenging ones, requiring me to spot her only once.  And each time, she made it to the top, reached her final destination, proud that she accomplished the goal.  And again, I recalled a time, not so long ago, when all of that would have been an impossibility.

And while I had to assert my Mama-Bear authority to the big kids who nearly knocked her off one of her perches as she climbed (I managed to throw in the word please at the end, just in case any of their parents were in ear-shot...), I would have done that for any smaller child in the same predicament.

She looked like any other kid

(Update:  I wrote the previous post on Saturday afternoon, not long after returning from the playground.  By Saturday night I was pretty sure all three of us had strep, confirmed at Urgent Care on Sunday morning.  Oops.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Report Cards

I won't say that my standards of good report cards has changed.  That would just sound like my expectations have been made lower.  On the contrary, my expectations are very high, and I'm super-proud of what my little girl can and has accomplished. 

3rd quarter report cards came out yesterday.  Because Samantha was sick all day we kept her home, and I picked up her grades this morning when I dropped her off (weird how miraculously kids can make a recovery!).  I walked slowly back to the house with my head down, nose stuck into the report, my smile getting bigger, finding myself involuntarily nodding as I read. 

I understand the Below Standard scores she got in Class Participation and Stays Focused on Work.  It's the same result she'd had last time as well as the time before.  I don't feel bad about those.  I don't feel bad about any of the 4 Below Standard scores she got.  I actually agree wholeheartedly, and know that while she's still not meeting those goals, she's gotten so much better and closer, and perhaps next time she will meet those goals.  And if not, that's okay too.  Actually, she went down in grade in only one area to Below Standard, went up in two to Making Progress, and stayed the same in two at Below Standard.  (By the way, my memory fails me in the short time it took me to read those grades and write this post - I don't actually remember the real names of the scores...I'm sort of making this up as I go...)

But she's learning.  That's what report cards are for.  I know she's learning.  I see her progressing.  I speak to her teachers.  I understand the grades. 

And she's being graded in the exact same way as her typical peers. 

And that is why I say that my standards of good report cards has not changed.  My understanding of how my daughter learns and how hard she works is what shapes my view of her report cards.  If that makes sense.  When I was a kid, having anything other than Outstanding or Excellent or whatever the top score was in that place and time was unacceptable to me.  That's what I aimed for.  And that's what we'd love to see Samantha get as well, but to be honest, we'd worry that her grading was not as objective as it should be if we started seeing that across the board.  Objective, true grades, based on what we know she has actually achieved is what is important to us. 

I don't want any free rides for her.  I want her to understand work and achievement.  That's the desired reward.

Next week is our IEP meeting.  I'm looking forward to it.  I love our IEP team, and know they have Samantha's best interest in mind.  My fingers are crossed that budgetary constraints have not changed the map of 1st Grade as we currently understand it will look like.  I'm certainly hoping for no surprises.  But if there are surprises, I still know that her team is determined to see her achieve her full potential, to have a solid education, and to thrive while under their tutelage. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Realization of a Dream

We all have dreams.  And not just the ones about winning the lottery, or living to see world peace, or running a marathon.

Some of us have our big geek dreams about witnessing history (uh, the good kind of history, not the 9/11 kind...).  And how cool is it to know that you will have the chance to witness history on a particular day, at a particular time? 

Some time in the mid-80s, in my first year of college, I think, my father told me that he'd been in DC on business one day, driving on the Beltway (= giant parking lot that circles the City).  He happened to look up, and saw the unlikely and completely amazing sight of the space shuttle riding piggy-back on a 747 on its way to (or was it from?) Dulles Airport. 

That image etched itself into my mind, as one of those dreams.  One of those incredible things I hoped to see for myself one day. 

And, as my dream of flying in the Concorde died with the retirement of the entire Concorde program and its fleet, I felt the shuttle dream slipping away as well. 

Until a year ago, when I heard the news.

How lucky we would be, having the Shuttle Discovery come to its final resting place at Dulles Airport's Udvar Hazy Center when the shuttle program dissolved?  With its location a mere 10 minutes from our house, it would be a near certainty that we'd be able to view it on its last airborne trip, hitch-hiking its last ride on a 747. 

For some reason I thought it would be last summer.  I was so disappointed last July when I read an article that said I had to wait nearly a whole year until my chance.  I hoped and hoped that the flight path to the airport would take it over our house, as so many planes on their descent do. 

Last month I finally saw the actual date and time of the final flight, the realization of my dream.  I put it on my calendar, and notified my bosses that I would be in late that day.  April 17th.  I counted down the days.

Until I realized that I was an integral, and critical part of a HUGE customer event being held this very. same. week.

And so, holding my breath, I found someone to cover me for an hour yesterday morning (so I told them I'd be back in 2 minutes...).

And I ran to the roof of the parking deck on the hotel where the event was being held. 

And, armed with the ever-so-dreamy Nikon D7000 I was borrowing from a co-worker to photograph the 2-day work event, I geeked out with about 20 others (although we could see about a hundred more stationed on nearby rooftops), watching, waiting, listening. 

And, while there was no direct fly-over for my location, being just a couple of miles from the plane's final resting place made it a pretty good bet we'd have at least some sort of view.

And we did. 

The red-brick building in the foreground on the right is my office building, about 3 blocks from my rooftop spot.  (D7000, remember?)  Dulles Airport is out of view to the left.  The shuttle was on its way to the location where the two bottom photos were taken (from the school yard behind my house) by Steve, using my own camera.

Below, the shuttle making its final approach into Dulles Airport.  I lost sight of it moments later as it dipped below the treeline.

The two photos below were taken next to my house.  You can see how it turned to head back towards the airport.  All the school children were outside with the teachers.  Except Samantha.  Who wasn't interested in going outside.  Ugh.  Can't throw a wrench into her schedule...

So I can now happily, contentedly, cross this dream off my list.  While the people in the District and its immediate surrounding area got an up-close-and-personal view, I'm not complaining.  It was everything I'd hoped it would be. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

She Doesn't Know

You might think this post is about Down syndrome.

About Samantha's youthful ignorance of the world around her, of the prejudices and stereotypes, the ignorance of others.

It's not.

And you couldn't be further from the truth.

Oh, it's about Samantha, all right.  It's about who she isWhere she comes from

And it's amazing.

Daddy's ancestry search has turned up something truly remarkable (although he's still trying to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt, all of his research has shown this to be true). 

Let's just say, calling her "Princess," as we do so often, may not be that far from the truth...


American history is a funny, funny thing. 

I'd always been jealous of people who can trace their ancestry back into America's settled roots, from the first ships to dock alongside the wild shores of a primitive country, those intrepid and hardy people who braved months at sea for an uncertain future in a new land.

My own family blood line is almost untraceable beyond the turn of the last century, with one side from Minsk, in Belarus, all records likely destroyed during World War II, and the other side from Germany, records in another language mostly unknown to me. 

One day it may be possible, but not yet.

But Samantha's family blood line, on Steve's side (this means you, too, John, Diane, Diana and Mikayla!), is something else entirely.

Turns out this kid's way, way, way down in a long line of (at least) American royalty. 

The characters in an old and fascinating play about the founding of this country, about roots in another, many names with whom we are all familiar.

Gardner (think veeeeery early America)

Macy (think retail) 

Folger (think coffee)

Frost (think poetry)

Chamberlain (think Shogun)

Hayworth (think silver screen)

Kerry (think politics)

Hawthorne (think books)

Franklin (by marriage, not blood)

and...gasp...Tudor... (still largely unconfirmed - there's a definite bloodline link to the court of Henry VIII and a knight who was beheaded for treason and illicit relations with Anne Boleyn, and a more tenuous link to the Tudor bloodline itself).

And so, so, so many more.  The list is absolutely staggering.  One day I'll post it all, but wanted to give you just a little taste today.

Ohmygosh, this just gives me chills.

Thomas Gardner, born in 1592, is Steve's 11th Great Grandfather.  Born in England, he landed in 1624 at Cape Ann, forming a colony at what is now known as Gloucester, Massachusetts.  He's considered by some to be the first Governor of Massachusetts.  His 6 sons and 3 daughters went on to spawn the descendants of most of the names above.  Tudor comes into play much earlier, and Steve's not yet been able to confirm or deny that, although the evidence is looking pretty good.  But wow, what a name!!  Maybe our choice of Samantha's middle name, Elizabeth, after Elizabeth I, was even more fitting than we could have ever imagined...

For now, Steve will continue to do the research.  Visits to Utah (I mentioned that one in a previous post) and Massachusetts may be in our not-too-distant future.  We'll continue to bask in the glow of a wondrous and colorful history.  I'll continue to badger my proud, English husband about his true loyalties on the Fourth of July, pressuring him to enjoy the day as a proud American as well (just kidding, Steve...).

And, at least for now, Samantha still doesn't know. 

But I'm willing to bet this will be one hell of a school project one day...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Making Pretty Things

Pre-haircut photos (not like you can tell...), working on some decorations for her birthday party next month. 

Does anyone else remember doing crafts like this when you were in Kindergarten?  I'd completely forgotten about the old tissue paper-glue-pencil eraser craft until I was in Michael's a few weeks ago and saw bags of little tissue paper squares for just such a project.  I didn't buy any then, and when I had the brilliant idea to do something like that for Sammi's birthday decorations, I was unable to find them at our local AC Moore.  However, it's beyond easy to cut sheets of crinkly tissue paper into little squares, so that's what I did.  

She got the hang of it pretty quickly.

This is one of the ones I was working on.  The color theme of the party is turquoise, orange and dark pink.  I'm going to make a bunch of these flowers, with different designs and media, and string them all together to make a garland.  Even though they won't look perfect, and some may be downright ugly, strung all together they'll look pretty cool.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things You Can Do With a Baseball

1) Naughtily throw it over a fence after being expressly told not to do so...

"Hello?  Is anybody there?  I need my ball, please,"  she called, over...and over...and over again. 

I'm sure the whole neighborhood was wondering what mean things we were doing to torment our child.

And dang it, I was determined not to go get her ball back for her, since she'd purposely defied my instruction. 

Not to mention, the gate handle gets stuck and I can't get it open anyway...

2) Stand by sweetly, innocently, guiltily while Daddy comes to the rescue.  Then get told off by him when trying to throw it back over the fence again... (note the scolding finger...)


3) Play baseball.  Briefly.

4) Flip hair dramatically over the shoulder while contemplating what naughty thing to do next with the ball.


5) Try repeatedly to throw the ball into the tree to get it stuck there.  Fail repeatedly.  Get Mommy to place it carefully up in the tree by hand to give the illusion that it was stuck.


6) Shake tree limb dramatically to try to get the ball down.  Fail repeatedly yet again.  Make Mommy pick all 50-something pounds of child up over her head so she can flick it out of the tree herself.


7) Just enjoy the day and be an awesomely cute kid.  (I know this last one has nothing to do with a baseball...)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Doing the (Good) Deed

Well, the deed is done. 

My brave, beautiful little girl did an amazing and selfless thing on Saturday.  And I think she honestly understood and felt good about it.  I'd been talking to her about it for some time beforehand, letting her know that she was going to get her hair cut so she could send her hair to a little girl that didn't have any hair.

This is a child who had never, ever sat in a salon chair.

This is a child who had only ever had her hair cut once, 3 inches cut off by me, in the comfort of our own living room, several months ago.

So we honestly didn't know what to expect.

And she surprised the heck out of us.

After near-derailment by a screaming baby (seriously, the kid was way too young to be getting his hair cut in a salon - he was a baby for crying out loud!) and some quick-thinking by me to tell her the baby was crying because he was hungry, she accepted the explanation, climbed into the chair, made herself comfortable, and enjoyed watching the action from through the mirror.

Careful measurements were made, and we agreed on the amount to be cut.

(the baby and his family are in the background - he'd finally stopped screaming by this time...)

The only resistance came at the thought of having to put on the big black cape. 

(And Sammi is not holding a pack of Camel Lights in the photo below.

A few snips, and voila!

We held our breaths, waiting for her to close her mouth, loving this prolonged moment of...something

Would she cry?  Would she laugh?

Would she just sit there like that forever?

The moment dragged on...

...and she smiled.

And we sighed (loudly) with relief.

A little bit of water from a spray bottle, and a little trim...

And the result was stunning.

By the way, those bangs were not actually bangs.  Samantha has been twisting and twisting her hair lately, forceably ripping her hair clips out, breaking what was once as long as the rest.  They needed a little snip to clean up the resulting devastation. 

11 inches of beautiful hair, ready to be packed up and mailed out to Locks of Love, a very worthy charity that makes wigs for financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.  

The princess and the lollipop. 

Hey, even Rapunzel cut her hair at the end of the movie.  I guess this means I can still keep one of her nicknames. 

On Sunday night, late to bed after Easter dinner at my parents' lake house, I told Sammi that in lieu of a book before bed, I'd get in bed and tell her a story.  I told her the story of the beautiful Princess Samantha, sweet, kind, selfless, loved by all, who came across a little girl who was sad because she didn't have any hair but wanted to feel beautiful.  Princess Samantha realized that she had more than enough hair to go around, and cut off some of her locks to give to the little girl.  The little girl was so happy that she felt beautiful again, and thanked Princess Samantha for sharing.

Lying in the dark, Samantha's face barely visible by night-light, I saw her smile and close her eyes. 

"Thank you, Mommy.  Good story."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game Day day.  She couldn't wait to play baseball!  She was so excited, she was trying to push us out the door well before we needed to go.  Until we got outside and told her to get in the car.

She pointed to the yard, and said she wanted to play baseball on the grass, presumably like we did the day before (see yesterday's post).  Even after explaining that we were going to go to a real baseball field to play with other children, she wanted nothing to do with it, and refused to get in the car.  Finally we managed to get on our way, Samantha happy with her beloved books in the back seat.

I may have mentioned before how disastrous a car-nap can be when you get to your destination.  Notice the ball in her hand?  She held onto that during the entire ride.  How do sleeping fingers not release something like that?  I think she might have been just a little bit excited to play baseball...

She woke up kinda happy, still kinda excited, but a little bit less sure than she had been earlier.

Stepping foot out onto the field, her entire demeanor changed, the face squinched up, the lip went, the tears flowed... 

For anyone that may not have believed me when I described Samantha's award-winning ability to pout, here's another prime example.  Check out that lip - Oscar-worthy?  I think so.  Her stage name could be Princess Pouts-a-Lot.  Oy.  That look repeated itself intermittently throughout the afternoon.

Daddy was a real superstar, though, and stuck with her every step of the way, coaching and guiding her through the game.

Yay!  I see smiles!  Miss G., Sammi's Vice Principal, is in the background, cheering Sammi on.  I'm so happy we're on her team.  Some of Samantha's teachers have vowed to come out and watch one of her games this season (okay, it's on record now, M. & D. - you have to go!).  I love that.

On 1st base, plotting out their cunning plan to steal...

Running home.  (So many thanks to the West Springfield High School Varsity Baseball team, who came out and volunteered their time to play the outfield!)

By the way, how adorable are these baseball pants on Samantha?!  And please ignore forgive the fact that her team is called the Steelers, complete with a modified Pittsburgh Steelers emblem and colors.  Steve wore his Phillies hat in direct protest.

Go, Sammi!  Go, Sammi!  Get your game on!  Go, Sammi!

Sitting down on the job - no better time for a snack than when covering 2nd base!  Goldfish = pout reduction.  Now, if only goldfish = wrinkle/flab reduction, too, I'd be a super-happy mommy.

Samantha was presented with the game ball (okay, one of about 30 being used), as the player who came out of her shell and improved the most throughout the game!  Samantha initially refused it, as she was busy hunting down an after-game snack. 

Finally got her to take it.  Only to have her drop it a moment later to continue her search for a bag of Baked Doritos.  *sigh*

No game this Sunday because of Easter, which is kind of a shame, since I think a break of even a week might make the transition a bit more difficult next time.  Darn holiday-where-kids-get-candy-and-find-hidden-eggs...

Tune in Monday for a recap of this coming Saturday's hair excitement (if I can get the pics edited in time)!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why Little Girls in Tutus Make the Best Baseball Players

Samantha is definitely not one for group participation.  So when the Vice Principal of her school invited her to join her Challenger Baseball team, located in another town about 45 minutes away, we were sceptical.  Not only would we be travelling a distance when there were other, more local Challenger leagues, but we were running the risk of Samantha's magical ability to completely. shut. down. when faced with an activity that involves doing something organized as part of a group. 

Social butterfly, you know, the one that can work a room with her eyes closed, instantly becomes pouty, spaghetti-armed, recluse.  I just don't get it. 

But we love and trust her Vice Principal, so we thought, whattheheck, let's give it a go.  Maybe she can learn to love group activity.  I mean, she's been doing better and better in groups at school, so why not seize the opportunity?!

I know people will say, well, if you talk to her about it in advance/let her practice/some-other-well-meaning-advice-we've-all-heard-before, will she be better with it?  Eh, maybe, but not necessarily. 

But with her first league game coming up on Sunday, practice we did.   

Beautiful day + beautiful girl + child who actually wanted to wear a tutu (she rarely wants to put one on) = photo op.  Of course!  And, like any enthusiastic and delusional mommy, I was sure the presence of the tutu would help my blog her game.

On Saturday I dusted wiped mud off the t-ball set we got her for her birthday last year and had promptly deposited and forgotten about on the basement patio, and set it up in the side yard, where there's plenty of space.

And she loved it.  We were out there for an hour or so, hitting the ball over and over, doling out high fives like they were the jackpot from a slot machine. 

(By the way, enjoy these pics of mini-Rapunzel's loooong braids while you can...we're getting them chopped on Saturday!  Stay tuned...)

I think the kid's got pretty good form - heeeeey, maybe there's a future for her in this...

Got it!  (Next step:  getting her to use the top of the bat to hit the ball)

Ohhhh, I missed!!  (actually, I have no idea what this face was for, but I like it!)

And this face?  Perfection.