Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Batter Up!

Baseball season began in early April with the cold weather and anticipation. The boys and girl began practicing learning and honing the skills in preparation for the coming season.

Jimmy landed up on the Marlins again this year with a new determination and set of team mates he began to "take it" to the other teams. He developed over the season a reputation as a key player, especially at catcher as well as a reputation as a power hitter.

When Jimmy was behind the plate he had no fear of stopping the ball and keeping it in play. He also was the only kid in the league to throw out runners trying to steal second, they were Jimmy's bases and he owned them! None so much as the plate. Runners at third trying to steal home took their chances as Jimmy combined baseball, football and WWE in his defence of the plate.

Now as far as hitting the old adage " He is not here to paint" is a perfect description of young James' enthusiasm at the plate. As the season went on he learned that if he walked and got on base he could steal and ultimately score. Which, in the scheme of things, is important so Jim stopped swinging at the first three pitches thrown his way and learned to take his time. He had a couple of singles, 1 double ( which I will explain later) several triples and 3 home runs.

The Marlins were the comeback kids in very game, I am not sure of the stats but as I recall I do not believe that the Marlins started out any game with the lead. No fear they battled back and made each game their best work. The season ended and playoffs began. The Marlins finished in 5th place out of 6 teams and in the first round of the play offs drew the cubs, the 3rd place team. It was a fierce battle the Marlins as usual were down by several runs late in the game, nerves were tense adults were pacing... Jimmy was up. The score after 4 and a half innings Cubs 9 Marlins 5 ( Marlins were the home team). 2 outs runners on 1st and 2nd. Jimmy steps in and swings so hard at the first pitch the flag in center field changed depredation from the wind off the swing. Second pitch fouled off count is now 0 and 2, Jimmy takes a deep breath steps in and drives the ball deep into right field, 2 runs scored Jimmy is standing on 3rd base when disaster hits. The ump calls Jimmy out for stepping on home plate, the stands go nuts, drama, drama, drama, the play stands Marlins are out... no runs score.

Everyone takes a deep breath we need to hold the Cubs to no runs. In each inning the teams are allowed to score only 5 runs so if the Cubs score 2 the game is over. Jimmy is behind the plate Sean is on the mound, the word that comes to mind is synergy. The cubs go down swinging after 5 and a half Cubs 9 Marlins 5. The Marlins battle back late in the inning score is now Cubs 9 Marlins 8... bases are loaded , 2 outs and Sammi comes to the plate. She is a bit nervous, as are we all. She fouls off the first 5 pitches and now is way behind in the count no balls 2 strikes. Sitting in the stands is not an option as the parents burn off nervous energy. I am praying for a pitch that is at least in the strike zone as I now whatever pitch is thrown Sammi is swinging here comes the final pitch.... and Sammi rips a line shot over the short stop!!! two runs score and the Marlins win 10 to 9 Holy Cow!

Next up the dreaded and feared Phillies, the number 1 seed team. They were the best team with a record of 16,3 and 2, no matter to the Marlins. Suffice it to say after 3 innings the Phillies were up 3 to 1. The Marlins, being the visitors, did not have the advantage of batting last. So they took it to the Phillies and after 4 innings, Marlins 6 Phillies 3. Runners on 2nd and 3rd and Jimmy steps into the batters box. Count is 2 balls 1 strike and Jimmy hits what some people around Golden Valley believe is the longest hit of the year and the ball lands about 5 feet from the fence, which is 260 feet from home plate. Jimmy has a big smile on his face as he is running towards 3rd base, but wait the third base coaches is screaming something Jimmy stops and runs back over second to first touches first and makes it back to second. The dust settles it appears that he missed first base! Well as Jimmy's explained "I had to go back and touch first and now I have my first double"! Marlins win 13 to 5 in, 5 innings and advance to the championship game!

The team did not have it's best showing in the championship game however they came in second and all received metals. Hit the ball and touch them all... a moment in the sun, the Marlins provided us with great memories and a fantastic season.

Way to go Marlins!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fish On!

This past weekend was the Annual take the kids fishing weekend. Carl and his three boys, Wade and Caden along with the Loudamericans minus Mom headed up to Lake Vermilion, to Life of Riley about 5 hours north in search of the elusive small mouth, walleye and blue gill.

The first day was extremely hot pushing 95 degrees, but when you are on a lake simply jumping overboard helps with the heat. The kids swam, fished, raced around and generally had a great time.The cabin was a modest 3 bedroom affair complete with fans and pull out beds. It was a tight fit but if Santa could do so could we!

The fish were hot and heavy and we lost count early Sunday morning as to how many we caught. Kay was in rare form being the only girl among 6 boys and was not in the least bit intimidated. In fact on the first morning the boys were up and making noise and generally bothering her. She sat up in her bed ( she was sleeping on the couch) reached into one of her survival bags and pulled out a Swiss Army knife, where she got that is another story, showed the knife to the boys and said " I have the knife and I am not afraid to use it", they pretty much left her alone after that! Carl made the comment that Kay has one of the strongest survival genes he has ever seen.

Sunday night brought in a huge storm and the rains came down for 4 hours and brought the temp down from 95 to 38 on Monday morning, yikes! The rain and temp change did not stop the fish and they kept right on biting and we started to worry about running out of bait. We had great hopes of a shore lunch on Monday afternoon and we started to pack up around 3:00 to head out, however it was not to be. Another stormed moved in with high winds, white caps on the lake and rain. We attempted to go a couple of times only to have to stop. Then at 5:00 we called it and headed back to the cabin,, made a big bon-fire and cooked the fish there. We ate like the was no tomorrow! Fresh fish, potatoes, onions and mushrooms and the secret dilly-wop- sauce. Side note for those who do not know what dilly-wop-sauce is, it is a creation that has taken a gigantic reputation as time marches on. It began as a fish sauce that I made up and fine tuned over the years and it has magical qualities, but you can only get dilly-wop-sauce on a fishing trip!

The trip was a blast and everyone came home, tired, dirty and in disparate need of a bath!

Hope everyone has a great summer!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Schools out for the summer

The last day of school came rushing at us as the wheels of the old Pilot turned, time... where did it go?

Seriously it seems just like yesterday the kids were heading of to school and now here comes summer. The kids each had different end of the year programs to celebrate.

Jimmy and his class prepared a Peace Program and sang several songs, did skits and used the alphabet to talk about peace and equality as the healthy way to view the world. (the link is below)The kids then had a parade down to the local park where they spent all day having a picnic, playing games and generally having a blast.

Kay and her class had Paris days, which is a celebration around (obviously) Paris. There was a Tour de France around the parking lot, a street vendor area complete with a chocolate fountain, a fashion show and a flea market. The kids learned several words and phrases in French and were able to order from the vendors in French. Kay also had an end of the year girl scout party and they girls had a blast.

Billy had a awesome first grade teacher, Mrs. Vaughn and she hepled mold our young son into well.... we shall see. Billy and the first graders had a picnic at Yosemite park where they played kick ball, basketball and had a water fight. The kids all brought their own lunch and shared a great time.

The summer is upon us and were are spending the first couple of weeks hanging out, going fishing and having play dates to say good bye to our friends. For now, as we move to Canada on the 24th!
More to come.
Have a great summer! ( The Peace Program)

Monday, June 11, 2012

MS150 RECAP: $3 million total, $2,.380 personal best, 3,800 riders, 90+ degrees and 25 mph head winds

I think the title says it all…it was BRUTAL! Toughest ride in a LONG time. Thank god for Ned, Wendy and our new found friend Todd, they broke the wind for me and got me to the finish.

Saturday was relatively “easy”… gorgeous trail, mid-80’s and the wind didn’t pick up until about 11am, an hour out from the finish so… totally do-able. Saturday afternoon at camp was hot. We camp in Hinckley (near the casino) in a huge open field with little shade or anything to break the wind. But, we had a great time catching up with our other team riders (plus a few beers) We even got to view a wedding. A couple asked to be married on Saturday at camp as the weekend is “their favorite weekend of the year”. They are longtime volunteers and it was fun to see many of the riders come out and cheer them on. Very cute, they even had orange ties

Sunday is when it got tough. It was windy all through the night and at 5:30am, it was already 70 degrees. The wind built to 25 mph by late morning and was a straight headwind as we were heading south. The ride on Sunday is mostly on blacktop county roads with little shade or wind breaks. It was mentally challenging as the wind really can be exhausting. Ned, Wendy and I made an early morning pact that “no one would be left behind”. Thank goodness for them! It’ll be a ride we remember and talk about for a long time.

But… thanks to your donations and well wishes, I knew I could make it. So…THANK YOU! You kept me focused on the end result and finish line. My total funds raised was $2,380, a personal best! THANK YOU!

Below is the update the MS Society sent out today.
The good news is, we are all doing well today – not too many sore muscles

Big Thanks and Peace Out until next year!!

(Be on the look out for posts for the end of the school year and the fishing trip Tom & the kids are currently "on" over the next week)


What a weekend! More than 3,800 riders raised more than $3 million for Bike MS: C.H. Robinson Worldwide MS 150 Ride. Thank you for making the event a huge success and for making a difference in the lives of people affected by multiple sclerosis.

Your donations help fund vital MS research, support programs and services for more than 17,000 people living with MS in our area.