Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Aces 9u-- You're Up

This would be the first game in three seasons that the boys would be taking the field separately. They were ready, I was not. My heart was struggling with the idea that I would have to choose one kiddo over the other at some point or another during this season BUT luck was on our side and when the regular season schedules came out, we had ZERO overlap out of 28 games. This meant that both Justin and I would get to watch both boys play, they would get to watch their brother play but it also meant our next 6 months were going to be spent at the ball fields. Good thing I love not only love them but I love baseball too.

Up first was the Aces 9u team--Kaden's team. We have a number of familiar faces on the team but we picked up some new faces that instantly fit into the Aces family. They got new uniforms for this "new" team and man do they all look sharp. 

Last season was the first kid pitch season and Kaden struggled at the plate. He had zero trust when it came to the pitchers he was up against and he wouldn't swing the bat. I don't think he actually swung until the last few games and he had one "hit", and I say "hit" because he was thrown out but he made contact and EVERYONE was on their feet when it happened. I wasn't sure what to expect. Justin and I decided that we would bribe him---for every swing we would pay him a quarter. Money motivates the kid. And it worked. First up to bat and he got a hit, like a REAL hit. Now he struck out one other time and then walked but that didn't matter, he did his job and earned himself some money at the same time. 

Justin and I were so very proud that he got up there and was swinging---and at good pitches too. Now, to focus in and connect. He'll get there. Sadly, they didn't get too many chances in the field to make play but they walked away with a win! Aces 9u were 1-0. 

Fast forward a week and he was our starting pitcher. I was a nervous wreck. Not that I was worried that Kaden would get a ball hit back to him and it would hurt him, but more so because pitching is a head game and Kaden can easily get frustrated. But he proved that I had zero to worry about and he rolled that evening. He pitched three innings, striking out 6, throwing out 1, allowing 1 hit and only 2 runs. His defense backed him up & the offense piled the runs on. He and a buddy switched positions in the fourth inning and his buddy kept with it and the two of them helped secure another win. 

As good of a game as he had on the mound, it wasn't the same at the plate. He struggled again and he knew it. He couldn't shake it off and got frustrated each time he was at bat when he struck out, swinging or not. For the most part, he had his moment (quietly) and then walked back out to the mound and continued to perform. I was so proud of his effort and tried telling him that he played the role that his team needed him to play. He gave them the chance to win that game and he should be happy about his overall performance. He wasn't buying that and was stuck on how he "sucked" at hitting. So, since he was swinging, I figured it was time to reach back out to Nate at DBats and build that confidence. Let's hope a few lessons with Nate will have him back on track and he'll be smiling from both sides of the field---and if not, let's hope he can get a few walks! Either way, it's going to be fun season watching the Aces play.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

This is ELEVEN

The past two years we have celebrated our anniversary aboard a cruise ship, this year we would disembarking early in the morning and then headed back to Fort Lauderdale for the afternoon.

We weren't sure what the afternoon would entail but we decided to find a beach. The boys the love the beach and I don't hate it.

The boys played on the beach and in the water for a few hours and then we walked around the boardwalk for a little. This picture represents what the last 11 years has been about. We've gone through the ups and the downs that marriage can bring but our greatest achievement as husband and wife is raising these two boys. We aren't perfect. They aren't perfect. But we make perfect sense as a family. We lift one another up when it's needed and we are there to ground one another when that is needed too. There is honestly no place I'd rather be than with them & I am so thankful that I have Justin by my side every step of the way. I couldn't, nor would I want to, do life without him.

Happy 11th Anniversary & Happy St. Patrick's Day. Cheers to many more spent with us four.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Souths Sail the Horizon - Hello La Ramona

Good morning, La Romana.

We didn't really have much planned for this stop, in fact we were planning on just hopping off the boat for a quick second, stepping foot into the Dominican Republic & then getting right back on the boat but as we were disembarking they mentioned a little train ride around the city. We figured it would be short so why not but first pictures!

The nice thing about not having anything planned is that we could take our time getting off and on the ship. We ate breakfast without rushing and slowly made our way down to the deck 0 to hop off the boat. As were were waiting in line we ran into my cousin and her boys so we just hopped in the train line with them and on we went. The train ride was NOTHING to write home about. It did provide some humbling moments and hopefully some thankful moments for the kids but outside of watching people run along side the train to sell you anything from cigars to necklaces to sodas and water, we didn't see much. It wasn't the longest ride so we were back in a matter of 30 minutes to do a little shopping before jumping back on the boat for lunch. It was Guy's Burgers for us all. 

Since we were at port and the ship was basically empty the boys took advantage of the no lines and went on the ropes course. And by boys, I mean, Logan, Colton and Dane--Kaden was enjoying soccer pool with Luke. Logan was a little timid the first time through but that second time around he flew through it and my worries and concerns were long gone. 

We typically don't do dinner in the main dining room when we are at port but since we were on the boat so early we decided to take advantage of a quiet dining room. The boys all found their love for salmon and crackers again and I'm pretty sure each ate their weight in chicken nuggets. I may have done the same with the shrimp cocktail. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Souths Sail the Horizon - Hello Grand Turk & a sweet surprise

Good Morning Grand Turk. 

When we were in the Bahamas two years ago I started making the boys go out on the balcony and take a picture of us arriving and we continued with that tradition this trip to. We arrived in Grand Turk nice and early and we had a nice and early excursion too, it was a grand excursion but the boys, Colton and Logan, were looking forward to it. Justin and I would be tagging along too and Kaden had the chance, he just didn't want to do it and he had just pushed through on the SkyRide so we gave him the pass. We followed the crowd off the ship, walked through Margaritaville and headed over to the FlowRider. A wave simulator. This should be fun.

And it was. It was hard work too but I was proud of myself and of Justin, actually, Justin killed it and was pretty much able to do everything they asked him to do. He, Logan and Colton even went back for a second round and tried the surfing part--I was happy with getting to my knees on the kneeboard.   On Logan's second time around he actually stood up (with some assistance) and then held on to it for a few seconds before his epic wipeout, thankfully, he popped right up with a smile on his face.

In between the two outings we headed to the beach which was a very short walk and hung out. The water in Grand Turk was some of the bluest water I have ever seen. Kaden was right at home on the beach. He could be on the beach every single day and never get tired of it. I think I could too.

One of the biggest and best things about this cruise happened during this excursions. We found out two days before the cruise began that my cousin, Melanie, and her family were also cruising on this ship, AT THE SAME TIME. We had no clue but we were both sooo excited about it. They too were doing the FlowRider so we decided to meet up there and from that point on the boys were all inseparable. These boys are third cousins and haven't seen each other in over 4 years and have really never spent any sort of time together so knowing that this all happened by chance was something pretty special. It still makes me smile from ear to ear. 

We weren't at Grand Turk long, we had to get back on the ship by 2:00 but we headed that way a little early in hopes that we could find some good seats on the sun deck. Grabbed some lunch and then the boys, all six of them --- Kaden, Logan, Colton, Drew, Dane and Luke --- were off. And while they were off, the momma's went and played too. Becky and I did the SkyRide and then I got to do the SkyRopes with Mindy, Craig's youngest daughter. We ended the evening with some ice cream, a movie and some popcorn. Perfect ending to a great first port.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Souths Sail the Horizon- Sea Day One

It was our first day in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I decided to get up nice and early and save a few deck chairs for everyone who was sleeping in so I was up and enjoying the sun by 7:30 and the rest of the group joined me about 8:15. We grabbed breakfast--cereal for the boys since they don't typically get it at home--oatmeal and french toast with blueberry compote, I had been looking forward to this for a little while now! After breakfast it was a full day of sun--and we underestimated it's power and strength that day.

This ship, the Horizon, had a lot more "toys" on it than our last ship. It had a whole sky course-the SkyRide, the SkyRopes, SkyCourt for basketball, SkyGolf, Sky SoccerPool and more. The only one that was tall enough for the SkyRide was Kaden and he wasn't too thrilled to go on it but when I asked he said, okay. We got to the front of the line and he was nervous and said that he didn't know if he could do it. I told him that I was nervous too but it was a good nervous, it was that kind of nervousness that you want to push through and overcome. He watched as a few more went and then it was our turn, he got up there, got buckled in and they told us we could go. We started out and the FEAR set in. I stayed right with him but I could tell that all he wanted to do was turn back but sadly, turning back wasn't an option, we just had to keep moving forward, so he did. Slowly and with tears but we were moving, until we weren't. He stopped right above the SkyCourt and he proclaimed he couldn't do it any more, so we put on the brakes and we gathered our strength and our courage & we peddled one foot at a time. At the back of the ship, halfway around, we were no longer side by side, we were on top of one another and I couldn't see anything but I kept talking to him. As we rounded the corner there were no more tears, there were actual smiles and he finished strong with not a single tear on his face. He got off and stated he was never doing that again. Again, is the key, he had already done it and he didn't let fear get the best of him. I was so incredibly proud of him. 

& then he wanted to play mini-golf--whatever you'd like good sir.

That evening was our first formal night too. How cute of these three? It was so much fun having family on this trip with us and watching these three bond a little more. Little did we know, we had lots of family on this ship and a whole lot of fun was headed our way. 

Same shirt. Same jacket. Same bowtie. Three years in a row.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Souths Sail the Horizon - All Aboard 2019

So it was time. Time to board the ship. We had a 12:30 checkin time but we decided to roll the dice as we had the previous two years and show up a little early to see what would happen. Worst case, we sat in a room and waited until our time to board but best case, we would get to board a little early. Let's just say BEST case won out, if fact, once we stepped out of our Uber, we didn't stop moving until we were aboard the ship. Seriously, we arrived at 11:15 and by 11:45 the boys were already changed into their swimsuits and were off to try out the new slides. We had drinks. 

The last few years when we have boarded and sailed off into the ocean it was dreary and raining in New Orleans but not this day, the sun was shining and we were so excited to finally be on the ship and we were ready for the next 7 days.  Port of Miami was beautiful--but then again, would you expect anything else. 

Logan had a new goal this year--to be his last year ice cream cone total--within the first thirty minutes he was already 2 in. He was off to a good start. 

Each of the last cruises we have taken we have moved our room around on the ship. We started out on the 7th floor then we moved to 8 and liked it better and this year we moved up to the 9th floor which was even better. Our room was one floor down from the pool area and two floors down from the slides so it was a hop, skip and a jump to our room for anything that we needed which was so incredibly nice. The boys even found some new found freedom this year and when they needed different shoes, they could run down there and get them! Third time around, we are finally figuring this whole cruising thing out! 

Annual balcony picture.