Monday, June 30, 2008

True Confession

My name is Mary and I'm a foody. Yes, I actually *care* about who the next Food Network Star will be (Sorry Jen, you just didn't have what it took - I'm personally rooting for Shane or Kelsey - or maybe they can get married and make their own show together!). Honestly, I don't care this much about anything else on television. We don't even turn on the television all that much around here except to watch the Food Network. I don't know what I like about it so much. I don't think I've ever once actually tried anything I've learned by watching the Network.

I love to watch foody movies too and I am pleased to say that I have a little foody sidekick in John Michael. Tonight they re-aired the Extreme Makeover Home Edition that featured our riding program. We switched over to Food Network for the commercials and each time I flipped the channels, JM would snuggle up next to me and kiss me on the cheek. "I love you, Mom. I love to watch Food Network with you. Will you be a cashier in my Food Store?" He's so irresistible when he talks food to me! He's always in the kitchen with me - either watching or asking questions. He always wants to help and, of course, the helper always get to lick the beaters....Alton Brown is his hero he says - smart boy, Alton Brown knows *a lot* about food! And guess what his favorite movie is? The kindergarten version of a foody flick of course - Ratatouille. He could watch that every day. I'll have to introduce him to Babette's Feast soon.

I am thrilled to have a Feingold Foody Blog - Navigating the Chemical Free Highway - to introduce to the world. KT is a relatively new Feingold mom and her blog is *wonderful*. Please visit it and let me know what you think! I've linked her blog on the side bar so you can visit it whenever you come visit me!

Now that I've emerged from the Foody Closet, you'll probably be seeing a lot more foody links and posts. Of course I'll also be following the path to Mr. John's Food Store closely as the years unfold...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Belly Buttons

Our first Sparrow House occupant who took up residence with us was sixteen year old Tiffany and her baby girl Ava. Tiffany was a sweet person with too much knowledge of the world and a wonderfully naive view of all other matters. She was a complete novice at child care but we have always held that if a young lady is going to get herself into this mess, she's going to be the mom. We don't bail her out at 2:00 am (at least not the first week), bathtime, butt changing time, engorgement, doctor appointments, diaper rashes or any other awkward moment. Tiffany really struggled through her first few weeks of being a mom and we were there to offer advice, answer questions and be her cheerleaders - but not to do it all for her. So I distinctly remember the day she came to me holding Ava up in the air with two hands. Ava was naked down to her little diaper and Tiffany had a trail of tears rolling down each cheek. She looked terrified. "Miss. Mary," she said, "I think I broke my baby."

I took a look at the "broken" baby and I noticed the hard, purple stub of Ava's umbilical cord laying disconnected on her belly. It took me a few moments to calm down Tiffany and assure her that she had not, in fact, broken her baby - that her baby had shed the last bits of life in the womb and this was a good thing.

In fact, I personally love the day this happens for my babies. I don't know why, after all these babies, I am still squeemish about reaming out the naval beneath that umbilical stub but I am indeed. So today I am celebrating the fact that I have broken my baby.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Worth a Night Out

Last night Tad and I got to go on a real date. It happens a couple of times a month that Adora kicks us out of the house and we get to romp around town together. Last night we used up a restaurant gift card for a local pub and managed to both (almost) stick to the current fast and have a fantastic meal. Then we headed to the theater to see Kung Fu Panda. I wasn't sure it would be worth it but I was sure it would be fun to sit in a theater with my sweetest (and our baby of course). Well we were not disappointed in the least. The animation was fantastic, the story-line actually held its own, the characterizations were hilarious and there was nothing to make the pure and chaste blush (although there was plenty of animals beating the heck out of each other but, hey, it is a kung fu movie!). Tad came up with his own top ten reasons to see this film. Here they are with my own scattered comments:

10. Nice fur. (Really, nice fur - the animation was fantastic - esp the little details like the textures of the animals)
9. No sex or gore.
8. Dustin Hoffman -- Seriously, he's in it. (and one of my favorite actors, although I didn't even realize he was in it until the credits started to roll)
7. Wonderful musical score.
8. ...and, they use the 70's hit "Kung Fu Fighting" over the credits.
6. Beautiful cinematography.
5. Characters you can care about.
4. Sensitive handling of some plot threads on the father / son bond. (sensitive and funny - hit home here with a panda with a duck for a dad - kids don't have to look like their parents!)
3. ... also, a positive message on the importance of following one's spiritual father.
2. The movie is way better than the trailer.
1. It's a giant panda doing Kung Fu, get it? Now THAT'S funny!

Monday, June 23, 2008

NOT Sleeping

I took these photos at about 1:00 this morning. As you can see, my little princess was *not* sleeping (and, consequently, neither was I).

This is a Mom's Eye View photo...

Footprints on the Toilet Seat

This could explain....well....a lot....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Locks of Love

Every two years or so my hair gets long enough to cut off and donate to Locks of Love. They require ten inches and Tad cut off about 11 inches. I really don't like having long hair, although since I've been bearing children I have enjoyed a lot more fullness and body to my hair, but it is worth it to me to be able to offer it up for a good cause. We do happen to know a young lady who has alopecia and has been a benefactor of a Locks of Love hairpiece. Unfortunately, my hair has grayed so much in my short life time that it will need to be sold for the cause, rather than used directly for the Locks of Love recipients. Ah well, it's nice to have short hair again - come back in two more years for the next post!

Visit from Grammy

Grammy's visit came a bit earlier than we expected due to a death in the family. Grammy arrived the middle of last week and was able to visit with Tali on Friday. That visit involved lots of snuggling, a practice recital by Ruth and Philip, attendance at a Club Meeting, dinner cooked by JT and general joyful chaos over her presence. We missed Tata who stayed home to catch up on work after three weeks away on an anniversary trip to Alaska and a visit with Aunt Becky and family.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


We got word today that the father of the guy who hit Clifford is out of the hospital. Apparently he'd had a stroke and has just now been able to discuss the details of the accident. He admitted his son did have permission to drive the truck, which was all the insurance company needed to have fault and financial settlements are now in the making. Woohoo...

As part of that settlement, their medical insurance adjuster called me. The conversation went something like this:

Hi this is So and So from Negligent Party's Insurance Company and I understand you made a medical claim.

Yes, I was taken to the ER and the OB triage.

Are these your only medical expenses so far?

Yes. These are the only expenses I am expecting as a result of the accident.

Well, those expenses are covered by law by your insurance provider.

Yes, I know. Thank you.

Are there other expenses you would like to file with me?

I don't think so. I had some back pain, it was diagnosed as a pulled tendon, I sat on ice for three days and the pain was resolved. There were no complications with the baby.

long silence

Did I say something wrong?

shorter silence Well, no, but are you sure there are no claims you'd like to make?

I don't think so. I just described my medical condition. I don't foresee any further problems.

another silence. Ok it's just that, well, I don't hear that very often.

Hmm.. Well, should I think of a problem?

No. I guess not. I'm just surprised, that's all.

Well, if there's something I'm entitled to or something I'm supposed to let you know about, just let me know but I think I'm ok medically.

Ok. Well, if you're sure that's what you want....Here's my name and phone number. You have two years to change your to report...should anything else related to the accident come up.

Ok, thank you very much.

No, thank you very much.

Perhaps I'm incredibly naive but this conversation seems to indicate that perhaps I could have gotten a nice settlement out of this for...something. I don't know what that something would be but I have a feeling it has an awful lot to do with the extraordinary cost of health care plans these days.

And while I'm on the topic, I don't know what is up with car accidents and homeschool conferences but my friend Christine (the same Christine with whom I was scheduled to go to the CHAP conference the day Clifford got a new butt) called to say that she went to a different conference and guess what happened? Yep, her car got rear-ended. Although for her it happened when the car was parked in the lot and no one was in it. So the moral of the story? Stay away from me if you want to attend a homeschool conference and should you ever get in a car accident be sure to have lots of injuries to report.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's in a Name?

Although I've mentioned it before, I thought I would post it here again. We have named the baby Talitha (and pronounce it like Tabitha with an "l") after the passage in Mathew 5 where Jesus raises Jairus' daughter from the dead. This was the passage which describes the miracle on the way to the miracle of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood:

21When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." 24So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"

31"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "

32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?"

36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." 40But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" ). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Our pronunciation of it is the Anglicized version but, hey, she's our baby and we'll call what we want to...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Talitha Hope has Tally Ho'ed

Of course Tuesday evening was our busiest evening of the week. JT had his second round of travel soccer try-outs to which I was scheduled to drive him, Ben had a tournament game which was Tad's responsibility and Betsy and Ruth had a tball game which their coach's wife agreed to help with (although it was too hot for Ruth and her sickle cell so Betsy went alone). A couple of hours before all the activity, there was a sudden change in barometric pressure and the sky began to darken. At the same time, I started getting fairly strong and fairly frequent contractions - strong enough that I wasn't able to walk through them, I had to stop and focus on them. I warned JT that I may not be able to get him to tryouts and finally I called his friend's mom who agreed to help me out if I should decide at the last minute I just wasn't going to make it. I did manage to get JT to the parking lot of the school in spite of the continuing contractions and the gathering thunder clouds. By the time we arrived at the school, though, there had been several streaks of lightning and the coaches were following the "wait 20 minutes and see if it clears" rule. I left JT there with Corey's mom and went home. By the time I pulled into the driveway, Tad was arriving with Ben whose game had been postponed after 1 1/2 innings. I went upstairs to contract in peace and warned Tad to get ready to go to the hospital. I don't think he put much stock in that since it was *last* Tuesday night when I told him the exact same thing and that all came to naught. It wasn't long before JT was home, then Betsy followed shortly thereafter and the skies opened up.

The storms continued well into the evening - with intermittent pauses between thunder claps as the clouds slowly rolled out of town. I began to notice that my contractions were following the thunder. When there was a lull in the storm, the contractions would stop. When the thunder rolled in the distance, I would have another contraction or two. The funny thing is that when I went for my sonogram on Thursday, the last thing the nurse said to me as I left was, "They're calling for thunderstorms - we'll see you soon." I suppose there is something to the matter of barometric pressure and all sorts of health issues. At any rate, the storms had completely drifted away shortly after midnight and so had my contractions. Perhaps Tad was right - another false alarm. I prepared myself mentally to get up in the morning and have just another day.

Around 2:00 am the contractions started again. This time they were strong and regular and, although I was in a half-awake state, I thought they were coming pretty close together. I started to pray the Jesus prayer to get through each contraction - Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me! He was, indeed, merciful to make each contraction perfectly bearable and even somewhat pleasant. Around 4:45 I got up and turned on the computer to track down a contraction timer. That suggested tracking the contractions for an hour but after two contractions, I knew I had to act pretty quickly. They were 5 minutes apart and lasting almost 2 minutes. I bustled about, turned on the light and summoned Tad out of a deep sleep. He didn't seem to know what all the hub bub was about and it took me a few tries to rouse him enough to get him to understand that he was about to be a dad to 10 kids and there wasn't any time to quibble about it.

I didn't even call the midwives until we were en route to the hospital and at that I got some OB I'd never heard of who didn't answer my page so we arrived at the Family Birthplace at our local hospital unannounced, had to do a little jig to get in the door and then had to sit with the registrar for 10 minutes spouting off all the same information I had given them my 4 previous trips there in the past month while I tried to maintain the "appearance of sleep" through contractions growing continually stronger and closer together. Already it looked like my birth plan was out the window.

I had given my birth plan to the midwives about a month beforehand. This had been quite successful with Nathan's birth. By the time I arrived at the hospital, it had been distributed, read and applied by all LDR personnel we encountered, all my wishes had been met and it was truly the birth of which I dreamed. This time around, however, they couldn't even find my file, let alone a birth plan and obviously had no idea I was attempting a drug free delivery using the Bradley Method, the hallmark of which is relaxation, tuning into the body and maintaining the appearance of sleep throughout labor.

So after the registrar got through with me, they put me in a triage room. I groaned both inwardly and outwardly, trying to explain to them that I didn't need to be triaged, I needed to deliver a baby. They tsked me into the triage room anyway, hooked me up to the monitors where baby had a nice, sound heartbeat and contractions were obviously coming close and strong and then they wanted to check me for dilation. Unfortunately, the only available OB personnel was a male OB filling in for our midwives and a male nurse who was attending to me. I've had the nurse before and he is really wonderful but I didn't want either of those sets of there doing that. So they summoned a female nurse who did the duty and found me only dilated to 2 cm. A quick sonogram showed Tali definitely still head down and a look at the clock said that my midwife was not scheduled to arrive for another hour during which they felt they could either send me home or let me hang out in triage until she arrived if I was dead set against a male OB.

Now the Bradley Method is great for me - when some certain conditions are met. Since it depends upon an environment conducive to complete relaxation, I was looking forward to time in a birthing room with our specially chosen music, room to move about as needed and a minimum of poking and prodding to the fundus which would steal my concentration and cause unnecessary pain. Hanging out in a busy triage area on a narrow cot just wasn't cutting it. I was tired and frustrated and I don't think anybody believed I was so close to delivery. I kept telling them the contractions were close and strong but when my body was so relaxed I think it all sounded like nonsense to the folks attending to me who had never seen this body birth before. I was also having a lot of back pain with each contraction which was unusual for me. I didn't understand what could be causing that and hadn't prepared for it mentally and at this point I switched from the Jesus prayer to the trisagion - Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! - and again God was merciful to get me through each powerful sensation coming one right after another.

About 7:15 the contractions were so close, and still no midwife, that I sent Tad out to the nurse's station to tell them things were happening. I guess they didn't believe him and I sent him back out a couple of minutes later to tell them unless they wanted to deliver a baby in the triage, they needed to find me a delivery room. That caused a bit more of a stir and the same female nurse came in to check on dilation and found me at 4-5 cm - not bad progress for someone they were intending to send home an hour before - but still not far enough to seem as urgent as I was making it sound. It was when I tried to walk to the delivery room and had to stop twice for contractions before I even made it around the cot that the nurse dumped me into a wheel chair and summoned a delivery team. By the time he got me to the delivery room, there was flurry of activity that made it finally look as if someone now believed me.

My midwife, Jasmine, appeared shortly thereafter. Her shift technically started at 8:00 am but she had hurried in and made it there by 7:30. She bustled in around the nurses, took a good look at my face, did another check and found me at 9 cm with a very bulging bag of waters and asked if she had time to change her clothes. "Nope," I said, "not if you want to be the one to deliver this baby." She had just enough time to get her gown on when I had one big contraction and I had to push. My water broke and Tali's head came in sight. It all happened so quickly and I couldn't figure out why I was already having pain in the birth canal until Jasmine calmly said, "Because the baby is coming out there." That was followed immediately by another contraction and one more big push and then a huge WHOOSH as Tali's entire body rode a wave of amniotic fluid completely out of the birth canal, flew air born for a moment over the bed and landed in the very surprised but capable hands of Jasmine. Talitha Hope had Tally Ho'ed her way into the world. It happened so quickly that the only one who noticed her coming out face up was the one wearing the catcher's mitt. This now explained the back pain. Time of birth was recorded as 7:50 am.

She was placed immediately on my belly for some skin to skin contact and we realized at that point that the cord was very short - probably a blessing after all the flipping and turning she'd done God knew to keep her on a short leash. I got to watch Tad cut the cord - not something I'd ever seen before and then got to bond with my new little squirmy bundle. She did everything right after that. She started with sucking her thumb and then she went immediately to the breast and nursed like a pro. She had her first Daddy-daughter moment. She weighed in at 7 lbs, 13 oz. ( a peanut by our standards - who ever heard of a baby under 8 1/2 lbs?!). She got warmed up under the warmer and made all the appropriate faces and squiggly motions, she got her first tubby and loudly objected to having her armpits wiped down,she had her first poop and then she fell asleep with anyone and everyone who would hold her and cuddle.Tali and her daddy and I then had the rest of the day to get acquainted and rest, confident that the household was in Adora's capable hands. Pani Chris was our first visitor to the hospital. She can now claim all-time bragging rights to that effect. Tad went home for supper and then brought the siblings to the hospital for her first out-of-womb experience of her family. It was fun to watch each of the children with her. They each had different thoughts and ideas about her and a different way of relating to her that reflects their own personalities. Ben was first - he didn't even take the time to sit down. He immediately gathered her in his arms and gave her a big, brotherly snuggle. Betsy was next. I think she's experimenting with the big sister to a sister role. Eventually she and Tali will share a room and Betsy will get to educate her in the fine art of girlhood. Ruth was itchin' for a chance to hold her but wasn't too sure where to put her own arms or hands. She enjoyed a couple of awkward minutes and then was ready to give her back but she still watched very closely. Philip was equally as awkward but he's been through this a few more times than Ruth. He was genuinely enamored with his little bundle and enjoyed getting his picture taken with her. John Michael was beside himself. He couldn't get to her fast enough and looked like he just wanted to eat her up. David was just as enthusiastic but a bit more rough. He liked to talk about her and asked lots of questions. Miriam tried her hand at the matronly approach. She's held a few babies in her day, too and her technique is improving a bit. She was very much the big sister of the crowd. JT didn't want to hold her. He's still pouting about her being a girl. I told him, though, that obviously Tali was out to impress her older brothers with her rather acrobatic entrance into the world and he should consider all her efforts to prove herself to him. That got him hooked long enough to hold her but he still didn't want the camera around. I know he's interested - he'll be snuggling her before long - until she gets old enough to really tell him off like a girl then she'll get boxed into the same category as her sisters - Icky Girls. Adora was thrilled to have her little princess enter the world. She's been talking of nothing but playing dress up since the boxes of clothes arrived in the mail. Nehemiah was predictably rough but completely fascinated. He wanted to touch every part of her and giggled and shouted "baby!" Nathan was a bit put off at first. He warmed up to her, though, as he saw the others vying for her attention and finally was able to hold her nicely.

Once Tad took the kids home to bed, Fr. Greg arrived and offered the traditional prayers for Mother and Baby. The prayers for me were basically prayers for healing for which I was very appreciative. After he left, Tali and I hung out in our matching outfits which Betsy picked out as a Mother's Day gift and I introduced her to Food Network. JM will be so pleased if we make a foodie out of his new little sister too. After a long, sleepless night we were able to make a hasty exit from the hospital. Here's Tali all bundled up and ready to go home in her carseat. Once we got home Nathan was all about Mommy. He climbed into my lap and sat there for long periods of time - a luxury I rarely get from him as he's usually rarin' to go. Muffy and Granddad came for a visit and Muff just sat and sat with her newest little granddaughter - she's definitely the girlie grandma. Granddad held her just long enough to take the obligatory picture. He'll get back to her in a couple of years once they can roughhouse and relate in close to full sentences. Last night she alternated between being nursed and sleeping on the sofa with Daddy. She didn't seem to spend much time in her own bed. Today the milk supply came in, she discovered the sensation of a full belly and has spent the better part of today nestled into her bassinet.

Welcome home Tali! Your adventure has begun!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Talitha Hope Klopcic

Tad here, guest-posting for the Amazing Talitokos....

Talitha Hope was born at 7:50 this morning, June 11, 2008. Vital stats: 7 lb 13 oz, 20 1/2 inches. Time in labor: 5 1/2 hours. Time from waking up husband: 4 hours. Time from admission into LDR Triage: 3 1/2 hours. Time from finally being given an LDR unit: 10 minutes. Baby was airborne at birth. I am not making this up.

I can't give you the whole story because the Amazing Talitokos would injure me. So, content yourself with a couple of pictures.

I'm just about to haul the sibs off to torture ... err, greet their new sister. Mary should be home tomorrow, so expect the full story from her, with lots more pictures.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So Long Moby Dick

We've had Clifford the big red dog (our 15 passenger Ford van) in the auto body shop ever since the accident. In its stead, the rental company offered up a white 12 passenger Chevy van. It wasn't long before this one was christened Moby Dick, the great white whale. It seems you can't stick around our family long before you have an official nick name.

It's taken the auto body shop a couple of weeks longer than we had hoped to get Clifford back in shape. Apparently, there was some difficulty getting the parts needed for the repairs. He needed a new back door, back fender and the left back quarter panel was removed, banged into shape and given a nice new paint job. The woman from the body shop called me this afternoon to say, "Your van repairs are finished. He's in the cleaning station now. As soon as he gets his bath, you're free to pick him up." Oh boy, what is up with up that?! I thought you had to be a member of the family to anthropomorphize our vehicle. I guess she feels like part of the family after spending so much time with Clifford.

So it was time to give up Moby Dick. Unfortunately, this is where the accident story gets ugly. It appears that shortly after the accident Mr. Whacked Me In the Butt was incarcerated. Nobody can tell us why but we do know that his mom and dad were upset with him for borrowing their truck without asking. His dad was in the hospital at the time and I guess it just isn't a good idea to go and total Dad's truck when he's already having a bad day. It really wasn't our problem until Daddy's insurance company refused to pay without somebody to claim fault (seems like a no-brainer to me but who am I to say?!) Our insurance adjuster has been wonderful and last we heard she was filing suit to claim damages for us - all in a day's work for her, she assures me. However, until that clears up guess who gets to foot the bill for our Great White Water Mammal? You got it - all that time Clifford was at the spa getting a massage, pedicure and tubby - the rental company was cha-chinging his daddy to the tune of about $2600. Even though I was finally getting the hang of driving Moby's butt around town, I was more than happy to say So Long Moby Dick and Welcome Home Clifford.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Our Wonderful Crazy Weekend

Well, we made it through the weekend without childbirth and all the children got to all the activities planned. Friday morning was a lot of fun. We were able to go to our riding lesson but we were short a couple of our volunteers so our instructor decided to have the kids vault. They haven't done it in a long time and I don't think David or JM had ever tried it before. Too bad the camera was packed in my hospital bag because David was loads of fun to watch. He got up on that big tall horse in a frog and flapped his little butterfly wings and laid all the way back across his horse. It was great. The rest of them did really well too but it was especially fun to see David really trying all the tricks for the first time.

Friday night was the premiere performance of Grease for which JT ran the light board. That's a particularly neat thing for Tad and I since our courtship happened within the world of Bucknell technical theater. We have many, many memories of light hangs, scene constructions, headset chatter, crewing shows, strikes (where Tad really learned what I'm made of!) and now we have Ben with a passion to act and JT quickly falling in love with the technical aspects of theater. Tad and Ben were able to see the play on Friday night and I got a chance to go to it on Sunday afternoon. We all thought JT did a stellar job (I've never before seen an 11 yo who could run a light board of any size) and the play turned out quite good as well in spite of the length and breadth of the project.

Saturday morning Ben and Tad got up for Ben's 3rd Baseball tournament game. The Yankees have had a fantastic season, losing only 2 games (and in their defense they were down to 6 players for one of those losses..). They are doing quite well so far in the tournament also with 2 wins and 1 loss. Ben is really beginning to look like a seasoned player. He is fun to watch because he loves to play the game. He's not at all interested in pro ball, following player stats or even watching a game. He just loves the feel of a bat in his hand and the excitement of being on the field. He's become quite a dependable batter and he stays awake in the outfield. His skill this season won him a slot in the All Star game for his league - quite an honor since he was voted there by his peers and their parents.

The afternoon brought the Great Lego Boat Race. Our local lego guru, homeschooling dad and coach of several award winning competitive lego teams, Marco hosts a lego boat race each year in his swimming pool. Last year was the first time entering for JT and Ben and this year they talked their friends Patrick and Emory into joining them in the fun. JT and Emory are the mechanical-minded ones of the bunch and they worked for an afternoon coming up with their boat, which had to be made out of legos, had to mobilize itself across the pool and could not have any non-lego parts above the water.

Being the more artistic of the bunch, Ben knew he and Patrick would not do well with the logistics of getting a boat to move so he decided to put a different lego skill into play in the competition. They created a stop motion animation film of a lego boat swimming merrily across a lego pool with a little lego Mr. Marco cheering them on and announcing them the winners. They knew it would probably disqualify them from the contest but it was worth the laugh for them and much more fun to do than figure out the physics involved.JT was disappointed that their boat capsized in the water before it could really take off. He had spent a long time trying to get it balanced just right but he and Emory did take home a certificate for Best Looking Boat. It turned out Marco was quite impressed with Ben's and Patrick's project and allowed them to enter the movie as a "digital entry". He did ask Ben to put the model boat in the pool just to be part of the crowd. He was so impressed that he dedicated a page of his website to the movie which you can watch ( a bit pixillated) by going here. They earned a certificate for the Lightest Boat and a participation certificate. There are more pictures of the event here.

While it would have been nice to stay and picnic, the crew was on to the next thing for the evening immediately after the judging of the boats. JT went off for the 2nd performance of Grease while the rest of us grabbed our bag of peanuts and headed to the local community college to watch Ben play in the All Star game. That was great fun as the college has a nice facility complete with electronic scoreboard, sound system, real dug outs and LIGHTS. Ben was playing on the American League team and his team was the first to line up on the field. Ben got to run out with his teammates, onto the lighted field, while the announcer called his name over the loudspeaker. He did manage an at-bat with a single to first and on to home before the game was called due to lightning. The American League was ahead 2-1 as we all headed home, hoping for a rain check on the evening's game.

Sunday was supposed to be the day for Ruth and Betsy to have a tball game but due to the heat index that was canceled. That's probably a good thing since Ruth wouldn't have been able to play anyway - heat and sickle cell disease are not a good pairing. That freed me up to see Grease and Tad to have a little time to chill out after running hither and yon up to that point. It was a great weekend and I'm sort of glad Tali decided to hold off her delivery so I could enjoy at least some of the children's accomplishments as well.