Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh, For the Love of Baseball

The following is a conversation that took place between me and my son on the way to school this morning:

Caden: Mom, did you know that John Smoltz got hurt last night and that could be really bad for the Braves? He's like one of the best pitchers.

Me: No, I hadn't heard. What happened?

Caden: Well, you know what a suicide squeeze is, right?

Me: Yeah.

Caden: Well, they had a suicide squeeze and the runner got into a pickle and when Smoltz tagged him, his hand got caught on his arm and he jammed his pinkie finger and it might be broken. That would be so bad for the Braves. He's turning 40 tomorrow, too, and he's still really good.

Me: Yeah, losing him would be bad for the Braves.

Caden: Did you know that Barry Bonds admitted to using steroids and cheating on his wife?

Me: No, I hadn't heard that either. I figured he'd used steroids but I'm surprised he actually admitted to it.

Caden: Well, I think Curt Schilling might've told on him so I think he had to admit it. Do you know who Curt Schilling is? I think Bonds also did something bad with taxes or something.

Me: Yes, I know who Curt Schilling is. Wow. I'm still surprised that he admitted it.

Caden: Yeah, and we face the Giants next so I wonder if he'll play in the game against us. I'm dying to see if he plays tonight.

Me: Me, too.

This from my 11-year-old who follows baseball and the stats just like a professional sports broadcaster. Obviously, he also keeps up with the gossip, too. Although I can't verify whether he has the Curt Schiiling and wife cheating part correct, I assure you he at least thinks that's what he heard them say on the TV. If he doesn't end up with a career directly related to professional baseball, I'll be shocked! He loves the sport and knows it well. I think he would make an awesome manager for the Astros one day or he'd look awfully handsome and knowledgeable sitting behind the ESPN sports desk every night!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Happy 11th Birthday, Caden!!

To know him is to love him. It's really that simple. You probably think that's just the mother in me speaking, but trust me, it's true. This boy is full of 100% joy, innocence and kindness. He has a heart of gold. I am so blessed to be his mother. I know I sound like an over the top mom but it's true. My friends always say they'll take Caden anywhere, anytime, any day. He's just that sweet and true blue. I'm still asking what I ever did to deserve him. I wouldn't change one thing about him. Not one! He's my Raymond. I tell him all the time that I'll build him a nice little house in the backyard for his wife and kids but that he's never leaving his mamma. The girl who lands this boy will be one lucky lady and she better walk the line!

He was the only child I gave birth to without an epidural. I thought I was dying, but he was worth every bit of pain and then some. I can't believe he's 11. I'm so sad. He's my baby and he's growing up way too fast. I'm off to play with a razor blade now!

Happy Birthday, Cade man. You are the world's greatest son (and catcher!).

We all love you so much!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Attack Bird Should Reconsider

I stopped by the library today on my way home from work. I was in my own world as I started walking from my car to the front door before something caught my eye and interrupted my deep thought. It was a sign posted to a pole standing on a cement anchor about halfway down the sidewalk that said, “Beware of Aggressive Bird”. I read it, then clutched my purse a little tighter as I found myself digesting the warning. I looked up into the trees above me and prepared myself for a possible attack as I made my way down the sidewalk. Before I reached the front door, I was laughing at how I went from basically being in la-la land to being at full alert, preparing for this bird to lunge down at me without any warning.

As I checked out, I asked about the sign and was told that this bird had been swooping down at people as they walked to and from the library. There were additional warning signs posted on the windows as I exited and I couldn’t help but feel slightly paranoid on the walk back to my car since I don’t like surprises. I also couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of my recent entry about saving the birds! All I can say is it’s a good thing that bird didn’t come after me or the bird population around here would've dropped drastically, as my days of saving the birds would’ve been over on principle alone. Ok, maybe not, but I would’ve thought long and hard the next time I saw a helpless bird flopping around my front yard before I rushed them off to the bird rescue volunteer. It's just a good thing all around that he/she didn't mess with me today.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Chihuahuas

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents always had dogs, usually two at a time. They were inside dogs and treated like royalty. They were Chihuahuas; a breed that I must admit isn’t my favorite. Please, no hate mail needed from any Chihuahua lovers out there, they’re just not my personal preference. I’m more of a big dog lover and have always thought of Chihuahuas as more like cats.

The first pair of dogs that I remember them having were named Fuji and Boots. Boots was a sweet black dog with a white patch of white hair at her neck. She would immediately roll onto her back anytime someone pet her, always hoping for a good belly rub. Fuji was a tan colored dog that was so spoiled she was very overweight. She was also temperamental around us kids, who were all under the age of ten during her lifetime. When we would go visit my grandparents, it was usually very boring for us over there, unless our second cousins were in town visiting. My grandmother did soften with age and after her retirement, but when we were younger she ran a stern ship. She owned and operated an antique shop and with her own home also full of antiques, there just wasn’t much room for kid games. The dogs became our main focus and form of entertainment until they would become so hyper and worked up that we were eventually forced to sit on the couch and not move a finger.

I remember the dogs being mild mannered for the most part, but once we would get them going with their “toys” they would chase each other around in circles, up onto the back of the couch, jumping from the couch to the loveseat to the recliner and running up and down the hall and through all the bedrooms. Now that I’m an adult, I totally understand why the adults shut us down. My nerves can only handle so much activity such as that. This would go one for a while and it was like watching Speedy Gonzales.

Our oldest daughter was six and a half before she was blessed with a sibling. She was actually blessed with two siblings within 18-months of each other. Needless to say, life changed drastically for all of us after having an only child for so long. When the two little ones reached about three-years-old and eighteen-months, they became like two partners in crime, with Cassidy being the ringleader and poor Caden just following all of her commands, without a clue. Those two have always reminded me of my Grandma’s dogs. There were a few times every day that they would get each other all wound up, running, giggling, screaming, fighting, kicking, etc. and it would last for a while before they’d settle down. There was no calming them down when in that mode. Believe me, we tried and it fell upon deaf ears. There were times when I loved it but also times when I’d have to go to my room until it passed to keep my sanity, or part of it. For a while, this was a normal, everyday occurrence usually two to three times per day. They would get so loud and out of control for that period of time, I would just wait for it to pass unless someone got hurt. There was no watching TV, cooking or cleaning in the front of the house until they got it out of their system. They would use the circle through the kitchen and living rooms as their racetrack. It wasn’t always annoying but could be after a while with the shrill screams and high pierced giggling. When they were in that mode I would always say the Chihuahua’s were at it again because that’s exactly what it reminded me of when watching them.

I could go on and on with stories about some of the mischief that those two got into together. She always gave the commands and he always followed them with no questions asked, until he got older and realized he did have a mind of his own. One of my favorite memories of those two playing and using their imaginations is not one of them being wild or rambunctious. I can remember it like it was yesterday and it still warms my heart and makes me smile to think of it. Cassidy was always a tomboy so Santa had brought them both toy rifles, pistols and gun belts one year. Cassidy was probably about four and Caden was about two or three. They’d been quiet for a while, playing in the back of the house and I was enjoying the peace and solitude. Later, they came quietly tiptoeing into the living room, both shirtless, only wearing underwear or a pull-up, carrying their rifles, and very quietly dragging a laundry basket full of stuffed animals with them. Cassidy was wearing an Indian feather hat and they were acting very serious and quiet. I sat there quietly watching them, trying to figure out exactly what their game was. They were speaking in some strange, made-up language to each other and she would point for him to go hide or to move on to another place. As it turned out, they were Indians hunting for their food. The basket was full of dinner that hadn’t yet been skinned. To this day, that is one of my fondest moments when I think back on the things they used to play together. As they got older and weren’t quite as hyper, they began to calm down. There are still times when they have a “Chihuahua” moment, but not very often, and when I hear that familiar out of control laughter and those gasps for air I just smile. Admittedly, when it was happening three times a day every day for a while, it wasn’t so pleasurable, but it is nice when they regress on occasion and I get to hear those giggles again. It takes me back to such good times when they were just a hoot to watch as they interacted. Cassidy really did have her own personal puppet with Caden until he decided he was no longer willing to allow her to put bows in his hair, make-up on him, give up his GI Joe’s or eat jalapeno’s from our plant in the backyard for her entertainment.