26 April 2008

And Don't Even Get Me Started on the Bottled Water

Hello, all. We had a very nice day today at the ballpark watching the Tigers play the Angels, and while I have approximately the energy of a geriatric cat on Ambien (my friend Jon wrote something like that once, and I frequently imagine myself as that cat--go figure), I figured I'd better write something about it while it's still fresh. And this might take me a while, because apparently, when I'm tired, my fingers don't type very well.

Okay. So, the kids are with others--Charis is chillin' with Katie and Travis, and Judah is hangin' with Gideon and Elise, which means me and the old man have the whole house to ourselves this weekend. Woo Hoo! That might mean something, except for the fact that we have no opportunity whatsoever to sleep in, so the whole no-kids-in-the-morning thing is pretty much wasted. Back to my original point, about the nice day. Are you still with me? 'Cause I'm not sure I am. We got up stinkin' early this morning so's we could get on the road to go spend the day at the ballpark. There was a special program today, see, where Christian speakers get up and share their testimonies and things, and it was pretty cool. So we had to be there at 11 or so for the special program, a mere FIVE hours before the game was to start. We stopped for breakfast beforehand at a local joint called Cracker Barrel--if you're ever in our neck of the woods, you should stop in. You know, they really ought to franchise it or something.

But I digress.

Not that I currently have a train of thought anyway.

It was supposed to be overcast today, with a high of 56 or so, except that NOT SO MUCH. It was sunny and about 95 degrees down near the field, so good thing I wore jeans and a sweatshirt! And not so good about the fact that we wore no sunscreen, because Abe and I both got a little pinker than we would have liked. After the speakers were all done, we had an opportunity to go stand on the field for a "baseball clinic," which, when 5,000 people are in attendance, pretty much amounts to, "Some man is talking about base running--or it may be outfielding. One can't be sure." All the same, it was really cool to stand in the middle of the outfield whilst someone who may or may not be a major league ball player talks about pitching and/or sliding and imagine what it must be like to play a professional sport where 43,000 people come to your house and stare at you while you play.

Really, paragraphs are a lost cause here. I'm just giving you these spaces so you'll have a chance to come up for air.

We still had an hour to kill before kickoff--I mean, before the first two ceremonial pitches were thrown out by some dude named Brandon, and some other dude named, oh, I don't know--we'll say Chris. Who knows. It was not very ceremonial, and do we really need two non-ceremonial pitches? Don't they just cheapen the real ceremonial first pitches? Anyway, to kill some of the time, we thought we'd go find our seats. We had been told they were really good seats in Row 17. And when we heard that, we were all like, WOW! Row 17!! Well, those seats are humdinger! And they were indeed in Row 17, but in Section 329 in the upper-upper deck. And for those of you scoring at home, there are only approximately 21 rows in the upper upper deck, which means we were pert near the top. We so enjoyed the climbing of the stairs that we decided to kill some more time and go back down to the main level for some overpriced treats and then come climb back up the stairs to our version of Row 17--which, if there were any truth in it, they'd call Row 96.

Which brings me to the real travesty of major league ball parks: the overpriced treats.

When we were sitting in the first portion of the program, baking in the sub-Saharan heat (isn't it still April? Isn't it?), I sent the hubby to get us a refreshing beverage. He returned some minutes later with a 32-oz. pop, $4.75 poorer. $4.75. FOR ONE POP. Is that not the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard? I just spent $5.00 this week on a 24-pack of Coke in cans. And while those cans don't hold quite half of the 32 oz. that were in our cup, I was still bitter when I did the mental math and realized they'd marked up my canned pop by about 4,000,000 percent. And don't even get me started on the bottled water; you're not allowed to bring in your own containers of anything, which is presumably so you won't have a choice but to fork out $3.75 for a cheap plastic bottle full of water that likely came from a large faucet in a warehouse somewhere. During the seventh-inning stretch, we were singing about peanuts and cracker jack, and I couldn't help but think that peanuts and cracker jack would set us back about $10. Ah, the ballpark. Where else on the planet would people stand in line to spend $14.50 on a Little Caesar's pizza that they could purchase hot-and-ready a block away for a third of the price?

Moving on from the travesty portion of the program... We went to sit in our nosebleed seats (Wait a minute--my ears just popped from the altitude change--that may still be a travesty) and discovered that the sweltering heat we had experienced only, well, an hour before--heat that made us seriously contemplate spending $5.00 on an icee (AN ICEE!)--had given way to a bone-chilling, Arctic temperature that had us switching our order to the $3.75 hot chocolate. I zipped up my sweatshirt, tugged my hood up over my head, and wrapped myself in my gore-tex to fight off the wind.

Nine innings, a popcorn, nachos, Italian sausage, five waves, and a second mortgage later, we won the game.

Then we walked the block to our parking spot, where we waited for half an hour to move, and then inched along for another half hour until we were shuffled with the rest of the traffic onto the highway to head home. Start to finish, driveway to driveway, we were gone for fifteen hours. We are poorer, bloated, and sunburned. We're stiff from sitting and sore from climbing.

But, you know, it was still a good day.

Go figure.

Now I'm off to curl into a ball, groom my paws, take some Ambien, and go to bed.

17 April 2008

Prayer for Matt and Shannon

Matt and Shannon have just learned that their son Oliver has Sanfilippo Syndrome, too. Here's the link to their blog again. Please keep praying for them--they're really in need of it.

My friend Sarah passed along this article about a girl with Sanfilippo Syndrome. Also check out this link for more general information about Sanfilippo Syndrome.

16 April 2008

Sweet Nothings

This afternoon, after a busy morning with a visiting friend, the kids were wiped out. I put them down for naps and they didn't even complain, which is truly rare. I waited a few minutes and grabbed a little snack, catching up on blogs and waiting for someone to make a ruckus that needed to be dealt with. For the most part, all was calm. But then I heard a bit of shuffling and moving in my bedroom, which meant that Charis hadn't settled down to sleep, so I popped my head in the door to encourage her to lie down and rest. She was sitting on the bed, having artfully arranged the pillows to form a sort of Charis nest, and simply smiled an innocent smile as I gently scolded her for playing.

After that, I figured it was safe to commence with my usual naptime activities, which don't regrettably include a nap. I sat down at the computer, arranged my own pillows artfully, and set to work.

I had been working for about an hour when I had an overwhelming urge to go cuddle with Charis. I think I was feeling a trifle guilty at scolding her when she really wasn't doing anything so terrible. And with the constant reminders lately of how life is but a vapor, I thought I should probably act on my urge; after all, work will always be there--or not--but my sweet dear won't always be three years old and of good cuddling size. This is the girl who, most mornings, will try to get me out of bed by saying, "Mommy, do you want to come cuddle with your little girl?" I know that one of these mornings, I will wake up and she will be sixteen, and her phrase will be something like, "Mom. You are so lame. Let me have some privacy and watch my shows!" Little girl, indeed. I ought to smack her mouth! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So I saved my work and quietly crept into the bedroom, settling myself down beside her. She's not really a sleep-cuddler, so I came as close as I could without actually touching her, and I marveled at this beautiful creature: how her hair lay smooth across her face, how her shoulders rose and fell with each gentle breath, how tiny she looked, but how big she has gotten since she first came to our family. I inhaled the moment, trying to etch it in my mind permanently.

Moments later, my sweet little girl rolled over, saw me there, and said sweetly, "Mommy, will you please get out of my bed?"

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Great Moments in Sports History

This February, it was:
Giants win Super Bowl!!

March Madness produced this headline:
Kansas wins NCAA Championship!!

But perhaps most importantly, April 15th brought you this:
Calvary Bible #2 wins Bible Volleyball League Championship!!!!

Yes, you read that right. The prestigious Bible Volleyball League, made up of 11 teams of varying skill and denominations, held its final tournament last night. Only the top 8 teams were admitted into the tournament, and our team, Calvary Bible 2, with its record of 7-3, was seeded 4th. Our first game was against Prairie Edge, seeded 5th. The first game in the match was a disaster and resulted in Calvary's defeat. But thanks to some inspirational words from their phenomenal and essential(ly useless) coach (me) (oh, and the fact that the team hit their groove and started playing like so many Karch Kiralys), Calvary 2 rallied to win the next two games, clinching the match.

After sitting for a game, Calvary 2 then geared up again to face 8th-seeded Second Christian Reformed 3, who were coming right off of an against-all-odds, bracket-breaking victory against the heavily-favored number 1 seed, Westwood 1. Do you believe in miracles? We do. We won this game handily, in only two games.

Then it was time to sit for a spell again, this time to watch Cherry Creek take on Richland Bible. After watching Richland cruise to victory in this semi-final match, Calvary 2 again took the floor. By this time, everyone in the stands (that'd be me) knew the game could go either way; Calvary 2 had been playing lights-out volleyball all night, but Richland hadn't been sitting, and was well-pumped up after their win. Also, Richland has a nearly 7-footer who needs no approach to be able to slam the ball directly in your face. On the other hand, we have pretty good D, and our hitters, while they fall well short of the 7-foot range, are no slouches, either. So, like I said, it could have gone either way.

But it didn't.

Our team emerged victorious after two surprisingly quick games. The crowd (me, and the guy running the tournament) went wild! The team was stunned--last year, Calvary 2 barely made it to the playoffs, and this year, we were standing atop the (theoretical) podium, receiving the (hypothetical) gold medal! Calvary was awarded a handsome cash prize ($50--we're going out for ice cream next week to celebrate) and the most coveted prize of all: the (used) official 2008 Bible League Game Ball. Lord Stanley's Cup has nothing on the Tachikara SV-5WSC, but I think that goes without saying.

So mark it on your calendars, and tell your grandkids: you were alive when Calvary Bible #2 won sport's greatest prize!

10 April 2008

Sowing Tears

A update:

I think that I mentioned that my 20-week ultrasound showed Placenta Previa. During the ultrasound, the technician also noted two spots on the baby's heart known as EIF. These spots represent a slightly increased risk of having a baby with Down's syndrome. I was told by the midwife to curtail exra-curricular activities, at least until after a follow-up ultrasound showed marked improvement.

Well, last Monday, I went back for that ultrasound, and it appears that the placenta is on the move, so things are looking good. I still have the same restrictions and must still go back for follow-up ultrasounds, but we have every reason to believe that a scheduled C section will not be in our future. The technician also took note of the spots on the heart, and looked for other markers that might suggest Down's--the spots were still there, but every other marker was normal. We've been praying about these things, so it was a comfort to see that God had planned for those things to work out in our case. Perhaps He knows we just couldn't do it if they hadn't.

Within the theme of God's plans being beyond our understanding, I'd like to pass along two blogs to you:

The first belongs to some friends from college, Matt and Shannon. I may have already told you about their blog, but I will do it again anyway. Matt and Shannon's little girl, Waverly, has been diagnosed with MPS III, also known as Sanfilippo Syndrome. They are waiting to receive word on whether their little boy, Oliver, has it, too. I will let you read their blog and read about Sanfilippo Syndrome to figure out the heartbreak of their story.

The second I just learned about today. It is the blog of Todd and Angie--you may recognize Todd from the group Selah. Selah's music has always been a source of comfort to me in hard times, and it appears that Todd and Angie are walking through some very hard times of their own. Their little girl, Audrey Caroline, only survived for about 2 hours after she was born. Todd and Angie had known since their 20-week ultrasound that Audrey was not going to live, but I don't imagine that made it any easier to say goodbye.

Pray for both of these families as they each have a difficult journey to take.