Spare Time

Sheepdog has a hard time sitting still.  I feel that he was born with some horrific “can’t relax” gene.  He still complains of being tired all of the time and that he feels run down and exhausted, yet he rarely listens when I wisely advise, “take a nap, dummy.”  Naps are the best part of parenting as far as I’m concerned.  They are the diamonds of Minecraft.  My precious.

But, back to Sheepdog.  The man is unable to just be.  I tease him all the time about his lack of quietude, yet I secretly find his buzz intoxicating.  I don’t want to be him, mind you.  But I am thrilled that he is on my team.  And he’s fun to watch.

This summer, my mom and dad gave Sheepdog a GoPro helmet camera.  I do not think in the history of things created that there could be a more appropriate gift.  Sheepdog is even more excitable than usual because of it.

Snake Creek Gap Sign

He has already begun filling his dance card with mountain and road bike races throughout 2015.  His first mountain bike race was the Snake Creek Gap 34-miler, which he completed last Saturday, January 3, in the cold and pouring rain in just over five hours.  He was so muddy at the end that the ladies who give out chili to the riders afterwards asked him to pose for pictures because they had never seen anyone so filthy and caked in mud.*

And because he can’t sit still, Sheepdog came home from the race and promptly made a movie about it.

I told you he is fun to watch.  How about those thighs, huh?

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

* Reminder to have Sheepdog build an outdoor shower in his spare time

When Life Gives You Lemons

… slice them up and stick some in your sweet tea.

… ask for tequila and salt.

… give yourself a lemon facial.

… squirt someone in the eye.

… give them to your cat/ baby and put the video on YouTube.

… take them.  Don’t waste free food.

… wing ’em right back, and add some more lemons of your own.

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Those are just a few of the gems I found when I googled the old adage.  Why was I doing that, you ask?  Well, the Swigers have had a run of bad mojo as of late, so I was technically doing some parenting research.

Kid A did not get a fancy scholarship that she was really excited about from one of her top college choices.  Kid B did not make the varsity soccer team at her high school.  Kid D only qualified for the rec baseball team, not the select one.  Kid E was dismayed that I eventually sent him back to kindergarten after a couple of days of staying home sick, watching TV, and playing Minecraft.  And Kid C is always very sad that no one else in our family busts out into dance moves when her favorite song comes on.

There has actually been quite a bit of disappointment around here, and the mood at our house hasn’t been awesome.  And I hate it when my kids are sad.  It makes my Mama Bear come out, and it makes me feel icky feelings.  I have been trying to deal with them in a healthy, productive way, but all I really want to do is punch people in the face.  Instead, I have been taking lots and lots of deep breaths.

But I guess it also gives me and Sheepdog the opportunity to teach these kids some important life lessons.  We are trying to teach them lessons about resilience, dignity in defeat, good sportsmanship, and overcoming adversity.  Don’t quit.  Work hard.  Try harder, try again, or even cultivate a different dream.  Life isn’t always fair, you are not as important as you think, and – sometimes – things work out better than you imagined they would, just not in the way you expected.

It’s like a motivational poster factory up in here.

One of my favorite pieces of advice came today from Kid B’s travel team soccer coach.  First, he told her it was okay to be disappointed.  But only for a minute.  Then, he said, “No one else will feel sorry for you in sports.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself either.”  His message was so good that it made me cry in the frozen pancake aisle at Kroger.  But I’m sensitive like that.  And it was exactly what she needed to hear.  She’ll get lots more playing time on J.V. and she will be just fine.

The other kids will be alright, too.  Kid A is in the running for another fancy scholarship at another of her top-choice colleges, and she has already been accepted at some really great schools.  Sheepdog ended up signing up as head coach of Kid D’s rec baseball team, went to the draft last Sunday, and amassed an awesome team of great kids and parents that will make for a really fun season.  Kid E went back to kindergarten on the 100th Day of School and came home with a fancy hat.  And Kid C has decided that she doesn’t have a favorite song, but she’s going to keep dancing anyway.

So, even when life gives you lemons… it’s all good.

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Wish me luck for tomorrow…

No Tooth, No Money

Last Friday afternoon the boys bounded off the school bus, all limbs and backpacks and sweaty buzz cuts.  It was the start of a four-day weekend, and everybody was bursting with excitement.

“AbunchofmyfriendsaregoingtoplayfootballrightnowintheHall’syardCanIgotooCanIplayCanIgonow HuhCanImomCanImomplease?” Kid D asked before we even reached the house.

“We are going to movie night on the lawn at your aunt’s house right after dinner, but you can go play for a while.  Promise me you’ll call when you get there.  And be home by 5:45.”  I guarantee he didn’t hear anything after “go play,” but he is eight and I’m learning that’s just how eight-year-old boys work/ don’t work.

About and hour or so later, there was a knock-knock-knock at my side door.  In came Kid D, along with Football House Mom II (not to be confused with FHM I – If You Have to Poop, Go Home), and her son.  She led with, “Um, the boys had a little accident…”

I stayed very calm.  Kid D was being brave, but as soon as he saw me the dam broke and the tears started flowing.  FHM II explained that Kid D had collided with another friend and he had apparently lost a tooth as a result.  The blood was flowing generously from his mouth, so I really couldn’t see much of anything.  I asked if they knew where the missing tooth went.  Did it jam up into his gums?  Was it somewhere on the lawn?  Did he swallow it?

“We’re not sure.  It might very well be in the other kid’s head.”  Awesome.

FHM II and her son left to check on the status of the other kid.  I gave Kid D some salt water and told him to start swishing and spitting.  After he cleared away some of the bloody mess, I was able to determine that most if not all of the tooth was indeed gone from his mouth.  The rest should fall out on its own because, luckily, it was a baby tooth.  His permanent front tooth next to the new hole was a slight bit wiggly, but I wasn’t too worried.  And conveniently, we had dentist appointments scheduled for first thing Monday morning so I would have the experts confirm that he was fine in a few days.

I texted with the other kid’s mom and she confirmed that he was hard-headed and doing just fine.  He was worried that he might have a “discussion” from the bump on his head, but there was just a red mark.  No broken skin and no “discussion.”  Whew.

So I had Kid D swish and spit a little while longer so the blood would stop spewing forth.  Then I Motrinned him up and he felt much better.  We even brought FHM II’s kid with us to watch Hotel Transylvania outside at my sister’s house.  It was a beautiful night and the movie was funny and the kids (as well as the grown ups) had a good time.  It was late when we finally got home and put the boys to bed.

The next morning, Kid D was very disappointed.  Apparently, the tooth fairy had failed to make an appearance and he felt gypped.  And surprisingly, he found no solace in my explanation: “I believe the rule is – no tooth, no money.  Sorry, big guy.”

Kid D was having none of that nonsense, so he set out writing a letter to the tooth fairy.  And when I asked how the tooth fairy would know if he was telling the truth or not, he insisted that I sign off on his note as a witness.

Kid D tooth fairy letter

The very next night, the note went on his nightstand, front and center.

And he found this waiting for him in the morning:

Well, I believe that the tooth fairy needs to have more change on hand.

I guess it is “no tooth, no money,” unless you leave a polite, semi-notorized note.

Over the years, our tooth fairy seems to have taken a whole lot of liberties.  Is it just me, or does the tooth fairy seem like she/ he really makes up most stuff up as they go along?  And she/ he really should be better prepared  in the future by having change on hand.  I’m just saying.

P.S.  I also believe that my kids need some more work on spelling.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Crash and Burn Upon Reentry

I am officially back, both in the real world and here in This Is How I Do It-world.  Great trip.  Fun times.  Incredible experiences that gave me a little of the travel bug.  But for now there will be no more exciting travel-around-the-globe stories that are posted two weeks out because I didn’t have internet (gasp!) when they occurred.  I am back to real-time, this-crazy-shit-happened-yesterday posts.

It is very easy for me to leave behind my roles as  Mrs. Sheepdog/ Five Baby Mama any time I go on a trip like I just did.  Right up until the moment I walk out the door, I am making schedules and washing laundry and planning meals and rides and doctor’s appointments.  But the second I pull out of my driveway, I let go.  I figure that I have done my best at preparing for coverage in my absence, and at that point I no longer have control over what happens.  I just let it all go and really enjoy every second of being away.

It’s the reentry that is usually so much harder.

The other day Sheepdog and I were in the kitchen discussing the kids (ours) and the state of the union (also ours).

Sheepdog confessed, “I don’t like where we are right now.”

Ugh.  You’re killing me, husband.

Sheepdog and I are fine.  We really and truly are.  Even he admitted it later.  I promise that I’m not ignoring any problems or issues so that Sheepdog is going to turn to a sympathetic boob-job at his office for comfort.  It is simply that he is not getting enough of my time right now.  It’s also likely that I’m not giving him enough of my vagina right now (I am hormonal and tired, people; I’m not a sex machine), but mostly he just wants my undivided attention.

But these pesky kids are demanding my attention even more loudly.

How in the world did two weeks away lead to so much craziness?

I won’t bore you with the details, but every single one of our kids has something happening in their lives right this moment that requires my immediate attention.  Nobody is sick or in a major crisis or anything, but there are things happening that I need to deal with, or they could get out of control.  It’s pre-crisis management time.

And I’m doing my job as best I can.  But it is definitely stressing me out.  And making me a little snippy.

To make things worse, my home phone rings about six times a day.  Every single call begins with a pause… and then comes the “exciting news” about a painter/ home improvement/ security company that will be in my neighborhood and would like to tell me all about what they can do to make my life better.  I’ve started to ask them point-blank if they can cure teenage depression, or stop a 3rd grader from calling my kid a “fucker” during playground kickball, or cure cancer… easy stuff like that.  Usually they hang up on me.

One day last week I was wound way up in the throes of crazy.  It was after school and I was emailing a teacher, making dinner, supervising homework, and trying to get somebody dressed and ready for baseball.  We had to be out the door in less than ten minutes and I had at least thirty minutes left of shit to do.

Kid A came home from 121 Reach (high schoolers tutoring middle schoolers) to pick up Kid C because both of them have ballet at the same time.  Even though I told her to be ready by 5PM, she wasn’t.  I was standing half in the kitchen/ half in the garage yelling at her for being inconsiderate, holding a spoon covered in red sauce (I was making lasagna).  Kid A had gone back to her car in a teenage huff because she was definitely going to be late now.  Another sales call came through on the house phone.  The boys were running around the yard throwing a football, but nobody had their shoes on or put their gear in the car, like I asked them to do.  Kid B was moping around the house in the middle of it all.

Next thing I know, an inconspicuous white minivan pulls up to my driveway.  I don’t recognize the car or the driver.  I automatically presume that it is a cleaning service or a painter about to put rocks or tape on my newly painted mailbox and I scream at her from the garage, “DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN THAT MAILBOX!” in an admittedly scary, I-am-so-about-to-lose-it-on-you tone.

The woman looks at me quizzically.  Then she says innocently and apologetically, “I was just dropping off an invitation for my daughter’s birthday…”

Well, didn’t I feel like a complete and absolute jackass?

I dismissed the tardy Kid C to Kid A’s car, shook my head and took a very deep breath.  I apologized as best I could to the innocent bystander.  “I’m sure you’re going to totally want to have my kid come to your party now!”  She laughed nervously, said, “No worries” and waved goodbye.

Turns out, I agree with Sheepdog.  “I don’t like where we are right now.”

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Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Strong is the New Skinny

Prepare to be inspired.  I sure was.  I sure am.  Well, technically, I am on a cruise ship somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, likely drinking by the pool and not working out much, so my inspiration has been temporarily deferred, but you get my point.  I have yet to meet a person (not just a woman) who doesn’t feel like they could be doing better or more when it comes to eating clean and working out dirty.  When you finally get into the head space that you were blessed with this human body, complete with flaws of all sorts but ripe with potential if you just follow the simple instruction manual (more out than in), it is amazing what you can accomplish.  It isn’t about being a size 0.  It isn’t about losing ten pounds for your reunion.  It is about deciding to be strong and then making healthy choices for your body and mind and being comfortable in your own skin(ny).
 
I met Lindsay when I started dating her big brother in the early 1990’s.  She was in middle school.  She was never fat, but neither was she skinny.  She was just regular.  But to a teenage girl, “regular” can easily translate into “fatso,” even for girls with the utmost confidence.  She was rarely comfortable about her body when she was younger, and it just got worse from then on.  As an adult she was anxious, frustrated, scared and apologetic.  Then, she stopped being “regular” and actually got heavy.  We watched it take a toll on her.  We saw her struggling.  She tried to make changes, but they weren’t successful.
 
Then, at the start of this year, something awesome happened.  Lindsay was at the YMCA and she started working out with a group of girls.  At first they intimidated her, but they included her and inspired her and pushed her to try harder every day.  They showed her how to be strong, not skinny, and that has made all the difference on the world.  She is working so hard every day to meet her goals, and it has been absolutely amazing to watch her transform both physically and mentally.  
 
Lindsay – you are a rock star.
 
Top photo: December 2012 Bottom photo: August 2013

Lindsay and Sheepdog                                                                                                                                               Top photo: December 2012                                                                                                                                 Bottom photo: August 2013

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Guest Post by Lindsay Dunavant

Hi y’all!   I’m Sheepdog’s little sister, Stacy’s favorite (and only) sister-in-law, and aunt to all of the wonderful children those two wild and crazy kids have made.  When Stacy asked if I would guest post, I was flattered and downright scared.  Apparently, after you receive your master’s degree diploma, you rarely write anything of any importance.  At least that was the case for me.  You see, I was an athletic trainer in my previous life.  That means I worked thousands of hours, seven days a week making pennies on the hour having a blast watching collegiate sporting events.  And if someone got hurt, I was the person who ran onto the field/court/pitch/diamond and figured out if they were safe to return to play or what needed to be done to fix them.  So, the extent of my writing came down to something called a SOAP note (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan).  That’s what they are called in the medical field.  I call it a cover you’re a$$ note.  But I digress……

Yes, that is unfortunately a ‘fanny pack’

Yes, that is unfortunately a ‘fanny pack’

Then I got married and then came the baby carriage x 2.  So I became a stay-at-home mom.  And my writing became even more refined in the manner of grocery lists and check writing.  All of this back story is leading to something.  I promise.

So, Stacy asked if I’d guest write.  Why you ask?  Well, I sort of ate my way out of postpartum depression and had reached an inexcusable girth.  And this winter I had an epiphany of sorts and have lost 75 pounds since January.  With diet and exercise.  That’s all.  No bee pollen, no surgery (although I have been asked multiple times how I managed to run so close to having surgery), just old-fashioned, sweat in my eyes, hard work.  So what gives?

I don’t really know what happened to put me in the position to eat and become the lazy, wheezing person that I had become.  I know that I have struggled with my weight since childhood.  In fact, at age 9, I was on my first diet.  Crazy right?  I remember being made fun of at school constantly (mostly by a few people) when looking back on it, I was never obese.  I would round out and then grow 3-4 inches in a summer and be back on track, but in my brain, I was and would always be the fat kid.  I have been dieting for what seems like my whole life.  Then of course I got really skinny and unhealthy during college because, really, that’s what you do in college, right?  You drink all of your calories in beer and eat saltines because that’s what you can afford.  My alma mater is (and has been) on the Princeton Review’s Top Party School list for more years than I can recall.  We had a tradition to uphold!!  Let’s Go……………Mountaineers!!!!!  I then got into a relationship with a very smart, albeit, let’s face it, OCD, crazy fellow who was obsessed with his body building.  That resulted in me losing even more weight.  He wasn’t very nice to me.  So when I finally ditched him, I was kind of a mess.  I met an awesome man and fell head over heels in love with him and felt I could finally be myself.  I was comfortable and happy. We ate, drank, and were merry!  I graduated, went to grad school, got engaged and married, all the while the pounds were kind of creeping up.  Not in a bad way, but definitely on the rise.  I started working that crazy job where finding time to eat healthy and exercise were not options.  The job was incredibly stressful and I didn’t handle it well.  We eventually moved for my husband’s job and decided to start a family and that is when I realized my weight was getting out of control.  We had fertility issues, due to my weight and I lost 40 pounds and got pregnant! Yay!  But that instantly went back on and then some.  Lost a few and got pregnant with our daughter.  That is when the real trouble started.  We had a beautiful baby girl, a healthy two year old boy, and I was absolutely miserable.  I couldn’t do anything to make it better.  So I ate.  And cried. And ate. And baked. And cried some more.  SCREW YOU TOM CRUISE!!!  To quote the fine cinematic triumph that was Austin Power’s, “I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle” Fat Bastard – Austin Power’s The Spy Who Shagged Me.  It seemed my whole world was perfect, yet I was miserable.

I started going to the local YMCA branch because they had babysitting (YAY!)  and thought , “if I exercise regularly, this weight will come right off.”  One year later, I was only 5 pounds lighter.  Feeling very discouraged, I started using an app called C25K (that’s Couch to 5K if you can’t figure it out).  After the 8 weeks, I could sort of run 30 min straight on a treadmill.  I needed to do more.  I asked for a great pair of running shoes and a heart rate monitor for Christmas (who is this girl??).  After receiving these fabulous gifts from my caring family, I headed off back to the Y the day after Christmas.  Lucky for me, a group of moms that I would always see at the gym and be in awe of their abilities, but was always too intimidated and frankly, too embarrassed to approach, happened to be there also working out the typical stressors of the holiday season.  They asked me to join them for a workout.  I laughed and said, “No way.  I can’t keep up with you.” They encouraged me to try, told me that they could modify the workout if I needed, but that it would be fun.  Burpees. Fun. Sure.  (If you don’t know what a burpee is, look it up on YouTube, try it out, and then you’ll understand) I managed 2 burpees that day.  And was ECSTATIC.

I never looked back.  I started taking a class that incorporated the same kind of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that those fabulous girls convinced me I would be able to do.  I kept running.  I’m a bit of a gadget person, so I started using the myfitnesspal app to keep track of my food intake.  I also was talked into joining a Biggest Loser competition of sorts in a private group on Facebook.  The final weigh-in was March 27.  I had lost 15.92% of my body weight and finished second  (“If you ain’t first, you’re last!”).  I went to the gym/exercised 6 days a week for about 2 hours a day.  No cheat days on my diet.  I ran my first 5k in March and finished with a time of 42:10.  I ran my second 5k in August and finished in 30:43.  To date, I have lost 75 pounds.  My first long-term goal was to lose 100 lbs, but ultimately, I think 117 is my goal.

I truly believe that I could not have gotten where I am today had it not been for that invitation on the day after Christmas.  My ‘gym girls’ have become some of my closest and most special friends on the planet.  Day after day, they listen to me complain, brag, whine, you name it.  They encourage without judging.  They never give up on me.  And they believed in me long before I ever did. Of course my family has been instrumental in encouraging me with support by watching the kids or dealing with my hunger-driven mood swings.  And many, many others who have suffered through listening to my never-ending chatter about running, mileage, splits, and food decisions.  Especially those who have no desire to ever run.  Many have been so kind as to help me rediscover the joy of shopping, especially since my brain still has me seeing a size 24 when I am now a size 12.

Awesome group of ladies.  Nativa is due any day, but ran with me up until 25 weeks to get my mileage up!!

Awesome group of ladies. Nativa is due any day, but ran with me up until 25 weeks to get my mileage up!! (I’m the other girl in blue)

The fact of the matter is, life gets you down.  But you have to be the one to make changes so that life will improve.  It was my responsibility to take care of myself so I could take care of my family.  I had to stop making excuses and move.  Postpartum depression is real and I don’t have the magic cure or timeline, I just know that it took a very, very long time for me to clear the fog.  Did the exercise help? Did the new friendships help? Was it just time? I don’t know, but I did know that it was time for me to be an active participant in my life.  I decided I wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle and be a positive influence on my children so that my kids didn’t go down the same path I had.  I want them to realize that diet and exercise are so very important, but that it’s a life choice, not a ‘diet.’ I want them to see that hard work and dedication pay off.  That, even though “mommy doesn’t win her races, she doesn’t quit.”   These lessons are already making their mark on my children.  Imagine what they will be able to accomplish!!!

This week starts my ‘official’ training schedule for my first 10K in Washington D.C. on October 27.  My awesome husband and kids will be there cheering for me, just as they have every day since January 1, 2013.  Thanks for listening.  Thanks for caring.  Can’t wait to let ya’ll know when I run my 10K in under an hour or when I hit that 117 pound mark!!!

On Deck

What a crazy/ busy/ exhausting first few weeks of school!  I was so worn out by 4PM on Friday of the first week that I sat down on the couch after the last kid wandered in off her school bus, and I promptly fell asleep for close to two hours.  Right in the middle of all of the kids and all of the chaos.  Granted that I had donated three full bags of platelets at Atlanta Blood Services that morning, but that just pushed me over the edge.  And even after my glorious nap, I went to bed by 9PM.  I think I need to get a little tougher if I’m going to make it through this school year intact.  There’s way too much stuff coming up and happening for us right now!

Kid E started kindergarten a few weeks ago.  He is settling in nicely, making new friends and learning all of the mundane rules that he will have to follow every school year from here on out.  He has already determined that recess and P.E. are “the only good parts of school,” so we have very high hopes for his educational prospects.  He also started playing baseball and, after a rough first day (it turns out he had croup, thus the meltdown at practice), he seems to have settled in nicely.

Kid C has been dancing en pointe for a few months now and is doing really well.  She has learned how to pad-up and tape all of her vast and varied foot and toe injuries, and she has grown accustomed to blood and blisters as a part of her everyday life.  She is looking forward to auditioning for a role in The Snow Queen in just a few weeks.

Kid B is adjusting to high school after a rough academic start.  Her class load is really tough one, so she has to work really hard to keep up.  It wasn’t like that for her in middle school, so she has had to figure some stuff out.  But she just sucked it up and did it, which is awesome.  She also just started soccer season and is tearing it up.  This weekend her team is playing in the Atlanta Cup Tournament and they had three shut-outs before losing a penalty kick-only semi-final 4 – 2.  They have gotten really aggressive on offense and Kid B continues to train hard, make great saves, and be an all-around badass.

On Friday, Kid D got to have the experience of a lifetime.  My brother-in-law is Somebody Important and he knows how much that boy loves baseball.  He set it up so Kid D went down onto Turner Field just before the Marlins v. Braves game and make the announcement over the P.A. and on the Jumbotron… “It’s time for Braves baseball… Let’s PLAY BALL!”  He did a fantastic job and he is still beaming about it.  He looks forward to Quick Pitch and Sports Center playing this clip over and over once he gets drafted by the Braves to actually play ball sometime around 2030 or so.

Kid A is enjoying her final year of high school very much… especially all of the perks that come with being a senior.  She is in the process of completing the common application for colleges, and soon she will fine tune other submissions for a few early admissions, and then even more for regular deadlines.  She is also still dancing ballet and is looking forward to The Snow Queen auditions.

Sheepdog just jumped out a plane for the first (but definitely not the last) time.  He went up with a group of friends on a beautiful Georgia summer day, and experienced the amazing rush of flying in free fall.  Be prepared to watch the video of his leap from 14,000 feet anytime you step foot into our living room, at least for the next few weeks or so.

Today, I am leaving, along with both of my parents, two of my sisters (the third is too pregnant to travel), Kid A (who took Sister D’s spot when she got herself knocked up), three aunts, two uncles, and a handful of family friends, for Barcelona, Spain.  From there, we get on board the Royal Princess for 12 days of travel around the Mediterranean Sea.  We have stops planned in France (Toulon/ Provence), Italy (Florence/ Pisa, Rome, and Naples), Greece (Mykonos), and Turkey (Istanbul and Kusadasi).  Then we travel back, pulling into port in Greece (Athens) and finally, Italy (Venice).

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If you look closely, you can see me on the Lido Deck, sunbathing with a drink in hand.

I have been pretty busy getting the family adjusted to the new school and sports schedules and we are just settling in to the routines.  Now, I’m going to go and screw everything up by leaving Sheepdog to run the show, single-parent style, all while taking the oldest kid (and third driver) away with me for a total of 15 days.  Oh yeah, and he still has that thing called a full-time J-O-B, too.  It’s a very good thing that Sheepdog’s parents are coming to Atlanta to help him out.

I have only been on one other cruise in my lifetime, when I was four or five months pregnant with Kid D.  I went with my mom and all three of my sisters.  It is always fun to be with them, but I didn’t love the cruising part of it as much.  Yet, when my mom and dad proposed this “Trip of a Lifetime,” with all of the amazing destinations on the itinerary, I couldn’t pack my suitcase fast enough.  I have never been to Europe, so I am buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm for the experiences that lie ahead.

Here’s to some amazing things that just happened and even more things on deck.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

“THAT” Kid

FADE IN:

EXT. TEE BALL FIELD PARKING LOT NOON

A MOM and her five-year-old KID climb out of an XL SUV.  He is dressed in used baseball gear and holding a water bottle.  She is carrying his equipment.  They hold hands as they walk toward the field.

MOM

We are a few minutes early.

KID

(not really listening to MOM)

Am I gonna get to run the bases?

EXT. TEE BALL FIELD DUGOUT

The KID drops his water bottle in the red Georgia clay.  The MOM picks it up and places it on the bench.  She makes a quiet groaning noise as she stands back up.

MOM

You might.  Depends on what the coach wants to do.  Are you excited to meet him?

KID

(starts to act shy and grabs the MOM’s pant leg)

Other parents (mostly DADS) and PLAYERS, also dressed in mismatched t-shirts, baseball caps, and cleats begin to arrive at the field.  The DADS are making small-talk and greeting one another.  The PLAYERS are all hanging back, sticking close to their parent(s).

EXT. TEE BALL FIELD PITCHERS MOUND

COACH

(loudly, with a commanding, yet friendly, voice)

OK, players, welcome to tee ball!  Why don’t you grab your gloves and come join me here on the field!

The DADS and PLAYERS follow his instructions.  Everyone goes around in a circle and introduces themselves and their PLAYER to the COACH.  They all shake hands.  The last people to meet the coach are the MOM and her KID.  The KID is obviously getting more and more anxious.

COACH

And who do we have here?

MOM

(extending a hand to shake)

I am Stacy and this is Kid E.  We are excited for tee ball.  Thanks for being the coach.

KID

(Not moving out from behind his MOM’S leg)

MOM

(to the KID)

Say hello to the COACH and shake his hand.

KID

(releasing the death-grip from his MOM’S leg, he reluctantly and timidly extends his right hand)

Hi.

MOM

(to the COACH)

It seems he is a little nervous about the first practice.  I’m sorry about that.  He’ll be fine once they get to playing.  If not, I’ll do some cartwheels to make him laugh.

COACH

(giggling)

Nothing to worry about!  And I’m glad to meet you… I knew you’d be a fun one when I saw your upside-down picture on Google.  I linked in to everyone on the team.

(to the KID and the other PLAYERS)

We are going to have some fun here on the tee ball field!  Now let’s divide into squads and start some drills!

The KID is once again attached to MOM’S leg.  He has now started to shake.  Tears are falling down his chubby cheeks and he begins to make a wailing noise that brings to mind torture or wild animals.  They make their way off of the field.  MOM quickly realizes the direction this is heading and squats down to eye level with the KID.

EXT. TEE BALL FIELD DUGOUT

MOM

What’s the matter, baby?  Why are you getting upset?  This is supposed to be fun.  Please don’t cry.

KID

(between body-wracking sobs)

I am trying not to.

MOM

(sarcastically)

You are not doing a very good job.

(clearly frustrated, but trying to remain calm and cool)

I don’t want you to be sad.  Take a drink of water and calm down.  Let’s just go out on the field and join the rest of your team.  Please.  I’d really like you to stop crying.  Please.

KID

(gesturing all around the field)

I don’t know about this.

MOM

(loving but firm)

Well, I do.  You asked to play baseball, so I signed you up for baseball.  This is not torture.  This is not dangerous.  This is supposed to be fun.  Great American Pastime fun.  Now let’s go and play.

EXT. TEE BALL FIELD OUTFIELD

The KID looks unsure, but the MOM and her KID walk slowly onto the field.  Practice has already begun.  The COACH is teaching one squad how to field ground balls.  The ASSISTANT COACH is teaching the other squad how to throw.  They are clearly having fun.  The COACH and ASSISTANT COACH are upbeat and encouraging.

COACH

(to the KID)

Hey, Kid E!  Let’s see if you can field a ground ball.  Can you show me “ready position?”

(COACH crouches down into “ready position”)

The KID starts to cry even louder.  The death grip intensifies.  MOM extracts herself and looks the KID in the eyes.

MOM

I can not make you stop crying, but I can help these other players practice “ready position.”  We came here to practice baseball and that’s what I’m going to do.

(to MICHAEL, one of the PLAYERS)

Michael, can you show me “ready position?”  Here comes the ball.  Keep your eye on it!

The MOM continues to have a catch with other PLAYERS.  She doesn’t even have a glove, but no matter.  It is getting hotter and she starts to sweat.  The KID keeps on crying.  The moaning noise waxes and wanes.  He does not leave his MOM’S side.  He almost gets hit with the ball several times, but she just works around it.  After several minutes, the COACH calls for a water break.  The PLAYERS disperse.

EXT. TEE BALL FIELD DUGOUT

MOM

(hanging on to her last threads of patience)

Here… take another drink of water.  And please, for the love of all things holy, stop making that noise.  I am hungover and tired and your father should be here right now but he is erecting a deer stand with Paul in the woods somewhere.  I did not force you to play baseball this season, but I will absolutely make you finish out this practice – tears or no tears – because you made a choice.  This is what you committed to do, and you are going to suck it up and do it.  Do you understand me?

The KID suddenly stops crying.  He wipes the snot from his face.

KID

(with the face of an angel)

I’m sorry, Mommy.  I’m ready to play now.

MOM

(sighing)

That’s my good boy.

The MOM takes a drink from the KID’S water bottle and checks her phone for text messages.

FADE OUT.

photo

OMG, this is going to be the longest tee ball season ever.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…