At Least I Have No Regrets

Posted in family fun, Sports on April 1st, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring break is over, and for me it flew by- and it was wonderful.  I had my concerns about being so tired and keeping 4 kids from getting bored and restless, and those fears mounted last week when I saw the weather forecast – 40s all week, scarce sunshine, and maybe even a little snow.  I was especially concerned that spring break would be my own personal forecast to what summer break will be like because hard as I try not to, I have times where I dread the summer a little bit.

For one thing, there is a wonderful Christian camp that we’ve been hearing about from a friend, and we’ve been trying to let our kids go for years now, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another.  This year, it seems that the dates will work, but the fees are a little steep, and the 45-minute trip to the camp x4 (there-back-there-back for two kids) might hurt the wallet a little bit with the price of gas the way it is.  Add to that a trip to Nashville Indiana with extended family – SO fun, but 8 more hours of driving, plus groceries and supplies to buy, plus 4 round-trips to South Bend Indiana, and I calculated my mileage from July 4-23 at 1388 – That’s one thousand eighty-eight miles in 20 days.  Factor in our van’s crummy gas mileage and all the pregnant lady bathroom stops, and OUCH.  But then I got to thinking about it, and I think I’d rather spend my July driving around the tri-state area than locked away in my air-conditioning with 4 rambunctious kiddos.  As I said, the trip to Nashville will be lots of fun, and most expenses have been paid thanks to a generous Christmas gift.  So what if I have to miss the 4th of July fireworks for one year (next year we do have to pick a different date though guys if you are reading this 🙂 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays!).  And the trips to South Bend mean that Grandma is taking the kids – so that means fun for them, and a break for us.  So what if it’s not all 4 kids gone at the same time anymore – that’s just one of the small trade-offs for having such a large (wonderful) family.  And I’m STOKED that the kids finally get to go to this camp – they are so excited too!  So what if we have to  leave Nashville at 5am just to drive the 4 hours to get Sammie there on time?  But the main reason for optimism for summer vacation was spring break – it was awesome, and it flew by.

For me, the month of March dragged on and on, and I think much of it had to do with my prenatal dr. appointment on the 31st.  I just could not wait.  Part of it was excitement – this stage of pregnancy is tough  in a different way than the rest of it because many of the changes are internal, and you have nothing to show for it.  I spend my time looking up sketches of what my baby might look like these days, but unless you count fatigue, nausea, moodiness, or tears, there aren’t any outward signs to get excited about – and no, leftover baggage from previous kids does not count as a “baby bump”.  Also, I’ve been extra worried about this pregnancy – I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it’s that stupid stat I heard somewhere that keeps sticking in my brain –  “1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage”.  This is my 5th pregnancy, so that panics me.  I wish I didn’t read the news so much.  Maybe the worry is because of how incredibly difficult this pregnancy has been on me (and my family) compared to the others.  Whatever it is, I’ve been especially panicked, but I’ve been building a great relationship with my new doctor – she is very understanding and so much more of a problem solver than my previous doctor.  But either way, spring break saw me at my prenatal, and everything looks great!  Baby is measuring at exactly 12 weeks, right where s(he) should be.  AND…  I got to see her (him) dance!!  The baby keeps sneaking us ultrasounds – I wasn’t scheduled for one, but the heartbeat couldn’t be detected (my understanding doctor warned me of this ahead of time, or I would have panicked.  Again.), so she took me into the ultrasound room.  There, we saw baby on the screen, and my little 2-inch miracle was dancing – I saw her legs moving and everything!  I keep thinking and saying “she” and “her”, but don’t place any bets – I’ve been known to be wrong about my children’s genders in the past –  before they’re born, of course, sheesh.

So I took the kids to the zoo on Monday of this spring break, and last night I’m still on cloud nine from seeing my baby dance, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I could not resist going back to the zoo on the last day of our season’s pass.  We aren’t going to renew because as much as I love the zoo, it feels like a waste to renew right before summer, especially when I’m pregnant and (probably?) won’t feel like going as much.  And I know I won’t be able to go after my surgery for a month or so…  So I took the kids to the zoo not once, but twice this spring break, and I didn’t even feel like I was going to keel over by the end of today, which means that my first trimester fatigue might be fading (afraid to get too excited).  I even  took an extra kid with me to the zoo both days, a gamble that paid off both times since we all had a blast – even if I was late getting Ellyn home today (that’s why I didn’t stop to chat Justj – I’ve been kicking myself ever since.  I really wanted to see your daughters!  But I was late, and you just don’t expect to run into a friend 60 miles from home so I was caught off-guard).

So yes, I missed the Chicago Cubs opening day game taking my kids to the zoo, and I’m proud of it!  Nevermind that I was looking forward to that game for months.  Hubby recorded it for me, and I watched it as soon as I got home anyway.  And I’m telling you what, the Cubs did not play badly (except for Dempster – if I still cussed he would be on my you-know-what-list), but they lost.  But as I said, they did not play badly, so there is MUCH hope for the season – you can’t tell anything decisive on opening day.  Well, except for last year but we’ll leave that out of it.  But the best part is, I have no regrets.  I can’t imagine how I would have felt had I missed my last chance to take my kids to the zoo in order to watch a game where the Cubs lost.

Super decision on my part, and if this spring break was any kind of predictor for summer vacation, BRING IT ON!

I Want To Be A Glass Is Half-Full Kind Of Person

Posted in Sports on March 30th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

…so I’ll start with the Cubs.  Because goodness knows in my own life, being an optimist is too exhausting.  I wake up feeling crummy, determined to make the best of my day, only to have had to step in to referree not less than 10 fights before I even make it to lunch.  And I’m not talking about MY lunch – that comes much later (if I’m lucky)  after I’ve served up umpteen helpings, cleaned up infinite messes, and responded to various other distress calls.  But the point is that at a time where I could really use my time and energy to focus on me and growing a healthy baby, much of  said time and energy is wasted on what feels like mundane, pointless referring and the like.

But with  the Chicago Cubs opening day mere HOURS away (ok, dozens of hours, but still countable by hours!), I came across the following article which did indeed fill me with cautious optimism  – not for my own summer, no, for there is no doubt  I’m going to feel like a huge pregnant balloon, warm beyond reason, lazy beyond doubt.  I know that I will have 4 little kids to chase around, and I will have to pry myself out of my chair a little earlier in the chase if I’m going to have any hope of catching them to stop the trouble or keep them out of danger.  The optimism isn’t for me  – it’s for the Chicago Cubs.  If you’re a Cubs fan, read the following, and tell me if you agree.  I especially like the line that says, “…allow me to put on the ol’ rose-colored glasses and search out reasons to be hopeful that 2011 will be a better year than 2010 for us Cubs fans.  For one, it can’t be much worse.”

Excellent point, that.  After all, I had to write off my Cubbies after watching what was the debacle they called opening day last year.  Not that I ever tend to give up on the team, I am a Cubs fan affter all, but well, if you saw them play, er um, “play” baseball on opening day of 2010, then you would agree.  Check out the rest of the reasons for optimism here as written by Bob Warja for the Bleacher Report @ bleacherreport.com:

10 Reasons for Cautious Optimism for the Chicago Cubs in 2011

And GO CUBS!!!

It Runs In The Family

Posted in Sports on August 3rd, 2009 and tagged , , , , ,

My aunt sent me the following picture of my cousins at the Cubs game the other day down in Florida – it’s a screen shot from WGN.  At least they got to go to the game where the Cubs beat the Marlins at LandShark Stadium!  In case you’re wondering, the Cubs are doing very well right now – over .500 and just a half game out of first place.  They’ve been playing some GREAT baseball and are very fun to watch these days – GO CUBS!

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CUBS Vs Sox

Posted in Sports on May 22nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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I haven’t had a chance to blog much, but a few posts ago in my “To Hellinois…  … And Back Again” blog series, I mentioned that I might be partaking in a “very exciting, awesomely fun event” to which I promised, “more on that later”.

Now that the event is definite, I am bursting with excitement, so I will share –  hubby got us tickets to see the Chicago Cubs play the White Sox LIVE!  I’ve been wanting to go to a Cubs game for awhile (since our last visit to Wrigley in 2004), but last summer was out because I had a baby and unscheduled surgery from which I had to recover.  So, June 28 at Comisky Park US Cellular Field, we will venture into Chicagoland once again to cheer on the Chicago Cubs while on the turf of the Chicago White Sox – AWESOME!  My mom was nice enough to agree to watch all 4 kids for the day (and the eldest 3 for the rest of the week, BOOLYAH!), and the tickets for the BIG GAME arrived in the mail the other day.

They accidentally got thrown away in the garbage with the junk mail, but LUCKILY hubby was heads up and asked about the whereabouts of the tickets.  That’s when I realized that I probably had thrown them away – by accident of course!  Good thing he asked when he did – the tickets were found not too near the bottom of the garbage and salvaged, thank goodness!

But anyway, I am looking forward to this event like you wouldn’t believe.  Not only is it LIVE baseball, but it’s MLB, not AAA or AA.  And it’s the Cubs I get to go watch, and they’re playing the SOX – their arch-rival (especially as far as I’m concerned – I HATE those White Sox!!!).  So I would say yeah, even though it’s not even 2 months after our last Chicago visit, this visit will be well worth it!  So watch  for us – we’ll be decked out in Cubs gear to be sure to properly invade the South Side Sox turf.  The game is at 12:05pm local time on June 28 – the last of a 3-game series between the two teams, so it promises to be that much more exciting!  It’s scheduled to be shown on WGN, so if you get that channel, check it out, you just might see Taylhis and Co.!

GO CUBS!!!!

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Tri-State Weekend

Posted in Travel on May 20th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We were all over the place this past weekend.  I guess it was the nice weather…  wait, it rained Saturday!

It started with game night on Friday night – my intentions were to take it easy and end somewhat early so we could rest up for a big day with the kids on Saturday.  It didn’t end up that way – we began the weekend by staying up too late!  But it was a fun game night, kind of a different crowd, so it was interesting to mix it up a little.  Our new friend brought presents for the kids to game night, and I can’t express enough gratitude – she basically saved game night!  Our will-be-5-yr-old-tomorrow Sammie was in a mood, and seeing the new friend (the presents didn’t hurt either!) actually got her out of the mood she would have otherwise stayed in all night probably – thanks Mary!

Saturday we were going to take the kids to the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan.  My husband and I (and Taylor in her fetal days) went there in ’99, and we loved the zoo.  We found out it was only about an hour and a half drive from here, so we decided to check it out.  An hour and a half drive doesn’t seem like a long time if there’s no traffic and the kids are good!  Besides, an hour and half drive home after a busy day can sometimes (if we’re lucky) cinch the deal and put all 4 of them asleep for the night.  Well, anyway, it was raining on Saturday.  And we didn’t want to take 4 kids through an unfamiliar zoo in the rain.  So we ended up at Crazy Pinz in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  It’s a place where they have arcade games, bowling, mini-bowling, mini-golf and the kids’ favorite, Ball-O-City – a giant play area with levels and tunnels and balls to shoot at each other.  I was really happy when my husband pointed out the Chicago Cubs game playing on the huge tv in the bar.  So I stood over there and watched the Cubs wriggle out of a dicey situation – they had been winning 4-0 when all of a sudden, Houston scores 4 in the 9th and ties it up!  They also had bases loaded, but the Cubs got out of it somehow and came back with a win in the bottom of a 9th!  The bar at Crazy Pinz erupted in a cheer – Cubs fans everywhere!  So we stayed there for awhile and then got home late but not too late for us to catch up on watching the season finales of our two favorite tv shows – Lost and The Office.

I guess I should save it for another post, so let’s just say we were really happy with the finales of BOTH shows.  Lost actually answered a lot of questions that were outstanding, and it can finally be seen how events are starting to come full circle for the characters.  Something awesome occurred on the Office, well, it was alluded to anyway, but I think it was obvious what the next development is for the Pam and Jim characters.  Ahem.

Sunday after church we decided to reclaim our Saturday plans and head up to Battle Creek to Binder Park Zoo.  Sunday was a gorgeous, picture-perfect day weather-wise, and it ended up being a great decision – it would not be fun to tour this zoo in the rain with 4 little kids.  The zoo is mostly outdoor, and there is a bit of walking if you want to see the majority of the zoo.  You climb aboard a (free) zoo tram that takes you 5 minutes into the wilderness, err Wild Africa as the zoo calls it.  But whether it’s the wilds of Michigan or the savannas of Africa, the view that awaits you when you arrive in Binder Park’s Africa is breathtaking.  Beyond the authentic-seeming African village is a wall, and beyond the wall:

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Click the picture to see a larger version – those are zebras and Thomson’s Gazelles grazing in the huge pasture.  And a clutch of ostrich eggs (real?) on the edge of the exhibit (lower right middle of picture).  The giraffes can go out there too, but they are usually over here:

5-16-and-17-09-crazy-pinz-and-binder-park-zoo-022where you can FEED them!  It was a great day at a great zoo, and we even saw an animal I had never heard of – the Patagonian Mara.  Fully grown they are about 35-40 lbs. (the one here at Binder Park is 9 mos. old and about half that), and they are rodents most closely related guinea pigs.  At Binder Park, the keeper was in the cage with the mara, and she was jumping onto his leg and doing tricks for food – very cool.  I didn’t get the best picture; there was a tree in the way – again click for a larger pic, maybe you can actually see the mara:

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The Binder Park Zoo also has a cute rabbit exhibit where the kids can crawl through a tunnel and end up “in” with the rabbits, a cool children’s zoo (housing the happiest Guinea pigs I’ve ever seen – the first time I’ve seen Guinea pigs that weren’t squealing with fright or freaking out), and a carousel, among other fun things.  Here is my son on his first carousel ride:

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And two of my 4 happy kids at the zoo:

5-16-and-17-09-crazy-pinz-and-binder-park-zoo-023And my other two riding a giant ant:

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So…  a great weekend, even if we were never home sweet home.  I was going to share my pastor’s story he told on Sunday, but this post is long enough, that will have to wait for another post!  Until then…

Busiest Weekend EVER!

Posted in Everyday Life on April 19th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Whew!!!  It’s Sunday night – the finale of what just might be our busiest weekend ever!

Friday night we stayed up late to tie up loose ends and organize our film shoot scheduled for Saturday.  Christopher,  our 9-month-old, has decided to start waking up in the middle of the night again, so despite our best efforts (and going to bed early didn’t work out either since there was SO much work to do for the film shoot), we did not achieve the much-needed good night’s sleep on Friday night after not getting very much sleep Thursday night either.  Saturday we were up bright and early to take the kids 20 miles into the country to their new babysitter – our regular babysitter had stopped doing weekends some time ago, and it finally became time to find a weekend babysitter.  I know what you’re thinking –  a new babysitter in a different town = scary!  But of course we had met with her beforehand, and we liked what we saw.  Not only that, but she lives in a very small town, and her husband’s a teacher (so he had an established reputation, and also would need to protect it) AND she is a friend of a very good friend – ie, she had awesome references that checked out, and when it was all said and done, the kids had a GREAT time over there.  As for us, we had a VERY busy day trying to shoot our “short” film.  I put ‘short’ into quotes because the short film took so LONG to film – at least in some of the cast members’ opinions.  I actually thought the shoot went quite well, considering certain factors.  But the bottom line is, it was a heck of a lot different than doing live theater (how didn’t some of us see THAT coming – it seems obvious that film and stage would be like comparing apples and oranges), and we did not wrap all of the scenes in one day.  So guess what we’re doing next Saturday?  No complaints out of me,  as long as attitudes stay positive…

Saturday night after the shoot we were exhausted.  We were going to take the kids to the park, but it started to sprinkle, and so we were able to catch an AWESOME Cubs game on tv instead.  This entire series with the St. Louis Cardinals has been  so great to watch, even though I’ve actually only caught parts of two of the games – more on that later.  Saturday night saw us staying up too late again because it took awhile to settle down the kids after their big day.  And, lo and behold, Christopher was up all night again.  Right when we flopped into bed, he sat up in his crib.  I pretended like I was sleeping for a few minutes so I could be a fly on the wall and see what he did to entertain himself.  I almost giggled as he sat up and clapped his hands to himself – it was adorable!  I must have fallen asleep though because the next thing I knew (after a few hazy awakenings throughout the night when kids were crying), it was morning and time to get up and get ready for church.

Church this morning was entertaining (I always find it entertaining and enlightening, but I really do need to get some more sleep – I SO don’t want to be known as the lady who dozes in church!) as always, although our usual pastor did not give the sermon.  I liked the sermon, but not as much as when our usual pastor does it… oh well.  After church, we went to our usual brunch and there we decided to take the kids to the Hannah Montana movie.  Except that once we decided, we had only 20 minutes to finish eating, get to the theater, and find a row of seats – what it takes to hold our family at the movie theater nowadays.

Come to think of it, it was such a busy weekend,  and Sunday was busiest of all, so I think I’ll end the post here and make it a two-parter.  My regular readers can  consider this a cliff-hanger because they know that any time we take all 4 kids to the movie theater, it’s nothing short of an adventure…  Until part two…

Incredible Baseball!

Posted in Sports on April 12th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am a baseball fan.  The baseball season started not even a week ago, and I’ve already seen, well, I won’t say that I’ve seen enough good baseball for the season – #1 because I don’t want to jinx the rest of the season, and #2 how could there ever be enough good baseball for a fan?  What I’m trying to say is, this season so far (all six days of it) has been incredibly satisfying – especially for a Cubs fan such as myself.  The Chicago Cubs, my team of choice, has been involved in two rubber games – for those who aren’t familiar, a rubber game is a game that will decide who wins a series.  Of the two series the Cubs have played so far this season, both have come down to the rubber game.  The Cubs won their first rubber game against the Houston Astros, thus winning the series, and tonight they are vying against the Milwaukee Brewers for the rubber game of their second series of the season.

The Cubs / Brewers series has been nothing short of incredible.  These teams are rivals almost as notorious as the Cubs / White Sox, but then again, nothing can compare to cross-town rivalry across divisions.  This weekend, we’ll settle for some up-the-lake rivalry.  I have to admit that on Friday night, I was disappointed.  I stayed out in the living room, sacrificing myself for our game night taking place in the dining room, to watch the end of the Cubs/Brewers baseball game.  The game was 2 – nothing Brewers until the 4th inning when the Cubs were able to score, making it 2-1.  The Cubs were able to score again in the 6th, when Koyie Hill hit a 2-run homer to allow the Cubs a lead.  But they just couldn’t hang on to it, and the Brewers scored and won in the bottom of the 9th.  But it was their home opener, so we should give the guys something for their efforts, right?  So they got a win, and Saturday night, we were back in business….  we listened to the game on the radio on the way home from the Toledo Zoo.  The game was a leapfrog match; 3-2 Milwaukee by the time we tuned in.  But somewhere along the Ohio turnpike, the Cubbies tied it up.  Then we got home and turned on the tv before we even unloaded our dollar store purchases and turned on the living room light.  We did get the sleeping kids out of the car, fyi.  I might be a fan of baseball, but I’m not criminally insane enough to abandon the wee-ones to slumber in the car – hehe.  We turned on the tv in the living room just in time to watch a little bit of leapfrogging, baseball-style.  Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run homer to bring the Cubs into the lead and would eventually be the fate of the game, leading us to a rubber match on Easter Sunday.

As I posted earlier, we had a wonderful early Easter Sunday, and after church and brunch, we decided to have a lazy day.  Well, kind of, I had to tackle Mount Washmore, which I did, but then I was able to enjoy the baseball game once it came on at  (very late for a Sunday) 8pm.  And this game is the entire reason why I’m writing this post – what an incredible game!  First off, Alfonso Soriano began the game with a homer on the first pitch – AGAIN!  That guy also hit a homer on the very first pitch of the season this year – not to mention the fact that his homer is what put the Cubs in the lead during last night’s game –  that guy is on FIRE!!!  So anyway, the Cubs got themselves 4 runs ahead of the Brewers tonight, and then the Brewers got a grand slam to tie up the game – but wait – Reed Johnson grew springs in his shoes, and he jumps up and grabs that ball from homerun-dom, saving the Cubs and their lead!  Across the remaining innings, they increase their lead and win the rubber game for the second time this season of the two series they’ve played – WHEW!  It’s baseball time again!!!

And I should mention, the Cubs winning this second series of the season is probably due to my hat.  I’m very superstitious about my Cubs baseball hat.  I was so busy with my 4 kids that I forgot to wear my hat until Saturday (when the Cubs needed some help, I might add), so I wore it all day on Saturday, and they ended up beating the Brewers, which means that my hat has the power this year to do great things.  Even though we had a lazy Sunday and didn’t go anywhere today, I wore the hat around the house and what happens – CUBS WIN!!!!!

Cutest Cubs Fan Ever!

Posted in Kids, Sports on April 12th, 2009 and tagged , , ,

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Enough said.

Ahh… A Relaxing Baseball Game And A…. LOSS?!?

Posted in Everyday Life on March 5th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had a really stressful day yesterday.  The kids went completely crazy at night – was it a full moon?  I didn’t check.  Even if that was the case, other little things kept going wrong also.  Little things – things that really  shouldn’t matter.  Except that when those little things are added up, they equal one bad day.  So I thought I could beat my stress by looking forward to watching some BASEBALL on TV.  Yes, that’s right, I said BASEBALL on TV!  And it’s only early March –  we haven’t even changed the clocks yet!

I just happened to look on tvguide.com yesterday to see if I could look forward to a new episode of Lost, and I noticed that my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, were set to play their cross-town rivals, the Chicago White Sox and it was going to actually be on tv in our little corner of NW Ohio!  Even though it’s only spring training, that brightened my mood considerably since it’s been MONTHS since I’ve gotten to watch baseball.  With the way my day was going, I was sure something would go wrong – the tvguide had made a mistake and we didn’t get it, Vegas (where the game was played) would disappear into a sinkhole, something like that.  But 10:00 finally rolled around, and the game was on!  AND, the teams were putting in their starters rather than their scrub players, which meant real, actual baseball to watch!  So I felt better; I relaxed and sat down to watch the game, and of course, that’s when my  two middle children (the trouble-makers of the brood these days) decided to start fighting.  So it wasn’t peaceful, but I did get to watch the game.  And it was a good game – the Cubs were down, but then they tied it up, but of course the Sox came back to win.  A disappointing outcome for such an otherwise great game.  But the good news is, it was only spring training so who cares  who won!

After the game I left WGN on the tv, and I was treated to an episode of the old tv show Alf.  Remember Alf?  It was a sitcom from the 80’s about a family who discovers an Alien Life Form (ALF), and takes him in to live with them.  Alf is a furry wise-cracking puppet with an affinity for cats (to eat!), and the family must keep him secret so he doesn’t get taken away.  Alf was a huge fad in  the 80’s; there were toys, lunchboxes, a cartoon spinoff, you name it.  After the Alf episode, on came the Steve Wilkos show (he’s the former bodyguard from the Jerry Springer show who now has his own trashy talk show – I wrote about this in a previous post, probably because of my disbelief that they would actually give this guy air time).  And that was my cue to hit the sack for my lovely 4½ hours sleep.  So far, today has been a little better, although our trouble-making 4-year-old is at school.  Tonight I’m looking forward to a brand spankin’ new Office episode – YIPPEE!  But first I have to get through a few boring meetings.  Sure hope I don’t doze; I am awfully tired!

It’s THAT Time Of Year!

Posted in Sports on February 25th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Shortly after this blog post is published, the countdown timer on my site will change – but that’s a great thing.  It used to count down until the Chicago Cubs‘ first game of 2009 Spring Training, but since that game is TODAY (!) that countdown timer will soon be edited to count down until the first real SEASON Cubs game of 2009 – YIPPEE!  So here’s to hoping the Cubs win today (and every day!), even though it’s just spring training!

Now I have to go see if I can find the first game of spring training on a tv channel in the rural expanse of Northwest Ohio!  GO CUBBIES!!!