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!!!

Goodbye To Ron Santo

Posted in Sports on December 3rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

People who don’t pay much attention to baseball and the MLB, particularly the Chicago Cubs, might not realize who Ron Santo is or that he is gone.

Ron Santo, legendary Chicago Cubs supporter, has passed away at the age of 70.  Gaining popularity first as a player then as an outspoken sportscaster, Ron Santo became the voice and face of the Chicago Cubs in recent years.  Always saying what was on his mind, Santo’s gravelly voice was the easiest way to find that Cubs game on WGN radio 720 in a hurry.  As a Cubs fan, I will miss it.

Sadly, Ron Santo did not live to see himself inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, nor did he see his beloved Cubbies win the World Series.  If you’d like to read more about Ron Santo or about his crusade against juvenile diabetes, here is an article in the suburban Chicago newspaper, The Daily Herald.

Condolences and prayers to the Santo family.

Poor Paul The Psychic Octopus

Posted in animals, Current Events on November 13th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

No play on words necessary  for this blog post – there really was a Psychic Octopus named Paul who lived in Germany, and he recently passed away at the ripe old age (for an octopus) of 2½ years.

In his lifetime, however short is seems to us humans, Paul made himself famous with his uncanny ability to predict World Cup game winners correctly!  Before games, Paul would receive 2 boxes of mussels, one each with a flag of the countries of the two teams who would be facing off in the World Cup.  The country whose box was eaten out of by Paul first was declared Paul’s pick as the winner of that match, and he predicted correctly an astounding 100% of the time (8/8) for his World Cup predictions, and 86% (12/14) overall.

RIP • Paul the Octopus • 2008-2010

Simultaneous Sports

Posted in Sports on May 1st, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last night was rare – my husband and I were watching two different sports on two different tvs, and football was not involved!  My husband is a huge fan of the Chicago Bears, and tries to catch every one of their games.  But it’s not football season, so we decided to check in on the Chicago Bulls since they are in the playoffs.  We tuned in right at (what was supposed to be) the end of the game, and it was really exciting!  Let me back up to 1997 for a minute – a few weeks after we met, my husband took me on a date to a Chicago Bulls game.  Not just any game – it was game 6 of the NBA Finals, and the Bulls were going for the win over the Utah Jazz.  Not only that, we got to see the “Dream Team” in action – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley, etc.  And the Bulls ended up winning that night!  It was so fun…  well, except for when I passed out on the street before the game – it was in such a bad neighborhood that people thought I had OD’d.  But I had just not eaten or drank much water that day since my car had overheated, and I had to walk to a pay phone and try to get a hold of my husband, er boyfriend at the time to pick me up where I was stranded.  We were almost late to the game, and it was obviously a hot day and I think I dehydrated…  Anyway, that was my first and only live NBA game, and it was enough to let me appreciate basketball, especially exciting games with high stakes.

So  last night, the Bulls were on the verge of getting eliminated from the series, when the score was tied and they went into overtime – not once, not twice, but triple overtime!  And the Bulls ended up beating the Boston Celtics – tying the series at 3-3.  Winner of the next game takes all!  It was a lot of fun to watch, and Saturday’s game will be even more fun!  So that game was on  the tv, and on my laptop I had put on the Cubs game which also went into an extra inning, but I won’t talk about that too much – they  didn’t end up winning.  But the game was very exciting up until the 10th inning, and I noted how unusual it was to have duelling sports on in my house – especially because it’s not the time of year when MLB and NFL seasons overlap!

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!!!!!

Superbowl Poll

Posted in Sports on January 14th, 2009 and tagged , , , ,

The big game is only weeks away.  Will you be doing anything to celebrate the occasion?  Do you know which big game I’m referring to?  If not, then disregard the following poll…

Are you going to watch the 2009 Superbowl?

View Results

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Let There Be Lights

Posted in Sports on August 12th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recently there was an article on cubs.com about how it’s been 20 years since Wrigley Field started night games for the Chicago Cubs, i.e. got lights in their stadium.  That made me feel kind of old because I remember that event, and it was 20 years ago: 8-8-88.  Sigh.  Since when can I remember 20 years ago?  But anyway, I remember an elderly gentleman (turns out he was 91 in 1988 and actually remembered the Cubs winning the World Series in 1908 – a stark reminder that there is NO ONE left today who can say the same…) flipped the switch to turn on Wrigley Field’s lights for the first time ever.  Funnily enough, it was a bit too early in the evening, and many fans and spectators said they couldn’t see a difference in the lighting on the field.  But it was symbolic, and Wrigley Field finally had its lights, even if it was the last major league ball park to get them.  And the event was proven even more symbolic than functional that night when the game was postponed because of rain.  So the first FULL baseball game at Wrigley under the new lights was actually 8/9/88.

Apparently the lights were snuck into the field in the middle of the night, under cover, literally.  They were hoisted into place quickly by helicopters, for fear that protestors would shoot them in order to try to preserve the neighborhood’s charm and innocence.  But the plan was not foiled, and 20 years later, we still get to enjoy night games at Wrigley.  GO CUBBIES!!!

Windy City Classic

Posted in Sports on June 20th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Back in the days when it didn’t count, there was only one yearly face-off between the Chicago cross-town rivals, the Cubs and the White Sox.  It was called a number of things, but when I was younger, I remember it being referred to as the Windy City Classic.  No matter which side you cheer for, these games are important to every sports fan in Chicago.  I even remember cutting school one year to attend…

But now that there is something known as inter-league play, there are 6 of these games a year, and they do count.  Today was the opening game of one such series, and I am suffering through it.  One of the rare Cubs games I’ve actually gotten to watch on tv this year, it has to be broadcast by Sox announcers, even though the game is being played at Wrigley Field and the Cubs are the home team.  I cannot stand the Sox announcers.  Not only do they stink as announcers (I would be rich if I got paid for every time they’ve said “south-paw” – some diversity in your subject matter, guys, please?), but they are on their side.  So every time the White Sox make a play, even though the crowd is booing, the announcers get excited.  And I won’t even waste much time complaining about the shouts of “Put it on the Board!” I’m subjected to every time the Sox score runs.

There’s a lot at stake for this series – both teams are in first place in their respective divisions, even though it must be noted that the Cubs have a much better record – but I’m not really minding the errands I have to run that will take me away from today’s game.  Watching the Cubs lose to the Sox is one thing if that happens, but hearing these horrible announcers rub in every homerun or lucky play the Sox make is a new brand of torture of which I’m glad to be relieved!