Softball and stories of childhood memories

Growing up every spring I looked forward to one thing. Softball season. I started playing t-ball when I was 5 years old. At the time, we had recently moved to Dunnellon from Arlington. I started K-4, however I turned 5 years old almost immediately (which was the "magic t-ball number to get to play). I made friends with many of the kids in my class at Dunnellon Christian School. One of which is my best friend today. However, there was another kid in the class named Kayne, and his mom suggested we do t-ball.

Mom still tells the story today, how Ms. Martha told her she HAD to sign Melinda and I up for ball. It was just what you did. She was confused as to why this was such a good idea, but Ms. Martha talked her into it, and Kayne and I were signed up. Well it was all basically history from there. We were hooked. I played t-ball for two years, moved up to the minors, got drafted to the majors (where Melinda was), then played in the senior league, and a traveling team. I played on the traveling team during high school. All told, I played ball for about 13 years. I got to be pretty good, and I loved it so much, it is one of the things that I truly loved about my adolescent years.

While recently going though my pictures, I came across the top newspaper clipping above and thought it was blog worthy!

It is funny, the same mom who unenthusiastically signed us kids up for ball, proceeded to fall in love with it. She never missed a game. She shuttled us kids to three different practices (when Jason was old enough to play) to normally two practices per week each, at totally different locations, and then attended the games on different nights each week. Luckily for her, there were a couple times Melinda and I were on the same team, however more often then not, it was three different teams, one for each of us!

There were many a Saturday spent in the backyard at the "big house", as Jacob now calls it, learning to play. Melinda and I would practice together pretty well most of the time, however sometimes her crazy pitching or a bright idea of trampoline baseball led to her bloody noses and bruised shins. Dad even got me catcher gear to try and protect me from her pitching.

Many times Dad would be "catcher" for us. He would sit on a stool and tell us if we couldn't pitch well enough to hit his "strike zone" (which he said was about six foot arms reach) then obviously would be walking a lot of batters. And, not to mention, we had to chase the "wild" pitches, because he wasn't getting up off the stool!!! Those were such good times.

It was during my traveling team years, that I had my best season ever. We went on to the top team competition in the area. At one of the games in Crystal River, I pitched a no hitter, and hit two over the fence home runs. We shut out the opposing team 12-0. I definitely felt on top of the world after this game!

I encourage all parents to get their kids involved in sports. I played softball, soccer, basketball, and did horseback riding all through my childhood. I loved every minute of my sports and wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. Mom and Dad both deserve many thanks, if it wasn't for their willingness to drive me all over the place to participate in so many things, I never would have these wonderful memories. Thank you both for making it possible for me to get the chance to learn and love not only the game of softball, but also to develop some of the other passions/hobbies that I still have today! You both made it possible!


I think we have a new dog

Yesterday we took Bella for a haircut. They say "Doodles" aren't suppose to shed. Tell me why I have hair tumbleweeds in my house then...She was scratching a lot lately and her hair had been having matting issues, so we decided to get her a little hair cut-- or might I say-- a big hair cut. She is now naked dog! She looks like a weimaraner or something. She definitely doesn't look like our bella dog anymore. Poor thing might freeze if that hair doesn't grow back for the fall/winter.

Montana- remembering our honeymoon

Okay. Let's be honest. Montana. Not what you think of when you think of honeymoon now is it? When you think honeymoon, most people think somewhere with sand, ocean, sun, and warm weather. Maybe the Caribbean, maybe Hawaii (if that is how you roll), or Mexico. We have all seen the Sandals "romantic couples" ads. Number 1 honeymoon destination, so on and so forth. Let me just tell you, that wasn't us. After the wedding, we went to Kellee and Pug's condo in Daytona with Gracie for a week.

We soaked up some rays and enjoyed the ocean. It was wonderful. Really we got the best of both worlds. After that first week of honeymoon, we headed out for the wilderness of Montana.

Since Sam is in the Air Force, we got the best deal ever. We booked our week at Meadow Lake Golf Resort. It was $299.00 for the entire week. Two bedrooms and two baths, private outdoor Jacuzzi, grill, fireplace, full kitchen, and an indoor whirlpool tub. Our unit was on the ground level on the 9th green. The mountains were all around us and it was beautiful.

very good advice

I have always wanted to go to Montana. I figured when would I get another chance, so that is where we went. April is not the month to go to Montana. Skiing is finished for the winter and there is still enough ice and snow on the roads through the mountains to keep them closed. We didn't get to drive the "going to the sun road" that is famous for the Kalispell area.

There was only one negative thing I remember about the entire trip, and in hindsight, it wasn't that bad, and looking back at it, I laugh. Let me preface this story by saying the people of Montana are hard people. They live in a place where it is hard to make a living and the climate is tough.

Lot of snow and ice in the winter and a very short summer makes the outdoors a challenging place, and many Montanans make their living outdoors. So, when we found a few spiders crawling around our apartment unit, I got a little upset. There were about 5-6 little spiders in the bedroom. This did not make me happy. Well we called the office to alert them of this situation and they sent this woodsmen maintenance guy.

He showed up in his coveralls and boots, thick beard, and very rough around the edges attitude. He asked what the problem was, and when I told him I had seen spiders, he asked me to show him. Well, apparently, my idea of a spider and his idea were NOT THE SAME THING.

He was expecting something the size of a dinner plate I think, so when I showed him a spider the size of my pinky finger tip. He laughed. And then proceeded to tell us "WELCOME TO MONTANA" and hoped we enjoyed our stay. Okay, well that is all fine and good that he has seen some spiders that would carry me away, but any spiders in my sleeping location doesn't make me thrilled.

Well I survived, needless to say, and it was the only hiccup during the entire trip!! That was okay though. We hiked a lot, we ate so much amazing food. Everything in Montana is very fresh, probably because no one will deliver to those people in the middle of nowhere!

weeping willow

It was all very delicious though. There weren't chain restaurants really, everything was "mom and pop" unique and wonderful. It reminded me of upstate New York in a way.

The other thing that really is unique about Montana are the Casinos. There is a Casino in every gas station, mini mart, hair salon, deli, Wal-Mart, taco bell, and bowling alleys. The Casinos are small but there are so many of them. We spent al lot of our time at the various different ones. They gave you free snacks and beers while you played, what a deal! We really didn't win anything, but it was so much fun.

I would love to go back and experience some of the other parts of the state, such as Yellow Stone National Park- and get to actually drive the Going to the Sun road. I would like to go in the Summer! Maybe one day we will go back, but until then, I have so many pictures to remember the wonderful time we had in Montana.

Canada Day trip

I really do understand why they call it Big Sky country. The grandiose sky of Montana is unlike that of any other place I have ever been too. As you know the Adirondacks is my favorite place on earth, well if there had to be a second, Montana could be that place.

One of the many casinos in the area

The sky seems to continue on forever. I do not believe we could doubt that there is an almighty creator after experiencing the purple mountains majesty that Montana offers. It will take your breath away. In one word. Amazing.