May 2001

Offense or defense, Doug's favorite pasttime at third is to chat up the third base coach. May was empty.  Or maybe it just seemed that way after April.  Wait! Iíve already used that line.

Baseball.  Itís baseball time of year.  If the boys arenít playing or practicing with their little league teams (five times a week between them), then theyíre playing whiffle ball in the back yard, playing baseball computer games, or (grump) playing baseball inside the house.  Normally a voracious reader, Bradley now resents the suggestion he needs to spend time reading if he is engaged in any of the above activities.  Douglas is into baseball because thatís all he sees his brother doing, and he emulates his big brother.  Even Dad isnít immune: he wastes countless evenings watching the Padres on cable when he should be doing something more productive.  Only Kristi seems immune.

Brad reaches for some high heat (probably gets it, too) Nostalgic remembrance from Keith:  when I was a boy, my brother and I used to play football in the long upstairs hallway and in the backyard.  Brad and Doug are now doing this with baseball.  Of course you have to come up with all sorts of rules variations to allow for the playing surface and single team player, but every brother combination in history, from Keith and Ken, to Brad and Doug, are quite adept at this.  Their indoor version of baseball involves running the downstairs circle that every house designer puts in to give kids this very opportunity: starting in the family room, run to the front door (first base), through the living room and kitchen, and back to home plate (any magazine will do) in front of the fire place in the family room.  They hit with their hands, clutched together, and the ball is a "splash" ball, a light foam ball wrapped in cloth, originally intended as a pool toy.  The game seems relatively benign (so far, the only casualties have been knocked over picture frames); the real damage is to parentsí nerves and ears. 
Indoor base ball.  Note ball between shutters and picture.
Did I mention that in addition to playing, Brad also umpires and announces/commentates?  He is the only umpire he's never had an issue with... Occasionally, Douglas takes issue (as all younger brothers must do against older brothers). "Okay, then I automatically win" is his usual refrain when frustrated by his brother's grandiose fantasies. Mom and Dad try to move and suggest another game in before the fur starts flying. But play baseball is all Brad seemingly can do, so he manipulates his little brother (who is quite capable of doing other things), and soon they are at it again, accompanied by Brad's play-by-play.

The boys had lots of extracurricular activities this spring. When after school chess completed for the year, Douglas started up after school karate again. No sooner had Brad completed the Geography Olympiad than he joined the Math Olympiad team.  So again he spent an hour after school one day each week studying with his team for the Olympiad.  Brad had some really great field trips this spring.  His class spent a day on the "floating lab," a research boat that went out to a kelp bed and pulled sea creatures out for the kids.  Brad, voted biggest show off  by his class, was rewarded with a live lobster placed on his head.  If that wasn't enough sea creatures, they also went to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography Birch Aquarium.  The class was then able to put all they learned to the test with a final field trip to the Poway pool.

Doug (upper right) sings with the Cherubs at church on Mother's Day Mother's Day started out at church, with a song by the Cherub Choir (kindergartners).  It had a spoken bit at the beginning (something along the lines of "We want to thank all our moms.") in which each child had a stand-alone sentence.  Douglas had the last sentence.  When he finished, the audience laughed and oohed at the cute little speeches by everyone.  Doug, sometimes a little overly sensitive, thought everyone was laughing at him (since he had the last part), and proceeded to sulk and frown throughout the entire following song.


Kristi and her boys on Mother's Day outside Las Olas After that inauspicious beginning, Mother's day did get better. After church we drove up Highway 101 along the coast enjoying the beautiful day.  Traditionally, we eat lunch on the lagoon in Cardiff at Las Olas, surely the last sit down restaurant on the So Cal Coast where you can get a table without reservations on Mother's Day.  As long as you arrive by 11:00 am, which we do.  This year Las Olas out-did themselves, handing out free roses to moms.  As you can see by the picture, Bradley acquired it quickly.

We continued a drive up the coast, something we do rarely in the mini van and  not since Brad was in a car seat in the convertible.  Really, we don't make proper use of our resources.  The boys really really wanted to stop at a beach, so eventually we did, allowing them to cavort in their decidedly none beach attire.  They started throwing rocks into the water, imagining some sort of baseball game.

Brad showing how much he practiced for the church musical Brad has been attending Wednesday night rehearsals at church for four months.  The youth of the church, from first grade through junior high, practiced the musical, which took the place of the sermon for both services on Sunday, May  20th.  It was a real feat for both Brad and his mom to juggle baseball practices and games with musical rehearsals and dress rehearsals and cast parties. Uncle Jeff and Aunt Chrysanne came to watch, along with cousins Quinn and Kelsy.

Doug stayed for the play, and then the rest of the service.  It was his first time ever staying for the whole service, so I got to explain the collection plates and communion to him.  I realized too late there was no explaining to him that he couldn't have any of the "snack" being passed down the pew.  As the congregation was in silent reflection, a lone extremely disgruntled voice complained (very loudly), "THAT'S NOT FAIR!" 

Doug explains where Cousin Quinn should put her feet, if only her legs were long enough Doug and I did not stay for communion in second service. We left immediately after the play, and went out to the playground to play with cousin Quinn.

We finished the month as we began, with baseball.  With nothing else special going over Memorial Day ("Dad, you need to put out the American flag" - Doug) Weekend, we went to the Padres game on Sunday the 27th.  Made sure we sat in the right seats. Ran into great aunt Betty and George (by design). Caught the Pads at the beginning of their decent from tied for first in the West to the cellar.  Baseball fever has just about run its course.  Signed the boys up for fall soccer.

Boys entertain themselves on the beach on Mother's Day Overheard lately:
Doug, after his baseball game with a mouth full of an after game snack: "They don't get snack in the majors, do they?"
Doug, when shimmying between couch and family room wall to get indoor baseball: "Mom, don't try this at home."
Doug, out of the blue in the car: "If a man and a girl have a baby but the man doesn't marry the girl and then another man marries the girl, who is the baby's father?"
Doug, cleaning up milk he spilled: "I don't just wipe up the spill, I spread it around."
Reading List:
The Wind in the Door (Brad)
Carolina Moon (Kristi)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Keith to Doug)
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