Monday, October 10, 2016

What Ranger Baseball Means To Me

Image result for texas rangers lose blue jays

You all will have to grant me a little levity for this rather 4th grade book report title sounding blog post, but it's the morning after another particularly soul-crushing loss by your Texas Rangers and I feel the need to vent a little bit. 

Before we get into all that: Hey! How's it going? Long time no see, huh? We've been pretty busy with new jobs and t-ball games now and just generally watching our children grow up before our very eyes. So, you know, normal stuff. 

But I chose this subject matter today because often times I think back to an earlier point in my life as a sports fan, where I miss the days of not caring whether my team made it to the playoffs. I didn't care about things like winning the division or clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs - all I cared about was whether we won or lost that day. Each day was like a little miniature Game 7 of the World Series to me. 

Then there are times when I reminisce about not caring about sports at all. When all that mattered to me was how long I would have to sit in the backseat of my parents light blue Oldsmobile 98 listening to Christopher Cross sing "Sailling" while on my way to swim lessons. 

There were two times in my life both of those feelings reached peak emotional levels at the same time for me: One was in Game 6, 2011 World Series, and the other was last night. The only reason last year's ALDS exit at the hand of the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista isn't also a part of that list is that I was at work at the time and was distracted by my job thankfully.

But last night....

I'm not so much sad over losing, because with the way that series had gone if the game remained tied into extra innings it was almost a foregone conclusion for me. But the way that team played, and lost - badly - is what really sticks in my craw. Best record in the American League? Didn't mean squat. Home fiend advantage? Didn't mean squat. Didn't feel like squat either what with two home games in the middle of the day at home that nobody cared about or watched on television because they were in the middle of the day.

What it did mean was that our pitching, and our hitting, both failed us at the absolute worst time. Sure there were red flags up about the shortcomings of our pitching all throughout the month of September, but the offensive disappearance was pretty ugly and deflating at the same time. If you had to pick an MVP of a series that you lost, it'd probably be Alex Claudio. Or maybe Matt Bush for basically telling the rest of the team last night, "hey since the rest of you guys can't pitch worth a crap just leave this to me."

So there it goes. Like a floater in the toilet bowl, another season flushed down the drain. 

And really, as much as I have just ranted and raved about what this season means to me, I think Mel and I would both agree that we're more sad for our 3-year old who had to wake up this morning to the news that there's no more Rangers to watch this year. No more going to the ballpark. No more Ian Desmond (her favorite). She probably doesn't understand all that right now. Plus we can still watch other games or MLB Network as much as we want to or will let her. But until next April, it's all over for her and for us. 

There's a guy I follow on Twitter for TCU related sports tweets who is a big Red Sox fan, and I think it's the 2004 World Series he's made mention of going in and waking his son or daughter up to watch the final out. This is something that I've dreamed about being able to do with our girls one day and how it would play out. Would I run in screaming like a mad man? Would I sneak in quietly and just kind of scoop them up out of bed and carry them out to the TV half asleep? 

Would they be 21 and in college, wanting to know why their Dad was calling to bug them so late because they're busy hanging out with their way cooler friends? 

Who knows.

But for now, it'll have to wait. Again.

Friday, May 20, 2016

that post where I'm emotional about The Ballpark

I'd be naive to think this was never going to happen.  I knew it would come at some point.  But I really didn't think it would happen so soon.  Gut reaction is I'm sad.  I know the new park will be all new and cool and "oh hey man, there's a roof and AC and everything."  But to borrow a page from my 3 year old's handbook "noooooooo, I don't wanna!"   

Ok, sure.  Some of you are telling me to grow up, and deal with it.  It's just a Ballpark.  But you see, to me, it's not just a ballpark.  It's the spot where ten years ago, I first met my husband.  Poof - blown up.  It's the place where we had our wedding reception.  Poof - blown up.  It's the park where I met some incredible people.  It's where my kids, especially my oldest, developed a passion and love for the game that I dare say rivals almost any other 3 year old out there - it's where she even had her birthday party a month ago. I know there will be new memories and milestones and traditions created somewhere a few hundred yards to the southwest.  But my gut reaction is I'm sad.  And don't tell me I'm not allowed to be.

October 2008
March 21, 2009
opening day 2010

October 2010

my sporty parental units

sports sally
me being the bet Aunt ever, September 2011

39 weeks pregnant with Madeline

Madeline's first game June 15, 2013

Norah's first game May 2, 2015

my people
Fan Fest January 23, 2016

Opening Day - April 6, 2016

and I mean, this happened at the Ballpark - May 15, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016


This was originally supposed to be posted on Norah's first birthday, which was like three weeks ago now. Unfortunately, life kind of happened and we got busy. So with today being National Siblings Day and all that jazz, I figured now would be as good a time as any. Better late than never, right?

It was the middle of March 2015.

Mel was pregnant. Very pregnant. And we were getting antsy. Her due date had come and gone without any kind of great fanfare. At one point Mel's doctor changed the due date by like three days. He still didn't think this would be that late an arrival for baby number two, and from knowing what we know about how childbirth goes the second time around, I wouldn't say we were overly concerned about how long things were taking. So we went ahead and packed up some hospital bags so that way as soon as things started to happen, we'd be ready to go.

And then, we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited

And waited some more.

And some more.

And then waited some more after that. Five days later, still no baby.

And then at about 10 PM (Editor's note: I'm sure as the years go on the time and weather conditions for this tale will alter dramatically. By 2030 it may be almost midnight in the middle of a hurricane) on the night of March 20th, Mel started having contractions. Yes! It's time. We woke Maddie up, dropped her off at my parents, and knowing this would be one of the last meals we would eat outside of a hospital room for a little while, did what all married couples on the way to the hospital to have a baby do and stopped to get some Whataburger. It was delicious, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the fact that we would be welcoming a brand new baby girl into our arms soon made it taste that much better.

Then we got to the hospital. This is where the fun begins.

Our regular doctor was not on call this particular weekend, and since Mel wasn't dilated enough yet to to start doing some pushing or anything - guess what? More waiting. All the while the contractions she was suffering through were getting closer and closer together.

But, nope.

Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not get a baby.

Before I go any further, I should issue a brief side commentary about things at this point: As you can imagine, this sucked. Like this really, really sucked. This really sucked for both of us, but mainly for Mel. I'm not even exaggerating anything by telling you that I've never felt a more terrible amount of sympathy for a human being than I did for her that night, in that examination room, waiting for something - anything - to happen.

Now, it's after midnight. And we're both tired. Tired of nothing happening, tired of looking around at the same stupid room we've been in for awhile now, tired of the clock on the wall seeming to tick by slower.......and every second.

Finally, after calling the on-call doctor for the weekend and conferring, a nurse finally came in sometime after 2 o'clock in the morning to tell us "sorry, there's nothing we can do for you tonight" and sent us home.


Just like that. Welp, see ya later.

On what I like to refer to as the "Drive Of Shame" on the way home, we needlessly stopped at a Walmart in the wee hours of the morning looking for some pain relieving medication in hopes it might ease some of Mel's pain. Yeah that didn't work out too well.

Back at home now, tired and angry and over emotional about the world, we both tried to find some way to get some sleep. More importantly, Mel had to find a way to get some rest with contractions occurring every two minutes.

Then finally, at about 6 AM the following morning we both decided, screw this crap. We're going back to that dang hospital and pushing out a baby. Today.

Thankfully, at this point all systems were go, and in early afternoon - we were blessed with this tiny little bundle of joy you see below:

So uh, hey we have two kids now! Both of them technically toddlers! How is this possible?

Its been said that going from a one child to a two child house causes you to change your defensive alignment: You go from a zone defense to man to man. This is very true in our case, although with the schedules we both have at times it's hard to even play a solid defense when Maddie and Norah are at their worst best and one of us are not.

A day with both of these girls up and on the go can be..........I don't pick an adjective. Exhausting. Frustrating. Hilarious? Yes, all of the above. But one of the biggest joys we get in life is from watching these two little girls learn, play, laugh, and grow up together.

Happy belated birthday, little girl. You are such a blessing to all of our lives.

Monday, February 22, 2016

That's The Way Potty Training Go

Say, is that my old pal John? 


Well I'll be! How ya doin' old chap? 


How was your Christmas? Did you have a nice holiday? 


Whaddya think about this weather? Been a pretty mild winter so far, dontcha think?

Um, yep.

So what's new? Read any good books lately? 

Stop it.

How about this election? Trump or Cruz? Bernie Sanders and Hilary? Boy, oh boy!

I said, stop.

So by now you're probably wondering, "Hey John, where ya been all this time?" Well the short answer to that is life. Life is where we've been. I still work odd hours, Mel has her hours at the salon, and when we're not parenting and our house is actually quiet it's nice to just plop down on the couch and forget about everything, let alone updating a blog. Maybe watch a little Netflix. Right now, we're on Mad Men. Did you know there were 3,000,000,000 people in the world in 1960 and according to this show approximately 2,995,000,000 of them smoked. That's the highlight I've taken out of this show so far.

Anyway, I digress.

Recently, we had decided it was time to start potty training with Maddie. We'd been receiving reports that she's been staying pretty dry in her diapers at school throughout most of the day, and after doing research on a particular method which involves a hardcore three-day regiment of strict potty training - we decided to give it a shot. This was not without its trials right from the get-go, however, as Maddie was dealt a pretty nasty case of pink eye and an equally annoying yet somewhat less unsightly ear infection at the same time. Turned out it wasn't really that much of a factor as far as effectiveness for the potty training aspect of it goes, but boy there were times when we had to tread lightly and struggle to keep disease from spreading around like wildfire.

Let's begin.

Day 1: Much of what we've read said in the first day of this three day period you should expect a lot of accidents. In anticipation of this, we loaded the house down with cleaning supplies, wipes, paper towels, and also Lysol to avoid any outbreaks of the aforementioned pink eye malady. We had potty seats on both toilets, upstairs and downstairs, and a portable seat in case of a sneak attack bladder evacuation while watching television or while we were outside. Mel also came prepared, and we were fully stocked with at least 20 pairs of panties stocked and ready to go.

We got Maddie up and started the day with her as we would any other, but made a bigger deal this time around when we took off her diaper and put on some big girl panties instead. I think there was even a ceremonial reading of this book, which has quickly skyrocketed to the top of her own personal Amazon Best Seller list. We then sat her on the toilet and gave her specific instructions to let Mommy or Daddy know when she had to go potty. I don't remember if she went or not that first time, but it was a bit of a struggle getting her to do so as you would imagine.

The first success of the day occurred later in the afternoon after I had left for work. It came complete with letting Mel know a pee was about to happen, escorting her to the bathroom, and doing the deed on the potty (followed by a token of our appreciation for being a big girl and doing a good job - one Nutter Butter). I wasn't around but I'm pretty sure there were trumpets and at least one verse of the Hallelujah Chorus that broke out.

Day 2: The day, as I recall, went mostly smooth. We did have a few accidents - one of which involved me stepping out of the room to get something leaving a dry Maddie by herself with some toys for a moment, and then returning to said room only to find a Lake Michigan of urine forming on the floor.

Still, it did start to noticeably get better as the day went on. Even though Maddie was still trying to get the hang of letting us know when she needed to go before it got too late, when we did stick her on the toilet it was beginning to flow a lot smoother than it had the day before.

(Editors note: Stop. No more potty jokes.)

Day 3: By day number three, a Sunday, we were a lot less apprehensive about Maddie sans diaper. To reward her for the hard work she had put in up to this point, and because it was practically 90 degrees in January, we let her run around with the hose in the backyard in her bathing suit. We still instructed her to tell us when she needed to go, but obviously weren't as concerned about it if she did.

I think we may have still had at least one accident this day, but by this point it was just one of those things. It wasn't until a week later that Maddie had her first accident of the #2 variety, and it was a messy one. Gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet, and all that good stuff.

And so, here we are 3.5 weeks later or so, feeling pretty good about things. Maddie's gotten much better about telling us when she needs to go, although we still remind her all the time to let us (or Yiayia, or Oma, or her teacher, or someone of some level of authority who is or will be watching over her) know when she needs to use the potty.

Conclusion: The three day method of potty training definitely seems to have done its charm. I don't know how many other rigorous, clandestine methods of training there are for this sort of thing but if there are any parents who have yet to cross this bridge in the life of their child and are looking for suggestions of things to try and help them along (sidenote: You're a fool. I would feed my child cereal every day if I could. Why are you reading one of my blog posts. Go look at something else my wife posted and stuff.) I'll post the links to the references we used below.

“It’s been said that adults spend the first two years of their children’s lives trying to make them walk and talk, and the next sixteen years trying to get them to sit down and shut up. It’s the same way with potty training: Most adults spend the first few years of a child’s life cheerfully discussing pee and poopies, and how important it is to learn to put your pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty like big people do. 
But once children have mastered the art of toilet training, they are immediately forbidden to ever talk about poop, pee, toilets and other bathroom-related subjects again. Such things are now considered rude and vulgar, and are no longer rewarded with praise and cookies and juice boxes. 
One day you’re a superstar because you pooped in the toilet like a big boy, and the next day you’re sitting in the principal’s office because you said the word “poopy” in American History class (which, if you ask me, is the perfect place to say that word).” 

― Dav Pilkey, Captain Underpants And The Preposterous Plight Of The Purple Potty People

Hopping The Potty Train: The 3 Day Method / PB&J Babes Link
How To Potty Train Your Toddler In Three Days / Project Potty Training Link