Friday, May 29, 2015

Assembling Avengers

It started out as a conversation around the dinner table.  Alan and Ben saying all the things they wanted to do in Utah when we visit for the summer.  Ben started whining about how "Alan ALWAYS gets to have his birthday in UTAH...."  Alan approached me quietly after dinner and asked if he could have a party in Alabama before we left, instead.  I agreed and told him to go make a list and decide what he wanted to do. Then I promptly forgot.

The Thursday before Memorial day he came to me with his list and reminded me of our conversation.  I started to list all the reasons why it just wasn't going to work.  The holiday weekend, moving, packing, etc... but then I saw him losing all confidence in me and so I grabbed that list and started texting some moms.

I'm usually a planner, especially for birthdays... This year Ben did most of the planning for his but we pretty much started working on the thought process right after Christmas, so I was way out of my element pulling this off in 24 hrs. Alan wanted a, "swimming, baseball, Iron Man", birthday.  We borrowed a dodgeball slip n' slide from a friend. Swimming?, well at least there was water involved, CHECK.  Baseball? um, dodge ball is almost the same, right? CHECK.  And Saturday morning, Alan and I headed to the party store at 8:30 a.m.  Would you believe they had NO Avenger paraphernalia? Zero, nada, not even plates.  We ended up at Walmart where we searched for an Iron Man piƱata, the last of Alan's requests.  We ended up purchasing a large cupcake, determined we could DIY it into Tony Stark.  

Masks and t-shirt capes were all from the dollar store. Store bought cupcakes and a box of ice cream sandwiches.  Ben even scrounged a tiny Iron Man toy from the bottom of the LEGO bin to put in Alan's cupcake along with the #1 candle I convinced them both was actually a #7. I thought I was done.  
Alan - "mom, what about my shirt?"
Me - "what shirt?"
Alan - "the birthday shirt you always make"
Me - "ummmmmm......"

I think it was still wet when he put it on, but he didn't care.  He told us later it was the "best not real birthday ever".


Alabama isn't a warm and fuzzy state.  Not everyone gets awards on awards day.  He was the last name called.  I was sweating.... by the hair of his chinny, chin, chin, he met that AR goal.  There weren't any trophies, or ribbons, or medals like his brother, but he seemed satisfied just to hear his name once.  First grade, CHECK!

Lil' Slugger

With two boys playing the same sport we rarely have a night where I get to watch both of them.  Dean is helping Coach Alan's t-ball team this year, which means I'm usually at Ben's game.  But the few times I've been able to catch Alan in action he's amazing.  Sheer talent.

He has been banned from throwing the ball to his other teammates because he throws too hard. He ends up running the ball wherever he needs to throw it, or rolling it on the ground.  He is the self titled, "fastest runner", "best hitter", and "best catcher".  If he could live in a dugout he would, because all he ever wants to do is be outside practicing.  He is counting the days until next year when there is an actual pitching position up for grabs.  I catch him practicing his wind up in the grocery store, in the hall at church, even seated in the car.  I can't wait to see what he does with his athletic abilities.

The Montgomery Biscuits

A few weekends ago we went with Ben's baseball team to a Montgomery Biscuits game.  The coaches organized it all and made sure everyone and wore their team colors.  The Montgomery Biscuits.  It has to be the most adorable mascot in Minor League baseball.  Dean kept trying to describe it to me on the way up.  He would giggle a little when he said, "the little pat of butter is the tongue, it's the tongue".

Dean got a Biscuit hat to add to his collection, Ben got to be on the "Flex Cam" during the 6th inning, and we all got to enjoy a beautiful night on the Montgomery River.  The stadium used to be an old train station and couldn't be more lovely.  They even have trains still using the tracks behind it.  My favorite moment of the evening?.... meeting the unofficial team mascot, a live pig with a big bow around her neck named, "n'Gravy".   Hahahahaha, biscuits n'gravy!!  I was still laughing on the way home.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Team "Crowder"

 At tryouts earlier this year I happened to mention to one of the other moms that, much to Dean's dismay and sadness, Ben really wasn't a baseball kid.  She smiled and said, "Maybe he just hasn't had the right team."  I took that thought home with me and said a little prayer that this year's team would be just that, a team, where everyone feels important, and valued, and needed.

As we left tryouts I remember Ben telling me he hoped he would get drafted by CJ's dad, Coach Sullivan.  I worried, because I know these coaches are a bit choosy.  Ben's one of the youngest in his league and let's face it, a bit like his mom in the coordination and athletic department.  I needn't have worried.  The call came from Coach Sullivan himself.  He asked to speak to Ben and made sure Ben knew he had specifically chosen him for what he felt he could offer to the team.

This team has turned Ben into a baseball kid.  He was even surprised when he found out two of his teammates had been chosen for the all-star team and he hadn't.  He told Dean that "Coach Sullivan said I'm the most improved, so I should be an all-star too".  Dean's just grateful Ben asks to play catch now.

I still have anxiety every time he's up to bat, and every time a ball is hit to right field (out where the dandelions grow)... but he's hit more than he hasn't and caught more than he's dropped and even scored a home run.  Coach gave him the title of "best bunter" and taught him the value of practice and teamwork.

Thank you, Coach Sullivan (and wife, Sherry).   Thank you for loving these boys more than you love the game.  "Crowder on three, crowder on three, 1, 2, 3, CROWDER!!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015


5.15.15  The same date forwards and backwards.  On this day thirteen years ago I became a Marturello, and no one's been able to pronounce my name since...   but he's the only one I'd want to share this adventure with.  In thirteen more we'll be 50!! I can't wait!!!

Joining Mamabyrd and others in their weekly Impressions.  Join us and add your own here or there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Landmark Park Family Campout

Family campouts can be magical things.  I used to go every summer with my own family growing up, but our gear has sat untouched in the garage since we moved here.  So when some good friends invited us along to the the Landmark Park Family Campout, I jumped at the chance.  They provided dinner and s'mores.  There was a planetarium show and a night hike. Plus, the zip-line at the playground is always a hit with the kids.

The one hitch to this campout?  We didn't actually camp out.  I know, I know,  that's half the fun, but I think our little family "late over" was successful.  Our gear still sits untouched in the garage, but we were well rested for an early morning baseball practice and Dean was able to grab a shower before he headed into early rounds at the hospital.  And, as Dean and I reminded each other before bed, sleeping in a tent is all well and good, but nothing beats sleeping in your own bed.

There will be camping in our future.  Hopefully some backpacking and other outdoor adventuring also, but for now I was very happy to leave all the possums, and snakes, and fire ants, and mosquitos, and alligators, and bats, and skunks at Landmark park for the evening, thank you very much!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Day for Mom

Dean was on call this weekend.  So, while I reflected on moms and being a mother, I also got a good opportunity to be one full time.  There were definitely ups and downs in my parenting skills and energy levels, but I think that's what it's all about.

At a recent Relief Society meeting someone read a blog to us about a woman who used the term "drops of awesome".  It talked about how we beat ourselves up and look at all the negative things we do, even when we're doing something good.  She suggested instead that we take every positive thing and count it as a drop of awesome going into our buckets.  There is no evaporation, and no spilling from the bucket, you can only fill it.  She equated it to how the Atonement fits in our lives and I wish I had listened more and could give you the name of this enlightened blogger, but for now, just know that this "drops of awesome" concept stuck with me.  (I'm sure I could google it and leave the link here, but I have to go take a shower before Sadie wakes up, so I'll let you research it on your own..).

Anyway, the point of this is that I put some drops of awesome in my bucket this weekend.  And, the times I found myself getting overwhelmed, I tried to think about what my next drop of awesomeness was going to be.  There was still yelling, but there was less of it.

So, I wish all of you women out there drops of awesome and leave you with some of my favorite Mother's Day weekend highlights...

- (from Ben's Q&A he brought me from school)
"What do you think your mom was like before she had kids?   - Nice"

- (from Alan's Q&A)
"What kind of stuff is your mom really good at?  - nitting" (obviously knitting, but the "N" totally looks like an "H".  I'm sure his teacher raised an eyebrow)

- Our night out at Mary Poppins where Sadie was so loud and had to go potty so many times we felt compelled to ditch the second act.

- Having all three children awake at 6:15 Sunday morning and in bed with me and Ben suddenly turning to me and asking "what's your favorite breakfast food?  (I lied, and claimed it was cereal to avoid a huge mess, but I still think I deserve a drop of awesome because I complimented him profusely upon delivery.)

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2015


He rarely shows his teeth for a photo, but when you hit a home run you can't help but smile wide.

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