28 April 2009


We've had some fantastic weather lately. The temperatures are warm, but, the humidity hasn't set in yet, so we are outside and loving it. Last week on James' day off we took the kiddos to the school playground for one of our family's favorite things - kites.

James had a line of eager helpers, wanting to "fly" the kite. Actually they are just holding on to it - the flying will come with a little more practice.

On the other end of the string, we have our "throw" helpers. This job is crucial. The thrower holds the kite in position until the wind hits the throwers face. At that gust, you hurl the kite straight into the air and the flyer takes it from there. James loves the kites that do swirls and flips and he draws a crowd at playgrounds with all the aerial stunts. It's just fun. I love that it reminds me of Maryland where kites are such a part of the beach day.

And if you don't have a kite job, you can always play basketball with your soccer ball. See the soccer ball stuck in the basketball net? At least you made your shot, right, ladies?

22 April 2009

Jay's Fifteen Month Well Check

Jay had his 15 month well check today. As you can see, he had fun with the exam table paper. He is doing really well with his lungs - all clear. His skin and allergies are now our problem. He is covered in eczema, and is reacting severely to peanuts. We now have to carry epi-pens, just for an emergency, and he has an appointment with a pediatric allergist. Through all of this, Jay is a happy little man. He loves to play with his sisters and will roll and throw a ball with you. Jay loves to be outside and loves for his sisters to bounce him on the trampoline. Jay does all those fun not-such-a-baby-things, like itsy-bitsy spider, wrestling and hiding, and he makes the movements for Popcorn Popping. His sisters say he's getting more fun to play with! What a sweet kid brother for our ladies!!!

20 April 2009


My little brother, Eric, is home! He has been deployed since February 2008 to the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. While he was away, he was promoted to E-8 (Master Sargeant) and now that he is stateside, he will take command of his own battalion at Ft. Meade, Maryland. In his Army career Eric has deployed four times, for about 18 months each. This 15 month deployment was the short one!

While all that recent stuff is important, it doesn't really describe the kid I have known and loved. Isn't it strange to see your younger siblings grow up and become responsible adults? Especially if part of what you remember from that growing up part would lead you to wonder if responsibility would ever surface? No offense, Eric. I know you'd say the same about me...

Eric was born in Maryland during a hurricane and Ma says his head came out on the 19th and his feet came out on the 20th. Ma chose the 20th for his birthday. What a beginning.

As a child, he started wearing glasses in the first grade and played the trumpet for a while. He loved comic books and was a neat freak - his room was always picked up.

I remember a sweet kid brother who loved duck tape. Once for an art project he made a life-sized replica of Spider-man out of chicken wire and duck tape. It was attached somehow to his wall in his room. Seriously, it looked like Spidey was climbing the wall. Eric was a scout, a good friend to many people and always had a philosophical approach to life. Adults always seemed to like him and he was comfortable with them. He never worried much, he always had a wise crack and could stir up some good mischief when the spirit moved him.

Eric loved Star Wars - who didn't when we were kids? (I'm dating myself, true. I was 10 when Star Wars came out in 1977, Eric was 7. We stood in line for tickets and begged to see it again!) It became a big part of our late childhood.

Eric used to live on a house-boat. Cold in the winter out there on the water and tight on space, but, pretty cool. I liked that little place. At many times in our lives, Eric's hair has been longer and curlier than mine. He has always been athletic and confident.

Eric was a great one to benefit from his older sister's mistakes. The oldest child always has to break the parents in, you know? Eric watched me and learned. Sometimes he learned what to do; sometimes he learned what not to do.

I was floored when I got the call that he had joined the Army. I was away at college and Dad called to tell me. I mean, the military has been good to Eric and his family, but, it is a scary thing to think of voluntarily taking a job that will put you in harm's way. His first MOS (I don't know what some of the Army anagrams stand for exactly, but, this one means his job, right?...) was Airborne Paratrooper. He told me that the first time he jumped out of an airplane he was overwhelmed with fear. The second time, and every time after that, it was a huge rush. I bet he'd still be jumping out of planes if he could find someone to pay him for it. He switched MOS to Military Intelligence, finished his Bachelor's degree in Criminal Science and is working on a Master's. Wow. You go, man.

Eric has a tough-as-nails sweetheart of a wife named Abbey. That's not her real name and I didn't change it here to protect her identity. I helped to change back when we were all teenagers working at a hole in the wall fish-fast-food place. I use the term "working" loosely. Her real name is Tina. Since my name was Tina, it was confusing to have two. So, since I was working there first, we changed her name to Abbey. Abbey would later become the third Tina Brumbley to be in our family - I was first, Eric's first wife was the second Tina Brumbley and then Abbey became the third Tina Brumbley when she married Eric. (And yes, we do tease Eric for his seeming obsession for women with the same name as his fantastic big sister. Ahem...) She will be the last Tina Brumbley, because those two are solid. They are still so obviously in love after twelve years of marriage that you know it has to be right. They have two sons - Tyler and Gavin. Here's the family photo taken just after Eric arrived stateside in Kentucky this past week:
I remember one conversation specifically from when we were teenagers. We were talking about how different we were. He said to me that we didn't have a lot of the same friends and we might never have been friends if we hadn't grown up in the same house. (Do you remember this, Eric?) I said it was true, we might not have been and we agreed that it was a good thing we were brother and sister, so we could be friends, too.

I can hear in our parents' voices how proud they are of him. They constantly worry about him, keep up with him and his family, and I know they love him dearly. I do, too. Welcome home Eric.

19 April 2009

Jay Climbs The Stairs

Okay, usually Jay wears pants to church. He has a sweet pair of khakis that make him look so grown up, but, somehow they came off in nursery! And notice that Josephine is wearing a shoe and carrying a shoe...I think they both made it back home today!

These stairs are right off of the nursery door and Jay bolts for them as soon as he sees an opening. He has the climbing gene that all his sisters have, too. Once I found Samantha, at about three, on TOP of the refrigerator! This is why we bought the dome instead of a swingset - it's a house full of climbing kids!

17 April 2009

A few recent facts and figures .....

A few random updates: (for those loyal fans keeping track)

Soccer statistics this year so far are: Samantha's Mean Green Soccer Queens are 1-2. Samantha has scored two goals so far in this season. After last season at goalie 90% of the time, she is loving this scoring thing! Rachel's Dirt Daubers are also 1-2. Rachel has not scored, but, insists that her time is coming. Officiating seems old hat to her now.

Charlotte has lost two more teeth and is anxious to start growing them back in! She still loves to read, everywhere we go she is reading the signs and her reading skills are above grade level. Way to go, CharlieGirl!

Josephine is still dancing with her pre-schoolers class on Fridays and practicing at home every other day of the week. She literally walks on tip toe around the house and reminds the rest of us to point our toes and use our "pretty" hands.

Jay is still not walking at almost 14 months old. I really wanted him to hold off and be the baby for as long as possible, but, this summer will be a lot more fun if I don't have to carry him everywhere! He will walk around furniture, or when you hold his hands, so it shouldn't be too long.

James is busy with work and more work (AT&T - more bars, more places!). He enjoys talking to people at the store all day and has made some connections with people that are amazing. It sure seems that there really are only 6 degrees of separation in this world, from you to anyone!

After just over two months of using my home made laundry soap, I have just had to make my second batch! What a bargain - approximately $3 worth of ingredients for over two months of clean clothes! Yeah!

In the garden, I have added watermelon, white onions and corn! We harvested our first strawberries (only 2, don't get excited) and they are delicious, if I do say so myself...

13 April 2009

Easter 2009

Happy Easter from the Ball Team!

We had a wet, cold, windy day, so our egg hunt this year had to be inside. In the early egg hunt days, we just threw eggs on the floor and said, find the eggs. As the ladies grew older, we made the hiding places more complex, then added pictures in each egg (to direct you to the next egg, then finally the basket). For the past few years we've had readers, so we could use riddles and puzzles to get to the next egg. This year, we added another new twist. Each egg was hidden, but, in order to go get the egg, the finders had to perform a task - all based on age, of course. The big ladies had to recite Articles of Faith, give complements to a sister of their choice or tell us about the lesson in Primary today. The little ladies did cartwheels and skipped down the hall, kissed Daddy, recited ABC's and sang Primary songs.

It's amazing what kids will do for candy!

Cute kid quote for Easter is from Charlotte, age 6. She was telling us about what they learned in Primary and explained that on Easter Jesus was "redirected". Sort of, ....

08 April 2009

Ball Team Garden !!!

This year is the year we WILL have a Ball Team garden. Finally. I always used excuses in the past (pregnant, no yard, kids too little). No more. This year we will have fresh veggies and those life lessons you can only learn with dirt under your nails.

I started us off by planting the spring crops - already in the ground we have strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, green leaf lettuce, sweet onions, red cabbage, zucchini and swiss chard.

All this comes by way of the generosity of Martin, a man in our ward with plenty of land and a green thumb. He tilled up rows, packed with vitamins and compost, then invited families in our ward to come and garden. How easy is that? He's even installed port-o-potties and a shade structure.

Later, I plan to add tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots and watermelon!

06 April 2009


Soccer season is in full swing this year. Rachel and Samantha are both playing and that means we have practice four nights a week. We spend plenty of time at the soccer fields. Thankfully, though, it's a fun place to hang out. About six other families from our ward are there, too, at various times and on various teams, so we have lots of outdoor playtime with friends. It's the kind of place where the whole family can go to play. The little kids play while the adults talk and walk the 'track'.

This past Saturday was opening day for games. Rachel's team is the "Dirt Daubers" and they lost by two. Rachel played wing most of the time and was pretty worn out by the end. This was her first real soccer game and she did really well. She said she was surprised at how much of the game is just running!

Samantha's team is the same as last season (with two new players added) - the Mean Green Soccer Queens. Samantha also played wing this time - no more goalie for her - and she played the whole game. Her game also ended in a loss - 0-2.

As if that weren't enough, Rachel is now 11, and therefore old enough to officiate little kid soccer games. She keeps time for the 5/6 year olds. She had her first game to keep time for this past Saturday and was kind of stressed about it. But, hey, the kids are only 5 or 6, and the parents and coaches just want the kids to play and learn the game. Rachel was just happy that she finished her first one, now she feels a little more confident. She gets a whistle and for each game she is paid $5 plus a free drink at the concession stand. With her first $5 she bought the family popcorn and Skittles! Way to go, Rachel.

05 April 2009

Samantha and the Trampoline

I wish I could get my video on here, but, I can't seem to make it work. The slide show just doesn't do any justice - Samantha is nine and make this look so easy. If we ever call Samantha in the house and she doesn't answer, she is always on the trampoline. She will be out here day or night, playing with the dogs and flipping on the trampoline.

Yet Another Cute Kid Quote

Okay, maybe the cute kid quote thing is getting old and overused, but, man, they say the funniest stuff sometimes! This one is from Josephine and it warranted a stop to take a picture just so I could put it up here -

We are driving and pass this on the road:

Me -Look, Jo - they're building something new by the bowling alley. What do you think it will be?

Jo - I think it's a jail, Mom. For the bad bowlers...

02 April 2009

James' Double Date

Charlotte (6) and Josephine (4)
James really has it rough at the Ball Team house; he has to date five women! First, of course, is Mom, but rounding out his duties are our four daughters.

With five kids in our family, it's great for the kids to get some time away from the pack. James took our "little ladies" out to dinner and dessert tonight. It's not huge, but, it means a lot to them to have their night out with Dad.