29 December 2009


Look who popped in James' store today:

He texted me that the Duggars had stopped in his store (no camera crew, just JimBob and Michelle, with daughter Jessa - 16 years old) and I was furiously texting back for him to get a picture. James reports that they are genuinely nice people and he was happy to have made their acquaintance. Cool, huh?

24 December 2009

Secret Santa

We had a knock on our door earlier this week. We opened it to find a big black garbage bag, full of gifts. Two for each of the kids. The sign on the bag reads Merry Christmas and the sign on the inside of the bag reads, Do Not Open Until Christmas. Secret Santa, we do not know who you are, but, THANK YOU!

20 December 2009

Ball Team Elven Holiday Cheer

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the Christmas Tunes to enjoy this Ball Team Elven Holiday Cheer. Dang they make cute elves!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

18 December 2009

Ready for Christmas

Our tree is up this year. I stress a lot about the tree. Why are the ornaments that mean so much to me made out of glass, or porcelain? This year is Jay first really hands-on Christmas - all boy, loves to throw and climb. So we positioned the tree in the corner, with the love seat and couch forming a protective wall. He can stand on the arm of the couch to reach the tree, but, he can't knock it completely over. All the precious ornaments are still packed away, in the hopes that next year Jay will be a little more gentle. Three of our traditions are underway for the season - First - making treats for teachers. This year we chose a family favorite - hot chocolate. We have our own way of spicing it up here at the Ball Team house, and I hope that the ladies' teachers like it, too.
Also in progress for the holiday season is the reading of Christmas stories each night. This year Charlotte is joining her older sisters in reading the stories out loud to the younger siblings. She's so happy to be a "big lady".
Our third tradition leading up to Christmas is to become sneaky! We chose a neighbor (wonder if this neighbor reads the blog? hmmmm?) to deliver to each night. I picked up this Nativity set at WalMart for $12, and it has exactly twelve pieces. Each night for the Twelve Days of Christmas, we find a scripture or Christmas song that relates to the figure in the nativity. We set it on the porch, ring the bell, and hide. On Christmas Eve, Baby Jesus will come to the porch. The ladies get to be sneaky, and, I hope, learn a little about the holiday of giving.
And finally: Our tree and the five gifts I treasure most.

14 December 2009

The Best Friday the Thirteenth

Happy Anniversary to us. Thirteen years ago, on Friday the 13th, James called my answering machine. In a thick Mississippi accent he asked if I would like to have dinner. He had only been in town a few days, and had been given my phone number by the man in our Ward who helped him find a temporary place to live. He was in town for a three month temporary job and wasn't looking for anything more than someone to eat with. We were married three months later.

We both knew - that very night - that we had met the one we were meant to marry. So glad you came to Maryland, babe. Every day, I'm glad you came to Maryland.

11 December 2009

More Random Happenings

More photos for the Grandfolks - everyone else is welcome to look in, too!

Samantha gets the doghouse ready for the winter and demonstrates for the dogs how to use it! Rachel makes supper - these are "Fowler-cakes", which are super big pancakes. These are called Fowler-cakes at our house in honor of our friends who make pancakes this way!

Fun tub-times! These three even play Simon Says in the tub! Hours...of...fun!

08 December 2009


Samantha (fifth grade, 10 years old) completed the D.A.R.E. program. Here she is with two of her buds at the graduation ceremony.

The class was taught by a local police officer and covers the dangers and consequences of using alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. It also included such hands on activities as drunk goggles and a little taste of a jail cell.

They performed a song for the assembled parents that had this chorus:

D: don't do drugs
A: don't have an attitude
R: I will respect myself
E: I will educate me now....

The mayor of our little town was there, too, to talk to his future voters. He explained that it is not the school's responsibility to keep kids off of drugs. The school will support that proposition, but, it is up to the parents to set the example, follow through on consequesnces and police our kids. He told the parents to lead the way and teach the children to do the right thing.

Look at those smiling faces...ready to take on the world!

07 December 2009

James' Birthday

Happy Birthday, James.

Without getting too mushy and too personal, let me just say that this is the man behind this blog. He's the Husband, Dad and full-time supporter of all this chaos, energy and love we call our lives at the Ball Team. In his honor, let me give you a few random facts in no particular order - all about him. (Hope I don't embarrass you too much, babe....)

1. He loves to fly stunt kites. 2. His favorite color is purple. 3. He can fix a flat tire alone in the dark. 4. He has lived in ten different states. 5. He speaks a little Polish. 6. He can play the trombone, trumpet, piano, guitar and drums. But not all at the same time. 7. He has broken his nose and wrist and cracked two ribs - all playing basketball. 8. One day he wants to own a go-kart park. 9. He has his own nicknames for each of the kids. 10. He loves the Minnesota Vikings. So much. 11. He makes great pork chops. 12. He loves to talk. Just get him going on a story... 13. He disarmed bombs and repaired helicopters in the Army. 14. He turned down an offer to play football for Texas A&M after high school. 15. He served a mini-mission at 16 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 16. He crushed two vertebrae falling off of a second story roof. 17. He loves spicy foods. 18. He used to drive an 18 wheeler truck cross-country. 19. His favorite car is the 1980 Chevrolet Camaro. 20. He still keeps up with his friends from high school. 21. He was a busy kid; he was on a team for football, baseball, basketball, track and swimming. 22. He can drive a forklift. 23. He loves cheesecake. Loves it. 24. He calls his Dad just to say Hi. 25. He used to live with three women - his Mother, his Grandmother and his Great-grandmother. Together. 26. He's never been snow skiing, but he loves to waterski. 27. He witnessed a car wreck on the way home from work one day and stopped at the scene to pull a man and his wife from the burning car. He was in the paper the next day. 28. He makes great animal sounds. 29. He intends to spend his retirement in an RV visiting kids and grandkids. 30. He can whistle so loud you won't believe it. 31. He learned how to swim when his father threw him off of the boat. 32. He has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. 33. He hates morning alarm clocks. 34. He loves to drive. 35. He does impersonations. 36. He has a wife who loves him madly and five children who love him completely.

Happy Birthday, James. Happy Birthday.

04 December 2009

Let It Cyber-Snow

I am NOT a fan of snow. I would have no problem with summer all year long. Snow is pretty in postcards and calendars. NOT so pretty in my driveway. Thank you just the same.

Having said that - see the snow falling on the blog? Christmas-y, huh? Click here to make it snow on your blog!!

Jay "Skee" Ball

Jay decided to really get into his skee-ball game. Yes, I'm sure I should have just gotten him out of the machine, but, I had to get a picture first. A happy smile on a sweet face of a little man exploring his world and loving life. Dec '09