29 August 2014

Aunt Norma, 2001

This photo was taken in the summer of 2001, but that's a guess based on the size of the kids.  The smiling lady on the left is my Aunt Norma.  Rachel is seated next to her and that's me with Samantha on my lap.  We took a trip down to visit Aunt Norma in Florida, and even though my ladies may not remember it, they had a great time with a great lady.

My Aunt Norma is my dad's oldest sister.  She is the most like my grandmother, her mother, of all my aunts.  She spoke like her mother, except her southern draw was a bit more pronounced.  She looks remarkably like her mother and she has the same kind and loving way I remember from my childhood days at my grandparent's home.

Aunt Norma always, at least in my lifetime, lived in Florida.  So going to visit her meant adventure.  Growing up surrounded by water means that you cross a bridge frequently, but, southbound was the most fun.  Leaving Maryland's Eastern Shore and headed to Florida you can cross the Bay Bridge Tunnel.  It's seventeen miles of engineering marvel and as a kid, it's the scary kind of fun.

Sometime we would stop at South of the Border in South Carolina, a tacky weigh station for travelers and truck drivers.  Dad refused to get a bumper sticker every time Eric and I insisted it was required.  Good call, Dad.

More than the travel there, I remember always feeling at home in Aunt Norma's house.  She insitsted we have a glass of lemonade; she let us run through the backyard and she took us to the beach.  Ma insisted that we help with supper clean up and mind our manners, but, Aunt Norma knew we would rather have ice cream.  Aunt Norma is still in Florida, is still loving and kind, and this week I am thinking of her because Dad and Ma are down there visiting her.  I bet they are not jumping on the couches like Rachel and Samantha did on this trip in 2001, but, I know they have a cold glass of lemonade nearby.

28 August 2014

Splash - August 2014

Since September is right around the corner, I will add the splash picture for this month.  This photo was taken after church one hot Sunday in August.  This fencing goes all along three sides of the church property and directly behind the Ball Team kids you can see the church baseball field.  I tried to match the blue of the sky when I chose the blue for the title, since everyone is wearing a different color.  JMichael's shirt is actually a pale lavender, but, you can't really tell here with the bright bright sun in their beautiful faces. 

18 August 2014

Back to School Circa, 2014

School is back in session - where does the time go?  This year I asked everyone how the first day of the year went.  I thought I would include a few of their comments.  My kids crack me up.
JMichael:  Mom, I liked kindergarten
better; first grade doesn't have snack.
Josephine: We have a pet in our class - a tarantula!
I didn't hold him, but, he's cute.
Charlotte:  We get to dissect a cow's eye!

Samantha:  Hey, I didn't get lost!  (the high school has over 2,000 students and is 45 acres!)

Rachel:  We blew up a watermelon today in Chemistry.  Bam.

16 August 2014

Goodbye Summer 2014

Summer 2014 has been great - full of lazy days, friends and family.  Plus water.  Summer means outdoor fun in the sun.  We had lots of that this summer, and lots of late nights, easy days, chores, church camps, swim meets and overnights with friends.  Family.  Just add water.

Just because everyone is getting so tall and we are all pictured with wet hair - let me tell you who we are in the picture.  Right up front from left to right we have JMichael, Josephine, Rachel and Samantha.  In the middle we have me, then Charlotte in red/orange.  And of course that's James in the back.  I just love my BallTeam.

15 August 2014


Rachel has been looking for a job since she turned 16.  Quite a few places told her that they didn't hire anyone younger than 18.  She kept looking, though, and it took her five months to get that call she had been waiting for - you got the job!  This week Rachel started at Subway.  She started in the back learning all the prep work associated with making sandwiches for the public.  She came home smelling like onions and she said she cried.  As the week went on she moved on to the register, the drive through and then, the front line - talking to the customers in the store and making their sandwiches.  It's so funny to talk to her after a shift - she always has a story.  She has run into customers that are former teachers, members of our church and parents of friends.  And it's only been a week!  She also has stories that start out like - ok, there was this lady, and she wanted avocado and mayo on Italian bread - that's all - no meat, no cheese, no veggies - just avocado and mayo - gross!  Ah the joys of working with the public.  Congratulations, Rachel, you are a member of the work force.  You will be amazing - just smile and do your best!  Now, make me a sandwich!

12 August 2014

Mom gets a day off......

This week I have some unexpected time off - we are preparing the school for a new school year and the cleaning and organizational jobs are not taking as long as we thought - yay for a few days off!

So, mom has a day off; mom says we go to the pool...and so we did.

Rachel and Samantha diving with style.
Charlotte and Josephine following suit.
Handstands - can you guess whose feet these are?  And JMichael - sans water wings!  This was a big day for JMichael - he swam the length of the pool with no help or floaties.  He did it once, then again, and again, and again, and again.....go JMichael!  He can also jump off of the diving board without the floaties, but, this shot is off of the side of the deck.
And this is what Samantha looks like under water.  Rachel has a lifeproof case on her phone and over much protestation from James and me and much encouragement from her sisters - she submerged her phone in the water and took pictures.  Ugh.  As if I am not grey enough....but I will admit; it's a cool picture and I can't fault a child of mine for being adventurous and curious - they get that honestly from their once young and carefree parents.

10 August 2014

CHS Dance Team 2014-15

Samantha made her high school dance team.  It's a spirit squad and they perform at every football and basketball game - home and away.  They do chants for the crowd and dance on the field or court at halftime and during a time out.  Cheerleaders do flips and stunts - dance team dances.  Samantha was on the junior high dance team, too, and the difference this year is competition.  While the spirit aspect is important during the sport seasons, the dance aspect will be her main focus later.  The high school team travels in the spring to compete against other high school dance teams in three types of dances.  The dancers on each competitive squad are the best for each form of dance.  The three squads are pom, jazz and hip hop.  Samantha, only a sophomore, is in the front line of her hip hop dance and loves that genre of dance.  As she puts it, she rocks out.  She also made the jazz competitive squad.  We are looking forward to all the games we get to go see - for the games?  No.  To watch our dancer - Samantha.

08 August 2014

Last minute school stuffs....

Getting ready for school does not just mean new shoes and pencils.  Today we did the hardcore stuff - vaccinations and eye appointments.
Our school district imposed some new requirements for students 11 and up this year.  So, off we go to the doctor to get some shots.  No tears.  Lollipops all around.
 Our next appointment was for their beautiful eyes.  Everyone had their eyes dilated, and they got "sunglasses" to wear for a few hours while their eyes return to normal.  Rachel and Samantha already wear glasses.  They don't always wear them, but, now they are getting new ones.  Stronger ones.  And new at this year's examination - the other three need glasses too!
Interestingly, we have a pattern.  It runs according to their birth order, like this:  Rachel is far-sighted (close up vision is blurry).  Samantha is near sighted (far away vision is blurry).  Next is Charlotte, who is far sighted.  Then Josephine is near sighted.  Finally, JMichael is far sighted.  Wow.  We are so cool and organized.  More pictures to follow when spectacles arrive in about three weeks.
Charlotte demonstrates dilated eyes.  Kinda creepy.  They all said it made their vision blurry and it made their eyes numb and very sensitive to light.  It only lasted a few hours.

04 August 2014

Jumpin`, jumpin`, jumpin`

Josephine, nine years old, demonstrating a back flip on the trampoline.  I didn't get a picture, but, she did stick the landing.  And then, a picture of her jumping simultaneously with the little man, JMichael, six years old.  This trampoline was a gift from our friends who moved and gave it to us.  Our kids are out there daily just bouncing and jumping and flipping and laughing laughing laughing.  We love it.

03 August 2014

Splash - July 2014

Just a quick post to save the July 2014 picture before I reveal our August 2014 picture.  This year is flying by - school starts in about two weeks!  Yikes!

This July picture was taken to celebrate America in popsicles.  When we went to the store to get them, they didn't have a white flavor.  Undeterred, I bought one orange, two red and two blue.  Rachel, through the magic of some app she has on her phone, changed the color of the popsicle from orange to white.  So, I was able to have my red white and blue popsicles after all.  Thank you Rachel.

The red paint on JMichael's face is supposed to be a star - another attempt at portraying our patriotism.