31 December 2019

Splash - December 2019

The December 2019 Splash was taken at the Smithsonian.  I have to admit that one of my favorite places to spend a day is the Smithsonian Institution.  I have visited countless times - from elementary school field trips for specific exhibits to casually wandering the halls with my family as a teenager to discovering it all again through the eyes of my own children.

Now that our BallTeam is older, they have all decided that the Smithsonian is also a great way to spend a day.  This year for Thanksgiving, we had some scheduling issues.  So, my solution was to spend Thanksgiving Day as a family at the Smithsonian.  We did Thanksgiving proper - kinda - on Friday this year.  We are so blessed and have so much to be grateful for.

We are grateful for public facilities that promote curiosity and education.  This elephant (his name is Henry) is the iconic photo op at the Museum of Natural History.  We had a great Thanksgiving with Henry.

30 December 2019

Volkswagon Jetta

Rachel bought a car!  A brand new, 2019 Volkswagon Jetta.  She has named this little beauty Lucy, which is short for Lucifer - because she feels like she's signed away her soul to finance it.

It has tons of safety features, so her insurance has gone down, and no more worries about fixing that fender and light that got hit by the deer.  This one is fully operational.  She's safe, she can afford it, and she is stable. Go for you, Rachel.

27 December 2019

Charlotte is Seventeen

Charlotte turned seventeen on December 27.  She may be the last seventeen year old without pierced ears.  The rule at our house is - you can get your ears pierced at twelve, but, you have to have more As than Bs on your report card.  All her sisters managed to do just that - Samantha was fifteen, but, she got there.  Charlotte, who is strong in English and History, did not like school.  Then we add sweet little bit into the mix and well, Charlotte never did have more As than Bs on her report card.  But at seventeen, when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday - I was expecting an answer something like the iPhone X or a used car - she simply said, Mom, can I get my ears pierced?  I know I don't meet the rule, but, I'm a mom now.  So, off we went to the Mall.

We also went to IKEA.  Josephine wanted a desk from IKEA for Christmas, so we headed to the western shore for IKEA and a Mall.  While at IKEA, we picked up some cool lamps for the big ladies and cinnamon rolls to take home.  Plus cheesecake in the cafeteria for Charlotte's birthday.

Loose in the big city....

And Charlotte's birthday present, pierced ears.

At seventeen, Charlotte is not your average teenager.  She's a Mom, and Ezamay comes first.  She's got a job watching another little baby, who is just one month older than Ezamay.  She sings beautifully; she "keeps house" in her part of the house - everything in order, her daughter's laundry done and sorted and she is all over keeping her stimulated and developing.  She's a good mom.  At seventeen now, she can take her GED and move on with education, on her terms.

She's fierce; she's sweet; she's seventeen.

30 November 2019

Splash - November 2019

 November's splash was taken at Idlewild park in Easton, MD.  The cool part of this park is not the park itself.  Don't get me wrong; it's a great park - especially if you have littles.  Our BallTeam is too old now for little swings and tunnel slides, but those fixtures will wait on Ezzie Lou to use them in a few short years.  Instead, my BallTeam now climbs the trees and still plays on the bigger slides and swings - they are still all park folks, just larger now.  We stayed til dark and played on the tire swing, walked (and Josephine fell off of) the low wall borders and strolled the little lady Ezzie Lou about.
I HAD to include this one - even though I didn't choose it as the splash because I like the grouping of the splash better.  But, look at this one - Samantha is holding Josephine's hand, while she has her arm around JMichael.  And independently, I'm sure, Rachel has her arm around Charlotte, too.

My favorite basketball court.  Cool, huh?

And the star - Ezamay is almost two weeks old and this is her first trip to the park.  She was alert and happy, but, we left her all snuggled up in the blankets where it's plenty toasty.  What a good girl!

29 November 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving is about eating a big, delicious meal of turnkey and cranberry sauce, then digesting while watching football.  Thanksgiving is about spending time with relatives and unpacking Christmas decorations.  Nope.  Not us.  Not this year.
I packed our Thanksgiving dinner - turkey sandwiches, chips, grapes and Capri Suns (I NEVER buy Capri Suns - everyone was SO excited...)

We ate at the Smithsonian Institution cafeteria.

So Eric's family had somewhere to go on Thanksgiving.  No biggie.  We took advantage of the day off for everyone and we went to my happy place - Smithsonian.  Riding the Metro is still just fun.

This is Henry, icon of the Museum of Natural History.  He's a big deal.


Josephine and Rachel had not yet been to the Holocaust Museum.  So, we sent our five children and only grandchild off into the Mall to learn about the horrors of tyranny and power, while James and I explored Natural History.  The museum was actually kinda crowded - I was surprised.  We wandered through the Narwhal exhibit and saw the Hope diamond.  We meandered through the oceans exhibits and the rise of Humans exhibits.  There is always something to discover.  We headed back out into the cold to meet the Ball Team at the metro station, and grabbed this wonderful shot of James and me - the Washington Monument in the background was beautiful in the developing sunset.

On Friday - now forever to be known as Fridaysgiving - we went to Moms.

Ezamay had family to meet - here she is charming her great uncle Eric.

Jim and Steph are making snowmen.  Ma always has a craft for us to do.  Some tolerate it - some really like it.  It's part of our holiday.

Some of our finished craftiness - approved by JMichael (11 years old).

No idle hands here - we also had gingerbread houses to build and decorate. 

 JMichael and I did the smaller one - Charlotte and Josephine did the larger model.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about gratitude.  Our celebration was untraditional at best - but, we are together and grateful for the multitude of blessings in our daily life.  Happy Thanksgiving from the BallTeam!

31 October 2019

Splash - October 2019

Some splash photos take a few scenery changes or staging of some description.  I spend time every month coming up with ideas and scouting locations.  Then, once we have an idea, we get together and try to make the ideas come to life.  Sometimes this happens easily and this Splash was one of those - a pregnant subject and a field of pumpkins....voila!  Happy fall ya'll!

22 October 2019

Ezamay Louise.....

Today is the day!  Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - Ezamay's birthday!
Charlotte (here 16 years old) was SO ready.  She's being induced and it was tough on her.  I was worried that she would be difficult - she can do that sometimes - especially since I'm sure she was hurting and Markel was not at the hospital yet.  I've never actually given birth, so I was no help with breathing and such.  I was ushered away when Markel arrived in time for the epidural.  It all worked out.

We do love pain killers....all better.  Look at that beautiful tree outside her window.  Beauty everywhere.

And, after what Charlotte remembers as one big push, at 9:45 pm, at 20 inches long and 7 pounds, 12 ounces, she is here.  Markel was weak and pale, poor boy.  He was trying not to faint, and so Charlotte cut her own umbilical cord.  The nurses were very kind and supportive.  There were lots of rules, but, they walked us right through this and had many sweet things to say about our young mother.

The feeling in this photo?  I see:  Peace.  Relief.  Gratitude.  Love.

She's perfect.  What an angel.

Ezamay has to meet her family - Aunt Josephine (who turned 15 two weeks ago).

And Poppa.

Charlotte was Momma immediately.

Great grandmother!

One of my favorites - Mom is so pleased.  Babies are a blessing.  Charlotte looks so content and ready for her adventure.

Uncle JMichael. (JMichael is eleven)

Meeting Grammy Beans

and Aunt Samantha (20 years old),

and great Aunt Abbey.

Samantha and Josephine have decided to be surgeons for Halloween....

Our ladies - Ezamay and her Aunts.  Wow.

Ezamay came home from the hospital Thursday, October 24.  This is her first car ride.

We can now celebrate all the firsts a baby brings - first encounter with rain, a dog, the wind.  Learning her little cries - she's such a good baby.  Babies are a blessing.

Welcome, Ezamay Louise.

30 September 2019

Splash - September 2019

The September splash was taken at the Salisbury Zoo.  I don't know what it is about zoos - our BallTeam loves strolling around and visiting the animals.  They talk to them, call them, imitate them and generally just enjoy each other's company while seeing the wild things.  Salisbury has a great size zoo - it has some cool animals like, flamingos, crocodiles, bears, monkeys, bison and lots o'llamas!

23 September 2019

High School for Josephine

Josephine began the ninth grade this year - high school!  Here she is tolerating my taking her picture at enrollment - can't you just see in her beautiful smile that she is also saying, hurry, mom, get this over with...

Then, two very short weeks later, this is Josephine in high school - online.  She tried, she really did try.  She went to two weeks of classes and was miserable.  She said people were not mean, but, they were indifferent.  She tried to introduce herself, pay compliments to people, participate in class and generally put herself out there so she could meet people.  Nope.

She found an accredited program online which allows her to work at her own pace, take as many math classes as her logic-loving brain can tolerate and just tear through content.  She is currently taking US History, Freshman English, AP Biology, Music History and Appreciation, AP Algebra II and AP Geometry.  She keeps all As.  She does her assignments and she is dedicated to graduating high school before Rachel and Samantha graduate from college.

You watch.  She will do what she sets out to do.  I feel usually like all I can do is help or get out of her way.  May she always use her powers of dedication for good.

31 August 2019

Splash - August 2019

We had a crazy busy summer - three moves and lots of running around.  New schools, new jobs, new places....still thick as thieves.  This splash was taken in front of Mom's new house in Salisbury.  The Ball Team is living in two different houses - but, still a Team. 

12 August 2019

Cloud thought bubble

Is this an amazing cloud formation, or what?  It's like a giant thought bubble in the sky.  What is God thinking?  I shudder to wonder.

31 July 2019

Splash - July 2019

The July Splash is at Mom's new house!  Mom sold her house in Elkton (it was only on Zillow for seven hours!) and bought a smaller, but, big enough, house in Salisbury.  She's about an hour from our house in Easton and about twenty minutes from Eric and Abbey in Mardela Springs.  She's back in Salisbury Ward and so she fell in to her old group of friends.  She's rebuilding the deck, updating the appliances and plumbing.  She had most of us painting, ripping up carpet, unpacking the pods and unboxing the boxes.  She has a great big workshop in the back of her garage and three bedrooms.  She loves it and she is making it her own.

27 July 2019

Samantha is Twenty ... ?!?!!!

The first order of business for Samantha's twentieth birthday was all about Grandmom.  Her pods were delivered and she called on the family and Salisbury Ward to start the unloading at nine in the morning.  From what I hear (cause I slept late...) Salisbury Ward was there in force and the whole project was finished by nine thirty.  Whoa.  Thank you!!

The next order of business was relaxing and celebrating.  Samantha is twenty - that's two decades old.  She is smart, pretty, and kind.  She has a very strict definition of the foods and snacks she likes, but, she's always on the hunt for her next favorite.  She just got her hair dyed - something she's been wanting for a while - now she's really a blonde.  She and Rachel and Matt are living in Fruitland, paying their way, making their path, bored one minute and busy the next.  

Samantha is always up for staying in.  She's a pro with Netflix and while she does like to be out and about - she is still a simple girl - nature documentaries on Netflix and working out at home are two of her biggest ways to spend her day off.

Samantha has her learner's permit for driving, but, not her license yet.  She's a good driver and now that she's working she is saving for a car of her own.  One day she will meet a young man she can't live without.  Meanwhile, every movie, every date, every outing, I ask - are we dating this boy?  And always, it's no, Mom.  We are just friends.  I will let you know when we start dating.

You better....Happy Birthday Sam-ba-lam.

We had a bit of a crowd that afternoon, evening to hang out - here we have Abbey, Mom and Eric.
And here we have Dan (Samantha's work bud), Rachel, Charlotte, Josephine, JMichael, Gavin and Emily.  This pool, by the way, is an exercise pool.  It was 95 degrees!
We had supper - but, you gotta catch 'em if you want to eat 'em!  Matt and Jimmie were trying to steam crabs - can you blame the poor things for trying to run?  Everyone grab some tongs - they're getting away!

and AFTER!  Steph (at seven o'clock), Jimmy (at one o'clock) with Samantha (two o'clock) and James (at three o'clock).

Stephanie and Abbey - sharing a moment on the dance floor.

Samantha's birthday "cake"....

See?  A watermelon works great as a birthday cake!

I included this picture because  Ginny and Sadie, standing behind me, had never been to a Samantha's birthday bash, and were just astonished that we would use a watermelon as a birthday cake.  Welcome to Samantha's world, friends!