20 August 2020

SnapChat Eyes

 SnapChat is an app on our phones.  The kids use it all the time, but, James and I only talk to them and use the filters for fun.  Are these fun, or what?

James, looking kinda crafty here....

Me, looking sleepy....

Rachel, 22 years old....

Samantha, 21 years old

Charlotte, 17 years old...

Josephine, 15 years old....

JMichael, 12 years old....

And Ezamay, ten months old and the cutest of us all!

31 July 2020

Splash - July 2020

The July 2020 splash was taken at the big ladies' house in Fruitland.  We all got together for a cookout in their backyard. I really like this particular photo simply because everyone is just so relaxed.  I only have to say, okay, time for the splash, and everyone just forms a group and smiles.  They offer up ideas and props and it just works.  See in this photo how everyone s wearing red white of blue?  I didn't ask them to do that - they knew we would be taking a splash and they were ready.  (the little ladies still do coach JMichael on what to wear...)  I'm so thankful I started this habit over ten years ago.  These pictures are priceless.

Speaking of priceless - look at the Brownie Bite - ten months old and rocking her new kicks.  She does love a good burger.

30 June 2020

Splash - June 2020

For our splash this month, we headed to the half way point between our homes - Cambridge, MD.  I suppose a good number of our splashes will be in this area, at least while we are all living where we currently live.  Since we live on the lovely Eastern Shore of Maryland, water will feature heavily.  It's the shore.

This is the photo I took to create the splash.  There's a park on the river which has two parallel docks set about forty feet apart in the water.  This made a perfect vantage point for me, and my assistant Ezamay, to get a picture of the kids on the opposite dock.

My assistant, Ezamay, earning her keep and looking adorable.  Charlotte was so nervous for me to carry her out on to the dock.  She said, be careful, Mom, that's my baby.  I thought, how sweet.  And then I answered her:  I have five babies, who can all walk and jump and fall, out on a dock right now, so, yes, I get it babe, I'll be careful.

And we walked around the trails, and there was a big swing - big enough for three headless Ball kids.  Which three?  I'll take guesses in the comments.

31 May 2020

Splash - May 2020

The splash for May is the Harriet Tubman mural in Cambridge, Maryland.  This amazing painting is on the side of the building which houses the Harriet Tubman Museum.  Moses is reaching out to us over a brick wall, which is actually a brick wall on the site.  The BallTeam is sitting on the bricks.  We still are wearing masks, like the Governor said to.  You can see more on the murals of Harriet Tubman, Chief Conductor on the Underground Railroad by clicking here.

30 April 2020

Splash - April 2020

The Splash this month was taken in our backyard - we've mixed April Fools with COVID19.  The big ladies came by to see us - literally, just to "see" us.  They stood in the backyard like a zoo exhibit while we stood on our back deck and talked to them.  Those little figures on Josephine's and Charlotte's shoulders are Samantha (in the yellow sweater) and Rachel in the denim jacket.

And Miss Ezamay.  Growing like a weed and the best baby ever.  EVER.  She's five months old and she sits with help and gets up on her knees, then falls to her stomach and scoots everywhere.  No teeth yet, either, but, she's working on it.

14 April 2020

Charlotte goes blonde?

Charlotte did this.  The child has never been one to be bored.  She loves to play in hair and make up - with amazing, sometimes over the top results.  Truth be told, she's not happy with this color - so it'll change, just wait.

12 April 2020


 So when I want my kids to smile for the splash picture every month, one of things I do is squeal, pretty loudly.  The kids think this is funny and just laugh at how it's tough to embarrass me.  I have no shame, especially when I'm trying to get a picture I intend to refer to when I'm senile.  When I squealed, thinking Ezamay would laugh at a funny noise, she made the second face instead.  Dag she's a cute Easter bunny.  (five months old)

09 April 2020


With the COVID19 pandemic officially ruling our lives, we are slightly changed.  You'll notice Rachel and Samantha in this splash picture are standing way back and wearing masks.  We are not supposed to be within six feet of anyone.  Families, of course, who live together, are not required to separate from each other, but, when the big ladies come to see us, this is what they do - stay away, wear a mask.

So our governor, Larry Hogan, has mandated that Marylanders shelter in place.  For our family, this has been an adjustment.  Governor Hogan closed the schools in order to slow the spread of COVID.   This means JMichael did not have a soccer season, even though he tried out for a traveling team, the team was disbanded and the program canceled.  Josephine, who had been asked to a military ball by an ROTC freshman, did not get to wear her pretty new gown and be all fancied up.  The dance was canceled.  Charlotte has not been able to watch kids to earn money and she is without her seemingly ever constant group of friends.  Samantha lost her job at the gym (Governor Hogan closed all restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and venues) and even though she's jumped through all of Maryland's hoops, she can't get her license since the MVA will not do driving tests.  Rachel is still working, but, cannot see the boy she's been dating, because he lives in Delaware.  He only lives fifteen miles away, but, non-essential personnel are not supposed to cross state lines.
So the little ladies do work out sessions using their phones on the back deck.

We go for walks up and down our street to get some fresh air and sunshine.

This is a sculpture in the front yard of a house in town.  These people have a sense of humor.  Face coverings are required to be in public.

Grocery stores look like this.  Once toilet paper was scarce and now you can find it occasionally.  Trucks are still running and people are not seeming to panic like they were at first.  Josephine is always happy when I can find her pot pies.  Grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are considered essential so they are open, but, customers are counted and you must have your face covered.

Restaurants offer drive up and curbside service, and delivery.  This was the line for lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  The Governor specifically said that restaurants and bars can deliver drinks, beer and liquor now, so they don't go under during this pandemic.  The world is a little bit crazy.

So I work from home; I go in every now and then when something there requires it.  I carry on as best I can with the technology I have been given.  The firm gave me a laptop and a printer to use from home, and I can connect with everyone else in the firm via the server in Baltimore, and via email, cell phone and Zoom.

We "see" the big ladies on the weekends.  Usually that means talking on our back deck at the house, but, this time we met at Sonic in Bridgeville, DE, cause neither of us has a Sonic in our hometowns, and we sat outside and chatted and ate.  This, for the record, is Ezamay's first time at Sonic. 

We have telehealth appointments on GoogleDuo.  We order supper from restaurants and we cannot use the library.  JMichael receives a packet of work every Thursday and we turn it in to his teachers.  Josephine was doing ninth grade online anyway, so she is right on course.  The ladies talk about going to King's Dominion this summer and I just say, we will see when it's open, if it's open.
My birthday we were supposed to go see a movie - canceled.  James and I have been lately in the habit of getting a hotel room once a month, just to get uninterrupted couple space - canceled.  Churches are closed.  Funerals are held as virtual receptions online.  Marriages?  I don't know how they are doing them, but, I'm sure it's just not the same.  And I'm not sure how long we will be this way.

Shelter - in - place.  Be safe.

31 March 2020

Splash - March 2020

The March 2020 Splash was part of our birthday present for JMichael.  He asked for only two things for his birthday - credits to spend in his latest video game fav - Rocket League - and a trip to a trampoline park.  So, we did.   Ball Team jumps!

29 February 2020

Splash - February 2020

The Splash photo for February 2020 was taken on our back deck - very easy and accessible.  On this particular day, it was chilly and rainy and the little three at home were just dressed for hanging out and watching the Superbowl (Chiefs over the Niners, 31-20).  The big ladies were all dressed up and on their way to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to see "Next to Normal" off Broadway.  Rachel loved it, the theater geek, and Samantha thought the whole thing was fascinating and amazing, but, she's not converted to show tunes just yet.  On their way to cross the bridge off of the Shore, they stopped to see us and get a picture.  They also stopped on the way home after to tell us about it and get the Superbowl score. 
And, Miss Ezamay Louise.  Now three months old - full of bright personality and she has found her hands.  So beware, she now pulls hair and grabs glasses.  Soo Dang Cute!
The big ladies - ready for the theatre - Next to Normal. 
Not bad seats, huh?

21 February 2020

JMichael is Twelve - 1 2

JMichael turned twelve.  He's in the sixth grade and recently tried out for a traveling soccer team.  He's majorly invested in Rocket League, Madden 2020 and Fortnite.

All JMichael asked for was supper with everyone out at Ruby Tuesdays and a trip to the Trampoline Park, so we obliged.  

This is John Thomas, or JT.  He and Rachel have been dating a few months now.  He is working at Furniture Land in Seaford, DE.  He asked to meet us and he seems to be a nice guy.  They share a love of music and Portal.

Ezamay had never been to Ruby Tuesday's. She was great.  What a good baby girl.

Later, we had KoolAid pie - JMichael's favorite - Orange.

31 January 2020

Splash - January 2020

This first splash of 2020 was taken at the Chinese restaurant where we ate out for Christmas Day, 2019.  We ate Chinese, sushi and dessert.  The place was actually kinda crowded and everything was fine, until we walked out. James went to pay the check, the ladies filed out with various bags and jackets, and Mom and I brought up the rear, making sure we had everything we came with.

A man followed us out.  He was alone and not very scary, but, he stayed close to us and it was just uncomfortable.  As we paused outside on the sidewalk to rearrange and set up for a picture, he was still too close.  Charlotte handed Ezamay to Mom, and as Mom is holding her and Charlotte is putting down bags, the guy lights up a cigarette.  Charlotte politely but directly said, Sir, please don't smoke around my baby.  They guy didn't move; Mom walked toward the fence with Ezamay.

We took a few shots using the fence as our background and the guy followed us.  Too close, but, not right in the mix, you know?  It was weird.  Charlotte has never had a problem with confrontation.  She asked the man again, please don't smoke so near the baby.  To his credit, the man took her 'hint' and he walked off back toward the restaurant.  He stayed on the sidewalk as we packed up and departed.  It was kinda creepy.

And Ezamay, shown here with her Aunt Joey, is growing like a weed and is everyone's favorite little bit.

13 January 2020

JMichael by a neck

Well, this has finally happened.  JMichael is taller than Josephine, who is taller than I am.  JMichael will be twelve in about a month, so this is about right - all his sisters had passed me in height by the time they turned twelve.  In a recent doctor's visit, JMichael learned that he is projected to grow still more and should be about six feet tall by the age of 16.  I gotta stop feeding him.