04 February 2018

Superbowl LII

In our family, each person has a football team.  We don't all root for the same team; that would be too easy.  Instead, we all root against each other.  Here's our list:
James: Minnesota Vikings
Tina: New Orleans Saints
Rachel: Philadelphia Eagles
Evan: Miami Dolphins
Samantha: Atlanta Falcons
Charlotte: Denver Broncos
Josephine: Carolina Panthers
JMichael: New England Patriots

This season - 2017 - 2018 -- Of the eight of us, five were in the playoffs.  The big dance came down to two of us - Rachel versus JMichael.  It was tense.  JMichael was a valiant fan and played a good game, but, in the end, Rachel and her Eagles were victorious.  Rachel watched the game at a friends house, and JMichael watched at home with us.

My brothers have teams, too - David roots for the Baltimore Ravens, his wife Dawn roots for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Eric and Abby are Cowboys fans through and through.  Mom and Dad cheered for the Rams, even through all their changes of venue.  I remember one Superbowl that Dad was so excited about - the Rams were playing, and to make it even better - Tina Turner was the halftime show.  The Rams lost, but, Dad was still happy.

It'll be a long off season, full of talk on drafts and trades.  Long live football!

31 January 2018

Splash - January 2018

The January splash was supposed to be full of confetti.  I had each of them holding a handful of confetti and I took a bunch of shots with them blowing it out of their hands right at me.  I thought it ws a great idea, and I'd seen examples that looked really good, but, nope.  Their mouths were all weird or some were blowing so much it obscured a siblings face, either way, I liked this shot - sitting on our stairs - all smiles.

As a side note, do you see Charlotte's hand?  It's covered in doodles.  Charlotte has had some issues with self harm.  She's seeing a counselor and she's medicated, but, she gets episodes where the world is horrible, we are horrible, life is horrible.  One way her counselor told her to deal with it is by drawing on herself (and NOT cutting herself).  So, if in pictures you ever see our beautiful, smiling, amazing Charlotte with doodles - you will know she's healing, and she's following the instructions she's been given - to move on, chin up, and if you feel like hurting yourself, then draw on yourself instead.  Good advice for us all.  Happy New Year - chin up!

17 January 2018

Chess, Potions and Tree Boyfriends?

January is a bleak time to be outside - both in Maryland and in Arkansas.  Inside, we spend a lot of time together watching football, cleaning house and our favorite - games.  Of the eight of us in the house right now, we have a mixed bag.  Some like board games, some like card games, some like chess.  We play together, laugh together and argue over answers together.  The point is - together.  I truly hope my kids remember their childhoods fondly, full of family and healthy competition.

One game that the ladies just told me about does not involve any of those games I just mentioned.  It involves a trampoline and a hearty imagination.  Both the big ladies and the little ladies played this game, they said.  It goes like this - all four of them (JMichael was little) are on the trampoline.  One jumps as high as she can and turns to the outside of the trampoline at the height of her jump.  She will then "lift" a potion from the "shelf".  She drinks the potion on the way down.  Once she bounces, the potion takes effect and she has to act out the result of the potion.  This game is called, Potions.  The ladies were telling me how they would spend hours on the trampoline in Arkansas, bouncing and drinking potions.  They were on fire, turned into a dinosaur or a ballerina.  What a game.

Another game they played was Tree Boyfriend.  Yes, you read Tree Boyfriend.  This is a game from the little ladies.  In our backyard in Arkansas, we had a bunch of mature trees.  The little ladies would discuss who got which tree boyfriend and they would stand with the tree boyfriend and talk about what they thought (in their 4 - 7 year old minds) girlfriends talked about with their boyfriends.  Charlotte even said they would kiss the tree bark.  Hahaha.  I had no idea.  I just knew they all loved to play together in the back yard.

31 December 2017

Splash - December 2017

What better place to take a December splash than a nursery with rows and rows of Christmas trees, right?  Right!  The Ball Team dressed in Christmas reds and greens and white, so off we went - to tresspass on the nursery property.  But, no trees were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

 Charlotte and her bud, Julie.  Tree huggers!

There were holes in the ground where the other shrubs and trees had been cut.  Josephine planted herself.

Trees!

We tried to re-create a photo from a previous photo shoot - they grow too fast.....

30 December 2017

Snow.....2017

 So, this happened.  I'm not a fan of the snow.  It's pretty, but, that's all I'll give you.  I've never tried skiing.  Why?  'Cause you need snow.  I do like the Winter Olympics, though.

So after Christmas break, we had a snow break.  The kids were home from school for three days.  Everyone had lots of time to catch up on Netflix.
The sunset from our back door.

This is Evan.  He just crawled out of the back hatch of Rachel's car, which just landed in a snow drift.  She hit some black ice, and then went airborne til this snow embankment provided a soft place to land.  See how there are NO TRACKS behind her car.  All net.  Sheesh.  No one was hurt; the car is drive-able, but, wow.  Rachel was shaken and has new respect for driving in snow.

26 December 2017

Christmas, 2017

Christmas, to be brutally honest, is not my favorite time of year.  James misses his mother and brother.  I miss my Dad.  I miss the traditions of having little little ones at home.  I do enjoy the older kids' new sense of obligations - they feel like they should get their little siblings a gift, or take them out, or explain the history of the ornaments with them. 

This year saw a new tradition - although it may not be a keeper - a live tree.  The attorney I work for has a family Christmas Tree farm on the western shore, where he grew up.  Each year he invites family and friends to come cut a tree.  So, off we went.

As luck would have it - it snowed.  This made for a pretty drive and lots of slush.  Mr. Yeager's family was very welcoming to this big group of strangers in their midst.  Turns out the teens knew each other from high school - small town.  We had chili and brats and lots of hot chocolate.  They had a fire pit going and Santa handed out gifts to the kids.  It was all very nice.  Then, we picked out a tree.

The kids found a tree they liked and Mr. Yeager said, That's a big tree.  So, this nice lady with a saw cut our big tree and James dragged it down the hill.  With some help from our new friends, we tied the tree to the top of our car and headed back home.


Our tree - and our tree in his new home.  That's a big tree!

Snow is pretty.  Still not a fan.

Ornaments for our friends in AR....

Delivered by Rachel and Evan, who got a trip to Evan's parents' home for the holidays.  We missed them, but, hey, it's Christmas.  Evan's family misses him, too.

Christmas morning.

Opening gifts - Josephine and Samantha - lit.

 Later in the afternoon, mom came over and we opened her gifts.  Then we went out for Chinese food.  This is James' gift to me - but, I let everyone else come along.  Look closely in this picture - you can see Samantha catching a squash, thrown from our chef - you can't take these kids anywhere.
And more antics for Josephine - the chef called this baby sake.  She said it was lemonade - I love the look on mom's face - never a dull moment with this bunch.  Merry Christmas; God bless us, every one.

11 December 2017

Random Photos

I have no real story behind these photos, but, they are a story.  Daily snaps of our lives, moods situations, impressions.  That's life.  And snapchat.
Samantha and Rachel, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Charlotte and Samantha, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Josephine, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Charlotte and Josephine, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Josephine, taken by Charlotte. (August 2017)

Charlotte on snapchat. (September 2017)

Josephine on snapchat. (September 2017)

Samantha on snapchat. (August 2017)

JMichael, just pure JMichael. (August 2017)
Ball Team