Tag Archives: Sandbox List Adventures

Inspired by Hanna-Barbera … Duct Tape Adventures Return

3 Sep

I look forward to this adventure every year, it takes me back to my seven-year old self, the one watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons on Saturday mornings.

I’ve told you about this before, my love for these kinds of races and the origin of it all …

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Cartoons were a big deal to me back then, that’s where I got most of my fantastic ideas. And this one — the Wacky Races —  has always stayed with me. So when I heard about this cardboard boat regatta down by the beach a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance to participate in the fun. It’s actually turned into a family tradition. Something I hope my kids will look back on fondly.

The entire process jazzes me up. From conception to creation to craftsmanship. The annual cardboard boat regatta challenges the small artist I have in me. I’ve learned to enjoy the process, the trials and errors, the measure twice and cut once philosophy, the entire duct tape process, being present, and enjoying the building part with my kids was one of the many takeaways from this experience. I’ve been grateful enough to remember it every year. The actual race takes about five minutes so enjoying every bit of the process leading up to that helps slow time down and increase the gratitude factor. I’m glad I can remind myself of this, but feel even happier that I’ve introduced my kids to this life lesson. So it’s a win-win.

Creativity happens here and I’ve learned that it involves duct tape. I look forward to the seven rolls of duct tape that make my vessel seaworthy. This year it was five rolls of Gorilla Tape and two of silver duct tape, not that it matters or anything, but thought I’d share the supply list in case you wanted to get creative too.

The multiple trips to the local Do-It-Yourself Hardware Center become a weekly adventure during our creative process. I enjoy seeing whether or not the finished product meets my kid’s expectations. Most of the time it does, last year, it was so amazing that I even patted myself on the back. This year was a little trickier, considering inspiration came from Despicable Me 3, Gru’s car, and his minions of course. But we managed and came up with this …

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Gru’s Car/Speedboat

Cardboard and duct tape. Total Festivus Miracle! And not only was the creative process enjoyable, we also ended up winning our heat. For the second year in a row, after losing the first few years, we paddled our way to the finish line first, without sinking and eventually placed third overall in the parent-child category.

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Making it to the finish line … smiling all the way.

But in addition to paddling our way down the pool, hanging out with and talking to the other boat makers was so much fun. I enjoyed seeing some of the masterpieces and listening to the inspiration behind it all.

 

 

My son really enjoyed the Star Wars vessel and my daughter loved the Moana boat, but I have yet to recover the picture for that one. My favorite was of course this white one.

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AMAZING!

 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this whole boat made out of cardboard, but it was only for display and not for racing purposes. The creative process on this one must have been great.

 

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🙂

Everyone ended up having a good time. Don’t know if they were inspired by Hanna Barbera, but something inspired them and the inventiveness came through in the form of cardboard and duct tape creations. Remembering that the process and being present were just as important as paddling to the finish brought sunshine to my heart.

Buen Camino my friends!

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Sandbox List Adventures: The Sun, The Moon, The Vibe

27 Aug

This was in the hands of the universe …

But before I continue on the wonder of the Cosmos I must apologize … this was supposed to be posted last Wednesday, but for some reason it got locked down in my drafts file. Maybe it was delayed in order to bring something good among all the bad that’s going on in our country. Maybe it was kept there to remind you of the amazing powers of science and how one small cosmic miracle can bring us all together …

I had never seen one, so the fact that  we were in the path of this scientific awesomeness gave me pause. Not everyone around the world got to see it, but we were lucky enough to experience the eclipse and check that off the Sandbox List Adventure.

Now seeing how my kids had school that morning I made an executive decision in the name of science to skip the morning scholastic activities in elementary school and drive down to the university and join grad students, professors, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (JPL) scientist for an outdoor learning session. There were solar eclipse sunglasses, telescopes, awesome shadow boxes, and a live stream news feed airing the path of totality in one of the lecture halls. It was an astronomy extravaganza!

I felt since this was a once in a lifetime event for many people, it had to be something our family needed to witness. And the thing is, it would have been fine hanging out in our patio and watching it by ourselves, but being among all those people was an amazing vibe that lasted the entire week. It was so much more being in that environment. It wasn’t something to look at during a commercial break, it ended up being an experience. A Sandbox List Adventure experience. It was excitement! I was excited to be there and when is the last time that you felt excitement over some astronomical event?

I mean if you live in the city a shooting star is awesome, because it’s a rare sight with all the bright lights hampering your star gazing experience. I was happy to be there, and even more so to have my kids see something like this. Us city kids watching a solar eclipse, that called for Pink Floyd music to accompany us on this journey.

All of us outside on the lawn, strangers, just hanging out and experiencing the eclipse brought out the neighborly vibe in everyone.  In the frantic mad dash to get those oh-so-elusive-solar-eclipse glasses, many people weren’t able to get one of the thousand free pairs that JPL handed out. So many people, including ourselves, shared with neighbors so they could get a glimpse.

 

It was a good feeling to be among people and have my kids share the positive energy and camaraderie of spectators coming together to witness something beautiful. And although we didn’t have totality, the 60% that we did experience made for an awesome memory.

The eclipse had the power for just a moment, to remove emotional hangovers, bad conversations, rejection letters, cold symptoms, no parking zones, chaotic mornings, DMV clerks, credit card bills, and empty-gas-tank-lights during congested traffic. It had the power to cause deep breathing and slowing down time. It had the power of gratitude and bringing people together. It had the power of making it on the Sandbox List Adventures.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure: Feeling The Burn But Enjoying Pockets of Nature

13 Aug

Slowing down the clock. Making the moment last longer. They’re getting better at it.

Wanting adventures to last longer or remembering them with more clarity became a summer goal that’s probably going to last us some years.

They close their eyes, put their hand on their heart and take three deep breaths. Then open their eyes and watch … just watch and take three deep breaths again.

We had an opportunity for that today, We had an opportunity to escape the ugliness of what’s happening in our country. We had an opportunity to find some good, to be present in the moment and have gratitude envelope us. We had an opportunity for one last field trip. One last adventure before school started.

We needed to end our summer on an awesome note, considering the bumpy ride we encountered at registration. So once again we headed to the water.

I thought of the beach, but my kids wanted to change things up a bit.

A Sandbox List Adventure.

Paddle boating.

My son wanted to do this all-summer long, but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. We’d been to the lake a couple of times but it ended up being closed. However the day before school started … Sunny. Open. Clear sailing.

The one thing my son was unaware of was the massive leg workout this would be, but his muscles were pumping and my daughter, as captain of the ship, made sure we kept the boat moving. But if we’re being honest, I was breaking a sweat after the first lap and in desperate need of a water break. I was picking up the slack because I could tell my son was feeling the burn. We did a lot of drifting though, just letting the wind and the ripples guide us through the water.  But I guarantee you,  I’ll still be feeling it tomorrow morning, Word to the wise … sunscreen and stretching are necessary. You’ll feel the burn, but it’s worth it in those quads, but finding pockets of nature in the city is always worth the work.

There were highlights … awesome ones to accompany the quad workout.

Circling the water fountain and feeling the wispy breeze behind hit, made everything all right that day. Forgot about class complications, teacher meetings, principal emails, and class supply lists agony.

We were on the lake and it was Sandbox List Adventure time. The feel-good vibes from today will help fuel the rest of the week.

 

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Checking out the scene and mapping out our course …

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Had our sites on the fountain … a definite highlight of the day.

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Then we headed to the lily pads to get a closer look at nature …

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Duuuuude up close was just as beautiful …

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And so after all that beauty and all those laps, we pedaled our way back.

 

Buen Camino my friends.

The Process And The Hanna Barbera Journey

24 May

It took me back to Saturday morning cartoons. Just like our annual cardboard boat race, this little adventure took me back to the 80s where I dreamed of being one of the Hanna Barbera cartoons and building my own hot rod to race to the finish line.

We were pretty jazzed up to learn that my son’s Boy Scout pack would be hosting the annual Pinewood Derby. We marked the calendar, bought our kit and the kids laid out their Crayola Crayons Blueprint, LEGO drivers included of course.

We made visits to the Do-It-Yourself Center and Michael’s Craft Store to buy all the goods for this epic project. Every day leading up to the big race we worked on the cars … sanding them, cleaning them, painting them multiple times, adding decals and then our final touches. I made sure not to get too crazy though, I didn’t want to turn into Momzilla and take over the project. I wanted to make sure my kids did most of the work.

But you know, the day of the actual race itself didn’t live up to the hype I imagined in my Hanna Barbara mind. After waiting for all the heats and divisions to run through their rounds the enthusiasm dwindled off.

Perhaps because it was a three-lane course instead of five-lanes, maybe there were so many divisions that it became just a repetitive exercise and not a Pinewood Derby Showdown, or maybe it was the return of the stink-eye uptight assistant den leader from region pack meetings, his presence fuels voluntary and involuntary eye-rolls from the masses.

Whatever that wonky feeling was it lingered for a bit. I mean when it was my kids’ turn I was super excited and happy and enjoyed their rounds leading up the final division race. I was happy that my son had tied for fifth place in our rookie year of this event.

But I wasn’t really jazzed up about the other participants. I didn’t really have a vested interest. There seemed to be a pattern evolving, in regards to the type of designs winning each race. I mean once I saw a couple of their races the magic was lost  … until the Outlaw Division started.

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There it was … a rules-out-the-window race, where creativity, imagination, and design were combined. It was about the fastest car but also about inventiveness, the personality of each car and then how it would perform. Those races seemed to be a little more exciting. I enjoyed my daughter coming in first place in the outlaw class and seeing her smile as her car crossed the finish line first. But through this entire experience, from blueprints to paint jobs, I was reminded of a great lesson.

It’s all about the process.

Enjoying the anticipation of it all, sharing our excitement of what was to come, talking, hanging out while we sanded and painted, and most of importantly remembering not to freak out if the paint job wasn’t spot on. They might not remember what place they finished that day, but they will remember that we built it as a family. They’ll remember how that felt. So, for future projects, I’ve got to remember that.

Process … It’s all about the process in the Hannah Barbara journey, or with anything really.

Sandbox List Adventures: Tackling The Warped Wall With Pharrell Williams

11 Mar

Beat the wall! Beat the wall! Beat the wall!

They stare at it … mesmerized, chanting and cheering for them to reach the tippy top and grasp it with their fingertips. They scream as the Ninja Warriors cling onto the edge and pull themselves up. They ring the buzzer and raise their hands in victory.

Both my kids have envisioned this adventure countless times. They zigzag through the swings, attack the monkey bars, scale the rock walls, climb the ropes, balance on the imaginary floating steps and then  climb the slide … AKA The Warped Wall. They are masters of the playground obstacle course.

They are Mini-American Ninja Warriors and they are always up for the challenge, even when kids on the school playground recently made my son feel bad for being enthusiastic about this adventure. These Pokemon loving kids were not feeling the Ninja Warrior vibe, and left him solo to play this “boring” game on his own. And despite being sad, he tackled that playground obstacle course and had fun on his own.

It was heartbreaking to hear what happened, and like any mom I had that parent talk, the one that assures him of his unique awesomeness, the one filled with hugs and chocolate cookies, the one paraphrasing Pharrell Williams’s song of the summer. But in addition to words I found another way to lift up his spirits.  I found a way to take his Ninja Warrior dreams to the next level …

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We discovered a Ninja Warrior Gym with the help of navigation and a few freeways.

This Sandbox List Adventure is definitely going in The Jar of Awesome.

He was able to hang out with kids who were equally jazzed about the sport. There was nothing boring about this at all. He was jumping, swinging, climbing, and balancing his way through these mini obstacles and loving every minute of it and his sister was loving this ride just as much. I think she was born a ninja.

The smiles were worth the drive, and knowing that I had made this possible, especially after such a difficult week on the playground, was so rewarding. As a parent, finding these moments for my kids filled that sometimes-I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-as-a-parent-but-I’m-trying-my-best-space with a giant high five.

They left feeling energized, enthusiastic, and ready for more. He left feeling awesome. He left feeling like he could beat that wall! And he left with one request … a feel-good song. Happy by Pharrell Williams. It was the theme song for the rest of the day.

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventures: Guatemalan Wayne Gretzky to The Rescue

16 Dec

So after a tough week and a disappointing business meeting … I’m gonna  take a bit of my own advice in order to turn a corner. I’m gonna have to open up that Blessed Project to change perspective.

And so … here I am reigning in my disappointment with chocolate and thinking about this Bucket List fail that just happened to me. Trying not to think about it and learn the lesson, actually, which is a little difficult during the chocolate-eating stages.

But even though my Bucket List Adventure didn’t pan out, thinking about my son’s brings a sense of pride and warmth to my heart and a smile to my face. Remembering that he got a chance to do something big, helps this defeat.

Looking at pictures and watching video helps me focus on something positive.

You see this one is every sports enthusiast dream.

This one fell under the highlight reel… and it ended up being a great outing. You see, I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case you’ve missed it … This is a House of Sports! We enjoy playing and watching them. And when the Olympics comes every four years … forget about it! All day every day. I guess it stems from the time I towered at 5-foot-3, tallest Guatemalan in the houuuuuse, and I swore I was a baller who was gonna make it big time. Showtime at The Forum. However injuries and reality being what they are and all … my balloon deflated and that never came to pass.

However my son … he made it. Guatemalan Wayne Gretzky got a chance to skate at The Staples Center during a L.A. Kings game and everyone was flipping out. Getting there early to check in our bags, watching the players warm-up, seeing my son walk down the tunnel and hit the ice, seeing him takes his first steps and then find his groove, all of that made everyone’s Bucket List.

I felt so happy that he was able to get this opportunity and even more proud that he didn’t waste it. He appreciated all the pregame routines and when he got on the ice … he went for it. While some kids didn’t even get a chance to touch the puck, my son went all out. Clear eyes, full hearts.

He hustled, took the puck away, then went left,  right then left again. He went around and through a couple of players made it to his goal, slapped that puck with an awesome swing, it skidded through a diving player …

And then …

Then by the hair on the chinny-chin-chin the goalie narrowly blocked that shot. My son put his hands up in the air, he couldn’t believe it. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up. Even though the puck didn’t find the back of the net, watching that move, seeing him go all out made my day, week, month.

That right there … that was a bottle-me-up memory which I uncorked today. Sandbox List Adventures working it’s magic. It brought a smile to my face, when I felt disappointment, warmed my heart when it was feeling cold, made me smile when I was sad, and changed my perspective when I needed to find a new one.

Guatemalan Wayne Gretzky to the rescue on a Friday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure 33 … The Building and Dreaming Continues

18 Jan

They’re everywhere. Ask any parent of a seven-year old kid. They’ll tell you.

First it’s Thomas The Train sets, then it’s construction Mighty Machine vehicles, Hot Wheels, monster trucks, and then the Big One.

LEGOS.

They’re a part of parenthood.

I hadn’t known much about the LEGO world until my son decided he liked them … now he loves them … and they’re everywhere.

Despite his LEGO storage set and cabinet, I still find helmets, light sabers, blasters, Batarangs, sirens, and lone pieces scattered about. I find them next to backpacks, under the table, in seat cushions, behind cabinets, and under my bare feet in the middle of the night.

But now, I’ve learned to find the awesome potential in these little plastic pieces.

So much so that we’ve made multiple trips to Legoland and continue to do so every year. But just recently I was able to add another LEGO adventure and it blew my son’s LEGO mind. He came back with a burst of imagination and even more enthusiasm to build, dream, build, and dream some more. I definitely got a high-five at the end of the day.

Sandbox List Adventure # 33 The Bricks Convention.

There have been plenty since #32, but I’ve forgotten to post about them, just like any parent, I’m always playing catch-up.

But I did manage to make it to this one. We missed it last year because I had no idea it existed, but I was made aware of it and so was my son.

So The Guats went on a field trip to discover what the imagination can do with small interlocking pieces of plastic.

Apparently a lot.

These are just the highlights …

 

 

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Sandbox List Adventures 32: American Ninja Warrior Finds Mud

18 Apr

It all started two years ago.

I was just surfing the channels and I came across something that would change my son’s life.

American Ninja Warrior.

He was mesmerized by the challenge of the obstacles and the will of the contestants, just regular non-steroid looking type of people, who worked in an office during the day and sort of turned into Batman at night and conquered these ridiculous muscle crushing obstacles.

He loved it.

He started making his own obstacles, out of cones, hula hoops, jump rope, and mats. Both of my kids began their mini-American-Ninja-Warrior obstacle course sessions on a weekly basis. Sometimes they’d take it out to the playground at the park and we’d have our own race among the slides and monkey bars.

But it didn’t quite feel the same. It felt like training, and not the “real” race. He’d always ask me when he would participate in a “real one,” and no matter how many fun runs or color runs we did, they were not American Ninja Warrior caliber. Not until we found …

The Down and Dirty Obstacle Race sponsored by Suburu. The Adventure Kids Series.

Suburu you rock.

Both my son and daughter got a chance to test their mini muscles and grit against the Down and Dirty course. This was where he got a chance to cross the balance beam, jump through some tires, go under a cargo net, over a mini wall, dash through some mud, and race up an incline to cross the finish line. Although if you want to know the truth there wasn’t much dashing going on through the mud. And I was doing so much cheering that I forgot to save some of those Kodak moments for our Sandbox List Adventure memory book. I loved watching it live too much. But I did snap a few, and I was grateful I captured some of that.

I was grateful for another successful attempt at crossing things off my son’s list.

My son loved the fact that he was conquering all the obstacles and his sister wasn’t too far behind. He loved the fact that he was letting his American Ninja Warrior shine through, and we were there cheering him on. I loved the fact that I was able to give that to him and to my daughter. The smiles at the finish line were definitely worth all the mud.

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Sanbox List Adventure 29: Meeting Your Hero

14 Apr

We have 13 of them.

Over the past year we’ve collected 13 of them. We started with three and now we have 13. I’m sure the count is gonna keep on rising. Apparently the Cape Crusader is the best superhero on Earth, even though he doesn’t actually have superhero powers, he’s super skilled in martial arts and has all kinds of gadgets to assist his crime fighting capabilities.

So it was of the utmost important that we didn’t miss meeting him.

At last year’s Festival of Books, we witnessed the awesomeness of The Justice League read one of their adventures on stage, but failed to meet them in person, which did not go over well with the kids. Luckily I was able to distract them with snacks, samples, superhero books, Captain Underpants, Scooby-Doo, and other scavenger hunt prizes.

I was packing light this year, and didn’t think sandwiches, Cutie oranges, cheese sticks, and graham crackers would cut it. So I was determined to weave my way in and out of the overheated masses and their cranky parents to reach the Meet-and-Greet line. I was on a mission to make the introduction. I was on a mission to make a Sandbox List Adventure come true.

So I was a little worried when a guy wearing a batman t-shirt and cap came on stage to read Skyscraper Showdown. I didn’t see Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, or Batman. Don’t get me wrong the guy was quite animated and very into the story, but he had nothing on the Cape Crusader.

I began to worry as my son asked me for the third time where Batman was and my daughter was wondering when Flash or Wonder Woman were going to show up … but then just as the Joker was about to escape … he showed up and the crowd went wild. Apparently it was one of the best readings we attended. And even though Batman was the only superhero there, my daughter followed her brother’s lead and enjoyed the book.

But the magic of reading didn’t stop there.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the books, going on adventures that can only happen with literary magic, listening to music, and meeting all kinds of authors. It was one of the best Sandbox List Adventures this year. I know that because they’re still talking about it.

 

We got there early and saddled-up for an awesome adventure.

We got there early and saddled-up for an awesome adventure.

 

One of our first stops was the checking out the featured band ... that woke everybody up with their awesome jams.

One of our first stops was checking out the featured band … they woke everybody up with their awesome jams.

 

We followed that up by adding our names and favorite books to the wall of inspiration. My son of course chose Batman :)

We followed that up by adding our names and some of our favorite books to the wall of inspiration. My son of course chose Batman 🙂 My daughter chose The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. I decided to add The Alchemist, Eat Pray Love, and The Life of Pi.

 

We managed to play a few games before we went to the main event.

We managed to play a few games before we went to the main event.

 

Then we headed to the children's stage to check out our main event.

Then we headed to the Children’s Stage to check out our main event. We got front seats and enjoyed the reading of Skyscraper Showdown.

 

This is when all the kids went crazy ...

However the crowd went wild when this guy showed up …

 

However this is when my son was starstruck. He could barely contain himself. He was so excited to meet his hero and have Batman sign his book. It was his cartwheel-worthy moment of the week.

My son was starstruck. He could barely contain himself. He was so excited to meet his hero and have Batman sign his book. It was his cartwheel-worthy moment of the week.

 

When the awesomeness of the Cape Crusader was done, we explored the rest of the festival and discovered new authors.

When the awesomeness of the Cape Crusader was done, we explored the rest of the festival and discovered new authors.

 

During our exploration this was one of the funnest books and booths we discovered. My daughter did her best surfer pose and joined the characters ofthe book.

During our exploration this was one of the funnest books and booths we discovered. My daughter did her best surfer pose and joined the characters of the book.

 

During our browsing session, I found this book that caught my eye. The fact that Diego Luna read it aloud intrigued me.

During our browsing session, I found this book that caught my eye. The fact that Diego Luna read it aloud intrigued me.

 

After we picked up all of our books, from new and established authors, we headed home with all kinds of inspiration and new ideas.

After we picked up all of our books, from new and established authors, we headed home with all kinds of inspiration and new ideas.

 

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure 27: Take Me Out to The Ball Game …

10 Mar

I’d never been. He’d never been . She’d never been.

It was a trifecta.

I can’t believe that in all my sports-loving years I’ve never been to an Opening Day of any kind and neither had my little Guats. As a sports enthusiast that sucks. In fact I shouldn’t even be admitting it, let alone writing it for all to see. I might get kicked out of the tomboy club for that. But I do mention it because that situation has been remedied.

I had the California sunshine, the national anthem, the popcorn, the cotton candy, the hot dogs, the Easton and Louisville Slugger bats swinging, the baseballs going into deep left, and then my son rounding the bases, helping his team with a 15-8 victory. It was only three innings, but he was 3 for 3 with 6 RBI.

Yeah … I gotta say … Little League Opening Day was pretty awesome. Even without the Cracker Jacks, I’m glad we all experienced this American tradition together. It prepared me for what to expect when we head off to watch the Dodgers in the spring.

Baseball … you gotta love it.

 

My son and his teammates taking the field as they announce the teams.

My son and his teammates taking the field as they announce the teams.

 

The teams cheering after the first pitch was thrown.

The teams cheering after the first pitch was thrown.

 

Something tasty for the kids.

Getting something tasty for the kids after Opening Ceremonies.

 

Something you absolutely have to have when you go to a ball game. You have to ... it's a rule. Sometimes you can even have two.

Then getting something for yourself, because you absolutely have to get a hot dog when you’re at the ball game. You have to … it’s a rule. Sometimes you can even have two.

 

But if you're a serious carnivore there was something for you too.

But if you’re a serious carnivore there was something for you too.

 

After all that food we definitely needed to work out, so we tested a few new bats.

After all that food we definitely needed to work out, so we tested a few new bats before the Homerun Derby.

 

But of all the things this Opening Day weekend this was probably my favorite ... my son, hitting one over third base.

But of all the things this Opening Day weekend, this was probably my favorite … my son, hitting one over third base and my daughter and I cheering him on. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that my son tagged someone out at second, but I loved this moment even more.