Tag Archives: baseball

Hold on Tight!


(Beware: Photo Dump!)

Life has been crazier than normal this last week as preparations for camp come to a head, while corresponding with basketball camp for Tyler and house preparations for a visit from CYS on Friday to clear us for overnight visits with Tyler’s biological brother, Brandon. I feel as though I have been moving at a clip comparable to a bullet train, holding onto my seat for dear life.

Next week the girls and I are off to camp for the week and I am looking forward to the slower pace, the quiet and the peace I always find at Girl’s Camp. But until Tuesday arrives we will keep on keeping on. Here is a look at some of the moments that have filled our days this week…

1.We always know when summer has arrived because the dining room begins filling up with camp supplies. In the weeks leading up to Girls Camp, stacks begin appearing on the table as I think of things to pack or finish projects that will be part of my 7th year girls’ experience at camp. There are camp store piles, craft supply piles, post office supply piles, pillow treats and free time activity supplies and we haven’t even begun packing our own personal gear for this week away.


2. In the midst of preparations for our CYS home inspection and girls camp preparations, I found myself on the run every afternoon this week, taking Tyler down to Monaca for a summer basketball camp at Central Valley High School. One of Tyler’s buddies from church is a CV student and extended an invitation to join him at camp for the week. I was surprised and delighted when Tyler showed interest because it is really a testament to how far we have come in the last year with his anxiety struggles. The fact he agreed and even looked forward to joining a large group of boys he didn’t know, to learn a sport he isn’t familiar with, made me sing songs of praise for the healing Tyler has found this past year.


The week was a success. Tyler learned that he really enjoys basketball and more importantly, he learned that he can stretch himself and do things that are scary and hard.

3. Grace has now been enjoying life as a Subway sandwich artist for almost two months. When she was hired the manager made it clear she wanted to hire Molly as well but had to wait until a few of their current employees left for school, freeing up spots for new hires. Well, last week Molly got the call she was hoping for and was told they were ready to begin training. This past week she began her new job with three evenings of training at our local Subway. Molly was thrilled to discover that for her first day of work at this new job she would get to train with Grace. We now how two sandwich artists in the house.


4. Speaking of Miss Molly…I don’t know if you have heard, but our sweet Molly is headed abroad in a couple weeks. She is preparing for an adventure to Costa Rica.


About 6 months ago Molly approached me. In some research she was doing about colleges and the Peace Corps, she stumbled across and opportunity offered  to teens. The program is Global Leadership Adventures and offers teens opportunities to travel to locations around the world and serve in remarkable ways. Molly felt called to look into the GLA further and began prayerfully exploring their different programs. She has often expressed a desire to serve in the Peace Corps when she is older and thought this would be an awesome way to try the experience on a smaller scale.

For months she researched the various service programs and the various countries available, knowing that she wanted to serve in an area with a focus on environmental protection and animal conservation. She finally decided on Costa Rica where she will spend 10 days working with the Sea Turtle conservation program. Once she received personal confirmation that this is where God was calling her to serve she began saving all her paychecks to pay for this GLA experience.

She is now just two weeks away from stepping onto a plane by herself and leaving the country for the first time…EEK!

She is over-the-moon excited and we are all thrilled to see her chasing her dreams in such a bold and brave way. She is one who is destined to change the world.

5. Tuesday night was Tyler’s last baseball game of the regular season. Tyler was very excited for this particular game because rather than taking place at the normal time slot of 6:00-8:00 pm, he was playing a late game from 8:00-10:00 pm. This meant he got to play ball under the lights. He was very excited, expressing that playing under the lights makes him feel like a professional baseball player.

IMG_0428 (2)IMG_0418 (2)

Mimi Joy was able to meet us at the ball field and we enjoyed watching Tyler team take the win. What started as a dark sky in the distance, eventually became a rain shower over our heads, but we didn’t let that dampen our fun.

IMG_0432 (2)IMG_0433 (2)

After the game we took Mimi Joy out for ice cream at Berry’s, ending a fun night in a sweet way!

IMG_0437 (2)IMG_0441 (2)IMG_0444 (2)

6. This week we also managed to fit in an afternoon of bowling with friends. A few months ago we has a school-planned field trip to Sim’s Bowling Lanes. It was a fun day with two other families from co-op, but because of miscommunication between the school and the bowling alley we were overcharged for the event. The result was a certificate for us to return another day for two hours of free bowling.

IMG_0465 (2)

Last Wednesday we met up with the McCready family and the Caylor family to use our bowling certificate. The girls were both working at Subway that day but the boys and I enjoyed meeting up with friends, visiting, and engaging in a little friendly competition at the bowling alley.

IMG_0446 (2)IMG_0452 (2)IMG_0455 (2)IMG_0471 (2)

7.  This week also entailed a trip to the orthodontist. Tyler has had his braces on for 6 weeks now and was due to go in to have his wire changed and things checked and tightened. I scheduled Ozzie for the same time to be evaluated for braces. While in Harborcreek he was seen by an orthodontist in Erie who recommended braces. We opted to put that recommendation on the back burner until he returned home so that he could be seen by someone closer. So, while Tyler was having his gear tightened and checked, Ozzie was seen by Dr. Spokane who agreed that Ozzie does in fact need braces as well…

So now we wait and see if his insurance agrees. We could have two “brace faces” in a few weeks.

8.  This past Friday we continued with our plan to meet our Family Based therapy team away from the home to see if that lessens the anxiety Ozzie is feeling about family based therapy. This week we met at Brady’s Run park for some fishing fun. All the kids were able to attend, although only four of them fished. Molly chose to watch. Her tender heart struggles with the idea of a hook piercing the fish’s mouth and it suffering at her hands.

IMG_0488 (2)

The other kids, however, had no such qualms and jumped right into the task of prepping their lines, choosing their bait, and casting out with hopes of catching a big one.

IMG_0481 (2)IMG_0480 (2)

Tyler ended up being the only one who had any success, catching a couple blue gill, but everyone had fun soaking up the sun, connecting as a family, and enjoying the beautiful views on a perfect summer morning.

IMG_0474 (2)IMG_0486 (2)IMG_0496 (2)

From our Family Based therapy appointment we headed home to meet with Washington County’s CYS to have our home checked and get approval to be able to pick up Brandon without a social worker supervising our visits and have him be able to stay for overnight visits.



After a crazy week of prepping for this inspection in the midst of A LOT of running it was good to close out this crazy week by passing our inspection and receiving approval to visit with Tyler’s biological brother without supervision.


What a week!






I like Dirt on my Diamonds



I’ll say this for baseball…

It is much easier on the old ticker!

When compared to soccer or football, in which I find myself with tensed muscles and elevated blood pressure for 1-2 hours, baseball is like a walk in the park or a yoga session.

 I am loving it.

The fact that Tyler is playing baseball this year is a real testament to his growth and is reflective of how far he has come. Two or three years ago he would have been incapable of participating in such a slow moving sport. The down time on the bench, as he waited for his turn at bat, would have been impossible for him to manage. Our journey into the world of organized sports began on the soccer field where Tyler would spend 2 hours each week running back and forth up a field and then go home and sleep hard. The next step was football. There was more down time in this sport as he waited on the sidelines to be sent in by the coach, but when he was on the field he played hard and came home sweaty and exhausted.

This year he asked if he could try baseball.

IMG_8941 (2)

Once again I had to step outside my comfort zone as I’ve learned the intricacies of a new sport. There was definitely a learning curve as I navigated the task of picking a bat (who knew any old bat wouldn’t do?) and shopping for a glove. Rather than afternoons spent kicking a soccer ball back and forth with Tyler I am now dodging flying balls as I work to reach up for the hard, white ball flying at my face rather than closing my eyes and ducking.

IMG_8918 (2)

But despite the growing pains of stepping into a new and unfamiliar world, I am finding I really enjoy baseball. There is something so laid back about this sport compared to the aggression  of football and the fast pace of soccer. It feels like the lazy days of summer, despite the fact it is only May, as we spend our evenings stretched out on picnic blankets cheering on Tyler and his teammates from the hillside overlooking the ball field as the sun falls toward the horizon.

IMG_8919 (2)

It is so relaxed and fun.

IMG_8955 (2)

Tyler too has undergone his own growing pains as he navigates this new world. He is definitely late to the party, joining boys who have been playing baseball for years, but that hasn’t deterred him in the least. He has enjoyed learning a new sport and has enjoyed his coaches and teammates, many of which were already friends thanks to past football seasons.

IMG_8903 (2)

We are looking forward to a great season cheering on #5…

IMG_8953 (2)

As we step into the world of dirt and diamonds.

IMG_8950 (2)


“Buc Night” at PNC Park



Last Wednesday we had the fun opportunity to join the youth group, activity day girls, and cub scouts (and their families) for a night at the ballpark. The Pittsburgh Pirates were offering “Buc Night” to the fans which allowed us to take a large group from church to see a ballgame at only $1.00 a head. It was an incredible deal!

The youth were also allowed to each invite a friend so Rusty and Molly invited Lucas and Tatum to join them and because families were invited Grace and I were allowed to tag along as well.

IMG_8310 (2)


It was a blustery day for a baseball game but the cool temperatures and biting wind didn’t dampen our enthusiasm.


IMG_8436 (1)

Yes, that is snow blowing about!!


I drove my crew straight down to Pittsburgh after picking up the Hudaks, leaving extra early to allow for what I expected would be a “needle in a haystack” hunt for a parking spot. It turned out that my worries were unfounded as crowds were low despite the incredible deal. It seems that even $1.00 tickets weren’t enticing enough to lure some fans out into the freezing temperatures.

We arrived at the ball field and worked our way up to the fourth level.

IMG_8314 (2)

The higher we climbed the colder the wind blew, so we were pleased to find that by stepping from the outside concourse into the stadium itself the wind speed dropped and the temperature was more bearable.

IMG_8322 (2)

We stopped for photos before finding our seats, taking advantage of the beautiful backdrop that is PNC Park. It has to be one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country with its views of the river and bridges of Pittsburgh.

IMG_8316 (2)IMG_8320 (2)

We beat the rest of our group to the park by 45 minutes. (I told you I was a little paranoid of not finding parking in Pittsburgh!) But we enjoyed sitting and visiting while watching the preparations for the game play out on the field below us.

IMG_8338 (2)IMG_8328 (2)

IMG_8339 (2)

You know what they say about the early bird…he is the one who catches frostbite.

Soon the seats began to fill around us and the game began. The Pittsburgh Pirates were playing the Minnesota Twins and although our team ended up losing 7-3, it was still a fun night at the ballpark…

Tyler loved hanging with some of his buddies from church:

IMG_8359 (2)IMG_8361 (2)

The youth had fun soaking up the atmosphere of the ballgame:

IMG_8387 (2)IMG_8389 (2)

We all enthusiastically cheered through the traditional Pittsburgh Perogie Race:

IMG_8407 (2)IMG_8410 (2)

Our group ate its fill of $1.00 hot dogs and popcorn (as part of Buc Night):

IMG_8377 (2)

And we all tried to stay warm as the snow swirled around us, making it feel more like football season than baseball season.

IMG_8423 (2)IMG_8363 (2)

But despite the frozen noses and toes our large group had an awesome time cheering on the Bucs.

Gotta love Buc Night!

Raise the Jolly Rancher!


On Wednesday we had the opportunity to join all the youth from church, ages 8-18, for “dollar days” at PNC Park. It was a perfect evening for a baseball game and the weather was ideal. Everyone was excited to go, even my non-sports-loving kids, who just enjoyed the atmosphere of the Pirate’s game. We drove down to Pittsburgh, parked at a local garage, and joined the rest of our group outside the ballpark. As we approached the signs for the park and the Pirate flags waving, Ozzie shouted, “Raise the Jolly Rancher!”

I think he meant “Jolly Roger.” 🙂


Before the game Ozzie asked if we could stay for the entire thing. He told me that he had never seen the end of a baseball game before because he always had to leave early to beat traffic. I promised him we would stay until the end. Little did I know this game would end up being the longest game  in Pirate’s history and would end up lasting almost six hours. Needless to say I broke his heart and my promise.


Even with the large amount of tickets that were ordered for the group we were still  a few short so the  boys (Toby, Ozzie and Tyler) were able to join a friend in his company’s private box to watch the game instead of sitting with the group. It was a special treat for the two little boys who had never watched a game from anywhere but the “cheap seats” before. 🙂

Box seats at PNC park.

Box seats at PNC park.


The girls and Rusty joined me and the rest of the youth in a different part of the ballpark to watch the Pirates play the Cubs. We took advantage of the “dollar days” hotdogs and all enjoyed a ballpark frank… yum!


The girls enjoying the game.

The girls enjoying the game.

It was a great game complete with hotdog tosses, the wave, seventh inning stretch, pierogi races and a streaker. I don’t think the streaker was a planned part of the entertainment but he definitely added to the excitement of the evening. It happened during the pierogi race, a beloved Pirate game tradition, in which potato stuffed pasta mascots race around the perimeter of the ball field while everyone cheers. While the pierogi mascots  were racing a spectator joined in the fun by leaping over the outer wall, running across the ball field, leaving a trail of clothes in his wake, while security guards tried to apprehend him. He made it to the other side with only shorts still on where he was caught by security.

Perogie races

Pierogi races

The streaker :)

The streaker 🙂

The stadium was packed and the energy was high as we went into the 9th inning. At the end of the 9th we were tied so we stayed even longer. Then it went into the 10th inning. We finally left at 11:00pm at the end of  11th inning. Ozzie was, of course, devastated.

“I’ll never see the end of a baseball game,” he lamented as we were walking out.

It wasn’t until the following day when I found out that the game went 16 innings that I felt good about our decision to leave early. In the end it all worked out… the Pirates won, we had a wonderful evening with friends, and we certainly got our dollar’s worth of entertainment…

what with $1.00 hotdogs, 11 innings of fun and a streaker to boot. What a night!

Beautiful PNC Park!

Beautiful PNC Park!


Let’s go Bucs!


As I sat down to write this morning I realized that the last time I posted was the day after Tyler’s adoption. The night of Tyler’s adoption, as we sat together as a family for prayers and scripture study, we all went around the room and said one thing we were grateful to God for. Having just signed adoption papers most of our gratitudes were about Tyler’s adoption. When we got to Rusty he paused to think for a moment and then said, “I’m grateful that we will never have to clean our home again!” I think the constant visits and inspections by the social workers took its toll on Russ. 🙂 I told him that I’d give him the week off but eventually we would have to clean again for the sake of health and safety. 🙂  So..that is what we did. We took the week off from everything. I think the stress of always having to be “on” took its toll on all of us because this past week we all collapsed and did nothing productive at all including updating my blog so here is what has been happening at Patchwork Farm..

We have a new litter of baby bunnies. We discovered them when we returned home from the beach. They are now bouncing around and have their eyes open. The kids are thrilled…especially Gracie!


IMG_8579Tyler is now in football. I have been stretched by Tyler. I have found myself humbled time and time again as I have had to face all the “my child will NEVER” comments that I made when Gracie, Molly and Rusty were little. Tyler played football before he came to live with us and has asked us since the day he moved in if he could play again. In the spring we signed him up for soccer and the experience was more positive than I expected. The soccer coaches (a husband and wife team) were wonderful. The practice was once a week, they didn’t keep score, and it was all about learning skills and having fun. I assumed football would be the same, after all we are talking about a group of 6 year olds..right?  Wrong. We have entered another world. When we signed him up last Monday I had no idea we were signing our life away for the next few months. Football is nothing like soccer.. In soccer we practiced once a week..in football we practice five times a week.  In soccer practices lasted 45 minutes…in football they last 2 1/2 hours.  In soccer there was a lot of laughing and goofing off..in football there is a lot of grunting, yelling and no goofing off allowed. When we showed up to the first practiced the coach greeted the boys with this question, “What is the number one rule in football?” The boys shouted back suggestions of what they thought the number one rule might be. When nobody answered correctly the coach shouted, “No! The number one rule of football is: We are mean! We are tough! We are nasty!”IMG_8824 I watched in horror as my sweet little boy chanted this mantra with all the other 6 year olds. They followed this chant with growling and grunting. I looked at Toby, who was loving it, and whispered, ” How about we are kind! We are compassionate! We play fair!” Toby just rolled his eyes at me.  🙂

I will say that after a week of sitting on the sidelines, in a haze of testosterone, I am either becoming immune or resigned to my fate because I am less horrified now than I was a week ago. On the up side: Tyler loves it, he is sleeping better than ever before, and he really responds to the strict discipline of football. Toby thinks this will be the best thing in the world for Tyler..I’m reserving judgement for now. 🙂

IMG_8746On Monday we had the opportunity to attend a Pirates baseball game. Our adoption agency has activities a few times a year that they offer to adoptive families and families waiting for a placement.  One of these activities is a Pirates game. Last year when we were offered free tickets we took 6 because we thought Tyler might be scheduled for his first overnight visit then but it was moved to the following week so he wasn’t able to go. We were looking forward to going as a family this year but then life got in the way. Gracie had a slumber party and Toby and Tyler had football practice so it was just Molly, Rusty and I. Molly took her best friend, Tatum. It was a lot of fun.IMG_8745 PNC park was packed and the atmosphere was thrilling. This was Tatum’s first time there so it was fun to see her reactions to the hot dog gun, the pierogi races and the 7th inning stretch. We sat in a section reserved for adoptive families and it was neat seeing the dynamic of the various families. There were families that adopted sibling groups, international adoptions and infant adoptions. We ended up winning 9-2 against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a great game and a fun night…Let’s go Bucs!

IMG_8810The following morning we met up with our friends from co-op for a mid-summer get together at the pool. It was nice seeing our home school friends that we haven’t seen all summer and catching up on each other’s lives. The kids had a blast playing and the moms enjoyed visiting without interruptions.


Tyler was especially glad to see his best friend, Simon. He has been wanting to see Simon all summer and has been asking for a play date for months. Now that his adoption is finalized he finally gets to do things like play dates and slumber parties with his buddy. This Saturday Simon is coming over for the day and Tyler can’t wait!