Thursday, June 30, 2011

My daughter has a friend her age who lives across the street. Of course, my daughter thinks she's a teenager already, so she acts like the other girl is SO much younger that her. Never mind that they are roughly six months different in age (and ok, my daughter is the older one, but still). They've been playing pretty well together this spring/summer.

Earlier this week, my daughter was playing at her friend's house when she dashed back to our front door to ask if she could go on a bike ride with her friend and their family. Ok ... but you still ride with training wheels. (Her friend - 6 mos younger, remember - rides WITHOUT training wheels.) So I'm wondering how this will work. My daughter tells me that she will be in the 'pull-behind-thingy.' (Pretty good description.) Here are the two drama queens with their water. Mine's the front-runner, though, for drama queen of the block :)

My son, on the other hand ... well ... he also has a lot of drama. But he's still all boy. Had golf lessons this week, but obviously, before that, he had to go golfing with his buddy. Actually, his buddy called this past weekend and asked if he would want to go play the youth par 9 course nearby. How can you pass up on what was such a nice day.

He did complain when I made him where the khakis and collar. But, hey, as I keep telling him - they won't let me play without looking like that - so if I have to, then he has to. :) By the way, he told me that he came in third in the group - by one stroke. But he was the only one that actually made par on a hole. Congrats, buddy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Year-End "Tournament"

So, at the beginning of the year, there was a date scheduled for my son's 'Year-End Tournament." I thought that this might be cool, considering this was the first year that they would actually keep score and be able to run the bases as they wished (for the most part, anyway). He played in a 8-U Coach-Pitch league and his team did pretty well. They were something like 11-1 entering this weekend tournament deal.

Since I had read the "tournament" part to my son, he was expecting brackets and a single- or double-elimination format with a true champion ... but ... it was really just two games in one day at a complex that houses the older leagues' tournaments (which were going on that same day). Oh well. Still fun. My son's team won two more games to finish at 13-1 for the year (I'm sure the best record in the league by far). And I believe that everyone enjoyed themselves. (But I'll let you decide as you peruse the pictures that 'Gramma' took.)

Took one in the face (or at least it LOOKS like he did) in pre-game warm-ups.

Always ready to go - especially when it's time to hit.

On the pitcher's plate, waiting to hop on a slow ground ball.

The 'tools of ignorance' seem to run in the family :)

And he looks comfy back there, so who am I to tell him 'No"?

Decent left-handed swings. This was a hit.

Good right-handed swings, too.

Nice stab at this one while playing first.

Got another one while playing third. Looks like it's going to be an out, too.

Good follow-through, anyway.

And good extension on that hit to the outfield!

Two wins. Lots-a-fun. Proud boys.

Of course, maybe my daughter was the one taking all these pictures ...

... instead of 'Gramma'? Looks like she's doing a great job!

Of course, we ALL had a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Here are a few definitions of "mother" that I found:
  • A female who has given birth to offspring
  • A woman who raises a child.
  • Used as a title for a woman respected for her wisdom and age.
Of course, that doesn't begin to describe what a 'mom' is or what she does. A mom is everything (and even that doesn't do the word justice.

You're a dependable source of comfort;
You're my cushion when I fall.
You help in times of trouble;
You support me whenever I call.

I love you more than you know;
You have my total respect.
If I had my choice of mothers,
You'd be the one I'd select!

By Joanna Fuchs

It always seems to be tough for me to give a proper tribute to my mom around mother's day because I'm so much more busy than I am at her birthday, so I'm happy to be able to have her special day be so soon afterward. My dad and mom are the best role models I could have. They are supportive and strong, passionate and loving, caring but flexible, and have always pushed me but allowed me to be my independent self.

My mom has always been the one I can talk to (sorry, Dad, I cry whenever I try to talk to you, and you know it). She has always been my 'true north', helping me find my way. She is my light and my direction. She is the reason I am still here today. And I love her for everything she has done to help me be the man I am - the teacher, the father, the husband - who cares and loves, listens, learns, and supports. I hope someday to be half the parent that either one of mine have been and continue to be to me.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do you ever wonder what you CAN do in a day?

Yesterday, I decided to try to get all my chores done. All of them.

List of things done on Tuesday:
  • drive to wife's work for health screening
  • health screening
  • family breakfast at wife's cafeteria at work
  • drive home
  • quick load of laundry
  • drop son off at VBS
  • put away dishes from dishwasher
  • clean upstairs bathrooms (2)
  • sweep kitchen floor
  • pick son up at VBS
  • make lunch
  • clean up after lunch
  • hand wash kitchen floor
  • vacuum living room and front room
  • two loads of laundry (thanks for putting them away, honey!)
  • shake rugs out and put them back
  • clean kitchen bathroom
  • clean basement bathroom
  • organize home-office
  • file five (5) months worth of bills
  • set out steak and chicken for dinner
  • put potatoes in the oven
  • grill steak and chicken
  • slice onions; sautee mushrooms and onions
  • eat dinner with family :)
  • relax and watch CWS and Cubs vs. White Sox!!!
Dinner and relaxing was GOOD! :)

[Thanks for cleaning up after dinner, Honey, and getting the kids ready for bed!!!]

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Dad is the Best, and other Fun Fathers' Day Facts

This Fathers Day Weekend
Happy Fathers Day to all Dads out there! Had a great one myself. Every year around here a family we know (good friends!) hosts a fathers day campout with outdoor activities at their house on the lake. Usually there's boating, skiing, tubing, beach fun for the kids, and other backyard activities. This year it rained a bit, but we still found a way to play some cards, find calm periods to ski (me!) and tube (my son!) on the lake, and thoroughly enjoyed a cool but not cold night to camp in the backyard.

That was Saturday afternoon and evening. In the morning, I got up and got all cleaned up for church. Enjoyed that time with my wife and daughter (while my son stuck around the 'camp site' for the morn). Walked the cross up for the procession at the beginning of mass, proclaimed reading number two of the scriptures, read the mass intercessions, and eventually walked the cross out at the end of mass. Nice fathers day at church :)

I also received some nice cards and gifts from my family! My wife scheduled a massage for me, and boy did I enjoy that. I also enjoyed relaxing for the day, as my wife ran to the grocery store and made dinner - AND cleaned up afterward! Though it's back to normal this Monday, I will say that I had one of the best fathers day weekends you could have, thanks to the best wife and kids!

My Dad

By the way, who's got the best dad in the world? Me. No question. All you need to do is meet him. You'd see. If you saw him with me or my brother, you'd really understand. Of course, if you saw him with his grandkids, you'd understand, too. He is the best. Period. Best role model. Best assistant coach. Best passionate supporter.

If you get a chance, ask him about his kids. It makes him smile. Mention us by name, and his chest will probably pop the buttons on his shirt. Talk to him about his grandkids, and you'll hear some special stories. Growing up, I knew he was special. Knew it. We butted heads at times, of course - passionate people will do that. But I cherish every moment I can remember with him - especially going to all the sporting events, whether I was playing or watching.

I remember watching HIM play slow-pitch softball near the end of his playing career. Word is that he was really much better at fast-pitch softball. I remember him giving it up so that he could watch his kids play. Then help coach. Then give that up so that we could be our own players on a team. I love talking about how he became the Little League's equipment manager, and then eventually the American Legion Business Manager for baseball - not to help HIS kids necessarily, but to help in general - to GIVE. He still does the Legion job, by the way - and his kids are 35 and 32. He continues to give.

I remember going to Cubs games every year around my birthday, and going on family vacations that brought us to baseball stadiums in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, St Louis (ugh!), Kansas City, Minnesota, and Milwaukee (ugh!), too. I thank my mom for liking those trips, teaching me to keep score - and my dad for making them special. (I know you made them special, too, Mom, but baseball's always been a special bond for us Vitense boys - I'm crying now, just thinking about my dad and brother and baseball.)

If you can imagine a family closely tied through it's brothers and father (and baseball), then you can imagine my family. My mom is the head, no doubt. And she is the glue that keeps us together. But my brother and I have the best father in the world. Period. He is our role model. And our efforts to be good fathers is our tribute to him. We will, of course, never be the father he is. But we've seen his model. Every day of our lives we've seen it. His passion. His love. His support. His giving. And we pass it on to our children. Because we can never give away as much as he has given to us - passion, love, suport. But we'll try. To be the best husband. Best father. (Eventually, best grandfather.) Every day. Because WE have had the best Dad God could give. Every day.

Love you, Dad :*)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dancing with NRG: Dare to Dream and Live to Dance

My daughter dances.

And she does well.
(That's her "Second Year Trophy" and one of her teachers.)

She has a nice class that includes two of her friends.

They put on a recital right after school is out each spring/summer.
(I think this is her entire class at rehearsal the day before the recital.)

She LOVES it!
(This is her in the "dressing room" an hour before the show starts.)

Her two friends. Yes, all three ARE adorable :)

These videos are from the rehearsal, since 'photography' is not allowed in the auditorium. Basically, though, my daughter NAILED 'em both - even more-so for the recital than the rehearsal. She must love her some bright lights! That's my girl!

She was front and center for the tap dance "You Are My Sunshine" and she was rear center for the ballet number, "Rock a Bye Baby"- and she was awe! some!

My daughter was ecstatic after the show - talking about taking classes this summer and not being able to wait for the recital next year - even at 11pm at night as we drove home.

Honey, you rocked! Dance on, girl!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Small female fish swims in the morning (see above). Larger male fish swims in the late afternoons (see below). Catch and release only! Best lures to use are apples, carrots, small muffins (either chocolate brownie or chocolate chip), fruit roll-ups, fruit-juice boxes. Will yell and scream if provoked, so use extreme caution! Have teeth. Will play - baseball, tee-ball, football, basketball, soccer, ice-hockey (in the winter). Will dance - ballet AND tap - and do gymnastics. Again, catch and release only!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'Today' is ALWAYS a good day!

It's Flag Day, of course!

And we built a house - well, at least our model ...

Then we designed what the INSIDE would look like.

My daughter picked up the mail ...

and delivered it, too!
My son decided to run a restaurant ...

but soon had to visit my daughter's grocery store to pick up some supplies.

At some point, a dragon entered the picture. Good thing it only wanted it's picture taken!

But, since we were out in the wild, my son explored a woodchuck den.

After which, they both decided to map out the animal homes and help everyone find a place to sleep.

They needed some art, so my daughter used some water to 'paint' rocks. Beautiful, honey!

Of course, we're always learning, and helping, so we took heed of Hayley's words (a sun poem?).

I know she looks scared, but she's just a really good actress! We had tons of fun at the Minnesota Children's Museum today! Happy Flag Day, everyone!

Summer Officially is Here?

These are just some last day of school, walking home pictures, and other cool pics because my family is cute :)

My son walks home with his friend everyday from school ... or at least he did this year. I guess he doesn't do it in the summer now, does he? Badger proud!

He's a cutey in that new 'cut. At least all the girls think so - ok, not really - he's only in first grade so he's not into girls yet. But he is adorable ... or handsome ... or whatever he wants to be called :)

I think his teacher thought that he was adorable this year, too. He came home with a ton of stuff from school. Here, he's showing off his "FROG" poster - showing the life-cycle of frogs. Apparently his name got 'drawn' out of a can to be able to take home this class poster. Same with the multi-colored stuffed-animal lion in his left arm.

Definitely saving this pic! Brother and sister showing some love!

Not sure exactly why we took these pictures. But our clan sure is cute!

Now that summer is officially here, let's have some fun!

And of course, being my son,
His name was drawn out,
And he didn't even pout.
He brought home the hat,
And with the cat (ok, lion),
Let his sister where it for fun :)

[Dr. Seuss, I'm not! :)]

Monday, June 13, 2011

And then there was more baseball

Decided to spring for Twins tickets this summer. Got invited to buy-in with seven other guys on season tickets, in fact. Four tickets each to ten games this summer at Target Field. Ended up being twelve games when my buddy wanted to sell back some of his that he can't use.

First game was this weekend. Pretty cool. Neighbors have a 15 game package and ended up driving down with us for Saturday's game. One of the same boys who went to Green Bay last weekend ended up taking my son down to the field level before the game - and they ended up with autographs - Revere and Tolbert. My son didn't have a ball or a scorecard ... but he had a Twins hat. Now he just has to keep his hat from getting dirty, faded, or lost before Revere makes the HOF :)

It was a good game for the Twins, though. Revere led things off in the bottom of the first with a single and the Twins never looked back - 8 to 1 victory. I told the boys that they needed to get autographs EVERY game now, so the Twins can climb back into the race. As a matter of fact, I'm looking into the rest of the season package ... well, not really.

Sunday was cool, too. Took in another game. Not a Twins game, but baseball none-the-less. Since I  decided not to play baseball this summer, I can actually take the kids and enjoy an amateur ball game with them. Well, ok, my son still went into the Redbird dugout and ran the scoreboard, but it was neat to see him do that (and have fun with it), to say 'hi' to the ex-teammates ... and to be able to spend time myself with my daughter at a baseball game. She wanted to keep score, so we took along the scorebook and kept up with the Redbird offense. They won, too - 5 to 1.

I'm thinking I need to make it to more Cubs games, now. Heck, I'm 2-0 as a spectator this season :) ... as a spectator :)

Of course, there's ALWAYS more baseball ... tee ball started monday for my daughter ... she's a Red Rocket.

Friday, June 10, 2011

This Week In Baseball

This week, my son played in 100 degree, humid, weather on Monday. And 70 degree, cool weather on Wednesday. Nice. That's Minnesota for yah. Oh well.

He LOVES playing first base when it's his turn, so he really enjoyed taking a few throws from his infielders on ground balls this week. They even got a few of them out! I'm not sure why he likes first base so much, but I think it may have to do with watching a certain someone play the position so much over the last couple of years of his career -  possibly the same reason he likes to catch? :)

He did make one nice catch on the only fly ball hit to him on the night, Wednesday. He also ranged to his right for a ground ball - but the batter beat him to first base on that (no surprise). Don't get me wrong, my son can be fairly quick, and he can run all day - but he ain't fast - he's got his dad's running genes.

I believe that he takes the hitting mechanics instructions he hears seriously, too, because the pic above certainly shows good mechanics at point-of-contact! This one happens to come right after the pitcher nailed him in the shoulder. Hardest ball he hit all night! That's some good balance. Good contact in front of the plate, good back foot pivot. Now, we just need to get a strong follow-through and this hit will go from 'hard ground ball through the infield' to 'line-drive to the outfield gap.'

This one, he hit hard to the shortstop (who was GOOD!). Sometimes he has to be a bit selective - when coach is having a hard time pitching to him. But, really, I'm proud of my son. Now, if we could get that strong follow through ... and maybe a hard run to first base instead of watching the ball ... we'd have an MLBer on our hands ... Then again, maybe we do already - that is, if he doesn't go the NFL first.