Baltimore, Bucks, and Babies

Jon and I had a great time in Baltimore celebrating our anniversary. His buddy Paul and wife Kelly hooked us up beyond belief. Front row at the Orioles game on Friday night right behind home plate. You could hear the crack of the bat and feel the sting of the ball in the thigh (quite a few bad pitches).I screamed at the Baltimore players with all my might but didn’t manage to get a smile from them (my Reds would have given me some).
On Saturday, we started the tailgating early. Out of the hotel by 9 am (yea, I know there are those up at 5 am raring to go… Not moi). We met up with Paul and Kelly and our neighbors in Grandview (small world) and their family. The stadium was booming when we entered and the Navy boys were impressive as they threw and loosened up on the field – but our guys looked rough and tough when they marched out. The suite had hamburgers and hot dogs and sushi and nuts and more. Ri would have been in heaven with me. Our neighbors’ kids sure were. Jon had fun teasing them and helping one of them create an ultimate burger!

Meanwhile, I had to move around before the game. I was getting antsy after being in that room for an hour. I went down to see the band and the players near the field. I absorbed all the positive energy from the players – so energizing to be near the field listening to music and hearing the crowd. Their were players’ mamas and papas near me taking pictures and beaming about their children.


I headed back to our suite about fifteen minutes before the start. The midshipmen assembled on the field and the Star-Spangled Banner played. Gets me every time.
And then the game.

It was quite the nail biter at first but then we pulled it out. All were in good spirits afterwards. But we were also whooped. We went our separate ways to rest up before dinner. I took a walk to check out the inner harbor and to wake me up (if I nap, I’m worse off).
We went to Little Italy for dinner with Paul and Kelly. We ordered a magnificent bottle of wine and had an amazing meal. It was a great way to end the trip.

We crawled out of bed at 7 am on Sunday and left for the airport. We arrived home to sheets of rain and kids’ embraces. But then they were off to the neighbors’ house to play. And I was whacked out. Usually I’m happy to get some quiet time and slurp it up but for some reason their departure left me depressed and I didn’t recover all day. Sometimes when I don’t start my day with a run or the gym, I get in a funk, too. So maybe it was that combo that kicked my butt. We had our block party that night so I had to break free from the doldrums. I managed to do so and had a good time talking with Patty and Stephanie. The kids biked and wrestled and “got drunk” on Jones soda.
I woke up and took a seven mile run. I felt much better on Monday. The kids and I cleaned up their rooms. We had four garbage bags of junk and old toys and clothes. How refreshing! Jon worked on their fish tanks (not a fun chore). It was soothing to all be together. But Mario got antsy after a bit and begged to go see Quinn. I gave in after the hundredth plea and let him go. My girl stayed with me though, and helped move her barbies upstairs. Evening came and we got ready for bed at 8:15. I read them a book in Ri’s room and tucked them in.
I took a deep breath as I walked down the steps, and gave thanks for my kiddos and being home.
And the more I thought about my melancholy upon my return home on Sunday, the more I came to believe that it was just leaving Paul and Kelly! They were too good of hosts!>

Down at the river

The bike trail led us to our rocky alcove along the Scioto River where we have planted ourselves on Sunday mornings for years. It provides a refuge from the traffic and the noise and the bustling of people grabbing coffees, grocery shopping or heading to church.

Ri and Mario transcended down the rocky bank towards the river staying alert for unique rocks. Mario threw a hefty stone in the water and watched the splash. He continued to find rocks progressively bigger in size to see how much bigger his splash would be. Maria hunted for rocks for us to take home for our garden.

I had considered trying out a new church today. I hunted for a few on the internet last night while the kids slept. I struggle with the feeling that we should have a gathering place on Sunday mornings where we worship beside others and sing songs and reflect. Jon and I have not put our energies in our local church for numerous reasons; the number one reason for me being that I feel like it’s hypocritical. I believe in women leaders, gay rights, womens’ choice and the church, at least at the highest ranks, does not. The non-denominational churches I found last night seemed promising but I still feel hesitant. And as I stood on the bank of the Scioto watching M&M, I couldn’t help but notice how joyful and soulful and grounded I felt being outside amongst the trees and water and birds.

When we walked together along the path and paused to watch a brown and yellow-spotted butterfly flutter around a bunch of flowers, I was grateful for the quiet moment with my munchos.

We came upon a part of the trail that had a clearing leading down to a wide patch of lily pads. When we passed the last large oak and the sky opened up, we saw all of the lilies spread along the river. A couple of ducks swam through them. The kids stared at the scene and Mario tried out his duck calling sounds (hilarious). Maria tried clapping to a beat to help Mario but still no ducks came our way.


On our way back to our stroller, Maria spotted a buckeye on the ground. Then another. We were under a buckeye tree. Mario found a nut eventually and took much pride in splitting it in two. The buckeyes inside were so shiny. I hit a branch with a throng of nuts and it was like gold dropped from the heavens. The kids scurried around grabbing the nuts and piling them up. The nuts brought great joy especially when Mario packed them in his sweater pockets and acted like a pregnant woman.



We laughed hysterically all the way back to the stroller as Mario kept “having babies” on the way back when the nuts fell out of his pockets. We dropped the nuts off at the stroller and headed down to throw more rocks in the river before riding home. Maria chimed “you need to take our river picture, mom!” We have a tradition of getting pictures at the river with each season. Fall is not technically here but it felt like it this morning at 50 degrees.


We left the river two hours after arriving – a tad longer than we would have been at a church – and felt all the more rejuvenated and full of spirit as we eased into a Sunday afternoon.