Thursday, April 19, 2012

La Familia Goes To Spring Training & Makes Papa's Dreams Come True

Our family has the most loving, giving, selfless, hardworking Papa ever.  He gives all of himself to making sure his family is happy and well taken care of.  Every year he works hard to take his girls to Disneyland where they can consume as much "magic" & "happiness" their little bodies & minds can contain, or to a tropical beach full of lazy days in the sun & sea that are essential to Mama's mental health, and on countless trips to the river where everyone can play, float and relax.  Of course he enjoys and is grateful for all of these family vacations but let's keep it real, when it comes to actually choosing our destination his role is pull out the credit card when needed and show up in the right place at the agreed-upon time.

This year it occurred to me that we should choose a Papa-themed vacation and let his heart's desires lead the way for once.  And of course, his heart pointed us in the direction of the SF Giants.  We touched down at the Phoenix airport at 10:30am on a Saturday morning and 2 hours later we were sitting 3 rows behind 1st base at Scottsdale Stadium watching Tim Lincecum throw out the first pitch of the Giants' Spring Training 2012.
our amazing seats for only $20!!!
The next 4 days of our lives were dedicated to nothing but San Francisco Giants baseball. We slept, ate, got dressed in our orange and black and spent all other minutes of our days at Scottsdale Stadium.  Justice had a blast collecting autographs and coming face-to-face with the players and coaches she has been cheering for from afar for the past 2 years.  She forgot to bring her baseballs to have signed to the first game so she improvised and had them sign her neon orange shoe which by the end of trip had signatures from Bruce Bochy, Jeremy Affeldt, Pat Burrell, Tommy Joseph, Brandon Belt and many others (once she started with the shoe there was no turning back)
Getting Bruce "Mr Big Stuff" Bochy's autograph
The 1st of many: Jeremy Affeldt
Even though  Chuli & Rio are still a little young to appreciate the mechanics of the game they found joy in the ball park snacks and lots of games of catch.
Chuli's Pre-Game Warm Ups
Enjoying their snow cones
As for Papa, it would be hard to pick what one thing was the best about this vacation.  He got to shake hands with John Miller aka "The Voice of The Giants" (who he has been listening to since he was a youngin'), catch a ball thrown to him by Melky Cabrera, personally say "thank you" to Brain Sabean for bringing his city a world championship, but most importantly he got to experience his most favorite pastime with his most favorite girls.  There is no brighter smile than the one Papa gets when he sees his girls getting pumped up about Giants baseball.  To have them find joy for something that has brought so much happiness into his own life makes him one extra proud Pop.  

Despite all of the exotic, international locations I have guided him to, I have a feeling that Scottsdale, AZ is going to make it to the top of his list of most amazing vacations.  As long as my family is smiling and the sun is shinning I guess even Mama can be convinced to return to this much desired destination.  
One thing's for sure, with the souvenir Papa took home from this trip we will be reminded of our Spring Training trip every day of our lives:
World Champion Ink By Clifton Carter, Living Ghost Tattoo

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Play Ball Like A Girl

My girls play Baseball.  Not Softball.  Hardball-smallball-underhand pitching-baseball.  They didn't much have a choice about it since they were born to a Papa who is a player, coach and super-fan of the game.  The first articles of clothing they all had placed on their bodies were emblazoned with the SF Giants logos and they all spent their first years falling asleep to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" coming from their Giant's baby-mobile.  There were always baseballs of all different sizes and materials in our house for them to throw and what kid doesn't love whacking things with a bat?  So yes, maybe they weren't given much of choice about what sport they would play, but they definitely haven't gone into it kicking and screaming.

The immense amount of games the girls have been dragged to or forced to watch (which all have  included in-depth running commentary from their Papa about what the players were doing right or wrong) along with Papa's willingness to drop anything and everything to play ball with his girls, have left them with some pretty impressive baseball skills.  Chuli's got a throw that will leave your hand stinging and is not afraid to get as down and dirty as her fav player Buster Posey, and Justice can field like a champ and make some serious contact with the ball.
As they have gotten older and have been able to take their game outside our backyard and beyond their Papa's lessons, we have asked ourselves more than a few times if they should switch over to play softball. **Let me stop here to make something clear: in no way do I feel like softball is any less of a sport than baseball.  Softball players are dope, amazing and just as athletic, if not more, as any baseball player** We are aware that for a girl, the opportunities to play baseball on a pro, college or even a high school level are minimal at best and that if our girls do indeed have some talent with the bat and ball then putting it to use on a softball field would present an easier and more abundant road for them.
As softball players they would have access to more teams, possible scholarships and even a potential career.  Women's Softball is a Olympic sport while Women's Pro-Baseball is limited to a few years of playing in skirts and one famous Hollywood movie that taught us all that "there's no crying in baseball!"  As female baseball players their paths would be filled with dead ends, closed doors and a whole lot of ignorance.  At only 10 years old Justice came face-to-face with the misogyny of the sports world when she was introduced to the middle school baseball coach of her future school who when told that she was a ball player offered her the position of "scorekeeper" on his team.  If this type of narrow-mindedness exists in elementary aged sports when there is little-to-no physical differences between the boys & girls, I shudder to think about what type of discrimination my girls would face if they got into to playing more serious ball.

I can get myself worked up into a nice sized furry when I reflect on the fact that as parents of girls we have to spend so much time considering re-directing our daughters away from something that brings them so much joy because of our desire to keep our babies protected from hardships and hurt that may lie ahead of them. It is utterly ridiculous to think that anyone would place restrictions or limitations on the potential of my 6 year old child based solely on her lack of a Y chromosome.  Although it comes from a place of wanting to protect my girls from discrimination, ignorance and negativity, each time I consider making the switch over to softball simply because somehow society decided that girls can't play professional baseball, I feel horrible.  I want to instill the belief in my girls that they can do or be anything they can possibly imagine.
It was not so long ago that the thought that a girl could grow up to go to college, have a job, or even vote was considered crazy.  There were families and communities of some little girls in that time that told them yes when everyone else around them was saying no and helped clear the way for all future generations of little girls.  Someone always has to be the first.
After all, if we all pull our little girls out of baseball, how can we ever expect them to grow up with the skills to strike out all these boys and knock their balls out of the park?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Just Spent $70 on a Justin Bieber Birthday Cake

Oh, yes I did.  My credit card has been charged for $70 worth of chocolate fudge, whipped cream Bieber Fever goodness.  I will admit that right after placing my order, I was hit by a huge sense of buyers remorse as I realized that I, a 32 year old woman just spent that much money on a damn birthday cake!  The feeling only got worse as it started to sink in that addition to my hard earned money and besides the fact that I have both a household and an organization to run, I had just spent 20 minutes of my very busy life searching the Internet for the perfect picture of little Mr. Bieber and working with the bakery to design the most Bieber-est cake possible.

But you know what?  It might seem that there are far more important and world-changing things I could have spend my 20 minutes and $70 on but the reality is that when March 5 rolls around each year, there is without-a-doubt, absolutely nothing more important than celebrating my Chuli girl!  This year, if it's a Justin Bieber Roller Disco that makes my girl happy, then she will have the most amazing Justin Bieber Roller Disco the world has ever seen.  In Mama's eyes, for all of the love, joy and laughter this girl has brought this world during her 6th year of life she deserves the world's biggest birthday cake with the real life Biebs jumping out of it.  And even though I cringe a little as I fill up my shopping basket with every item they can fit his dreamy little teenage face on to, I know that the honest truth is I will continue to be the Bierber-Empire's #1 supporter as long as it continues to put a smile on Chuli's face...let's just all say a silent prayer that this phase passes a little sooner than later because the new life-sized JB cardboard cut-out that now lives in my living room is not exactly my favorite piece of household decor...