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Hands down BEST weekend since we moved to VA

Posted in Uncategorized by sandy on the June 21st, 2011

The fun started when I came home from work on Friday (Braeden’s last day of school) and found these waiting on the counter (Braeden was at All-Star practice)-

All A’s ALL year! :)

Panter Pride ALL year! :) I am probably more proud of this award than the academic one because this one is for outstanding behavior and conduct-

Saturday morning was the Championship game for AA. Braeden’s team were the underdogs going in. The team we were playing was one of the teams we lost to during the season. It was a real nail bitter and my heart was racing and palms sweating the whole game (and I wasn’t the only one feeling like this). We were up by 2, then tied, then down by 3 and then…….Braeden came in to pitch, pitched AMAZING, let in only 1 run in 2 innings and our players started really HITTING. Result? Braeden’s and his team earned the title of Gainesville AA Little League CHAMPIONS with a final score of 11-6. :)

Lineup before the game-

CHAMPIONS (every time I say that word my eyes fill back up with tears)-

My whole heart right here-

The boys got the coaches with whipped cream-

After their hard work all season long, it was time to ParTAY! The team met back up that night for dinner at a great little Bar and Grill. The food was awesome and followed by tropies, awards and baseball cards for the boys; gifts for the coaches- Mike was given a baseball signed by all the players, some Big League Chew, a “Babe Ruth” candy bar and a $50 gift card to Sports Authority for his help as Assistant Coach; and delicious cake. SUCH a FUN day!

He finds every opportunity to be center of attention-

The team’s pitchers-

Braeden’s trophies-

There was even a little trophy for Mikey for his hard work as Bat Boy! He felt SO special-

Sunday was Father’s Day and since Mike took Saturday night off, he was home and awake. We loved spending the day with him. Braeden woke up and made Mike the same yummy breakfast he made me on Mother’s Day (toaster strudels and chocolate milk). Mikey made Mike a tie and a frame with his finger prints and a poem at school. These boys LOVE their Daddy and they should. He is simply THE BEST!

After breakfast and a quick trip to the grocery store, we headed to Braeden’s first All-Star game.

My little All-Star

#9 with his personalized hat-

Pre-Game Huddle. The players and the coaches take these games pretty seriously. They have been practicing every night for up to 3 hours-

The announcers announced each player, their position and batting spot before the National Anthem. They also announced each player as they came up to bat.

Braeden played SO great the entire game at 1st base-

Game face-

Batting 4th-

The Lil’ Bro-

After some serious baseball playing all weekend Braeden was ready to let loose-

Monkey See, Monkey Do-

Thank you everyone for the nice Anniversary wishes. Mike and I had a great day. Mike’s parents sent us a card with a little cash so we plan to go out (ALONE) when the boys are away this summer.

Here are the beautiful flowers Mike sent to my work-

5 Years Today!

Posted in Uncategorized by sandy on the June 16th, 2011

5 years ago today, Mike and I stood together, holding hands before our family and friends and promised to love one another forever. I remember standing there thinking I knew exactly what love was, exactly what commitment meant, exactly what a marriage was and CERTAIN Mike was my forever. Well, little did I know I would be wrong about all of those things………EXCEPT that Mike was my forever (scared ya there huh- bout time I add a little humor to my sappiness). I thank God daily that I was wrong about the rest (what a marriage, love and commitment are) because they are all SO much better and so much more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. This is not to say that our first 5 years have been a “whirlwind romance” filled with only “happily ever after” moments- quite the opposite actually. We have endured more these 5 years than many couples do in a lifetime together. Through every obstacle, every change, every disagreement and fight (YES, there have been PLENTY of these) and every challenge thrown our way (and again we have had MORE than our share in 5 years), we have ultimately stuck together (even at times when we may not have really wanted to) and come out ahead, in our marriage and in our lives. Our commitment grows stronger, our trust deeper and our hearts more in tune with one other with each day that we are together. Whoever said marriage takes WORK was very right. I know I have changed things about myself I never imagined I would. I have accepted things about Mike I never thought I would accept in a person and Lord knows HE has changed things about himself and accepted things about me he never thought he would accept in a person too. Compromise is KEY to a happy and healthy marriage and ours is filled with it. It might not always come immediately (I am very stubborn), but in time, Mike and I both come to realize that there is ALWAYS a happy medium and neither of us are truly happy when the other is not. There have been times during these past 5 years where he’s wanted to walk away, where I’ve wanted to walk away (I swear if I step on his crumbs one more time…….haha :) and I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I am not embarrassed to say we’ve both had moments when we wanted to give up because as much as things may have hurt (him or I) at the time, it has been through THOSE very moments that we have grown the most and learned the most. Sure, we had the odds stacked against us, we were engaged within 1 month, married within 6 months, parents of 1 immediately, parents of 2 before our 1 year anniversary, but I can honestly say that I am VERY happily married to a wonderful GOOD man- A man that loves me with a capital L, who has been there for me through every step of life these past 5 years and who I trust with every ounce of my being will be here for me through every step for the rest of my life. Thank you GOD!

One thing I couldn’t live without (other than Mike and our boys) is music. It seems as though no matter how I am feeling, there is always a song to be played that will either coincide with my mood or be exactly the song that I need to change my mood. I started thinking awhile ago about a song that I could reference in this blog post (those of you who have been reading for a long time know I frequently reference songs in correlation with blog posts). Well I do have one for this post, but I didn’t find it, it found me and has me amazed every time I hear it. Before I reference the words, let me give you some back ground. Mike and I have always jokingly used our fingers to indicate the amount we love one another. I will say to him, “You love me THIS big?” and stretch my thumb and pointer finger as far as it can go (indicating the largest amount). If we are mad at one another we will say, “I love you this big.” And we will touch those finger tips together (indicating the smallest amount). It is just one of the cute little things between the two of us.

My parents always say to each other- “I love you as big as the moon” and I think its so cute. Well, I started my own little spin off of this and the boys, Mike and I say to each other, “I love you to the moon and back.” Now, here are the words to the song PERFECT for this blog entry. Keep in mind this is a very new song (the winner of 2011’s American Idol sings it) and our little terms of endearment were started before I heard this song. :)

“I know I’m still young
But, I know how I feel
I might not have too much experience
But, I know when love is real.

By the way my heart starts pounding
When I look into your eyes
I might look a little silly
Standing with my arms stretched open wide.

I love you this big
Eyes have never seen… this big
No-one’s ever dreamed… this big
And I’ll spend the rest of my life
Explaining what words cannot describe but, I’ll try
I love you this big

I love you to the moon and backI love you all the time
Deeper than the ocean
And higher than the pines.

Cause you do something to me
Deep down in my heart
I know I look a little crazy
Standing with my arms stretched all apart.

I love you this big
Eyes have never seen… this big
No-one’s ever dreamed… this big
And I’ll spend the rest of my life
Explaining what words cannot describe but, I’ll try
I love you this big

So much bigger than I ever dreamed my heart ever would
I love you this big
And I’d write your name in stars across the sky
If I could, I would

I love you this big
Oh, eyes have never seen… this big
No-one’s ever dreamed… this big
And I’ll spend the rest of my life
Explaining what words cannot describe but, I’ll try
I love you this big

I love you this big
Oh, eyes have never seen… this big
No-one’s ever dreamed… this big
And I’ll spend the rest of my life
Explaining what words cannot describe but, I’ll try
I love you this big”

Now click the link to hear the song. It is SO great! LOVE it!

I love you Mike, THIS big (you know what I am doing) and to the MOON and BACK!

Mikey’s Pre-K 1 Graduation

Posted in Uncategorized by sandy on the June 15th, 2011

Mikey graduated on Friday from Pre-K 1. He moves to Pre-K 2 in September and then….Kindergarten! OMG, I can’t imagine HOW I will be ready in just a little over a year to send him off to REAL, BIG KID school. One thing I am certain about, HE will be ready (at least academically- he would still very much rather be home with us than at any type of school). It is amazing to Mike and I how much he has progressed since starting Pre-K 1 in November. He got his chance to show off his abilities at the graduation. Each student was given a letter and they had to recite a little piece. Mikey has been practicing for weeks and although he raced through his at lightning speed (hmmm, wonder who he gets his fast talking from), he nailed it. Ms. Kim the lead teacher said-

“Mikey- Big P, little p, what begins with P?”

Mikey said-

“Painting Pink Pajamas, Peter Peppers Puppy, and Papa’s in the Pail” :)

Here he is wearing the graduation shirt he made in class and holding his certificate-

The Back of his shirt :)

Mike and I have carried on my parents tradition of giving a “graduation gift” after every grade we “passed.” Preschool counts right?! Here is Mikey enjoying his. He is always asking to go to the little putt putt place near our house. Now he can sweat and get eaten by bugs by himeself. :)

He is lucky (as are Mike and I to be able to save on weekly tuition this summer) and only has to go to “camp” 2 full weeks this summer and one part week. He will be with Mike’s parents for a total of 4 weeks (2 weeks at a time is all I can handle away from him especially with Braeden gone too), home with Mike a few weeks, home with me while my parents visit and then home with Mike’s aunt Terry who will come for a week and stay with both boys while Mike and I work.

Speaking of summer, Mikey is one step closer to swimming on his own. He passed his first swimming lesson session and has advanced to the next level. YAY Mikey! I took this picture with my phone since I forgot the camera, so it is not the best quality-

Have a great week!

Our Little All-Star

Posted in Uncategorized by sandy on the June 12th, 2011

****BRAG ALERT!!!!**** Braeden is not one to brag (in fact he refused to tell any of his current teammates his news for fear of hurting their feelings). I, however, wouldn’t be a Mom more in love with my boys than anything this earth can create if I didn’t brag or share in their joy and happiness. :)

“All Star”- To Mike and I, these words applied to Braeden a long time ago. We realized he was blessed with the ability to be an incredible baseball player shortly after he began playing, but it’s always nice to have affirmation from non family members. Kind of the way you think your baby is the most beautiful baby on the planet, but you wonder, is this just unconditional love or is your baby REALLY as cute as you see them? I think every (good) parent wants to see their child succeed. Your breath is truly taken away as you see your child’s dreams being put together, one piece of the puzzle at a time. For Braeden, a HUGE piece was put together this week. It all started at last Saturday’s game. There was a man sitting in the bleachers watching Braeden’s team play and taking notes. Being the not nosy just CURIOUS :) person I am, I found out he was a scout for the AAA (a level above where Braeden plays at) All-Star team. AA does not create an All-Star team and AAA has two teams (National League and American League) comprised of 12 of the best players out of about 10-12 teams per league (24 or so total). In the regular season, American League teams only play each other and National League teams only play each other. This is the same for both AA and AAA. In the AAA All Star tournament, the 12 best of the National League play the 12 best of the American League for a Round Robin tournament. Each team drafts 3 or 4 players from AA that are good enough and who would be an asset to their team. SO, essentially, 6-8 boys are drafted out of over 200 players in AA to play in the AAA tournament. I’m sure by now you’ve realized (or been told personally) that Braeden was one of those players. Oh my goodness, the hairs on my arms are STILL standing up as I type this. There are some kids with absolute natural talent and some without any at all. Braeden is neither of those. I will never forget Mike and I looking at each other at Braeden’s first baseball game over 4 years ago as we gulped wondering if we’d chosen the wrong sport for him. PRACTICE, PASSION, DETERMINATION, ENCOURAGEMENT and a true LOVE for the sport of baseball has brought him to where he is now- an ALL-STAR and he deserves his turn to shine. Here is the e-mail I received the other day. An e-mail that had me in tears as I read it and again as I saw the look on Braeden’s face when he learned he’d been drafted-

Sandy/Michael,

My name is Bill Lowry and I am the Manager of the National League All Star team and the AAA Nationals for GDLL. I had gotten a chance to see Braeden play last Saturday after he had been nominated by several of the AA Managers. I would like to have Braeden on the All Star team but Braeden’s current coach has told me that you all might be headed out of town sometime in June.

A quick explanation on the All Star format and dates, this is a round robin tournament with a minimum of 4 games and a maximum of 5 games. Practices will start immediately this week with games on the 6/19,6/21,6/23,6/26 and possibly on 6/28.

The National League Team will be comprised of both kids from AAA (7 or 8 players) and AA (3 or 4 players). We may also combine a few practice’s with the AAA Nationals and the 9U bulls travel team just for my scheduling purposes and to help bring the AA players up to speed with the pitching.

If you could let me know if Braeden would be available or if he may be available for a portion of the time as soon as possible. I would like to have him be a part of the All Star experience and would look forward to having him on the team. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Bill

And my response-

Bill,

First of all, WOW! You have no idea how happy this will make Braeden. What an absolute honor to be selected out of so many kids. We had made some plans for June, but they can certainly be tweaked to allow Braeden to play. He was chosen last year for the All-Star team with the rec. department he played for in South Carolina and was unable to play because we were moving here to VA. We can not take this opportunity away from him again. Braeden lives and breathes for baseball, whether it be playing for GDLL or
cheering on the Phillies (Mike is from Philly). Mike and I felt certain that his passion for the sport as well as determination to try his best always would prove rewarding and we are so incredibly proud of him.

Thank you again for the opportunity and we look forward to Braeden working, learning and playing with you!

Mike and Sandy Mainer

So, we’ve adjusted our plans, Braeden will leave VA a week later than scheduled and be gone LESS than 2 months now (makes me happy). His first official practice with the All Star team is tonight at 5pm. All this is going on while Braeden’s regular team is in the playoffs. They won their game yesterday, advancing them to the semi-final game on Wed. The Championship game is Saturday and we are hoping Braeden and his team will be playing in that game. How cool would it be for Braeden to make the All-Star team this year AND for his regular season team to win the Championship game??!! I have a feeling this week is going to be I-N-T-E-N-S- E for this Mama in the stands. :) I’ve started stuffing my mouth with sunflower seeds to keep me quiet during the games since Braeden told me it makes him nervous when I yell loud. OOPS!

CONGRATULATIONS BRAEDEN, WE ARE SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF YOU!!!!!

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