Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Such a huge day today for father and son, for baseball fans, for Yankee fans… for baseball in general. So here’s the background… there’s an old saying that hitting a baseball is the hardest things to do in sports. Throw in the fear of getting nailed by a fastball, and you can understand the challenges coaches face trying to teach these little future stars how to play the game.

Many kids when I was growing up were told to “just make contact“, “hit the ball on the ground” or “swing down on the ball.” Hitting a baseball is one of the most complex collection of movement patterns in sports. Hand eye coordination is so important. They say Ted Williams- arguably the greatest hitting in baseball history- could see the laces on the ball as it spun out of the pitchers hand… but the game has changed drastically since the WWII era. So why then… are we teaching our kids to just hit down on the ball? So why do we want to restrict or teach our children to settle for base hits?

Folks… “CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL!” Tom Glavine said it… heck Greg Maddux said it… and they are two of the greatest pitchers of my generation.

It’s no different for Jackson “The Judge” Carmine who is starting his first season of coach pitch baseball. That’s exactly why he is swinging for the fences. Exit velocity and launch angle and all that advanced saber-metric crap… that’s what he’s learning… he’s four years old and the youngest player on his fall ball team by far… but he’s a dominant force in the lineup. I feel sorry for the opposing coach who has to get down on one knee and toss the ball to him. It must be what a rookie, journeyman reliever feels like facing Aaron Judge.

No really, he’s going to play the game at a young age the way he wants. He’ll learn the right way to play and we’ll have have fun out there together… even if I’m that journeyman reliever who’s out there tossing pitches to him to launch to the moon.

I’m just so excited to see my little guy out there swinging the bat. A four year old hitting pitches is pretty cool, especially if that four year old is your own kid! Watching him make contact and put the ball in play on his first at bat with live pitching was amazing. I’m so proud of him… even if it was just a ground ball! LOL.

Refreshing the Soul

The beginning of the school year is a whirlwind. The days fly by and the work piles up. However there’s nothing like story time to refresh the soul. Taking time to breath and live in the moment each day is so important and I very much look forward to a few moments enjoying a good book with such an amazing little guy!

“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J.K. Rowling

“The stories we love best live in us forever.” J.K. Rowling

Neighbors in the Neighborhood

  • We’re extremely lucky. We’ve always had great neighbors and here is no different. Back in the day (like last year) we had the best neighbors anyone could ask for. The Talbot’s… between driving to Green Bay, delivering both our children, installing our entire new bathroom, and being Jax’ first girlfriend… we were in neighbor heaven. Across the street lives our best friends. Then we moved… and then they moved. It was a sad, but exciting time in all of our lives.
  • Luckily we wound up in a place with people just as cool living across the street. They don’t mind that our lawn looks like a desert wasteland, or that Buster and Max fill the peaceful neighborhood silence with barking at all hours of the day. Best of all, both of their children are so nice to Jax and Oliver… and even more importantly, we know they are there for us in a time of need! Even though he’s a Cowboys fan… at least his fridge is always stocked… 🙄
  • That’s why last week (and by now, four years into this blog, you know we’re not the most calm and relaxed parents) it was so reassuring to know that Jax was in good hands in a time of need. Thank you- thank you- thank you so much to our new neighbors for making sure Jax was ok after the little after school mix up! Honestly knowing that they were there made us feel relieved!!! Thank you so much neighbors! Jax showed up safe and sound!

    “Awww Sheeeeeet!”

    By now you know from my writing that I don’t take parenting as a chore, I don’t pretend that it’s easy… and I surely admit to my mistakes. I also love to laugh at… I mean, with my children. Having a child is an amazing experience. It’s stressful, tiring and frustrating at times. It’s also the most rewarding experience in the world, especially as we find ourselves experiencing the many significant moments in our children’s lives, moments that show they are growing up (usually too fast!) One of those first major milestones is a baby’s first word(s).

    I’m sure we’ve all heard about the crazy things other children have said. But for most of us the usual “momma/dada” or “mommy/daddy” combination is pretty common. Those two are usually standard for kids’ first words. For many children… it was usually only one: “mom” or “dad” (and yes, it really, really does matter which one comes first). Just ask my wife!

    After “mama/dada” it’s usually a crap shoot which words come next. It could be anything. Our second little guy, Oliver, doesn’t care what you call what’s in front of him when it’s time to eat. As a matter of fact he doesn’t care what he calls it… he just wants more of “it.”

    Right now we are stuck with the word “APPLE” as his word of choice. He seems to pretty much call anything that goes in his mouth an apple. And his other favorite word… well really anything he can throw, he calls a “BALL”. Developmentally… at least the words fit the context of what he’s trying to say.

    Then again… I guess “ball” and “apple” are better than what he calls a fish:

    “Awww sheeeeet!”


    As educators we encourage our students to ask questions. Asking questions is the The Single Most Important Habit for Innovative Thinkers.

    Tonight… after his bath, my son asked my wife an “ear-tip.” She was confused, so he pointed at the jar sitting on the edge of the sink… Stephanie, smiled and said, “Ohh, those are called Q-Tips bud.”

    He stared at her inquisitively for a few seconds and responded, “but if they go in my ear, why aren’t they called ear tips?”

    Great Question buddy… your move Leo Gerstenzang…

    A Tale of Two Children

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. It was one child happy and the other sad, it was one child sick and the other feeling fine. It was one child asleep all night and the other up every two hours. it was, IT IS, the time of having two children.

    It seems that we can’t just get both of these two boys on the same schedule. Jackson has been doing great, no illnesses, no concussions and he hasn’t split his head open or required staples or stitches in a while, and of course Oliver needs to be quarantined. Jax is passed out, dreaming with sugar plums dancing in his head, and Oliver is screaming and wheezing at the same time.

    Jackson is asleep, for now… Oliver is finishing his asthma treatment as we speak… I’m interested to see how this tale of two children is going to play out.

    Pickie the Pixie

    Tattoos have been around for centuries and getting a tattoo inspired by your children or your favorite book is nothing new. of course it’s no surprise a few of my tattoos are directly connected to my sons and Harry Potter.

    My most recent tattoo is just as special to me as the other ones I’ve gotten that were dedicated to my sons. The first time I visited the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Stephanie and I were walking out after a long hot day and as we pass a shelf loaded with stuffed animals and other HP merchandise, Jax starts pointing and laughing uncontrollably. He was pointing at the blue Cornish Pixie hanging on the shelf… so of course we bought it for him. He still has it to this day… so I got his Pixie (that he calls Pickie) on my inner arm.

    Im about 2/3 of the way finished with my Potter sleeve, with a few directly representing my sons.

    I of course had some ink done dedicated to my first after he was born.  I decided on a meaningful representation of father and son taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [short story] “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” The story’s moral is that you should live life for the right reasons: love and those you love. The youngest brother in the story youngest brother was a humble man asked for a thing that he could use to live a long and happy life.  One in which he was allowed to see his child grow. He was given a cloak of invisibility. And thus because of this he attained a great age and passed The Cloak of Invisibility to his son. I was happy to get a tattoo representing a moment that every father dreams of… Passing down something (knowledge, skill, an invisibility cloak) to their child which will ensure he will live long, happy and successful live.

    When I decided it was time to get a tattoo honoring my newest little man it was obvious it would be something related to his name, Oliver, and also had to have some connection to Harry Potter. The olive branch [above] has a very symbolic meaning which made it the perfect choice both references. The Olive Branch symbolizes a beginning of a new life and in the Harry Potter story, Oliver Wood is the first Quidditch player we meet, he’s the keeper and captain of the Gryffindor team and one of my favorite characters in the story.

    Do you have a tattoo inspired by your child(ten) or of Harry Potter? Post in the comments!