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Baseball & Family

2014 April 9
by Katie

Sports are part of who I am.  They are in my very fibers.  Not born there…but adopted into my own being out of pure survival…a side effect of being part of a family of natural athletes.

When I was 11 months old, I was enrolled into an early intervention program for being moderately delayed in gross motor development (among other things).  I basically did not walk until I was close to three.  So when I was little, we would walk my brother to school every morning…and when I say ‘walk’, I mean, I would ride in the stroller while my sister (who is almost three years younger) would run.  At Christmas time, my mother would always sneak that one gift in there…a yoga mat, a weight set, a jump rope…just for me.  ya know…to help build up my ridiculously low muscle tone.  She never had to do that with my siblings…they were those kids that walked at three days old…while catching a ball…with both eyes closed.

My parents also encouraged us to play a musical instrument (I think I have tried seven different ones all of which have bit the dust), and to play a sport every year.  I was never great at either of those tasks…but in my family I always felt like I had something to prove…like I was strong enough or big enough or good enough.  Out of a tremendous sense of competition was born a passion for sports.

When I say that it shocks me that both my boys have walked at 8 and 9 months respectively….yeah…SHOCKED is a great understatement.

I fully expected them to be late bloomers.  But they aren’t.  They are themselves…they are early walkers…they are brave and unhindered.  And they are naturally drawn to sports.

Because I was such a late bloomer, I had to work really hard to even be decent at sports.  There wasn’t anything natural about any sport skill I had…it was just stubbornness….and dedication to try again even after I failed…OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER (repeat 1000X).

Right before LJ arrived, we went to see my nephew Braden play baseball.  Will was so excited that he sat quietly the entire two hour drive to the field.

I figured that he didn’t really watch much of the game  because every time I saw him, he was running full speed but later he told me little details…like how the boys would hit the home plate with the bat, or how they would stand in the outfield with their hands on their knees, or how the coaches would spit in the dirt.  These are the things that I forget…the little details that my little guys are seeing, picking up, and filing away in their ‘how to play baseball’ box in their brain.

We always joke that Will is a natural born pitcher…the kid just has to throw.  And Weston is our little catcher…he has to be, otherwise he doesn’t get to touch a ball in our house.  It makes me wonder…what will LJ be?  Maybe he will be a Katie-baby…a late bloomer…a cuddler and a whole lot of lazy.  Or maybe he will be like his brothers…sure footed and aggressive.

Either way, I think my parents were smart to encourage both the arts and sports and I think now that we are on the cusp of starting all those extra curricular activities, I want to follow that same method.  They never told us that we had to be the best or pushed us too hard….they just showed up and told us what we did right…in some cases, that meant “Katie!  You didn’t fall today!  Great job!” or “Well, it was so surprising how you modified that song in the middle of the recital!”.

Side note…I love this photo.  It’s just so my dad.  Calling for the ball.  With his crazy hair hat on and his upside down glasses.  He’s still an athlete.  Still passionate….now about golf instead of basketball or baseball or football.  But that athlete’s heart…it’s still there.

After the game, my brother brought Will out on the field and let him run the bases.  He showed him the proper way to stomp on home plate.  Will came over incredibly proud of himself…and promptly told me that “I’m gonna play baseball someday”.  And he said that he was gonna hit a home run.  And I wanted to tell him that even if he strikes out, that there will always be another game.  There will always be another day with another way to try hard.

I wanted to tell him that it doesn’t matter if it’s a home run or a single or a swing and a miss.  It’s that he showed up.  that he didn’t give up.  that he tries hard and is supportive of others even when they didn’t rise to the top.  that he finds the things in life to dig into…even when its not natural…or when its difficult…that he fights for the spot on the team and when the season is done, he celebrates even the littlest of accomplishments.

I wanted to tell him all that…but then I realized he was still three years old and most of that would fly over his head like a line drive :)

When we got home, my mom asked for a family photo.

I got everyone to stand still for three seconds.  Of course, Will is grabbing his crotch.  Something I am sure he picked up from the baseball game :)

We thought this one was a winner…until we saw Norn.

The crotch one will have to work.  Because that is about as far as we got.  My parents got a lot right….but standing still for photos?  not a skill they encouraged enough :)


Odd Napkin Out

2014 April 7
by Katie


Once upon a time, I had almost 150 white napkins.  I used them for events that I helped with at church (like ladies luncheons or missionary conferences)…now they just sit in a drawer….begging to be used.  I can hear them at night when the boys have stopped smashing things with their monster trucks.  It sounds like a crying sheep stuck in a hole with a little bit of gagging inbetween sobs.

Armed with some craft paint, I set out on rescuing six little napkins from a lifetime of mundane vanilla and added a little spring to their step.  I am basically a hero now.  A hero of napkins.  They wrote me thank you notes later to tell me that I am the bombdotcom.  They also told me that I get weird when I don’t get any sleep.

Okay – so six ways to paint a napkin…but first…make sure your napkins are clean and previously washed and dried.  Then make sure your paint is good for fabrics (like the little tubes of Martha Stewart paint says it specificially on the bottle).  And then also set the paint after you painted it on…basically iron it.  I do it for 3-5 minutes with a medium hot iron on the reverse side of the napkin (no steam!) before using or washing.  Let’s get to painting!  


#1  - Pencil Eraser Stamping

This isn’t falling in love Juan Pablo…this is literally taking the end of the pencil, dipping it in a bit of paint and stamping it willy-nilly on a napkin.  Done and done.

#2 – Painter’s tape pattern

I used Frog Tape’s Shape Tape (I liked the scalloped version) to adhere the napkin directly to the table first.

Then with a tiny brush, I swept tape back and forth on the exposed parts till it looked like watery waves on my cloth.  No need for perfection…it’s so easy a preschooler could do it!

#3 – Sponge Stamped

I almost labeled this one Sponge Bob Square Stamp…but then I figured that it might induce seizures on all you over-worked moms out there.  You can thank me later.

This one is literally as easy as it sounds…one square(ish) sponge stamped in red for a checkerboard napkin fit for a picnic (or fit for the king ants that wish they could eat your lunch).

#4 Free handing stripes

It’s amazing how you don’t have to be perfect when drawing these little stripes on the edge of the napkin.  Just enough of a splash of color to give your plate a pop :)

I used a small craft brush and went over each line twice to get the desired saturation of color.

#5 Create your own stencil

This is so simple, you are gonna be stenciling your little hearts out by days end.

Any stiff cardstock will do…I grabbed one of these large paint chips because it was only three steps away (#winning)….then use an x-acto knife to cut your pattern.  I went with this little “sunset” look…aka “exploding helicopter” according to Will :)


Then using a pouncer brush, just stipple the pattern with your paint.  It’s really that easy.  And you won’t feel bad for tossing the paint chip that you never used anyway :)

#6 – Potato Stamping

Last but certainly not least, we have a little potato stamping action.  What?!  That’s right…pantry goods.  I also like the celery stamping but we eat more carbs than veggies here.  #momshame

Try to make sure you are well rested before this one :)

Taking a sharp knife, you want to carve your design into one half of the inside of the potato.  I did a simple pattern because well…me and sharp objects aren’t the best of friends.


Then you paint on the craft paint.  I did this with gold and it was a little hard to see how much paint I was applying (ummm…it’s called a Russet gold for a reason!).

After you have the potato loaded up, just press the stamp into the napkin and slightly rock the potato back and forth to make sure the edges get transferred.

Continue till you hate potatoes :)

There you have it folks…six simple napkins that are adding pizzazz into my life (and bread basket).

Have you been painting anything lately?  Napkins?  Art?  Fingernails?