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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

He Sees You (reboot)

As I sit in bleachers at many a youth baseball game, I love to hear the various phrases shouted by parents and coaches as they try to encourage the players. Some phrases are "old school" that we've all heard before.

"Good eye!": when a batter lets a pitch out of the strike zone go by.
"Way to fight that off!": when a kid hits a foul ball.
As a batter gets up to the plate: "Whaddya say, #2?" 
Pop fly to the outfield: "You gotta run that out, kid!" for the runner and "Can o' corn!" for the outfielder. 

Some phrases are unique to certain coaches and parents. One of our parents likes to shout, "Lay off that high cheese!" when a pitch comes in too high. A certain coach likes to say "On the hop, boys!" One of my favorites is when a pitch comes in a bit too close to one of our players, and a teammate might joke, "You gotta wear that one!" 

We like to poke fun at my husband's very complicated advice to his batters: "See the ball, hit the ball."  Mmmmhmmm.  That's it. He claims it's a simple game. 

One summer many years ago, one of my sons had a coach who was new to him. How I loved to hear this coach's shout of encouragement to his players. He had a unique phrase that I had not heard before and it made me smile and now I use that phrase all the time and I have noticed it time and time again both on the baseball diamond and the basketball court. 

If my son got a hit and ended up safe on the base, I'd hear this coach shout, "Hey, I see you, Kid!" 


Friday, February 15, 2019

5 Friday Favorites: February 15, 2019

Happy Friday, Friends. 

It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

On Fridays I share things that made me happy from the week - a photo, a song, a quote, a beauty product, a recipe, a pair of cute shoes, etc. If it's a product, sometimes it's something I actually own and sometimes something I just saw online that gave me a smile. Sometimes it's serious and sometimes it's silly. I suppose I believe that God is in the simple details of life and yes, I can even find Him in a tube of lipstick. 

1. Born Bley Suede Buckle Boots

I watched one episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo over the holidays and then I cleaned out my closet and gave away about four bags of clothes and old shoes and boots. Unfortunately, I didn't take the time, as Marie suggests, to talk to those clothes before I threw them in the bag to tell them what they meant to me in the time we were together. And now I wonder if that pair of jeans that I finally realized I would never fit into is disappointed that it failed to get me to stop eating chips and queso. It's not your fault skinny jeans. It was me. You did your best.

Anyway, I told myself that I had to really put myself on a spending freeze this year. I did. But then, I saw that  these boots were on major sale. I mean, MAJOR. When I saw that, I thought of these words from Romans: "I don't understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do." And I really wondered if maybe the Apostle Paul wrote those words when he was standing in the shoe department of the Nordstrom Rack in the city of Corinth.

You see, I had purchased this pair of Born Felicia boots a couple of years ago in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in the cognac color. And guess what Marie Kondo? They spark so much joy in my life that I've been waiting patiently for a grey pair to go on sale.

Then, lo and behold, it happened, kind of. The Bley boot is not exactly like the Felicia, but I knew since they were Born that they would fit well and the heel height was the same. This boot has a double buckle on the side instead of the tie in the back and I love them. Now, I will tell you that by some sort of miracle, I got these for $79.00 and the deal doesn't appear to be as good today. Still, it's a pretty good price for literally the most comfortable boots in the history of ever.

2. Wind Down Sweater

Awhile ago, I saw this sweater featured on this blog's Fashion Friday and I rushed to grab it. I've mentioned one or seventeen times that if there is even 1% of wool in a sweater, it will cause me to look like I have a raging case of pink eye, so I rarely find a sweater I can wear. This one is thin and soft with no wool at all. It's the perfect length for wearing with leggings, and comes in a zillion colors. I love it.

3. Gimme Brow

I mentioned recently that my eyebrows seem to be disappearing and I didn't realize that was a thing when you turned 50. Why so many things, Lord, why? Anyway, I also mentioned that I was going to try Gimme Brow by Benefit a few weeks ago and the verdict is in. This stuff is great. It's great. It's great. I love it. The end.

4. Rainbow Study Bible

My sister-in-law gave me this Bible many years ago. I often get asked about it in my study groups because people wonder about the color coding. Each color represents one of twelve themes and highlights scripture according to the themes. Honestly, I never have memorized the color coding system and don't give it too much thought, but it is interesting sometimes when a scripture has me puzzled to go to the color coding chart and check the theme. Also, for some reason the different colors make it easier for me to read. If you're on the look out for a new Bible, I definitely recommend this one.

5. Sheaffer Top

I got this top to wear to the birthday party back in January that my sweet husband planned for me and I LOVE it. The lace is so pretty and the fit is perfect. It is a steal right now on sale and comes in black, red, and white. This gives me an excuse to show you some photos of my best girls celebrating 50 with me. My top was a great part of the party, but not as great as my people. Unfortunately, they aren't on sale at Nordstrom right now, but I wouldn't let them go for all the money in the world anyway. I'm so darn lucky to have them.

Have a blessed weekend, Friends! :-)

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to Post might contain other affiliate links as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Rambling

Remember that time I returned to my blog and said, "I'll be back soon!"? And then remember how almost a month went by?

Here's the deal, friends. Winter is hard for me as I suppose it is for a lot of people. It's easy for me to look up at the bleak skies and wince at the cold wind thinking that everything now and forever will be stark and empty and grey. It's easier for me to feel God and remember His blessings when the sun breaks through the clouds and I can walk my dog without feeling like we'll both turn to ice.

So sometimes when I am sitting down to write, I think there isn't anything good that's happening to write about right now. I focus on things that have worried me or upset me or made me want to hit the bed for awhile and frankly, those thoughts show up a lot more frequently for me in the winter.

But often when I just start typing here, I realize the lesson that this space brings me again and again. The ordinary life can be the extraordinary life if we just take time to look at it through the right lens. I looked back at what I thought was a cold, boring, depressing month and realized that there was a lot of goodness there. A whole lot of it.

There really always is and that's why I'm grateful that He keeps nudging me back to this space to recap the extraordinary blessings He offers even when my mind is clouded with doubt. It really isn't to bore you with details of my life. It's to remind me and you (and most importantly my children for whom I ultimately am writing) that we must daily open our eyes to what He is trying desperately to show us. The truth of Psalm 27:13-14 pushes out the lie that my mind tries to tell me every winter.

"I am confident of this. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord."

He has good things for you and for me. We just have to watch, wait, and when necessary, write that stuff down. :-)

So here's some of the random and not so random goodness that's been happening that I remembered when I started tapping on this trusty little laptop.

Much of January and the first part of February, as I've mentioned numerous times, has found me stuck in a basketball gym.

We've had anywhere from two to five basketball games a week lately for both Kyle and Drew. A week or so ago, we had senior night for Kyle which was fun and surreal and emotional.

Over this season, we've seen some bad games, some good games, and some amazing games. As we were on the way to the first district play off game on Monday night, which could have very well been Kyle's final game forever, I kept repeating all kinds of stuff to myself about God's timing being the right timing. I was really giving it my best shot to convince myself that if the season was about to be over, that I would trust and feel peace that this was exactly the way it was meant to be and blah, blah, blah.

Then I went ahead and clasped my hands and sent shaky texts to my friend, Jen, while I prayed bold prayers that the Lord might see fit to give us a win and thus a couple more games. I'm so grateful that every single player on our team played his tail off, staying in control of the entire game, securing a victory and guaranteeing that I get to sit in the bleachers at least two more times to watch them play. It was pretty sweet.

Big shout out to the sweet grandmom of one of Kyle's teammates who takes these amazing shots. I'm so grateful. 

While at home in the past few weeks, I found that I sort of fell into a Netflix hole and couldn't stop watching Schitt's Creek. I think it might have stolen my brain for a bit.

This show is ridiculous and funny, but seriously, I don't even know if it's all that good. This is what winter does to my brain. I watch and then I think, "Is it really funny? Is it kinda funny? Is it really dumb? I just have to watch one more and see if I can decide." Then suddenly, I'm in Season 3 and I want to be best friends with David Rose.

Over MLK weekend, we went to Nashville with a bunch of jokers who drank all the drinks and ate all the southern food with me and made me laugh until I cried.

The city was amazing even though they were having a major cold front. It felt like it was 30 below zero outside and was snowing part of the time, but we had no problem finding adequate warmth and shelter inside a whole mess of bars and restaurants where we could eat, drink, eat, drink, and eat some more. Friends are good. Hang on to them tight and whenever possible sing Garth Brooks songs with them while drinking out of a glass shaped like a boot.

Speaking of boots, I bought some cowboy boots at a store in Nashville that had a buy one pair, get two pairs free deal. I mean, my girls and I really had no choice, but to scoop up three identical pairs. I love them with my whole heart - almost as much as I loved the last pair of cowboy boots I owned which were part of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniform I wore on the regular back in the 70s when my lofty hopes and dreams for my future career on the sidelines made my parents incredibly proud.

Also, if you must know I ate biscuits, sausage gravy, and fried chicken for breakfast two days in a row and also cheesy grits at every single meal while in Tennessee. We ate at Puckett's twice where I obviously chose the Bubba's Eggs Benedict because I am classy and treat my body as a temple.

The week after we got back from Nashville it snowed a whole lot and the kids were off of school for almost an entire week. The first night the snow fell, I couldn't even complain. Even though I told my kids that they'd missed so much school they were getting dumber by the minute, it sure was a pretty sight to see when Mack and I bundled up and went for an evening walk.

At the end of January, our church family lost one of our most cherished members, Ruth Dowden, who died at the age of 94.

I was a member of a Wednesday morning Bible study with Ruth this year and it was one of the greatest joys of my life to hear her wisdom and her laughter. It is so important for us to love and know and listen to the women who have come before us and to then turn around and love and know and listen to the women who will come behind us. I'm so sad to have lost Ruth when I was just getting to know her better, but in just a few months of studying the Gospel of Luke with her, I learned more than I could have ever imagined.

You can watch Ruth's service HERE. The timing of her funeral landed right at the same time as most of the country was tuned in to here an "apology" from Virginia's governor which could be found on a multitude of television and radio channels. How it grieved me to know that the world would have been much better off hearing about the life of this amazing woman than the debacle that was being played out in our state capital. I promise you that even if you didn't know her, you will learn from this life well lived. It's worth your time. I sure will miss you, Ms. Ruth. What a gift you were to us.

My parents were here last week and we had such a great time together gathering around the table for dinners, watching basketball, driving through the horse farms and eating lunch in Middleburg and even inviting Mack to play cards with us.

When I look back on the past few weeks, I vividly see some of the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living . . . even though that living was kinda cold and dreary at times.

I hope you, too, can take some time today to recognize some goodness - whether it's giggling at a silly sitcom, cheering a 3 point shot, playing cards with your grandma, drinking a fun drink out of a cowboy boot glass or even just sipping coffee out of a styrofoam cup with a girlfriend while you reassure each other that everything is going to okay.

Watch for Him, wait for Him. He always shows up.

Happy Wednesday.

Friday, January 18, 2019

5 Friday Favorites: It's 2019?!

Happy 2019 from snowy Virginia!

Well, it's been a minute, huh? I'm actually finding it kind of scary to sit back down here again because after being away for over a month from this space, it seems I've done a lot of wondering. Wondering if all my words have dried up. Wondering if this blog has run its course. Wondering if the social media algorithms are so weird now that no one who used to see my blog post links will even see them anymore or really, if they'll even care to see them anymore. Wondering if it doesn't matter anyway because maybe everyone gave up the internet for their New Year's Resolutions and wondering if that might not be the best idea I've ever heard.

There's also been some other kinds of wondering. Wondering why I always have to carry a pair of tweezers around every single place I go now. Wondering why just sleeping has suddenly become a dangerous activity with the potential that I might "sleep wrong" sending me to spend all my money on chiropractors and copious amounts of Advil. Wondering how my boys will ever be resilient enough to make it in the world having never had to memorize a phone number or had the patience to wait for their favorite song to be played on the radio so that they could put their tape recorder up to the stereo speaker and push the record button.

It seems there's been lots of wondering in the past month since I was here. And that may very well be because I turned 50 years old in the time since I last posted. Half a century. 5-0. FIF-TY. Or Fiddy if you happen to be a rapper. Which sadly, I am not. And now I'm wondering if the ship has sailed on my becoming a rapper.

Anyway, when one turns 50 years old I think she's supposed to be compelled to look back on her life and evaluate some things so maybe that's cause for all the wondering. And when you turn 50 right in the throes of all the New Year madness where everyone is shouting at us to change every single thing about our bodies, our closets, our mindsets, our cooking habits and the ways in which we organize our sock drawers so as to spark joy it can cause some looking forward as well.

What I'm saying is simply this: My mind is a difficult place to be right now. There's a whole lot going on in there. If you were living inside my head right now, you'd probably need a strong drink and maybe a puppy.

So it occurs to me - as it has many times in my life - that one thing I know is that when my mind starts exhausting me, I need to write some words. I've been writing a lot for my church lately. I've written some devotionals and some short sermons and that's been great and fulfilling and a wonderful opportunity. But it seems that the best way to keep my mind from getting on my last nerve is to write here as well. I need to write some lists, some stream of consciousness nonsense, some deep questions and some silly questions, too. So now that we've got to the end of this 6th paragraph today, I do believe I'll keep blogging and I hope you'll keep reading.

In keeping with the random nonsense and since it is Friday which is traditionally 5 Friday Favorites around here, we'll start 2019 with a look back at some things from 2018 that have made me super happy.

Favorite Pajamas of 2018

These Jijamas Women's pajamas from Amazon are seriously the softest, best quality pajamas I can remember having in a very long time. And I fancy myself a pajama expert which clearly makes me not very fancy. Steve got these for me for Christmas and it appears that they have tons of different patterns to choose from. They are a little pricey, but they are worth it if you spend as much time in your pajamas as I do.

Favorite Books of 2018

I read a lot of books in 2018 and I had a lot of favorites, but I think by far my favorite was Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. It was fascinating. I highly recommend it.

My favorite fiction book was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The language was beautiful, the story was compelling, and you will fall in love with the main character in seconds.

Runner Ups: Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, Eat Cake Be Brave by Melissa Radke, The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Basketball Season

As you know, based on the title of this here blog, I watched and loved a whole ton of baseball games over the last year. However, I have to choose basketball as my favorite for this year because of the fact that this season is potentially my last as a basketball mama. I'm not sure if Drew will play in high school next year, as his main sport is baseball, so I have determined that I will not miss a second of Kyle's senior season and it's been pure joy. Win, lose, foul, or swish, I am enjoying the fire out of watching Kyle and his teammates. I love it with my whole heart and I'm just trying so hard not to count the days until it's over. It's coming quicker than I want as all of these endings seem to do, so I'll keep sitting in the bleachers, mumbling about the refs, and trying hard not to embarrass anyone by being "that" mom yelling "AND ONE!" every two seconds.

Favorite Podcasts

2018 was the year of the podcast for me and I have to say, it might have become a problem. I've got some favorites that I do not miss each week. Honestly, this makes me have to work real hard to find silence in my day since I tend to have someone talking in my ear buds all day long if I don't fight against it.  One of my very favorites is Dax Shepard's Arm Chair Expert. His podcasts are really long, but I have learned so much from so many of his guests. He interviews celebrities, but also authors, philosophers, and philanthropists. This is not a podcast to listen to with little ears around, so beware, but there are some fascinating people on each episode.

The Big Boo Cast goes a totally different direction and is just like being on the phone with two of your best girlfriends talking about make up, movies, books, college football and snacks. It is hosted by Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson who are two authors and bloggers that I've been following for years. They are delightful and hilarious.

I never miss The PopCast with Knox and Jamie for "educating you on the things that entertain, but do not matter" where you can learn any thing and everything you never needed to know about pop culture. I frequently have hit pause on this because I'm laughing so hard.

Runners Up: The Bible Binge, Jen Hatmaker's For the Love Podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Off Camera with Sam Jones, and That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs

Favorite Beauty Products of 2018

I feel it's appropriate that in my first post back in a month we should end on a very shallow note. The turning of 50 causes a girl to have to explore some new options in the beauty product realm.

Let me amend that, actually. By 50 we are not supposed to care, we are supposed to be grounded and understand who we are and whose we are and we are not supposed to buy into all the marketing ploys telling us that we aren't enough. Yes. All that. I agree. Now, let's move on to my eyebrow situation.

My eyebrows seem to be doing weird things like not having enough hair in certain places and having non-welcome hairs in other places. In addition, there are hairs on my chin and my lip that were not invited to attend my face. So, here are some things that I've had that I've put to good use and some new things I am thinking of trying.

Tweezerman Tweezers

You can see from the photo how important these tweezers are to my daily life. They sit right here on my desk with all of my pens and expo markers.  These are the best and I need a few of them to scatter around the house, in my purse, and in my car because of this unfortunate situation.

Gimme Brow by Benefit

I just bought this brow gel yesterday. I have no idea if it was a good purchase yet, but I have significantly high hopes for all my eyebrow dreams to come true in 2019.

Also, this isn't about brows, but I never used primer before this past year and I still think it might be a hoax, but I've been using this Smashbox Photo Finish Primer for awhile now. It seems to make my make up go on smoother and it just feels good on my face. And now I realize that this is all sounds like it's in my head and I'm likely a big ol' sucker. Whatever. I'm sticking with it.

Well, that's it, Friends. Of course, there were a million other wonderful things about 2018. My friends and my family and my wonderful church and my amazing God all top the list. They were far superior to my tweezers, but I can't link to them on Amazon. ;-)

I wish you an amazing start to your New Year with no weird facial hairs and a lot of love and laughing. I'll be back here again soon!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to Post might contain other affiliate links as well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hit Your Holiday Outta the Park: A Baseball Fan Gift Guide

Happy Holidays Baseball Loving families! If you're feeling like you're a little down in the count today with your gift list, we've got all your bases covered.

(My apologies. The puns were just right there. You know? Right in my wheelhouse.)

Take a look at some fun and creative gift ideas that will make ball players of any age smile.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Farewell, Mr. President.

Dear Mr. President,

In the past five days there have been hundreds of articles written about you by people of great import and experience. There are those with degrees and resumes that boast some of the most powerful positions in the world who are uniquely qualified to speak of you. Political commentators, presidential biographers, former cabinet members, world leaders, and personal friends are remembering and reminding the world of your kindness, your character, your wisdom, your strength, and of course, of the far reaching impact your leadership had on our people, our country, and our world.

And I'm just a girl who lives in the suburbs of Washington DC, attends a few basketball or baseball games a week, and raises and loves three boys and one husband. I go to church and volunteer. I vote and I drive an SUV. I love Jesus, my country, my family, and my friends. And, as I know you did, I have a tendency to write all my feelings down. It seems I've got a lot of them this week, as I always anticipated I would at the time of your passing.

No one will ask me to speak on a panel about you. And yet, so many times over the years I have spoken about you as if you were a member of my family. I have effectively given you the credit for this beautifully basic life that I have built away from our beloved Texas . . . a life, which I remind myself often, is in the very fact of its ordinary-ness, quite extraordinary.

Now, I imagine you would correct me on this point, reminding me that it wasn't really you. It was really the God we both worship - the One with whom you sit in glory today, the One who directs all our paths, and the One who holds our future - who brought me to Washington, DC. He, of course, gave me this life. But as we have heard over and over this week, our God used you in many ways to change the course of the world and as He can handle both big and small things, He used you to help change the course of my little life, too.

I moved from Austin, Texas to Washington DC in 1992 with a degree in Political Science under my belt. It was you who inspired that degree. It was the prospect of your re-election that brought me here. As a certified homebody, I was terrified to be away from my family, but I knew I needed to leave, if just for a bit to prove to myself that I could. I believed so completely and devotedly in who you were and that you should continue to be our president that I drove my Volkswagen across the country, hopped on the Metro, and found myself downtown outside of your campaign headquarters. I volunteered for a couple of weeks there, sitting in a small room to man a phone with a number that was very clearly saved for the VIPs in the party.

(That's actually sarcasm, Sir. You know it well. I think that phone might have rung twice in those weeks.)

Eventually I found myself a position - if it could even be called a position - in the lowest depths of the Republican National Committee's office. I was so far down the food chain that I had to push the button on the elevator, not for B1, but for B2. I was literally in the basement of the basement.

In the desk next to me was a boy who made me laugh as I opened mail and calculated small donor checks. Just about every day he offered to ride the elevator up to B1 to get me a diet Coke and never took my money. He recognized when I had gotten my hair cut (for the first and last time ever, I might point out) and invited me to eat lunch in the park around the corner from our building. He drove a jeep which I thought was the coolest thing ever. We ate Mexican food at a very fancy restaurant where you had to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom and watched Fletch on our first date. Along with other recent college graduates working on the Hill, we met at the bar down the street after work, shot pool, fed quarters into a jukebox, and believed with our entire hearts that you would lead us for the next four years.

The loss of the election hit me really hard. It wasn't that I felt I had personally failed at some political strategy to help you get re-elected. (Did I mention B2?). It was because of a host of other reasons that it took me awhile to understand.

I vividly remember that the morning after Election Day was grey and dismal in Washington DC. It was a true reflection of how I felt. I remember walking around the city with a friend completely stunned and very, very sad. I remember how we stopped to see the headline of The Washington Times in one of those coin operated machines on the street that you don't see anymore. The headline, "President Clinton: Bush ousted in Electoral College Landslide" made my stomach drop and tears well up in my eyes. I was so young and so confused.

I look back now and realize that the devastation I felt had as much to do with how much I thought you should be President as with the crushing realization that there were people out there who did not agree with me. I mean, what??!! I simply couldn't understand it and it was a lesson that I needed desperately to learn. I was so sure, so idealistic, so dismissive of polls that said that you could very likely lose. And yet, this reality was something I needed to know. There are people who don't view the world as I do. There are people who don't believe that my way is the best way. And in this case, it was the majority of the people. I was flabbergasted. It's almost funny now to look back and see how shocking this realization was to my naive 23 year old self.

In the end, I watched how you handled disagreements and defeat graciously and humbly. I watched how our country was resilient and strong enough to peacefully handle change. I found that I, too, could be on the losing side and come out okay. Essentially, I learned that I could disagree with folks - even those who live in my own house - and still find that they were good, decent, loving people, too. I found that relationships were more important than always being right.

I had intended to go back to Texas after the election, but there was the problem of that boy. I decided to stay an extra six months because I wasn't sure I wanted him to live a life without me in it. Turns out I didn't let him. I've been here twenty-six years now. After we got married, we walked into our reception and there you stood.


My parents had set up a life size cutout of you on the dance floor at our wedding reception. We laughed and thanked "you" for being our matchmaker.

We couldn't swing watching your service today live, so we promised each other we would wait to watch until later so that we could be together. We will watch it in its entirety. We won't miss a minute. Historians and world leaders will stand and thank you today. They will remind us that our country is better because of you.

But I don't need them to tell me because I have always known.

So when we watch the nation bid farewell to you, I will whisper the same to the heavens as I have many times before.

Thank you, George Herbert Walker Bush. I came to this place because of you. I met this man because of you. I have this family because of you. My story is what it is because of you. I am forever grateful. Rest well, sir.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

NVTBL: Finding Gratitude in the Midst of Muddy Cleats

I am a girl. A girly-girl. I like girl things. I like clean, sweet-smelling things. I like manicures and facials. I like beauty products and bubble baths. I like shopping and shoes. I REALLY like shoes. And what am I thankful for?

I am thankful for mud-caked spikes and sweaty jerseys. I'm thankful for baseball pants that I know were white when I bought them and now would take some sort of yet to be invented maximum supreme strength oxi-clean to get them back to what they used to be. I'm thankful for that wet, dirty dog smell that comes whizzing by me when they come in from playing whiffle ball in the field next to our house.