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Will, Landon and Drew after church today.
This is the last day Aunt Donelda is in town so we made sure to take some family photos.
The Danz family!
Yesterday was Landon's third birthday and today we had his party with family, cake and presents.
Mary made another terrific number cake with Landon's favorite color orange piping. The vanilla cake also had surprise sprinkles inside.
The cake was a hit with everyone.
Landon getting ready to blow out the candles on his third birthday cake.
Ready to dig into his cake with a familiar "3" in the background.
Drew, Landon and Will share in the celebration.
Landon opening up his first present.
Landon's Teach Me Elmo doll was an instant favorite. You can't go wrong with Elmo!
Opening one of the last packages. Landon did a great job opening his gifts and was truly interested and excited about every one. Thanks to everyone who helped make Landon's third birthday extra special.
Last week Landon had his first ever soccer lesson at Soccer City. Since the lessons require parent participation and last week was Landon's first lesson, I didn't take any pictures. This week, however, was a different story.
Probably because he's the youngest, Landon is significantly more proficient at soccer than his brothers were when they first started. Landon instinctively dribbles the ball, looks ahead at where he's gong and is under much greater control at all times. It really was surprising how well he took to it.
Landon controlling the ball and looking ahead at his target.
Leaping to get ahead of the ball.
All smiles during a game of alien tag.
Landon is excited about making a goal.
Drew, Landon and Will on the field together.
After a great practice, Landon joins his brothers who are now taking their turn for the first time watching the action. After the break, a soccer stadium full of pictures.
Aunt Donelda is in town for Landon's birthday. Tonight we all went to bingo night at Drew and Will's school. While the table we sat at was pretty lucky, we didn't win anything but we still had lots of fun.
The coach has been rotating each player through every position and today was Will's turn to play catcher for the whole game. Here he is hustling into position.
Will started out in the classic catcher's stance. His free hand wasn't being protected behind his back but in t-ball there aren't many foul balls that hit the catcher.
After a while, it's just easier to sit down.
In the action, watching the hitter do his stuff.
Will using his mind to levitate a ball or a ball just hit off the tee.
Will keeping his eye on a just hit ball.
Finally, Will's turn at bat which resulted in some good hard grounders.
Will hit a fast one right to the player playing between the first and second basemen. The boy was able to pick it up and just beat out Will to first. If Will hadn't hit it so hard, he would have been safe.
With the sun going down, Will continued to stand his ground at home plate.
Will maintained his focus even with the sun in his eyes. He was pretty tired afterward and even though he likes the position, a whole game of catching is quite lot to ask of a five year-old. Finally, I missed the last few minutes of the game as I had to go pick up Drew from his baseball practice.
Will played pitcher tonight which meant he was at the center of most of the action. This is his self-created ready position.
Kindergarten t-ball means a lot of work for the pitcher. Will worked hard to get in front of the balls hit his way.
But, some went to the right.
Some to the left.
And, others back to the right.
Still, others went left again.
Finally, a hopper up the middle.
Will taking a knee for fielding this one.
Once fielded, it was time to make the throw to first.
Another great throw to first. I think Will got the runner out on this one!
Will shows off perfect form keeping his eye on the ball.
Putting some weight behind this one.
About to make his third hit of the night.
Will racing to first, with another RBI in the background.
Finally, Will giving his coach five on first base.
Work today took me to Custer County and its county seat of Arapaho, Oklahoma. The county is named after George Armstrong Custer who was killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn fighting Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. So, the county/county seat have a yin-yang thing going there.
According to the 2010 census, the town has a population of 796. While this is a lower population than Boise City, the county seat of Cimarron County, it is not the smallest or even the second smallest county seat in Oklahoma: Ellis County's county seat Arnett has a population of 524 and Dewey County's county seat Taloga has a population of just 299.
On the way to and from the courthouse, I went past the Weatherford Wind Energy Center located in Custer and Washita counties, Oklahoma.
The 147-megawatts wind farm consists of 98 1.5-megawatt GE turbines that are capable of generating enough electricity to power more than 44,000 homes.
Each wind turbine is approximately 262 feet tall from the ground to the hub in the center of the blades.
Will had his fourth game tonight and continued his streak of powerful hitting.
Here's Will racing to first with another RBI heading home in the background.
Will's serous face has been supplanted by a Michael Jordan-esque tongue sticking out...no idea how that happened.
Chasing down a ground ball...tongue sticking out.
Racing for another grounder...tongue out again.
Grabbing a grounder at second base.
Here the boys are demonstrating a common technique of kindergarten fielding, the group effort.
Both boys had games at the exact same time tonight again and this time it was Drew's turn for Daddy to take pictures while Mama and Landon watched Will play.
On Drew's first at bat he hit a dribbler to the pitcher. Despite the poor hit, Drew raced to first base as fast as he could. The pitcher fielded the ball and made a nice throw to first which the first baseman caught (all of which doesn't happen every time at this level). Drew, however, never slowed down and sped through the bag at full speed. The play was close but Drew was...SAFE! I really think it was the fastest I've ever seen him run and it got him a hit.
There was a big hit when Drew was on second and here he is getting the green light rounding third.
The outfield was busy tonight with Drew fielding balls and backing other players up.
This is Drew smacking a long one that landed deep in the outfield. I don't think I've ever seen him hit one farther.
Drew about two or three steps from the plate still in the process of dropping his bat and watching his ball go DEEP!
Drew fielded a quick ground ball in right field and made the snap decision to skip the cut-off man and throw it to first base. He just missed getting the runner out. It was a great "thinking" play that the boys had never practiced.
Both Drew and Will had baseball games at the same time tonight. Fortunately, the games were at the same complex. I watched Will while Mama and Landon watched Drew.
These are all shots of Will warming up before the game. None of them were posed, as in "smile for the camera." They were all natural spontaneous expressions of how happy Will is to be with his friends playing ball. Note, however, in the 600+ photos* I took during the game...not a single smile. Will is serious when it's game time.
(* While this sounds like a lot, at 8 frames/second, it is only a minute and 15 seconds of shooting.)
Will about to get his first hit of the night.
Scoring at home plate.
Another hard hit ball as Will went 3 for 3 for the night.
Will's last hit of the evening before the game was called because of lightning. Apparently, though, playing in the rain during a tornado watch is OK as long as there is no lightning.
The highlight of the night was Will playing catcher. Drew was the first Danz ever to play catcher last year. Will did a terrific job especially considering he's never played catcher before, this is only his second baseball game ever, he had no advance notice that he'd play catcher and no one has ever told him what a catcher does.
Admittedly, there's not a lot to do as catcher in kindergarten t-ball. But, Will looked like a champ that had played the position for years.
The exact opposite of Drew, Will said he liked playing catcher and wanted to do it again sometime.
Drew's second game of the season tonight. Fielding was great but that wasn't the highlight of this game.
The highlight was hitting! This was Drew's first hit as he went 3 for 3 in coach pitch tonight.
Another hit for Drew.
Drew's third hit of the night all of which resulted in him scoring twice.
It's getting crowded at second base.
This time, Drew is rounding second at full speed.
Sadly, the team lost 16 to 17 after an amazing comeback and keeping the other team scoreless for two outs in the bottom of the last inning before letting 2 runs score to end the game.
Along with their baskets, the Easter Bunny brought each of the boys a stuffed bunny.
The Easter Bunny also brought the boys water squirters: a shark for Will, an alligator for Landon and a dragon for Drew.
After church, we went to Ma and Pa's for an awesome lunch and an Easter egg hunt. Finally, when we got home, we had our own Easter egg hunt and then bounced off the walls for a while from all the candy before finally going to bed. (Actually, the boys were all pretty good and we didn't have any problems.)
Today we visited the Easter Bunny at the mall. Afterward, Landon went up the the Easter Bunny and told him that he wanted "Sarbursts" for Easter. The Easter Bunny nodded his head up and down. I'm sure Landon's basket will be filled with Starbursts tomorrow.
Will had his very first baseball game tonight. He started out in the field playing first base. He was so excited!
At this level, the "throws" to first pretty much just roll in. This one was just a little too late to get the runner.
Will's first ever at bat. He got a base hit and wound up going 4 for 4 for the day!
Will showing great concentration on his second hit of the evening.
Happy to be on first base.
Running for second base.
A long Danz family stride on the way to third base.
Will making certain to step on home plate.
Will chasing after a grounder hit to left field.
Throwing the ball in from left field.
Will's third hit, a nice bat drop and focused on the base ahead.
Will was so excited, I swear his feet never touched the ground.
He just floated around the bases.
Finally, Will just about to get his fourth hit.
If smiles were runs...the boys would never lose a game.
Just as Will has been a loyal fan for Drew the past two years, it's now Drew's turn to be the cheering brother. Landon, as always, is a great sport routing on his brothers, "Go Will!"
After the game, it was starting to get dark as Will posed for some photos with a smile that couldn't be wiped away.
Great game Will. We're all looking forward to a really fun season.
Drew's first baseball game of the season was tonight. This is the first year for pure coach pitch and it was tough for both teams, not much action and few runs. This is Drew tearing after a fly ball.
The best photo of the night was this play at second. While it might look like the runner was safe sliding under the tag, he was actually out on a force.
Drew after the game in a lousy unnatural pose thanks to the photographer.