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155-number-five-birthday-cakeFor a change of pace for us, we actually had Landon's family birthday party on his actual birthday. Aunt Donelda came to town just for the occasions and Ma, Pa, and Aunt Catherine rounded out the guest list.

With all the goings on, Mary somehow still found time to make another awesome number cake. Landon chose a vanilla cake with his favorite color orange icing. He rounded out his birthday dessert with some chocolate ice cream.



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Landon proudly showing off his number 5 birthday cake under his number 5 balloon.

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Blowing out his birthday candles.

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Landon is extremely excited about his awesome birthday cake and ice cream.

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Reading one of his birthday cards.

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Landon loved all of his gifts. Thanks to everyone for helping make Landon's birthday extra special.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Landon had his fifth birthday party with his friends at Home Depo today. Everyone got to build and paint a birdhouse. Aunt Catherine and Ma and Pa joined us as well as Aunt Donelda who came all the way from Chicago for Landon's birthday.

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Landon hammering together his birdhouse.

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Aunt Catherine and Will taking a break from building their birdhouse.

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Drew hammering and smiling at the same time.

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Ma and Pa even built their own birdhouse.

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Landon painted his birdhouse his favorite color orange.

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The absolutely awesome Lego Minifig Captain America cake Mary made.

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Landon blowing out his birthday cake candles.

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Captain America sustained a serious injury, unfortunately for him, its only going to get worse.

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The cake and ice cream were a hit.

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One of Landon's birthday cards must have been pretty funny.

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Aunt Donelda and her builder nephews.

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All the family celebrating Landon's birthday.

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Landon's friends who helped make his birthday celebration extra special.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Drew played his fourth soccer game of the season today. The game was special because Aunt Donelda got to see it as she was in town for Landon's birthday.

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Drew had a great header back at the goal after a defender tried to clear the ball. It all happened so quick my camera didn't have a chance to focus.

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My knees hurt watching Drew plant his foot and twist for a kick.

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Drew controls the ball for another quick change of directions.

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Looking down field, the sprint is on!

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This looks like it's going to be a powerful kick.

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I was just commenting earlier this week, about how rare it was to catch one of the boys making a play, with the ball in frame, while looking exactly in the direction of the camera and, what happens, I get a picture of Drew doing just that!

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Landon and Aunt Donelda with their favorite soccer star. Mama and Will had to miss the game because Will had baseball practice at the same time. The other team today was packed with huge 13 year-olds in this 10-13 league (I thought they were the 14 and up team when I first saw them) and, as a result, we wound up losing 0-4 despite our kids playing their hearts out.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Mary made another amazing Lego minifig cake for Landon's birthday. This time it was Captain America! It, of course, takes red, white and blue icing, along with some peach, a touch of grey and some black outline (not shown).

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The generic Lego minifig cake ready for the icing to make it magical.

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The peach face and red hands are done.

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The blue icing applied along with a few black lines on the head and toothpick marks elsewhere mapping out the rest of the icing to come.

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The completed Lego Minifig Captain America Cake.

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Mary's awesome Lego Minifig Captain America cake as it appeared at Landon's fifth birthday.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Will played well this evening in his seventh game of the season. In his first at bat, Will whacked the ball hard but it was right to a fielder who thew him out at first.

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This almost looks like a time-lapse photo as the left fielder, Will playing shortstop and the pitcher all go after the ball at the same time.

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A closer up shot of Will from the previous photo watching the fly ball.

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Will is serious now, he's in is low ready position.

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Will walloped another one on his second at bat.

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This time Will wound up safe at first.

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The next batter advanced Will to second but he was left stranded on base at the end of the inning. Notice his two clouds of dust as he sprints away.

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Ready at second base.

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Checking out a pop-up that went to another player.

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Still at second base, a line drive was hit that went to a little too far to Will's left to be caught but he made a great effort anyway.

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Now that is keeping your eye on the ball! I don't know of another picture I've taken of the boys that is so well lined up like this one where they were making the play while looking in the direction of the camera.

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Finally, Will and one of his teammates made a great play at second to get a runner out. Despite Will doing great in the field and batting .500 for the game, his team lost to one of the better teams in the league.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

Maybe as much as a year ago, we started occasionally stopping at the pet store and animal rescue center to look at cats. It has been almost three years since our beloved Joey passed and we have been missing having a kitty around. On one trip to the rescue center, Landon found a cat he really liked whose name was Bobbie. Ever since then, he has been asking about Bobbie and when we were going to adopt her. It did make it easier when we went looking at cats, all we had to do was look for the one named Bobbie.

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One night Mary was surfing Petfinder.com and came across this adorable little kitty (photo from the Petfinder website).

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Mary fell in love with her as we all did when we went to meet her. Bobbie is a tabby and domestic short hair gray and white mix about three years old.

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Bobbie immediately assimilated to life with the Danzes. We haven't had the slightest of problem with her. She is quite the lady!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Apr 20 2014

Happy Easter 2014

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Yesterday, we visited the Easter Bunny at the mall. We were trying to figure out if it was going to be the real Easter Bunny or just a helper. We decided we would be able to tell by the feet. Upon seeing the bunny and his feet, Landon determined that this was in fact the real Easter Bunny!

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Enjoying an escalator ride at the mall.

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There were some flowers outside the mall that were begging for some handsome boys to pose with them.

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Finally, after church today, the boys sitting in front of the altar.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

Drew had his third soccer game of the season today and made some incredible moves.

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Just a bit into the game, Drew made an incredible move. He was dribbling down the field at full speed with one defender right on his left shoulder and another sprinting toward him from the right. Then Drew made his move, stopping on a dime and shuffling to his right. Both defenders blew past him as he nearly faked them out of their shorts. With an open lane, Drew made an easy pass up field to his teammate.

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Ahead of the defenders, Drew is making the turn just before passing off.

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Drew is in a field of blue defenders as he receives a pass and is about to make another incredible move shown in the series below.

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As a pass came to Drew he controlled the ball with his left foot, passed it over to his right foot (much to the surprise of the closest defender), and then used his long legs to pass the ball right to his teammate.

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Drew took a hard hit to the head but toughed it out and kept playing like nothing happened.

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Drew and two teammates were attacking the goal when Drew made a key play to keep the attack going followed shortly by his teammate (the girl he passed to in both plays above) scoring the only goal of the game.

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Later in the game the opposing team passed one to their goalie. While all his teammates started running down field, Drew stayed behind to harass the goalie for which he was almost rewarded with a goal. The game ended with a 1-0 victory.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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While taking Amber outside today, I noticed a butterfly in our Emerald Blue Creeping Phlox (phlox subulata).

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Side view, getting ready to dive in.

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Diving in for the good stuff.

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The beautiful pattern on its wings.

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A close up showing the butterfly's wing pattern.

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I was so caught up with the butterfly, I didn't take a good overall picture of our Emerald Blue Creeping Phlox. I went back out in the evening after the creeping phlox was in the shade and took this photo.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

Will's team played their sixth baseball game of the season tonight. Will had to miss the game because it is Holy Thursday and we all attended mass in the evening together. His team lost 4-14 without him.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Will started out his fifth game of the season playing second base.

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The next inning, Will played pitcher which is just a defensive position since the opposing team's coach pitches to the batter. Will is going after a ball that was hit to the third baseman.

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Will's team did a good job defensively keeping the game close the first half of the game. Here Will is playing left field and going after a ball hit between him and the center fielder.

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Will raced to the ball beating the center fielder and, as this series shows, he made a lightning quick throw spot on to the cut-off man. The cut-off man in deep short then raced the runner rounding third base to home plate tagging him out on his last step a fraction of a second before he tagged home plate. If not for our shortstop's speed and Will's quick turnaround we would not have gotten the out. My camera takes 6 frames a second, so Will turned this one around in an amazing 5/6th's of a second!

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Will had one of our longest hits of the night walloping one to left field.

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Taking a well deserved breather at first base.

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Will made it safe to second base but wasn't so lucky getting to third as his teammate grounded to the third baseman. Our boys didn't have their bats tonight as they were shut out in a frustrating loss.

(Something else occurred tonight that I may right about later and just wanted to note for future reference.)

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Apr 12 2014

New Custom Computer

It has as been six years since I bought a new desktop computer. And, that one was picked with the express understanding that it "would not have to have a life-span of nearly seven years." I have been looking at components for over two years and waiting for the next generation of some parts and other parts to simply mature.

Fed up with Dell customer support (I'm looking at you "Kevin" in New Delhi) and their crippling proprietary hardware, I tried piecing together systems on boutique custom builders' websites. But, although I got close, I never was offered all the hardware options I wanted. So, I finally decided on just ordering all the parts myself which would provide the benefit of getting precisely the parts I wanted. The decision was finalized when the IT vendor we use as work said he would put it all together for a bargain price. I would have loved assembling everything and installing the operating system but I just didn't have a full weekend available which it would have easily taken this first time builder, nor was I looking forward the frustrations that would likely accompany a first time build.

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These are all the parts prior to assembly:

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
Motherboard: Asus Z87-DELUXE/QUAD ATX LGA1150
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 770 4GB
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Storage: Western Digital RE 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Western Digital RE 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Optical Drive: Asus BW-16D1HT Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer
CPU Cooler: Corsair H110 94.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Power Supply: SeaSonic 760W ATX 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular
Case: Corsair 650D ATX Mid Tower Case
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit)

The 256GB SSD is for the operating system and programs. The 128GB SSD is for temp files and Photoshop scratch disk. One 3TB HDD is for data while the second is for backup. (I also have full online backup and other redundant physical backup.)

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The end result, is a screaming fast systems that doesn't slow down for the most demanding task (Photoshop/Premiere) I can throw at it. I couldn't be happier!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Will played his fourth baseball game of the year tonight.

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Will started out on defense as catcher. He likes playing the position but only when it's not too hot out. Fortunately, the coach rotates players through the position so that Will only has to play the position for one inning.

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Will taking one to the face mask on a foul-tip.

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Will about to smack a long one, with his eye on the ball and a great grimace on his face.

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Getting some pointers from the first base coach.

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Will was so excited to get to third that he did a little happy-hop, a very uncharacteristic move for Mr.-Serious-When-I-Play-Baseball. Unfortunately, he wound up being stranded there.

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In addition to catcher, Will played second base, left and right field.

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Will covering second base. He does a great job always being in the right position.

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Will about to smack the ball for a second time to go 2 for 3 for the day.

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Getting five from the first base coach after belting a long base hit.

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Finally, the best part, crossing home plate as Will's team won 11-3.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

I was out of town attending another hearing in Boise City today when Will had his third baseball game of the season. He did a great job fielding and hitting the ball twice making it safely on base one of those times. The boys went on to win the game 7-3.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Drew had his second game of soccer today as part of a double header against two different teams. It is the only time he'll have two games on one day. I have no sense of how many "good" pictures I'll get each game so there might be more here than necessary, but I thought these were all deserving of being posted.

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This is a series of Drew doing a great job of advancing the ball up field. He was dribbling along at full speed and then, as a defender approached, he booted the up field to a teammate. Notice the defender reacting to Drew's powerful kick.

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Drew making a turn while dribbling the ball.

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Now in full stride while still keeping the ball under control.

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I love this photo, Drew is moving fast with both feet off the ground while he has the ball under close control and, at the same time, looking down field.

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This is an awesome series showing Drew dribbling fast down the field and being approached by an older and much bigger defender. Drew is not the least bit intimidated and stretches out his long leg to get the ball past the defender and keep on dribbling, literally, leaving the defender in the dust.

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I nice shot of Drew almost facing the camera about to kick the ball. (It's also a nice Nike/Under Armour commercial.) Despite what was a very even game, the other team scored a quick goal on a breakaway resulting in a 0-1 loss.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Drew had his first ever outdoor soccer game today. All three boys have played indoor soccer at Soccer City but none of them have ever played outdoors. The team is co-ed recreational 10-13 year-olds in the Mid-Land Soccer Club league.

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Drew played defender and midfielder and did an incredible job.

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The teams' colors were different shades of green and official jerseys had not yet come in for either team leaving a confusing hodgepodge of jersey colors which was remedied shortly after the game started by our players donning pinnies (or as Coach called them "targets").

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Despite being on the younger end of the age spectrum, Drew held his own successfully stopping several attacks on our goal.

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The only score of the game came after one of the other team's players used his hands to stop a shot on goal. We were given a penalty kick and scored a goal resulting in a 1-0 final score.

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Drew had a great time and we all enjoyed watching him play his new sport!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Will had his second baseball game of the year which finished up the boys' two game stint in Coweta.

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Will played shortstop, here, along with second base and left-center field.

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Will had a good solid hit but it was to the right side of the field.

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The other team was just able to throw Will out at first in a close one that briefly pulled the first baseman off the bag.

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Fielding a ground ball at second base.

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A long one was hit right between two of our outfielders and Will was the first to chase it down. My camera takes 6 frames a second and Will had the ball in his hand for 8 frames which equates to just 1 1/3 seconds. It was the fastest I'd ever seen a seven year-old pick up, turn around, and throw in a ball from the outfield. Great job Will!

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A throw into the dirt didn't get the runner out in this play at second. Our boys just didn't bring their bats tonight while the other team lit up the scoreboard. The final score was what's called, "not close."

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Will had his first baseball game of the season this evening. He started out in center field with the low evening sun shining in his face. He's still using his daddy's little league glove from the mid-1970s.

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It is all coach-pitch this season. Will got a hit on his first at bat. He's about to wallop this ball.

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Casually standing on first base after a good solid hit. We really like the team's uniforms this year.

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The next batter up hit a long one allowing Will to go from first to third.

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Crossing home plate!

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The next inning Will got to take a turn behind the plate.

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On Will's next at bat, he hit the first pitch so quick I wasn't yet in position and was only able to get him after he smacked the ball.

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Safe on first again with another base hit!

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With some help from his teammates' bats, Will was able to cross home plate again.

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Will was in the middle of the action at second base when his team was up by just one point, with the bases loaded and only one out. The other team hit the ball and our boys made an amazing double-play to end the inning and win the game!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |