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  • 5 Reasons Why Baseball is the Best Sport
    5 Reasons Why Baseball is the Best Sport

    5 Reasons Why Baseball is the Best Sport

    As we come to a close with spring, we reflect on baseball. The birds are chirping, my yard has turned green, all the trees have buds on them, and the crack of the bat can be heard on fields all over the place. Ever since I was a little kid I have loved baseball. I grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates fan mainly because they were good when I was young. When they started to stink I became a Mets fan, then when the Mets turned bad I became an Orioles fan. While that is probably a horrible way to be a fan, more than being a fan of any one team, I am a fan of the game. Some might think that baseball is boring. And while there is a lack of action, the same can be said about football. How much of that game is spent in a huddle? While the popularity of the sport has decreased over the years and football has seemed to skyrocket, baseball to me still remains the best sport by a mile. Here’s why: 1. It’s the only team sport where there is no time limit. There is no shot clock, there is no play clock, what happens on the field happens slowly, if at all. The MLB is putting rules into place to speed up the game and I have to wonder why. Sure it takes longer to play the game than it did 50 years ago, but how much of the problem lies with our decreased attention spans? With everyone being so connected nowadays, and needing everything to happen instantaneously, isn’t it nice to have something that just kind of unwinds at its own pace? 2. It teaches history. More than any other sport, baseball has a connection to the past. I’ve been to both the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and there is way more history in baseball. There is a romance to it. More than likely it was your grandfather’s favorite sport and your father’s as well. Football is popular nowadays, but families are connected through baseball. I like football and basketball, but they aren’t something that I can pass on to my kids. 3. It sounds better. Unlike football, basketball, and hockey the crowds aren’t always cheering. You can talk to people and actually enjoy yourself. If you have ever been to Wrigley Field in Chicago and heard the crack of the bat you know what I am talking about. You don’t get that in football. Stadiums still have organists, you don’t get that at a basketball game where sometimes the game is secondary to the music that they play. 4. The weather is better. It’s summer; while you might have to worry about the random rain shower, you will never have to worry about the snow and cold (unless of course your team is playing in the World Series in late October). When boys of summer come out to play every year you know that the weather is getting better. Opening Day might as well be the unofficial first day of summer. 5. You can play it with your kids. Even with the increased popularity of football and basketball, their isn’t a father alive that hasn’t fantasized about playing catch with their kids. I imagine we buy homes with a back yard just so we can toss a ball around. Ever see a father and son throwing a football around or kicking a soccer ball back and forth? Something just doesn’t look right. A catch with a baseball? Now that looks perfect.
  • The Best Gift Ideas for Teenagers: A Blank Journal
    The Best Gift Ideas for Teenagers: A Blank Journal

    The Best Gift Ideas for Teenagers: A Blank Journal

    If you need gift ideas for teenagers, let me tell you about the one gift that has been the greatest gift for my kids: A blank journal. Way back when I was a teenager, a thoughtful teacher took me out for lunch (today, that would be totally frowned upon!) and gave me a blank journal as a gift. She encouraged me to write every day and put down my deepest thoughts and feelings. I had previously captured my thoughts in a ratty notebook. I just couldn’t bear to marr the pages of this beautiful journal with random ramblings so I filled it with inspirational quotes and my poetry instead. Today, when I read through the journal, I’m instantly transported back into my high school years and the memories that float there. So many of the quotes are so relevant today that I find myself randomly opening pages and instantly being inspired by the words. What a gift. I have two boys and a girl–and I’ve given each of them journals. My daughter took off with the journal idea and requested more and more journals as gifts throughout the years. She has quite a collection of journals now and shows no signs of stopping. There’s something tangible when you put the written word to paper. A computer file just can’t hold a candle to the process of physically writing out your thoughts. Even though my boys don’t embrace the concept as deeply as my daughter has, I know someday they’ll look back and appreciate the journals. When you give your teenager a blank journal, here are some ways they could fill up the journal: Daily gratitude thoughts: Every morning and every night, reflect on what you’re grateful for Daily happenings: Capture the highlights of each day on a page Idea journal: Write down random thoughts and ideas that you can use or develop for the future Goal journal: Write down your dreams and goals–outline the steps to reach them Capture favorite quotes: Gather inspirational quotes. You can pass the journal around to friends and ask them to write their favorite quotes. Life lessons: Write down the life lessons you’ve learned. You can pass the journal around to friends and mentors and ask them to share their best life lessons. Diary: This is the typical use of blank journals. Pour your heart out on every page. You can find blank journals for a reasonable price at Target and Walmart. You’ll also find them online at Amazon and Etsy stores. You can even create a personalized, customized journal on sites such as Zazzle. If you’re the crafty parent, you can order blank journals in bulk and add your personalized design to the cover. When I was a teenager, my best friend and I passed a notebook back and forth and we shared our thoughts and daily happenings. Thirty years later, it’s been a fun trip down memory lane to read this notebook. The teenage dramas that we wrote about years ago seem quite trivial in today’s eyes!
  • The Homebirth Choice, An Inside Look At Giving Birth at Home
    The Homebirth Choice, An Inside Look At Giving Birth at Home

    The Homebirth Choice, An Inside Look At Giving Birth at Home

    Homebirth as an option? I certainly didn’t even consider it when I became pregnant with my first child. My oldest son was born via cesarean after an induced labor. When I was pregnant with my second child, I really wanted a Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC). I switched to a different OB/GYN who supported my choice. Unfortunately, I consented once again to being induced and after 14 hours of labor which included manual dilation, my daughter was born via cesarean. With both children, I broke out in hives after the epidural was inserted. With two cesareans behind me, the odds of having a VBAC with my third weren’t great. When I became pregnant with my third child, I read every book that I could about childbirth and VBAC. The more I read, the more I realized I wanted to have my child at home. I talked with several moms who had their children at home. A friend of mine lent me Sheila Kitzinger’s “Homebirth.” When I closed the last page of the book, I knew it for sure, I wanted a homebirth. My husband was initially a bit apprehensive, but he jumped on board after we went over the pros and cons. Not everyone supported the idea of homebirth. We were living on the fringe with our decision, as every single one of our friends gave birth in the hospital. The whole concept of birthing at home was a foreign one. I invited my mom to the birth, but she was too scared to come. “I’m afraid something will happen or I won’t be able to handle the blood,” she said. To prepare for the birth, I put together a birthing kit which included bed pads, a suction bulb, and gloves. Everything else was brought in by my midwives. Every practitioner is different–check with yours to determine what is needed. I prepared a crockpot with a stack of washcloths for warm compresses and covered the mattress with a shower curtain under the sheet. I knew I wanted to labor in water and possibly have a water birth. Just a month before the birth, we came up with the brilliant (or so, we thought) idea of ripping out our bathtub and putting in a large soaking tub. There I was, hugely pregnant, taking a hammer to the wall tile. The bathroom looked like a war zone when I first stepped into the tub, but the water was incredibly soothing. However, my memories of “support” in the early stages of labor included my husband occasionally asking, “How ya doing now?” in between installing floor tile as I labored. Word to the wise–if you want a water birth, I highly recommend renting a tub instead. While I took Lamaze for my first and Bradley for my second, I opted to go with hypnobirthing for my third. What an amazing difference. I welcomed every contraction using meditation, visualization, and deep relaxation. My husband captured the birth with a camera on a tripod, and there’s not a single peep out of me during the pushing stage. I highly recommend hypnobirthing! One bit of advice, and I’m speaking from experience–if your homebirth practitioner suggests a chemical induction at home–RUN. Cytotec or a pharmaceutical induction has no place in a homebirth. I asked some homebirthing moms for their advice to share and here’s what they had to say: EMBRACE the process. The only way to get out of labor is go through it.Embrace the parts that suck because that’s the only way it will end. YOU WILL feel like you cannot do it. You will feel exhausted and done when everyone’s telling you’re almost done. If you can push through that hump in your mind, it will go fast.” ~Chelsea Nelson “Interview as many midwives as you can so you can and select the one who best suits you overall.It’s such an intimate relationship compared to obstetrics that the intangibles are very important. Know your power and trust yourself!” ~Christina Pisani Sonas “Research midwives, interview, ask lots of questions; have a solid transport plan in place in the need of going to a hospital; meet the OB who serves as backup for the midwife – if the midwife doesn’t have a solid relationship with a local, reputable OB, move on.” ~Elizabeth Parish Bruffey “Research on homebirth is also important so you can tell the people who give you a hard time about it lots of information (there will always be people that think you’re crazy for having a homebirth.) Don’t be dead set against hospitals either. There is definitely a time and a place for them.” ~Brooke Fillin Olsen “Have a HUGE ( at least 4’x4′) old vinyl tablecloth, waterproof drop cloth or heavy plastic to protect your floor, and/or bed. And lots of towels!” ~Carole Cannon “Decide if you’d like a water birth and either get a kiddie pool with high sides…or I used a Rubbermaid “cow trough”, that was available to borrow from a home birthing “co-op”. It’s way sturdier than a blow up pool and the water can be filled up almost to your neck.” ~Denise Wyble “Utilize the shower/bathtub. Go outside and walk as much as possible. Have ice packs ready for after the birth (condoms filled with water make the best). Have complete confidence in the midwife, doctor or whoever is your practitioner or get another one.” ~Jackie Wellwood “My 4th was born at home. I’d say, choosing a good midwife is #1. Also, I think being relatively close to a hospital is actually a good thing in case you do happen to be the rare emergency. And discuss the logistics w/ the midwife to make sure you and she both have a plan for transport in the event that would be necessary.” Amy Starr Kwilinski “Follow your instincts. Listen to and trust your body. Don’t let fear get in the way.” ~Chelsea Evans Doak “You don’t need to convince any in-laws or family members that homebirth is safe, do it if you want to. Read the books, know the signs and symptoms, practice the breathing. And then remember that it all goes out the window.” ~Ruth Pauls