Where we were then

We are the World Series Champions!

Alternately titled: I didn’t know I could love baseball this much.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Series Champions.  You probably already knew that, but unless you’re from Missouri or Texas it likely didn’t mean much to you.  Truthfully, not that long ago it wouldn’t have mattered much to me either.  While I’ve always enjoyed sports, I have never been much of a fanatic.  I could take ‘em or leave ‘em.

Until this World Series.  I don’t know what came over me, honestly.  Maybe it’s the fact that we just moved away from St. Louis and I was feeling nostalgic, maybe it’s the fact that my son is finally at an age where sports are a huge deal, maybe it’s the fact that I was smack dab in the middle of a strict diet and I was delirious from hunger…

Whatever the case, I was a nut job over this World Series.  I wanted to see every game and I nervously paced and sighed and yelled and fussed over all of them.  I told you – I’m a terribly nervous sports fan.

It could be that this is the first time baseball has been really exciting.  Watching Sloan dissect each pitch and interact with Lee like a grown up made my heart turned ten shades of happy. Hearing Tia yell, “Texas, you awre goin’ down like China town,” cracked me up.

Hearing Landon declare that he was going to stay up “til the Wowrld Serious ends” and then watching him fall asleep before the first pitch was thrown made smile.

There was just something about this Championship series that was magical.  Had it been any other combination of teams, I probably wouldn’t have cared quite as much, though I would have still been excited to watch the game with my first born’s commentary running in the background.

“Oooohhh…that pitch was nasty. Did you see that nasty pitch?”

“Okay, John Jay…time to be a hitter.  Aw, man!  Jay don’t swing at the first pitch!”

“Okay guys, time to play smart.  We need smart baseball here.”

Thursday night found the kids and I at my parents condo so we could watch Game 6.  Lee was at a dinner and wouldn’t be home until late so we decided to make it a baseball night sans daddy.

It was a make or break game.  The Cardinals had to win it or I would be teaching my fiery first born the finer points of losing gracefully.  And after the sixth inning, when it appeared that all hope was lost and the game was over for the Cardinals, I prepared myself to give him the “someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose” speech.

“That’s it,” Sloan huffed as yet another foolish error was made in the outfield.  “Texas is going to win.  I’m done watching this stupid game.” And with that, he stomped to his bed.

I, however, decided to stay up and see if maybe, just maybe, the Cards could pull off yet another miracle. And they did not disappoint. Lee and I texted back and forth until just after midnight when my phone died and the Cardinals and Rangers entered into the 11th inning tied…again.

And then…well, honestly?  I fell asleep.

Okay, so I’m not a total die hard sports fan yet.  I closed my eyes when the commercials came on with the intention of opening them again when the game started back up.  Instead, I opened them to find an elated Lance Berkman being interviewed with clips of David Freese hitting the game winning walk off home run.  (He’s an alumni from my high school, you know).

(Name dropper)

(Naw…if I was a name dropper I’d tell you about the time that Lee played basketball with Albert Pujols).

Stellar Parenting 101: Take your exhausted 3 year old to a sports bar at 10:00 at night and tell him you're sorry he's tired but you're not leaving so he better curl up on the chair. At least he slept, right?

So Friday night found us all piled up together at Buffalo Wild Wings for Game 7.  Landon fell asleep on my lap within minutes and we stayed until the beautiful, glorious end when the Cardinals defied the odds and won.

It was thrilling because it was our home team.

It was thrilling because they fought hard and beat a really good, tough team.

It was thrilling because we were together, just the five of us, making a memory with our kids to last a lifetime.

When the kids are grown and are taking their own children to baseball games, I pray they remember the night we closed down a sports bar.  I hope they remember what they were doing when the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th World Series title.  I hope they tell their kids where they were when…

I will have the memory of that night treasured up and stored inside the most sacred sanctuary of my heart.  And every day, as I walk outside and watch Sloan reenact the moment the Cards won the game in our backyard (and reenact he does, he mimics every player’s reaction from Yadi to Pujols to Purcal to LaRussa) I’m reminded that raising kids is a series of moments pieced into the tapestry that makes up a life.

It is flashes of time, memories and laughter all strung together, that I pray leaves them with a sense of love that will be unmatched until they one day repeat the cycle with their own children.

Thank you, St. Louis Cardinals for giving our family a memory to last a lifetime.

I Believe

I’ve got the memory of our amazing trip to Europe on my mind today. The beauty of God’s creation leaves me breathless and in awe. I can’t help but rejoice.

The song is Creation Calls by Brian Doerkson (yes that’s me singing it acapella. I love the song…). The images are all from our trip. Have a blessed weekend everyone.

Oh, and one more thing…GO CARDS!

Yes I’m a Natural Blonde

“A blonde went to buy a Pizza and after ordering, the assistant asked the blonde if she would like her pizza cut into six pieces or twelve.

“Six please” she said, “I could never eat twelve!”

I have blonde hair and I always have…well, except for a couple of misguided attempts to not have blonde hair.

As I’ve gotten older and had babies, I’ve had to work a little harder and pay a little more to maintain my blonde hair, which has now faded into a rather unfortunate dishwater color.

But I didn’t come here to talk about hair.

Why do we make fun of blondes?  What is it about the light hair that leads us to assume blondes have an inferior sense of common sense?  I mean, we fair headed types are the salt of the Earth, right?  We hide our intellect beneath a mask of gold.

Okay, let’s not judge every blonde on that sweet little girl. Bless her heart…

When I was 15, first learning to drive, my friend Aaron told me that all stop signs that were outlined in white were optional.

“As long as no one else is coming, you can drive right through,” he said with a smile.

Later that week, as my mom and I practiced driving, I buzzed through a stop sign after ensuring that no one else was coming. I was very safety conscious, you see.

“What are you doing?!” My mom screeched, to which I responded with a dramatic eye roll and the sigh that revealed my obvious superior knowledge.

“It’s optional, Mom,” I said. “It was outlined in white.”

*pause*

“Kelli, all stop signs are outlined in white.”

Okay, so look – I could see where one might want to blame that error in judgment on my hair color, but I prefer to blame it on youth. And on the fact that my friend Aaron was a terrible practical joker.

That same year I went on my first trip to the former Soviet Union, to Minsk, Belarus. One day, while speaking with a classroom of students about American traditions, I tried to explain Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving,” I began, “is when Americans gather together to…um…you know…celebrate the pilgrims…uh…like, landing on Earth.”

And I moved on, completely unaware of the fact that our trip leaders were in the back of the room clutching their sides, they were laughing so hard.

Okay, so fifteen was a bad year for me. But it wasn’t my hair…I swear it!

I was in college, riding in the back of a friend’s car as she stopped for gas. “Cars are the strangest things,” I told her when she got back in the car. “I think the gas tank in my car must expand and shrink with the weather because sometimes it costs $25.00 to fill up my tank and other times it only costs $19 or $20.”

*pause*

“Um,” she said politely, because she was very kind, “that’s probably because gas prices fluctuate, not the size of your tank.”

Okay, so I was older at the time, but my hair wasn’t a factor in that little faux pas.

We visited a church a couple of weeks ago. At the end of the service, the pastor brought up two people who would soon be leaving on short term mission trips. Pointing to the gentleman the pastor said, “And this young man will be leaving on Monday for the Amazon where he and a team of others will be traveling to a remote area to help hand-dig a brand, new well.”

I looked at Lee and whispered, “They’re going to dig a well with their hands? How is that possible?”

*pause*

“Well, I assume they’ll probably have shovels,” he said, his eyes dancing.

“Oooohhh,” I whispered. “That makes more sense. I was picturing them on their hands and knees, scooping the dirt like dogs.”

And then we lost it. Inappropriate laughter through the pastor’s closing prayer and a quick and hasty exit so we wouldn’t have to look anyone in the eye.

*sigh*

Let’s not use the moniker “dumb blonde,” m’kay? I like to gently refer to those times as blonde moments…

Tales from the Homefront

“Mom!  Hey, MOM!  Lookatthislookatthislookatthis!  It’s Ra, the Egyptian Sun god!”

Thus yelled my eight year old across the aisle of Homegoods, as he stood face to face with a life size statue of Ra. It was in the clearance aisle.

Odd.  I would think a creepy looking faux Ra would be a hot ticket item...

The gentleman sitting in the arm chair nearest Sloan looked up in surprise.  He then looked at me quizzically as I cleared my throat.

“We’ve been studying Egypt,” I said with a smile.

pause

“Why?” he asked.

“We were reading about Moses bringing the Israelites out of Egypt,” Sloan said.  “Have you heard that story?  Where Moses turned the water to blood and sent tons of frogs and parted the Red Sea and Pharoah and his people sank to the bottom.”

The man looked at Sloan with amusement, then back at me.

“We homeschool,” I said.  It’s my only defense.  Why else would we be in Homegoods at 1:00 on a Monday afternoon?

“I see,” was his reply, then he leaned back into his chair, presumably to nap since his wife was nowhere to be found.  I grabbed Tia’s hand and motioned Sloan to follow us.  As we walked away, Tia glanced back at the statue over her shoulder.

“Why would anyone want to worship that little statue?” she asked.  “It’s just made of wood.  Wood can’t help you like the one twue God.”

And as we walked away, I heard the man let out a hearty laugh.

Homeschooling is an adventure unlike any I’ve ever taken.  I’ve got a video to share with you all at some point.  I wanted to today, but my computer ate half of it and I don’t have it in me to start over now.

This past week was rough.  It was crawl into bed and lay staring comatose at the ceiling rough.  A myriad of issues led me to a bit of a low point where smiling felt like a chore and everyday tasks seemed monumental.

Make the bed?  Impossible.

Clean the dishes?  Painful.

Sweep the floor?  Everest.

It was like a marathon just getting through the basic tasks of each day.  And I just felt sad.  Even a night away generously donated by my husband couldn’t pull me out of my funk and I couldn’t figure it out.

As Lee and I talked, my eyes welling up with tears, I told him how I just feel frustrated.  There’s so much to do.  So many plates to keep spinning.  And I am overwhelmed and feeling very…alone.

It felt good to cry.  Yesterday I woke up feeling a little more refreshed and ready to tackle the day with a specific prayer on my heart – Lord, let me see You today.

About half way through my day, I received an email from a company confirming my participation in an event in St. Louis.  This company has agreed to not only fly me up to St. Louis, but also the kids.  A much needed chance to get away, take a break and be refreshed.

I saw.

Last night I attended a meeting at a local church for homeschooling moms and it did more than give me a couple of new ideas for making our school more fun – it refreshed my heart.  I met people my age, in my same boat who get it.

I saw.

The woman sharing was a veteran homeschooling mom with her oldest preparing to graduate high school.  “It goes so fast,” she said.  “You blink and they’re teenagers and it’s gone.”

I’ve heard this a thousand times, but I needed it again last night.  I really needed it.

“Soon the house will be empty,” she continued.  “It will be quiet and in order and clean…but I’d rather have the noise.”

I saw.

These were seemingly little things, but they brought a fountain of relief and rest to my soul. 

Right now, as I type this, the house is refreshingly quiet.  Blissfully so.  But I know the noise is coming and I want to greet it with a fresh perspective.  It’s hectic and chaotic and my house isn’t decorated how I want it, or painted the right colors, or even organized functionally.

But it’s full.  And that’s a good thing.  Plus I get the added perk of driving that smokin’ hot minivan for a long time to come, right?  Huh?  Huh?

I’m going to choose joy this week, because tomorrow they’ll all be one day older.  Time isn’t going to slow down so I’m just going to hang on and enjoy the ride that is this current season of my life.

Now, where to put my statue of Ra…

A Little Pre-Holiday Cheer from Shutterfly

Comments are now closed. Winners have been chosen and will be notified tomorrow when I can think clearly. Right now I must sleep. Thanks everyone!

So Christmas is around the corner.  I’m not sure if you were aware or not.  Maybe the Santa Clause standing next to the Grim Reaper tipped you off?

At any rate, this is the time of year when we all begin to prepare for the holidays.  Despite the fact that I keep up with most everyone I know online, one of my favorite traditions remains: Christmas Cards.

I love receiving them and I love sending them, despite the hassle of addressing labels.  So imagine my delight when Shutterfly contacted me and asked if I would promote their holiday line of Christmas cards.  In exchange, I will receive some free cards and I have the great opportunity to offer three of my readers 25 free cards!

I browsed through Shutterfly’s selection of cards and I was more than thrilled with the broad array they have to offer.  There are tons of beautiful selections where you can add anywhere from one to six photos plus a customized greeting.  In addition to the cards, you can also do a bit of Christmas shopping through Shutterfly.  They have some wonderful personalized gifts that would be perfect for the adoring grandparents in your lives!

So, here’s how to enter to win 25 Holiday Cards from Shutterfly:

- Visit the Shutterfly website and browse through their holiday collection. Then leave me a comment and tell me one of your favorite Christmas memories.  (Or you could just leave me a comment that says I wanna win! Either way is fine – but I’d love to hear Christmas memories…)

You can earn more entries by doing the following:

- Tweet about this contest and leave me a second comment telling me you tweeted.  It could say something like, I’m a Twit who Tweeted! or more simply you could just leave a comment that says Tweet!

- Link to this contest on Facebook and come back and tell me that you did so and earn a potential third entry.

- You can also send me an email saying you would like to be entered if you’re not the commenting type.  My email address is kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

I will choose the three winners via random.org on October 30.

Disclaimer: This is a promotion sponsored by Shutterfly.  In return I received free holiday cards of my choosing.  I was not paid for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Takin’ Care of Business

This post comes to you with a sheepish, yet polite, request for help.  I hate talkin’ shop, but wanted to just toss a few little things out there.  Don’t worry, though.  This post won’t be all dry.  I’ve got a gem of a story to tell you at the end.

It’s my dangling carrot.

So here’s the deal, friends.  I stink at self-promotion.  It makes me wildly uncomfortable.  As I told someone recently, it makes me feel a bit like the girl standing on top of a table in a crowded room and screaming LOOK AT ME!!  And I’ve never been much of a table top kind of girl.

Ahem.

But, my goal in the next few months is to beef up the readership and participation on my blog.  And to do that, I need your help.  If you read something on here that you like, would you mind forwarding it on?  You can hit the little Facebook button at the bottom of the page, or if you’re the Tweetin’ kind, you can give a little Tweet.

You know…if you want.

Also, well I don’t talk about it much and, to be quite honest, I don’t utilize it much, but I DO have a Minivans Are Hot Facebook page that you can like by clicking riiiiiiight…here.  You don’t have to drive a minivan to like the Facebook page, but I will warn you that should you choose to follow the blog AND the Facebook page, you will likely start to feel the pull of the minivan.

Because minivans are bringing sexy back.

Huh?

Whatever.

If you do read something you like and have a second or two to respond, well, I’ll confess – I’m a bit of a comment whore.  I promise I will respond to you…or you can respond to one another.  I like community so let’s build a community of minivan lovin’ (or hatin’ – you know who you are) women…and men, too.  I know you guys are reading.

Finally in the manner of business, I would like to ask if there’s anything you guys would like me to specifically write about.  Is there are particular topic you like better?  Is there something you’d like me to avoid discussing (the frequency of my childrens bowel movements?  DONE! – Look how accommodating I am)?

Seriously – let me know.

Now, on to that carrot:

The Scene:

A beautiful, sunny Florida afternoon.  The kids are playing outside while I enjoy a few quiet moments alone to do whatever I want – which means I’m cleaning the kitchen…again. The windows are open and a beautiful, cool fall breeze is drifting in.  Nothing can break the perfection of this moment.  Nothing, that is, until I hear a scream that rattles the glass throughout the house.

The back door flings open aaaaaaaaand CUE DIALOGUE!

“Mooooooooommmmm!!!” Tia shrieks, running into the house all sweaty and red-faced.  Sloan comes running after her with a tormentuous (this is my blog – if I say that’s a word…it’s a word) grin on his face.

“What in the world?” I say as she throws her arms around my waist and cries.  “What’s going on?”

“Sloan stole my gun!” She cried.  Sloan throws his hands up in mock innocence. “What’d I do?” he yells.

“What gun, Tia?” I ask, detaching her from my leg.

“My pwetend gun!  I was fightin’ the bad guys with it and Sloan took it and now the bad guys are gonna kill me!”

Pause.

Uuuuummm.

“Tia, if it’s a pretend gun, can’t you just get another one?”  I try my best to say this without rolling my eyes.

“Nope, she can’t,” Sloan says with a smirk.  “Because I destroyed all the guns in the imaginary gun shop.”

“Yeah!” Tia cries again.  “And he ate the pie I made for Justin Bieber who was gonna come over for dinner at my pwetend house!  I don’t LIKE Sloan.”  She stomps her foot and runs to her room, slamming her door.

“Whatever!” Sloan yells in return, huffing to his room.

Landon walks in at this moment and strolls past me with string and a crowbar tucked under his arms.

And this folks is why I am slowly but surely losing. my. mind.

The End.

Scenes from a Homecoming

We had the unique privilege last night to watch lives being forever changed when my cousin and her husband arrived home from Ethiopia with the two little boys they adopted.  It was a party as a throng of people cheered, welcoming the boys into the family.

A picture of grace.

 

Cousins excited and waiting to meet the boys.

 

All the cousins who were able to make it to the airport. We've got quite a crew when everyone is together.

Me with three of my cousins. Have I ever mentioned I have the greatest family on the planet? And that's my joker kid's fingers making bunny ears...

 

The excited welcoming committee

They're here and they are shocked and a bit overwhelmed by the response.

The new mom getting a hug from her mom. *tears*

Total bewilderment

A thrilled grandmother.

Beauty

Two little boys whose lives will never be the same.

 

A family united.

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Galatians 4:4-5

Great. Now Prove It.

“I’m sorry,” he says, over and over again.  “Mom.  I’m sorry.”  This time his tone demands forgiveness.  I don’t doubt the sincerity of his apology, but I do doubt the sincerity of his remorse.  Because, you see, when he’s been told that Dad will have to deal with this situation, suddenly his apologies are much more fervent.

He apologizes over and over wanting an immediate and swift reply from me.  Sometimes I’m able to give it.  Other times I’m so frustrated that I can’t immediately verbalize my forgiveness.  Of course he’s forgiven, I just need a minute to mean it when I say it.

“I said I’m sorry!” His voice has raised a decibel and he’s noticeably frustrated at my silence.

“I heard you say it, son,” I respond.  “Now I want you to prove it.”

“Huh?” comes the standard reply.

“Prove to me you’re sorry.”

“How?”

“By changing your behavior.”

For the first time, he is silent.  Blissfully silent.  My firstborn’s downfall in life will be his tongue unless he finds a way to harness it.

He walks out of the room and closes himself in his homework nook.  For twenty minutes he is back there, working feverishly on something.  He comes out after a bit and hands me a piece of paper.  He’s drawn me a picture and written the words, “Mom, I love you.  I am really sory and I want your forgivness.  I will do better.”

And just like that, forgiveness granted and relationship restored.  He still had to discuss with Daddy the loss of self control that led to the altercation, but for the rest of the afternoon, he did just what I asked.  He proved himself.  He waited just a second longer before responding.  When his sister made him angry, he left the room in a huff – a grand improvement over how he normally responds.

He proved his remorse by trying to reign in his tongue.  That was all I asked.

How often do I come before the Holy of Holies with yet another, “Lord, I’m sorry!”  How often do I skip through my day uttering “Forgive me, Lord,” without a hint of weight or remorse hidden inside my words?

How often do I choose not to reign in my tongue and just expect instant acceptance despite my unwillingness to work on the behavior?

It’s heavy, when you stop and think about it.  My eight year old got the concept of proving it better than I do.  His heart is tender and precious.  Would that I possessed those same qualities.  I’m constantly working on the tenderness of my own heart.

It doesn’t really do just to say it.  We expect so much more from our young children when it comes to obedience than we do of ourselves.  But we all must operate under the same challenge.

Prove it.

This is a Walk with Him Wednesdays post, linked to Ann Vaskamp’s site.  Each week, Ann leads her readers to take their faith a step deeper.

From Ann’s website -

For one more week: … might we explore: The Practice of Hope… What does it look like to believe? How do you practice your faith day to day? How do you share that faith, deepen faith in Christ, live that faith out in the midst of fears? The whole community looks forward to your prayerful reflections stories, ideas….

For more practices of hope, visit A Holy Experience.

The Field

He runs out the door, all red-faced and sweaty and dashes into my arms, crumbling into a heap of bitter sobs.  He who is almost to my neck still needs to be held and I realize that his size belies the fact that he is still no more than a little boy.

Our new neighborhood is teeming with boys, a posse of sweaty necked masculinity races down the street all afternoon.  My Tia, a rose among thorns, keeps up with little complaint, though I know she longs for a companion to sit on the rug in her purple room and play dolls with.

On any given afternoon, they gather in our backyard.  It is a football field, you know.  In fact, I believe my husband has promised Sloan a football birthday party, complete with striping the yard. 

Oy…

At one point, there were ten boys altogether, joined to tackle one another with max force and ample glee.  Sloan is sandwiched.  Most of the boys are 10-12 years old.  A couple are five and six.  Sloan stands the odd man out, eight years old and as tall as the bigger boys in stature, but lacking their experience and maturity.  It starts well, but then he misses the ball.

“Oh come on, dude!” they scream.  “You gotta catch those!”  He tosses the ball to them indignantly and presses on.  Then he’s tackled, he fumbles and second by second he loses control of the game that’s happening in his very own yard.  Finally the moment comes when he gets the ball and doesn’t drop it.  He makes a mad dash toward the goal line only to be clobbered by an eleven year old screaming like a starved goblin.

It’s at this moment that Sloan begins to reveal his age.

The tears and the anger are hard to suppress.  He swears off football forever, he declares his utter disdain for those boys and he sobs gut wrenching cries that break his Mama’s heart.  I’m ready to go out and full on tackle the boys myself, my mom hackles fully bared.

But Lee just sits quietly and calmly as Sloan rants on and on.  Finally, when he’s paused long enough to take a breath, Lee looks straight in his eyes.

“Are you ready to listen to me now?” he asks.

Sloan nods, his eyes shooting daggers and his cheeks flushed red.

“If you want to play with the big boys, son, you’re gonna have to toughen up.  If you can’t do that, then you just don’t need to play ball with them.”

And that’s that.  Such simple wisdom from father to son.  It’s much better than what I planned to say.  My monologue about everyone needing to respect one another and use kind words and not tackle too rough quickly escaped me and we all sat in silence for a few minutes.  Sloan’s eyes filled with giant alligator tears and his chin quivered.

“But I don’t like it when they’re mean to me,” he whimpered.

“I know,” Lee answered.  “But you can’t take it personally.  You have to get up, brush it off and get back in the game.  That’s the only way you’re going to get better.”

We left for dinner with Sloan still holding firm that he would never again play football but a seed had been planted inside the heart of my stubborn boy.

Watching my child grow and face disappointment is painful.  But it’s entirely inevitable and it’s only going to get worse as he grows older.  There is always going to be someone who is better, someone who is bigger, someone faster and stronger and smarter and…

Teaching our young ones to handle disappointment with grace is a beautiful challenge.  Letting them spread their wings and fall to the ground is extra hard on Mama Birds.  If I had my way, I’d be cradling him still, singing Disney songs and stroking his hair.

Lovely.

But with each day, he pulls away from me just a little bit more.  He challenges me harder, cuddles less and fits on my lap like a Great Dane, all spindly knees and elbows spilling this way and that.  My job now is to step back a bit and push him toward his dad more and more.  I take the back burner as the training toward manhood takes place.

Of course, I’m always ready with a cookie and a fierce hug should life’s knocks come a little too hard and fast.  But once the tears are dried and the hurt subsides, it’s time to push him back on the field and let him try to stand on his own two feet.

All I can do is watch and pray that the seeds of wisdom that have been planted begin to take root and sprout a man of character.

Whether he can play football is utterly beside the point.

How Baylor Football Changed Me Forever

It was 1999 and I was a senior walking beneath the cloud of new love.  I didn’t have a ring on it yet, but it was only a matter of time (weeks, to be exact).  We were headed to yet another Baylor Bears football game where we would talk and visit and only occasionally check the field to measure just how badly we were losing.

My time at Baylor will not be remembered for great football…

At some point during this particularly overcast and chilly day, the pace of the game changed.  Baylor was winning. It was a thrill almost entirely unknown to me since I had spent most of my four years at the school accepting defeat with grace.

The crowd was electric.  The score was 24-21 against UNLV and there were 20 seconds left in the game.  Baylor had the ball at the 8 yard line.  This was our time – the day to rejoice.  All they had to do was down the ball.  Just put down a knee.  So easy.  So very, very easy.

Until…

Wait.  What’s that?  Why are they? Wait…huh?

“A two point conversion!  What are they doing running a two point conversion!” My husband to be roared as the Rebels’ Kevin Thomas scooped up the fumbled ball and began making a dash down the field.

I had no idea what a two point conversion was or what on Earth had just gone down, but from the look on Lee’s face, I knew I needed to be horrified.  I wanted to shout at the field with him, make my protest known at this mysterious call.  But I could do no more than clutch my head in my hands, my mouth open in a horrified stare, no sound permitted to escape.

And as the clock ticked down to zero, the entire stadium watched in stunned silence as Thomas ran the ball into the end zone for a 99-yard touchdown to win the game.

I almost cried.  I don’t even care about football that much, but that day…I nearly cried.  And since then, I have never been the same.

I’m not a great sports fan to begin with.  Games make me a nervous wreck.  If I care about one of the teams in play, I find myself jumpy, fidgety and nervous.  But when my team does begin to win, I feel a sudden onslaught of sympathy for the opposing team and I want them to at least not lose badly.  But if my team starts to lose I get all jumpy and jittery and I start to talk loud and fast and…

Don’t get me started on how uptight I get when I don’t care about either one of the teams.  I alternate between total exhilaration for the winning team and utter sympathy for the losing team.  I’m like a sports crazed Sybil.

I’m not one of those cool girls who yells at the TV and high fives when the football dude runs the ball into the end zone.  Oh no.  I’m the chick in the corner nervously biting her nails and gorging herself on little hot dogs slathered in barbeque sauce straight from the crock pot.  I’m the girl pretending not to care because if she pays attention to the game too closely she might have a nervous breakdown.

The St. Louis Cardinals are currently playing Game 6 of the NLCS Championship against the Milwaukee Brewers.  I haven’t watched much of the series for two reasons:

1.) We don’t have cable so watching isn’t that easy.  Lee has taken the kids to Chili’s to watch several of the games.  I went with them once, but the rest of the time I declined because if given the option to be alone in my house for a couple of hours, I’m going to say yes.  Sorry Red Birds, I love ya, but…

2.) It makes me crazy.  C-to the-RAZY.  I want the Cardinals to win and I can’t stand the pressure.  I can’t stand it. As we speak, Lee has the game on the radio and we’re listening to the game on ESPN.  And this, friends, is next to torture.  TORTURE. Because the noise of the crowd is intensified over the radio and the announcer’s voices keep going up in decibels and sweet-mother-of-all-that’s-holy-I-NEED-A-DRINK.

So Cardinals, I hope you win.  I really do.  And if you make it to the Series, I will watch as often as I can mooch a TV screen.  But I will watch through my fingers, I will pace, I will likely chew off all my nails and I’ll probably leave the room now and again to take a deep breath.

By the end of the Series, I will probably have an ulcer.  Don’t worry, though, I won’t blame you.

I blame the Baylor Bears.

*Disclaimer: I love Baylor University.  My four years there were by far the best of my life and I would do them all again in a heartbeat.  Except that one game.  I would skip that game if I got a do-over…

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