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Home Run!

Well, the Eugene tournament was quite an adventure. Eugene is in a far away land. At least if felt that way. Lots of driving.

The team camped during the tournament because the Olympic Track trials are being held in Eugene and the hotels are booked solid. The campground was about 30 miles from the stadium, more driving.

The team has a bus, but they share it with the Bears, who were in Seattle. So the team drove in two Suburbans. Ummm...14 players, 3 coaches, camping gear for 4 days. You do the math...however you add it, the answer is...WON'T FIT! So Zach and assorted gear rode with us. I hadn't planned on leaving as early as the team, but there you go.

Had noticed a tack in my tire, decided not to mess with it and watch my air pressure. Thank goodness for those monitoring systems.

Finally, finally got to the campsite. Have you ever watched 16 year old kids pitch tents? It's pretty funny. Reminds me of when they rake the fields. One or two kids are working, the rest are standing around, leaning on their rakes, appearing to "supervise." Same thing at the campground.
Oh....and we make the 45 minute trek to the ball field and ooops. Zach forgot his contacts. So I miss the first game and pick up his contacts. Sheesh.
And Eugene? Well, it's a maze of one-way streets and, being directionally challenged, I could NOT figure out where our hotel was in relationship to the stadium. I could kind of get from here to there, but knew I was taking the long way 'round. So one of the first days, I'm lost (again) and Kate is telling me to go one way. So I do, but it's not familiar and I'm frustrated, and so she tells me how to fix it and I think I do, but we're still not in the right place and so, being the mom-of-the-year type that I am, I yell at her. "I can't believe I listened to you. You don't even drive. And now we're lost! I don't know where the heck we are or how to get where we need to be." And Kate gets quiet for a few minutes and finally says, "You're on the right road, but going the wrong way. The hotel is WEST." And of course, it turns out she was right all along. I spend the rest of the way to the hotel apologizing. Needless to say, Kate was navigator for the rest of the trip. She got us back and forth...campground, hotel, hospital, ballpark.

The games went pretty well, the kids made it to the semi-finals, losing 3-1 to a team they had earlier lost to 12-0. So it was a good showing. Beautiful weather, amazing was great.
And watching Zach. Wow. He's the very picture of his dad. As a catcher, he often goes up to the mound to talk to the pitcher. I asked him once, what do you say to them? Well, it depends. Sometimes I tell them how to adjust, what pitch to throw. Sometimes I encourage them, tell them they can do it. Sometimes they just need a minute to get their head together, so I tell them a joke. He always leans in, looking right at them. When he heads back to the dish, he almost always leaves with a pat on their shoulder or a swat to their butt. He's the first one out of the dugout to congratulate a good play or to encourage after a strike-out. Dave had the gift of always being in the moment with people, making them feel important, like they really mattered. I see that growing in Zach. I watched in awe, as he connected with his teammates, seeming to know just what they needed, encouraging and appreciating them. Many have shared with me how, when they talked with Dave, how he made you feel as if you were the only thing that mattered at that moment, that you didn't have to be anything but what you were, that he really cared. That kind of love doesn't die.
All was good, except one of our pitchers got sick. Poor kid. He's okay, but we spend from 8:00 pm til 1:30 am with him at the hospital. With Kenny and Kate in the waiting room for those 5 hours. Can you imagine??

On the 4th of July, we drove an hour to a little beach town called Florence. We wandered the pier and poked in all the little shops, had fudge and ice cream and caramel corn and stopped a little sidewalk cafe for pizza. It was cold there, so we bought souvenier sweatshirts. Then watched the fireworks by the water.
After it was all over, we drove home, tire pressure still good. Met Denise in Portland and picked up Luke and Amy. They're staying with us while Denise, Darren and Jake go to Orientation at WSU.

The dogs had a fabulous time at the kennel while we were gone. The kennel has put in a dog park and a dog pool. You can see the pool here. They spoil the dogs rotten. Duke actually knows where we're going when we make the turn off the highway to get to the kennel, and he gets so excited. He's been going there since he was just a pup, and his friend, Roxy, is often there at the same time. And the staff there are so great. They are always happy to see the dogs, Duke in particular.

We've been to the pool every day. Luke lost a tooth. Kate's getting ready to leave for basketball camp. She's also competing in two 3-on-3 tournaments this summer. Kenny's been doing BDAD every day (Blue Devil Athletic Development-strength and agility training for all sports). We had a home double-header and Zach hit a HOME RUN! He's only had a few out-of-the-park HR's. This one was at WWCC's field. It was really exciting. They didn't mention it in the UB write-up, and didn't even give him credit in the stats, only for a hit. But he still knows he smacked that ball right over the fence!

Zach and the team left for Missoula, Montana today. They should be back Monday. Wish them luck!

The kittens are getting so big. They are adorable. And funny. And running all over the place. We have Freeway, who is quite observant and curious, but a little shy and really attached to her mama.
We have Butterball, who is the most adventurous and has the sweetest face.
The Thing is a little brute, really strong and sometimes aggressive.
Then there is Grumpy (who is not, by the way, grumpy at all) who loves the dogs and tries to follow them everywhere and also loves Zach and is often found sleeping on Zach's chest.
And, Sparky, my favorite, named for the tiny spot of white on the tip of her tail, she is a snuggler. She really likes people and will roll on her back and purr whenever you pet her or pick her up.
Juno is doing fine, she's a good mama. The babies are roly-poly and happy.

Duke loves the babies. He will go right in the middle of them and lay down and they'll climb all over him. It makes him so happy. He often puts his giant nose right in the box to watch them sleep. Koda is still not sure what to think of them.
All in all, life's good.

Then, there are moments. Pretty much every day. When it sneaks back. The grief, the loss, the anguish. It chokes me, squeezing the breath from my throat, its weight square on my chest.

Yesterday it was driving back from Wal-Mart. Along the road that used to join with the highway, there are these huge-antic cement things, set along the end of the road to block cars from going that way. They are set close together, but not touching.

I drove by, and saw those and had several random thoughts. Among them was: "If you were walking together, two people couldn't go through that gap at the same time, it's too small." Which brought back a flood of memories of Dave. He liked to walk holding hands. He'd often hum or sing the Beatles tune, "I wanna hold your hand." And when we came to a barrier where we had to separate, he'd shout out, "Peanut butter!" as we dropped hands, and I was supposed to shout, "Jelly!" as we re-joined. Silly little game. He never got tired of it. Salt! Pepper! Peaches! Cream! Bert! Ernie! Dave! Shell! And he'd put that happy little hop in his step, big smile on his face.

On the "little things that make me ridiculously happy" front: I discovered that the "Furminator" that we bought to de-fuzz the dogs actually takes the fur off my couches!!! WOW! I've had hairy couches for 3 years now, vacuuming didn't work, tape didn't work, but the Furminator is AMAZING!

Here's hoping you have those moments today...the ones that remind you how precious "your people" are, how fleeting yout time. And the ones that bring you a bright spot of pure joy in the small things. These moments, woven together...they make a life.

PS. When I got home I had the oil changed and they said I had nails in TWO tires. Turns out I had to put all new tires on the Suburban. YOUCH!

PPS. Thanks to those of you that comment...Patti NJ, Kathy IA, Kathy CA, Sue, Pete OH, Sherri, lesleegp TN, Kathie, Cindy VA, my bestest love and brother of the heart PETER NY/NJ (who can't figure out the comments, but calls on the phone, like he did this, it was more than great to hear his voice), Sonja & Canute Seattle, and of course, my two C's...Cathy & Cheri, and my "help is on the way" Deb --- OH, almost forgot: and THE MOUAT CLAN, OR!! You guys keep me going, probably a lot more than you even realize. You keep me grounded, connected and somewhat sane. I know I'd be lost without you. And I love you for reaching out, holding me up and caring about what happens in this crazy life of mine. Not having Dave here to share those ups and downs is harder than I can describe, but you, each in your own way, make it bearable. I love you guys!


  1. Michelle
    Haveing you guys in my life has made it so awesome! we love spending time with you guys even if it is only for a day.
    love you!!!
    <3 Sonja and the Haroldsons

    Speaking of kittens, we just found one next to our yard
    it is really cute, and hungry
    we gave it lots of milk
    and finally got it into a crate, but it keeps meowing no matter what.
    does that mean its in pain?
    were workin on that
    if you have any advise, please let us know what to do!!!
    luv ya

  2. Michelle, what a wonderful post. I love your pictures of the kids and the kittens! Don't bring the kittens to Chicago or Eliza will be bringing one home! Zach is such a wonderful kid. You have done such a great job with each of yours. I hope I can do the same with mine, better than I am doing. This is hard, so hard. I know it, but you make me think it can be done and I can do it. Can't wait to see you all in Chicago.

  3. Michelle
    I miss seeing you at the college this summer. You have helped me walk this road of "grief" when times were hard, when times were harder and when times were impossible. You are a great friend to so many and a great strength. Although most of us don't know each other we come together to support, love and pray for you my friend and your wonderful family. Dave is proud; it picked the right woman to marry and raise his children when it was time for him to go. By the way Tom wants to know if the orange kitty is female or male?

  4. We think the orange one is a girl and the orange and white one is a boy! They're still pretty little, and it's kinda hard to tell for sure. Sue, you should come and see them!!!

  5. Luv you 2 Sonj...
    The kitty might have a tummy ache...straight cow's milk is hard for them to can buy special kitten formula at pet stores or you can search the internet, there are recipes out there that have like evaporated milk and something else in them....
    Or it might just be lonely and need to be held. Depending on how small it is, the little ones sometimes have a hard time maintaining body temperature, so be sure it's warm enough.
    Good luck...
    are you going to keep it???

  6. Lord have mercy, your note has me in tears this morning. And to see MY NAME in your note too. Over the edge. I love your family.....I grieve for your family....I hold my family tighter BECAUSE of your family.

    I need to update my blog. Summer has kicked my rear end!

  7. Chelle ... I was sitting here this morning trying to figure out how long we'd known each other ... I think it's four years, possibly only three ... but either way I was taken back a bit. That means Olivia was only six or seven ... she's almost ten. Even though I hate that we had to meet, I am thankful that we did. In the thickest part of Fred's illness I remember reaching out to you and the response you sent was warm and comforting. While we are no longer talking about the specifics of our husband's disease ... I cotinue to find warmth and comfort in every post you write. I will always feel connected to you and your family .... not to mention the entire town of Walla Walla!!!!

    The kitties are adorable! And, my favorite is the photo where they are all sleeping on Zach. How sweet is that! Oh, and we have yet another thing in common ... I, too, have direction dislexia. Olivia often helps me figure out where we are supposed to be ... problem is ... I think she has it too!!!

    Take care!

  8. Dear Michelle,

    Are you serious? If I provide any solace to you, I am honored. You inspire me with your grace and courage. Your kids are so lucky to have you.

    Glad it all turned out so great with the tournament. Sounds like a blast, honestly. And I can relate to Kate, being the one with a sense of direction. While I am pretty good with this stuff, all of my husband's family is directionally challenged, and my kids seem to have gotten that gene as well. It's quite an adventure sometimes, and frustrating when you *know* which way they should go, but they won't listen. :)

    The latest on my dad is this: Next week he will begin the last three-week treatment of this chemo set. After that, he will have another PET scan. Apparently they are looking for the cancer to either have shrunk (best case) or at least not spread. It seems we are not looking for cure here.

    My sister and I plan to go to the follow-up visit, and to ask the hard questions that my parents are either reluctant to ask, or haven't thought of. We think they're important things to know in order to make the right decisions.

    Other than that, all is well. All five of us were in VT for the long weekend. We had a great time.

    I should probably start my own blog. I just wrote enough for a pretty long entry!

    Take care. Keep on keepin' on!

    --Patti in NJ

  9. What a nice post Michelle. I have thinking so much lately of Dave- i clicked on his service last week and watched it agian and cryed. You are so right how he was there for you in the moment. When people are born they have this personality about them- what makes a personality like Dave's? I have been going though a hard time and Dave's saying hangs in my kitchen wall. "Love is not a feeling it's a decision" this has seen me though many different situations and gives me strength in difficult times. When I was watching the service of Dave and seeeing Dave's likeness in Zac in some of the pictures. What a comfort to have pieces of Dave in your children, how he lives on.

    Don't you love it when you are humbled by your kids. Etta has directions like Kate. But never ask Rowene for directions.

    Ben is passing a kidney stone. Of course no pain as his pain tollereance is something we wish we all had.

    Etta was at theatre camp and loved it. Rowene and Etta head to church camp this month.
    Where has the summer gone?

    Love the kittens. They are so cute. Duke is such a cool dog.

    Take care Michelle. Love Sherri

  10. And WE love YOU, of course. Zach....he's the man. Oh my. Not knowing Dave, but so sure that I do know Dave...Zach has it, doesn't he. It's Dave. He's got it. What a wonderful thing to watch. And Kate, my gosh, LOCK THAT GIRL UP CHELLE !!! Whew! The thing is, I know she is beautiful inside and out. And Kenny, sweet Kenny. You're blessed Chelle. You may not have Dave, but you have these amazing, wonderful, incredible kids , wow! Special, really really special. And the kitties, well, don't get me going!! You KNOW I'm a cat person! Soooooooo CUTE!!!
    So.....chicago.......???!!!???? Hm..............

  11. Wow Michelle what a trip you had as usual. I love to read your updates you are so busy. How you do it is amazing. I will be over on Monday with another load of cartridges for you. Hope you will let us help you get them sent off this summer. The kids sound like they are doing great and keeping busy also. Your doing a wonderful job mom.
    I want to say Hi to Cheri also, it is nice to see you here on Michelle's site.
    Time for bed here another busy weekend ahead.
    Get ready for Monday. Take Care and God Bless.

  12. Wow, this post really seems like a little slice of your life... it has everything. Kids, animals, hairy furniture, giving thanks for friends, home runs, and (throughout all of it) remembering Dave with both smiles and tears. Thank you for writing; it helps me feel real.

    I saw a quote by Christopher Reeve that stopped me in my tracks: "I get pretty impatient with people who are able-bodied but are somehow paralyzed for other reasons." It makes me feel so thankful for such a simple thing as being able to swing my legs over the edge of the bed in the morning. Does that translate into also, then, being thankful to go to work after swinging my legs out? I'm working on this thankfulness thing, but I apparently haven't graduated yet! But one thing I've always appreciated is having you in my life, my friend.

    Love, Deb

  13. Hey Michelle,

    Just checking in on your site from time to time. Wanted to say Hi. I tried real hard to get a job working with you. I got my hopes all up. It would have been so awesome to work at the PCC with you and Andrea. Guess it just wasn't meant to be.

    It has been awhile now but Gabrielle and I saw Kate at Pi-Hi move up day. Gabrielle will be going there next year and it was very nice to see Kate's smiling face. (I wasn't sure she would remember me, but it seemed as though she did)

    I am working hard with an equine outreach program that Shane and I and another lady have started. We are serving on average two children a week. It's not much but I am loving it.

    I've probably rambled long enough. Just wanted to say Hi and I think about you often.

    in His eyes,


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