Life Lessons with Little League

Spring is basically here, and our children have moved from winter sports to spring sports. What usually is within the months of end of February to early June, these sports usually consist of soccer, basketball, and the ever post popular spring time sport, baseball.

I’ve been in the little league world for 4 years with my oldest son. 1 year, I was even brave enough to have both boys enrolled in little league at once! What is probably typical for some families with multiple children in little league, it was definitely a shuffle for us as a family to oblige to the boys baseball schedules.

For new parents introducing their child’s first sport, I highly, highly recommend little league for your child. As your child starts at the age of 5 (sometimes even 3-4!) tee-ball is introduced, with the fundamentals of baseball. The basics. There are great life lessons learned through tee-ball as well! Whether or not your son sticks with sports all the through childhood, even just a few years can teach him a lot.

  • Paying Attention
  • Practice/Persistence
  • Showing Up
  • Luck
  • Successful = Having Copycats
  • Just Do IT!
  • Scorekeeping?
  • Rainy Days

Last year, we had moved to a new city, which meant my oldest son started at a new little league. We’ve moved around from different little leagues before, but our previous league was by far our favorite. (Shout out to Fremont American Little League!!!)

If you’re excited out this little league season, having it be your child’s first time, here’s what your little slugger will gain.

  1. Paying Attention
    During tee-ball, the kids are basically playing in the dirt, or catching butterflies in the outfield. It happens more often then not. T-ball practice and games isn’t a place to play in the dirt or catch butterflies.. It’s inevitable that the hardest hit balls will find the kids who aren’t paying attention. They’ll either miss their chance to catch a ball, or they’ll get drilled. If you don’t pay attention in life, you’ll miss some great opportunities.
  2. Practice/Persistence
    Most kids aren’t natural talents when it comes to t-ball. Some can swing and miss 10 or more times before they hit the ball. And catching isn’t exactly easy either. But when they eventually hit one, it’s awesome. The look of pride and joy on their faces is priceless. That’s when they realize that if they stick to something and work at it, they can accomplish their goal. Definitely a valuable life lesson.
  3. Showing Up
    Even though my boys love t-ball, there have been a few times when one of them didn’t want to go to his game, or parents made prior engagements on weekend game days (I am guilty to this.) But once you bring your son to his game, he’ll most likely have a great time and is glad he went. This is true in many aspects of life. Whether it’s school, work or just going to the gym to work out. Getting yourself to show up is often the most difficult part.
  4. Luck
    When your son hits that ball at first swing, and runs his little tail off to first base and is safe, its an amazing feeling! Or when he’ll stick his glove out and turn his head away as a fly comes down from the sky directly toward him…and lands right in his glove. Luck isn’t something that should be relied upon. But when it happens, it’s a pretty cool feeling.
  5. Successful = Having Copycats
    One kid will hit a home run and a bunch of his teammates will want to use his bat the rest of the game. To 4 and 5-year olds, the bat is the “secret sauce.” When someone is successful in life, other people want to know how he achieved such success and how they can get there, too!
  6. Just Do IT!
    After all the practices and preparation, the big moment will arrive. At game days a kid will have his first at bat in an official game. He’s put in the work. He knows what to do. The ball is right in front of him, resting on the tee. He just has to swing. In life, you can analyze, study, practice, prepare, think and debate. But when it comes down to it, if you want to accomplish anything, you’ve got to take your shot. Just swing and see what happens.
  7. Scorekeeping?
    In tee-ball no one keeps score at the games. The kids don’t mind. They just want to have fun. There are so many competitive aspects in life. Everything from merging into traffic to answering the question, “What do you do for a living?” can feel like a competition.
  8. Rainy Days
    Sometimes the sky will open up and a pouring rain will ruin all your plans. That’s usually how it goes for spring ball. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day. “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes, it rains.” 

    So there’s the life lessons of little league!!! If you’re child is returning back to little league, or you’re new to the baseball community with your child, welcome! Have fun! Let the kids play, and plaaaaay baaaaalll!

Coaches Gift

“12 weeks of keeping 11 families in the loop. From fundraisers, getting snack bar volunteers, umpires, scorekeepers, rescheduling games and countless countless emails.

There were nights of feeling so stretched thin, juggling 3-4-5 balls at once, sometimes thinking of quitting mid-season, but I finally made it through my first full season of being Team Parent (Team Mom)!!! Little League is too much for me. Would I do it again?! No. Maybe. We’ll see…..Next season.”

IG TiffanyMacaEnd of Season Gift from the Coaches

(via @tiffanymaca)

 And the end of every sports season, comes the coaches gift. As being the team parent (head parent), you can go in many different directions with this gift. You can ask around for money from the team families, for pull money out of your pocket to provide for this. This year, having my first year volunteering, I decided to go simple, and sentimental. The perfect keepsake! My son’s team actually had 4 coaches, which did an awesome job this year keeping these group of boys in check all season.

 

 

Here’s a great DIY Perfect Coaches Gift that you can personalize to any sport, and won’t break your budget.

(Inspired by StockPilingMoms)

Coaches Gift

This was so simple to make and cost me right at $40 ($10 each coach). I went to Target and picked up a black frame with white matting. Right at $9.99 is was set at the perfect price point. Next, I had recently when through my photos of the boys games. I ususally take photos of them right after during their huddles, and talks. I selected one, and had it printed at Costco which was less than $0.75 for all 4 (4×6) Set in black and white!

Next I had the all the boys on the team sign the frame while they were in the dug out. NOTE: Please remind the boys of their jersey numbers! Those little goofballs, tend for forget, and go on auto pilot while signing their name and number….Putting their classroom number. Haha Silly kids.

Once the players signed the matt, frame the picture and seal the back. You can add the seasons year date, as well as the teams name on the back, just for reference.

Gift Wrapping Supplies:

  1. Scissors
  2. Craft Paper (Butcher Paper from the DollarTree)
  3. Jute Twine (Team Color, or classic red, purchased at the DollarSpot, Target)
  4. Gift Tags (Dollar Spot, Target)
  5. Felt Baseball Stickers (Michael’s/JoAnne Fabrics)

Processed with Moldiv

I’m a big fan of wrapping gifts with craft paper. It gives it a simple look, and also it’s an easy canvas to dress up using jute twine, ribbon, or stamping it. Having these gifts mainly for grown men, I favored giving it a classic give wrap look, with baseball details.

Oh! And don’t forget those end of season gifts for the kids or team moms/ scorekeepers/ and moms who help out in the dugout!!! All those volunteers are all greatly appreciated! Check out some of these gift ideas for all end of season!! Perfect for any sport!

End Of Season Gift Bags
Goodies

DIY Berry Basket

Final1

 

What are other easy DIY coaches gift ideas? Something budget friendly, and serves as a keepsake! Comment below!!

 

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Sports Mom

I’ve been in the world of little league for the past 4 years. Last year, I was able to handle both boys in little league (with conflicting game & practice schedules) while pursuing my weekend races. With keeping my mind cool, tag-teaming with daddy, meal planning and extra help with the grandparents, last years baseball season went by smoothly. Mom’s out there, if you’re ever feeling stretched thin, ask for help with family. That’s what they’re there for! Really. Don’t be afraid to ask to help. (I realize this, as I’m now 100miles away from my parents.)

Now come this season. We’re in a new city, new league, new neighbors, and far away from any family. Decisions needed to be made, to make schedules easy to handle between myself, and well…Only myself as daddy is juggling work. This season, I only registered my oldest son Jaeden (8yrs old) to little league, as my 5 year old has no interest in tee ball what so ever. (He said he wants to do golf?!) Feeling really ballsy, and just a few days before our move to Sacramento, I volunteered and stepped up to be Team Parent as a way for me to get to know our new community and for me to meet more parents out there.

 

7 weeks into the season, and I’m not sure if it was the smartest decision. Knowing, that I have a bad case of social anxiety.

 

Presently, I’ve met plenty of parents on the team. Some, which I can see being friends even after season. Another few, live in my neighborhood, or their kids go to my son’s school too. In the end, it all works out! (Better than I expected, as I’ve worried nights before -for no reason.) I would’ve met these other parents eventually, even without the job of team parent. Putting the team parent job aside, which I’ll blog about another time, I’d like to focus on something more glamorous. What to wear, what to bring, and other baseball game essentials for the sports mom.

EVENINGame

Everything above are all things I actually own and take with me on daily basis. Everywhere.

(Of course if it isn’t above 70 degrees. Sacramento skips Spring, and loves to jump into Summer in mid-April)

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I typically post these essentials* more for special occasions, or for gift ideas, but this time I thought it would be fun to have a post specially for sports moms out there. Which, I’ve accepted will be my forever seasonal trend all throughout the year, and for each of my boys. Sports will never end in this family! (And that isn’t a bad thing!)

Nowadays, my style is very simple. Long or mid-calf length black leggings, Nike Frees, green army cargo jacket, a hat, and a warm cozy scarf. That is what I’ll wear to my son’s evening games. And by evening in my household, that’s a few hours after school, homework is complete, and that transitional period of rush hour and dinner time. That’s when it’s baseball season. Weekday games always tend to be my favorite. For some parents, not so much, because they work, and rush just to make it in time for the game. Which I totally get.

Evening games, usually consist of me bringing:

  1. Camping Chair
  2. Backpack
  3. External Charger
  4. iPhone/iPhone cord
  5. Camera (Simple point and shoot, and to hit record)
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Granola Bar
  8. Purewell Wipes
  9. S’well Water Bottle
  10. Gatorade
  11. And a pair of sunnies

 

If you’re a on the go type of mom, which I’m sure we all are, keep the camping chairs in the trunk, and a backpack filled with the electronics (external charger, extra cords) along, with granola bars, first aid kit, sun glasses, and a scarf ready to go, hanging in the garage or near the door! This helps a lot! Especially, if you like bouncing from different purses. Have a designated baseball/sports mom bag-purse!

 

Happy Friday everyone! And too all you little league moms, and team moms, the season is almost over!! Start soft planning the end of season party/picnic and brace yourself for summer vacation!

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Local Baseball Celebrity

In last weekend’s post 5K To Wedding Day: PLUS Surprises, I had mentioned that an older gentleman claimed that my youngest son was on the front of our local bulletin paper. After being a mom-on-a-mission, checking local grocery stores, liquor stores, and asking around, this paper was no where to be found. But I kept getting strangers and other parents declare that he was on there. One other little league parent even had it on his phone. Texted from a family member who thought it was their nephew.

I was so mind boggled that this paper, non-the less the photo of my son was not able to be found online. Seriously, after calling around local new papers, and driving by local closed down paper headquarters, I was finally given an address. Luckily, everything was so close to home. I walked into The ARGUS office here in Fremont, (which, I had to do major calling around just to get their new office location), as well as they are pretty bad at updating their information online.

Front Page

The receptionist was able to help me and provide me 3 copies of the Fremont Bulletin. There you had it, my little 2T right beside the team banner next to his coaches, marching at their Little League Opening Day. My heart filled with warmth and joy, knowing our community has seen my little celebrity. To tell you, even last year, my older son was on the paper as well, and the team mom at the time was able to give me a copy of the paper. (Squeals!) My two children have been in the local paper. I know its not much, but years from now, I’ll be able to share these documented articles and show them how little they were, and how they were a face of their local little league.

Here’s a closer look of Tristan.

Fremont Bulletin

Thank you to the San Jose Mercury News, The ARGUS, and InsideBayArea.

Smiles

Transitioning Into Baseball Season (Pt.1)

Having a family of two boys can be very tiring. This is the first year both my boys will be registered in little league together. Meaning, double the cleats, gloves, 3/4 colored undershirts/baseball long sleeves, snack days, and the overlapping practices and games. While signing my youngest son up, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind I was shooting myself in the foot. Overlapping practices and games. What was wrong with me? Why did I fall into the trap? I saw all the red flags over the past few years speaking to other baseball moms, and also overhearing moms at the gym locker room.

“Morning Jan, how are you?”

“Oh, it’s Tuesday. Dinner in the car, karate after school then straight to football.”

Is this the phase of motherhood I have now entered? One one ever tell’s you about this when you’re pregnant! You just have to figure it out all out. So today marks the first day of little league. I’ve already been contacted by both of my son’s coaches, and they’ve provided the practice schedules. And low and behold, both the boy’s practice’s overlap. Two different parks? Yes.

I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this moment. With a few Pinterest inspirations, and speaking to other moms of boys, I’ve gathered enough information to help me survive the baseball season with two boys. From discounted baseball attire, scheduling system, to ready to go/easy prep dinner meals for the car. If you’re a mother of more than one child trying to multitask and survive any sports season, I’m sure you’ll be able to find this guide quite helpful.

BaseballMom

(Baseball Mom Organization Photo By OneDollarCottage.com)

Baseball Equipment

In preparation to the baseball season, the boys are required a uniform that have many accessories. The league typically provides the jersey and hat, but everything else is provided by the player. That includes: cleats, cup, 3/4 colored baseball undershirt, team color socks and belt. Over the past years I’ve come to realize not all sporting good stores around my town will have everything I need. Often, one sporting goods store will run out of a certain team color I need, then I’m stuck Yelping  and driving around the next retail store. Sometimes a few cities away.

To avoid any trouble this year, and in attempt to save money on baseball equipment I’ve utilized a couple of my favorite spots:

  1. Thriftstores
    Although this could be a hit or miss, there is always that chance of scoring a pair of baseball cleats, helmet and baseball bat bag all for under $10!
  2. Secondhand Consignment Shop
    Usually, my local children’s consignment shop sends out periodic emails to sellers or email subscribers on their current sales. Since it’s baseball season, they’ll generally keep the public notified with secondhand sports attire.
  3. Craigslist
    My favorite go to shopping platform. Just like Amazon, I search up exactly what I’m looking for, with the chance of negotiating.
  4. Local Facebook Mommy Groups
    Take advantage of FB Mommy groups!! Post a comment stating ISO (meaning, In Search Of: __whatever item you’re looking for_) Local mom’s in your area have joined this group to get rid of their children’s stuff! Think of it, like a Craigslist platform, hosted on Facebook.
  5. Sports Warehouse Shops
    My holy grail this year!! A mother on my sons basketball team referred me to our local sports warehouse. I searched it up on Yelp, and went straight to the place! These sports warehouse have a huge selection of gear, with good sales and prices that are slightly below your average ball shop.

Blue Wagon

Blue Folding Wagon – Sams Club

One handy tool for any sports mom, is this folding/collapsible wagon. My cousin purchased it for me at her local Sams Club for $60. It’s undoubtedly one of the most useful things I’ve ever had, after a stroller!!  It’s durable polyester fabric and steel frame can hold up to 150lbs. Great for holding sports gear, cooler, camping gear, and beach gear! I’ve used it a couple of times at Costco too! If you don’t have one. Get one!!

Practice Clothes

Practice Attire

Below are some boys Hanes sweats I found on clearance at WalMart for $3 each! I purchases 2 pairs for each of my boys. What’s great about them are they’re full cotton, warm inside, have the elastic on the hips and ankles, and not only that, they provide pockets. (Which is a really important feature for my kids.) A total of $12 for 4 pairs!

I also purchased a crewneck long sleeve for $5 for those chilly evening practices!

Scheduling

If it weren’t for Google Calendar, and a whiteboard my life would be completely upside down. Not only do I have our family schedule logged digitally, and also in sync with daddy – I also need it written on a white board for me to see. In addition, I also have two notebook journal calendars. Soo hmm, counting my fingers, I have my weekly schedule kept in 4 different places. To some, it may be a little obsessive, but it whats keeps me sharp! Putting in the extra time jotting it down in multiple places helps set the plan/activity in stone. Not only that – I have my iPhone alerts.

Now as for dinner meal prep, and homework; I’ll continue with that later on as the season settles. All of  this may be a lot to take in! It certainly was a lot for me! I’m still currently shopping for more baseball equipment! Good luck sports mommies! Breathe in, breathe out! Oh! And if you’re a Team Mom, God bless you! You do a lot for the team, and the team won’t be able to function without you and the coach!

Smiles