On the way home, we stopped at the soccer park since Mitchell had been wanting to play there for days. Mitch looked like a little explorer in his Diego safari outfit.
On Saturday Jack came over to play. Their birthdays are less than three months apart and they get along perfectly. Jack and Mitch washed Max's rocks, played on the swingset, dug in the sandbox, and shared a snack.
On Sunday, Max went to his first baseball practice of the season. This is his third season playing baseball and his third season with coach Darin and his son Brady, who have become friends of our family. We love Coach Darin because he values fun over winning and he always has positive encouragement for the boys. The six boys who were able to attend practice during the holiday weekend had lots of time on the baseball diamond, batting and fielding the ball. They were excited to wear their bright blue t-shirts, and Max is busy trying to think of a catchy name for the"blue team." After practice, the grown-ups reminisced about how much the boys have learned during their short baseball careers, from the time they were kindergarteners and weren't always sure which way to run or what to do with the ball, to last year, when Max's favorite pastime was kicking sand in the infield, to now when they are soon-to-be third graders, learning specialized skills, yet still need to be reminded to keep their heads up and gloves ready when the batter steps up to the plate.
While Max practiced with his team, Mitchell and Troy explored the elementary school playground, playing Indiana Jones and hide and seek. Later, Mitch hit lots of home runs while we took turns pitching to him.
The boys asked for a trip to Dairy Queen on the way home from practice, but we reminded them that Dairy Queen treats are reserved for game nights during the season. Instead, they had snacks out on the deck after their baths. We enjoyed the colorful sunset and watched the stars and satellites decorate the sky, looking for constellations like the Big Dipper, the Seven Sisters, and Gemini.
I spent the rest of the morning working in the garden. I finshed planting heirloom tomatoes: Mexico Midget, German Pink, red currant, and Beam's yellow pear varieties; as well as other organic heirloom vegetables, including leeks, red and green onions, kale, broccoli, eggplant, celery, and several kinds of sweet and hot peppers. I also planted some more annuals and I filled a pot with some of my favorite colorful flowers --aster, salvia, bright orange marigolds, pink begonias, and coleus -- for the cemetery.
After we left the hospital, we brought the flowers to the cemetery to remember the three babies we have lost. Watching Mitchell run and play among the graves was comforting and reassuring, that life does indeed go on, and that God blesses us richly in unexpected ways. He loved watching the colorful pinwheels spin in the evening breeze. It was the first time the visiting the cemetery was actually enjoyable.
On the way home, we stopped to play at Mayo Park, across the river from the civic center, another favorite stop of Mitchell's. We admired the baby ducks along the edge of the river, played store, and tried out all of the slides. Our short playtime there was probably the best twenty minutes of the day. Sometimes we have to make time for those things we think we don't have time for.