I really don't want to wake up, it was much too early and I hadn't finished sleeping, but I knew one of us needed to get up as M and N were downstairs on the computer and were about to stop getting along.
D wasn't budging so I ended up getting up and overseeing the jibber jabber between the two.
One thing led to another and, for some reason, M got sent to her room. Actually, the thing that started it was her asking me to pitch her wiffleballs (vs. softballs) so she could practice batting. I'd rather she practice with the real thing (she needs to work on her swing, based on what I saw Saturday) vs. an imitation of it and this set her off.
She needs a batting helmet. With a face guard. Her coach said so.
When I responded that she didn't, that I wouldn't be throwing at her head, but over the plate, the waterworks were opened, which led to the other thing and she was sent to her room. (When will she break the habit of instantly crying when she feels slighted and/or doesn't get her way? We've tried to talk to her about it, but it never seems to sink in...or is it just something she'll have to outgrow on her own?) After a while, I went up and we talked about what happened. She finally agreed that she didn't need a batting helmet and we gathered our gear and went up to the school to practice hitting and fielding.
At first, M fielded while N batted. They then switched and N attempted to field while I pitched to M. (I say try as he lost interest, just like he does in the games and practice.) After a while, I discovered that M couldn't see the ball with her helmet pulled down over her eyes, so I had her exchange it for a regular hat and the results were instantaneous: A solid hit right down the 3rd base line. After a few more hits, I made some suggestions on how to get more power into the swing and before you know it, she was swinging for the fences. (Of course, she wasn't connecting with all the balls, but her mechanics were good. She just needs to work on being more selective about which pitches to swing at.)
When she moved out into the field to practice fielding, I gave her some suggestions on how to improve her throwing ability (both in distance and accuracy). She took them to heart and, again, the results were immediate. I hope she remembers the suggestions when she goes to practice. Now I just need to help her with her catching and she'll be on her way to being a pretty good softballer. She has the aptitude to be a productive player, she's just a little afraid of getting hit by the ball, which is natural. I'll have to come up with a way to decrease her fear of the ball and increase her sense of ability when it comes to catching a fly ball.
N gave up and went to the playground. After a while, M followed him.
After 10 minutes of playing on the playground, M and I went back to the field and she worked on hitting and fielding again. I got the impression she was enjoying it, which I was glad to see. I also noticed an improvement in her mechanics in both hitting and throwing. It looked like she was taking the pointers I was giving her to heart and putting them to use in action. Yay!
After our practice session, we went home, where we grabbed a bite to eat and then N and I headed to Lowe's for some deck cleaner. When we got back, I discovered that the sprayer we've had for a few years no longer held pressure, so I had to put the deck cleaning project on hold until we could get a new pump sprayer. (I had power washed the deck last weekend [two weekends ago?], but it still needed some chemical help to get the wood looking fresh again. I'm not sure when it had been cleaned last; it definitely needs a good cleaning.) So...I was unable to clean the deck. Not to worry, we stopped by Home Depot (I can't stand that store for a laundry list of reasons -- they're the Best Buy of hardware stores) on our way home from Sarah's concert (musical?) at their church.
Speaking of which, after attempting to clean the deck (and successfully cleaning myself up), we went to Sarah's musical (concert?) at their church. It was the story of David and Goliath in musical format. Afterwards, there was a cookie line (as usual) and the kids played outside while the adults made small talk.
On the way home, we decided to stop by McDonald's (gasp!) so the kids could have dinner before Mass. Since we were sort of in the neighborhood, I suggested going to St. Leo's for their folk Mass. After finishing my Asian Salad w/ Grilled Chicken (which, surprisingly enough, was pretty good), I called to see what time Mass was. 5p (it was 505p when I called). What about Holy Spirit? No Sunday evening Mass. St. Mary's? No dice. By this time, we were going to miss 530p at St. Tim's so we headed out to the car. Looking at the clock, I made the executive decision to head over to Nativity in Burke. I thought they had a 530p Sunday Mass, but as it turns out, there's no evening Mass their either. My bad. So, instead of going to Mass, we stopped off at Home Depot, got the pump sprayer and headed home.
I got half of the deck done (well, 1/4 is more like it as the second 1/4 that I did didn't get clean enough and I'll have to clean it a second time in order for it to look good) before calling it quits for the night. The part that did get cleaned turned out pretty nice. I couldn't believe what a difference there is between the cleaned portion and the untreated portion. It's almost as if the old decking was taken up and new boards were put down in their place. I'm sure once the stain is applied, the deck will look like a new deck.