Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Disneyland Christmas in November, November 20-23, 2016

I think this is the fifth year straight we have gone to Disneyland during the Christmas season, which in terms of Disney, stretches from about Veteran's Day to New Years Day.  Every year I gather a wealth of information and plan to write about it, and year after year passes and it all just gets too busy and I fail.
It's been about 6 weeks since I posted.
I know I touched on it before but here were the circumstances.  This was the continuation of our trip with my mother in law and my sister in law and her family which started in Las Vegas a few days before.  We left Vegas on Sunday morning at 645 am to arrive back in San Jose at about 8:30 am.  We dumped out our bags and repacked and were on the road to Anaheim by 10 or so.  We were joined there by the rest of the family that had driven from Vegas and one brother in law that flew in from West Virginia.  The other brother in law in San Diego was preparing for hosting Thanksgiving and never made it, so our bunch was 10.
So what's so great about going to Disneyland during the holidays?


Well there is no doubt we have seen some mighty wicked crowds during this time.  This time we .
wound up there the Monday of Thanksgiving week, and I would be hard pressed to say that this was not the busiest we had seen Disneyland, given when we usually go.  The stand by line for Haunted Mansion in the middle of the afternoon was 120 minutes and there was actually a line to get back in with your fast pass.  On this day we actually had to watch the line at the Monorail to make sure we made it to our dinner reservation at the Disneyland Hotel on time!  Tuesday was about 30-40 % better if I had to take a stab at it.  Last year we went the WEEKEND before Thanksgiving which coincidentally turned out to be the same weekend the "Season of the Force" opened in Tomorrowland, and that was about as crowded as Tuesday this year.  Most of the years we have gone we wound up going the weekend before the weekend before Thanksgiving. Once we went on a rainy first weekend of December, and this was by far the best.
So should the crowd factor keep you away from Disney during the holidays?  Well, I'd say not really. A savvy Disneylander can manage to have a full day and hit most of the major rides.  We rode everything except for Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Carribean, and Alice in Wonderland and rode Matterhorn and Haunted Mansion twice on Monday.  There are doubtless some tricks.  The first is to take advantage of the very early and very late hours.  If the park opens at 8, you are through security and at those turnstiles at 740 or earlier.  Put someone in charge of "running" for past passes, and let this person hold all the tickets.  The minute the park opens, this person runs for the first set of FastPasses while the rest of the family get in the busiest NON-FASTPASS ride available.  I suggest Peter Pan but we always seems to go to Dumbo, more out of tradition than anything, then to Peter Pan second.  The instant you are allowed to get another FastPass, the runner needs to go get the next set.  Usually you cannot obtain a second FastPass until your window opens on the one you are holding, but this is not universal, so you have to watch carefully when you are allowed (this info will be on your ticket) and
again, the instant you are allowed, send the runner.  Effective use of the FastPass system may require some traversing of the park, but I think it's worth it.  We will usually use our time waiting for our next FP window to wait in lines at non-FP rides, which this time were at worst about 40 minutes (Jungle Cruise).
A couple more tricks for time saving:  1) watch the fireworks from BEHIND the castle.  OKAY-it's not quite the same--it's not the classic Disney picture of the castle with the fireworks behind, but it's nearly as beautiful behind Small World.  2)  Watch the later night parade, as a lot of people leave after the fireworks.  In both of these cases, you save a lot of ride time as you can literally run up to your spot just before show time.
I could also give you some advice about knowing which direction the parade is heading and planning your spot stake out accordingly but you have heard enough from me about managing time.
NOW this all being said--these tips do not apply in Walt Disney World, where the FP system is completely different.


There are three rides that are decorated specially for the holidays.  For this reason the wait times at these rides are generally longer than they would normally be.
IT'S A SMALL WORLD changes to a display of children worldwide celebrating Christmas.
 Though I noticed that none of the costumes on the children change (that would be a lot of costumes, as there are about 300 characters), each child holds or wears something additional, a gift, and ornament, a garland, a hair ornament, that makes that child Christmasey.  In addition, festive banners in native languages, trees, stars, fireworks and other detailed decor transform the surroundings to a Christmas wonderland.  The final salon, which as always shows the children united in song, is particularly festive all dressed in winter white. And for all you scrooges who hate this ride for the obvious reasons, the kids take a break from singing "It's a Small World," to sing us "Jingle Bells" in native languages, a refreshing change.
Also particularly beautiful are the red and gold lights that illuminate the ride at nightfall.
The Jungle Cruise becomes the "JINGLE CRUISE."  The ride runs its same course and includes its usual litany of puns which are now geared to the holidays.  Lots of decor changes suggest the natives are decorating a totem pole, the hippopotamus has eaten a fruitcake and that the jungle animals are "playing with" Santa's reindeer. It's a hoot.  The puns make me laugh out loud.  I am the only one laughing.  Everyone must think I'm a complete idiot.  "When getting out watch your step and watch your head, but if you miss your step and hit your head then watch your language..."

Perhaps my favorite is the HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY.  Apparent this ride gets decorated into a "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme for Halloween in October and stays the same throughout the Christmas season.  Jack Skellington and some of the other characters make an appearance throughout the ride, including in the complete holiday revamp of the preshow in the stretching room. Lots of decor crossing the line between Christmas and scary, like a wreath with big sharp teeth and a cemetery covered in a blanket of snow. I find it to be mostly colorful and clever rather than scary. I actually prefer this version of the ride to the original.


The two specifically Christmas shows at Disneyland are the "A Christmas Fantasy Parade" twice daily and the nightly " Holiday Magic" Fireworks Spectacular".  Disney's California Adventure has the "World of Color--Season of Light" twice nightly.  We have seen the first two so many times we have nearly memorized them.  World of Color we have never seen.  Quite frankly, the night shows at Disneyland park are so fabulous that we can't bear to tear ourselves away and make the trek over to DCA to sit there in a crowd, all the while missing a change to see the Paint the Night parade one more time.  More on that later.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade runs twice daily, and has been doing so since 1994!.  It runs from Small World down to Main Street at 1:30 and then back again at 4:15.  It's a sweet parade.  Disney characters are featured on floats depicting different Christmas scenes.  Woody rides a rocking horse, the princesses attend a candlelight Christmas ball, and Minnie and Mickey manage Santa's mailroom with Chip and Dale.  In addition to all this is the usual Disney parade magic--shiny toy soldiers, men "skiing" on roller skates, dancing snowmen, all accompanied by a catchy tune that I think even my husband can hum on cue by now.  It is a little funny to watch this parade in the middle of November.  I kid you not, I watched this parade in 80 degree whether once, during which I wondered if Elsa would finally thaw.
The Holiday Magic fireworks show runs once a night at 930.  This is another show we have seen about ten times, but it never seems to lose its charm.  The show is a medley of Christmas
The gorgeous castle after fireworks
and holiday type songs of course accompanied by the choreographed fireworks show.  The simulated snowfall on Main Street (it's soap bubbles I figured out) after the finale makes this event particular magical.  People sit and wait in front of the castle for hours but we always slip under the rope about 20 minutes before the show.  No big.  Show still enjoyed.  Why waste all that time?  One thing I should mention is that they do tend to warn several times that due to high winds the show might be cancelled.  They did this both nights this year and also in the past, but I do not remember the fireworks ever being cancelled.
Closer to Christmas..I do remember this happening the year we went in December..Disney arranges special holiday events. One year there was a candlelight procession down Main Street.  100's of carolers processed in rows of 10 or so, shoulder to shoulder, wearing choir robes and holding candles, while singing traditional CHRISTMAS (notice the caps) carols.  It was stirring.  Five years later I can't think about it without getting a little misty.
Not exactly Christmas, actually not Christmas at all, but I have to take a little time to talk about the "Paint the Night" parade.  The Paint the Night parade began in Hong Kong in 2014 and debuted in Disneyland in May of 2015 as part of Disneyland's 60th anniversary celebration.  Apparently its last regular run was in September of this year, but it ran twice nightly while we were there.  I have heard that there is no plan for the parade to run at all past January 8, 2017, and that Paint the Night will be replaced by the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Learning this is a huge disappointment.  This parade is SO FUN!  It is almost impossible to NOT get up and dance and sing along.  The two years we were able to see it we watched it both nights at 10:30 pm.  This parade is a literal party of lights and music and everyone's invited:  Jessie, King Triton, Slinky dog, Lightning McQueen, Belle, Buzz Lightyear and of course Mickey Mouse.  I would say if you haven't seen it go now cuz it doesn't look like it's gonna be around much longer!  Boo-hoo!

Really a huge part of the excitement of this time at Disneyland is just the huge amount of detail that Disney puts into the conversion of Disneyland and DCA into a Christmas wonderland.  Everywhere you turn are garlands, bows, wreaths, lights, bells, snowflakes, decorated trees, and just about anything else you can imagine that would make you think of the holidays.  No eave, lamppost, or storefront goes ungarnished.  Particularly fun are the whimsical car themed Christmas decorations of Cars Land in DCA, in which tire wreaths hang from garlands of oil filters, orange cones are strung with lights and a huge tree is adorned with hubcaps.  It's super clever and just about the only entire land in themed decoration.
There are PLENTY of family Christmas photo opportunities all over and plenty of photographers willing to take pictures of your family, even with your own cameras.  The last two years, our Christmas photos were taken in Disneyland by Disney photographers.  The Disney Photopass system makes in easy to download images and use them with whatever photo service you desire!

Well after five years I finally got this post done!  I hope you enjoyed reading it!  And now for some pictures!

Last year's Christmas card picture at DCA

This year's picture at Disneyland

Our niece Hannah had never been to Disneyland :)

The cousins waiting for the Matterhorn

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Planning a Trip to Las Vegas: October 12, 2016

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Well, once again the sad truth is that I went through the entire summer without posting a darn thing.  I had the best of intentions to write about the new activities and foodstops we tried in Hawaii and then I had another idea about doing a little overview about our very busy summer. It all took too long and I didn't get to it.  Now, though we had temperatures over 100 degrees this week, the summer is over and no one wants to hear about it.

Very late in August my sister in law in New York called my husband and told him they were planning a November vacation to Las Vegas and Disneyland, with the plan to continue on to my brother in law in San Diego for Thanksgiving and would we like to them for any join them for any part of this adventure.  They were bringing my mother in law, who had frequently mentioned a family trip to Vegas, but in her 80 years had never organized it, and our 11 year old niece.

Logistics, logistics, logistics!  The first thing that was going to have to happen was that I was going to have to take a lot of time off work, over time that included the entire Thanksgiving week and the Friday before.  The next problem was taking care of the kids at our house, since we weren't going to take them to Vegas--I maintain my strong standpoint that Las Vegas is not a family destination.  The next was whether or not my daughter's championship water polo game might fall on that weekend.  If it was going be then we were not going to able to plan the Vegas portion until the very last second.

My mom took Friday night.  My neighbor took Saturday night.  The water polo season ended the weekend prior.  I got all the time off work approved.  The only snafu was that we figured out that our middle schooler was off of school all of Thanksgiving week but our high schoolers were not.  The girls didn't care.  It had all fallen into place.  We were going to Vegas AND Disneyland!

This vacation was going to be different than what I am used to.  Typically I am responsible for planning every last detail, but this time by the time we got on the bandwagon, both the hotels and the shows were picked, so my assignment was going to be picking the restaurants and figuring out what's new and how to spend our days.

Our hotel is to be the Marriott Grand Chateau.  This property is a non-strip hotel without a casino.  I wasn't all too thrilled about the choice, but then as I saw the amazing location, just a block off the strip, and the off strip price (179$ for king room), I was satisfied.  The location of the hotel, just southeast of Planet Hollywood, did have some bearing on the restaurants I chose...

So, after oodles and oodles of research, here are my winners...

Friday Breakfast: MON AMI GABI, Paris.
We are taking a very early flight from San Jose and by the time we land at 9 and make a quick stop to drop our bags at the hotel, I am sure we will be ready to eat.  Mon Ami Gabi fronts the Paris Hotel (just a .6 mile walk from our hotel) and offers an open air French Bistro type setting.  I have been here to eat lunch.  Mon Ami Gabi gets high marks across all meals.  Breakfast is served daily from 7 to 11 am.  The breakfast menu is inspired, offering everything from Lemon Pancakes with Lemon Marmelade, to a Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelette, to a Bananas Foster Waffle.  One thing that I love however is the offering of fresh fruits and cereals, including a 10 grain oatmeal, in case you are trying to be even a little careful about how much you stuff yourself while in Vegas. You can check out the menu for yourself on the website.  Most menu items range from 8-16 dollars.  I am looking forward to relaxing with my crepes and cappuchino.

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This picture doesn't do it justice.  I see a table for me!!

OH YEAH!  I'm all over that!

Friday night dinner:  RAO'S, Caesar's
Craig and I needed an Italian restaurant Friday night that could take us late, (9:30--after seeing the Rat Pack at Tuscany Inn and Suites) was not too fancy and not too expensive.  Rao's at Caesar's was on my short list the last time we came to Vegas, so after I got a little nudge from a girlfriend at work who said that was the place to go, I decided to go for it.  Rao's has three locations, one of which (New York) is deemed completely impossible to get into.  The Las Vegas dining room is bigger, so I decided to go for it.  They only appear to serve dinner, and most of the items on the menu run between 25 and 40 dollars, with a steak costing a little more.  Rao's also apparently has a patio and a bocce ball court, and offers bocce ball lessons, but it is hard to figure out from the website who actually gets to play bocce ball.  RAO's is famous for it's Uncle Vincent's Lemon Chicken and it's Tiramisu.  I seriously don't care.  The last time I went to dinner with only my husband was probably three years ago, the last time we went to Vegas.  The rest of the family wanted to join us and I politely said we were going on our own.

 The inside kind of reminds me of Buca di Beppo


Saturday brunch:  WICKED SPOON BUFFET, Cosmopolitan
After years of never missing the Cravings Buffet at the Mirage, I kind of felt like it was time to expand my horizons and try another buffet in Vegas.  Wicked Spoon was ranked pretty high among the sources I consulted, and another big plus is its proximity, just .4 miles from our hotel.  I figured I would grab a workout Saturday morning and head on over to stuff myself!  Wicked Spoon serves brunch from 8 to 3 and from what I can gather, costs about 35$ per person on a Saturday, with unlimited mimosas, chardonnay, or cheap beer if you are willing to tack on another 15$.  Apparently, Wicked Spoon was at it's peak about 5 years ago.  One interesting feature is that everything is served on dishes with individual portions, so there is no scooping from a large "vat-o-mashed-potatoes" onto your plate and then returning the spoon to the vat after that spoon had been smacked onto God knows how many other plates.  A nice touch from both a cleanliness and a portion control point of view.
Seriously when I saw the pictures, all I wanted to do was eat.

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Yeah, I think I can start with dessert!
(Courtesy of

Is this mac and cheese?  Who cares?  I want some!

And who doesn't want corn when it is presented
 this beautifully
(courtesy of

Saturday dinner:  EIFFEL TOWER RESTAURANT, Paris
Now this was the hard one.  This night needed to be really special, but also needed a lot of needs met. There are oodles of high end restaurants to choose from, but which one to choose!  This is the night that we are all eating together and celebrating my mother in law's 80th birthday.  There were 6 of us eating, including our 11 year old niece, who is well behaved.  I looked at a LOT of Yelp reviews, which really was quite helpful.  Knowing the nature of my dinner company, I steered away from words like "trendy" or "hipster." I avoided restaurants that turned into nightclubs.  I tried to have four or more stars on Yelp but also tried to avoid an exorbitant price range.  I looked for dressy steakhouses and American food with a noise level of average or less.
After a lot of research, I got my list down to 6 restaurants which included places like Sinatra at the Encore, Mastro's Ocean Club at Crystals City Center, and Hugo's Cellar downtown.  I sent the list to my sister in law with a big overview of pros and cons. They chose the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.
I would have been fine with any on my list, but secretly I am really happy with this choice.  Craig and I had drinks here the last time we came to Vegas and ooo the setting is sublime.  The dining room is on the 11th floor of the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower.  The glass surround offers a stunning view of the lights over the central strip including the City Center and the Bellagio hotel.  At dinner on a weekend, the gorgeous Bellagio fountains entertain you every 15 minutes.  Ah! Hum Clare d' Lune now...
How bout the food?  Some described this restaurant as French, other as a steakhouse, others as American...  Ok, here's one..."Updated French Classic Cuisine"...can we hang with that?  Quite frankly, I don't care what you call it--I dont think I will have a hard time finding something I want to eat on this menu...Beef Wellington, Rack of Lamb, Duck Breast, Salmon Fillet, Filet Mignon, New York Steak.  You get the point.  It ain't cheap.  There is a trio of caviar for $290 which I guess I can hold off on ordering.  My sister in law said we won't show my mother in law the menu, or else she will just order the $18 soup.

OK-the restaurant looks good....

The view looks good...

and this is what I'm ordering......

Well that remains to be seen, but on Friday night after dinner Craig and I plan to take a ride on the "High Roller."  The High Roller is a 550 foot tall observation wheel situated behind the LINQ hotel.  The High Roller opened in March of 2014, just a few short months after we came to Vegas last, and is currently the tallest attraction of its kind.  It has 28 transparent pods, each of which holds up to 40 people. It is open from 11:30 AM to 1:30 AM.  Though cool to ride at any time, prices would indicate that the ride is more fabulous, and therefore in higher demand, at night.  The ride takes 30 minutes. "Happy Hour" specials are available both in the daytime and at night.  These specials allow you to drink all you want while riding.  There was a GROUPON for the happy hour special; 79$ for the two of us instead of 94$, so we went for it. Normally, with an online discount of 5$ per ticket through, an adult ticket for a daytime ride is $20 and $33 for the "happy hour" ticket.  At night, the prices are higher, $32 for an adult ticket and $47 for the happy hour.
I am slightly concerned that I might have to go the bathroom while riding this thing, and in general the heights are going to freak me out a bit, and hopefully it's not TOO crowded...but I think it's going to be great!

The High Roller at night

Looks pretty cool from the inside!!

is that really the view??  Crazy!

Anyone hungry?  Looking at all this fun made me very ready to head over to Vegas and start the party!  Thank you for reading this post!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bye Bye Los Gatos Little League May 2016

On Sunday, May 22 I washed my son's last Little League uniform for the last time.

As the stinky socks were turned right side in and the sweaty hat was thrown in for its final disinfecting, I felt a chapter in my life close.

His team, the Nationals, finished the regular season in first place with an impressive 15-5 record, this despite losing their All-star catcher mid-season to a retinal detachment, a blow from which no one ever expected the team would recover.  However, they played substandard ball in the tournament coupled with some additional "staffing handicaps", and before its midpoint, the Nationals were eliminated.

The last two years we played in the championship game, so an exit at this point left me with a far too early sensation of what am I going to do with myself now. So I'll write...

It is hard to believe that I sat through seven springs of this...

I didn't always love it. When Nicky was 6 and played Tball, I sat on my folding chair rolling my eyes in response to the sheer drudgery of it all.  Every little MuckDog, that was actually the team name, the Muckdogs, came up to bat in every inning and I swear there were like 18 of them.  Each painfully swung and many missed, even when the ball sat on a Tee.  A ball fielded, thrown to first, and actually caught was a signal of a possible future scholarship opportunity.   
But this was our foundation.  Three of the boys on this team are still among Nicholas' best friends.  We are still close to all three of the coaches seven seasons later.  We can still name most of the players on the team and half are still playing majors level ball in Los Gatos. These were they days when boys learned to love baseball.

The T-Ball Los Gatos Muckdogs

The next year was at the single A level, more affectionately know as machine pitch (though now I hear there is no machine).  This team was practically the same as the Muckdogs, except for
that now they were called the Indians.  Our slightly rednecky coach did not fail to take advantage of this opportunity to paint the boys with warpaint and wear a feathered headdress to the games, all this in addition to teaching them to war cry.  I'm sure he meant no disrespect to the Native Americans; he just wanted to have a little fun with the boys with the possible side agenda of irritating some Democrats, in which he succeeded.  I have a great picture of him but I dare not post it.  The kids started calling him 'Chief,' which I think stuck for a couple years more seasons...
At least in single A, when there were three outs the inning was over....I think.

The Single A LGLL Indians

It really wasn't until AA in second grade that the game we were playing on the little dirt diamond started to resemble baseball. Double A is also the last level wear you can pretty much get whomever you want on your team, despite the fact there is some form of a draft, so 'Chief' and his minions managed to pull almost the whole team together again.  In AA there are three outs, but achieving three outs can take an eternity.  This is the first player pitch level and though the strike zone, now determined by a real 11 year old umpire, is roughly the size of a twin mattress, there are LOTS of walks and LOTS of strike outs, as kids either swing at everything or swing at nothing.  
A real pitcher!

Double A was the first year I remember having fun.  The AA stands were small and usually dirty, so the warm spring months lured us and our blankets and lawn chairs to the outfield, where we frequently sipped on Chardonnay and margaritas and munched on chips while waiting for our boys to make contact.  It was also this year that there seemed to be something to cheer for.  Wins and losses were actually tracked and there was actually a recordable score at the end of the game.  I learned to cheer and I learned to cheer loudly.  I also remember this year being the first in which I worried that they might not win.

Sitting on the bench at the Double A Field
The AA Giants at the San Jose Giants game
This is one of my all time favorites

The transition to AAA was a hard one. 'Chief''s son was a year younger and was staying in AA, as was 'Chief.'  Added to this was the fact that most of Nicky's best friends were staying in AA another year, either because they weren't ready to move on or because they were younger.  By Little League age and by ability, however, Nicks really needed to move up, so we threw ourselves into the AAA draft.

We did not show up for tryouts because we thought one of Chief's co coaches was going to coach and was going to draft Nicky.  He did not coach and he did not draft Nicky.

Triple A games are played across town at Balzer field.  Some love Balzer because it's quiet and cozy.  However, it is easy to feels isolated from the rest of Los Gatos Little League out there.  Generally, the two years we spent playing at Balzer had many happy memories, and I was sorry when we had to go back to the 'big ballpark.'

In AAA there is no sitting in the outfield, as the boys really do hit that far.  For the first time there is a measured outfield wall, which balls occasionally go over, clearing the bases.  There are real stands with a home and an away side, though the mixing of the two is quite frequent.  There is a real scoreboard, usually controlled poorly by younger siblings, which informs everyone where the game stands.  Players can steal bases.

Our first year in Triple A was tough.  Nicky was the youngest player on the team.  The boys that were two years older were poor examples of good sportsmanship.  Nicholas only batted like .275 that year and sat on the bench a lot.  The team couldn't bat at all from like the 6 spot on (and in AAA the whole team of 12 bats) and finished with a losing record. The second year of AAA was worlds better.  We won a lot and Nicky started to catch and pitch and play shortstop.

The LGLL Triple A Reds

Triple AAA was about the level I started to really care about what happened in the games, especially in the second year.   In AAA was when I started to pace the Los Gatos Creek Trail instead of watching my son close out the last inning of a tight game.  In AAA was the first time I remember not being able to drink coffee before a morning game, and being relieved if someone brought adult beverages to an afternoon match up to 'take the edge off.'    The stress would sometimes start as early as noon and I remember once having to have a glass of wine at lunch (the game was probably at 5!) to calm myself down.  I cheered so loudly I nearly passed out a few times.

I'm not sure why--but I think I care more than the average parent--and probably more than I should.  I should likely be glad that I do not have something more serious to care about than how my son's little league team does.

When I used to come to Little League Opening Day and see the big boys playing on the Majors field at Blossom Hill Park, I thought those days were so far away, but suddenly my son was 11 and we were there.  Nicky was drafted by a rock star manager and we had a great team and were off and running.

Majors is a little bit of a separation from the men and the boys.  At the majors level, boys are pretty serious about baseball, and most players receive private coaching, play fall travel ball, or both.   In majors, though you still have 12 boys on the team, only 9 bat.  Batters can be removed from the line up and can be 'subbed' with other batters. Players at the majors level are only guaranteed three innings in the field and ONE at bat.  If you're not a strong player, you don't play much, and this can be frustrating.  A lot of boys quit after AAA, and many others stay an extra year in AAA and play only their final little league season in majors.

But enough of that....
Nicholas has said that his first year in the majors was his best year in Little League.  The 12 year olds were leaders and were good to the younger players and the 11 year olds were talented and met the challenges of playing at a new level well.  In fact, four out the five 11 year olds made the all star team that year.  The team wasn't just lucky, they were good.  They enjoyed playing together.

Another of my all time favorites
I love this picture so much it is still my screen saver one year later

The same team after the tournament championship
They lost, but no tears here!

This year was our last and it was different, but not necessarily in a bad way.  In general, the majors teams were younger and less talented.  Nicky did a lot of pitching and a lot of playing shortstop.  He was forced to grow up and lead the team.  He lamented the loss of his catcher, with whom he was so in tune, but tried to learn to make the best of situations beyond his control.  It was a good fun successful season and a good way to walk off the playing field.

The LGLL Majors Nationals

It's not like our baseball days are over--at all--but a life experience has come to an end. Thanks LGLL. You have been good to us. Thanks for the friends made, the walk off wins, the double plays, the balls caught by the little guy in right field, the homeruns that bounced on the wall and landed on the other side, the squibby singles that died in the long grass, and the line drives to the shortstop to end the game.  Thanks for the hours and hours and hours we spent at the field with breath held and hearts pounding, cheering, and cheering and cheering.

We will miss it.....

And now for some pictures!!

There's nothing like playing baseball with your best buddies

Nicky, your family is so proud of you!
Our favorite Little Leaguer!
This picture is nothing about Little League
and everything about being friends forever

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