Saturday, August 30, 2008

Being a Daigle!

The last couple of days I have truly enjoyed being Ms. Daigle and Ace Daigle's mommy! Its been so much fun not having a schedule, having to find a catcher to go out and pitch too, and having a to do list! We are unpacking, organizing, and I'm still trying to adjust to the time. Ace is back in his house, on cloud 9. He is a bit confused about having a "home", or even what a "home" is. His home is with mom and dad where ever that may be in this world. We have created him a play room which he adores. He has been running around our house shouting, "Ace's play room, Ace's play room." He has rediscovered all of his toys. His favorite being his tractor and trailer. Any time he mentions his tractor he says, pull the trailer. He is obsessed with construction trucks! He has fallen for Sponge Bob. I'm not so sure how to feel about it. It wouldn't be my choice at all but he is already fallen. I'm still trying to figure out why? He is getting so big! He eats at his little bar all by himself. Wipes his mouth and all. Its adorable. We've converted his crib into a toddler bed. Yes, my baby is gone. Now a toddler quickly growing into a little boy if not already. He is 37 inches tall. We started a growth chart! We've truly enjoyed being a family. Ace will randomly when we are all together point to me and say, mommy then point to Casey and say, daddy! He is realizing we are actually all together. The first couple of days he kept saying, "Mommy all done in China, nope, no more China"! So cute! He constantly said it as we watched the closing ceremony. Casey can't wait to get out on his boat. I think today might be the day for him. He is so excited! Last night we had our first Mexican Dinner back in Az. It was so good. We left miserable, filled to the top. I practically rolled out. Its been so much fun having us all together as one. Casey is such a good dad and has to have everything as perfect as can be for his little guy. Its so cute! Tonight we are thinking about taking Ace to the Monster Truck Rally here in town. I think he'll go nuts.

Its so nice to be back in our house. Oh, how cactus have grown on me! The warmth, the sunsets, familiarity with the area, friends, so very much! We will actually get to attend church on Sunday too! Good times! As I write, I'm looking out our window admiring many birds eating away. I feel a bit like the lady in Home Alone in central park. One of mine, and now Aces favorite things to do, is fill the bird feeders and watch the birds go to town! We even get a Cardinal every once once in awhile! Casey and Ace went out last night for a ride and saw Javalinas, Casey said Ace was in awe. I actually cooked too! My mom's vegetable beef soup! I'm trying to cook a little more, we are a bit tired of restaurants and eating out. Who knows if it will really happen but I'm going to try! It was refreshing.

Travel is coming a bit quicker than I thought, but worth it. We will be going to Chicago to appear on Oprah. She is honoring Olympians! I've always wanted to meet her and hopefully I will get the chance! It will air on the 8Th, I believe. It will be fun seeing my teammates again! I have to admit I miss them! We've been texting here and there. We've spent the last year together its weird not having them around. I took Ace on a walk/jog yesterday that was the first physical exercise I've had since getting back. I need to get it going again. We are gearing up for our Sacramento Camp, the first of four for the fall. They are filling up fast. It will be a blast. I have to admit selfishly I look forward to them too because it's a little bit of a reunion to see friends/teammates!

I have to congratulate the Chicago Bandits, the NPF Champs! Great job ladies!!! We are so proud! I'm looking forward to next season. Exciting stuff! Way to go!

Thank you all for your kind words and support. Your comments are inspiring and I'm very appreciative. It seems as though its hard to escape, everyone lets us know how sorry they are. I was walking down the isle in Lowe's the other day and this guy turns around and says, "Sorry". I replied, "Excuse me." Again he says, "Sorry." So caught off guard I return, "Sorry for what?" He said, "Sorry about the silver." So I'm constantly reminded whether its by others or in my own head. Many hearts were broke along with ours. Life continues to go on and we will be faced with many more challenges to face. We know there will be many bigger obstacles down the road and much more severe than a loss.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Olympic Journey

Well as you can see its took me a while to face the computer and start reading and writing. First, I want to send out a heartfelt thanks from deep inside me to all our gracious and supportive fans! Thank you for all your unconditional love and support! We are so very blessed!

I'm with my family now!!! My heart is elated with joy to be reunited! Oh, if you would of seen me bawling all the way out of the airplane to them. Knowing my little and big guy were standing out there. I was a mess, I couldn't hold it together. It truly was the longest trip of my life getting home. I think I was race walking an Olympic Record in a bee line to the door! There he was, grinning from ear to ear running towards me with a bouquet of flowers bigger than him, in a shirt that said Mommy, with a heart around it. Awe, you could see his joy beaming outside of him to have me back. For five minutes I just held him, staring into his incredible blue eyes, and he just kept staring back in disbelief that I was actually home. He kept touching my face as I was melting! For myself I just continued to bawl like a 2 year old myself. I can not express how happy I was to be back and have my husband and son surrounding me! Knowing my next trips are a ways away and we are in our off season is a feeling we have looked forward to all year. Its what kept us going and able to go through this past year a part. Ace is talking so much more, reciting us like a little parrot. He is filling out, getting thicker and bigger. I'm still in awe and so incredibly happy to be home. As soon as I put him down he grabbed my hand and shouted, "Come on Mommy!" Its what I had been waiting to hear!

Its time to talk about the game, I will try to be brief as it still hurts. It's why we play the game, there is a chance involved. It wouldn't be any fun if there wasn't a chance to win or lose. Yes, we love it as you very well know and please don't take this the wrong way. Someone has to win and lose. It was Japan's day, we have to tip our hat to Team Japan and Ueno who had a performance of a lifetime over those last few days. Coach always says it does take a little luck to win championships and on any given day anyone can win. This is why we trained so hard and sacrificed so much we knew the difficulty. We are very proud of our team and who we are. We will always hold our heads up high and be very proud and honored to be able to have the opportunity to wear USA across our chests and because we are the people we are.

Leaving to the field I prayed, Lord let Your will be done. I have given all I have, my trust is in You, may Your will be done. This is win or lose, pitching, or not pitching, what ever color medal. I've been asked a lot why weren't you in there? My answer is it was Coach's decision and he made the best one he could. Yes, as a fierce competitor you always want the ball in your hands, I was dying to get in and was as ready as I could been to be in there. As a team player first, I will continue to back Coach and we as a pitching staff Cat and Monica. We have complete faith in one another and we will stand together as one.

Its hard, yes no doubt. Does it still hurt yes, I'm sure it will for a long time. People keep telling me how I am the face of USA Softball and I've done so much for the game, which I truly appreciate and am very very grateful for but its still hard for me to swallow the loss. It doesn't make losing any easier. I don't want to be known for that, at least not yet. I train to be an athlete not a face. I have dedicated part of my life to be the best pitcher I could be because I love to compete. I am best when I am competing not posing for pictures or on the red carpet or in the board room. I'm a competitor. I am grateful for all I've been able to do, I would've and could never dreamed of it all! I'm just a girl that loves to compete and have the ball in my hands. I love the challenge of facing hitters! I've never tried or trained or even thought about being the face of USA softball just being the best pitcher I could be.

Ultimately what brings me peace is knowing that it was the Lord's will. It's all part of His plan. The Big Man up stairs already knows and has already written His plan. All we can do is give all we have and if we have done that we are winners, winners in Him.

There are constant things that continue to go through my head and I'm sure they will for a long long time. I always have said what drives me is my fear of failure. Its a good fear. As a competitor you don't want to be a good loser, you don't want to get used to the feeling, it burns and it should. As an athlete you always want to have class and lose with grace but that doesn't mean you have to be a good loser. Wearing the USA Softball uniform is such a treasured honor especially knowing the tradition of it and the program. You are expected to win. Yes, there is pressure but what better pressure could you dream of. It has been created by many incredible women before us and knowing them and that every time you put it on, you are reminded. I feel terrible we didn't keep that tradition going. My mind continues to race what could we have done more or better of different.

Standing on that podium it hurt. Please don't think I am not grateful or honored to be a Silver Medalist I am! But we did lose the game. On top of the loss, we lost the entire game from the Olympics for 2012. We said good bye to many of our games greats, the one and only Laura Berg, my Ponytailed Powerhouse roommate and dear friend Crystl Bustos, many more of my amazing teammates, and many more from other countries. These women have given their lives to the sport and the sport will forever be changed because of them! Thinking this could be the last time softball players could have the opportunity to stand in the Olympic arena. The many young and old girls that have dreamed of this moment and weren't able or will not be able to experience it. And I can't deny, my heart was aching for Ace and Casey up there too.

I can remember in Greece standing on the podium looking down at Coach hugging his son and daughter so tightly filled with emotion. They were missing their mom and wife, this really put things in perspective for me. Life isn't about medals or what color medals, it is how you play the game of life. Enjoying everyday that the Lord has blessed us with, knowing that it could be our last. We never know. It really hit me hard on that podium in Athens. As much as we have made our lives about our sport and medals, there is so much more. There in Athens it was supposed to be the most magical moment of my entire life which it was up there for sure on my list... but the Lord spoke to me in that magical moment different from what I thought and expected.

I have been trying to get myself to write this, my mind has been racing the last few days. I really wanted to be able to organize my thoughts and truly tell how I was feeling. I have tried. Thank you for your patience and understanding! I woke up this morning at 5 am knowing it was time. It was time to face it. I can not thank you enough for all your prayers, kind words, and thoughts!

I've been faced with questions regarding retirement too. Lord willing I feel I have some more pitches in this right arm, I still have that fire in me, and I can't imagine walking away as of now. I love my teammates so very much and would go to battle with them and for them any day. I look forward to getting back on the field with them again! I look forward to getting back up to Chicago being a Bandit, and still wearing USA across my chest!

As of right now I can't get enough of my little man and my husband. I have smiled so much in the last 24 hours being home with them. I look forward for the next few months being the mom, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, I haven't been able to be this last year!

Always dreaming & believing!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 15 & am of the 16th

WHAT A GAME! WOW!!!! Our team showed so much gut yesterday on the field. It was a battle as we expected... extra innings and all!!! The final score was 4-1 incredible!!! Monica was again lights out of the mound and had a gutsy dominant performance keeping us in the game all along. Caitlin came through big time with a hit up the middle to score Tash in international tie breaker! Reliving it just brings so much happiness and giddiness to mind! It was amazing. Then my "PP" Pony tailed Powerhouse as they have been calling her this week in the media my roomie Bustos came up BIG once again! She hit a bomb. A bomb it was... up up up and out almost clearing the stadium to put us up 4-0. Awesome. It was awesome!!! We didn't even watch it land we just saw it take off and went nuts! Incredible. Yesterday was such a rush... we knew the medal rounds were going to be this way. This is what we have been training so hard for, for the battle! Japan played a great game also.

After our game the Aussies came out on top of Canada 5-3 for the win which advanced them into the bronze medal game against Japan. They played 12 innings last night. We watched all 3 an half hours of it glued to the TV in the apt. It was an exciting game! Both teams played so great. It was a battle Australia tied it up 2-2 heading them into extra innings. Japan came out on top winning it in the 12Th inning. Some great softball... Australia was awarded the Bronze and we will play Japan today for the Gold. We play tonight at 6:30.

After the game we had some team time enjoying one another knowing that the biggest game is ahead of us. There is a lot of emotion surrounding us all. We are trying to hold in all of our extra emotion... with this being what could be the last Olympic games for softball, the last time some of us where this uniform, the last time some of us play, the sisterhood, so many memories, Laura Berg in what could be her last game, our families that aren't hear, so very much. All of these thoughts are with us but being pushed back to the back of our minds for this last game. We are focused on the task at hand completing our job here in Beijing. Last night it was really hard to fall asleep, so many thoughts, so many hitters going through my head, so much like it should be.

YES... Congrats to Misty May and Kerri Walsh!!! They just won gold again!!! They are great people and friends congrats, so deserved! Way to go!!! Enjoy!!!

Today is the day!!! Hopefully our fingers are crossed we will get to play today!!! We woke up to rain and lots of it. We are hoping it subsides and we are on schedule as follows! We are keeping our minds right and planning for our game tonight! I'm going to end this now before more emotions come out.

Its game mode. Game on! This is it! It has been an amazing incredible journey... one more to go, one more!

Love to all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 14 Medal Rounds are here!!!

We woke up and headed out to the practice field to get some cuts in and get ready for tomorrow! It all begins, this is it, the next 2 days! We are prepared, ready, excited, confident, and so much more. This has been an amazing road and journey! All the cities all across the US on our Bound for Beijing tour, all the practice, all the sacrifice, dedication, support, so very much has gone into preparing for this moment. Most importantly so many people all of our support staff... the list goes on and on!

After practice we showered up relaxed, ran some errands. We picked up laundry, they lost a bag of mine. Not good. They said to come back tomorrow, hopefully they will find it. I'm sure they will they are so very on top of everything around here! We went up to the store they stocked it up with lots more Olympic gear! I bought Ace this adorable little red jacket that has the mascots on it. Its really cute! Can't wait to give it to him.

Kelly and I headed over to the salon for a little spa afternoon. It was amazing! We started out with a facial, it was so relaxing, it was great to feel so clean and fresh. We then were able to squeeze in a foot massage. They are incredible here... seriously the best massage I've ever had. They go over every single inch on your foot, heel, ankle, then up to your legs around your knees and up in your quads. It was awesome and only 20 dollars, which makes it even more awesome! We scored on both! The facial was a bit more I think around 50 dollars, very reasonable. We are trying to get better at the conversion but are still struggling a bit. I think its better not knowing exactly! Still we scored! We both wanted to go straight to bed, it was so relaxing! We then decided to continue our day of being spoiled and requested a wash and blow dry! These are free to villagers! Lots of fun! We were forced to wake up and walk back to our apt. We were in a daze the whole way! Great idea we had. I would relax then go in and out of preparing mentally for our game. It was a good little escape but the game is on the forefront of our minds. Its consuming us as it should.

My highlight of the day was the workers/volunteers at the field. They are so very sweet. We are now friends and are greeted by name! Its so fun seeing their faces light up as we arrive on our bus! They even help us shag balls and as they toss them to us they have the biggest grin from ear to ear. So happy to be a part. They will be part of our Olympic memory just as the Greek people were in Greece. Its all part of it and all of it makes it what it is... the Olympics!

We are know heading to bed. We have a early wake up tomorrow, the bus is pulling out at 6:45am from the village! Our coffee pot will be brewing! We will try to be relaxed but thriving on our butterflies! We will do our best to go out and play USA softball. Play our game!!!

Dreaming & Believing all the way!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 12 & 13

Things have been going well... we are now finished up with pool play and on to the medal rounds! It all now begins! What is done is done and over. None of it counts! We played a great game against the Netherlands our offense was on fire! Monica was red hot on the mound too! It was weird playing a night game, fun under the lights! After the game we hurried back to get ready for our noon game against China today. We played great having a huge first inning scoring 9 runs. Kelly K with a 3 run bomb! Good stuff! That was it for pool play now the challenge is here. The crowd was great for China, a fun environment to play ball in. Cat started, pitched great and I finished up, it was good to get some more innings in! Casey said, Ace pointed to the TV and said, "Mommy no pitch, mommy no pitch!" Then looked at his grammy and said, "Mommy no pitch, mommy come home!" Ugh it made my heart melt! What troopers my family has been. There has been so many emotions over this year... I see the light! Hopefully when he saw me go in... it was my pass to be in China a few more days!

And the best is yet to come, the medal rounds have began!

I've been able to have such peace even though my heart is torn in half knowing Ace is being well taken care of and loved. I am blessed to have such support! It was so hard when we decided not to take him to China but its been a good decision! I can play at peace and give all my focus and attention to my teammates and this precious game I love! I too can not wait to see my little boys blond head, beautiful lips, adorable crystal blue eyes! I can not wait to squeeze him so tightly and just kiss his chin all over!!! I can not wait!!! I can not wait to hear his voice shouting mama and mommy and be able to care for his every need! Casey has been so great... I can't wait to be a wife. One that sees her husband more than not! :)

I know our job is not done although I can taste getting back to my family! The best is yet to come. We need to play the best softball we've ever played!

Tomorrow we have an off day! We've been going 7 days straight, it will be nice to somewhat relax and focus on the task at hand! We have a huge challenge before us and we are ready! We've prepared hard, we are one, ready for battle. We need to finish the job, one pitch, one out, one inning, one game at a time! I'm getting so fired up as I'm typing... its here. The moment we've been training our entire lives for! This is it!

Tonight, after the game we met up with our family it was good to see them, relax, and just visit! We went to the B of A Hometown Hopefuls Center and enjoyed the atmosphere and company of other athletes and their families! The facility is great, I'm so grateful for B of A to put this together for our families! Some of our teammates went to Women's Soccer, they are playing Japan! This win would put them in the gold medal game! Go Ladies, Go!

We are enjoying seeing all the medals continuing in, its amazing! So many dreams coming true! It truly is incredible. We are looking forward to getting back out on the field and letting it begin! It is here!

Love & gratitude to all!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 11

Another win! A great day! We had a tough day yesterday... we were exhausted! So it was great to come out with a big win against Chinese Taipei! Our offense again exploded, keeping us going! We are on our way still taking it one day at a time. We get to sleep in tomorrow! We are quite thrilled about that one. We play at 7 which is 7am eastern time. After the game we came back and just hung out. Relaxed. Ate and then ate some more. We started out at Mc Donald's which was quite good! Bustos, Nuvey, and I headed over to where our press officers Julie, Holly, and teammate Alicia Hollowell are all staying. They had an interview and I snuck away for a massage. We then ate again! This time it was grilled shrimp and scallops. Yummy! We then just hung out it was nice to get a change of scenery and just hang! Oh and by the way my new nickname for my roomie Boo or Boo Boo as Ace calls her is my PP! Ponytail Powerhouse! That's it! PP! Awesome! Through this blog you all are finding out what a dork I am! I'm a fun dork though!!!

Our cab ride back was a bit adventurous... our cab driver wanted to kick us out many times. He didn't want to take us to the athlete village. He thought he couldn't get in. We finally drove by a police officer that reassured him he could take us there, thank goodness! We made it eventually. The streets were super crowded, mostly locals enjoying the birds nest and the atmosphere, it was fun to see.

We are now heading off to bed, knowing we don't have to be up early! Exciting stuff! Women's soccer just arrived in the village. They have a big game on Monday, its the semi's. We will be cheering them on. Phelps is on track, and en fuego. He is a phenom, so incredible. Amazing things are happening here. Trying to keep those medals coming for the USA!

My parents had a blast at the track and field venue! They were stoked to catch Tyson Gay running live. They said it was packed and crazy over 80,000 people were there to see it. My brother said he was able to get some really cool pictures of the birds nest! They were headed to a Chinese Acrobat show tonight! They are really enjoying their trip, keeping busy, and having fun. They are getting around the city great. Cabs are really cheap here which is a bonus. The USA softball family is expanding taking in more new fans each day at the ball park. So very cool and fun! Our family is growing daily. My parents are introducing me to fans everyday that they befriend up in the stands. In such a big big world (one of Aces favorite cartoons!) there is so many connections that make it seem small. Quite refreshing and fun.

Casey and Ace had a good night cheer us on!!! They are still going strong. We are all going to need a couple weeks to recover after this is all over. I know you all back home especially, thank you! Its been fun getting messages through reporters from Casey. Casey has done some interviews this week and its been great getting messages from him through people at the field. I'm so grateful! I have the BEST support from my family! Love you!

Off to bed we are... no alarm tomorrow! :) I hope you all are having a fantastic day over in the states and all over the world. We play the Netherlands tomorrow. Another big one for us! One at a time!

Nite! Sweet dreams to all!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 10 (double digits!)

Yes!!!! What a fantastic day!!! Some great softball! It was beautiful outside to top it all off!!! Blue sky and lots of sun!! We had an awesome day adding to more W's!!! Go USA! We started the day off on the right foot, running into Tennis stud James Blake who had beaten Federer the day before. We congratulated him and off we went loading up the buses for our double header.

Japan was our first game, Tasha started us off with a huge blast and got our roll going! She was so pumped which pumped us all up! Oh I just grin thinking about it! Yes Tash!!! Jes and Bustos then hit back to back home runs! It was so great, so fun! We beat Japan... 7-0 one more down, one more to go. We started the Canada game from yesterday behind 0-1, and pulled it out 8-1! Another great day defensively and offensively! 2 down for the day! To get through pool play we have 3 more games, one a day. We have Chinese-Taipei to gear up for tomorrow. Taking it one day at a time. What a day! We relaxed, enjoyed and on to the next!

After the game we were able to chat a bit with our parents! :) They were exhausted as well, they are cheering strong you guys would be proud of them back home! It was a long day in the heat for them as well. We kept them on their feet! My family was excited to attend tonight's track and field contests! It was opening night for track and field. I will find out how it was tomorrow! They were excited to go and check out the birds nest and cheer for Team USA!

We rushed to the dining hall after a long day at the field. The food tasted really good. I had a salad, tilapia, salmon, and a slice of cheese pizza! Busto's highlight was chatting with Kobe Bryant! Shes a huge Laker fan! The bball guys were asking about her at opening ceremonies night, so they finally caught up!

After dinner we headed back to the room! Nuvey, Bustos, and I, hit up rock band! We had a jam session!!! It was awesome! SO much fun! We rocked it out! We are a great band! No name yet! Nuvey is our drummer, I'm on the guitar and Bustos is our Rock Star Singer!!! We Rock! It was my first time playing and we were addicted! We will keep you updated on our progress!

Time for some z's and some more softball tomorrow! Good night! Thanks for all you late night troopers!!! I know its not easy! Ace made it through the Japan game but couldn't make it for the Canada game, my little love! Casey's been so great watching it all, my big love!!! Thanks for all your continued support! We are so thankful and grateful!!! Go USA!!! Lots of more medals coming into the village for USA each day! Its so fun! A great atmosphere!!! Love to you all! Keep that coffee pot going... stay strong over there! Keep those cheers going! XO!

Go USA!!!
One at a time!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 9

Today started out great... eating a hearty breakfast of eggs and cereal and heading into our usual morning routine. Making sure to make a strong pot of coffee. Yes, we were able to snag a coffee pot!!! Big Score!!! Sometimes we get lazy and don't feel like walking over to the Mc Cafe!

Headed out in our spiffy blue uni's geared up ready for another day of battle! We only were able to get in 3 complete innings in due to lots of rain and storms. It hit pretty hard. In between rain delays we were able to fit in some good tunes and a couple card games including spoons. Lovie was champ at spoons! Bummed out by the final decision to post pone the game and finish up tomorrow we loaded the buses and headed back to the village. We are down 0-1 to Canada. Looking forward to finishing it up tomorrow. We play Japan tomorrow first at noon and then after that game will complete the Canada game. Tasha is up full count!

We had a lazy rest of the day saving all our energy for competition. We headed through the rain to the dining hall for some dinner. I had some pizza, salad, a few other random things like olives and then a piece of a lemon bar. As you can see I definitely have a sweet tooth and enjoy food! It seems to make my blog daily now! :) Some headed to the salon for blow outs, we are getting spoiled here! With 1 blow dryer for all of us (we have blown out the rest) its tough getting a good head of dry hair around here. The salon offers free ones so we are taking full advantage. I already lost a hair dryer and straightner... bummer up in flames and smoke. Not sure what we are doing but obviously our voltage isn't going right! While some headed to the salon, Bustos and I made our way back to the room to watch Million Dollar Baby. It finished as a tear jerker but it was a good one. We now are headed off to bed!

I was just delighted to get 8 photos of Casey and Ace posing in front of the camera. It was so very cute! So fun! Monkey faces, I love you signs, and tongues out! It brought major happiness here seeing them so happy together!

Thank goodness the rain finally subsided and we look forward to a really sunny day tomorrow, perfect for a couple to ball games! A highlight from today was this man holding an American flag at the game shouting Team USA Military! Go USA! We are all one!!! It brought chills to my skin knowing we were part of his team! Team USA! Go USA!

Good night and sweet dreams!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 8

Today was a great day! We had a tough game and fought through it today! We won 3-0 over Australia. Cat through a great game shutting them out with a no no! We battled at the plate getting 3 across. Lovie had a stolen base and then Tash had a great AB and scored Lovie on a single over short. Good times! Bustos then came up and hit a Bizomb! Yep with Mendoza on base to make it 3-0! No time to celebrate on to Canada. We are thinking Canada... looking forward to tomorrows face off.

Ace and Casey managed to stay up again for the whole game. Ace shouting Boo Boo for her Bustos and Tasha for Natasha as they went up to bat. So fun. We are his girls! Him and daddy cheering us on! He is sleeping in til noon at this point and I love it. Even my Aces in the states are gearing up following us all the way. They are so sweet and so supportive! I miss them dearly! Love you guys!

I had an extra special treat this afternoon. My family came over to the Olympic Village to visit for the afternoon. We are only allowed very few guest passes so I was thrilled they were able to see where we live! We had a great afternoon, it was fun showing them around. They were even able to join me for dinner and experience the lovely spread in the dining hall. Its pretty amazing. They were so stoked to drink cold water... I guess everything is served pretty much luke warm. We tried out all the different foods served from all over the world. My brother was super excited to get a good ice cream bar in. My sis was happy to get some fresh fruits and veggies. My parents just happy to be there with me! :) I was elated to be in their company. We walked around, showing them village life and what we do to pass time. We even were able to watch a little TV and do some shopping in the Souvenir shop. Fun Fun!

We are staying focused on our game but enjoying life here in China. I really enjoy our bus rides to and from the field... lots of children. Usually in tow with their parents and being held tight. The family seems so important and so tight knit here in China. Its fun to see smiling faces and young bright faces. It makes me think of Ace and brings joy to my heart. Its so fun to see their faces light up when they see a bus full of athletes. I've been so impressed how well English is spoken here and how helpful everyone is. We get greeted every time we walk in our apt building... never even having to open a door for ourselves. Lots of smiles and everyone is so willing and eager to help. Not accepting or even wanting a tip. Its been a pleasure and great delight to be around so many generous people. Its pretty funny how they are for the most part serious and straight face but once you break the ice with a smile their whole world loosens up. They then start greeting you anxiously for a smile and hello. We are making many friends here in China. :)

Well off to bed it is... Getting ready for tomorrow! Taking it one day at a time!
Continuing to dream and believe!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 7

Game 1 down... 8 more to go!!!

Yesterday was great! We had a good practice and was able to meet up with my parents and bro and sis!!! It was so good to see them and just enjoy having them in my company. We indulged in Mc Donald's, I had my first shake here in China! Last night just rested up and got ready for today! We went to bed anxiously awaiting Game Day!!! I made Bustos put out her uni with me. We were all set ready to rock as she says!

Today we woke up with great excitement... game day! Finally!!! We played Venezuela and our offense exploded! 11-0. It was so awesome finally putting on our uniforms and competing. We have been waiting and preparing so long for this. Caitlin had an incredible day... even an inside the park homerun! Tasha and Bustos hit BOMBS! It was so fun to watch. Everyone was able to get our first game jitters out and just play ball. It was a fun win having so many contribute. It felt great getting the start and getting some innings in! Our offense took the pressure off leading us in the win. No time to celebrate... just 1 down. We are playing day to day looking no further than one game at a time. Now we are focused on Australia. I was able to see my parents, bro, and sis for a minute after the game! They were able to catch some Women's hoops last night and see them win! They are enjoying it all... its so fun to see so many supporters. There were lots of American flags and red, white, and blue in the stands. So many friends and family cheering us on. It gives me the chills just thinking about all of them who have given so much. We are so grateful for all our supporters and fellow Americans who came all this way to cheer us on! Thank you! Its so special to see American flags proudly draped, carried, and worn around the streets of China! Thank you!

Casey called after the game, bless his heart. Him and Ace stayed up to watch the game. Yes, Ace too... hes a late nighter. Its okay if its to watch mom or dad play! :) Casey said Ace was shouting Go mommy and U-S-A!!! So cute. I miss my Aces dearly!!! I'm so grateful for all their love and support. I'm so blessed. I love you both with my entire heart! Keep cheering!!! XOXO Thank you!!! Ace's aunts, my teammates were talking about him today. Asking me when he is going to start preschool and telling me how I have to get their approval before I make any decisions on his schooling. So cute! His Aunt's miss him along with his mommy! We love you.

Tonight we were able to sneak away to the salon in the village. We enjoyed some foot massages and I even added some highlights! Quite fun! The stylist hooked it up! It was a bit scary allowing him to work on my head with him speaking no English and myself no Chinese. It was an adventure and turned out to be a success! We were able to watch the Japan vs Australia game tonight, so we had to hurry back catch it. Japan came out on top 4-3, it was a close one. For dinner I had some fried rice, even some duck... it was quite tasty. Topped it off with a Iced Mocha, quite delish! :)

Well off to bed we go... getting ready.

Next up Australia tomorrow. One game at a time.
Thanks for all your love and support!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 5 and 6

Yesterday we had a great practice! It was a really relaxing day after that. We came back enjoyed the free afternoon took a little nap and watched some TV! Yes, TV! This was a highlight for the day we were able to score our own TV for our apt. Bustos and I ate sunflower seeds while rooting on Women's Field Hockey, they ended in a 2-2 tie with Argentina. They played great... tying it up at the end! We were able to catch some gymnastics and swimming too. Phelps snagged his first Gold and setting a World Record. A great way to set the tone for Team USA. It fired us up hearing the news!

We went to bed quite early around 8:30. It was a good day.

Today we are out for our last practice... its coming. Game 1. Games begin tomorrow we open up against Venezuela. We are ready, it seems like it has taken forever to get here. Its go time!

Thanks for all your support and prayers!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 4

Today we slept in a bit recovering from our big night at opening ceremonies. Woke up headed out to practice! We had an exciting visitor from President Bush out at practice! Lots of black suburbans surrounded our field then he joined us on the field. Sharing his excitement and support of our sport! He is behind us and will be in support as we battle to get it back on 2016. He shook everyones hands and was just happy to be on the field. As he went to shake Laura Bergs hand she leaned in and gave him a great big hug... little did he know he just got Berged! Yep the President just got BERGED!!! The definition of Berged, is a hand print of chalk. Yes, this is Lauras famous prank often showing up on butts and backs at practice. Now she got the Pres! You know you are in when you get Berged... so I guess the President is now in with the softball team! We all busted up and a good sport he was, he even posed with Berg for a photo opt proving her mark. It was awesome! He stuck around and watched a little BP, letting us know we were showing off for the President as balls flew out of the park. Cheering us on in between rounds excited for his day at the ball park! We enjoyed the visit and back to work it was.

It coming... 2 more days and its go time. We are ready for it to begin. The women's US fencing team swept in an exciting night... yes US won bronze, silver, and gold! Setting the tone for the games! It adds to the hunger seeing athletes coming in with medals... our work is cut out for us! Its going to be an amazing games.

Village life is great. While we are staying focused keeping our eyes on the prize, its fun sharing Olympic moments with other Olympians. All walk of lifes from all over the world. We mostly share our time in the athlete lounge checking email, calling, watching other events. Lots of time in our apt just chilling watching Bustos draw or playing rock band and guitar hero. Yes, Kelly brought them here... pretty funny! We have lots of time only playing or practicing once a day. We are focused getting locked in! 2 more days and its show time.

We had our team press conference tonight another reassurance its about to begin. Lots of questions on 2012 and saving our sport. Its good publicity letting people aware of the situation our sport is in and spreading our game. I did an interview with Billy Bush, quite fun while sipping an iced mocha yep there was Starbuck's in the NBC studios. He even had me throw him an orange in the hallway! Hilarious. We made orange juice! Followed up with an interview for NBC with Julie Foudy (I'm a big fan)! Shes incredible! Sharing more mom moments with her! Lots of moms around here! I read there are 20 US Athletes-Moms! Pretty amazing. As you can tell my hearts missing my Ace!!! My teammates have been great super supportive! We often share Ace moments bringing a huge smile to my face!!! Though my heart is torn across the world I am here with my team focused on the large task at hand! Ace knows I love and adore him he just started telling me a couple of days before we left he loves me to the moon and back! My heart just melts! Can't wait to hug, kiss, and just squeeze my little guy when I get back!

Well off to bed... preparing and getting locked in. Locked in!

Good Night from China!

DAY 2 and 3

We had a great day of practice, enjoyed another day on the field. After practice I had a satellite media tour for Bank of America. It was at the Hometown Hopefuls Family Center, B of A puts on for the family and friends of Olympians during the games. Its absolutely beautiful, right on the water! My family is going to love it and be there a bunch. Its awesome, food, Internet, TVs, and so much more. Its so nice to have a place for our family and friends while we focus on competing! In 04' my family practically lived there! They really enjoyed meeting the other athletes families and relaxing in between events and games. After, back to the village and I hit the bed!

Today is the big day!!!
The day we have been waiting for!!!!!

Let the games begin!

We had the morning off so Cat and I headed over to gym here in the village and got a work out in. We relaxed and enjoyed the morning off. I went to the salon here in the village and was able to get an out of this world foot massage. It was the best! Intense! She dug right in, I was cringing but enjoying it at the same time! I finished it off with a pedicure, really just a nail painting but it worked. I went with USA Red! I will definitely be back for another foot massage!

Tonight is the night! OPENING CEREMONIES!!!
I was a bit giddy all day thinking about the night. We showered up and got ready for our big night. It was kind of like prom night a bit! But way better!!! We all got dressed in our RL get up! Silk scarf and all, we looked great! It was so fun. We lined up outside our apt all of the US delegation. Snapping shots and sharing in on the excitement. We headed out on the buses and on our way.

We first staged at the Fencing venue where all of the US athletes hung out. President Bush and the First Lady along with former President Bush came to welcome us and wish us well. He let us know how proud he was of us and wished us well and lots of Gold! We all got team shots with him, quite cool. We were able to grab some photos of other Team USA athletes, a few being, Lindsey Davenport (it was fun talking about motherhood with her), Misty May and Kerri Walsh, Men's & Women's Basketball, the Baseball team, shooting, water polo and many many more... quite exciting.

After our photo opt we headed over to the gymnastics venue to stage with all of the other countries. Everyone looked so great all decked out in lots of different colors and styles. Finally 140, that was our number. After an hour of so of waiting we the 140Th country to march was called. We walked about a half mile from the gymnastics building to the Bird's Nest. It was incredible... all lit up! As we got closer Lopez Lomong our flag bearer was presented the flag to carry in. We headed in... as we approached the stadium we entered a tunnel. Right as we were getting close we started a U-S-A, U-S-A, all of us as one. It was one of the many highlights of night. We are a proud family, a unit, full of honor and pride chanting as one U-S- A, U-S-A.

Then we entered, 90,000 people!!! It was indescribable... I had the chills and was filled with unexplainable excitement! Goose bumps... it was awesome! We weren't able to go to Opening in 04 because we played the next day... so now we have experienced it!!!!!

We walked in and soaked it all up enjoying being surrounded by our softball team. I just kept grinning and over flowing with so many emotions. I instantly thought of Casey, Ace, and our families, wishing I could share this moment! Everything from pride, to gratitude, anxiety, excitement, and even sadness. I could not help but think that this might be the last time softball players march in the opening ceremonies. It instantly brought tears to my eyes! We have to get it back, we have to get softball back in 2016. Softball players around the world deserve the opportunity to experience this! This just built up even more determination to get softball back as if I needed any more. The Venezuela softball team shared being flag bearer and passed it throughout their entire team. Chinese Taipei too had a softball player carry their flag! Our work is not done we will continue the fight, how can they take this away?

This was incredible. I just looked around and around. So many people, so many colors, so many nations! We were in awe... still smiling. And still smiling! It was everything and more and then some. We marched in and around the track it seemed like it took an hour... my arm aching as I continued to wave and grin! It was overwhelming. Once we marched to our spot we just stood in awe staring at the crowd, this place is HUGE! HUGE! Filled with people. Lots of US flags which made my arm ache disappear as we continued to wave through it all. We enjoyed the remarkable show still in awe chatting it up with the other athletes in between sharing our thrilling night. Watching the Olympic flag being raised was another assurance the games have begun. Its here 8-8-08! The torch being lit was absolutely wild... just wild. If you haven't seen it please youtube it! Its worth it! We were all standing in shock... this was unbelievable. Then it lit... the torch was lit. It had been all over the world even in Coach Candrea's hand in San Fran and now here in Beijing China! Fireworks exploded all over the city, it was amazing. Reminding us that "Amazing Awaits"!

After a long night still in awe we headed back to the village. It was surreal, a blur. We experienced so much. I am so grateful and blessed! What a night 8-8-08

Dreaming & Believing

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 1 in Beijing (Aug 7, 2008)

We practiced yesterday. It was really good to get out on the field and sweat some! We had a great practice. I think we all had butterflies as we took the main field. We had an hour on the stadium field our only hour before the games. Its absolutely beautiful! Amazing! Even better than World Championships. Just Beautiful! We left soaked and a bit tired. 3 hours of practice. The weather is similar to the south, hot and humid. Its easy to get loose and stay warm which is always good! Last night we listened to our veteran Olympians talk about their Olympic experiences. It was energizing and fun to hear Bustos, Nuvey, and Berg talk. Inspiring. We are a unit, a team, ready to go as one. We are using these next few days to continue our preparation. Enjoying our time here in the village, last night we enjoyed watching the USA Men's Basketball team walk through the village. The entourage kept getting bigger and bigger as they walked! All the volunteers were so excited and snapping lots of photos. It was fun to watch from the balcony of our building. The baseball team also arrived yesterday some of the guys have played or play with Casey so it was nice to see some familiar faces. They seem really excited to be here and were taking it all in. Lots of exciting stuff happening all around, we are enjoying it all, but knowing we are here for one reason! Last night dinner was quite amazing! I made a grilled shrimp salad that was out of this world, and topped it off with a Mc Donald's apple pie, only half. :) We woke up and headed out to the dining hall for some eggs and salmon for this morning, Cat and I were able to sleep til 5:30. Still trying to adjust. The coffee here is a highlight too. We are headed out to practice, looking forward to another day on the field.


Monica and me.

Olympic Athlete Village


Athlete Dining Hall

All the Coke products you want!

Olympics Mascots

Olympic Stadium, the "Birds Nest"

The sun at 9 am

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Amazing Awaits!!!!

After a great off week we have finally arrived together as a team. We enjoyed some family time together, even took a trip to the zoo! Ace loved it. We try to visit the zoo in each city we visit. Casey and I always went as a couple and now its even more fun taking Ace. His favorite was the giraffes and elephants right now. I soaked up every minute I could in between work outs and preparing. It was a sad good bye, very difficult. I know he will be in the best hands and get lots of loving its just hard having your heart torn in half or completely. ;) My heart is with them but too with my teammates and the game we love. I'm so blessed to be able to do both but sadly this was the one trip Ace will not be going on! He will keep daddy company and cheer him on as the baseball season is coming to an end. The anxiety and build up of knowing I will be leaving is the hardest part. I know its for a short time and he wont remember but he still has my heart inside of him, and always will!!! I look forward to the rest of our lives together!!

Seeing my team helped me out. It's always great to be reunited with my team... they make it better! They are my rock getting through this!!!

Now its submarine time! Tunnel vision! One dream! One goal! Here we come!

We are in Beijing! We made it!
It was an easy flight filled with lots of emotions!!! We had a great few days in San Jose going to through processing. We were hooked up with tons of gear! Including our stylish opening ceremony gear!!! Ralph Lauren if our outfitter, we will be the best dressed for sure! Fun stuff! The excitement just keeps building. We processed with a few cyclists, track athletes, we saw the wrestlers come in as we were headed out. We are here on a mission, and we are fully aware of the journey ahead of us. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears... we are ready. Ready for battle.

The athlete village is beautiful! Huge!!! A little river running through it, lots of artwork, statues, and lots of green! There is even a pond with fish! My roomie is Bustos! Enjoying every minute, she is the best! We have practice today, looking forward to getting on the field! Its been fun seeing all the athletes and familiar faces. We are a family, the USA family! The dining hall is massive! Too much to choose from last night I had a raging salad full of veggies, and spinach and squash. We topped it off with some ice cream. Bustos hit up the Mc Donalds! I was so stoked to see the Mc Cafe in the village, yep all the free mochas you can drink! Along with Coke machines all over the village. Lots of Diet Coke, unlimited, just awesome! Look out! Lots of fun! Still figuring the ins and outs of it all. Its incredible. One World, One Dream is posted all over. So many colors, shapes, sizes, just incredible. Lots of flags proudly posted up!

Lots of love to my family, friends, and fans! Thank you for all your prayers, support, and love. I can not express my gratitude! Thank you! This is it! The Show!!! Let it begin!

Dreaming and Believing! Lots of love to all!