A great start to a basketball season!

Today was a great first day of basketball season!

Jacob had his very first game playing in the Redondo Beach Youth Basketball League.

Game 1: win

Score: 34 to 26

Natalie had a fabulous hour-long practice with her basketball team and is looking forward to her very 1st game of the season tomorrow.

Right before that practice, she had the joy of having a wiggly tooth pulled by Daddy. Or, as she reports “after he had iced it for a few minutes he barely touched it and it fell out!” “Mama, now I can officially have a gopher smile!!!” Yes. Yes. indeed. With the two baby teeth now missing right next to each of her two front adult teeth, she can indeed smile like a gopher. So cute.

After naps, I headed out to UCLA with the kids to give Daddy some work time at home. We had received complimentary tickets to the 5pm UCLA vs. Oregon Women’s Basketball game at Pauley Pavilion. Steve has been doing an amazing job as Daddy playing and hanging out with the kids for the past 2 weeks of his Christmas Vacation, but with Professional Development happening on Monday, he needed to put in several hours of work tonight…..so off we went.

We found some great general-admission seats in the bleachers, about 20 rows up from the court, just in time for the start of the game…….there were 43 seconds left on the clock before game time when we arrived. Talk about perfect timing! Natalie had brought along her UCLA pompoms from a previous game we had attended. Both were wearing UCLA shirts and donning the Bruin blue and yellow colors. We were ready to cheer!

But then to our GREAT surprise, one of the pep-rally organizers approached us and said he would like to extend 3 court side seats to us. What!? Really!? WOW!!! He said he had been watching us and we looked like excited fans. Indeed! So we followed him down to the court and got the BEST seats ever!!!!!

IMG_9317This was our view for the whole game! Wow…..we were thrilled!!!IMG_9326 IMG_9330 Getting to watch these college women play right before our eyes was a fabulous experience! Just to think…..Natalie will be playing her very, very 1st basketball game EVER tomorrow! One day she won’t be a 7-year old, 2nd grader anymore and instead will be a college student herself. So hard to imagine!

Then it got even better!!! We made it up on the giant Jumbo-Tron!!! Pure awesomeness! A kid’s dream come true. 🙂IMG_9331

And it kept getting better….Natalie spotted ‘Josephine’ the Bruin Bear and she asked me if she could pleeeeeeeease  go say hi. The Bear picked up Natalie’s pom poms and was doing a little cheer for her….and then posed for a sweet picture. Natalie was SO happy!


I asked Jacob if he too would like to say hi to the Bear. Um…..no…..:) He shrugged his shoulders in a “I’m 9 years old and a bit too old (cool) for that, mom” But with a bit of encouragement he went too.


Except for the picture he got in one of his defensive poses! Ha! That cracked me up. It was that exact same look and position that he had this morning all throughout his Celtics game against the Hornets. He took his defensive role very seriously in this morning’s game! At one point the ref needed to point out to him that his stance was borderline foul-behavior. Here he is…..ready to defend against Josephine Bear. 🙂IMG_9352

After we returned to our court side seats, look who came to visit us once more!


And then at half-time the video camera guys were in search of kids who would dance for the “Kid Dance Cam”. Both Jacob and Natalie were busting out their dance moves….and, yes, once more were seen up on the Jumbotron! Oh my goodness- twice in one night!

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Though UCLA lost the game to Oregon, we still had an amazing evening. Natalie in particular was mesmerized by the UCLA cheerleaders. During the first half of the game, the 5 girls were seated on the floor literally at our feet. Each time they jumped up to do a cheer, Natalie watched their every move and tried to follow the routine with her pom poms. It was so adorable to see her eyes sparkle as she watched the ladies do flips in the air in response to each successful free-throw shot. At one of the time-out breaks I tried as quickly as I could to erase as many apps and pictures as possible to make room on my camera to take pictures. I missed the opportunity of snapping shots of how close the cheerleaders were and how Natalie followed suit with what they were cheering. But this was a close second when I finally got my phone camera to work.IMG_9356

After the game was over, I decided “what the heck, why not continue the epic fun day…..and take them to Westwood to go have a pazookie at BJ’s?!” We drove in to Westwood, found a parking spot and then headed to BJ’s Pizzeria. There each of the kids had flatbread cheese pizzas, a soda and they inhaled a chocolate chip pazookie with vanilla ice cream. There was so much ecstatic disbelief in the air, of this incredible treat by Mama…..that I couldn’t help but smile when I saw Natalie write this on her children’s menu:

IMG_9365I’ll take the compliment! Indeed an epic night!

Free basketball tickets…..with court side seats….2 showings of our family on the JumboTron….time with Josephine Bear….getting to high-5 each of the UCLA players after the game as they came filing past our seats….getting autographs from two of the players….finding parking in Westwood…..eating dinner at BJs….and finishing off with a pazookie dessert! Oh me oh my. And that was how we closed an already exciting day, with Jacob’s 1st basketball game and Natalie losing a tooth!

To top if off….all this for $14.25. That makes this money-saving Mama all kinds of happy!

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A truly gloriously fun evening out with my kiddos.

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