Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Things I Learned About Watching The Royals

I wouldn't be what you'd call a die hard sports fan.

I think it's because I sucked at hurdles in eighth grade track. And barely made the "c" team in volleyball...and I'm pretty sure I was just a mascot on the freshman basketball ball but they just didn't tell me and let me sit on the bench.

However, as I've gotten older I've really become aware of the camaraderie that comes with being a loyal sports fan.

I live in Missouri. We aren't exactly the "A" team in sports if you didn't know. Sure there's the Cardinals. But I hate the color red.

Early this year there was stirring in Kansas City and finally, people started paying attention to some boys wearing blue.

My family has been Royals fans for years. I remember going to games in the early 90s with my baby doll. I remember the cheer of the crowd and the beautiful blue everywhere.I remember looking at the posters in my aunt's room of George Brett and thinking how amazing it was that she got to meet the amazing baseball player in the late 80s.

We've been to more games and I've always loved the atmosphere.

And now I'm sitting in my living room watching them kick butt in Game 6 of the World Series and thinking, this is so BIG.

There are so many HAPPY people because of this. Like I said, I don't know much about sports but what I do know, I've learned from watching the KC Royals come from a place of "loss" to totally KICKING stereotypes in the butt and proving that ANYTHING can happen and that just because things aren't going up up up all the time doesn't mean you should stop paying attention.

If I had to pick a sport, it's always been baseball for me. I grew up watching Angels in the Outfield, Sandlot, Major League, Bad News Bears, A League of Their Own.

When we were in Florida, we were sitting on the beach and this guy came out of the water, out of no where, looked at us in our Royals hats and t-shirts and shouted "playoffs, baby!" and then went right on walking. We met another group of random Royals fans later that week, it was contagious.

I love that my little state has so much to be excited about. The Royals. Our soccer team- The Sporting KC- has some of the most enthusiastic fans ever, and our Chiefs. There's just always something to talk about with everyone. We're all on the same team.

So like I said earlier, I've never been much of a sports gal on the court, but man, do I love being a  fan in the stands.

Whether or not the Royals clench the World Series tomorrow night doesn't matter in the long run. (But man I am counting on sees the amazing smiles on those handsome players faces!)  It doesn't change the fact that they've made people believe again. It doesn't change the fact that they've given us all something to have in common again. We're there with them. That's what sports have taught me: When you're out, you're out. But when you are in, you'll always be in as long as you believe in your team.

Let's Go Royals!

Monday, October 27, 2014

When My Son Was Missing

I looked at the clock in the car. It had only be 12 minutes. Twelve minutes is nothing in our normal lives. But this was not a normal day. This was the day that R1 went missing. I tend to roll my eyes when people act dramatic like this but there isn't any other way to put it.

R1 was supposed to walk from the corner of the school across the street to his daycare. His 6 year old little mind decided he'd rather go home instead.

Here's the part that kills me. The part that makes me feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest every day since. I failed in telling the babysitter that R1 was going to be at her house that day. Usually, he's only there Thursdays and Fridays but that Wednesday, he was supposed to go to daycare. Our schedule is crazy, always changing, always shifting. She didn't know he was coming and so she didn't notice he was gone.

R1 was missing for 2 hours. He sat ALONE on the back porch of his babysitter's before deciding "heck, I know how to walk home." So he walked his 6 year old butt the half a mile home and then stay there ALONE for another hour and a half before anyone knew he was missing.

Just typing that makes me sick to my stomach.

The guilt that settles on my chest is immeasurable. I was driving on the highway when I got the call that he wasn't at daycare and was in full panic mode, crying out in my car when I reached town. You know that sound you make when you get the wind knocked out of you? Yeah. That.

I drove around the blocks surrounding the school and the babysitter's, I flew over to his grandparent's house even though I knew they weren't home. Once I still hadn't found him, I called 911. A voice inside me just kept saying "No one knows where he is" and I didn't hesitate calling.

There is NOTHING that can describe what it is like telling a 911 dispatcher what your son is wearing and the color of his hair.

Somewhere in the panic I finally had the thought to go check home. Why didn't I think of that first? Because it was such a long way for a little boy to walk. Across the main street, across the bridge. I just didn't think.

As I hurdled home, I just kept praying and saying "please let me find him."

And sure enough, there he was, watching cartoons and eating Cheetos in our living room.

I just started yelling into the phone (that poor dispatcher) ""He's home, he walked all the way home. He's here!"

The look on my face must have spoken a thousand words because R1 just starred at me and then followed me back out the door. The babysitter had followed me to help find him so I had to go outside and tell her he was home. She was relieved. I was relieved. The 911 dispatcher was relieved (probably because I stopped scream-sobbing in her ear). His dad was relieved. Everyone was.

So what do you do when you are so happy that your son is home that you are teetering between BEATING HIS BEHIND and scooping him up into your arms and never letting go?

You just give him the death glare. And then hug him. Hard.

A couple hours later, the sheriff of the local police called to make sure R1 was okay and asked if I would like him to come to talk to R1 about the dangers of walking alone and being home alone. ( I have since started calling R1 Kevin McAllister). R1's dad and I thought this was a great idea so that night, the sheriff  came over to talk to him. He also gave me a kit for taking my kids' fingerprints and physical descriptions to send back for their files just in case they were to ever go missing, which is a scary but smart idea, do the same for your kids!

He sat R1 down and explained that even though he was smart enough to walk home, that didn't mean we could trust people we didn't know. He explained the scariness of kidnappers, the dangers of drivers not paying attention and the hazards of being home alone.

R1 starred and nodded. He was clearly intimidated and rightfully so. That talk, combined with me telling him how worried his dad and I were, on top of losing all electronic game privileges for a week, have seemed to teach R1 a lesson. We all had very long talks about everything and I feel good about it.

That night after he had fallen asleep, my heart was still rattling around in my chest, unsettled.

It's just another lesson, another fight to be better, to pay more attention, to slow down. It's no one's fault that R1 wasn't accounted for. It's a combination of many factors but the most important thing that he was just fine and that we've all learned a huge lesson. Yes, our schedule is crazy but that's no excuse. But it's also hard as a mother not to be too hard on yourself. Motherhood is the most important job I have.

So to any other moms out there who have ever "screwed up" just take a deep breath and give yourself a mental hug. Or call your mom, sister or best friend for one. We are fine. We are human. Our kids love us and always will. Being a mom comes with an unconditional element that means it's okay. 

Today is a new mom day.

(To download a Child Safe Kit for your family, click here)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Duhnam

 I am happy to say that I can easily name my favorite book of the year thus far!

I bring you:

Not That Kind of Girl, A Young Woman Tells of What She's "Learned" 
By Lena Duhnman

First of all, I think it's safe to say that we would all need to put "learned" in quote marks when telling others our life lessons. Because how do we really know if we have fully learned, comprehended and appreciated all of our life experiences? In the whole scheme of my 28 years, my life lessons are a spec of what is to come, I am sure. (Which is scary because just considering reliving for the sake of retelling them all for you gives me heart palpitations) 

If you don't already know, Lena Duhham is a  actress, screenwriter, producer, and director. She's the star actress and creator of the HBO show, Girls, which has a bazillon awards under its belt. Do yourself a favor and binge watch it, starting yesterday. This is Lena's memoir about her adolescence and I can only hope she'll write more, considering she's still in her 20s. 

Not That Kind of Girl paints a picture of the path that probably led Lena to most of the crazy ass scenarios that the characters on Girls find themselves in (cocaine addiction, low self-esteem, OCD, co-dependent relationships)  you know, the usual. 

So basically, Lena Duhnam and I are soul sisters, cut from the same cloth. I nodded along with her as she mused about her parents, her inability to mix in with the crowd and her need to act out in spite of self. I related to everything. Our insecurities mirror each other. Apart from her cocaine experimentations- we were pretty much on the same wave length, although my addiction to cheap wine is probably just as bad. 

Lena writes about her life via short snip bits of summer camp nightmares, cringe worthy sexual encounters, awkward parenting moments, identity crisis and anything that falls into the category of a young woman in the 2000s trying to figure what the hell is going on. Like I said, this book could have probably been my own recollections, with a few weird stepdads and a sheltered midwest upbringing thrown into the mix. 

One of the most powerful messages came at the end of the book where Lena muses about finally finding an adult relationship that is built on a strong foundation of unconditional love and mutual respect... 

She spoke to the young woman in all of us about relationships with other women.... 

And about our relationship with our inner self...

And about our present...and about getting to a future that fits us. 

I can't really put into words or "review" what this book is all about. It's about being a female, growing (up, old, inward, outward)  life, and the crap that happens to us when we are asking "why" all the time. Come to think of it, there's also a lot mixed in about what happens when we stop asking "why" and just LIVE.

What other reason do you need to read it? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Blogtober14: Things I'm An Expert At

Helene in Between Blogtober

I couldn't resist today's prompt from Helene and Taylor:

Things I am an expert at....

Losing my cellphone, wallet, jewelry...basically anything. 

Buying birthday cards and never sending them (because stamps are hard to find and the post office has such inconvenient hours)

Leaving my car a mess (but there is just never enough time to clean it plus I always forget to bring a trash bag into the car to collect everything)

Finding an excuse for everything 

Finding time to watch whatever  show I am currently binge watching (shout out to HBO Girls!) 

Taylor Swift Lyrics 

Forgetting to tweeze my eyebrows until I see them in the rear view mirror in my car (with no tweezers in sight)

Drinking a Salted Caramel Mocha in record time while expertly navigating my red cart through the aisles at Target. 

Being bitchy at least once a month (I have impeccable timing)

Detecting even the smallest, minute piece of cucumber in my food (that stuff MUST go) 

Online browsing ( I must be an expert at something that takes up so much of my time)

Shutting out the world so I can read 

Thinking of witty comebacks (5 hours after the fact)

Messing up my nails 

Burning quesadillas 

Using the perfect amount of ketchup

Not following recipes 

Loving Blake Shelton 

Wishing I was Miranda Lambert

And there's a whole other list of completely useless things that I am an expert at... but I will save you the time. 

I think I am actually only really an expert and just a couple of key things: 

And that's good enough for me! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blogtober14: My Favorite Quotes

Helene in Between Blogtober

My lack of blogging is totally justified this week I promise. First off, we are experiencing the most beautiful Fall weather and so we've been outside playing soccer and football or going on a jog. You just can't beat this cooler weather!

And then there's a little thing called THE ROYALS ARE DOMINATING.
Today they could seal their ticket to the WORLD SERIES.
So yeah, we've been busy watching, tweeting, cheering and doing the wave in our living room as we watch in awe as our team sweeps the Orioles again and again.

#beroyal #erichosmerforlife

But if you get me on the subject of Eric Hosmer, the point of this post will be lost on me so let's stay focused, shall we? I'm back on the Blogtober link up track with Helene and Taylor. Today, we're sharing our favorite quotes and why we love them. 

As if I could possibly choose. But I'll give it a try. 

For now, it has to be this quote I found on Pinterest earlier this year because it really is what I've been trying to do for a while now. And so far, I think it's working. 

And I could not seriously talk about my favorite quotes without sharing something from Brian Andreas. He is the author of the Story People and I've loved him since discovering the tiny bright books in the student union book store my freshmen year. I opened the first page and instantly sat down in the middle of the aisle to read it. (Eventually I realized people were starring so I bought the book and finished devouring it in my dorm.)

This is my favorite quote from Brian simply because it is a great reminder to SLOW DOWN in life and stop trying so hard. I find it most helpful in motherhood because sometimes I try to put everything square into square holes...and most of the time that's just not how life works. Remembering this helps me roll with the punches a bit more.

What is your favorite quote? 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Round Up: My Favorite Creepy Reads for Halloween

The leaves are turning, the pumpkins are carved and I am high from spray painting costumes so you know it must be time for Halloween! I always say that Christmas is my favorite holiday but then when Halloween rolls around I find myself getting totally revved up. It's the candy corn, the caramel Tootsie pops, the pumpkin patches...and the crisp Fall weather that makes snuggling up on the couch the most perfect place to be. The only way it could be better is if you have a spooky book to read just in time for good Ol' Hallow's Eve. So if you're looking for a scare I bring you: 

Gone Girl

I remember reading this book in stunned silence. I remember wondering how in the world an author comes up with the psychopath that is Amy Dunn and then being chilled to the bone watching her frame her dumbfounded husband. It's creepy to know that there really are people out there in the world like this. Gone Girl fits the bill for a great Halloween read not just because of the bloodshed and murder, but above all because of the cruelty and the pure evilness inside the main character. I have heard a lot of varying opinions about the movie adaptation. We saw it this week and I definitely didn't hate it. Of course, the book was way better (like I even need to say that) but it had some great moments. The cinematography added a creepy element to the story that is only up to your imagination in the book so that was a huge plus. (Who are we kidding, the major plus is Neil Patrick Harris and Ben Afflack's butts, let's just be honest). 

The BFG by Roald Dahl

This book comes highly recommended by Ryder, whose teacher read it in class. It's about a (big) friendly giant who captures an orphan named Sophie. With giants named Bone Cruncher and The Gizzard Gulper, little kids eat this book up. It's scary by not TOO scary, because it's also Reese approved so both my kids really enjoy it. 

Best of Edgar Allen Poe

My college roommates bought this collection for me for Christmas one year and I remember reading it in my dark lonely dorm room many times, during my more "moody" writing days. And truly, everyone can stand to learn a lesson or two from "The Tell Tale Heart." 

Wuthering Heights

Orphans, jealousy, revenge, cruelty, abuse, alcoholism, all  in early 19th century England. What's not to be scared of?  Any story this old that is still chilling after so many decades deserves reverence. I think the cruelty of people like the characters in this book are scarier than witches and goblins could ever be.

Desperation by Steven King

I have NO idea why I read this. I was going through a deep dark stage in my book choices apparently. It was probably around the time I read Malice by Danielle Steel and a bunch of Dean Koontz. All I remember is a disgusting cop whose face was melting, zombies everywhere and a jail cell. And that's enough for me to put it on this list.  

What's your favorite Halloween read? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: Holding Onto Georiga

I love reviewing popular and trending books because it means I will probably hear from alot of others who've also read the book. It's always so fun to hear if others are enjoying the same books for similar reasons. 

I also love telling you about books you might not have heard of because I love helping people discover books they'll love. In the spirit of spreading the love, I bring you a review of: 

Holding Onto Georgia by Courtney Giardina 

Holding On To Georgia brings you a girl named Rylan who just feels a little lost. As lost as the old photo of her ex boyfriend should be. Instead, she carries the photo with her everywhere, a constant reminder that love hurts. That photo and her broken heart are what keeps Rylan on the outskirts of any potential new relationship, except when a certain man moves into her apartment building. 

Holding On To Georgia is the kind of book you'd wish you read before you started dating in high school because the characters and their emotions are all great examples of what can go wrong (and sometimes, right) when you put your heart on the line. Secondly, and most importantly, the author includes tidbits of advice that all young women should hear, like this: 

"Not all guys are the devil, you know. The path to the right guy is paved with a shitload of wrong ones. We've got to get them all out of the way first so we can appreciate the right one when he arrives." 

What girl wouldn't have loved to have had that nugget of advice in her back pocket to remind her that broken hearts are simply not the end of the world? 

When Rylan meets Wesley Kade, the newest tenant in her apartment building, she tries to ignore the spark that he ignites. I could relate to Rylan's need to resist falling for Kade. What woman can't? That's one of the reasons why Holding Onto Georgia is a great book. Every woman who has ever been stung by love can relate to it. 

There are realistic characters in the book, who have realistic conversations with each other that we've all had in our actual day to day lives. Courtney Giardina created conversational dialogue that is easy to follow along with. The pages kept flipping without skipping a beat. 

There was an air of mystery around Kade's character, which I really enjoyed. I knew there was something holding him back from pursuing Rylan. He definitely had a sadness about him, but I couldn't put my finger on it. It didn't take long to realize why he was hesitating and I can't say I blamed him much. Rylan and Kade both tell their own sides of the story and watching them skirt around the issue of each other is a fun game of cat and mouse and you will find yourself rooting for them to figure it all out together. 

Every woman who loves to read wants a book that she can identify with and even better, she loves a book that makes her believe in love. For all of us who have had broken hearts, reading a love story like Holding On To Georgia will make your heart beat a little faster and your step a little lighter. 

Kudos to Courtney Giardina for reminding us that love is always ready for you, as long you are ready for it. If you need a little reminder of that, just pick up your own e-copy of Holding On To Georgia on Amazon tomorrow. You'll be glad you did. 

Holding On To Georgia will be available for pre-order on Amazon starting TOMORROW so be on the look out! It will be on sale on October 21. Check out Courtney Giardina's Author page on Amazon for more information and to read about her first novel, Tear Stained Beaches.

Happy Reading! 

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