Clean underwear NEED not apply!

As I stand here in my kitchen I find myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion; gratitude, appreciation, and love.  Yesterday everything broke, our garbage disposal, dryer, and food processor (mid-preparations for Father’s Day!), it was frustrating, inconvenient, and financially stressful. Today is our son’s b-day, 8 years old!! We really didn’t plan anything big( not even a cake, which I feel really bad about, especially considering we have ALWAYS done something in the past, DARN MOMMY GUILT!!) and with having to replace a few big ticket items getting his b-day gift and Father’s Day gifts put us over our budget. Thus, our plans today consisted of attending our son’s field day for baseball and participating in Relay for Life. Rather uneventful. Then I started blending!

As I mentioned, our food processor broke mid-Father’s Day preparations. So I asked my neighbor if his late wife, who died from lung cancer a few years after we moved in (roughly 8 years ago), had a food processor. I even slipped when I asked. I said, “Does Emmy have a food processor?” Then I quickly corrected myself and declared, “Did, Emmy have a food processor?” I have to be honest a part of me knew he did have one, I don’t know how or why, but I knew to ask him. And sure enough, he did have one! And with our busy day I am just now getting around to blending ingredients at 8pm. So as I stand here blending nuts and dates for Father’s Day treats I find my mind wondering. The same thing happens when I iron so I gave it up. Haha! I found myself overjoyed with gratitude and appreciation.

My son’s coaches were amazing this year (and last year). I am so grateful that they volunteered their time, shared their skill, talent, and were so patient with the boys.  And, get this, they even remember that today, their last game, was Max’s b-day and they had a balloon and candy for him. Tell me that wasn’t the sweetest!! So after his game he received a trophy, ribbon, balloon with treats, AND, the cherry on his birthday sundae, Muddy & Mudonna (Our Toledo Mud Hens Mascots) showed up just in time & right next to the field he was playing on to sign his baseball cap and get a pic! PRICELESS!! I couldn’t have planned that any more perfect if I tried!!

 

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Fast forward a few hours and my daughter and I attended Rely for Life for the American Cancer Society.  Mind you there was a lot of planning that went into the event.

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Our team organizer and team mates did a fabulous job organizing everything, making our t-shirts, putting together raffle items, schedules, signs, etc. 

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My daughter and I enjoyed going around the track and seeing what everyone had in their tents, seeing all the fun things people were dressed up in, getting a pic with the University of Toledo’s Mascot….

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and most importantly, simply enjoying each other’s company (which is a true gift).   I couldn’t help become a little sad when I saw pic of ALL those loved ones who have died from cancer….the littlest really tugged at my heart strings. So, what have I learned from today? Why all the emotion? Why all the gratitude and appreciation?

Simple- I. AM. ALIVE!! My Children are ALIVE!! My son celebrated his 8th birthday today!! And I am so thankful for that! There are so many who have lost the battle to cancer. We never know what tomorrow holds. So maybe I DID wear DIRTY underwear today because my dryer is broken and maybe I didn’t bake my son that cake, but guess what, he was here & I was here! I am so thankful for today. I am so grateful for ALL the amazing people (coaches, teachers, friends, family) in my life, my community, my neighborhood!! I am so thankful for all the souls that I have had the pleasure of meeting before they left this earth. I am thankful for Emmy and her food processor. Back when her son turned 8 years old and she purchased her food processor I know she had no idea that in her 50s she would lose a battle with lung cancer. So, what is my message? LIVE!! Live BIG! Don’t masks your emotions with drugs and alcohol, live it all, good and bad!! Feel the pain. Feel the joy. FEEL it ALL!! Tomorrow is not promised. We never know when our lifetime is up. Don’t not show up because you have to wear dirty underwear! Thank those who should be thanked. Forgive those who need forgiveness, including yourself (including not baking your child a birthday cake…perhaps being together is celebration enough?). Don’t live with regret. Don’t live with grudges. Say yes to adventure!! Simply LIVE!! We owe it to all those who have been lost FAR before we would have liked to live our lives to our fullest. May we all be so blessed to live life in a state of gratitude, appreciation, and love!  (Note, this doesn’t mean perfection….and clean underwear need not always apply. Lol!)

 

5 Signs that Spring has Officially Arrived!

5 Signs that Spring has Officially Arrived:

1. The ladies are exposing more skin. Time to ditch the scarves gals!! Let your necks feel the fresh air. And grab those open toed shoes! Get a pretty pedicure and rock those strappy sandals! Eeee!!! Thank goodness, I was getting close to burning my boots…I mean I adore them, but after 5 months of boots a gal longs for some toe exposure, am I right ladies!?

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2. Baseball, baby!! Sons playing catch with dads in the front yard, baseball practice at school, and best of all, OPENING DAY for the TOLEDO MUD HENS!!!

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 Even Will Ferrell’s Excited for the Toledo Mud Hens Season to start!

3. Everyone be all up in their grills!! The neighborhood smells amazing! The grilling starts around 2pm and goes all night….the amazing aroma of steaks, burgers, hotdogs, veggies, fish, etc. grilling is euphoric! Man how I missed that smell! YES!! It is back!

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4. Color the town green!! The salty dust of winter, the dull boring hues of leafless trees, and the gray cloudy skies are being replaced with color! The various shades of green are magnificent!

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5. The neighborhood is alive! Dogs barking, kids running around, moms pushing strollers, runners running, families walking down to the park, neighbors stopping by to chat…sometimes through the window…corner lot, I tell ya! Haha! But I must admit, I LOVE IT! It is like being on a movie set and someone just yelled ACTION, the neighborhood booming.

I just love Spring! Next on my list, flowers…I am literally counting down the days till Flower Weekend at the Farmers Market. Lookout marigolds here I come!

So what are some of your favorite signs of Spring? Are you wearing your sandals? Feels amazing, right!?!

 

Winners and Losers

Last weekend our family attended the Native Sons and Daughters’ Pinewood Derby event.  It was pretty exciting because this year our daughter and son each entered cars for the derby. And to add to the family fun the children’s grandfather, my father-in-law, assisted them with the making and designs of their cars.  It was priceless watching the three of them together and the excitement on all of their faces as they completed the cars. The day before the derby I spoke with the children. I discussed how cool it was that they got to work on their cars with grandpa. What a great memory that will be and hopefully they can do the same next year. And if their car doesn’t place that they will always have the memories with grandpa and the excitement of simply being a part of a fun event with friends….basically a whole life is a journey not a destination type of speech.

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So fast forward to the night of the Pinewood Derby and after they ran all the races and tallied up the scores I was surprised to hear that our son came in second place! He came in second place to our daughter who came in 1st!! I have to admit I was totally shocked…here I was preparing them for a loss, to look on the bright side, to take note of the memorable journey, and they won! I didn’t prepare them for that!

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This situation, paired with the fact that our daughter is currently playing soccer and son will be starting t-ball, really had me thinking.  The whole concept of keeping score/ winners and losers is it a ridiculous way to teach labeling from a young age, to harm a child’s self-esteem, or is there actually a valuable lesson to be learned?  I mean, isn’t it important that we learn how to both win and lose graciously from a young age? Because let’s face it, in a lifetime there will times when someone is better than you and times when someone is worse.  What if we used those times as lessons and learned from our mistakes, our weaknesses, from other’s strengths and victories?

So I went in search of some clarity, I Googled it! Here are just a few of many websites that beg….to keep score, or not to keep score, that is the question…..

“In my opinion, I think kids need to learn about winning and losing — even at a young age….skipping the scoreboard may end up making our kids less competitive and well…wimpy.” (source)

“We don’t think competition itself is unhealthy,” Van Auken says. “It’s how the parents deal with it. The kids deal with it just fine.”…… “Parents and coaches impose their values on children,” Engh says. “We’re the ones who create the standings and scoreboards. Do you really think kids would have world championships?” (source)

Life is full of wins and losses, and I don’t mean on the athletic field.  If someone earns a promotion at work, that’s a win.  If a promotion goes to someone else, that’s a loss.  If someone falls in love and stays married for the rest of their life, that’s a win.  If someone gets married and then has to get divorced, that’s a loss.  My point is that I learned how to appropriately deal with a win that I earned, or a loss that I suffered because of my youth sports experience. (source

 

What do you think? Should score be kept? Should there be winners and losers in youth sports and events?

Toledo Mud Hens & Hollywood Casino!

We started off our night by kissing our kiddos goodbye knowing they were in the loving care of grandma and grandpa.  Then we hopped in the car and headed to Fifth Third Field to watch the Toledo Mud Hens!  

I have a confession, I am not a huge baseball fan, I like to go for more of the ballpark experience.  I guess I am girly that way.  I enjoy the ambience of the park, the cheering crowd, the music, the food, kiss cam, fan fashions, and all around fun experience!

Last night was especially fun because we had the pleasure of meeting some amazing parents of triplets who joined us for the game! It made my night.  They were so darn cute….though I don’t think they received the memo that there is not crying in baseball, lol!

After the game we decided to take a detour home and hit Toledo’s new Hollywood Casino!

I am not a huge fan of gambling, in fact, I see it as I am already ahead before I step foot into a casino and I prefer to keep it that way. But again, just like baseball, I like the ambience, the crowd, décor, food, drinks, excitement, and fun that often accompany the Casino atmosphere, just not gambling.

Upon arrival and entering the actual casino I was carded, loving this place already!! They carded me and not my hubby, awesome!

The interior is amazing, the high ceilings, Art Deco décor, sounds, lights, music, and grandiose posters really assisted in portraying an old Hollywood vibe. But beyond the décor and overall feel of the environment I wasn’t all that impressed.  For some reason I had it in my mind that there would be more entertainment options besides gambling. Why? No idea. I think I thought there would be a show area or spa, or something for us wives who aren’t huge gambling fans to do while the hubby plays a game of poker. Not the case, which is a shame because the theme is old Hollywood and they could have included a theater where they showed old Hollywood movies or maybe a Hollywood themed small spa for mani/pedis, or just something in addition to gambling. I had foreseen maybe a Moms Night out in the future but after touring the casino I don’t know.  Will I go back? Hmm….maybe?  But it will not be an establishment that we will frequent.

What is your take on Casinos?  Have you been to a Hollywood Casino?