Monday, June 11, 2018

Magical Monday: Aladdin

Two of my favorite activities are going to Disney World and enjoying a good show at the theater.  When the two collide, it's kinda a big deal for me, and that's what happened tonight!  I have been dying to see Aladdin for a while, so when I heard it was coming to Cincinnati, I mentioned it to Eric and he bought me tickets for Christmas.  

I have seen the tours of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, and I have to say that even though I loved those shows, Aladdin knocked them both out of the water.  It was spectacular!  If you've seen the other two productions, you how that "Circle of Life" and "Be Our Guest" are just over-the-top wonderful.  But every single scene of Aladdin was that caliber. 

The costumes, the sets, the production, was just unbelievable.  And of course, the company was even better.  Eric was such a trooper when my printed tickets didn't scan and I then lost our temporary tickets before even making it into the theater.  He is a patient, patient man.  Thank goodness!

Whenever we travel, we try to get an ornament to commemorate our trip and we have a "travel tree" at Christmas.  I promise it's not as tacky as it sounds.  Ha!  Anyway, Eric bought me a Genie lamp to remember the evening.  I can't wait to hang it up this year and remember our evening and the incredible show.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer Nights and Baseball Lights

Just because we don't have enough baseball in our life, we wanted to head to the ballpark to watch our buddies in their last games of the season.  Ellie was a little bit undecided about participating in softball this season, but as soon as she heard that all of her friends were on the same team, she determined that she should play next year.  She's already picked a coach and named her future team "The Glitter Hitters." Ha!

She's much more concerned about her social honor than her athletic ability, so it should be an interesting season when she finally gets to play.  I can't wait!!

After the girls' games, we switched parks and got to hang out with our buddies while watching some of our other friends play.  They were on opposite fields, so I'm not really sure what the final outcomes were, but we were there more for the social aspect.

We have been so grateful to play on some amazing teams and have made the very best friendships along the way.  To not be from these parts, we sure do feel welcomed and sports have gone a long way in establishing our family here.  I can't wait to watch these kiddos grow up together!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Beast Weekend: White House

This weekend was a doozy.  I attended FIVE graduation ceremonies while Eric headed to White House, TN with both kids for another tournament weekend.

They left out a little bit after I headed in for work on Saturday morning, so I was able to make sure they were packed, Ellie was dressed and Eli knew that I was rooting for him.  Clearly I am not an artist, but he was asleep and I needed to leave him a quick note.

Eric's parents are so good about supporting our kids and met Eric, Eli and Ellie in White House to watch the pool play games.  They ended up staying all night and I drove down to meet them on Sunday.

It worked out well because Eric's cousin was there with his son who was playing in an older age division, so they were able to catch up and support each other's kids. 

I wasn't there, but I hear it was quite an exciting day.  In fact, we came back from a 10-0 deficit at one point to not only win the game but to also earn the top seed in the tournament on Sunday!  I HATE missing Eli play, but the my "band of moms" is pretty tight and they kept me well updated on the happenings!

Funny story...Sunday I woke up covered in hives, so I took a Benadryl before leaving home.  I was so calm during the game, even when we ended up losing.  It was like a whole new world, and Eric thinks I should consider a dose before every tournament weekend.  Ha!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Miss America, Swimsuits, and The Blog Post I NEVER Thought I Would Write

Today the Miss America Organization announced a ground breaking decision that will forever change the competition...contestants will no longer compete in the swimsuit portion of the contest.

I wish I could be a die-hard pageant girl and tell you that as a former competitor, I am completely shocked and thoroughly disappointed in this decision.  But I'm not.  Before I continue, I want to be entirely clear about one thing: the swimsuit competition never made me feel objectified.  Quite the opposite actually, it made me feel empowered.  It gave me a sense of determination and accomplishment as I worked so hard to be disciplined and treat my body with respect.  But I'm not 21 anymore.

I'm now a mother of a daughter who is at an impressionable age and learning daily about what defines beauty - both from what I teach her and from what our culture shows her.  I am also the mother of a tween boy who sees overly sexualized images from every available form of media including fast food advertisements, and I find it difficult to explain the concept of a scholarship program when the images on the television are  no different than those on the billboard.  

So - I have found myself in a dilemma recently as more and more people ask me if I will allow Ellie to compete.  I've always used the answer "When she is old enough to make that decision, I will support her just like I would in any sport," hoping it would buy me some time to sort through my thoughts.

The truth is nothing and I do mean NOTHING prepared me more for my career in television and public relations than my years of competing in the Miss American Organization.  Through the interview portion of the competition, I learned how to think on my feet, present myself with decorum in front of an audience, and how to communicate with both poise and conviction.  

The talent competition encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone.  I was terrified to sing in front of the audience, but I did it anyway.  I learned how to be brave and face my own insecurities, how to carry on when things just didn't go the way I thought they should and how to take both defeat and criticism.  I still use those skills to this day.

And even the swimsuit competition left me with invaluable wisdom about setting goals and attaining them.  I knew I would never be the best, but I learned how to be my best.

I never played a sport.  Pageants were my "sport," and I find myself applying those lessons to my parenting as I help Eli navigate the athletic stuff.  Just like with pageants, it's learning how to win and lose with grace, how to set and attain goals, and how to be your best even when you can't be the best.  They are lessons that will carry him through this life long after we pack away the trophies and put away the cleats.  

I know, because that's what pageants have done for me.

So what this decision means for me is a committed answer to the question about Ellie: yes, I hope my daughter will follow in my footsteps and become a part of the Miss American family.  I hope that she will learn the same lessons I learned and gain the same confidence I received as a competitor.  

As a mother, I applaud the Miss America Organization for protecting the innocence of both our daughters and our sons by celebrating women for their academic successes and achievements in community service and talent.

As a former competitor, I thank the Miss American organization for preparing me for my achievements and for protecting, empowering, and celebrating women! 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Following a busy week and a crazy few days at the ballpark, we enjoyed a much needed low-key Memorial Day.  After sleeping in, Eric and Ellie enjoyed some quality time in the pool while I caught up on a few things.

Ellie has clearly perfected the art of "Rest and Relaxation!"  

The weather took an abrupt turn for the worse, so we headed inside just before a large storm popped up.  Still too tired and lazy to cook, I convinced Eric that we needed Mexican...because, ya'll, what is more American than that?

Meanwhile, Eli enjoyed a fun day with his buddy.  They played in the creek and went swimming at the waterpark.  Every time I texted to see if he was ready to come home, the answer was "NO!" In fact, he requested to stay until 9:00, bless his heart!  I think he's made a good, good buddy.

I would be remiss is I didn't take a moment to acknowledge the men and women who made our relaxing day possible.  Each soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms left behind a legacy that lives inside the eyes of a little girl floating in her pool and through the laughter of two sweet boys who can play in a creek without fear or oppression.  May we never forget!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Beast Weekend: Greensburg

We just rounded out another fun weekend of baseball with our Beast boys! Saturday was rough and we lost both games, which put us as the last seed going into Sunday.  But we turned it around and battled back in extra innings to take third place overall!!

One of the things we enjoy most about playing on a travel team is seeing parts of the state and region that we would otherwise never visit.  We were in Greensburg over the weekend and enjoyed lunch at Snappy Tomato along with a little bargain shopping between games.


Of course the best part is making friendships that will last a lifetime.  As if we don't see each other enough at practice and games, we still hang out at birthday parties, sleep overs, and camping weekends!

While the boys keep our stomachs in knots on the field, the siblings provide plenty of entertainment in the stands.  Ellie and Emeryre are little bundles of drama who have at least one major fallout per weekend, but makeup and become BFFs. They also have the very best ballpark attire.  

And even though her antics in the bleachers prevent her from knowing what's going on, Ellis just might be this kid's number one fan.  He's our Eli, Big Blondie, and 1-3.

Win, lose or draw - you know it's been a good weekend when you fall asleep before getting out of the Pizza Hut parking lot.  I can't wait to rest up and do it all again next weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Sweet Treat

We had a little, impromptu family date last night when Eric decided to take the kids out for ice cream after an evening swim.  Of course, we had to hit up a Smiths Grove favorite, Flavor Isle.

Ya'll know how much I love our little "Mayberry" town and right in the heart of town is this amazing restaurant that serves a menu of old fashioned burgers, fries and the sort.  It's been featured in numerous traveling articles and is about a mile or so off I-65 for anyone just passing through.

The kids each got swirl ice cream cones that made a crazy mess, of course!  Meanwhile, I enjoyed my favorite, a butterscotch shake while Eric chose a cherry shake.  Whatever you pick, you can't go wrong...especially when you're making memories with two cuties like these.