Wednesday, July 19, 2017


"A photograph is the pause button of life."
And isn't it true that sometimes we'd all love to have a real life pause button. I would- especially this week because we lost one of the good ones.  My cousin, (I'm just going to call him that because our family is so close I just say that about everyone) Eddie Solomon, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and was taken way too early. Ya see, no matter what they say- Time isn't always on our side.
Writing is cathartic to me, but this blog is filled with regret. Regret that I didn't see him one last time, tell him how unbelievably talented I thought he was, or let him know how much I loved him.
Because we all thought we had more time. And I will never forget how he posted this on Facebook:
Not many people can say that the same person photographed you when you were little,
when you got engaged,
for your bridal portrait,

when you had your first born,

(Do you see the note in Chris's baby book how Eddie even made birth announcements for me- and I wonder if he knew at the time how much they meant because they so weren't in our budget back then...

and made this wonderful collage with my grandparents that I will cherish forever.)

when you had your middle child- and I'm sorry sweet Addie Tay you are so the middle child and this was a short photo session sweet girl- Lol!,

and also when we had the little one that made our family complete...

Eddie was there for it all- all of my big life moments. And everything in between... family pictures, snapshots at family events,

my crazy ideas that he went along with,
And here's where I'll spare you the picture where I emailed, "Eddie, I'm starting to blog for LA Boxing. Would you be able to take a "before" picture and promise not to show it to a soul with the hopes that I can follow thru and get an after picture."  And he replied, "Sure, you can come over on Friday and Joyce can help watch Chris."  Just like that...
He was there for it all. 
My last message to him was about a month ago when I wrote telling him he had to keep fighting. Afterall, he had to be around to take my boudoir pictures- Ya know, the ones I've been saying I'd have done for the past fifteen years "when I lost weight." I joked that if that wasn't something to look forward to- taking my naked pictures I don't know what was... because Eddie was one of the ones that always got my sarcastic humor.  And I like to think he is making me laugh right now by saying, "That wasn't really something I had to stick around for." 
I know that Eddie loved my family, my kids, and me, so I'm the lucky one.
If you have an Eddie in your life, never take them for granted and think they'll always be around. Love the ones you are with. Hug your family. Tell people how you feel. And if anything, for that Big Guy in a Hawaiian Shirt and socks with sandals, Always smile, say cheese, and take the damn picture because life is short and memories are precious.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Participation This...

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning and all I wanted to do was hop in my car to get to my daugther's softball tourney three hours down the road. But the hubby and I happened to have another kid that is our caboose and only four years old. We've done our best to juggle so that she doesn't miss her favorite hour of every week- soccer. I mean- I guess you can call it soccer- There is a ball and a couple nets but I'm not sure "soccer" is ever really played eventhough it's the cutest thing ever. This was our last session of the season and being the procrastinator I am, I had signed up for snack on the and had to hand it out... and then I spied the coach giving out medals to every kid. Shoot me- it was the one day this Mama wanted to peace out fast.

I didn't. And I'm so glad I stayed and got that medal. It hasn't been taken off since and our little caboose seriously must have told every stranger from here to Richmond about her medal. And yes, it's that cute every time. It started having me question the whole "participation medal" debate all weekend. And I get it-she's four, so who cares, but whatever.

We live in a world where youth sports are crazy town. And yep, I'm that mom that is ultra competitive. We get it, some think we are the crazy ones- practices all the time, private lessons, hotels for ten year old tourneys that really don't mean a thing.  My own family lets me know it. And if you've been a fly on the wall, you may have heard my hubby and I ranting that this whole participation trophy thing is crap.

Ya see, we live in a Ricky Bobby world- where "If you ain't first, you're last." Errybody's chasing that next title and wanting to be the best. NFL athletes are yanking ribbons from their kids and saying expectations need to be higher. Recently even my boy Bryce- and I do love ya Bryce- said, "Oh, it’s OK you guys lost,’ but no, Johnny, no. No participation trophies, OK? First place only.”

Fast forward to why I'm blabbing away on my soap box... Today, that same older daughter that I was rushing off to see this weekend played her butt off with her team. They came up short and took second place in their tournament. And guess what happened. None of us- except the team mom that takes pictures (Thank goodness for her) rushed the field with our iPhones and gadgets to capture this moment. Instead, we stood on the side in moods kind of like, "What the hell was that?"  "Our team is so much better than that." Our expectations certainly aren't to go out and beat ourselves by making errors and not hitting the ball. We train for this and gave up a weekend to see that just go down.

And that, that right there is what is wrong with youth sports. The problem isn't giving second place trophies and rewarding those that aren't the best. Look at these girls- they worked hard for this- and those beautiful, proud smiles are begging for cameras.

From here on out, I promise that I will be on that field clicking away. I will be proud if you finish 1st or 21st. You girls rock. Don't ever stop aiming for the top baby girl, and don't ever, ever hang that head. You taught me something today- That maybe those right there on the field in front of us matter more than anyone's opinion. Second is super, and you, my Glory girls, are simply badass.

-Signed, one proud Mama

Sunday, May 7, 2017

This is us...

It's past my bedtime, I'm tired, and I just had a McDonald's extra value meal that was soooo not on my low carb diet I started this morning, and yet after a day that began by loading up the car for the fields at 5:30am, here I sit, writing- Because I'm still on a high from such a GLORYous win. Ya see, my daughter's 10U softball team, GLORY, brought home a championship.

That's right, I just said 10U championship. And I get it, in reality hundreds of thousands of kids were crowned champions across the country today at this tournament, that competition, and this invitational. Shirts were bought by millions to commemorate the day, parents whooped and hollered like it was the Superbowl, and Facebook was cluttered with statuses of kids holding trophies. And I'm one of those parents that did almost all of that and then some- because I've come to terms with it- We are a crazy, psycho, sports loving family. And I love it.

Now let's get things straight. I am well aware that my kids are not the next Bryce Harper or Jenny Finch. And I know that if I had to bet on it- my kids will follow in my awesome footsteps and their sports careers will end just like mine did at high school. I mean, I'm just like my parents and am living my life spending every last dime on private lessons and hotels for tourneys and trust me- I'm not doing it because I think we're going somewhere with this and need a sports agent in our future.

What many don't realize is, for some, youth sports goes way beyond being trophy chasers. And those of us that brag and are over the top about our kids are just proud because of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

It's days like today that teach our kids that winning is sweet. And days like last weekend that teach our kids that many times in life, it's okay to go home a loser. Life isn't always about winning. In fact, it goes way beyond the scoreboard.

What life is about is being happy. Happy to me is seeing my kids crammed in a car singing and smiling with teammates. Happy is seeing our team taking over the hotel pool and acting fools... while the adults secretly try and sneak alcoholic drinks in the hotel lobby in Chick-Fil-A cups. Happy is having a family beyond your family... that counts down to rap battles at away tournaments. Happy is hearing girls on the fence yelling cheers at the top of their lungs to rally their teammates. Happy is seeing younger siblings on the sideline creating the oddest games to pass the time. Happy is having my kids make friends from different schools that all share the love of the game. Happy is being able to throw a coach's name into a fight with my kids and saying, "If you don't start having a better attitude, we're going to have a talk with Coach So and So," because my kids have learned to respect and look up to authority figures like no other- maybe just not Mom. :)

Being psycho sports parents isn't as crazy as it sounds. Sure, I check the weather on a Monday for next weekend's games. Sure, I plug in teams on Gamechanger and look to see how area kids are doing. And I know this all sounds crazy to some, but if you don't get it, you don't get it...and if you do, well then, I can bet you are like me. It's the little things in life that matter- Like when you find a spic and span Don's John, when you log in to sign up genius first and can sign up for something easy to bring to the field, or when you question if the on the go running all around is worth it... only to see your kids wear their sports jerseys to school 2 times a week- despite the fact that you have bought them cute clothes... but you don't throw a fit because you realize they wear their team gear because, like their parents, they are proud to be a part of something. Something positive. Something fun. Something rewarding. And something memorable.

We have a game tomorrow, Wednesday, and two on Saturday. And I love it. I'll struggle with finding time to make dinner and when to eat it, and I can assure that one of those nights dinner will be hot dogs from the good ole'  concession stand. And I can also tell you that I'm pretty sure I'll be like my mom... One day, I'll have a glimmer in my eye when I die laughing telling "remember when" stories of different teams and things that happened on these crazy weekends.... Years from now, when I hear "We've got Ice" or "Slurpees for all", my heart will fill with joy. And I bet I'll one day be going to every adult league game that my kids play in cheering like high class white trash even when it means nothing. But for now, these weekends where you feel like ya won the best championship ever.. These are the days to hold onto, because I know they will not last forever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It IS Time

Yesterday I was in a foul mood all afternoon... Can't Facebook do that to you sometimes?  I got an invite to an event... not just any event... my 20 year high school reunion. F me.

It was sent by one of my close friends, who on a whim decided to send out a date and venue and just an informal, "If ya show, ya show, if ya don't, ya don't kind of thing. And the date just happens to be six weeks away.  What the hell was she thinking?  I mean I could fast for the next six months and still wouldn't show my face.

Ten years ago, I helped plan our ten year reunion... Not that I wanted any part in that this go around...  It was big time fun and all but when the caterer ran out of alcohol because our class knows how to throw it down, I wanted to cry... and then my B-F-F and I were sent to our hotel rooms by our other Bestie and our hubby's and didn't even make the after party. Thank goodness for that because we would have been a hot mess at Bungalow's.  And let's just say we faced the worst walk of shame ever when we had to clean the fire department we had rented the next morning but were locked out because we had left it unlocked with the keys in it and the chocolate fountain still running... Not our finest moment... Luckily the Firemen had taken over after we left. But.... it was one hell of a time.:)

Anyhow... I shot of a message to my friend and said, "That high school reunion needs to be pushed back four months so I can lose weight."  I was pretty proud of myself... I didn't even request the eight months I really wanted to squeeze in a boob job. Sheesh!  She fired back, "There is never a "good time"! If we wait till summer, people have family vacations... Fall kids are in school. Ya can't win."

And that stung. 

There is never a "good time."

Say it again, There is never a "good time."

She's right.  There is never a good time.  That has been my excuse for years.  I mean, look at my week.  Saturday was a baseball tournament and I was on the road, running around, didn't prepare and that called for Chick-Fil-A.  Sunday was WrestleMania and by golly my family had the best Jalepeno Cheese Dip on the east of the Mississippi... not to mention pizza, wings, homemade lemon cake... I could go on and on but let's just leave it at this Mama didn't touch the fruit bowl. Monday was my daughter's birthday party and 21 day fix got pushed back because I just had to partake in the pizza and cupcakes. I mean I couldn't skip it like ten of the other Moms. Nope, not me. And last night, I got this reunion notification, the hubby was traveling, and that just gave me free range to eat my emotions.  And I'm sure today will be something else.  I mean I am visiting my Mama and Daddy's and I just know they'll whip me up something good...

There is never a "good time" to start my weight loss journey.

And then it hit me.  Like a pound of rocks.  Or a knuckle sandwich to the face.

There is never a "good time" to want to skip out on seeing people you love and care about. There is never a good time to want to dodge life events. There is never a good time to want to stop being full of life because of a number on a scale or a few rolls around your middle.  There is never a good time to let your actions and your choices that are holding you back to control your life. There is never a good time to not want to take photos with your family.  The list goes on.

I have to stop the excuses. I have to make better choices. And I have to go all in. 

The time is NOW.  Trainer at 9am.  Making a shake so I don't ask my Daddy to make me chipped beef in gravy.  The time is now because I am worth it.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hope for the Hopeless

I haven't always been overweight. In fact, if you had told me years ago that I would face a weight problem, I probably would have looked at ya and thought to myself, "You are out of your damn mind." But as they say, never say never.

I mean I was thin.  This was me after my first year of marriage when I thought I had really gained weight and packed on the pounds, cut my hair off, and totally let myself go. Yes, I know short hair is not a good look and I tried to remedy it with $1,000 hair extenstions from a lady named Janelle in Oklahoma and let's just say they lasted a week before I consulted a lawyer... that laughed at me. Poor Brendan. True story. 

Unfortunately, ever since having kids, I have struggled with the scale.  I guess I take that back- I gained the Freshman 15, but let's be real- that's lower than my goal weight now. :) I've had highs and lows... Gaining, losing, trying every program under the sun, taking 500 Before "Body for Life" photos, doing triathlons, running half marathons, and let's not forget my stint as "The Knockout Mama" for LA Boxing when I blogged professionally for them and even spoke at a fitness conference.  My slogan was money... "One mom's journey from knocked up to a knockout." I can't make this stuff up people.
Notice I said my weight issues have mainly been "since having kids."  Well, my youngest baby turns three this week so I pretty much can't say the weight I'm carrying around is baby weight.  I know what the problem is. I eat. I eat when I'm happy, when I'm sad, bored, tired, nervous, anxious, stressed- you name it, I eat. Over the past two years, somehow I let my weight get out of control. My BMI says I'm obese...and so does the mirror.
I have excuse after excuse as to why...  I'm busy. My husband travels and I'm flying solo all the time. And let's not forget the year we lived in an apartment while our house was being built- where I visited the McDonald's drive thru for an extra value meal, large Diet Coke, and three sugar cookies because that was the only time my daughter would nap was on my second hour car ride picking the kids up from school. I mean, that was totally justified. Totally- and where twenty of my 45 pounds came from. Excuses.  All of them. I get it.
 I'm tired of being overweight. So tired.  I'm tired of avoiding people I haven't seen in forever. I'm tired of not wanting to be near a camera. I'm tired of resorting to the most unfashionable clothes ever just to hide my rolls. I'm tired of being tired of letting my weight dictate my self confidence and daily life. The struggle is real.
So just when I thought I was going to be heavy forever because I've failed at every gimmick in the world... And after visiting doctors and being told I DO NOT have a thyroid problem (I was convinced it was that and not the crap I've been putting in my mouth), I decided to give Beachbody one more try.
Shut it. Before I go on, I know that some of these people annoy you in your Facebook feeds, and a cleanse is not a solution for 45 pounds. I know this people. But ya know what- these "Beachbody" people- even ones I've never met- inspire me. They give me at least a glimmer of hope and inspiration that people can make changes and transform. And while you may hate their million selfies and pep talks... at times they are my light.
So after promising blow jobs for money for the 3 day refresh (I kid, I kid people), my hubby reluctantly handed over the Benjamins for yet another one of my infamous attempts to lose weight. And ya know what? I did it!  I freakin' did it. I followed something for three whole days. For those of you that don't get why this is such a huge deal, well, you just won't get it. But I'm sure there are some of you that feel me- and ya know what, I'm tootin' my own horn because this girl is proud of herself!
I mean you guys don't understand. I conquered.  I even went to Costco and didn't binge on samples, get a slice of cheese pizza, and chase it with a churro!  Miracles do happen.  And my mindset is changing.  Not gonna lie- I started this cleanse thinking if I can just get through three days I can go get a Gordita the minute I get up on the 4th day.  Damn you, Nery's Pupuseria- you are the bomb. But I'm ready to continue the battle against the big 'old stinkin' bulge and for once, I have hope.
Final Results-  Down 6.2 pounds!
But what is priceless is just knowing if I do change my eating habits, the scale WILL go down. It's possible. Now feel free to hold me accountable for the next year. And if you want to join me on the 3 Day Refresh next month, Let's do it! xoxo

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

To the Mama at the Pumpkin Patch

To the Mama at the Pumpkin Patch,

Yes, you.  I saw you.  You had your tiny baby in a carrier and you were trying to make sure she was warm enough on this brisk fall day all while trying to sit comfortably on the wagon ride with your rambunctious toddler.  You might have caught me staring out of the corner of my eye while my little girl was sitting calmly in my lap. No, I'm not a bitch, and I wasn't judging you.  In fact, I was doing just the opposite, I was reminiscing- longing for the time that that was me.  I was young, halfway frazzled, tired, and yearning for every holiday to be picture perfect.  I did the pumpkin patch, had the perfect costumes planned out for weeks in advance for my kids- usually in a family theme, and had matching totes or buckets for each kid to happily trick or treat with.

But ya see, things change.  This year as I sit quietly with my little one, she doesn't have on the perfect Halloween monogrammed outfit like her sister would have worn. Instead of being so excited about the trip and for this very wagon ride, I'm somewhat doing it to check the box- ya know just going through the motions making sure my little girl gets her special time- and to be honest, I am really thinking how many times am I going to have to go down that damn bumpy slide before we have to call it a day to meet the kids at the bus stop.  Ya see, this is my third kid and she goes with the flow.  There are times when we look at her and wonder if she's had a bath this week- Ya know, a real one where her parts were washed and she wasn't just playing in a tub full of bubbles while I brow dried my hair.  Her Bubber and Sissy are in school and truth be told we have baseball and softball tourneys this weekend so the likelihood of this sweet little girl getting to carve a pumpkin is slim to none.  And her costume will be bought at the last minute and won't be from that Chasing Fireflies catalogue and if she wants the tacky Paw Patrol costume, then so be it.  My kids might even use plastic grocery bags for candy so I can save money and my son might just be a gangsta like he's been begging to be.  No, not one with a dapper suit and gun, but one that sags his pants and is so politically incorrect it's not funny but the fact that he thinks it's something he can dress up as and not be makes this Mama happy. Oh yeah, and mainly because I can pull that one together for free- so don't shoot me.

Yes, I've been looking at ya because the chaos that you are living right now is precious.  Part of me wants to bless your heart and the other part wants to just have that moment back for even a second.  People will tell you all the time that it gets easier... but I'm going to tell you that that's a lie.

Life will get different.  Not easier, not harder, just different.  I'm still tired. I think I'll be tired for the rest of my life.  My oldest turns eleven tomorrow.  Every day I'm checking homework, worrying if someone has said something about his face breakouts, running him to and from practice, and praising Jesus he didn't get in trouble on the bus.  My eight year old is into watching you tube videos and it drives my hubby and I nuts.  We hope to goodness our parental controls are enough and I'm not gonna lie, I kind of follow this random Bratayley family right along with her.  I want to cry when there are girl fights going on at school because yes, it starts as early as eight. Get ready for it.  And last night when I said, "I love you morether." to her because that was we have always said to one another and she said, "Mommy, you know morether is not really a word," a little piece of my heart broke.

I look at you and I can't even imagine what the mothers of tweens, teens, college aged kids, and early twenty somethings look at me and want to think or say.  I'm only a step ahead of you girlfriend and I have so much to go through and it's only just beginning. My kids first love, first heartbreak, proms, driving lessons, weddings...  There is still sooooo much. As my kids grow, so does my love for them. Every second of every day- When I am disappointed, about to pull my hair out, ready to cry, bursting with pride, laughing from their jokes... every single second my heart swells and they don't even know it.  Half the time, I don't even know it... As parents we countdown until bedtime and thank the Lord we made it through the day and don't realize it until moments like these how amazing parenthood really is.

So, yes, I'm looking at you.  While you scramble after your snotty nosed toddler and are probably mapping out how you are going to cram in a diaper change, feeding, and get those two sweet babies home without dozing in the car so you can still take advantage of naptime, I will squeeze my own little girl and enjoy my time here at the pumpkin patch just like this is my first rodeo.  She deserves it.

I will look at you and see myself.  I won't tell you this too shall pass, better times are coming ahead, and I won't even tell you that you're going to miss this.  If you notice me looking, I will tell you enjoy this moment in time because though you might not be thinking it now-  we are the lucky ones.

Squeeze them, hug them, love them. It goes so fast.

The Mama who should have packed a sippy cup and have a hat on her kid because it's cold outside

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life on the sideline

My skin is covered in a layer of dirt and I can feel it in my teeth.  I didn't keep my promise of quitting Diet Coke because I've been shuttling between fields all weekend.  I might not have changed my daughter's diaper because we were in a tense game and she might be covered in dirt from head to toe. And I might be way too excited because I heard I haven't missed out on the online store deadline and I can still order a team sweatshirt that will surely take up a day of the week's wardrobe and be sported every Sunday.  Yep, I'm a travel sports Mama.

I won't try to lay it on the line about how I love it so, because to those that aren't "one of us" you probably just don't get it.  Although you respect others, you probably roll your eyes about the time commitment and over hype of youth sports. Trust me, I get it.  When I saw 30 parents lined up with iPhones grabbing a picture of their daughters claiming their tournament trophy- ya know a trophy like thousands of girls collected at tournaments all over the country today- I even had to take a minute and laugh. 

I get it.  I get it all.  And I love it. 

I had one kid that was undefeated and Champions of a tourney this weekend, and I had another that struggled and was defeated in their tourney.  Yep, an 0-for weekend.  And I loved them both the same.

Yes, there were moments this week where I might have been psycho sports mom- where I caught myself finding joy in the fact that other travel teams are struggling and it's not just us.  And I was disgusted at myself for even thinking and feeling that way. Yep, there was a night where I might have gone bat shit crazy because I didn't get my kids showered and in bed until ten at night on a school night due to practices. Yes, there was even a hot second where I was googling other teams records and checking them out.  Crazy.  Even I'll admit it.  Because at the end of the day does any of this travel sports crap even matter?  Nope.

But to those of us that cave to it, we get it.

Today, I saw the biggest smile on my daughter's face.  I saw the love of a game, a hobby that has helped her grow from a 4 year old barely hitting a ball off the tee to a little girl with hopes, dreams, and friendships that I have no doubt will last a lifetime.  Not to mention confidence, work ethic, and a discipline like no other.

And my son- well, I saw a boy that is on a team that is in a "growth" season.  New players, new families, tension, disappointment, such high hopes, and everything in between.  I also saw a boy ready to show up at the next practice, give it his all, and an ability to start over next weekend. I saw a team full of so much potential its scary... that I have no doubt if they see the course will gel... and do amazing things.  Above all else, I saw the promise of a new day and a boy doing what he loves.

 For some of us,  no matter how much this whole youth sports thing gets bashed or misunderstood we will still love it, swell with excitement at game time, and be those proud parents lined up taking photos because there's no better feeling in the world than seeing your kids do what they love. And when I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw it all staring right back at me.  It's a short season we don't want to end.  Defeated or undefeated, it's simply a way of life.