NOLA

"You have to do me the biggest favor," my friend Mike said. "Come to New Orleans June 24th. I'm having an engagement party and it's important."

I thought up a million reasons why I shouldn't: the absurd cost of plane tickets, I knew we couldn't afford to go as a family, I had never left my babies before, I hadn't flown for five years (and never by myself), I get a little claustrophobic, the absurd cost of plane tickets. The absurd cost of plane tickets!! 

I wasn't sure what to do. 

But New Orleans is my favorite place in the world and I miss it every day. I hadn't visited in so long. This was important after all, and if you're lucky enough to find real people in your life that you genuinely care about, you need to treat them as such. 

Troy gets to travel with work fairly often while I stay home, and as the mama, I'm really OK with it. He looked at me and said, "You have to go; you need the break."  

So, naturally, I booked my ticket immediately. I went and got to be with a bunch of people that I talk to every day, but never see, and proceeded to have the time of my life. 

Mike came to get me at the airport and we went record shopping and out for shrimp Po Boys and drank Jameson for the afternoon on Bourbon Street. 

My friend Katie let me stay with her in her tiny, low-ceilinged apartment on a tree lined street near Uptown. She introduced me to some of the sweetest people I ever met and we learned that eating gumbo in hot weather raises your internal body temperature by 15° and you almost pass out. 

I had my first snowball (chocolate with condensed milk on top) and had drinks with Goody and Michy and Candice. I finally got to meet Lette and Garrett and Tiff and Rachel and Kara and Dre and Allen and Neeky and Nelly.  I went to local/non-touristy places and heard first-hand how a New Orleanian says, "baby." (For those that don't know, it comes out more like "baybeh" and I wasn't at all prepared.) 

I drank whiskey for dinner and slept in and had no set schedule. Do you even know what that's like?!? Because, honestly, I forgot. 

And guess what, turns out Mike and Cassie got married at that engagement party! Surprise! So needless to say, I'm extra glad that I found my courage and was brave enough to go. Sometimes, it's important to push yourself to do things that you deserve; to give yourself a break and do something just for you. 

I got told I was an honorary New Orleanian that week, and I truly felt like one. 

I was glad to get back home to my babies, but I'm so grateful for New Orleans and her people - I think they love me almost as much as I love them.

Out of Hibernation

I've been such a writing slacker these past few months; I guess I must've hibernated for the winter. It was cold, the world was gray, I was unmotivated...

But, now that spring is finally here, we all can get outside, make the garden grow, and soak up some much needed sunshine. 

We've been busy here lately. I planted the vegetable garden once the weather broke, and Troy has been busy adding on to the girls' swing set. We decided that new swings and a bigger clubhouse would be a better birthday present for them than more Shopkins and Barbie shoes to get misplaced or sucked up in the sweeper. Maya and Charley have both been helping move boards and fetch the hammer and Maya is amazed that her dad "built this without any directions!!".

The most exciting thing to happen was that Maya, our 8-year-old with Type 1 diabetes, got a continuous glucose monitor. It attaches to her arm with a tiny sensor, checks her blood sugar every five minutes, and sends that number to us on our phones. Before, she used to poke her finger 10-12 times a day - now she does it only twice, to make sure the numbers match up. It even has an alarm on the phone to let me know if her number gets too low. Whether she is at school or playing at a friend's, at any given moment, I can see her blood sugar number. A huge reassurance and relief! 

No more wondering, no more holes on her little fingers from constant checks, no more sleepless nights. I had no idea the amount of stress and worry that I was carrying around with me every minute since her diagnosis in August 2014. I was driving home from school after getting her all set up and I felt the weight lifted off of my shoulders, and I cried. 

That's what moms do, though, right? We take all of the burden on ourselves, in hopes that our children won't ever have to worry - and we don't even think twice.  

To say we are looking forward to summer is an understatement. Playing outside and dinner on the patio and going for walks and a trip to the beach and staying up late, are all my idea of perfection; let's hope it doesn't go by too fast. 

Give me all the sports

The world is… Hold on, I'm weighing my words here… A bit off-kilter these days and it's a lot to process. If you know me at all, you will know who this hippie did not vote for, but that's actually not what is on my mind. 

I feel that in these rough, unsure and scary times, we all need an escape. Something that takes our minds off of fear or worry or anger. For me, it's sports. Yes, I'm still at yoga every Tuesday night, but it turns out that wasn't enough. 

So, I turned to sports. To know me is to know my love of football - and I don't mean I like it, I L-O-V-E it. My love for the New Orleans Saints is very real. Troy and I went to New Orleans on our honeymoon in 2004. I fell in love with every aspect of that city, and then Hurricane Katrina came and I was devastated. I can vividly remember sitting down to watch that first home game back in the Superdome in 2006. It was a Monday night game, and they played their bitter rival (a.k.a. hated with the fire of a thousand suns): the Atlanta Falcons. In an historical play, Saints’ safety Steve Gleason blocked that kick, the Saints scored their first home game touchdown, and I sat there and I cried. I knew then that I had found ‘My Team’. 

Every Sunday, I watch the game in my Saints gear and scare my children by screaming at my television and I love it so much, but I don't take losses very well. At all. Ever. I'm what you would call "emotionally invested".

As I'm writing this, the Saints fell victim to not one, but two losses this week, which did not bring me joy. But being mad at football is a whole lot better than being mad at the world, so I have learned to appreciate the loss anyway. 

It's not just Sunday Night NFL games, though. My high school football team is undefeated. So I’m constantly checking their stats. The school my daughter attends only has one loss this season. So naturally I have to read about how they did and where they’re going. Troy and I will watch Penn State games together, and my New Orleans love has carried over to college football as well (I’m talking to YOU, LSU). 

But wait, the Flyers are on? I'll watch it! The hockey highlight channel where they flip around and show the best hockey plays of the night? Yep, I'll watch that, too. Is there a basketball game on? Who's playing? I don't care, I'll watch it anyway. And look, the Cubbies just won the World Series after 108 years! Fly the W!!

There's never much on TV these days anyway, and the news is just so… Depressing. Sports are my way to give myself a break. By cheering for something, or even against someone else, (I'm talking to you, Atlanta) I'm giving my head a rest. 

The ways of the world have me tired these days so be sure to do something that makes you happy. WHO DAT!