Thursday, February 26, 2015

Target Tantrum: A First for Me

I will make a confession. Until last week, I had never experienced a public tantrum in my 4-plus years as a parent. My oldest seems to be of the misbehaving-behind-closed-doors variety. She will give it to us in the privacy of our own home and then act an angel in public. This is all well and good, but it also frames me as a total jerk when I roll my eyes and tell a story of her craziness. The receiver of my story will give me a look as if to say, "We could never see that angel acting a fool! You must be an awful mother!"

I suppose that kind of behavior is better than public insanity, but it's all relative. I, personally, do not allow myself to feel any sort of shame or embarrassment when it comes to my kids going nuts in public. I equate my mentality to that of Billy Chapel in the movie, For Love of the Game. When he's on the mound, he hones in on the catcher's mitt and thinks, "Clear the mechanism." Then all the noise and outside distraction goes away.

This is what happens with me. I am focused on one thing: survival. Get the child. Get child into the car safely. Do not lose wallet in the heat of the battle. Anyway, on to my story.

The tantrum was performed by one, Jack, in the toy aisle of Target. It was a classic Jack moment. I was open to getting them each one thing. He zeroed in on Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. Then he didn't want that, he wanted Spiderman. Then he wanted something from Planes. Whatever. As long as the cost was low, I didn't care. Problem was, the mere asking him what he wanted threw him into a tailspin. This is typical of him. Ask, "Which one do you want?" Then his response is something horror movies are made of.

I don't get it. I really don't. He ended up lying on the floor of the Target aisle (gross) in a glass case of emotion. At that point, my only concern was that he not pee his pants. Frankly, I didn't want to deal with the mess. I had all three children in tow (I had already declared myself Mother of the Year for that one ... perhaps that was my first problem), so toting a pee-soaked almost-three-year-old out of Target was not on my list of fun things to do for the day.

So, I cleared the mechanism and managed to strap him back into the cart. In his efforts to make things difficult, he straightened his body stiff as a board, which looked particularly uncomfortable. Whatever. His choice.

Now, I know the suggested disciplinary action in response to this kind of behavior is to drop all things and leave the store immediately. I, for one, do not agree with this. I'll be damned if I'm going to waste my hard effort of fetching groceries while carting around three children under five. I was going to finish my shopping trip. I collected the couple items I needed and headed for the checkout. Jack was still screaming. Abby had her hands over her ears. Evie was sleeping soundly. We're training her to be a bang-up third child.

In the heat of getting myself and my kids out of the store, I successfully ignored anyone staring at me, but I did not have the luxury of avoiding Target employees. The guy ringing up my groceries seemed like a nice enough person, but I'll go ahead and wager he didn't have children. Why do you ask? Well, the first thing he asked upon me pulling up to the register with a screaming child is, "Ma'am, would your children like a sticker?"

I'm not sure if he thought a sticker would pop Jack right out of his rage, but I suppose it was a sweet gesture anyway. Abby gladly took the sticker. When he handed her the sticker, he said, "You're pretty! You're going to be a really pretty lady when you grow up!" Really, dude? I didn't even have the ability to glare at him because I had to handle my crazy child.


I (impressively) managed to pay for everything and get to the front of the store. Now came the challenging part. Getting all three out the door, with groceries, alive. I had been navigating the store using one of those giant cart contraptions that allowed for two kids to sit facing the cart. I had Evie in the car seat in the back because I didn't have a sling to tote her around in.

I also had my stroller wedged between the kids' seats and the cart because, apparently, I couldn't leave it at the guest service counter because they didn't want to be responsible for someone stealing it. I think when the girl told me this, I stared at her blankly in disbelief. Really, lady? You think anyone is going to go behind the guest service counter to steal my crappy travel system stroller I've had since 2010? Thanks. Thanks for nothing.

My idea was to transfer all of my bags and Jack into a regular cart, put the baby in the travel system stroller (or have Abby push it) and walk out. I thought this was a reasonable goal. First step: put baby in the stroller. Check. Second step: transfer groceries. Check. Third step: put Jack's coat on. No dice. When I attempted to put his jacket on, he did that dead-weight thing where he just dropped to the ground (ew). At this point, my annoyances peaked and I just dropped him and turned to putting Abby's coat on.

I ended up putting Jack into the cart sans coat (your loss, dude) and heading out of the store. I pushed the Target cart while pulling the baby stroller and made sure Abby was walking between me and the row of parked cars so she wouldn't get hit by traffic (solid parenting right there). When I was about halfway to the car, a woman behind me asked if I'd like some help. Not one to turn down help when I really need it, I told her she could push the baby. I was just revering this woman as a wonderful do-gooder in my mind when she felt the need to comment, "He's really worked up, there!"

Thank you, Captain Obvious. I really appreciate you pointing that out to me. I hadn't noticed.

With the help of the captain, I got all three, my groceries and myself into the car. Abby was smug over being the angelic, behaved child ("Mommy, I didn't cry!") and poor Jack was still sniffling. Evie still asleep. Again. Great third child.

So, I am officially part of the Moms Surviving Public Tantrums Club. Do I get a sticker?

Monday, February 23, 2015

No, I Will Not Eat Raw Garlic

Probably the worst part about being pregnant for me was the restriction to medication. Getting a cold during pregnancy is horrible because you're already congested. Then you add the virus and not being able to take anything and it is just ... not fun.

The really annoying part is that it doesn't get easier once the baby is born. Nursing brings with it an entirely new set of restrictions for an entirely new set of reasons.

I currently have an excruciating sore throat. It's keeping me up at night. I can take Motrin for the pain, but beyond that, there isn't much I can do for my cough and cold without running the risk of affecting my milk supply.

To see if there were any natural methods I wasn't thinking of, I went to kellymom.com, a website for nursing moms. The list is interesting to say the least, and none sound particularly promising.

The top item is an oxymoron, in my opinion.
Rest. Drink lots of water and take hot baths. Run a humidifier.
I realize they are probably required to list this because it makes the most sense to a regular person, but this site is geared toward nursing moms. Many nursing moms struggle to bathe in general, let alone engage in long, hot baths. I'm not even going to go there with "rest".

The next item mentions Vitamin C. I give myself a pat on the back (not really, but I think it) because I have that one covered. Next, Echinacea is generally recognized to be safe for nursing moms. I have no idea what that is, so I'll move on.

"Garlic eaten raw ..."

I stop there. I'm trying to feel better, not lose friends. I also believe I would develop a sudden stomach bug if I were to attempt to eat raw garlic.

Next thing I read is to limit cough drops containing menthol, because too much menthol can reduce milk supply. Fantastic. Excuse me for one moment while I throw away the only thing that has been offering me any relief today.

The remedy I went with is strong black tea. Yes, the black tea has to be emphasized to be clear that it should be strong. I am supposed to use two tea bags for each cup. I think my throat is in more pain now, but I may be able to run stairs after this due to the caffeine content.

Not sure what I'm going to try next. I do happen to have raw garlic ...



Sunday, February 15, 2015

An Open Letter: Germs, I Hate You

Dear Germs,

I don't even feel right saying "dear" before that salutation because, frankly, I hate you.

After a relatively easy summer in which we avoided major illness, the dreaded school year brought you back in droves. In fact, I don't think I've had the pleasure of both my children attending a full week of school since early October.

Mary Ingalls. From the prairie.
First you hit us with scarlet fever. Seriously? In urgent care with Abby and I feel like I'm back on the Oregon Trail. My initial thought was that I was dealing with something life threatening because, really, didn't Mary Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie lose her eyesight that way?

"... the doctor told Charles that scarlet fever had weakened the nerves in Mary's eyes and she didn't have much time left before she would go blind."

Turns out, it's essentially a strain of strep throat that has an accompanying rash. It was, however, fun to tell people she had scarlet fever because they would immediately gasp and say, "oh my God,"  clearly back on the Oregon Trail themselves.

Yes, I'm an ass. 

You couldn't just leave it there. Before the fun of scarlet fever could leave us altogether, it had to make the rounds to Jack and then back to Abby once again.

I hate you.

I believe croup was next. You give us a heavy dose of mucous (the gift that keeps on giving) and we think we're in the clear. Then our children end up sounding like seals. Most recently we hosted a round of pink eye that gave me the pleasure of chasing Abby around the house with drops before pinning her to the ground and prying her eyes open. A combination of the squirrel scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and that torture scene in Conspiracy Theory with Mel Gibson.

While those are the highlights, the real reason I loathe you is the snot. The ever-present, disgusting, color-changing, puke-inducing, sleep-affecting snot. We think it's gone before it magically reappears. It results in raw noses that Abby won't let me apply Vaseline to because she would rather reject an idea of mine than actually feel better.

Snot that has resulted in us purchasing more tissues than I'd care to remember. Snot that my husband is way too excited to suck out with the Graco battery-operated aspirator. Honestly, I'll hear him sucking snot and then, "Whoa, that's a good one." Fantastic.

In closing, I would simply like to reiterate the fact that I hate you. While it may seem ridiculous, it is a healthier behavior than blaming the droves of children that came back from summer break after my kids had an illness-free three months. Because that would be silly of me to do. To blame innocent kids. The little germ factories.

So, while I try to tell myself that this is strengthening the immune systems of my kids, I would like to inform you that I am beyond sick of the sick and the snot-sucking, Vicks rubbing and Motrin giving that comes along with it.

Go away already. You've outstayed your welcome.

Sincerely,

Chrissie


Friday, February 13, 2015

Just Call Me Rapunzel - I've got a Dream

For the past 24 hours, I've been singing "I've Got A Dream" from Rapunzel. The looping anthem comes on the heels of jumping head first into becoming a Rodan + Fields consultant.

No, R+F isn't my dream job (at least I don't think it is), but I'm hoping it will help me continue along the path toward my dream job. I look at it as today's version of waiting tables while trying to make it to the big time in New York City or Los Angeles.

When I left my digital media position with the Detroit Lions, I was hoping to branch out on my own to represent individual players in marketing and PR. Today -- 15 days shy of my last day with the Lions -- I have had the pleasure of working with Tahir Whitehead and his wife, Shannon, throughout his first season as an NFL starter.

Tara (my business partner, best friend and overall partner in crime) and I have helped Tahir reward Detroit high school students for achievements in the classroom, give Thanksgiving meals to members of the Detroit community, read to second-grade kids, and support the Downtown Boxing Gym - a nonprofit academic program in Detroit.

I am looking forward to growing that relationship further this summer as we put together a big event for him in his hometown of Newark, NJ.

At the same time, I am looking forward to growing a passion of mine that I have had since I was a little girl: writing.

With three kids under five, my setup would look a tad different
... but the concept would be the same.
There is a part of me that would love to have Carrie Bradshaw's life, sitting in a one-bedroom apartment, sipping coffee and writing about whatever strikes my fancy.

In my case, however, it wouldn't be a one-bedroom apartment, but one actual bedroom ... preferably with a lock to keep away children begging to sit on my bed and watch Caillou.

From the time I could write, I wrote. I have stories written on 80s computer paper, stories I typed on my grandfather's brick of a typewriter and "newspapers" I typed out for subscribers on my block. It actually blows me away to see that I took it upon myself to produce a one-page newspaper, had my mom make copies at her office, and then delivered these papers to neighbors willing to appease me.

I have always loved to tell a good story to spark laughter, spark emotion, spark deep thought or critical thinking. Writing was the first career I wanted. First novels, then sports writing. I only shifted to PR because I didn't want to antagonize the team.

So now ... back to Rapunzel. I've got a dream.

My dream? To fund my career pursuit of becoming a Carrie-Samantha hybrid (my fellow Sex and the City fans will understand this reference) by "waiting tables" (aka selling skin products).

I'm actually most looking forward to using the skin products myself. Anti-aging? Yes please. Combating sensitive skin? Yes please. Sunless tanner? Those blinded by my skin give a resounding 'yes please.'

So, for those of you who live near me, let me know if you'd like to be a part of the posh party I will be throwing to kick off my new endeavor.

The key? There will be wine (and craft beer ... because it's me).

Also keep in mind that I am willing to name characters in my first novel after those who make purchases. So let me know if you're willing to block off a spot in your calendar to come over and be entertained by yours truly while sipping on tasty beverages.

Now ... I'll leave you with this:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Body After Baby: Will all the Overachievers Please Stand Up?

It's just after 9 PM. We've just put the kids to bed -- all three of them, actually.

I'm sitting here on the couch exhausted from the day and just wanting to check out. But the little perfectionist inside of me calls my name.

Work out ... work out ...

I actually haven't done my DDPYoga since last Friday (gasp). The baby has reflux and has not allowed me to put her down all week, making it particularly difficult to do anything. My goal is to work out in the afternoons, but it has been impossible ... unless I can somehow manage a downward dog with a baby in a sling. Doubtful.

All that being said, here is where I reach out to my fellow overachievers and ask you to weigh in.

We have a lot of good things going for us in the area of exercise. If you beat yourself up because you aren't exercising, you end up (wait for it) getting plenty of exercise. The problem is that you also tend to mentally exhaust yourself to the point of a nervous breakdown.

I have no idea what behavior rational when it comes to exercise. In the past, I've used it to help myself feel as though I have a sense of control over my life, which obviously isn't healthy.

Stair stepping is no joke, y'all.
I don't need to be getting all DJ Tanner on that stair stepper! I am also flashing to Jessie Spano with her caffeine pills, but I'm not sure that applies here. Other than the fact that I would really love a caffeine pill right about now.

Back to the point.

What happens is that I let a workout slide because I'm exhausted. Then the same thing happens the following evening. Then the next evening I start questioning myself: am I properly relaxing or am I being lazy? Then I go round and round in my head.

Then in order to justify my lack of working out, I plead my case to my husband. This gets pathetic, especially when he throws me off by encouraging physical activity.
Me: "I shouldn't work out tonight, right?"
Him: "No, go ahead. It'll help you feel better."
Me: ::curses his optimism::
Other times, I draw it out to really drive the point home with myself that I most definitely should not work out.
Me: "I shouldn't work out tonight, right?"
Him: "No, relax. You've had a long week."
Me: (Near whining) "But I haven't worked out in two days."
Him: "Just sit down. Watch Criminal Minds."
Me: (Puppy-dog pathetic) "Okay."
How do you fellow overachievers handle the balance between rest and exercise? Does someone else hold you accountable? HELP.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My 30 attempts at relaxation

I recently saw a call for "30 simple pleasures to focus on when you're stressed out".

I actually managed to come up with 30.

Photo courtesy
1. Coffee. Because every scene of someone enjoying a simple pleasure is done with a cup of coffee. If you don’t like coffee, put a beverage in a coffee mug and it will have the same effect. Just ask Abby.

2. Reading a good book - written or audio.
I love audiobooks because I can “read” in my car. Huge bonus: pick a book where the narrator has a British accent. You automatically feel like a cultured intellectual instead of a frazzled mom fetching snacks and cleaning bathroom accidents.

3. Watching a good movie. This isn't as much for me, but I know many a movie peeps.

4. Asking your child to tell a story from his/her day at school. You never know what you’ll get, and it’s fun to hear their recollection and then follow up with the teachers. I once asked Jack how his school pictures went. He said, “There was an alligator!” The next day I found out they used a stuffed alligator to get him to smile.

5. Coffee. Because coffee is amazing.

6. Puzzles. Mindless pleasure. I used to think I was a nerd for loving puzzles. Then when I went to share my nerd-dom, I was met with, “Yes! I love puzzles!”

7. Celebrity magazines. I love them because they take zero thought and I always finish feeling as though my life has to be less stressful than a person being followed around by cameras and scrutinized for looking the way I probably look on a good day.

8. Saying yes when your child asks, “Can we snuggle”?
I've never been much of a snuggler and being reminded to do this by my kids is wonderful.

9. Looking at the way your child’s eyes light up when you suggest, “Can we snuggle”? There is nothing quite like being their world.

10. Coloring a picture with your kids (research shows coloring is therapeutic). Depending on your personality, though, this could cause stress. I am Type A and will color a picture and intricately stay within the lines only to have one of my kids “help” with the picture. From there, it all goes to hell.

11. Singing in the car. Bonus if your kids like to sing, because the way they repeat lyrics is hilarious. My son sings “Afro Circus” from Madagascar 3 regularly. The part that goes, “I like to move it, move it” sounds more like, “I’d like a Ford Focus” when he sings it.

12. Dancing with your kids (bonus - use your computer camera to record these sessions. We have a Mac and this allows them to see themselves AND record simultaneously. Gets great results). Also, let them dance to music from your past. We recently had fun dancing to Backstreet Boys.

Dallas Page
13. Yoga. Whether you're all about namaste or diamond cutters, it's a good release.

14. Coffee. Because it cures all.

15. Going for a run/swim. If you’re a runner, it’s a huge pick-me-up if you can run with your kids in a jogging stroller. Passers-by will look at you like you’re a god. I was once running with my 3- and 2-year olds in tow and was saluted by a man wearing military gear.

16. Journaling. As long as you don't have snoops in your house who can also read.

17. Playing a board game with your kids. Unless they're overtired. Then it has the opposite effect.

18. A glass of wine with your husband at the dining room table. It’s like a date night.

19. Coffee. Because I’m really drilling this point home.

20. Reconnecting with an old friend. You can do this by phone, email or in person.

21. Discovering a new TV series to watch.

I really need to get this book. Feel free to buy it for me.
22. Buying the Q&A book for kids and asking them a new question each day. e.g. “I wish I had more _____” and they fill in the blank.

23. Looking through old photos with your kids — they’ll have fun seeing younger versions of themselves or what you looked like when you were younger. Though, if they’re like my kids, they’ll just ask, “Where am I?” and then you have to go back to the younger versions of themselves.

24. Baking. Unless you're on a diet.

25. Eating what you baked. See No. 24.

26. Playing board games with adults. Just make sure you pick people who are not sore losers. I have to pick people who are going to take the game seriously. Because ... it's a board game. Serious business. This may or may not defeat the purpose of de-stressing.

27. Looking out the window with your children, especially if they’re younger. It’s amazing what fun an be derived from observing squirrels.

28. Listening to your younger children talking to each other. I love listening to them in the morning over the monitor.

29. Buy stuff. Only relevant if you have money.

30. Taking a bath like the ones you see in the movies with bubbles and wine. Do not attempt if you have too small a bath tub. Trust me. It’s not the same.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I will not -- I repeat will NOT -- be trying on pre-pregnancy jeans

Have I made that clear?

Okay, so I realize this "postpartum pressure" is completely self-inflicted.

I hate the stage I am in right now. That in-between-clothing stage where there is no way in hell I'm going to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and I have to step into maternity clothes.

For my first two kids, I tried to purchase bigger sizes so I wouldn't have to experience the (self-inflicted) shame of wearing my maternity clothes.

I have since realized that was a total waste of money and effort. My frame has not changed. My body structure still fits in my pre-pregnancy size. Problem is the additional padding I'm currently sporting.

Another mistake I will not be repeating: trying on my pre-pregnancy jeans in a moment of delusion.

::sob::
A combination of starting the workout process and having just shed the pounds of the labor and delivery (i.e. baby + placenta) had led me to believe there was a chance those clothes could fit. Ha! The postpartum gods mock me.

I can remember feeling encouraged after having Abby, thinking that I must at least be close to fitting into my old clothes. Then I attempted to actually put the jeans on. Sadness and horror followed when I realized my challenge wasn't -- as I had originally thought -- simply buttoning my jeans ... it was GETTING THEM OVER MY ASS.

I mean, seriously? Talk about a kick in the (now-larger) gut.

The best part is that I found that same ignorant place after I had Jack.

How the hell could I do that to myself again? Apparently my vision was impaired. I thought (once again in error) that I could put my pre-pregnancy jeans on only to (once again) discover I couldn't even fit them over my ass.

Fantastic, Chrissie. Way to encourage yourself.

So I will not be repeating that mistake. I will be on the final straightaway when I choose to try on my pre-pregnancy clothes this time, especially since -- thanks to DDPYoga -- I went down a full clothing size after getting back into shape the last time.

Speaking of DDPYoga, I'm in the second week of the workout program. I feel stronger and my shape looks tighter. Unfortunately the scale has not budged, which is quite discouraging. I know the first weeks of a workout program can result in a slight weight gain due to muscle fatigue, but it's still not fun.

At the same time, I may or may not be sabotaging weight loss efforts with my sudden passion for desserts. I should probably work on that, because I must be eating a hell of a lot to be working out and round-the-clock breastfeeding and not losing weight.

I am somewhere between 15-20 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy number, so there is definitely a long way to go. The positive for me is that I know DDPYoga works, it's just a matter of following the plan. If I get deeper into the program and I'm still not losing weight, I'll probably be frustrated enough to hop back onto MyFitnessPal to start shedding the pounds.

And in the meantime, I will not -- I repeat will not -- be trying on any pre-pregnancy jeans.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My cat making love to a Boppy

Luke managing to have a platonic relationship with the Boppy.
Yes, that's the title I choose. Because ... that's what happened.

How did my morning end up that way? It was a typical morning, really. Though a typical morning for me is an atypical morning by anyone's standards. Three kids under five -- with one being just five weeks old -- tends to result in crazy. Apparently, this morning, Luke wanted to join in.

I suppose the best place to start for this story is the fact that the parenting gods have been playing tricks on me in terms of illness and weather. I'm fairly certain my kids have not had a full, five-day week of school since November thanks to multiple cases of strep throat, colds and pink eye.

(An aside - there were also a couple cases of lice at the kids' school in December, which had me wanting to hold them out indefinitely. I had my husband purchase many lice prevention items and considered bathing them in tea tree oil. You would have thought Ebola had broken out. I sucked it up and sent them to school with the resolve that I would have my daughter's hair in tight braids every day. It lasted a day and a half. All was well ... we did not end up with lice.)

The kids staying home sick is particularly challenging for me since I now work from home. I am the default stay-with-the-kids parent -- as I should be -- but this is not fun while in the final stages of pregnancy and then with a newborn.

The you've-got-to-be-kidding-me element is that when sickness ends, weather begins. My kids have been snot factories for the better part of two weeks, capping it off with bouts of pink eye. Finally cleared up, we were hit with a blizzard that has cancelled school the past two days.

Thank God for grandparents.

The baby woke up at eight this morning, ready to eat. I began to nurse her and she started contorting and making noises only evident in cases of needing-to-poop-itis. Her face was the color of a strawberry and her tummy was as hard as a bowling ball. I finished feeding her and took her into the bathroom to change her, knowing my changing her would result in successful elimination.

This was partially true. As I was putting her new diaper on, she exploded, jolting me because -- no matter how prepared I am for the loud noise -- I end up crying out and, in this case, knocking the scale against the wall.

I figured the worst was over. I carried her into the bedroom freshly diapered and prepared to head downstairs. That's when the real explosion took place. She began to projectile vomit all over the room. Fantastic.

I have to say that the ironic part about infants throwing up is that they look so serene afterward. Like, "Whew, that was awesome!" as I'm looking around at all the casualties, including my shirt.

First step was bathing the baby. Then I got her dressed, took her downstairs and put her in the swing while I attempted to disassemble her chair so I could wash the fabric. The way in which I washed it is probably illegal in 48 states and means it is no longer suitable for use, but we'll manage.

With the chair parts in the washer, I then cleaned the carpet while fending off my kids' requests for waffles, pancakes and TV shows.

It always blows me away how I could be in the middle of a conference call while painting a garage and my kids would ask me to hold something or get them milk.

Don't you see I'm a bit tied up?!

No. They don't.

I then changed clothes and went downstairs. That's when I saw the baby in her swing with one of those light-up toys meant to be on the ground. It's a turtle that resembles those old Simon games we had in the 80s.

It was wedged in between her and the side of the swing, clearly put there as a means of comfort by her sister. It seemed to have worked since she was snoozing.

The big kids were downstairs playing. I then looked to my left and saw Luke ... having way too much fun with the Boppy.

Really?

And it is in that moment that I have to laugh.

After all of this insanity, Luke has to cap it off with a love affair with a nursing pillow.

I can only hope that tomorrow will bring with it healthy kids, drivable roads and a sexually-satisfied cat.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday: why I expect to be amongst a family of Gisele B√ľndchens

In Arizona (the site of tonight's Super Bowl)
with my partners in crime -- Tara and Gavin -- in 2012.
The past 10 years have included a variety of Super Bowl Sundays for yours truly.

I have made pizzas at Hungry Howie's (2005), worked in auxiliary media at the Super Bowl itself (2006), been the most hated person at the Super Bowl party was I at (2008), suspected (correctly) I was pregnant with my first baby (2010), been on the verge of making a major career transition away from football (2014) and -- now -- a PR/marketing rep for a current NFL player (Lions' Tahir Whitehead) and a mother of three.

This year, I have a set of expectations for the day that includes visiting my family for the game. I fully expect to be met with a group of people that resemble Gisele B√ľndchen.

Why do you ask? Because my family loves (loves) Tom Brady. During the game, he is affectionately referred to as simply "Tom" or "Brady". If there is a controversial call, it will undoubtedly not be Tom's fault. Instead, it will be the result of poor play by his teammates, an awful call by an official, or -- if all else fails -- an act of God.

My family and close friends (who are also considered family) are die-hard Michigan fans, which means they cheer for the New England Patriots by default because of Tom. I honestly wonder which team they would cheer for if it were Tom vs. the Detroit Lions (I will probably get yelled at later for this statement).

Tom was actually the reason I was the most hated person at our 2008 Super Bowl party. If you recall, it was the year the New England Patriots entered the game undefeated and were pitted against the unlikely contender, the New York Giants.

As a (self proclaimed) football guru thanks to my job of writing for an NFL team, my prediction was that the Giants would at the very least give the Patriots a run for their money considering their elite defensive line. I thought poor Tom would be running for his life.

Ultimately, Tom was sacked five times (for 37 yards) and lost a fumble. I was the jerk cheering emphatically for every Patriots misstep and every Giants progression. The looks of disdain grew more and more pronounced the clearer it became that Tom wasn't about to run away with the win.

The moment of truth -- when everyone really wanted to throw cocktail wieners at me -- was that David Tyree catch.

I'm pretty sure I stood up in all of my Lions-gear glory and did an Apache-style (a la Sugarhill Gang) dance.

This year I don't think I'll care much whether Tom wins or loses, but I have always been tempted to root for the "underdog" amongst the group of people I'm with.

We shall see if the Seahawks repeat or Tom will get his one shining moment.

Another thought for today: after the AFC Championship Game, there will undoubtedly be talk within the broadcast surrounding the (foot)balls in play. In addition to playing a drinking game in which everyone takes a drink when someone in the broadcast says "balls", it would also be fun to play "balls Bingo", filling out the card with statements such as the following:
  • "... how Tom likes his balls"
  • "... Brady said he even likes old balls"
  • "... officials had to check for deflated balls"
  • "... the Seahawks checked the Patriots balls"
  • ... etc.
Also fun will be to add "that's what she said" after every ball statement.

Please play and report back -- happy Super Bowl Sunday!