Prepping for the Big Game

So it’s the weekend of the big game and for so many reasons I am very excited for this game.  Two years ago we were snowed in for the Big Game and only had the remnants of the frozen appetizer section from our neighborhood grocery store with which to celebrate. Last year, well of course, last year we had a baby and didn’t watch much of the game.  But this year, this year is different.  The weather looks good, I have the week to gather and organize food and no, I do not plan on giving birth on Sunday.  Oh, and the Pats are playing.  Gronk-tastic.  Because it is an extra special Big Game and I am a tad type A, I am freaking out a bit about making the perfect Super Bowl Sunday. 
At first I was insistent that we have an all New England themed party.  (And when I say party, I mean me, A, LC, B-Cat and Cal.  Because if New England is in the Big Game, I can’t be distracted by petty distractions like guests.)  I was going to do lobster, but apparently you can’t get live lobster here in the Emerald City.  I had discovered a place in Maine that would overnight me live lobsters for the small fee of $200.  It wasn’t the cost that made me decide against it – simply the fact that eating lobster and cheering for my team at the same time just didn’t seem like a doable thing.  So I’ve compromised.  We will have the very Big Game compatible chili and drink Sam Adams beer.
Next is my clothing choice.  During the regular season I wore my #12 Brady jersey but for Christmas I received a new and exciting Patriots long sleeve tee shirt.  I’ve worn this new shirt throughout the play offs with clear success.  So I’m going to start the game in my long sleeve tee shirt.  If things seem iffy by the half, I’ll consider putting my jersey on top.  I’ll be wearing the new Patriots earrings that I also received for Christmas, but since I haven’t worn those yet, they will be the first to go if things get ugly early.  Last but not least, I’ve been sleeping in my Patriots tee shirt all week. 

Am I forgetting anything?  I was considering cupcakes, but with LC’s birthday being the next day, I thought I should save something for that celebration.  How are you celebrating the Big Day?  Any suggestions to help spice up our celebration?  New York themed suggestions need not apply.

Ready for some football

Today we proved that LC is definitely mine and A’s child and that she is indeed a Seattle child.

We took LC to her first NFL game today – Redskins v. Seahawks.  It rained almost the entire time but LC did not cry or complain once.  In fact, she smiled and even napped.  See here, the picture of a content Skins fan. (Doesn’t the baby ear protection just slay you?  And can you see her teeth??) I don’t know if it is her genetic love of football or her tough Seattle skin that kept her so happy in spite of the weather.

Against almost all odds, the Redskins pulled out the victory.  No really. Rex Grossman even threw a FIFTY YARD touchdown.  So we were not only trespassers in the enemy’s camp, but then our team had to go and win.  No one minded because LC was so happy and adorable.  She is quite the flirt.  But honestly, everyone was so nice.  I kept telling A that I didn’t know people could be so nice at a football game.  So thank you to the season ticket holders of Seattle for being awesome.

 LC and A during a particularly tense moment in the game.  

A photo of what we hope was Graham Gano’s last kick as a Redskin.  He had two blocked kicks today.  TWO BLOCKED KICKS.  (Apparently it won’t be that difficult to have LC fufill my dream of her being an NFL place kicker because Graham Gano certainly proves it takes little to no talent. )

Agile Pets

Cal is a very agile dog.  He has been doing agility for over a year now and has moved up to the highest level of classes offered at the Seattle Humane Society.  He excels at many obstacles, especially that weave poles.  His weaknesses on the courses are 90% of the time due to handler error, with the exception of the turkey incident from last weekend.


However, having spent all this time and energy with Cal, I just learned that we may be neglecting another agile pet.  Cat agility is apparently not just a thing, but becoming popular. This article, which is very enjoyable, pointed to many exciting YouTube videos, which I will share with you now.

One of these things is not like the other. Or is it?

Can you tell Jim and John Harbaugh apart?  I cannot.  I watched games coached by each today and I still do not know who is who or who coaches which team. 

Seriously, look at these two.  It is possible they are the same person.  Or holograms. 

And they are not even twins.  The Ryans brothers are twins but they have the decency to look differently.  I can tell them apart.  I know who coaches for the Jets and who for the Cowboys.  But these Harbaugh boys?  I just don’t know. 

A Letter to My Bear

Some mom’s use their blogs as a baby book of sorts, keeping track of milestones or writing letters to their children (sometimes still unborn).  I have never really been that type – I think my Yankee upbringing has made me less sentimental than some.  I have been called “cold”, which is really an exaggeration but this is all to say I have not written letters to LC on the blog or otherwise.  But as I put my little 7 month and 1 day old little girl to bed tonight, I felt compelled to write something to her to remember this time.

Dear LC, 

You are growing so fast and I worry that there is so much that I have already forgotten about our time together.  You are a sweet and wonderful little girl that your father and I are so lucky to have.  I may have missed a few milestones but I didn’t want to let this one go by without marking it.  Tomorrow, my sweet LC bear, is the start of your first NFL season. 

LC, you came to us on Super Bowl Sunday and someone commented that while unexpected and early, your birth date was perfect for football fanatics like your father and me.  (While I agree, I still think you could have come just an hour or two earlier so that your father and I could have watched the game.  Arriving in the second quarter was sort of poor timing.)  While I always enjoyed football, it was dating your father that turned me on to the game.  He introduced me to fantasy football (and I to him the “silly name” draft method,  which thanks to LaDanian worked very well for me) and sports talk radio.  We may not have always been in the same state (or country) but we always watched football together on Sundays (and Mondays.  And sometimes Thursdays).  Having you join us for this tradition is one your father and I dreamed about long before you joined our family. 

Through the years, I’ve developed a love for your father’s Washington Redskins and I expect you will do the same.  Not because you can’t cheer for your mother’s Patriots or your hometown Seahawks, but because your father’s love for the team is infectious.  That and they make such ridiculous management decisions that it is impossible not to follow the team and scream “WTF Dan Snyder??” on a regular basis.  You will learn all the words to “Hail to the Redskins”, which we already sing to you, and you will develop your own opinion about the gold pants. 

Sundays in the fall mean lazy days on the couch with the pets – and now you!  Just as Cal honors the day with Bandana Sundays, we know you will love wearing matching onesies each weekend.  I’m sorry if our trips to the park will tend to happen only on Saturdays from now on, but I hope you come to enjoy the extra cuddles and quiet time with us.  We promise to still play and read to you – but we also know that pesky no television for infants rule does not apply to anything involving Joe Theisman or Tom Brady. I also promise to try to scream less profanities at the screen this season.  Unless Graham Gano continues to miss field goals.  Then all bets are off. 

LC, we love you and you have added so much to our lives.  Being able to finally share football with you this week and throughout the season is going to help us all grow together as a family.  We cannot wait to share our love of the game with you and for you to hear the Sunday Night Football song.  I know as you grow, you will develop your own loves and interests, but I hope that football with your family – on the couch with a slightly dirty carpet because I haven’t vacuumed yet – is something that you will always enjoy. 

So play ball and all the whole nine yards – 

Love, Momma

It’s Great Being a Girl

When we found out that the CCBOJ was a girl, I was more than a little concerned.  It’s not easy being a girl, especially growing up now.  Body image, sexting, mean girls, lack of pay equity (ok maybe it will be a while before LC has to worry about that), but it’s not always sunshine and roses bring a girl.  Don’t even get me started on the princess trend.  My worries were compounded with every piece of pink clothing we received, concerned we were painting LC into a pink fairy and butterfly filled corner.

I’ve talked about princesses with friends who are also raising girls and they’ve given some great suggestions as to counteracting the princess trend and other advice.  They recommended this book, which may still be a little old for LC but I love it already: Not All Princesses Dress in Pink.  But books and creative back stories about the Disney princesses can only go so far.

Tomorrow the US Women’s Soccer team will play in the World Cup final.  While I am no soccer fan, I am caught up in the excitement because of LC.  She may not understand what is going on yet (or be able to focus and determine what exactly is moving across the screen), I love that the team shows how strong, capable women can be successful and wonderful role models.  What I don’t like is the way the team is talked about – no matter how incredible the finishes to their games may have been or how the team works together, questions are still raised about whether the team is “attractive” or what the sexuality of the team members are – not to mention the inevitable discussion of this team being pretty good “for a girls’ team.”  I cringe every time I hear this.  I’m not one of those out there claiming that the women’s team could beat the men’s soccer team.  They are different sports.  I also don’t claim that the Boston Celtics would beat the Washington Nationals at baseball.  Different sports, different levels of competition.  It doesn’t make one team less skilled at their chosen game.

We plan on watching the game at Norm’s again (with Cal) and we will be cheering for a US win.  And while I’m all for the home team winning, I’ll be cheering for the win so that one day I can remind LC of the time she “watched” a team of strong, capable women win a game – and it won’t matter what they wore or whether you got to see their sports bra – it will matter that “even girls” can play sports and wear colors other than pink and be watched and adored by millions.  And that is lesson I hope to impart to LC everyday of her life – whether it is her dream to be a ballerina or a construction worked or a placekicker (please LC, please be a placekicker for your mom) – it doesn’t matter that you are a girl, you can do it.

Growing Fast!

I only have a few minutes to post this because I am preparing to cheer the UConn Huskies to victory, but here are two pics that A put together of LC to compare her size.  The one on the left is her at 4 weeks and on the right is yesterday at 8 weeks.  She is a giant now!  Tomorrow is her 8 week appointment and we are anxiously awaiting seeing her stats.


Then There Were Four

Watching the games

This year was LC’s first March Madness and I think she thoroughly enjoyed herself (not that there isn’t more madness to come!)  With parents who enjoy college basketball as much as hers do, it is in her blood.  Both of us have pretty strong alliances with teams (A loves Duke and I, of course, bleed Husky blue and white.)  LC doesn’t play favorites – here she is supporting both her parents’ teams.

Unfortunately LC had to learn the sting of defeat this year (which I guess would have happened one way or another because both Duke and UConn couldn’t have won the title, unless it was like last year with a men’s and women’s split, which wouldn’t be bad and is still within reach.)  But either way, LC took the Duke loss pretty hard.

Lucky for her (and me) we have a Final Four (a very unexpected Final Four) to look forward to – here LC is practicing her very best cheers.

Today is a Duke/UConn match up in the women’s game – LC will be conflicted but she plans on splitting her wardrobe and supporting both teams the best she can.  She’s a trooper like that.

12th Man Unite! – or something like that

Today marks the start of the NFL playoffs and somehow the Seahawks are in it.  And not just in it, but hosting a game.  So, good on them.  I don’t wish them ill will, but I am definitely not a Seahawks fan.  (As previously discussed, we’ve got a lot going on in the football world in our house.)  But for today, I’m happy to cheer them on because their victory does not hurt any of my football allegiances.  Might even help them.

One of the great things about Seattle is that it is a city with a smaller town feel.  Maybe not town, but it feels smaller than it is.  Which is great and maybe just says more about the big city I came from – Washington, DC – then it does about the city we live in now.  Either way, the city really unites for events and behind sports teams, etc.  I was so surprised at how the city embraced the holidays – complete with a “holiday” tree atop the Space Needle.  It really had a small town feel to some of the holiday events.  Even smaller events like SeaFair or Pride Weekend are celebrated city-wide (and often with something atop the Space Needle to commemorate it.)

All of this relates to the Seahawks play off game because on my way to work yesterday morning I was greeted by this sight:

It’s the “12th Man” flag flying above the Space Needle.  The mayor of the city and one of the captains of a Deadliest Catch boat raised it high above Seattle yesterday morning.  (The Deadliest Catch boats dock in Seattle when not out doing deadly things in Alaska.  You can see them from the Ballard Bridge.  I believe most of the captains live in the area, but maybe I’m making that up.)   Qwest Field is one of the hardest stadiums to play in and A tells me it is the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL.  (I wouldn’t know, I did not attend two games this season,  ahem.)  This distinction allows the Seahawks fans to feel pretty good about their contributions to games and declare themselves the “12th Man.”  As part of pregame tradition a local celebrity raises the flag at Qwest field to get the crowd going.  Even Sunday Night Football was pretty impressed with the tradition (and it did lead to a win last week.)

This sort of enthusiasm is hard not to feel and catch just a bit of.  As some photos have shown, we get pretty dressed up on game day here – matching Skins jerseys and bandannas or Pats maternity shirts.  When we would get dressed for the game when living in DC, we would often walk the dog before kick off to ensure that he would be quiet for the game.  It was unusual to run into fellow Skins fans.  Steelers fans, sure, but Skins fans (in DC mind you) was less common place.  I guess my point here is that people here are Seahawks fans.  There may be some transplants (like us) that they make DirectTv commercials about, but we’re the exception.  And that’s kinda nice.  So for now, go Hawks, long live the 12th man!

When is your team no longer your team?

A recent post on the Seattlest starting me thinking about sports team loyalties and when it is appropriate to change those loyalties.  Wednesday’s entry (lamenting the arrival of Boston fans for the Sox-Mariners series) read:

GO (HOME) SOX: Today’s a great day to ditch work and watch a ball game. Regardless of the the M’s record, any opportunity to witness Boston lose in a stadium full of Red Sox fans needs to be taken. Whatever happened to rooting for the home team? It doesn’t matter if you grew up in Cambridge, your dad’s from Boston, or your cousin is the guy from Good Will Hunting that didn’t make it out, ditch the Brady jersey, you’re a Seattleite now.

There are many issues raised in this quote, but for now I am going to focus on just one.  Assuming you are a legitimate fan of a team and you move to a new area, should you change team loyalties?  That is what the Seattlest is requesting here, “ditch the Brady Jersey, you’re a Seattleite now.” 

Perhaps this hit home since I had spent Sunday celebrating the start of a new football season and a bright Patriots outlook by wearing my Tom Brady jersey.  (When the Pats play at home, it is hard to tell us apart, Tom and me.  We’re totally twinsies.)  But I’ve always been a Pats fan.  I grew up in Connecticut and honestly, I remember the Pats being bad.  To me being a Pats fan was a badge of honor – sure they are not so awesome but we still love them.  When I went to law school in St. Louis I was the only Pats fan at a Rams Super Bowl party – wearing the team colors and then quietly sneaking away after Vinatieri kicked us to victory.  I am a Pats fan and have no intention of changing, after all I have decades of being a fan behind me.  But the Seattlest thinks that since I have lived in Seattle for 12 weeks, I should shed this part of my upbringing and personal history and cheer for the Seahawks. 

Many people, knowing A and I were big sportsfans, asked us if we would start cheering for the Seattle teams when we moved here.  We gave it careful thought and determined that we just didn’t have much room for a new team.  We have our NFL teams (Pats and Skins), our MLB team (Go Nats), A cheers for the Wizards (and I wish the NBA season were much much shorter) and do not even get us started on our college allegiances.  But we didn’t feel bad about that.  After all, it wasn’t like we were moving to Seattle and deciding to now cheer for the Oakland Raiders (more on our unnatural need to cheer for Jason Campbell to suck less this season in a later post).  We were sticking with the teams that we had loved long before Seattle came into our lives and it just seemed like the proper thing to do.

So when is it ok to change loyalties?  Marriage?  A and I have finally reached a detente in our sports cheering – because they are in different divisions, we can cheer on the Pats and Skins without concern that it will effect our own team.  Of course, when they play head to head, we cheer for our own team.  In college, we’ve reach an agreement that we will not openly cheer against the other person’s team.  (Trust me, that is still a work in progress, but I think my amazing Carolina BBQ shows how far I have come.)  While in our marriage we have simply expanded the circle of fandom, others choose to maintain the loyalties they brought to the marriage and still others split sports (I read recently that a friend had decided in a Chicago/St Louis marriage that she got the Cards and he got the Bears.  Seems fair to me.) 

If a team moves, do  you follow the franchise?  Are Expos fans now fans of the Nats?  Or do you hold a grudge against the abandonment and never cheer for a team like the Colts again? 

The big question in our marriage is what will happen when the children choose their own teams?  If our child attends Wake Forest or, gulp, Syracuse, will we cheer for their school or will our own team prejudices make us be those people wearing the team rivals colors at the Parents’ Weekend game?  (A friend from Boston once retold the story of her baseball loving four year old who very seriously asked her if he one day played for the New York Yankees, would Daddy still love him.  Some fandoms run deep.) 

What I think all this pondering leads to is that there may be an appropriate time to change team allegiances – a compromise in marriage, a team that leaves town, a child who is the starting pitcher for the NY Yankees.  However, I do not think the Seattlest’s declaration that you must “ditch the Brady jersey” simply because you have moved to a new town is one of these appropriate times.  In the end, I think if I am the sort of fan who would ditch my Brady jersey because I am a 12 week old resident of Seattle, then I am not the sort of fan that the Seattle sports teams should be recruiting.

ETA:  OK, we are fans of one Seattle pro team and that is the Seattle Storm.  I love them because they have 3 UConn players on their team (and I in fact still wear my UConn paraphernalia to the games so there has been no jersey ditching).  Oh and because of that train thing.  Which. Is. Awesome.  So this post on Seattle sports would be negligent if I didn’t say CONGRATS STORM!!! on sweeping the championship and being undefeated at home this season.