Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sports Talk: The Best Damn Band... No Denying it

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 30, 2013. 
Thanks to social media, there are all sorts of topics, videos, events, songs and people that go "viral" and, let's be honest, 75% of it is nonsense that our lives would be just as good having never seen. (I suppose there is something to be said for "laughter is the best medicine"...)

However, there are the cases when social media's ability to send something spiraling across the interwebs for millions to see or learn about is a positive; we learn about or see things that perhaps open our world to something new.

While the Ohio State Buckeye football team has always been a favorite of mine and a big deal in my house, we were never able to overlook the magnificence of OSU's marching band: "The best damn band in the land," as they say. As much as my mom loves football, watching the halftime show is an equal thrill to her, especially if it happens to be the occasion where they performed their famous "Script Ohio."

I know a lot (most) people in this area have less than favorable feelings about the Buckeyes, but thanks to social media, more and more people--even non-sports fans, are gaining some level of respect for Ohio State, but not because of football. It's their phenomenal marching band giving them the spotlight and leaving people across the country with nothing but positive things to say.

Script Ohio, the band members spelling out "OHIO" in script lettering has been a long-time tradition of the school as a halftime performance, originally being performed in 1936. Other performances have been equally impressive but the past few years I have seen the Buckeye band spread across social media like wildfire due to their incredible halftime shows that especially engage and impress a younger generation. Last year a tribute to video games was the jaw-dropping performance I saw appearing on my Facebook newsfeed for a large part of football season as many couldn't help but share it, while adding the disclaimer, "I may not like their football...but this is awesome."

The latest hit from the best damn band in the land is a Michael Jackson tribute. Categorize marching band however you please when it comes to "sports," but watchg this performance and remind yourself that the fluid movements and moonwalking man you see on the field is being created by individuals rushing across the field in perfect step all while playing an instrument. If that doesn't take talent and endurance I'm not sure what does.

All you have to do is google "Ohio State Marching Band" and you'll find a plethora of incredible halftime shows--everything from Harry Potter themed to Superman.

While I don't expect to win anyone over to cheering scarlet and silver on game days, put aside your Ohio State hate and enjoy their band, if social media hasn't helped you do so already. How they keep coming up with new, equally impressive performances continues to astound me, but unlike Script Ohio, most of these performances are aimed to entertain one and all, not just Buckeye fans.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sports Talk: Saying Farewell Early On

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 16, 2013. 
It often seems the "in-between" seasons go much faster than winter and summer. The days of perfect weather are limited and the beauty of the changing natural world are brief so we must soak them up while we can. 

With the fleeting fall, it also seems fall sports move rapidly. The beginning of this month already saw the conclusion of our golf team's schedules and last week the volleyball and football teams both hosted their final home games and celebrated senior night.

Spring time always brings for lots of sadness in saying farewell to seniors, but it seems a little overlooked in the fall, when several months of school and graduation still lay in the distance. I was involved in numerous sports in different ways during my high school career--basketball, football--but track and field was my number one. While I did run cross country, my senior season was actually the first time Casey had an actual team in years, so it mainly just felt a lot like a different form of fall training.

In some ways I think it might be harder for the seniors who have to say goodbye to their sport in the fall than those in the spring. By spring, everyone is saying goodbye, whether it be to a sport, a club, classes, friends...high school in general. Everyone is sharing the same sentiments as the end of so much draws near.

The fall still looks to many adventures for a senior year, but these athletes already have to let go of something that has likely been (and will always be) a big part of who they are. Sure they will still be going to class and seeing their teammates frequently for another seven months, but putting on the uniform and giving the blood, sweat and tears at practice and games is coming to a close. I suppose those involved in these sports are the only ones who really understand the difficulty there is in doing so sooner rather than later in their senior years. Perhaps it brings a new sense of reality of all they will be saying farewell to in the coming months.

Some of the sports do not get the traditional senior night--golf, cross country and soccer. Given, this year, there are two seniors collectively among those sports, but it makes their exit no less difficult or meaningful. Even the cheerleaders, who have a competition season ahead as well as basketball, had an ending of sorts. Playing--and cheering--under the lights, in everything from hot to cold weather--is special. I can't put my finger on what it is, but anyone who has experienced it knows it's true. It was also obvious at the VolleyReb senior night how difficult it will be to see the season end for the group of eight seniors themselves, as well as their coaches and teammates.

While home game activity for Rebel and Lady Rebel athletics has concluded for the fall, not all of the teams are done with their seasons and those seniors still have ambitious goals for how they will conclude their careers. Be sure to show them your support in one way or another, even if you cannot attend their road events. And if you see any of them out and about in the community, congratulate them on their career of wearing the Rebel colors with pride.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sports Talk: Love the game or the come-from-behind?

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 9, 2013.
We know I thoroughly enjoy football, but I admit that I'm not one to glue down in front of the TV regularly to tune into games. I did it a lot more in high school if family members were tuning in or in college with groups of friends. While I LOVE football, there is no denying it can be for a long time suck.

This past Saturday night was an exception, though. I didn't plan for it to be a football night, but it turned into one. In the process I realized something about myself. I now believe that the reason I learned to love football was because of winning close, come-from-behind games. It seems they are still the ones that really get me.

I've watched some Ohio State this season and tuned into a little UK football. While I love the Cards, I haven't bothered with them (aside from the Kentucky game) simply because, well, the games aren't exciting.

My football love and attention developed between 2001-2003. This was a time when Casey County football was picking up wins, but oftentimes in close games. It was also during what all Buckeye fans know as "Tressel Ball." Former OSU head coach Jim Tressel, throughout his 10-year career, became known for his high-ranking teams always playing in close games. It was rare for the Bucks to run away with a game, even when polls and stats said they should. Instead, the score would stay close or OSU would even fall behind, leaving fans on edge until the end. Look at Tressel's record though and you'll know that somehow, he almost always came out on top in those games.

Saturday night brought for a 'first' in mine and my husband's relationship. We were tuning into the OSU/Northwestern game as well as the Notre Dame Arizona State game. (I wanted to watch Kentucky as well, as I saw their score creeping closer and closer to South Carolina.) When the Buckeyes were down 13-23 and Notre Dame was barely holding a lead, my husband said he was ready to watch something else. Yes, I am a sports fan, but typically when he is ready to stop watching ESPN, I do an internal happy dance. Not this time. For once, he was ready to stop watching sports and I wouldn't have it and took control of the remote.

As the Buckeyes cut down Northwestern's lead through the second half, it dawned on me, "Oh... This is why I started liking football so much...these kind of games."
I suppose the more favorable option is to have a competitive game and be winning, but I'll be honest and say, I think I realized that it is the "barely behind" scare that engages me. I suppose the fact that with Jim Tressel this still usually led to a win is what allows me to enjoy it and not absolutely hate it. If it had regularly resulted in losses it could be a different story.

So, as silly as Tressel Ball was and is, I may actually owe my early development and love for football to the way Jim Tressel's teams played in these games. It allows me to watch any game now, and be cheering for a losing team and truly believe there is a way they will pull it out in the end. On Saturday night I was happy to see both Notre Dame and Ohio State win. I wish Kentucky could have done the same. Their second half scoring sure was on track to do so...and as usual, I was holding out hope they'd find a way. Maybe next time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Showered with Friends!

My final shower was held exactly one month prior to the big DUE DATE. I had some of the most dear friends in my life join me for some baby celebrating and prep. This also resulted in what Mingus referred to "baby bootcamp weekend," as we had babies coming and going all weekend! The shower was actually held in the Rumpus Room that is connected to our Loft. We considered having it in town at the church, but there were complications with that. Obviously having it where I live was SUPER convenient for me (No travel and no packing gifts home!), but I am especially grateful for all of those who made the trip to attend. I know I don't exactly live close to...well, anyone or anything!
I was fortunate to have two close friends visit for the entire weekend. Valto, her husband and two little boys (4 months and 2 years) as well as my friend Kara and her 8 month old came down Friday and stayed through Sunday. Valto, the busy, busy doctor lady that she is, had been hoping to make a family trip to the Valley sometime in September and it just happened to work out that the shower weekend was the best option. Kara, who'd generously volunteered to throw me a shower in Louisville, came down to help with these shower arrangements instead. She did a fabulous job decorating with fall decor--which we all know I love!
I had friends come that spanned all corners of my life--GSP and high school, church and Bellarmine, to friends I've made in more recent years... So many of them were people I do not get to see too often but mean so very much to me. I hate that it is only on these occasions that I see some of them, but better than never. It's fun to be joining my close friends who are already on the motherhood path. Luckily for those who are and brought their young ones, my cousin Ru came down with her kiddos and played babysitter for several hours. She is so great with the little ones--seeing her occupy them and keep them happy made me realize all the more how lucky I am going to be to have her right up the road from me when the Peangling arrives!

My sister Rachel made it to the shower despite getting in SUPER late the night before from a flight traveling back from Rhode Island after being there all week. And not only was she there...but she hosted our games! Seeing how accurately someone could estimate my belly circumference was much more entertaining than I'd anticipated! KelKel had it practically dead one (with Valto maybe an INCH too long) while Rebecca's string made it around me nearly three times!
I received so much great stuff that really and truly rounded out our supply of baby "stuff" we were still in need of and I cannot get over it. In the beginning, Mingus and I browsed Walmart and Babies 'R' Us and were overwhelmed realizing the things we would need--everything from the big stuff like a car seat, down to the little things like first aid supplies and crib sheets--but we have been so blessed by family, friends and loved ones in their support and generosity so that this baby prep has been that much easier.

Thanks to all of those who attended this shower and again thank you to those who attended previous showers or who have sent their love and support in the mail or simply via text or Facebook message or a hug along the way. We feel the love and prayers more than you know.  Here are a few of my favorite non-shower shots from our weekend of fun!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Surprise - The Unexpected Baby Shower!

How blessed we are! 

It would be one thing if I were writing about a shower thrown for me by my coworkers...but I'm not. I'm here to write about a shower thrown for Mingus and myself by his coworkers a few weeks ago. I feel it's not uncommon for an expecting mother to have a shower from the people she spends so much of her day with through work, but it's so special that Mingus works with people that are this excited for us.
I suppose this just reflects yet another blessing of living in a small town and him working for a family-based business. While Tarter is an international company, the people care about each other and about family. Neither of us knew the shower was planned, but it was all spearheaded by Sheila, who is now his boss, but he has worked alongside in his department since he started at Tarter in 2011. They worked with my mom to get me into the office for the event, which actually worked out pretty easily. My mom makes regular trips to Tarter, as The 10th Planet (our family business) does a lot of work for Tarter. And while I may not work with these people, like Mingus, because I have lived here my entire life a lot of them are people I have known for a number of years (ie, I'm not just "Mingus's wife" to many of those who were at the shower.)
So mom made up some story about visiting a baby consignment shop and asked me to come along (I admit this is the most far-fetched part I had a little trouble with... It's not exactly in my Mom's character to use her non-work time to go on a random shopping trip. She didn't have to make up a reason to stop by Tarter on the way, as she actually did have a delivery to make. But while there one thing led to another and next thing I knew I was walking into one of their conference rooms that was full of smiling faces, pastel baby decorations and a pile of gifts! It was so overwhelming and I did not know what to say! I'm pretty sure I was shaking. Mingus wasn't even there yet and had no idea I was there. I had a chance to sit down, calm down and make sure I knew everyone who was there. It was great to faces to some of the names I hear Mingus mention regularly. They brought him down for a "conference call" shortly thereafter. It was entertaining to hear all of their stories about ways they'd been diverting him all day and leading up to the surprise to be sure no one gave it away.
We got SO much great stuff and the people were so generous; I can't get over it really. We got some awesome blankies--which, surprisingly, we hadn't gotten any regular cuddle baby blankets yet! We even got a handmade quilt in the absolute perfect aqua/green color to go with other stuff I've done in the nursery. I'm in love. We got cloth diapering essentials we were lacking... more clothes, which we don't have a lot of (gender neutral is tough!), some more baskets and such for storage, crib sheets and bath essentials. We also had some awesome group gifts including a walker and a monitor. And then the biggie: our car seat AND the jogging stroller (something we truly did not expect to get yet). Wow!
I still cannot get over the kind of love and support we are receiving from people. It's special for Mingus to know that the people he works with are genuinely happy and excited for him and so many people are praying for us.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Baby Growth: Weeks 34, 35, 36 & 37

And we've made it full term!

This is really the last 4-week update post I can guarantee, since at this point it's just a matter of when this little munchkin wants to make it's grand appearance. (I know they say your first rarely comes early, but you really never know!) I'm just excited that October is officially underway, as I absolutely LOVE this month. You'd almost think I planned to make this baby month, but I swear I didn't. It's the same birth month of three of my very best friends... It's our anniversary month... And I've always loved Halloween... Not to mention it's the best month for fall. Definitely glad it'll be the month of our first baby!

Comfort: It's not getting "better" but in some ways it is. Maybe I'm getting used to it? That's not to say I'm liking having to practically roll and rock (not as cool as rock-and-roll) to get from one sitting or lying position to another), but my pelvic soreness is getting better. Either my bones are starting to settle or the chiropractic adjustments are working. My belly officially feels like a table top and I can't help but rest my hand on it most of the time. Swelling is hit and miss. I took my wedding rings off shortly after my last post after being warned that it's not unknown for people to have had to cut their rings off when they get too tight. They are now safely on a chain around my neck. (But I do miss them...) My feet swell a little everyday but sometimes its more obvious than others. For whatever reason my left foot swells much larger than my right.

Sleep: I'm actually sleeping better. I wake up for more potty breaks through the night, but I fall back asleep much quicker than I did at the beginning of this 4-week stretch. The insomnia was getting tough and for a period it would regularly take me 45 minutes to get to sleep. Glad that has past and hope it stays away! I've noticed, though, my fatigue level overall is increasing, even if I do get good, decent sleep. If I happen to wake up earlier than normal, or am out during the day, I feel completely exhausted. I'm trying to do a better job of getting off my feet regularly during the day and not overdoing it. I'm also trying to actual elevate my feet more when I sit down to rest.

Labor Signs: My Grammo has insisted I no longer use the riding mower (or I may just vibrate the babe right out!) Luckily the green growth is slowing down. I notice the Braxton Hicks contractions on a daily basis along with some other slight menstrual cramping but it's not anything regular. The frequency in a day's time is increasing but in no real pattern. I still feel movement from the babe but according to an ultrasound I had at 37 weeks it is head down, so hopefully it's settled down there until the big day arrives. This may sound odd, but I am actually getting more confident about going through labor and delivery the closer we get rather than getting more nervous about it.

Classes: We attended the hospital's breastfeeding class and got to meet the lactation consultant. I had done my research and reading on a lot of what they taught but hearing it again, having Mingus also hear it, and learning a lot of the norms, benefits, tips, etc. was really, really good. I know it will help reinforce what I go through when the time comes. I'm so glad we went. We also went to the final birthing class for a second time. We initially decided to re-attend for a refresher on the breathing and relaxation portion, but we actually got a lot out of the first part, which was the session with one of the pediatricians. Fun Fact: I found out after the fact, this particular doctor was actually one that treated my brothers and I when we were kiddos! He  covered different stuff from the previous pediatrician (whom we also liked) and it made us all the more comfortable with our pediatrician options.

Other things to note: We have very little left that we still need. Our car seat is in the car and I've finally put our clothes, towels, sheets, etc, through the wash. I'm in the process of prepping our cloth diapers. (Several wash & dry rounds to increase absorbency.) The nursery is more or less done but I just need to tidy up from the laundry loads. I've sort of started a hospital bag, but it's kind of more in my head than actually all in a bag. (Does that even count??) I had an ultrasound at 37 weeks that wasn't initially planned, but it was simply to check my fluid levels since the external measurement of my uterus at 36 weeks seemed small. As the doctor expected, the levels were fine (she suspected it had more to do with my small frame) and all is good on the inside.

Fun Happenings: It's been a busy several weeks, including two showers. (I'm behind and haven't gotten to post about them yet, but I promise, it's coming!) We had a fun mini-photoshoot that was not expected or planned. I got to spend time with a lot of my girl friends over the past month, knowing I may not have the luxury to get out with the girls in the coming months. I also treated myself to a pedicure and a final haircut. Jo and I are going to get together one final time next week to bump bellies (we hope in our next meeting we will be able to share a drink!) I saw Michelle a couple of weeks for one last belly picture together. Becky and I even got to see each other and talk babies when she visited (her due date is almost exactly a month after mine). Also, I'm oh-so-grateful, STILL, for Valto lending her maternity clothes...now that fall is upon us I'm able to dig back into her tub and find new fun stuff to wear!

Weeks 30, 31, 32 & 33
Weeks 26, 27, 28 & 29
Weeks 22, 23, 24 & 25

Weeks 18, 19, 20 & 21

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sports Talk: October events in Casey County

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 2, 2013.
October is here! I’ve been amazed at the number of people I’ve heard and seen express their love of this month. (And I thought it was just me!) I think we can all feel it is officially the fall season and we can thoroughly enjoy the beautiful weather, pumpkin everything, colorful leaves … The list goes on and on.

This month’s beauty motivates us all to be outside more and be active, enjoying the natural beauty and weather: hiking, biking, camping, Keeneland, golfing, tailgating. I wanted to point out two local events taking place this month that benefit great local causes:
-          The Indian Creek Relay on Saturday, Oct. 5
-          The Glow the Night Run on Oct. 25

Indian Creek Relay: Oct. 5
This event is fun and different from the other 5K runs hosted within our county. Rather than individually running, participants can come as teams of three and run nearly half the distance they would in a 5k—only 1.7 miles. That’s not so bad right?

The course itself is 5.1 miles and individual runners are welcome to take on the course, which covers Indian Creek Road (Hwy. 3270), beginning at the Middleburg Dairy Freeze.  Awards are given to both teams and solo runners in four different age groups.

The event is put on by several area churches as a memorial to Trenton Rayborn, who passed away in August 2009. The annual event’s proceeds this year will go to Little League Football, Noah Laman and Brayden Taylor.

Information can be found about the event on the FacebookPage “Indian Creek Relay: Trenton Rayborn Memorial Run,” or contact Bill Hill at (606) 787-5382.

Glow the Night Run: Oct. 25
The Glow The Night Run is actually a running series that takes place throughout the country and it’s coming to Casey County at the Ag/Expo Center this month. You may have heard of The Color Run before… so imagine this, but all of the color glowing at night!

“You will get completely covered in glowrific color dust with friends, family and silly strangers, while focusing more on the different color fun and participating in the three mile course, at night, under the cool glow of black lights,” says the official website. Participants are encouraged to wear white clothing to allow the color to show off at its fullest.

The course is three miles and coming to Liberty is quite the big deal. The other October events will be taking place in Minneapolis, Dayton, and Indianapolis. Lexington hosted a Glow the Night run in early September.

The event is being hosted by the local Relay for Life team, “Bertha’s Buddies” and will benefit Casey County’s Relay for Life. Those interested can still register for the race at a discounted price before Oct. 12. Visit www.glowthenight5k.com for more information and to register.