Game Day! – Baltimore Trip pt. 2

Waking up in Baltimore on game day was a bit surreal.

We were actually going to an NFL game! A critically important-for-the-home-team-game. A game that both of my brothers-in-law and man had only dreamed about before this Christmas present plan was hatched. A game that a few short months before had been just that – a plan.

The sisters BBM’d our good mornings, agreed to meet shortly and got to getting ready for a hearty breakfast in preparation for an afternoon of beer and football.

Gathering in the hallway outside of our well-accommodated rooms in a row, conversation covered the beds in The Lord Baltimore hotel receiving mixed reviews, with the sirens and interesting screams from the streets below gaining a collective dislike. We were clearly in need of coffee and sustenance.

We decided to try out The French Kitchen, one of the in-house offered restaurant choices, for breakfast and quickly fuelled with coffee, eggs, steak, bacon, and of course carbs in the form of croissants, pancakes and lemon cake.

The internal entrance from the hotel

The internal entrance from the hotel

Our waitress was awesome and extremely friendly, we had the restaurant to ourselves, and even better the food was quick and delicious (and for the record did not have the side effects as the Hardee’s excursion of the day before).

Our fantastic waitress!

Our fantastic waitress!

The French Kitchen was a win in our Canadian books!

It even had this amazingly placed bush...

It even had this amazingly placed bush…

At this point containing the men’s anticipation for getting down to the stadium was next to impossible, so with a few last minute preparations to outfits to get game ready, we headed out on the short jaunt to Raven’s Walk for paraphernalia purchases and our first exposure to tailgating.

I would like at this point to revel in the fact that we were wearing t-shirts and jeans – IN DECEMBER – and at one point I even broke a sweat. In a t-shirt. In December. Best weather for game day, ever.

Best Ravens' fan vehicle, ever.

Best Ravens’ fan vehicle, ever.

We were quick to locate a vendor that sold the jerseys the boys wanted and one carrying the sweatshirts and must-have Raven’s face tattoos that the ladies desired and then headed towards the stadium with the growing swell of energy-filled fans.

All geared up!

All geared up!

This is my nightmare...

This is my nightmare…

Such an awesome moment

Such an awesome moment

Seats and beer acquired, kickoff was one cheerleading and one big-band performance away.

Now, here is where I am going to lose the part of our reading audience that came here hoping to read a play-by-play of what turned out to be a thrilling, once in a Ravens fan’s dreams type-game, however my ability to recall these details is lacking. Also, there are many websites dedicated to such a task.

What I do remember were the giant smiles on all of our faces as kickoff took place, and the cheers, screams and bellows that came from our row of 6.

These people <3

These people ❤

I remember the Browns’ fans in our section taunting us, the confused fan not knowing what team his loyalties laid with, the hot dogs that made Jacqui so happy and the beer that gave me the giggles.

Browns family, Raiders hat, Ravens jersey.... So confused

Browns family, Raiders hat, Ravens jersey…. So confused

Stadium dogs - cheers!

Stadium dogs – cheers!

I rememebr being worried in the third quarter as we lagged and it didn’t seem a win would be in our corner on our mini-vacation.

Worried in the third...

Worried in the third…

And mostly I remember the screams, cheers and excitement that came in the fourth when Flacco started throwing and we made a run for the win.

The best moment though came when the Ravens did win and it was announced that Kansasa City had defeated San Diego, meaning the Baltimore Ravens were headed to the playoffs.

They did it!!!

They did it!!!

The sound and feeling of the crowd of 72, 000 hometown fans erupting in celebration will forever be ingrained into my brain and heart – what a feeling! Even more to that, I got to experience it and celebrate it with 5 of some pretty damn important people in my life. Amazing.

Fans celebrating, players and families rushing the field

Fans celebrating, players and families rushing the field

Even writing about it now, I can feel the rush that came with those moments.

The walk back to the hotel was filled with play-by-play recaps of the most exciting movements both on and off the field and of course a pit stop for coffee. The satisfaction of the day still fresh on our faces, we returned to our weekend home-base and quickly decided on an evening in to cap it off.

We split off shortly to change into our comfies and reconvened back in Julia and Ben’s room (as it was most conducive to community hang outs) where we settled on taking a chance with room service.

Once dinner concluded, we were treated to a royal rumble between Jacqui and…well, everyone that she could egg on. The wresting match between Julia and Jacqui – which ended in a throat jab and face slap delivered by Julia – turned into a wrestling match with Cody, followed by a double threat gang up attack on Ben, which his injuries might lead most to believe Jacqui and Julia won that match. Ben even treated us to handstand push-ups at one point due to a bought of pent up energy wherein he expressed his desire to wrestle again…

Our evening consisted of a lot of this:

The throat jab

The throat jab

IMG_0439

….this went on for some time…

Cody got sucked in too

Cody got sucked in too

Poor #7 nipple....

Poor #7 nipple….

And even more laughter than we thought possible.

We all went to bed satisfied and happy that evening, well-prepared for the long drive home the next day.

~ Toni

#momoftheyear

You’ve heard it.

I’ve said it.

You’ve probably said it yourself, if you’re a mom.

“Mom of the year, right here.”

It’s never said with pride or with seriousness. It’s never said with the intent to brag about some success or parenting win. And if it IS said that way, it’s because we’ve acquired THE toy of the season, or our child’s dream, or we’ve made the meal they LOVE, or we’ve planned the birthday party that will blow their mind and your pocketbook, but probably won’t be remembered by the birthday child.

We’re not saying it to focus on the positive. We’re not saying it to remind ourselves that parenthood is a hard climb, one not for the faint of heart, and yet we’re doing okay. We’re definitely not saying it to actually win an award. Because it is said sardonically, to underline, underscore, draw attention to our perceived failures.

“Forgot the bake sale at school today. Mom of the year!”

 

momfail - dinner

 

“Spilled water all over the 34786th drawing Sophie gave me this morning. #momfail”

 

momfail - underwear

 

“Mom of the Year moment: Cut the baby’s nails too short. Who knew they bled that much?”

 

momfail - wrong age

 

 

“Yelled about the 5th accident today. Feel like a jerk. Serious mom fail.”

 

momfail - shoes

 

“Had a great day with my kids…then bunged up bedtime. I SUCK.”

 

momfail - poop on pants

 

I think we do this for a couple of reasons.

There’s definitely a social market for failure stories. People love them. They get a lot of likes on Facebook. They get people laughing. And they really demonstrate that some days are hard to believe: This is REALLY my life?! REALLY?!

And if we make light of the failures, no matter how small or inconsequential, then maybe no one else will call us out on how we’re clearly not succeeding. How we’re big failures. How maybe we’re the absolute wrong person for this job. How this is all just a big mistake.

I am pro being real. I am all for talking about how hard the parenting gig is, how frustrating it can be, how much we can hate it (yes, HATE it, like this article so eloquently explains), and how some days you wonder just what you’ve done to your life.

But, should we keep being mean to ourselves? Should we put ourselves down every time we make a mistake, let something slide, drop a ball? Should we point out our rather small, not so memorable failures, just so no one else will notice them or realize that we are impostors? Mothers who shouldn’t be. Parents who really have no clue what they’re doing?

Finding humor in our seemingly insane, unreal, nonsensical days makes sense. It’s the old adage – if we’re not laughing, we’d be crying. But, when the #momfail stops being funny and starts being what we actually believe, what we tell ourselves, the inner track that berates us for forgetting one thing on our list of dozens of things we actually remembered, that’s where it gets tricky.

My sister-in-law posted on Facebook that her son, my shy, not-so-adventurous nephew, had a banner day for trying new things…and then she included she forgot her camera, so she failed. #momoftheyear failed. Even though, considering all of the hurdles my nephew has had to overcome, the fact that she’s a single mom right now since my brother-in-law is away for business, the fact that she’s a rock star mom to a sweet, awesome kid…she found the failure, the moment where she wish it could have been different, even though THAT moment really made no difference. But, it’s what she is dwelling on. What she is remembering.

I think that hashtagging moments where we didn’t quite make the play, didn’t quite make the ball connect with the bat, didn’t quite do the job we wanted to do, is fine. #momoftheyear and #momfail moments are going to happen. Period. But let’s not let them take over. Let’s not let them be the only things we remember.

Forgot the bake sale? That’s okay. There will be another. And your kid probably didn’t even really notice. He was too busy sharing his friends’ treats.

Dropped a toy on the baby’s head and made her scream? Is she all right? Then, that’s okay. It happens. It won’t be the last time. Does she need medical attention? Did you get it for her? Then, good job. You are surviving the hospital system with your baby. That’s tough stuff and you’re doing it. Rock star.

Feel guilty about missing a dance class? Not sending your kid to school with the right colour shirt? Not doing the laundry so that their favourite dress would be clean for that particular Thursday that looks like every other Thursday? Fine. Feel guilty. For a minute. Then let it go. They have. They won’t remember unless you miss all the dance classes, never show up, never try, don’t love them, and let them go to school naked.

You’re human. A human parent to a crazy tiny human. Or lots of crazy tiny humans. And that is tough. You’re doing okay. Don’t live in the fail. Move on to the success, the happy, the joy, because as a kid, that’s where they live every day. And all they want is for you to live with them there. Promise.

 

Need inspiration? Visit Finding Joy, a blog by a mom of SEVEN. I want to be her when I grow up.

Need inspiration? Visit Finding Joy, a blog by a mom of SEVEN. I want to be her when I grow up. You know, without the seven kids.

~ Julia