When was the last time you thought, “Wow. I’m really getting the hang of this mom thing”?
Hi everyone! I hope that the first week of Training Camp has been smooth sailing and passing quickly. I don’t know why I am always caught off guard by the heat this time of year, because Georgia isn't necessarily known for their “cool summers” and our nickname IS "Hotlanta" but, whatever, any way you cut it- it’s HOT here as I am sure it is everywhere else too. I find myself complaining about the heat as I sit and watch practice until it dawns on me that I truly have NOTHING to be complaining about because a) I am not the one on the field doing excruciating physical activity b) I am sitting under a tent with more fans, water and snacks than stars in the sky. Anyway, I am rambling (I guess thats what happens when you have minimal adult conversation in your home for going on 9 days) and what I have written for you this week is a survival guide on what you need to make your day at practice easier & more comfortable for you and your little ones.
Part One: Packing For A Day At Practice
1. Sunscreen; because as aforementioned, it's HOT, and even on an overcast day the chances of getting burnt still exist. I am kind of a freak when it comes to what goes on my Luca’s skin so I personally prefer either Babyganics or Honest Company, but at the end of the day; any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen. Both brands can be purchased at my fav place, Target. Or if you plan ahead (GO YOU!) Amazon has a plethora of options as well that will arrive right to your doorstep.
2. Individual Fan. Even though there are usually fans at practice for family, carseats and strollers get extra stuffy. I bought an awesome clip-on battery powered fan off of Amazon and it has been a lifesaver. There are a lot of options, so choose the one that is best for you but, the brand that I chose is O2COOL ($34.99). It has lasted through all of our offseason travels as well as this past week at camp (and I've only had to replace the batteries once!).
3. Toys. For babies you don't really need a whole lot to occupy them, so I usually bring my Vulli Sophie le Giraffe because Luca loves to chew on her (hellloooo teething) and a lightweight swaddle blanket that we can play peek a boo with or that I can lay out on the ground for him to roll around on. For older kids- I have seen a lot of moms with coloring books, iPads, footballs, etc! This is a tough one because every kid is different so just figure out what is best for you and bring it along but, just make sure you have something!
4. Snacks. Well, because kids get hungry. I know every team is different and some provide snacks, some full meals, some nothing at all. Don't leave the house empty handed in the snack department!
5. An extra change of clothes. There is nothing better than the moment the guys finish practice and make their way over to scoop up their babes BUT, after the papa cuddles, the kiddos are left drenched in sweat, gatorade, and whatever else makes their way onto the jerseys. If you plan to just head home afterwards this may not be as big of a deal but if you plan to run errands or grab lunch with friends, just throw an extra set of clothes into your bag so the kiddos aren't wet (and smelly) for the rest of the day!
We are just about halfway, well, kinda, but positive thinking never hurt anybody! Grace Allen
It's that time again, when everyone comes up with unrealistic goals for themselves to start the new year. That's the only problem: all they do is START the new year. Well, I have come up with a little list for all you Resolutioners out there. Good luck and ...
1.Stop getting so mad about little things that don’t matter
When you’re stressed out, it’s almost impossible to not let things affect you. Children feed off your energy, whether it’s negative or positive. So next time you’re having a bad day, in the words of Elsa, ‘LET IT GOOOO”
2.Make more time for yourself, you deserve it
When you have young children, this can be challenging. Even if alone time means relaxing on the couch while the children nap, instead of finishing a load of laundry, DO IT! The laundry can always wait, your sanity however, can’t.
3. Yell less
Like I said before, the energy you give off can be much more damaging than you think. Instead of yelling, try to get your point across in a more calming manner. By speaking to them in a soothing tone, and getting down to their eye level, you can have a more effective approach.
4. Love more
Children give you the most unconditional love because you are their world. It’s easy to overlook the little moments with them because sometimes life gets in the way. You’ll never regret spending more time with them, but you’ll always regret the time you wasted.
Children absorb everything like a sponge. You are their first love, and the one responsible for teaching them how to build healthy, loving relationships. So pick those little ones up as shower them with endless affection. Love Never Fails. 1 Cor. 13:8
5. Put your phone down! (after you finish my article, of course)
Easier said than done, trust me, I know! This is easily my worst habit. I love being able to keep in touch with friends and family with ease. If I don’t watch it, I will mindlessly flip from app to app in my spare time. The only problem with this is that you forget to enjoy the people you’re actually around.
6. Live in the moment
Why is it that our generation feels the need to share every detail of our lives? Just because you don’t post about it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Instead of enjoying the moments we live in, we try to take pictures as evidence or to show off. In 20 years, you’ll still have the memories, but if you were so caught up in trying to catalog the event, you might be left with nothing.
7. Let your kids be kids
I know this one sounds weird, but it’s true. We never want our kids to grow up, but at the same time we want them to be able to do so much. There is a time for everything, don’t force them to grow up just because you’re ready for them to grow up. You’ll look back and wonder where the time went.
8. Lead by example
Children are the prime example of monkey see, monkey do. Don’t do or say anything in front of them that you wouldn’t be okay with them emulating. Vice versa, showing children the correct way to do a task will make them want to do it more than if you just tell them what to do
Just the other day, I was having a conversation with my sisters. The topic: my nieces and nephew. More specifically though, we were discussing their obsession with technology. I can’t count on my hands all the gadgets my nieces and nephew possess. From gaming consoles, to tablets, to smart watches, they may be more connected to the world than I am. I have to take part in the blaming process behind all of this, however, because technology makes life so much easier. When we’re out shopping or at dinner and the kids are getting antsy, my go-to gesture is to hand them my cellphone and let them play a game. I have even noticed myself handing my phone to Marlee when I am trying to eat, to distract her from my food. Again, technology just makes life easier but, is easier necessarily better?
If technology is striving to oversimplify life, are kids missing out and failing to enjoy life? I am not that old, but when I was growing up, my forms of entertainment included: a bike, basketball, or board game. As a matter of fact, I think I remember those moments and cherish them more thoroughly, because they forced me to communicate more, especially with my older sister. I seriously made her read me a book every night for about two months straight until one day, that book miraculously went missing. Special moments like these are now moments we laugh about. I worry my nieces and nephew, and even my own daughter, may not have these moments.
So now, we’re getting back to the basics. My sisters and I have decided that entertainment for the kids will now include more “old fashioned” things, without a battery or charging cord attached. This includes puzzles, painting, and whatever we can find to accomplish this. Unfortunately, we don’t always have time to come up with a project or activity for the kids, and need a quick solution. I found this answer in Target. They now sell prepackaged DIY kits of all types, made by Handmade Modern. The one I chose was an animal head that can be painted any way you choose, then assembled and it was only $9.99. This makes the perfect DIY project that can also be hung in the kids’ room as décor.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the adults can enjoy themselves after dinner, while the kids get knee deep in paint and glitter. A win for everyone.
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of Ms. Adrianne Holt. Adrianne has the kind of genuine and gentle spirit that is rare to find these days. She is a mother of one, businesswoman, and the significant other of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, Pat Sims. Adrianne and I first connected a few months ago through the Praying Women NFL chat group after I mentioned my website. She was the first one to reach out in support of my mission (thank you!). I was so excited to interview Adrianne and learn more about her learning center Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy and personal experiences in the NFL.
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Adrianne Holt
Boyfriend: Pat Sims
Significant other is Active or Retired: Active
Years Played in the NFL: 2008 -2012 Cincinnati Bengals, 2013-2014 Oakland Raiders, 2015 - Present Cincinnati Bengals
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Cincinnati, Oakland
Favorite Food: Chicken, Salmon and Steak! I just love to eat and trying new things
Music Playlist: I listen to all types of music! Rap, R&B, Pop, Gospel
Hobbies: I love dancing (meaning I love to engage in the act of dancing and watch others dance lyrical, jazz, ballet, and hip hop). I enjoy cooking! Pat and I take pride in cooking and trying new recipes, especially when we view a new dish on The Food Network. I enjoy hosting family events and throwing themed parties. I also enjoy taking photos and scrapbooking in my spare time because I cherish life's priceless moments and memories.
Interesting Facts: I'm a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. I danced and cheered during my primary, secondary, and college years. I was always selected as a captain at each level, which constitutes leadership amongst my peers. My tenure as a cheerleader and dancer enabled me to work well with others, which is a strong skill I possess.
I have had the honor of teaching Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter and Allen Iverson’s daughter. - Adrianne Holt
LM: The Bengals are undefeated thus far in the season. Congrats! What's it like to attend a game these days. How are the Bengals fans?
AH: I absolutely love it. We were with the Bengals from 2008 to 2012, went to Oakland Raiders for two seasons and now we're back in Cinci. I was very excited about coming back. The fans in Cincinnati are amazing and so supportive.
LM: Nice! Who Dey! Lets talk about you now. Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
AH: I was born in Decatur, Georgia and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. I went to elementary, middle, and high school there. I attended South Carolina State University for college and studied Early Childhood Education. Once I graduated from SCSU, I returned to Atlanta. My first job after college was working at The Suzuki School, a private preschool. It’s very well-known in Atlanta because many celebrities take their children there. I have had the honor of teaching Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter and Allen Iverson’s daughter. Sandra Bullock's stepdaughter also attended the school.
Once I was pregnant with my son, I decided to go into business for myself and focus on raising him. I moved to Ohio with Pat so we could raise our son together. I started brainstorming ideas for opening up my own learning center. I finally received the guidance I was seeking with a business coach.
LM: How did you find your business coach?
AH: I was introduced to Ms. Roxanne Hammond via Pat's mother. His parents knew of my dream and thought she would be the perfect person to connect with. One of her services involves assisting professional athletes and their significant others with a gameplan for life after professional sports. I connected with her and I absolutely love her! She also has another division that serves youth and young adults by helping them develop a game plan to accomplish their personal educational and career goals.
Visit Game Plan Scholars here.
LM: How did you and Pat meet?
AH: We actually met in Miami in 2011. He’s from Ft. Lauderdale and I was in Miami with friends. A mutual friend introduced us and the rest is history. Interestingly enough, we both have the same vision. I desired to open a school and he wanted to invest in schools. I am very adamant about doing it on my own. I had an NFL fundraiser last month where he donated 25 Bengals game tickets and autographed footballs. Pat is also donating game tickets for various games. Pat supports my dreams and we're working together on the school but at the end of the day, this is my vision.
LM: You recently started a new business. Tell us about Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy and how it came about?
AH: It’s always been a dream of mine to open up a learning center. I’ve always been very passionate about children. Having the opportunity to turn my lifelong dream into a reality is just amazing. Our vision at Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy is to provide a premiere education for young children.
Most preschools learn through play and don’t allow children to explore beyond conventional ways. Through years of training and schooling, I've learned that young children can learn anything at any age. It’s never too early to introduce anything to them! Children understand way more than what adults realize. Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy will focus on an enrichment program (culinary arts, sports, foreign language, performing arts) along with education.
We want to incorporate a special program for families in which a parent is a professional athlete. I have struggled with having a young child and living in this lifestyle. Since I studied Early Childhood Education, I know the importance of it. I have had problems with traveling back and forth to different cities. Some pro athlete careers are stable where a player may be with a team for a long time or move for six months out of the year and return home for six months. For the players in between teams and constantly moving with different contracts, those with children face additional problems with schools. Most schools don't accommodate travel schedules. We have to pay for childcare and tuition whether we’re here or not. I want to solve this problem by working out a deal to accodomate the travel schedule of professional athlete families.
Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy will provide high-quality childcare for an affordable price. We want to cater the curriculum to the unique learning style of each child. There will be low child to teacher ratios. We will also have a strong partnership with parents (parent partnership program) so the adults are on the same page. What we do at school should also be done at home in order to foster a great learning relationship.
Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy is scheduled to open its first location in Smyrna, Georgia in the summer of 2016.
The website is currently under construction but you can follow the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/borntobeleaders and social media accounts for updates.
BORN TO BE LEADERS LEARNING ACADEMY FUNDRAISER IN GEORGIA!
Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy is hosting a family game-day fundraiser on November 14, 2015 at Tolleson Park in Smyrna, Georgia. Geared for all ages, this fun-filled day will include: food, drinks, arts & crafts, video game trucks and inflatables! There will be something for everyone! Winners of the video game tournament and sports challenges will have the opportunity to step into the Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy cash cube for a chance to win professional sports tickets, gas and grocery cards, free daycare coupons and/or holiday cash! Contact Adrianne for more details.
LM: What is your ultimate goal for Born To Be Leaders?
AH: Our mission statement embodies my goals:
To empower young children to become natural-born leaders at an early age by providing all students with skills, knowledge and values to succeed throughout their educational career.
We are starting off small but eventually want to start a chain of Born To Be Leaders Learning Academies.
LM: What do you believe are the pros and cons of being in a relationship with a NFL player?
AH: Pros – I absolutely love the opportunity to attend the games and watch my significant other do something he loves. For those who have children, it's nice to see your child cheering and excited to see their dad perform to the best of his ability every Sunday. I'm proud to watch him because I think playing in the NFL is very courageous! Traveling, meeting other families and developing new relationships is another positive.
Cons – It’s sad when you get used to a city and your friends and family are in a city and then you have to move and start all over. At the end of the day, you get to meet new people so it’s a pro and a con. Living in two cities simultaneously can be quite “stressful” with moving back and forth (especially with children). The holidays can be interesting. Our home is in Atlanta but the majority of the time we spend Christmas wherever Pat is playing and ship the Christmas gifts back home. Your significant other is also gone a lot so it can feel like you are a single mother at times! You have to explain to your child that daddy is at work, traveling or going off to camp. That’s not for everyone! The last con I'll mention is the risk of injury. As a wife or girlfriend, you're excited to see your man out there but you’re nervous at the same time because you don’t want them to get hurt. Anything can happen within a second! It's a bundle of emotions. You’re excited, you’re cheering, and you’re nervous!
LM: What is your love advice to NFL WAGS?
AH: Love advice? Keep God first in your relationship. Communication is key. Try to understand one another and be supportive. Make your significant other feel like they don’t have to look for anything else outside of your relationship. Keep it close knit. Overall, just have fun!
Pat is actually very funny! He’s a defensive tackle, but once you get to know him you can’t help but love him. He’s very generous and he’ll tell it like it is. I can’t help but laugh some times. We have our serious moments and we have our playful moments. We love to have fun by watching movies and TV shows, cooking, traveling, and enjoying each other's company.
What would you like people to know about you
AH: Overall, I’m just a very sweet and genuine person. Not to toot my own horn or anything but I’m probably one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. I always try to make sure others are okay. Sometimes when others meet me they might say, “Are you being real? Because most people aren’t this nice.” It’s just who I am! I love to have fun and I’m all for supporting and empowering others. At the end of the day, education is key. When you have a strong background in education, the sky is the limit! I just feel it's very important in life for your future endeavors!
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
AH: I honestly would like to team up with the NFL and other professional sports organizations. I'm all about independence and women establishing their own. Use this opportunity with the NFL as a stepping stone. Don’t fall behind the shadows and lose your identity. I have noticed that some women in this lifestyle fall behind. I would really like to start a committee or foundation one day for women of professional athletes. We all understand the lifestyle and what comes with it. We have to be a strong support system for everyone. You have to know who you are in order to be in this lifestyle and handle what comes with it. As women, we have to be there for each other and uplift one another. Don’t forget your goals and dreams as well.
I love, love, love what you’re doing. It’s sickening to see what reality TV portrays us to be. We're not about the arguing and fighting. I support you 100% in your mission.
Follow Adrianne on Instagram at: @classy_a92