Insta-September

SeptemberIG

1. Aren’t my parents the cutest? They’ll celebrate 55 years of marriage at the end of this month. Every day I count my blessings to have them so near and in good health. And, of course, for the wonderful example they set for me when it comes to honoring your marriage vows.

2. I rarely treat myself to pedicures and never treat myself to manicures, so I jumped at the chance to check out the new Beauty Bar at Geist. It’s a gorgeous, full-service salon, but even better? You can enjoy an adult beverage while getting pretty. It was 11 am, so I stuck with coffee, but trust me, I’ll be back!

3. I had so much fun partnering with Comcast Xfinity to host a viewing party for the Colts home opener against that one guy named Peyton and the Broncos. I made my friend, Will Carroll (better knows as injuryexpert), take a selfie with me to distract myself from the losing score. If you have SiriusXM you can catch him weekday afternoons on Bleacher Report Radio from 3-6 pm.

4. I took Eli to meet Colts’ tight end Coby Fleener. I was hoping we’d be BFFs after I casually mentioned that we’ve both written for the Monday Morning Quarterback, but sadly he was not impressed. Or maybe he was just distracted by Eli’s choice of a Detroit Lions hoodie in a sea of Colts gear. And to answer my sister’s question, I am not standing in a hole. Coby is enormous.

5. We ended up at Culver’s on kid’s night. Eli asked if he could get his face painted and I said, “Sure!” and sent him on his merry way. He came back to the table 15 minutes later and I nearly choked on my cheese curd. It was the most terrifying example of face painting on a kid I’ve ever seen. Of course, he loved it.

6. I came across this Dr. Who calendar by a local Indianapolis artist at the Twisted Sisters shop. I know a certain 12-year-old girl Whovian that would love it for Christmas!

7.  On a gorgeous fall evening I hosted some of my favorite people for my first ever attempt at paella. I’m happy to report it turned out great and we didn’t have to order pizza! I’m not so happy to report that the reason for the gathering was to say goodbye to Katy. Did you know we met on a blind date? It’s true! Now she’s off to Boston and I’m terribly sad and stubbornly in denial.  Thanks for a wonderful evening, Sacha, Suzanne and Erin!

8. We had very few requirements when we started looking for a dog. What we did know for sure was that having a dog that didn’t do car rides was a deal breaker. We once had a dog that would start foaming at the mouth at the sight of a car, then proceed to vomit the entire trip (super fun on a 8 hour car ride to Cleveland). As you can see, Gus likes the car, which means he can stay.

9. We spent the last Saturday in September with the lovely blogging community behind Indiana’s Family of Farmers. After a tour of a local cattle farm, we spent the evening in this beautiful little corner of rural Indiana. We feasted on pulled pork from a hog that had been roasted earlier in the day, stuffed ourselves with s’mores, fished, and chatted with friends. As if it wasn’t already a perfect evening, I won a quarter of beef from the Mahan’s cattle!

If you’re not already following me on Instagram already, please do! You can find me there as (the one and only) AngieSix.

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It’s a Fantasy Football Fantasy Up In Here

As I shuffled into the bathroom last Monday morning, groggy and not quite awake yet, I gave Mike the most romantic thing I can offer at 6:20 am: a peck on the cheek along with a few minutes of semi-coherent conversation while he gets ready for work and I sit on the toilet. (TMI? Welcome to married life, folks.) Half the time I don’t know what comes out of my mouth, but on this particular morning I was grumbling about the 15 points I’d left on my bench by not starting Sammy Watkins and my critical need for a running back. Spitting out his toothpaste, Mike shook his head. “In seventeen years of marriage, I never imagined that we’d start our mornings off talking about fantasy football.” Mike has to laugh at this new twist in his ever-surprising marital life. Fantasy football comes up often in our conversations these days. While we never tell each other how we should set our lineups, we talk about our players a lot, and trade fantasy tidbits as we hear them.

In the spirt of don’t-knock-something-till-you-try-it, I gave fantasy football a go a couple of years ago, in a friendly, free league with other local female bloggers. It didn’t end so well. Turns out, much like my husband, I need some cold hard cash to grease the gears of my competitive engine. So this year, when talk surfaced at one of our cookouts in the cul-de-sac of a neighborhood league with money on the line, I was all in.

We got together over Labor Day weekend and held our draft. We made a little party out it, ordering pizzas and demolishing a vat of buffalo chicken dip. We decided to make it a keeper league, which means that when the next season rolls around, you can opt to keep up to three of the players on your team. You know what I love about this? It means that we intend for this to become a neighborhood tradition. I already get a little weepy thinking about the fact that, more than likely, we’ll attend the weddings of these kids I watch playing kickball in the court. Add to that the fact that I can keep Andrew Luck as my quarterback and continue whomping these kids year after year? Yeah, I get a little verklempt.

Neighborhood Fantasy Football Draft

It’s nothing crazy. Each person had to put in $10 to play, giving the neighborhood kids a fair opportunity to participate. So far it’s been a blast. Of course, that helps when you start the season 3-0 (Let’s not talk about Weeks 4 and 5). It’s just one more thing to bind this fun little community of ours together, one more thing to chat about at the bus stop. It’s a good excuse to throw around some friendly trash talk while taking out the trash. We joke that it’s going to be such an enduring tradition that, God forbid, should anyone move? You’ll have to write the terms of the fantasy league into your contract agreement. I can see it now, on the MLS listing:

Charming 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath brick home on a beautiful lot with mature trees. Lovely cul-de-sac location in a wonderful neighborhood. Includes all-new appliances, as well as standout wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.

In all seriousness, though, having this friendly little wager over football with the neighbors is just another reason why I love the game so much. I used to give Mike a hard time over his fantasy football obsession. I couldn’t understand how you could root for other teams and other players. Oh, naive newbie football fan that I was. Now I get it. I root for my team the same as always, but I watch the games differently. I’ve always cared about the stories behind the players. Now I care about what  players from other teams are doing on the field as well.

And in a season of our relationship when it’s easy to forget how to be with each other without everything revolving around the kids, fantasy football season gives Mike and I a way to connect. Having a wife that loves football and cares about Matthew Berry’s flex rankings? That’s Mike’s own fantasy football fantasy right there.

Football is a crazy sport. You just never know what’s going to happen week-to-week. And as a young bride, I certainly never would’ve predicted fantasy football would be something that would bring me closer to my husband*, let alone my neighbors. But you know the old saying, the friends and family that gamble on sports together stays together! And like that sleeper player that lights up your scoreboard, I’ll always be grateful for it.

*Except for Week 9, when we play each other. And I crush him like a little bug.

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On Writing and Ignoring the Squirrels.

It’s becoming somewhat of a comical ritual around here, these sessions where I sit down to write. Every morning begins with the best of intentions. I’m going to write today! I say, in my best go-getter voice. And for the most part, I do.

I write a lot for other people. Whether it’s freelance work or for The Risky Kids, I’m often writing content nearly every day. But writing good content isn’t the writing of the soul. I miss that. You know what else I miss? Writing pointless banter. Writing about stuff like the time last I took Gus through the drive-through of Starbucks with me.

“I like your pit bull!” the barista chirped, as I pulled up to pay for my chai tea latte made without full-fat milk or Oprah in it.

“Oh, this dog? You mean this lab-husky mix?” That’s what I want to say, anyways, in a feeble attempt to cover up for our dog’s unpopular breed line.* I’ve given up saying it, though. It’s come up often enough, and whenever I counter with the lab-husky response, I get the look. The one that says, “Mmm-hmm. And that purse I bought in Chinatown is a Louis Vuitton.”

Anyhow, before I can recover from the pit bull comment, the unfazed barista wants to know if Gus wants a “pup cup.” I’d never heard of such a thing, but after confirming that it wasn’t going to cost me another $4.95 to go along with my overpriced beverage, Gus was treated to his very first Starbucks. And I will treat you with this:

I miss writing about my kids. Writing stuff like the time a few weeks ago when Elena said she was going to “make it rain.”

Elena speaks cow

I learned it from the cows, Mom! I learned it by talking to cows!

(If you’re too old for the Just Say No campaigns, this will make no sense to you. That, or if you friend your brain on drugs. Or it just won’t make sense, but I really wanted to use this picture of Elena conversing with cows.)

“Do you know where that phrase comes from?” I asked. Thankfully, she didn’t. But that didn’t stop me from telling her to ask her father. Or when Gus got into her room and ate a $20 bill, leaving only Andrew Jackson’s face as evidence of the crime. “Congratulations, Elena!” I said the next day. “You’re now the proud owner of a dog that shits money.” In neither situation was she amused … can’t say the same for myself. Or that time in the car last week, when Eli told us he had a girlfriend in the neighborhood. A girl who just happens to be his best buddy’s best girl.

“Is this a problem? Are you guys going to fight over her?”

“No,” he said. “We’ve got it all worked out. The first one to kiss her gets to have her as his girlfriend. Cuz, you know, you can’t share love.”

Father and son fishing

I miss writing that stuff just as much as I miss writing from the soul. But for whatever reason, every time I sit down to write either one, I close up. Suddenly, my coffee needs refreshed. The clothes need folded. That picture on the wall looks a little crooked. What was that noise on the deck? I should investigate.

I don’t know why it’s that way (although I’ve never been so caffeinated or so well-stocked in clean underwear, and my house looks fabulous!), but I do know the only way to fix it is to write straight through it. And so I’m just warning you, things could get ugly around here. There might be a lot of pointless banter about dog escapades. Or my fantasy football team. Or about that time we got walked in on the other week (and why you’ll continue to see sponsored content on here now and then, to pay for Elena’s therapy after witnessing that). I don’t even know, but I do know that no matter what comes out, I need to just write.

In my heart, I know it’s not pointless. It’s why I started in the first place, for one. To record, to remember, and to share my voice. But mostly I know it’s not pointless because I read so many other blogs. And while my Pinterest boards appreciate all the recipes, tips, and crafty ideas, the stuff that really inspires me is the same as it’s always been: the words. Not the content … the stories. It’s not pointless to me, and somedays it’s that one thing you wrote that makes me stop in my tracks and catch my breath. Somedays it’s that one funny story you shared that took my mind off that thing that was killing me with worry.

I hope every once in awhile I can do that for you. And so, I wrote today.

* We don’t actually know Gus’ exact breeding. I  mean, he’s a rescue dog, which means he’s a hodge-podge of everything, most likely. Everywhere we go, though, people think he’s a pit bull. Honestly, he could be part badger and we’d still love him. He’s one sweet pup.

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