Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our Fairy Tale

There are some bedtime stories that never go out of style. We tend to favor Pete the Cat and Green Eggs and Ham in our house. But unlike some other families, there is another fairy tale that I like to tell my boys sometimes. And it’s the story of how they came into our lives. It goes a little something like this:

Once upon a time, not too terribly long ago, a boy fell in love with a girl. They got married by the ocean, with their feet in the sand and a dream in their hearts. Because you see, not only did they want to spend their lives together, this boy and girl also wanted very much to become a Mommy and a Daddy.

But life had other plans for them (at first.) And so they dried their tears and wished on the biggest star in the sky every night for ten long years.

The time went by slowly, but they never stopped wishing for their perfect child.

Then, one hot summer day, the girl’s phone rang. And on the other end was another mommy, from a land not so far away. This Mommy knew she was going to have a perfect child, and she wanted that child to have the perfect parents who would love him, care for him, and provide for him a perfect life she so wanted him to have. And with a star whispering in her ear, she had chosen them!

So the boy and girl rejoiced, and they planned and they celebrated and soon, they packed their bags. And in the heat of a late July afternoon, they drove and drove and drove, anxious to meet their perfect child.

When they arrived at the hospital, with their hearts in their hands, they found him sleeping under a warming light, all pink and tiny and new, a blue cap on his head. The boy beamed with pride; the girl wept with gratitude. They swept the baby up into their arms, showered him with kisses, and whispered words of love into the tiny cup of his ear. Because finally, finally, their wishes had come true.

And they all lived happily ever after, never knowing their family wasn’t complete…yet.

Fast forward just 20 short months, four days before Christmas. Mommy and Baby played happily, waiting for Daddy to come home from work, when suddenly, her phone rang. Another baby was coming, another star granting its wish, and Baby was going to be a Big Brother! Oh, how they danced and cried and laughed! This new little one was their favorite Christmas surprise.

Three months later, Mommy and Daddy kissed Big Brother goodbye, packed their bags again, and drove and drove and drove, anxious to meet their second perfect child.

In the dead of night, with frost on the windows, their second wish came true. He was round of cheek, with eyes wide and dark, and he came into the world with a mighty yell. And once the chaos subsided, Mommy and Daddy and Baby were whisked away into a private room. They held him close, and kissed his head, and whispered words of love into the tiny cup of his ear. Because finally, finally, their family was complete.

The moral of this story, sweet boys, is threefold. One: never, ever give up on your dreams, because there is always a hidden star just waiting to make them to come true. Two: never, ever forget that you were loved, wished, and dreamed into existence. And three: never, ever lose faith in the generosity and kindness of other people, because it is there, even if you can’t see it, always.

And as tales usually go, they are living happily ever after, a Family of Four.

The End

Sons Of My Heart

My sons. My life. My heartbeat.

Where there was one, now there are two. One of you is all sunshine and light, silliness and laughter. The other is all seriousness, storms raging just beneath the surface, ready to erupt with a moment’s notice. So different. Night and day. But brothers, nonetheless.

Your similarities are visible: button nose, sweetest smiles, golden-haired and eyes of blue. There is no denying you are related.

My Gorgeous Boy and my Little Butterbean. You own my heart.

Life has been a bit chaotic since bringing Butterbean home. His start in life wasn’t the easiest, and we’ve struggled with a gamot of health issues. But finally, finally, we seem to be finding balance.

Sweet boy. Your cries peal through an otherwise quiet afternoon, and as I bounce and rock and pat your back, bringing you no relief from this thing they call “colic,” I wonder if you know how hard we try. To soothe, to calm. To love you through it. We hear you, baby boy. We hear your pain and discomfort. Your Daddy and I feel it in our own souls each time you cry.

Even your Big Brother does his part, by bringing me dropped pacifiers, or a swaddle blanket left forgotten on the floor. He pats your back and strokes your head and asks for a “fist bump,” all to make you smile.

And oh, when you smile…

… it’s as if the clouds part and the most vibrant rainbow pours through. 

You love the feel of sunshine and the breeze on your face. You love to bounce and walk, to take in the world around you (even though you only see in colors and shapes and shadows, just now.) You hold your head up like a champ, dark blue eyes soaking it all in, a look of deep concentration on your face. You’ll be a great scholar, one day. All that deep thought will be put to good use, to better this world we all live in.

You require constant reassurance — and honestly, Butterbean, so do I — that your world is ok, that you are safe and warm and loved, that you haven’t been forgotten. You like to be tucked just under my chin, your arms folded beneath you as a pillow, and when you finally nestle in and relax, you get your best rest there, laying next to my heart.

It’s where you’ve always been, even before I knew you existed. 

My family. My boys.

“Clann mo chroì.”

Sons of my heart.

Goodbye 2016, Hello Brand New World of Awesome!

I vaguely remember the days when New Years Eve meant getting dressed up, going to some fantastic party, drinking cheap champagne, and toasting in a shiny new year, all of it pinned on the hopes of that all-important kiss at midnight. It wasn’t a right of passage, or a possible plan for the night, it was a MUST ACCOMPLISH THIS TASK BECAUSE IF I DON’T HOW LAME AM I AND IF SOMEONE DOESN’T KISS ME MY NEW YEAR WILL SUCK HUGELY sort of thing.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Tonight, instead of sparkly dresses and two hours worth of hair-and-make-up, I’m sporting my favorite piggy pajama pants and Brian’s socks.

Tonight, instead of drinking cheap champagne out of plastic toasting glasses and watching people I don’t care about making nice, I’m drinking a perfectly chilled hard cider and watching college football, because that’s how THIS mama rolls.

Tonight, instead of attending a fantastic party, I’m doing twelve loads of laundry, while a homemade delicious dinner bubbles away in the oven.

The Pioneer Woman’s Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. It’s what’s for dinner, y’all.

And the best news of all? That midnight kiss is guaranteed. (I just might have to wake him up first.) (Because we have a toddler.) (And sleep is a precious commodity around here that we trade like black market LuLaRoe.)

A lot of people would tell you that 2016 was the worst year in recent memory. With political disappointments, deaths of too many beloved celebrities to count, along with personal hardships and catastrophe, most of the people I hold near and dear are not sorry to see 2016 go.

Me? Well, I’ll probably cry every time I see Alan Rickman’s face from here until I die, and I still haven’t ruled out the possibility of becoming Canadian. But all in all, 2016 was pretty amazing to me and mine. I finally realized a dream and quit my job to become a stay-at-home Mom. I’ve spent my days raising an adorable and outgoing toddler. And we are living in a little house that makes me squee every time I pull into the driveway.

And if all those things aren’t amazing enough, four days before Christmas we got news that we didn’t even know we were waiting for. The sort of news that, when you hear it, steals your breath, makes your heart skip a beat, and changes your life in a nanosecond.

When you find out unexpectedly, wonderfully, terrifyingly, amazingly, miraculously, that your family is going to be growing by another heartbeat….well, it makes 2017 even more exciting.

So, Happy New Year, friends! And bring on the crazy!!

365 Days (Sixth Anniversary)

I kept looking at the date on my calendar today. October 25. Is it someone’s birthday? I thought to myself. I knew our son’s month-a-versary was the 9th, his adoption anniversary on the 16th, but it was the 25th that was nagging at me. Had I forgotten a birthday? An anniversary?

That’s when it hit me. It’s not just another Tuesday. It’s the sixth anniversary of Brian’s life-saving surgery. The surgery that removed the Nerf-football-sized tumor out of his belly, and the “C” word out of our lives. The anniversary of the day a team of surgeons saved my husband’s life.

I can’t believe I forgot.

I immediately sit on his lap, showering his stubbly cheek in kisses, whispering in his ear how grateful I am that he’s here. My son giggles at our sudden show of affection, and signs “Up,” wanting to join the snuggles. We wrap our arms around him and he lays his head on Brian’s chest, smiling.

If it weren’t for that day six years ago, we wouldn’t have had that moment today.

So even though most of my readers have seen this post multiple times, and even though you probably won’t want to read it again, I’m sticking with tradition and posting it anyway. Because I never want to forget where we could have been, if this story had gone another way.

It was October 25, 2010………
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The alarm clock blares into the darkness. It is 4:15 a.m. We wake in the same position in which we fell asleep: flat on our backs, staring at the ceiling, our hands still clutched together between us. It brought enough comfort in the night to allow us to sleep, even for a few short hours.

My husband gets up without a word. The shower and the antimicrobial surgical soap are waiting.

I make the bed, wake his Aunt Tina, and start the coffee maker. I debate for 5 solid minutes over whether I should lay out his clothes for him. I decide to do it. This isn’t a normal day, so why should I act like it is?

Dressed and completely awake, we decide to get an early start to the hospital. The interstate is deserted. I’m unused to driving in the dark, and the empty highway startles me. Our headlights slice through the pitch black, and only road signs greet us along our asphalt path. For twenty minutes, we are silent. The radio plays quietly in the background. Tina asks me a question, I answer it. Brian sits in the seat next to me, hands folded in his lap. He tries to appear calm, but I can see the nerves dancing under his skin.

As we pull into the parking lot the sky just begins to turn pink. Morning has officially arrived. We gather our belongings–bags and afghans and books and sweaters. Changes of clothing. Warm socks. We trek to the sliding glass doors, a small caravan of modern day nomads.

The fluorescent lights are much too bright. I feel like I want sunglasses. Tina takes our stuff and makes a beeline for the waiting room “to get us comfy seats near the coffee maker.” I smile. Brian and I head the other direction. I stare at the dark blue veins under the skin of his hand as he signs his name and hands over his driver’s license. I rub my fingers down his back, feeling every bone in his spine. He smiles weakly.

We sit. We wait. It feels like days, but it’s only minutes. He plays Angry Birds. Tina and I make small talk. I want to stand up, pace, fidget. Finally, they call his name, and we walk back to finish the paperwork. I could let him go alone, but I can’t abide it. So I squeeze in to the little cubicle with him. I listen as he answers the same 25 questions he’s been asked so frequently these last few weeks. He jokes with the nurse who taps away on the keys of her computer. We sign where we’re told to sign.

They send us to another office. Here we go over how the surgery will happen. What the doctors will do. What we can expect. This nurse has less information for us than she likes. She keeps looking as his file, glancing at her computer monitor, swishing her mouse in search of more facts.

“Did the surgeons tell you what recovery was going to be like?” she asks gently.

No. We don’t know what to expect because they won’t know how bad it is, and they won’t until they open up my husband’s abdomen.

She nods once, plasters a smile on her face, and continues to walk us through the surgery plans she’s aware of.

At this point we are separated. They take him back to prep him. I can’t go. It’s the first time we’ve been separated since the cytoscopy. I feel the panic start to creep up and I stamp it down quickly. No time for that now. He kisses me, squeezes my hand, and disappears through the thick wooden doors.

Thirty five minutes later my parents arrive. Dad hugs me, Mom squeezes my arm. I tell them all that has happened. They ask if they will get to see him before the surgeons take him to the OR. I say yes, we should get to go back any minute. Moments later they come for me. We pick up our bags and afghans and books and sweaters and head to his room.

Brian lays on the gurney in his blue cotton gown. It looks so thin, I immediately want to ask for a blanket. He has a shower cap on his head, and blue booties on his feet. He’s already got an IV in each arm. His skin looks grey in the too-bright lights.

Mom goes over to him immediately and smooths back his hair. “How ya feelin’, kiddo?” she asks. She’s been so strong throughout this whole ordeal. My heart swells. Dad and Tina talk about everything but why we’re here. The C-word hasn’t been used once today. We’re denying its existence even as we are trying to eradicate it from my husband’s body.

One of Brian’s surgeons knocks and comes into the room. He is young and handsome and calm and kind. Brian and I share a secret smile–he’s known in our house as Dr. Superman. I can feel Brian’s nerves begin to settle as Dr. Superman walks us once again through the procedure. He reaches out a hand to me when he mentions how unsure they are of the outcome. “We won’t know how much the tumor has spread until we’re able to get a good look at it. It could be attached to his colon. It could be on his bladder. If it has infiltrated the wall of his bladder we will have to remove it. I don’t think that will happen, but you need to be prepared for that.” He gives my hand a squeeze. My heart is in my throat.

The activity in the room increases. There’s no room for us in there anymore as nurses and doctors hover over my husband. We’re allowed to kiss him goodbye. I lean over him and we lock eyes. A tear escapes even as I swallow a sob. “I love you to the moon and back,” we say. And we’re ushered back to the waiting room.

I can’t stand it. I can’t sit there and wait. So I leave Tina and my parents and I head to the financial aid office. I spend an hour asking questions, filling out paperwork, discussing our options with a social worker. I get a sense of calm knowing I’ve accomplished something. When there’s nothing left to do I go back to the waiting room.

I keep waiting for the phone at the nurse’s station to ring. It doesn’t. Why aren’t they calling? Shouldn’t they call for an update? It’s been nearly 2 hours and I’m beginning to worry. I’m contemplating getting up and asking the volunteer about it as Dr. Superman rounds the corner in his scrubs. He looks grim. My heart begins pounding so loudly I can’t hear anything else. He asks to speak to us in a private room. Episodes of ER and Grey’s Anatomy flash into my mind. The private rooms are bad. They only take you to the private rooms for bad news. My knees buckle. Someone steers me by the arm.

Dr. Superman turns the knob on the private room’s door and it is locked. “Well, I don’t have a key,” he says. “And I don’t want to keep you in the dark anymore. The surgery was a success. We got the entire tumor.”

I don’t realize I’m holding my breath until it all comes out at once. The tears that have been living behind my eyes for 3 weeks come out in a flood. My Dad is smiling, my Mom is crying, and Tina has a look of relief on her face I didn’t anticipate. She never looked worried for a second before this moment. Now I realize she’s been holding me up for days.

I hear only bits of everything else Dr. Superman says. The tumor was larger than they expected. His surgical scar will be about 10 inches long. The tumor was the size of a Nerf football and was only attached by a fiber to his colon.  Brian is going to be fine. He won’t even have to endure chemotherapy. Dr. Superman gathers me into a hug and his reputation as a superhero is solidified.

We flutter back into the waiting room like so many birds. We are light on our feet, there’s a song in our hearts. We each grab for a cell phone and begin the process of spreading the good news. I call Brian’s Dad first. Then my brother. Then Brian’s boss. I email and Facebook and text message. I could literally dance a jig in the middle of the hospital.

We’re told Brian is on his way from recovery to his room on the top floor. We grab our bags and afghans and books and sweaters and head for the elevator. We beat him up there. We stand in the hallway, afraid to occupy a room this isn’t rightfully ours yet. The nurses see our posse and begin rounding up chairs. It’s a private room, and we’re all impressed that Brian will be treated like a VIP while in house.

I hear the elevator doors open and a gurney coming down the hall. There is my husband, back in his blue cotton gown. The booties and shower cap are gone. They maneuver the bed into the room, plug in all his equipment, and retreat. I dash to his bedside, lean over him and say his name. I’m desperate to touch him, to connect with him, but there are so many wires.

Groggily, his eyelids open and I all see is ocean blue. He takes a moment to focus on me, and smiles weakly. “How’d I do?” he asks.

I run my fingers carefully through his hair, down his face, and smile at him, wanting him to see nothing but joy and excitement and exhilaration in my face. “They got it, baby. They got it all. You’re gonna be just fine.”

“That’s good,” he says, and drifts back to sleep.

My family talks quietly in the background. I watch my husband sleeping, and I allow myself to take in everything I see. I wrap my fingers around his bony wrist, stare at his chest as it rises and falls, wait for the pulse I can see in the vein of his neck. I’m no fool. I know recovery is going to be long and difficult. I know he’s going to wake up when the drugs wear off and he’s going to be in tremendous pain. I know we’re going to be living at this hospital for a week, maybe more.

But nothing could tramp down the feeling of good fortune in my heart. Brian was going to live.

It’s October 25, 2010.

Brian and his balloon

Sentences I Never Thought I Would Say

Motherhood changes a lot of things: your daily schedule goes from “All About Me” to “All About Baby;” the amount of sleep needed to function changes from 10 hours per night to two; how much time you spend watching Sesame Street increases exponentially; and the sheer volumes of coffee required for daily activities makes you consider buying stock in Folgers. But the one thing that has changed the most, for me, (other than the lack of free time I now have to stalk Zachary Levi on Twitter) is the stuff I hear myself saying on a daily basis.

Seriously, guys. At least three times a day, I have this moment:

source: GIFSoup

So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a quick list of just a few of the things that have come out of my mouth and made me question my sanity.

Pooping in the tub is rude. And gross. Mostly just gross.”

“If it hurts when you hit yourself in the head, then don’t do it!”

“If you pee on me, you’re grounded.”

“So that’s what a Cheerios-and-green bean burp smells like…”

“Oh, honey! It’s toilet paper, not confetti!”

“Poop is not for playing with!!!”

“The cat is not a chew toy, dear.”

“I know they smell nice, but bananas are NOT shampoo.”

“Don’t eat ___________!” (Insert items at your own will, and don’t be afraid to be creative here. Answers might include, but aren’t limited to: Daddy’s shoes, carpet fuzz, the remote, your foot.)

“Where did you find that _______?” (Insert items at your own will, and don’t be afraid to be creative here. Answers might include, but aren’t limited to: that old BandAid, pair of Mommy’s underwear, three-week old petrified noodle, phone book from 2003.)

“I know the Desitin looks creamy and delicious, but trust me when I say it’s not.”

And finally, the coup de grace…

Your butt is not a set of bongos. Especially when covered in poop.”

Shaping Future Memories, One Day At A Time

​When my son looks back on his childhood, I want him to remember snuggly Sunday mornings filled with homemade cinnamon rolls and movie marathons. I want him to remember autumn afternoons spent with family in the backyard, swinging so high it’s as if his toes might touch the clouds, the smell of hotdogs on the grill. I want him to reminisce fondly about this football game, or that trip to the zoo, or the evening we caught fireflies by moonlight. My hope is for him to look back and know he was loved, beyond measure, and be happy for it all.

Some days it is harder than others, to be the perfect parent he deserves. My nerves may be frazzled from constant demands and lack of sleep. My patience wanes after the two-hundredth time of explaining, guiding, teaching. We may struggle learning the concepts of “please” and “no.” There have been tears shed — his and mine — as we test boundaries and try new things.

I am in awe of his courage, his intelligence, his eagerness to learn. I strive, every single day, to quench that thirst for knowledge. And I worry everyday that I am failing. We sing, we recite the alphabet, we count everything in sight and still — he wants more. I fall into bed every night and replay those teaching moments on repeat. Did I do enough today? Could I have been better? Should I do that differently? How can I be the best Mom I can be?

In the end, my goal as a Mom is that one day, in the not so distant future, he will remember mud pies and long games of tag and splashing in the surf. That he will remember the Board Game Olympics and Mario Kart matches and epic pretend Stormtrooper battles with his Dad. He will remember how much we laughed. And that he won’t dwell too much on the days I lost my temper and shouted, or the minutes spent in timeout for biting the cat, or the restricted screen time he doesn’t know yet is for his own good. I can only hope that these lessons of kindness and respect and manners will, in the end, be appreciated by the man he becomes. And that the silly knock-knock jokes, and the required family dinners, and the ticklefests will enrich the fabric of his childhood.

In the meantime, I will have an extra cup of coffee to stave off the sleepies. I will take a deep breathe and explain, again, that yelling to get what he wants is much less effective than asking. And I will make sure my face lights up every time he sees me, so he knows how glad I am to see him (even though it’s 5 a.m. on a Sunday.) Because he deserves the best mother in the entire world, and even on days when I feel less than, it’s my job to give him everything I have and more.

365 Days Ago…

….”we” became “three.” And we’ve loved every single minute of it. In celebration of our son’s first birthday, I’ve created a little video compilation of all our favorite moments. It’s been, without a doubt, the best year of our lives.

I’d walk you by it step by step, but I’ve got a shiny new toddler to spoil today. Happy viewing!

Because He Loves Me

It’s early. The rest of the house sleeps soundly as I drag myself into the bathroom to prepare for the day. The lights are harsh when I flick them on, and I close my eyes to the intrusion, giving myself a moment to adjust to the idea of being awake.

Coffee would be nice. So would two (or six) more hours of sleep.

But the day will continue on without me, so I yawn, scrub my hands over my face, and turn on the shower. Ten minutes later, I swipe my hand over the mirror, erasing what’s left of the steam. It’s the first time I’ve noticed my own reflection today, and I immediately begin the silent, inner criticisms that have become so ingrained, they’re involuntary. It’s a daily thing, this taking stock of my own flaws.

Hair, frizzled from constant tiny hands, and greying at the temples. Eyebrows in desperate need of plucking. Dark circles like caverns under my eyes. Skin splotchy, with ruddy cheeks from lack of nutrition and sunlight. The extra twenty pounds I’ve packed on, heavy at my chin, my middle, my backside; a constant reminder that I need to stop living on Poptarts and coffee and start getting back to the gym regularly. Chipped nail polish on my toes. So many things I need to fix about my appearance.

I sigh, knowing there isn’t time to deal with most of these issues right now. I pull my hair up in a haphazard “mom bun,” brush my teeth, and add a little lip gloss and some mascara as a confidence booster.

At that moment, I hear my son begin to stir from his crib. I tug on some jeans and a loose-fitting tee, slide my feet quickly into my trusty ballet flats, and make it into the nursery just as he comes fully awake.

“Well, good morning, my gorgeous boy,” I coo at him, a giant smile plastered on my tired, puffy face.

The baby sees me for the first time, as I lean over the bars of his crib to greet him, and that’s when it happens.

His eyes light up, and a giant smile spreads across his face. With sleep still in his eyes, he begins waving his chubby little arms at me, wiggling in anticipation of the hug that he knows is coming. I scoop him up and he wraps his arms around me, burying his face into my neck.

“I’m so glad to see you, too,” I murmur, and he pulls back to look at me. Still smiling, he pats my cheek with his hand, his crystal blue eyes twinkling with happiness.

And in those moments, I forget about the dark circles, and the extra pounds, and the fact that I haven’t had a haircut since last year. In those moments, it doesn’t matter that my front teeth are a little crooked or that I need to repaint my toenails.

In those moments, I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, because he loves me.


Photo credit to Erin Rose Photography.

For The Love Of The Game

I’ve been a football fan pretty much all of my life. My father graduated from North Carolina State University, and has spent most of HIS life as a Wolfpack fanatic. My family jokes that my first words were “Mama,” “Dada,” and “Go Wolfpack!”

In truth, I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration.

When Brian and I got together many years later, I took my love of college football and applied it to his greatest love–Carolina Panthers football. I already knew a bit about how the game worked, from the many years of watching with my dad and brother. But it wasn’t until I saw my husband’s passion for the Panthers that I really started getting interested. And at that point, I became a student of the game.

As any good over-achiever would do, I did internet research, bought books, even made flash cards so I could remember who played what position and what their jersey numbers were. (Yes, I made flash cards. I may even still have them somewhere.)

So by the time Brian took me to my very first NFL game, I was well-versed in first downs, holding penalties, and wildcat formations. So enthusiastic was I about my newfound obsession with football, I spent the best money I’ve ever spent in my entire adult life and bought MORE tickets so I could take my baby brother to HIS very first NFL game, where were trounced the New Orleans Saints, 30-7.

Panthers page

And so now, during football season, our family gatherings on Sundays revolve around Carolina Panthers football. We’ve been die-hard fans through the ups and the downs, throughout coaching staff changes and new quarterbacks, while watching some of our favorite players retire or be traded. We’ve rejoiced with victories, shed tears over heart-breaking losses, and spent countless hours discussing the finer points of our defensive strategy. I’ve watched hours of Sports Center, and even more hours of the NFL draft, hoping to see my team grow and improve and become legendary (like I know they’re capable of doing.) We’ve kept up with our superstitions, we always wear our Panthers gear on Game Day, and we ALWAYS celebrate a victory with a shot of Irish whiskey.

Fan page

But even more than that, I find that I have an emotional attachment to my team, my players, my coaches. When I hear about a player who’s given their time and energy to a charity, I swell with pride. When I heard about Greg Olsen’s son, who was born with a rare heart condition, I felt my heart break for them. And when his son survived the many surgeries, I rejoiced with them. When our quarterback, Cam Newton, gets injured, I swear I can feel it in my bones, too. (Let’s not even talk about my reaction when I heard about his recent auto accident.) Maybe it’s the cheerleader in me, or the fan girl, but I am emotionally invested in my team, and I want nothing more than to see them do well.

Fast forward to today, January 10, 2015. It’s been a tough season for us. We’ve watched, sometimes with great frustration, a team that we know is Super Bowl worthy take us down a losing streak path that seemed to be endless. Game after game, we watched small mistakes, injuries, and countless penalties that left us wondering if the Panthers had lost heart. Still, we cheered for them, willing them to succeed. And as if to beat all odds, we won the last four games of our season, launching us unexpectedly into the playoffs–with a losing record.

We managed to beat the Arizona Cardinals last week, and now we find ourselves facing the Seattle Seahawks–last year’s Super Bowl Champions–in the divisional playoffs game that could, if we win, get us one step closer to the Big Game.

Readers? My heart is in my teeth.

After the year we’ve had, nothing would make me happier than for just one more victory. One more chance. One more time to see our team come together and celebrate like this:

From the Carolina Panthers Facebook Fan Page.

From the Carolina Panthers Facebook Fan Page.

They’ve worked so hard for it. We’ve cheered so hard for it. Tonight’s the night.

And my butt will be firmly planted in front of my wide screen television, at least an hour before kick off, wearing my favorite Luke Keuchly t-shirt and my lucky turquoise socks.

I have girlfriends who don’t get it. They don’t see the appeal, or understand my fascination with Sports Center, or why Sundays (and playoff Saturdays!) are days when I can make no social plans until after the game is played. And that’s ok. I’m ok with being the lone female sports fan in our little group.

Because I LOVE football. And I will shout at the screen over crazy penalties with a caveman mentality because I LOVE THIS GAME. I love my team.

And if–no–WHEN we win tonight, you will be able to hear my squees ’round the world. (It may be late; I apologize in advance for waking you.)

These Are The Days Of Abby’s Life

I can’t go on denying it. Not to you, readers, nor to myself. Love is a fickle, fickle thing, and I find myself in a position no woman wants to be in.

Not really.

I’m in love. Again.

It’s not that I’m bad at devotion. It’s not that I have commitment issues. It’s not that I have a short attention span.

Ok, it might be a little of that last thing I mentioned.

The truth is that, while Donnie Wahlberg was an obsession, and Nathan Fillion was a fun rebound crush thing, my new love started at a slow simmer and has slowly blossomed into something…more.

He’s kind. Funny. Handsome. He has the most amazing, kill-a-girl-with-just-one-smile smile. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He does charity work for Operation Smile–an organization that pays for surgeries to fix cleft lips and palettes for children around the world. He sings, and had a show on Broadway that just ended called “First Date.” He did a voice in the popular Disney movie, “Tangled.” He played the most adorable computer tech-turned-international super spy on TV.

Meet, my new fake celebrity boyfriend, Zachary Levi.



… … … … What? Yeah, I’m still here. Sorry…I was right about the killer smile thing, though, AMIRIGHT??

ANYway…this romance began in a very specific setting.

You guessed it. Comic Con. More specifically, at Nerd HQ. Listen: That whole day just rocked. Hard core rocked. Eighties hair band rocked. Grand Canyon rocked. We brushed elbows with Wil Wheaton and watched “Serenity” with Nathan Fillion and it was just the most awesome experience, ever. It was the perfect set up for Nerd Love, if you know what I’m sayin’.

I was already a fan of Zac’s before Nerd HQ, but two things turned me into an UBER fan that day. One: his generosity, and the way he wears his heart on his sleeve when he talks about how passionate he is about his fans, his family, and his charity.

And two: This Picture.


That gorgeous grin haunts me every day. Literally. Because I printed out a copy and put it up in our living room, right next to our detailed Kre-O Star Trek Enterprise, and Manny wearing a Fez.

Photographic Evidence:

Please don't judge my housekeeping skills based on the dust you see in this photo. This shelf happens to be very tall, and I can't reach it to dust unless I climb up on the love seat to do it, which I've never done except to take this picture.

Please don’t judge my housekeeping skills based on the dust you see in this photo. This shelf happens to be very tall, and I can’t reach it to dust unless I climb up on the love seat to do it, which I’ve never done except to take this picture.

Since that fateful day when Zac wrapped his arms around me, complimented my awesome shirt, and made me genuinely feel like the only person in the room (despite the queue of people waiting for their turn for a photo. And oh, right, my husband, who’s standing just on the other side of him)…Netflix made the announcement that they were finally putting “Chuck” up for streaming. And Brian and I watched every single episode over the holidays.

I’ve also started following Zac on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhoSay, and actively look for memes about him on Tumblr. That’s right, people. I’m hooked. Head over heels. Total stalker mode. Call me a fan girl, that’s ok. I know what this is—and it’s true fake love.

Judge me not, friends and readers. I know I’ve taken you on quite the journey with my romances since Abby Gabs’ inception. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And right now, it wants Chuck Bartowski. Oh yeah.

… … … … Wait, you thought something was going on with my marriage?? No way, Jose. We’re still cool, y’all. No worries. Brian will ALWAYS be the winner of the Man War, no matter how many incarnations there are in this lifetime.

Best. Marriage. Ever.