Today I am honored and beyond thrilled to trade questions with the awesome -- and extremely hospitable -- Penny Chevalley of The Real Housewife of Caroline County blog. I am particularly excited because we all have Penny to thank for being the brainchild of Ask Away Friday, which has since become somewhat of a Friday mainstay here in the blogosphere. Ask Away Friday is an opportunity for bloggers to connect by asking each other ten questions to really get to know one another. Penny and I agreed to swap questions some time ago (during the summer) -- which called for her to come out of her self-imposed #AskAwayFriday retirement, which I'm grateful for -- and I'm so excited that the time is now upon us. Quick story about how I came to know Penny...
It was back in January or February of this year, and I had only been blogging for a few weeks. I'm reading my Twitter notifications and see one from Penny in which she tweeted me a warm message, welcoming me to the world of blogging. From there, I began to follow her blog -- which you should be doing, too, I might add, if you're not already. What I love most about Penny, who is a wife and mom of two with another little on on the way, is that she is unabashedly candid and real. To know Penny is to love her. You can read her responses to my questions here.
So without further adu, here are my responses to her questions...
How did you and your husband meet? Was it back in high school or later in life?
We met and married later in life, but the irony is that, technically, the first time I actually saw Scott was when I was in high school – I just didn’t know that he would one day be my husband. There’s a little bit of an age difference between us (he’s nine years older). I was a senior in high school when my father took me to my first Lions game and Scott was playing on the field! I was bored to tears and actually spent the game reading my Seventeen and YM magazines. Little did I know, my future husband and father of my children was just a few yards away…But the story of how we came to actually meet each other – nine years later, I might add – is another testament to the power of serendipity. I’ll give you the Cliff Notes’ version because I do plan to blog about this one day: I had a run-in with a book publisher in the parking lot of my town’s City Hall, where I worked at the time. (I had written a children’s book and wanted to know if it would be a good fit for her.) We hit it off and she invites me to her office to talk. Fast forward fifteen minutes into our meeting, she asks if I’m single, and tells me that one of her clients would be the perfect guy for me (she had published Scott’s children’s book years prior) -- and that he lives in Jersey (which Scott did at the time), but that he’ll be here in Michigan next week to host a black tie fundraiser for his children’s charity. She said I should come to meet him. No pressure. I went…and it was one of the best nights of my life. The rest, as they say, is history.
We've all see the sports star wife shows but what's the "reality" of being an NFL wife?
Honestly? There isn't one blanket reality that applies to all NFL wives, and I think that is due greatly to the fact that there isn’t one blanket reality that applies to all NFL players in general. For example: A young NFL player, say, a rookie who isn’t married and doesn’t have children, is going to live a much different life than a veteran who is married with kids. It just all depends. When I met Scott, he had already retired from playing football and was ready to settle down. He wanted to get married and start a family – he was ready to have kids before I was. I know a few NFL wives – wives who were married while their husbands were still playing – and they’ve told me repeatedly that I found Scott at the best time because the rigors of traveling and everything that comes with the football season makes being married and having children a challenge. Not always, but it can be harder. I first discovered this when Scott took me to an NFL Players convention before we were even engaged, and I blogged about it here. But back to my reality. Many would find that my day-to-day life is surprisingly mundane. I mean, yeah, there are splashes of excitement here and there as it relates to the game of football. But we put our pants on one leg at a time, just like any other family. But there are things…things that I never would have considered would be a part of my life – but they are now, and I blogged about those things in my post entitled You Know You’re an NFL Wife When... One of those things is having your husband’s huge professionally framed football jerseys and/or gameday action photos adorn your walls. (I have yet to encounter a current or former NFL player who doesn’t have at least one of his jerseys in a frame hanging on his wall. And, no; I’m not over exaggerating here.) For example, in the photo below, which hangs in our home's foyer and is, trust me, larger in real life than it looks here, Scott (#76) is blocking the late Green Bay Packers and NFL Hall of Fame Defensive Lineman Reggie White:
And then there are the people who find your unlisted address and send memorabilia to your home with a letter requesting that your husband sign and return it…all so the sender can sell it for his own profit. And then there’s the fact that football MUST play a role in your wedding. I mean, die-hard fans incorporate football into their weddings, too, of course. It’s just that with a fan it’s optional…but when you’re marrying a player, it’s non-negotiable. In the photo below taken at our wedding reception, Scott and I are flanked by a few of his fellow Detroit Lions offensive linemen who were in attendance. (I apologize for the poor quality of the photo, as I had to scan the photo in because, of course, I couldn’t find the file containing the photo on our computer):
What is it like to raise children when your husband has a job that demands rigorous training and travel schedules during a huge junk of the year?
Well, since Scott is no longer playing football, I dodged a major bullet with regard to having to juggle a difficult in-season playing schedule. Save for a few events he’s done with the NFL, we always travel together as a family.
IF your husband ever got traded to a different team where would you or have you picked as top cities?
I’ll adapt that question and answer it as if he were still playing, and my answer is a simple one: I’d actually prefer that he never got traded. Scott played his entire career for the Lions, and since I’m from here (Michigan), I wouldn’t have had it any other way. There is one exception, though: I would be okay with him being traded to the New York Jets or New York Giants, and here’s why: Scott’s entire family lives in New Jersey, so if he were traded there, at least we’d be around family. I simply couldn’t fathom raising Scotty and Kennedy in the absence of any relatives.
What is your most hated task as a momma?
What, you’re asking for only one? I can think of two right off the bat: Folding laundry and cleaning up after my son’s spaghetti dinners. Our kitchen table ends up looking like a crime scene. There is red EV-ER-Y-WHERE.
I see you are a certified yoga instructor...any suggestions for a momma in her third trimester on best moves to stretch out?
Yes! Excellent question! Here’s the thing: There really is no such thing as prenatal yoga. Yoga is yoga. There are, however, postures that an expectant mom should shy away from (i.e. after your first trimester, it is advised that you take Savasana (corpse pose) on your right side as opposed to lying flat on your back because doing so could impede blood flow to the uterus. And on the other hand, there are yoga postures that your body would find particularly beneficial during pregnancy (i.e. hip openers are your friend, and they felt sooooo good to practice during both of my pregnancies). My yoga practice didn’t change all that much when I was pregnant, and I actually graduated from yoga teacher training when I was in my second trimester with Scotty…and the photo below was taken in our backyard during my maternity shoot when I was five months pregnant with him:
And while I was pregnant with Kennedy, I taught yoga up until my seventh month – and I had only stopped doing headstand by then because I had gained so much weight that it had become difficult to remain in the posture for any length of time without falling over! Furthermore, I taught pregnant women in my regular yoga classes all the time, and they fit right in. My greatest suggestion to you would be to study and/or attend class under the direction of an instructor who has experience teaching women who are expecting. Furthermore, take it easy, and listen to your body. Yoga is not a competition. It’s about the breath, and if you are overexerting yourself – which you need to avoid at all costs – your breath will let you know.
Being a blogger means our lives revolve around social media - it's probably worse with a husband in the spotlight - what is your most loved and hated part of social media in your life?
Actually, blogging alone keeps one tied to social media enough – so I can’t actually say that having an NFL spouse makes it worse – at least not in my experience. But I would say the aspect I’ve come to love the most about social media is the fact that everything you do has the ability to garner a response in an instant. It’s really cool when you post a blurb on Facebook, and then, seconds later, one of your readers comments or “likes” it….but, then, that can also be the worst when it’s time to unplug and you can’t because you think you’re missing out on something. It’s all about striking a balance. And it’s something I’m working on.
What is the biggest "perk" of being an NFL wife? It can be getting invited to events or preferred treatment when you travel...anything goes!
Honestly? It’s having a built-in platform. Because of the tremendous popularity and influence the NFL yields, people tend to listen to what you have to say, and this can be particularly beneficial when it comes to philanthropy or being a champion of a cause you care deeply about. And it’s something I take very seriously. Being a football family, Scott and I both care deeply about supporting the efforts of USA Football’s Heads Up program. Scott is an ambassador, and I blog for them twice a month. We recently attended our first USA Football Parent/Player Football Clinic, which was also sponsored by the NFL and ESPN:
USA Football aims to make the game safer for youth. As the mother of a son who is likely going to play football, I want nothing more than for the game to be as safe as it can. The other perk of being an NFL wife is when you’re out somewhere and encounter a fan of your husband. No lie, I got my eyes checked a while ago, and the receptionist recognized my last name because she and her family have been life-long Lions fans, and they remember watching Scott play. Here’s the thing: Although I’ve never made it to the professional level, I spent my youth playing sports – and I know how hard it is to make it to the highest level: You can be talented, but that alone isn’t enough to make it to the NFL; you can be strong, but strength alone isn’t enough; you can really, really want it, but wanting it alone isn’t enough. I think it’s a combination of all of the above – and more – that gets you there, and even then, only .218 % of American men make it to the NFL. So it’s nice when you meet a fan who says something nice about how they enjoyed watching your husband play.
I love that you've written for "Chicken Soup for the Soul"...do you have a favorite?
That’s a toughy. I’m going to have to go with my first story, Prince of Pleasure, which was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog in 2009:
At the time, I was working in a career that I thoroughly disliked and I wanted nothing more than to break free and make a go at a serious writing career…and getting published in Chicken Soup for the Soul signified the beginning of that.
We know each NFL team has its "rival" but are you as competitive in the football world as your husband? Do you have a NFL team you "booooo"? (P.S. My husband's is the Steelers ha,ha)
Nope. As boring as it may sound, I don’t boo any NFL teams. Scott and I both share a philosophy: “All in the family,” meaning all 32 teams belong to the same NFL family. Yeah, we’re ride-or-die Lions fans – and will be for life: I was born and raised in Michigan, and Scott played here for his entire NFL career. I’m incredibly loyal to the Lions. But I also encourage others to support their NFL teams. The cheering, the bantering, that’s what makes it fun.
If you were at least mildly entertained by the responses to Penny's questions,
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