Friday, September 12, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Penny Chevalley!

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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22 comments:

  1. Hi, saw you at AskAwayFriday link up...I loved these questions and your answers, this was so interesting to read about your perspective on things! I admire you and your husband's philosophy, "all in the family." Voted for you on TMB and now following on FB. Happy weekend. :)

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    1. Hi, Bernadyn -- and welcome! Thank you for your vote, your "like" -- a favor which I have already returned, and, most of all, for your visit and comment.

      You have a wonderful weekend, as well!

      xo

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  2. Courtney, this was such an interesting peak into your life! And it just reinforces the girl crush I have on you! I just love how you kinda sorta met the hubs when you were younger! I am so with you on the yoga and pregnancy thing. When I was pregnant, oh so many years ago, I had a really bad grainy copy of Jane Fonda's workout for pregnant women. I did that 5 days a week with all 3 of my pregnancies. I credit that with me have super easy deliveries.

    xxo

    xxo

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    1. Hi, Susie! I anticipate reading your comments -- and this one was no different. Thank you, my friend...

      I cannot sing the praises of yoga during pregnancy enough! And I DO wholeheartedly concur that a consistent yoga practice paves the way for an easier delivery. (I mean, not always -- nothing in life is 100%.) But yoga sure does do wonders for opening up a woman's pelvic muscles and hips.

      Love ya like a sis, Susie...

      xo

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  3. Wow this was a GOOD one. Great questions (from the AAF founder, no less) and thorough answers. I love "how we met" stories. My husband is eight years older than me. It usually doesn't come into play, except like with you, when we first met I wasn't ready. He wasn't either, but I was a mere child! (not really but I was 23)
    I always dreamed of being published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. I must research that!

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    1. Hi, there, dear! Thank you for the compliment; I would love to do more of these, but what with my blog schedule -- and now that we're in football season -- it's challenging. I LOVED Penny's questions...

      It's funny, I actually think the age difference between The Hubs and me actually does come into play when we reminisce about the 80s -- or our childhood: We'll hear a particular song from that era, and Scott will be like, "Oh, this song reminds me of college!" Meanwhile, I was in elementary school and watching Nickelodeon.

      But the truth is, the older we get, the less of a difference it makes: When I'm 91 and he's 100 (God willing) we'll both be the personification of senior citizens. lol

      Thank you, again, for commenting and have a fantastic weekend. :-)

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  4. My brother is a life-long Lions fan, even when they were doing their worst, he's been loyal. To me, that's the best part of being an NFL fan. I loved the behind-the-scenes look at the NFL retirement life, and how your husband stays involved. I LOVE yoga! It was suggested to me by my rheumatologist when I was first diagnosed, and it is still my exercise of choice. I may have to hit you up for some tips sometime, how much do you charge? ;)
    Hope you have a great weekend. YAY FOOTBALL!

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    1. Hi, there! And thank you for your comment...

      I agree with you about the loyalty -- rooting for your team, regardless of their record -- is, to me, the best part about being a fan. I hear people say all the time, "Oh, so-and-so team is doing horribly [but I still like them] -- as if they're apologizing for rooting for their team.

      I'm like, "What, you only root for your team when things are going well?" Well, then, do you stop rooting for your child if THEIR team is not winning? Of course not. That always makes people think when I put it that way.

      You shouldn't just give up on something when the going gets rough. Okay...climbing off my soap box now...lol

      I generally charge by the hour, but I have been known to give freebies. ;-)
      Admittedly, though, it's difficult to give instruction to a person, sight unseen, so I only teach sessions in person. (Giving yoga instruction otherwise can be downright dangerous!) Are you in Michigan?

      Thank you for your comment, and yes: YAY FOOTBALL!

      xo

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  5. What a beautiful "how you met" story. It is so true that somethings are meant to be but only in their own time.

    Girl I despise laundry...the washing is the easy part - load the machine and go but oh the folding...I have a load waiting for me right now and where am I? Here in Blogland... :D

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    1. Tiffany! I kid you not, as I type this comment, I've got a basket in our bedroom containing the remnants of a load of whites that I washed DAYS ago. Do you hear me??? DAYS. I just can't bring myself to fold them. Sigh. I can -- quite literally -- think of a million and one things I'd rather be doing.

      I know Scott is like, "Um, how long do I have to walk around this basket?" lol smh.

      I guess I'll get around to folding it one of these days...

      Have a great weekend, and thank you for commenting!

      xo

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  6. Welcome to the ASKAWAYFRiday community, it is nice to meet you. Wow, your husband used to be an NFL player. That is so cool. ;)

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    1. Hello, and thank you very much! It's nice to meet you as well...

      This is actually my second #AskAwayFriday, as I did my first swap with Sonya K back in early August, which was a blast! Unfortunately, my blogging schedule -- as well as it now being football season (I blog quite a bit about how football affects our family -- makes it difficult for me to participate in this super-cool activity regularly...

      Thanks so much for not only stopping by, but also for visiting!

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  7. I can't believe poopy diapers didn't make the top of your list. They're disgusting...

    That's an amazing story about how you "met" your husband!!

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    1. Ah, poopy, shmoopy. No. 2 diapers actually don't faze me, I've built up an immunity; perhaps it's the fact that I cloth diapered Scotty for so long. (If you think poppy diapers are bad in sposies, you ain't seen nothing if you haven't changed a poopy cloth one. ;-)

      Nope, I stand by my spaghetti dinner answer. I ABHOR spaghetti dinner cleanup!!!!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

      xo

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  8. You did awesome! I love the answers! And thanks for the yoga advice :) Thank you for exchanging with me and it's been awesome getting to know you!

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    1. Likewise, my friend! You take care -- and take care of the little bambino (aka "little Dude")!

      I'm so very happy for you guys.

      xo

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  9. Hi Courtney - I'm loving all of the behind the scenes of your life! Keep it comin.... (love... keep it comin love... don't stop it now... ) Hugs, Holly

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    1. Thanks, Holly! It's hard: Walking the line of showing behind the scenes vs. TMI...or boring people to tears...it's always a challenge...

      Thank you for your compliment, and I {heart} you for reading.

      xo

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  10. I *love* that photo of you in tree pose. And striking a balance on social media? Right on. My responses take a bit longer sometimes, but yes, unplugging is hard!

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    1. Thank you about the tree pose photo!

      "My responses take a bit longer sometimes..."

      That's perfectly okay! That isn't a crime...

      Finding that elusive sense of balance...I think the word "struggle" doesn't even begin to describe the difficult time I'm having. But conquer it I must...

      Thank you for commenting.

      xo

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  11. Wow...an amazing swap! My hubby and I are 8 years apart. I don't think that I could have ever dealt with anything to do with a spotlight! LOL! I am too shy for that! I really do want to start doing yoga...but each day always seems to slip away before I make it. Have a great week, Courtney!

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    1. Thanks so much, Stacey! I hope you do get a quiet moment to try yoga soon! My advice is to get Rodney Yee's "Yoga for Energy" DVD.(I bought mine used on Amazon.com!) It is an excellent DVD for beginner and intermediate yogis alike -- and it's broken up into quick 15 minute routines.

      Let me know how it goes!

      xo

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