I Heard It From A Pregnant Woman

That’s right. I’m hearing a lot of interesting things from my pregnant wife these days. Most of them go something like this:

“Awww…this shirt doesn’t fit anymore. I pull it down and two seconds later I feel a draft on the bottom of my tummy.”

Then there’s the time where she sits down with a bag of chips…or Cheetos in this case:

“This is not good. I could probably polish off this entire bag right now. There’s only so much left that I either need to just commit and finish them or stop… Save me from myself.” Then hands me the bag.

Or we could go to the last pregnancy where she was eating ice cream straight from the tub and said: “I can’t stop. There are too many good bites so I just keep eating them.”

A more interesting quote came when she tried to paint her toenails:

“I just wanna paint my toenails but I can’t reach them to do it!”

Which just led her to demand a pedicure. Well, demand is a strong word, but she got a pedicure nonetheless.

I must say, she’s 39 weeks pregnant right now, so she’s allowed to complain. She’s getting winded when going up the half flight of stairs from our garage to our main floor in our split-level home. But that doesn’t stop her from standing on stools to dust the blinds on the windows, it just gives her that extra reason to complain. Again, totally allowed.

She even sent me a link from another blog about what you should say to a 9 month pregnant woman. (Spoiler: the underlying theme is just to offer them some cake.) But it does make some great, albeit funny, points about what it might be like to be that far along in pregnancy.

As for me, I’ve definitely said a couple of those things. And even more so now that I’ve read the article, sometimes jokingly and other times dead serious. But I should probably stop yammering on at this point before I say something that’s not on the list…or get in trouble for sharing the funny things Melissa has said in the past couple of weeks.

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The Man In The Night

This is the story of last night…

It was an ordinary evening. Melissa was falling asleep around 9:30 while reading a book, Sophie was snuggling into the corner of the room and occasionally licking the crap out of her paws, and I was relaxing watching House of Cards. We all went to bed as normal, but this was not a normal night.

1:15 AM shows on our clock as I’m awakend by Melissa, accompanied by Sophie’s barks and growls. “Justin! Can you check and see if someone’s at the door?!”

I’m dazed and groggy. I’m thinking that we didn’t order anything that the mail man would need a signature to deliver. But I’m not thinking straight and have no idea why I’ve been awakened at this hour. The details of rolling out of bed and throwing on some clothes are faded from my memory, but the next thing I know, I’m walking down the hallway to the living room with Sophie growling at my heels. I’d later learn Melissa was close behind me as well.

I turn the corner and see the shadow of a man through the window of our front door. “What the hell!?” I muttered. Sophie barks like a crazy dog trying to protect her house. The man’s outline was perfectly centered through the front door’s window and was completely black, no details to be seen. It was seriously like a scene from a horror movie when the lighting strikes to show the killer’s outline about to strike. Adding to this craziness, it’s actually a windy, rainy, gloomy night. Perfect setting for a scare.

Wondering what is going on, why is this person at my house and still groggy from sleep, I walk down the stairs toward the door, Melissa behind me trying to calm our barking dog to keep from waking our child – who slept through this entire thing, by the way. Having no light switch for the outside lights at the top of the steps in our split-foyer house, I find myself within one foot of this mysterious stranger with only a door between us as I turn on the outside light to see…dun dun DUN!…THE DOMINOS DELIVERY MAN!

I unlock and open the door, to which this man says, “You didn’t order a pizza, did you?” His tone was all-knowing that he was grasping at straws as to where he was supposed to be going to hand over some delicious italian pies, and he knew this wasn’t the place. I said no, he asked if the address he had been told was ours. It was, but we ordered no pizza tonight.

He retreated to his car – probably because of how scary our barking dog was…yeah, probably not. He moved his car to in front of the neighbor’s house and walked up to their door. Two minutes later, he was back in his car and counting the cash from his delivery.

Our family tried to go back to bed while making comments such as, “This early Mother’s Day Announcement brought to you by…Dominos!”

The best part was our initial reactions. I was thinking, “Crap, who’s trying to break into our house?” and “Are we going to get robbed?” My loving wife’s thoughts were, “Who died? The Police must be at our door to deliver us some sort of horrible news!” Sophie’s thoughts were, “BARK BARK BARK!!!” Translation: “Don’t let them in or I will pee myself!” Thad’s thoughts were, “ZZZzzzZZZzzz…”

On this fateful night, the odds were in our favor as none of our initial worries were true. This “man in the night” was delivering decliciousness, albeit to the wrong house. The next one might not be.

It’s a crazy world out there. Stay safe, my friends.

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Post Draft Blues

This year, I don’t have the blues because of what the Lions did in the NFL Draft; I’ve got the blues because now there’s very little in terms of significant football news until August. (Melissa stands up and cheers…) I’ll never wish my summer away, I’ll just yearn for some relevant football information for a few months. And I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll take those few months to disconnect a little bit and reconnect with nature. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

But about the NFL Draft, the Lions did address their needs in the draft by grabbing a big offensive guard in the first round, a running back in the second round, a cornerback in the third round and a defensive tackle in the fourth round. To me, that’s a solid draft right there and I’m very happy to see what the team can do with these new players and improvements.

The team focused on building their running game and shoring up the defense after the loss of a couple big name players in Free Agency. They even drafted a fullback who will start from day one and block for the new running back. An impact player in the fifth round? I’ll take it!

In the sixth and seventh rounds, the team added depth at offensive tackle and cornerback. But the move that has me the most excited? The Lions signed running back/fullback Zach Zenner from South Dakota State University – my Alma Mater – as an undrafted free agent. The icing on the cake is that his versatility to be both a running back and a fullback has him as an early favorite to make the Lions 53 man roster. (For the non-football people out there, that means he’ll be on the team all year long with the possibility to suit up and actually play during the regular season.)

Zenner would likely be the fourth string running back behind Joique Bell (starter), Ameer Abdullah (second round draft pick this year) and Theo Riddick (third down running back). He might not play a lot, but he adds depth at the fullback position should Michael Burton (fifth round draft pick) get injured. He also adds depth at the running back position since he’s shown in his college career that he can rush for 2,000 yards in a season (3 times) and has break-away speed to make a big play (77-yard TD run versus Missouri last year).

So I’m excited about a former Jackrabbit landing on my favorite NFL team. Even more excited to know he might actually end up playing snaps for them during the regular season.

Now that I’ve bored the non-football people with my excitement over the NFL Draft and my Lions, I’ll let you know that you’ve arrived at the light at the end of the tunnel. Meaning I might not have much sports talk going on in the blog for the next few months. Just the stories about my son, my dog, my wife, my next son who will be arriving in the Ochsner home around June 24 and maybe even a blog titled, “Things My Preggo Wife Says.” Well…maybe not. She’d have to be allowed to do some editing on that one first. I’ll add it to my to-do list and keep you posted.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your day!

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5 Thoughts Before The NFL Draft

Here are 5 thoughts I have about the NFL draft and situations that could affect the draft before it starts on April 30:

  1. QBs are drafted #1 and #2 overall.

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State, and Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon, are going 1 and 2 overall respectively in this year’s draft. They are the two top players at the most important position on the football field and there doesn’t seem to be that much of a drop off in talent from one to the other. Certain analysts and scouts are even putting Mariota ahead of Winston. I’m fairly confident this is what will happen with the first two picks. The only question is who will draft Mariota second overall? That leads me to…

  1. The Titans trade out of the #2 pick.

The coaching staff has been supporting current QB Zach Mettenberger and saying he’s their guy. Well, I’m not sure how strong they will stay in their stance once the phones start ringing with trade offers when they’re on the clock on April 30. Maybe the second guess their current QB and their willingness to actually pull the trigger on a trade because the offers they are getting make them think Mariota might actually be the way to go. Who knows? I think they have their minds made up and already have trade offers on the table should Mariota not go #1 overall. They will see what else comes in during their allotted time on the clock and then they will trade the pick. Maybe the Browns move up, maybe they get Bradford from the Eagles, maybe the Bears or Jets make an unexpected move – I don’t know who it will be, but Mariota won’t be a member of the Titans.

  1. The Chargers do not trade Phillip Rivers and move up in the draft.

I’ve thought about this one and even had a conversation about the opposite point of view, so this could possibly happen, but I’m predicting it doesn’t. The question is if the Chargers really think they can content with Rivers at the helm or if they think he’s starting to get old and want to suffer growing pains with a new young QB this year so they’re better equipped for next year (2016). Which would also mean division rival Denver wouldn’t be starting QB Peyton Manning anymore and likely give the Chargers a better chance to win the division. I think Rivers has shown he can still play and a former teammate (Ladanian Tomlinson) saying Rivers is frustrated is a second-hand account that I’m not sure will have any impact on what the Chargers plan to do. Also, they can draft the third best QB in the second or third round to learn for a year or two while Rivers handles the load. Not a bad option.

  1. The Vikings do not trade Adrian Peterson and pass on RB in the first round.

As some analysts have been saying, AP’s contract is just so large for a RB turning 30 years old that there aren’t many teams out there willing to take that contract and risk. Cowboys have been named as the main team that might trade for him…until this new just broke today from Adam Schefter: “Cowboys’ EVP/COO Stephen Jones told 105.3 in Dallas: “I don’t see us using any picks to trade for veteran players.’” With that said, you might as well take the Cowboys off the table. The Raiders have supposedly shown interest and have the cap room to make it happen, but would they be willing to part with the #4 overall pick in the draft? I’m guessing not, even if it does sounds like something the Raiders would do. Will a second and fourth round pick do it for the Vikings? I’m not so sure. The Vikings have been standing strong saying they’re not very interested in trading AP. So unless they get a killer offer from the Raiders or another team that could afford him like the Jaguars, I don’t think it happens.

  1. If Todd Gurley, RB Georgia, is still available at #23, the Lions take him.

Of course I’m going to talk about the Lions, I’m a huge fan! Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but if teams shy away from Gurley due to his knee injury, the Lions should scoop him up late in the first round. Joique Bell and Theo Riddick can handle the load while Gurley returns to form. Then after the first 4-5 games in 2015, Gurley should be 100% and ready to run wild for the Lions. Now I understand that he’s being mock drafted to the Texans and other teams in front of the Lions in the first round, and if he’s not there, the best DT or OT on the board will be perfect for this team.

Those are my 5 quick thoughts before the draft starts. We’ll see how close I am to being correct on April 30. I did a mock draft last year of the entire first round. I was WAY off, but it was fun to look back on. I’m guessing this will be just as fun to look back on in 2 week and a year from now. Time will tell.

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NFL Draft Simulator = Fun For Fans

The NFL Draft is coming up at the end of the month. As lucky as I am, it starts on my birthday. It’s a time of hope for the new season as each team picks a few players from the college ranks to help fortify last year’s weaknesses. Some people love the draft, others hate it. As a Lions fan, it’s usually all I have to look forward to since they have been perennially bad as a team. Many people will say it doesn’t matter, it’s just picking players, what’s the big deal?

I get it. Not everyone likes the same things. There are also actual sports being played, not just talked about during the offseason. NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing. I’ll watch those games when I can and have interest in them as a sports fan, but if they lose one game, there are at least 3 more games in that series to watch. Each game counts, I know. But look at the NFL in terms of games. The entire season is less than 1/4 of the NBA or NHL in terms of games played. And I’m not even going to get started with baseball’s 160-ish games per season.

Every game is that much more important because there are much fewer chances to make up for a loss. So knowing who we’ve got playing on our teams is exciting to find out on draft day. Which brings me to a fun draft simulator that lets you make the picks for your team and have the rest of the draft simulated for the other teams. I found this one at Fanspeak.com. I’m sure there are more out there, but this is the one I know about.

First, you select the team you want to draft for, then the rankings list you want the simulator to use. Then you start drafting. Now the main thing to remember: This is a simulated mock draft based on whatever rankings list you choose. I’ve seen players from one ranking list get drafted in the first round and then used a different ranking list that led that same player to be drafted late in the third round. THESE ARE JUST PROJECTIONS.

Naturally, I select the Lions. I’ve done probably 25 of these simulations over the past week and I’ve seen a lot of different scenarios from RB Todd Gurley falling in their laps at pick #23 to minimal options and taking the best OT/DT available, even if it’s a little bit of a reach based on who’s still available. (Gurley falling to the Lions happens a lot, with almost every ranking list the site has available. We’ll see how real that is once the people actually making the picks get started on April 30.)

My favorite draft so far has the Lions selecting the following in the first three rounds:
Round 1, Pick 23 Overall: DT Eddie Goldman (Florida State)
Round 2, Pick 54 Overall: WR Devin Smith (Ohio State)
Round 3, Pick 88 Overall: RB Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)

First off, the Lions have a young player to plug in to the defensive tackle rotation after losing both Suh and Fairley during Free Agency. Second, they take a luxury pick at WR who has no business still being available that late in the second round. He’ll stretch the field with Megatron and let Tate work the slot and Ebron work the middle. Scary. Finally, Abdullah is gift wrapped in the third round to fill the hole left by the often injured Reggie Bush.

I realize this doesn’t address the offensive line, but the Lions are okay here. Sims and the OG from the Falcons who visited in Free Agency are both still available. If the draft goes like this, they bring back Sims (a player they’ve already expressed some interest in having back) or sign the Falcons FA who’s still available. Then draft OG in round 5 or 6 that can help out or learn for the future. The OT spot isn’t as bad as some fear as long as Waddle can stay healthy (wishful thinking maybe).

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m being a fan here. This draft would get me instantly excited about the 2016 season. And, as a fan, I can also say that my second favorite draft would have the Lions drafting RB Gurley in the first and OG Laken Tomlinson (Duke) in the second round and a DT or OT in the third round. This draft would give a huge upgrade at RB while solidifying the interior of the offensive line to help make some holes for Gurley to run through. I’d be happy with both of these draft scenarios.

Now will either of these be EXACTLY what the Lions will do? Absolutely not. I’m almost 100% sure neither of these happens. Why? Because I’m not in the scouting department or involved in setting up the Lions draft board and rankings. And that’s probably for the best. Because, really, if the Lions draft guys I’ve never heard of or I think are horrible or seem to be completely off from the needs of the team…as long as they win games next year, I will be happy. Maybe this is why people hate the NFL Draft and all the coverage it gets. But as a fan who loves football and my Lions, I’m interested in every aspect of the game. That includes watching NFL teams draft players during the offseason.

It’s kind of like Fantasy Football, I love to talk about it, analyze possibilities for the upcoming year, guess who will be good and who won’t be good, and chat with friends who have different opinions to see who turns out to have a better sense of what will actually happen. Everyone has different hobbies and interests, this just happens to be something I’m interested in because I find it fun. So right now I’m going to switch back over to Fanspeak.com and do a few more draft scenarios, just to see how things could turn out at the end of the month.

Hope everyone’s enjoying their Sunday afternoon as much as I am.

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Time To Hit The Links

Call it “The Masters Fever.” Or call it warm weather and nice days outside. Actually, call it whatever you want, I’m jones-ing for some golf!  It doesn’t help that at my church board meeting tonight, a guy on my board brought me a gift: more ammo!

GOLF BALLS!!!

GOLF BALLS!!!

Golf balls. Yes, a full bag of them. He gave me a similar sized bag about 3 years ago and I still haven’t used them all.

Here’s the full story. Wally is retired and usually goes golfing every morning in the summer. Sometimes coming to sign in and pay for his completed round as the course workers are getting ready to start their day. He’s told me about coming in to pay and the workers telling him he couldn’t golf that day due to a tournament; he had already played his round. Anyway, he finds golf balls that were left on the course all the time. Bags full, as you can see.

I’m grateful that he picks them up and gives them away to people like me. I’m not the best golfer and the brand name on the golf ball isn’t going to help my game. It could make me feel like I’m a legit player, but it’s pretty much a placebo when it comes to this inconsistent baseball swing.

He’s also going to give a bag or two of golf balls to The First Tee of South Dakota at Edgebrook Golf Course. If you don’t know what that is, check out this link. (Shameless plug for a fellow fraternity brother’s efforts to bring this opportunity to kids in Brookings.) I suggest hitting up their Facebook page from that link.

So, here I am, sitting at a computer typing away when I’d rather be golfing. I think I made it out to the course 6 or 7 times last year. This year, I’m going to aim for double digits…as long as my wife’s okay with that, of course.

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Thad Parties It Up In Aberdeen

We headed up north for a weekend with the grandparents and Thad partied hard. And by partied hard, I mean he played so hard that he slept in past 8am both Saturday and Sunday. In turn, Mommy and Daddy slept in past 8am for two mornings in a row for the first time in about a year and a half. (Is Thad that old already? Yup. Time is flying!)

Other than playing hard with Grandma and Grandpa, we lucked out with Aberdeen activities as there was an indoor kids day at the Civic Arena that included inflatables, games and snacks for kids of all ages. Seriously. Melissa went through the bouncy course with Thad and Little Ox #2. Yeah, that second boy is already having the same fun as his brother via Mommy’s tummy.

Get ready for some pictures. I documented the entire bouncy course:

Testing it out.

Testing it out.

Okay, he likes it. "Moooooore!"

Okay, he likes it. “Moooooore!”

"Seriously, Mom. Let's do this thing!"

“Seriously, Mom. Let’s do this thing!”

"Umm...now that I'm in, I'm having second thoughts..."

“Umm…now that I’m in, I’m having second thoughts…”

"Mommy! What's happening!"

“Mommy! What’s happening!”

"Okay. A slide. I like those."

“Okay. A slide. I like those.”

"Weeeeeeeee!"

“Weeeeeeeee!”

"Okay, now that it's over, I think it was fun! Let's go again!"

“Okay, now that it’s over, I think it was fun! Let’s go again!”

That’s pretty much how it happened. I was pretty lucky to be able to hear what Thad was saying inside his head so that I could relay it to you in the captions of those pics. Aside from the bouncing, there were also games. Thad got to go bowling for the first time!

"Wait. You actually WANT me to throw the ball at something now? Make up your mind, parents!"

“Wait. You actually WANT me to throw the ball at something now? Make up your mind, parents!”

And the ball only made it about one foot. Melissa had to help him and he ended up knocking down about 5 pins. Pretty spectacular, I know. The best part, everyone gets a prize! I think he got a new book for this one. Then he played plinko and won a new toy!

"I'm gonna play with that car soooo hard later!"

“I’m gonna play with that car soooo hard later!”

If by “play soooo hard” he meant take it out of the package and try to sit on it, because that’s what he did. In Thad’s defense, it is a red 4-wheeler. Pretty much an exact replica (albeit much smaller) as the larger riding toy he has at home.

Lucky for Thad, the fun didn’t stop there. After the bouncy and the games and, of course, a cookie for a snack, we hit the park!

"Now this is a real slide."

“Now this is a real slide.”

Don’t mind Melissa in this photo. She’s just looking around, checking out the scenery…

"I'm going down the tall slide and it's soooo fun!!!"

“I’m going down the tall slide and it’s soooo fun!!!”

Again, don’t mind Melissa in this picture. She’s scared of heights…

All of these escapades happened in one afternoon. Yeah, Thad played hard this weekend and there’s no doubt that’s why I ended up with a little extra sleep. The next day he helped dye Easter eggs (sort of), had a mini Easter egg hunt, played in the back yard and even helped Grandpa sweep up the leaves on the patio. All before eating lunch.

It was a busy weekend full of fun for the little Thad Monster. Oh, and our Regal Dog lucked out too. Here she is eating her prize from the weekend, leftover bones from the ribs Melissa had on Saturday night with a little flavor left on the ends.

"These...Ribs...Are...So...Good..."

“These…Ribs…Are…So…Good…”

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