Every family seems to have that one kid who gets hurt and sick more than anyone else residing under the same roof and operating within the same life circumstances. Ours is the middle child: Austin.

There is a theory that middle children, as a rule, tend to be more ignored, more often left to their own devices and more prone to injury. I’d say Austin has been left to his own “demise” throughout the bulk of his childhood.

There was the teeny weenie fracture in his hip that he sustained when he was only 4 by jumping off a kitchen counter top (I’d like to believe R. Kelly wrote his 1998 hit I Believe I Can Fly with Austin as his inspiration).

I recall the doctor saying, “This is a break we normally see in elderly people due to falls. Very strange to encounter in a child of his age.”

Next there was the left arm break he suffered when he was 8 years old – narrowly missing his growth plate – at Defy Gravity…or, as the ER staff referred to that dreadful place, their #1 referral source.

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Next there was the right wrist fracture that somehow took place under the combined watch of his grandpa and his big brother when both of the older and presumably wiser men in charge decided to launch Austin into the air for fun. Austin was 10 years old and that wonderful memory just so happened to take place on my birthday. Weeeee.

Sprinkle in roughly 1 bout of strep throat for every year of this 12-year old boy’s life and you get an idea of what we’re dealing with when it comes to doctor visits.

In fact, if there was a punch card system for injury and illness visits, I’d have earned my own personalized, dedicated parking spot by now smack dab in front of every doctor’s office.

So when Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital approached me about writing a sponsored post for them, I was naturally inclined to help out.

The medical team at Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital knows that, when it comes to treating emergencies, excellent care and a quick response are crucial. Their Emergency Department is staffed by Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physicians from UNMC Physicians and is open 24/7/365 to handle any situation.

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Prior to getting to know them a little better, I had assumed I would only grace their place to treat Austin’s inevitable next bone break. But it turns out they fix more than broken bones. They treat people with the flu, high fevers, stomach pain, chest pain, pneumonia, sprained ankles, strained muscles, and more.

Great service to me means more than just fixing the issue. The best service is a combo of highly skilled people who deliver on what they promise in the fastest turnaround time possible.

In May 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an average wait time of 30 minutes, and an average total time from arrival to discharge of slightly more than 120 minutes for emergency room patients. At Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital, emergency patients wait a median of 20 minutes to see a health care team member, and are usually discharged within 90 minutes, depending on the nature of the emergency.

Speaking from experience, watching a child experience 30 less minutes of pain is something I’ll always hope and strive for in times of emergency.

Having three incredibly active children in sports has trained me to locate in advance the nearest ER just in case. This holiday season, my gift to other sports parents is to make sure you have Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital on your radar…especially those who live in West Omaha.

  • The hospital is located on the southeast corner of 144th and West Center Road
  • Their services include, but are not limited to, walk-in emergency care, sports injuries and work related injuries.
  • Emergency Services is located on the south end of the Oakview Medical Building, in Suite 150
  • For the ER Department, call 402-609-1500
  • They are an option for after-hours care when your regular Primary Care Physician is not available and you have an emergency condition
  • Check with your insurance department to make sure they are contracted as an “in-network provider” to avoid paying higher costs
  • Visit www.omahaemergency.com for more information

Written by Heidi Woodard


I had the privilege of visiting my old college campus and presenting to a Feature Writing class on blogging.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Omaha, Nebraska. The air was crisp and led my mind to leisurely untangle itself from daily distractions.

Creighton University: Hard to articulate the impact of this place on my life.

Creighton University: Hard to articulate the impact of this place on my life.

As I walked down the same brick path I had traveled over 15 years prior to make my way from class to class, I reflected on perspective that only comes with age. A wisdom that reinforces something I had always known, but never stopped to fully appreciate. I was blessed beyond measure to have had the opportunity to walk this path, both literally and figuratively.

The brick path that has the power to take you places if you let it.

The brick path that has the power to take you places if you let it.

During my time on campus that day, I visited with both my former softball coach and my academic advisor – two people who helped me pave my way when I wasn’t yet old enough to grasp the weight that adulthood carried. Both pushed me beyond where I had falsely assumed my potential peaked.

Coach Vigness still teaching young ladies how to become better people in addition to better athletes.

Coach Vigness still teaching young ladies how to become better people in addition to better athletes.

When your academic advisor gives you such rave reviews, your first boss will forever refer to her as your "Aunt Eileen."

When your academic advisor gives you such rave reviews, your first boss will forever refer to her as your “Aunt Eileen.”

To see those two influencers after all these years and have a chance to absorb the enormous roles they played in shaping the person I am today is something I won’t soon forget.

Remembering what it was like to be young, carefree, and seemingly limitless.

Remembering what it was like to be young, carefree, and seemingly limitless.

Walking past the place where my husband and I shared our first kiss.

Walking past the place where I shared a first kiss with the love of my life.


I followed up that memorable day with an equally gratifying evening later in the week. Since launching my own GiveTheGameBack movement in January, I have watched the work of international speaker and best-selling author John O’Sullivan. His organization, Changing The Game Project, has positively impacted athletes, parents, and coaches alike, through education and training on how to accelerate positive youth development experiences, as well as critical life lessons along the way.

He wrote a book titled Changing the Game, which was released in 2013. In it, he talks about how adults are taking over today’s youth athletic experience. “We stream 10 year old baseball games to our offices, we buy $400 bats and $300 shoes, chasing the myth of scholarships and guaranteed high achievement. At a time when popular culture is promoting numerous self centered values, our children need sports more then ever to teach them about courage, discipline, commitment, and humility. Yet 70% of kids are dropping out of sports by the age of 13, most of them because sports are no longer fun!”

Let that reality absorb in. Three out of four children are done with sports before high school. As parents, do we not owe it to our children to attempt to understand why so many drop out? As a former athlete who knows how much sports impacted my life, I want my own kids’ experiences – no matter how long those experiences last – to be positive.

I do not believe having a positive experience is synonymous to having a winning record; rather, it is in the athlete’s capacity to recover from setbacks and stretch their own personal potential beyond what they believe is possible. As John so eloquently puts it, “In the real world, the most successful people are the people who are willing to fail (and try again) the most.”

John spoke to a room full of coaches and parents and delivered messaging that I know to be true, but see so many people (including myself) easily forget. According to him, elite athletes need three things to succeed, i.e., make the leap to higher levels of competitive play:

  1. They must love what they do.
  2. They must be allowed to own their experience.
  3. They must be intrinsically motivated.

Here’s a wonderful Tedx Talk featuring John speaking to a group in Bend, Oregon.

I’ve now talked to John on more than one occasion and am happy to say he is the proud owner of a GiveTheGameBack t-shirt and Steering Perspective wheel reminder.

The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be. -Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn


It’s been uplifting to hang out with so many great people as of late, men and women who have had positive impacts on me and countless others.Thank you for hanging out with me, by taking time out of your day to read these words. Have a wonderful week ahead and never forget about those in our world who are suffering. May we never take for granted how lucky we are to live in a country where we can share our thoughts freely.

Written by Heidi Woodard

First and foremost, Ms. Armstrong, I readily acknowledge that you probably don’t really care what it is I have to share with you. With over 1.5M Twitter followers and an online empire that dates back to 2001, I imagine you have this sharing-of-your-soul thing down pat and aren’t exactly out looking for reassurance from total strangers.

Yet here I am.

Not even sure why I feel the need to type you this letter. (Isn’t the concept of the “open letter” about as outdated as hammer pants? What can I say? I think they’re both worth resurfacing.)

I ran across this Tweet last week and then watched your 19-minute talk that it linked to on YouTube.

Heather Armstrong

It’s taken me a few days to articulate how hearing your words made me feel.

I participated in a Q&A session back in 2011 with other local “celebrities” (if you squint long enough while staring at me, I morph into someone others could possibly consider influential, as long as the A-listers and B-listers are already booked that is) while helping to raise money for a local nonproft that strives to serve homeless and at-risk youth within my community.

One of the many questions posed was “Who would you like to meet and job shadow for a day?”


I went on to explain how I admired your free spirit and unfiltered writing. How I thought it would be compelling to see how you balanced your creativity with your career.

I sometimes questioned the level of depth you revealed, simply because I couldn’t ever picture myself spilling out so much with my friends and family (or even perfect strangers for that matter). I can’t say I always agreed 100 percent with your opinions. Yet I respected you time and time again for bravely and honestly standing your ground with whatever you believed to be true.

Your personal battle with postpartum depression had the power to rob your heart and mind. By sharing your demons, you no doubt freed many others from theirs.

Your innocent, lovely girls and devoted dogs made me smile and I cheered for your entire family. You were living the life we all hoped and dreamed was possible.

And then 2012 happened.

You and your husband’s trial separation period was a little too raw for me to read about. I felt if I continued to gawk at your personal struggles, I was no better than the nosy neighbor who sits out on her porch shooting judgmental glances at unsuspecting passerbys.

I remember one of the final posts I read described you staring down at the dog leash you were holding in your hand and knowing that if you wanted it to (and you assured us all you did not), that leash had the power to make everything go away.

In your talk about why you are now choosing to walk away from sponsored content writing, you serve as the crystal ball into which so many of us mommy bloggers yearn to gaze. We all start off with two things after all: a love of writing and a desire to share our parenting reality through our own life’s lens.

The funny thing about mommy blogging, however, is that we all think we want to reach as many readers as possible because volume typically equates to popularity and opportunities. But, at the same time, we are wary of the fact that earned readership and opportunities may come with unintended sacrifice and consequences.

I guess, more than anything, I wanted you to know that I believe you and Jon started off on this journey together for all the right reasons. I imagine your sudden rise in fame took you both by surprise – equal parts thrilling and terrorizing. I bet you collected a handful of really sentimental memories together with your girls through your professional blogging that you wouldn’t trade for the world.

Knowing you have also felt completely torn apart as a result of your decisions, especially the gut-punching sense that your girls were included in the massive pile of collateral damage, well that’s something that no mom would ever wish on another.

You may have decided to turn a different direction on the professional path you are paving, but know this: You are still teaching all of us who have followed you for any portion of your journey. And for that, I wanted to thank you.

Read about Ms. Armstrong’s journey here and here.

Written by Heidi Woodard

I don’t know about yours, but my kids aren’t perfect. They are, after all, a mixture of me and their dad, who both possess several flaws of our own.

They all play sports. My husband and I love to watch them play, but up until this past year, I didn’t really tell them how much nearly enough.

You know what I have told them? I let them know that I thought they should have caught a pop fly or stopped a line drive. I told them how many more rebounds they could have had if they would’ve properly boxed out their opponents. I asked them time and time again what is your position in football technically called? (seriously, a half dozen years have passed by with me watching them, and I am still clueless when it comes to understanding the sport I never played)

Look, statistically speaking, the chances of your kids or my kids playing sports beyond high school are not high. Just read the information put out by the NCAA if you don’t believe me.

However, if you want to try and help your child enjoy their sport as long as possible (maybe your little super star does have what it takes to play on a high school varsity or collegiate team), here’s some solid advice for you…

For over three decades, Rob Miller and Bruce E. Brown of Proactive Coaching LLC studied and interviewed college athletes – specifically, what (in the athletes’ own words) happened to them growing up that had negative repercussions on their sporting careers versus, conversely, what built them up on their paths to success.

Student-athletes overwhelmingly answered that the most negative response from their parents took place on the car ride home, when the youth were trapped in the same space as their well-intentioned parents offering ill-timed advice to them after the competition was done.

What was the single best thing these athletes reported hearing over and over again from their parents? Six simple, yet powerful, words: I LOVE TO WATCH YOU PLAY.

If you are like I am and sometimes need a reminder to control your own overly competitive spirit (especially following games) consider picking up a new product on GiveTheGameBack.com called the “Steering Perspective” wheel reminder. You can affix this velcro, soft fabric signage around your steering wheel as a visual cue to enjoy the car ride home…or at least control your urge to correct your young athlete on each and everything they did wrong.

Order your "Steering Perspective" wheel reminder today for you or someone you love. Twenty five percent of all proceeds from now through December 31, 2015 will go to All Play Sports Complex.

Order your “Steering Perspective” wheel reminder today for you or someone you love. Twenty five percent of all proceeds from now through December 31, 2015 will go to All Play Sports Complex.

steering perspective flat

***Twenty-five percent of all proceeds from the sales of this product from now through December 31, 2015 will go to All Play Sports Complex. Read this article to get more information about this fabulous organization in Omaha, NE, that provides barrier free access to sports and other recreational activities for people with physical or mental disabilities.

This video is pretty cool too.

Written by Heidi Woodard