I have been told by several of my well-intentioned female friends over the years that spa days are necessary. I will never argue that a day of pampering doesn’t feel amazing, but I generally feel guilty spending money on myself in an effort to relax and recharge.

Last week I played a little sand volleyball. Anyone who has known me for more than a handful of years knows that I love playing that sport, even though my vertical jump and reactionary speed are all but nonexistent these days.

Perhaps the only thing I’d rank higher in terms of recreational enjoyment than my love of sand volleyball is my love of sleep. Again, all of my friends know (and tease me about) this. I’ve required a restful night of shut eye ever since I was a child.

Whereas some people can survive on five hours of sleep a night, I require more like nine in order to function. The good news is I’ve never been much of a partier/night owl so catching extra those zzzz’s has rarely been an issue.

Put it this way: If I had to take one survival item with me on any of the survivor-type reality shows, I’d be hard pressed to think anything would be more useful than a good set of ear plugs.

Why do I spill these seemingly unrelated personality quirks? Because one person cares about, dare I say honors, all of them more than anyone else. My mom.

I’m at a stage in my life right now where I have an equal amount of friends who still have their moms around as compared to those who do not. And every time I learn about another person, especially a woman young or old, learning to live without their mom, it makes me appreciate even more all the ways mine has supported and nurtured me.

When my mom learned about how late I would be playing sand volleyball last week at a sports bar incredibly close to her and my dad’s home as well as my work (but extremely far away from my own home that I share with my loving and loud family), she offered up a simple question, “Would you like to just stay the night at our place after your games?”

((record scratch))

WOULD I?! I thought.

“Well, yeah, if you don’t mind. That would be awesome.” I replied.

Spa Home

Here are all of the reasons why I have no shame in my spa game at mom and dad’s place:

  1. Their house – thanks in large part to my mom – feels like a page out of a magazine, where wind chimes are singing their melodies while soft breezes are blowing and time takes its time. I’ve never known it to be messy or disheveled, which incidentally are the two words I’d use to best describe the 15 hours of my average waking day.
  2. Snack time at 10 p.m. Guys, my mom had a sandwich prepared for me as I walked in their front door after my game. But she waited to put on the lettuce and tomato because she “didn’t want the bread to get soggy.” At this point, we might as well have been John and Ray Kinsella in her Field of Dreams kitchen with me posing the question, “Is this heaven?” and her answering, “It’s you reliving your childhood.”
  3. Fresh towels. I showered before going to bed and wrapped myself in ultra soft comfort to dry off. As I took in a deep breath of gratitude, I wondered how my mom keeps her towels feeling and smelling so wonderful. Towels in my own home, even freshly washed and straight out of the dryer, feel scratchy and smell like where you don’t want to be.
  4. Open windows. Three out of the four people I share my own home with prefer air conditioning approximately eight months out of the year. The other four months are basically the dead of winter in Nebraska. As I pulled down the sheets of the perfectly made bed that magical evening at mom and dad’s house, and collapsed into total comfort, I felt the fresh outside air snaking its way into the room on an unseasonably and refreshingly cool evening in July.
  5. Peace and quiet. Not once did I have to threaten teenage boys to take away Fortnite if they didn’t stop yelling during their games. Not once did I have to tell their sister to turn down YouTube. Not once did I have to nudge my snoring husband. Not once did I hear the dog barking. Not once did I move after I fell asleep.
  6. No group consensus required. I ate when I wanted. Fell asleep when I wanted. Took up as much room as I wanted. Woke up when I wanted.
  7. Freshly prepared breakfast. Cut up fruit, baked blueberry muffins, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Yes, I am the youngest child.
  8. Full toilet paper rolls. No additional explanation needed.

It wasn’t until I was a mom myself did I realize how hard the gig can be. As with most things in life, experience breeds appreciation and understanding.

My mom has told me many times that she doesn’t know how I do it. The full-time job, the shuffling activity calendars, the coaching, the rushing around, the holding it all together, the everything. And I only need one night with her to realize that all of the “stuff” I do pales in comparison to what she does…which is to make every person who comes into their house truly feel as if they are home. And can exhale.

Thank you, Mom. For this. For everything.

Written by Heidi Woodard

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Girls of Summer Series

My heartfelt thanks goes out to every man and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our collective freedom as Americans. May your actions forever be remembered and your service forever honored.

I purposely delayed publishing my third and final post in this sponsored series until today, Memorial Day. It’s hard for me to think of America without incorporating the tradition of baseball.

I took two of my children to the Storm Chasers game last Friday night versus Round Rock Express. The home team blasted 17 hits en route to an 11-1 victory in the series opener at Werner Park.

Omaha’s righty Trevor Oaks hurled seven solid innings from the mound. He was backed by both a dependable defense as well as a multifaceted offense that gave fans the chance to watch the Storm Chasers’ lineup displaying their short- and long-games.

If you haven’t seen outfielder Terrance Gore run the base path, do yourself a favor and buy a game ticket just for that. His speed and athleticism are worth the price of admission!

The Storm Chasers tacked on six runs in the sixth inning alone, the same inning that saw outfielder Frank Schwindel blast a two-run homer over left field.

To piggyback the physical play highlights, we enjoyed several fan experience highlights.

Fans of all ages enjoyed several on-field promotions and between-inning festivities throughout the game including:

  • Safeco Insurance Dizzy Bat Race
  • Kiss Cam
  • Jump Around Cam
  • Werner Enterprises Balloon Bust
  • Certified Transmission Rock On (Dueling Singing Contest)
  • Huber Chevrolet & McDonald’s Hurl The Pearl Contest
  • MY PERSONAL FAVORITE: Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Child Public Announcer

My daughter and I had to each take one for the team and partake in different concession stand treats in order to give readers of Maternal Media a true glimpse into the game experience (wink). I sampled the famous La Mesa nachos and she chose to follow-up her hot dog with a cherry snow cone.

nachos

snow cone

Once the final out had been recorded, we all sat back and enjoyed the post-game fireworks.

My 14-year old son tried to convince his younger sister that the “Heidi” Friday Night Fireworks were being offered to all fans since their mom agreed to write a few blog posts for the Storm Chasers organization. She almost believed him when she heard the announcer declare something similar over the PA system. I was a pretty big deal in her eyes for about 20 seconds…until the real sponsor of the Friday Night Fireworks, “Hy-Vee,” was displayed on the big screen.

fireworks 2018

fireworks

The Storm Chasers have plenty of games remaining in this, the 50th Anniversary of their organization’s franchise, commemorative season. Don’t delay…catch a game while you can.

The Omaha Storm Chasers approached me and other mom bloggers to provide sponsored content to raise awareness of their organization. I would like to thank Marketing & Promotions Coordinator, Andrew Asbury, for giving me this opportunity.

Written by Heidi Woodard

Girls of Summer Series

Friday night was the kind of night that every baseball fan dreams about. After a brief bout of showers about 20 minutes prior to the 7:05 p.m. first pitch, the clouds parted and it was as if God declared, “Let there be light…and a gentle breeze…and a crack of the bat…and soft serve ice cream…and, finally, toss in a good-hearted heckler to top things off.”

Werner Park and the Omaha Storm Chasers did not disappoint. Despite the home team falling to the visiting New Orleans Baby Cakes 13-2, my daughter and I got to experience everything I hoped we would.

 

Heidi and Jaycee

To start the night off, former MLB catcher and first basemen, Mike Sweeney, signed autographs and gave an interview that was broadcast for fans to watch on the stadium’s big screen during pregame warmups. Two things he said that really resonated with me:

First, he quoted Pope Benedict XVI by saying,

“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

What a wonderful statement for children and adults alike to hear from a Hall of Famer!

Secondly, he spoke about an unwritten rule that he has for the Little League players he coaches. If one of his players gets plunked by a pitch in a game, that player’s mom or dad needs to buy him ice cream. If that same player doesn’t cry after getting plunked, that ice cream better have toppings. If the parents don’t oblige by that rule within 24 hours, they aren’t allowed to come to the next game. (Incidentally, I have a rule that my softball girls will earn a pack of gum anytime they get hit by a pitch and don’t fuss about it. Glad to know I’m on the right track!)

Autograph signing

Mike Sweeney bobble head

Sweeney played his first 13 seasons in the Majors with the Kansas City Royals, so it was really cool to see him make a return visit to Werner Park, home of the club’s Triple-A Affiliate.

Speaking of Werner Park, what a place to be with a nine-year old kid! I could go on and on about all of the amenities the place has to offer, but let me just summarize everything by saying…I MADE IT 8.5 INNINGS BEFORE MY DAUGHTER WAS READY TO LEAVE!

Below are some highlights from the Centris Family Fun Zone, a special area of the park specially built for young fans.

Rock Wall

 

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Needless to say, we’re looking forward to catching another game on May 25 versus Round Rock. And because the next game will be a Friday night home game, all fans will be able to watch the skies light up as part of a post-game fireworks show.

The Omaha Storm Chasers approached me and other mom bloggers to provide sponsored content to raise awareness of their organization. I would like to thank Marketing & Promotions Coordinator, Andrew Asbury, for giving me this opportunity.