Monday, December 31, 2007

Unfulfilled expectations...

If every year of my life was a chapter in a book, that's what I'd call 2007 - "Unfulfilled Expectations" - at least when it comes to Ryan's football season. It just didn't quite go the way we'd hoped, and now it's over, really over. Ryan brought home two big boxes today after cleaning out his locker at One Bills Drive (he shipped a third home to Texas). What a fitting way to end 2007 - we can now close the book on this chapter of our lives and hopefully move on to a better new year.

Ryan had a good talk with one of his coaches today. Everything we've been thinking was basically confirmed. Someone on the coaching staff just didn't want Ryan on that field for one reason or another, and once a coach makes up his mind, that's pretty much it. It wouldn't have mattered how well Ryan played or what he could've contributed at that point - he was done. It still begs the question though - why didn't they just cut him mid-season once this decision was made? We don't have an answer for that and I don't think we ever will.

Ryan's coach also confirmed that Ryan was a victim of the youth movement going on here in Buffalo. This team is rebuilding again (it seems like they have been since we got here), and there just aren't that many spots on the roster for aging vets. It sucks to get "old" in the NFL - at 32, Ryan's seemingly washed up. That cracks me up. He ran a 4.6 40 the other day - that's faster than what we'll see some college tight ends entering the draft run. But I guess at 32 you're supposed to be slowing down, and for this team, it was reason enough to write Ryan off.

It's nice to have confirmation of what we've known all along though. It definitely provides some answers for us, and it's a little easier to bring closure to this situation.

So what now? Again, we'll wait. We're at the mercy of the 31 other NFL teams now - hopefully once the free agency period begins, we'll end up with a new team (someplace warm would be nice). In the meantime, we'll work on making 2008 one of our best years yet - it will be interesting to look back a year from now to see what I decide to entitle next year's chapter...

Happy new year everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well, this is it...

It's 1 p.m. E.S.T. - start time for the Bills-Eagles game. It's the last game of this really long and trying football season. I can't say I'm sorry to see it end. Having to overcome the emotional blow of Kevin Everett's early season career-ending injury to not seeing Ryan suited up the latter part of the year has certainly taken it's toll. It makes Ryan's final days as part of the Buffalo Bills family bittersweet to say the least.

Ryan's been incredibly blessed. After struggling tremendously to stick with a team his first couple of years in the leauge and then sitting out two seasons, Ryan has overcome unbelievable odds to have come this far. We've seen players come and go, survived three coaching staff changes, etc. We still have to pinch ourselves occasionally when we think about how long we've been with one team. Ryan doesn't take a day of it for granted either - he's been incredibly grateful for the opportunities afforded him here.

We hate that things ended the way they did - it would've been awesome for Ryan to be out on that field today with the guys he's come to know and love as brothers - they are family. I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I know it'll really hit Ryan tomorrow - he has to go in and meet with his coach, clean out his locker for the last time and say his goodbyes. Everything is just so, well, final. He'll feel it driving away from One Bills Drive tomorrow - no doubt.

We're hopeful of what the future holds. There are 31 other NFL teams out there who might be interested in a versatile tight end/fullback/special teams ace. This offseason will undoubtedly be a little stressful with all of the unknowns, but we're confident that God has a plan for us, and that another door will open. Change can be good, and we look forward to the challenges ahead.

So let's go Buffalo!!!!

(ok, seriously, I'm on my way to go take a nap...)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A year in pictures...

Some snapshots from the past year...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One crazy Sunday...

Today should be interesting...

Will woke up this morning at about 5:30 and never quite made it back to sleep. On a normal day, this wouldn't be a problem because I'd crash with him at nap time. But today's gameday, and the Bills take on the Giants at the Ralph at 1 p.m. so there won't be any napping.

The weather today is unreal too. Crazy, gusting winds that have already blown away some of Will's toys in the backyard. It's supposed to start raining soon, and the temperature is supposed to drop drastically over the next several hours with the rain turning into a slushy mix of sleet and snow. Thank goodness I'm sitting inside at the game today.

There is a bit of drama and excitement surrounding today's game. There are reports that Kevin Everett is going to walk onto the field today. Here's the kicker - the young man he collided with during that fateful game against the Broncos at the beginning of the season now plays for the Giants, so there is speculation that they are going to walk on the field together. Needless to say, that would be an amazing moment.

Today is going to be very bittersweet. It's most likely Ryan's last home game as a Buffalo Bill, and like in recent Sunday's past, he won't be suiting up. This is emotional for me, so I know it has to be terribly emotional for him. I have to admit that I lost some sleep last night thinking about how unfair and anticlimactic this is. It really makes me sad.

Even tougher is the fact that a lot of my friends here will be leaving tonight after the game to head home for the offseason since next week's game is an away game. I'm not good at goodbyes - I cry A LOT! So I'll have to put on my happy face when this evening when I'm actually falling apart inside. That's never fun.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I dread going to the movies on a weekend night. Without fail, there's a group of obnoxious young kids sitting at the top of the theater being, well, obnoxious. I know I must be getting old, because I much prefer to catch a mid-afternoon matinee so that I can avoid loud, rowdy kids interrupting the $10 movie I'm paying to see (factor in snacks and a babysitter, and the cost of going to a movie doubles).

Ryan and I decided to see "I Am Legend" this evening. It was good - very entertaining. But there were those pesky kids. In the back to the left of us was a rowdy group who couldn't shut up before the movie. Ryan went and told the movie police to keep an eye on them. A guy came in and said something to the kids - no more problems from them.

In the row in front of us and a several seats to the left were three teenage boys. With about 10 minutes left in the movie, when all was dead silent, one of them decided to pass gas for all to hear. That didn't make me mad or anything.

Finally, in the back and to the right of us was a young kid who decided to pull out and use a blow horn (you know, like the ones used to start races) right at the end of the movie. Ryan and I just kind of looked at each other and shook our heads. Well, the kid got away with it once, so he decided to try it again in the hallway. Little did he know that (a) the manager and a cop were right down the hall and (b) that I was a couple of feet behind him already annoyed with the obnoxious kids from the movie. The manager comes around the corner looking for the culprit, and I happily pointed like they do in the old crime dramas: "IT WAS HIM."

The cop goes after the kid and stops him right as he's about to exit the the front doors. Poor kid - his dad was waiting in his car for him at the curb and saw the kid get stopped. Oh boy - dad was not happy with his son at all. Ryan and I were pleased that we got some justice tonight. Obnoxious kids in the movie theater beware, I will tell on you.

Ryan did mention that he was that obnoxious kid when he was younger. I'm sure I had my moments. I specifically remember enjoying throwing popcorn at people from the back row. Pay back, I guess...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A death during the season...

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. Having to deal with it during the football season is exponentially more difficult because it's not always practical or possible to be with one's family during the difficult times. It's not so easy to just take a couple of days off to fly home and attend a funeral - the show, I mean game, must go on.

Ryan's grandma passed away last night. I received the news from Ryan's mom this morning, and I immediately teared up because I knew that meant having to track down Ryan at work to give him the news. See, if Ryan had a normal job, I'd call his extension at work and give him the news myself, right? Instead, I have to call the Bills and talk to someone who then has to go pull Ryan out of meetings or practice to deliver the bad news. OUCH. Ryan called me back and he seems to be doing okay. I know he wishes he could be with his family right now, and it just isn't going to happen. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. - there's no way Ryan would be able to attend the funeral on the west coast and make it back to Buffalo in time for Sunday's game. Hopefully we'll find our own way to get some closure - in the meantime, please keep our family in your prayers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow day!!!

Today is officially our first snow day of the year, so Will and I are chillin' at home again today. It has stopped snowing however, so hopefully after Will's nap we can got outside and enjoy the fresh snow for a little bit, or until we get too cold and have to come back inside. Here's what our backyard looks like right now.

The Bills got stuck in Cleveland last night after the game. They were all set to board the team plane back to Buffalo this morning but it's stuck in the mud at the airport! They've now boarded buses to make the roadtrip home. Poor guys. I'm sure this is not how they planned on spending their Monday.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The calm before the storm...

Buffalo is in the direct path of a nasty storm - it's supposed to hit sometime this evening and snow heavily through Monday morning. We could get up to 18 inches! It's eerily peaceful outside right now, but Ryan just called and said the team plane had to circle the airport for a while in Cleveland because the runways were shut down. And that's the storm that's headed our way.

Tomorrow's going to be a long day. We're ready in case the power goes out. We have a generator, tons of batteries, etc. I'm from earthquake country - I know how to put a preparedness kit together. Let's hope we won't need it though.

Well, at least if the electricity or Directv go out tomorrow, I won't have to worry about missing Ryan's game - he's not suiting up again this weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Go out and grab a Sports Illustrated!!!!

This week's cover story is about Kevin Everett, Ryan's teammate who suffered a severe spinal cord injury at the beginning of the season. The initial prognosis was grim - Kevin's life was in jeopardy, and he'd probably never walk again. As you can see from this picture taken recently, Kevin's made remarkable strides (literally) in his recovery. I read the story online yesterday and I couldn't stop crying - he and his family are such an inspiration. You've got to check the article out!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The belly - about 15 weeks...

So I know you've all been anxiously waiting to see the belly. Honestly, I've been waiting a bit because there just isn't much there yet. This is almost embarassing, but here it is!

I carried the exact same way with Will, so this doesn't shock me too much. I promise the belly will grow! I do feel like my jeans got tighter around the midsection this time around - I'll be pulling out the belly bands soon!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I should start flipping a coin...

After a decent showing in Washington last week, Ryan is once again not suiting up for the game this weekend against Miami. That makes three games he hasn't suited up for this season (not including the one week he didn't suit up because he was "injured"). Just wanted to keep you posted...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

On dealing with the paparazzi...

We had our first blanketing of snow this morning - it was really pretty outside, but COLD! I'm still working on getting a picture of Will for our Christmas cards, so we ventured outside. I snapped furiously while he walked around hoping to get one good shot, and this is what I came up with....
This is Will's "no pictures please" look. Classic Will.

Look for #88!

Ryan's suiting up today against the Redskins!!!

No doubt it's going to be a difficult game with the Redskins' recent loss of teammate Sean Taylor. What a terrible tragedy. Sean's death was the 4th for the NFL this year - four young lives, gone. It just hurts my heart.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

This sucks!!!!

I have a urinary tract infection. The symptoms started Thursday afternoon. I felt a dull ache in my lower abdomen that migrated to my lower back. I didn't think too much of it, and was able to get through the day without a problem.

Then, at 3 a.m. on Friday morning, I woke up and was in a good amount of pain. I just couldn't get comfortable. I was finally able to get back to sleep. I called my ob's office first thing in the morning - I was convinced I was in the process of a miscarriage or something. Generally, I'm an optimist, but I tend to be a realist and can conjure up the worst case scenario in a heartbeat to prepare myself for bad news. The earliest the doctor's office could get me in was 1:45 in the afternoon.

I sat in pain most of the day. And the pain got worse. I'd be driving down the street in tears because my back hurt so bad and I was so uncomfortable. Once at the doctor's office, I could tell that Friday afternoon "rush" was on! The staff just sort of took their time. No one was in much of a hurry. All the while, I'm still thinking I'm getting ready to lose the baby.

The nurse calls me back and I go through the usual routine - pee in a cup, get weighed, have my blood pressure checked, etc. The nurse flippantly says, "Oh, you've got blood in your urine." No further explanation. I probably went white. Again, assuming the worst, I just knew I was having a miscarriage. She took me back into the examination room, and I was happy to hear bean's heartbeat pumping right along at 150 beats per minute. Still the best sound ever. The nurse said the midwife would be in shortly.

Ten minutes pass. Twenty. Thirty. Almost 40 minutes later the midwife casually makes her appearance as tears are literally streaming down my face. I'm scared, I'm in pain, and she doesn't seem to care one bit. Aren't midwives supposed to be nurturing, more caring? I got nothing. After the brief examination, she concluded I had a UTI. Relieved that nothing was wrong with the baby, I immediately knew I was in for a fight - I've heard that UTIs are no joke. She prescribed me an antibiotic and I was on my way.

Being the trooper I am, I came home to get ready for a major outreach event we do every year. It's called "Night With the Bills" and it's held at the Buffalo Christian Center. It's a really fun night with music, testimonies, the whole nine yards and the kids just love it. So I hop in the shower to wash my hair. Ouch. I'm in pain. I get out and conjure up the energy to blow dry my hair. Ok, I don't feel good at all. By the time I was done, I wanted to ball up in pain. But I couldn't - that hurt too much. It hurt to stand, it hurt to lay down, it hurt to sit, it hurt to bend down. I called my doctor's answering service - I needed to know what was going on. The person on call, once I actually got in touch with her over 30 minutes after my initial call, almost yelled at me saying "Well what do you want me to do from here? Go to the emergency room!" Shock, coupled with fear, and I was a wreck - completely sobbing.

Interestingly enough, the pain subsided in all the chaos. I finally started feeling a bit better. Recognizing that I wasn't going to make it to the event, I succumbed to the comforts of my bed and went to sleep. Actually, I had a really good night's sleep - better than I've had in a while. I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to go.

I popped my antibiotic and got into "mommy mode." As I prepared Will's breakfast, I felt a familiar tinge in my back. Uh oh - the pain's coming back. Sure enough, within the hour, I was once again in pretty bad pain and started contemplating a trip to the emergency room. But this is no easy feat - Ryan's at work and will be leaving this afternoon for Washington D.C. A trip to the emergency room would require some coordination. But I have to prepare myself for the option and I've got some people on call just in case.

As of right now, the pain isn't horrible, but I'm not feeling great. I called the helpful 24 hour nurse line provided by our insurance company (I refuse to call my doctor's office) and was told that if the pain gets worse, I should go to the hospital because I may have a kidney stone. So we're gonna hang on for a little while to see how I'm feeling. If the pain comes back by this evening, I'll head to the emergency room for some pain medication. But what a major PIA!