Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back...

This has been an interesting year for the Neufelds. There were a lot of amazing things we experienced this year - some notables being Football Wives and everything it brought with it, Kristi's wedding, Andrea's pregnancy. There were some difficulties as well though - Ryan's injury and the official end of his professional football career, financial uncertainty, lay-offs and job searches. What I can say definitively is this - I believe that everything we experience in life has a purpose, and how we respond will determine the outcome of the upcoming chapters in our lives. So, with that, I close the chapter on 2010 and look forward to the challenges and triumphs coming in the new year.

Thanks to everyone for your continuing encouragement and support!

As for how the Neufelds spent this new year's eve - well, Bryn had a party at her crib and her buddies wore her out!

That's a Wrap! Or is it....

Over the last couple of days, I've had NUMEROUS emails, blog responses, etc. sent to me about Football Wives. Our season finale was almost two weeks ago, but thanks to on demand, reruns and the internet, more and more folks are seeing the show and aren't too happy with me. Some responses have been just awful - one even blamed me for Will's autism. The person called it my "karma." Some are almost comical - someone spent an unimaginable amount of energy responding to my Anonymous Haters post. The response was deleted almost immediately. I'm happy people are able to vent, but you might want to do so where I don't have control over what gets posted.

Here's the REALITY - it's a freaking television show! If you spend any more than the 22 minutes a week it aired during the season contemplating who is prettier, richer, the better Christian, etc., you might want to get a life. I'm just saying. Heading into the New Year, I suggest you find a more meaningful hobby than hating on me.

Blessings.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Anonymous Haters...

This is my blog and I will not post your obsessive, hateful comments. I suggest you get a life and unless you're going to be a positive influence on mine, beat it. By the way, you're not saying anything new or creative that I haven't already heard, so save your energy and/or refocus it on someone who gives a (insert expletive).

Smooches!

Finally made it to visit Santa!

We're usually really good about getting to the mall early during the holiday season to get the kids' picture with Santa. With work, Football Wives, etc., time slipped away from me. I looked up last week and realized I really didn't have time to do Christmas cards this year - it's been about a decade since we haven't sent out a card! So bummed!

We managed to get to Willow Bend today and stood in line for about two hours before we finally got to see the big guy. The kids did surprisingly well all things considered. A treat for the kids at Willow Bend - right before you get to see Santa, you have to wait in a big igloo-looking room with "snow" falling from the ceiling. Will and Bryn absolutely loved it, but I'll be vacuuming up snow for weeks!

Anyway, this pic makes my aching feet totally worth the wait!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Neufelds

We aren't doing a Neufeld Christmas card this year - not because we're trying to be green. I just ran out of time! We still have to take the kids to see Santa! In the meantime, enjoy...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Football Wives Season Finale

Sunday morning before Ryan and I left for Cowboys stadium, I made sure I tweeted and Facebooked my usual reminder to make sure everyone tuned in to Football Wives. It was finally time for the season finale, and I knew we'd need big ratings for the network and producers to consider a second season. When I watched the episode that evening, I was devastated. The episode portrayed me as angry and bitter and someone consumed with envy and jealousy. It was upsetting because that certainly wasn't my reality, and after all of the work I've done to promote the show this season, it was hard for me to swallow that I'd been portrayed as the broken, miserable, bad guy (or girl).

Here's my final post-episode blog post. To say that I've learned a valuable reality t.v. lesson is an understatement. I wanted to be a part of the cast because it was finally an opportunity to tell what it's really like to be married to a pro-football player. But instead of focusing on the the reality of our life - making it through the transition, having a child with special needs, having a strong foundation with an appreciation for the important things in life - the drama in my edited reality took center stage.

We've already been told that there probably won't be a reunion show which doesn't surprise me. But I sure hope there is a season two - might give me an opportunity to set the record straight!

Have vs. Have Not

“Football Wives finale Sunday” was a highly-anticipated day in the Neufeld household. In addition to the airing of our final episode, we’d been invited by Amanda Davis to sit in her field-level suite at Cowboys stadium to see our home team take on the rival Washington Redskins. The Cowboys took an early lead but the defense faltered and the Redskins tied it up late in the fourth quarter. Our own David Buehler ended up kicking the game-winning field goal. The stadium erupted with excitement – we were so happy for him and Brittany.

Sunday was also a “first” for Ryan – it was his first time attending an NFL game when he wasn’t suited up on the field playing. I’m sure it was a little emotional for him and I bet he imagined himself on that field in front of 100,000 cheering fans making tackles and catching passes. But after standing for a quarter, Ryan had to sit down because his back started aching. We were reminded of the toll the game he’s played and loved for so many years has taken on him physically – he couldn’t play another season if he wanted to. I think knowing you can’t be on the field playing makes it a little easier to sit back and enjoy the show.

Shortly after kick-off, my cell phone started buzzing with texts, phone calls, Twitter mentions and Facebook messages. This was the first Sunday all season I haven’t caught the early airing of the show, and I’d have to wait all day to see what all the chatter was about. One message on Twitter said, “Just watched. Time to unfollow you. Wow. You can give it but you can’t take it…” “Take what?” I wondered out loud. Another message read, “I’m sorry but you’re a BITCH!! Let people live!!... How the hell you an attorney and mom?” Someone was attacking my credibility and ability to be a good mother based on what they saw on the show? Knowing that the finale featured our cast trip to New York, I thought back to what happened on the trip and while I knew there had been drama, I didn’t think it was all that bad and I wondered what I’d done to become the person people love to hate. A good friend who I love and trust then wrote, “Not liking your portrayal. You and Chanita look bitter. Poor editing.” As much as I’d anticipated the season finale, the comments had me pretty worried.

As I watched the show, I understood why people were saying I was bitter and jealous. If I were watching the episode and didn’t know me, I’d probably be going off as well. Why wouldn’t people think I’m overly consumed with Pilar when EVERY SINGLE SCENE I’m in, I’m talking about her? I’ve always taken responsibility for my behavior on the show (as I think everyone should), and I stand by the fact that what viewers have seen was real and not staged. What I cannot stand is when only part of the story is told. To see a four-day trip wrapped up in so much conflict and drama was disheartening. I certainly didn’t spend my time away from Ryan and the kids focusing on Pilar, though the storytellers sure would like you to think I did.

There are a couple things I noticed while watching the episode – did anyone else notice how busted everyone’s hair looked? We made it to New York just as tropical storm Nicole gripped the city and the humidity was awful. Many women reading this can relate to the havoc humidity can wreak on one’s coif. I think we took the Texas humidity with us to the big city.

Another thing I noticed – viewers don’t get to see how much fun we had in New York because of the drama. We took a private cruise around the city – what an awesome way to take in the sights! We marveled at the skyline, reflected when we closed in on Ground Zero, and saluted when we neared the Statue of Liberty. We had a ball! And the night Chanita, Erin, Brittany, Jay and I went out on the town, we didn’t get in until after 4 a.m.! We danced on couches singing “Come on Eileen” in one club and Diddy’s “Hello, Good Morning” in another. We hit up three different clubs that night and even took pictures in an empty Times Square before heading back to the Paramount where we were staying. I hadn’t had that much fun in years. It truly was a night to remember and Chanita and I talked about how it was one of those “bucket list” outings we’ll remember forever.



Our first night in New York, we ate dinner at The Strand and enjoyed the fabulous views of the Empire State Building from the rooftop. The clouds were rolling in and created an almost-magical backdrop for the evening. I meant what I said to Chanita that night – Pilar wasn’t thinking about us, so we had to make sure we didn’t let her ruin our trip. I was as confused as everyone else watching the episode – how could I go from telling Chanita we needed to move on to talking about Pilar in all the subsequent scenes? Interestingly enough, I think back to New York - Pilar and I were on the same return flight to Dallas after our trip. We stood about a foot apart waiting to board the plane when Pilar told me, “You know I don’t have a problem with you, right?” Could’ve fooled me…

The dinner on our last night in New York was a bummer for all of us. While the Pilar-vs.-everyone dynamic was expected, no one saw the Dawn-Chanita-Melani argument coming. Many people don’t understand why I became so upset with Melani at dinner. Truth is, she’d become a confidante and good friend. I often had long conversations with Melani while we were shooting the show. We’d talk about the “work” aspect of shooting a reality show and the relationships and conflicts that were forming. The week before we left for New York, I’d expressed to Melani my only concern about participating on the show – the fact that it could potentially affect my career as an attorney depending on how it was edited. I wondered if I’d be made to look like I drink excessively since the cameras always seemed to focus on my choice of beverage even though many of the other ladies were having a cocktail as well. I’d used profanity and taken a spin around a stripper pole on the back of a boat – activities that some might think are socially and/or professionally unacceptable – and it was all caught on camera. Melani told me to pray about it and tried to assure me that everything would be okay.

Being our resident peacemaker, Melani was understandably upset about the drama and tension. She expressed that she was tired of people being thrown under the bus for the sake of television. We were walking that fine line between creating an entertaining (i.e. drama-filled) television show while staying true to the women we are. It was hard to accept that the line was being crossed almost daily while we were filming, but my television background helped me understand that folks wouldn’t be tuning into Football Wives to watch us sing “Kumbaya.”

Viewers weren’t privy to these conversations I’d had with Melani so they wouldn’t understand why I was so sensitive to the fact that she’d bring up my career to call me out on my behavior towards Pilar. Melani had just thrown me under the same bus she was tired of everyone being under. I was incredibly hurt – I felt like I’d told someone my most intimate secrets in confidence and that she’d turned around and shouted them from the top of the Empire State Building. I know Melani never would’ve intentionally hurt me, and think she realized a major line had been crossed, which is why she immediately came up to me and apologized. I can appreciate what she was trying to accomplish that night, but I think she was trying to fix something that was beyond repair. It took us a couple of weeks to recover from that night, but we were eventually able to move on.

Another thing I found interesting about the episode – hearing all the name-calling Pilar did when she was around others or in front of the camera. Pilar has gone on and on about how we were always talking behind her back about her. I’m pretty sure I’ve told her directly exactly how I feel. I watched the episode and heard Pilar call us (Chanita and I) swine and “have nots.” Apparently neither of those are as bad as calling someone a “bitch.” She called me a green-eyed monster insinuating, like many have just come out and said over the last couple of months, that I am jealous of her. What bothered me the most is when she portrayed me as someone who is not grateful and thankful for what I’ve been given which can’t be further from the truth. I can say this as loud and as often as possible, but what good will it do if people think the “real” me is what they see in a show as drama-filled as possible edited into 22-minutes a week? Would anyone care if I had been accurately portrayed as someone content with her life?

The “have vs. have not”-theme was engrained in viewers from episode one – it made it easy for people to call Chanita and I jealous and bitter when the issue of money and status, and the alleged lack of it, has been the central theme of our season. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was so bothered by the finale. Then it hit me – I have never felt like a “have not” until I watched the final show. All this time I’ve considered myself a “have.” I have a healthy family, we have a roof over our heads, we have jobs and income. While we aren’t as financially secure as we used to be, we have been given plenty. I have an education and career. Ryan and I were so grateful every time he stepped foot onto an NFL field that we weren’t consumed with superstar status and I’d never contemplated that we weren’t “haves.” All this, and I was portrayed on the show as not being content with my life. To add insult to injury, the one person who actually did focus her attention on status and money during production was portrayed as the victim of relentless, unprovoked bashing and hatred, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. We’d all been told Pilar was the “name” behind our show – were the storytellers protecting the “have” to make sure she wants to come back if there is a season two at the expense of the “have nots?” It sure seemed that way to me.

The season finale lacked closure, but luckily for us, we had plenty in real life. The argument after my vow renewal in the last episode actually took place on the last day of filming. Right after we shot that scene, everyone congregated at Amanda’s house for one last hoorah. Well, almost everyone. Amanda said in New York, “You are who you hang out with.” I think back to the love and camaraderie that filled that room when we wrapped and I figure, I’m in good company.

Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 Sam's Club Dream Drive

The real life football wives got together today in Grapevine to shop for the families. For the fourth year in a row, Off the Field (the national football wives association) teamed up with Sam's Club to make the holidays extra special for 100 deserving families across the country selected by the Salvation Army. Each family received $800 in gifts that we hand selected at Sam's Club, and they are each getting a $200 gift card! The best part of the day - hanging out with the other Football Wives - Amandy, Melani, and Brittany. Always good times!



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reality Confessions


Pathetic. Jealous. Hater. Liar. Ugly. Fake. Broke. Bitch. Hoe.

These are just a few of the names I've been called repeatedly since Football Wives premiered two months ago. I joke that I can always tell when a rerun is airing because the name calling picks up on the social networking sites. Honestly, those are just the names I care to repeat - I've been called much, much worse by folks on blogs, twitter, and Facebook. I've had people say they hope Ryan and I get divorced and/or go broke and lose our home. A while back, someone made an incredibly inappropriate comment about us having a special needs child that made me speechless. I do what I can to block and avoid the repeat offenders on Facebook and Twitter, but the comments are there and often hard to miss.

When I signed on to be a part of the cast, Ryan and I had a talk about the implications of being a part of Football Wives. There would be wonderful benefits - getting to hang out with the ladies and have fun, promoting autism awareness, maybe going on a cast trip somewhere fun and exciting. I was also well aware of the fact that not everyone would like me and I would have to try to prepare myself for the negativity. We experienced this positive vs. negative dichotomy during Ryan's football years. Everyone loves football players, but when things are going bad for the team or you make a mistake on the field, you're everyone's worst enemy. That can be the loneliest feeling. Fans are especially brutal on team fan pages and message boards. I am now experiencing what Ryan did for all of those years - and I understand now why he wouldn't log in to see what folks were saying about him or the team.

My mom called me a couple weeks ago crying. She heard what people were saying on the blogs and she told me she was worried. She cried - I'm her daughter, the wife of Ryan Neufeld, mom to Will and Bryn - not a hoe, slut, groupie, etc. She couldn't believe what she was hearing and that people could be so cruel.

We spent four brutally hot Texas summer months shooting Football Wives. Being on the cast was work - there were some days when we'd have three or four shoots on the same day, all while trying to continue to maintain our "reality" - going to work, taking care of the kids. It was hard and exhausting. After the first couple of weeks of shooting, the different character personalities started defining us and what our roles were to be. Chanita was the loud, dramatic one. I was the broke, anorexic, alcoholic. Brittany was just the girlfriend. Melani was the calm, quiet one. Amanda was the loving giver - there was always really good food at Amanda's house when we shoot on location in Starwood.

Problem with these labels is that they were often wrong and inaccurate. Let's start with me - I'm skinny, but certainly not anorexic. I like to drink on occasion - true alcoholics drink a lot everyday if I'm correct. Lastly, I'm broke. Well, not quite. We don't have money like we used to but our bills are getting paid. We won't be taking any fancy vacations any time soon, but we certainly aren't broke. And this is where the ones who obsess and wait for me to post get going. If I've gone off on Pilar in an episode, I'm now the broke-*ss alcoholic who has had too much to drink. I'm not an alcoholic - far from one - but I had to learn I can't defend myself everytime someone defames me. I signed up for some of this by agreeing to be on the cast - I just wasn't prepared for it.

When I hear the words being used towards me, I initially laugh because they are so inaccurate. But when you hear the words over and over, oftentimes coming from the same set of people, it starts wearing down on you. It gets old and you hate to spend time trying to defend the truth. Then you realize you can't. I get mad and sad. I haven't wanted to get out of bed and face the day sometimes because of the cyberbullying directed at our cast, but had to because of the kids and work. These have been comments made by people who are complete strangers, people who don't know me, who question why I was on the show. I wonder if these bullies even watch the show. Some of them don't - they rant about things that don't even happen in an episode.

We had four months of film that an editing team sliced and diced into 8 22-minute shows. That's no easy feat. Hours upon hours of footage on the cutting room floor with less than 3 hours worth of television good enough to make our Football Wives product to sell. I was happy when I was asked to write the blogs for the show - I realized something like this was needed to fill in viewers about what pieces of the puzzle were missing on the cutting room floor.

I spend a lot of time on my VH1 blogs - it usually takes a good two to three hours to complete one entry (none are compensated for). These blogs are MY blogs - it's my forum to tell viewers what they might have missed. Why was Chanita so mad with me? Why did I throw the cookie? Why Pilar didn't go to the hospital. I spent so much time writing these blogs hoping people would truly be able to enjoy the show with the missing pieces. Instead, my blog has become a breeding ground for vultures waiting to bounce and tear up my blog the minute it's posted. Note that I didn't say they wait until they read it - their comments don't have anything to do with what I'd written about. I hear stuff like this a lot, "Dawn is so jealous and hates Pilar." I'm pretty sure you can find that post somewhere under my Football Wives blog after the football game. The same people come in week after week and say the most horribly degrading things. The language is terrible - I certainly don't think they would speak to a family member or someone they love this way. The anononymity of the internet has become a frightening beast - people can do so much damage when they have no self control. They say what they say without consequence.

On a recent day after a brutal internet lashing after Football Wives aired, I was feeling pretty down. One can only take so much abuse - they will eventually crack. The stuff that went on with Pilar while filming is nothing compared to the horrible experience Football Wives has since become. People are tired of the drama - they don't want to see us fighting anymore. Well guess what? ME TOO! But I have absolutely no control over that - the folks that edit the show have that privilege. Maybe they are the more appropriate parties to denigrate.

At the end of the day, it's a reality show made for television. In my blog, I write what I experienced and what really happened. People might have their own ideas of what could or should've happened - they should go write their own blog. I'm going to keep writing me - and people should learn to lighten up.

This week's Football Wives blog...

What a fun episode! I really enjoyed watching the vow renewal ceremony - it was so incredibly sweet! I have to admit that I was thoroughly disappointed that it appeared any of us gave a hoot that Pilar wasn't there - I certainly didn't. But I had a reason for asking why she was there! Check out my latest blog post. And be sure to check out our season finale this weekend - not sure if we're getting a second season yet, but I sure hope so! We have lots of unfinished business!

Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 7

Got Me!

I’m not easy to surprise. As a lawyer, I’ve been trained to analyze facts and situations. I ask questions when things don’t make sense. I always have a plan. So when Ryan tried to surprise me several years ago with a week-long trip to a resort in Mexico, I asked so many questions he finally had to reveal his secret and I ruined the surprise. That was the last time Ryan contemplated spontaneity with me – until now.

In addition to our busy Football Wives shooting schedule, I was working my regular job and trying to squeeze in auditions. I was busier than ever and was on autopilot – there wasn’t a lot of time for analyzing the craziness that was my life for the months we were in production. The show producers came to me and told me we were going to plan a special event and as busy as I was, when I heard the plan I was all in. Chanita tells a hilarious story about how she and George got married in their living room during training camp with three fat offensive lineman as witnesses. She talked all the time about how they didn’t have a real wedding, so when the producers came to me and said they wanted to plan a wedding ceremony for George and Chanita, I was all for it!

The plan was for me to pick a fight with Chanita to preoccupy her so we could plan the surprise - I’d talk about her kids or something so she’d contemplate walking me like a dog again. And I tried – we sat at lunch one day and I started going in on her trying to upset her. At one point, knowing how she feels about her kids and Pilar (areas of sensitivity), I even suggested Pilar might be a better mother than Chanita. It should’ve tipped me off that Chanita didn’t go absolutely ham on me that day – I was so focused on trying to upset her that I ignored her uncharacteristic level-headedness. I felt like I’d failed in my mission to set Chanita off – I was bummed.

Earlier that week, I also started asking questions that could have totally ruined the surprise. I asked Ryan about how George was going to leave the team in Omaha to come down for a surprise wedding. Football players miss all sorts of big events during the football season – weddings, babies being born, funerals – football comes first at all cost during the season. Not only did George have a game the day after the scheduled ceremony, but it was an away game in Las Vegas. He should have been traveling with his team, not getting married in Dallas. Ryan deflected my questions – he said the coaches must’ve approved it. That never would’ve happened in the NFL – but I was assured George would be there for the ceremony so I figured his UFL coaches had been more lenient.

Complicating matters, Will and Bryn were both really sick the week we filmed the scene – they both had missed a couple days of school with illness. I’d even called my production assistant that day and told him I didn’t want to be out too late filming because I wanted to be home taking care of them. I found out after the renewal that the original plan was to include them in the ceremony. A suit had been ordered for Will, a flower girl headpiece and basket ordered for Bryn. I can’t even imagine how sweet that would’ve been.

I tried on five different outfits getting ready for Chanita’s wedding – and Ryan saw every single one of them. I would ask him how something looked and he had the same reaction with each new outfit change: “You look fine.” Little did I know that days earlier, he had my wedding gown smuggled out of the house and dry-cleaned and that it was waiting for me at the hotel.

Ryan left the house a couple of hours before I did – he and George were going to film a scene before the ceremony. We’d had different call times before during production, so I didn’t question this arrangement. When my chauffeur-driven car arrived at the hotel, I didn’t question when we sat outside the hotel for 20 minutes while final arrangements were being made upstairs. We did a lot of waiting while filming Football Wives, and playing the “hurry-up-and-wait” game was par for the course. I still didn’t question anything when my production assistant Tommy escorted me upstairs in the elevator. He laughed when I talked about how hard I’d worked on putting together the perfect outfit for the evening. I couldn’t figure out what was funny. It wasn’t until I was standing outside the hotel suite that it finally hit me that something was up. Where was everyone? Why was I the only cast member standing in the hallway? Wait a minute…

I walked in and saw the cameras pointed at me, then I saw the ladies, including Chanita, all dressed to the nines staring at me. And then I saw my wedding dress – I recognized it immediately and then I realized that the surprise was on me! I had no idea that I’d be renewing my vows that night. I was completely stunned and couldn’t believe Ryan was able to pull this off! I really was speechless. The ladies eventually left to head downstairs while I got dressed and had my makeup done. It took me a while to get ready because I kept crying my makeup off. When I finally pulled it together, I put my wedding dress on. I was a little nervous it wasn’t going to fit – whose dress still fits 10 years after the wedding? Luckily, it fit like a glove!

As I made my way outside, I saw no one but Ryan. He was just as handsome as he was on our wedding day almost 10 years ago. It was such an awesome and special moment. When we finished the vow renewal, I finally had a chance to look around and see who was there – other real-life football wives, my producer and friend from a show I worked on, buddies from Buffalo, co-workers, Buehler. Erin even got Mat to show up (he looks mighty spiffy in a suit by the way). Ryan managed to get so many of our good friends there – I couldn’t believe it! The only person missing was my mom. They tried to get her out to Dallas from Los Angeles, but with such short notice, it was impossible.

I eventually noticed that Pilar wasn’t there and I mentioned the fact to Chanita. I didn’t actually expect her to be there – remember, she told me on the cookie cruise that we aren’t friends and that we’ll never be friends. The only reason her absence was even an issue is because of what viewers didn’t see on this episode. Chanita told me that earlier that day the girls had gone shopping for a back-up wedding dress in case mine didn’t fit. To my surprise, Pilar not only showed up, tried on dresses and helped the ladies pick out my alternate dress, but she even joked that they should throw cookies instead of rice after the ceremony. I thought since she made the effort to help pick out the dress, she might put our differences aside and actually show up to the ceremony. I certainly wasn’t disappointed that she didn’t show up – all of the right people were there that night (including the Football Wives production crew – having them take part in the festivities really made the night special). I was a little surprised she didn’t show up though – if she had, it might have been a step in the right direction to find an amicable solution to our differences.

The party went on that night in Pilar’s absence and we had a blast! I hate that the episode didn’t focus more on the ceremony – viewers would’ve seen “just the girlfriend” Brittany serenade Ryan and I with a beautiful song – that girl can sing! They would’ve also seen the Football Wives engage in a cake fight – Chanita, Erin (in a pricey Herve Leger bandage dress), Brittany and David went at it. There was cake everywhere! It was a fun end to an amazing night – definitely a highlight of my Football Wives experience.

But what’s an episode of Football Wives without a catfight? I’ve made the point before that the cast doesn’t see the show until it airs and we have no idea how our story is going to be edited. I was disappointed to see the confrontation scene after the vow renewal ceremony. Viewers might think that I sought out drama by going to confront Pilar the day after the ceremony. In reality, the confrontation happened a couple of weeks after the renewal. So it’s not like I left my adoring husband and kids during prime bonding time to confront Pilar. I didn’t necessarily want to go out to the pool that day, but I knew it would be a chance to tend to unfinished business before we ended production.

What viewers saw wrapped into a three or four minute argument actually went on for a while. I sat quietly at that table and listened as Pilar and Chanita went back and forth for a while. I had to speak up and set the record straight when Pilar kept saying that I envy and don’t like her. Neither were true. Did I expect Pilar and I to be friends? After Football Wives and events that have since transpired, I don’t think we’ll be BFFs any time soon. But I do think Pilar owes me an apology for being disrespectful. First she told Melani that she had apologized and when Melani called her on it, she changed her tune and proclaimed that she wasn’t going to apologize for defending who she is. Don’t apologize for who you are, but take some responsibility that you are not innocent in the drama. Until Pilar owns up to some of her behavior, she and I have nothing else to talk about.

I think it was a discussion that needed to happen – we had lingering issues that needed to be addressed. The good thing is that everyone got to say what they needed to say that day but nothing was resolved that day. I’ll have to revisit this confrontation after the finale to give a little more insider information about why it went down. With one more episode to go before we call it a wrap on season one of Football Wives, the finale is sure to be intense. Stay tuned…





We need a little Christmas.... Honoring Layla Grace

Christmas is such a special time. When I think of this time of year, I'm immediately filled with happy memories of family and friends, joy and laughter. The holidays are always my favorite time of year.

For some families, the holidays are a bit more difficult. The Marsh family lost their precious daughter Layla Grace to cancer this year - it will be their first Christmas without her. It will certainly be difficult for them, but even in the midst of their sadness, they are honoring Layla's fight by focusing on the courageous battles of other children fighting the horrible disease.

Check out the Layla Grace Foundation for more information on Layla Grace's 12 Days of Christmas. Please check out their website - www.laylagrace.org or click on the title of this blog and consider making a donation. Please consider giving a gift that will last a lifetime!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My blog is open once again!

For the past couple of months, I privatized my blog at the request of VH1. Now that we're two weeks out from the end of the season, I figured what the heck, let's open it back up. I haven't blogged enough and I promise I will do more, especially with the holidays coming up.

Some notables over the last couple of weeks...

Will lost his second tooth on Sunday. He was in the bath tub - I checked and the very loose tooth was still there. Not two minutes later, I heard "bye bye tooth." The tooth was gone and nowhere in sight. Since I wasn't going to look for it, the tooth fairy was left a note!

Will also sang in his first ever school program last month! Well, he tried. He got up on stage after practicing for a couple of weeks, but all the people made him a little nervous. He ended up singing all of his songs in the hallway. I was so proud of him for even getting up there in the first place. It was a big step for our special guy.



Today is my mom's 60th birthday! Happy birthday mom!

With the UFL season coming to a close with last week's championship game, it's safe and fair to say that Ryan's professional football career is over. We were so bummed he didn't get picked up this week and that Ryan didn't leave the sport on his own terms. But God has a plan and we'll seek his guidance as we venture into this next chapter of our lives.

Here are my last few blog posts from the VH1 Football Wives site - enjoy!

Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 4
Tutu much…

This week’s episode of Football Wives covered a mélange of different situations from runway rascals to eternal damnation. Just my opinion (and this is my blog): but there seemed to be too many issues wrapped into one 22-minute episode and I wouldn’t be surprised if some viewers were left saying, “What the H?” If it were up to me, I’d be telling a different story. But here is a little behind-the-scenes information that might help fill in some of the blanks:

One aspect of my life that hasn’t really been featured on Football Wives is that I am an experienced television host. For nearly two years, I co-hosted The Bite, a weekly entertainment television show broadcast in restaurants across the country. I am also host of D210 TV, a local sports and entertainment show. If there’s one thing I’m comfortable doing, it’s getting up on stage with a microphone, interviewing celebrities and hosting events.

When Chanita told me a few days before her Rock Star Rascals fashion show that she’d asked Pilar to host the event, I was upset and felt slighted. I knew she only asked Pilar to emcee because Pilar’s name is more recognizable and having a big name associated with your event can draw a crowd. Because I’m not a “celebrity” (in air quotes), I was relegated to modeling duty with my mini-me Bryn that day. We were ready to rock the runway when Chanita informed me that she hadn’t heard from Pilar and she needed me to host the event. My first thought was, “Oh heck no!” She should’ve asked me to host her event in the first place and I didn’t like being her plan B. I knew Chanita was stressed out and in a bind so I eventually agreed to help – that’s what friends do. But make no mistake – I was mad.

Pilar showed up “on time” minutes before the fashion show began. Truth is we were probably running about an hour behind schedule. In Pilar’s defense, she was hosting a gathering at her home that afternoon (that none of us had been invited to), but she did make the effort to make it to Chanita’s event to fulfill her hosting commitment. Chanita might as well have slapped me across my face when she informed me that Pilar would be emceeing instead of me. We’ve talked a lot about the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the football world. Being made to feel like a “have-not” by a friend was a bit much for me. My issue was not with Pilar that night – it was with Chanita. But I took one for the team and did what I had to do to make the event a success. And I think Chanita learned a big lesson.

Funny story: the fashion show was held at Celebrity Bakery & Café in Dallas. Someone had the brilliant idea of using the shop next to the café as the holding area for the models (aka kids). Problem is – it’s a fur shop! I spent two hours before the show started telling Bryn “stop it” or “don’t touch” because I was afraid she was going to destroy some of the merchandise. I hope the shop owner had insurance because with all of those kids running around with candy-covered hands and glitter-sprayed hair, I’m pretty sure we left some damage behind. I also found it ironic that it was probably 110 degrees outside on a sweltering Dallas summer day and we were surrounded by winter coats. Heat, kids and fur coats don’t mix.
For what it’s worth, I think the fashion show was adorable and the kids were amazing. And it was so much fun to have NFL standout Tim Brown and Dallas Mavericks star Jason Terry sitting in the audience supporting their kids who were featured in the show.

Moving on to Chanita being rushed to the hospital at Amanda’s event – can you say drama?!? Apparently Chanita had a headache most of that day and had been going, going, going as usual. At first, I didn’t realize the situation was so serious and even joked about it when I got into the makeup chair but when Chanita said that her feet were numb, I panicked. You see, we have a fellow real-life football wife who lost her husband this year after he suffered a brain aneurysm. It was the first thing that crossed my mind as Chanita fell to the floor clutching her head. My next thought was to get in touch with George – I called Ryan because I knew he’d know how to get in touch with the team trainer in Omaha, and the trainers always know how to get in touch with the players. When Ryan asked me if I was OK, I lost it because I wasn’t. I was really scared. It was hard seeing Chanita being wheeled away on a gurney. Make sure you tune in next week to see what happened once we got to the hospital.

Another behind-the-scenes funny: Chanita is a commando girl and has no qualms about telling you that she does not like VPLs – visible panty lines (a huge fashion faux pas – VPLs are so not cute). The dress Chanita wore that night was a little tight, a little short. As Chanita was lying on the ground waiting for the paramedics, all I saw were Spanx. I joked how glad I was she decided to put on undergarments for a change or we would’ve seen all of her business. It might’ve made for good television, but I’m glad we were spared.

Did anyone notice that Pilar seemed to strut her stuff on the catwalk with the rest of us? Or that she was standing around looking on while Chanita was being carted off? She made the point several times over the last couple of weeks that she didn’t know what was going on with Chanita that night but from what we saw on the show, it sure looks like she should have because she was apparently there. I’ve made the point before that the cast doesn’t see the show until everyone else does. Hours of footage has to be cut down into a 22-minute show and it is always interesting to us to see how our story is told. We can be as real and authentic as possible while the cameras are rolling, but we’re all susceptible to good old fashioned television editing when all is said and done. While I do believe Pilar knew or should’ve know what was going on that evening, she was not as involved and present as the show made it seem.

Things have been arguably calm so far this season on Football Wives. Some have even criticized the show for being a little boring. After watching the preview for next week’s episode, I have a feeling that’s all about to change…


Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 5
Cookiegate on the Cookie Cruise!

Pilar has been blowing up the airwaves this week insinuating I am not a good mother, wife and professional because of my behavior on this week’s episode. This coming from the woman who claims that she is the victim of bullying by the Football Wives cast and that she is the innocent party in all of this. This is a tough blog for me to write because I’m a little emotional after watching this episode and reading some of the hateful and disparaging comments online about the incident we jokingly refer to as “Cookiegate.” Of course, I’m referring to the confrontation on the boat where I wasted a perfectly good and tasty chocolate chip cookie by throwing it at Pilar. What in the world would make me so mad that I’d throw a cookie? According to folks on the web, it’s because I’m jealous of Pilar’s beauty and money. Maybe it was a little “liquid courage” that gave me the nerve to tell Pilar how I really felt about her and her behavior. Here is a little behind-the-scenes perspective that might give some insight on how the Cookiegate scandal came to fruition…

Before I delve into the drama, let me explain a little bit about Ryan’s injury and our financial situation. Ryan suffered a relatively minor PCL tear. It’s a minor injury because it doesn’t require surgery and with intense rehab, a player can be back on the field in a couple of weeks. Actually, after Ryan felt the pop in his knee that day, he went on to complete practice - he didn’t even think it was that big of a deal. Ryan was told by his coaches that they planned on bringing him back to Omaha once he completed his rehab. Ryan spent several weeks at a facility in Birmingham, Alabama where he worked tirelessly so that he could be cleared and get back on the field. We were both devastated to hear that Ryan was not on the Nighthawks’ roster on cut day and that, in fact, they had given his number away to another player. Ryan really thought the team was going to stick by him and even hoped that at some point this season, they would bring him back to Omaha if there was a need. So much for loyalty. Unfortunately, this happens A LOT in football. Guys get hurt, they are told they’ll be brought back, then they never hear from the team again.

Bottom line – Ryan got laid off. There was no severance package, no compensation for his time, injury, etc. Many folks in this economy know exactly what this feels like, and they know how hard and difficult finding another job can be. Ryan is currently working for the National Collegiate Scouting Association and is enjoying what he’s doing. But he hates that he wasn’t able to play in what was supposed to be his last football season and hang up his cleats on his own terms.

Moving on, let’s talk about the boat trip and what turned into a screaming match in the middle of Lake Lewisville on a perfect Texas summer day. This is where writing this blog is going to be hard. I cannot address what happened on the boat without talking about my experiences with Pilar leading up to that day. Folks are going to say that I’m just hating on Pilar or that I’m jealous. Neither are true. What I know is that there are a lot of people on Team Pilar – like, a lot of people and they really, really like her and will defend her at my expense. This became apparent to me when I got booed on stage at a club appearance this weekend after I told the crowd to tune into the show to watch me cuss Pilar out. I realized that a lot of people love her public persona – her beauty, wealth and lifestyle are captivating and interesting to people. But it was her blatant disrespect for those around her lucky enough to be graced by her presence that finally pushed me to my breaking point.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I was open to developing a friendship with Pilar in the beginning and hoped we would do so. I even said the following during one of my early interviews for the show: “I like Pilar. She seems like a nice person and we have a lot in common. I look forward to getting to know her.” We actually had some great interactions early on, from a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant to her coming to my house for our going-away barbecue for the guys. Contrary to what Pilar has said, we were not out to get her from the beginning.
I stated in a previous blog that the day we had to drive an hour south at the last minute for Pilar’s boot camp was the beginning of the end for me. I couldn’t understand why in the world we would all be inconvenienced and have to drive so far away to get to boot camp when Pilar’s spacious property (football-field included) and other perfectly suitable locations were available much closer to home. The second I pulled into the parking lot, everything became clear when I saw a sign for the Sanders’ football program. It appeared to me that boot camp had been set up to help promote their football team. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with people on reality shows hawking their products and businesses. We were all supportive of each other’s endeavors on our show. But I found out from a close and reliable friend shortly after boot camp that Pilar usually didn’t conduct this fitness program at football practice. I was bothered that we’d all been inconvenienced that day but like Pilar said in the boot camp episode, we should’ve been more appreciative for being allowed into her world.

As taping of Football Wives continued, patterns began to emerge. Pilar would arrive at the scheduled call times and then we’d have to wait for her to apply her makeup which took a while. I can name two specific occasions off the top of my head that I remember this happening – once at a taping at a high-end boutique and another at a cast dinner. For me, time is money – missed hours at work, time away from my family, babysitting, etc. My time is precious, and having to wait for Pilar didn’t make me happy.

Pilar was always very standoffish with us. It seemed as though we were expected to go out of our way to be nice to her (and we always were – very cordial and inviting), but we were lucky if she even spoke to us if the cameras weren’t rolling. I remember one particular evening at a local Mexican restaurant – we had a little time to kill before we started shooting and Pilar went and stood in the corner on her phone while the rest of us hung out. The second we sat down for dinner and the cameras started rolling, she acted like we were all good friends. Pilar made several comments to me that night that rubbed me the wrong way. She made several references to me having a margarita - she would say that I’d had too much to drink and I needed a sip of water. Other cast mates were having cocktails and she didn’t make any comments about their drinking. She went on to say several times that I was so “skinny.” Under normal circumstances, I’d take this as a compliment because I work hard to take care of and maintain my figure. But she kept saying things like, “You need to eat. You’re so skinny.” I interpreted her comments as implying that I might have an eating disorder. I asked another cast mate if she was hearing the same thing and she told me yes. Pilar would later go on to say she was just kidding. I’m not sure when alcoholism or eating disorders became something to joke about but I certainly didn’t think it was funny.

What pushed me over the edge with Pilar was when I confirmed the rumor circulating that Pilar would not let our crew use the restrooms in her palatial home – they had to use the pool house like they were hired help. I understand not letting random strangers into your house to pee, but we worked with the same crew for almost four months and they were amazing! They were always respectful of my space, my home, and my family. They would come into my house and play with my kids and pets. We broke bread together. They really did become a part of the family. It was hard for me to hear that they were being disrespected. I thought I might’ve been making too much about the situation until I recently heard a radio interview in which Pilar addressed the Internet story that said she wouldn’t allow the crew to use one of her 13 bathrooms. During the interview, she never actually denied the allegation. What she said was something along the lines of that she has more than 13 bathrooms and more than 109 acres of land. She went on to say that she doesn’t let just anyone into her home to disrespect it and leave their droppings all over the place. Droppings? Who refers to other human beings using the word “droppings?” If that isn’t disrespectful, I don’t know what is.

My final straw was the evening we took our cast picture – this was the night before we went out on the cookie cruise. We’d gathered at a beautiful home in Westlake, Texas for the shoot and the incredibly generous homeowners set us up in their fully-equipped gym with all the necessary facilities to get ready. Pilar walked in with the homeowner, saw the room we were in and then asked if there was somewhere else she could change. She has since said that the room was “too crowded.” It seemed to work for the rest of us. It upset me that she wouldn’t let the crew impose on her and her home by using her bathroom facilities, but she’d impose on this homeowner and insist on changing somewhere else. I knew Pilar was in ear shot of me that night when I voiced my disapproval of her behavior because I could hear her giggling in the nearby room. You could’ve cut the tension that night with a knife as we sat for our cast picture. It was very clear that evening that a definitive line had been drawn. It did seem like “everyone vs. Pilar,” but not without good reason. I know a lot of these examples may seem like small and petty things to get upset about, but when they happen over and over again over a short period of time, it’s easy to get fed up and have enough!

That’s exactly what happened on the cookie cruise. We got on the boat that evening ready to have a good time. Pilar came on the cruise because she had to – not because she wanted to. I can’t blame her – no one was really happy with her at that point, which is why Melani had a point when she said to us that Pilar was “brave” for getting on the boat. Pilar did get on the boat, posted up in her seat, and got on her phone as usual. At one point we were taking a cast picture – after taking one without Pilar, I asked her to get in the picture. After all, we are a cast and I wanted my memories of the Football Wives experience to include all of us. She initially protested and said no. I asked again and she agreed. The calm before the storm…



We were about two hours into the cruise before all hell broke loose. We’d been having an amazing time – taking turns on the pole, enjoying the sunset and goofing around – just having fun. Chanita even threw my flip flop into the lake after the other one fell in. We just laughed about it. Things got serious when Amanda asked why Pilar didn’t show any concern about Chanita being in the hospital. I can tell you this – I certainly wouldn’t have expected Pilar to go out of her way to visit Chanita in the hospital or at home. They aren’t friends so why would she? What I did expect was that she would show some concern, and she didn’t. Watching last night’s episode confirmed to me that Chanita’s health was not on Pilar’s radar as something to be concerned about.

Then it happened – Pilar lied about not knowing what was going on with Chanita (as confirmed by Erin who doesn’t say a lot, but when she does, it’s golden). I just couldn’t take it anymore. Yes, I was disrespectful to Pilar on that boat but she’d lost my respect a long time ago. As she talked to me in her condescending tones, calling me “sweetie” and “honey,” I had just had it. The only thing in my hand was a cookie, so I threw it. I did not throw the cookie at her – my aim is pretty good and if I wanted to hit her, I would’ve. But I also know that I might’ve been the target of a battery lawsuit if it had, and I wasn’t going to subject myself to that. And remember when Pilar “joked” about me being skinny at the restaurant? She sure did tell me to sit my skinny behind down on the boat. I bet she was joking then too.

I can take full responsibility for the language I used on the cruise, but I will not back down for standing up for what I believe is right. I hope that at some point, Pilar might take some responsibility for her part in this – she is not innocent. Pilar said on the boat that night that we’re not friends, we will never be friends, that I’m never invited to her house, and that I want her life. Why on earth would I be cordial to someone who has been so rude and disrespectful to me? She let me know exactly how she felt about me on the cruise that night – and I didn’t mince words either. You do see me shut up at one point though – nothing was getting accomplished and I was tired of the drama. I was over it.

I know this was a long blog but I had to tell what happened behind-the-scenes so people had a better understanding of why I blew up. People say that I am jealous of Pilar because of her money and beauty. If it’s the money, wouldn’t I be hatin’ on Amanda too? Amanda is loaded – like tens of millions of dollars loaded – but I love her to death and she has become a great friend from shooting the show. So is it beauty? I think Pilar is stunning. I said it – STUNNING! She is a beautiful, beautiful woman. But I’ve been around plenty of beautiful women and beauty is certainly not something I covet – that would make me pretty shallow.
If Pilar takes issue with anything I’ve said in this blog, she is more than welcome to post her own blog entry – and I encourage her to do so if I somehow misinterpreted her behavior.

Make sure you tune in for the next episode - Pilar and I aren’t done yet. But you’ll also see what can happen when we push our issues aside in the name of football.


Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 6

I loved this episode of Football Wives! There is so much to talk about – galas, hating, transitioning and teamwork – there is a little something for everyone, and here’s my behind-the-scenes take on it all!

We went horseback riding the day after the boat ride and tensions were high. Amanda and Chanita declined Pilar’s invitation to attend and I had serious reservations, but I truly thought it might be a good opportunity to try to work things out. We hit up Nash Farm in Grapevine and even though things were obviously tense, we managed to have a good time before sitting down for lunch. The horses were a little out of control that day – Erin’s horse even tried to buck her off. Turns out a big storm hit about 30 minutes after we left – I guess they knew something was brewing.

I had to chuckle watching the show when Pilar commented that I was sitting across from her. The picnic table was rather cozy – I’m not sure where she wanted me to sit. Anyway, I was hungry and knew I wanted to extend an invitation to talk privately about what happened on the cookie cruise.

Brittany, Erin and I immediately started joking about drinking when we sat down. We’d been provided with water and soft drinks – horseback riding and alcohol consumption don’t really mix so there was no alcohol being served that day (bummer). As the conversation continued, the ladies began chatting about the boat. Pilar did imply that Ryan and George “let” all that nonsense (a.k.a. Cookiegate) go down. Like Chanita doesn’t like liars, thieves and folks who can’t drive, I don’t like it when people disrespect or talk about my family. What viewers didn’t see during the cookie cruise was Ryan turn around at one point and ask me if I was OK. If I had said, “No,” I promise you he would’ve intervened. I told him I was fine, and since he knows I can fight my own battles, he stayed out of it. I was so upset that Pilar would even go there and discuss the husbands as if I wasn’t sitting right in front of her, and while several retorts instantly popped into my mind, I really, really wanted to avoid another argument so I kept them to myself and invited her over to chat.

Since Pilar told me on the boat that I was never invited to her house, I figured I’d invite her to mine for a one-on-one talk. I don’t know if I was actually expecting Pilar to accept my invitation but I was hoping she would. I really do think it could’ve been a good opportunity to put our issues on the table. I never thought we’d become best buds, but I did think we could acknowledge and respect our differences and move on. I apologized for my part in the disagreement and asked her to do the same, and she refused. When Pilar declined the invite, I was done but she kept going when I had made it clear I had no intentions of having that discussion that day. By now, viewers should know that if the Jazzmaster gets jazzy, I’m not going to back down.

Pilar told me she was “saving me” - I do wonder from what. Eternal damnation? Her wrath? Jazz hands or spirit fingers? Was she going to throw a sandwich at me? You then hear me say, “Praise the Lord,” and, “Make sure you answer your phone that way.” Pilar does, in fact, answer her phone that way. For some of us, “Praise the Lord” or “PTL” as we like to call it has become a bit of a joke. It may come up in the next couple of episodes – you’ll have to tune in to see.

Fast forward a week to the football game. There is DRA-MA behind this scene that viewers didn’t get to see, but you know I’m going to tell you about it. It was brought to my attention earlier in the week that Pilar was upset that I “assaulted” her with a cookie on the cruise. It’s my understanding that she thought the reason Mercedes left the show was because she threw a pen at Chanita and that because I threw something at her, I should be excused from the cast. I was not happy that Pilar tried to get me kicked off the show and that certainly wasn’t going to help us repair any relationship we might have had.

The day of the football game was actually my son Will’s 6th birthday. We’d had a wonderful birthday dinner for him that evening. Shortly before we left for the football field, I received a phone call that Pilar had decided SHE was ready to talk, and that we’d talk before the football game. Call me selfish, but I was having none of it. I’d extended the olive branch and she turned me down – I was not willing to do things on her terms, especially not on my son’s birthday. Like I said before – I was done.

To show you how over the drama I was, go back and watch the football scene. I had on a red shirt that was folded up. Why? Early that week, I’d had Chanita make the shirt and it said “PTL” across the front. Knowing that Pilar would’ve picked up on my message and the drama it would’ve caused, I decided not to show it. Contrary to what a lot of people think, I do not hate Pilar, nor do I like the conflict between us – the nonsense has been so physically and emotionally draining (a point I bet she and I agree on). I was not going to go out of my way to create more drama for the sake of good television. We ended up having a great time that night – and honestly, it was a very cool experience! Think about it – we played a football game while Rocket Ismail, Deion Sanders, Ryan Neufeld, Leonard Davis and David Buehler coaching, cheering and watching from the sidelines. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, although I think we’d all be up for a rematch!

This episode had some other really great moments that have to be discussed. Let’s start with Chanita and Brittany standing outside the club when the panty-less drunk girl (now that was a good example of someone with liquid courage) goes off on the ladies. As football wives, we often encounter this during games and in the media – like Brittany said, when everything is great, you’re a hero. When players make mistakes (because, alas, they are human), they become targets. I laughed when Chanita referred to George as “False-Start Foster.” I remember sitting in the stands during a game in Buffalo when Ryan had three holding penalties called on him. It’s hard not to react every time an anonymous someone cusses out your husband or tells him he hopes he loses his job. It’s an unfortunate aspect of the game that we have to learn to live with. Just-a-girlfriend Brittany has already learned this tough lesson.

One aspect of our lives that has been overshadowed by the drama is our community service involvement. Football wives are very involved in charitable work – it’s our way of giving back. Many pro-athletes have their own foundations and often-times the wives are running them. George and Chanita felt their heartstrings tugged on a trip to Swaziland. Recognizing a need for support and education, they created Beyond the Game. Chanita lives, eats, sleeps and breathes this foundation and I was so excited to support the charity by attending her black-tie event. Melani’s performance was the absolute highlight of that night for me though. She is such an amazing performer and I remember glancing up at Rocket on the stairs beaming at her with pride. You can check out more of Melani’s music at melaniismail.com. She really made the charity event special.

One of the things they didn’t show on Football Wives was our shopping trip to Tootsies in Dallas where we tried on amazing black tie gowns for Chanita’s event. I tried on this stunning Monique Lhuillier chocolate chiffon gown with gold beading – it fit like a glove! But it was also $5,500! Needless to say, that dress stayed at Tootsies. The night of the gala, our resident fashionista Erin showed up in a amazing ensemble and sure enough, she had a Monique Lhuillier skirt that was fabulous! All the ladies that showed up looked amazing that night.

While Chanita and I attended the Willis & Woy wives event, the Dallas ladies were attending another incredible gala. Erin made the following statement on Facebook and I wanted to share it because she hits the nail on the head:

“*Note* I don’t say a lot but when something important gets overlooked I feel the need to speak out. That “gala” that the Dallas Cowboys Women were at was the biggest fundraiser for the SPCA of Texas. The Dallas Cowboys Women’s Association raised over $100,000 for the SPCA of Texas at an event held prior to Football Wives taping so we were offered a table. Not the only cause we benefit. Also overlooked was Amanda’s shopping event at Blinc. A portion of the proceeds from that shopping night were donated to gulf restoration efforts. I could go on about the amazing things these current and former NFL wives do, but apparently this is a show focused on drama so I will spare you those details.”

I’m telling you – Erin doesn’t say much but when she does, it’s GOLDEN!

I know what’s coming up on the next episode and it is so sweet – I hope you tune in to check it out. You don’t want to miss it. In the meantime, check out a few of the other charitable organizations the ladies of Football Wives support!

Dawn Neufeld
Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation
Layla Grace Foundation
Tacke Cancer Foundation

Melani Ismail
Women Called Moses

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My most important VH1 blog yet!

I've been given a phenomenal opportunity to blog for VH1.com throughout the course of our Football Wives season. This gives me a unique chance to share a little behind-the-scenes information and to tell more of our story that people may not really get from 20 minutes a week of reality t.v. This week, I shared a little more about our struggle with autism over the years. I am so glad that I had a teacher back in middle school who discussed the importance of journaling - you'll see excerpts from entries over the years in my blog. It was really something else to be able to go back and read my thoughts throughout the years.




Dawn Neufeld On Her Son’s Autism

Dawn Neufeld of Football Wives blogs for us every week, giving us weekly behind-the-scenes insight and dishing on each of her show’s episodes. For this special mid-week blog entry, Dawn’s exploring an issue that the show has just touched on: her 6-year-old son’s autism. Via journal entries dating back to Will’s birth and current commentary, Dawn shares her son’s and her whole family’s battle with the disorder…

September 2004 – “Will is such an incredible gift. He has his daddy’s chin and dimples. He’s completed my life, my family. I never thought I could love someone so much. We are so truly blessed.”

On September 23, 2004, Ryan and I welcomed our first child into the world – a son. I was induced two days before my due date to ensure Ryan would be in Buffalo for the delivery – the Bills were heading out to Oakland for a game the following week and I wanted to make sure he was home to experience the birth of his first child. Ryan was in tight-end meetings at the facility when I called the training room to tell them it was time. I remember Ryan telling me how excited the guys were for him and how they couldn’t wait to hear the news. Ryan couldn’t have been prouder when Will was born. I’m sure thoughts of pee-wee football games and Friday night lights crossed Ryan’s mind at some point. They did mine. Little did we know what our special little guy had in store for us.

September 2005 – “Will is so outgoing and happy – he loves to smile. He’s going to have first set of tubes on the 21st though – he’s had seven double ear infections already.”

Will seemed to develop normally during his first year. He hit all his developmental milestones on time. He was a happy, engaged baby with a temperament like his dad’s – mellow and easy going. He did seem to get sick – a lot. We were at the doctor’s office constantly treating ear infections and colds. One doctor’s solution: keep him at home so he’s not exposed to germs.

April 2006 – “Ryan and I are really struggling with the fact that Will isn’t really talking yet…”

I began to recognize Will’s delays when I took him to Gymboree class on Saturdays. All of the other kids would participate in circle time while Will was going up and down the same slide for an hour. I’d listen to the other kids ask their parents for juice or snacks. I was still waiting for Will to call me “mom.” At Will’s 18-month-check up, I was the one who suggested we might want to get Will evaluated for developmental delays. His doctor told me she thought he was fine, but that we’d have him evaluated “just in case.”

June 2006 – “I’ve convinced myself that Will has autism. Today he was stacking blocks when I picked him up from daycare. He didn’t notice or care that I’d come to get him. When we got home, he’d only stack red blocks. He doesn’t talk. He throws tantrums. Is he just being a toddler, or is this a bigger problem?”

By the time Will was 19-months-old, he was in speech, occupational and physical therapy for what were being characterized as “severe delays.” I couldn’t have worked if I wanted to because my days were spent chauffeuring my little prince to all of his appointments.

August 2006 – “Will is not normal. He doesn’t act like a normal two-year-old. I’m worried. I really hope he’s just delayed and that this isn’t what I think it is…”
When Will hit 2, he still wasn’t talking much and hadn’t made a lot of improvement since we started taking him to therapy. We eventually took him to see a developmental pediatrician who wasn’t comfortable making an autism diagnosis at the time. That was somewhat comforting but we still didn’t have any answers.

August 2007 – “As Will’s delays persist, one word keeps coming up as a possible explanation: autism. I’ve been so worried about Ryan getting cut from the team - I think we have bigger issues to worry about.”

Autism is a beast. For people who don’t know what it is, Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) is a neurological disorder that is typically characterized by communication and social delays and is often times associated with repetitive behaviors. It is now estimated that 1 in 110 children are being diagnosed – 1 in 70 boys. Autism treatments are often times not covered by insurance because they are considered “experimental, investigational or unproven.” Some states, including Texas, have passed laws mandating insurance companies cover autism treatment for children, but there are loopholes. We didn’t find that out until we received an insurance denial for over $5,000 worth of speech therapy that we’d initially been told would be covered. The emotional and financial toll autism can have on families is devastating – divorce and bankruptcy are not uncommon as families deal with the condition.

I was always a little jealous at football games when I’d see other wives sitting in the stands with their kids. I chose not to bring Will to the games for so many reasons – he wouldn’t sit still, the crowd noise would be too loud, what if he decided to fall out and throw a tantrum in the stands. I spared myself the embarrassment and humiliation of people staring and judging me because I couldn’t control my kid. Autism can be very isolating.

One of the main reasons I decided to join the cast of Football Wives was the opportunity to promote autism awareness and to show what life is like for families living with autism. I was extremely concerned that the crew, cameras, lights, etc. would upset Will. I will say this, and make no mistake about this fact: if at ANY point I thought Will was being negatively affected by the show, I would have pulled the plug. My kids would’ve been off limits. We did have to set some boundaries with the production crew and they were always respectful and went out of their way to make sure our environment was as normal as possible for the kids. Will was amazing during production and even hammed it up for the cameras occasionally.

Will participates in our local Miracle League sports program, but football isn’t in the cards for him. I always hoped that Ryan would play football long enough for Will to attend a game. That opportunity finally came last year when Will and I flew out to Orlando to catch one of Ryan’s UFL games. Ryan was so excited to finally have his son sitting in the stands watching him play. Will did great too – every once in a while during the game he’d even say, “Neufeld, 88.” The trip wasn’t without drama though. On the flight to Orlando, the passenger in front of us would turn around and glare at Will playing his Leapster game. The man would huff and puff every time Will laughed or squealed with excitement. It wasn’t until I tapped him on the shoulder and apologized for Will’s behavior that he stopped turning around. I explained that I was doing everything to keep him quiet but that he had autism. The man’s attitude changed, and he suddenly seemed sympathetic.

I have to count my blessings where I can find them - Will is moderately affected by autism. There are so many kids whose autism is much more severe. And on the days in which I long for some “normalcy,” I remind myself that Will doesn’t have cancer or some other devastating disease that could cause him pain or eventually cost him his life. For that, I am grateful.

We’ve been involved with Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids since 2003. This amazing organization has donated millions of dollars to children’s charities. A couple of years ago, Ryan and I were talking to Garth at an event and he asked about the kids. We mentioned Will’s autism and Garth said something that changed my life: “I’ve never thought of those kids as disabled – they are gifted.” That single comment changed my perspective. I learned to appreciate the small things – new words, extended eye contact, spontaneous hugs. Not too long ago, I told Will I loved him like I always do, and he actually responded with, “I love you, too.” Talk about something that will take your breath away – that single moment was better than any NFL paycheck, touchdown or win. As I listen to Will identify all 50 state capitals from memory at age 6 (I can’t even do that), I am overwhelmed with hope and the potential for his future. We still have a long way to go though and will continue to use our story to try to help others.

This evening as I was preparing to write this blog, I came across a message on Twitter that said the following: “4 some reason wen i see akward lookin couples im never surprised 2 hear their child has a mental disease..like Dawn nRyan lol #footballwives” Shocking, right? Comments like this make me so upset and sad, but I can’t blow up every time someone makes an ignorant comment. I can use them to help spread awareness though.

For more information about autism, please visit Autism Speaks. I’m always available to answer questions on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween is always a blast - Will and Bryn dressed up as Prince Charming and Cinderella this year. Will actually got into trick-or-treating a big. Bryn just loved having on makeup and a pretty dress. She's a girl after my own heart!





Ryan and I got in on the fun this year again at our neighbor's annual Halloween party! Ryan doned a bomber jacket and channeled his inner Top Gun as Maverick. Me? I was a scout girl. It's an ode to my upcoming cookie incident on Football Wives.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's been too long!

Sorry for the lack of updates - with the premiere of Football Wives a couple weeks ago, things have been busy, busy, busy. I spend all the free time I have trying to promote the show since VH1 has done very little in that department. I'm usually on Twitter or Facebook giving updates. I should be getting paid for all this extra work I'm doing. I've been blogging for VH1 after the episodes - I will post those blogs here.

Thanks for checking in and keeping up!

Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 1

Dawn Neufeld of Football Wives has agreed to blog for us, giving us weekly behind-the-scenes insight and dishing on each of her show’s episodes. After introducing herself last week, she’s ready to get in the game — her take on Episode 1 is below…

Oh Hell No! - Now That You’ve Met the Cast of Football Wives, Let’s Start Getting Real

Blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter were aflutter with talk about our first episode. While reading such comments, I am always incredibly floored by one particular train of thought. We were being hammered for being a cast of unknowns – the only football player that people had ever heard of was Deion Sanders. The rest of us were just broke no-names with unremarkable husbands so why would people even be interested in watching the show? Well, Mat McBriar is a pro-bowler. George Foster is a former first-round pick. And are you kidding me? Who hasn’t heard of Rocket Ismail if you’re a true fan of the game?

In other threads, people would bash us for being money-hungry fame seekers who do nothing all day and need to get real jobs. Fact is, some of us do work and have jobs. Just-the-girlfriend Brittany Pigrenet has two jobs so she can put herself through school. So here’s my issue - if the cast was full of name-worthy players like Primetime, there might be a very uninteresting cast of women all sharing the same experience of trying to be relevant and more than just players’ wives. That’s not a show I’d want to watch. I think we have a great cast of ladies who lead very different lives. You’ve got the superstar husbands like Leonard Davis, Primetime and Rocket, and you’ve got guys like the kickers and Ryan who have the more typical NFL experiences that lack fame and glory. Not all players in the NFL are superstars – that’s our reality!

Sunday night, we had our (Unofficial) Official Football Wives Premiere Party at Lemon Bar in Uptown Dallas. I have to call it the Unofficial Official party because our event wasn’t officially sanctioned by VH1, but most of the cast were in attendance. Notably absent were yet-to-be-introduced Mercedes Nelson (she lives in Los Angeles and had her own premiere party Friday) and Pilar Sanders. Word on the street is that Pilar had her own premiere party somewhere in Dallas, but none of us were invited so I can’t really give you any details past that.

We were packed into the VIP area at Lemon Bar when the show started. One thing people may not know is that we generally don’t get a sneak peek at the episodes before they air – we will be seeing the show in all its edited glory at the same time as everyone else. We all caught the sneak premiere posted on the VH1 website last week, but it was amazing to see our intro for the first time and to watch the drama unfold along with 200 of our closest family and friends.

The first episode clearly focused on Amanda Davis, Chanita Foster and Pilar. This didn’t really surprise me because each of them is a larger-than-life personality. Amanda is the bling queen that drives a semi-truck and has floor-to-ceiling pictures of herself in her house. Chanita is, well, big! She’s 6-feet-tall and wears five-inch Louboutins wherever she goes. And no doubt she has a big, in-your-face personality to match. And Pilar…let’s just say I think she thinks this is her world and we’re all just in it.

No wonder the first confrontation of the season (and there will be a few) involved the above-mentioned parties. Let’s talk about Bible study – here’s my take on it and a little behind-the-scenes information for you. We hung out for about an hour “fellowshipping” (i.e. eating) before Bible study started. While standing around, Pilar actually invited all of us to the premiere – everyone but Melani declined her invitation.

Who wouldn’t want to leave a three-hour Bible study?!?!? I’ve been accused of being a heathen-Christian once or twice (okay, maybe more) and I certainly would’ve been the first person jetting out the door. The reality is the preacher joked that we were going to be sitting there for three hours. The actual Bible study was only about 20 minutes and Pilar and Melani left minutes after the preacher began.
I can tell you this: Melani was really, really conflicted about leaving. She told me she really didn’t want to go and actually regretted making the decision to leave, which is why she was quick to apologize to Amanda when we all got together for lunch at La Duni. I hated to leave lunch that day but had to run to an extremely important audition for an Emmy-winning casting agent. Things were getting good too – I love watching an argument I’m not involved in. I think Pilar could’ve won for her theatrics that day, though, when she spoofed Chanita. Her dramatic rendition was…um…captivating.

My opinion on the matter? Pilar is the biggest Bible-thumper of the crew so it was shocking to some of us who know this about her that she would be disruptive and leave the Bible study. I think the right and classy thing to do would’ve been to stop by, make her appearance, then leave before the preaching started. We’re all busy and we all have obligations, but there’s a way to go about things. Getting up once the study began was rude. Just my opinion…

We managed to get through our first episode without any Bibles or punches being thrown – you’ll have to tune in to see what might happen over the next couple of months. Biblegate overshadowed some other issues we’ll tackle during the season: injuries, financial woes, career transitioning, just being a girlfriend. Make sure you stay tuned.

Here are a few pictures from our big Premiere Party at the Lemon Bar!








Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 2

Dawn Neufeld of Football Wives has agreed to blog for us, giving us weekly behind-the-scenes insight and dishing on each of her show’s episodes. Her take on Episode 2 is below…

To Each Her Own…

Where do I start? The second episode of Football Wives was jam-packed with all sorts of tidbits and goodies. Unfortunately, I think some folks watching may have missed out on some of the amazing moments in the episode because they were so focused on Chanita’s “bad hair” and appearance. So in case you were captivated by Chanita’s wig, let me recap some of the highlights of the episode for you.
The conversation between Pilar and Deion highlights a very serious issue that all NFL couples have to deal with: injuries and the long-term physical disabilities attributed to the game. No doubt Deion’s body took a serious beating during his career and unfortunately, it’s a sacrifice players make to play the game. From concussions to blown ACLs to broken bones, no one is immune. Erin’s husband, Matt, even suffered a broken foot that ended his season last year, and he plays a position that isn’t typically injury-prone. This is one of those areas that viewers may find hard to appreciate – they don’t want to hear that the players suffer as a result of the game. It’s not fun. It’s not glamorous. But it is our reality.

You will rarely hear a player complain or worry about potential injuries and long-term health issues but I can promise you, they are thinking about it. The wives are the ones who typically spend more time focusing on the “what-ifs” though – Chanita clearly had one of those moments at the beginning of this episode. A lot of my football wife friends texted and messaged me that they actually starting crying during this scene because they can relate – we’ve all been there. As Football Wives progresses this season, you’ll hear a lot more about the toll injuries take on the guys, their bodies, and their families.

Enough of the serious stuff – let’s talk about golf and the introduction of our “kicked off” cast member Mercedes Nelson. I was actually a little surprised that viewers didn’t get more of a Mercedes introduction. Many people have even wondered why she was even part of the initial cast. I know I wondered the same thing before I got to know her – girlfriends are questionably relevant to a show with “Wives” in the title. How in the heck does an “ex-girlfriend” fit in? The fact is that she claims she left her ex who is a superstar NFL running back. Many people think dating a football player is like hitting the lottery, so why would anyone give up the opportunity to be a football player’s wife? Think I’m joking? Read some of the messages floating around in cyberspace and on Twitter – the aura of being a superstar’s wife is why groupies even exist! I thought telling the story of why someone would walk away from all the glitz and glamour would be an interesting piece to the football puzzle – not all women involved with pro-athletes are about the money. Hopefully we’ll hear a little more about Mercedes as the season continues.
Now to our golf outing! There is so much you missed on the golf course that day! Let’s start with the fact that it was about 100 degrees at 9 o’clock in the morning – it was hot! You bet I was going to have a margarita, but who doesn’t have a cocktail or two when out on a golf course? We were breaking all sorts of golf course etiquette rules – from Mercedes’ daisy duke shorts to my shouting match with Chanita, it’s amazing they didn’t escort us out! Here’s a fun tidbit though: Chanita golfed with her pitching wedge and that was it! She had a full set of clubs and literally ran all over Melani and me with a pitching wedge. She drove the ball, putted the ball, etc. with a freaking pitching wedge! I should’ve known not to make any bets after she took her first swing.

I think viewers finally got a little taste of Melani and her amazing personality too – she’s so funny. She seems quiet and reserved, but when LaQuefah Shenaynay (a.k.a. that girl from Ladera) comes out, anything is bound to happen. You missed Melani pranking folks on the golf course – at one point she loosened Chanita’s golf bag so the second the ladies took off in the golf cart, the clubs fell off the back. I knew I had no chance of winning that golf game and I was going to end up getting made over the second I realized Melani was a jokester.

I’m not sure when the parameters of the makeover challenge changed. Our initial bet was an ‘80s makeover complete with Cross Colours, so I don’t know when that turned into call-girl couture! I still have that gold outfit. Maybe I should auction it off on eBay and donate the proceeds to charity. You think Chanita’s charity will accept the proceeds? Just kidding.




That leads me to my big fight with Chanita. Let me give you a behind-the-scenes look at what happened that led to the confrontation: Chanita and I were shooting a scene at her home – the one where we were sitting on her couch. Chanita was still getting ready back in her room when the sound guys were putting my microphone on. Two of her youngest girls woke up from their naps and were standing at the top of the staircase in full princess gear – and they started dancing! I joked and said that I’d have to give them dance lessons since Chanita said at our golf lunch that they couldn’t take dance lessons so that she could send the money to the kids in Swaziland. Both kids looked at me with blank stares on their faces – they had no clue what I was talking about and I knew that they wouldn’t – they are too young. The cameras weren’t rolling, so none of this was captured.

At some point, I actually joked with Chanita about what I’d told the girls. She laughed at first, but I think as she thought about it over the next couple of days it bothered her. I seriously hadn’t given it any thought.
Imagine my surprise when she went off on me in the restaurant - did she say she’d walk me like a dog? Who says that? I did think she was being extremely sensitive and overly aggressive in trying to make her point. Was I wrong for making the comment to her kids? In hindsight, probably so. And honestly, if someone made a comment to my kids I thought was inappropriate, I might certainly go off. So I can understand and appreciate where Chanita is coming from, but I may not have approached it the way she did. For what it’s worth, I never, ever said Chanita is a bad mom…

You’ll have to tune in next week to see if we’re able to resolve our issues. In the
meantime, I want to go to Brittany’s house sometime this week for a little competitive beer pong and to play with my little buddy Spike…



Dawn Neufeld’s Playbook - Football Wives Episode 3

Dawn Neufeld of Football Wives has agreed to blog for us, giving us weekly behind-the-scenes insight and dishing on each of her show’s episodes. Her take on Episode 3 is below (the bolding is our editorial emphasis, not hers)…

This blog is a little longer than usual but there are so many things to talk about in Episode 3. Bear with me.

Let me start by taking you back to opening day of the NFL season in 2007. It’s the beginning of the third quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. Tens of thousands of fans stand and roar as the special teamers take the field. Rian Lindell kicks off and the Bills coverage team heads down the field full speed. Denver Broncos receiver Domenik Hixon fields the ball and races into oncoming traffic. The sound of helmets and bodies colliding can be heard over the fans’ cheers. The whistle blows, the play is over.

Ryan was on the field during that play. When I noticed there was a Bills’ player down, my heart started racing. I immediately started looking around to make sure Ryan was heading to the sideline. I spotted number 88 and immediately felt relieved, but was overwhelmingly concerned about the player on the field. The players were frantically summoning the training staff – you could tell by their urgency that someone was really, really hurt. Players from both teams were crying. Some immediately fell to their knees and began to pray. The silence that fell over the stadium was breathtaking. After a couple of minutes, I realized the hurt player was another tight end, Kevin Everett. As the ambulance rolled onto the turf, I said a prayer for Kevin and his family but thanked God it wasn’t Ryan.

Immediately after the Bills’ devastating 15-14 loss that night, we rushed to the hospital and waited in the lobby for news. Kevin was in surgery. It was bad – a spinal cord injury that would most likely leave him paralyzed. Even worse, they were not sure Kevin would survive.

We spent a lot of time at the hospital over the next week until Kevin was transferred home to Texas making sure that Kevin’s family had whatever they needed. I witnessed more grown men cry that week than I had ever in my life — as the players came to visit Kevin, each one was confronted with the danger and reality of the sport they loved and lived. Any of them easily could’ve been laid up in that bed on a respirator, hooked up to monitors in a medically-induced coma, a cold experimental saline solution being pumped through their veins in a desperate attempt to keep their spinal cord from swelling. I drove home from the hospital one day and I just lost it. I had to pull over as I sobbed uncontrollably. This one hit too close to home - that could have been Ryan.

There is a happy ending to this story – Kevin has made a miraculous recovery and while he’ll never be the same guy that was out on the football field before the collision that almost took his life, he is not paralyzed and is living a wonderful life with his wife and children. Unfortunately, not all of these stories have a happy ending. Just recently, a Rutgers University player suffered a spinal cord injury during a game and is paralyzed. We’ve heard of several high school students in our area suffering similar fates. The risks associated with football are real, the health consequences life-altering. We will forever live with this reality and no amount of money ever makes it feel “right.”

I have to take a moment to address one of the critiques we’ve been getting. People seem to think that we don’t have perspective – that we can’t possibly contemplate and appreciate that there are other jobs far more dangerous than football that aren’t compensated nearly as well. Well, here’s some perspective: as we prepared for Ryan to leave for training camp this year, my reaction was always the same when people asked how I was going to get through three months without him. I always said, “Well, he’s not going off to fight in a war and its only three months so we’ll manage. We just have to take it day by day.” My point is that I get it – no, playing football is not as dangerous as taking sniper fire in the middle of Afghanistan. My husband did not choose a career in the military, so I don’t know what it’s like to have my spouse gone for a year or two. Ryan approached me several years ago and discussed the possibility of going into law enforcement after football and I shut him down real quick – it’s too dangerous. However, appreciating the sacrifices and risks of other careers does not minimize those associated with football. We didn’t share our stories to get sympathy – we simply shared our reality about the risks associated with the sport. People suggesting we don’t have a right to be concerned or to bring attention to those risks because our husbands are spoiled, high-paid athletes is frustrating.

Ryan and I also addressed another aspect of our reality during this episode – our finances. Sharing our struggles has been difficult and has opened us up to all sorts of criticism. Someone actually chastised me for over-sharing and said I shouldn’t be putting all of my business out there. Well, I’m on a reality show. The only way I can make this process authentic is to be real about every aspect of my life, and this is one of those areas that deserved some attention. Ryan and I aren’t broke – we manage. But things definitely aren’t as comfortable as they used to be.
The reality is that a significant number of football players are in extreme financial distress two years after official retirement from football. The average NFL career is a little over three years and I don’t care how well one plans and prepares for the transition, the money will only last for so long. We aren’t immune to the woes of the economy either – I had to take a part-time legal job that pays well under the going rate for an attorney these days because it was the only job I could find. Companies aren’t lining up to hire anyone these days, let alone retired football players, so it took Ryan some time to find something he wanted to pursue. Apparently some viewers aren’t interested in our story because of our financial situation – we’re just broke ex-football players so why are we even relevant? Again, this is our reality and it’s the reality for many people coming out of the game – it matters for the parents who emphasize sports over education, for women who think marrying an athlete will solve all of their problems. May our story be a cautionary tale for current and future football players and their families.

There was a lot of crying in this episode. I didn’t realize Chanita was such a crier – she’s just a big ol’ softy under that mean, aggressive exterior. People have asked how in the world I can let her talk the way she did to me in last week’s episode and still be cool. I’m not kidding – I ignore Chanita and some of her antics. They are beyond me. My mom always taught me to pick and choose my battles – the ones with Chanita aren’t worth fighting.

Seriously, there was so much riding on this football season for Ryan and me. This was supposed to be his last season playing the game he’s loved all his life. He’s finally hanging up the cleats and we’re closing this chapter. I didn’t think I was going to get so emotional, but the finality of it all got to me. Well, and the fact that I was going to be changing diapers and dealing with autism meltdowns for three months by myself. Speaking of autism, I want to do a separate blog focusing on that aspect of our lives – I will try to get to it this week.

Enough with the heavy stuff – let’s talk drama! We can’t have an episode of Football Wives without a little drama! First scene of the show – Pilar states she has a fitness program that she runs out of her home and that she wanted to invite us into her world for a workout. The TRUTH? Pilar lives 15 minutes from my house and I’ve never been invited to her home. We shot that scene the day Ryan left for Omaha. After dealing with the emotions of him leaving, I had to go to work (I do that) and then I had to go to an audition. It was a really long day. We were supposed to meet in my home city of Frisco for Pilar’s Zumba-type dance class at 5:30 p.m. that evening. A little over an hour before the class was to begin, we got a call that the location of our fitness class had changed. It was only after I typed in “Lancaster” in my navigational system did I realize just how far it was – it was about an hour south of where we were and we had to head down there in the thick of rush-hour traffic. When we arrived at the location, we found out we were going to be outside in 100 degree heat doing a boot camp-style workout. We all felt so bamboozled. So excuse me for not being appreciative of being invited into her world.
Looking back on the three months we were in production on Football Wives, I can honestly say that boot camp was the first time I actually wondered if Pilar and I were going to get along. Up until that point, we’d had some good interactions. She and I actually have a lot in common – probably more than we care to admit. But something about that day and how things went down just didn’t sit right with me. We ended up having a good time once we got out on the field that day – I even ended up playing a little football with some of the ladies from the boot camp class. But the lack of consideration for everyone else’s time really rubbed me the wrong way. Pilar hasn’t hesitated to tell us how busy she is, and so am I. My time is very, very precious to me.

For the record, Pilar’s body is banging. You can tell she works hard. But just FYI - I have abs. I just don’t run around showing them off all the time. And I have a kick butt boot camp instructor who is also a Football Wife – shout out to Sheila Stoutmire!

I’m not going to spend too much time focusing on the fact that Pilar lied about her age although I’m sure she might try to say she was just kidding. It certainly didn’t sound like she was kidding to the ladies sitting at my table. I don’t think Chanita will be throwing herself a Sweet 16 any time soon.