No Football?!? Now, what?!?
Our season ended earlier than we planned but it has allowed me to reflect on how different the season is from our off-season. During the football season, our lives seem to be on pause for the greater good of football.
Our first year in St. Louis, we had just gotten engaged and I only had 11 months to plan our wedding in Houston! I had to fly back and forth to our hometown for cake tastings and venue visits. This first year, I learned how short can be when you also need to set a date and plan an entire wedding.
I originally wanted to tie the knot on May 17th; the significance of that date was simply the day we made our relationship official and became more than just friends. In 2009, however, being a fiancé to a pro athlete meant that date would have been either occupied with NFL things or too close for comfort in beginning the NFL season. I also wanted us to be able to have a honeymoon and enjoy it instead of feeling rushed to get back for OTAs (Organized Team Activities). Therefore, we looked for a March 17th date. We narrowed our venues to three venues that I actually visited in person. Two of the venues I loved for completely opposite reasons but only one was available on our desired date. Ultimately, I chose the one with early March availability over the other. So, on March 3, 2013, during my very first off-season, I walked down the aisle to the man of my dreams.
Our off-seasons in St. Louis were short-lived because it snowed pretty badly. The beginning of our off-season was the beginning of the bad winters in St. Louis so we did all we could to make sure we were out of there before the winters got bad. We got to go back to our hometown in Houston and we traveled a lot. We took about two trips each off-season especially the early years when we were kid-free. Since our children have been born, our off-seasons still flow the same. We just try to incorporate a family vacation as well as a couple vacation to make sure we still have some great time to ourselves. Our kids are still very young so until MaKaela, who is our oldest turns five, we are not really restricted to one area nor school district for them to attend school. Next offseason will be very interesting since she will need to go to a school year-round; meaning our family vacations will have to work around school breaks and the summer.
One of the off-season goals that we have never missed except this offseason due to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) is to take a trip or two out of the country. In these uncertain times, we decided to take the safer route and not travel abroad.
Our daily routine in the offseason is definitely less hectic than in season and usually Mike and I share the roles evenly since his schedule is more relaxed. Nonetheless, we still try to keep everyone on a similar routine as in season, especially the kids. MaKaela has ballet and both she and Makhi take karate. School drop-off and pickup are the same except they may see a special appearance from daddy more often. When we go back to our hometown or a destination spot with the kids, we still make sure to stimulate their minds with letter and word tracing, practicing their Spanish as well as reading. The kids love Michael being home and all the extra time they get to spend with him. They are always asking him to join in on home craft projects and playtime even during the season.
I love that he has the time to say yes to them and enjoy that time. Since our kids are still little, their schedules don’t have to cause any complications yet. Their preschool doesn’t have a penalty for missed days but we try to keep them in school when we are there as much as possible to keep things consistent. I love having time for my husband to unwind and for us to finally be able to travel together.
Before the virus happened, we had two trips planned for the 2020 offseason. One was Vegas for our anniversary and my birthday which luckily, we made happen before things got too serious. The next trip was a family vacation on the famous Disney Cruise Ship. We usually hear from our NFL friends about great places they have gone these usually find their way to our ever-growing list of places to see. My top 5 on that list are Israel, Brazil, Paris, Bora Bora, and Aruba. This off-season I was looking forward to unwinding and the time I can spend with my family. Especially now, with everything happening, I can see the blessings in the chaos. I try to also make some time for myself since I have Mike at home to help keep the kids entertained. I really love working on myself as well by keeping on track with my relationship with God, my fitness, and my business.