Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cory for Prez: A Tale of Defeat on Repeat

During this Election Day, I couldn’t help but reminisce on my time running for the White House.

It was my 4th grade year and for some reason I really believed I should be and could be Vice President of my Elementary. I was bound and determined to be elected to serve my school. A vote for Cory is a vote for the people!  Cafeteria chicken fried steak every day! If you have never had the opportunity to enjoy a chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy with a roll at an elementary school cafeteria, you truly have not lived.

At my school you were able to run for two offices. If you won both you would then choose the better office and the first loser runner up would fill the spot. VP and Treasurer were the only offices allowed for 4th graders, so naturally I chose both. Now in spite of my rough looks, I had a lot of friends! So again, I felt pretty good about my campaign trail.

I designated a campaign manager (aka my mom) and the sign making commenced!

I My parents wrote my speech the night before and it was perfect. To all the haters judging me right now for not writing my own speech, haters gonna hate and playas gonna play. Sorry not sorry for my parents being awesome speech writers.
We played off how I’m the middle child so I’m good at taking orders and giving orders. My parents, the geniuses #JanaAndDannyforPrez.

I was prepared, well versed and was ready to blow everyone out of the water. Except for one small issue. My competition, Brenna O’Toole. She was probably just about the cutest kid you’ve ever seen. She was tiny and fun and everyone liked her. Except for me, because competition duh. *Spoiler alert: we actually became great friends and co-captained our cheerleading squad to a national victory.*

Speech day was here. I presented my VP speech perfectly. I had parents of other running mates standing and cheering for me. That’s when you know you need to pack up and take it home losers. I had this in the bag. Then it happened. I was O’Tooled.

My arch nemesis strutted toward the tall podium, stepped onto the step stool and spoke the 5 words that would ultimately win her the election. “Yes, I am standing up.” The crowd roared! Laughter, applause, people cooing as if she were a puppy or a newborn baby. She knew what she had done and she was proud of it. I mean what could I have said to top that? “Yes, I can eat a large pizza and I’m only 9?” “Yes, I am the size of an 8th grader.” Doesn’t have the same effect.

Later that day after the votes had been rigged counted, the candidates gathered in the library before the official results were presented to the school. 4th grade offices were first. “Brenna you have received the most votes for VP AND Treasurer, which office would you like to hold?” Praying she would choose Treasurer (ya right) she looked me straight in the eye – “I’ll take VP.” Well of course you will. Treasurer went to the boy who threw candy out to the crowd, which was against the rules and you know Cory don’t play like that. I was hurt but knew this fight wasn’t over.

5th grade started and I was back with a vengeance.  This year I would be running for President and I would be pulling out all the stops. My good friends decided to also run and I envisioned me on my throne with all my friends around me. Perfection.

My parents were more fired up than I was. They constructed the best speech that really hit home. The title – Cooking with Cory. Brilliant. I went through the ingredients on what really made up the perfect President. Respect, Honesty, Responsibility and the secret ingredient – a whole lotta votes! I then stirred all of the ingredients and out came a big banner – Vote Cory Kennedy for President! It really was the best speech I’ve ever seen. I honestly feel bad that I didn’t share my tips and tricks with the 2016 presidential candidates. Sorry Donald and Hillz!

Speech Day 2.0. Just like before, others presented their sub-par speeches and spoke about wanting more recess. Lame. Then it was my turn. My cooking show set was fixed before me including my huge pot, utensils and “ingredients”. I went through my speech with ease, pausing for loud rumbles of laughter. Parents were standing on their seats screaming for my autograph, children were crying tears of joy. Their elementary school savior was here. Make elementary school great again!

I had done it. That was it, I pretty much shut the place down. The other candidates were crying, one ran off the stage in embarrassment. I mean did we really even need to vote? There was a clear winner here.

Oh but wait, there was one speech left. “Yes, I am standing up.” My ears perked and a chill ran down my back. I heard the words that sent me back into election PTSD. This could not be happening again! Surely no one would fall for this a second time!

I campaigned HARD that day. Maybe even bribing the 3rd graders with leftover Halloween candy. The bribe may have been a lie because honestly do you really think I had LEFT OVER Halloween candy? They could see right through my fat lies.

My amazing fifth grade teacher who was over Student Council was the one to deliver the news. She announced all of my friends as winners first. Secretary,  Treasurer, Vice President. How perfect that I would get to rule over with them! Now for the grand finale. “With the most votes, the office of President goes to….”

Honestly, it’s hard for me to relive this moment… I want to believe she said Cory Kennedy but sadly, Brenna had crushed me once again. IMMEDIATELY, while the others were tearing up and protesting for a recount, I reached over to Brenna and congratulated her. You know why? Because you don’t hate the player, you hate the game. And because I am a great loser – I just don’t usually lose.

 I suppressed my tears until I got home. I felt so conflicted. I was so upset that I lost (again) but so happy for my friends. I also got a delicious cookie, balloons, sympathy cards and stuffed animals so that helped with the sting of defeat (especially the cookie – food heals all wounds).

I walked away from the big loss with a few valuable lessons:

1.   Always stay humble. Congratulate your opponent no matter what.

2.   If at first you don’t succeed, only try again if Brenna O’Toole isn’t running.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Mom, The Liar

The title may deceive you into thinking my mom is some type of pathological liar. Someone who when you're telling her a story from your work or school day, tells you she has to go to the bathroom real quick and then you find her laying on her bed watching tv.... Okay actually she did do this - multiple times- but my mom is (usually) not a liar. My mom is cooler than your mom, cuter than your mom, and way more fun than your mom. But there are a couple of times my mom has “earned” this title.

At the young vulnerable age of 6 my very best friend Jenner (our precious Golden Retriever) passed away on my first day of first grade at a new school. Cue the pity tears. My parents woke me early that morning so I could say goodbye to my sweet BFF. I had no idea why I was saying goodbye and also why the heck they were waking me up at 5am, but nonetheless I laid down on my sweet buddy (no he didn’t die from me laying on him) and kissed him goodbye. Cue way more tears.

Later, my sister and I went to school, came home and opened our first day of school presents.

Oh you didn’t get first day of school presents? My parents did it right. First day of school presents were the BEST! A new tea set, a new outfit, cookies…. Food - always the best present.

While I was opening my beautiful new tea set, my parents said they had something they needed to tell us. My mom started to cry and my dad choked up. He gave us the terrible news that Jenner had died that morning. Seeing as though Jenner was my BFF I was heartbroken. Seriously, I thought about having to go to grief counseling!

So now that I have you crying and have yet to tell you how my mom is a liar – fast forward 3 years. I’m not sure how it came up, but we were talking about sweet Jenner one day and how that day was so hard. My mom mentioned how it was tough on her and my dad when they had to take him to the vet and …


WAIT. WHAT???!!!

MY PARENTS killed Jenner??!!! This whole time I had imagined him passing away peacefully all on his own, not Dr. Kevorkian style! Who have I been living with?? My childhood has been one huge lie!

*Disclaimer: He was really really sick and had to be put down, my parents didn’t actually kill him.

I also found out that day that a year prior, the “hairstylist” (SuperCuts) had cut my hair uneven - like a good inch difference. Do not blame me for being unaware - my hair was crazy. But that’s another story...

All trust was gone. Complete devastation.

My mom, the Liar.

Another account of my mother lying and I promise you, you won’t cry.

I was a cute kid. Blonde, curly hair, chunky, cute kid. Then my baby teeth left and the monster teeth grew in. Literally my two front teeth were twisted, one with an under bite, one over. It was a mess. I had always thought braces were so cool- I was like 9 okay? I even used to use the twist off part of the Mondo drink as braces. If you don’t know what Mondo is I feel SO bad for you!! I suggest buying a pack on Ebay, that is surely expired, for $50. #worthit. Spoiler alert – Mondo twist offs don’t fix your teeth.

Due to the makeshift Mondo braces failing me, my mom set an appointment with our orthodontist. The only thing I kept asking was if they had to pull my teeth. For some strange reason I had a fear of my teeth being pulled. I made sure I pried out every last one of my baby teeth so the dentist had nothing left to do. She PROMISED me that no teeth would need to be pulled. So after hearing this wonderful news I was once again excited about braces. I went in for my consultation, was gagged by the horrible teeth molds- seriously can we not find a new invention for this?? - and then was placed in the orthodontist’s office to discuss the plan of attack on these mutant teeth.

The doctor pulls out the x-rays and starts to circle teeth. He first informs me that I am missing my laterals (the ones on either side of your two big front teeth for all you non dentist loving people out there) Um excuse me?? I’m missing teeth?? He explains that this is genetic. I start making my hit list in my head of family members who cursed me with this. Then he circles a tooth. “And this is the tooth we will need to pull.” I immediately come out of my hit list coma - ORTHO SAY WHATTT?? 

Naturally, like any well behaved 10 year old, I FREAKED out. I practically shot daggers with my eyes towards my mom and calmly called her a liar. I start to raise my voice and tears stream down my face. Luckily, the office was a glass box in the area where everyone was getting their teeth contorted fixed so they all got to be a part of the show. I’m sure the patients thought I had been given 6 months to live by the way I was acting. Business was good that day.

After fully embarrassing my mom and horrifying our orthodontist we left. Silence and rage filled the car. My mom started to scold me even though this was ENTIRELY her fault! She PROMISED!! It took me a while to forgive her that time- probably like a day because I’m pretty sure she took me to get food, seriously it’s a fix all people! It probably didn’t help that when the dentist eventually did pull my tooth she jammed the shot so hard into my mouth she hit my sinus cavity so that was pretty fun.

My mom, the Liar.

In all seriousness, my mom is not a liar, but a wonderful person. She keeps all the secrets (secrets like you are going to have to get your teeth pulled, but I’m not breaking the news to you), refuses to talk bad about her kids (unless she is talking bad about me behind my back and I don't know about it..) and is the most amazing mom. I feel bad for everyone else, because they’ll never have Jana Kennedy as their mom (except for my sisters). 

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and to all the other moms who have had to lie to their kids a time or two!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Trust The Process

You may not laugh hard but maybe you will be encouraged or maybe you will never read something of mine ever again. I’ll take my chances. I’ll go back to random embarrassing stories of myself soon J

So these days I am pretty into every weight loss show - I need the motivation, people! From Biggest Loser to Fit To Fat To Fit, it's all the same thing. People have an eating addiction they’re trying to break to create a better life for themselves. At first they are REALLY motivated. They’re working out, changing their eating habits and dropping weight fast! Week 2 rolls around – only a 2lb weight loss. Okay, a little disheartening but it’s progress! They continue the next week going through the motions, but not as excited. Week 3 weigh in – NO weight loss!!! You watch how hard they work and they lose NOTHING. This is when they have a full on MELTDOWN. The trainer starts in on their motivational speech to pump them up - that’s usually when I start to zone out – but something caught my ear this time. The trainer said “trust the process”. You’re doing everything right, giving it your all but you aren’t seeing results yet?? Trust the process. This hit me. This happens to me (like as in this week) when I’m working out and eating healthy and see no results. And maybe I cry and contemplate breaking the scale and eating a box of Samoas.

But trusting the process doesn’t just pertain to weight loss. So you’re praying and believing for something and you think God is just not hearing you? Trust the process. You prayed for something that you needed at a certain time – trust the process. It’s not OUR way but it’s HIS!! Our plans are so insignificant in comparison to what He has planned for us. But we have to, trust the process.

For months, I had envisioned my wedding ceremony taking place at certain spot at our venue. An outside wedding, in a pecan grove, in the middle of March, in Oklahoma. You could call me a risk taker, or crazy take your pick (my mom will totally pick crazy. Sorry for the stress Mom!)  Two weeks before the wedding it snowed a good 3-5 inches. Then the day before it rained ALL day. Like did not stop, pouring down, flooding, type of rain. I had prayed and dreamt about this day and now everything was ruined. The morning of, I had to just let it go. What was done was done. There was no reason to be upset- I was getting married!

As I drove up to the venue I saw the most beautiful setting. The chairs were set around the circle drive with an amazing pergola adorned with the perfect flowers at the spot I would say “I do”. This was better than what I had envisioned. This was something I never even thought about! This was God saying, “Always trust MY process”. Earlier in the week we had marked the previous ceremony spot by a couple of orange flags. We still went out to take pictures in the grove and wouldn’t you know it – the only (HUGE) puddle was right in the middle of those orange flags. That’s something I would totally do if I was God.

This is just one of the many ways God has shown me how good He is. God may “screw up” your plans. You may question it and maybe even get mad. Stop. His ways are better. SO much better. Better than you could ever dream. So whether it be weight loss, financial needs, or a detail on your wedding day. Trust the process. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mawwage Sweet Mawwage

Our wedding was my favorite day of all time. I got to marry Nathan (the coolest, most fun, funniest, kindest, cutest guy around) and there was ZERO stress - that day. It was beautiful, I felt beautiful, and all of my amazing family and friends celebrated us so wonderfully. Though the honeymoon was slightly stressful (only the flights – Delta, I’m still salty), it was still so fun and relaxing! If you’re living in Kauai, aka paradise, and you’re stressed – we need to talk.

Then it happens. Back to life. Back to reality.

If you didn’t just sing that line, then we are not friends (jk!). Or you are my husband who doesn’t know any music (I asked him later if he recognized that song lyric and he said yes…bold face lie)
Back to reality where I now have a new roommate. A new MALE roommate. Now granted, I will put money down that I live with the most enjoyable laid back man ever. He is far from high maintenance, needy or loud. He is calm, kind and asks for nothing. But still, a man. Like a man who leaves his oatmeal bowl in the sink to let it “soak” for 2 days, because, of course, you can’t just rinse it out right away. Or the man who leaves the toilet seat up. I made him explain to me WHY men can’t pee with the seat down. I just don’t get it, and maybe I’m okay with not really knowing so please don’t give me a science lesson.

Our first night in our new apartment we were discussing cleaning. He asks, “Now would you like me to just put the dishes in the sink or would you like me to put them in the dishwasher?” And this is my example of living with a man. It’s just different. And poor Nathan was in for a whirlwind with his new roommate (me).

The first week back to reality felt so normal. Creepy normal. Like we had always been married normal. It was so fun (and still is). Eating terribly and staying up late watching countless hours of Netflix. Until it struck. Saturday early morning at around 3:30 I woke up breathless. I walked around the room for 5 minutes trying to compose myself. I went into the other room so I wouldn’t wake Nathan, who had work in just a few hours. I could not catch my breath. Every thought came to my head. I’m dying. I’m having a heart attack. How do I know if this is a heart attack? Is my left arm hurting? I heard your right arm could hurt during a heart attack, too. Yep, this has to be a heart attack.

Don’t Google. Don’t Bing. Don’t Yahoo. Just don’t. It will always tell you that you are dying and then your symptoms become worse. WAY worse. Like yelling in the room at your husband that we have to go to the hospital NOW type of worse.

Okay, I didn’t actually yell but I was panicked. He immediately prayed for me and we jumped in the car. We sat in the hospital parking lot for 2 hours. I didn’t want to go in and get slammed with a huge bill for something that could possibly be nothing (I’m a budget-er and this was NOT in the budget), but I wanted to be close enough to the hospital in the case I really was having a heart attack (pathetic and sad, I know). No one else plans things out like this? Liars.

Sweet Nathan never complained and was really just concerned- probably more concerned that he made a huge mistake and married a crazy woman. He stayed awake with me until I fell asleep and then he had to get ready for work. Selfless- you can leave the toilet seat up any time. Just kidding you earned 2 free passes *He used these within one day so the pass is now GONE*

The next day I felt totally normal. I chalked it up to indigestion (it was really a pulled muscle in my back) and vowed to never eat On The Border in bed at 11pm ever again. This was probably a good decision all around.

The small annoyances (and my craziness) are so small in comparison to how fun marriage really is. Are we perfect? Almost Not at all. Should I cook, clean and do laundry more? Sure! Should I stop asking for things? “Oh, since you got up from the couch could you turn on the fan, bring me a water, make me dinner and scratch my back when you’re done with all of my other requests?” Maybe Yes, stop being high maintenance. Should Nathan put the dishes away (he doesn’t have many downfalls to choose from)? Yep! But we are learning and if you don’t like it you can sue us. *But don’t actually because it’s not in the budget*

**Also, if you don’t understand the title, you need to download The Princess Bride immediately, stop whatever you’re doing and watch it – your boss will understand. For those who don’t like the movie, I can only apologize for your poor judgement**