Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the CPKFamily

We had a small, family Christmas on Saturday with just the 4 of us (Breaky, BabyCPK, DogCPK and me). We had our traditional steak and cheese sauce and exchanged gifts. We also watched Olaf's Frozen Adventure, since Die Hard, which was our go-to for our tradition, isn't exactly baby appropriate. We were going to watch it when the kid went to bed, but we got the itch to play video games, of course, which meant that Breaky and I played Borderlands 2 together for our Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Food Friday: Norwegian Almond Cookies

So, my family, as many of you may recall, is Norwegian. My Dad's Mother's side.

We have incorporated a lot of Norwegian traditions, especially around Christmas time. Jule Kakke, which I mentioned in a blog post two years ago, Ghejost, which is a carmalized goat cheese and spelled 8 different ways depending on where you look and who you ask, the Dala horses we have up and about everywhere in our house, and many other little Norwegian things we've kept up from generation to generation.

One thing that I kind of picked up and kind of remember someone doing at some point in my childhood was the almond cookie with the maraschino cherry in the middle. It wasn't kept up year after year, however, which makes me think that maybe my grandmother was the one that made them once or twice, and then she passed away when I was pretty young.

Regardless, I kind of put together my own cookie recipe. YES you read that right, I can bake something.

So, Norwegian Almond Cookies:

- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- almond extract *
- vanilla extract *
- maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Step 1:
Mix together butter and sugar until creamy.
Step 2:
Add egg and beat
Step 3:
Add flour and extracts. I use 1/2 teaspoon of each extract, as Breaky finds the almond overpowering if I do a whole teaspoon, which many of these recipes call for. Up to you though.
Step 4:
Chill dough for 1-2 hours (which I hardly ever have time to do, let's be honest, not the most important step)
Step 5:
Make  balls from the dough the size of a walnut and flatten on a cookie sheet
Step 6:
Press a cherry (or a half a cherry if you prefer) in to the middle of the cookie ball
Step 7:
Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until edges are light brown


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My Pocket Mom-Friends

I am a part of a Mom group....

On Facebook nonetheless.

It started out as a subreddit group for pregnant women who were all due around the same time. We created a Facebook group, as a lot of the functionalities of Facebook were different. Most importantly, the option to make the group private, so we can be a little more comfortable posting pictures and details about our pregnancies and babies (when they came) without the fear of creepy-reddittor-creeping that sometimes happens on, well, Reddit.*

*Disclaimer: I love Reddit. Still do. I am on it every day. Put down your damn pitchforks and keep reading my obviously hilarious and insightful blog post.*

What made this group different at first than the 5 other Mom groups I had been invited to, was how close we all were to the same timeline. When pregnant, if I had weird symptoms, instead of Dr. Google, or the probably safer Nurse Line, I would hop on my "bumpers" group to see if anyone else was going through the same thing. Often times I didn't even have to actively look, it was like they knew what I was going through and posted about it too.

This went on after we had babies and agreed to keep the group together. Weird skin rash thing? Totally glad someone posted, because I had a similar question/problem. Worried about baby-led weaning? No worries, there is a post from yesterday to get others' opinions. Venting about how it feels that we will never sleep a full 6 hours ever again? Yup, you have a sister in the same boat.

This group honestly has saved me SO much grief and worry.

Which is saying something.

What makes this group different from the other Mom groups that people complain about, is how on the same page we are with our general parenting styles. I'm sure this grew organically. Those who didn't feel the same way as we do slowly leaving the group. And I don't mean just different opinions on sleep styles or how we feed our kids, I'm talking the evidence-based discussions and open-forum ways we can come to conclusions as to what is best for our kiddos.

In many other Mom groups, I have to worry about reading a controversial post about vaccinations or MLM spam posts. Not in my group. We actually think the posts on the subreddit /r/shitmomgroupssay are HILARIOUS. Mostly because we all belong to other groups and this stuff is SO TRUE.

Y'all, this group is so tight, we are exchanging Christmas cards and did a Secret Santa (which, my giftee either hated what I got or I forgot to put whom it was from, so sorry either way! :/ I feel really bad)

It is amazing having so many Christmas and Holiday cards up on our wall. It really helps the holiday spirit, for sure.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. These ladies are my village. I am not like, super duper active when it comes to posting, but man, I do check daily. How else would I know about this amazing wizard hair tool that everyone claims can do magic. PS I added this to my "Christmas List", do you think Santa will think I was good enough to get one this year?

I saw this bit in our group and just had to include this in my blog about my "bumper" group:

This sentiment can be for your online gaming groups, your chat-room friends,  your friends you chat with every day online but haven't actually met. These friendships are real, and important. My pocket friends are all moms of kids around my child's age. We share stories, frustrations, fears, joys, announcements, passions and tears. Oh hey, look, I rhymed.

I try to tell all my now-pregnant friends to see if Reddit has a bumper group for them, worried, however, that their experience will not be as absolutely fantastic as mine, because, let's face it, this group is absolutely amazing.

"So, WifecCPK, what is the point of this blog?" you may ask with a shout! "My Mom group saved my sanity, without a speck of doubt."

Monday, December 3, 2018

When Life Gives You Limes

So, funny story.

Sometimes, when I'm at work an Breaky is at home, I will send him and BabyCPK out grocery shopping.

This last time, all I asked was for one lemon. I knew he had a few other things he was going to pick up for the baby and the house, but for dinner, all I needed was one lemon.

I get home and this conversation happened:

Me: "Hey babe, did you get my lemon"
Breaky: ** blank stare **
Me: "You forgot didn't you?"
Breaky: "It was a lemon you needed?"
Me: "Yes"
Breaky: "I thought it was a lime"
Me: "Nope, one lemon"
Breaky: * doesn't believe me so tries to pull up our convo on his phone *
Breaky: "Oops, well I bought limes"
Me: "Limes, as in plural?"
Breaky: "Yeah, I went to Costco. We now have like, 20 limes."
Me:  ** blank stare **
Breaky: "Margaritas?"

So, long story short, I was able to substitute what I needed my lemon for with one of my many limes now.

If anyone has any recipes that includes limes in it, please pass them along.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CPKreepy 2018

Every year, my husband, BreakyCPK and I host a Halloween party. This year was no different. Except we had a few new faces, including BabyCPK! 

Here are a few pictures, picture credit: Dylan Jeffery

Nice Matters

Wow, it's been a while since I've written a blog post. I've got my reasons though.

Some of you who may know me or my family personally may know that our Aunt Bette just passed away.

Aunt Bette was my only biological aunt. My mom only has brothers and my dad had one brother and one sister (Bette). She lived probably less than 2 miles from our house, and was essentially a member of my immediate family. Every Christmas, Easter, birthday celebrations, trips up to the cabin she was there.

Aunt Bette was not without health issues, especially towards the end of her life. She had cancer, heart issues, persistent back pain and a host of other ailments that made things very difficult for her and difficult for those who cared about her to witness. It helps me to think that she no longer is in any pain and can take a deep breath of relief. Relief that she is no longer in pain, but also that her family is continuing to pass on her stories, teachings, philosophies and knowledge. We had such a time reminiscing over Thanksgiving with all of my cousins. We laughed, we cried (ok, sobbed), we held each other, played with my cousin's kids, ate wonderful food and knew that Aunt Bette would have been so happy to know we were all together and supporting and loving each other.

Aunt Bette was a teacher, photographer, swim coach, aunt, friend, sister and so much more. Her creativity was contagious, which made her a great teacher and influence to everyone. This is evident by the numerous postings and stories that are being posted on her obituary and our social media posts. One of the many things that stuck with me that she would say and emulate was "nice matters". I have made references to it in this blog even, although I would have to do a search, as it such a part of my everyday, that I could have used it a million times naturally in this blog and in conversations.

Everyone grieves differently. I had a really hard time reading the condolences on my and my family's announcements. I did not even acknowledge or comment on any of them. I didn't have words. I didn't have words that could express my gratitude and sorrow. I sobbed while finding a picture to post. I sobbed reading my sister's post. I sobbed simply thinking about how Christmas will be so different. I sobbed writing this damn blog post. (I can just hear Aunt Bette yell at me. "Language Kelsey! Your daughter is going to learn to swear by the time she can talk!"). It's going to be thoughts and stories like that that will make me smile and remember her day by day.

I have lost members of my family and even a good friend. The best way I can think of to carry their memories is to let their influence shine in my everyday. I adopted the saying "Can Do" in memory of my friend, who was a Seabee in the Navy. I make an effort to be the best friend I can be in memory of my grandmother, who was the best friend you could ask for. Aunt Bette will be memorialized through me with the philosophy of "Nice Matters".

There will be trinkets, jewelry, furniture, family stories and genealogical documents that I'm sure will be dispersed that will remind us of her every day. But things are no replacement for how we can let her improve us moving forward. I think I have written this blog post 20 times over and I don't think it will ever be perfect enough to do her justice.

So, please hug your loved ones. Call that person you've been thinking about calling. Right now. do it.

If I haven't told you recently, I love you. The person reading this, I love you and cherish your friendship, even if we have not met face-to-face.

Rest in peace Aunt Bette. You were and are loved by many and will be missed by all.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Twitch and Makeup

So recently, I saw and shared an article about female streamers not wearing makeup and the ensuing drama that unfolded as a result.

I decided not to post it with any kind of caption myself. Not knowing how I really felt about it, I kinda wanted to see if any conversation ensued. 

It did. 

Opinions from women streamers who are completely conflicted. "Is this what we report about female streamers?" "Is there really no other ways for girls to support each other than to use their appearance?" Opinions from guy streamers who think this whole thing is ridiculous that it's getting this much attention. "What's the big deal?" 

I, too, am conflicted. Mostly because by the time I get home, my makeup is gone from when I applied it for work. If I were to stream or pop on to the stream with Breaky, I would probably do my makeup. Why? Well, in case you haven't heard, internet trolls are the WORST. 

We have had our fair share of trolls with Breaky's stream, and especially when he would cast for HoN or Dota 2. So much so that I don't watch chat when he's casting. If there's a WOMAN on stream? Trolls make everything about their appearance. The very few times I pop on to stream on camera on Breaky's stream, comments were made about my weight. I know, I am not a small, tiny woman. Especially now that I'm post-baby, my body is a little, well, mushy. But outside of like 2 individuals who <3 me and I <3 them on his stream chat, that was the only interaction/question/comment directed to me. Is this a fair example? Probably not, as I am not the greatest gamer, and would never claim to be good enough to get paid to do this in my free time, let alone as a full-time gig.

I asked some wonderful ladies who are better at the whole streaming thing than I am.

Current streamer Trulte from

A mom friend of mine, NaCl_Queen

A good friend and former streamer. She wishes to remain anonymous. We will call her A

And current twitch streamer, Mandy

Do you get a lot of appearance-related questions on stream?

Trulte:"I used to get it a lot more when I started streaming. I would have people come into my stream commenting how ugly I supposedly am and I would have people telling me how good looking I am. After streaming for quite some time, and having developed some sort of a community (even tho its very small) , I don't get more than the normal "you look good today" kinda comment."

Mandy: Every single stream there are many comments about my appearance. They range from, you/your makeup looks really pretty today, to wow you look tired, or woah your face looks so serious."

A:  "Absolutely. I think that's the nature of having a webcam involved with the stream. Though in ways it allows me to feel more connected with my viewers, it also opens the doors to commentary about my appearance (good or bad)."

Do you wear makeup on stream?:

Trulte: "I rarely wear makeup on stream to be honest" 

NaCl_Queen: "I had a dual stream with my best friend. We both wore make up. I'm not a full face kind of girl but for stream I would always wear make up. Why? Because that's the norm on twitch. If you don't look nice you get brutalized. On weekends I started streaming with my husband and we would drink and play scary games together. Again, always put on my face. I vividly remember the first time I didn't wear make up to stream, well I probably had some make up on, just not to the extent I usually did. No one said anything. We had quite a few regulars at this point and I don't think one person mentioned my face. It blew my mind. I realized it wasn't necessary for the type of stream style we had going. However, when my best friend and I would do dual streams I was always referred to as 'the ugly one' regardless of my make up so I guess it doesn't really matter in the twitch /streaming world."

Mandy: "I always wear makeup on my stream, but sometimes I wear just a little bit. I’m shy and I know that because of my fair features, bright lights make me look very different and I don’t feel as comfortable streaming that way."

A: "I usually streamed right after work, so whatever I wore to work would carry over to my stream. This meant, I usually was wearing make-up. With that said, there were days I came home and would switch to PJs to relax or weekends I would just roll out of bed and start playing. I definitely received various comments about my appearance doing this - with or without that make-up - compliments and insults. My goal of streaming was never to have people's approval though. In full sincerity, I do not care if someone finds me attractive - I simply want to create an environment where I can enjoying gaming with the community."

What kind of articles would you like to see get a lot more attention in regards to female streamers/gamers: 

Trulte: "I would love to see more articles about girls being good at the games they play, or genuinely funny girls that enjoy what they do. I don't see it as empowering to not wear makeup, not at all. Of course its not easy for everyone to not wear it as they have made it a habit and a mask, but that to me is not empowering. I loved the clip of the girl streamer that has tourettes, and just laughs at it with her viewers. That's what I love the most. Taking what you have, and make the best of it, and not taking yourself so serious all the time. 

Most of the female streamers I follow are usually really good at something. Be it cosplay or gaming. Either is amazing to watch for me and I would love to see more of it. More about the female side of esports too. Few know it exists, and all we always see are these girls using their appearance in some way to gain viewers, and so that's what girls think they have to do. And the few that work hard to actually learn and get good at the game, like myself, end up not being taken seriously which is very frustrating. "

NaCl_Queen: "I feel like if you see articles on female twitch streamers it's always about their appearance. Are they 'titty streamers' with low cut shirts or egirls that got big by screwing some big name male streamer. I wish there were more articles about interesting streams with a good community. I want to find quality female streamers I can relate to. I want articles on up and coming streamers that have sub 500 viewers and why they're interesting that DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HOW THEY LOOK."

Mandy: "I would like to see much more focus on the streamers and their content, rather than how they look. This mostly goes for female streamers. It’s very belittling to be focusing your energy on making awesome content, only to have that content be ignored in favour of focusing on you’re appearance. It makes you feel that people don’t care about what you do, just how you look. Which isn’t right (or true) at all. I think that the more we discuss the impact of focusing on appearance rather than personality or content, the less content we’ll see that focuses on the former. "

A: "Honestly, it truly bothers me that a women choosing to go without make-up on a stream would cause such a spark. This conversation should not be about women being comfortable with or without make-up (because honestly, we should be comfortable wearing whatever we want) - it should be about how close-minded, selfish, and ultimately insecure people still are. What happened with Geguri is another great example of the sexism that exists. Media should aim to represent females roles in the gaming community and support the conversation instead of discussing stereotypes"

Overall, I think the consensus is that we would all love to see female streamers celebrated and watched for content they create and games they are good at. As with the rest of the world, female streamers are all unique and have differing opinions on makeup, which is perfectly normal. They should do what they feel comfortable doing. Should this topic be the most newsworthy when it comes to female streamers? No. I don't think so. Am I glad this article happened? Yes. Hear me out, would we have had this conversation if it hadn't? Sometimes we need a little spark to get the big conversation started. Now that it has, maybe we can start to concentrate on the quality content of all streamers.

I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to make her own decisions that if she wanted to stream her gaming skills online that she would be applauded and encouraged based on her skill level of the games she plays and the content she creates and not how she looks. I hope she looks back and is grateful that these conversations happened, but thankful she didn't have to be a part of it.

So let's go out there and support our fellow female streamers and enjoy the wonderful content they worked so hard to create.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Food Friday for Fall: Apple Picking and Apple Everything

This past weekend we went apple picking. There are many farms in the area, but the one we went to was Gull Meadow Farms, as we have for the past few years. Ironically, both Breaky and I had been, but just never together. Each year, one of us had something else going on when the picking party commenced.

I consider it the start of fall. Whether this was actually planned or not, we actually DID go the first day of fall. The weather cooperated like it was planned: sunny, but in the mid to low 60s (Fahrenheit). It was also BabyCPK's first time at a farm and apple picking. So many firsts in these past few months, it's really hard to keep track.

We got Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, and a few other kinds of apples before calling it good. Breaky and I combined got just about a half a bushel.

Tangent Alert:
I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I hear the words "bushel" and "peck" I immediately think of the song "Bushel and a Peck"

With that many apples, you can imagine I'm scrambling to find and/or create recipes with apples in them. That, and my mid-day snack has been an apple. * Insert joke about an apple a day *

A few nights ago I made a pretty decent bacon-wrapped pork chops with apples with a poor man's risotto.

Last night, I made an apple pie. My recipe for that can be found here. That, however, was for dessert.

For dinner,  I made a Chicken Apple Stir Fry.

I have to admit, I made this recipe from many different recipes on Pinterest, as is my way. Heck, that's how I created my ever-famous Jambalaya recipe.

Here's the "recipe"
(I use "Recipe" loosly, as I kind of guestimate amounts and change things halfway through making it. Aka I wing it)

- 3 carrots
- 2 small zuchinni
- 4 Snack Peppers
- 1/2 packet of mushroom
- Chicken-Cubed-1 cup
- 2 apples-chopped up
- Apple Cider or Apple juice 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- (just a sprinkling) Red Pepper flakes
- Garlic powder to taste
- Minced onion- I dunno, like, 1 tablespoon?
- Cinnamon-Very very light sprinkling.

Drizzle olive oil on skillet or wok. Cook chicken. Remove chicken. Cook carrots, peppers, zuchinni, minced onion and mushrooms until carrots are soft-ish.

In separate bowl, add apple cider/juice, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and cinnamon and mix.

Add chicken and apples to skillet/wok. Stir together. Add liquid mixture.

Serve over rice. You can use white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, I'm not going to discriminate. All would be really good. You do you.

Turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself. Apple pie for dessert was of course pretty good. Enough about me. Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Esports and Higher Education

So I make no secret that I am a professional in higher education. I try to separate out that part of my life from my blog and twitter, which is normally filled with esports, video games, pics of my baby, etc...

Recent events lead me to see if there was any research on esports and higher education. Surprisingly, there was not as much as I thought there would be. Obviously, the news articles and "experts" flooded the general search, but actual published, researched articles were not as numerous as I had maybe hoped. Most of what I saw related to the sports side of things; considering it a sport, which I believe it is, and how it can benefit intercollegiate sports within higher education.

Part of me now wishes I had waited to do my master's degree so I can write another paper or two about this.

Because while inserting a new sport or program of any kind is a great idea, making it thrive as a part of the university's culture is another. I'm not talking about the student side, which is still important, I'm talking about the nitty-gritty hierarchy, unwritten-rule politics that happens on the back-end.

In esports, as a profession, the political climate is way different than that of a higher education institution. I have seen this first-hand in helping BreakyCPK with his dealings, contracts, negotiations. I have said several times in several different scenarios that things would be handled differently if this was happening in a university setting. Good and bad.

Most publicly funded universities have a set of rules, regulations, processes, oversight etc... that esports just does not have. You have to be so very careful about what goes on during events and online for liability reasons. If anyone affiliated with a university said or did some of the controversial things I have seen professional esports players and streamers do, it would be an absolute nightmare for the university. Even Breaky, I find myself scolding him for things he says in certain ways, worried about potential fallout or repercussion. To which he normally replies, that's just how it is in esports.

Many well-intentioned higher education professionals jump right in to esports, with their eye on keeping up with what students want (recruitment and retention) and making a profit. They will hire either sports professionals who know a little about esports, or hire esports professionals or streamers who know little to nothing about higher education.

The former leads to an abundantly common misspelling of "esports" as "eSports" Ironically, it is the AP Style Guide, a leader in higher education writing standards that settled that argument a year ago:

Many articles I dug up that were positive in nature talked about diversity of students as a result of introducing esports as a sports program. That, plus revenue generation, number boosting and overall increase of morale sets the tone that esports within higher education is a smart move.

Overall, my opinion is, that a well managed esports program at a higher education institution is a fantastic idea. With the proper amount of care, it can be a huge boon to the university. Like a very good football team, it can put the college or university on the map.

Sorry for rambling. I have all these thoughts that I have to stick somewhere. I have a unique insight to both worlds, and to see it become a possibility to merge the two is absolutely fascinating to me at the "data-loving-research geek" level.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

When He's Here....But Not "Here"

I was chatting to someone who, I had assumed, I explained everything about what my husband does.

Me-"He's working from 12pm-9pm from this past Sunday to Thursday, so it's been a struggle"

Person-"Oh, he works nights then? Where? Is this a second job?"


Then I forgot that, while she know about the very basics about what my husband does, I obviously hadn't explained what he does when he is not actually traveling for work.

I have made many, many, many, many blog posts about what life's like while Breaky travels for work.

I don't believe (correct me if I'm wrong) I have ever written about what life is like while he's working from home.

So, for those of you who may be new: My husband, BreakyCPK, is an "Esports Broadcaster" or "caster". Meaning, he does play-by-play for online video game tournaments and games. About 16% of that job involves big events to which he has to travel, often internationally. The rest is done at home, in our office, at his computer.

If you've never listened to one of these broadcasts, take a listen:

Now imagine that coming from your basement for hours on end.

I think our baby who is ALMOST 7 MONTHS OLD THE TIME IS GOING BY TOO FAST, is probably used to hearing that from downstairs by now. Honestly, it's probably just white noise to her now.

A gamer in the making!

Some things that people don't realize when I tell them he "casts" from home:

1. Like our daughter, I don't hear the casting from the basement anymore 

It's all just background noise to me now. People who visit? Yeah they notice.

2. Unless there is a life-altering emergency, he cannot stop what he is doing

He can come visit on breaks and stuff, but when those would be? We never really know, and he could be unreachable for 3-4 hours at a time.

3. I prepare meals that can be eaten at anytime.

As mentioned before, he never knows when his breaks are. So neither do I, which means I eat by myself, leaving enough for him to nuke and take downstairs.

4. I will often pop onto the twitch channel to see where they are in the match to get a good idea of how the night will go.

I know enough about the game to know how much longer it could possibly take. Like who's winning, did it just start, am I going to be giving BabyCPK a bath by myself? Am I going to be able to shower today?

5. I get lonely

It's weird. Missing someone who is in the same house as you. I do have BabyCPK, but conversational abilities are a little limited. Although it would be three times more lonely if I didn't have her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Double Whammy

Who's big idea was it to have both the WoW expansion AND TI8 be at the exact same time?

Probably someone who wants our family to not get ANYTHING productive done this month.

As many of you probably figured out, Breaky did not make it to TI8 this year as talent. But that was good news for us, as we got to have more time with him at home! Kinda. 

I no longer play WoW, though I did try a while back. Even had a two-part blog experience as a result. Part I, Part II. I also did a little piece about being a WoW Widow. 

Between WoW and TI8, attentions were diverted, to say the least. So we made it a family affair!

TI was always on the TV in the living room, and Breaky was usually somewhere playing WoW at the same time. Within earshot of course! We made sure BabyCPK wasn't always in front of a screen, with equal family, bath, feeding and story time. It's all about that balance! 

Watching the finals! 

Watch party for the finals! 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Our MCU Run Through Phase 2

Breaky and I continued our Marvel run, despite a very, very busy summer, filled with cabin trips, weddings, weekend trips, baby things etc...

But we did make it through the "second phase". Well, the unofficial phase 2. We are doing the whole chronological run, instead of the release date order.

Iron Man 3
Watched 6/7/2018

While I liked this more than the second, it still doesn't touch the first Iron Man movie. The twist was unexpected, but wasn't actually necessary. If the bad guy had remained the bad guy through the entire movie, I think it would have been rated higher.

BreakyCPK Rating: 2.5/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 3/5

Thor: The Dark World
Watched 6/18/2018.

Probably one of my least favorite Marvel movies. Doesn't mean I didn't like it and it didn't have great, funny moments. The bad-guys were meh...and the story seemed kind of lazy.

BreakyCPK Rating: 3/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 2/5

Captain America: Winter Soldier
Watched 6/28/2018

I don't give 5/5 just because. This is a great movie. It contained probably the biggest shift of the Marvel Universe thus far, after the Avengers of course. The action was not boring, and the story was spot on.

BreakyCPK Rating: 4/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 5/5

Guardians of the Galaxy
Watched: 7/14

Remember when I said I didn't give 5/5 just cause? Well this 5/5 was because it was just a great, fun movie. A 5/5 for different reasons than Winter Soldier. If you didn't know any better, it would be hard to say this was all connected to the other films at all. Not to mention, the soundtrack by far is the best.

BreakyCPK Rating: 5/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 5/5

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
Watched: 7/16

We know this was released way later, but chronologically, I guess this one came next. It was not as good as the first one, but still very entertaining. Some great moments too. Along with another great soundtrack. 

BreakyCPK Rating: 4/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 4.5/5

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Watched: 7/24

The last film of Phase 2. One of Breaky's favorite villains. It was not as good as the first Avengers film, but I still enjoyed it, as it introduced several favorite new character

BreakyCPK Rating: 3.5/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Butter Boys

An appropriate Throwback Thursday post.

I know I haven't been posting much lately. I could go on and blame the baby and all the time my hands are tied with taking care of her, or how busy work is because we are moving offices (not by choice) but to be completely honest, I haven't been in the right head-space to write anything.

I had a really disappointing professional set-back involving a position that was basically made for me in an institution I thought I'd end up back in. Because of reasons that are still unclear, (although it appears they may have had someone else in mind from the beginning), I did not get that position. It was devastating to me, and I was not in a good place. Breaky was, as always, the best support system I could ask for, but even he couldn't quite reach through this fog I was in. It was a funk scarily similar to the depression I battled years and years ago.

As I mentioned before, our office is moving, which contributed to the funk I was in. As a result, I have to pack up my office for it to be moved. One item that I packed up was an empty (and clean!) tub of "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter".

It's not that I had forgotten it was there, or why. It's just I hadn't stopped and looked at it, having had it placed in the same spot for 2+ years. Of all things, this tub of butter helped me get over my slump and made me feel a little better.

Why you ask? Well, have I got a story for you.

Just about 11 years ago, I worked for my university's student ambassador office. Our main jobs were giving the campus tours around the university and calling students at night who were either applying or had been accepted to the university to see if they had questions or concerns, or sometimes to even tell them they were accepted. The behind-the-scenes stuff which the public did not see is where I thrived. I was the Technology Coordinator, the Coordinator of the Campus Visit Center, I was a night-time supervisor for the phone calls being made, the list went on and on. Most of my leadership skills and organizational skills either was born there or was honed there. I owe my career to the student ambassador office.

As a result of my multiple leadership positions, I helped out, professionally and personally, a lot of individuals. Two of which were two guys who would often work the front desk together. If you worked the front desk, you had to either wear the black polo or the "butter yellow" polo. It was the "butter yellow" polo, because that was the exact name of the color in the magazine when we chose the polos. Whenever these two individuals worked together, they would both wear the butter yellow polo. I do not know or remember if this happened accidentally and they just went with it, or if it was by design from the beginning, but henceforth, they were nicknamed the "Buta Boys." (which sounds like Buttah, like "Butter)

Not one of the Butter Boys, but a friend in the "butter yellow" polo! 

I am not one to do things for recognition. Helping people was something that came naturally to me. A result of my upbringing, or just my personality? A combination of both? Who knows. I would listen to anyone who came to me for help, and I would do my best with any advice or help I could give. Individually, each "Buta Boy" had come to me for one thing or another. Some of it professional, some personal.

At the end-of-the-year banquet, the Buta Boys went up to present their own award. While listening to them talk about this wonderful person who helped them out so much during the year and how much they appreciated it and so on and so forth.... I was convinced it was not me. I was preemptively a little hurt, and my self-esteem had taken a hit. A few sentences later, and they said MY NAME. I was awarded the Buta Boy Award (I believe it was called) and the empty, clean tub of "I Can't Believe it's not Butter."

Looking back on it now, I wish I had listened more carefully to what they were saying when making the award. I was so wrapped up in my own self-pity, I did not enjoy and appreciate their very kind words. Got me really thinking. Yes, I can feel sad and defeated, but I can't let it get in the way of forward progress. I may miss something really important that others see in me that I couldn't see in myself.

The "Buta Boys" just not in their butter yellow polos

I have not spoken to either of the "Buta Boys" since graduating college more than 10 years ago. Not as a result of some bad rift or anything. That's what graduating college will do.

I have had that tub of "butter" (but not butter) in every incarnation of my office I've had since I graduated college. A reminder that, though it may not seem that way, people do notice the good that is done. I have it right next to the painted rubber ducky that was given to me, disingenuously by a former boss because "a conference told her to" to recognize my hard work. That reminds me that not all recognition is true recognition and how sometimes recognition for my efforts can come in different forms.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Fortnite and Esports: Thoughts

Breaky and I finished up eating on Tuesday the 12th and made plans to continue our Marvel CU run through with Thor: the Dark World .

Breaky quickly realized that it was actually the night that E3 was hosting the Fortnite Pro Am at E3. The Pro Am at E3 was Fortnite's big debut in to esports for the game, combining pro streamers and players with celebrities who play the game. All proceeds and winnings went to charities of the players' choosing.

Recently, Epic Games announced it would be providing a $100,000,000 prize pool for their first year of esports. The big question remains, though, is how they are going to divide that up and with how many games/tournaments. Epic Games stated it will not be in a league format, like that of Overwatch, and will be open to everyone. They, however, have given little details as to what kind of games/tournaments. Will they continue with this celebrity trend? Groups of two? Teams of 2+? Individual/solo tournaments? Personally, I'd like to see teams of more than two. But I digress.

Tuned into the stream, only to realize that it is unfortunately already a half hour late to start. We both can empathize, we have both been a part of and witnessed how things can go behind the scenes at esports evens. However, being it's first inaugural esports event, it did not bode very well.

I was  most interested in how the spectating was going to happen for this game. If you are not familiar with Fortnite or any kind of battle royale style game, think Hunger Games, but with building supplies, pinatas and emotes. Oh, and weapons.  Which means you have 100 people in different points of the map doing different things, and battles happening everywhere, or nothing happening. Turns out, it took quite a while for us to find out. Pre-game shenanigans occurred, like interviews, crowd shots, information about who's competing.

When the competitors came on stage, no formal introduction was done. Just commentating on specific people if the casters happen to notice. Read: if you were not Ninja, Marshmellow or Joel McHale, you got very little screen time. I think this annoyed Breaky the most, was the very disjointed announcement of competitors on stage.

When the games actually started, I have to say, for the most part I was pretty impressed. The spectating was better than what I had imagined. I think the only complaint that either of us had was the fact that the system did not yet have the capability of alerting when a big fight was underway, similar to the HoN system, which still has one of the best spectating systems in place. Not that we are biased or anything.

Overall, we were entertained. Not surprisingly, Ninja and Marshmellow took home the "gold"

Not going to lie, I did play Fortnite: Battle Royale when it was just a free-to-play add-on to the original game: Fortnite, which was debuted at E3 last year, and both Breaky and I were interested in it. It was a zombie survival game in which you can build structures and traps to destroy the impending zombie waves. It seemed that the Battle Royale option was a tag-on to get people interested and to ride the wave of success PUBG was having. Breaky and I and a few friends played probably for a few weeks, enjoying the game very much. Personally, I wasn't very good at the whole building things, which you have to be now to be any good at it whatsoever. It has definitely changed, and I don't think I would be any good anymore. How hipster is that of me to say? I liked this game before it became popular. Ha.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Our MCU Run Through Phase 1

Since Breaky and I are a little behind on the Marvel universe, we decided that, before watching the new ones we haven't seen (Black Panther, the New Avengers) that we would kind of do a run-through/repeat of all the previous Marvel Movies. The only one we did not include was the Incredible Hulk, and that was because of the change of actor. Personal preference.

So we kind of made it an at-home-date-night.

Since we have a few hours or so in between when BabyCPK is asleep and we go to bed, that's when we decided to give this a shot.

We also are doing them in time-order, meaning that, since Captain America happened during WWII, we watched that first.

So here's our Phase I run through with some comments, GIFs, and a DuchessCPK (ME) and BreakyCPK (Breaky aka my husband) rating

Captain America: The First Avenger
Date watched: 5/13

Actually, I had recently watched it for the first time, like a month ago. Really regret not seeing this one sooner. Has to be one of my favorite Marvel Movies as of yet.

DuchessCPK rating: 5/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 3.5/5

Iron Man 
Date watched: 5/14

This was actually the first Marvel movie Breaky and I watched as a couple. We watched it in his apartment on a big projector screen. It is Breaky's favorite so far.

DuchessCPK rating: 4/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 5/5

Iron man 2 
Date watched: 5/20/2018

Good movie. It's a continuation of the story, but nothing truly groundbreaking. Other than making me kind of anxious. The whole gloom-and-doom and subsequent meltdown had me on edge the first time I watched it. Now though? Since I know how it ends, I can watch and enjoy.

DuchessCPK rating: 2/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 2.5/5 stars

Date watched: 5/29/2018

Thor has to be one of my favorite Marvel characters. Coming from a Scandinavian background, I grew up with some of the stories and mythologies of Thor and Odin and Loki. I truly did enjoy this movie too. Different pace for sure, but my kind of pace.

DuchessCPK rating: 4/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 3/5 stars

Marvel's The Avengers
Date watched: 5/29/2018

Believe it or not, this was the first Marvel movie I ever watched. I believe I watched it in theaters when it came out. I was able to follow along with the story just fine, but with this run through, I realized how much tie-in with the other movies I did miss. Also, the soundtrack to this was killer.

DuchessCPK rating: 4/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 4/5 stars

We are starting Phase II soon! Blog post to follow.

Monday, May 21, 2018

And We'll Never Be Royals.... But We Can Watch Them Get Married

You may wonder what could compel someone to get up at the crack of dawn to watch two people she's never met get married.

Very good question.

The royal wedding of Harry and Meghan was this past weekend. You may wonder why someone who just celebrated her Norwegian heritage on Syttende Mai (Norwegian's Constitution Day) would be so very interested in the English Crown's latest pomp and circumstance. Well, I am also English by blood too. On my father's side, one half is English (his father's) and the other side is Norwegian (his mother's). In fact, I can trace my heritage in England back to 1240 with the birth of Ralph de Spalding. We, in fact, had several Lords and Ladies in our family tree until the 1600s when the first of the Spaldings (later changed to Spaulding) came over to the Americas.

Ancestry aside, the royal family always kind of held a special place in my family's hearts. My aunt has always had a kind of obsession with everything British, including the royal family. My parents were huge fans of Princess Diana. Heck, my Mom even rocked the Diana hair cut around the time my sister was born. I was far too young to understand what was going on, but I know my parents were devastated when she passed away.

My sister and I got up pretty early when Kate Middleton and Prince William got married. From what we can remember, I had tea to celebrate, but that was about it.

This year, it just so happens that this wedding corresponded with a "girls weekend" with my mom, my sister and my daughter. A perfect opportunity to get geeked out about a royal wedding.

We had scones, chocolates, tea (for me), and champagne. Now, before the mom-brigade jumps down my throat, I had enough champagne to toast to the new couple, and I pumped and tested my milk before giving it to my daughter. 

My daughter celebrated by being super cute in a very pink tutu.

We had a ton of fun, despite the very early morning. The wedding was significantly different from Will and Kate's, as it was more modern, laid back (as laid back as a royal affair can be I suppose) and more filled with celebrities than heads of state. Oprah, the Beckhams, Elton John, Serena Williams...the list goes on and on.

I thought Meghan's gown was perfect for her. I was in love with the veil, which, come to find out, had embroidered flowers for each of the 53 commonwealths. 

I could go on and on about the ceremony and the carriage ride after, but you can take a look at it online. This post is more about the geeky things the women did in our family for the Royal Wedding. :) Plus, an excuse to post about my little princess :)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day everyone.

I usually will do a quick Facebook post about Mother's Day. Including what my Mom means to me, a shout out to all the Moms I know, etc...

This year, if I were to do that, I think my post would be far too long for anyone to read.

So, hence the blog post.

First and foremost, obviously the big difference this year is that I, myself, am a mother.

It is the most challenging, rewarding, beautiful, and messy thing I have ever experienced in my life. I am eternally grateful to Breaky for making me a mother and for joining me on this crazy journey.

A huge thank you to my husband's mother for raising such a wonderful, funny, patient caring man. He is the best father a woman could ask for, and that says a lot about how he was loved and raised growing up.

Obviously, I wouldn't be here if it were not for my own mother. More than that though, I owe her so much for being a wonderful role model. Not just as a woman, but as a mother. BabyCPK is lucky to have such a wonderful MiMi, and is lucky that I was raised by such a powerful, strong, smart, amazing young woman, because that is what I strive to be every day for my daughter.

A huge thank you as well to the wonderful mothers and mothers to be in both my family and my friends. Having a support group of women who understand what I am going through is one of the most important things I found helpful with raising this little bundle of joy (sometimes a bundle of terror, but you get the idea).

A very happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and moms to be.

And in the meantime, don't mind me, I am just taking a well-deserved "me-time" break.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Another Day in the Life of an ESports Wife Baby Edition

This is the 4th installment about what life is like when Breaky is out of the country for an event.

Links to previous posts:
Blog Post 1
Blog Post 2
Blog Post 3

TL:DR the first two deal with some silly things, one post negative and the other positive, about what life is like at home when Breaky is gone. The third one dealt with what it was like while I was pregnant. News flash, things were harder while I was pregnant.

And then came the baby.

BabyCPK is the best thing that has ever happened to us, don't get me wrong. But people are not exaggerating when they say that babies are hard work. Just imagine a mini-dictator telling you exactly what you can and cannot do. Just without actual words, but screams and grunts. Need to go potty? Not if the little one needs to be fed RIGHT NOW. Want to go to the grocery store? HA. You'd better hope Amazon has it, because your phone is the closest thing you'll get to the store in the next 12 hours. Oh, and stock up on body spray, because you are very lucky if you get the minutes you need to shower.

While all that seems daunting, if you have a partner, it is manageable. One can do the dishes while the other rocks the baby. The other can shower while the other changes her.

So when Breaky said he was going to be gone for TWO WEEKS, not going to lie, kinda didn't want him to go. We are lucky in that we have an amazing Nanny who is watching BabyCPK while I'm at work. But when I get home, man, I really miss Breaky.

Here are the biggest struggles I have faced thus far

  • Getting BabyCPK to nap long enough for me to take a quick shower

  • When you do get the baby to nap or to bed, you realize how loud ordinary items can be. Shower curtain opening? Like a bomb landing next door. Turning on the sink? Like a rock concert. Dog barking? Nah, she sleeps through that... go figure

  • Speaking of dogs, poor DogCPK has gotten very little exercise this past week. Really hard to do juggle a stroller AND a dog who loves to pull and bark at other dogs. Luckily we have amazing friends who are going to bring DogCPK on a doggy outing with their dog. 

  • In one of my other posts about this, I had mentioned that strange noises were louder and more scary when I was alone. Now that I am responsible for a little life? Terrifying. Let me tell you, having the broom fall in the broom closet sounds like someone is breaking down the door.

  • One pretty cool thing is that I propped up my phone while Breaky was casting to help with BabyCPK's tummy time. Figuring it would give her something to look at and hear her Daddy's voice. 

Tummy time! I didn't get a picture of her listening to Breaky. 

  • It would be nice to be able to make a full meal again, and not whip together what ever I can while carrying a baby that refuses to be put down. Pro tip? Burritos are easy to eat one-handed, just make sure you do not drip any on your baby. 

All of us that are home are missing Breaky something fierce. We are insanely proud of him as he is casting the Epicenter XL Major in Russia. I also realize how hard it must be for him to be away, especially since the little one just turned 2 months old this past weekend. 

We love you Breaky! Continue to be awesome at the event, travel safely and come back to us soon. <3 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Geek Parents

There have been several nights in which the phrase "OH NO! You troll baby...." can be heard emanating from the nursery in the CPK household. Usually this means BabyCPK went #1 or #2 either during that sweet spot where the old diaper is off and the new one is on its way, or into a brand new diaper after she is completely changed. 

To be honest, we knew she was a troll from the beginning. She deliberately , or so it seemed to me, closed her legs during the ultrasound and the tech could not determine the gender. We had to schedule another and came back for that to be completed. What she didn't know is we had to pay for that second ultrasound, so that came outta your college fund kiddo (jk, jk)

She thinks that is SO hilarious.

Now, 10 years ago, calling your baby a troll would have gotten some pretty dirty looks and some concerned bystanders. Now? It means something completely different thanks to new language that was created thanks to the internet and gaming industry 

Calling our baby a troll is not the only indication that our household may be a little more geeky than average. 

Because of Breaky's casting and streaming schedule and my going back to work, we had to become creative. For those times where he is not casting or traveling for events, he actually has been streaming with BabyCPK in what we have been calling his "Dad Shirt"

Officially called the "Lalabu Dad Shirt" it has probably been one of the best gifts I have ever gotten Breaky for Valentine's Day. 

Tune in to BreakyCPK's stream at while he rocks being a Gamer Dad. 

Next would be the nursery. And yes, in the right hand corner is a Portal Cube. The same one we used at our wedding

Her name, with Wonder Woman print (thank you Hodge Podge)

A few prints I got from Etsy! 
Tetris Print: Wall Love Designs
Yoda Print: Fox Grove Designs

And yes, Breaky has started teaching me Magic: The Gathering. Because this little peanut refuses to not be held, she was involved too.

BabyCPK saying "Starting attack phase!"

Now, I could go on and on and on about the struggles of being a parent and then go on and on more about the joys of being a parent. Like the double edged sword of constant baby snuggles (which are the best after being at work for 8+ hours) but only because she doesn't like being put down. Or how many goddamn diapers we have gone through, or the untold perils of breastfeeding. But, this is not a Mommy Blog. Not that I have any qualms with Mommy Blogs, heck, several have been a huge help throughout this whole thing. But the world has it's fair share of Mommy Blogs. 

Bonus smiling baby picture