Thursday, October 12, 2017

Green Bay vs Dallas Weekend.

Happy Thursday, friends!  I am so excited to share our Green Bay vs Dallas weekend!!  I have so many pictures and so much to talk about so I'm just going to jump on in!


For those of you who found your way here to the blog for the first time, here's the quick backstory.  My husband, Craig, was in the NFL for 7 seasons. He was drafted by the Packers in the 5th round in 2002 and played with them for his first 4 years as a backup quarterback behind Brett Favre and eventually Aaron Rodgers as well. (Don't get me started...  Oh, the stories I could tell!!!  #butIwont  #atleastnotonthisblog #winkwink)



Craig went on to play a with the Bills and Texans and then made his way back to Green Bay for a while.  But most of his time was with the Packers and no other team could hold a candle to their organization, their fans, their tailgating, their stadium.  We are incredibly lucky to be a part of the Packers family.  We don't take that for granted for a single second.

But before I go any further, can I just say this?  Please know that I hope none of this comes off as bragging.  Trust me, I feel super awkward every time I even talk about it and worry that I'm coming off as braggy.  

But in all honesty, it's the only cool thing we really have going for us.  #truth  

The average NFL career is only 3 years and my hubs lasted for 7 which we are so proud of.  Making it in the NFL is 90% skill and a solid 10% pure luck.  The luck part is all about timing, injuries, right time/right place and an assortment of other things that I could get on my wifey soapbox about but I won't.  I'm going to save most of that for my 1st CONFESSIONS link up!! 

See how I threw in that little promo for my new linkup?  Nice, right?  ;)

Starting in November, I am going to host a new monthly link-up that is all about Confessions!  My first Confessions post is going to be Confessions of an NFL Wife.  I've had several people reach out since I started this blog to ask about life in the NFL.  What was it like?  (Surreal.)  Did we like it?  (Duh!)  What were the other wives like?  (Mostly awesome.)  Was it all champagne and trips to Vegas? (Some! Ha!)

So PLEASE JOIN ME!!  Link up on Thursday, November 2nd and every first Thursday of the month with your own confession!  Anything and everything goes.  Confessions of a beauty product addict?  Link up with your favorite beauty products!  Confessions of a stay-at-home-mom?  Tell us all about your life with those kids!  Confessions of a working mom?  Confessions of a shoe/coffee/DIY addict?  Are you secretly obsessed with celebrity gossip?  

Even serious stuff.  Have you dealt with depression?  Addiction?  Maybe you want to give your testimony about how your faith has shaped your life.  Literally, anything goes, every month.  

Comment below if you plan on linking up!  Obviously, it's no fun to not have any friends join your party.  ;)

Grab my graphic below and start planning!

So now that we've covered the necessities, it's time for the weekend fun!

Thursday afternoon, Craig's parents came to town to help with the kids while we were gone.  It was also my birthday (read more about my birthday fun here) so this weekend away was my gift.  (I'm not big on asking for "stuff" from the hubs.  But trips for the two of us are always on point!)

A few weeks ago, the Packers contacted Craig to see if he'd be interested in doing an Alumni appearance at the Packers Pep Rally at the Rustic in Dallas the Saturday before the Cowboys game.  His former teammate and friend, Bubba Franks, also lives in our area and would be doing the appearance as well.  So yeah, it was kind of a no-brainer!  Sounds like fun! 

Craig asked me if I'd want to go and maybe we could make a weekend out of it for my birthday.  The Packers would also be providing a room for us at The Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas (where the team stays) plus tickets to the game the next day!  I mean, happy birthday to me!!!  And these were not just any tickets.  They were tickets in the Packers' Executive Suite (aka the President's Box.  Mark Murphy-president of the Packers.  Not the president of the United States.  I had someone ask that so I just wanted to clarify.)

We were super excited to get our weekend started!  We said goodbye to the boys and drove the 45 minutes to the hotel on Saturday afternoon.  We arrived with a couple of hours to spare before we needed to be ready for the Pep Rally.  When we got to the room, the first thing we did was check out the room service menu because we were starving!

While we waited for our food, we checked out the view and made ourselves comfy.





It felt so good to just sit back and RELAX with nowhere to be and nothing to do for a couple of hours!

I ordered chicken quesadillas and they were AMAZING.  Craig had a burger and fries and those fries were perfection.  I definitely stole a couple.  #ortwenty


Around 5:30, we headed down to the lobby to meet up with Cathy, the Packers alumni organizer for these type of events and Bubba Franks.  We adore Bubba.  He is sweet, down-to-earth and funny.  He's also kind of a superstar.  He's a Pro-Bowler and played with Craig when he was with Green Bay as well.  He was a great guy to hang with all weekend!


We snapped a pic while waiting for the elevator.

(Sidenote:  The lipstick color is Lipsense Bella covered with a layer of Caramel Apple.  And since we discussed mascaras here, I thought I'd mention that on this particular day, I used Lancome's Monsieur because I got in a sample of it with some Nordstrom beauty products the other day.  It's kind of amazing, y'all.  #holylashes)

Once we got down to the lobby, we met up with Cathy and waited for the rest of our group.  There were several guys from the Packers organization lingering in the lobby so Craig was able to catch up with while I sat down to check out the scene. 

A few minutes after I sat, the team arrived at the hotel.  Listen.  I don't geek out over athletes normally and there isn't anyone currently on the team that was there when we were (except Aaron Rodgers and I knew he wasn't about to come strolling through the lobby.  He'd get mauled.) So I didn't have any friends to look for.  

I will, however, geek out for actors/actresses/singers.  Not in a super dorky way.  But in a "I'm smiling.  I'm pretending it's no big deal.  My heart is just beating a million miles a minute and I'm giddy and sweaty and trying not to faint." way.

If I met Jennifer Aniston that would totally be me.  And then we'd become best friends.  Or Britney Spears.  Or Kristin Bell.  Or even the I Mom So Hard girls.  Let's not get started on Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling.

Wait, what was I talking about?

Oh, right.  The team was walking through the lobby.

I glanced up right as Clay Matthews walked by and, like a giant dork, snapped a pic.  Do you know who he is?  Yes, he's an amazing player for the Packers, he's hot (sorry honey) and he's famous.  But he was also in Pitch Perfect 2 which happens to be my most favorite movie franchise.  ;) So yeah, because of that, I snapped that pic. #acascuseme (You'll only get that hashtag if you are a diehard PP fan.)


On the other side of the lobby, they had a little roped off section for the fans wanting to see the players walking through so they could maybe get a pic or an autograph.  For the record, if you do this, the most you'll end up getting is a picture like the one above.  The guys aren't in autograph/picture taking mode when they get off the plane so don't be disappointed if they walk right by.


After the whole crew of media guys, some execs and The President of the Packers (Mark Murphy) arrived, we got on a bus that took us over to The Rustic in Dallas for the Packers Rally.

I'd never been to The Rustic but I'd heard about it a lot.  They have a big stage, fun picnic tables, lights in the trees and everything is outdoors, although there is a covered area as well.  

When we walked in we were overwhelmed by a sea of green and gold.  I think we were all pretty giddy at this point.  It was just FUN and such a great atmosphere!


 



Craig and Bubba were whisked off to the side immediately for some interviews with some news stations so I just sat back and did some Grade A people watching.




He is just in his element when he can talk football.

#hardcore

After the interviews, the fans that wanted pictures with Craig and Bubba stood in a pretty orderly line (thanks to the event organizers) and waited for their turn.



After about 10 minutes, they called a timeout with the pictures and ushered us backstage.   Craig and Bubba were introduced to the crowd and were asked a few questions on stage before heading back for more pictures.








We almost didn't want to leave once the appearance was technically over but the bus was leaving and Cathy was going to take us all out to Pappas Bros Steakhouse.

I was still stuffed from my quesadilla and honestly, all I wanted to do was crawl into that big cozy bed, turn on the TV, turn out the lights and just relax.  So I opted out of dinner and did just that.

And it was glorious. The view from the 27th floor wasn't too bad either.


I was asleep by 11 which is almost unheard of for me!

The next day was GAME DAY!  We slept late and took our time getting ready before we had to meet Cathy and Bubba in the lobby.


Cathy is the Director of Community Outreach and Alumni/Player Relations.  So a lot of her job is to keep the fans happy by providing cool experiences for them, like the Packers Rally with the alumni, Packers Cruises and something called the Tailgate Tour.  After this weekend, we are definitely looking into other ways we can stay involved!

We got to the stadium around 1 and the game wasn't until 3:25.  So Cathy thought it would be cool to crash some Packer tailgate parties and surprise them with Bubba and Craig.


Craig may have only been a backup QB with the Packers for a few years, almost 10 years ago, but Packers fans remember EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.  So when we walked up to the first Packers tent, I don't know why I was surprised that they all knew exactly who was there.  

Bubba---of course, they knew Bubba.  It's BUBBA FRANKS.  Kind of a big deal.  But my sweet hubby?  I was a tad nervous they wouldn't know who he was!  I totally underestimated these Packer fans though.  People immediately started saying "Oh my gosh, that's Bubba Franks and Craig Nall!".

Everyone wanted a picture and an autograph.  They also wanted to feed us at every stop! #notabadthing





 At one point, I was standing along the back of the crowd, letting Craig do his thing when a lady walked up to me with her phone pointed at the guys and whispered to me, "How cool is this?!".  She had no idea I was with them, much less Craig's wife.  I thought that was funny and never said a word.  She's right.  It was cool.

And as cool as it was for the fans, I know it was just as cool for Bubba and Craig.  They had an absolute BLAST chatting with fans and sampling everyone's food.  The winning plate had to be this amazing brisket along with some bacon and cream cheese stuffed jalapenos.  The brisket was in a crockpot and didn't even need a drop of BBQ sauce.  It was on a whole other level.  And those jalapenos were perfection.  The only bad thing was that it came from a Cowboys tent.  ;)

When it was time to go into the stadium, the guys started talking about how this was both Bubba and Craig's first NFL game ever as a spectator.

EVER!

They've only played in NFL games.  They've only seen them from the sidelines, with helmets and pads on.  So this was a momentous occasion for the both of them.  

And I'm not sure there could have been a better experience for their first game.  

AT&T Stadium is INSANE.  Jerry Jones did that thing up right, y'all.  Craig has been to the stadium a few times for some charity events so it wasn't our first time to see the stadium.  But man, that place is incredible.



We made our way up the Star Suite where all the Packers' execs were sitting and I will never stop being amazingly grateful and humbled by experiences like this.  I don't think it's normal to sit in the President's box at an NFL game.  I don't think we deserve it or are any better than anyone else.  I am in awe sometimes when these things are offered to us and never take it for granted or consider it normal.

But I will take it.  :)


I seriously felt like I needed a shirt that said "I don't belong here".


And oh my goodness, the food!!  Sorry Packers, but the Cowboys suite food was even better than Packers suite food, from what I can remember.  

Sushi, hot dogs, complete with buns stamped with the Packers logo, pork sliders, shrimp, pasta salad and the BEST truffle mac-n-cheese I've ever had in my whole life.  I would have filled a baggie with it and stuffed it in my purse if I could. ;) 


The suite to our left was the Packers headquarters.  It was kind of cool watching them work.



A couple of times during the game, Cathy asked the guys to go to some of other Packers suites next door to meet Packer fans and take some pictures.  I snapped pics through the glass wall.


And how cute are these M&Ms!? #iwantedabaggieforthesetoo




I think it's funny when people think Craig is so big.  Compared to his old teammates though, he's a shrimp.  ;)

The whole game was SO MUCH FUN.  And it didn't hurt that it was a great game!  I haven't been that into a game since the last one I watched Craig play in 10 years ago.

 I'll admit that I'm not the most loyal fan.  I don't follow football anymore like I used to when Craig was playing.  But it felt so good cheering for "our" team again and really being invested in the outcome.  Yes, we live in Dallas now but we've never been Dallas fans.  We aren't Dallas haters by any means but we just don't feel any sort of connection to them.

The Packers have always treated us like family and we are just as loyal to them.  It is an organization that loves not only their players but their alumni and their families as well.  And those fans are just the greatest.  Hearing the crowd erupt into GO PACK GO at an away game just says it all.  There are Packers fans everywhere!

After the big WIN (whoop whoop!!), we were talking with Mark Murphy (the President) when he told us to just follow him out since he had a security escort.


Well, sure!!  So we took the elevator down to the ground floor and walked around the tunnel.

We quickly realized that we were taking the long way out since our car was parked in a different lot but no one cared.  We were going to hang with the VIP section for as long as we could.  #wearentdummies

While we were walking, I snapped a pic of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room.


And the service men who were walking in front of us.


And then we stopped outside the Packers locker room and my moment arrived.  Craig knew Clay Matthews was the only one I really wanted to meet and as fate would have it, he was standing by himself as we walked up.  So Craig introduced me and asked if it would be ok if we got a picture.  He also totally threw me under the bus by telling Clay that the only reason I liked him was from Pitch Perfect.  #ugh

Clay said he gets that a lot from women.  haha

Whatever.  I got my picture.  :)


We finally left the stadium and although I was exhausted, I was sad it was all over!  The whole weekend was sooooo out of the ordinary for us and so much fun!!  It was also a really nice little couples getaway with my hubs.  We don't do that nearly enough.



One last picture before we got in the car to head back to reality!


And then we sat in traffic for an hour.

I just want to say a HUGE thank you to the Packers for the whole weekend.  They really went above and beyond.

And also a big thank you goes out to my in-laws who drove in from Louisiana so they could watch the boys while we were gone.  The weekend wouldn't have even been possible without them so thank you, Mimi and Paw Paw!

Happy Thursday, y'all!!


















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14 comments

  1. What a weekend! I'm so glad you guys got to getaway and have such a great time!

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  2. OH my goodness! I loved this post!! The throw back pics of Craig were so fun!! What a weekend you guys had!

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  3. So exciting! You didn't sound braggy at all, but rather humble and thankful. So, thank you for sharing about the weekend. What a fun experience!!! The Packers are the best! :)

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  4. Amazing!!! I once received a Christmas card from William Henderson (we had a loved one in common). Do you ever see him?
    You are so humble and down to earth about the whole thing....very sweet.

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    1. Awww we love William!!! We haven't seen him in years (at least I haven't. Craig may have.) but he is just the nicest guy! And thank you! :)

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  5. I am a HUGE packers fan so I loved this post!! And what a good game you got to see!!

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  6. I love this post! My mom's side of the family are from Wisconsin and are die hard packers fans. To the point where I have pictures of them eating Christmas dinner in the stadium parking lot before the game and my grandma put specific packers items (like her leather letterman jacket) in her will. We all live on the east coast now but some of my family still flies back a few times a year to go to games.

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  7. Looks like y’all had a blast! So fun!

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  8. I’m not a Packers fan or a Cowboys fan but this was fun to read! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. My daughter and I did a mom / daughter trip to Texas this past March and we did a VIP tour of the stadium. AMAZING is right! I am a die hard Cowboys fan and have been since growing up in the midwest! It was so cool to be there and see it all in person and you should see inside the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders locker room! SO COOL! But the actual boys locker room was the best! Looks like you had a fabulous time!

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  10. Just awesome! This makes me soo proud to be a packers fan. Craig was one of my faves. I rooted for him each training camp! Don’t get me started on the whole ted Thompson, farve Rodgers bit either! 😉 I was sad when he went to buffalo. While in Green Bay I wanted a 16 jersey so bad. What a way to celebrate your birthday!!!!!! (Happy belated btw) ��

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  11. Loved this post! You absolutely don't come across as bragging...very humble and happy for the experience. You looked gorgeous in every picture. So funny that your husband threw you under the bus (such a man thing to do) when meeting Clay Matthews. I am a die hard Ravens fan and love the whole football/tailgating experience for the home games. We sit in the players family section. I've always wondered if you go to a "how family members should behave at games" seminar. Other than one particularly loud family, all other families have no reaction during the game other than polite golf clapping. Thanks for this behind the scenes view of the Dallas stadium and your whole fun weekend!!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your fun weekend with us. You look gorgeous in every picture!

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  13. Okay I totally just got sucked into your blog from the 5 on Friday linkup. I used to work in the NFL (you'll die - Detroit Lions) and loved my job so much so hearing about life a little bit as an NFL was so fascinating to me. I love, love, love that you guys got to do this. I'm so intrigued now and can't wait for the linkup!

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