Jozzy makes her Broadway debut!

Jozzy makes her Broadway debut!

It is no secret that one of the best parts about living in New York, in my humble opinion, is the access to the most incredible theater in the world! I have always loved theater. My grandmother sat me down in front of the tv to watch musicals since I was born. My babysitter from that time said I had SOUND OF MUSIC memorized at 6… in its entirety… including choreo…:) That started a love affair for musicals that grew to a love of theater. I loved the music, the dance, and the clothes!! Vera Ellen’s dresses that swirled around her as she turned across the floor, Julie Andrews turning curtains into day clothes for a litter of children, Marilyn Monroes beautifully ornate gowns. Period pieces, contemporary works of art… I just love the clothes that litter the stages and screens of the theater. I’ve been obsessed my whole life.

One of my favorite pictures I own is one of Jozlyn before she turned 1. She had a bad ear infection and would scream everytime I laid her flat. The only thing that would help quiet her for a few minutes at a time was when I put on SINGIN IN THE RAIN on my laptop. She would crook her little neck to watch Gene Kelly dance gracefully across the screen. I knew I had my theater buddy! I now have two little girls… two girly girls… and I have been anxiously awaiting the day that I get to take my baby girls to their first Broadway show. The day finally arrived for my oldest. We took Jozlyn to see ANASTASIA. She already knew most of the music since we had been watching it on repeat since we decided to go. And since I tend to the dramatic, I decided my little princess should go decked out as a princess.

I now have two little girls… two girly girls… and I have been anxiously awaiting the day that I get to take my baby girls to their first Broadway show. The day finally arrived for my oldest. We took Jozlyn to see ANASTASIA. She already knew most of the music since we had been watching it on repeat since we decided to go. And since I tend to the dramatic, I decided my little princess should go decked out as a princess.

She was so excited! When Anastasia came out on stage in this dress, Jozlyn freaked out! I love making my baby girl happy!




Here are some of our favorite shots of the day.

I know I’ll be doing this with a much more significant dress one day, but this was fun.


pretty in the back
not a horse drawn carriage but still classy!
She says daddy is her Prince Charming!


He played Vlad…
Gleb…such an incredible voice.




ANASTASIA!!! She came up to Jozzy and said, “Oh you look like such a beautiful princess in your dre….. wait a minute!! That’s my dress!! Oh my gosh you’re me!!!! Aaawww, you look so beautiful!” haha it was so sweet!


She was wide awake when we were headed home… at nearly midnight! haha



Thanks for checkin in!


the Grizzards











Last day at the Beach!

Last day at the Beach!

Summer was quickly coming to a close and Jozlyn would not stop asking for another day at the beach. The funny thing is that I grew up in a home that was no longer than 15 minutes from a beautiful Florida beach… and I think I made my way to the sand a total of 6 times in 10 years. My little girl, however, is completely enamored with the sight of the waves and the feeling of sand between her toes. So we made plans to go with our good friends just before school started.

I guess she had fun 😉



the tide was ridiculously strong!

So blessed to have sweet friends that love on my kids and are a god send to me! Thanks for checking in!



the Grizzards



1st Day at a 1st School!

This is not happening. I feel like this cannot be happening, but it is! I am sending my daughter off to school. Not mother’s day out. Not a two day a week day care….SCHOOL! What is happening!?


We found a great, Christian school in Queens and were blessed enough to find a way to get her in at the last minute! She was so excited that “going to school” became the go-to bribe for the whole week before she went. I would say, “Now Joz, you need to obey Mommy like a big girl. Big girls get to go to school, but babies stay home with Mommy all day.” Like I was actually going to consider not taking her to school! lol.


She picked out her outfit and I bought her a new jacket. Kenny was even unwittingly excited…not realizing she was going to be without her best friend during the day now. My big girl smiled the whole morning even though we had to wake her up earlier than practically she’d ever been woken. New York is amazing, but since we moved here during the summer, it’s been hard to for her to find friends. And Jozzy is a social girl, so no kids around is a bit of a problem for her. I knew school would solve a lot of her loneliness and have been so excited to see her little eyes light up like this!

I am so going to miss having her infectious energy with me all day, but am so excited to see how she blossoms in this new environment! I just hope the teacher can contain her! lol


Just can’t believe it how big she is getting!


No minivan to school for us! School is just a few stops away!


Day one was a family event! So proud of our big girl!




Sundays we went to church…every Sunday. Not unusual for a pastor’s kid and I rarely minded. That’s where all of my friends were. I mean, I had friends at school and all and I felt comfortable and at home in the chorus room, but because last year, I found myself hiding in the bathroom more often. I knew everyone thought I was being ridiculous about the show. They obviously thought I didn’t deserve the role anyway. My singing was ok…probably above average for our program, but I was bigger and not as pretty as some other girls who could’ve done it. Maybe if I was skinnier I could eliminate one problem. I can’t do anything about the face I have…that is what it is. And I didn’t want to do anything onstage to compromise my faith, but I could lose some weight. I mean, I was never going to be as thin as Heather unless I donated half of my vital organs… and a leg, but if I could just lose about 15 pounds, I really think the other stuff would be easier to deal with. I would see if I could go without a couple meals to jumpstart some loss. I was starting to love that feeling when your stomach rumbles telling you it was time to eat. I could just choose to refuse it…and I knew it was working.

Dad went to church early on Sundays to study and get ready to preach his two services, but he’d come home to pick us up, so we could ride together. I think initially that started out of necessity as mom’s health got pretty bad. We’d wake up and get dressed and go downstairs to see if it was a good day or not for mom. Usually, we’d find her lying in the dark with a washcloth covering her forehead and eyes. Poor Mom. Then Heather and I would run upstairs and finish fighting over mirror time in the bathroom. After a few minutes, we’d hear dad yell, “5 more minutes everybody!!!”. He always gave us a countdown for when we needed to head out, but he was notorious for telling us 5 minutes when we really had about 20 minutes until we really had to leave. For instance, I remember him telling us a story about getting ready to go pick someone up from the airport and saying it took 45 minutes to get there so we needed to get going or we would be late!! The only problem was it actually took no more than 15 minutes to get to the airport. We would make fun of him incessantly about his “slight” exaggerations. However, he was dad, so we got in the car when he said to.

When we parked in dad’s spot, I hopped out of the car and started toward the youth Sunday School area. We met in classrooms that were off of the gym. I walked into the room and gave a quick scan to see if I could find Alexa and Kenzie. My eyes wandered around the room as I said hey to the teachers waiting just inside the door to greet everybody until I froze. I didn’t see Lex or Kenz, but I did see Jordan. What was he doing here?Jaime didn’t tell me he was coming. I guess then again, I hadn’t talked to Jaime in a while. We kind of drifted apart when I started going to public high school. I think she was actually kind of mad at me for the distance that had grown between us. It wasn’t intentional, we had just grown apart since middle school. Still, a heads up would’ve been nice. Why didn’t I wear a better outfit? Why didn’t I do my nails? Am I even wearing lip gloss right now?? A million thoughts and doubts whirled around in my head. Wait a minute! Who cares!? This guy said he didn’t want me, so you know what? That’s fine. I could show up in sweatpants and a messy bun and I don’t have to care what he thinks about it. Who cares if he thinks I’m fat or not as pretty as his new girlfriend, Natalia?! He is not my problem anymore. I have great friends, am popular, and am not a hideous beast just because Jordan Grizzard doesn’t want to be my boyfriend! I don’t care if he’s here. This is my class. These are my friends and I’m going to go on as if everything is completely normal….because it is….or should be anyway.



“Oh, hey, Jordan,” I said as I sauntered up to him confidently.

“ Hey, Kay. How are you?” and there it went. All of my confident defenses melted away when he looked at me with those gray eyes.

“ Um..” Dial it up, Kay. “ Doing pretty good. Have tons of friends, loving my new show, and just really never felt better about myself”. Ok, dial it back, Kay. “ I mean about school and stuff, ya know?” Jordan looked confused.

“ Great. That’s great.”

“ So how have you been? How’s college going?”

“ Good. It’s going good.”

“ You’re at West Palm right?” As I was asking the question I saw a girl approaching behind Jordan.

“ Yeah, I like it. I mean, you can’t beat the campus, ya know? It’s right on the beach.” He turned and noticed the girl, too. “ Oh, hey. Kayla, this is Natalia. Natalia…Kayla.” My heart sank. Stay cool, Kay. This is not a big deal. You knew he had a girlfriend and that’s fine. You don’t care. Good for him. I mean, it sucks that she’s gorgeous… and tan… and has a cool name like “Natalia”. Seriously, Mom and Dad… “Kayla”!? That’s what you gave me? How am I supposed to compete with girls named “Natalia” when you give me “Kayla” to work with!?

“Hey. Nice to meet you.” I said with the most genuine tone I could muster. See my words said “nice to meet you”, but my head said, “go take a solo walk through Alligator Alley without a boat and a hand full of raw meat”.

“ You too. I like your dress. Isn’t your dad the pastor here?”

“ uh yeah, he is,” I said.

“ Oh cool. I look forward to hearing him later,” She looked at Jordan, “ I think they’re about to get started. Want to sit?”

“Yeah, sure,” he said as she turned to go. “ Good to see you,” he said as he followed her away.

“Yeah. You too,” I said almost to myself. Where are Lex and Kenz?


One of these days I’ll be able to either open this notebook and laugh or shut it forever…I can’t do either tonight. I saw him today. Perfect, as usual, alongside one of the sweetest girl I’ve ever met…Natalia. I’m not jealous of her because I don’t want him back. Well, my heart tells me I do, but that’s just the little girl coming out in me. I’m jealous that I no longer feel about anyone the way I felt about Jordan.

I’ll see a cute movie with friends and think about him simply because there’s no one else to think about. I want that feeling again. I want a guy to see a picture of me and say “that’s my girl” again.

I’m not angry because he has a girlfriend. I’m angry because of eight words…”We’ll do it better than others did”.

I don’t know whether he tried and failed or just lied. He’s happy and I’m happy for him. Lord, give me peace and fulfillment in you! I need you, Father. 





The girls have been so good over the past few days. Jordan hasn’t felt great this past week, so we spent a lot of days inside getting the whole house healthy. After everyone was back to full health, we decided to surprise the kids with an outing; an outing that momma has been wanting to go on for a while now!

They were so excited. Jozlyn kept squeeling when she saw the bikes and Kendall, of course, copied everything Jozzy did. After biking up and down the hills of the park (ps- I forgot how tiring biking is, but so much fun!), we sat down at the mall which is always littered with street performers and artists. It is also where J Lo strolled with Ralph Fiennes in MAID IN MANHATTAN.

We even happened onto an outdoor, free dance class in the middle of the park.


The artists were great, but the scenery was breath taking.

Jozlyn saw daddy taking pictures and was an oh so willing model.

and so Kendall followed…

I know this pic is crazy blurry, but we had so much fun!


New adventures, new places…every day.

Thanks for checkin in!!


the Grizzards




I don’t think I had ever learned to walk confidently into a room. Although, people would never have guessed that my head was filled with all possible manner of horror stories about myself and all the ways I could humiliate myself in any given situation. I had battled inner hatred for a long time, but covered it in an outgoing and seemingly confident exterior to hide any appearances of self doubt. I had learned how to do it well by now, but this new chapter would prove to test my skills.

I realized now that I had all of my confidence rooted in the fact that Jordan saw value in me. It wasn’t his fault. It was mine. I had relinquished my own God given worth to a guy who didn’t know what to do with it. And because of it, every time I entered a room, I didn’t question whether people were thinking negatively about me… I knew it. I would swing open the door to my homeroom and a couple kids would glance up at the motion of the door. We’d catch eyes for a split second before they resumed whatever conversation they were in and I just knew they had made a judgment about me. Haley thinks I’m fat. Does this outfit look like I’m trying too hard? Why can’t I just be easy and laid-back!? I wasn’t a social leper or anything. I had friends in my own group and some of my friends were extremely popular. One of my best friends was homecoming queen two years in a row! But she was gorgeous… and skinny. She was not cursed with my thighs, or extra large derriere. Maybe if I just lost a few pounds I could regain some confidence. I knew losing a few pounds wouldn’t necessarily be noticeable or relieve the fears that I felt of public scrutiny, but every time I saw just a little bit come off I felt better. I knew I could control it.

“No Kayla! You said you wouldn’t do it again, and you won’t.” I told myself I could lose some weight the old fashioned way, but I knew I would never do that. I would start the day with the intention of eating a salad and taking more stairs…. and I would do that through about lunch. Then I would realize there was an easier way. I’m such a coward.

There was one place I did feel good though. One place where I felt happy and at ease. One place where I didn’t walk on egg shells and never felt like people were watching me. Ironically, it was the one place where they actually were watching me; where they were supposed to be watching me. I walked into the theater room everyday and felt completely comfortable. Not only comfortable but truly confident. It was my happy place and I found any excuse to be there.

Luckily, we were in the middle of rehearsals for the spring musical, so I didn’t need much of an excuse. I was there pretty much everyday. I had my first lead role in my high school career and I was so excited. I was playing Reno Sweeney in ANYTHING GOES! She was a sassy, lounge singer that falls in love with a sweet boy named Billy whose in love with a blonde ingenue named Hope. A typical classic musical comedy piece by Cole Porter. It was cheesy, but the music was fun and I was having a blast jumping into the role. Some of the material when done professionally I knew would be much more risqué, but luckily I felt protected in the safety of my theater program which allowed me to make a lot of decisions about anything I wasn’t comfortable with. One day, we were rehearsing a scene that we had already blocked early in Act I. There was a line that I was not comfortable with and the director allowed me to make a choice to play it a different way. Normally, this would not have been a big deal at all. We had made some changes previously that the director thought were too mature for our stage. But, this time there was an extra factor that was not normally there. We had a guest choreographer that had graduated from FMHS a few years earlier. She was actually in show choir with my sister and brother, so I knew her from seeing her perform with them. She was a great dancer and moved to New York after graduating to pursue a career in theater herself.

After the decision was made to keep this line more demure, I heard several kids, including our guest choreographer, talking about how they disagreed with this decision. That was fine with me. People were more than welcome to disagree with me. I had been told all of my life that people wouldn’t like some decisions I made if I chose to do things like that as I was growing up. But then something was different. I saw some of my Christian friends rally around them. Ok, maybe they didn’t rally, but I didn’t see them supporting me. They were standing around the others in one accord with those who were nearly mocking me for it. What was happening? I was making the right decision right?? Was I? Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal. Maybe I should just say it. I mean who cares? Wait a second! I knew I was right. I felt good about my decision. And not only that, but my director was completely ok with it, so why was it any of their business anyway?? And then I heard it…straight from our guest choreographer…

“ If she didn’t want to do the role, she shouldn’t have auditioned for the role. It’s not like she’s great anyway.”

And with that, the only place that I felt truly safe, truly accepted and completely myself became a place that maybe I didn’t belong. Screw it!  I ran to the bathroom. Losing a few pounds may only make me feel superficially better, but I’d take it.

Finding Bethesda in Central Park

Finding Bethesda in Central Park

Confession: I have been to Central Park A LOT.  It is basically my fall back when I haven’t planned anything to do with my kids that day. They are always happy when we spend time there, but never moreso than when we meet some FRIENDS!


Today, we met my old friend, Jeff. Shout out to Jeff who has been such a source of encouragement and comfort in this transition! We went to college together and both majored in theater. It has been so good to have him here to reminisce and talk shop with. He watches a little boy here in the city right by our apartment, so we decided to meet up at the playground next to my place.


This playground literally is 1 block into the park and I am embarrassed to say that it is the farthest I have ventured into one of the most famous and beautiful parks in the world! ENTER JEFF! After playing on the swings for a bit, Jeff led us north through a path that took us through beautiful tree lined walk ways. On either side were painters, musicians, and sculptures… all of which my daughters were enamored with (almost as much as mom was). We saw volleyball courts, baseball fields and street performers before we came to this beautiful fountain, The Bethesda. We walked down the stairway that led to this elaborately painted tunnel. It looked like it was inspired by some lovely Morrocan works. It had beautiful arches and even better acoustics.


There was a “performer” standing against the wall, elevated on a ledge. I use the quotation simply because I’m not sure she was performing as much as posing and “presenting herself”?? She was wearing a 1920’s inspired garment and kept stroking her knee and smiling at people as they passed by… that makes her sound like a different kind of performer, which she was not. I just couldn’t figure out what she was doing! But she seemed very content to be doing it…whatever it was.

Once we made our way through the tunnel, we were enveloped in sunlight again. It seemed like an orchestra should’ve been playing the soundtrack to this part as Jozlyn drove her scooter into the sun and let out a gleeful squeel at the sight of the large sculpture in the middle of the large body of water!


I love that there are beautiful things to find at every turn and I love that fact that my girls seem so eager to find the adventure in everything that we do. The hard part is suppressing my laziness to give them the best chance to see as much of it as possible. I’ve heard it said, “you can make anything fun or anything miserable”. That’s my job… to help expose them to as much as I can and unleash the fun that is so accessible all around them.


Here are some of our shots from today! Thanks Jeff!



Thanks for checkin in!


the Grizzards




The invitation had been taped to my fridge for months. I had carefully shopped for and selected the perfect dress to wear and went and had my hair done so it would be freshly highlighted. It felt like it had been months since I had seen Jordan when he came to see me in OKLAHOMA. Why had it taken so long to get back up to Orlando? School was really getting in the way of my love life. But the wait was over. Jordan’s brother, Kyle was getting married and I could not wait! As excited as I was for Kyle to experience the happiest day of his life, I was much more excited to see his Best Man standing beside him in a tuxedo. His tall, dark, and handsome Best Man in a crisp white shirt with a black bow tie and a shiny stripe down the side of his pants that makes him look like he belongs in one of those Fred Astaire movies I loved so much. Ok, I had no idea what Jordan would be wearing, but he’d at least be in a suit and I just knew no suit would ever look better.

My sister, mom and I all jumped in the car and made the trek up to Orlando. We checked into the hotel and I started counting the minutes until I got to head to the ceremony. I checked my phone about every two minutes to see if Jordan had texted…no word. He’d been so busy with wedding preparations that he couldn’t squeeze time to see me either. He was the Best Man after all. Kyle was undoubtedly keeping him busy with very important last minute details. That was fine. We were going to stay for a couple days afterward, so we’d have time to be together after the festivities.

Getting ready for the big day would’ve been a bit easier if I didn’t have to share the bathroom with two other women. Did they not realize how important today was? Jordan was going to be in a tux! I had to look good next to him for all of our “we’re not a couple but we like each other” pictures! You know, the pictures that I always slightly roll my eyes about when mom asks us to snap a photo together but secretly love later? Heather and I kept elbowing each other trying to share the counter space while straightening our hair.

“Heather, your hair is half as long as mine! Why is it taking so long?” I snapped.

“ What are you talking about? You’ve been straightening your hair for like half an hour. You’re going to fry it off of your head!” she retorted.

“Girls, play nice!” my mom said, from her makeshift vanity she created out of one of the nightstands and her compact mirror, trying to keep the peace.

We finished our hair and then started the process of our makeup, which basically meant we would take turns slightly pushing each other’s makeup to the other side of the vanity; trying to steal more space.

“Kay, do my makeup for me,” my sister begged.

She clearly had no idea the stress I was under. It was going to take me twice as long to do my own face paint. Did she really think I had time to do hers too?

“Sis, you are 19 years old! You really should know how to do your own makeup!And I won’t have time to do mine if I do.”

“Yes, you will! There’s plenty of time! Pleeeeeeasse??”

I rolled my eyes and gave in. It wasn’t going to be my best work, but I’d do it.

“Fine, but no whining about my work,” I said as I started on her face. We finally finished and so started to get dressed. I had decided to wear the dress that I wore for Easter that year. It was a light green dress with pink and white faint pin stripes running on a diagonal. It had an asymmetrical neckline; one was a sleeveless and the other a spaghetti strap. The hemline mimicked the asymmetrical neckline and hit at about my calf. Good. I hated my legs. I felt good.

I spent the ride to the church figuring out what to say when I saw him. Why did I always feel the need to preplan my conversations with him? I just didn’t trust myself to make intelligent sentences when I was around him. They made it look so easy in the movies! I just needed a team of writers to feed me witty banter to him for every conversation…that would make me feel comfortable.

I walked in the church and looked around to see if I could spot him. Nope. Well, I’m sure he had duties to attend to. He’d be with Kyle now. We took our seats and waited for the ceremony to start. Oh, wait! There he was! He was helping to seat some of the guests. I must’ve just missed him in the lobby. He was walking back from the fifth row. I thought I caught his eye and waved slightly. Not enough to draw major attention, but enough to share a sweet moment with my man! Jordan kept walking, completely missing my understated flirtation. No big deal. I’d see him after the wedding. Man, did he look great in that suit. He looked pretty much exactly like I knew he would…. gorgeous.

The ceremony was beautiful. However, it felt like it was taking forever! I couldn’t wait to talk to him. When the ceremony ended Jordan had to take photos with the wedding party, so we went to the reception to enjoy some post ceremony hors d’oeuvres. After a while of talking with the other guests, the wedding party was introduced and they all came walking in by couple.

“aaaand please welcome, Best Man, Jordan, and Maid of Honor Leslie,” the announcer said over a microphone. Jordan came dancing in as the crowd gave an applause. I waited to catch Jordan’s eye again, but never quite met his gaze. He headed off with the bridesmaid to the back of the room with the rest of the party.

“And now for the main event…please give a big round of applause for the new Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Grizzard!” the announcer said. The bride and groom came dancing in as the crowd gave a loud applause with lots of catcalls.

Everyone crowded around the new couple taking turns giving hugs and high fives to the bride and groom. I hung back and let Jordan acknowledge some of his friends he hadn’t been able to see yet. I didn’t want to seem too eager. He’ll make the rounds and then end up by me eventually.

“ You want to go see Jordan, honey?” My mom asked.

“ No, I’m good. I’ll catch-up with him after he’s seen his people. I don’t want to monopolize him.”

Jordan gave some hugs and then he saw me and made his way over. I knew he’d come over. He was probably just making sure he did his duty of shaking hands and all first, so he could be done with that and then spend the rest of the time with me… so thoughtful.

“Hey guys,” he said with a smile and went to give my mom a hug.

“Hey, Heather” and he leaned over to hug my sister.

“Hey,” he said as he hugged me.

“Hey, you look nice,” I said with a smile.

“Thanks. You too. I’m glad you guys could come.”

“ Well, thank you so much for inviting us,” my mom said.

“Of course. It’s great to see ya’ll. I should make the rounds. Try and take some of the pressure off of Kyle… ya know, Best Man stuff. I’ll see you guys soon.”

“Ok cool.” And he was gone.  Okay. So his duties took a little more of his time than I had anticipated. It was so sweet of him to take them so seriously. There were a lot of people here and everyone would want to see them, so Jordan needed to go and take up some of their time to give Kyle a chance to get around to everybody. How thoughtful of him. We met a lot of the family’s friends and saw some people we knew. Robbie was there, so was Ian and “Shut face”. After eating some light food and talking with some friends, everyone started heading out. Before we knew it, it was time to send the newlyweds off. Everyone headed out to the parking lot, grabbed a bag of birdseed, and lined up to wait for the happy couple so we could pelt them as they passed by. They emerged last from the building and everyone went crazy with loud cheers and congratulations! They hopped in the limo and whisked away while everyone took photos and threw their last bit of birdseed at the car.

Jordan made his way over to us with a little dance in his step.

“Woooh. That was fun huh?”

“Yeah, it was. They looked so happy.” Heather said

“ Yeah. Hey, you two get together. Let’s take a picture,” Mom chimed in shooing me next to Jordan. I pretended to be annoyed and then stepped over next to Jordan. He put his arm around my shoulder and I leaned into him and smiled. Mom snapped the photo and I wished she would take some more.

Jaime came walking over. I hadn’t even seen her since I got here. She had been so busy with her family.

“Hey, guys! We’re going to grab some dinner. Do ya’ll want to go?” she asked.

“ Yeah. I’m starved.” I said

“Great.” The group talked about where to go and after deciding on a spot we all made our way to our cars. The Powell women were outvoted and we ended up at Red Lobster. We hate seafood, but what did I care? Jordan would be there.

We were the last ones there. We walked to the table and took the last three seats available. Luckily, Jordan saved me a seat. Also, luckily, everything at Red Lobster smells like seafood even when you order chicken, so I didn’t have to fight the urge to gorge myself in front of him. I just had some bread and told everybody I ate too much at the reception. I loved hanging out with Jordan’s family. They were so much fun, especially when they were all together. But something felt off. I had spent time with Jordan’s family so many times before and I always felt comfortable around them. I never felt completely comfortable when Jordan was around, but this was different. Was he avoiding me? Why was he avoiding me?

After everybody ate, we sat and talked for a while; mostly about the wedding. Sandy shared stories about the wedding preparations and day of jitters. After about an hour, my mom started to get a headache, so she and Heather decided to head back to the hotel.

“Jordan, would you mind giving Kayla a ride back to the hotel for me?”

“Of course, Miss LuAnne. You go. Hope you feel better.” Jordan said politely.

They left and I smiled at Jordan, “thank you.” and tried to gauge his reaction to me.

“No problem.” he said somewhat blankly.

We all laughed at more stories and had a blast. At some point, Jordan had moved down to the end of the table by himself. He had been quiet for a while. I leaned over to Jaime who was sitting beside me, “Has he been like this all day?”

“ No. He was fine earlier. I don’t know what’s up.”

My heart sank. “ I think I do.”

I gathered my courage and walked down to end of the table. I sat down at the empty chair next to him.


“ Hi.”

“You’re quiet down here. Everything ok?” I was praying something was wrong. Maybe he was sick or devastated at the idea of losing his big brother. Maybe his shoes were too small or he had a headache from all the flashes from the cameras today. Or maybe it was something else.

“ Yeah. I was just thinking.” He said not looking me in the eye. My stomach sank. There was nothing I could do at this point. Let’s just get this over with.

“ Look, I think you should just say what you need to say.”

“ Ok.” Jordan kept looking at his hands. “I think it would just be better if we were friends.” And there it was. My stomach felt like it hit the floor with the weight of an anvil. What had I done wrong? Maybe this dress was a bad choice. Had I gained weight? Had I said something stupid? I’m sure I had done all of those things. How did I think that I could keep Jordan interested? How did I not see this coming? Of course, he was going to break up with me! He was a good looking, talented junior. I’m sure there were so many girls trying to get with him. And I’m an awkward, theater-geek, freshmen who can’t even date him anyway. Wait. I was turning 16 in less than two months! Two months! In less than sixty days, I could’ve had my perfect date with the guy that I’d liked for over three years! How could he do this to me? Didn’t he know how long I’d been waiting for that date? And couldn’t he tell how hard I’d worked to be perfect for him today? I wore super uncomfortable shoes, a slimmer to suck my stomach in, I’d skipped meals to make sure I wasn’t fat. I practiced my makeup and was conscious all day not to dominate conversation. And none of it mattered. I  felt like I couldn’t breathe.

“ Yeah. Me too.  I think that makes sense.” I lied.

“ Cool. I mean, we can still be friends.”

“ Right. Although, I think we know friends who have tried that.” I said with only slight bitterness in my voice.

“ Yeah, but we’ll do it better than they did. I mean, we’ll see each other when you guys come up sometimes and when we come down. Just like now.”

“Right. We’ll still see each other. It’s no big deal.” I was not sure how long I could hold back the tears that I could feel building behind my eyes. “I should probably get going though. Mom didn’t look so good when she left.”

“Oh yeah. I’ll take you back to the hotel.” He said as he started to get up.

“ No, it’s fine. I’m sure Momma Sue can give me a ride.” I said, trying desperately to get out of that car ride.

“She’s actually riding with my mom. I got you. It’s not a problem.”

“ Ok. Sure. Thanks.” You can do this, Kayla.

I jumped in the car and Jordan started driving toward the hotel. Neither one of us said anything. We just sat awkwardly as the cd player played Truth’s “Jesus Never Fails”. The beautiful, calm ballad actually made me angrier. Truth had no right to be calm and beautiful when I felt this horrible. I refused to cry in front of him. I just stared out the window and tried to concentrate on my breathing. Think of something…anything to keep your thoughts off of how devastated you feel right now.

I felt like I wasted the last three years of my life! And, now, I can’t stop thinking about all the things he said and did. The first time he kissed me, the first time I had allowed anybody to kiss me. The way he would kiss my hand or hug me and not let go, the way he knew what to say. He wrote me a song about the way “he felt about me”. I don’t think I’ll ever hear that. He’d made plans to come down for my birthday to go to the beach- that won’t happen. I gave a lot to him, but what makes me so frustrated is I couldn’t get mad at him. If I had to give all of that to anyone. I was still glad it was to him.

We finally drove into the hotel parking lot and Jordan barely got the car in park before I reached for the handle.

“K. Thanks. Bye. I’ll see ya later.” I said as I practically jumped from his car.

“ No problem. It was good to see you. I’ll talk to yo….” I slammed the door closed and started running toward our room before he finished his sentence.

What do I do now?


Today, is, perhaps, one of the worst days of my life, but I expect to say that again (a lot) in my lifetime. Today was the day when I got dismissed for the first time EVER. Not only that, but the guy who dismissed me has done it before!!

I went to his brother’s wedding and stayed at a hotel with my mom and sister overnight, then me and our friends all went to church the next day. He avoided me both days. At first, I told myself he’s just busy with the wedding! But I knew something was up. He didn’t talk to me at lunch either. When we had finished eating, I went to go talk to him and he finally told me “It’s too hard. I still care about you.” and I want so badly to believe him, but I can’t! For some reason, I won’t let myself believe it. He wouldn’t tell me something. Of course, I lied and said that it was a mutual decision and I agree… I lied!








So I’m way late on this post, but one of the first places we went when we got here was the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. We had heard so many great things about this place and I couldn’t wait to get the kids there. It’s located in the Upper West, so it took me a while to get the kids dressed, on the train and carted up there, but I just knew once we got there, it would all be worth it. My resolve was strengthened when I got out of the train station and saw Mandy Patinkin walking toward me!!! Day made!

Once we got in, I checked in at the front desk and paid the entrance fee… it’s $14 a person to get in which is normally pretty steep, but I didn’t mind since I had heard that no kids New York experience was complete without a trip here. After we checked the stroller and bags, we walked into the main room full of anticipation. It is a room filled with memorabilia and interactive displays about Islam and some countries where Islam is prevalent. Jozlyn was enamored with the room where there is a massive screen that you can control with a touch screen. You pick a spot on the globe and it will show you an interactive view of the Mosque built there.

There is also a space that shows how people shop in those areas: the spices, the tapestries and other things found in the markets. Then you can go and jump on the large ship and imagine you are navigating the waters of the Meditteranean. It was very interesting, but after about half an hour, my girls were pretty much done.

I walked around trying to find the way to another room, but couldn’t find any. I finally asked someone if there was another space and was directed downstairs to a basically empty room filled with “block stations”. I was pretty perturbed that this was all there was for $14 a person! Kendall was pretty much done, but we were going to suck every penny out of this place that we could! And so I forced Kendall to find something to play with down here.

After about another 30 minutes and a total meltdown by Kenny, we decided to take off. We found the elevator to get back to the main floor. Once, in the elevator, I saw signage…. for 4 OTHER FLOORS OF EXHIBITS! haha I felt so ridiculous! We quickly ran through the other floors, but Kendall was not going to last long, so I made a mental note to come back and explore fully.

We made the second trip recently, so here are the pictures from both of our fun times at the CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN. If you are bringing young kids to the city, it’s a great place to let them loose! I know a lot of families feel like they have to keep a very close eye everywhere they go here, but this place is safe and so fun for them!







Thanks for checking in guys!



the Grizzards









Story of Us…OKLAHOMA!

Story of Us…OKLAHOMA!

Ninth grade is rough. I mean, I had just figured out how to navigate middle school and how not to completely humiliate myself throughout eighth grade and then you get thrust into a whole new school. You spend two years clawing your way to the top of the social pyramid of middle school only to be thrown to the floor by your new hierarchy, the seniors, so they can climb the rungs to their rightful place. Luckily, my sister and brother had both gone to school at Fort Myers High, so I wasn’t at a total loss. I had at least walked the halls before even if it was only to deliver something to my brother or see my sister win homecoming court or something. Heather had graduated a couple years earlier but Alan was still here, so socially I could cling to his popularity. Maybe I would be noticed by association. Or maybe I should hope to be ignored. Alan was a senior, on the football team, in the show choir and pretty well liked and popular. That had to be helpful right? That had to count as some sort of high school currency I could cash in at some point.

The first half of the year, I’m basically just figuring out how to not get run over in between periods in this massive place. If SFCA were a little league football field, this place was a Super Bowl arena. Where
did all of these people even come from?
I swear every kid in Lee County had to attend this school.  I found my solace in the choral classroom. I didn’t actually take chorus, but that was where the show choir met and both my siblings were in Soundwave, so I was pretty welcomed by the teacher, Mrs. Trent. Freshmen weren’t allowed so I wouldn’t be allowed to audition until next year, but the chorus room was right behind the theater and that felt like home almost immediately. My English teacher, Mr. Riis, was also the theater director, so between Mr. Riis’ room and Mrs. Trent’s room, I could find peace.

Although freshmen couldn’t audition for show choir, we could audition for the spring musical and I couldn’t wait! Theater had always been my passion and I knew this would be where I met people I could relate to. Where I’d be seen as cool and fit in. The department decided on OKLAHOMA for the show. I’m not a huge Roger’s and Hammerstein fan, but it would do fine. I submitted my audition packet and started thinking about what to sing to show they should cast a freshmen for the lead!

I got home and went to find my mom.

“Hey, mom! How ya feeling today?”

“ I’m fine baby. How was school?”

“ It was good. I signed up to audition for the musical. So that could be cool.” I said.

“ Oh good. I think your brother is doing that too!”

“ Really? Why? He’s never done the musical before.” I couldn’t decide if I was happy he was doing it or not. I mean, on one hand, I’d get to hang out with my brother, so that could be cool. On the other hand, he’d never done theater before. Why did he want to this year?

“ I don’t know. I think Mrs. Trent talked to him about it. Maybe he thought it would be fun to do it with his baby sister.” she said with a motherly tone.

I laughed, “Yeah, we’ll go with that.”  I said as I turned to walk upstairs with my stuff. “ But it could be fun.”

When audition day came, there was a decent turnout. Mostly kids from within the choral and theater program. We all signed in and got a number and then waited in the chorus room to be called. Once our number was shouted out, we would make our way to the stage and sing for the panel; which consisted of Mrs. Trent, Mr. Riis, and the student stage manager. I felt like I should be intimidated or nervous, but I wasn’t… not because of arrogance, but because I felt really relaxed. I knew Mrs. Trent for a couple of years and I knew Mr. Riis generally liked me, so I was pretty comfortable. After all, it was just singing.

I walked onto the stage and said, “ Hi. My name is Kayla and I’ll be singing ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.” I belted out the notes just as I had practiced and said, “thank you”. Then left the stage. NAILED IT.

About a week later, the cast list was posted. I waited all day at school as most of my classes were in the freshmen hall on the other side of campus. As soon as the final bell rang, I got my stuff from my locker and headed over to the chorus room. There was a small group of kids gathered around the bulletin board outside of the classroom. Everybody was giving each other high fives and quoting lines from the show, well, except one kid who seemed to be sulking off into the distance. But everyone else seemed pleased. I walked over to the sheet of paper tacked up and started browsing over the names. It didn’t take me long to find one I recognized. ALAN POWELL….. CURLY. Of course, he got the lead. Haha. Good for him. I kept scrolling and ran all the way down until I ran out of paper. Wait. Did I not get cast at all? I was so disappointed. I thought I did pretty well on my audition. My eyes scrolled through the list one more time and landed on Alan’s name again. Well, this sucks. Alan’s never done theater and he gets a lead, but I don’t get to be a part of it. I mean I’m a freshmen, so I get it, but still. I looked at Alan’s name one more time.

“Well, good for you bubba.”

As I withdrew to walk away, something caught my eyes. Wait. Was that my name? KAYLA POWELL….ADO ANNIE CARNES. I did get a part! I was so excited! I didn’t just get cast! I got a part! With lines and songs and everything! This was going to be so much fun.

Rehearsals went really well as I started getting to know some of the other “theater geeks”.  It was obviously a low budget production at a high school that didn’t value the arts that much, but it might as well have been Broadway to me. I dose doed and heel clicked all over that stage. We rehearsed almost everyday after school until finally it was show week! We had costume fittings and last minute blocking changes. It was so fun to be on a big stage. I had gone to the small private school attached to the church for middle school and our theater productions were embarrassing to say the least. We performed them in the space we had chapel which was the size of a large classroom that maybe sat a hundred people with no technical ability and no wing space. Now the auditorium at FMHS was not exactly the Gershwin but it was a step up.

Opening night finally arrived and I stayed at school after school to get ready. I grabbed dinner with some friends and hung out at the theater until call time. Once we got back, I settled into the dressing room with the other girls. I even got my own mirror, so I sprawled out all my makeup and checked my costume rack. Then I started applying the paint. My mom came into the dressing room.

(sierra, me, jessica, and alan after the show)

“Kayla!” she said in a loud whisper.

“ Hey! What are you doing back here?”

“ Come here. I have something for you.”

Awww. How sweet! I’ll bet my parents had gotten me flowers. Either that or they wanted me and my brother to take a picture together. One was sweet, the other kind of annoying, but what can you do?

“Hey, what’s up?” I said as I rounded the corner outside the dressing room.

“ Hey Kay! I’m supposed to say ‘break a leg’ right?” Jordan said as he held out a bouquet of yellow roses.

Oh my goodness! Jordan came?? How sweet!! How thoughtful! How considerate of my love for theater! How could he not tell me?? I was not prepared for this and I only had one eye with mascara on it. I’m basically hugging this gorgeous guy and I look like I have a lazy eye. It’s ok. I’ll just stand next to him this whole conversation and he’ll only see my profile…that’s not awkward. But he came!

“ Oh my stars! I can’t believe you’re here!” I said as I hugged him. “Thank you for coming.”

“ Of course. These are for you.” He handed me a beautiful bouquet of roses. I’ll look past the fact that yellow roses are supposed to be symbolic of friendship and just say HE BROUGHT ME FLOWERS! My nonboyfriend boyfriend came from three hours away to see a high school production of OKLAHOMA to bring me flowers. I wasn’t even the lead in this thing. I was playing the comedic support character. Uh oh. I was playing the girl who “cain’t say no”. Uh oh. I was playing the girl that had to kiss two different guys on stage….three times each… in front of my nonboyfriend boyfriend… who I’d only kissed once. I was about to increase my experience by 6 in front of him with other guys. He’d be ok with this right? Should I have talked to him about this first? I mean, it’s just acting.

“You are so sweet. They’re beautiful. I love them. Thank you.” I said and hugged him again. “When did you get here?”

“Jaime just picked me up and we turned around and came. We got here a couple hours ago.”

I laughed, “Well, she keeps a good secret.” I said with a smile.

“We’ll let you get ready. I’ll see you after the show.” He said and gave me one more hug and kissed me on the side of my head as he left with my mom. I sighed. He came.

I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

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  • Kendall Ryan.... I just can't.
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