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2010 – what a year!

Here it is New Years Eve 2010, and I find myself reflecting upon the past year with such awe.  Wow!  What an amazing year it has been! 

I accomplished two “bucket list” goals this year – with the help, of course, from the good lord above.  In May, my first book was published and released!  I am truly so grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what happens with my Ella B. Bella adventures in the future!  In July, my second daughter was born.  She is the light of our lives – such a beautiful, HAPPY baby.  We are so very blessed!! 

So…the two items that get crossed off my bucket list this year are:  get a book published – check!  Have another baby – check!  Again – if the good lord says my time to go is now, I know I will leave with a huge smile on my face.  I thank him every day for my blessings.

And now…the end of the year brought even more change.  A new job!  Not just a new job – but, a change in careers!  I am nervous and incredibly excited for this new adventure.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to write – be able to build amazing business relationships through my work at the Kearney Chamber and the best part of all – have more time to spend with my girls! 

So – I anxiously await what is coming in 2011.  I know that with faith, family and friends by my side – all will be wonderful!  Here’s to a fantastic 2011!!!!  Blessings to you always!!  Leslie…

**(oh by the way.  Hopefully this time next year, I will be watching the ball drop in New York city for our 7th wedding anniversary.  Fingers crossed.  🙂 But for now – I am happy to spend the evening with my girls.  One of these days – Kyle WON”T have to work on our anniversary!! )

My Christmas Card…

So every year – I send out a Christmas card to friends and family I have met over the years.  Kyle says my list is a bit TOO long – but, I can’t help it.  I LOVE sending holiday greetings – and receiving them as well.  So, before I put the cards away for another year, I thought it would only be appropriate to send one out to all of you.  Here’s to a wonderful 2011!!  (By the way, I just had to include this pic of my girls on here as well.  🙂  I’ve had a wonderful Christmas break with them!!  Happy New Year!!!

December 7th, 2010

 One morning this fall, I found myself particularly annoyed with the world.  I woke up late for work, I shouldn’t have even bothered with my hair, I was running on little to no sleep and to make matters worse, I had no coffee.  Must.Have.Coffee.  So I decided since I was already late for work, I might as well stop at a local fast food joint for a cup of that glorious caffeinated pick-me-up.

 When I got to the drive through, I placed my order with a bit of an attitude.  To my surprise my disgruntled request was greeted by an incredibly cheerful barista.  Not only did she politely hand me one large cup of coffee, she also threw in a bit of cream and a smile that stretched from ear to ear.  It was one of those contagious smiles that change my entire outlook of the day.  We had a brief conversation at that drive through window and before I knew it, I was smiling too! 

 On my drive to work that morning that friendly barista was on my mind.  Here’s a woman who is serving disgruntled customers coffee at 6:30 in the morning!  How easy it would be for her to have a bad attitude on life.  But she didn’t!  Her perspective seemed bright.  And to be honest, when I look at my life, I should never wear a frown, especially after this year.

 2010 was a good year for my little family.  We welcomed our beautiful daughter, Grace Liana, on July 2nd.  She was born just a few hours short of my dad’s birthday!  What an amazing gift from God!  Her gorgeous eyes and incredible smile just melt our hearts.  Her big Sister Ella turned 2 this August and keeps us on our toes.  She is equally fantastic and brings constant joy to our lives.  I didn’t know my heart could hold so much love for those girls – but it just keeps expanding. 

 Another person who puts a constant smile on my face is that husband of mine.  We’ll be celebrating 6 years of marriage this new year’s eve!  I can’t believe all the memories we have made in such a short amount of time.  I am so lucky to have him in my life!  Kyle is an amazing dad – and the girls are just crazy about him.  He continues to work as marketing director for the Tri-City Storm hockey team.  He has also started teaching a sports marketing class at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.  Professor Means..(as he likes to be called – but won’t admit J ) is a WONDERFUL father and incredible husband.  I’m such a lucky girl.

 I laughed until I cried with my sisters this year at various events.  Two of the most memorable include the Bon Jovi concert in Omaha, (we got a sneak-peak at his dressing room.  NICE!  Unfortunately, he wasn’t changing at the time. J )  We also checked out the acoustic Bryan Adams concert this fall in Kearney.  Now that was an incredible night!  We had front row tickets and I was close enough to “talk” to him during the concert.  I’m pretty certain he even sang a song – just to me.  J  At least, that’s the way this story goes.  My mom went with us to this concert!  I think she got a “sneak peek” at my adventurous days.

 We welcomed a new awesome sister-in-law to our family this summer.  Kyle’s brother was married in August and our entire family was part of the wedding party.  Ella was a first time flower girl, and LOVED tossing petals to the ground.  She still talks about her shining moment.  J  Kyle and I are so fortunate to have such wonderful relationships with our siblings and parents.

 A dream came true for me this spring, as my first children’s book, Ella B. Bella and the Magic Pink Shoes, was published and released in May.  What amazing support I have from all of you!  It’s been such a joy to travel our beautiful state each weekend to promote my book at various signings.  The turnouts at small town libraries/café’s continue to amaze me and solidify my love for rural Nebraska!  Thank you to my incredible family and friends for helping me accomplish a lifelong dream!  And…be looking for a new Ella B. Bella adventure in the near future!

 As you can see, I have so very much to smile about.  Whenever I seem to be having a “rough” day, I think back to that barista and her contagious smile.  If a complete stranger can be happy serving coffee to a disgruntled customer at 6:30 in the morning, certainly I can find a moment to smile and appreciate all the blessings in my life too.

 This holiday season, I hope you too can take a moment to smile at all the blessings in your life.  May your family and friends be blessed with joy now and into the New Year.

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Kyle, Leslie, Ella and Grace Means

Saying Goodbye..

Cleaning out my desk...

I still remember sitting on mom and dad’s bed – asking mom what I should be when I grow up.

“I think you should go into communications.  Something with television,” mom said.  I decided that night, way back when, that she was right.  After all, I grew up watching NTV as a kid.  (Actually, I remember my sister Lindsay would tie me up to the kitchen chair as “punishment” and make me watch the news when I was little.  Eventually – I began watching without the punishment!)  Plus – going into broadcasting meant I wouldn’t have to study any math in college.  Extra bonus!  🙂  And…I really liked to talk.  Thus – the idea of a future in broadcast journalism was formed. 

Nearly 10 years and hundreds of journalism stories later..(yes, I will spare you those stories – but WOW do I have some good ones :)) I am about to call it quits in the world of television.  This Thursday will be my last “live” day of TV.  I have accepted a position with the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and will begin working with them on January 4th.

I am so very excited to start a new chapter of my life.  It will be incredibly strange at first.  I mean, many of you know every last detail about my life just by watching Good Life.  That’s mostly because I can’t keep my mouth shut about daily events – and I will miss that.  Thank goodness I still have blogs/facebook so I can talk to complete strangers about day-to-day events.  🙂 

I mean it when I say I WILL MISS the viewers and the guests so much!  You all were the BEST part of my day at NTV – hands down.  But…I am excited to spend more time with my girls and to write more children’s books…(and hopefully someday a novel.)  I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be in television.  What awesome memories I have made!  But…it’s time for a change.  And although change can be scary, I know I can’t better myself without it.

So…my mom was right.  A career in television was the correct path.  After all, it allowed me to become the woman I am today.  And who knows.  Someday I may get back into this crazy business.  But for now – I will look forward to learning new things – and finding out what other opportunities are in my future. 

Thank you all for the memories.  They will not be forgotten.

This Too Shall Pass…

I received some disappointing news on Friday afternoon.  Expected, but still – disappointing.  I happened to be home from work a bit early as our daycare was closed – so I was home with the girls at the time. 

After hearing my bummer news – I slumped to the ground in the kitchen – with Gracie in one arm and Ella in the other.  I let myself tear up for a few seconds – as Ella assured me that …. “it’s OK mama.  Don’t be sad..”  Right after her very sweet comment – I looked up and saw the card my sister Linds bought me back in 2005 – when I was having another “bummer” moment.

The view from the floor in my kitchen...

  I love to keep this card – for moments just like this.  It was a gentle reminder that yes – This Too Shall Pass. 

This Too Shall Pass...

And as if I needed another reminder – only moments after reading the message on my fridge, Ella stated in her very matter of fact tone…”Mama, I peed my pants.”  🙂  That was it.  I was allowed a little over one minute to “sulk” – and then life moves on.  As it should – because yes, This Too Shall Pass.  It always does.

Back to work…

“Your mom doesn’t work?  Then…who makes the money?” 

That was a question I asked one of my friends when I was a small child.  I, of course, don’t remember this comment.  My mother, however, remembers it well – and told me not long ago.  As a girl, I must have naively thought Dad didn’t make any money – because he was always at home working on the farm.  Of course mom had to leave the house to go to work. 

Due to the farming economy, mom went back to school to become an RN when I was just two years old.  I assume it was difficult on my mother to leave home and work full-time when she was able to raise my other three sisters for years as a stay at home mom.  An adjustment, for her, of this I am certain, but…not so much for me.  You see, both my mother and father were able to work full-time and still be fantastic parents.  They attended every basketball game, every track meet, every musical concert, every class play.  My mother even managed to be “room mom” for me in grade school.  I don’t know how they were able to juggle having a full-time job and be fantastic full-time parents, but I am certainly glad they did.  Sure, I remember the laundry piling up – and the dishes sitting in the sink.  Housework didn’t always get done each day – but the important things did.  Dad read to us EVERY night, mom always made fantastic meals – and above all, I always felt loved.  It is because of their strong influence on me, I know my girls will be just fine having two full-time working parents as well. 

Wednesday will be hard.  It is the day I go back to work at NTV.  I know how blessed I am to have had 12 full weeks with my baby Gracie.  Not every working mom is able to have that.  The tiny baby squeaks, the first smiles, the precious moments in the middle of the night – I have tried my best to soak them all in.  I don’t know how I will be able to juggle working full-time with two girls, plus keep a clean home, market my books, write, grocery shop etc.  But – I know I can do it, because I have had two strong role models in my life showing me for years that it can be done. 

When I leave the house on Wednesday morning – it won’t be hard on my girls, but it will be hard on me.  My prayer is that they won’t ever know how much it breaks my heart to have to leave them during the day.  I will try my very best to be at every important event in their lives – just like my parents did for me. 

Here are a few pics from the last few days of my girls!! 😉 

Just Chillin...

Big smiles...

First time fishing with dad

Making cookies with mom

Sisters...

Thank God for Brown Carpet! ;)

When we bought our house back in 2007, it was only two years old.  But, what I couldn’t understand about this relatively new home was WHY oh WHY did the previous owners put brown carpet in almost every room?  I hated it immediately, and wanted to change it all – first chance we got.  Well – we were making plans to purchase wood floors a couple of years ago – until my car broke down – and the money went into fixing our transportation.  Then the Dave Ramsey budget began and the brown carpet stayed put.  Now with two kids, I think the brown carpet is a secret blessing from God.  😉 

I can’t count the number of times Miss Gracie has lost her lunch all over me – and that brown carpet.  😉  Just a few days ago, Ella ran out from the bathroom telling me how excited she was that she went poo on the potty!  So excited – that she forgot to wipe, and a large pebble of poo fell right off her bum when she was running to me.  😉  Or like a few weeks ago when Ella forgot she only had panties on and started running to the bathroom with a trickle of pee coming down her leg – and again, onto the brown carpet.  There’s play-doh smooshed in, a large red stain in Gracie’s room where Ella decided to dump all the liquid Tylenol, and yes – I’ve even spilled a bit of red wine and diet pop here or there on that brown carpet.  😉  I’d be lying if I said I ALWAYS clean up the mess.  🙂  Heck – at 3am when Grace decides she’s had TOO much to eat – I don’t fret about finding the spot that hit the floor.  Normally my thought is – Eh…it’ll just soak into that lovely brown carpet – you won’t even be able to tell.  Eventually when we sell our home we will more than likely have to give the next owners a carpet allowance – unless, of course, they too have kids.  😉  

 I smile and cringe when I think of the next “thank God for brown carpet moment.”  I sure do love my two girls – mess and all!!  Wouldn’t change it for the world!!!

Big Smiles!

 

BIG smiles from Gracie!!

My beautiful girls...

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