Falcons Training Camp Begins

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Atlanta Falcons Training Camp – our first camp picture as a family of 4


Every time we switch to a new team I feel like a rookie wife all over again. Even though this is our eighth season (8? Really? How did that happen?) I was totally lost when I walked into camp in Flowery Branch, Georgia. As I walked in the gates with Luke and Lyla in tow, I realized I didn’t know a single soul. All I could think was, “here we go again”. Switching teams is a very lonely process at first. It takes time to find friends and meet the people that will soon become your support system. I so desperately wanted to see my old friends from Denver, but have already met one or two wives that seem to be very sweet, and for that I am thankful!

Last year, I was pregnant with Lyla and she was born in the middle of camp, so needless to say, we didn’t go to a single practice. In fact, we were away from Jacob for three weeks and it was miserable! I vowed to never be away that long again because as hard as it was on me, it was even more difficult for Luke to not have his Daddy around. So this year we will be going to practice every single day. Most people don’t realize that NFL players do not get to come home during training camp. They have a few days off during the 3 and a half weeks of camp, but other than that they do not get to come home. I know it’s nothing compared to the deployments that military families endure, but it is still hard to be a single parent and live in a city where you virtually know no one. While it isn’t easy, I sat at camp today and just soaked in how amazing it all is. That Jacob is playing in his eighth NFL season with his third team and we get to sit and watch his dream continue to come true. We are around the NFL so much that I often forget how special it really is… it’s truly a dream come true!

IMG_0516Luke was so excited to go to camp! He is ALL about football right now, but I’m still pushing for golf! Hah!

IMG_0520Atlanta is crazy hot, so Lyla stayed hydrated by drinking pouring water all over herself.

IMG_0563This is the moment we wait for all day! As soon as practice ends, the players head to the fan area to sign autographs and then… its a mad dash to Daddy! It’s so sweet to see how excited they are to see him. They both tackled him after practice today. He was pretty excited to see them too! It is totally worth wrestling my kiddos for three hours in the 100 heat to get to see this moment.

IMG_0536We get to spend about five to ten minutes with him once practice is over and then its back to work for Jacob. Thankfully, we know that we get to see him again tomorrow.

IMG_0569Jacob left his helmet on the field after practice today and Luke asked if he could go get it for him. They walked across the field and Luke had the biggest grin on his face. It was so cute to see how excited he was to be on the field. I think he’s enjoying becoming a Falcons fan.

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Luke Tamme in his daddy’s football helmet at the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp

Swings for Soldiers Classic 2015

Monday, July 13th was the Sixth Annual Swings for Soldiers Classic and it is one of our favorite days of the year! This charity golf event was born in our home in Indianapolis in 2010. Jacob and I decided we needed to give back because we had been given so many blessings. We knew we wanted to benefit our military, so the search for a beneficiary began. As soon as we learned about Homes for Our Troops, we knew our charity had been found. They build specially adapted homes for wounded veterans and they have a four star rating on Charity Navigator.

This year the weather put a damper on the golf, but not on the event’s fundraising capabilities. We are so grateful to our many sponsors and 240 golfers that put up with the crummy weather! We are still getting the final numbers, but we hope to have raised at or above $100,000! WOW! Our cups are overflowing with thankfulness to everyone who donated and to our awesome event coordinators, Amanda Zachary and Julia Peterson!

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Jacob and I with our event coordinators, Julia Peterson and Amanda Zachary at the University Club of Kentucky. These ladies ROCK!

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Thankfully, the weather cooperated through the opening ceremony. Jacob’s aunt Susan sang the national anthem as she does each year. It gives me cold chills to hear those beautiful words and see the veterans standing behind her holding and honoring the flag. It’s certainly one of the best parts of the day! Jacob greeted everyone and read the rules to the golfers and they were off! We had a sell out on both courses at the University Club… what a blessing!

IMG_1185_2This little doozy of a storm blew in around 3:30pm and quickly halted play. The course superintendent blew the horn and sent everyone inside. We were scrambling to decide on what to do and how to keep the 240 golfers happy! Our volunteers (mostly our families) carried chairs inside and collected linens before they were blown away. We had people chasing pop up tents and banners as the 60-70mph winds whipped through the course. We had so many people offering to help, which was wonderful!

We usually have a dinner and live auction in the pavilion after golf, but since that wasn’t an option with the storm, we improvised. Jacob ran the live auction from inside the lounge in the clubhouse. The PA system wouldn’t work, so he stood on a chair and auctioneered as loud as he could to the crowd! The live auction brought in $17,000! WOW! I’m telling you, the Swings For Soldiers Classic supporters are simply amazing! Year after year, they come out and give generously to a great cause.

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Jacob ran the live auction from a chair in the middle of the lounge in the clubhouse! Gotta do what you gotta do!

We also had a silent auction that featured items donated from dozens and dozens of central Kentucky companies and athletes from around the nation including NBA, NFL, MLB and PGA players. Thank you isn’t adequate for how appreciative we are of all those who help make this event so successful!

IMG_1183Lyla was trying to decide which autographed jersey she wants to bid on at the silent auction: Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, her Daddy, or Julio Jones? Tough choice! Hah!

One of my favorite parts of the event is meeting and visiting with the veterans and their families. Each year we have added a veteran and their family and it’s like a big reunion each year! We’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with some true American heroes over the last six years. Chase Matthews, Kenneth Harker, Brett Bondurant, Jacob Lyerla and Zach Nelson are truly remarkable men!

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This year’s “family” photo

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Our 2014 picture… The Swings for Soldiers family continues to grow!

This year’s recipient is Zach Nelson and his wife, Kylie. They are the most precious couple and just got married this past November. Zach is paralyzed from the chest down, but he has the most amazing attitude! He doesn’t let his injury keep him from living life and I’m so excited for them to move into their specially adapted home later this year. You can learn more about Zach’s story by watching this video.

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Kylie and Zach Nelson with Jacob, Allison, Luke and Lyla Tamme

If you would like to learn more about the Swings for Soldiers Classic, please visit www.swingsforsoldiers.org.

 

On the Move

Well, we did it again. Jacob and I have been married just shy of eight years and we now have had seven addresses. Whew!
We found out that we were moving to Atlanta on March 18th while we were on vacation.
Then, we flew to Denver on the 25th to pack up and load all of our wordly possessions on a moving truck.

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Moving out of our Denver home in one day required large amounts of coffee!

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Jacob showing off that we did it! Every thing out of the house in ONE day!

Next, we drove to Atlanta to find a place to live on the 30th and moved in on April 9th. It has been a whirlwind to say the least.

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This kid had a rough first few days, but he has adjusted really well!

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This truck was realllly long… It had our stuff and two other families’ as well!

Everyone keeps asking, “Are you all settled in?” While I would love to say that yes, we are all settled in to our new home, that would just be a big fat lie! When we moved from Indy to Denver all of our boxes were properly labeled and color coded because, well, I love organization. However, with this move we didn’t exactly have time to be organized. We basically just started throwing things in boxes and labeled all of them “Misc.” So when it came time to unpack, it was basically one big scavenger hunt! Hah! We moved in on a Thursday and we didn’t find the sheets to our bed until Tuesday. Seriously. We were a mess!

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Told ya… a complete MESS! It looks a little better now, but not much! Hah!

We now have nearly all of the boxes unpacked, but there’s still a lot of work left to make this house our home. I feel like it takes a good three months to truly get settled in. I’m still opening the wrong cabinet to grab my coffee mug and I’m still opening the pantry door thinking it leads to the garage. We are so blessed to have a new home, but it’s going to take some getting used to!

Hand Embroidered State Pillows

Pillows from www.uncommongoods.com

How cute are these hand embroidered pillows? My parents started gifting us these pillows to commemorate all of our moves and I’m so excited to be adding another to our collection! I’m also really excited to be back in the South! It just feels like home!

Aloha! – Our Hawaiian Vacation in Review

Last October, Jacob was nominated as the NFL Players Association representative for the Denver Broncos. Right after he was nominated, they informed him that he would need to attend their annual meeting… in Maui! They also let him know that he could bring his family with him! Vacation in Hawaii? Yes, please! Get ready for a picture overload from our trip! I’m happy to share all the adventures we take with you, but really, I love having a place where I can record this part of our lives. I know when I’m 80 I will want to read and remember everything we did .

So… fast forward five months and our family of four plus Jacob’s parents jetted off to Maui for work and play. The meetings were held at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and we stayed there for the first five nights of our trip. Well, technically Jacob didn’t, but more on that in a minute! The resort was absolutely breathtaking! It was situated on a little bay and had a fabulous pool surrounded by cabanas that were perfect for my babies to take their afternoon naps!

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View from the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Kapalua in Maui

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Our family with Jacob’s parents at the welcome luau

    After 12 hours of flying, a two hour lay over in Los Angeles and a debacle at Dollar Rent a Car, we finally made it to our hotel. It was only 4pm local time, but to our East coast bodies, it was 10pm! As soon as we arrived Jacob headed off to his meetings and we met him that night at a luau for the player reps and their families. We were greeted with leis and enjoyed a traditional luau meal. They even had a kids buffet and a fun craft station to keep the little ones busy.

The next day was our first full day in Hawaii and Jacob had meetings from 7am until 7pm. I was shocked to learn the the player’s wives also had meetings! Say, what? I thought I was on vacay? I was relieved to find out that the “meetings” were actually fun activities for the wives to do while the players were working. [Jacob’s note: My meetings were real meetings.] About 35 NFL wives participated in the painting class that was held oceanside. We also had a private hula lesson afterwards. So fun! I was happy to find out a fellow NFL wife and Kentuckian was there as well. I got to sit with Amanda Masthay, wife of Tim Masthay, former UK and current Green Bay Packers Punter, and her darling son while we painted. We had a blast! It’s always great to get to know other ladies that are in the same phase as life. We mostly talk about people and former teams that we have in common, moving tips, and our kids! I’m sure you’ve seen those “Housewives” shows, but I’ll assure you the ladies were so kind and sweet!

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Our oceanside painting class. My painting is the one in front of the empty chair!

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Amanda Masthay and I with our masterpieces!

Due to the 6 hour time difference, we were usually awake each day around 4am, which honestly, isn’t too much different from my normal wake up time these days. On Monday morning, the 16th, we were all wide awake when Jacob got a text from his agent, Bill, saying that he needed to call him back. Of course, we were all excited because Jacob was a free agent and we knew it meant one thing – a team had interest in Jacob. That team happened to be the Atlanta Falcons! We soon found out that Jacob would need to leave Maui and fly to Atlanta to meet with the Falcons coaches. His flight was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and he would return to Hawaii on Thursday! Wow – talk about racking up frequent flier miles! Good grief! I was sad for him to leave us on our trip, but I was also SO excited for the opportunity for him in Atlanta. We spent the rest of Monday on cloud 9, talking about all the “what ifs” while lounging around the pool and beach.

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Lyla’s first time in the pool! Bathing suit: Zulily, Headwrap: Ruby Blue

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Bathing suit: Janie and Jack, Hat: my niece’s hand me down from Gap

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Luke, our little goofball! Swim trunks: Old Navy

Monday night, we drove to Paia for Jacob’s 30th birthday dinner at Mama’s Fish House. It was recommended to us by several people and it did not disappoint! The open air dining room was very quaint and the food was phenomenal. All the fish was caught locally and the name of the fisherman who caught it was written on the menu. Very neat!

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Before Jacob left for Atlanta, we hiked to the Nakalele Blowhole. I found this blowhole in a tour book I borrowed from my sister. In the book it said that the trail was not clearly marked, but that it was manageable. I thought everyone was going to kill me when we pulled off the side of the road at mile marker 8, just as the book explained, and saw that there literally wasn’t a trail. Whoops! I was determined to see the blow hole, so off we went! We walked on a trampled grass path for several hundred yards and then we came to a steep rocky decline. We weren’t even sure if we were supposed to go down the cliff, so my father-in-law went down first to check it out. He waved us on so down we went, with an almost four year old and a six month old! Smart? No! Worth it? Definitely! The picture below shows the cliff we went down. Can’t you clearly see the marked trail? Hah!

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When we arrived at the blowhole it was breathtaking! We sat on the rocks and watched it spout for nearly an hour. Sometimes it would just gurgle and sometimes it would spout 50 feet in the air! In the background, humpback whales breeched in the ocean. It was truly amazing to experience this hidden gem of God’s creation!

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The mist from the Nakalele Blowhole was refreshing after our long, hot hike! Lyla was a trooper and didn’t make a sound the entire time!

On Tuesday, Jacob made the long flight to Atlanta and we patiently waited to see if he would be offered a contract with the Falcons. It felt like weeks passed by (it was really only half a day) before he called to let us know that they did indeed make an offer and that they had agreed to terms! Aka: The Tammes are moving to Atlanta! Woohoo! It was nearly bedtime when we found out the news and it was great to be able to sleep on the fact that Jacob would be joining the Falcons!

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Jacob and Bill finalizing his contract with the Atlanta Falcons!

The next day, we went whale watching in Lahaina on one of the Pacific Whale Foundation’s charters. I was so disappointed that Jacob had to miss it, because it was incredible. We had been whale watching pre-kids in the Caribbean, but only saw the fluke (tail) of one whale. We just so happened to be in Maui during prime whale season and we were sure to see several whales… and boy we did! Within fifteen minutes of leaving the dock, a mom and her baby were spotted. The baby whale, seen below, was breeching and playing in the water, while the mom followed close behind. We saw lots of other whales as well! If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, make sure you go during whale season! Luke learned SO much about nature and science from experiencing it!

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A baby humpback whale breaching in the Pacific Ocean.

Luke was very timid about going up on the top deck of the catamaran, but by the end of the two hour sail, he was brave enough to sit out on the mesh at the front of the sailboat with me. My in-laws had Lyla in the cabin of the boat and I soaked up my one on one time with my little man as the sun set over Maui. I will never forget his sweet face when he overcame his fear and stepped out on the mesh.
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On Thursday, we flew to Honolulu where we met Jacob at the airport to finish out the last three days of our trip. At this point he had flown nearly 36 hours in last five days… whoa! Which explains why he fell asleep in the hotel lobby one afternoon! Hah!

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Jacob and his dad, Theo, with Mr. Sterling Cale, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

While most of our time in Maui was spent at the pool and beach, most of our time in Oahu was spent site seeing! Our first stop was Pearl Harbor. We got there early in the morning, as they only allow 2,000 visitors per day and we didn’t want to have a long wait. We prepped Luke about our visit to Pearl Harbor by explaining to him (in kid terms) what happened there and that we needed to be somber and respectful while we were there. To our surprise, he actually was… except when we met Mr. Sterling Cale, SGM. Mr. Cale was in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Before we met him, we explained to Luke that he was a survivor and to shake his hand and tell him thank you. Well, Luke walked right up to him and shook his hand then turned to me and screamed, “Mama, he’s on Survivor!” I tried to hold it together and not laugh, but I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully, Mr. Cale is well in his nineties and couldn’t hear what Luke said and was distracted by conversation with Jacob and his dad. We got to spend a few minutes talking with Mr. Cale and he told us about that dreaded day. He worked as a pharmacist for the military and was at the dispensary when the Japanese attacked. He ran from there to the harbor where he dove in the water, under the burning oil, and pulled people (and bodies) on to shore. He explained how he wasn’t able to surface because oil was on fire across the surface of the water. He told how he and others spent the next six hours trying to save as many people as possible. Wow. This man was a true American hero. He is one of the reasons why WE are able to live freely. It was truly overwhelming to shake his hand and speak with him.

IMG_7605Lyla slept during our entire tour and woke up just before we left, so this is the only picture we have of here there. See the bright blue sky and palm trees? It’s hard to imagine that this was once a war zone. So.very.humbling.

If anyone is still reading this ridiculously long post, thank you! Hah! Stick with me, I’m almost finished!

On Saturday morning, we hiked to the top of Diamond Head! I wore Lyla in the ergo and Jacob was prepared to have to carry Luke piggy back style most of the way up. However, to our surprise, Luke hiked the entire way up and down by himself! We were so surprised, we bought him one of those super tacky shirts that said, “I hiked Diamond Head!” Hah! Diamond Head is actually part of an extinct volcano crater. Here’s an aerial photo of Diamond Head that I took from the plane as we flew home.
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Our last dinner in Honolulu! Can you tell that both babies were over taking pictures?

On Sunday, we drove to Aulani, the Disney resort on Oahu. I really wanted to take Luke to see Mickey for an early birthday present. Ok, I really wanted to go see the resort and I thought Luke would enjoy it too! Hah! We ate at Makahiki for Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration. It was a character breakfast in an open air restaurant and the food was divine! I highly recommend it! Luke was turning four two days after we left Hawaii, so we celebrated his birthday here too! Remember when we also celebrated at Disney World in February? Yeah, I love birthdays:)

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Meeting Mickey at Aulani

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We had a wonderful trip with Jacob’s parents to Hawaii! We were SO blessed to get to travel with the NFLPA even though Jacob missed half the meetings due to his impromptu trip to Atlanta! We came home with lots of memories and a new job!

And just to keep it real… this is what our hotel room looked like after living out of a suitcase in three different hotels in ten days… wow.
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You Can’t Win Them All

Losing is never easy, and Sunday’s game was no different. I was teary before the game started because I knew it might be our last game at Mile High Stadium, win or lose. The anthem was just beautiful, the crowd was electric and the roar of the pre-game fly over gives me chills every time. You see, Jacob will be a free agent this year and we don’t know where this crazy business will have him playing next season.

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Waiting for the game to start with my little buddy

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Player introductions on the jumbotron

 

Dealing with “lasts”is hard. You want to just soak it in and remember everything so you won’t ever forget what it was like. It reminds me of my senior year of high school, which was full of “lasts”. But Sunday’s game was an uncertain “last”. We may be back, we may not. That’s the nature of the business. So, after the game Luke and I were down on the field walking towards the tunnel. We stopped to take one last picture and I knelt down beside him and put my face next to his. I said, “Baby, soak it in. Look at the lights, see what they look like? Look at the scoreboard, see how big it is? Feel the grass, this is where Daddy played! We might not be back here, so just take one last look around.” I was saying this all to him, but really it was for me. So I could intentionally stop, take it all in, and remember.
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This pic was taken right before Luke and I had our talk about taking it all in

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Huddling up during warm-ups

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Jake lining up at fullback before going in motion

 

After the game, I found several wives and girlfriends and gave them hugs and we said our goodbyes. It’s always so awkward because these people who you’ve shared joy and pain with, who’ve prayed for you, who’ve been in this crazy NFL world with you in an instant can just be… gone. Even as a wife, a big loss, especially a season ending loss, makes it seem as if life is just crashing down. It’s just over. Done with. There is no more – until next year. But next year, even if we stay in Denver, it won’t be the same. Different coaches, different players, different friends. We will never have *that* team again. Oh sure, we will keep in touch through social media and texting, but it won’t ever be the same. While it is so sad, and boy did we cry some ugly tears, we have so many blessings! As one wife said as I hugged her goodbye, “You know what? What do we have to complain about? We are going home to healthy babies and healthy husbands!” She was SO right!
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Friends, teammates, Bible study partners, and all around just two great guys… in my opinion!

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Post game prayer circle at midfield

Once Jacob left the locker room, we walked out of the tunnel and stood in the parking lot and just stared at the stadium taking it all in. All he said was, “It was fun.” Gosh, it sure was!
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Last post game pic of the year of our fam (minus Lyla)

We spent most of yesterday packing everything we could into a u-haul trailer to begin the trek back to Kentucky. We are sad to leave Denver (even though we may be back), but could not be more excited to be going back home!
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Leaving the tunnel: Luke with his Granddaddy and Aunt SJ

Tonight we will have a little farewell dinner with some of our teammates and friends and I’m sure we will cry more ugly tears, but in the end it’s all just a blessing! The wins. The losses. The tears and frustrations. The friendships that will grow stale, but hopefully not. It’s all part of this awesome journey God chose us to be on and we are choosing to enjoy the ride!

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Miss Lyla didn’t make it to the game, but I couldn’t leave her out!

Football Friday: Game Day Gear

It’s playoff time in Denver and this game is BIG for our family and that other football dynasty of a family that a few of you may know, the Mannings. The Broncos are hosting the Colts (Jake’s former team) in the divisional round of the playoffs and I am so excited to attend the game. The Broncos played the Colts in their home opener, but since my sweet baby girl was only a month old, I opted to stay home and watch it on tv.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to watch the Broncos play the Colts in person this weekend! Here’s what I’ll be wearing on Sunday!
Bronco Game Day Wear

 

1. Under Armour cold gear mock t-neck shirt. It’s usually pretty chilly in Denver during the winter, so a cold gear base layer is a must. Most of my active gear is from Nike, but my go to on game day is from Under Armour.

2. My beloved jersey. This of course is a staple on game day. Some girls like to dress up for games, but you can usually find me in my jersey and jeans. You can get your own Jacob Tamme jersey here.

3. Tiffany & Co. heart charm bracelet. This bracelet is my good luck charm and I’ve worn it to every single one of Jake’s games since I received it as a gift from my sister in 2006.

4. Smart Wool socks. Don’t leave home without them. They are the warmest socks I own and they don’t itch or stretch out when you wear them.

5. Sorel Tofino Boots. I searched high and low for the warmest boots to wear to Super Bowl XLVXIII and these came out on top. They are waterproof, super insulated, comfy and I happen to think they are adorable.

6. 1969 skinny jeans from GAP. These are tried and true. I’ve been wearing GAP jeans since high school and I still love them. They fit great and don’t cost a fortune.

 

I hope you’ll be cheering for the Broncos this Sunday!