Words of encouragement and empowerment for many. It’s three little words that have the greatest impact. This is why we are thrilled to introduce all of you to Elbow Grease.
Elbow Grease is a children’s book written by John Cena and illustrated by Howard McWilliam. Now if the writer’s name sounds familiar, it should as he is very well known especially in the world of wrestling entertainment. John Cena is a versatile entertainer and dedicated philanthropist. Now he has taken the stage of child’s author to share the important lessons he has learned over the years, such as never giving up whether you win or lose.
Elbow Grease is a little smaller than the other monster trucks; however, he is still proud of what makes him different from the rest. Win or loss, he always tries his best. This is what John Cena calls GUMPTION.
We are so honored to be able to review and feature Elbow Grease on the #MelAndNikkiReview as we are fans of John Cena. We didn’t know what to expect from the book but we are happy to say that it did not disappoint us. The story flowed nicely with the illustrations complimented it with every page turn. The message of “Never Give Up” was beautifully incorporated through the book and easily understood for children. Now I have to admit that I loved that the mechanic in the story was a woman and named Mel. 😉
Nikki who is only 4 loved the book so much that she wanted to do one of her special vlogs to tell us how she felt about it and a little extra more. We never really know what Nikki is going to say in her videos but that is what makes it fun and real! 🙂
As you heard from Nikki, she gives it 5 out of 5! I give it 5 You Can’t See Me’s out of 5! We have truly enjoyed reading this book and it has been on our reading line-up daily! I have read it SO much that I am now doing it in character – yes! That does not happen often but this book is SO fun to read.
If you are looking for a fun book with an empowering message for a child (ages 3 to 7) to learn, then this is the book for you. Or if you have a John Cena fan on your gift list, then this would make a perfect gift. Please click here if you would like to know where to buy it.
Special thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending us Elbow Grease to review as we LOVED it!
We love watching and following the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and we have been fans for many years. You might have remembered a few articles that I have written on WWE and we can’t forget the very entertaining videos that my daughter has done in imitating the wrestlers entrances. So it is no surprise that when we heard that the WWE was returning with their ever so popular NXT live tour, we had to purchase tickets especially since it was being held at the Hershey Centre. It was so much closer to home!
For those of you who may not know or follow, let me give a quick definition of WWE NXT. This is a branch of the WWE brand. This is where you get your start in the WWE. It is almost like the place that you need to prove yourself before going to the main roster of Raw and Smackdown (the main shows of the WWE). That is if you have that superstar quality for the main stage from what I have heard people say.
We have watched wrestlers from NXT in Toronto before and it was such an amazing show as each wrestler outperformed the next. I think it was the most entertaining wrestling that I had seen live in years so it was refreshing.
Now it was time to see it again but without the cameras for television broadcasting which makes it a more intimate event for fans as we are solely focused on the performances.
I do need to mention that watching a WWE live event comes with many restrictions and I do recommend that if you are taking young children to please read what the rules are before going. The Hershey Centre did a great job in making sure that the attendees were aware of the restrictions and were great at answering any inquiries from fans (like myself who messaged them a whole lot!).
For this event we made it into a daughter and mom night as my husband had to work. We also went with a family friend and his son; they are our wrestling friends for life. 🙂
WWE NXT Event
We arrived early to avoid waiting in a big line-up in the cold and it helped us find our seats with lots of time to enjoy the venue (this is when it is the perfect time to take a selfie to capture the moment). We had great seats as our view of the wrestling ring and the entrance for the wrestlers was perfect for us.
Before we knew it, the lights started to dim and the ring lights were on…it was time for the show! One performance after another, it was amazing! Each larger than life character came into the ring and really put their heart into their performance. We got to see some fan favorites and were even introduced to some new wrestlers who are going to be making their televised debut soon (one became my favorite very quick, Ricochet!).
But what made this event even more spectacular for me as a mom was seeing my daughter light up with excitement. I know that my heart was glowing to see how happy she was. Isn’t that what we want for our children to be?!
It amazed me to see her interact and engage with other fans. For the first time, I took the back seat from being a fan and watched her be one. I got to experience the event through her and that made me love this event even more. So what did my three year old do?
Well, when the audience clapped, chanted or screamed so did my little one. It was so awesome to see her chant, “NXT, NXT, NXT!” And anytime the audience cheered for one of the wrestlers, she would try to chant their name too (as best as she could as some of the names are a little difficult to say). But one that she had no trouble chanting was for Nikki Cross (by the way, no connection as to how we named our daughter, lol).
It made the event that more exciting to watch and that is why many fans go see a live show. Seeing a WWE event is a social experience that you can’t get from watching it on your television. It is an opportunity to engage with other fans on the drama of WWE wrestling and I believe that this is where the wrestlers get their performance rush from. That energy and vibe at a live event is what makes WWE great and successful! We all had an amazing time and it will be a memorable mother and daughter day that we will not forget. We got to spend time together and engage with the most loyal and craziest fans ever! We just loved it! WWE NXT gave us a very entertaining night full of heart, athleticism and a forever family moment.
This page is all about my little buddy Elijah “Drax Shadow” Mainville. I first knew of Elijah when I heard about his “Tough Enough” submission video. Let me backtrack and fill you in a bit…In 2015, WWE decided to bring back one of their programs called “Tough Enough.” They put out a nationwide casting call searching for people to be on the show, they asked that anyone who wanted to be on the show send in a video showing why they were “Tough Enough.” They had thousands of submissions, but one in particular stood out. It was 8 year old Elijah Mainville, here is his video ElijahIsToughEnough. Stephanie, and Triple H were so impressed with Elijah that this happened, ElijahsWWEContract.
Like Connor did, Elijah stole my heart! I started following his journey on twitter. His mom is a vloger, and has a channel on YouTube called MomsVlog80 where she gives you a glimpse at a day in their lives. After I started watching the daily vlogs, I felt closer to them, and more determined to do what I could to find a cure for this horrible disease. It’s just not fair, he’s had to deal with this stupid crap every day since he was 3 years old!! 3 freaking years old!!! The following link tells Elijah’s story in his mother’s words, please click here to read.
My family and I have become friends with the Mainville family. We had planned to try and meet up at Wrestlemania 32 this year, but cancer had other plans. It turns out that Elijah couldn’t attend the event. I felt so bad for him as it was something he was really looking forward to. Since we were going to Axxess (an event similar to ComicCon), and Wrestlemania I asked Melody (his mom) if he would like it if I skyped it for him, so he could see what was there, and hopefully talk to some of the wrestlers! I wasn’t sure it was gonna work, but I was determined to give it a shot. As luck would have it Cody Rhodes (Stardust) was at one of the Picture/Autograph stations. We waited our turn, and with Elijah on facetime, I handed my phone to Cody, and what happened next was pure magic! Elijah’s face lit up, as did Cody’s. They talked to each other like they were the only two in the room. Cody faced the phone at the audience and asked them to tell his buddy to get better, and the 200+ people in line did just that in unison. It was an awesome moment!! We continued to talk over the following weeks and decided to get together at Ronnie’s favorite place to eat Applebee’s! It was really cool getting to meet them in person. Melody was looking for a Disney store fix so they followed us to the nearest mall that had a Disney store. My oldest daughter (who is the same age as Elijah) pushed his wheelchair through the mall a little. He found this Marvel Legends “Ant Man” figure, and we told him that we would get it for him for his birthday. Stephanie McMahon was right, he does give awesome hugs. I tell you this story to say that cancer is REAL and it sucks, and its unfair, and it needs more awareness, so please if you want to “Help a family” please do not donate to one of those multi billion dollar charities, donate to a family directly, become a patron, and help Elijah, and his family.
Last night at 10:15 PM, I lost a piece of my heart. After six years of fighting for his life, Elijah passed away. Cancer is a cruel, cruel useless thing; it steals lives, crushes dreams, breaks hearts, and needs to be stopped. The world lost an amazing little boy last night, his smile could light up even the darkest room, his laughter was contagious, and his hugs were amazing. His “Hello, Hello, Hello’s” on the daily vlogs would always brighten my day. Trying to write this, I realize there are no words adequate enough to describe the loss, or the hole Elijah’s absence will leave in the hearts of everyone he touched.
The family has created a Go Fund Me page to help with funeral costs, if you are able to help please click here. No amount is too big or too small as any amount can help this loving family.
I have this massive goal, and with everyone’s help, we can make it happen! My goal is to fill social media with posts of Christmas lights, I want to bring a smile to a very special boy’s face. That Special Boy is named Elijah, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma at the age of 3, & has been fighting for his life everyday since. His family usually goes all out for Christmas, decorating their house with lights, and all kinds of Christmas goodies! Sadly this year, with everything they are unable to put many lights or decorations up. Elijah loves everything about Christmas! I ask that everyone who is putting lights up, please think of Elijah when you do, & if you could place a sign in your yard with “#LightsForElijah” share it on social media with the hashtag in the description. Lets make this go global & show Elijah some love! Will you help me light the world with Christmas light?
Remember to share your pictures with your sign with the hashtag #LightsforElijah and let’s bring a smile to sweet Elijah. To follow Elijah and his fight, check out his Facebook page and blog page. Also make sure to follow his mom, Melody on YouTube, and Facebook.
The music starts to play and out comes Enzo Amore and Big Cass to their high energy entrance. The crowd goes wild as Enzo and Big Cass start their opening monologue. And you can’t help but follow along with repeating their catchphrases such as “How you Doin’?” and “You Can’t Teach That.” So it is no wonder why people and families are intrigued by WWE wrestling as their sports entertainment go to.
Our family is a WWE family in the truest sense of the word as we watch every episode week after week, and attend as many WWE events in our area as possible. It wouldn’t be out of the norm to even catch us using a WWE catchphrase every now and then.
This is why it was no surprise that our daughter, Nikki, started to express interest in watching every episode with us. It wasn’t too long ago that we started to notice her imitating WWE Superstars, Enzo Amore and Big Cass. So one day I just picked up my phone and clicked record. With a little parent luck, I managed to capture the perfect and priceless moment.
We just couldn’t believe that our 23 month old just did that and thought it must be shared with Enzo and Big Cass. So I took it to twitter to share with them the joy that they bring to the little ones and to my surprise the video was a hit! It also caught the personal attention of both Enzo and Cass on social media. With this attention the video took a life of its own. We received tons of comments (100+), likes (2,330+) and retweets (Almost 700). It has been two months since the video has been posted and it is still going. The video did so well that we were interviewed by The Baby Spot to discuss how we handled our video going viral. We were also extremely fortunate to get the attention of the legendary, Iron Sheik, who shared our interview with his twitter followers.
So what happens now that we have the attention of the WWE Superstars? Naturally, the next step was to meet them!
When WWE announced that Enzo Amore and Big Cass were doing a meet n’ greet at a Toys ‘R’ US near us, we knew we had to seize the opportunity!
Weeks before the meet n’ greet, I would discuss it with Nikki to try and explain what we were going to do. Of course, with a toddler it is hard for them to truly comprehend what was going to happen and in all honesty I wasn’t sure what to expect either.
The WWE Universe is one of the most dedicated fan base a company could ever ask for. They are loyal, energetic and truly invested in this line of sports entertainment. So we had to keep that in mind as we knew people would be there early and with a limited amount of wristbands available, I was naturally a worried mom. However, we stayed positive and ensured we were prepared for a long wait before the big meet n’ greet.
The day before the big day, I packed my backpack with anything I may need for Nikki for our wait. We also placed some lawn chairs in our car the night before to make sure that we wouldn’t forget the morning of. We laid out all our clothes the night before as well to make the morning routine seamless.
At 5 AM my husband and I started our morning routine. By 6 AM we were all out the door and ready for our first family WWE meet n’ greet experience. We had to pick up our awesome family friends, Mike and Austin first as they are part of our WWE family. We arrived before 7 AM and the line-up had already begun with about 100 people in line. By this time, we knew we would make the 300 limited wristband count and we braved a cooler day in Toronto to wait.
Nikki stayed awake as she must have fed off of our excitement and for a toddler she did well waiting. To entertain her, I had a couple of her toys to play, we walked with her and she managed to make a couple of friends in the line-up. We also kept telling Nikki she was going to meet Enzo and Cass and all she could say excitedly was “Cass.” We got our wristbands before 8:30 AM and I felt much better as I knew we would be seeing them.
The line-up started to move at 9 AM and now it was only a matter of time before we can introduce twitter sensation, Nikki, to her favourite WWE superstars. We finally got in at about 10:20 AM and we were just steps away from shaking hands with Enzo and Cass.
Now I started to get a little nervous and started to think about what I was going to say. Wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t forget to say anything and then started to worry about how Nikki was going to react as she tends to be shy when she meets someone new. But it was a little late to worry about anything at this point and it was time to just jump in!
As Nikki approached them in her daddy’s arms, she started to hide but that didn’t stop Enzo and Big Cass from noticing her coordinated outfit and shoes. We made sure she wore her leopard print pants and customized t-shirt we made with their catchphrase. Of course we couldn’t forget Enzo’s favorite shoe name brand, Air Jordans (J’s). I introduced them to Nikki as the one from the famous twitter video and to my surprise, THEY REMEMBERED vividly! I gave them the cards that Nikki had made for them and I wasn’t sure if they could take them…..They were happy to accept it and Enzo even mentioned that he keeps everything that is made for him. Talk about sweet! We couldn’t get over how friendly and interactive they both were as I result I almost forgot to ask them to sign our customized shirts. But I managed to remember and this is where toddler life becomes reality as Nikki started to cry when they signed her top. Not sure if she thought we were giving her away or if she was getting a needle but we did make the best of it. I do apologize to Enzo and Cass for putting them in that predicament but it was worth it as it will be treasured by Nikki as she gets older. Once autographs were signed and photos were taken, our first family WWE meet n’ greet experience was complete. Special thank you to Enzo Amore and Big Cass for being such humble and approachable gentlemen.
It was a very early start with a lot of preparation and we are all completely exhausted but we would do it all again in a heartbeat for our Nikki.
My husband and I are wrestling fans, but more specifically, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fans. We watch WWE Raw and Smackdown every week on TV (in case you do not know, these are the regular shows that they air) and Nikki really enjoys watching it too. However, she is not watching the entertainment of wrestling but she is watching the entrances that each wrestler has to get inside the ring. The colours, music, sounds, and the bigger than life characters are all what interests her to the TV. Naturally, when we heard that the WWE was coming to Toronto for their Holiday Live Tour Event, we knew we had to take her.
On Wednesday December 30th, 2015, we took Nikki to see her very first live wrestling event. To make this trip even more special, we took her by train for the very first time. Nikki just adores trains and enjoyed every minute of it. She even made a few new friends on our way home after the event.
Once we arrived at the arena, we got checked in and got to our seats. Of course, when attending any event with a toddler it is great to arrive right before the event is about to begin as the waiting for something to begin can be boring for the young ones. This worked out great for us as Nikki was ready to see what was in store for her next. The lights dimmed and the show was about to start. With most WWE events, the fans are loud and very engaged with the action so the excitement started to build. All this was fantastic for our very energetic 16-month old who soaked all this excitement around her and started jumping on my lap and clapping to her hearts content. This was such a beautiful moment for my husband and me to see as her happiness means the world to us.
As the event continued, Nikki danced to all the wrestlers’ entrances and clapped when the fans would clap. It came to the point that she was all pooped out from all the excitement that she managed to take a power nap and yes she slept through all that noise (Please note that the live events that are not televised, do not use fireworks or really loud sounds). Luckily, Nikki woke up right before the main event which was the last match of the night and she enjoyed the last of the excitement before making the trip back home on the train.
Overall, it was a great experience for Nikki as she enjoyed every minute of her eventful day. We spent the day together as a family which was the most important part of the experience and we got to watch something that we all enjoyed. Could not have asked for a better first live event experience!