Work it!

I’ve tried getting out of my funk by working out. Sweating out my blues. Stretching out the demons in my head. Cason has even joined me and we’ve made it a nightly thing. I had been working out a few nights, and one night I casually mentioned I needed to get off my toosh and get ready, and he asked if he could join me…of course, inwardly jumped for joy and said, “sure.”

Let me back up a bit. I’m a runner. Running is usually what gets me out of my head. But back in October, I had ankle surgery and that put an end to a lovely streak I had going. During that break, I had been on Instagram and this random woman friended me who was a Beachbody coach. I wasn’t interested but she was friendly enough. And when I say friendly enough I mean this woman chatted me up and learned I was having surgery, the night before my surgery hit me up to let me know she was sending me prayers, checked in with me every few days after my surgery and truly gave a shit in how I was doing with my progress. She never mentioned Beachbody during this time, in fact, she never mentioned Beachbody ever…I had figured it out just by following her feed. She just genuinely was a sweet woman who cared enough to engage in conversation with me and was heartfelt about my wellbeing.

Right before Christmas, I thought about Cason’s health, since it was his off-season and he wasn’t doing as much activity during soccer (no PE/recess since it was Christmas break) as well as mine since I wasn’t running and the rest of the family if they were interested. I reached out to my new friend and we worked out a plan. I signed up for Beachbody, received my sign-in for online workouts and then proceeded to get sick. Mother of pearl!!! Life is an A$$H@L*. Fast forward a few weeks later and I finally felt better to workout. I did a couple by myself and then Cason joined in on his own without me prodding or even asking. Overall we are having a heck of a time because these workouts are HARD. But sweating does feel really good!

I’ve now done 8 days in a row. I know it doesn’t sound much but right now some days it is the only thing that gets me out of bed. And Cason asks me if he can work out with me so I know he is feeling positive effects from it too. He’s made comments about his weight so I try to be positive and tell him things during the workouts like, “This will make you stronger for soccer,” or “This flexibility will help strengthen your legs”.

Mentally, I’m on the right track. I’m moving my body once a day. I’m eating somewhat better. The next step is going to my doctor to discuss my mental health because I’ve suffered long enough. I know I’ve mentioned it here, and I’m trying to only be positive on this page…positive but also real. Watch out world!! Momma is getting her Happy back!

Eating Healthy

Eating healthy is hard. Meal planning, shopping and communicating with the family (which that in itself if HARD) is needed to be successful in eating a healthier lifestyle. And I’m not on a crazy diet here, I’m talking moderation, better choices and cooking at home; something that we haven’t been doing in a long time. A lot of times it is so much easier to just grab something on the way home because 1. I’ve worked late again, 2. I’m tired, 3. dishes vs. take out containers, 4. everyone seems happier when they can choose what they want, 5. …(I’m sure I could think of so many more but my ADHD is kicking in)

I worked late a lot of times. I work with a consultant, that doesn’t have normal 8-5 people who wear pants in big tall building hours. He works from home and will spend hours on the phone with me at a time. Which is fantastic! I love working with him, but I have other responsibilities that I need to do as well, so often times I leave the office after 6 pm. Then, I have a stupid commute home, so by the time I get home and throw together a “healthy meal,” we are eating at 7:30-8 pm. GAH.

The last few weeks we’ve managed to cook almost every meal at home. #WINNING! But with cooking at home and utilizing all the pots and pans, there are always one or two pots/overly large bowls/cookie sheets that don’t fit into the dishwasher that needs to be washed by hand. And let’s be real, I’m tired and those dishes will sit two or three days. When they don’t get hand washed, those dishes really start to stack up (and stink). #NotWinning Eventually they will get washed by hand; possibly it is at the time I need to use it again, or on the weekend.

Cason and Greg are extremely picky eaters. I could go into great depths discussing this, but I’ll leave it vague and just say that it is frustrating at times. I try to be creative in my healthy meals, I’m not a terrible cook, but if it’s not fried, a burger, or pizza, chances are Cason won’t like it, and Greg will barely tolerate it. BrookLynn, thankfully, is my more adventurous eater. And you guys, I’m not fixing liver with fava beans here!!

Planning, shopping and eating healthy in my house is hard…but I’m trying. I still buy the ice cream sandwiches and cookies for the kids (and Greg). And I do a pretty good job of staying away from them. I may have a piece of chocolate every once in a while, but I don’t go crazy.

Depression is an A$$H*L@

I’ve suffered from depression a few times in my life. Most notably, twice after giving birth to my beautiful babies, which required medication to help me bounce back to my normal bubbly, happy self. But I’ve had depression before having babies and I’m pretty sure I’m going through a period now that is deeper than just feeling “blue”.

Shortly after graduating high school and turning 18, I moved away from my parents in Germany and across the world to Oklahoma. I lived in a small Army base community for 7 years and moved to the great big Oklahoma City was, believe it or not, a major culture shock. I went from having my parents very close by to not talking to them very often at all. The time difference made it difficult, and that long ago overseas calling was very expensive. When I did call, I called crying and begging to go home. That was my first bit of depression. There were days I didn’t get out of bed, attend class or eat. If it wasn’t for my roommate Rhonda, I don’t know if I would have even survived my Freshman year. She dragged me out of that tiny cell of a room more times than I wanted and forced fun upon me. She was my “happy pill”.

My second bout of depression was during my first marriage. I met him during my first year and I dropped out of college after my second year when I married him. After a few years, I went to see a therapist and he was AMAZING. After a few sessions of me talking about my dead-end job, not having any friends, feelings of worthlessness, and all the other issues in my life, he said, “I’ve heard enough.” He told me I needed to do something for me, and urged me to go back to school and finish my degree. I enrolled in the College of Liberal Studies through the University of Oklahoma. They had classes for working adults on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays. I was a nervous wreck, but I quickly found out that my classmates thought I was funny and I truly was a worthy person. I began to have a life outside of just being married to a man who essentially kept me inside of a bubble due to his own insecurities, and I felt so free for the first time since I met him. School was my “happy pill”.

After Cason was born I was in serious denial that I was depressed. I didn’t see it and didn’t recognize the signs. Even though I was crying all the time for no reason, I had erratic behaviors and mood swings, I couldn’t see how depressed I truly was. It took SEVERAL people, including co-workers, friends and family members, sitting me down and telling me how concerned they were for months before I finally went to my doctor for help. I thought I had failed as a new mother. I had all the feelings of being a terrible mother. Modern medicine is a wonder. After several dose changes…I became a new woman. Lexapro was my “happy pill”.

After BrookLynn was born it didn’t take very long to recognize the symptoms myself. I was out for a run and I had a very brief thought of “I can’t do this anymore.” The very next day I called my doctor. I continued running, eating healthy and taking Lexapro, and once again I began to feel my normal bubbly self. Lexapro again was my “happy pill”

Lately, I’ve been feeling off again. I don’t know if it’s because I had ankle surgery in October that was extremely painful and kept me from running (I’m feeling blah about myself). I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t get the much-anticipated bonus at work this Christmas that gives us a cushion around the holidays. I don’t know if it’s because the Oklahoma bipolar weather can’t decide if it going to be warm or cold. I don’t know if it is because OU’s football season is over. I don’t know if it’s because I had been sick since the Thursday before Christmas and I spend my last two vacation days in bed with the crud instead of at the movies with the babies and doing all the things I wanted to do and essentially not getting much of a holiday/vacation from work. My hope is now that I’m finally feeling like I can breathe again I can start working out, continue to eat healthier and get my happy self back. If not, I’m going to have to find another “happy pill.”

School Days

My children “hate” school. I hear this often on Sundays during bedtime, after long weekends, after Summer break, Spring break and last week after Winter break. I try to tell them right now they should be having the time of their lives in school. The work isn’t too terribly hard, they have good friends, fun activities and school is only going to get harder from here. Maybe I’m going about it all wrong. I’ve tried to figure out what the root cause of the hatred is…and I think I’ve figured it all out.

For Cason, the time spent in school is time spent away from his devices; Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Phone with various games. *Sigh* He is a technology junkie and I have a feeling it is only going to get worse. He is between soccer seasons right now and it is the only activity he looks forward to. Hopefully, soccer in the spring will help focus a little more than just playing in front of a screen.

For BrookLynn, her cousin now lives in our neighborhood and she practically spends the entire weekend either at her house, or her cousin comes to ours. They are inseparable. And while I love their connection, it hurts my heart that she doesn’t feel the same way about school that she used to in years past.

I will say that when asked, they both have great days at school. They are both doing well academically and socially; those aren’t concerns of mine. I just wish they didn’t have this early onset of “hate” for school…that should come much later in their high school years when there is drama with girl/boy friends and best friends stabbing you in the back and other what not bullshit goings on.

Kids, enjoy elementary school. I love you and you should be relishing your day when you have art, PE and two recesses a day.

4th Grade 2018-2019
2nd Grade 2018-2019

BrookLynn’s Cake Pops

For BrookLynn’s 6th birthday she received an EZ Bake oven. Every little girl’s dream!! Except, let’s be real, the little packages of food are crap! Well, on the 1st she rediscovered her oven that has been hiding in plain sight in her closet, and together we baked these simply terrible cake balls. Immediately she wanted to bake more; declaring that baking is her New Year’s promise (her version of resolution). I refused, instead, we went to the grocery store for real ingredients: boxed Pillsbury Cake Mix, and frosting out of a can! We also picked up sprinkles, white and milk chocolates to melt and sticks to make cake pops.

One thing about EZ Baking is that the process is fairly quick. Not so much in the real kitchen with real ingredients and a real oven. The longer wait times and duration that it was going to take was longer than an evening so I had to put off our little project for the weekend. This was frustrating for my little baker in the making.

So on Saturday, as soon as her little body was awake her first request was to begin the cake pops. She poured in the oil, water, broke the eggs, dumped them (I checked for shells) and added the mix to the bowl. She needed a little assistance with the hand mixer but together we mixed up one heck of a cake batter! We poured it into a glass pan and into the preheated oven! Siri set the timer for us and we waited. BrookLynn doesn’t care for waiting when she is excited.

The cake had to completely cool before we destroyed it and during the cooldown, I probably got asked if it was ready no less than 10 times. Once the cake was sufficiently cool she crumbled up the cake into a large bowl.

Before the next step of the pop process, I announced it was time to make lunch. She was bummed but was helpful in making our spaghetti lunch. During lunch I received a text asking if she wanted to play with her cousin, cake pops forgotten, she was already out the door. It was 11 pm before I saw her again.

Day 2, Sunday morning, once again as soon as I see BrookLynn the first thing she asks is to add frosting to the cake and make the pops. After putting her off until after breakfast we did just that. She opened the can of frosting and began to dump and mix. She did amazing! But I think we got a little ambitious with our frosting scooping because the cake mix was a bit soggy.

I made the balls, she placed the sticks and as the process took longer and longer we both were losing interest and the balls were getting bigger and bigger. But we completed the task and into the freezer the balls went for two hours!

Much later than two hours later and along with her cousin Kylie, we melted white chocolate into a bowl and silver sprinkles on a plate and we started dipping the pop in chocolate.

**I could cut this already long story short by showing you a picture of the finished product and calling this a success. But why would I do that to my loving subscribers!!**

BrookLynn dipped the first pop, added her sprinkles and it went fairly smoothly. Kylie struggled with hers a little because the pop just rolled around on the stick. I took a turn to see if I could find an easy way, but as the chocolate got cooler and thicker, the pops began to get heavy and just slide around even more on the stick. Some of the pops were already on the big side so this was positively an issue. After a handful of white chocolate pops, we melted some milk chocolate and the milk was runnier and somewhat easier to work with for a few mins longer but still having the same issues of having to constantly reheat the chocolate.

As you can imagine the girls wanted to eat their creations. I heard a lot of giggles about them being cold but never any positive taste feedback. Also, as you can imagine the girls got bored about halfway through so I was left to finish the pops myself.

Note to self: the EZ Bake oven crap, it’s fast and easy for a reason dumbass. Just go with it because you are no Betty freakin Crocker and your daughter has the attention span of a 7-year-old!! Or maybe together we can learn to bake with a simpler project like cookies.

My Darling Son

Cason Gregory. When Cason was a toddler he was nervous all the time. Anytime our routine changed he would have so many questions and concerns about all the unknown things. That is not to say he wasn’t a happy little boy who loved to play with his cars, his puzzles, read books with you, but one small inkling of abnormal and we were in for a treat.

One Sunday when Cason was 4 years old, I offered to take my mother-in-law to SAMs Club. We both grabbed a cart, I had my list, my children and off we went. We hadn’t been shopping for very long when the lights began to dim. I looked up the hours on my phone to find the closing time was 6 p.m and it was JUST before 6 p.m. I informed my MIL that they were closing soon and I started to grab the items I needed from my list. Cason began to freak out of me. 
“Momma, they’re closing, let’s go!!” 
“Momma, can we go check out now?” 
“Momma, HURRY!!” 
“Momma stop shopping, let’s go!!” 
Me to my darling son, “Cason, HONEY, they aren’t going to lock us in the store and keep us here!” 
“Momma…LET’S GO, PLEASE!!!”

When we FINALLY arrive to check out he was still freaking out; throwing my items onto the belt while chewing his nails. I finished my transaction and proceeded to help my MIL with her items, loading them back into her cart after they are scanned, all while Cason was shifting back and forth watching with wide pleading eyes. When MIL began to write her check, I took my cart to the woman who glances over the receipt. We got through those doors and I mentioned to the kids, “Let’s wait here for Grandma since its cold outside.”

“MOMMA NO…she’s still in there!! Let’s just go to the car!!!” 
“You are gonna let Grandma stay in there by herself?” 
“YES, LET’S GO!!!”

For YEARS after that shopping trip, Cason would ask what time the store/restaurant closed when we arrived. He wanted to ensure we had PLENTY of time!!

Now that he is 9 years old he has relaxed on that front. When I ask him a question about his day I get the standard, “Fine,” “Okay,” “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe” type of responses. I’ve learned that I have to ask him more open-ended questions: “What made you smile in school?” “What was the best part of your day?” “What is an interesting fact in science that you learned?”

Lately, he asks to go grocery shopping with me. I guess he’s over the traumatizing SAMs fiasco. He’ll push the cart, we’ll find something fun and act goofy. But, the absolute best conversations I have with him are the one-on-one car ride conversations. When I think he is going to open up to me, I’ll take the back roads home, or make an excuse to drive to the next town to get gas. Anything just to have a few more minutes with him.

My Darlin Cason, you are so bright, funny and loving. I am so excited about your future and can’t wait to see where this funny world is going to take you. But for now, I’ll take all the car rides and trips to the grocery store. I’m so beyond blessed to be your Momma!

OU vs Army, 2018

Post-Christmas Chaos

Christmas 2018

My house is still in shambles from Christmas. Glitter is sprinkled everywhere from ornaments and cards. To be honest, with BrookLynn we live in glitter, however, this time of year it seems to be red, green, silver and gold varieties that will follow us for the rest of the year because you really can’t ever get rid of glitter. Presents that haven’t been used yet like the bear coffee mug that I got as a gift from the Elementary Schoool Santa Shop with the spoon attached to the handle is still sitting on the side tables and coffee table along with other clutter. The tree is taking up too much room, half the stockings aren’t hung and the manger is probably getting very dusty. The extra table from Christmas dinner (the kid’s table) still in the entryway now with Legos and the Clue game that’s been won (it was Colonel Mustard, in the Library with the Lead Pipe) but never put away. The kitchen has never been put back together the same with the rotisserie all apart but mostly clean (the main inner pan should be scrubbed one more time). Sure all the wrapping paper, boxes and gift bags have been cleared; I’m not complete filth (hahaha) but to be honest, the house is wrecked.

I won!

Still, part of me isn’t ready to put it all away just yet. When I sit here in the living room and look at the tree, I see all the ornaments the kids have made at school. There are new ones from this year that magically found themselves on the tree so the placement seems just a bit too close to another ornament making it stand out even more. Looking around the house I remember the joy of BrookLynn and her daddy carting the tree bag and the boxes from the attic one-by-one because she was determined we were going to decorate THAT NIGHT. Then, of course, it was followed by the kids arguing who was going to hang which ornament and the frustrations that followed, but I am trying to steer myself back to the positives.

I never go overboard with the decorations, and this year I wasn’t interested in shopping after Christmas to buy a few more for the tree to replace really old ones that are on clearance as I have in years past. BrookLynn begged me to go shopping for more as soon as we got the decorations up. WE NEEDED MORE, SO MUCH MORE!! I asked her why we needed more and she said that the house needed to be more festive. I explained that we didn’t need to spend a lot of extra money to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and while I don’t think she fully understood what I was trying to say she dropped the subject. That, and I steered her to buying a gift for her brother; that girl loves to spend other people’s money.

But it is time. The boxes for all of the decorations are in the home office/workout room and were just thrown in there haphazardly so you can’t even walk in there to sit at the desk. The kids went back to school last Thursday and while I’m sure it wasn’t enough time to establish a routine, I need to start Monday with a clean, put together less chaotic house. It is time. I’m going to keep telling myself that this morning, and I’ll get to it. Later. Right now I have a cup of coffee to make…in my new bear coffee mug.