Monthly Archives: July 2014

DREAM BIG…AND WEAR CUTE SHOES WHILE YOU DO IT

If you had asked me at 22 what my dreams were Im sure they consisted of “getting rich”, traveling a lot and having fun. Pretty normal stuff for a 22 year old. Im sure I would’ve thrown in “world peace” for good Karma or whatever. And honestly all four of those things would be pretty great.

In Beachbody, especially my upline’s team, people talk a lot about “Dream Boards”. It’s basically a big poster that you fill up with your “dreams”. The things you hope to accomplish over a certain period of time. I have yet to do one. Not sure why. I have it all in my head but sometimes I have this silly fear that if you put it out there in the universe for all to see then its REAL. Im pretty sure thats why posting about my husband’s brain rot was hard. Its real now that’s for sure. Truth is it always was I just was too fearful to put it out there and give it power. SOOOOO I thought about that…putting it out there GIVES IT POWER?? Patrick and I have never given Brain Rot any power. In fact, I told it to kiss my ass a few times. Ya, it’s “out there”. People know. Its public. But guess what…the universe knew LOOOONG before I posted it on a silly blog. I CHOOSE not to give brain rot power. There. It all boils down to fear.

If I don’t put my dreams on a board for all to see, for ME to see then I can’t possibly fail, right? I go on and on to my Beachbody team about getting over your fear and stepping out of your comfort zone as I hide nicely tucked behind mine. Hypocrite. So I post about Brain Rot. And I take some other crazy, scary chances. And I realize Im just as afraid as everyone else to fail. Im betting we all are.

Posting about BRAIN ROT and making it public doesn’t give it any “power”. It gives ME power. And Patrick power. And everyone who suffers from something POWER! I posted a little picture recently of Dorothy’s red slippers from The Wizard of Oz and a quote from Glenda the Good Witch…. “You had the power all along, my dear”. It’s true. Nobody can take your power unless you let them. NOBODY.

So posting about my dreams and having them stare me in the face is scary and intimidating and POWERFUL. But honestly…those dreams have been in my head for a long time. They were always there. I couldn’t hide from them. I’ve always had dreams. Maybe it’s time to give them some power. Guess I’ll practice what I preach and step out from behind my comfortable little zone.

Dreams evolve over time. I dream for my kids, their future, their happiness. I dream for Patrick and a cure. I dream for big grand things. But there’s also dreams for me…this awesome, secluded cabin by a river in Aspen, financial freedom to travel, some kick ass Manolo Blahnik’s (don’t judge I need to look cute in my mountain cabin). Mondays seem like a good day to DREAM BIG. So Im going to. And I think YOU should too. Why not? We are born little dreamers with empty palettes that life sort of fills up for us. Why not make your own palette? I know life throws some crap on everyone’s palette that you’re not expecting…trust me I know. But don’t let that crap take over your entire canvas. Paint some for yourself. Paint BIGGER than the crap, bigger than the brain rot, shit just paint right over the brain rot if you can. It’s YOUR dreams, YOUR life, YOUR palette so screw fate and take some power for yourself.

Starting my dream board. And sure there’s the whole world peace thing…yada yada yada. But seriously…have you SEEN some of those Manolo Blahniks? Let’s get real…Andy’s college fund has always been a “this might turn into bail money instead of college money fund” anyway….Im thinking black strappy with some bling!

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MY HUSBAND HAS BRAIN ROT HOW WAS YOUR TUESDAY

One year ago today we moved to Colorado from Texas. Soooo weird that it’s been a year. It has really flown by. Two years ago we started discussing moving. Lots of reasons we wanted to move. As a kid I used to visit Colorado often. My Dad’s favorite aunt and uncle lived outside of Denver and we would come stay with them and go skiing in Breckenridge. My Dad loved it here. My Mom said on her first visit to Colorado (after she was married to my Dad) she arrived in the dark and went straight to bed. When she woke up in the morning she looked out the window and asked my Dad “What is that?”. My Dad just looked at her and said “mountains”. She’d never seen mountains as a kid. When you grow up in Texas with not a lot of money and you’re only “vacations” are to Arkansas to visit family then mountains aren’t really a part of the equation.

I think my Dad always had a connection to Colorado and the mountains and made sure that his kids knew exactly what mountains were at a young age. He took several vacations here with his friends and my Mom and our family. He died here. We were not with him when he died and that SUCKS ASS. But when you are surrounded by these majestic mountains lost in the trees and staring at a sky that is so much closer to you than it is in other places…you’re not really alone.

Texas will always be my home. There is a lot of Texas in me. I say “ya’ll” and “fixin’ to”. I like my tea so sweet it makes a june bug pucker. I know what a fried twinkie is and have had one. In Texas…..lawn chairs are acceptable seats for dining. BBQ is sweet and tangy and always served with beer. Football is a religion. Cheerleading is serious business. Mosquitos are larger than bumble bees. Preacher’s kids are secretly really fun. Any temperature under 82 is considered “chilly”. Trucks are more common than cars. College allegiance is imperative and trash talking someone’s alma mater is grounds for a fight. Texas is home. There is so much I love about Texas. The Hill Country is actually my favorite part of the state. Its beautiful and hilly and the bluebonnets are breathtaking. My family came to the Dallas area FIVE generations ago. Its home. And leaving home is never easy.

Just over two years ago I noticed my husband slurring his speech one day. It was subtle but I noticed it. I thought he was drunk… at 8 am. We quickly made a doctor’s appointment and so began almost two years of seeing specialists, getting batteries of tests run, bloodwork and endless hours of explaining his symptoms and complete medical history to the 5 million specialists we saw. Over the course of that time his speech got progressively worse and in addition to that his balance started to go. My husband has done triathlons, mountain bike competitions, rock climbing and a plethora of other strenuous sports and activities. There was no one healthier or more agile than him. So to watch his balance issues put an end to that activity has not been fun to watch.

I could go on and on about all of the things he has been through and tested for but the final diagnosis is some form of Spinal Cerebellar Ataxia/Atrophy. In a nutshell…his cerebellum is shrinking. Lovely I know. The cerebellum, in case you didn’t know, controls movement and coordination… like balance and speech. As the cerebellum atrophies (or shrinks) you lose coordination, speech and balance. We lovingly refer to it as “brain rot”. Ironic that the smartest guy Ive ever met gets afflicted with a brain disease. I know its not funny. I know that it totally sucks ass. I know how horrific it is for a 39 year old, healthy, athletic father of 2 to get this bullshit disease. I live it everyday. Im aware of the absolute shit that it is. But if I don’t laugh I’ll cry. Constantly. And my blog is not titled “Falling Back on Funny” for no reason. Its how I survive. Literally.

My husband is a very private person. I think he has 11 friends on Facebook and not even one picture of himself on there. He’s the COMPLETE opposite of me. Thank God. The world DOES NOT need two of me walking around. I write about my “stuff”. Its how I cope. I am pretty public about most things. He is not. So for over two years I have honored that wish to be private. And this going public thing is a tad scary and overwhelming and a bit of a crap shoot. Nobody wants people to look at them differently or feel sorry for them. One of the aspects of his disease is that it will not affect his cognitive abilities. So no matter how his physical body fails him he will still be just as smart and witty and weird as he always has been. Crap. I was hoping the brain rot would erase the knowledge that he married below his IQ point. No such luck. Good thing Im cute.

I have my days when Im pretty pissed. Im not sure why nice people get dealt a hand like this and assholes live forever. I don’t know. Honestly if I sat with this and thought about it all the time I’d go crazy. Well…crazier. Sometimes life deals you some shit and you’re only option is to deal with it.

And with all of that we come to Colorado. Life is short. And we had dreamed of moving somewhere beautiful and freeing and laid back and where we could be outside more. And when you look for a sign to see if you should move and you get brain rot Im guessing you should listen to that “sign”. Could’ve gone with a more subtle “sign” but Im no dummy- I got the hint. So we up and moved. We moved our entire lives, our kids, our hopes to Colorado. And I do not regret it for one minute. We are peaceful here and my soul is happy. Maybe I was supposed to be here all along. My husband is happy here. And that matters the most. We take one day at a time. As should you. As should everyone. I really could crawl in a hole. I could be mad all the time. I could be sad all the time and resentful and scared. Truth is- Im all of those things at times. Especially scared. But I love life. I love my life. And damn it Im going to squeeze every ounce of fun and laughter and joy and beauty out of whatever time we have.

He had a book made for me for our 1 year anniversary in Colorado. Its full of pictures he took over this past year. And they are the ones I had told him were my favorites. He’s thoughtful like that. Again…not too sure why he married me. I wish I could share all of the pictures. I won’t. I think Ive shared enough. Except to say that I am stronger than I ever imagined I could possibly be. And so is he. You learn a lot about yourself when the shit hits the fan.

So when I say take a chance or don’t wait for your dreams; go and get them…it comes from a place of knowing what that really means. It comes from a place of having no choice. It comes from a place of fear and excitement and sadness and joy and a realization that we all have limited time. Make the most of that time.

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LOSSES, MILESTONES & FOURTEEN

My daughter turns 14 this Sunday. Fourteen is not necessarily some milestone birthday. I mean its not 13, its not 16, its not 18 or 21. It’s just 14. But its not. For some reason this particular birthday is causing me to reflect and be nostalgic and a bit sad. She’s such a person now. With all the good and bad that comes with that…a REAL PERSON. She has opinions & grit & sarcasm & kindness & sassiness & determination & attitude & a deep, way-too-young understanding of the world. Shit.

I lost several pregnancies before I had Maddie. Several pregnancies that were far into term. It sucked. Turns out I had a blood clotting disorder. Once it was discovered then taking blood thinners during my pregnancy resulted in a very healthy baby- SCORE! I wanted her so badly. I never knew how badly I wanted her until she was here. Now there are days I’d like her to go FAR FAR away. The joys of teen-hood.

But in all honestly I like my kids so much better now than a few years ago. I was not a fun person to be around when I had 2 toddlers. The noise, snot, bodily fluids, screaming, tantrums and lack of sleep were just too much. And that was all me! The kids weren’t easy either.

I do, however, truly appreciate those years. It felt like I lived in a little world where only me & my kids existed. Day in and day out was ultimately just about survival. For all three of us. Maddie was my buddy. We talked a lot. I missed adult conversation since I was a stay at home Mom and so I’d just talk to her as if she were an adult. We watched CNN together & talked about big stuff. I never allowed Barney in my house. NEVER. Hated that purple dinosaur. I just was not a great “baby” Mom. Don’t judge. Survival man- it was all about survival.

And then they got old.

And I like them better. I am more suited to parenting teens I think. My sarcasm, lack of empathy and repulsion to poop lend to older kids. And my kids get it. Especially Maddie. There are times I want to wring her neck. She’s so damn opinionated and strong-willed and sarcastic and funny and smarter than me (sometimes). Its so frustrating. And then I realize- holy crap she’s me! Well ain’t Karma a bitch. Im sure Karen Ellis is laughing & I know wherever my Dad is that he gets the irony. I caused some serious distress to my parents for a few years there. And the apple and the tree and the falling….I get it.

Along with all of the “bad” she got from me she also got the “good”. A lot of that good is from her Dad- definitely the smarts. Im no dummy but he’s like serious smart. Like what-the-hell-was-he-thinking-marrying-me-smart. So glad she’ll most likely pass Algebra and Chemistry. But I passed on some good too: The hard-headedness, the sarcasm, the thick skin, the lack of sensitivity, the over-thinking, the obsession with making things right for those that have been “un-righted”, a love for Buddha, a disdain for brussel sprouts and unfairness, a need to be on time, a love for music (thats a big one). OK did I say “good” things. Maybe all of those things aren’t considered good but its cool to see a little bit of yourself in your kids. Its weird. And good.

I hope she is more than me. I hope she is smarter than me. I hope she makes better decisions than I did. I hope she is more successful than me. I hope she doesn’t have any trouble having children if she wants them because that just sucks. I wish as we all do that I could put a bubble around her and protect her from pain. From boys and broken hearts. From financial worries. From disappointment. From people who will let her down. But I can’t. And I shouldn’t.

My approach and philosophy to parenting is certainly not conventional. I probably let them watch things they shouldn’t. I cuss a lot. In front of them. Always have. I fight with their Dad in front of them. And apologize in front of them. I don’t cook well. I don’t save them from school stuff- they forget their assignment then they get a zero. I explained the birds & the bees when they were very young. I’ve always talked about sex, drugs, whatever, as if it were ok to talk about. These little people did not come with a manual. Sometimes Im just winging it and crossing my fingers. Im in awe of all you parents who have your shit together.

Funny thing is they both are turning out pretty normal. Whatever that means. Andy is so sweet to me and hugs me and is so affectionate and such a huge pain in my ass. Maddie is….amazing. Im in awe of her talents academically, musically and artistically. She can make me want to stab my eyes out one day and make me beam with pride the next. She’s smart as a whip and she’s going to rule the world one day. Either that or ride a bus to Berkeley with a guy named Moonbeam and live off of the Earth. Either way I’ll worry. And be proud.

Fourteen. In a few years she’ll be driving & I shudder at what that means. The freedom that comes with that. All I can do is hope I have not ruined her too much, that therapy won’t be too expensive and that she’s kind to me in her memoir. Its so amazingly cool bringing life into the world. Its even more amazing watching it become a person. Proud of my little person. Happy Birthday Madelyn Renee.

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