Category Archives: Uncategorized

Just another part of my story

November 2, 2016, was a day that changed my life. Nerve pain, ever experienced it? It’s excruciating. Like having a barbed wire running throughout your entire butt and down your leg and every time you move your lower body, at all, it constricts, shredding and tearing everything it touches. There is no working around it,  you change your life for this kind of pain, not the other way around. It has completely orchestrated my life for nine and a half months now. I know it sounds dramatic but if you’ve experienced it, you understand!

I have Sacroiliac joint dysfunction and was told, from a recent MRI, I have bone marrow edema -this causes tons of swelling in the joint, and am in the process of meeting a rheumatologist because my sports medicine doctor is certain I have rheumatoid arthritis.

About a month ago something happened and the pain started subsiding, FAST. I didn’t care why. Still don’t, although, I wish I knew if it was something I did. I couldn’t believe it. I was sleeping more than 4 hours, I wasn’t in hardly any pain -I have had panic attacks at the thought of having to get into bed, I could get into my car in less than 5 minutes, walk at a normal pace -I have to walk REALLY slowly on the bad days, clean the house with no problems, and I was even getting to workout -my most very FAVORITE stress reliever.

THEN, about 2 weeks ago it started creeping back in.

I chose not to share any of this before because I, I guess I just hoped it would go away. I hate being pitied or treated like I can’t do anything. I am the one that takes care of everyone, everything, and I do NOT like to be treated like I can’t. Sharing this makes me feel incredibly anxious and vulnerable, but I’m hoping I can use this as an outlet when it’s all a little too much, and maybe, just maybe it will help someone else to know they aren’t going through it alone. Hell, maybe I won’t feel so alone either.

Now, it’s day to day. Yesterday was a great day, while the four before that were definitely worse. It’s incredibly frustrating, on top of physically and mentally exhausting.

I keep trying to make sense of it all. Like, how does God give me a husband, 3 children -one with a serious birth defect, another with awful anxiety- and then no way to physically care for them?

What’s the saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle”?

I think we need to have a conversation.

School is approaching fast, and it’s that time again, the boys have to get the oh-so-dreaded haircuts, bedtimes are getting back on track, Peytons homeschool curriculum is all set to go, and Ayden and Maddox are anticipating the first day of public school (Maddox has never had one and it’s been 6 years since Ayden has, it’s exciting).

BUT…..

……in the middle of it all, I am doing my very best to stay positive and take every good day I get as a blessing. It can be VERY difficult to find happiness and stay positive when you can’t make plans, schedule appointments, or even do just normal things like cleaning the house or go grocery shopping because you never know how you will feel that day. In my world, the anxiety that causes can be overwhelming all on its own. I get so tired of telling my family, “I’m sorry. I can’t.” It’s awful.

For me, I can’t dwell on those things because it can be really easy for me to stay there. In that dark place. So, in an attempt to stay out of it, I try to focus on the many blessings I do have; my husband (my best friend), three amazing kiddos, the ability to stay home with my babies, friends I wouldn’t trade for the world, and, most of the time, when I can keep a grateful heart, it doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be thankful every day you get, no matter how hard it was. We survived and we’re only stronger because of it.

xoxo Cassey

 

t25, yoga, & kids, oh my!!

No surprise, life’s been crazy. I wanted to try and catch you all up real quick.

If you don’t already know this, our eldest son was born with stage 4 -myelomeningocele-Spina Bifida. This means his spinal canal never closed properly during gestation. He also has an Arnold Chiari malformation. This is when a part of his skull is small and misshapen pushing the brain tissue down into the spinal canal.

FB_IMG_1448911040593
Ayden and I

Ayden is an almost 13 year old boy who gives me a run for my money, let me tell you. He has a smile that lights my heart and a laugh I could never live without. He has had 15 surgeries, numerous procedures, and is, easily, the strongest person I know. He’s been in decent health for the last 2 years, but the last couple of days have been difficult for him.

He has had a bad migraine and some pretty serious pain in his incision site on his back. I have had to go pick him up from school both yesterday and today. I hate that I never know how serious of a problem I have. You never know with these kiddos. At least, we have a plan after speaking with his neurosurgeon this afternoon and I will keep you posted on that.

20170317_104135
Ayden & Dr. Wehby, his Neurosurgeon!

Peyton continuing to home school is still the best decision I could have made. He is excited to learn everyday. He is present and learning new things with each and every lesson. I just wish he was able to do this with other children.

Peyton with Lemon Surprise, his new plant!

We went to the library the other day and they had a science class he wanted to go to, but after seeing how many kids were in the class he decided he no longer wanted to participate. I didn’t push it too much, but it definitely bothered me. He really has some serious feelings about a room full of children. I am looking into getting some help for his anxiety and I’ll keep you posted on that, too!

In other news, we’ve been on the ketogenic plan for about 6 weeks now. If I’m being honest, I don’t love it. I miss fruit and I don’t love bacon the way everyone else does. I am doing my very best and it’s working, but I am pretty bored with the food choices. I have decided to try at least 4 new recipes each week, that way I can keep things fresh, hopefully.

Typical keto breakfast for me

I am down 35 pounds since February and I LOVE IT. I want to be that woman that tells you I’m fine with whatever size -I’M NOT. I can’t handle my legs rubbing together resulting in the worst, most painful, damn rash that makes you waddle like a duck for a week after. I’m not good with it feeling like a workout just to shave my legs, sitting out of anything bringing the spotlight to me, hiding from any and ALL cameras, not being able to cross my legs, sweating like a pig because I decided to wear my shape wear in 100 degree weather (all for appearances, huh?), or hoping that my husband won’t come back before I’m completely dressed because the thought of him seeing everything is out of the question.

Yes, I want to be healthy, but I also REALLY want to be comfortable in my own skin. I don’t want to hide behind clothes, make-up, and fake smiles anymore. I want to throw on clothes, thoughtlessly, without examining every roll and jiggle. When I’m playing at the park with my kids, I don’t want to be fumbling around pulling shirts down, pants up, wondering how disgusting I look to everyone else. When my husband tells me I’m sexy, I want to believe him.

So, it’s simple; I’m changing it. I am the only one who can give me what I want -my life back.

On the left-196 on the right-161 35lbs GONE!!!

Along with the ketogenic plan, I have just started the t25 workout videos, ya know, “An hours worth of work in 25 minutes.”They’re hard; I have had my ass handed to me both days I’ve done it. I am being careful with my SI joint and my heart (I have inappropriate coronary sinus tachycardia) and taking it slow, but it feels so good to move it’s hard to pace myself. Dan just bought me a fitbit Blaze to help me track all my workouts. He’s a good man.  I am also doing 20 minutes of yoga at night to keep my periformis muscle happy.

20170426_065314.jpg

I have set a goal to complete the first 25 days of t25 and yoga at least 3 days a week. Why am I telling you? Accountability of course. I am not perfect and I will make mistakes, but I can’t quit -not again. I want my kids to see that I had a problem, set a goal, and crushed it, not what they’ve gotten so far.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

I want to make them proud; I want to make me proud.

I realize this is a bit scattered -sorry- but sometimes my life is just all over the place .

xoxo Cassey

12 lessons for 12 years of marriage

16179032_10206152513571241_5835744560703639773_o

I am here to tell you -maybe burst some bubbles, that marriage is HARD, like, really hard, especially if you have a special needs kiddo who needed lots of surgeries/ procedures. Dan and I were just 18 and 19 when we got married -we were kids. We had an apartment, a new car, with a payment, a 1 year old with Spina Bifida, and not a  damn clue what we were doing.

Anyway, lets get to the real reason you’re here! Dan and I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary next month (anniversary ideas welcomed -gifts, too), SO, I thought I would share 12 lessons I’ve learned along to way. It feels like we’ve really been through it all (no cheating -that’s a hard line) and, because it’s been over a decade, I feel like I can now offer advice.

Alright, here we go, these are in no particular order.

(1) Communicate- This is a hard one -took us years- but is key for a healthy and successful marriage. You have to be willing to consistently work on it every single day. Remember, once the kids are gone, it’s just the two of you. Take care of it! Start by writing down things you’d like to work on, then talk with your hubby and add his input (ex: Patience, Give more time). If you have an issue, take it up with him right away -calmly. Don’t yell, I used to; It doesn’t help anything. If it gets to this point just walk away. Also, be open to getting constructive criticism.

(2) Take some time apart now & again- Dan and I went 14 years without being apart for more than a week. He recently started doing so traveling for work and it’s actually kind of nice, I never really got to miss him before.

(3) Arguments need to be fair- I am a firm believer in speaking your mind, but choose wisely. If the conversation starts to get heated, take a breath, leave the room, anything just as long as you don’t say anything you will regret. No name calling and and if you have kids, do have your discussions in private. Lastly, don’t use the “D” word, it’s hurtful, so why do it?

(4) Keep electronics to a minimum- Go do something fun. Try to be in the moment. You won’t get this time back. I know when Dan, or anyone for that matter, is on the phone while we’re spending time together it makes me feel ignored. like there’s maybe somewhere else he’d rather be. So, Put ’em away!

(5) Date your husband- We used to go months and months (I also have anxiety and wouldn’t leave my kids with anyone) without a date. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; it can be at home if you want, I love dates at home. I spend most days with no make-up on, my hair thrown up, complete with the current “mom-iform” – yoga pants and a tee or hoodie. So, sometimes it’s fun to have something to get dolled up for.

(6) Seasons Change- You will both change over time; clothes, hair styles, weight, opinions, everything It can be tough at times, but if you’re willing to voice your opinion, calmly, then compromise can happen. Remember, you love him no matter how crazy he gets.

(7) Don’t share your marital problems online, ever- I have seen this time and time again, it never ends well. Share the good, but don’t share too much. There are some things you should keep between you and your husband. All you’re doing is stirring your own pot.

(8) Talk to someone- A friend, a counselor, anyone who you trust enough to really to vent too. I don’t really have this, personally, but when I do, it usually helps me. Just make sure you don’t get caught in any friend/hubby drama -been there and it sucks. I have found that it usually turns into a problem at home.

(9) Build your man up-  Men need to be boosted. We need to remind them they are doing great things and you appreciate them. I try to tell Dan a couple times a week. All you have to do is send a quick, “Thanks for all you do for you, I love you.” It’s easy.

(10) Take a more submissive role- I know this can be controversial, but hear me out. It can make them feel small and insignificant when we is constantly dictating, belittling, and bossing them around. Put them in the drivers seat; Give them final say. Let them take charge, so they can take care of their families. I am with our kids way more than Dan, so I have the immediate control there, but if something bigger comes up, I will wait and discuss it with Dan. He makes the majority of the “final say” decisions, but I know if I don’t agree I can put my foot down. He’s pretty good about listening.

(11) Have sex with your man- I used to think sex just wasn’t for me after I started having kids. I was overweight, which made me self conscious, and it seemed like we argued all the time because, well, life it hard. Anyway, all of this led to a lot of years when we’d go months -poor Dan, I know.  Once I decided to make it a priority, it changed our marriage -no joke. We both felt more connected and less stressed. If you can, try for at least twice a week; It doesn’t have to be fancy or anything, just connect.

(12) Be there, always- There will be times throughout your marriage, so when times get tough, don’t run away. Talk it out, ask if there is anything you can do, he needs to know you are there -in his corner- and that you aren’t going anywhere.

There you have it, the 12 top lessons I’ve learned in 12 years of marriage. And keep in mind your husband should be reciprocating some of these. Marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100/100.

xoxo Cassey

Here’s the Skinny

I am going to keep this short and sweet. My husband and I can both stand to lose some weight. He has never been interested in dieting, despite heath issues and my bitching at him. I, on the other hand, I have tried every diet under the sun. I, too, have heart problems that make it difficult to work out. I also have some issues with my hip and sciatic nerve. Therefore, I will do very little exercise until my leg heals.

That being said, while on a business trip recently he had a conversation with a coworker about his new food plan (he was having bacon). He was on a ketogenic plan. After we got the details, Dan was all in and it was time for me to get to work.

I won’t bore you with all the details. If it strikes your fancy then you can google it. I bought a book called “Bacon & Butter” by Celby Richoux. Basically your body will begin to burn your fat storage’s as long as you stay under 20 grams of carbs (I am not a professional please be kind if you have opposing information). You eat mostly fat, moderate amounts of protein, little to no carbs, and NO sugar. You will also need to drink at least half of your body weight in water daily.

FB_IMG_1448910970954
Dan and I, our 11th christmas

We started last Monday the 13th, so almost two weeks. I have lost almost 26 pounds (11 since I started the plan) and he is down almost 15.

 

We decided we didn’t want to be winded while playing with our kids. I don’t want to hide under layers of clothing, and shape wear. I am so tired of sweating like I’m sitting in a sauna so my husband can’t see my “extra love” while folding laundry. You know what I’m saying? I am so sick of crying while standing in front of a mirror in a dressing room. The amount of anxiety I get as I try clothes on is insanity. I used to love shopping. I want that. I have such a hard time taking photo with my babes, or anyone to be honest.  I don’t want that for them or me. I want to be healthy, show my kids what it means to take care of our bodies.

This is what we’re doing and, yes, I am aware this is not for everyone, but it is working fabulously for us.

I want to wish you luck on your dieting endeavors. I will be posting recipes, tips,  and our progress in future blogs. Feel free to comment and/or follow to keep up.

P.S.  I have been using the grocery list  idea (havinf to remember his birthday party list for me when he gets upset) with Peyton for two days with complete success. What will happen come Monday? I have no idea…..

xoxo Cassey

 

Kinder-Crying

Today was a rough one, to say the least.

I was patting myself on the back after having our daughters very first parent/teacher conference. They have only been in public school for a month. So these are the first tests I’ve received from public school. As a home school mom, I never stopped worrying about how much information they were retaining. I was nervous to hear.

She scored more than a year ahead. BREATHE.

I thought, “I did it”.

Mama & Peyton (1)

 

It’s now time for school to start. I walk my kinder to class (he is having a really hard time transitioning). He is already crying before we reach the door (like most days). The poor teacher knows he here; she meets us at the door. My mind is racing trying to think of anything to make him STOP CRYING. I am now sweating. Perfect. “Let’s take a seat” I suggest, hoping to spark some distraction in his little mind. Still crying, “NO, my tummy hurts, my head, & my leg hurts. I don’t think I can stay.” I flash my best ” concerned, but I believe your invisible hurts” face and force myself to pull it together. I gave him a kiss and a hug, stood up, let him know I would be back soon and I loved him. He’s now wrapped around my legs while she is trying to calmly pull him away, so I could leave. After about 45 seconds she had him. It was time for me to follow through, be strong, and leave. Almost out the door, I made a parenting 101 mistake. I looked back. I instantly felt 2 centimeters tall and wanted nothing more than to turn around and go get my baby. Instant regret.

I tried to fight the tears, but they were already there.I waited outside the classroom, out of sight, until the crying stopped and I could breathe again.

How do other moms do it? Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? Is this harmful for my child? I don’t know. I’ll add these to the list of other answers I don’t have.

xoxo Cassey

Motherhood.

Motherhood. One word. One simple word. Yet it is the hardest thing I have ever attempted in my life. I say “attempting” because I am so far from perfect and I am still trying to figure all of this out. There are days when I feel like I’ve got a handle on it. Then there are the other 323 days that are well……Picture this, it’s a game of dodge-ball and I am the ONLY target! Arguments, tears, laughter, highs and lows, it’s all being thrown at me. Sometimes more than one at a time, and it’s up to me to distinguish the lows and be present in the highs. It isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I love being a mom, but never did I believe it would be this hard. Hard is both good and bad.

On those days I have “figured it out” I learned a thing or two…

  1. Be patient with your little humans, even if some are bigger than you, like mine.
  2. Take a time out. Sometimes when one or two of us are having bad days and we keep clashing; it’s bound to be a rough ride. Breaks give me clarity.
  3. Redirect the situation. As moms we have to be willing to be flexible. This was tough for me. I would usually try to stick it out as long as I could until I got so frustrated I’d stop all together. Once I notice things are getting heated I start planning my next move. This is usually a win. 
  4. LOVE THEM. STOP, hug your babies, ask them how their day was, invite them to make dinner with you, spend time with them, send them texts (if they are old enough), anything at all as long as they are feeling the love.

I do all of those things, but not without effort. Not without fails. Not without triumph. When my day is filled with household chores ( let’s be honest that’s full-time alone), doctors appointments, or a screaming child in a school drop off line ( that’s a whole other blog) because he’s decided he hates public school, I have to remind myself to stop and take a breath. To remember that no  matter how crazy they make me, these are my babes and no matter good or bad days they will KNOW I love them. You will never have a day bad enough you cannot love your children. I promise you that. The rest will wait.

Motherhood. Not so simple anymore. 100% worth it. Make the effort.

Xoxo Cassey

Time for some ME time

After over 5 years of homeschooling my kids are now in public school full time. It has been almost a month and I can’t seem to spend quality time on myself. Why is this? Is it the social stigma that is attached to stay-at-home moms. That we are basically housemaids with no other qualities other than household chores and raising children and if we take time we are selfish and  we are somehow not contributing to our families.

I have this little voice in my head telling me it isn’t okay to take time for myself. That because the kids are “working” in school and my husband is at work, I should also be “working” at home.

This is ridiculous. I spend most my days cooking, cleaning, making phone calls, doctors appointments, and whatever else is needed to keep our house running smoothly, yet I still can’t sit down to do anything for me without feeling guilty. I can only assume and hope I am not alone in this.

This is stopping today. I have dreams and goals, too. I truly believe society tells us our job is somehow unimportant because we don’t bring in a paycheck. As if raising strong, independent, well- rounded children to send off into the world is easy. It’s not.

I refuse to let this idea creep into my head ever again and neither should you.

It is time for YOU. Time to find something that makes YOU happy. Take it slow, like me, if you want. It’s not a race. Start with a bubble bath or 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading. It doesn’t matter  how frivolous it seems as long as it’s for you.  It can be challenging, but this is what I know, when we are happy  and content as women, as individuals, marriage and motherhood becomes a just a little bit easier. I don’t know about you, but easy has my name written ALL OVER IT.

So, whether or not there is laundry piled on your couch, like mine, or you have dishes in your sink, STOP! Leave it and take just 30 minutes for yourself. You deserve it. We deserve it. Let’s, together, stop listening to what others think and do something for ourselves.

xoxo Cassey