A family of six and their fearless journey through life, love and the pursuit of all things yummy

Fear #4 – Being a Rotten Parent May 10, 2012

Filed under: Fear Factor — Brandi @ 1:33 pm
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I read a great parental nugget in a book once….once, sometime, a long time ago, when I had time to read…anyway, the gist was this; you think you’re a great person until you have children

It’s one of those mornings that emotionally brings you to your parental knees. You say and do things that you had once told yourself, “I’ll NEVER be like that. I’ll NEVER say that.” And then it’s flying out of your mouth and you just want to put a hook in it and reel it in. You know you’re giving your kids something to tell their therapist. Ugh…

Someone please tell me the way to happy-healthy-simpatico-joie-de-vive-balanced-well-adjusted kids land. The thing that’s comforting at times like this is that I know I’m not alone. Parents from the dawn of parenthood have felt like this and we all manage to survive. I don’t want to survive, I want to thrive.

So how do you transition from survival mom to “thrival” mom?


Fear #3 – Dyslexia May 2, 2012

Filed under: Caius,Fear Factor — Brandi @ 1:47 am
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I had my preconceived notions of what dyslexia entailed. Like most people, I thought that dyslexia caused people to flip-flop their numbers and letters. Until I married my husband, Lonnie, I never really understood how much dyslexia affected almost every aspect of a person’s life.

Now, I DON’T have dyslexia, but my husband and my step-son, Caius, have it. It tends to be hereditary and tends to run from father to son. When my husband and I introduced each other to our children (I had Violet in a previous marriage), I noticed almost immediately that Caius was different from most children. He was 8 months older than Violet, yet his understanding of spatial relations, social queues and especially being able to multi-task and follow more than three instructions at any given time was virtually impossible. I would watch Caius attempt to communicate with Violet and their friends and see him struggle with accessing common words. Let me explain. He would try and tell a funny story or something he saw in a movie and it would end up like this; “So this guy in the movie, he…….uh……would……uh……take his car to…….uh…..” and this would go on for as long as the child had the patience to stick around and try to decipher his story.

Pain, pain, pain. It was pain for me to watch and it hurt me so much to see such a fantastic, sensitive and fun kid go through torture just to explain how his day was at school. This was not normal. Not at all. My anxiety began to rise, but my husband took the initiative to take Caius to various doctor’s and surprise, surprise, Caius was diagnosed with dyslexia.

What did that mean? What did that mean for his education and what kind of work was involved to help him? I was terrified. I wasn’t sure how to handle it and like all good folks, I Googled it. I discovered that dyslexia affects the part of the brain that controls language. So sequencing, spelling, differentiating sounds and letters, and following more than one instruction at a time, is very, VERY difficult for a dyslexic. I became aware just how many of these symptoms affected Lonnie and how I had become so frustrated with his lack of organization and being able to follow more than two instructions at a time. Things started to make more sense in our house. I had two fellas that were struggling. Really struggling. I also had to come to terms with my own feelings about their disability. I didn’t want to become bitter, but I kept thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this. Did I?”

In the end, things began to look up. Caius received an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) at school and Lonnie started seeing a psychologist with experience in dyslexia. It’s been a long, arduous journey, but my fear had subsided. I no longer feel frozen with fear over the fact that I cannot relate to their struggles. I no longer freeze up when their difficulty in getting things started and completed begin to take over their confidence. Mummy swings into action. I do my best to love, love, and love my boys some more.

Someone asked me if I would have changed my mind about marrying my husband if I would have known then what I know now. There were times over the last five years I may have said yes. But you can’t grow without the struggle. It sounds SOOOOO cheesy, but it’s true. I am, by nature, a very impatient person, but through this process and helping and supporting my men, it’s caused me to stretch and change like some loosey goosey balloon. Adaptability. Resiliency. Optimism. I wouldn’t miss their journey for the world.


Fear #2: Quitting Smoking April 22, 2012

Filed under: Fear Factor — Brandi @ 6:38 pm
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I had been a smoker for more than 12 years and the thought of quitting almost sent me into a panic attack. My chest would feel tight and I started sweating like some poor menopausal sap. I was so overcome by a fear of quitting. People who have never smoked don’t understand this fear because it is so different than others. It’s the most intangible fear on the planet. How does a person become afraid to STOP doing something?

My logic was simple: I would get fat, I’d eat my own children because of no outlet for stress….on, and on, and on. But as I said in a previous post, I had a paradigm shift this year and in January, I felt another shift coming on. It was time to let go of my greatest fear and my good, dear friend – cigarettes.

How did I do it? On January 20th, I up and stopped. No gum, no patch, no acupuncture, kick boxing, or booze. What I had convinced myself was the impossible, it became abundantly clear that I was going to survive and so were my husband and children. No one was eaten, the house didn’t burst into flames and I didn’t gain twenty pounds. Was it difficult? Yes. Did I experience withdrawal symptoms? Abso-flippin-lutely. I would get on the phone with my best pal, Quan, and try and have him talk me down from the ledge. The two of us would end up giggling our guts out at how completely wacky I was sounding on the phone. It was almost to the point of hallucinations. I sounded like one of those people in movies that are in some kind of hostage situation and they know they’re going to die, so they start that mad giggling/crying external chatter. That was me, but I still had to be a mother, wife and friend. I had no choice. Push through, or roll over and die. Dying is never an option.

I made it through, starting running like a woman possessed and I feel amazing. I feel transfigured. And most of all, I feel empowered and that I will never let anything or anyone have that kind of hold on me. Do I still have cravings? Every once in a while, but when I do, I don’t fight them, I embrace those feelings as a part of what makes me, me! I will always be a smoker, but I will never again be a slave to cigarettes. Grab on to life and hang on – it’s bumpy, but what a thrill! Fear #2? CHECK!!

If you need help or support to quit smoking. Contact me and get connected with others who feel your pain. Share your journey so you won’t feel so alone.


Fear #1: Running – UPDATE…in need of new music! April 20, 2012

Filed under: Fear Factor — Brandi @ 12:32 pm
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Help! I’m in desperate need of some new running tunes. I have a mixed bag of Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Beyonce, Neon Trees, Phoenix….But I need some new upbeat running grooves to keep me going. I got down to a 10:19 mile today! Yahooo! Let me know what songs you’ve been using to keep you going on your runs.


Fear #1: Running

Filed under: Fear Factor — Brandi @ 1:49 am
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Over a year ago, my good friend Tina came into town with her kidlets for a visit. She and I had worked together about a dozen years ago and used to, shall we say, enjoy the odd adult beverage together. Okay – we smoked and drank quite a bit. Tina looked transformed. She had quit smoking and was coming into town to run a half marathon.

A half marathon? What crazed, delusional maniac got hold of my friend and caused her to make such a stupid decision as “picking up” running? I used to always say, “I run when chased” and make fun of those morons that were running along busy roads, looking as though they would like to throw themselves in front of my car.

Tina talked me into running with her around a park in the area. We would run, then walk, then run again. I wheezed my way through about twenty minutes of this and was quite proud that I had not collapsed in her arms. I still wasn’t convinced about a “runner’s high” and the energy it can give you, etc. But I had been working out, lost quite a bit of weight and was wanting to quit smoking. Tina quit because she said she’d rather run than smoke. Suuuurrrreeeee…..

But this year sent me into a new direction. I realized that life is about taking on all those things that you’re CONVINCED you’d hate, CONVINCED you’d never enjoy, CONVINCED you’d never try. Life has never been about absolutes and it’s taken me to the age of 40 to figure that out. It’s difficult to not want to just strangle yourself because of all your wasted time and energy you put towards being convinced that you knew what the universe was all about. How glib.

I decided to take running seriously this spring and much to my amazement, I started to enjoy myself. And to my astonishment, it helped me quit smoking. I killed two fears with one stone! It dawned on me that it actually was a fear of mine. It was a fear of not being able to do it. Of failing half way through the goal. I’m very hard on myself and I have a low tolerance for failure, but running? How can a human being “fail” at running?  I could. But each minute I added to my time, each block I added to my run, my fears were being pounded into the pavement below my running shoes. I was metaphorically stamping out my cigarette habit and crushing my fear along with it. It was a sense of freedom I had never experienced in my life and I couldn’t believe that it was coming on the heels of running.

I have my alarm set for 5:30 in the morning and head out the door by 6. I run 3.3 miles and get home red-faced, breathing like an old woman, but over-joyed. I’ve never felt joy after physical activity, let alone something as absurd as running. But it’s my twins girls that really make me feel I’ve conquered my fear. They’re on the couch when I come through the door after a run and ask me, “Mummy, you went running?” I answer, “I sure did sweet peas.” They always respond with, “Good job, mummy”, and I agree. Good job mummy.

What are your fears that are holding you back?