Category Archives: family

My Story, My Why

On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Listen To Your Mother Show finally came to fruition. After submitting my story, auditioning, being accepted, rehearsing with my fellow cast members, the day had finally arrived. banner The show took place at the Will Rogers Theater

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The amazing 2016 cast met once again for the show.

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We watched as the theater filled up.

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Finally, it was time to take the stage. 

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I listened to the stories of my fellow cast members. Stories that did things to my heart that made me love this group of people like no other.  

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 And then it was my turn. My story was called A Question of Guilt. It was my story about how I felt after reading the book Concussion and how it relates to the fact that my son had at least five concussions while playing football from ages 8 until 20. The story that has given me the mission to tell every single person I can that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets do not prevent concussions. Every. Single. Person. Everywhere. Anywhere.

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After the show was over, I went down to meet a friend of mine from twitter. We’ve been tweeting for years (I can’t even remember how long!) and I was so excited to finally meet her in real life. 

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And then the most amazing thing happened! People that I didn’t know started coming up to me and thanking me for sharing my story. One young mother, with tears in her eyes, told me that she had been worried about letting her little boy play football and that my story was confirmation for her. This, my friends, was the cherry on top of an already awesome experience!

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I love that I got a chance to be a part of the 2016 Oklahoma City cast. I love that I got to share my story. And maybe, just maybe, my story will save another mom the guilt that I felt when I realized that a helmet did not protect my son’s precious brain. That is my goal. One mom at a time. Until I’ve told everyone.

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Many thanks to the producers Mari Farthing, Carolyn Bechtold, and Jennifer Smith for choosing me as a member of the cast. Thanks to my castmates for being completely incredible people (whom I love) and having the courage to share your stories. Thanks to Lyndzee Story for helping me with my hair and makeup. Thanks to Sheradee Hurst for the fabulous photos. And, finally, thanks to my incredible husband for always being by my side to love and support me. 

If you have a story to tell, I can’t encourage you enough to seek out your local Listen To Your Mother Show and apply! It will change your life. πŸ™‚

Listen To Your Mother Rehearsal

We had our first rehearsal for Listen To Your Mother this past Saturday at the American Banjo Museum in Bricktown, OKC. 

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What an amazing get together! I met my fellow cast members and heard their stories. There were tears and laughter and friendships being made. I can’t wait for the world to see our show. It’s going to be held on May 1 and the Will Rogers Theater in Oklahoma City at 3 p.m.  This is when you will hear our stories as we read them. Tickets are already on sale

Here’s a video showing pieces of our first rehearsal and giving more information about the event itself.

My story is my why. The explanation of why I feel it’s my mission to let every person in the world know that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets don’t protect against concussion.
 
I hope you’ll join us! I feel humbled to be included among such amazing people. πŸ™‚ 

 

New Platform Direction: Concussion Awareness

When I decided to enter the Mrs. International Pageant, I was positive of what my platform should be. After all, I’ve been encouraging people to walk for health for over ten years now and it seemed a natural. Until I got my hands on an advance copy of the book Concussion (release date: 11/24/15).

I knew that the movie “Concussion”, starring Will Smith, would be coming out on Christmas Day and was eagerly looking forward to seeing it. When I learned I would get to read the book, I was thrilled. When I got it, I stayed up all night reading it until I was finished. What I read changed my life.

I decided to change my platform to Concussion Awareness. My reason for doing that is because of our oldest son. He started playing football when he was eight and went to Tulane University on a football scholarship. Before he got to college, he’d had at least one concussion. By the time he had a career ending neck injury at the beginning of his sophomore year of college, he’d had five concussions. I now believe the broken neck was blessing in disguise.

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After our son had his last concussion, the doctors at Tulane University Medical Center told us they felt he was fine to play but they would have him wear a high tech helmet that would provide him extra protection. I was happy with this. Even up until the beginning of college football season this year where it now looks like all players wear this helmet.

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Up until I read the book β€œConcussion” that says that no matter what kind of helmet an athlete is wearing, they will still be able to sustain a concussion because, although the helmet can stop the skull from being fractured, it cannot stop the brain from banging around inside of the skull in the cerebral fluid.

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Every time another NFL player takes his own life, and they indicate it was due to concussions, I pray that God will keep our son safe and, even if we never get to speak to him again, he will have a happy life.

What we know when we let our kids play football is that they may break an arm or a leg. We know about those kinds of injuries but no one talks about concussion. In our son’s case, he was a defensive lineman in college and played both sides of the ball all the years before college. The research indicates that the cumulative effect of all the subconcussive hits, the hits that a lineman receives on nearly every play as they go head to head with the other line, could be even worse.

Parents need to have this information and understand the potential outcome of multiple concussions. They need to be aware of the signs of concussion. I want to help get this word out.  

Would we have done anything differently if we had had this information? I can’t say. But at least we would have been making the most informed decision we could make because we would’ve had all the facts.

This isn’t just a football problem, either. Concussions happen in all sports. Football just happens to be the topic for the movie and my own experience. A place to start.

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I’ve chosen to work with the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation. When I read Patrick’s story, and it was so much like our son’s, I knew it was the place for me. 

While I will never stop telling you how great walking is for your heart, overall health, and even your marriage, I feel that making parents aware of the signs and effects of concussion is so very important. If I can stop one mom from feeling the way that I did when I learned that a helmet doesn’t really protect against a concussion at all, it will be worth it. 

You can learn more about concussion and CTE at the Foundation website www.StopCTE.org

 

S is for Steak

As I eluded to in yesterday’s post, we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary with dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse last night. 

I was excited when I made the reservation a few weeks ago because I’ve been excited about our anniversary. 36 years just seems so much longer than 35 years for some reason and it seemed like such a huge accomplishment. But more than that, I’m looking for 36 more and, after that? Another 36. David and I have so much fun! πŸ˜€

Earlier in the day, Heather called from Morton’s to confirm our reservation. She also wanted to know David’s name so they could personalize our menu. I thought that was a nice extra touch and I loved seeing it when they gave us the menus. Of course, you know how I can get, going on and on, Heather knew it was our 36th anniversary and she included that as well. Nice!

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We were greeted with Happy Anniversary when we approached the host to be seated which was awesome. He took us to our table and told us our server, April, would be right with us. April arrived and also wished us happy anniversary. Then she said she always likes to ask couples what their advice would be to a newly married couple.

I told her that I would tell the bride she should always put her husband first. It can get hard, when kids come. They need so much and pull you in so many different directions. But if you put your husband first, you will have an ally and helper when it comes time to going in all those directions and it makes everything easier and the marriage stronger. 

David, man of few words, said, “Laugh.” 

Well alrighty then! And here I thought he found me utterly entertaining all these years. πŸ˜‰

We ordered our appetizers and it wasn’t until she took the wine list and cocktail menu that I noticed there was anniversary confetti on the table! 

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We had a cocktail to start. David had an Amstel Light and I had a martini. I was so excited to learn that Morton’s has Beefeater Gin, which is my favorite. So many places don’t have it anymore. 

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April brought us onion bread and soft butter. Mmmm. Yum!

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Then, a gal came by and asked if we wanted to have a photo to mark the occasion and we said yes. So nice! 

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I got the Broiled Sea Scallops for my appetizer. They were wrapped in bacon and came with apricot chutney and the whole dish was amazing! David got the short rib tacos which he said were good but he ate them before I got a chance to take a photo. Gotta be quick with that guy. πŸ˜‰

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We ordered steaks for dinner because, well, it seems like the thing to do at a steakhouse. I got the 8 oz. filet .

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David got the center prime ribeye.

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We decided on Brussels sprouts and 

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Au Gratin potatoes to share. 

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It was all so delicious!

Of course we had to have dessert. I mentioned I might have a couple of bites of cake and I did. We ordered Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake and it was gooey and warm and came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just the right size to share after a fabulous dinner. And I got to eat all the raspberries because David doesn’t like them. πŸ˜€

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All in all, we had a wonderful night celebrating a wonderful event. Morton’s went out of their way to make us feel even more special with the little touches acknowledging our anniversary and we are so appreciative. πŸ˜€ 

 

 

 

 

 

Q is for Queen

When I got my beautiful American Beauty crown, I decided I would store it in the closet in the office when I wasn’t using it. I put it on a very high shelf. 

“Why?” you ask. 

Because we have a little princess in the family who loves wearing crowns. I knew if she saw it that she would want to have it and I didn’t want to tell her no.

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One day, when she was visiting, I had to get something out of the closet and she saw the crown. You see, it’s very, very sparkly and even sitting up on that high shelf, she saw it, she knew what it was, and she wanted it.

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“Can I have the crown, Glammie?” she asked , hope shining in her big blue eyes.

“Oh Haniston, I’m sorry, you can’t have it right now. Glammie needs it,” I replied.

Those big blue eyes started filling with tears as her lower lip pushed out and started trembling. 

“But I want it,” she said, starting to cry.

I picked her up and sat down with her facing me in my office chair.  Trying to make her feel better, I said, “You know how you are a princess?

She nodded her head.

“Well, Glammie is a queen,” I said. “When I don’t need this crown anymore, I promise you can wear it.”

She took this information and mulled it over for a few seconds.

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“I a princess and you a queen,” she finally said, with a smile beginning to form.

“Yes! That’s it!” I exclaimed, my own smile growing big.

We hugged each other and the sad moment passed. I never want to have to tell her no ever again. πŸ˜€

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G is for Glambaby

Everything is really for glambaby. Not just G.  How I miss that child! We used to spend Mondays and Fridays together.We did all kinds of crazy things but her favorite thing to do with David and me was go to the park. With me alone, she wanted to watch YouTube videos and play with Play Doh.

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But we played a lot and we played hard and she still wants to do that with us.  The last time David was able to facetime with her, she pointed at him and said, “I want YOU to take me to the park soon” before every saying another word. πŸ™‚ We want to take her to the park. Oh how we miss her.

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I think it’s cute how she’s learned to play with me via facetime. She takes me around the house, usually via the trunk on her bike. Sometimes I’m in there with other creatures, most recently an elephant. We have fun even though it’s not the same kind of fun we used to have in person.

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She had her first Wee Ball game last night and I was so happy that Nikki and her family took photos and video so we could share in the experience. Although I know I am supposed to be here in California with David, leaving the glambaby behind is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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We are going back to Oklahoma next month to watch her dance recital. We’ll also take her all day on Saturday to play. We’ll do all of the things we’ve always done with her and none of us can wait.

We’re also excited about having her come to visit us here in California. She really wants to ride a train and a bus, two things that are super easy to accomplish here. But we view our landscape all the time for things to do when she visits. 

Have I mentioned how much I miss that little girl? At the end of our conversations now she always says, “I love you, Glammie. Have fun in California.” So cute. I miss her. 

A is for Athletic Mission

After a rough start, our gym Athletic Mission Baseball Academy is off and running.

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It’s finally an actual school baseball season and it’s so exciting to hear reports of how great our clients are doing every day. 

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Geoff employs techniques in training that are very different from the information that’s been taught by everyone else. After being injured in college, he spent years educating himself on what causes injury and how to improve as a player without injury. These are the techniques he’s using to train our clients and they’re working!

Even at a young age, kids come in expecting that their arm is going to hurt after a game. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As they learn the new techniques, they are able to put them into practice  and see improvement quickly. Which is awesome if you’re someone like me who gets impatient waiting for anything. πŸ˜‰

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One of my favorite things we have is the Neurotracker. Although it was originally designed to help kids with ADHD focus, it’s been shown to help with athletic performance and many of the professional hockey and football teams use it. We’re actually the only facility in the midwest offering the Neurotracker to youth athletes and I’ve been sitting on pins and needles waiting to see the outcome. And not on the field. As a mom, I was really curious to see how it would help our athletes in the classroom. Geoff says that it’s been really great for our pitchers on the field and that many of the kids are reporting better grades. While we can’t absolutely prove the Neurotracker helped in the classroom, it’s one factor that wasn’t there before so it makes me happy to see it helping that way, too. 

It’s great to see Geoff’s passion for the game  (and for the guys) coming through when he talks to me. But it’s even more exciting to sit back and read the reports from parents and kids when they have a really good game and their improvement is so evident. 

Walt Disney said, “Observe the masses and do the opposite.” 

“This defines us,” Geoff says.

I love it. πŸ™‚

Mango!

Since I started eating the high carb, low fat, raw vegan diet, I’ve listened to other raw foodies on YouTube extolling the virtues and deliciosity of mangoes. I didn’t think I’d ever eaten one and, honetlly, I wasn’t sure how.

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I saw the red kind of mango at Aldi several months ago and the glambaby and I were going to try it. I’m so glad I tried it first or she would’ve probably thought I was trying to poison her. It wasn’t good. I’m not sure if it was unripe or what. I sincerely had no knowledge about mangoes.

On our first trip to Costco here, I saw the mangoes and mentioned to David that I rally wanted to try one but didn’t have any idea of how to know if they were ripe or not. A lady who was selecting some for herself turned around and gave me a mini mango class. It was so sweet of her but I wasn’t ready to buy a warehouse store quantity of something I wasn’t sure about so I didn’t get any mangoes that day.

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 A few days later we were at a grocery store where I got one yellow mango to try using the instructions the lady at Costco gave me. And guess what? It was good! I liked it. 

I need to figure out how to get into them better.  I didn’t know what kind of a seed situation was inside. The first half was a mess and I basically sucked the flesh off the skin. But the second half I was able to cut into chunks that came off easily when I ate them. 

So, yum! I’ll definitely get some more mangoes. πŸ™‚

Wheels on His Feet

Another new year and in a month or two, we’ll be in another new location. “But didn’t you just move to Tulsa?” My friends ask. “Yes, but David has wheels on his feet,” I reply. 

And it’s true. We move more than anyone I know. Mostly I’m okay with it. Each new spot is someplace to explore. New restaurants, new things to do. Sometimes I’m lucky enough and there’s a Kroger to shop in. 

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This time we’re moving to San Jose, CA. California is a state I’ve visited but never in a million years thought I’d live in. 

We went to San Francisco for our 20th wedding anniversary to watch Metallica in concert with the San Francisco Symphony. We took the boys out of school and it was an awesome trip. I’ve always wanted to go back to San Francisco with David alone and stay at the Fairmont Hotel and do adult things. Like shop and eat at good restaurants. 

Shortly after that trip, I took Geoff out to Malibu to attend a baseball camp at Pepperdine University. We stayed in a surfer motel and I really loved it there. I noticed that the Pacific Ocean looks very different from the Atlantic Ocean and we ate breakfast every morning outside on a deck over the water. I could have been happy living there.

As it turns out, David’s new project is in the San Jose area and I’m pretty sure I will like it there, too. When he told me we were going to be going there, I started looking at the different areas to see where I thought I’d feel more comfortable living. I told him I’d move if he let me live in a high rise and got me a bike. He was okay with that.

So after looking  around on Google, I decided that the downtown area of San Jose is where I want to be. They have, what looks like, a thriving downtown organization. There are places to eat, shop and be entertained. On Google Earth I have walked to the library from each of the places we’re considering living. The library is super important to me and it looks like they have a nice one.

My friends who are aware of my raw veganism have suggested that it will probably be easier to live as a raw vegan in California than in Oklahoma. I think I’d agree with that even though I have no direct knowledge yet. I’m really looking forward to checking out my new home and seeing what all it has to offer. The fact that it’s neither as cold or hot as Oklahoma is appealing, too. 

When David took this job, he was to be based out of our home here in Tulsa. And I haven’t seen him since. He’s always gone so the main attraction of the move is to finally be able to live, like really live, with my husband. I miss him terribly.

The hard part will be having to give up my frequent visits with the Glambaby. I’ve been hanging out with her for twice a week for a while now. I know it helps Nikki out but my time with her is the high point of my weeks. She’s so much fun, so inquisitive, so smart. I love having a running conversation with her. And run it does. She doesn’t slow down too much. I love hearing her pick up new vocabulary and ideas. I love sharing songs and toys with her that I loved when I was a kid. Facetime just isn’t going to come close to what we have now. But, at least we’ll have facetime. I keep thinking how awesome it would have been for my mom to have facetime, or even email, when the boys were small and we were living all over the world. 

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Since we don’t plan to sell our house straight away, I figured i’ll be back frequently to have my hair done and get my glambaby fix. I also hope they’ll come visit us so we can show her California. 

I think living in the Pacific time zone is going to be difficult. I’ve never done that before and I watch David when he’s there and it seems like he puts in more hours at work just so he can be awake when the East and Central time zone people are awake. We are early to bed kind of folks. I wonder if we’ll want to go to sleep at 7 p.m. every night since it will be 9 p.m. central time?

Thanks to twitter and facebook I have friends that live in the Bay Area so I will already know people when I get there. Also, my aunt Nani lives north of Sacramento. I’m looking forward to hanging out with her at least once a month. We haven’t seen her since we went to the Metallica concert. Her daughter, my cousin, Maile, lives in NV but not too far away so I’m looking forward to seeing her again, too.

It will be different and I’m not looking forward to all aspects of the move but over the years, because he has wheels on his feet, I’ve definitely learned to bloom where I’m planted. I think my blog will become more exciting as I explore and learn about my new location, too, so you have that to look forward to. πŸ™‚