Dear Mom, Thanks…

Dear Mom,

Thanks for birthing me, your first born baby girl (that was supposed to be a boy) via emergency c section.  I am glad dad could be there too.

Thanks for the (almost) mullet haircuts as a child and teen.  Thanks to them, I have only kissed two guys.

Thanks for making sure I always had my white gloves for Social.  Those damn things were hard to keep up with.

Thanks for teaching me to cook for a crew.  To this day, it is still hard to plan a meal for only two people.

Thanks for watching my long, drawn out tennis matches and sacrificing your nails as a result.

Thanks for being here when I had JB.  Although, I am still upset that you left three days later.  Why couldn’t you have stayed for six months?

Thanks for taking me to play at Warren Road park while you walked laps on the trail.  I will always remember you picking up a piece of pine straw for each lapped walked so you’d remember them all.

Thanks for teaching me how to write a letter whenever you saw injustice.  You taught me that change is possible and I still remember that daily.

Thanks for teaching me how to drive a stick shift at sixteen.  I will never forget stalling out 46 times on that hill on Christmas Day.  I am glad you finally switched seats with me as traffic backed up behind us.

Thanks for loving Myma so much.  Even though she rarely told you, she called you “the best friend she ever had” in secret.

Thanks for driving me back to middle school to get my books three days in a row because I forgot them and needed them for homework.

Thanks for always letting my friends come over to hang out.  I thought it was because you were cool but now I know that you liked to know who was important in my life.

Thanks for always buying me those super expensive Hanes “Quick Silver” panty hose for FCCLA.  They always completed my flight stewardess uniform perfectly.

Thanks for giving me your legs.  So far, so good.

Thanks for taking me to Roses to buy those knock off brand brown suede shoes.  They made me more confident in 5th grade than you will ever know.

Thanks for always setting an alarm so you wouldn’t oversleep from your nap to pick us up in time from school.

Thanks for being my mommy, loving me always, and always cheering for me.

Happy 60th!

love,

brooke

Successful Self Care

I recently watched Ann Lamott’s Ted Talk: 12 truths I learned from life and writing.  She had many good lessons to share but one that stuck out was the importance of self care.  Yes, we know we should care for ourselves for lots of reasons- physical, emotional and mental reasons- but her point was that it helps others.  In fact, she calls self care “a huge gift to the world”.

Many times we may feel selfish about our self care.  That sentence makes me laugh a bit… that’s kind of the point, right?  But, when we stop and think about how our lack of self care can be a drain on those around us, it makes me realize that it’s more than just caring for ourselves but also caring for others.  I am reminded of what I hear everytime I am on a plane… secure your oxygen mask first before helping others. I have wanted to scream, but what about my baby boy? He needs oxygen just as badly and fast as I do!?  But then I remember, I can’t do any good for him if I’m suffocating.

Like most things, I had some preconceived notions about what self car looks like.  So, I did some research among my friends to find out what they find successful in feeling rejuvenated throughout life.  It’s important to remember that self care doesn’t have to be financially expensive.

1. Exercise.  This was a very popular response for many of my friends.  One said that “its a huge stress reliever to physically exhaust myself while building strength.”  Others preferred a more low key workout like yoga which also involves meditation too. Ideas:

  • Tennis
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Fitness Classes

2. Solitude.  This is a big one for many moms.  We often share most of our life with others- even if we don’t want to (ie: a toddler busting in the bathroom while showering).  So, taking a break from those we love to be able to focus on ourselves and doing things that we love is a great thing to recharge.  Some examples from others:

  • Solo walk
  • A nap
  • Taking a bath
  • Driving in silence
  • Being still

3.  Personal appearance.  This was one I had never really considered before as I am super low maintenance in my appearance.  But, I can definitely understand how it can help with your confidence and mood. If you feel blah about your appearance, than spending some time and energy on it can improve your outlook and interactions with others.  

  • Facial
  • Manicure
  • Botox
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Make Up

4.  Protecting your commitments.  One of my friends said she has to say no to opportunities as a form of self care.  At first hearing, it didn’t make sense to me, but as she went on I realized that protecting her calendar/schedule was a major form of self care as it prevents over-scheduling and extra stress.  For every yes we say, it’s a no to something else.  Feeling guilty?  I’ll be your No Cheerleader 🙂

5.  Do something fun.  This may look different for many t people because we all find fun in a variety of ways.  A girl’s night out, going on a guy’s camping trip, or exploring a new part of your city could all be fun. The key is to do something fun with other people is make sure they are fun and that you enjoy being with them. Doing something out of the norm gives us something to look forward and gets us out of the normal daily rut.

  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Visit a brewery with  neighbors
  • Picnic at a new park

I’d love to hear how you practice self care!

xoxo, brooke

The Idol in My Pocket

When I think of idols, a few things come to mind.  I’m reminded of the golden calf that was worshiped in the Old Testament.  Celebrities come to mind, especially Kim Kardashian, as she is the most commonly mentioned celebrity during plastic surgery consultations.  People want to manipulate their bodies to look like her.  I think of the tv show, American Idol, as many devote their weeknights to watching it, voting and buying music produced from it.  I also think of college football (as I wrote about here) and the amount of money and attention spent on football.  

Webster’s dictionary has 5 definitions of idol.  The one that resonates with me the most is “an object of extreme devotion”.

Sadly, I’m here to announce that I carry an idol in my pocket every day.  My iPhone.  

I am extremely devoted to it.  If it gets left at home, it is a source of frustration and feeling of nakedness.

It causes great distraction for me.  If someone is talking to me and I can’t hear them because I’m on the idol, then it’s hurtful to them.  I’m saying/showing through my actions that the distant person, thing, pictures, or whatever on the idol are more important than who is in my presence.

My devotion to my idol causes me to waste precious time that could be spent on solitude, time with friends, or time with God.  I get so caught up on it that I miss opportunities to help others.

My idol keeps me up later at night than it should.  It prevents me from getting more sleep and distracts my mind when I should be winding down.

It’s the first thing I think of many mornings.  I’ve made it a habit to reach for the idol, check email, texts and social media- all before even telling my husband good morning.  

It distracts me when I’m driving which is unsafe for me, my passengers, and everyone else around me.  

My idol weighs too much on my self worth.  Someone hasn’t texted me back- that must mean that they do not like me or I’m not important to them.  This photo only got 28 likes, it must not be cute enough.

My idol steals joy through comparison.  I’m at home in sweats with a sick kid while my friend is in Bermuda snorkeling with dolphins.  

My idol is a liar.  It tells me I’ll be more connected but it causes me to be more disconnected.  Even though it’s fast, it causes me to be more impatient when real life speed isn’t.  It wants to make me happy but it causes those around me to be less happy.

Do you have this idol in your pocket too?

brooke

Ode to Jack Jack

Jacqueline Elizabeth Cadle was born February 11, 1988 and she was my first shot at being a big sister. Because we grew up in the south, we always had to wear matching dresses, hairbows, and shoes. We didn’t look much alike with my straight hair and her super curly hair but those outfits would have made you look twice.

As we grew up, Jackie and I often did not get along. We were constantly bickering and my mom had had enough. We were at a neighbor’s house with lots of sporting equipment. We were fighting over who could use the plastic baseball bat. Finally, mom was so frustrated with refereeing us, mom let Jackie and I take our frustrations out on one another with those baseball bats. And boy did we go to town hitting each other, screaming and shouting. We were all shocked- even mom. That’s what big sisters do…. beat the crap out of her little sister with a plastic baseball bat.

One time, Jackie went to visit our neighbor, Leonna Printup, at her home. I was out riding my bike and noticed a long snake draped over the railing of Leonna’s house with its head resting on her front porch mat. I raced home to tell my mom so she could call Leonna’s house and warn Jackie of the snake. Otherwise, she may have been bitten when leaving Leonna’s house. That’s what big sisters do… keep their little sister from being bit by a snake.

As Jackie got older, she often followed in the footsteps of me, her older sister. We served as FCCLA state officers together. But after I went to college, Jackie set a new Cadle sister record by becoming the FCCLA state President. I was super proud! That’s what big sisters do… cheer on their little sister to new accomplishments.

On one of the best days of my life, Jackie was standing next to me as my maid of honor while I married Peck. I had chosen sunflowers for all of our bouquets. Mine was especially large and it was HEAVY. It weighed so much, that my arms were shaking while the preacher rambled on through his “short” homily. I made the decision to hand the bouquet to Jackie who gracefully took it with a smile. That’s what big sisters do… get their little sister to help when things get too heavy.

Jackie was at the hospital when I had JB and she was in love with him from that moment on. Although JB doesn’t get to see her much, she has a special place in his heart. He loves reading the inscriptions of the many books that she and Ryan have given him as gifts. He likes to see photos of his “cousin puppy”, Sadie, as she travels all over the country. But what he loves most of all is her love and affection when we visit. She offers the perfect balance of love and discipline that each little boy needs. He loves playing in the yard with Jackie and Sadie. They all laugh hysterically as they throw the frisbee and run around together. That’s what good aunts do… they make great memories with their nephew.

On Jackie’s big day, I got to stand beside her as her Matron of Honor as she married her prince, Ryan Padilla. Everyone knows that I love my husband and Sam, but Ryan was the best addition to our family. He balances Jackie out so much. He has a never ending love for her and gives her so much love, affection and affirmation. Jackie blossomed when She became Mrs Padilla and we were all thrilled to see her so happy.

Jackie and I have spent lots of time together outside of our home state of Georgia including London and Seattle. But my favorite trip was to visit her and Ryan in Alaska. Jackie and I spent several days together exploring the scenic beauty of Alaska, catching up, laughing as we experienced new things, taking tons of photos, and rocking out to Taylor Swift driving through the Turnagain. It was fun to see a snapshot of Alaska life- her gym/social club, eating lots of fresh crab meat, hearing about her job, and seeing where she had spent a previous summer doing missions work. It was a fantastic trip for many reasons. That’s what sisters do… have fun together.

So today, on Jackie’s 30th birthday, I wrote these words full of love and memory. I’m proud of the woman you’ve become. You are a loving wife, kind sister and wonderful aunt. Cheers to you, the most STRIKING Cadle sister, today and everyday!

love, brookie

Kindergarten Anxieties

Last night, I got hit by all the emotions of my son starting kindergarten (at a new school) this fall.  It was full on ugly cry.  For like 15 minutes.  I realize that kindergarten is 7 months away, but now is when schools host open houses and tours and the lottery sign ups start.  Where will he go to school?  Will he make new friends?  Will kids be mean to him?  Is he “prepared” for kindergarten?  Will he get a good teacher?  Will he get in trouble for talking too much (no clue where that comes from)?  Did we make a good decision holding him back a year since he has a late August birthday?  Will he actually eat his school lunch?  You know… just a few kindergarten anxieties for this mom.

On top of this, the school options in our area are endless!  There is the neighborhood elementary school, public charter schools with lotteries for attendance, private Christian schools and non-faith private schools.  As of right now, we have toured 3 private schools, 2 charter schools and our local public school.  And I have 3 more tours scheduled in the next three weeks!  That’s a lot of options!!  It’s good to have choices because not all children learn the same but it’s also so overwhelming.  We’ve been doing our best to understand what’s available and trying to find the best fit for our son.

Last night, the passage of time hit my emotions like a ton of bricks.  I realized that my son is 5.5, I can barely pick him up and he is so hard to sit in my lap due to his size.  Yes, he is healthy, happy, and wonderful- all great things, but still difficult to wrap my head around how big my “baby” is.  I cried tears of anxiety to my husband as I recognize that change is coming.  We have been blessed with a wonderful preschool for 5 years of school that has been a perfect fit for our son.  I pray that he transitions well to kindergarten- wherever that may be.

I was sad about how big he is, how old he is, the unsurety of what’s next and trying to process time going by so quickly.  How can I have a child old enough for kindergarten?  How have we been married for almost ten years?  How do I have wrinkles around my eyes?  

This morning my (one and only) baby went to an open house at what could be his school for the next six years.  We got to see the entire school, have breakfast in the cafeteria and ride on a school bus.  It was a big morning and my son loved it.  He walked out of the school saying he can’t wait to go to school there.  Who knows where he will attend kindergarten, but I’m thrilled knowing he loved this option and is excited about his future.  Yes, I’m anxious, nervous and sentimental but I’m going to keep him focusing on excitement and not let my hesitant emotions get in his way!  

And yes, I realize I am not the first parent to send a child to a new school.  Knowing this helps- some.  But it’s still the emotions that I am working through.

So, to all the parents who are sending their hearts out into an unknown world this fall, know that I am with you in solidarity.  We will get through this.  Also, I have heard that wine helps.  

love, brooke

Experiences Over Stuff

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas gifts this year.  Most of you know that I try to declutter, clean out and donate as frequently as possible.  In an effort to buy less stuff and experience more in life, I did some deep thinking about what experiences mean the most to me in hopes of being able to focus on those things more in 2018.

Quality time. When I think back to some of my favorite memories this year, I think of trips with friends, game nights, dance parties with my son, girls night out, tailgates, football games, celebrating birthdays, time with family, and being in a small group.  All of these times together have strengthened relationships, built memories and brought so much joy to my life!

Travels.  Some of the coolest places I have stayed while traveling are at airbnbs.  I stayed in someone’s basement in Alaska… doesn’t sound fancy… but you could see the Northern Lights from its window.  Pretty damn cool.  Or the house that we spent 4 days with good friends in Ireland… that was built over 200 years ago and every inch of architecture was amazing.  Traveling makes me have a greater appreciation of others, how small we all are in this big world, and a better understanding of geography/cultures/food/etc.

Sunsets.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I love a sunset.  You can watch a sunset every day for a week and none of them would look the same.  My favorite part is once the sun is down seeing all the colors reflecting off the clouds.  The best.  And if I can watch a sunset over next to a body of water, even better.

Fishing.  This experience is one that I don’t do nearly enough.  I love the feel of the sun and the wind blowing as I cast out my line and anxiously wait to see what I may bring in.  Fishing at low tide is my favorite.  You get to see so much in the water- blue crabs, sharks feeding, stingrays, and occasionally dolphins will swim by.  

Tennis. I can’t believe I am this old… but I have been playing tennis for over 25 years.  I love the competition, the sweat, the strategy, and the fun.  Plus, this year my baby sis has been my partner- so QT too!  I love that you can play 42 deuce points in one game and then when the next game 40-0.  I love that you might lose today but beat the same opponent tomorrow.  And the best part is it’s a lifetime sport- from young to old.

What experiences mean the most to you?  How can you fill your life with more of those and focus on less stuff?

love, brooke

Back to School Jitters

I’m going back to school starting tonight and I’m slightly terrified. I’m enrolled for the “Essentials of Creative Writing” course at Emory University. I mean Emory… that place seems so serious and legit. What am I doing? I haven’t been in college in over ten years and I barely remember taking a freshman English class. I guess that’s why I need this CE class… to brush up on writing fundamentals and use the correct tenses and an overall refresher on how to write. Yes, I know it will be good for me. Try something new, get out of your comfort zone, think outside the box, yada yada yada… BUT I’m still nervous.

Some questions:

1.  What should I wear?!?  When I was in college I wore free t-shirts and skirts from Sam’s club. Is this still good attire for a college classroom?! Most of what I have worn recently is a free t-shirt with running shorts covered in paint from DIY projects. Is that ok?! If I wear a dress, will it look like I’m trying too hard?? What do I own that screams “writer” to make me look legit.

2. How many people will be in the class?!  Will it be like me and three other more serious people who spend their days doing nothing but writing? Or will there be 100 of us in a theatre style lecture? Will I be the youngest or way too old?

3. Will I have to share my writing with others?!  Let’s be honest, this is truly the most terrifying question. I’m no where near ready to share my writing with people I’m not already friends with on Facebook! Will they make fun of me?  

4. What should I bring!?  I’m bringing a notebook and pen but should I bring my laptop?! Spoiler- my laptop battery sucks and has to be plugged in to even work. What if the classroom is out of the dark ages and doesn’t have outlets near the chairs? Ok, I’m not taking the computer. And on another note, how do I have such a crappy computer when I’m married to a man who owns five of his own?! I digress…

5. Will we have homework?! If so, what will it be? Will we have to share it with the teacher?! Can you FAIL a continuing ed course?!

6.  What am I forgetting to be worried about?!  

Well, I am all out of ?!? Fingers crossed I can pull this off. TBD.

Update:  I went with the Kmart skirt and PRR t-shirt.  I decided to stick with what I know.  And yes, this is my back to school pic.  😜

laugh, brooke