April 24, 2015

Girl Mom vs Boy Mom

Lately I've noticed this weird "trend" that puts yet another label on parents.  Because, you know, we need that these days.

It's shown up in numerous ways on my FB feed in the form of sponsored posts, advertisements, and blog posts. It's not something I ever even thought was a "thing" until recently when, within 24 hours of each other, friends of mine posted similar articles in support of the exact opposite "argument" {for lack of a better word}.

Why am I using all of these "quotations"?  Because I can't believe I'm even talking about such a thing, to be honest with you.

I'm talking about boy moms vs girl moms.

This week I've read articles titled "To the Mother of All Boys" and "The Great List of Things I Can't Do Because I Only Have Daughters".  The second one was actually humorous because it proves the exact same point I'm trying to make.


Why have we given ourselves yet another label of being a certain gendered mom?  As if being a stay-at-home, breastfeeding, disposable diaper using, homemade baby food making, co-sleeper, baby-wearing, organic, home-schooled, helicopter parent wasn't enough?  Now we have to go throwing the gender of our kids in there too?


Because if you are a mom to all boys you certainly have it harder than a mom to all girls?  Or because you're a mom to all girls you're going to have all that extra expense when it comes to parties, graduations, weddings and whatnots?  And because of any/all of these things you feel as if the other party should show you more respect?

What about just calling ourselves MOMS.

Hey, that's a novel idea.

Last time I checked we were all in this messy, crazy, oh so rewarding roller coaster we call parenting together.  We all wipe poopie butts.  We all stay up with sick babies.  We all kiss boo-boos better.  We all get interrupted when we pee.  We all wish we had more time in the day.  We all make the best decisions we can for our kids and our families.  And damnit we are all doing the best we can.

Maybe it's because I'm a boy/girl mom and I don't fit into either category and so I'm feeling left out.  Yeah, maybe that's it.  But by golly I don't need another label plastered on me and I don't want one.  Since I feel like I've experienced both and I can tell you that my kids are the complete opposite of each other I get that there are differences between boys and girls.  That is obvious.  What I don't get is why it matters.

I don't think of my girlfriend who has three little girls and thing anything differently than my girlfriend who is the mom to three little boys.  To me they are each moms to three kids.  Period.  Sure the one has a little more pink toys and the other deals with a little more dirt but each one has the same struggles as the other.  They are both trying to raise three crazy kids in this messy world we live in.

That is it.

We are all moms.  Let's just start saying that for a change.  No extra labels required.

April 22, 2015

It's Been A Doozy

To say the past 5 days have been hard would be the understatement of the century.

Let's rewind to Friday, early morning. I woke up around 3:45 to the most excruciating ear pain.  It literally felt like someone was stabbing me in the ear with a pencil.  I'm kind of an ear-pain pro though.  I have had ear issues my whole life, decent amount of hearing loss in my right ear, surgeries when I was 14, tubes, tonsils, you name it.  I go to an ENT every 6 months and have a hearing test done once a year.  So at 3:45 I got up, took some Motrin, put some drops and a warm compress on my ear and waited for the ENT to open at 8.  To make a long story short, I have an ear infection.

Friday night we headed over to my in-laws for our weekly bible study.  We had been going back and forth on the day/time and decided on Friday evening.  Just as we were getting situated me, my sister-in-law, KP and James were on the trampoline.  No big deal.  No one was jumping high or hard.  It was just innocent crawling around with two adults supervising.  Until James started screaming.  Neither one of us saw anything happen to him so we didn't think much of it.  I scooped him up and tried to settle him down with some mommy snuggles and when that didn't work I offered him a bottle thinking that would certainly calm him.

Nothing helped until he finally fell asleep in my arms to the sound of ROCKABYE BABY! on Spotify.  While he was asleep we started bending/moving his legs as he wasn't putting any weight on them while he was awake.  Right leg- we could bend the knee and ankle, rotate the hip and he didn't make a peep, slept right through it.  Left let- cried in his sleep when we touched his knee and shin.

So we called the on-call pediatrician, they said to take him in.  This was at 9:10.  We called the Children's Close to Home Center and they said if we brought him in by 10 they had the ability to x-ray and cast, if need be.  So we loaded up faster than we've ever done and took him in.

At this point I had no reason to believe his leg was actually broken.  I mean I was standing RIGHT THERE when "it" happened and I didn't see anything happen that would warrant a broken leg.  I thought IF anything maybe the trampoline was coming up while he was coming down and MAYBE he stunned {??} his legs?  But definitely didn't think it was broken.

Naturally when we told the doctors "he was on a trampoline" we got the evil eye.  Look, I didn't know that this was a thing. Toddlers and trampolines.  I didn't know that this was something people feared.  I didn't know that so many kids who come into the ER/urgent care with broken limbs come from trampolines. I thought, "oh this is a fun, innocent way to kill time till we're ready to do bible study".  It's something we've done numerous times before without any injury except maybe a hurt ego when you can't quite get that trick down.

So, anyway, he had x-rays done and sure enough...broken leg.  Well..a "toddler fracture" is what they really called it.  As if that makes it better.  My baby is in a cast.  I always knew he'd be the first one to send us to the ER and the first one with a broken limb but I didn't not expect it to happen before he turned two, for crying out loud.

Minus the judgement the staff was amazing at the children's urgent care.  We arrived at 9:45, fifteen minutes before closing, and we were checked in, x-ray'd, casted and out the door within an hour.  I was shocked and very happy.  You hear such horror stories of the ER making you wait forever and being full of screaming kids.  Our experience could not have been more opposite.  So, for that, I am

Sleep Friday night was spotty.  I would say it resembled newborn days only it was worse.  I think he woke up between 4-6 times and broke my heart every time. I could tell when the Tylenol wore off, that's for sure.  Saturday was spent navigating our new "normal"- at least for the next 3-4 weeks.  I am very thankful for my mother-in-law who came over to help in any way she could.  Because of her I was able to take a shower and put some make up on.  She helped me when my arms got tired from carrying James.  She took us to get ice cream when we got stir crazy.  She ran some errands for Jimmy. And she played with Kendall while I rocked James to sleep.  Without her we wouldn't be able to adjust as easily.

Sunday I woke up feeling like someone had taken a golf club to the bone that runs across my eyebrows.  My nose was full of thick, yellow snot.  My whole face hurt.  I was dizzy when I'd simply move my head.  Bending forward even an inch felt like all the blood in my whole body had rushed to my head and my head was going to explode.  So picking up James was 542,579,317 times harder.

I did what any normal person would do and Googled all of my symptoms and determined that I had a sinus infection.  The first one of my life.  Listen to me when I tell you this- THE WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE.  I've had tubes put in my ears, I've had surgery on my ears twice, I've had my wisdom teeth taken out and two c-section babies this sinus infection was worse than all of them.  Perfect timing.

Thankfully my parents were here to help Jimmy with the kids so I looked up our closest Minute Clinic. It was 20 minutes away, they closed in an hour but you had to be there 15 minutes prior to closing.  I was cutting it close.  As dizzy and light-headed as I felt I probably shouldn't have driven myself but I booked it over to that CVS and made it with 10 minutes to spare.

My experience here was nothing to give a five-star rating but I was in and out {with a prescription} in 30 minutes.  And you better believe I took that ish right away.

Sunday night was quite possibly the worst of my life.  I went to bed with the house a disaster, I never do that.  I felt absolutely terrible, James wouldn't go to sleep, my blood pressure was high, I was so cold yet I was sweating so much I had to change my clothes {gross}, Kendall wanted me to teach her how to read and I literally thought, "this is it, this is how I'm going out".  There were lots of tears, lots, and lots of praying and begging God to "HELP ME!".

I don't know if it was the meds or God but Monday I woke up feeling MUCH better and then Tuesday I felt even better.  Thank God because the "doctor" at CVS told me it was going to take 3 days to start seeing relief.  James started to "get used" to his cast.  He's becoming a little more independent and trying to figure out how to crawl and scoot. I'm really glad I've kept a lot of baby/floor toys because we're pulling them all out again.

It's really been a rough five days.  Probably some of the hardest of my life.  It's funny {not really} because it's almost like having a newborn/infant again.  I'm trying to coax James to crawl and watch him figure out how to stand while holding onto something.  He's back in the highchair for mealtimes.  But yet he's 35lbs and very opinionated.

I wish I could say I've taken this "adjustment" well but with being so sick I have definitely had my fair share of mommy meltdowns.  Now that I'm on the mend I feel like I can handle this temporary situation with more patience.  It's very hard to see your toddler, who has just gained some independence, become completely dependent all over again.  It is heart-breaking, actually.

Kendall has been the sweetest little angel.  Friday night she sang to him the whole way home and said
things like, "it's ok buddy, just don't move your leg, OK?'.  She knew he broke his leg but when I told her that meant his bone in his leg was actually broken...her face was priceless. It was like she was feeling for him how awful that must be.  I don't know how I got so lucky with that little girl but she sure is the best and has been making this a lot easier.

So, whew, it's been a whirlwind.  I know that God doesn't give us more than we can handle but I definitely felt like we were being tested this weekend.  But I also know that when I cried out to Him, Sunday night, and turned this over to Him, I felt instant relief.  In that moment, my tears stopped and a sense of calm came over me.  I squeezed James and told him I was sorry and from that moment on things seemed to get "better".

If you want to keep up with #jamescastadventure on IG I'll be updating as we navigate this very unfamiliar territory {I've never even broken a bone myself!}.  If you think about it, we would appreciate any extra prayers our way.

April 8, 2015

SO WHAT! Wednesday

Today I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I chose to "sleep in" vs working out this morning. By sleeping in I mean 7 am.
  • I really miss Blockbuster. Sure Redbox is great {and cheap} but I miss having a huge selection to choose from and new releases the day they come out on DVD.
  • I ate ice cream for dinner. I had a roast in the crockpot but for some reason it wasn't done until 9pm. Oh well, guess dinner is taken care of for tonight!
  • My brain cannot handle movies like Interstellar. Jimmy was so excited to watch it last night but I just kept trying to figure out why Matthew McConaughey was an astronaut.
  • I kinda, sorta don't mind that it's been raining the past few days. Sure I'd love it to be sun-shiny and warm but the rain makes us slow down a bit. We were on the go all last week {spring break} so it feels good to just be home for a couple of days.
  • I'll regret that {^} statement in one hour when the kids are fighting me to eat breakfast.
  • I've been obsessively "tanning". I wore a dress for Easter so I had been using some Jergens Natural Glow on my legs and then I remembered how much better everything looks with a tan so I've been slathering it on my whole body every day! Summer, I'm ready for you!!!
  • I was a little miffed yesterday when I placed an order with Children's Place and saw that they are no longer a part of Ebates.
  • I just realized you can block certain numbers from calling your iPhone. Bye-bye telemarketers! Life-changing!
  • I really want to wear glasses. I think everyone looks so cute in their hipster, black rimmed glasses and now I want a pair. I realize I sound crazy. But what if I wore a pair of fake ones just to "look cute"?
  • I'm already thinking of themes for the kids' birthday party. Since their birthdays are only two days apart we will do another joint party. Kendall thinks she wants a My Little Pony party, I think we should do a pool party and James has no opinion yet. Any cute boy/girl party ideas out there?
  • I miss blogging. Even thought it seems like blogging is dead I still miss reading some of my favorites each day.
  • We are seriously contemplating selling our house. I'm struggling with it big time but it may happen.
  • I make Jimmy feel my "muscles" almost on a daily basis. I've never had strong arms so the fact that there are some baby muscles in there makes me excited.
  • I can't wait to watch RHNYC on the DVR today while I run. I stopped watching once Bethenny left but now "the B is back". What can I say, I love her. And I'm still salty that they took her talk show off the air.

What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

April 1, 2015

I Wasn't Prepared For That

Last week we registered Kendall, our first born, for Kindergarten.  I capitalize the K because it's THAT important to me, in my life, right now.  It's a proper noun.

I haven't talked much about Kindergarten and whether or not we'd be sending her this year {she has a mid-August birthday} because I really didn't know myself. Jimmy and I had several conversations regarding it.  Weighed the pros and cons of both options.  I talked to her teachers at conference time and got their opinions.  I chatted with other moms who have a similar situation, got their input.  I talked to older moms, who had to make the same decision at one point.  I read blog articles.  Anytime anyone wrote something on Facebook I scrolled through each and every comment, reading opinions on both sides.  

All that to say.  I still couldn't decide what was right for our girl.  

She's smart.  Academically she is r-e-a-d-y for Kindergarten.   She knows her letters, the sounds they make, uppercase vs lowercase, can count to 30 {and higher when she wants but 30 is solid}, she colors inside the lines, writes her own name {first and last}, she can skip, hop on one foot, throw a ball, and everything else their supposed to know going into Kindergarten.  

She's there socially.  She talks very well, better than a lot of other kids her age.  She expresses her feelings, knows how to interact with other kids, she's empathetic, she knows right from wrong.  In new situations or groups of people she can come off shy but once she warms up everyone sees how fun and spunky and lively she is.  She's the type of person that you want to be around because she just makes you smile easily.  

But I already knew all of that.  

At parent-teacher conferences I asked her teachers for their input and without hesitation they said, "send her".  As a matter of fact they went on to say that they have nothing to offer her if she stays in preschool another year.  


For some reason I couldn't do it.  I couldn't make the phone call to the elementary school to set up an appointment for registration.  I prayed that God would show me the way.   I was waiting for a sign, in either direction, to tell me if she should move on or repeat a 3rd year of preschool. Registration was open for a week and two days when I got my sign.  

Kendall never protests going to school.  She is always happy go to, can't wait to see her friends, and will even ask {every day}, "is today a school day?!"  So when she said, "WHY do I have to go to school today!?"  I was surprised.  I asked her why she didn't want to go this day and her answer was my sign I was looking for.

"Because we do the same stuff all the time."

I got it.  She's bored.  She's ready for more.  

So one week and two days after registration began I picked up the phone, "Hi, I'd like to register my daughter for Kindergarten." 

I made the phone call and felt fine about it.  I didn't have a lump in my throat.  I didn't have reservations about it.  I was confident that we were making the right decision for our girl.  As a matter of fact, when I told her she said, "can we go NOW?".  She's so excited to be starting.

What I was not prepared for were all the feelings that flooded my entire body during registration.  

We walked into the multipurpose room and when we walked up to the table they didn't speak to me anymore.  They asked HER all the questions.  They took HER go get signed in.  They handed me a packet to fill out and sent me down the hall. I'm used to being the one to answer the questions and give the info and in that moment it hit me, we've entered a whole new phase.

No longer will I be 'Shannon'.  From now on I'll be 'Kendall's Mom'.  She's becoming her own person.  She's going to have her own friends outside of my friends kids.  She's growing up.  

On top of all of those emotions I realized how big of a deal this is TO HER.  After I collected my girl and they told me she did "great" on her pre-screening, we went to the bathroom.  As I watched my baby girl, barely able to reach the knobs on the sink to wash her hands, two "big girls" came in and smiled at us.  It was then that I could literally feel my heart ache.  

She'll be going to school with 4th and 5th graders.  These girls seem so grown up and mature to me.  They seem like BIG GIRLS and made my girl seem so very small.  And I couldn't help but pray.  I prayed that they would be kind to her, that they would help her if she looked lost or scared.  That they would take her under their wings and show her where the bathrooms are if she got lost.  I prayed that they would smile at her and make her feel welcome.  I prayed for my sweet, little girl.  That she would be brave.  That she wouldn't be afraid of new things.  That she would feel confident walking through these unfamiliar halls.  I prayed for her safety.  I just prayed.  

I felt tears well up in my eyes as we were walking through those locker filled hallways {she's going to have a locker, people!!!  And lunch money!!!}.  I wanted to cry, I did, and I wanted to grab my girl and say, "are you sure you don't want to repeat another year of preschool?!"  I'm not usually an emotional mom.  I don't want to keep all of the crafts that she's ever made.  I didn't cry when she took her first steps or said her first word.  I don't get choked up over most things.  But this?  This felt like someone was literally ripping my heart into two pieces and I wanted to big, fat, ugly cry.

But I realized while I was praying for her to be brave, I also needed to be brave.  So I didn't cry, I didn't try to convince her to change her mind.  I just listened as she told me about her assessment and how she's so excited for Kindergarten next year. As a matter of fact, when she woke up for school the following day, she asked if she were going to Kindergarten now.  

This has been months of debating but I finally feel confident in our decision to send her next year.  I think she's ready for more and I think she'll thrive in Kindergarten.  It also helps that our school district only does 3.5 days a week for Kindergarten so the transition won't be that big for her.  

I, on the other hand, will be a blubbering mess.  Let's just hope I can keep it together until she gets out of the car.  

March 23, 2015

One Year Later...

A little over a year ago I began my journey with Beachbody.  I had no idea what to expect, I didn't know a whole lot about the business, I wasn't planning on growing a team.  I just wanted to try T25.  I wasn't in it for the money.  In fact my first paycheck was like $32.  That didn't even cover the cost of my Shakeology every month.  

Once I started T25 and shared my results people started getting interested too.  I got emails and comments daily about the program and how could they order it.  I was shocked!  I was making a difference!!  People were being inspired by me.  That gave me so much fuel to keep going.  To keep pushing.  To not give up, ever.  And then the same became true when I started {and fell in love with} PiYo.  

I knew as a coach people were relying on me. People were looking to me for results and I couldn't let them down.  I loved that because so many times I wanted to give up but I couldn't because I couldn't not have something to show for all the talk I'd talked.  

So I kept going.  

Along the way people caught wind of this amazing opportunity and wanted in on my team.  Each new coach I signed up was another person who was going to be changing lives.  I loved when I logged into my back office and saw "You have one new personally sponsored coach".  It was like, "YES!!!  Lives are changing!!  People are getting healthy!!!" 

Our team is so supportive and motivating.  It's a really cool thing to be a part of.  No one is looking out for numero uno, in fact the opposite is true.  We want each other to succeed.  We love seeing our fellow coaches grow and reach their own personal goals.  It's mind-blowing to see, it really is.  

I love it when people email me and say, "OMG I love this program!  I'm down ___lbs already and feeling even better!!"  It's the most rewarding part of this "job".  Watching other people succeed and do things they never thought they could is so emotional.  

Weight loss journeys are so personal.  Everyone has their own reason why they are overweight/out of shape and everyone has their own reason why they want to change.  Some are more emotional than others but when someone shares their story with me I feel privileged.  
I've made my own journey over the past year and I'm not finished yet. When I started I was almost 7 months post-partum.  I hadn't really done much to change my diet/exercise.  I was tracking calories here and there and doing the treadmill, mainly, for workouts.   Over the past year I've lost 30+lbs and gained so much more. I'm in the best shape of my adult life.  I am stronger, leaner, more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been.  But I'm not done yet.  This journey is still not finished and in some ways I don't know that it ever will be. I feel as though I'm always a work in progress.  

All this to say, I'm so grateful for taking a leap of faith over a year ago.  I didn't know where this journey was going to take me and I was OK with that.  But over the past year I've made so many changes, physically and mentally, all while watching others do the same.  It's really, pretty damn cool.  

I love sharing this opportunity with others.  I love getting emails and comments from others who are inspired by my journey and want more information.  I love watching YOUR journey and I'm thankful when you let me be a part of it.  I love watching my team grow because it just means more and more people are changing their lives and helping others change theirs.  Coaches change lives, people.  

So thank you for following my journey this year.  Thank you for all your kind words when I post before/after pictures. Thank you for cheering ME on.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.  Thank you for giving me the push when I need it and keeping me motivated.  

If you think this is something that might be a good fit for you, shoot me an email, I'd love to talk to you in more detail.  If you'd like to find a program to fit your fitness needs I'd love to help you find the perfect one!  Comment below or email me at shannon.r.dew@gmail.com.

February 25, 2015

Easy Peasy Stromboli

This past weekend, much like the rest of the Midwest, we were snowed in.



But we made the most of it. We had lots of family time, went sledding in our back yard, played on the swing set {in the snow}, Jimmy and I got to finally watch SNL40, and most of all I made lots of yummy food.  My waistline wasn't happy but my husband was.

I posted this delicious chili mac on my FB page Sunday and it was really good and made plenty for Jimmy to take for lunch all week.  I call that a win.  But the star of the weekend was my first time ever making stromboli.

In my family when it's your birthday you get to pick what you want for dinner and someone, mom, aunt, grandma, will make it for our family birthday dinner.  Normally I pick stromboli.  I make no secret of my love for pizza but stromboli classes it up a bit, right?  Ha! But I'd never actually made one myself.  I guess I thought it would be too complicated and too time consuming.

Enter Pinterest.

I found this recipe and thought, "store bought pizza dough?  I can do this!".

And boy oh boy, was it a hit!  I think Jimmy and I fought over the last piece and I won because it's my birthday week and I love pizza the most.  The latter he cannot argue with, ever.  I can eat more pizza than him any day.  So I always get the last piece.

  • a can of refrigerated pizza dough
  • 8-10 slices ham
  • 8-10 slices salami
  • 8-10 slices pepperoni
  • 4-6 slices provolone cheese
  • 4-6 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • marinara sauce to dip in
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Roll out a pizza dough to form a thin rectangular crust, about 11"x13", and place the crust on a baking pan lined with a parchment paper.
  3. Layer slices of ham, salami, and pepperoni as a single row in the center of crust. Layer cheeses over meats and place basil leaves on top.
  4. Using a knife or a pair of scissor, cut either sides of crust next to the meat & cheese filling to make several 1" wide strips. Fold-in the each end part of the crust toward the filling. Using one strip at a time criss-cross each strip to cover the filling.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the crust and sprinkle oregano.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.
  7. Cool down a little and slice
  8. Serve hot with warm marinara sauce to dip in.

February 23, 2015

Birthday Week

Today officially kicks off my birthday week.

What?  You don't celebrate your birthday all week?

On Saturday I turn 32.

I think?  Anyone else have a hard time remembering their age?

As I approach my 2nd year in my thirties I do not dread it, I'm not lying about my age {yet}, but rather I am looking forward it.  I don't look forward to getting older, don't get me wrong, but I am looking forward to my 32nd birthday.

That sounds confusing.

Miss Carrie Bradshaw said it best, “Enjoy yourself. That’s what your 20s are for. Your 30s are to learn the lessons. Your 40s are to pay for the drinks.”  However, I didn't enjoy my 20s like I should have and I kinda sorta regret that.  I didn't go on a girls only trip with my closest friends, I didn't party the nights away, I didn't travel abroad or pursue a hobby.  Instead I was in a weird place, bad relationships, trying to find myself, looking for love in all the wrong places, insecure.  I wasn't enjoying myself,  I was always trying to fast forward to the good stuff so I wasted those "fun years".  

If there's one thing I teach Kendall it will be to enjoy life the moment it happens.  Stop waiting for the pot at the end of the rainbow because you're going to miss THIS.  And life is too short to miss out on any of it, listen to your mama.

So now that I'm in my thirties I feel like I've got a lot to do.  I need to make up for all that fun I missed out on in my twenties AND those lessons.  It's OK though, really.

I feel more confident now than I ever have.  I'm in the best shape of my life.  I eat {relatively} well.  I take care of myself.  I am more adventurous with my "style".  I don't care so much about what other people think.  I challenge myself more.  I have lots of love in my life.  I finally have a hobby and goals.  And, most importantly, I am happy and I feel like I am right where I'm supposed to be. It's really a great feeling. 

I can remember reading magazines in my teens and twenties and I'd always see articles about women in their thirties feeling this same way.  I always thought, I can't wait to feel that way, it sounded so freeing.  Imagine, to finally feel like you are where you're supposed to be and to be HAPPY? Who wouldn't want that?  

Well it took thirty-some years but I'm finally there.  

You know, "they" say, "you're only as old as you feel"?  Well I'm glad because I feel younger and more alive now than I ever did in my twenties. So bring it on, thirty-two, I'm ready for you.