Monthly Archives: June 2014

On the Mountaintop

You know those days you want capture in your mind and embed on your heart?

Today has been one of those.

It started with new workout clothes.

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And a heart pounding, body beating workout.  I was so sweaty when I was done, my hair was sweating.

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Then, reaching a big fat milestone in my fundraising for postpartum progress.  And surpassing it. (THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!)

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Next, I hid in my bathroom to call into a internet radio program where the host had sought me out and asked me to share my story.  I did.  And I hate the sound of my voice when it is recorded, but the information in the program is solid and I am proud to have been part of it.

(I will put the link under the Facebook postings–I can’t get it to embed properly in this post)

Finally, I went on a bike ride with my family.  The last time I went on a noteworthy bike ride was 10 years ago when hubby and I rode around Mackinaw Island just before he proposed.  Bike riding has never been my strong suit.  We shall never mention how old I was before I could ride without training wheels.  And even after, my face kissed the pavement, my knees donated skin, way to often.  So, you get the point.  Hubby and I rode some before getting married and a decent amount shortly after, but then I spent like 100 years pregnant and totally lost all skills.  I tried again last year and was MISERABLE.  My butt hurt, my legs hurt, my arms hurt, my brain hurt, and my pride hurt.  I told myself I would never get on my bike again.

Well, I have these three little girls.  They love to ride their bikes.  Caitlyn has far surpassed my skills and Sue is right behind  her.  They have been asking and begging me to ride my bike with them.  Tonight, I sucked it up and said I might go with them.  Hubby got my bike out.  I muttered to myself, “what am I doing?  Why am I getting on a bike instead of sitting on my butt in the house watching blood and mayhem shows (CSI Miami) on TV while little eyes are gone.”  But it was too stinkin’ late.  I had opened my big, fat mouth.

I got on the bike.  I made it like two feet and my legs were ON FIRE.  I wanted to quit, but that whole setting a good example for your kids and not giving up stopped me.  I tried for another 6 feet.  It was so horrible hubby said it would be okay if I just walked while they rode.  But there was that stupid pride…I WILL set a good example even though it may very well kill me.  But, I got the hang of it…and I made it a mile.  And kind of want to go again tomorrow.

Today, is a day I hope to remember forever.  Thank you to all of you for being part of it.

Here’s My Sue

If I could give parents of more than one child a single piece of advice, it would be to take the time for one-on-one interaction with your kids.

I agree with a blog I read recently about the concept going on dates with your kids being kind of silly.  You are the parent, always.  You should be interacting with your kids on a regular basis.  There is no need to set them up to expecting a fancy “date” when they go places with you.

A trip to the grocery store works just fine.

Running to the library is a great opportunity.

Walking around the block fills the need.

The need to have you all to themselves.

Caitlyn grabs that time as much as possible.  She begs and pleads to go with me anywhere, anywhere at all.  And once she gets me, she schemes for more time by suggesting additional errands, often saying “I don’t care what we do.  I just want time with you.”

How could I not bow to that?

Sue doesn’t seem to capture that time as often.  She gets engrossed in her playing or TV watching and doesn’t notice when I am gone.  But suddenly, she’ll notice.  She’ll start asking, “Can I have time with just you?”

Today is one of the times she got her yes.

She got her oh so glamorous trip to the grocery store.

Thing is, for her, everything is glamorous.  Everything she does gets a sprinkle of magic.

She has this amazing spunk and sparkle I often forget.  Sue and I clash.  Often.  I get mired down in my frustration and angst that she is not maturing like Caitlyn.

Tonight, all that fell away.

Tonight the shimmer was there in big rainbows of glitter.

I giggled as she tried to push the cart that is a great deal taller than her.  And once again when she waved hi to the sensor that opens the store doors.  She decided a few weeks ago that those are cameras and she is on TV so she throws her arm over her head and waves while yelling, “HI!!”  Everybody, even the grumpiest of customers, is smiling by the time they get next to her.

She dances through life.

Tonight she was doing ballet moves down the aisle, until I said, “honey be careful, you don’t want to hit anybody.”  So she climbed onto the edge of the cart and modified her dance.  Once she gets to dancing, she just can’t contain it.

Her joy about did her in when I let her tell the lady at the deli counter that we wanted fried chicken.  Ten piece bucket.

As we waited I looked into her face.  With her slightly pink cheeks and a new crop of freckles, seeing her dancing blue eyes.

She has eyes that are going to drive the boys crazy.  They are just this amazing crystal blue.  Reminds me of Tom Cruises’, and one of my cousins’ eyes.

Those eyes catch all the bright and beautiful.

The store is kind enough to put the bright, pretty girl clothes right on the aisle as you head to the checkout.  On cue, she was lost in a sea of vibrant colors.  Only her little flip flop clad feet peaking out from underneath.  She kept walking through each rack saying, “This is fashion.  Oh, this is not fashion.”  Practical mommy kept saying, “baby, we’re not buying any clothes today.”  “Oh, I know.  I’m just looking to see what is fashion.”  And mommy wanted so much to buy her a dress she does NOT need.

We got to the checkout and shockingly she still had her little wallet.  She studied all the candy as we waited for our turn and I scrolled through my coupons, finally settling on a York Peppermint Patty…on sale.  That’s my girl.

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With her self purchased York Peppermint Patty.

And just too much fun…She loves to have her picture taken!

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I am so glad she begged for her time.  I am so glad we took her time.  And spread some sparkle.

Get In the Exercise Groove

Welcome to our Shazzy Christian Hip Hop Fitness DVD Sweepstakes~


Giggles and Grimaces is pleased to join Tammie’s Reviews, Giveaways and More in offering this giveaway which is sponsored by Shazzy Fitness.

I am finally getting back in the groove with fitness.  I’ve been walking and running and this week I got in a few more intense workouts with videos.  They are a great way to get sweating, moving and grooving when home with kids or if you have to squeeze in your fitness before or after dark.  Or as Patrice says, “in the Night.”

Here’s a sample of what this lady looked like after a hot, sweaty workout.

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And here’s the girls busting out some moves.

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Come Join us for something a Christian Hip-Hop Dance workout DVD– Shazzy Fitness.

The Company~

Shazzy Fitness is a fun, christian hip-hop dance workout dvd. So many people are afraid of hip hop music thinking it is just something that they would never listen to but I am here to tell you that this country girl fell in love with the music on the DVD as I found it to be energetic and motivational. The list of artist included on the video are Da` T.R.U.T.H., Beezy Brown, E.DOT just to name a few. Shazzy Fitness has 2 DVD’s available: In The Beginning and A Time To Dance. I also want to introduce you to the instructors on the DVD and they are Leslie Alison, Apollo Levine and Vera Musgrove. These 3 instructors bring an awesome array of talent and expertise to the DVD. You can read Tammie’s full review of the DVD by going HERE.

On to the Giveaway~

  • 1 reader will win the Shazzy Fitness DVD of their choice

  • This is open to the U.S. only

  • Winner will be notified by email and chosen via

  • Winner will have 24 hours to respond to the email or another will be chosen

  • Only one winner per household

  • The giveaway will end on 7/9 at 7 p.m.

  • All entries will be verified

  • Void where prohibited

Please enter below using the easy Giveaway Tools widget and Good Luck to you~


A Few More Days

Yes, the Climb Out of the Darkness is a few days past, but that doesn’t mean fundraising is done for Postpartum Progress.

Many of the climbers are still seeing donations, grants and matching gifts come in.  I also still have a few fundraisers.

Tomorrow is our Dine Out at Noodles & Co. in Downtown Royal Oak.  For everyone who brings in a flier or mentions, Postpartum Progress, we will get 25% of those sales.  This means we better get the word out!!

Monday, the girls and I rolled and rubber banded 300 fliers.

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Then, in between rain storms, we started going door to door.

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Patrice had stomped in a few puddles, and somehow, no idea how, had gotten her shoe full of water.

And, as a little FYI, there are no stealth missions with a three year old.  I wasn’t really in the mood to talk to people yesterday and explain the mission, I’m a little tapped out.  My goal was to get the fliers on door handles and get out…Patrice had a commentary at every door.  Thankfully, all by 3 ignored it or weren’t home.  We got about half passed out.  Today, the weather should be better so we will head to Royal Oak to pass them out closer to the restraunt.  As part of the fundraiser, we are asked to bring in an additional 100 people.  Our family covers 95–would you come out and help us with the remainder?

You can print this out.



Or just make sure to mention Postpartum Progress. Noodles is very generous and gives 25% of dine in meals and take out.  I will be doing a craft their for the kids.  Please come join us!!!!

You can also ask me about more info for the online Jewelry party I am having or give via Crowdrise.

Thank you for all your help and patience as I post over and over about Climb Out of the Darkness.


Hardest of the Hardest of the Hardest

No day is without merit.  Take this crazy amount of cuteness.

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There was strawberry picking on Friday.

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Painting daddys’ coyote to scare the animals out of the garden.

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Splits on the swing set.

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Roasting marshmallows with daddy

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Sue joining me in a workout as I get started with Insanity again.  Shaun T kicked my hiney yesterday and today

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Finally have a good post workout sweaty picture to send to my fitness buddy

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Getting $150 in free homeschool curriculum from the ministry, Book Samaritan

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This doll voguing in the dollar store parking lot.  The young cashier at said store telling me over and over what a good job I am doing with my girls to have them figuring out what purchases to make and how to pay for them with their own money.  This guy was so sweet.  He had moved on to the next customer and was still telling me what a good job I am doing.  This mama needed that.  What mama doesn’t?

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And the girls asking to do Insanity.  They only lasted a few minutes, but anytime my girls want to exercise, is a win to me

I know some days are easier than others.  I know there are days you have to grit your teeth to get through.  I know there are some days when you just want to throw in the towel.

I know these days come for everyone.

I know how much harder those days are when your mind is telling you you need to run away.  I know how much harder those days are when your mind is telling you you don’t deserve your family.  I know how much harder those days are when the dark thoughts have taken over the happy.  I know how much harder those thoughts are when you feel like your family would be better without you.

Thing is, those things your mind says are lies.  Big lies.  Confusing lies.

The truth, is the pictures up above, are the truth.  Every day has beauty and your brain, even in the dark, sees the good, but the dark seems louder, seems truer.  But know this, it is not truer.  Find the moments, find the things you can hang onto when the days are the hardest of the hardest of the hardest.


We Walked

Yesterday, we were a small but mighty band of men, women and children.

We walked.

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We snacked.

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We stopped.

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We swam.

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All for awareness.  All for the mamas.

Four years ago, I was anxiously awaiting the day until Patrice was born.  And doing everything I could to get this baby to turn out of the breach position, because I was not good with giving up my natural birth for a surgery.  Not my plan.

Thankfully, through LOTS of work, baby complied.  Head down.

Then my grandpa died.  He had been trying to hang on for our new addition but his body was tired and ready for Jesus.

Baby came, one tagged out, one tagged in.  The battalion was passed.

We welcomed our little girl amid a little bit of drama.  Seems, in all that turning in utero she had made quite the mess out of her cord.  But after some quick work, she was declared perfect.

We brought home our third daughter.

And I was so ashamed I had used part of a shot of narcotics for her birth, I hadn’t made it all natural.  That was my last chance and I blew it.  I spiraled down and up–my tears came unbidden, my need for activity grew and grew.

I ended up in the hospital.  I ended up sick for a very long time after she was born.

The time was very dark and very busy.  In my journey I found Postpartum Progress, an on-line foundation that provides support and help for families living with a postpartum mood disorders.  There I found answers to my many questions about what was happening to me, there I began to find a community of women who could put words to my journey, my spiral.

It is for that we walked yesterday.

I spent weeks contacting media, websites, care providers, businesses.  I hoped to bring families out to support and bring awareness to postpartum mood disorders..  I got exactly one comment on one blog post, but no participation.  Mind you, I got some wonderful support financially and emotionally from friends on Facebook.  I got a donation from a guy I haven’t spoken to since 1993.  Caitlyn got a donation from her best friends’ mom.  I am most proud of those two.

But I have to admit, yesterday, I was heartbroken my efforts had not found more walkers.  I cried, a few times, until it was just time to do it.

The girls and I headed out to the park, and were joined by a bestie from college, her amazing family and my wonderful sister-in-law.  I started a few remarks to them about postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.  I began with the stark truth “I didn’t die after Patrice was born.”  Then talked about my journey, shared my heart for helping other mamas live and mother with mental illness.

And we walked.

I realized then that our group was perfect.  I was surrounded by so much love.  I was surrounded by people who had loved and supported me through the journey, each of them at one time or another giving their all to be there for me.

Our group was perfect.


Don’t forget you can donate until June 30 at Crowdrise, I still have a Facebook Jewelry fundraiser going on or locals can come out to dinner on Thursday at Noodles in Downtown Royal Oak.


Dine Out or Take Away for a Good Cause

I woke up extra early this morning…4 am extra early.  My thoughts were whirring with plans for tomorrow and next Thursday.

Tomorrow, I will join with family and friends to walk a 2.2 mile route in the beautiful park Independence Oaks in Clarkston.

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You can still join us.  Sign up here– or donate at the same URL if you would like.  All money raised will go to the non-profit organization Postpartum Progress.

Postpartum Progress gives hope, help and community to families living with a postpartum mood disorder, including, but not limited to, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, OCD, and psychosis.

I found Postpartum Progress 3 years ago as I fought my own battle with postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA).  I felt so alone as the struggle raged months after Patrice was born.  I didn’t understand all that was going on.  I mean, I knew what situational depression had looked like for me at previous junctures, ie., an engagement called off over the phone or long hospitalizations with Multiple Sclerosis.  I knew and understood those experiences.  This?  Not at all the same.  My thoughts raged day and night.

“I must escape.”  “My family deserves so much better.”  “I need to die.”  “I can’t stop moving.”  “My thoughts make no sense.”  “I can’t keep up no matter how hard I try.”

How could I think these things about this amazing family?

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Thing is, I didn’t, but I didn’t know how to make sense of my thoughts.  I didn’t know what was going on.  Finding Katherine Stone and her non-profit organization Postpartum Progress was the first step in finding understanding and community.

I met her via her blog and then connected on twitter.  I followed her to the twitter group, #ppdchat; women who were or had lived it.  Women who could help me make sense of my thoughts.  Women who talked me through suicidal thoughts until I was safe again.  Women who supported me through two hospitalizations.  Women who have become friends.

We have found and created community.  And I found it all through Postpartum Progress.

Now it is my turn to give back.

Tomorrow’s walk is just that, me giving back, me helping the 1 in 7 women who will have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.



But my efforts will not end tomorrow.  I have one more fundraiser on Thursday June 26.  I have partnered with Noodles and Co. in downtown Royal Oak to raise money for Postpartum Progress.  We will get 25% of all dine in or take away meals if the customer mentions Postpartum Progress/Climb Out of the Darkness–or has a printed flier.

We will, of course, have yummy Noodles food (family favorite here!!!) and there will be a kids activity to add to the fun.  Please come join us from 4-9!!!!  And please mention Postpartum Progress/Climb Out of the Darkness.


I Dance I Rock

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain’t right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you’re asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

(Mandisa “Stronger” found on AZ Lyrics)

I’ve been asking about the rain a lot lately.  I came through the thunderstorm and flood, but there’s this constant drizzle that is wearing on me.

Sometimes it looks like a doctor brushing off my concerns.  Drip. Drip.

Or more health issues, or are they side effects?  Drip. Drip.

I look at all my medications that I am dependent on.  Drip. Drip.

My mental illness is never going away.  Splash. Splash.

A sucker punch from a family issue.  Splash. Splash.

Knowing the doctors I see don’t give a damn.  Splash.  Splash.

Missing the one doctor who ever seemed to care.  Splash.  Splash.

I navigate all of them, but as the drips and the splashes come, I get tired.  I get scared.  What if the rain never stops?  What if we are headed for another thunderstorm and the flood carries me away?

Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right
Let’s take a breath, jump over the side
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right
How can you know it, if you don’t even try
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right

Every step that you take
Could be your biggest mistake
It could bend or it could break
That’s the risk that you take

(Coldplay “What If” found on AZ Lyrics)

The steps are hard to take.  I lean on others.  I’m afraid I’ll scare them, so I pull back.  I pull into myself.

I stand in the kitchen rocking and dancing to the music oozing from my computer.  I pray that THIS song will bring the magic I need.

I am joined  by a little girl, “see mommy, I can jump really high.  Here’s my dance.  Has it been a long dance?  2o minutes, or 7?”

“Yes my baby girl, it has been a long beautiful dance.  Dance for mama.  Jump for mama.”

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“See that stomp mama?  That’s part of my dance.  These are my sparkly shoes.  When I do a big jump, you can stop watching.  Okay mama, you can stop now.”

She returns to her play, I to my rocking, dancing, praying, begging.

“Dear God, how can I be struggling again?  Didn’t this just end a month ago?  Why are the emotions so big again?  Please, dear God, let me be overreacting.”

My mind whirls with the angst and worry.  How can things be getting dark again?  When will I be free?  Is there freedom?  What is this?

I’m back on the roller coaster.  Down.  Down.  Down.  But where’s the up?  What comes down must go up, right?

I rock.  I wait.  I tumble.  I glide.  I pray.  I hope.  I doubt.  I distrust.  I plead.

I dance.  I rock.


Holes In the Floor

There is a country song that will forever be in my heart.  I remember hearing it several times in 2003 and 2004.  I liked it.  It was nice.  But it was going to become very important to me after an unpleasant surprise.

The dad who raised me wasn’t at my wedding.  He was taken from us 4 months before in a car accident.  My heart grieved deeply knowing he would never see my wedding ring, he would never see my dress, he would never be at my wedding.  I grieved over and over.

Well, I don’t know if you grieve in one long ribbon of ups and downs, or in a series for hiccups, bringing you right back to the pain.  Whichever way it is, it hurt.  Beyond words.  True agony because he wouldn’t be at my wedding.

Our wedding day was a slightly overcast day in late October.  There were still some color clinging to the trees and there was an amazing man waiting to take my hand.

My daddy wasn’t there.  But this song was:

“Holes In The Floor Of Heaven”

One day shy of eight years old, my grandma passed away
I was a broken hearted little boy, blowing out that birthday cake
how I cried when the sky let go, with a cold and lonesome rain,
mamma smiled, said don’t be sad child, grandma’s watching you todayCause there’s holes in the floor of heaven
and her tears are pouring down,
that’s how you know she’s watching,
wishing she could be here now,
and sometimes if your lonely,
just remember she can see,
there’s holes in the floor of heaven,
and she’s watching over you and me,Seasons come, and seasons go, nothing stays the same
I grew up, fell in love, met a girl who took my name
year by year, we made a life, in this sleepy little town
I thought we’d grow old together, Lord, I sure do miss her nowBut there’s holes in the floor of heaven,
and her tears are pouring down,
that’s how i know she’s watching,
wishing she could be here now,
and sometimes when i’m lonely,
I remember she can see,
there’s holes in the floor of heaven,
and she’s, watching over you and me,Well my little girl is twenty three, I walk her down the aisle
it’s a shame her mom can’t be here now, to see her lovely smile
they throw the rice, i catch her eye, as the rain starts coming down
she takes my hand, says daddy don’t be sad,
cause i know mamma’s watching nowAnd there’s holes in the floor of heaven,
and her tears are pouring down,
that’s how you know she’s watching,
wishing she could be here now,
and sometimes when i’m lonely,
I remember she can see,
yes, there’s holes in the floor of heaven,
and she’s, watching over you and mewatching over you and me
watching over you and me

By Steve Wariner  Found on AZLyrics

I thought about the song, hoped, as I had many times, that my daddy could see me from heaven on my wedding.

We came out of the church, awash in bubbles and claps.  But my daddy wasn’t there…until, yes, it started to rain.  Not hard, not long, just enough to tell me there are “Holes In the Floor of Heaven.” Those few minutes of rain completed my wedding day. I was blessed to have the moment I needed to know my daddy was there, watching.

Today I sit at 9 Father’s Days without my daddy. He wasn’t much for holidays, but that doesn’t make my heart ignore them. It is heavy today with missing him, but so full with my hubby and our girls. So blessed to see love and fun continuing. So blessed to have married a man with many similarities to my dad. It is good. Life is good. As we all know, life is not always easy, and today is one of those days, but I’ll wrap my arms around my hubby and my girls and rejoice in who is here with me.

Much love to all who are experiencing their first Father’s Day without their dad and to those who have celebrated decades of Father’s Days without their loved one. May today bring you comfort and moments of joy.


How to Get Started

Earlier tonight, before he fell asleep on the couch, my hubby looked over at me as I ate Gelato, and said, “why did you buy Slim Fast?”

Do I get to just roll my eyes and say he’s just being cheeky?

No?  Then here goes my explanation.

I need to lose weight desperately.  I am so embarrassed that at one time I had gotten down to within 3 lbs of my pre Patrice weight and have since gained 30 lbs back.

Last time, I lost it by loosely following weight watchers and TONS of exercise.  The exercise was key in my mental health and was just an amazing outlet.  If you know me or we touch base via Facebook, you know I have a lot of stupid health issues pop up, so to be in a place where I can exercise?  Golden.

But, as I mentioned in this post, meds made exercise almost impossible, and I got lazy with my eating, then another med was nice enough to pack on 20 lbs.  It is time to fix some of this.  I know weight watchers has been effective for me twice, but just saying or typing those words makes me very anxious.  I can feel my mind start to whirl and the muscles in my head literally start to clench.  So I keep choosing to do nothing.

Then I remember kickstarting weight loss back in high school with slimfast.  Back then, the only choice was the powder you mixed into milk.  It was kind of gritty and livable.  Now?  You can get it already made in plastic bottles and the taste is much better.  So that is my new breakfast and lunch.  So far, I have left my dinner and night time eating the way it was–kind of a disaster.  I am hoping as I get back in the swing of exercise and start to see progress, that I will be able to clean up my evenings without feeling overwhelmed.

I don’t know if it will work.  I don’t know if it is the best option.  I don’t know if it is a good plan, but it’s how I’m trying to get started.

Have you ever used a phase in  plan?  What is your method to take off extra weight, baby weight, whatever the case may be?  How do you get back into exercise when you have fallen out of your groove?