Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Beginnings

I started this blog in 2007 (or 2008, I can't really remember) when we lived in Germany and the kids were babies. I did it partly because it's easier to write things down once and share them than to individually let people know what was going on with us. I should also mention that I am the absolute WORST when it comes to keeping in touch. I have a difficult time telling just how much people mean it when they say things like 'Keep in touch!' or 'Let me know how you are doing!'.  So the blog was a way to tell my story and then people could come if they wanted to know (or not). It also helped me to see things in a humorous light. That's something I have to work really hard to do, and it's been extremely beneficial.

Now, the kids are older and emphatically do NOT care to have my view of their lives shared via blog or Facebook, and I completely respect that. I'm trying to stress the importance of responsibility with social media to them; one of the better ways to do that is to lead by example. 

Therefore, henceforth, etc. 

I am starting a new blog. I have no idea if I will write more or less often than I have been, but I'm hoping for more. My family and I have a lot of changes coming in the next year and I'm pretty sure I'll need a healthy outlet to help me cope. I hope all of you will follow me to the new space, I'm still trying to figure out the title and whatnot. I'll post a link here as soon as I've got it up and running.

My new blog is called Becoming Fearless and the website is BrookieDahl.blogspot.com because every single title I came up with was unavailable as a web address.  

To all of you that visited - even once - and read my words - thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I hope you will come with me for new adventures. I'm changing and I want to share that and my journey with all of you. 

Much love, 
Brooke

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Deployment.

First my confession: When Robert told me he had been selected for this round of deployments, I wasn't exactly thrilled. I, just like most military wives (I suspect), went through a gamut of emotions. Some of them weren't so pretty.

Deployments stink for many reasons - the time apart, the likelihood that there's no family close by to help, the stress and worry about someone you love being in a danger zone, the mental strain of going from a dual parent household to a single parent household and then back again. It's basically a huge period of coping and adjustment followed by another huge period of coping and adjustments.

Unhappy woman
Photo credit: emmatiebens.com
However, we are pretty fortunate. At least Robert has a military job now that doesn't require him to be gone very often. In 13 years in the Air Force, this is his third deployment. It's the first time he's been sent to a combat zone by the Air Force and this is the first time he's missed Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Army life was, by far, much harsher. And that's considering that we weren't even married when he was in the Army. 

Once I had moved into the acceptance stage of the reality of this deployment, I started trying to think of something I could do to let Robert know how much he is valued and would be missed by the kids and I.

I had an idea of writing him a letter every day - something grand and kind of old-fashioned -- like you did before email and technology and whatnot. I guess I'm too used to the instant gratification of technology and social media, because in thinking about it, between the cost of stamps and the time delay of getting from here to there, I decided to email every day instead. It's not the grand romantic gesture I first imagined, but at least he gets a letter of sorts every day from me.

And as deployments go, this first part has been okay. The kids and I are staying busy and we are still around everything safe and familiar so we have the easy part. Plus, we have had neighbors and friends make sure we know they are there should we need anything. I cannot express how grateful we are for all the love and support. I know that it puts Robert's mind at ease as well to know that we have support at the ready. So from the bottom of all our hearts, thank you for the love and words of encouragement we've gotten. Here's hoping the rest of this deployment goes as well as the first part and that at this time next year, it's all a hazy memory.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Start of a New Era

::taps mic::

Um, hello. Is there anybody out there?

(FYI - Now I have Pink Floyd lyrics in my head. Earworms.)

It's been almost seven months since my last confession blog post. I'd say I'm sorry, but you know? I'm not really. Life happens and that's okay.

There have been so many changes. I am in the process of growing a spine, and while it's been slow going and more painful than expected, I feel like I'm finding my way back to myself again. That's good. I've been lost and pretending not to be for ages. I finally got tired of the charade.

Image result for getting my life together memes
Trying to get my life together. Credit: Memes.com
Robert is currently away on his last military deployment. There is a lot of unknown stretching out in front of us for the next year, but deep, deep down inside I am at peace with all the change. That's something new and different for me. Usually I fight change with every fiber of my being.

I spent a lot of time volunteering last year. A lot of time. I learned many valuable lessons. I met some incredible people. I also met some assholes, but that's just life, kids.  This is all going to tie together in the next little bit, so bear with me. I'm normally super long winded (Universe: Duh! Me: Cut me some slack, willya? Universe: *fake snoring*) but I am trying my best to keep this short and to the point.

After much obsessive over-analysis, elliptical therapy, therapy in general, and a genuine desire to get my shit together for good, I have come to the following conclusion.

I am not willing to be afraid of life anymore. It's time to dive right in to the ocean of life instead of sticking my big toe in once every three to twelve months. It may be messy, it may be hilarious, it will probably be a big ol' hot mess, but it's gonna happen.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Thanks for reading. See you soon.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why, hello generation gap

The other day Sara asked me if I've ever heard the song Me, Myself, and I. I told her yes, which started the endless repeat of this song in my mind.

Not too much later, I figured out we were talking about different songs. She meant this one.

Do we even want to talk about the difference in the messages?

Image result for funny memes about musicI played De La Soul for her and to her credit she listened to it with me. It finished, she thought for a moment, and then said, "That is the worst song ever. Please never make me listen to it again."

#ParentalFail

Because of my love for all kinds of music, I really thought I would remail at least fairly up to date until the kids were well into their teens. But then it hit me, I rarely listen to the radio any more. It's not possible to be familiar with something you never hear.

Image result for funny memes about generation gap musicSo for my New Year's Resolution for 2017, (and yes, I'm calling it now), I will be listening to more radio. And then I will try to figure out a way to bleach my brain from all that noise they are passing off as music.

Oh God. Forget turning into my parents, I'm turning into my Grandparents.

'Tis a sad day, indeed.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Exploring Minot

When we lived in Asheville I had two years and a grand plan to explore and take pictures, then blog about it. It never really happened. I became a bit of a hermit (still don't regret it),  and when the four of us left Asheville for good, it was with much more relief than regret.

But, that was then, and this is now. (Hello, nice to meet you, I will be your Captain. Captain Obvious, obviously.)

I love living in Minot. So today we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather (58!!!!!) and explored downtown a little. I even had my camera! So, without further ado, here's a little Minot for you!
Sara was in the mood to have her picture taken, so I took advantage. 

A man comfortable in his own skin will carry his daughter's purse if she asks him to. 

Love the colors in this one!

Looks like a place to revisit minus the kids!

Downtown Minot. I love old buildngs!

We found a cookie shop! 

How can you not take a picture of something like this?

I think this is my favorite shot of the day. I have no idea why, though. 

More buildings

A hearse. Just because it was there and I had a camera. 

Heading back home. There's also a lot of nothing around here. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I Make Myself Tired

I'm tired.  I mean, I am when-I-sit-down-and-get-still-I-fall-asleep tired. Every time I sit. Every. Time.  I've also been wanting ice, so I wonder if my iron level is low again. I wish they had a home testing kit for that, like the ones to check your blood sugar. Actually, I wish there was a device like in science fiction movies or series that could just scan you and tell you what was wrong. :beep beep beeep beeep: Your iron is low and you are not getting the required amount of rest. Please eat some spinach and take a short nap. Beeeep:
www.brainlesstales.com

Of course I also wish I could just swallow a nutritional pill and not worry about eating because deciding when, what, how much of it and how often is frankly just about a full time job when I'm trying to eat clean. Which, yes, I am trying to do and which, yes, I am failling miserably this week.



Healthy motivated me: what's for breakfast?
Unhealthy unmotivated me: Cupcakes. Lots of 'em.
Healthy motivated me (HMM): no, no. That's not even a little acceptable.
Unhealthy unmotivated me (UUM): Fine. Then have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
HMM: What? No way! Protein, protein is what's for breakfast.
UMM: (snorts derisively) Girl, please. That means cooking and ain't nobody got time for that today!
HMM: Psh. It takes three minutes to cook an egg.
UMM: (in a singsong voice) But then you have to do diiiiiishes. If you eat pop tarts, there are no diiiiiishes.
HMM: Oh stop it! No pop tarts!
UMM: Chips?
HMM: NO! Stop it right now!
UMM: You know, there's probably some Halloween candy around here somewhere. OOORRRRRRR, you need to go to the store. You could just get yourself a little treat....like a Kit-Kat because you DESERVE a break. And maybe a Coke. You drink a lot of water, just drink more water today and flush that right outta your system.
HMM: Arggghhhhhhh! Shut up already!!!
www.quotes.lifehack.org
UMM: You know what, it's already lunch time in Europe. You should just make a pizza. You could even make it a breakfast pizza if you are going to be a stickler about sticking to proper meals at proper times. Yuuuummmmm, pizzzzzaaaaaaa.
HMM: No, NO, NOOOO! No pizza, no soda, no candy, no junk. Stop trying to push me off the wagon already.
UMM: (Laughs heartily) Oh, that's cute. You think I'M pushing you off the wagon? You have been dangling off the wagon since you halfheartedly climbed on. Did you not have a burger for dinner last night? Hmmm?
HMM: Yes, I did have a burger. I eat well a large percentage of the time, I am allowed to have a burger from time to time.
UMM: How do you explain those fries, then?
HMM: Um...actually, that's a good point. The fries were unnecessary and a very bad decision.
UMM: (Smugly) See? You've already ruined this week. It's Thursday today, you may as well just eat whatever you want today and start fresh on Monday. You don't have to tell anyone. It will be our little secret. Come on, you know you want to.
HMM: Of course I want to! My relationship with food is unhealthy. Always has been. But I can do this. I am going to do this. No matter what you say or how much  you try to get me off track.
UMM: Keep telling yourself that. This conversation is not over, but it's boring me and now I'm tired. I'm going to take a nap. You should take a nap too. You know you aren't sleeping well at night. What time did you go to sleep last night? 2? 3? You should take a nap and then eat something good, something that will get you going, make you feel better.
HMM: Yes, like a protein. I will have almonds.
UMM: Sure. Have almonds. I'm sure you can eat a 'healthy' portion right out of the bag without over eating. At 200 calories an ounce, mind you. 200 calories. And that food isn't even a true handful.
HMM: I am counting them out. I have a plan.
UMM: So you say. So. You. Say.


On second thought, no wonder I'm tired. I'm fighting myself all day long. Good grief.

Friday, November 27, 2015

In This Edition of Robert Was Right...

I love to bake. I find it relaxing and fun. While the outcome of my efforts is generally pretty tasty, I definitely don't have a decorator's touch. If my baked goods had a tagline, it would pretty much be: Not much to look at, but tastes delicious.

A few weeks ago, my friend Michele and I decided to combine our families for Thanksgiving. She is an incredible cook and baker, so I was pretty excited about this. I offered to bring mac and cheese, my step-mother's sweet potato casserole, and my mom's chocolate cake.

This cake is one of my favorite ones to make because not only is it super easy to make, it's light and fluffy and delicious.  Both Mom and I pair it with this yummy, fudgy icing that hardens when it cools. Not exactly a ganache, but pretty close.

I get up this morning and start cooking. Usually I make this cake in a sheet pan, simply becuase it's easier. But I felt all fancy today, so I made two layers instead.

The cake baked perfectly. While it cooled, I started the sweet potato casserole and the pasta, and whipped up a small batch of chocolate buttercream frosting to put between the layers.

Once that was done, I made the icing - combining butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and milk in a saucepan with a hand mixer. I poured it over the cake and smoothed it around the sides.

photo from www.gooddinnermom.com
It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was Martha Stewart worthy. It looked a lot like this picture.  

I was concerned about it setting up properly in the super warm kitchen, so I went to put the cake in the garage where it was nice and cool.

Robert offered to clear off a shelf for me to put it on, but I said no. The cake was on a tupperware base, and was stable, so I put it on top of the garbage bin. Robert, looking concerned, asked me if I was sure I wanted to leave it there. Sure, I said. It'll be fine.

Back to the kitchen I went to finish everything else and clean up. Once that was done, I went to peek at the cake. I open the door to the garage and......

photo from: www.kingarthurflour.com
There was no cake on top of the bin. There was no cake on the edge of the bin. The cake was on the floor. In giant, formerly delicious looking pieces. Sort of like this picture, except in the garage.

Oh no! OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Robert hears my dismay and comes into the garage and then HE says, "OH NOOOOOOO!" Not "I told you so" or "You shouldn't have put it there", or "I was afriad of that". Which, let's be honest, I kind of deserved to hear.

It's just after 12 pm. We are supposed to be at Michele's by 2.  I used the last of my cocoa powder and the last of my powdered sugar making the beautiful, but now ruined cake. Now what?!?

Okay, what do I have that I can throw together that will be as good as the cake? Uh, nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. A big, ol' goose egg.

Think! Think, think, think!

Then I get the brilliant idea to call Antonia, a friend of mine that is also an amazing cook and baker, to see if she has any cocoa powder that I can borrow. She does and tells me to come right away. I throw on some shoes and my frazzled, disheveled, food splattered self jumps in my car and dashes over to her house.

But she doesn't just give me cocoa powder, she gives me Italian cocoa powder. Which, if you had asked me about before today, I would have said, "Cocoa powder is cocoa powder." Today, after baking with it, I can most assuredly tell you that there is a huge difference. HUGE.

Not only that, she MAKES me more powdered sugar. Like, produces it right in her kitchen like it's no big deal. I am grateful. Actually, grateful doesn't even begin to cover it.

I get the second cake done in time for us to make it to Michele's by 2. It's nothing short of a miracle. And, because I'm feeling a bit...sensitive about it, I have an overwhelming need to tell you that the second cake?  It was amazing.