Thursday, February 28, 2013

Throw it like ya' mean it!

Time for an update on Big Earl's big fun!

This past weekend was the first Highland Games of my season at the North Texas Kickoff Games in Fort Worth, TX. Good time all around! The North Texas Heavies are the best group around and I love them all dearly! What a great event. We were slated for 6 in the Women's class but only ended up with 5 competitors on Saturday. Nevertheless,  it was an awesome group of really fun women and we had the best judge ever in Brittany Boswell.

I had some great throws this games, most notably a turning of the caber...goal accomplished! She was a tiny little nugget, and she bit back once, but I finally got my turn (and a 12:00 at that) so that is a big monkey off my back. I got a PR in both Heavy weight for distance and in sheaf (which I won, thanks again, to the laying down of much more capable women Tammy and Mona!) I have to say that the height events will continue to be my favorite and something that I have a little bit of an advantage in, being the tallest of the heiffers that I usually compete with. Just have to continue to improve my technique. To that end, I need practice. I really didn't practice like I should have on my off season. Life is busy, I am not that motivated, practice isn't fun by yourself, blah, blah, blah.  I need to buckle down and try harder. End of story. At the end of the day I came in 4th place. Would have loved to be in the top three, but in all honesty, I compete against myself more than anything. As long as I am consistantly getting better, I really shouldn't complain. A friend of mine posted this on facebook earlier and it really hit home...

Some of the highlights of the day:
Mona "The Mastadon" Malec taking down field records like it was her job! Seeing Tammy looking awesome! Down 50 pounds and still as big a personallity as ever and making new fans in everyone she meets.
Hearing the lion roaring from the zoo just behind the trees at the field (and I think a turkey too)
Progress made by 2 brand new throwers that had their first games in October. Sara and Brandy were awesome, fun, and inspiring. Sara even came in 3rd place (this is what happens when you practice...)
Quote of the day: "Maybe I am a lipstick lesbian." -Brandy
Hilarious laughs, renewing friendships, meeting new people, getting to know people better, and the Texas crew putting on a heck of a shindig!
Good times, Good people, just Good.

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention, Brit sent this to us this week. Man I love being in a early season games! Top 10 hahahaha, will never see this again!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm a mom, it's my job.

My heart is broken for two local families. A 9th grade boy killed himself in the bathroom at a school not far from here yesterday. Sunday night, a 6th grade girl killed herself. I can't imagine the heartbreak their families are experiencing. I can't imagine what is so bad that it would make a 12 year old girl and a 14 or 15 year old boy take their own life. People like to blame bullying. Maybe that was why. I don't know. Maybe they did not feel loved. I don't know. Maybe they were mentally unstable. I don't know. Maybe they needed Jesus. I don't know, for all I know they knew Jesus. All I can do is wonder. And think about my own children. I have a 12 year old girl and a 9th grade boy. They are both healthy, well adjusted children. I tell myself that healthy, well adjusted children don't kill themselves. But I still worry. I still want to hold my kids a little closer today. I want to cuddle them on the couch and keep them home from school and anything bad that could touch them. Even though I know that is not the answer. So my daughter went to school today, to a field trip she was very excited about. And my son went to school today and will have a big swim meet tonight that he is excited about. My kids are excited about life. That makes me feel better....but I still worry. I'm a mom. It's my job.

My prayers are with the families of those two children.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't be a hater...

Inevitably every year I make plans. I set goals that may or may not be reached. I get back on track, or back in gear, or back in the gym, or some other such admirable thing I can do for myself, my health, my family, etc. Every year I write a list of what I should do, mostly because I am a compulsive list maker. With the popularity of putting our whole lives on social media, I find it hard not to notice that I am not the only one that has found myself traveling a path I should not be traveling and had to redirect my steps. This time of year, especially, I see people decide that THIS will be the year they get their particular goal accomplished.

I also notice a disturbing trend of negative Nancy's out there that like to shoot down anyone with a resolution or goal or a hope of acquiring a new physique. What I find particularly sad, is when I see people complaining about the "new years resolution" crowd at their gym. It brings me to mind of when I was a newbie in the gym. I joined the gym mid year, and oh how I felt like I was an outsider. It was the first time I had even seen several of the machines and it was intimidating. I felt like everyone was looking at me and thinking how I just didn't belong there and what did I think I was doing even glancing at the free weights like I would ever know what to do with them. If it wasn't for my husband encouraging me to keep going back, and showing me how to use the equipment properly, I probably never would have figured out that I LOVE to lift weights. And if you are one of those people that hate to see new people come into "your" gym and crowd up "your" equipment, I have only this to say to you. Get over YOURself. You are not the only person in this world. Just because you decided to get your butt in gear much earlier on than someone else, doesn't give you the right to doubt their sincerity and commitment to their goals. NEVER make fun of someone with goals. Without goals, you're on a metaphorical tread can keep climbing and climbing, but you are never gonna get anywhere. And with all the negativity and doubt, is it really any wonder so many people join gyms and quit after just a few workouts? I actually saw a comment someone made about "just trying to scare them off so they never come back." Impressive...he probably does curls in the squat rack too.

So to those of you who have found your way to my little corner of the web that may need a little encouragement in your new goal reaching adventure, I offer a few tidbits that I have learned over MANY years of fumbling and struggling through getting back on track. These are things that I have been told, or learned for myself, or read online or whatever, that have worked for me in the past. These are things, that when I routinely get back on the wagon I have been thrown from by the evil villain known as willpower, I fall back on to get me going again. And also a few things I am just learning this time around.

1. Don't deprive yourself. That is a biggie. If you can't have something you really want, you will be more likely to quit. Eat the stupid ice cream (a SINGLE serving)  and then go take a walk. You will feel better knowing that you didn't get cheated and you didn't cheat yourself.

2. Do something. Anything. Move. Get physical. Dance. Play on the Wii. Play with your kids. Just get off your butt and do it. You will be glad you did.

3. Find a buddy. Even if she lives in Texas and you live in Oklahoma. Tell her how much you weigh and what you want to weigh and how you plan to get there. Then keep her updated. With pictures. And make her do the same. We call this one accountability. And it is tough, but important.

4. Keep track of what you eat. No matter what your plan, writing down what you eat ever day makes a big impact on what you eat. If you know you have to track it, you may be more hesitant to eat it. Or at least you will see where you are making your mistakes...

5. Small plates. It seems silly to some, I am sure, but over time our portions have gotten out of control. If you put a normal portion on a large plate, it looks small. You feel deprived, because you just got a small portion, and you eat more or you feel like you are still hungry. Put the small portion on a smaller plate and it looks like you are getting much more food. Mind tricks work even when we play them on ourselves.

6. Don't eat distracted. Pay attention to what you are eating. Don't watch TV or get on Facebook or mess with your phone. Sit at a table with your food on a plate and eat. It is too easy to eat your food too fast and not give your body time to tell you it is no longer hungry. And If you are with people who will distract you from your food, try to carry on a conversation you have to actively participate in. It will slow down your eating and your body will be better able to tell you when you are satisfied.

7. Fresh and colorful. Try to make most of your food fresh, non packaged food. You don't have to go to the health food store for that. Find a grocery store with an actual butcher. Fresh produce is not that hard to find. And a plate full of colorfull veggies and fresh grilled meat is one of the most satisfying meals I can eat. If your food looks more appealing, it is more satisfying.

8. Keep your triggers out of your spaces. If you absolutely can't have potato chips near you because you will eat the whole bag, don't put them where you can see them. Or better yet, don't buy them. No one else in your family needs that crap either.

9. Prepare. Have a plan and put it into action. Get your foods pre-prepped when you have down time and you will have a much easier time making healthy choices when you are in a hurry.

10. Don't be afraid of the gym. Look people in the eye, and show them you belong there. If you want to know how to use a piece of equipment, ask someone. And for heaven's sake learn how to use free weights! Squat. Not just leg press. Squat. Your butt will thank you....not right away. It will cuss you first, but eventually it will thank you.

There are so many things you can do that will help you not to quit. Find your nerve and stick it out. A better you (and me) is just around the corner.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas...not just for kids ya know

It has to be said. I am a big kid. I love Christmas and everything that goes with it. I love having a big bright tree in my living room. I love sitting in the semi dark with said tree lit up and drinking cocoa. I still feel the anticipation of not being able to sleep I am so excited on Christmas morning. Not because of the presents I am going to receive, but because my memories of Christmas revolve around all of my favorite people.

As a kid, we didn't have much money. I hesitate to say we were poor, but we probably were. I didn't know it of course. My parents took excellent care of my sister and I and never made us feel like we didn't have enough money. They worked hard to give us a very special Christmas and I never remember being disappointed because I couldn't have something I wanted for Christmas. This is probably because they raised me to not be greedy or to expect the most expensive things, but I always remember being so happy with what I did get. Most of my presents I don't really remember, but the feeling of knowing that my mom picked them out special for me, I do remember. I also remember sneaking into the living room so early it was still dark outside to see what Santa had left us. Too excited to sleep after that I would conspire with my sister to wake up Mom and Dad so that we could open presents. What I do remember getting, every Christmas, was pajamas. Mom would let us open one gift each Christmas eve. She would choose which one very carefully. Always it was our new pjs that she wanted us to wear to bed so that we would have them on for Christmas morning. It is a tradition I have kept up with my kids.
After gifts, mom would make a big breakfast and we would listen to Christmas music and get ready for the day.

We went to my Grandma Opal's house, where she always had some small something for each of her 9 children, their spouses, and all of her 18 grandchildren. The gifts would not be something big or costly, but I never cared what I got and was never disappointed in it. It wasn't the gifts that I remember as much as the time spent in her house, with cousins and aunts and uncles coming and going throughout the morning. It is something I miss very much. I miss my Grandma.

We went to my Grandma Faye's and had lunch and spent time with her and my Uncle Larry and Aunt Paula. I remember when my Great Grandma Daily was alive she got me a little musical jewelry box with a dancing ballerina. I remember taking pictures around the Christmas tree with my cousins and Grandma Faye and sometimes the Bride's Delight she would make. It makes me giggle to think of taking pictures with a dessert. But wed did it. Man I miss my Grandma.

We have new traditions now. On Christmas Eve, Jim and I and our kids open our presents. I take great care to pick out something my kids will like. But have tried to instill in them, the excitement of the season is not what you will get, but the memories you will make. We spend the night with Jim's mom and dad and usually watch Elf and eat til we are sick. Santa comes to Nana's house, and just like when I was a kid, even though my kids no longer believe in Santa, he will still bring them gifts. Because it is fun for me.

We spend Christmas Day with my mom and my step dad. We eat, open presents, sit and nap, enjoy each other's is a perfect Christmas day.  My daddy is gone now, and I miss him a lot this time of year. Well I miss him all year, but especially this time of year. He loved Christmas. Ever since my daddy died, and my Grandma Faye died, we have tried to spend time with my Uncle Larry and my Aunt Paula at Christmas time. Usually Aunt Paula would pull it all together and we would meet at her house. This is our first Christmas without her. I miss her too.

My memories revolve around people I love. It isn't about gifts. It isn't about fighting crowds to finish shopping. It isn't about getting what you want.
I have to remind myself sometimes that it is truly about Jesus and God's love for us. And I am so thankful because all of the people I miss the most, are spending time with Jesus at Christmas. That knowledge is truly the greatest gift I could ever have.

Now I have to go wash my face. I don't want the kids to see the tears when I wake them to open presents as soon as their daddy gets home. I'm too excited to wait...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reposting from Texas Women's Highland Games

Reposting this from another Blog. I was asked to write a post about how I got into Highland Games and about my experiences this year. It was posted here:Texas Women's Highland Games It is a good blog to keep an eye on for anyone looking for something a little different. Also a good source of information for anyone that is interested in this crazy fun sport.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet Keli "The Amazon" Glover!

My name is Keli and I am a 34 year old mother of two very busy children. I live a very busy life where I am chauffer, maid, chef, and of course cheerleader for my active 11 year old and 14 year old. I am also an overweight, slightly lazy woman that loves ice cream and a good cheeseburger way more than I should. Not really someone you would look at and think, “Hey she must be an athlete.” Don’t get me wrong. I have pursued many different activities for varying lengths of time including running, weight lifting, boxing, and bike riding, all with varying degrees of intensity and success. I still would much rather sit on the couch and read a book.
About a year ago I met some of the most amazing people I have ever known. Friendly, helpful, down to earth, foul mouthed, funny, caring…I could go on and on. They were athletes of all shapes and sizes, but their one uniting factor: they wanted to teach people all about their sport. They were Highland Gamers. My husband, Jim, had entered a Highland Games just for the fun of it and these awesome folks bent over backwards to help him and to make sure he had a good time. By the end of the day, he had learned so much and had such a great time, he was hooked…and so was I. I decided I just had to try it. You see not only were men involved in this crazy sport, but women were as well. And these women weren’t catty, they didn’t care that I was fat and didn’t have on makeup with every hair in place. They were awesome. And they all wanted me to come outside and play.
Unfortunately that would have to wait. That particular event pretty much marked the end of the Highland Games “season” in these here parts and I would have to wait 3 months for a Games close enough for me to go to. During these three months, Jim and I practiced what we could with what equipment we could piece together; but without someone to show me what I was doing, I didn’t make any forward progress. February rolled around and with it, the Texas “kickoff” games were fast approaching. We of course wanted to enter, but a family conflict would keep us from competition. We heard tell of a seminar being put on by the Vincent Brothers, Matt and Andy Vincent the day before the games and decided we could make it to that if we drove down and back to our eastern Oklahoma home in one day. (let me just interject here and say, if you ever get a chance to do an all day or even half day clinic with one or both of these guys, DO IT!) I learned so much that day! I came home sore from head to toe, hungry as a hippo, and so excited to compete in my first games.
April and the Iron Thistle was my first. Eight women of varying degrees of experience, a beautiful day, an awesome location, all combined to make a fantastic time. The best thing about your first games, every throw is a PR (personal record) and the “old timers” will tell you It probably will never happen again. I ended the day in 7th place, which was better than I had expected to do by a long shot. Since then I have done 3 more games. A “backyard” games in late July gave me some much needed practice as well as a couple of new PRs and very nearly a heat stroke, but a darn good time none the less. At the Tulsa Scottish Festival in September I really felt like I was getting the hang of some of this stuff and even won two of the events (I must mention that this is only because two seasoned veterans I was competing against decided to bomb out on the height events and handed it to me on a silver platter. Thanks Britt and Terri!) My kids even gave it a whirl in the “lads and lasses” highland games for kids and both of them loved it. Several PRs at Tulsa gave me a much needed ego boost and some footwork drills shown to me by a short bald man I am convinced may be a leprechaun, gave me something extra to work on at home. This all brings me to October and the Texas Celtic Women’s Challenge where I was honored to compete on a team of 5 women against two other 5 women teams. As far as I am concerned, this is the ultimate Women’s highland games event and everyone should give it a try at least once. Each team makes up a cool name, the prizes are sweet, and the swag was outstanding. My team, Blood Bath & Beyond, ended up winning, but it had to be a close one, as the teams were neck and neck all day. I ended the day with 5 PRs out of 8 events, and while my throws are nowhere near as good as several of the women there, I was extremely pleased to have beaten my previous best efforts and I feel that helped my team get the win.
I have had an awesome year. I made a million great memories, met a lot of great new friends, spent some quality time with my husband, and I can’t wait to do it all again. My season is over for now, but I see a lot of work in my future over the winter. Next year I plan to do twice as many games, I want to see some big PRs, and I want to turn that $@#* caber.

As ever photo credits to Larry Ventress at Pioneer Photography.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I've done it now...

Well there is no going back. I have partners in crime. I made a commitment to be an accountability partner in my quest for a....lets just say healthier, me.

I have struggled with my weight for years. Not gonna lie, I love food. But as I get older, I notice a significant decrease in my ability to be fat and happy. I decided it was time I buckle down and change the fat part. I'm not even looking to be skinny really. What I want is to not jiggle when I walk or wave my arm. And I want to look at a picture of myself and not think it is a horrible picture. Is that too much to ask? Oh yeah, I also want to get stronger in the process...Maybe that is too much.

See what I mean by jiggle. Aww and there is my cute little hubby.
 I would say I have tried it all in the diet realm, but in truth, I have never stuck with anything for long enough to know if it works or not. Considering I struggled to remember to take my birth control pills when I still needed them, any kind of weight loss supplement is out. Fad diets are no fun at all. I find myself severely discouraged when I tell myself I can never again have one particular food (namely potatoes and bread.) And quite frankly, I don't care what you all say about it. Eleminating one food group or source of calories is not going to be a long term solution to keeping me on the right track. Maybe it works for you. Good. Keep it up. But trying to drag me in isn't gonna work.  To be completely honest with you, sugar and starch didn't make me fat. Eating too much of EVERYTHING made me fat. Poor choices made me fat. No self control made me fat. Throwing away the lid to the ice cream container made me fat. (you know cause then I had to finish it)

I have learned alot about how I won't lose weight over the years. And for the record, I have learned alot about how I can lose weight if I want to.  I did Weight Watchers for 3 months one time and lost 30 pounds before loosing focus and gaining it all back again. The problem for me is will power. Well that and accountability. If no one knows I ate a pint of ice cream, it didn't happen. Right? *sigh

I am now going BACK on Weight Watchers. And this time I am going to have a little help. Enter my partners in crime. Two fellow Big Earls that are also highland games competitors. We all live pretty far apart, but with the internet these days I can keep in touch with them better than I do my own mom.  So we will be checking up on each other and talking each other off the ledge when the urge for a pint gets to be too much. We even agreed to send each other pictures of ourselves along the way. Those photos will NOT be shown here... but here is one of the three of us back in April at my first games. They are both smaller now than they were when this was taken, but it is the only one I have of the three of us. Gonna have to take a new one when next we are together to show our progress.

Have I mentioned that a kilt is not a flattering garment for a Big Earl?
Oh well. We are beautiful anyway. Right Girls?!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What could have been...

Just re-posting a blog I did back in May on another site. Trying to keep it all in one place.

What could have been...
Originally posted, May 27, 2012
I recently looked through an old scrapbook from my senior year of high school. I read the entry I made that described what I expected my life to be like in ten years....not all of it came true. In my dreams and goals of 1996, I envisioned myself as a NSU educated  business owner with a husband(if I can stay with a boyfriend long enough) and kids, a house with more than one bedroom and still driving my awesome car from high school (but I might have another one also) and still best friends with my friend Shelly and we would be bridesmaids at each other's weddings. I also had a dream of changing the life of at least one person in some positive way.  Looking back now I see the comedy in this entire entry. I never thought to be married or have kids until after I finished with college and started my, at this time unknown, business. I guess I thought a 2 seater sports car that was already as old as me, would have no problem carrying me through my daily life 10 years from then. But these were my plans and I intended to enjoy every minute of my journey.
Of course, plans have a way of changing. I did start NSU that fall. Had a great time and partied...a lot. Then I met Jim. I was 18 and he was 21. He was working as an EMT in the same town I was living in, but we were actually introduced by a mutual friend's mom.  We were supposed to meet at a football game in my old hometown. That day, for some crazy reason, my speech class had volunteered at the local SPCA shoveling dog poop in the cold October air. I was tired and was getting a cold and had no real desire to meet anyone at all, but I went. He was running late because he had been working and when I finally met him, I thought he was cute, but I wasn’t interested in any kind of relationship at the time so I didn't really take him all that seriously. I gave him my number and he said he would call and maybe we would go out or something. He did call and we went to lunch and talked for a long time. He kissed me and I said yes I would like to see him again but I know he was hoping for something more long term even after such a short time knowing each other. The next day he sent me roses. A dozen beautiful red long stem roses with a note that said something about I told you I only spend money on things I want. I thought it was very sweet and wanted to thank him in person and so I took my roommate Allison down to the EMS station where he worked. When he met me outside in his uniform, I melted. You know what they say about a man in uniform and let me tell ya I was all in.  From that day forward we were inseparable. By New Years Eve, only a few short months later, we were engaged to be married. We were very in love and set our date for the following October. Thus the course of my life was changed forever. We actually ended up getting married in August, just days before Jim was set to start the Cleet academy for a local police force and I was set to start my Sophomore year of college. Our son Wade was born the following February(let me just save you from doing the math here and say yes I was pregnant when we got married, thus the date change) and I was a 19 year old mom and took one semester off of school to have him and enjoy being home with him.  I started back to school when he was 6 months old and found it almost impossible not to quit again. In fact, I did quit again, but promised my dad that I would finish but that I just wanted to take some time off. It was hard, being a wife and a mom, working part time for my in-laws convenience store, and going to school. To make matters worse, my mom and dad divorced after almost 20 years of marriage and my world was thrown into chaos. I also used the excuse that my grandma was struggling with cancer and I wanted to take some time to be with her and to help take her for her treatments. Life is hard and not always a good time. But little did I know that it would get so much harder. My grandma recovered from her cancer...then my dad found out that he had cancer.  When my son was almost 2 years old I went to visit my dad on a Sunday afternoon after he had been in the hospital. He was home and was looking and acting better than I had seen him in a long time. I told him that we had decided to try for another baby and he informed me it would be a girl. Two days later he went to heaven to pick her out for me. I knew then that there was a reason that I had become a mother so young. God knew I was going to need someone to take care of, when I didn't feel like going on. That amazing, funny, loving little boy got me through the hardest year of my life. In December of 2000, while I was screaming at the top of my lungs in a hospital so full, they didn't even have a delivery room open, in the middle of the night, scared to death because I already knew this baby was going to be bigger than my first child was and I suddenly remembered how much that had hurt, my beautiful girl was born. Jim had given me another perfect Rose....a pink one this time. We named her Rosie and I like to tell her that her Papa went to heaven and picked her out for me. It makes us both smile. She was a month old when I went back to school. I didn't quit again. It took me a long time to finish but in May of 2003 at the age of  25 I was a college graduate with a bachelors degree in business administration. I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and never regretted a day of it.
So looking at my dreams and goals from so long ago makes me laugh. They seem so silly now. Yes I am an NSU graduate, but you couldn't pay me to have my own business and all that stress right now. Yes I have a husband, but I find it hilarious that we were engaged in a much shorter time most of my previous "relationships" had lasted. It didn't matter how long I could stay with someone, it only matters that I could love him forever. And my kids...are simply a gift from God. We do live in a 3 bedroom house, a small one, but it has three bedrooms. And after 11 years of living here, I almost have it just the way I want it. The little 2 seater car had to go when I discovered you can't transport a baby easily in it and not at all if Jim was with me. I got a Jeep Cherokee and then finally a mini van which is so far away from my tiny sports car as can be. Shelly and I were bridesmaids in each other's weddings, but we eventually lost touch. Our paths went two different directions for far too long and we grew apart. I do have her as a facebook friend and I think of her at times, but then I get busy hauling a kid to a practice somewhere and never call her or contact her. And as for changing the life of someone, I did. Just as he changed mine. Almost 15 years ago I married a man that would love me more than life. And every day he shows me just how much.
I often wonder what it would have been like had I not gone to that game, never met him and had his babies. Well this weekend he is away at work, my kids are out of town with their grand parents, and I have my in-laws dogs along with my own 3 dogs. My mom is out of town as well, my best friend Patti is, I assume, spending the day with her husband and family and I have no one to play with. I get home from church this afternoon and fix myself a box of mac and cheese because I don't want to cook a whole meal just for me and sit down surrounded by 6 dogs and think to myself....Is this what it would have been like? By myself as some kind of crazy cat lady  living off of frozen dinners and take out because cooking for one is no fun and a spotless house because what else is there to do than clean....Hahahahaha!!!!    Thank you God for not giving me what I wanted. Thank you for giving me what I needed. Now I am gonna go call my sister and see if she and my niece are home and maybe go for a visit, because obviously I am bored out of my mind. And tomorrow maybe I will go throw something. I do have another Highland Games to get ready for.