Monday, November 23, 2015


I wrote a note to him very similar last night. (Eh, whatever. I wrote a TEXT, because really, isn't that the only way to communicate these days?!) After I sent it, I wanted to "save" it, to remember this day, these feelings and this pride. And so, here it is- wIth some tweaks for privacy. 
Being an aunt is so much like being a mom, but yet, so different, too. I love each one of my 5 nieces and nephews for being their very unique, silly, happy, respectful, talented selves. 
To my nephew on his almost birthday, 

So.. It's the eve of your 16th birthday. Really?! Seriously?! Nope. I'm not THAT old! Right?! 
You were my first nephew, the first time I ever thought- "hey, I guess kids aren't so bad" (before you I'd vowed id never marry or have kids 😉) but you, C, you made me see life a lot differently. Your intuitiveness, your intelligence, your compassion and determination has astounded me from a young age and it continues to with each chapter you begin. 
I know I was a lot better aunt before I was a mom, but even though I can't just jump in the car and take you trick or treating, see your school program, make it to your bowling birthday party, or bake cookies with you, (man, I missed a lot of class to trek from Lawrence just to see you!) it doesn't mean I love you any less than I always have. 
I'm so very proud of you. For the man you have become and the amazing adult I know you will be. You make me proud to be your Keeks. 
And yes, you tower over me, but I will forever be your Aunt KeeKee. 

Happy 16th! I can't wait to see what this year brings! 
I love you, 
Aunt KeeKee, Keeks, Keekers

Friday, November 13, 2015


So what is with all this talk of "Plexus" and "pink drink" all of a sudden?  I know you're wondering. What on earth is this girl up to now? Well, here you go.

An attorney by education, we decided when my son was born 5 years ago that I would leave my job and stay home with him. Then, about a year and a half ago my mom introduced me to a product I adored and an opportunity to go into business with 2 of my best friends, she and my sister. "Working with 2 of my favs? Yes please!"  

We started our Nerium business as a group and for fun. Little did we know the huge opportunity Nerium held! We had tons of fun traveling together, meeting new people and sharing the fantastic products, and making money! Life was good! 

Then, last fall, I got shingles. Yes. Shingles.  It covered the right side of my face, scalp and eyelid. The itchy red rash hurt and was awful to look at, but even worse was that it affected the trigeminal nerve of my face.  This caused electric shock-like excruciatingly painful pulsations through the side of my face. There wasn't any treatment that offered relief. Pain medication barely touched it. Anti seizure medication helped buffer the shocks a bit, but left me groggy, unfocused and unable to function with active then 2 and 4 year olds. 

After about 6 weeks, the pain subsided and I was excited to have my life back. But, I was quickly sidelined once again. I remember taking this picture in the waiting room at urgent care on New Year's Eve. I was frustrated, trying to make light of the situation and hopeful that this too, would pass. 

Blood work and X-rays confirmed pneumonia. More medications were started, antibiotics, steroids, cough medicine and an inhaler.  

For the next 6 months, I went through relapse after relapse. I would finish one course of medication only for pneumonia to return. I was frustrated. I was depressed. I was anxious, and I didn't recognize myself. The steroids had made me appear puffy. I had gained a lot of weight. My skin was dull, my eyes sick and sad. I tried to put on a smile for my children, for my husband, for the world, but inside I was defeated. And scared. 

I didn't understand why my young (ok so relatively speaking here) my young-ish body was failing me. I was doing all the doctors instructed and yet... I couldn't get well. I was convinced there was something very seriously wrong with me and I was fearful to dig too deeply. 

While I wasn't actively working Nerium, I was so very thankful for it during this difficult time. I had the freedom to work as I could, to continue to share and still receive my residual income. It was a huge blessing, but as I battled with my health I felt my passion for the business fading.  

While I felt better through the summer, I battled lingering consequences of my poor immunity. I developed an intolerance to some of my favorite foods, my allergies were constantly troublesome, my anxiety reached a high, I couldn't sleep and yet that's all I felt like doing. I took sleep aids to rest, and woke up even more tired. I was battling with extra steroid weight, a diminished self worth and a lingering fear something was very wrong. 

Then, in August, I decided to again reach out to a sorority sister. Emily and I had communicated almost a year prior and both as successful women in network marketing. She tried Nerium and I tried a 7 day trial of Plexus. 

At that time, a year ago, I remember thinking how great the bust of energy felt that I gained from the pink drink. My head felt clearer, less cluttered. My sugar cravings had subsided and I found myself naturally making better nutritional choices. I wanted to try for a longer period, but as many of us do, I was pursued by other friends with other businesses and other products promising similar results. In an effort to support their passions and budding businesses, I went on to try another product that only left me jittery and anxious. Then, well, the "season of sickness" began. 

But this time, I jumped all in. I explained my struggles and it was recommended I order the Triplex. (This contains the Plexus slim "pink drink," biocleanse and probio5).  And after looking at pricing, I opted to become an Ambassador; not to create or start my own business. That was the last thing I needed! I joined for the discounts and potential to earn free products by sharing with my friends and family. 

I was hopeful. But I was very skeptical. 

I started drinking the pink drink daily and just felt better. I noticed my coffee needs decreased, my naps disappeared and my productivity increased. I slowly added the biocleanse and then the probio5. And slowly as the weeks progressed, I found I no longer needed my inhalers. My IBS is gone, my intolerances disappeared. I don't "need" coffee throughout the day. I fall asleep easily and awake refreshed, something I haven't done in years. And while it wasn't my direct intent to lose weight, I found that within the first month I lost 15 pounds effortlessly. 

My body feels in balance. I finally feel like the truest version of a healthier me. Weight loss is still something I'm working toward, but unlike any other time in my life, that is not my focus. I have realized the importance of whole body health, of gut health, of blood sugar stabilization and for me, with those things in place, weight loss follows.

And so, when you see my posts sharing Plexus, my friends experiences, stories and testimonies, that's what it's about for me. Money is always nice, but a sick, tired, anxious person can't enjoy any of it. 

With only 2 months on Plexus, I won't pretend to understand or know all the facts of how the products work, or why. But if you reach out, I promise,  I'll find out whatever I can to see if Plexus can help you, too.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Red birds

Today I am thankful for red birds. No one can ever convince me you didn't have a hand in finding our new home for us. Every day I drive by red bird st. And Hollis lane and today as the littles ate breakfast they talked to our red birds in our tree. Thank you for the signs you are forever with us. I love you and miss you more than words could ever express. Sending you sugar and a hug around the neck. Happy birthday, Papa bear. ❤️❤️❤️

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Not sure why this one never posted. Oh well... 

Wow! What a night! Good friends, good drinks, good food, good laughs and GREAT baseball! It's an incredible time to be in KC and I couldn't be happier we chose here to anchor our life. I am so very grateful for our happy new home, our adorable neighborhood, walking trails and the lake. We are so happy here and although we've only lived here 2 months and our garage is still full of boxes, I feel so very at home here. 

I love our community! School was cancelled tomorrow! They are calling it the "blue flu" and the kids, I and some friends are headed downtown first thing in the morning to celebrate with the rest of this great city! 

Be Royal! 

I know.. The camera on my phone is pretty awful now. :(  

Friday, November 6, 2015

This guy

Today I am thankful for this guy. The heart on this kid astounds me each and every day. He loves everyone with all that he has. 

He had a rough start to kindergarten. He was being bullied, and it broke my heart for my sweet boy to be hurting so badly. 

Each evening he would get out his art supplies and draw a picture or have me help him write a note. I would mutter under my breath as he would ask to spell those same names I had heard just moments before had hurt him, but I obliged. Each day he would take a note to a different student, come home and do it all again.  I shook my head, tried to convince him this wasn't a good idea as I feared the rejection he was faced with as he gave these notes. 

But then, day by day, I began opening his backpack to find kind notes and pictures from friends here and there, and then lots. One particular evening he piled the notes to take them to his room then turned to me with that dimply smile, "see mom? My friends are the nicest friends ever." 

They are, sweet boy. But you are the one who saw it there all along. 


Here's a little tidbit I shared on the FB earlier... 

Today I'm thankful for her. So when everything fell apart and I missed my haircut appointment and a sweet little raspy voice said "let's get me ice cream?" We did. 
She had her red star Popsicle and then ate lunch. Yep. Lots of red 40 in that thing, and to accompany it? Fried chicken strips, French fries, and ranch dressing. Totally quality nutrition right there. Yet, none of it mattered. 

We sat together, giggled and talked about her day, and right there nothing else mattered; not my greasy, poofy, a month past due for a cut hair or my dashed plans of "feeling pretty." (Because all you mamas know that's sometimes the only thing that helps!). It didn't matter. Nothing did, because her happy is my happy.

 I love her smile. I love her laugh. I love my Charli Brooke. ❤️

And I am thankful. 


It's that time of year. I'm pretty certain I recognize the same "kind" of things each year, but I like doing the exercise. It's good practice for me in the sometimes hard, overwhelmed heavy weight of life to see the happy. And when I start... It's incredible how much happy I see. 

I'm a lucky girl. I am thankful. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

So close

Sometime it feels like we can reach out and touch heaven. Today when we got home from church we were welcomed by swarms of ladybugs on our windows. So many we couldn't count. Just everywhere! 

Brooke, You feel a lot closer when we get such incredible glimpses of you, Thank you for the "ladybug day." I love that they remind us of you. But more than anything, I love that my babies know that's you saying you love us. 🐞💗👼 #auntbrooke #ladybugs #angels 

I'm baaaaaaack

The blog is back!!!! 

For those unaware because my lack of posts, my blog was shut down for over a month due to an automated scanning by blogger to determine blogs that did not adhere to terms of service. I received a single email letting me know that my blog was in violation and had been deleted. 

I was heartbroken. 

This blog may be silly to some, and perhaps over sharing, personal or just plain pointless. But to me, it's a catalog of memories and moments I wouldn't otherwise record.  Sure id know the first time my son said "mama" or got his first tooth, but would I remember him growling at the nurse for shots? Or how many times I had to call poison control for Hudson eating... Well, everything? Nope. And for that, I'm so very grateful for this. I've shared and over shared so much and am oh so excited it's BACK!   Now to see if I could make some sort of scrapbook of content to save "just in case" again. Because, as my husband has told me time and time again, "you don't need hard copies of the blog- it's on the cloud and there forever," wasn't exactly fact in this case. Blogger holds the keys to my content. 

Any suggestions welcome! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


****in my craziness this didn't get posted, but was written on Wednesday morning at 5am) 

I'm up early.  Well, maybe I'm up late. I'm at the point of tossing and turning all night when you finally give your spouse some peace and get up for the day.  

My heart is heavy.  My mind is whirling.  I've never been good with change.  My sign is cancer, the crab. For us crabs, our shells are our worlds.  Let us keep our nice, peaceful home and loves and we're fine.  We will scurry along the sand and you'll never notice. But, take our babies from our tight pincher grasp to start at 2 separate new schools, put all our belongings in boxes, and start having someone new's mail sent to OUR house?  Well then, you have one freaked out crab! 

The last 2 nights have been full of meeting teachers and seeing classrooms.  First up was Charli and she handled it like a champ.  She was her usual outgoing, fearless self.  She introduced herself proudly, with her full name, of course. "I'm Charli Brooke Barker."  (Which you can't convince me isn't her sweet  Aunt Brooke wanting to make her influence known at every turn :) Charli didn't miss a beat exploring her classroom and meeting new friends.  She buzzed about her new room with a confidence and cheerfulness that had me with no doubt she would be just fine.  

Whew.  One down.  This would be no problem, right? 

Yesterday started with a bang. Poor Barks was up in the 3:00 hour (yes, AM!) for a day trip to St. Louis.  After he left I had appointments with movers,  more packing, last minute school shopping, more phone calls, then Hudson's meet the teacher night.  Solo.  Just me and the kids.  

It's no secret Barks balances me out, not to mention it's always easier with help.  But last night I was on my own.  Hudson was super excited.  He even requested a shower right before to "look really nice." 

He picked out a non-character shirt and non-athletic shorts, both oddities, and asked me to comb and put product in his hair.  As he said, he really did look like one "handsome comet!" 

We got there early and waited for the school doors to open.  Hudson stood confidently clutching his paper bag of school supplies.  But as the doors opened I saw the nervousness creep in.  Children and parents darted in and made their way to their classrooms.  I struggled to hold 2 little hands and supplies with no clue where I was going.  We followed the signs and found ourselves in the kindergarten hallway. 

We were the first there and a sweet teacher sensing my son's anxiousness, or perhaps just mine, crouched down to Hudson.  "Hi! My name is Mrs. R.  I'm a kindergarten teacher here, what's your name?" 

His eyes were huge.  His mouth gaped open, but no words came.  I nudged him.  "Hu-hu-Hudson." He stammered.  My sweet boy was more nervous than I'd ever seen him.  

She sweetly spoke and guided us to our teacher's room.  Another sweet voice introduced herself to him and his stiffness softened, "I'm Hudson Barker.  It's nice to meet you."   My confident boy was back.  

The next hour was full of a scavenger hunt designed to let each parent and child explore the classroom, organize supplies and thoroughly rattle and set every parent off their game.  Ok, so maybe not that last part, but with 22, 5 year olds, nervous parents and little siblings in tow, it was downright comical watching us attempt to follow in depth directions.  By the time it was all over, I just wanted to get out. So we left the class, explored a small amount, met his new speech teacher and dashed. 

I kept it together.  No tears. No show of anxiety to the kids  gushed feign excitement for how awesome this was and took deep breaths.  And I held it together.  

Well, until the kids were peacefully resting in their beds, I crawled into our covers and Dan turned out the light.  Then the tears came. 

So many questions. So many worries.  If only I could just keep him with me. If I could just stay with him the first day.  If only... 

I cried. for a long time. Too long.  And my poor, sweet "awake for 20 hours" husband talked me through it all.  

But, now it's 5am and I've given up, curled up in a chair with a cup of coffee and my bible.  Through prayer and quiet I realize, it's just another change, it's another step that I must face and I'll be so glad I have.  He has them.  And as I cried to Barks whining that I wanted to just be with them both every moment, he looked at me. 

"Aunt Brooke.  She's with them always.  And they have a whole troop of other loved ones looking after them."  

And he's right.  

They are ready.  They will be great.  I need to be, too. 

Let's do this!  I'm in. Let's enjoy this very last day of summer freedom!  

But I'm not giving up my right to cry.  

I'm stubborn like that.