"Your first name is Carolyn and your last name Dike. So what's up with 'teamBoo'?"

We are actually more commonly known as the "Dikefests" but a little voice on my shoulder told me that that blog title might be slightly misleading. Pretty much any way you slice it, either my target audience wasn't going to find me, and/or my actual audience would be seriously let down. At the time I had recently rediscovered a few songs in my Itunes by Mates of State (a quirky husband and wife singing duo). I had never noticed before that one of their albums was called "team boo". It just stood out to me as an affectionate yet playful way of referring my often silly (if not inappropriate?) closeknit family. 

oh, and also i had no other ideas :)

"Are you from AZ? Do you plan to live there forever?"

H no! I am originally from the bay area in California. I moved (begrudgingly) to Prescott, AZ the year before high school and have lived there or in the Phoenix valley ever since. I have never been a big fan. A lot of our family is here which is why we've stayed so long, but I dream of relocating almost daily (hopefully sooner than later). In the mean time it's basically just Stockholm Syndrome that keeps me sane. I do my best to like it here (and there are a lot of people who LOVE it in AZ) but aside from the heat, the parks are lame and the culture lacks sometimes I feel my spirit is, how do I say...dying?

I'd love to move to the northwest where the trees are a plenty and people are...weirder. I want more space around my home where my kids can run wild. Preferably with a hill, where I could run to the top while singing and spinning...with my hands outstretched.

"How old were you and Handsome Bob when you had Elyott?"

Ah, my fave. Mostly cause when I tell people in person, I can literally hear the calculator buttons "be boop-ing" away in their heads. With this, while I'm at it, I might as well give you a little background into how this "Dikefest" came to be...

Adam and I were friends in high school. P.W.S.T (Pals With Sexual Tension, but only pals nevertheless.) We always dated other people, but somehow ended up going to homecoming together most years (you know, as "friends"). He told me in General Business class he was gonna marry me someday. I told him he was dumb and his breath smelled. He said "you'll see". It's these conversations that really started to lay the romantic foundation we have today ;) We randomly made out one time before we graduated and we went our separate ways to college. A couple semesters later we were still friends via sporadic telephone calls (all from him to me, I always had a strict "no calling boys policy" that he never agreed with...but guess what?? it worked sucka). We made out one more time when he came to visit me at ASU and we were hooked. 

yadi yadi yadda, skip ahead about 2 years...

We got married at 19 (me) and 20 (him). And had our sweet Elyott (eh eghm...) 4 months later! I do not recommend this (referring to the timing, not the kid :) To me, my wedding was quite honestly, a disaster. I felt overwhelmed by our families and completely disoriented. Adam and I knew we were crazy about each other, but at that age I was so impressionable and unaccustomed to standing up for what I felt was best (which was take some time to get my bearings). Before long, we were thrust into parenting life before we even knew what hit us. 

Times were hard before we found our rhythm, but we powered through and have been beating the odds ever since. Adam is my most FAVORITE friend of all time! and such a great companion for me. I love him. like a lot. Plus he's hot. We figure out parenting and being in love day by day, just like everyone else. It's been 9 years of marriage and we are SO excited to be together. Sometimes I forget how hard it felt in the beginning (and times in between) because now (and I hate to sound trite) it is such an amazing experience to have under my belt. It was crazy, but we gained SO much faith in God's plan for us, LOVE, and some good healthy perspective! 

"Blammo!" is what we like to say to the naysayers from long ago...

"We are the Dikes and we are nailing it!"

"Regarding all the running...are you training for a marathon or something? Have you ever run a marathon?"

I have! two actually. They were crazy hard but awesome and strangely make me want to run more of them. The crappy parts are the long runs even if you go out of town, and the 5 day a week training. I felt like I lived at the gym. So while I do recommend a marathon, a half is much more conducive to having a life. 

Yes, unfortunately almost all my running is done on a treadmill since I am a freak about sun on my face. Also I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to running alone outside, no matter what time of day it is. I'm SO jumpy if some perv honks, and I assume there is a rapist behind every bush. The key for me is to go with a number in mind: "today I am running 6 miles" then if I feel good i'll run more, if not, I stop at my goal number (although I never push through an injury). If I go just expecting to stop when i feel tired, I would in the first two or three miles every time (since that is about how long it takes for me to find a "rhythm") A lot of people say treadmills are boring. My gym has like 17 tv's in front of my face and I have music. Also i figure I am stuck with the same thoughts as I'd be if I were anywhere else, so i've adapted.

You'd have to talk to my hand if you tried to say you could never be a runner. I used to HATE it. Many people can't imagine being capable of running anything beyond a mile, but I assure you: you can (yes, you too Kami ;) Baby steps folks. The burning in your lungs and the side cramps go away after a couple weeks. I've seen people prove themselves wrong many times. I can tell you there is no time I feel more empowered and strong than when I have a good run (super cheese, I know). I crave it now. I think it's a great way to appreciate the amazing body you've been given. If you lived by me, I'd make you come with, and run your face off. 

I am not currently training, but am currently trying to get rid of about 15 lbs of baby weight. So I run a lot. The problem is...I eat a lot too :) 

"What was the inspiration behind your kids' names?"

I do wish I had some adorable stories for you, but the inspired ideas for their names are rather ordinary, so sorry if the answer to this teamBoo FAQ is a snoozer.

"Elyott" was a name we liked when the show "Scrubs" was first on (the main female doctor of the show was Elliott Reed). Looking back I wish we had spelled it differently. I wanted it to look feminine, but it just ends up confusing the one "L" and two "t"s...I was a little delirious in the hospital after i delivered, and clearly wasn't thinking very logically. Also it's kind of a "Utah" thing to do...making up names. We still like you Utah-ians, but your names are frigging crazy. I do love her name sets her apart and fits her "girly, yet rough and tumble" nature.

"Sheamus" was one of  teacher's sons names in high school. I always liked it, but knew it was "majorly off limits" since everyone knew I'd be "totally copying the 'cool' teacher." Then once I left the high school bubble, I realized that almost everything we worried about in there was completely ridiculous, so I named him that anyway. We added the "h" to american-ize it and because we felt it would be easier for people to pronounce. It worked. It is also an Irish form of "James" which is my Dad's name, that was a bonus. I have so many people tell me how much they love it and have never heard of it before...but I've heard it's like naming someone "Michael" in Ireland. I just go with it and let them think I'm really original and cool.

"Sonny" just popped into my head one day when it was getting dangerously close to his due date (boy names suck). It was basically the sweetest name I had ever heard, and I knew it had to be mine. Plus it's perfect cause he is seriously the happiest smiliest baby I've ever met. He laughs at just about everything (walking him in a circle, putting his feet in my eye sockets, folding a blanket in front of him, etc.). I guess I lucked out with that cause imagine how awkward it would be if he were totally crabby and annoying all the time. You can ask me again in a couple years ;)

Oh plus, I have awesome taste. That's mostly why.

"When did you realize you needed to take anxiety medicine? How long have you been on them?"

Good question. I've actually been meaning to get to this subject for some time now, but it's just so much more fun to talk about funny stuff than heavy stuff :)

So: after my first baby, I was down. Like a big fatty fat downer. I didn't really know it at the time. I recovered, but never fully. Then I had another baby, I felt euphoric, and then a few months later: crash. Again not really putting two and two together. A couple years went by with me fading in and out of these feelings, all the while I lacked the coping skills to prevent a slowly compounding issue. Finally, over 4 years, I found myself in the midst of a foggy depression with a kung fu grip on the light in my heart, but this time I couldn't get out. I began to doubt my core beliefs....everyone was annoying and self righteous. For me it wasn't about feeling "sad" but rather: irritable, insecure, severely unfocused, intolerant, impatient, defeated, reclusive, anxious about everything under the sun, unmotivated, overwhelmed, libido shot, guilt ridden, dissatisfied, inconsolable, self loathing, and a downright bummer to live with. A hollowed out mess.

Now before you write me off as the crabbiest case that you can't relate to, know that I didn't necessarily feel all these things all the time or all at once, but they were a prominent theme in many of my days. I didn't want to be perceived as dramatic or needy, so almost none of my friends or family knew I was hiding this secret....I must have been a good faker ;) Behind closed doors, I'd have major breakdowns (about once a week at the peak of it), and I fantasized about being put into a coma to skip the "hard" parts of my life. I wanted to run through the wall, leaving a Carolyn shaped hole, and keep running...only i had no where to go, and no desires to be anywhere for that matter. Strangely, I couldn't even put my finger on what or why I felt this way. Sure, times were stressful financially (but whats new? plenty of people enjoy life with much less) I wanted to be a mother (always have) my husband was adoring and supportive (still is), so what the crap was my deal?? My husband was confused and didn't know how to help. I didn't know how to help myself.

Amazingly, it never occurred to me that I was...d, d, depressed. I was always an optimist. A fun haver. A worrier, yes, but prominently a happy playful person with a lot of energy and ambition. I came across an article in Self magazine that had bulleted points of "you might be depressed if"...about 9 out of 10 of them rang true. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Then came the doubt..."It'll take too long to find someone and figure it out and I want to feel better now! Why don't I just snap out of it and realize there are lots of things I should be happy about...what if I go get help and they tell me I'm not depressed, just a crappy person?" 

However, with my children caught in the middle and my role as their now emotionally unstable mother, I knew the only way to hold them (and my marriage) above my swirling waters was to swallow my fears and make an appointment. So I did.

I had a whole script prepared to try and convince the doctor that I must be depressed. I thought of reasons she might disagree and retorts for her possible doubts. I didn't need them. It took her about 2 minutes, and she was sold. Believe it or not, my case was only a mild to moderate one. It was a relief, but I knew I had a long road to recover so I still felt frustrated and skeptical (again, my poor state of mind). We talked about treatment and part of it included medicine...

Pills have a bad rap, and for good reason (habit forming, abuse/overuse, etc.). I know there are many who believe taking a mood stabilizer is a cop out and say oversimplified patronizing things like "laughter is the best medicine","just be happy with what you have, things could be worse" or "self discipline and hard work alone can cure the mind!"  To that I say: "Thanks for nothing Tom Cruise" I liken it to trying to run a mud...up to your neck. I had little children to think about! Every day in this "mommy dearest" state was a day too long for their fragile perspectives, and I needed it to stop, like 6 months earlier. We started with a depression medication, and about two months into it I felt a little better, but still would lie in bed mercilessly beating myself up for every bad decision or reaction that day, feeling guilt or fear for things I couldn't control. After many appointments, we came to find that my depression didn't start with depression, but rather untreated anxiety. So after a few medication switches and several months of tweaking, we found my "formula". 

Now let be clear on one thing: I did not feel bad one day and wonderful the next. I was so gradual I almost didn't even notice! My "aha" moment was one day in the kitchen when I caught myself singing out loud to myself. This was something I had always unknowingly done, but had withered away during my decent into depression. The more I thought about it, the more I could pinpoint things that had changed...spontaneous dance parties with my kids, enjoying affection, not avoiding meeting new people in fears they would think I was the lamest person alive! I have been taking anti-anxiety medicine since about 2008 (ish?) and I have never regretted a single day. 

Others reject the idea of medication for fear of feeling like a "zombie". If this is so, you are either not on the right kind or it's the wrong dosage, for it is highly individualized. Also, I know that I couldn't have be more void of feeling than I already was. I was never in the market to numb my problem, but rather treat my chemical imbalance that was causing my irrational anxiety and get back on track. Once we got my medication right, I felt like myself! My regular friendly, sarcastic, quirky, loving, creative, self-reliant, ambitious, future-so-bright-I-gotta- wear-shades self. Do I seem like a girl with no emotion?!? My life circumstances haven't changed (still a wife and mother, still financially strapped :) I still experience good and bad days and get stressed. The difference now is it almost always pertains to a reason I can recognize. The spectrum is much narrower, meaning I don't risk getting so low, or feeling so paralyzed by anxiety, that I can't dig myself out with some good old fashioned perspective. I now can focus more on what I can control, over the stuff I used to spin my wheels on. I realize medication is not the only answer, and for some not even a necessity, but I was able to realize my recovery faster with their help. Of course when I can, I'd like to arm myself with all the tools of the mind I can learn and continue living a happy productive life, but in the mean time there are two things I know for sure:

1.) I feel no shame in taking medication
2.) I never want to be in that horrific place again

I put myself out there a lot. Partly because I don't want to fear vulnerability, but mostly because I just want to help. However, my goal is not to have every person who feels bad to just jump on the medication bandwagon, but rather give you the support to help yourself if you are in an ugly place. There is hope!! And there are so many opportunities for joy even in a stressful, ordinary or even a what can feel like monotonous life. We are all deserving of love and should absolutely love ourselves. You are important! This life was created by a loving Heavenly Father and he wants us to shout it from the rooftops! If we are stuck in our heads in the pit of despair, accomplishing this goal can feel nearly impossible. Life is about growth and service and joy and love. Let's experience those things together shall we :) 

Feel free to ask me any questions you have. Getting the ball rolling in such a state can be overwhelming and i can help point you in the right direction. The only story I can truly tell is my own, and if it can help even one person, I will be thrilled...might even tap dance on the spot. 

(you hear that? thrilled!! that's an emotion folks! ;)

"Soooo...are you a 'Mormon' or what?"

I'm a wife & mother.
I'm an athlete.
I eat cereal with water.
I am easily distracted.
I love design.
I'm a sarcastic fool. 
I'm a "Mormon".

I have been told more than once "I like that you aren't a 'typical' Mormon." And while I know this is intended as a compliment, I can't help but stop and wonder: "What is a typical mormon?"...are they not funny? are they all born in Utah? do they all can peaches and aspire to own 13 passenger vans? Have I been a sucky example on this blog?

Just for the record: I am totally guilty of poking fun at "mormony" things: like turkey butt hairstyles, bedazzled clothing, scrapbook-like home decor, use of the word "fun" as a response. The truth is, there are so many "kinds" of LDS people from different cultures and all walks of life. I just say those things cause I live on the west coast and the only way to survive the Arizona/Idaho/Utah bubble is to make fun of the bubble. And when you are a part of the bubble you're allowed to do that...pop pop!

Throughout my "ask boo" series I have been asked a wide range of questions to do with my often vaguely expressed LDS faith. Oh the curiosity! The short answer: though I am not trying to hide anything, I have no interest in being a poster child for the array of expectations of what a Mormon might or "should" be (believe me, there are much more qualified examples out there). So I vacillate on how to share this subject, as I don't want to isolate those here who may not share my exact beliefs. 

What I AM here to do is invite you into my life and my love and grattitude for it, all while being true to myself and having integrity. I will say that my faith reminds me daily of my greater purpose, makes my family eternal, gives meaning to my trials, relief from my heartache, and strength against temptation. I have serious imperfections, things I struggle to master, and mountains of goals of how to reflect and improve upon myself daily. That being said, I don't pretend to be anything else but what I am TODAY. 

However, in this blog I like to believe that we are all here as individuals with a common goal: and that is to nurture this beautiful life that we have been given. Each day I have an opportunity to love, to learn, and to grow and pattern my life after Christ. This blog helps me track those feelings. So for me it is less about the label or stereotype of what religion I am (for our differences are what make people so fantastic!) but more about sharing the raw delights and struggles of being human! And that is something we can all relate to.

 At the end of the day I am honored to be a child of God, just like you :)

("LDS" is a shorter way of saying someone who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, often referred to as "Mormons" you know :)

 can I get an A-MEN! 

(...too much? I know, shut up.)

team Boo 's you
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