Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If I Look Back, I Am Lost

Usually this time of year I would have already created our Christmas card and letter and prepared a post about looking back on the last year.  This year you won't be receiving a Christmas card from me.  You won't be reading a post looking back at all the wonderful things that happened in 2012.  This year was not pretty; not one I choose to look back on.

Instead I choose to look forward.  To quote George RR Martin, "If I look back, I am lost."  Why?  Because when you look back and you're still moving forward, you don't have the ability to enjoy or experience the things that are ahead of you in life.  Not to mention, it's hard to see where you're stepping if you're looking backwards!

I'm unsure of what the path through 2013 will bring me.  I've learned this year that life can throw you a major curve ball.  Having expectations is one thing - having hopes is another.  So what do I hope for 2013?
  • A new job
  • A new place to live
  • Seeing members of my family much more often
  • Kian growing up with his cousin Braeden
  • Kian getting to really know his Great Grandma and Great Grandpa
  • New friends for both Kian and me

Oddly enough, looking at that list most of it is about Kian!  Really, he is the core of my life - the reason why I have chosen to do things in the manner they are being done now - so it would all be easier on him.  He has so many wonderful things in store for him and I know in time he will grow used to having two families and two houses.  How do I know this?  Because I grew used to it when I was growing up.  But Kian has the added blessing of his parents being able to get along with each other to help it all go a lot smoother over the next 10 years (sheesh!  he's going to be an adult in 10 years!!!).

So farewell 2012.  Thank you for all the life lessons you've taught me.   Those lessons helped me find my inner strength as a woman and be a better mother.  Now onto 2013 where much bigger and better things await.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

My Foremothers

One of the greatest gifts this journey has given me is insight and remembearnace of the amazing women in my family who have gone before me.   When there were times I didn't think I could keep on or wondered how I would make it through, I would remember some of these women, pull up my big girl panties, and trudge forward.

The first woman that came to mind was my Great-Great Grandmother who had one son and was married to an abusive man.  She left him.  That sounds easy but we are talking about a time before women were even able to vote and when women were considered little more than property to their husbands.  A married woman up and leaving her husband for any reason just was not done.  But my Great-Great Grandma did and if she had not I would not be typing this very sentence.  When she moved on, she met my Great-Great Grandpa LaTulip, who adopted her son, and had other children with including my Great Grandmother.

Then there is my Irish Great Grandma who was feisty.  I was very lucky to have known her for a handful of years before she passed on and I have a several memories of her and great stories about her from my uncles and aunts.  She was a very strong, no nonsense, but witty woman who I hope I can conjure enough gumption from in these upcoming days.

Then, not long after I told my dad's side of the family about the divorce, I received an amazing email from my Aunt Sue.  I have thought about it often over the last several months.  She listed a long line of women who I know and knew growing up who have shown great strength, determination and gumption. The list included my Great Grandma Kesler (who apparently ruled the roost of her house and was very determined) and Great Grandma Quatsoe who took care of her three small children while her husband was off fighting in WWII (props to all those military moms!)  I cannot imagine trying to keep a family going and not being able to get in touch and know your loved one is ok in the amount of time we can today.  Then there is one of my Great Aunts pulled her young children out of an abusive marriage and raised them single handedly, not an easy thing at that point in time.  And my Great Aunt Marilyn, a nun who was voted by her order to be the provincial twice for her order (that’s the equivalent of a Cardinal for a man). She has made many important decisions and had the honor of being chosen to do so.

Then there are my Aunt Sue, Aunt Jane, Aunt Katie, and Aunt Lori who have all been successful women who have overcome their own adversities but who have all been amazing examples of strength, wisdom and encouragement.

And last, but certainly not least, there's my own mother.  I was Kian's age when my mom and dad divorced. My mom was a stay at home mom and only had her high school diploma to fall back on (I am lucky having my Bachelor's Degree).  I know there was a time when we were on food stamps and a time when mom had to borrow money to buy groceries.  My sister and I never knew these things until we were adults.  You know why?  Because my mom never left us needing for anything.  As a child I know I couldn't see it, but I can imagine the confidence that grew inside of my mom as she put one foot in front of the other venturing down this new path of life.  My words do not do justice to the amount of strength I pull from my mom in thinking about how she made it through this time in her life.  But one thing I told myself over and over again when I would get scared about what would happen was, "if my mom can do it; so can I."

I'm going to end this post with a quote from my Aunt Sue's email to me because I think it sums up exactly what I am trying to say.

"Your DNA comes from this legacy of women. Up until now, you haven’t needed to draw on it. I’m sure you will find it now that you need it. Set your goals, put one foot in front of the other; while it won’t be easy, you can do it."
All these women are my Foremothers who have provided the torch to light my path ahead.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Sometimes change is good.  Sometimes change is bad.  Sometimes change is bitter-sweet.  Well, our family is going through a change right now that is bitter-sweet.  After 9 months of turmoil, ups and downs, and a lot of counseling; I filed for divorce.  It's a big bitter-sweet change in my life; in my family's life since it has been broken in two.  It really is for the best.  Jameson and I remain on good terms for Kian's sake.  And, at least on my end, there is not one ounce of regret.

So why do I say it's bitter-sweet?  Well, I've been through most of the bitter part already.  I have grieved over the loss of my marriage since the middle of May and I am in a very good place right now.  The sweet part is that I'm looking forward to the future and what it will hold for Kian and me.  

At the end of December, Kian and I will pack up our things and drive up to Wisconsin with our cat Willow and start over.  (Kian will visit his father every third weekend.)  This is where the bitter part comes in; leaving Champaign.  Tomorrow is my last day at Cream & Flutter, the wonderful, little gourmet cupcake shop that I have loved since I discovered it over 4 years ago and have been frosting at for over 2 years.  It's the first job I have ever had that I loved completely.  I have learned so much about the art of frosting and baking and know that it's something I will continue to do in some way even after I move to Wisconsin.  And the hardest part of all will be leaving my friends here in Champaign.  I said goodbye to my amazingly close friend in July when her family moved to Canada - which was so hard but thank God for technology, she is still my very, very good friend and will probably be forever.  Since she left I became close to another family who really has embraced me, listened to my rants, made me laugh, and even introduced me to Shrimp Crackers which are pretty darn good  :)    I can't say that I will never be back in Champaign because I know I will need to see the Taylors and have a cuppa or two with them.

As for the sweet part, I will finally be back in the mother land of Wisconsin.  I have dreamed of raising Kian there, but never thought it would be a reality.  I will be close to almost all of my family - including extended relatives who have been so supportive and encouraging (in fact, I am planning another post on that).  Kian will have so many amazing opportunities at the school he will be attending in Wisconsin.  Plus he will grow up knowing his Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Zuelzke and a myriad of Great Aunts and Uncles and even a Great-Great Uncle (not many kids can say that!).  He will also be able to grow up with my nephew Braeden and get to know his Aunt Laura and Uncle Brian so much better.  Plus he has second and third cousins that he will get closer to and a lot of third cousins to play with...I guess moving back to Wisconsin is all about family.

I actually considered changing the name of my blog because when I said the word family, I thought of Jamie, Kian and me.  But now my family looks different.  It's not just the three of us; it's Kian and me and so many other relatives that I cannot even begin to count their numbers! 

Life moves forward, our family grows, and the gibberish continues as always.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


There are things in life that we just expect to work. Like expecting your alarm going off to wake us up in time.  Like flipping the switch expecting the light to turn on.  Or like putting your keys in the ignition and expecting your car to start. 

Last week the latter happened to me.  I went to the store and after shopping turned the key in my car and nothing happened.  I expected to turn my car on and to be on my merry say, running about town doing my errands.  Instead, I ended up waiting for AAA to rescue me with a jump to my battery.  The jump lasted me enough to get 3 miles into driving until the car just shut down and i ended up on the size of the road.  (in a No Parking, Tow Away Zone no less!).  The same AAA tow truck guy came to give me and my car a lift to the dealership where we get repairs done. 

An hour later it was discovered that not only was my battery dead, but my breaks were dangerously close to being worn out completely and my tires were bald!  I expected the battery but not the other issues and certainly not for them to be as bad as they were!  If it weren't for my battery, I may have ended up in an accident and someone may have been hurt - and it could have been the most important someone to me, my son. 

Oddly enough, the situation I found myself in today paralleled something happening in my personal life.  Sometimes we coast through life, expecting it to remain the same as it has always been.  We sometimes take for granted that everything functions as a well oiled machine until something stalls and we need a tow from a bad situation to a better one.  Sometimes a quick jump will help us get to where we need to go and sometimes it will only take us half way there before something dire happens.  And sometimes after further introspection there is more wrong than just the issues that produced the stalling symptom.  At this point it should be considered a blessing that these other arising problems were discovered before they caused catastrophic results.  Especially because there were no other symptoms that would show you there was a big problem growing; one that could not be seen unless you were looking for it or underwent a physical to check and make sure everything was ok 

Now there are two roads to travel.  One path is to ignore the problem and not fix it until it was fully seen.  Or road two, address and fix the problem.  Both roads come with a price.  One price you pay later and the other you pay now to insure security and safety.  Either way the price is painful, but to me paying to get my breaks replaced before they wore out completely was the best and wisest option.  Fixing the unseen issues took a toll on our wallet, but I know that it was well worth taking care of now.  

It's been a week and my car has been working just fine.  But there are times when I wonder if it could break down again. When I see a tow truck.  When I pass by the place where I was stalled on the side of the road.  Those reminders can never be removed and will serve as a reminder that not everything is always going to work like it always has or have grown to expect.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Fake Cookies

Yesterday I offered Kian a oatmeal fig cookie that I brought home from Cream & Flutter. He took a bite and wasn't a fan so it was onto a different snack.

A little bit later I asked Kian if he wanted to have cupcakes or cookies for his birthday this year. He said that he wanted cookies - not sugar cookies but chocolate chip without frosting or any other fixings. My first thought was ah, ok.... how am I going to work this out!

A while after that I thought I would ask him again and make sure he was for sure on the idea of cookies since I was going to buy themed cookie cutters to make cut outs of chocolate chip cookies (yep, there's a recipe for them!).

"Yep, but I don't want those fake cookies."

I was perplexed, "What do you mean? Like those cookies you buy in the store and bake?"

"No, like those cookies in there," he pointed to the kitchen.

Once again I was perplexed until I thought for a bit, "Do you mean the fig cookies?"

"Yeah, those fake cookies."

It was then that my son and I had a discussion about figs being a fruit and no fruit would be involve in the making of his birthday cookies LOL!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And the diet comes to an end....

Yesterday we finished our diet and had our first splurge day. I have to say that I was really looking forward to it, but being in the middle of it I started realizing that my view of food has completely changed from before we started dieting.

Jameson and I ate lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant - and as usual got their buffet. My first (and only plate) had two small pieces of naan, a scoop of basmati rice, and a scoop of chicken tikka masala. I couldn't eat it all! It was then that Jameon and I decided that if we do Indian again we will get one order and split it. Before I would have two plate of food, countless pieces of naan, and the carrot puree desert. Bleh! I have no idea how I did it...and I will never go back to being that person again....

That evening we decided to have dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Toro. Since we went almost 10 weeks without cheese or carbs we were excited to dig in. Of course I order what I usually do - a combo that has a chalupa (the real deal, not the Taco Bell crap), enchilada, and a taco. I could only eat the chalupa....the rest of it came home with me in a box. Granted, I did have quite a few tortilla chips with their salsa, but not enough to ruin my entire appetite! But I was happy eating just the chalupa because if I would have ate more I would have felt sick to my stomach...just the whole chalupa was making me feel uncomfortable!

To top it all off, I brought home some cupcakes after I was done with my frosting shift at Cream & Flutter. Now this, unfortunately, is the one food that is the bane of my existance. The gourmet cupcakes that we serve or beyond delicious and enter into the heavenly category. They are hard to resist and I must keep my indulging to weekly. Having a cupcake every day got me to the 30lbs that I packed on before! But one cupcake a week - on our splurge day - helps me enjoy the delicious cupcakes I help create without the guilt.

After all was said and done, splurge day was not what I expected. Sure we ate food that we had been looking forward to having again. But my view of food is so different now it's not quite as exciting as it used to be. I'm not looking at what will just taste good, but what my body will accept as good fuel.

So today we went back to eating as we were when we were on the diet to help our bodies readjust to all those carbs and calories that its not used to having to process. And you know what? I actually don't mind going back to a meat and two veggies. I know it will not only taste good, but my body will thank me for it :)

Dinner tonight: Grilled top sirloin, roasted asparagus and mushrooms with a bit of EVOO, Real Salt, and fresh ground Garlic Pepper seasoning. So hard to eat....NOT! lol

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Before and Afterish Photos

We aren't completely done with our diet, but we are nearing the end of our weight loss part of the plan. As we approached this part of the diet, I started to look through photos of myself from before the diet and it was hard for me to see a difference. I know I lost weight, I know I have gained a new sense of food and how to make better decisions on what I put in my body. But it was just hard for me to see the difference.

So today I finally emailed my coach and asked to see the before photos she took of me the day before we started our journey. She took a front view and a side view. So I asked Jameson to take both a front view and a side view of me today so I could compare. And I gotta say, now I can see the difference!

So, here we go!

Photos below taken November 29, 2011:

Below photos taken February 1, 2012:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodbye 30lbs!

Today was our last weigh in before we started Phase 3 of our diet. During Phase 1 and Phase 2 we are extremely limited on the amount of carbs we can ingest. During Phase 3 we start reintroducing carbs during breakfast. That means that tomorrow morning I get to have the one thing I have been craving over the last 9 weeks...a peanut butter sandwich! Funny how such a simple thing can become the top desire on my list.

So in the last 9 weeks I have lost 30lbs exactly - yep, exactly...how freaking weird is that?!? We will gain some weight back with Phase 3 - water weight from the carbs being reintroduced. But over the last 9 weeks we lost weight, got rid of two of Jameson's meds, and most importantly learned to eat in a while new and healthy way.

The oddest thing is that I honestly don't feel like I've lost that much weight. I feel as if I look the same as I always have, just things fit a bit better or are a little loose. Jameson says he can see a difference - I guess I need to get some recent photos of myself and take a good hard look :p I do feel better about myself and healthier - which was the point of the whole diet!