Day 2 of the Big Journey

This is exciting but difficult. Change is hard whatever it may be, and for me that change is my love for food and making it quick and easy. I know it’s only the second day and it will take time to make my changes a habit. I’m not depriving myself either. I believe in the weight watcher’s approach to a new me. 

If you deprive yourself, you just focus more on what you can not have and that stinks, but having a little bit in moderation at certain times always helps me. Tonight, I was craving Mongolian beef. I had a small portion of beef and smaller portion of rice, but it was enough to satisfy my longing. I had budgeted calories in my day for this dinner, too, so that I had enough in my bank, so to speak, to enjoy my dinner and not have to worry about ruining my diet on the second day.

It’s so difficult to want to trim down my calories each day while wanting to boost calories for my kids who are still growing and in need of them. While they enjoy earing healthy, they also enjoy comfort foods, too. I guess I’ll have to learn how to make those a bit healthier and more calorie friendly since hubs is joining me this time around. It won’t hurt the kids either to have those comfort foods in a healthier version. Granted, most of our homemade food is already fairly healthy, but could use some tweaking. Another experiment for hubs and I. 

Our greatest challenge is always what t of eat first dinner. I see that we will finally be planning out our menus like I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now, but the challenge will be adding the healthy aspect to our recipes. Any ideas? We love our crock pot and I see some ideas meandering around in my brain with ingredients and the like to attempt. I’ll be sure to share my creations if they are tasty. 

Thus endeth day 2 of our journey. So far, so good, but I can tell you, I could really go for some ice cream right about now. Too bad I won’t be having any. 😣

Peace and love guys!

Deirdre

The End of Another Year

As we age, the years tend to fly faster and faster. This year has been like that in some ways but has dragged on in other ways. It’s hard to think that these last few months have flown by already and we are nearly at the end of 2016!

Last year at this time, we buried my wonderful mother. It seems like yesterday that I was chatting with her but at the same time it seems like it was years ago. How is that possible that life continues like this? God helps us through these times of sorrow and our family and friends get us through as we come together and create a community of love and hope to make it through the tough times and come out on the other side refreshed and smiling once again. 

Earlier this year, I had surgery that turned ugly. I ended up having a life threatening infection following the removal of my spleen and partial pancreas removal. What a whirlwind! There were days I thought and wondered if I would ever make it through that and see my children grow up. Here I am thanks to the incredible love, again, of my family and friends. Without them, I am not sure I would have had the strength to go on. 

I sent my second daughter off to university which was hard, but not as hard as sending my first one off emotionally. I knew she would be home often enough but it is still another thing to have to get used to. Another change for our entire family just to make things interesting! She loves her school and has made so many friends already. Now she is home for a month a I’m so excited to have her home. 

My oldest has moved out of the house for good which is another change but I’m so proud of the young woman she has become. My oldest has grown up so much over the last year. She got a job and bought her first car. She has made herself a place in yhis world and is making her own roots. She will always be my baby girl though. 

Hubs and I have only 2 at home now. Very strange how that family dynamic changes so much. Usually this is alright with a few exceptions. Our exception is when my youngest has homework time.  My youngest has ADHD which makes the end of the day… well… interesting when I’m working. Luckily we have the best 4th grade teacher this year. She is a tough cookie but very fair and loving with our little guy. She expects his best and he fights tooth and nail! This little man will get through the fourth grade and it will be thanks to his marvelous teacher. 

This year has been one heck of a year and one that I would like to mostly put in the past. There have been bright parts to it as well, and those moments have gotten me through the tough times. 

Looking forward to the new year, I am looking forward to a year of great relationships with family and friends. I look forward to a healthier me in 2017 with hubs and I working on healthy choices for healthier bodies in the new year. I believe that 2017 will be a much better year than the last 2 years have been. So I say, so long 2016 and bring on 2017!

Hi Mom, I Miss You

This used to be one one of my favorite times of year, wI think the weather changing to crisp, autumn days and nights in need of cuddles, but last year something happened that changed , your life forever. My mom, my best friend, my mentor, had a hemorrhagic stroke on October 21st.  That day will forever be the day my world was turned upside down, never to be the same again. 

My mom was a woman of great strength to all who met her. She exuded energy and ultimately life itself. Never did anyone imagine that in a blink of an eye all that life would be changed and then lost just 5 short weeks later when she would take her last breath.  This was the woman I looked up to always for guidance. She wasn’t allowed to just not be here anymore. What was I supposed to do now?

This year has seen many changes brought on by the catalyst of mom leaving this world for the glory of heaven. I have changed and I hope for the better. I don’t take days for granted anymore or the joy of my family. I’ve switched jobs and I am no longer scared of change like I once was. I am happier in some ways, but the fact still remains that I am now, a motherless child. 

It makes no difference how old you are when  you lose your mom, you always need her. I was very fortunate to have her as long as I did. I know, because of  her strength and teachings, that life goes on and that there is still beauty in this world. Last November I wasn’t quite so sure as the days turned into weeks in the hospital. 

I am blessed that mom was here for me when I graduated high school and college, got married, had kids, got divorced, got remarried and had another child. I am blessed now that she is in heaven watching over all of us, probably having a good laugh most of the time and shaking her head the rest. the bottom line is, I am truly blessed. 

I still cry just not so much anymore. It helps me get through the pain that lingers still and I’m sure always will. We have made it through all the firsts with the exception of just a couple coming up. Her birthday and the first anniversary of her death. I still want to pick up the phone and call her. I always will. I miss her voice so much. I wish I could talk to her and hear her reactions to my stories. I so miss her laugh and her little clearing of her throat. I just miss her, but she remains in my heart, always.

My mom always said she would be my best friend someday when I was a teenager and I never believed her. Funny, she was right as always! I wish I was that smart with my kids!

Since mom’s death, I treasure my family even more than before. I drive even more safely. I don’t take unnecessary risks,  not that I did before,  but I’m not in a hurry to leave planet earth for a long time yet.  Maybe when I’m 90. Maybe, if the kids are okay. 

Decluttering Your Life

Lately I’ve been working on trying to clean out my house a little bit at a time, one room at a time, one space at a time. it amazes me how much junk we all accumulate over time. I am no exception. my problem however, is that even when I am not particularly attached to certain things, I still somehow feel like there should be a place for those things that I may need. I am ever the work in progress and so is my family.  I can honestly tell you some members need more motivation than others and some need more help to rid themselves of the clutter.

My problem has been the lack of motivation to begin the process. I then have to think whether or not I have used the items within the last year. if the answer is yes, and I still use it, it’s a keeper, if not, I have to ask why not and then either put it in the give it away or throw it away bag, whichever is appropriate. I’ve found it is really cathartic to get rid of things and simplify life. 

We all seem to hold on to clothes as well as other memorabilia but as we age, we suddenly realize that it is unnecessary to save every picture and project little Johnny made growing up. there just isn’t room in the house, no matter how great is was. If you’ve been blessed with more than one child like me, you will certainly run out of space! Sure I have saved a few things, but not enough to fill tubs full of artwork and favorite memories. 

When cleaning out kitchen cupboards,I find it extremely helpful to and skills myself how much do I really use the item. I got rid of so much unnecessary stuff. Hopefully all those items received new homes, as they were in good condition and were given away.  One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

We still have too much stuff but I continue to work on my simplification of my life. one day, when there are no more kids at home and less pets to care for, I may just have that home I’ve always dreamed of, but for now it’s a home of love that is well lived in. I can live with that and always have my eye on the prize. 

Time Goes By

Each year comes and goes unbidden yet we feel relatively the same inside. Each birthday rolls around and the years add on, but we are basically the same person we were when we were 19 or 20, just more mature and hopefully we’ve learned a few things we didn’t know in our younger years. Yet the fact remains, we are still the same kid just trapped in an older body. Well, I am.

 My body may not cooperate with me like it once did, it may not look as good as it did, but inside I am the same person I’ve always been. My heart is the same loving, caring, easily hurt heart it has always been. My mind, however, is older and hopefully a lot wiser than that one of my youth. 

My mom used to say we really only aged every 7 years. Look in the mirror every 7 years then you see a difference. You don’t see the daily changes because they are subtly happening. Why be ashamed of those changes? You earned the right by living your life and being alive.

As an adult, don’t look for the fine lines and wrinkles. They’ll be there soon enough. Think of them as battle scars. We earn them if we are lucky. Don’t think of them as anything less than something to be proud of. In this culture which prides itself on youth and beauty, only men can grow older and own those fine lines and wrinkles without being judged. It’s about time we women stood up to all the hype and  social pressures and said enough is enough. There is no magic cream that will prevent it all. No makeup can hide it forever either. 

Growing older is a privilege not all are afforded. So as you struggle with getting another year older, think of it as a privilege and realize that you have 2 choices. One is to grow older and enjoy every moment and the other is to grow older with resentment at the things you should have done. Enjoy life. Smell the roses. Don’t sweat the little things because no one remembers them in the long term anyway. Remember, each day is a privilege.

And to my dear, dear friend, who is an inspiration to me, happy birthday! You are spectacular at every age!

Missing Mom

When you are feeling just a little under the weather or downright sick, we all want our moms at those times. I’m just like everyone else in that respect and in the last few days it has been extra difficult. You see, a year ago my mom has her stroke and was in the hospital. I am reminded each day where I was and how she was doing this time last year. To top that off, I’ve been feeling under the weather enough to warrant mom care. But if you follow my blog, you know that won’t be happening anymore.

I am still grieving over the loss of my mom as we near the one year anniversary of her death. I still have another month to go but this is the really hard month, as I sort of relive all those memories of last year. I spent all my days in the hospital with her. I spent my time talking to her, praying with her and for her and finally realizing that her life here was at it’s end. 

Simply stated, last year sucked and I don’t want to relive it, but I am reliving it in a way, but nearly as an outsider looking in. I have a different perspective this time as I know the outcome. I still cry unbidden. I still speak to her as though she can hear me. I still wait to hear her voice sometimes, but it never comes. 

I still see her in my dreams sometimes. I thank God for those dreams. I recently had the best dream of my life. I was in my mom’s kitchen and she was making dinner. I could smell the potatoes cooking. Such a realistic dream. Mom where she always was, doing what she did so well. I could smell her even though I could not touch her. I was home. It’s a home I will never quite have again even though I gratefully have my dad and he lives in the house. I no longer have mom. Mom made it home.

I know many people understand the loss of one’s mom. This is my journey and I share it with you because that is who I am. We get only one mom in life. I did anyway. One fabulous and incredibly wonderful mom. I miss her each and every day. I will go on missing her as I don’t think we ever truly get over the death of our mother. They make us who we are and shape us into the people we become as adults.

When Your Babies Grow Up

I’ve been thinking a great deal about when my kids were little these last few days. I remember bringing them home from the hospital and wondering who each would become as they got older. As parents, we all have hopes and dreams for our precious children. Some of those dreams may be realized but often times those are our own dreams unrealized. Some parents seem to live vicariously through their children trying to release their own dreams often to be disappointed later when their children become who they are truly meant to become.

When my children were brand new, I held them each in my arms and wondered at the amazing miracle that had been bestowed upon me. I had become a mom not just once once, but four times! God must trust me a lot, I thought. I had a job to do to raise them and to do a decent job is a daunting thought for anyone. When I brought my first daughter home, I couldn’t believe they let me leave with her. What did I know about being a mom? I was 26 and married, and a nurse, but what if she was truly sick? What if she had cancer? How would I know? Yes, that was my thought when she was 4 days old. She and I cried in the rocking chair in her room as I thought this. I was so scared that something would or could happen to my precious baby girl and I couldn’t protect her. 

That baby girl is 20 now and no, she never had anything we couldn’t handle. She has had plenty of battles to face, but she has come out of them stronger and better. She’s one strong and amazing young woman. She is my fighter. I’m proud of her and the woman she is becoming.

My second daughter was always the worker. Even as an infant she knew her own mind and didn’t hesitate to make it known. She was not an easy infant but as she learned to speak very early, she used her large vocabulary to assert herself and she quietly worked for what she wanted. She is my worker bee and peace maker.

My third child was born a girl and grew up as a girl, but never felt comfortable as one. If you aren’t familiar with the term transgender, in today’s society it refers to one born as one gender but feels like the other gender. In other words, they feel like they were given the wrong one at birth. This is my third child, born a daughter, now my son. He is sweet, hilarious and so talented! His artwork is incredible and his ability to figure out music on the piano is amazing! 

And before anyone judges my child or me, step into his shoes for a moment. Would you choose a life where you were different from your peers? No you certainly wouldn’t. You wouldn’t choose to live in a body that didn’t fit who you felt like you were on the inside either. Before you judge others, think of the life they are living. My sweet, funny, shy teenager would never choose to be judged or ridiculed because this isn’t really a choice. It is who he is, not who he chose to be. He is shy and doesn’t enjoy drawing attention to himself. I am proud of my son who used to be my daughter. I am proud of who he is and who he will become down the road. 

My last son is all boy. He was born that way. He is just 9.5 years old and is rambunctious and sweet, wild and snuggly, crazy and huggable all at the same time. You can let him outside with clean clothes on and he will come in filthy 5 minutes later. He has my heart. He drives me crazy. He is a conundrum. What will life bring him down the road? Who knows, but I will do my best to raise him to be the best man he can be. 

Children are a wonder. God’s gift for us to raise and cherish. We are blessed to share life with them and have them. I am truly blessed to have my four amazing kids. How incredible and special each one is and how unique yet similar they are too! It still amazes me when I look at them that they are mine. I will always see them as those little sweet baby faces. I will always remember the sleepless nights and 2 hour feeds, but they’ve grown up so fast. Where did that time go?

Coffee Time Already?

It’s a glorious fall morning on this particular Saturday. I may be a lover of the warm weather, but there is nothing like bundling up with my fleece jammies on and fuzzy socks and enjoying a hot cup of caramel brulee coffee under a blanket. It’s soul soothing in a way.

This time a year ago, I was spending my time in the hospital with my beloved mom. Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of her hemorrhagic stroke, a day that would change my life forever. When I was called by my daughter, I was told that grandma was in the ER and my husband and I went straight there. We never imagined what we would find. As I headed to the room to see her, still not sure what had happened, I was told I could not go in. I was still calm despite my fears.

My dad and brother were already there, of course. I’m the last one to be called since I have a family of my own and my brother is single. The boys, as I call them, are very close and very similar to beach other. I’m the girl, and mom and I were always close, very close. She was my best friend. 

We were shuffled off into a little room so that the doctor could talk to us about the stroke. The fact that mom was coherent when she came in and the cardiac workup was negative but that she started to lose her cognition and deteriorate rapidly finally led them to know it was a brain bleed, and unfortunately it was a big one. She was put on a ventilator and received what we referred to as a brain drain to keep the pressure down in her brain.

She amazingly started to recover slowly. I was so happy even though I knew, being a 20 veteran nurse, that she would never truly be exactly who she was before, but she was doing so well. She was sitting up and eating and talking after a long week. But then everything changed. 

Little did I know in October 21,2015 that on November 25,2015 at 12:38AM my beloved and blessed mom would leave this world. She fought and fought hard, but she had too many complications that mounted up against her. 

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I don’t cry as often, but I do still cry. I can’t tell you how much I miss her. I miss her laugh, our long talks, her hugs, her advice wanted and unsolicited, her smell, her little cough, her hands. I miss everything about her. 

The pain is still there, but not so raw. I don’t think you ever get over the death of your mother. Not truly. Sure we move on and learn to live life again, but life will never quite be the same without her here. The good thing is, I know I have a angel watching over me because I know my mom has to be in heaven. She was the most beautiful and holy person I knew. I thank God for being blessed with such an awesome mom for all the years I had her here. If you still have your mom here, go give her a hug today. You never know when it will be the last hug you will get.

It’s a Birthday Coffeeshare Weekend!

I celebrated my birthday on Friday and what great friends I truly have. My friends took me out for dinner minus one of my besties who was trying to get her pool closed for the year as well as not feeling great. We had a blast! The 5 of us are out hearts out, fixed all the world’s problems over food and good wine and just had such a good time together it was hard to say goodnight when our evening was over. I am so truly and utterly blessed to have the very best friends in the world. Thanks to my T for managing to throw it all together and make it a memory that will surpass some of the other birthday memories that were not nearly so pleasant. 

Earlier in the day, I was blessed to go pick up my beautiful daughter from school and take her out for lunch at a great diner! What a truly fabulous gastronomic adventure! If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for a superior diner atmosphere to partake of, look no further than the loop. Fitz’s diner is phenomenol! The burger and the fries! Plus homemade sodas and floats that will absolutely bust a gut! We shared, and did not finish, a black forest float made with their black cherry soda and rich chocolate ice cream! Yummy! 

The best part of that was spending time with my girl! I missed her do much! Catching up on everything is so important in the grand scheme of life. A bond between a mother and her children can not be broken. Well, not in my case. My oldest sweet daughter even came home.

I didn’t get to see her until yesterday, but it’s so much fun to hug my girls. I miss them so much. She bought me the cutest clock and it matches my living room colors perfectly! 

I always say I will always love my kids even if I don’t always like what they do. I say this often to my youngest when he is driving Hubs and I crazy in the evenings over the old homework issue. Most of the time it’s been a lot better, but there are those nights when he is just so tired and we have both worked all day. When that happens, homework time leads to a screaming banshee child and it just stinks. Homework generally gets deferred to 6 am the next morning with me and then he’s like a brand new kid. This weekend he’s been terrific though. He even spent the night at his friend’s house and had a wonderful time doing so.

I have been on a baking kick lately. Its all about muffins. Cinnamon apple muffins more precisely. I make them from scratch. Although I prefer larger pieces of apple in mine, the family prefers the pieces to be diced very small. The tops are dipped into butter when the muffins come out of the oven and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. My 15 year old have me the greatest compliment ever. He said they were the best thing he had ever eaten. How cool is that for a mom to hear, especially when it’s not heard very often from a picky eater!

So that’s what going on in my neck of the woods. What’s going on in yours? You know I love to hear from you. Today I’ll be making homemade granola and some pumpkin muffins for the family! Family and food. What more could you ask for? Well… Maybe hockey and football…but that’s another story for another day! Take care and have a great day!

A Beautiful Day for Coffee

Such a lovely time of day when the birds begin their song in the wee hours! I wasnt always a morning person. I used to stay up till the wee hours and sleep in when I was younger. Now days, my sleep habits have changed and I have reverted back to my childhood days of early mornings. 

What could be better than having a warm cup of coffee in hand and just relaxing or praying/meditating in those hours when all is quiet in the house and all that can be heard outside is the sound of nature? I love being able to hear the sound of the crickets transform into birdsong as the sun slowly rises. What a joy and miracle to behold. 

Watching the sunrise is another bonus that many don’t enjoy. I can’t say I have the best place to watch it rise, but it is such a wonder that we, as inhabitants of this beautiful planet, get an opportunity to watch this miracle each and every morning, just as we can watch the sun set each evening. 

Yesterday, our family were lucky enough to watch an IMAX movie called Beautiful Planet. Watching this incredible movie I was amazed at the views from the space station and the realization that we really do need to care even more for our planet. We have come a long way, but We take so much for granted in our world. We have been blessed to live here. This is our home and we have a responsibility to care for our home. Let’s make a difference and keep our planet beautiful.