I'm Mandy, a mother of a handsome handful of a toddler. I'm the wife to a relocated Jersey boy at heart for almost five years. I'm a "youngster" in "Corporate Legal America." I'm one-seventh of a dynamically loud and loving family. I'm a woman with newly-diagnosed hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Metabolic Syndrome trying to find a course of treatment that works. I'm a twenty-something trying to find her way on a journey to discover faith, friends and fitness. Most importantly, I'm me. I'm just trying to figure out who that is exactly...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cristian's Cruisers...

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States.  Autism affects about 1 in 110 children and on July 11, 2011, my son became one of them.  Cristian was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.

If you are in the Milwaukee area, please consider walking with us on September 11.  If you are not in the Milwaukee area or will not be able to walk, please consider donating at: http://www.active.com/donate/DylansRun2011/cruisers.

By participating in this event, we are helping to change the future for all families that struggle with autism by raising money to find answers and by raising awareness about the devastating toll that autism has taken.  Perhaps even more importantly, this event will help Cristian and so many other young children understand that they are not alone, thereby assisting in maintaining a positive outlook on life.  It is my personal goal to ensure that my son does not need to worry about how people might perceive him, but instead to know that he is supported and understood by those around him.

Together, we will find the missing pieces!  Thank you for your consideration.

Hey...you!  Please donate!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Journey to Loving Myself...

This entry comes with a slight warning.  Some of the content is uncomfortable to read.

My journey with eating disorders started young.  I had undiagnosed anorexia when I was 7.  I wouldn’t eat breakfast due to scheduling, tell my teachers at lunch I was full from breakfast and tell my parents I was too full from lunch to eat dinner.  I was discovered when my parents found a sock drawer full of lunch money.  I did it because a boy in my class called me fat and jiggled my arms.  My parents took me to my doctor and the doctor said it was all in my head and I was fine.  Oh, and that I could maybe try a diet if I was feeling low.

I turned to bulimia Thanksgiving Day of 2006.  We took in my Godfather’s family as our own when he suddenly passed away a month after his wedding.  Unfortunately, this brought great stress to our family.  Instead of putting my unwanted two cents in, I kept shoving my face full of food until I made myself sick.  For some reason, controlling what went in and out of my body stopped the stress and made me feel in control of the situation.

For me, bulimia was more about stress relief than weight loss.   However I made myself think it was some kind of a diet.  If the calories did not have time to absorb, then they didn’t count, right?  When things got too rough at school, work, in my marriage or with friends, I had a built-in defense mechanism.  I was not even overeating – I was eating normal meals and throwing them up.  At the height of my bulimia, I was purging three times a day.  Work, school, home, malls, and even restaurants - I had no shame.  I learned how to throw up so quietly most people never even noticed.

I also became very good at hiding my red and raw knuckles (of which I still have scars) and blood shot and tear-filled eyes.  I would say that I thought of something sad or that I had a coughing or sneezing attack that sent me into tears.  I even continued for months after my husband caught me because the toilet didn’t flush properly.  It was only becoming pregnant with my son that made me stop.  I didn’t even stop for me, but for him.  He didn’t ask to be born, so I had to make sure from the very start I would take care of him – even when I did not want to take care of myself.  I don't know where I would be had I not become pregnant with Cristian.

After his birth, I started back up after I found out some troubling news in my marriage.  Not only had food become my enemy, but I had become my own enemy.  How could I expect this man to love me when I couldn’t even love myself?  It was then I realized I needed to seek help.  With the help of a therapist, I was able to realize that the bulimia needed to stop immediately for their sake.  And mine.

Honestly, I still think about purging once in awhile.  When things get too crazy or when I just had to have that last bite even though I knew it would make me uncomfortable.  The last time I purged was in November, due to familial stress, and I would like to keep it that way.  I was one of the lucky ones – as far as I know I have no lasting effects from all of the damage I was doing to my body.

In the program I started last week, I am learning that there is definitely a healthy way to lose weight.  You do not have to deprive yourself.  It’s as simple as making wise decisions, realizing that each day is a new day, and being active.  I did none of that when I was bulimic.
It’s easier said than done, I know.  Having lived both sides of the coin, embracing my curves and not having to hide in shame or run to the bathroom after every meal is much more appealing than the alternative.  Every action has an equal reaction.  Even if it doesn’t affect you, it will affect someone.  Bulimia may be a secret disease, but the effects are much more widespread.  I do not consider myself “cured.”  I consider myself recovering.  I will most likely be that way for the rest of my life.

Why am I writing this?  I don’t want pity.  I do not want to place blame on anyone except myself.  I simply am writing this in hopes that I can get one girl or woman to look in the mirror before they purge.  Look in the mirror and realize that it is not worth it.  You ARE beautiful.  DON’T do it.  God made each and every one of us the way we were meant to be.  Getting healthy is one thing, but mutilating our bodies for stress relief or weight loss is completely different.  If we cannot love ourselves, how can we expect to love others or have others love us?  More so, what fundamentals are we going to teach our children if we tell them one thing and do the complete opposite?

I may have body parts that jiggle.  I may need to wax hair from my face.  I may need foundation to cover a pimple.  My feet are wide and big.  I am me, though.  Every day I love that person a little more.  If anything can come from a negative situation, my bulimia has taught me that I am worth loving – as long as I love myself.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It'll be alright again...

"If you don't lose the weight, you will die young."
"I know you want to be there for your child, but do you only want to be around for part of his life?"
"I can't tell you want to do, but I can tell you that there needs to be change."

What can one even say to that? 

After being tossed around from doctor to doctor for most of my life unable to nail down a diagnosis, I finally met with a doctor who both diagnosed me properly and wants to treat me properly.  Both of which I wanted.

Honestly, I thought that a diagnosis and some pills were going to fix everything.  Wrong, as proven by the quotes from yesterday's appointment.

Sure, I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hypothyroidism.  That does not change the fact that I need to lose weight.  It does, however, make the task much more difficult.

I have dieted or watched my food intake or even done some more drastic measures (that's another blog post) for the majority of my life.  I have yo-yo'd more than a Duncan factory.  I work and work and seem to get nowhere fast.  I like instant gratification, and anyone who's dealing with obesity knows that there is no instant (and lasting) gratification in weight loss.

After crying like a baby at the appointment, I realized that it was a hard slap in the face that I desperately needed.  I claim to do everything I can do, but let me be honest with you for a second.  I like carbs and I hate exercise.  I know what you are thinking.  "Surprise, surprise, the fat girl loves to eat and be sedentary, but also loves to whine about it."

I now realize I need to make a lifestyle change.  Where do I go from here? 

The doctor recommended two options:
  1. An up-front pricey intensive weight loss program, like this one offered by a local hospital.
  2. Bariatric surgery, insisting that I would qualify and the insurance will more than likely pay for it.
My mind is blank at this point.  I'm still getting the hang of liking my husband again.  Every day brings something new with my two-and-a-half year old.  Work is steady and consistent.  Why does life have to throw a wrench into this?  I am finally coming up with a schedule that fits my life.

I see people half my size workout half as much and eat twice as much and do not have to consistently struggle.  It boggles my mind how much work I have to put into this.  It's like another full-time job only it messes with my mind.  I can't go into a grocery store, a restaurant, a clothing store, a mall without thinking of numbers.

Clothing sizes, calories, pounds, fat grams, serving sizes, inches, grams of fiber...these numbers float through my head so consistently I know them as well as my own phone number.

I know I need to change, but why does it have to be so difficult?

*/whiny rant*

Needless to say, I opted for choice #1.  I do not want to have bariatric surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.  I still have options, which excludes bariatric surgery as an option.

I start the program February 16.  I will learn how to eat and exercise properly and for the long haul.  I hope it does so while helping me to still enjoy life.  It's a year-long program that will take a lot of work.  I will need love and support and prayers along the way.  I know that I have this in my life.

Even with a positive attitude, there is still a wrench thrown into my plans.  If you know me, you know I thrive on schedules, lists, and plans.  To-Do Lists are my friend.  There is nothing quite like scratching that last thing on your list, just to make another.  Just as much as I like my schedules, plans and lists, I do not like them messed with. 

The wrench is that Blake and I wanted to start trying for another child in the summer.  It's been part of our plans for awhile now.  Yes we throw back and forth whether we can handle another, but quite honestly, find me one parent who, in the middle of a tantrum or meltdown, doubts their abilities.  We do want Cristian to be a big brother and we do want another little one.

What's the problem, you ask?  A pregnancy at this point is not feasible.  Not with the PCOS.  Not with the hypothyroidism.  Not with my body working against me.  The doctor basically said that I was lucky with my first pregnancy and I shouldn't take my chances on a second one right now.  I need to get myself into check before another.

Sure, no problem, wait.  I didn't want our children to be so far apart in years.  Growing up, I always wanted kids two years apart, just like my brother and I.  When I had my first child, I became more realistic.  We then figured that around four years would be okay.  Now, we're looking closer to six.

My mind has been spinning for the past twenty-four hours.  I have been sullen and mopey.  Listening to the radio, a song came on that yelled at me.  SNAP OUT OF IT!  THINGS WILL BE ALRIGHT!  WHAT IS MEANT TO BE WILL BE!

You can probably tell that from my love of schedules, lists and plans that I can be a bit a control freak.  But for as faithful as I claim to be, I do not let things just happen enough.  That changes now.  I'm going to go with the flow.  I am going to let things happen as they are meant to be.  God is the master planner, not me.  I think I'm in control, but He really is.

Right now, he's telling me that it's alright, and it'll be alright again.  If I do not take care of myself, I will not be around for the child I have let alone another.  It's not about being years apart, it's about being raised with love.  It's not about having to do work, it's about getting the most you can out of a situation by putting in the most you can.  I have never strayed away from hard work before, so why should I do it now?

As one of my favorite musical artists, Sugarland say...

"Sometimes you gotta lose 'til you win."


Riddle Me This...
  • How do you handle things not going your way?
  • Have you ever been verbally slapped in the face?
  • Are you a control freak planner?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Open Unto Me...

In between test after test to nail down a diagnosis and treatment with my endocrinolgist, working full-time and being a full-time mom and wife, extended family issues and the general "blahness" that winter brings, I will be the first person to tell you that I have not been the perkiest or most content person so far in 2011.

That changes now.

I have never been overly religious.  I was baptized non-denominational, confirmed Lutheran during a stint where being religious was cool (WWJD bracelets, anyone?) and we were married by a Justice of the Peace.  Blake was born and raised Catholic, though hardly practicing.

Come on, you know you had one...or nine.
We knew that when I was pregnant with Cristian that we wanted to find a church to call our own.  Somewhere where we could raise him that was warm, welcoming and familial.  I did some searching on the Internet and found Tippecanoe Church.  The first thing I read was: "Tippecanoe Church: A Relevant Church for the Unchurched and Dischurched, too!"  Intrigued, I visited with my parents and it was a different experience.  People who I'd never met before hugged me.  I was wished well on my pregnancy.  Instead of wine and wafers there was bread and grape juice.  There was a nursery downstairs and kids time during the service.  I was immediately sold. 

Blake loved the church as much as I did, and we haven't looked back since.  It will be three years in March and we are so thankful to our church family.  They were there when our marriage was struggling.  They were there when there were family troubles.  They have held Cristian in light and he has made some great friends.

Our church is doing GREAT things.  I am so blessed to be part of a great community.  We are giving back to men who need help and showing that there is still good in the world.  If you have some extra funds or are in the Milwaukee area and have some extra time, please give back.

Back to the point of this all...I need to stop thinking of all the negative and focus on the positive.  I may have illnesses, but I am still alive.  I may be busy working, but I have a job.  I have a beautiful son and a wonderful husband.  There may be some family issues, but it has allowed me to know my TRUE family.  Winter isn't fun all of the time, but I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and love in my heart.

This all occurred to me at church (and now the entry is brought full circle) when we, in unison, elderly and young, homeless and wealthy, sick and healthy, said the following departing prayer:

Open unto me...light for my darkness.
Open unto me...courage for my fear.
Open unto me...hope for my despair.
Open unto me...peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me...joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me...strength for my weakness.
Open unto me...wisdom of my confusion.
Open unto me...forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me...tenderness for my toughness.
Open unto me...Thy Self for my self.
Lord God, open unto me!

Religious or not, these are words we can all use at times.  Just to remember that we are only human and we are still loved.  You don't have to believe in God, but you should believe in something.

Start with yourself.  I'm working on that part for 2011.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Blogger BFF...

Have you ever read a blog and thought "Wow, that person and I could be friends in real life!"?

That is exactly how I feel about Jasmine over at Eat Move Write.

She and I share a lot of the same views on life and after a major weight loss, she is still true to her roots and is real.  She eats.  She feels pain.  She has setbacks.  Actually, her 2010 was a lot like my 2009.

Plus, she has giveaways!  I would love to have giveaways someday if my blog grows in popularity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think you should stop over to Jasmine's blog and try to win Popchip, a $45.00 shopping spree to HSN, Chiobani Greek Yogurt or Oikos Greek Yogurt!  Tomorrow is another day of giveaways! [Edit: Today, she's giving away $25.00 to The Rusted Chain!]

Bottom line -- I adore Jasmine and I adore “The Eat Move Write Week of Giveaways."  You should definitely think about doing the same.

And Jasmine, thanks for being you.  Your blog is definitely what I needed to start reading!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let the Ball Drop...

Out with the Old and in with the New!  The tree's been trimmed, the cookies have been baked (and eaten) and Santa has made his presence known.
2010 has been a truly wonderful year for me.  My pride and joy is growing into such a unique and wonderful individual.  My family has for the most part stayed healthy and happy.  My husband and I have reunited (and it feels so good!)  I have found a wonderful job with people who truly appreciate me and who I truly appreciate.  I have solidified some great friendships and started the journey to a healthier me.
However, with the end of each year comes many "shoulda, coulda, wouldas" and this year is no different.  Instead of focusing on the bad, I plan on turning them all into positives for 2011.
So, without further adieu, I present to you...
My New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Scrapbook at least one page a month for Cristian and go to at least one crop this year
2. Try not to pay full price for anything—use coupons and sales to my advantage
3. Control my PCOS, hypothyroidism and metabolic syndrome—get healthy and stay healthy
4. Complete some kind of a workout three days a week (i.e. Gazelle, YMCA class, Wii)
5. Participate in Weight Watchers for the entire year and do not let the scale get the best of me
6. Do not put myself down and instead do something out of the ordinary for me (i.e. a Boudoir Photoshoot)
7. Continue going to church at least twice a month and participate in as much as we can
8. Get out of the house once a month to be with some friends so I do not lose myself
9. Have at least one dozen scarves made to donate to the Giving Trees at church and daycare
10. Let patience in and show drama out of my life
11. Make one thoughtful blog post a week and gain some kind of following by hooking up with some of my own favorite blogs (Fatshion Chic, eatmovewrite, ohAmanda, BudgetSavvyDiva and MoneySavingMom, to name a few).
Thanks to you, my few faithful readers, for a great beginning to this blog.  Let's keep it up in 2011.  Let me know you are reading this and leave me a comment!

So from our house...
...to yours


Friday, December 17, 2010

Changes and Labels...

As you may or may not have noticed, I have changed the name.  I am no longer "Manda: In Training." 

I have curves.  I like carbs.  No matter what I do, these two things are never going to change.  I'm never going to be a vegan and run marathons.  I need to remember that Torrid is always going to be a store of choice and I will always reach for that second piece of bread.

Embracing who I am, my curves and slight carb obsession, will be a huge part of finding who I am.  I mean, obviously I am Cristian's mom and Blake's wife.  I'm Mark and Mary's daughter.  I am Kyle's older sister and Joe's niece.  I am Claire, Katie, Nadine, Jess, Leigh, Annie, Cathy, Renee, Lisa, Fe and Cassie's (just to name a few) friend.  I am a biller for GSH.  But other than that, who exactly is Mandy?  Behind the mask of labels, what makes me...me?

I know superficial things about myself:
  • Polka dots make the world go 'round.
  • I could live in flip-flops if they were work-appropriate and I didn't live in snowy Wisconsin.
  • I will always stop if I see a sign that says at least 50% off.
  • Dolphins are my weakness.
  • Ketchup goes with just about anything.
But, other than that, I'm kind of lost.  I don't even know if I'm good at the things I've been labeled.  I need to search deeper and find who I am.  That's my goal for 2011.  Expose myself (not literally) to, well, myself.

Do not get me wrong, many things about this blog are not going to change.  I am still going to post deals and pictures and crafts.  I am still going to rant and rave.  But there are times I am going to go deeper.

And there just might be a carb-infested goodie in my hand while I do so...

Cotton Candy Carbs?  Yes, please!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dear Maura Kelly...

I read this article from Marie Claire yesterday.  I quite honestly do not believe that I have ever been more upset reading an article from someone who does not even know what they are talking about.

Here are some highlights:

"My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese! And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer."

Really?  And perhaps some people are naturally curvy, chubby, or *gasp* fat.  Guess what, I am as fat as Molly, and I am healthy.  Minus a THYROID PROBLEM which was not caused by my fat but is causing my fat.  And yes, the reasons why my family have been to the doctor in the past year: colds, flu, cataract surgery, bladder cancer, heart issues, have been caused by our being obese.

"So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."

I find it displeasing to read this article.  After seeing your definition of "very, very fat," you would be displeased to see myself or my husband walk in front of you.  You would also be displeased to watch us kiss each other.  In public!  Our nerve!

"Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk. And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even try working out, because he's been heavy for as long as he can remember.)
But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.
(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)
Then again, I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So ... points for trying?"

Thanks for the pep talk and the action plan.  And yes, I am trying to lose weight.  But I am not trying to lose all of it.  I want my curves and love handles and pudgy parts.  And yes, you are size-ist.  You basically said in your previous paragraph that you prefer anorexia to being obese.  Having been anorexic AS A CHILD and bulimic as an adult, it sickens me that you think people do not try to lose weight.  Also note that there are many obese people that do not want to change, even if you want them to.

"What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?"

YES!  My husband and I were excited to watch Mike and Molly because in a world of Gossip Girls, 90210's and Desperate Housewives, we were excited to finally watch a show about people who looked like us.  And that show is our lives, in many, many ways.  Oh my gosh, fat people making out on TV -- run for your lives!  I would be much more concerned about the plethora of near-naked women, degrading comments (much like yours) about other races, sexes, genders and abilities, sheer violence for no point, and dead-beat parents and the children who suffer.  Just because fat people making out offends you, I will make sure that my husband never make out.  Ever again.  Got that, honey?

But wait...there's more...

"UPDATE: I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either."

You were a bully the entire post, so how are people not supposed to feel bullied?  I, for one, did not feel bullied.  I felt furious.  And ashamed?  God made my curves, and I am going to flaunt them!  It upset people, like myself, because it was unnecessary and unproductive.  You went on a rant, about a television show you've never watched, to be mean.  You made yourself feel better, regardless of your insensitivity.

"I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.

I would like to reiterate that I think it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows — and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100 percent more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it's worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations."

You're right, you shouldn't be so quick to judge.  Also, I have never seen an obese person FOR A GOOD REASON in Marie Claire, so I doubt that statement is correct.  There are plenty of BEAUTIFUL "obese" women nowadays -- Amber Riley from Glee and Nikki Blonsky from Huge and Hairspray fame are two women that I look up to because they do not apologize for who they are and they are not on the diet bandwagon.  You cannot feel uncomfortable about Mike and Molly because you have never seen the show to be uncomfortable.

If you have seen the show, you know that they are two beautiful people with good hearts who are looking for love, much like yourself.  People are people.  They are not unhappy because of their size, they are unhappy because they do not have someone to love.  So know the details before you judge.  My grandfather often said that "if you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."

"To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight."

If you are a recovering anorexic, you of all people should know that words affect your choices and lifestyle.  You should have known better.  Children will read this article.  Struggling adults will read this article.  Your words are now a trigger for someone else's battle with anorexia and bulimia.

"People have accused me of being a bully in my post. I never intended to be that — it's actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset."

To now quote my mother, "be careful what you say because you can ever take back your words."  Had people not commented about this as they have, would you have given your thoughts a second thought?  Would you have apologized if your words just offended one reader?  Most likely not.

On a final note, beauty is skin deep but ugly is to the bone.  You may be pretty on the outside, but you have a very ugly soul.  I wish you true love because perhaps that will allow you to expand your horizons and open your mindset.  I also hope that your soulmate is a "healthy size" so you do not have to make out with a fattie...

Blake and Mandy

Mike and Molly
...but DO NOT stop Molly and I from making out with ours!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

From Where You Are...

Nine years ago yesterday, one of the first loves of my life passed away. One of the greatest women I will ever know would have been seventy-six today.

“When I get where I'm going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I'm gonna do
is spread my wings and fly.” – Brad Paisley (When I Get Where I’m Going)

I miss them terribly. I see Cristian and I want so badly for his great-grandparents to see him grow into the little man he is. I want them to hug and kiss him and take him to all the places they took me growing up.  I want them to meet Blake and for them to love him as much as I do. I would have loved their advice last year when I needed it so badly, and I want them to see that we made it--even when the world was against us.  I want them to see what I am doing with my life—because it’s completely different than when they left me.

I want them to know how much I love them and think about them each and every day and more so if possible on these two days of the year. I want them to know how much I appreciate having two of the best angels in heaven on my shoulder, and I want them to know that I am trying my hardest to make them proud.

When you love someone so much, losing them is an exhausting and exhilarating experience all at once. It’s emotionally exhausting but it’s exhilarating to know that they are no longer hurting and one day you will be together again. If you understood how hard it was for me to see them both as sick as they were, you understand how happy I am that they are together and healthy. They were both such amazing people with never-ending love and passion for life and family.

If I can be even an eighth of the woman my nana was, I will be so incredibly successful. Between her and Mom, I have had some of the best role models on being a good mother, wife, and woman.

I want Cristian to know how hardworking his great-grandfather was and to instill that work ethic in him early. I want him to realize how important family was to Papa, and how important family should be to him.

I will always remember our last family dinner at Andrea’s Restaurant. It was a joyous time with no discussions of ailments or heartaches. We enjoyed each other’s company. Even though the restaurant no longer exists, my memories will be as concrete in my mind as if the building stood strong.

I am hoping to visit their crypt sooner than later so they can meet their great-grandson face to face. And I want to shed a tear on their flowers and place the flowers next to them so it permeates through the marble and into their amazing souls.

Nana, I miss your smile which could pierce even my worst of days. I miss the way you called me “Mouse.” I miss our trips to the mall for pretzels and chatting. I miss the way only you could comfort me and let me know you were always there for me. Most of all, I miss you.

Papa, I miss your amazing blue-grey eyes. I miss the times I could sit in your lap or by your feet and hear incredible stories. I miss your catch-phrases and sayings and that belly laugh. I miss the way you made me know you were so proud of me. Most of all, I miss you.

And I love you both more than you’ll ever know.

“I miss the years that were erased.
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face.
I miss all the little things.
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me.
Yeah, I miss you,
and I wish you were here.” – Lifehouse (From Where You Are)
Two of the greatest loves of my life.  May you rest in peace.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Second chances...

I have guest posted on my new friend, Amy's blog, while she is on her honeymoon.  Since she's on honeymoon, I thought it would be great to reflect on mine and Blake's and what wasn't. 

As you may or may not know, we are going to Vegas for our fifth anniversary, so I wrote about second chances and how this is ours.

You can check out the post here.

I promise I will be back soon with a new post.  Lots has happened since my last post: daycare changes, continuing the weight loss journey, saving $80.00 at one trip to CVS, my best friend's birthday party, keeping my love affair with hockey alive and more!  Maybe I will post about the massive transformation I am going to partake in this weekend...