St. Patrick

Welcome to St. Patrick’s Day! I heard on the radio this morning that this is the day that people consume the most alcohol! I was surprised to say the least… of course the dj went on to share several other tid bits of information (which I can only imagine being half true).

English: Saint Patrick stained glass window fr...

English: Saint Patrick stained glass window from Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I continued my drive I was pondering St. Patrick’s Day and its meaning. Who was St. Patrick and what did he really do?

Well, first of all he did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. That is purely an exaggerated story from hundreds of years of storytelling and there is even speculation as to whether he was truly Irish or not.  Truth be told he was a fourth century Christian missionary who traveled teaching and spreading the word of the gospel after being kidnapped by Irish raiders. Patrick was held captive during this time and while there he worked as a shepherd in the hills of Ireland, alone. He spent much time in prayer and eventually was able to escape and return home.

After his return home he began training to become a priest and then traveled back to Ireland to minister to the Christians there. He continued to do this throughout his life, becoming a bishop and then eventually a Saint. March 17th is the day that Saint Patrick died and it is a day of both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation in the dioceses of Ireland.

In the early 17th century St. Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day by the church to commemorate Christianity being brought to Ireland as well as Irish heritage and culture. The day is celebrated with parades, festivals, and church services throughout the world.

Here in the States… well, it’s a bit of a different story where many if not most do not now the true story of St. Patrick and what he really did. 



I’m lost… I’ve been lost or so it seems for weeks and weeks. In all honesty it’s probably been years.

Almost 10 years ago a very good friend told me that she saw signs of depression in me and she knew this because her brother had suffered depression. She was concerned for me and didn’t want to see me hurting. I blew her off… I was fine I told her… there was nothing wrong… I didn’t need to talk to anyone about anything… least of all I didn’t need to go to therapy.

Time passed and I lost that friend in my divorce.

She was right. She was 100%, absolutely right without a doubt. I was suffering from depression, but I refused to acknowledge it because I didn’t think that it was affecting me or my daily life. As I look back at that time I couldn’t have been more wrong.

More time passed and the depression seemed to have…. subsided for lack of better words. Really, it was more or less in remission.

It came back.

It came back with a vengeance and brought along it’s good friend anxiety and since mid-October it’s like my life has been a living hell. An emotional roller coaster that I can’t seem to get off no matter what I do. Ups… downs… fears… hurt… crying… tension… sleepless nights… upset stomach… not being able to eat… It’s been terrible and I’ve been barely getting by daily and have looked forward to bedtime when I can just go to sleep and not think, not worry, and forget about it all (unless it’s one of those sleepless nights).

There are days where I don’t want to get out of bed and I’d just rather sleep the day away.

There were times that I locked myself in the bathroom and just cried and cried.

Yes, there were even times that I wondered if everyone would be better off without me.

This time I recognized the symptoms and knew that I didn’t want to live like this… I couldn’t live like this. I had to do something.

I started shopping around for a therapists. Holy crap…. it’s freakin’ hard to get into see one! These are some seriously busy people! I’ve managed to get in to see the nurse at the therapists office and after a lengthy discussion I was sent on my way with two prescriptions and an appointment to meet with the therapist. But it couldn’t happen soon enough.

I turned to the program at work to that is available on a short term basis to help employees with issues that are affecting their lives and therefore their job. So far I’ve had 3 meetings with the licensed counselor/pastor that runs the program. Pastor you ask? Yes, he is both counselor and pastor…. and you’re right if you know in saying… hey, you’re not really a religious person.

The meetings with him have helped me understand a lot of things and because I’m seeing another therapist we’ve moved on to religion and the roll that it plays in my life and where I am with it. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and especially after reading the book by Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow.

Now, with an open mind and open heart I am trying to heal my mind, my soul, and my heart. They’re all connected I think and make me whole… or not whole which is where I am now.

What I really want is to be whole again.

I want to be the best mom… the one that my kids deserve.

I want to be a good wife… the one that my husband signed up for and thought that he was getting.

I want to a good friend, a good employee, and most of all I just want my life back.

I am going to do whatever it takes to heal.

I will say that with the help of two incredible friends…. one in real life and one online… I have made progress and no longer feel like I am alone in this. I am ever so grateful for the conversations that I’ve had with them, their caring words, their friendship, and their love. They have lifted me up when I was at my lowest and are always there for me. I don’t know that I could ever repay them for all they’ve done.

You know that commercial on TV…. depression hurts… it’s true. Every. Damn. Word.

I am finding my way, slowly. But I will no longer be lost.

This may have sounded a bit disjointed and that is because I simply wrote… no editing… just wrote.

 This week I’m linking up with Mama Kat for her World Famous Writer’s Workshop with the prompt: Talk about a problem you tackled this week. And because this is a difficult time for me and a difficult post to get out I’m linking up Shell from Things I Can’t Say for PYHO.

A weekend at Grand Traverse Resort

At the beginning of August I took a little trip to the Grand Traverse Resort with my family and I have to say that it was great! The place is simply amazing and definitely worth a visit when you’re here in Michigan. As a matter of fact… it has to be one of the top places to visit here in Michigan!

GT Resort 1

Even if you don’t stay there it’s worth checking out … from Dylan’s Candy Bar, to the cute shops, and the amazing Aerie Restaurant on the 16th floor as well as the famous golf courses there is a lot to see and do.

I have Melissa from Sippy Cup Mom to thank for this amazing trip and  if you want to hear more about my mini vacation head on over to her place and read all about it!

A&F CEO Mike Jeffries hates fat girls… but he’s not alone

This may be a rant… just thought that I’d warn you ahead of time. Okay… it will be a rant but that’s okay because that’s what our own personal blogs are for, right?

There are things that grate at me, get under my skin, annoy me, or just flat out piss me off. And this week there were two things that have been bugging me and here’s the kicker… they’re both the same or related.

What is it?

The hate for “fat” people. There are a lot of people out there passing judgement on others who are not rail thin without knowing the person, their health history, or what caused them to get the way and what’s preventing them from losing the weight.

The first thing that happened was my daughter told me that the high school band director did not want her to be one of the majorettes for the marching band. Why? Because she is not a rail thin, 5’0 – 5’5″ girl who went along with what she was told all the time. The dance coaches from a local dance studio and her friends fought for her because she was the best, she worked the hardest, and deserved it more than the other girls. The girl the director wanted… well she wasn’t good, didn’t practice, and thought that she was entitled to the position…. Oh, and met his vision of the perfect majorette.

The second thing was Mike Jeffries statement about not marketing to the uncool, fat girls. WTF!! They don’t stock XL or XXL sizes in women’s clothing because they don’t want overweight women wearing their brand. BUT they do make XL and XXL for men because those teen guys might be beefy because they play football or are wrestlers.

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.

So, if I put a few things together I can come up with a conclusion of sorts. The cool kids in school play sports, are good looking, thin, the guys are muscular, the girls have that long, flowing hair, both are sexy as hell, and above all else they are NOT fat.

Now, the fat kids. Well they’re the losers that the popular kids make fun of.

These stereotypes piss me off! They do nothing to help kids with how they feel about themselves at all. What they do is help kids feel out of place and that if they’re not the picture perfect all-American kid they’re not going to fit in, have friends, be popular, or go somewhere in life. No moral boosting here… nope, just dragging the kids down.

It’s hard enough as it is to be a teen, but when you have companies and the media telling you what you should look like, how you should dress, and a that size 0 thin is what you should be life becomes a lot more difficult.

Abercrombie & Fitch has made it very clear in what they’ve said, their ads, the people that they hire, and the sizes of their clothing that they’re targeting a very specific demographic. One that usually gets their spending money from their parents by the way… I wonder if they have given thought to the fact that some parents will refuse to buy clothes for their “cool” kids from the A&F stores because of the statements they’ve made? My guess is that they didn’t and if they did they simply don’t care.

I know that I won’t be buying anything from them.

I think that Mr. Jeffries as well as my daughter’s band director need to take hard look at the world around them and realize that the average size is not a 0, or a 1, 3, or a freakin’ 5. I’m here to tell you that it’s probably closer to a 10 /12 or hell even a 14.

My daughter is an amazing person. She is smart, beautiful, talented, and you know what…. she’s in the “cool” kids group. I couldn’t be more proud of her and all that she has achieved and learned and the one thing that I know for sure is that she will do anything that she sets her mind to.

My fat, size 12 self won’t be caught inside an A&F store… or Hollister for that matter since they’re owned by the same company. I will however roll myself into H&M and American Eagle because they see that we all can’t be waifs and have larger sizes.


Old School Blogging ~ March Edition

So I opened up Twitter yesterday afternoon and saw that I was tagged by Theta Mom and of course I followed the link to see what it was all about.

Old School Blogging! Yup… getting back to some fun basics. Stuff that we all used to do when we first started this blogging thing many years ago. Fun stuff like silly memes where we’d answer all sorts of questions about ourselves and then tag a bunch of other people in them and bounce around from blog to blog to see what their answers were.

Well, Heather from Theta Mom and Elaine from The Miss Elaine-ous Life are bringing some fun back to blogging old school style and I am so very happy to say that I was one of the first people tagged! Pretty cool, right? They plan on having a monthly meme complete with a linky so we can all share a little bit of bloggy love.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #OSBlog on Twitter!

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

Let’s see… 10 years ago was 2003. At that time I was the mom to 3 girls (8, 4, 1), working in retail, and never heard of blogging.

girls & I

This is the oldest pic that I could find of the girls & I that was halfway decent.

2. What 5 things are on your to-do list?

  • Pack for Florida
  • Clean the house
  • Figure out how to entertain a 3 yr old on an airplane
  • Find a good blog designer who won’t charge me an arm & a leg
  • Lose 10 more pounds

3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy?

Hmm… healthy or not healthy?

  • Cookies – preferably homemade chocolate chip
  • Cucumbers with garlic salt & pepper
  • Triscuits
  • Hummus
  • Brownies

4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire:

This one is easy!

  • Pay off my school loans and consider going back again
  • Set some aside for my kids college education
  • Buy a new house
  • Take a vacation

5. Name some places you have lived:

I have never left the great state of Michigan!

I’ve moved around the state a lot though. I was born in the metro Detroit area and lived in Taylor until I was 2 or 3, from there my parents built a house North Branch, and then once they got divorced the moving began. Holly, Fenton, Grand Blanc, Swartz Creek…. I finally gave up the moving thing and went to live with my dad in Lapeer and I stayed there until I was 19 or 20. After that I decided that Traverse City was a good place to live and I was there from 20 until 24. After that I moved one more time and I’ve been here ever since.

6. Name some bad habits you have:

I have a lot of bad habits! Geesh…

The one that I’ve had the most difficult time kicking is my love of Diet Coke… or Diet Dr. Pepper.

7. Name some jobs you have had:

Waitress, Jewelry sales clerk, Restaurant manager, Cake decorator, Baker, Bakery/Deli manager at Meijer, Systems Monitor, Tech support, UX designer, and Product Owner (similar to project manager).

8. Name those you are tagging for #OSBlog:

Jill, Jessica, Jen, Gigi, and Lauren.




Reflected in You… A steamy book review

Wow…. Sylvia Day knows how to write one heck of a steamy novel! And I finished it in one day too!

I started reading and found myself pulled in but there were times I felt that it was like a train wreck that I just couldn’t look away from. Know what I mean?

Reflected in You

The book is the follow up to Bared to You where we first meet the main characters Eva and Gideon. Both are mysteries to one another except for when Eva who takes the time to reach out and share her life, thoughts, and feelings with Gideon who remains closed up about his life. One thing for sure is that Eva and Gideon have an attraction to one another that simply can’t be tamed… these two cannot get enough of one another. In private or in public they are never more than a hands length from one another and it made me wonder if they ever got tired of one another, did they ever just want to sit down to relax and watch a movie, or anything other than spend their time entwined with one another.

Gideon and Eva have an addictive relationship, they are addicted to each other, for better or for worse. And the thing is that they both need something from the other person that is the hardest to give, trust and truth. There were places in the book where I could guess what was to come and other spots where I was caught off guard.

Reflected in You is NUMBER ONE on the New York Times trade paperback best-sellers list this week and if you’re interested in checking out Sylvia Day you can find her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

It’d be great if you’d come join us in the conversation about the book over at BlogHer! It’s bound to be great one!

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Shopping… for little boys clothes

I’m the mom of three girls and have always had such an easy time finding cute things for them to wear no matter what season it was. Now I have a two year old little boy and finding anything cute and unique for him is a challenge! Seriously… I spent a week looking for something for him to wear to a wedding and all I wanted was a nice pair of dress pants and a cute shirt. Oh.. and shoes… geesh… all I could find was chunky looking old man velcro shoes! Not at all what I wanted. Now his sister was super simple. We walked into the store looked around for a couple minutes and found so many choices that we both liked. Easy peasy!

andrew wedding

Eventually I did find something for him to wear and he looked pretty damn cute too. Just look at him in that suit! He’ll be wearing that for all family gatherings this year.

So where do you find stuff for your little boys? Me? Well I started searching the web and stumbled upon children’s clothing from Polarn O. Pyret . Like this reversible button up shirt for instance. I really like button up shirts and grab them when ever I can find them but a reversible one… now that is smart!

shirt reversible

Which is perfect paired up with jeans or these… I love chinos for toddlers! Or corduroys… they’re simply adorable.


For the most part he ends up in jeans and a shirt… but not character shirts if I can help it! I’d also like clothes that repel the dirt because he always seems to come home from daycare covered in it or paint.

Oh… and if you know of a place I can find bow ties for little kids please let me know! I’m pretty sure that suit he’s wearing would be so much more fun with a little bow tie.

So aside from the regular places (Target, Children’s Place, etc) where are the best places for little boy clothes and shoes?

Dippin’ with Kraft #anythingdressing for dinner!

Dinner time can really be a challenge around my house with me really watching what I eat, a toddler who lately doesn’t like anything other then waffles, bananas, and milk, a teen that is incredibly busy and two other kids who never like the same things. My husband… he will usually eat most anything I make for dinner…. unless it’s soup.

So for the toddler I give him ranch dressing because there is something about that toddlers like and they’ll dip just about anything in it. Case in point… a couple weeks ago he had a hot dog and refused to eat it without ranch. I have bigger battles to fight so I let him.

My tween… well she seems like ranch and ketchup. Sounds pretty gross right… but she likes it for her chicken and fries.

I thought that I’d shake things up this week and see what the ranch lovers thought of honey mustard!

I made my way with my list in hand to Walmart to check what they had in stock for Kraft anything dressings.

stocked shelves

Honestly… the hardest part was deciding which one to get. I mean there were at least 3 kinds of Catalina, 2 kinds of Honey Mustard, and more flavors of Ranch then I could count.


See… these are just two of the many flavors of Kraft anything ranch. The cucumber ranch is one of my favorites! I love using it to dip veggies in.

Normally, dinner around is usually homemade and somewhat healthy but I gave them all a break this week… I made crispy chicken tenders & fries! Of course, I added a salad with some fresh veggies to try and balance out all the grease…

Dinner is served

See… salad! Mine had the Kraft balsamic vinaigrette minus the mushroom. Actually, that dressing will be great for marinating chicken and veggies.

ranch & honey mustard

It’s not ketchup and ranch, but it’s still pretty good!

Check out some of my other pics from my shopping trip at Walmart in my Google+ album. And if you want to check out the Kraft site, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

What’s your favorite Kraft #anythingdressing?

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and  Kraft  #CBias #SocialFabric all opinions are my own.

Matched – A Book Review

I love reading. There’s no doubt in my mind really and when I find a good book I get pulled in and find it hard to set it down. Then, of course, there are times when I start a book and just get stuck. I can’t seem to get into the book and find myself forcing myself to read it because I may finally break through the slowness and get to the good parts. Sometimes it gets better and other times… well, I just set it aside for a while.

I just finished reading Matched and I’ll be honest with you, it started out pretty slow. I had a hard time reading it. Part of it was because I was angry. The book is set in the future and it’s a future where the officials (government) control almost everything that the population does. What they eat, when they eat, what job they get, who they marry (if they even can), how many kids they have, and when they die. Every bit of life was controlled by the officials and everyone believed that it was for the best.

Matched. When teens reach the age of 17 they attend a banquet where they are matched up with the person they’ll spend the rest of their life with. It was hard to not be happy for Cassia when she was matched with her long time friend Xander. But yet, I found myself annoyed with the Officials and all of their control and reading it was slow because of that I think. I pushed on though and the book did get better.

Other characters are introduced and fleshed out as the book continues. Ky, Cassia’s love interest being one of the most important. Of course there’s a hint of rebellion, and as always a bit of foreshadowing of future stories.

The main character, Cassia, goes from an agreeable teen to one who starts question things (not out loud though) and starts pushing back in subtle ways. It all begins with her grandfather’s death on his 80th birthday and a poem that he gives her. A poem that is not one of the approved 100…

Anymore and I will end up giving away the entire story! In the end I found myself liking it more and more and wondering what happens next, what will Cassia do or say, what new twist will the officials add to the story, and how will all tie together.

Could you live in a world where everything is decided for you… where you have no control? Could you have faith in a world controlled fully by the government?

If you want to learn more about the author, Ally Condie, check out her Facebook page, Twitter, and of course her blog.

Join me in discussing Matched over at BlogHer Book Club page!

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

A homecoming

This week there was a homecoming in my town. The first ever of it’s sort.

One where almost everyone turned out. One where the middle school kids all walked down to the main street downtown and lined the streets with flags in hand.

It was the kind of homecoming that I hope that I never have to experience again.

Freedom Riders

We welcomed home a fallen soldier.

He was so young… barely 20 years old and had just graduated from high school a mere two years ago.

High school football star, son, friend, and soldier.

He was honored by an entire community in so many ways this past week.


He was brought into town by the Freedom Riders, military, police, and family.

I didn’t know him and as a matter of fact I had never heard of him until I saw the story on the news. He was on his first overseas tour and was killed in Afganistan when a bomb thrown over a base wall by insurgents exploded.

Another young life lost… lost to a war that seems to have gone on forever. A war some call senseless. A war that others support.


I went to watch the procession out of respect and to honor someone who was doing something that they loved. Something that afforded me the freedoms that I have today.

Watching this was one of the most difficult things that I have ever experienced in my life. It was heart wrenching to think of his parents,  his family, friends, and teachers who all loved him.

It was hard because my sister is an active member of the military and so is my brother in law (her husband) and my own brother is a retired Marine. I can’t imagine this happening to my family… then again who does? We all know that it’s a possibility but never fully accept it.



At then end people gathered to watch the military carry his casket into the funeral home with his family by his side. This is not the homecoming that they had ever dreamt of. This is not how his story should have ended.


I stood off to the side as the local MP unit left and tried as best as I could to hold my composure. They were all young… I wanted to reach out and thank them for all that they have done, but the words simply would not come out. I know that it had to be difficult for them too. But a soldier must remain stoic and hold their emotions in.

I called my sister as soon as I was back in my car. I went over the entire event with her… amazed at how silent the town had become as soon as people saw the first flash of light from the police cruiser. I was impressed with how well behaved and quiet almost 1000 middle school students were as the procession came into town.

Old and young… military and civilian… all stood outside together in the fall heat waiting for the return of a fallen soldier. All stood silent with flags and hands over there hearts as tears fell from their eyes.

I told her that I could never do it. I’m simply not cut out to be in the military and didn’t know how she and her husband did it. She explained that it takes a certain kind of person and they do what they have to do. I know that it hasn’t been easy for her and that while she was overseas in Iraq if was difficult. She doesn’t talk about her time in Iraq very much… it’s something that she keeps closely guarded.

I worry that one day that procession will be for her or her husband. I worry that one day it will be someone that I know.