A Thank You and a 30×30 update

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their positive comments on yesterdays post. Although I am happily remarried and I have a beautiful son with Chris I still have my ex in my life and that can really get me down. I like to make a clean break when I am done with relationships but when you have a child with someone that just isn’t possible. Hearing all your kind words and knowing that others are in the same boat made me feel like I am not alone and that there is no shame in my situation. For years I felt that being divorced was taboo even though it is quite common. There is a certain disappointment that you have in yourself and that you think others feel when you can’t make a marriage work. I must admit I felt even worse after I remarried and had Callum. For some reason men can have 30 babies with 30 different women, but if a woman gets remarried and has another child they are judged. I heard one mother say that she was going to stay with her husband even though she didn’t love him anymore so they could have two children together. She couldn’t stand the thought of having two kids from two different fathers. Comments like that hurt! After yesterdays post I got several comments from women who are in a similar situation. I am so happy that we can all talk about this openly now and not feel like we belong on an episode of Maury Povich.

Okay enough emotional stuff….

As you know I started the 30×30 Fat Loss Shred by Lauren Gleisberg last week and I wanted to update you on my progress. So far I have lost 2 pounds. I am pretty happy with that considering this past weekend was the Grape and Wine Festival here in Niagara. Grape and Wine is Niagara’s equivalent of Mardi Gras. So much food and wine!

Image courtesy of http://www.niagarawinefestival.com/

The workouts are still challenging but enjoyable at the same time. I do like the fact that it takes less then 30 minutes and it doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment, as most of the moves are done using your body weight. What you will need is a step, some hand weights and a yoga mat.  What I do not like is how much I sweat. I hate sweating but by the end of the workout I am always drenched. I suppose this is a good thing. It does show how hard I have worked.

Overall I am really glad that I gave this 30×30 workout a chance. I can already feel a change in my body and my endurance is definitely improving.

Have I convinced you give the 30×30 Fat Loss Shred a try?

 

 

 

 

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Collateral damage – what happens after the divorce

I am divorced. It is not something I like to talk about. In fact in my mind that entire marriage never happened. The shame and embarrassment of that marriage still haunts me but for the sake of this post I will tell you a bit about it.

I met J when I was 23, we had only known each other for a few weeks when we decided to get married. Shortly after that I found out I was pregnant. It felt so surreal, like I was living in some romance novel. Then reality hit. I got to know who he really was and I wasn’t so sure that this marriage thing was a good idea but I was young and I thought I was in love and that we could over come whatever problems we had. Oh the naiveté of youth.

The day of the wedding I knew in my gut it wasn’t the right thing to do but I did it any way. On the way to the church my mom kept saying “you know you don’t have to do this”. I hate to admit it but she was right.

A year and a half after we met it was over. I asked him to move out. It was actually over long before that but I couldn’t bring myself to end it. I was so afraid of being alone. I didn’t want to be a struggling single mother. Taking that step to end my marriage was the scariest thing I have ever done but it was also one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My sweet Sofie was only ten months old when her father and I split up. She is obviously too young to remember her father and I ever living together. I believed that if I ended things early with her father then she would be spared a life of seeing her parents fight and growing to hate each other. I didn’t take into consideration how hard her life would be going back and forth between houses, how she would feel torn between her parents and how much hurt she would feel.

I would do anything to take away her pain

Any parent that is divorced with children knows that when your child leaves to go to the other parents house you feel totally crushed. Like a part of your heart is missing until they come back. I foolishly didn’t realise that children feel the same way.

Sofie has started a blog called thegirlwith2houses. It’s about how to deal with divorce from a 10 year olds perspective. Words can not begin to express how proud I am of her for starting this. She has gotten so much positive feedback. Parents have written saying that she has enabled them to start a dialogue with their children about how they are feeling. Others have commented on how brave she is to tackle such a difficult subject.

I asked Sofie why she wanted to start her blog. She said “because parents always think that the kids are okay with going back and forth, they think it is normal but it’s not and we are not okay.” Her words were so powerful that it brought me to tears.

She is so right. The kids are not okay.

Adults tend to think that kids adapt easily, they can just go with the flow, they are resilient.

They don’t adapt, they cope.

My parents split up when I was 16. It was hard but at least I understood what was happening and why. Most children don’t have that understanding. They don’t know why their family is being ripped apart. I have always tried to be as open and honest with Sofie about why her dad and I split up. She doesn’t know the whole truth, mainly I just tell her that I didn’t love her dad anymore, and that it wasn’t a healthy relationship. She knows we are not friends. She is fully aware that for the most part we can get along but that it is all superficial.  Of course she keeps asking questions and wants the full story of our break up. Maybe one day I will tell her but for now it is best that she only knows the bare minimum.

When she began her blog it opened my eyes to the internal struggle that she feels on a daily basis. She is tired of going back and forth. She is tired of having to be two different people and adjusting to two sets of rules. She is more than a little sick of how her dad and I fight over what we think is best for her.  I thought because Sofie seemed so happy on the outside that she was okay with her current living situation and that she had come to terms with the divorce. I could not have been more wrong. This will be an ongoing issue. She will always have questions and she will always feel torn but maybe we as parents can lessen the pain that our children feel if we have an open dialogue with them about their feelings. Let’s stop assuming that because they have a smile on their face that there isn’t sadness on the inside.

Divorce hurts everyone. It is never a joy to end a marriage even if it is best for everyone involved. As the person going through the divorce you can feel bitter, happy, full of shame or a variety of other emotions. We just need to remember that the little people in our lives are the collateral damage of a divorce. They are fought over through out the divorce proceedings and for a long time after that, and although we have our kids best interests at heart they end up being the ones that get hurt the most.

I can’t take away the confusion and pain that Sofie feels but I do know that I can be there to support her as she explores her feelings and comes to terms with everything that has gone on in her life. I hope that her blog helps her and other children to know that they are not alone and I hope that by writing this post other parents know that they are part of a large community of divorced parents and that we are all struggling to do the best we can to support our children.

DIY Monogram pillow

My niece Z was over a few weeks ago and decided Sofie’s room was the place to be. She is five and into dolls, dressing up and all things pretty. When she saw the pillow on Sofie’s bed she fell in love and asked me to make her one. It’s hard to say no to such a cute face.

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I made pillows for Callum and Sofie a few years ago. They sleep with them every night.

All you need is a drop cloth from the Home Depot, some felt and a few beads

I started by printing out a large Z

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I pinned the Z to the felt and cut it out

I also had templates to make the flowers which are also made of felt

The pillow itself it very easy to make. Measure out the size you need and cut it. I made a envelope opening in the back. You need to measure the back piece a bit longer than the front so the top piece overlaps the bottom.

Drop cloths are prone to fraying. It is not a good look. To prevent fraying I finished off the back side by doing a simple hem. Basically you just fold the edge of your fabric over twice so it looks nicely finished.

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You can find a tutorial on simple hems here

It is much easier if you sew your letter on before you sew the pillow together. After the letter is attached you can assemble your pillow by sewing together all four sides.

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Make sure that the good sides are facing each other. There is nothing worse then realizing that you have made a mistake and have to take all your stitches out.

Turn your pillow out and attach the flowers by hand.

The flowers are incredibly easy. Cut out the flowers and then stack them. Doesn’t get much easier then that.

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Add a few pearls for sass and to give it a finished look.

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I think Z will love it!

 

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Baby got back (and belly, and jiggly arms)

I admit it . I am getting chubby. My clothes are getting too tight and I would rather wear yoga pants because they don’t feel like they are strangling my legs or making me look like a sausage. There is clearly only one solution, aside from buying a new wardrobe, I must start working out and eating better. Sounds easy enough right?

The before picture makes me sad. So sad that I can’t bring myself to post it. Let me just say this…Chris, who is 5’11 and weighs 195 pounds and I have the same hip size. I am 5’2 and 140 pounds. I look like a pear.

I was working out in the summer using Jamie Eason’s program,and eating really well. I only lost a few pounds but I felt amazing and my pants could zip up without a fight. Jamie’s program lasts 12 weeks and is a lot of weight lifting with 30 minutes of cardio a day. She also provides a menu and some great recipes.

As much as I enjoyed it I got side tracked at week 6 when we went up to the cottage. Too many hamburgers and the lack of a gym caused me to derail.

I started to think that I needed to get back on track. Immediately after that I decided I needed a bowl of ice cream. These eating habits may be why things are getting a bit snug.

I didn’t want to start all over again so I started looking for a different solution and discovered the 30 x 30 program by Lauren Gliesberg. I chose it mostly because the program is 30 minutes a day for 30 days. Hence the 30 x 30 name.

 

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For $13.50 I figured I would give it a try. I started yesterday and I must admit I thought it was going to be easy. It wasn’t. I was winded by the end of the first circuit. Turns out burpees are my arch nemesis. After 4 minutes of those I felt like I could throw up.

The whole routine took 23 minutes.

By the end of it I felt great. I felt like I had accomplished something.

The program includes pictures of all the exercises and has a workout/food journal.

I used to track everything I ate to make sure I didn’t consume too many calories. I am not as into that right now. It became a bit of an obsession and it was not healthy. This log just tracks what you eat so you can see your habits. No calorie counting.

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There is also a section that says “Today I was great at…” I really like that. It gives you the chance to reflect on the positive things you have done throughout the day.

When I woke up this morning I was sore. But I was also excited to start day 2.

As much as I am doing this program for myself I am also doing it to be a good role model for my kids. It’s so easy for me to tell them not to be lazy and to go outside and play while I sit on the couch and eat chips. It’s time for them to see that being healthy takes work, commitment, and as much as I hate to admit it, it takes support from others to keep you motivated and on track.

I am not one to tell others about my fitness goals. I am not a fan of working out in front of people, even my husband. So why on earth am I writing about it? To keep myself accountable. In my mind if I tell other people I am going to do something then I have no choice but to complete it.

I will be posting an update once a week to show my progress.

 

 

Goodbye Summer

Sad to say but summer seems to be on the way out.  My gardens are no longer green and vibrant. Most of the colour has drained out of the flowers or they have completely died back. The crazy hot and cold flashes of weather that mother nature brought this summer did a number on quite a few of my plants and grasses. Luckily my hydrangeas seemed to thrive. I had more blooms this year then I ever have.  We planted three more hydrangea bushes this year. This brings our hydrangea total to seven.  I might have a bit of an obsession. My favourite part of spring is seeing them start to bloom. They are absolutely gorgeous throughout the summer, but I think they are even more beautiful in fall. Their colour goes from a vibrant pink to a muted and rich rose.

 

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I was recently inspired to use the plethora of hydrangeas that I have by a post from stonegableblog.com

 

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The first thing I needed to do was get Chris to build me a decorative trough. The instructions for it will come in October. He is never happy when I add to his list of projects. Luckily building this took less than an hour so he couldn’t be upset for long.

Now to fill it with dried hydrangeas…

Drying hydrangeas can be hit or miss. Your best bet is to cut the stems at an angle, take off all the leaves and place in a mason jar of water. Leave them in the jar until all the water evaporates. This can take some time, possibly a week or more. By the time the water is gone your flowers will be dry but not a shriveled mess.

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I put some florist foam in the bottom of the trough. I got two blocks of it from the dollar store for $2.50. I use it just to give the hydrangeas some stability and lift. This way they aren’t piled on top of each other.

This was the final result.

 

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I am really pleased with how it turned out. I decided to forgo the white pumpkins for now. I’m not totally ready to admit that fall is here.  This seems like the perfect transition piece to go from summer into fall.