Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Letter To Teenage Jolene

One of the ideas Kenzie and Angie provided for this month's challenge I love and thought I would participate, write a letter to yourself when you were a teenager.  Oh, there are so many things I would like to tell teenage Jolene and I added a little something.  WARNING:  I am not a singer.  Yes, you will see me roll my eyes, scrunch my face, even stop signing all because I am doing my best trying not to cough as well.  (ha ha ha) I have never sung in public before (other than grade school) I am just a home singer in the comfort of my family. Oh, and I am the car performer/singer too.  :)
 Dear Teenage Jolene,
I know you are thinking WHAT? receiving this letter from yourself over 30 years in the future but I have some important words to share with you.  Words you need to hear/read.  Words I wish you really felt because guess what you do deserve to feel this way.
You need to stop trying so hard to make people like you because guess what?  They do!  You have no idea right now how many people really like you and think you are great.  You just need to keep being you.  You are honest and caring.  You treat people with so much respect and care for their needs except for one person.  This person is very important and you need to stop neglecting her.  This person is you!  You need to slow down and take some time for you.  Honestly, it is not selfish at all.  It is being a better person because you have to take care of yourself.  
I know life is hard at times and you wish things were different. Well, if you could love yourself, your life will be a little different because you would have more confidence to try things you never had the courage and later wish you did.  You work a lot of hours, too many hours while in high school.  You need to enjoy these years, go out with your friends a little more.  
You are such a strong individual, yeah you!  I know right now you think you are so weak because of everything life is throwing at you.  You think your Dad does not love you but oh, sweetie you are so wrong.  He is lost.  He has his priorities all wrong but he does love you.  Protect your heart like you have.  The past four years of your current life, you will see how much your Dad really does love you. Do not ever give up on him.  Document all the good memories you have with him as a child, do not hang on to the bad ones.  
You may be asking for tips as to who to avoid to have a better life or what you should do to avoid making mistakes in your life.  Well, I am not going to tell you that because everything you have to go through will make you stronger.  Every heart break you have is an experience you will learn from.  I cannot believe how strong you really are.  You just need to be happy with yourself too.  Care for yourself.  Listen to your Mother, when she tells you not to sit on your knees or cross them because you can do damage to your knees, because she is right it will definitely add to knee issues in your future.
Oh, and you do not have to diet. You are perfect the way you are.  Oh sweetie, if you could see what I see now.  I look at pictures of you and girl YOU ARE NOT FAT stop thinking that!  You can be active but do not diet.  One day in the future you will have side effect from medication where you will gain a lot of weight.  If you take care of yourself as a teenager now and your young adult life, you will have less difficulties on losing that weight.
I know life a lot seems hopeless to you, but you have so much to give everyone including yourself.  Yes, you do find happiness.  At the age of 38, you will find your soulmate and life will be so much easier for you.  Yes, you will have difficult roads but it will be easier because you will have his support.  It is the love of your life you are wishing for now.  He is your Prince Charming.  Think on this Jolene, the fairytales you have read, they all have the individual going through tough times and in the end finding happiness and living happily ever after.  If the character did not have something going on in life to learn from, how will she/he know what happiness is?  See, this is why I cannot tell you to avoid Mr so and so because you need to meet Mr so and so because they teach you something and are part of the threads weaving to make you such a strong person.  Just remember, you do not deserve to be abused.  You are stronger than you think, you do not have to put up with that.  You will have four sons who bring you such joy in your life.  You will have two step daughters who are beautiful young women too and wait until you become a Grandma, you will experience all the joys of your children growing up again and the love from a grandchild is so special.  You get to have all the love and fun and not have to be the parent. 
I guess, the most important thing I want to tell you is love yourself, take time for you too, and stop trying so hard to make everyone like you.  You cannot make everyone like you but those who do, well they are the important people and they think you are amazing.  I think you are amazing so amazing I sung this song to you.  Yes, you!  The artist does a better job than you and her name is Colbie Caillat she has such a sweet style and you love her songs.  This song is titled "Try" listen to the words sweetie.
All My Love,
Jolene from 2015
\12X30 Challenge January: The Love Yourself Challenge


Friday, January 23, 2015

Spagehtti Squash Shrimp Primavera Recipe

We had such a great gardening season of spaghetti squash and I had so many recipes pinned on Pinterest I wanted to try but every time we made spaghetti for the family we used our spaghetti squash with our pasta sauce we canned.  This past week, I wanted to try one of the recipes I pinned and made some adaptation to the recipe and BOY AM I GLAD I MADE THIS.

My picture does not do justice for this dish. I also gave myself a smaller portion, so if I would have given the proper portion of serving, the picture would be better.  This mean was so good and we will be making this more often.  
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Primavera

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • a couple of handfuls of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 15 cooked shrimp
  • Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • Fresh Basil (optional)

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 and roast spaghetti squash OR with a knife poke several times through the rhine of the spaghetti and place on a microwaveable plate for 10 minutes. You may need to add a little more time depending on the size of your squash.  I just add a minute at a time. You will know when it is ready because it will be soft to the touch.
  2. Prepare shrimp by heating in a small pan with some olive oil.  Not too long because remember it is cooked shrimp.
  3. In a medium-size pot add oil, garlic, and onion and saute for for 3-5 minutes
  4. Add in spaghetti squash and mix well
  5. Next you will add in sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, tomatoes or any other vegetables of choice and mix well.
  6. Add in the shrimp and mix well to combine.
  7. Finally top with fresh basil if you wish and fresh Parmesan (optional) and serve hot; taste and add Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Third Week In January, Currently...

 I have posted less than I wanted so I thought I would participate in this fashion to catch up with you all.

Feeling great!  I have been doing a great job journaling my food intake.  I do better when I sit down and plan my entire day, I stay well within the numbers I want and if I do it by the seat of my pants, I go way over, so planning is my winner.  I lost 7 pounds last week by planning.  It was hard to get my water intake the past two days because near where I work a water main broke so that area had a water boil ordinance which made it difficult to get the amount of water, of course when I brought my water in the ordinance was lifted. (ha ha ha) Oh well, just go with the flow.  
Reading right now I am reading:
 Textbook: Brooklyn - ISBN 9781439148952
I am not very far into it and I hate when a book takes a little while to build the story line, this happens every time I finish an awesome book.  Maybe it is just me because I feel Wow that book was great and I did not want it to end already, I hope I find another good book.  I think this mentality makes any book hard in the beginning.  
Watching a few shows right now:
Parks and Recreation (2009) Poster
There is no way we are going to miss this.  We both love this comedy.
Image result for top chef
I think we have watched every season but the first season.
Marco Polo (2014) Poster
We just started this series on Netflix.  I think I like it?!  We are on episode three right now.
Writing all of next week's posts over the weekend.  I am going to try on my break this morning and afternoon to complete another recipe post and hopefully during my lunch finish my book review post but please, do NOT hold your breath. 
Listening to not much music right now. Matter of a fact, you may have noticed I have not posted Sunday's Songs in awhile.  I started to feel like I had to look for a song to post and that was not the purpose of my original postings. It was whatever song I was into that week or thought about, holding memories.  I do not want to force a blog post so I plan on posting Sunday's Song when it feels right.
Wanting to win the lottery to stay home and be a homemaker and Jolene caregiver.  However, I will settle on planing for an awesome Summer Vacation to Yellowstone.  Oh, the planning and planning I have been doing.
Needing to get rid of the rattling/wheezing.  I love the fact I am coughing less.  I just wish the other would go away because once it is gone, then I know the cough will be too, however I am on day 84 of the Whooping Cough, that magic 100 days hopefully is correct!
Hoping to have success with an interview.  Yes, you read that correctly. Now, do not take this hope wrong. I love my job and the company I work for. I am trying for the Team Lead position and will feel so great about myself to FINALLY have a degree position once in my life.  If I do not get it, I will be okay because, hey I have only been with this company four months in six days.
Oh, and I am still Loving Myself and baby this will never end!  No more neglecting me in my life.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review~The Pearl That Broke Its Shell

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
The Pearl that Broke Its Shell
written by Nadia  Hashimi

This book was a hidden gem and my favorite book I read in 2014.  I think I found it on Barnes and Noble deal of the day and I am so happy I did.  The author is Nadia Hashimi and she did provide such a wonderful story and cultural influence of Afghan. 

The main character is Rahima and a second story within the book is of her great-great-great grandmother Shekiba who Rahima learns lessons from her life story told by her great-aunt.  The time of the book is 2007 in Kabul.  Rahima is one of five girls, no brothers of her siblings.  In this cultural no sons is a bad thing, the daughters have no rights and rarely leave the house, they cannot attend school regularly. Females are married off at a young age where a Father can earn a profit sometimes.  Rhaima's father has a drug addiction and combat fighter (most of the time the wrong side).  The only hopes of a daughter in this culture setting to be able to leave the home and to have an education is to be a bacha posh, this is an ancient custom where a female can be treated as a boy until she is of age to marry.  The daughter has to dress and act the part of a son.  Rahima's aunt persuades Rahima's mother and father to allow Rahima to be a bacha posh in order for one of the daughters to be educated.  The aunt shares the story of their great-great-great grandmother,Shekiba who was a bacha posh at one time nearly a century earlier.  Rahima is allowed to dress as a boy and attend school.  She is also allowed to run errands and go to the market.  Rahima enjoys this freedom and finds this new life very much enjoyable.  One day her father marries her and her two sisters to the same family.  Rahima is only 13 at the time.  Her life changes very much by oppression, she is abused, and lives in fear. During the time frame she was a  bacha posh time a seed was planted within her where she desired freedom and eventually assist Rahima to flee her abusive husband and family.

Within the story, you will read about Shekiba's life as well, the two stories weave within one another.  Shekiba is orphaned and ends up working as a girl-man guard to the king's harem. 

This book is full of emotions.  I highly recommend this book, be prepared for tears.  I found myself cheering for Rahima to leave.  It also made me feel so grateful where I have been born, where I have the freedom I do as a woman and the opportunity to be educated.  I simply loved this book.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala Recipe

We tried a new recipe for the crock pot.  Todd and I felt we needed something new, so I searched Pinterest and found several and decided to try Chicken Marsala in the Crock Pot, I did a little adaptation to the original recipe. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • ¾ cup Marsala wine
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Coat crock pot insert with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the olive oil, shallot and garlic in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl stir together the flour, salt and black pepper. 
  3. Next pound the chicken to an even thickness and coat it with the flour mixture and add to the crock pot. 
  4. Scatter mushrooms over chicken and add the Marsala.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until the chicken is tender. 
  6. To thicken the sauce, turn the slow cooker up to HIGH. Combine the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and stir it into the chicken mixture. Cover and cook until the sauce has thickened 10 to 25 minutes. 
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
I added our Chicken Marsala on top of bow tie pasta.  I boiled the pasta while the sauce was thickened.  After draining the pasta thoroughly I added 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to my pasta and seasoned with Italian Season about 1/8 of a teaspoon.



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And His Diagnosis Is...

We received Noah's diagnosis last week, for the most part I was not surprised at some of the diagnosis one bit.   Here is what we found out:

Major Depressive Disorder, moderate  (Yep we knew that and he is being treated for it.)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, combined presentation. 
Oppositional Defiant Disorder, monitor for Conduct Disorder (Um...yes, this is a given by the way he does everything opposite as to what I say and so disrespectful.)
Monitor for Borderline Personality Disorder

I guess I did not understand ADHD entirely.  I would have never guessed Noah was ADHD because he can concentrate.  He spends hours in front of video games.  What I have learned is that ADHD people can spend hours or focus on things they enjoy, they just have a problem focusing or completing task they do not enjoy or do not understand.  Okay, to me that is lack of discipline with following through at least that is what I thought.  I looked at good ol' Wikiepdia for some more answers.
An individual with inattention may have some or all of the following symptoms:
  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another  Hmmm....sometimes?
  • Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task  Totally if it is something he does not like.  (Again, who does not?)
  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable  Does not any human being?  You just have to plug away. Awh...maybe that is the issue, they do not have the connection or whatever it is in the brain to make them keep plugging away?.
  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new  Oh, his lack of organization drives me nuts but I thought that was a boy thing.
  • Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities  I have seen this a lot with Noah.
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to  I thought this was tuning someone out or ignoring?  Wow I guess I am so out of touch.
  • Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly  Nope, not Noah
  • Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others  I am learning Noah is having difficulties here.  He is more of a person who relies on his memory and with school becoming more challenging this is where the distractions and difficulty of focusing is coming into play.  Hmmm.... maybe there is something to this.
  • Struggle to follow instructions  He has always had difficulties with verbal instructions.  I just thought it was because he is the baby.
An individual with hyperactivity may have some or all of the following symptoms:
  • Fidget and squirm in their seats  I do not see this in Noah.
  • Talk nonstop  OMG!!!!  Yes, this kid has never stopped talking the day he learned.  Well if you do not count this past year when he has been full of hatred.
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight  Dash around, no but touching or playing with anything and everything yes.
  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, doing homework, and story time  I never noticed this with him.
  • Be constantly in motion  Again, I never noticed this with Noah.
  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities  Yes, this is Noah.
These hyperactivity symptoms tend to go away with age and turn into "inner restlessness" in teens and adults with ADHD.
An individual with impulsivity may have some or all of the following symptoms:
  • Be very impatient
  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  • Often interrupt conversations or others' activities  Noah has been all of the above and has been very dominate since he became a teenager.
What does this mean?  Well the doctor has now prescribed the lowest dosage of medicine for the ADHD.  When Noah becomes 18, he will be off medication and then retested.  One third of children do not need medications once they are 18.  If Noah needs medication still, he will go off again at the age of 23 and be tested.  This is when the brain has completely developed according to the doctor and another one third of people do not need medication for ADHD.  This means only one third of the people who have ADHD need to stay on medication as adults.  The doctor, feels treating the ADHD will also treat the Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which is common with ADHD (50%-20% ADHD has ODD as well.)  Again according to Wikipedia ODD is characterized by antisocial behaviors such as stubbornness, aggression, frequent temper tantrums, deceitfulness, lying, and stealing.  I think you all can understand why this disorder did not surprise me from what I have posted about Noah's behavior last year.  

As for the borderline Personality Disorder, his psychiatrist and therapist are on different pages.  The psychiatrist feels it is way too early to diagnosis him with this but his therapist stated she totally sees this with Noah but stated with therapy he can be treated. 

I shared with Noah his diet will change some to assist with the ADHD.  He needs to stay away from red and yellow die food and less sugar.  The boy has a major sweet tooth. I explained he still can have some, like diabetic but it will have to be with moderation.  I also shared other ideas for snacks for him which will be available more often now.  As for the diet here is what I found out.  He should have more protein in the morning and after school snacks, like eggs, cheese, beans, meat, and nuts. He should have less simple carbohydrates such as: candy, corn syrup, honey, sugar, products made with white flour, white rice, and potatoes without skin.  He should have more complex carbohydrates (which will also help with sleep at night) such as: veggies, some fruits (like oranges, tangerines, pears, kiwi, grapefruit, grapes, and apples.) and more Omega 3 fatty acids, this will be impossible, he hates all forms of fish. I might rely on the vitamin for this increase.  

Hopefully we all will see a difference with the new addition of medication and diet in Noah. I really want to see this child succeed, he used to be fun to be around and he is a bright person.  I know he has the potential, now he has to keep making good choices.  It may be more of a challenge for him but if he wants this, he has to work at it.  He has been making good choices since the week after Thanksgiving. We have had only minor melt downs but to me, this is more the norm when you have a teenager. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How I Loved Me ...The first full week in January

Last week I made effort every day to keep up with thinking of me too.  I am so proud of my accomplishments.  Here are a few highlights:
I posted about my little humidifier I purchased last week and it has worked wonders.  My co-workers have been commenting how little I am coughing bu they have noticed I hack a lot when I first get here.  The cold air does that.  After the Arctic Freeze set in last week (Last week was the first week back from school for the boys and they never did begin on time.  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday they had 2 hour delay because either snow storm the night before or the frigid temperatures.  Wednesday school was canceled all together but when you have a high of -17 degrees with wind chill of -23 {this is what the temp feels like with the winds} then children have no business being out walking to school.  I thought of myself and took care of me too during that week.  This is how I looked every time I had to step outdoors.  Sexy huh?  

I took time every day to do my hair and make up.  Here are a couple of selfies I took before work.
Above:  I am wearing just lip gloss on my lips no color.  
I was very surprised how many of my co-workers commented on my make up this day.
Below:  I woke up later than I should have.  I forgot Noah had an appointment.
I chose to skip styling the hair just blew dry it.
 Honestly...I cannot tell much of a difference.
I did added my new shade in lipstick. 
Thursday, my darling rotten Noah was rather rude to me and I put him in his place quickly.  I called him to make sure he was out of his class and heading to his locker to inform him I was running a tad late because of a semi blocking the road.  Here was our conversation:  

Noah:  "Don't you EVER call me again while I am in class.  Do you hear me?"
Me:   "Well, I..."
Noah:  Interrupting me. "I am on way out and this is very distracting."
Click... he hung up on me.
Once he got his little body inside the car where it was warmer, I looked at him and told him he was very rude.  I called only to let him know I was running late and wanted him to meet me near the street but he did not allow me to speak.  I also told him I wanted his cell phone for a spot check.  While he was in the doctor office, I noticed the kid gets text messages through out the day and my phone number he has my name saved as BITCH.  Once we were in the car, I told him I have never called him before in school and this was the first time.  He should not have been in his class at the time and I will not allow or put up with the disrespect ever again from him.  He will answer the phone properly if he wants the phone that I am paying for.  I also told him my name is not Bitch and he will change that or he will not have any phone EVER.  I told him once he is 18 and paying for his own phone bill, if I ever find out he has me saved as BITCH then I will guarantee he will never see that name pop up on his phone because I will never ever call him or speak to him again.  I told him I found he gets text messages through out the day and he has no business snapping at me like he did.  He quickly changed my name in his phone.  I think he knows I am done and not accepting his behavior any longer.   What I loved about this (yes, I am finding a silver lining) he did not stress me out one bit and I think he sensed it too.

Saturday was my company's Holiday Party.  Here is a couple of selfies before the party.
I cannot believe how many compliments I received.  It definitely made this lady feel good.

Here is a special treat to me.  I cannot remember when I painted my nails last.  Sorry the picture is too dark.
I worked my arms out three of the seven days.  They are yelling at me too which is a good thing because they were worked.  I did well tracking my food intake (I did not miss one little bite of food) and improved on more water intake.  I did have one can of soda at the party and I wasted calories on three margaritas at the party, however I do not regret drinking them one bit.  I have been thinking about joining the gym again because I would be able to do the morning water aerobics at 9 am since I work at 10:30 during the week.  I really enjoyed it in the past.  If I were to join again, then I would be able to take the classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  They have a Senior work out on Wednesday but I would only be able to join the class every other week and I am not sure if they would allow me since technically I am not a Senior, just my knees are.
You can bloom!
It is my turn to just bloom!
12X30 Challenge January: The Love Yourself Challenge


Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Special Purchase For Me!

One way to show myself love is thinking of me and not second guessing on spending money on me too.  I rarely buy things for me.  I have noticed when I have the humidifier on in our room at home, I cough less.  I am on day 69 of having Whooping Cough and I still wheezing/rattling and coughing; some days are better than others.  Mondays I seem to cough less the other work days.  Then it hit me, the difference is the humidifier.  I asked my Supervisor if there are any rules of having a personal humidifier because I have noticed it helps relieve the cough and wheezing/rattling.  She checked into it and I could get one if I wanted.  I was so happy to find one at Bed Bath and Beyond.   I cannot believe what a big difference this little guy makes for me.  I barely cough now at work. 
It is small and very quiet which is important since my job requires me talking on the phone.  The water is enough for four hours which is fine because I just add more during my lunch break.  

Notice my picture?  I love my Universal Studio mug Joshua got me.  He felt it was appropriate for me since it was not just Thing 1 and Thing 2 but All Things.  The other nice mug was a gift from the company.  I use one for tea and the other for hot chocolate/coffee.  I also love my mug warmer one of my co-workers picked up for me.  Where we sit, it is freezing and my hot drinks 1/4 of the way drunk turns cold.  I love where I work.  Finding the courage and looking for a new job was one of the best things I could have done in 2014.    


Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 The Year to Love Me

2014  Goodbye  ... 2015 HELLO!!!

I am so welcoming the New Year and plan to make this year a healthier me.  I feel so many things happened last year which was totally sad in my life.  It was not a happy year.  This year I want to love me and do things for me too.  This will then make me a better whatever it is: a friend, spouse, lover, mother, daughter, worker, and so forth you get the picture.

To start with I have to let go what I cannot control.  The first thing I am going to let go is not being there the last day my Dad was alive.  He knew I loved him.  Why have I been beating myself up?  I received a special gift the night he died.  It was probably more personal than if I was there and saw him in person.  God allowed him to come to me while I was sleeping that night.  I heard him say how he loves me and how he is proud of me.  How I am a good Mom and his last words to me "Always remember I love you."  I was able to be with him when he took his last breath and pass peacefully while he slept in my dream.  He spoke to me the next day when I said " I was supposed to be there."  I heard his voice say in my head "You were." clear as day it was him talking to me.  The guilt I have carried I need to let go because he loved me and he knew I loved him.  You have no idea how liberating it is for me to just type this out.  HE LOVED ME.  For years I struggled with thinking he did not love me, he chose a life without us, but he changed his ways and everything was good the last four years.  His last words to me even if it was in a dream ALWAYS REMEMBER I LOVE YOU.  I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU TOO DAD!

Another thing I am letting go is Noah's behavior.  I cannot think of it as I have failed some how because I have not.  I have been a good mother to each one of my children and to my step-children.  I have to face the facts, Noah is making his own choices and it does not reflect one bit on how good of a mother I am.  This one was a tough one to let go but I have.  Regardless of what the test say on Thursday, I am letting his behavior go.  He will no longer stress me out, I will not allow it.  I will be there to mother him and love him but I will not allow him to stress me out and make me unhealthy any longer.  My other children deserve better as well as my husband.   I deserve better.
 I chose the third option, GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT!  I mean I have done this for everything in my life but for me, now it is time for me to give everything I got to me too.  I am back on my healthy journey, one I started in September 2013.  I was doing great.  My Mom and Dad both told me how great I was looking with the weight loss.  I was beginning to have more energy.  This year I will pick myself up and start on this road again and give it all I can.  What does this mean?  Well I will log everything I eat, I plan not to drink soda any longer (bye-bye Pepsi, my comfort) and drink more water.  I will make sure I am taking my vitamin C.  I have read this will not only promote me being healthier but my skin too.  I took before pictures so I can see the difference while I am on this healthy journey.  While I have Whooping Cough, I will not be able to do much as cardio exercise because I get too winded from coughing, but I plan on lifting weights and working my muscles until I am better, then cardio will be added.  

2015 will be about loving me so taking care of me is not just weight and endurance but loving myself to allow me to buy stylish clothing at no matter what size I am.  To take the time to do my hair and make up.  I have spoken to Beth from Printcess & Living a Goddess Life about what type of eye shadow color would be best for me and how to make my eyes pop behind my glasses.  I plan to buy some eye shadow from her.  I am torn about coloring my gray hairs.  I have learned to accept them and love them.  I sort of love how they highlight my face but I may not once it becomes more than highlights.  I will reconsider at that time.  I also thought I might want to color for Ethan's graduation this May.

I know by me taking time for me and loving myself I will be happier.  Just think, I am an awesome Mom, friend, wife, lover, daughter, sister, aunt, and person now, just think how much more I will be when I am happy by loving me as much as I love others.  2015 will be Jolene's year to love herself. 

It is so funny because I made my mind up to start loving me and making 2015 about Jolene and then I was to begining to get caught up on some blogs and found out Angie and Kenzie are doing a 12x30 challenge and this month's challenge is exactly that...Love Yourself Challenge, so I am linking up to their monthly party.  You can find out more by clicking on the link below (picture).
12X30 Challenge January: The Love Yourself Challenge

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January Goals

It is a blog hop, so click on the Monthly Goal button and you will see those who play along post as well.
Monthly Goals

  • Bake Christmas Cookies  FAIL  I ended up buying store bought Christmas Cookies.
  • Paint Joshua's painting  FAIL  I did not even start it.
  • Paint Taj's paintings  FAIL  I did not even start it.
  • Paint Taj's name  FAIL  I did not even start it.
  • Finish my Christmas Painting  FAIL  I did not even start it.
  • Take a painting class  FAIL  I was sick the day of the class.
  • Finish my Christmas Decorating  SUCCESS Only by the help of my boys and husband.
  • Visit my family in Des Moines SUCCESS  I was not able to see my Grandma, which upset me and her because my aunt demanded that I do not show up since I have been sick.  She does not get that I  stayed away because if my Grandma came down with something including a cough I would never hear the end of it.
I completely FAILED my goals for the month of December but I am okay with it because I know how sick I have been. 

With the knowledge of Whooping Cough can last up to 100 days, I plan to try to make more realistic goals this month.
  • Paint Joshua's painting
  • Read a book
  • Set my Goodread yearly goal
  • Begin a Healthier Me Road
  • Make my final payment for Ethan's Spain Trip
  • Begin Ethan's slide show for graduation.
What goals do you have?


Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Year In Review

2014 was definitely not my best year, however I have always done a year in review and do not think I should pass just because it was a horrible year for me.  Although it was not the greatest year, I did have some personal good things, some I have posted about but what I did not post is how I have such a great support system of family and friends, this includes many of you, my blogger friends.  I have also once again seen how much my Mom loves her daughters.  I heard with my own ears Matthew, Joshua, and Ethan (all separately and thinking I was not within ear shot) telling Noah what a great Mom I really am and how some day he will realize this and he needs to quit treating me so poorly. This is one of the greatest gifts I could have ever have in my entire boys realizing all I do and appreciating it.  Then of course there has been all the support from my darling husband who has been through the battles with me and has been a victim of Noah as well.  I feel very blessed having this man in my life.  So now on with the review...

Here in Iowa we had a deep freeze during the month of January. An Arctic blast hit us late in December 2013 and stuck around for a long time.  I was able to get a picture of the beauty of this Arctic blast, a sun dog.  You can read about it by clicking here.  (Just proof how you have to look for the good at all times.)

 I participated in one of my favorite swaps Books n' Bloggers hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swap, matter of a fact they are having another one soon and I plan to participate.  Sign ups begin January 5th, so head on over and check it out.  You can click on Chaotic Goddess Swap for their link.  If you want to see what I received in the swap last February you can click here.
I was paired with the wonderful Kaylee from Chair in the Shade.  She is such a sweetheart.  I still check out her blog.

I decorated my mantel for Valentine's Day in 2014.  This was the first time, I never shared that with any of you before.  I posted about my decorations and you can read about it by clicking here:
I went to Des Moines often during the beginning of the year to see my Dad.  February is my Mom's birthday and I stopped at her house before seeing my Dad and she showed me her decorations downstairs in the family room.  I was surprised she had some of our old artwork matted and framed. You can read about it by clicking here.
Actually, I posted a lot about love and a lot of songs by the Beatles to celebrate their 50th Anniversary on the Ed Sullivan show.  You can click here to listen to one of the songs, you can also check the February Archives to read about all of them if you wish.  I know I would but I am a big Beatle fan too!

I participated in my second favorite swap: Mug O' Comfort Swap.  I was paired with Ms. Tee from Where Love, Life, and Laughter.  She very much spoiled me, you can read about it by clicking here.  Chaotic Goddess Swap hosted this one again.
 I posted about an Irish Fun Fact about me.  You will have to click here to read about.  Trust me it was a good one.

I did not post a lot in March.  March was hard.  My Dad was getting worse and four of the five weeks I could not make it to Des Moines to see him.  I was not getting child support from my ex and it hurt financially so the trips were less. I did make it down the last weekends in March to celebrate my Dad's birthday.

The first weekend in April was hard.  My Dad was moving slower and was laying down, typically he did not do this.  When I kissed him good-bye and told him I would see him next weekend, he told me no I would not because he did not think he would be there.  I remember fighting tears all the way home.  It was what I thought was the longest 2 hour drive in my life at that point.  He was right, he left us on April 9th.   I did not make it in time and struggle with this still today, but God allowed my Dad to come to me the night he passed in my dream.  I was brought to my Mom's house where he was during the hours he passed.  He told me he loved me and he was proud of me, how I was a good Mom, and to always remember he loves me.  I thanked him and told him I love him too.  I heard him take one big deep breath and he passed in his sleep peacefully.  My Mom called me three minutes after I woke to break the news.  Everyone told me he would make it through the night and I would make it to say good-bye. I posted a tribute to him, you can read about it by clicking here.  I posted about him a lot during April. I cannot remember much of that month to be honest.  I do not know how I got through things.  I worked on his slide show for his memorial.  I was on auto pilot.  I cried so much, Taj was some sunshine for me during this time.  We went to the Children's Museum the weekend after my Dad passed. Todd was really hoping it was going to help me.  You can read about it by clicking here.
I did too, but while we were there I still fought the tears a couple of time. Taj would just run up to me and hug me.  I am blessed to have this little guy in my life.

Oh!  April I received a special gift.  My painting Ricki Jill from Art@Home painted for me.  I just love it!
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Her timing was incredible.  I needed this little pick me up.

As if April was not hard enough May was the beginning of my nightmare 2014 style.  Ten days after my dad's memorial and spreading his ashes my youngest son tried to hang him self three times.  You can read Part One about by clicking here.  

I posted about my love for Starburst Mirrors you can read about it by clicking here.  I never made mine yet but I plan to this year.  I actually plan to make two of them.  One must be done before May.  I plan to hang it one of the walls where the stairs are. 

My Spring flowers made me HAPPY, you can read about it by clicking here.

June was better to me than the two months prior.  Although Noah refused to cooperate and go on the weekend vacation we had planned.  We dropped him off at his Dad's on our way to Omaha with Taj.  You can read about our trip to the Omaha Zoo by clicking here.  
However before our trip to the zoo that month I posted about how our garden made me HAPPY.  You can read about it by clicking here. 
Taj turned three in June.  You can read about his party by clicking here. His theme this year was Toy Story and we went all out.  I posted links to all the decorations and games we made as well as the photo booth we created within the post above.  
We typically go on vacation during the end of July but chose to stay home and organize and purge.  I am so happy with what we did do but we have more.  We never touched the shed. July was no change in Noah.  I participated in the second Books N' Blogger swaps again hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  This time I was paired with Amanda from Off The BookYou can read about it by clicking here.  
Our gardens where doing well and my Mom came to stay with me during the 4th of July. I really enjoyed her being here.  You can read about my Happy List by clicking here 
I painted my Dr Who version of Starry Night.  I ended up giving it to Matthew as a Christmas present.  He was so surprised and happy with it.  He thought I was going to give it to Ethan.
The end of July is my anniversary to Todd.  We celebrated by going to Chicago but I did not post about it until August.  

Todd and I went to Chicago and stayed at a resort.  I posted a series of our Anniversary Weekend Get A Way.  We hung out at the Navy Pier, had an architectural tour on the Chicago River, went to Millennium Park.  I posted my series beginning in August but the last post were in September.  You can read the first of the series by clicking here and there are links to the others at the bottom of the post. 

During the months of May through August the Iowa City Corridor had a special art display through out the cities named Herky On Parade 2.  I was able to post about them during the month of August and did a little series.  You can read the first one by clicking here.   It was this post I introduced all 84 of them. 

The month of September was very rough with Noah.  The first time he ran away (he ran away a total of 3 times during the month of September) he was very aggressive, he pushed me and I was so proud how calm I handled everything.  He made a comment how he wished someone would kill me so he would not be in misery any longer.  After we found him Todd had enough of his disrespect and told him if he ever lays another finger on me he would lay a finger on him.  The next day when I came home from work I found the butcher's knife was missing from my knife block.  Noah had it hidden in his room to use on me and to protect himself from Todd.  We ended up having to go buy a lock which requires a key to put on our closet door.  All dangerous or harmful items are now stored in our closet.  The second time he ran away he attacked Todd and Todd had to pin him down until he was calm, during this time he kept biting Todd. 
Good things did happen in September, I blogged about, Todd and I went to one of the state parks and took a wonderful drive.  We went to Bellvue State Park, you can read about it by clicking here
I posted about a blog giveaway I won from Patty over at Patty's Pretty Things.  She too is such a sweet person.  You can read about the win by clicking here.  The same post I talked about other things that made me happy, such as painting on canvases and ceramics with the boys.
We took Ethan, Madi, Kera, Taj to Wilson's Orchard.  This was our second year of doing this and we will be doing it annually.  We just love it.  You can read about this post by clicking here.

And of course our garden products made my blog.  You can read about it by clicking here.
Noah's challenges this month besides being disrespectful and doing whatever he wanted, he was caught shoplifting.  *Sigh* While his brother was clocking in for work.  Yes, the kid shoplifted where his brother works.  This is very embarrassing and now challenging because Noah cannot even be on the property of any Hy-Vee store.  I cannot run a quick errand to the store if he is in my car, nor can he return pop cans any longer.
I did have some fun things in October.  Early in the month I went to Diamond Lake Park with Ethan.  It was an hour drive and I enjoyed the time with Ethan.  It seems he is getting robbed of my time.  We went to have his Senior pictures taken but it was nearly freezing temperatures and very windy so none of them turned out.  You can read about the little trip by clicking here.
Later in the month Todd and I went to Lake McBride State Park to take in some of Autumn's beauty.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  You can read about it by clicking here.
 I posted about the boys' Spirit Week and Homecoming Week, both boys went and they looked dashing.  I loved how they were into the Spirit too.  You can read about it by clicking here.
I started my new job which I still love.  The company is the best I have EVER worked for.  My niece, Miranda started walking with a walker, she is amazing the doctors her progress.  They never thought she would even sit.  She turned six the following month.  Noah, Taj, Todd and I went to Colony Pumpkin Patch and had a great time.  We will do this again.  You can read about it by clicking here.
We had to go to court for Noah's shoplifting.  He basically got a "Get out of jail Free" card.  We had to go to a class at the court house and they told the kids this is the only chance they get that will not be held against him.  This scared Noah.  I also came down with Whooping Cough and became very sick.  Noah ran away again the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  The week after Thanksgiving Noah started to make better choices and tried to work with everyone.  I think he was scared of being sent to a residential center, the court house, and seeing how sick I became he chose to begin to behave.  For the most part he is still trying. 

Noah and I took a painting class together.  The subject was Tree of Life.  You can read about it by clicking here.
The month of December Noah continued to make good choices, he brought most of his grades up to passing before Christmas break.  December 30th he had three hours of testing to find out if there is any mental disorders Noah has on top of depression and anxiety.  January 8th we will have results.

I was (still am) sick from Whooping Cough still because of this I only posted a total of 5 times. Christmas was good, small and for the most part stress free.  I did very little due to being sick but the family pitched in.


He Loves Me