A few weeks ago I finished a book I had been wanting to read for a long time.  The book is by the lady I refer to as "The Bloggess".  One of the bloggers that I have followed off and on for years.  Her sense of humor is great but she is also very honest about her struggles with mental illness which I love and appreciate.  I came across her book at a library book sale last summer and did not get around to reading it until the end of the school year.

Now I will be upfront and say that her sense of humor isn't for everyone....but I loved it.  I think she is a great character in a story (yes I know this is an autobiography).  She is funny and flawed-you know like a real person!  She jokes about her unconventional upbringing and these amazing situations that she finds herself in often.  For example she talks about how her dog died and she had to bury him...morbid yes....but the situation she finds herself in is uniquely funny.

If you are looking for a funny, quick read then this is the book for you!  

Yesterday would have been my dad's 65 birthday.  It makes me sad to think that he never made it to what many consider "official senior citizen" status.  On the other hand I know my father feared being and old man.  That is not to say that he wanted to go this soon, but I know he never wanted to be old and in a home.  

So my original plan was to get up early and go to the cemetary and visit his grave and bring him an angle statue that I bought.  My father loved filling his yard with all sorts of angle statues.  A few months ago I bought two matching Angle statues one for my garden and one for his grave.  I felt that way there would be a connection between my garden and him (my father grew some of the most amazing flowers).  Then I started to think about it.  What did my father like to do on his birthday. He loved to do the things that made him happy.  He often would say "Its my birthday I am going to do what I want".  If we were up at the lake-which we often were.  He would go out early and go fishing, we would go to breakfast, and then maybe have dinner out.  He was a big fan of buying himself his own present....or presents!  Many of which my mother didn't know about.  So I started to think hanging around the cemetary being sad wasn't really the best option.

So yesterday I got up early and ran to Dunkin to get us all doughnuts.  My dad would get the kids doughnuts once a week when he brought htem to school (ok it was more than that until I told him he could only do it once a week).  In the summer he would often call us early and say he was metal detecting and could he stop by-doughnuts for the kids in tow (and sometimes a coffee for me)

Then since my father's favorite meal was breakfast we had breakfast for dinner to celebrate.  I also took some time during the day to spend some time doing something I rarely do during the day ever-which is read a book.  I finished the book I was reading and lounged around for a good part of the day.  

I felt that a day like that was a better tribute to my father than sadness and tears a grave.  I think going to the cemetary has its place.....but for some reason I am just feeling that is not where he is.  I can't quiet put into words what I mean...but it just didn't feel right going there.  

It was a nice day...although there were moments where I was sad....that is every day.  

So to my dad-Happy 65th.  I miss you today and everyday.  

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I was approached by the Mamma Chia company a few months ago and was asked if I wanted to try their Granola and other chia products and do a giveway on my blog.  I heard the word giveaway and said yes...but I was still a little nervous I love granola and sometimes things made with Chia are.....well they can taste like I am licking a chia pet!

When my granola came I was first impressed with the selection of flavors. A lot of healthier granola's don't have many options for flavors.  I recieved Wild Blueberry, Vanilla Almond, and Cinnamon Pecan.  I immediatly went for the Wild Blue berry.  I made a lactose free yogurt and granola parfiat.  It was amazing.  The chunks of granola were great either to eat as a cereal or as a tasty snack.  Over the next two weeks I also tried the other two flavors.  The blueberry still remained my favorite but the others were also really good.

Now here is the deal with the granola-It has 10 grams of protein so its stuper filling, 5 grams of fiber to keep things moving, and no soy or dairy.  Also in terms of granola the calorie and fat content were not bad.  In fact it was only 3 points per serving which is low for granola in terms of weight watchers.  The product is also organic!!!  My only critque of the product is this...if you love buttery granola the kind that is like 1000 calories per quarter cup...this is not that granola.  It is a great healthier option.  It is sweet without being over poweringly sweet.  It has amazing crunch-even in milk.  It doesn't have what I call the bark taste either.  We all know super healthy cereal sometimes tastes like we are eating friggin tree bark....none of that here.   

Mamma Chia also has two new products Chia Squeezes which are like apple sauce pouches for adults and Mamma Chia drinks.  I was give several coupons to try them but I haven't made my way to whole foods yet to try them (I will review them when I do).  But I didn't want to wait any longer to get this giveaway going.

The folks over at Mamma Chia wanted to get the word out about their amazing products so they are offering a Super Chia Package for one of my readers to try!!!

One of my readers will win the exact amazing package from Mamma Chia I did.  The Winner will receive the following:

One Variety Pack of Organic Chia Granola Clusters (one of each of the 3 flavors)
7 Chia Squeeze Vouchers
7 Vitality Beverage Vouchers

So if you want to be entered to win...comment below.  Contest will run from July 27-August 3.  Tell which product you would want to try most.   Also stop by the Mamma Chia website for all their amazing products!  

So apparently I am a go big or go home kind of girl...yet I don't really think out if I would really be ok with going home.  So I had said previously that my goal was to run a 10k by the end of the summer.  Well I didn't realize that most 10K running programs suggest 12 weeks to bump from running 2.5 miles to the 6 needed.  Well hello I am not even doing a mile fully running right now and the race is 7 weeks away.  I am not giving up or quitting but I think I may change my race to the 5k with a goal of running it fully and with a decent time.  My new more realistic goal will be to run a 10k by the end of the school year.  I am a big girl and want to run long term so if I go to much to quick I am nervous I am going to injure myself.  As it is there are some runs that I need to have more than one day recovery for my calfs and ankles.  

It also makes me a little sad because my overall goal that I never really talked about was the run in the Hartford Marathon this October as a tribute to my dad.  I really wanted to cross that finish line.  I think it is more realistic to have the goal of a 10k by next spring then train for the half marathon over the summer.  Most half marathon training programs are 12-14 weeks.  

I often find I put so much pressure on myself to achieve (whatever that goal is) that I often get discouraged and quit.  Well not this time.  I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at my goals and saying....guess what its still a goal but just a different time frame. Sort of like my weight loss.  It doesn't have to happen over night...it just needs to happen!

So I will keep you all updated on my 5k training.  My last run I did 20 minutes without stopping and that was good but my time is still super slow.  Hoping that if I faithfully do the couch to 5k program I will get that time better than the last time I rushed the program!  Who else out there is training for something fun?

As I talk a lot of my loss and my children's loss I often don't talk about those other's who lost someone when my dad died.  My uncle's lost a brother, My grandmother lost another son, my godfather lost his childhood friend and cousin, my "aunt's and Uncle's" lost a friend, and my husband lost his other dad.

My husband lost his partner in crime when on vacation with my parents.  He lost the man to hang out with and talk about nothing with, he lost the loving go to caretaker of his children, he lost the man who would always spoil his Son in law at Christmas and Birthday's with fun Christmas gifts not practical gifts and clothes.  He lost a lot....we all did.

In the past few months I have leaned heavily on my husband-something that I haven't been that good at.  Ever since his struggle with depression began I have really run the show (in the beginning by necessity and once healthy by choice)...especially these last two and half years that he was going back to school.  My father died right at the height of my husband's final set of classes for his masters.  He was always there.  Sometimes in the background silently he would be the support we all need, sometimes he was only parent because all I was was a body sitting there.  I wasn't there, I was checked out.  He was there the day my dad died as I screamed and sobbed and just held me up when I couldn't stand.  He walked my mother and I through picking a casket and planning a funeral.  He helped the kids deal with their grief knowing all to well what it is like to loose a loving grandparent too soon.  He did this all while dealing with his own loss and his constant struggle with depression

A lot of people who haven't walked the walk with a loved one having mental illness don't know what a delicate balance life is when someone is working every day for their mental health.  People think...oh they are fine now so everything is fine everyday.  People don't get that my husband works everyday on his health and sometimes that is easier than others.  Yet, during these last nine months he has figured out how to manage his depression while living in a home filled with grief and sadness.  Anyone who struggles with Depression knows that it is very hard to be around negativity and sadness and not have it affect you.  

I think people looking from the outside of my life, even my closest of friends don't see or know what it has been like in our house.  I put on a good face...all the time.  It looks like it always has....me running the show Ryan doing his thing.  Even friends might hear a complaint about "ugh my hubby did this" but that is force of habit and what wives do.  

I don't go around saying...."hey guess what my husband did....He helped my daughter who was hysterical and crying for her grandpa while I closed my self in the bathroom and cried because I couldn't handle it."  Those stories of of him being the rock around here don't get told because to tell them means I show how messed up things were and sometimes still are.

It is hard for a girl like me who typically makes all the decisions in this house for me and for the kids to be so overwhelmed that I can't make decisions.   Ryan has stepped up, quietly without my asking, to take the lead when I couldn't.  This wasn't a comfortable place for him or for me but we have figured out this new step in our relationship.  

As I am coming up on my 11th anniversary with Ryan I thought it was time to say out loud (or at least online) how much his love and support have meant.  Thankfully he has been here for all the good years and is walking with me as I find my way out of this shit hole called grief.   I am thankful that despite being the other one who lost my dad he  have been able to stand next to me holding me up when I couldn't.  

Love you Schmoopy-Happy Anniversary I will forever be grateful for your love and support!

Three months ago I read an article in the New York Times that was discussing the new trend of adult coloring books and how they are a new trend and that adults gravitate towards them for lot of reasons but mainly for the stress relieving aspect of just zoning out and coloring.  Well I immediately went on Amazon to order that coloring book but it was sold out.  Then later that day I got an email asking if I wanted to review an adult coloring book....SWEET!!! Of course I did.  The only issue was because of the New York Times article the coloring book was sold out and I was going to have to wait till they ran another printing.  Well it was worth the wait (Ironically I bought myself another coloring book to color with Miss J and this one came in the mail that day).

Well the book is beautiful to say the least.  It contains all hand drawn designs that are both beautiful and detailed.  Also since they are the Mandalas they are all these interconnected circle designs.  When looking at them it is hard to decided where one flower starts and the other ends.  There is something almost meditative in even looking at them and contemplating which part of the design is one flower.  

I bought myself new pencils, markers, and pens to color with-because frankly I didn't want to share my coloring book or my coloring utensils with the children.  I loved doing it and it was super relaxing.  

The book suggests coloring for 30 minutes with relaxing music which is a lovely idea but one of which my mommy self just laughed at because....if I had 30 quiet minutes to listen to music I would be sleeping not coloring!

I would highly recommend this book it retails for ten dollars but it is currently on amazon for under six!!!! (Affiliate Link Here)   and it also comes with the ability to download more designs online that did not make it into the book.  I feel it is well worth it....especially for mom's who can now have a fun coloring book that doesn't involve cartoons!
So now that it is finally summer I finally feel like I can finally take a breath and look around.  I sort of have put my head down and just did the every day stuff.  Got up, went to work, took care of my family, went to bed.  I honestly did not spend much if anytime taking care of myself or allowing my self to grieve.  Of course I have cried-but I would often take a deep breath-push that down, and keep pushing forward.  I even began a little side job to keep myself busy (as if i wasn't busy enough already).  I did it because if I was busy I wasn't alone with my thoughts or sadness.  Lets be honest I knew this wasn't healthy but it was survival.  Now that summer has hit I have time...and as much as I really would love to continue to push this sadness away and not acknowledge what is my new reality I can't do that anymore.  Its not healthy for me or for my family.  I have gained about 15 pounds in the last few months because I am not taking care of myself.  I was just pushing pushing pushing.  

Well not anymore.  I need to deal.  I need to start clawing my way back.  I was in a good place in the fall before this happened.  So those are my goals.  Here they are
1.  To deal with my shit
2.  To run a 10k

So odd these two things may seem but they are sort of one in the same.  My goal is to spend time this vacation dealing with all that comes with grief.  This is not to say that I am dellusional and think that this will all instantly be better. I just need to take time to grieve and be sad and work through some of this shit.  I also need to take care of myself.  I think now that I have nothing but time I can start to focus on that a bit more. Which is why I picked goal number two.  Running is hard for me....it sucks but in a way it helps me sort out my thoughts.  I said once that I am often to busy trying not to die while running that I can't think about all the other crap in my head.  So I picked a goal (and this will be a hard one) and registered for a 10K the day before we go back to work.  I am scared that I might not make my goal but I go out almost every other day and get one step closer to that goal.  Its hard and sucks but you know what sucks...loosing my dad.  So running isn't really that hard in comparison.  

So I hope to keep you updated on these goals. Do you have any summer goals or hopes?