another mom balancing faith, family, friends, work & life with coffee

On the lighter side… March 30, 2015

Filed under: clean eating,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 7:31 AM

To lighten things up….a little fashion PSA for you.  Although, generally I am NOT your go to person for all things fashion, I may be a little late to the party on this one, but sharing anyway!!

Nail talk.  I am blessed with good nails.  (thanks, Mom).  I even have to chop them down about once a month because when they get long, I can’t type well at work.  But they are strong.  And I love polish.  BUT…..since I wash my hands a million times a day it’s useless to paint them due to peeling within a day and then they look like crud.

I love a pedicure but am fairly convinced that I picked up a fungus at one pedicure that is just now growing out and therefore I’d rather paint my tootsies at home.

And the time.  Personally, I just don’t enjoy giving up the half hour or hour in the nail salon.

Enter gel paint.  I’ve been fascinated at the lasting power on friend’s nails with the gel, but haven’t wanted to purchase the light and all that. Too much hassle.  Then I heard that OPI has a no-light gel system.  Since I love me some OPI (and totally not sponsored BTW), I headed to ULTA to scope it out.

Here’s the down low:

  • A little more expensive than the usual OPI (about 12.50 a bottle).
  • There’s a base primer and a top coat/lacquer
  • There weren’t a ton of colors (but then OPI does color seasons…so you just stock up and roll with it)
  • I did two coats on my daughter, one coat on myself
  • I should have done two coats, but it’s a beige color so it doesn’t look bad at all, but after looking at her nails, two would have been better
  • I’m curious if a regular OPI color will hold up with the base and top coat the same, so yes, that’s next on my agenda to try it out
  • I haven’t take it off yet, but it will take a bit of extra effort and time
  • I’m going on day 3 and looking fabulous.  even after house cleaning, dishes and laundry

There you have it!



The unanswered “why”? March 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 10:11 AM

Palm Sunday.

This afternoon I will attend the funeral of a precious 6 week old boy.  Born to two sweet young friends who I’ve seen grow in their budding relationship in their twenties,  go to school, marry and the birth of their son. The sweetest, kindest, gentlest couple you’ve ever met.  It’s been a heart-breaking week.  To say the least.


Yesterday was the anniversary of a dear friend’s daughters passing.  Next week she would have turned 16.  It hit me a little harder this year. The memories of that time rushing back, so fresh, so raw, so utterly painful.


A very dear friend’s grandson is currently struggling in the NICU.  A micro-preemie born to another precious couple who have already dealt with tremendous trials of health and working their wedding vows the past couple of years.


Today, we welcome a king with palm fronds and cheers and in less than a week “we” will cry out to trade his life for a murderer, one who deserves his death, not the freedom he ultimately receives.  Yet, He goes willingly.  A mercy we do not deserve.


I go into this Holy week with a heavy heart and “whys” that will go unanswered in this lifetime, but a hope and promise of an eternity defeating death that I do not deserve.

I don’t know why.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11



Anorexia, it’s not just for girls March 11, 2015

Filed under: Changes,Faith,Family,Kids,Lessons,Life,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 10:13 PM
Tags: , , ,

I write this in hopes that a family dealing with this on the “boy’s side” of things might be encouraged and possibly even be helped.  Although, I will absolutely preface this by saying I am NOT an expert here.  What I AM, is a mom with a rock-solid mother’s intuition.

It started rather normally enough with a 15 year-old entering summer just as his body went through that growth spurt that 15 year-old boys do….5ish inches upward in a matter of 3 months.  Summer for this particular child also meant days filled with skateboarding all over the city with friends.  Pretty much EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  ALL.  DAY.  LONG.  And I am talking 7 a.m until dark or later.  A hearty protein smoothie to start his day off followed by hours of skating with bananas, water and protein bars were a recipe that concluded 10 weeks later with a 6 footer at just under 130 pounds.  Down about 20 pounds and up roughly 5 inches.  Truthfully, this kid was so busy all summer having fun that I don’t think we grasped the hugeness of the growing and changing until summer was almost over.  I mean there were small signs throwing up red flags for me, but not enough to convince me I wasn’t just being a paranoid mother.  Baggy shorts and big t-shirts hide a lot.  or a little.  We weren’t really worried though because when you burn those calories all day and grow at the same time, it’s pretty obvious what is going to happen.  But still.

Anyway, the pediatrician didn’t seem concerned, even when I point-blank asked if this might be a bit too much, too quick.  So it must be alright.  Right?

When school started back up, our sophomore had a new-found enjoyment in his new physique as well as an interest in eating cleaner.  It was a great opportunity to have many, MANY, MANY talks about food as fuel, getting enough calories, exploring new recipes, hitting the farmer’s market and finding new food blogs (a favorite being chocolatecoveredkatie).  So you just don’t complain when you have a kid whipping up “healthy” desserts and various brussel sprout recipes.  Because broccoli is good for you.  And still that nagging persists.

A disturbing trend started about roughly the same time with an obsession involving food challenge videos on you tube.  The crazy ones…the cross fit dudes who sit down and eat 10,000 calories in a sitting….that kind of crazy.  I lost count and I lost interest after the first 2 or 3, but I didn’t stop taking mental notes of the fascination and the jealousy that wrestled together in the mind of this shrinking boy.

Slowly, other subtle things were occurring such as not partaking in the homemade cookies, being critical of what other family members were eating, small amounts of food being eaten at meal times, “I’m not that hungry” out of the mouth while the eyes linger longingly, etc, etc, etc.

Then came Halloween Horror nights.  Creepy enough but then apparently our zombie lover had a bad Moe’s experience which ended the HHN trip 2 hours in.  Fortunately, our good friend lives close enough that he picked him up and brought him home to vom and sleep.  2 days later we were in the ER with dehydration and down to 117 pounds.  It just got real. And that’s a deep, dark, ugly hole.

Thus the beginning of the delicate dance of addressing the issue and guiding him back to normal.   Many nights the Hubs and I lay in bed talking about what the hell do we do.  Neither of us had an answer.  And, I might add, it is NOT the time to get up and start googling boys and anorexia.  Sleep and peace left on a vacation together after that.

I picked the brains of friends throughout the summer and fall.  Friends who are nutritionists, moms, professional athletes, friends who suffered with anorexia and bulimia as kids and lingering body and food issues.  I called around to find counselors that were familiar with boys and anorexic behavior.  Pickings were slim, I’m here to tell you.  By slim, I mean I found one counselor that sounded like he could potentially help us.  Maybe.

The saving grace, and I do mean GRACE (capital GRACE) was that he was open to discussion.  And mama likes to discuss, so we had many discussions with the Hubs letting me take the wheel on this as he wrestled with his own demons of where/how/why this was happening and the helplessness that is so intricately woven in those questions.  While our son could not wrap his head around the physical need for 4,000 calories a day to meet his body’s needs, he DID hear what I was saying.  At some point during a particularly frustrating conversation I flat-out told him that if he kept going with his plan that his body would fail him and he would die.  Something finally clicked.  Just a bit.  The teensiest of a bit.  But the seed was planted.  His response to me was that he didn’t appreciate that I thought he would kill himself.  To which I had to re-explain myself that it wouldn’t be intentional, however, if he didn’t start giving his body what it needed calorically and nutritionally, his body would take it where it could get it.  Some fat here, when that ran out….some muscle here…and the heart, well….it’s a big ole muscle and if you take from it, it just doesn’t work.

He agreed to meet a sports nutritionist that I knew from the Y.  Thank you sweet baby, Jesus!!  We met monthly, measured, discussed, strategized and I just sat back and listened.  The hubs and I could want it for him all day long but he had to take ownership and do the work.  It was a grueling one step forward and four steps back process.  By about month 3 or 4 he was finally making some gains.  Up about 7 pounds and with a new-found vegan diet that made him feel healthy and satiated and less conscious of what he was eating, he was slowly coming back to us.

This past fall he bought a Jeep Cherokee.  Working at Dunkin Donuts pays off (the irony, I know…believe me, I know) and the kid finally had wheels.  After the wheels came dreams of “‘muddin”” and he joined a jeep club.  His first foray out with the club finished with a good old-fashioned BBQ in the woods.  Our vegan came home ecstatic, adrenaline-rushed and a belly filled with chicken.  And cookies and ribs.  He declared a vegan death.

The reality lies somewhere in between though, as he feels most healthy and energetic when he sticks to a mostly vegan and clean diet, however, he has FINALLY embraced the fact that he doesn’t need to firmly lie in one camp or another, but can incorporate them all to meet his needs.  He’s found a happy medium.  He’s also found a new job.  Pizza delivery dude.

So was he a full-blown anorexic?  As I stated earlier, I’m no professional, but he hit many of the behaviors solidly on the head. There was no obvious trauma or drama during that time to pinpoint why.  Somehow, his grades never suffered.  This kid may be in the current state of Prodigal Son with the Lord, but his parents, never stopped praying.  Their friends, they prayed.  His siblings, they prayed.  Holy water…you know it.  Blessed salt….right on in that dinner.  There is no giving up.  There is no black or white answer.  Eating disorders can differ with each and every person.

For now, he’s good.  Is he “cured”?  He’s finally up to a 32ish waist from a 28 and I no longer see every vertebrae in his spine when he’s shirtless.  However, I’ll say that addiction runs deep in this family, both sides.  Addiction and control, they go hand in hand and he will always struggle with control.  Of course we all do on some level and at some point, he will be mature enough to know it’s a demon he will always need to acknowledge.  As for right now it’s one day at a time.

I’ll take it.  2 years later.  I’ll take it.


Spiff it up March 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 4:28 PM

Lent.  How’s it going? It’s a slow start here.  I’ve not given up anything specifically, however, am working on more prayer and devotional time and we have our parish Lenten this week with a favorite speaker, Father Richard Leonard.

I’ve also been working on purging “stuff”.  It’s been slow going due to hectic weekend activities, but last weekend I was able to tackle the coat closet/game closet, garage shelves, school supply area and re-do my cookbook hutch.  By the time I hit the hutch area our oldest girly was in an organizational mood (she LOVES that stuff which is awesome for me), so it went pretty quickly.

Here’s a few pictures and then I’m off to enjoy my afternoon tea!!

The hutch

The hutch

Christmas glasses and cookbooks

Christmas glasses and cookbooks

Top o' the shelf with miscellaneous books and our Saint Benedict and Mary statues.

Top o’ the shelf with miscellaneous books and our Saint Benedict and Mary statues.

OK, so maybe it's more of a Christmas hutch with some cookbooks

OK, so maybe it’s more of a Christmas hutch with some cookbooks

Frequent cookbooks and Christmas dishes

Frequent cookbooks and Christmas dishes


MidWinter Sun February 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 12:00 AM

Because I know much of the East Coast is about to get socked with some pretty heavy ice, snow and associated misery, I thought I’d share some pics from our day in St. Augustine last weekend to help those of you staring at the white wall of the likes I cannot comprehend, a little mini mental vacation.  I’m a giver.  XO  Enjoy

The park never gets old, does it?

The park never gets old, does it?

Fresh oranges!!

Fresh oranges!!

A wee bit on the sour side....

A wee bit on the sour side….

Off to the beach!  MInd the flags!!

Off to the beach! MInd the flags!!


Miles of beach ahead!

Miles of beach ahead!

And rocks and formations for days.....

And rocks and formations for days…..




The El Galeon!!

The El Galeon!!

A sunset never gets old

A sunset never gets old



The Real Valentine’s Day February 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:09 AM

Happy Post Valentine’s Day to you.  Yes, the day that is so hyped and marketed deep in our psyche that if we don’t celebrate ON.  THAT.  DAY.  then….then…..then….I don’t know.  The sadness.  The bitterness.  The blah, blah, blah.  Now listen, I like a pretty little card and chocolate like everyone else, but I’d rather have a little something more substantial all year-long than a dozen roses  that waste our hard-earned money and die within the week.  Ya know?

Our day went like this:  Up at 6 and the Hubs had my card and Reese’s peanut butter treats in my coffee mug waiting for my shuffle out to the kitchen.  Now, to be duly and fairly noted…….I had NO card out for him (or the kids).  He beat me to the punch.  AND, he had cards and chocolate for our girls.  Be still my heart.  I was more warmed by the sight of THEIR cards from their dad…..their FIRST valentine.  Dads, those little girls need to know you love and adore them….early  on and often and during those tween and teen years even more, because if you don’t….they’ll look elsewhere.  So the fact that he loves our girls so deeply and openly just makes me love him more.

After coffee, it was basically a day of splitting up the parental duties and taxi deliveries of children  with one at all day music competition and the others spread about town with activities mingled with household chores of groceries and laundry.  I didn’t see any Valentine day cards paying homage to that!

By 5 o’clock the Hubs and I had the house to ourselves, enjoying our coffee and relaxing before we headed to our neighbor’s for our monthly(ish) supper club.  Thanks to Publix, our contribution of dessert was a breeze and it was a completely relaxing evening complete with a “newlywed game” Q&A round that brought lots of laughter, good-hearted ribbing and an opportunity to learn more  about each other as couples and friends.

Wrapped it up with the re-rounding of kids (2 volunteering at the church for the KofC Valentine’s dance) and one on a date…..the oldest brought himself home after a skate-filled day.

And really, I just think this was one of the best Valentine’s Days ever.  A day in the life of trying to live and love purposefully in spite of the everyday busy-ness of life.  It’s all good.

And, it should be duly noted…..that I did manage to pull it together for Hubby to finally get his card….and the kids!!



A little of this and a little of that February 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:37 AM

And BOOM.  It’s February.  One week in even.  How?  Just how?

Probably because January was a blink.

And so today I’ll take our almost 13-year-old daughter and some friends to St. Augustine for the day, because here in Florida we are blessed with high 60s for our winter February.  And I’ll most certainly be wearing fuzzy boots, jeans and a jacket, because I AM a Floridian and have the thinnest blood ever and 60 and below.  Just cold.  My poor Hubs would love nothing more than to whisk us up to New Hampshire to live (his boyhood stomping grounds) and I have had to tell him we will have a split marriage:  him in NH with my visits periodically….mostly during the summer, but the fall for foliage and the winter for a snow fix.  But not too snowy.  Since we’ve not hit the Lotto nor found the money tree, it’s looking like FLA is home-sweet-home.  Which is fine by me.

Other daily happenings, since this blog seems more diary than blog lately, but it is what it is….

Our 15 yo has joined track and we have had a RE-convening on planning and organizing time.  With the realities of “real deal” practices kicking in with sore and tired bodies to follow, homework, permission slips and general planning for the day ahead have all kind of become muddled.  These are the things of life though, and we have to go through it to figure out what works, what doesn’t and what we can do better to improve, right?  Painful lessons for our 15 yo, and mom and dad, but necessary.

Our 17 yo has given his notice at his first job to enter the world of pizza delivery and shop. The owner also has an auto repair shop and with this jeep enthusiast we are hoping this pays off in repair deals as well as continued learning in how to repair one’s vehicle, etc, etc.  With 18 just around the corner, more opportunities will abound, but for now it appears he wants to sow his employment oats and try a few new things.  We can guide and counsel and in the end sit back and hope for the best with life’s lessons learned with close proximity to the nest.  We have great kids but it’s always a helpful reminder to myself (and Hubby) that their reasoning skills won’t be better formed until those frontal neurons actually connect.  Somewhere around 25.  Until then, we just do our best to not bang our heads against the wall as we navigate teen conversation and debate “skills”.  #goodtimes

Our 11 yo is our little athlete and also learning the art of homework, extra help with math, and working on reading comprehension.  Her flute is coming along and she joined us for spin class the other night, to which she replied half way through…..”this is hard.  I don’t know how you guys do this!”.  She managed to mosey through until the end, however, I don’t think she’ll be back anytime soon!

And little miss 13 yo.  Still finding her way. Returning to running and managing the hormones of middle school girl drama.  Interesting to find her friends and to be a friend.  Some of  her friends hang with just one other girl and then call only when the other is unavailable.  Others suffering from depression and intense therapy.  Definitely a learning experience because as an adult you can see that some of these girls are trying to fill the hole of broken marriages.  It’s a challenge in being a good friend during these times and as a parent a challenge to guide and love through the roadblocks and to encourage without fully getting sucked into the drama.  But then, that is life:  ups and downs and learning to be there for one another, as friends and family.  Realizing we are all human and fall short and to take the good with the bad.

As for the Hubby and I, we are status quo with managing work and family life.

God is good.  All the time.




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