Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

Its not often these days that I pull out my real camera, but when I do I always wish I did it more often. We didn't do anything extraordinary this weekend, but we spent it as a family and that makes my heart happy. Yesterday, we went to a strawberry festival about an hour from home. Since we skipped naps in the afternoon, we knew we had to keep the boys out and occupied even after we got home, so we went and got ice cream and let them play some more outside. Needless to say, we had some wiped out little boys and both were in bed by 6:45 last night. This morning, we went to church, brunch and the playground. It's been the perfect little family weekend. Here is what it looked like in pictures:

There was a petting zoo (aka some goats that were terrified of toddler hands)






 Finn always has a ball in his hands and asks to take one pretty much everywhere we go.











 Also, Finn's been doing some potty training. This one's a keeper.
 The face when you skip naps to get ice cream.



 The reason my camera lens is usually dirty.







 Ryder wore Daddy's 30 year old outfit to church today.






My most favorite thing might be the fact that Finn doesn't really get "Mother's Day", but rather he calls it "mommy's day" and he thinks it's just for me without knowing it's for all moms. He's been telling everyone he sees that "it's mommy's day!" and points to me.

The result of trying to get the perfect family photo at breakfast. It's perfect.





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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Whole 30 Take 2

We are halfway through our second Whole 30. Well, Dustin is halfway through his second. Considering I was a dropout the first time, this is the first time I made it this far. In my defense, Ryder was only 4 months old the last time I attempted it and it is nearly impossible to keep up your calories with Whole 30 when you're nursing a baby around the clock. I was fortunate (if that's the right word), enough to be able to nurse Ryder through his full first year (thanks to his aversion to bottles). Well, fast forward to his first birthday and I knew that I needed to change something. Between pregnancy and breastfeeding for a year, my eating needed some cleaning up or else I was going to be left with a lot of extra calories that had nowhere else to go. Dustin, being the willing husband he is, was excited about obliged to do it with me.

For those that aren't familiar, the Whole 30 is 30 days of strictly clean eating. It basically cleans out all of the junk that slows your body down and detoxes it from everything that builds up inside you over time.

No sugar.
No dairy.
No grains.
No legumes.
No preservatives.
No processed food.
No alcohol.

The next question we always get- "so what do you eat??"

The answer- Real food. Fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats.

For anyone that knows me, the above list was basically my entire diet so to say this would be challenging is an understatement. I run on pasta, pizza, ice cream and Chick-fil-A. But honestly, I wanted a challenge. For the past five years essentially, my body has not felt like my own. Between four miscarriages, one healthy pregnancy and one exclusively breastfed baby, I wanted something that could make me feel like I was regaining control of my body. I also wanted to lose my last 10 pounds of baby weight so figured this would do the trick along with my trips to the gym.

We have rounded the halfway mark and honestly the first week was R.O.U.G.H. Your body essentially goes through major sugar withdrawals with symptoms I could only imagine are similar to a drug detox. When your body is used to running on sugar and foods with a high glycemic index, it takes some major adjusting to learn to burn strictly fat (which is one of the ultimate goals of the program). But by day 6, we were both starting to see the light. Now on day 16, we can honestly say we feel great. I have more energy, I wake up easier in the morning, have been sleeping better at night and have lost a few pounds. Those results are enough to keep me motivated to the end and even cleaning up my eating a bit after we're done.

But let's be real- this is not a total lifestyle change. I love food too much to give up my ice cream, pasta, pizza and Chick-fil-A all together. I will say that it's going to make me think about food differently. I used to look forward to cookies during naptime, ice cream at night and going out to eat for the food aspect of it. Now, I have more energy to be productive during naptime, will be able to look at ice cream as a once or twice a week treat instead of every night and can look forward to going out to eat for the relational aspect of it instead of keeping food as a focal point. I'm not going to lie, the Whole 30 is a very antisocial meal plan, so you can't really eat or drink when you're out with others. And when you do, you become one of those super annoying customers that needs a meal customized just for you. Dustin has been packing a lunch in Finn's lunchbox to take on his breakfast and lunch meetings.

Here is my list of tips for anyone considering doing the program:

1. Prep is key. Have plenty of snacks ready to go, because hangry is dangerous on Whole30. I make these coconut/date balls and this trail mix that we always have available.  I also pre-chop peppers, onions and mushrooms in the beginning of the week and we cook those with eggs, spinach and chicken sausage every morning.

2. Stay busy during times when you're more prone to snack. You're less likely to eat mindlessly when you're mind is occupied with something else.

3. If you're feeling hungry all the time, you're not doing it right. Chances are, you need to add more healthy fats to your meals (pour in some extra olive oil, add an avocado, almond butter, coconut oil, etc.) I was starving the first few days and could not figure out why and it was because I wasn't bulking up my meals with enough good fat.

Here are some of my absolute favorite things to have on hand:
-Aidells chicken and apple sausage. I buy ours at Costco. This is what we have with veggies and eggs every morning.

-Hard boiled eggs, coconut date balls and trail mix make for the perfect quick fix snacks.

-Almond butter. So good on apples and bananas. I found the best deal at Costco as it's not usually cheap.

-Trader Joe's plantain chips, homemade guacamole, and red salsa autentica. You're welcome.

-Trader Joe's coconut oil, coconut oil spray and ghee for all your cooking needs.

-Trader Joe's dried pineapple. Most all of their dried fruit has added sugar except the dried pineapple and banana chips and some mixed berries that I haven't been able to find lately.

- La Croix. I like the berry, but if you buy the lime add some mint and lime and you have yourself a Whole30 mojito

-Trader Joe's canned tuna/chicken and Tessemae's mayo (found at Whole Foods). That was the only mayo I could find in stores that is Whole 30 approved. Or you can make your own if you have a lot of time on your hands. 

-Bare crunchy apple chips . Again a great Costco find.

-Larabars. I buy the apple pie flavor from Costco and they're pretty good. Whole30 will tell you not to go overboard with these, but desperate times call for desperate measures and I always have them on hand in the diaper bag when we're out.

Lastly, these are a few of my favorite meals:

Breakfast- sausage, veggies, spinach and eggs. Also, I made these muffins minus the vanilla, because that really isn't Whole 30 compliant and they were amazing. I am fully aware Whole 30 says this is a big no-no, because you're not supposed to recreate baked goods. But cheater, cheater muffin eater right here :)

Lunch- leftovers or chicken salad/ tuna salad made with Whole 30 mayo in a lettuce wrap with some avocado. This ranch chicken salad is really yummy.

Dinners- Here are a few of my fave recipes...

Date, Shallot and Rosemary Chicken

Ground Turkey Plantain Nachos

Any type of zoodle pasta. I make a version of this with ground turkey.

Just about anything from this website, but especially the buffalo chicken stuffed peppers and carne asada. Tessemae's makes some great sauces that are Whole 30 approved and our Whole Foods carries a number of them in the store. I used the buffalo sauce with this recipe and their mayo with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna. I'm not going to lie, their ketchup was pretty gross, but I managed to mix it in with ground beef to make some mini meatloaf muffins.

So that's about it for now.  I would love to hear some of your favorite Whole 30 recipes.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Two and a half

On March 19th, our sweet first born turned two and a half. With all of the excitement of Ryder's first birthday the same day, I didn't want too much  time to pass before I got this post up here.

Our sweet Finn, you are all boy! You love:

-being outside and playing in dirt
-playing sports (any and all with a ball, but especially golf and soccer)
-stacking blocks and yelling "ah-some!" when you stack them really high
-coloring and drawing "si-maces" (smiley faces)
-helping mommy cook and clean (especially vacuum)
-helping daddy do yard work with his "mo-mo" and "bo-fo" (lawn mower and leaf blower)
-going to the zoo, playground and Children's Museum

Your favorites are:
Shows- Daniel Tiger, Curious George, Thomas and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Song- "Amazing Grace"
Foods- You're really not picky and I'm so thankful for that! Your favorites are still noodles, fruit, broccoli, waffles, smoothies, Trader Joe's fish nuggets, pancakes and Chick-fil-A

You're still only 28lbs and about 35in so you're still quite the little guy! You're wearing size 2T-3T clothing and size 6 shoes and we haven't kicked the diapers just yet so you're in size four.

Your best friend is your baby brother Ryder and it is just the cutest thing ever to watch the two of you interact. You love giving him hugs and kisses and still want to hold him in your lap until he gets "too heavy". You share your toys with him until you don't want to and then you bring him something else while you take back your toy.

You'll be starting two-day preschool this Fall and I'm pretty sure you'll love it. You are the most outgoing, friendly little guy. You never let a stranger pass you without a loud "hi!" If they don't hear you, you keep saying it until they say it back. You walk right up to kids on the playground and ask to play- it doesn't matter if they're 2 or 12. You love going to Waumba Land at church, storytime at the library and the play area at the YMCA.

Now for a large picture dump with some highlights (and low lights) from the last six months:



You love your dentist, Dr. Aaron!




We got a little snow to play in


You love any and all tools, but your favorites are your "hamma and skee-dive" (hammer and screwdriver).
We got to go to Dabo's pizza party in Clemson when we made the playoffs.
 You usually fall asleep sitting up in the corner of your bed. You still love sleeping in your "seepsack", and mommy loves the fact that you can't climb out of your crib in it. Win. Win.

 You love playing hide and seek, but I'm not sure you get the concept of "hiding" yet.
 I can almost guarantee that music will be in your future in some shape or form. You love all music and love naming the instruments you hear. After church, we get you from your class and you make a bee-line for the stage in the auditorium.



You certainly made our Christmas one to remember when we spent six days at Texas Children's due to your asthma and RSV.
 
You love doing "work" outside and you don't love having to come inside.

You're obsessed with your "yi-yi" and I'm pretty sure the feeling's mutual.



You love tractors and diggers- anywhere! When things start to go downhill late in the day, we'll take a drive around the new Suntrust Park being built near our house. Also, they're doing some major construction at the YMCA.








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