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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We've Never Been on a Family Vacation

Our children are 9 and 5 and we have never been on a family vacation. 6 months out of the year we go up to our family's cabin every chance we get and the other 6 months of the year I feel are spent just getting through birthdays, holidays and sports.

Most of the reason why we haven't been on a family vacation is because of money.. the other reason is because it sounds overwhelming as heck to travel with children. Especially two high energy boys.

But, we feel confident that our children are at wonderful ages for traveling and we've finally made it a financial priority for us.

[Drum roll please] WE'VE BOOKED OUR FIRST FAMILY VACATION TO PUERTO RICO!

And you guys, it's going to be a VACATION - 8 full days in 85 degrees and staying right on the beach.

We went to Puerto Rico back in 2015 but only for 3 nights for our honeymoon. We had never been on a trip together and we hadn't been that far from our kids so we made the trip short and sweet. But man did we ever fall in love with PR! We've been itching to go back ever since.

We've had this trip in the forefront of our minds for about 6 months now. Since hurricane Maria hit we've been keeping close tabs on their progress in getting things back up and running. The populated areas like San Juan are good to go - it's the center of the island in the more remote areas that are still without power, water, etc. I would love to find a service project that we can do with the kids while we're there. Even though traveling there in itself is great for their situation it would be even better if we could lend an extra hand in any way possible.

Another exciting part of this trip is that we're taking my mother-in-law with us! She goes south every winter so by the time she gets back and we go on this trip with her it will have been nearly 3 months since we've seen her. It will be really nice to get that quality time with her.

A trip we'll remember forever!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Whole30 Results

We have officially completed our first Whole30!

Are you wondering what that means?

Well, that means we went 30 days without -
-Added sugar (real or artificial)
-Legumes
-Dairy
-Grains
-Alcohol
-Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
-Baked goods, junk foods or "treats" with approved ingredients (chips, etc)

They say no weighing yourself during your Whole30 as well. They want you to focus on NSV's *Non-Scale Victories*.

Some of my NSV's include:
-Fewer blemishes
-Flatter stomach
-Leaner appearance
-Clothes fitting better (belt went a notch tighter)
-Less bloating
-Healthier gums (my dentist raved about how much better my gums were)
-Fewer mood swings
-Fewer sugar cravings
-Fewer carb cravings
-Feeling in control of my food
-Mindful eating
-Eats to satiety
-Can identify cravings vs hunger
-Sleep more soundly
-Awake feeling refreshed
-Energy levels are higher
-More knowledgeable about nutrition
-Healthy eating habits have brought my husband and I closer

I did cheat and weighed myself once a week during the 30 days but my husband did not.

My starting weight was 116 (I'm 5'0") and after Whole30 my weight was 106 - Adios alcohol weight and HELLO FLAT STOMACH!

My husband's starting weight was 175 (he's 5'5") and after Whole30 his weight was 154! We could hardly believe it! 21 lbs! I haven't seen him look this good in over 6 years! And holy cow are his pants baggy.

So now that Whole30 is over for us we have been slowly reintroducing the food groups that we went without for the 30 days. You're supposed to do one group at a time at each meal for one day and then give yourself two days of Whole30 before reintroducing the next group. Repeat until you've done them all. The idea behind this is so that you can notice how your body handles these certain foods. For instance, I've noticed that non-gluten grains have made me REALLY tired. Like, two hour nap needed tired. I also no longer like the taste of peanut butter. So odd! We have dairy and gluten to still reintroduce and I'm praying it goes okay. I really miss sour cream and cottage cheese!

When we're done with the reintroduction process we plan to follow a mediterranean diet for the most part and avoid added sugar as much as possible.

I love how great this experience made us feel and I'm so glad to have done it with my husband. I know that we were so successful because we did it together. Not only did it help to hold each other accountable but we had a damn good system - I made us breakfast every morning and he made us dinner every night. We didn't use a single recipe and kept our meals simple. There is no need to stress yourself out and overcomplicate this with long recipes and $10 dressings. Andy made us compliant dressings from scratch a couple times as well as a couple batches of clarified butter.

My advice for future Whole30ers - Keep a lot of produce, potatoes and eggs on hand at all times, don't let yourself get hungry and keep it simple! I encourage those of you on the fence to give it a shot - it's only 30 days and you could feel amazing too!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Prince John

I know that most parents think that nearly everything their own child does is wonderful so I feel like I need to make it clear that what I'm about to say is an unbiased opinion -

Rex is a naturally talented young actor!

He played Prince John (a villain) in Robin Hood for his first play with a local theatre company and he was actually "in character" the whole time! You'd expect with a 5 year old that they would just stand up there and recite their lines but he had an actual character voice that he did for the role and nearly every time he finished one of his lines the theatre erupted with giggles. Rex is mostly a pretty shy and introverted guy! There were a lot of us in the family who were surprised by him!

He had two performances - one Friday and one Sunday. For the first performance we had 15 family members come and support him so he had quite a cheering section! I was literally on the edge of my seat watching him because I really didn't know what to expect and it didn't take long until Andy and I started glancing at each other in amazement because he was just so good! I soaked in every minute - didn't take a single picture or video. I just had to be present for it! Sunday we had a smaller group of family with and since we knew what to expect and had seen it before I spent the performance snapping away photos and taking video.

Rex really enjoyed himself through this whole experience and I couldn't be happier that we've found something that he not only enjoys but that he's also confident with. And I'm glad that he now has "his thing" so that there's an activity separate from his brother's interests that he can really get involved with.

So now that he's tried it and it all went so well, we will continue to have him in plays with the same theatre company. He has a little over a month of a break before he starts practicing for their next one - The Wizard of Oz!

I can't wait to hear what they choose to cast him as!

Friday, January 12, 2018

This is What a Random Blog Post Looks Like When I'm Procrastinating

I'm definitely writing this blog post (with no real topic in mind) when I should really be wrangling my 5 year old into the bathtub to get all squeaky clean for HIS FIRST ACTING PERFORMANCE TONIGHT!!! (<--- you'll ONLY see me use more than one ! when I'm legit super excited about something. It's one of my annoyances when people overuse ! .. like, can you really be THAT excited about stuff all.of.the.time!? One ! is good for almost all circumstances! See? Like that.)

So, yeah. Rex and his extra curricular activities.. He's done swimming lessons a few times (rocked it), started Little League Baseball last year (LOVED IT), started hockey this year (probably won't play on a team again) and also joined Top Hat Theatre in Crystal for their Robin Hood play! There weren't any auditions. Any 5-8 year old could automatically do it and so we took a shot in the dark and signed him up! We're just trying to find the best fit of seasonal activities for him and don't necessarily want to assume that he'll be into everything his brother is into (like hockey, for example). And there MUST be activities that my kids are involved in and that they like. Meaning, I won't let them just sit at home and do nothing. So back to Top Hat.. We didn't really talk to him about it or anything beforehand because honestly, if we let Rex call the shots he would 1. Never leave home and 2. Never change out of pajamas. And I really didn't know how to explain acting to him.. we've been to a couple of plays with him so that's all I really compared it to. I probably said something like, "You know when we went to see Shrek the Musical and there were those kids on stage? Well, YOU are going to be one of those kids but the play is going to be Robin Hood!" and he had no idea what Robin Hood was but he started rehearsals back in November and he's been LOVING IT ever since. Tonight is the first of two performances this weekend. I have a little bit of the "parent-of-the-actor" jitters. Since he's never done this before it's my fear that he'll FREEZE on stage when he sees the audience and that he'll also start screaming and covering his ears whenever the audience laughs or claps because, well, he's been known to do that whenever there are loud noises he doesn't like. So, fingers crossed he doesn't cause a scene! .. a scene that isn't supposed to be happening that is.

And in case you were wondering - We (my husband and I) are on day 12 of The Whole30 and we are ROCKING IT! I cheated and weighed myself (I'm not telling you how much I've lost but I WILL tell you and maybe even post pics at the end) but Andy has refused to step on the scale until after the 30 days. And you guys, I'm really proud of us because we're nearly halfway through and we haven't eaten anything we aren't supposed to! Aaaand, we're on day 27 of no alcohol! Also something I've quite proud of us for.

Well, I should really get this kid off of his video games and into the tub. I know he'll want to spend at least an hour in there.. Peace!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Connection.

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” 


Connection. It's been on my mind a lot lately and even more so since I just got done reading Daring Greatly. 

To me, the most important things in life are the relationships I have with people, the time that I get to spend with them and the way that we make each other feel - and whether or not we can connect. 

I have to feel like I belong in order to connect with you.. not just "fit in" but belong. I have to feel respected, cared about, and free from judgment. I have to feel comfortable. 

I’m learning to listen to myself and realize how people make me feel (don't let this get you all paranoid.. this is something everyone should be doing!) and I’m trying to find the courage to only surround myself with those that simply make me feel GOOD (is 'courage' the right word?). And at the same time, I'm trying to be as aware as possible of how I make others feel. Am I a good listener? Do I make them feel cared about? Do they feel GOOD after hanging out with me? Are they able to be themselves? Did I show enough interest in their life and how they've been feeling? Am I allowing them to connect?

It helps if I think of relationships with others as self care and as healthy vs. unhealthy.

Is it healthy to be around people or in situations that make you feel uncomfortable? That make you feel like you need to put on a mask? Or that you need to put up a wall? Or that make you feel invisible? Or make you feel like you're not cared about? Or make you feel anxious? I mean.. clearly I could go on and on but I think you catch my drift.

The answer is ‘NO'! It's not healthy!

DUH!

Do you still make time for these unhealthy relationships? Pause and think about this.. and if you don't have an unhealthy relationship to think about consider yourself blessed! What do you do about the unhealthy relationships in your life?

And then the flip side.. 

How much time do you make for the people who are healthy for you? You know, those relationships that make you feel GOOD? Those that you can connect with.. Do you prioritize those people? Do you reach out to them on a regular basis? If not, WHY? 

Think about the quote again: “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” 

I feel that no matter how many people you can connect with there’s always room for more. You simply can’t have too many people in your life you can connect with, right? And you can even try to make more time for those people as well. 

& I sure hope to be the type of person that others can feel a genuine, healthy connection with. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

We jumped on the Whole30 crazy train..

Back in August, one of my best friends from elementary school (who now lives in WI) did the Whole30 for the first time. When she told me the details of the Whole30 I thought she was crazy!

Here's Whole30 in a nutshell:
-No dairy
-No grains
-No added sugar
-No alcohol
-No legumes (peanuts, peas, beans)
-No snacking
For 30 days.. it's meant as a "food reset" (example: if you didn't know you were an emotional eater, you'll realize it on the Whole30) as well as an elimination diet to see what your body can and can't handle during the reintroduction process after the 30 days are complete.

She completed the 30 days and felt AMAZING!

Then, in early December, she asked me if I wanted to do it with her for January. I said, "Sure! I'll give it a try!" and then when she asked what I felt would be the hardest part for me I said, "No alcohol and no sugar" (this was before we gave up drinking).

So, when Andy and I hit our breaking point with drinking back on December 17th he actually said to me during that life changing conversation, "And I've also been thinking about doing the Whole30 with you".. I'm pretty sure I responded with something like, "Who are you and what have you done with my husband? You're willingly giving up drinking AND you want to completely change your eating habits?!" We were so hungover while having this conversation that it was a little hard to think these things would actually pan out.. we felt AWFUL, so of course all we could think about was anything and everything that would make us feel BETTER.

December 30th rolls around and I start doing my Whole30 research. It was overwhelming.. and I was super stressed as it was so it made me start to panic a little bit. I put it all aside and decided to sleep on it. I still had one more day to plan and grocery shop..

So the next day I bit the bullet.. I meal planned for the next couple of days and went to the grocery store. It was so weird not grabbing for every typical item that I usually would.

Day 1 - it was hard not to snack OR lick my fingers after plating my children's meals. I literally scraped peanut butter and jelly off of my tongue with a towel.. My finger licking habit was my first realization of myself on the Whole30. Ha!

Day 2 - another grocery store run since Andy and I were clear headed and calm enough to conjure up some meal ideas. It was a lot easier not to snack this day and I was realizing how much food I needed to eat at each meal to sustain myself.

Day 3 - It really started to sink in how FULL you get off of real food. I felt great all day but fell asleep before 10pm on the couch.. I should have known this was a sign of what's to come.

Day 4 - TODAY! Andy woke up with an awful headache that won't go away and I've been jittery.. this is what we've been dreading - the sugar withdrawals. The Whole30 peeps call this "The Hangover Phase".

So here we are, knee deep in Whole30. I'd come up with more to say but it was a challenge to come up with these words as it was..

Oh & P.S.. It's day 19 of no alcohol.

Friday, December 29, 2017

BTW [by the way] + the good + the difficulties

Since we’re no longer drinking we want to make one thing very clear - we still want to hang out with our friends! Yes, even when there’s drinking! Invite us to your parties, invite us to go out, invite me to your ladies wine night! We can handle being around alcohol and we even think we’re still capable of being fun people without alcohol! Plus, you’ll always have a sober cab when you hang with us! Ha. 

I know that everyone who stops drinking has differences in what they’re comfortable with so we wanted to set the record straight with us. 

On another note, the last 12 days have been smoother than I thought they would be and I know it all has to do with us being committed to this together and staying supportive. 

When reflecting on the good that’s happened since we quit drinking what first comes to mind is how good it felt getting home at night on Christmas Eve sober and excitedly putting the presents under the tree and into the kids’ stockings after they fell asleep. Christmas Eve was always my night to drink because that’s when we get together with my side of the family. That’s typically been our “guideline”.. his family gathering, he drinks. My family gathering, I drink. Neither of us have to drive? We both got to drink! 

The hardest parts of all of this have been breaking the routine of drinking, finding other ways to de-stress/relax, and (I just have to come out and say it) missing everything about ice cold tequila shots. The taste, the feeling, everything. Tequila was my jam. I would much rather take a shot of tequila straight from the freezer than make a cocktail, crack a beer or open a bottle of wine. 

When it comes to stress, we both feel like we’re under a hell of a lot of it. Andy’s job pulls him in a million different directions and his job consists of constantly fixing broken dish machines in restaurants. He’s in and out of the elements all day, doing a shit load of driving on these awful Minnesota winter roads and laying on dirty restaurant kitchen floors. He does a really good job about leaving his stress at the door when he comes home but I’ve noticed that’s been more difficult for him now that he doesn’t have a beer to look forward to. 

And then there’s our kids.. 

God, we love them, but they are brothers with a shit load of energy, it’s winter break, we live in a small house and it has been nearly too cold to play outside. They’ve had far too much screen time this last week but hell.. if it keeps us all happy, it’s what I’m gonna allow to get us through these days. 

We haven’t quite found a new routine for de-stressing but I’ve been writing a lot and that helps. Maybe our new routine will be working out together after the kids go to bed at night. How cool would that be to trade alcohol for abs?! We have a lot of healthy options that can take the place for drinking so hopefully we’ll find a good fit soon and put it into action.


It really is a day at a time though and I am so glad Andy and I are in this together.