I cannot believe it’s already 2018!! I haven’t blogged in what feels like forever! I’m still on my journey of being a better me, my favorite me, in fact! On my physical journey, I’ve lost 45 pounds since February (haven’t taken a progress picture in a few months… oops)! It seems like it should feel like a huge accomplishment, but it turns out that every day is still full of choices! It’s not like once you hit the 40-pound mark, there’s a switch in your brain that flips and it’s easy… too bad! I have found that routine is a lifesaver and the further I get on the journey, the more I don’t want to go back, so that helps. But every day is still full of choosing healthy, fulfilling foods, listening to my body when it’s hungry and when it’s full, and working off stress and energy through exercise. Routine is absolutely vital for me when it comes to these choices!
This week I signed up for another half marathon- yay?!? Truthfully, I’m super excited! But, I’m also terrified! I started training and, if I’m being honest, it’s really freaking hard! Over the past few days, I’ve recited the following words thousands of times to myself, “Hard is not bad, it’s just hard!” I’m going to have to keep reminding myself of that as I continue training and learn to eat for both my body and my training!
Spiritually, God has been showing me that I am capable of so much more than I think. When I am weak, He is strong! I known this when it comes to dealing with things spiritually or emotionally. If I can’t handle the stress, I can give it to God to deal with! But, lately, he’s helping me to see that, even physically, He can give me strength when I feel weak! When I don’t think I can take one more step, He gives me the strength to run 15 more seconds. When I can’t imagine doing one more rep, He gives me the power to do 2! I’m learning to ask this of Him and trust that He will provide the strength needed!
In parenting, this year, the hubs and I sat down and created parenting plans for the kiddos. We outlined strengths and weaknesses of each child, taking into consideration their personality types. It was amazing how reassuring it was to talk about their strengths! Sometimes I get so caught up in the frustrating moments, I forget to step back and remember just how incredible my kiddos are! After we had lists of strengths and weaknesses, we picked one strength and one weakness to focus on this year. We are going to help each kiddo refine one of their strengths and grow through one of their weaknesses! In the week we’ve been doing it, I can’t believe how much it’s changed me, not the kids, but the way I interact with them! Rather than being so focused on the frustrating behavior, I’m more anchored on the solution and how it can help them grow through this weakness! I find myself more patient, less accusatory, and all around kinder toward them. I’m loving it!! We’ll see how it plays out for the rest of the year, but I’d love to continue it next year with new goals!
I am learning so much about myself through this journey I’m taking. I’m excited to see how this journey twists and changes as I continue. I’m finding this ‘journey’ is less specific than I originally thought. It’s life… it’s just me aiming to be better than I was yesterday! It’s a journey that has no definite end, and that’s ok by me! I’m far from perfect, but I’m better than I was last year and I planning on saying the same thing next year. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!
Week 45, Day 4 (-23 pounds)
Heart: I’ve started subbing! I absolutely adore being home with my kiddos and am definitely not ready to go back to teaching full-time, but if I’m being honest, I love to teach! I’ve missed it! So, I prayed and talked with my husband and decided that subbing might be the perfect solution! It allows me to work one or two days per week and, although it pays less, I won’t have any lessons to plan, or any of the stress that comes with grading. I’ll just decide if I want to work then show up, do what I love and go home! I’ve subbed once a week for the past three weeks and it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be! In fact, I think it’s been really good for my kiddos, too. It makes the days I am home much more smooth and productive!
Speaking of productive, I got it in my head that I wanted to make Baby girl a summer top and as I walked by my pile of scrap material this week, I saw the perfect material! So, I took a few quick measurements and started cutting! I decided to make her an apron-style top that looks like a normal shirt in the front, but has a criss-cross back. As I was working I found that since it wasn’t a stretchy material, her head wasn’t fitting super well. So, I cut a slit in the front neckline and added a cute pink bow! This was such a fun shirt to sew! As I was sewing the hem, I found that it’s just one long stitch! Because the top crisscrosses and connects at the shoulders, the neckline, arms, and hem are all on the same stitch! I started at the neckline, and just kept stitching until I got back to the exact same spot! Then I had a moment of giddy giggling at how cool that was and dubbed this shirt the “Mobius Top”! The shirt turned out so cute and Baby girl seemed to love it! She would hold the bottom and sort of twirl… you know how a girl moves in a top she loves! Momma win!
Soul: This week, my husband’s grandfather passed away. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve dealt with death, but it is the first time Banayner has. Tim and I were just talking about how cool it is, as parents, that we get to experience life from the perspective of a child. Their first taste of ice cream, riding a bike, watching a thunderstorm. Having kiddos means getting to re-experience these like it’s the first time. It brings back the emotions, memories, feelings. This week we’ve been experiencing death through the eyes of our curious, yet confused six-year-old. He’s trying to reconcile the idea of not seeing Gramps with the reality he knows. We’ve talked about death, but he’s never experienced it before. He’s got lots of questions, the first of which was, “Since Gramps is alive with Jesus, how come we can’t see him?” I was convicted by the confidence that he has in the grace of Jesus. He didn’t ask “if”. How often do I ask “if” rather than being confidence in Christ? I think God has a lot to teach me through my children, starting with the hope we have in life after death.
Strength: I’m a couple of months into my no GPS (grains, potatoes, sugar) eating plan and I still love it. However, there have been a few times that I’ve allowed myself to “cheat”. Typically, I’m a you-can’t-cheat-at-ALL kind of girl, but those diets have never stuck. Since I want this one to be a lifestyle more than a “diet”, I’m allowing myself the freedom to decide if something is worth eating. The other night we ordered pizza and I had the toppings, which was fine…. Mostly. But I really wanted a piece of pizza, with the crust. So, I allowed myself one piece, only one piece, with the crust. It was good, I was satisfied, and the best part was realizing it wasn’t really any better than just the toppings! Actually, the best part was how easily I fell right back into my eating plan. Two years ago, on a similar diet, I would have felt like I screwed the whole thing up and given up on the diet completely. But this time, I saw it for what it was… something I wanted, something I knew wouldn’t settle well on my stomach (and it didn’t), but not the end of the world. So, I woke up the next morning and it didn’t even cross my mind to go back to my old habits. I like this eating plan, I like that I’m losing weight, and I love the way I feel!
Week 44, Day 2
Heart: Happy Mother’s Day a few days late! We made flower crosses for moms/grandmas this year. The boys helped come up with the idea and with some of the gluing. They turned out beautiful! We had a very busy Mother’s Day, running around delivering flowers to moms and grandmas. But, the evening was set aside for a relaxing bubble bath while Tim and the kids made dinner. At least, that was the plan… God has a wonderful sense of humor and decided to use Mother’s Day this year to remind me of just what it means to be a Mommy. So, instead of a relaxing evening, we had the usual “Mommy, I need help wiping!” and I got the added bonus of changing sheets twice and cleaning up messes resulting from both vomit and blood. Gag…
Being a mom is seldom relaxing, rarely quiet, bubble baths are almost never solo, but it’s still the best adventure I’ve ever been on! As much as my instinct was to be upset that I didn’t get to have the relaxing, pampering Mother’s Day that others had, there was utter joy in being reminded what it means to be Mommy. I absolutely adore my kiddos and wouldn’t change a single thing about my life. Not the poop, vomit, blood, none of it! Because, at the end of the day, I’ve never met three people with more joy, love, and hope than my kids. So, after a crazy, comical Mother’s Day, I sent those precious little ones off to bed as they hollered back, “Mom! I love you more than a hundred kisses!”
Soul: We’re reading through the four gospels at church right now. By that I mean that I get a text reminder every day to read another couple of chapters. It’s not just our pastor speaking on the gospels, but the congregation reading them also. It’s been so interesting! I’ve read through the individual gospels a few times, but never back to back in 6 weeks. I can’t believe how similar some of them are (e.g. Mark and Matthew). But, it’s also been interesting to look at the slight differences in them. I still have one book left (John, my favorite!) and then I hope to look back and compare all of them.
Strength: I keep pinching myself… I feel like I should be sick of my new eating plan, but I’m not! I’m still trying new recipes, but we’ve also settled on several “go-to” recipes when we’re stuck. I’ve also pretty much figured out our grocery shopping, which is awesome! We buy mostly the same things every time and usually one or two “special ingredients” for a specific, new meal we plan on trying. I’ve found that it’s gotten a lot simpler now that we have “usual” foods in the house to snack on. We always have hard-boiled eggs, cheese, plain yogurt, pickles, various nuts and seeds, fresh veggies, and fruit. I think having options that are easy, familiar, and always available has made an enormous difference! It’s like I’m forming a habit.
Week 43, Day 4 (-20 pounds)
Heart: Oh my word, since starting this new ‘3 things per day’ with the kiddos to encourage productivity, creativity and reading, I haven’t had time to write! It’s a fabulous, crazy, productive whirlwind around here and I love it! Well, minus the whole not having time to write thing! Bubby, who’s 3, has been practicing his reading (he retells stories he knows), writing his letters, and doing all kinds of various creative activities! He absolutely loves it! Plus, this morning he was joyfully begging to help with the dishes as he tried to figure out a good ‘chore’ for the day! Baby girl has even joined in on the fun as she’s starting to learn to put away toys as she takes them out. Which makes my heart happy since the toys she most loves to spread around the kitchen are the myriad of plastic plates, bowls, and cups from the ‘kid drawer’. It’s been so great and I can’t wait for Banayner to be home for the summer so he can join in on the fun, too! We’re going to go ahead and chalk this one up as a Momma win!
Soul: Well, the house we were trying to sell finally sold! Praise the Lord! I realized that we bought the house around the same time of year several years back, so I looked up the info from when we bought it. It turned out we signed and the house closed exactly ten years from the day it closed when we bought it! And for the exact same amount! How crazy is that?! Crazy enough to know that God has a fabulous sense of humor! Here I sit as He reminds me again of just how faithful He is!
Strength: I got on the scale today and saw 20 pounds… 20 pounds! That is so exciting! But what’s more exciting is how much I love the way I’m eating!!! I never thought I could enjoy eating like this, but I genuinely do! My husband had an onion bagel last week that smelled unbelievable, so I went ahead and tried a bite… and to be honest, it was pretty dry! Not gross, but certainly didn’t live up to my expectations, which just settled my resolve even more. I like the way I’m eating, I love the way I feel, and that is reason enough to keep it up. But then I got on the scale and I was reminded that, in addition to feeling great, my body is beginning to function properly and getting back to where it’s supposed to be! It’s amazing how much more motivating weight loss is when it’s accompanied by a genuine change in your body and not just a lack of calories!
Week 42, Day 4 (-18 pounds)
Heart: It occurred to me the other day that Banayner is almost done with school! How did the year go by so quickly?! Everyone always said “It goes by so quickly!” But, good Lord, they were right! I started to worry because I want to make sure he gets lots of reading in this summer and I’m definitely the type to look back in August like, “Crap! Bud, you have to read 3 hours every day for the rest of the summer!” Definitely not ideal so I came up with a plan! A routine, if you will. Every day, I make a list of 3 things to accomplish- it’s enough to feel productive, but not so much that I feel overwhelmed. So, I took that theory and applied it to the kids.
Every day they’ll have 3 tasks to accomplish. Reading for 15-20 minutes, something creative (art, science, baking, puzzles, etc), and a chore of some type (clean up their room, wipe down the bathrooms, laundry, etc). Not only will this ensure that they are reading every day, it will also ensure that we do some fun and creative activities this summer, as well as teach them some basic every day skills around the house. Their spouses will thank me someday.
I started a test run of it with Bubby at home while Banayner is at school and he loves it! The first day as I was tucking him into bed he said, “Mom, this was a great day! I had so much fun reading!” Plus, it builds in some special us time. We’ve read together (it’s mostly me reading to Bubby, but let me tell you, that kid reads the sweetest “Are You My Mother?”), done puzzles, made torn paper art for the kids’ frames, done all kinds of laundry and dishes. In fact, his chore the other day was to pick up his bedroom and at first, he didn’t really want to, so I offered to help. About 4 minutes into picking up he asked, “Mom, can I have some space please so I can clean up by myself?” He totally took ownership over his chore once we got going and couldn’t wait to show me his beautifully cleaned room when he was all done! I figure that if we can get settled into the routine while Banayner is still in school, it should make for an easier transition once summer starts.
Soul: Lately, I’ve been feeling unsettled in the most wonderful way! It’s a mix of anxiety and excitement, like I know something big is going to happen, but I have no idea what. I’m ready for some change spiritually. I’m tired of feeling stagnate. I have no idea what’s coming, I’m just getting myself ready for whatever it may be!
Strength: I went to a women’s tea at church last weekend. It was so fun! Hats, dresses, flowers, the works. I even spent days, days convincing myself that it would be okay to have something special, out of my eating plan… a chocolate chip orange scone made by one of my closest friends! As I made my way through the buffet line and approached her tray, I realized they were gone… Are you kidding me?! After all the arguing with myself and finally deciding to allow myself this “treat”, they were gone! I was so sad at first, I started looking around the buffet table thinking I could find something else… but as I looked around nothing really called out to me. The candies, cookies, scones, muffins, none of them seemed worth it.
That’s when I was overcome with excitement! None of them seemed worth it! I wasn’t drooling over any of them, wishing I could have just one, I really truly didn’t want them! As properly as I could (I was at a ladies’ tea, after all) I did a little happy dance at this amazing moment in my life! I was going to happily walk past all of the desserts to the cucumber avocado bites I’d made, fruit, veggies, and a grain-free blueberry muffin I was super excited about! I’ve never been on a restrictive diet in which I truly didn’t want the things I’m not supposed to have. But, then, I’ve never restricted my diet for the sake of my health before, either. I guess there really is more to dieting than losing weight!
Week 41, Day 1 (-16 pounds)
Heart: This weekend was one of the most amazing moments I’ve experienced as a mom! Tim, Banayner and I went on a trip so they could compete in Spartan races! It was Tim’s second (he did one last October) and Banayner’s first! Tim completed the Spartan Super (9.5 miles, 28 obstacles) and it was brutal! The obstacles were far worse than last year- so much more intense and disgusting. But he did an amazing job! I’m so proud! He’s got another Spartan race in two weeks, followed by his first triathlon two weeks after that! He’s such an inspiration to the kids and I!
Banayner’s race was a Spartan kids’ race. Half a mile and about 10 obstacles. They had to jump walls, do low crawls, climb nets, trudge through water, it was awesome! As he was getting ready, they announced that parents could run with kids if they wanted. Banayner looked at his dad, who had just finished his race 15 minutes earlier, realized that Daddy wasn’t going to do it with him, took a deep breath, and put on his game face! When they said “Go!” he took off like he’d been doing it for years! I figured he’d get to the first “icky” or “hard” obstacle and look back at us to decide if it was really worth doing, but the kid didn’t so much as flinch! He just did it! In fact, as he passed us in a few different spots, he didn’t even notice we were there cheering him on because he was so focused! As soon as he finished, he got his medal, ran over to me and said, “Even when they were hard, Mom, I just did ‘em!” He’s already planning his next one!
I can’t even begin to describe the pride and emotion I felt watching him rise to this challenge. He was so brave, so confident, such a big kid! I watched my little boy head out there and come back a Spartan! I am one proud Momma!
Soul: Last week, at my class the professor said something that really stuck with me. He said, “Sometimes God calls us to things that are unexpected and even unwanted.” We’d just begun the gospel of Luke and were going through the birth of Jesus. As we read about Mary, he said that she neither expected nor wanted what God asked of her. It occurred to me that sometimes I think that the only things God will call me to are things I’m good at, things I enjoy, and things I’m gifted in. That the trick is to find the special gifts God’s given me, and that’s where I’ll find His call for my life. But the thing God called Mary to- bearing and raising His son, that was not convenient for her. I doubt she would have chosen that calling, I doubt she enjoyed the judgement that followed her through her entire life. And, as a mom, I can’t even imagine the pain and anguish she experienced watching Him die. God’s call on her life was certainly not enjoyable, convenient, or desired. Yet, she heard the call and she obeyed. Maybe I need to do less searching and more listening?
Strength: This morning was rough. I woke up wanting pancakes. I thought through my breakfast options: protein shake, scramble, omelet, fruit and nut parfait… but I really wanted pancakes. So, in an effort to prevent myself from just grabbing eggo waffles, I went ahead and found an almond meal pancake recipe. Every recipe I’ve found so far has been a flop, so I was a little nervous. But I wanted them that bad. These pancakes were delicious!!! They use almond meal, eggs, and applesauce for the base. I topped them with blueberries and honey- it was perfect! So yummy and so easy!
Whisk together 2 eggs. Mix in 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and ½ Tbsp honey. Finally, stir in ½ tsp baking powder and ¼ cup almond meal. Pour approx. 3 Tbsp for each pancake on griddle (on LOW/MED heat) and let cook for 5 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Week 38, Day 5
Heart: I want to share a quick adaptation of an amazing Coconut Oil Fudge recipe that has been a life-saver with this new eating plan! It takes 4 ingredients, warming in the microwave, and cooling in the fridge! So fast, easy, and unbelievably delicious!
What you need:
½ cup natural peanut butter (we use Adams)
½ cup organic coconut oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 Tbsp honey to your liking, we used closer to 3
What to do:
Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on half-power for a minute or so, until heated through. Whisk until smooth. Pour into small loaf pan lined with wax paper. Cool in fridge for several hours.
*Note: this fudge should be stored in the fridge or freezer as it loses its consistency or “melts” quickly at room temperature.
Soul: A couple of nights ago, during dinner, Banayner looked up from his meal and asked, “Why doesn’t God stop things like tornadoes, tsunamis, and volcanoes? He’s powerful enough to stop them, so no one gets hurt, why doesn’t He?” Wham! Talk about a big question for a little kid! It was scary, but awesome to talk with him about this… we got to tell them all of the things we know about how God works and how, ultimately, we don’t know why God does the things He does. We talked about the need for things like fires to get rid of old, rotting trees and make room for new growth and new life. We talked about the ‘physics’ (as much as a 6-year-old could handle) behind things like tsunamis. We talked about the importance of taking care of this world and that our choices have consequences. He seemed to really enjoy talking about it! In fact, it sparked other questions over the course of the past couple of days, including “So, I know that the rivers flow into the ocean. But, where do the rivers get their water?” and “How long did it take God to make the world? And how long ago did He do it?” It’s such a joy to see his little brain trying to process the world around him, trying to make sense of reality. It’s even more of a joy that e comes to us when he has questions, that he feels safe and secure enough to ask the hard questions. It gives me hope that as he gets older, he’ll feel comfortable coming to us with big, important questions. What more can a parent ask for?
Strength: Well, I’m over a week into this new way of eating and I still love it! I’m anticipating the challenge that will arise in the next couple of weeks, when I move out of the ‘honeymoon’ phase and my body starts to crave the foods it’s used to having. If I can anticipate it, though, I can get through that phase and hopefully make this my new normal. At least, that’s my goal! We’re going to Olive Garden for a date this weekend… yeah, Olive Garden. Can you imagine eating there without breadsticks and pasta?! Do they even serve anything else? Well, as a matter of fact… I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t walk through the doors with a plan, I’m liable to get suckered into breadsticks and pasta. Thus, I’ve already gotten online, looked at their menu and selected a grain-free entrée that sounds fabulous (chicken piccata with zucchini… yum!). With a salad before, I’ll be perfectly satisfied and feed my body the type of food it needs! Now, I just need to remember the reason I’m choosing not to eat breadsticks. It’s not because they’re inherently bad, it’s not “no” for the sake of no, but rather because I truly want my body to function properly.