Monday, May 21, 2012

A New Day

For some reason it feels like January 1 to me.  Around the first of the year I am always filled with a sense of optimism.  I feel like I can make changes, start fresh, reboot.  Mondays often tend to feel like mini-New Year's days for me but today really feels like a fresh start.  I think it is because I have seen my husband for more than one hour for the last seven days. Sam's birthday was fun.  We had a great trip to Notre Dame for graduation and yesterday we did yard work.  None of this sounds extraordinary but it is.  It is totally extraordinary because we were a team.  We were a team in getting the car packed.  We were a team in handling the kids in Chuck E. Cheese.  We were a team when the kids got tired and cranky.   Jeff is an amazing, involved, active father.  He was also completely overwhelmed for most of the last seventeen months which left him for little space to be on team mommy.  He still helped out but I tried not to ask to much and he did not instinctively step up the way he normally does.  After about the first three months I just sort of got to used to it and it did not feel like to much of a burden but now that it is over I realize that it was really hard.  It was just hard feeling like I carried the weight of the family rock.  

I am trying not to whine because I certainly know that there are people out there who have it worse than me.  There are single parents and there are women who are married to inattentive unavailable men.   There are workaholic dads and moms who leave the other spouse to carry the entire family load.  I get that, but I am not in that boat.  I married a man with an amazing sense of work-life balance who comes home from work and is completely present with me and the kids.  I married a man who offers to take the kids and enjoys taking the kids so I can have a break from them.  I married a man who will take his children to the auto show or the air show or any other crazy busy public venue...without me.  He has no fear of changing diapers or wiping tushes, he brushes hair and teeth without being asked.  He reads stories and plays "tickle tickle tickle daddy eats a pickle."  But for seventeen months he has not had a lot of time to do those things and if he has the kids so I can take a break, then I am not getting to see him.  Most evenings I spent on the couch watching whatever while he studied.  I missed just sitting with him and talking with him and being with him.  I have him back and I am grateful for that.

This MBA has been good for both of us.  Jeff has grown personally and professionally.  It has stoked a desire to lead and rekindled his sense of who he really is.  It has been good for me in a different way.  While I find myself feeling a little jealous of his new found sense of self but I come away with a new found sense of who he is also.  I am so thankful for him and who he is and what he does for our family.  Maybe in the following months I will have a chance to learn more about myself and who I want to be as our family grows up and evolves.  Maybe not, I don't know what will happen but I do know that I am not alone on team mommy anymore.  Today that is good enough for me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sweet Baby Sam

Today is Sam's third birthday.  What a wild ride it has been.  Those first six months I was not sure either of us would make it.  Between the reflux he had and the post-partum issues I had, life was really dark for a little while.  I am so thankful to Jeff for the grace he showed me during that time.  I am grateful for my friend Kirsten who literally sat me down on my front porch and told me I wasn't crazy and held Sam while I cried.   I am most amazed by God's hand at work to turn such dark first days into such a bright ray of sunshine today.

 I love my little boy more than I ever thought I could. When I found out I was pregnant again I was really worried that I would not be able to love another child as much as I loved Emelia.  I had such a deep and profound sense of love for her that I could not see being replicated.  When Sam was so fussy and I was so sad I did not feel that love. It took me awhile to fall in love with my son.  That is so hard to admit but it is the reality of that time.  But when I fell, I fell hard. 

He is such a sweet boy.  He is loving and kind and busy and funny.  He likes to say funny things and he loves to laugh.  He loves his sister with a passion I did not know a three-year-old could posses. He loves to play with his daddy and do the "high-five game."  He is just a joy.

There are times when I allow my mind to wander to what the future might be like.   I suspect at some point Emelia will not want much to do with me.  She will be fiercely independent and yet cry in my lap when that first boy breaks her heart.  ( The scenario sounds familiar because I was that teenager.) 
Sam however I don't think will ever be embarrassed by me or want me to drop him off at the corner.  Only time will tell if I am right, but I just have a feeling.

I love you sweet Sam Sam!  Happy birthday. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Someone recently told me I should blog more.  I often find myself  with all sorts of interesting thoughts and I think, I should blog about that, but then life happens and I don't.  I think I will try though.  My kids are getting older and are less needy so perhaps the time will open up.  We will see.

Lately, I have found myself thinking a lot about friendship.  What do REAL friends look like, as opposed to "Facebook" friends? How do you know how to be a good friend?  Can friendship look different for different people?

I have decided that friendship IS different for different people and with different people.  I have a different relationship with my best friend from seventh grade than I do with my best friend from adulthood.  I love them both, but the friendships are different, partly because they are different and partly because  we have been through different things together.    I don't see either of them daily yet our friendships survive based on those shared memories. 

How do you know how to be a good friend?  I believe that is a learned skill. One which is most often picked up by being the beneficiary of a good friendship.  I have learned a lot about being a thoughtful friend from my friend Britt.  I have never met someone as thoughtful as her.  I have learned about how to be a good mommy friend from my friend Lindsey.  There is no subject that is off limits, no competitiveness about our kids or condemnation of the choices we each make, just a constant sounding board tempered by accountability and encouragement.  I have learned how to be a godly friend from my friend Tami, no gossip, no judgement, no selfishness, only love.   My first lessons in friendship I learned from my mom, my original best friend.  She was not my best friend until past the stage where I needed a mom not a friend, yet I learned about compassion, patience and empathy from her early on.    If you did not have a mom like that and if you spent a lot of time around friends who trashed you behind your back and if you have not been the recipient of good friendship, can you learn to be a good friend?  I think you can.  I actually think you just learn to be a friend because there really is no such thing as a bad friend.  A friend by its' very definition is good.

I think that you learn how to be a friend by first befriending yourself.  If you do not have kindness, compassion, grace and love for yourself, you don't have any idea how to extend it to others.  When you can give yourself the freedom to just be without demanding more, better, different; than you can open up room for those around you to just be also.  What a difficult journey that is though. We are often far kinder to others than we are to ourselves.  I recently went through a dark spell where I was feeling really bad about myself.  I was talking to a friend on the phone and saying all these negative things about myself when she stopped me.  She said, you can't talk about my friend that way.   It was a wake up call for me because I would never allow someone to talk about my friend that way, why would I allow myself to talk to me that way.   I also would never allow someone to talk about one of my friends that way.  How do we stop trash talking ourselves?    If you figure it out let me know.

I think one of the other difficult things about friendship is that for many people, like myself, there is an endless supply. I have room in my life for all kinds and varieties of friends.  The only problem is that I have a finite supply of time.  I can only give my time to so many people.  That is more of a balance issue than a friend issue but what does one do with that?

I recently read an article titled "Is Facebook Making us Lonely?"  The theory is our breadth of friendship has grown but the depth of those friendships is shallower.  Then there is the despair around the status update.  No one has commented.  No one likes my status. What does that mean?  Does no one like me?  I mean really, are all 435 of your "friends" really friends?  That is not actually possible. 

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.  When we deceive ourselves about our friendships it only complicates our lives and leaves us with false expectations.   We end up with expectations of friendship that no one can ever live up too which only adds to the complexities of friendship.

Alas, like everything else, I think the bottom line is it takes practice, like most everything else in life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Moving Forward

Today is Day 20 and I am not exactly on the plan still.  I am still eating according to the plan but I had a ton of leftovers from week 2 so I am finishing those off instead of making the new things I was supposed to for week three.  I maintain that every recipe I have tried has been delicious but after 8 days of having lentil soup for lunch I am sort of over it.  : )

I have begun tracking my foods in because I feel like that is the natural next step for me.  According to that some of the recipes are actually lower in calories than the cleanse says they are.  I have also begun stepping my workouts back up.  Instead of just doing yoga I am doing three hours of cardio a week in addition to my two hours of yoga.  The combination of those two things might explain why I have begun to feel hungry even after I eat.  According to my heart rate monitor I am burning about 600 calories with each cardio session and some of my meals are closer to 100 calories than 200.  Anyway, Sparkpeople makes sense for me.  It is free, it is thorough, it is easy to use and I have had success on it before in terms of weight loss. 

As this cleanse comes to a close I am pretty close to my previous goal weight.  One thing I have learned though is that I can change the shape of my body.  I have always been bottom heavy, pear-shape galore, because of that I never really thought I could do much to change that.  I have some serious German genetics working against me, ask my cousins, all of them, except the boys which is totally unfair, but that is another story!  But you know what, I can change the shape of my legs, my hips, my rear.  I will never look like Kate Moss but I don't want to.  I want to look like me, only fitter.  That being said, I think I am going to amend my goal weight or maybe my goal pants anyway.  I am not so hung up on a number, I care more about how I look in clothes.   

I also have to say that eating this way has left me feeling great.  I will add back bread and probably to some extent, everything I have eliminated but I am going to base my diet on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean meats.  I don't feel like sugar has the same hold over me it used to.  I really do want to change my diet.  I did not eat terribly bad prior to the cleanse but I often felt like I was a slave to food, like I had no choice, I just could not make good decisions.  When faced with a choice between an egg white veggie omelet and biscuits and gravy I just never thought I could be satisfied with the egg white option.  Now I know I can be.  That does not mean that I will never choose biscuits and gravy, but if it can be a choice instead of a magnetic unavoidable type draw then I feel like I have won the battle. 

When I am all done I will spend more time thinking about all of the changes my body and mind have gone through.  Until them I am going to coast to the finish line where the SAG awards, some organic Belgian chocolate, a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers are waiting.  (In reasonable moderate amounts, by my choice I should add.)

Friday, January 20, 2012


Well, today is day 13 and I am over this.  I like the food, and I feel great but I am tired of all the prep and I miss eating meals with my family.  Because I am constantly making two meals I am usually eating by myself when everyone else is done.  I also just miss having the freedom to make my own choices.  I think that is the deal though, will I make good choices when I have that freedom?  I hope so.  I really don't want this all to be in vain.  I do find myself wanting to return to mindless eating.  It takes so much less energy.  Lame, I know, just telling it like it is.  I think the problem with my previous choices is not so much that I ate terribly.  I ate pretty good, but I think I ate too much junk and not enough veggies.  I am hoping I will feel differently tomorrow and I can get my mojo back. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Still going

So here I sit on day 8.  I can not believe I made it this long if I am being honest.  Will power is not my strong suit and yet, here I am.  What a testament to God's timing.  I honestly think if I had tried to do this prior to this time in my life I would not have been able to. I am much more at peace with my body and much more tuned in to my mind  then ever before. 

I find the only times I am really grouchy about my don't list is when I am hungry.  For instance, today after church I had my snack while the kids played at the play area and then we came home for lunch.  Since I am starting week two today I have to prep and make everything.  (Next week I think I will prep my week three stuff on Saturday.)  So now I have to simmer my lentil soup for 25 minutes after taking 20 minutes to dice and chop everything and I am really hungry by this point.  As my soup is simmering I try to pick up the house and come across a Hershey's kiss.  Oh, I wanted that kiss so bad and I was so mad that I could not have it.  I start to rationalize why I should eat it and then I just say no, I should not eat it for any reason.  I decided to save it for when I am all done. 

I had planned to weigh myself at the beginning and at the end.  I decided yesterday that I would weigh myself after each week for a little added incentive.  I lost seven pounds.  I was happy but I am sure I will gain some of that back when the program is over.  However, I could try to keep this lifestyle going.  I am eating an appropriate number of calories for my body.  I am working out, mildly for week one, but I will add more cardio and weights back in for week two.  What is my next step?  I wonder...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day

I was cranky from the get go today because they were calling for snow and we got snow.  Probably six inches I am guessing and Jeff is out of town.  God has blessed me with some lovely neighbors and they blew my driveway out.  What tremendous kindness!  I don't mind the snow, on a day when we don't have a million things to do that require car trips.  I did not grow up driving on the snow so it makes me a little nervous.  It was a mess!  Even my neighbor who has lived here all her life said she had white knuckles the whole way home. 

I am not writing about what I ate today because that was pretty irrelevant.  What is relevant is that I feel like I had a breakthrough today.  It was a pretty stressful mom day.  (Warning: this may sound awfully whiny to a working mom or even to someone with no kids, but we all have stress in our lives and it just takes different forms for different lifestyles.)  I have been trying hard to do yoga this week while on this cleanse and I really wanted to make it to 9:00 yoga at the gym.  That means leaving at 8:30 which is tough for us to do, without snow.  We made it - Hooray!  Then we came home for 40 minutes and left again to pick up Emelia's friend from preschool so we could carpool for gymnastics.  Home for another 45 minutes and then off to gymnastics.  I got 22 minutes to relax while Sam napped and Emelia was at gymnastics.  Then we had a doctor's appointment and that is when my day crashed and burned. 

I am tremendously grateful because my child is healthy and passed all the well check guidelines for her age with flying colors!  Then it came time for shots.  As soon as Emelia knew she had a doctor's appointment she began having anxiety about getting shots.  I wasn't sure if she was going to have any so we prayed that God would keep her calm and she seemed to be ok.  Then when we got to the doctor she did great until it was time to get the shots and then she FREAKED OUT.  I had to physically restrain her while she screamed and cried and turned bright red.  It is incredibly hard to watch your child experience that kind of terror.  It was everything I could do to keep from crying with her.   The whole thing probably only lasted for two minutes but it felt like my heart was being ripped out.   She calmed down really quickly and we stopped at Target for a toy.  Yep, I felt that guilty.

While we were at Target I was just a wreck, stressed and hungry and I was so close to just throwing in the towel.  I just wanted a Turkey sandwich and some yogurt or a latte or maybe even a candy bar, something, anything, to make me feel better.  Then I thought, it is over.  Eating a whatever will not undo it.  There is no longer an immediate stress stimuli so there is not need to eat.  Even if there was a stressor, eating will not make it better.   

That's it!  I actually thought about it instead of just doing it.  I not only thought about not eating, I have been doing that for five days now, I actually thought about eating, thought about why I was eating and then thought through WHY I should not eat.  I was amazing really.  Now, I confess that I still wanted a latte and a candy bar but at least I knew why I wanted them and why I did not need them.  Maybe, just maybe, this time next week when the poop hits the fan I won't want a candy bar. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 4

I did not sleep very well last night.  I drank this detox tea in the morning which was the only thing I did differently otherwise I don't know why I had trouble staying asleep.  I cut out the tea today we will see how it goes. 

Breakfast : Grapefruit/carrot/ginger juice
It was good and satisfying but for some reason I was very hungry an hour later.  I ate half of my morning snack before yoga class and the other half after class.

When I got home I had to make lunch for the kids and it was hard not to take bites of that food.  Emelia had a friend over and she asked me to cut the crusts off her PB&J and it tool a lot to throw the crusts away instead of eating them.  I have come to realize that is my hardest time of day!  Weird!

What I realized today is that one of the reasons this feels so good is because I am doing something for myself.  I rarely do that.  I rarely make time to take care of me.  It feels like a victory!  What is funny is spending a little more time on myself has led me to be a better mom.  I am less cranky, more willing to play and generally less stressed.  Go figure!

Snack: Trail Mix
Lunch: Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Dinner was really a hard time tonight.  I almost gave up.  I could not figure out how to peel the acorn squash in the recipe and I was frustrated and hungry and just cranky.  I was on the phone with my friend and we just stop and prayed and sure enough about five minutes later I got the squash peeled with a veggie peeler.  Weird, right?  Oh, I never think of the simplest things, I have to make life complicated.
Lunch: Spiced Butternut squash soup.  Delicious!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


6:55 a.m.
As I start day three I am really proud of myself for not cheating.  Usually with any sort of food related thing I nip a little from Sam's plate, doesn't count, I nip a little from Emelia's snack, doesn't count, but this time I have not eaten anything but the suggested foods.  I have not added or subtracted anything, I have just followed the plan.  With each day that I invest I feel like I am less likely to cheat because I have invested so much. 

 Breakfast: Orange Berry Smoothie
 It is delicious but I am almost disappointed that there are no veggies in it.  It feels
 like I am not eating as healthy.  I think because I can suck down a fruit smoothie without any special discipline but add some carrots and it may be a test of my will.  (It truly isn't because carrot juice is so sweet, but you get the picture.)

 I miss my coffee.  The tea is fine but I miss the delicious creaminess of a well balanced latte.  What I may actually be missing now that I think about it, is the sweetness of the sugar-free vanilla syrup and the creaminess of the nonfat milk.  Off to get ready for Bible Study.

2:13 p.m.
I had my trail mix while I was at Bible study but I was really wanting carbs.  Today my group added new members and I was asked to split off and lead a group of my own.  I am terrified.  I suddenly felt like a 12 year old girl trying to talk about the Bible with all of these older wiser women.  After I calmed down and could really think about it I know God will lead these women through me which takes the burden off of me.  All I have to do is pray and listen to Him.  As my stress level increased so did my desire for snacks.  I have come a long way from where I used to be as at least I was craving pretzels and not Taco Bell.  : )  Yeah me!

We got stuck in terrible traffic on the way home and I was so hungry so I ate some pistachios in the car and ate a late lunch.  I was worried that if I started fixing the kids lunch while I was starving I would start eating off of their plates. 

Lunch: Avocado/Tomato/Pepper salad with lime/olive oil dressing
This meal tasted great but I had a tough time with the avocados.  I don't mind how they taste but I struggle with the texture.  I am going to try to "treat" myself to a cup of tea while Sam is napping.  Hopefully that will take the place of a snack.  I am full but yet I want to eat.  That just seems so wrong!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Holy Detox Batman

I am not normally one to talk about poop... okay who am I kidding, I am TOTALLY one to talk about poop, this morning's was a doozy.  I wish I had weighed myself pre and post, I am sure I lost two pounds.  Yikes!  It did make me feel a strange sense of accomplishment because I felt like I am actually getting rid of the residual junk in my body.   

I slept great!  I slept soundly and woke a few times to pee but was able to go right back to sleep which is rare for me.  I woke up at 6:15 feeling rested and refreshed. 

I still missed my coffee with my quiet time but the decaf green tea felt slightly more satisfying today.  The beet/carrot/apple/mint juice for breakfast however, was not my favorite.  It was drinkable and not in a hold your nose and suck it down sort of way, but something just did not taste great to me.  I am not sure if I should have peeled the beet first or maybe it was the mint.    (Bonus side effect, the kids were fascinated with the juicer so I made them some orange kiwi juice which they loved.)  Tomorrow I will stick to my carrot/grapefruit juice or maybe try one of the smoothie recipes.  Again though, I don't feel hungry.  I still had to fight the urge to eat my kid's food.  I made them scrambled eggs, which I often eat for breakfast, and I really wanted some.  I think what that says to me is that I eat what I crave not what I need.  Hummm, now what to do with that?!?

I find myself looking forward to my next meal or snack.  This morning I think I will hit the gym for some yoga and take my trail mix with me.   I am interested to see how this process effects my yoga practice.  I worry about having enough energy but we will see.

1:53 p.m.
Yoga was hard but I think that is mainly because I have not been to class since Thanksgiving. 
I was not hungry after class but man, I wanted a snack.  I had already eaten my trail mix on the way to class since I drank my juice at 7:00. 

As we struggled to get out the door on time I found myself feeling resentful about not being able to have a latte.  Oddly enough when I picked Emelia up from school I really wanted Jimmy John's.  I was hungry but for some reason I really wanted a sandwich.  The cravings seem to be so much stronger today and I am a little more frustrated by my lack of choices.  I also am feeling a little tired.  The dietitian who created the cleanse said you can expect headaches and fatigue the first three days.  We will see.

Lunch: Kale/Carrot/Red Cabbage/Parsley salad and two fruit and nut balls.
I feel physically satisfied but I really want a snack.  I usually try to relax at least half and hour while Sam naps and Emelia watches a movie and I think I associate that with food.  I definitely see some patterns here. 

I am feeling a little deprived today.  I think it is because food or drink is often a reward for me.  After Sam wakes up from nap I am planning a trip to the Goodwill as a treat of a different sort. Let's hope that works because when I think about 19 more days of this it feels really daunting.  I am trying to focus on one meal or snack at a time.  Next up roasted cauliflower for a snack!

My snack was good as was my dinner the Roasted Beet soup again, but today was really hard.  It felt like constant cravings, hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Welcome to My Food Journal

So I know I was supposed to blog more and I know I DIDN'T blog more so now I make no promises, only attempts to chronicle the craziness that is my life.  For my latest act of craziness I have chosen to do a whole foods cleanse.  For the next 21 days I will be eliminating sugar, alcohol, caffeine,  gluten, dairy products and processed foods from my diet.  The first week is all vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and a few condiments.  The second week you add back in legumes and lean proteins.  The third week you add back in gluten-free grains.  So far I am two meals and two snacks into it and I have realized a few things about my relationship with food. 

The first thing I realized is that eating is less about hunger and more about an occasion.  I missed my coffee while I had my quiet time this morning.  Not because of the physical need for coffee but because that is just what I do and it feels luxurious to have a creamy (yes I add cream and stevia to my coffee) cup of coffee while I talk to God before the rest of my world is awake.  I found myself struggling today after church.  I was mildly hungry but even after eating my snack and satiating the hunger I was still having a hard time with cravings.  I realized it is because we normally go out to breakfast as a family after church. I was able to bounce back once I got home and saw the fridge full of produce that I most certainly will not waste. 

I also realized that I eat off of the kids plates a lot.  I made Emelia a peanut butter sandwich and normally I would have licked the knife clean.  I gave Sam and Emelia each a few chips.  As I put the chips on their plates I had to fight the urge not to eat the chips even though they are not a type of chip I love.  Sam had a cookie and left most of it on the table.  Normally I would eat those two bites instead of throwing them away. 

Interesting, very interesting. 

As part of this cleanse you are supposed to keep a food diary, not just of what you ate but how it made you feel.  So this is my place for that. 

I am going to start by writing down my goals for this cleanse so that if I need moral support I can come back and look at this.

More energy
Better sleep
Better moods
Establish healthier habits
Weight loss

I think this is the first time I have ever attempted any food related thing that was not all about being skinny.  I have come to the realization that I will never be skinny.  I can be healthy and toned but skinny just is not in my genetic repertoire.  Kate Winslet maybe, Kate Moss not a chance.  So, here's to new habits and new knowledge.

Food Diary 1/8/2011
Breakfast: Grapefruit/Carrot/Ginger Juice
Tasty, would drink again on my own, felt satisfied, missed coffee.

Snack: Cranberry/Blueberry/Nut Trail Mix
Good, helped me hold out for lunch.

Lunch: Kale/Carrot/Red Cabbage/Parsley Salad with Dijon vinaigrette and sunflower seeds
Good, hurt my jaw with all the chewing, felt full.

Snack:  Fruit and nut balls (finely chopped dried fruit and nuts rolled in to one inch balls)
They were actually much better than they sound.

Update 3:45
I have a mild headache, probably from the caffeine withdrawal.  Took one ibuprofen and it feels better.  I am struggling to drink my water.  I have only had 1.5 liters thus far.  I guess I can guzzle while I cook dinner because that is often when I have a glass of wine.  Roasted Beet and Garlic Soup is on tap for dinner, my bathroom habits should be CRAZY tomorrow between the roughage and the beets.  I had to laugh when I looked at the recipe for dinner Iand saw it required leeks had to look them up on the internet to figure our which end you are actually supposed to eat.  

I am not hungry but still had to fight the urge to eat the leftover chips from Sam's lunch plate.  Dumb chips!  I'll post again after dinner.   

6:27 p.m.
Dinner: 1 cup roasted beet and garlic soup
The soup was a pain to make.  I should have made it in a small pot because it was not deep enough for my immersion blender which meant I had to puree it in batches - drag! However, it tasted really good and it was very filling.  I am currently eating half of Sam's leftover pear but that is allowed as a snack.  I think this will be it for the night.  Hopefully I can avoid the evening munchies.  I am pretty sure I know why this supposedly helps you sleep better...because I am EXHAUSTED from cutting, chopping, shredding and otherwise preping all these veggies.  : )  Looking forward to my apple/beet/carrot juice for breakfast.