Whole30-Week Three

This week the Whole30 was second nature.  We know what we can eat, we plan ahead for busy times, and we enjoy what we are eating.  We don’t miss much.  Wine has been replaced with tea and we both wake up refreshed and full of energy. We have been experiencing so many NSVs and we know that the past few weeks have done great things for our bodies, inside and out.

We do not experience a 3 o’clock slump because our energy is consistent now that it is not tied to sugar.  This is huge for me because the kids need my attention and energy after their naps and I am no longer groggy or crabby, which is good for everyone. I can’t think of a time that I haven’t felt an afternoon lull.  I thought it had to do with digesting lunch, but the reality was that it had to do with what I was eating.  I am not getting more sleep at night, but the quality is way better since I don’t have sugar or alcohol in my system.

Reintroduction is on our minds.  We aren’t totally sure what we should do yet.  From previous experience, we know that we need to limit cheese in our diets.  We like yogurt, so I think that will be one of our first to try.  As for gluten, we’ve been cutting it out since the summer.  There are some things that still have gluten in them, but they aren’t things we eat everyday.  Many gluten free items use rice or corn instead, so we might need to try reintroducing those after dairy.

We are heading to Kansas to visit dear friends just two days after we finish, so we are going to try to make smart food choices and plan ahead. We know that we will be limited and we do plan to enjoy a few treats during the trip. Wine and beer will be reintroduced.  Personally, I know beer only upsets my stomach (gluten?) so that’s a no for me.  Wine has been hard ever since I had the boys.  I literally sneeze after a sip of my favorite Cab Savs.  More investigation to do, but wine will be coming back into my life in a moderate amount.

Soy is officially out of our lives.  Nothing good comes from soy.  We have become pros at reading labels and soy is in everything.  This means we are committed to eating less pre-made or processed foods, which is healthier anyway.  Beans are questionable.  If they don’t bother our stomachs, then they can return, on occasion.  We really only eat them with chili or in burrito bowls.  They have some inflammatory properties so we will be investigating those further as well.

I have been loving It Starts with Food. I am learning so much.  A big lesson for me is that I cannot out run my food choices with working out.  Eating healthy is the secret.  I have always been active and I find exercise to be stress relieving.  In college, I felt like I could just eat whatever I wanted and just work out.  Now, I know that is the wrong way to think.  There is no way to work out enough to undo what I ate.  This Whole30 has taught me that the food you eat will change your body.  Obviously, we need to balance working out with eating right, but I’ve been amazed at the transformation we’ve seen without working out as much as we should.

When I started this I fully expected our weekly food budget to be higher.  However, with no eating out, cooking fresh, and no processed items, our budget has been lower.  Shipt has also been a game changer.  No impulse buying. I get just what we need.  I do two shopping requests each week.  That way we can keep up with the fresh fruits and veggies that we love.

Doug and I are excited to be finished with the Whole30, but a little nervous that we will slide back into our old ways.  We both are committing to certain things and plan to keep many of our meals pretty close to Whole30 compliant.

This is what we ate this week:

Monday: Pork and Apples

This was super easy and had great flavor.  Sauteed red onions are a favorite!

Pork and apples

Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore from Whole30 Book

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Wednesday: Roasted Tomato Soup by the WholeSmiths

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Thursday: Lazy Kebabs

We ran out of time while making dinner so we skipped the skewers and just grilled everything instead.  It was perfect!

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Friday: Dinner OUT (!!) at the Acropolis

We finally ate at a restaurant! We were not in the mood to cook so we took a risk and went to dinner at the Acropolis.  It was so temping to eat everything that wasn’t compliant, but we did really well.  I had a Greek Salad with chicken (no feta) and Doug had kebabs and grilled veggies.  Whole30 purists might freak out about this because we did not know what type of oil the food was cooked in, but we made the best choices possible and it was amazing!

Saturday: Chili from the Whole30 Book.  Here are a few other options.

Chili is our new staple because it is an easy lunch option or a lazy dinner.  Kid approved!  You can play with your recipe a lot.  This one had a red, yellow, and green pepper and I added sweet potatoes.  I season with cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, onion power, garlic powder, and a few red pepper flakes. Two cans of diced tomatoes and tomato paste and you let it simmer.  So easy!

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Sunday: Bacon wrapped scallops and asparagus

Doug came home with scallops and bacon and made the most delicious dinner.  He grilled a ton of chicken so we would have lots of options for lunches during the week.  I also found little drummies and wings so Doug could feel like he was enjoying a football Sunday treat.

LaCroix has been our new obsession.  I had liked them before but Doug though they were too bitter.  He bought coconut and key lime.  I was very skeptical.  Let me tell you, they are both delicious!  Dare I say that they even taste sweet?  I guess your taste buds really change when you only consume naturally occurring sugar.

That’s it!  One more week to go!

With Love,

Jenna

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Whole30-Week 2

We started the week strong.  Doug and I were feeling awesome on Monday.  Lots of energy and confidence about food prep and planning. We even had an open house and pasta dinner at the boys’ school and I was on it so we packed and brought our own dinner.

On Tuesday, we were still feeling really good. But, the kids started getting a stomach bug.  This started many days of sickness.  One kid would seems to get better and the other one would seem sicker and then they would switch.  We watched movies and tried to lay low and recuperate.

The rest of the week was pretty similar.  Doug and I felt like we finally had our minds in the right place with what we were eating.  We weren’t craving food anymore.  We both felt fuller and even felt like our portions got back to normal. I didn’t need an evening snack. We were not feeling the spikes and lows of sugar.  We felt like we could do this.  We both noticed an alertness, a mental clarity, and just a sense of calm.  We were more patient with the kids and each other and felt healthy, not bloated or grouchy.  It also didn’t hurt that all of our clothes were fitting way better, too.

Being stuck in the land of the sick children wasn’t too bad.  Their low energy made making dinner a little bit easier.  I have found that moving up my dinner cooking time made meals a lot easier.  We eat dinner at 6pm since the kids are in bed by 7. Instead of waiting until 5 to begin dinner, I start at 4. That way I have plenty of time to read the recipe a few times or chop up the ingredients needed.  If I’m feeling extra organized, I might chop up all the ingredients while the kids are napping.

I really recommend the cookbook.  I have been using it a ton and it is nice to have a physical cookbook to refer to instead of pulling out my phone or tablet.  The variety of meal ideas is really good and everything is pretty simple.

One of the struggles of having sick children (or, maybe just having children in general) is that your sleep is constantly interrupted.  Nighttime with sick children is even worse. Fevers tend to spike or puke happens or they just can’t stop coughing.  We have not seen a full night of sleep all week long.  We had been feeling super rested prior to the sickness and we both found that we fall asleep easier…this was never a problem for Doug. The Whole30 does make a point that you should be getting an appropriate amount of sleep while following the program.  Obviously, loosing sleep can have major health implications. When you are looking for changes, you have to be sure that you are doing everything you can to help the program work its magic.

I also read a funny tidbit that when people start the Whole30, the program suddenly becomes the scapegoat for all ills.  My head hurts, it must be the Whole30. I can’t find my phone, it must be the Whole30. My kids are sick, it must be the Whole30.  I thought this was fitting because this was definitely us all week long.  Blame it on the Whole30.

Thursday night I went to bed feeling a little uneasy.  Sure enough, I spent the night puking my guts out.  I woke up Friday and felt so awful. The first thing I said to Doug was that I didn’t want to fail on the Whole30, but I NEEDED some crackers and ginger ale.  The day was rough.  I ate crackers and ginger ale.  Day 12 and I was breaking the rules.

When I was finally feeling better I debated if I should even stick with the program.  What was the point? I ate non-compliant food (for a very good reason, so I wasn’t disappointed in myself, more just frustrated that I had made it so far to then have a stomach bug ruin my progress).  My results will be skewed since I did not follow the program 100%.  But, the more I thought about why we were doing this, I realized that it wasn’t about perfection.  That’s life. Nothing ever goes the way we plan.  We had been seeing some awesome Non-Scale Victories (NSVs) and the whole point was about eating healthy.  If nothing else, I needed to stick with it for Doug.  It would be so much harder (physically and mentally) if we didn’t eat the same things.  He needed me to be a support in the process and I want him to be healthy too.  I decided to stay with the plan and I am feeling so much better.

This week I started It starts with Food.  I am interested in the science and the ‘why’ behind the program. I am motivated by understanding the deeper impact that the food we are eating (and not eating) is having on our bodies.  It helps me to understand how much sugar and food without breaks really hurts you over time.  I don’t think we often stop and think intentionally about our food, but this program does.  And, it really challenges you to be in control of your food choices instead of allowing food to own you.

Link to Amazon

I recommend reading this book first as it provides a ton information.  But, if that isn’t your cup of tea or you just don’t have time, the website or the cookbook are perfectly good sources to get you started.  I said it last time, but the Facebook and Instagram Whole30 groups are awesome.  Whole30 for beginners is a great place to ask questions and get support.

Here are our meals:

Monday: Salmon (salt, pepper, EVOO and lemon in tin foil in the oven), sauteed zuccini and yellow squash, with a baked sweet potato.

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Tuesday: Marinade Steak, green beans, and cauliflower rice (Page 272 from from the Whole30 Cookbook)

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Wednesday: Stir Fry (Page 340 from Whole30 Cookbook)

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Thursday: Shepherd’s Pie (Page 350 from Whole30 Cookbook)

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Friday: Chicken Soup. Doug made this so I have no idea what he did. Bless him.

Saturday: Pulled Pork, roasted potatoes and green beans.  I made 5 pound of pork so we would have left overs.  I used the ketchup recipe from the Whole30 Cookbook to add more flavor after pulling it.  I put it back in the crock-pot for about an hour.

Sunday: Left overs and salad

We are halfway there!  Come on Tiger Blood!

With Love,

Jenna

Whole30-Week one

The first week of the Whole30 has been a roller coaster.  Some moments I feel good and feel focused on why we are doing this.  Other moments I am pissed that I agreed to do this in the first place.  Usually, those crabby moments also coincide with moments of hunger and when I am craving non-compliant items.  This week our bodies and brains were adjusting to the program and no sugar.  When I was at my low, I felt tired, crabby, and annoyed.  When I was at my high, I was feeling invigorated, energized, and optimistic. I am looking forward to a more regular week and I am hoping for more energy and confidence instead of the roller coaster.

I had no idea how much I would miss sugar.  Which, is clearly addicting and not good for anyone.  I started drinking less sweet coconut creamer ( I had already given up my favorite Coffee-mate chemicals long ago) in my coffee at the end of last week to help slowly wean myself from sugar, but I definitely miss it.  Nutpods are 100% the best option.  Here is a link to purchase them on amazon, which is the only place I could find them: goo.gl/zDvi6H

Another surprise was how much harder this program has been for me. I was certain that I would be able to do this program with no problem.  I am a healthy eater and I buy the groceries. But, feeding the kids their snacks is pure torture.  I would love to devour your cheese stick.  Those cinnamon chex smell sweet and delicious. Oh, sure you can have yogurt.  I’ll just lick the spoon…oh wait.

I never expected to eat so much.  I have always been a snacker.  I ate my three meals a day, but I usually have a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.  I still do this, which isn’t the way the program wants you to do it, but when I don’t I crash…so, I’m going to do it my way. I also never ate this much protein. I don’t mind eating meat, but I just like a little bit with my meals.  Now, I feel like I need a lot more to make sure I stay full.  I am not a fan of this.

Doing this with Doug is extremely helpful.  It would be way harder to prepare foods that are Whole30 compliant without someone who was also eating everything the way I do.  I would be so tempted by all of the non-compliant items.  Plus, he understands what I am experiencing.  He gets frustrated and crabby too. And, he knows that it is a lot of work so he has been there to plan and help prep with me. Doug has been doing really well, overall.  I expected it to be way harder for him. I’m very proud of his commitment and I am thankful that he encourages me when I feel like quitting. His steadfast desire to stay on program gives me a ton of extra motivation.  It isn’t just about me, it is a team effort.

We found that the weekend was harder than the week.  We had more time at home together and had more time to want to snack.  We absolutely missed having beer while watching football. I don’t really drink much beer anymore (I have discovered that it always upsets my stomach…I’m thinking gluten is the culprit), but there is something Pavlovian that makes me feel like I need a beer in my hand while I watch my Noles. Doug agrees with this and made it through the whole Packer’s game without a beer.  And, at least his team won…

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We have replaced our evening wine drinking with hot tea.  I learned on the first day that Soy lecithin is in everything so be sure to read your labels because I would not have expected to find it there. Tazo teas are my favorite.

We have learned that making meals is not a quick process because nothing is ready to go.  You have to cut, mix, or season everything.  So, I have started making dinner an hour earlier than before.  If we were really good at meal prep, we would cut things up or cook them in advance. I still don’t like being locked in to meals, so I do the prep the day or morning of.

I got Shipt again.  This services does the grocery shopping for you.  It is nice to keep the list of what we need in the app and to just place an order in the middle of the week when we run low on items.  It is a lifesaver. And, I keeps me away from all of those tempting items I can’t have.  We have moved from a once a week shopping day to two smaller shopping trips (or Shipt).  This helps us have fresher food on hand through out the week.

For breakfast, I eat three eggs and a grapefruit.  We tried to do hash browns but both times they turned black.  Someone please tell me why.  Doug thinks it is the skin.  I just think it is gross and I’ll never eat them again.  Eggs were getting boring. So I added some diced pepper and onions to enjoy new flavors.

For lunches, I eat a salad. A whole head of Romain, sliced almonds, green onion, tomatoes, english cucumber (these are better than regular, you are welcome), hard boiled egg (usually 2 but I might do 3 if I’m hungry) and some chicken. For a dressing, I always makes my own, so this wasn’t anything new.  I have been trying some different ones.  I mostly use the recipes out of the cookbook. This little OXO gadget makes it easy: https://goo.gl/ZMWz1N

Here is the rundown of what our dinners looked like this week:

Monday– Spaghetti squash and tomato sauce from the Whole30 cookbook

To make the sauce: https://premadepaleo.com/blogs/going-primal/38676484-recipe-tomato-sauce-paleo-friendly-whole30-approved

Tuesday– Marinaded Steak, roasted potatoes, sauteed green beans

We loved this marinade!  It was not easy to find coconut aminos.  I found it at Fresh Market.  Do not buy Braggs…it is not Whole30 approved.

  1. 2T of Beef stock
  2. 2T of balsamic vinegar
  3. 1T of coconut aminos
  4. 1/4 cup of oil (I use walnut)
  5. 1/2tsp of onion powder
  6. 1/2tsp of garlic powder
  7. 1/2tsp of thyme
  8. 1/2tsp of oregano
  9. 1/2tsp of peper

I do not follow the exact amounts, I just do what is best based on the amount of meat we are marinading.

Wednesday– Marinaded Chicken, sauteed broccoli, roasted brussel sprouts

Thursday– Fajitas with cilantro lime sauce

This was tough without salsa, sour cream and tortillas.  We loved the sauce and just ate these open faced with extra peppers and onions.

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Friday– Chili

I followed the recipe in the cookbook but I also added pumpkin puree and sweet potatoes.  It was very easy and very filling.  I made a ranch dressing that we used instead of sour cream.

Saturday– Whole chicken in crock pot with potatoes and carrots

This is a crowd pleaser and it is so easy! From @whole30recipes on Instagram:

Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
One 6 lb. whole chicken
2 pounds baby potatoes
3 large carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

Savory Seasoning Mix
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp each of dried thyme and paprika
1/2 tsp each of dried rosemary and onion powder

1•Combine all of the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
2•Evenly distribute the baby potatoes, carrot chunks and half of the peeled garlic cloves along the bottom of slow cooker.
3•Rinse the chicken; trim away any excess skin. (Reserve the giblets and neck for making stock.)
4•Place the bird breast side up on top of the root veggies. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the top. Stuff with the remaining garlic, and a few sprigs of thyme.
5•Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Chicken is finished when an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F.
6•To crisp the skin (if desired), transfer the bird to a broiler pan and broil for approximately 4-5 minutes, just until skin browns and crisps. Enjoy!

Sunday– Marinated chicken and steak with peppers, onions, and mushrooms

The boys ate all of these dinners with us.  They are not on the Whole30, but I only make one thing for dinner.  If they don’t like it or won’t eat it, that is it.  We like to encourage them to try new things and they are generally good eaters.

The last big observation was that we felt mentally and emotionally drained.  We felt that everything revolved around what we were eating and every meal took a lot of energy.  We were constantly focusing on staying ‘no’ to the food we could not have and we were trying to not getting frustrated about what we were missing. We know it is only 30 days, but your brain tries to convince you to give up constantly.  We are looking forward to a time when we get into a groove with the meal prep and planning and don’t feel like this program is running our lives.

With Love,

Jenna

The Whole30

Friend after friend has tried the Whole30 and has raved about it.  I always thought:

meh, maybe when life slows down we will give it a try

there is no way I can give up my coffee creamer and wine…that is just mean

these people do not have children and there is not a chance that I could be so regimented while also keeping my children alive

Recently, my homegirl, Jen Hatmaker interviewed Melissa Hartwig, the creator of the Whole 30, on her podcast a few weeks ago and I was hooked.

Here is a link to that podcast:

http://jenhatmaker.com/episode-03-melissa-hartwig

I consider my family to be pretty healthy eaters.  We eat lots of fruits and veggies and I avoid products that are overly processed.  I happily cook or bake things from scratch instead of buying them full of preservatives and who knows what else. After reading, Grain Brain, this summer, I’ve also dialed way back on gluten.  Sure, we eat occasional junk food (or entire boxes of Cheese its…thanks, Irma) and we certainly are not perfect.  But, if I had to rate our overall food consumption, I definitely say that we are doing pretty well.

I got more interested in food when I became a parent and had to feed my children.  I went through physical pain to ensure that my kiddos got the ‘liquid gold’ for as long as possible. So, when it came time to feed them real food, I researched hard.  Chemicals, preservatives, soy, corn, gluten in EVERYTHING.  Do we actually eat real food anymore?  It is scary.  But, life is also BUSY. A jar of pasta sauce is going to make dinner come together way faster and easier than my recipe for homemade sauce. This is the trap and the reality that many people face when choosing their food.

So, I told Doug about the Whole30 and fully expected a response like:

Jenna, you take away all of the good food.  Please, stop obsessing about what we are eating.  I draw the line at rice cakes and no beer.

But, he was interested. Like, really interested.

You know this means no beer for a whole month, right? It is football season.  You are agreeing to this with your own free will?  

OK. So we are in this together. This should make it a little easier, right? Now what the heck are we doing?

I bought the cookbook and we both read the beginning.  It gives the basics of the program and provides some great recipes in the back.

I plan to start It Starts with Food because I am a nerd like that.

I started following the Whole30 and the Whole Recipes on Instagram.  I have found the most delicious looking meals while scrolling.  I tried a few recipes before we started the Whole30 and they were crowd-pleasers.

https://www.instagram.com/whole30recipes/

I am all about recipes that don’t stress me out. I like basic ingredients and simple instructions.  You lost me at flambe, deglaze, and coddling. Normally, if I find a recipe with ingredients that I would never have on hand, I would toss it because I know that I will never make it.  In this case, I know that this program is designed to expand my horizons a bit.  However, if it calls for fish sauce I am absolutely out.

On Sunday, I attempted to meal prep.  We made mayo.  And, I made a schedule. I am not a fan of locking in a meal for a certain day. I am non-committal like that. I just want to live my life, ok! So we picked five meals and Doug will eat some of the left overs for lunch.  I eat salad for lunch everyday because I like it and it is filling and I like to eat the same things everyday. None of the meals we picked are that far outside of the norm of our regular eating habits.  BUT, those non-compliant ingredients are in EVERYTHING.  Soy is so sneaky in our sauces and tea.  It was a very sad event when I had to dump two delicious, warm teas after reading the label and discovering soy lecithin. Rude.

I did empty out the pantry to make sure that we would not be tempted by any non-compliant food options.

It’s ok.  I totally agree with Melissa’s tough love perspective.

This is not hard.  Cancer is hard.

We aren’t using this program as a diet…although losing weight is an added bonus.  For me it is about being intentional about what is going in my body and how it makes me feel.  For some reason, the fall is kind of like a restart in our house.  We get back into routines, we commit to new goals, and we focus on what matters.  Since we are still in the thick of adjusting to so many new things, it seems that this is an ideal time to work on new habits.  I am also hoping to identify foods that we are sensitive to.  We both know that dairy is a hard on us. So, I guess we will see what we learn.  Regardless of the results, intentionally planning and preparing healthy meals for our family is a win.

I’ll post every week so you can see some of the recipes we ate and to know how we are feeling.

Have your tried the Whole30? What did you learn?

If you haven’t given it a try, what is your biggest barrier?

With Love,

Jenna

Two Children and a Wedding

We have been to a handful of weddings since we became parents.  D’s first flight was to Alaska for Kristin and Adam’s wedding.  He was just under three months!Other than that, I don’t think either boy has attended any weddings.  We have always found a sitter so we could enjoy the event and avoid messing with our sacred sleep schedule.

Recently, we traveled to Gainesville to  celebrate the wedding of a dear family friend. We left early because, well, we have children and they do not sleep in. Ever. Somehow we missed the memo that April 1st was the official departure day of all snowbirds, so traffic was a bit heavier than we would have liked.  We made it safely and early enough for nap time.  The hotel was able to check us in early (Thank you, Jesus) and we got settled in our room.  With all of the commotion and excitement, D had no intentions of taking a snooze.  Cam took a short one.  I knew we would be in for an interested afternoon.

As with all attempts to go anywhere with children, chaos ensued and we were almost late to the wedding.  I have to give my husband a big shout-out because he held everything together and got us there in a cool and calm manner while I was freaking out.


The ceremony was outside at a beautiful farm in Alachua (how do you pronounce Alachua?) My dad was one of the groomsmen and D was very excited to see him walk down the aisle and stand up front.  So excited that he decided to yell, “Hi Grand-dad” during the vows.  He soon realized that this was getting him lots of attention so I had to literally hold my hand over his mouth the rest of the ceremony.  He could not be trusted.


Meanwhile, Cam was beginning to get antsy, so thank goodness we had puffs.  Or, so I thought.  The moment D saw the puffs, he wanted them too.  Which would have been fine if he hadn’t started whining and yelling about needing puffs that very moment.  Again, I am trying to keep my children as quiet as possible so we don’t disrupt the entire ceremony.  Eventually, a battle ensues over said puffs and they have to be put away.

From what I saw of the ceremony, it was beautiful.  Matt and Debbie looked so happy.   The farm was amazing and there was so much space for the boys to run around and there was cool tree right in the middle.  It was nice to be in an area where I knew that we could let them roam while still being able to keep an eye on them.  It was a bit warm so Doug and I traded off trailing the kids.  I probably would not have encouraged the tree climbing while in dress clothes, but I guess that’s what Dads are for.

The reception was held inside and we snagged a table on the edge.  I knew we would be up and down a lot.  D instantly found his way to the dance floor and was totally content to dance by himself.  It was pretty adorable.  I did need to step in to remind him to be gentle with the other children, but overall, he was too busy being a dancing fool.


Dinner was a delicious southern barbecue.  And, naturally, D ate only the mac-and-cheese, only when we could tear him away from the dance floor.

My family was a great help through it all.  They took the boys outside and danced with them.  They helped with dinner and were the extra eyes and hands to help us.


Bedtime is 7pm sharp.  By 7 we had just finished eating dinner and the dancing had just started.  Cam did a few rounds on the dance floor and by 7:30 he was asleep in Doug’s arms.  D, on the other hand, was full of energy and was running and dancing inside and outside.  It didn’t take too long to realize that with one already asleep, that the other would soon crash and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us to get back to the hotel.  We aren’t usually the first to leave, but by 7:45 we were out the door.


I packed pjs and had both boys ready for bed as we got on the road.  You would think they would fall right to sleep in the car.  Not.  You would think they would fall right to sleep when we got back. Nope.  Finally, around 9ish they gave in.


Overall, the boys did really well.  Even without good naps they managed to make it through the wedding without any major meltdowns.  I still think that weddings are more enjoyable when you do not have to chase after your children, especially while being dressed up.   I find that when you expect your children to behave like adults in social settings, you are usually setting unrealistic expectations.  Everything is novel and exciting to them and they have no clue what is socially acceptable.  They just know what their wants and needs are and running in a field, climbing a tree, and calling out to their loved ones are exactly what kids their age should be doing. And, that is ok!  As parents, we teach them how to behave in those settings, but we also have to be realistic about how long and how well they can handle being outside of their norm.   For us, it is always ideal to keep sleep schedules as close to regular as possible.  It just gives you a little extra assurance that they are rested, which means they should be better able to adjust to the new situations.  At least my dress was super easy to nurse in and the next morning the boys slept in!  Until 7:30 am.


Have you brought your children to a wedding?  What are your tips for traveling with children and keeping them happy at a wedding?

With Love,

From Me To You

Mom Style

If you are like me, you have a closet full of clothes, but still feel like you can never find anything to wear.  So, I typically end up wearing the same assortment of clothes over and over again.  It must be comfortable and allow me to move easy as I play with the boys.  Khaki shorts, I love you.  You really go with everything.  V-Neck Ts, you come in so many colors and so does your distant cousin the cotton tank-top. And, to prove I haven’t totally given up on being hip, I love you light-wash ripped jeans.  You are like wearing shorts because you have holes that keep me cool, even in the summer.

Dressing for work has been simplified to dresses and skirts only.  I never plan on wearing dress pants every again.  And capris, no thank you.  I love a fitted sleeveless sheath dress like no other.  And, as for sleeves, well, that’s what sweaters are for.  Sleeves in Florida are reserved for about three months out of the year.  Sleeveless tops can be worn year round with the right cardigan.

When it comes to the more formal occasion, like a wedding, I can’t say that my style varies much from my daily staples.  One factor that all of these clothes have in common: I can nurse in them.  That’s right folks, I am in the phase a life that not only calls for comfort and agility, but also access to my bust so I can feed the little one.  Going strong since 2014 (!).


I longingly look at high neck lines and zipper-less sheaths, but sadly turn away as I know there is no appropriate access to the milk.  Someday those pretty things won’t be so far from my grasp.  For now I need a low front, but not too low, I’m a mom after all.  Or a strap that I can easily slide off my shoulder so I can nurse.  I have become quite the pro at zipping and up-zipping dresses with zippers in the back, so that I can shimmy one shoulder out for access to a quick snack.

With my ultra unique clothing requirements, I am quite the picky shopper.  I am extremely selective about what items I even attempt to try on because there is a finite amount of time that I can force my babe to hang out in a fitting room.  I often play roulette and just purchase clothing without trying it on.  Thank goodness for returns.  That is IF I manage to remember to return said items and not lose the receipt.

Naturally, Target is my Mecca.  If it cannot be bought at Target, then I most certainly do not need it.  End of Story.  But, I do find that wedding attire is not easy to find there. Sigh. This means more stops with the kiddo in tow.

Sometimes I try on clothes that I know scream 80 year old woman, but my kid has to eat and I am getting desperate since the wedding is on Saturday.  I try on this off the shoulder number, who do I think I am?  These are pretty trendy now, right?  But, wait!  It actually looks decent and this may be the easiest access for nursing ever!  Clearly the stars have aligned and my prayers have been answered!  Now, if I can just get both of my sisters to respond to my text with their stamp of approval.  Let’s be real, I’d probably just give up and wear my ripped jeans with wedges if that wasn’t totally unacceptable.


It can’t just be me, right?  Even non-nursing moms (and non-moms) must have their “things” when it comes to choosing clothes.  And, what’s with the added pressure of a timeline that always makes it impossible to find an acceptable option?  I can’t be the only one, right?

Oh, well.  Both sisters give the thumbs up!  I don’t care how much this dress is, I’ll take it! And, I have a 20% off coupon!  Winning!

With Love,

From Me to You!

Camdon’s Birth Story

After nine months of growing little LBD 2, I was ready to meet our little one.  I was happy to hear that I was dilating and effacing, but then again, since it was my second child, I guess that is to be expected.  This time around my back was killing me and I was way more uncomfortable than I had been previously.  We went in for a doctor appointment a few days before my due date as my final check up.  My doctor said that things were progressing and I should expect a much quicker birth experience.  We told him that we would have a 30 minute drive to the hospital.  And he said that would be too much.  And, like that he scheduled my induction for Friday, March 11th!

Finally knowing when this baby would arrive gave us a huge sense of relief.  There was always a chance that the baby could decide to arrive on his or her own, but we were focused on the 11th.  We frantically finished last minute projects and I cleaned the house like a madwoman.  We finished just in time to celebrate Doug’s birthday and my due date!  We had a gathering at Top Golf with friends a week before.  For Doug’s actual birthday, we decided to enjoy one last family dinner.  The Cottones and my sisters came over to play a game of Catan.

In a horrible turn of events, I dropped my phone and the screen was blank.  Nothing was cracked. It just didn’t show anything.  This became a difficult issue since it was about 7pm and I really couldn’t be without a phone the next day and I was having a baby the following day!  Leah and I went to the mall to have some guy at a kiosk fix it but then he camera wasn’t working…and who wants a phone without a camera?!? Especially when I was about to have a new baby to take pictures of?

The next day, I basically spent a few hours running errands and getting my phone fixed for real.  It was way too much to worry about when I had to get ready to have a baby.  But, all is well that ends well.  I got to spend lots of quality time with my little guy, who had been fighting off a bug for a week.  He kept getting a random fever and I was hoping that he would be healthy in time for his sibling to arrive.

The timing of my delivery was perfect because Rachel was home for spring break.  She was my on-call person if I happened to go into labor and needed someone to watch D.  She came over that night and we had dinner and got ready for the big day.  It was hard to believe that we would be meeting our little one so soon.

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One of the many perks of being induced is that you have time to shower and do you hair and make up before heading to the hospital.  We arrived at St. Joes around 6am.  After the usual questions and medical history review I was hooked up and ready to go.  I assumed that it would be the same as before when they used Cervadil, but this time they used Pitocin.  I was dreading this because of the horror stories I had heard about how intense this drug made your contractions.  I had heard that they could make your contractions really close together and very strong.

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My doctor came in around 7am and said he was going to break my water.  This was also new since my water wasn’t broken until the very end last time.  It was the weirdest feeling.  Just like a warm gush of water. And every so often, more would leak out.  Especially during contractions.  It was so strange because it literally felt like I was peeing or something because water just kept on coming out.  How much water was in there?

So Doug and I were just hanging out.  I started getting contractions and we would watch them spike on the machines and the go down.  We played Phase 10 again.  I was feeling lots of contractions as we played so I was a bit distracted and yet, I still won!  My nurse kept checking on me and would turn up the pitocin each time, which was both horrible and wonderful.  I was progressing more and more.

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Since they had broken my water, they did not want to check to my progress too often since I would be more susceptible to infection.  Last time I got updated often so I knew how far along I was.  The contractions weren’t great but I was able to breath through them and I wasn’t in too much pain.  I didn’t want to get the epidural to early since I knew it could slow my contractions and stall the process.  My nurse was really sweet and kept saying that she would know that I was ready for pain meds when I couldn’t joke around any more.  I like to keep things light when I’m stressed and I guess I never really got to a point of sheer horrible pain.  Finally, I was ready for the epidural.  Thankfully, there wasn’t a long wait for the anesthesiologist.  The epidural wasn’t bad at all and I was happy that I would be able to feel some relief soon….or so I thought!

As the team was leaving the room, a nurse asked me if I felt any pressure yet.  Literally as she said that I felt a huge surge of pressure.  It caught me off guard and she checked my progress. I was 10 cm and ready to go. I suddenly had the urge to push.  She told me this baby was coming and to not push and she ran out to get the doctor.  Doug and I both were both looking at each other in shock that it had all happened so quick.  I immediately started pushing the button for my epidural meds because I could still feel everything.  Apparently, it takes a bit for the epidural to kick in.  I was not ready to have a natural childbirth!

Quickly the doors burst open and the whole medical crew rushed in.  They set up all of their surgical paper and wheeled in all of the instruments.  It is amazing how fast they all arrive and your empty room becomes instantly packed in a matter of seconds.  My doctor came in smiling and said that he knew I would have this baby quickly.

Meanwhile, I was freaking out.  I was not ready to have this baby.  It had only been a few hours.  And, my epidural was doing nothing!  I looked at Doug and told him I could not do this.  I mean, what were my options?  Couldn’t this all just wait for a few more minutes?  It was all happening so fast  My doctor asked if I had ever been skiing.  Maybe he was trying to lighten the mood.  He told me this baby was coming now and to start pushing.

The pushing was harder than I remembered but I wasn’t pushing long.  After 8 pushes, Camdon Richard DeGroot was born at 10:43am! That’s less than 5 hours of labor! They handed him to me and he was all slimy but I was happy to hold my sweet boy for the first time.

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Meeting my new little guy 🙂

Thankfully, my epidural kicked in just enough to not feel a thing. Camdon was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long.  The nurse who was taking his vitals said that he was really strong for a newborn. We enjoyed a bit of time nursing and holding our new little guy.  It is so unbelievable how tiny and perfect new babies are.  Soon we headed off to our hospital room.

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That afternoon my Mom and Dad arrived.  Rachel and D came after nap.  It was such a special moment introducing D to his new brother.  I think he was more excited about the special gifts he got for becoming a big brother.  Leah, John, and the Motleys all arrived to welcome Camdon to the world.

We left the hospital at about 10pm Saturday night.  We were not interested in hanging out any longer than we had to.  We wanted to get back to be with D and so that we could actually sleep without being woken up for vitals every hour.  When we got home, it was decorated by my family.  And our fridge was stocked with lots of frozen meals!

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We felt so much more confident in our abilities as parent this time and we were happy to be home with our healthy baby boy.

With Love,

From Me to You