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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A letter to my boys on Inauguration Day

My dear sweet boys,

Today our country has a new president.  Every four or eight years a new one takes over the leadership of our country.  This year, Donald Trump is our new president and this is the first time you have witnessed this peaceful transfer of power.  While you might not be old enough to remember all that has occurred in electing Mr. Trump, I do want you to learn a few life lessons from this historic day.

Some people are celebrating today, while others are in mourning.  Some people are excited and happy, while others are fearful and scared.  People will always have different feelings.  People will always disagree. No event will ever elicit the same response from all people.  And that is ok.  People are different.  And, that is was makes life special.  Your feelings are always ok because they are your own.  Learning to accept and respect people who feel differently than you is a hard and, sometimes, frustrating thing to do.  You must always try.  People deserve respect even when they do not show you the same.

People will always have different opinions. As you form your own opinions, know that disagreement is natural.  When you meet people with an open mind and listening ears, you will learn. When you listen with empathy and speak with respect, you will gain more understanding and you will grow.  When you hear without listening or speak in a combative nature, you will shut down the opportunity to grow and will only become more rigid in your opinion, as right or wrong as it may be. I encourage you to always seek to learn and grow and pay close attention to the credibility of those sources.

It would be simple if life was reduced to a binary.  Right or wrong and good or bad are not that simple.  As you grow, I hope that we can teach you values and morals that will guide you to follow what we believe to be true.  But, never be foolish enough to think that your view of ‘right’ is true for every person.

We hope that you learn you treat others with kindness.  In both your words and your actions.  As a Christian, you will be asked to love your neighbor, which will be a challenging task sometimes.  People will not always be nice or respectful or kind to you.  Even when you meet them with nothing but kindness.  You will be asked to love them anyway. Not only will we encourage you to love them, we will teach you to show them kindness in return.  That is called integrity and class.

Losing will be part of life.  It isn’t fun.  Sometimes it will really hurt. Disappointment is not fun.  Even when you work your hardest, you may still lose. Winning is not everything.  When you lose you are forced to look at what you did and find ways to improve.  It gives you motivation and it reminds you that winning is not always the outcome.  When you do lose, even when it makes you mad, you must be a good sport.  You must show kindness to those who beat you.  You must not blame others and you must learn from the moment and work towards the future you want.

My boys, you are privileged.  You did not chose your race or your sex or the family that you have been born into.  You will receive advantages based on these characteristics. Whether it is the way you will be treated or the opportunities that you may have or the situations that you will never have to question.  And, although you did not ask to be treated any different, you must always remember that you are.  This might make you feel bad or guilty.  Those feelings are ok.  What you must remember is that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” You do not need to feel guilty but you do need to feel compassion and empathy for others.  You should speak up for others and you should be thoughtful in your words and actions.  And, if you feel called to do more, you should work to dismantle the systems and the prejudice that exists in our society and work to create a better tomorrow.  If that work isn’t what you desire, then at the very least, do not reinforce or condone actions that hurt or marginalize others.

Finally, my sweet boys, I pray that you always find hope.  The future is what you make it.  You have control of your life through your choices and your actions.  Never let factors outside of yourself cause you to feel like you are not in control.  You are not a victim of anything.  Being a victim is a choice.  You always have a choice.  Systems and situations seems so much bigger than us.  And, they are big and complicated.  Always remember that what you focus on expands and when you dwell in the darkness it becomes harder to see the light.

Donald Trump is our president, imperfect and flawed, just like each of us.  His choices and actions may not represent the values or expectations that we have for you.  Being a leader is a hard job.  Some people are more natural in these roles than others.  Some people inspire others and encourage them through their actions and words.  Pay attention to how Mr. Trump behaves and speaks.  Make note of how he makes you and others feel.  Learn from his example.  And, remember, as the president he deserves our respect.  As a person he deserves our love.  But, as a model of who I hope you will become, he is not.  Learn from this loss.  Find hope for tomorrow. And, never allow hate to motivate your life.

We love you, sweet boys.  We pray for you to grow up to be men of character, living lives filled with purpose and love.  We pray for our leader because all leaders need guidance and support.


With Love,

From Me To You

 

 

 

Reflections on the First Year of Parenthood

After one year of parenthood, it is pretty hard to imagine life any other way.  In my mind, life is divided into life before Donovan and life after.  For me, motherhood has completely altered my life.  In so many wonderful ways.  It kind of blindsided me and it still hasn’t quite sunken in how much I am grown and changed.  What I do know is that the first year of being a mom has been one of the most challenging, thought-provoking, earth-shattering, emotional, and wonderful years of my life.  As I reflect on what this year has meant to me, I thought I would share my big take-aways.

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Parenting is not one-size-fits-all

I read a lot of books before Donovan was born.  I wanted to know what the best practices were for parenting.  I quickly learned that there are a million ways to raise your child and plenty of philosophies to align with.  Just ask any parent what their favorite baby item is and you will get fifty different answers.  Parents have opinions about everything because some things work for some babies and some don’t.  Some brands are better to some people and what some parents see as a must-have, just isn’t important to others.

So where do you begin when you are faced with tons of well meaning, yet conflicting advice?  Well, for starters, you should listen, because you never know when you might hear something helpful.  And, of course be gracious because other parents only want to make your experience better by learning from their errors or tried and true methods.  But, don’t take it all as gospel.  You have to find what works for you.  Pure and simple.

Most importantly, remember that there isn’t really a right and wrong.  Parenting isn’t a competition to see who is the best parent and who does everything right.  We are all lucky to survive, so don’t poke fun at what works for others. This job is hard enough.  And, take all advice graciously, yet with a grain of salt.

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Oh the things I said I would never do…

Just never say never.  It is the kiss of death.  Co-sleeping. Cloth diapers. Breastfeeding past one year.  I never saw any of that coming.

Our first family photo :)
Our first family photo 🙂

Your schedule does not always work for baby

This one came as possibly the largest shock.  I read a book that talked about getting your baby on a perfect sleep, feeding, and waking schedule.  I loved the idea of structure and a formal plan.  Oh, how I was wrong.  I guess all of the best laid plans go out the window when you are sleep deprived and you have  a screaming baby in your arms.

I learned that sometimes what you think will work, just doesn’t.  You have to listen to your baby and be ready to adjust.  Or else, you will be adding extra stress and unnecessary pressure to your already chaotic life.

Donovan's first Easter!
Donovan’s first Easter!

Trust your gut

Sometimes things will not feel right.  You won’t be able to put your finger on it.  It’s that feeling that just won’t quit.  Always remember that you know your baby best.  You know what normal looks like for your child and you are the best person to observe changes.  The first year is filled with subtle changes and little fevers and runny noses.  When you feel that something is wrong, always trust your gut.  And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Being less selfish was easier than I thought

Before children, I always thought that I wasn’t ready to be a parent because I wasn’t ready to give up my freedom. Sleeping in, going out, lounging on the couch, drinking coffee and wine, daily workouts.  But, the moment we decided to get pregnant and I slowly began to cut out caffeine and alcohol, I realized that the things that I thought I would miss really didn’t compare to the new person in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss the sleep and I miss the ability to do whatever I want whenever I want.  But, I wouldn’t trade that freedom for the world. Nothing compares to the happiness that Donovan brings to our lives.  Slowly, some of that freedom returns as your baby gets older. And someday, I know we will look back and miss those baby days and forget all about the things that we had to give up.

First day back to work!
First day back to work!

How do they grow so fast?

Seriously.  It is absolutely amazing. And, horrifying because you realize how quickly these moments that you desperately want to cherish are simply slipping through your fingers.  And all those Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents who said that “they would grow up so quickly right before your eyes” were completely and totally right.

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Why does everything freak me out?

I would not consider myself an anxious person.  But once Donovan arrived, I suddenly began in to worry about the most unlikely and improbable scenarios occurring.  I knew that these worries were unwarranted and slightly over-protective, but I just could not imagine anything happening to my little guy.  And, suddenly the world seemed like such a dangerous place.  The car ride home from the hospital sent me over the edge because I realized that everyone was texting and driving or speeding or being reckless.

I have never been a huge fan of the news, but I had to stop watching.  Everyday there are children who are abducted, killed, lost, injured, neglected and I just did not need any new ideas added to my worrying mind.  I also developed a new appreciation for my own parents.  I now understood the worry and anxiety I put them through when I didn’t call like I said I would or when I was late coming home at night.  I guess there are a lot of ways that you find a new appreciation for you parents after becoming one.

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Life will never be the same

My favorite quote about parenthood is from author Elizabeth Stone.  She said, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Once Donovan arrived, life changed in a million ways for the better.  Possibly the best was the new love that Doug and I found in being his parents.  And just like all parents, we want what is best for him.  We want him to have a perfect and wonderful life and we want him to be happy.  But, we all know that life is never that simple and that we all face struggles and challenges.  We don’t want Donovan’s life to be free from hardship, because it is in those moments that he will grow and become the man we hope he will be.  But, it won’t make watching him struggle any easier. In those moments our hearts will hurt and we will want to protect him, but we know that it is just part of life.

In the meantime, we look forward to the many ways that watching Donovan grow up will bring us joy.  And, at the same time, we will be thankful for each day that we have with our little guy.  We certainly can wait to see what is to come, because we know that he will be all grown up way faster than we care to admit.

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With Love,

From Me to You