February 03, 2014

Whole30: The results are in.

30 Days ago Rick and I started the Whole30 challenge.  Rick would probably say he did it because his wife was doing it and because it was pretty nice having breakfast, lunch and dinner made for him everyday.  My reasons were much different.  I really have been wanting to do a strict eating plan to really jumpstart some changes in my life and my families.  Whole30's intentions are not only to increase healthy foods into your diet but also to remove highly addictive and unhealthy foods as well.  Additionally, I felt like the most important part of the program was the emotional and psychological components.  It really makes you reevaluate food on a day to day basis and figure out what your relationship with it looks like.  It really opened my eyes to my bad habits and things I hoped to change.  

I also thought it was a fun challenge to do together.  There is also something to go all out on a goal and completing it.  It makes other goals you are working on more attainable and somehow helps create order.  I enjoyed all the benefits of this and anticipate doing it again someday.  For now we plan to do this as our core way of eating along with incorporating a few more foods.  

The results:

This was done while sitting at a computer all day.  He is a writer by day and an online MBA student by night which equals more time sitting at a computer. 
Total Lost: 20 lbs
Waistline: Lost 3 inches!
Arm: 1 inch lost
Leg: 1 inch lost
Total: 5 inches lost - what?!

I also really committed to getting back into crossfit this month so I worked out 3-5X a week. 
Total Lost: 10-15 lbs. (not positive what my starting weight was)
Waistline: Lost 2 inches
Arm: .25 inches
Leg: .25 inches
Total: 2.5 inches lost

Our goal is to get to a healthy place as a family where we feel like these decisions and choices are now just our normal lifestyle.  I think we were fairly healthy before but Whole30 has really helped highlights the bad habits we both were hanging onto.  We hope to move forward with better awareness and discipline.  And if we struggle...we will probably do it all over again! 

January 22, 2014

2014 Goals: The "Whole 30" Challenge

2014 Goal 1:

I just recently got back to Crossfit.  My friend Sonya and I started going to Newberg Crossfit around the time they opened.  I continued to work out into the beginning of my pregnancy with Ava but due to moving and bedrest I had to stop.  I talked about it for months and months and finally convinced my husband I just HAD to go back.  It's an amazing work out with a strong gymnastics background and emphasis on community.  It's a perfect fit really.  This month they have invited anyone to do the whole30 challenge.  I told Rick about it and he agreed to do it with me.  Here is a snapshot:

The entire program is based on a book called "It Starts With Food."  I have not (and probably won't) jumped on the whole Paleo bandwagon.  However, I was attracted to this challenge because I would be doing it alongside others and it seemed easy enough to follow. I love that you don't count anything and you really help your body cleanse and break habits.  I have always LOVED food.  I love good food just as much as I love bad food.  Because of this, I have had a hard time getting into a good and proper relationship with food.  The "stricter" regime of this challenge really has opened my eyes to my personal habits.  

I graze and snack a LOT.  I did not realize this.  It has taken a lot of conscious effort to stop myself from taking a bite of my kids food.  I cut the crust off, I feel the need or urge to eat it.  That has been very eye opening.  

Food fills time.  The first thing I think about when I get my kids down for a nap is a snack.  I didn't even realize I did this.  I also go to food when I am bored.  Not being able to do this has really helped break that crutch; I really relied on food to accompany me through my day as opposed to nurishing me.  

Food make this more fun. This is a big one for me.  I love being with people or spending time watching a movie with my husband.  Whatever it is, food needed to be involved.  Not being able to do this has been crazy!  I never realized how much I had these things tied together.  Now, I don't think sitting down to popcorn and a movie is bad by any means but do you really need it every night?  

I have had quite a few people ask me how I plan and what it has looked like so I figured I would just provide a sample week.  I have taken a lot of my meal ideas from the blog Whole Family Strong.  This program really helped me to sit down and plan the weeks out.  One deal I made with the husband was that if he agreed to do this I would pack his breakfast and lunch everyday.  He has really LOVED this and it has made things easy (and again forced me to plan).

Sunday: plan dinners for the week, rough lunch ideas (if no leftovers), make breakfast for Rick to take each day.

Monday: Breakfast (C) - scrambled eggs with spinach and salsa
              Breakfast (R) - either a piece of Quiche I made him for the week or a piece of Apple Bumpkin Cake  (kids loved this one.  Ariy would eat it mixed into yogurt with a little extra cinnamon)
              Lunch - big salad with chicken on top and any other veggies, monkey salad  *I would buy a rotisserie chicken in the beginning of the week and use it all week.  You have to find one without sugar added though.  I lalso would buy a large thing of mixed greens or spinach for salads.  
              Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with red marinara meat sauce (use ground beef or italian sausage)
               ** Make some cauliflower rice for the rest of the week.  Save half of spaghetti squash for next night.  

Tuesday:  Breakfast - basically continues to look the same for R (quiche or ABC)  & C (eggs of some sort)
               Lunch - in a wok or large pan throw together chicken, cauliflower rice, any veggies, curry spices and a little coconut milk (full fat canned).  I LOVED this lunch and it took me no time using the premade cauliflower rice and rotisserie chicken.
               Dinner - Paleo Pad Thai using the other half of lasts nights spaghetti squash.  I LOVED this and I just used what I had for the sauce.  I did not have all the ingredients and it still turned out good. 

Wednesday: Lunch - leftovers and a salad
                  Dinner: Lettuce wrapped burritos - I seasoned some ground beef and stir fried veggies like peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, etc.  We used romaine lettuce to bundle the mixture up in.  I added avocado to mine.  Kids got theirs in actual tortillas.  

Thursday: Lunch - salad with either stir fried veggies on top or roasted veggies and chicken
               Dinner - My made up Zucca Tuscana soup (made in crockpot).  Through in cooked/browned italian sausage, and onion, sweet potato, salt and pepper and some beef broth.  At the end - added lots of spinach.  

Friday: - Breakfast - Apple Bumpkin Cake
                Lunch - leftovers and salad with pear and walnuts
              Dinner - Sweet potato hash and scrambled eggs with spinach (and sausage - I could take or leave the sausage on this one).  

Rick's packed lunches often looked like:  leftovers, salad with chicken or a precooked chicken sausage.  I usually put 1 piece of fruit in OR some ants on a log, some nuts or nut butter and carrots and celery sticks.  

These were some of our favorites so far and I felt like pretty easy to make.  

Here are some really helpful recipe links:

Tomorrow is day 20 for us and neither of us have cheated!  It's been amazing.  We are finally feeling like it is much easier and the cravings are going away if not gone.  I feel really good and hope to continue to do something similar long term but incorporating some more foods back to the equation (not sure what yet).  

January 14, 2014

2013 Year in Pictures!

2013 I feel should be called the "Year of major life events/Year of Ava."  Ava pretty quickly made herself known in 2013.  She was born 11 days into the year and has been a constant joy and how do I say it, delightful challenge ever since.  She came out wide eyed and made it known pretty quickly that sleep would never be her favorite thing.  We struggled with that a lot the first 6 months of 2013.  In that time we also, moved, bought our first house, celebrated Ariy's 2nd birthday, Rick started a new and first 9-5 job, I also started teaching Gymnastics very part time.  A LOT of changes.  By Ava's 6th month birthday, things had mostly settled down and we were really in the swing of things in this "new life."  Fall and Winter of 2013 were challenging in different ways.  The weather no longer permitted our daily outdoor adventures and both myself and Rick lost close relatives.

For myself personally, the end of 2013 was an emotional whirlwind.  There was some hard stuff going on for friends and family including the passing of my Great Aunt Barbara.  She was someone I highly respected and always took great care of me and my entire life.  She was a teacher, told amazing story's and an artist as well.  She knew all my closest friends and always asked how they were doing.  She was someone who truly cared.  I am soooo thankful that at the age of 88 she was able to take a trip out here and meet Ariy for the second time and Ava for the first.  It was very special to me.  The trip back to Boston for the funeral was an amazing trip for me.  I was so thankful I had enough miles to pay for a ticket back so last minute.  I was really happy to see friends and family that I have not been able to see for a while.  Ava was quite the sassypants on the trip but everyone loved her.  I really miss every back east but this was the first trip I got a good amount of quality time with family which I really needed.  I have a lot of "unfinished" business with my past.  I had a number of questions and was anxious to ask my Aunts all about it.  The digging really lead to some pretty huge things but great things.  I am excited to process this more and maybe share eventually.

 Coming home to two little kids and the thick of winter and Christmas was hard for whatever reason.  I was tired and just emotionally spent.  This all came out on New Year's day.  We all got sick the week of Christmas and it was finally my turn.  I felt horrible and was tired and angry.  I was finally broken enough to share and be open with Rick.

I think that low day has really catapulted me into a new year of motivation to really set some goals and make long term changes.  I don't think I am starting from scratch with some of these things and some are habits I used to have but have fallen away from.  I am confident I can make these changes with help and support and lots of prayer and grace.  Goal lists to come on another blog later.

2013 in Pictures
January brought Ava Noelle to us
Miss Lara flew out and was able to be part of the birth

February - learning to smile and so much cuteness

March - where did all the pictures go this month?

April 20th - Ariy turned 2! 

April - Easter

more easter 

May - I started teaching a fun interactive Mommy and Me class. The first class included a lot of friends and we all made new friends.  

The last day of class in hot weather meant popsicles for all the kiddos.  They were not sad about this. 

June - we did a great family photo session with our good friends Photo Macy.  I also celebrated my 30th Birthday!

July in Newberg means "Old Fashion Festival" time.

In August we crammed in a day at the beach which I had been itching for all summer long.  This was from our really fun stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

September was when we welcomed our new housemates and new found friends Aria and Tim.  With a name like Aria, it was meant to be.  Aria provides mommy with much needed down time during naps and the kids are pretty much smitten with Tim.  We are so thankful to have them living with us. It also was the start of football season. 

One of my favorite things to do out here is visit a pumpkin patch in October.  I was on bed rest last year so I never got to go so this year I made up for it and went twice!  We love getting pumpkin and apple donuts made hot and fresh.  
The year pumpkin picture (someday I will get around to doing a comparison)

I was beyond excited for halloween this year.  Downtown Newberg puts on a great event where you basically go trick-or-treating to all the downtown businesses.  It's pretty busy but so fun to see everyone out in their costumes. We were farmers and these two were our cows.

November meant a big family Thanksgiving up in Washington.  This year we all showed our support for Rick's Aunt and simultanously supported a GFU student Haley by all buying and wearing the EFF CANCER MOVEMENT shirts.  It was a "fun" way to be together celebrating thanksgiving.

It goes without saying, December means Christmas!!!!

January 11, 2014

Happy First Birthday Ava Noelle!!

I am so thankful for this little lady.  A year ago today, I was able to accomplish a big goal in having a successful natural vbac.  It was a quick and amazing. The entire room including Rick, Lara and our Doula Corie, as well as a team of nurses and our midwife all rejoiced as she came out with wide eyes and a full head of hair.  There were definitely tears and lots of adrenalin.

Ava has added so much life to our little family.  She attracts a lot of looks from her pretty blue eyes but just because you may oh and ah, doesn't mean she will offer up a smile.  She wants to rule her world and has some serious perseverance and spirit.  I'm so excited to see these traits be harnessed into amazing things when she is older but obviously has caused some tough moments this first year of life.

As tough as she can be, she is also loves to communicate and be around people.  She gets so excited when she sees her brother and daddy each day.  She is a monkey and loves to climb on anything and everything.  She is very active, fast and generally happy these days.  One of my favorite traits is how loving and affectionate she can be.  She loves to give us hugs and kisses and loves to snuggle with her bunny.

Ava fun facts:
Favorite toy: elephant that blows out balls and car
Favorite activity: climbing and walking
Walking: started week of Christmas
Favorite food: she loves pretty much anything, toast, avocado, berries and eggs may be up there
Words: mama and signs "more" anytime she wants food, also signs milk

Happy Birthday baby girl.  We love you soooo much!

November 06, 2013

Pumpkin Patch and Halloween

I am pretty big into celebrating.  I LOVE any reason to dress up in a ridiculous outfit and celebrate something with people and food and fun.  Although the rain is seriously depressing me, October in Oregon means pumpkin patch time which starts the domino of holiday celebrating.

We have gone to Lee Farms in Tualatin the past few years.  It is a great farm with lots of fun activities for the little ones.  Ariy was there pretty much for one thing: the barrel train ride.  I was there for pretty much one other thing: the donuts.  They make pumpkin and apple cider donuts and if you snag fresh warm ones they are pretty much heavenly although I am not sure they beat out Gooddale (or whatever its called now).

For Halloween this year I was able to snag/borrow two free cow costumes.  They kind of fell into my lap so that is how I chose what they would be.  I liked the idea and I realize this may be my last year choosing for Ariy.  He might have a stronger opinion next year.  Rick and I dressed up as farmers to go with them.  Newberg does a great trick or treating along the downtown strip where all the small businesses are.  It is really the thing to do.  The streets are packed and different business, churches and other organizations hand out candy, glow bracelets, and put on fun games for kids.  I loved walking around and seeing all the costumes.  Ariy was more into it than last year but still didn't quite catch on.  We let him get candy at the first few businesses and then we just walked and passed right by the candy.  We let him pick out one piece of candy from his pail and then the rest went to Rick's work.  He never even asked about it again.  I am guessing this will not work the same next year.

Ava 9 months

Ava is almost 10 months old.  We had her 9 month appointment a little late (just past 9.5 months) but she still seems to measure very average.  Our little miss these days:

  • 2 bottom middle teeth but is work on the rest.  We have had some late nights with this little teething monster lately.  
  • 19 lbs.  Her weight and head are right around 50th percentile but her height is slowly creeping down.  I don't remember her height off the top of my head.
  • She is still a full on red head and the blue eyes look like they are staying.
  • She is has a lot of personality.  I call her sassy pants.  She can laugh on minute and scream the next.  She can be really loud.  She is a screamer.  Sometimes I think she must be in serious pain but then I realize she is doing it just to get our attention, hence the sassy pants.  
  • She is very social but also more unsure of strangers and men than Ariy was as a baby.
  • She loves her pacifier and sleeps with 4 or 5 of them every night.  She also sleeps with her bunny from Auntie Lala.
  • She loves her dada.  She has even started to say dada and mama.  It's pretty cute...she just lights up when she sees him and I think she has started to wrap him around her little finger too.
  • She eats everything. I was a lot more structured and slow with Ariy's food but Ava has had most food at this point.  She basically just eats whatever we are eating.  We don't do much dairy so she hasn't had much past yogurt but she loves pretty much anything else.  
  • She is moving so fast these days.  She can make it to the top of the stairs in no time.  She can open up cabinets, get out all of the toilet paper and climb from the couch up onto her high chair.  This is a new experience for us as Ariy was a "late bloomer" and still is a bit when it comes to motor skills and coordination.  This little miss is going to be doing flips of the bookshelves in no time. 
  • She sleeps pretty good although teething has interrupted that some.  She takes 2 naps at 9 and 2ish. 
  • She gets a lot of attention because of the red hair but just because people may gush over her at first doesn't mean she will immediately give someone a smile
  • Like I said, she loves to move so things like the carseat are not her favorite.  She would prefer to jump on the bed and do flips and rolls or simply climb up and down the stairs.