dear Evelyn

>> 11.19.2013

November 19, 2013

Dear Evie Darling, 

Thirteen days. That's how long you've kept the whole world waiting to meet you so far. It's not that I can blame you, however, as the weather is turning cold and the leaves are falling off the trees and sometimes this world can seem like a big, terrifying place.

But oh, daughter. I am so ready to meet you and hold you in my arms and show you the beautiful things this place has to offer--like your big, crazy, wonderful brother and your handsome Papa who is going to melt into a puddle as soon as you look at him. Or your grandma and grandpa, and ah-ma and yeh-yeh, and aunties and uncles and cousins, and all the other people you will call family even though we don't share any DNA. And Christmas, baby girl. Christmas is coming, and there is almost nothing better than the world lit up with sparkling lights while the snow falls and you're surrounded by everyone that loves you. There are a million things more, my girl, but you have to come out to experience them.

My heart is waiting to grow, waiting to see your strands of hair, and your rosebud lips that take their first breath and the color of your eyes. You have been so unexpected in so many different ways, and being pregnant with you has been so different than being pregnant with your brother was--harder in many ways, sweeter in others, but mostly just it's own completely new experience. You have carried me through many days when I did not think I could keep going, and you have forced me to stop and evaluate the things that truly matter in life. I wasn't ready for you, but the Lord was, and now that I'm about to meet you I am continually reminded that He sees and He knows. Always.

There are things that terrify me about becoming your mother. Fears that I've never had before, because girls are different than boys and I've spent my world immersed in boy-thinking, and mess, and simple logic for the last 2 1/2 years. But now I'm diving head-first into a world that I know well, but that I also know nothing about. A mother's relationship with her daughter is completely different than that of her son, and I want to get it right with you, my girl. Females are mysterious and complicated creatures, but also simple and straightforward if you have the key. But sometimes no one has the key, and that's what scares me. 

I wish so many things for you, daughter. I want you to know the Lord and love Him with your whole heart, and your whole life, and your whole self--so much so that nothing this world has to offer will even sparkle in comparison to Him. I want you to know how valuable you are, how equal you are to your own opinion and your own thoughts and desires. How strong you are, and how you are just as capable as anyone else to do what you want and go where you want to go. I want you to know that you are beautiful, not because of your skin or your eyes or the number on the tag in the clothes you wear, but because you are a person, a human being, and there are no ordinary humans, love. I want you to find your worth in the Lord, and in yourself, but also realize how freeing it can be to be vulnerable with the right person. How a man cannot complete you, but he can come alongside you and show you pieces of yourself that you thought you had hidden forever.

So, darling. I know the world seems big and you are so very comfortable folded up inside of my ever-stretching belly. But life is so much better on the outside, surrounded by the people that love you--and believe me, there are a lot of us that love you. So come and meet your family. We're waiting to catch you and we promise to be ready when you decide to show up.

I will love you forever and a day.



>> 7.29.2013

I miss crafting with words.
I miss the flow, the spiral, the effortless dance that my fingers would play out while the words locked inside my head were fed through my fingertips and onto a page.
It hardly required effort, there wasn't even much thought attached, it was simply there--open the page, unlock the brain and go.

Today has been harder than I'd like to admit.
My first day back at this stay-at-home mom gig, and we've had a struggling afternoon. Jameson is finally napping now (please God, for at least another hour), and I managed to get some errands done (although I forgot the milk for Hubs tea. Dang it.), but this was not without mass effort.

I am lacking in patience, I am lacking in understanding, I am lacking in toddler-whispering skills that allow one to get through places like the library and Target without your two-year old son screaming at other children who happen to also be glancing at the Sesame Street DVDs, and grown women also buying bleach in the laundry aisle.
Time and again I come around with, "These are for everyone, and I know it makes you upset when you see other people using them, but we have to take turns. If you cannot take turns, we will leave." and then there are more shrieks, and then there is me, wrestling with a 30-pound mass of muscles and fury while trying to stand upright with a six-month old fetus in my belly.
What a sight to behold.

All those magic words, and acronyms spelling out empathy, and scripts listed out generally seem to work about 10% of the time, and the other 90% I am left fluttering around, praying to Jesus that I am not inherently creating a monster in this moment, and that I am also responding with as much grace and love as I can muster.
Why can't any of this just be clear cut?

Because humans are not clear cut, and if you are looking for evidence of this, look no further than my two-year old son who is at the height of his humanity. He has not yet figured out how to temper or hide his emotions, and so they are all there for everyone to see, front and center. And if you ever doubted that human beings were confused, easily upset, lost little creatures, then come and spend an afternoon at my house and observe otherwise.

I see myself in him all too often, crying up at God with my mess of emotions and humanity smacking me in the face, begging for someone to calm me down and walk me through this hormonal cloud I am stuck in. Just like my son needs me to take his hand, look him in the eye, and articulate what he is feeling while reassuring him that there is someone there who understands, so I, too, need God to hold my heart and remind me that He is bigger than all of this, and He gets it.

I often feel like I've been left to figure things out on my own. And maybe I have, for a little while, because that is part of growing up. I won't be able to tell Jameson what's wrong forever (and I am sure that the time will come when he will not appreciate my assuming that I know), and so God is probably giving me space to learn myself and my reactions, and to see if I have made any progress on the tantrum-throwing front.

I don't have a resolution here, or an acronym for myself to recite in the moments that God is silent.
I don't have an encouraging word to end this with, a miracle story of the moment that God decided to open up the heavens and let me know that He's heard me crying for three years.
I've just got myself, and this fledgling faith that has somehow managed to keep itself rooted through the tsunami's its been through. Sometimes I doubt it's existence, but it's there, I know it's there, because it stabs me in the heart every time I try to walk away.


the heart cry

>> 7.17.2013

You call me out upon the waters,
the great unknown where feet may fail
and there I find You in the mystery.
In oceans deep,
my faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your name
and keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise,
my soul will rest in Your embrace
for I am Yours and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters.
Your sovereign hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You've never failed and You won't start now.

So I will call upon Your name
and keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise,
my soul will rest in Your embrace
for I am Yours and You are mine.

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters
wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger
in the presence of my Savior.

I will call upon Your name,
keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace.
I am Yours and You are mine.


cliff jumping

>> 7.16.2013

How do you write about something when you're not sure just how much you ought to say?

In the past, I have often erred on the side of sharing too much.
In recent months, and kind of years, I have tended to close up and shut down until the situation has been over, or nearly over, and I felt like I could write about it without offending someone or disclosing too many details.

The problems come in when I realize that I need an outlet to spit words into, to see them on a screen, and process through them, often with the help and advice from others. How can I process something that's not there, that can't be there, because to put it up there would be to risk hurting someone else involved in the situation?

The eternal dilemma of this internet age.

How about I go with this:
My little family has just taken a giant leap off of a figurative cliff and we are now free-falling and waiting to see what kind of parachutes God holds out.
We are scared (obviously, since we are falling), but we are also excited about the possibilities that arise from not having any definite plans, or even ideas of definite plans. We are absolutely and completely traveling the way the Lord directs and this is both terrifying and liberating. I'm not sure that we have ever taken a jump like this without even one small safety net in place, which is probably why we are feeling the height of all our emotions so strongly.

For all who have been praying for us: an eternal and everlasting thank you. Your sweet friendship and words of encouragement have gotten us through the day-by-day and we are so glad to have you to rely on.
Please keep praying. God hears, and it is comforting to know that we are not the only ones pleading for our welfare right now.

For others worried, we are not in any physical danger or anything. (Well, at least not yet. Two car accidents in three weeks worked to change that, but hallelujah for seat belts and sturdy car seats).

And above all, there is this:

Jesus is God, and He owns us.

That's all there is, and all there needs to be.


the sleeping thing.

>> 6.19.2013

So there was this time that I had a baby (you may have figured this out by now).

Before I had this baby, I had this general assumption that I would make his nursery so cute that you could post pictures of it to Pinterest and that we'd hang out in there a lot, and he'd sleep through the night by about 6 months or so, and nap fairly regularly and then when we wasn't sleeping in his crib in his nursery, we'd go out and do all sorts of fabulous things that you see moms and their babies doing.
Then I decided, well babies are supposed to wake up a lot in the middle of the night, so maybe we'll get a Moses basket for the first few months and he can sleep next to the bed where Daddy can change him and I'll feed him and then we'll lay him back down and go back to sleep and that might make things a little easier. So we bought a brand new basket with cute matching sheets and teddy bears, and got a little stand so that it would be even with the side of the bed and had everything set up for when I went into labor and brought said baby home.

Then came June 30, 2011. My water broke at 12:30 am, Jameson was born at 7:14 am, and we came home by 10:30 pm. I remember getting home and looking around at about midnight (after skyping with my sisters back in the States) and thinking, "So...what do I do now?" Then my mother suggested that we should probably go to bed, and I thought, "Oh yes, this is when I get to put him in that cute little woombie I bought and lay him in his brand new bed and go to sleep because I am so exhausted from being awake for over 24 hours and GIVING BIRTH."
So we changed him, zipped him up in his swaddle (after having a long and arduous discussion about how many layers he needed. The books all tell you to make sure they're really warm, but not too warm, but not too cold. So, that's clear.) and laid him down in his bed.
And he started to scream.
I looked at my mother and my husband with this dazed glaze over my eyes and said, "Well, that wasn't supposed to happen." So I picked him up and nursed him in bed, and kind of laid him down next to me while I waited for him to fall asleep. Next thing I know, it's 3 in the morning and he's screaming again (I remember it being the loudest thing I'd ever heard, but I'm sure that was because I was so tired and had never actually had a newborn baby lying next to me) and in my delirious state I ripped off his swaddle, thinking that he hated it and hurriedly tried to figure out how to work my nursing bra and get his mouth in the right place at the right time. And that's pretty much how the rest of the night went.
Hubs and I woke up the next morning in a complete and utter stupor, handed the baby to my parents for a few hours and tried to sleep as much as we could.

The next five days were fairly similar, with variations in the form of trying to get Jameson to sleep in his moses basket (the only way we could make that work was if Hubs slept with his arm on the edge of the basket and his pinkie finger in his mouth so that he could suck), trying sleep with the woombie, trying it without, drinking lots of coffee, drinking no coffee (it upset bebe's little system and made him so anxious he'd just cry for hours). It was, essentially, the most exhausted, emotional, exuberant, hellish five days I've ever been through.

Then my parents flew back home to America.

I remember hearing people say that in the beginning, you just have to do whatever it takes to make it work. You sleep however you can get it, whenever you can get it, but no one really explained how to get a baby to do that too. So we tried a bedtime routine (6:30 rolled around and he got a wipe-down, baby massage, and nursed to sleep) which ended with me trying to transfer him into his basket while rocking it and hoping that he'd settle in. Occasionally this worked, for about 45 minutes, at which point I would then go back in, nurse him down again, and start all over. By about midnight each night, we gave up on the basket and would end up just letting him sleep next to us.

When he was six months old, we traveled to America to visit family, and although my parents graciously bought us a toddler tent with an air mattress, the kid would have none of it and ended up in our bed for a consecutive five weeks. I told myself we'd start "sleep training" when we got back and then he'd sleep through the night in his own room and I could stop being so tired that I felt like I was going crazy. So we got back and we tried it. Started out laying him down in his crib after the bedtime routine. He'd sleep for an hour, I'd go in, nurse again, lay him down (and pray I could get him down without him crying. This happened maybe 25% of the time) and have another hour before he woke up. Again, at midnight I'd be so tired that I'd give up and he'd come in to our room.
By now I was getting the guilt trips and hearing that other people's kids were sleeping through the night, and it's so unhealthy for your baby to still be sleeping with you, and you're just letting him take advantage of your emotions because he's willfully acting out and so I broke down one night and bought Ferber.

We tried it for a week and a half and I cried every single night.
Not once did he EVER sleep through, and at the end of the week and a half we found out that he had another ear infection. So we gave up on that for awhile, brought him back in with us, and decided we'd try it again when he got better.
He healed, we decided to go with the Sleep Lady Shuffle. He cried for THREE HOURS STRAIGHT, with me sitting right next to him telling him I loved him, but I couldn't pick him up and singing "Jesus Loves Me" with my heart in my throat. Quit after the second night.

Finally, when Jameson was about nine months old, I reached the point where I literally thought I was going to have to be hospitalized for sleep deprivation and depression. I was so tired that I would forget what I was saying in the middle of my sentence and couldn't think rationally about anything. I'd break down in tears over everything. Nothing was okay, nothing felt right, and I felt like the world's largest failure as a mother--I mean, who can't get her kid to sleep?!

I remember the moment I decided that I was done with everything. My last sane thought was, "I have got to start sleeping, and it doesn't matter how that happens." It didn't matter that everything I thought I knew about co-sleeping was that it was indulgent, dangerous, and letting-my-kid-have-his-own-way. I told Hubs that I was giving up on trying to get Jameson to sleep anywhere other than with us and he said, "Okay". And Jameson's been with us ever since.

And here is why I am telling you this.
I am telling you this, because I wish someone would have told me all of this, waaaaay back at the beginning when I had all of those expectations of pretty cribs and seven straight hours of sleep.
If your kid will not sleep in a crib, you are not a failure.
If you want to cry every time bedtime rolls around because you feel like you have no idea what you're doing, you are not a failure.
If you are terrified of "the sleeping thing" with your second child that you are currently pregnant with, you are not a failure. (Oh good, because that's me).

The Mommy Wars are raging hard, and for some reason, the sleep thing is one of the biggest battles.
When I think about this, logically and rationally however, it boggles my mind.
Why does it matter where anyone else's kid sleeps? Why does it matter if my kid sleeps for seven hours straight a night, or only recently stopped waking up in the middle of the night even though they're almost two? Why does everyone have an opinion on this, when there are fact-based studies showing that co-sleeping can be completely safe (and even, *gasp* desirable) if done correctly?

Why did I spend almost a year feeling bad about myself for letting my kid sleep in my bed, next to his momma, where he felt the safest?

I'm not here to argue either side of this, but this post has been on my heart for a long time. I see so many new parents who are trying desperately to cover up how much they are struggling with all of this and it breaks my heart. You don't have to keep your newborn on a minute-to-minute schedule, you don't have to go out and buy BabyWise, you don't even have to look guiltily down at the floor when someone asks you how your baby is sleeping and you say, "Um, they're okay, you know, they're still a baby!" I just want to run up to those people and let them know that right now, staying sane is the most important thing of all, and if that means letting your kid sleep in your bed, then let your kid sleep in your bed.

And if your kiddo loves their crib, and is happy in there, and sleeps straight through the night, then that makes me so happy for you, momma. But please, remember, there are those of us out there whose babies just don't work the same way as yours, and as much as we loved that crib we bought and that nursery we decorated, we're just trying to do the best that we can.


just some stuff.

>> 6.17.2013

You know, I really thought that once I got this job, my blogging would increase ten-fold since I literally sit at a desk all day. But it's like, I start to think, "Maybe I should write something..." and then I go, "What do I even have to write about? How I ate lunch at 11:30 today instead of noon? How I've had to go to the bathroom every hour since I got here? That one time the coffee mugs were extra gross and I had to wash them all out and not gag?"

You get the picture.
Clearly my job is not the most intellectually stimulating experience. And I'm still struggling with that.
I got to spend time solo with Jameson this weekend and it was so wonderful. Profoundly exhausting, as simultaneously growing a human being inside of you and chasing a toddler (while trying to navigate through those incredibly murky waters of EMOTIONS) can be, but so wonderful. I knew in my bones that this is what I wanted to be doing with my time--taking my kid to Target and wandering the aisles, driving up to the mountains and going on his first "hike" (he's still talking about it. "Mountains, momma and da bwidge!"), grabbing lunch and just hanging out in the sunshine.
But it's Monday, and I'm in the office, in my chair, staring at this screen while Jameson is at Grandma's house, probably banging on the drums and running around outside and scaring the dog.

Contentment and peace.
God's been pushing that on me lately, and I'm trying to come towards it willingly.
Learning to live satisfied in the mediocrity of life, because that's where you spend the majority of your time, and if you can't be happy there, you won't be happy anywhere.
Being at peace with everyone, as long as it is up to you, and especially when it is up to you and the attitudes that you carry around. Rooting out all of the bitterness and jealousy that has been seeping in and rotting like a poison for years until you almost don't even notice it anymore, but it's there and it's still eating away. Bringing every single thought to Heaven, to sort through and examine and then let go.
What a novel idea. Letting go.

But this is it. The mediocre, the middle, the every day.
I did eat lunch at 11:30 today, because I am pregnant and extra hungry.
The coffee mugs were super gross this morning, and I hate that part of my job.
I go to the bathroom like I'm getting paid for it and it's annoying every single time.
There is a baby in my belly that moves so much it makes me wonder if there isn't more than one in there.
My son is so big and rambunctious during the day, and then when he falls asleep at night he somehow regresses back to that sweet baby I knew two years ago and it breaks my heart to walk out the front door every morning.
My life is tinged with sweetness and bitterness, happy and sad, excitement and boredom, and we are here in the middle of it all, just moving along.



>> 5.16.2013

I never wanted to be a working mom.
The plan was to stay home with  my kids after they were born--after all, I am their momma and I should be the one raising them, right?

For the first year and a half of Jameson's life, I was fortunate enough to be able to do this. England has an awesome maternity allowance scheme that meant I got paid for nine months while hanging out with my babe. Amazing.
When October/November of last year rolled around, I got a part-time holiday job at Lush and loved it--I worked 15-20ish hours a week, walked there, and didn't ever have to work very late. It gave Jameson some time with Papa or Ah-ma and Yeh-yeh and it was fine. I made some friends and got some much-needed independence.

However, once we moved back to America, Hubs and I both knew that the situation was going to have to change. Moving transatlantically is expensive, and we did it twice. It meant that we both had to work, no matter how much I didn't want to.
Now, the incredible upsides to our situation are many: my parents or sisters are able to watch Jameson while Hubs and I are both working, and if I have to leave him, who better than with his own family?
Also, my office is extremely relaxed and very willing to work with me on scheduling. Everyone here loves my little family and they know how important they are to me.
Hubs and I work opposite schedules, and although this can be tough in the marriage department, it's easier in the childcare one. He gets to stay home with Jameson while I'm at work, then my family has him for an hour or so until I get home and take over. So really, J's got at least one parent with him for most of the day.
Finally, my working has taught Jameson some much-needed independence and strengthened the bond between Hubs and himself. He is now perfectly okay with waving goodbye, saying "Love you, momma" and heading out the back door to play. He knows I'm coming back, and he knows he's with people that care.

So. There is a lot of good in this situation.

But. But, but, but.

Every day, my heart hurts to be away from my kiddo and it makes me want to cry a little when I get home and watch him do something I've never seen before, but everyone else has. Or when he talks in his own little gibberish-y language and Hubs automatically knows what he's saying while I'm sitting in the dark.
I never wanted to do this work-away-from-home thing. That's why I wanted to be a writer--so I could be at home with my kids and still contribute. And even though I know this situation is (probably) somewhat temporary, it's still hard. I feel like I'm running a race, and I'm running out of endurance. I'm experiencing that split feeling that so many working moms talk about--like you aren't doing a great job at work or at home because there is just too much going on in both places. Not to mention that trying to take care of myself has fallen to the bottom of the pile, because any time I am at home, I am thinking about how I need to be with my family.

I have no resolutions or answers for any of this, other than to just keep going. I'm still "technically" part-time, even though I work nearly 31 hours a week. (Tack on my commute, and it's probably almost 40.)
I am so fortunate to even be able to work, and to have a job, so please don't think I am unaware of this. I just feel torn in half sometimes, and it's an uncomfortable state that I'm learning to live in.


may 4

>> 5.04.2013

"It is easy to die for Christ.
It is harder to live for him.
Dying takes only an hour or two,
but to live for Christ means to die daily.
Only during the few years of this life are we given the privilege of serving each other and Christ...
We shall have heaven forever, but only a short time for service here, and therefore we must not waste the opportunity."
-Sadhu Sundar Singh


may 3

>> 5.03.2013

things that are gross:

-bare, dirty feet.
-eggs. and chicken. (while pregnant).
-old ladies that dress like skanks.
-skin that has been tanned so much it looks like leather.
-my toenails.
-the smell when you open the garbage can.
-fast food. (the chemicals. sick.)
-staying inside when it's sunny and warm out.
-any sort of bait-and-switch.
-drivers on the freeway during rush hour.
-warm, soggy cereal.
-gluten-free food that tastes like sawdust.
-my acne surfacing because of pregnancy and poor food choices.
-throwing up after looking at:
-the first thirteen weeks of pregnancy.


may 2

>> 5.02.2013

I almost forgot today. Wouldn't that be typical. Failing on day 2. Ah well. I'm here.

I'm supposed to talk to you about something I'm good at or have a lot of knowledge about.
I don't even know what to pick. There are things that I'm good at that I feel like no one really needs an instruction manual on, or anything like that so writing out thoughts about it would be kind of redundant.

Let's talk about reading, because I'm staring at a book that I'm halfway through and currently contemplating just how on earth I'm going to get through the rest of it.
For as long as I can remember, books have been one of my great loves.
I know that everyone says this, but it's actually true for me. My parents went through a phase where they were worried about how social I was going to be, since I preferred to hang out inside and read a book rather than talk to people. Taking a book away became a very effective punishment.
Oh, and once, I had an $80 library fine. That's how much I love books.

As I've become an adult (and more specifically, a mother), I don't have as much time to just read as I used to. This has led to me paring down my selections pretty harshly, and I do something that I never used to do--stop reading a book halfway through and give it back if it's just not doing it for me. I used to have this strict, "Finish everything you start" rule, but I don't have that luxury anymore and if I'm not in it by the third chapter, I'm giving it up. It kind of makes me sad to have to be so harsh sometimes, but there you go.

I'll read anything if it peaks my interests, and I think it's one of the best ways to become well-informed about the world and the things in it. When I was a kid, I used to just browse the shelves at the library by sections, until I found a topic that sounded interesting, and then I'd check out a bunch of books about it. I'll still do that sometimes now, just to see what I find.

Anyway. That's enough.
This has been like pulling teeth to write, but I did it, so score one for discipline.


May 1

>> 5.01.2013

Born a chubby little girl around Christmas time in 1988. Spent the first 18 years of my life  living in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by mountains I didn't appreciate until I left and so many family members that we always had food bursting out of houses during our holidays.

In third grade, Mom decided to try something called "homeschooling". I just knew that it meant I got to stay home and learn about what I wanted, instead of sitting in a classroom and being bored for half of the day. My education consisted of strange things like running around the house to figure out how quickly the Earth, Mars, and Pluto revolved around the sun, preparing and hosting a medieval feast, complete with faux pig's head, and dissecting a worm on the kitchen counter.

I left for college at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago when I was barely 18. It was January, and we took a 40-hour train ride to get there. I met my husband within two weeks of arriving, and got engaged five months after that. We got married ten months later and moved into the tiniest apartment you ever did see, in the ghetto-est of neighborhoods. Some of my best memories involve that little studio.

Two years later, we moved to England, I gave birth to our first child, and 2 1/2 years after that, we moved back to Utah and found out that we're going to have a second child sooner than expected.
And that is that.">

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this time around.

>> 4.18.2013

Being pregnant with baby #2 is a completely different experience than with baby #1.

I was so excited and anxious the first time around, reading everything I could get my hands on in order to try and understand what was happening inside my body, writing little love letters to that bean in my belly and making sure I was taking care of myself as much as I possibly could.

This time around, bebe was a complete and unexpected surprise and (brutal honesty coming up here) I didn't want to be pregnant again. Jameson has reached new heights of toddlerhood and I am exhausted--so when I found out I was going to have to do all of this over again, while continuing to manage the screaming caveman that runs around our place, I kind of wanted to cry. My nausea has been off the charts this time, lasting all day and making it hard to eat ANYTHING, let alone a healthy paleo diet that consists of lots of eggs and vegetables, two things I can't even look at right now. I am even more tired than I used to be (how is that possible?!) and I am getting fat.

It's been hard, friends. It's been really, really hard. I have struggled with wanting this pregnancy and WANTING to want this pregnancy. I have close friends who would give their left foot to be pregnant right now and I start to wonder why God would bless me with this when I was so not ready or even wanting it yet. I also think that, because I've been struggling with all of this, it's made it even harder to soldier on--because soldiering on wasn't something I had planned on. When we got pregnant with Jameson, I was ready and willing to be hunched over a toilet all day and able to sleep whenever I needed it. I don't really have that luxury this time around--I've got an office job that requires me to be at my desk, not sleeping underneath it or camping out in the bathroom. I've already got an outside kid that needs his mom as soon as she gets home and a husband whose face I barely remember because we only see each other when we lay down to go to sleep at night.

I've been trying to find ways to connect with this bebe, trying to get myself into a place where I was handling all of this a little better and really trying to be excited. I scheduled an ultrasound at nine weeks, hoping that seeing my little baby would help. Instead I found out that I'm two weeks behind and was only about seven weeks along--giving me an extra two weeks of misery before my wanting to throw up on everything goes away (we hope). The light at the end of the tunnel finally came when I went in for my first midwife appointment and she found the heartbeat with the Doppler. It was a moment of clarity--a realization that there is a baby growing inside of me who I will love just as much as Jameson by the time they are born. Another baby that I get to hold and smell and be a momma too, just like I did once before. Another person that came from Hubs and I, and is a tangible example of how I've found someone to love me through anything.

This is starting to make it all worth it. Even though I still hate eggs.


It's true.

>> 4.11.2013

Baby #2 is coming!



>> 3.29.2013

Had you come up to me five years ago and asked me whether or not I thought I would be living in Utah anytime in the future, I probably would have laughed at you in that way I do and then said, "No. Not even."

God is funny like that sometimes.

I was driving to work today, and it was such a simple thing, seeing all of the "North to Salt Lake" freeway signs, but it was such a bizarre moment of realization when reality just slaps you in the face. I wake up to the mountains that I've missed for years every morning.
I drive the roads that got me through tears of triumph and tears of despair.
I see people who's faces have been missing from my vision for years.
I live in the place that was home for so long.

I just can't decide if it is home.

I think it's the closest thing to home that I've found so far. I'm just not sure that it's home all the way.
Then again, this is the woman with a divided heart speaking now--it seems that everywhere I've lived, I've left pieces of my heart and gathered up new facets of what "home" actually means.

For the moment, I'm more peaceful than I've ever been. I have yet to feel the restlessness that used to haunt me wherever we were, and I'm grateful for that.
But there have been snippets of moments where I catch myself remembering where I've been, and dreaming about where we'll go--the countries we'll see and the people we'll meet and the food we'll eat and I know, deep down: there is no such place as home.



>> 3.27.2013

Jameson didn't cry when I left the house for work this morning.

I know this is progress.
I'm glad my child wasn't left screaming and banging the door down after I walked out of it.
But at the same time, I had this strange, heart-wrenching moment of realization that he doesn't need me as much as he used to. Cue sadness.

Being a momma is the most contradictory, difficult, and completely illogical thing I have ever, EVER done.

I mean, I am happy that my kid didn't cry when I left this morning, but also kind of broken-hearted about it. How does that even add up or make sense?
Or how about those moments when I am so bone-tired, and Jameson just wants a little bit more of me than I think I can give him and I am overwhelmed with how much I love him, but also how much he drives me crazy.

I think the difficulty lies in making peace with the feelings.

It's easy to feel guilt over feeling 1200 different ways about your children--all at the same time.
It's easy to look at yourself and think, "If I were a better mom, I wouldn't be exasperated right now--I'd just be so thankful that I even have a child, not to mention the fact that he is healthy and smart and has food to eat." and then we dig ourselves into a hole with all of the ways we SHOULD be feeling piled up on top of the guilt for the things that we ARE feeling.

When did motherhood become so cut and dried and black and white?
When did it become easy to look around and see how we are supposed to be and all of the areas that we're failing in, instead of noticing the things we have managed to accomplish--like growing a tiny human INSIDE OF OUR BODIES, and then keeping said human alive and teaching them some semblance of manners, even if they don't always get it?

Motherhood is too hard to do alone, but we isolate ourselves anyway.
That is ridiculous, and it makes me sad.
People need people. We were never meant to be alone.


a long time coming.

>> 3.25.2013

A month is a long time to be gone. I know.

The homemade mayo incident wreaked havoc with my keyboard, and then I moved to another country, bought a car and got a job.

Jameson's got more teeth than I can even count now, and they all seem to be coming it at night, which means less sleeping and more crying.

But we're good. We're doing okay.

I'm currently working at a law office as a receptionist. The people are great, the hours work well for mine and Hubs work schedules and I am happy to feel like I've got things to do. Oh, and I'm getting paid for it, so that's nice. Hubs is a waiter at a restaurant, and he's so handsomely charming that I know his tips are going to be crazy.

We bought an old Honda that only has 160k miles on it, and I'm starting to get used to her. There's always that thing with old cars--you have to get to know them before you feel like they're yours.

I've seen more sun in four weeks than I did in two years and it's amazing how happy that makes me. Even though it's snowed the last three days, I don't even care as long as the sky goes  back to being blue and the sun comes out for at least a little while.

Jameson loves "puuuppy" and "meow", and he especially enjoys chasing them around the house. They love him too, but they're a little less free with their affections. His Aunties are his favorite, and Grandpa has a special place in his heart. He loves Grandma too, but he knows that when she's around it means that Momma's gone to work, so he doesn't like to be happy with her as  much.

Life is simple, but it's good. It's good to work, and be with family, and have a small routine.
We are blessed, and this reminds us to be happy. Which we are.



>> 2.18.2013

This is it. (Again).

We're doing this whole "uproot your life" thing one more time and are currently less than 24 hours away from boarding a big old jet plane that's going to take us to America and our new adventure.

I feel like I should have more to say, but I think I'm just tired from all the packing, cleaning, throwing away, general madness that we've had going on. I wish I had a nice artsy picture of our suitcases for you like I did last time, but, alas I do not.

Our timing is a little better this time around, I think, since we were scrambling to get everything packed and ready the morning that we were leaving two years ago, whereas now, we're ordering Indian food and just cleaning the last few corners. Hopefully we can get a decent amount of sleep tonight, since we've got a good 24 hours of traveling ahead of us.

Pray for this little family, if you think about it. The flight won't be quite so easy, seeing as how that little bean baby that was in my belly is now a full-grown toddler that doesn't like to sit still. Also, we've got three flights before we're in that blessed place I call "home" and it's going to be lots of work getting there.

Catch you on the flipside, England.
See you tomorrow, America!


the end of [round two]

>> 1.30.2013

If there is anyone still left reading this, I'm sure you're wondering where the last five days or so of food logs went.
The short answer is that my whole30 turned into a whole25.
You can judge and shake your head and leave it there, if you'd like. However, if you want to moral of the whole thing, feel free to stay awhile.

Friday was Day 25.
We went into London to meet up with a dear friend of Hubs who was one of the groomsmen in our wedding. He had come to London on a business trip and changed his flight to stay an extra day just to hang out with us. So, so cool.
Now, I have my list of "go-to" places when I'm in London, and I am not for one second making excuses for myself when I tell you what I am about to tell you. What I am saying is that I am learning about balance and priorities.
We had Jameson with us for the day, and by the time he'd finished napping in said friend's hotel room, and we got ourselves out into the city, it was already late afternoon. None of us had really had anything much to eat since breakfast and we were walking everywhere and it was COLD.
Jameson was miserable, I was miserable, everyone was miserable.
Plans were to head to the Aquarium and find a place to eat around there--except that none of my "approved" places were really in the vicinity. So, by the time we got to Westminster and bought Aquarium tickets, it was 3:30, Jameson was screaming from frozen fingers and an empty belly and I realized that it would do more harm than good to drag everyone to a tube station just so I could order plain chicken and a salad. Which means that we walked into a pub, and I ordered a hamburger (an effort to find the thing best option) which ended up being one of those frozen-patties-of-something-awful, and I broke a whole30 on craptastic food.

But you know what?

I don't feel bad about it.

I'd spent the last three weeks controlling, controlling, controlling EVERYTHING that went into my mouth--giving myself anxiety about too many carbs, eating too late at night, should I snack on fruit, is my body still burning fat, etc. But when it came time to decide between myself and my family, there wasn't a choice. I had this brainwave of realization that there has to be an element of balance to everything we do. It was more important to get Jameson out of the cold and some sort of food into him than it was to stick to my rigid principles "just because". So I made a conscious choice to eat off-plan, and I was absolutely fine with it.
Was I sad? Yeah, a little, because I don't like not-finishing things.
But did I regret it? Nope. And that was kind of surprising.

If I'm honest, my one big concern was how everyone else was going to take it.
I'd gotten so many people on this Whole30 wagon that I didn't want to "fail" and have them all look at me and say, "Well, if she does it, we might as well do it too."
But part of this balance is realizing that I am not responsible for anyone else and their experience with this. It is not my job to worry and obsess over other people and their diet. Should I answer questions and be supportive and encouraging?
Yes. Absolutely.
Do I need to lie in bed at night, heart-pounding, and adrenaline rushing as I think about how this bad experience they're having is somehow my fault and I need to find a way to fix it?
No. No way.

I feel like it's also important to note that this was my second whole30--I've done this before, whole hog, for 30 days completely. So that also contributed to my "okay-ness" with cutting it short. I already know (because I finished the first one and did the reintroduction) that I don't handle dairy or gluten well, that grains leave me massively bloated, and that I have a sugar dragon bigger than Smaug if I'm not careful. So I wasn't losing out on that part of the experience--learning what is and isn't okay for my body, because I'd had that already.

This was a hard round, you guys. I came into it expecting so much more victory than I felt like I got.
But maybe that was the point.
It's possible to take a good thing and make it a less-good thing by obsessing and worrying over it so much, that it then becomes a monster eating up your life rather than something to complement and enhance your life.
I need balance.
I need to remember that making a less-healthy food choice does not make me a bad person or a failure.
I need to remember that there is no ideal for my body--because it's mine, and I'm the only one that really knows what healthy feels like inside of it.
I need to remember that everything is a choice and I can choose whatever I want--more healthy or less healthy--and be okay with those choices.
I need to be okay with the fact that sometimes I'm going to order a pizza and drink a soda and eat some really good ice cream because my husband had his wisdom teeth out that afternoon and I need to take a break from overthinking everything (read: what I did last night).
I need to be okay with then eating fairly strict Paleo after that and knowing that it's not because I made a less-healthy choice the night before, but because I know that it's going to make me feel better than that pizza did.

So, there's a lot here.
I'm still working through it all and processing.
I'm learning how to live in the tension between too-much and not-enough.
Sadly, I'm pretty sure that it's something I'm going to have to live in for the rest of my life. But the good news is that I've done it, I know I can do it, and I want to do it--more than I want to self-medicate with pie--and that is the important part.

Talk to me.
How was your whole30? If you haven't tried it--will you? If you have--are you done with the "paleo" bandwagon forever?


Days 21, 22, &23 [round two]

>> 1.24.2013

Day 21
Meal 1: 2 eggs, 2 sausages, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Leftover garbage stir-fry, leftover chocolate chili w/spinach, 2 sweet potatoes w/almond butter and cinnamon

Snack: Apple w/almond butter

Meal 3: Zucchini stew, sweet potato w/almond butter, herbal tea

Day 22
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Pork chop, 2 eggs, 2 sweet potatoes w/almond butter

Snack: Apple w/almond butter

Meal 3: 3 sausages, 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 1 bell pepper

Day 23
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 1 bell pepper, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: 1 garlic-lemon chicken leg, 2 bacon, 3 sweet potatoes w/almond butter and coconut milk

Meal 3: Nando's 1/2 chicken, side salad w/balsamic & olive oil, berries w/coconut milk, 1 sweet potato

I'm a bottomless pit lately, guys.
I don't know what's up.

I feel kind of funky hormonally, like I don't know what's coming (you know...THAT time of the month. I'm sure you all wanted to know that). But seriously, it's like everything is all out of whack, and I know that it's probably got something to do with still breastfeeding Jameson, but it's annoying because I can't tell if I need to cut myself some slack or just man up and deal with things.

I'm realizing I do not eat enough vegetables and I need to be more intentional about it.
I'm one of those Groundhog day eaters--I can eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch with a bit of variety at dinner and be happy. I like what I like, I like my routine.
The problem is that my routine, as of late, has not had enough vegetables in it and this needs to change. Part of next week's prep is going to be me spending a ton of time chopping, peeling, and steaming vegetables to just have ready to throw in with a meal.

As always, I'm still concerned with how much I'm eating/snacking at night, but I feel like stressing out about it is just compounding everything and making it worse. So...I'm going to try to not freak out about it anymore. Yeah, I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. Yeah, sometimes berries and coconut milk tastes like dessert and I eat it because I want that. Yeah, my goal for this whole30 was to work on my emotional issues with food.
But. But but but.
This month has been emotional for a lot of reasons not relating to food and I still need to remember that this is a journey--I will never get to a "perfect" place in my eating habits. They're going to change and shift and flux depending on where I am and the circumstances I find myself in. And that's okay. Because it's not about the food, it's about me. It's about how I feel about myself and my body and that's what I need to work on, not whether or not eating a sweet potato at 9 p.m. is going to make me fat.

So, the goals for this last week of strictness?
--More vegetables. Prep containers of veggies to add on as a side to my meals to help fill myself up and get more nutrients in.
--More sleep. Bed by 10 p.m. or as close as I can get it. Not enough sleep throws my hormones out of whack and this doesn't help anyone.
--Three workouts. I need to start enjoying what my body is capable again and part of this is getting physically active. I've got time for three workouts this week. Done.


days 20 & 21 [round two]

>> 1.21.2013

Day 20
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Snack: Banana

Meal 2: 1 1/2 pork chops, 1 sweet potato

Snack: Orange

Meal 3: 2 sausages, 2 eggs

Snack: Apple

I did a really bad job at eating vegetables today, but it was a Sunday and the snow fell thick and heavy and all I wanted to do was stay warm and snuggly in my apartment with my guys and not think about things too much, so that is what I did. I also ate that apple at like 10:30 p.m. because I was FaceTiming with my bff, and just decided to eat it. I ended up staying up til 1 a.m., so my body had time to use that sucker up before I went to sleep.

Every day is practice at me stepping back from controlling everything and just being who I am. Snacks and all.

Day 21
Meal 1: 1 1/2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Garbage stir-fry w/1 egg, 1/2 avocado, handful olives, 1 sweet potato

Snack: Banana

Meal 3: Bowl of chocolate chili w/handful spinach, 1 sweet potato

There is a decent amount of snow today and I am kicking myself for not making sure that Jameson had some form of snow boot or something, because now we're trapped inside and this spells bad news for my absolutely physically active 18-month-old toddler. Seriously, if he doesn't get out, he doesn't sleep which means that I don't sleep and this means that my anxiety ratchets up a few notches.
Dang snow. Dang country that doesn't know how to deal with snow.

Dinner was amazeballs. I am not even joking. I halved the recipe this time, but next time around I might just double it so that I can freeze the leftovers because it is that good. I threw a giant handful of spinach in the bottom of my bowl to make sure I got some veggies in there as well and it was so tasty. Seriously. Chocolate in my chili, I will eat you any day. 

I'm eating two sweet potatoes today because I can, and because the groceries came and the sweet potatoes that I ordered ended up being little mini sweet potatoes, so I'm justifying it. Plus my vegetable consumption has been way too low the last few days, so I'm trying to remedy that.


day 19 [round two]

>> 1.19.2013

Day 19
Meal 1: 1 sausage, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Leftover garbage stir-fry, 1 fried egg, 1 sweet potato

Snack: apple

Meal 3: 3 bowls zucchini stew, 1 frozen banana blended w/coconut milk & coconut butter

The sugar dragon was roaring in full-force today, and I decided that I just had to be lenient and cut myself some slack--so I did that whole "blend a frozen banana to make fake ice cream" thing and tried to let that be sufficient. It did actually taste really good, and I blended up two but only ate one, so at least I know I've got some form of willpower.

I was reading this article the other day about perfectionism and key traits of being a perfectionist, and it was scary just how much stood out. I mean, it's something that I joke about and use in job interviews ("Tell us about a weakness of yours...") but sometimes it can be so true that it's damaging. In fact, one of the main things that stood out to me was the paragraph where the author talked about how perfectionists always feel guilty about everything, because they're not measuring up in anything--cleaned the house but neglected your kid? Guilt.
Cooked dinner but left the kitchen a mess? Guilt.
Played with your kid but snapped at your husband? Guilt.
Following the whole30 rules but still have wicked cravings for pizza and five sweet potatoes a day? Guilt.

I've found that I have a hard time resting in the tension of being an imperfect person and saved by a perfect God. I don't know how to deal with this--it's too much for me. It doesn't fit into my exact, 90-degree-corners, square box that I like to organize and line things up in. It's messy and inexact and means that I have to be messing up in some area of my life at all times and I HATE THAT.
Romans 7 has been my heart cry for years, especially verses 24 and 25.:

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Sometimes I forget that I serve a God who doesn't mind mess, and chaos, and disorder, as long as I am loving Him first. I forget that He doesn't sit there and look at the state of my house, and the contents of my meals, and the crafts I (don't) plan for my kid and judge me on my success in these areas. I forget that the only things that matters is what I do with this messy life and who I live it for--am I going to live in a perpetual state of guilt because there's crayon on my carpet and I just want to eat cheese? Or am I going to suck it up and get outside of myself and embrace this wide, beautiful world and tell them how much Jesus loves them in spite of their own mess?
God, I want it to be the latter. 
Help it to be the latter.  


day 18 [round two]

>> 1.18.2013

Day 18
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 3 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Post-Wo: 1 fried egg

Meal 2: Garbage stir-fry, 1 fried egg, 1 sweet potato, apple

Meal 3: 3 fried chicken legs, brussel sprouts, 3/4 orange, herbal tea

Do you know what is a really craptastic thing to do to someone on a whole30?
Ask them to bake cookies that they have to roll out and stick their thumb in, but can't eat (or even lick their fingers from). Pure, unadulterated torture.

This round two has been hard, guys. Hard in a weird way. I feel like it's getting harder as it goes on, which is pretty much the opposite way it went the first time around. I'm annoyed. I don't get why I have to have such a twisted relationship with food, and even though I know that it's a symptom of a deeper, underlying issue having to do with perfection and thinking I won't ever measure up, it's exhausting to try and fight all the time.

It's strange because I feel like "following the rules" has gotten easier--I'm better at cooking, I know what ingredients to go for, I've got plenty of recipes and go-to meals, I can order for myself when we go out and not eat the rogue cheesecake sitting there--but I cannot get over the desire I have to eat 4 sweet potatoes at 10 p.m. and how much I have to analyze it.



days 15, 16, & 17 [round two]

>> 1.17.2013

Day 15
Meal 1: 1 1/2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Snack: Apple and almonds

Meal 2: Leftover Zucchini Stew, 1 sweet potato

Meal 3: 2 bowls beef stew

Today was good. Went to go see Les Mis and I cried. More than once. Would you believe it if I told you that I'd never actually heard what happened in the story until today?
I know. Travesty.

Day 16
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Leftover beef stew, 1 sausage, 2 eggs, 1 sweet potato

Meal 3: Cottage Pie (Well-Fed), apple

Hubs worked a graveyard tonight, so it was just me, the couch, and Teen Mom.
I'm so classy sometimes.

Also, I finished the second season of 'Dr. Who' and wanted to throw my remote at the tv. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!

Day 17
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Plain rump steak, 1/2 grilled tomato, 1 grilled mushroom, large salad w/balsamic and olive oil, 1/2 avocado

Snack: Apple

Meal 3: 2 chicken legs/thighs, brussel sprouts, 3/4 sweet potato

Went out for lunch with a friend and managed to stay compliant, even with a bowl full of fries/chips sitting in front of me. I was actually really impressed with myself though, because even though I REALLY wanted them, eating them was just not an option.

Can I just talk about how the country is expecting a "major" snowstorm tomorrow with a grand total of 5-10 centimeters of snow forecast to fall? And also how annoying it is that everything will close and I will be left with a cranky Jameson cooped up in our tiny apartment because no one in this country has heard of salt trucks and snow tires?
Sometimes I just want to be like, "It's just FROZEN WATER. It is not going to make your car roll over and kill you because it's blowing across the road."
Oh well. We'll see what happens.


day 14 [round two]

>> 1.14.2013

Day 14
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, coffee w/creamer (brought to me in bed my the amazing Hubs. My first breakfast in peace in weeks!)

Meal 2: 2 bowls zucchini soup, 1 sweet potato

Snack: 1 apple

Meal 3: Roasted chicken, carrots

Snack: Apple w/almond butter

Not a bad day today.
Took Jameson out in the rain because we think we've figured out that he needs to run around outside for awhile in order to sleep at night. And when the choice is between wandering in the rain for a few hours, or sitting awake at 2 in the morning praying for sleep, we chose rain.

Hubs has been a little crazy about the packing lately, but I know the stress is starting to wear on him, so I spent a good portion of the night sorting through boxes and taking pictures down. The walls are now empty, the bookshelf is littered with a few knick-knacky remains and I've gone down sentimental memory lane reading through all the cards and letters from nearly six years ago, when Hubs and I first met.

Ah, love.

Also, in case you're on the edge of your seats wondering, I'm officially a Who-vian. (My awesome-ness and enviability just went through the roof, I know). I finished the first season, cried at the end of it and fist-pumped whilst sitting by myself in the living room. Amazing.


day 13 [round two]

Day 13
Meal 1: 1 1/2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Nando's mixed leaf salad w/plain chicken and olive oil/balsamic

Snack: 1 sweet potato

Meal 3: Leftover Tex-Mex carnitas salad, 1 bowl berries w/coconut milk

Snack: 2 apples w/too much almond butter.

Okay, the snacking and extra food is going overboard. I've got to get this under control.
I think maybe part of it is that I know that people are reading this and going through their first whole30, so I'm afraid that they'll look at these entries and be like, "Well she ate five sweet potatoes at midnight, so why can't I?" and then that makes me panic and eat more.

The issues with this are, obviously, I need to get over myself and let people just DO their whole30 without worrying if I'm influencing them negatively. And I need to get this emotional eating/snacking/cravings under control. I had this issue the first time around--the stress about the timing of my eating, how much I ate, what I ate, etc. (I like strict rules and guidelines, as if the whole30 rules aren't strict enough--I want times, and measured amounts, people! Heck, just give me a menu and tell me what to eat!) I posted about it on the forum and the response that stuck out to me the most was a wonderful person who said something like, "Stressing about this is going to take away a lot of the positive impacts that eating this way is trying to give you. Can you stop worrying about amounts and times, and just eat. good. food. for awhile?"

That felt so freeing, someone giving me permission to just eat and not worry about if I should or shouldn't eat something, whether I was going to have too many carbs from this or that, was this just a craving or was I really hungry (I mean, I felt pretty hungry!) But for some reason, when I decided I'd go for round two, I thought to myself, "Okay, now you have to deal with those emotional ties you have with food. No more 'free eating', this round is about getting your mind under control." Except that seems to have backfired, because I'm now even MORE anal retentive about what I'm putting in my mouth and when and it's causing stress and so I'm eating my stress. Awesome.

I don't know what the answer is yet. I can't say, "Yes, okay I'm going to eat what what I want when I want" because then I literally would be eating like four sweet potatoes a day, especially right before I went to bed. But I also can't keep trying to lock myself into this mental extreme because it's stressing me out and ruining everything I'm trying to accomplish.


day 12 [round two]

>> 1.12.2013

Day 12
Meal 1: 1 1/2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Leftover zucchini stew, salad w/olive oil and balsamic, 1 sweet potato

Snack: Apple w/almond butter, grapes

Meal 3: Tex-Mex carnitas w/lettuce and tomatoes, 1/2 avocado, berries w/coconut milk, herbal tea, 1 sweet potato (about 1 1/2 hours after dinner)

Dudes. I'm hungry lately.
I'm kind of worried about all the food I'm consuming. I mean, I'm trying to deal with all of these mental food issues I've got going on and so sorting through whether something is a craving or not has become a beast. Especially with the sweet potatoes. They're still slaying me.

To be really honest, I'm kind of worried that I'm eating too much and I won't burn off any more excess fat that I've got hanging around. I KNOW that this is not why I'm doing the whole30, and I've lectured so many people about not focusing on the scale, but I guess when it's been a huge factor in your life for the past twenty years, it's not something you're going to overcome in three months of "eating awareness".
I am happier with the way I look, but not happy, full stop. And I know it shouldn't matter, and I should just appreciate how much work my body does for me and enjoy feeding it good food (which I do), but, alas. There is always a "but" waiting around.

Hubs has been manically running around trying to get things sorted for the move, but I feel like we're kind of in a weird time space right now--things are coming up quickly, but we're not quite at the point of packing everything up and living out of suitcases or sleeping on air mattresses. We still need the stuff in the kitchen to cook with and the couch to sit on, etc. I hate this tension--I wish we were just THERE already. In the meantime, I am trying to spend my time enjoying England and the place I'm at, because I know I'll miss it soon, and it will take me by surprise and I want to be prepared for that.


day 11 [round two]

>> 1.11.2013

Day 11
Meal 1: 1 1/2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Leftover lamb, romaine and spinach salad w/tomatoes and balsamic/olive oil dressing, 1/2 sweet potato

Snack: Bacon, apple w/almond butter

Meal 3: 2 1/2 bowls zucchini stew, 1 sweet potato

I don't even know what to say about today.
Jameson woke up in the middle of the night again last night, and Hubs worked an overnight, so it was my cranky butt that got up with him bright and early this morning. Then he threw his oatmeal on the floor and somehow managed to aim the bowl just right that it shattered on my carpeted floor.
I literally sat there with the pieces in my hands for a good five minutes and thought about how I would cry if I had the energy for it. 

Although, one way I know whole30 is working is the fact that I'm not a walking zombie even though my sleep has been crazy interrupted. Sure, I'm tired, but I'm functioning on one cup of coffee in the morning and managing to do okay. So, there's that.

No news on the laptop yet. Hubs is taking the keys off to try and clean underneath them and I managed to get the backup to run before I shut it off completely. Worse case scenario: it's kaput and we become a one computer family for awhile. We'll deal. It was pretty old anyway, and it was refurbished when I got it, so it's had a good life.
But maybe this isn't the end--maybe the laptop gods will see fit to let it live another day.

Either way, I'm trying to embrace the forced semi-hiatus from staring at a computer screen.  (Maybe this was God's plan all along. I'd been moaning about not being productive enough/spending enough time with my family...)

Managed to get Jameson and I out of the house and over to a friend's for lunch where I met up with two mom's from way back in my preggo days and their kids. It was good to be with other women who just let me whinge about my sleep-hating kid, and to let said kid trash someone else's living room for awhile. The best parts were when he'd run over to me saying, "Mama, MAMA!" and then give me a kiss and go about his merry business.
Man, I love that guy so much.


day 10 [round two]

>> 1.10.2013

Day 10
Meal 1: 1 sausage, 2 eggs, 1 bell pepper, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: 1 1/2 sweet potatoes (yeesh), leftover garbage stir-fry, leftover Thai green curry, grapes

Snack: grapes, almond butter

Meal 3: De-constructed gyro salad. (And probably some more sweet potatoes.)

You guys.

Sometimes you get to the end of a day and you don't even have words for that day, because it hasn't necessarily been bad, but it's not really great either and so you just sit there and stew and feel awful because you cannot have any of the wine that's in your cupboard or the chocolates that are in your fridge and all you can think about is the stupid, stupid homemade mayo fail that spilled on your laptop and PLEASE GOD let the back-up work and let me somehow figure out a way to clean it all off so that I don't lose everything, and then you just feel even more tired and exhausted than before because your kid was up playing merrily in the middle of the night and then woke up bright and early this morning, and Hubs has to work overnights lately so you had to be the one to get up with said child and the house is a mess and we are moving in a month and the stress is just. too. much. that I don't even think I have the energy to cry about it all.

Damn. What a day.
I'm trying to hold off on self-medicating with sweet potatoes, because I know that moments like these are where the food battle is lost and won, but I'm having a hard time. Maybe God gives me days like this to make sure that I broadcast the message to the world loud and clear, "I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER. I HAVE NOTHING TOGETHER. DO NOT TRY TO BE LIKE ME, WITH EVERYTHING TOGETHER, BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE IT."

Sometimes I feel so inadequate that it's sad.


day 9 [round two]

>> 1.09.2013

Completely went off the rails with sweet potato last night. I don't know what the deal is, but apparently I have a sweet potato dragon to conquer now. Boo.

Day 9
Pre-Wo: Hard-boiled egg

Meal 1: 1 sausage, 2 eggs, 1 bell pepper, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: Spinach, romaine, and tomato salad topped w/leftover beef coconut curry, 1 leftover zucchini boat, 1/4 sweet potato

Snack: 1/4 sweet potato

Meal 3: 2 bowls garbage stir-fry, 1/2 sweet potato, herbal tea

So, my thinking is that as long as I make sure that I'm eating a variety of vegetables and not just subbing in sweet potatoes for everything, maybe my body needs those starchy carbs.
I mean, I'm still nursing and I'm strength training this time around (which I wasn't doing before) so it would make sense that my cravings are for some hearty, fill-er-up foods. I had lots of different vegetables today, and made sure to eat some in the morning, so...I'm going to try and relax on the sweet potato cravings.

Unless it's obviously a mental thing, like it was last night where I was thinking about them the way I think about chocolate and I could hear them calling to me from the oven. Yeah. This has gotten beyond ridiculous now. Yeesh.

Random sidenote, I had to exchange a top at H&M today and I decided to try on some pants instead and ended up finding out that I am now two sizes smaller than I was before, and I generally fit into size "small" in most things. Weird. I don't think I've ever been a small in my life. In fact, it's kind of hard to get used to. I mean, I'm not complaining, it's just strange. Forever I have thought of myself as "thick" and "big-boned" and "muscular" (basically all nice ways to convince myself that I wasn't fat), and even though I never thought I was FAT, I still felt big. So it's weird to have a clothing label say small, when that has been the opposite end of the spectrum for me always.
And I'm not telling you this to humblebrag and be all, "Oh, wow, what problems I have to have to wear a size small". I'm just telling you that I'm finding myself in weird places now, but they're good places and I'm okay with it.


day 8 [round two]

>> 1.08.2013

Day 7, continued:
Snack: Lettuce wrap w/apple, grapes, chicken and almond butter 

I was sooo hungry. I think that I did not eat enough protein/fat at dinner. I did the "steamed fish and broccoli" test, and I definitely would have wolfed that, so I decided that eating some more food might be in order. I did a "mini meal" and tried to make sure I hit protein and fat, as well as vegetables. It was a little later to eat than I would have liked (about 9 p.m.), but I was hungry and this is a learning process, so there.

Day 8
Meal 1: 1 sausage, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 eggs, grapes, coffee w/creamer

Snack: Lettuce wraps w/apple, grapes, chicken, and almond butter, herbal tea

Meal 2: 1/2 plain chicken from Nando's, large side salad w/balsamic and olive oil, mineral water

Meal 3: 4 zucchini boats stuffed w/beef coconut curry, grapes, apple w/almond butter

I tried an experiment with myself today and had fruit with breakfast to see if it would help or hinder any sweet cravings I had for the rest of the day. Shockingly, I wanted suger a LOT today, and I'm thinking that it was probably the grapes that did it. So, I'm making a note to keep my first meal of the day free of sweet tastes, because this will (hopefully) make the rest of the day a little bit easier.

Went out for lunch with a friend today and ordered compliant food, even though I know the fries/chips at this place are amazing (especially with the peri-peri salt they put on there). I really wanted a Diet Coke (back to the sugar craving), but just had some fizzy water instead and was kind of surprised at how satisfying this was. In the end, I got a lot of good chicken, a much needed catch-up with a good friend, and to hang out with my bebe for awhile.

Dinner was amazing. Make it, and stuff your face. Plus it's easy. The end.

I love how many people came out of the woodwork after I whined about not having any readers yesterday. I love you all, seriously, and sometimes I just sit back kind of stunned by the things people are telling me about how I'm inspiring and all that. I want to be like, "What? Are you sure you know who you're talking about here? Me?"
But I guess this is because I'm inside my head and you're out of it, and that is probably a good thing, because I don't think opinions would stay quite the same if you were sharing this brain of mine.

I'm two-thirds of the way through the first season of 'Dr. Who' and I am obsessed. Weirdly obsessed though, because there are things that really annoy me, but I keep coming back for more. Hubs kind of watches the show in the background when I have it on, and tries to be interested, but then a stupid graphic comes across the screen or an alien in a ridiculous costume and he just can't handle it. So I am the lone Whovian in the house, I guess.

I'm debating a bowl of berries w/coconut milk. Or some almond butter. (I'm trying to figure out if there was enough fat in dinner...) Mmmmm, apple with almond butter it is. Yeah boi.


day 7 [round two]

>> 1.07.2013

Seven days done, which means I finished my first week. Holla!

Pre-Wo: Hard boiled egg

Meal 1: 2 eggs, 1 sausage, coffee w/creamer

Meal 2: 1 egg, 2 sausages, 2 pieces of bacon, butternut squash

Meal 3: Thai green curry w/chicken and cauliflower rice, bowl of berries w/coconut milk, herbal tea

I had a lot of sausages today, which was not planned, but still delicious. I kind of felt the lack of veggies though, so I put a lot into the curry that I made tonight. Not to mention that I riced up a cauliflower and added that on there. Still. 

My grocery order with all the produce came today, so I'm looking forward to some lettuce wraps for lunch tomorrow and a few other good vegetables. Not to mention that I've got deconstructed gyro salad on the menu, and it sounds AMAZING. It'll be my first time cooking lamb, but I trust the recipe and I'll keep you all posted on how it was (I mean, I'm sure you're waiting with baited breath, right? I know. I'm just so popular).

It's about a quarter to eight and my wicked sugar dragon/carb cravings have hit. It's strange because I could really go for a cupcake or something (I mean, I could always go for a cupcake), but what I'm really jonesing for right now is like an apple and some almond butter, or some sweet potatoes. Basically I've got a health-food sugar dragon right now, which is weird, but just as sucky. Drinking fruit tea and watching 'Dr. Who' while waiting for it to go away.

Speaking of 'Dr. Who', I just found out that the last Daalek was found in Utah in 2012. I mean, who knew?

Also, no one is reading this daily log of mine, which I don't really blame you for, but it also makes me feel kind of like an idiot for putting it up there. And I also worry about what you'll think of my food choices (like all the breakfast meats I ate today), which just goes to show exactly how self-critical and insecure I am. Cool.

Hubs brought me roses this morning, which was so nice to wake up to. Jameson and I cuddled a lot today and I had a moment of realizing that holding him on the couch while he was eating an apple was enough. That was kind of a nice epiphany for the day.


days 5 & 6 [round two]

>> 1.06.2013

Day 5
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, coffee w/cm creamer

Snack: Black coffee, juice, apple

Meal 2: Chipotle salad w/carnitas, mild and hot sauce, guacamole

Snack: Black coffee and almonds

Meal 3: 4 Chicken legs, 1 sweet potato, roasted veggies

We went to London for most of the day yesterday, and as we were leaving I was not really nervous about staying compliant at all. I'd been to London on my last whole30 and managed to find plenty of food to eat, so why should this time be any more difficult?

Then I got there and remembered how much I love pastries, and coffee, and GOOD FOOD, and was kind of surprised by how much my brain wanted to rationalize eating something off plan:
"You've already done one whole30, why do you need to do another one?"
"You've been eating well for five days now, that's a good reset. Just enjoy your day in London and then go back on plan!"

The sabotage was quick and hard, and I had to actively work to remind myself that a) I was not the only one dealing with temptation b) I had inspired a ton of other people to start this journey and if I copped out on them, I would be letting them down and c) the REASON I looked so good in all of the clothes and things that I was trying on was because of "following the rules" and that feeling was worth more than any pastry. (Even though they looked amazing!)

Basically, I was really taken aback by how low my defenses were, and how much higher I needed them to be. I managed to make it through the day staying compliant, and I am really glad I did. I had a few snacks at different points because I felt hungrier than usual, and Hubs was eating candy from a special sweet shop and I knew I had to have something in my mouth, or I'd be reaching for the sour cola bottles. Overall, though, it was such a nice day out and I am so glad that I stuck to eating good food and at least pre-planned where I could eat in the city easily. 

Day 6
Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 1/4 sweet potato, coffee w/cm creamer

Meal 2: Garbage stir-fry, 1 avocado

Meal 3: 1 sausage, 3 eggs, sweet potato, butternut squash, herbal tea

Not a bad day. Jameson woke up in the middle of the night last night because his teeth were killing him, so Hubs and I were a lot more tired than usual.
Plus I hit a "kill ALL the things" time this evening, which was pleasant (not). Poor Hubs. Sorry I was so cranky, I didn't mean it!

Had a weird burning, stomach-ache after lunch today...wondering if it was from the chili in my stir-fry? However, I don't think I drank enough water today either, so it could have been that.


day 4 [round two]

>> 1.04.2013

Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 1/3 avocado

Meal 2: Garbage stir-fry leftovers, 1 sweet potato, 2/3 avocado

Snack: Sweet potato

Meal 3: 1/2 porkchop, 1 egg, 1/2 cup roasted veggies, 1/2 avocado, 1 bowl berries w/c.m. and c. butter

I think I have a sweet potato problem.
Is that even possible?
I mean, I guess it's possible, exchanging chocolate for sweet potatoes...they're just kind of my go-to comfort food when I'm hungry or need an extra vegetable. 

Not enough protein at dinner tonight since Jameson ate almost all of my porkchop. Maybe I'll just have some sweet potato to compensate. Ha.


day 3 [round two]

>> 1.03.2013

Pre-Workout: Coffee w/c.m. creamer, Hard-boiled egg

Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 1 bell pepper

Meal 2: Garbage stir-fry (beef, carrots, bell pepper, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, onion), 1 fried egg, 1/3 sweet potato

Meal 3: 2 bowls zucchini stew, 2 sweet potatoes

Not a bad day today (aside from the part where Jameson woke up at 4:30 a.m. and kept saying,
"UP! Mama! UP! MAMA UP" until I got out of bed at 5:30 a.m.). Worked out this morning, and it was harder than the first time around, which was kind of discouraging, but I pushed through it and finished well. I'm starting to feel strong again, and I love that.

Had a few moments with my stomach today, but I think it's just the remnants of my holiday boozing working it's way out of my system.

Kiiind of went crazy with the sweet potatoes tonight. Not sure why...could be an emotional thing, since Jameson is running around my house and WILL NOT go to sleep, or it could just be that I needed the extra carbs today. Whatevs. I ate a lot of sweet potatoes tonight and they were delicious. At least it wasn't wine.


day 2 [round two]

>> 1.02.2013

Meal 1: 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 1 bell pepper, coffee w/c.m. creamer

Meal 2: 3 chicken legs baked in olive oil and seasoned w/rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper, carrots, 1/2 sweet potato, 1 apple

Meal 3: Cottage pie from 'Well Fed' broccoli, berries w/coconut milk AND coconut butter (about an hour after dinner)

Today was the first day I got hit by a craving, hard. We were walking back from the store and it was raining, and Hubs and I were bickering and as soon as I stepped in the door all I wanted to do was eat some cookies, or some ice cream, or SOMETHING. The good news is that I automatically recognized it as an emotional response to the situation I was in and so I made some rooibos tea instead and tried to distract myself.

Dinner tonight was so, so good and it made me extra happy that it turned out so well because it was like warm comfort food without any of the guilt associated. Even Hubs liked it, and he kind of took a vow not to enjoy anything with mashed cauliflower in it. We had a little bit leftover, but not enough for my "leftovers on Friday" plan, so I'll have to see what else I can rustle up.

I had a bowl of berries with coconut milk/butter after dinner and after a fight to put Jameson to bed. Did I need them? No. Could I have gone without them? Probably. Did I enjoy them? Heck yes.

Overall, it's been a good day. I'm feeling good, mentally and physically, and am really finding it helpful that I can almost just slide back into my routine, since I'm semi-familiar with the rules. I remember the first time around, Day 2 was killer, and it was mostly because I was already exhausted from checking everything I ate to make sure it was compliant. For everyone on their first whole30 (and even if you're not) this guide was SO nice to have around through the first 30 days--helped remind me that everything I was thinking and feeling was completely normal!

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