Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Wrap Up (Including Our Whole30 Experience)

Here's what we have been up to the last several months-enjoy!

In May Rosaleigh turned three (!!!) We celebrated with a trip to the zoo.

                              Goodbye two, hello three!                             

It was an unseasonably cold day and half the animals weren't out but we still had loads of fun. R kept saying cake all day, especially after being wished happy birthday. She has been known for hating cake so this seemed a bit out of character.
First Birthday
Second Birthday

We decided to splurge on a grand cupcake from Scratch Cupcakery. We decided on a pink lemonade one and went on our way. Needless to say R still doesn't love cupcakes. We had a wonderful day of celebrating. Tom had a show so we sent him off and ended the day with just us girls. A week later Haylee turned 10. She has been a crazy addition to our family and I wouldn't change the decision to rescue her for the world.

We had decided to run Dam to Dam. It's a great race and a Des Moines running staple and I wanted Tom to experience it, even if it was just once. As mentioned above the weather was unseasonable cold. In fact our first long run we had snow on the ground (and it was May already!!) Training was a bit here and there but we finished under our goal time (yay!) Race day brought perfect weather and we couldn't have asked for a better race.

June was filled with movies, (R's first one) pool days, wonderful weather, it marked Tom's first year in Street Thieves, and my 34th (AHHHHHHH!!!!!!) Birthday. July started with visits from family a dear friend's wedding, an addition to my tattoo (that I could not be happier with, inspired by song lyrics that Tom wrote for me) and it marked starting the Whole30.

We needed some drastic changes. We were sick of feeling sluggish, having no energy, getting sick, dealing with unwanted weight, etc etc etc etc get the point. So we decided to do something "drastic." Start eating within Paleo guidelines. (Eating real unprocessed food) Sounds simple enough, right? Nope, not really. I wanted to do this right, not half-ass it or get three days in and give up. I started to soak up the knowledge from two books, It Starts with Food and Practical Paleo. It was extremely overwhelming at first. No dairy, no grains, no beans, no wheat, no added sugar (!!!!) Nothing from a box, which isnt' really an issue for us because we weren't the mac n cheese hamburger helper type of people anyway. I was like, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO EAT??!??? Not tacos, or spaghetti, or PB&J, or Tasty Tacos, or Pancheros (do you get the drift we love Mexican food) NO MT. DEW??!!!??? I'm lactose intolerant so the whole cheese bit isn't hard for me. I had drastically cut out sugar in February so I started to see where this was doable. But I was still in need of a bit more direction so we picked a meal plan to follow. It was all laid out for us and even came with shopping lists. We got right down to it! I decide to look at the challenge of it. It was going to be fun to learn how to make new dishes/meals and experiment with spices and flavors. I learned to love the process. I really really really enjoy cooking and baking. I didn't know I could make food that tastes so good. (After a month and a half I still say that) It was a struggle at first because we were so used to certain elements at meals (Like bread) But that soon stopped. For me the cravings came in waves. I would all of the sudden kill for a cookie, or pie, or a piece of cheesecake (SUGAR!) But nothing I couldn't resist. We were determined to do this. I didn't want to slip up and let myself or Tom down. Plus, it's only 30 days. At first I wasn't sleeping better at all. I just could not gear down at the end of the day, but after about day 10 I started sleeping better than I had in years (YEARS!) Falling asleep easily, staying asleep, and waking up without an alarm. Which we all know better sleep= better moods= happy household. We learned along the way about which foods we liked and didn't like, new flavors, combinations, and spices. About cooking temperatures and times (read: BURNT food) How to prepare, chop, cook, and eat all kinds of vegetables.  The freedom it brings to not be counting calories, not be hungry all the time, being in control of choosing what to eat is awesome. We have dropped about 30lbs. combined and tons and tons of inches. We have energy!! Tom is actually getting up before work and running (What??!!? I know!!) It has been a wonderful change. We want to take this good life that we have created and make it great. This is a huge step in the right direction. We made it through our 30 days with flying colors-no cheats or slip ups. (YAY us!!)

After completing the 30 days we have splurged a couple of times but we have found that our tastes have changed-drastically! Stuff just isn't as good as we once remember it to be. Fresh, real, unprocessed food is good, really good. I've experimented with a couple of different cookie recipes and have found some that are delicious. It's fun! It's like our eyes have been opened to what's out there. 

That brings us to August.......this happened which was pretty much amazing.

We had the opportunity to meet Theron and Maddie and if you don't know who they are stop what you are doing and go here RIGHT. NOW. It was such an enjoyable experience, definitely one for the record books.

This week the forecast is for incredibly hot weather but as August winds down I'm ready for Fall. It's a special time of year. The weather brings a semi cool breeze but the sun is still warm. The changing color of the leaves. The calm before the storm of holidays and the dreary winter. We have some fun stuff planned. Including a trip to see one of our favorite performers Dallas Green (City and Colour) I'm excited to see where the next several months take the little Blakesley crew.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sugar, ah honey honey...You are my candy girl

At the beginning of February I made a change in my life. A huge change. A much needed change. A drastic change.

Let me tell you about two things first though...sugar and anxiety.

I love sugar. Candy. Soda. Chocolate. Hard candy. Sweets. Cookies. Sugar covered sugar with sugar on top.  I always have. I remember when I was younger I would ride my bike to the gas station and buy Fun Dip. My dad would bring home a bag of Brach's mix. The kind with cinnamon bears, caramels, butterscotch's, and those yummy neapolitan chews. As an adult I've always liked to have a little somethin' somethin' sweet after a meal as dessert. Oh and none of this fruit as a dessert business either.

I seemingly had no effects from all these crazy sugary sweet treats either. I'm not fat, not diabetic, no cavities.

Now the anxiety part.
I'm a person that tends to recycle thoughts, thinking on something a tad too long.  Worrying about this or that. Making sure I have my ducks in a row. Prepare and plan. Very self aware.

 (Side note:I love being spontaneous and carefree it's an exception not a rule but I'm not a neurotic, worry wart, Debbie Downer stick in the mud.)

What anxiety means to me, because I think that word gets thrown around a lot these days...All my tendencies, normal worries, and thoughts were taken to a new level. Heightened. Exaggerated. Amplified. Not totally, but almost out of control. I would take everyday parenting decisions or issues that we were dealing with regarding Rosaleigh and think and worry and obsess. Not able to let it go in a reasonable time frame. My worries about a situation or event were keeping me doing things in life. The feeling of "being stuck" everywhere is a good way to describe it. What finally pushed me to check out natural ways to deal with anxiety was an upcoming dentist appointment. The thought of having to sit in that chair was totally freaking me out!!

So I started to do a little research. I started seeing little facts here and there. Sugar and anxiety were so linked. Also I was having some stomach issues, not sleeping well, etc, etc. I honestly thought to myself, "Really?!? Could cutting out sugar or even drastically reducing my intake make THAT big of a difference?" I was incredibly skeptical. (Now here's where I sound like a nutto on an infomercial.....)

At the beginning of February I cut sugar out completely. (Except for fruit and with that I didn't go ├╝ber crazy either.) CUT OUT COMPLETELY.  Let that sink in for a second.....

After the initial detox/freak out/all I want is a soda or a cookie phase it was awesome. I should mention that didn't last too long. I was drinking water like it was going out of style and I added healthy fats back into my daily diet. The changes were like night and day. My mood improved.
My lows aren't so low. I'm more even keel.  My stomach isn't in crazy knots all the time. Life is easier to handle. I have more patience with R. I have motivation to do things and the energy to carry through with them. I went to my dentist appointment and of course was nervous, I mean who *loves* the dentist. But it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. It was under control. Was all this really that simple? My answer is YES! My plan was to rid my body of its sugar dependence and then add it back in when I could be more responsible with it.  It's a crazy cycle of waking up tired, consuming sugar and caffeine, crashing and consuming more, not sleeping well, and starting all over again the next day. LIFE DOESN'T NEED TO BE LIVED LIKE THAT!  Food is meant to be fuel. Treat your body well and it will definitely thank you for it.  Another thing I noticed was that food tasted better and when I finally did have something (a sugar splurge) it was delicious, rich, and filling. I made it worth it too. Not just some junk candy bar or fountain soda. It was the cheesecake cupcakes I made for Tom's birthday. (Yum!)
I eventually added drinking Kombucha into my daily routine too. Let me tell 'ya that stuff is like crack! The energy and mental clarity it gives me is awesome. It definitely takes a little getting used to but the benefits for your body are awesome.

If I hadn't lived through it I wouldn't believe me. This change has honestly been one of the hardest things I've ever done. The phrase that kept pushing me through was "You have to want it more than.." So for me I had to want energy more than a cookie. Patience more than a soda. Sleep more than those (yummy yummy yummy) candy cane Hershey Kisses. To live life, actually LIVE and not just make it through every day. To give to my little wonderful family, to invest in us.
I can say now that I'm not addicted to sugar. If I have something it's not out of a need.
And I can say with absolute confidence and pride that life is good. It's not easier but it sure is easier to handle what life throws at me. I have the tools to work through troubles instead of hiding under a mound of sugar.

Friday, January 18, 2013

In Other Words

Today I have guest blogger (he doesn't know it quite yet.) He has put words to emotions that at one time I couldn't express. This song hit me the other day. It is good. Scratch that, really good.

You began this war
I'm here to end it
Rise against me
Your world will fall

 I lay me down to sleep
my soul I war to keep
angels fight around my bed
You don't know what's in my head
I lay you down to sleep
kiss of death upon your cheek
buried with your lies
no longer my demise

Goodnight, goodbye
Heartache and past
Judgment won't defeat me
Break me, bleed me
I'm still standing
judgment won't defeat me

Look in the mirror
look at your life
Hold close your judgment
it's all you have

The war is over
I'll rise above it
The war is over
I'll rise above it
I broke my chains
Now I'm free
I broke my chains
Now I'm free

I burned it all down
And rose above the ash
Forged in the fire
I found new strength
In who I am
This is my last goodbye

Goodnight, goodbye
Heartache and past
Judgment won't defeat me
Break me, bleed me
I'm still standing
judgment won't defeat me

I burned it all down
And rose above the ashes
I close my eyes now
lay my past to rest

The words..."I burned it all down and rose above the ash. Forged in the fire I found new strength in who I am. This is my last goodbye" speak so much to my journey over the last few years. I have some thoughts about this and more rolling around in my head- it's formulating some where in there and when I organize it out of the mumbo jumbo it is now, I'll post it.

Oh and to give credit where it is definitely due..  This song is Judgement's Lullaby-Street Thieves 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Year in Review...a bit late

Our 2012...

Tom turned 28 in February. R turned 2 in May.  I turned 25 29 okay, okay, 33 in June. 
We celebrated
our first wedding anniversary in September.

We trained for the DM Half Marathon during the hottest
summer EVER! and ran it in October.
In June Tom joined a band and I ran my first 5K in years.
In November Tom recorded an EP with his band.
I ran a zombie race with my sister in October, which was quite an experience.
In January we saw one of our favorite bands live.
Those are just a few highlights. This past year was filled with R learning and growing like crazy. It seems like she uses more words everyday and will be my height by the end of this year. There is never a dull moment at Blakesley Manor-between a very active. sweet, loving, free-spirited little girl, a crazy dog, a full time hardworking judicial clerk, a part time rock star, awesome dad and me. It really does feel like there aren't enough hours In the day and the weekends are way too short....

 This year is all about this:

Love More
Ourselves. Other. Family. Friends

Live in the Moments
Laugh. Cry. Breathe. Learn.

Grace. Understanding. Communication.

2013 is already filled with many opportunities for new adventures, challenges, goals. I honestly can't wait to see what this year holds for us!