Thankfulness Challenge – Weeks 8 and 9

I began this challenge because I wanted to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in my life that I felt was missing. I tend to complain a LOT when things don’t go my way, and I felt like I was turning into a whiny, negative person. I wanted to focus on the good things in my life instead of focusing so much on the negative, so I decided to begin recording all of the things I am thankful for through this challenge.

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The prompt for week eight says to express gratitude to three people and the prompt for week nine is to describe how you did that and how it felt. I decided to write thank you notes and make little goody bags for some people who probably rarely get thank yous – the nurses who worked with me when I had Jack.

I had originally intended to do this immediately after leaving the hospital, but in those first few weeks of motherhood, I was in survival mode and doing anything other than trying to nurse and learn how to keep a baby alive was out of the question. I know that proper etiquette says you should send all thank you notes within six weeks of receiving the gift or the event that you are thanking the person for, but I am hoping that these thank you gifts will be well received even though they are coming six months after the fact.

I know these nurses help deliver hundreds and hundreds of babies, so I wanted to make sure to include a picture of Jack with the thank you notes and gifts I sent. Luckily, I had a few extra birth announcements left, so I stuck one of those in each card, along with a current picture of Jack. I wrote a note to each nurse – one was amazing at dealing with my family and keeping me stress free during the day while we were waiting, one was so calming and encouraging the night Jack was born (which I really needed after 15 hours of labor), and the other was actually an old high school friend (which was nice, because it was great to know someone at the hospital and I loved getting to catch up with her a little).

Once I wrote the thank you notes, I picked up some little gift bags at Target and filled them with some of my favorite goodies – a candle, lotion, lip balm, chocolate, and a gift card to Starbucks.

These little gifts aren’t much, but I hope they put a smile on the face of each of these special ladies.

If I ever have another baby, I think I am going to put together some goody bags before we go to the hospital and take some blank thank you notes with me so I can write the notes and give out these gifts before we leave (unfortunately, I didn’t think of that with Jack – there are so many things to think about and prepare for when you are having a baby). I did make a gift for Jeff that I took with me to the hospital, and you can read about it here.

What are you thankful for this week? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Currently… February 2018

January was a blur and February is already speeding by. I’m still trying to focus on my One Little Word and savor each moment, so I’m recording some of the little things that are filling our days. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately!

Listening… I finished up the S-Town podcast this morning. I listened to the first four episodes with Jeff almost a year ago while we were on a road trip, but then he finished the last episodes without me and I never went back and listened to the end. I decided to start back over with episode one and listened to all 7 episodes in just a few days. It was an interesting story that was also extremely frustrating at times. I found myself both loving and hating John B.

Eating… I just finished a round of Whole30 and now I’m trying really hard not to eat all the things. This weekend, I helped my mom, who owns a bakery, work on her Valentine’s Day orders and ate way too many cookies in the process.

Cooking… I’m planning to cook a pot roast tomorrow and will be making some kind of sweet treat for Jeff for Valentine’s Day. Steaks were on sale this weekend, so I bought some and will be cooking a fancy steak dinner for Valentine’s Day that I’ll be sharing later this week.

Wearing… This shirt from Old Navy is my favorite right now. I’m also loving these work pants that feel like yoga pants.

Watching… Jeff and I recently watched the new show Altered Carbon on Netflix. I’ve also been watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Jack, Friends reruns, and this really great 30 for 30 on ESPN.

Reading… I’m in the middle of Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips right now and am really enjoying it. I am also reading Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig and Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Wanting… Jeff and I are wanting to sleep train Jack so that he moves from co-sleeping with us to sleeping in his own crib. It’s a bittersweet kind of thing. I love his little baby snuggles and I like him being so close to me at night – I can literally reach over and feel him breathing and hear every sound he makes. At the same time, he wiggles all night long, which keeps Jeff awake, and he usually ends up sleeping on the couch. I feel really guilty for basically kicking my husband out of the bed so that Jack and I can get a good night’s sleep. I found this really good blog post with tips for transitioning from co-sleeping to the crib and we are planning to start tonight.

Needing… Jeff and I need a quick little vacation. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary next month.

Thinking… According to Steven Spielberg, “Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” As a high school teacher, I see how detrimental technology can be to people’s ability to interact with others and think critically every day. My students can’t function for 10 minutes without their headphones in or their phones in front of their faces. I’m also noticing that Jack is constantly grabbing for my cell phone, which is making me question what I am teaching him with my daily actions. I don’t want him to just see his mom staring at a screen all the time. I’m thinking it’s time to evaluate how much time I spend on my phone. There’s an interesting article about how cell phones and technology are creating distances between parents and kids here.

Enjoying… I am 100% living for the weekends right now. I enjoy my time at home with Jack and Jeff so much, and it has become even more enjoyable since I decided to stop bringing work home. I am refusing to grade papers or answer emails once I leave the school in the afternoons and it has made my life so much happier. I am trying really hard to not bring home a bad attitude from work, but I haven’t been as successful with that goal yet. I’m trying to leave work and all its frustrations at the school and enjoy my time at home.

Growing… Jack is 29 weeks old this week! He is getting so big. He can almost sit up by himself and he’s trying so hard to crawl. He’s also jabbering all the time. So far, his favorite thing to say is “bababa,” which we think is code for “bottle.” He still loves music and giggles when we sing silly songs to him or tickle his belly.

Feeling… I wish I could tell you that everything is rainbows and flowers over here, but it most definitely is not. Right now, I feel like I’m barely getting by on most days. Work is stressful and frustrating. I feel defeated when I leave the school every day and I’m starting to really question my career choices. There is constantly something that I need to be doing or something that I forgot to do or didn’t have time to do correctly. I’m not doing a good job of eating well or working out and I’m failing at reaching even the simplest of goals (like my February goal of making the bed every day, which has only happened twice this month). I’m also feeling some major mom guilt every time I drop Jack off at daycare. At the same time, I’m so proud of Jeff for doing well and advancing at work, I’m filled with joy when I hear Jack giggle and see him smile, and I am hopeful that I can find a solution for work that lets me be home with him more often. Life is messy and busy and good, and I’m experiencing all the feelings that come with those things.

Wish Listing… This swimsuit is on my list for when I reach my next weight loss goal of losing 20 pounds.

Planning… I know that it’s early, but I have already started a board on Pinterest for Jack’s first birthday party. I’m thinking that we’ll do a Dr. Seuss theme and ask people for books instead of toys to try to build up his library.

Little Letters – February 2018

Kristen at Taz and Belly hosts this monthly linkup. Make sure to check out her post and say hi!

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Dear Whole30, You have been really good for me and I have learned a lot about myself and my eating habits from you. I’m still struggling with finding a good balance with food and figuring out my Food Freedom, but I feel like I’m better equipped than ever to do that thanks to what I learned from following the program. I’m already planning nine-day mini-reset with you in March and might be joining in for another full 30 days sometime this summer.

Dear Jack, I love you so much and I absolutely adore snuggling with you, but I’m going to need you to start sleeping in your own crib at night. Mama needs some good sleep.

Dear Gym Membership, I don’t know why I thought you would be a good idea. I have not had the time or motivation to set foot in the gym since October, and I think it is time for us to break up. I really do want to find a workout plan that works for me, but I just don’t think I am a gym person.

Dear Dove Dark Chocolate and Almond Squares, I’ve never been a dark chocolate girl, but I’m trying to make better choices and apparently dark chocolate isn’t so bad. Thank you for being the one dark chocolate treat that I love. I’ll be keeping you in my desk drawer at all times from now on.

Dear Imagination Library, I am so stinking excited for Jack to get his first book from you soon! Thank you so much for providing books for kids and helping encourage literacy. As a mom and an English teacher, I can’t even begin to express how wonderful your organization it and how thankful I am that Jack gets to be a part of it!

Dear Missing TV Remote, I have searched everywhere for you and would really appreciate it if you would come out of hiding.

Dear Alabama Basketball, We have had the best time going to games this year! Thanks for showing out against Oklahoma a few weeks ago! It was a great game and definitely a fun way to spend our date night that week. Roll Tide!

What I Learned During the Reintroduction Phase of My Whole30

After my first Whole30 in October 2016, I attempted to do the Slow Roll introduction and I didn’t really learn that much about what does and does not agree with my body. This time, I planned to follow the Fast Track reintroduction and make a point to evaluate how each food group made me feel before deciding if I would add that food back to my diet and how often I would do so. I did really well on day one, but then life happened and I fell off the reintroduction wagon…

Day 1 – Legumes

  • What I ate: For breakfast, I had a banana with peanut butter and raisins. I had cauliflower fried rice with ground beef and veggies (made with soy sauce) and some strawberries and a homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cup (made with a recipe I found on Pinch of Yum). I had a blueberry Larabar as a snack around 3:30, and then had baked salmon marinated in a soy sauce based marinade and steamed broccoli.

Days 2 and 3 were supposed to be back to Whole30 eating while I evaluated how legumes worked in my diet, and I did well with that during breakfast and lunch, but when I got home Jeff wanted to go out for sushi, and it sounded wonderful, so that’s what we did even though that was off the plan. I still feel really good about the choices I made when we went and I didn’t overeat, which is a major improvement for me.

The same thing happened on Saturday (what should have been day 3 of my reintro and another Whole30 day). I did pretty good with eating Whole30 for most of the day, then my mom called and invited me to go to the Mexican Kitchen, which is my favorite Mexican place in Columbus, MS, and I drove over there to meet her for dinner. I learned last time I did the Whole30 that corn in any form is not the best for me (it makes me so bloated), but I decided it was worth it to be a little bloated for some Mexican Kitchen tacos.

One thing I have already noticed is that something I reintroduced has made my skin break out. Because I did not follow the reintro plan correctly, I have no way to pinpoint what food group caused my skin to react that way. This is why you should follow the rules, I guess.

While I have not followed the reintroduction plan correctly, I am still trying to make good choices and be mindful about what and how much I am eating. I think February is going to be all about finding a good balance and figuring out what works best for me. I’m planning to eat mostly Whole30 meals during the week and then give myself a little more freedom on the weekends. I’ll see how that goes and report back at the end of the month.

 

Thankfulness Challenge – Playing Catch Up

I have been the worst at consistently posting my Thankfulness Challenges each week, and I am really trying to catch up and get back on track with this challenge. I think having a mindset of gratitude is so important, and I want to continue to develop that in my life by sharing these little posts and thoughts with you each week.

I have to admit, one of the reasons that I haven’t been sharing the last few weeks is that the prompt for Week 7 has me stumped. img_2156-1

It really shouldn’t seem hard to write about a friend who I am thankful for, but thinking about this prompt has made me evaluate my friendships and the amount of effort that I put into maintaining those friendships (which is not enough, by the way).

I have always been somewhat of a loner. I have lots of work friends and acquaintances, but I have never really had many deep, meaningful friendships that I’ve been able to sustain for a long time. I have had some good opportunities to have these kinds of friendships, but it just seems that my friends and I get busy with our husbands, jobs, and daily life and end up texting each other to say we need to get together and catch up soon until finally we just don’t say it anymore because we know it’s not ever going to happen. We send texts and tag each other in funny videos on Facebook, and that’s about it.

Jeff, on the other hand, has a big group of close friends. They get together to play golf and go running or mountain biking, we all have dinner together to celebrate birthdays, and they have a group text that they have kept going for years. Despite the fact that these guys have jobs and families of their own, they make a consistent effort to be a part of each other’s lives, and I really admire that.

I love Jeff’s group of friends. We always have fun when we get together, and I am thankful that I get to be a part of the group.

One of my biggest regrets is that I have not put enough effort into keeping in touch with my friends and staying involved in their lives as we have gotten older. That’s something that I want to focus on changing this year. I think it can be hard for women to prioritize friendship when we have so many other responsibilities, but friendship is extremely important. Sometimes you just need to talk to a like-minded person who cares about you (because as much as I love talking to my husband, sometimes he just doesn’t get it because he’s a guy and it’s nice to have another woman to talk to). I really want to make time this year for catching up with old friends and investing more into my relationships. I am so thankful for the people that God has placed in my life, and I need to do a better job of showing them how much they mean to me.

What friend are you thankful for this week? Let me know in the comments!

 

Hello, February!

January felt like the longest month ever. Jeff was out of town for two weeks for work, Jack had the stomach virus and an ear infection, I caught strep throat last week, Jeff caught the stomach virus from Jack, we had so many bad weather days and missed a ton of days of school due to ice, which threw our schedule completely out of whack…it was a crazy month!

Needless to say, I am ready to welcome this new month. Hopefully, we will all be able to get and stay well.

Here are some of the things we’ve got going on this month:

  • Valentine’s Day date (look for some fun at-home date night dinner recipes this month)
  • Jeff’s birthday (and his favorite chocolate cake)
  • My little brother’s birthday (and his favorite chocolate tall cake recipe)

I’m currently going through my Whole30 Reintroduction and figuring out my personal Food Freedom plan, and I am hoping to be able to share that with you soon! I’m still focusing on my One Little Word for this year and am trying to savor the little moments of our day-to-day lives.

Here are a few of my goals for this month:

  • Make the bed every day – This is a discipline that I think will help me begin the day on a positive note by checking off a task first thing. I also love coming home to a neatly made bed.
  • Read more – I didn’t finish a single book in January. I sat down to read a few times, but it was just such a crazy month that I didn’t finish anything I started. This month, I want to finish the two books I started in January.
  • Drink more water – I struggled with drinking enough water even on the Whole30, and I am trying to make drinking water into a habit so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
  • Workout more consistently – I feel like I got a pretty good grip on my eating habits in January. Now I need to focus on exercise and finding a workout plan that works for me.
  • No spending – This month, I want to cut down on spending and will be doing that by not buying any new clothes, makeup, books, toys for Jack, home decor items, or things for my classroom.

What are your plans for February? Let me know in the comments!

January Whole30 Results and Reflections

The January Whole30 is officially over, and it’s time to start my reintroduction plan and look at my results from the 30 day program.

BEFORE WHOLE30

AFTER WHOLE30

I forgot to take my measurements when the program started, and now I’m kicking myself because I really wish I knew how many inches I’ve lost over the last 30 days. I started the month in size 14 jeans that I could barely button, and now those same jeans are loose enough that I can pull them off without unbuttoning them, which is a great feeling.

The Whole30 encourages you to celebrate Non Scale Victories instead of just weight loss, but I always weigh before and after the program. I lost 11 pounds this month, which is a great jump-start to my goal of losing 45 pounds this year, but my list of Non Scale Victories is so much longer and more important than the number on the scale.

Here are a few of my Non Scale Victories:

  • Clearer skin
  • Healthier hair
  • Better sleep (when Jack allows it)
  • No longer addicted to caffeine
  • More energy
  • A few coworkers have mentioned that they noticed a change in my weight
  • Looser pants!!!
  • Whiter teeth
  • Better short-term memory
  • More focus at work

I feel like this was a good round of Whole30 for me, but I still need to work on eating more veggies and less fruit and not relying so much on “emergency” snacks like Larabars. I also need to start working out on a consistent basis, which is one of my goals for February.

I’m excited to start my reintroduction and learn what foods work best for my body and create my own personal Food Freedom plan. Check back soon to see how my reintro goes!

If you did the Whole30 in January, what were some of your NSVs? Are you excited about the reintroduction, or nervous? Let me know in the comments!