Monday, December 31, 2012

Adieu 2012 and OneWord2013

I'm sitting in a hotel room with two sleeping children, who are not my own, on New Year's Eve 2012. Typing from my heart, just my thoughts.

What a difference a year makes.

2012 has been, well, a year. It's had it's ups and downs. It's been full of change. I started the year as a pastor, and I end the year having completed my first semester of nursing school. I'm in a good place. I feel strongly that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

The last 6 months have been incredibily fulfilling as a mom. I have been able to spend so much time with my children and in my home. We had a ton of fun this summer. I was home every morning to get them off to school (and drive them every other week-yay for neighbors to carpool with). I picked them up from school all but one day a week. I missed sports practices and some bedtimes while in class, but my time as a mom increased exponentially.

That's what this transition for me has been about. My kids. My family. Giving them all of myself. Not forgetting about myself or losing myself, but giving them what they deserve. I struggled with that balance as a pastor. I struggled to "turn off" and just be with them. There was always too much to think about or worry about. Always too much going on that I couldn't detach from. Much of this is just due to my personality and my heart for people--not the specific job itself. I look foward to caring for people in the medical field, but then being able to hand off the chart to the next shift when it's time to go home.

If I were to pick a word for 2012, it would have been FAITH. We walked in faith, stepped out in faith, and are living by faith! Leaving a secure job and changing careers at 35 takes a lot of faith. Figuring out how to pay for school and for life (without a job) couldn't be determined until I was already in the midst of it all. We couldn't plan ahead. We had to trust, and step out in faith. And God has provided. And will continue to.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed...
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:18, 21

In 2012 I learned more about being God's instrument, about laying down my own desires and not looking for credit or recognition. I learned about forgiveness, redemption and restoration. I watched friends walk through horrific times and through some of life's most joyous occassions.  I learned to give thanks more, look for gifts of grace and to embrace the bitter and the sweet. 

"When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”  (Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet)

For the past few months, Hebrews 6:19 keeps showing up in things I read and see. I wrote about this verse a few weeks ago. 

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

For 2013, I choose HOPE. Hope for my future. Hope for the rest of nursing school. Hope for what God has planned for me and my family. I want to BE HOPE and GIVE HOPE. The hope that is in Christ. I want to instill this in my daughters that no matter what, eternity is what matters and we have hope in Christ, no matter what life brings us.

2012 was a year of a lot of personal growth in my life, my soul and my faith. I feel like I am aware more than ever of how messy I am and how selfish I can be. But being more aware of these things is growth. And now in 2013 I want to use that growth to change things around me--and to change how I handle things in life. I need what's on the inside to pour out. And sometimes that is the hardest part. The first and most important place that starts is in my home. With how I am raising my daughters and how I love my husband.

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist was perhaps my favorite book of the year. Here are a few more quotes from it that continue to speak to me.

“My life is a story about who God is and what He does in a human heart.”

“I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.”

“When things fall apart, the broken pieces allow all sorts of things to enter, and one of them is the presence of God.”

I am believing, I am HOPING for amazing things in 2013. I know that there will be pain and suffering. In fact 2012 ends in sorrow for lifelong friends who lost their mom unexpectedly today. She was a part of my growing up years and very treasured. I read somewhere that joy and pain are like two side by side tracks in life and we jump easily between the two. And even in pain and sorrow, we have HOPE, which is the anchor for my soul. Hope in Christ. Hope that does not disappoint.

Happy New Year Friends.

I also hope that 2013 brings me more time to write and sit in this space here, embracing the day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

a hope and an anchor

Kids for days in my house this week.

I've been helping out with a 5 week old foster baby.

The neighbor kids run back and forth with my own every afternoon.

My 3-yr old nephew has been over a few times this week too.

Not to mention my own precious 3 daughters.

Today at one point I had my 3-yr old, my 3-yr old nephew, our 3yr old neighbor and his 2 month old sister and the 5 week old. I absolutely adore kids, especially the littles and mothering is one of the things I do best. It's almost like a love language for me. I haven't accomplished many tasks or done much cleaning, but I've been loving babies and by that, loving their mamas and daddys too.

Something that many Connecticut parents won't be able to do tonight. While I hold and feed and rock babies, my iPhone goes from Facebook posts, to Tweets, to news sites. The depth of tragedy, the grief only builds.

Jesus be near. Be near the brokenhearted. Bring your peace. Bind their wounds.

Jesus IS near. He is near the broken hearted and his presence bring peace. But that doesn't make the pain or the grief any less. It just means he walks beside.

A few weeks ago our church started a series about end times. {Saying "our church" is a bit odd, since we are attending a different church from where I worked. The change, the freedom to slip in and out, a different style of church, has been good for all of us. A part of my heart will always be where I ministered.) Anyhow, it's not your typical "this is when the rapture is happening" sermon. It's more about how we respond to hopelessness and trials that come in life and that will only increase in times to come. I believe the Bible; and things will continue to get worse in our world.

Today as I've loved babies, and prayed for parents who won't hold their babies again, the words of past messages echo in my mind. I pulled out my sermon notes, to be reminded again.

That death is not the end. It is only the beginning. These innocent children are safe in the arms of Jesus. I believe that with all of my heart. And the adults who lost their lives, I pray someone shared hope with them. That they heard the Good News that death is not the end and they can have eternity in heaven.

My heart aches for the families tonight. My heart aches for the friends and family of the shooter. He was clearly an ill, disturbed individual and the pain of his loved ones is a unique one.

But the burning message in my heart is one of hope. It hurts, oh I know it hurts. And it will for a long time; forever. But we have this hope. We have an anchor for our soul in these times. You too can have this same hope and anchor.

From here

Christ the Lord. The Emmanuel. God with us. God with you. God with me. Jesus shows up. He will show up when the world ends, but he shows up when it feels like our world is ending.

Cling to this hope and anchor. Share this hope and anchor with those around you.

This is our burden. This is our call. {See here} We don't know what each day holds. We don't know what is going on in the lives of those around us. They need the hope of Christ.

Pray for those who grieve. Blessed are those who mourn.

Have hope. Be hope. Give hope.

An anchor for your soul.

{if you would like to listen, this is the particular message ringing in my heart, but parts 1 and 3--see the bottom of linked page-- are almost as inspiring and challenging. I'm looking forward to part 4 this weekend.}

Thursday, December 6, 2012

it's a Christmas miracle

My last post was October 16.

So here are some words.

I'm sitting on the couch in a blanket, for a one hour reprieve from the day, the week, the month, the season, the semester. I'm watching The Voice with Lilybug. I watch about half an episode every other week, which really shows what life is like. Because that's one of the few shows I watch.

I truly have nothing to complain about. I am incredibly blessed. The Lord is so faithful and provides what we need in time, in finances, and more.

But that doesn't mean the days aren't full. I have some small papers, a group project and a final on Monday and another final on Wednesday. Then I am done with my first semester of nursing school. I am excited and thankful. Since my program is accelerated, we have a summer semester and just a few weeks off of school at either end of the summer. But we have about 6 weeks off between Fall and Summer. Cannot wait!!

Christmas has not come to our house yet, something my children aren't too happy about. It seems like people are getting trees and putting up decorations earlier than ever. Ya'll are making me look bad! Maybe we'll get a few decorations out this weekend, but it will probably be next weekend before we have a tree.

This morning I was able to volunteer for three hours to help kids shop in the school Holiday Bazaar. Miss Rose's class came while I was there, and I wasn't sure whether she'd want me to help her, or if she was too cool for that. I was pleasantly surprised that she was excited to have me help her pick gifts out and she wanted me to help her friends too. I am so grateful that this season in my life is allowing me to be a little involved in their school, to get to know a few more family's. I finally know some mom's names!

I am exhausted this week. I had a 10 page paper due on Monday and class that night. My nephew hung out Tuesday and then I had class again, and did more homework after I got home. Yesterday I had to get a presentation ready on my 10-page paper and also take Gracie to the dentist for fillings. Then school again. And school requires a one hour drive to and from.

Today I squeezed in my workout before I went to volunteer at school. I'll be back to pick the kids up, homework, dishes, laundry and picking up. When Bean gets home from work, I leave to go to a babysitting job.

Really I want to be curled on the couch in a blanket for hours, watching Christmas movies. Actually, I want a new couch first, because ours is broken and uncomfortable.

My husband and my kids are my priority in life. I'm pursuing one of my dreams in nursing.

One day at a time. Embrace the day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31: a little flax in your life

I have fallen off the 31 days wagon. I apologize for that!

This week I want to share some nutrition and food related tips. Maybe I'll actually get more than three posts up for the week too.

If you read health or nutrition magazines or articles, you may have heard of flax or flaxseed. Or maybe you haven't.

Flax is a small seed that is sold whole or ground (flaxmeal). I buy mine whole in bulk and then grind in small amounts in my Magic Bullet.

Three reasons why you should add flax to your diet. (from Dr. Oz)

Flax is a great source of fiber, and there is a strong possibility your diet is lacking in fiber.

Flax is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and again--most of us don't get enough of this essential nutrient. Your body cannot make omega-3's, you must consume them. Omega-3's are part of the anti-inflammatory system in our body--and with cold and flu season coming up, you want your system working well!

And lastly, flax contains lignans which reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Two tablespoons of ground flax a day is a perfect dose. I typically mix flax into my morning oatmeal (after the oatmeal is cooked). You can also add it to a smoothie or yogurt; sprinkle it on your salad or mix it into sauces. Add it to cookies, pancakes or other baked food. There are so many options.

When my kiddos were babies and toddlers and were constipated (which happened a lot it seemed) I'd mix a little ground flax in with their baby food. It has a slightly nutty flavor but you get used to it. I buy golden flax because I think it has a little better flavor.

Give it a try and tell me what you think! You might want to start with a tablespoon and increase over a week or two to two full tablespoons.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 Days: Find a Friend

You've heard it before, accountability is key in a multitude of areas.

We are social beings. Wired for relationship, motivated by community. I could link to all sorts of studies and facts. But I don't think I need to. Because you know.

If you want to making activity, movement, exercise, a regular part of your life: find a friend or a community. And if you don't feel like you have people around you who have similar goals, recruit some.

My sisters are some of my greatest accountability partners. They too want healthy eating and regular exercise to be part of their life. One of my sisters and I used to text each other early in the morning to make sure we were up and moving to start the day. There was something about going to bed knowing your sister would be texting you at 5:30 or 5:45am to see if you were up. Sure, sometimes I'd ignore the text or mute my phone in the middle of the night. But usually, I was already up.

One of my favorite things about my iPhone is group texting. Currently my two sisters and my sister-in-law and I have an ongoing texting conversation about our daily exercise and eating. Sometimes when it's late at night and I know I don't need to eat, but I want to eat--I text my sisters, and the mere confession stops me from putting food in my mouth.

I have participated in communities on various fitness and health website to keep my motivated. I've found people to follow on Twitter who are runners or love Jillian or Insanity like I do. There are Facebook groups, and even Instagram hashtags to help you recruit a new community.  There really isn't any excuse for not having accountability.

Just put yourself out there. You aren't bragging or showing off. You are using the power of community to reach a goal. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 days: a monthly goal

We are on a 31 day journey to a healthier you and healthier family. I'm sharing simple tips and ideas for change in your daily life. This week the focus is on fitness, exercise and activity.

Have you been planking this week? I've become successful with planks on my hands (which is especially good for arms & shoulders too). But this week I switched back to planking on my forearms, and wow---it's like I'm starting at the beginning again. Sunday night I did 1 minute and last night I did 1 minute and 15 seconds. By the time I'm done, I'm breaking into a sweat and it takes all my willpower to hold those last several seconds.  I'd love to get to two minutes by the end of the week!

So today, my challenge for you is to set a monthly activity goal. When we think of exercise routine, we usually think in terms of "times per week" or "30 minutes per day." But sometimes, life gets crazy and a week goes by with very little activity. Then you are discouraged and feel like it's pointless to get back into the habit because something else will come up and thwart your efforts again.

Even though running and exercise are vital to my mental and emotional well-being, and so I keep it as a priority--there still are weeks that I don't get as much done as I'd like.

Over the summer, one of my favorite bloggers started setting monthly mileage goals for herself. I thought it was a pretty ingenious way to keep exercise as a priority. Some of her miles are walking, some of them are running. Some with a stroller, some on her own. A few were even barefoot.

Having a monthly goal might be more manageable. So what if you have a crazy week? Just keep working towards your monthly goal. It may mean fitting in extra miles or time the next week--but when you see your totals getting close to your goal, you may be extra inspired.

Where to start? How about with 20 miles in a month? That's 2.5 miles a week. Totally doable. Walk around the park while your son or daughter is practicing soccer. Walk to the park or library instead of driving.

If walking or running isn't your thing, how about 10 appointments with Jillian in a month? Or 10 trips to the gym.

We are just over a week into October. So what if you set a goal for the next 3 weeks? Or just the last two weeks of the month?

Go on. You can do it. Believe in yourself!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

31 days: plank it out

Well, I've missed the last few days of the 31 Days series, but such is life and with 1200+ bloggers participating, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

So instead of cramming extras in, let's just start fresh for this week.  I'm sharing easy tips for a healthier you and a healthier family.

This week I'm going to focus on the fitness side of health. Don't worry, nothing too crazy or difficult. I know what you're thinking, the crazy, double-stroller pushing mama runner is going to tell me to register for an ultra-marathon.


Today's tip is: do a plank a day.


For 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute. However long you can hold it.

Then do ONE again tomorrow and try to hold it for a little longer.

A plank is a fantastic whole-body exercise that you can bust out anywhere, anytime. Now you're probably not going to plank out in the cereal isle at the grocery store.

But how about a commercial break during your favorite evening show? Or one in each room of the house as you go about cleaning up. Close the door to your office and bust it out during your workday, bust out a few!

The plank will work your arms, shoulders, back, abs, glutes (butt), legs and more.  I have given up crunches and sit-ups. I don't know if I'll ever do them again. They strain my neck (a weak area for me) and I have split ab muscles (diastasi recti) from pregnancyx3 and crunches and sit-ups are the worst thing I could do. Planks are my BFF.

Here's proper form for a plank.

You want a straight line from your shoulders down your legs. Keep your butt pulled down and focus on engaging your core. If you feel the need to push your butt up, then drop the plank---you're getting too tired.

There are a thousand variations of the plank. But just start with a simple plank. Having a strong core is one of the most important  things for our bodies. Not just for exercise purposes, but general life function.

So, get to it. And report back here! (I bet your kids will do this one with you too. Or challenge your spouse!)

An update for you: I have not had any of my favorite frosty goodness in 7 days now.  That's easily the longest stretch in a few years. The first part of the week was pretty easy, but later in the week I was really wanting some. It killed me to drive through In-n-Out and not order a Diet Coke. But I did it. And I'm happy about it. Onward ho!

Now, I'm going to plank it out and see how long I last.  This week: no frosty goodness, and a plank a day.

Let's go!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31: No poo + a little honey

Last night I wasn't home, so I didn't end up posting. So today you get two quick tips instead of 1!

First tip is: get rid of your shampoo!! Did you know the main ingredient in shampoos and soaps that makes them "suds" is sulfate? And sulfate is very drying! We have been programmed to think "the more bubbles, the cleaner I'm getting." But in fact, the more bubbles, the dryer your hair may become.

Several years ago I read Curly Girl and was surprised to learn this little secret about shampoo. By nature, most curly hair is dry, so regular shampoo is a big no-no. The book talks about a "no-poo" method that involves "washing" with conditioner (that also is sulfate free if possible) or sulfate-free shampoo.

Even if you don't have curly hair, you may find this information useful. I have used a few different sulfate-free shampoos. I think even some basic brands of shampoo are coming out with sulfate-free versions. I know I've seen them on the shelf, but I don't remember which brand. If you think about it, our hair doesn't get that dirty and most hair products are water soluble.

I use sulfate-free shampoo maybe once a week. I do break down and use a dandruff shampoo from time to time because I get dry scalp that flakes. (If I have time, I make an exfoliant with brown sugar and shampoo and rub it into the dry spots in my scalp and this works really well too.)  When I wash my hair, it's typically with Suave Naturals Conditioner.

I also use this product on my kids hair. I hardly EVER use shampoo on their hair. Unless maybe it's full of sand.

And now, your next tip.


It's like food for your hair. Full of vitamins, minerals and adds moisture to your hair. My sister actually uses honey to wash her face.

So what you do, is keep a cup in your shower. And a jar of honey. Make sure it's real honey, not honey colored fructose syrup.  Fill up the cup with warm water from the shower and put a squirt or two of honey in it. Stir it up a bit with the handle of your razor.

At the end of your shower, pour the warm honey water on your clean and rinsed hair. I usually pour a little bit over the top of my head, then flip my hair down and pour the rest over that way.

Someday I'll do a whole series on curly hair! I do a lot of funny things. But it works. Especially since carrying and nursing three babies sucked the life out of my hair!

And there you have it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2: You put the lime in the coconut

Today's post is going to be short and sweet. And I'm not going to link anything, haha!! Maybe later :) It's a doozy of a school week and add in kids and sports and practices and life and I'm barely hanging on. But all is well. We will get through.

Today's tip on a healthier you is COCONUT OIL.

Coconut oil is good for a variety of things. Right now I primarily use it in my bathroom. My mom always has a supply, and I have a little jar I put some of hers in every month or two. I've been using coconut oil as my nightly moisturizer for some time now. I also will use it in my hair before I go to bed. When I wake up in the morning and wash my hair, it's extra soft and shiny and the curls are really healthy.

A friend from college recently posted on her holistic health page how she washes her face with coconut oil and a warm washcloth--no soap or anything. And her skin glows!! I am now going to start doing this. I've read before about oil cleansing, but it involved mixing a few different types of essential oils I didn't have on hand, and have yet to purchase. My skin tends to be dry, but it's also a little blemish prone so I'm curious to see how this works in the long run.

I have decided it's time to purchase my own coconut oil and begin to use it in the kitchen. All oil has a smoke point--the temperature at which it begins to smoke, and change it's structure. The right oils are good for you in the right quantities, but putting oil in your system that's altered from it's original form may not provide the same benefits.

We typically cook with olive oil. I often use olive oil in baking as well as it's a poly-unsaturated fat (this is a good thing). But I'm ready to give cooking with coconut oil a try. I've heard a few people involved in nutrition say it's one of the only oils they will heat in their kitchen because of it's high smoke point.

So, what do you think?? Will you give coconut oil a try?

(and yes, I did give you one link--gotta hook a friend up, ya know?)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 1: bye bye sweet nectar

Welcome to Day 1 of my 31 Days posts.  I will be linking each day to my original post. This month I'll be writing about 31 Days to a Healthier You (and family).  I will share small, easy, sensible changes you can make to better the overall health of you and your family.

This first post is actually what inspired my topic for the series. In playing around with various ideas, I wasn't sure I could land on one that would be "do-able" for this season in my life. Then this morning I was working on assignments for my nutrition class (I'm in my first semester of nursing school) and was feeling convicted once again on an area in my life and it hit me---this is my 31 Days. Implementing things I'm learning, things I've already known and encouraging you to do the same. Some changes I've already made, some are in process. And some began today.

It's 10:04pm and I haven't had even a sip of Diet Coke today. I don't drink Diet Coke everyday. But almost everyday. And sometimes everyday for several days in a row. I blame my parents and their TAB drinking turned Diet Coke drinking habits when I was young. It was all we ever had in the house, so when I reached my teen years and they allowed me to make more of my own nutritional choices--I started drinking Diet Coke.

Then I went to college where Diet Coke was available from a fountain, several hours a day. And I had a reusable mug that was probably 20oz. I confess that I'd go to 8am classes with Diet Coke. I didn't drink coffee regularly then.

I've always struggled with weight, so Diet Coke was a great way to put something in my mouth and my stomach that had no calories. And I'm pretty sure it's addictive. It's known as "sweet nectar of the gods" and "frosty goodness" in our house. Yes, I got my husband addicted to it too. A few years ago McDonald's started selling their 32oz drinks for $1 or less, and they have the BEST carbonation mix in their sodas. Not good for the Diet Coke addiction.

But today I was doing research for a short paper on sugar substitutes. I've eliminated almost all sugar substitutes from my diet and my families as well. For a few years now I've KNOWN Diet Coke needed to go too. For multiple reasons. I know it's not good for me overall and I don't want my kids drinking it, so I need to stop. They are old enough to know and talk about it and ask for drinks and sneak drinks. I don't want my kids addicted to Diet Coke.

I happened upon this little article. Now, I know it's not scientific. But I know that I (and other frosty-goodness addicts in my family) have experienced some of the things cited in this article. I've read various articles over the past few years saying basically the same kinds of things.

Often I crave actual sugar with my Diet Coke or after drinking it. I am super thirsty all day. I drink so much water. I hate that I wake up at night to pee because I drank too much water before bed. (this may or may not be related to Diet Coke. I may just be a water freak, which is better than a Diet Coke freak). All my years of consuming Diet Coke has not necessarily helped me lose weight.

I cringe to confess that I drank Diet Coke during a few of my pregnancies. I figured if the caffeine in a cup of coffee was safe, so was the caffeine in the soda. But, I didn't think much about the aspartame and that it probably was passing to my babies.

So bottom line, I'm done. For reals. And this 31 Day exercise is going to help me with it.

Here's my question for you. What in your diet do you know isn't good for you and you can't seem to give it up? Now sugar or fatty foods or something broad isn't what I'm looking for here. Try to be more specific. Do you drink a sugar-loaded fancy coffee drink every day? An energy drink? A donut every morning? Maybe a super-processed food that has a ten year shelf life.

Day 1 is all about owning it and saying adios to it. And perhaps finding a healthier substitute.

This is my savior when it comes to not drinking Diet Coke.

Vons is less than 5 minutes from my house (it may be called Safeway in your area) and they sell naturally flavored seltzer water that has no sweeteners or sodium in it. It's fizzy, cold and has a slightly sweet flavor. Multi-berry and Mandarin Orange are my favorite flavors. I plan to keep plenty on hand to counteract my Diet Coke cravings. Often, I'm just looking for something cold and fizzy to drink.

If you don't have Vons or Safeway in your parts, you can probably find this at Target or Wal-Mart.  Arrowhead flavored Sparkling Water. These bottles are bigger than I prefer, but I've been known to buy them. As well as Perrier lime sparkling water.

So there you have it. Tomorrow I'll be back with another small change you can make for a healthier you.

I'd love to hear in the comments what you are considering giving up.

31 Days (and links to all my posts)

31 Days Posts:

Bye Bye Sweet Nectar

You Put the Lime in the Coconut 

No Poo and a Little Honey

Plank It Out

For the last week or so I've been seeing talk of The Nester's "31 Days" series. It seems to be an annual thing that bloggers participate in. You choose a topic and write a short post each day in October on that subject. I enjoy participating in these types of things and it's a good creative outlet as well.

I've been thinking on and off of what I might write on. Being that I'm in nursing school and have three kids and try to work part-time too, I don't have a lot of time to research or compose complex posts.

This morning as I was doing a short research paper for a nutrition class, an easy but meaningful topic hit me! The last few years, my interest in health and nutrition for myself and my family has increased. Part of this has been due to becoming a runner and reading a lot on running, which leads to exercise and nutrition topics as well.

Slowly, I've been making small changes to my own health and nutrition, and my families as well.

So, without further ado I present to you:

31 Days to a Healthier You & Healthier Family

These will be small, simple things you can do for the good of your body. They will be varied and usually inexpensive.

Let me preface this also by saying, by no means are we an extremely healthy family. We eat things we "shouldn't." We have bad habits. We are busy and sometimes lazy. BUT, we are trying. I am trying. I don't have the money or the time to make huge changes. But instead of being overwhelmed by the enormity of health and nutrition info out there, I just pick small things to work on.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

grace and rhythm

I am struggling to find my rhythm.

As a mom of two children in school.  With one child still at home. As a nursing student. With classes at night. After a long day of mothering. With a one-hour drive each way.

Everything is new to me. I've always worked. I've never had two children in school.

But everything is the same too. The same kids. The same dishes and laundry. The same errands and shopping.

Yesterday, even though I started getting ready to leave for school an hour before I needed to leave, I still left 15 minutes late. And of course hit more traffic then I ever have, making me miss the first 20 minutes of class.

This morning I forgot to write checks and fill out the forms for school pictures. I thought getting back to school within an hour with the forms would be sufficient, but both girls had to retake their photos. Not the end of the world. But I don't like being the flakey parent. And I feel like I shouldn't be, since I'm not working right now.

Well, I'm doing some hotel childcare on the weekends, based on demand. And trying to list items on eBay, but even that hasn't been happening, even though I'm at home much of each day.

I'm not one to need a strict schedule. But I like routine. And I've yet to establish a new one for this next phase of life.

Summer's rhythm was pretty easy, and fun to find. Maybe I'd get up early to run, maybe I'd sleep until one of the little girls woke me up (which was around 7am). About half of the week we'd do a fun activity--Sea World, the beach, the Bay, swimming in someone's pool. Which was still work because I was making lunches, packing snacks, and keeping the house in order. A few days a week we'd mostly hang at home, run a few errands. Our swimsuits got a lot of use this summer.

But now school is in. For me and the kids. Gracie is in kindergarten, still figuring it all out. Miss Rose is in third grade, and they have hit the ground running and I know it's going to get more intense. Not to mention all three kids are playing sports, on three different teams.

Mondays I leave right when Bean gets home, and Lily has soccer practice at 5:30pm.

Tuesdays I take Lily to Grammie's house, and they pick the girls up from school and I get home from my class about 6:30pm. Oh, and Miss Rose now has flag football practice from 5-6:30pm.

Wednesdays I leave 15-20 minutes before Bean gets home and the kids hang with my mom. Before I leave, I need to have Gracie and Lily dressed for soccer practice, because their practices are one after the other, at two different parks.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining. Because I'm truly not. I am still so excited about pursuing my dream of being a nurse. And I'm so thankful our children are able to play sports. As I sat tonight at Miss Rose's practice, at a park I grew up coming to, there were probably over 100 kids participating in various sports practices. Due to finances and moving a lot, I never played sports growing up. I may whine a bit, but I'm truly grateful and my heart is full watching them be able to participate.

Getting home late two nights a week, and then sometimes babysitting late on the weekends, my internal clock is all messed up. I am accustomed to being home in the evenings, winding down and being in bed at a decent time. But at least half of the week now, that is not the case. It's hard to go straight to bed after getting home from school and a one hour drive.

Poking and prodding two children to be ready for school on time is challenging too. We are finding what works there too. Gracie doesn't really hit the ground with her feet running. She wants to play and dawdle, like she did all summer, and the past 5 years for that matter.

Part of me wanted to get mad at myself this morning. I should have my act together. I should have done their picture forms the night before, or days before when I first got them.

But all I felt was grace. Grace for forgetting. Grace for not being in that rhythm yet. Grace in accepting this is all new to me, to us.

Grace that we are all right where we are supposed to be.

It's not often that I'm able to give myself grace.  But today I was.

Lily is adjusting better to being the only child at home. I'm working on developing new routines and plans for the daily things of life. I'm breathing in and out. And doing the next thing. Loving my family and walking the path laid before me. I feel blessed to be home more during this season and even when the finances are scary, we are trusting.

Rhythm will come.

Friday, September 7, 2012

kinder and 3rd grade: week 1 down

It has been a successful first week of school in our household.

Well except for the three year old who doesn't know what to do with herself.  She asks multiple times each day, "when are we picking up the girls?" or she asks "where's Gracie?" as Gracie has been her constant companion her entire life. It's going to take a few weeks I think for she and I to find some patterns to keep her occupied.

Miss Rose and Gracie were excited to be picked up each day, but they had smiles on their faces.  They are still adjusting to the new schedule. As the week wore on, they were more tired each evening and morning. Especially Gracie!

After having a minimum day on Wednesday (every Wednesday is a minimum day in our district), on Thursday Gracie was complaining about having to go to school all day. Most of last year she only went to preschool for half a day. It is long for a 5-year old! She has been so tired the last few nights. I hope she sleeps in tomorrow, at least a little. Especially since she has a soccer game at 11:30 and it should be pretty toasty by then.

For Gracie, food is not really a necessary item. She seems to get by on a small amount of food at times. She hasn't eaten much this week it seems, even at home. I am not sure if she's just so tired at night that food isn't appealing or what. Today she didn't eat much of her lunch because she said she couldn't open some of the items. Bento lunches are super popular right now on the interwebs, and perhaps this can be a solution for her. She doesn't eat a ton, but she needs to eat. A bento box with small amounts of food ready to eat may help.

Tomorrow my "soccer mom status" will double with both Lily and Gracie playing! Their games are at 10 and 11:30 tomorrow, so we will be at field for close to 3 hours. I'm thankful we have an EZ-Up to provide shade and we will have ice and drinks on hand as well.

I can't wait though. They are so cute and excited!

Two girls from Gracie's team are in her class at school and a few others are in other classes there.  Gracie never wants her hair up but it's been so hot a ponytail is a must for soccer and I just love how it shows off her face.

And then there's Lily-bug. She is soooo excited to play soccer. My sister-in-law is coaching the team which is fun as well. Her practices are on a night I'm in class, so I haven't been able to see her play in person. I cannot wait for tomorrow. 

But seriously. Can you handle this? I die.

Miss Rose will start flag football soon and then I'll have three children playing sports. Although I struggle a little bit with guilt regarding finances and loans and the demands of nursing school, I feel so blessed to be driving my girls to school and spending the day with Lily and picking them up all but one day. I just wish this mom gig actually paid!  Cause I could rock it full-time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

wordless wednesday: first day of Kindergarten

From yesterday. First day of kindergarten.

Observe with me.

1. Lily must be in all pictures

2. Grace is excited with a smile on her face.

3. Gracie is also nervous, because she's also almost knocking me over she's holding on so tight.

4. Lily isn't too sure about dropping Gracie off either.

5. I'm right where I belong.

purple squares

It's Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day. We dropped off TWO kids at school this morning. I'm not sure why, but I felt a little more anxious about leaving Gracie at Kindergarten then I did Miss Rose. Miss Rose cried on her first day though, Gracie did not. I guess it's because Gracie is a little more reserved and doesn't show a lot of emotion (kinda like me). She saves it up and it pours out when tipped over. I was never concerned that Miss Rose wouldn't know what to do. She is a rule follower and isn't afraid to ask questions. Gracie goes with the flow and doesn't always pay as close of attention. She likes to be in her own world.

The first words out of her mouth this morning were "I don't want to go to school." But then she became intrigued with the idea of a treat in her lunch and we heard no more complaints. We did laps around the school, finding Miss Rose's new classroom, seeing our next-door neighbor's and finding my nephew who is starting kindergarten as well. Gracie seemed a little overwhelmed, but I had prepared her that parents don't go into the classroom, we just hug and kiss her at the door. She entered the class and a breathed a HUGE sigh of relief that there were purple squares on the carpet. Last night when I explained the routine to her and said there were colored carpet squares to sit on, she said she hoped there was purple. Sure enough, she plopped down on the a purple square without hardly looking at me, although her face a bit drawn.

I know Gracie will have a blast. I'm thankful she'll see her next-door-neighbor-best-friend and cousin at recess and lunch. And Miss Rose is in third grade and she pretty much knows all things about school. She was bummed to not have any of her good friends in her class, but she did get the teacher she wanted, who reportedly lets the kids play dodgeball. This is the third teacher now she's had in common with her big cousin who also attended the elementary school and started high school today.

Bean took the day off to be there this morning and then to pick the girls up from school since I have to leave for class before they are done. I wanted one of us to be there for pick-up their first day. He's off with Lily running errands and shopping at Costco at 10am with all the elderly.

I've been studying and enjoying a little quiet. And taking a blogging break!  Today feels weird. Not just because Gracie is now in school, but every other Tuesday for the last four years, we've done the first day of school routine and then I headed in to my office for our weekly staff meeting.

But this Tuesday, we got a coffee for me, donut holes for Bean and Lily and drove home. I am missing the community of our staff, although I know I will soon have new community in nursing school. The summer was a blast and so much fun. I truly have one of the best tans of my adulthood. I am thankful to have my mornings with Lily, to study and take care of other life things. This semester is an ease-into-nursing-school, but I know it's going to get harder.

I'll find my purple square on the carpet too.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

pass the coffee {nursing school week 1}

Things I've learned, observed and experienced during my first week of nursing school.

In list format.  Because why not.

1. Commuting 6 hours in 3 days is tiring

2. Singing keeps me awake better than podcasts while driving

3. The two nights I get home past 9pm, I should probably just get straight in bed and unwind and go to sleep.

4. I wish we had a TV in our bedroom though. (no dear husband, this is not license to go purchase one)

5. Nutrition should be pretty easy, considering the textbook is the same as a lower division nutrition class I took a few years ago.

6. The ethics professor has spent far too much time developing a "Big Grid" of assignments, so everyone is turning in different work each week. I don't understand why.

7. Culture & Medicine will probably be the most interesting for me because I'm interested in natural healing and the professor lives in Mexico and spent a lot of time studying regular and medical anthropology in areas I'm familiar with. And inside I'm a Mexicana.

8. My husband rocks because on the two nights I'm at school he's shuttling kids to soccer practices, which also means they need baths after. I would be lost without his support.

9. I'm crazy. But there is one other crazy chick in my cohort. And we sat next to each other randomly. She has three kids too. There seems to be only one other person in the program with a child.

10. I've wondered why I ended up in the cohort that requires an hour drive each day, but maybe it's because this other mom and I will be great encouragement to one another.

11. I see students further into the program in their scrubs, everyone chatting and bonded and I get excited. I will be there before I know it.

12. Thursdays will still be my favorite. And when I'm most tired. I'm thankful to have a chunk of days I don't have to drive and go to class.

13. I told Lily she was going to do "school" with me this year. I need to find some preschool curriculum for her!

14. I am blessed.

15. I am trusting God.

16. I am thankful.

Monday, August 20, 2012

just write 8.21.12

Just write. {linking up}

It's not something I've done well lately. And I was reflecting on it tonight. Praying about it. I love to write. I love to record my life, my thoughts. I have ideas about things I want to write daily.

Yet I have failed to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys much lately. This summer actually. Since I resigned/retired from my pastoral job. Perhaps I needed more refreshing than I thought. Perhaps I needed to rest my brain. I have certainly done that.

I'm hoping as my nursing classes begin, as two of my three head off to school, that new routines will come and my writing will resume. Writing a book is a "bucket list" item. I don't even care if said book is published or makes money, but to write a cohesive unit on a topic is something I would love to accomplish. The development of a book is as exciting to me as writing it. Like crafting a sermon or a talk. The skeleton is as important as the flesh.

Summer is winding down. My middle baby is starting kindergarten. I'm worried about entertaining my littlest one at home without her sisters and without preschool. She's not a great independent player. But somehow I will need to teach her to be. To find ways to occupy her that are beneficial to her development. I don't want to park her in front of the TV. But I will have schoolwork to do while her sisters are gone. I'm about to familiarize myself with free preschool curriculum.

I know we will find that rhythm. But it's on my mind a lot. I'm ready for it to get here, so we can start. Yet I want to cherish these last drops of summer.

I would love to know. What are your favorite books that inspire you to write?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

wrapping up summer

The summer has flown by, but I have cherished every moment. I start school in one week and Miss Rose and Gracie start in two weeks. I can't believe it's here, but we are ready.

This time with my girls has been so wonderful. I think they have really benefitted from having me home and with them for the past three months. While they aren't perfect and still have their moments, their behavior has been good and meltdowns have been few and far between (especially for Miss Rose). I am hoping that since I will still be home more even once I start school, this will continue. Kids need a parent as much as possible and I'm thankful to be making some changes to hopefully allow me more time with them than I've had in the past. Mama's need their babies too.

We've been to the beach and bay so many times this summer. And Lily is swimming really well. This is the youngest any of my kids have actually swam, but she is quite motivated to keep up with her sisters. And plenty of opportunities in the pool helps also. Last week at the beach Lily was the bravest she's been and was in water up to her hips and would even sit down in the water in between waves.

This coming week we will be at the beach at least one more time. We have been enjoying the $1 summer movies also and the last one shows Tuesday and Wednesday. Sea World may also be in order. We are going squeeze out every last bit of summer we can.

The next two summers I will be in school, carrying a full load. I should still have time with the kids but we won't be as footloose and fancy free as we are this summer.

It's a beautiful thing to be facing the next transition and feel peace and readiness. Summer has been wonderful, but routine and working towards my goals will be fantastic too. I am so thankful for God's blessings and guidance in these decisions. There have been (and still are) plenty of moments of anxiety and questioning, but I know I am right where He wants me to be.  And that's the best place to be.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tore up from the floor up.


She was awake. I was making dinner. Two other adults in the kitchen.

She is a wreck. A glorious, hilarious wreck. Which I (or maybe my sister said). She looked up and said "I'm not a wreck and I'm not a Baby Dinosaur."

Um yes, I think you are.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

disneyland: pictures are worth thousands of words

Pictures speak a thousand words, so instead of a long minute-by-minute recap of our two days at Disneyland, I think the pictures are much more fun!  Here's some highlights, with a few words.

From right to left:
the princess castle was very popular with the little girls
Canoe ride. Chosen by Miss Rose. Bean refused. Didn't want to sweat. 
Miss Rose said it was her first and last time canoeing. 
The girls & I got stuck on the river rapids ride at cali adventure. 
But we got 2 fastpasses out of it for 6 people each.
Daddy & Gracie on Small World
Daddy & girls getting ready to enter the Happiest Place On Earth
Gracie not happy that I dragged her on the river ride, then we got stuck
Going in to Cali adventure
Gracie with the gorilla at Rain Forest Cafe. Her new BFF
Lily actually enjoying it's a small world. After we dragged her on it.
The Orange County dwelling auntie got to join us at dinner 
Miss Rose mad she missed the final drop on the river ride (but she rode it 2x later)

Oh the faces of Lily. Who was a little overwhelmed by it all. 
Kept telling us "I'll wait right here".
I confess, I dragged her on rides screaming. 
Which she usually enjoyed once they got started.
She may not be coming with us for our third day.
She did like the Ladybugs and Bumper Cars in Bugs Land.
And the carousel, despite the face in the above photo.

Carsland! SO FUN. Especially at night. 
Which is when our fastpasses were for, even though Bean was in line before 8am.
Gracie rode with us.
Miss Rose rode with friends.
Lily did NOT ride.
Hey Bean, I took a really cool pic of you & the girls with Radiator Springs in the background.
Oh. You took a picture of me & the girls and the street. Awesome.

Lily, ready for some bumper car action
A great family photo. Oh wait, Miss Rose isn't smiling. It's always one.
Gracie & friends!
On the way home. Major Disneyland hangovers. Gracie watching a movie in her sunglasses. Lily almost knocked out (she fell asleep just after this photo)
And later, Miss Rose even fell asleep.
Mohawk Mickey. The perfect hat for my girl.

It really was a wonderful trip. 
We shared it with some great friends too, which Miss Rose especially loved because her best buds were there to hang with and ride the rides. And we had our family time too.
We are so grateful for the gifts that made it possible for us to have this experience as a family.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

sunday set list {8.5.12}

For months now I've wanted to share music with you on Sundays. For many, many years I made worship set lists each week, often two or three a week. Worship is one of the most important ways that I connect with God. I play worship music in our home almost every day.

I'm jumping in today. Planning to make this a weekly thing.

I've heard this song before, but a friend of mine shared "Come to Me" with me this week, as something the Lord put on her heart for me in this season of life where I am stepping out and doing something new. Whenever I am in doubt, when I am anxious, when I am facing the unknown, I will turn to this song and trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I will acknowledge him and trust that he will make the way straight before me.

I am the Lord your God, I go before you now
I stand beside you, I'm all around you
Though you feel I'm far away, I'm closer than your breath
I am with you, more than you know

I am the Lord your peace, no evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind, come into My rest
Oh, let your faith arise, lift up your weary head
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm everything
Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm your everything

 am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast, so don't be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you, I'm your faithful strength
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm your everything
Come to Me, I'm all you need.
Come to Me, I'm your everything

Don't look to the right or to the left but keep your eyes on Me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved ooh
I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to Me, come to Me, cause I'm all that you need

Is there a particular album or song that has spoken to you recently?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

we all have hangovers

We had so much fun at Disneyland.

Exhausting fun.

Our kids survived 16+ hour days like champs.

Which makes sleeping 2 and 3 to a hotel bed not an issue because everyone is so tired.  Except for Bean last night who got nailed a few times by LilyBug

Driving home today the girls had Disneyland Hangovers.

Gracie even had her "hangover glasses" on.  Lily wasn't asleep in this photo (just looking down) but she did fall asleep 15 minutes later. Gracie is intently watching a movie, not mad.

And then a while later, the hangover claimed Miss Rose too and she crashed out in the back seat. 

I may have even dozed off the last 30 minutes of our drive. No I wasn't driving! 

It is good to be home and everyone was in bed on time, in their own beds. Bean has tomorrow off too, so we will enjoy a slow day, getting back in the groove of things. 

We are so thankful we got to have this experience together. It was a successful vacation as a family of 5!

Monday, July 30, 2012

a few days with the Mouse

We are just about packed up and ready for our little family vacation. We head up to Disneyland early in the morning. We are spending the next day at California Adventure, then spending one more night and taking our time leaving the next morning.

I know this is our first official vacation as a family of 5 (which we have been for 3.5 years). It may be our first vacation since having more than one child. When you live in a vacation destination, and your kids are little and need naps and a good nights sleep, cramming into a hotel room just doesn't sound fun. But we have been in no-nap land for a few months now and it's finally time.

Plus you know, we were blessed with the tickets and 1 night in a hotel. Money is always an issue in vacations too!

The girls are so excited. We had to make a paper link chain a few weeks ago to help them count down. Although Gracie (5) kept calling it a "keychain." Not only are they excited about Disneyland, but also about staying in a hotel. I'm not sure what they are expecting and we won't be ordered room service, but hopefully it will be memorable. I haven't mentioned to them that the hotel has a small waterpark too.

Gracie "packed" her suitcase by herself earlier tonight. It was 3/4 full of stuffed animals, toys and blankets. She had two outfits and two pairs of pajamas and that was it! Who needs anything else when you are going to the happiest place on earth.

We went to Disneyland a little over two years ago when Miss Rose and Gracie were 6 and 3. Would you believe I didn't write a post on our trip? Nor did I upload any pictures of it to Facebook. AND I recently archived photos from my computer to an external drive an OF COURSE that was the last month that I archived. So I have nothing to show you.

Gracie doesn't remember much about that trip in 2010. I have no doubt that Lily will remember this trip though. Gracie and Lily are "princess" girls and may pee their pants when they see the princesses around the park. We've promised them all they can get a few souvenirs as well.

I'm hoping to convince them all to ride as many rides as possible. Miss Rose will be pretty adventurous and I think Lily will too--Gracie is the one who may be most hesitant.

Above all, Bean and I are looking forward to family time and memories made. It may be hot and crowded, but we are all their together and that's what matters.

Follow me on Twitter and you're sure to hear a little bit about our trip as it progresses.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

slow run, slow life

Running has become a metaphor for almost everything in my life. It's very common for me to equate running, training, or racing to various aspects of life. A lot of these metaphors stay in my head. I worry that I talk about running too much. Especially for someone who's not a fierce competitor and my times are "fast for me."

But nonetheless, I am a runner. Running has become integral and crucial in my life, so I talk about it.
This is the second year my husband and I have been involved in a marriage discipleship group. There is a mentor couple that lead the group of six couples. We meet quarterly for a day. There is a theme for the day and we spend the morning alone with God, then the afternoon together with God. Our group is called "Alone Together."  Both Roger and I have really benefitted personally and together from these days alone together. It's an investment in ourselves and our marriage.

Read the rest of my post over on my running blog...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

just be me

"When you let others’ expectations drive you, you scatter your energy to the winds," -Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

I struggle with this.
I struggle with being me. With owning my feelings and not feeling guilty for how I feel.
I'm often overly concerned with what people think, how my actions and words will be taken.
I don't want to cause people pain. I don't want to let people down.

But I'm working on this. I need to be okay with owning my feelings. Even if others wish I felt different. Even if they feel let down.

I need to just be me.
To do what I need to do. To be where I need to be. To say no. To say yes. Because it's right for me.
To have things I don't do. 
To know what I do.

Who I am is who God made me.
Who I am is because of my life experiences.
Who I am is because of who HE is.

In this season

I will

Just be me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

at least I can still eat ice cream and chips & salsa

Several years ago, hardly anyone knew what "gluten" and "gluten-free" meant.  Most of us had never heard the word. I remember in 2007 going on a missions trip and a few members were bringing a lot of their own food due to celiac disease.  Three or four years ago, my youngest sister started having a lot of digestive and health issues and cut gluten out of her diet and had some positive results. She makes the most divine bread rolls every Thanksgiving, yet she has never eaten them.

A few months ago I was talking to my chiropractor and he mentioned he was reading a book called Wheat Belly and how he had recently cut wheat out of his diet due to some health issues--and he's a pretty healthy guy to begin with. He said in one month of being wheat-free he had dropped several pounds and felt better than he had in months.

I was intrigued and put a request in at my library for the book. The waiting list was super long, so I also requested the audio version.  The audio version came available sooner and I started listening at the end of June on a 2-hour round trip drive.

It was pretty interesting to hear about this heart doctor's experiences with his patients and the research he did on wheat and how it affects the body. The basic premise of the book is that the wheat crop has been changed and hybridized over thousands of years to make it more hearty and produce more for the entire world. What we eat as wheat, even if it's organic, is drastically different from the ancient crop. And our bodies don't necessarily fare well with how modern wheat affects us.

According to the book, wheat effects every system in our bodies. And one of it's byproducts during digestion actually crosses the blood-brain barrier. I came across this awesome blog post that outlines some of the effects of wheat on our bodies. I'll summarize here, but check out the post for more details.

Wheat creates exorphins--which are similar to endorphins and make us feel happy. Then we get grumpy when there are no more exorphins and we want more. So we get another piece of bread.  Wheat is also an appetite stimulant. When you eat it, you want more. So you binge. All the carbs stimulate insulin, which shifts our bodies into fat storage.

Quotes are from the above linked blog.

"Brain fog, persistent fatigue and profound lethargy are common side effects of wheat consumption because of the wheat proteins that cross the blood-brain barrier."  You don't have to have celiac disease to be sensitive to gluten. That's what the doctor determined with my sister.  This is heavy: "Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can damage the brain and nervous system, thus causing dementia, balance loss, migraines, peripheral neuropathy, ADHD and autism symptoms."

Not only these things, but wheat raises your blood sugar more than regular table sugar. "That means wheat based products which constitute of huge part of a standard American diet are causing big swings in blood sugar and insulin levels. A big gush of insulin will cause blood sugar to drop quickly, which in turn produces a backlash of hypoglycemic symptoms - shakiness, nausea or headache."

There's more, but those are some of the most outstanding things to me.

I am NOT one prone to fad diets or saying "I'll never eat/drink that again." I believe in moderation and balance. And we all have vices. Like cupcakes and Diet Coke, right? I want to enjoy life and food is enjoyable to me.  I run to have the release, but I also run so I can enjoy dessert.

However, I was intrigued enough to do a wheat-free experiment. I started with 5 or 6 days. At times it was a little challenging. I enjoy a piece of toast with morning eggs, and I love Flat-Out wraps. We eat pasta and bread at least once a week for dinner and who doesn't love pizza? I tried reading labels and looking for added wheat but I wasn't ultra vigilant.  

My initial goal was better control of my appetite and perhaps making headway with the pesky 5-10lbs that I can't seem to lose no matter how much I run, exercise and count calories (the book addresses this issue too).  I did notice that I didn't get as ravenous and seemed to be a little less tired. And maybe I was having fewer headaches also.

I have been plagued with headaches my entire life. I remember being in first grade and getting terrible headaches causing me to need to lie down in a dark room. I have taken so much Advil in my life it's atrocious. In college I went to a neurologist and didn't find anything seriously wrong with me--I have a small mouth and I have TMJ and that is a source of tension for my head.  My headaches are a combo of tension and migraines. 

After the first 5 or 6 days, I totally fell off the bandwagon for the weekend. I was going into a 2 day cleanse and as always binged before doing that. But the cleanse went well and after that I stayed relatively wheat-free. That second week it became clear that I was having way fewer headaches, and only took Advil once or twice instead of daily. And the mid-afternoon slump almost completely disappeared. Usually I want to lay down and take a nap every afternoon, no matter how much sleep I got the night before. But not having all the blood sugar rises and dips gave me more sustaining energy.

This last week I did a few more experiments.  I ate pasta and bread a few nights ago. And before I even left the dinner table I felt the particular type of pain in my head that signals an oncoming bad headache. Because I have had these headaches my entire life, I have learned to function pretty well with them. They've been almost daily. Going to the chiropractor regularly has helped, but they have still been an issue.  

One day last week was really busy and we were gone most of the day and I didn't have enough "good" food with me to eat. I ate chips and other junk and had a bad headache that night. I felt terrible.

Now that it's been 3-4 weeks, I really notice the changes in my body when I eat gluten. I usually get bloated, often a headache and bad gas. Yup. I said bad gas. It's the truth.  On Sunday I decided to eat a donut with the family and sure enough, I felt yucky for several hours. (but I love maple donuts, so it was kinda worth it)

So, I guess I'm giving the gluten-free lifestyle a try. The other night the family ate Costco pizza and I wanted some so badly. Thankfully though, there are a lot of foods I enjoy that are gluten-free, so I don't have to miss out. Hello burrito bowls at Chipotle! 

I'm still navigating this for myself. Tonight I ate grilled ham & cheese on a corn tortilla. Not quite the same as toasty bread, but it worked. Ultimately, I'd like to cut back on the gluten my kids eat. I wonder if it would help Miss Rose's allergies and some minor skin issues she has. It would certainly keep their blood sugar more stable which could mean less behavior issues. My girls (like me) have always been sensitive to low blood sugar and lack of protein in their diet. 

I will say, the Wheat Belly book recommends limiting other foods and ingredients in your diet as well. I'm not quite there, and I don't know that I ever will be. I want to feel good and enjoy life. If not eating wheat helps me feel good, then that's enough for me.  I like not feeling ravenous and I love having energy in the afternoon.

I'm hoping that an occasional cupcake will still agree with me. The frosting is the most important part ot me anyways.

And, at least I can still eat ice cream and chips & salsa. 

Edited to add: Here's another article, shorter than the previous one linked, that outlines major points from the book as well.