Thursday, January 29, 2015

Whole 30 Regress-Week 3

Does that say "regress"? Shouldn't it say "progress"?

You read it right the first time, folks, it says regress. As is, we went backwards not forwards on our goals. Please excuse me while I go hang my head in shame. I wish I could say it was just one moment of a mistake, but it was a few. You see, what had happened was. . . 

Thursday night I was making Whole30 compliant fish "tacos". I was so proud of myself for coming up with ways to make this recipe okay for us to eat and still taste good. We sat down to supper, enjoyed our tacos and each other's company. Bliss. Until David got up for seconds and looked at the salsa jar and realized there was sugar in it. *face in palm* Argh! I didn't even think to check! Rookie move! I was so caught up in not using tortillas and any dairy products that I didn't even think about the salsa. Tsk tsk.

Fast forward to Friday evening. David's mom generously offered to watch Amelia Grace so we could go on a date. For some reason we were really excited about this date night. Nothing really to celebrate, but we still wanted to do it up big. Dinner, movie, the whole shebang! Our go-to of Outback just didn't seem right. Our most favorite local restaurant was participating in Charlotte Restaurant Week so we headed over there. We were sucked into the good deal of three courses for $30 which included our favorite appetizer (a combination of pimento cheese and guacamole) and a dessert of peanut butter pie. And of course what date night isn't complete without a little local brew? Yea, folks, we didn't just fall off the wagon-the wagon tipped over and threw us off into a pile of delicious food.

Saturday morning we woke up with full intentions of hitching ourselves back to the wagon and continuing on. Then my sister, her boyfriend, and my mom came down to visit, so my brother and his wife came over as well. Before we knew it we had a rowdy game of Dominoes going and a good time was had by all! Adding to that good time were a few local craft beers from 201 Central. And what's a fun evening without a little dessert? Yea, it was badddddd. 

So, where are we in all of this? Good question. I am bummed we were only a week shy of our goal and we didn't make it, but does that mean we're tossing in the towel completely? Nope. We love the way we feel eating clean and that's not going to go away. We have learned a lot through this and I love how I've been stretched in the kitchen with the meal prep. Our lifestyle and way of viewing food has been altered significantly and for that I am thankful. We are going to continue on with it and keep eating as healthy and clean as we can. We are going to continue to steer clear of processed foods as much as we possibly can and only allow ourselves the occasional treat. 

Te he he, I feel like I've said this a zillion times. . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Vision

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction.
-Proverbs 29:18

So often we think we have a vision for our lives and so often God shows us that His vision is greater, but man, is it hard to just let God's vision be our vision. Am I right?? My vision straight out of high school was to become a childhood nutritionist and save all the little children of America from childhood obesity. God showed me through Chemistry 101 and a stint as an Orientation Counselor that was not what He had in mind for me and led me to a path in education. My vision for our family was knocked off its axis in a big way when we lost Emerson mid-way through our pregnancy. And now God is working to change the vision He has for our family's future in ministry. 

Since college David has felt a calling on his heart for something more; something beyond the day to day, 9-5, engineering plan he set out for. God opened doors through the Community Group ministry of our old church to show David the gift he has for preaching. When we moved back to the Charlotte area God led us to Hope Church and many opportunities to serve and use our various gifts-David in the Community Group ministry and me with the kiddos. Over the past four and a half years God has used His vision to lead us down paths we never really saw ourselves going down. David's heart for ministry never wavered, though. He continued to feel a pull for something more and recently has felt that tug even more so. 

So, what does that mean exactly? Good question. If God lets you know, will you let us know? ;-) Currently, we are praying big prayers and asking for God's guidance in our lives. We are asking for His vision to become our vision, and to clear the haze of uncertainty right now. We are praying for wisdom and words, as well as provision for His plan. 

Would you please join us in prayer?

Special thanks to SheReadsTruth for pulling on my heart in a big way yet again!

Monday, January 26, 2015

January Baby Dates

Martin Luther King Jr. did a lot of awesome things for our nation and we are incredibly grateful for how hard he worked to push our nation towards equality. But there are few people more thankful than public school teachers. Why, you may ask, are teachers so grateful? Because the celebration of his accomplishments often leads to a much-needed day off from school ;-) All jokes aside, Dr. King was an impressive man whom we really are thankful for!

On this particular day off from school we were able to gather the little babies at our house for a few hours of "play", which really means chit chat for the mommas. The babes are starting to interact much more than they ever have before and we all can't wait until they actually play with each other!

Of course everyone wanted the same toys that made all the noises 

I know my hand tastes good, but how does yours taste?

Just chill in. . . 

 We forgot to take the picture before Adah had to head out, but Braylen and Amelia Grace cooperated for us;-)

Sadly we were missing one-fourth of our quartet this time around as Cohen battles some nasty viral bugs. We're hoping and praying this is the last of it for him and he can finally get some relief from all these germs!

I don't know who's more excited about their next break from school, us or them??

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January Hikes

Two Januarys ago we were walking through a rough time healing from losing Emerson. On a randomly warm Saturday we decided to get out of the house and hike Crowder's Mountain. It was a really good day. Fast forward two years and we decided to take advantage of another random January warm up. 

My parents came to stay with Amelia Grace since we knew trying to take a baby on a two-hour hike was asking for trouble. We kept joking that it was "Daisy's day" since she was the center of attention again. No sharing the back seat or worrying about sitting on a baby for her!

We took the same path we did last time, which lead us up the mountain on a moderate path before we hit a gravelly trail. Then it was the beast set of stairs. Two years ago I was two weeks from having a baby and about 15 pounds heavier than I was this time around. My big goal was to be able to climb all the stairs without having to rest and I am happy to say I did it! My goal for next time is to be able to go two at a time. We'll see how that goes. . . ;-)

 The view from the top. . .

Once we reached the top we quickly refueled with some water and apple slices (sticking to that Whole30!) before heading back down through the rocky terrain. Daisy was absolutely fearless as she leapt over piles of rocks and treacherous roots. It was fun to just let her roam a bit too.

My stud of a husband and the original princess.

All-in-all it took about 2 hours to do the whole loop. We weren't racing to see how fast we could do it, but you better believe we will be next time!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Whole 30 Progress-Week 2

We've officially made it another week-whooooooo! I am happy to say that things have gotten easier and we aren't craving sugar as much as we were. I would love to say we're not craving it at all, but you're talking to the queen of cookie cakes and sweet treats. It's going to take a lot more than two weeks to kick my tastebuds into gear, but we are two weeks closer than we were. 

One big observation from this past week is how full of fridge is. On the flip side our pantry is practically empty. I guess that's what happens when you're focusing on eating fresher foods and cutting out the stuff that sticks around for months. 

How are we feeling? Stinkin' awesome! A sweet friend of ours from Community Group noted how we seemed to be dragging last week and how this week we definitely weren't. I feel like I could run a marathon every day and the mid-afternoon slump I used to feel daily is longggggg gone. 

Meal planning and prepping is still going well too. I did learn not to try to make a complicated new recipe on a night David is working late. Thank heavens for ring slings and baby wearing! ;-) Here is what we chowed down on this week:

Sunday-pork chops, apple cider brussel sprouts, cabbage
Monday-buffalo chicken peppers (these were awesome), cauliflower, asparagus
Tuesday-taco salad, roasted garlic broccoli
Wednesday-Italian chicken skillet, kale, spaghetti squash
Thursday-Mexican chili lime soup, zucchini
Friday-steaks, rosemary sweet potatoes, garlic green beans
Saturday-chicken enchilada soup

Lots of yummy flavors and new foods that we will be keeping on the rotation. Many thanks to those who have helped out with recipe options and suggestions-keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A few of our favorite things. . . . Birth-6 months

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

While those things are all wonderful, that's not what we're talking about here today. We're talking about baby gear, specifically the ones that get you from birth to the six month range. 

If you search the internet for what you need for a baby, you're going to be so inundated with information you may end up entering "shut down" mode like I did. I literally had to shut the laptop lid before I shut down from being so overwhelmed. There is SO much information out there! Most new parents end up registering for all this new stuff, and then a week or so in realize they don't half of it. Or, realize they need completely different stuff. Fun times, right? Not that we're professionals at this AT ALL, but I have been pondering the few items that really helped us the first few months. Without further adieu, a few of our favorite things. . .

 As you can see she spends a lot of time in the swing

Baby girl loves her some swing time! When she was fresh she would sleep in it pretty regularly (gotta love reflux!), but nowadays she just hangs out in it and "talks" to the baby in the mirror;-) We have the Fisher Price "Snug-a-Puppy" and couldn't be happier. It rotates in three different directions so we can turn her based on her preference as well as adjust the speed and music options. 

Playing is tough work

Play Mat
This thing is wonderful! She spends a good 30-45 minutes playing on it every morning. She lays there are gabs with the toys dangling while also trying to grab them and pull. I'm going to be so sad when she finally bores of this because it buys me time every morning to get going on the day! Bonus points for being able to fold up nice and easy.

Noise Machine 
Poor kid was in trouble from day 1 since neither of her parents can fall asleep without this either! It's nice to have when the dog barks or if we have people over in the evenings. There is never any worry about whether she'll wake up or not. I know it'll be a tough habit to break later, but today we're loving it!

Ignore her cranky face, she loves that thing!

No matter who your kid is and what their personal preference is, they're going to need to be rocked. A LOT. And a good glider is going to make those long nights of rocking a lot easier. Ours was gifted to us by my aunt after her kiddos outgrew it and we couldn't be happier. David has even asked a time or two if we can put it in front of the TV in the den!

Angelcare Monitor
Y'all this thing is wonderful. It has given me so much peace knowing that an obnoxious alarm would go off if she stopped moving after 15 seconds. SO.MUCH.PEACE.

Nose Frida
A lot of people have heard of it and are totally grossed out. Then they have a super sick/congested baby and give it a try. They are then fans for life. At least that's how it worked in our house. Baby girl had her first cold and this momma's heart was breaking in a million pieces-I was willing to try anything! Even sucking my child's boogers out through a tube. . . The first few times she wasn't into it, but now she just accepts it as a part of life. #parentingwin

I'm sure I'm forgetting some items, but these are a few of our definite favorites. What are your favorites??

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole 30 Progress-Week 1

It's been about a week and half and here we are-alive. That sounds a little dramatic, but it's true. We are feeling so alive! We realize it hasn't been very long, but we are already feeling lighter and healthier already. It hasn't been all roses and rainbows (hellooooo sugar cravings), but we are definitely feeling some of this hard work paying off. Let me back up, though and start with a few thoughts from this week. . .

 I would kill for a cookie cake right now.

I bet she has a peppermint mocha in that red Starbucks cup.

Would it really be so bad to cheat? 

Wow, my skin looks clearer.

Did I really just beat my last workout's time by almost a minute?

I feel lighter; not as puffy.

My clothes are definitely fitting better.

This recipe actually tastes better with coconut oil.

I could eat this every day. Even after we're done with this!

As you can see the thoughts transitioned from negative to more positive. Our mindset definitely shifted this week as we realized the good that was coming from keeping up with the healthier eating. Something that really helped us was starting with a plan.

I had meals figured out for the next week and a few snack options in case we got "hangry". I knew we needed to have a plan of action in place when those nasty cravings attacked, and boy did they (did I mention the sugar cravings?). But with the foods we had readily available it wasn't too bad. It only got really tempting when I was out and about and saw all the options around me (oh, Starbucks, how I miss your chocolatey goodness).

Here is a look at what we ate this week:
Sunday-pork chops, brussel sprouts, collard greens
Monday-turkey zucchini bites, salad, sweet potato fries
Tuesday-fish tacos (lettuce wraps), carrot fries, sautéed green beans
Wednesday-chicken fajitas (no tortilla), spinach, cauliflower
Thursday-chili, eggplant fries
Friday-steaks, grilled shrimp, sweet potatoes (from Outback)
Saturday-cilantro lime chicken, sautéed spinach, sweet potato fries

It definitely wasn't boring. In fact, a lot of the items above are things we ate any way. I doctored a few recipes to make them compliant, but was really happy overall. Pinterest has been so helpful through this! I honestly don't know what I would do without the wisdom of those who have done this before us.

Here's to hoping the next week goes just as smoothly!

Haha. Yep. 

Check out my healthy eating board on Pinterest for lots of yummy recipes.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


My sweet husband blessed me with an amazing devotional this year for Christmas-Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Haymaker. Sound familiar? That's because I wrote about how wonderful her book Seven was here. I've only read two of the devotions so far, but Jesus has already used her words to strike truth in my heart. Love when that happens!

She opens the book with an amazing word for all mommas. She speaks to the momma who has one baby and the momma who has a whole litter. She calls to the momma who breastfeeds and the momma who rocks out the formula. She shouts to the momma who stays at home and the momma who runs the company. She talks to us all. Without further adieu, "a (fairly lame) ode to motherhood". . .

By: Jen Hatmaker

An ode to the marvelous woman called “Mother” 
Though not one of us is exactly like another. 
From the second we’re born to the minute we die 
Our preferences are as limitless as stars in the sky.

We might have been perfectly gracious before 
But childbirth entered us in the Mommy War. 
Rather than letting everyone else be 
We criticize parenting that isn’t exactly like . . . me.

So once and for all let me put this to rest 
None of us owns the title of “best.” 
Natural childbirth does not make you a hippy 
Epidurals are not just for women who want to feel trippy.

In a bathtub with a doula or in a hospital bed 
We all got a baby with limbs and a head. 
Nursing is great if nothing goes wrong 
But some nipples turn inward and refuse to play along.

This is a choice for each mom–it’s her route 
So it’s just A + B and everyone else can C their way out. 
Schedules and timers do not make you cruel 
Feeding on demand does not make you a fool.

In the nursery with a monitor or in the family bed 
Every chick gets to pick where her baby lays his head. 
If I see one more mom roll her eyes at “organic . . .” 
“Partially hydrogenated” throws some of us into panic.

But neither judge Sonic burgers and fries 
Some of us just want to enjoy food before we die. 
Preschool, home school, public, or Montessori 
Listen, my friends, and I’ll tell you a story:

Two moms differed on favorite school trends 
Their kids turned out pretty much the same. The end. 
If a girl gets the title of “mom” accidentally 
The worst thing we can do is treat her judgmentally.

How about some love, some help, some advice? 
She needs our love and we shouldn’t think twice. 
Discipline through various methods will prevail 
Look, we’re all just trying to keep our kids out of jail.

These things are just preferences, not right or wrong 
What matters more is teaching our kids to get along– 
To love and to share, to speak gently and kind, 
To obey so that mom won’t go out of her mind.

Showing them Jesus is our common ground 
Teaching them how he can always be found. 
He’s present in public school and Waldorf (so trendy) 
He’s over at Whole Foods but also at Wendy’s.

Jesus never cared about these sorts of things 
It’s our hearts that he wants and the worship we bring. 
It’s time for us moms to declare a truce 
Regardless if we buy Capri Sun or 100 percent juice.

My way is not your way, and your way isn’t mine 
But both of our kids will turn out just fine. 
Rather than judging and looking down our noses 
Let’s enjoy the common ground motherhood poses.

As believers, we all love the same good Lord 
We all have children who tell us “I’m bored.” 
We all need more sleep than these tiny five hours 
Most of us struggle to find time for a shower.

We haven’t been to the bathroom alone in an age 
Our mothers have all told us, “Relax, this is just a stage.” 
We all love our babies so much we could die 
We’d take a bullet for each one without batting an eye.

Though we are different, we’re in the same tribe 
Motherhood requires a similar vibe– 
Love and affection, sacrifice and grace 
Laughter, which keeps the whole mechanism in place.

Though different, by the grace of God, I suspect: 
ALL our children will rise up and call us ... collect.

She looks well to how things go in her household. ... Her children rise up and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:27—28 AMP

No matter what type of momma you are, God chose YOU to parent your child for a purpose and you are doing an AMAZING job!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Whole New Way of Eating

Have you heard of Whole30? You've probably heard it mentioned a time or two in passing. Or maybe you know someone who is a pretty healthy eater who lives it day in and day out. I first heard mention of it a couple of years ago and thought it was poppycock. Give up dairy? No way, Jose! Say no to my nightly sweet treats? You must be crazy! Eliminate ALL processed foods? Here, let me direct you to the looney bin. 

I mean, we've always eaten fairly healthily but nothing super extreme. Usually a meat and two veggies at supper with bread a distant thing of the past. Our (started as mine and I slowly brought David's tastebuds around. . .) downfall has always been dessert. Have you seen the foodie section of this blog?? It wasn't until my kidneys stopped responding to the steroids as they had in the past that I started really investigating our diet and what we were doing to ourselves. I was amazed at how poor our choices had become over time. It was time to hit the reset button.

So, that's where we are-hitting the reset button. We're not going into this in hopes of losing weight, but more in jumpstarting our bodies. Trying to kick the sugar addiction (yes, it is a total addiction for me!) and eliminate the ick that we take in. It certainly won't be easy, but we believe it will definitely be worth it!

For those of you who have walked this path I would love any advice you have on food and good recipes. Pinterest has been super helpful, but I love hearing what worked for real people! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Pictures 2014

I have always loved sending out Christmas cards and knew that this year would be no different! As soon as the fabulous Jennifer Bartlett of Three Loves Photography sent information out about Christmas sessions I knew we had to snag one. Jennifer blew us away yet again with the great shots she took of our little family! Here are a few of our favorites. . .

Friday, January 2, 2015

Veggies and Cheese Egg Casserole

I knew that I wanted to make something special for us to enjoy on Christmas morning. My mom always had lots of stuff to choose from, but with just the two of us eating I knew I only needed to make one thing, but to make it good. I found this recipe and tailored it to our tastebuds. In the week since I first made it we've already made it again. This is a great, healthy meal tat can be warmed up and snacked on throughout the week. Let me know what you think!

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, diced
12 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Crack eggs in bowl and whisk.
Stir in veggies and cheese.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes in a greased 9x13 pan.
Salt and pepper to taste.