Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What I resolve in 2016

I'm not much of a resolution-er. I've tried but like most they seem to fail sometime around, well, this time in January.

Then the trend swung to "word of the year." I tried that, but maybe because I never really connected with a word, just picked one I thought sounded like it would make a good year, that I usually forgot about them fairly quickly.

Then I found the above quote and really connected with it. It is general enough that there are not constraints on it that make me feel like I have to live up to whatever high bar I set. But the way that this goes about life, I could get behind that.

I have a feeling I will connect with all three sections of this at sometime in 2016, but for now I'm really stuck on the middle one.

More Creating, Less scrolling.

It has been rolling around in my head for the past couple of weeks and I just can't get away from it. My kids see me on my phone more than I'd like to admit. I find myself in the Bermuda triangle of social media. Facebook..instagram...twitter...facebook...instagram...twitter. 

Often a whole half hour will go by and I don't even really know what I looked at! And, I mean, seriously? Why would I waste the little time that I feel like I have in a day doing that (multiple times!). And I always come off Facebook angry. I come off instagram inspired but also feeling like I'm not a good enough (runner, crafter, mom, *insert more here*). And Twitter often makes me feel snarky and cynical.

Now don't get me wrong. I also find community and inspiration in these places, but do I need to spend multiple 30 minute blocks of my day on them?

No. The answer is simply no.

So less scrolling.
More creating.

The older girls are listening to Harry Potter in the evenings and asked for House scarves. Working on it.

Luke got me a beautiful loom for my birthday, and I just hit up the clearance yarn at Micheal's. Working on it.

My one concrete resolution is to read 35 books this year (I ended 2015 at 32). Working on it.

And all of these things CAN be done if I just stop the scrolling. Spend more time with the kids. I would never want them to look back at their childhoods and picture me or their dad with our heads down and our faces light up by a small screen.

So for now, for this minute, more creating less scrolling.

creating dinner, crafts, activities with the kids, memories.

Here's to 2016 wide open and full of (now non-occupied) 30 minute blocks of creativity, not scrolling.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Being Sick with kids, and having sick kids

Being sick in general is not fun. 
Having kids apparently just means that the not fun is multiplied when sickness comes.

Because our kiddos are close in age, thats the only experience I have, I know that when that first sniffle and sleeve wipe comes it means it is the beginning of the end of the health of us all. 

It could go two ways. 
Scenario one: 2 weeks of absolute hell as we all have it at the exact same time, sometimes twice, and we burrow into blanket forts and watch Lion Guard one million times until we can finally air out and escape the germs.

Or Scenario two: We spend 5 weeks where one of us is sick each week, until we finally make it through and then a new round of say, the stomach bug, over takes us and we go through the cycle again.

When we were in PA, the last two or so years we lived in an old not well kept farm house. It was chock FULL of black mold and we pretty much spent all of our time from October through April wiping noses, cleaning up barf, doing laundry like crazy. 

It. Was. Awful.

I was on a first name basis with the urgent care nurses, we did chest X-rays multiple times, at one time the middle had like three different pneumonia's all at the same time!

And then a year ago (how have we lived in this house for over a year now??) we moved into a newly built house. 

And have gone through the sick chain maybe 3 times. In over a YEAR! It has been a glorious and unexpected change!

But right now we're weathering the storm of just a bad head cold (which may be worse because we all have to still function in the outside world). I think everyone I know has this right now. Lu had a well-baby visit today and she's been sniffling like the rest of us but turns out girlfriend was sporting an ear infection like a champ.
But as we prepare to fly to Disney World next wednesday, I'm so thankful that we are moving through quickly and this all happened before we left!

Being sick with kids is awful. Having sick kids is awful. Praying for health for all in this new year!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Finishing the Whole 30

We did it! Actually we finished a week ago, but our house completed it! Whew.

If I told you I knew we would finish it, I would be a huge liar. I thought we'd do it for a week, maybe two and then fold and order a pizza.

It wasn't easy by any means, but there also wasn't one time where I thought, "oh, well I could just cheat." It just wasn't an option.

Things that happened? We lost some lbs. I didn't feel like taking a nap in the afternoons. My energy was even; while I wouldn't say my energy was abounding, it was a very even and sustained energy. I got a lot of stuff done.

I never felt like I lost that "bloaty" feeling, but that may have been what we were choosing to eat on the plan.

Either way I'm taking away a new appreciation for food, and hopefully a new lifestyle. I'm leaning toward paleo most of the time (I really missed natural sugars), knowing that my job often makes me eat out and that I would really like to enjoy a sugary sweet starbucks drink every now and then (hi, have you tried the new toasted graham latte? yum.)

I did, however, go semi-crazy since we ended. Luke left me and the girls on day 32 for FIVE days...remember I said how I was an emotional eater? yeah. This weekend was a bit high stress. But I haven't gained any weight back so Its just a matter of jumping back on.

Ella's teacher gave her a reward for something she did, and it included a free happy meal. So last night we decided to let her honor that prize (it needed to be use by today.). So for $3.88 I admit to feeding my kids happy meals (I haven't eaten McDonalds in 4 years). Now I could count the number of times that they have had McDonald's in their short lives on two hands.
I was SO proud when they each ate a chicken nugget or two, ate all of their apple slices and then got up from the table because they didn't want anymore.

My heart soared when they then asked if they could have fresh mango or a banana. Because this food stuff? It's kind of hard work...What a reward to know that they don't want the chemicals and the crap even when thats what they get as a "reward" (don't get me started on that part...). They're pretty great.

And we're all plotting our next whole30 in a couple of months!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red40: Adventures in food dye allergies

One thing we have gotten from the Whole30 is that Sophia is definitely allergic to food dye.

All of it really, but she has the most reaction to red40.

A couple of months ago we started to notice that every once in a while she would get really puffy cheeks and have a sort of rash on them. And then her trunk would have hives all over it. Of course she has sedative skin, always has, so we didn't think much of it.

She's always been a..hmm..lets say "spirited" child? So when she would get amped up and wouldn't sleep or wouldn't stop talking for hours on end, we blamed it on transition (we moved) or summer (no schedule or routine).

But then the hyper stints and the cheeks and the rash started to come more frequently.
It was one night after having 3 Shirley temples (seltzer and grenadine) that was the worst she's ever had it. Rash EVERYWHERE, itching so bad we gave her some benadryl just so she could calm down. Bouncing off the walls..I'm talking literally.

We narrowed it down a bit and I started to research.
Hyperactivity? check.
lack of attention? check.
Sleep problems? check.
lack of impulse control? check.
rash/itching? check.
gastrointestinal problems? check
snoring due to swollen airways? check.

So we experimented. And we started reading labels.

But here's the thing. Red40 or food dye or whatever they decide to name it is. in. everything.

We tried hard, but we're not always the ones feeding her so it happened a couple of times a week.

And then the Whole30 came along. Around day 11 I was taking a walk with her and she ran ahead and turned around and it struck me how different she looked. Like she was a different kid. What was it?

Her face was finally back to normal. While we noticed the puffy cheeks when they became red or inflamed, we didn't realize just how different she looked when she was just normal Phie.

And then as we got home, I started thinking back on the last 11 days, and realized that she was sleeping (Sleeping!!). She wasn't up at 5 every morning. She didn't come out of her room every 5 minutes for hours every night.

We hadn't yelled once that whole 11 days at her. What was this?

Oh right, she was eating only wholly unprocessed foods. Fruit. Veggies. Chicken. Pork.

Our middle has a food allergy.

We had plans to go to the doctor to see if she needs to be formally tested, but after being really careful for weeks, she came home from school last Tuesday swollen up like a balloon. They had fruit cocktail with cherries in it for lunch. There it is.

Today she was excited to go around the grocery with Luke looking at all the labels to see what she can and can't have. She's being a trooper about it, but I keep thinking about Halloween coming up. How do you tell a 4 year old she can't have most of her Trick-or-Treat candy?  We'll figure it out, she'll be fine. It could be much more life threatening and not just uncomfortable.

I hear there is a store in DE that sells specifically dye free foods for people who have this allergy, sounds like we might be making a trip!

But who knew this even existed? I'm just happy to figure it out, and to know that we can have our Phie, the one we know, back.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Whole30 Halfway + being a picky eater

So today marks day 18 on the Whole30, and I have to say, I've surprised myself by making it this far.

I bought the book It Starts with Food way back last summer and read the whole thing in less than a week! But then life happened.
and our house buying was held up, and I started a new job, and I came up with a million and one other excuses about why I couldn't do it.

so it sat on my shelf, and we cooked a recipe from the back every now and then.

In the end of July a friend texted a group of us girls asking if anyone wants to do an end of August Whole30 along with her. After the normal grumbles of why we can't eat Entenmann's pastry and drink tequila, the convo stuck with me and for the next week I was nagged by the "maybe its time" feeling.

And then surprisingly Luke was 100% on board, which is not usual.
We both think that the "science" of it is really flimsy but we had been eating like straight crap all summer between vacations and visitors that we started to talk about it as just a kick start to get back on track.

We picked a date (the day after our last house visitors left) and away we went to plan.

(week 3 menu)

The thing about it is, its just eating right. How we should be eating.
But it involves a LOT of planning...and really intricate menu planning on our fridge.

Eating out is tough so I've only done it twice when it was necessary for work..and even then not entirely enjoyable.
So I've definitely hit some cooking fatigue.

And here's the biggest problem.
I am (and always have been) a picky eater.

So this plan limits the foods I like (breads, cheese..etc) and I've really had to stretch myself.
I also eat a lot of the same thing over and over.

Which I'm ok with, because, 30 days. 
You can do almost anything for 30 days.

This first half has been eye opening. I went through the "detox", I've lost the most lbs I've lost since right before I was married (or, ok, went through the birth of children. But that doesn't really count), and I generally feel really excellent.

This tiger blood they talk about? Yeah. I don't think I have that.
But my energy and mood is generally stable, so thats a success in my boat!
I don't feel like I want to nap every afternoon.

The other thing I've definitely learned (and sort of knew already) is that I am a Textbook emotional eater. Stressful day at work? It took all that I had to not stop at Wawa's for a shortie on the way home. My kid starts kindergarten (did i mention that we chose to do this as OUR KID STARTED KINDERGARTEN?)? All I've ever wanted this bad was a bite of brownie.

But cheating in this first half hasn't even been an option.
I know we don't eat 100% compliant in everything I eat every single day, but overall we are compliant. And I try at all times to eat compliant.

Being 12 days out I've started to think a little bit about what happens after this experiment is over. I haven't decided yet and have decided instead to live in where I am...which includes some pride in having made it this far.
Maybe there is some Tiger Blood after all.

Have you tried the whole30 trend yet? Any recipes to share?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

a weekend alone.

How? HOW has it been so long since I visited this space?

So much has happened. In only 2 short months we will have lived in Delaware for a whole year. After TONS of hoops to jump through we bought a house (!!) about 4 months ago. Now I spend my evenings wandering my halls dreaming up what my house will look like when I find the time and money to paint and decorate more. For now I look at the boring builders white and am just happy to be in our own space and settling in for a bunch of years in one spot.

Work is amazing, I am continually overwhelmed with the love my congregation has shown me so far. We're still very obviously in the honeymoon period, but it is one million times better than internship, and for that I thank God each and every day.

And now this weekend. This weekend Luke and the kiddos are in PA for a family party, and I am here. Alone. Gloriously alone. For the first time in who knows how long. And so I just sit in the quiet. (ok, I worked most of today) but It is quiet when I'm here.
Oh! And I got a full nights sleep.

A whole night.

No interruptions.

I love my kids more than anything, but this introvert soul sometimes longs for a few days alone. And I'm soaking it in at the almost-half-way-point of lent.

Its been a crazy season, but slowing down every once in a while is so refreshing. Here's to a couple more hours of silence before my crazy chaos thankfully comes home.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

transitions and sunrises.

It feels like so many times in the past couple of years I have written in this small space of the internet about transitions in my life..and quite frankly SO many have happened!

multiple moves, welcoming babies, lay offs, new jobs, new classes, semester endings, degrees completed.

It really has been quite the whirlwind.

And now here we are. May was perhaps the most stressful month of my life, both in hard and exciting ways!

Now it is over. I have graduated, I have been called, I have been ordained.

And here I sit on a Thursday afternoon in my parents living room where we are currently residing. Blue pool water out the window beside me. Kiddos napping upstairs. And while we have a constant buzzing of finding housing in the background, there is finally room to breathe.

I have until July 1 to spend time with my family before the craziness starts back up of learning through trial by fire about how to lead a congregation.

For now, it is important to spend time with my girls. Walk the boardwalk on a Thursday morning (which we did today), go to the beach whenever we want before the crowds roll in, get to know this new landscape of our lives.

While there of course is stress of everyday life, this transition has been the most FUN of the past couple of years.

All transitions are hard, even the good ones.

So we continue to explain to the littles that we're not going to Nan and Pops for dinner. No we are not going back to our own house. No you will get your own toys and beds back some day. And then we load them in the car to see the ocean 10 minutes away and they calm down.

we all do really.

We're taking this transition slow. Knowing there is always some pain from letting things go, but also seeing such a bright and exciting future.

And so we live by the pool. Talk about our hopes for our own home. And take it all one sunrise at a time.