Whole30 {Week Two - Recap}

I've been a little quiet on the Whole30 front but don't worry, I'm still plugging along. I'm back with my Week Two update!

I've always had an issue with persistence so I was really happy that I got through Week Two with a nearly perfect record in terms of following all of the rules of the program. I did so well up until the last day of week two, Sunday, October 15. The boys were being especially difficult that day and I seemed to have a mental breakdown after a really awful Walmart check-out experience with the boys. I came home and was very upset and anxious and after I had time to calm down and get back to normal, I opted to have two little chocolate chips. Just two :) I had planned to make the boys some cookies so I suppose that is better than eating all of their cookies, right? I just didn't make them because frankly, I wasn't about to reward them for their bad behavior!

This is still a big part of the reason why I was so successful this week. I was able to plan for and prep all of the things I planned to eat this week and didn't stray outside of that too much. There were definitely days I didn't want to eat more broccoli but you know what, I did it anyway or instead ate a tomato.

-Same as Week One: Two scrambled eggs with spicy sausage (SO GOOD!)

-Compliant pesto (no cheese! I used cashews instead) with chicken, green beans and tomatoes. I cooked the tomatoes down a bit more than I have before with this meal and definitely made too much pesto but it sure was delicious!

-I didn't do too well with dinner this week. I opted for burgers again with veggies and then got super lazy and made goulash to have on some of the nights. I definitely need to figure out better dinner options that I like.

*Drink more water
I averaged closer to 60oz of water this week but I think part of that was because I sometimes forget to log the amount of water I drank so that could be a little higher. I didn't quite reach 75/80 most days so I just need to keep reminding myself to drink water! It's definitely not hard!

*Have better sleeping habits
 I definitely improved in this department which is awesome! I love to sleep and never prioritize it. I averaged between 5.5-6.5 most nights before doing the Whole30 but I averaged 7.25 hours this week! It's been amazing to feel a little more rested (though I'm always tired) and have more clarity.

*Work out more regularly
I walked to work everyday, does that count? I didn't do much for workouts but you know what, I got my two 2016 family photo books completed :) I've had the weights I want to buy in my Amazon cart but I just haven't completed the order! That's called lazy.

Weight Loss
Still seem to be losing some weight which is so exciting! I have a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction. I wasn't too kind to my body the last few months so have got some work to do!

I don't recall off of the top of my head if we had any specific temptations this week but I did pretty well with not eating any peanut butter M&Ms that a coworker leaves out. Of course, I should count those two chocolate chips I had. Damn.

OH, I did successfully avoid a Pinter's cupcake on our annual trip! That was a big deal!


Whole30 {Week One - Recap}

I heard of Whole30 through a friend and a few bloggers I follow. I looked in to it a bit and thought initially that it would be really difficult to complete. During the 30-day elimination program, you are to cut out all grains, alcohol, legumes, dairy and sugar. Then, during the reintroduction phase, you slowly add these items back in to your diet to see how your body is affected. My vices are pasta, chocolate and alcohol so I wasn't convinced I could last 30 days. However, I was pretty intrigued.

I've attempted to give up pasta before and lasted a measly three days. I gave up because I was replacing pasta with other types of carbs - bread and tortillas. It wasn't worth it to me to switch carb for carb and so I simply gave up. I told myself then that it was all about portion sizes. Well, I often fail at that too so it was becoming more and more obvious that I needed to consider a serious change in order to rewire my brain. 

With that, I decided that I would begin my own Whole30 journey on October 2!

My expectations going in were that it was going to be a struggle for a couple of weeks while I cooled my gets on my addictions and my body removed all the toxins and crap. In reality, it hasn't been nearly that bad and I'm actually doing just fine. I've felt good for the entire first week and stuck to our meal plan  with no cravings for my vices whatsoever. Crazy isn't it? I'm truly surprised and encouraged. I've toyed with the idea of making this a Whole60 or even longer because I thought I needed more time to rewire my brain. It may not be as difficult as I thought!
Gspice is doing this with me and he is doing okay but still working on figuring out all the requirements. He's legit asked me if he could have croutons or cheese. No, Gsipce, we cannot. Really though, I'm very proud of him for doing this with me. He doesn't struggle with food the same way I do but Gary does drink a lot of pop (SUGAR) so that's a habit I'd love to see him break.

Action Items
Here are the items on my action plan to make the most of this Whole30. I hope that by the end of the 30 days, I will have developed a whole slew of good habits. We are well on our way!

*Meal plan, Grocery shop, Meal prep
This is probably the most vital part of the program, at least for me. If I don't do all of these steps, it leads to an inevitable failure.  This also helps me make sure we aren't consuming anything we aren't able to have on Whole30. The only struggle is that Gary and I like different things for breakfast and lunch so it does mean for extra planning/prepping. I try to prep his breakfast and he needs to prep his lunch. As for how we plan, I don't mind repetition at all as long as I like what I'm eating. The first week looked like this for me:

-Two scrambled eggs with spicy sausage and lazy salsa

Romaine salad with carrots, green olives and shredded chicken with a homemade spicy latin vinaigrette

-Burger (no bun of course) with roasted broccoli
 -Hidden veggie meatballs with a compliant marinara sauce and homemade fries (I did NOT like the meatballs I made but the fries were delicious! Gspice thought they were fantastic and thankfully the boys liked them too)
 -Beef tenderloin with herbed clarified butter, compliant shrimp scampi (hello, no white wine!) and sauteed asparagus

*Drink more water
I've made it a goal to drink at least 75-80oz of water every day. I have a number of water bottles but I never seem to drink enough water. However, I started using the bottle I got for Gspice and it was a game changer, at least at home. This particular bottle has a straw. So, I decided that I needed a new water bottle at work that had a straw. And with that change, I've been successfully drinking more than 80oz of water every day since October 2! Of course, it means I also need to go to the bathroom a lot but hey, more steps.

*Have better sleeping habits
I haven't been prioritizing sleep the way I should lately and I was reaping the benefits of that. I wasn't able to think clearly or process things the best because my sleep was seriously lacking. Sleep is crucial for so many functions, including losing weight so hello! Let's get on this one, Vanessa! Luckily, it seems that I get tired a little earlier now so I naturally want to fall asleep between 9:30-10:30. I've been getting a solid 7-7.5 hours every night which is up from my usual 5-6 hours. 

*Work out more regularly
I've started doing a few of the 21 Day Fix workouts again and I'm trying to do at least 3 days a week. I would like to start working out during my break periods at work so I plan to buy some weights to have in my office so I can do my 12-minute arm workout and my 12-minute leg workout at my desk! That, along with my walk to work every day is a great way to get my workouts in!

Weight Loss
Ideally, all of these other goals will help me achieve some weight loss. So far so good in this department! I'll report at the end of 30 days how much I lose. 

There have been a few temptations over the last week that I have successfully avoided. I'm pretty happy about that because some of these sounded so good!
*a free cookie from Marty's for getting my flu shot at Luther (I will save my coupon until November!)
*a free walking taco during the Progressive Walking Supper (we let the boys have one of course and skipped the dessert course)
*a free meal at the Touch a Truck event including a hot dog and chips (again, the boys got to have it)


Owen & Jack {Big Boy Bed Transition x 2}

Oh my, how things have changed! Owen & Jack have both officially graduated to a toddler bed (or Big Boy Bed as they like to call it!) and really, they've been doing well. We have days that they wake up WAY too early for our liking and then days where they don't go to sleep early enough but overall, I have no complaints.

We've honestly been so lucky in the sleep department with our kids. Owen learned how to sleep through the night (12 solid hours) by 4-6 months old. Jack took a little bit longer but when he transitioned over to share a room with Owen, they've both been rock stars. They go to bed easily and sleep through the night pretty consistently. On occasion, one of them will wake up and cry but the other will keep on sleeping or not seem bothered one bit. Mornings before the transition to big boy beds went pretty smoothly as well. The boys would wake up around 7-7:30 a.m. and talk or play in their cribs until we walked in the room to get them ready. On weekends, I stretch out mornings even more. They happily played in their cribs while I cleaned up their room, stocked up on diapers, broke down boxes, etc. I knew I stretched the time too much when they get a bit hangry. Oops. It's a fine line ya'll.

Then, on one fateful Saturday back in February, my heart jumped out of my chest. I heard the boys wake up but then it was pretty quiet for awhile so I stayed "asleep" in bed a little longer. Then, I hear the sound I've been dreading to hear for a long time. I hear the space heater beep (it beeps when someone turns it on or off).

Ummmmmmmmmmm, excuse me?  

I bounced out of bed to find Owen prancing around his room. Oh boy. Thankfully, all he was able to do was turn off all of the equipment (space heater, cool mist humidifier and sound machine) and play with the floss I left out on the shelf of their changing table (um, scary). Of course, my mommy brain freaked the heck out and decided right then and there that Owen was getting his big boy bed. And with no effort to get him comfortable with the idea. By 10:30 a.m., the changing table was taken out of the room and the crib was converted into a toddler bed. Yay!

Owen's Toddler Bed  |  February 18, 2017

Jack's transition went pretty similar except we knew that he could climb out of his crib for a little while before we switched him over. It wasn't until he was climbing both in and out that I decided to transition him to his toddler bed. Again, I decided on a whim that it needed to be changed but this time, I kept the boys in the room while I switched it over. The crib became a toddler bed before 8 a.m.!

Jack's Toddler Bed  |  September 16, 2017

Mornings, as I mentioned above, have changed a little bit. The boys have discovered their independence and once one of them (almost exclusively Owen) determines it's time to get up, they bounce of out of bed, turn on the lights and wreck havoc on all.the.things. We don't keep much in there so it's not really that bad. I should say it's not that bad anymore now that we've put closet door locks in place. They no longer go near the closets or try to open them but they do like to pound on them to make noise. Because they tend to wake up earlier than we like, I let them play together a little bit before I intervene. If it gets a little out of hand, I provide them legos to play with which typically calms them both down a bit. If I stroll in a little too late, they will likely have both mattresses on the floor and will be jumping around on those. The only reason why this is bad is that while Owen's bed has a board in place, Jack's has wire springs. When we have another baby, I'll sell Jack's crib and keep Owen's to reuse. In the meantime, I just need to get my butt out of bed sooner. Easier said then done.

Nap-times aren't as they used to be so that's a bit unfortunate. Owen has always resisted naps for us so it was no surprise to me when he flat out refused to go down for a nap at home. Jack has always been a great napper so we didn't want to have them napping together anyway. In hindsight, we probably could have gotten it to work eventually but it wasn't a battle we were prepared to take on. Instead, we just deal with a fussy toddler or try our darndest to get him to sleep on the couch downstairs while watching a movie he's seen a million times before or take him for a car ride so he'll nap there. He does great some days and then not so much on other days but we somehow manage. We can definitely tell when he hasn't had one because he goes into his own little world where he doesn't hear a single word we say.

Jack just transitioned over a couple of weeks ago so it might be too early to tell, but we are still able to put him down for a nap on the weekends (Thank goodness!) I tell him that he just needs to have some quiet time and if he happens to fall asleep too, that's fine. I give him books and a couple cars and it's so cute when I leave because he's just excited that he can do those things. Of course, Jack might wimpy after awhile but he has fallen asleep successfully every time.

Bedtime hasn't really changed much it seems.The boys generally stay in bed once we've shut the lights off and closed the door. We might hear them talking or singing for awhile or running around even but I always find them in their beds when I check on them a few hours later. That's also the time I put in the fan or space heater too because they'd definitely mess with it if we had it in the room right away. The only thing we've changed in their room is the curtain we hung up Both boys have picked out their favorite fire trucks so they don't often fight over it :). The curtain also blocks most of the light so it should help the boys stay asleep in the mornings, right?


2017 Goals {5}

It's time for another 2017 Goals update! This year has gone by soooooooo quickly. It's hard to believe that we'll see the end of 2017 in less than three months. Let's all try to make the most of it!

You can read up on my past 2017 Goals updates here: #1, #2, #3, and #4.

GOAL #1 - Read
In my last update, I mentioned that I was going to reread all of the John Grisham books that I found when cleaning out the basement. I was headed into a busy time so I knew that I needed some light reading. I can't tell you how much this helped me stay a teeny bit more sane while life was crazy around me. Between my last update in July and probably the first week or two of September, I got through four books: The Firm, A Painted House, The Summons, and The King of Torts.

I took a couple weeks off and then decided to read this book, which I will talk about more down below and in posts of its own!

- Control Finances Better
Wow, reading what I wrote about in July is fascinating. It's fascinating in the way of all of the money we've spent progress we've made! Let's look at the list, shall we?

Since July
*We've had our basement floors professionally cleaned
*Our duct work was cleaned out (GROSS!)
*Had Driftless Gardens redo our landscaping and hardscape!! This will get it's own before & after post to show the full affect of this change. It's insane.
*Got our HVAC system serviced
*Ordered a new furnace!

Yep, we had our HVAC serviced in September right after our New Orleans trip and I was not in the least bit surprised that it was strongly suggested that we replace our 22-year-old furnace. Thankfully, everything else is working just fine even though they too are 20+ years old. We'll just wait for those things to die before replacing them. Back to the furnace, we got estimates from a couple of different companies and did decide on who to go with. We're now just waiting for the new furnace to arrive so we can set up an installation date. Though this wasn't an expense we were planning on, I'm pretty excited for the new furnace. We'll be getting a new thermostat  too and I'm pretty darn excited about it. It will have wi-fi capabilities, tell us the indoor/outdoor temp, humidity levels, when to change the filter, etc. If nothing else, it'll be so much better than what we have now.
As you can tell, we've been shelling money out left and right this year. Everything that we're doing is really helping out this ol' house of ours so it's all money that is well spent in my book. We just need to keep prioritizing all of our other spending to make sure we're paying down some of the debt we've accumulated.

GOAL #3 - Cook more, Cook Smarter
I had high hopes for the last few months and didn't quite measure up to my goals. I'm going to give myself some grace here because what I did do is learn how to make my own alfredo sauce. Holy cow, it's amazing but it, along with my constant pasta-eating and beer-drinking habits, meant I gained a bit of weight in the process. Was this totally worth it? Not 100% but it was pretty damn delicious!

Lately, I've been trying to be more intentional with meal planning again and making sure to cook dinner at night. This helps us tremendously in terms of eating better. We just need to make sure it's a dish we both like because that's the game changer!

I definitely want to add this recipe in to our rotation after we tried it a few months ago. Holy cow! The whole family absolutely loved it so we'll definitely have this more often when we can have pasta again! Just look at this simmering beauty!

Fall also indicates to me that TOMATO SEASON is upon us! I decided that I needed to can more tomatoes this year than I did last year because I ran out of my stock in February. This was the main reason why I bought more of a CSA share this year. I'm so glad I did but man it was a ton of work. I bought 130lbs and canned it ALL over two days. Despite the amount of time and work it took, I'm definitely glad I did it and that I shouldn't have to worry about running out for at least a year. I'm hoping to make it extend past a year, though, so I don't have to do as many next year! In total, I have 24-8oz jars and 51-32oz jars.

GOAL #4 - Form Healthy Habits
This is where Whole30 comes in to play.

I bought the book back in August and decided that it was definitely something I needed to consider. I knew I had some pretty bad eating/drinking habits that I needed to fix and some weight to lose. This program would help me do both, in addition to a number of other things, like sleeping better, be less stressed, have more mental clarity, etc.

I am happy to report that today is Day 9 of the program and I'm doing very well so far. I'll be writing a separate post on this too so you can read that for more details on my first week!

GOAL #5 - Travel
NEW ORLEANS! Guys, this vacation was soooooooooo necessary and sooooooooooo nice. It was a leisurely few days in a pretty cool city. We got to try a lot of good food, walked around a ton and just enjoyed our calm days without any responsibilities whatsoever. I'll post about this too to give you all the fun details of our trip.


Jack {2.5 Years!}

We've hit another milestone with Jack! I haven't been the best with my calendar/activities so the fact that I'm posting this on his actual 2.5 year birthday is pretty amazing. I love this little boy with all my being and have enjoyed who he's become!

Jack's favorites!

*Sitting on my lap or right up next to me
*Mommy :) (Owen is a lot like me and prefers his daddy. Jack on the other hand is a lot like his daddy and prefers me. I think this shows how really well suited Gspice and I are for each other. We need to balance each other out!)
*Daddy's bars (Nature Valley's crunchy)
*Being carried (he's getting sooooo heavy!)
*The colors red or blue. Those are the ones he picks out the most/thinks everything are
*Running around making monster noises
*Rough-housing with Owen
*Playing with cars
*Watching Fireman Sam (not sure what that show is called) & Tasty videos
*Playing outside
*Drinking water
*Playing in water, especially when you dump it over head

Jack is seriously sooo stinkin' cute and sweet. He's developing a bit more sass it seems but I am going to try to blame that on him getting his second molars one at a time. Brutal.

There are a few things I'm very much looking forward to or at least hope to weather the storm that is ahead. Owen became such a different little boy between 2.5 and 3 and I'm just excited to see where we go with Jack!

1. Potty training - he's just starting to work on #1 and doesn't seem to fear #2 like Owen does. We'll see how long this takes.....

2. Big Boy Bed transition - this is quickly coming upon us. Both boys climbing on Jack's crib is a teeny bit terrifying and we often find both boys in either bed. Seems like he sure knows how to climb out but not back in yet. We'll switch this soon now that we have the closet locks on the doors.

3. More words!!!! I think this will help him be way less frustrated and I can't wait to hear his little boy voice speaking sentences and such!

4. Better listening skills

5. No more throwing anything - food, toys, books, water bottle....

6. No more spitting/pushing - got to nip those in the butt!