Thursday, May 21, 2015

Whole 30 Day 10

Thought I'd update you on how things are going, Whole 30-wise.

The first few days were really rough.

"Really rough" doesn't begin to define how I felt those first days. I couldn't get enough sleep--nine hours at night and a nap during the day, and by 8 pm, I was ready for bed. I'm naturally a sleep-loving gal, but this lid-drooping, full-body malaise surprised me. I couldn't think at all--I kept telling myself that it was good I hadn't gotten this wild hair while I was still in school, or I wouldn't have been able to finish my final paper. It was that bad. I was short and impatient with my family--little things that I normally wouldn't notice sent me over the edge of insanity. I remember one dinner sitting at the table and holding my head in my hands, convincing myself that they were acting normally and I was the one out of sorts. And the headaches--withdrawal headaches from caffeine, withdrawal headaches from too much processed food, plus the detox of no simple carbs. I found my body begging for a soda or sugar or carbs.

With a game plan and a few friends' support (thanks, Janette and Carson--you talked me off the ledge more than once!), I fought on. It took about four days, and one morning I woke up to a golden morning with a changed attitude and a happier body.

By far, the hardest part of this experiment is the time it takes to eat--the planning, the shopping, the label reading . . .  and the COOKING! It's such a time sucker. For a few years, I've kind of wanted to learn how to cook well, and I invested in good knives and pots and pans this past year (and took my old ones up to the cabin--it was a handy excuse), so I had the tools I needed but never took the plunge.

I have a confession. I hate cooking. I hate it. Here's an excerpt from a text conversation I had this week:
"I've never been a foodie and I don't care about how food tastes or presents or any of that stuff. I eat fast and move on to the next thing. It's a total mindset change and the prospect of [being] in my prison/kitchen is most unappealing. I can't be nice when I'm in there. It's going to take a while before I think it's "fun," if ever. There are so many more interesting things to do and think about and fill my time with that have nothing to do with food. How's that for a crappy attitude?"

Although my attitude toward cooking hasn't changed much these past 10 days, I can see one of my excuses for not cooking disappearing. I used to say that my family doesn't really care what I cook and doesn't even notice. The last few meals, however, the kids have taken an interest in what is being prepared. They ask what I'm making, and every meal has been met with positive reactions, especially from Brad and Micah. So they do care, and if they care, I need to care a little bit more.

Another positive in the kitchen is that I've learned a few good techniques. Honestly, I never really knew the best way to cook a pork chop or sear a roast. I had only minced garlic once or twice in my life (I grew up using powdered garlic), but I've burned through two bulbs already. For the first time, I used (and broke) the food processor attachment for my blender (suggestions for a good food processor would be greatly appreciated). I made my own mayo (twice), ketchup, pesto, Thai, and chimichurri sauces. I made a roasted red pepper dip, and even made my own applesauce.
While I haven't used most of them yet, I hope combining tasty sauces with more meal planning will make these next 20 days a little better. I've gotten really bored of the bland food I've consumed when I haven't planned ahead better.

Soda has been and still is a challenge, but I've found that a splash of 100% grape juice in a high ball glass filled with ice and San Pellegrino takes the edge off. In ten days, I still haven't used the entire six pack. That's a small victory right there.

From where I am now, I can't imagine that I will make Whole 30 a permanent lifestyle change. What I do see Whole 30 doing for me is teaching me some much-needed kitchen skills and giving me a few good, easy, family-friendly recipes that I can make well. I have also become aware of a few bad eating habits. When I started the program, I never tasted what I was eating. I ate fast and didn't taste. I'm trying to slow down and eat meals, properly plated and sitting at the table so my body realizes it's mealtime, not just grabbing something quick on my way to something else. This was my breakfast this morning. First attempt at poached eggs didn't go well (there were two when I started), but I'll keep trying.
Ten days into the Whole 30 program, and the guide says that days 10 and 11 are the most common quitting days.

I'm not quitting today, thankyouverymuch. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Under the Big Top

School talent show every year--Micah has something all ready to go, and Hyrum begs to try out. I had an idea from an act I had seen a few years ago at the high school talent show, and I asked him what he thought. He loved it and convinced his best buddies to join him.

I enlarged photos of three of the male teachers at their school and attached each of them to the backs of baseball caps with velcro. This made instant bobble heads.

That's where Lily stepped in. She chose the music, choreographed the dance, and taught them the routine. The boys listened to her much better than they would have listened to me, and I think one of them developed a little crush on Lily.

Both boys' acts made the show, and I even let Lily skip the first few classes that day so she could come support her "boys."

Micah tore it up on the piano.
And here's a video of the boys jamming to "Classic," by MKTO.
Eve was in the audience and she loved watching her brothers. Can you find her?

End of the year is always filled with tons of programs, projects, and responsibilities. This is one the kids always love.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Graduation Night

 When you're the mom of a lot of kids, your needs and milestones get pushed back on occasion. The night of my graduation was no different.
 Micah had a piano competition (luckily it was at ASU, so that made it a little easier to do two things at exactly the same time), so we were rushed and delayed--Brad forgot his phone and traffic made it impossible for Micah to complete one part of his competition before dinner.
 All online graduates from our program and their guests were invited to the Athletic Club overlooking Sun Devil Stadium for a light dinner before the ceremony. It was cool up there--now I see why people pay the big bucks for box seats!
 Lily needed a few shots for her Instagram--I love that spunky girl.

Because we had been delayed before the ceremony, Brad needed to take Micah to the music building to complete his theory test. That meant that Lily and Hyrum would save them (and Eve) seats in the arena, but they both needed cell phones to meet up when Micah finished. That meant that I couldn't have mine during the ceremony.

And that meant two things--I couldn't take any pictures during the ceremony, but most importantly, I couldn't find where they were sitting (and they couldn't find me until after my name was called).
I did hear them calling "MOMMY!" as I headed back to my seat--and I found my cousin's supporters who cheered loud enough and waved big enough for me to see them. It made me sad that I couldn't connect with them from the floor of the arena.
 I did it! So many hours reading and studying. So many reams of paper copied and highlighted.

 So many words left my brain, passed through my fingertips, and assembled on the screen. Original thought and original work. It was a lot of work.

When I was contemplating going back to school, I had a friend share this bit of wisdom: "Two years from now, will you look back and regret that you didn't do it?" I think I would have regretted not carpe diem this time.

I loved every second of it.
As amazing as the night was, the most important thing to me is that these guys were there to cheer as my name was read.
 No matter the degrees or any outside accolades, my most precious titles are wife and mother.

But I still feel the tug of academia and learning . . .

Friday, May 15, 2015

So. About Today . . .

It's here.

It's weird.

And it's awesome.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The City Feeds Me

Brad and I took a quick trip to Chicago for his law school class's 20th reunion.

I don't know what it is about the city, but I love it.
I love the commotion and the energy and the excitement and the constant rush of life all around me.

I love people watching and window shopping.
I love mass transit and cabs and a new love--Uber.

I love museums and art and artifacts architecture and learning. I had forgotten how much I love walking the galleries in a beautiful art museum.

I love how seasons kiss a city differently than they do the suburbs. I love how each tree sings its own song and together they alert the people of the changing seasons. The trees in Hyde Park were greener than the ones downtown--20 minutes away.
I love the food in Chicago. I love finding new holes in the wall, reserving space at upscale eateries, and of course, ordering takeout from Giordano's Pizza in Hyde Park. There is nothing in the world as delicious as Giordano's Pizza. (And I'm not just saying that because my Whole30-influenced mind sees the combination of cheese and bread and kicks into overdrive. Maybe kinda, but seriously . . . the best pizza ever.)

I love the memories we have of Chicago--how the smell and the wind and the trees and the buildings flood me with thoughts of early motherhood and two tiny kids and a busy dark-haired husband.
My heart aches for this life--for these city experiences for my kids.
And then, like that, we were above the clouds and headed home.

Just five minutes back in my life reminded me how good it is here. How this is where my kids need to be now.

Maybe a city experience is in our future, someday.

Until then . . . 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Last One . . . For a Whole 30 Days

There's a whole ritual to it.

Find the right glass.

Fill with 7 ice cubes.

Pop the top of the silver can and pour until the foam hits the rim.
Wait. The foam will recede.

Pour the rest of the can, because you know it all fits just right without spilling a drop.

Even as I write it, I can taste it. And I can't have it.

I am lost inside my life right now. Can't find where I fit. Can't find what to do. Can't find who I am any more.

It's weird and disconcerting and drives me to food all the time. Constantly. Many times a day. When I can't figure out what I need or what to do with my time, I'm sure the answer is a Twix. Or chocolate chip cookies. Or Reese's. Or brownies. Or a whole bag of Goldfish. Or . . .

Remember when I posted this letter?

I don't recognize that person any more.

I was getting ready for yoga this morning, and I didn't even know where my mat was. Took me five minutes to find it. Who am I?

A little friend of mine (one whose appearance I always dread) had returned, and after a few weeks of self-pity, self-medicating with all the tasty/bad things, and no exercise, I knew it was time to shake him off my back once again.

Stupid sugar monkey.

After talking with a friend of mine who had just finished the play, I researched it and decided to buy this:
I read the book, and Whole30's tough love and no-nonsense approach to beating food addictions appealed to my tough love/no-nonsense personality. I spent hours planning meals and grocery shopping--two things I detest--and yesterday was my first day on the plan.

I hope that Whole30 will teach me how to like cooking. I also hope that in a week, I'll be full of energy, back in control of my eating patterns, and satisfied with how I feel in my skin.

One day down, and I feel like I've been hit by a truck. So tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. Fully stocked fridge, but no energy or desire to make anything--that's problematic, since Whole30 has extremely strict dietary guidelines and there is no "safe" instantly available alternative to their meals. And no diet Pepsi. Not even a taste.


It's going to be a long 29 days. At least one's done, right?

Anyone out there with Whole30 experience who'd like to share?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Mother's Day to me is sleeping as late as I can. Big fruit salad for breakfast in bed. Handmade cards and a few school crafts. Begging for a day of peace. I've learned to let my expectations for this day drop.

I don't really ask for a lot--no big brunch, no presents, no special dinner.

Mother's Day to me is the day where I get to appreciate being a mother, not the day where I feel guilty that I'm not the mother from a Hallmark card. I'm not her. I never will be. But I'm the only mother my kids get, and they are the only chance I get to learn how to be their mom. Symbiotic at is simplest.

What would I be and where would I be without these seven blessings in my life? Without my own kind mother whose endless patience both humbles and inspires?

I Facetimed with my two older kids and their spouses and kids. That was awesome. I called my mom--my example of patience and acceptance for whatever life throws at you.

And we Skyped Ben in Peru. That was the best part of the day. We Facetimed Heidi on Brad's phone. Tucker's connection kept dropping and they could only be connected by speaker on my phone. Can you see all of us piled in the corner of the screen?
My little boys laughed and poked and teased and fought a little bit.
 They may have been sent out of the room a few times so the rest of us could listen.

Ben told stories and pulled faces and exclaimed at how big the kids had gotten since he left in October.
 Tucker tried to understand Ben's Peruvian Spanish, and Heidi wrestled her own commotion at home.
Lily waved to Ben's companion in the background--the companion may have been a little flustered by attention from a girl.
 Eve was pretty sick (in her own words, she "barfed FOUR TIMES today!"), but she didn't want to miss a second seeing her beloved big brother onscreen.
 Brad tried to manage technical difficulties among the phones and computer while trying to listen.
And me? About halfway through our 45-minute conversation, I noticed that my cheeks were hurting.

Nothing makes me happier than having my entire family together in one room. Even if it is only virtually together.

Some moms go to bed on Mother's Day with high expectations dashed. Some moms go to bed on Mother's Day laden with guilt from all they're not doing. Some moms go to bed on Mother's Day showered with gifts and good food.

I went to bed before 9 pm with aching cheeks and a heart overflowing with love for my imperfect family.

Emphasis on the mine.