(bitter)sweet 6

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She was my cozy, cozy, baby. She and I logged endless hours of rocking and nursing, cuddling and bouncing. Those first two years she rarely left the Ergo. As she grew it was obvious what an incredible gift she was. She played, she imagined, babbled, and chatted. She included whoever was near her, her arms outstretched to the world to know everything there was and to welcome it in.

As she grew up her hands just reached out further. Knowledge, curiosity, questions, and ability grow, grow, growing. Her words and vocabulary sky high, her gentleness and love unending, and her ability to include her sister, enjoy her deeply, and play without ceasing… was beyond anything I ever knew.

At around 4.5 she weaned, but her snuggling never left. She cuddled and chose to start sleeping in our bed around that time. She found connection wherever possible and whenever needed. She has always known her needs, asked for them to be met, and generously met others without hesitation.

Nolie is magic.

Knowing her is a gift, my closest friends will all agree. She’s different.

At five she was textbook exuberance! Newfound kid-hood was exploding and with it was so much joy. New experiences. New confidence. And it was all so beautiful and exciting. I rejoiced with her as she found her footing in dance classes, and drop off playdates. As she sounded out words and and wrote first poems. Her songs unending as life opera spilled from her lips whenever she began to imagine deeply. She and her sister grew from siblings to best friends. Paramount to each others’ play, worlds, and imaginary worlds alike. She grew up, a little.

And now six. It’s all still there. The light behind her eyes, the hands outstretched, the unapologetic curiosity, quick grin and the brain that never stops. But there are new shadows. She’s aging, she’s on the cusp, she’s emotional, and deep. Her feelings growing more complex by the day. Her need for me changing. Her world exploding as she sees that there are doors, and experiences, worlds outside of her own. How she needs me is deepening in many ways but becoming lighter and lighter in the most tangible ways. I don’t often carry  her. I don’t often buckle her in. I don’t always make her food. I don’t hold her to sleep often. I don’t get up with her. I don’t nurse her. I don’t give my body to her.

I give my head. Her questions still run the gamut of “why is air invisible?” but now also are more …thoughtful “why do some kids not like me?” or “why are adults mean to kids sometimes?” “are there homeless babies?” “how can we give away more?”…. it’s changing.

She’s emerging. She might be an introvert? Craving time alone, all alone, to just stare into space “and day dream” and recharge. She is asserting herself. She’s choosing her friends, activities, everything with strength. When kids say “let’s not tell our Moms” she easily turns it around and suggests a new game. She’s so incredibly strong in heart. Her bravery deepening and her compass always pointing true North.

I read this post on Humans of New York today… and it summed up everything that’s been hitting me so hard. “…there is an unexpected sadness to getting your life back. Like you’re getting laid of slowly from an equally grueling but joy filled job…”

I often find myself with an hour here and there, where I am untouched and unneeded. Hours where the only sound is two little voices narrating amazing play. And I should use it, feel freedom, all the rest… but I feel sadness. Deep, deep, mourning for the years that are past.

Oh Noele Grace, you made me a Mama, you took my heart and cracked it wide open for me to learn to love and embrace. You did it all. You saved my life. I would live your baby years over again and again and again till my arms couldn’t carry you. You’ve been nothing but a gift my girl. And I am excited, but slow embracing, this new you. 6 is so little. So, so little. And so big. Slow down, my baby. Slow down.

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New Year, current me.

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{resolution one: be more of a babe. And let Tiffany Burke take a billion photos forever}

For ten months of last year I was a new me.I was me with layers of growth and learning and grace packed onto of layers of self doubt, and hate, and guilt. I was a me full of depth, the oceans deep of past and present and growth into one, Me. I wasn’t the mantra of “New year; New me” I was living This Year, This me. And it was so empowering.

I spent the time finding and cultivating a community of health seekers and people who don’t scoff at selfies, laugh at progress and food photos, and who are also all steadily walking towards the same goal of freedom, health, and deep self love. Wether in big strides, small stutters or crawling along, I found some people.

I dropped off the path in late November, and allowed myself to indulge. It wasn’t in (just) sweets, and breads, and eggnog (those things were fine. Hard on my body and skin, but fine and delicious, and by in large very worth it). What i really gave into, indulged in, were my deeper layers of guilt. Of self deprecation. Of “what’s the point anyway.” and in that I lost some growth. It’s not just body. It’s heart and brain that I found so much freedom in last year. It was going to bed each night feeling confident and calm in my head about my choices for the day. It was growing muscles and strength and skills. It was headstands, deadlifts, and plank times. It was self love regardless of scale, acceptance of my shape, it was growth in my marriage and confidence. It was all of it. It was a new me, because the growth and layers on top of my foundation were all so shiny. But I chose to indulge in the old ways of hurting myself.

And I want to say it was pointless. I want to say it was stupid. And I want to believe that it was more proof that I can’t do it.

But that is a deep lie.

And these past six days I have began to rebuild the familiar growth. It comes so much quicker now. I am waking up and choosing health with each meal, love with each thought, and caring for my insides. Not just my gut. But my brain. Towards the end of October I had really begun to delve into the power of positive thinking, it seems to cliche and trite, but it works. Repeating true, positive thoughts. Again and again. Taking each negative thought captive and casting it off. I’m back to it.

Because I refused to let eight weeks of indulging in harm to mean a new year full of self hate. Instead I started early. I woke up today, New Years Day, ready and full of compassion for my practice, my heart, and myself.

My intentions for the new year:

To live cliche. Because I am just that person. I love them. I’m cheesy as all get out. I want to do all the joy filled cliche’ out there. I want to live Actions Speak Louder than Words, I want to Dance Like No One is Watching, Any Friend of Yours is a Friend of Mine, As Beautiful as the Day is Long, Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, Laughter is the Best Medicine, and on and on and on… I love em’ all and plan to embrace what a cliche I really am. Proudly.

To end the year stronger than I started it. Simply that. Not slimmer, not smaller sized, maybe even larger. But stronger. That can mean in heart, or mind. That can mean in biceps and glutes. Stronger.

To be more like my girls. They give freely, love heartily, and trust with open palms.

 

Happy 2016. It’s a hot coffee, family growing up, muscles getting stronger, body being more loved, kinda year. It’s a long baths, try new things, read more books, be read to, kiss deeply, and hug tight, kinda year.

New year, same me, who I love so much.




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Other resolution. Be more like those two. So themselves. So six. So three. So fun.

Traditions.

When Nolie was really little I felt this huge need and pressure to create traditions. But I tried and tried and nothing stuck, felt right, or really worked. I can now see, looking back, that’s because we didn’t really know our family all that well yet. We were still figuring it all out (and still are, big time), we had lots of needs (need to nurse often, or snack all the time, need to sleep right.now., need to get a diaper changed, need to rear face, etc.) and those made traditions (that are often far away, car filled, late at night, long term, include waiting or lines, and often not super baby friendly…) hard. But as we are finding our groove with a, still so young, growing up family we are slowly finding that traditions are gaining, and so much fun!

But, we’ve had one (seriously, other than sweet potato cheesecake on Thanksgiving… I think this is it) long standing, forever tradition. And that’s the pumpkin patch! And over documenting! And donuts! And I love it.

This was year six. And goodness, look at how  much changes in six years.

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One not quite one year old, two exhausted parents wondering “are we doing this right???” and now … two big ol’ kiddos and two exhausted parents thinking “I think we might be doing this right!” And, whoa, that feels so good. Not that I don’t have days of intense doubt, but it’s pretty amazing to be coming into the time where we can see some of the results of our parenting (especially in Nolie!) and feel like “yes! This path, the one of endless talking and relating and loving and gentleness and not punishment… it’s working!” and I just want to go and hug those two parents from six years ago and say “hold her! nurse her! she’s great! you’re great!”

I obviously took a million pictures and I love them all. So here are a few… this is our family scrap book!

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This is the first year that both of the girls were fully into the family photos! Neither put up a fight, both giggled and smiled and picked apples and asked if they could get the donuts after this (of course!). We figured the donuts were a pretty good incentive to get through the sappy mom and dad moments 😉
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This was our first visit where Nolie was interested in taking some of the photos. She snapped a ton and has a pretty great eye! I love her pictures best because you can see that none of us are uncomfortable around her. All the kisses, grins, and loves are so authentic. So, thanks Nolie!
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Almost 6 suits Nolie. She’s just amazing. And made for a pretty perfect big kid baby holder for her sweet and tiny 10 week old buddy, Birdie.12087948_10101489502896310_1486973605987359779_o

She’s still all nut though. 12108722_10101489504458180_542569339146138902_n

Donut, that is. 12065479_10101489503839420_5553754914229578542_n

Ever Harbor Joy is 3.5 and a spunk. Wild, overflowing, huge emotions, slow growing empathy, and mindblowingly sweet. Her favorite things are to fly! and run! (she can run two miles! what?!) 12132537_10101489502716670_1168160652183001784_o

 

This was the last year this pumpkin patch will be open, but I know that our tradition will live on and next year we will be scoping out a new spot. But an apple orchard is required!

I saw the rain.

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This past weekend we had the chance to get away. To head out to summer camp in the cool fall near the rainforest. We experienced rain so loud it drowned out any loud night thoughts. We paddled quick to shore in the canoe as the sky opened up and we filled from the bottom up. And that’s exactly what I was needing. Filling me, from empty to the top.

Ever, exhausted and played out each evening, fell asleep on her own little mat, without nursing, each night. She came home, and the trend has continued. A season, chapter, a nurse, is ending (maybe). And it’s beautiful on it’s own. No hint of bittersweet. Purely sweet to see her pride in herself “I just have a nurse when I need you. But right now. I lay in my own bed and go to sleep. Night!” Allowing her to self wean (and night wean) has been one of the best parenting decisions I have made. To stop making it a problem “how much am I up at night?!” “she’s soooo old!” “when will I sleep through the night? How long can I endure this??” and instead to just live in each of these nights, knowing that while they feel so long, they end, and regret is heartbreaking and not worth it. It’s brought a huge relief and lightness to our nursing relationship. And it’s so beautiful. I hope we continue on for a long time (and I have very little doubt that we will) but it’s a beautiful feeling to know that if it ended today I would know that I’d given everything in my heart to make it positive and gentle. {Don’t mistake this for meaning that we haven’t ebbed and flowed and that I haven’t had my days of wishing we were done. Or wishing I slept all night, each night. But instead of that we have come into a season that is beautiful and easy in nursing. Our attachment is so secure, and not leaving all those nights grew that, even if I had wished at the time that I could go out in the evenings. I am so thankful I chose not to.And that I am so grateful to be able to see that it’s a relationship, and we’re in that cozy space of it working so well, for both of us.}

We’re a bit more than a month into our homeschool adventure and it has been more exciting, harder, more time intensive, stressful, and right than I ever could have imagined. I thought it wouldn’t be much harder than my SAHM gig has been thus far, because… really, it’s just kindergarten. But I wholly underestimated the weight of being the “teacher” and the job of getting us to “school” (she does a supplementary school program for a few classes a week, that Ev and I stick around for as well) three days a week. It’s still all very much in the air, and I feel as though I’m juggling six needs… balls…. events… curriculum… teachers all at once. But the one sure thing is that every time I watch Nolie in her classes, or see her at the table working through math problems I’ve spent time teaching her… I feel calm. Each time I am still with her and ask her about how she’s feeling about school, I feel so secure. This choice is certainly not the easiest on me, and is an enormous transition. But it’s the absolute best choice for her. And that’s really all I can give. Each year, each day, each child… making the choices to the best of my ability (we plan to reassess and decide each year, with each girl, what the best choice for them is). I see my main job as being her primary advocate. And while I am struggling through this I also feel better than I ever have about advocating for her education and needs. And that seems to always outweigh the doubts or overwhelm.

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With all the new stress and workload and change Charlie has been my constant. An unending fount of encouragement, and a space to vent my every (lots) frustration without letting that flow out (too much ) onto the girls. Two of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far about homeschooling are to 1. Learn self care. Because your breaks will be few and far between, and the reality of being “on” all the time is intense. Self care is a non-negotiable for your own heart and health, and for the health of your family. and 2. It would be fully impossible for me if I didn’t have a support person to hear me out, all the time. Charlie helps me sit and write my plan for the week, or cut me slack when there is no plan, and really doesn’t need to be. He is there so say “yes! you are capable of this!” and also there to say “no, that’s way too much! Just call it a movie night and cuddle in.”

Back to that number one. Self Care. I’ve been using yoga and whole eating as my means of caring for myself inside and out. I finished up a fourth round of whole30 a few weeks back, and am on day one of a whole10 today to kinda reset my body after lots of amazing  and indulgent camping food. I’ve all but quit my high intensity workouts and running for this season (well, running here and there. But just for pleasure) and am choosing yoga because I can do it in short bursts here and there, at home so easily, and at this time… I just need the calm. And I need the awareness of how beautiful and strong and capable my body can be. And the constant growth of yoga is the type of pay off and accomplishment I am craving right now.

I made a little bit of time this past weekend for a little workout (stairs/squats/pushups) but also made time to stretch out each morning. And it felt so good.

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My writing is feeling so clunky. But my words are overflowing. I’m so thankful to have a space to put some thoughts, memories, and my heart out there. I’d also love any homeschooling resources you are loving. Any great FB groups? Blogs? Any inspiring, real, and not super overwhelming spots I could be looking for ideas? I’m at the very beginning of this journey, and I am looking forward to sharing more about it in the coming months. Any other homeschooling parents out there? solidarity and coffee to you!

update?

It’s been… a month and a half?

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I don’t know why. The girls are busy, amazing, and teaching me daily. But they are also aging and with that I’m putting less of them out “there” and keeping it close in here. My heart.

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Whole30’s are still going. I finished up my third round and feel like I have found my balance of fun/food/fuel/indulgence/dedication.

Mothers Day was… amazing. Charlie knocked it out of the park with a very fancy staycation with the girls. We are all high on the love, hot cocoa, king size bed, and soaker tub.

 

And that’s about it.  I guess I am just feeling a bit like a new woman and this is feeling a bit like an old blog. Not sure where I’ll go from here. The parenting stuff is still big, consuming, and a new constant conversation full of love/empathy/fighting/researching/struggling/banding together with Charlie, but it’s all so specific to our girls’ stages that it seems like it might be strange to put into a blog.  And the food stuff is changing me. In enormous and love filled ways. But I also know that it’s weird to put all the body/food/workout selfies out there any more than I already do… so? I don’t know. I guess I am just needing to sit in this in between. I know God has some big plans coming for me. But right now I am in the stripping away phase. Dropping online responsibilities, writing work, much of anything, in favor of just hunkering into my girls. And our home. And Charlie. But something is coming. I can feel that.

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SAHM Dairy, Chapter one, the end?

ever deskI got pregnant in my final year of college. As I walked for my graduation, in cap and giant gown, my little 4mo bump hid out underneath. I treasured that my first baby  walked with me; I didn’t feel ‘too young’ or like my future was gone. I knew, without a doubt, that I would stay home with this baby. It was important to both Charlie and I that I was home with our kiddos while they were small. But the expiration on that has always been hazy.

A few years.

Once they’re school aged.

After they wean.

Or…. wait? when?

And now I’m quickly approaching those end pages of the “small” years. As Nolie readies herself for some kindy experience (ps. jury is still out on what that’ll look like. But balls are in courts and wheels are turning in different spots, and all the prayers for wisdom are appreciated) in the fall, and Ev whets her feet in preschool this spring, I can see the end pages of this first chapter of motherhood.

When mama life was fresh, dim, and lonely, a friend and I started a local “mama network” and it became my anchor in the ever blustery storm of parenthood. Where I reached out for advice, support, and tangible help. It was the spot that, as my sea legs grew, I could feel that mastery as I offered up latch suggestions, and breast feeding help, how to exercise with a baby in tow, and what exactly “baby led weaning” looked like. It has been my first click when I sit at the computer and my greatest comfort during the stages that feel deep and unending with my sleepless wonders. And, most of all, it’s where I’ve met my nearest and dearest friends. The ones that even if facebook, and the internet collapsed, I’d have them. We’d be making weird meals, sharing husband stories, and pouring strong coffee while bouncing each others babies. They are my village and without the Mama Network, I never would have found them.

But the story of my time as an administrator there are also rapidly fluttering pages, coming to an end at some point.

In April I will step into having two days a week with a solid chunk of time (three hours!) of kidless time. I’ve known this was coming for a few months and have been struggling and buoying through ideas of what I “should” do with my new found time, and the time I have daily as the girls now play/read/entertain themselves so often, and the time that is eventually coming as school becomes a reality. The “shoulds” are great and suffocating: work, money making, volunteer work, something “worthwhile” ….

But the closer (gulp, just a few weeks!) I get to this chunk of break time I get the less sure I feel of … anything. And the only thing that seems sure is that I am excited to have a few months, at least, of time to just deeply focus in on my girls without distraction, during this amazing phase where they are no longer babies and are engaged and engaging in the most fantastic ways.

Charlie has encouraged me to just write. Sit. Sleep. Eat cake and watch Netflix. Take the break that our brand of parenting doesn’t allow for the first five years. It feels negligent and indulgent. And possibly just right.

Nolie and Ever think that I should “take rests. by yourself.”

And I am starting to see that maybe the rest of my family has it right. And that there is some deep rest, reflection, and, hopefully then, action, coming soon. But for now, I am aching to slow these last pages down, read each word slowly, and savor these, still small, characters that I get to enjoy all day, every day.

 

Whole30 Family Results.

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I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve found the golden key and simultaneously like I know nothing and am at the very beginning again… The whole30 is it’s own beast, and one that has me back to studs in my heart trying to discern what tastes good/what feels good/what “feel good” means/and where the heck I got the idea that donuts once a week was “fun” or felt good or was good for me or my kids.

Somewhere around day 5: The girls were begging for noodles (a very frequent meal around here :/) and  I whipped them up a bowl of noodles with pasture butter and fresh parm (good stuff! right?) and as Nolie was shoveling spoonful after spoonful into her mouth, and I was feeling satisfied to see her finally eating a meal that day, she started to squirm. “My belly hurts. It hurts but I don’t want to stop eating. I want to feel fuller.”

oh. uh. what?

I know that feeling. It’s exactly what I feel when I eat bread (homemade or franz, bakery or store-bought…) like I just want to keep eating, even though my stomach hurts, I don’t feel “full” I just feel… not done? It’s the same feeling that motivates me to eat a whole Sourdough Boule from Trader Joe’s (with Brie, yum) and then bemoan(or just moan) my choice for the next few hours while I sit on the couch feeling overfull and underfed.

I don’t know when or how my five year old got to that… but I do know that it’s because of what I was putting out there. Of my weird notions about what she “would like” or “could eat” or “she’d NEVER like that”. Because, the thing is, Nolie is an AWESOME eater. But the foods she likes take effort (on my part). She loves roasted vegetables (Primarily beets!) and dark meat on  a whole roasted chicken, and buttery quinoa, steamed broccoli… like, she would eat those foods for every meal. But that meal? Hours of time. Prep. Money. Energy. Workworkwork. So? Noodles became my go-do to get them full during the day.

It wasn’t till we started this whole30 (a modified elimination diet, but not at all a legit one, as it’s all self led/instagram led 😉 and not persribed by a doctor or naturopath) and began to eliminated grains/dairy/sugar from our home that I noticed how worth it the work was, and how I could prep ahead and be ready to feed my family well.

We’ve started prepping meals… roasting chicken, roasting veggies, sautéing greens, baking eggs, having all the protein/greens/fats/fruits on hand and closer to us than a bowl of pasta. And the proximity? It’s working. There are plenty of meals that on days 1-15 the girls just saw/wouldn’t touch and would request something else (our go-to’s if you aren’t a fan of dinner are apple/PB, turkey/ham and nuts, yogurt and honey. I’m always willing to serve something easy to the kids if they aren’t a fan of dinner and I would never remove an entire food group from a kiddo unless it was obvious that they had an allergy). But the most amazing this has been happening… as these foods are on our table more and more, as restaurants are becoming a distant memory (sob sob!), those foods are becoming more and more normal to the girls and, without pressure, they are trying and loving them!

The effects on Nolie are less obvious, an expanded pallet, easier time falling asleep, and a general level of energy/calm instead of high highs and low lows.

But  on Ever? It’s been crazy. She’s 2.75 and has always had big feelings. But recently her emotions had been getting huge and scary and seemed to be out of her own control. I reached out to friends, Facebook networks, books, and kept coming up pretty blank. “developmentally normal” or maybe sensory related? She would, seemingly without a trigger, just completely lose it. Her eyes would go glossy, she’d scream as loud as she could, pinch/hit herself, pull her hair, throw herself on the ground… it was awful, heartbreaking, and impossible to help her till she just, eventually, came down. She was having one or two a day, most days, and we were just weathering them while I clung to the hope that this developmental stage would pass.

Then we started the whole30, the girls weren’t on it 100% at all, but their consumption of gluten/dairy became HUGELY reduced. Their consumption off highly processed sugars (donuts…oops? every week. oops?) was drastically cut back, and the fruit/veggie consumption sky rocketed. And one week in… It dawned on me that Ever hadn’t had a single freak out. I brushed it off and assumed it was a fluke. But the days kept going by, the meltdowns were small and normal and not at all near the caliber they had been, and she began to sleep at night. We are now about two months into having a gluten/dairy free home (for the most part) and the two times that we’ve let her have a big amount of gluten… she’s had a huge and heartbreaking meltdown. So, now, we are limiting gluten in a big way.

I am pretty shocked by this. I have never been an advocate for putting kids of elimination diets unless there is a VERY good reason. But I am beyond thankful that this happened so naturally, and that it’s been by and large easy to keep out of our diet and home.

We have no intentions of going back to gluten or dairy with any kind of regularity, and so far the girls don’t mind at all. It’s amazing what having healthy option on the table, meal after meal after meal after meal, can do for a kiddo pallet. They didn’t want/try/like things the first, second, third, or even fourth, but often times the 5th time they saw it, they would try it! Or the 10th time, they would like it! Slow and steady, and healthy. I am in shock and so thankful!

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Whole30- Results (Autumn)

I’ve hesitated to write this post. For many reasons, but the primary being that I have felt like my results would be a “let down” for most people to read about. Because my “before and after” doesn’t show 10+ pounds lost, or a sudden tan gained. Also because it feels really embarrassing to post, photos that depict a person “before” (who looks just fine.) and an “after” as though it was something that “had” to happen. And because I know that many of my close friends and family find the whole thing so ridiculous that I can almost feel the snickers behind my back about how crazy this whole endeavor was. And, I will fully admit, doing a Whole30 is a VERY privileged thing to do. Being able to spend much more on food than typical (we saved up to do it, but had shocking results financially that I’ll get to later) on groceries, CHOOSING to omit food groups, and having the luxury of time to shop/prep/cook everything at home. Not to mention just being able to pick up a diet change on a whim because I had been thinking about it? That alone highlights how small my (sometimes big feeling) problems are relative to many other people.

BUT… I also feel like a monumentally different and changed person. And all shook up. And ridiculous as it all may be, dumb as this all is, it was important to me. Did great big things in me. And in the end (though, I am no where near the end, actually) left me feeling so much better. So, as this is my own tiny personal space, I’m sharing. So, warning, gratuitous amounts of selfies/photos/and rambling. If it’s not your gig, just click out.

Our Whole30 Results:

I lost three pounds, and 14inches (all over, but mainly my hips and thighs).

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Obviously, my stomach is the number one change. Because… guys, this is an amazing result. My diastasis recti is GONE. I had a “four finger tip” one prior to starting and after? Gone. And also a TON of inflammation and bloat from gluten and dairy, also gone. The exciting thing about that is that even if I were to “go back” I know that a lot of my frustration with my body was just inflammation, and that “easy enough” to get rid of with the elimination of gluten and dairy (my triggers). I also grew a butt! That is not thanks to the diet (I mean, maybe? thanks protein and all the avocado!) but more thanks to endless squats. I have been lifting weights and doing at home workouts pretty solidly for the past couple months. And thanks to SQUAT SQUAT SQUAT AGAIN, I am finally getting a bootay.

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(December)
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(early February)

The biggest physical change I experienced was the total loss of my eczema. I’ve had it since I was 2 years old, and it was really bad and completely plagued me during my super young years. I began to “grow out of it” around age 17 but then in college (stress? terrible eating (and drinking) habits?) it came back on my hands in an aggressive way. It had gotten pretty terrible again these past 8mo or so with no real obvious triggers and was to the point that I couldn’t wear my wedding rings at all without them becoming glued together (with blood) and my fingers swelling terribly.  It wasn’t immediate but around day 25-28 of my whole30 I realized that my hands had stopped itching and swelling, and my rings slipped on with ease and now I am comfortably wearing them! hurray!

Another huge physical change is my exhaustion level. It is no secret that I am severely sleep deprived (something that has always felt like a huge barrier to health and weight loss because I am chronically exhausted), neither of my kids sleep through the night regularly (Ever, hardly at all. And Nolie does but with a hiccup to come and join me in our bed. So not the best sleep for me. We need a king size!), and both of my girls are night-owls and don’t go to sleep till around 9/10 most nights, and that means I usually stat up till 11 or 12am just to have a break. ANYWAY, suffice it to say, I am usually pretty tired. But by about day 20 (and now, still!) I realized that when I woke up I was in a good mood, and wasn’t clawing for coffee. I still drink coffee, because the ritual of it is really important to me at this point.

FOOD: the biggest change I experienced is in my relationship to food. You see, it’s amazing, when the food you are choosing to eat is ALL healthy, there is ZERO food guilt. For me, I had always let food be a guilt motivator. For example, if I ate something “bad” then I needed to workout more/harder/faster, or I needed to eat less/better, or I couldn’t feel good about myself. No matter where the scale/jeans/whatever fell, I would make myself feel horrible if I made “bad” choices a few times in a row. Or, I would just let myself fall into this big spiral of “it doesn’t even matter” and just eat worse and worse, feel worse and worse, and just let it keep going. During the Whole30 (and mostly after too!) I have had zero guilt. And I feel really amazing about my self control and ability to pick awesome foods because I know how great they make me feel. I have found new ways to comfort  myself (cozy up with my husband and an old Office ep? YUP. It’s still good. Even without ice-cream) and have yet to go to sleep feeling bad about my food choices at all in over a month. And that might be minor for some people, but for me it’s enormous.

Next week I’m going to share about Charlie and the girls and their results!

 

Here are answers to a few other W30 questions I have gotten:

Quality time… Are you finding the meal/snack/food prep being an overwhelming or large time consumption? I worry that it would be so much in an already busy day: You know, the first week it seemed like a gargantuan task. But as it’s gone on I’ve found what things work/don’t work for our family and am just sure to keep those easy foods on hand. I also prep stuff ahead of time, portion things out and keep them in the fridge, and buy a LOT of pre-washed veggies/greens so that I can just toss together a salad or a big mix of veggies to roast. Spending a couple hours one day a week is a great way to get ahead. And if your partner is on board it can actually be kind of fun!

favorite meats/meat sources?: This one is hard. The best deal on organic/humane meat we can find is Costco (other than splitting an animal from a farm, but we don’t have enough freezer space). But I am ALWAYS on the lookout for more! We mainly eat chicken, and bacon 😉 And chose to use “non compliant” bacon in favor of having no nitrates/junk that was in the compliant stuff. We buy hemplers.

Which days (if any) were the hardest, why, and how did you cope? For me day 10-15 were REALLY hard and I wanted to quit. I felt bigger, more bloated, and sick of my food options. And then again on days 27-30, we were renovating in our home, wanting quick/easy/cheesy stuff and it was hard. But I am SO glad I made it though.

Are you having any cravings? Sugar. Just sugar. Sugar. And more sugar 😉

Effects on breastfeeding? Have you adapted W30 for your kids? If so, how? I’ll be answering this one on my post next week about the girls!

 

Also, please, be kind. These pictures are really hard for me to share. <3

clinging to the door frame.

Evers birth was fast and beautiful. My body opened wide and she slid out scowly and cuddly and the joy filled exclamation mark of our family. With her birth the door swung wide. Wide to body acceptance, birth culture, mother of multiple children, and the onset of her sister being a full fledged preschooler who was ready for learning/growing/changing/pushing/everything, our world bubble burst with Evers arrival.

Her babyhood has been long, and a blink. At 2.5 Nolie became a sister (and aged enormously overnight) and a role model. She slowed her nursing, potty learned,  night weaned, began to to most things for herself, and self identified as a “big kid”. And we were all ecstatic at her every  new stage, because there was a still a baby nursing around the clock, forever in our ergo, always toddling about.  Ever has done similar, at 2(.75 wah!) she is strong and independent, plays on her own, dresses herself and chooses her own outfits, decides what she wants to eat and when, climbs and jumps and swings a “a big tid fwing!” at the park. She is slowing her nursing during the day, playing with other kids and has been independent with the bathroom for over a year now. But… she still says “I not a big tid. I a little girl. Mamas little girl.”

I think she and I are both feeling that door of babyhood closing. And we are both holding tighter to the frames and savoring each last little milestone. She adores being the baby. She will always be my baby. But with her third birthday looming, her independence exploding, and her ability level blowing us both away. . . it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the door that flung wide at birth is closing and we are standing in the fresh air all looking around thinking. Dazzled. Sun drunk. What comes next?

This little girl, this little family, this “Ever Harbor Joy!” is growing up. And the adventures just beyond this step feel limitless. This Noele Grace, role model, Sister, is on the cusp of reading and writing, expressing huge and deep emotions and ready for all the one-on-one I can manage.On the edge of journaling, schooling, and is forever asking questionsquestionsquestions, and daily stumping me and leading me to old books, and new articles, and youtube videos of weather and dance moves and science experiments.

I’m not quite ready to step into the bright sun. And thankfully here on the threshold my baby stays in my arms. Nursing. Eyes bright and icy as always. The end is close, the steps are hovering, and the new chapter waiting. But we’re pausing a moment longer, and it’s beautiful and full, the wait is worth it. And the heaviness of the door is acute today. IMG_2924

Bright, 2015

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{Every New Years we burn our Christmas Tree and make our new year wishes. This year it burned high and bright and quick.}

It has taken me a solid week to really be *in* the new year. I just put the last of the Christmas decorations and new years sparkles away. And I am closing in on a week of no Facebook (today!), and day four of my Whole30 (I’ll be sharing more about that soon!). I am one an odd duck. I am a slow mover, slow processor, and talk talk talk it out person… till I am not. And then I just leap. For example, I hemmed and hawed over a Facebook break for months and month (how ridiculous) and then I just pulled the trigger and full on ‘deactivated’ on January 1.

I will be, embarrassingly, honest. The first four days were really hard for me. I couldn’t really even be on my desk top because the urge to just “check” was too strong. I started to feel really weird and paranoid, I can hardly explain it. But I started to feel like my friends were happy I was “gone” and were talking about me (but, I mean, who cares if they are? were? The ones who matter have my phone number and have been texting me their amazing and hard and hilarious life updates… you know, like friends!). It was weird. And almost paralyzing to not “know” what was going on in the Facebook world. But after those four days it started to feel amazing. My brain feels calmer, less hectic (could be the sugar detox I’m on thanks to the Whole30 too), and I don’t feel so frustrated all the time. See, I have this awful habit of reading stuff on Facebook that makes me feel awful (parenting debates that just eat me up, heartbreaking articles, or obnoxious posts that rile me up) and then I would stew on it all.day.long. It was so pointless! It didn’t do anything but feed some heartbreak in me, and cause me to be a big downer to my kids. Such a worthless thing to spend my time on. Now that I’ve cut that out I am shocked at how much less annoyed and frustrated I feel! I smile more (and, I smiled a lot before! So it’s kinda crazy.) and feel like I can listen better (to my kids, to Charlie, and myself too!) . I had forgotten how GOOD it is to feel bored. To have your brain wander, quietly, and think of beautiful things  to create, or words to write, or songs to sing, or just about how the trees look all empty of leaves and full of spring promise (it’s coming early here! 45 and bright today!). I actually picked up a pen and wrote on paper till my hand cramped! I am not sure how or in what capacity I’ll rejoin Facebook come February, but this break is already proving fruitful and it’s only been seven days.

Some of the stuff I am doing/thinking about lately:

Wanting to run a Sweater Drive in February in honor of Mr.Rogers! But I need to find a place that needs some cozy sweaters.

Writing! What do I want to do with this blog? with my heart for writing? and with my need to grow my skills. . . .

Playing. How to play? Why does it seem like it’s hard for so many new parents? And how to help parents learn to really just play.

More on the stuff my book dreams are made of. How to have a deeply respectful and loving marriage while still attachment/unconditional parenting young children.

What life will look like this time next year, what decisions we will make regarding schooling for Nolie and how I can fulfill all these rolls and meet her needs best.

Buying heavier plates for our weight lifting, because I am out growing the ones we have (BA!BAM!)

Signing up for another half marathon and getting on that Training Fun again!

How to parent Ever through what seems to be her most tumultuous life phase to date (oh the fits, guys, they’re big!) and come out the other end with more love, closeness, and emotional maturity for us both!

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I’m pretty excited to see what my brain and body do with this next week of whole eating and Facebook free living. I feel like I’m on the edge of something, something big and bright and light. 2014 was amazing and weighty with decisions and intense growth. This year feels Bright and Joy filled already. 2015, lets grow!