Moon pies & valentines

We’ve had a fun few weeks with holidays, family, and new friends!  We survived our first Mardi Gras which, can I say is perhaps one of my new favorite things?  Because I’m pretty sure I won’t be satisfied by a regular parade anymore.  Who wouldn’t love a few hours of having free beads, moonpies, coozies (didn’t even know what these were lol), stuffed animals, teeshirts, and other completely random but totally awesome stuff thrown at you? Word of advice: don’t eat anything but the chocolate moon pies.  Trust me. I also made my first king cake and shared it with some our friends for the superbowl, and I got the slice with the coin so that means I’ll be making another one next year.  And possibly every year after regardless of whether or not we live in the South.  Despite all the crazy things I had heard about Mardi Gras (which I’m sure are all true), the family-friendly version ROCKS.

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And in other news, I’m back to loving on my sweets . . . valentine’s will do that to you.

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D’s parents came for a visit for President’s weekend, it was lots of fun showing them around town a little bit – we were able to visit the beach, farmer’s market, downtown, Joe Patti’s, the aviation museum on base, and of course lots of yummy Southern food.  This last Monday a storm went through – we missed the worst of it while out to dinner and came back to the neighborhood pitch black with lots of massive trees blocking the roads.  I’m feeling incredibly grateful this week that we missed the worst of the tornado and only had to spend a night without power.  My heart goes out to the familes that weren’t so lucky.IMG_2845

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Feeling most grateful for this guy, who finally officially started flight school! He’s in API (Aviation Preflight Indoctrination), which means lots of ground school classes, swimming, land survival, and dunker training.  What D has called “academic hazing.”  That means constant studying for him, and lots of time with the puppy for me.  The next few weeks will be pretty tough for him, but I know he’ll rock it just like anything else he sets his mind out to.  And I can’t wait to see him in his flight suit! (Okay I actually got a preview, but he didn’t have all the patches sewn on and it wasn’t official so doesn’t count.)  Also, looking forward to a few girls nights during the endless amount of study groups.

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Whole30, how I loathe and love . . . actually just loathe thee

So when you’re not eating any of your favorite foods, the weeks actually go by much quicker than you’d expect but the days are sloooooooooow.  I am counting the hours to donuts in the morning and they are definitely not going fast enough.  I thought I’d write a about our whole30 experiences.  This post is kind of long, and probably only interesting to those considering doing whole30 themselves, so I’d suggest not wasting your time if it doesn’t interest you.  First of all, let me say that it’s not for everyone.  After this round, I’m feeling like maybe it’s not for me.  I think people should do whatever works for them and so I am in no way a cheerleader for whole30.  In fact D and I joke that we both love whole30 and it ruined our lives.  Let me preface by saying that prior to our first round in September 2014, I really had never made any attempts to change my diet in any way.   Actually I did try to cut down on sugar once and lasted two days before I couldn’t handle the nasty monster I became.  I did gluten free for a week and I had switched over to soymilk (just for drinking) because I was having major stomach issues.  Other than that,  I ate what I wanted when I wanted which meant a LOT of sugar and chocolate.  From the ages of 12-24 I pretty much ate pasta and parmesan cheese for dinner every night.  And I had dessert at least once, but mostly twice a day.  Anyway, D had mentioned whole30 a few times to me but I laughed it off.  When he made a serious suggestion that we try it together, I remember I was at work and I actually teared up at the thought of not eating those foods.  That was a wakeup call to me – I was actually crying over chocolate?  How ridiculous, right?  So after probably a month of debating it in my mind, I agreed.  I’ve now (well, in 6 hours) survived 3 rounds (thats 90 LONG days) of eating only meat, veggies, fruit and nuts.  Here’s what it was like for me.

Round 1 – We were super excited about the challenge this first round.  I removed every noncompliant food from the house so it wouldn’t tempt me.  It was tough figuring out how to eat, but exciting trying new foods and new recipes.  My taste buds started changing and everything was delicious.  It was day 2 that sugar withdrawal hit me bad.  I lay in bed in tears because my body aches were so bad and no painkiller or heat brought any relief because my body only wanted sugar.  I remember thinking, I never want food to have this much power over me.  It was a few days later that gum pain started and lasted on and off the whole time.  Try chewing meat and vegetables when your gums hurt.  Actually don’t do that – eat milkshakes and smoothies (two things not allowed on whole30).  I also had crazy hormonal symptoms that I’ll spare you the details (I think the gums were tied to this).  I was exhausted the whole time.  By the end I lost 12 pounds and I think it was mostly due to not wanting to eat because my mouth hurt.  While I didn’t feel great by the end of it, I did have clearer skin and my stomach was back to normal.  And I actually noticed when I started eating unhealthy foods again how terrible they made me feel.  Hence the “it ruined our lives.”  We could no longer live in ignorant bliss of how junky all that junk food really made us feel.

Round 2 – This round may have gone differently if we hadn’t found on day 2 that we had to move out of our house and find a new place to live.  We were waiting to hear if D got into the Navy and it was super stressful trying to figure out what to do and all I wanted the entire time was a cookie for comfort food.  And to order a pizza so I could pack my house instead of spending an hour cooking.  It was crazy.  Eating was a lot easier because I knew what to eat, but I was so bored of whole30 meals, there was little excitement it- was just an added stressor.  Still had major gum pain that lasted after we were done.  I remember being a super stickler about “the rules” the 2nd time because a few of my coworkers were doing whole30.  Except drinking some alcohol, eating a burger without the bun at a fast food restaurant, and other things that made me seethe.  For some reason I was really angry at them, I think because it’s so freaking hard to do whole30 correctly and I was really proud that I did it, so I was mad when they said they were doing it but cheating here and there.  Then D found out he got accepted as a pilot in the Navy, and we quit on day 30 to celebrate with some ice cream.  I got over thinking I was better than everyone else.

Round 3 – This time I didn’t go through withdrawal and have felt pretty normal even with the major food changes (we were eating pretty terrible before this round).  I have had some gum pain, but its only been a few days so bearable.  This time I’ve had a hard time not eating “fake” unhealthy foods.  IE – plantain tortillas (not allowed I realized) with fruit and cream.  Basically a crepe and deelicious.  I also made chips a few times with potatoes.  But I’m feeling kind of oppositional with the rules.  I think part of it is frustration that I haven’t felt the “tiger blood” energy they promise – I’ve never felt great while on whole30.  Although I do know that I still probably feel better than when eating junk.  I also think I just want to be in charge of what I eat and not follow someone else’s rules anymore.  It helped the first time because I had no rules myself, but I think now I’m wanting to be the one in charge.  Plus I found out that the creator of whole30 could care less about baking.  It’s really easy to tell the world not to bake for 30 days when you never bake anyway.  It sucks when baking is one of your favorite things to do.

I could go on and on about whole30 because it is actually pretty crazy and intense.  If you are considering it, just know that the things that they promise are not true for everyone.  D has felt more energy on whole30 and it’s improved his workouts and he doesn’t have any crazy major symptoms.  It’s kind of a shock to my system when I do it and I’m pretty irritable for most of the 30 days.  Whole30 claims to solve your emotional relationship with food, but I had never felt guilt in my life around eating until after our first round.  I’d never felt bad about eating something delicious and unhealthy until I did whole30, so in some senses it created a problem for me.  But I also eat fewer unhealthy foods, so it’s a toss-up.  Doing whole30 has really made me much more aware of what I eat and my food choices, which means we generally eat a lot healthier at home.  Even though I don’t know if I want to do another whole30 in the future, I am much more motivated to eat similarly on a regular basis.  Tomorrow morning will be paleo doughnuts instead of Krispy Kreme.  And whole30 requires creativity with cooking.  That’s something that I’ve been struggling with since we moved to Florida and so I’m really glad to have gotten a little bit of that back.  I’m finally looking forward to food again instead of just being bored with it.  And that’s a good thing.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Did you get the David Bowie reference? Sad news this week with his passing, he’s always been one of my favorites (I actually quoted him in my high school graduation speech!)

Well this week started with a big change for us, the boundaries for our church ward were changed, meaning we got ousted and have to attend a new ward in a different building.  It’s not too big of deal since we hadn’t really gotten quite settled in to our last one, but it kind of sucks having to start all over again right when we were getting to know people.  They had a little get together after church today to meet people, but we didn’t stay too long because the honeybuns and cinnamon rolls and pecan rolls were taunting me (only 15 days til a donut!) Hopefully we can meet some new people next week, although at first glance it seems like there’s not too many in our age group :/  We’ll see!

In more exciting changes, D has finally completed IFS (Introductory Flight Screening).  It’s supposed to be a six week intro to flying where they have three weeks of ground school and lots of tests followed by three weeks of flights in a small airplane.  Well D started at the end of October and now, nearly 3 months later finally had his solo flight this week.  They train at civilian flight schools and the flight instructors schedule when the students are going to fly and for some reason they took FOREVER to schedule all of D’s flights.  (Okay, yes there were holidays and lots of bad weather days, but this definitely could have happened faster).  D would have 2-3 flights one week, then nothing for three weeks.  Doesn’t make sense to me but I’m glad he’s done and can go back to  . . .  waiting again.  Now he’s back to A-Pool, basically waiting to start flight school with the Navy.  He has to muster (check-in to base) in the mornings, do PT sometimes and gets odd jobs every once in awhile.  Anyway it was really fun to be able to watch him solo in an airplane earlier this week.  I remember watching his first solo in a helicopter 4 and a half years ago – I was much more nervous, I kept asking his instructor “are you sure he really knows how to fly this thing?”  This time around, after lots of good words from his different instructors and having flown with him myself, there was no worry, only a lot of excitement for D.   He LOVES flying, and it really is such a joy to watch him doing what he loves.  He even got a “good job” from the tower, which his instructor said hasn’t happened before.  He’s awesome.IMG_2586IMG_2593.jpg

A new year of new adventures

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It’s a new year, which means maybe more consistent blogging?  We’ll see about that.  I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas time with their loved ones.  This was our first year of Thanksgiving and Christmas without family, and we are so grateful for our Navy and church friends that we celebrated with.  Even though the holidays are my favorite time of year, I must say I’m kind of glad to have a month of a lot of nothing!  There are exciting things -my practice doubled this week, we’re making healthier choices, D’s flying again, and we’re getting a little more sunshine.  All have me in a bit better mood and excited for what 2016 holds in store for us.

So far this year the most exciting thing has been that we are doing our 3rd round of Whole30 this month.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically 30 days of super “clean” eating aka only meat, vegetables, and some fruits and nuts.  No dairy, no sugar, no peanut butter, no grains, basically no processed foods either. (It’s amazing what they put sugar in).  Also no alcohol, but that part is easy since I’ve had 29 years of practice.  If you’re interested you can read more about it at whole30.com but this isn’t an advertisement for whole30.  Maybe I’ll post about that after we make it through this one.

Well anyway, after moving and eating out a ton and the holidays, it was time for a reset for D and I – besides January is the best time to change your eating since everyone is on a diet, right?  I’m also really excited to renew my creativity with cooking – clean eating kind of requires it,  and it’s something that I feel like I’ve been lacking since we moved here.  Hopefully after this month I can keep it going after with healthy meals and just enjoy my donuts and chips and chocolate a little less frequently (just a little).

Our recent focus on food and a comment in one of my magazines had me itching to write about something that has been on my mind lately.  It’s a little personal, but I think it’s important.  Up until a little over year ago when we did our first whole30, I ate whatever I wanted and have always been on the thin side.  People have made comments to me all my life about my weight, meant to be “positive,” and I think it was just this last summer that I realized how those comments have NOT been helping me.  I’ve been told people are “jealous” that I can eat whatever I wanted and not gain a ton of weight, not realizing that because of this, I developed some pretty horrible eating habits that contributed to major stomach issues, acne, and serious body aches and pains.  I never even tied those things to food because I wasn’t gaining weight.  My weight has mostly been determined by genetics. When I’ve taken steps to improve my health however, people have been discouraging because they don’t think I need to lose weight.  I did whole30 the first time because I knew I was addicted to sweets and didn’t want them to have so much control over me, but people’s responses were “you don’t need to lose weight” and “you shouldn’t do that, you’re too skinny.”  I didn’t want to lose weight, I wanted to stop having stomachaches every morning and being miserable after every time we went out to eat.  I didn’t want to look better, I wanted to feel better!  The first time I tried to take control of my eating was really difficult, and it would have been so much more helpful to hear “good for you for trying to take better care of yourself.”  I’ve written before about how I challenged myself to start running this year and one woman’s response when I told her I was starting to run was, “why would you do that?  You’re already skinny.”  I was shocked because running was about doing something I’d told myself I couldn’t do, something I was so proud of. It had nothing at all to do with my weight!  I didn’t lose a single pound while running but what did that have to do with how many miles I made it without passing out or giving up?  And then there’s been the comments my whole life about how “small” and “skinny” and “little” I am.  Which, by popular opinion has not built my self-esteem, but has only made me conscious of how very aware others (women, especially) are of my body and my weight.  Meaning, when I gain two pounds, I assume the entire world notices.  Because if they notice when I’m skinny, they must notice when I’m not.  I once got told that I had the body of a teenager – I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I was weak, flat, riddled with acne and had no curves on my body whatsoever.   At 29 years old, I have no desire to look like a teenager!  It just amazes me how it’s become okay to comment about other’s weight and bodies so freely.  Let me be clear, most of these comments are from strangers or people I’ve just met!  I can’t imagine meeting someone and within five minutes I’ve said “you’re so fat” or “you should probably start running because you need to lose some weight.”  Now I don’t want to compare myself with what other women go through with judgment of their bodies, I don’t think I’ve got it worse than anybody else – but can we all just stop judging ourselves and consequently others?  Even if we think it’s a compliment?  Because how is someone’s weight – which is determined by a hundred different factors both in and out of their control – something that we should decide if it’s good or not? I’m not offended by these comments and don’t think anyone should feel bad about them, I don’t think anyone who has said these things to me or others means any harm.  I just wish our compliments could shift to telling each other that we’re beautiful, not that we’re a number on a scale or a measurement around a waistline. Beauty means so much more than that to me!  Let’s applaud each other for things that we can and should be proud of and learn to love our own bodies for whatever they are at this moment.  Just my two cents.  Now on to attempting to make homemade sweet potato chips.  That’s the same thing as Herr’s right?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I started this month with a little bit of the blues, not sure why.  Maybe it’s the weirdness of wearing shorts and sandals in December.  But this weekend put me back in the Christmas spirit and I am so excited!  We had a few Christmas parties this weekend that left us stuffed to capacity of delicious goodies and full of cheer.  We had a blast at my friend’s awesome ugly sweater party and went in search of some Christmas lights after our church party (a success!).  There’s always so much going on December and I usually am stressed the whole month and looking forward to relaxing on Christmas day.  This year I’m doing a better job of learning to actually celebrate and enjoy the entire month rather than waiting for Christmas day.  I love filling my house with red and green, drinking gingerbread hot chocolates, having great excuse to bake, bake, and bake some more, getting Christmas cards in the mail from loved ones,  exchanging homemade ornaments with my family, listening to Christmas music nonstop, and peppermint snowflake pretzels.  I’m especially grateful this season for my knowledge of why this time of year feels so special.  I’m so grateful for the birth of the Savior and to know that He is “the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.”

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To anyone and everyone reading this,  I hope you have a very merry Christmas season this year!

Gratitude

As we head into my favorite season, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for how blessed we have been this year.  Last week we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house with a few of our military friends and it was so fun to share everyone’s traditional foods and enjoy each other’s company.  It was a good reminder to me of one of my greatest blessings – the many people that come in to my life.  We have moved 6 times since we’ve been married and I had moved somewhere around 20 times before that; believe it or not only 1 of those moves has been for the military!  While moving is definitely stressful, I actually love it.  The main reason is the amazing new people that come into my life.  Pensacola has not been a disappointment with this and I’m so grateful for the new friendships I’ve made!  I’ve been a little stressed the last two months with all of the traveling, hotels, moving, trying to get settled and prep for my business to open this week, getting used to my husbands erratic schedule while not having a schedule of my own –  but I’m starting to open my eyes again to how tiny these stressors are and how lucky I really am.  I pulled out my gratitude journal last week and realized I had not written anything in it since last Thanksgiving.  This year has been incredible with how many blessings we’ve had, yet I have not been taking the time to recognize them and express gratitude to my maker for giving them to me.  I hope that I can turn that back around this month and truly appreciate the wonderful gifts I’ve been given!

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Guests showing up almost two hours early (whoops!) meant this was the only pic I got of our splendor this year!  But let it be known, all of our friends are amazing cooks, even though my oven will be smoking for months with spilled Turkey juices my turkey was the most flavorful I’ve made,  and bringing cookie butter and speculoos cookies from Trader Joes with us from Oregon resulted in a fabulous s’mores pie.

We’re finally here!

We’ve actually been here for quite some time now.  Here meaning Pensacola, by the way.  After 13 days of traveling, first to a wedding and then the long drive with stops along the way to see family, we finally made it to Pensacola. Since D first decided he wanted to join the Navy, we knew we’d end up in Pensacola for training so we’ve pretty much known since last May that this is where we’d probably be living.  It’s weird to think that we’re finally here 18 months later.   We’ve done a little exploring around and lots of shopping for OUR HOUSE!  Yes, in case we haven’t had enough changes this year, we also became first time homeowners!  We are loving our new space (although I’m pretty sure we’d be happy in anything after a week of living in the Navy Lodge :/). We’ve also had more rain in the last two weeks than the entire three years in Portland, which has probably been good that its kept me inside working on unpacking rather than lazing it at the beach.

I am happy to be feeling a little more settled (though not totally there yet) and excited to get to know the people, places, and of course, food of Pensacola.  I’m even making headway with starting my private practice, which I’m super excited about.  I’m also hoping that now that we’re in one place (not 15 different states), I’ll be able to write more often.  Here’s a few pics from the trip and the last few weeks.

A few of the states we passed throughIMG_1710 In front of our new house!

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Hello world.

Blogging has not been at the top of my list lately, but it’s not surprising that I’ve been MIA considering on top of prepping for a cross-country move, closing my business, and taking a house hunting trip to Florida, we’ve been very busy with this.

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That’s right, as if life wasn’t a bit stressful already, we adopted this little ball of craziness two and a half weeks ago. He’s definitely kept us occupied with potty training, teething, and general mayhem and has almost doubled in size already! Luckily he’s quite the sweetheart and a delightful addition to our zoo . . . er, I meant family.

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We’re counting down the days til the big move. I’m getting so excited, especially after my visit to Pensacola last week. I loved exploring the area a bit and it feels really nice knowing we have a place to live.  I hope to enjoy our last few days here in Oregon, but thankfully it’s feeling a little bit less scary having had a taste of this:

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Hurry up and . . . wait

I’ve seen this phrase several places to describe how things work in the navy, and let me tell you I feel like I’m stuck in the waiting game right now. We’re kind of in this really weird transition period, part of me wants to enjoy every last moment in Oregon and spend time with people and the other half of me just wants to get out of here and move on to the next thing!  My practice has slowed down as I’m preparing to close it, and D’s work is pretty chill at the recruiting office so it’s been nice to have time to relax but we also have so many unknowns and stressful things coming up, it doesn’t feel too relaxing!  We know when we need to be in Florida, but don’t have an exact moving date yet (because its not up to us).  And the control freak part of me is slightly (okay, VERY) freaked out by the fact that in a month we’ll be driving across the country to move into our new . . . hotel room.  I’m trying not to think about how crazy those days are going to be trying to find a house (and build a new practice/find a job at the same time??).  I’m soooo excited for D to start flight school and get further down the path to where he wants to be, but the reality of the sacrifices a military wife has to make are starting to hit me.  While I’m trying to remain hopeful about starting a new practice in Florida and being able to be as successful there as I’ve been here, it’s also really scary having to say goodbye to my dream job and head back into the unknown.

Thank goodness for faith.  We’ve accomplished much harder things, and I trust that everything will work out in the end. For now all I need is a lot of patience and keeping this image in my mind:

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