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The G's Take Texas

This is about how California natives navigate a transfer to the great state of Texas; venturing away from family, friends, and all that is familiar.

Bitter Vengance

Hurt, betrayed, and confused are the only words I could describe the feeling. It was disheartening to say the least and in a weird kind of way it was like I felt naked and vulnerable. I didn’t have a “Plan B” because frankly I never thought I would need one. When they told us about the HOA (Home Owners Association) I thought our life in the beautiful home that we picked out and created for ourselves was a thing of the past. I was on the MLS (multiple listing service) every chance I could to see homes. I was frantically looking for anything that even comes close to our now HOA home. I even found some that I thought could easily compare. We spent over a week looking on the MLS and scheduled our appointments for Friday to view them all. One day, we wanted a day full of homes that we could compare to our current one so we could finally make a decision… The BIG decision… The decision that we moved out to Texas for – to decide where we would grow our family and build our life.

You can’t imaging what you can do in one day, we hit what felt like a million houses (in reality it was less than a dozen) and did our best to see what life would be like outside of Mustang Creek. We encountered monster lots, great kitchens (with double ovens), and open floor plans that would be just fine for our family. In each of those houses we also found severe foundation issues (you could literally slide from one side of the living room to the other because of the grade), pet odor, freezing cold or poor insulation/significant air leaks, and incredibly bad neighborhoods. Now, before you start chewing me out for being a whiny person over pet odor and being cold, to Ben and I those are a sign of other potential issues for the house. The foundation is thousands of dollars worth of issues no matter how we look at it. It’s damn near impossible to fix a neighborhood (of course unless there is an HOA – oh, the irony). We literally went to a neighborhood that had people placing bars on their windows, signs on their lawns stating that the home was under 24/7 surveillance, and one that had a neighbor that collected all the garbage from 1960 and kept it in their front yard. It was pretty intense. The few homes that we found and liked had a few things that just didn’t work for us, and couldn’t be easily corrected.

On our way back from our viewings we were discussing why we are frustrated about our current HOA home. We discussed the HOA at great length and I figured out what my problem is… I am bitter. I have this horrible taste in my mouth because every time I talk to the builder rep something new happens like a delay or more money or an HOA. We have gone from one thing to the next and I am mad. I am tired of being jerked around and told what will happen. I want to know my choices. I don’t want these kind of surprises dropped on me last minute. I don’t want to feel like I am being taken advantage of on a daily basis. At the beginning of this process, it felt like we were partners – the builder and Ben and I – and now I feel like the hostile take over of a mad dictator has commenced in my own life. So I wanted to take what little control I had and run away. I wanted to leave them saddled with a home that they would have to resell to someone else willing to put up with their crap.

If I run away and leave our house, who will be more upset? Me. I will be living in a house that wasn’t our first choice. I will be in a neighborhood with crappy schools and a higher crime rate. Ben will be commuting farther and will be spending less time with us. I will have to go through the process of acclimating ourselves to a new neighborhood and stores and schools. If we leave nothing happens to the builder. They get to sell our home for a higher price. They will have something to show people until it’s sold so it makes things easier to sell. They get to go along business as usual. My bitterness and leaving a house we would love would mean nothing… nothing to anyone except us.

After so much conversation and my extreme stubbornness, we decided that staying with our original home is better for our family as a whole. As much as it frustrates me to have an additional annual fee and to have to answer to someone else over changes to our own home/property it will in the long run be better for our family. Despite my distrust and hurt feelings toward the builder we are working out something to hopefully compensate for all they have put us through. Ultimately, I am glad the decision has been made and that although I am still a little bitter, that we are keeping the house we fell so in love with.

I am also glad that we are hopefully past the part of this that makes me want to hurt people and binge eat because now I am not so frustrated. I have been walking around like a petulant child. Now, I am focusing on other things like taking care of myself and making appointments and hunting down furniture. I am going to try and enjoy the next parts of our home building process and not let my bitterness turn to dread over every phone call and text. I will work on focusing on other things.

Speaking of focusing on new things, we have been trying to get Peyton into pre-school for months and it looks like February 1st it begins. I am excited for him, but I am also nervous. This will be the first time he will be without me on the regular. I know he needs it and I need to have some time with the other kiddos, but I know I will miss my baby. Preston will be right behind him since he is completely potty trained. We just have to work on wiping and putting his pants back on. Oh, the life of a mom is never a dull one.

Ben and I had our first break away from Whole30. I thought my stomach would have kept me up for hours, but thankfully it hasn’t. I did realize something though. I would rather eat the food that I make than eat out and eat crap. It’s not what it used to be anymore. I love food, but I love GOOD food. No more crap for us and we will have our one “break away” meal a month for date night, but then we will go right back to our great eating. I do find myself craving salads and I don’t look for cheese or ranch to make it “taste good” anymore. I am perfectly happy with my oil and vinegar and healthy toppings. I am trying to focus on more veggies though so I don’t overwhelm myself with other things that are not so necessary in my diet.

I also think I am going to explore opening a small business from my home. I know the thought is kind of random, but you will hear more about this in a little while. I am still working out the kinks.

I hope you all are doing well. Has any situation ever made you feel bitter? What length have you gone to in order to “rectify” the bitterness? Are you house hunting too? How do you deal with the all the real estate craziness?

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Crushing Hopes & Dreams

Hopes and dreams are crushed in so many ways. For some hopes and dreams go up in flames due to the revelation that Santa isn’t who we thought he was. For others it’s the loss of a promotion to someone who we feel isn’t deserving of the position. There are even those people who simply go to a restaurant and their favorite item on the menu is no longer available. Life has its peaks and valleys and I am in the middle of a decline because of some of my hopes and dreams. My hope and dream started with a house in Waxahachie… but, before I get to that let me explain a little more.

The past week has been rough. I have been feeling “off” as you could probably tell from my earlier post. I went to the doctor and they took a plethora of blood work and did my regular check-up stuff. As soon as I got some of the results I checked them and saw that two things popped up a bit irregular (not far off the charts, but enough that it makes me nervous). I immediately email my doc and haven’t heard back. My hope of all being well is still there, but I am getting anxious.

I follow up with the job I have applied for. He was so friendly when I came in and submitted my application. I thought he would be just as excited to talk to me. Showing initiative is a desirable quality in a potential employee. I thought it was a good idea to check in, but every time I call (I have only called twice) he seems agitated as though I am a nuisance. My hope of getting into some sort of work is slowly dwindling.

Then I get this awesome update from my builder Bob… Bob THE Builder… HAHAHAHA! It makes me laugh every time. He was just letting me know that the roof is getting set up and the air conditioning ducts were being put in. I ask him when the next time is that we will need a meeting to go over the next part of the process and he says that the developer’s agent will contact us to schedule it. My dream of our beautiful new home is at a peak here. Everything is running smoothly and timing is going as planned… then I get the text.

Instead of getting a joyful text asking when I am available for the next builders meeting, I am told that they just recently decided that they are going to make our development have a mandatory Home Owners Association (HOA) to pay for maintenance of a brick wall and detection pond that was required by the city. What I know of HOA’s are not good things. They are a pain in the ass and they are there to maintain property value, but that’s about it. If I want to paint my house, I have to make sure all colors are approved by the HOA and that the contractor is approved by the HOA. Fences have to be uniform and if I want to make adjustments to my own property (i.e. add a room or a deck or a porch) I have to make sure that the HOA approves it first. If I put my garbage out too early or leave it out too late I could be fined. HOA rates can be adjusted based on if my neighbors pay their own dues. If a neighbor hates me they can constantly complain to the HOA and cause me more fines. In theory a HOA is nice, but completely unnecessary if I don’t get a community pool or club house or park. If you are not going to mow my lawn and maintain my flowers for me I don’t think I need to pay for a HOA. Bottom line…I WANT A HOME. I WANT A HOME THAT IS MINE. I don’t want a home that even after I pay it off, I will still for my entire life be required to pay a damn fee to live there. HOA’s can affect how I sell my home, how I care for my home, what I do with my vehicles, what I do with guests and pets, the list goes on… I am not for it, nor will I ever be for it. If we had known that a HOA was going to be involved we would not have gone with this home/builder/development. I would probably already been living in a house by now because we would have found something else.

NOW… because we signed a contract (which has no mention of a HOA) and we are in the middle of building I am at a loss. I have the builder’s agent looking into my options. I don’t want this. I never wanted this. My house… my new house… is no longer my own. The agent tells me she didn’t know. I am not sure I believe that. Then she says she didn’t find out until Dec. 6th, when she got the email with proposed CCR’s (HOA rules and regulations). Again, I don’t really know if I believe that. If this HOA was imposed by the city why didn’t you tell me when we signed the contract? I don’t really think it is accurate to say the city is behind this… I think the builder is trying to recoup fees for maintenance and decided that calling it an HOA was the best course of action… but the agent assures me that the CITY was the one who is REQUIRING them to enforce a HOA on the new phase of the development. If the city required it for them to get the permits, back in AUGUST when they were actively trying to acquire permits they would have known and should have told us (the buyers).

According to the agent, the developer would be running the HOA until all the homes are sold in the phase. How convenient! You get to police the place while you are selling it to other people. That’s a bit biased and sketchy to say the very least. We have been waiting on our house since JUNE. You (the builder/developer) should be paying me to wait for this damn house. You said it would be done originally in November/December. Then it should be ready no later than January. Then, oh definitely by end of February, early March. Now, it’s probably safe to say end of March, early April. I have been living in an empty apartment (and a not so nice apartment at that) due to the promise of my house. My house with NO HOA. Now, after waiting six months (three and a half months of which we were IN Texas) we are still without a home.

Rates and our mortgage are still going up every day that I wait, all because of a lie… A bold faced lie. If the agent didn’t know, someone else higher up in the company knew. Someone in the developers company dropped the ball and thought it would be great to lock people in and wait till the last second to tell them that they will have a HOA and fees, but it’s ok because we are still giving you the house you wanted. We are paying good money for that house, you are not “giving” it to me. We continued with waiting and the house building process because of a promise that has been broken. Now we are out money and time and so much more because you couldn’t get your shit together enough to tell your ONLY representative of the community, your AGENT, the proper information for her to sell. This is a joke… a twisted and sick joke.

My dream of this house the way we wanted it is crushed and gone. Where do we go from here? Do we sit here and take it? Do we say fuck it we want our money back? Do we find another new build or a more established home? Do we stay in Waxahachie? What do we do?

My life has been a hot mess about this. I had a nightmare about our house last night. But, tomorrow hopefully I will have more answers to my questions. I am hoping we can figure something out. I love Benjamin and my children, so as long as I am with them it really doesn’t matter where we are. Until we know for sure what is happening I will be browsing Realtor.com. We will be using our date night to go house hunting. We will be doing our best to salvage what we can from our broken dream.

Despite all the stress I have been staying true to my Whole30. I made it the full 30 days plus some. I keep having issues, but I am hoping the doc will respond and clear up a few things about the test results. I am sure you will hear more about that from me later next week. I did lose a little over 20lbs since I started Whole30. I am pretty pleased with that and I am encouraged to keep this up. I think I am going to add some kind of workout to my daily schedule and see where that takes me.

I have noticed a few new things when it comes to my Whole30 journey. My portion sizes have gotten significantly smaller. I am fuller with less food. I know that may not mean much to some people, but to me that’s a big deal. I also have been better about not finishing all of my food just because it’s there. I don’t know if that was something I inherited because of that rule, “finish your food before you leave the table.” It might also be my thought about wasting food. But, I have been enjoying leftovers so much more now, before I wouldn’t have anything left because I would have eaten it all.

Ben is officially on the Whole30 plan starting tomorrow. I have agreed to cook and he has agreed to keep away from bbq sauce and fruit snacks. HAHAHAHAHA! I know he can last the full 30 days, so I really hope he sticks with it. I am hoping my brother does a test run with it too. He was thinking about it, so I hope he tries it.

I will keep you all posted about house stuff and how things go with the doc. Tell me about your week. Did you have a good start to the New Year? Any resolutions you would like to share? What are your feelings about HOAs? Have a great day everyone!

Something Isn’t Right

Have you ever had that feeling where something just felt off. The feeling like life is out of alignment and things are not exactly what they are supposed to be. I am in that state right now. Something is just not quite fitting right and I can’t pinpoint the cause of it. I thought it was because we were all sick, but we are pretty much over that already and now it’s time that I am re-evaluating that feeling of being “off”. Peyton has been battling a fever and now has some swollen glands, he also has this weird coloring sometimes. I can’t tell if its because he’s not eating enough, or if he isn’t eating because something else is bothering him. I am taking him in tomorrow to see the pediatrician if things aren’t better. Part of me believes that my kids not being 100% can be why something doesn’t feel right, but the other part of me wonders if it’s more.

My body has been acting weird. I can’t see exactly why. I haven’t changed my eating. I am still actively Whole30, but I haven’t been feeling the “Tiger Blood” phase anymore. I am bloated again. My lower back is killing me. I have been just feeling completely lost in my own body. Maybe my hormones are going nuts. I have been kinda moody lately too. My patience is dwindling and I am very quick to panic with the kids. I don’t know, I am just freaking out a little. Something just feels completely off.

I am going to get checked out to make sure physically everything is ok, but I need to reexamine everything else mentally. Have you ever had those off days? What was throwing you “off”?

So… About Last Night…

You went out with the gang and had to start 2017 with a f*cking bang. We all know you did it because 2016 sucked so hard you practically lost your nipples to it, so you had to wash it away with tequila and sweat. You were probably drinking and dancing. Well, more like severely inebriated and falling all over the place. You laughed, you had to cheers all the bar patrons, you danced like only a stripper would, and you woke up with the worst hangover since college. Me… I did something a little different.

I went grocery shopping at 6p and picked up Chipotle for dinner. I had some organic sparkling cider and water. I helped wrangle three kids into bed. I tippy-toed around two sleeping chihuahuas so I could make it to the bathroom. I watched “Good Fellas” and I didn’t even finish it before climbing in bed at 10p CT. I didn’t even make it to ET New Years. I didn’t watch the ball drop or pour myself into bed at 2a. I didn’t stay up to watch fireworks or Mariah Carey poorly lip-sync.

I was too exhausted by 2016 to watch it end. 2016 was one heck of a year. I wasn’t about to see it go down. I just wanted to wake up to a new year filled with hope and excitement. 2016 brought a lot of changes for my family; not bad changes, just unavoidable changes. We went from living in our house in California to selling our first home, packing up and moving our whole family to Texas and watching them build our new home. There was a lot of life happening in between all that, but none the less the life we had in the beginning of 2016 is definitely not the life we have at the end of 2016. I guess it made for some refreshing thoughts about 2017. As much as we will start in one place, we may end in a whole new spot. It could be a new place mentally, physically, or emotionally. A new year can bring so much hope and excitement. I guess you just have to see what opportunities are handed to you.

I am hoping to find some work somewhere in the near future. Just a fun part-time job to offer our family a little more financial freedom when the house gets here. I am planning to make more of a life here with my family. Make more friends in new places. I am excited to get Peyton in pre-school and hopefully Preston will follow before the end of the year. I am looking forward to decorating our home and making it our own. I am excited to see the many opportunities God will send our way with my husband’s career. There is so much to look forward to, and I am excited to experience it all (good and bad) with my little family. I know it will make 2017 just as monumental as the years before it.

I made it through Christmas and New Years on Whole30 and I am more than proud of myself. I even made it through two date nights out and everything was Whole30 compliant.I have been thinking more and more that this will become the new norm. I haven’t been buying the same crap snacks for the kids. Our shelves are stocked with a ton of fruit and veggies and barely any canned or boxed goods. My food cravings are minimal, but I still occasionally see a Starbucks and miss the idea of a frappuccino. It’s more the idea that I miss more than anything. I know the minute I were ever to get one, it wouldn’t taste as good as I remembered it. I think that is the same thing for certain sugar filled items. A lot of times I wonder if the one date night or family night out where I would not eat Whole30, if it would be as validating as I think… My head says, “sure will be, it will taste so good, you won’t know why you left it.” My stomach says something more along the lines of, “you probably think it will taste incredible, but in reality it will give you terrible gas and diarrhea for days.” I know that things will be a little more laid back when the 30 days is up, but I think for 95% of the time I will stay Whole30 compliant. I am on day 26.

Lately, I have been kinda lazy with food. I think part of it is because I have been struggling to stay completely focused, and another part of me feels a little bored. I may have to test out some new recipes here soon so keep an eye open for that. How are things going with your new year? Are you looking forward to 2017? What kinds of things are you hoping for in your future?

Bows & Wrapping Paper

After all the anticipation and the counting down the day arrived. With excitement and as much energy as we could muster at 5:30a we got up with the kids. I made scrambled eggs for the boys and I was able to put together a veggie omelet for myself. Parker was still sleeping and was the only reason why the presents weren’t mauled the moment we hit the living room. Preston kept pulling down gift, after gift… he would examine it with his pudgy little fingers and then caress the bows. After a thorough examination he would would look over the bow one last time and then rip it off. I was saddled with a pile of bows in a matter of seconds.

I totally get the excitement over Christmas when you are a child. But, this time around. When I am the parent or “grown up” it seems to be even more exciting. I thought that I would be bored, but I was the one reading off the gift tags and handing out presents. Then to see their little faces light up when they got a gift they really, REALLY liked, it was like Christmas was that much more fun. Peyton would dance around with the present he got and show it to Parker who was sitting in he high chair. When it was Parker’s turn to open a present, Peyton would be the first to volunteer to “help her” (cause we all know he practically opened it up all on his own) and then get all excited over it. Preston on the other hand went to all presents and would take it to Ben and say, “Dad open, peeaaassss!” Everything was “open peeeaaaaasssss!” until everything was opened and assembled. After all the kids gifts were open Ben and I just kinda finished opening ours on our own. After all, the kids had much more fun and less practical gifts. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

All those nights wrapping and all those rolls of wrapping paper gone in a matter of 20 minutes. Of course it was worth it, but it was still a hot mess of bows and wrapping paper. We filled almost two garbage bags full of just wrapping paper and bows. Parker made the bows worth it because she allowed me to stick one bow on her head for the majority of the morning. It was quite adorable. We got to FaceTime my family while they watched the kids open their gifts and they were able to open their gifts from us as well, so it didn’t feel completely lonely. I liked hearing from my parents and brothers. It made me miss them so much.

At the end of the day as much as I missed my family I know that the decision to come out to Texas was well worth it. Ben and I are starting to feel like Texas is home and not some foreign area that we are just visiting. I think this first Christmas on our own was an eye opener. We can do it. It’s not easy and it has its moments that you don’t particularly like, but I felt like we (my family from afar and Ben and I) still made it special for the kids. That’s all we really needed.

It’s the start of week 4 on Whole30. I have completed a full 3 weeks and am on day 22. Our Christmas meal was all Whole30 compliant and delicious. I made this rump roast and it was perfect. The garlic and the thyme and rosemary I added was delicious. But, the instructions on how to cook it was perfect. It wasn’t dry or tough. It was nice and tender and even as leftovers it was still moist and juicy. I loved it and it was cooked to perfection. I made my Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, baked sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli and garlic green beans as sides. All that food made for some incredible leftovers. I finally polished off the last of it yesterday in a salad.

At the beginning of this Whole30 journey I thought I was going to be completely miserable. I thought that I would be regretting doing it through what is arguably the hardest time of the year (all the foods and sweets around). Now that I made it through Christmas successfully I know that I made a good choice. I was able to plan and execute a great Christmas dinner and I have been able to avoid all the copious amounts of sugar. I am glad that I am getting closer to my 30 day mark. It begs the question if I will continue it or go into the reintroduction phase. I suppose the closer I get the more clear that answer will become. I am already leaning one way, but I will leave that to another blog, another time.

I have noticed some more things about my Whole30 adventure. I have been having minimal to no cravings, which is new for me. I have also been noticing my skin is clearing up and is a more even, bright color. I have been sleeping much better. And TMI warning: My period came and went without a hitch. No severe cramping, no intense bloating, my mood swings were at a minimum and I felt like I had more patience with myself and the kids. It seemed like my eating has changed some things pretty significantly. I am happy about the changes I have been seeing in my emotions and skin, but physically too. I have noticed my midsection is smaller. I don’t know if my body is burning fat differently or maybe re-proportioning some of my weight, but I have definitely noticed it in the mirror.

I have 9 more days till the 30 days are up. I am excited and very proud. I know I can do it and I feel empowered to make things last. I did however get a pretty weird dream. I was having lunch with my parents and everything was Whole30 except some crutons! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I freaked out over the croutons and went to get some alcoholic beverage with Bailey’s in it. I even purchased a whole bottle of Bailey’s to bring home and recreate the drink because I was wallowing in my misery of the croutons. HAHAHAHA! Oh my dreams… but either way, I will keep you all updated on how things are going. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season. On to the New Year!

What are your plans for the New Year? How was your Christmas? Are you planning anything big? Do you have a tradition that you do regularly?

Wrap It Up

There is a person I follow on Instagram that I follow. She is a mom like myself, but some of her kids are a little older. She found this book called “There’s Certainly a Santa” for her kids when they are ready to talk about the “truth” about Santa Claus. I loved this book. I found the website and thought I should share. It is truly a darling book and I can’t wait to get it for the kids.

The reason I even bring it up is because my family does things a little different. We don’t celebrate the “Santa” part of Christmas. For us, Christmas is more about the tradition and the time together. What I value most is the beauty we can find in spending time together creating these traditions. My kids are now getting to the age where they are asking about Santa Claus. Instead of just saying, “No, Santa Claus doesn’t exist,” I am going to grab this book. I know they will love it. I just don’t want them to ruin another child’s beliefs and family tradition because we know who Santa really is. <wink, wink>

We have been wrapping presents and the kids open them before it’s even Christmas. How do you even keep a kid from doing this? I have done everything from putting kids on time out to even threatening to take all the toys and return them to the store… nothing has worked. I still have kids opening presents and more re-wrapping to do. As much as I love the holiday season to relish in the traditions, memories, and family time, I am also looking forward to when it is all over. I don’t want to see wrapping paper for a very long time. And do not ever get me a bow. EVER. I don’t like the ones I have to tie myself or the ones that just need to be stuck on. Some how I think it was some genius’s way of pissing off people in the most random way to make premade bows that are supposed to stick, not sticky enough to stay stuck. I mean what’s that all about?

But, now that we are just days from the actual day (Sunday, if you didn’t realize and haven’t started wrapping yet) I know that it’s going to be so strange to have this year without my family. I miss them. I miss my brothers and their jokes. I miss my Mom and her meal anxiety (every cooking woman knows this anxiety before a big traditional meal for the family), planning, and offer for wine before noon. I miss my Dad’s laugh and his “Type-A” need to fold all Christmas bags and used tissue paper nicely so it can be re-used again next year (I don’t think my family has wrapped using actual wrapping paper since 2008). Now that I think about it, I am pretty sure my Dad is the reason why we still have bags from Christmas 1999. Hahahaha! I love them. I am hoping that FaceTime will serve it’s purpose so I don’t end up crying all Christmas Day.

I have been trying to distract myself by thinking of fun ways we can make our own traditions. My Dad would make a big delicious breakfast on Christmas, and I don’t know if I will be able to do that, but I definitely will make something Whole30 and yummy. I want to color these signs for the kids to “find” on Christmas morning that will lead them to the living room. I don’t know if I will be able to get it all done whilst wrapping, but I sure will try. I finished their stockings. Now just a few more fun touches and we will go from there. It will be so exciting to see the kids open their presents. The boys will be consumed by their want to open the presents the moment they wake up, but I can’t wait for Parker to open some of her clothes and drape them over herself. I think that will be the coolest part for me. Dinner is going to be a roast and a few different sides on Christmas Eve so Christmas Day can be an easy one eating leftovers.

Today is day 15 on Whole30 for me. I have been doing ok. I think I am slowly getting to the Tiger Blood phase. I have been having more energy to chase the kids around and I have found myself to be far more patient talking to the kids while they are in full on meltdown mode. I have been sleeping well, but lately I have been more tired than I was before. I dunno. It’s kinda weird. I have been adventuring with some new recipes. Last night was this Thai Meatball and Egg Drop Soup (you just have to watch the fish sauce you use, mine had sugar in it so I had to remake mine in a haphazard kind of way and hubby got the full one). I was so mad when I read the ingredients AFTER I had already added it to the pot of broth. GRRRRRR! I was so mad at myself. I kept thinking, “how does FISH SAUCE have freakin’ sugar in it?!?!?!” Oh well, live and learn, and never again.

I am looking forward to getting some of my craftiness started here. I hope you all have a great day. Who will you be missing this holiday season and what is their quirky holiday habit? Are you starting any new traditions this year? If so, what are they? We will talk again soon, so until then… lets wrap this up and get to the crafts.

Brace Yourself

Have you ever had that dream? You know, that dream you have where you are falling off your bed? It feels so real that you wake up gasping for air and clinging on to anything within arms grasp to try and brace yourself from the fall. I haven’t had that dream in a while, but my life kinda feels like that dream because of potty training. I am in the dream right now where you are falling. You don’t know when you will actually hit the floor, but you know it will happen and it will happen before you want it to. Then you wake up not on the floor, but still grasping for sheets/blankets/headboard in the attempt to brace yourself for something that will not be happening.

Like I mentioned before I started potty training my two-year-old. He is doing remarkably well. He has had two accidents since we have started, but ultimately he is doing far better than I thought he would be. He is telling me when he needs to go, he actually goes when he claims he needs to go, and for the most part he is pretty “ok” with the whole idea of not needing a diaper anymore. This really is a parents dream and this is how I relate it to the “falling off the bed” dream: I don’t know when I am going to hit the wall and this will become a fight.

Right after my daughter turned about six-months-old we had made an attempt to potty train him and it was awful. He fought me. He cried. I cried. He pee’d all over the kitchen chair. I cleaned up the kitchen chair. It was a mess. Now, this time around I am so hesitant to believe that it is going as smoothly as it is. I mean I don’t even know if this is a game to him or if he will take to it as easily as he has so far the whole way. I am still in the midst of the dream free falling waiting to hit the ground. My heart is racing hoping he doesn’t pee all over the carpet or have a severe reaction to last nights pizza and have a sh*t storm that gets all over the carpet. I suppose it’s “mother’s anxiety”.

If you are a mother of anything, even a pet, you know “mother’s anxiety”. It is how you feel knowing that you have to be the one to take them to the doctor even though they hate it or hold them down to brush their teeth. You are preemptively preparing yourself for the battle/meltdown or even the sobbing and painful cries. It makes you want to rip your eyes out, but you don’t because you know it’s what is best for them. I am anxious over his potty training because I know he needs to do it. He explodes out of his diapers and the kid comes to get me every time he pees so I can change him. It’s time. I just have this fear. My baby is growing up. For him, this has been a hurdle in a few ways. Him learning how to properly express himself with speech, his ability to pick out his own clothes, etc. have all contributed to knowing it’s the right time for him to do this.

Now, I am in the wake up process grasping at anything trying to brace myself for the possible fall that likely will never come. He is ready. He asks to go pee-pee and he went willingly to poop. I still hope he sleeps with his blankie and that he likes to snuggle with me just a little too long. I hope that his boyish face doesn’t turn to be a young mans face too soon. I will relish in every moment he belly laughs and every goofy smile he sends my way. I still have to brace myself for future moments, but I am hoping I can let go of the potty training moments and let him take it from here.

My little boy is growing up and he may not need me to change diapers, but he still needs me for other things. I know there will come many more milestones and I will gladly wait for them all. He just was able to tell me he loves me and I melt every time he says it. It took him a long while, but I feel lucky that he is able to say it to me now. He’s my baby boy and despite his regular hurdles I wouldn’t change him for anything even for potty training far too easily.

I am in week 3 of Whole30. Christmas is right around the corner. I knew this day was coming, but I never thought that I would be able to pull off making it through Christmas and New Years. I am very proud of myself. Today marks day 13. Tomorrow will be a full two weeks on Whole30 and I really like it. I keep thinking about reintroducing some things in at 30 days and I don’t really know if I will. I guess I better just focus on today and getting through the now because I want to enjoy the recipes and the fruit and the veggies. I want to make the most of my current experience with the program.

Some things I have noticed since last week. My face is not as “puffy”. I have no idea if it’s bloat or weight gone, it just feels nice to have people notice. I am more comfortable in my jeans too (although today they were a bit snug, but I don’t know if that is just day 8-9 in the program timeline hitting me a little late). I am drinking more water and I actually find myself craving it. I have replaced sweets with fruit. Fruit suddenly tastes more sweet than I remembered it. I am not craving bad food as much as I was before. I have been having dreams about food though. The latest one was about pizza and cake. HAHAHAHAHA! It made me laugh because in my dream I was like, “I can still keep going on Whole30 though, right?” I have been in a better mood. I am not as angry or frustrated as I was before the program. Aside from the crazy weather I have actually been looking forward to getting out of the house.

Oh, and huge milestone for me hit this past week. I went over to a friends house and they had TAMALES! Ok, if anyone knows me or my family they know that tamales are the business. I LOVE them and they love my hips right back. They love my hips so much that they like to stick around for a while. I actually was able to kindly refuse them and stay focused on my goal. They also had Doritos and dip there. I don’t know how I survived. I think the company and conversation was so fantastic that it was more than enough distraction from the food.

Now, on to week 3. I am working on my 30 Day Ab Challenge (it’s an app on my iPhone called 30Day Fitness if you are interested in joining me). I now just need to plan for my Christmas Dinner and hope that all goes well. I will probably write a few more times this week, but if I catch you on your way to visiting family or friends away from home, I hope you have a safe and fun visit and a lovely Holiday no matter what you might be celebrating.

What are your plans this week? Are you in the middle of potty training or one of your child’s “next level of greatness” moments? Tell me how you are doing and your plans for the holidays.

True OR False: Christmas Love

[I have my place decorated for the holidays.]

FALSE. We have our cute little tree up, but unfortunately with our little fingers and mouths running around I don’t want to have too much around that they can swallow or get into. It makes for a very simple Christmas, but still… it is our first Christmas in Texas, so it is still very significant. What makes it an even bigger deal is this will be the first Christmas in my 29 years of life that I have ever been away from my family. It hasn’t quite hit me yet, but I know it will hit me hard soon. I will likely be FaceTiming my family all throughout Christmas day.

[I love the Christmas music.]

Who doesn’t love Christmas music? I mean this one should be pretty easy. TRUE… I love Christmas music. It makes me reminisce about my family and all of the beautiful tradition during this time of the year. My family’s constant for Christmas was the Nat King Cole cd. We would play it all throughout the holiday season. Some days we would make tea, hot cocoa, or hot apple cider and sit in my Mom’s “special room” and listen to Nat King Cole while admiring our tree. Oh the memories…

And just for the record, Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” was always my favorite.

[The family and the food are my favorite part of Christmas.]

I do love family and holiday food. That is one of the most fun part of Christmas, but… FALSE. My favorite part of Christmas is the tree. There was a time when my family would go spend the day finding and cutting down our own tree. We would pick it out, my dad and brothers would cut it down and then we would be on our way home to  decorate it and the house. I would have liked to do that with my family, but I know right now is just not good timing for that. The kids are small and likely to get lost in a tree farm. It would turn into a mother’s worst nightmare pretty quickly. But, when I was a teenager I would come home from school and set myself up on my favorite recliner (which, thank goodness my parents handed down to me) and do my homework in front of the twinkling tree. I would play our family’s regular Nat King Cole Christmas CD and be in nirvana. It was and still is my happy place. I know after the kids are asleep tonight I will come into the living room and sit with the lights off to admire the glow of my tree with Christmas music playing softly in the background. My tree is my happy place.

I do have to admit though… fresh tress win over any fake tree. It doesn’t matter how life-like or how easy it is to use, fresh trees are always better. The smell alone is worth the trip for me. This year we went with a small fake tree cause little miss is all about putting things in her mouth and I don’t want her eating any of the pine needles.

[We will be opening presents with the kids on Christmas Eve.]

This is FALSE. I will always have us open gifts on Christmas Day simply because it will be in the morning and my mommy self doesn’t want tired, cranky children trying to stay up with their new toys Christmas Eve. I want them to be able to have a full nights rest and ready to play all day with the new toys. No staying up late for my kiddos. They get far too crabby and by about 8pm what is left of my patience vanishes into thin air.

[My all time favorite Christmas movie is “A Christmas Story”.]

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” That phrase and the kid with the glasses drive me absolutely bonkers. I cannot stand that movie, so this would be FALSE. I have two favorite Christmas movies. My first (and probably ranked a little higher than the other) is “Home Alone 2”. I love that movie! I still laugh at Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern when they get pulverized by a kid. I think because this was the movie I would watch with my brothers during the Christmas season, it has more sentimental value to me. My second favorite is “Love Actually”. Who can say no to the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) getting down and full on dancing in his quarters? Plus, Colin Firth is adorable learning Italian to finally talk to his house keeper. It’s just a feel good movie about love during the season of Christmas. You can’t go wrong with that movie.

 

Now it’s your turn! Answer “true” or “false” to the statements above and explain your answers. Have a wonderful holiday!

Whole30 Week 1: COMPLETE

After seven days of Whole30, I figured I would update you on progress. The Whole30 likes you to think more about how you feel than what the numbers on the scale will tell you, so I am going to continue to avoid the scale and go with my gut… literally.

In the past seven days I have been eating at home, cooking, focusing on veggies and fruit, getting in some protein, and not eating the processed junk. As a whole I feel really good. I definitely don’t feel as sluggish and negative as I felt before I started. When I started this I was probably at rock bottom with my attitude and my eating. I feel almost “refreshed” after a week of this. I know I have another three and a half weeks to go, but it’s nice to start feeling this good already. I haven’t even hit the “Tiger Blood” stage (there is a time line on the Whole30 website that describes the “Tiger Blood” phase). I feel like this feeling makes the rest of the process even more promising.

I have noticed a few physical things in the first week too. After about 2-3 days I felt way less bloated and gassy. Not a bad thing at all especially when you come from a traditionally gassy family. I normally blame genetics, but in reality it was what I was eating. I never thought about it. I thought that’s just what it was. Then the added bloating. I have gone from drinking soda/teas to drinking straight water before and that decreases bloat by a lot, but this takes it to a whole different level. In the one week that I have been doing this, I don’t look swollen or puffy like I used to. Even in my abdomen and thighs I have seen a noticeable change. It’s like I woke up and looked in the mirror only to say, “Why, hello hour shape! I haven’t seen you in a long while.” Since I removed the excess crap food from my diet the build up of stuff in my body is finally able to properly clean/flush out and my poor, overworked body. Now I am allowing my body and organs to get back to doing what it’s supposed to be doing. I even had my blood pressure taken at the dentist the other day and it was 106/60. I was very happy with that.

Other things that I have noticed. As much as I know I can’t eat pizza, pasta, fried chicken, or other things like that and that does feel restrictive, I have noticed that I am not having as many cravings and I am not snacking as much because I am comfortable. I am not over stuffed with food, but I am comfortable. Before Whole30, after I would eat a full meal I would feel incredibly hungry again about two hours later. It was almost like I was never full. I know it’s totally “fat girl” thinking, but it was how I felt. Now, I can have a good solid meal (which, I still don’t feel stuffed after, but comfortable) and I don’t feel the urge to snack or eat. If I do need to snack it’s one or two small things (i.e. fruit and nuts, veggies and guac, etc.) and then I am satisfied until the next meal. Eating those foods you can’t really over stuff yourself because your body has a way of saying, “Steph, you’re good… don’t keep going… you’re really good right now.”

The other thing I looked forward to after reading about the Whole30 was the sleep benefits. I can sleep through the night. I still do have the occasional weird dream. Last week I had two or three, but nothing that made me toss and turn or random wake ups. The only thing that has been waking me up now is little Miss Parker and when nature calls. Aside from those wake ups, I have been sleeping soundly and I feel more rested when I wake up. I am not nearly as groggy and fuzzy when I wake up. I feel like it would be nice to sleep in a little later than 6:30a but, I am able to get up, function, and not feel like a train (or three kids) ran me over first thing in the morning.

So far the majority of what Whole30 promises has delivered. I am very impressed with it and I am looking forward to week two. I think it will be interesting to see what happens from here on out. I know things will only get more and more challenging, but I know that if I can do it now, I can make this happen long term.

How are you holding up? Are you noticing any changes in your life since you have started what ever program you are working on?

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