Things have rapidly improved since I last posted about 11 days ago or so. Last week was crazy, but it wasn’t nearly as hellish as it could have been. Jon was out of town AGAIN, but I survived.

The Whole30 officially ended, which really just means I’ve reintroduced sugar. And rice (on a more regular basis). And dairy. I don’t really know whether I lost weight because I haven’t been weighing – but I feel pretty good. I’m not squeezing into my jeans, so there’s that.

Overall, I think January was mostly a success. A little too stressful, but nothing of our own making.

I revamped the monthly meal plan for February:

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So far, so good. It’s all pretty simple stuff in the meat + veg + potato/rice format that’s easy to prepare. We all still like to have a plan hanging on the refrigerator, so I’m glad I made the switch.

My trainer – Alison – has a food business, so I had considered buying some of her meals for me and Jon’s child #3 for this upcoming week since Jon will be out of town AGAIN, but I was super busy the day the order was due and never got around to it. I’m not sure what we’ll have this week, but I suspect we’ll figure something out.

I made it to the gym twice last week, but I slacked on yoga and running. I think I took Molly to the greenway once for a few miles.

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We spent all day Saturday in the mountains, which was a really nice way to spend time catching up since Jon had just gotten home the night before. It was gorgeous outside and we had the whole day with no distractions (and often no cell phone service). We have this idea that we’re eventually going to buy some land and have a tiny cabin to go to on the weekends, so we go looking sometimes. We looked at 5 cabins (mostly in foreclosure), but I think we’re really more interested in finding the right land vs. finding the right structure. This isn’t on the immediate horizon, but it’s a lot of fun to plan and look.

Yesterday, we caught up on life with the house cleaning and bill paying and laundry and everything else that gets neglected during the whirlwind of the regular week. And caught up on tv watching, of course.

I’m not sure what this week holds, but I’m sure I’ll make it to the trainer tonight and I’m sure I’ll make it to the gym at least once more. I’m thinking I might try some yoga videos at home since I can’t seem to work up the motivation to make it to the studio now that the class ended (it was just a one month beginner thing).

Oh! I have a 5k on my list for this Saturday. I put off registering so long that the 9AM race sold out. They have another one at 11AM that’s not timed (I guess the race is popular?), which is completely fine with me, but I’m not sure that I want to wait until 11A to do it since that cuts right into the middle of the day. I haven’t decided whether I’ll register for the 11A version or just find another one for the month. We’ll see.

Last week really threw me for a loop.

I got home from New Orleans that Saturday morning, Jon spent the afternoon/night at the ER with his child #3 while I had MC, he left to go to Germany that Sunday morning and I wound up super sick with the stomach virus a few hours after he got on his plane. So, the weekend wasn’t great.

I laid in bed and hardly moved all day on Monday, but started to feel somewhat better that night. Tuesday morning I felt ok, so I reported for my first day of jury duty per the summons I’d received a few weeks earlier (Monday was a holiday). I was selected and wound up spending all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday listening to a car wreck case – missing all of my classes for the week. I spent Thursday morning going to a meeting (for school), trying to catch up on life and it was also “baby day” so I had MC for the afternoon/night. I worked all day on Friday (at my job).

I spent every spare minute on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday doing homework and trying to stay caught up with school assignments and freaking out about missing classes.

A stomach virus knocking me out for a couple days + jury duty wiping me out for 2 more full days + classes/homework/school obligations piling up + Jon gone + unprepared for the week = SUPER OVERWHELMED.

I should have tried harder to reschedule or postpone the jury duty, but I didn’t know that I could do that since the website and the instructions they provide don’t offer ANY guidance on that whatsoever.

I missed my appointment with the trainer on Monday because of the stomach virus and rescheduled for Wednesday, but we didn’t finish deliberating and get out of court until nearly 6PM that night, so I missed that appointment with her, too. I missed yoga on Tuesday because the class would have ended too late for me to have made it to jury duty on time and I chose to spend Thursday morning doing homework (since it was due!) so I missed it that day, too. My only options for running would have been in the dark – and I just didn’t feel like dealing with it – so no exercise happened during a super stressful week when I would have greatly benefited.

We hadn’t grocery shopped or prepped for the week since Jon left early on Sunday and I wound up sick – so we had NOTHING available to cook.

I know I ate bananas and Larabars every morning for breakfast since that’s my thing these days and I buy them in bulk.

I grabbed lunch downtown both days of jury duty and did ok, I guess.

(I ate this salad plain and wound up just picking out the chicken. I remember feeling pretty bad since this was the day after the stomach virus situation and I wasn’t 100% back to normal yet. I hadn’t packed lunch or prepared because I never dreamed I’d be chosen to be on a jury and would spend the day in a courtroom.)

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(Lunch on day #2. I know the potatoes probably had cream or milk or something, but whatever. I spent that entire early morning working on homework and took no time to pack lunch.)

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I picked up salads at Panera or Chipotle for dinner those jury duty nights since they’re easy and whole30 compliant and all that.

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I was finally able to pick up some groceries on Thursday morning after my school meeting, so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken and we (me and Jon’s child #3) had our first (mostly) home-cooked meal for lunch.

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Jon got home on Friday about the same time I got home from work and things started improving from there. We spent the weekend getting back on track, anyway.

Also, we did this:

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(We actually ordered it almost a month ago. It arrived while Jon was in Germany and I was in the midst of chaos, so we picked it up on Saturday morning. This is the first car I’ve had that’s not super basic, ever!)

Things have been ok this week. Just the normal level of busy with classes and homework and all that. Jon’s been cooking per our plan and I’m back on schedule with exercise (and actually just got home from taking Molly on her first ride to the greenway in the new car – did 3.5 miles).

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(I’ve been eating rice this week as the whole30 is winding down. I know it’s not whole30 compliant but – realistically – I’m never 100% compliant and I’m ok with that.)

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I really can’t believe how much last week threw me off. I would say that I’m impressed with myself for not throwing in the towel and reverting to junk/food to cope with the stress and pressure to get a ton of things done with a time deficit, but I really don’t feel like I made THAT much of an effort to eat decently and treat myself well – even though that’s pretty much what I did. I know how to do it and I WANT to do it and I think the effort I put into the ongoing process to work out the emotional kinks paid off last week. I didn’t need to cope in some unhealthy way, I guess. I just felt stressed and dealt with it.

And bitched a lot. That helps.

Also, I have a pretty great life. I just repeated to myself that nobody was going to die if an assignment was late or if I couldn’t keep up with email or if laundry piled up or if I couldn’t vacuum every day or whatever.

A cupcake wouldn’t have fixed any of that stuff even though I SWEAR my brain told me it would when I walked through the grocery store on Thursday morning.

😘❀️😘❀️

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Well, it happened.

I felt completely fine when I posted yesterday (around 2:30p), but started feeling some stomach rumbles about an hour later. I felt nervous enough that I canceled some dinner plans at 4. By 6:30 it had fully hit me.

This is the strangest illness. I was seriously FINE for almost all of yesterday – and was then so violently sick throughout the evening and night that I was praying for death to take me out of my misery.

Jon’s child #3 gave me some of her Zofran but it did NOTHING even though I took it every 4 hours.

I’m feeling a little better today, but it’s 11am and my one attempt at getting out of bed wasn’t so great – so here I am. With this:

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I’ve had 3 sips of apple juice that have stayed down, so I don’t give one shit about the sugar/whole30.

Jon seems to be mostly unscathed, which I’m really happy about.

Anyway, I know I must be getting better because I’m stressing about all of the things I need to do (homework, client appointment, prepare for a meeting later this week, read for classes, etc.).

I’m right at that sick point where I’m too sick to really DO anything, but not sick enough that I’ve got the fuck-its. So, I’m bored. And frustrated that standing up starts up the intense nausea. And weirdly – hungry.

I found out about a workshop this past Monday that I needed/wanted to attend on Friday – in New Orleans (!) – so I scrambled and pulled together a quick trip. I’ve known about the overall (research) conference for a while but hadn’t planned to go – until I changed my mind, obviously.

So, my week was strange – in a busy sort of way.

I went to the trainer and did my thing there on Monday. I went to yoga on Tuesday. I ran/walked 3M with Molly at the greenway on Wednesday. That was it for exercise for the week, though, since I flew to New Orleans super early in the morning on Thursday.

Thursday was day 15 of my latest round of whole30, so I planned to try my best, but I knew there would be meals that would deviate. Not a big deal. I’ve had enough practice over the years to know how to balance – just have to make an effort.

I ate a Larabar for breakfast on the way to the airport and had some nuts and raisins in my bag in case I needed a snack before I got to New Orleans. I usually decline the peanuts or cookies or whatever is offered on planes because they’re rarely worth bothering with.

My boss had given me a list of restaurants to try and touristy things to do during my short trip, so I was motivated. I got to my hotel at lunchtime, walked to the conference hotel to register for the conference and then headed out to find one of the restaurants on his list.

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It was raining and windy and cold, but there was a line outside of the place – so I took that as a good sign.

I had run into a friend at the conference hotel, so she accompanied me to lunch and we split a few things to try (shrimp po boy, red beans & rice and seafood gumbo):

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The verdict: I felt really sick pretty quickly. Might have been too much to start with after 14 days of really clean eating.

I wasn’t interested in going out to dinner because it was raining and cold and my stomach was still a little iffy from lunch – so I ordered room service fairly late that night when I finally felt hunger (grilled chicken breast, vegetables and sweet potato fries):

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The verdict: For some reason, I felt like this was the best meal ever. I think it’s just been a while since I’ve had vegetables with butter on them. They did a good job of just lightly seasoning the vegetables vs. drowning them, which I really appreciated.

I needed to be at the conference at 7AM on Friday, so I got up super early and went to the coffee shop in my hotel. I was able to pull together a really decent breakfast (hard boiled eggs and fruit) once I looked past the pastry case full of stuff:

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The verdict: Really happy about this. I honestly had ZERO desire to eat the muffins or cinnamon rolls because the memory of how shitty I felt after lunch the day before was still pretty present in my mind.

I had just an hour between sessions and a meeting, so I grabbed lunch at the conference hotel:

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The verdict: Ok. Not the best salad in the world, but it was acceptable. I skipped the ranch dressing since there were large chunks of blue cheese on the salad that were very sufficient in providing flavor plus there was bacon and crab and avocado. Ranch dressing ruins the natural flavor of real food, IMO. I ate a little bit of really fantastic crusty bread, too.

I left the conference around 2 so I could wander around a little. I’d never been to New Orleans and didn’t want to leave without seeing SOMETHING other than my hotel and the conference hotel and the one block between them (and it was a gorgeous day), so I walked to Jackson Square and spent a few hours wandering around.

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(Maybe this should be my next exercise goal.)

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Little bit of a rough end to my whirlwind trip with a 6AM flight  and a woman openly puking all over the floor in the security line in front of me (and then getting on my flight!), but man - yesterday was great. #latergram

Everyone told me I had to do this, so I HAD TO. For real:

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I met up with some people from my cohort for dinner and went to another restaurant on my suggestion list: Commander’s Palace. I didn’t take a picture and what I had appears to not be on the menu on the website – but it was FABULOUS. The whole meal – salad, bread, shrimp dish – was remarkable.

The verdict: Stomach drama again. Nothing to do with the food itself – my body just didn’t want the bread and possibly the oils. I don’t know.

I had a 6AM return flight on Saturday (yesterday), so I grabbed some stuff for breakfast when I made it to Atlanta (nuts, dried apples, banana):

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I was starving by the time I arrived, so Jon and I stopped for lunch at a local place (pork chop, plain baked potato, steamed broccoli):

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The verdict: I didn’t eat the broccoli because it was swimming in butter. The pork chop was ok. I really like plain baked potatoes (with just salt and pepper) if they’ve been baked in an oven vs. microwaved, which sounds weird – but true – so I enjoyed that. Waste of money, though, really. I could have had a similar but better meal at home – but this was quick and was on the way home.

So – that’s my experience traveling and enjoying myself with the whole30 in mind. The 2 decadent meals that were major deviations caused highly distinct stomach drama, so there’s that. Otherwise – I felt great. I didn’t obsess or worry or go crazy. Just ate what felt right.
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Jon’s child #3 texted him while we were driving home from the airport and said she suddenly felt very sick. She was full-blown non-stop puking by the time we got home and had a fever and looked awful, etc. Jon wound up taking her to a walk-in clinic a few hours later. They sent them to the ER because her heart rate was very high.

I’m not sure what’s up – some kind of virus, I guess – but Jon and I are terrified now that we’re next. He’s especially concerned since he sat at a walk-in clinic and then an ER for hours while they hydrated her and got the puking to stop. He’s on a plane traveling overseas this afternoon, so he took a bunch of meds with him just in case it suddenly hits him like it did her.

I REALLY wanted to order a pizza last night since I was tired from my trip and then had MC. At the same time, though, I didn’t want to order a pizza because I knew it would make me feel bad (physically). I waited around for a while to see if they would be coming home before making a really fabulous dinner for myself (tuna fish that I didn’t drain very well with pickles plopped on top):

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It was food. I wasn’t hungry anymore after I ate. It was easy to make and easy to eat while I also fed MC.

Jon made a shrimp curry thing for breakfast this morning (Sunday) since he needed to use the shrimp that should have been cooked yesterday:

Clean out the fridge breakfast.

I guess I’m 100% back on track.

I’m happy to be home but swamped with school stuff to accomplish.

(What’s not captured here are his squeals of joy. He loves her.)

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(I read something once about not giving kids “screen time” until they’re 3 years old. I think the people proposing that must not need to DO THINGS.)

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I’m 11 days into the whole30 now and I’m still feeling great. It’s been surprisingly easy this time around – once I got past the first few really bad days. I think it’s easier partly because I know what to do this time around and partly because I’m just pretty committed to getting back to my old ways.

Yesterday (Saturday) was our first “treat day,” which means we ate in restaurants, but made whole30 compliant choices to reinforce decent long-term behavior vs. going wild.

Jon and I got up early and had a breakfast date at a local diner:

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We also grabbed dinner at Chipotle before going bowling. Lunch in the middle was just boring tuna salad at home.

Yeah, cosmic bowling is a thing I’ve done now.

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(I actually had a really good time.)

I am really liking the monthly meal plan (vs. our typical weekly plan) because it was SO easy to go shopping and get ready for the week. No thinking today, no hemming and hawing about what to have each night, etc.

Jon roasted a chicken for tomorrow and grilled a bunch of chicken thighs and pork chops, too, for lunches. He chopped vegetables for easy roasting during the week. I boiled eggs and did the easy stuff.

Dinner tonight:

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(He made big sweet potato fries in the oven. They have salt, pepper & cayenne on them to spice them up. LOVE. He marinated all the meat in a lime, orange, cilantro, chipotle pepper, olive oil thing he makes. Also LOVE.)

Anyway, things are back to “normal” lately and I’m liking the monthly plan. We all refer to it often, so I think it’s been good for everyone to have it hanging on the refrigerator.
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I made it to the Thursday morning beginner class in the series I signed up for (2 days per week for the month of January). I actually liked it a lot. The instructor (or leader or whatever) walked through each thing and then had us try it, adjusted us, talked about what muscles we were impacting, etc.

I’ve never been to an actual yoga studio before. I liked it. Great way to start the day. I had a ton of energy afterward. I’m looking forward to continuing.

I haven’t done a ton of running because my plan is to officially start this coming week (since I needed a week to just be sore from re-starting with the trainer). Jon, his child #3, MC, Molly and I hit the greenway yesterday afternoon, though.

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It was 28 degrees, but it was sunny and beautiful. I did a walk/run thing for 3M. Jon ran 3M with Molly. His child #3 and MC walked a couple miles. It was great. Also looking forward to continuing this.
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What else?

MC turned 6 months old last week!

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He’s still such a sweet and happy boy.

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I’m trying with the getting dressed thing. I did actually make some semblance of an effort when I went to work on Friday:

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I haven’t put much emphasis on this yet, though, because I’m not ready to buy new clothes. Maybe soon.

Overall, things are really good around here. I know we’re just 11 days in – but we’re off to a good start.

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Well, I’m 6 days into the whole30. I had a pretty shitty weekend, but I’m doing ok now. I’ve never had such a difficult time with it, but I seriously felt like I was getting the flu for a minute. Pretty eye opening. I’ve never started from such a low place.

I feel pretty fantastic in some respects now (i.e., no stomach drama), so I’m super motivated to continue.

I started back with the trainer last night and subsequently can’t move today. Also pretty eye opening. It’s crazy how quickly things go to hell. I think I took a month off? Maybe 3 weeks? SO sore today.

I registered and paid for the beginner yoga class I mentioned, but had to miss the first class this morning because I had to be across town by 7:30a to take a really important test:

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I’ve been working toward my clinical license for several years. Lots of years if you consider that this was the goal from the time I chose this path in undergrad. So, 2 degrees, 1 lower level license, 3000 clinical hours, 100 clinical supervision hours, tons of paperwork, a background check/fingerprints and 1 stressful exam later and I’m done (pending approval by the state board)!

I didn’t tell anyone about the exam out of fear that I’d fail it. I’ve been pretty confident that I’d pass, but you just never know. I spent quite a bit of time reading horror stories online last night when I was too paralyzed to study more.

Failing it would have been SO humiliating.

I was SUPER anxious this morning and completely brain dead by the time it was done (3 and a half hours after I started). I’m totally wiped out from the stress and relief.

Other than losing 110+ pounds (and maintaining a 100 pound loss all this time), this is probably the goal I’ve most wanted to achieve.

I came home and wanted all.the.sugar – so I made a snack of unsweetened coconut, frozen blueberries, raisins and walnuts.

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And then promptly fell asleep.

We’re just hanging out tonight. Classes start tomorrow.

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(The testing center guy took my picture this morning and compared it to the one taken 3 or so years ago when I took the (much less stressful) exam for my general master’s level license – the DAY AFTER Jon’s cancer diagnosis before we knew ANYTHING.

I took it because they have a 24 hour reschedule policy and I didn’t know about the cancer 24 hours before the test. I had paid a lot of money that I’d just lose. Jon was insistent that I do it even though I was in a fog and barely able to keep it together and really didn’t care AT ALL about the money or the test. I cried the whole way there. It was stupid, but I passed it – and I guess I’m glad I sucked it up and got it over with.

The guy today said: “Oh, you got all gussied up for this test. Looks like you just rolled out of bed last time.” He laughed and showed me the picture. It WAS really bad. My eyes were super puffy and my nose was red and my face was blotchy and I looked …. stressed.

Seeing that reminder of those horrible days has bothered me all day for some reason. They were some of the worst of my life – and they were completely unexpected. It’s scary how fast life can change. And how quickly it can be threatened – and end.

I’m not sure why I’m struggling with all of this so much lately, but I am.)

Woo! Best day of the year!

My plan/goal for 2015: Get my life back.

2014 was sort of clouded from the start by upcoming change and scary/unknown events – primarily Jon’s child #3 moving in, MC’s arrival and the complete overhaul to start the PhD program. Too much life structure sort of change led to me kinda hunkering down for a while to survive.

That really exactly sums up 2014. I just survived.

I’m glad it’s over.

Now I want my life back. The one where I’m free to think about fun things and focus some on hobbies and enjoy day-to-day minutiae rather than just making it through the stress and anxiety. I’m going to make a solid effort to not be so consumed by school, for sure, and to get back to having some balance. My future is clear, too – right now – of KNOWN challenges/change and I am really happy about that.

So, goals!

We have some goals regarding finances and house stuff and a potential new car, etc. – but that’s boring. Fun stuff:

Exercise:

I’ve been thinking about exercise goals a lot lately and I keep going back to thinking about running a half marathon for my 35th (!!!) birthday. I’ve been trying to talk myself out of it because I know I’m going to hate myself for it when I’m in the midst of training drama, but I swear it’s the first thing that pops into my mind when I think about exercise goals. SO – I’m going to do it.

My overall/primary goal is just to run. No fast pace, no caring about pace/time, no crazy training schedule – just do it. Make an effort. Even if a lot of the effort involves walking.

I’m signing up for one race each month of 2015 – and I have a plan:

Jan – NYD 5k (done!)
Feb – 5k on 2/14
Mar – 5k on 3/29
Apr – 5k on 4/25
May – 10k on 5/23
Jun – 7k on 6/13
Jul – 5k on 7/3
Aug – Half Marathon!
Sept – 15k on 9/13
Oct – 15k on 10/11
Nov – Half Marathon on Thanksgiving in ATL (maybe)!
Dec – Santa Hustle Half Marathon (maybe)!

This is SUPER ambitious, I know. Can I go from zero half marathons to 3 in one year? I don’t know, but I’m going to try. I might have to alter this some, of course, (dropping a couple of the half marathons to 5ks) but it’s a goal to strive for – and I’m going to try my best. I obviously planned it so I can build and I’ve given myself 8 months to prepare for my first half, so we’ll see.

Today really solidified for me that this is the right thing. We went to the local NYD 5K and it was so great! The actual running part and the cold and all that sucked since it’s been so long – but I had so much fun being outside and being active and seeing a bunch of my running friends. There’s a very good chance I’ll never be “good” at it – but it’s really what I want to do with my free time.

(I was able to jog the entire first mile without stopping to walk and seriously impressed myself. I anticipated making it a quarter of a mile at most.)

Did it!

I’m also planning to register for a 6 week “beginner series” yoga class at a nearby studio. It says this on their website:

This series is intended for complete beginners and will help you uncover the benefits of an ancient system that offers greater flexibility, balance, strength, and concentration.

In this series you can expect to learn poses (and the names that go with them!), basic anatomy, safety for your body, breathing, and concentration techniques. All portions of the class will be taught slowly, clearly, and in an interactive environment that encourages questions and discussion.

I’m not as sure about this one, but I need to do it. My back and body are hurting nearly constantly these days. Yoga or some other stretching will likely go a long way in improving this situation, so what the hell, right? I need to try for a while and see what happens.

I’m also sticking with 2 days a week of strength training (an hour each time), which is typical for me. Once with the trainer, once with her homework plan.

I put all of this in my calendar because I am WAY more likely to keep up with it if it’s planned. Realistically, it boils down to an hour or 2 of exercise each day (maybe more when I’m running longer distances a few months from now). That’s NOTHING when I think about how much time I easily spend watching tv or reading or whatever.

Like I said, I want my life back. This is a BIG part.

Exercise is my hobby and a large part of my social life/outlet (and a huge boost for mental health). I miss it when I stop and am anxious to get back to it. I think part of 2014 being sort of shitty stems from not making it a priority.

Food:

No real major goals other to plan meals a month in advance – and to stick to the plan. Jon and I made out a calendar for January with all dinners planned (including “treat meals”) and a list of stuff to prep each Sunday. We used to do it a week at a time, but it would all fall apart if we didn’t have time to plan each Sunday and then the whole week would be crazy with restaurants and other debauchery – so now we just have to plan one time each month. Should be doable. Realistically, we could likely reuse the plan each month if we’re feeling really lazy/busy.

I’m doing a whole30 for January because I need to focus on cleaning up my diet and getting back to my old ways. It’s been bad. I’ve deviated some from everything I worked so hard to instill and need to be more intentional. I’m just going to be more conscious, in general, about what goes into my mouth.

(today’s lunch: Jon made a big pot of soup with leftover ham)

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HOWEVER, I’m also really tired of feeling like food has control. Or – really – that food is an avenue to gaining some feeling of control when everything else feels chaotic. It never works. I’m not sure why my brain is wired to either binge or restrict (count calories or super focus on food) when I’m stressed and anxious and life feels out of control – but that’s the way it is. One extreme or the other.

I’ve been working on it for years and I’m just ready to be DONE. Control isn’t what I mean when I say intentional. There’s a big difference that took a while for me to figure out.

Being intentional, conscious and aware of what I’m feeling/doing/thinking/eating/choosing = lower chance of blank freak-out and mindless extreme behavior (like eating a box of white chocolate covered oreos in one sitting or conversely monitoring and counting every little calorie I consume).

(today’s dinner: corned beef & cabbage)

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Life:

Like I said before, I’m going to make an effort to not let myself get so worked up over school that I completely lose sight of everything else.

And I’m going to work on the emotional thing with the food. Not using food to feel control when I’m anxious – or to soothe. I’m really ready to end this once and for all.

And I’m going to try to make an effort to learn how to dress myself. Maybe I’ll post pictures to keep myself accountable? Jon and his kids made a thing about how nice I looked recently and I was seriously wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel shirt and hiking boots. I don’t think they’d seen me out of pajama pants with my hair in a ponytail in days. So. I need to make an effort. Comfort is my thing, but I don’t have to look like I make ZERO effort.

I’m having some feelings about turning 35 this year that I’m not sure I know how to articulate. I’ve never actually had a feeling about an age before, so I’m not sure what’s going on – but it hit me recently and has stuck. I’m turning THIRTY-FIVE.

35 year old people have their shit together and are adults and are just … something. I don’t know. I have a problem with not being where I should be at this age (emotionally) (I’m totally good with my marriage and my home and my job/school and the fantastic life I’ve intentionally created). But where should I be? Who the hell knows. The whole thing is a mess in my mind right now. I’ll figure it out. I just feel like 35 is a big thing. I’m feeling a monumental shift to adulthood and a desire to be the best person I can be with the healthiest mind and body I can have.

(Yes, I recognize I sound crazy.)

Anyway. Time to get my shit together.

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He's good with the guilt. ❀️❀️

I just scanned through all 2,851 photos in the Flickr “blog stuff” album I’ve been adding to since May 2009. There are a lot of really bad food pictures and some compelling evidence that I didn’t (and really still don’t) know how to dress a body that isn’t 270+ pounds – so, wow. I am still SO glad I’ve done this over the years. The pictures, the blog, all of it. I need this sort of trip down memory lane here and there. It’s easy to forget. (We’re thinking about making monthly meal plans for 2015 vs. weekly so I needed ideas.)

I’m also glad I weighed myself along the way and took pictures of the scale (and progress pictures at some points). It’s interesting to me to be able to see what I was eating and doing around the times of each weight – and to remember the drama and frustration and BS that accompanied the scale. I am not anti-scale at all – it’s a useful tool when used appropriately – but damn am I glad to be on this side of that problem now.

SO! I have been in a great mood the past few days because – as I’ve mentioned a million times – I LOVE this time of year. I love the idea of a new year with new goals and new things to accomplish.

Jon and I have been working on getting things together before 2015 arrives. I made a list of small house projects that I’ve wanted to accomplish and knocked a bunch of those out over the weekend. I also did a spring cleaning type thing and spent time yesterday mopping and vacuuming under things and polishing the counters and doing other rarely done chores. My to-do-before-2015 list has just two minor items left.

We’ve started to plan 2015, too – something we do every year. Jon travels so much that it’s pretty much imperative that we think ahead (meaning all vacation time and days off chosen, all work trips scheduled as much as possible so we know what weeks he’ll be gone, holidays and holiday travel outlined, etc.). I like to plan personal trips well in advance (and save and pay cash for everything), so that’s underway. Life is just easier when we coordinate calendars and sketch out the year.

In addition to planning the year, we’re also working on goals, of course. We have a few projects I want to accomplish this year (like completely redoing/remodeling our fireplace to add a wood burning stove), but most are more personal improvement things. Still in progress. My plan is to have a finished list by end of NYD.

I spent many years just letting life happen to me. I really can’t stress enough how much happier I became when I stopped that.
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I signed us up for the local NYD 5k. This will be our 3rd year doing it. Jon’s feet are still bothering him (plantar fasciitis) and I haven’t done anything of consequence in several weeks, so we’ll probably be doing a lot of walking, but that’s ok. It will be fun anyway.

I am scheduled to start back with my trainer on the 7th and am contemplating how I want to move forward exercise-wise. I want to run some this year and I want to keep on with the strength training, of course, but I feel like I need a concrete goal for 2015. I don’t think I had any solid exercise goals for 2014 (other than to not stop), and I consequently didn’t accomplish much (though I didn’t stop).

The running thing turned out SO well and I had a great year when it was a goal/resolution (2013). I wound up going from nothing to running a 15k and made new friends along the way, etc. It was great. It’s really kind of too bad 2014 was a bust in that regard.

I’m thinking about yoga, but I currently HATE it. Realistically, pilates (and body flow classes, though I never got in to that as much as pilates) have been good for me in the past. A local yoga studio has some workshops and series classes and stuff like that I could commit to that include things like meditation and nutrition and mindful eating and other stuff I’d probably roll my eyes at and complain about, but would benefit from. I hated running, too, and still do – but I also love many aspects and recognize the benefits.

We’ll see. I have a couple days to think about it.
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Jon had his colonoscopy last Monday and everything’s fine. He’s scheduled for another in FIVE YEARS. That just seems crazy to me, but the doctor assured us that it’s fine and he anticipates no problems, etc.

I was incredibly stressed the day of the colonoscopy despite the fact that he’s had multiple over the past few years. I really think the length of time between tests and oncology appointments (6 months) had me freaked out. I also sensed that Jon was nervous, which REALLY got me worked up. I am super anxious about everything and generally live with a high level of anxiety, but he’s the complete opposite – so I definitely worry when HE’S anxious.

I couldn’t focus on anything at all while I waited. I started playing mind games and freaking myself out every time someone who went before or after Jon was done (i.e., something MUST be wrong if it’s taking so long – or the opposite). They called me back to the recovery area when he was done and I started crying as soon as I saw him asleep in the hospital bed (in the exact same recovery area room as cancer day). I got it together while he woke up and mentally talked myself out of crying while we waited for the doctor, but I couldn’t keep it together after he came in and told us everything’s ok. I cried the whole morning. I think the relief just completely overwhelmed me. I don’t know. It was bad.

His oncology appointment happened on Friday and everything was fine there, too. CEA level is the same, chest x-ray was good, liver whatever was fine. He goes back for all of that testing again in 6 months.

His oncologist sort of scolded him, though, and asked if he’s taking care of the rest of his health. He noted his recent weight gain and asked about his cholesterol and the last time he’s had a regular physical, etc. He told us he frequently sees people who beat cancer and then neglect their health for whatever reason – and encouraged Jon not to do that now.

While Jon is good about physicals and testing and things like that (and cholesterol and BP and all that are fine), he HAS gained weight and he HAS been eating more junk and drinking more and exercising less and poorly managing work stress. So, we’re working on that. It’s on the 2015 list. Lots of stuff on the list!

We celebrated Christmas early this year – yesterday! – because we aren’t going to be home on the actual holiday. Jon’s mom is having surgery a couple of days before (in the ATL area), so we’ll be in GA helping her.

We’ve all been pretty sad that we’re going to miss MC’s first Christmas – and had fun plans in place before we found out about the surgery – so we just did everything early.

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Jon found a Santa suit while we were out shopping a couple of months ago and decided to go for it. MC wasn’t even slightly upset – but maybe because Santa sounded like Poppy? (We’re going to try to find a better beard for next year.)

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We all woke up super early and did the whole Christmas morning thing – including Jon’s homemade cinnamon rolls, of course.

Celebrating the holiday a few days early!

Unfortunately, my work party happened the night before – AND we decided to participate in the after-party karaoke that spontaneously happened at a shitty bar a few blocks away, so we got home super late and Jon was super hungover and pretty miserable for most of the morning. Going to be a little more careful next year so Santa will be able to wear his suit without wailing about being hot and sweaty and wanting to puke. Fun night, though!

(Karaoke group. I was the total buzzkill who tried to talk everyone out of it because of concern about coats reeking of cigarette smoke for days. Next post I’ll talk about how OLD I feel lately and how I’m having some profound issues with turning THIRTY-FIVE in 2015.)

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Karaoke.  Really.

Anyway, we got up and opened presents first thing, as you’re supposed to do.

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(OH! I forgot about this stress: Jon lost his passport somewhere in Canada, discovered this as he was on his way to the airport at 4AM to come home and almost didn’t make it back to the US to go to the party or, much more importantly, to be Santa. 2 weeks away from home plus potentially missing all of our fun weekend plans had us both pretty stressed, but it worked out and he was able to come home without it – largely because I was able to email a scanned version (so glad he had the foresight to do that years ago!). Whirlwind day for him, though, with that stress plus the actual traveling home plus heading out immediately to go to my work party.)

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MC got a bunch of fun stuff, including a high chair that clips onto the table so he can sit directly with us now vs. hanging out in his car-seat thing.

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We also got him a walker, which I learned from amazon reviews is apparently akin to throwing him into a pit of snakes. I had no idea they’re so controversial. Or are they? I don’t know. I don’t read many mommyblogs anymore and am apparently out of the loop. Either way – he has one now! We’re excited about his increasing mobility.

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Jon took a nap after the present opening and cinnamon roll baking, so his child #3 and I tried to recreate some pics she found on pinterest.

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I really don’t know anything about photography and don’t have photoshop to enhance/improve anything – but we always have fun doing this stuff.

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And it’s free.

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Jon rallied, but he didn’t feel up to cooking the planned lunch (ham, etc.), so we ate lunch out on the way to Dollywood (Dolly Parton’s park in Pigeon Forge – Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival going on now = lights, shows, parade, etc.).

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Jon’s girls rode rides, so we hung out with MC (he’s in a harness thing).

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I got a selfie stick for Christmas, so I played around with that but never quite got the hang of it (but am excited to keep practicing!).

Somebody got a selfie stick for Christmas. πŸ‘β€οΈπŸŽ„πŸŽ…

Fun day! Perfect Christmas.

Today, Jon’s doing the prep for tomorrow’s colonoscopy.

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I’ve been incredibly stressed about this for some reason and couldn’t figure out why my anxiety has been so high this time around until I remembered that he sees his oncologist every 6 months now vs. 3. It’s just been a while since there have been tests to concretely show us that cancer hasn’t returned. I guess I’m going to have to figure out what to do with this anxiety because he’ll eventually stop with the CEA testing altogether (in a couple of years) and his colonoscopies will be spread out more and I guess we JUST WON’T KNOW. How do you live with that?

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He keeps saying he’s thinking about giving up alcohol for 2015 (in an effort to lose weight and improve health), so we’ll see. I think that’s pretty drastic and crazy-making, but will also admit that I’m totally on board. I’ve thought about giving up sugar ONLY in the form of desserts like ice cream, cookies, etc. and may attempt some craziness like that in an effort to break my addiction. I’m not willing to police everything I ingest, but I need to think about the outright sugar stuff. It makes me feel so awful.

I’ve been doing my own thing since Halloween, like I previously mentioned, but Jon and I need to regroup together and come up with 2015 goals. We’re sort of existing in this stressful place of nearly constant travel and school and work and life BS. We need more fun and more commitment to taking better care of ourselves. Seems like a constant cyclical struggle, but I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be.

I’ll definitely never stop working at it.

I’m excited about a full-blown health kick! Love them. We need it.

(One more.)

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I’m free! I’ve technically been free from school since last Wednesday, but have had a lot going on – so today is the first day I’ve woken up with ZERO on my calendar.

Early last week was kinda hellish, but it’s over and grades have been posted and I successfully completed the semester and live to endure another. I am taking a complete break from all things school-related until the new semester starts. I just need it.

Jon has been traveling across Canada since the Sunday before last (so he’s been gone 10 days so far). While I’m NOT a fan of this sort of thing, it afforded me the opportunity to take a trip to see some new (to me) places!

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I hosted the baby shower on Monday night, wrapped things up here school-wise on Tuesday, met with some work-related friends on Wednesday night for a work group thing and then headed to Montreal super early on Thursday morning. Jon arrived at about the same time (from a different part of Canada), so we found our hotel, picked up a map and headed out to explore.

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Here’s what we found:

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Lots of snow!

It was cold, but I really just didn’t care. I was happy to be with Jon and happy to be free. He’s been to Montreal a few times and wanted to take me to a restaurant he’s tried in the past, so we tromped through the snow until we found it. Definitely worth the hassle (Barroco – no pictures because it was tiny and dark, but it was awesome!).

We spent Friday morning and afternoon just wandering around doing touristy stuff.

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(Notre-Dame Basilica of MontrΓ©al)

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We have a knack for finding Mexican restaurants wherever we might be, so that’s what we did for lunch.

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This one gave us spicy carrot soup, which I thought was odd and is not something I would have ordered given a choice – but I am definitely going to pester Jon to make it for us at home. SO GOOD. I have a mental aversion to creamy vegetable soups, but I think I’m growing out of it?

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We drove to Quebec City after lunch.

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Jon’s been there before, too, and wanted to take me to an Irish pub – so that’s what we did for dinner once we arrived. I totally failed to take many pictures, but I have one:

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We stayed for a long time eating (mostly junk like the nachos) and drinking (Jon) because it was cozy and warm.

A HUGE holiday party happened at our hotel that night, so that was fun to observe. I have never seen so many people in one place so dressed up toting cases of beer around (to their rooms?). There were groups standing around drinking in the parking garage when we arrived earlier in the evening! I guess having a pre-party shindig? It was crazy.

We went exploring on Saturday.

We walked to a cute indoor Christmas market.

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Wandered around looking at stuff …

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Went to a cute outdoor Christmas market.

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Ate lunch nearby and tried maple syrup pie (which I’d never heard of).

Maple Syrup Pie. πŸ‘

We went back to our hotel and watched (iPad) TV and took a nap before dinner just because we could. After dinner (at Portofino Italian Bistro), we walked to a pub and listened to some music and people watched. Fun Saturday.

We had a lazy morning before driving back to Montreal on Sunday and just hung out at the hotel for dinner (ordered delivery, anyway). I had a 7AM flight home Monday morning, so here I am. Back at home. Jon’s still there, unfortunately.

I think we stayed in Old Quebec – or maybe downtown – in Quebec City? I’m pretty sure we stayed downtown in Montreal, too. We were within walking distance of lots of stuff both places, anyway. I’m not sure what the areas are called, which is probably rude of me – but I honestly didn’t even know what time my flight was leaving until the night before. I just got on a plane and went and did whatever Jon had planned for us because I had no brain space for thinking about the trip prior to actually getting on the plane.

(The view from the Quebec City Convention Center, next door to our hotel.)

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(Parliament Building in Quebec City)

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Anyway, it was a fantastic trip. We had excellent meals in both Montreal and Quebec City (favorite part of all trips) and everything was snowy and Christmasy and festive.

What a fantastic trip. ❀️❀️❀️

I didn’t take my laptop and Jon didn’t work and we just had fun together wandering around.

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I miss him. I’m really glad we had such a fun long weekend together.

I’ve just been puttering around the house today. I cleaned and bathed the dogs and did laundry and did some grocery shopping. Caught up on kissing this cute chunk:

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Also? Gingerbread cookies! I look for super spicy and super soft gingerbread cookies every year and never find them. Took matters into my own hands. Now I just have to refrain from EATING EVERY ONE.

Every year I go on a quest for the perfect super spicy & super soft gingerbread. Took matters into my own hands this year and am never looking back. πŸ™Œ πŸŽ„πŸŽ…

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