Year 7

I have tried many times to sit down and write about this year.

Year seven was a year where we experienced so many highs, but we also experienced some lows that have really overshadowed the year.

Our marriage was not at risk, but we had some things thrown at us this year where we really had to live out our vows of better or worse. We had to dig in and carry each other at times because pieces of ourselves were lost.

This year was hard, but this year is what marriage is for.

It reminded me that even amidst such tragedy our marriage never wavered.

It reminded me that while we have independent souls, they are made better by each other. And stronger because of each other.

It reminded me daily of the commitment that we have to each other.

It reminded me of the work we have put in over the last decade to get to where we are.

We have built something so beautiful and strong, and even though parts of this year sucked, we are here to celebrate 7 years.

This year brought us our first year with our baby girl. We have gotten to see her sit, crawl, walk, eat us out of house and home, and charm us with her giggles and ability to sleep through the night. She is everything I ever hoped for.

This year we watched George sprout into a spirited young boy whose imagination takes us often to construction sites and kitchens where he eats plastic food that he would never dare to eat at a real meal. Experiencing love from George is like no other.

We packed our kids into the car for two long road trips (one to Iowa and one to Texas) to see others embark on this journey of marriage. Long road trips with a baby and a toddler will test any marriage, but we made it through.

We’ve celebrated holidays through George’s lens who made us sit in the dark for weeks waiting for the “Christmas Tree Guy” to bring us our tree. We also documented all the things obviously since it was Daphne’s first everything.

Work took us to new places.

A couple months after I returned to work from maternity leave, I was pulled into my boss’s office to be told he was moving positions and I would now be interim director of our department. Fast forward another few months, and that promotion was made permanent. There are days that I am still flabbergasted that I am now the Director of my department. I am so humbled to think of where I was mentally 4 years ago in Fort Campbell after receiving one of the most devastating no’s of my career. And now, I feel trusted and respected. I am not going to lie though; there has been anxiety that has come with this new role for sure. There were many days that Tom had to remind me of my skill set and talk me out of panic attacks. I am passionate about what I do, but I was not lining myself up for this. It was so unexpected that there are days that I am just trying to not look like a fraud. There are many days that I am not sure how much more information I can fit into my brain or into my schedule. However, when George asks me in the morning if I am staying home, I know I am leaving for a purpose. This means more because it tells me that what I am doing matters and is noticed. It makes it worth not being home with my kids. I am not saying that I have to get a promotion to know I am doing good work. I love what I do, and that is enough for me. However, it is nice as a mom to know I am valued and needed elsewhere. And especially to come off of maternity leave into a year like this, and the fact that I did two jobs for most of the year while PUMPING. I mean that basically means that I am Wonder Woman.

Tom however had a different story written for him. Things have not been as positive for him.

One night on duty, he and another officer were involved in a shooting. This hasn’t really been something I have wanted to write about because it is extremely personal, and we are still reeling from it in some ways (it happened 7 months ago). Honestly this doesn’t even seem to be the place to bring it up, because this small paragraph cannot even begin to do justice to the feelings we have felt or describe how it is something we have to live with but are expected not to talk about. It’s become this dirty little secret that we avoid. However, I cannot write about this year of marriage without mentioning how deeply this has affected us. This is a huge part of my husband’s story and now ours. It seems dishonest and degrading to our marriage to overlook this giant thing. Some may disagree with me that I shouldn’t share this, and that some things are better left unsaid. And maybe that is true, and probably why I haven’t wrote about it yet. But I think people should know that this is real. He has become a statistic, but one that comes with feelings, dreams, and relationships. But people just want to see the statistic, they don’t want to see the emotion that is wrapped up in this. This is something that has happened TO us. And it sucks frankly to feel like we have to hide. If the community hires my husband to protect them, they should hear what that takes at times. And maybe this is part of the healing process for us. We need to be able to talk more openly about the ugly parts of our story without fear of judgement or misunderstanding. This shook us. There is rarely a day that goes by that we don’t talk about this. It was scary, isolating, and so surprising how things played out. It’s so consuming but at the same time like you are living in a dream because no one knows you are living this. You never think it will be you to receive the call. I can remember every moment of that night, and my heart still races recalling Tom’s voice over the phone. I cannot even begin to put into words what Tom has been through. Watching him go through this ordeal has been gut-wrenching. We received support in places we never imagined and lack of support from areas that we expected. It has changed some of our views and solidified others. Things that we thought would always be, we have questioned. No one wants to hear about the actual trials and tribulations of police officers, but we all have a vested interest expecting them to keep us safe. But at some point we have to acknowledge what they do instead of trying to erase it. We are not sure what the future holds here, but one thing is for certain, our marriage has pulled us through this. This situation stripped us down to our core, not just once, but many times over this year. We had to be raw and hold each other close, because some days that is all that we had. I don’t know if I will write about the whole thing again, but this was our life this year. I am sure for years to come we will be dealing with the fall out of this.

We also lost Tom’s Grandma this year. Alline was one of the sweetest women I have ever met. She always made me feel like one of her grandchildren. Tom had such an endearing relationship with her. While we all knew it was coming, it was still devastating.

These are things we never prepared for. These two love sick kids could never imagined what the next seven years would bring.

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This has not been the fairy tale romance.

It has been hard, gritty, and ugly at times.

But with our marriage, we have brought each other peace and comfort. We would not have been able to persevere without each other this year.

We have built a beautiful mess of a life. While these last seven years have been unpredictable, I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.

7 years

One thing has remained the same over all these years. Every day, I love him.

 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

–Colossians 3:14

If you want to read more about our love story, there are links documenting each step here.

 

Whole 30 Week 2

We are halfway through this experience.

Yea that’s what we’ll call this.

I forgot to write down my thoughts every day, so here are just some general comments I made note of.

I am getting really tired of eggs. I need something else for breakfast.

I used lettuce as a bun for a burger…What has my life come to?

Shopping was a little easier this time around, and it wasn’t as expensive. However, I am not sure how people on a tight budget manage eating like this all the time. Sugar free things are not cheap.

Day 11 was by far the hardest day yet. It was a food day at work, which meant a lot of good food: breakfast enchiladas, biscuits and gravy, and donuts (You know the good stuff). I was very angry inside this whole day that I was doing this to myself.

New Recipe/Foods

My mom made this Pumpkin Apple Breakfast Bake, and it is pretty bomb. It is a nice substitute for a sweet snack. I don’t think I could do it for breakfast though.

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I am really all about condiments, which is one of the many reasons I was hesitant doing this. This ketchup from Tessamae is pretty good!

Honestly I am over it. I am not feeling any different. So I feel like I am putting all this work into this for nothing right now.

All I want is chocolate, a real sandwich, and a Dr. Pepper.

These feelings are pretty in line with the timeline posted on the website, so I guess I can continue to see what this Tiger Blood business is about next week.

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Whole 30 Week 1

We made it through the first week!

I thought I would give you a run-down of my feelings each day.

Day 1

I should have done my research. June 1st is National Donut Day. Why did I choose to start on this day of all days? I love donuts. And one of my sweet colleagues brought in my favorite just for me, and I had to refrain! Ugghhhhh. This was difficult but I managed.

Other than that, the day was not so bad. I just became keenly aware of what had sugar in it.

Day 2

I wanted chocolate so bad this day. This is my Achilles heel when it comes to junk food. It was all I could think about it.

We had done some shopping to get us through a couple days, but we had not done the big Whole30 shopping trip. Holy cow this Whole30 stuff is expensive! I am embarrassed by how much we spent with all the different foods to load up instead of our normal snacks. How do people sustain this? No wonder it is only 30 days. People would go broke! Or maybe we are doing this wrong?

I was a little lethargic this day. All I wanted was a nap.

Day 3

Really how am I not going to have chocolate for a whole month. This is ridiculous.

Tom quit this day. He realized that this would not be feasible with his cop life. He almost passed out doing yard work. He also was extremely cranky this weekend, which is not supposed to happen until Day 4 and 5.

I didn’t really feel any physical changes this day. I did try coffee without my creamer and sugar. Gross. How is this cardboard tasting drink desirable? No thank you.

Day 4

This day I was in a fog all day. It was very hard to focus. I am not really sure how I got through the day. This was a Monday, so that may be a contributing factor.

All the websites say that Day 4 and 5 are the days that you want to kill everyone around you. Both my mom and I did not feel this way. So I guess that is a bonus.

Day 5

The morning drive is really difficult. I am really lethargic. However other than that, I don’t feel much different. I just have cravings for things. I went to a movie this night, so that was tempting to have my traditional movie snacks. And then I really wanted to go to McDonald’s on my way home.

Day 6

I really needed either gum or peppermints after my lunch, and that isn’t allowed on Whole30. These rules are dumb.

I am still not felling any different, but these cravings are intense. Chocolate better taste as good when this is all over!

Also La Croix is not good in my opinion.

Day 7

We made it a week. Only 23 more days to go!

I tried Nut Pod creamer for my coffee. Not any better-still cardboard. So I guess I am drinking water this whole time.

Observations over the week

This takes a lot of prep time. Whether it is meal planning and researching, or prepping food for the week to take to work, it takes dedication. I think that is what is going to kill me over everything else. So much time!

It is astonishing how much sugar is hidden in items. I feel like an idiot that I have never noticed that there are so many meats that have added sugar.

Really the only difference I noticed was on my drive into work. I really struggled to be awake. I am not sure if they are related to this or the fact that Daphne didn’t sleep well this week. Only time will tell I guess.

New Recipe/Foods

This egg casserole recipe was great. I was worried about not having cheese in my eggs because either cheese or bread accompanies my eggs for as long as I can remember. I don’t eat eggs plain. But this casserole was really good. I cooked it on the weekend and split it up for the week. I put guacamole and salsa on top, which also helped with the absence of cheese.

Banana chips and guacamole-get to the store and eat these! When my sister-in-law shared this idea, I thought she was gross. (Sorry Emily!) I really despise dried bananas, and I thought they would taste similar. They are NOTHING like trail mix bananas. And put some guacamole on it. So good! They are a great alternative to chips, and a great filler. I will definitely eat this snack after this is all over.

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I really enjoy salads, but the dressing really is clutch for me. Most common dressings have sugar in them, so I had to find something. My sister-in-law shared Primal Kitchen with me, and I haven’t found a dressing of theirs that I don’t like. I have tried the Greek, Honey Mustard and Ranch. All delicious. And I find that I don’t use as much as other brands.

All in all, I am glad we are doing this for the educational pieces. It’s only been a week, so I won’t be skeptical on the results just yet even though it hasn’t seem to really affect me much throughout the whole day.

Why Whole 30

In my 33 years, I never thought I would actually go on a diet. I eat fairly healthy, I don’t really have weight to lose. And I enjoy food. I don’t eat things just to get energy, I eat because I like to enjoy the taste. I like connecting with others over a meal. So I have never felt it necessary to worry about calories or what the food is going to do to my body.

So what has changed to make me want to embark on this diet with Whole30?

Well, some of it has to do with feeling good about my body again. I have been supporting another human being for the better part of 2 years. That takes a toll. And honestly I am surprised that Daphne didn’t come out as a donut by the amount I consumed during her pregnancy. Because of the two years of eating as much as I want, I need to retrain my brain on what healthy is again.

When I started doing my research on Whole30, I was shocked that what I was eating was not as healthy as I thought. For example, my lunch every day is a salad. Did you know that some packaged tunas have sugar? And pretty much any salad dressing has sugar added. At first this seemed really daunting because almost everything I ate in my normal day had added sugar. So it made me start thinking about what I was pumping into my kids unintentionally. I think this whole process will be educational so we can be more aware of the foods we are buying once this is done.

And on that note, Tom and my mom are doing this with me. We all have our own reasons to do this, but the support to take back our health helps.

Then when I met with my doctor recently, she said my blood pressure was not in a good place. She is concerned that my high blood pressure is no longer a white coat syndrome issue. We talked through my options which are either food and exercise change or medication. So this is motivating me to see if there are any changes that this food elimination can help with.

Lastly, I can do anything for a month. This isn’t a diet where you count calories or try to eat certain portions of things. Those seem too hard for me to follow through, and don’t seem to change my outlook on food. This diet is all about having a “whole” approach. You can eat as much as you want, and it’s all “real” food. I just have to be more intentional about checking ingredients.

The hardest thing for me is going to be giving up my twice a day chocolate fix. I live for chocolate.

We’ll see how this goes.

Hopefully it is not like Tom has mocked, “Whole30 is like Peter Pan. I’m having make believe for lunch.”

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Daphne-12 Months

This year and this girl.

She has been loving on us for a whole year. She is everything I hoped for and more.

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Weight:  22lbs.

Health: This month she has been fairly healthy. I do think she has allergies because we all got hayfever with the crazy pollen. Everyone’s eyes were a little puffy for a few days. She is still working on teeth. She has a total of 7 now, with a couple more on the way. I love the little toothy grin.

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Diet: I BREASTFED HER FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!!! Whoop whoop! I really honestly cannot believe that we actually made it this long. I will start weaning her off over the next month. The only time she is actually interested is the first feeding of the day, so that will be the last one I cut out. During the week, I nursed her in the morning and before bed. She only had two bottles during the day while I was at work. One of those was typically a formula bottle. Depending on how well she nurses at night, she may get a 2-4 oz formula bottle before bed as well. On the weekends, for the most part we avoided the formula and nursed the whole time. She is eating three full meals, and generally eats what we eat. I hope that we can keep up the good eating habits. I mean she ate salad greens this month!

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Clothes: She is in 6-9 month and 9 month clothes. She is in a size 4 diaper, and size 2 shoe still.

Sleeping:  We have been putting her to bed around 7:30/8. She generally stays asleep most of the night. She hardly sleeps past 7am. She still has two naps a day, and she is really sticking to two hour naps. It will be interesting to see how real milk will change her patterns.

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Likes:  I am fairly positive that she would live upside down if she could. She loves to be dipped. She is really into stacking things. She is loving the “That Not My” book series from Usborne. She loves George. He can always make her laugh, and she is starting to follow him wherever he goes. She is going to be into music; with whatever is playing, she is dancing. She loves playing with plastic bottles. She beelines it for outside whenever the door opens. She likes George’s trucks.

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Dislikes:  She does not like to be done eating. You better have food on her tray. She still has a general disdain for most people. (Her party could be interesting tomorrow…) She does not like the word no. She is not a fan of when the dogs are barreling through the door. She is pretty much done with the day at 5. She can be kind of grumpy if she isn’t eating at this time.

Milestones: She has taken a few unassisted steps! She won’t do more than 3 steps, but she does them! She still crawls so fast, so she seems uninterested on going any further.

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Nicknames:  Daphers, Daphie, and Daphie Girl. The two most common are still Daph and Sister.

Quirks:  She likes to pass things to people. She loves sharing her pacy with people. She also likes to use anything as a walker: books, chairs, buckets… She likes to pull things off the shelves or out of containers, but then tries to put them all back.

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We parents are: still tired. It’s been a crazy month with various things in our world. We are building a playground for the kids, and by we I mean Tom. It looks amazing so far. I had my 33rd birthday, and we got to see Lion King live! So good! I also had two people (grown people that I work with) ask me if I was expecting again, so there is that…I had lots of feelings about it at first, but I am really trying to not let it get me down like the time I cried after my niece said something similar when George was 9 months old. (Not my best moment…) I am proud of what my body is doing. A HUMAN SURVIVED OFF MY BODY FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS. It’s ok if there is still some extra to love around me!

George is: such a ham. He will have really good days, and then some really bad not listening ones. And he has been really into screaming lately because he has “loud in his mouth.” He also has been commandeering Sister’s pacies and hiding them in his room or hiding himself while he “gets it wet” for Daphne. He said he has to test it out for her. We are in trouble with this one. He LOVES that we are outside almost every day. That has helped with some cabin fever. He is getting really good at writing his letters. He makes up his own songs. I am so proud of how much he has learned!

The dogs are: ridiculous. They are pretty much barking at everything these days. Crosby wants to be outside all day. They are a mess, but we love them anyway.

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I thought George grew fast, but this time was such a whirlwind. While it was tough, I feel like we enjoyed the process more and were much less stressed this time around. Daphie has been a fairly easy baby, so that helps. She is such a dream. Even though these little baby features may fade, I am excited to see her personality continue to develop.

Daphie Girl, you are such a light in our days. I am honored to be your mom.

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Here is George at 12 months.