Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jenna: Three

Happy 3rd Birthday Jenna Mae Nullmeyer!
I remember the day we found out your gender. It felt like such a gift to be having a girl. And now more than 3 years later it still feels that way! You are such a special addition to our family; a much needed ray of light and happiness.

When I asked Daddy what is special about you, he said "She's the happiest little thing we've ever had. Just happy all the time". I would have to agree! Obviously you have your moments, but for the most part you have such a sunny disposition. You get excited about really simple everyday things. You are so appreciative and content, and I hope you always stay that way.

You have always had a big vocabulary, but over the last few months you have been talking a LOT. You talk to me nonstop during the day. And sometimes you say really grown-up sounding things. The other day I was being stern with you, telling you that when Mommy asks you to do something, you must obey me. You smiled sweetly and said "Ok you're the boss Mommy!"

Likes: You love watching Paw Patrol, and beg to watch it every morning after breakfast. You also love playing with your big brothers. Some of your favorite foods are cucumbers, eggs, ground meat, sunflower seeds, toast fingers, peanut butter sandwiches, spaghetti, smoothies, granola bars.....I could go on and on. You're a great eater!

Dislikes include getting water in your face (OH the drama!), and eating anything too peppery or spicy.

You love making lists. You love asking me what we need from the store. I will name off items and you will pretend to write them down. The other day we were doing this, except I asked YOU what we needed. You opened up the cupboards and actually told me 5 things we were out of. I am constantly amazed by how smart you are!

You don't seem to be overly shy. You easily go to your Sunday School class and never make a fuss about leaving me. I think you will do great in preschool next year.

You haven't napped in quite a few months now. Instead, you have a "quiet time" in your room most afternoons. You easily go to bed at night. You give me a big hug and a kiss and a "goodnight Mommy!". And every morning you wake up happy. I go into your room and pretend that I can't find you. Eventually I find you under your covers and you think it's the BEST game ever.

One thing I really need to work on with you is potty-training. I figured you'd be fully trained by now, but I think adding baby Andrew to the family this year has delayed us. I promise to work on this more with you soon!

Despite how amazingly happy and go-with-the-flow you are, you are showing some signs of 3 yr old stubbornness. Nobody's perfect, right? You want to do things yourself, like getting your own water from the fridge or taking off your socks. You occasionally throw little tantrums, but will always go to a timeout and stay there, and then apologize afterwards. Recently we have caught you sneaking candy a few times and hiding with it behind the curtains.
Daddy's Nicknames: Baby Girl, Shingy Ma-Bopper. I call you "my girl". Oh and Jenna, you have the cutest most little cartoonish voice right now. People comment on it a lot.

Happy Birthday Jenna! We love you so very much, and I hope you have a fun birthday my precious daughter.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The End Of A Phase

Almost everything with little kids is a phase. I hope this is an encouragement to one of you out there today. Sometimes repeating this to myself over and over is necessary! It's just a phase. It's just a phase. It's just a phase.
Anyone who knew us when Ryan was born knew how he (we) struggled with sleep. He just never slept! He barely napped as a baby and never ever slept through the night. He was in our bed for a couple years and even after converting his crib to a toddler bed, he still refused to sleep in there. It was a tiring phase. 

Everyone told us he would eventually sleep through the night in his own bed. Surely he wouldn't go off to college still sleeping with his parents?!

I am so happy to announce that at the age of 7.5, Ryan finally sleeps in his own bed all through the night!! Can I get an AMEN? He rarely fights us about bedtime. He rarely gets up in the middle of the night. 
So let this be an encouragement. If you're going through something difficult or tiring with your children, it likely won't last forever. Neither will the cute funny things, so enjoy them while they last!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Past Week

Wow, where did the last week go? I feel like I just blogged but all of a sudden a full week has gone by and it's been silence around here. In all honesty, it's been hard to sit down and write this week. Things have been really tough lately with Lucas. Most of you know he struggles with handling his emotions, and his anger in particular. This past week was horrible. And I have no idea what caused it. He's this confusing little mystery to me, and I've been on the phone with a lot of doctors over the past few days. If you think of it, we could really use some prayer for peace in this house.
One of the things I am working on with Lucas is giving him coping skills to use when he's mad. Things he can do to help calm himself down. One of them is drawing. Ryan loves to draw, and he was recently asking me how to draw something. Darth Vader, if I remember correctly. I finally said OK let's just google it. So we did, and discovered this whole world of YouTube videos dedicated to teaching you to draw different characters.
Ryan's drawings are so good!

Today we all sat down and drew Yoda.
Andrew is sleeping less than ever, thanks to back-to-back viruses. It was hand foot and mouth a few weeks ago, and now he's had a gross cold that makes him too congested to sleep.
As long as he's being held or directly entertained, he's fine. Otherwise, it's loud crying wide awake baby!
Ever since I finished my Whole30 a couple weeks ago I've felt a little lost. I did great for a few days, adding healthy foods like oatmeal and beans back into my diet. Then all of a sudden (after a stressful day with Lucas) I wanted chocolate! Or pretty much any form of sugar I could get my hands on. I've been trying to balance things out by making healthy choices for most meals. I've made this chocolate recipe twice this week using raw cacao powder. It definitely satisfies my chocolate craving, although I may be eating 3 or 4 at a time instead of 1. Ahem.  http://liezljayne.com/video-3-ingredient-healthy-weight-loss-chocolate-recipe-sugar-free-dairy-free/  (Her oatmeal recipes are also amazing!) I am up between 1 and 2 pounds since my lowest weight at the end of Whole30. It's not a big deal, and honestly most of my pants are still too big on me. These are my one pair of jeans that fit me perfectly right now.
I actually received a Trendsend box in the mail today, and I'm hoping one of the pairs of pants are keepers! Remember, it's totally free to receive clothes from your Trendsend stylist. Check it out here! https://www.trendsend.com/?referral=9rp5Zr4WgES
Speaking of free styling services, Stitch Fix is waiving the styling fee this month on your first box! I've got a box coming next week. You've got to try it if you haven't yet. It's risk free until the end of November! Referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3168832?sod=w&som=c

And finally, this girl right here is the sunny spot of the week. Even though she's been sick and kind of whiny, she is always such a source of joy in this family.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Stop To See

Does this ever happen to you? I go through my day so busy with the endless tasks of motherhood, that I don't stop to really look at what's going on around me. Sure, I see my kids. But I see them as tasks. One needs help tying their shoes. Another needs help brushing their teeth. They all need dinner prepared for them. I am so busy trying to complete my work for the day that I'm just not seeing everything.

Then sometimes at the end of the day I browse through the photos on my phone and I'm surprised. My kids were doing that? How cute! They took a picture of me? I look so tired and distracted!

I downloaded recent photos from my phone and here's what I saw.

The boys were playing the game "Suck It Up" with M&M's after dinner.

Jenna is always taking my picture. I thought this one was kind of cool.

My little Darth Vader blowing the leaves for me.

Ryan just completed an after-school lego class.

He was so proud of his creations!

 Sometimes having my Mom just hold the baby so I can put away laundry is SO helpful.

I snuck over during recess to watch Ryan play kickball. In his words, he plays "big-kid games" now.

My girl at the park. Her legs look so long!

Ryan's Christmas list. I love that he can write it himself now!

Someone fell asleep shopping at Target.

Homemade salsa for my MOPS group. This bowl makes me happy because I have made so many great friends in this group!

Ryan loves taking pictures of his cars and then printing them out. Here is his latest shot.

Do you stop to see what's happening around you?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Whole30 Experience

I did it! I officially completed the Whole30. Saturday was my day 30, and I wanted to share my experience and results with you all. Quite a few of my friends and family are participating in a Whole30 right now, so maybe this will be helpful to some of you considering it. Or just curious about the torture I put myself through! haha

Here are my other Whole30 Blog Posts.
For the past 30 days I did not consume any dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, soy, or preservatives such as MSG, carrageenan, sulfites, artificial flavors, etc. Everything I put in my mouth was compliant with the Whole30 rules, right down to the oils I cooked my food in. (Only avocado, olive, or coconut oil were allowed, in addition to clarified butter). If it sounds restrictive, well, that's because it is! When you first see the list of foods that are off limits, you may think you will starve!
However, there were a lot of great foods I could eat. Basically all proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy starches (potatoes!) and healthy fats. And there is no limit to quantity. On the Whole30 you are encouraged to eat 3 filling meals each day made up of proteins, vegetables, and fats. You can snack only if you are really hungry, but they don't recommend just grazing throughout the day.
So what did I eat? Well obviously eggs were the breakfast of choice most days. I tried to eat vegetables with every single meal, although this didn't always happen with breakfast. Below is an example of how I meal-prepped breakfast for the week. This was an egg, sausage and veggie casserole and a sheet of diced potatoes that Adam and I ate one week. Being prepared was so important on the Whole30!
Lunches were usually leftovers or a big salad with protein mixed in. This has been my standard lunch for years. I did make a homemade avocado dressing that was really delicious. Other times I stuck with basic oil and vinegar dressings. The Whole30 forces you to make a lot of things from scratch, because most store-bought dressings and dips contain unhealthy additives. I didn't experiment with homemade mayo, but I know a lot of people who have!
 This stuff is delicious. Just saying.
And these are......interesting. Ha! I randomly found these coconut wraps on Day 27 and made a lunch wrap out of them, using the pesto from above along with chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. It was strangely good!
I ignored the no-snacking rule and snacked any afternoon I was feeling hungry. Apples dipped in crunchy almond butter was my absolute favorite snack. I also kept a stash of Larabars and RXbars on hand for emergencies. I didn't eat that chocolate RXbar during my Whole30 but I'm looking forward to adding cocoa back into my diet soon!
I kept a little log of how I was feeling on most days. Here is a brief summary, in case you want to compare it to how you're doing on your Whole30. For reference, this calendar below shows what the average Whole30 is like for people. It's kind of funny!
Days 1-3: Bad sleep! But the diet is surprisingly not hard so far.
Days 5-6: Headache! This must be the carb hangover. I'm also really hungry so I will start eating more.
Day 7: I feel really bloated, which is something I never really feel. Maybe all the protein and fiber?
Day 10: So much energy! I want to go run a marathon.
Day 11: Ok I am seriously craving sugar now. Cookies! Donuts! Ice Cream!
Day 14: I've got a nasty cold, but I'm staying on track.
Day 15: Homemade chicken and veggie soup is delicious. I ate two big bowls.
Day 18: I had a dream that I cheated and ate some dessert out of the freezer. I felt SO guilty and mad at myself, and was relieved when I woke up.
Day 19: I'm still sick. But proud of myself for sticking to the rules even when feeling crummy.
Day 21: I feel bloated again. This is weird.
Day 22-23: I have steady energy all day. Never feel sleepy or tired.
Day 24: I still want sugar. But feeling great.
Day 26: I resisted all Halloween candy and it wasn't too hard.
Day 27: Almost done! And I really do feel great.
Day 29: Many of my clothes feel too loose on me now.
Day 30: Feels like any normal day! Not sure what I'm doing to do tomorrow. 
Overall the Whole30 was a lot easier than I was expecting. For many people it is really difficult. For me, I'm used to cooking a lot. I already drank my coffee black. I tried to avoid many processed foods. I already ate a fairly healthy diet. So in all honesty, it wasn't that bad. It only felt restrictive when people around me were enjoying foods I couldn't eat. Like Taylor's milkshakes!

One nice side effect I noticed was steady energy throughout the day. I never felt that afternoon dip in energy. I never felt sleepy during the day. I never felt shaky from low blood sugar.

Chia seed pudding made with coconut milk.
Want to know my most significant result from the Whole30?

I lost 14 pounds!!

This means I not only lost all my baby weight, but a few extra pounds. My weight on the scale now matches the one on my driver's license. It's hard to believe I lost so much weight without restricting my portion sizes. However, what will happen now that my Whole30 is over?

As great as I feel, I do not plan to continue eating this way forever. I honestly didn't miss cheese once. But one of my biggest cravings (besides sugar) during the last couple weeks was oatmeal! My body started craving good whole grains towards the end. Per Whole30 rules, you can gradually start to add back in certain foods after 30 days and see how your body feels. Today I woke up so excited to eat oatmeal. And it was absolutely delicious!

But now I feel like I'm in no-man's land. I don't want to immediately shove all the carbs and sugar in my mouth, and instantly gain the weight back. But I do want to settle back in to a healthy diet containing all the food groups, while still maintaining my current weight.

And sugar? Not too sure about that. I'm going to do my best to avoid it for a while. I have some healthy chocolate recipes I want to try making with raw cacao, and I'm hoping those taste sweet enough to me. The Whole30 cookbook contains a recipe for Spicy Cacao-Orange Almonds. I made them 3 times during my Whole30 because they were SO good! They tasted really sweet to me, and the only sweetener in the recipe was a little orange juice.

Have you done a Whole30? What was your experience? Are you thinking about trying it? Feel free to ask me any questions! I would be happy to provide recipes I used or meal plans I created to make it easier. I love talking about food and helping people.
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