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Friday, April 18, 2014

This Week.

This week has been a series of tasks and settling back in to routine. After being gone for the past few weekends & having the kids visit us, we haven't had a week with a weekend at home attached to it in quite some time. But for the next five (5!) weeks, we have just that.

So we've been settling back in, trying to recover from all the craziness that has been going on around us since January.

I've now been to four physical therapy sessions, and was allowed to do a few (very short) planks! Heather did my hair at work, and I am now officially in love with fishtail braids in my hair. Especially because I now have a ton of purple in there ♥

Max is settling in well. He's the most quiet dog on the planet Earth. If it weren't for his tags, I'd never know where he was in the house. I've taken him on a few morning walks, and C has taken him on a few afternoon runs. Every morning this week he has jumped up on our bed as if to tell us we've been ignoring him all night long and he's ready to play.

C & I have our own routines to settle back into. We've both been really stressed out, and are finally out of it. We're currently craving the company of each other, which isn't a bad thing. Also, there's so much good TV coming on right now. I'm dying to see the second episode of Fargo! And The Americans is keeping us on the edge of our seats. (Good job, FX. You're winning right now. And Louie is about to start back up too!)

I'm on day 5 of Whole30. So far, so good. I'm keeping a daily account of my meals & how I'm feeling over on my Tumblr account. I'm hoping this daily diary will help me stay focused & on task. I've fallen in love with PaleOMG's website & have made almost every meal so far from her archives. These Cilantro Chicken Nuggets were my favorite.

The rest of April & all of May is going to be a time for me to get my ducks in line with my web development freelance work, Fueled by Cocktails & this blog. I spread myself too thin in February & am just now recovering from that. I'm really excited to throw myself back into all of these projects!

I hope your week has been fulfilling & that you have a lovely, relaxing weekend. I think we're taking Max to the park!

First & third picture by Heather, because I take pictures of her too. It's a great arrangement.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Last Meals

So, this is probably the worst way to transition into a month of Whole30, but the week before I dive in, I always make one "last meal" for C and one for me.

The "last meal" for me is a celebration of food & usually a literal celebration with friends as well. I always go for what I'm craving now so that the cravings don't come up in the middle of the month! (And my cravings get really impatient when they're not satisfied.)

The "last meal" for C is more of an apology. He doesn't do Whole30 with me, but is a good sport and eats whatever I cook for dinner throughout the process. To make up for the upcoming month, where I'm usually cranky for a while and then really annoying for the rest of it, I make sure he gets something he wants. It's a present & my way of showing him how much I appreciate his support ♥

So, curious what our last meals are? They differ every time, but here's what it was this week....

C is a more adventurous eater than I am - but when it comes to picking what he wants to eat, he usually tones it down. He likes what he likes and it doesn't vary very much. This week's last meal was a classic - one that I've made many times before...

Mashed Potatoes,
and some sort of side veggie (usually Peas).

Usually I make my meatloaf full of veggies and spices. I tend to fancy it up. But this time I kept it as classic and basic as I possibly could (although I actually used 1/2 pound of sausage... so I didn't keep it exactly traditional). I also make the best damn mashed potatoes known to mankind. Not that I want to brag. But I do. It's an art in our house & I blame our weight gain our first year of marriage solely on the realization that we could have mashed potatoes whenever we wanted.

As a surprise, I threw in a homemade banana pudding pie. This was the first time I'd ever cooked my own pudding & I will never buy boxed pudding again. Ever. The meringue on top was just a perfect little cloud of sugary perfection. ♥

My last meal is usually completely random and whatever I'm craving at the moment when I have to decide. This week, it meant Indian food & Huevos Rancheros at brunch (with mimosas, of course!).

Recently, my favorite Indian food restaurant in town opened a second location less than 5 minutes from my house. I decided to order food from them on Thursday night and ate that with a bottle of champagne on the side and trashy TV on the other side. It was the most perfect, indulgent night ever. So relaxing & so tasty!

This weekend, we were at a wedding, so I took advantage of the event and forced a few friends out to brunch the morning after to celebrate friendship and surviving the last wedding from our friend group. We decided to do everything tapas style and worked our way through a variety of dishes, including Huevos Rancheros made with lamb sausage. It was delightful.

[Brazos has come a long way with brunch over the last year.]

And now that is out of my system, it's time to focus on the upcoming 30 days of no dairy, grains, legumes, sugar or alcohol. This time around I'll be sharing a daily account of what I ate, what recipes I made and how I'm feeling over on my Tumblr account. I'm hoping this will help me stay focused throughout the month ♥

And as I said above, this is probably the worst way to start a Whole30 and while I take great pleasure from this little tradition, I encourage you to find a healthier & more productive way to jump in.

(All images from Wikipedia.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fight Off Your Demons, Vol. 4

In this year of preparation, I wanted to take a personal moment each month to call out one of my demons... something I'm battling with and trying to overcome. Fight Off Your Demons may be uplifting, but it might not.  I promise no matter what that it will be honest.

Today, I am starting physical therapy for my back pain.

When I was walking around the grocery store in January, feeling a little pain in my back, it never occurred to me that it was a life changing pain. I just thought I was sore from working out too much. Which, technically, is the case. But it's not the whole story.

Over the past few months, I've gone from terrible, have-to-curl-up-in-a-ball pain to having virtually no issue whatsoever. It's a fickle pain brought on by some of the most minute activities ever. (Right now, opening a door takes focus and intention.) I started seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist in January, thinking if I got back in alignment & had somebody work out my muscles I'd be at ease.

When that didn't provide lasting results, I went to an actual doctor. We did x-rays and a spine exam. He prescribed me a steroid pill pack to enhance my body's healing powers and some muscle relaxers to take at night to help me loosen up while I slept. I took two weeks off of the gym - and miraculously I was healed!

I went back to the gym slowly. Two days the first week. Three the next week. And then after my first exercise on the third week, the pain had come back in full force. And I completely shut down. I stress ate. I cried. I spent a weekend on a couch completely unable to make sense of it all. My motivation and drive was gone. I was back to the beginning and unsure of how I got there.

Enter a physical therapist. At the recommendation of a friend, I made an appointment with a back & pain management physical therapist office and had my consultation on Monday morning.

From the second I stepped foot in the office - at 8 am, snooze - I knew this place was different than where I'd gone before. I knew this wasn't going to be a place with short term solutions. I knew this was the place where I'd regain my confidence and my strength.

The doctor sat with me for an hour as I poured my whole story out to her. She raised a red flag when I told her I was trying to work out eight to ten times a week. She told me of specific exercises I was not to do until I was healed. (Goodbye planks.) She listened patiently, nodding and taking notes. It was the first time somebody understood what I was telling her. And, truly, it was the first time I understood what I was saying. I finally accepted this wasn't a short-term problem, but the problem of a much bigger issue.

She examined me. Had me do things like stand on one leg, and flex my foot against her hand. She had me lie on my stomach and she poked around my hip, and had me do a lying-down hamstring stretch. She had me walk on a treadmill. Amazingly, she had an explanation and reason for every bit of pain, every tight muscle and uncomfortable movement.

It was amazing & totally encouraging! For the first time since January, I was able to see that I had a problem and see that there was a solution. Finally, I can see the path back to having a normal, healthy and active life.

It'll be an interesting journey. I know it's going to take hard, persistent work. It's going to cost money. I've already had to cut out things I wanted to buy in order to make sure I could afford the care that I need. It will be a sacrifice of my time, resources and energy. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's worth it. I have to be healthy to live the life I want.

Right now, I can barely walk 1/4 mile without having to stretch out the pain. Hopefully soon I'll be back to being able to run three miles and do jumping squats. Someday soon ♥

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We're Getting a Dog!

It's been a long time coming, but Christian & I are getting a dog. I'm way more excited than I thought I would be ♥

This dog didn't come about in the way we thought it would. I had dreams of going to our local shelters, and looking around for just the right little guy to rescue. I think Christian had the dream of actually finding exactly the type of dog he wanted, and then buying him as a puppy to train up as his dog.

Alas, neither of us had the opportunity to do what we wanted. Instead, we're taking in my family's dog of ten years. When my parents moved out of my high school home a few years ago, the dog moved to live with my sister in Austin while she was in school. But she'll be out of the state for the summer & couldn't take him with her.

So we stepped in and volunteered our home - which includes a fenced in yard out back - as his (temporary) residence.

It happened quickly. Probably too quickly. But this Sunday, I'll be picking up Max from Austin and making the two hour drive back to our house.

Max is a pure bred border collie. He was deemed not showable by his breeder, and that's when our family came in and got the little guy, Christmas 2004. He'll be 10 this winter. And while he's showing his age just a bit, he still has the border collie excitement whenever someone gives him the chance to.

I played soccer with him last weekend, and I know he'll fit in perfectly with our lifestyle. Christian already has plans to take him running. I'm planning a trip to the beach later in the summer. He loves to swim, so we'll also be getting a kiddie pool for the back yard for him to chill in when it's a bit hot outside.

We're totally unprepared, but totally excited.

I promise not to Instagram him too much.*

*yeah right