Monday, July 28, 2014

#91 - Take a trip back to Kansas City

I can hardly believe that I've been out of high school for 20 years. TWENTY YEARS?!?! It's reunion time and I feel so very, very old!

I headed to Kansas City on Thursday to visit my aunt, cousins, friends, and dozens of high school classmates flying in from Chicago, San Francisco, Texas, even Hawaii. I spent the first 24 hours with my family, hanging out and puttering around getting to know two huge MEN that, in my head, will forever be 9 and 10 years old. I got to chat with them for hours learning about this new phase of life, before they grow up and move out of the house and forget all about their cool, older cousin Katie. 

While body builder Brandon was at they gym for 3 hours, I took Logan to get ice cream and ran around town buying myself ridiculous amounts of K-State and KC Chiefs paraphernalia. 
I haven't been picked up since I was 7 years old. My "little" cousin twirled me around like a toddler - it was so fun!
Friday night, I met a couple of my closest HS friends for dinner before our first reunion event. We got caught up, laughed at inside jokes and looked through the yearbook to try to remember the rest of our class. 

After three hours of hobnobbing with everyone at the reunion, we snuck out for a second dinner with a couple of our other good friends. We closed the restaurant down at 11pm, then they kicked us off their outdoor couches at 12:30 so the staff could all go home for the night. We didn't want the fun to stop!
Every gathering this weekend revolved around food! I was finishing up my first experience with the Whole 30 Challenge during my trip, so ordering at restaurants was a little like Meg Ryan ordering apple pie in When Harry Met Sally. Let's just say that I'm fairly confident that several of the kitchen staff spit in my food.



Saturday morning (after sleeping in, of course), I met with my near-step-sister, Heather. Our parents dated for about seven years, and we remained friends after their breakup. 

After my 3-4 hour "breakfast", I met up with my family to celebrate Logan's 19th birthday. Then I went straight to meet more friends for dinner before the 2nd night of our reunion. Food, food, and more food. At 11pm, we went out for more food. Everyone got dessert and drinks while I ordered…another Meg Ryan salad. 
See my shiny forehead? I am NOT used to humidity. I'll take 115 degrees in Phoenix, any day. My make up sweat right off my face!
On Sunday, I packed my bags, hugged my family and met my friend DutchMac for the day. She flew in from The Netherlands to spend a month with her parents in Iowa and drove down to see me for the first time in 9 years. We spent most of our time together hogging (yet another) table at (yet another) restaurant for hours. Then we meandered around The Plaza before she drove me to the airport…it was lovely.
We couldn't walk by this t-shirt at the airport without taking a picture. And now I can't get Sir Mix-a-Lot out of my head. Now that I think about it…I distinctly remember singing this song at my bridal shower with this same friend!
This was such an amazing trip for so many reasons. I feel like I got to experience a little glimpse of my future with teenaged boys. I drove around my old stomping ground. I got to relive my youth with friends from years past. And, as a bonus, #91 is checked off my list of 101 Goals in 1001 Days!

I hate to admit it, but this was the first trip that I've looked forward to coming home. I never seem to really "miss" my family when I'm away. I love going on my Tastefully Simple conference trips, maybe I don't get homesick because I'm so busy and distracted, but the nostalgia of being around my aunt and cousins actually made me miss Mike and the kids even more. And all of my classmates were asking about my new life, so I was talking about my family constantly. Regardless, five loads of laundry and a gazillion household chores later, I'm glad to be home!!!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Interview with 4.5 year old Jason

Jason: Is it my turn for you to ask me questions?

Me: Sure! Have a seat. What’s the best thing about having a brother and a sister?

Jason: (in his baby voice, which I don't love, but it means he's in a really good mood) That they love me and they cuddle with me sometimes and for my birthday I want candy and a scoop of ice cream and chocolate cake and a Minecraft cake and I want to go to Prescott and I want to go to Wet ‘n’ Wild and…go to the splash pad…and that’s all!  That’s all I want to do.

Me: What’s the best thing about being the youngest child in the family?

Jason: Um, that I get special treats and that I get to play football and go golfing and go to the racecars and probably when I turn 5 I’ll like being 5 sometimes. By the way, I like Mommy and Dad.

Me: What’s the worst thing about being the youngest?

Jason: That you guys get mad at me and that I have to do what Mom and Daddy says. 

Me: What do we get mad at you for?

Ryan: For not listening and obeying the first time and not following the rules and I need to listen and obey Ryan when you’re not home. 

Me: What’s your favorite thing about Kaylin?

Jason: That she likes me and she tickles me and she loves me and she gives me a good smile.

Me: What’s your favorite thing about Ryan?

Jason: That he smiles at me and the same thing as Kaylin.

Me: What is the easiest rule in our house rule to follow?

Jason: No screeching. No hitting, biting, pinching or scratching.  

Me: What’s the hardest rule to follow?

Jason: That I have to vacuum (the kitchen) and that I have to do all of the things you guys tell me to do.

Me: Listening and obeying the first time?

Jason: Yeah.

Me: If you could make up your own rules, what would they be?

Jason: At my party, you have to listen to Jason and if someone blows out the candles for me, they get in trouble and we’ll have to call their parents and that will be not so good.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Jason: I want to be in charge. 

Kaylin: No, like a doctor or a police or a firefighter or a science person, whatever you want.

Jason: I want to be a motorcycle person!


Kaylin: Polices go on motocycles!

Jason: Yeah, that’s what I want to be.

(…and with that, he was done!)
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

#60 - Teach Jason to unload the dishwasher

This has been done for a while now, but I've been waiting to get a picture of my proud kid unloading the dishwasher by himself. We have a drying mat that he puts items that are too high for him to reach, but he's in the habit of regularly helping in the kitchen. #60 is crossed off my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#33 - Read before bed every night for a week


I've gotten close to crossing this off a few times, but it took me a while to track reading a full 7 days in a row. I've read through most of Parenting with Love & Logic and am just starting Taming the Spirited Child (I highly recommend both books) but I finally read for 7 days straight recently, so I can cross off #33 from my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list. Yay! Maybe someday I'll start reading fiction again…?
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Friday, July 11, 2014

An Interview with Kaylin, almost 8

Me: C'mere - I want to ask you some questions.

Kaylin: Okay!

Me: What do you want do you want to be when you grown up?

Kaylin: I want to work at a restaurant, be a librarian and maybe be a doctor.

Me: All three at the same time?

Kaylin: Probably just two at a time, but not all of them.
Me: What is your favorite color?

Kaylin: Yellow.

Me: What is your favorite animal?

Kaylin: That's a hard question, but I'll answer it with…uh, monkey?

Me: A monkey?

Kaylin: I guess!

Kaylin: Because I like monkeys and I like turtles and I like dolphins. I like almost every kind of animal.

Me: Would you do anything with animals as your job when you grow up?

Kaylin: I could be a Zookeeper.

Me: If you could have any pet that you wanted, what would it be?

Kaylin: A turtle.

Me: What would you name it?

Kaylin: Um…hmmmm. Can I try to come up with an answer?

Me: Do you want me to come back to that one?

Kaylin: Yeah.

Me: Hmmmm…what else should I ask you? What's your favorite thing to do with your brothers?

Kaylin: That's a really hard question because they don't like anything that I like to do because they're boys.

Me: What kinds of things do you like to do?

Kaylin: Color, sing, play the piano (giggling) and spend time with the family.

Me: They don't like spending time with the family?

Kaylin: Oh yeah, I'm sure they do, but I thought you meant me.

Me: What kinds of things do they like to do?

Kaylin: Play football, wrestling.…that I don't like to do…I don't know anything else because it's too boyish. Being rough which is probably their funnest thing to do because they always do it

Me: What's your favorite thing to do with me?

Kaylin: Get a pedicure and to High Tea. That was fun when we ordered a bunch of food and we had tea!

Me: I've trained you well, haven't I?

Kaylin: Yeah!

Me: What's your favorite thing to do with Daddy?

Kaylin: The Daddy/Daughter dance and go places like bowling and golfing and all the things he likes to do, too.

Me: What is the name of the man you pray for that Grandma Cindy will marry?

Kaylin: Charlie. Grandpa Charlie!

Me: Where did you come up with that name?

Kaylin: I didn't - I just thought of a funny name that would be fun to have a grandpa named that. (*sigh*) Grandpa Charlie…

Me: What do you think you're really good at?

Kaylin: Um, I have no idea. My favorite subject. I have no idea.

Me: What about tumbling?

Kaylin: What about it?

Me: Are you good at tumbling?

Kaylin: Uh, I guess…

Me: What about art?

Kaylin: I guess…

Me: Come on! You're really good at art, you know you are!

Kaylin: I don't think I am…I can't even draw a good horse. I draw more cartoon things, not real animals. Are you typing that?

Me: Yes.

Kaylin: Oh my goodness. Now are you typing THAT? MO-OM!!!  Oh my gosh!

Me: Is there anything you wish you could do really well?

Kaylin: Art. A bunch of things. Like…tumbling and good at…I don't know. Everything!

Me: Who is your best friend right now?

Kaylin: I don't have one. I like them ALL.

Me: Like who?

Kaylin: Who are you blogging this to?

Me: No one - I just want to have a conversation between the two of us that I can look at years from now.

Kaylin: Maddie, Jenna, Teagan…

Me: Who's Teagan?

Kaylin: From P.E. Kaitlyn, Christy, Maddie and Reagan, Taylor, Addie…they're from tumbling last year…and Jesus!

Me: Tell about Jesus…

Kaylin: What about Jesus?

Me: Tell me why he's your best friend?

Kaylin: Because he's nice and he never sinned and he died on the cross for us…

Me: And what does that mean?

Kaylin: That we can go to heaven with him and live there forever.

Me: What kinds of things do you learn in church?

Kaylin: Um…um…now since I'm in 3rd grade, they changed the videos to now they're movies so we watched a movie and who was making the right choices and who was taking advice from their parents and not their friends. Yup! Yup.

Me: What else should we talk about?

Kaylin: Oh, um, what should the turtle's name be? Hmmm…what should the turtle's name…be…???

Me: What's the name of your fish?

Kaylin: Bubbles.

Me: Well, you can't very well name a turtle Bubbles, can you?

Kaylin: I'm thinking of something with the name rock in it because it has a rock shell. Don't type that! I don't want to you type every word I'm saying! (thinking) REX!

Me: That's going to be the name of your turtle?

Kaylin: Yup.

Me: Does Jason treat you different when Ryan's not around?

Kaylin: Yes, because he plays with me and not only wrestling and playing rough with Ryan.

Me: Does Ryan treat you different when Jason's not around?

Kaylin: Yup.

Me: How so?

Kaylin: Same way. They're not always rough.

Me: What do Scarlett like to do together?

Kaylin: We usually play at the park or in her backyard. Can you go back to the friends list and put Scarlett on there? I forgot her!

Me: Anything else you'll want to remember about Kaylin at 7 years old?

Kaylin: Can you go back to the question about what I want to do when I get older? I want to be a Hair Stylist!!!
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

#40 - Do a three-day media fast

Since writing my list of 101 Goals in 1001 Days, I've realized that completely cutting myself off from my email and online connections is not possible. I run a business where people contact me and expect an answer fairly quickly, within 24 hours at most, so I did the best I could with this one. 

Being that we were away for the 4th of July weekend, and most people were offline celebrating themselves, I took this opportunity to cross off my three-day media fast from my 101 in 1001 list. 

I didn't watch t.v. or movies all weekend, only checked my phone to respond to "emergency" emails and a few texts, and was unplugged in all other aspects for 4 days, not just 3. I gave myself an extra day because I did text a few friends and upload a couple of cute patriotic pictures to Instagram. So as far as I'm concerned, this item is done!
At our first small-town parade. How could I not post this adorable family picture, I ask you?
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Whole30 First Timer - My First Week's Menu

Have you seen the buzz about the "Whole 30" challenge? It's basically a 30 day challenge to reset your body and commit to eating unprocessed, whole foods. Meats, eggs, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, good fats, things like that.

There are a lot of restrictions and, although they make sense from a health perspective, I've always been too intimidated to jump in and just DO IT.

Until last weekend. I over-ate, over-drank, over-snacked, over-baked, pretty much over-did it in every regard. I laid in bed Sunday night feeling nauseous from overstuffing myself at dinner…too nauseous to even sleep, so I turned on my phone and flipped mindlessly through Facebook. 

A friend of mine posted asking if anyone would want to join her in doing the Whole 30 Challenge starting on July 1. She was starting a FB group to share recipes, meal ideas, plus encouragement and other tips. Without thinking, I commented on the post, asking to be included. 

Then I panicked.

Even though I've been gluten free for the past year, I still eat my fair share of dairy, beans, oats, brown rice, potatoes…WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT NOW?!?!?

I pulled up Whole30 on Pinterest and started pinning things like crazy. Meal plans, grocery lists, approved Costco items, "how to be successful" tips, you name it. It slowly started seeming pretty doable.

So, I'm in. This is the end of my first full week and I wanted to share what I ate in hopes of helping give ideas to other first-time Whole 30 challengers.  I ate a lot of the same things, but here goes.

Update: I didn't realize during this first week that I wasn't supposed to eat snacks. All I heard was "don't count calories" and I sort of went with it. 

Monday - Day 1
Breakfast: Omelet with red bell peppers and tomatoes with a side of 1/2 an avocado

Morning Snack: Sliced apple with almond butter

Lunch: 2 Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausages (from Costco) and a handful of dried green beans from Trader Joe's (I was starving in the car on the way home from the store at 1:15pm)

Afternoon Snack: A red bell pepper with Wholly Guacamole

Dinner: (I forgot to eat dinner…I ate that afternoon snack so late that I heated up leftovers for everyone else and forgot about myself!)

Dessert: I was starving around 7:45pm (I still hadn't realized that I forgot to eat dinner), so I microwaved 1 chopped apple with 1 tsp coconut oil and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for 90 seconds. YUM!

Day 1 Thoughts: No cravings all morning, but I really wanted something sweet in the evening. The baked apple hit the spot!
Tuesday - Day 2
Breakfast: 1/2 a banana with almond butter (I was in a hurry)

Morning Snack: Blueberry Muffin Larabar, a few almonds

Lunch: Shredded chicken mixed with 1/2 avocado, chopped red bell pepper and tomato, plus a glop of mayo, all mixed up. 

Afternoon Snack: Trader Joe's Plantain Chips and Wholly Guacamole (I LOVE the single servings from Costco!)

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with marinara and meatballs

Dessert: Apple Chips

Day 2 Thoughts: I was pretty busy today, so I didn't miss anything on the "don't" list. Except parmesan cheese on my dinner…I missed that as everyone else was passing it around the table. 
Wednesday - Day 3
Breakfast: Omelet with red bell peppers and tomatoes with a side of 1/2 an avocado

Morning Snack: Apple with almond butter

Lunch: A salad (with oil and vinegar dressing, shredded chicken, red bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and apple chips)

1st Afternoon Snack: Plantain chips and guacamole

2nd Afternoon Snack: A smoothie (a banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 2 frozen pineapple pieces, some blueberries, fresh spinach, and green tea)

Dinner: Rotisserie chicken and zucchini sautéed with ghee and Tastefully Simple seasoned salt

Day 3 Thoughts: I was unusually hungry today. I really wanted some fresh fruit with breakfast, but all I had on hand was an over-ripe banana and an apple that I wanted to save for later. I ate my morning snack by 9am, then lunch by 11am. The salad didn't taste as good as I hoped it would, I think I was missing the feta cheese, so I ate some plantain chips and guacamole. Then I had a smoothie around 2pm. It seems like I had trouble feeling satisfied today. It could have also been because I was home painting all day…maybe being so close to the kitchen gave me the munchies?
Thursday - Day 4
Breakfast: Banana with almond butter (perfect pre-workout breakfast!)

Morning Snack: Egg white veggie omelet with avocado and grapes

Lunch: Shredded chicken with red bell peppers, avocado, grape halves and a glop of mayo. 

Afternoon Snack: Trader Joe's Roasted Plantain Chips

Dinner: 3 Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausages

Dessert: Strawberries and blueberries

Day 4 Thoughts: We headed to my in laws' cabin for the holiday weekend and I brought a bunch of snacks and veggies, all chopped and ready for omelets and salads. Being around Mike's family, who was eating and drinking whatever they wanted, wasn't too tough so far, but I'm definitely glad I brought a lot of my own snacks. (first picture below)
Friday (4th of July)
Breakfast: Omelet with red bell peppers, ground sausage and tomatoes with a side of 1/2 an avocado and a banana

Morning Snack: Strawberries

Lunch: A salad (with oil and vinegar dressing, shredded chicken, red bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes,  grapes, and avocado)

Afternoon Snack: TJ's Roasted Plantain Chips and Wholly Guacamole, more strawberries

Dinner: Grilled chicken with TS Seasoned Salt and olive oil, with a  side of carrots, red bell peppers and broccoli sautéed in olive oil and TS Seasoned Salt

Dessert: Apple Chips

Day 5 Thoughts: At the 4th of July festival that we went to, I treated the kids to homemade mini donuts and some apple pie. I decided to have a bite of each and it was totally worth it. It was a holiday, after all! My only "cheat" so far and I don't regret it one bit. When we returned home from watching fireworks, my father in law left us a baggie full of recently baked chocolate chips cookies...my biggest weakness. Thankfully, I wasn't tempted in the least and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. 
My father-in-law's idea of "pillow mints" - so funny!
Saturday - Day 6
Breakfast: Omelet with red bell peppers and tomatoes and 1/2 an avocado 

Morning Snack: Handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts and raisins (individual bags sold at Trader Joe's)

Lunch: My daily salad (with oil and vinegar dressing, leftover grilled chicken, red bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes,  grapes, and avocado)

Afternoon Snack: Apple and almond butter, Trader Joe's dried green beans, strawberries

Dinner: Steak and steamed broccoli

Day 6 Thoughts: I've been especially tired today. And I couldn't stop snacking in the afternoon. We headed home from the cabin after dinner, so hopefully being home and in my routine tomorrow will help proceeding with this challenge a little easier than being on "vacation".
Sunday - Day 7
Breakfast: Omelet with sautéed zucchini, red bell pepper, and tomatoes with 1/2 an avocado and blueberries.

Morning Snack: none

Lunch: We went to Chipotle (I ordered a "salad" with no dressing. It was just lettuce, chicken, extra fajita vegetables, tomatoes and guacamole - forgot to take a picture until I was almost done eating!)

Afternoon Snack: TJ's Roasted Plantain Chips and Wholly Guacamole

Dinner: A hamburger with mustard and no bun - after the 30 days, I'm going to try to make Paleo ketchup

Day 7 Thoughts: Mike and the kids keep trying to eat "my" food. I'm trying to convince Mike to try Whole 30 with me, but he wants to see what kind of results I get first. Everyone sneaks my plantain chips and fresh berries, and they always ask for bites of my sausages and salad. The food I'm eating is DELICIOUS!!!
This week might not have been my perfect preference for a first week, given the fact that we went up with my in-laws' to their cabin for the long holiday weekend, but is there really ever a "good" time to start? 

In 3 weeks, I'm heading to KC for my high school reunion, then 3 weeks after that I'm speaking at a Tastefully Simple conference in Baltimore. Then it's my birthday. Then Labor Day. Then Columbus Day…I mean, seriously, I could come up with a gazillion excuses! But I didn't want to. I just wanted to dive in and get 'er done. 

What am I expecting to get out of this 30 day challenge? I'd like to have more energy, be less lethargic, get less sugar cravings, and leaning out a little before my 20 year reunion and my speaking engagement wouldn't be half bad, either! I also plan to gradually introduce each food group back into my diet to see how it makes me feel. I've always had a sneaking suspicion that I'm lactose intolerant, so maybe I'll have an epiphany there? We'll see. 

I committed to not measuring or weighing myself until it's over, but I cheated and weighed myself this morning. I'm down 4 lbs, which could be water weight, but it's 4 lbs I haven't been able to lose no matter what I've done! In the end, the only thing I really care about is that my getting-too-snug jeans start fitting me properly again. 

Here's hoping!
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