Uncle Matt 

This post is pretty raw, so bear with me. Mmmkay. Thanks! I’m adding lots of pictures because they are happy and fun. And I’m sappy and emotional. But still hopeful and joyful, please know that. I try to wrap it up with a pretty bow at the end. I’m not sure if I do, but dang if I tried!!

Let me start by saying I love my nephew. He is the most adorable kiddo ever and I love spending time with him. But it hasn’t always been easy for me. I remember finding out his Momma was pregnant and I was excited for her, but it was also really hard for me. At that time we had been trying for a few years to get pregnant to no avail, and now she had that positive test that stuck. I remember talking to God and asking what’s wrong with me that I don’t get to be a Mom yet. God showed me that me being an auntie had nothing to do with me being a mother. Nothing would change this precious time for my wonderful sis in love or for us and our nephew. Once I realized that, it made it easier. God showed me that right now I get to love on my nephew, that Matthew does too. That he gets to be extra adored by us because we do not have any children yet. What a lucky little man, right?
   

But sometimes it is still hard. I’ve watched Matthew blossom into an amazing uncle with little J. Matthew never really held kids before. I mean he kinda treated little ones like they would explode and would stay five feet away. It was funny. With J, it’s never been like that. He picked him up from the first time he met him and loves holding him now. Watching them interact is so sweet. J is now at the fun toddler stage and loves making faces and dancing with Uncle Matt. They had a blast at my party, although Jackson was NOT a fan of the fake mustache! At one point I looked over and both Matthew and Jackson were giggling hard. Why? Because Matthew was holding him and letting him splash in the fountain, and Jackson was getting them both wet. It was adorable!

Every once in awhile tho, a little twinge of sadness hits me. Matthew will be an amazing dad. I’m watching him interact with J and just know it’s a preview of what’s to come. It makes me sad that I haven’t been able to give him a kiddo yet. It’s something that I can see in both of our eyes. Tender love, but a little sadness that it still isn’t our time yet. It’s something that is hard to describe. It’s something I don’t really talk about. I don’t want anyone to feel bad. It’s not their fault. You know? And it’s not that I don’t want them spending time together. I love it. I laugh at the way they play games and chase each other around the house. I don’t want to take away from the goodness of that. But it’s just that. A dichotomy. Goodness and sadness. Joy and a little weeping. But that’s how life is.

People have asked how I handle all (ok really not all but thanks to facebook it seems like a lot) of my friends getting pregnant and having kids while I’m left in the dust. Honestly there is a great and amazing peace that comes from God. He fills up those sad days with laughter, so that pain is just a twinge. And I watch my friends transition naturally into the role of parents and I see their kids blossom. I love spending time with other families. Meeting new babies. Playing with kiddos. Even changing diapers. I don’t want my pain to take away from their joy. Or from my joy for them. I can say that I am truly happy when my friends have kids. I don’t feel left in the dust because they include me in their lives. It’s the same with our nephew. I love him to pieces and am so grateful to have him nearby. It’s funny to see him act when we come into the room, he starts dancing when he sees Matthew and says cheese when he sees me (because he know’s we’re gonna take a selfie).

  

  

  

I wish I had some glorious conclusion after all of that word vomit and the cute pictures. But I don’t. haha Maybe it’s National Infertility Awareness Week that has this on my mind, maybe just lots of time with family recently. I dunno. Lets try this….

I love watching Matthew be uncle. It is truly a delight. But part of me is a little sad that he’s not dad yet. All in good timing, though! I know it will happen someday soon, and then not only will our son have two loving parents and aunts and uncles, but an older cousin to tell him or her all the secrets of life. How awesome is that??!!

7th Anniversary Staycation

I still find it hard to believe that my Matthew and I have been married for seven years. Seven! Everyone says “oh you’ll hit the 7 year itch” or “this will be your worst year,” but I really doubt that. We’ve worked through some tough crap over the last few years and I finally feel like we are on the same page (or at least reading the same chapter)! I’m learning what respect actually means, and he’s learning to speak in love. It’s a beautiful thing, Marriage, when it’s going well. However that takes hard work!

We have had some fun anniversary celebrations over the years. Some years we were able to getaway for the weekend (with our fifth anniversary being almost a week heading up the coast), and some years we just got out to dinner. I had fun looking back over the years while I made that collage above. This year’s anniversary kinda snuck up on us. Matthew somehow had the weekend off, so we had a staycation.

 

First, Matthew gave me a qalo ring. I love wearing it when he’s on duty. It reminds me to be praying for him and the guys he works with. He’s had his for awhile and loves it. The company is pretty awesome, their customer service is beyond amazing, and they just came out with a sweet thin red line ring for firefighters. Awesome.

I digress. For our staycation, we were able to use Matt’s aunt’s cabin in big bear for one night. It was the perfect place to getaway and unplug. Oh and we had some amazing food and drinks at the new brewery in big bear!

We also got to check out the fire pits that my company put in a couple years ago! It’s cool seeing the whole project (we redid the entire downtown street / sidewalks) come to fruition and be used by so many. Plus it still looks beautiful!

The next day was full of surprises. Matthew had planned an awesome evening for us, complete with sweet notes that were clues to the evening. We had dinner at Café Sevilla (which was sweet because we went there on our 4th anniversary (smack dab in the middle of academy when a dinner was all we had time for) and shared some tapas. Then we saw Kathleen Madigan. I was so impressed that he had thought up such a fun and creative date. We also walked around downtown Riverside before the show.

Sunday was our actual anniversary. I had a race (my first 5k under 30 minutes) and then we celebrated with friends over breakfast. We also raised a glass of prosecco (my dad just gave us a new bottle from the same winery in Italy that we had at our wedding, Marsuret) and congratulated ourselves on seven years!

 Here’s to our first seven years, and many many more. Survive and thrive, my love!

Candida Diet Check In

After successfully finishing the 21 Day Sugar Detox a few weeks ago, I transitioned to the candida diet. It’s a bit modified (I still let in the occasional green apple or green tipped banana), but yet stricter than the sugar detox. I’ve tried to get rid of a lot of the acidic things that I was eating, so coffee, tea, tomatoes, and the like are out. It was wonderful having coffee during the sugar detox, and I dreaded giving it up. Probably moreso than wine. So I let myself have one cup of coffee a week (that’s the modification part). And I’m doing well with that. As with the wine, it wasn’t as hard to give up as I thought.

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This diet is more of a spiritual walk for me. As I continue the diet for five more weeks, I realize it is more and more about obedience. It’s about saying yes to what God told me to do, even if it doesn’t make sense to everyone else. But it’s also about grace. Like the other day I ate some lunchmeat from Panera (I deconstructed the sandwich and made it into a salad). A couple of bites in, I realized that the lunchmeat had to have sugar, but I hadn’t thought about it before. So I just let it go. No sense beating myself up, just need to be smarter next time. And on a recent trip to Five Guys I ordered fries to go with my lettuce wrapped burger. And I felt like crap after. My thought was “oh they use peanut oil, not soy, it’s healthy,” forgetting that a) I’m avoiding peanuts (they can have higher rates of mold and apparently I don’t process them well) and b) fries are still not healthy (I’ve been avoiding potatoes for the last 6 weeks). Oh well.  Lesson learned. And no, they weren’t worth it. The steak with butter on Valentine’s Day though, totally worth it. Well, mostly worth it. Digestive issues aren’t fun. :(

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Valentine’s day was a bit challenging. Everyone had candy (my favorite) and coffee (favorite two), or so it seemed. We also hadn’t communicated well and ended up spending the night in, which is fine. I made steak with garlic compound butter which was amazing, but like I said, not really worth it. And I found a root vegetable grill pack from fresh & easy that had no sugar or butter in the seasonings (it’s a miracle!!) but they never really cooked through and we were unimpressed. :( Oh well. At least I had some really good wine.

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It has been fun finding new things that I can eat though. We made crispy waffles with almond and arrowroot flour the other day. They would definitely be better with a little maple, but they were still amazing. And I found a hot drink for the mornings that I can have, teecinno. It’s an herbal blend that’s supposed to taste like coffee. It doesn’t. But it’s good, well, it’s an acquired taste that I now think is good! I describe it as a mix of coffee and tea. I’ve jazzed it up with coconut milk and cinnamon though, and that’s tasty. Today I added pumpkin pie spice. Yum yum! Matthew also found a recipe for coconut + almond flour pancakes to make my heart shaped waffles on Valentine’s Day. And last night I made a lemon ginger chicken that was amazing!

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Packing for a road trip was a bit challenging, but really just took some extra time. I was super excited to find sunflower seeds without sugar (which is hard to do!) and made some crackers and assorted nuts (some raw, some roasted). Jerky has also been super helpful. I feel like I am more in the flow of things now, so I don’t need constant snacks like I did on the sugar detox. Although it is always good to have something healthy that I can reach for. Which is something I should apply long after this candida diet!

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This past week I have hit the middle point “why the heck am I doing this” mood. I got overwhelmed and frustrated by my (apparent) lack of choices and the seemingly pointless reason for doing this. I had wine on Valentine’s day, and it was good, but I had built it up too much in my head. And then my thought process was why not just bring it back? Why not just quit now? Who cares? I had to go back over my original posts, remember why I am doing this. And really, five more weeks is NOTHING in the span of my life! So I’m back on track now. Not that I wasn’t before, I was just getting frustrated. And I am remembering just how many options I do have. So many healthy things I can pick up and eat!

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I had wanted to try these banana pecan macaroons for a couple weeks. Forgetting (this happens a lot haha) that pecans sometimes make my mouth itchy (see what I’m doing there, not believing its an allergy hahaha). So we made them and they were delicious, but definitely left me feeling a little off. Not super sick or anything, just kinda like I ate what I shouldn’t have. So pecans are sadly back on the no list. Sigh. At least I know now.

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I’ve started getting into a solid workout routine. I’m taking some supplements to help me with energy for that (it’s carbs that process in a way as to help with the blood sugar regulation. I don’t really understand the science but trust it), and overall I feel really good. My digestion is great, my skin feels amazing (and my hubby says it looks good too!), and my energy is back. I feel good. Working out regularly has been awesome. I have some new training goals, so it’s nice to have those to focus on! Six and a half weeks down, four and a half to go! hard to believe I’m well past the middle point!

2015 Reading List

Every year I create a reading list. I created this stack / list in January, but never got around to posting it. I had it up on Instagram, but somehow blogging seems to take so much more time! lol

Last year’s list included: Unglued, Breaking Free, Wild at Heart, Rain on Me, Love & Respect, Created to be his Help Meet, A Stolen Life, Madame Tussaud, The Postmistress, Power of a Praying Wife, Allegiant & Insurgent. I read 7 of the 12. That’s not too bad. I know I threw some others in there as well. As you can see, my 2015 has some repeats (I want to finish reading them!) and some new reads. I already finished the 21 day sugar detox, the best yes, and the two macomber books. Not too shabby for only being in the beginning of February! I also forgot to add a few (like some marriage books from One Exraordinary Marriage, It Starts with Food, and I just borrowed The Lineage of Grace (Francine Rivers) from a friend).

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Matthew and I have started a nightly routine of reading with tea before we go to sleep. It’s peaceful. And keeps me off my phone. It’s also how I’ve been reading so much! I can’t wait to report  back at the end of this year with my accomplishments!

Friend Breakup

It has taken me a while to write this post. I’ve been going back and forth, between to share or not to share. I actually wrote this a couple weeks ago, that’s how much I debated it, but I realize now that God brings me through things so I can share with others. So I can give him glory. My intention is not to harp on anyone or be mean, just share the experience I am going through right now. And what better forum than my blog, because it’s where I externally process.  You’re welcome. haha

Part of me was not sure if I should write it because I did not slander her character. That isn’t my intention here at all. And in a second I’ll talk about how it feels like a friend breakup, and I think that’s a natural part of it. Being careful who you talk to. Not wanting to put that person in a bad light, which is hard when you have a bunch of mutual friends. But at the same time, I think people make their own decisions and they should stand by them. So I needn’t protect her for ending our friendship, if that makes sense.

At the end of last year, a friend decided that she no longer wanted to be a part of my life (as well as a couple of other close friends). It hurt deeply. When you’ve spent so much time with someone and had what appeared to be a solid friendship, it doesn’t make sense why they want you out of their life. There was no reason, just space requested. I was confused, hurt, and to be honest pretty angry. I get angry when I’m hurt. It kinda just felt like my heart had been tossed aside. It also hurt because a few of us went through it together, so once one of us had made progress and gotten closure, it felt like something would set off another person. It was a vicious cycle, but I think we are all in a good place now, focusing on the good.

It’s funny, I’ve never really lost a friendship like this before. It feels like I was dumped by a boyfriend or something, and it sucks.  It’s been a long time since I’ve broken up with a boyfriend (10 years ago and my relationships were only 1-3 months) but it still sucks. Granted I have never been dumped either. I feel like I need to take her stuff to her house and drop it off on the porch, because it would hurt too much to talk to her. (And actually in the 2 weeks since I initially wrote this, I can say now I would be fine talking to her. It’s more the pretending nothing happened that I don’t like. I’m genuine so that doesn’t work for me). I’ve gone through stages of anger, crying, and pure shock. I know that I need to just let it go, and brush it off. I know that God is working in her, and I need to just trust her with Him. But I don’t want to, my human heart wants to fix it, or at least be the one to say I’m done. (that would be the part of me that likes control. Totally healthy, right? haha)

So what I’ve learned through this is I would not be a good dumpee. hahaha I like control and I like having power. That’s just me being brutally honest. Actually, I can think of one somewhat relationship (it was college, we were never official, but we were pretty much dating, if you remember those days) where he broke it off, and I look back remembering the time I spent trying to fix it, the hours I spent crying, the heart that was so broken. When I Iook back at that and see the outcome now (we didn’t talk for months, but I think now we would be cool and catch up if we saw each other, we never had that close friendship again though), I realize that trying to hold onto this friendship would be like trying to hold onto that. So instead of trying to fix this friendship and make things right (trust me, I tried), I’ve decided to let go. The pain is much much fainter now as I’ve trusted God to take the hurt and anger and frustration away. And I’ve pulled myself together as I accepted the love of my dear sweet friends that are right around beside me. God has used this season of brokenness to truly work deep in me. To heal me. To prepare me for my next season.

If you’ve ever gone through the loss of friendship, I’m sorry for you. It sucks. In searching for an image for this post, I found this article. It’s great with a bunch of tips on how to make it through a friend breakup (cuz apparently that’s a thing?). Definitely check it out, I can resonate with so many of the things that she said. I definitely needed to stop obsessing, once I did that a couple weeks ago, I was in a much better place. And, also like she said, time heals a multitude of wounds, and we can move on. The addition of time (it’s been a few months) has definitely taken away the hurt (so did taking down pictures), and I can say I’m moving on.

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 3)

The final week! It’s now day 29, as I write this, finished up week 4, what!!?? (Technically week 1 of candida diet). I did add stevia back in, but I think I’ve maybe had it twice. As I said the whole time of this sugar detox, it was just different. The candida diet has been a bit more trying, as I had to give up coffee / caffeine. I bought this TeeCinno stuff, and it helps. It’s nice to have that morning routine with a hot beverage. I did, however, tell myself that I could maybe do 1 cup of coffee a week, if it was necessary. And it was necessary for my road trip up north. I had two sips of wine at my parents over the weekend and felt totally justified in the decision. It was delicious and even more flavorful than I remember. I can’t wait to savor a glass in seven weeks! The kicker came last night when my car broke down on the grapevine. I had to get towed 126 miles to my home. It was brutal. All I wanted was a glass of wine and some snuggles with my husband. Thankfully I had solid friends who reminded me that this is so much bigger than just a glass of wine, it wont really help (ironically she was telling me what I told her last week!), and God is doing all this in His timing. He’s stretching me and teaching me new coping mechanisms. (aka trust in Him. So much easier said than done). I did not prepare for this week, and yesterday obviously didn’t go as planned, so my meals today have been interesting. Matthew and I scoured the fridge, we found salad fixings and jerky — so I had a steak salad, as Matty put it. hahahaha Definitely going to run to the store to restock my fridge tonight!

Also, major thanks to my Mom for stocking her home with things I could eat. I didn’t want her to go out of her way, but totally appreciated it. Same with Matty’s sisters who made me a dessert last night. Definitely something bright in my day!!

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Instagram Challenge, Week 3:

You know. It’s kinda funny when you look at the difference in our supplements. Matt’s are for getting strong (and don’t you want the person pulling you out of a fire to be strong?) and mine are for health. When I started to get answers from the doctor last year, I found out that I had a lot stacked against me. I tried to bare knuckle it and tackle it all at once, but it was just too much. So I’ve slowly added vitamins and supps to help me attack each thing, before starting the sugar detox or candida diet. I’ve got a multi with folate (because I can’t process folic acid due to a MTHFR mutation), thyroid support, and various other things to help my body detox and digest and kick the candida virus. Eventually I will be able to take most of the stuff back out, as my body gets to a normal regulation. But for now, this is what I got. And no, I am not an old lady, thankyouverymuch. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #supplements #thisiswhyidrinkallthewater

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Coffee. Sweet delicious coffee. For one more week I can enjoy it. Then the candida diet starts and I can’t have the acid or higher levels of caffeine. So to answer the #21dsdphotoaday question, #coffeeortea, it’s definitely #coffee. For this week at least! #21dsd #day16 #feelingfantastic

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We had quite the #fullmeal in our #diningarea tonight. Shepherd’s pie and salad with the Noerrs!! There’s nothing quite like dining with friends, I love it! And it was Matthew’s idea to cook and serve the pie in cast iron and not a casserole dish. Love it! #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day17 #day18

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Last night we tried a #newtreat from the #21dsd cookbook. Green apple crumble. Man oh man was it good! We demolished the whole thing (but don’t worry, I ate less than the 1 Apple I can have a day. Boom)! #21dsdphotoaday #day20#goodfriends #goodtimes #laughter #theyaddedhoneyontop

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Time for my last #21dsdphotochallenge pic. I skipped one, but it’s cool because I finished the #21dsd strong for the first time ever. Today things get harder as I transition to the candida diet, and give up coffee, but it’s okay. In general I feel good (just bloated, thankyouverymuch candida die off). A little tired from the lack of coffee (I wrote this on day 22 when I had given up caffeine), but I’ll be over that in a day or two. This sugar detox was very different from the last two as God totally changed my heart and prepared me for this. I’m ready to tackle the next leg of this journey with Him by my side! (Also, my ever supportive friends #nomanisanisland) #after #day22

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Refresh Summit South 2014

When I sit down to write out all that is Refresh, I have no words. Lots of tears, when I see all that God is doing, but I feel like I don’t have the words to get it all out. [like Brittany said, “Not that I have nothing to say… I have too much to say.”] I’m gonna give it my best shot though.

I went into this retreat a little differently than the other. I was going as a host to refresh others. I was going to let God use me. I was also going to try and remember names better. We (that would be the host team of Bobbi, Brittany, Amia, Heather, and yours truly) have been preparing for this pretty much since the last Refresh Summit. We’ve been tweeting and emailing and instagramming and meeting via Skype and preparing our hearts. We each bring something different to the table and God was using our gifts to cover all areas of this retreat. As I got on the plane on Wednesday, it was hard to believe it was already happening! How could it be here already? How could it feel so effortless and right? There were 40 of us coming from 14 different states. I kept getting a picture of a map with each of us flying closer and closer towards each other!

imagine this with 38 more arrows, that's the visual I kept seeing!

imagine this with 38 more arrows, that’s the visual I kept seeing!

Heather and I arrived about an hour apart and headed to meet Bobbi and Michelle (her sis in love). We spent the first couple of days spending time together and also getting last minute details finalized (like packing swag bags and putting together welcome mugs). Bobbi, Heather and I went on a chilly run in 30 degree weather! Brrr. And I finally got to hug Brittany and she is a doll! My favorite little Southern whippersnapper! We’re also walking through infertility together. So lovely to make another connection and be able to share in each others joys and sorrows. We hit the town on Thursday night and got to taste some southern favorites as well as listen to live music, including dueling pianos!

Photo Nov 12, 6 36 06 PM Photo Nov 13, 4 36 16 PM Photo Nov 13, 5 51 04 PM Photo Nov 13, 10 37 09 AMWe arrived on Friday early afternoon and set up Deer Run Lodge for our refreshers. To say that the lodge is wonderful is an understatement. It’s nestled on a backroad outside of Franklin Tennessee (oh my gosh, I just realized I never played Tennessee Boys by GRITS while I was there. Missed dance party opportunity for sure!!) We spent the early afternoon getting the Lodge ready for our guests. There were cozy touches all over the place, I love that we (okay Bobbi ended up doing the crafting!) made mugs for each guest with their name on it. Seriously, it was the perfect touch! Heather and I did check-in and got to put a face to each name!

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The Refresh Summit South hosts!

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Friday night we had a lovely time of worship with Krissy, an intro session with Amia, and Holy Yoga. I had never experienced holy yoga before. It was awesome. We also chatted in our room until way too late at night! As we were finally falling asleep, one roommate screamed bloody murder. She thought someone was standing over her. Nope. After our heartbeats all slowed down, we were able to relax. Saturday morning started with lots of coffee and a delicious breakfast!

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We had workshops on body image with Lindsay, nutrition with Brittany, and how to study the bible with Amia.

 Photo Nov 15, 8 46 32 AM Photo Nov 15, 8 37 25 AM Photo Nov 15, 8 43 43 AMWorkouts included bootcamp with Bobbi, PiYo with Reina, Zumba with Amia, and Holy Yoga. Oh how I love the yoga and the zumba, but for completely different reasons!

Photo Nov 16, 12 49 16 AM At the main sessions on Saturday morning and night, Krissy led worship and it was absolutely beautiful. Amia was the main speaker again (we brought her out to California in May), and it was wonderful to watch her being used by God! We learned a lot about letting go of baggage and letting God use us. She has so much wisdom, it’s hard to capture it all in one post! After the last session on Saturday, I got to lead my workshop — pinterest crafts! I taught a few girls how to turn old t-shirts into tank tops. But it turned into a time of sharing and opening up and prayer. It was awesome! So cool to sit back and watch God do what He does!!

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Of course we took lots of pictures as we said goodbye, but we also had an awesome raffle (everyone went away with something!) and farewell session with Amia.

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So much more that I could say, but I will leave it at this. Refresh will truly refresh your soul. It will bring you to a place of stillness where you can reconnect with God and with other like minded women. You will leave rejuvenated and with new dear friends. 

For more recaps, you can see posts by Brittany, Ericka, Kimbre, Lindsay, Kelsey, Jolene, Lindsay S, and Dana!

And a major thank you to all of our sponsors. Brittany wrote more about them. But I stole a list of them from her page. :)

Reebok, Organic Valley, Detour Bar, PB2, Quest, KIND Bar, Growing Naturals, Vega, RX Bars, Plant Fusion, Love Grown Granola, Skoop, Nu Naturals, Zevia, Musselman’s, The Good Bean, Purely Elizabeth, Cocogo, Evoke Foods, Chipotle, Wisdom Walks, Glorify Apparel, Jeremy Scott, Sara Haley Fitness, My Vitamins, Raw Threads, NHerShoes Shred, Sizzlefish, Healthy Bites, Refit, Sweat Pink, Bic Bands

Sponsors

And a major shout out to Love Grown Foods for sponsoring breakfast on Sunday and Chipotle for sponsoring lunch on Saturday.

Fire House World

If you think back really hard, you might just remember that last year I went down to San Diego for Fire House world. Matthew and I made a weekend out of it and got to meet some awesome fire families (and wives) there. We had planned to go this year, but I never actually looked at the dates. What do you know, it’s a Sunday through Thursday, aka my work week. Ugh. Lame. I was so looking forward to going. My twinsie is gonna be there! Other couples that we LOVE will be there. But, you know what, it’s okay. For some reason, the whole conference is not in the cards for us this year. HOWEVER, I will be going down for the FireFighterWife meetup on Wednesday night. If you are anywhere near, you should come join us!

This could be you!! Join us!

This could be you!! Join us!

We will be at the Rockin’ Lobster in the Gaslamp in the Puerto Nuevo Room. The fun starts at 6pm, and lasts til 9. I may be late though as I work that day and have to get my booty down there!

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 2)

Today marks day 17 of the 21 day sugar detox! Like I said last time, it has been a completely different experience this time. Sure, I’ve wanted wine and sweets (birthday cake oreos) here and there, but I have never really been tempted to cheat. It’s just. Different. I did have a major meltdown on Saturday though. I think we can say my hormones are getting back on track. Ugh. I got so angry with Matt and told him I wanted to throw the cast iron at him / on the ground. he ended up calming me down, but I spent a good few minutes crying at the sink with the water running. The realization that this isn’t just 21 days set in. The realization that this is my fade in. That it gets harder after this (candida diet / GAPS diet). But then I remember why I’m doing it and that it will be worth it for my health. So I’m gonna keep on keepin on. And enjoy my coffee this week, because it’s bye bye coffee next Monday!

I love the 21 day sugar detox book and cookbook because it’s giving me lots of options. We’ve also created a few of our own things. Below you see a tomato basil bacon casserole, open faced chicken sliders, shrimp pad thai, almond “cheese” and crackers. Tasty. Bright and colorful. Different. I have to remember that I still have SO MANY options. oh, and next week I can add in some stevia if I so desire. Whoop whoop!

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Now. Onto the #21dsdphotochallenge

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Today’s lunch is leftovers! My favorite!! We’ve got a slice of meatza, mashed faux-tatoes (cauliflower), mustard chicken, herb biscuit, and roasted garlic spinach soup! A variety of flavors, and a nice change of pace from giant salads!! #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day8 #lunch

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There are some kitchen tools that I just can’t live without. My knives are one of them. I get so frustrated when I’m cooking at someone else’s home and they have dull knives. That’s just asking for an injury!! The food processor is also super helpful. Lately it’s been helping me “mash” cauliflower, and it’s great for quick grating. What kitchen tools are must haves for you?? #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #kitchentools

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Tonight’s #21dsd dinner, which was shared with good friends. Shepherds pie (with lamb + ground beef + bacon + carrots + peas + mashed cauliflower). I brought this to my pastor’s home to share with him and his wife, before we prayed him off to India! #21dsdphotoaday #dinner

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A few days late on my #21dsdphotoaday challenge. Groceries. Today I picked up a bunch of veggies and a few cuts of meat. Most of my meals this week will come from leftovers in the freezer! I forgot to take a picture of all of the bags, so here is one of the bins from my fridge. #21dsd

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These #treats are pretty tasty. It’s coconut oil + coconut butter + cocoa, topped with unsweetened coconut. Clean chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #treat #day12

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The doctor told me to eat more fat, these lemon meltaways have been the perfect fix. It’s coconut oil + coconut butter + lemon juice & zest. Glad I expanded my palate and tried something new. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #somethingnew #day13

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#21dsdphotoaday #drink #water. Always need more water. Tracking to make sure I’m getting in 100 oz a day! Feel so much better with all that water tho! #21dsd

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I’m also learning to take what people say with a grain of salt, and know my facts. Two people told me that I was probably drinking too much water and could be in danger of water intoxication. First off, with the amount of supplements I’m taking, I need lots of water. Second, I’m trying to get my liver to detox my system, it need water to do that. Third, my doctors have all told me to drink more water. Third, 100 oz is not even a gallon (128 oz is), and I learned from a quick google search that your liver can process a quarter of a gallon per hour. So I am drinking over the ENTIRE day what my body can process in four hours. Also, you are supposed to aim to drink as much water as 1/2 to 1 ounce per pound you weigh. That puts me at aiming for 118 a day. I think I’m good. I guess I’m not used to online criticism. oh well. Time to get thicker skin and deal.

Are you doing the 21 day sugar detox? How’s it going?

2014: Insta-Review

So last week I deleted a post in my drafts called “fall,” because I realized it was from Fall 2013!! Whoops! I had fun posting my semi-regularly instagram updates, and had planned to do the same this year, but alas, plans can sometimes fail! So here are my favorite instagram pics of 2014, all ready to share with you! Although, some are missing, like Christmas and Refresh, because I have other posts planned for those! Most photos are in collage form, but my top 3 come first!

Photo Apr 18, 4 46 56 PM

I love this picture because it represented a huge chunk of this year for us. Kekoa being injured, Matthew being exhausted, and our house being a disaster. True story. I am so grateful that a good portion of that season is behind us. Kekoa has completely blended into our family and the only injuries are small scratches, Matthew is still pretty tired, and our home is much cleaner now that I started using (and selling) Norwex. Good stuff!

Photo Nov 23, 10 42 43 PM

This is our family. That pretty much sums us up right now. The two of us laughing and being attacked for snuggles by our crazy pups. (Yes the cats also decided to fly the coop this year. It was pretty rough and I still get sad about it, but I keep telling myself they were stolen by needy old ladies, not coyotes).

Photo Oct 18, 1 48 11 PM

Lastly, this year we got to know our nephew. His family finally moved back in November and it has been a delight to spend so much time with him. Matthew loves him dearly, and I will admit it does break my heart a little bit that we don’t have one of our own yet. I see how good Matthew is and how he just flowed so naturally into the uncle role, that the unknown timing of the father role makes me ache. Usually it’s good tears of joy, but sometimes it’s painful. At Christmas he was running around with little J on his shoulders, and he reached down to kiss him. Break. My. Heart. haha

Photo Jan 14, 11 49 20 AM

Top: Big Family pic at Thanksgiving; Pies from Scratch
Bottom: Matthew and J at the Station; Crazy how much things have changed in 2 years!

Photo Jan 14, 11 45 59 AM

Top: Girls Night, Kekoa’s First Injury, Anniversary Date (before B & B getaway)
Middle: Entitled KO, Spa Day with the Cuzzo, Two Little Beggars
Bottom: Disney Drawing, Working in the Field, Puppy Play Time at the Dog Park

Photo Jan 14, 11 46 30 AM

Top: Rylee’s First Birthday, Megan’s First Oyster (verdict: meh); fourth of July
Middle: FireFighterWife Paint Day, Matty & the Pups, Snuggling with J
Bottom: Disney Day; Sushi Date (which was nearly weekly), Auntie & Uncle Time

Photo Jan 14, 11 46 57 AM

Top: Our Family; Disney for RJ’s Adoption Finalization; Big Bear for HJ’s Birthday
Middle: #biblein90summer; FireFighterWife Beach Day; Reading with the Parentals
Bottom: Fresh Ink; Marriage Inspiration; First Norwex Party!!

Photo Jan 14, 11 47 33 AM

Top: Nashville with Sarah; Halloween at Disney; Halloween with the Hovey’s
Middle: Refresh Summit South Cozies; Halloween Fun Run Costumes; End of an Era
Bottom: Wine / Beer Tasting in Nashville; Matt’s Refresh Tees, SMART Conference

Photo Jan 14, 11 48 16 AM

Top: Big Family Thanksgiving, Cooking Birthday Dinner at the Station, First Zumba Class
Middle: Thanksgiving Brunch, Grand Ole Opry; Disneyland Christmas
Bottom: Thanksgiving Fun Run; Matt & His Pups (they love him); Big RJ Birthday

As I look back over the pics, I remember the fun, full year that we had. There were also tough moments too, but who takes pics in a counseling session? hahaha I also don’t see any Refresh Summit (inaugural!) or Flame Fest pics, but then remember that I did individual posts about those. And a post of all my craftiness, although that has definitely taken a backseat to other things this year. It’s cool tho. God has me right where he wants me. He’s planted me, pruned me, and I’m starting to see fruit.

What was your 2014 like? What pictures would best define it?