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Thursday, May 28, 2015

An ambitious day if there ever was one

I was just texting with Chad about what I'm doing right now, and just realized how over the top the whole day has been, indicated by the slight PTSD state of the myself, Carter and Kota.
Today Kota and I walked Carter to school, then came back home and immediately took up working in the backyard, trying to eradicate the overgrown weed kingdom it has become. Once that was done and roses were trimmed of their dead buds, I thought that we should just keep the momentum going, so off to the front yard we went. The two of us then churned, weeded and discarded of all the sun drained, hideous red bark that the previous owners kept around, all while Kota was rebelling by throwing my piles of weeds onto the side walk.

THEN, there's this Jehovah's Witness woman who visits our house every couple of weeks. Now look, I'm all for a little religious chatting, but this lady crossed the line today. First of all, I thought she was my neighbor at first, so there I was shouting hello to her after she got out of her car (which she parked right in front of our house. Creepy). She then pulled out a tablet and told Dakota that she had a nice cartoon to show her while "mommy and I talk for a second," which I shooed away as politely as I could. She handed me a book, after which I had to slightly cut her off by informing her that I only had 20 more minutes to finish our yard up (before leaving to get Carter but I didn't want to tell her that), and also that we are Catholic and getting more involved in our own church (something I've told her many times before!). She then told me that no matter what religion you are it's a good idea to get more information. Yes, yes, okay thanks. So after awkwardly having to cut the convo short, causing her to walk back to her car, I started thinking about how weird that all was. Not only was our home the only house on the block that she visited, she parked right in front of us yard-workers, then after addressing me by name, proceeded to show Kota some video that I had never seen about a religion that I've told her several times that we're not apart of because we like our own. Oh, and before leaving, she told me that "next time, we're going to talk about the booklet" that she had given me! What??! If she comes back another time I'm just going to have to tell her that it will need to be the last time we speak of the whole thing (and ever again). She's a nice older woman but it's becoming a bit pushy and scary.

Anyway, next we went to pick up Carter then my mom came over to take us to get our car at Carmax. I feel kind of bad because I was sort of snappy with the kids the whole way down there, clearly becoming a little tired from our morning in the sun. After Carmax, I thought it would be a good idea to swing through the mall with a 5 and 3 year old right in the middle of nap time. So smart.

So we swung through there, then because I was semi-yelling at them the whole time, I decided to be a cool mom and reward them with a few gummy bears from Sweet Tooth for the first time. They were happy so cool!

We finally made it home, where Carter immediately ran to the couch to pick up his video games controller, Dakota ran to the other couch while ripping off her clothes en route to Sofia the First watching, and I found myself sitting here first eating a Larabar, then a ridiculous amount of cashews and finally, another Larabar!

The air is also on and it's almost 5:00 pm and I've made no attempts to turn off either TV. Thank goodness we were all in good spirits while today was happening! It wasn't until I noticed our extreme levels of comfort-quests that I started to reflect on what a packed time it has been.

Okay and finally really quick. I don't think I'm making dinner tonight. The chicken I defrosted sounds so lame and boring. Also I'm pretty sure there are no vegetables, so that's a great excuse to grab some pick-up, right? Here's another thing. Last week's Friday night family date happened at a restaurant less than a mile away from home that we had never tried before and it was dang delicious. Want to know why we had never given it a shot? It's called FISH-O-LICIOUS. Now doesn't that just sound disgusting? There are also fluorescent lights in the place. I really don't want to eat my fish from a place with fluorescent lighting. But holy guacamole, it was so amazing!!! It was also great quality - everything grilled with bomb, vegetable sides. So me thinks that Fish-o-Licious is going to have to happen tonight.

After rereading about the day, it actually doesn't sound too packed. I think I'm just weirdly tired because I went to bed last night after midnight like a hooligan, then Carter came strolling into my bed at 6:30 this morning. He was completely dressed for school with his back pack already prepared with his "share toy" and all! He just loves school, that boy. Love it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Oh, how we love the desert

Desert love started back when Chad and I were dating and we would go to his parents' timeshare once per year for a few days. It was so much fun! We would play tennis, ride Tandy (the good ole' tandem bike), take those little boats to dinner at that one hotel, and just enjoy the heat. Now that we have our little babes, it's so much fun to go out there every few months or at least once a year. Luckily, Chadly's sister lives in La Quinta so their home has become a grand crash pad for us - the best kind of hang out. It wasn't until this last trip where I started to think about how many cool memories the kids will have from all of the consistent years of driving the 100+ miles out there. My family used to go to Salt Lake City all throughout growing up, which provided an awesome back drop for family time in addition to hanging out with my parents' best friends. I'm thinking that's how Carter and Kota will think of the desert. Normally, when we're out there, it's for an event or large family gathering, but this time we just went to chill! No where to be, the only thing on the docket was to swim like mad men and hang with Auntie Maggie, Uncle Justin and cousin Sarah. So nice and fun!

A few awesome points from this last trip:

* The kids swimming from sun up to sun down. If we didn't pull them out of the water to eat, no food would have entered those little bodies. Sleep? No way! They were super into it.

* Maya the dog, Carter's obsession, was so protective over them! Every time they jumped off the ledge it sent her into a worried tail spin. It just got me even more excited to get a pup.

* La Whole30 was broken over the weekend on day 26 (which I was prepared for), which threw me into extreme levels of thankfulness because it showed me just how much LOVVVVVVE for the program I have. I kept everything in line mainly, but then had a few freshly made margaritas, with the only offensive ingredient being the tequila! They were amaze balls. There was also a small Ghirardelli brownie and, NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN, a ridiculously tasty Brandini vanilla milk shake. No regrets here, sista. Anyway, a cool thing beyond discovering how much more awesome Whole30 is than I had originally thought, was that I think I've narrowed down the break outs to chocolate. Kind of a cool find!

* The new cool thing for Chad and I to do when entering someone else's house: sift through what we like about their place. Gigantic hedges? Maybe we should plant some of those! Pottery Barn dishware? Obsessed! A big blanket on one of the couches just for the dog? That's going to need to happen. Sleek looking toaster oven? Me likey. It's so fun!

* Brandini, y'all. The shop we went into is their second location, right smack dab in downtown Palm Springs. It just is so cool! And those toffee products? OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. They speak to me whenever they're in the house. "Nicole, I'm here, come eat me, who cares if chocolate will probably make you break out... who cares!" There are no words for the Brandini experience. Yummmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Life be like

Definitely not too upset about my girl obsessing over big brother's roller blades, Carter riding like a maniac in the street (which has stressed me out less since I made the rule that Dakota is no longer allowed in it), having Ernie and Sonya over to watch the Ducks game, Kota's daily beauty regimen in her new dance top and amazing tutu, and last but not least, good children while spending too many hours at Carmax. Tis been a good week! So good, in fact, that Kota has been sleeping many hours per day. It's 5:09 and she's still snoozing. I'll probably regret that fact later, but hey. Not going to go and rock the peaceful boat right now.

Anyway, what else is on the noggin. Last night I was a cool mom and took the kids to the park after dinner. I wanted them to knock the heck out for bed time and, let's be honest, my motives were a bit more on the selfish side. I was really in the mood for a workout, even a walking one, so I really pushed for the idea. It was great! Then when we got home, the babes really did pass out, freeing me to watch 19 Kids and Counting (duh) and Flip or Flop in a clean home. Super awesome.

Anyhoo, Kota Koo just woke up so I think I should go do some stuff other than talk to the kids from my bedroom while typing. Woo!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The ol' Whole30

Sick and literally tired of the ruled-by-my-sweet-tooth life, the need for a few enforced decrees has been very much needed around here. Desert after lunch AND dinner? Why not! Knocking up the bar from 4 Oreos to a solid 5? Sure! A ridiculously large banana bread loaf from Starbucks instead of a nice slice? YAS. The sweet tooth that was borne after Carter arrived has slowly increased it's control over the last 5 years. But here's the thing (there's no way to not sound like a douche while saying this): weight-gain from these overly decadent sweets has never really been an issue, so why stop? Maybe after an overly-over the top night I may wake up with an extra little pudge, but nothing a nice walk wouldn't take care of. It's become pretty apparent that the lack of a weight problem has slowly been turning into a crutch rather than a cool thing.
Anyhoo, my face on the other hand - that hasn't been so cool. I've been breaking out for years! It never really struck me as that large of an issue until a few months ago. Teenage life was pretty kind to me on the acne front, but now that I'm 3 years away from 30 I must deal with random ridiculous break outs?! 

So before I booked an appointment with a dermatologist, I decided to clean up the diet to see if that would do anything. Maybe getting rid of some sugars would be good on that front. So the face issue and the desire to eat a little less like a toddler combined to create Mission Healthy Eating for Mom.

I jumped into Whole30 because I had heard about how strict the program is BUT ALSO because portions are not a thing here. No measuring, no deprivation, just eating whole foods is the main idea. Knowing myself, there's no way I could do some quasi-just-do-your-best-not-to-eat-a-doughnut type thing. There had to be actual rules involved. The whole thing had to resemble a challenge or else it was just not going to happen. Also, I picked it because it's coffee friendly - ain't nobody gon' pull me away from my jo. I haven't read the book It Starts with Food, but I did go through the main points on the website. Here is what I have been living by:

No sugar, carbs, alcohol, dairy, grains and legumes for 30 days, and no simulating any type of sweets because that would defeat the purpose of rewiring your brain.
I made a few mistakes, mainly because I didn't read closely enough. For the first 7 days I was basically living off of peanuts, then I found out that they're considered a legume, so I stopped that. Next, I thought I was being responsible by buying unsweetened coconut milk, but turns out there was actual sugar and other non-approved ingredients in the one I got (raw sugar, but still). Lastly, I used balsamic vinaigrette in a few recipes because it's an approved ingredient, but turns out the bottle we have contains caramel. Oh and here is a bad one: on Mother's Day, unbeknownst to Chad and I, the drink I thought was approved actually was made incorrectly by the barista (not their fault - it was a tricky drink to execute in the first place with all the special requests). It was made with dairy when Chad had requested for it to not to contain anything but the tea bag, water, an espresso shot and a dash of cinnamon. Woops.

Also, I made several shakes and whipped up almost-daily pancakes (with a banana, two eggs and a dash of cinnamon). What are ya gonna do? I feel completely comfortable with that - again, this was not a weight thing.

So anyway, I feel great!!! Truly amazing. When I started the program, I also began drinking 64 ounces of water a day, so the clearing up of my face may either be from the increase of water, the cutting out of sugars or the consistency of my new face regimen (Cetaphil cleanse twice a day, moisturizing 3 times a day), but most likely it's because of all 3 actions combined. I'm a happy mama over here! Around day 9 was when I really felt like I could go lift up a car or something - tons of energy to burn. Now it feels like this is normal life. Kind of like this is how human beings are supposed to eat, you know? Anyway, that's not to say that I will never be eating sugary delights again, but the discipline it required to get through the last 22 days has shown me a great deal in terms of energy, complexion and just how important it is to dedicate yourself to something for a long (-er than a couple days) period of time, regardless of wanting to lose weight. Discipline in the kitchen for the win!

Lastly, we have a weekend getaway coming up to the desert, upon which my program will fall on it's 26th day. If I end up eating something not approved because we're hanging with family, then I will be okay with that. I feel good about what will have been accomplished by then. If I can get through Mother's Day weekend, and several weekends of saying no to delicious desserts, including one social event in which everyone was eating AMAZING-SMELLING APPLE PIES (!!!!!) then hey, I've gone above and beyond anything I've ever done before this point in terms of food, so it's cool in my book. 

Anyway, highly recommend! There were a few tough days (during which Chad took the brunt end of extreme levels of hangry. "Nicole, can you just uhhhh... not do Whole30 anymore?"), but what's a challenge all about? Gooooooo Whole30!

*And actually I'm sort of hungry while writing this, so it may not be the most uplifting representation of a Whole30-er on her 22nd day, but hey, that's life man. Now off to the kitchen for FOOD!!!

**But just really quick, here are a few get-me-through things I've turned to just in case reference is needed by... uh, myself... in the coming months. Also, I've been living off my clean pinterest board. Everything is very easy to make because each meal only requires a few ingredients. Pretty cool!

- Healthy pancakes - banana, 2 eggs, dash of cinnamon, almond butter on top

- Handful of cashews, side of raisins

- Apples and almond butter

- Banana, REAL coconut milk (Thai Kitchen cans), spinach, dash of cinnamon smoothies

- Tons of eggs

- LARABARS! (Cashew Cookie, baby!)

***Last LAST thing. I've completely become aware of how important it is for your food to emotionally satisfy you. Cold, raw food? Very little satisfaction there. Hence my obsession with the fluffy pancakes. If you're not emotionally satisfying yourself, I think that's when you crash and burn, you know? Anyway. Cool little find on my first committed eating plan. Yay!

Friday, May 15, 2015


1. Is it weird that every May I think, "Just a few hot days between us and Christmas!" What's that all about? It happens every year, but I really do enjoy the summer.

2. I've been a bad rose mommy and have let my poor blooms whither into early deaths. I just need to drive to Home Depot and get some rose fertilizer, but who wants to do that when I would much rather buy lumber?
3. Okay, we are going to make a new kitchen table (I hope Chad's picking up what I'm throwing at him here - "hey babe, I know we just built a table a few months ago, but now I want a new one"). As much as we love our original Bessie, she's just a bit too overweight for our space. I think we are going to put her outside to start our outdoor living room (Chad loves when I refer to the backyard as the outdoor living room... he really thinks it's cool when I use HGTV lingo.). Anyhoo, I'm very excited about this.

4. After that, I'm going to spearhead the construction of an entry way table. I can't wait! I also really want to take this woodworking class held less than a mile away from home, but it's semi-pricey. But then again, the added price of the month-long class, the new kitchen table and the entry way table would come in under $500, significantly less than purchasing either table retail... so maybe that's the logic I should use when trying to rationalize signing up.

5. Obvious statement, but I just love having a fully stocked kitchen! Since our household basically runs off of apples and bananas, the sheer sight of an overflowing fruit station genuinely makes me happy. Several snacks for the voracious children? YES. Meat options for almost every night of the week? Oh, the joy! Cashews bought in bulk? It does something to me.
6. I finally hung some pictures in our master! This room is still very much the least finished of all the rooms - spackle splatter, hideous dresser, yellow walls, weird comforter, floor bed and non-pretty pillows reign supreme - but it feels nice to have a little bit of SOMETHING to look at. It just reminds me how much I have loved the process of filling up our home with things that we love (NOT things that are just there as fillers). Also, I started my much anticipated cross collection and hung a pictures-of-friends wall! So fun.

7. Oh man. The best thing to have ever happened to my Whole30 has happened. Chad tagged me in a healthy pancake video on facebook and now my life will never be the same. It's one mashed up banana mixed with two eggs and a dash of cinnamon. The concoction is poured onto a pan in the size of pancakes and then I smear almond butter all over my 3 amazing, warm, fluffy p-cakes. LIFE CHANGING. (I know these are technically not allowed because it goes against the whole sex with your pants on thing, but whatever. You can think of them as protein patties! I just think that if you're not someone who's trying to lose 100 pounds where you literally really do need to change your eating psychology or else you will end up dead, then one can responsibly satisfy their sweet tooth while still remaining compliant with the program ideas. Pancakes all around!)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The most ridiculous migraine story of all time

People, migraines can go to hell. Back in teenage time, I would get them every once in awhile, then between 18-21 they increased to about every 10 weeks. After a few years of excruciatingly painful days when those bad boys would hit, I gave myself over to the idea that I would just have to deal with these horrific incidents forever. Excedrin Migraine sometimes would help out, but not always, and the level of milligrams I would have to take freaked me out. Going to the doctor for a stronger prescription was always on my to-do list, but actually ingesting something that strong always irked me, so I never went. Anyway, I've discovered that my migraines are triggered by hormone rushes, hence the teenage occurrences, then birth control years, then pregnancy horrificness (I had 2 or 3 a week when pregs with Kota! Yuck). After I had Kota, I decided not to go back on bc (...because I was too lazy to go to the doctors and get it prescribed...), and lo and behold, I went years without a migraine. So anyway, bottom line is this: birth control and pregnancy hormones = migraines.
Anyhoo, when Whitney had her bachelorette party, I had recently found out we were expecting (still sort of weird to talk about so flippantly what with the baby not being here with us anymore, but it was a part of our lives, therefore we shall discuss!).

For days before I left, Chad warned me several times to not forget about how much care I needed to take in order to avoid a migraine. "Babe, just remember to eat a ton and take a nap if you need to. DO NOT SET YOURSELF UP FOR A MIGRAINE." "Nicole, here are 5 pounds worth of snacks just in case you feel a migraine coming on." (If I go too long without eating while pregnant, it's a fact that a migraine will come - A FACT!) "Babe, remember that if the girls want to go out until 2 am, you should cut the night short around 10:30 so you don't get a migraine the next day." He was terrified and so was I! I mean, they are so debilitating!!! I can't even see correctly when in the throes - forget about navigating through a semi-unfamiliar city!

So anyway, come the weekend, I was doing great: eating every second, staying out of the sun, guzzling gallons of water, going in early on Friday night - the works! Then, during Saturday's brunch which was eaten around 1 pm, I got this huge platter, leaving me full for the rest of the day. I mean, I was not hungry. We started playing games around 5 (in the most revealing dress any pregnant woman has ever worn), then left for dinner around 8. That was SEVEN HOURS without food! Right around 7:30, I realized that I hadn't eaten since brunch, and quickly grabbed a massive bag of sun chips to hold me over until dinner, knowing that it was probably too late. When we got down to the hotel lobby, I realized that I couldn't make out the features of some people's faces - y'all, the effing weird crap these migraines will do to you... it's indescribable. Like their eyes and mouths were not visible to me! I started freaking out on the inside, "Oh crap, this is going to happen."

We walked to dinner, where I immediately barked at the waiter to put in my chicken caesar salad early in a feeble attempt to fill myself with some protein, a task he didn't do because I got my salad with everyone else. At about 8:30, it was clear that I was NOT making it through that dinner. Like, not at all. Liz was deep in conversation with the two across from us, so instead of interrupting her, I called Chad in a panic. "BABE YOU NEED TO CALL ME AN UBER RIGHT NOW I'M AT THIS RESTAURANT IT'S SPELLED LIKE THIS M A M A G I N A 'S OKAY THANKS I HAVE TO GO I'M GOING TO PUKE." Liz was staring at me like, "what are you thinking? I'll call you an uber, why would Chad do that from Corona?" so the two of us bolted for the door while I half told Whitney how sorry I was that I had to go.

So here's what was happening: Liz and I were standing on a curb in downtown San Diego in these very tiny dresses waiting for an uber. I told her that I legitimately was going to puke my brains out (migraines literally make me sick). I handed her my purse, and I half ran back through the restaurant in search of the bathroom where I hit a long line and breathed in the scent coming from the kitchen, making me want to hurl even more. THIS WAS NOT OKAY. I bolted back outside, half hearing Whitney telling me that they were going to box my food up (causing me to almost puke right then and there), then once I was outside, I told Liz that I was GOING to puke, this was going to happen. She, probably completely freaked, told me to just do it, I was pregnant for gosh sakes.
So there I stood in my very high heels and barely there dress, puking into the gutter in downtown San Diego at 8:30 pm! A group of guys walked by and yelled, "Wow, it's too early for that. Way to hold your alcohol," to which Liz answered, "She's pregnant, don't worry about her, she's just pregnant!"

I was MORTIFIED! What was worse - being a drunken idiot at 8:30 in front of a nice restaurant, or being a pregnant woman in that outfit puking into a gutter???!!!! MORTIFIED!

Then the uber guy got there and Liz told him that I just got sick and that I was pregnant, so to just be cool. I slinked into the back seat then told him these words exactly, "I usually don't dress like this when I'm pregnant, I'm just on a bachelorette weekend so..."

He then asked if I knew where we were going. Umm, what? I thought these uber people knew where to go before they picked up. A horrifying thought ran through my head that this guy was going to take advantage of my miserable state and kidnap me or something, which caused me to think these exact words: if ever there was a time in my life where I needed to fend off some attacker, THIS NIGHT CANNOT BE THE NIGHT. Hahahaha! So I told him that yes, yes I did know where we were going and then monitored his drive the whole time.

Before he even stopped the car, I ran into the hotel lobby bathroom where the ole' migraine reared his ugly nauseous head again, then retired to the room. I fell asleep for 2 hours, then woke up needing some protein, so I rummaged through one of the girl's bags to find some trail mix. I sat there, in the dark, picking through the mix for peanuts. It was honest to goodness one of the most ridiculous couple of hours I've ever experience! I still laugh thinking of myself sitting there alone, shaking, searching for peanuts hahahaha. Truly insane!

As far as the girls were concerned, apparently after I got into the uber, the outdoor hostess told Liz that she better not bring her drunk friend back into the restaurant. Liz went completely crazy on her, causing the restaurant manager to come out and reprimand the hostess, which made her cry. Then Whitney, horrified that the employee had been so ungracious to Liz and I, had an equally horrifying conversation with that same manager, driving him to comp the champagne. Next, everyone went to a club where it seemed that no one was about to take crap from anyone! Like a mob of pretty ladies on the hunt for rude people! Hahaha! I mean, that's not how we usually roll. I woke up the next morning feeling so bad that I had not taken enough care of myself to stay out with Whitney during her amazing weekend, only to find out that everyone had defended my honor! Hahaha what a crazy night!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day 2015!

Of course it was a great one yet again - how can that day not be wonderful?! We ate, we laughed, we ate, we played, we ate, we drove in the new car, we ate, we hung out at the beach, and finally, we ate. It was beyond amazing!
One thing about this year that was different was that I'm actually in the middle of whole30. In fact I'm on day 16 right now! Mother's Day clocked in on day 13, so leading up to the biggest most wonderful weekend of the year, I was a little bummed that I wouldn't be bathing in maple syrup per usual. Normally it's a massive sugary breakfast fest. Cream cheese strawberry stuffed french toast. Orange and lemonade mimosas. Cheesey eggs and hash browns. Butter. Syrup. Yummmmmmmm. But not this year! On day 8, when I realized what was to be come M Day, I almost broke down out of sheer horror. To eat healthy on the day where I shall be pampered? NEVER!

But after my little freak out fest on the 8th day, my resolve grew stronger after scouring Pinterest for clean (sweet tooth approved) options, even though I totally know that's not how whole30 really should go. Oh well. I say that that is one rule that was made to be broken on Mother's Day (no simulating sweets even with clean ingredients). I told Chad that I certainly would not be cheating on M Day, so hopefully he could work with that.

He, of course, made a ridiculously fabulous clean breakfast and then acquiesced to my forever request: a trip down to the beach! So we ate a ton, then loaded into the family ve-hi-cle that we're obsessed with and took off for the Montage in Laguna Beach. There is just something about that small stretch of beach - it's like the bluest water I've ever seen in California and hey, you can't beat walking around dem grounds, ya dig?
So it was a great day! It was so strange to actually be carrying out a diet type thing to the extent of working around it on a day I associate with heavy eating and drinking (mimosas) with my little loves. Since my motivation is not weight based (break outs, be gone!), it seems like even more of a victory to have mastered some self control in that department! While I was eating my massive breakfast, I knew that I was enjoying that meal even more than I would have if we were eating all of the usual sugary delights. It felt like we were getting away with murder or something: enjoying a clean meal on a holiday! Like completely indulging and treating ourselves, but in a new form. Pretty dang cool, I say! I'm stoked on how this program is going. After freak out day (the 8th), it all just feels like this is normal life! No carbs? No problem! Sugar? Why? Alcohol? It's sort of peaceful not having a glass of wine on the weekends. Super cool! I suggest it to all.

And by the way, Chad was going to surprise me with my usual Starbucks drink, but before he left he decided to ask first just in case. I went online to find a whole30 approved Sbucks delight, and wouldn't you know it, the drink I got is my new favorite thing of all time. It's SO good and all approved: chai tea (NOT THE LATTE - JUST THE TEA) with a shot of espresso and dash of cinnamon. Oh my gosh. And hey! It's cheaper than my usual tall iced white chocolate mocha - and I got a grande heyoooo! Very cool.
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