I ate Vegan and Survived! YTT Part 2

When I started getting more into yoga, I started to follow a lot of yogis on IG. I quickly noticed that a good number of them were vegan but I never understood why. I thought it was kind of like Crossfit and Paleo, they just go together. It sort of is that way but there is a little more to it. I didn’t understand it until I went to the ashram.

When I found out that I was going to be eating vegan for about a month during my yoga teaching training I was super excited. I’ve never gone that long without eating meat or dairy and I was very interested in what it would do for my body. I suffer from acne so I thought this would be an awesome test to see if that would change. I normally eat a LOT of chicken so I wondered what would happen if I stopped eating it. And then just in general, how would I feel?

The first 2 days I was gone I had terrible headaches. That was the detox period. After that, smooth sailing, easy peasy! The easiest part was that someone was cooking for me and I didn’t have a choice in what I was eating. But if I had to say anything negative, and believe me this isn’t even really negative but I figure I have to have a down with my ups, it would be that I didn’t have a choice, LOL! There were a handful of days that we had the same food and that just got a little boring. But I ate it, and I was never hungry, so really not so much negative, just something that wasn’t 100% positive.

The acne didn’t go away. Actually, it got worse. This could be for a couple of reasons. One, I was surrounded by women the entire time and that meant hormone disruption the entire time I was gone. That said, I was getting zits in places on my face I don’t usually get them, so I don’t think it was all hormonal. Two, it could have been detoxing, stuff coming out, but I don’t think it should have lasted the whole time I was gone. So I am going to say that dairy does not have an effect on my skin. I think it’s time to see a dermatologist.

When I would tell people I was going to eat vegan, the number one response was, “You’re going to lose weight.” I sure didn’t want to. But I was interested to see what would happen so I took some measurements before I left. The only thing to really note here is that the two weeks before I was at the ashram were go crazy eating weeks. I was in California, I went to Disneyland where they have the best churros ever, and I wasn’t eating as clean as I normally do. So I started out about 5-7 pounds heavier than normal. So when I got home from the ashram here’s what happened weight/size/feeling wise. I felt bigger. I felt bloated the whole time I was gone. My clothes (yoga pants) still fit for the most part, but you could see it in my face. I actually had a friend tell me she’s never seen my face that round before. I did lose weight though, sort of. I lost the extra weight I had gained prior to going but nothing more. I was eating fabulous food, but I was eating a SHIT LOAD of carbs. My body is not used to that. So I think that is where the “side effects” came from. When I got home and went back to eating less carbs, the weight in my face fell off! The same friend who saw me and said my face was round saw me only a week later and said I was back to usual. Other people who see me regularly said I didn’t look like I had lost weight but I looked more toned. That surprised me because I wasn’t exercising like I usually do.

So to sum up, I learned that my brand of acne is not from food, and I should continue eating minimal carbs so I don’t feel bloated. But other than that, vegan eating was awesome! Oh, and the part about yogis being vegan? It all comes back to Ahimsa, non-harming/non-violence, the first of the Yamas and Niyamas, aka Yoga Rules. To sum that up without going into great detail. don’t kill anything, which would include animals for your food. Pretty basic stuff.

You’re probably waiting for some photos. So here are a couple of my favorite meals!!

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On the left is a frittata made with chickpea flour. Soooooooooo effing delicious!! On the right is a 3-bean salad. Also major yum! But really, that frittata!

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I have absolutely no idea what is in that patty, but it tasted like a burger and was amazing!

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Quinoa stuffed zucchini! This is something I would normally do at home already so it was great!

 

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MEXICAN FOOD!!!! Beans and spanish quinoa! YASSSSSS!!!!!

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Something I NEVER thought I would eat…palm hearts and okra with green beans. Delicious! Just weird because it was very new.

The next photo is the thing we ate, in my opinion, too often. Mung beans in various forms. If I never eat this yellow bean again I will be okay. I get it, it’s quick and it can be mass produced for a large group, but it wasn’t my favorite.

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The day I rebelled and decided to eat whatever I wanted was day 21. It wasn’t because I missed meat, it wasn’t because I was craving meat or dairy, I was just wanting something different. And so breakfast at a diner was the way to go! And I did it right! Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast, and pancakes. And I ate it all!!!!!

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Since being home, a couple things have happened. At first, I went back to eating like I normally did. Clean and healthy, meat, low carb. And I felt just fine. No adverse effects from adding meat back into my diet. But as of a little over a week ago, my family and I are now vegan/vegetarian. It wasn’t just the ashram that made us make the change, I will blog about all that separately, but living it for a month helped sway me for sure. #ChangeIsGood!

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A Month of Firsts: YTT Part 1

It’s official! I am a 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate!! HEYO!!!!

I spent a month living at an ashram, a”forest school”, learning everything that is YOGA! I slept in a dorm with other yogi ladies, ate vegan food, chanted, and walked away with so much more than a certificate.

I have a ton to write about but it would be a gazillion pages long so I am going to try to break it up into categories the best I can. I’ll start with this one, a list of my “firsts” from this trip. Being in my 30’s it kind of seems weird to be experiencing things for the first time, but there is definitely a list so here goes…

My first time graduating after high school. After I graduated high school I started at San Diego State. I was a year in when my boyfriend joined the Army. So I quit school, started working full time to save money, got married, and never went back. I am not at all sad about it. I wouldn’t ever take any of it back.

Since then I have always had people wonder if I’d ever go back to school. My answer has always been no, I don’t want to have to go through all that, but if I ever did it would be for something specific. I guess I lived up to that. I went back to “school” to be a yoga teacher.

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My first time to Pennsylvania. After getting married I have frequently traveled along the southern states. For quite a few years, the DC area was the farthest north I had ever been. Now I can add Pennsylvania to my list of states visited.

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My first time to New Jersey. Sure I only visited the edge of Jersey that borders Pennsylvania, but I was still there. One of the last evenings at the ashram a group of us drove to an amphitheater in Jersey to see Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

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My first time walking through a river. This one might surprise you. It sure surprised my friend who watched me walk in the water like it was normal. Sure I’ve swam in lakes but only ones that were highly populated for recreational purposes. This river was not one of those types.

On our first day off, a new friend and I ventured into town to do laundry, eat lunch, and go on a hike. We happened upon this great river area that had a walking trail, a giant covered bridge, and just all around great scenery. My friend is a seasoned river-goer so in we went. Of course I did yoga!

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Sticking to the theme here… First time jumping in a swimmin’ hole via a rope swing. On another day off we ventured to this great little town called St. Peters that sits along French Creek State Park. We nicknamed it the “Spirit Village” because it was just that; a quaint little village with yoga classes, a gem shop, and all around spirit, nuzzled up next to hiking trails and a river. I came here twice, the first time just for hiking, but found that this spot in the photo is where all the families hang out to swim and swing. So the second time we went I knew I had to get in and see what the fuss was all about. I guess you could say I am kind of adventurous. What an exhilarating experience! And yes, the water was cold.

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First time eating (almost) all vegan. I came into this really eager to see what eating vegan was all about. Having someone else cook it for me was definitely a plus! I plan to write a whole post just about this so I won’t say much but I will say this… I survived! LOL! I ate vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a total of 20ish days. I even stuck to it when I went out in the real world. It was pretty great! I didn’t miss meat or cheese. I now have quite a few ideas to incorporate into my regular life. But around day 20 I was tired of eating the same thing everyday so I staged a revolt and went out to eat breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I am not sorry!!

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This is a tough one… First time dealing with the loss of a pet. About half way through my time away, my husband had to make the choice to put down our boy Simon. It was a bit easier for me because I wasn’t around to witness it and I am also a bit more level-headed in situations like this. But that may be what made it harder for me; I couldn’t be there for my husband when he needed someone. I had the support of my new “family” while he only had the support of one of his best friends. Thank goodness for that one friend.

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Simon smiling on his last day.

Last but not least..My first time doing something totally alone, for myself. I got married when I was 19 and since then have been doing EVERYTHING with my husband. I have a 9 year old daughter, so the last 9 years have been spent doing almost everything with her as well. For me, doing things all alone involve me being alone at home or going grocery shopping. This was yet another road on my journey that I never expected.

I spent 24 days without my husband or daughter. I spent them in a “foreign” place. I shacked up with 7 other ladies in a dorm. I lived with 15-20 strangers for 24 days. I drove 6 hours in the truck to and from the ashram (I think I’ve topped out at 3 hour drives). I lived and survived on my own for the month. That’s the gist of it really. I elected to live away from my family and go on this crazy journey and I had to problem with it. I jumped in head first and it was AMAZING! I could easily say that being a military kid and wife prepared me for such a road, but I like to think that I am just awesome to be able to handle this kind of thing. 😉

What a trip!!

Stay tuned for more exciting posts coming soon!!

The Purge! #JTM

I know I already had a Volume 1 of the purge post but this really should have been the first one. The other one I wrote was more spontaneous while this one was more thought out.

As I mentioned, we are slowly working on our journey towards minimalism. As soon as I watched that documentary I immediately started looking around the house at things I didn’t need. The first purge was clothes.

I purge my clothes pretty often. I used to be a clothes hoarder. I would keep ALLLLLL my t-shirts from forever ago because at one point I loved them. Then I got pregnant and most of my clothes never fit me again. Purge. Then I started losing weight and clothes didn’t fit. Purge. But I would still keep a lot. WHY?!? One day I read something about cleaning out your closet and it stuck, and it’s what I ask myself whenever I clean my closet. “Weather dependent, would I put this on today and wear it?” If the answer is no, it goes. It’s really that simple. And you know what? I don’t miss any of those things I got rid of. Another rule someone mentioned that is a good one: if you buy something new, something old needs to go. It really keeps you from frivolous buying. I purge my clothes seasonally and it seems to be working for me.

But I was not the only one purging this time. My husband purged his clothes and I think he had 3 times as many bags as me. While I hoard shirts, he hoards pants. He had stacks of jeans that he never wears. Why? Because he might wear them someday. Would he put them on that day and wear them out? NO? Out they go!!

Here’s our SHARED closet after we were done. Most of our clothes are foldable and are in cube-type storage (Ikea stuff) but this is all that hangs.

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You can see my husbands current pile of pants, lol. He is rotating his clothes so only shorts are out for wearing now. I have to cut him some slack though because he needs more clothes for his job. He can’t just dump everything when he has uniforms and certain clothes for certain jobs.

Next was the craft closet. I say craft because it’s in our craft room but really it’s the “catch-all” closet. The place you put everything you don’t really have a place for. Also where you throw everything you don’t want to see. I wish I took before photos. Grrr! But still, it’s a thousand times cleaner and more organized than it was.

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That white hanging compartment was full of shoes. I think I kept one pair. I even went through all those plastic drawers and organized them. I was putting in work.

Next was the kitchen. This was the next biggest purge after the clothes as far as how much I got rid of. Why did I need 14 dinner plates when we are a family of 3? Why did I need 44,000 plastic cups? Why did I need to start collecting mugs when I only drink out of one? And why did I keep things just for the sake of keeping them? Do you have an answer because I sure don’t.

I kept our one set of 8 dishes; large plates, small plates, bowls, and mugs. I got rid of all the other dishes. If we happen to have a party or something I’ll buy paper plates. It’s really that easy. I kept about 10 mugs that meant something to me. I kept about 10 drinking glasses and a few plastic ones for the child. I went through all the plastic tumbler-type cups and matched them with their lids. No match, why do I have you!?! The biggest part of this purge was getting rid of glasses and cups we NEVER EVER use. The ones you get when you buy the special drink at a restaurant but you never use the cup again. The flasks that were a fun gift because they had a mustache on them but have never been used because we don’t drink liquor from a flask, lol. All gone!! And now I have empty shelves. WHOA!

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I also went through the drawers. Why was I hoarding steak knives when we only use the 4 new ones?

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The top left photo is all the silverware that WAS mixed in in the drawer. I had wayyyy too much. The photo on the right of the drawers is great because previously you could not see the bottom of either of those drawers.

So what did I do with all the other dishes and stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. A lot I put in that huge pile for a yard sale. And some of it I wrapped up nicely and put in boxes for my daughter when she moves out (she’s 9 now). I had a set of China that my abuelos gave to me when I got married. It used to be our normal dishes until I bought something new. It’s a great set with dinner plates, small plates, tea cups, saucers, a platter, a huge bowl, tea pot, and sugar container. It’s really a perfect set of dishes that was collecting dust in my cabinet. So that will be given to my daughter. Basically, my daughter’s kitchen will be fully equipped. She will have all the dishes, glasses, mugs, and utensils. But only the things she will use. And the cool part is that they will all mean something to her. The mugs I chose to give her, rather than sell, are all from places she’s been as well. And if she decides she doesn’t want all that stuff at some point, it will be hers to decide.

Not pictured but another big purge was our movies. Sure we love movies, especially without cable, but there were so many we never watch and probably won’t ever again. I have a giant black garbage bag full of movies to sell. Also not pictured, on Easter my daughter and I purged her room. She’s really good at it. She is a small time hoarder of things “she might play with later” but she still understands and is willing to part with a lot.

I think the craziest part so far is seeing how much shit we had upstairs with us that wasn’t bringing any meaning to our life. I’ll show you this photo again…

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ALL of this stuff for the yard sale was upstairs. I can’t. I don’t even get it.

So now the storage purge continues. After my last post we stopped going through everything because we were headed to a friend’s house, but we emptied 4 boxes. We have a pile set aside to keep, a pile to burn/toss, and then we’ll add to the yard sale pile. It’s a good time going through the stuff because I do keep some really cool things that mean things to my husband even though he had no idea they did. I kept a box full of the letters he received when he was in basic training and overseas. He didn’t know they were still around and he really enjoyed reading some, especially the ones from family members who have passed away. So really it always comes down to that question…”Does this bring me happiness?” Sometimes you find things that truly do make you happy and those are the thing we won’t ever get rid of. But if we have no connection to items anymore, out they go.

Purging Volume 1 #JTM

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I am currently in my basement going through storage stuff and thought I’d share a couple pictures.  This is what the purge looks like.  The photo above is my current garage sale pile.  I’ll post a more in depth post at a later time about exactly what’s in the photo, but that’s just the start.

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This is the side of storage boxes we are currently going through.  So far we’ve gone through about 4 boxes,  made a small keep pile, a huge trash pile, and a burn pile.

Asking ourselves these questions… Does this make me happy?  Is this thing in a box bringing meaning to my life? Will our daughter care about this when she’s older? If the answer is no,  to the trash it goes.

 

p.s. I might be a bit of a hoarder

Why Minimalism? #JTM

Not related to this blog, but today is my 6 year anniversary of signing up with WordPress and creating this blog! HEYO!! Okay, done celebrating, onto business.

Just like the title, why minimalism? Why would my husband and I decide this was something we wanted to work towards? Like I’ve said in previous blogs about myself and us as a couple, I think so much of what we are working towards today was always buried somewhere inside us. We have only now been given the tools to really embrace the lifestyle we ultimately want. So why do we want to dump everything in our house and move into a tiny house in the middle of no where and live like weirdos? Well, we aren’t quite there yet. And I don’t know if we’ll ever actually be at that point. But we are well on our way to downsizing and living happier with less stuff.

About a month ago we watched “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix. Man, was it eye opening. It was one of those movies that makes you question everything you’re doing in your life. When I was finished watching the movie, I literally sat and looked around the room taking inventory of all the things I didn’t need. And it isn’t just about not needing things. It’s about not needing things because they don’t bring any value to my life.

I’ve mentioned before that we grew up in the gigantic city of San Diego, where “stuff” is important. I’m not saying that we were super spoiled assholes, but we grew up with a decent amount of stuff. And once we were on our own we were definitely in that mindset that the more stuff we had the better off we were. TV’s in each room, kitchen gadgets, and a new stereo, not because ours was broken but because we wanted one. There’s only thing that lead to, and it wasn’t happiness. It was debt.

Over the years we have been making a lot of changes. First we dumped cable. Then we didn’t unpack the TV for our bedroom. Do you know how nice it is not to have a TV in your bedroom? We also stopped frivolous purchases. We stopped going shopping for the sake of buying something because we were bored. Most of the time we didn’t have money to spend anyway, but we thought buying something new would make us happier. We’ve started to learn how to live off the land. Of course we still go grocery shopping and buy food, but we have chickens so we don’t buy eggs, and we have a super awesome garden started so we will be buying less produce. It’s all part of living happier and living within our means. Oh, did I mention we are also credit card debt free? Yeah, that’s huge.

I am not going to go into all of it just yet, but the next couple posts will be about the purging stage. Dumping the stuff that doesn’t have any meaning to me anymore. The purge is strong! And it feels sooooooo good!!

The Journey Towards Minimalism #JTM

Hey all. I’m starting a new hashtag for future posts.  #JTM will follow any posts I write about my family’s Journey Towards minimalism. First post starts tomorrow. I’ll add these posts to a new page as well.

Embracing Change: A Love Story

This post has been brewing for a long time. It all started with a question quite a few months ago; I’ll get to that. I was going to write it yesterday but the day came and went. But here it comes.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 18 years of being “John and Chrissy.” 18 years as a couple. Our story began in 4th grade when we sat next to each other. I moved to a different community for middle school but then came back for high school. The rest is history. We started dating freshman year and have been “us” every since.

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Freshman Year, 1999

A few months ago I went to have a coffee date with a new friend. We were doing the usual “get to know each other” question and answer session. She asked me, referring to my husband and I being together so long, “Have you guys changed a lot?” My immediate response, with a laugh, “Pshhh, no!” I didn’t realize the impact of that question. I have thought of that question almost every day since then.

When I initially asked myself the question again, my reasoning for the NO answer was this: I am still the goof I was in high school. He’s still the muscle that can pick me up and swing me over his shoulder. We still listen to the same music. He still drives and I passenger. We are still together so of course we haven’t changed. But then I continued to ask myself the question over and over since then and I keep realizing, we are totally NOT the same people that we were when we first met, or got married, and we definitely aren’t the same couple after all these years.

The easiest change to see, we are now parents. And even that has changed in the 9 years since we had our daughter. But the other changes might not be as obvious, even to the people who know us best.

The first thing I think of is the way we eat. On our 1 year dating anniversary, John took me out to a super fancy seafood restaurant, not realizing I didn’t eat any sort of seafood. I filled up on bread and ordered a chicken meal. It took me a good 15 years to live that one down. “Remember the time I took you out for fish and you ordered the chicken?” When we were first married I don’t think I ever cooked a vegetable. We ate meat with rice or pasta. We ate out a lot. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago we decided to make changes in our diet. And it wasn’t until just last year that we really decided we were going to clean out our cabinets and start from scratch and start eating clean. Vegetables are now one of our favorite things to eat! And I LOVE seafood!! And I cook wayyyy more often than I ever did; we rarely eat out.

We grew up in southern California. I am not trying to say that there are only two types of people in SoCal, but for this blog there are two types of people; fancy people and hippies. Maybe instead of fancy I could call them lavish. In my opinion, lavish people want a perfect house, the perfect clothes, the perfect tan. Hippies are carefree, they differentiate between wants and needs, and they care more about other people than themselves. I would say we grew up being a healthy mix of those two. We lived in a pretty great neighborhood with all the things we wanted, could go to the beach to get our perfect tans, but were also pretty grounded with good heads on our shoulders and good morals.

When we were first married I think we wanted to be the lavish kids we thought we were. We bought all the things we wanted. We had a tv in each room. We HAD to have cable with HBO. When we could afford to, we spent money on new clothes and new things for the house because we wanted them. And when we had our daughter we wanted her to have all the latest and greatest gadgets because that would be the best for her. We aren’t those people anymore.

We’re the hippies now, 100%. We were slow and steady to make this change. Moving out to the country away from everyone was the first big step. Wanting to live off the land and not have to spend all our money on food when we could grow our own. We realized we wanted to spend more time with each other doing things outside rather than watching tv, so we kept extra tv’s in the moving boxes. We discontinued cable. We had very limited internet (this wasn’t a choice in the beginning but it was a blessing in disguise). We took away our daughter’s tablet (another thing that we didn’t realize was a blessing). We’re in the process of downsizing all of our stuff. We are heading in the minimalist direction, hoping to one day maybe be those weirdos who live in a tiny house with just a bed and a stove on a huge plot of land with chickens and a garden (I’m not kidding, it’s become our dream).

Growing up we weren’t raised religious. We had some church background but nothing that I would say was enough to form us into the people we are today. We still aren’t religious, like Bible religious, but we are both very spiritual. We are constantly learning and sharing ideas with each other that build on our spirituality. It’s something we have grown to share.

And then there’s our relationship. We have always loved each other, no question. And we’ve always been best friends; we GREW up together, how could we not be best friends? But when we were first married, and only 19, we still had growing up to do and things to experience. We did everything together but we still had those moments when we wanted to get away from each other. I was that annoying nagging wife at times. And he was the worker bee that I wanted more attention from. We fought over dumb things, like any new couple, we kept grudges, and would dwell on things we had no control over. Today, we not only love each other more, we LIKE each other more. There’s totally a difference. You can love someone but not enjoy being around them. We enjoy each other. We want to spend time together as much as possible. And we definitely don’t hold grudges. We agree on a lot but when we don’t, we figure it out without being assholes to each other. We laugh A LOT more, me especially when I think we’re fighting over something stupid. We work together. All while still maintaining our independence.

The point of all this is that the answer to the question, “Have you changed?” is most definitely a, “Hell yes, we’ve changed!” And the best part is, we’ve done it together. The second best part is, we are happy. Like, really happy. The happiest we’ve ever been. When talking about us and our lifestyle, hippie-ish, I always tell people that I think this was all in there deep down but it just took a while to really embrace it. Deep down we wanted all this but maybe just didn’t know how to make it happen. And all the roads we’ve taken together were all eventually going to lead us to this point. And now, this is the new starting point down our next road of adventure. Will a lot more change in another 18 years? Who knows. I would guess that we will just further embrace a lot of the things we are moving towards now. And the best part is, we’ll still be doing it together.

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April 13, 2017. 18 years

Adios 2016

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So yeah,  this is totally me right now.  Not just in life but in the blogging world. Is it #NamasteTuesday? Is it #FarmlifeFriday? When’s the last time I actually did yoga?

My husband has been working half days and everyday after work we’ve been building a chicken coop. When we weren’t building we were shopping for supplies.  When we weren’t doing those things we were eating.  And if we weren’t  eating we were out spending gift cards from Christmas. My point is,  we’ve been thoroughly enjoying winter break!  So much so that I dunno what day it is and I  haven’t sat down to blog. So….

Here’s my lasy blog of 2016! I hope everyone has a marvelous last few days and a Very Happy New Year.  I’ll be back in 2017!

The Christmas Spirit

I don’t really know exactly what it is, but this year I am really feeling the Christmas spirit. I am not stressing about the holiday. I am not a scrooge (not sure I’ve ever really been that against the holiday). I am just really enjoying this time of year and I can’t really remember ever feeling this happy about it.

I’m not trying to say that I have always been unhappy around Christmas because I love Christmas and I love the holidays, but I can’t recall ever having the feeling I have this year.  I am going to try to explain why I think this year is different. And just so you don’t get all pissy with me, I’m not saying everyone should do, or not do, all these things, I’m just explaining how I think they’ve worked for ME.

First, Santa is no longer real. I cannot tell you how happy I am that we finally got that out of the picture. My daughter knows that at some point in time there was a guy like Santa and that’s where the story comes from, but she now knows for sure that WE are in fact the ones that put presents under the tree. I am so glad to be over that. And I think this has really changed how we go about the holiday. We aren’t spending time writing Santa letters and seeing him at the mall. There is no lying!!! I don’t have to coax her into telling me what she told Santa she wants for Christmas to make sure I find that specific gift and wrap it in different paper. And she isn’t worried about being good all the time. You know, when you take that pressure away, it’s easier to just be good. Which brings me to the next thing we don’t do.

The Elf on the Shelf. We never got into that and I am soooo glad we didn’t. It’s cute, I really do enjoy seeing my friends creativity with their elves, but you know what? That shit’s creepy. An elf watching your every move so he can go narc to Santa. Awesome! And what is this doing to parents? It is making them 100 times more stressed than they need to be. Not only do parents have to remember to move the elf, they have to create super awesome things for the elf to be doing. And then, you forgot to move it! What do you do? Lie to your kids again. And what if the kids touches it? Tears and tantrums because you broke the magic! Heartache is what that elf is. I am glad it’s working out for some families, but again, take that stress off the kids to be good and they might just surprise you. And take the stress away from the parents.

One thing I tried to do a couple years ago that I’ve tried to stick to is buying gifts early or at least spreading out the buying. Not having to spend a crap ton of money all in one month helps soooo much! No stress!! We also sort of stuck to that gift buying guide you have probably seen online…something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. It really does work out well and takes away the idea that Christmas is just all about toys. It makes the toys more special. I also did a ton of Christmas shopping at the Book Fair. Rather than send our family members lists and having them buy books, maybe buy duplicates, and then have to spend money on shipping, I had them all Paypal me money and I shopped for them. I knew the books my daughter wanted, so I bought them, wrapped them all in different paper and labeled them from each family member. And this was in October! Done and Done!! That takes the stress off me annnnddd my family.

Enjoying the holidays also makes the “giving” aspect much more enjoyable. Rather than feeling like I HAD to give gifts, I WANTED to give gifts. I was already a pretty giving person, but this year still felt more giving.

I really think there is one pretty significant thing that has made me really feel the spirit of the holiday this year. People. The people that we have surrounded ourselves with here in Virginia, and the friends we have kept during all our moving adventures, are really some of the most genuine people we have ever met. There is no drama. No one has any hidden agendas. These people are 100% good people. And that makes all us happier and makes my daughter happier and we just get to be happy and enjoy life.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!

 

3 Years Stong

3 effing years, guys! One hundred and fifty-six weeks! One thousand and ninety-five days! That’s how long it’s been since I gave up soda! I am happy to report that I have been soda-sober for 3 years today! And man, it feels soooooo good!!!!!

Starting in my teenage years I pretty much drank nothing but soda. I remember giving it up in 11th grade and drinking water and lemonade and that was it. It was a good change. But I went right back. I’ve gone back and forth a gazillion times but never stuck to the goal.

When my husband and I first did a low carb diet we stuck to diet soda. I drank a LOT of Diet Mtn Dew and Coke Zero. Like, a LOOOOOOTTTTTT!!! If you knew me back when, you knew that my morning pick-me-up was a soda. I could go most of the day without eating if I was drinking soda.

When we decided to get healthy and were doing all kinds of research on food and stuff, we decided to limit our soda intake and we quit Diet soda. If we were going to indulge we were going to just go for the real sugar stuff, no fake sweeteners, and have a real Coke or Pepsi. But we were most definitely lowering our intake. We didn’t buy soda anymore and only had it in mixed drinks or when we ate out. But then a family gathering happened.

Thanksgiving 2013 was our first time having a family holiday (we finally lived close to family). I figured that since people were going to be staying at our house and eating and drinking we should probably provide some soda. It had been a while since I had a soda and in a couple days I think I drank 5 Dr. Peppers (like Forrest Gump). My body revolted against me.

I felt like shit!!! I thought I was getting a flu. My body hurt, my head hurt, my arms and legs felt weird. I did not feel right. It was the soda. It was the only thing that was different in my routine. So I quit. Cold turkey. I am not kidding when I say that it took a good week for me to feel better. I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. It was draining physically and mentally. Physically, my body was screaming at me for drinking poison! Mentally, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I had spent so much of my life drinking poison and it finally caught up to me. I haven’t looked back since.

I don’t drink ANYTHING soda related. I even stay away from carbonated water. I don’t order a mixed drink if it contains soda. I have not had a single, itty bitty sip in 3 years. And I don’t miss it. Physically, I will never put my body through that shit again. Not drinking soda has mentally messed with me a bit, too, but only in my subconscious. I don’t dream of soda like I miss it, but I do have dreams that I accidentally drink it and I am so mad at myself. I had one dream recently where I took a drink of my daughter’s drink not knowing it was soda and I started yelling, “That doesn’t count! I didn’t do it on purpose!!!”

Maybe that’s part of why I stuck to this as well. It wasn’t a goal of mine to quit soda. I didn’t say, “Man, I feel bad. I should try to cut out soda.” Instead I said, “Eff this! I’m never drinking that shit again!” Sometimes just doing something is better than trying to make a goal. You can’t fail at something that you just DO.

 

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