It's cold, February holidays, toy dog poop, and Serial

The temperatures the last couple of weeks have looked like this:
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I know it's totally normal and expected to have temperatures like this in Iowa in February but I just can't. do. it. Iowa in February makes me want to quit life!

I completely disagree with this meme. The South is really onto something when it comes to snow. #shutdownandquitlife
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***WORST IDEA EVER*** Trying to be a fun mom and color snow with food coloring that will be such a hit with Jack that he now begs me all day, every day to go dig bowls and bowls of dirty-freezing-snow-that-is-so-freaking-cold-that-it-is-actually-rock-hard-ice and color it with him.
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***BEST PARENTING STRATEGY EVER*** When your three-year-old finds water balloons in a junk drawer in the middle of stupid cold February and begs you to fill them up, tell him that only dads know how to do water balloons. Then when his dad finally gets home from work and fills them up, chuck your three-year-old outside and watch through the glass door in the warmth.
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Life after Whole30 = all the sugar all the time. #winning
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Also - Watch this right now!!! -------> Jim Gaffigan Goes on A Kale Rant On 'Conan,' And He's Not Wrong
President's Day at the Family Museum - I love that the museum always has an organized craft for Jack to do so that I can stay off of that scary pinterest place.
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David's tradition of biting his tongue at the Family Museum is going strong! (It's happened three different times! It's so so sad!) But also, I am THAT mom with THAT kid that gets blood everywhere and we are the reason that places like these are germ fests :)
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Valentine's Day - we shoved our faces with sugar cookies while Spencer organized and cleaned the basement which was great because sparing me the horror of organizing and cleaning the basement myself is totally my love language :) Jack and David got cute Valentine coats and lots of candy from my parents and superhero capes and lots of candy from my inlaws :) We had a great day!
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I told Spencer that all that I wanted for Valentine's Day was chocolate covered cinnamon bears - cheap and delicious!!! But it turns out there are no chocolate covered cinnamon bears to be found in the Quad Cities! After tons of searching and THIRTY DOLLARS LATER, Spencer finally shipped 3 lbs of chocolate covered cinnamon bears from a candy shop out west and they showed up the week after Valentine's Day :) #betterlatethannever #somuchforcheap #tooootallyworthit 
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Here is some more proof that my brain is dying - I bought this cute Barbie and puppy for Jack's friend's birthday because I saw the cute Barbie and puppy but failed to notice the "Potty Trainin' Taffy" sign or the toy dog poop or the picture of the dog pooping until the next day when I starting wrapping the dang present 15 minutes before the party!!! I am THAT crude mom who buys kids play dog poop that comes out of the dog's bum.
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If you haven't listened to the podcast, Serial, you reeeeeallly need to! It is an investigation into the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and it is so well done and it is free and I couldn't stop listening to it until I finished it! Cleaning my house while listening to Serial was so fun and now that Serial is over, cleaning my house is no longer fun.
I really love these two pictures:
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Also #congratulationstomygrandmaforlearninghowtoposthashtagsininstagramcomments #theyarethebesthashtags #andthebestcomments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Whole 30 Review

Last week, Spencer and I finished the trendy Whole 30 challenge - for 30 days we had no sugar, no dairy, no grains, no legumes, and no fun. Kidding!... kind of ;) For 30 days we ate "real foods" which to the Whole30 people means meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy fats, and we only drank water. The diet claims to reset your metabolism, to heal your gut, to help you learn how and what foods are effecting you negatively, and to cut out the psychological unhealthy way of eating. We decided to do it mainly because we wanted to recover from the holidays and to identify Spencer's food intolerances, and we also loved that the main focus wasn't on weight loss. (You are not allowed to weigh yourself during the 30 days)

**Side story about why I love that the focus wasn't on weight loss** Five years ago I did the Weight Watchers program and I really loved it except that after I got to my goal weight I became a weigh-yourself-multiple-times-a-day kind of person. After I had David, I got frustrated that my weight wasn't coming off as fast as it was after I had Jack, and was inspired by Hungry Runner Girl's articles on ditching the scale - almost a year ago I put my scale away and just focused on being healthy. I started to only weigh myself once a month and that was a very mentally healthy decision for me :) I love these blog posts/articles on how the scale does not measure your health:

5 Reasons to Break Up With Your Scale

Ditch the scale

The last 5 pounds

So back to the Whole30 - we didn't cheat the entire time (except when I think I ate non approved oil at a restaurant, when Spencer got the stomach bug and ate saltine crackers, and when Spencer's face fell in a box of donuts at work on DAY 26 OF ALL THE DAYS!!!!!)


  • The focus was on being/feeling healthy/listening to your body. I didn't have to count calories and could eat until I was full.
  • The food we ate tasted really good! (except I got sooooo sick of eggs and I learned that I truly despise cabbage)
  • I slept better - I fell asleep faster, slept deeper, and woke up more refreshed #thankyouwhole30 #andDavidsleepingthroughthenight
  • I had WAY more energy during the day. During weeks 2 and 3, I never felt the afternoon slump once. 
  • My food had so much flavor once I cut out sugar! Grapefruit tasted soooo sweet and delicious on it's own as well as sweet potatoes and carrots. Larabars (which I never really liked before) and apples with almond butter tasted like dessert. 
  • I learned to better read food labels and ingredients and I learned that sugar is in EVERYTHING!
  • Spencer has never felt better - he has had stomach problems his entire life and I think paleo is what his body wants.
  • Learned that I won't die without sugar and that I won't kill anyone for sugar either :)
  • I eliminated the possibility of food being a trigger to my eczema.
  • Spencer confirmed that he is intolerant to milk and that he needs to be careful with sugar and some grains. 
  • Spencer lost 10 lbs and I lost 5 lbs


  • It is expensive! We went way over-budget on food and weren't even going out to eat.
  • Food preparation took FOREVER!!! I really really really wish that I liked cooking, but I just don't. I hate it and I had to cook 5 billion times more this month than usual. I know I could have been better at prepping food in advance, but I lived in the kitchen for 30 days. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was all a lot of physical and mental work when you have a baby crying at your leg or in your arms, not to mention the dishes. At one point, I was HANGRY like usual and trying to get a meal ready and was wondering what the point was of having all of this extra energy if I was just going to spend all of my energetic time in the kitchen. I could be sitting on the couch during an afternoon slump or cooking in the kitchen doing what I hate with lots of energy - tired on the couch sounded more appealing :)
  • I was bloated for the first two weeks as my body cleansed and adjusted to the food.
  • I missed carbs. Maybe my body never really adjusted to learning how to burn healthy fats and use it as energy like the diet claims or maybe it was because I was nursing and running/strength training but the food wouldn't stick! I would get hungry about two hours after eating (which is normal for me when I'm not on the Whole30 too). They encourage you to eat sweet potatoes and potatoes sparingly and not to snack unless you absolutely have to, but I ate sweet potatoes and potatoes basically every day and could not survive without a snack between meals. 
  • Social events stunk. We tried to do the Whole30 during a month where we didn't have much going on, but David still had a birthday, we had a church event, and a few other get togethers with friends and we couldn't eat anything. Spencer had it worse because he had a lot of work luncheons and so he had to eat lunch beforehand.
  • I sometimes felt guilty for eating too many potatoes, almond butter, nuts, and fruit in one day - foods that they encourage you to eat sparingly. (Shout out to Spencer for never feeling guilty for eating his FOUR bananas a day!!! hahaha) The diet claims to help you change your psychological negative relationship with food but I felt like I had already done a good job in the last five years of having a positive relationship with food and to not beat myself up for enjoying a treat or splurging and eating a cookie (or two or three or four :) So when I started feeling bad that I was eating a freaking potato (!!!) I had to remind myself that the Whole30 was not the boss of me - I am feeding myself good food because I love my body and potatoes and nut butters and fruit are WAY better food choices than the amount of sugar and cream cheese dips that I was consuming in December :)
  • I HATED Whole30 breakfast. I never want to eat another egg as long as a live!

This quote was on Whole 30's Intstagram:

"People are constantly asking me, "Do you DO whole 30? Are you ON whole 30?... I do not DO whole 30. I am not ON whole 30... I AM whole 30. This lifestyle is as much as a part of me as anything else. It makes me who I am."

This quote was from this article about clean eating becoming the new eating disorder (orthorexia):

"It breaks my heart to see and hear beautiful, motivated, capable [people] being sucked in to an extreme diet and way of life because it has been branded to them as ‘THE HEALTHIEST WAY TO LIVE’ above all else.”

In conclusion, I am NOT Whole30. It does not make me who I am. When I'm in a hurry and HANGRY, I would like to be able to grab a handful of goldfish to tide me over. When Jack doesn't finish his food or when David spits out his chewed food in public and I can't find wipes or a garbage can, I would like to be able to clean it up by eating it. (Okay, I would not like to do that, but Whole30 sadly showed that I am my kids' garbage disposal) I like to eat dairy and grains and legumes and sugar and luckily my body is fine with me eating it all in balance. I'm not saying that it's bad for people to live a paleo lifestyle or any other type of extreme diet but it's not for me long term. I'm glad I did the Whole30, and I'm also glad it's over :) If I do it again, it won't be for a looooong time :)


If you are interested in doing the Whole30, here were some of my staples/lifesavers/favorites:

- Apples and almond butter
- Pre-shredding sweet potatoes for sweet potato hash browns for breakfast
- Aidells chicken apple sausage (I got it at Walmart) to throw in with eggs for breakfast or to roast with root vegetables for a quick dinner.
- Larabars (coconut cream pie was my favorite flavor)
- Larabar recipe 
- This Whole30 approved freezer meal plan
- This chili recipe
- Avocados with EVERYTHING!!!
- Salads (romain lettuce, spinach, meat, olives, artichokes, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, tomato, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper)


Things I'm Loving

  • Quotes of the week. My favorite Jack quote: Jack found this picture on our ipad and he said, "Mom, who is that?!" When I told him it was dad he said, "What happened to him?!" hahaha

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Favorite Spencer quote of the week, said in complete seriousness, "My new favorite pandora station is kidz bop because it has all the cool songs without the bad language." Oh dear. Haha.

  • Books! David is OBSESSED with books. The second he wakes up he brings books over to me to read and it goes on all. day. long. I love it because my kid loves reading, but I hate it because I feel like my brain is turning into mush. If I read Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See one more time I might die!

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My mom gave Jack and David the Leap Frog Tag Reading system for Christmas and they are SO COOL! You can connect multiple books onto the reader through your computer and then the reader will read the book as you click on the page and there are interactive activities and this sentence doesn't really make sense but I am a big fan! Jack usually just likes to read at night before he goes to bed but he has been reading a lot more with his LeapFrog reader.
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  • My grandma's instagram posts from her new ipad. She had another accidental post but then legitimately posted! (With a little help from my little cousin :)  You should definitely start following her:

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  • Our seasonal depression-fighting activities: 
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Wandering the grocery store that we can't afford to kill time because they have cool grocery carts.

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Storytime - not nearly as cool as Birmingham's storytimes but we'll take what we can get!
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And of course, another visit to the "tractor museum" :)
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  • No more Whole30 !!! I'm glad we did it but I'm also glad it's over :) You are supposed to gradually reintroduce foods back into your diet to see how you react to them and so obviously our favorite sugar cookies filled with gluten, sugar and dairy was the correct first not-Whole30-approved food choice :) I plan to do a blog post about our Whole30 challenge soon.

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Things I'm Loving

  • This post. It is very important that you read it. I promise it will make your day.
"So listen, friend. You might be having a down day. You might be going through a rough patch. You might wonder if you’re the only one sitting in a giant, figurative pile of poo. But I am here to tell you, if you are not sitting in a giant, literal pile of poo, you’re doing better than you know. Better than you know, friends, and better than me that day."
  • David's stitches are out! 
Two Sundays ago, David stood up and leaned against a rolling chalk board at church and fell and cut his eyebrow open :( He had to get two stitches and was so brave!
Before stitches:
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Once he initially calmed down from his fall, he was pretty content until they started stitching him up - I've never seen a kid scream so hard in my life. It was heartbreaking!
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All stitched up and exhausted from all of the trauma
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5 days later we went to get the stitches out. He was so brave!!!
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  • David's birthday! He played with his presents from grandparents all morning and loooooved his birthday cupcakes. He ate two!
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My first time making cupcakes in my adult life #ihatecooking/baking
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The birthday crew.
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  • Sunday's snowstorm! Church was canceled so we worshiped in nature instead :) 
Watching Spencer and Jack build a snowman from the window in the warmth > building a snowman with Spencer and Jack in the cold
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I'll brave the cold for sledding though
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  • Not having to shovel our driveway or sidewalks. (One plus side to renting)
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Except when they pile all of the snow in front of our garage. What's the point of shoveling our sidewalks and driveways if they're going to make us dig to get to our car?!
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  • Jack wearing his super suit all week long and occasionally still sleeping in the fetal position.
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Where did my baby go?!
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  • Chick-fil-a ice cream runs - except now that David has figured out how to climb up the play place and gets stuck, I have to climb up there to get him so I don't love it nearly as much

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  • David's walking skills - he walks more than he crawls now.
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  • Pretending it's summer - I hate the work it takes to get my kids in the pool and out of the pool but we all have so much fun while we're swimming!
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  • Babysitting/having friends over because it switches things up and I don't even have to leave the house.
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    I would love to know how you entertain your kids in the winter.