Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of School

I can't believe my baby started school today! 

While I am training to become a Montessori guide (Primary, ages 3-6), Hunter is attending the Toddler Program at a Montessori school here in San Diego. We visited the school yesterday for open house, and Hunter just loved his classroom. It is such a beautiful environment, and we are so happy with our choice. We met only one of his teachers, and she is just the sweetest, most gorgeous teacher I've ever seen. I think he will be in love soon, considering how much this kid is already a ladies' man!

Drop off is basically pulling up to the school and allowing one of the teachers to take your baby out of the car seat and carry him inside to his classroom. The look on his face! He didn't cry, but he looked so confused. My hands were shaking and my stomach was doing somersaults, but I know he is in good hands and will have a wonderful time. If there's anyone who needs to be brave about this whole going to school thing, it's me!

P.S. Obviously, I had to take several photos to get a good one (i.e. smiling not frowning, OK lighting, and not blurry). These attempts involved changing positions from one side of the door to the other and moving the chalkboard sign around. The result was a grumpy Hunter. ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Backyard Garden


One of the things I am going to miss about owning our home* is the backyard. Although we haven't done much with it during the two years we've been here, it has so much potential. We had dreams of an herb garden, veggie garden, pergola, etc. Despite our lack of landscaping, Hunter has enjoyed playing in the dirt, digging around the dead grass, and pulling weeds. Isaiah has used the space to work on projects around the house.

I, on the other hand, have enjoyed tending a small garden for the last couple of months, and I couldn't have done it without my mom's help. She and my stepfather have an amazing garden. (She even makes how-to videos!) The strawberry, mint, parsley, kale, and Swiss chard all started from seed. My mom sprouted them for me, brought them over, and helped me transplant them in some small existing beds on the side of our yard. 

The blackberry started as a branch Mom cut from her blackberry bush, and we have already had a mini-harvest that yielded about a dozen berries over about 2 weeks. Every day, Hunter would go out there to check for ripe berries, "Baby, baby, baby!" The zucchini and cucumber started as small plants my mom bought at Home Depot and planted for me because she wanted Hunter to enjoy zucchini from his garden (his fav veggie).  I am really impressed with myself that I have remembered to water everything ;)

Swiss chard
Zucchini flower
Swiss chard and Cucumber
We also planted a small cactus garden in the front yard. Check out our home renovation blog for some photos.

*Long story short, we're selling our house because we need the cash! With the capital gains from the sale of our home, we plan to pay off our student loan debt, pay for my training program (I am going back to school in a couple of weeks to become a Montessori primary teacher), and pay for Hunter's first year of Montessori school.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Am a Cheater and a Quitter and What We've Been Eating Lately

Enjoying gazpacho
... and pickles!
Back in June I decided to do the Whole 30 program. I wasn't trying to lose weight but mostly press the restart button on my eating habits, so to speak. I hadn't been going crazy with the sweets, but I wasn't being careful about my sugar intake and I wanted (still want) to keep my insulin levels at bay. I am not diabetic, but my fertility issue has to do with excess insulin, and if we're going to be blessed with another baby in the future, I am to get back on track.

I was doomed from the beginning. With Father's Day in the middle of the month, I went into the whole thing allowing myself one "cheat" that day to celebrate. I had a small piece of cake, and then went back on track. But it was around that time (after 2 weeks on the program) that I started getting pretty annoyed that I wasn't feeling any different. Maybe it had to do with not exercising (if you don't count running after a toddler exercising -- I really don't). I thought, with all this healthy food, why don't I feel amazing? Other than the no exercise issue, the one theory I had was that since I was generally very good at eating healthy meals before starting the program and most of the foods I was cooking were recipes from my normal repertoire, there wasn't a vast enough change in my diet to make a marked difference in my life. I am sure there was plenty of good going on inside, I just didn't notice it. By day 26 or so, I had cheated again, eating a burger while out with my family. By day 28, I had quit.

Even though I have proven to myself in the past that I have very strong willpower when it comes to food, why didn't I have enough discipline to finish this program? Well, I think it has do with lots of things. Firstly, motivation. When I gave up soy/dairy/gluten/sugar/alcohol/caffeine for five months, I was motivated by the idea of conceiving a baby. Now that I have a child, that motivation is not as strong. Also, I went into the program thinking it was a sort of cleanse and that I would more or less keep up the discipline even after the program ended, so it really felt like there was no end in sight. 

The whole program just felt too restrictive. No beans? I mean, that month was so EXPENSIVE because of all the meat. I think a couple of bean-based vegetarian meals per week are harmless. Also, on my get-pregnant diet, I was "allowed" gluten-free grains and seeds like oatmeal, quinoa, and kasha. Those grains add bulk and variety to meals, and to not have them during Whole 30 really messed with me. Not that I missed those foods, but I just felt so, well, restricted. I think gluten-free grains are fine in moderation. I think the same could be said for lots of foods. 

I don't eat cake, donuts, bread, or other baked goods every day. Maybe once a week. I do, however, eat the frozen yogurt bars from Costco almost every day, so that's going to have to stop. I will go back to no soy/dairy/gluten/sugar/alcohol/caffeine starting September 1, so I will have some restrictions for sure, but just knowing that beans, regular potatoes, and oatmeal is OK makes me at peace with it all. ;)

Despite quitting Whole 30 at the end of June, we've still been enjoying some delicious, fresh, unprocessed or minimally-processed meals with a focus on seasonal produce. Here are some of our no-cook or minimally-cooked lunch and dinner favorites on rotation this summer: Gazpacho, Greek salad with grilled chicken, and pinto bean corn tostadas topped with sauteed cabbage and onion. For breakfast we've enjoyed Birchermuesli, bacon and sweet potato hash (I took this recipe and swapped out the apples for sweet peppers, but come fall I will use apples again), and celery root "hash browns." As for dessert, we've enjoyed lots of cantaloupe, honeydew, and piel de sapo melon! Yum!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Perfect White Shirt... Is Heather Grey

Back in this post I was on the hunt for the perfect white T-shirt. I went with the Ryan pocket tee by Everlane, and it's a pretty fabulous shirt. The drape is great. The shape, cut, fit -- all are great. I realized, however, that while in theory a great white T-shirt is essential to any wardrobe, in practice a white T-shirt is just not practical. Especially a white T-shirt when you have a blueberry-loving Hunter at home. Especially a white T-shirt that has to be HAND washed and LINE dried. (Beware of rayon and its need for actual hand washing and not the "hand wash" setting of the washing machine! By the way, I went with size S and probably should have got the XS -- it has a very loose fit!)

Then, I decided to try the U-neck shirt by Everlane in Heather Grey, and I hit the jackpot! It's made in LA of super soft pima cotton. The drape, shape, cut, fit are also all great! Machine washable and dryer-safe! Best of all, the darker flecks of grey kind of look like on-purpose grease stains, so when I get an actual grease stain on the shirt, it blends right in! Hurray! OK, so it's just a T-shirt, but it's exactly what I have been looking for in a white T-shirt. Versatile: dress up or down. It goes with everything. You may think a T-shirt is a T-shirt, but I think the Dolman sleeve and high-low hem length make this tee perfectly feminine while maintaining a relaxed fit.

Best of all, I am a big fan of what Everlane is doing, which I briefly mentioned here. Not an Everlane member? Join now!

P.S. After seeing this blogger's post (she's also a big fan of Everlane), now I want to try the box tee!
P.P.S. How do you like our avocado-green door? It's a new improvement, along with the many changes around here in the last couple of months. I've finally updated our house renovation blog, if you want to check it out!