Change is in the Air

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About a month ago I started blogging about making small changes weekly in order to become a healthier person over time. And look who’s biting my style this week!

This article really did have a lot of great ideas for making small healthy changes, which is apparently backed by research (Who’s a genius!?).

In my own healthy news, this week I did part two of something I have been avoiding for years.

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I slept in a tiny room while being filmed and monitored by a stranger…

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and hooked up to wires. It was a blast!

When I started talking about sincerely trying to be healthy a few months ago, M made me promise to talk to my doctor about my ungodly sleeping habits. Apparently, I kick, talk, scream, go long periods without  breathing and snore like an old man with a cold. Sexy!

My doctor referred me to a sleep specialist who referred me to a sleep lab and I suffered through sleep study #1.

It. was. awful. The night started with a stranger gluing sensors to my head,legs and neck while making me engage in small talk. It then dragged on with my waking up every hour and laying uncomfortably still so as to not dislocate any of the 2,000 wires attached to me for eight hours.

A month later the sleep specialist informed me of the results.

I snore like an old man with a cold.

I am getting half of the deep sleep that I should be getting.

My limbs move more than they should while I’m asleep; and when they do it wakes me up.

I don’t have sleep apnea but might have a deviated septum.

I had to get a second study done to see if a cpap machine would help.

The second study was last night. And… the hills are alive with the sound of music! I haven’t felt this rested in… ever. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be 98% more alert and productive than I have been for the past ten years. And all I need is air blown in my nose all night to get back to my old self! Now that I’ve found it I won’t let it go! Please, sleep specialist, please say I can have my very own CPAP!

I’ll keep you updated.

 

 

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What I’m Doing Here

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Rewind two years and four months. I was at the OBGYN five months pregnant. It had taken me two and a half years to get pregnant, two and a half of the hardest years of my life. Infertility is awful! I already loved this little being growing inside me and I just knew he was a boy. I could feel it.

At first he wouldn’t uncross his legs so that the ultrasound tech could confirm his gender. Then twenty minutes later he finally moved so that everyone could see. He was… a girl!

A girl?!

I like girls. I am one. I never didn’t want a girl.But I had never thought of myself as the mother of a girl. I was terrified, for reasons I didn’t really understand. Now, as the mother of an amazing, funny, strong, beautiful girl, I know a little more about those fears. How I got from there to here is connected but complicated. Here is my attempt to explain it:

I went on my first diet in third grade and struggled for the next twenty-six years with body image, weight and the idea of what it means to be healthy and/or pretty. Like many American women, my happiness, idea of beauty, body image and confidence were wrapped up with my female identity in such a tangled mess that I didn’t know if I would ever be able to see any of it clearly. What did it mean to be healthy- not just skinny (I spent a good fifteen years just working towards that), but really physically, emtionally, socially healthy? Was that even something I was capable of? I wasn’t (still am not most days) sure.

But now there is this little two year old carbon copy of me running around my house asking me things like “What’s that?” (boobs was the answer) and refusing to eat vegetables. I need to be able to show her an example of what healthy, happy, beautiful girls look like because I want her to have a fighting chance at being one. So I’m on a mission to become one myself.  I’m writing right out here on the internet because it forces me to be more reflective.

I’m a teacher by trade, something I love and have dedicated a large chunk of my life to. What I know from teaching is that you don’t have to have all the answers to start. My students ask me a new set of amazing, never-before-have-I- thought-about-that questions every week. What I know is that there is power in saying ‘I don’t know. How can we figure that out?’ So this blog is sortof a huge inquiry project. I have questions. Maybe some of my readers have the same questions. I know that reflecting and communicating are both really important to the learning process. So I hope the reflective journal that is my blog can get me (us if you want to come along for the ride) a little closer to some of the answers.

 

Getting out Much

I am a total hermit by nature. I love people. I love having new experiences. But my couch… its so comfortable.

These past few months in South Carolina, though, have even been too much for me. The “thousand year flood” seems to have kicked off a monsoon-style rainy season that has gone on now for three months. Mostly, we’re now the Northwest U.S., but less progressive and with (I imagine) a little less flannel.

We had to get out of the house today because I was going to start beating my head against a wall. And miracle of miracles! It wasn’t raining (cloudy and wet, yes, but no rain).

So we got lunch and headed to The State Museum.

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We watched Polar Express in the museum’s 4D theater. N was a trooper for the whole 15 minutes! It was really fun.

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We had some free time after Polar Express, so we were able to walk around and play a little.

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M is 6’5. So N gets an extra special view everywhere we go.

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Our last stop was at the museum’s planetarium for a holiday laser show. It was a little long and N started screaming about the potty half way through. So that was cool.

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Over all, today was a reminder of how much there is to do even on a cloudy, wet day and how important it is to get out there. This year I hope to make small changes to be the healthiest person I can be. I want to fight my hermit ways and remember, going places is good for you. ❤

 

In With the Good

So far I have added a prenatal vitamin (not pregnant, but hopefully within the year), Vitamin D, B12, fish oil, more vegetables and more fruit. The hardest thing to add was vegetables. But it is slowly becoming more of our normal life.

This is what N and I had this morning for breakfast.  (Spinach and sweet potates for breakfast- I’m such a grown up!) She prefers yogurt. But I’m really into it.
Good thing- because this recipe makes a ton. There is enough in the kitchen to last M and me three days and another week’s worth in the freezer!

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Dairy Free and 15 Meals in My Freezer

So far in this venture I have given up coffee, only to add it back the next week, and dairy. I know some people would argue that dairy is, in fact good for you. I am not interested in arguing. What I do know is that I have given up dairy twice in my life, once while I was vegan in my twenties and once when N was still nursing and had a cow’s milk intolerance. Both times  my skin and sinuses were clearer; and I felt overall better.

So I’m giving it a go again. Unlike when I was vegan, I don’t plan on dreaming about gelato at night (I literally did.) and constantly thinking about the the tablespoon of real cream I want to put in my coffee. If I really want it I’ll have it. But overall I’m going to try to cut it out. This, along with my plan to add more veggies , led me to Pinterest last night and the grocery store today where I got all of this edible goodness for just $210.

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I cooked for at least four hours. And now there are fifteen freezer meals in my freezer not counting the taco soup we had for dinner! I’ve only done freezer cooking one other time (when N was getting ready to make her world debut). It feels really really good to know that there is a freezer full of meals in my kitchen and that I won’t have to worry about cooking dinner for several weeks. I love that all of the meals are relatively goood for us too. That I saved a ton of money from buying in bulk and not letting anything go bad before I had a chance to cook it is an added bonus.

Here are the recipes I used. I doubled most of them to make two meals for the freezer.

Chicken Barbeque Roast

Red Beans and Rice

I used turkey instead of beef in the next three recipes.

Taco Soup

Chili

Sloppy Joes

Vegetable Soup

Red Lentil Curry

Cilantro Lime Chicken

I’ll let you know how they come out. ❤

 

Music Monday: Alabama Shakes

I’m a person who wakes up with a song in my head. When I was a kid, staying with my dad on the weekends, I spent hours going through his CDs: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, The Rolling Stones, The Temptations, and Otis Redding were the soundtracks of my childhood weekends. In my twenties I djed for my college radio station and became fascinated with female vocalists and the power behind voices like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lucinda Williams, Kathleen Hanna, Kimya Dawson, Jolie Holland and Wanda Jackson. Why was it so rare to hear such amazing stuff from ladies on the “real radio?” I  started an all female vocalists show with my roomie and spent all my free time looking for more musical sheroes to introduce to my listeners.

Those two periods still heavily influence my musical taste. So when my husband, who has a seriously enviable record collection and some of the best taste you’ve ever seen, said, ‘you’ve got to hear this’ a few years ago, I listened. And… yes! The Alabama Shakes are like everything I ever loved all thrown together. And its good. If you don’t know them you should take a listen. Good music is good for your heart.

 

 

Goal: Add More Veggies

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My goal for last week was to add more vegetables to my diet. Now I’m going to whine. It is really hard, like I’d rather just give up all carbs and call it a day hard. Its hard because M and N don’t like vegetables at all. And its hard because it takes planning and cooking. I love planning in theory (year long list of small healthy habits planned out in advance anyone?).

But in reality, my house is a mess, I have a class full of 27 pre-Christmas fourth graders, 1,000 calls to make, a toddler to raise, a husband to hang out with, lessons to plan and I need at least an hour a day to watch my latest bad science fiction show on Netflix. Woe is me. I don’t have time to make kitten shaped veggie nuggets from scratch that N may or may not spit right back into her plate like a little savage.

So yeah, it didn’t go that well last week. The victories of the week were discovering a decent bottled veggie smoothie at the 24 hour Kroger on my way to work and making an edible last minute stir-fry that N refused to eat. I’m not giving up though! I’m not giving in. Here are some recipes I plan to make this week brought to you by Pinterest. I’m leaning heavy into the freezer meals and crock pot cooking because I have a hunch they could be my saving grace.

Pinterest Inspiration One

Pinterest Inspiration Two

Pinterest Inspiration Three

Wish me luck!

Music Monday: Woody Guthrie

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Years ago, before I ever thought about my own small changes I found this list of Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions on yum-and-yuck.blogspot.com. Not suprisingly, they’re spot on. And now for Music Monday, here is one of my all-time Woody Guthrie favorites performed by Wilco and Billy Bragg on Mermaid Avenue Vol. II. This song does not get old. ❤