What I would like to tell my daughter.

I am a mother to two ridiculously handsome boys. I am not currently pregnant…that I know of, and my husband and I aren’t planning on trying for another baby for at least a year. I sincerely have no desire to rush our next pregnancy. I mean, it would be lovely to not rent my body out to another human-being for a while, no matter how awesome of a Property Manager I may be. That being said, I would absolutely LOVE to have a daughter.

After sharing my testimony a few weeks ago (found here), I have been getting hit with waves of shame. Shame, you might ask? Yes…shame over my life prior to beginning my walk with Christ. I will catch a glimpse of a photo, stumble across a note, or hear an old song – suddenly, I am transported back to a time when I once lived a life based on doing what made me feel good, instead of what was right. Before I travel too far, I am interrupted by Noah running through the living room with a towel over his head or Emmett spitting up on my shirt. My train of thought then takes a turn down a different path, and I start thinking about my children and the kind of lives that they will lead. I think about whether Noah will want to play in the NFL or be a professional golfer, and if Emmett will decide to be President or a physician (I clearly have high aspirations for my children), and then I start to wonder about our fictitious daughter. Who will she be? How will her life story go?

Five minutes into this trail of thought, I start to feel a pit in my stomach. Mostly, because I remember who I used to be. I work over in my mind what I would like to tell her, in hopes that she takes my advice and avoids similar missteps – and because I seem to still suffer from pregnancy brain, I better write it down.

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GIVEAWAY and Outcome: The Whole30 Took More From Me Than Weight

A little over 30 days ago, my charming significant other decided that we would spend the month of August doing the Whole30. I  honestly thought he had quite possibly lost his mind. I mean, who voluntarily removes sugar, dairy, and wheat from their diet?? Not this broad. I never would have sought out this lifestyle change on my own; and while I had no intention of admitting this, I’m grateful my husband pulled me down this radical food journey.

When we started this experiment, I was a little over four months postpartum with our second son, and had about five pounds to lose in order for me to be at pre-baby weight from both pregnancies. If you have been following along over the last month, then you know I posted my starting health status from my first day on the program (found here). At the time, I had every intention of posting my “after” health stats, because I am sure you are probably wanting to know if it’s really worth giving up 30 valuable days of your life – but I’m not going to. Instead of telling you how much weight I have lost, I’ve decided to share with you what the Whole30 has taken from me.

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Bye Bye Baby Weight, Hello Whole30: Have you lost weight?

I have got to be honest, I don’t think there is anything better than someone asking if you have lost weight. This week, my priceless mommy life saver in human form, otherwise known as Olivia – my cleaning lady (I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I have a cleaning lady, but mama’s gotta mom) – asked me if I had lost weight. I could have called it a day after that! It didn’t matter that I still had errands to run, or that I hadn’t showered…in a couple of days…my day was officially made.

While I don’t see any real “weight loss” when I look in the mirror, the scale has reflected otherwise. So, just for kicks, I tried on my previously snug jeans (as mentioned here) to see how they fit. Well wouldn’t you know, they weren’t hugging my bum like a piece of saran wrap anymore; and I actually had room in the waist. #winning

I hate admitting it, but my husband might be on to something here. Over the last three weeks, I have officially become a believer in the Whole30. Now don’t get it twisted, I am still going to be adding sugar and creamer to my coffee when this is all over; but I am forever a changed woman. I mean, I don’t even recognize myself. Physically, I do, I still have the same chubby post-pregnancy face – but habitually…completely different. Let me give you an example: As I was out at my beloved Target earlier this week, I thought, “Oh, I am totally going to buy some cookie dough to celebrate with when we complete this foodie revolution!” Normally, I would choose my cookies based on whichever photo made my mouth water; but that day, I did something entirely unfamiliar…I read the ingredients. There were probably twenty-plus ingredients listed out on the package, and the first three were all sugar related. Want to know what I did next? I put it back. (insert gasp here) 

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Amber, B.C.

Some of you may have had the opportunity of knowing the “old” me. When I am flipping through my scrapbooks, I catch a glimpse of her. I was the girl in college who went to every party, drove down one too many backroads, drank a few too many cocktails, and went wherever my gypsy soul desired. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less – I was having a blast. The “old” me was wild, spontaneous, somewhat crass, and a little self-centered (I may be putting that mildly).

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(I mean, quite possibly my best Halloween costume yet. VH1 television stars. Hulk Hogan and Flava Flav.)

I like to refer to this version of myself as, Amber B.C.

After college, I thought I had my act together. I got a full-time job, was paying my own bills, and moved into an apartment with my boyfriend (who is now my husband). We fought, frequently, and butted heads on most things, but we were completely enamored by one another. We worked and worked and worked. Yet, we were never satisfied; never truly happy.

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Dear Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

My darling Mickey, over our time together, I would like to think that we have developed a mutual friendship. I allow you the privilege of spending time with my children every morning, giving you permission to mold their brains in to magical awesomeness; in exchange, you grant me 30 minutes to consume my coffee while it’s still hot and a chance to prepare breakfast without a meltdown. I have honestly become quite fond of this daily ritual we have created.

My oldest, as you may know by now, asks for you by name, every morning without fail. He requests your presences in our home before he even considers getting his sippy cup of milk. My youngest, well, he doesn’t take his eyes off of you during tummy time; heck, even I do the hot dog dance occasionally!

I appreciate the way you take the time to include colors, numbers, and shapes during your brief visits; and I especially enjoy the ease at which you are able to drop a rhyme. You have taught my offspring the kindness of lending a hand to others, the value of teamwork, and most importantly, how to solve problems by using their MacGyver skills with household objects. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you, if you don’t shape up, we won’t be able to proceed with this little love affair much longer. If this relationship is something that you would like to continue, then I must highly encourage you to consider my following list of needs.

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Bye Bye Baby Weight, Hello Whole30: Tiger What?

It’s day 17. According to my handy Whole30 guide, I am transitioning into the “Tiger Blood” phase. This is apparently the “peak” of my foodie adventure (we shall see about that). Although, I would consider the “peak”, when I get to add sugar back to my coffee. Supposedly, during this phase, I should feel more energy, cheerful, even unstoppable! I’ll take that; as a mommy, I wouldn’t mind having an unlimited supply of unstoppableness (I just made that word up). This week however, the only thing my heart desires, is to lay on the couch under a pile of blankets with a Harry Potter marathon on the tube (I’ll blame the weather).

Besides my lack of energy, I will say that I am feeling more confident in my post-two-baby bod! I don’t know if I will ever look exactly the same (I think my face will now always have certain chub to it), but it is starting to look pretty darn good, considering it has practically been through war (aka pregnancy). Another plus, I’m down a total of three pounds and officially under my pre-Emmett weight. I will take that all day long!

In regards to food, I am officially over it. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy having fresh, organic foods for our meals – that part is fabulous, and I plan to continue that aspect after our thirty days is over. The part I’m over, is not being able to grab a granola bar in the morning when I’m in a rush or a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Better yet, a glass of wine once I have put our sweet babes to bed at night!

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8 Reasons Why I Need Brain Camp

I used to consider myself somewhat intellectual. Not a genius, by any means, but I was at least capable of carrying on a conversation without using words like “tinkle” and “owie”. Then, I decided to procreate.

Unless you have been living in a deep, dark, dank hole, I shouldn’t have to tell you there is such a thing as “pregnancy brain”. Chances are, if you know someone who is or has been pregnant, you’ve had a run in with this unfortunate condition. If you are somehow unfamiliar with what pregnancy brain is, please refer to Urban Dictionary by clicking here.

I thought once my tiny humans vacated my warm and toasty womb, this symptom of pregnancy would also leave me. I was sorely mistaken. Since producing my offspring, I can literally feel my brain turning to mush. So much so, that I have decided that I need to attend Brain Camp. You might find yourself asking, “What is Brain Camp?” Well, if you have ever seen the movie ‘The Other Woman’, Leslie Mann paints the perfect picture of Brain Camp: “Where they make you do exercises for your brain. You know, when people have lazy eyes go and get their eyes worked out, so they don’t have to wear glasses anymore. They should have that for your brain. Like a brain camp. Oh, really, you can go, and lay on the beach and get a tan and drink ginkgo balboa all day and then you come back and you’re super smart.” 

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Bye Bye Baby Weight, Hello Whole30: Did I just cheat?

With week one officially in my sugar-free rear view mirror, this foodie adventure is becoming slightly less torturous with each passing day. Although, I might be a little more cheerful if I could only have my regular sugar and cream filled coffee back.

The Whole30 did not lie when they said we were about to enter the “kill all the things” phase. This past weekend, I noticed my dear husband and I were a bit more “nitpicky”, if you will. While we try to do our best to keep a level head with one another, the past couple of days were nothing short of a few good snaps here and there. Considering that we are both currently trying to slay our rather large sugar dragon, I’ll let it slide.

Since we are a week and a half in, I am breaking the rules of ‘step five’. I am going to share an update on my health status facts after completing one week on the program. (You can find my stats from day one here.)

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Whole30 Approved Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers

When I whipped this recipe up the other night, I did not predict that it was going to be quite so tasty. Had I have known that I would be adding this to the recipe rotation in our house, I would have documented the process accordingly. So please forgive my lack of photographs, and simply rejoice in the fact that you now have access to this mouth-watering dinner!

*This is a pretty “hands on” recipe, therefore, I do not recommend you putting this together on night when you need a quick fix, or are about to eat your arm off due to hunger. 

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Blogging and Jesus. Never thought I would say that.

When I reentered the blogging world, the idea sprang from a dear friend of mine, suggesting that I share my baking endeavors with the world wide web. At the time, I was searching for anything to fulfill my urgent need to reclaim some sort of identity outside of being a mommy. Blogging seemed like the perfect outlet; and since I was already baking multiple times a week, why not put my laboring over scrumptious desserts in to print?

Truthfully, I wasn’t anticipating on this turning in to an opportunity to share my testimony and journey with Christ. It wasn’t even until a few weeks after my first post, that I recalled a prophesy that was spoken over my life a few years ago; and I have decided to step out in faith on it.

In 2012, I was working at a financial agency in Downtown Fort Worth. During my time with the company, a small group of us put together a weekly Bible study where we would all meet in the company’s conference room before the work day started. As I have mentioned before, I usually always have a journal handy. At the time, I carried around a specific journal with me daily, accompanied with a book and my new Bible. I would like to say that I can recall the specific date that this occurred, but to be honest, I can’t. I only remember the events.

One morning, after our Bible study had concluded, I proceeded to my desk with my belongings – journal in hand. As I was getting my area prepared for the day’s workload, a fellow coworker approached my desk. It was an individual that had also been attending our weekly studies; someone who was much further along in their walk with Christ than I was. This particular person didn’t know me in-depth. We had conversed on many different occasions, but just ask the people closest to me, I am not the easiest person to get to know. I tend to keep to myself, in regards to personal details. The only reason why my best friend is my best friend, is because she practically forced her friendship on me (just kidding – but seriously). So when he opened his mouth to address me, I was in no way prepared for what he was about to share.

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