Saturday, November 30, 2013

The W. Family | State Capitol Gardens | Baton Rouge, LA

Well, I have been doing photo shoots like crazy & forgetting to post them here! Oops. :)

I'm going backwards a bit. To the W family. Brittany & Justin were referred to me by a good friend of mine. I am so glad I got to do their family pics; they were really nice & fun! Their daughter, Rayleigh, is 6 months old... so petite & sweet!

We took these pics in the spot I tend to use most for photo shoots. Downtown Baton Rouge at the State Capitol gardens.


 




And a few of the cutie pie by herself. :)




Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Day.

I have not posted in awhile! Sorry about that. I need to get back to some regular blogging. :)

This is my most favorite time of year. November is my favorite month, and December is my second favorite. This whole season is the best! Last week it got pretty cold here ... down to the thirties (that is FREEZING in south Louisiana, people!). One day i left work and it was raining & windy & COLD, and i had a gigantic grin on my face. I love it. Not necessarily the cold rain, but the cold. And the whole season.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving (duh) & can you believe, i didn't take any pictures? Okay, i took exactly ONE picture with my phone, want to see?


There ya go. Exciting, right?

I was okay with not having the camera strapped to me for one event. Besides, where we had Thanksgiving yesterday, they're not the most happy-to-smile-for-a-picture people in the world. I mean they would have obliged, surely, but they wouldn't be sad if i didn't take pics either! (Note: I will regret this when i get back to working on my 2013 photo book!)

Yesterday's mishap was pretty great. I make Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving, Christmas, even family reunions - everyone thinks i make it the best & they always request - no, DEMAND! - that i am the one to make it (if only they knew...it's literally the easiest recipe EVER).  So i had finished baking snickerdoodles yesterday when i got to working on the Green Bean Casserole. I was mixing it all together & thinking, "Gosh, i've made this stuff so many times, i could probably do it in my sleep!"

30 minutes later (& we have gone from taking our sweet time getting ready to rushing around like crazy people), i run to take the casserole out of the oven & ... it kind of looked ... COLD. Yeah. I glance at the oven & - it was OFF. OFF! I didn't turn it ON! ACK! SO, back in the oven it went! Ha! (It made us late, but not TOO late, thankfully! Just about 15 minutes late!)

Ah... Memories. :)

Chris, Brad's cousin, started a tradition last year of going around the room & saying what we are thankful for. Last year was the first year we did it. We all gather to bless the meal before eating & that is when we do it. I have to say it is so special. Everyone - even those who are normally GOOFY (like me, for example - ha!) - gets serious for a moment & says what they are thankful for that year. And... it's not silly stuff like "my iPhone". It's typical stuff like "family & friends" but a lot of people also say what they are TRULY thankful for. I said i was thankful for Brad, for five wonderful years of marriage, and for my faith. I explained that through some tough times this year (read: Infertility, but i didn't say that - most of them don't know about that!) I have actually grown closer to God & for that i am thankful. That is the kind of stuff people shared. And it was moving, to hear people get real & say what God has done for them this year.

The food yesterday was PHENOMINAL. (No, i didn't eat paleo. I wasn't planning on it. But I have been struggling with getting back on it, since being done with Whole30, if I'm honest! More about that later!) Ham, Turkey, Dressing (my FAVE!), Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Rolls, Fruit Salad, brownies, snickerdoodles, pecan pie, & Louisiana satsumas off of Uncle Kenny's satsuma tree. Ha! This must be a tradition because we had satsumas last year. ;) They are the BEST ones I've ever tasted.

We stayed awhile & visited, and then headed to my sister-in-law's BRAND NEW HOME to check it out. It is GORGEOUS!!! Love the layout, the cabinets, the STORAGE (a dream!), the master bathroom, the closets, the windows! It's a cute little house & I want one just like it so bad! Haha! (One day!) But i am truly happy for her. She moves in next weekend!!

Then we all went to the in-laws for some coffee & cookies (like i needed THAT!). Had a great time.

So we are off of work today - YAY! I am NOT a black friday shopper - or an anytime shopper, really. Ha! I do have to do some shopping soon for a 6-year old little girl. My friend got a list of names of kids who are affected by cancer - either the child has cancer or their mom or dad does. I "adopted" a 6 year old girl & have to buy her some Christmas presents. So far i got a Hello Kitty shirt & a barbie coloring book. But I need help, people!! Any ideas for a toy for a 6 year old girl?! They said she is girly. So that's all I've got! Ha!

Have fun today!! I will be at home, listening to Christmas music & decorating for Christmas. And i REALLY want to rearrange the living room furniture. We will see if that happens! 

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! :)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kisses from Katie {an excerpt}

When I was 19 I went on a missions trip to the country of Panama. We spent a week in training, a week in Panama City, a week in the villages, and a week in the Darien Jungle. I slept on a dirt floor that was basically outside (had one wall & a roof). We woke up to little children peering at us through our mosquito netting, on their way to school. We bathed in the river. We washed our hands & brushed our teeth with bottled water. We hunted, killed, cooked & ate our own alligator. We told the truth of Jesus & His love through interpreters. It was an amazing trip. Life altering. 

My husband spent several summers in Mexico as a teenager. "Go on a missions trip with Brad" is on my mental bucket list. I just think it would be awesome to experience that with him by my side.

All of that said, I have never particularly felt "called" to overseas missions. I believe everyone should at least consider going on a missions trip. I want my children to do it. It changes your life. But i have always felt just as called to doing missions work here, where i live.

I came across the book Kisses from Katie, but saw it was about missions, and that just isn't a subject that would normally get me to pick up a copy. However, one day in Barnes & Noble I did pick it up & start reading... and found that i really didn't want to put it down. I am more than halfway through it now & constantly wish i had a highlighter with me! It is so good! (And definitely wants me to get back to doing some missions work!)

I feel compelled today to write here what she wrote in her own journal about the saying "God will never give you more than you can handle." It is the BEST & TRUEST explanation of the phrase, in my opinion. I definitely relate this to what i am going through with infertility, but I believe any of us could relate it to any major struggle we are facing.

ONE DAY
by Katie Davis

"Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle." 

People repeat this frequently. I heard it when i was growing up and i hear it now. It is meant to be a source of encouragement, and it would be if i believed it were true. But i don't. 

I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him & He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.

This past year, God has given me 8 more children than I can handle. He has given me an impossible number of dollars to raise to meet this need that He placed on my heart. He has asked me to do things I thought would surely break me.

God gave me a family and a home that I didn't expect, and once I had completely fallen in love with them, I had to leave. I thought these four long months apart from my children would certainly be impossible to bear, and while they have at times been excruciating, they have been blessed and even beneficial. And in just a few short days they will be over! I will be reunited with my darling family; we did it! 

During these four months, friendships that I could not have imagined have developed. I have been loved and served and helped by the most wonderful people. I have grown and fallen even deeper in love with my Savior. And we have raised money needed for the coming year. 

I have learned to accept it, even ask for it, this "more than i can handle". Because in these times, God shows Himself victorious. He reminds me that all of this life requires more of Him & less of me. God does give us more than we can handle. Not maliciously, but intentionally, in love, that His glory may be displayed, that we may have no doubt of who is in control, that people may see His grace and faithfulness shining through our lives. 

And as I surrender these situations to Him, watch Him take over & do the impossible, I am filled with joy & peace - so much more than I can handle."    

Monday, November 18, 2013

Life Updates


TODAY
I was off work today; I always take an extra day off after a roadtrip or vacation. So we came back yesterday, but i still had off today. (Brad has off tomorrow too! UNFAIR!) We have had a lovely little day together. I did tons of laundry, including sheets & blankets, and I also cooked a good breakfast & cleaned the kitchen. Other than that, i have sat on my butt! Haha! Here is what I have done (the sitting on my butt part):

-a lot of facebook/pinterest/blog-reading
-look at the iphone 5s & upgrade possibilities for me!
-NO EDITING (I am caught up!!)
-watched the latest episode of my three shows: Parenthood, Law & Order SVU, & Grey's Anatomy (in that order).
-Ordered our Christmas Cards from Tiny Prints! 
-Updated/edited our Christmas card list.
-Made a grocery shopping list.

Tomorrow I go back to work, and I am sad about it. But next week we are off two days for Thanksgiving! (This is why i love November. We always have a day or two off for our anniversary...the following week we sometimes still have another day off for our anniversary (ie, today)...the week after THAT we have 2 days off for Thanksgiving! See how that works? And then Christmas is right around the corner!)

HEALTH
Um. We totally let ourselves go this weekend. Yes, we were on our anniversary trip & gave ourselves permission to eat whatever our little hearts desired, BUT perhaps we should have allowed whatever we wanted for A meal or A day. The entire weekend?! Gah! I came home & stepped on the scale, and I'm sad to say i have gained. But it's okay. Back on it today! And i know it is the right way for me to eat, it is what works & it is possible to do it long-term (with occasional treats, which i am okay with still. Just not constantly for an entire weekend! Ha!).

PHOTOGRAPHY
I am caught up on editing! Not for long, though! Let's see... I have 5 shoots this weekend, 3 shoots the following weekend, 2 shoots the weekend after that, & 1 shoot the weekend after that! I have actually had to turn people away, because i only shoot on weekends & i am pretty much booked! This is something to be very thankful for, and I am, but i just can't add another one to the mix! (These shoots are in addition to other celebrations & obligations!) Crazy.

READING
If you have not read Kisses from Katie, you MUST. The end. SO GOOD, Y'ALL! (Still reading it, but oh my goodness.) 

THEATRE
I was asked to run sound for the theatre's production of A Christmas Carol this December. It's a paying gig, and will pay a large chunk of my next fertility treatment, so i am very thankful. (This photography money will go towards that, too.)

Speaking of...

INFERTILITY
...it sucks. I mean, there is really nothing else to say about it.

I guess there is a LOT more to say. My last cycle was also my first fertility treatment. I know I mentioned to you that we did clomid. Well, we also did an IUI, which was recommended by my doctor. It didn't work. I was really hopeful and really getting excited, but... in the end? It didn't work. It really blows my mind, that they can take SEVEN MILLION SPERM & put them RIGHT where they need to go, and not ONE of them make a baby. Not to mention i had really nice size follicles! Ughhhhh! So frustrating & heart wrenching. The pain that i feel at times over this is unbearable.

But God is faithful, and answered some of the little prayers I had. My ultimate prayer was for a baby, obviously, and that was not granted. He has his reasons, and i do not understand them AT ALL, but i still trust Him & believe that ultimately He knows best. I have to say that not yesterday, but the Sunday before, I had to lead worship at my church. (FYI: I am not a seasoned worship leader... the only other time i did it was with 2 songs a year ago. I was asked to do it because our worship leader was out of town.) That Sunday was also Day 29 of my cycle. I was praying that if my period was coming it would NOT come until after leading worship, i just didn't know how i would emotionally handle it, and being on stage leading worship at that time would not have been good. Well, guess when i started my period? About 3 hours after leading worship. (You would think i would not be thankful for a period, but if i am not pregnant, then i would just rather it go ahead & start so we can move on to the next cycle! So, yes, this was an answer to prayer.)

Another thing... I woke up on Day 25 of my cycle with a HEAVINESS over me. It was fear. I literally FELT fear all over me, i was panicked & anxious & afraid. I woke up in fear that the IUI failed & i crumbled. I cried & grieved when I did not even know if it had failed yet! I was in so much distress that i actually emailed Beth, my support group leader, & told her to please pray for me. She sent me SUCH encouragement that was like a balm to my soul. She said she would pray that the peace of God would surround me all day. She told me the verse, "He will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is on You, because he trusts in You." (my paraphrase) & I said it to myself ALL DAY. I also had the bridge to Kari Jobe's song "healer" stuck in my head (from leading it in worship), and kept singing just the bridge all day, "Nothing is impossible for You, nothing is impossible!"

His peace DEFINITELY came in & surrounded my heart. It was such a dramatic difference from when i woke up, that i cannot attribute it to anything except Him answering my prayers. To me, it was a reminder that He is involved in my story, even if it has not yet turned out the way i want it to.

Infertility SUCKS. Did i mention that?

I called my doctor to let her know that the IUI didn't work, and to have us begin the process of IUI #2. But she had something else in mind. She is referring me to Dr. Webster, a well known & loved RE here. I actually had to walk out of my workplace, sit in the parking lot & cry. I was completely overwhelmed. I knew that eventually my doctor would refer me to him, but i didn't think it would be quite yet! i love my doctor so much & feel like she showed SUCH care for me during my IUI that i really have no desire to go to a specialist, EVEN THOUGH i know it is the best thing. She assured me once he got me pregnant, i could come back to her. And that he is a specialist, they would hate to see me spend more money with them when i would more than likely have much better results with Webster. I talked to some friends who have been or are patients of his, and i talked to my husband, and felt a lot better. It will be okay.

My appointment is on December 2nd. This means that the cycle i am currently in will not have fertility treatments (other than clomid), and i am a little saddened by that. But it will give us some time to save some more money. Blah.

So that is the update, and i really appreciate any prayers you would like to send to the Father on my behalf! (Thoughts are nice too, but there is nothing like the power of prayer.)

P.S. While you are praying, please lift up these other girls i know who are battling infertility. Some in blog-land, and some not. Here are their names: Erika, Aubrey, Jessah, Lindsay, Monika, Mary Claire, Emily, Jenni, Danica, Shelley, & Lauren. 

*   *   *   *   *   *

love y'all.

Our Weekend Getaway

We had a wonderful weekend in the little town of Franklin, Louisiana.


We left Thursday morning, which was our actual anniversary. We took the dog to my parents, stopped by a friend's house for a few things & then headed to breakfast at one of our favorites, Another Broken Egg. This was our first "treat" after Whole30, and we had already decided we were okay with eating NON-paleo things this weekend. And boy, did we go off paleo. DANG. I actually WANT to get back on track... i feel kind of disgusting.

So that was your warning. We ate JUNK. It was worth it. Or it will be, if we can get back on track! (We WILL. At least, I will! And he better! Haha!)

I got the Popeye's Scramble (scrambled eggs with bacon, spinach & monterrey jack cheese), which isn't the worst thing in the world, but it is served with potatoes!

I also REALLY wanted some hot chocolate. It was AMAZING.



And then our waitress gave us a free cinnamon roll, for our anniversary, which Brad said might be the best he's ever had. AMAZING. And as sinful as it looks.


And then we were on our way to Franklin!! :)


By some miracle, we did NOT get sick off the hot chocolate or cinnamon roll... not yet, anyway. Ha!

We got to Franklin around 2, and I really loved the place. Normally I would have picked a Bed & Breakfast in St. Francisville or Natchitoches, two cities in Louisiana known for their quaint B&B's, pretty scenery, and cute shops & restaurants. I chose this one because it was a really good deal on Groupon, and had excellent reviews.



I was really pleased with our room... I realize some of you actually HAVE rooms like this EVERYDAY (I'm not jealous or anything), but it was something special to us. :) The bed was VERY cozy, and the wood floors. I love the wood floors.




The bathroom was my favorite...specifically the bathTUB! Haha! I love hot baths... it's my favorite way to relax or unwind. And i rarely take showers. This is EXACTLY the tub i want! I enjoyed it immensely the entire weekend. Haha.


The front porch ranked right up there with that bathtub. Haha. We spent a lot of time there! The weather was PERFECT. In the 60's or 70's. Just a cool breeze, no humidity (until yesterday - which was fine because we were leaving), perfect for sitting on the porch all day long if we wanted!




The owner, Cheryl, was so sweet & hospitable. I loved that we didn't have to be downstairs for breakfast at a certain time, it could be 6 am or noon, it didn't matter. (It was typically 8 or 8:30 for us. We would get up early, I would take a bath, & Brad would go downstairs & get us coffee. Then we'd spend a little time on the porch, sipping coffee & reading. And then we would finally head down for breakfast!)

Breakfast was WONDERFUL.


 This was phenominal. Called Grillades & Grits, a southern dish, and it was DIVINE.

On Friday afternoon, some people came to the bed & breakfast & it got REALLY loud. I saw 5 children on the front lawn, ages 15 or so months up to about 10. I thought, OH GREAT! I mean, we have neighbor kids that are REALLY loud all the time & we never complain, but i kind of wanted a quiet weekend at the B&B. We eventually decided to head out for a few hours, and as we walked downstairs & out the front door, we saw two rooms were occupied - full of ladies curling hair, applying makeup, etc. It was clearly a wedding party getting ready for a wedding, and that's why there were 5 excited children there! :)


When we came back, they were still getting ready, except now some men had come to join them. Obviously they were at the B&B just for getting ready & pictures. Brad & I went back upstairs to our spot on the front porch. I kept peeking down to see men or little boys in really nice brown suits. Eventually i saw some ladies in bridesmaids dresses. And then i heard someone ordering people around (the photographer). ;) When i heard her order everyone to the back of the house, i looked down & saw the GROOM standing on the front steps with his hands behind his back, waiting... anyone guess what he was waiting on?!! I tapped Brad excitedly & said, "They're doing a First Look! They're doing a First Look!!!!!" Hahaha! They had NO idea we were up there, so we got to witness the bride tiptoe out of the B&B and cover his eyes from behind. And then him turn around & see her for the first time.

Then we quickly ran inside so they could have their private moment! Haha! But it was really fun to get to see!

Funny story... the B&B owner has two cats, Misty & Pebbles. Pebbles was beautiful, but to herself, and left us alone. Misty is quite mischievous! :) She hopped right in my trunk when we first arrived! Well, turns out she hopped on the back of the wedding party's limo & road with them on the top of it all the way to Centreville (about a half hour away!). The limo driver called the B&B & she had to drive out to Centreville to get the silly cat!! Well, guess what? As we were packing to leave, she came & plopped herself right on top of my car, right after we had finished loading up! Letting it be known that she would be joining us back to Baton Rouge!


Anyway, on Saturday we decided to get out & explore Morgan City, which is about a 20 minute drive from Franklin. We found 2 cute little shops that we visited, and an adorable coffee shop. And we walked along the boardwalk.




We drove around looking for a cute local place to eat, and found NOTHING. We had heard there were four nice restaurants inside the casino in Franklin, so we headed back to Franklin. Well, let's just say almost as soon as we walked in, we walked back out, the cigarette smoke in there was SO STRONG that it made me & Brad both sick almost instantly (headaches & nausea). DISGUSTING. (Both of us have eaten in a casino in Baton Rouge once before, years ago, but there the restaurants were so separate from the actual gambling/smoking, and it was very clean and smelled fine! Apparently not all casinos are like that! Haha!) We left & continued looking for somewhere else to eat. The neat  places in our brochure were either out of business or closed early on Saturdays. We ended up BACK at The Forest Restaurant, and I was not a happy camper! I wanted cute! And special! And different! But Franklin is full of fast food. Blah. Anyway, the Forest Restaurant has kind of ugly decor, but at least the food was good!

We LOVED the Bed & Breakfast itself... mainly because of the owner, her breakfasts, the beautiful bathtub!, and the porch. The Fairfax House is NICE! But in the future, I would probably choose a B&B in a different city. Still, we had a wonderfully relaxing getaway!


We finally made it home yesterday & I have another day off before I go back to work. :) Have really enjoyed this weekend!

Reunited & it feels so good! ;)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 years!

As you are reading this I am eating breakfast or driving down the interstate, or just discovering a beautiful bed & breakfast, or exploring a new town, or kissing my man...

Today is our 5th anniversary. And we are celebrating by spending a weekend AWAY. Just the two of us. For 3 nights. Ahhhhh.

(Side Note: Check out the "our love story" tab up at the top! Our story in 4 parts, plus some posts on marriage I have written over the years!) :)

I am so in love with him. Our love grows stronger every year. I am absolutely blessed & incredibly thankful that I have this man beside me for the rest of our lives.

He is so sweet. And kind. And hilarious.

I really really love him. And like him. A LOT. In case you never noticed.

How about a little trip down memory lane? :)

{THEN}

Right before the kiss :) 






{& NOW}





Here's to us, and many more. It just gets better & better. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whole30: Day 31!!!!!!

I have been waiting to post this all day. Instead, I have posted various things on Facebook & Twitter & Instagram, because those are all quick little things, but i FINALLY am able to sit down & blog about it!

In case you don't follow me on any other social site, you do not know my exciting news.

Just to remind you, you aren't supposed to weigh during whole30. So i didn't. I am typically an everyday weigher, i just am. Or at least weekly. But i wanted to follow their protocol 100%, just for the 30 days. 

I have to tell you... I didn't expect a TON of weightloss from Whole30. In the beginning I hoped I would lose 8 or 10 pounds, which isn't unreasonable, but for me it seemed like a lot. 5 or 6 in a month is the most I have EVER lost on ANY program (even Ideal Protein, where so many drop tons of weight). And even 5 or 6 in a month has been rare. I began the program, and my clothes started feeling loose during Week 2. I was pretty excited about that.

During the third & fourth weeks, though, I really didn't feel like I had lost that much. My pants were bigger, but not enough to drop down a size (this might be because of my wide hips...haha...but really). Also, there are SO MANY testimonials of people who have gotten rid of their allergies or skin problems or diabetes or high blood pressure doing Whole30... but my allergies & skin issues show NO signs of going away, and that was a little disappointing to me. I have to be honest & say that I started to hear the lie in my head, "Nothing works for you. You might as well realize right now that even with THIS program, you are ALWAYS going to struggle with your weight." I never for one second considered quitting, but I did come to the conclusion that the weightloss may still be slow for me, and that the other issues would EVENTUALLY go away... even if not in the initial 30 days. And I was okay with that.

All of that to say... my expectations were EXCEEDED. Ha!

When i stepped on the scale at the end of this program, I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES!

If you read my weightloss blog, you KNOW that i have tried for YEARS just to get under 250! My weight has gone up & down & up & down & up & down for MONTHS (years, really).

Well, I'm there. In one month.

I never thought I would actually post my weight here, but i mean. You know I'm fat. Come on. If i posted it on my weightloss blog, which was also a public blog, why not this one? Right? Let me just quit going on & on, and get to the point.

16 pounds. SIXTEEN POUNDS, people.

SIXTEEN POUNDS IN ONE MONTH! 

Holy crap! (And by the way, my friend Ashley who joined me in this lost 13 pounds, and Brad lost 10!)

Was this month of no dairy, no sugar, no grains worth it? A resounding ABSOLUTELY!

I was 259.8 when i started this on October 14th.

Today I am 243.8 - AMAZING!

A lot of people who do whole30 & post their results, talk about how funny it is that weightloss is not the first thing they mention. It's always, they sleep better, they have more energy, their blood pressure is normal again (all of these true for me, by the way). But i DO want to talk about my weightloss first, because it is my biggest issue. It has ALWAYS been my struggle, my problem.  It's always been that THING that i can't seem to beat. EVER. So, yes, the weightloss is the biggest thing for me. It is the biggest miracle. Not just the loss. But that i actually stuck to this 100% the entire time (minus that one protein drink on day 28!).

I am ECSTATIC.
Thrilled.
OVERJOYED!
Grateful.

It's funny. I led praise & worship at my church last weekend because our worship leader was on vacation. I led the congregation in "Healer" by Kari Jobe, which has a bridge that just says, "Nothing is impossible for You, nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible for you, You hold the world in your hands!" & is repeated. Ever since i led that song, that bridge is on repeat in my head ALL THE TIME. In the morning when i wake up, it is in my head. In the bathtub. As i get ready for work. ALL THE TIME. "Nothing is impossible for you, nothing is impossible!" About whole30. About weightloss. About infertility. It just stays on repeat & doesn't leave my brain. Nothing is impossible for You, God. NOTHING! So thankful to Him who helped me finish this whole30 thing, who is helping me to stick to it! He is faithful!

How has Day 31 been? Well, I've had coffee with a little cream & a little sugar. Brad makes it for me, and he said he cut it by more than half of what i used to put in it. And honestly, I don't want that in it, but it's all we have, and i really didn't want it black today. As soon as i can, i'm going to get some more coconut milk & have that in it again. :)

Other than that? I have stayed on the Whole30 plan! Is that bizarre or what? I mean, i TOTALLY planned on stopping at the cafe at my work to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. That was the #1 thing on my list to do after this challenge ended! But i didn't do it. I just didn't really want one. At lunch, i went to "chef's table" where they always serve healthier foods. They had these GIANT delicious looking meatballs with marinara & pasta & a salad. She kept putting that pasta on my plate until i finally said, "That's really enough pasta!" LOL! It smelled DIVINE! But guess what? I ate the salad & meatball & one bite of the pasta. But that was it. I didn't want it anymore.

And the real kicker????? Around 3 in the afternoon, when i used to have the WORST sweet cravings (& would often head to the cafe at work for a cookie or the gift shop for some M&M's), a coworker said, "There's some cake back there if you want some!" And i just... didn't. At all. She brought a piece out later for my coworker & i said, "Let me see it?!" & it was CHOCOLATE CAKE, y'all. CHOCOLATE! I still didn't want it. I mean... what is wrong with me?!?! HAHA!

I came home & fixed us one of our go-to whole30 meals. Fajitas (minus the sour cream & tortillas)!

This isn't a diet. It's a lifestyle change. I know I've said that about all of them. But i really CAN stick to this one for life! Some splurges here & there, for sure. I still plan to splurge this weekend a little for our anniversary. But who knows if i will actually splurge that much. Maybe I will or maybe i won't? I do know that I am not just DYING to have some fast food or ice cream. Or anything.

I have so much more to say, but this is really long already. Before & After pics coming soon! Also, a Q&A post, because I have had so many people ask me the same questions just today alone (after all my posts on FB!). So if you have any questions about it, ask me in the comments.

16 pounds. WOAH.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Whole30: Day 27!

TODAY.

Day 27!

Breakfast: 2 eggs & a banana

Lunch: Sauteed shrimp with green beans (Side Note: Green beans aren't paleo, but they are an exception to the rule on Whole30. However, this is only our second time to have them on the diet.)

Snack: cashews

Dinner: Dark Chocolate Advantedge EAS Protein Drink

Snack: black coffee (I'm actually liking it now!) 

Guess what's NOT whole30 approved? Yep. Dinner. It's not on plan, but i thought about it & went ahead & had it. It has zero sugar (not even fake sugar), and lots of vitamins. The reason it's not whole30 approved is it's processed (#1), and it's got soy in it which i am pretty sure is not Whole30 approved.

I had it because i am sick & my throat is killing me & that just sounded like it would feel really good on my throat.

I'm okay with it. Really. It's Day 27, and i am not going to allow it to make bigger cheats! If that's my only cheat, well. I won't be too hard on myself!

But my stomach does kind of hurt now, if you wanna know the truth!! Not sure why. The soy?

Thankfully we have no more of these! Haha.

Would really appreciate your prayers in the morning. I am leading worship, and of course the only time I get sick this entire year is the weekend I am leading worship. It actually physically hurt to sing earlier when we practiced. But tonight i am feeling a little better. 




Friday, November 8, 2013

Whole30: Days 25 & 26

 Sick of these yet? It's okay. I don't blame you. I'm kind of sick of writing them. But I did want to blog for the 30 days. And day 30 is Tuesday. After that, i promise to chill a little bit, and not write about what i put in my mouth EVERYDAY! Geez.

But anyway, it's still going well, if you've wondered. :)

Day 25 (yesterday): 

Breakfast: Eggs

Lunch: sweet potato chili

Snack: cashews

Dinner: grilled chicken on a salad (lettuce, carrot, etc - no croutons or bad dressing or cheese!).

That really sounds like i am eating nothing. I promise i am satisfied!!! I went to my support group, and she had homemade hot CHOCOLATE with MARSHMELLOWS! Omg. I had none. I didn't even think about it. I am thinking about it NOW, though, and hope she serves it again the next time! Haha.

Day 26 (today): 

Breakfast: I didn't feel well this morning, so i didn't have anything. By the time i got to work I was starving, so i had a banana. But no eggs, like i should have had!

Lunch: sweet potato chili

Snack: cashews

Dinner: ground beef with onions & garlic

My coworker has been sick & now, today, my throat is raw & sore, and my chest hurts. NOOOOOO! I cannot get sick! I haven't been sick in so long, i can't believe that NOW, a few days before i have to lead worship at church, and a week before our anniversary weekend?!?! NO!!!! I cannot have it!

Please pray for me!

Diet still going well. :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Whole30: Day 24 (yesterday)

Breakfast: two eggs

Lunch: pork chop with carrots & onions (made in the crockpot)

Snack: some almonds

Dinner: THIS. It was HEAVENLY!!!! Can't believe it is Whole30 approved! :) You all should make it!!!


Oh, and if you are thinking, "Sweet potatoes? In chili???", I thought the same thing. But wow. SO GOOD TOGETHER!

Starting to think I haven't lost weight... which is weird because i felt like i WAS FOR SURE last week, and SURELY I have, right?! If i haven't, that would be really discouraging. But I do feel healthier, and in the long run i know i would continue to have weightloss & other health improvements. We shall see. Last day is TUESDAY!!!! :)

This has been a really tough week at work. They are making some changes which are, well. Not wonderful. And my coworker was out Tuesday which was INSANELY BUSY, and now she is going to be out today. Tuesdays & Thursdays are our busiest days. I am not sure i can remember/keep up with the new changes AND work that desk by myself on a Thursday. But i will try.

Tonight is my infertility support group. I can't wait. I can't tell you what it means to sit in a room with 8 or 9 people who completely get it. Not only get it but they are right there with me, right now, going through the same thing. I don't know what i would do without this group. Hopefully it's my last time to need to go to it. But I'm starting to doubt that. I'm already feeling pre-menstrual symptoms. :(

Hope you are all having a good week. Happy (almost) Friday!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Whole30: Days 21, 22, & 23 (oops)

So, yeah. There comes a point where you forget what day you're on. That came today. Normally, I'm all like, "DAY 19!!!! WOOOHOOOOOOOO!" Tonight i had to look at the calendar on my phone to see if it was Day 22 or 23. They all just run together at some point.
But it's still going well! Kind of. I mean, it's going well as in we are still doing this & we still haven't cheated!! But... it is getting old. Honestly. I just want some french toast. Or beignets. Or pizza.

Mmmm pizza. Today i went to the breakroom at work to grab my lunch out of the fridge, and i was faced with AT LEAST 16 pizzas. WHAT?! It smelled amazing. But i grabbed my pork chops, carrots & onions & went on my merry way.

The cool thing is, this stuff isn't a temptation anymore. I mean, i definitely think, "OMG, that smells so good, i want a piece!" But no real struggle in my brain, no "that cookie is seriously calling my name, I MUST HAVE IT NOW". None of that. The sugar addiction is GONE.

I don't know if i have told you our plans for when this is over. The truth is, i am done dieting in the typical sense. I'm just done. I would like to adopt this way of eating, well, FOREVER. And it feels like I already  have adopted it. I believe in it, in this way of eating, even though i am not seeing some of the benefits that i had hoped to see. I believe that I WILL.

However, with a "lifestyle", you are not going to hear me say that i will NEVER again have sugar or dairy or grains. I will. And I am okay with that. In fact, our anniversary is next weekend, 2 days after this thing ends, and we will eat some unhealthy foods. Just the truth. We will. And we will enjoy them. I don't mean our entire weekend getaway we will stuff ourselves to our hearts content with any & every evil food we desire. But yes. We will have some things we miss, just for the fun of it. Like beignets & french toast. ;)

Am I afraid that doing that will reverse what I have done so far? Or will get me right back to being addicted to sugar? Yes, a little. But that's okay. Is it crazy to say it will be different this time? Because I think it could be. I mean, this time is different already. I've never done a Whole30 before. Even in my strictest dieting, i have never been as strict as i have been for the last 23 days. (Except maybe Ideal Protein. But i now believe this way of eating is much healthier, and something you can do long-term.)

In case i never told you what this diet includes, i am only allowed meats, veggies, fruits & healthy fats. Absolutely no processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy or legumes. I have followed it 100%. That is the foundation of my new life as someone who eats the paleo way. So yes, it is kind of scary to eat what I want when this ends. It's scary to know i could end up addicted to sugar in such an intense way again. But I am at peace with doing this. I just have to be honest with how those foods make me feel. And I have to be honest about why i want them.

The creators of Whole30 are cool with this too. Here is what they said in The Timeline about Day 31 (& beyond). 

Day 31: Deep breathing. And maybe some ice cream.

Your sanity returned at some point on day 30 and you realized that eventually, you will have to come out of your perfect Whole30 bubble. Try as you may, you won’t always be able to make life fit inside the Whole30 rules. Does that mean you’re headed off-road at 90 miles per hour? No. But it does mean that you’ll give the reintroduction protocol (in It Starts With Food) the same attention you gave the last 30 days and be honest with yourself about your reactions – physical and emotional – to food. And tonight, that might just mean a bowl of ice cream. And that’s okay.

We don’t expect you to live your life Whole365. We do expect you to take what you’ve learned and use the information to carefully evaluate how the foods you were eating before make you feel now that you’ve eliminated them (and any of their negative effects) from your body. We do expect you to listen to the feedback your body and mind give you and change your food relationships. And we do expect you to make conscious choices about when and how to go off-plan…and when you do, enjoy it!


* * * * * * *

So yeah. We'll see how it goes! But i am trusting & believing that i CAN do this. And I will. And I'm excited. I definitely feel a lot better eating this way.

I can't really tell you what i ate Days 21-23, though. Promise there have been zero cheats!!

ADIOS.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The E. Family {photography}

I recently did a photo shoot of the E family. This was my first time meeting them, but we have a TON of friends in common. I believe it was 67 mutual friends on Facebook, including some of my best friends, yet I had never met them. Crazy!

Mike & Megan have 3 children. This was the biggest family I have done, but I think I did okay. LOVED these kids. Very sweet & lots of fun. Not to mention beautiful blue eyes!




Austin

Aiden

Savannah

 This picture cracks me up for some reason. It makes me happy. :)