To New Beginnings

It’s late in the night on Christmas. Ava and Dustin went to bed early but my night owl self can never manage to do that.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was craving the start of a new adventure and couldn’t exactly figure out what that was. I still don’t know all the details but I started thinking blogging/vlogging could be the start of that.

I feel like blogging is kind of out but I enjoy it – I enjoy writing and documenting my life. I don’t know much abut vlogging but I do know I love documenting our lives as a family and all the little 10 second videos I have on my phone are cute, but don’t translate well to anything that I can pass along to my kids.

Christmas Picture 3I’m 17 weeks pregnant with our second child and have really been pouring myself into cleaning up our eating habits and lifestyle lately. I’ve been reading a lot about how our bodies react to blood sugar as well as different nutritional content of foods and how making small changes can be big changes for your body. For example eggs from pasture raised chickens have more omega 3’s than eggs from chickens kept in small cages.

As I’ve been making changes, I’m noticing certain foods affect how I feel mentally and I’ve been learning about and exploring ways to maintain my anxiety through this pregnancy with my nutrition.

The reason for these changes started coming about because as I progressed this pregnancy, I just didn’t feel great. Naturally, there’s a certain level of physical exhaustion, mental fatigue/stress from hormones, bloating, and cravings that will come early in pregnancy. But I was finding myself newly into the 2nd trimester and still feeling lethargic. I am by no means trying to lose weight during pregnancy, but I found my cravings leading me to fast food more often than I’d like and I knew there had to be a better way.

I went through the same cycle of exhaustion and junk food in my first pregnancy. But I also remember going through a really hard time after having my first. I gained way more weight than I wanted and losing it was so challenging.  I struggled with postpartum depression and it took a long time to regain my confidence too. On top of that, I had to cut out foods for breastfeeding, and making sudden, drastic changes to my diet at a time where I was already exhausted was so stressful.

My goal with working on these changes now is to feel better during my pregnancy. To have energy to stay active and to keep my weight gain at a healthy level, all while feeding  my growing babe nutrient-dense, toxic free food. The food categories that I had to eliminate for breastfeeding are categories that I’d like to eliminate for health reasons too. I hope by eliminating these prior to her arrival, her breastfeeding journey will be less stressful on her and me.

Right now, one of my biggest challenges is taking these changes slow and steady. I tend to be an all-or-nothing person and that mentality has failed me in making lifestyle changes so many times. I accept the fact that this is a process and invite you to share this part of my life with me with the understanding that this is a JOURNEY.

I’m not an expert yet. My life isn’t 100% clean and my food isn’t 100% nutritious. My goal is to get better but I will never be perfect.

In the next post, I’ll share how we are getting started.

Stay tuned,

Melissa

 

 

This House

This house was my mom’s dream house. After years of checking out model homes and open houses on the weekends and crunching the numbers, she found one that fit. It was 2006 when my parents put our old house up for sale, the real estate market was cooling off. Selling the old house was hard and took months but my parents persevered and finally found a way to sell our old house and buy this house.

This house turned out to be the perfect sanctuary for my mom. When she lost the job she’d had for over a decade, she spent a year in this house searching for a job every day. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but in the years after my parents bought this house, almost every house in our neighborhood was foreclosed on, but my parents held on tight to this house.

This house was where my mom fought the hardest battle of her life. When she was diagnosed, the doctors thought she might have a couple months but we celebrated her birthday twice in this house while she battled cancer. Our family grew closer together over that time and spent more moments together than we had in a years. After 17 long months of fighting, we mourned the loss of my mom in this house.

This house is where I lived my last year of high school and was my safety net during college. My little sister grew up in this house; she was eight when we moved here.  After my mom passed away, my dad found companionship and eventually love with a woman who lived two houses down from this house.


This house became my older sister’s house when she and her husband moved back from Ohio. They spent two years here, raising their beautiful daughters. We started a new generation of memories in this house and my sister made this house their home. All seasons of life must end in order for new ones to begin and today my sister moved out of this house.

This house will soon be someone else’s. They will celebrate hard work, accomplishments, birthdays and holidays. They will cry over hard days, wounds, and loss. This house will comfort them with the warmth and shelter and will be the solid foundation for their lives, just like it did for us. Life will go on, as it always does, in this house.

Everything & Nothing

Ever feel like there’s nothing going on in your life and everything all at once? That’s where I’ve been these last few weeks; busy and bored, just kind of in a state of numbness.

A few weeks ago, I watched a Ted Talk on vulnerability. I didn’t realize how close to home the message would hit, but as a first time mom going back to work and starting a new career in a totally different field, I don’t think I could be in a more vulnerable place in my life. One thing she mentions is our tendency to find a state of numbness rather than embrace vulnerability. I realized that’s what I’ve been doing, especially in terms of blogging.

So in order to clear my mind and rid the numbness, today’s post is going to be sort of random, kind of a recap of these last few weeks; the good the bad and the  ugly. (including the part where I’m writing this at 12:40 am.)

One of my first posts was about minimalism and how we had made a decision this year to cut back on “stuff” and learn to prioritize what brings us value and focus on those areas. I think we’ve been doing pretty well with this. We haven’t kept our house as completely decluttered and clean as I’d like but picking up and cleaning has been MUCH easier. I honestly can’t say I’m disappointed that it has gotten messy. I mean with me starting to have three dedicated work days per week and trying to eat at home more, it was bound to happen. However, tonight, Dustin and I each put about 45 minutes into cleaning and our house is in great shape. Before we decluttered, it would have taken us all day to get our house put back together.


Speaking of work, Real Estate is going great. I have so much I want to get done soon and it seems like there’s never enough hours in the day. I’ve really been enjoying my home office. I feel like I get more work done there because there are fewer distractions, but that’s also where the importance of minimalism and decluttering comes into play. I’ve noticed that on days where our house feels messy, my mind is messy and it’s hard to focus with my To Do list staring me in the face. I’m excited to have a clean slate this week.


These last couple weeks I’ve also been starting over with my BBG workouts. I’d taken some time off to focus on healing my diastasis recti with the mutu program but I constantly struggled with staying committed because I was bored. I’ve been modifying the BBG workouts though and replacing ab exercises with mutu core exercises and will probably get back to doing the core exercises daily. I wish I had known about mutu right after I had Ava because it would have been such a better gradual start for me. I remember trying to lunges right after my 6 week postpartum check up and falling over side to side because of my lack of core strength. But now I realize that I love my physical and mental challenge of a more intense exercise program so mutu just doesn’t feel fulfilling.


Ever since starting back in with work, I’ve been struggling to get in a good routine for meal planning and cooking. Actually, if we are being honest, I’ve never been good at this, but lately, I’ve really been feeling the difference in healthy foods vs junk foods on my body and am realizing I can’t afford to eat junk anymore. When I eat fast foods, or processed foods, I find that it affects my mood, my patience with Ava, my energy level, etc. I went through a phase for a while where I was obsessed with sheet pan dinners. I still think they are amazing, but it started feeling monotonous. Then I tried emeals and it was super convenient but we just didn’t like any of the recipes we ate. Finally, this week, I just decided to go the old fashioned way and find individual recipes and make a plan. It kills me, how long it takes me to do it each time, but if we actually eat all the food I buy this way, I’ll continue to oblige.

I do plan to do a little bit of food prep this time around. I don’t mind cooking nice meals on week nights but it kills me, how much prep time some things make. I bought  food chopper at Bed Bath and Beyond last week so I want to chop all my veggies before had this time around. I also am going to prep us some lunch bowls. I’m doing Greek Chicken lunch bowls and Turkey Taco bowls this week. Another thing we really struggle with is healthy snacks, I always intend for us to eat fruits and veggies or nuts for snacks but then when they aren’t easily available and ready to go, we lean towards chips and fruit snacks so this week, I also plan to pre cut some fruit and steam or roast some veggies and make some energy bites.

Miss Yay-va has been a hoot lately. I think I always feel that way about her though. She’s obsessed with all the words we say and is forever copying what we way. One of her favorite things to do right now is throw her hands up in the air and exclaim “Yay!!!” for no reason. She’s also just cut her top few teeth and keeps grinding her top and bottom teeth together. It’s driving me crazy and the only solution I can come up with is the paci. Before this, we were really only allowing it at bedtime and in the car so hopefully she doesn’t become super addicted to it now.


We took her to Cherry Creek mall Friday night to play on the indoor play ground there. She had a blast chasing the other kids, crawling under tunnels, and saying “hi” to everyone. We timed it perfectly too because we got there just as they were finishing their 6:00pm sanitation. I think this will probably become a frequent activity for us. She loves being around other kids and finding things to do in winter that don’t cost money can be hard but this worked perfectly.

Congrats if you stuck around to the end haha! This turned out to be quite a bit longer than I anticipated but I’ve had a lot on my mind (and somehow nothing important) all at once.

Joy = Profit

It was the Tuesday after Christmas and I was feeling blue about settling back into reality after all the excitement of our first Christmas with Ava. My mother in law had taken Ava that day for me so I could get some things done but I just couldn’t focus on anything. I wanted to work on Real Estate. I also had a ginormous heap of laundry to work on. But everywhere I looked, my house was a mess of clutter and trash. It literally drained me. So instead of working on anything I needed to do, I spent the day resting and watching Netflix.

Luckily, that day, I stumbled upon a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things The documentary helped me realize that this feeling of overwhelming stress, drowning out my ability to even get started on a never ending to-do list had a solution: Get rid of the excess stuff.

Now, Dustin and I aren’t ready to call ourselves Minimalists yet but this movie definitely inspired us to make a drastic life change. At first Dustin was hesitant; he wasn’t sure he wanted to get rid of a bunch of our stuff, especially after Christmas when we spent a boatload of money buying more stuff. But after discussing how this clutter was making me feel, he agreed to start but wanted to ease into it. But by day 2, he was texting me from work, telling me what area he wanted to tackle that night.

It’s now been 3 weeks since we started. We filled up around 40 trash bags and made 2 carloads of donations to Good Will. Our house is cleaner than it’s ever been and we are happier than we’ve ever been. We have less stuff, but we aren’t missing anything.

However, more than just cleaning, this journey has been a time of self reflection and has had me trying to figure out why. Why does having less clutter make me feel so much happier? Why does our society keep trying to force us to feel like we need more, newer, better, material items all the time? How did we get duped into thinking that acquiring new objects would make us feel better when time and experiences are so much more valuable over the course of our lives?

And being business minded, this is what I came up with:

Joy = Profit

In business, profit is the ultimate goal. There’s two ways to fix an unprofitable business. Increase sales or cut costs. Increasing sales less painful but uncontrollable; you can’t force someone to buy and more often than not, it costs money to make money. However, cutting costs is less expensive and in your control but it requires sacrificing so it isn’t as fun or glamorous.

Profit is to business what joy is to life. Ultimately, my goal in life is to enjoy it but there are a lot of people that think that money will bring them joy. I fell prey to this for a long time. I cursed my small house for my clutter; I swore that if we could just make more money and get a bigger house, we’d feel happier. But the problem was, earning more money wasn’t easy and we were in a bad habit of buying more stuff when we did have extra money. On the other hand, to find more joy, you can get rid of the excess stuff, live a little smaller, a little simpler and you will find more time to relax, to think, and to enjoy life. And maybe, just maybe, if you break that addiction to stuff, you might find yourself with more money anyway.

What I’m realizing is that living this way is a journey, not a destination. I am challenging myself to question if an item adds value to my life before I purchase anything. Although Dustin is an expert at what I call “Tetrus organizing,” I refuse to let our amount of stuff we own get to a point where things are difficult to put away again. I will spend time cleaning each day to keep the mess at a manageable level. Most of all, I want to live on the profitable side of joy every day.