Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No Good Options...Attempting to Raise a Paleo Toddler

I understand that the term "eating healthy" means many different things to many different people. For me, I define healthy pretty much by the standards of the awesome folks at Whole9. Essentially they believe that any particular food either makes you more or less healthy. They don't subscribe to a specific label (i.e. Paleo, low carb, etc.) If you want to know more about their specifics of what makes a food healthy or unhealthy, you will have to attend one of their workshops or visit their website. You will not be disappointed. I intend to write a review of their workshop one of these days....

Anyway, on to the topic of tonight's rant. The issue of trying to feed my child what I deem "healthy food". Obviously this is no problem in my own home. When I do make treats, they are with whole food ingredients, always grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, and if sweetened, they are done with either fruit juice or some other naturally sweet food, like honey, maple syrup or dates. I understand that it's still sugar, but at least it's a less bad form, and again, not something I make on a regular basis. My child considers raisins, dates, LaraBars, and macadamia nuts "treats".

The dilemma begins in how to handle situations outside of my home. My kiddo is not yet 2.5, so reasoning with him is sometimes not an option. When I know we will be in a situation where less than stellar food options will be provided, I usually try to bring my own contribution or my own stash. My problem is this. WHY DOES EVERY KID EVENT SEEM TO INCLUDE SHOVING UNHEALTHY FOOD DOWN THEIR SWEET FACES? For example at church. I Love Love Love my church. In fact, it is pretty much the #1 reason the hubs and I want to stay in the place we are. But I'll be darned if every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night they aren't given a snack, which usually consists of Goldfish, cheese balls, popcorn, cookies, juice boxes, etc. They are only in there for any hour! Do they really need a snack? Do you think the parents don't feed them? For the record I have never bought a package of Goldfish, yet my child screams for them. I blame this on church...and preschool. Because this is the snack of choice. Completely devoid of any nutritional content. Kids this young have such a small tummy, every bite is important! They only have so much tummy space to get in the essential nutrients they need. So when his tummy is filled with the aforementioned Goldfish and cheeseballs, he doesn't have room for the nutrient dense kale, acorn squash and grass-fed beef I made for dinner. Then I get frustrated because the hard work I put in to cooking a healthy dinner is for naught, and my child has gone another day without a decent nutritional intake of food.

If this were an every once in a while thing, fine. No big deal. If it were just the major holidays. Fine. I can deal with a few nights a year of him shoving crap down his face, just so I don't have to deal with the tantrums of not getting it when every other kid is. But it's not just a few days a year. It's every other kid's birthday, twice a week at church, three times a week at preschool, not to mention any other special events or playdates we go to, which are rather frequent considering I'm a stay-at-home mom. So, I know you're probably thinking something like, "Well, you can't make other people change the way the eat." Right. I know that. So herein lies my dilemma, right? What's a gal to do? Any suggestions from other health-conscious mammas out there? Or moms with kids with allergies (because you don't have any option, right?) I sometimes feel like I want to say to the teachers at church something like, "hey, can you guys maybe not do a snack every class?" but I hate feeling like I'm that crazy parent who makes things difficult for the teachers I appreciate so much. And at preschool I bring his own snacks, but he often steals from the other child is also crazy about food which doesn't help. So, I'm open to any and all suggestions you parents might have!

Friday, March 23, 2012

So Blessed

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel inexplicably blessed and so grateful for it, that you couldn't possibly convey the feeling in words? This feeling has been creeping up on me for the last week or so, and it culminated today. I'll make this brief because I am super tired and I have a monstrous amount of things I should be doing instead of typing this blog post. But I digress.

Last week while searching for some family photos to hang in a photo gallery I'm planning to put on one of our walls, I came across some old diaries/journals of mine from the age of about 11 until well into my college years. After several nights of staying up waaaaay to late and skimming the highlights of the years of my teenage confusion, I was feeling HORRIBLE. I guess the events of 4 years of high school and the first 2 years of college should not be digested in two evenings. In short, I made some less than stellar decisions in those years. Of course, who didn't, right? But so many of them I had long forgotten. And I was appalled at the attitude I had at some of my rebellious behaviour. Like I was proud of it. I had great parents and an especially loving father, so I had no issues with seeking approval from a man. I had that in my dad. Why did I make such stupid decisions? And why was I so blind to the real agenda that most boys had? That stuff was not easy to read! I was feeling pretty down for a few days.

But among all the not so pleasant reminders of my past, there were some nuggets of gold tucked away. Sentiments about my dad that were so poignant, especially since some were written only a few months before his untimely death. And although most of it produced a full body cringe in me when reading it, I realized a few days afterwards how thankful I am for God's grace, forgiveness and mercy. And the fact that he still wants to partner with me, and still has plans for me, and still wants to use me to bring glory to His name! I know it may not be anything big, but I feel like I have helped a few people in my short time here. So at least that's something, right? I'm honored that God chose me to help those few people. And when I thought I couldn't feel any more blessed and thankful, today arrived.

Today I went to visit a lady that I go to church with. She has struggled her entire life, in ways that I cannot even comprehend. With all types of abuse, from as early as she can remember. With a disability. With a difficult marriage. With self-esteem, depression, and a host of other things I cannot identify with. We talked, and we prayed together. I left there thinking how different my life was than hers. So much of what she struggles with is beyond her control. She was born into it. I have no idea what that feels like. I have no idea what it's like to not have a supportive husband. Despite all my bad decisions, God blessed me with this amazing man, who helps me in so many ways and I am so thankful for him.

And then I felt guilty. Guilty for running around like a crazy person the last few weeks trying to get my home "just right" for my husband's return. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I hadn't stopped to think about what really matters, and what I could do to try and help someone who is in a situation less blessed than my own. So a few days ago I made a promise to myself that when my new floors are in, NO MORE PROJECTS. For the rest of the year. I want to take the time to focus on what matters most. My family and helping others. So many folks I know (including me!) get so caught up in projects, self-improvement, schedules, activities, staying busy, etc. that they never stop to think about helping others. I don't want that to be me. Like Francis Chan says, Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things that don't really matter. 

Ok, I'm not really sure that any of that was coherent to anyone but me, but it's what I felt I needed to say. I have a friend who has a blog and she's been doing a series of posts the last few weeks entitled "Let's Be Honest", so this is sort of my contribution I guess!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What in the World is Going On? An Eli Update

Well, obviously I haven't posted anything on my blog in quite some time. Hubby came home and priority #1 was spending time as a fam. Now he's gone again, but having a 2 yr old is much different than having a 14 month old by myself. He's NONSTOP, this child! And I love it :) He bounces from one thing to the next and until I turn out the light for nap or bedtime he doesn't stop! So hubby and the mom have both been repeatedly suggesting to me that I keep a record of all the adorable, funny and/or mischevious things Eli is up to, because of course, we won't probably remember this time next year. I should have been doing this from the get go, but as Samantha Jones would say, "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda."

There are so many things Eli does that crack me up on a daily basis, I know there's no way to remember them all. But one of the funniest things about our sweet boy is his personality and character. He is so animated, and I get such a kick out of just watching the faces he makes. Some of what I will say may not sound that funny, but if you could only see his little face when he said it, it would be priceless.

There are several phrases that he is currently saying that are too cute. For example:

Anytime we enter a room where the lights are off Eli says, "It's dahhk in here."

If he accomplishes something noteworthy he wants to share with me, like sticking a wad of Play-Doh on his nose, he will come up to me and proclaim, "Tah-Dah!" while throwing both hands in the air and putting one foot up and resting it on his opposite knee. Sort of like a gymnast/acrobat pose.

Since taking a recent tumble down some stairs, he's been more cautious of them. And we've also cautioned him about the dangers of cars in parking lots and the importance of holding our hands so Eli won't get hurt. If he sees anything like stairs, cars or knives that could be a potential danger, he will make it known to me that it will "hurt Eye-lie". I love hearing him say his own name! Which if you ask him his name he will say "Eye-lie Mith".

He also has been really into saying his Grandpa Bruce's name lately, which warms my heart. Sometimes if I say something like, "Guess who we're going to see?" He'll say "Pa Bruce?"

We've also been doing prayers before meals for a while now, and recently when we get to the part where we say what we are thankful for, he's started chiming in. Some of his favorites to list are Momma, Daddy, GiGi, Pa, food, eat, apple juice, fork, Champ and Callie, Jesus.

Since we adopted Champ, our rescue Rhodesian, Eli has just adored him. He has not adored the fact that Champ has chewed several of his toys and stuffed animals. He has witnessed me scold Champ when this happens. Now if we come upon a toy or stuffed animal that has been maimed by Champ, Eli will immediately exclaim, "Bad dog!" And if he's really upset, it's "Bad, bad dog!"

Of course he is all boy, so Eli takes tumbles on a regular basis. Nothing makes it feel any better than the magic power of Momma's kisses. He'll come up to me all teary, point to the body part in question, and mutter "kiss it." And on the rare occasion that one kiss doesn't suffice he will repeat, "Kiss it somemore" (like it's all one word).

What Eli's doing:

Of course, his attention span isn't the longest, but there are several things that keep him intrigued for a good amount of time. Such as...

Chase! He wants me to chase him all the time. He'll get down into a football hike position and say "Ready, Set, GO!" while I chase after him. This can go on for an hour or more, or until I am tired of playing, whichever comes first. (It's usually the latter.)

XBOX Kinect. We are currently having an extended visit with GiGi and Pa, and since Pa works for Microsoft they have a Kinect with all sorts of games. It is amazing to watch this kid work the XBox! It has a voice recognition feature, so Eli will say, "XBox, Pway!" "XBox Football!" "XBox, Dance!" GiGi and Pa both have Microsoft Live avatars that appear when they are signed in and playing. Eli now recognizes those and just last week pointed to GiGi's character and said, "GiGi's abatar"

He of course still loves food, esp treats and sweets that he doesn't get on a regular basis. He often asks for a "cook cook" or for "ice creams!"

My mom has a giant dry erase board that she uses for her eye therapy, and that has turned into one of the most fun things to do with Eli. We will sit and draw on the board for a long time, and he loves it. I'll ask him what he wants me to draw and almost every time his first answer is "cat". I think because the first time we ever did it I drew a cat. Then he will help me draw things as well. I'll draw houses and people and we'll name them all. I'll draw people doing things, like fishing or picking apples from a tree. We'll name the people and talk about what they're doing. Later in the day and even the following day if the pictures are still on the board he will tell me who the people are and what they are doing. He also likes telling me to "wipe it" when it gets to full or dirty.

Feeding the dogs. Obviously this chore doesn't take very long, but man, does he get excited about it. "I FEED CHAMP!!! I FEED CALLIE!!" If I'm ever trying to distract him from something else, asking him to feed the dogs is usually a winner.

Some of the obvious ones are the usual boy things. Dinosaurs, wrestling, boxing (he calls it "jab"), cars, trucks, tractors, planes, motorcycles, anything with a motor and wheels. He likes to play the race games on the XBox and yell "Crash" when we crash. It should also be noted that when he says his Ss and Xs his tongue darts between his teeth so his has a cute little lisp that makes things like "dinosaur!" sound even cuter.

Alright, this is by no means exhaustive, but it's the best I could do at 10:30 at night after realizing that I have to throw out an entire fritatta I made because the mushrooms I used were either bad or I just don't like them, I can't tell which. What a waste of a dozen eggs and a whole bunch of swiss chard. Dang it. Oh well. At least I didn't throw some pastured meat in there. That's when it gets pricey! I hope to do more of this sort of update on a regular basis...maybe along with some other goodies thrown in. Still mostly about nutrition and exercise. Sorry for the lack of photos, but hey, that's what FaceBook is for, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Double Unders Make Me Cry

There are a few things that always make me cry. No matter what. Movies about dogs. Being moved by the Spirit in worship. Watching 8 Seconds. And double unders. Seriously I LOATHE them.

Every time a CrossFit workout pops up including double unders, I just skip it and do something I like better. But now Rusty is home and on Sunday when he said he was going to do the 5 rounds of 5 deadlifts and 15 double unders, I felt I couldn't wuss out in front of him. So I did it.

First off, the women's DL weight was supposed to be 185#. But after a week of being under the weather, I just couldn't pull it. 2 reps and my form was already going to crap. So I dropped to 155, which already was a blow to my self esteem. Then the stupid double unders. In the first round it took me at least 5 trys to even complete one. Then I got into an inconsistent rythym of 2 or 3 at a time. At which point I would catch my toe on the rope, causing it to slap the ground, then back up to my arms, lashing me in the process. I seriously look like I have been whipped. Black and blue arms. I considered taking a picture and posting it, but that would just further my humiliation. I already have to go around with people thinking my husband probably beats me. I should make myself a shirt that says: Double Unders: The Real Wife-Beater. or...This happens every time I do double unders. Then about round 3, I managed to knock out 5 or 6 in a row, but on top of taking everything out of me, it also manages to cause me to pee myself (thanks, Natural Childbirth, I appreciate the lovely reminder you blessed me with). Rusty is trying to help by saying things like, "you have to give it the same effort every time." But of course this comes from the guy who is like, awesome at everything he does! He doesn't understand what it's like to not be good at something. I mean, he works really really hard to be successful at what he does, but he is also just really awesome...anyways...So, I am getting soooo frustrated. And it's like 105 degrees in our garage and I look like I've jumped in a swimming pool. Then I fail three attempts in a row, throw my jump rope and start crying. But I finished my workout. In 10:40. Terrible. Rusty finished in like 3:40. So, after he's done with his WOD I hand him the watch and tell him I am going to rinse off. He says with a smile, "Are you going to cry in the shower?" (Because that's what I did after the last workout with double unders.) I said, "No, I am not going to cry in the shower. I just don't like sitting in my own urine. Geeeeez." I am proud to say that I did NOT continue to cry in the shower this time. Maybe I will beat those double unders one of these days....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deception Falls

For my birthday at the beginning of June, we were in Washington. The hubs suggested we head up to Leavenworth, WA for a couple of days as he never got the chance to visit the whole time he lived in WA. Traveling on Hwy 2 over to Leavenworth, we passed Deception Falls and had to stop. It was absolutely beautiful! We got out and hiked up to the falls then meandered around the trails a bit. The pic above was one Rusty actually took, not a post card. Yeah, I know, it looks like a post card though, right?

Anyways, if you are ever in the area, you have to stop by. It is a super powerful falls and the sound itself will overwhelm you. We had to yell just to talk over it. Eli kept saying, "Wowwww!" So cute. And of course he got to throw rocks in the stream which made him super happy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things

To quote one of my favorite Bank customers, "It's been a minute..." since I last posted on my blog. For those of you unfamiliar to the south, this quote will not mean anything, so disregard....

In Smith family news, here's the brief of what's been going on. Hubs is home so we took some much deserved vacation up to Washington (state, not DC, everyone always asks that question when I just say Washington). The hub's family lives there, so it was great to see everyone, and for Eli to hang out with his grandparents, some Great Aunts and Uncles who were in town and even a few cousins. I will include a few of my fave pics from our trip, but I swear I won't inundate.

On the nutrition front, all is well. It is so nice to be home and be in control of my kitchen. I am so blessed to have a husband that will eat anything and not long as there is enough of it! He is a big eater! I am super stoked to have started my first CSA subscription with an awesome local farm and farmer, White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, GA managed by Ashley Rodgers who is my new hero. The experience so far has been fantastic. I picked up my first share last week, and was super pleased. Also, Ashley has pastured chickens as well as grass-fed beef available for purchase and in a few more weeks, pastured eggs! She sends out an email a few days prior to let you know what will be in your share for the week, and she also includes some recipes and suggestions on how to use some of what you'll be getting in your share. White Oak is primarily a grass-fed beef farm, and the CSA venture is new for them, but I say it's going really well. So much so that some friends and I decided to go in a purchase a whole cow from their farm and split it. If you want to check them out, visit their website at and tell me the owner in the video on their home page isn't awesome.

Today is also my husband's birthday, so I decided to order a York squat stand for our garage gym as his (really "our") present. We have ordered almost everything for our gym from MuscleDriver, as I have found they have the best prices on both equipment and shipping. So, we are both super stoked to be able to actually incorporate things like push presses or back squats in our workouts without having to first clean and press our oly bar. It is so nice to have him home as a workout partner! Plus he bought a punching bag when he got home and hung it in the garage, and I am excited for him to teach me some sweet punching bag moves so I can start training on the bag for cardio instead of trying to run in this 100 degree Georgia heat!

So for the people who are only interested in the pics, sorry you had to wait so long for them...but without further ado, here are a few of our outing to the Point Defiance Zoo. More of other adventures later to come. Warning: they do include the cutest kid on the planet. True Story.

Eli absolutely loves riding in his Sherpani kid carrier!

Enjoying an ice cream treat at the zoo!

Feeding the ducks at Grandpa Verle's

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My New Favorite Snack (aka I Love Bacon)

If someone gave me the choice between never having sweets again for the rest of my life and never eating bacon for the rest of my life, I would choose to forgo the sweets. Yes, I said it. I chose bacon over sweets. Not just any bacon, but pastured pork, uncured, thick-sliced bacon. Heaven.

After having just received my copy of Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals Cookbook I was inspired to try bacon in a new way. Although the cookbook touts claims of meals in 30 minutes or less on the cover, you are warned in the intro that for those new to certain cooking processes, these meals may take more than 30 minutes. I was kind of bummed because being a single mom half of the time who happens to have a child with an ardor for food, I want something I can get on the table quick. That letdown accompanied with the fact that many of the recipes call for unusual or unique ingredients that are not every day household purchases was kind of lame.

Never fear....there is a silver lining! In the intro Mark reveals some of his go-to super quick and easy paleo meals and snacks. He mentions using an avocado as it's own little bowl and crumbling bacon on the top. Holy awesomeness. I hope heaven is filled with bacon.

And with the other ripe avocado I bought today, I made my own homemade guacamole! I just added the following to my mashed up avo:

1/4 diced vidalia onion (red onion would have been better, but I didn't have one)
3 cherry tomatoes, diced
dash of lime juice
a few shakes of garlic powder

Perfect with raw veggies of any kind! Even Eli was digging it (yes, that's his little hand in the pic trying to snag some more of my home made guac).