Anniversary, Modeling and Eating!

Yesterday, we celebrated 13 years of marriage! It’s actually really fun to celebrate it with the kids around because they are SO excited for us:) Ben came home with a pretty hyacinth and a card and there was a collective silence while I read my card, with every eye on me! It was very cute. They don’t even fully know what it means, except that we are celebrating the day we got married and that it’s really special to us. Therefore, it is special to them! I really love that.

I can’t believe it’s been so long! It seems so short, when I allow my mind to drift back to that wonderful day we said “I do.” It was a sunny, warm weekend in March and we were filled with the hope and promise of a wonderful adventure of life together. And it seems so long, when the memories of the past 13 years slide through my mind like a slideshow. There have been sunshine seasons, of blessing and hope and renewal. There have been dark seasons, of clouds, haze, tears. And many, many seasons in between.

And they’ve all been good because we’ve been through them together. Hand in hand. Side by side. Two built-in best friends, companions and lovers walking through this difficult life together. Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift!


And this week Eliana got to do something very fun! She got to model for Zulily! (it’s not too late to check out her picture! Just go to and scroll down until you see her beautiful face for the store “She’s Tutu Cute.”)

Zulily Cape Clogs 1
She is also the opening picture for a store called “Cape Clogs.” Those are some cute legs!
Zulily Cape Clogs 2
This wasn’t put on Zulily but that’s a cute girl! Like her new glasses?



These are just a few of the pictures that they sent me! They only used one of each and so we got free pictures of our sweet girl! She was nervous and very focused on doing what they told her to do. She finally relaxed at the very end and that’s when they captured the shot that is on the website. I’ll share that next time:)


And last but not least, we just finished Day 8 of our Whole30! Time flies when you’re having fun….or at least when you are really busy:) It is definitely a lot of work for me but I am starting to get the hang of it and relaxing a bit more instead of worrying about every meal. Pretty much I just make sure we are getting enough protein, tons of veggies some fruit and healthy fats at every meal. We have tried lots of new recipes and have found some REALLY good ones! We are doing a lot of talking about how this will change us afterwards.

Yes, we miss rice. And bread. And I had a very random craving for Banana Cream Pie that was intense yesterday. (I really could taste it and it’s not even my favorite dessert!) But mostly we are really satisfied and adjusting well. We have gone through some phases like extreme exhaustion on Sunday (as in napping so hard we were drooling!), some stomach discomfort here and there and definitely some crazy emotions have hit this week. It’s all part of it, we’ve been told!

I am seeing a huge improvement in my sleeping already. I fall asleep easily, whereas before I could lay awake forever thinking, planning, worrying…I sleep well and dream A LOT and I am waking up much easier and even before my alarm! The past few months I have been dragging myself out of bed so this is an amazing change.

I am monitoring everyone’s health symptoms carefully and seeing some good movements in the right direction. I am most anxious to see a bigger change in Eliana’s tummy issues and a rash that she has had for over 2 months now. I am seeing improvement in the tummy pain but only time will tell!

This has been kind of fun for all of us as well as hard sometimes. The kids are REALLY interested in what I am cooking and I am getting lots of help from them! It’s bringing us closer in a different way, which I didn’t really expect. But I like, of course:)

Now I’m off to bed to have all my dreams:) Good night!

Whole 30. Day 1.

So, remember that crazy thing I said we were going to be doing for the next month? Today is Day 1!

As I have inched towards healthier eating, I have been hearing about this thing called “Whole 30.” Finally, in January I decided to look into it and ordered the books from the library. The most important one is called, “It Starts With Food” and the second book is “Whole 30.” Both are by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I was immediately intrigued by the craziness of it all!


Basically, we are giving up ALL sugar (including maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc.), all Diary (no butter, no milk, no cheese!), ALL grains (no wheat, rye, barley, corn, oats, quinoa, rice, etc.) and legumes (beans, beans, the magical fruit! Plus no peanuts. Boo) For 30 days!

So what can we eat? Lots and lots of vegetables!! We can eat fruit but we need to eat far more veggies because fruit contains sugar, obviously and we can eat meat, most preferably grass-fed, organic, no added anything meat. Which is expensive!!! I did my first whole 30 shopping trip yesterday and it was definitely more than I usually spend, although to be fair I did buy some things that will last longer than a week before I go again. Things like coconut aminos (a substitute for soy sauce) and nuts and meat. You can do this as a vegetarian and eat lots of fish:)

The point of this whole thing is NOT for us to lose weight (although that does happen to most people) so don’t worry, the kids and I will not be losing weight! (I will be adding in lots of healthy fats for us like avocados, oils, etc.) There are a couple of reasons we are doing this food plan.

  1. It helps break food addictions. Most of us, if we have grown up in America, have some serious unhealthy food addictions. Look at what the food industry feeds us! A lot of the stuff on grocery store shelves is NOT food but chemically engineered, manufactured stuff that has a lot of bad stuff in it that we think is food! I happen to be a bread addict myself. I can seriously consume a whole loaf of garlic bread. (I don’t but I could!) And I have created a mini bread addict in Samuel. We also have some people with serious sweet teeth in our family. (Ahem…Ben:)
      2. This is called a “reset.” We are basically resetting our bodies so we can figure out if some of the things we have been eating have been causing or contributing to some health issues we have.
               For example:
               *Eliana has a tummy ache almost every single day. Could she be eating something that makes her have tummy pains?
               *Ben has chronic sinus issues that seriously affect his life. What if he were able to wean off of his daily nasal spray? Or what if his asthma improved?
               *I have frequent headaches that interfere with my life. Sometimes I have cycles of up to 9 days straight with headaches. I also have daily post-nasal drip that often affects my sleeping. And I struggle with stomach pain, too, sometimes. What if it’s something I am regularly consuming?
(So after the 30 days, we will slowly add some things back into our diet and see if/what is causing problems.)
3. The diet or plan also can help with behavioral issues such as a better ability to concentrate for those with ADHD (boy, I am hoping for this one for my Z!!), better sleeping, pretty much you name it! You should read some of the testimonials online. They are pretty amazing! People who went off diabetes medications, had serious reductions in flare-ups from years of struggles with autoimmune diseases, etc. People say they feel really good afterwards, have more energy, sleep great, etc.
My pantry after making it Whole 30 compliant:) Lots of nuts, coconut milk, Larabars for the kids for snacks. (adults don’t get snacks but kids can!)
Since I had nothing left in the house last night, I decided to make our first Whole 30 dinner. It was AMAZING!! A Salmon with Avocado Salsa on top and Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice as a side. Everyone raved about it! (Even my picky girl!)


So, we’re supposed to have some days of detoxing and not feeling great and battling cravings, etc but I keep telling everyone that we are doing this together so we can cheer each other on. We could use your cheers, too!

Feel free to ask any questions:) Oh and p.s. this is in NO WAY a judgement on your eating. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with you! (And that’s being said in a nice way:) This is just something we’ve chosen to do together as a family (it was definitely my idea first but I waited to make sure all 5 of us were on board, as much as everyone could be!) and it may be a little crazy and weird but that’s okay. Just be nice, please!

I promise not to preach to you and get all hippie-weirdo on you!



Summer/Winter Days

The really cool car I got to drive for 2 days while B’s car was being “fixed” last week. Or not fixed. But still. We wanted to keep it:)
The face of Love:) And orneriness!
It was so warm last weekend that we took a long bike ride (I’ll have to show you our cool bike set-up for family rides!) and it was so windy that it was perfect for kite flying!
The boys attempting to get the kite up and a random girl watching:)
And off it goes! We all took turns flying it (well…except E) and it was really fun!
Even though we were back to winter today, we took a really fun mini trip to a maple tree farm. We got to see how they collect sap and turn it into syrup with their very high tech, expensive evaporator machine. All those cords you see are tubes that run from tree to tree and all the sap runs into a vacuum system and into their vats. It’s a neat system and we learned a lot! This particular family run farm taps over 5,800 trees one by one and you could tell they really cared about the trees! We, of course, bought some maple sypup:) And I got some great homeschooling ideas! Win win!
In other news, we are about to embark on a new adventure with food this next month so stay tuned to see what we’re doing. You know me, always looking for some new challenging thing to try:) That’ll be my next post!


Off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday with my family. Ciao!