30 Day Everything Challenge: The Process (part 2)

6.8_30 day challenge

OK, picking up where we left off on the 30 day EVERYTHING challenge.

But first, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone.  I’ve been crazy excited to share this with you, and your comments and messages have meant a lot.  <Virtual Chest Bump!>  Ouch, that smarts.  I guess I should add some upper body work to my next challenge.

Ahem, moving right along . . .

Here is my “report card” if you will for the second half of the challenge.  (Check out the first half here.)  As you might expect, my performance was not as stellar for the second half.

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Get Up Early X X X X X X X X X X
Whole30 X X X X X X X X X X X X
Plank Challenge X X X
Ab Challenge X X X X X X / / /
Steps X X X X X
8 Glasses of Water X X X X X X X X X X
5 Minutes Meditation X X X X X X X X
20 Second Hug X X X X X X X X X X
Real Kiss X X X X X X X X X
Wash Face X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Floss X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Bedtime Alarm X

Psst . . . It is also interesting to see how my 30 days compare to this whole30 what to expect timeline.

So here is how the second half of the challenge shook out.  One day at a time.  In real time.


Day 16:  Henry is screaming about something at 510.  Even though James deals with it, I sleep fitfully until my alarm goes off at 616.  If not for James needing to go to work early today, I might not have gotten up.

Ab challenge rest day!  Technically, yesterday was a “rest” day, but I’m trying to get in the shower earlier so I content myself with planks (120 seconds!).  Meditation does happen post-shower.

I am out of sorts this afternoon.  Tired and just kind of a headache.  I haven’t been snacking at all during this challenge, but I have a boiled egg and a half a clementine.  I’m glad because we go to a cook out for dinner, and I opt to wait until getting back home to eat.  (The thought of a naked burger with an iceberg “salad” just didn’t sound appealing tonight.)

I FINALLY get around to making paleo mayo today.  At first, I thought I had a mayo fail.  But it turns out that in my kids-screaming state, I was only adding ¼ cup oil instead of ¼ + 1 cup like I was supposed to.  When I added the extra oil, it worked out just fine.

Boiled eggs with mayo and truffle salt, roasted sweet potatoes, peaches

Boiled eggs with mayo and truffle salt, roasted sweet potatoes, peaches

Day 17:  I time myself on the Ab challenge this morning.  It takes me 25 minutes to finish the whole thing!  I do the situp/rollups continuously, but they take forever.  On all the other segments, I have to take breaks.

I try Nom Nom Paleo’s slow cooker kalua pig recipe.  I have high hopes for this one.  It is super easy, but mine turns out just pretty good.  It was a little drier than I expected.

Major bedtime fail.  First, we watch two episodes of Veep because I’m so excited that we got the website to work.  (It didn’t the last time we tried.)  Then something happened in my book, and I just couldn’t put it down.  I think lights out is like 2345.

Day 18:  I do not get up.  Exercise does not happen.  You’d think I could just squeeze in some planks, but I have trouble making it happen if I don’t knock it out first thing.  I don’t know if it is the kids, or the whole I’m already dressed thing, or just laziness.  But there it is.

Another bedtime fail.  James and I have a date night.  Ironically, we forget the real kiss and hug today, but at least we have some lovey dovey hand holding across a table at Mamma Mia.  That is until we have to move our hands to make room for the meat!  We have a ginormous steak for two called a Tomahawk.  It is amazing.  James also gets tempura vegetables and homemade chips.  I get a plate of grilled vegetables.

6.10_challenge 2

Yes, that IS served on a salt block

It takes awhile to get the check.  When we get home, our new neighbors just arrived and are having trouble getting in and they lost their bags.  After helping them, doing the bedtime routine, and reading, lights out at like 2330.  Not good, I know.

Day 19:  I get up a little early.  I didn’t set my alarm, but I wake up on my own around 630.

50 situps, but I don’t get a chance to finish.  Plank challenge rest day!  [Can you really count the rest day, if you just aren’t doing it lots of other days?]

We host some other new neighbors for dinner.  It is fun and eating is easy because I get to control the menu.  I am bummed on not sampling the scrumptious looking cherry chocolate chip cookies the neighbors brought.  And I feel kind of tool-y about not eating them either.  Like I’m being rude or something.

2341 bedtime.

Day 20:  I wake up at 616, but I don’t feel like getting up.

My family gets here today!  Visitors on whole30?  I know.  I expect some tough moments.  But I’m also thinking that my new habits will help me pull through with less pain.

Speaking of pain, though, bedtime is late tonight.  This is one of the nights that we have a sitter.  We walk around downtown and end up at an outdoor table by the Pantheon.  I didn’t see a single appetizer I could order so I just sit and watch my family devour some tasty dishes, being thankful that I had a boiled egg snack before we left.  It took the food a looooong time to come out this evening.  Like not eating until 2230.  But when my whole sea bass with grilled vegetables came out and they prepared it tableside, I had no whole30 regrets.  That was a tasty fish, my friends.

After we finally found a taxi that would seat five, chatted with the sitter, got ready for bed and did more reading than we should, bedtime was 0030.

Day 21:  Knowing we have a busy day ahead and that bedtime was late, I did not set an alarm.  I get up naturally at 700.  I am yawning, but alert.

I do my Ab exercises.  Instead of trying to do ALL the situps and then ALL the crunches, etc. I split them in half and put my meditation in the middle.  Kids are stirring towards the end, but I power through.

We have an epic day planned.  After a record of only eight minutes behind the official unofficial Melissa schedule, we take a bus to Trastevere and check out the Porta Portese flea market.  It was fun, but I would have enjoyed it more if it were a few degrees cooler.  We enjoy a nice lunch on the Piazza di Santa Maria, but I’m struggling on my order.  I can’t do grilled fish without getting a huge ginormous fish and nobody is interested in splitting and I just had fish last night.  In the end, I do a shrimp and arugula salad from the appetizer menu.  I destroy an entire avocado once we get home.

Things are decidedly fishy this weekend.  I prepare fish with mushrooms and more shrimp for dinner.  (The fish dish (cergia) was a hit, but I’m going to have to stop buying shrimp here.  They just don’t taste right to me.)

After a full day, I’m ready to hit the hay.  I’m in bed and reading before my 2106 alarm goes off.  But the best laid plans . . .  Henry is up and screaming around 2230.  He is quickly extricated to avoid waking up his brother.  We let him read in bed with us for a bit.  I am wrapping up my book and read way too late.  I think until 2330.  Henry wakes up again at 230.  Needless to say, it was not the most restful night.

Day 22:  I wake up around 630, but I don’t get up until almost 700.  I make it out to the computer, and I fail to do any exercising or meditating.  Huzzah.

Not sure why, but I have a killer headache this morning.  It is around earlier, but it gets really bad when I am outside.  An Alleve seems to help.

My mom tags along to the market with us this morning.  I can’t get over how good all the produce is here right now, particularly the fruit.  I buy oodles of cherries, peaches, and some fruit that may be a kumquat or an apricot.  [We decided definitely apricot.]

I also make another nongross dinner!  [Low standards, people.]  I make zucchini noodles with tomatoes and a lemon/egg/hot pepper sauce.  It is shockingly good.  This was a relief because I was really not enthused about the crappy dinner when I sat down to it.  Ugh, more whole30 nonsense, oh wait, this is actually really good.

Stay up reading until about 2300.  (OK, it was 2302, if you must know.)

Day 23:  I wake up on my own at 546.  Because this seems way too early, I read for a bit and try to sleep.  But no dice.  I still feel a little tired, but alert and rested.

I doubt this is related to my 30 day adventure, but just in case this is somehow related to ALL THE FACE WASHING or such, I want to mention that my eyes have been super dry.  Like wake up in the morning and sandpapery dry.  Like takes them at least 30 minutes to feel normal kind of dry.  No, I have not tried eye drops yet because I am really bad at them.  That’s right.  Even though I’ve had contacts longer in my life now than not and I can touch my eyeballs, I just can’t with the eye drops.  Occasionally, I can convince James to assist, but it is about as much fun as tracking down our cat to stuff in the carrier to take to the vet used to be.

Today is a holiday, Republic Day, in Italy.  Thinking it will be a good time to get out of dodge, we set off on an adventure and use three forms of public transportation to get to the ruins at Ostia Antica.  Here’s a pro tip:  when trying to avoid people, don’t use the train that heads in the same direction as the beach.  It is crowded, but we managed.

Thankfully, even though the Ostia Antica site is a few kilometers from the coast, there is still a nice breeze.  Otherwise, it would be brutal.  Temps are in the 90s.

The cafeteria there is better than expected.  While most everyone else has pasta al forno, I have chicken cacciatore with carrots and fruit.  It tastes like cafeteria food, but at least I’m not starving.

Coming home is one of the greatest temptations of the challenge.  We had been out ALL day.  We were tired.  And sweaty.  It was a good trip, but long, you know?  We decide to stop for gelato on the walk back.  Because of everything we had done and how hot it was, gelato just felt right.  Or a beer.  But THIS was the time when you really feel like gelato will hit the spot.  But I make it through.  When we get home, I pound a whole bottle of sparkling water.

I do rest for a bit, but my gelato angst is eased after I realize that I don’t feel completely wiped out.  I still have energy to move around and cook dinner.  This is huge because with kids, you can’t just go on a huge adventure and then lazily collapse somewhere.  They still expect to be entertained.  And fed.  Pesky kids.

I do decide to make it an early night though.  When the kids are in the tub, I do my whole bedtime routine.  After we put them down, I crawl into bed with my book.  I end up having to turn my bedtime alarm off because I’m out at like 2130.  Henry wakes up at 2330 for a brief scream, but what are you gonna do.

Day 24:  After that early bedtime, I thought I’d be rocketing out of bed at 500 or some nonsense.  But I must have been very tired because I wake up at 600 something and get up at 636.  Feeling pretty good.

Today I decide that attempting both the plank and ab challenges is no longer working.  I plan to jettison the plank challenge, but it is an ab rest day so I do the planks instead.  But then I chuck the planks.  Like I actually close the tab on my browser.  (Now only 78 tabs to go.)

Speaking of my abs, I’m definitely seeing results.  I’m no bikini model, but I can see definite definition, which I enjoy looking at, particularly first thing in the morning before that pesky food-in-stomach thing hides them a little.

Me:  “You better hide the scissors.”

James:  (confused look)

Me:  “To stop me from cutting all my shirts in half,” while lovingly caressing abs.

James:  (Hides head, either in shame OR because he can no longer look directly at the wonder of my sculpted physique.)

Day 25:  I get up a little bit early.  I have time to do 50 rollups, but I never get around to finishing the challenge.  Whoops.  If I don’t get it done in the morning, I just can’t seem to make it happen.

Bedtime is around 2245, but I have a terrible night.  I don’t know if it something me-related or worry about our upcoming trip or just because there is more light bleed in the room because the repair dude says we need to keep the shades open so that our mobile AC has more air.  But I wake up a few times and toss and turn.  Exactly what you need before a big trip!

Day 26:  Today I should get double checkmarks for getting up early!  I get up at 500 to get ready for our big trip to Turin.  But I should get negative checkmarks because I don’t do any exercising or meditating as we are trying to get out the door.

Water consumption suffers, but I definitely get in my steps as we try to cover the city in a day.  [More on our day trip to Turin soon!]

Unlike my previous whole30 faux pas, I decide to eat a deliberately off-plan food.  Turin is the home of gianduja, a chocolate and hazelnut mix that is one of my absolute favorites.  Coming all the way here and not trying it feels like going to the Sistine Chapel but walking around with a blindfold on.  OK, this is an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.  It just feels wrong.  I enjoy the chocolate, which was melting much too rapidly to contemplate taking any home, but I don’t chuck the whole day.  I don’t have any pasta or wine at lunch.  I don’t have the gelato at the airport.  This is how I hope to live life post-whole30.  Generally sticking to whole30-ish rules unless there is a good reason not to.  (Of course, real life happens, and I predict everything will be off the rails before I know it.  But I hope not.)

The offending chocolate

The offending chocolate

After our return flight and getting home and getting the kids settled and eating some protein, bed is at 2300.  I am beat.

Day 27:  After such an epic day, I decide not to set my alarm.  I wake up at 725.  I mean to do more exercise, but I only squeeze in a 60 second plank before I have to deal with some chilluns.

I invite some neighbors and friends over for playground happy hour, and I think it turns out nicely.  I can’t have the bread or cheese, but I enjoy the olives and cherries.  Socializing without wine isn’t so bad either.

This evening, I just can’t seem to shut it off.  Even though I got to see people, I want MORE adult time.  Bed time is at 2310.

Day 28:  I wake up at 5:something, but manage to drift back to sleep.  I actually dream that I sleep until 8:00 and feel a little guilty about “sleeping in,” but I decide to go with it because it is the weekend.  Then I look at my clock and it is actually 6:15.  Guess I still get my “X” today.

I do half the ab exercises.  When I started, I told myself there would be no partial credit, but I’m giving myself half an “X” for this.  200 situps and crunches is nothing to sneeze at, thank you very much.

I try a breakfast bowl with sweet potatoes, peaches, and poached eggs.  I like the idea of it, but it was a little off.

Today we adventure to Nemi for the strawberry festival.  And today, I again relinquish my whole30 “X.”  This time it was for strawberries with homemade whipped cream.  As before, I don’t go crazy for the rest of the day.  I don’t have the bread with my pork sandwich.  I don’t have any of the strawberry liqueur.  Ideally, I would have abstained, but I’m OK with this.

Strawberry arancio, strawberry pastry, and of course, strawberries

Strawberry arancino, strawberry pastry, and of course, strawberries.  (I only ate the strawberries.)

After the busy weekend, I’m in bed by 2200 with lights out at 2230.

Day 29:  I wake up on own at 600.  Other than my eyes being kind of dry, I’m raring to go.

I do half the ab exercises again before my meditation.  Half is good.  Still challenging, but not so much that I don’t even want to start or that it crowds out everything else, like meditation.

I repurpose last night’s leftover fish for dinner into a sort of fish salad with mayo, tomatoes, chives, and smoked paprika.  James, who was not the biggest fan: “I don’t see how you just plowed through that.”  Taste buds, man.  They have definitely shifted.

Bedtime is an epic fail.  I’m doing that thing where I’m being kind of productive on the internet and kind of surfing and I look down and it is 2230.  Oops.  Then I read until 2330.  Double drat.

Day 30:  I wake up at 530.  Uh, say what?  I don’t feel like getting up, but I’m the kind of awake where you know you won’t be going back to sleep.  At least I have plenty of time for my half ab challenge and meditation.

To beat the heat, my playgroup hits the indoor museum, Explora.  Afterwards, we get gelato.  I actually don’t miss it that much.  The boys are pretty cranky though that I expect them to share, instead of Mac sharing with me like usual.  I’m not sure what I expect from a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old, but they are not having it.

I’m kind of tired today, and I opt for a power nap during part of the kids’ naptime.  I don’t know if it is lack of sleep or just being wiped out from the sun.  It’s weird; it is pretty pleasant in the shade but the direct sun has become almost unbearable.

Tonight is date night.  We decide to go check out the summer festival stuff along the river, but it isn’t open yet.  I get my steps in on our nice long walk though.  I lose my whole30 check because I decide to have a sip of James’s beer.  I’d been smelling some of his beverages throughout the challenge, and I just wanted a taste.  I blame some of this on my less-than-satisfying dinner I made this evening.  We had fish with roasted asparagus and tomato.  I should have added sweet potato and side salad though.

AND instead of closing out the challenge on a strong note, I have a truly awful bedtime fail.  After paying the sitter, getting ready for bed, and reading, lights out is actually around 2345.  I guess I know which habit needs more work and likely a different approach.


So there you have it.  Curious what I did on Day 31?  I got up on my own at 630, did some ab exercises and meditation, and made eggs for breakfast.  Then I had a big old salad for lunch.  (I also attacked James with the tape measure in an eagerness to see how much things changed.  I’m sure you are not surprised by this.)

Definitely not a perfect record, but I think I jumpstarted some healthy habits.  I’m glad I did it.

Stick around!  Later this week, I’ll be assessing how everything worked and sharing, dum dum dum, results.

30 Day Everything Challenge: The Process (part 1)

6.8_30 day challenge

So when we left off, I announced my 12 point 30 day challenge.   You guys want to know how it turned out?  Patience, Grasshopper.  Let’s enjoy the journey on the way to our destination.

Here is my “report card” if you will for the first half of the challenge.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Get Up Early X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Whole30 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Plank Challenge X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Abs Challenge X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Steps X X X X X
8 Glasses of Water X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
5 Minutes Meditation X X X X X X X X X X X X X
20 Second Hug X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Real Kiss X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Wash Face X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Floss X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Bedtime Alarm X

To keep myself from completely blanking when I tried to tell you guys about it later (“uh, it sucked and then it got better?” is not very helpful), I kept a daily journal on my ups and downs and mishaps.  It has been informative for me even to review as I go back to edit.  (Speaking of editing, please forgive me if verb tenses are all over the place.  I tried to write in present tense, but I kept correcting myself and I’m sure I missed some.)  Brackets indicate my commentary from the fuuuut-ah, she says spookily.

Psst . . . It is also interesting to see how my 30 days compare to this whole30 what to expect timeline.

Without further adieu, here is how the challenge shook out.  One day at a time.  In real time.


Day 1:  Why didn’t I set some of this stuff up earlier so I could hit the ground running??  I wake up early and spend many precious morning minutes deciding on which challenges to tackle and making a spreadsheet.  Oh, well, at least it got done.  When I tell James about it, he’s all, “uh, this is way more than you talked about before” and I’m all “I know, right??”  But go big or go home, I always say.  Why pull the bandaid off slowly when you can AMPUTATE?  (Note to self:  I may need to work on my metaphors.)

Who can do sit ups like this???  I cannot do them without having my feet come off the floor and making a jerky motion to get my torso off the ground.  Such poor form cannot be good.  After struggling, I switch to a pilates-style roll up and over [which I maintain for the remainder of the challenge].

I find my Jawbone Up, but it needs to be charged.  Not shocking after sitting in a drawer for a year.

Day 2:  The heat is helping on not eating.  Luckily, after walking around in the hot sun, the last thing I want to do is carbify.  Unfortunately, it is making not drinking hard.  This is the time for crisp white wine and icy pilsners, darnit!  I fail on bedtime alarm because of date night.  Since I’m not really eating or drinking, we decide to go on a long walk so I’m sure I got my steps in though.  Bonus!  But at the end of our walk, it would have been perfect to sit outside and sip something.  Sigh.

I am impressed on how much I’m enjoying meditation.  Meditation always sounded a little hippy dippy new age to me.  But after a few seconds of my mind racing, I’m impressed by how much everything actually calms down.  And how quickly  it goes!  I swear, it feels like 30 seconds have gone by and my alarm goes off.

The Up is charged, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  Oh, well.  Most of my walking is pushing the stroller; my count would be off anyway.  I decide to only give myself an “X” if I’m sure I made all the steps.  [I’m pretty stingy on this.  I did do a lot of walking, but you wouldn’t know it based on my report card.]

Day 3:  I almost don’t get up early.  After date night later arrival and reading for a few minutes, I’m probably not asleep until 2300.  I tell myself this would be justified.  I could sleep in.  But I want to brag to the internet that I did a secret 30 day challenge and rocked it so I make it happen.  To aid on the water front, I remember to get a glass first thing.

Blargh, after I get us out the door, I realize that I am dragging.  It could be the slightly less sleep.  It is probably the carb flu.  I have a sort of constant low grade headache and I’m just exhausted.  I’m not heartened by knowing it will probably get worse before it gets better.  But then it WILL get better and I will be a ripped, fat-burning machine.

I fail on bedtime again.  I’m watching a friend’s kid so they can go out to dinner (we do a sitting exchange), and I don’t make it home till 2140.  I immediately walk in the door, talk to James for a few minutes (and 20 second hug) and start to get ready for bed, but when my reading alarm goes off, I’m just not ready.  I read until 2240ish.

Day 4:  Getting up again is a challenge.  I was having some kind of dream that involved Giada de Laurentiis and Oprah Winfrey in a fashion/talent show.  They were just interviewing one of Oprah’s backup dancers about her makeup when the alarm went off.  I really want to see how this plays out so I try to get it back for a few minutes before I give up and roll out of bed.  Thankfully, the ab challenge is on a rest day!  Although then I realize that I should have been up to 30 seconds for plank challenge yesterday, and I think I only did 20.  Oops.

I don’t dig meditation as much today.  My mind keeps spinning, and I just keep thinking of things I wanted to do before the baby wakes up.  (Well, “baby.”)

But on the plus side, I feel much less crappy today.  I might still be a little tired, but none of the headache of yesterday.  At the end of our trip to the market, I bought the kids some pizza bianca to munch on.  It took some serious willpower not to cram a piece right in my mouth.

Another bedtime fail.  Curse you, Outlander books!  I even went to bed at like 2045 so that I would have plenty of time to read, but I still blew through my bedtime alarm and read until 2315.  I’m not sure what the solution is.  Read less interesting books?  Tire myself out more before bed?  Exercise actual self-control?  I can’t stop watching TV because I just realize that we haven’t watched anything at all this week.

Day 5:  Because of my bedtime fail, I set my alarm for 616 instead of 606.  Again, I don’t want to get up, but I do and knock out my plank and ab challenges.  The plank challenge is up to 40 seconds.  I actually set a timer instead of doing an inaccurate count in my head.

On the plus side, I think my stomach is looking a little less poochy.  This could be wishful thinking, and I only really feel this way first thing in the morning, but I think I see a difference.  James, probably wisely on his part, declines to comment.  He also declines to take a waist measurement, not to tell me the number, but just to confirm that it is working.  James: “We are not going down this road.”  FINE.  [James took initial and halfway measurements, but I didn’t look.]

Also on the plus side, I think my taste buds are adjusting.  We make paleo pancakes this morning and they taste crazy sweet.  My lunch salad is also packed with flavor.  BTW, I am KILLING it on the salad front this week.  I have made sure to have cooked protein and greens on hand, which makes it easy to just add in other things and douse it with olive oil.  This is a nice perk of being at home.  Commuting with salads is a huge PITA.  I’m having things like oven roasted turkey with spinach, dried cranberries, cashews, and broccoli.  Or spice rubbed chicken on greens with cucumber, carrot, and tomato.  I am a little worried about this weekend if we are trying to eat on the go.  Note to self:  boil some eggs.

6.9_challenge 2

Another bedtime fail.  This time, I think it is 2245.

Day 6:  I feel like sleep is not restful, lots of tossing and turning, but I actually wake up before the 646 weekend alarm I set.  I enjoy a little me time with my plank challenge (ab challenge rest day, w00t!), meditation, and water, before we get ready for a day trip to Comune di Sermoneta.   I drink 3 glasses of water in the morning to be ready, but then regret this a bit in the car.

We stop for lunch upon arrival, in part because I need a bathroom.  Here, I have a bit of a whole30 fail.  Not a deliberate–screw it, I’m going to eat pasta–kind of fail.  Our antipasto starts out great, and I eat grilled vegetables and olives.  For the main, though, there is menu confusion and my chicken comes with a sauce that I’m pretty sure has cheese and flour in it.  Face palm.  I try to scrape as much off as I can, which is hard both physically because of chicken nooks and crannies and mentally because cheese/flour sauce is delicious.  Sigh, such is the challenge of eating in restaurants on whole30.

Sermoneta is hilly.  We do a lot of steps, but I doubt I hit a walking count for the day.  I am exhausted at the end of the day though.  After some turkey hash and putting the kids to bed and slamming some water to makeup for a lack in the middle of the day, I get ready for bed myself.  And then read until 2300 . . .

6.9_challenge 1

Day 7:  I decide to enjoy one “sleep in” day and don’t set an alarm.  Even after an uneven night (Mac woke up around midnight), I wake up on my own at 600.  Intriguing.

Man, the numbers on these ab and plank challenges are starting to get high.  My modified sit ups aren’t too hard, but I start to lose track on the way to 40.  [Hahahaha, just wait until you SEE how high the numbers get.]  I am really struggling on the leg lifts, and I have to take two breaks to get them all in.  I have been doing the plank challenge and ab challenge back-to-back, but that is starting to be too much planking.  I may need to modify the routine to plank at a different time.

Dinner is hard.  After a jaunt about town to check out a dinosaur exhibit, we pick up a pizza.  I get to sit and watch everyone with cheesy deliciousness while I eat reheated frittata.  Yes, yes, I know we could have just not picked up a pizza, but I didn’t really have anything else for dinner.  Stay the course.  I have been putting a lot of hot sauce on things though.

Read until 2237.  I’m sure you guys are wondering why I still consider this a part of the challenge because I am getting a great big “F” on bedtime alarm.

Day 8:  Despite not making it to bed “on time,”  I wake up before my alarm.  Part of this may be that the shutters are cracked, and I’m getting some natural light.  (I shut them immediately.)  I do feel fairly rested though.

I don’t feel bad today, but I am a little tired.  This could be from the fact that it was over 90 degrees here today.  Yikes!

After lunch today, the frittata is thankfully all gone.  It was good at initial consumption, but I really missed cheese on the reheats.  Also, the leftover roasted broccoli I added made things taste a little strange later.  Note to self:  broccoli off the frittata list.

I think reading was until around 2300.  I know, I know.

Day 9:  Mac wakes up at 600 and ends up in our bed.  I creep out shortly after.  I do not feel very motivated this morning.  Instead of knuckling down on the computer, I waste time screwing around on the internets.  I do ab, plank, meditation, but I’m not enthused.

Today is brutally hot.  We do a play date meetup at Borghese, and I am flagging by the time we get back.  During the outing, I push water on the kids, but I do not do a good job for myself.  I pound water in earnest when we return home.  I am also lackluster on food.  I throw together chicken, spinach, olives, and carrots for lunch, but I almost feel like I’m eating medicinally.  Keep chewing these bites so you don’t feel hungry later mentality.  Guess I need to dust off some new recipes.

After not TV-ing for awhile, we go on a bender this evening.  One episode of Elementary and two of Brooklyn 99 (a show you should definitely be watching).  After reading, bedtime is 2310.

Day 10:  My eyes pop open at 600 on the dot, but I don’t spring out of bed.  I just sort of let my mind wander until the alarm goes off at 616.

It seems strange to me that the Ab Challenge does not have plateau days.  The Plank Challenge gives you a few days of the same before bumping you up.  The Ab Challenge just keeps going up and up and up.  I guess the argument is for incremental change.  I’m just glad the leg raises have leveled off a little.  Those are still killing me.  But whether the Abs, Planks, or Whole30, I am definitely seeing stomach results.  I keep sneaking peeks in the mirror when I walk by.  It is almost making me sad that I didn’t have the guts to take before pics.  Today is the first day I start detecting a little arm definition as well.

Of course, after I type that in the morning, I feel sort of bloaty the rest of the day.  Good times.  No clue on the cause.

I do fail on bedtime alarm, but it is MUCH closer.  I think lights out at 1020.

Day 11:  I went to bed early.  No kid interruptions.  I sleep until my 616 alarm.  Why do I feel so tired???  Getting up is a struggle.  I hate when it feels like I’m doing everything right and still can’t win.

I have rug burn on my elbow from sliding into plank position.  Awesome.

Rug burn aside, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with the Plank and Ab challenges.  I can still do my roll-ups without pause, but I have to pause on the crunches now as well as the leg lifts.  I get that it is supposed to get harder, but I know my form goes WAY downhill towards the end.  I’ll keep doing something.  I just don’t know if it will be the full numbers.

I feel bloaty again today.  This is a bummer because I have some really good food today.  Breakfast is leftover pork loin with cinnamon apples.  Lunch is a spinach salad with pork, avocado, caramelized onions, and fresh strawberries straight from the market.  Dinner is a Mexican-inspired salad with a tangy lime salsa dressing.  I still feel gross.

Bedtime is around 2250.  I’ve been doing more TV, and then reading on top of it.  Not that TV is the worst, but I think I’m using it as my end-of-the-day reward.  I can’t have a glass of wine?  How about a new episode of Brooklyn 99 instead.  Although we finished that last night.  After I catch up on Mindy Project and Elementary, I’ll be on the hunt for new programming.  At least until Bojack Horseman returns for season two on July 17.

I wake up at 245, and I have some trouble getting back to sleep.  I am not enthused, but this does make me realize, that other than kid-related wake ups, I’ve been sleeping more like a rock.

I also have a dream that I cheated on the whole30 with accidental consumption of corn chips.  Say what???  If I’m going to cheat, let’s make it something sexier than corn chips.  But in the dream, I was all super bummed about not getting my check mark on whole30.  Because of corn chips.

Day 12:  I’m in bed until the alarm, and I do NOT bound out of bed.  At least Ab Challenge rest day!

Unfortunately, the Plank Challenge jumped up by 30 seconds.  For the first time on the challenge, I have to break up the time.  I go back to read the instructions.  It looks like doing the full time matters more than doing it all at once, but it seems all at once is what they are really going for.  Oh, well.

After confirming that cocoa is OK on the whole30, I make this chocolate chili.  Ya’ll.  I may never make another chili again.  This stuff is stupid good.  It doesn’t taste chocolate-y or even mole-y.  It just has this depth of flavor that far surpasses my usual flavoring attempts with cumin, chili powder, and garlic.  I know this isn’t chili weather, but I promise you will not be sorry if you whip up a batch.

Bed at 2255.

Day 13:  I wake up at 552.  I do not bound out of bed, but I am fully awake and feel completely rested.  This is interesting.  I thought that I was somewhere in the south of needs-eight-hours camp, but I didn’t think it would be all the way down to seven.  I guess it is seven if-no-wine camp.

Leg lifts are actually easier today!  The number is up to 40.  I thought I would have to do four sets, but I make it through in two.

While the boys nibbled toast, I whipped up some scrambled eggs with chives and mashed sweet potato with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ghee.  (Don’t worry; I shared.)  I’m usually too lazy for scrambled eggs (a whole other bowl to clean!), but these were really good.  I may have to change my tune.  Either way, it wasn’t pancakes, but I did feel like I had a special weekend breakfast.

The rainy weather quashed our day trip plans, but we did manage a morning walkabout, and I even had a compliant meal in a restaurant.  I enjoyed an all-beef patty with lettuce, tomato, onions, and cucumbers.  Ham Holy Burger also has salad options, but it was nice to have something other than salad for once.

Bed at 2300.

Day 14:  I’m awake around 600.  Instead of getting up, I read for a bit.  Until Henry is yelling about something.  Then I get up.

Today we did all the socializing.  I was that weird girl who brought her own food to the party.  I don’t mind not drinking that much.  Sitting at a table with a plate of delectable cookies right in front of me is much harder.

Bed at 2355.

Day 15:  My alarm goes off, but I can’t make myself get up.  Probably a little something to do with that later bedtime.  Even though I’m tired, I still feel pretty good though.  Bonus on not drinking:  no alcohol-related after effects.

I do not do my morning exercises or meditation, which does not bode well for getting them done at all.

For the millionth time, I get annoyed that convenience food just doesn’t exist on whole30.  It isn’t just an Italy thing.  It’s a whole30 thing.  After grabbing Henry from school, we pick up some pizza for the boys and have a playground picnic.  I try not to directly inhale the pizza fumes and pound a salad with a full avocado once we get back upstairs.

I get sidetracked on the bed routine because we are dealing with rebooking a flight.  Even though I don’t stop reading at 2206, I make myself stop at 2235.  Willpower.  I haz it.


So no sexy cliffhanger, but that’s the first half.  (Does our heroine keep doing it and slay the sugar dragon???)  Feeling a little better.  Annoyed with restaurant food on the whole30.  Failing miserably on bedtime.

Tune in for part two tomorrow!

30 Day EVERYTHING Challenge

6.8_30 day challenge

“Break the cycle. You’ve got to break the cycle.”

Wise words from a wise friend who visited in December.

I knew she was right.  I just didn’t know how to snap out of it.

What’s my cycle?  It goes a little something like this.  I wake up usually a bit tired and out of it.  I make it through the day with the kids that is equal parts fun and obliteratingly exhausting.  After dinner prep, bedtime prep, cleanup, etc. I collapse into a chair with a glass of wine.  The wine tastes pretty good, and I think of a snack that will go well with it.  Maybe popcorn.  Cheese.  Chocolate.  I run out of wine before I run out of snack which means I need to get more wine.  I stay up too late and then stay up even later reading.  Repeat.

On the one level, I understood that there were things that would make me feel better.  Like exercising.  Sleeping more.  Not eating crap.  I just couldn’t do these things.  I was too tired to do things to make me less tired.  A vicious cycle.

After one of our rounds of guests, I was completely knocked on my booty.  That week I did all the things.  I ate all the things.  I drank all the things.  I stayed up too late.  It was a bad scene, man.

I finally decided that I’d had enough.  I knew what I needed to do.  Mac finally mostly started sleeping through the night.  I was out of excuses.  It was time to make a change.

I scoured the internet for things to make me feel better.  It isn’t rocket science though.  Exercise.  Sleep.  Good food.

Instead of incremental change though, I decided to make a bunch of changes at once.  That’s me.  All or nothing.  Weird, I know.

These are the 12 challenges I settled on to improve my health and mood.

1)  Ab Challenge

I decided to add in some exercise.  My sister mentioned a 30 day ab challenge she did.  It sounded perfect.  Four exercises?  I can do that.

2)  Plank Challenge

I was reading again somewhere about how planks are supposed to be the best exercise ever.  So why not a plank challenge!  Just planking?  That’s all I have to do?  (Never mind that the ab challenge also includes planks.)  How hard can it be?  (You can stop snickering now, thank you very much.)

3)  Steps

I know what you’re thinking.  Well, these challenges are all well and good so far, but what about cardio?  I hear you.  I’d like to start running again, but that just seems really hard right now.  Not just the running part but the making time to run and washing my hair more and all of that good stuff.  Maybe running on the next challenge?

I decided to locate my Jawbone Up and at least track some steps.  Our lifestyle involves a good bit of walking here.  They add up.  I forget what the thing is set for, but I think it is a little over three miles.

4)  Get Up Early

If I’m going to do all this exercise, I need to find time to do it.  I really want to reclaim my mornings.  I used to be a morning person.  (An extreme morning person, actually.)  Now I can barely get up by 7:30, which seems laughably late.

Besides having some “me time,” I want to add some purpose.  I want to wake up for my life and not just to my life.

5)  Whole30

Regular readers probably could have guessed this was coming.  I halfheartedly attempted a whole30 a few months ago, but I only made it ten days.  It’s so hard, I whined to myself.  This is Italy!  I can’t give up wine.  And cheese.  And bread.  And pasta.

Yes.  I can.  It is time.

6)  Drink 8 Glasses of Water Each Day

Once upon a time when I worked in an office, I had zero problems drinking enough water.  The water sat in front of me.  I drank it.  Bathroom break and refill water bottle.  Repeat.

Now we move around all over.  I try to get at least a glass with meals, but I’m hurting on the in between times.

It’s just water.  How hard can it be?  Besides, I’ll need something to replace that wine I’m missing . . .

7)  5 Minutes of Meditation Each Day

I feel like I’m always seeing articles about how to revolutionize your life in just a few minutes per day that tout meditation as being the end all be all answer.  I remember a day frantically googling meditation articles at biglaw and trying it out, but I think that only lasted two days.  (Spoiler alert:  I still felt stressed.)

I guess there are many different ways to meditate, but I remember my twelfth grade english teacher telling us that one method would be to sit quietly, be conscious of all the noises in the room, and try to hold them at the same level in your head.   I could try that.  Worse case scenario, I can sit quietly with my own thoughts for a few minutes.  Couldn’t hurt; might help?

8)  20 Second Real Hug

I laughed at some relationship challenges I found in my search of the internets.  Go see a concert with your partner.  Hahahaha.  Basically, it was like a string of 30 date nights.  My lifestyle does not support that right now.

BUT then my friend posted something on the benefits of a 20 second hug.  I like James.  I like hugging him.  I hate to need a challenge to make this a more regular thing, but there you are.

9)  Real Kiss

On the subject of James, I also decided to throw in a real kiss as well.  Not a peck on the way out the door.  Not a hi-honey-how-was-your-day.  A real kiss.

10)  Wash My Face at Night

That same wise hugging friend?  She is a beauty products dynamo.  I recently emailed her about my beauty routines, or lack thereof.  Her response:  “you don’t wash your face at night???”

I know.  But I haven’t.  My mineral makeup doesn’t seem to cause breakouts (and seems to have worn off by the end of the day).  I just get eye makeup all over the pillow.

But this is something adults do.  And my face is not getting any younger.  I need to build some better routines.

11)  Floss

Speaking of better routines, we dentisted recently and I was reminded once again about the importance of flossing.  (I was also reminded to spread the toothpaste on the chewing surfaces of my teeth first and to only brush up and down.  You’d think I’d have figured out toothbrushing in 30 odd years, but no.)

James has actually been gangbusters at flossing lately.  I think 99% of his success is overcoming the “out of sight, out of mind” hurdle.  Instead of tucking the floss away (as I would prefer), it sits front and center on the shelf by the mirror.

Am I petty and ridiculous enough to consider this a competition?  (Do I even need to answer that?)  I REFUSE to let James win at teeth.

12)  Bedtime Alarm

I need more sleep.  This is known.

The known-ness of my actual bedtime?  Not so much.

See, I usually “go” to bed around 10 or 10:30.  But then I read.  I think I’m reading for just a few minutes, but it’s not.  It could be hours.  I’ve actually stopped looking because I don’t even want to know.

To facilitate better habits, I’m setting bedtime alarms.  My 2106 alarm is to alert me that it is time to get ready for bed.  All that facewashing and flossing takes time, yo.  The 2206 alarm is to shut it down.  Put down the book.  Go to bed.  Unless, of course, I’m already sleeping in which case I’ll make sure to turn it off.  (Snort.)


 

So there you have it!  My twelve challenges for 30 days.  I thought about adding in some other challenges, like a minimalism challenge, but I’ll save that stuff for another day.

But you want to know the best part about all of this?

I already did it!  That’s right, instead of announcing and then failing, like my NaNoWriMo or my Whole30 attempt, I decided to do and then share.

So all this week I’ll be providing deets on how it went and how it all turned out.  Stay tuned!

My only regret?  Not doing it sooner.  But I couldn’t.  I just wasn’t ready.

Do you prefer gradual change or everything all at once?  Tried to build any new habits in a month?

Stupid easy paleo pancakes

With many thanks to MBDH for the eye opener on these.

Our breakfasts are easy.  Not as fast as cereal and milk, but they are streamlined because they are essentially the same thing every day.  I crack four or five eggs into a ghee-lined pan.  Fry.  Serve with fruit.  Or avocado.  Or roasted sweet potatoes if I have some.  If I’m feeling crazy, I’ll fry up apple bits with cinnamon, but that takes extra work to chop up the apple.  And SCENE.

Guess which one is the supermarket egg

But sometimes, when we are feeling a little crazy and need to break out of our egg routine, we change it up.  Then we have pancakes, made out of, you guessed it, eggs.

This two (or three or four or more ingredient, you’ll see what I mean) pancake is a gamechanger.  Fast.  Tasty.  The toddler is excited that he is getting pancakes.  It is a pleaser for protein-seekers who are not in love with eggs.  (Cough, cough, James.)  Win, win.

Basic Recipe

Mash up bananas.  Blend with eggs.  Add dash of cinnamon.  Fry.

3_pancake 4

That’s it.  I know.  Easy enough to do when you have kids screaming for breakfast and you aren’t thinking your best in the morning.

You can do individual batches to fry or mix up a big mess of banana/eggs and fry them individually.  I like to do about one banana and two eggs per person, but you can play with this.  I haven’t had an inedible batch yet.

They aren’t the prettiest.  But they are tasty and filling.

3_pancake 2

Variation 1

If you have some extra time, throw a sweet potato in the microwave and then add sweet potato to the mix.  This is a denser, more filling option.  Look, Ma, no side item needed!

3_pancake 5

Variation 2

Add _______.  You could really add anything.  I’ve done blueberries.  Delicious.  I’m sure other fruit would be great.  Nuts would be great.  You could probably even shred zucchini or try other veggies.  Go crazy!  The leftovers in your fridge are your delicious breakfast oyster.

You recipe followers may be cringing a little.  I know.  It isn’t precise.  But you really can’t screw it up.  Now go forth and pancake!

Baby approved!

Baby approved!

Toddler approved!

Toddler approved!

Thoughts from my “Whole 10”

Earlier this month I did 10 or 11 days of a whole 30.  This is not exactly the way the program is supposed to work, but it can be a helpful tune-up.  I made it through a weekend which I’m proud of.  Now I’m back to normal, but with some modifications.  Here are some thoughts about the process this time around:

If you are thinking of doing a whole30, but know going into it that it is OK to stop early, then you will probably stop early.  My goal was to try it to clean things up, but to stop when it made sense for me.  Which is fine.  But having that attitude–at least for me–almost guaranteed that I would stop early.  I was thinking about this because I’m toying with participating in National Novel Writing Month in November.  I haven’t done much planning, but the program says that can work.  I’m just not sure it will work for me.  I’m mostly hesitant because I don’t have an idea that I love.  And you really need an idea that you love if you are going to commit to 50,000 words in a month.  Part of me thinks, well, I’ll just try it.  Even if I don’t finish 50,000 words, it will be a good writing exercise.  But.  This approach dooms me from the start.  If I allow myself an out, I’ll probably take it.  So I’m not sure I want to announce to all of you that I am committing to NaNoWriMo.  Definitely not yet.  But I’m still thinking about it.

Paleo really is hard to do here.  This is particularly true on convenience food.  If we are out and about, the quickest option is pizza.  I miss having that spontaneity.  Although whole30-ing doesn’t really lend itself to convenience food anywhere.

I just shouldn’t keep chocolate or gelato or anything else too delicious in the house.  I have a lot of willpower about some things.  Not dusting off the bag of peanut butter M&Ms is not one of them.  There is plenty of room for treats when we are out of the house.

I should keep cutting out the glass (or so) of wine after the kids go to bed.  This one is hard.  But I think it makes the biggest difference on how I feel the next day.  I’ve been trying to have more booze free days and focus on more targeted drinking, such as date night, weekends, with friends, etc.

Less wine = nicer wine.  If I’m being more strategic, I don’t want to deal with a 4 euro grocery store grab that turns out to be awful.  So more trips to the legit wine store in our future.

I really should stop eating after dinner entirely.  If left to my own devices, I will nibble all evening.  If I am successful on not having treats in the house, this should help.

I’m trying to do pasta only once a week.  It’s an easy meal.  It is delicious.  But I’m limiting for health and to avoid pasta fatigue.  People who have been here a year tell me this is real, and even though I am scoffing at them right now, I will find myself in the same place.

This helped snap me out of my yogurt-for-lunch rut.  I find cooking paleo dinners pretty easy and Henry and I eat ALL the eggs for breakfast, but I was stumped on lunch.  Now I’m trying harder to have leftovers.  I’m also working to stock more convenient proteins to throw on salads like canned fish, anchovies, and smoked salmon.  Soup season is upon us which should help for leftovers!

So you're thinking about a whole30 . . .

So that’s where I ended up.  Less booze, more lunch ideas, and confidence that paleo is possible in Italy.  If you are thinking about a whole30, learn from my attempts:

  • Prepare, prepare, and then prepare some more.  If you wait until you are starving, you are screwed because paleo is often not quick and easy.
  • Definitely stock up on some make-your-life-easier essentials: ghee, almond flour, coconut milk, coconut aminos, canned tomatoes, nuts, canned fish.
  • Make sure you get enough fat in your meals.  You aren’t supposed to be hungry all the time.  If you are, you’re doing it wrong.
  • Avocados and sweet potatoes are your friend.  Roasted sweet potatoes are really good for feeling comforty when you just want carbs.
  • Let your crock pot also be your friend.
  • Sparkling water with lime is nice for when you get sick of regular water.
Have you ever tried a whole30?  Any other tips?  Would you ever do one?

State of the Situation

We’ve been here almost seven weeks.  W00t!  It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re trying to figure things out in a foreign country.  For fun, here are some stats and updates on previously discussed topics.

Cappuccinos enjoyed (Melissa)3

Cappuccinos enjoyed (James): eleventy billion   Ok, it just feels that way.  But I think he gets 2/day at work.

Restaurants sat in as a family2  We did go to one 2x.  We’ll try to increase this number, but tough because most places don’t open until 1900 or 1930.  We have done pizza and panini take out.

Date Nights:  2  This should be four, but we’ve have had babysitter cancellation.  We’re currently trying to find more sitters.

Exotic Takeout Delivered:  1!  After I mentioned a lack of options, I discovered justeat.it.  For you law-firmians, this is very similar to seamless.  They have plenty of Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Thai places listed.  The knock is that most places don’t open until late which means delivery is pretty late.  I don’t think it could be here in time for a family dinner, but we may use it as an at-home date night after the kids are in bed.

Days of whole30:  9ish  After declaring my plans, I was going strong with only one accidental goof.  (I put some premade pesto on veggies before remembering, duh, parmesan.)  I was proud that I made it through a weekend.  But then last night we ordered sushi and I went a little crazy with some off-plan rice and soy sauce.  This is definitely not the way the program is supposed to work.  If you give it a try, I encourage you to really stick with it for 30 days.  I think I had a different mindset knowing that I might allow myself to wrap up early.  It has been a really helpful reset, and I’ve made it through the feel-crappy-early-days.  I’m sticking with it again for now, but might stop based on any weekend travel plans.  For example, it just would seem all kinds of wrong to go to Tuscany and not have a little wine.

Markets visited: 2  One vegetable and one antique.

Parks visited: 3  We’ve made it to Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, and Villa Torlonia.

Playgrounds visited:  5  We’ve been to two in Borghese, one in Ada, and two in our neighborhood.  If there is a playground, Henry will find it.  And immediately head to the swings.

Trips outside Rome:  0  😦  But we just booked our trip to Germany for this December!  We’re going to see the Christmas markets in Munich and Nuremberg.  Excited to cross something off the travel wish list.  We may see about something close by this holiday weekend as well.  The rest of our stuff gets here Friday (holla!), so there will definitely be plenty of unpacking to keep us busy.

Runs:  1  I’m embarrassed to say just the one at this point.  I resolved here to do more exercise, and this still needs work.  I did pilates two mornings, but Mac has been uncooperative with his sleeping.  This means I might be dealing with him in the morning or just more tired from being up.  I am trying to be more deliberate about going for walks.  Which has the added strength training benefit of pushing a large stroller or carrying an 18 pounder.

Suckers given to Henry:  2  He added another to his count of freebies.

Visitors:  0  But we have people coming in December and April!

Gelato eaten:  too much to count

 

 

Wine tweets (Vol. 2): What I’ve been drinking*

*Descriptions from a wine/beer lover who is really bad at talking about it

Want more wine tweets? See here.

The good

The good

Starting on the left, the Toscana was one James let Henry pick out at the grocery store.  Natch, he went with the red lion.  This was medium-bodied.  It was just ok.  Definitely drinkable, but it didn’t have the rich mouth feel I wanted.  #notreallyspecial #toddlersommelierfail

We had the neighbors over for drinks after the kiddos went to bed.  You know the cool, lived-all-over-the-world, no kids neighbors?  They brought this wine.  Of course, it was amazing.  They claim it was a grocery store find, but I haven’t tracked it down yet.  Smooth, inky, delicious.  #wontyoubemyneighbor

This Dolcetto d’Alba is my favorite Dolcetto yet.  I think.  We had two in close succession.  One was outstanding, the other was meh.  James claims this was the good one, but I’ll need to track down another bottle to see.  If it IS the good one, it is medium, fruity, good mouth feel.  Everything you’d want in your dolcetto.  #everyday #versatile

The Teroldego on the right is one of my new faves.  Another super cheap grocery store find.  James tells me I can’t get this in the U.S. so I should not get too attached.  Another smooth wine with a great mouth feel.  (Noticing a trend here?)  #repeatbuy #mustimportteroldego

The OK

The OK

The Est! Est!! Est!!!, from a region with a charming back story, was Italian adequate.  Meaning good, drinkable, but a little forgettable.  I think this one was on the fruitier end of the spectrum.  #enjoyedbutnotblownaway

The Frascati is one of the rare local wines.  The only word that really came to mind for this one is “light.”  It wasn’t very sweet, very fruity, or very dry.  It was just pretty light.  This sounds underwhelming, I know, but it wasn’t bad.  Definitely a refreshing wine to drink when it is hot out.  #summer #laziolocal

I had high hopes for this one because I am a sucker for bottle art.  In the end, I was disappointed, but mostly because of expectations.  I thought it would be on the light and fruity side, but it was more like chardonnay.  And I was not in the mood for chardonnay that day.  As far as chardonnay-ish wines go, it was ok.  I thought it improved on the second day.  James thought it got worse.  #thelobsterledmeastray

The ugly

The ugly

Which brings us to the lone beer of the group.  Hats off to the folks at nabiretta for making beer in Italy, but I was really disappointed.  This one started off ok, but went all wrong as you swallowed.  I wouldn’t call it homebrew-y because that would be an insult to homebrewers.  Of course, I was disappointed by the lack of hops, but the malt just tasted off.  #didnotfinish

P.S. I’m not off my whole30; it just takes me that long to get around to writing these up.

 

My Mission Statement

In his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey talks about creating a personal mission statement.  It’s been awhile since I read the book, but my remembering was that this is what is core to you.  It is helpful because you can evaluate all possible activities and actions against your statement.  Does it further your mission statement?  Great, move forward.  No, move on.

I’ve been puzzling over this.  Here is my current bare bones mission statement:

  1. To enjoy time with my family and go on many adventures with them.
  2. To be a thoughtful and considerate friend.
  3. To take steps to improve my writing.

This is a little light, I know.  There are other concepts I’ll have to capture with a more developed statement (faith, charity, etc.), but this is my start.  I thought about putting something on learning Italian, but this feels like more of a temporary goal and I’m not sure how much I want to focus on that overall.  Yes, I want to get better, but I’m not sure it will be a big focus.  More on this later.

This start is why I recently embarked on a whole30 and am committing to exercise and more sleep.  I know it doesn’t say anything about this in my statement; however, I’ve realized I need to take better care of myself to make the mission work.  If I’m tired, I could miss out on something fun with the kids.  I’m not as patient as I’d like to be.  I probably won’t send that email to a friend.  And I may nap instead of focusing on writing.

Hopefully this helps.  The whole30 may turn into a whole14 or even a whole7.  (Because, I mean, PIZZA.)  But I’m looking for a reset.  I’ve been spending too much time in “vacation mode.”  Sure, sure, you can stay up and read.  There’s only a little bit of wine left in that bottle.  Why not have gelato every day?  You get the drift.

Much of this mindset is because it really hasn’t sunk in that I live here now. I live in a foreign country.  I live in Rome.  James and I turn to each other almost every other day and ask “can you believe we live here?”  The other day–just for a moment–I thought about driving to Annapolis on Saturday.

I’m sure this will wear off at some point.  Probably sooner than I think.  I do plan to enjoy everything this country has to offer–including plenty of pizza, cheese, and gelato.  Maybe just every other day.

Do you have a mission statement?  What does it cover?

 

Paleo Fail-io

Once upon a time, James and I read It Starts with Food and did a Whole30.  Basically you cut out all gluten, added sugar, dairy, booze, legumes, and corn for 30 days, and then gradually reintroduce foods to your healed body to see how it does.  Even though it was strict, I found it worked better for me than trying to be reasonable.  I am definitely an abstainer and not a moderator.  At the end of the program, we had both lost about 5% of our body weight.  We did feel great.  James and I couldn’t shut up about it and annoyingly preached the Whole30 gospel for quite some time.  I think almost everyone in my family has done one.

We do try to do more paleo cooking, but we’ve definitely fallen off the wagon.  Italy has not helped that.  Gelato!  Cheese!  Pizza!  Wine!  I can’t figure out what to make for lunch so Henry and I frequently have yogurt.

I feel less healthy in other ways, but this has to do more with stay-at-homing than with being-in-Italying.  I don’t walk as much.  Not because I’m driving, but because we don’t venture out as far.  There is a playground steps from our door.  The grocery store is only two blocks away.  I used to walk to public transportation, walk around the building, walk for lunch.  I’m trying to say yes to more dance parties and head out for longer walks.

Our schedule makes big walks hard though.  I love our schedule.  But with Mac’s morning nap, we are never really more than an hour away from someone’s nap or meal.  Also, Henry will tolerate some stroller time, but he also likes to walk.  If he’s walking, we cover less ground.  And it is easy to release the kraken, but will he go back in the stroller?

But the other day, I decided to grab hold and seize it.  We would head back to Villa Borghese and explore some other area of the park.  We live 10 minutes from Rome’s Central Park.  We owe it to ourselves to enjoy everything it has to offer, darnit!

This was probably too ambitious.  First off, we all have colds right now.  Second, instead of a low-to-mid 80s kind of day, it was more of an upper 80s kind of day.  But it was too late.  I had loaded up more than 50 lbs (not an exaggeration) of children and gear, and we were off.

By the time we got to a previously unvisited portion, I was sniffly, hot, and tired.  And it was time to go back for lunch and Mac was not pleased.  And Henry definitely did not want to go back in the stroller.

But we got to see a few new things before we turned back.  While Henry was chasing pigeons or other such, I noticed this guy in a tree.  He was so exotic looking that I thought he must have been someone’s escaped pet.  But I saw three of them in the tree.  Turns out my first instinct may not have been too far off.

9.16_green bird

We also saw this little guy.  He stayed remarkably patient with the toddler who wanted to embrace him.

9.16_lizard

And then after bargaining, bribery, and threats got everyone (read  Henry) loaded back in the stroller, I’m pretty sure I saw two people having sex in the park.  Sorry–no pics!  They were a little far off, and I didn’t want to stare.  So there’s Rome for ya.  Start off talking about paleo, end up with sex in the public park.