Always a struggle

I have been on a journey toward self-awareness for about the last year and a half or so.  I have been spending time with myself – – dating myself you might say.  Figuring out what makes me me and being completely comfortable with who I am.  A huge part of this journey is my negative relationship with food.

I may have briefly mentioned in previous posts my struggles with food.  I feel like I am always on a roller coaster (I hate roller coasters) when it comes to my relationship with food.  From as far back as I can remember I could always eat anything I wanted and not gain a pound.  I never worried about a balanced diet or exercising.  I didn’t think I needed to because I never gained weight.  The second I turned 30, that changed drastically.

I was married from ages 23 to 28 and I was at a healthy weight during that entire time.  I had maybe 5 to 10 vanity pounds I wanted to lose, but nothing major.  Even after I had Hailey I bounced back relatively quickly without any type of extreme diet or exercise.  I was still able to eat whatever I wanted and not exercise regularly.

I went through my divorce when I was 29.  I was dealing with a ton of stress and lost a bunch of weight.  My weight was what I was at before I had Hailey.  I felt like crap because I was eating tons junk food and was under a lot of stress.  Even though I felt awful inside, I liked how I looked on the outside.  Now I am 34 and I weigh as much as I did when I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter.  While I am feeling better on the inside (most days) I hate how I look on the outside.

Here is where the struggle is.  I know what I should do to be healthy.  I know the proper foods I should be eating, I know the foods I should not be eating.  I know I should be exercising.  Should, should, should.   An excellent counselor told me once to stop “shoulding” on myself.  Wise woman.  Why can’t I stop though?

My biggest concern is teaching Hailey about nutrition, being healthy, and making balanced choices regarding food.  I don’t want her to struggle with food and have a love/hate relationship with it the way I do.  My other concern is my own health.  I feel so unhealthy right now.  I want to feel good on the inside and on the outside.  I want my lifestyle to change where if I have a bad day or two I don’t completely collapse into a dark abyss of overeating.

That’s my vicious cycle.  I eat healthy for a while, I feel good, I have energy, I even exercise.  Then something happens – – usually stress and it knocks me right on my ass.  I shut down emotionally and ignore what I truly want which is to be healthy.  I become lazy and allow myself to eat junk.  I fill myself with nutritionally void food which makes me feel even worse and I sink into a depression that feels like quicksand.

Eventually I always pull myself out a little.  Occasionally I can keep myself going for a few months on a healthy cycle.  But always, always I fall.  Each time I fall harder.  I eat worse than the last time, I gain back even more weight, and I feel even more guilty.

Part of the reason I started this blog was to record what I am feeling, the thoughts I am having, what I am doing, and what I am eating with the hopes of being able to control this constant struggle.  My goal is to be able to change my life forever.  I want my norm to be eating clean and healthy on a daily basis without even thinking.  I want to lose 40 pounds and live a healthy lifestyle forever.  I want to eat whole foods that are minimally processed so that my body has fuel to work at its very best.  I want my day to consist of eating tons of fruits and veggies.  I want to be able to go out once in a while for ice cream or pizza.  I want to live this way so I can feel better and be an awesome role model for the most important person in my life – my daughter Hailey.

So, that’s some of my story, where I am, and what I am working toward.  Always a struggle for me, but I need to remember to take it one day at a time.  I also need to remember that every little step that I make toward my healthy goals counts.  And I need to quit being so damn hard on myself.

Feeling better

Ahhhh I am feeling good right now.  I have been sooo down in the dumps for the past few weeks.  I am struggling to pull myself out.

Today when I came home from work I found a clean house, lawn mowed, and supper in the oven.  My summer babysitter Abby rocks.  Totally bummed she is moving. : (

She helped Hailey and Liz (Liz is Abby’s sister who happens to be one of Hailey’s best friends) have a lemonade stand today.  The girls made about $25 bucks!!

Liz and Hailey selling lemonade, brownies, and bookmarks!

After dinner (which Hailey and I actually sat at the kitchen table to eat instead of the TV which unfortunately has been the norm the past few weeks) I whipped up a batch of these awesome muffins.  They have become a staple in our house.  I follow this recipe but use muffin tins and also add chocolate chips!  They are healthy, so filling, Hailey LOVES them, and they freeze really well.

Banana chocolate chip muffins

Then I went outside and checked on my plants, flowers, and garden.  Thankfully they were all looking pretty good considering I have been neglecting them lately.

sweet peas

tomatoes!

garden – please excuse my weeds!

I took a few pictures and now am snuggling on the couch with Hailey while typing this up.

I am hoping this happier feeling continues tomorrow.   I am going to go into tomorrow with the attitude of happiess and try not to focus on how awful the last few weeks have been.  No sense dwelling in what was – focus on moving forward!

A little piece of heaven

These past few days were fabulous!  I got the opportunity (thanks to my ex-husband!) to vacation up north at his timeshare for a few days with Hailey.  My ex had gotten an extra week and kindly offered to split it with me!  So, after Hailey’s dance recital on Sunday the two of us made the 3 hour drive up north.

I had not been there for about 5 years and it had not changed a bit!

Everything was just as beautiful as I remembered it.  The picture above shows the condo unit overlooking the lake.  The building has 10 condos with a pool and a hot tub in the middle.  They also have 3 houses and we stayed in this one pictured below.

I always enjoyed coming up here for vacation and every year when I was still married.  Hailey is lucky enough to spend 2 weeks every summer here with her dads side of the family.  A few months ago she told me that she wanted me to come up with her.  I said “I thought that was your special place with your daddy.”  She said she really wanted me to come up! Luckily enough a few weeks later the opportunity fell into my lap!  Thanks to a great relationship with my ex, I got to spend a glorious 3 nights and 4 days experiencing a little piece of heaven with just Hailey.

The view from our living room

ready for the beach!

We had such a wonderful mother/daughter vacation.  We laughed so much!  We read, we snuggled, we watched movies and ate great food.

Hot tub time!

We spent a lot of time at the beach, in the pool and in the hot tub.  Hailey built a huge fort for us in the living room one day and we both played in it.

ba baam!

hanging out in the fort!

Chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows

fondu fun!

chocolate milk cheers!

It was so nice to be out in the middle of nowhere enjoying beautiful views and fabulous weather.

aaaahhhhh

We were so deep in the middle of nowhere that we had no cell phone reception or internet connection.  It was so nice to truly unplug from the distractions of everyday life and just be there together enjoying a little piece of heaven.

our view when we woke up from our nap,

on our deck

We had such a wonderful time.  Hailey’s dad came up Wednesday afternoon for the rest of the week with her and I made the 3 hour drive home.

I am so happy to have had this opportunity to spend all of this one on one time with my daughter at such a beautiful place.

I love you most

My first ever foodie penpals reveal! May Reveal

I am so excited to do my first ever reveal for Foodie Penpals!!  This program was another reason I wanted to start my blog.  I really wanted to participate in this! I know you don’t need to be a blogger to be involved, but I wanted to start a blog anyway so this gave me a little extra push!

Thanks so much to Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean for organizing this! I know she puts A LOT of time into it and I am thankful for her!

My pen pal for May was Rachel from Palate for Life.  It was her first time participating too and she did an amazing job!

Here is the first view of the package I received.  I was so excited when I opened it up!

It was like my birthday!

My favorite thing was this delicious little snack mix.  It had dried cherries, mini peanut butter cups, cashews, and pecans.  Yummy!  Needless to say that was the first thing to be eaten!

 Another treat was this delicious cereal that Hailey and I gobbled right up!  I am always looking for healthy things to add to our food choices so when Hailey likes to eat something that makes me a huge fan!  She loved this cereal.

Rachel also included some delicious real maple syrup which Hailey and I ate on these pancakes that I had leftover in the freezer for breakfast supper.

Also included in my gift package was some yummy banana chips, a yummy fruit bar,  and some fabulous french vanilla granola.  All devoured without photos!!  I was too caught up in the taste!

Thank you so much Rachel for being such a great foodie penpal!  I loved everything you sent!

In case you would like to see who I sent my package to check out this ladies awesome blog!

To learn more about how you can participate in this awesome deal check out Lindsay’s link!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions. -You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! -The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination! -You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!) -Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. -Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

foodiepal stamp2 Foodie Penpals

Dance Competition – First Experience

Today Hailey and I experienced our first dance competition.  When I say the words ‘dance competition’ the images from the show Dance Moms comes to mind.  All the drama, pressure, and overbearing moms.  The fake spray tans, the fake hair, fake eyelashes.  Fake fake fake!!!However the studio Hailey dances at is not a huge promoter of competition.  For that I am thankful!  The teacher seems to be on the same page as me – competitions can easily get way out of control and she feels that while it is a good experience once a year for the dancers it is not a way of life.

I did put makeup on Hailey, but definitely not nearly as much as a lot of other girls were wearing.

After Hailey’s class performed we watched the rest of the dancers and then stayed for the awards ceremony.

While I was a bit disappointed our girls didn’t get something individual to bring home, they did win a High Gold trophy.  Each team that danced won either a Lightening Gold, High Gold, or Gold trophy to share with their team.

Our first experience with competition was definitely a positive one.  Hailey really enjoyed performing and watching all of the others perform.

She also had some personal cheerleaders in the crowd!  Aunt Debbie, Daddy, Charlie, and of course me!

Experimenting In the Kitchen 2

One of our favorite meals is breakfast for supper!  Something about having a delicious breakfast in the evening just seems fun!  One of Hailey’s favorites is pancakes.  Normally I buy the yellow bottle of bisquick pancakes that you just add the water and shake.  In my quest for a healthier lifestyle I searched out a way to make some delicious pancakes for us that were a bit healthier.

I searched one of my favorite blogs for a recipe and found one that I knew I could handle.

Again the recipe called for whole wheat flour but I wasn’t nervous this time since these turned out so fabulous!  I followed the recipe except I didn’t put the banana in.

Unfortunately we didn’t have any fresh fruit to top the pancakes with, but we did have quite a few other options to choose from.

My favorite topping was the honey apple butter from Trader Joe’s.  Hailey tried a few things but went back to her original favorite syrup.

So, this was another easy recipe that was a healthier choice – – seriously if I can make pancakes from scratch anyone can!

 Another hit and a new favorite!

Kids say the darndest things

Hailey has a dance competition coming up this weekend.  We hadn’t tried the costume on since we got it a few months ago but since she had pictures two weeks ago I brought it out.  The straps were a bit long, so I just pinned them for pictures knowing you wouldn’t see the back.  However with the competition coming up this weekend I knew I needed to get it sewn stat!

At the pictures I told her dance instructor that I would have the costume sewn in time for the competition.  She kinda laughed when I told her I was going to have someone do it.  She says, “Jaime, you can do it yourself!”

I might have mentioned previously that I am not a sewer.  I learned to sew from my Grandma Betty (Grannie B!) when I was little, but never did any sewing as an adult.  I still have the sewing basket we made together when I was a kid!

I decided that it couldn’t be that hard to sew the straps and decided I would give it a whirl.  I hauled out my sewing basket and told Hailey I was going to fix the straps on her costume myself.

Normally Hailey is supportive and positive and like me enjoys trying new things.  So when she said the darndest thing it kinda blew me away.  Hailey has asked me once or twice in the past to fix something sewing related and I told her I couldn’t because I didn’t know how to sew.  She knows a lady I work with at the bank (Bobbye) sews so a couple of times we have asked her to fix something for us.

After I had proudly announced to Hailey that I was going to do the sewing, she looks at me, tilts her head to the side shaking it ever so slightly and says “Mom, just have Bobbye fix it.”  I still laugh and shake my head when I think of how her face looked and how matter of fact she sounded.

I decided to ask Bobbye if she would help me with the adjustment.  I brought my sewing kit and the  costume to work so she could look at it and asess the situation.

Bringing out this sewing basket and going through it flooded me with memories from my childhood with Grannie B.

After we looked at the straps Bobbye said it would be best for her to just throw it on her machine at home to stich it up.

So even though I didn’t actually sew the costume myself, I was able to get someone to help us out, chuckle at my daughter’s unfiltered thoughts, and take a walk down memory lane with my sewing kit from Grannie B.

Kids say the darndest things!