Alone

Alone

Early morning walk

Welcoming the day

I’ve never lived alone.  After high school I moved into a dorm in college with a roommate and shared a floor with 20+ other 18 year old girls.  (Technically, I guess I did have my own dorm room for one semester but you were never really alone on the 8th floor of Stephenson East in 1996.) After that first year, I shared a house with two other girls  and then moved in with my future in-laws for six months before Jeff and I got married.

Not only have I never lived alone, I have never spent much time alone.  I always loved having lots of friends and being involved in tons of things.  I rarely eat out alone and have never been to a movie by myself.  And when I’m the only one home I usually had the tv on to fill the space.

Until recently.

I don’t know if it’s being in my mid-thirties and becoming more comfortable with (even liking) who I am. Or maybe this is what happens when you have three babies in three years, spend eight years deep in the trenches and then suddenly find yourself with all three of those kids in school all day.  It could be that there is stigma associated with moms desiring “me” time. I know I often felt guilty about leaving the kids or “needing” a break even though Jeff was always willing to give me one.

I guess it doesn’t really matter what caused it but this is what I know today,  I crave being alone.  Especially in my house, in silence.

It’s like a breath of fresh air.

I feel like I’m able to complete a thought, read a book and maybe dream a few dreams of what may come.  I’m realizing that I can only be there fully for Jeff and the kids when I’m refreshed.  (I loved this from Molly last week.)  Not only that, but I am starting to figure out who I am after spending these last few years in the trenches and without all of those outside influences that I depended on so much in my teens and twenties.  That feels good.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love my friends and I look forward to meeting new people while we’re here.  I can’t imagine living life without my four.

It’s just that I’m not nearly so uncomfortable alone.

In fact, I really am enjoying it.

Alone

Alone

Early morning walk

Welcoming the day

I've never lived alone.  After high school I moved into a dorm in college with a roommate and shared a floor with 20+ other 18 year old girls.  (Technically, I guess I did have my own dorm room for one semester but you were never really alone on the 8th floor of Stephenson East in 1996.)

After that first year, I shared a house with two other girls and then moved in with my future in-laws for six months before Jeff and I got married.

Not only have I never lived alone, I have never spent much time alone.  I always loved having lots of friends and being involved in tons of things.  

I rarely eat out alone and have never been to a movie by myself.  And when I'm the only one home I usually had the tv on to fill the space.

Until recently.

I don't know if it's being in my mid-thirties and becoming more comfortable with (even liking) who I am. Or maybe this is what happens when you have three babies in three years, spend eight years deep in the trenches and then suddenly find yourself with all three of those kids in school all day.  

It could be that there is stigma associated with moms desiring "me" time. I know I often felt guilty about leaving the kids or "needing" a break even though Jeff was always willing to give me one. I guess it doesn't really matter what caused it. 

This is what I know today,  I crave being alone.  

Especially in my house, in silence. It's like a breath of fresh air. I feel like I'm able to complete a thought, read a book and maybe dream a few dreams of what may come.  

I'm realizing that I can only be there fully for Jeff and the kids when I'm refreshed.  (I loved this from Molly last week.)  

Not only that, but I am starting to figure out who I am after spending these last few years in the trenches and without all of those outside influences that I depended on so much in my teens and twenties.  

That feels good.

Don't get me wrong. I love my friends and I look forward to meeting new people while we're here.  I can't imagine living life without my four. It's just that I'm not nearly so uncomfortable alone.

In fact, I really am enjoying it.

Recently in our Kitchen

I know I’ve had a lot of kitchen related posts but as the head chef for a family of five much of my life is spent in the kitchen.  That continues to be even more true as grow in our whole food diet.  I really do have more to share and that is coming soon but I thought I would pass on a bit of what has been happening in our kitchen.

So, what we’ve been up to includes:

* Whole Grain Bread from Cynthia Lair’s Feeding the Whole Family. This has become the bread we live on.

Roasted Garbanzos

* Carrot Tomato Soup

* Butternut Squash Apple Soup (I subbed sweet potatoes and it was delish.)

* Whole Wheat Muffins

There are many more but those will come in time.  I also wanted to updated on our “Real Food Challenge”.

I’ll be honest, we made it 100% for five days.   Then I broke in order to enjoy a wonderful, long awaited date day with the hubs.  I had wine and white flour and I’m totally ok with that.  Jeff and I have “debriefed” throughout the first few days of this project and we’ve realized that overall we’re very much okay with where we are.  I’m just not going to worry about the sugar in ketchup as we eat very little anyway. (Though I would love to make my own.)

The two areas that have come to our attention for our family are crackers and cereal.  The products we bought in these categories, though considered “healthy”, are still full of junk.  We are working to eliminate them.

I have also realized what an obscene amount of coffee I’ve been drinking.  Actually, I knew but it was my early morning comfort.  Strong and warm, that’s what I’ve turned to at five in the morning.  I’ve found a Yogi Green Tea that I really enjoy and will be drinking that from now on (with the occasional coffee).

So, while we didn’t finish the actual 10 days, I feel totally ok with what we’ve done.  Jeff’s on board for the few changes ahead as are the kids.

So here we go.

Recently in our Kitchen

I know I've had a lot of kitchen related posts but as the head chef for a family of five much of my life is spent in the kitchen.  That continues to be even more true as grow in our whole food diet.  I really do have more to share and that is coming soon but I thought I would pass on a bit of what has been happening in our kitchen.

So, what we've been up to includes:

* Whole Grain Bread from Cynthia Lair's Feeding the Whole Family. This has become the bread we live on.

Roasted Garbanzos

* Carrot Tomato Soup

* Butternut Squash Apple Soup (I subbed sweet potatoes and it was delish.)

* Whole Wheat Muffins

There are many more but those will come in time.  

I also wanted to updated on our "Real Food Challenge". I'll be honest, we made it 100% for five days.   Then I broke in order to enjoy a wonderful, long awaited date day with the hubs.  I had wine and white flour and I'm totally ok with that.  Jeff and I have "debriefed" throughout the first few days of this project and we've realized that overall we're very much okay with where we are.  I'm just not going to worry about the sugar in ketchup as we eat very little anyway. (Though I would love to make my own.)

The two areas that have come to our attention for our family are crackers and cereal.  The products we bought in these categories, though considered "healthy", are still full of junk.  We are working to eliminate them. I have also realized what an obscene amount of coffee I've been drinking.  Actually, I knew but it was my early morning comfort.  Strong and warm, that's what I've turned to at five in the morning.  I've found a Yogi Green Tea that I really enjoy and will be drinking that from now on (with the occasional coffee). So, while we didn't finish the actual 10 days, I feel totally ok with what we've done.  Jeff's on board for the few changes ahead as are the kids.

So here we go.

Clean Food Challenge

Today is the day that we start the 10 Day Challenge.  This isn’t going to be as much of an adjustment for us as it is for many.  We already eat whole grains, natural sugars (lots of honey and syrup with a bit of turbinado) mainly whole foods and rarely eat fast food (they just don’t have it here and we’re never on base).  In fact, when I told Jeff about it he said, “no problem.”

The challenge is going to be sugar.  I know how pervasive HFCS is and it is the rare exception when it comes into our home.  But I got a sure awakening when I did our pre-challenge shop.  Sugar is everywhere.

Mustard? Check.  Salsa? Check.  My beloved spicy sriracha sauce?  Check.

Gross.

And when there’s not sugar there is just so much added crap.  Again, gross.

Now, let me stop right here and say that none of this, not the clean(er) eating, meal planning or shopping happened overnight.  This part of our family live has been evolving slowly over the past few years.

We aren’t perfect.  Both Jeff and I could stand to lose weight.  Just today we ran out of cumin for the refried beans.  When we’re in the states we occasionally eat fast food.

But we put one foot in front of the other and plug away.

Anyway.

For the next 10 days we’ll be following the plan.  The kids are on board though they know that if someone brings cupcakes to school they are welcome to have one.  Connor eats lunch everyday at asilo (we’re talking an awesome Italian feast each day).  He won’t be getting whole wheat pasta or bread there and I’m fine with that.

Since I feel pretty good about where we’re at already, I decided to add a little extra fun to the mix and am going coffee and alcohol free.  My coffee consumption is ridiculous and well, I live in Italy and have enjoyed the benefits of local wineries.  So, it’s two cups of green tea a day and water for me.

I’ve got meals and snacks planned and the tea pot on for hot lemon water.  Here we go.