My {almost} Paleo challenge Week 3

Confession.  I stopped recording my daily eats all together this week.  It wasn’t intentional.  A day passed, and then another, and another before I realized I hadn’t been logging exactly what I eat daily.  Most of it is the same as the previous two weeks with a few changes for dinner.  Sorry, no month full of interesting and new Paleo recipes here!  I’ve taken a few things that I loved from the first two weeks and put them on repeat.  Coming up with all new recipes is too, well, exhausting!  I also have had more hicuups this week.  On Wednesday I REALLY wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.  So I fixed a Harvarti dill cheese and bacon on oat and nut bread sandwich.  It was delicious and Iwent on to eat a good paleo dinner that night.  I also broke from Paleo on night by eating nearly a whole salami pizza (no really, the whole pizza), then a few beers and trying yuka potatoes for the first time at a friend’s house another night.  I kept up with my usual healty eggs, veggies, ‘granola’ and yogurt, and Paleo dinners most nights.  Here are few foods from this week:

Simple, delicious dinner of steak over sauteed mushrooms, onions, & spinach with a side of broccoli.

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Grilled Havarti dill cheese & bacon on oat & nut bread.

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Paleo ‘granola’ that I could eat by the pound.

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Farmers Market find too good to pass up!

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This weekend Summer decided to show up on last time and I was quite surprised to find shorts, that had been skin tight all Summer, were now gapping at the waist! 

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Despite the failures I keep thinking I am making, these diet changes have overall been wonderful.  Wonderful for my waistline and wonderful for how I feel.

There is just one more week, or technically 8 days to go for this month long Paleo challenge to end.  I can’t wait to see my final results!!

Stay tuned!

My {almost} Paleo challenge Week 2

Sorry I am so late posting this guys. The four day Holiday weekend and my son starting pre-school has me behind on everything.  So, I’ll make this short and sweet.  I lost a lot of points this week of my Paleo challege BUT I think overall I did ok.  Life is about balance.  At about Day 10 I was burned out on cooking and prepping every single meal I consumed so I ate a couple mini bagels while out (so as not to starve myself) and then ordered Pizza for dinner.  My thoughts on that decision?  It was delicious. :)

I had a few more Paleo hiccups over the weekend but I’ll let you just look at what I ate below.  The not so Paleo meals definitely messed with my stomach and I felt better after jumping back on track the beginning of week 3.  My weight has maintained but all of my clothes ar fitting better or getting big.  Generally I just feel good!

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Well there you go!  Week 2 of my almost Paleo challenge.  Just two more weeks to go!

My {almost} Paleo Challenge week 1

**I decided to call this my almost paleo challenge because the version of Paleo I am doing for this challenge is not true strict Paleo as I am allowed dairy and sweet potatoes.  Also, I am bound to make a few slip-ups here and there!**

As week one comes to a close it is time to recap what I ate and how I feel.  I felt like I could have written an entire blog post about day 1 and how hungry I was but I spared you the drama and decided on a weekly recap.  So yes, I was very hungry day 1.  Who knew without my usual snacking and sugar that I would need to eat so much more food!!  If you read my previous post about preparing for the challenge and why I decided to do it, you will know that I am not a diet person and I was, and sometimes still can be, a picky eater with a crazy sweet tooth.  Snacking on an apple or veggies instead of graham crackers or goldfish is HARD for me.  However, I’ve noticed in the past 2 days I reach for that apple a lot easier than just a week ago!  Here is a snapshot of what I ate this week:

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So here is where I should mention as the week went on I started to feel worse and worse.  I thought at first my body was just going through a sugar detox, but by the weekend I realized that I was also getting a cold.  Yesterday and today I’ve barely had a voice.  In addition my husband was out of town all week for work.  With that said I am really proud of myself for not finding comfort in a bottle, I mean glass of wine and a pint of ice cream AND managed to workout 4 days.  The next 3 weeks should seem easy as pie compared to this first week!

I did take a few pictures of some things I made during the week but I really kept it pretty simple.  And, I don’t take pretty food pictures.  Sorry.  Here ya go!

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So I used the homemade paleo olive oil mayo to make chicken salad.  I learned that it doesn’t stay as creamy as regular mayo which was ok with me but it didn’t soften the broccoli as I expected so next ime I would steam the broccoli first or just not use it.

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This was supposed t be a picture of my chicken salad but again, day 1 I was so hungry I forgot to stop and take a picture so here are the cumin roasted carrots.  They were OK, not really a favorite.

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Meatza pie, yum.  I nearly ate the whole thing.

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Bulletproof coffee. So frothy and yummy.

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My homemade ‘granola’ fresh out of the oven and obviously too hot to eat yet.  It is made of walnuts, slivered almonds, raisins, honey, and cconut oil. So simple.  I typically ate it over greek yogurt.

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Banana pancakes.  Yeah, not so pretty.  I perfected the batter later in the week but of course didn’t take a picture.

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Sweet potato & mushrooms served with eggs over easy. So simple yet so delicious.

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I know people have been adding greens to the juice and shakes forever but it honestly freaked me out.  My husband brought to my attention I was lacking in carbs and adding in greens (very hard for me) would help curb the hangry feeling so I gave it a try.  Well, the people are right. You do not taste the greens!  I will have to make this a staple in my everyday diet.

Oh, I almost forgot to add how my body reacted!  I dropped 4-5lbs and my stomach has visibly (to me) reduced in size.  I really wasn’t expected that but I won’t complain.  I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if by the end of the month I put a few pounds back on but it will be lean muscle from lifting, not fat.

Now begins week two!  I anticipate it to be easier and for myself to feel better.

But I do miss pizza. ;)

Paleo Challenge

Today is Day 2 of a month long Paleo Challenge at my local Crossfit box.  Before you go assuming I am some typical Crossfit crazy lady who is just jumping on the Paleo bandwagon, let me give you a bit of my ‘diet’ history and why I agreed to the challenge. 

I grew up as a very picky eater.  I’m talking no veggies, apples (if they were peeled and sliced), and ‘salads’ made of croutons, bacon bits, and ranch dressing, but no lettuce, picky.  I remember sitting in between dance classes guzzling orange soda and eating pizza combos.  Mmmmmmm.  I wasn’t overweight.  I danced competitively, dabbled in track, cross country, and even competed in roller speed skating for several years.  I was just not a healthy eater.  My parents were.  They both cook and both love baking but I always remember them eating a well rounded diet.  ‘Super Size Me’ came out when I was in college and I remember swearing off fast food after. I did, but my roomates can vouch for me love of soda, pizza, and pancakes.  I can also credit a study abroad internship with a catering company in England to opening my eyes in terms of food.  Lunch everyday was whatever the chef whipped up for us as there was no time for lenghty, luxurious lunches and unused food not to be wasted. A few years later ‘Food Inc.’ was released and the way I looked at food continued to change, for the better.  My husband had also recently joined the Army and without me able to find work we were trying to cook at home more to save money.  The few years after that we (as a couple) gradually experimented and shifted to healthier choices and ingredients.  The discovery that I DO love veggies, if they are roasted, to playing with  almond flour and alternatives to peanut butter. When we joined Crossfit almost a year ago we were exposed to Paleo and The Zone diet.  We took from both of those ideals what worked for us, but agreed the strictness of either one was not for us.  I, for one, love dairy. Yogurt, cheese, yum, yum, yum.  I also have a great appreciation for baked goods and fresh bakery bread and all things chocolate and peanut butter.

So why am I doing this Paleo challenge?  A few reasons:

1. Sugar.  I have been on a bit of a sugar binge since we moved to Germany.  What does eating sugar make you do?  Crave more sugar!  From the delicious ice cream to all of the German Wine I have been over indulging.  A month long break from (most sugar) and alcohol will be a good thing. 

2. Goals.  I am overall happy with my body and weight, yes, but I know to further reach my goals is more ‘diet’ related than workout.  I know I need to eat more veggies and less processed foods.  The paleo challenge is the perfect kick start!

3. Community.  A lot of people at our Crossfit Box are doing the challenge together which makes it more fun.  No, you are not banished from the group if you don’t do it but why not try?

4. Recipes. I am learning some great new recipes as well as how to make things at home that I would typically buy in the store.  Nothing is lost if I am gaining knowledge about food!

Will I stay strict Paleo after the challenge?  No.  My hopes are to reset my body’s constant sugar craving, learn to cook more creative recipes, and shave a little bit off of this muffin top.  Will a month of Palo do it?  Well, lets find out!

What I learned from Day 1 – I need to eat more. Period.  I was starving all day.  There is no calorie limit as long as you eat Paleo approved ingredients.  I guess I didn’t realize how many processed snacks I was eating in between my wholesome healthy meals.  Oops!  And for experiment’s sake here is a before picture taken on the first day.  I can’t wait to see the after, and more importantly I can’t wait to see how I feel!

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On my mind

I haven’t blogged in a while. Sorry. When I think I have a topic in mind it seems too brief for a full blog post or not interesting enough.  So, here is a short list of what I have been up to lately and what has been on my brain:

- The Crossfit Games ladies are such positive body image role models. Short, tall, blonde, brunette, red head, strong as hell, wearing make up, but focused on their strength, endurance, and skills, not their boobs, thigh gaps, and hip bones.

- Translating my son’s Kindergarten paperwork before he begins in a couple weeks. (I’m probably WAY more nervous than him!)

- Completing the fundamentals course at my new Crossfit gym. I’m not a fan of going to the gym at night and I didn’t have to take the class but it was nice to get to know all of the people joining at the same time as me and it’s never a bad thing to review the basics.

- Riesling Route Wine Tour – Wait, this one is blog post worthy. Maybe I will work on that soon.

- Sitting in front of my tablet researching jobs then thinking maybe I should start a new career in fitness/personal training/nutrition.

- Cleaning up toddler messes that happen while I’m daydreaming about my future.

- Working on my weaknesses: double-unders, pull-ups, and overhead squats.

- Toddler exploring – a kid friendly café, a petting zoo, and lots of playgrounds.

- Reading ‘Well Fed’ and preparing for a month long Paleo challenge that starts Monday.

- Rearranging the kids playroom….in my head anyways.

And there you have it, the random hodge podge of my brain and my life. Summer is almost over and everyone will soon be jumping back into a routine.  I hope to do the same.  What routines are you ready to dive back into?

Americans in Germany – language barrier

Do you know what it’s like to be sitting in a small room full of people who are speaking a different language than you? 

I do. Terrifying.

Terrifying and intimidating. I feel guilty and inferior because most of the people know (at least) some English and I can only say hello and goodbye in German. Why was I in this situation?  I decidedI wanted to make the most of our time living in Germany and I wanted L, my three year old, to attend German Kindergarten (Kindergarten in Germany refers to daycare/preschool for ages 3-6.)

So here I sat, nervously with my pre-schooler, in a circle of other parents and kids at orientation for a local Kindergarten.   I should mention I had previously toured the school and know that one of the teachers speaks a little bit of English (she gave me a tour afterall) but when I received and translated the orientation invitiation I had no expectations of the orientation being in English.  When the teacher walked in she began speaking to all of us and handed a notepad to me as I was the closest person she walked past.  I sheepishly look up at her but she must not have remembered that I only speak English.  I hesitantly raise my hand as she continues talking and another person calls her attention to me…

‘Sorry, what should I do with this?’

‘Oh, sorry please write your name so I know who is here.’

Embarrassing moment #1.  I write my name and my child’s name beside it and wonder if I did it in the right format and if everyone after me laughed if I didn’t do it correctly.  The teacher continues talking, I hear a couple people respond, and soon another Mom moves to sit beside me.  I look at her confused.  She says, ‘I speak English and German so I am going to translate for you.’

Oh thank God! – I think to myself.  There isn’t even time to introduce ourselves because the orientation gets started and the last thing I want is to draw more attention to myself. Cue the awkward silences when the teacher pauses for my new friend to tell me in English what has just been said while everyone else is silent and looks at us.

CRINGE!

My new friend was only able to translate for half of the orientation because her son became as restless as all of the other kids and she had to step outside with him for a little bit.  L began to get restless as well but I wasn’t sure of the right protocol.  Get up and let him go play outside because, well lets be honest I didn’t understand what they were saying anyways,  or force him to sit there politely because that is the respectful thing to do.  (Where is the manual for this situation!!)

I eventually cave in to the restless toddler and go outside to let him play.  Soon after the orientation is done and each parent is sitting with the teacher individually to get what I assume to be a student handbook.  Or parent handbook?  I’m not exactly sure.  And also to be given a start date for their child.  I finally get to chat more casually with my new friend, who is German, but married to a US Soldier and can speak my language.  Her children spoke both German and English.  Another Mom comes over to say hello and talk to me.  She is also German, married to a US Soldier and inquisitive of my decision to choose a German Kindergarten over a pre-school on base.  I still worry if this is the right decision for my child.  I go from one extreme of total excitement for the opportunity to the other of complete fear.  A litle bit for L, but mostly for myself.  He is three and such a social butterfly.  He approaches all children on a playground and manages to socialize and play even when they don’t speak the same language.  I don’t worry about him not learning enough of the basics to enter into regular school.  Honestly I like the philosophy here that is a bit more laid back in academics for the pre school age group.  I worry, mostly, about my own fears.  Learning the language myself and blending in with the other parents. Ok, so I’m not going to blend, but I want to learn and I want Landon to gain incredible experience from living abroad. 

So I faced my fears of walking into that room where I didn’t fully understand the language, and wouldn’t have even known if someone was speaking under their breathe about me, in hopes that three years from now we can look back on what an incredible experience we had in Germany.  Really emercing ourselves in the culture and learning the language.  Living on a military base means we have to take extra large steps out of our comfort zone to gain those experiences.  Experiences I hope both of my children can carry with them for a lifetime.

Soon it was my turn to meet with the teacher.  We have L’s official start date and my new friend is going to translate all of the paperwork in an email for me so that I am as prepared as I can be!  We are on the right track and most importantly,  L is excited to start at his new school.  He loves it there!  What more could a mother ask for.

We are Americans in Germany, trying to make the most of the opportunity in front of us.

Strength & Endurance…when you need it

Story time.  Yesterday my kids and I met friends at a nearby playground.   I left the stroller at home thinking we’d be back home before walking my oldest to preschool.  Instead we ended up walking further with our friends to have lunch and at that point it made sense to just walk straight to preschool instead of back to the house for the stroller first.  At this point my 3 year old AND 21 month old were tired, whiny, hot, and trading off tantrums of sitting on the sidewalk and refusing to walk.  Frankly in this heat I wanted to join them!  We made it to preschool, but for the half mile walk home my toddler was done.  Screaming, thrashing, refuse to walk but refuse to be held, done.  So I walked the half mile home, sweating in the heat, grasping onto the 26lb weight trying so desperately to jump out of my arms. 

Later it occurred to me….this is why I Crossfit.  You never know what sort of situations will arise in your daily life that require strength and endurance.  The point is to create a more fit self and to be able to handle what life throws at you.  And don’t we all want to be able to keep up with our kids?  Carrying my toddler all that way really wasn’t that hard physically, and I have Crossfit to thank.  If anything it was tough emotionally knowing that my babygirl was just overtired, hot, and miserable. Knowing that every neighbor heard us coming and going and maybe even though I was kidnapping the screaming toddler in my arms! 

Lessons learned:

1. I am stronger than I realize.

2. Never forget the stroller.

Mommy-life Crisis

Ever heard of a Mommy-life Crisis?  Apparently it is a real thing.  At least I think it is.  30 is way to young for a mid-life crisis anyways, right?  Besides, it’s not that I want to be younger, drive a fancy sports car, or go get a piercing or something.  I’m just discovering that I need more than staying at home with my kids 24/7.  I’m trying to be thankful that I can and I DO know how blessed I am to do what so many Mom’s wish they could.  On the otherside, do I want to work all the time and miss out on some of the wonderfully cute moments of childhood?  There is no easy answer.  All of the beautiful moments I post on facebook, instagram, and text to my family.  I feel like I don’t appreciate those moments enough.  I’m so lost in repeating the same words day in and day out,  ALL DAY LONG.  I’m tired.  I don’t know what to do all day. Sometimes we’ll do activities like painting, coloring, read books, etc.  But frankly I don’t want to sit and teach my toddlers letters, numbers, colors, words, spelling, and the list goes on.  I want to cuddle them on the couch while we watch fun movies, play on the playground, and talk about their loves, worries, and dreams. 

I want to do the fun stuff with my kids.  But I also want to do me stuff.  Something that feels like an accomplishment. Maybe it’s getting a job, may it’s going back to school.  Right now I don’t know what that looks like but I need to gain my identity back.  Or create a new one.  I am a Mother so in that regard my identity is forever changed. That new identity needs to include more than conversations about potty training and tantrums.  I feel like when I talk to friends, without kids or with older kids, I always turn the conversation to those topics, not realizing it until much later and feeling embarrassed about not placing more enthusiasm on their new apartment/engagement/promotion/birthday. I know getting a full-time job really means even less time for those non-Mom related things.  But boy my brain needs the non-Mommy time.  I desperately want to appreciate my children more and for that to happen I need to be around them less. 

Before you lecture me, I know what is on the other side.  Regret.  Regret for missing new discoveries, scraped knees, hugs and kisses.  I’d rather regret missing those moments because I was working towards a career, or goal, than be present for the moments but still regret not fully embracing them because I was so exhausted, unappreciative, and not fully engaged.  By being happy with myself and having my own accomplishments that fulfill me, I can be a better mother, wife, and friend.

When I first decided to be a stay-at-home I loved it and honestly had no plan for how long I would stay in the job.  The decision certainly made sense at the time. Through a deployment, cross-country move, followed by a cross-world move it’s safe to say that my roll in our family dynamic was mother, wife, and caretaker and rock. It has been a wonderful three and a half years.  But, I know my capabilities.  I can no longer provide all that my children need on a daily basis.  I think in the world of social media and pinterest, where we Mom’s can see what every other Mom is doing it’s easy to get caught up in what makes the perfect Mom.  That world is great for some.  I’m not so sure it’s great for me.  I kind of panic whenever we pull out the paint, and the kid’s playroom right now is in total disarray because I just don’t even know where to start.  My kids need more structure and socialization and that I cannot currently provide.  Well, I could, but frankly I would have nothing left in me to function as a human being.  I know my capabilities and as a Mother this is just as importat as knowing how to change a diaper.  For me, I can’t provide everything.  That is why the world has teachers. I am not one of them. 

It is time to move on to the next chapter.  I’m not sure exactly what that is yet but the first step is admitting that I can not do it all, even if other Mom’s around me, and a generation before me could.  What makes each of us successful does not have to be the same for each of us. 

So what’s next?  Ha!  I haven’t clue. I’m pretty sure I’ll soon figure it out though.

First week back at Crossfit

I spent 4 days of this week at my new crossfit home and I can’t even begin to tell you how great (& sore) I feel!  It was the grand opening week of Crossfit Liberty here in Wiesbaden, Germany so the classes have all been in the evening until they officially open in another week.  Evening hours are not my finest but I was determined to jump back in.  All it took was the first WOD and I felt like me again.  It’s funny how exercise can do that.  Considering I had a full three months of no crossfit (& nearly no exercise) I really surprised myself with a few accomplishments.  First, I was able to string together 4 double unders, more than once!  If you recall I did my very first double under just a month ago.  Double-unders have seemed so impossible for me and took seven months to finally get just one.  Next, my toes-to-bar were actually toes-to-bar. Not knees-to-elbow, not knees to chest.  How in the world I was doing these so well after such a long break I have no idea but I like it!  Maybe living on the second floor and lugging groceries and small kids up and down everyday has some positives.  The second workout was this:

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The third day was a 250m row then 21-15-9 reps of hang cleans, kettle bell swings, and burpees that resulted in this:

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That floor is not forgiving to lazy burpees!  I rounded out the week with deadlifts, lateral bar hops, and mountain climbers.

So how do I feel after my first full week back at the box?  Awesome! I feel like I just drank the koolade again.  A little disappointed by some set-backs (lighter weight for cleans) and excited about others (double-unders.)  It definitely felt great to be working up a sweat and talking to adults who I didn’t have to tell to stop licking their shoe.  You know what I wasn’t concerned with?  Stepping on the scale or the little bit of flabbiness I gained over the last three months.  Knock it down all you want but Crossfit has taught me to measure my fitness by abilities and stamina, not my weight and size.  Actually I think my favorite part of this box is no mirrors. Anywhere!

I’ll leave you with one last picture that should make you laugh. My pantless, copy-cat toddler photo bombing.

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Ah the life of a Mom with toddlers!

Fit-not

I haven’t written about fitness in a while and there are several good reasons.  I’ll spare you the long list and just say adjusting to living in a foreign country and getting my kids settled into daycare.  The lack of fitness blogging does in fact mean a lack of fitness in my life.  Some would call those excuses.  While I’m not denying they are excuses, I’m not over-stressing about it.  I’m sad that I’m missing my daily grind in the gym and anxious to get back at it but sometimes we must succumb to the changes happening in our life.  Sometimes trying to hold onto that daily grind when nearly every other part of your daily routine is different can make you crazier than if you just let it go for a short while, regoup, and start over.  What have I been doing most days?  Letting my toddlers be little.  It’s Summer.  We live in an apartment. I can’t push them out into the backyard while I clean/workout/cook dinner so we drop everything and hit the playground for a couple hours each day.

What I haven’t let go of is being healthy.  See, now that is a lifestyle change and it’s not going away.  I’ve had to adjust my diet, obviously consuming less because I’m not burning calories and fat in the gym.  That part has been a challenge because when I don’t workout I tend to crave everything bad.  I’ve had to fight really hard to grab the proper food and less of it.  A typical day of the no-workout Liz looks like this:

6ish – coffee w/stevia & almond milk
6:30 – plain greek yogurt mixed with homemade granola & a scoop of peanut butter. And more coffee
7ish – more coffee
10am – a mini bagel or a banana
10:30 – suddenly remember I can’t live on coffee and start drinking water
Between 12-1 – roast beef or turkey & cheese sandwich or leftovers with a side of fruit.
Between 2-3 either a shake (without protein powder) or bites of toddler snacks (goldfish, rice cakes, raisins, pretzels.)
6pm – some form of meat & veggies.  Roasted peppers & onions, or cauliflower & carrots are my favorites.
7-8 – Ice Cream and/or a glass of wine.

I’ve managed to stay the same weight as at my 9 month progress but I am not nearly as lean.  Fitness journey’s have ebbs and flows, right?  I am in a health eating, healthy weight, non-exercising phase.  I’m healthy right now and I do realize that but a leaner, more muscular, less flabby me is my ultimate goal.  Not to mention I judge my fitness on my abilities.  Like being able to do a pull up, run a a certain pace, lift x amount of weight, and so on.  Afterall you can be skinny and not fit or healhy.  Strong is the new skinny!  At the end of the day I’m proud of myself for all of the progress and more importantly maintaining.  Especially through a turbulent five-ish month transition from Arizona to Germany.

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So yeah…fit-not describes my daily life right now more than fit-ness.  And that’s ok.  In the next two weeks a crossfit gym with daycare opens and my oldest starts pre-school.  Routine is on the horizon people!