Eating Healthy: The Magic Diet Fix

If I were given the option to eat a burger with some fries or a salad, you better believe I’m going to choose… BOTH. I’m not afraid to eat, especially because I’m breastfeeding and my hunger knows no bounds. I just ate dinner, a whole chicken breast and a side of green beans, but I can’t stop thinking about the vegan cookies from Whole Foods or the Oreos chilling in the cabinet.

I love health and I’m fascinated with the connection between food and our bodies. For instance, our food literally becomes our blood and skin, each individual cell is HUNGRY for macro and micronutrients. It’s no wonder as to why I feel so darn guilty when I add creamer to my coffee or when I stuff my face with cookies… My relationship with food suffers (hardcore) even though I know a lot about nutrition. “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I want to do.”-Romans 7:19- Now Paul isn’t calling the brownies that I made last week evil, but to me sweets are the enemy.

So if I’m over here struggling why am I trying to impart any ounce of wisdom to you? Well, I have hit the jackpot in my journey to health with one simple word… BALANCE. So you can have that cake, maybe not the whole thing though. How do I implement balance?

1. I make healthy choices at the start of my day. Two eggs (sometimes with some veggies) and two slices of toast, the healthy kind with the seeds. It’s easier to mess up right off the bat and give in to defeat.
2. I eat healthy meals. Three out of three meals a day are healthy, except the times when I splurge. My family eats a lot of chicken, vegetables, and rice.
3. Eat your dessert but watch your portions. If you fully restrict yourself you will give in and then fail. If you fail one time you will feel too far gone and then you will give up completely.
4. Learn to cook yummy but healthy meals. Pinterest is a great tool and so are your friends. Find 6 recipes, get comfortable using them and then you will have a plan for every grocery trip and for every meal.
5. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT and I saved it for last: CHANGE ONE THING AT A TIME. Don’t shock your body with a juice cleanse, honey, cause Kale smoothies are gross and you know it. Once you smell the greasy fries from the McDonalds across the street you will get so hungry you can’t think and then all of a sudden you will have two Big Macs in both of your hands…

Our brains are very clever and we often decide something before we even know it (I see you subconscious, making my life easier but also hard at the same time). Right now I literally can’t stop thinking about those dang cookies and I will probably eat a second one today… my mind is weak, okay? That is why %80 of my choices are healthy so I have %20 left to fall on when I ultimately slip up.

You don’t have to be perfect to be healthy. Just drink more water, eat real food (avoid packages- unless its a package of Oreos), and eat good meals so you can eat really good desserts.

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Struggling With My Identity

I know who I am… kind of. I am a mom, I am a wife, I am a daughter, and a sister. I am all of these things to my kids, my husband, my mom, and my brothers and sister. But who am I really, outside of all of the things I am to those I call dear.

As I sit here I have a few tears rolling down my cheeks- call it sleep deprivation, call it anxiety, or maybe even a touch of postpartum depression- I don’t know who I really am anymore.

I know what I do everyday: I wake up and make breakfast, I workout while my kids crawl all over me, I do a load of laundry or some dishes, then I make lunch, entertain myself and the kids, then dinner, baths, more dishes…. on and on the list goes. These days with my kids have so many rewards hidden in them, a new milestone or the cutest smile that crosses Dalton or Ellie’s face, but I have lost myself in the cycle of motherhood. Is it a bad thing? No, it isn’t. I am a mom and I put on that title the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test. It’s just a little hard sometimes, to be completely selfless and, ultimately, to not have a break.

For example, if my toddler catches me eating anything, he has to have a bite. If I take a shower my son bursts into the room and tries to climb in. If I’m in the middle of a workout or if I’m going potty, the kids are RIGHT there. I know that I should enjoy these days “because it flies by so quickly.” Yes, Carol, I know it FLIES BY, trust me, I’ve been a mom for a little over two years, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard!

The whole reason I have lost myself is that I don’t know what I want to do that is just for myself. I have a youtube channel- The Shelton Fam, and I LOVE it. But I second guess myself because I lack patience to see it grow (and this is my little secret: I don’t think I’m a good vlogger at all). This girl can write but I suck at speaking properly into a camera. I can’t re-enroll into college because I have TWO kids now, and is my degree still what I want to pursue? Don’t get me started on when I actually go back to work- many years in the future when the kids are in school, what the heck will I do?

I hope this is all making sense, ladies: stay at home momma-ing for two years has taken who I am, thrown me into the fire, and now the map that I held in my hand (pre momma-ing) has been completely singed to ash and fallen at my feet. BUT it’s okay to not be okay, and clearly I’m not okay. We all have hard days, it’s a hard life, and without trials we would never grow. So in all of this- crappy sleep, screaming toddler, screaming baby, toys EVERYWHERE, and not enough coffee or alone time- I am growing, learning, and overcoming.

So if you are reading this, you will get through it and you WILL find yourself. Do one thing for you today. Do that workout, cook that recipe, sing that song that fills you up with joy. Don’t be discouraged, lift your chin up and keep pushing on.

How Life Changes When You Become A Mom

My husband and I were 19 years old when we actually DECIDED to start a family. We had absolutely no idea what we were in for and we thought we were ready.

It’s hard to be prepared for a child. You can be prepared financially (we weren’t) or maybe emotionally (we were to a certain extent), but you can never truly be ready for the way a child changes every aspect of your life until you have one.

Your heart changes the moment you meet your child and the love that develops is so deep and unconditional. If they hurt, you hurt. When they smile, you smile. I was surprised at the connection I felt the moment Dalton was born. I was responsible to keep him alive and safe, to make sure he was loved and taken care of. The responsibility that was added to my plate increased ten-fold.

You stop thinking just about your needs and have to make room for theirs. Am I hungry? They must be too. Diaper changes, feedings, making breakfast, lunch and dinner, educational play and learning times, bed time, baths, naps, cleaning up messes, laundry…. the list goes on.

My day is timed around my children. I don’t get to sleep, eat, workout or shower when I want. Annnddd the more kids you have (depending on their ages) the less time you have for yourself. When it was just Dalton and I, I could workout, cook, shower, clean, and do all that I needed to do while he napped or played. This wasn’t always the case when he was a newborn, but the older they get the more independent they are. Now I have a newborn and a toddler. I try to workout when Dalton is playing and when Ellie takes her first nap. When Dalton naps I try to clean and cook, if Ellie is awake I can let her hang out in the rock n play or in the baby carrier (I have like 3 all for different uses). When they both nap I have to decide between taking a moment for myself or getting things done.

My husband knows that I’m jealous of him. He gets to leave the house – a break from being a parent that I don’t get. Obviously at work he has responsibilities that I’m very glad I don’t have buttttt…. He can take showers when he wants, long trips to the bathroom, he doesn’t have to feed Ellie, etc. This is what you take on when you breastfeed. I absolutely LOVE breastfeeding and a small sacrifice I am willing to pay is that I have a tiny human that can’t go longer than an hour or three without my boobs. Yes I can pump and leave some milk but then your boobs fill up and you have to pump again, etc. I also have to wake up during the night when she’s hungry and I have to stay awake until she falls asleep.

Trips to the store become more difficult, just leaving the house takes longer. You have to get ready and get your babies ready too. If someone poops, it needs to be changed ASAP. If you need to run an errand or have something planned, you try to work around nap time and bed time. They must be with you at all times unless you can trust someone else to watch them for you.

You might be thinking that the purpose of this post is to complain. It isn’t. I am blessed to be able to stay home. I don’t miss a moment of their lives and I believe that this is my calling. I just want everyone who reads this to either find comfort because their lives look a little like mine or some insight into what changes to better set expectations.

Yes everything changes. You aren’t as free as you used to be and this is something I didn’t come to terms with until I was holding a positive pregnancy test in my hands. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. A door was opened to me when I became a mom. I learned to be more patient, selfless, forgiving, and loving. I felt my heart transform to hold love for two humans I grew inside my body (pregnancy and birth are miracles). Time, the 24 hours I am given each day, became about more than just me and now I use it wiser. I cherish each moment I am given and I look for ways to improve for more than just myself, but for my kids. Am I fueling my body and my mind in positive ways that make me a better mom?

To each and every mom, working or working at home, I respect you. I am still learning what it means to be a mom with each new stage Dalton (the guinea pig child) reaches. What a paradox… as your child gets older you find yourself having to learn and adjust.

A mom isn’t made overnight, she is constantly fashioned to become the person her child needs.

Stay tuned because we have a BIG project in the works…❤️

Toddler Tantrums And Persistent Anxiety

Today it’s my son’s tantrums. Yesterday it was anxiety.

Everyday has a battle in store, or 5.

Persistent anxiety, the kind that makes you feel on edge all day, is just plain annoying. What makes me anxious? Usually everything, but yesterday it was nothing. I just felt that tension within my chest and tried to distract myself from it. It didn’t really leave me, from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep and it increased every time one of the kids would cry for more than a minute.

It makes sense that I have this struggle at such a high intensity. I live far from home, we have two amazing but challenging kids, and I did a lot of growing up in a short amount of time. Basically my plate is stacked high and my mind is always reminding me that it could all fall to the floor. I know it may sound like I’m complaining, but that’s the last thing that I want to communicate. I am so very blessed in all of this hardship. I live in a state that people dream of visiting and I have two children that fill my heart with joy. My babies are quite literally my life! They make up every part of my day and although it is hard, I couldn’t imagine spending my time elsewhere. It would just be really nice if my fight or flight senses could chill out for a second.

Now onto Dalton, the screeching 22 month old. He’s messy. He’s loud. He’s stinking adorable, but most of all he is grumpy. It’s all totally normal but when you’re kid has squealed out of anger for the 500th time, it can stir up some anger within you too. I love this boy, I love that he is learning new words, he is following directions to a certain extent… I love that he loves his sister and that he laughs when he’s doing something cute (like now – he’s banging spoons together). I just think that this is the hardest stage I have experienced as a mom. It tests my patience and sometimes I’m short with him.

It’s hard not to be the parent that yells. I would rather be soft and stern. I also don’t want my child’s inner voice to be as negative as mine is. Not that I can really control that but I want him to learn to be responsible and to listen. I was raised by my mom, so I didn’t know what it was like to have someone reinforce the rules, she was the good guy and the bad guy. Now I have my husband who can bring balance and can teach me to follow through with discipline. As a parent you learn as you get to each stage. It slowly transforms from feeding them milk every two hours and changing diapers to teaching them to talk, walk, and behave.

I just want to be a good mom. I don’t want to fail even though I already have at times. I don’t want my children to have negative memories of their mom that they carry in their hearts the rest of their lives. I want them to learn to be strong in the way that I am learning to be. I want them to face their fears, to love, to be kind, and to persevere.

A Trip To The Mall

The first thing I thought about when we arrived at this really nice outdoor mall was that I should take the kids here one day, by myself. HAH.

Here is a picture of Dalton just hanging out on the ground because it was getting close to nap time.

The day started off really calm. Ellie was sleeping in her stroller and Dalton was being himself, running around in Forever 21 taking shirts off of the hook and trying to run away. I need to get this boy a backpack leash thing – Amazon should have one, right?

Ellie’s pacifier was laying on her blanket and somehow it fell to the ground/disappeared forever. The key to keeping our fussy little girl soothed is probably sitting under a clothes rack collecting dust. Of course we are new to the paci game and I didn’t bring a replacement…

Our next stop was American Eagle, after Taylor took each child separately to get a diaper change – my hubby is the real MVP. This took forever because Taylor was trying to find church clothes for the first time in two years! Oh and I was trying on shorts and if anyone has gone shopping for clothes two months after having a baby you know that clothes that should fit are a little tight. I also wanted to find some Tom boy shorts, the kind that’s in style and AE has so many options. OH and we have two kids.

Taylor and I were taking turns to find out what would work. When it was my turn, Ellie and I hung out in the dressing room for a good 15 minutes while she cried as hard as she could. It was fun – I would try on a pair of shorts, she would cry, I would calm her down, try on another pair of shorts and on and on. While Taylor was keeping an eye on Dalton, me son managed to push the stroller into the wall of clothes twice – but the sales lady was nice about it and Ellie was in my arms so nobody was hurt. (We are those people, reminding other couples that they should wait a little longer to have a baby).

On the way out I mentioned that I wanted to go to Old Navy, but Taylor reminded me that Dalton was five minutes from a meltdown because it was nap time.

So we visited a grand total of TWO stores and it took about two hours… and this is parenthood when you have two children under the age of two at the young age of twenty two… holy moly that’s a lot of twos.

I will not be visiting the mall to try on clothes with or without another adult for awhile…especially not without one.

When Anxiety Tells You No

I’ve been fighting this fight for more than 10 years and there are seasons when my anxious voice is screaming at me. Right now I am in one and I’ve been here for almost a year.

I hear from my anxiety all the time in the form of second guessing myself in my independence and strength to face daily tasks.

My anxiety tells me no, I can’t go to the store alone, no I can’t drive through the tunnel on my way to Kaneohe, or I can’t possibly make new friends or reconnect with old ones. My anxiety tried to tell me no when I decided to book a flight back to Texas so my family can meet my newborn daughter, in fact it is still telling me I can’t go.

My anxiety has not let go of it’s grip on my thoughts. My heart still races when I am faced with the reality that I have to drive, I have to get out of my house and get in my car and leave so my children and I can live a fulfilling life.

All the time it tells me no, I can’t do this or that. It reminds me that I will be terrified if I do it, that the racing heart and the numbness, the fidgeting, the relentless thoughts, that all of it will be too much and I will succumb to the pressure it puts on my body. But I haven’t yet. I am still alive, my heart is beating at 60 beats per minute as I hold my newborn child and type this message.

Even through all of the mess, through the terror, I have found COURAGE. I find it when I have faced my fear, when I come out on the other side of it.

The truth is that I will always face anxiety. It will always be there to tell me that I’m not strong enough. But I am and so are you. We have to face the mountains before us or we will be blocked from the beautiful thing that stands on the other side.

Keep facing your mountains, climb them until they are conquered, tear them down rock by rock until they are no longer standing. If I can do this so can you.

What A Typical Day Looks Like

Just when Taylor got into a really good work schedule and we were starting to get comfortable, the military decided to change it up. Got to keep us on our toes, ya know? So right now (for a few more days) we are enjoying having daddy home for three days a week, he says four but I don’t count the training day as part of his weekend. When Taylor is working, our days go a little like this:

7 am, the little boy wakes up and Taylor lets me sleep in.

Around 9 or 10, depending on Ellie’s night feedings, I wake up and eat breakfast.

Taylor gets ready for work at 10 and that’s when I take over. Usually I get myself dressed after I eat so I can get the kids dressed too. If I don’t do this, we probably won’t leave and I’ll decide to be extra lazy, so getting everyone dressed is the key to me being on top of things, including the house.

Around 11 Dalton gets a snack and if he’s fussy he goes down for a nap. Usually his nap is at 1 but I’ve been changing it around because he’s been waking up much earlier. Once he’s down, I relax or clean. Chances are you will find me doing dishes…. because they NEVER stop piling in our sink. And to those of you that have a dishwasher, I am super jelly.

I try to eat before he wakes up and when Ellie is asleep but my food goes cold (it actually stays cold because I don’t use my microwave unless I need to heat up rice – so it sits there). Then Dalton wakes up around 1 or 2 and eats lunch. If he goes down for a nap later he eats before.

After he eats I try to find a reason to leave the house. Trips to fast food places with a jungle gym, Target, a park – which I avoid because Ellie can’t wear sunscreen yet, or the beach – I usually avoid this too because of the sand. It has been difficult for me to leave without my husband because of my anxiety, but I do it anyways because he won’t always be here to help.

We get home around 4 or 5, so Dalton plays while I write, read, or take care of his sister. He eats dinner around 6:30 or 7, takes a bath and this is usually when Ellie starts getting fussy so it’s really hectic trying to get him ready for bed.

After he goes down at 8, I try to eat dinner, try is the key word here. Ellie has intense witching hours and at this point I’m so low on energy it makes for a FUNNNN time. Once she falls asleep I eat and watch YouTube. Taylor gets home around 10 which is my bed time so we catch up on our days and I go to sleep. But sleep is always interrupted by a little girl that needs milkies. She wakes up at 2 and 5, sometimes stirs once or twice more, but she latches and we both fall back asleep. She’s a really great sleeper, giving me up to 5 hour stretches some nights, otherwise I would be a zombie.

Then the next day starts and we do it all over again. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed (and this is when Umi Zoomi or another kids show comes in handy), both kids crying, both needing diaper changes, needing food at the same time, but this season will fly by. Ellie will eventually be Dalton’s age and Dalton will be trading baby talk for actual words. Right now I just take it day by day and love on my babies while they are still babies.