Sunday, September 27, 2015

Detours


The roads I take to get to work have been under construction since May. For months, I've been taking various alternate routes through rural roads lined with cows and scenic countryside. Or I've gritted my teeth and sat through the traffic delays to go right through the construction zone. 

Either way, it's added time to my commute, forcing me to leave earlier and get home later. Most days I think of it as an inconvenience, but more recently I found a route I really like. It takes me by some beautiful homes and the leaves are beginning to change, making the tree lined roads even more pretty.


The delays I've had getting to my office are not too different from those we've experience personally in the last six months. Just as a lot of our peers, we had a time table as to when certain things were supposed to happen in life-- when the next baby should be born, what we'd do after my husband finished seminary, etc. 

As much as we try to plan, things don't always turn out that way. I wanted my first two children to be born within two years of each other, but now it appears they'll be more like two and a half years apart. It doesn't seem like a big difference, but getting to this point has not been an easy road.

I've been commuting to Bridgewater for seven years and recently discovered roads that take me across town that I never knew were there. Detours have forced allowed me to discover new things, to notice the picturesque things I've been passing by on parallel roads for years. Additionally, by taking different routes, I've had more time to listen to audiobooks and enjoy rural New England.  

When was the last time you noticed something new in the seemingly mundane things of life?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Things I love: Spring Edition


In the last week, the temperatures were finally above freezing and we saw substantial snow melt! After a few days of trading in my heavy coat for a fleece, I'm practically ready for sandals :)

These glimpses of spring give me hope that I won't be wearing wool socks and bulky boots for more than a month. I'm so ready to wear cute flats and lighter layers. Lately, I've had my on these finds and I'm calling them my spring wish list.



1- Altar'd State Urban Stripes Dress // 2- Nickel + Suede Suba Blue Leather Earrings // 3- Seamly Co Vallynne Tank // 4- The Jones Market Adjustable Necklace in Gold + Champaign Sparkle // 5- Root Collective Ballet Flats // 6- Country Club Jamberry nail wraps // 7- Fashion Able Anchinalu Solid Infinity Scarf

For 10% off from Fashion ABLE use this link.

What's on your spring wish list?


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Retreating as a Mom


Last weekend I went on a retreat with four women from my church. It was a mother's retreat. 

Reading the blurb in our church announcements a few weeks ago made me cringe. It sounded so not me. I found out from a friend involved in the planning, it was meant to be a chance to get away and focus on your own personal relationship with God. 

I breathed a sigh of relief and signed up after discussing it with my husband a bit. I was not interested in a retreat about how to mother. I was interested in some time away and getting to know some other women better (who also happen to be mothers). 

I talked to a few women about going and signed up but I still felt a bit anxious. Thankfully, that didn't stop me from showing up.

Sometimes, I think mothering has a lot to do with simply showing up; we don't necessarily have it all mapped out, but we keep at it every.single.day.

The retreat itself was a breath of fresh air. I spent some time outside and had encouraging conversations with the women I went with. The speaker reminded us that God delights in us, allows us to lament (He can take it) and grants us peace which frees up our minds to meet the needs of others. 


There was also a cooking demonstration from a local chef who taught us to make two dishes. On Saturday afternoon I had every intention of taking a nap, but ended up going for a walk. It was a great chance to slow down and take in my surroundings. 

On the car ride home we agreed it was a good opportunity to get away and take some time for ourselves, which usually feels selfish.

Upon my return on Sunday afternoon, I was greeted by a squeal and shout of "Mommy!" from my daughter. 

There will be days I'm not greeted with such enthusiasm and I'll even go without being acknowledged. But for now, I treasure those greetings of squeals and keep plugging away at this mothering gig. I don't have it all figured out and a weekend away wasn't going to shed much light on the mysterious things my daughter does. 

I want to treasure the reminder of the freedom we get from seeking God's peace. Too often I don't seek His peace and feed off the frenzy of what's going wrong. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Slowing the Negative Self-Talk


Do you ever feel like an impostor? Like you're going through the motions and wondering when someone will notice you aren't doing the thing they think you are.

I feel like an impostor when grace is extended to me from the last place I expected.

Earlier today, I expected to be perceived as a disapointment. Instead I was met with an unexplainable dose of grace. Words of affirmation were spoken.


I'm hard on myself and I don't think I'm alone in that.

When I leave the house a few minutes behind schedule on a workday, I can let it get the best of me. And by best of me, I mean I talk myself into a bad mood in the fifteen minute drive from daycare to work. It was five minutes, Beth, relax. That kind of self talk is dangerous.

It got me thinking: what positive things do I tell myself? 

Tomorrow, I am going to write them down throughout my day. I'm going to consciously take note of those things that go well in an effort to NOT beat myself up. Because, honestly I need to give myself a break.

I need to put the brakes on the negative self-talk. Because when I'm thinking negatively about myself, I start to think negatively about those around me. I get critical and that often leads me down a treacherous path.

I may not start the day like this, but on second thought, why not?

What has your self-talk tape been playing?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Stuff Swap with Good Cheese


Transition is hard. Each time I go through one, I am somehow still surprised by the challenges that come with a new place. I find this baffling because I often tell people about my upbringing as an Air Force brat with a sense of pride.

I am proud to have moved around as a kid and often point to those experiences as growing pains that allowed me to succeed in college or even make it on my own as a single girl in a new city fresh out of grad school.

But I have to admit, I still struggle with change.

The past year and a half brought change in both my professional and personal life. The biggest change being motherhood. I've struggled with friendships and making "mom friends."


Around New Years I was feeling sorry for myself and complaining to my husband once again. He lovingly challenged me and asked "what have you done to get to know them?" referring to a group of women I would classify as acquaintances.

Although his question was what I needed to hear, I did not receive it so graciously.

I wish it would have stopped me in my tracks, but instead I thought about it for about a week. It wasn't pretty, but I realized I was expecting people to come to me and ask me all the questions I had assumed they had. I made it all about me. Yuck.

I had not considered what ways I needed to put myself out there and open myself up to let them know I was looking to forage new friendships.

I decided I should host this group of people in our home. As uncomfortable as it might be, I needed to open the door to my unfinished, not-even-mid-renovation house and feed these women I hoped to build a friendship with some wine and cheese.

To make it more interesting than "come hang out with me," I decided we needed something to do. I had heard of clothing swap parties before and loved the idea of an accessory swap (it is more inclusive of all shapes and sizes), so I went for it.

I created the event/invite on Facebook and was encouraged by people responding that they were coming, asking me what they could bring when they saw me in person and commenting/asking questions via Facebook.

People were talking about it!

As the night of the event drew closer,  I decided to keep the food simple with a cheese spread from Trader Joe's, wine, crackers, and other nibble-type things. After all, I had finished the Whole30 earlier that week and all I wanted was bread and cheese!



For the swap part, I tried to keep it simple and had everyone lay out their items in our dining room. We used the dining table and mantle to display the scarves, hats, purses, necklaces, bracelets and more. Once everything was laid out, we drew numbers and took turns selecting one item at a time. Everyone walked away with 5-6 new to them items and the remaining items are being donated to a local family shelter.

By the end of the night, we decided a kitchen gadget swap was next!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Weeks Post-Whole30 and Our New Kitchen Staples


I can't believe it's already been two weeks since we ended the Whole30 diet. I promised I'd be back with some of our staple foods while we were doing Whole30. And two weeks later, our habits have stayed the same in terms of the types of things we keep in the pantry and refrigerator.


Our kitchen "staples" look a little different and our grocery shopping list contains more fresh ingredients and a lot less dairy and processed products.

We still eat raw nuts and use them in recipes. Eggs and veggies are almost always on our breakfast plates. We've replaced pasta with cooked veggies like broccoli and zucchini. I am still drinking my coffee black, but I was glad to re-introduce red wine into the routine.

We may not be sticking to Whole30 anymore, but we are generally eating "clean" from one day to the next. I've found some great flour-less recipes for sweet treats.


Some of our favorites from Trader Joe's include: 1- plantain chips (great for guacamole or on their own) 2- Ruby Red Chai Tea 3- 21 Seasoning Salute 4- broccoli slaw (we boiled this a few times and used it as pasta with meatballs and marinara) 5- kalamata olives (great on salads and on their own) 6- macadamia nuts 7- raw cashews

TJ's isn't exactly around the corner (it's a 30 minute drive), so some of our staples aren't pictured. Other kitchen staples include: coconut flour, almond flour/meal, ghee, medjool dates and dill pickles.

So, what are we really eating two weeks after finishing our Whole30? Our weekly menu consists of mostly paleo meals and I've been pinning them on this board.

Of course we have had our "cheat" moments, but they are usually planned and with good reason. We ate donuts this past weekend, but I made this flour less cake for our at-home Valentine's Day treat and we ate these pumpkin pancakes.


Honestly, I don't feel like we're missing out, but I do love a good donut...on occasion of course!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Links I LOVE and ALL the Snow


Have you heard? New England is covered in snow. I mean covered! We have been hit with one storm after another for three weeks in a row. The college students I work with who have Monday classes after 3pm have not met yet!

This is not normal winter. I lived most of my life in places where it snows a decent amount (upstate NY, Colorado Springs and greater Boston), but the snow we've had since mid-January is unreal.  The snow is piled high. When I shoveled this morning, the most tiring part was walking down the driveway with a shovel full of wet and heavy snow and then hoisting it up on to the ever-growing snowbank.

Getting out of the driveway has become an event.

Last week, I dreaded backing on to our busy street. On Saturday, we prepped the driveway to fit multiple cars in the driveway for a get together I hosted. And then more snow came. Two feet of more snow in case you were wondering. I am literally scared to back out of the driveway when I have to go to work tomorrow.


Since I've had FIVE snow days since January 26, I have had a chance to do some unexpected housework (organized Maggie's closet and too small clothes) and spent too much time on Pinterest.

I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO...
The Influence Network podcasts. I've only listened to three of them, but each one has been awesome. Even if you're not an iPhone user, you can listen online.

Audiobook (via Scribd): Surprised by Motherhood written and narrated by Lisa-Jo Baker. I'm sure I will listen to this one again and again. Her writing is beautiful and I can so relate to her feelings of pregnancy, giving birth and mothering without your mom.

Podcast: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey I've only listened to the with Jen Hatmaker and I just loved how I felt like it was girl-talk with two old friends. I'm so ready to start my own supper club. Who's in?!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Whole30 ((what we ate))


I had been hearing about Whole30 from my internet friends for about six months. I was curious and started doing some research searching Pinterest for the details on the mysterious diet that had people raving. As I read, it made sense and I wanted to know more.

After a long December of one sickness after another, I started to plan how I could get my husband on board. It turns out, he didn't need much convincing. We bought the book, It Starts with Food and he was very interested, as someone who had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes as an adult.

Our first Whole30 started on January 4.

We prepped the kitchen, by cleaning out the pantry. We literally boxed up almost everything the diet does not allow -anything processed, containing refined sugar, grains or dairy. By removing the temptations from the pantry, we were setting ourselves up for success. The only exception was leaving a portion of the shelf for our 18 month old's animal crackers, cheerios and veggie sticks.


So, what did we actually eat?

Breakfast is my favorite meal and I was a bit worried about getting sick of eggs, but I can honestly say I did not get tired of them. We had fried eggs, cooked greens, roasted potatoes, sausage/sweet potato/broccoli casserole, eggs topped with salsa, proscuitto and eggs, brussels sprout breakfast hash, scrambled eggs, sweet potato hash and the list goes on. My favorite breakfast recipes we used were:
brussels sprout breakfast hash
sausage and sweet potato casserole

Lunch was always a bit more tricky, since we both work full-time. Planning ahead is key in the Whole30 (I will talk more about that in my next post). We ate a lot of tuna salad made with homemade mayo and soups, along with dinner leftovers. My favorite lunches included
healing chicken noodle soup
avocado chicken salad (not pictured)

Dinners were my favorite. We had a great variety, from fish on weekends to crock pot prepared meals on weeknights, there were so many great recipes to try! My favorite meals were:
butter chicken (skip the flour) over riced cauliflower
crispy buffalo chicken wings and homemade ranch dressing (on Super Bowl Sunday)
meatballs over steamed broccoli slaw

I'm happy to say, we made it through January free of sickness. My husband saw the most drastic changes within days of starting Whole30; he was using less than HALF his daily insulin by the third day of the diet. We both lost a little weight (I'm kicking myself for not taking our measurements at the start) and feel great.

I'll be back later this week with a rundown of our grocery staples and food prep tips!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Goodbye, Bravermans. Thanks for the memories.


Disclaimer: I'm actually not watching the final episode of Parenthood tonight. I really want to, but we're one episode behind and I have to watch the final ones in order. No spoilers please.

But I do want to say thank you to the Braverman family. Part of me thinks it's silly to feel like a TV show (c'mon it is a television show) has been there for me. The real-life issues they tackle with raw emotion episode after episode reeled me in. I'm pretty sure I cried in every episode this season.

source
The topics of real life over the six seasons-- cancer, adoption, Asperger's, a sick parent, pregnancy, job loss, marital strife-- are honest. There is no doubt family dynamics can be hard. But the Bravermans express reconciliation to one another over and over again.  After watching a season (or maybe less), who doesn't want to be a Braverman?

At the least, the Braverman clan has taught us to appreciate our parents. If they're still living, call them and say thank you for raising you. It was hard work. If you can't make that call, know that you are not alone. You're in good company when you shed tears watching an episode and missing your mom (or dad).

The Bravermans taught us to forgive our siblings. No matter what your relationship is with your brother or sister, you share a unique bond with them.

The Bravermans make us consider how we parent and love our kids. They don't tell us how to do it, but they show us how hard it is day after day.

The Bravermans taught us so much and I could go on and on. But it's getting late and I want to say thank you, Ron Howard (and the other producers). I'm going to miss the Braverman clan, but I have my own little family and I can't wait to see how where the next forty years (and more) take us!

Monday, January 26, 2015

She loves the snow


On Saturday morning, I was elated to wake up to snow. I had been waiting all winter (December and January) for a real snowfall. I looked out the window to see the street covered with snow. We usually get snow earlier in the winter and I was so anxious so we could introduce Maggie to snow. I knew she would love it!

We took her outside Saturday morning and she just giggled with glee as she walked around the front yard a bit. 





We're now ready for the historic snow storm that started earlier today. Sidenote: how can they call a storm "historic" before it happens?

I'm pretty sure Maggie will be amazed at all the snow we wake up to in the morning!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

5 Goals for 2015


Earlier in the month I was kind of against setting goals for the new year. I usually get so annoyed with new year resolutions. Then we started this Whole30 diet a few days into the new year and people were asking me if I planned to not eat legumes, dairy, alcohol or ANY SUGAR for the year.

Ha, do you even know me?! (I imagine this being said like Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail "do they even know me at all?!") The answer is no, I am not giving up sugar or even dairy for the whole year. But I am excited about what the changes have shown me in just two weeks (I'll share more on that later).

So without further ado, here are the five goals I've set for myself for 2015.


Throw more stuff away. I don't mean I want to increase our weekly garbage pickup (I hate the idea of things going to a landfill), so much as I want to be better about getting rid of items (whether trash, recyclable or giveaway) we don't need or use. I'm not a hoarder, but I need to be better about throwing away an item when it breaks or actually get it repaired promptly rather than let it sit around and collect dust. So far there are already some practical ways I have started to attack this goal.

  • With Maggie bringing home artwork from daycare, I created a place to display her most recent artwork in our living room. I've also thrown a few of her things out and I'm making myself be less sentimental about it.
  • When I packed up our Christmas decorations a few weeks ago, I went through everything and purged a good deal. Next year I won't ask myself "why do I still have this?" when I pull out an ornament I bought when I was single and trying to make my tree not so sparse.


Create and stick to better habits with home organization. This one feels like a seemingly impossible task for me. But we can need to do better with the pile of papers (mail, daycare papers/art, etc.) that accumulates on the counter and makes me want to scream.

  • My action item has already started with setting up the front room (we don't really have a front hallway) with places to hold that annoying paper pile. I have three bins (one for each of us) to sort the paper into and will go through the bins on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. The photo below shows the little organization station and that I finally got a few things hung on the wall in our front room.



Read more. If you know me, this one seems a bit futile. I'm terrible at finishing books. As in, I start so many books and actually finish about 20% of them. That is terrible! To hold myself accountable, I am not allowed to buy any more books until I finish the following:

Simplify my wardrobe. I've been working on this for the past year or so. Having a baby was the perfect excuse to purge and reassess my closet! I'm excited to have some time to sit down and really think about my clothing.

  • My plan for achieving this goal is to use these worksheets I found via Pinterest along with re-reading The No Brainer Wardrobe. I've realized it's not about the quantity of clothes I have (it kinda hurts to admit); the way I feel in clothes is more important to me.

Practice mindful eating and drinking. As I'm doing the Whole30 this month, I'm learning more and more about my eating habits. I'm now past the halfway point and starting to think about what foods I'll be eating again. I plan to set limits on those foods I gave up for the 30 days and consider how I'll reintroduce them. As for what I'm drinking, I was never a big soda drinker so my current routine of coffee, tea and lots of water will probably continue.

Did you set any goals for the year?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why I still prefer blogging over Instagram


2014 left me exhausted and drained. A mid-year job transition, followed by my husband's job change and Maggie's move to full-time daycare and then more change at work were enough to keep me busy and away from the blog (for the most part). Thankfully, I kept up the monthly Maggie posts, but that was about all I could manage. I really missed writing and connecting with my blog friends.

I found myself spending time in different places (online and from my phone instead of the computer). During "downtime" at home, it was/is often easier to hop on Facebook from my phone and get content rather than going to specific blogs. On Facebook I end up reading different blogs like Huffington Post Parents. 


I've noticed I'm on Instagram a lot more and Twitter a lot less than I was a year ago. I've heard from other bloggers that Instagram has replaced blogging in a lot of ways-- you only need one photo per post instead of 2-3 like I usually try to include in my blog posts. But who really likes writing a blog post from their phone? I've tried it and I'm sure there will be future Instagram photos I share that have more content in the caption, but I still prefer blogging.

As I make my return to the blogging scene, I am thinking about the things I've written in the past and what I hope to continue to capture from our life. We're making strides with our home projects and I'm learning what it means to blog as a mother (I can't share every detail of my child's life on the internet for all to read)! There are great life stories I still want to capture here. One pretty and a quick sentence or two wouldn't do justice to the stories I can tell through blogging. 

But I don't have it all figured out. As much as I want to say I have a schedule for blogging, here it is! that just isn't reality. In this season of raising a toddler, I am looking for where blogging fits into my life from week to week. Thankfully I am comfortable with fitting it in where I can in this current season.

So, I'm back to writing about our home, the food we eat and the things we're doing. I might be able to get by sharing photos with long captions via Instagram or finding interesting reads through Facebook, but I'm not ready to say goodbye to The Goad Abode. I am grateful for the small community here; the readers (like you) who stop by my corner of the internet. Even if you don't leave a comment, I know you're there and I hope you'll keep coming back.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Maggie: 18 months


Yes, she's officially one and half years old! I can hardly believe that she'll be two years old in six months.

She has boundless energy and usually jogs instead of walks. We had a little snow on the ground recently and she loved walking in it. We could tell by her giggling as she walked.


And I have to comment on this girl's hair! Most days I love it. The color is so pretty and I love the little curls on the backside of her head just after a bath. Most days it looks pretty crazy though. When it gets humid, she totally has President Business hair. I decided not to cut it yet-- she has a major cowlick and bangs would be a mistake (I take full blame as I have the very same cowlick-- she's at least the fourth generation with this lovely mark).

Her seemingly wild hair is totally fitting for her energy. It gets in her face and she rarely lets me put anything in it to keep it out of her face. I have to admit I was comforted to read this article. I love the reminder that someday she'll slave over her hair, but for now she doesn't care.

Over the weekend, I tied her blanket around her shoulders for her first "cape." As you can see from the photo below, she was not disappointed!


Maggie's vocabulary is growing so quickly. She loves to talk and there are still plenty of "words" we don't understand. Her favorite words lately are "guggie" translated doggie, shoe(s), moo, dada, mommy, "moe" translated more, "boo" translated book, ball and baa.

While traveling at Christmas, Maggie started saying "guggie." All of a sudden she developed hawk eyes for dogs and saw them on posters, in books and magazines, in the airport and wherever she went. She loves to read books about dogs. The Pokey Little Puppy is currently her favorite book. Sometimes bears and other animals are mistaken for dogs, but we're working on that. I never noticed how many toilet paper companies use bears in their marketing until she pointed them out as "guggies" last week!

Maggie's monthly updates:
1 month // 2 months // 3 months // 4 months // 5 months // 6 months // 7 months // 8 months // 9 months // 10 months // 11 months // 12 months // 13 months // 14 months // 15 months // 16 months // 17 months

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Here's to a healthy 2015


December was a long month of one sickness after another in our household. Maggie had two ear infections in three weeks, I had a sinus infection, Brandon had a nasty bug that was also treated with antibiotics and we finished the month with a round of the stomach bug. In the midst of it all, I felt desperate to get healthy and stay healthy!

Side note: I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but this year we are trying a few new-to-us health remedies.

I started researching essential oils and learning about the benefits of using them. I had been interested in getting them for months and coincidentally last month I was invited to a weeklong doTERRA class on Facebook. We recently got a starter kit that included 10 oils and the petal diffuser.

I'm taking it slow, using the diffuser regularly and I've made my own hand sanitizer using this recipeThis website has been my favorite resource so far.

Additionally, we're making some diet changes. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know my husband and I are embarking on the Whole30. I first heard about Whole30 from others I follow on Instagram last year. I started reading up on it, then told my husband about it and he bought the book, It Starts With Food. Before he finished reading the book, he was on board and we were planning meals to begin our Whole30 adventure.

Just a few of the meals we've eaten: fried egg, potatoes, spinach and black coffee (breakfast) // tuna salad with homemade mayo and clementine (lunch) // jalapeƱo chicken burgers with guacamole and broccoli (dinner) // meatballs with marinara over steamed broccoli slaw (dinner)

We're one week into the program and it's going well. The biggest benefit thus far has been the almost immediate results my husband has seen. He has type 1 diabetes and within the first few days he reduced his daily insulin intake by half!

Food prep is definitely more than we usually do day-to-day, but not crazy. We've been making double-batches and freezing half, for quicker meals next week and using the crock pot a good amount. We both feel great and have been surprised by how full we feel after meals. I'm excited to see how the next 3+ weeks go.

By cutting back on processed foods and eating real food, I am hopeful 2015 will be a healthier year for all of us!