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Cabin Trip, Nutritarian

To Sequim on a whim

Earlier this year, while I was getting myself reacquainted with the specifics of the nutritarian lifestyle, I was clicking around Dr. Fuhrman’s website and noticed that he was scheduled to speak in, of all places, Port Townsend. Since we haven’t been out to that area since 2007 when we stayed in Port Townsend the night before our very first hike to Shi Shi Beach, we decided we would make a real trip out of it and, gasp, take the girls on our first vacation as a family of four.

(Side note: major LOLs at that blog post. Canned beans and soy dogs as backpacking food! Describing the trail down to Shi Shi as a cliff! Aaaw.)

Weekend in Sequim

We rented a house in Sequim (for you out-of-staters, that’s pronounced “skwim”, not “seekwim” like I thought when we moved here) and obviously chose to get there by ferry, because if there’s one thing toddlers love, it’s BOATS, plus it offers a timely break in driving that can be used to feed the baby.

Weekend in Sequim

We lucked out with a house overlooking the Dungeness Spit, so after unpacking all our stuff (there’s so much stuff) and feeding Lily again, we drove a couple of minutes over to the trailhead so Nora could get some energy out on the trail and beach after spending half a day in the car.

Weekend in Sequim

We’ve never bothered to go to the Dungeness Spit before because…well, to be honest, it sounded kind of lame. But it totally isn’t! It’s actually really cool – miles and miles of ever-expanding beach (with bonus views when it’s not…February) – and now we want to go back again.

Weekend in Sequim

In true toddler fashion, Nora inspected every grain of sand and bit of driftwood in the first five square feet of the beach and then we had to get home for dinner, so there’s lots for us to explore yet.

Weekend in Sequim

We knew it would be hard to cook in a house that isn’t toddler-proofed while one parent has to watch the baby, so we brought pre-made dinners (lentil soup and cabbage rolls) in a cooler to make life easier on ourselves. I think this is the way to travel while the kidlings are still little! Rent a house. Bring food that needs next to no prep. Relax.

Weekend in Sequim

Once the girls were in bed, we sat down and enjoyed the last little bit of daylight in our beautiful garden, then did non-tv or computer-type things like reading books! and talking with each other! in front of the fireplace!

(This photo was actually from the morning, in case you’re wondering why the sun is in the east.)

Weekend in Sequim

In the morning, Nora had ample time to explore the house. Her favorite part was our friends in the garden, of course.

Weekend in Sequim

Then I was off to see Dr. Fuhrman while JK kept the girls entertained. I showed up crazy early since it was first come first serve, and it turned out to be a good decision even if it made me feel like some sort of insane fangirl. The room was packed! Dr. Fuhrman’s talk was really, really good, informative, and funny, and I took a bunch of notes to share with JK afterwards. Big thank you to the Port Townsend Vegan Meetup Group for arranging it!

Weekend in Sequim

Afterwards, I was nursing Lils while watching Nora suddenly and out of nowhere conquer her fear of the cargo net climbing thing on the playground, and I experienced one of those perfect, gushy, “I love my life” moments. I’m sure the combination of oxytocin and my newly re-energized, super-inspired mindset played a big part in it, but man, I just felt so lucky to have my family, to be able to bring them on a trip like this on a whim, to have a husband who supports my needs to go and do non-mom things, to have the opportunity and the means to raise our kids on all this good food…the list goes on and on. Life is good.

Weekend in Sequim

We were scheduled to go home the next day and briefly considered contacting the rental owners to hear if we could extend our stay another night (because we kept finding new stuff to do in the area), but in the end we decided that we should just come back again some time this summer for a longer vacation.

Weekend in Sequim

Buuut we couldn’t leave the peninsula without driving up to Hurricane Ridge for the first time. Srsly, ten years of hiking and this was our very first visit? For shame! We didn’t get much in the way of views, but what we were able to see whenever the clouds would part made us want to return fo sho.

Weekend in Sequim

Of course I, I mean Nora, had to buy one of the exclusive Olympic Marmots they sell in the National Park store.

Weekend in Sequim

We didn’t have snowshoes or anything, so we just stayed close to the parking lot. I wandered around to help Lily sleep in the Moby Wrap, and Nora climbed up and down a little snow bank that she called “Olympic Mountains”.

Weekend in Sequim

We spent so much time taking photos and playing in the snow that a guy came up to us and said “Aaaw, is this your first time in snow?” – sheepishly we had to tell him that no, we’re actually from Norway…but I guess there’s something about seeing your kid enjoying something that brings out the overly excited n00b in all of us.

Weekend in Sequim

Since the visitor center was closed when we went to Mount Rainier earlier in the month, Lily was overdue for her first National Park passport stamp! I can’t wait to collect stamps with her in Yosemite, Zion, Virgin Islands…all of our happy places.

Weekend in Sequim

I know I talk a lot about what an easy baby Lily is, but man alive, we just cannot produce kids who will sleep in the car. The last half hour of our drive home was pure torture for everyone involved. But after a weekend like that, we weren’t going to let a little (or a lot) of screaming in stereo get us down. We survived our first vacation as a family of four! Parenting achievement unlocked!!

Weekend in Sequim

Life

2.5!

Nora turns two and a half today! Our tradition is to celebrate half birthdays with a somewhat ugly half birthday cake, and this year is no different.

Okay, so it’s a little different since we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try out Dr. Fuhrman’s famous Healthy Chocolate Cake recipe. We kind of expected the worst (knowing that Nora wouldn’t mind either way, because this kid’s favorite snacks right now are seaweed and dried beets), but you guys, this cake is good. I’ve never been a fan of healthified baked goods, so my endorsement actually means something here.

Half birthday = half a birthday cake 1.5! 2.5!

Anyway, back to what really matters today – our big little girl!

Recipe for 2.5:

2 tbs infuriating boundary testing
1 quart hilarious chatting
2 cups heartwarming displays of affection towards other family members
a sprinkle of adorably mispronounced words
a good dash of all manner of emotions, adjusted to taste based on the day (or minute)
omit all naps because apparently someone is allergic to them (eye roll)

Bake at 98.6 degrees for nine months, let rise for 2.5 years, and enjoy.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Bond (James Bond)

This month’s Story Kit theme is Bond, which meant I obviously had to scrapbook about JK and Nora – in my completely non-biased opinon, they are the cutest daddy/daughter combo around, and their bond has grown even stronger this past year. JK helped me out so much with childcare when I was sick and down in the dumps during pregnancy, and now that he’s on his epic parental leave from work, he’s pretty much in charge of all things Nora while I nurse and nurse and nurse and do the little baby things.

J-K + Nora (Ali Edwards Bond Story Kit)

Now I have a whole list of other relationships I want to scrapbook with this too – Nora and Wellie! Wellie and Basil! And, of course, Nora and Lily. Aaaw.

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Challenge, Health, Nutritarian

Setting goals

I’m trying to get back into posting regularly because now, thanks to me sleeping a little better (let the huzzahs be heard around the world!) and Lily being a total dream baby who has given herself a 6-7 PM bedtime most days, I totally have time to write here. Except I usually end up watching TV instead.

Mentally, I’m doing so much better! Getting more sleep (unfortunately it’s thanks to Unisom, but I hope to be able to wean off it soon) has removed all signs of depression. Sleep, man. It’s so important. Still, I know how important running, hiking, and goal setting is to my mental health, so I went ahead and signed up for the Sun Mountain 25K in May!

While I feel no shame in talking (at length, over and over and over) about my struggle with depression – it’s something so many of us go through and I don’t think we should feel ashamed of that – I’ve felt too awkward to write much about weightloss here before. It seems like such an embarrassing thing to go into, but whatever. It’s on my mind right now and it’s important for my health, so here goes.

35 Weeks

After my first pregnancy, I didn’t care about losing weight at all. I had lost weight during the pregnancy anyway, thanks to getting gestational diabetes and having to really clean up my diet, and I was too overwhelmed by the huge life change to even think about nixing the chocolate. But I gained twice as much during pregnancy this time, and our life just feels…normal again already. So I want my body to feel back to normal too. Having lost a bunch of weight just prior to pregnancy, I now know just how much better I felt without those extra pounds on me. Running was so much easier, hiking uphill was so much easier. More importantly, my everyday life was affected as well – I have never had more energy in my life than I did in the final weeks before morning sickness hit. I am now one of those “I want to lose weight so I can keep up with my kids”-people.

Paradise
(Oh heeey, look at me finally fitting into the way-too-small-but-I-thought-they-would-fit-soon hiking pants I bought in 2010 which was SEVEN YEARS AGO.)

I’ve been a vegetarian since 2004 (after handling a skinless human leg in anatomy class and realizing that human muscle looks and feels exactly like pork tenderloin), but obviously not a very healthy one. There was a lot of pizza involved. And chocolate. And potato chips. And chocolate chip cookies. Over the years, I’ve eaten healthier and healthier, especially once I got over the newborn stage last time and I realized that I had to start taking care of my health. The gestational diabetes diagnosis was a real wake-up call, since it means I have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There’s just no way I am going to do that to myself.

I eventually got to the point where almost all my actual meals were stellar, but then I went and snacked on, like, literally thousands of calories’ worth of chocolate on top of that. Since we finally stopped eating chocolate (and using oil to cook with) at the beginning of February, I’ve consistently lost around .5 lbs a day, which currently puts me at 4 lbs above my prepregnancy weight. (It’s been coming off so quickly that I’m a little worried that it’s eventually going to affect my milk supply, so I think I’m going to add even more nuts and avocado than I am already eating, just in case. I don’t need to be losing weight quite this fast, but it seems strange to add more food because I’m definitely not going hungry when I eat like this!) I’m sure some of the weightloss was water weight, but removing chocolate and oil are the only two changes we made to our diet, which should tell you how much chocolate we would eat. Ahem:

These Days
(Why yes, they did actually come home with that thing, and why yes, we did finish it in, like, three days. Insert horrified emoji here.)

Anyway, so this is what we’re eating now – we’re following nutritarian guidelines since that’s what I was doing when I felt so good last year, and we love it. In fact, I’ve entered the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study!

Every morning we all (except for Lily, because, in Nora’s words, “Lily only drinks milk! Lily drinks milk ALL THE TIME.”) eat an oatmeal bowl with blueberries, strawberries, banana, cinnamon, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds (for a quadruple ALA-punch). Neither of us used to be oatmeal fans, but now we really look forward to that warm bowl in the morning. Taste buds really do adjust, even when you’re old and gray like us.

These Days Food

For lunch, I like to eat a gigantic salad (served in a full-sized serving bowl) topped with roasted vegetables and beans or whatever random dinner leftovers I have from the night before. My favorite dressing is the enchilada sauce from Veganomicon (minus the salt, sugar, and oil). I also add shredded red cabbage and some raw onion to heed Dr. Fuhrman’s words of wisdom, plus some pumpkin seeds or avocado.

Nora obviously doesn’t eat a giant salad for lunch, so she’ll either have leftovers from the night before, or whole grain bread with hummus or nut butter, or a tamale with beans, salsa, and avocado. Or roasted chickpeas, which is her most favorite thing ever.

Fud Autumn 2016

As for dinner, we’ve been making our current favorite meals over and over and over and somehow we’re not sick of them yet. These include:

  • Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup (Nora had three bowls of this for dinner the other night)
  • Soul-Soothing African Peanut Stew from the first Oh She Glows book (I put tons of frozen spinach or kale in these soups, which is a great way to get greens into a toddler)
  • These Days Food

  • We’ve only had this once so far but it’s definitely going into our rotation: Hunky Heartbeet Cabbage Soup from, you guessed it, Oh She Glows! That girl knows her soups. I topped it with pistachios and shaved raw brussels sprouts, and it was extremely comforting on a cold day. A new favorite, even though it made Nora look like a teeny tiny vampire.
  • Fud Fud

  • polenta pizza piled sky-high with roasted vegetables and walnuts, served with arugula and tomato sauce with a bunch of kale cooked in (this has become our new savory comfort food)
  • Food Food

  • tacos with spicy beans, salsa, shredded red cabbage, sauteed onions and peppers and guacamole (JK makes excellent corn tortillas)
  • These Days Food

  • lentil/pecan cabbage rolls from Vegan Bowl Attack, served with the same kale tomato sauce we use for the polenta plus some shredded raw cabbage on top
  • Food Autumn 2016

To avoid the worst of the withdrawals when we quit the ol’ chocolate cold turkey, I used dates as a sort of methadone. I can’t sleep in the morning anyway, so I like to sneak out of bed while everyone else is still sleeping and snuggle with Wellie on the couch while drinking a cup of coffee, checking the internets, and eating a date. It totally satisfies my sweets-with-coffee craving. The harder thing is when I have a bad day and immediately start thinking ‘I deserve to treat myself, damnit’. That’s usually my downfall.

Now the problem is how do I reintroduce chocolate again as a very occasional treat without going overboard? I did manage to do it last spring and maintained a once-in-a-very-long-while relationship with chocolate until morning sickness hit, so I know it’s possible, even for me. I’m definitely going to reintroduce it in some way at some point, because the second words like ‘forever’ or ‘never’ get thrown around, I immediately turn into a petulant child who may as well start liquefying chocolate in order to receive a constant intravenous flow.

Sun Mountain 2012
(Photo from Sun Mountain the year JK ran it. Look! Pretty! *pictures self running through the wildflowers*)

Speaking of things that feel somewhat awkward to write about, but apparently a lot of women struggle with, so what the hell, I’ll say it – I have a bladder prolapse. I think a coughing fit I had the day after giving birth did a number on my pelvic floor, and now my bladder has migrated to where it shouldn’t be (as if it wasn’t bad enough that one of those coughing fits broke my water).

Of course I freaked out when I found out, imagining a future of never getting to run again (or even just not getting to run this winter/spring, which is the basis of my mental health plan during the postpartum period), but luckily my physical therapist is a fellow “mental health runner” who is very understanding. She says I can run again after another couple of weeks or so of training my pelvic floor muscles, and I can hike in the meantime! I had grand plans of taking advantage of JK’s long, luxurious parental leave to go on, well, long, luxurious runs, but now I obviously can’t do that, which means I won’t have much time to train for Sun Mountain. That brings me back to food – right now, eating healthy and becoming lighter is the easiest way for me to help my future running.

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Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Top Trips

Lily Meets The Mountain

Lily has been on a whole bunch of little treks around the Watershed and Tiger Mountain, but our first “big” hike as a family of four – snowshoeing on Mount Rainier – was…interesting. Okay, so it was complete chaos from beginning to end.

Paradise Paradise

We were too tired the night before to start packing in advance, and we don’t yet have a routine down for what we need to bring on a toddler + newborn hike, especially in snow. Then Lily woke up too early from her nap and was cranky and overtired, our grocery/nursing stop along the way took far too long, and we pulled into the Paradise parking lot much later than we had anticipated.

Paradise

Paradise

As if we weren’t late enough already, everything takes sooo. damn. long. when there’s one small child for each adult, especially when one child is a totally helpless newborn and the other is a toddler, intent on creating mayhem wherever she goes.

Paradise

When we finally got our snowshoes on and the kids strapped to our bodies, it was so late that we realized we just wouldn’t have time to have the fancy picnic we had planned and still make it back down the mountain before they closed the gate at Longmire at 5pm. Gaah! So we just hiked up to a spot that was relatively sheltered from the wind, dropped our packs, and decided that we were going to have fun no matter what, damnit! And we did.

Paradise

Nora dug into the carrots and hummus with gusto (and refused to wear her sunglasses most of the time, because toddler) and chatted up a storm about how she wants her own crampons and snowshoes and that she’s going to climb Rainier one day just like pappa.

Paradise Paradise
Paradise Paradise

She also rediscovered the joy of glissading!

Paradise

Lily was still overtired and had her crankypants on until I gave her a pacifier in her wrap, and then she melted into my body like butter. It’s pretty much the greatest feeling in the world.

Paradise

Throughout the whole thing, I had Jason Mraz’s Life is Wonderful stuck in my head, and you know what, it really is. I’m so glad we have these girls and each other and these mountains and this life. And I’m so glad I’m in a mental place again where I can look around at the chaos and say, in total honesty, that even a trip like this is worth it. (I could do without the backseat screaming in stereo, though.)

Paradise

So, lessons learned for next time: (1) Write a pack list. (2) Get everything ready the night before. (3) Enjoy the madness. (4) Bring earplugs for the car.

Paradise