Monthly Archives: January 2015

21 Days.

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. And you guys, I think we’re there.

We have been a real food eating, no sugar consuming, healthy, and energized bunch of Proebstings for the past 21 days, and I don’t plan on looking back. I’m very proud of us. I wish I could really get across to Leah how happy I am at all of the trying that she’s doing. That I do realize how hard it is for her to chew and swallow some of these new foods, but that she is a rock star three year old for doing it anyways! And Kyle, too. This game has come much easier to Quinnie and I. 🙂

About 19 days ago, Kyle pitched the question, (something to the effect of), “what are we going to do when we’re finished with this?” He participated in a challenge four years ago that was 12 weeks of intense cardio, muscle building, clean eating, etc. And when 12 weeks was up… it was over. Back to fruit loops for breakfast and McDonalds on the weekends. But this time is different for me. So I quickly answered back… we aren’t going to be finished with this. We’re locked in this for life, buddy. I’m not sure why it’s different for me this time around. Perhaps that disgusting Wendy’s chicken nugget had a bigger impact on me than originally thought, or perhaps I’m ready to be a crunchy granola mom, but it just is different. I just want better for my family. I want these adorable faces I cook for to have long, healthy, happy lives. And I do believe that what we put in our bodies is what we can expect to get out of them.

And 21 days later I have the evidence to prove it.

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9lbs and 3inches.

I didn’t start this thing to lose weight. Sure, there was the family beach body competition that gave me the start date, but I didn’t care about losing weight, honestly. I didn’t think I had much to lose. Of course, there were areas I wanted to change, but overall I was happy with my size. But when I see that picture – hello puffy. But now I’m quite a bit less puffy. (And ignore my face, taking selfies doesn’t come naturally to me). And this is barely working out… this is simply eating clean. Eating things that were made to go into, and be digested by, my body. If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. And if it’s not maple syrup or honey I don’t touch it. If it’s a color not of the earth (how’s that for crunchy granola mom), I walk on past. I don’t count calories. I don’t sit in a sauna. I don’t wrap myself up like a mummy. I don’t detox. I don’t cleanse. I don’t starve. I simply eat simple foods. And look at what happened! Not only the weight, but the energy is truly something to behold. Do you know that I can now do 15 REAL pushups? And I squat 30 times holding 25lbs. You guys. I’m not a worker outer, but I have all of this energy and it has to go somewhere – so I put it into random exercise at random moments throughout the day. I have no “workout time,” I just get down and do push ups when I feel like it. It’s not uncommon for me to lunge from point A to point B around the house. Or to squat with Quinnie. Or to do a plank with Leah on my back.

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And I’m not saying any of that to brag, I’m just saying that eating real food has had a profound impact on my life – and in just 21 days!

Here’s where it gets real, though. I don’t think a carrot is as good as a piece of chocolate. And I think people that say things like that are ugly liars. And while I happily refuse candy now, I do remember that it tastes very, very good. I refuse to eat whole wheat pasta – we tried it one night – not for us. I’m Italian… don’t mess with my noodles. I don’t buy everything organic.  Leah still eats the snacks given to her at school (the other day it was colored goldfish, yaaaay).

So, we’re adapting as we go. And I think that’s okay, too. Perhaps that’s why we made it so long. I didn’t set my expectations too high. I just wanted to start and see where the wind would take us. And boy am I glad we did. Here are some ways we’ve changed:

  • Everything I bake now gets a little something green in it.

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Hooray for Zuchinnis! (Leah always asks for seconds of this).

  • Friday night is now Pizza night. And Leah knows it 🙂
  • We have a freshly blended smoothie every day with lunch. Leah picks the color; the only time I failed was when she asked for white.
  • We make our own ice cream now (thanks, Poppy). And with maple syrup instead of sugar it turns out like butter pecan. Um. YUM.
  • Our pantry is bare and our fruit bowl is toppling over.
  • I now crave things like a Blendtec blender, avacado de-pitter, and bread bags (you know, kitchen appliances) instead of candy or cookies.
  • I have Tea time every afternoon, and it’s my favorite time of the day.
  • By menu planning and having a coordinating shopping list, I came in 43.33 UNDER budget for this months groceries. I don’t think I’ve ever come in under budget.

So those are some really fun things. I know Kyle is pretty happy with the last one.

It’s just a different way to live. But it’s working for us. The kids are still little enough that it’s easy to get them on board. Valentine’s Day poses a small problem, but heart shaped balloons, princess toys on clearance at Target, and homemade cookies should help. Easter poses another small problem, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I’m not saying that we’ll never eat candy again. Or go to a restaurant. But we are in a really good spot right now, and I’m not quite ready to give that up.

21 days. What’s a few more?

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She’s ready.

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4 Under 4.

God bless these kids of mine.

They’re exhausting, but they’re pretty cute. At least I happen to think so. Lord knows I take enough pictures of them. I think they’ve all realized by now that if I have my phone pointed in their direction, they better be smiling. At least most of the time. I also like the candid shots of them doing what they do, however hilarious or sweet or messy it might be. I really like to look back on the pictures and try really hard to remember that moment in time. Sometimes it comes easy, sometimes I have no idea why I thought I needed a picture of whatever it was, but I never regret having taken it. Because as corny and overused as the saying is, they really do grow so fast.

Today was not a candid day. Today was a, “you do as you’re told, listen to your mother, sit in a line, and smile.” I didn’t want to hear another word about it. This puppy season with Samson is so fleeting, I can already tell. I’ve got Leah on the brink of kidhood, Quinnie entering toddlerhood at an astonishing rate, and Duncan looking more big and mature than I ever wanted him to. They are growing and if I don’t force a picture of it now, I’m going to regret it. These are the days I want to look back on. When they are little and chaotic and fabulous. I love them all so much right now, for all kinds of different reasons.

But the four of them, you know, never make anything easy. They are 4 under 4 afterall. Life is a whirlwind, and nothing ever goes as planned. So we tried and tried and tried again, until I released them all to go about their business. And as they did, I looked back at the faces I caught and laughed.

And laughed.

You’ve got the one where three of them look and smile… but the fourth is MIA.

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You invite the fourth back, and he and the first close their eyes…

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Numbers 1 and 4 look and smile, numbers 2 and 3 refuse…

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Then absolutely nobody cooperates…

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Then number 3 looks drugged…

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Then number 4 looks drugged and number 2 doesn’t look at all…

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Then number 2 tries to bite number 3’s ear off…

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Then number 3 finally gets in the spirit, but nobody joins her…

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Then we get both humans on board, but the animals say no…

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Then the babies decide to behave properly, but the big kids refuse…

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Then, finally, I can see 98% of their faces and we call it a day.

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(Would it have KILLED you to look at the camera, DUNCAN??).

And now we will go about the usual. But I have documented Winter 2015, when Leah was 3 and a half, Samson was 13 weeks, Quinn was 14 months, and Duncan was 2 and a half, so I can rest easy… until I find this blog in a year and freak out at how little they all were, and I’ll make them do it all over again.  🙂

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Beach Body Fun.

Vacation 2015 is in the books.

And it’s going to look something like this:

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God bless. Can you hear the waves crashing? Can you feel the sun beating down. Someone, get me there tomorrow.

This year is going to be something else, I tell ya. The first year we did this it was just us Rossis. My sister and family, my family, my parents, and head Rossi herself – Grandma Lucy. The second time around we lost Grandma Lucy (she’s still alive, don’t worry), and we lost my sister (she’s still alive, too, but insisted on giving birth to Emma around the same time), so we decided to invite some Proebsting’s on our Rossi family vacation, and Kyle’s parents joined us. Two sets of grandparents for the win!

Now this year. This year is where it gets truly crazy. My sister is having no more babies so she is on board. Kyle’s parents had too much fun with us, so they are back on board. Rossi family vacation wouldn’t be right without Mr. and Mrs. Rossi, so they will be back, and of course the four of us are going. Leah doesn’t miss a beach opportunity.

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And then we added some fresh faces – My sister’s inlaws! Crazy time, you guys. THREE sets of grandparents to fight over 5 little girls.

I’m not sure how many extended families get along well enough to all go to the beach together and share a house, but I am feeling very grateful that our Rossi family vacation has evolved into a Rossi, Proebsting, Eisleben vacation!

But here’s the kicker.

Not only did we all commit to a beach house, the easy part. We have committed to a family fun beach body challenge. Now how many extended families do you know that share weight gains and losses with each other?? And I may or may not have told my sister’s inlaws that they aren’t allowed to eat this week.

Basically, this boils down to tracking % of weight and body fat lost (Kyle has a spreadsheet, don’t worry), for the next 4 months. We all put 10 bucks in the pot, and whoever loses the biggest % gets the pot. Fantastic, right? The best part is we’re all going about it in similar, yet different ways.

My sister is calorie counting and working out.

My mom is hitting the gym hard.

Kyle’s mom has a list of what she can and cannot eat in a week.

Kyle is braving the elements to get in extra cardio on top of regular exercise:

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My dad, well, my dad is testing out a different method:

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(Yes, dad, mom told on you).

And me?! Well I bought I bought a cookbook that changed my life (you know, as much as a cookbook can). Beach body challenge or not, I was sick of the way my kids were eating. I got really grossed out one night cutting up a chicken nugget from Wendy’s for Quinn, which started it all. It only got worse from there. But I decided to combine the two ideas and I don’t think I’ll ever look back.

First, here is my disclaimer: I am fully aware of the fact that I stay home. I do not have to juggle an outside job with all of this cooking. I am not trying to get all “pinterest mom” on you (I’ve never been on pinterest, but I know the type). I am not saying that I am raising better kids that you.

There. Now don’t roll your eyes. Because I’m only writing what I am because I have learned and observed some things in the past 9 days (only 9 days!) that have moved mountains around here. This is simply something our family is trying. And perhaps you’re in the rut we were and want out as well.

100 Days of Real Food. It’s hard to even know what real food is anymore with all of the knockoffs around here. When I got the cookbook, it was honestly overwhelming. I know quite a bit about what is real and what is not, what is organic and what is not, what is modified and what is not, but it’s very hard to take that knowledge and actually do something about it. To say, you know what, I have a three year old that loves jello, but I’m going to give her something new to love. Something that her body will love as well. Something that will not be a waste of food, but that will actually help her to grow – body and mind. But again, easier said than done.

But I knew what I wanted to change the most, and I started there. I do not need to eat organic. Perhaps I should, but for right now – I don’t care. I know it’s better, but there are more important (and less expensive) things for our family to start with.

Sugar. I knew it had to go. Like, be gone. I knew it stole my joy (yes, really), and I was terrified of what I knew it was doing to my kids. Graham crackers, granola bars, yogurt, popsicles, candy, cookies, pancakes, OMG – SUGAR. Just google the effects of sugar and you get scary results. I knew for a fact that it messed with my mood, so of course it was safe to assume it was messing with my kids. I got rid of everything with added sugar we had in the house. I bought honey and maple syrup in bulk (to use sparingly). And the MOODS – I am a different me, you guys. I honestly just feel happy. It’s quite refreshing. Kyle even said I seem more apt to just let things slide as opposed to snapping (which is wonderful news for all four of the kids around me). Leah does not have 17 emotional meltdowns in a day. The way the two of us can communicate now is truly worth every second I spend in the kitchen. Maybe it’s my brain not being clouded by sugar and getting irritated, or maybe it’s her brain not being clouded by sugar and freaking out – but either way – what a delightful, truly delightful, 9 days it has been. And the ENERGY – this morning I cleaned my base boards and doors. And I’m not even nesting. I have the energy to cook all of this food and still keep a level head with all of these kids. It’s something of a miracle. Not having sugar in the house has been so very sweet. (Every ounce of that pun was intended).

Fast food. Starting with the Wendy’s meal before this cookbook ever came into my life, I knew my days with fast food were coming to a close. It’s not food – I don’t know what it is – but whatever was in Quinn’s chicken that night has never been found in my chicken breasts at home, I know that. I could not, with a good conscious, keep taking them through the drive-thru. Eeek. So that one has not been a hard adjustment for me at all. It’s just understood that for the foreseeable future I will cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner every night.

There are a million more laws to live by in the book, but I am learning that it’s not all going to happen overnight, and to just work on what really needs to be fixed around here. Aside from virtually 0 amount of moodiness, Leah’s little palette is expanding by leaps and bounds. She has some serious texture issues, which make meat a real struggle. Fried chicken strip or herb grilled chicken – she’s 98% likely to gag. It’s just the meat. And I understand that about her, and I give her grace for it, but I also realize that cooking to her limited palette is only going to keep her palette limited. So for the past 9 nights I have made one meal at dinner. No more mom, dad, and Quinn food… and then Leah food. We have one meal, it has a meat, a vegetable, and a grain. And in the past two nights there has been no gagging. She eats without saying, “but I don’t wike chicken.” Because it’s no longer a statement that gets her very far. We make a smoothie every day, of which she gets to choose the color. She tells me the fruits that are that color and I dump them in. Today she chose green. She watched me put the spinach in and told me she didn’t like leaves, (love her), we filled it with other green fruits and she gulped it down and told me she loved it. She ate a carrot stick. I realize that to some of you (my sister) who have wonderful vegetable eaters a carrot stick is laughable – but with Leah a carrot stick is monumental. I don’t make a big deal out of trying a new food, I certainly don’t tell her that she will like it, or that it’s good. I simply give her something, she tries it and we go from there. If she doesn’t like it, I figure out how to change it to maybe make it better the next time. It’s not a one and done process. If she likes it, I make sure she gets it again very soon. And I make sure to tell her how happy I am that she tried it regardless.

Aside from the new energy and the healthy kids… it’s just been a really fun process. She loves picking the colors of the smoothies and then telling me which food is that color. Tomorrow is gonna be yellow, thank God, an easy one. She picked orange several days ago, put a blackberry in it and it turned purple and she thought it was the silliest thing. We learned yesterday that bagels get boiled before they bake:

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And this morning we got to enjoy all the hard work. (Bagels are WORK).

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She gets to choose a cookie cutter to help make her Egg in the Nest:

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(This was a heart, kind of a bust, but most are fun).

She learned that Kiwi’s aren’t nearly as scary on the inside as they are on the outside. She has learned that we can pretty much make for ourselves anything that can be bought in a store (and sans aluminum or other insane ingredients!), and that it’s way more fun anyways. So we will forge ahead, because honestly, moods and 0 energy is nothing I want to go back to.

Oh, and that challenge we’re doing – I’m in the lead, by a lot. And I’m baaaarely exercising. And I’m eating a lot of really good food that just so happens to work with my body instead of against it. So the proof is in the sugarless pudding! (Again with the puns).

(In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m aware that I didn’t mention Quinn in any of this. She is still here. But she has always eaten whatever I put in front of her and that has not changed).

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Friday Funnies: Bread Maker Edition.

Oh, man.

So I got this bread maker. And I am SO excited to use it. But today was ‘read through the manual so you don’t break it’ day. And maybe it was my jovial mood over the thing, or maybe it really was as ridiculous as it all sounded. But I got a weeks worth of funnies from reading a few pages. So please enjoy this special edition of funnies. (With a bonus from my mom at the end)!

Page 1, article 1.

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Wait. So if the plug can’t reach an outlet that’s a problem? And I can’t plug it in until I’m shown later when to do this?? Well, that just makes me wanna plug it in and break the rules! But I won’t. Because they’ve haven’t told me I’m allowed yet. I don’t want to break it.

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So when I double check my wet ingredients that are sitting level on the counter, should I look once, walk to the fridge and come back and look again? Or. Look, then turn my head and look back quickly?

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So the “French” setting is for French bread, the “Sweet” setting is for bread with high amounts of sugar, and the “Quick” setting is for baking bread quickly. Got it.

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These bread baking authors are saving lives, one example at a time. I thought the time in between 8am and 6pm was only 4 hours.

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We’ve already said this, buttttt we’re gonna say it again.

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Just don’t give up. That kind of makes me think this bread baking business is more than I signed up for.

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I’ll need to hire a babysitter to watch all the kids while I watch my bread being made through the viewing window! I especially want to see the dough come to the last period of rise at hour 1:50. My legs might be tired from standing for an hour and 50 minutes watching it through the window, but I will be having so much fun I won’t care!

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I don’t know. I was cracking up reading that darn manual. I can just imagine a group of older bread making ladies sitting around writing this thing saying things like, “remember to tell them how important it is to use exact measurements!” “Make sure they know to put it next to an outlet!” And “someone tell them it won’t be easy, but DON’T GIVE UP!”

Don’t worry ladies. I won’t. I will take this VERY seriously. I haven’t even plugged it in yet, because I can’t find the page where it tells me to do so…

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And the bonus from my mom…

Mom: Do you have a picture of me without a red nose? (Referring to our Christmas La Nova picture).

Me: Ha. I don’t think so? We took them all in a row.

Mom: Great. I need to stop drinking.

It’s true. She hits the bottle hard.

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