Whole30/Elimination Diet Recap - Background

So as I mentioned earlier, the kids and I are all on modified diets right now. But let me back up first. If you haven't been around the blog too long, you might not know this but I have Hashimotos, a auto-immune condition that wrecks havoc on my thyroid as well as other things.

 Overall, I'm actually doing really well with my health. I went and saw an endocrinologist two weeks ago and she said that she'd rate me as asymptomic for hashimotos/hypothroidism! I'm still on daily Armour but my labs look good, my thyroid itself looks good (I've got some nodules they are monitoring but nothing that's an issue as of now) and most importantly, I don't have real symptoms. Anyone with an auto-immune condition will tell you that's the real test because lab numbers lie but achy joints, brain fog and fatigue don't! So why do I want to do an elimination diet now?

Well, I've still got some lingering hormone issues which is closely related to my thyroid.  I'm taking bio-identical progesterone and it works well to keep both my numbers and symptoms in check and I have no worries about its safety or any side effects so in theory I could continue to take it until I 'm ready for menopause but I'm still trying to figure out if there is a root cause behind why my body doesn't seem to want to produce hormones on its own. Plus, I don't like needles and shots are painful.
So right now, when I feel pretty darn good, even dare I say, totally normal (!), seems like a good time to tackle something like this. Yet, it is ironic. When I really needed to, I didn't have the mental stamina to plan it, but now that I'm doing good, I can.

After looking at different options like SCD, GAPS and the AIP diet, I went with Whole30. I honestly think AIP (Auto-immune protocol diet) would be the best fit but I'm currently nursing a toddler and I couldn't imagine giving up eggs and nightshades along with everything else. So I went with Whole30 because I liked its clear cut guidelines and limited length. After the 30 days, I'll slowly reintroduce foods and document how my body handles everything. All that's to say that I'm don't think I'm the typical Whole30 users, at least those who blog about it. I'm not trying to lose weight, change my attitude about food or even really eat "healthier" except the cutting out processed sugar part. But I thought I'd document my journey.


Classic Challenge: The Thirty-Nine Steps

This wasn't my intended novel for the Classic with a Number in the Title category and I'm not normally a bit fan of the thriller, on-the-run, spy type adventure novel. But it was mentioned somewhere (a Circe podcast I believe but don't quote me on that) and I realized I had it on my kindle already. So off I went. I do still hope to read Fahrenheit 451 which was my original selection for this category. 

Now, here is where I feel a bit guilty because this really is a classic. It's well written and included on lots of Top 1000 Books or the 118 English Novels you should read before you die type of lists. But it was sooo boring! I don't like spy novels. Mysteries yes, but spy novels, no. The main reason for this is because I like the mental challenge of figuring out the crime but I don't like suspense. But this didn't really have too much suspense for me. In fact, it didn't have enough. The main guy, I can't remember his name and don't want to bother looking it up, was on the run, a lot. People wanted to kill him. Specifically a creepy man with hooded eyelids. You'd think I would have cared more. I wasn't on the edge of my seat but rather the edge of my pillow because I had to fight to keep the kindle in front my face and not fall asleep.

 And it's a bit ridiculous. I'm willing to overlook a bit of a coincidence or some lucky situations. As a fan of mysteries, you have to be, but this was really pushing the limits. Maybe if you're a fan of Jack Reacher or that sort of adventure/spy novel, this would be interesting to you, both for its own sake and for its importance as one of the beginnings of its genre. But it was not my cup of tea. At least it was short.

The Thirty-Nine Steps was my Classic with a Number in the Title Selection for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge over at Books and Chocolate. 


February Field Trip

We love to camp but last summer had a bit of rough luck in our attempts, several stormy days and a tummy bug mid-trip really put a damper on our fun.  But not the kid's enthusiasm as for the last few months, both Lucy and Jonah have been asking when its camping time.  We would try to remind them that it was WINTER still but then they'd just ask again. So when we saw the weather report had a whole week of 60-70 forecasted, we figured, why not go camping in February?!

We had planned it for later in the week then we realized we had made a mistake in calculating Craig's day off so Sunday night we decided to go camping on Monday! And we are in the middle of a fairly intense elimination diet for me as well as a gluten-free/dairy free trial for Jonah (with everyone else tagging along because I am not about to fight a 4 year old with every meal because he can't eat the same thing as his sisters). But I quickly made a meal plan, we threw stuff in the car in the morning and off we went. 

And surprisingly, we did pretty well. In answer to my question "Why not go camping in February?" Well, for one thing, the parks don't have firewood for sale - oops! Don't worry, we made it work and marshmallows were toasted and enjoyed by all (but me). And we had to use the dreaded VT instead of the nice bathrooms with running water. The plus side is that by the time the kids were desperate enough to give in and try them, we were the only family left at the park so I could leave the door open and let some extra fresh air in so Jonah didn't have to keep holding his breath. I was pretty sure he would have passed out if I didn't. It was only afterwards I realized that he was a boy and since the park was empty, technically that whole experience was unnecessary for him. Apparently I'm more of a girl mom than a boy mom still! And if Lucy has to give up gluten and dairy for him, then he gets to use a yucky bathroom same as she does. Fair is fair! Just kidding, after that I let him pee in the bushes.

You can see an empty campground around us although right about the time we brought out the marshmallows, another couple did show up so we weren't totally alone. But the kid's loved having free run of the playground and scootering all around the loop without having to worry about cars. And we've generally had good experiences at our state parks with neighbors being respectful, it certainly was a bit more peaceful than usual around the campfire -at least after the kids went to bed.

Everytime we go camping, I tell myself to take more pictures. The pictures above is the only pictures I had on my phone when I got back! That's really a good thing because I feel like our camping times are some of easiest times for me to just focus on being present with the kids.  I played with them on the playground, I read a bit while they scootered around me, Craig and I both did some reading aloud around the fire once everyone get into their jammies. It was nice, even if I don't have photographic documentation. I did manage to scavenge a few from Craig's phone of our big hike from Monday, some of which I did take.

And I got this video of Norah after she figured out how to climb up the bars and slide down herself. She was really proud of both new skills and repeated it about 20 times. 

She had already hiked a pretty good amount (for a 1 year old) earlier that afternoon before moving to my back and by the end of the sliding time she could barely lift her legs to the next rung but she didn't want to stop. All that moving made bedtime pretty easy. And I've figured out podcasts on my phone so the big kids got to listen to their regular kay ray reads to you podcast at bedtime as usual and we had a lot less of the "He's kicking me!" incidents of the previous years. Our camping as a family skills are definely improving - although I still can't ever remember to bring a potholder! We really need to work on a master camping list because apparently, we sometimes go camping at the last minute! 


A Mother's Daybook

Oops.  Wrote this last week and thought I had clicked publish but I guess not. Life with a Norah-toddler does not leave a lot of time for blogging but I'm hoping I'll get back to a regular schedule with it sometime soon. Or at least by the time she graduates high school ;-)

Listening - To fun stuff with my brand new wireless earbuds. I'm too cheap to buy a fancy pair but so far I'm really loving these SoundPEATS. (That's not an affiliate link just a hey, I thought you too might like decent cheap headphones link) So now I can finally listen to podcasts and librovox recordings while doing chores around the house. I still need to get better at using them to pause and play instead of going back to my phone because its often in another room and I have to just miss a bit while the kids are talking to me but I'll still take it!

Recovering - From the In-laws visit. Don't get the wrong idea, the visit itself was lovely but the kids always need a bit of a detox after family leaves as we adjust to our regular routine again and it always seems to hit one kid the hardest. Which kid varies but one kid each time which I suppose is better than all three at once. This time it was Lucy. I tried to give her some grace because I knew she was upset about them leaving but my limit was eventually reached today. But Norah needed an extra nap today as part of her recovery which kinda made up for Lucy.

Enjoying - My new clean garage. Craig and his dad spent Tuesday loading up a bagster full of stuff while his mom watched the kids play out in the amazingly gorgeous weather and I swept and sorted smaller stuff. I don't think the garage has looked so nice since we moved in. It was a project we had hoped to get to later this spring but it feels so good to have it done early. Don't worry, we did have fun with them too. Low key fun things - small Superbowl party, shopping, lunch out at Cheesecake factory (with a carryout dessert), a Carousel ride, lots of books read and new lego sets assembled.

Watching - The Wizard of Oz. The newest installment of our "Read the book then watch the movie." So far, I'm not sure the kids are impressed. Jonah's a bit frightened and Lucy keeps pointing out all the things the movie is doing wrong. In fact, at one point she told me that "If you hadn't told me that this was The Wizard of Oz, I don't think I would have known. It's really nothing the same." That was before Dorothy got to Oz. I think its gotten a little more accurate since but the Munchkin are not all blue and I guess they are supposed to be. I haven't read the books myself (the kids listened to the first two via librovox during quiet time) but I already know Jonah's favorite part about the Oz being a humbug is missing from the movie so tomorrow we'll watch the rest and see if the kids forgive me for suggesting it or not.


Classics Challenge

This is the cover I wish I had. 

My first Challenge book completed - and it was a good one! I'd been warned not to start Rebecca unless I could devote a significant amount of time in the next few days to finishing it. This turned out to be good advice. I'm reading a number of books slowly but I didn't manage to do that with this one.

It's a classic Gothic novel - dark landscapes, intriguing mysteries, dreams, a "weak" heroine in need of rescuing. Check. Check. Check. Check.

This is the I have. Blech!

I would say that Gothic novels aren't my thing but Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite books and I had a love to hate it (or maybe a hated to love it) relationship with Villette when I read it last year so maybe I like them when I read them but just don't read many. I wasn't really sure how I'd do with this one but having heard it be compared to Jane Eyre in several places, I felt compelled to try.

Well, it is very intriguing and sucks you right into the story. I'm not one to fawn over prose but the language here is quite compelling. She sets the scenes well. Plot wise, I see where the similarities are but I think Rebecca manages to keep its own secrets fairly well. I saw some twists coming, others not at all and some I thought I had figured out but didn't quite get it right so the plot itself was great. And I finished it all in about 48 hrs because I just couldn't put it down.

But what is lacks it the strong character of Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre was weak socially and it that has a lot in common with the unnamed main character of Rebecca. But"Main Character" is also weak minded. Or maybe a better way to put it is weak willed. This is where much of the plot comes from and I didn't have an issue with her while reading the book as I felt she was also believable as that character (no eye rolling or exasperated sighs coming from me as several other goodread readers seem to have experienced) but she doesn't have the same strength of character that Jane Eyre had and it is that strength that drew me into the former and left me pondering it for days and admiring Jane as a character.

So it's not nearly at the same level as Jane Eyre. But then, Jane Eyre is a true classic for a reason and there is a lot of room below a Bronte sister and above twaddle and it's definitely a fun choice if your looking for a gothic novel or just a well written book to keep your mind occupied on a winter's weekend when you just want to snuggle up on the couch with a nice cup of tea.


Okay, I talked about the main heroine but now let's talk about "hero." He leaves even more to be desired that Mr. Rochester! Now I'm no Mr. Rochester fan. I've seen him pop up on more than one Top 10 literary lists in terms of romantic couples and heros and I'm always left scratching my head as to why. I love the book Jane Eyre and I do want him to end up with Jane Eyre but only because she wants him, not because I particularly care about his getting his own happy ending. But man, Mr. Du Mauerier, he's takes Gothic "Hero" to a whole new level. And yet - I still found myself routing for them. I disliked doing it but I couldn't really help it. It's written that way. You want them to get away with it all. They are a lot of gray areas in this book. And some really really dark charcoal grey ones. So much so that it had to be re-written when Hitchcock converted it into a screenplay. But she writes it so well that you don't notice it until the end then you step back from the story that's draw you in, think about it and are a bit horrified. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Certainly gives one something to think about.

Rebecca is my Back to the Classics Challenge Gothic Romance Selection. See more at Books and Chocolate.