This past weekend we celebrated the ending of our whole life challenge of 8 weeks and celebrated Annalise's 4-year birthday on sunday with a tea party in her honor. We had a closing WOD at the gym and our kids were awarded medals too for going through this health challenge with us. They did have to put up with a lot less sugar, but we made up for it by having lots of fresh fruit and sweet potatoes from Mississippi. Here are just some of the few things I learned to make and change in our lives about how to live more healthy...I learned how to make my own chicken and beef stock from the carcass, I learned how to roast chickens and many other types of meat in the oven, how to season meat and cook it at the right temperature, how to make mashed sweet potatoes (which are better then white potatoes and way more healthy), how to make my own coffee creamer with coconut milk, how to read every food label and avoid ingredients such as guar gum and other wierd "gums." I learned a whole lot more ways to cook or prepare a variety of vegetables, and how to do without the starchy, genetically-modified corn and soybean produce. And lastly, I think I learned how to survive without added sugar or honey or syrups in my food and drinks. I tried the stevia extract a couple times since they allowed it on our diet and I didn't like it. It tasted like a chemical and made me nauseous, so I just went without sweeteners and learned to enjoy food and drink they way it was.
After our awards, we went grocery shopping for Annalise's birthday party the next day. While we were shopping I was with Annalise picking out stuff and Jeremy was with Hudson looking at meat. He turned around just in time to see Hudson bringing a slice of Pepperoni to his mouth ready to eat it! After our boy had poked a hole with his finger into the plastic cover of a frozen pizza, we decided we had to take that pizza home to bake for lunch. It was real good after being on such a strict diet without traditional flour crusted pizza. Jeremy and I are, however, deciding to continue with this kind of grain-free paleo diet after the weekend of celebrating. Jeremy was much better at staying on the program than I was, and he also lost many inches and got more muscle. I am so proud of him and how hard he has been working at being healthy. Having a healthy body overlaps with all the other areas of our lives - we are not divided up with separate compartments for body, soul, spirit, mind, emotions, and will. I really believe they overlap and all effect each other in many ways, good or bad. Jeremy got some very real gains from this health challenge. I suppose my greatest gains were getting a little stronger - discovering I can back squat 135 lbs, for example! I also gained many great recipes for making real food items from scratch, which is something I've been working at for years now that I have a family to cook for...
Annalise is growing up to be such a unique, very creative and very sweet young lady. These are some of the things she has accomplished this past year: being daytime potty-trained, drawing family portraits, tracing and practicing letters, practicing the letters of hers and Hudson's names, and finally, attending some preschool classes. I can finally feel good about placing her in a class once a week and letting someone else teach her, confident that I am still the greatest influence in her life. The preschool class she is in currently is led by a Waldorf-style teacher who encourages lots of imaginary playtime as well as realistic, practical life skills learning.
What impresses me the most about my little girl is how interested she is in learning more about God, communicating with him and reading the word. She has a very sensitive, tender heart and likes lots of hugs and physical affection and attention from me. At bedtime the kids love their rituals of baths, teeth brushing, and getting the LED camp lantern for story and song time on the rug in their bedroom. They gather their pillows all excited for this time. Annalise always picks out stories from her favorite Bible story book that has the best pictures of the people with the best facial expressions. That's my girl.