Whole30: Day 7 – 9

Meals Day 7 – 8/25/13

  • Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, chicken, avocado
  • Lunch: Meatloaf, sweet potatoes
  • Dinner: Spaghetti squash, zucinni pasta, meatballs
  • Snacks: Apple with almond butter

Meals Day 8 – 8/26/13

  • Breakfast: Chicken & apple sausage, 2 egg omelette, avocado
  • Lunch: Left over spaghetti squash and meatballs
  • Dinner: Salmon, shrimp, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
  • Snack: Orange

Meals Day 9 – 8/27/13

  • Breakfast: Chicken sausage omelette with chunky guacamole
  • Lunch: Left over paleo spaghetti (again)
  • Dinner: Chicken soup (carrots, celery, onion, broth, herbs, chicken)
  • Snacks: Cinnamon apples with cashews, coconut milk, almond butter

The breakdown

Honestly, its currently day 12 and I’m just now getting around to writing this post. Things have been a whirlwind this week, but I’m hoping that next week they’ll slow down and we’ll get back into just a BIT more routine. Then again, Monday is a holiday and that usually means altered schedules, so we’ll see! Any way, here’s what I can remember about days 7-9.

The day after the wedding was almost as much of a disaster as the actual ordeal itself. Neither Jess nor I were ourselves. We were both grumpy and didn’t really want to be around anyone, let alone each other. We pushed through the day, ate what we needed to, to not blow things out of the water even more and eventually by Sunday evening were at least starting to regain a sense of the way things had been or the past week or so. If one good thing did come out of Sunday it was the dinner we had! We’ve been looking for a way to do spaghetti and finally settled on a good recipe. We made up some meatballs and sauce then put that over some roasted spaghetti squash and zucchini. Oh man, was it delicious! So much so that I had it for left overs the proceeding two days. The squash and zucchini really did taste a lot like actual pasta. I don’t think we’ll ever convince our picky eater 11 year old to give up his standard noodles, but we’ll see.

Monday we were all back to work and boy was it rough. I was still feeling the effects of the weekend. I had burned my hand in some stupid attempt to put out a sparkler by simply grabbing it. Pro tip, its not possible to put out a sparkler by simply grabbing it with your bare hand. Work was so, so, and I spent most of the day in a fog. My head was just cloudy and it was difficult to focus on any one thing. I was all over the map, and sticking to the Whole30 was the last thing on my mind. Never-the-less we stood our ground and didn’t cave in. No sense in continuing to slide down that slope. Also, I had started to get sick. It was just a little could I kept telling myself, but as the next few days progressed, it turned out to be a lot more than some basic sniffles.

Tuesday I was back in the gym and did the best I could. I didn’t crush any PR’s but I also didn’t just fall out. My energy was returning despite the sickness. Jess and I were both in need of some comfort food, so I made a batch of chicken and vegetable soup. Typically it would have some noodles, but those are out, so it was just the chicken and veg this time. I think it did the trick. It was not filling to say the least, but it certainly helped calm the cold and get us back healthy.

I’d say that day 7 – 9 were up there with day 1-3. Nothing came easy, energy levels were all over the map and we didn’t really have a great grasp of what to eat/fix. But this doesn’t really come as a shocker. In the beginning our bodies were detoxing and after the reception, they once again had to go through a detox period. We certainly learned our lesson and have since gotten back on track with minimal aversions.

Up next, grilled chicken wings, pancetta omelets, and crushing PRs!

Whole30: Day 4 – 6

Meals Day 4 – 8/22/13

  • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs
  • Lunch: Grass-fed beef patties with bacon, jalapeño, pickles, lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes
  • Dinner: Roasted chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans
  • Snacks: Apple with almond butter / Larabar

Meals Day 5 – 8/23/13

  • Breakfast: Sweet potato hash, 2 egg omelette, 2 sausage patties
  • Lunch: Salad with all manner of topping (Whole30 approved) and grilled chicken
  • Dinner: Steak with roasted curry sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts sautéed with pancetta
  • Snack: Apple

Meals Day 6 – 8/24/13

  • Breakfast: Sweet potato hash, 2 eggs omelette, 3 strips of bacon
  • Lunch: 2 grass-fed beef patties, fried eggs, lettuce, tomato, pickles, jalapeños
  • Dinner: Prime rib, pork tenderloin, steamed veggies, salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, sautéed shrimp and vegetables, sweet potatoes with walnuts, cinnamon, and bacon
  • Snacks: 1/2 gluten free wedding cupcake, banana

The breakdown

Man what a whirlwind days 4-6 brought. On Thursday I actually was a bit smarter with what I fueled up on prior to the gym. My previous Whole30 gym experience was less than stellar so I was determined to not repeat that mistake. Before heading to the gym this time I had an apple and some almond butter (quickly becoming my favorite snack btw). This was clutch as the apple gave me a little sugar boost and the almond butter gave me some fat and protein. After the gym I didn’t feel like I wanted to die, or make other people die. Winning! For lunch I met up with a friend and had a burger with some toppings (lettuce, tomato, bacon, guacamole, jalapeños) and no side! This was a pretty big step as I typically have some sort of side with my burger. Then again, I usually have a beer, and a bun, but those are also out of the picture. Any way, the rest of the day was pretty good. I had high energy and was generally in good spirits. For dinner, we were smart and had a rotisserie chicken, some mashed sweet potatoes and green beans. This certainly made for a dinner reminiscent of a non-Whole30 meal. That’s something I can totally get behind!

Friday was another pretty good day for the most part. I worked from home which gave me the opportunity to go and have lunch with my wonderful wife at school! We hadn’t had a massive salad in a while so I went and picked up one from Jason’s Deli with all manner of toppings that were wholesome and delicious. Since she now works so close to home, and there are many more eatery options around, having lunch with her is a lot easier! Apparently Friday was “have things we haven’t had in a while day” cause for dinner we had steak and brussel sprouts sautéed with pancetta! Yum!! Well, this would have been a lot more “yum” had it not been for me over cooking the steaks. Its not something I typically do, but this particular time I did, and subsequently paid for it. See, I have an issue with my teeth that causes me some serious pain when I eat tough cuts of meat or generally get things caught in them. Its a long and boring story, but needless to say the meat was tough and eventually led to a SERIOUS toothache (one I’m still nursing today). When my tooth gets to aching, its all down hill from there. That pretty much ended the night.

Saturday was my friend Daniel and Lacey’s wedding!!! The plan was that Jess would go to her CPR training in the AM while I went to the wedding (who has a noon wedding anyway?!), and after the wedding I would pick her up and we would head to the reception (noon wedding and 6pm reception). The wedding itself was beautiful and it was over in a flash. I met up with Jess for lunch and had a repeat of Thursday’s lunch and off to get ready we went. Now here’s where the “fun” begins.

We both knew going into this that there was a wedding to contend with right at the beginning. Weddings have receptions, and receptions have alcohol and off-limits food. We both decided that we would be moderate in our consumption and stick to the plan as best as we could. Upon our arrival we were both having doubts of being able to hold strong. We gave each other pep talks and went in sticking to our guns. Then the wheels started to fall off. It had been 2+ weeks since either of us had drank any alcohol or had any real sugar or grain or anything. The waiters started bringing around trays of wine and other tasty concoctions and of course we had to at least have one (each) to celebrate with everyone. Well, one led to two, and two led to “lets just have one bite of [insert food item here]”. The next thing we knew it was 11:30, and we were a bit tipsy on sugar and the little alcohol that we consumed. We were lightweights and it didn’t really take much. In our former days, this quantity of booze and food wouldn’t have even put a dent in our demeanor.

The rest of the night was downhill. For the past two weeks I had been more connected with my wife than in quite some time. We were on the same page with most everything. I had been feeling great overall. She was feeling the same way. We both looked and felt fantastic after only two weeks, and all it took was one night to set us back. First drink in weeks, first “fight” in as many days. What is it about the consumption of alcohol and overloading of sugar that makes people just get stupid. Oh, that’s right… it’s alcohol, that’s what it does. One poor decision led to another and things just ended poorly. All we had to do was not take that first step back into that realm and we would have been fine, clear headed, and capable of simply enjoying each other’s company.

Definitely learned our lesson on this occasion. Just like we eased into this challenge, we should probably ease out. We climbed up this mountain slowly and it was a great view from the top, but the plummet down was swift and painful. Never-the-less we picked up our bootstraps the next day and started the climb again. I don’t think two weeks of hard work was gone in a flash, but we were certainly set back.

Stay tuned for days 7-9! More startling revelations around food at energy and all things Whole30 related to come.

Whole30: Day 1 – 3

Meals Day 1 – 8/19/13

  • Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, 2 sausage patties & mushrooms, unsweet ice’d tea.
  • Lunch: Broiled chicken thigh, roasted acorn squash, grilled peaches, unsweet ice’d tea
  • Dinner: Chicken, sausage, celery, peppers, onions, tomato “stoupt” with fried egg, water
  • Snack: Hard boiled egg, summer sausage

Meals Day 2 – 8/20/13

  • Breakfast: Banana, unsweet ice’d tea
  • *Lunch: Sweet potato hash, 2 egg omelette, 4 strips of bacon, coffee with coconut creamer
    * This was actually eaten at like 11 and was supposed to be my breakfast. My schedule was thrown off this day.
  • Dinner: Meatloaf, sweet potatoes, sautéed okra, unsweet ice’d tea
  • Snack: Apple with almond butter

Meals Day 3 – 8/21/13

  • Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs, roasted poblano sausage, unsweet ice’d tea
  • Lunch: Bison pattie, avocado, bacon, side of tomatoes and asparagus, unsweet ce’d tea
  • Dinner: 2x Grilled chicken breast from Chick-fil-a, avocado, water
  • Snacks: Banana, almond butter, almond milk, coconut milk – smoothie, Larabar

The breakdown

All in all I’ve felt pretty good. Well, during the day I feel good, but once night rolls around I’ve been starting to get cranky. Lack of food, crazy kids, being tired… who knows. Either way, nights have been the hardest.

Monday started off well and I didn’t really notice any adverse affects. Since Jess and I had ramped up into this thing it wasn’t like jumping off a cliff. We pretty much went about our normal routines and ate what we had been for the previous week. Again, the grumpiness set in fairly hard at night around dinner time. We went into dinner thinking we were going to make some sort of gumbo, but instead ended up with this sausage, chicken, onion, pepper soup kinda deal. It needed something extra, so Jess fried up an egg and threw on top. That’s the beauty of this detox, when in doubt, put an egg on it!

Tuesday morning I had my first workout since starting this thing. I couldn’t do my usual pre-workout (C4 and a piece of peanut butter toast… on second thought I SHOULDN’T do that usual pre-workout), so I just went with a banana. This proved to be not nearly enough as I was running on fumes by the time I got home. I hadn’t fully thought things through and so I had to try to figure out what to eat/fix while also being dizzy and light headed. Not a fantastic combo. Typically that leads to impulse eating which would consist of cheese, bread or some sort, cereal, and generally not things I should use to re-fuel after a strenuous workout. This time however, I stayed strong and didn’t blow my whole day on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The rest of the day I was kinda in a daze as I wasn’t sure if I was hungry or just out of energy from the workout.

Our gym had graciously signed us up for a visit from the Dunk Truck on Tuesday afternoon and I was really eager to see what my numbers were. When the data came in, I was right at where I thought I was. Well, maybe a tad higher on my body fat than I thought, but still in the general area. The good news, I don’t have much to lose to be at my target weight/BMI. Hopefully by the end of this 30 day program I’ll be there!

Dinner on night two was much better than night one. I made a paleo meatloaf that was better than most non-paleo meatloafs I’ve had! Served that with a side of sautéed okra and roasted sweet potatoes and I actually felt like I was eating a real meal that I would cook on a non-Whole30 day!

This is pretty much spot on so far.

Wednesday was the dreaded day 3. The day when most of the toxins are out of the body and you start to really adjust. I guess that’s what happens. It really just felt like I wanted to murder some pandas and then eat a plate of nachos. I was ready to throw in the towel, or at least eat the towel, cause it had to taste better than what I had eaten for the past few days, right?! Fortunately, I stuck to it and pressed on through. Wednesday night rolled around and things just went to the shitter. Lane was a hot mess and everything made him whine or angry or yell or what ever it is he’s doing these days. Jess was at the gym so it was just Chase, he, and I at the house. I made some taco meat for taco salads, but the more I smelled it the less I wanted it. I mean, the last thing I wanted was plate of lettuce with some gross ass taco meat and nothing else. I knew that it would be even more off-putting for Jess. Have you ever gone to the gym, given everything you had, then come home and and wanted to nom on some lettuce and now old taco meat.

Our “solution” for dinner was for me to go to Chick-fil-a and order 4 grilled chicken breasts. Yep, that’s it. I went into a CFA and got 4 grilled chicken breasts (and a #1 for Chase). Ugh, this was a feeling of total defeat. The drive home was infuriating with the smell of delicious french fries getting into every crevasse of my car. For dinner we ended up splitting an avocado and eating with with our dry ass CFA chicken. I wanted to slit my wrists.

We thought the night had given us its worst, but Lane proved otherwise. Around 9:30 he started in on a night terror. It was a long time coming since he hadn’t had one in a while. He had also been getting less and less sleep and had been over stimulated for the past few days. I kinda figured it would happen, but it would be nice to have had it on ANY other day. This night terror was especially bad and lasted for at least 30 mins. We had gotten a handle on them and they were only lasting 10-15 mins. In the end, he calmed down and we got him back to sleep. I believe he actually slept better last night than he had in weeks.

So that was that. The first three days of the Whole30 in the bag. We got a point for the chicken breasts from CFA due to the seasoning they put on it, and the fact that it was a fast food option rather than eating something healthy. Now that we’re through the third day we have a good few days of easier battles. I think most of the bad stuff is out of our system so here’s hoping it all goes well.

Oh, and there’s a wedding this weekend where I already know we will be racking up some points. Stay tuned for the next update!

Whole30: Shop-a-thon

Yesterday was the binge and purge of all the food in our kitchen. Well, not entirely, our boys still have to eat. But for the most part, our kitchen has been cleansed of all the starchy, creamy, stuff we can’t eat over the next 30 days. And boy did it send me on a tizzy.

It's the size of my head!!
It’s the size of my head!!

The day started off with a tip to the Marietta City Farmer’s Market, where I loaded us up on some fresh veggies. There’s nothing quite as good as local produce. Its crazy the difference home grown/organic makes. I mean, check out this friggin’ sweet potato! It’s the size of my head! It was a good haul of sweet potatoes, avocados, okra, green beans, peaches, tomatoes, kale, red and green peppers, some sausage, and almond butter. We will definitely be going back here for future produce purchases.

We knew we needed a lot more stuff so a trip to our local grocery store was up for the afternoon. As this Whole30 thing continues, I find it both easier and more difficult to shop at places like Publix and Kroger. The Kroger near us has a fairly good “natural” food section and some decent produce, but I really just dislike the store in general. It feels dirty and the service there is awful. I don’t shop there often enough to know where everything is and I don’t like the layout. The deli counter is meh at best, and the seafood was something I’d rather not see. Publix on the other hand is like a magical wonderland full of helpful employees, samples, fresher looking produce, free cookies for the kids, and occasional free samples for the adults! We can walk around in our racecar shopping carts, up and down the aisles loading up our cart with all the tasty treats we’ve come to enjoy and love! Wait… not any more we can’t.

That’s the thing. We once were able to make a list, go to the store, and 30 mins later be out the door with a full cart, cookies for the baby, and we’d be stocked up for the week. Now we have to stop and read the labels. Every. Single. Label. Granted if we stayed to the outside perimeter of the store and only went into the innards of the store for stuff like coconut milk and frozen items, we should be fine. But even then, its not that easy. Want some bacon? Nope, its sugar cured. Forget about the dairy section. Almond/Coconut milk, nah, sugar or some other added chemicals for “flavor”. The label checking is hard enough, but throw 2 kids in the mix and difficulty increases tenfold.

I was having a mini anxiety attack after leaving the store, but despite a grocery store that was lackluster in what we REALLY needed we still managed to load up with all manner of things that we can eat over the next 30 days. The label looking will get easier and we’ll soon know what’s on/off limits. I have a few butchers I need to visit so we can find some more choice meat, and I’m gonna look online for some other items to stock up on.

Fruits and veggies galore!

Next level salad!

4 meat salad
Four meat salad!

We are constantly looking for ways to eat cleaner and stick to our Whole30 Challenge. Well last night we went out for some BBQ and I ordered the 4 meat + 2 side combo (Sausage, Brisket, Chicken, Turkey + Salad and Collards). There was no way I was going to be able to eat all of it so I brought the meats home with me. Today rather than have a simple pile of meat on a plate I made an epic salad. What made it doubly epic wasn’t just the fact that it had 4 different animals on it, but I got creative and “hard boiled” an egg in the break room microwave! For dressing I had simple oil, vinegar, and seasonings. It ’twas a yummy salad to say the least. I felt satisfied and good after!

Typically I would have had some sort of bread or starch with this meat pile. I would have also had a soda or something with it. Then a few hour later I would have most likely went into a slump at work and wanted to just fall asleep. That would have made going to the gym tonight even more difficult. Instead I felt pretty good and decided to take a walk and enjoy the afternoon weather that’s finally cooperating in Georgia. The rest of my afternoon I’ve felt productive and can’t wait to go to the gym and crush some PRs!

All this from a “simple” salad! Who knew that eating clean had so many benefits. I can’t wait to see what deliciousness I bring for tomorrow’s lunch.

Microwaved poached/hard boiled egg
– Add roughly 1/3 cup water to a coffee cup, or other microwave safe container.
– Crack the egg and add the yolk and whites to the water
– Microwave for 40-60 secs on 80% power
– Check your egg for doneness
– Enjoy
I’ve found that if I use the hot water from the coffee maker I can poach the egg leaving a velvety center in roughly 40 seconds. If I cook the egg for 60 seconds the egg comes out closer to hard boiled.


PaleO Snap!

So over the weekend Jess and I started our adventure into this Whole30/Paleo deal. I think we were a bit confused. Now I think I’ve got it sorted out. The Whole30 is essentially a 30 day cleanse/challenge which is a more strict and streamlined version of Paleo. Paleo itself is already pretty rigid in terms of what you should/shouldn’t eat, but the Whole30 is on another level.

From what we can ascertain we went Paleo. We didn’t contract “polio” as Chase would have everyone believe, instead we began a journey into a cleaner and healthier way of eating. So far it’s been a bit taxing, but not impossible. Heck, I’ve lost like 3lbs since Saturday so we must be doing something right! But today, one of the owners of our gym posted that on August 19th they would be starting the Whole30 challenge. At first I was VERY intimidated by the challenge, but then the more I got to chatting with the gym folks the more I became intimidated by them for me to NOT do the challenge. And so I inadvertently signed Jess and I up for this thing. The good news, we will have had like a 6 day head start to get our bodies adjusted to the change.

I posted the other day about this whole change, but since then some new information has come out and I’d like to make some updates. For starters, I will be giving up sugar of all forms. Yes, this means my morning coffee(s). I’ve gone over it a thousand times in my brain on how to accomplish this no sugar thing and still have my coffee, but I just can’t drink straight black coffee. It doesn’t work for me. What I can drink, and really enjoy is unsweet tea. That is something I can live with. Other things that I’ll be giving up are all forms of grains, which means pastas, breads, oatmeal, etc. Also, there will be no beans of any type. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to be living off water and grass for the next 30 days. I have a whole list of vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats that I can load our kitchen with. Jess and I are like Mr. Wizard and a female version of Bill Nye in the kitchen when it comes to making delicious meals, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

What IS a problem is the shock that my body is currently going through. Like I said I’ve lost anywhere between 3 and 5 pounds since Saturday, and it’s only Tuesday! Right now I am laying in bed feeling hollow and hungry. I feel like I’m just empty and need to eat something. But a) there’s nothing here to eat that meets the criteria or our new diet and b) I refuse to gorge myself of food at 11 at night. I know this is temporary, but it still sucks. I just don’t think we were initially prepared so we didn’t stock out kitchen with enough proper foods to sustain us for the week. Yeah we got through the first few days, but now we’re scrambling and everything feels like we’re giving something up and not like we are making a smart choice. I don’t think I’m replacing the stuff I’ve given up with anything that’s providing me with the fullness I had before. Again, this will take some time to adjust, but tonight… It sucks. I’m restless and want a damn plate of nachos.

So that’s my rant. I figured if I can’t have any food, I can at least make a post about it. This feels like a good outlet. I feel better about the choice we’ve made and hope to keep up with the rigor. Stay tuned for more updates and progress reports!

Oh, the cover photo for this post is my sausage, spinach, and egg frittata. It wa amazeballs. I plan on having a lot of that over the next 30+ days.

The Whole30, or at least the Half30… or maybe Half15

Over the past few months Jess and I have been doing fantastic at going to the gym. We’ve also done really well with our eating. That’s not to say that there’s no room for improvement, but in general we’re doing pretty good. On the flip side however we’ve kinda stalled out.

This happens with virtually any fitness/health routine. You do great the first week, maybe a month, but eventually you hit a wall or plateau and just come to a halt. Your body becomes use to the way things are, the level of effort required to do your WODs and most of the toxins have been sweated out in the gym. Slowly but surely, things slow down. Something has to change. With Jess and I its our diet. Like I said, we’re not making bacon cheeseburger pizzas for dinner or loading up on double decker tacos, but we are making choices that could be improved upon. That’s where the Whole30 comes in. Most of the people we talk to at the gym are on Paleo or some form. The owners have touted about Whole30 for quite a while now so we decided to tip-toe into the arena.

The Paleo Diet

We did our research, looked over the can/can’t have lists and decided it was going to be a lot tougher than we anticipated. With 2 kids (11 and 19 months), it was going to be even tougher. So we decided to do a modified version. I’m deeming it the Half15! Mainly because we’re still consuming SOME of what we did before, and we’re going to start off with 15 days rather than the full 30.

So here’s the rundown. Our biggest hurdle is alcohol. We’ve decided to not have any alcohol, with the exception of a wedding we’re going to in 2 weeks, for 30 days. This is pretty big for us. We added it up and on any given week, we would go through a 12 pack for beer or 1-2 bottles of wine. I know, we might as well join AA… but not really. This seems like a small amount, but over the course of a month it adds up, both in calories and on the wallet. We don’t NEED that beer while cooking dinner then another with our dinner, so we might as well cut it out of our diet. And yes, wine does pair nicely with red meat or fish (or tacos, or burgers, or hummus, etc). But again, we don’t need it. So why not eliminate it completely from our diet. Only good can come of that, right? We’ve already established that we will most likely be grumpy at each other or pout about not having our whiskey drink while watching TV, but we’re gonna stay strong and stick to it.

The next part of our plan is to eliminate as many grains, starches, sugars, and such as we can from our diet. This is a big part of Paleo and the Whole30. Much of the breads, pastas, rice, flour, etc that we eat on a daily basis is so processed that it has virtually no nutritional value, and what value is there actually does more harm than good. I’m not going to preach about what other’s should/shouldn’t eat, I’m just going to know what we’re doing. Now there will be some exceptions and I’m not going to rush out and buy a tiny bag of almond flour for $12, but for the most part we’re cutting things out. Another big change is the fats which we use to cook our foods in. We don’t go Paula Deen style and use a stick of butter when scrambling an egg, but watching what you cook your food in, is just as important as the food that’s being cooked. So we’ll look for coconut oil and what ever other approved fats we can.

There are things however, that we will not be giving up just yet. For example our morning coffee is something that is needed. We probably won’t die if we don’t have it, but other’s around us might. We will continue to use the Truvia and fat free creamer. After all, most of the “paleo creamers” have coconut milk and raw eggs. Nope. That’s not gonna happen. In addition, there will be some occasions when we’ll have some bread or peanut butter. We have to stay realistic. If we go cold turkey and eliminate all these things off the bat then we’ll be setting ourselves up for failure. This is something we’re going to have to ease into. Over time we may find it easier to eliminate these types of things, but for now, we’ll just do our best.

As I mentioned before, we have 2 kids. One is a picky eater and the other is a pickier eater (I’ll let you decide which is which). They live off things that are processed and laden with sugars. I’m not going to make my kids go through the change with us. I mean, Chase started middle school last week and I’m fairly confident they don’t have a Whole30/Paleo option on the lunch menu. And when he gets home in the afternoon, its been a good 5+ hours since he’s eaten, so if he goes for a bag of chips or Pop-tart, I’m ok with that. We can certainly cut out some of the bad options that we provide in the house. Sugary drinks will be replaced with less sugary drinks, we’ll have more fruits and vegetables available on the off chance that he goes for some carrots instead of Funions.

Its going to be a process. It won’t simply happen over night, and we will stumble along the way. But we will also be there to help each other along. We will do our best to chronicle this adventure and see how things progress over the next 30 days (or 15 for now).

And so begins middle school!

He's only 11?!
He’s only 11?!

A few weeks ago our baby started his school and since then we’ve been buzzing around getting things ready for our 11 year old to start middle school. So after much preparation and double checking our supply lists, that day came, and boy was everyone excited!

The morning started off like any other, with getting Jess out the door in time to get to her school by 7:30 and me getting BLT Jr up and fed and out the door to get to his school by 8. Today, however we had one more task to mark off our checklist. Chase had to get to the bus stop by 8:30 and he didn’t want to miss it on his first day. Now I’ll go ahead and preface this with the fact that Chase is a bit of a nervous kid when it comes to new things. Something of this magnitude was like on another level.

For the past few years he had been in the same school where his mom taught. If ever anything were to come up, he could always just go right down the hall and get it resolved or taken care of. He wasn’t going to miss a bus or be late, unless she was. They were together and when he didn’t have her, he had his friends. Chase had built relationships with a lot of kids over the past few years and all that was about to change. This was a new school, in a new county, with new procedures, teachers, kids, everything. Walking in yesterday, Chase didn’t know a soul (other than the friend he made over the summer).

Jess was a bit nervous prior to yesterday, and in fact she stayed nervous throughout most of the day. However, I knew otherwise. I drove Chase to the bus stop just… you know, because that’s what parents do. I did make sure to park a good distance away so that I wouldn’t interfere with the establishment of social hierarchy. What happened when Chase got out of the car was a masterpiece! He had his notebook in one hand and as soon as he got out an 8th grader tossed him a football. Rather than duck or fumble it, Chase caught it like a boss and kept on walking over to the group of kids that were there. I couldn’t have been more proud and I knew that things were gonna be just fine. I sat there for a few more minutes until the bus showed up. Chase lined up with the rest of the kids, boarded his chariot and was whisked away to his next adventure. His mom and I pondered throughout the day how things were going. She had made sure he had a “cheat sheet” with all his bus numbers and home room numbers and such on it, so he was good to go, but you never REALLY know unless you’re there.

The bus crew
He fit right in!

When Chase got home that afternoon, the flood of information began. And let me say, I don’t recall ever seeing this kid so excited about something. He was gleaming and literally couldn’t contain himself. Ear-to-ear smiles and chatter about his day. From the lunch to the “freedom” between classes, to the gym, it was all he could think about. He wanted it to be day two already! That’s the thing about Chase, this kid LOVES learning and being in school. He is super smart and bright and willing to learn. He is genuinely eager to excel in class. At school, he made sure to write important things down and get lists of what he needed on day two. He actually had a chance to be in class with the friend he made over the summer so he was at ease with that. This young man had a blast!

So that was day one and it was a success! The next day (today) Jess started her first day of teaching in a new school, so stay tuned for a post about that. In the past three weeks we’ve since shipped off three family members to three schools! Its craziness! Things are certainly changing around here with new schedules and routines, but change doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. Stay tuned for most posts on how things are progressing!

I told him to stand in a "cool pose"
I told him to stand in a “cool pose”
Taking a photo
The whole crew!