The Happy Planner by MAMBI

I. Am. So. Addicted.

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I bought this planner with the sole intention of using as a scrapbook. I knew that with my limited amount of time, this planner was possibly the answer to all my scrapbooking woes. I knew that it would help me stay on top of memory keeping, even better than Project Life and other methods I’ve tried.

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I. Was. Right.

It has been gloriously fun to sit down at the end of a week and take an hour or 2 to document my memories. I print out the pictures at home on thick paper and decorate in my random, collage style. It’s so easy and I’m so thankful. Of course, I did fall behind when family visited, but it’s been easy to catch up. I ain’t skerred no more!

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As far as planning, I currently use my gorgeous large gold Kikki K, with awesome inserts from The Planner Market. However, I’ve decided that I want to use a spiral-bound planner for this upcoming year, and have ordered this Plum Paper Planner. This picture of Gage will be on the front. Squee!

Gage hat

Do you have a Happy Planner?

Do you use it for traditional planning, for memory keeping, or both?

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This post is going to be hard to write…

but I’m going to do it, for my own sanity and for many others who want to speak up but are overwhelmed by feelings of shame, guilt and grief.

I had a miscarriage.

There. I said it. It’s out in the universe.

A few weeks ago I learned I was pregnant. I had my well woman exam and told them I was 1 day late with my cycle. This was no big deal and I was certainly not getting my hopes up. They decided to do a pregnancy test, and sure enough, it was positive. Faint, but positive. There were lots of congratulations and I walked out of there like a deer in headlights. I told Todd and my mom that night by showing them the prenatal vitamin bottle and telling them I needed to get some more. I think they were just as shocked as I. We were all expecting it to be difficult again. This time, it was going to be difficult in an entirely different way.

5 days later, I woke up in the middle of the night with serious gastrointestinal issues. And then I saw the blood. It was faint at first, so I didn’t freak because spotting happens. The next time I was in the bathroom, I noticed it was heavier, and it proceeded that way through the night. I knew instinctively what was happening. When I finally woke up to the alarm, I ran to the bathroom. It wasn’t all a dream. In fact, it was a terrible nightmare. I told Todd I was bleeding, and he shot out of bed. I called my midwife’s office and told them what was happening. They said it sounded pretty textbook miscarriage, to take care of myself physically and emotionally, and to take a pregnancy test a week after the last day of bleeding. That will be this Saturday. A negative will confirm that my hormones are back in sync. A positive will send me up the river, because that could mean procedures that I don’t want to deal with. And it will just prolong it. I want to move on.

I called into work that day, and Todd also called in because he was sick, as well. I moped around the house through my discomfort, and stared into space. I went to a training the next day because I knew it was better than sitting around thinking about it. When I saw tissue in the toilet, it took all of my mental strength to return to the training smiling. I got through that day just fine, but I was certainly not my normal, happy self. I was quite subdued and didn’t come out of my shell much.

Last week sucked, to put it mildly. I know I only knew about the pregnancy for 5 days, but even 5 seconds would have been enough to bring the pain. I wish I would have never told them to go ahead with the pregnancy test. A late period would have been far less distressing. It was very early in the pregnancy, and that helps me feel better about the baby’s suffering. I know this shit happens for a reason. I am 36 so my eggs might not be in the best shape. The body sometimes aborts the fetus because of abnormalities, or there are other reasons.

Gage wasn’t meant to meet this sibling. Todd and I weren’t meant to parent him/her. It wasn’t meant to be.

The upside to this experience is that Todd and I got pregnant naturally! We had such trouble with Gage, and finally had to seek professional help. This time around, it happened about 6 months into trying. I am holding on tightly to this thought because it is helping me handle this emotionally. There will be a next time, and I will try not to hold my breath the entire pregnancy. Once this happens to a woman, I don’t think there is anything you can do to lessen the anxiety going into a new pregnancy. There are women in my family and close friends who have experienced miscarriages, and some much farther along or more physically scary.

Society doesn’t want to talk about this occurrence. It’s very uncomfortable. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with grief, I’ve never known how to talk to my loved ones about this topic. I just try to listen and be a positive, reassuring person in their life. I want women to feel empowered to talk about this issue that plagues so many of us.

Tell your story. Don’t go through this alone.

-Ash

#Whole30: Days 5-7 – Weekend Warrior!

photo credit: Trees via photopin (license)

photo credit: Trees via photopin (license)

The weekend was a cinch! I am so unbelievably proud of myself for completing the first week of #Whole30 with no glitches. I did notice on Sunday that I was “grazing” and I realized that it was because I was bored. I knew I was bored, I voiced it to the family, and I realized that is why I was eating. So I watched a movie while playing with the baby and did some crafts. I kept busy and I felt less hungry, or maybe I just didn’t notice?

Isn’t the interesting? I think being bored is part of emotional overeating. I’ve often met smokers who tell me they will go smoke when they’re bored. I honestly think it’s the same mental process. While I’m eating healthy food, eating a lot of anything is not good, so I’m glad I’ve made this realization.

20150501_114833_resized_1I went to a conference on Friday at a university. We were given free range of the dining hall (which is incredible) for our lunch break. I cannot express how proud I am for not detouring off the plan. There was plenty of opportunity, trust me. Luckily, this school is very vegetarian and vegan friendly, and every food item had a list ingredients above it.  There was a lot I could not have, but I stuck to the salad bar, grilled veggies, hamburger patty, roast beef and sausage. The sausage may have been non-compliant, but I am not going to feel ashamed for that. I passed up the cookies, cakes and ice cream bar with really no issues. I also packed compliant snacks so I wouldn’t have a food meltdown.

20150502_120621_resizedHubs and I went to our ginormous international farmer’s market on Saturday. It’s a pretty awesome place with killer prices on produce. There are just rows and rows and rows of stuff. It’s a great place to stock up on our fruits and veggies for the week, since we are trying to so hard to not spend a ton of money. Unfortunately, protein items tend to kill the budget, and we buy those at Kroger because they are not a better deal at the farmer’s market. What can you do? :/ We got an awesome bunch of produce, plus nuts, no added ingredient dried fruit, arrowroot powder and carob pieces.

20150502_121644_resized I went out to eat with my mom and son on Saturday, picking a spot I knew had lots of fresh food, especially salads. Hubs warned me that it would still be difficult to be complaint, and he was so right! There was always one ingredient that I couldn’t have in a dish. Always. I ended up getting an Asian-inspired salad minus peanuts and crispy noodles, and used olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also got a nice piece of grilled salmon on top! It worked out, but I can see why we need to stay away from restaurants for the time being.

20150503_102955_resizedI made a recipe for apple pie bites, found here. Needless to say, they are delicious! I honestly never appreciated dates until going on this journey. DATES ARE THE BOMB, yo. The are the sugar of the natural world. That isn’t the way I’m supposed to be thinking about my food, but after one week of nothing sweet, these are amazing to my taste buds. But, as with any food that we are likely to overeat, I need to be aware of this and nip it in the bud. I was inspired by this recipe, so I took banana chips, dates, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and cinnamon, and create banana bites. They are just as tasty!

I am off to a great start and a change in mindset. I am convinced that success for a healthier lifestyle all boils down to PREPARATION.

What do you think?

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#Whole30: Day 4 – I feel BLAH…

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Today is not going to be spectacular for me, I can you that much. I slept terribly due to cramping and woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. It is only 7:30 and I already feel like I’ve been working for 5 hours. I may need an adult mental health break today at lunch, otherwise known as a NAP. In other news, I did not make coffee this morning because I was in a daze and wanted to leave for work before I sat back down and fell asleep. That’s not such a major deal because I can make coffee at work. In the past, I did this a lot, but now, I can’t have the creamer and sugar that’s with the coffee. And guess what? I forgot my coconut cream! *smacks forehead*

photo credit: coffee via photopin (license) photo credit: coffee via photopin (license)

7:30 AM – One sausage and 2 egg muffins. I’m satiated but I have a headache and I can barely keep my eyes open. Therefore, I will meet with students! Yes, they are just as tired as me so I will torture them with my thoughts and that will be entertaining. 😛

9:30 AM – Ugh. Headache. Go. Away. Please. it could be my cycle, it could be not having coffee. I will keep drinking water to see if it helps…

10:15 AM – Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my darling Clementine…x2!

photo credit: Clémentines via photopin (license)
photo credit: Clémentines via photopin (license)

12 PM – I had the salad that T made last night. He made a dressing using his homemade mayo as a base, and it was delish. I also had some of the sweetest pineapple I’ve ever tasted. Yay for Farmer’s Markets!

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2 PM – Since I did not pack a lot of food for lunch, and have had very little protein today, I’m hungry. I had an Apple Pie Larabar, and my goodness, it was delicious. I don’t feel bad for eating it, since it’s technically compliant, but they want you to save them for emergencies. Whatevs. I don’t plan on consuming them daily, but honestly, I wouldn’t mind that being my afternoon snack. It was so tasty!

4 PM – I had a hard-boiled egg when I got home. I was craving protein!

6 PM –  Slow cooked chicken with balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and onions, roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar and walnuts and roasted zucchini.

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Oh, let me tell you about my first night of the Atlanta Citizens Police Academy. We met the chief and a lot of the people involved in the organization, as well as many of the zone commanders. We then talked about how citizens are the eyes and ears for the police and if we see something, we need to say something. Even if we think the thing is minute, we could have the one small detail that can lead to solving a crime. We also talked with an explosives detection officer, and got to see his K9 demonstrate his skills. That was fun! He actually had a Weimaraner, which really surprised me. I had no idea they were used in the police force. The dog was serious when sniffing for explosives, but the minute he got his “treat” (which is a toy and praise, never food), he became a big puppy! I think we are touring the 911 facility next week.

I think Punky felt slighted today…

Ribbet collage

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#Whole30: Day 3

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I woke up this morning feeling a little tired, but nothing abnormal. I’m waiting for the ugly side effects to hit, but so far, I have been feeling fairly normal. One thing I have noticed however, is that my cramping is far less noticeable this cycle. I’ve read women talking about how menstrual cramps became close to nonexistent after changing their food habits. I know I’ve only been at this for a few days, but I am not having them nearly as bad as usual. It could be placebo effect or really happening, but who the hell cares. Less cramps = less cramps, yea!

7:30 AM – I ate 2 yummy egg muffins (one with sausage, broccoli and potato, the other with spinach, tomato and sausage) and a piece of sausage. My homemade sausage is delish. I don’t see any reason to go back to the grocery store stuff at this point!

10:45 AM – The snack is bananas – B-A-N-A-N-A-S…

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12 PM – I feel a headache creeping in. Luckily, it’s lunch time! I had leftover sweet potato, ground turkey and kale, plus an orange for the sweet craving I had.

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Tonight I am attending my first session of the Atlanta Citizens Police Academy, which is going to provide insight into the internal workings of the police department. We will have a department overview, learn about crime scenes, Internal Affairs, identity theft, use of force, criminal procedures, tour 911 facility, have a K9 Demonstration and a Zone Ride-A-Long (cool AND scary!) I want to learn as much as I can so I can help my neighborhood become a safer area. Living in the city of Atlanta can be awesome AND scary at times.

But, I am nervous about what might be lurking at this session. You know what police are known to love and consume, RIGHT?!?! It’s all good. I can refrain, just need to make sure I have some snacks with me! I plan to eat pork, a hard-boiled egg and an avocado for dinner prior to the event.

Chef Gage was apparently more concerned with feeding the dog than the family. 😛

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Update: They had Jason’s Deli meals for the participants at the Citizens Police Academy. Old Smash would have eaten a meal even if I had dinner prior. But new Smash watched everyone eat their sandwiches, chips and cookies while she ate my apples and almond butter. Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal! I beat my first “challenge” like a boss!

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