Infant Loss and Infidelity

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I've cried more days this past week than I haven't. 
Not cried really, sobbed. It's not dainty or subtle, it is raw.

Change is on the horizon. 
And, for this creature of habit, change unleashes all the emotions leaving my spirit overwhelmed. I have learned that when these seasons come, I have a choice. I can try to pretend it doesn't hurt or I can embrace it and accept it as the cost of loving so deep. 

Grief is after all a lifelong journey.

I'm honored to be guest posting about 'Infant Loss and Infidelity' on Lauren's blog today as a part of her Womanly Wednesday Series. It was an opportunity for me to look back over the past two years and see prevision in the midst of Addy's death and the devastating end to my marriage. You can find the post here

(Thanks for allowing me to share, Lauren!)



Cauliflower Fried Rice

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Yes, please.
I surveyed the intraworlds for recipes and there are tons out there but none that totally won me over so I rigged together what sounded best to me. It is super easy, customizable, Paleo, and Whole30 approved! 
So here you go...


1 head of Cauliflower
2 Tbsp of Coconut Oil
6 Tbsp Coconut Aminos 
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Carrots - peeled and chopped 
1/2 of a Red Onion - chopped
A Handful of Fresh Green Beans - chopped
2 Chicken Breast - cooked (I sauteed in olive oil) and chopped
3 Eggs
Salt and Pepper - To Taste

How We Do It:

First, drop a couple of  cauliflower florets in the food processor at a time. Pulse 2-3 times or until the cauliflower is broken down into pieces. Don't over do it, you don't want it to be mushy. Place the pulsed "rice" into a bowl and then repeat until all the cauliflower has taken a whirl in the food processor. 

Drop a tablespoon of the coconut oil into a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once it has melted, toss in the garlic, carrots, onion, green beans, and the cooked chicken. Saute until the veggies are cooked - I didn't look at the time, I just sampled the carrots and decided they were good when they were cooked but not overdone.

Remove the veggies/chicken from the pan and set aside. Using the same pan, scramble the eggs. Add a little salt and pepper to the eggs and then place them in the same bowl as the cooked veggies/chicken. 

Next, add the other tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan making sure it coats the bottom. Turn the heat to high and when the oil is hot, add the cauliflower rice. Cook on high for 6 minutes stirring only a couple of times so that it browns on the bottom. You want some to get crispy but not burnt.

Once the rice has cooked, add the veggie-chicken-egg mix into the pan with the cooked cauliflower rice. Add the coconut aminos and stir to combine. 

And now eat. 

Told ya it was delish. 

I used what I had on hand but it is easily customizable. 
Green onions, peas, or other types of meat would be yummy too.

Our 'Happy 30th Birthday' Trip

Sunday, July 12, 2015
It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no regrets, hope-really-does-win, HaPpY 30th BiRtHdAy trip.
An incredible two weeks spent in Spain and Paris with two dear friends.

She was one of my besties in college and a roommate our senior year. Together, we studied a ridiculous amount. They met in medical school and when I met him, I liked him from the beginning. I adore her. And him. And them.

It was three years ago that we set out on our first big vacation together. A couples vacation...for four. My life looked different then but we made a pact to make our travels a tradition and despite it just being me, they held tight to the pact. 

She turns 30 the day after me so now felt right. She researched & literally planned the entire trip (my flights included), sent me the itinerary, and held all my important documents during our travels. He, he navigated, was our tour guide, and put up with us both for two solid weeks. Me, I just was. And I loved every minute of it.

Out of this world. Pure goodness. Simply perfect.
Can we just go back already?


Our first stop was Madrid, a happening place. 
 Captivating architecture, endless tapas enjoyed over five meals a day, and dining as a slow gathering experience over hustle. It is where the "American breakfast" is a plate piled high with sausage, bacon, and blood sausage. Where dinner menus include brains, kidneys, pig ears, neck glands, braided intestines, and fish served with eyes. There was ice cream and salty churros with chocolate dipping sauce, too. Where days start late, dinner begins after 9pm, and nights run into the early morning. Where street performers & costumed characters are of abundance, where flamenco dancers entertain, and where nuns sell yummy cookies through a secret door. It is home to The Royal Palace of Madrid and the one and only Prado Museum.

 From Madrid, a bullet train landed us in Sevilla.
Sevilla is a little gem with quaint cobblestone streets and unique labyrinth pedestrian roads. Though a metropolis, it felt intimate. Intimate and the toastiest of all our stops with temperatures nearing triple digits. It boosted simplicity down to delightful tapas, intricate hand laid tile work, fountains at every turn, signature blue and goldenrod yellow fronts, and bell tower chiming throughout. It is where dinner started after nine and was served one community dish at a time. Where orange trees were of abundance and fresh fruit filled sangria was enticing. Where the sunrise and sunset views painted the river, the magnificently adorned (and the worlds largest) Cathedral is found, and the intricate hand crafted Alcazar is still home to Spanish royals. 

Just keeping it real because it was H.O.T. You are welcome.  Now back to the real pictures.

A little bus ride from Sevilla and we we arrived in Granada. 
It was where we saw all we could see in a mere twenty-eight hours.  It was a short but worth it overnight filled with pasta, crepes, and a burger with fries. What? It's all authentic. They were quaint little eateries with a handful of seats, a few menu options of the day, and a view of the chef who took pride in their art...well not the burger from the one and only Burger King but we were hurrying to catch our overnight train. Granada was home to hippies, bath houses, and hills that I'm certain left my calves lookin' fine. It is home to the breathtakingly sculpted Alhambra which boast incredible views, beautiful tiles, and tranquil green gardens.

 And from Grandad, we took an overnight train to Barcelona. Awe, Barcelona. 
It was where hip brunch joints serve top notch dishes, Gaudi masterpieces wow (Sagrada Familia & the Park Guell), magic fountains flow, skateboarders abound, and where fresh-from-the-sea paella with red wine sangria gets two fist pumps from me. Eating things like lobster, shrimp, mussels, and cuddle fish while sipping red wine made me feel so grown up. But, what I loved the most was the rest on Barcelona's peaceful beaches with crashing waves and swooping seagulls. 

A quick flight from Barcelona and we arrived in our final destination, Paris
I mean honestly. It was as magical as I envisioned from the perfectly paired three course dinners, to the melt-in-your-mouth pastries you could smell for blocks, and the chocolatiers with detailed creations. There was architecture to marvel at, window boxes overflowing with red and white flowers, and the signature cobalt blue doors with gold handles. It is where I paid to use the bathroom while out exploring and got to pick from a rainbow of toilet paper with the plushness of my choosing. It is home the Louvre and thus none other than Mona Lisa. And then there was the Eiffel Tower. We took it in throughout the day but it was a spectacle at night as it twinkled on the hour and seemed to never get old. 
If only stinky cheese wasn't a thing, Paris might just be perfect. 

Of all the places we visited, Madrid felt the busiest, most crowded, and a little overwhelming. Sevilla was quite the opposite. It felt quaint, full of charm, a relaxing. Of course Barcelona had a unfair advantage with the inciting beach. The tranquility of crashing waves and toes in the sand is hard to beat in my book. But Paris. It is as magical as one might envision. The three course freshly prepared meals, the charm and character, the euphoric baked goods, and the majesty of the Eiffel Tower. So much to see and do and experience in every nook and cranny makes Paris endlessly alluring. 

As we shared our last dinner, I teared up as we thought about our next vacation. Not just about where or when but about what life may look like then. 

Ten years ago, I wouldn't have pictured the final few days of my twenties to look like they did. But, they were really, really good. I have stellar friends and our trip was an incredible way to end the decade that redefined me. 


The most heartfelt thank you to my dear friend for planning the entire trip. 
I simply could not have planned, organized, and prepared like she did. 
It was incredible and I am grateful that we let her husband be our third wheel. 


Happy 30th {To Me}:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
On my 28th birthday, I created a bucket list. 
Not one that I wanted to aspire to over my lifetime but in Year 28. 

There were little things and big, real big things. It was motivating and focusing on difficult days. It gave me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. On my 29th birthday, I surveyed the list and cried all the ugly tears when I realized that I had checked every. single. box. All of them. Despite it being a difficult year, the bucket list prevailed and I felt so accomplished. 

Year 29, it was no different. I again comprised a list and set out to push myself, challenge my introverted ways, and once again dream big. 

Friends, you should make a bucket list. Small things matter too and when you are able to look back and see the checked boxes, it is exhilarating. 
So get to bucketing, I don't think you will regret it.


Without further ado…the Year29 Bucket List…because as of today, I am 30. Holla!
That doesn’t make me anxious or sad or anything really. I got plans for 30 so,  bring it.  

Now really, without further ado, the Year29 Bucket List…

1.       Take a cooking class.
I did more than just take a class, I learned that you can check cookbooks and cooking guides out from the library! It’s like doing homework but with a subject you are actually interested in. I did lots of reading and trialing of recipes and venturing into the world of new foods. You can read more about recipes I tried and my approach to cooking (which in general falls under Paleo or the Whole30) here.

Oh, I also joined a cooking club. We call it ‘C-Club.” It’s a tossup as to whether the ‘c’ should stand for ‘cooking,’ 'chatting,' or ‘crying.’ C-Club was modeled off the book Bread and Wine and consist of a few dear friends. We meet monthly and cook and chat and cook and cry. I will confess that we have taken C-Club to a few restaurants instead of cooking but 3/5 of the members had (or will have) a baby this spring/summer so sitting and being served was needed. C-Club gets deep. Real and authentic. My type of conversations.

2.       Join a GC. 
Some call them Bible Studies or small groups but the church I have been attending calls them Gospel Communities or GC. It sounds small but this one was big for me. I think I have discussed a few times how I am an introvert so gathering with a group of essentially strangers sounded overwhelming. But, I knew my spirit longed for a body. Not knowing where I belonged, I emailed the pastor and gave him a brief overview of my life and asked if he could guide me. A part of me hoped that he would say ‘we just don’t really have the right group for you’ so that I could cross it off my list and chalk it up to having tried. I wanted a place where I fit…me and my newly divorced, mom of a decease child self could feel accepted.  Needless to say, I wound up in a wonderful group mixed with single peeps and married couples of varying ages and have felt right at home. {A special thanks to Jordan and Lauren for hosting}.

3.       Go on my first date. 
I did! I went on a blind date and had a second date and then promptly retired from dating. It wasn’t him, it was me. And I don’t mean that in the nice way that people use it to dump someone. It really was me not being ready. Dating is a whole new world for me. An overwhelming, scary, risky, intimating world. I know now that I wasn’t ready then and it is ok for me to admit that. It’s been almost a year since I retired from dating. I am now more settled and self aware and confident in who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I still cringe at the thought of dating but cringing is better than upchucking my lunch. You are welcome for that visual.

4.       Define my career. 
Year 29 afforded me a job change. I wasn’t unhappy in my previous job, in fact it was hard to leave, but my new role allows me to support families who find themselves in tender moments and faced with the reality that life isn’t always easy. This job allows me to pay forward the care that was once given to me and my Addy.

5.       Run a Half. 
We are hoping to run another this fall. Two halves make a whole right?

6.       Establish a Financial Emergency Fund. 
Between the medical bills from my pregnancy, genetic testing for hopeful answers, and the legal fees from my divorce, my savings account set empty. Completely depleted. That is a scary place to be when you have a mortgage and no wingman. So this year, I pounded out a cash budget, cut excess expenses, and took a strong stance on saving. The emergency fund was first and saving for my vacation second. Year 30 will afford some even tougher decisions regarding where I call home.  Baby steps. 

7.       Take a 30th Birthday, once in a lifetime, hope wins, good does come, celebration vacation.
Nailed it. Two weeks exploring Spain and France with two dear friends did the trick. I have about 700 pictures that I have been sorting through and I will write a whole post complete with pics soon. It was incredible and the most perfect way to bid farewell to my twenties. 

Friends, I am 30. 
I don’t feel 30 but it sounds like a number that better fits me. 
More mature. More established. More self aware. More who I want to be. More, well me.

Cheers to 30.
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