Birthday Truth Bomb: 37 to Zero and My Decision to Stop Living My Life By The Numbers

Today is my birthday.  I'm Turing 37.  It's not a monumental birthday for most people, but it is for me.   Today I am owning up to something I have been thinking about for a LONG time and deciding not to live my life by the numbers anymore.  So, I am 37. What the hell does that even mean? Am I supposed to feel old? Am I supposed to feel fulfilled and contented to be 'middle aged?' I don't feel that way at all.  In fact I feel like my age is reversing! It's taken me 37 years to self actualize on some serious shit and today I feel like sharing it with all of you.  

I am happier than I was when I was 27.  That was the year I got married.  A horrible decision to try to hold on to an idea of what I thought a twenty-something was 'supposed to do.' Take it from me.  Don't let age dictate your actions.  Trust your gut. One divorce later and I can say I am much more appreciative of myself and who I am.  Now, that I really think about it 17 wasn't even that "happy."  Who is happy in high school? It's awful. I was awkward, and nerdy, and didn't fit in anywhere.  I was so ready to leave my small town to get away from all of the things I thought were holding me back and weighing me down that I just rushed through those teenage years.  I so desperately just wanted to be an adult. Now that I am an 'actual adult' things haven't really changed...mentally still feel 17! Dance in my underwear to TLC and think back on days when I was thinner, less wrinkled, unsure, unaware of my own power and I thank the universe I have had so many years to discover that all of that wonderful inside of me has always been there.  Always.  

I am single...as in "table for one please" and "one-ticket-to-the-latest-horrible- rom-com-'cause-I-don't-have-anyone-to-worry-about-complaining-through-the-whole-movie" single.  Sounds nice, right? Yeah.  It's ok for a while, but its been 4 years and I am still alone and I am starting to think I may be stuck like this, but I have to keep reminding myself that it took 10 years in miserable relationships to get to the point where I began to put myself first.  No rush.  Putting my own needs at the top of the priority list is what's most important these days.  

So here I am, looking in the mirror and this is what I see: 

I am 37, a size 16, run 5 miles 4 days a week, gave birth to 1 kid 4 years ago after 22 hours of labor. Now I am a single mom with some extra weight on her frame but can bench 115 pounds.  I have spent 20 years hiding in a 1 piece bathing suit and eating 1200 calories a day, less than 20 grams of carbs a day, to try to fit into a image that just isn't attainable because as much as I try I can barely get that number on the scale below 190.  I'm over it.  I am ready to be free of the numbers.  I feel young, I feel healthy, I feel motivated, and I feel grateful. Some places on my body may jiggle when I walk or dance and I may have a wrinkle or two when I smile, but I am finally smiling. I may eat a carb or have an actual meal and not feel guilty. I may have fewer friends but the ones I have are quality individuals who have helped carry me through 17 years of strife and struggle. And I may be flying solo on date nights, but I am worthy.  Worthy of happiness, of love, of kindness, of compliments, and of feeling as beautiful inside and out than anyone else.   For the first time in my life I can put on a 2 piece bathing suit, lift my hands to the sky and say "This is me! I am 37 and giving ZERO Fucks!"

Persnickety Palate: The Smoothie Addition

Every Tuesday I will post a recipe, snack and meal ideas, or restaurant reviews all relating to my picky little eater.  When I hear other moms say, "oh my precious little so-and-so will eat anything I put on his/her plate" I want to scream and pull my damn hair out.  HOW?? How the heck do you do this? Boo can be particular, to say the least. And it sucks!  When the Boo was a baby I made homemade organic baby food.  I bought the most expensive and healthiest brands on the market.  He really ate anything.  Right around the time that I could foolishly join ranks of moms who can brag "oh my precious Boo, he will eat anything" he started eating...NOTHING! It didn't matter if it was his favorite food or something new, he threw it down or refused to eat it. Not for lack of trying on my part either.  I cooked and created and cried until I found a meal he would eat.  It felt like I was doing that all day, everyday (somedays I still do!) Thankfully, we have smoothies.

I started making smoothies for Boo around the same time that I introduced solids (cleared this with his doc and got the OK as long was we stuck to foods that didn't include nuts, honey and other allergens advised against in the first 12 months.)  He instantly loved them and the liquid meals kept him full and happy. We made this part of his daily routine and now when he wakes up a smoothie the first thing he asks for! I call it his "baby coffee" because he's not fully awake and ready for the day until he has had at least 12oz of yummy fruit and veggie medley.  Added bonus: whenever Boo won't eat a meal that I have cooked,  or is sick/teething and doesn't seem interested in actual food,  and especially when "the incident" happened and Boo had to live in a spica cast for 10 weeks we LIVED on smoothies.  Dense nutrition, easy to make and portable!

**It is very important to me to feed Boo organic fruits and veggies, non-GMO (if I can find it), no added dyes, artificial sugars or sweeteners, etc. which I know can be expensive.  Costco, Aldi and Winn Dixie all offer Organic, Non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup products at a lower cost than other grocery stores.**

For recipes and tips on smoothie making I heart this book big time!

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Heres what I do to prep smoothies for the month:

Wash and Dry baby spinach and baby kale (I find these easier on Boo's tummy while offering the same benefits as mature kale and spinach)

Break out your favorite frozen and fresh fruits: dark cherries, pineapple, mango, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, citrus, apple slices etc.

Using quart size freezer baggie and add a heaping handful of spinach or kale and any combination of fruit.  Squeeze excess air out of the the baggie.  Typically I can get 2 days worth of smoothies out of one baggie.  Just add half the bag to the blender with your liquid and additions.  The frozen spinach or kale blends very nicely and no one would even know it's in there by taste! In my house we make enough for one smoothie a day for at least 30 days or more.  The goal is between 15-20 baggies. If you have any left over greens freeze them in snack bag size portions for soups, sauces, extra boost to smoothies, etc.

Our daily morning routine:

I add a fresh (not frozen) ORGANIC banana or fresh avocado daily.  In my opinion, these blend easier and give the drink a creamier constancy if added while at room temp.  For a liquid base I like to use kefir for added probiotic benefits. You can also use coconut milk, sambazon juice (yum) or water.

Add in some extra love:

I like to add in a dash of cinnamon, a generous glob of local honey, a couple of 60% cacao dark chocolate chips, or a spoonful of nut butters (almond, cashew, etc) **DO NOT add these if your child is UNDER 12 months or you suspect any allergies.  Check with your pediatrician before adding new foods like these into your kiddos diet. 

Mix it up: Currently I use a NutriBullet which is easy to clean, blends fast, and takes up very little space on my counter.

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Toddler eating habits can drive you crazy so best of luck!

-W and Boo