Making Habits

Before this year, I had few created habits. I did things habitually but more in a way they naturally happened. Like drinking coffee every morning, bathing my kids and making dinner. I never tried to make those things happen, they just happened because they needed to and I had to do it.

In March I did something I’ve never done. I decided to floss daily. I know, something I should have done my whole life and blah blah blah, but I didn’t. I floss between two molars on my upper right side a lot because they have a weird spacing and stuff gets stuck in there but I never did all my teeth even remotely frequently.

In April I started dry brushing before every shower as a part of a self care routine. I love dry brushing and have done it off and on for years but never committed to doing it before every shower as a habit. During pregnancy I think it’s probably doubly beneficial because of how it affects circulation. Pregnant women have forty percent more blood due to supporting new life and making sure that gets circulated is very important.

In May I decided to drink sixteen ounces of water before eating or drinking anything else in the morning. This not only improves digestion, but it absorbs into your body that time of day better than any other time because your system isn’t bogged down with food. Therefore better hydrating you at the start of the day!

I June I began eating breakfast every day. Something I have done here and there throughout my life but being pregnant makes it harder and because my eating is so sporadic the rest of the day right now that getting in a breakfast is sometimes the only real meal I have.

In July I started washing my face every night. What, you do that?! hehe. No, I just don’t wear a lot of make up (and it’s completely natural mineral make up when I do wear it) and so I just washed my face while showering. But I noticed a visible decrease in the quality condition of my skin lately so now I rinse my face with water every night. I don’t use face wash as it doesn’t make my face feel good and I’m uncomfortable with the amount of chemicals involved and I don’t moisturize because I don’t get dry. I simply rinse the day off my face and in just a short time it improved my complexion. A very small change to my bedtime routine with wonderful results.

Seeing a pattern? Here’s why there’s a pattern, I learned from flossing daily how to create a habit and it wasn’t easy.

1. I had to take the time. Starting out with flossing I was annoyed by the amount of time it took. You know how long it took? Like ninety seconds. But it was an adjustment because I had to take time, I HAD to force myself to spend those ninety seconds every single night during my regular routine.

2. I had to stop making excuses. All the time when I try to start some sort of momentum in my life I make excuses. With flossing it would be so easy to think ‘I floss a lot now, one night won’t make a difference.’ but guess what? If you make that excuse, it’s even easier to make it again the next night and the next night and pretty soon, you never floss.

3. It doesn’t happen over night. There are studies all over the place that say if you do something twenty one times, eighty times, a hundred and twenty times it will become habit. The truth is, it’s different for everyone. For me, it literally took six week. SIX WEEKS before I felt like it was an effortless part of my routine. We went out of town at the end of May and I forgot to bring floss and for two nights I couldn’t get to any….I thought I was going to die. Morning breath? Ten times worse. Creepy crawly feeling of minuscule food particles between my teeth? I literally lost sleep over it. However, that was when I realized it wasn’t something I was forcing, I actually liked to floss daily and saw the benefit of continuing.

4. I can do anything! As soon as I accepted my new habit with flossing I realized I could literally do it with every area of my life. Slowly but surely I could create healthy habits and change a lot of things that I dislike about how I operate. That was when I started other habits. Drinking water in the morning before coffee or breakfast was really really hard but it made me feel so much better and my system worked better too. I just used the little things I learned from making a single habit and turned it into more.

So my next goals for more healthy habits are definitely in the area of eating. This is hard right now because I’m really pregnant. I don’t like food very much, my belly is big enough that my stomach is squeezed and my appetite is non existent, and I tend to have aversions that mess with my eating. Maybe in august I’ll start drinking smoothies or juices daily. I also want to have exercise goals but again, pregnancy gets in the way. I’ve been working out and being active but some days my pelvis won’t let me do much or I have more round ligament pains than normal. Sometimes I just simply get knocked out by exhaustion of growing a baby! I don’t want to say I’ll work out four days a week right now because for at least the next ten and a half weeks I can’t guarantee that at all and then I have to spend six weeks without it.

However, I’m enjoying exploring the new territory of habitual lifestyle changes and will keep growing in this area until I feel like I’ve overcome some of the things I struggle with most.

What about you? Have you intentionally created a habit? What sort of things do you do habitually?

Complying

So guess who has the best dad ever in the world ever ever? That’d be me.

Yes, my dad built a fantastic ‘screen’ around my water tank to comply with the city ordinance and it.looks.good.

He came out, bought the supplies, and BAM, got to work.

SAMSUNG CSCDigging holes, putting in posts, measuring, cutting, doing things I don’t know how to do…and all that.

SAMSUNG CSCHe actually said to me, while working, (as I sat in the sun and chatted, trying not to get in the way) that building wasn’t his ‘strong suit’…..um, please.

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It’s fantastic. I’m starting to feel more indebted to my dad than normal (because, he’s already a very generous and kind guy) so I’m thinking I may need to deliver a pie soon.

In other fantastic garden news, my big tomatoes have been producing and they are soooooo tasty.

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I’m getting Romas, San Marzanos and my small tomatoes too (Juliet and Sun Sugar), but those have been coming in for a while so that’s not news.

I’ve also been harvesting dill by the bundle.

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I’m just letting it dry on the counter and then removing the seeds. I’ll be pickling at some point soon and want to have a lot ready. My own cucumber plants were consumed by bacterial wilt so even though I got a few cucumbers, my future of pickling lies with the market.

I had a rough couple pregnant weeks causing me to be a bit adverse to veggies but now I’m back on the train and eating them for every meal…yup, even breakfast.

SAMSUNG CSCAvocado, tomatoes and hot sauce on English muffin bread. It was really good and the perfect pre workout breakfast.

My lunch may or may not have been the exact same thing minus bread…because those fresh tomatoes and that delicious avocado plus hot sauce is like the best combo ever.

I’ll try to get more creative with fresh produce but remember, I am a big, pregnant lady and I’m not promising anything.

 

 

 

Another Strike

So last week my dad came out and moved the rain barrel to the back of the house to comply with the city ordinance we were written up for. It was kind of sad because we had just gotten a great rain and the barrel was completely full…which means we had to dump it all.

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Sad face…but I guess it was necessary.  Avery had a good time in the flow.

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Once it was drained my dad somehow got it over the fence and onto a stack of pallets all by himself…this pregger can’t lift those big things. He’s good at rigging things.

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He got some more pipe and got it all hooked up. Which was awesome. My dad is pretty cool.

Fast forward to Wednesday….we got written up again. Apparently we have to screen it from any neighbor that can see our back yard. Our yard is tiny, five neighbors can see in our yard and at least two of them are elevated enough by the hill we live on to see over a privacy fence if we decided to take that route. So instead, we’re going to have to cube in the water tank behind some sort of screening. We’re thinking either a tight weave lattice or privacy fencing. Just build a little box around it. Seems pointless and reading the ordinance it is very vague and up for interpretation but they said we have the biggest rain barrel in Overland Park so I guess that warrants the attention.

In better garden news, I’ve started changing things slowly for fall preparation. My cilantro seeds finally dried up so I pulled the plants as well as the green bean plants since they’re done now too. I have plans for the space the cilantro was planted so I used the seeds where the green beans were. First though, I added compost to both spots and gave them a good turn.

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Eventually this whole bed will be planted with a crop but I’m not ready to move the herbs/greens that fill the rest of it just yet. I planted the cilantro heavily in this bed so I’ll have a carpet when it comes up!

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I had to adjust this bed because the trash bins that were moved from where the rain barrel now sits are taking up the space on the left of the a/c unit. I’m fine with that though now that I won’t be using the spigot  (which comes out of the house near the unit) as much.

I got my fall seeds and will be planting throughout the garden next month as I pull summer crops. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on fall planting because my soil is not in optimum shape. My seeds are a combination of soil fixers, soil builders and then actual food crops (because I’m still a little selfish).

Soil builders are crops that you plant in the soil, allow to rot over the winter and turn over before spring planting. An example of what I’ll be planting for soil builders are Diakon Radishes and Seed Turnips. They draw up nutrients from deep in the soil with their long roots and hold those nutrients within the enlarged root. When they rot it creates pockets of nutrients and breaks up compacted soil, adding organic matter.  These are important for my garden because I do have compacted soil (because my garden was sod last year) and also because I have higher clay percentage than I’d like and adding organic matter can adjust that ratio.

Soil fixers are crops that change the chemical balance of the soil to be more beneficial for fruiting plants. For example, tomatoes love to use nitrogen while they develop their fruit, because of this the soil becomes depleted of nitrogen and planting a cover crop that enhances nitrogen will help the soil be productive again (although planting tomatoes or any crop in the same place two years in a row is never a good idea, cover crop or no). The nitrogen fixers I’ll be planting in the tomato patches are fava beans.

Speaking of cover crops, aside from the benefits of doing soil builders and nitrogen fixers, having crops cover your beds over the winter can be a bonus all on its own. The beds won’t be exposed to the elements in the same way if they have plants growing or established in them over the winter, preventing erosion, depletion and providing productive nutrient additions. Some cover crops outside of the ones I’ve mentioned are red clover, arugula, or buckwheat. They can be turned under at the end of winter and the bed will be ready for spring plantings. Having a cover crop can also interrupt pest cycles which will prevent out breaks of the same bugs in the same places each year.

I’m learning these things as I grow into a better gardener but I’m excited to see how my soil is affected by cover crops and I hope my baby garden will mature into a beautiful producer with rich, nutrient, soil.

Second Thought Squash

When my beet crop got demolished by the squirrels I ended up with an empty garden bed. I hemmed and hawed about what to put in there since it was already too warm to plant another seed crop and instead I just plopped a couple spaghetti squash plants in the ground and figured they probably wouldn’t do much or even really make it since it was late.

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Turns out, they actually really liked that spot and made it their home. Now I have tons of baby spaghetti squashes forming and I’m really glad I had that second thought.

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Also, this vine will take over my entire garden and I’m totally cool with that.

Everything is taking off pretty well this month in the garden. I have a couple tomato plants that aren’t ‘making’ it but I’m still keeping them around in case they end up doing something. We harvested our first ‘big’ tomato this week and that was pretty exciting.

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Avery ate it like an apple after he played Veggie Tales with it for a while.

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I’m cool with that. Avery is very active in the garden….which means he has eaten 90% of the cherry tomatoes we’ve harvested. Or rather, he picks them off the plant and I get the left overs….

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I’m getting cucumbers and jalapenos now too. My cucumbers have suffered from bacterial wilt and I’ve lost at least two vines to it completely and another is about to go. I cherish each and every cucumber I get.

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My greens are doing great in this weather and I’m getting plenty of herbs and kale.

SAMSUNG CSCI love kale. Shane isn’t a big fan but I can’t get enough.

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Our dinners and my lunches have included kale in some form or other.

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Herbed chicken, yellow rice and kale salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.

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No kale here but some home grown cabbage from my parents, beets and black beans.

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Kale, golden beets, cabbage and homemade vinaigrette.

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An amazing filet Shane grilled for me with a cucumber, tomato and basil salad and a side of freshly grown baby potatoes from the farmers market. Fantastic Sunday lunch.

I’m excited to use more of my harvests in our meals this summer and really looking forward to more of my tomatoes coming in! I have some yellow heirloom tomatoes ripening at the moment and am slightly giddy about them. I hope your gardens are going well too!

 

Pregger Pics Take 3: Weeks 26-27

Well, here we are, plugging along, wishing it was more like 36-37 weeks but hey, those will come.

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Huge as always and this girl likes to kick.

She’s responsive to the tap game..which is basically when you tap on the belly and she responds with a kick. I like that. Eli was responsive even though his movements were much different than her’s and Avery was completely uncooperative at any of those sort of things.

Weight: I’m not sure, I haven’t weighed myself but I have an appointment tomorrow so I’ll find out then. I feel big, but I don’t necessarily feel like I weigh more, if that makes sense.

Aversions: Same. Coffee is the hardest, as always, since I’m a tired pregnant lady but I choke down a few ounces in the morning and manage to survive on that.  Sausage is one of the other big ones. And chicken still but I think I’m recovering from that.

Cravings: Cold beer. It’s just that amazing summer weather right now and a cold IPA or Saison sounds soooooon good.

Exercise: Last week wasn’t great for exercise, aside from things like gardening, because Eli has been going through some ridiculous developmental something or other that makes him wake up at 2:30am and makes him think it’s totally daytime. Then I get him back to bed and I start falling asleep and bam, he’s up again. It reminds me just a little of those good old days of sleeplessness…wait, not good. So bad. Then he’s up for good good between 5:15-5:45 which is killer for me. So I haven’t felt up to doing much exercise in the mornings (the only time I can do it because of naptime). So far this week has been similar except that last night he slept through the night…only to get up before dawn again. Maybe tomorrow will be the ticket.

Symptoms: I’ve had many less headaches and nausea lately which has been awesome. Mostly struggling with pelvic pain and some  belly cramps and those are sooooo much better than being out of the game with headaches. So so so much better. I’m grateful for that.

Third trimester is upon me now and that means less than three months left. When I look at my belly it seems crazy I have that much time left but I’m trusting that her growth won’t be insane.

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