Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Friday, February 14

Happy LOVE Day

Valentines is our favorite around the Jex house!  We are a hugging, kissin, lovey-dovey family so this holiday is just more reason to smooch. Austin is a hug-bomber, he will just run up to you out of the blue and plant one on you all the time.  We love it.  He is always saying "I need a hug and a tiss" and we are happy to oblige!  Austin has been so excited all week helping me create his valentines and most of all bake treats.

Hope everyone is having a special Valentine's week with your lovey-dovies!

This Valentine's I am beyond thankful for our 2 healthy sweethearts.  They are our world and they fill our hearts.  Nothing compared to 2 little people that need your love and love you so openly and innocently.  I am blessed to have a husband I am sure finds Valentine's Day a bit of a challenge because he says and does things everyday of the year that are so sweet, he's a 365 Valentine. It wouldn't be odd for him to come home with a little happy on a random Tuesday "just because".  That's just how he is, Randa taught that boy to love deeply and intentionally, everyday. Our love reminds me of my dad's parents, I always remember them hugging...kissing....dancing.  I feel so lucky to have a romantic marriage with a man that treats me like his equal, his treasure, and his sweetheart.

Zach got up extra early today to make me a hot breakfast before work and put it in a bag so I could eat it in the car, kissed me and said Happy Valentine's Day---- yup he has me pegged!  This morning as roses, chocolate covered strawberries and gift baskets were being delivered to my coworkers, we all got in a conversation about everyone's different "Love Language" and the 5 languages of love.  One girl said "I love special gifts", another said "I just want my husband to do something without me asking like fix dinner or put gas in the car", and one guy turned white with embarrassment as his wife hand delivered a huge gift basket.  I thought to myself "I just like to feel loved, words and actions".  We all have our different Languages of love, do you know yours?  I know mine....and I know Z's and he obviously knows mine, so that works out well. {there is a quiz posted below if you're curious}
Early Valentine's Dinner at the Castle Saturday with our favorite peeps, Rachel and Hunter!

The kids made a Valentine for some of their favorite peeps

Sweet Aunt Bev is at it again, we had fun opening our goodies

Austin's homemade Valentine's for school

Paleo Valentine's

Homemade cupackes for Austin's class, it was torture not tasting these.  But I had to take one bite just to make sure they are edible {and damn were they edible...mmmmmmm!}

Cupcake in a jar for Grammy to go with her chocolate covered cherries (her favorite) and when we got to her house this morning they gave us a sweet card, dinner on them, and mom made us paleo chocolates!  That was insanely thoughtful!

Chocolate Pecan Pie for sweet papa!  It's his favorite, this one had a pecan heart and just a "little" extra chocolate!

MaddyBug ready to go see her Valentine's (Grammy and Papa)
If you want to take the  5 Languages of Love Quiz, GO HERE

Interpreting Your Profile Score

The highest score indicates your primary love language (the highest score is 12). It’s not uncommon to have two high scores, although one language does have a slight edge for most people. That just means two languages are important to you.
The lower scores indicate those languages you seldom use to communicate love and which probably don’t affect you very much on an emotional level. Learn more about your primary love language and how to put it to use next to the corresponding badge below.
Not what you expected? If the results don’t seem right, discover some other ways to determine your primary love language.

Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.

Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

Important to Remember:

You may have scored certain ones of the love languages more highly than others, but do not dismiss those other languages as insignificant. Your husband may express love in those ways, and it will be helpful to you to understand this about him.
In the same way, it will benefit your husband to know your love language and express his affection for you in ways that you interpret as love. Every time you or your husband speak each other's language, you score emotional points with one another. Of course, this isn't a game with a scorecard! The payoff of speaking each other's love language is a greater sense of connection. This translates into better communication, increased understanding, and, ultimately, improved romance.
If your husband has not already done so, encourage him to take The Love Languages Profile for Husbands. Discuss your respective love languages, and use this insight to improve your marriage!

Wednesday, February 5

Our Paleo Journey....

Zach and I have been Paleo since November 1.  We started by saying “we will try this out and see how we feel, maybe just a month”….but to be honest I didn’t think we would make it two weeks and I would have bet you my first born we wouldn’t be paleo through Thanksgiving.  Good thing I didn’t make that bet.  Here we are three months later going strong and loving it.  I am eating crow now for all those Paleo comments I made to Cory and Alicia for doing this.  I remember when we visited them this time last year they were paleo and I found myself saying “can you eat that”, “can you eat there”, “I bet it sucks to be paleo”….and now I have learned that no, in fact, it does not suck at all to be paleo.  It ROCKS being paleo. The way I feel far outweighs any desire for a DQ Blizzard or a plate of greasy fries.  We may not always be “by the book” paleo but we are trying our best right now to set a good example for the kids so they will be exposed to tons of healthy foods they have grown to love and hopefully when they get older they will make healthy food choices. 

I am writing this post because I have received requests to know what we eat, what are our staple meals, how to do paleo, what does paleo even mean, etc.  I want to give you a total brain dump so you are educated enough to know if it’s for you, I will be honest and forthcoming with the challenges. As you know there is so much info out there so read up and understand the Paleo basics.  I will post tried and true recipes regularly, but don’t worry if you come here just to see cute pics of my kids I won’t deny you that luxury and you can skip all the food blogs.  But I do hope that all those “diet skeptics” reading this will no longer turn their nose up to other people’s “diet”…..Diet is not a short lived starvation period or a means to emaciation as you drink your lunch consisting of 4 pieces of spinach, 1 grapefruit segment, and a teaspoon of flax seed juiced into oblivion.  The word diet actually means the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism.  So we are all “on a diet”, good or bad, it’s a diet. So the next time I hear “oh you’re on a diet” accompanied by an eye roll and an almost overt request to pass the plate of cinnamon rolls just to ensure they are clear that a) they are judging me and concluded I must be a vain health nazi… and, b)they don’t want anything to do with a “diet”…..I may get feisty.

Understand that paleo IS NOT ATKINS, not anything similar.  We eat carbs, we eat fat, we eat sugar (just unrefined). We eat well and we eat often. In fact we eat 6-7 times a day depending if it’s a workout day. I am not hungry, I am not deprived.

Paleo is not for everyone and there is a LOT of planning involved.  It also is a team sport….if your spouse isn’t totally on board I can see it being a challenge but Zach was the one driving it and I quickly got just as excited.  Making awesome, healthy, delicious meals has become such a fun activity for us.
It is also expensive; we typically spend double our old weekly grocery budget because of more fresh produce, specialty flours and nut, etc.  However we have saved the difference by not eating out often anymore…that will drain the bank quickly. 

It is not a fad or a crash diet, it is just plain and simply good nutrition. We DID NOT embark on this journey to “just lose 10lbs” or “look good this swimsuit season”, we did this to change our lifestyle and find satisfying food that provided us with excellent core nutrition.  In fact, I didn’t want to lose weight, I wanted to maintain weight and consume high calorie meals so my breastfeeding wouldn’t be affected. We have learned a lot about how things like gluten, sugars, carbs, proteins,etc. control our metabolism and digestion and I feel like once I understood the basics it became much easier to make choices, and it made it even easier to set boundaries.  Once you read what a glazed donut triggers in your digestive system, it will make you think twice about hitting up the box in the break room.

I used to complain a lot about my stomach hurting after meals.  Not sure if it was the rich foods, the portion size, a slight intolerance to diary, or a combination but since we have changed our eating habits our stomachs rarely bother us and our poor TUMS bottle is getting lonely in the bedside table since we rarely pay it a visit. 

But the most rewarding aspect is hearing Austin say “mmmmmm, I love vegetables” and “can I have more chicken please”.  4 months ago we couldn’t bribe him to eat veggies and lean meats (and I don’t mean breaded fake chicken you get in the drive through fast food line), all he wanted were pop tarts, frozen waffles, and cheese.  This made my mommy heart break that I was leading him down a road of poor nutrition and somehow we were eating healthy but I wasn’t making him.  WHAT?? Bad mom! His nutrition is even more important and we finally decided that we were going to change his eating habits too.  This wasn’t easy….Austin is a creature of habit after all but fast forward 3 months and his dinners typically consist of 3 of the following: broccoli, carrots, green beans, Greek yogurt, grapes, chicken, lean ground turkey, eggs, pork, apples, oranges, almonds, bananas, edemame,  apple sauce, and get this….a veggie and protein packed taco soup is his favorite.  His “treats” for eating his dinner are normally fruit snacks, or raisins, or banana chips.  Surprisingly the fruit snacks we buy have less sugar than a serving of raisins.  We haven’t cut out all processed foods for him, he still eats goldfish and cheerios for snacks and a pop tart for breakfast at most 2x a week but that is just until the box runs out and then I am done with poptarts. He made it easy to nix grains at home because he never liked PBJ sandwiches, mac and cheese, chips,  etc like most toddlers.  He still eats grains 2 meals a day at school but we don’t have many at home since we are grain free.

So there is our Paleo background, we are not health freaks…we are LIFE FREAKS!  We want to feel good so we can keep up with those active kids of ours. We want our kids to be healthy.  My kids will eat pizza and coke at parties, cupcakes and candy on birthdays, and be normal kids but I want them to come home knowing that a healthy meal is not something we cry over, it’s the norm at our home and it’s “dee-wishish” as Austin says. With all the articles out there saying “don’t eat this it causes cancer” or “don’t buy this, it’s made from pig anus” (true story), I feel like my best bet is just stick to what natural stuff.  We have stepped outside our food comfort zone and I now love Brussels sprouts and Zach now loves sweet potatoes and avocados….these foods were previously on our “I don’t like that” lists. 

So I hope you enjoy the recipes to come, and like I said I will only post ones we have tried and love.  Nothing is worse than wasting time and money on a dud dinner.

Thanks for reading, wishing you the best year yet!